Background on this piece – I ended up accidentally starting to watch the Gravitation TV series on the anime network, no idea what it was about… but I got sucked in. Unfortunately I felt very dissatisfied with the ending. It didn't seem to answer any questions at the time, so I ended up reading the manga to see if I could get any further information out of it. The ending was better, but I think I became disenchanted when it came to the extremes of flying panda-craft. The bottom line is, regardless of how I felt about the conclusions, I liked the characters, got attached to them. I've always had a fascination with characters that are complex or damaged goods. I hope they have a chance to overcome whatever it is that challenges them.
So… I began to rewrite the ending where the TV series left off, but with a different 'universe' around them, a different back story, far less slapstick, and a little more realism, hoping to give the characters a chance at a better outcome… at least to satisfy myself What ended up happening was that a lengthy story arose, and then I ended up going back to explore their back story.
I'll be the first to admit I've read very few fanfics for this particular category, so I don't know how well this will be received. Let me know what you think, and if the great internet 'you' like it, I'll keep on publishing what I've got! Enjoy the first part of the end…
"…I can't just let you go…" He stopped his torrent of words at last, panicked but also relieved to have found him in this dark place before anything happened. His heart was in his throat and pounding, desperately wanting to hear that he would be coming home. Those eyes were like he had only rarely seen them. Not the sullen yet self-confident pools, "Please… Talk to me…"
"You were stupid to come here…" His low, even voice said at last.
"Wha-… Stupid?? You just disappeared! No one would tell me where you were! They all told me to stay away from you though! I was worried about you! Is it so stupid to care about someone who's obviously having something horrible going on in their head?? And now you're here, just sitting in the dark in this run down building thousands of miles away from home and I-" Fingers came to his lips to stop him and a slight smile was before him.
"Thank you." He said.
"You talk too much, you know."
He nodded, gulping, "I'm sorry…"
He sobbed at being brought into his arms and held, "Come home…Please come home."
"Why??" He squeezed tightly.
"Because of you."
"That's not fair to say! You never explain! Why won't you tell me what's going on in your head?"
"Just try. I'll listen. I want to know." He gulped, feeling fingers in his hair and a kiss on the top of his head.
"I know you do. I want to know too. That's why I am here."
"You don't know??"
"There are things that happened here… Bad things. I don't remember all of them... Most of them… But because of you, I started to remember. That is why I've been sick from stress. You need to know that it is not you. It is me… I should have told you before I left."
"I wouldn't have let you go…"
"You had no choice either way."
"Seguchi told me to leave you alone and never see you again. That movers would come and take your things from the apartment… That you'd never come home."
"Mmh… There will be no movers. He told me the same, I told him to stay out of it."
"Is he here with you?"
"Yes, it seems that he followed me."
"Are you staying with him?"
"Do you… love him?"
"No." He started to move and Shuichi mistook it for pushing him away so he clung more tightly, "Stop that." He forced him to release his death grip and then instead of what he had thought would happen, instead of him leaving, he embraced Shuichi warmly, "Idiot. What would make you think that? I don't love him. I love you."
"You need to go home."
"I'm not leaving you!"
"Listen to me… You have an obligation at home. You need to see it through. I need to see this through."
He shook his head in protest then kissed him again, aching for comfort, "I can't…"
"You can and you will. We're going to put you in a cab to the airport and you're going home."
"What about you??"
"I will be fine."
"I'm so scared you'll never come back… That you'll do something stupid and I'll never see you again."
"I've already done plenty of stupid things and you're still seeing me." He smiled wearily.
"Promise you'll come home. Please."
He sighed, frowning.
"You're not, are you?" He sniffled.
"That's not what I'm thinking… I'm sorry I've put you through this. I could have done things differently but I was overwhelmed at the time… and I just left… I promise I will come home."
"That I can't say. I don't know how long this will take."
"I want to stay. I want to help you…"
"The only way you can help me is by leaving. This is something I have to do on my own."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes." His fingers brushed at dyed hair, "You have to trust me."
"I just wish there were something I could do."
"You have. You were stupid enough to come here." He pulled him close again, kissing him over and over.
"I love you…Yuki…" He sighed as their lips parted.
"Do me a favor…"
"Don't let me come home and find your clothes and crap all over the floor…"
"I'm trying to be neat…" He frowned, their foreheads pressed together.
"Try harder." He smiled more fully this time, "Now get off me. It's time to go."
"Okay…" He picked himself up and then Yuki stood beside him, casting his eyes around the ruined room.
"Mmh…" He nodded, "All right… Let's go."
Outside the run-down place it was freezing and Shuichi's light jacket hadn't been cutting it in the New York winter. Yuki gave him his scarf, seeing him shiver.
"Didn't you know it's winter?"
"Yeah, I knew. But I didn't think it would be so cold here… and I guess I didn't really care."
They walked for a bit, footsteps crunching in the fallen snow, before Yuki managed to hail a cab to drive them to the airport.
"You speak English really well." Shuichi noted.
"Nn… I'm surprised you managed to find your way to me here."
