Capybara
A Gravitation Fanfic


"K-!! That's shit! No one is cooler than me! Let me down there!"

"Heyyyy! Sakuma-san!"

If watching Ryuichi leap off the balcony hadn't taken years off his life then nothing would.

"Ryuichi!!"

"Sakuma-san!!"

"Give me your leather and mic me up! Hurry!"

Yet that wasn't what stuck out the most in his memory. It wasn't why the scene kept repeating in his mind over and over again. It wasn't why he was still sitting on the back curb of Studio 7 hours later.

"It's Ryuichi Sakuma!"

"Sakuma-san!!"

"Beat it, kid."

It was those fierce words he couldn't get out of his mind. Those words, and Shuichi's stricken face. Tatsuha dug his hands further into the pockets of his leather jacket as he tried to sort out his emotions. He'd gotten to see Music Fan live. Shuichi had been fantastic. Ryuichi had been astounding. He should have been one happy otaku.

Instead he was feeling strangely uncomfortable and uncertain. He'd performed a wedding ceremony once where the groom and the bride's family did not get along. He'd felt terribly sorry for her at the time - she must have been the unhappiest bride he'd ever met. Now he felt an empathy with her. This was why she'd been so unhappy. This uncomfortable, uncertain feeling that made your stomach churn worriedly, and your heart twist with confusion.

He liked Shuichi. Shuichi was fun, and easy to get along with. He was a fellow Grasper fan; a fellow Sakuma fan. He didn't poke fun at his feelings for the singer. And, on top of all that, he made Eiri happy. Eiri didn't say it, but Tatsuha saw the signs. There was food - actual food - in the fridge. Dishes in the sink. He didn't always pick up the phone at three am, and when he did he sounded like he'd been woken up - not wide awake typing away on his laptop.

His family had tried for years to get Eiri to live a healthier lifestyle. The only way Tatsuha had ever gotten his brother to eat was by bringing Strawberry Shortcakes - and that wasn't exactly a healthy meal. The pink-haired popstar was practically a miracle worker in the sixteen year old's eyes.

But then there was his feelings for the ex-frontman of Grasper gone soloist. How could he even begin to describe that? Helpless devotion. Undying love. A healthy dose of lust. Ryuichi was a constant in his life. As sure as the sunrise, as comforting as the smell of incense at the temple; as steady as gravity itself.

He'd been there for him at times when he'd had no one else to turn to. Not in person, but still...his songs always seemed to say just what he needed to hear. What he said in interviews made him nod in agreement. His antics made him smile. And following his career was a welcome distraction from his life. From his family.
But he was loyal to his family. He was the traditionally raised youngest child of a monk from Kyoto. He was a monk himself - the temple heir in spirit if not in name. Loyalty was practically inbred into him.

But he'd chosen his loyalty to Sakuma. It wasn't a family obligation. Between the two...he didn't want to go there. He didn't want to choose. Which was why the scene from earlier was haunting him. Were Ryuichi and Shuichi enemies now?

He glanced up at the sky, biting his lip worriedly. The sun was beginning to edge behind the Tokyo skyscrapers - casting long shadows on the streets below. Ryuichi had yet to emerge from Studio 7, even though Shuichi, Hiro, and Sakano had left hours ago. Tohma and Noriko were still inside as well. It seemed he'd been ditched in favor of the singer's ex-bandmates. He told himself he didn't mind. It was the most unconvincing lie he'd ever told.


The day had started rather unspectacularly. Back in Kyoto, with morning prayers followed by the usual temple chores. His father yelling at him to get those headphones out of his ears, he was not allowed to listen to rock music while cleaning the fountain. It was disrespectful. Not to mention dangerous. What if his cd player fell out of his robes into the water? Why were children today so reckless?

He thanked the deities for creating phones when the said device cut off his father's rant. Then he realized it was his phone - which was in his sleeve and would no doubt set his father off again. He sat up hastily - hitting his head on the fountain basin as he did so. "Ow-sugi Tatsuha."

"That's a new way to pronunce your family name, isn't it, Tatsuha?" A pleasant voice taunted him from the cellphone.

Pause. Surprise. Concern. Suspicion. "Why are you calling me, Seguchi-san?"

"I heard you had the day off."

"Well, sort of. No school. No ceremonies. That sort of thing."

"Is your homework done?"

"Most of it. I'm granted tomorrow afternoon's classes off to perform the ceremony at - hey, wait. Since when have ever asked me about my homework?...I already have tickets to Sakuma's performance. Front row. You can't blackmail me with anything better - no backstage passes to the event even exist."

"How rude. Why would I blackmail you, Tatsuha? You make me sound like such an uncaring brother -in-law."

"Cut the crap, will you Seguchi? What's this call about?"

"Don't swear while you're in your robes! Have some dignity! And did you have you cellphone in your sleeve again?? Teenagers!"

"Uesugi-san sounds lively today." Tohma mentioned conversationally.

"Yah, well, you know how reckless us young folk are these days. We're going to electrocute ourselves by being careless."

