Dedication: Agatha – just because you’re a wonderful person, I love talking to you. And Razzy Rain – my Official Advisor for this fic. XD *Huggles* You both are the best!
Beautiful: Part Five - As the World Falls Down
"There's such a sad love
Deep in your eyes
A kind of pale jewel
Open and close
Within your eyes
I'll place the sky
Within your eyes
There's such a fooled heart
Beating so fast
In search of new dreams
A love that would last
Within your heart
I'll place the moon
Within your heart”
-- David Bowie (From: The Labyrinth) – “As the World Falls Down”
He traced his eyes around the room, dragging them across weary faces, sketching over the details, the minute suggestions of thinking and wondering and pain and even regret. He didn’t understand. What was going on, what had happened, what was happening, would happen – it was a great blurry mystery. It meant nothing to him, he was sorely left out.
Practice had not yet started. They were flagging: all members were present, and yet, practice had not begun. Perhaps it was Kaoru’s fault, because he had said nothing about beginning, the task that was always his, as the leader.
Kaoru... Kyo shifted his slightly narrowed gaze to the guitarist.
His bangs fell forward somewhat limply, they cast shadows across his face, and such shadows seemed darker, more stark than was natural. His fingers idly played notes as he practice softly, but the action appeared reflexive and there was neither heart nor concentration behind it.
Kaoru’s eyes were fixed on something slightly down and in the distance, either beyond the room or within himself. There were lines around his eyes that suggested weariness, as did the defeated set of his jaw and the carriage of his shoulders. This was backed up by the smudges beneath his eyes that he had not striven to cover with make-up, that spoke loudly of an apparent lack of sleep.
Kyo let his analytical, wandering gaze shift, transferring it to the slender man who stood—
Kyo frowned. Wait, this wasn’t right. Toshiya was supposed to stand between Die and Kaoru. But next to Kaoru was Die... Brows drawing down, Kyo glanced beyond Die to Toshiya.
The slim bassist stood silently, as silent as the rest. But he seemed more faded, unmoving, drawn into himself. He didn’t even practice idly – his pale, long fingers hovered over the strings, but he did not play, he seemed to not have the will or the strength to do so. He simply stood there, head tilted down, long, shimmering hair hanging over his shoulders and soft shadows that were like Kaoru’s upon his countenance. He, too, wore no make-up.
Kyo, still frowning, looked at the other guitarist.
Die was standing almost rigidly between Kaoru and Toshiya, and there seemed to be upon his face and within his intense eyes the most focus and awareness out of all of them. But it was focus upon something that Kyo could not see or readily understand. Die did not pay attention to the notes he picked out, but he wasn’t as tiredly distant as the others. But even he seemed weary. Angrily so.
And finally – there was Shinya. Kyo’s gaze fixed lastly upon him, but he told no clearer story than the others. His face was down and partially hidden by the sheet of paper in his hand. On the back Kyo could see some shorthand, quick scratches of writing in different directions, as if notes had been jotted down there, and he knew that Shinya was staring at sheet music that was probably already memorized. The young drummer was staring at the music on the other side, staring blankly and probably without seeing, his gaze drifting through the paper, somewhere else.
His eyes seemed to reflect the same as Toshiya’s – they were dim, defeated. Hurting. But unlike Toshiya, he did not sink into himself, fade into the background. He seemed to cling tenuously to some hidden strength in his almost-frail limbs.
All of Dir en Grey, all of those Kyo’s eyes skimmed intently over – they were weary, tired. There was a misted cloud hovering above them all, threatening, casting a shadow. Kyo understood none of it.
< What I do understand, though, > he thought sourly, < is that I’m on time for practice for once, and I’d rather be sleeping. I don’t know why I should waste my time standing here while everyone else is off in their own world... >
Pointedly and decisively, Kyo cleared his throat. It was an obvious plea for attention, and that plea was granted. Four pairs of eyes lifted to him.
Kyo waited, then, leaving the silence open for Kaoru to step into and commence practice. But even their leader remained still, silent.
Kyo’s eyes darkened with irritation and confusion, and he was forced to take the initiative. “Let’s start practice, ne?” he demanded, voice less a suggestion and more an annoyed command.
It was only then, with Kyo’s pointed gaze sweeping over him, that Kaoru shook himself into a response. “Oh, right... Start with Yurameki...?”
A mixture of nodded agreement. And then they finally began.
