Genre: Romance, (Angst maybe later?)
Pairing: Ryo/Uchi, Subassan
Summary: A story about youth, love, and relationships that mark you for life. Haha, that sounds too epic. Really, it's just the fic where K8 are all orphans.
Disclaimer: Um.. slash XD
Notes: A little bit somber at the beginning but gets lighter as the chapter goes on. There will continue to be a lot of focus on the developing relationship between ryo/uchi but the whole murder/uchi's past is going to start playing a bigger roll so yay plot! XD
The week that followed that first conversation was a blur of Uchi. Uchi, Uchi, Uchi. Wherever I turned he was there. He still insists it was me who wouldn’t let him out of my sight, but I wouldn’t put it quite like that. I’d told him that night I’d help him evade any unwanted questions so I kept my word. That’s all. It had nothing to do with the fact that his smiles were like drugs I’d suddenly become addicted to or that every time our eyes met my heart would forget to beat in my chest. Or the fact that I’d twitch nervously if he wasn’t near me. Wanting him around didn’t mean anything. I’d tell myself that over and over. Besides, Jin was being an asshole and every time Hiroki would walk into the same room he’d throw a hissy fit over his black eye. I had to be there to keep the idiot in his place with my Nishikido glare. Especially since Hiroki was too stubborn for his own good and refused to apologize to Jin no matter how many times Yasuda pleaded with him to. In the end it didn’t even matter. He was with me which meant nobody could mess with him. And Jin got over it once the black eye faded.
What didn’t fade were the rumors. The rumors that resurged after word of Uchi’s fight with Jin got around the orphanage. The rumors about the murders. The rumors about Uchi. Hiroki would pretend not to notice but all of us did. I passed around quite a good number of threats in those days but that didn’t stop some of the boys from gossiping when we weren’t around. Or when they thought we weren’t around. More often than not Hiroki and I would catch the tail-end of their conversations……
“I heard he was there when the murders happened but that he hid so nothing would happen to him.”
“Really? I heard he returned home and saw them being killed so he ran away.”
“What about his family being in the Yakuza? That makes sense right?”
“But then they’d still be after him.”
“Who says they aren’t? Maybe the orphanage is being watched as we speak.”
“No way! Why would the kid be so important?”
“Who knows? You know that shit is complicated….”
Hiroki was good at putting on a brave front. He’d roll his eyes and shrug in supposed apathy, but I never missed the steeling of his shoulders or the way his lips hardened into a line; his eyes turning just a shade darker. That’s when I would place a hand on his shoulder or the small of his back, a silent reminder that he wasn’t alone. Usually after those moments he’d excuse himself to hide somewhere where he could go wallow in peace. I’d let him go but I’d always follow him later. Never intruding because he had a family to mourn for after all, but always an arm’s reach away. I’d crouch outside the bathroom stall or our bedroom door, or outside in the grass by the tree that marked some sort of beginning for us, and I’d wait. I learned to read Hiroki’s crying that way; his deep, gasping sobs that spoke of pain and loneliness; the short, breathless sounds that were all frustration and confusion, and the silence that meant the last of his tears were streaming down his face. That silence was always my cue to leave and then it was Hiroki’s turn to come find me. He always did. He’d approach silently, eyes red but face wiped clean, and settle comfortably next me as I wrote lyrics in my notebook or strummed my guitar. He liked to lean his head against my shoulder and offer his opinion on a certain line or chord. Soon our friends would join us if they weren’t already there and it was easy to laugh again.
If he was aware of my habit of following him he never mentioned it.
Guys liking other guys was nothing new to me. Living in an all boy’s orphanage took care of that pretty well. It wasn’t uncommon to walk in on guys kissing or giving each other handjobs. There wasn’t much privacy and we were all young and horny, so it was almost expected. No one blinked twice about it and if you got uncomfortable it was always easier to just look the other way. If that wasn’t your thing there was enough straight porn provided by Yokoyama and some of the other guys that even the most homoerotic experiences could be shoved aside as “bonding over hot girls in magazines.”
For me, guys were a way to get off. So were girls. I’d had my share of both and feelings had never played a huge part. Girls were usually too complicated and clingy for my tastes but there was a softness to them that brought out a protective instinct in me that I liked. With the guys I’d been with it had always been rough and fast and desperate and “thanks for that, till next time!” Both were appealing for different reasons and I didn’t see the point in limiting myself to one or the other.
I always figured I’d end up with a girl out of pure convenience. They cook and clean and put a bunch of effort into relationships so I don’t have to; and it’s easy because it’s expected. Love was never part of the picture; because love didn’t count for anything in my view. If true, unconditional love existed then I wouldn’t have been left on the doorstep of this orphanage. It was as simple as that.
