Last Year's Idol
The stool is rather tight; he can't adjust it as smoothly as he'd want it to, so he resorts to using his foot as leverage between himself and the ground.
It's squeaking. He hates that sound.
He stops after that.
Most times, he forgets a lot of things when he's like this. Drunk, that is. He can't process his thoughts as coherently as he'd like to, and in the past, that's led to some mornings he would rather forget.
He wipes the sweat off his forehead. It's not too late: only eleven at night. He's used to much worse, yes, much worse.
The hard living style of an idol isn't what he'd imagined, but initially, Tamaki actually likes it. He doesn't mind the sleepless nights, the loud, dirty parties, and the concerts full of screaming, fanatic girls.
Truth to be told, he doesn't. Really. He tells himself that it is for love, their love of him. They love him so much that they can't bear to leave him out of sight; they love him so much that they hurt those who come near him.
But it is all for him, right? Then perhaps it doesn't matter as much, he assures himself. They weren't being selfish, they weren't being possessed; they were only acting on the power of love. If it is one thing he knows, it is that love often overtakes all reasoning.
He comes to accept the gold-diggers (and silky sheets and tousled clothes on badly-sprung mattresses at one in the morning) that come with his role in society. He comes to accept the small colored pills in assorted sandwich bags that cure his migraines.
Because he tells himself, they love me. And he convinces himself of it.
The third shot brings in the dizziness. He remembers this. He remembers it well.
The first time it happened to him, he was backstage, throwing up. It hurts his throat so badly, and all he wants is to die. Just die. Imagine. It's this horrible feeling, a curling sensation of raw pain that cuts into his abdomen and snakes up his body.
When the fourth shot comes, he is back to normal. Not so dizzy. He steadies himself. Breathe, he thinks. Breathe. The fifth and sixth follow in quick succession.
Then the seventh shot comes out of nowhere. He throws it into his system, and the next time he comes to, he is at home in his bed, as if it never happened, as if it was all just a dream.
He returns the next day, and the same bartender from the day before is there. He is a middle-aged man on the verge of stoutness, and his own voice is laced with the many years of hard drinking as he calls out, "The same as yesterday?"
He doesn't recognize Tamaki. In fact, most people wouldn't. He's changed so much over the past few years that days don't seem to matter anymore. It is not only his hairstyle, but also his face's features, his body's shape, his famous smile.
Drinks come one after another. The bartender knows who he is dealing with. Halfway through, Tamaki's train of thoughts come to him.
Trapped in his thoughts, Tamaki's first instinct is to shut his eyes, lest he see him right here, right now.
It's been so long for him when in fact it's only been six months. Tamaki has lost count.
He remembers dark, dark hair and smart-rimmed glasses. He remembers sharp suits and heavy briefcases (he should know; he got hit by one). There are nights out on the town, the two of them.
Just the two of them.
The the first time, it ends in a morning with a confused, rambling head. Why won't the pain stop? His world becomes nearly unconscious, and he knocks over a vase.
He remembers out-reached hands and a loud crash on the ground.
He remembers, "Do that again, and you'll be in a big, big debt." Eyes narrow. "With me."
He remembers the fact that he's never regretted it once.
His eyes are decisive; he's always been good at that. Yet, he seems almost vulnerable at times, like when he almost cried at his sister's funeral. Ethics and procedures prevented him from doing so, but Tamaki remembers how his hand clawed into his own after, how every move he made seemed ever so cautious. Nail marks stayed on his hand for days after. Tamaki knows.
There's only…He can't remember, really…
That voice. He can hear it. Nearly drowned with intoxication, Tamaki dumbly looks up, and his eyes widen at the realization of who it is. There is happiness and sadness all at once. There are memories, both good and bad, and there is, most definitely, love.
Or, at least, was.
Tamaki isn't so sure about that. He swallows and says,
Then he is back again, seating himself next to Tamaki on a barstool, as if nothing had ever happened between them, as if the past days of treachery and mourning never counted. Just the two of them. It's been a long time. Tamaki remembers a time when he counted the hours between such meetings.
That was a long time ago.
"Drinking yourself senseless nowadays, huh?"
Kyouya, as always, is the first to break the silence.
Tamaki doesn't respond. He gulps down one large sip. He's gotten good at that over the years, and Kyouya looks on with mild disgust, mild amusement.
"You do realize how horrible you look."
"And what do you care?" Tamaki's words come on as slurred. He shakes himself because he isn't so drunk; the truth is that he's become a good drinker over the years.
