A Confusing Spiral of Emotions

Chapter 10

Disclaimer: I do not own Spiral or any of its characters.

"So, what are we, personally, going to do about this article?" Hinami asked, more than a little worried about what this would do to her career. True, it was selfish of her, but she couldn't help the thought. She was the one who had orchestrated the whole tour from start to finish, and the blue-haired producer wouldn't put it past Eyes to blame her for every negative aspect of the trip.

"As individuals, there is very little we can do," Ayumu stated bluntly. "Even if we wanted to do something, the article has already been published, apparently world wide. I say we take the same course of action your company and do nothing."

"And how is that going to help matters exactly?" Kureno wanted to know. "If we don't take action to stop the rumors about your supposed romantic relationship with Eyes, no one will. I think it's much better if we come up some sort of statement about the issue to present at the next press conference."

"That would only add fuel to the fire, so to speak," the brown-haired teen replied. "Human nature dictates that no matter what we say people are going to believe what they what. Confirming or denying the rumors will merely reinforce their belief in them. So our 'statement' as you put it, should only be 'no comment'. The rumors will die by themselves eventually, or the very least lose a lot of their appeal. Soon enough, some other, more interesting celebrity scandal will come along."

"But what about your image?" Hinami protested. "What will Eyes's fans think?"

"We'll find that out soon enough," Ayumu replied shrugging, and with that said, he got up to exit the plane. "Obviously, the immediate response has been somewhat positive since sales are skyrocketing. Some people will be disgusted. There will probably be some girls who think the supposed relationship between the two of us is really hot, and some people really won't care. Not that Eyes's good looks haven't helped his career, but if all he had was a pretty face, he wouldn't be nearly so popular. I'm sure that many of his fans care more about how good his music is than his sexual orientation."

"What are you going to do if at the end of the tour people are still convinced you're a couple?" Kureno asked. "Will you take responsibility?"

"Why should I take responsibility for something that isn't my fault?" Ayumu asked. "And if they believe we're a couple, they'll be just as capable of believing that we've broken up. When we get home, those people will naturally assume that Eyes and I have drifted apart after returning to our separate everyday lives."

"But still," Hinami seemed determined to continue her questioning. However, Ayumu was long since tired of this sort of tag-team thing the two had going on and just turned away, headed for the door. Since they couldn't avoid exiting the plane forever, Eyes and Kureno soon followed him. Although, Kureno made his displeasure known all the way off the plane and to the hotel by stomping childishly every time he took a step. The blue-haired woman continued standing there for several minutes before she, too, resigned herself to the necessity of getting off the plane.

Of course, their trip to the hotel couldn't be nearly so peaceful as the plane ride. As soon as they were passed customs, the group was mobbed by people. It was the first time Ayumu had been grateful for airport security, because their complimentary escorts were waiting for them outside in the car. Even after they got in the car, they were followed. It almost turned into a rather dangerous situation when one member of the paparazzi decided that taking pictures of tinted windows was more important than paying attention to the road. Luckily, his car had drifted into a light pole with a resounding crash; it was better than the multiple car accident alternative.

By the time they got to the hotel, the four of them just wanted to get settled into their respective hotel rooms and pretty much crash. After the room situations were figured out, that's basically what happened. Ayumu and Eyes had adjoining rooms on the seventh floor of the hotel, and Kureno and Hinami were in identical rooms just across the hall from the two performers.

A couple of days passed, and much to the annoyance of the three males, Hinami had devolved from a quivering ball of nerves to a restless, jittery glob of hysterical woman. Because ever since they arrived in Australia, Eyes and Ayumu had only been able to leave the hotel to conduct daily practices in the Sydney Opera House. Beyond that, they were stuck inside for their own safety and sanity.

Eyes's popularity coupled with the new intrigue surrounding the two pianists supposed relationship had people swarming around them the second they stepped outside. The security detail kept the fans and paparazzi at bay each time they walked from a building door to the awaiting car, but the determined ones zoomed after them in their own cars. Never once did they get a moment in peace. So, Eyes and Ayumu found themselves spending most their days lazing about the hotel room, usually bored. After all, there was only so much tv you could watch.