Practice was less than dwindling, worse than merely struggling. The bass line was slow – and even when it wasn’t, it was tenuous, uncertain and utterly without confidence – and although the drums were relatively without error, there was no confidence behind the tapped-out rhythm either. The guitars were little better. Die’s rhythm was uncertain, and Kaoru’s playing was riddled with mistakes.
The worst part was that Kaoru, normally armed and ready to keep people in line with a dark, warning glare conjured at their mistakes, said not a word. Kyo continually cast irritated glances over his shoulder at the varied mistakes and inharmonic clashes, but no one paid him any attention.
Finally, when Kaoru didn’t just mess up his solo, but utterly missed it, Kyo’s anger boiled over.
“Stop!” he shouted.
The lacking drums, guitars, and bass notes drifted off in a jagged edge. The small vocalist fixed his flashing gaze on Kaoru, and somehow he expected a cool apology, or an aloof wave-off of the mistake. But Kaoru’s face was instead quiet, withdrawn, and guilty.
“Eh... sorry,” he apologized, ducking his head. “We can start over...”
Dir en Grey readied themselves to play in response. Shinya even played the first introductory beats, but Kyo quickly cut in.
A flutter of confusion passed over the drummer’s delicate features, he quickly cut off, eyes sliding from Kyo’s. The rest of the band peered at their vocalist, gazes varying from direct to indirect. Kyo’s eyes were dark and angry as he in turn looked back at them all.
“Now. What’s going on?”
Everyone seem disinclined to speak at first. When someone spoke finally, it was Kaoru, offering tentatively: “nothing.”
“Bullshit!” Kyo’s words dropped over Kaoru’s, he spoke almost before the pink-head had finished. “Everyone keeps screwing up. Not one or two, but all fucking four of you. I’m not blind. What the fuck is going on!?”
This time Shinya spoke, and Kyo’s eyes swiveled to him. “Kyo... It’s not about the band,” he said quietly, eyes somewhat pleading. “It’s... personal stuff. So – so just leave it alone...” Voice dropping to a whisper.
In spite of the drummer’s fragility and imploration, Kyo continued. < Hell no, I won’t give up. Something is being hidden from me. I hate that. >
“It’s obviously enough to affect the band.” He drove his point home with a sweeping glare. “The music sounds like shit. And it’s not just today, although today is the worst.”
More guilt in the eyes not quite meeting his. Shame flickered across those turned-away faces. Someone even went so far as to murmur a soft, barely audible apology, but Kyo could not tell who spoke. Shinya or Toshiya. It didn’t matter.
“Well?” the singer finally demanded. “Who’s going to tell me?”
It was Die’s voice to break the stillness. “No one.”
“I’m part of the same fucking band!” Kyo flared in response to the notable hardness of Die’s voice, his powerful voice rising in anger, belying his appearance.
Die was untouched by his irritation, perhaps became slightly more rigid, cold, and distant. “It’s not about Dir en Grey.”
“It fucking *is* if it’s going to screw us up like this,” Kyo snapped in argument.
Their raised, harsh voice bounced off the walls.
The small voice was Toshiya’s, he slipped the words into the frigid, tense silence. “Onegai...” His eyes were on the floor.
Kyo frowned, his eyes skipping to the slender bassist and then back to Die in time to see the latter jerking his guitar over his shoulder. He kept his gaze flatly on Die as the other man stalked to his guitar stand a few feet away and roughly put the instrument away.
Die’s action were harshly angry, he seemed to feel Kyo’s gaze heavily upon him, yet he ignored it coldly. He turned around, and his eyes touched briefly upon Kyo before transferring to Toshiya.
“Come on, Toshiya,” he snarled. A few swift steps carried him across the floor to the bassist.
The dark eyes that flickered to him in response were diminutively uncertain, but Toshiya complied obediently and moved to quickly take his bass off and place it on its stand. His fingers had barely left the surface before Die reached him. The guitarist’s hand closed securely over the pale, slender wrist.
Toshiya stumbled slightly as he was jerked off-balance, quickly regaining his footing in an effort to hurry after Die. He never looked at any of the others, his head was down.
Kyo’s frown deepened; he was put off not only by the Die’s arguing and now abandonment of practice, but also by the roughness with which he treated Toshiya. Kyo had never seen such interaction before.
Muttering an obscenity, the singer turned his eyes upon the others. Kaoru’s eyes were fixed on the door through which the pair had just left, and his jaw was noticeably tight. Shinya’s gaze was upon Kaoru, and it was not so intent as Kaoru’s on the door, but it was still deep.
Kyo threw up his hands when no one moved to say anything, seemed content to remain in silence and almost in anguish. “Fuck this, I’m leaving,” he snapped. “Someone let me know when we’re going to actually *practice* again.”