Want. Want was easy. Want was comfortable, it was familiar. I could deal with want.
Love was beyond me.
It’s funny how these things sneak up on you.
Subaru always came to the orphanage on rainy days. It was as though the dreary, gray skies created in him a longing for comfort and so he’d seek out the only home he’d ever known. He never came empty handed either. Sometimes it was takoyaki from the stand near his apartment that we all drooled over, or magazines ranging from porn to music –whatever had caught his eye that week, condoms (the way some of the guys would flock to him whenever he passed them out you’d think he was Jesus giving out bread or something) and of course, his guitar; he never went anywhere without it.
The rainy morning Hiroki and I found Yasuda peering out the window of our room with a hopeful smile I knew who he was waiting for. The idiot had missed breakfast and Hiroki had insisted we bring him a plate of toast and fruit so he wouldn’t starve. If he was too lazy to get his ass down to the dining hall then he deserved to starve, is what I thought, but when I’d told Hiroki that he had hit me over the head and dragged me up the stairs.
When we entered the room Yasuda was exactly where I knew he would be. His window, one of two in our room, faced the street and if you sat at a certain angle you could see quite a ways down, enough to notice if someone had turned the corner towards the orphanage. I knew he was keeping a look out for Subaru; he always did on days when the sun hid behind blankets of clouds. Hiroki, obviously, was completely oblivious to this fact; after all, he was still new to our circle of friends and hadn’t even met Subaru.
Upon entering the room I immediately went to lounge on my bed, rolling my eyes at Yasuda’s ridiculous behavior and Hiroki’s motherly attitude. I watched Hiroki approach Yasuda cautiously and lay a comforting hand on his shoulder, offering the plate with his other hand. Yasuda took it gratefully, biting into a piece of toast with enthusiasm and I could tell from Hiroki’s furrowed brows that he was confused by Yasuda’s cheerful attitude. He’d been expecting a moping Yasuda, of that I was sure. He looked at me at a loss, his eyes asking me for an explanation and I couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing. That earned me their attention, Yasuda looking away from the window long enough to pout with a mouth full of food, and Hiroki in complete befuddlement.
“You can stop acting like a Mom, Hiro-chan,” I said with a chuckle. “Yasuda is not depressed or starving himself.”
At my words, Yasuda turned suddenly towards Uchi and flashed him his happiest looking grin. Apparently he’d only now noticed Hiroki’s worried expression and his protective hovering. “I’m fine Hime-chan! Don’t worry about me,” Yasu reassured with conviction.
“Well that’s good,” Hiroki answered, a hint of relief audible in his tone. “But then why are you hiding out in our room? And you skipped breakfast.”
“Oh, I always do this when it rains!” Yasuda nodded as though that explained everything and went back to boring holes through the window.
Hiroki nodded dumbly, clearly still perplexed by the situation and I had to laugh again. Really, this is why I didn’t go out all that much. My friends are fucking hilarious. This was quality entertainment right here. Yasuda was an amusing guy most of the time, but combined with Hiroki’s current cluelessness it was really too much to ask for a guy to keep a straight face.
“Ryo-chan what’s so funny?” Yasuda whined around another bit of toast.
“Your creepy smile is scaring Mama Hiro,” I said with a smirk.
“Hey!” Hiroki protested immediately, “It’s not normal for people to stare out of windows and forget to eat just because it’s raining! Of course I’m going to be worried!”
“Ahh! Hime-chan is soo sweet,” Yasuda gushed, pulling Hiroki into an awkwardly positioned one armed hug. “I’m just waiting to see if someone’s coming is all.”
Hiroki returned the hug as best he could and tried to avoid knocking over the plate of food in Yasuda’s hand, looking adorably curious. “Um, are you expecting someone?”
“Un,” Yasuda affirmed with an enthusiastic nod. “Subaru.”
“Ohhh! Is he supposed to come today?”
“I’m not sure, but he usually comes on rainy days.”
I cracked up. Hiroki was looking confused again. It was cute, but I decided to put the kid out of his misery and just explain.
“Basically, Yasu here is a lovesick fool and is waiting around to see if Subaru will show. He likes to come visit when the weather is gloomy –don’t ask me why- and he hasn’t been by in a couple of weeks so there’s a good chance he’ll come today. Don’t worry Mama Hiro, all is right with the world,” I teased.
Hiroki rolled his eyes at me but his grin was playful. “If I’m the Mama does that mean I can punish you for your cheek?”
