Disclaimer: I do not own Gravitation.
"Next on our agenda is the filming of the first of the promotional videos to fulfill our contract with a national music store chain," K said, pointing to the indecipherable mess he'd scribbled on the dry erase board in his office.
"I wonder if he realizes he's the only one who can read that?" Hiro mused, looking at Suguru, who shrugged.
Shuichi was napping happily, his little pink head resting on the table, drool glistening in a pool before him. K glowered at him, pulling an inactive grenade from his belt and bouncing it off the sleeping chibi's head.
"Wa?" Shuichi said groggily, blinking his eyes.
"Pay attention, or the next one will be live!" K yelled. Sakano stood up.
"I have exciting news, boys! Our new video is going to be made by Thelonious Smith, the most popular video director in America! He's flown all the way out here to shoot for Bad Luck," Sakano said excitedly, wringing his hands.
"Thelonious Smith?" Shuichi asked, impressed. "Didn't he do that controversial video for Sakuma Ryuichi's solo album?"
"That's the one. He owed Judy a favor," K said smugly.
"What was controversial about it?" Suguru asked. Shuichi giggled.
"Ryuichi is naked in it! It never got aired anywhere. Tatsuha is the only person I know who has a copy, and he claims he had to sell his soul to some guy he met in an alley for it," Shuichi said.
"There's really no need for me to be in this video, right? I mean, it's Shuichi the fans want to see," Suguru said, backing nervously towards the door. His escape was thwarted as he stepped back into a young man coming into the room.
"Well hello there, guys. I'm excited to be working on this. It's going to be great!" a man with blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail said with a dazzling, toothy smile as he gently pushed Suguru back onto his feet. "I've just spent the last week studying your pop culture and all your press releases, and I've got loads of great ideas."
"Wonderful! We'll start shooting tomorrow, right?" K asked. Thelonious nodded enthusiastically.
"That's right! Why don't we all go out for lunch to discuss our creative visions?" Thelonious suggested. The tired musicians readily agreed, having been in the studio all day, and the group of men filed out into the hallway.
"By the way," K asked in a confidential tone, "How did you ever talk Ryuichi into doffing his clothes for you? He never would tell me."
"That's between me and Sakuma-san," Thelonious said with a wink.
As they prepared to leave, the elevator door opened, revealing a carefree Ryuichi, cradling Kumagoro and humming a tune to the little plush bunny. He looked up, his eyes widening with fright as they rested on Thelonious.
"Oh no, it's the bad, dirty boy! Run, Kuma!" the singer wailed, running down the hall as fast as he could. The members of Bad Luck gave the young man a startled, questioning look.
"Clearly, he mistook me for someone else," Thelonious said with a shrug, his broad smile never wavering.
"So, what kind of ideas do you have for the video?" Sakano asked nervously as they continued on their way, stepping over the crayons and various glittery things Ryuichi had left in his wake.
"Boy's love," the young man said, with his perpetual smile only broadening.
"Come again?" Hiro said, eyeing him warily.
"It's quite a phenomenon here. It's even starting to grow in popularity back in the States. I mean, having a singer in relationship with another sexy guy hasn't exactly hurt your careers any," Thelonious said, giving Shuichi a long look that made the boy turn as pink as his hair.
"But what does that have to do with our video? It's not like Yuki's going to be in it," Shuichi said.
"He doesn't have to be. Have you ever read your fanzines? The girls are just crazy about the idea of you and Hiro flirting it up a little," Thelonious said with a laugh. Shuichi's eyes grew large.
"But everyone knows I'm in love with Yuki!" Shuichi exclaimed.
"Of course they do," Thelonious said, patting the singer on the head. "It's just a harmless fantasy, that's all. A little fan service for the ladies, you know?"
"I don't know about this," Shuichi said, suddenly brightening. "Hey! What about Suguru and Hiro? Wouldn't that be more convincing?"
"Leave me out of this," Suguru said, as the words sunk in. "Hey, what did you mean by that?" Shuichi shrugged.
"I just meant that you two aren't in a well publicized, beautiful, amazing, wildly romantic relationship with the sexiest man alive," Shuichi said, his expression dreamy. Everyone at the table rolled their eyes and groaned but Shuichi and Thelonious.
"That's just beautiful!" Thelonious cried, wiping at a crocodile tear. "I love your passion! Oh, if I could bottle that! I want to film that, right there, that kind of devotion. Only, still, it's you and Hiro the fans want, and we must not let down the fangirls. Won't anyone think about the fangirls?"
Shuichi's lip trembled.
"You're right! We must please the people who so selflessly gave their hard earned money to make us number one! And if that means I have to -- wait, what exactly do you want me to do?" Shuichi asked. Thelonious' eyes sparkled in triumph.
