The Rainy Season by HRT
Summary: Shuichi has just broken up Yuki's engagement to Ayaka. However, the singer is afraid that Yuki's commitment to him is not very deep. Can Yuki prove otherwise?
Disclaimer: Gravitation belongs to Maki Murakami, not me. I am not making any profit off this story. Contains M/M scenes, and a little swearing.
AN: This is Shuichi's narration.
"What the hell are you doing?" Yuki asked me, as he braked the convertible slightly. We were driving on the Chuo Expressway heading back to Tokyo. I was squirming on the passenger seat, one of my legs contorted like a bent paperclip, my shoe sole almost rubbing my nose.
"Trying to take off these damned high-heeled sandals! Every time I take a few steps, my feet slide out of them sideways and thwop to the ground. I end up with the straps wrapped around my ankles. God, how do women walk?"
"That's what you get for disguising yourself as Ayaka," he said. He glanced sideways at my clothes with narrowed eyes. "Where are the skirt and blouse from?"
"Tatsuha found them in Mika's closet at the temple. I hope she won't mind."
We had left the Uesugi temple early this afternoon, right after meeting Uesugi-san. I had no nerve to try staying longer. Not too many visitors chose to introduce themselves by flashing the old monk. But then, I'd been really pissed off.
"Finally!" I shouted. Oh, wonderful. Deep relief of smushed toes. Shoe number one was launched across the expressway, skipping into the tangle of knotweed bushes and honeysuckle.
"Shuichi, we're being paced by a truck. The driver's leaning over to see what you're doing," Yuki warned.
"Yeeeaaagh!" I bounced shoe number two off the side window of the cab. The truck swerved as its driver startled. "You want a free show, asshole? Just watch!"
"Knock it off, dammit!" Yuki stamped on the accelerator, leaving the truck behind. "Do you want to cause an accident? And quit hiking that skirt up. This is a convertible, bonehead. Everyone can see you."
"Not. Until. I. Remove-these-hose," I said, rocking my rear on the car seat. "Blech! My leg hairs are sticking through the mesh like the spines on a pineapple."
"Are you quite done," Yuki inquired acidly, "or are you going to continue stripping in public until the police arrest us?"
"I'm almost finished." The clot of hose blew away from my spread fingers when I held it up to the air stream.
"Good. Is there any particular reason why wearing women's clothes makes you so obnoxiously macho?"
"Damn straight. My father certainly isn't going to forget meeting you. Sometime or other I'll have to call him to find out if I've been disowned."
I slid down in my seat. I had no regrets. Yuki was mine, and no one, neither his father nor anyone else, was going to part us again.
I looked over at him. His freshly-cut hair, now a splayed mess from the wind, seemed so odd. I was used to the long spider web strands across his face, which I often toyed with before he would slap my hand away. He was still in his monk's robe and beads, though he'd thrown a trench coat over the whole ensemble to hide the robe.
"I really owe Tatsuha a favor," I said.
"Was he the one who applied your makeup? You look gruesome."
I flinched. He was telling the truth, but I was in no mood to be told I looked like hell. Why was I fated to fall in love with the most honest asshole in Japan? "Yeah, he did."
"You must not have held still. My brother does have some skill with a drawing brush. Do you know you've got the lip line of a circus clown?"
"I haven't had the chance to look in a mirror. Tatsuha just put the makeup on and ushered me straight in to meet your father."
"Thank the Buddha for that," Yuki replied fervently. "Were those my sister's shoes as well?"
"Oops," I said, glancing behind us. They must be shoecakes by now. "I think so."
"No loss. Mika has closets full of crap. I'm more concerned about my father."
"Do you think he'll try to break us up?" Maybe it would indeed be better if Yuki were disowned.
"If I know him, he will."
Such straightforward conviction. Shit. I thought Aizawa had been enough.
I hung over the side of the car, thinking about this. We had driven through the mountains earlier today, passing quiet forests of fur and spruce, and seen occasional glimpses of Mount Fuji, dusted with snow like powdered sugar. But we descended into a burning industrial haze as we approached Tokyo. The air felt acid and thick in our throats, and the sky was darkening rapidly.
My yell nearly sent the convertible off the road.
"Fucking goddammit! You mean I won you back, and I still have to fight everybody in the world to keep you?"
Yuki braked the car and swerved over on the shoulder. When he turned to me, I knew that the face he was seeing was one big wrinkle. I have two modes of crying. The first is the big flood. The second is a slow, guilt-inducing trickle that drives Yuki nuts. I don't mean to torment him, but it just comes out that way. What I was doing now was number two.