"Were you listening to cds while feeding the koi again?"

"Cleaning the fountain, actually."

"Are you finished?"

"Pretty much. Why?"

"Well, someone else I know has a clear schedule and asked about you."

"Who?"

"Here he is."

The sound of the phone being exchanged hands came over the receiver before a new voice took over. "Hel-lo, Tatsuha-kun! How are you today!"

Tatsuha nearly dropped the phone. "S-S-Sakuma-san??"

"Mm-hmm. I'm off today - all day long! The whole day! I want to go have some fun, but everyone else is working. Then Tohma remembered you were off. You are, aren't you?"

"Yes! Definately! I mean, I'm in Kyoto right now, but I can get to Tokyo in no time flat! That is...you are asking me to spend the day out with you, right?"

"Of course, silly! You know the way to NG, right? Wait, Tohma-kun's your brother-in-law, so of course you do. Meet me in the lobby - I'll be waiting."

He didn't wait for an agreement or a time before he hung up, but Tatsuha didn't really mind. "Woo-hoo! I get to spend all day with Sakuma!" He leapt up, freezing when he saw his father standing in the courtyard, his hands folded in his sleeves. "Er...father?" He asked hopefully.

Uesugi frowned at him for a moment, then sighed before unfolding his arms and making a dismissive guesture. "Yay! I mean - thank-you!..thank-you..." He bowed several times.

"Thank the Buddha - it must be his plan. What was the chances of your days off being the same? What can I do in the face of a preordained arrangement?"

Tatsuha offered a grateful smile, but his father only waved his dismissal again. He ran toward the house to change out of his robes. "Don't run like a school boy while in your robes!" His father shouted after him. "Why don't modern young people have any sense of protocol?"


Ryuichi had wanted to go to the zoo. Tohma had warned him so stay disguised so not to be mobbed by fans. Somewhere along the line they'd ended up hired by the zoo staff to parade around in mascot costumes. The children adored them, Ryuichi adored the attention, and Tatsuha couldn't remember the last time he'd had so much fun. Crazy, innocent, carefree fun with no strings attached and no pressure to act maturely and responsibly.

Then Tohma had called. So much for preordained arrangements. He glanced around the parking lot with a sigh. He should just leave. It was clear Sakuma had forgotten about him. Hanging around like a ditched girlfriend wasn't doing anyone any good. He thought about going to Eiri's, then remembered Shuichi would be there and winced. Maybe not.

Voices attracted his attention. He turned to see Ryuichi, Tohma, Noriko, and the blonde american Ryuichi had called K exit the building. A part of him couldn't help but squee in delight. They were Nittle Grasper, after all. But he was suddenly embarrassed at having waited around. Tohma would never let him live it down.

He tried to slink away, but Ryuichi spotted him. "Oh, no! Tatsuha-kun!" He ran over. "I'm so sorry! I didn't tell you I'd be going with Tohma and Noriko after the show, did I? You waited all this time to make sure I had a ride back, too. I'm such an idiot sometimes! Are you mad?"

Tatsuha blinked a little, confused. He was apologizing to him? He should have been happy, but it only made the situation feel all the more awkward. He treated Shuichi, who'd been trying to help him, poorly, but apologized to him? "No, of course not." He assured him. "But-"

"You're so sweet." Ryuichi reached up to ruffle his hair. "Anyone else would be furious. Noriko, Tohma, and I have things to discuss. I'll see you again sometime, alright?"

He was dismissing him. Worse, he was dismissing him like a child. Like...his bandmate's kid brother-in-law. Suddenly he found himself wondering who and what he did owe for the day out. He stepped back, frowning. "Yah, sure. I get it. Grown-up talk. No place for a kid like me. Fine - I've got to head back to Kyoto anyway." He turned on his heel - storming over to where his bike was parked and trying to ignore how hurt this type of dismissal made him feel.

He'd swung his leg over the bike, and pulled the keys out of his pocket, when Ryuichi stepped in front - striding the wheel and leaning on the handlebars. "So, you are mad." His look was serious.

"Yah, I am. So what? You know how kids are - bring them candy next visit and they'll forget all about it." His words were sullen, and moody. He was behaving childishily, but he didn't care.

"Some kids are more complicated than others." Ryuichi countered.

"Why are you worried about how I feel anyway? You weren't concerned about how Shuichi felt, and you were harder on him."

"Shuichi?" Ryuichi blinked in surprise. "What does he have to do with anything?"

"...I know what it's like to have someone steal your thunder accidently. You know what really sucks about it? There's noone to blame." He'd been avoiding looking at the other man, but he turned to face him now. "It's all in your own head. They weren't out to hurt you or make you jealous, but you feel that way anyway. You feel angry too, even though you know they don't deserve it...You should be more careful of how you treat other people."

"..." Ryuichi's gaze was intense as they faced eachother. Then he seemed to grow thoughtful. "Who steals your thunder?"

"What?" Tatsuha blinked.

