+++++

Track Six

"I don't care *what* you say it is," Yuki stated, hiding his face behind a book again, "none of that stuff looks even remotely edible."

Shuuichi poked at the sad pile of Something on the plate. "Well, I - um - from this angle, it kinda *looks* like it might be - I mean-- "

Yuki walked over to the kitchen door, not looking back.

Shuuichi bit his lower lip and let out a little groan. It wasn't *his* fault Hiro had called just when he should've been watching the stove and... Okay, so maybe just a little; he should've been more attentive, as always. Shuuichi

*knew* that was his weak point, not being able to concentrate on things - with perhaps the exception of singing. He hung his head and felt disappointed and a complete failure. Yuki didn't even bother to look at him...

"Well?"

The sound of Yuki's voice made Shuuichi's head snap up. "Huh?"

Yuki was peeking at Shuuichi over his shoulder. "You'd better get something a bit nicer to wear, and be quick about it."

"What?" Shuuichi was completely baffled. "Why?"

"Because," Yuki said, turning his back to him and walking off, "I'm not taking you out to eat if you're wearing those shorts and t-shirt."

He could almost hear furry cat ears appearing on the top of Shuuichi's head, and in seconds, he was squeezed so tight he could hardly breathe.

"Yuki!" Shuuichi chirped, the voice muffled by the back of Yuki's shirt, "I so, so absolutely ADORE you, y'know that?"

"Yeah," Yuki said and sighed, "I got the idea." The sides of his mouth quirked up in a brief, secret smile as he felt Shuuichi nuzzling his neck.

"Hey, Yuki... I have this really *great* idea for when we come b-- "

The sound of the doorbell made them both startle a bit.

"I'll go get it," Yuki said, peeling Shuuichi off his back and walking over to the door. His jaw tightened and a small frown appeared on his face. He had very firm suspicion of who was behind the door as he irritatedly flung it open.

He crossed his arms over his chest as he noticed his guess has been correct.

Tatsuha didn't say anything, didn't even look at him. For a while Yuki waited for him to give him one of his ridiculous excuses, then took his arm and hauled the apparently frozen-to-place boy inside.

"Yuki, who is it?" Shuuichi came after Yuki, but stopped on his heels when he saw Tatsuha. Or, didn't see him, for Tatsuha didn't lift his eyes from the floor, and his coal black hair covered half of his face. "T-Tatsuha-kun?"

"All right, what is it?" Yuki asked, running one hand through his hair. "Do I have to go buy you a ticket to the next train to Kyoto, or are you going to explain?"

Tatsuha walked past the two to the living room. "I'm fine," he said quietly.

Shuuichi looked after him, then at Yuki, a deep frown of concern on his face. "Yuki? What should we do? He's acting all weird!" he whispered loudly.

"That's his problem. *We* are going to a restaurant." Yuki looked at him sternly. "Go get dressed."

"But-"

"Go get dressed."

Shuuichi nodded, unable to do anything else when he noticed that Yuki was losing his patience, and headed over to the living room where most of his clothes were at, scattered throughout the floor.

Shuuichi picked up the loose beige-coloured pants he had been wearing the day before and shook them back into shape. His eyes wandered over to Tatsuha, who was half buried in Shuuichi's CD collection.

"Go right ahead," Shuuichi said, trying for a cheerful tone, "take anything you like! Don't even bother asking!"

"Do you have any Luna Sea?" Tatsuha asked. "Or anything with a female singer?"

"Well, guess what, those Nittle Grasper records you were asking about before, I found them in the studio. They're over there," Shuuichi said, gesturing at the pile of paper and records on the sofa.

Tatsuha jumped, which made his hair move just enough to reveal his suddenly paled face. He shook his head, almost violently. "No, no NG. No. I - maybe if you have something a bit more cheerful-- "

Shuuichi hopped into his pants and then picked up a blue, long-sleeved shirt and walked over to Tatsuha. "But they're those bootleg recordings from the Niigata Live concert! You know, when Ryuuichi wore those huge wing-thingies, and you said he sang like an angel?"

Tatsuha swallowed and ran a nervous hand through his hair and down his face. "No. No, I - that is, I'm not in the mood, and - anyway, I've been listening to my NG records all the time I've been here."

Shuuichi kneeled down next to him, fingering a few of his CDs. "Oh, right, you brought them all over! Hey, did you get any cool stuff from that record shop you were going to visit?" Shuuichi looked around, then continued, "And where's your backpack, didn't you have it with you?"

Tatsuha gasped, as if badly startled.

