"A Sense of Himself"
by Darkfrozenmind

a Kaoru (of Dir En Grey) fanfiction
no copyright infringement intended.


For Razzy-sama, Yuan-nee, NM-chan and Kako-chan.   Thank you for everything.

Note: This is an AU take on Die and Kaoru's history as friends.  All is fictional.

Chapter 3: Searching

/What could be more comforting than lying by your side?/ 

Die carefully lifted his head and looked at Kaoru's sleeping form, unrecognizable, but still he knew it was Kaoru, as only someone close to him can tell.  Even beyond the coma, Die knew that Kaoru's mere presence could comfort him and he knew that his presence did the same for his best friend.  His thoughts started drifting to the past.

They'd been friends for so long.

They met when they were but 13 and 12, Die knew the first time he met Kaoru; that the older boy would change his life....not so much for the thought of anything dramatic...he just knew that everything he was and everything he had known was going to change.

And so it did.

He'd been concentrating on kendo for the most part of his life, and being 12 he already had dreams of being a master of his own Dojo, dedicating his life to Kendo and the education of Kendo.  But as fate  would have it, and his own intuition...Die found himself slowly being diverted.

Kaoru loved music, he breathed it deep inside him, endlessly tallking about bands that have made it big, about his idol named hide, a man bigger than Japan he eschewed capital letters.  It was a whole new world, a whole new arena and Die struggled to survive in it, simply because Kaoru encouraged him, and not long after he started teaching Die how to play the guitar.

Kaoru's parents were supportive of their son's choice to concentrate on music, but Die's parents were a bit dismayed by the fact that he had started neglecting Kendo and most of all his academics, they saw Kaoru as a bad influence on the young Daisuke.  They had even gone to the extent of telling Die not to invite Kaoru over.  But that didn't sway Kaoru from teaching his friend, and that didn't become a hindrance for die to stop being friends with Kaoru, they continued with their learning and playing guitar, it was enough for Die to see how driven Kaoru looked as he mastered a song or a riff.  That was his catalyst, it became Die's inspiration.

He didn't follow his routine, he drifted betwen getting by and helping kaoru get by.  Kaoru was troublesome yet he found it difficult to get himself out of trouble.  Die found himself taking and bailing Kaoru out of situations that rendered him helpless.  He was Kaoru's guardian,defense and most of all Die prided himself in being Kaoru's friend.

In turn Kaoru was his hero, his revolution.

As they grew older, Die became closer to Kaoru's parents, his parents have come to a conclusion that their son had chosen a life not to their liking, Die had dropped Kendo when he reached 17, and they knew that as soon as die hit 18, he would eventualy leave.  It was obvious from the way Die would spend so much time at the Niikura household and not come home for at least a week.  In a way that was good.  In a way that was more peaceful, it lessened the fights between die and his parents, it lessened the strain of knowing that their son had changed.

That their son had chosen Kaoru over them.

Parent's intuiton are almost always correct and right after Die's 18th birthday he moved out, he and Kaoru shared a small room just outside their town, dreaming of making it big in Tokyo, Kaoru hadn't minded the changes, they both lost the comforts of home.  The only difference was that Kaoru didn't miss his comforts, Die in one way or another did miss it.  kaoru concentrated on getting him and Die small playing gigs in clubs, they did multi layered song renditions using an electric guitar and an acoustic, those gigs payed the rent.  Putting food in their mouths was Die's job, and he took it upon himself to fulfill it anyway he can.

This was where he learned to work, tiring jobs that exhausted him to his last bit of energy.

It was on his 22nd birthday that he made the ultimate sacrifice for Kaoru.  Autumn brought about the cold, one of the worst waves of cliate change in Japan's history.  The victim of this phenomenon was Kaoru, their room lacked proper heating and sweaters nor thin blakets could not fight off Pneumonia.   Die phoned kaoru's parents and they were diligent in taking care of their son whilst in the hospital, but diligence does not equal liquidity.  The Niikuras were simple, and got by sufficiently, just enough to give them all that they needed.

Kaoru needed to stay in the hospital, they needed money, and Kaoru's father had exhausted all effort in bringing in cash to pay for his son's bills. 

Die took it upon himself to make ends meet.   All for Kaoru. 

By the end of that weekend he had enough money to last Kaoru another week in the hospital which was all the time his friend needed to get better.  Of course, Mr. Niikura insisted on paying Die every cent, as Die told them he had borrowed money from his parents

...But what Die gave to get that money could never be bought back.

Kaoru knew this.

Die wasn't even on speaking terms with his folks.

