Disclaimers: Gravitation is not owned by me and I am not making any profit off of this piece of fiction. I promise to put the characters back where I found them after I'm done.
Author's Notes: This idea came from out of nowhere - well, okay it came out of watching behind the scenes stuff on youtube and wishing I could understand Japanese to get the jokes. But after talking at how different people acted when they weren't on stage came to this little piece, which somehow had Hiro being the other character in a room with Ryuichi instead of someone like Hiro or Tohma. Enjoy.
::Confessions & Cigarettes::
What the hell?
Hiro stared, his supply of complementary soap falling to the ground. Ryuichi Sakuma stood under the spray of the shower, water splashing over the edge of the shower's stall on to the floor. Longish brown hair was slicked back from a face that was all angles, the sharp edges made more taunt by the curve of his shoulders, the defined back tapering down to sculpted legs. The Ryuichi he was used to looked skinny in faded jeans with only a hint of definition at the navel. Here, he could see that Ryuichi wasn't just a pretty guy. Here he saw control in the sharp muscles standing out over back and shoulders, lining hard along legs and arms.
"Can you close the door?"
Hiro jumped, nearly tripped over the small shampoo bottle and grabbed onto the door handle. Ryuichi didn't look up; he just rolled his shoulders and breathed out. Hard.
"The air's getting cold."
"Sorry," Hiro said, tried not to step on the conditioner and closed the door. He leaned against it, blinking rapidly and tried to wrap his mind around the fact that Ryuichi was in his shower. He knew that he was going to have to share a room with someone, but he'd thought that he would be bunking with Shuichi, not the lead singer for Grasper.
The doorknob jiggled in his hand and Hiro jumped back, his foot caught on the shampoo bottle and sent him to the ground. Luckily he landed on his hands and knees instead of his back, but still it stung his pride that he fell so easily. He shook his head and blinked as a hand was held out to him. He looked up and met Ryuichi's eyes. The singer's mouth curved, and Hiro laughed and got up with his help.
"I guess I'm all thumbs today," he said, pushing his hair out of his face. "I just didn't. . ."
"Expect to see me?" Ryuichi asked, tilting his head to the side. He was still smiling, a lopsided little grin that looked far more human than the sly smirks gracing his face during a concert or the wide innocent ones usually on his face when not on stage. "I lost the game."
"The game. . ?"
"We played poker to see who got the odd roomie," Ryuichi said, rubbing the back of his neck. "I don't play it that well so. . . here I am."
"But why are you sharing with me?" Just as soon as he said it, Hiro remembered who he was talking to and bit his lip, looking away. "Er, just forget I asked."
Ryuichi studied him for a moment and then smiled brightly and just as falsely as some of the expressions he'd seen on Tohma's face over the years. Was he actually getting used to reading the older man or did the rock legend actually wanted him to see that fake smile? Hiro's head hurt and he busied himself with picking up his spilt toiletries.
"Bathroom's free," Ryuichi said, waving at the door as he headed for the two twin beds in the main room.
Hiro glanced at the singer's back and fled into the bathroom. He almost locked the door but on second thought Hiro left it open. While he was certain that Ryuichi was strange, he didn't think that the older man would come barging in when he was taking a shower.
He really didn't understand what was going on any more with this whole tour. At first, they each had a room and the tour dates were spaced out at reasonable intervals. But then the rooms got smaller and they started sharing while the concerts got closer together. And then they were on the road, living out of a tour bus that felt far more cramped than Hiro thought was possible. It didn't help that Ryuichi and Shuichi fed off of each other, making the two bands divide the bus in half to keep the two singers from making each other too hyper to deal with. And now they were back to sharing hotel rooms.
Washing and drying himself off as fast as he dared, Hiro looked at the small mirror and sighed. He looked like he had been stuck in a bus filled with crazy people and just found freedom by chewing his way out of the wire mesh. He wrapped his hair up in a towel, hung the other one up and went to see exactly what Ryuichi was doing to the room.
Expecting the room getting re-painted with crayons and bouncy bunny tosses, Hiro stared at the sight of the Grasper lead singer sitting crossed-legged on a bed wearing a pair of low plaid pants while strumming a guitar. His hair was drying in feathery wisps around his face, and from where Hiro was standing he could see a darker stain on his right hipbone the beginning of some kind of tattoo.
