-1"Yuki's involved with this?" Shuichi asked. "But how, why?"
"Well, a few months ago he scared the hell out of me by actually speaking to me when I passed him in the hall at NG," Suguru said with a laugh. "He asked if I ever talked to you anymore, and if I knew how you were doing. When I told him that even Hiro had lost touch with you, he seemed pretty upset.
And that's what really got me thinking about you again, you know? I was setting GL up, and I thought about what a waste it had been to shelve our last album, so I dug it out of the archives and gave it another listen. It really is good, Shuichi, and if we work on it, it will be brilliant.
Anyway, so I brought this up with Yuki the next time I saw him, and told him about my plans, and that was that," Suguru said. "We've been working on him ever since. I think he'll cave any day now."
Shuichi could not keep the goofy grin off of his face as they drove home. Yuki -- his Yuki -- had been thinking about him all along. He suddenly couldn't wait to see him the next day, going over and over in his mind what he'd say. Suguru just smiled at him and shook his head, giving up on trying to make conversation with his clearly distracted friend.
"You back-stabbing little cocksucker," Ashia spat at Suguru as they walked in the front door. Ashia stood in the middle of the living room with a duffel bag slung over his shoulder and a guitar case in his hand. Eiji stood beside him awkwardly, carrying a portable amp.
"After all the bullshit I've put up with from you, with your stupid little rules, and your dumb ass relatives. And this skanky piece of trash you're fucking on the side," Ashia said, glaring at Shuichi. "You never had any intention of transferring our contract over to your new label, did you? In fact, you used us as your fucking bargaining chip!"
"Leave Shuichi out of this, Raiden. You've got your things. Just go," Suguru said icily, his fists clenching at his sides.
"Oh, but he has everything to do with it though, doesn't he?" Ashia said, setting down his things, and pushing Suguru out of the way. "You'd do anything for your precious little Shuichi."
Shuichi smelled breath that reeked of alcohol as Ashia leaned down, sticking his face into his. Shuichi gasped, as he grabbed a handful of hair at the back of his head and wrenched his face upward.
"I can't believe you sold me out for this," Ashia said with disgust. Eiji dropped the amp, and placed a hand on Ashia's shoulder, pulling him back.
"That's enough, Raiden," Eiji growled. "Let go of him. Now."
"Fine. You two want the little whore so bad, you can have him!" Ashia yelled, shoving Shuichi down on the floor.
"You bastard!" Suguru screamed, running over stand between them.
"Get out of here, now, Raiden," Eiji said, jerking him around to face him. Ashia shouldered past him, grabbed his bag and guitar, and stomped to the door.
"Fuck all of you, then," Ashia said, slamming the door behind him as he left.
"I'm sorry," Eiji said, breathing deeply. "He said we were just going to get his stuff. I didn't think he'd try to start something."
"It's not your fault," Suguru said, helping Shuichi up.
"Are you okay?" Eiji asked.
Shuichi nodded, still stunned, and made his way over to the couch.
"Do you want me to stay the night in case he tries to come back?" Eiji asked. Suguru shook his head.
"No, thank you. I'll call K," Suguru said. Eiji nodded.
"Okay. You can call me if you need me for anything though, all right?" Eiji asked.
"Thank you, Joshuya-san. That's very kind of you," Suguru said.
"Good bye, Shuichi," Eiji said gently, before leaving.
Shuichi watched Suguru call K and explain the situation without any trace of emotion, finding his composure almost irritating as he wondered how his friend managed suppressed it all without giving himself a migraine.
"Suguru," Shuichi asked, when Suguru finished the call. "What did he mean when he said you'd used Ganymede as a bargaining chip?"
"Oh, that," Suguru said with a shrug. "I told Tohma if he didn't give me the rights to our last album that I'd take them with me to the new label."
"But Suguru," Shuichi said plaintively, "They're on the top of the charts right now! And they clearly wanted to go with you! Why did you waste that chance on me when you didn't even know if I'd be willing to sign?"
"Because I don't want them," Suguru said. "I want you. And of course you're going to sign."
"But he left because of me," Shuichi said.