"I wasn't going to let a little thing like language stop me." He smiled weakly, feeling about as run-down as that building was. He hadn't slept properly since Yuki had disappeared two frantic days earlier. Or was it three now? Hard to tell when it was dark out but according to his internal clock it should have been light... It was finally catching up with him now that they were together again and he was beginning to calm down.
"Who told you where I would be? I know it wasn't Touma."
"Sakuma-san. He guessed a couple places and put them on the map for me." He showed Yuki the folded up tourist map peppered with tiny neon smiley face stickers, "Don't get mad at him."
"It would be useless anyway." He smirked.
"What are you going to do now?"
"Make sure you get on the plane and then go get some sleep."
"You're eating, right?"
"Yes. New York is filled with good food."
"Good…" He sighed, watching the strange cityscape go by, "I always wanted to come here… But not quite like this."
"Shu… Are you hungry?"
"Kinda…" His stomach growled in response to the question, "Kinda starved."
Yuki leaned forward and changed their destination before they got out of Manhattan.
"What'd you say?"
"We're going to get dinner. I think I owe you at least a meal before putting you on a long flight."
"Really??" He smiled.
"Yes. Hopefully you won't freeze solid."
"I will be just fine!"
While they drove he called his travel agent to arrange the return flight for later that evening. At the restaurant, Shuichi looked at the menu cross-eyed and turned it around several times.
"Your songs have some English lyrics. Didn't you take enough English in school?"
"Sure I did… but I didn't exactly get good grades, remember? Besides, my brain is way too full of stuff to try and concentrate." He buried his face in the menu with a groan, "I am totally useless."
"Put that down, I'll read it to you."
"I'm sorry." He sighed and laid it back on the table.
"It's all right." He proceeded to translate until Shuichi chose something, then ordered for them, "Next time you'll be able to think."
"Next… time?" He perked up.
"Does that mean you'll take me here some day??"
"Shhh… You're too noisy." He smiled a little instead of being completely angry.
Yuki's cell phone rang then and he answered, scowled, "Yes… I know. He's with me now… I'm taking him to the airport after dinner… No… I told you to stay out of it." He clicked the phone shut.
"Seguchi…" He frowned too.
"Yes." He nodded and took up his drink.
"Why does he get so involved in your life? He's married to your sister, not you."
"He blames himself for what happened to me here. He doesn't want me to remember. You started it all up again in my head and so he wants you to stay away."
"There is a long history there."
"I guessed that much."
"Stop looking so angry."
"I can't. He keeps trying to come between us. He acted like he was a friend and supporter… but he's not really. He just wanted to stay close so he could monitor things. That's what I think."
"He is a business man. He supported you because your band could bring his studio more profit and more fame… and because you are in my life in a less than temporary way, he decided he needed to become involved and manipulate. He intends to protect me… but I am not a child any more. It's time for me to face the past so I can have a future… He needs to keep out of it. Don't listen to him about me any more. Understood?"
"You need to focus on your tour and doing your best."
"I will make you proud." He nodded with certainty.
"Don't worry about that. Make yourself proud."
"Can't I do both??"
"If you make yourself proud you will make me proud as a result."
"Oh… Hey, how come you're not smoking?"
"You can't smoke in restaurants here. It's the law."
The waiter came back and talked to Shuichi who did his best to recall his elementary English.
"Something else to drink than water?" He wondered, "Hai! Beeeru purease!" He smiled widely, pointing to what Yuki was drinking.
"Baka nee…" Yuki muttered, shaking his head.
The waiter then said something else and held out his hand.
"What did he say?" He peered across the table to Yuki.
"He wants to see your driver's license."
"You can't drink here unless you can drive?"
"No, he wants proof of your age. You are wearing an outfit that doesn't indicate you have reached majority. Your Japanese pop-star kawaii is not understood here."
"You can't have a beer anyway."
"Huh? Why not."
"You're not old enough."
"What?? You're lying!"
"I am not. Do you want something else to drink?"
"Coke…" He huffed.
Yuki explained to the waiter that at home he was used to being able to drink even if he wasn't yet of legal age and would have a Coke most happily.
"I can drink at home…" He grumbled.
"Just because Hiro looks older than he is and gets you booze, doesn't make you old enough to drink."
"How old do you have to be here?"
"Very funny…" He frowned at the rhyme.
"Things are different here. It's strictly enforced... It is better that you don't drink before your flight anyway."
"Cheer up, you. At least you will be going back on JAL so there will be people who speak your language well."
"I feel like a kid…"
"Relax… It's all part of traveling to other countries. You have to accept their ways."
"I guess… No one seems to recognize us." He cast his eyes around the restaurant, looking for any sign of fans watching them.
"My novels are not translated for the US market. Much like your music is unheard of here by anyone other than resident Japanese. Not only are you a kid here, you are a nobody."
"Oh… That's kind of neat."
"Take the good with the bad…" The waiter returned with Coke for Shuichi and he frowned at it, "Now tell me… How did you manage to get here?"
"The manager arranged for a fast passport when they realized I wouldn't go on tour until I found out what happened to you."
