Author: Hawk Clowd
Disclaimer: So far as I know, I own nothing. Gravitation belongs to Maki Murakami and I wouldn't take it away from her for anything in the world. I just like to play.
Blood Type: Something flammable -- times two! -- simply because you could light a match and both Ryuichi and Tatsuha would be on fire.
Warnings: Very few.
Author's Note: So here we are again, dabbling in the lives of Tatsuha, Eiri, Shuichi, Ryuichi, and the rest of the gang. What do you suppose they've been up to since "Spin" ended? (Not much, probably.) Ah, well. Okay, I'm going to be frank with you all right now: the beginning of this story is, in my opinion, very weak. I've written and re-written it at least three times now and I just can't seem to get it right (In my defense, I normally don't write sequels; this is actually the first one I've ever written.), but I have been told by Aja, who kindly agreed to beta this monster for me, that it's not as bad as I think it is. In any case, I promise that the story gets better later on, so... Please enjoy it and stick with me just a little longer. I hope it's just as good as the first one.
Ever since he had, at the age of four, heard his first Nittle Grasper song, Tatsuha had been obsessed with Sakuma Ryuichi. Once he had discovered that he possessed hormones, Tatsuha had started to dream up over a thousand and two different ways through which he and Sakuma Ryuichi could meet and become lovers. He had imagined phoning the radio station to win a date with the singer during which, upon meeting, Sakuma Ryuichi would find him irresistible and they would make out on the floor of a limo. He had fantasized about meeting Sakuma Ryuichi in the Laundromat while they were both mysteriously half-clothed and then going to one of the more private, dark corners to indulge themselves. Heck, he had imagined being cast into one of Nittle Grasper's music videos and later following Sakuma Ryuichi into one of the empty rooms in the studio. Once, he had even indulged the idea of Shuichi -- his elder brother's boyfriend -- becoming friends with Sakuma Ryuichi while Tatsuha was staying in their apartment.
When that one had actually happened the summer before, Tatsuha had felt the need to continuously pinch himself just to make sure he wasn't still dreaming.
In the end, of course, things had gone terribly wrong. A night of passion with Sakuma Ryuichi had turned out to be more trouble than it was worth and both of the parties involved had worried over the events for several weeks before they finally confronted one another in the Shinkansen station. They had agreed it would be better to postpone their relationship, such as it was, and grow up a little before they delved into what they could possibly have with one another. Tatsuha had grudgingly stepped aside and let his dreams of meeting and loving Sakuma Ryuichi take a backseat to his need to mature and achieve a few things on his own.
A year had passed. Over the course of that year, Tatsuha had both regretted and been grateful for his decision. Sometimes he had stayed up nights wondering what would have happened had he taken the other choice -- if he had gone with Ryuichi at the station instead of going home to Kyoto. He often wondered if he had done the right thing. It was the mature thing, yes, but would his decision doom him to an unhappy future?
Today was Tatsuha's high school graduation and, for probably the first time since he had left Sakuma Ryuichi at the train station, Tatsuha was one hundred percent glad he had made the decision he did.
Glad, but bored. Really, really bored. The graduation ceremony took far too long -- and it wasn't like there was anything exciting going on. All these stupid graduations were just the same. The audience assembled. An awed hush fell over the crowd as the graduates paraded into the auditorium. The school played the national anthem. All of the students sang the school song, whether they wanted to or not. Parents started fighting over the perfect camera spot and some complained loudly that some other person's head was n the way of their shot. That had been reasonably entertaining to watch, but the faculty had had the foresight to hire a few of the local police force to make sure nothing got out of hand. Once the parents were somewhat calmed down, forcibly or otherwise, the speeches started. The principal started it off with a speech, then the PTA President gave a speech, then the graduating student council president gave a speech, and then the incoming student council president gave a speech. Sometimes, like today, the school asked someone they deemed important to come to the graduation and, then, the important person would give a speech.
That, really, was the only part of the graduation Tatsuha was looking forward to hearing. The school administration had used Tatsuha as leverage to convince Yuki Eiri himself to give a speech at the ceremony, and Eiri had reluctantly agreed. From what Tatsuha understood, Eiri had not even wanted to attend Tatsuha's graduation and had been complaining about both that and the speech for days. Tatsuha honestly didn't blame him, but he was kind of glad his older brother was here, even if it was just to give a speech.