Yuki leaned over and rested a hand on my car door. "Shuichi. I said my father will probably try to break us up. I didn't say I'd go along with it."
"But he's your father."
"He's hated everything I've done for the last six years. This is nothing new."
It was a tribute to the thickness of my mascara that it wasn't even budging under the tears. Yuki eyed me a moment, then undid his seatbelt and moved over. Both of us ignored the wind blasts from passing cars.
"Shuichi," Yuki said again. "Look up at me."
I startled at the contact of his mouth. It's always a shock when he's unexpectedly tender. When he broke off the kiss, I nearly had a heart attack.
It was hard to stifle my laughter. "You look sort of strange."
"Transfer!" I whispered urgently, pointing. Now we were both clown-mouthed. He certainly looked better in lipstick than I did.
He reached up and felt the waxy coating with his fingers. "Then I'll just have to give it back, won't I?" he threatened.
He leaned forward for another kiss. Overhead, the sky growled as if in disapproval.
I felt a spear of dampness strike my scalp. Raindrops began to fall, bouncing off the convertible's hood and dash. One of Tokyo's ugly summer rainstorms had arrived.
I glanced at Yuki. I have to admit, he has imperturbable cool. With the savior-faire of a Hollywood movie star, he kept his eye on me in a meaningful way as he reached over to stab the button to activate the convertible's top. This would then cover us smoothly, and we could return to the business at hand.
Except that the car top stayed folded behind the seats.
Yuki pushed the button again with a little more vigor. Nothing happened.
At that moment the rain went full force. Before we could move we were soaked, drenched under spatters so hard they stung the skin. Angrily, Yuki smacked the worthless button again, and jumped out of the car to wrestle the vinyl top manually into place. I climbed out to help.
"Damn it, the frame is snagged," he yelled as he opened the latches by hand. "Pull hard on your side. This is no time to baby it."
"Should we rock it back and forth to loosen it?" I yanked violently. "OOPS!"
Uh, heh heh. I was quite sure the metal brackets weren't supposed to bend like that.
Yuki's face broke into an expression of disbelief. He dashed around to my side of the car to study the brackets. Even under the noisy splatter of the rain, I heard the harsh noise he made in his throat. "Crap. They're twisted. We can't unfold it."
"Could we try straightening the brackets out again?"
"No. That will only make the problem worse. Get inside."
Soggily, we climbed back in. Yuki gunned the engine for Tokyo, causing the rain to increase to hurricane force. Unfortunately, he needed to use the windshield wipers, and this sent great sprays of water over the top of the windshield and right down on our heads.
Then I remembered Yuki had an umbrella in the glove compartment! Quickly, I pulled it out. Yuki didn't notice, since he was trying to keep the flying spirts of water out of his eyes.
I grinned to myself. I'd open the umbrella, hold it over Yuki's head, snuggle up, and we'd have a nice, cozy, if rather wet drive back.
"What do you think you're doing? Wait a minute!" Yuki shouted as I opened the umbrella with a triumphant snap.
The next moment the wind caught the umbrella hard and ripped it out of my hand. I turned around and saw it tumble under the wheels of the car behind us and burst apart like a shredded bat.
"Did you forget we're traveling at high speed?" Yuki asked sarcastically.
"I guess I did. I'm really sorry about that, Yuki. I'm sorry about the car top, too."
"It's not a big problem. We'll just get wet, and I'll take the car to a mechanic tomorrow. It shouldn't be--"
For a second, both the turn signal lights flashed on and off together, as did the red warning lights. The wipers traded their mad dash back and forth for a lazy wave, and froze. A curious noise was coming from the car. It was a clicking, tapping noise from inside the dashboard, which I'd never heard before. This was because I'd never heard the sound of a car's electrical wiring frying out.
"What's wrong?" I asked, as Yuki wrestled the dying convertible over to the shoulder.
By this time my blouse and skirt were sticking to my skin, the leather seats were sodden, and pools of rain filled the grooves on the floor mats.
"Time to call Tohma," Yuki said in a philosophical voice. He opened his cell phone under his trench coat and hit the automatic dial.
"Look out!" I yelled.
A truck drove by, sending a wave of water crashing over us like the surf at a beach.
"Goddammit!" Yuki shouted. We fled the car for the greenbelt. "You'd think the motherfucking bastards would SLOW DOWN for us." He yelled a few more comments in the direction of the busy expressway.