"What?" Shuuichi asked, blinking.

"Shuuichi," Yuki called, "Are you ready? Let's go."

"Coming!" Shuuichi jumped up and tried to glomp him, but Yuki took a gracious sidestep.

+

Tatsuha listened to the ruckus resulting in Shuuichi's nose dive, and the bickering that followed it. He wished the two would just leave and let him be alone with his thoughts.

"We'll be back soon!" Shuuichi called from the door, and Tatsuha muttered something in reply.

Then the door slammed closed and he was left to sit in the empty apartment, his thoughts going in circles.

*I meant everything I said.* Tatsuha bit his teeth. *Fuck it, I have some pride. I had every right to give him a piece of my mind, after he treated me like that - like some kind of a boy whore, for fuck's sake! I all but expected him to give me a special signed NG single as payment!*

He stood up, so fast his head started to spin, and jammed his fist to the nearest wall. *Fuck the bastard, he doesn't give a shit, why the hell should I?*

He took a few deep breaths, finding himself out of breath due to sheer fury. That calmed him down gradually, and he sank back on the floor, murmuring every possible curseword he knew.

*Because, Uesugi Tatsuha, you biggest idiot in the whole fucking world, you have fallen in love with him, the huge popstar Sakuma Ryuuichi. Didn't everyone warn you about it, always nag you about how stupid and delusional you were? And now, you're blaming it all on him, as if you were *raped* instead of had a dream made true. Dreams will *always* be just dreams, Tatsuha. What did you expect, poetic confessions of undying love? For fuck's sake, how *girl* can you get, anyway?*

The backs of his eyes had started to sting again. They had stung all the time when he had ran out of the hotel building and through the streets, but he had fought to keep the tears from spilling out. No way was he going to start crying like a dumped girlfriend! He had to maintain what little pride he still had. Recover what was still remaining of his splittered self-image.

Shakily, he peeled off his leather jacket and let it drop on the floor. His shoes soon followed it.

*I'd better get some rest, change my clothes to get rid of his smell... damn, but it's all over this shirt... *

The doorbell. He sighed and got on his feet. Most likely Shuuichi forgetting something, the airhead. He walked lazily over to the door and opened it.

And he stared. Ryuuichi looked back, eyes big and warm.

For a long while, neither of them made a sound. As a matter of fact, the whole world had just seemed to take a screeching halt.

"Here, you forgot this." Ryuuichi offered Tatsuha his backpack, and he took it without a word. Ryuuichi's eyes left Tatsuha and he looked around him. "You can tell me to piss off and I'll go, I just..."

"What?" Tatsuha cleared his throat and tried again, "What do you want from me?"

Although his voice was empty and held no particular bitterness or sting, it seemed to make Ryuuichi wince. The singer opened his mouth, then closed it again, shuffled his feet nervously and tried to find something to do with his hands, now that he no longer had the backpack. "I - I don't know, actually. Something's wrong, and I think we need to talk it over. I feel bad about what happened." He let out a little laugh that had nothing to do with happiness or cheer. "I suppose I just want to hear you say that you don't hate me. I'm kinda selfish that way..."

Tatsuha was quiet, looking at his toes. He didn't know what to say, what to think. *Tell him you don't hate him, you know you never could, not really, just tellhimtellhimtellhim-- *

Ryuuichi swallowed audibly, reaching out a hand to tug at Tatsuha's sleeve. "Please. It really means a lot to me."

"I don't," Tatsuha finally managed thickly, shaking his head, avoiding Ryuuichi's eyes, "I don't hate you. Why, what would be the point? I can't just put all the blame on you, can I?"

Ryuuichi's face brightened up and he smiled a tentative smile. Tatsuha barely had time to notice before he felt a pair of arms snake their way around his chest. Ryuuichi tucked his face under Tatsuha's chin and held him tightly in his embrace. "Thank you." The soft, sweet voice made Tatsuha's mind and heart go to turmoil. "Oh, I can be so horribly self-centered sometimes, can't I... I only thought of myself, and didn't even pause to think that you might not take it the same way I did." He let out a quiet laugh. "You just... get so used to the pattern that you eventually become blind to any other possibilities."

Tatsuha brought his own hands up and another cupped Ryuuichi's head, the other slid down to press him closer to Tatsuha. He was shakily holding a dream. "No need to explain," he murmured, "you don't have to - you don't owe me anything."

"Maybe I do." Ryuuichi raised his eyes to Tatsuha's and stared at him intensely. "I never did give you that chance to ask about me in return."

