About this piece – I started a massive re-write of the Gravitation story a long while ago after watching the end of the anime and not being so happy with the outcome. The re-write began at the end of the story and then eventually circled back around to the beginning.
You can read what I have published so far of the revamped ending of the story here on if you're interested. Just look up - Remix, Ending and a New Beginning
In this series, there is a different 'universe' around the main characters, which is far less slapstick and more realistic. I always wonder what characters would be like under more normal circumstances. I enjoyed writing this. Shuichi has a lot of spunk and a lot of heart.
Reviews – Love them! That's what keeps me writing. The more reviews, the faster I'll clean and publish the chapters.
Shuichi ran down the street at top speed, dodging unwitting and innocent pedestrians as he made his way to the end of his grand quest… The video game store.
It wasn't just any video game store. It was one on the opposite side of town from where he lived, in an upscale area. Their web inventory showed that they had 1 copy of StreetWars4 in stock still. Shuichi meant to claim that prize for himself at any cost, including skipping afternoon classes.
The chimes on the shop door rattled loudly as he made his entrance, quickly assessing the layout and racing toward the aisle to where it should have been… Only to discover some tall blond dude was looking in that spot too. An empty spot. The guy was checking before and after it to see if it had been misfiled.
"Shit." Shuichi groaned and the blond looked over at him.
"What are you looking at, punk?" He sneered.
"A jerk trying to steal what's mine!" He yelped, then dashed to the counter, scaring the guy who was working there, "Hey!"
"You still have the one StreetWars4 in stock?"
"Yeah. It's out there somewhere. Good luck finding it though." He smirked.
"Sweet!" He danced backward to almost run into that guy, "Hey! Move it!"
"Chh… You little twerp."
"Whatever! No time to talk!" He hopped back toward the aisles, wondering where someone would have hid it so they could find it and buy it later. The blond got the same idea and started to rifle through the games, "They didn't put it in with the PS games… I know!" He had an epiphany and hurried over to the other side of the wall where there were used games, "I'm gonna find it before that jerk. I have to!"
Shortly he was drooling and looking at his prize, concealed in the used games… until an arm reached over him and snagged it while he was daydreaming about the fun he was going to have that night.
"I'll take that." The blond smirked.
"HEY!" He protested and jumped, trying to grab it back, "Give it!"
"You were just staring. I'm ready to buy."
"You jerk! Gimmie my game! I found it fair and square!" Unfortunately the gaijin-looking guy was also a lot taller and could easily hold it up out of his reach.
"Outa my way, short stuff." He tried to shove by but Shuichi stomped his foot as hard as he could, "OW!"
"Score!" He grabbed the package when the guy bent over, "Nyah! See ya!" He flipped him the bird before running for the counter.
"Come back here you little shit!"
"Not a chance!" He slapped the game box down on the counter, "I win!"
"Good job. Where was it?"
"Used games, buried in the lame sports games." He grinned.
"Okay. Well hidden then."
He rang up the sale while Shuichi dug in his pockets for his money, the blond coming to loom over him.
"Back it up! I won fair and square! Deal with it!" Shichi snarled, "Ya big weird lookin' jerk."
"Weird looking? Ha! This from a kid that looks like he lost a bet… Magenta hair. Someone hate you pretty bad?"
"It's a unique style."
"It's unique, all right." He scowled, "Uniquely stupid."
"Hate to break up this pleasant conversation but… Pay me?" The store employee asked.
"I'm tryin'. Hang on… Where's my cash?" It suddenly dawned on him that he had left it back in the music room, "Oh, crap… Hey, can you hold on to this for me? I kinda left my cash back at school."
"No holds, kid." The guy behind the counter shrugged.
"Ho ho! Looks like my golden opportunity is here." The blond chuckled and got out his wallet.
"No way! No fair!" He protested in vain, watching money changing hands.
"Been fun." The blond winked, "Not…" He shoved Shuichi on his way toward the door.
"Come back here!" He raced out after him, "That is so unfair! You can't do this to me! You don't understand how long I've been waiting for this game!"
"And I don't really care either. Get lost."
"Oh come on! Have a heart you giant jerk!" He tried to grab the bag from him but ended up tripping them both up, his backpack shooting papers all over the sidewalk as they fell, "OW!"
"Hey! Get off me!!" He pushed Shuichi off him and onto the sidewalk among his scattered things, "What the hell is your problem??"
"I want that game! Give it!"
"Not a chance in hell, you spastic little brat!" He picked himself up from the mess, giving Shuichi a smack in the head.
"Stupid kid." He marched off.
Shuichi righted himself and threw his stuff back into his bag in a hurry, running after the guy, "HEY!"
"Can't you take a hint? You lose, loser."
"Look, just have mercy on me and at least let me play a game with you?? Please?? I'm begging you!"
