Nothing pissed Yuki off more than book signing sessions. Sure, sometimes Shuichi's incessant babbling about the most inane things made him feel like strangling the pink haired kid once in a while, but book signing sessions took the cake as his pet peeve.
He just hated them.
Being an author, and a rather good one too in the biased opinion of his numerous, and predominantly female fans, fans who seemed to think that the better looking you happened to be, the more profound and gut wrenching the crap that you typed was (It didn't matter to them that his sexual tension charged, erotic masterpiece of a romance novel filled with heaving, snow white bosoms and broad manly chests had been produced while he'd been half drunk and pondering the whole point and meaning of his life when his whole existence consisted of coming up with idiotic, romantic drivel that half of the time made him want to go and puke his guts out), he could come up with several ways in which to describe how he felt about these occasions.
He had a wide vocabulary that spanned several languages of some very colorful and inventive curses that he could have drawn on, but he was tired. He was drained from having to spend two hours in a roomful of gushing females, his hand was aching from having to sign his name over and over again on countless books, his ribs hurt from the enthusiastic hugs that his fans had insisted on giving him and which his agent had insisted would be good for publicity (like he bloody cared about publicity), and his face was beginning to ache from having had to smile so much, if you could call the unpleasant little grimace that had been on his face a smile.
Therefore, when he collapsed, completely exhausted onto the king size bed in his hotel room, only one thought was running through his mind: I hate book signing sessions. Sheer and utter loathing would be too mild a way to put how I feel about them to words. I hate them to the very marrow of my bones and to the very core of my soul.
Yuki wasn't a social person at the best of times so it was understandable why he should be so out of sorts after being shoved into a roomful of squealing, excited strangers who all seemed to want to grope him.
Still, he had the presence of mind to store away the promising last line of his previous thought. Just change a few words and you had a winner there. 'My love for you penetrates to the very marrow of my bones and to the very core of my soul'. That should have those female fans of his swooning.
Add a couple of more lines about the handsome hunk of a hero's love for the beautiful, demure woman from the wrong side of the tracks being as ceaseless as the waves crashing against the shore and as inevitable as the rising of the sun in the sky every morning and those stupid women would be as raring to go as anything, dragging their poor, potbellied husbands into their bedrooms for a bit of 'sexual tension' relief.
He was doing Japan's population a great service by writing these books, igniting the fires of the decidedly uninspired sex lives of thousands of urban middle-class Japanese couples, or at least the feminine half of said couples anyway, but good god…it was horrible how he was beginning to regularly come up with such stupid, sappy crap without even meaning to!
It wasn't as though Shuichi inspired those thoughts! No, the only thoughts that that guy inspired in his mind were of murder and once in a while, well okay, a lot of the time, he served as Yuki's muse when he dreamed up clever little bed games involving several cans of whipped cream, a feather, some cherries and a Polaroid camera. So where the hell was he getting all this romantic, smut romance material? The gods knew that romance wasn't in his nature. He was mean and proud of it.
If he'd tried to write a novel based on their relationship, not that he would ever actually be crazy enough to attempt such a thing, then it would probably turn out to be some weird, psychological thriller about how a kid one day invades the apartment of a promising and talented writer and makes himself comfortable, refusing to leave and holding aforementioned writer under his control through great sex and disgusting sweetness.
Slowly the poor writer would be driven insane from being constantly subjected to ceaseless whining, enthusiastic glomping, piercing cries of 'Yuuuuuuuukkkkki!' that haunted him in his dreams, and stories about how a gun toting band manager had chased the poor, victimized kid through the record company building just because he happened to be a couple of hours late for a meeting.
It was a good idea for a book, but was a little too close to home for comfort.
Home. Where the idiot Shuichi was. Where the idiot Shuichi was currently home alone.
Yuki pushed himself up into a sitting position, golden eyes wide. He needed a cigarette. He patted around the pockets of his jacket until he found a pack of them and lit up, taking deep, soothing drags.
He was going to pay one day for smoking like a fucking chimney, but that didn't matter right then. He could worry about that on his deathbed as they hooked him up to some artificial lung machine or whatever. Then he could afford to be pissed at himself. What mattered right now, though, were the images of utter mayhem in his mind as he imagined several scenarios that came as a result of leaving the accident prone Shuichi unsupervised.
