first and foremost, i apologize for the long delay...i had to take a avacation or something! anyway..i am baaaaack! arigatou for the patience!^^


With a smile bordering between annoyance and amusement, Ijuuin looked over to the person sitting two stools away from him. He then stared at his cognac with an impending laughter at the absurdity of the situation.

"Ridiculous...there's no helping you Kyo..." Ijuuin whispered before lifting the cold glass, seductively to his lips.

Many had been eyeing the manly yet boyish smile Ijuuin was making at the farthest corner of the bar counter. The dim lighting only accentuated the face almost without flaw under the tantalizing shadows. He gave off an aura both saying back off but then saying marvel at me that it was hard not to notice him.

But unlike many other men who took pride of their looks, Ijuuin seemed to be not bothered at all by the stares. Maybe because he just already grew accustomed to it. Throwing a glance every once in a while at the brunette who was sitting two stools away, Ijuuin sighed wondering what on earth he was doing.

"Oi...I didn't agree to bring you here to waste yourself," Ijuuin announced, his head probbed on his hand, a glimmer of the yellowish tints of the lights reflected in his eyes, giving the impression of something burning. "I'm telling you I'll leave you here without a second thought if you allow yourself to get drunk."

The teen who had a couple of glasses of different drinks already lined up before him snorted, glancing irritably at his 'boss' or whatever the hell one woud call there current set-up was.

"I don't get drunk unless I drink a drum of it all," Io scowled, running his fingertips at the rim of his glass. His fingers dancing a little hypnotizing for Ijuuin caught the other onlookers checking out the brunette. "I don't get drunk fast, and that's what's making me royally annoyed."

Ijuuin rolled his eyes and once more focused his orbs at the drink before him, watching the ice melt with faint clanks.

Earlier that day, before going back to his studio, he was as surprised to meet some sharp tongued people in the novelty store he and Io stopped by. It was the first time Io had deliberately shown such anger and frustration about the treatment he was getting. In truth, Ijuuin could sympathize even for a little since Io was indeed, despite not wanting to admit it was trying to behave himsef as best as he could. He was far from rumors and the result of his reseach saying Io was a wayward, dumbass and smart-ass teen idol, well he still was, in the smart-ass aspect. Still, Ijuuin could understand the pent up feelings.

Ijuuin shook his head remembering that he just once more succumed to a weakness. If there was any flaw Ijuuin could say about his personality, the first thing that came to mind was his weakness to tears. Women, men, children, animals, whatever, if one started crying, Ijuuin was just weak to those. And so when Io started crying inside his car and then asked to have a few drinks after calming down, as stupid as it could be, he granted Io's wish. Off they drove to a quiet upscale bar, going inside it like the two didn't even know each other.

Time passed and Ijuuin started getting bored. The soft playing in the background was to his taste but he soon started getting tired of it. But his 'student' downed glass after glass after glass still not the least bit affected. Ijuuin found it quite fascinating to watch a rather small-built guy like Io drink like there was no tomorrow. To top it all up, drink without getting drunk as fast as normal youngsters did.

Io raised his gaze up and to his left side when two females sat near him. The ladies was having some serious talk for they were having a really ugly face through the shadows. On the side, Ijuuin decided that once Io finished the current wine he was drinking, he'd drag the boy out, even haul him over his shoulders if he had to. God knows why thoughtstill not at the legal drinking age, the bartender kept on serving Io like a VIP just because the teen smiled a lustful one.

"I don't first I thought his performance would improve," one of the woman with a shorter hair and rounder figure started, signalling for the bartender for the usual. "But...I hate to admit it but I feel he's not reaching it..."

The composer who could clearly hear what was being said looked the other way. Women, they annoyed Ijuuin for some reason, that was even why he couldn't even think of going out with one more than friendship. Well, he had so few people he could call his friends anyway.

"Have you tried other positions?" the other one queried.

His black eyes turning into slits, Ijuuin wanted to barf right there on the spot. Such unsophisticated topic that even if they were in a bar, shouldn't be muttered like that as if just talking about the weather. It may not look it but Ijuuin had always wanted to keep whatever he do on his bed private. Otherwise he might just as well make a porn video like of he'd announce it without care in a bar like that.

