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Horizon 3
Uta no Prince-sama, Ichinose Tokiya/Ittoki Otoya, PG-13

MASTER POST



Chapter 3


Never has he reached a point in his life when he wants to scream really, really loud. His chest is close to imploding like… like a hundred knives have sliced through his heart and have set it on fire and now his whole body feels like caving in. He's just… he's so frustratingly angry and—and he's … he's hurting inside and he doesn't even know why.

"I'm sure Tokiya-kun will come around, Otoya-kun," Natsuki says as he sinks beside him on the couch.

Since he has no other place to go, his feet have somehow led him to Syo and Natsuki's apartment. Syo is working overtime so he's not home yet and Natsuki seems to have taken it upon himself to… to mother hen him or something.

Natsuki has baked him cookies and has made him a cup of tea and… and though consciously, Otoya knows eating those cookies will be um… well, dangerous because Natsuki's culinary skill isn't exactly his prowess, that's not the reason why Otoya chooses not to gobble down the sweets. It's… it's because he's just so not in the mood to do anything than wallow in his misery.

The door bursts open to reveal Syo who looks like he's just about ready to kill someone – oh my – and his nose kind of like flares when he says, "Alright. What the fuck. Did Tokiya do to you?" as if… as if Tokiya has committed the most heinous crime against Otoya.

"You make it sound so serious, Syo-chan," Natsuki tells him in a pacifying tone. "I'm sure it was just a misunderstanding, something that's probably common between married people."

Syo gives Natsuki The Look with his eyebrows drawn together then he folds his arms over his chest and…. and he sounds really incredulous when he says, "Just… whose side are you on?"

"I'm not taking sides," Natsuki says at the same time Otoya raises his hands and blurts out, "Wait. Wait," because he doesn't want his two best friends to start fighting over… well over this – whatever it is he and Tokiya are going through.

And just as all three of them open their mouths simultaneously, Otoya's phone rings and he jumps startled and stares at the device lying on the table in front of him, letting it ring a few times more, before he's propelled to reach for it.

When he sees Tokiya's name on the screen, his heart plummets down to settle between his intestines and he drops the phone on the table as if he's burned. "I don't want to talk him. I just…" He brings his feet up on the couch and buries his face between his knees. "I just want this to be over." His eyes sting and he blinks it away only to realize that… that there are tears pooling on the surface.

His phone rings again but Otoya decides to just ignore it. What nerve does Tokiya have to call him after saying those… those things! Or maybe he's just calling because Otoya has forgotten something at home. Whatever. He doesn't care. He's not going back there.

When he lifts his head, he realizes the ringing has stopped. Syo's sitting across him now and watching him like um… like he's about to be burned at the stake or something.

"Do you guys mind if I stay here for a while?" he asks, not wanting to intrude or impose but he really has nowhere to go and doesn't have any money to find a new place. "I won't be a bother, promise. And once I get the money from the project I'm working on for Masa, I'll probably be able to rent a small apartment."

"Nonsense!' Syo barks out. "You stay here for as long as you want. Natsuki and I won't mind."

"Syo-chan's right, Otoya-kun," Natsuki says, nodding. "Besides, we missed having you around. You haven't spent much time with us since you got married."

Guilt worms its way into his conscience. Tokiya's been quite adamant in keeping him home or within his eyesight to make sure he doesn't do anything um… stupid or something that may risk having other people know that their marriage is only an arrangement of some sort.

"Thanks guys."

Otoya's phone goes off one more time and Syo is the one who peers into the screen. "I think you should get this," Syo says, baby blue eyes softening.

Curious, Otoya checks the caller ID and immediately dives for his phone and brings it to his ear. "Cecil!" It's been so long since he last heard from his half brother – about seven weeks too long, probably.

"What's this I heard about you getting married and I wasn't invited?" There's a teasing lilt with the way Cecil speaks but Otoya doesn't miss the hint of hurt in those words.

"Sorry Cecil. Things just… well, it happened quite fast and…" How in the world is he supposed to explain it to Cecil in the simplest way possible without revealing the truth?

Wait.

Since he plans to file a divorce – which means he won't be getting his house back as a consequence – he doesn't need to follow the contract anymore, right?

"I know. Not that I can blame you. It is THE Ichinose Tokiya we're talking about." Cecil's voice broke through his rumination. Otoya's about to tell Cecil 'No, that's not it,' that – that he was cajoled into this marriage because he wants to get his house back – for free – but then Cecil's all, "Anyway, that's not the reason why I called. Natsuki and Syo's birthday is in a week and I'm calling to let you know I'll be there the day before. We already missed out on your birthday since you had to be in Tokyo at that time so we're not skipping this one, are we?"

