Then it happened. As usual, many things were thrown onto the stage as the performers left: bras, good luck charms, and flowers – the usual – but also, like the night before, collars, packaged condoms, and sex toys, one of which hit Shuichi on the cheek. This happened as he was bending down while a girl from the audience tried to hand him flowers. He said "Ow" loudly enough to be heard over the sound system.
K, who had been watching from the wings, ran over and examined the scrape the flesh-colored toy had inflicted. He then glanced at the toy where it had fallen to the stage. He knew enough from his days with the Secret Service not to pick it up unless he had a handkerchief or something similar that wouldn't smudge any fingerprints.
"Hey, we need some tissues over here!" he bellowed. He looked behind him, searching the crowd to see if he could tell where the missile had come from. It wasn't like a bullet, though; it didn't have a trajectory he could trace using string or lasers, like the characters on crime scene investigation shows.
Tohma and Eiri scrambled to their feet as soon as they realized what had happened. Eiri was ready to burst out of the room and run to the stage, but Tohma restrained him, with difficulty. "You'll just cause a scene," he hissed, "and that's if you make it to the stage without being mauled first."
One of the technicians piped up, "If you go out the back, you can walk around until you get to a stairway that leads to the backstage area and the dressing rooms."
"So this is the next level up in the building?" Tohma asked.
"Yeah," the guy said, and went back to bringing up the house lights and dimming the stage lights to give the audience the hint to depart and leave tending to the injured singer to the people in charge. People were milling all over the place and the press was having a field day interviewing audience members.
Meanwhile, Sakano was running around backstage like a chicken with its head cut off. The head of security was speaking on his cell phone to the local police chief. The controversy had led the police to agree to provide a protective presence at the concerts, so the police were already on hand, though most of them had been posted outside the building and hadn't witnessed the assault. Now they stared at the projectile as if they'd never seen one before and some of them smirked at it.
The physician on hand to handle emergencies examined Shuichi's face. There was a slight abrasion –it might even qualify as a cut – and some redness, but she told Shuichi that it didn't require stitches. "Clean it well, put some ice on it and a bandage, and it should be fine in a few days. It shouldn't even leave a scar," she said.
In the meantime, Eiri and Tohma had hurried out the door at the back of the lighting booth and were running through hallways toward the stairway on the other side of the stage. Or at least Tohma was running to keep up with Eiri, who was taking long, determined strides.
Eiri flung open the door to the stairway and held it long enough that it wouldn't hit Tohma in the nose. They began descending quickly, their feet lightly pounding on each step.
Downstairs, they pounded on the locked door until Eiri spotted a combination lock similar to the one by the patio door. He tried the same combination and it worked.
Tohma knew his way around now that they were backstage, so Eiri let him go first. They found K and the doctor escorting Shuichi back to the dressing room, where Hiro and Suguru had already changed their clothes.
"How is he?" Eiri said as he skidded to a stop by the dressing room door.
"He's fine," K said soothingly. Shuichi broke K's hold on his shoulders and ran toward Eiri, who looked hesitant at first but then opened his arms and held onto Shuichi tightly after he nearly knocked the wind out of him again.
"I'm okay, Yuki," Shuichi said softly. When Eiri looked at him disbelievingly, he laughed and said, "Really, I am."
Eiri examined Shuichi's face closely. There was an angry red patch on his cheek where the ribbed dildo had hit. It might turn funny colors while it was healing, but he supposed Shuichi was right. It would heal.
The doctor brushed past them, trying to get into the dressing room to wash the wound. A police officer was stationed there to ensure nothing else happened to the band members. It appeared as though Shuichi had been singled out, but it was impossible to know if he was the only target.
When Shuichi went in, Hiro clasped his hand and said, "You all right?"
Rubbing his face before the doctor batted his hand away, he said, "Yeah. It's no big deal" before letting the doctor wash it, dry it, and cover it with gauze held in place with adhesive tape. He asked her, "Do I have to leave this on all night?"
She said, "It would be better. I don't want dirt or germs getting in there and possibly starting an infection."
"We'll work around it," Eiri murmured to Shuichi. The doctor gave him a puzzled look. Apparently there was at least one person around who didn't know who he was. In this instance, he found that more of a relief than a letdown.