By the moment, Io's brows furrowed deeper and deeper. He was after all sitting closer to the women tha Ijuuin din. The last thing he wanted to hear was how a man was poor at sexual intercourses at his depressed and irritated state.

"Miss, if you want pleasure you shouldn't just let all your man do the work," Io abruptly cut in with the talk, which sent Ijuuin staring at the brunette.

"Excuse me?" the girl telling her sex life asked, feeling high and mighty.

"Is your boyfriend on the smaller side?" Ijuuin was such lost for words that he could only gape at the young teen's question sitting near him. "If you do it in missionary position, lift your legs up or you could go wrapping your legs around your partner's back. Deeper penetration guaranteed."

"What the hell is your problem butting in like that?" the girls growled ready to claw.

"Well you're practically announcing your pathetic sex life in here you know...and it's annoying," Io replied sternly.

The ladies stared at the teen who looked a little mature because of the dim lighting then had to look farther for Ijuuin at the last stool was shaking violently. Before they realized it, Ijuuin was laughing his head out.

This triggered a little commotion and left soon after.

"Oi, you're really a twisted prick, aren't you?" Ijuuin mused, feeling content at laughing.

"Why it's resentful to hear about her fucking. I haven't been able to get off myself for all eternity thank her for reminding me."

The older man paid one long look at Io's profile before looking at his wrist watch. It said eight in the evening, He decided not to pry on Io and the last thing the teen had mentioned. After all, Ijuuin could tell Io was a part of the other team. A man going after men could tell their own kind. As if they had built universal a radar of recognition among them. However, Ijuuin wasn't really thinking about Io's sexuality since for one, he wasn't interested with Io, second, he was still on for Misaki though he could only gaze from afar.

"Ijuuin," Io called, having not the least bit of honoring that the person he was calling was his senpai in life. "Why did you pursue me?"

With a flinch of his left brow, Ijuuin turned his head slightly at Io's direction. Pursued? Who? He did?

"Fuji-san said it...and you really did piss me after all like you're some kind of stalker..."

"I wouldn't say 'pursue' brat. It gives a different ring to it. All I wanted is for someone not to waste what could have been a very beautiful gift to society."

"Shit...are you some advocate of music and the handicapped?"

For a moment, Io felt like falling off from where he was sitting when all of a sudden, Ijuuin's eyes threw a deep glare at him. It wasn't scary or anything like that, it was more of suddenly cowering from nervousness. It didn't help the hollows created by the shadown on Ijuuin's face.

"I'm warning you Io, the last thing I want to hear from you is the word 'handicapped'. And watch your tone with me," Ijuuin continued with such a calm voice which was more intimidating than a shouting one. "I am still older, and I am still your teacher and boss."

Struck senseless for a couple of seconds, Io just stared at Ijuuin before gathering his composure back. "Wh-what...we're not at the studio so that heirarchy doesn't apply here..." he mumbled, drinking the glass of wine before him in one huge, gulp.

"Do you know at least the word 'respect'?" Ijuuin continued sternly. He looked down at his glass as if dismissing Io. "If you don't start giving that out, no one will give you."

Io sulked. He wanted to throw more battle of words but as usual, there were times that he just felt like he must shut up. Like as if he was afraid to actually push Ijuuin over board. What was more intriguing and annoying even was it was as if he was really submitting to Ijuuin without Ijuuin even trying.

"Am I an animal? Being tamed or something..." Io sheepishly looked at Ijuuin;s profile before standing up. "Comfort room."

The older man stood as well and turned his back at Io. "It's time to leave. You go directly to the parking lot after your trip to the comfort room, Io."

"But it's still early! Go back if you want, I'll stay here..."

"Parking lot."

The brunette stared at Ijuuin's back with a look of disbelief in his green eyes. One time Ijuuin was a freak. The next Ijuuin was all mature and giving off lectures about life, with a little cheering him on. Next Ijuuin would just turn a cold back right off the bat. Io hated it. It was as if he was the one dancing on Ijuuin's hands and no matter how he tried to act tough and defy the man he ended up actually, to his dismay really following Ijuuin.

After his trip to the comfort room, Io tugged into his scarf, readying himself for the kiss of the chilly night. Just when he was about to reach the sliding doors of the exit, someone grabbed him by the shoulder. He turned around to look with a raised brow. And when he did, he realized he was looking at a finely built man, tasteful with his clothes and exude a classy air.