Was there still a home standing now? He wouldn't put it past Shuichi and his almost astounding aptitude towards chaos to be able to level their apartment building to the ground within the short span of a few days.
His original plan of action upon reaching his hotel room had been to order room service. He hadn't wanted to go out for dinner and besides, he could have vented out all of his frustration on the unfortunate that happened to answer his call (he would have preferred his usual emotional punching bag, but he wasn't around).
He had been planning on being thoroughly unpleasant, just enough so that the person would wish eternal damnation upon his soul in the deepest, darkest pit of hell, then he would have made up for everything with a ridiculously big tip. Yes. It was so easy and convenient venting your frustrations out on an innocent.
And then of course, Shuichi had to ruin his plans for the evening by making him call home out of concern for the state of his apartment, and only that.
He had no other reason to call. Of course he didn't. It wasn't as though he missed the little idiot. Who would miss being tackled as soon as he set foot past the threshold? Who would miss ear piercing cries and the relentless pounding of your eardrums?
He was only going to call home to check up on the state of things, not because he missed the kid.
But if he called home, couldn't the grossly delusional j-pop star get the wrong conclusions and start thinking that perhaps in some tiny, tiny, deeply disturbed and insane part of Yuki, he might just like having him around? How could he get Shuichi to ever leave him alone then?
Of course, he refused to acknowledge the fact that he had done very little lately to encourage the younger man's departure besides being his usual, rather unpleasant self. He'd always thought that that would be more than enough, but he still insisted on staying.
Shuichi either felt more deeply for him than he had ever imagined possible or was just too plain stupid to see that their so called 'relationship' was just perverse and self-destructive, a bastardization of the whole concept of love, as Touma had put it once in the earlier stages.
Touma didn't think that a relationship that consisted mainly of a lot of yelling and cursing and cries of 'Idiot!' on Yuki's part, and a lot of crying and carrying on and bothersome hyperactivity on the musical idol's part was very healthy.
Of course Touma wasn't around to witness the times when Yuki simply held Shuichi against him as they both drowsed off after making love, he'd never heard the undercurrent of concern in the fair haired writer's tone of voice while scolding Shuichi for his idiocy after he'd managed to hurt himself some way or the other, Touma had never seen Yuki as he watched Shuichi sleeping, marveling at the way that his lover's chest rose and fell in time with his steady breathing, his usually piercing golden eyes softened by the simple satisfaction of having someone to hold into the night.
Touma didn't know about those things and so he wouldn't know that the relationship between him and Shuichi wasn't all bad. Troublesome? Yes, most definitely. Disturbing? At times. Wrong? Most probably. But something that should just be discarded because of a few rough spots along the way? No. Not anytime soon. And not if Yuki could help it.
He smirked. Wasn't it too bad that he couldn't feel this way towards Shuichi when the kid was actually within the vicinity? Things would certainly be a lot more peaceful within the Yuki household then. The Yuki-Shindou household, he corrected himself, after a bit of thought. And after some more consideration, he decided to scratch that. Peace with Shuichi around just was not attainable. He had to come to grips with that no matter how much he didn't like it.
And in the first place, what the hell had he been thinking leaving the idiot alone like that? That had been an act of sheer lunacy!
At the very least he could have asked Touma to drop in once in a while to make sure that Shuichi hadn't come across death by some sort of unfortunate misadventure with the toaster, the microwave, countless other electrical appliances, things that the idiot could stick his finger or various other bodily appendages into or combustible materials. He was pretty sure that Touma would have agreed to do that. If for no other reason than Shuichi was an investment of his.
Who knew what he was doing? Who knew who he might be with? At that thought Yuki's eyes narrowed dangerously in a way that Shuichi would have recognized, had he been around, as the cue for him to slip very, very quietly away if he truly valued his life.
There was Hiro for one. The best friend. Sure, he was supposed to be happy with Ayaka and everything but Yuki trusted the guy about as much as he would trust advice from Shuichi about grammar structure and spelling in his writing.
Wouldn't this be the perfect time for seduction?