Shuichi nuzzled against him, careful not to put pressure on his injured cheek. Eiri half-listened to K briefing Tohma on the police investigation. They had collected the object that had caused the injury, as well as the other objects that had been tossed onstage, and were sending it to the lab to be dusted for fingerprints and swabbed for DNA. They had also interviewed as many people as they could who had been seated in the area where witness accounts said the projectile had originated.
Sakano came rushing up to them. "Here," he said, and shoved a bouquet of flowers in Eiri's hands. When Eiri looked at him quizzically, he added, "Some girl was trying to hand this to Shindou-san to give to you when he was hit. The police have checked it out and say there's nothing untoward in there." He flashed a brief grin. "Unless there's something untoward with lilies and spider mums, that is."
Eiri examined the bouquet. It was predominantly pink and white, with white lilies tipped with pink (stargazer, he thought they were called), huge cascading white mums, and alstroemeria. He was reminded, somewhat uncomfortably, of the bouquet he'd given Shuichi when he'd visited him at home after he caught a cold from toppling into the fountain at the park where the two of them had met. Those flowers had never made it into a vase; they had been crushed when they struggled after Shuichi changed his mind about letting Eiri have his way with him.
"Can we leave now?" Eiri asked abruptly.
Tohma looked at him, surprised. "Shuichi still needs to change."
"It's a zoo in here. He can change back at the hotel."
Shuichi muttered, his face still buried against Eiri's neck, "I'm right here and I can speak for myself."
Eiri looked at the top of his head. "So what do you want, squirt?"
Shuichi sighed. "I'd rather go back to the hotel with you, if that's okay." He pulled himself out of Eiri's embrace and looked at Tohma. "Is it?"
Tohma looked thoughtful. "I'd planned on sending all of you back together on the bus, but under the circumstances, it might be a good idea for you to get away from the hubbub. After all, you've had enough excitement for one night, ne?" he asked, smiling. Eiri hoped he was being deliberately ironic; he still had plans for additional excitement that evening - plans he didn't want spoiled or abandoned just because some idiot had hit Shuichi in the face with a sex toy. "K, please call the limousine company and ask them to come pick Eiri-san and Shindou-san up."
"What about us?" Suguru asked.
"The bus will be ready soon," Tohma said in a soothing tone of voice. To Eiri, he said, "Consider it a little gift from me and NG."
"Do you have your keycard with you?" Eiri asked Shuichi, wary from past experiences when Shuichi had left his keycard in his room.
"Yes," Shuichi said defensively, also remembering the times they'd had to go to the front desk and ask for another keycard because he'd left his behind. "It's in my pants pocket."
"Go get your things, then," Eiri said. Shuichi rooted around for his backpack and the clothes he'd left hanging up.
"You left your notebook on the dressing table," Hiro reminded him. Shuichi darted over to retrieve it and stuck it inside his backpack, which at this point was so full he couldn't close it properly. Instead of struggling with it, he left it partially unzipped and hoped nothing would fall out of it.
"Here," Eiri said to Tohma, thrusting the flowers at him. "I don't want to carry these back to the hotel with us."
Tohma smiled. "We can't leave them here, either. Why don't you take them and give them to the clerk at the front desk and tell her to put them in the lobby? I'm sure they have vases."
"All right," Eiri said ungraciously, and accepted the bouquet back.
After standing around for a few minutes, during which a police captain came and briefed Tohma on the progress of their investigation, K stuck his head in and said, "Follow me. The limousine's here."
The crowd had mostly dispersed, and security personnel kept everyone who was still there far away as Eiri and Shuichi slid into the back seat of a sleek limousine. The driver was a slight woman wearing a smartly tailored jacket, pants, and a cap.
"The Miyako Hotel, right?" she said, tipping her hat to them after opening their door. She slid into the driver's seat and set off at a sedate pace.
Had events unfolded differently, Eiri would have left little of Shuichi untouched, but he contented himself with threading his fingers through Shuichi's. Shuichi leaned against him, his uninjured cheek warm against Eiri's shoulder. The bouquet rested in Eiri's lap.
"Are you okay?" Eiri asked again. "Would you rather wash up and go to sleep?"
Shuichi huffed. "I'm fine, and no, I don't want to wash up and go to sleep. I've been looking forward to this since I left Tokyo, and I'm not going to let some idiot spoil it." He said nothing further, feeling a bit shy given that their driver was a woman. For some reason, it was easier to talk about sex in front of them when they were men. They might not be any more approving of homosexual relationships, but somehow he didn't feel as weird talking about sex within earshot of them.