"You came here with Cyrus, right? Where is he?"

Io knitted his fine brows, his pretty face contorting into confusion. "Cyrus? The fuck is Cyrus?" Io blurted, meaning to keep it to himself but muttered it aloud accidentally.

The other who was a little taller than the brunette smiled cooly. "Did his taste change?" the stranger eyed him from heat to foot. "Not bad...hey, how long have you been going out with him?"

"Ha? I'm sorry but I don't have an ounce of idea what you're talking about," Io replied while ransacking his brain for the names of his past flings. He couldn't remember anyone with the name 'Cyrus'.

Out of the blue, the very same guy grabbed on to Io's chin, tilting the teen's face left and right as if inspecting him thoroughly. Io right away slapped the hand away with a glare that can kill.

"What the hell are you?" Io spat.

The two stared for a long while. Panting, Io stepped back, feeling cornered as three more came behind the classy, asshole man before him.

"Ei, what ya doin? The table's ready," a guy wearing a sparkly scarf started, eyeing Io questioningly.

Classy dumb-ass, according to Io smiled without removing his gaze from Io's face. "Cyrus came, with him," he announced, nodding at Io's direction.

Who the fuck is Cyrus? Io grumbled.

The new comers whisperd excitedly but had a look a little disapproving at Io like they just made him as their enemy.

"I think his face is somewhat familiar, don't you think?"

Io darted his eyes at the strangers one after another, getting annoyed by the minute. Feeling he would get nothing from staying any longer, he stepped back and made for the door. Only to have his hand yanked back, securing him into place.

"What did you do?" classy, dumbass asked.

"What did I do?" Io repeated exasperted.

"Cyrus, never brings anyone with him in bars. He's not the type to tow someone else with what did you do?"

All that Io could remember was the freaking cave escapade and the bastards who insulted him and then him crying his eyes out inside Ijuuin's car. He couldn't fathom where this was going. "Are you freaking morons? I don't know Cyrus so fuck off and stop stalling me, alright?"

They were starting to gather attention from the people silently talking in their own tables. The dim lightings giving them a mysterious effect. And then to everyone's surprise and Io's annoyance, the last person he wanted to see him getting into another fight, appeared, pushing the sliding doors gracefully.

"Bratty, there I was thinking you've already flushed yourself in the toilet. Move it...I don't want to get into the traffic."

After calling out to Io, Ijuuin's gaze darted to the group that looked like cornering the brunette. His face grew a bored expression walking towards Io.

"Don't blame me, they've been pestering me with Cyrus, Cyrus, Cyrus, I don't have an idea about!" Io grumbled with an annoyed face.

The people smiled at Ijuuin which Io didn't fail to notice. To Io's surprise, though he was already having some thoughts he pushed away, the strangers gathered around Ijuuin looking pleased and reminiscent.

"Cyrus, it's been a while isn't it? You stopped coming to the bars, we thought something happened to you."

Io looked up at Ijuuin questioningly, mouthing 'Cyrus' trying to supress a laugh.

"Cyrus? Pretending to be cool huh you old man..." Io thought, snickering.

"Make a scene and you'll regret it..." Io heard it clearly but with seemed like no one else aside from him did. Ijuuin had this talent of talking even though his mouth looked like it didn't even move.

"Don't tell us you already settled down with that kid with you?"

Ijuuin sighed eager to leave the place as soos as possible. When the Sonate Music Competition started, he did stop playing and coming to bars for fun, having the thought that he could actually get Takahashi Misaki to like him with settling down in mind. Though he wasn;t surprised it didn't went well and he ended up being rejected, he didn't had the chance to go back to the happy and carefree life of a single man since the Sonate President has been pestering him to take someone and train under his name.

Besides, he wasn't really in play mode. So he started focusing himself with his studio, his student Minase and this way ward teen beside him named Io.

"Sorry guys but I am quiet busy so we'll leave first."

Classy guy stepped forward, grabbing Io by the hand once again inspecting Io's face.

"Cyrus, you've got a pretty little thing in tow here...come to think of it, you have never shared your date with us, why don't we go back to the old times and get to know each other better?"

With the most disgusting face, Io yanked his hand off. Much to his dismay, to no avail.