He could just about picture the scenario. Shuichi pining away for him at their apartment, staring disconsolately out of the window, watching for any signs of his beloved (himself, of course) out on the streets. The door would burst open, the kid never bothered to lock the door even though Yuki had told him thousands of times before that he would get them both killed because of that particular bad habit, and Hiro, that bastard, would come in, looking dashing in one of those poufy shirts that you saw the models on the covers of the cheesy romance novels wearing, the kind that down and out, but unbelievably chiseled stable hands wore.
Then the Bad Luck guitarist would sweep the smaller boy into his arms, Shuichi would make a few, half hearted efforts to resist, but since he was worn out from being away from Yuki for two straight, horrible days, he would eventually give in and allow his 'best friend' to make wild, animal love to him on their apartment floor.
Damn his overactive writer's imagination to hell! It was useful sometimes, but not in this particular situation when his idiot boyfriend was several hundred miles away where he couldn't keep his eyes on him.
And another horrible thought, this time concerning Ryuichi Sakuma. Sure the guy acted like the world's biggest six year old, leading Yuki to the conclusion that he had to suffer from some sort of mild mental retardation, no matter how many times Touma had told him otherwise, sure he seemed harmless enough, if a bit too frighteningly…upbeat for Yuki's taste, but really, when he thought about it, he was still a thirty plus year old man with boundless energy who liked to 'play' a lot with Shuichi.
Lots of touching and hugging and little kisses went on between those two, he knew. He had to be up to something will all of that! He was a hyperactive and no doubt, horny, close to middle aged man who liked to play wrestle around with his decidedly too naïve for his own good boyfriend!
That was the thought that finally got to him. He couldn't stand the image of that idiotic, bright pink stuffed bunny that Sakuma always carried around with him lying discarded off to one side, the silent witness to the Nittle Grasper singer and Shuichi's playful, energetic love making.
Yuki lunged for the phone. He dialed the number to his apartment as quickly as he could and listened to the distant ringing at the other end of the line. Shuichi should be home by then. Bad luck was supposed to have some rehearsal for a concert in downtown Tokyo, but they'd started in the morning and should have wrapped up by this time.
With Shuichi sick with loneliness and pining away for him, he'd probably gone right home to mope around in the off chance that he might call. He wasn't the needy one in this relationship. It was Shuichi that was.
One ring, then another. No one was answering. What the hell was Shuichi doing? He usually jumped to answer the phone whenever it rang. The phone ringing was, to Shuichi, like a thrown stick to a trained dog.
With each unanswered ring, Yuki's apprehension increased. Good God. Something had happened to the idiot! He fumbled around on the bed spread for the newspaper that he knew he had thrown there that morning. If Shuichi had been injured or maybe kidnapped (the gods help the kidnapper, Yuki couldn't help thinking, even in the midst of his rapidly increasing anxiety), then it should have been written about. After all, the idiot was rather famous because of his 'singing', more appropriately referred to as 'caterwauling' by Yuki,
So he thumbed through the paper in search for any glaring headlines about J-pop idols burning down their apartment buildings while trying to make some toast for breakfast, all the while listening for Shuichi's voice on the other end of the line.
There was an article in the entertainment section about Shuichi and Bad Luck's upcoming concert, but nothing about him having come to some untimely demise.
Yuki had just been about to slam the receiver of the phone back down into its cradle so that he could try calling on the singer's mobile when there was a soft clicking sound.
He blinked. The voice that had answered had been completely unfamiliar. It most definitely didn't sound like Hiro and it didn't have that on edge, perpetually high-strung tone of Sakuma Ryuichi's voice.
Besides, that man never answered the phone with a simple 'hello'. Usually Sakuma would carry on an elaborate little dialogue, thinking that his pitching his voice a few octaves higher would actually convince the person he was speaking to on the phone that his beloved little Kumagorou was the one they were talking to. God how he hated that rabbit.
The query was repeated. " Hello?"
" Who is this?" The novelist demanded. He was sure that he hadn't dialed the wrong number.
Now in spite of the fact that Yuki had as little to do with them as he possibly could, he actually knew pretty much every one of Shuichi's friends and he'd never heard any mention of a 'Ruiji' before. This made him curious. " Are you one of the idiot's friends?"
A pause, and then, " Excuse me?"
" Are you one of Shuichi's friends?" So much for Shuichi pining away for him all alone in that empty apartment…
" You call Shu-chan an idiot?" There was disbelief in the man's tone, as though this were some sort of sacrilege, as though he found it amazing that someone would actually call Shuichi that. Obviously this Ruiji didn't know the pink haired teen as well as he did.