"It will all be very tasteful, I assure you. Just a little flirting, some heavy innuendo, maybe a kiss. Nothing more," Thelonious said, waving his hand airily.
"A kiss?" Shiuchi said, sitting up with alarm. Thelonious held up his hands, laughing.
"Okay, no kiss, no kiss!" Thelonious said, turning to Hiro, who was chewing thoughtfully on the end of his drink straw. "So what do you think, Nakano-san?"
"Well, you know how I feel about publicity gimmicks, Shuichi, but if you're okay with it, I'm in," Hiro said quietly.
"Um -- heh heh, someone forgot to give me the shirt for my costume!" Shuichi called nervously, sticking his head from behind the door to his dressing room.
"There's no shirt, Shuichi. Now be a sport and let us have a look," Thelonious replied, swiveling around in his chair on the set, where Hiro was already starting to fidget in his too tight leather pants and filmy see through red shirt.
"But -- but," Shuichi stammered, as K emerged from behind the door, cocking his gun at the singer's head.
"Do not question your director," K commanded, jerking the boy out by his ear.
"Oww! Okay!" Shuichi whined, crossing his arms over his chest and walking stiffly onto the set.
"Hey! He gets to wear a shirt! Why does he get to wear a shirt?" Shuichi cried, pointing at the guitarist.
"If it's any consolation, it isn't much of a shirt," Hiro said, sitting back in a chair and eyeing his friend's modest stance with amusement. "I can see your nipple when you point." Shuichi squeaked, clutching his other arm to his chest.
"Now, now, let's be reasonable here. We're all professionals, right?" Thelonious said, prying Shuichi's arms to his sides. "What are you being so modest for, Shuichi? I've seen you in skimpy stage costumes. You have a beautiful body." Shuichi blushed, squirming slightly.
"Um -- thanks?" Shuichi said uncertainly, as the director returned to his chair.
"Great. Now if you'll just straddle Hiro on that chair there, we'll start the music and get to filming," Thelonious said.
"What the hell kind of video is this?" Shuichi yelled, grabbing Suguru off the sidelines and using him as a human shield.
"Do I really have to be here for this? I'm not even in this scene," Suguru groaned.
"Nah, take the next two hours off. We'll shoot your part later," Thelonious said amiably, Shuichi losing his veil of protection so quickly that he nearly toppled over backwards.
"Look at him go," K said with a low whistle, regarding the cloud of dust that had once been Bad Luck's keyboardist, before focusing on Shuichi. "You still giving your director trouble, punk?"
"No sir!" Shuichi said with a forced grin, jumping in Hiro's lap with a thud.
"Okay, when we roll the music I want you to mouth along with the vocals, looking deep in Nakano-san's eyes, got it?" Thelonious said.
"Got it?" K echoed before Shuichi could protest, Hiro looking on the proceedings with bored detachment, despite having a lapfull of Shuichi thrust upon him.
"Can you believe this crap?" Shuichi grumbled, pulling the loose blue sweater he'd thrown on about him as he sat in the booth of a little cafe near the filming studio.
"I don't know what you're upset about. You're the one who agreed that a little fan service wasn't a bad idea," Hiro said with a shrug. "I mean, David Bowie did some stuff like this back in the seventies, didn't he? And remember all the fangirling over the possibility that Tohma and Ryuichi were getting it on back when we were in high school and Nittle Grasper were at their peak?"
"Those girls liked to pair us, too, remember?" Shuichi said, laughing at the memory.
"So, see? This is nothing all that new," Hiro said.
"It's just embarrassing. And it feels like I'm being unfaithful to Yuki somehow," Shuichi said.
"It's just acting, you know? I doubt K feels like Judy is cheating on him when she does all those love scenes with other men. Otherwise he'd probably shoot them. Just as long as you don't enjoy it too much, you know?" Hiro said, waggling his eyebrows teasingly. Shuichi looked at the table, blushing furiously.
"Oh, so you did enjoy it then," Hiro said. Shuichi nodded, hanging his head.
"Maybe just a little," Shuichi muttered. Hiro sighed.
"All right, I'm full of shit. Like there would be any acting involved with me pretending to be attracted to you. I mean, you'd have to be a completely oblivious idiot to not know I've always found you attractive --" Hiro stopped when he saw the look of complete astonishment on the face of his best friend.
"Oh, uh," Hiro said, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. "So I guess you didn't know that. Look, I'm sorry. This is all my fault. It probably just felt so intense because you were reading my emotions into it. I know you love Yuki. Hell, it's just a stupid video, right?"
"We have to put a stop to this. It's hurting you," Shuichi said. Hiro gave a dismissive gesture.