"But that was just a - it doesn't matter," Tatsuha stuttered, melting under the sweet gaze.

*But it does matter... more than anything.*

"Ask," Ryuuichi said, almost inaudibly.

Tatsuha would go mad if he couldn't kiss those lips soon. His hormones had started to take over his rational thought. "I think I already did. When you said that, that I was not the first... fan to... I wanted to know, I mean..."

*You're babbling! Stop it, stop it, stop it! Think, Uesugi Tatsuha, THINK, with your brain and not with your cock!*

He had almost convinced himself that he could restrain himself, when Ryuuichi shattered all his self-control by tucking a kiss under his chin; a teasing, light brush of his lips against Tatsuha's oversensitive skin. "Ah. Whether you are an arm candy or not."

Tatsuha groaned; he couldn't help it anymore. He took a few steps backwards, pulling Ryuuichi with him, and kicked the door shut. They were left standing in the semi-darkness of the corridor, limbs tangling as their mouths easily found each other, mutual hunger speaking for them. Ryuuichi pushed Tatsuha against the wall, his hands travelling from his back to his chest, and then up to totally mess up his hair. Forcefully, he tilted Tatsuha's head to the other side and attacked his throat as if he wanted to eat him. His other hand moved to pull his t-shirt up. Tatsuha's eyes fluttered shut and he allowed himself to be ravished, stuffing his own hands into the backpockets of Ryuuichi's jeans and pulling him closer. The friction of their hips grinding together was enough to make his mind turn into a haze.

"Candy..." Ryuuichi licked a long, wet line along Tatsuha's collar bone. "Oh yes... definitely..."

"You should be illegal instead of me," Tatsuha ground out, sliding his hands up to feel a shudder go through Ryuuichi's whole body.

He gave the older man a smoldering kiss, which Ryuuichi interrupted by pulling away and laughing, "I've always considered myself a bit of a rebel. Pray tell..." He pulled the t-shirt over Tatsuha's head and tossed it somewhere, and gave him a short, wet kiss. "...what particular law am I breaking if I do... oh, say... this?" He wrapped one arm around Tatsuha's waist and let his other hand slide down the teenager's chest, then stopped when he found a nipple and squeezed it between two fingers, then twisted it.

A surprised moan escaped from Tatsuha before he bit his teeth together. The mixture of pain and pleasure sang through his veins, and he found his jeans achingly tight. "Ryuuichi," he breathed, "Oh... several, I'm sure..."

Ryuuichi chuckled against his skin as Tatsuha's hands started to frantically tug off the older man's shirt. "You're still so impatient."

Even through his desire, Tatsuha realised they were circling around a big topic here. He braced himself and looked down at Ryuuichi, clearing his head the best he could. "Ryuuichi, there's a reason."

More chuckles. "I'm sure there is. Here, let me give you some more reasons..."

The singer's hands wriggled inside Tatsuha's jeans.

Tatsuha grabbed Ryuuichi's wrists and pulled his hands up to bring both of their attentions back to the topic. "No, seriously. I'm... there's something I haven't-- "

Ryuuichi's eyes were somewhat confused and even a tad amused. "Something so important it can't wait?"

"Yes," Tatsuha said sternly. His body screamed for Ryuuichi's touch, but he *had* to say this.

The singer thought for a second. Then he pulled free from Tatsuha's grasp and hazarded a wary glance towards the living-room. "Is your brother at home?" He looked back at Tatsuha and stuck his tongue out playfully. "I think we'd better keep it down if he is, huh?"

Tatsuha blushed slightly at the thought. "No, he and Shuuichi went out just before."

Ryuuichi thought for a second more. "Okay", he then stated, and circled behind Tatsuha, snaking his arms around him. "Show me the way to someplace where we can... y'know... talk." His tone was decidedly suggestive, and he turned his head to give Tatsuha a dirty grin.

"Did you know it's impossible to be serious around you?" Tatsuha grinned right back, nudging his nose with his own.

Ryuuichi laughed again, his voice clear and playful. "Just doing my best to distract you. Now, move!"

Among many heated kisses and a couple of undone jeans' buttons, they managed to find the closest room, which happened to be the living-room.

Ryuuichi pulled away long enough to look around a bit. "Heey, necking on the sofa! Haven't done that since high school."

Tatsuha cringed. Right to the topic.

"Looks awfully small, though," Ryuuichi went on, hopping onto the sofa and pulling Tatsuha with him. "Might get stuffed, what with all these verr-ry serious topics we have to discuss." He threw one leg over Tatsuha's and moved to sit on his lap, facing him and capturing all his attention.