"Like I'll miss him," Suguru muttered. "Ashia wanted out because he and Tohma hate each other, not because he was loyal to me or anything. I've been meaning to get him out of my hair for ages now."
"Okay, Suguru," Shuichi said, wondering if Suguru were as unfazed as he pretended to be.
For all of Shuichi's carefully planned words, that had kept him up for half the night, it had taken surprisingly few to convey his feelings.
"Brat," Yuki said, nodding as he passed him.
"Yuki?" Shuichi said, his change in tone making the older man pause, and slowly turn around. "Don't you have anything to say to me anymore?"
Before Shuichi could even breathe to get out another word, Yuki had closed the space between them, pressing him against the wall with a searing kiss that said everything he'd been longing to hear.
"Still love me?" Yuki asked, as he guided Shuichi back into an empty studio behind them.
"Yeah," Shuichi gasped, searching his eyes. "Still need me?"
"Yeah," Yuki said, before closing his lips over Shuichi's again, and pulling him towards a leather loveseat against the wall in the dimly lit mixing booth.
"Hmm, I don't want to move," Shuichi murmured afterwards, lying naked on his stomach across the couch, while Yuki sat on the floor beside him, running his hand tenderly down his back.
"Then don't," Yuki said, kissing downwards along his spine.
"Suguru's probably wondering where the heck his tea is by now," Shuichi said with a giggle, that was cut short by a moan as Yuki playfully bit him.
"Fujisaki can get his own damned tea," Yuki said, then raised up from where he'd been placing nips and kisses on every inch of skin he could reach. "So, about him --"
Shuichi looked back, shaking his head.
"We're just friends," Shuichi said. "You can't believe everything you read."
"Yeah, well you're the one who said it was mostly true," Yuki said.
"Does it bother you? Knowing I've been with other people?" Shuichi asked.
"It bothers me that they got so much better than they deserved, since they obviously weren't giving you anything you needed," Yuki said with a shrug, not meeting his eyes. Shuichi sat up, sliding of the couch into Yuki's lap and throwing his arms around him.
"I love you, Yuki," Shuichi whispered. "Things are going to be better, aren't they?"
"They damned well better," Yuki muttered. "Tohma's annoying as hell when he has something you want. You're lucky you've got Fujisaki on your side. He's gotten to be one vicious little bastard himself when it comes to driving a bargain," Shuichi paled slightly, pulling back to look at Yuki.
"Um, you don't think Seguchi's going to break his fingers or something, do you?" Shuichi asked.
"Well, needless to say, he isn't too thrilled, but I think he realizes he created a monster," Yuki said. "In a way, I think he's even proud of him."
Shuichi gave a sigh of relief.
"Alright then," Yuki said, standing up and dumping Shuichi unceremoniously onto the floor. "Since you had to go and kill the mood, put some fucking clothes on, moron."
"So, I guess you'll be moving back in with Yuki-san?" Suguru asked as they arrived back at his door.
"Looks that way," Shuichi said happily. "He said he had something important he had to do tonight, but he's supposed to come by tomorrow after we get through with work."
"It's going to be so quiet around here now," Suguru said wistfully, as he opened the door to a conspicuously empty apartment. Suguru glanced around with a slight frown at the messy disarray that things had been left in. There were things missing, and not all of them were Ashia's.
"So, he got his stuff while we were out?" Shuichi asked, as he followed Suguru into the kitchen. Suguru nodded, opening the refrigerator.
"Good riddance to bad trash, right? I'll call the locksmith tomorrow," Suguru said with a bitter smile, holding up a bottle of champagne. "Want to help me celebrate?"
"Um, sure," Shuichi said.
"There's a lot to rejoice, actually," Suguru said, taking the bottle over to the counter and fishing a corkscrew out of a drawer. "You're getting back with Yuki, and I've gotten rid of Raiden."
Shuichi's cell phone rang. There was a text message.
"Ayaka had the baby," Shuichi said, numbly reading the message, where Hiro said they were both pretty exhausted and he'd call him to tell him about it tomorrow.
"Well, it just gets better and better then, doesn't it?" Suguru asked, a note of shrillness bleeding into his voice.