" I do, as a matter of fact. On quite a regular basis. Give
the phone to Shuichi. I want to know why he's letting strange people
into my apartment."
" You guys were really, really great today! It was so nice of the two of you to invite me to come and watch your rehearsal! Thanks so much!" Hiro had pretty much lost count of all the times that the guy had gushed over them. Not that he minded very much.
And obviously Shuichi loved having so much attention lavished upon him. It wasn't as though Yuki ever made it a point to tell Shuichi how much he liked his music, because Yuki usually did the exact opposite, so it was only understandable that he should soak up the praise like a flower would absorb the sun's rays.
It was nice to know that they'd made another fan. And nice to be reassured that Ruiji wouldn't be dragging Shuichi's licenceless ass off to court any time soon for damages.
In fact, the guy had been remarkably nice about everything, agreeing to settle things without their insurance agents (not that Shuichi actually had one), even going to all the trouble of recommending a great body repair specialist that he knew.
" Ne, Rui-chan, when did that guy say that I could get the car back?" Throughout the course of the day, Shuichi and Ruiji had gotten decidedly more and more friendly with each other, to the point that the Bad Luck singer had invited the older man back to his apartment with him and Hiro for a drink.
Ruiji shrugged. " He said in a couple of days…"
The pink haired singer clapped his hands together in glee, his face lighting up at this. " Good! It should be back before Yuki comes home then!" He was saved!
He'd spent the previous night tossing and turning, imagining all the torture that the author might put him through once he found out about what had happened to his beloved car. He never would have thought that the prospect of his Yuki coming home would fill him with so much dread, but that was the way that he'd felt the night before. He'd even been considering moving in with Hiro for a while as he waited for Yuki to cool down.
Ruiji's face darkened imperceptibly. Yuki again. Shuichi had a habit of sprinkling his conversation with generous amounts of anecdotes about this Yuki and each mention of the guys name just made him even more determined to succeed in what he'd set out to do. The more he learned about this famous novelist from Shuichi, the more it seemed to Ruiji that he didn't deserve to have Shuichi around.
Yuki, to him, seemed like a bastard, and Hiro's opinion about the guy seemed to run along the same lines as his, only he kept quiet because he knew how much Yuki meant to his best friend.
" Oi! Rui-chan!" The singer's voice interrupted his thoughts. Shuichi had risen from where he had been sitting on the floor by Hiro's feet. " Are you listening to me? Do you want a drink? I think there's some of Yuki's beer left in the fridge. He wouldn't mind if you had one. I'll just replace them before he gets back."
" Sure, Shu. Thanks."
As soon as Shuichi had disappeared into the kitchen, there were several loud, shrill peals from the phone.
" Someone get that!" came Shuichi's disembodied voice, slightly muffled due to the fact that he'd poked the entire upper half of his body into the fridge.
Ruiji looked expectantly at Hiro, who was sitting on one of the armchairs staring into the huge T.V screen. He had thought that the guitarist would be the one to get it since judging from the way he conducted himself; he was apparently perfectly at home in the place, which was actually true whenever Yuki wasn't around.
Hiro made no sign that he'd even heard the phone, though, so Ruiji picked himself up and answered it himself.
The Bad Luck guitarist languidly ran his hands through his longish hair as he listened idly to Ruiji conversing with the person on the other end of the line. When he heard the ' You call Shu-chan an idiot?' comment, he figured out immediately who it was that their new friend had been speaking to. " Oi! Shuichi! It's Yuki!" he shouted and in a lower tone of voice he muttered, " God help you…"
The pink haired singer dashed to the doorway that led to the living room and began to gesture madly at Ruiji for him to put down the phone.
Hiro had never thought he'd see the day when Shuichi would actually wave away a phone with Yuki on the other end of the line.
He could see, though, why Shuichi might not want to talk to the guy right then. His friend had never been much of a liar, especially not with something concerning Yuki, and that no good writer would probably figure out right away just from Shuichi's nervousness as he spoke to him that something suspicious was going on.
" Tell him I'm taking a bath or something!" The singer hissed theatrically.