In a few minutes, they arrived at the hotel. The driver opened the door for them and stood almost at attention while they exited. "Thank you," Eiri said to her as they left, and Shuichi echoed him.
When they passed the reception desk, Eiri thrust the bouquet at a startled clerk, said, "Put these in a vase somewhere, okay?" and walked on by. Shuichi giggled.
"What are you laughing at?" Eiri asked, slightly irritated.
"You and that walk-by bouquet bestowal. I wonder if she thinks you're sweet on her. You didn't give her any explanation of where the flowers came from."
Eiri frowned. "Isn't it odd that some girl from the audience was trying to give you that bouquet when you were attacked? Who would give me a bouquet with pink and white flowers, anyway?" he scoffed.
Shuichi shook his head violently, and then regretted it when it brought on a slight headache. "No, it's not odd! Audience members hand me bouquets like that all the time. Maybe they figured that you'd like those colors. Pink is very me, after all."
He almost giggled, thinking about the question some wag had made up: "When Eiri Yuki thinks about Shuichi Shindou, does he think pink?" Shuichi had been insulted at first at being compared to a woman, but given his cross-dressing and pink hair, it wasn't a completely unfair comparison. Besides, if he got upset at every little dig, he'd constantly be upset. Nowadays, he took things more light-heartedly.
Eiri huffed. "So does that mean guys as well as girls give you flowers?"
"Sometimes. Not as often, though."
Eiri didn't like the idea of other men giving Shuichi flowers. He understood that receiving flowers from female fans was one of the hazards of pop stardom; he'd received such bouquets himself at book-signings, though less often than Shuichi did. There wasn't much he could do about it, though, except insist that Shuichi throw them away, which would make him look like a jealous jerk. Then again, that had never stopped him in the past.
He turned to Shuichi. "What do you normally do with the flowers you receive at these concerts?"
Shuichi thought about it. "Sometimes we leave them at the venues for them to use. Sometimes we take 'em to our hotel rooms to brighten them up. And sometimes we send them to hospitals."
"I was going to suggest donating them to a nearby hospital, but I guess Tohma beat me to that idea."
Eiri gave him a sour look. "What do you think?"
Shuichi laughed. "You are!" He clutched Eiri's arm. "You don't need to be, though. I'm all yours."
Eiri thought to himself that Shuichi was all his as long as no one else came along who treated him more nicely than Eiri did and swept him off his feet, like Sakuma had. Shuichi was still a little hurt and suspicious about Ryuichi's motivation, since it had turned out that Reiji had filmed the whole thing. Since Ryuichi was under contract to her company as an actor, it was clearly not a coincidence, even though Ryuichi had tried telling Shuichi that it was. Though maybe Ryuichi hadn't expected Shuichi to return to Eiri, and if Eiri were honest with himself, would Shuichi have bothered if Eiri hadn't been injured in the meantime? Even though Ryuichi had said some hurtful things to Eiri, some of what he had said was true. Maybe, in some weird, twisted way, he had been trying to help.
They arrived at Shuichi's room after passing the people K had stationed by the elevator to provide security. Shuichi was grateful that they were stationed far away from his room. He still wasn't used to having random strangers who knew who he was overhearing him while he and Eiri were going at it.
As soon as the door closed, Eiri pushed Shuichi up against the wall and closed in for a kiss, one hand sliding down to fondle Shuichi's crotch. "Umph!" Shuichi exclaimed as he struggled and tried to break the kiss. "Lemme get out of these clothes. I'm still wearing my stage outfit, remember? I can't mess it up."
"I can remove them for you."
"Sorry, but they need to be hung up. You'd just fling them on the floor."
Eiri gave in and stepped back far enough to let Shuichi slip out. Out of the corner of his eye, he checked the window to make sure it was shut and the curtains and blinds were completely closed. After all that had happened, he had no desire to see a salacious photograph taken by some idiot with a telephoto lens on the front-page of tomorrow's tabloids or on the 'oh no, they didn't' websites tracking celebrity news and scandal.