Yasuda burst into a giggle at the comment but I raised my eyebrows and spread out my arms invitingly.
“By all means,” I replied cockily.
Hiroki blushed high in his cheeks but he strode towards the bed with a glint in his eye. I wondered if he was bluffing and if he’d actually choose to sit on his own bed at the last minute, but to my pleasant surprise he kneeled onto my mattress and crawled towards me. His hair fell in his eyes and I couldn’t have torn my eyes away even if the third atomic bomb were about to fall on Japan and we were all about to die. The strange sensation in my stomach that was starting to become strangely familiar around Hiroki sprung up again and I swallowed thickly hoping to God that I didn’t look as turned on as I felt. He stopped in front of my face and looked at me straight on. I raised a challenging eyebrow and smirked in an attempt to save face but then he licked his lips and all pretenses fell as I watched his tongue trail a wet path down rosy pink lips. That’s when he caught me off-guard and delivered the most painful pinch I’ve ever had inflicted. I yelped loudly and jumped, clutching my injured thigh.
“Itai! Itaiitaiitaiitaiittai...” I glared at Hiroki childishly and he smirked, way too pleased with himself.
“You’ll behave now, right Ryo-chan?” He cooed, patting my thigh. “You’re a good boy.”
Yasuda cackled madly and nearly fell off the chair he was currently occupying.
I scowled and regarded the boy in front of me calmly. “Are you looking to die? Because I’m going to kick your ass.”
“You wouldn’t,” Hiroki replied unfazed.
“Yes I would.”
“No you wouldn’t.”
“Yes I would!”
“No you wouldn’t.” He was still unfazed.
“Yes I would!!!!”
“No you wouldn’t.”
“YES I WOULD.”
“Okay, do it.”
“YE--- Oh.“ I hadn’t been expecting him to back down so soon. I shrugged, “Maybe later.”
Hiroki smiled and tried to hide it by looking off to the side while I scowled at the situation. What was I supposed to say to that? I wasn’t going to actually beat him! I harrumphed indignantly and shot daggers at Yasuda who was slapping the chair and grasping his stomach as he continued to guffaw loudly. I yelled at him to shut the hell up but I’m not sure he even heard me over his laughter. Hiroki settled next to me on the bed and patted my thigh again. I directed my deathly glare his way but right away I could feel the glare diminish. I mentally kicked myself for my weakness as I pouted and crossed my arms. There was no way I was going to look at Hiroki or Yasuda. In fact, the door was looking tempting. I could go find Maru or something.
“Ryo-chan----you----just----go—“ Yasuda gasped between laughs.
I resumed my glare with a vengeance, daring him to finish that sentence. The kid was treading on dangerous ground. I sat up on the bed, poised and ready to strike Yasuda with a pillow, when Hiroki skillfully diffused the situation by speaking suddenly.
“Ne, Yasu. Why don’t you just call Subaru to see if he’s coming instead of sitting around all morning?”
I had asked myself the same question lots of times and turned interested eyes to Yasuda. I had always just chalked it up to him being ridiculous when it came to Subaru but I was curious to hear Yasuda’s response. The question had put an abrupt end to Yasuda’s fits of laughter and he now sat quietly with a thoughtful look across his features. He hummed in thought and I could see his eyes cloud over as he seemed to escape into his own little world.
“Well,” he finally spoke, “I guess I don’t want to influence his decision. I want to see if he’ll come on his own.”
I didn’t really understand the answer, but apparently Hiroki did because the two of them shared a look I couldn’t quite interpret. Yasuda spoke again but the conversation was getting boring fast so I tuned them out and reached across Hiroki to grab a soccer magazine from my nightstand (Hina had given it to me the last time I’d been over). Lying down, I settled onto the mattress and into a comfortable reading position. Not that much later I felt the mattress shift next to me and I looked up from the page to see Hiroki lay down next to me. Apparently the conversation had ended. He tucked one arm under my pillow and smiled softly at me before seconds later his eyelids fluttered closed. I lay transfixed at the sight of long lashes on creamy cheeks and somewhere in the back of my mind I registered the sound of magazine pages crinkling as they fell to the bed, forgotten. Hina would get mad if I returned his magazine in bad shape but that wasn’t a pressing concern for me right then. The curve of Hiroki’s jaw, smooth yet defined, and how the skin made my fingers itch with the urge to touch was the more urgent matter. Almost of its own accord my hand crossed the inches of air between our bodies and my fingers glided down that baby soft skin. The pad of my thumb traced circles just below his lower lip, right where mouth turns to chin, as I cupped his face gingerly.