Tamaki waves him off, and swivels his chair around, facing the other end of the bar. There is a small, five-piece band, and they are absolutely, positively horrible.
"Ugh…" He covers his ears with his hands. And then, he realizes how that is what he has become. Nearly unrecognizable from his youthful years. You'd never have thought that ten years ago, he was an innocent, wide-eyed student. A mere boy.
You'd never have thought.
"I care about you." Kyouya chooses his words carefully, striking the right ones with Tamaki. He taps his finger to his chin and looks over thoughtfully.
"Oh, really?" Tamaki replies, with just a lash of sarcasm.
Frowning, Kyouya looks back, and that oblivious blonde he once knew is no longer there. His best friend has grown up.
"Why else would I be here?" With so much alcohol, Tamaki won't be able to tell subtlety from an elephant, but Kyouya always takes his approach; old habits die hard.
There is no answer for a while. Tamaki has taken to swirling the liquid around his glass. He is biding his time, Kyouya sees. Thinking. Perhaps he is becoming sober.
"Why...now of all times?"
Kyouya looks up to come face-to-face with Tamaki. "Everyone is worried about you."
A sad expression appears on his face. "Everyone," Tamaki wonders out loud, "and who's that?"
"People," he vaguely answers. "You're not well."
"Quite the contrary. It'd be best for you to go away for a few months." He pauses. "Your family…has been suffering in silence for long enough."
"My family?" Tamaki asks with surprise, as if he's never heard of such a word.
"Your father, your mother," here, Kyouya's voice is lowered by an octave, "and even your grandmother have all raised concerns."
Kyouya sighs. He's has enough of these drunken games because he knows that even though he enjoys acting like one, Tamaki isn't an idiot. He comes right up and says, very decidedly, "I do."
"W-what?" Tamaki's been caught off guard. Good. Now they are even once again.
"You're my friend. It is...unfortunate for you to come to this," he says, adjusting the bridge of his glasses.
"K-Kyouya?" Suddenly, Tamaki didn't sound so drunk anymore.
The two find themselves in an awkward pause. Kyouya seems undeterred.
"I care about you," he finally manages, "and that's the truth. It hurts – Tamaki, did you hear what I just said? – it hurts me when you act like this. So don't. For the rest of us."
"Kyouya?" he says in a soft voice. He leans over, and the next thing he knows, they are both seventeen, young and naïve in the ways of the world.
His hand runs through Kyouya's head of black hair. Kyouya hits him in the arm in reply, but not so hard; he's not really out to hurt him.
"I love you," Tamaki tells him, and he means it. "I really, really, love you."
"I know that," Kyouya sneers back, "you idiot."
"But do you?" His voice trails off. He's acting like a schoolgirl in her first crush, Kyouya thinks with slight disdain.
"Oh, Tamaki," Kyouya sighs, and his fingers interlock into Tamaki's, that big dumb blonde, "how could I not?"
"Kyouya! Being so mean to me!" he cries. "That's not how you're supposed to treat me."
He pouts, and Kyouya gives a small chuckle. With his index finger, he creates a small trail along Tamaki's right cheek. "Of course," he repeats.
"Tamaki, you idiot," Kyouya's voice is clear. "What are you doing?"
Tamaki has his hand cupped under his friend's chin. He doesn't seem worried about the action, nor about the fact that they are still in a crowded bar.
"Could you stop?"
"Oops." He takes his hand back. "Sorry."
He is still giggly outside, when Kyouya drags him to the car and seats him in the passenger seat. Tamaki offers to drive, and Kyouya says, without any restraint, "If you do, the next I'll see you is in Hell."
Tamaki is whining. Don't be so cruel, he is saying, and he says it with such emotion: cruel.
It nearly kills Kyouya.
And as he drives off into the night, he knows that Tamaki still isn't here. There is someone next to him, but no matter how much he acts like him, it isn't Tamaki.
He doesn't know how long it will take, but he will take as much time as he needs. If it is a thousand years, so be it. So be it, he says in his mind. So be it.
If it is one thing he knows, it is this: he is willing to go to the ends of the world for his half-French, half-Japanese friend, even if he doesn't quite know why.
Because somehow, it feels as if the past, present, and future is resting on him, and solely him.
He hates Tamaki for that; always leaving messes for someone else to clean up.
A/N: The first time I wrote yaoi. Any feedback on how I did, good or bad, is much appreciated. Constructive criticism is loved.