Tatsuha wondered idly why he hadn't already got rid of that shirt Ryuuichi was still wearing and brought his hands up to remedy the fact. His fingers shook a little when he unbuttoned the shirt. He *had* to talk, about something that really bothered him, so why did Ryuuichi have to be so playfully seductive? He silently unbuttoned the rest of the buttons and let his hands slip inside the shirt and wrap around Ryuuichi. Gods, but he had such perfect skin... made to be touched, praised with kisses...

"Ryuuichi. We really have to get one thing clear. *I* have to make it clear."

"Go on," Ryuuichi softly said, "I'm listening."

Tatsuha breathed deep, Ryuuichi's scent overwhelming his senses. "This is all really new to me, you know," he started, "And I'm kind of standing on my toes all the time..."

"Hey, I have my insecurities, too," Ryuuichi cut in. "Everybody has."

"Yeah, but... I'm just... there's so much at stake here. I'm afraid you'll hate me once I'm through."

Ryuuichi smiled. "You're taking everything so seriously."

Tatsuha looked up at him, his eyes narrowed and voice hurt. "I am! I happen to take this seriously, it's my bad, okay? My fuckin' bad!" He squeezed his eyes shut and dropped his forehead against Ryuuichi's shoulder. "Oh, fuck," he murmured, "I'm messing it all up."

"Oh no, you're not getting all dramatic on me." Ryuuichi raised Tatsuha's chin and, smiling, gave him a light kiss on each cheek. "I *won't* hate you. For your information, I'm generally not very good at hating people! Just spit it out already. What horrible secrets do you keep?"

Tatsuha hesitated and bit his lip. "The way you always tease me about being so impatient, y'know, like a teenager... um... what would you do if... I told you it's true?"

Ryuuichi stared at him blankly.

Tatsuha sighed irritatedly, and put an end to the short, uncomfortable silence. "I'm sixteen, Ryuuichi."

Ryuuichi blinked, then slowly shook his head and chuckled disbelievingly. "No way. Nice try, Tatsuha, but you're almost a head taller than me!"

"So I'm tall, it's in the family." Tatsuha shrugged, looking away. "Doesn't matter. I'm a kid no matter how big a kid I might be."

It was silent for a moment.

Then Tatsuha felt Ryuuichi's hand drop on the top of his head and looked up to meet warm brown eyes. Ryuuichi was biting his lower lip and frowning. "You're... really sixteen? I can't believe it. I thought you were at least 20."

"Lots of people say that," Tatsuha said quietly. "Especially if they know my brother. Y'know, usually I'm happy when they think I'm 20-something, but it does get a bit tiring to be compared to Eiri all the time. We're not the same. As a matter of fact, we're everything *but* the same."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Ryuuichi asked, brushing Tatsuha's hair off his eyes. He looked like he hadn't heard a word of Tatsuha's muttered rant, his eyes wandering over Tatsuha's face as if looking for something. "Damn, Tatsuha... you should've told me."

"Would you have had anything to do with me if I had told you?" Tatsuha asked rhetorically. "Would you have... " He blushed and shut his mouth, shaking his head. Why even ask.

Ryuuichi ran his fingers over the blushing cheek. "And I wondered why you blushed so much. Tatsuha, if you had told me from the start... It was your first time, wasn't it? You should've told me."

"Well, I didn't know you cared." Tatsuha could feel his cheeks starting to blush and distracted himself by kissing Ryuuichi's neck. "You don't ask an eye candy how old he is, do you?"

Suddenly Ryuuichi laughed. "Oh, we're one big bundle of misunderstandings, aren't we."

The laughter reached Tatsuha, too, and he chuckled as he leaned forward to kiss Ryuuichi's neck.

The singer wrapped his arms around Tatsuha's back and pulled him as close as he could possibly get. "You're not an arm candy, Tatsuha, you're ever so much more, and I don't care if you are sixteen or sixty. Although speaking of candy, I seem to remember there are some parts of you I'd like to taste...." He pulled back enough to wink at Tatsuha, and slid gracefully down from Tatsuha's lap to kneel on the floor between Tatsuha's legs.

"*Arm* candy not enough for you?" Tatsuha asked and grinned, raising his hips to help Ryuuichi pull his jeans down.

Ryuuichi's eyes caught his, sparkling with joy, but behind the playfulness there was a smoldering fire that sent heat waves all over his young lover's body.

"Oh no, Tatsuha. Not nearly enough..."

~*~

The End