He stopped in his tracks, glaring at Shuichi who was wringing his hands and trying to look as pathetic as possible. Finally the guy huffed and his shoulders dropped.
"Fine. One game. That's it!"
"YES! Thank you!!"
"And shut up! You're giving me a headache!"
"Okay!" He followed along, doing his best not to say anything but it was hard. It was turning into a long walk though, "How long is it before we get to your place?"
"When we get there we get there. You can leave at any time you like."
"I'm coming. No matter how long it takes." He nodded.
They ended up in a very nice neighborhood, going into a very nice, low-rise apartment building and up to the third floor. The apartment was huge and extremely clean and modern.
"Woah… Your parents must be loaded!" Shuichi gawked at the audio and video components.
"My parents?" His left eyebrow went up.
"Figures, you're spoiled from a rich family." He smiled proudly, "Let's play!"
"Chh…" The guy walked away and went down a hallway.
"Hey! Where are you going??"
"I'm getting a drink for God's sake! Shut it!"
"Oh. Okay. Get me one too!" He followed along into the big kitchen, "Wow. Nice."
The guy got a foreign label beer out of the fridge and popped the top. Shuichi held out his hand with a smile.
"Fat chance, kid. What are you? 15?"
"Hey! I'm 18! I'll be 19 soon!"
"Not soon enough and not old enough anyway. You can have water, juice, soda or coffee. Decaff coffee… I can't take you any more hyped up than you already are."
"Drop dead, punk. You get nothing."
"Soda…" He frowned under the glare and accepted a cold can from his angry host, "Thanks… Man, you're scary..."
"You're the scary one." Again he walked away.
"You're not very friendly! I'm a guest! You shouldn't keep turning your back on me!"
"You're an unwanted guest. Do you want me to kick you out?"
"Then just shut up. Are you capable of that?"
"Try it. You might like it. I know I would."
"The hell? What'd I ever do to you?" He pursued his host back to the living area again.
"Aside from stamp on my foot and trip me on the sidewalk then fall on me? Not much more than that… yet."
"That was all fair combat. You know it."
"Are you off your meds?" He picked up the bag and retrieved the game box.
"Never mind…" He split the package open and Shuichi came toward it like a moth to the flame.
"Wow… It even smells good."
"Quit drooling." He yanked it away.
"Awww! Lemmie look!"
"Sit down and shut up." He went to the impressive rack of components.
"Fine." Shuichi huffed and sat down on the expensive leather sectional, his host whipping a game controller at him. Fortunately he caught it instead of getting nailed in the face. He was about to complain when the game started to load, "Woah…"
"At least you might be quiet for a while." He picked up a pack of cigarettes from the coffee table and plunked down beside Shuichi, lighting up.
"That's a nasty habit." Shuichi said.
"Again…if you don't like it leave." He blew a smoke ring around Shuichi's head, he trying desperately to fan it away.
"You're gonna stunt your growth… Oh wait…You're already a freaking giant." He got smacked in the face with a throw pillow, "Ouch!"
Despite the less than humorous nature of his host, the game was awesome. The competition was great too. They were pretty evenly matched once his opponent got the hang of the new moves that Shuichi had been reading up on for the past few months. They ordered pizza and kept playing. Apparently his host had forgotten the one game limit pretty quickly once they were into it.
"You don't have a family to go home to?"
"I do, but they're used to me not showing up on the weekends. Yay, Friday." He took a break to scarf down some food and hit the guest bathroom which was also huge and modern, "Woah… This place is off the charts." He finished his business and went back into the living area, "What do your parents do to afford a place like this?"
"Yeah." He plunked back down on the sofa, "This place has everything! Aren't they coming home? It's getting kinda late…"
The blond just blinked at him.
"Whhaaaat? What's that look for? What am I missing?"
"A load of brain cells, near as I can figure it." He smirked, "And what the hell is this?" He held up a piece of paper that had leaked out of Shuichi's backpack.
"Oh… It's a song I'm writing."
"A song?? You??"
"Hey, don't mock me!" He tried to grab for it but again it was held away.
"It looks like a retarded chimp wrote this. Is this really your handwriting??"
"Yeah it is!"
"I hope you just had the caffeine shakes or something. Holy shit, this is awful. Is this supposed to be a love song??"
"It's the biggest load of crap I've ever read. Are you trying to make someone throw up with lyrics like this? Hoo hoo… Better not graduate high school yet. You need a few more decades."
"What the hell do you know about writing?? I'm gonna be famous one day and then you'll be sorry!"
"I sure as hell would be sorry if this steaming pile made you famous. That would surely signal the end of civilization."
"You're such an asshole!" He snatched it back at last, "There's nothing wrong with this! I've been working all month on it! I know it needs some work but—"
"SOME work? SOME??" He nearly laughed himself off the sofa.