Two pairs of somewhat guilty, mostly distant gazes flashed to him. Without waiting for a response he didn’t think he would receive, Kyo stalked out of the room and into the late, coldly blooming morning.
Kaoru stared at the phone – he seemed to be doing that a great deal lately. His body was aching.
He had finally slept the night all the way through the previous evening, but he may as well have been awake for all the good that rest had done him. His dreams had been troubled, tortured.
Visions of Shinya, alone and hurting, repeatedly being hurt by Kaoru when the guitarist never meant to bring him any pain. Shinya’s tears like razor gems in the darkness, a collection growing, ever growing.
Images of Toshiya and Die. Together and laughing, happy. Twisting, writhing together in hateful pleasure.
Toshiya crying as he walked away with Die, disappearing into a distance as Kaoru watched and raised his hand but found his pleas to no avail. And he couldn’t move his feet, he couldn’t run after them, he could only watch Toshiya drift away.
Visions of Dir en Grey, of the band dissenting and falling apart around Kaoru, partially *because* of him. His band, his dream, his friends and love – drifting away, scattering, evading trembling, grasping fingers.
Before picking up the phone Kaoru instead let his head sink forward, closing his eyes against the battering power of the visions upon him, carried over from sleep, pervading the long, cheerless day. He was trembling and he hated himself for it, but as of late he could not get that weakness, that ache, that quiver, to subside.
< No... no, I have to be strong, or if not strong – at least stronger than this. >
He had been strong the other night, when Shinya was with him. All he wanted was to do what Shinya had offered, to be with someone, and Shinya had wanted it on some level far more than Kaoru, he had been willing, so willing. But it was not Shinya Kaoru wanted, not like that.
It would have been easy, so easy to forget himself in that moment, in that one night, take out his frustration and pain in the form of passion. And he had almost submitted, almost been swept completely away.
But he hadn’t, he had recovered himself in time. He couldn’t do that to Shinya, he couldn’t hurt him like that. As much as the younger man might have wanted it – it would only hurt him more completely in the end.
Drawing a deep, steadying breath, Kaoru finally lifted his face.
It was Friday morning, not very early – he wondered if anyone had shown up at the studio. But there would be no practice today, not after what had happened. On Monday, however – they would try. He didn’t know how or why or even if he expected it to be any different, any better, but he was Dir en Grey’s leader, he could not simply give up even when the tension and the hurting was this strong. He wouldn’t let them break. He only hoped he was strong enough to hold the band together. The band, let alone himself...
He didn’t need to call Shinya about practice starting up again on Monday, the drummer already knew. But the others needed to know, and it was Kaoru’s duty to call them. He finally picked up the phone and dialed Kyo’s number.
“Kyo desu...” The voice was noticeably groggy.
“Gomen... did I wake you?”
A moment of silence, rustling. Then Kyo’s voice again, somewhat more coherent. “Kaoru? Yeah, yeah you did... But that’s okay.” He paused, seemed to rouse himself more. Kaoru waited patiently, heard him yawn. Then: “What’s up?”
“We’re gonna have practice again on Monday, normal time.”
“Okay...” Kyo’s voice was somewhat wary, suspicious.
Kaoru didn’t rise to the suspicion, but his next, quiet words made it worse. “Will you call Die and let him know for me, please?”
Kaoru bit his lip, remained silent. < Sorry, Kyo... How can I get someone else involved? Better if you just don’t know... >
“Are you gonna tell me what’s going on?” Kyo demanded angrily, exasperation clear in his voice.
“.....No,” Kaoru replied softly, voice almost a wistful sigh.
Kyo muttered harshly a few choice words before responding: “Fine. See ya Tuesday.” He snapped. He then hung up.
Kaoru winced before clicking the cradle, resetting the dial tone and inwardly apologizing for the treatment that was being forced upon Kyo. But the thoughts were fleeting, his anxiety was rising. Before he could think much harder, he called Toshiya.
One ring. His heart beating.
Two rings. His fingers nervously reasserting their grip on the phone.
Three rings. His resolve breaking, wavering...
“Hello?” Traditionally cheerful and warm voice: reserved. It was not cool, but quiet and seeming to be carefully controlled.
Complete silence for a response, although Kaoru did not know what he expected to hear. The guitarist continued.
“We’re going to have practice again on Monday.”
“Alright...” Words soft.
“Did – did you go this morning?” Kaoru felt guilty to a certain extent for not officially calling off practice that day. But he said the words more for lack of anything else to say and because he did not want to hang up. He never did.