"Who makes you jealous and angry?"

Tatsuha bit his lip and looked away. After a minute he reluctantly answered. "My brother."

Ryuichi made a suprised noise, and stood straight - releasing the handlebars. "Why?"

"...Father still wants him to take over. He won't name me officially heir. Where's the fairness in that? I've never run off to New York or Tokyo or anywhere else. I'm not involved in any after school clubs or activities so I can focus on my duties. I've done solo ceremonies for years. But the moment Eiri shows up..." Tatsuha's features turned sour. "When he broke up with Shuichi and came home, he got to do ceremonies, and...Father's never praised my ceremonies like that."

"Do you hate him?"

Tatsuha wondered briefly if he meant Eiri or his father. He supposed it didn't matter - the answer was the same. "No. I don't hate either of them. They're my family. Nothing changes that."

"Shuichi is my friend."

"Huh?" Tatsuha looked up at him, startled.

"Nothing changes that either."

For a moment he couldn't think of what to say, then he slowly smiled. "Tell him, not me. He's a good kid, but he tends to jump to conclusions and take things too much to heart."

"Alright, I'll tell him." Ryuichi swung off of the wheel, coming alongside the motorcycle. "You take too much to heart too. You shouldn't feel hurt for being treated like you're young - you are young. Enjoy that. Don't be in a rush to grow up."

Tatsuha felt a fresh surge of frustration - he was still treating him like a kid. "I wasn't rushing. I was rushed." He retorted.

Ryuichi's eyes bore into his, and he slowly nodded. "I guess you were. Well..." He leaned closer, smirking. "I guess I'll just have to play with you again sometime."

"Eh?" Tatsuha felt his face heat in a blush. The way Ryuichi had said it sure didn't sound innocent. He was pretty certain it wasn't just his imagination either.

Ryuichi chuckled darkly, leaning in to whisper in his ear. "I do believe you're blushing, Tatsuha-kun. Not so grown up after all, are you?" He pressed his lips to the younger man's reddened cheek, freezing when he heard a click behind them.

The two turned to find Noriko holding her cellphone. "Aw...you two look so cute. And Tatsuha's blushing! I didn't know you blushed!" She turned the phone around to show the picture she'd snapped.

"Good thing this place has such good security, or tomorrow's headline would sure be interesting." K stood behind her, his jacket slung over his shoulder. "'Ryuichi Sakuma caught in parking lot rendevous with other man'."

"Actually, it would probably read 'Ryuichi Sakuma molests underage boy in studio parking lot'." Tohma put in, standing next to him.

"Underage? You're kidding, right?"

"No. He's my wife's brother. He turns seventeen this year."

"Wow. You'd think Ryuichi was younger seeing them next to eachother."

"You two - please!" Noriko cut them off. "Ryu - you wanted this meeting. Which means you have to send your playmate home."

"He was just about to leave." Ryuichi assured her. "Go ahead. I'll be there in a minute."

"Why do I always get stuck working with idiots?" Noriko asked no one imparticular before she started pushing K and Tohma toward the waiting limo. "You heard the man. Time to go. March. Move out."

"Er...I should head back - like I said." Tatsuha put his key into the engine.

"Alright. I'll get in contact with you again later." The promise hung in the air for a moment before he chased after his bandmates and K. "Noriko-chan! Can I have a copy of that picture, can I? Can I? I think it's...adorable." He glanced over his shoulder at Tatsuha and winked.
Tatsuha found himself smiling brightly back before he remembered he was supposed to be leaving. Shaking himself he turned on the engine, then paused. With a devilish grin he revved the engine motor, driving far enough forward to turn back and circle the group once. With a wave of farewell, he drove off - noticing that Ryuichi was laughing.

He felt strangely light-hearted after the talk. He'd certainly said more than he'd intended. But knowing Ryuichi saw Shuichi as a friend no matter what helped. He didn't have to worry about choosing anymore. Even when it might seem like it. He felt freed by that knowledge.

He felt freed by the whole conversation. "Capybara! Capybara!" He found himself chanting. Laughing at the looks thrown in his direction by the people he passed, he swerved into the turning lane. Maybe he'd see if the zoo was still open.

Salmon 2007


Capybara - Water Hog. A semi-aquatic herbivorous animal, the largest of living rodents.

In the manga Ryuichi & Tatsuha in to the zoo together. The animal they're shown visiting is the Capybara. That's why I named the fic that. So, no, there's no deeper meaning. LOL

I know I should be updating other stories, but I was inspired because I bought Gravitation Volume 5. I've read all the volumes, but something about owning them is fic-inspiring! ROFL I actually began to form the idea for this story after re-reading Volume 4 - which is where Uesugi-san praises Eiri's ceremony. I felt kind-of bad for Tats reading that scene, and the wheels began to turn.

But having already written an introspective on him with End of Innocence, I didn't want to just write another one. So after re-reading Volume 5 I was inspired. And anything slightly RxT is good, right? Of course it is!

I hope you enjoyed this! R&R please!