They never talked about it.  Kaoru tried to at one point, but Die begged Kaoru not to push the issue further.  That was where Kaoru promised him outloud that he'd take care of him, Kaoru had always made him smile, and spoke with him in that older-brother fashion whenever he was feeling low - now Kaoru was sealing that promise with the power of his words, Kaoru owed him his life.  It wasn't that Kaoru was commanding, it's just that Kaoru had that effect on Die.

And from there the rest was history, as their sacrifices, dreams and perseverance payed off.

They had a band.

That was all they needed.  What Kaoru needed.

But Kaoru was true to his promise, he was always there for Die, stirring the waters taking them from rivers to oceans.

Die never bargained for the changes he somehow knew would come.  He believed that Kaoru would still honor his promise.

And now sitting beside him, Die wanted to shake Kaoru make him tell all of them, that he wasn't worthless.  That their history together as friends meant something, it meant so much more than the band, he wanted to hear that from Kaoru...now...more than ever.  Shinya was wrong.

He did everything to help Kaoru.  And if it seemed that he was living Kaoru's life, it was because he sacrificed his own to do so, not because he didn't have one. 

All of them they knew nothing.

Die carefully leaned closer and rested his cheek on Kaoru's arm...there was that soft movement again...reflex...

/Kao...wake up, please./

The band's success from La Sadies to Dir En Grey slowly but surely changed Kaoru, Die didn't know if it was for the better or worst of it.   Kaoru was decided on success and his attitude was unbreakable, his responsible nature, alluring.  Die noticed that kaoru's attention was no longer focused on him, he now shared it with three other people, and as Die noticed by the end of their recording of MISSA; the new bassist named Toshiya had Kaoru's heart.  Somehow he wasn't alarmed with that fact, he was happy that Kaoru was happy, his only regret was their separation as friends, Kaoru now shared his home with Toshiya and Die knew that expecting kaoru to come over for drinks and chitchat was not likely to happen regularly anymore.

That was the second strike.

Die could see Kaoru slipping, but he remained faithful to that dream.  Happy with Kaoru visiting him once in a while.  Of course it wasn't all that bad, being in a band had a lot of perks...the girls, the money, the parties, and the fast cars.

But Die somehow wished that he and Kaoru were back in that small cold room in their hometown, at least there he was Kaoru's whole world, and Kaoru was his.

It was never romantic.  Never.  They were never lovers.  Die and kaoru shared more than that, bound by something more eternal.  He knew that Kaoru knew that, and even if he did change that was what kept Die going, that was what kept him in the band.

Years came and faded, the relationship of kaoru and Toshiya recently ended and the band had gone on to international success... still his thought on the whole scene never changed, a part of him just hated the present, the situation...the band for taking away Kaoru...somehow the bitterness, that small wound stayed, and it got infected.  Kaoru's accident was the last straw.  The trigger.

Die wanted his friend back and if it was possible, he'd keep him.  he'd talk to Kaoru about it.

The red haired guitarist reached out to Kaoru, letting his hand touch the hollw cheeks, gashed and dry, he let his hand touch Kaoru's warm forehead and let it grace the side of his friend's shaven head, the lilac hair was gone, only dark brown roots remained, Die let the short prickly hair tickle his fingertips.  Watching kaoru's face closely, he saw Kaoru's eyelids quiver.  He leaned closer...

"I know you can hear me Kao.  I'm here.   I'm scared Kao..."

He closed his own eyes and kissed Kaoru's   eyelid.


it's so cold here...where is everyone...dark...empty...this room it's too cold...wait...

*a warm embrace*


yes...Toshiya...I'm Toshiya...


*we can't anymore Kaoru...there's someone else...*

why?  alone...don't leave Toshiya...iI can't be without you, I need you if not as a lover then as a friend...Toshiya...

you'll never see me cry... the pain of losing you


Don't leave...please....

that touch....so warm...like water flowing...must emerge to the surface....

i'm coming up...wait for me...wait...blonde...orange...tall...short...skinny...

I know your names...your faces are familar...eyes hurting from this, head hurting...i can remember...

I can't remember....

heartbroken...must reach the surface...someone's calling me...You...red hair...

...I'm Kaoru....



Kyo's finger was startingto hurt now, and his brows were knitted into a 'V'  shinya wasn't answering and he was getting pissed and worried. 

"where the hell are you Shinya!?" Kyo cried out in frustration.

It made Hakuei wince and spill a little of his coffee, it agitated Toshiya and made him frown.  Kyo was going to spend the night in Toshiya and Hakuei's home, he was just too agitated to spend time alone in his flat.  

"Shinya! answer the phone goddammit!!!!!"

"KYO! keep it down!"

Toshiya was worn out and he was really tired, he didn't need Kyo's temper to remind him that not everything was okay.

"BUT shinya's not..."

Kyo was cut short by a timid voice answering the other line.