"Of course not." Shoot. With all the crazy things going on in his life, Otoya has almost forgotten about his friends' birthday. And—and here he is crashing at their place.

"Perfect!" Cecil exclaims, the excitement in his voice is contagious that Otoya feels somehow lighter. "So remind Syo, Natsuki and Tomochika that we're going to Fuji-Q Highland like usual, okay? Oh and, if Tokiya wants to come along, he can, but I'm not sure how he'll feel about it because—well, it's an amusement park and a public place and he's famous?"

The bubbly feeling that's starting to build up in his chest somehow evanesces upon hearing Tokiya's name and he's suddenly not in the mood to do this… this thing but… but then it's Natsuki's and Syo's birthday – how can he be so selfish when—and… and he can't just invite Tokiya now, can he? It's just… but how can he tell Cecil? "I don't know, Cecil I…" There's just no way he can break his happy spirit. "Sure, I'll tell everyone. And I'll ask Tokiya if he wants to come." So help him.


*


It's been two days since he's left his home and he still hasn't made any progress whatsoever on his plan. Otoya has gone to the ward office to fill out a divorce form. But then he's asked if it's a mutual decision, and… and if it is then he and his partner should have both their hanko seals on the paper. But.

For that to happen, he needs to talk to Tokiya and… and he's so not ready to face the man just yet.

His phone rings, the generic tune spiraling across the apartment. He's close to considering assigning different ring tones for his frequent contacts like Syo has suggested so he'll know if it's Tokiya calling. He can't just turn it off because Masato or anyone important might call and—

Tomochika's name flashes on the screen. Otoya's so not sure if he wants to talk to her right now. She's been nagging him to give Tokiya a second chance, been telling him that Tokiya's probably been too stressed from work and all that's why he's easy to lose his temper. And he feels rather betrayed because… well, isn't she supposed to be HIS friend and—and shouldn't she be on his side?

Oh well.

"Moshi, moshi," he says as soon as he presses the phone against his ear.

"What took you so long?" Tomochika barks with clear impatience and Otoya can't really blame her. "The boss wants to see you in a couple of hours. That is if you're not too busy being all heartbroken."

"Did he say why?" Otoya will normally jump at the chance to meet with Masato because that always, always means work and that's something he needs right now to get his mind off of… um, things.

"Something about the jingle you made that the client is really happy about so there may be more projects for you in the future." Tomochika sounds like she's trying to make it sound less interesting, which—which Otoya recognizes as reverse psychology or something. "Of course, if you're not in the mood and not feeling inspired we can always find someone el—"

"I'll be there!" Otoya ends the call, not wanting Tomochika to tease him any further. He digs into his bag for a change of clothes then hops into the shower, startling Natsuki who is just coming through the door. The water pouring down on him feels heavenly and he imagines it washing away all the negative feelings that have been locked up inside him.

Once he's done, he changes into a pair of dark jeans and a purple and gray button down shirt, more decent than and a far cry from the sweat pants and torn shirts he's been wearing.

"I have a meeting with Masa," he tells Natsuki on his way out, guitar bag slung over his shoulder. "Will probably be back late afternoon or early evening. I'll call you guys."

Just as he's stepping out, he hears Natsuki say, "Well, good luck and have fun."


*


There's just so many things Masato is saying all at once and Otoya's starting to get dizzy trying to absorb it all but… but the bottom line is that the company that he's done ad tunes for wants to do more business with Masato and that the client has requested for him to do the jingles for their commercials and it's—it's just amazing that he can't believe what he's hearing.

"Are… are you sure they want me for these projects?" The words written on the contract looks jargon to him and—and he has sort of developed a phobia on contracts so he's a little wary. Not that he doesn't trust Masato but.

"They specifically asked for you. And I have full confidence in your talent," Masato says like he really means it, like he does believe in him and he doesn't speak in a patronizing way or something.

"Thanks, Masa. I… I really need this." This is just perfect timing. He can make a new start. Though it pains him to leave the house built from his mother's dreams and is filled with so much memories of his childhood, he's left with no other choice.

"Why don't we go out and celebrate? My treat, of course." Masato presses a button on the phone lying on his desk. "Shibuya. Make a reservation for two at Chiyasu."