"Eiri? Eiri? Is that you? What's that noise? Where are you?"
Yuki lifted a fold of trench coat over his head so he could talk without drenching the cell phone. "Tohma! We need a ride. We've stalled out in the rain on the Chuo Expressway, and we're almost to the first exit for the Suginami Ward. We're in my Mercedes Benz convertible, but the top won't work and we're soaked. Can you get out here promptly?"
"I'm leaving right now."
"Thank God." Yuki shut the phone and put it away. He glanced at me, then took his trench coat off.
"Take it," he said. His monk's robe, which still had a few stray dry spots, was now sopping.
"You should have kept it. I'm already wet, so it won't matter." I didn't move to take the coat. Yuki being chivalrous? Did he hit his head on something?
He shook the coat at me angrily. "If a cop pulls over, I can explain my robe. I can't explain your skirt. Hurry up and put it on. I don't want to spend the weekend in jail."
I donned the coat. "Maybe we could get someone to stop and pick us up. Let's wave at someone for help."
He didn't try to argue. We walked cautiously to the roadside, and waved.
Another large truck was approaching. It was in the far lane, but when the driver saw us the rig switched over. Was this a ride? Then the truck sped up.
"God motherfucking dammit!" Yuki shouted as the foam trickled down our faces.
"Gosh, Yuki. You'd think he would have stopped for a Buddhist monk in need."
We ran back to the greenbelt. "If Tohma doesn't hurry," Yuki growled, "I'm divorcing him as a brother-in-law."
Asphalt crumbs were sticking painfully to the soles of my bare feet. As we headed through the stiltgrass and knotweed, I put a foot down in a mudhole, and nearly slipped on some leaves when I tried to scrape the squishy mud off.
The corner of Yuki's mouth had developed a nervous tic. He felt around in his shirt for a pack of cigarettes and found an unopened package. I could see his pupils dilate hungrily with the hope of dry cigarettes. He hunched over, and covering his lighter with his hand, he managed to get one going for a second. Then the rain, dripping through his covering hand, put the flame out with a sizzle.
Yuki regarded the wet cigarette with a half-demented look.
"Um, Yuki, are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"And what might that be?" he asked. His face had acquired a nasty, ruby hue.
"You're thinking that THIS should have been when I remembered we had the umbrella, instead of earlier."
"You guessed that right," he replied tightly.
"Here." I unbuttoned the trench coat and held it up over our heads, screening us as much as possible. "Try your lighter again."
He lit another cigarette and took a deep drag. The transformation was amazing. It was like a slobbering werewolf turning back into a man.
I wrinkled my nose at the smoke, but for once, didn't care. It's comforting to have a fire near your face when you're soaking wet. We stayed like this, huddled under our tent for a couple of silent moments.
"Well. This is cozy," he said around his cigarette. "My boyfriend is sheltering me so I can get lung cancer."
I managed to laugh. "At least we know it can't get any worse. OW!"
Something hit my knuckles, hard.
A few pea-sized white pellets landed nearby. Then a few more, and some more.
"Oh crap," I said.
As one, we raised the trench coat high to shelter our heads. "Let's run for that cedar tree," Yuki shouted.
He needed to shout. The hail coming down began to pound hammer-blows on the convertible. It was clattering all over the highway and bouncing through the stiltgrass like a thousand errant golf shots, and the icy pellets burnt my bare feet with cold.
When we reached the cedar tree we hugged the bark, trying to shield ourselves from the direction of the wind. In a few minutes, so much hail fell that the landscape turned white, as if a light snow had fallen.
"Now you're mad at me, right?" I asked.
He didn't reply at first.
"I am reflecting on something my father said many years ago. It was when I was around ten years old, and hesitating about becoming a monk. He said I would benefit from it even if I left the monks later in life, because there was nothing that could teach me patience and self-control the way Buddhist training could."
He broke off, and took a deep pull on his cigarette. "My father was an idiot, of course."
"But you're not mad at me?"
"Weary resignation is the best description. At least this gives me some ideas for a new scene in my novel."
"Oh, that's great!" I burbled. "So it was actually good luck that we stalled out here, huh?"
Yuki's nostrils flared, but he said nothing.
"Look, Yuki. I know you're probably mad at me and everything," I replied in a rush, "but just view the situation from a different angle. We're suffering, but it's also romantic. Sort of like Romeo and Juliet!"
"You've got that right," he drawled in a voice of deep sarcasm. "They died in the end, remember."
I couldn't think of what to say. I was just fucking miserable by now and part of me wanted to start bawling again.
