A/N: ...Yeah, I said I wasn't gonna add new chapter but this one wouldn't leave me alone because I'd feel like it's not complete without it. x.x
It's the last one I'll update for this though. x'3
Epilogue chapter. Go~!
"That's the last one." Otoya grinned proudly and planted his hands on his hips. The room looked so much emptier now that most of their belongings were packed into boxes, ready to be moved to the new apartment he will be sharing with Tokiya.
To think, he's lived and slept in this same room for over a year and a half yet there was some lingering sentiment tugging at his heart.
Two months passed since that time. And it hadn't been easy. Although the members of STARISH, their friends, and Haruka-chan too- although how they all caught wind of the news right away still remained a mystery to him, were very supportive of the two of them. The most nerve wracking part of it all was to break it to the head director himself who imposed the no-love rule back in the Academy and instilled the same rule in the agency.
It could cost them their entire careers. Saotome could just as easily pluck them out of STARISH and send them out packing with just a snap of his fingers. But Otoya knew well enough that they couldn't hide it for very long. It might take a lot to win him over, heck.. much more win their fans and even the rest of the world over... but they could take it one step at a time.
They were still in an era where prejudice and discrimination were rampant in their everyday lives and their line of work. And there really were other couples like themselves, even among their friends who continued to conceal their relationships from the outside world. Not because they were ashamed but because they wanted to protect each other. That was the realistic part of it.
But... for some unknown reason or other, Otoya didn't feel it right to hide that fact from the man he owed so much. Who handpicked him from the orphanage and offered him the opportunity to study in a prestigious school like Saotome Academy. A nobody orphan like him who dreamed, who put his heart in the line for his dreams.
If Saotome hadn't even bothered to look at him, he would never have met all these amazing people who he forged strong, unbreakable bonds with, live his dream and continue to bring joy and strength to the world around them through their songs, and also... if it weren't for him, he never would have this enigmatic being that was Ichinose Tokiya, in his life.
Of course, they were instantly rebuffed in the director's office. Told to pack their things, go home and forget about continuing in this line of industry if their relationship was to take more priority than their careers.
Otoya remembered having nearly broken into tears, bowing as low as his head would go. Tokiya had done the same, never raising their heads to show their earnest sincerity and determination in being able to handle the balance in their private lives as well as continue being idols.
Saotome was a hard man to move and no matter how long they stayed that way, he didn't budge, saying that he would never retract his decision. But only moments later, the rest of STARISH showed up at his doorstep along with Haruka, Tomochika, Reiji, and even surprisingly, Ranmaru and Camus.
All of which revealed their relations with their partners at the same time and that if both Tokiya and Otoya were to be dismissed that they would also have to be dismissed from the Agency for breaking the same rule.
There were some relationships that even Otoya didn't even know of until that day. Like Haru-chan and Tomochika. When-what-how, and Ren just poked his forehead telling him he was a little slow on the uptake. More out of fond affection than an actual insult.
Saotome must have been conflicted at having to decide whether to fire the bulk of them at once, given there would be no way they could easily handle the loss of so many talented professionals and the fans would cause an even bigger uproar. They might even hold strikes outside the Agency if that were to happen.
Eventually, he told them he'd think about it if they could prove that they could keep up appearances, continue to prioritize and focus on their work, and to keep their private lives away from the media. And under any circumstances, nobody was allowed to have a coming out announcement in any public forum or interview ever.
Otoya would never forget that moment the rest of his life. He didn't even notice when Tokiya came in until he felt arms wrap around his waist and his voice next to his ear, "What are you smiling about?"
"Just remembering what happened in the director's office." Otoya chuckled, allowing himself to relax in his hold. "It was really scary at first but it all worked out in the end with everyone."
"You're telling me. He was glaring at me the whole time with this intense, crazy look in his eyes like he wanted to bite my head off." Tokiya shivered just remembering. In fact, he was pretty sure he wasn't imagining it. Between the two of them in the office, he seemed to be the one Saotome seemed to be directing more of his wrath at.
"Eh? How can you tell? He's wearing dark-tinted shades." Otoya reached back and mussed up his boyfriend's hair. Silly Tokiya.
Tokiya buried his head on his shoulder, "Trust me. I don't think I can make something like that up..."
"Oh~! Hey, you two." a cheery voice called from behind them that could have only belonged to Reiji. The two parted a little ways and turned to face him. The brunette had offered for them to use his car to help in transporting some of their stuff. "Are you two R-E-A-D-Y to go?"
"Yep." Otoya returned the grin. "I just finished the last of it."
"Heh~ the room looks so much more spacious now. It seemed a lot smaller then, don't you think?" Reiji smiled a little wistfully. He moved his stuff out a little earlier than they did.