Looking back the crazy part wasn’t that I would touch him like that so carelessly… with complete disregard for the fact that I wasn’t sure if he was truly asleep and that we weren’t even alone in the room….. it was that I was helpless; like a man possessed and no longer in command of his senses. It was natural, it was instinct, it was like my body was programmed to touch his and trying to go against that would just be wrong. I don’t know how long I stared and touched or if Yasuda noticed, but none of it mattered and before long I too fell asleep.
When I woke up a few hours later it was to the sound of soft voices and the even softer strumming of a guitar. It took me a moment to become fully awake but the first thing my sleepy eyes took in was the absence of Hiroki next to me. I briefly panicked and sat up immediately, my eyes darting around the room at an alarming speed. I must have made a funny sight because five pairs of eyes blinked at me in surprise and then amusement, and soon the room was filled with various, very loud, very distinct laughs.
“The Ryo-man finally wakes!”
Subaru’s voice was the first to break through the laughter and he winked at me from where he sat cross-legged on Maru’s bed, a guitar encompassed safely in his hands. “Nice of you to join us!”
I took in the scene in front of me and realized I’d missed a lot while I’d been off in dreamland. Not only had Subaru arrived, but Ohkura too. He sat on the floor near the foot of the bed clutching some sheet music and Maruyama was only a few feet away from him leaning his back against the bed. Hiroki sat to Subaru’s left and he must’ve been learning some of our songs because a tattered, red, spiral notebook that I recognized as the one Subaru uses to keep our lyrics sat open on his lap. Yasuda had moved the chair from the window to the other side of the room and it was now pushed right up against the mattress. He sat with his feet stretched out in front of him so they reached the bed and they tucked under Subaru’s thigh.
“He’s still asleep, look at him,” Ohkura observed with a chuckle. I gave him my default glare but I don’t think it had the same effect with my hair sticking out in all directions and my face still looking sleepy. Indeed I’d failed at being menacing because all of them began to chuckle heartily. Well, except for Hiroki. He simply smiled affectionately and I had to bite my lip in order to keep from smiling back. I cast my eyes down feeling suddenly embarrassed and sensed the beginnings of a blush. Clearly, that would not do so I sprang up from the bed to shake off the feeling and joined the group in front of me.
“Okay, okay, I’m awake,” I said, as I crossed the space between the beds and plopped down behind Hiroki and Subaru. “Jeez, leave a guy alone for once.”
“Haha. And miss seeing a disgruntled Ryo-chan?” Subaru asked, “Never!!”
I smacked him on the back of the head as the others laughed and Subaru rubbed the abused spot with a scowl. “Hey!” He protested indignantly. “I didn’t leave Hina at the apartment so I could come here and get the same abusive treatment!” He complained.
“Seeing as Hina is absent it is my duty to take his place,” I explained. I smirked and crossed my arms to show that I was not in the least bit sympathetic to his plight and that in fact I was being noble by assuming such a big responsibility.
“Baaaa~” Subaru let out, unimpressed. “Some friends I have.”
“We only smack you because we care Suba-chan~!” Yasuda chirped from Subaru’s right. Subaru smirked evilly and turned to face Yasu with a predatory look that exuded sex. ”Yes, well I definitely like it when you smack me.”
The comment earned him a kick to the leg from a blushing Yasuda but he remained undeterred and waggled his eyebrows suggestively. Ohkura didn’t seem to find the situation very amusing and he cut in before Subaru and Yasuda could get anymore caught up in their flirting. “So, Ryo-chan, we were teaching Uchi-kun here some of our songs. He has a really nice voice.”
“Yeah, we were just saying that it’s very sweet and it contrasts nicely with Subaru’s raw sound,” Maru added.
“Un!” Yasuda affirmed enthusiastically, his attention back to the rest of the group. “I told you they would sound good together. I want Hime-chan to sing with us at the live!”
“Cho—chotto!” Hiroki protested. “I’ve never really sang before,” he admitted shyly.
“Well that’s not really a problem if you’ve got natural talent.” Subaru clasped his shoulder and gave him a comforting smile. “I can teach you breathing techniques and help you work on endurance; but it’s just a matter of training your voice like you would your body if you’re doing sports.”
Hiroki blushed prettily at the compliment and lowered his head. I gazed at him, entranced at how vulnerable he looked, despite knowing he was actually quite strong, and rubbed a gentle pattern onto his back with the tips of my fingers. He looked up at me in surprise and our eyes locked. I dared to smile at him and was entirely too happy when he smiled shyly in return. My smile grew and the fingers that were tracing the tall back settled loosely around a sharp hip.