"I gave up on that possibility before you even met Yuki. It's no big deal. A little frustrating, maybe --" Hiro trailed off, with an uneasy laugh. "Look, everything's cool between us, right? Let's just go back to the studio and get this the hell over with." Shuichi nodded, and they paid their bill and walked back to the studio.
Shuichi had just followed Hiro in the door, when a man in a ski mask ran in, flung the little singer over his shoulder and ran out of the building. The other men looked at each other in shock.
"What the hell was that all about?" K asked in wonder.
"Um, shouldn't one of us call the police or something?" Hiro asked.
"This is Shuichi we're talking about. Do you really think anyone would kidnap him on purpose? They'll probably drop him back off in an hour or two," K said with a yawn.
"You have a point," Suguru said, having come back to shoot his scene.
"Who are you? What do you want? Are you going to hold me for ransom?" Shuichi asked frantically, imagining Yuki rolling his eyes and tossing the ransom note in the waste bin. "Wah! Yuki! Why are you even mean to me in my random thoughts while being kidnapped?"
"It's okay, Shuichi! I've come to rescue you!" Shuichi's assailant announced cheerfully, darting around the corner in front of more than a few bewildered onlookers.
"Ryuichi?" Shuichi asked. It made sense now. Who else would commit a major crime wearing a glittery pink ski mask with cat ears, Shuichi wondered. Who else would even own one, for that matter?
"Yes?" Ryuichi asked as casually as if he wasn't carrying the boy like a sack of potatoes down a busy street.
"Um, rescuing me from what, exactly?" Shuichi asked, growing dizzy from the view of the passing sidewalk below.
"That dirty boy, of course! He was going to make Shuichi do naughty things in front of his camera!" Shuichi said.
"So, where exactly are you taking me?" Shuichi asked, his face slamming firmly against Ryuichi's back as the man came to an abrupt stop. He set the boy on the sidewalk before him and pulled off the ski mask, his dark blue eyes rolling up innocently as he thought.
"I don't know. Do you want to go to the zoo? I'll buy you ice cream," Ryuichi said, smiling brightly. Shuichi rubbed his sore nose, looking at his idol with confusion.
"Um, I think I'd probably better go back to the studio, Ryuichi," Shuichi said. Ryuichi grabbed him by his narrow shoulders, shaking him.
"No! He'll try to make you take your clothes off!" Ryuichi wailed. An elderly woman crossed the street to avoid them. "It was horrible! He threatened Kumagoro, and made me stand around naked, and -- and it was cold in there!"
"It's okay, Sakuma-san. I won't let them exploit Shuichi. Not too much, anyway," Hiro said, coming up behind them. "Come on, Shuichi."
Shuichi gave the older vocalist a little wave before walking away.
"We'll go to the zoo some other time, okay?" Shuichi called over his shoulder.
When they returned to the studio, Suguru was inspecting something made of pleather on a coathanger with mild disgust.
"That does it. I quit the band," Suguru said, flinging it over his shoulder and walking into the barrel of K's gun, leveling the man with a weary expression. "Go ahead and shoot."
"So this is what you've been whining about all week, huh?" Yuki asked, studying the nondescript video tape Shuichi had brought in. "Let's see it, then."
"Really?" Shuichi asked. "You really want to see our new video?"
"Yes, already. Shut up and put it in before I change my mind," Yuki said, cracking open a beer and sitting on the couch. Shuichi bounced over to the VCR and popped the tape in, diving back onto the couch and snuggling against the writer as the video began.
A rather sultry, slow song that was to be their next single faded in with a shot of the group playing in an empty room full of candles. Shuichi slinkily made his way over to Hiro and stood close behind him, nearly brushing his ear with his lips as he purred out the sensual lyrics.
"What the hell is this?" Yuki asked, frowning.
The next shot was the one with a shirtless Shuichi sitting in Hiro's lap, singing to him with mutually lustful gazes between them. Yuki shot up out of his seat, grabbing the remote and stopping the video as he sank back down onto the sofa, glaring at Shuichi.
"What do you think you're doing?" Yuki asked.
"It was the director's idea. You know, playing up the whole homoerotic thing for the fans," Shiuchi said with a shrug. Yuki's eyebrow shot up.
"What, isn't the fact that we're lovers homoerotic enough for them?" Yuki asked irritably. Shuichi's eyes sparkled.
"You're jealous! Oh, Yuki, you really do love me!" Shuichi cried, tugging on the other man's sleeve. Yuki growled, shaking him off.
"My hole. Bad Shuichi," Yuki muttered, smacking Shuichi on the back of the head.
"Oooh, Yuki! You're such a caveman!" Shuichi said, giggling with delight as Yuki slung him over his shoulder and hauled him off to the bedroom to prove his point.