Eiri watched as Shuichi carefully hung up his duster and leather pants. He was left wearing the cropped red t-shirt and snug-fitting red and black tiger stripe bikini briefs that didn't leave much to the imagination. He turned to Eiri and said, "I wanna see you now."
Eiri snorted. "You're seeing me now, moron."
Shuichi pouted. "You know what I mean."
"Hey, I don't get naked until well after you do. It's like a rule."
Shuichi planted himself at the edge of the bed and arched back, elbows supporting him. "Why is that, I wonder?"
Eiri walked toward him, smiling. He leaned over and rubbed. Shuichi closed his eyes and thrust into Eiri's hand. He whimpered and opened his eyes when Eiri removed his hand and saw Eiri sinking to his knees.
"Ah – ah," Shuichi panted. "Re-returning the favor?" He hadn't forgotten about K catching them. It was fortunate that K, though straight, was cool about the gay sex thing.
Eiri released his hold on Shuichi long enough to say, "It's not an exchange," and then resumed what he'd been doing. He licked the underside, leaving a trail of saliva, then teased the head before taking it fully into his mouth all the way to the root. After he rocked back and forth a couple of times, Shuichi got the idea and began thrusting.
Eiri wondered if he should to do this more often; Shuichi certainly did it to him plenty of times. His throat was probably going to feel raw later, but he didn't care. He was going to enjoy how many times he could bring Shuichi to climax. He used to complain about it, but then he realized that Shuichi's orgasms were a tribute to how much Shuichi wanted him and how much he turned Shuichi on. Even though Shuichi still felt abashed about it - possibly because the disparity between the two of them made him feel like he wasn't satisfying his lover - it gave Eiri a feleing of power to know that he affected Shuichi like that.
"Oh yeah, Yuki, more," Shuichi moaned as he clutched the bedspread. He spasmed and came when Eiri's fingers lightly brushed against his balls while he licked the vein running along the underside of Shuichi's cock.
Shuichi watched Eiri swallow. Even though he'd come, he remained erect. Eiri bent over, examining him, and licked the spots that were still damp and sticky.
Eiri pulled Shuichi's underwear off, Shuichi helping by lifting his butt in the air.
"No kissing?" Shuichi said. Eiri could hear the teasing note in his voice, but it also sounded like a serious question too.
"Aren't we a bit past that now?" Eiri responded gruffly. After all they'd done at the concert hall, it wasn't like they needed to indulge in more kisses to get in the mood, though Shuichi was probably always in the mood for more kisses. He looked down at him. "Is that okay with you?"
"I guess," Shuichi said breathlessly.
Normally, Eiri would take it slow and tease Shuichi until he begged him – sometimes literally, on his hands and knees, with head bowed – for what he wanted, but this time, Eiri wanted him too badly to take his time.
He coaxed Shuichi into rolling over, with his head turned to one side so as not to put pressure on his injured cheek, and slowly began caressing his inner thighs with his tongue.
Shuichi wiggled his butt as Eiri came closer and closer to the spot he was aiming for. Eiri licked around it, then thrust his tongue inside. Shuichi's moans increased in frequency and volume, making Eiri grin.
He backed away, picked up the tube he'd retrieved earlier, flipped the lid open, and squeezed the gel on his fingers. Shuichi thrust back and moaned even more lewdly while he pushed first one finger, then two, into him. He angled his fingers and grinned even more when Shuichi swore, loudly.
By then, Eiri had prepared and teased Shuichi about as much as he could stand. He let his pants fall to the floor, where he stepped out of them. Shuichi nibbled on his lower lip, bereft at the loss of contact. Unbuttoning his shirt and rolling up his sleeves, Eiri crawled back on the bed.
Deciding that a face up position was better for the scrape on Shuichi's face, he poked at his hip until Shuichi rolled over onto his back. Eiri positioned himself, aimed, and thrust in with ease born of long practice. He heard Shuichi groan as he felt Eiri press inside him. Eiri wondered idly about how many times they'd done this. At this point, they'd fucked more times than everyone else he'd ever slept with combined.
Eiri tried to take it easy at first. But his lust and Shuichi's thrusts ramped up his desire. Shuichi was moaning and screaming.
Eiri stopped and asked, "Do I need to use your shirt as a gag?"
Shuichi's eyes widened at that remark. He shoved the back of his hand into his mouth and bit down on it to keep from making so much noise. Shuichi writhed and moaned beneath Eiri, who could feel the tension coiling in Shuichi's slight body.
