There are few things

More painful

Than leaving the one you love,

Your jewel,

Your other half,

Your soulmate,





You only did it

To protect them,

To protect your love,

To protect your memories,

Nothing could come between

Your love

For one another.








You only did this

Because you

Were so,




Yukimura stared at the plastic rectangle in his hands. It was wound all the way to the end, thin black tape staring up at him as if he should remember the voice on it but he can't. He knew he should – the cold yet sweet tone, rough around the edges like the man on the other end had been crying.

Somehow he knew this enigma should never cry, much less for him.

The player sat in front of him, battered and scratched in places, yet he could tell the previous owner loved it a lot. Soft, waltzing melodies floated through his head unbidden and Yukimura shakes it, hair flying, eyes shut.

He couldn't take it any more.

His lost past.

The other 'Yukimura'.

"This world is nothing but void – everything good is weighed evenly with all the bad." He whispered to himself as tears slid down his face and splattered on the black marks that spelt out,

Love, the Cassette Tape

Apparently, Masamune's white-haired eye-patch buddy was taking him out on a wet autumn evening to Sakigahara City's 'best unfounded pub of hidden treasure'.

Masamune assumed that this 'unfounded pub' was Motochika's workplace, simply because the pubs in Sakigahara were very different to the bars that Motochika was famed to go crawling through back in their high school years. He then felt very sorry for the poor sod who decided to employ his overly boisterous friend.

Just as he was starting to feel the chill, Motochika yanked on the back of his thin coat and swung him none-too gently in through the doors of a tiny backwater pub that Masamune would have walked straight past without a second thought. Being the lovely best friend he was, Masamune only avoided a broken nose because Motochika swung the door open just in time and deposited his friend in the middle of the establishment, firmly on his arse.

The glare Masamune shot his friend would have made a lesser man wet himself.

"Chosokabe, what are you doing? You're late again." Snapped a brunet from behind the counter.

"Ah, Mori! I'm here at least. I hear that Oichi isn't coming in today." Chosokabe's boss snorted once.

"That's because she had a doctor's appointment."

"Ah, so you already know."


Masamune couldn't help but chuckle at their exchange. It almost felt natural the way Motochika's boss would throw thinly-veiled insults at his employee while the other would just laugh it off.

"Oh, this here is my old high school buddy: Masamune Date." Motochika hauled Masamune up, and then looped an arm over his shoulder with a grin.

"Hey." Masamune intoned before throwing the heavily corded arm off his shoulders, wrenching a finger back for his smarting backside. Motochika bit back a howl and clutched his pinkie, teary-eyed.

Mori stood impassively, analysing the exchange and let out a long-suffering sigh. "If you need anything, don't bother me."

At that, Mori turned on his heel and walked behind a partition, never to be seen again.

At least, by Masamune.

"Haa, he's so sweet, isn't he?" Motochika sighed. Masamune shot him a stare that said You've changed sooo much since I last saw you.

A CD disc shot out of nowhere and boomeranged into Motochika's face, bouncing off with a satisfying yet hollow thunk.

"I can hear you, Chosokabe."

Masamune snickered as his friend gazed dreamily at the ceiling.

Once Masamune managed to get Motochika started on his actual job (how he'd managed to become a bartender was a mystery – he was veritable genius, goddamn it), the atmosphere relaxed into a soothing quiet. People drifted in from the cold – some shadier than others – and Motochika greeted them with a smile, asking them their poisons and such. Masamune melted into the background, huddled quietly in his own corner nursing his own drink, turning off the devilish charisma that usually enveloped him whenever he was within six feet of another human being.

There was a reason why one of the nicknames he was less fond of during high school was 'Marilyn Munroe'.

As the night wore on, Masamune drifted off at some unidentifiable time early in the morning (he would never admit that Mori's choice of sweet music lulled him to unconsciousness) and was only startled awake when Motochika gently shook him awake. The pub was empty, the wood panelling and elegant bottles reflecting the soft light near the door. Outside the small windows that faced the street, the sky was a smoky grey signalling light in the east.

"'M awake," Masamune slurred, empty glass rolling onto the floor. Motochika scowled at the offending glassware and tossed it into the sink as Masamune sat upright, yawning like a grumpy lion.

"C'mon. It's nearly day-shift so we gotta get outta here." Masamune rubbed his face in an attempt to rid himself of the fuzzy hold of sleep. Glancing at his watch, it informed him that it was exactly four twenty-seven in the morning.