At long last, Eiri approached the podium. Tatsuha sat up a little bit straighter and smirked when his brother glanced his way and quirked an eyebrow. Eiri looked cranky, but that was all right. None of the women or girls in the audience noticed; they were all dead silent and had their eyes glued on Eiri. They looked about ready to start a commotion again, if only to run up to the stage and swarm around Eiri. The hired policemen looked on edge as they watched the doe-eyed women and girls silently lust after the romance novelist.
Eiri cleared his throat. "Congratulations," he said. Then he took a step back, glanced around, and bowed.
There was a long silence and then, finally, someone coughed. A moment or two later, someone else clapped tentatively. The rest of the crowd followed and Eiri walked off the stage to a smattering of confused applause. Tatsuha did his best not to laugh. Short and sweet was Eiri's style; he should not have been surprised that the rule pertained even to public speaking.
The rest of the graduation ceremony went by without a hitch. The graduates received their diplomas and, immediately afterward, the non-graduating students sang well wishes. There was more singing -- including the traditional song of mutual disdain for Japan's compulsory education system and a farewell song -- and some crying, mostly from the girls in the crowd. Forty-five minutes later, the graduates, a few of them now a bawling mess of snot and tears, paraded out to the applause of non-graduating students, professors, and family.
Once outside, Tatsuha stood around for several minutes as he continued to accept congratulations and half-waited for some of his family to catch up to him. He did not wait very long; Shuichi found him quickly and jumped onto Tatsuha's back, grabbing the teenager's neck from behind. Tatsuha nearly choked to death before Eiri, who had followed the singer, decided to rescue his brother.
As Eiri pried Shuichi off the younger boy's neck, the singer squealed a congratulation. The expression turned into an apology for Eiri's speech and then turned back into a congratulations. Several groups of people recognized Shuichi's voice and started to look around for the singer's now-trademarked pink hair, unaware that Shuichi had dyed it to what he considered a more stealthy color: blue.
Eiri rolled his eyes at Shuichi's enthusiasm and nodded his head in Tatsuha's direction. "You realize you're the first one in the immediate family to actually graduate from high school," he said, raising his voice to be heard over Shuichi. "It's a good thing you're too young to start a trend."
Tatsuha didn't argue the point. He was sure their father was already guilting Mika and Eiri both for not having finished high school, no matter that both had had good reasons for it. Why push the point?
"Your speech sucked," he said instead.
Eiri shrugged. "People are probably already re-writing it in their heads." He sighed dramatically. "And I spent so much time writing it, too."
Shuichi cut in. "He really did! Well, sort of. He had a speech that he wrote a couple of nights ago -- a really good one -- but someone -- and by someone I mean me -- got on his nerves while we were driving here and Yuki balled the paper up and threw his speech at me and it went out the window and then when we got here he said there wasn't enough time to write a new one and he'd just improvise, but I told him not to so it's not my fault!"
Eiri cocked an eyebrow and Tatsuha grinned. A few of his friends walked by, all trying to pretend they didn't notice Shuichi, whose new hair color did very little to disguise him, or Eiri, who did not seem to be in the mood for flirting and probably would have scared them away in any case. Tatsuha waved in their general direction; they walked on by.
"Did you guys ditch Dad and Mika?" he asked at last.
Shuichi shook his head. "We weren't sitting with them. Yuki and I got special seats somewhere in the very back." He clapped his hands together once. "It was... Um. Well, it was a lot better than my graduation was! You looked really grown up -- I was watching you the whole time!"
"He kept falling asleep," Eiri corrected. "I had to continuously shake him awake."
"I was awake for that whole diploma thing," Shuichi argued indignantly.
Tatsuha intervened quickly before the couple could lapse into a full-blown quarrel, as they were prone to do, and ruin the day. He threw an arm over his brother's shoulders and was half-surprised when he was not immediately shoved away.
"So how long are you guys planning to stay in Kyoto?" he asked.