After the two graduated from the Master Course and having won the Utapri award, Reiji had been contemplating on moving out on his own but didn't have the courage to until the recent events unfolded as of late in Saotome's office. He'd been crashing at Ranmaru's place for a few days now. But it was only a single apartment so it was kind of a tight squeeze and it was temporary until Reiji could find another place.
"So this is it...huh? After this, we won't be R-O-T anymore." Reiji folded his arms over his chest and exhaled a gust of air he didn't know he had been holding in. But he told himself he wasn't going to cry, he wanted their last impression of him to at least be a cool, mature senpai.
"Rei-chan... don't say that. It's not like this is goodbye, we'll still see each other. And maybe even get to work in future projects together." Otoya assured him but it was becoming increasingly obvious that his eyes were also welling up and becoming glossy.
"Y-yeah, of course. What am I saying," Reiji forced a laugh, fanning his face and shifted his gaze to the ceiling. Not gonna cry. Not gonna...
"Kotobuki-san." Tokiya placed a hand on his shoulder to make him look at him, and he smiled; a genuine, heartfelt smile. "You'll always be our senpai. Really. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for everything you've done for us."
Oh, screw it all to hell. "You guyss...!" Reiji envelops them both in his arms and starts to sob loudly. To which they both responded by hugging him back tightly. And when they parted, Reiji covered his face with his arm, not wanting them to see his pathetic, crying face.
"So what do we say?" Tokiya and Otoya say together, exchanging smiling glances before looking up at Reiji expectantly.
"Huh?" He looks at them with a dubious expression on his face.
"C'mon Reichan, you know the words." Otoya nudged him by the elbow playfully.
Reiji could only choke out a laugh. "..heh... R.."
"You can do better than that, Kotobuki-san." Tokiya shook his head.
Their senpai couldn't stop his grin from widening. And he finally throws a fist up in the air, "R~!"
"O~!" Otoya, in turn, throws both his fists up in the air.
And Tokiya just smiles when he says firmly. "T!"
# Few days after.. #
"O-to-ya... there are still a couple of unopened boxes here." Tokiya frowned at the figure lounging on the sofa with his limbs all over the place, "And if you're going to lie down there, do it like a normal person. I don't want the sofa to smell like feet."
"You really sound like a housewife," Otoya broke into an amused snort. If ever there was a day Tokiya would stop nagging or nitpicking at something, he might start to miss it. But it was no laughing matter when Tokiya loomed over him with this evil gleam in his eye. "Oh, do I? Say that again, I dare you."
Tokiya promptly sat down on the redhead's stomach. Having already mapped out all of the redhead's sensitive spots, he proceeded in attacking them relentlessly with light but deliberate scrapes of his fingers.
"Gyahh! No, stop! To-tokiya! M'sorry, m'sorry!" Otoya wriggled around in frantic attempt to get away but Tokiya's weight kept him pinned in place. He finally stopped after a short while and Otoya was able to take in a deep breath.
"Do you give up?" Tokiya grins triumphantly and leans forward to peer into his face.
"I give... I give up," Otoya groans out, hands slowly coming up to Tokiya's waist to slip into his shirt, rubbing up his lower back where he felt him arch a little into his touch. "I'd really like it though... if Tokiya were my housewife. You look really cute wearing an apron."
"Idio... what are you saying now..." But the way Tokiya's expression changed and was now staring intently at his lips made this thrum of desire run all the way through him.
It looked less likely they'd get some things done today yet again.
"No good." Tokiya tapped his partner's nose, putting those thoughts to halt when he stood up. "There are people moving into the room next to ours. We need to be good neighbors and welcome them." before muttering to himself on whether or not the new neighbors would be alright with his seafood salad.
"Okay..." Otoya pouted, deflated. One would think they could see canine ears flattening and a tail drawing down between his legs from that expression alone.
As if on cue, the buzzing sound of their doorbell alerted them of a presence behind the door.
"Oh..! It must be them. Otoya, put on some socks. And a shirt while you're at it. Get the door when you're done." Tokiya pushed something he just ironed earlier onto Otoya's chest before he scrambled to the kitchen to check on the final preparations.
Fitting the shirt over his head and torso, giving his hair a few quick comb through with his fingers, Otoya gave himself one last look in the mirror. At least so he won't look like he just got out of bed.
"Coming~" Otoya called as he padded towards the door and pushed it open. "Welco-" Just as he was about to greet them, Otoya froze with his mouth agape from surprise.
There standing in front of him was that familiar lazy grin, shoulder length brown hair and mischievous twinkle in his eyes. Behind him was another all too familiar grumpy face, carrying what appeared to be a container of fried karaage who gave a slight nod of the head in silent greeting.
And with a tilt of his head, the man in front of him tipped his hat and winked.
- End - ...Or just the beginning..?
A/N: Once again, thank you so much for reading X'3