"I hope you don't mind I took this one," Ryuichi said, stilling the strings of the guitar with the flat of his hand. "They're both the same."
"No," Hiro started and then cleared his throat as the word cracked. This was turning out very surreal. "No, it's fine."
Ryuichi smiled in that gentle crooked smile and picked out a slow tune on the guitar strings, his painted nails making excellent picks. Fingerpicking style, something that Hiro had heard of but never seen before was happening right in front of him and he didn't even know how to react at this display at a talent he never knew Ryuichi had in him.
"Hey, do you smoke?"
Hiro was glad he didn't have anything in his hands or he would have had a repeat of before. Taking a deep breath relax, it was Ryuichi Sakuma after all, he told himself Hiro nodded. Then realizing that Ryuichi wasn't looking at him but concentrating on the guitar, he said, "Well, I kind of do, but I can always go outside if I have the urge for one."
Those blue eyes. Hiro rubbed at the back of his neck and tried not to look directly at them. Years ago, he saw them peeking from an album cover in a bin with other not-so-popular groups. Picking it out had changed his life, especially when Shuichi got his hands on it. But ever since then, he always found himself wanting to know exactly how someone with such a strange eye color saw the world. It certainly had to make sense, given at how their music sounded even then.
"Shuichi is always telling me how bad smoking is for his voice."
"I'm not Shuichi." Ryuichi put his guitar down and stood up. Holding out his hand to Hiro, his smile gained a sharp edge. "And I would like to bum a smoke off of you."
"I. . . um. . . well. . ." Hiro found himself stuttering, staring at that hand, naked of rings and bangles. Then giving himself a shake, he fetched the fresh pack of cigarettes he'd bought earlier and gave it a few taps, trying to calm his racing mind. It didn't help that Ryuichi was watching his movements, his head tilted like he was memorizing every little piece of his ritual. Tapping the pack before opening it, taking a sniff after crumpling the cellophane, one more tap before drawing out the first cigarette and then holding the pack out to Ryuichi.
"I forgot to buy some earlier," Ryuichi said as if to explain for his request and then took a cigarette from the pack before handing the rest back. He put it in his mouth and dug in the pockets of his low fitting pants, taking out a small box of matches and lighting up. He breathed in, tossing his head back and exhaled, shaking the match out and flicking it with practiced ease into the lone ashtray.
He glanced over at him and those blue eyes shook Hiro out of his daze. The guitarist looked down at the pack and cigarette he held in his hands and took a deep breath. Okay, that he didn't expect. He didn't expect any of this. He walked over to his bed, putting the pack down, taking a moment to dig out his lighter and light up. He was proud that his hands were not shaking as he did so, but he had trouble trying to look over at the singer until he was finished.
But once the nicotine was in his lungs and he had a moment to take a deep breath, Hiro found himself looking over at Ryuichi, trying to figure out where this persona came from. He was strangely adult, strangely different than anything Hiro had expected. The guitar playing for one. The smoking for another. And the lack of anything that resembled a crayon or a bright pink rabbit. Maybe he was only dreaming. It wouldn't be the first time that he had odd dreams since this tour had begun.
Ryuichi had picked up the guitar again and was playing a slowhand blues piece, something that Hiro heard once and thought was pretty though he could never replicate the right sounds using a pick. With his hair hanging in soft feathers around his face and smoke lazily curling around him, he looked less like the youthful ball of energy that he projected to the world. He just looked like an old rocker relaxing after a hard gig. All he needed now was a glass of whiskey at his elbow.
"Are you okay?"
Hiro shook his head, looking up. Ryuichi was frowning at him, his fingers stilling on the strings. That look with the half-smoked cigarette in his mouth made his cheeks heat up. Hiro knew he wasn't completely heterosexual, but there was something wrong with associating anything close to his sudden thoughts to this version of the Grasper singer. He almost expected to get hit with Kumagoro any moment.
"I was just. . ." Hiro cleared his throat and looked around the room. "I don't see Kumagoro."
"Oh," Ryuichi said the word like it was the farthest thing from his mind, and pointed with his chin at a pet carrier sitting on the TV. "He's got his own bed."
Hiro blinked. "I thought. . ."
"Kumagoro doesn't like hotel beds. They make him itch," Ryuichi said in a sing-song voice, the odd, crooked smile on his lips. He glanced over at Hiro, looking like he was trying to figure something out and then he set the guitar down, getting up from his bed. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"No! I mean. . . I just. . ."