After a moment, Yuki added, "but as long as I'm on a nicotine high, you could kill me and I wouldn't care."
I winced as more hail bruised my knuckles. "I'm glad I don't play the guitar like Hiro does." Hopefully, I wouldn't break a finger.
"I need to type tomorrow," Yuki muttered, glancing upward at his hands. Like ice cubes added to a drink, the hail dropped the air temperature suddenly. A cold winter breath went right through my wet clothes, and I shivered. Just great, I thought. I'm going to die of hypothermia in the middle of summer.
Then we heard a shout from the expressway. "Eiri! Eiri, are you out there?"
"Tohma!" Eiri yelled back.
We ran clumsily away from the tree, up the slope to the convertible. It was like running over slippery ice cubes. Tohma had parked behind our stranded vehicle and was calling out his car window to us. We shot into his back seat. Seguchi looked surprised to see Yuki get into the back instead of the front, and he gave my skirt and makeup a cold inspection.
"I brought some towels along. Are you two all right? There was hail a moment earlier, though it seems to be stopping now. Do we need anything from your car, Eiri?"
Yuki waved impatiently at him. "We're fine, just drive on."
Seguchi turned around to speak, leaning over. "Are you sure you don't want to sit in front, Eiri? It's nearer the heat vents, and you'll dry faster."
Yuki's hand clapped down hard on my shoulder and the spray from my wet clothes hit Tohma square in the eye. He startled backwards, blinking.
"We're fine," Yuki replied firmly.
"I've called a tow truck for your car," Seguchi continued. He turned away and didn't notice when I stuck my tongue out at him. Mr. Always-prepared-for-emergencies.
Yuki swiped warningly at my face as we began to dry ourselves off with the towels. I felt smug at the thought that I was getting Tohma's plush car seats wet.
"I've been hearing an interesting story from Mika--and your father," Tohma said as we started driving, "about a certain event at the temple. Since Shindou-san is dressed rather oddly, there must be some truth to what my wife said. You wouldn't care to explain further, would you, Eiri?"
I could see Seguchi's eyes watching me closely in the rear view mirror.
"Fuck no," Yuki retorted. He wore a wasted, weary expression as he toweled his hair into dreadlocks. "Drop it, Tohma. It's none of your business."
"But you do realize how upset your father was?" Seguchi asked.
Yuki didn't bother replying.
"Technically speaking, flashing someone is a crime. A judge would hate to hear that the victim was a Buddhist monk. Of course, I didn't say anything of that sort to your father. He was too befuddled to think of it himself, I suppose."
I sat up in alarm. Yuki's cigarette drooped and his eyelids narrowed.
"What are you playing at?" Yuki asked sharply.
"Nothing. I was just suggesting that it might occur to your father--"
"Not unless it's planted in his mind by a scheming son-in-law. Do it, and I'll fucking kill you. Pull over."
"Now, Eiri, you can't be thinking that I--"
"Pull OVER, dammit!"
Seguchi obeyed and gazed back at us in polite surprise.
"Out," Yuki barked at me. The rain was still coming down quite hard.
"Yuki--" I was shoved up against my door. Yuki opened it and pushed both of us out. He slammed the door shut and there we were in the rain again. Fortunately, most of the hail had melted, so my feet weren't in danger of freezing.
"Yuki?" I asked. He was hiking along the shoulder towards a nearby exit ramp with all the air of a man out for a casual stroll. Bewildered, I followed after.
"Eiri!" Tohma shouted from the car. "What do you think you're doing?"
I glanced back at Seguchi. "Do you really think he'd talk Uesugi-san into pressing charges? Hey, Yuki, he's getting out of his car!"
Tohma grabbed his hat brim, grimaced up at the rain, and jogged determinedly after us. We turned around to watch. The car was still running, I noticed, and Yuki caught my eye. He grinned savagely. "But if you're going to commit one crime, why not compound it with another?" he asked. "Shu, GO!"
We took off running, zipped past Tohma, and dove into the front seats of the car. Yuki slewed the car into traffic with a graceful hydroplane, and sent a bathtub's worth of water flying over Tohma as we roared past. I waved madly at Seguchi as he disappeared behind us.
I could just hear a faint call of, "Eiri! Ei--ri!"
"Are you sure we should have done that?" I asked. "He looks awfully pissed."
Yuki shrugged. "He has a cell phone. Now HE can call for help. Beautiful weather for a drive, isn't it, Shu-chan?" my lover purred.
"Couldn't be better," I replied.