Then he hears Tomochika's chirpy voice through the speaker say, "Got it, Hijirikawa-san."

Masato turns all business-like when he asks, "Do you have any questions about the contract?" which triggers his uneasiness on contracts in general and Masato must've seen him flinch because he tones down when he adds, "I'm sorry. Is it too much to absorb in an hour?"

"No, it's… I just find it a little overwhelming?" That's actually an understatement. Truth is, this blows his mind off to the next galaxy. He's never had this much project in the two years he's worked for Masato and… and nine commercials in two months which sums up to nine ad jingles where he gets paid more than he's usually offered is just… "I uh… I mean, I'm all for the challenge. It's just… it's so surreal."

"You better get used to it because this is where it all starts," Masato says and he leans on his table, arms crossed over the surface, steel blue eyes boring into his carmine ones. "Next thing you know, you're earning the highest recommendation that could get you more projects that will not necessarily be limited to commercial jingles."

The large black phone on Masato's table buzzes and Otoya watches as Masato presses a button and listens to Tomochika announce, "Hijirikawa-san, your reservations have been confirmed."

"Thank you, Shibuya," is all Masato says then he's on his feet, prompting Otoya to follow him out of his office.

They take a taxi to the restaurant and Otoya's wondering why Masato didn't just take his car instead when they reach the place and—oh—turns out to be an izakaya or a pub.

"Thought we can use a cozy ambiance while having drinks," Masato says when he pulls the door open and Otoya trails after him. "You don't mind, do you?"

Of course not, why would he? "No, no. This is cool, actually."

The place is rather spacious and… and the front room is brightly lit. Right at the center is where the bar is nestled. A woman greets them with a wide smile and a courteous bow, says, "Welcome, Hijirikawa-san. It's a pleasure to have you here again," then leads them all the way to the back where there are dimly lit sectioned areas that provide a bit more privacy.

Once seated on the table, Masato asks him what he wants but Otoya just waves his hand, says, "Whatever you're having, Masa," so Masato fires away while the lady writes on her little notepad.

There's an incessant ringing sound in his ears and his heart is pounding, kind of like what happens to a main character in a thriller movie when… when something is about to happen and… how he wish Masato has ordered a bottle of sake so he can just drown this—whatever—that has suddenly jumped at him.

"You okay?" Masato asks, worry lines appearing on his forehead.

There's a sudden itch right behind his right ear that Otoya scratches as he says, "Yeah. Just… thinking about the project," which isn't really a lie but… but that's not really what's bothering him. Fact is, he doesn't even know why he just suddenly feels so ill at ease.

The waitress comes with a bottle of beer and a glass of clear beverage with a slice of lemon floating on the surface.

"I didn't know what you like. Your mind seemed elsewhere earlier when I asked what you wanted to drink so I just got you a beer. I prefer to start off with sours," Masato says then lifts the glass of… of—whatever—up to his lips and takes a sip.

"Beer's fine." Otoya lifts the bottle in the air, says, "Cheers," and then takes a gulp, hoping that it's something stronger.

Their food is served soon enough and their table is filled with plates of grilled meat and breaded chicken and a basket of assorted tempura.

Otoya pops a small piece of chicken in his mouth, takes another swig of his beer and almost chokes when he hears the familiar smooth, suave voice, saying, "Ahh. Fancy meeting you here, Hijirikawa." He whips his head around only to see Jinguji Ren standing a little off to his left and—and behind him is—

"Tokiya." The name slips past his lips in an oh-fuck-you-can't-be-here-I'm-not-ready-to-see-you-yet whisper.

"Hello Otoya," Tokiya says and—and his voice sends some sort of electric surge to course throughout Otoya's body.

"Jinguji." Masato's voice breaks through the wild party that's going on in Otoya's head. "What are you doing here? You're not stalking me, are you?"

"Stalking you? That's a little harsh, Masayan," Ren says then slides into their booth right beside Masato. "I hope you don't mind that we join you."

Tokiya seems to hesitate but soon settles beside Otoya and—oh fuck—there's a damn wall on his right and how he wish he's intangible so he can just pass through it and—and disappear.

"I don't believe you are here by chance, Jinguji," Masato says, the skin between his eyebrows creased as he pins Ren with a death glare.