"I see… You were being a brat."
"Stop calling me that. I like it better when you use my name."
"Mmh... It is a long flight home. You will have to sleep to be rested for everything when you get back."
"I won't be able to."
"You should. I bought you one of the bed seats. You will like it. And you will use it or I will make you pay me back for the ticket… It's not cheap."
"All right, all right...but I still don't want to leave you here alone."
"You are going to. Make sure to call me when you've landed."
"Okay… Do you like it here better?"
"It is different and in some ways I feel more comfortable."
"Because I am tall and light haired and light eyed. I look more like them. More like your American manager. I hated growing up in Japan. That is why I was happy to come here with Touma."
"Do you still hate Japan?"
"Some times. Recently I have not hated it so much… Do you?"
"No. I love Tokyo… But if you decide to stay here please let me come with you. I will learn English very quickly." He bowed his head.
"I will not stay here and you will never learn English quickly… D student…"
"I didn't like school! So what? It doesn't mean I can't learn when I have a reason to!"
People were starting to turn and look so he tried to apologize to them for his outburst, but they didn't understand.
"Mo baka…" Yuki smirked, "I will never be allowed into this restaurant again after this."
"That's fine because you're coming home anyway."
"Yes… I am…"
"You promised me."
"Please keep this promise. Please. I miss you so much…" His head hung.
"Shuichi… Stop now. I am coming home… If I did not I would have no peace. You would follow me to the ends of the Earth like some ghost, always haunting me, calling after me. Yuki, Yuki, Yuki!"
"You bet I would. You don't understand how important you are to me." He looked back at Yuki again, watching his expressions for any sign that might explain how he really felt or what was going on inside of his head. He looked about as worn out as Shuichi felt however and his face mostly showed that.
"I do understand, I just do not understand why… You pursue me though I have been cold to you, though I have an unsavory past, though I leave you with no explanation…"
"I love you. I just keep hoping that one day you will really love me too and be nicer to me… Like you were the day before you left… I thought everything would be perfect from there… You seemed so happy too."
"It seems like every time you start being nice, or start being comfortable with us, the next day you just turn to stone. I don't get that."
He nodded, "Maybe you won't like me if I am always nice to you."
"That's not true… You were nice to me and also cold to me when I found you tonight. You're being nice to me now, actually talking to me about what's been happening instead of shutting me out… So I'm worried that tomorrow you'll change."
"I won't change. I will still be coming home. Trust me."
"Okay." He pouted, aching for more of a guarantee, but then their food arrived and he stared at his plate instead of bugging Yuki more.
"Am I only supposed to take part of this and give back the rest so someone else can have some? Is that how this works?"
"No. That is your meal."
He looked at all sides of the plate, "All of this?"
"Yes. They serve larger portions here than at home."
He smiled slowly, "I think I like it here after all, even if I can't drink."
"I thought you might."
Not only was the meal larger it was also one of the best things he had ever tasted and he stuffed himself happily.
"Is everything so good here?"
"New York City is very famous for its food, its theater, its culture… You will definitely enjoy it when we visit."
"I think you're right. I need to become famous in America too."
"One step at a time."
"It's still really weird to be the only people speaking Japanese." He smiled, "It's like we're speaking in code. Or maybe all of them are."
"Stop talking and eat your food."
Yuki put him back into a cab after dinner and they left Manhattan, arriving at the airport an hour before the flight. He checked in at the terminal and was relieved that the counter personnel spoke Japanese, were Japanese. They knew him and knew Yuki too. It was almost like being home again, signing autographs. Yuki rolled his eyes and walked away while Shuichi was surrounded again.
"… Excuse me… I really have to go." He bowed away and pursued Yuki to a seating area where he was watching the airplanes come and go, sat down on the couch there beside him, "Are you sure you'll be all right?"
"Yes. I am very sure."
"You'll answer my calls…"
"Yes. No matter what time of day or night."
"I'm still worried…"
"Don't be. Just go home and do your best."
"Are you mad that I came here?"
"No… It was actually of help. Thank you for doing it, even though it was foolish."
"Foolish is my specialty." He smiled weakly.
"I know." He reached out and dried the fresh tear from Shuichi's face, "It will be all right. I don't want your worrying over me to effect your work, hm?"
"It always has. You inspire me to be better. I wish I could do that for you."
"You do…" He nodded slightly.
With that he hugged Yuki tightly, "I love you so much… So much…" He whispered in his ear, relieved to feel those arms circling around him.
"Shu… Stop making me feel this way." His voice was shaking.
"No… Whatever you're going through, you can always talk to me about it. I will always try and help you. No matter what."
"I love you…"
"Then come home to me… I will be waiting for you."
He tore himself away and went through security before embarrassing Yuki too much in public. At least he had seen him again, heard from his own mouth as much as he seemed to be able to tell about what was going on, felt his kiss and hug.
"You better come home to me..."
He sighed, trembling as he watched the plane come to the gate. Every part of him wanted to run after Yuki, not to go home… but he got on the plane and actually managed to use the seat that turned into a bed, falling asleep more from exhaustion than wanting to.