Shuichi wrapped a leg around Eiri and squeezed. After a brief pause, Eiri resumed thrusting, cupping Shuichi's ass. Shuichi came first, Eiri's name on his lips. Eiri hadn't even needed to touch him.
A few more thrusts, and Eiri came too. He continued until it became too painful, then collapsed, spent, on top of Shuichi, though he was careful to angle his torso so that he didn't wind up pressing his face against Shuichi's.
He lay there breathing heavily – what he would call 'panting' if Shuichi were doing it - while waiting for the spasms to subside. Perhaps he needed to work out after all; this amount of activity shouldn't wring him out like this. Or, more likely, it was because he was out of practice.
Shuichi snickered. "You must have really wanted me badly to come so soon," he said. Eiri wasn't going to dignify that with a response. Shuichi snuggled into the crook of his neck and said, "I'm really sticky and sweaty. Wanna join me in the shower?"
Eiri looked at him. Was he inviting him for some shower sex, or was he just being polite?
Shuichi must have read something in his glance, because he added, "I'd like the company, but it's been a long day. Maybe we can continue later?"
"Sure," Eiri said. He was tired too and didn't feel like teasing Shuichi about not wanting more now. He sat up, waiting for Shuichi to get up first. Shuichi looked back at him as if asking whether he was going to follow. He answered by dropping his shirt in a heap on the floor.
The bus had finally been packed with the band's equipment and had arrived at the hotel. It was late enough that no one was around; the press had wanted to catch Eiri and Shuichi and cared less about the other two bandmates. Hiro and Suguru were unlocking the doors to their rooms when Suguru called out, "I'm glad our rooms are across the hall from Shuichi's."
Hiro chuckled. "Me, too." They both knew from bitter and somewhat uncomfortable experience just how loud Shuichi could be while he and Eiri were otherwise occupied. Which led Hiro to wonder: what poor saps were staying in the rooms next to Shuichi and Eiri's room? Little did he know that K had deliberately kept those rooms empty that night.
The most exciting thing that happened while they were in the shower was that they ran out of hot water. After flopping down on the bed and curling up together, they fell asleep.
Shuichi woke up a little after four, but was reluctant to wake his sleeping lover. He knew Eiri wouldn't mind being awakened for more sex, but Eiri was tired to begin with and had been running on adrenaline and desire by the time they reached the hotel.
Eiri had once told an interviewer that sleeping was one of his favorite pastimes, and while the world at large thought that was a euphemism for something else, Shuichi knew he meant it. When he wasn't under the pressure of a deadline, he typically slept nine hours or more at a time. His body craved sleep. Besides, it was the one time he was guaranteed to look peaceful, even happy.
So Shuichi let the sleeping author sleep. He soon slipped back asleep himself.
They awoke so late that they barely had time to pack before check-out time. After all the time he'd spent alone, Shuichi ached more than usual. He removed the gauze and adhesive tape while washing his face; the abrasion on his face was fading, though it had bruised and was turning a livid yellow.
The media horde outside seemed disappointed when all they could see from the remote vantage point to which they'd been confined was that Shuichi walked with less ease than usual. Neither of them wore a piece of clothing that could be hiding a hickey, or winced at something that might be scratches. Other than the more salacious blogs, there wasn't much they could do to make news out of what they observed.
As the bus pulled away from the hotel, Eiri spared a thought for the hacker who had started all this. He knew that Tohma had his best people looking into this, but his and Tohma's interests weren't the same. Tohma wanted to report whoever it was to the police and use the legal process to bankrupt the person and bring him (or her) down. For him, it was just business.
But for Eiri, it was personal. He didn't want or need the money. He wanted revenge for having put his Shu-chan through this. So he planned on pursuing his own investigation and using his own avenues to find the creep and make him (or her) pay. He hoped a man was the culprit; he didn't think he had it in him to use violence against a woman, but he would find it supremely satisfying to beat the crap out of any man who had made Shuichi so miserable.
He grinned as the tour bus pulled away from the hotel. Whoever was responsible for this would soon face his wrath.
A/N - Thanks and gratitude to my long-suffering beta, HawkClowd, who keeps me on the straight and narrow path when it comes to writing. Since I touched this story last, any remaining errors are all my own.