"My place?" Masamune muzzily nodded and let his eye patched friend lead him out onto the street.

"Whaddaya mean 'day-shift'?" The cold air cleared the smaller of the two's head a little. However, it only alerted him to the chill that was seeping through his thin jacket, prompting him to hug himself; not caring how idiotic it appeared.

"That place – Aki Club – is used as a bar in the night and then in the day, it turns into a café," Motochika turned a corner and continued down a quieter, emptier street. "The land rent here is just way too high so Mori and Shingen split the costs between them in exchange for dealing with the other."

"Ah," was all that Masamune could manage with some form of intelligence.

"How 'bout I take you to the Kai café later? You can meet the others that work there. I'd have to say that I'm pretty good friends with them…" and Motochika continued to prattle on as Masamune trudged behind him, dead on his feet.

"Let's go boys!"

A rough voice jolted Masamune out of his waking doze and no sooner than he had opened his eye, a man had grabbed him and a razor was pushed against his throat. A burning feeling of inexplicable excitement burst within Masamune's chest and years of experience kicked in. Masamune crunched his right heel into his would-be attacker's foot, feeling more than a few bones break, and twisted clear of the silver blade and the weak hold he was put in.

Rolling with his momentum, he blindly raised his right elbow and felt it connect solidly with someone's nose. Warmth oozed into the elbow of his jacket. The second man stumbled back into another and Masamune backed off to fully assess their situation.

Motochika was easily holding his own, using his larger frame and good old brawling experience to take down goon after goon.

A ridiculously large man closed in on Masamune and he quickly sidestepped the groping hands as he briskly felled him by a well-aimed kick between the legs. The delinquent flopped on the floor, twitching.

Masamune whirled around to face the last man who was shaking terribly. Leaning too forward, the attacker pulled out a small pistol from the small of his back. Closing in, Masamune dodged at the last second, the gun's explosion near deafening him while the bullet managed to rip some of his hair as it sailed past. Masamune threw all of his weight behind his right hook and slugged the man in the face. Several loud cracks indicated teeth breaking.

Masamune yowled, quickly biting the noise off while clutching his hand. Motochika strode over and gently checked Masamune's hand, the smaller wincing with every jostle.

"Your ring finger's dislocated and your knuckles have some bad bruising." Said hand was quickly purpling and Masamune looked a little terrified.

"Will it be oka- yow!" Motochika had quickly grabbed Masamune's misplaced finger and easily slid it back into place. The smaller man wrenched his hand away from the other's, gasping.

"That wasn't payback, was it?" Masamune hissed. Motochika flashed him a knowing smile.

"It should heal fine now." Finding some snapped chopsticks tucked in his coat pocket and a handkerchief; the larger man quickly improvised a splint to limit the oncoming bruising for his friend.

Using his uninjured hand, Masamune jabbed his friend in the stomach; the other keeled over and wheezed dramatically.

"Feel better now?" Motochika looked up at Masamune whose head was tilted back, holding back the torrent of swear words that threatened to make themselves known. Masamune drew in several deep breaths in an effort to calm himself and nodded.

"Cool." The two surveyed the damage. Nine men were sprawled over the concrete, eerily silent in the early dawn.

"Let's get outta here while these gooks are still licking pavement."

Motochika's flat was remarkably close to the bar and was also rather unexpectedly what Masamune imagined his place would be. The building was ridiculously tall for cheap accommodation, but a little shabby on the outside.

…Were those cannons on the roof or were they just funny looking satellite dishes?

The outer corridor leading up to Motochika's place was also slightly stained and rather bland. However, walking into the apartment itself was a shock to the senses.

The main room was majority living room – painted an amusing shade of lilac – filled with a large, leather couch and decently sized television. The living room merged with the kitchen neatly and from the doorway, Masamune could see a sizeable collection of pots, pans and dishes stacked in the sink and on the surrounding benches. A door by a painting of a huge floating fortress presumably led to Motochika's room.

On the coffee table in the living room was a large kit full of various bottles and swabs. Leaning on the arm of the chair was a ridiculous looking anchor with a long chain attached to it. Clearly, Motochika had been cleaning his old souvenir from some long-forgotten school trip to a tiny traditional fishing town.