“Why don’t you sing a song now?” I suggested, still not tearing my eyes away from that beautiful face. “What song were you singing before I woke up?”
“Eden,” Subaru replied. I glanced up sharply having nearly forgotten about the other guys and what I saw in Subaru’s eyes was a mix of surprise and realization. He questioned me with his eyes and I was afraid to know what he was thinking. I couldn’t bear the intensity of his gaze so I averted my eyes and looked at everyone else.
“So.…Eden. Shall we?” I asked no one in particular.
Subaru looked at me sternly in a way that promised I wasn’t off the hook yet but began to strum the first chords to ‘Eden’ and then it was all about the music.
A couple of hours later we were all getting tired and hungry and our stomachs demanded we get some food. We were all pretty excited with our new sound now that Hiroki was singing and were reluctant to stop, but it was well past lunchtime and none of us had had anything since breakfast. Yasuda dragged Ohkura, Maruyama, and Uchi down to the kitchen with him to warm-up the takoyaki that Subaru had brought with him, and as soon as they were out the door Subaru pinned me with an expectant stare. I shifted uncomfortably and wondered how in the hell I’d gotten myself in this situation. Subaru and Yasuda were a scary pair. I don’t know when in the last two hours they’d been able to plan getting Subaru and I alone together, but obviously I’d underestimated their non-verbal communication skills.
Damn, I’d been hoping we’d be able to just sit here quietly.
“Yassan told me you had the hots for this Hiroki kid but I didn’t know you had it this bad.”
I drummed a beat on the mattress and refused to look at Subaru. “What are you talking about?” I said nonchalantly. “I just like him, he’s a good kid.”
“And easy on the eyes too right? Oh please.” I didn’t have to look up to know that Subaru was rolling his eyes. “So are you saying you don’t want to get in his pants?”
“I--- What?! No! I mean, Yes! Wait No! No?” I hissed in frustration and cursed mentally when I felt my cheeks go red. Stupid Subaru and his stupid questions.
“Ryo-chan I do believe this is the first time I’ve seen you blush over someone!” He teasingly gushed. He clapped his hands happily and cooed. I scowled fiercely and started to rise off the bed but he grabbed me by the arm and yanked me back down.
“Hey! You don’t have to be so rough,” I complained.
“Ryo,” Subaru said, ignoring my complaint and looking terribly serious. “Have you fucked him yet?”
“What?” I asked, completely thrown. Conversations like this with Subaru were nothing new so there was no reason for me to be feeling so…uncomfortable. But this was Hiroki and….. somehow that made things different. “No,” I answered after a pause, my voice barely above a whisper.
“Why not? You usually nail ‘em as soon as you like ‘em.”
“Well, yeah, but…”
“But what? Have you even tried anything?”
“Ahahaha. Are you serious?!”
"Yet you were all over him earlier."
"Look, what's your point?"
Subaru clapped me on the back then laid a hand on my shoulder looking very much like an old man getting ready to relay some very important, hard earned wisdom. “Ryo, my friend, I think you may be falling for this one.”
“I am not ,” I immediately denied. It was true that I was attracted to him and yet hadn’t made a move but that wasn’t because I was “falling in love” or whatever the hell Subaru was implying. I liked Hiroki and I didn’t want anything to get in the way or ruin things. I didn’t have to sleep with him even if I wanted to and… Nothing was making sense except for the fact that Subaru was wrong. He had to be. Because love didn’t really exist. Right?
“You don’t know what you’re talking about, old man---“ I shot back but I was interrupted as that was the precise moment in which the door swung open and the rest of the group walked in with steaming plates of takoyaki in their hands. My eyes automatically sought out Hiroki’s form and almost as if on cue he looked straight at me with those penetrating eyes of his. Shit. Right away my stomach started doing flips and somersaults and whatever the fuck else it is that stomachs do in this kind of situation. Shit. I hadn’t thought about it too much before but now Subaru had put crazy ideas in my head and…and….it couldn’t be. I didn’t know what I was feeling, but it wasn’t love, or anything that would grow into love.
My eyes went wide as I was struck with the thought that maybe Subaru was onto something and I turned to him in panic. His response was to fall onto the bed in hysterical laughter (the bastard!) and I flailed inwardly.
In the midst of my mental distress Hiroki tapped me on the shoulder in order to hand me a small plate of takoyaki and I accepted it hesitantly. I mumbled my thanks refusing to look at him but then our fingers brushed and against my better judgment I caved. I looked up.