But Toshiya only said quietly: “No...”
Kaoru breathed a sigh. “Toshiya...”
“Don’t,” Toshiya whispered, voice drifting over the phone-line, across the ghost-voices the populated the airwaves. “Don’t – don’t say my name like that.”
Kaoru’s brows drew down, he shifted, affected by the distress in Toshiya’s voice, eyes upset.
“I-” He trailed off. What could he say?
“Kaoru, just – just stop calling me. Please... Just – don’t call me anymore.”
Toshiya sounded serious, desperate, the almost-breaking quality of his voice was painful to hear. He sounded like he meant the things he was saying, like they were words woven of his anguish and of his heart.
And then he hung up, ending the awkward conversation with a single movement of the phone, a single click.
Kaoru, for his part, did not hang up, even when the dial tone became an angry, blaring beep. He stared thoughtfully, inwardly at the wall across from him, Toshiya’s agonized voice echoing in his tormented mind.
Everyone was being affected by this. Everyone. Shinya was being hurt, consistently and perpetually. Die – Kaoru was uncertain about him, he was involved deeply and thus knew he had difficultly viewing the situation rationally – especially when it came to Die. But Die was being hurt as well, although responding with cold anger.
Toshiya was being hurt like the rest of them, anguished and hurt and sinking into himself in depression. Kyo was neglected and left out, and understandably angry because of it. And Kaoru – he was everything, he was being hurt, causing pain, utterly confused.
And Dir en Grey – they were falling apart, cracking under the pressure and the stress of emotion and interaction, they were shattering from the inside out.
Everything was falling apart.
“I can’t believe you were talking to him.”
“He.... he called me.”
“Don’t fucking lie!”
Rough grip upon slender, already bruised wrists.
“You went to see him yesterday.”
“Now you talk to him on the phone.”
Slap. Hard contact, a strong backhand.
A choked sob.
“You keep saying that...” Derision. “Do you mean it?”
“You said you’d change this. Fix everything you’ve fucked up.”
“I will...” Still crying, cowering. “I’m sorry... Sorry...”
Whispered again. Pleading.
“Tomorrow night, I expect you to come to my place.”
Choked murmur. “Yes, Die...”
Angry footsteps retreated. The door slammed.
A lone figure shivered under watch of the stars, under watch of the night in which he would find neither comfort nor sleep.
Die had his arms around the slim bassist’s body, looped possessively around him, holding him closely. Toshiya faced away from him, his arms were drawn tightly against himself, fingers clutching the corner of the covers. He was already asleep, and Die was headed that direction, comfortable against his lover and soothed by the soft darkness of the night, as well as the satiated lethargy in his muscles.
He breathed in the scent of Toshiya’s soft, glimmering hair, closing his eyes contentedly.
But suddenly, unaccountably, an image flashed into his mind, and image that had haunted and tortured him. It didn’t matter that it was conjured, that it was not real: it was still loathed.
Visions of Kaoru and Toshiya together. Kissing, smiling. Touching, undulating...
His eyes snapped open, deep anger stirring within him at that hated truth, at the mere image of Kaoru’s face. Die automatically tightened his arms around Toshiya, and the other man shifted uncomfortably in sleep, but Die did not notice, his thoughts were again dancing on what was happening, what had happened. What Toshiya had done to him.
< I slept with someone else... I was drunk when it happened, when I cheated on you, it meant nothing. It was a one-night stand, and it took so much to gain your forgiveness, so much to not lose you... >
Thoughts desperate, determined, fierce.
< I won’t lose you now. Not to him. You owe me too much... >
Feelings of conviction.
< Utter betrayal. With him, with *him*... >
It was a passage phase. It had to be. Toshiya did not love Kaoru, he couldn’t. Because he loved Die. He was Die’s. Kaoru couldn’t have him, couldn’t touch him.
Toshiya would realize all this. He would realize that he couldn’t leave Die, they loved each other. It would take time. But he would realize it – Die would make sure he saw the truth.
A soft whimper from Toshiya—
Die abruptly loosened his too-tight grip, pulled back to himself, out of his thoughts and to reality because of the soft, mournful noise. At the loosening of his arms Toshiya shifted away slightly, seeking a more comfortable position, but Did didn’t let him get far.
Toshiya loved him. The tears that were in his eyes that night, during and after they made love – they were from pleasure, from love. Nothing else.
Die closed his eyes again, letting his mind relax with Toshiya clutched close against him and one thought in his mind.
Toshiya was his.
to be continued
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