"Excuse me...but I don't like your mug!" Io spat.

There seemed to be a switch that has been turned on, turning the ambiance from playful flirting to menace. Ijuuin who had his hands deep inside his coat pockets pulled his right hand out and pointed at the hand gripping Io's wrist.

"I am in no mood right now. You let go of this 'pretty little thing' or I'll break that hand of yours."

The brunette was surprised that the classy guy and the rest of the guy seemed to suddenly had their tails in between their sorry legs. Massaging his wrist, Io gazed at Ijuuin's profile in astonishment. He would have never imagined that Ijuuin could pull such a scary face. The man didn't even touch him or the others but somehow, one's instincs would tell not to piss Ijuuin too much.

There was one thing though that Io felt a little pleased about. Ijuuin addressing him as a 'pretty little thing'. An assurance at least that his freak of a sensei wasn't immune with his charms.

"I bet your patron is gonna get tired of you soon Cyrus," the classy dumbass hissed before turning back. Leaving Io all confused.

Ijuuin walked out the door first, Io scurrying after him like a curious little child.

"Oi, oi...Ijuuin, why are they calling you 'Cyrus'? What patron are they talking about?"

The moment the breeze brushed on both male's cheeks, the heat in Ijuuin's head seemed to have lowered down finally, tucking his hand inside his pocket to ready the car keys.

"Oi, come on!" Io nagged, running before Ijuuin and walking backwards with a funny grin. "Wanting to sound cool, old man huh of all names, 'Cyrus'? Are you a freaking teenager?"

Ijuuin kept silent until they reached his car. The entire lot echoing the beeping sound of his car being unlocked, it was filled with Io's curious nonstop questions too. They both hopped in the car, Io getting a glimpse of the small box in a pretty gift wrapper on the dashboard, making him taste a little sourness in his lips.

"If you're not going to say anything, I'll ask Fuji-san," Io threatened sulking as he glared at the view in front of him. "I bet he knows."

He cursed under his breath. Io was left speechless seeing Ijuuin looming closer to him with a stern look. Trying to sink lower on his seat, the brunette couldn't let go of the dangerous gaze that was directed at him. And the worst part , his chest which wasn't supposed to be feeling nervous like he was so defenseless drummed like crazy.

"H-hey...Ijuuin?" Io stuttered, sinking lower and lower trying to avoid the closing gap of his and Ijuuin's faces.

"...!" Io closed his eyes shut feeling his seat shake a little. But he opened his eyes right away, realizing the centimeters gap between their breaths.

"Seatbelt," Ijuuin announced with a lopsided grin before moving away from Io and readying the car to pull off.

Io looked down on his waist, realizing that his seatbelt has been fastened already. By Ijuuin. And he was getting furiously embarrassed.

"What was that for!? I can put my seat belt on my own!" Io shouted, the car shaking a little at his random movements on his seat.

"You've had your fun barraging me with questions. I just had mine."

"Fuck you."

Furious at Ijuuin, Io gripped his seat belt tight. He really thought Ijuuin was about to just kiss him like that. He was mad at Ijuuin for making him think that it was even possible.

"Io, your words," Ijuuin muttered, finally getting on the main road smoothly. "I have a very long patience and you don't want to exaust it, I am telling you."

The car ride was silent, save from the low volume music Ijuuin was playing. Before Io was the view of the busy night life and streets as they found themselves caught up with the occasional buildup of traffic.

"I am telling you there's no reason for you to act like a sulking baby there Io," Ijuuin started when the traffic went longer. "Those were just trivial matters that would just bore you."

"I decide what's boring and what's not," Io replied, turning his face towards the car window and staring up at the high rise building. The top of it blinking red.

"I introduced myself to them as Cyrus, a male who loves to fool and swing around for money. I don't want to reveal my real identity. That's all."

The brunette didn't move at all but he moved his eyes towards the man sitting near him. The boy yawned and slumped more casually on his seat.

"That's all? Eh...boring," Io mumbled.

"It's you who seemed to be so interested."

"Excuse me! I am not interested with your life or your past!"

Ijuuin laughed. A laugh that made Io cringe. It was not because it was annoying or anything which the teen was initially expecting. It was because he liked the ring of it in his ears. Sort of like a low, yet alluring sound that warmed his chest. And Io got more and more confused.