Ren doesn't seem fazed at all. He stretches his arm over the backrest of the two-seater just behind Masato's head and says, "Alright, alright. I was supposed to go to Ichi's because he says he needed someone to talk to," his bright cerulean eyes sliding over to Otoya for a heartbeat. "But Ichi still refuses to tell me his address so he told me to meet him at the coffee shop close to your building and while waiting for him, I dropped by your office hoping to see you but your lovely secretary told me that you're here."

Oh. Great. Tomochika!, Otoya screams in his head then makes a mental note to strangle his friend later.

"Are you seriously drinking sours, Hijirikawa?" Ren says with a teasing lilt then climbs out of his seat and grabs Masato by the wrist. "C'mon. Let's grab something better at the bar. First two rounds are on me."

Masato doesn't budge. "We can just call the waitress, you know."

Ren shrugs, says, "Where's the fun in that?" then… then hauls Masato out of the booth, leaving him alone with—with—with Tokiya! Maybe he should add Ren to the list of people he wants to strangle.

Otoya tries to keep his hands and mouth busy by taking one gulp of his beer after another. Wordless minutes seem to stretch for-like-ever until Tokiya breaks the proverbial ice and says, "I… I've been trying to call you."

"I know." Like, hello? Obvious much.

"Look, Otoya. I know apologizing wouldn't be enough but I'm really sorry," Tokiya says, shifting a little to face him. "Can we… Can we just start over?"

Part of him is screaming, No! that—that he shouldn't get himself into this mess again but… but part of him just melts under Tokiya's pleading gaze and—

"If… if we're going to start over, there are things that need to change." What is he saying? Just where is his pride? Where is his dignity? And this isn't supposed to be real, is it?

"Okay. Just tell me what has to change." Tokiya eyes turn soft and… and there's tenderness with the way he looks at him and Otoya just feels so utterly defeated.

"I'll think about it."

Ren and Masato choose this perfect time to return, each holding two bottles of beer. "Apologies if we were gone too long," Ren says, handing a bottle over to Tokiya and Masato sets one in front of Otoya. "Hijirikawa and I were debating whether to go for beer or sake."

Otoya snorts, says, "Looks like Masa won," but deep inside, he wishes how Ren would've won. He can really use some sake just about now. He finishes his first bottle of beer then starts with the second while Ren launches with a story about his and Masato's childhood adventures.

He's already feeling a buzz in his head by the time the second servings of food have gone empty and they've downed their last bottle of alcohol glory. He notices though – barely, vaguely – that Tokiya hasn't been drinking much, probably just had a couple of bottles?

But Otoya has had—well, he's not sure how many he's had, really, like maybe a lot because he feels really, really good, like he's floating and… and he feels um… bubbly? So he laughs but it comes out like giggling and Tokiya smells so, so good that Otoya just wants to keep his head on Tokiya's shoulder.

Then he hears Ren say, "I think you should take him home Ichi," then he throws an arm over Masato's shoulder. "Masayan, I’m too wasted to go back to Kanagawa. Can I crash at your place?"

And… and Masato huffs and is all. "Like I have any other choice."

So Otoya giggles because it's maybe funny, and when he feels an arm around his waist and warm breath against his neck, he feels suddenly ticklish so he laughs and laughs and—

Then… then Tokiya's talking to him, saying, "Come now. Let's go home."

Then they're out of the pub and… and there's a taxi slowing down until it stops right in front of them, so he climbs inside and feels someone sliding after him. Then Tokiya's whispering something like, "Hey. Don't fall asleep on me. Or else I'll have to carry you later," and… and that's just about the last thing he hears.


*


The muscle where his right shoulder meets his neck protests when he tries to move. He forces one eyelid open and is relieved that it's dim enough for his vision to adjust easily without too much of a struggle. But his brain does though – struggle, that is.

Once both eyes are fully open, he tries to process where he is. The soft blanket covering him feels oddly different that he's certain it isn't his. The walls look rather familiar though.

There's a faint light near the door and when he spots the large, almost life-sized framed photo beneath the wall lamp, he springs up, immediately noticing that he's practically naked, wearing only his underwear. His gaze snaps back to the picture on the wall and his brain suddenly screeches to a halt.

Holy shit! He's in Tokiya's room!

His head spins and spins then he hears a door opening, not the bedroom door though so he turns to where he knows the bathroom is and… and there he is – Tokiya in all his—no, not naked glory, thank goodness—but he's wearing a robe and Kami knows if… if he's bare underneath.

Someone kill me now.