"Suguru," Shuichi murmured sadly, taking the bottle away from Suguru's shaking hands before he dropped it and setting it on the counter. He placed his arms around him, patting him on the back. "You don't have to hold everything in, okay? I'm here."
Suguru shook with pitiful sounding sob, as Shuichi just held him and let him cry.
"So, Suguru, you know how you're always telling me that drinking isn't the best way to handle my problems?" Shuichi asked, when Suguru finally seemed too exhausted to cry anymore. He leaned back against the counter, sniffling, as Shuichi ran a paper towel under the tap and handed it to him.
"It's non-alcoholic, silly. You didn't think I was going to encourage you to drink, did you?" Suguru asked with a weak laugh as he cleaned his face.
"Oh, because I was going to say you really deserved a drink this time," Shuichi said.
"Oh," Suguru said. Shuichi grinned mischievously.
"Hey, Suguru, you want to do something really stupid and cause a scandal? It'll be fun," Shuichi said. "I'll even let you wear those snakeskin shorts of mine you're so fond of." Suguru snorted, his lips quirking up in a smile.
"You're not honestly suggesting what I think you are, are you? And here I thought you'd come so far," Suguru said, incredulously.
"I'll just be your designated driver, thank you," Shuichi said with mock offense.
"You can't drive," Suguru said. Shuichi rolled his eyes.
"Chaperone, then. Come on, Suguru, you need a night out," Shuichi pleaded. Suguru looked torn for a long moment, then sighed.
"Oh, all right. But you're not drinking, and you're not letting me do anything too stupid," Suguru said.
"Deal," Shuichi said with a grin, grabbing Suguru by the sleeve and dragging him towards his room. "Though I could totally set you up with a few guys who'll blow your mind," Shuichi offered teasingly, waggling his eyebrows.
"No, thanks. I'd like my latest stint in the tabloids to be as dignified as possible," Suguru muttered. "And I'm not wearing anything weird!"
"Okay, but you're totally not wearing that suit," Shuichi said with a laugh.
"I'll have you know this suit is very expensive, thank you," Suguru said indignantly.
"I wrote a song for you," Shuichi said quietly, both of them tired and happy as they sat in the back of the taxi on the way home. "It's about that sort of glow you get when you're hearing the music in your head, and how I wish you could be that happy all the time."
"Really?" Suguru asked, looking at him with a sleepy, drunken smile.
"Yeah," Shuichi said. "I never finished it, but I figured out the last verse in my head while I was watching you dancing. You're going to find that happiness one day and keep it, Suguru, I just know it."
"I hope so," Suguru said and yawned. "Thank you, Shuichi. I really did have fun."
Shuichi hummed his song for him, eventually starting to sing. Suguru closed his eyes, a peaceful smile crossing his face as he listened.
"It's going to be a great song," Suguru said when he'd finished. "How about we put it on your new album?" Shuichi laughed.
"Even when you're drunk you're still negotiating," Shuichi said. "And yeah, we'll put it on the new album." Suguru positively beamed.
"Thank goodness you finally agreed," Suguru said. "It would have been a shame to have to kill you after all that trouble."
"Shindou-san! Over here!" called one of many reporters who were camped outside of GL Records, snapping his picture as he smiled for them.
"Hey, Shindou-san! What do you have to say about Ashia Raiden's account of your menage-a-trois love affair with him and Fujisaki Suguru in yesterday's edition of Japan's most famous gossip magazine?" asked another reporter. Shuichi stopped and turned to face him.
"Sure, I'll make a statement about that," Shuichi said with a look of nonchalance. "He wishes. Suguru's my best friend, and I don't think any of you need to ask who my lover is." A few people laughed, and there was a flurry of flashbulbs, as Shuichi turned to the man beside him and gave him a blatantly steamy kiss.
"Was that really necessary?" Yuki asked irritably, as they entered a blocked off area beneath a giant tent for the celebration to commemorate the official opening of GL.
"No, I just wanted to kiss you," Shuichi said, grabbing his hand and pulling the reluctant writer further into the crowd. "And besides, you totally kissed me back, didn't you?"