"What's so funny?"

"The building where you live is a little far from here, isn't it?" the older man asked, turning to a left-turn.

Io was a little taken aback by the question that he just nodded without thinking.

"He's dropping me off to my place?" the brunette thought, feeling a little light. The kind that spreads across the chest to the throat, it hurt and felt good too. And then his thoughts was broken by a beeping sound.

The boy watched Ijuuin place his bluetooth receiver in his ear as he drove into the now flowing traffic.

"Hey, what's is it?" came the casual remark of Ijuuin which sounded so pleased. Io averted his eyes but with his ears perked up, annoyed at himself for being so unexplainably curious to whomever the man was talking to.

"It's a fail...but it was sure fun..."

The brunette on the passenger seat flinched a little knowing it was him being mentioned on that 'fail' part.

"Why did you call? Does Usami knows about this?"

At the mention of the name, Io's hand resting at the narrow space of the car window seal fell on his side. Under a normal circumstance, Io would be thrilled by the name of the composer he so looked up to before. But that time, it was all Misaki he could think of talking to Ijuuin Kyo.

"What?" Ijuuin turned his head to look at Io who had a blank face staring back at him. "Now?"

At that precise moment, Io knew what would happen next. He hated it but he knew it was going to end up that way. He battled the body reflex of hugging himself due to the cold temperature once he was out of the car standing on the sidewalk with Ijuuin looking up at him.

"Something came up, will you be alright?" Ijuuin asked, still the bluetooth in his ears.

"I can go home on my own," Io answered heatedly. "Jerk..."

"Io, I called a taxi for you, it'll be here any moment. Don't go anywhere else and go home. It's getting late."

The brunette just exhaled exageratedly, the misty white fog his breath created disappearing soon.

Black eyes eyed Io for a long while. And Io found it a little nerve wracking. Like as if he was standing naked on the streets.

"Don't forget tomorrow Io. I need you around Minase. Review the folder you got from Fuji and again, Seven sharp."

Annoyed and disappointed though Io didn't want to accept, he raised a mocking brow at the older man. "Whatever."

Ijuuin made no sound or word and just eyed Io. Making Io the defeated one.

"I will be there at fucking seven in the morning you deviant!"

Ijuuin smiled.

Io gulped. There went the uninvited thumping in his chest so suddenly like he was choking. He just hoped it didn't betray the annoyed face he was pulling off.

"I'll see you then tomorrow," said Ijuuin.

For some reason, Ijuuin didn't drive off still as if thinking about something.

"What? Go now. What are you staring at?" the teen scowled, looking faraway.

"Come here," Ijuuin ordered.

"What is it now?"

"Just come here."

Dragging his feet, stomping his boots violently on the pavement, Io moved to the side of the driver's seat and peered down at Ijuuin.

"Move closer," Ijuuin ordered again.

"Tsk...treating me like your servant..." Io complained but complied anyway.

Much to his surprise, the moment Io bended his back a little to be on eye level with Ijuuin, the composer threw his white scarf around Io's neck. Tugging it properly around the teen's neck, Ijuuin's eyes were focused on the fabric. While shamefully Io's were focused on Ijuuin's mouth.

"You better gain more meat in you, you know. You're like a shivering cat," Ijuuin mumbled, giving the final tug. "There. Mind you it's a favorite so take care of that. I'm off then."

Io stood there dumbfounded as he watched Ijuuin's black car mingle with the others on the road. It disappeared fast but Io kept on looking at the road with a dazed expression. His pride was hurt being left on the streets just because a meer Misaki called. But more than that, Io felt something else that was bothering.

It was cold as ice but then he knew his cheeks were burning. He slowly buried half of his face to the cotton, white scarf wrapped around him and inhaled. Sensing the faint cologne Ijuuin used. Not strong as if there was nothing at all. The warmth was also still there. By the time the taxi that Ijuuin called for Io arrived, Io was almost tearfilled once more.

Real kindness without asking anything in exchange and meaning hurt. That was what Io thought before hopping in.

chapter end notes:

yaho! minna-san konnichi wa! uwaaaaaaaaaaaaaah...that vacation...felt so long i felt like there's no going back! hahaha..thank you for the support and the patience!