"Oh. You're awake." The god-like beauty ambles over to the bed, says, "I had to take off your clothes because you threw up on them. I already washed them, don't worry. And I uh…" He rubs the back of his head, so unlike Tokiya. "I had to bring you here to my room, thought it would be easier to check on you instead of having to walk over to you room. If… if you want to take a bath, you can use my bathroom. I'll be downstairs preparing breakfast."

Tokiya enters the walk in closet – which is still in clear view from where Otoya is – then slips his robe off and… and he IS naked underneath! Otoya tries not to look but his eyes are betraying him and — oh dear heavens! — he looks so sexy and — No! Must. Not. Look!

"I'm going to make you some tea," Tokiya then says after a while and when Otoya peeks through the corner of his eye, he sees Tokiya all dressed. "Is there something in particular that you like to have?"

A gigantic serving of his sanity and a huge plate of self-control will be nice. "No. Anything's fine."

As soon as Tokiya leaves the bedroom, Otoya jumps out of the queen-sized bed and listens to the fading footsteps through the door before stepping out. He rushes to the bathroom at the opposite side of the hallway because… because jerking off in Tokiya's bathroom sounds terribly, horribly wrong.

While slipping into a set of clean clothes after a long shower, realization slaps him right across the face. What is he doing back at his house in the first place? Then he remembers last night and — oh — he must've gotten super drunk that Tokiya had to take him home.

The table is all set when he reaches the kitchen and Tokiya even pulls a chair for him to sit on. Just what in the world is going on? Did he, by chance, wake up in an alternate reality or something? He's considering pinching himself but Tokiya says, "You're tea is going to get cold. It should help you with your hangover."

The tea in question looks like melted chocolate ice cream mixed with matcha powder. "W-what is it exactly?"

Tokiya's face is somehow unreadable as he explains, "I got the recipe from the café Ren took me once when I had a hangover. They gave me the same concoction and it worked."

That. Is. It. This isn't an alternate dimension. This is the real world and he's pretty sure of it because… because Tokiya is trying to kill him!

"You don't have to drink it. I can make you a cup of jasmine tea if you don't—"

"No, no. It's… it's fine." Otoya lifts the cup up to his lips, trying not to inhale so he won't have to smell the — well, whatever it is. Looking at the brighter side though, if this does kill him, then… then he'll see his mother and his aunt again. He counts in his head, one, two, then takes a sip of the mud tea poison whatever. Surprisingly, it doesn't taste all bad. In fact, it is rather bland, no taste at all. But it does have a kick, like something hot and cold at the same time flows through his bloodstream.

"Now's probably not the right time to bring this up but…" Tokiya sets his chopsticks down. "Last night, you said there are things that need to change. What exactly do you have in mind?"

Otoya is so tempted to say, That wasn't me, that was my evil twin, but is aware how ridiculous that sounds so he swallows the lump that seems to have taken up residence in his throat and says, "We uh… we should revise the contract. You need to um… I think you should do your share of the chores around the house when you're not busy filming."

Tokiya's brows furrow for a split second then he says, "Okay. What else?"

"Okay as in, you agree with it?" That's not something he expects, really, thinks Tokiya will refuse or—or even argue about it, not be all compliant and just.

"Would you prefer I don't?" The neutral, impassive mask is back on Tokiya's face that reading him becomes more difficult, not that Otoya can ever read the actor's expression – that will be like solving a really difficult calculus problem or something.

"No it's—it's… I'm glad that you do?" Otoya realizes he's been playing with the food on his plate so he sets his chopsticks down as well, clears his throat and adds, "Also, I uh—I think we should take turns preparing our meals."

Tokiya nods, says, "Sounds fair," then brings his tea cup over his perfectly shaped lips and takes a sip.

Otoya curls his fingers around his chopsticks and stares at the fish on his plate then Cecil (and his irrational fear of fishes) suddenly pops in his head, "That reminds me," he says, looking up and catches Tokiya's eyes on him, and… and he finds himself being drawn into that pool of turquoise blue that he momentarily forgets what he's about to say.

So Tokiya prompts him to continue. "What is it?"

"Uh…" Otoya blinks while struggling to collect his scattered thoughts. "My uh… my half-brother, Cecil, is coming over in three days. It's my friends' birthday is on the ninth… um—Natsuki's and Syo's? You've met them on our wedding, remember? We uh… we go to Fuji-Q Highland every year on their birthdays so it's—it's sort of tradition. And… and Cecil usually stays here with me. So um… will that be okay?"

"Your half brother?" is the first thing Tokiya says. "You never told me you had one."