Shuichi grinned and gave a small wave to a group of staring graduates wandered by. The swooned a little and waved back enthusiastically. Shuichi's grin widened even as he turned his attention to the conversation at hand. He spoke quickly, interrupting Eiri before the latter could really say anything at all. "Just until tomorrow or so, so we can go to your party," he declared. A group of female graduates -- rabid Bad Luck fans, to boot -- edged close to Shuichi and, upon spotting them, Shuichi waved. The girls promptly melted into puddles of graduate goo.
It took a moment for Shuichi's words to register. "I get a party?" Tatsuha asked. His face lit up.
Eiri reached over and hit Shuichi lightly on the top of his head. "You weren't supposed to say anything about it, dummy."
Shuichi stuck out his tongue. "He would have found out eventually anyway, and if you don't want me to tell people things then you shouldn't tell me things in the first place!"
Eiri sighed but didn't argue the point. He finally pushed Tatsuha's arm off his shoulders. "Since it's been spoiled already, I might as well warn you not to expect very much from this party. It's a small affair. Family, mostly, and Shuichi."
"I count as family," Shuichi insisted, temporarily turning his attention from the gooey graduates to Eiri.
"You do not," Eiri argued, but his voice implied that he knew better and was just trying to get a rise out of Shuichi. Shuichi heard it, too, and he just made a face and moved a little closer to Eiri. The writer put a possessive hand on top of Shuichi's head and ruffled the blue hair gently before he let his hand fall back to his side. Tatsuha let that brief yet affectionate gesture go without remark.
"And you're going back to Tokyo after the party?" Tatsuha asked.
Eiri shrugged. "Life doesn't stop simply because an Uesugi graduates from high school."
Tatsuha nodded. "I guess it doesn't," he agreed. "But it should." He paused before he pressed on. "Can I go with you?"
As one person, Eiri and Shuichi turned to look at one another. They held a silent conversation with their eyes and a few tiny gestures and then simultaneously looked to Tatsuha and asked:
Huh. Tatsuha hadn't known the couple came in stereo. Neat. "I don't know. Maybe you could think of it as a graduation present," he suggested.
The couple was obviously not buying that. Keeping with their current theme, both Eiri and Shuichi quirked an eyebrow at the graduate. Tatsuha bit back an amused comment and prepared to turn to Plan B -- become a royal suck up -- when he saw his father and sister approaching them. Damn. The brown-nosing would have to wait until after his father left. He would never live it down if the old man caught him.
"There you are!"
Both Eiri and Shuichi turned to see the Uesugi patriarch approaching with Mika close on his heels. Tatsuha stifled a groan.
The old monk, who had refused to change out of his usual robes, looked strange in as mundane a place as the school lawn, but he didn't seem to mind at all. He clapped Tatsuha on the back. "It's good to know at least one of my sons is going to make something of himself," the man crowed.
Mika, Tatsuha, and Shuichi all winced. Eiri acted as though he hadn't heard the old monk at all. Instead he took hold of the back of Shuichi's shirt and tugged roughly, reigning the singer in.
"We're leaving," Eiri said firmly. It was clear he didn't feel as though he had the patience to hang around. "We'll be at the house around nightfall."
"Eiri!" Mika protested. "First you make a scene on the podium and now you're going to ruin things just because --"
"He's not ruining anything," Tatsuha interrupted. For once in her life, Mika stopped talking and paid him some attention. "He just needs to take a nap in the car or something so he doesn't get cranky later. It's fine."
Tatsuha would prefer that Eiri hang around, really, but he knew it was better to side with his brother in the long run, especially since he was trying to get a free stay in Tokyo. Eiri seemed to understand this and gave his brother a small nod as he wordlessly led Shuichi out toward the parking lot. The singer wisely kept his mouth shut but, as the two disappeared from sight, Shuichi took Eiri's hand in his own, almost as though he was soothing Eiri's temper as they walked along. Mika and Tatsuha were both silent for a while, but their father went on talking about Tatsuha's latest achievement and, of course, his plans for Tatsuha's future as though nothing had happened.
Things went on, however, and Tatsuha did not give a second thought to Eiri and Shuichi until much later that evening, after his graduation party was well underway. What was the big deal about his staying with them in Tokyo for the summer, and why had they acted so strangely about it?
Ah, well. Tatsuha would have to wait a little while longer to find out.
--end part one--
( read the prequel "Spin" : http/ )