During this time, Eyes had been silently observing and thinking about the fall out caused by the first article. A couple had followed; most of them were entirely ridiculous and being ignored by most of his followers, but this was all just the beginning. And the more he thought about it, the more he was sure that Ayumu's plan wasn't going to work. Oh, the young brunette was right to assume that people would believe whatever the hell they wanted, but their not saying or doing anything seemed to add more fuel to the fire than an official statement would have.

It was the night before their next performance that the silver-haired blade child decided to bring it up. They were sitting on their respective beds as Ayumu flipped through the channels aimlessly before turning off the television with a sigh.

"Hinami's plan didn't backfire so much as explode in her face, huh?" the younger teen said, casting a glance in Eyes's direction. "She gave us boatloads of time to go sightseeing at each destination to make up for her first mistake only to have us stuck in the hotel for days on end. No wonder she's so nervous."

"Yes, she's made quite a few mistakes this time around," Eyes replied. "But believe it or not, she's generally very good at her job, so I won't fire her. But she will get a severe pay cut, and the stress she's currently undergoing is probably punishment enough for her to never do something without consulting me again. Gods know the agency trips over itself to keep me happy. Either way, she's not the person who should be nervous about their future."

"What are you talking about?" Ayumu asked, refocusing his attention on the blade child now.

"Your life after this tour is over," Eyes replied seriously.

"You mean going back to school and living with Kiyotaka and Madoka?" the chocolate-haired teen commented dryly with a raised eyebrow.

"It's not going to be that easy, Ayumu-kun," the silver-haired blade child said with a sigh. Ayumu didn't understand. The less attention he paid to the media, the more it would want to hound him and the more it would assume it could get away with. Even if the spikey-haired teenage detective's fame turned out to be only a passing phase, it would continue on for several months at the very least, and Eyes felt responsible to make Ayumu understand. More than that, he wanted to - so that Ayumu wouldn't be quite so hurt by it when the time came.

"The first article that appeared was only the beginning," Eyes continued on. "As proof of the last few days, there will be more. Some arguing for and against it's validity. Others condemning our supposed life-style choice. Most will twist the few facts until they are no more than exaggerated lies. And that will only be the beginning of what just the media will do. People you thought were your friends will betray you for thirty seconds in the spotlight. Privacy will not exist, and you will be followed around nonstop by complete strangers. This isn't nearly so easy as you make it sound."

"I have lived through a hell of a lot worse than what you just described Eyes," Ayumu actually growled at his tour partner. It was happening again; emotions were welling up inside him at Eyes's words – emotions he didn't understand, emotions he wanted gone. "People have tried to kill me, kill my friends, and my sister. Others tried to blow me up multiple times, frame me for murder, and forced me into games that put my life on the line just to test me. You know this very well. I can handle a few harsh words, and having a few strangers following me around isn't exactly a new occurrence either. Besides, I'm not the star. I'm not you."

"It won't be just a few," Eyes replied with a fierce amount of certainty. "Harsh words will be just the tip of the iceberg, and even if the media tires of this scandal soon, it won't magically disappear from your life. It will follow you long after this tour is over. People enjoy scandals far more than you realize and can prepare for. The fact that you are and probably will continue to ignore them will just chase after you more."

"Eyes, I can handle it," Ayumu said. This conversation was getting dangerous, and he wanted it to stop. The emotions were swirling inside of him; they were going to spiral out of control if he didn't manage to squash them. Plus, the conversation was getting dangerously similar to the last one they'd been having in which Ayumu shouted at Eyes with no provocation. "Besides, I don't see you acting anymore welcoming to the press than I am."

"As much as I hate it, this is good for my career," Eyes responded calmly, beginning to wonder if they were even going to be able to work together after this. But he had to make Ayumu understand. "And I do give interviews, go on talk shows, have autograph signings, the works. Unlike you, I signed up for this knowing full well the consequences. You agreed to it kind of as a favor for me and mostly to escape from Kiyotaka's and Madoka's love nest for a few months."