Well, you never asked, is what Otoya wants to say but instead, he launches into his usual rambling of, "We uh… we rarely see each other, sometimes just once or twice a year. He lives in Agnapolis with his father. My uh—my mom often traveled to that country when I was a baby so she uh, she met Cecil's dad. I don't know the whole story but… but my aunt said my mom never went back to that country after finding out she was pregnant with Cecil. So he was born here and… and we were raised together. When my mom passed away—I was about nine then—Cecil's dad came to claim custody of him, so he um… he took him to Agnapolis while I stayed here and was raised by my aunt."

Tokiya's eyes are still on him, staring, watching, and Otoya feels his whole body tremble under that warm gaze. Then Tokiya clears his throat, says, "So he's staying here? Does he know you're married?"

"Yeah." Otoya crosses his fingers under the table because what he's about to ask is—may be crossing the line a little. "And about that, he uh… he doesn't know about the arrangement, of course, so while he's here we uh…"

"We need to sleep in the same room," Tokiya supplies. "I understand. I don't see any problem with that. Do you?

Otoya shakes his head. This is turning out to be easier than he thought. Tokiya is strangely cognizant. Maybe… Oh, what the heck? Otoya thinks… he might as well throw it on the table. "He actually suggested I invite you to come with us. To Fuji-Q. But I'm not sure how you feel about amusement parks? I mean… there's a lot of people there and—"

"I'd love that," flies from Tokiya's mouth that Otoya's not sure if he's heard it right.

"You… you'd like to come along?"

Tokiya's shoulders rise and fall. "Sure. We're on filming break, and I think I'm free on the ninth. I don't have anything on my schedule. Unless you don't want me to go."

"No! I mean, yes, I want you to come along. I… it will be fun." Otoya is back to wondering whether he really is in some sort of alternate reality.

Tokiya slips a piece of fish into his mouth, his Adam's apple bobbing as he swallows. "I uh… I actually know about Fuji-Q. I spoke to Shinomiya-san and he invited me."

Otoya spurts the water he's drinking back into his glass then he snaps his head up. "What? How?"

"He kept calling your phone last night. I'm sorry if I intruded, but I had to find out what he wanted since it was past midnight." Tokiya says. "He was worried you haven't gone back to their place yet. So I just explained to him what happened."

Oh. "Oh." In his excitement and bafflement over the project with Masato, he has forgotten to call Natsuki and Syo. "I've been uh… I've been staying with them for the past two days. I should—I should go back there and get my things."

"I'll go with you." The resoluteness in Tokiya's tone seems to leave no room for argument so Otoya doesn't dare question him anymore.

Instead, he says, "Who are you and what have you done with Tokiya?" to which Tokiya laughs and Otoya can't help but suspect that Tokiya either had too much to drink last night or—or he's being possessed by his aunt or his mother.


*


For the next three days, Tokiya does things that Otoya finds perplexing. He doesn’t expect Tokiya to go through great lengths to make their marriage seem real or something.

The day before Cecil's arrival, Tokiya comes home with a huge framed picture of their wedding and hangs it up on the living room wall. Then he brings out several pictures of the same occasion – pictures that Otoya doesn't even know exist – slides the best ones they pick together into expensive-looking frames and places them in the glass display cabinet.

They move all of his things to Tokiya's room – which used to be his – the next morning. Tokiya's kind enough to make space in the closet for his clothes.

And once Otoya has everything in place, he says, "I guess that leaves the futon last. I'll have to get it out of the cabinet in the guestroom."

"Why would you need a futon?" Tokiya asks, confusion written on his face – which confuses Otoya as well.

"I uh—need something to sleep on? The floor isn't exactly comfortable," sounds just about logical.

But then Tokiya rolls his eyes and flicks him on the nose with his fingers, says, "Idiot. The bed is large enough for us. I'm not letting you sleep on the floor," and that's exactly how he ends up lying beside Tokiya later that night while listening to Cecil move around the hallway.

"He always has trouble sleeping after a long flight," Otoya explains when Tokiya sits up on the bed for—probably the fifth time since they settled in, fists gripping the edge of the blanket as if… as if he's trying to rein in his temper or something.

"I hope you realize that he's listening in on us," Tokiya whispers then he leans over Otoya and asks, "Your half-brother doesn't happen to have any kinks, does he?"

"Huh?"