"Why don't you shut up??" He started to lay waste to the guy with the throw pillows until they were rolling on the floor, "You're such a dick! When I'm famous I'm going to hire someone to follow you around 24x7 and tell you what an asshole you are!"
"I don't think you'll be able to afford that on a burger-flipper's salary, but keep dreaming."
"I will! You'll see! My band is gonna rule the world!"
"Pffffft." He laughed again, "I haven't laughed this hard in ages!"
"I hate you!" He got up and went back to eating pizza.
"Not enough to quit eating my food." He sat up, raking his fingers through his blond hair.
"Free food is good food, even if you bought it." He flipped the guy off and stuffed more into his mouth.
Eventually he was booted out and made his way to the subway to go home. In the morning he told Hiro about his evening of video game joy over breakfast before they started to practice.
"You jerk. Playing without me."
"I was trying to buy it so we could play together today… Just didn't work out the way I planned." He shrugged.
"So what's that guy's name?"
Shuichi opened his mouth and then stopped, closing it and thinking.
"Don't tell me, you don't know? You didn't ask?"
"I guess not. I don't remember it. We didn't exactly formally introduce ourselves… or like each other."
"From the way you're talking, you like him too much."
"You've been talking about him non-stop all morning. Are you in wuv?" Hiro grinned at him.
"Not! Shut up!"
"A dirty, sticky, one night stand with a total stranger. All he had to do was wave a video game in front of you. You little slut, Shuichi. I had no idea you had it in you! Heh heh…"
"You're just gross…"
But that night he wandered back the way he had gone the afternoon before, stopping at the security door of the exclusive building. There were no names by the buzzers. He pressed the buzzer for 14 which was the number he remembered on the door going in. No luck.
"Jerk. Figures you'd be out just to piss me off." He grumbled and pressed the buzzer a few more times for good measure just as a car pulled up to the adjoining carport.
"Hey… What the hell do you think you're doing there, punk?"
He turned around to see the blond guy in a sports car, "Ringing your buzzer, duh."
"Bug off. I didn't invite you back." He pulled into a parking spot and got out of the car, wandering over, "Well?"
"Your parents let you drive their sports car? Are they on vacation or something? I bet they'd be pissed." He got another thwack on the side of the head, "Ouch! Hey!"
"Parents…" He scoffed and unlocked the door.
"What? You don't have parents? You were hatched from an egg? For you, that'd make sense, actually." He followed inside, "So where'd they go?" He asked as they got into the elevator, the blond just staring at him, "Whaaat?"
"Are you kidding me?"
"No, I'm not kidding you. Why would I?"
"How old do you think I am?"
"Beats me." He shrugged.
"I'm 27. I don't live with my parents."
"27?? Woah, you're old! You don't look that old."
"Hey! I'm not old."
"You're almost like 10 years older than me. That's old. You still play video games?"
"What do you think?" He scowled.
"Aren't you too old for that?"
"You think you're going to just suddenly stop playing video games when you hit 25 or something?" He folded his arms indignantly.
"Well, I guess I see your point."
"You use a lotta English words too. Are you an American?"
"No, I'm 100 percent Japanese." The elevator opened and he stepped off, Shuichi following along, curious.
"Seriously? You don't really look Japanese… Maybe a little tiny bit but you're really tall and like blond and stuff."
"Yeah yeah. I know." He unlocked his apartment door and Shuichi squeezed in with him, "Did I invite you in? No. Get going, brat."
"Aww, be nice. I came for a rematch!" He grinned and then bowed, "I'm Shuichi Shindou by the way. I forgot we didn't do introductions! What's your name?"
Again there was the look of shock on his face--the look that told Shuichi he was missing something that was blatantly obvious to most other people. Unfortunately, he was all too familiar with seeing that look on other people's faces.
"Stop looking like that and just tell me already!" He yelped.
"You're serious…" He folded his arms.
"Eiri." He said.
"First or last?"
"This has got to be a joke…" He turned and walked off toward the kitchen.
"Why's it gotta be a joke??" He pursued yet again, "Beer please!"
"No beer. Coffee time." He started to go through an involved process with an elaborate coffee maker while Shuichi perched on a stool at the island in the kitchen, watching.
"So… What's your whole name? Are you going to tell me or what?"
Eiri shook his head, "It's Yuki Eiri."
"Cool name… So is your family rich or something? Did you inherit a lot of money?"
"What, I look like I can't have a job?"
"You don't look like a salary man type… and you're way too snooty to flip burgers. So I figure if this place is yours then you inherited a load of money."
Eiri came and leaned on the kitchen island, looking at Shuichi for a while with that too-cool standard expression of his, "You're not the sharpest knife in the drawer, are you?"
"Huh?? Hey, be nice!"