He spotted Suguru talking to Mika, Hiro and Ayaka, the two women cooing excitedly over an adorable baby boy who was wearing the fuzzy blue hoodie with bear ears Shuichi had bought for him.
"Shuichi!" Suguru called to him, waving them over. "We were just talking about you. Are you ready to put on a show?"
Shuichi would be giving his first live performance since the break up of Bad Luck for the opening party, singing his hit duet with Sister Moon.
"You bet," Shuichi said, trying not to sound as nervous as he felt.
"Hello, Eiri," Ayaka said with a smile, taking Hiro's arm. "It's been a long time. Would you like to hold little Masahiko?"
"Of course he would. Who wouldn't want a chance to snuggle little Masa?" Shuichi said, elbowing the scowling writer in the ribs, before scooping up the baby and placing it in Yuki's arms. Yuki stood there woodenly, regarding the child as if it were from another planet as it smiled at him and gurgled.
"Isn't that the just the cutest thing ever?" Mika said, clearly enjoying her brother's discomfort. "Well, I'd better go find my husband."
"Tohma's here?" Shuichi asked Suguru as Hiro stepped in to Yuki's rescue and reclaimed his child.
"Of course," Suguru said. "Sister Moon is getting exposure here, so it will benefit NG, too. I honestly think my he's a little excited at the idea of a little competition after being the biggest name in the industry all these years."
"I'm just glad he's taking it so well," Shuichi said.
"Don't worry. Tohma doesn't eat his own," Suguru said with a smile. "So, are you ready?"
"Ready as I'll ever be, I guess," Shuichi said uncertainly, looking over to Yuki, who gave him a nod of acknowledgement before Suguru led him away.
"So how are things with Yuki?" Suguru asked. "I sense a slight change in your dynamic.
"Yeah, well, we're sort of getting used to each other again. It's different this time, we've both changed, but I think it's going to be even better for us in the long run," Shuichi said.
"That's wonderful. I'm glad to hear it," Suguru said.
"I still can't believe he agreed to do that audio book to sweeten things with Tohma for me," Shuichi said dreamily. "I'm going to buy ten copies myself! Imagine, getting to hear that sexy voice any time I want even when he's not around."
Joshuya Eiji approached them through the crowd, much to Shuichi's surprise, looking positively blissful.
"Thank you so much for inviting me, Fujisaki-san," Eiji said, bowing low before giving Shuichi a shy smile. "Hey there, Shindou-san."
"You can call him Shuichi," Suguru said, to Shuichi's bewilderment. "After all, if you're going to be playing with him in the studio, there's no need to be so formal."
"Thank you, Suguru!" Eiji said, looking like he might cry.
"I'm still Fujisaki-san," Suguru corrected him, with a playful smile. "We're in a hurry."
"Of course, Fujisaki-san. It's an honor to serve you," Eiji said, bowing once more and awkwardly backing away into another guest and apologizing.
"I thought you didn't like him," Shuichi said as they walked into a side door of the building, where Shuichi's dressing room had been set up.
"He's growing on me," Suguru said with a shrug. "Tohma wouldn't let me have Sakano. And besides, we need a good guitarist to fill in for Hiro."
Shuichi sat at his dressing table, noting the open tabloid paper laying upon it.
"So, um," Shuichi began uneasily. "I guess you've heard about Ashia's interview." Suguru gave a derisive snort.
"What a loser," Suguru said. "I don't give a damn what he says, but he's playing with fire if he wants to stay at NG and run his mouth. Did you see the other article about us?"
"No," Shuichi said, looking to the page Suguru indicated and scanning over an article about how Suguru was hardly letting the newly single life get him down, featuring a shot of the two of them exiting a club and looking happy.
"I like this picture," Shuichi said. "We should ask for a copy and frame it in the front hallway."
They looked at one another and laughed, getting ready for the show to begin.
A/N: Did you kind of want to see what it would be like had Shuichi and Suguru ended up together? Do you wonder if Hiro will ever return to making music, or if Shuichi will learn to break free of his bad habits? Well, you're in luck! Read "Hidden Track", which picks up right where "Tabloid Darling" ends. Love, Lucy May