Tourniquet

Chapter 3

Tohma sat back on his recliner and gulped down his drink, his hand shaking. He immediately poured another from Bourbon bottle on the coffee table beside him. He quickly downed that one as well, before allowing the glass to fall from his grip.

"Eiri..." He closed his eyes. The image of the blond author was vivid behind his eyelids, watching him. Tohma shivered and massaged his forehead, the edges of his eyes moist. "Eiri..."

The rest of the apartment was quiet, except for the faint echo of his word. That name. It tore deep into his subconscious, slicing into the still festering wound that graced him every morning. There was no denying things. His brother-in-law was dead, a suicide.

The tears slid down his cheeks.

The apartment remained silent, empty, around him.

0

Shuichi awoke on the dressing room's couch, his bubblegum pink hair splayed around him. He hadn't allowed it to be cut in months, nor styled. Washing and brushing it was all it needed - everything else was too much work. Just like continuing to live.

"I wonder how long I can get it to grow?" He mumbled, holding up a strand of his hair. It reached his shoulders now, making him look even more feminine. Though that wasn't the purpose of letting it grow out. Measuring its growth each day simply allowed him to live that much longer.

That was why Hiro and Fujisaki didn't mind the change.

Anything to keep Shuichi's desire to live going.

"I bet I'd really look like a school girl if I wore a girl school uniform." He chuckled, then stared at the overhead flourescent light. The pale yellow glow seemed to suck him in, and he felt calm - numb. Like he didn't want to move.

It was the same color as Yuki's hair.

He brought his arms over his face, blocking out the sight. He couldn't stand being reminded of his lover now.

'Damn you, Yuki. If you were going to do that, you should've...why didn't you think of me when you...' He thought, holding back the sob that threatened to escape his thought. 'Damn it. Why? WHY?!'

He turned over and hid his face in the couch cushion. Fists and teeth clenched. The warmth of his breath and the shadows welcoming him were preferable to the coldness and light above the couch.

"...I hate you." He coughed into the cushion, tears streaming from his eyes. "I hate you."

He shuddered, wrapping his arms around his face while remaining face down on the couch.

"Shu?" Hiro entered the room, freezing for a second at the sight of his best friend trembling. "Shuichi!" He rushed to the pink-haired singer's side, and placed his hand on Shuichi's shoulder. The gesture meant to comfort.

"..." Shuichi slowly lifted his face, breathing haltingly as he did so. "Why...why...tell me why, Hiro."

"...Shu...I..."

"Why did he leave me here to deal with this shit?!" Shuichi glared at his best friend, his face drenched with tears.

"...is this about the after-concert interview...?" Hiro asked, trying to remain calm though he trembled internally at the sudden shift in the vocalist's mood. During the concert and immediately afterwards, Shuichi had been the old Shuichi. No longer held down by grief as the music surrounded him.

Shuichi nearly growled in response. "Why do they have to keep bringing it up? How long do I have to keep being reminded?! Why?!"

The vocalist immediately clung to his best friend, trembling from a mix of sorrow and anger.

"Why can't I just forget about Yuki? It hurts too much. Too damn much to be reminded of him." Shuichi squeezed Hiro, unable to let go. "...the media keeps asking if I'd noticed anything, if I had any clue that Yuki would...would..."

"Shu, it's okay. It'll be all right."

"No, why can't I even sing without it being marred by...by that...bastard."

"Shu..?" Hiro blinked, the anger in his friend's voice a surprise. Eight months had passed, filled with grief and tears and a constant fear for Shuichi. This rage was new.

"Why must I be reminded of him everywhere I go? He left...he left and there's no way he can come back. He's dead. Dead. Can't the media just leave shit alone?!" Shuichi clung to Hiro, his voice getting louder with each sentence.

"I...I'll have a talk with K." Hiro rubbed his Shuichi's back. "Tell him that any questions not pertaining to music are off limits for future interviews."

"...I hate Yuki." Shuichi mumbled against Hiro's chest. "I hate him."

"What?" Hiro's eyes widened, and he stared down at his friend's tear-streaked face.

"I hate him. He knew how much I loved him, yet he...he left. He chose to...throw it all away. Hiro..." Shuichi looked up at his guirtarist. "...it isn't wrong of me to hate him for that? Is it?"

"No." Hiro sighed and pulled his friend closer. "It's understandable."

0

"Here. Deal with this." Mika thrust a handful of papers at Tatsuha, before returning to the office desk. Her sharp glare preventing her youngest brother from refusing the papers.

"Sis..." Tatsuha glanced at the top paper, then back at his sister. "Still no word when Seguchi-san's going to come back?"

"..." Mika glared at Tatsuha. She struggled to hold back her tears, as well as the frustrated retort growing in her throat. "...he moved out. And only calls once every two weeks..."

"Wha?!" Tatsuha's eyes widened. "But just last week you told dad things were fine!"

"I didn't want to worry him." Mika replied, and sat down in the cushioned office chair. Her husband's office at NG Studios. "It's not like we're getting a divorce."

"That...but you just gave birth three months ago! What is Seguchi-san thinking?! He could at least come to work!"

"Tatsuha..."

"Sis, I know how painful it is, that aniki...is gone. It's..." Tatsuha faltered, then sighed. "You shouldn't have to do Seguchi-san's work...you should be home with your baby. I..."

"...I have K looking to replace Tohma until Tohma's able to return to work." Mika glanced down at the desk. "In the meantime I need to keep on top of things. Even if it means leaving Eijiro at home with the babysitter."

"Sis..." Tatsuha watched Mika's sad expression. It made him feel a pang of guilt. "I...me and Ryu can watch Eiji-chan starting tomorrow."

Mika smiled softly at her brother. "You and Sakuma-san have really hit it off lately. Ever since Eiri's wake..."

The two of them flinched, remembering.

That day had been difficult, more so than the day they'd heard the news about their brother. Mika, her pregnancy starting to show, had sat next to Tohma waiting for the line of mourners to shrink. Her eyes and nose red from crying.

Tatsuha barely managed to stay twenty minutes, and instead had left to go bar hopping. Every cell in his brain craving to be drowned in alcohol. He hadn't even reached the first bar, however, before K tracked him. With him was Sakuma-san.

In that moment, needing some form of escape from reality, Tatsuha had lunged at his idol. Clinging to the older man without hesitation, and without an ulterior motive. He just needed to be comforted.

"Tatsuha." Mika spoke, pulling her brother out of his memories. "I'll like it if you can bring Eijiro in to visit during lunchtime tomorrow."

"Ah.." Tatsuha blinked, then replied with a smile. "Okay! That's the plan then."

Mika smiled at her brother as he left the room, then promptly lay her head down on the desk once she was alone in the room.


A/N: I hope you liked this chapter!