Masamune could still recall the alarmed look on their teacher's face when she saw the delicate, pre-pubescent Motochika (or back then, known as Princess) hauling the huge lump of rusting metal onto the school bus.

"Still holding onto that thing?" Masamune gestured at the huge weapon shining proudly in the dawn light as he pulled off his bloody jacket.

"Yep," he said brightly before tossing the soiled rags and cotton buds into a waste basket and everything else into a small box. "This here's still my baby! Gotta take care of her."

Shaking his head, Masamune slumped on the vacated couch and inhaled the sharp scents of cleaning agent and varnish. He dimly heard Motochika crack open a window, letting the sounds of early morning traffic swirl into the room. Motochika went into his room then the bathroom connected and not long after, Masamune heard the sound of rushing water.

Masamune stayed like that for a while, just gazing listlessly at the blank screen of the television.

His mind wandered to the group of thugs just two alleys away and wondered if they had been found yet. The adrenaline had run out of his system and the burning in his heart had died to a tiny flicker. How was he going to live like this for the next few years?

Masamune's father owned a large company called Date Pharmaceuticals. There was some ownership debate since the current boss was in poor health. The younger brother, only twenty, was in the middle of his college degree – a genius with ambition that rivalled his intellect compared to the older brother: Masamune. Masamune had never really applied himself to work and even his own mother had given up on him, preferring her younger, more mature son.

Masamune's childhood world had consisted of the school hierarchy. The strong fight the strong while the weak just fell under their rule.

And Masamune was strong.

It was in the second term of their first year in high school. One of Motochika's gang had attacked one of Masamune's, creating tension between the two parties. Eventually, the conflict escalated until Masamune had challenged Motochika to a one-on-one fight.

They both had the crap beaten out of each other, but through mutual respect, bruises and eye patches, they had become friends.

Even when twenty-one-year-old Masamune decided to escape three days ago and flew the coop, he fluttered his way over to Motochika Chosokabe – the only (relatively) reliable person he knew.

Eventually, the shower went silent and a few minutes later, Motochika stepped out with a towel around his waist.

"How're you feeling, do you feel like breakfast?" The large man walked over to the fridge and pulled out a few eggs and some bread. When Masamune didn't reply, Motochika lowered the egg he was about to crack and walked over to sit next to Masamune who was still glowering at the TV.

"Masamune, are you alright?"


Motochika waited a little longer before placing his right arm over Masamune's shoulder, letting the smaller man's head rest against his shoulder. Masamune could still smell the light fragrance of soap on his friend's bare skin and his hair was still a little damp.

"Here's no better than there. I'd have thought you'd be used to this kind of thing…" Masamune was still silent but Motochika could feel the light tremor of exertion. "I bet you're exhausted."

Masamune's head dipped once in acknowledgement. Dragging a pink blanket off the back of the seat, he draped it over Masamune's still body.

"Coffee or tea?"

Masamune mumbled something inaudible and Motochika nodded.

"Milk it is."

This was Chapter 1 of Love, the Cassette Tape.

Full Title: Neither Here Nor There

Okay, so this started out as a birthday fic for my friend Uyre. Her birthday present is long overdue (sorry;;;) but by the time it was substantial enough to be published on this website, it ended up being today: Yukimura Sanada's birthday.

Yep, today is a celebration for both Yukimura and Uyre's birthdays (even if the latter is several months late). Anyway, enjoy this product of madness. Update schedule is around every 3rd and 18th of the month.

Disclaimers: I don't own anything, neither do I make profit. Only the plotline is more or less mine.

Warnings: First, angst right near the end. This is a story where not all of the characters have a happy ending, though it's pretty obvious in this chapter. Second, beware of stupidity and somewhat OOC people. Lastly, this is yaoi. Don't like, don't read. You have been warned once and that is enough. Though, this is Basara: if you didn't accept yaoi, why are you even into this series anyway?

Pairings: Predominantly DateSana and MitsuYasu. Smidgen of AzaIchi and a sneeze of MotoMoto. Squint and you will see every pairing, actually.

Reviews are like gooks to pavement.

[edit]: I decided to rewrite the first chapter since the first was always a test-run and I had never been particularly happy with it. Think of this as the exclusive fanfiction version of this story. Nothing in the story existing (I've already finished writing it) will be changed, or plotline-wise either.

Still, enjoy reading and please, send me a review to show your love.