"I am being nice… I didn't kick you out… So why should I let you stay? What's in it for me?"
"The joy of being around a me, of course! I'm going to be famous one day!" He smiled proudly.
"No, really… I will be." He nodded.
"No, really… Get out of my apartment." He nodded mockingly.
"Aww, come on. Lighten up. I did actually bring you bribes!"
"Hurry up and tell me then."
He plunked his backpack on the counter and pulled out a bag, "Chocolate donuts! Hot ones. The place down the street just took them out of the oven." He waved them in front of Yuki's nose, "Yummy yummy, Yuki."
He snatched the bag away, "What else?"
"I brought over some hard-to-get games to see if you wanna play them." He pulled out a few, "Well?"
"All right. You can stay."
"Cool!!" He did a short victory dance in his seat.
"Quiet." He turned his attention back to the coffee maker and shortly placed a cup in front of Shuichi whose eyes were wide.
"Wow. That smells awesome."
"It should. I bet you only drink instant."
"Yeah." He took the cup and sniffed again, having a sip and shivering, "Wow… It tastes better than it smells. You make great coffee, Yuki."
"Oh… Oops. Thanks." He shrugged, "When I'm famous, I'll give you an autograph."
"Famous…" He scoffed and sipped at his own cup.
"Just you wait and see! I'm gonna be huge! Just like… Gackt or something."
"Uh huh… You already look like a Harajuku Girl…"
"Screw you, jerk." He flipped the bird again, "I'm gonna be dating models!"
"Dating models isn't all it's cracked up to be."
"Like you'd know."
"Yeah… Um hmm… My estimation stands… Dull knife. More like a spoon." He smirked and headed back to the living area with the bag of donuts, "Big wooden spoon with rounded edges…"
"You're so mean! Do you have any friends?" He pursued again.
"Not so surprisingly, I have very few. I prefer it that way."
"Well that sucks… You could hang out with me and Hiro and play video games."
"You and Hiro?"
"Hiroshi… He's my guitarist."
"Oh ho… In your 'band'. I almost forgot." He rolled his eyes.
"Yeah. He's really great. Total natural talent."
"And what instrument do you play, pray tell?"
"Keyboards and I sing."
"Ah… Singer and songwriter."
"What is this band's name?"
"We don't exactly have one right now…" He sat down on the sofa with his backpack and coffee, at least pleased to see that his angry new friend was going to eat the donuts, "Save one for me."
"Maybe you should call yourself 'Donut'." He set the bag down in front of Shuichi after taking one for himself.
"Nah… It's not strong enough. Intense."
"Neither are your lyrics."
"What are you? A music critic? Jerk…"
"No, I'm not a professional music critic." He had another sip and sat beside Shuichi, "But I know crap lyrics when I read them."
"You'll see… We're going to rule the world of rock."
"Uh huh… Good donuts."
Yuki actually smiled slightly, "Thanks. I'll give you an autograph when I'm famous."
Shuichi surprised himself by waking up on that same sofa near dawn.
"Huh?" He sat up, dazed, "When did I fall asleep?"
He pulled the blanket off him. At least Yuki had been kind enough to cover him instead of dumping him in the hallway for a neighbor to find when he'd nodded off.
One thing he noticed immediately was that it was really really quiet. He got up and wandered to the guest bathroom then down the hall further. He was curious… There inside a sparse modern bedroom, Yuki was asleep in a big bed. For some reason, it felt really lonely.
"You really need some friends, Yuki." He sighed, "I guess I'll have to volunteer." Inside of him, there was a good guy. Shuichi was sure of it. Had seen little glimpses of it here and there. He wandered over to the bed and sat down, reaching out and touching his blond hair, surprised by its softness, "Hey, Yuki…"
"Huh? Oh… You…"
"Sorry, I guess I fell asleep… I'm going home."
"Sure. Later." He rolled away, pulling up the covers.
"Yeah. I'll leave you those games… But you have to give 'em back. Okay?"
"Uh huh." Yawn.
Hiro gave him a hard time again over breakfast at their favorite cheap restaurant near his new apartment, "Sleeping over and even a walk of shame at sunrise. Your parents must be so embarrassed to have their precious son showing up at the crack of dawn after an all-nighter with some old guy."
"Ha ha… Just because you have a place of your own now you don't have to keep rubbing it in, yanno."
"Sure I do." He continued to leer at Shuichi, "He musta worn you out, tiger. How can you still sit?"
"Shut up, already." He threw a wadded up napkin at him across the table they were sharing.
"You really do like him though. You let him borrow your best games."
"He needs a friend." He shrugged, "He's like some rich hermit."
"Better than being a poor hermit." He got another dirty smile on his face, "I hope you used protection."
Shuichi just groaned and shook his head. It would definitely be a long time before Hiro would let this one go…