"Shinya!  Oh god you scared me you weren't answering...where were you? Are you okay?"

"I-I'm fine Kyo, i just don't feel too good."

"Are you sick?"

"No. I-it's just that i vistied Kaoru this morning, and Die wouldn't let me see him, we got into and argument and we pretty much said a lot of hateful things to each other...he went too far...i went too far...he hit me."

"What!?"  Kyo's face changed from a worried look to that off utter anger.

"What?" Toshiya chimed in.

"Shinya tell me what happened?"  kyo prodded a certain gentleness lacing his voice.

And Shinya recounted the events from the parking lot, to the incident that happened outside Kaoru's room.  kyo's face changed with every statement.  sometimes it seemed like his features were happy, cheering Shinya on, other times it was cast with a dark gloom, it worried Toshiya.  And when Kyo finally put down the phone, he pulled him and almost threatened him for details.

Kyo told Toshiya everything.

Toshiya's face changed into a menacing look that alarmed even Hakuei.

To them, Die had identified himself as the enemy.


Toshiya took the phone once again and called Shinya...

"Meet me and Kyo at the hospital.  we're going to see Kaoru."

"What?  Is he awake?"


"What about Die?"

"I want to see him try and stop us."


"No. Shinya, he can't do this to us, even if it's Kaoru's parent's wishes...Die should have at least supported us, and it sounds to me like he's the one preventing us from seeing Kaoru... i'm telling him off...meet me and Kyo at the hospital , yes around 6:00 PM...alright. bye."

Kyo was already changing.  Toshiya was about to go to the bedroom, when Hakuei spoke in his calm, suave demeanor...

"Toshiya...are you sure about this?"


Hakuei sighed.

"Maybe Die has his reasons..."

"I don't care about his reasons...we're all kaoru's friends and we're worried...he has no right to play god!"

"He's not playing god Toshiya, he's just being a really good friend."

"Are you siding with him?"


"Explain yourself..."

"None of you guys know what Die and Kaoru have been through, before Dir en Grey, don't make him the enemy Toshiya...Die is bound to Kaoru in a way that we can only guess, please...think about this carefully..."

"Well I was bound to Kaoru deeply before, that doesn't make me exceptional...you know that Hakuei...besides Die attacked us, told Shinya he hated us!"

"Die said he hated the *band*"

"We - Kyo, Shinya, Kaoru, 'that egotistical Die' and I are the band, Hakuei!"

Hakuei wished sometimes that his lover had a more mature perspective on life, he raised his hands in surrender.

"Alright, alright I give up..."

"Thank you, now I must get dressed."

"Need me to drive you to the hospital?"

Toshiya turned to his lover and gently caressed his cheek.  Toshiya smiled, a genuine smile.

"It's okay Hakuei, I'll drive...Thank you though...but I'd rather do this alone..."

"I know, I know...it's a band thing...."




Hakuei was watching a movie on DVD when Kyo and Toshiya left, he suddenly had the urge to call Chisato, Gisho and Ojiro consecutively...

Just checking if his bandmates were okay.

What happened the day before was a grave lesson for people like them, Hakuei wanted to be a good friend to his bandmates, Life was too short to postpone anyhing.


As Shinya parked his car. He caught a glimpse of Toshiya and Kyo leaning on Toshiya's car obviously waiting for him.  When he got out and switched on the alarm.  Toshiya begianmoving towards him, Kyo right behind him, silently they made their way up the familiar establishment, upon reaching the hall, which had been witness to many a fight.  Who else greeted them but a sullen Die, who upon looking up, turned very defensive.

"You guys never give up do you?"

"Why should we?"

"Because right now instead of helping you're just getting in the way, you'll see Kaoru eventually...NOW GO!"

"NO!  Who the hell do you think you are, Die?"

"You know this act of yours...this display of 'I care about Kaoru' is sickeningly fake...it's shit!"

"Watch your mouth Die!"  Toshiya's face was not his as the anger took over..."we're going to see Kaoru, if his parents don't allow us, then we'll settle for an apology from you!"

"I'd never do that!"

"What makes you hates us Die?  huh?"

"None of you were ever there for Kaoru, I don't see the reason why any of you should be here now."

"Let us in Die, if we weren't there before, give us a chnace to be here now."

"Your guilt astound me Toshiya."

Toshiya was taken aback by Die's biting tone.

"What are you talking about?"

"I think you're just guilty for leaving him, ditching him for your lovely Hakuei!"

Shinya rebutted..."You're out of line Die!"

"Shut up Shinya!" Die bit back.

"No you shut up Die."  This time Kyo spoke and his tone was venomous...everyone stopped, focused on the vocalist, Kyo continued, eyes directly on Die....