" It's too late, Shu-chan." Ruiji told him apologetically, holding the receiver out towards him with a small, sheepish smile. As much as he may have wanted to slam the phone right back on its receiver with Yuki on the other end of the line, he didn't think that that would make a very good impression on the two band members. " I already told him you were gonna come talk to him in a bit. Besides, he heard Hiro-kun calling for you."
Shuichi was looking decidedly nervous as he took the phone from the
Ruiji's outstretched hand. He wasn't as stupid as many people thought
him to be, he knew perfectly well that Yuki would be able to hear any nervousness
in his tone and would immediately be alerted. Yuki always did.
He gave Hiro a haunted, deer caught in the headlights look before tentatively
speaking into the receiver. " Hello? Yuki?"
That voice. Yuki leaned back against the bed's headboard. He'd expected to feel a rush of relief upon hearing Shuichi, he'd been having some admittedly fond thoughts towards the younger man just a while before after all, but he didn't.
He was pissed. He was pissed that it had taken so long for Shuichi to answer the phone, he was pissed that it hadn't been Shuichi that had answered in the first place, pissed that there was a stranger in his home, pissed that he sounded none too pleased to talk to him, and now he was pissed because of the trepidation that he sensed in the singer's tone, as though he expected Yuki to burst out of the receiver and bite his head off. " What the hell is the matter with you?"
" I haven't done anything, Yuki! I swear!"
The whining had begun. Good god, had he really missed this? And where were the choked back sobs? The proclamations of undying love? The claims that he would just die if he was separated from him for much longer? Things weren't going as he'd thought they would. And if anything, Shuichi reassuring him that he hadn't done anything only made him more suspicious. " Who's this Ruiji guy and what's he doing in my apartment?"
" He's…well, a friend."
" How come I've never heard of him before then?" Yuki demanded. Yeap. Something was definitely going on here and he had the feeling that he wouldn't like whatever it was.
" He's a new friend?" Shuichi ventured tentatively, sounding terribly unsure about it.
In his imagination Yuki could picture the rusty cogs and wheels in Shuichi's mind turning slowly as he actually tried to think. He sighed imperceptibly. Well, he hadn't been expecting any intellectually stimulating conversation from the idiot anyways. You just couldn't, because if you did, then you'd be terribly disappointed. " Everything all right? You haven't burned the apartment down yet, have you?"
" Not yet…"
" Any plans to in the near future?" Yuki asked sarcastically.
" No. I don't think so. You'd get angry at me if I did." Shuichi pointed out.
Ahh. So the kid was learning. " Good. Until I get back, do us both a favor. If you don't want the two of us to end up with our asses on the street, don't try to cook. Buy some of that microwave meals thing or get take out or something. Just don't touch the stove, dammit."
" I won't Yuki."
" All right. No accidents or anything? You're still whole? No part of you accidentally cut off or amputated?" There was a choking sound at the other end of the line. He could hear Hiro's unmistakable voice in the background advising Shuichi to get a hold of himself, dammit, Ruiji asking worriedly if Shu-chan was all right.
No, he most definitely did not like Shuichi's reaction to his question. Something was most definitely up. The idiot was trying to hide something. He always knew when Shuichi was trying to put something past him. Thank god the guy was such an awful liar. But Yuki held his tongue, simply waiting for his answer.
It took a while but finally, he got it, Shuichi's voice wavering just the slightest bit. " No, Yuki. No accidents."
" Fine." He replied brusquely. " I'll see you in a few days."
" All right, Yuki. See you."
Then the line was cut and Yuki sat on his bed staring stupidly at the phone in his hand.
See you? See you? That was all? He was outraged. No 'I love you, Yuki!'? Not even an ' I can't wait to have you back here Yuki! I've missed you!'? Not that it really mattered, but he'd come to expect such gushing remarks from his partner.
Well, that clinched it. He was going home. Tonight, no matter what the hell his agent said. He could tell her that there was an emergency back home, Shuichi had gotten himself into a right pretty mess and needed him around to clear things out.
He was going to see what the hell was eating the idiot because as long as he was hundreds of miles away from him, he knew that he would be totally unable to keep his mind off Shuichi and his strange behavior.
Put simply, it would just help him feel a lot better about things if he could just see him.
~**~ To Be Continued ~**~