"I have an idea. Just play along," Tokiya says, looking all serious. He presses a finger against Otoya's lips then starts moaning and saying, "Ooh, Otoya, you smell so good, taste so good," in a—in a very loud and provocative and—and lewd way that causes his brain to short-circuit. "Otoya… Oh Otoya, you're so tight. I'm… I'm going to put in. Are you ready?"

And—and…fuck! Otoya feels all his blood rushing down south. He's so not getting hard now, is he?

Tokiya practically breathes into his ear when he says, "Your turn," and… and…

What?

"Uh…" Then Otoya remembers Tokiya telling him to play along, so yeah. He closes his eyes, shifts his hips a little to hide his erection which he's pretty sure will be noticeable despite the semi-darkness and says, "Yeah. Yeah, put it in." And there goes his dignity. "Oh Tokiya," he screams for good measure and… and he feels Tokiya still beside him.

Otoya hears the telltale sound of scampering outside the bedroom and footsteps fading and a door closing. At least Tokiya's plan worked.

When he opens his eyes, his heart almost stops beating when he sees Tokiya staring at him with his mouth partly open. Then… then Tokiya says, "Excuses me," and disappears into the bathroom.


*


They take the train to Fujiyoshida in the morning, with Tokiya wearing a fedora and a pair of sunglasses as disguise. Otoya's a bit worried because the hat can ruin his perfect hair, but Tokiya doesn't seem to mind.

Cecil's enthusiasm somehow makes them forget that they have a celebrity with them and he blurts out, "I wonder if they've added an attraction since the last time we were there," like nothing is unusual.

When they get to Fuji-Q, Syo volunteers to go buy the tickets but then Cecil says, "Aren't we going to wait for Tomochika?"

Otoya's about to ask where she is when he hears her voice from behind, saying, "I'm already here," and when he pivots around, he realizes she's not alone. Masato and – to his surprise – Ren (who is also wearing a fedora and a pair of eyeglasses) are with her. "I hope you don't mind that I dragged them along. I brought some documents to Hijrikawa-san's house and Jinguji-san happens to be there."

"Well, the more the merrier," Syo says, tipping his hat.

Their first hour in the park is relatively… well, normal and uneventful. Tokiya buys him a crepe which they eventually share and Tomochika's all, "Oh, you two look so cute together," and takes their picture like there's no tomorrow.

There's a brief debate on which attraction they should try first, but of course, the birthday celebrants have to have their way.

Otoya thinks he's safe because Natsuki likes cute things and always, always chooses attractions for kids and adults alike while Syo is… well, there's his fear of heights and things that are all too scary, which Otoya prefers to avoid as well.

But Cecil just has to open his mouth and say, "Then we'll never get to try the super scary labyrinth of fear. Syo's too afraid to get inside. We keep skipping that every year."

And Syo goes, "Are you implying that I'm a coward? I'm not afraid of that super scary labyrinth of—of—whatever. I just don't want to get inside because I hear it's too long and it will take us hours to get out of there."

"So you're not afraid?" Cecil says in a somewhat provoking way, which seems to flip Syo's switch.

So Syo explodes with, "I am not! Let's go inside," and actually leads the way.

They're on their third turn when the creepy sounds that are usually part of scary attractions float around them and… and Otoya feels his blood turning cold. He gropes around blindly then grabs the first arm his hand comes in contact with. The arm shifts until his hand slips into another.

Otoya dreads that this hand he's holding belongs to one of the attraction's staff dressed in a really, really scary costume so he turns his head slowly, already expecting the worst. But—but when he realizes that it's Tokiya – who has taken off his sunglasses – it feels as though his heart and his intestines start having a circus show inside him.

Tokiya closes the distance between them until their arms are practically fused together then whispers, "Stay close," and Otoya thinks that—that the probability of him dying from the proximity is far greater than dying out of fear.

Tomochika's (and some manly) scream bounces off the walls. Otoya braves to look around and he notices they're practically walking in pairs. Syo is hugging Natsuki's arm, Tomochika is clutching Cecil's shirt, Ren has his arm over Masato's shoulders although the latter looks unaffected by this place, while he's stuck (literally) with Tokiya.

"Did anyone bother to look at the map of this place?" Masato asks, ever the logical thinker.

"W-was there one?" Syo asks just as Otoya's thinking why he didn't notice it.

"Yes, Syo-chan, there is. Like that one," Natsuki says and Otoya follows the direction to where his finger is pointing. True enough, there's a framed map hanging on the wall that they would've missed because it's dark and the creepy noises are kind of distracting.