"We're sorry if we neglected him, we can change and everybody deserves a chance.  We admire you for being a dedicated friend, but we want to be part of this too, help Kaoru recover. We are guilty of things, even though we're not sure what we're guilty of, but we want to make up for it."

Die was unfazed, his adamance more vicious than before.  he pointed at each one of them, an accusing vehemence riding on his every word.

"You (Toshiya) were supposed to record on that night with him, but Kaoru gave way and got you off the hook because you cooed your way into making him give way for your date.  You (Kyo) came late that morning, recording was postponed for three hours, that time frame made all the difference.  and You (Shinya) kept forcing him to continue recording that afternoon, even though you knew he hadn't slept for three fucking days! All of you selfish brats!"

Toshiya's eyes narrowed and pushed Die forcefully, "and where were you Die?  You left early that day for a party!"

Die would not mince words and lower his voice, pushing Toshiya back with all the anger he could muster...

"That was just my excuse!"

"Excuse...so where did you go...no better reason than what any of us have to give right!?  what! girlfriend? party? tired?   what Die tell me your reason!  I think you're the guilty one because you should have been there when it happened!  if you were in Kaoru's car, there would have been someone to keep him company! you should have been there!  Where were you?"

Die's tears shamelessly fell and flowed with his anger...violently charging at Toshiya, he had his hands on Toshiya's collar, though Toshiya was equally holding Die's neck with one hand and Die's shoulder with the other...they pushed and hissed angrily at each other.  Shinya and Kyo backed up against a wall, the nurses at the information desk at the mouth of the hall calling security.

Die's voice was low, loud and clear...

"I was waiting at kaoru's apartment!  I was waiting for him to get home!  I had dinner prepared! I wanted to be the first to greet him!  It was his goddamned birthday Toshiya! "

Just as security got there, Toshiya let go of Die...Kaoru's birthday...yes...indeed...that's why he was all smiles that time, it was his birthday the following day...though he didn't say a word....Kaoru...

Die spat.

"I just bet none of you remembered.  Go ahead and call me guilty again, I dare you."

Toshiya's averted his gaze.  Kyo reasoned with security assuring them that everything was okay.  Shinya remained stoic, deep inside he wanted it to end.



I need to get there before dark...the water's cool...the surface...that light...i see it...i'm coming...

I hate being alone...hello?   anyone..please!

I want to scream...I can't!  the light!   it's blinding me...scream...i want to scream!

I can't breathe...

Open your eyes.


the water's cool...

the surface...I'm here...


Mrs. Niikura was holding kaoru's hand, the fight outside seemed to have stopped, she was thankful.  A part of her felt flattered that so many wanted to help her son.  A part of her felt selfish and just wanted to keep everything and everyone away, much like Die's reaction to the whole thing.  She gemtly adjusted the blanket on Kaoru...I'm here...

when suddenly Kaoru's body jolted.  Mrs Niikura thought her son was having convulsions, but as she let her eyes wander to kaoru's face she saw his eyes were open, bewildered, confused, the tube on his mouth preventing him from screaming...his body jolted again and his eyes rapidly blinking; orienting himself with the room...

Mrs. niikura could not hide her joy and shouted out a loud praise and thanks ...Mr. Niikura waking from his sleep found the reason for his wife's joy and smiled his widest and happiest smile in days...he walked to the bed and held his son's shoulder..."I'm here Kaoru!"

Then he ran pushed the button alerting the nurses of his son's awakening, he pushed the button relentlessly tears streaming down his aging eyes.

Mrs. Niikura silently walked to the door crying, she opened it...

"I think all of you should see this" she quietly said.

All four young men were surprised but reacted quickly...Toshiya was first inside, then Kyo, then Shinya, Die was stunned by the door, and was bumped twice by passing nurses and a doctor...

Kaoru was awake, he was trying to sit up...Die saw the nurses check his vitals and gently ease the tube from his mouth...Kaoru had begun breathing on his own.

Toshiya, Kyo and Shinya stood back letting the doctor and nurses do their business.  But all of them carried an excited smile.   Their hushed voices carried a sing song tone.  they were happy.

Die didn't know how to feel now...somehow kaoru waking up was kind of losing him again...but a tug in his heart, that sinking feeling reminded him that Kaoru was awake...AWAKE...he was happy.

As soon as the tube was taken off by the doctor, kaoru started coughing, falling back onto the bed in a lying position, but his eyes...his eyes were blinking rapidly, questioning...die could see that Kaoru's defenses were up.

They all watched as his eyes wandered, looking each one of them widening then wincing...adjusting to the sufficient light...

They all stood in their place, expectant...Die the farthest from them all, but Kaoru's eyes finally rested on his. as if Kaoru was reading his soul.




to be continued

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