"I said that I can handle it!" Ayumu was actually shouting now. He began pacing around the room in agitation. "And what does it matter to you if I can't? Why bother saying these things? What's been going on with you these past few months? WHY ARE YOU EVEN ACTING LIKE YOU CARE?"

"Because I do care about you." It was a single, simple statement, but the air in the room instantly changed. Eyes, who was planning to say more, fell silent then as he watched the angry expression on the chocolate-haired teen's face morphed into shock and then inched into realization.

"Oh," Ayumu said slowly as the cogs in his brain began to turn and finally make sense of everything he had been observing but not understanding. It really was just as Ryoko had said; he was horrible at reading and interpreting emotions, his own and others. Sure, he could analyze them in a logical sense, but beyond that, he was pretty lost. Not sure what else to say, he awkwardly responded, "That makes sense. Sorry for…"

Except, he wasn't sure what to apologize for. Not realizing that Eyes actually cared about his well-being? Being angry at him for acting like he cared? Shouting at him for it? Or the myriad of other things wrong in this situation caused by his misunderstanding?

"I get it," Eyes said as a small, gentle smile spread across his face, much to Ayumu's surprise. "So long as you finally realize that I do consider you a friend and someone I care about, it's fine."

"Thanks," Ayumu said, looking a bit rueful now. "So, you basically think that the media is going to eat me alive? Well, I guess I always knew I wouldn't be able to just go back to my normal life after this without some negative consequence like less privacy and a return of critics attacking my skill with a piano. I suppose I don't know the true extent of the effects it will have on my life or if I'll be able to handle it. The only thing I can do now is cross that bridge when I come to it. If such a time comes, will you help me through it?"

"Of course, Ayumu-kun," Eyes answered. "All you would have to do is ask. Do you still want to continue with your not saying anything plan even though it's only adding fuel to the fire?"

"Yeah," Ayumu said blushing a little bit. "It is a bit embarrassing to have people think I'm going out with you, but at this point, we're kind of stuck with that plan. If we were going to make a statement, it should have been the day of or day after we landed in Australia."

"You're right," Eyes commented, and silence fell in the room again. Only, it was comfortable this time. And as Ayumu turned the television back on, neither teen admitted to themselves or the other that they truly didn't mind if the whole world thought they were a couple.

A/N: Hey, y'all! Welcome to the end of Chapter 10 of A Confusing Spiral of Emotions. I'm really sorry it took me almost two years to update this fic, but life happened. Also, my inspiration comes in spurts for random stories. So, I basically write what I've got the ideas and driving motivations for. Despite the fact that I have literally no free time this semester, I've been making as much time to write fanfiction as I can. Thank you random friends and recent reviewers who want to read it.

And, hey, I've advertised myself in my KaiShin fanfictions, why not here too?

I will be going to North America's biggest anime convention this year of 2012 (also known as Anime Expo), and I will be there from Day 0 – Day 4. So, if any of you readers are going and wanted to, I don't know, meet me, that would be the place to do it. I have finally decided what to cosplay, so those details will be posted on my profile so that you can actually find me. Or you can PM me, that works to.

I'm just throwing it out there, because one of the things that inspires me most to keep writing is physically seeing the people who enjoy my writing. I met a few people there last year, and it was great.

And now for my usual asking for a critique:

I love reviewers, but I do have a request. I would really love for someone to seriously critique my work. It doesn't have to stop at constructive criticism. I'd love for someone to really pick apart my work and tell me every little thing they hated, what needs to be improved, and what parts of my writing they liked best. Believe me when I say I love all reviews, and it's really nice to know people appreciate my work. However, I'm a far cry from being perfect, and there's always room to improve. Also, if I can get better, I can give better fan fiction to my readers. Anyway, thanks again for reading this fan fiction and hopefully you seriously considered my request.