Tokiya stares at it with a frown, says, "This shouldn't be too hard. I'll lead the way until the next point," then drags him down the hallway and Otoya thinks, Yeah, be all impressive until my heart can't take it anymore.

Or he probably doesn't need to worry about his heart because he drops it somewhere along this crazy creepy labyrinth when—when ghosts start jumping out of nowhere or—or creeping towards them or—or just being plain scary.

It feels like it has taken them hours until they're able to get out of that—that labyrinth thing when in reality it's like only minutes? Probably close to an hour. And Syo is like, "I don't care what you say, Cecil. We are not going back in there. Ever."

"I'm with Syo," Otoya says and tries to pull his hand out of Tokiya's but… but he only tightens his grip.

"Can we go to the teacups now?" Natsuki asks and everyone just kind of agrees. Otoya presumes they all need a change of pace after that experience.

They have lunch at Pizza-La and spend a downtime looking around at the souvenir shops. Tokiya seems to be enjoying himself because he often flashes his rarest smile.

What's surprising is that people don't even spare him or Ren a second glance. Ren does look unrecognizable with those eyeglasses and with his hair gathered in a ponytail and a fedora hat to cover it. But Tokiya… Tokiya with sunglasses can actually still be quite a head-turner.

The normalcy, however, ends when… when Cecil insists they try the rollercoaster rides – which Syo outright refuses because. So there they are, patiently waiting in line, when one of the attendants comes up to them and tells Ren and Tokiya that, "You need to take off your hats and glasses."

Otoya's pretty sure this isn't going to end well so he tells Tokiya that, "Maybe we should stay here and keep Syo company."

But Tokiya lifts his sunglasses a little and peers down at him. "Do you want to get on this ride?" Well, yeah, he does, he's all for the thrill so he nods – vaguely – then Tokiya says, "Then we're getting on it," takes off his disguise and leave them with Syo.

Ren does the same and Otoya is quick to notice the heads turning their way. But they manage to get on the ride in peace and he lets himself get lost in the exhilaration of the sudden drops and twists and sharp turns until they're getting off feeling like… like he's been torn to pieces with his soul left somewhere in the rollercoaster track.

And when they step out in the open, just before Syo reaches them with Ren and Tokiya's disguises in his hands, Otoya hears the screams of, "It's Ichinose Tokiya and Jinguji Ren!" and like a tsunami, people are moving towards them real fast.

"Make a run for it?" Ren tells Tokiya but then Masato steps in the way of the oncoming catastrophe, raises his hand with his palm out like—like some Japanese mythological deity in command and… and effectively stops the crowd from moving further like… like wow.

Then Masato speaks in an authoritative voice. "These men, regardless of their status in society, are here to spend time with friends. I'm sure you all are intellectual enough to understand why you should respect their privacy."

And just like that, the crowd disperses and Otoya can't help but say, "Oh hail, Masa."

It's almost five when they all declare that their feet are killing them so they decide to call it a day.

Then Tokiya says, "Why don't we all have dinner at our place? A barbeque perhaps? We can pick up things we need at the supermarket on the way," which makes Otoya stare at him with his mouth hanging open because… well, Tokiya is a very private person and he never invites anyone over. Maybe it's because he's worried people might discover their secret but… but.

Ren's remark of, "That sounds like a perfect idea, Ichi. I'll finally get to see your house," snaps him out of his trance.

Otoya waits until the others are out of hearing range before leaning close to Tokiya to ask, "Are you sure about this?"

Tokiya just shrugs, says, "It's your friends' birthday. We can't let the day end here now, can we? Besides, I kind of like them. They make me feel… I don't know… normal?" and Otoya understands.

They make a quick stop at the supermarket then take two separate taxis home.

When they get to their place, there's another surprise waiting for Otoya at their doorstep. He feels his whole world shift (again) as the person meets him halfway with a grin that… that just grates him. But… but the feeling of someone's hand pressed against the small of his back – Tokiya's no doubt – calms him a little so he takes a deep breath and says, "Eiichi. You...."

Eiichi steps into his bubble, says, "Hey Otoya. Did you miss me?" then a fist flies past the side of Otoya's head and lands straight into Eiichi's face, the impact throwing Eiichi back that he falls butt first on the ground.

Otoya whips his head around to see Tomochika standing beside him with her eyes practically on fire as she glares at Eiichi, her fist falling at her side. Then he hears Tokiya say, "Remind me never to cross your friend," close to his ear.


tbc...


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