With every word, Ryuichi got closer and Hiro found himself falling back over his bed, choking on smoke. He arm was grabbed and he found himself getting yanked upright by the surprisingly strong singer and slapped on the back.
"Breathe, man," he said, slapping him again. "Don't freak out on me, just breathe."
Hiro coughed, sputtered and finally drew in a shaky breath, his eyes streaming as he looked up at Ryuichi. He was being held against the singer's naked chest, the bluest eyes he'd ever seen looking down at him in a mixture of worry and amusement. Somehow he lost his towel and his hair was a wet mess around his shoulders and face, and Hiro could imagine that he probably looked something like a mad drowned witch than a guitar player. And still Ryuichi held him.
Ryuichi laughed and pushed his hair from his face. "For what?"
Hiro opened his mouth. He closed it. He looked at the bare skin close to his nose and took a very deep breath. He tried pulling away but Ryuichi kept a hold on him, his blue eyes narrowed and dark and hiding all his thoughts.
"I didn't mean to bother you so much," Hiro said, wishing he could look away from those strange blue eyes.
"If you were, I would have told you by now." Ryuichi let go of him and sat back, taking his cigarette and leaning over to ground it out in the ashtray.
Hiro finger-combed his hair back, blinking as Ryuichi took another cigarette and lit up, the first exhale of smoke drifting around his head like a fairy's ring. This whole evening was like some strange dream, and Hiro wasn't sure if he should say something about the singer smoking like that, especially with how foolish he was feeling.
"I'd thought you were a pretty cool guy," Ryuichi said, leaning back against the wall and crossing his legs. "You really never seemed so freaked out by anything Shuichi did, which is a feat in its own."
"I'm pretty used to him," he said and reluctantly leaned over so he could ground his cigarette out and fetch his hair brush. Ryuichi didn't move except to flick ash into the ashtray while Hiro combed his hair out and tried to calm his mind down.
"But I'm different."
"I guess. . ." Hiro replied slowly, tying his hair back and putting the brush down. "I guess I've never seen you so. . ."
"Human?" Ryuichi smiled, winking and touching the side of his face with his left index finger. "I assure you, this god pisses and moans with the rest of humanity."
"Don't let Shuichi hear that," Hiro said and leaned over to get his pack of cigarettes. "He still can't picture you without Kumagoro except during your performances."
"Most people can't, so I usually don't try."
Hiro looked up from pulling a cigarette from the pack. "It's not an act?"
Ryuichi looked up at the ceiling, frowning as smoke lazily drifted past his nose. He shrugged, took the cigarette from his mouth and tapped it against the edge of the ashtray. His blue eyes looked murky as he brought the cigarette to his lips, the cheery brightening to a fiery red as he inhaled.
"I don't know. How do you know if a guitar has the right sound you need?"
"I've noticed you play three different types of guitars for your song set. You've got a Telecaster, a Les Paul Studio, and a Hellraiser, yet it seems almost random when you pick up each one. You've only played the Hellraiser with the same song; otherwise I've noticed how you change them around."
"I don't know," Hiro replied, frowning as he lit up and inhaled. "I just know by how the crowd sounds."
"There. You've answered your question."
He glanced over at Ryuichi. The older man blew smoke through pursed lips, thoughtfully tapping ash into the ashtray. He hadn't really been asking a question, yet the answer made so much more sense when he thought about it. People expect Ryuichi to be the childlike star, so he acted the way they wanted, which brought even more adoration which demanded more of that childishness. Hiro couldn't imagine the endlessness of that cycle.
"It must be tiring."
Ryuichi placed his left foot on the bed, his leg bent at the knee and his arm resting the knee, the cigarette dangling from lax fingers. "You have no idea."
The singer looked at him blue eyes sly and different and so alien compared to most. Hiro managed not to choke on his breath as Ryuichi smiled slowly, his expression something that belonged on stage and not on a bed in a private room. He leaned forward and brushed his lips over Hiro's.
"Thanks for the smokes."
With that, the singer ground out his cigarette, swung his legs off the bed and jumped onto his. Hiro blinked and tried dragging his jaw back into place. That he really did not expect.
"Goodnight!" Ryuichi called from his bed before tugging the blankets over his head. Hiro managed a reply but he didn't know if Ryuichi heard him.
He stayed up for most of the night trying to figure out what had just happened.