Disclaimer: I do not own Gravitation.
Author's Note: The is a follow-up to The End of the World by Silverone, which is a follow-up to The Deepest Betrayal, which is a follow-up to Clean by Silverone. I recommend reading Clean first THEN The Deepest Betrayal THEN The End of the World. This is a strange tag-team effort so if more comes, you'll just have to wait and see. And if it sounds like a fanfic plug, you're probably right. Enjoy!
“How is he?” Tohma inquired as he stepped out of his shoes and slid out of his jacket. Eiri shot him a sour look, as if he really needed to ask such an inane question. Shuichi’s emotional state had not changed since Hiro’s confession of sleeping with Taki Aizawa had aired on national television. If anything, it had worsened since the stations kept talking about the new “romantic” duo. Because of the constant reminder, Eiri kept the television off in hopes to give his boyfriend a moment’s respite. Still, Shuichi barely slept for more than an hour at night, and Eiri practically had to force the vocalist to eat anything. It was as if his lover had completely shut down on him, and Eiri was powerless to revive him.
‘Not true,’ Eiri thought, his mood dark. ‘I can always take him to the hospital. But then the media would have a field day with that tidbit. Dammit, why the hell did this have to happen?’
“I take it from your expression nothing has changed.” Tohma’s voice was on the quiet side. Then he let out a soft sigh. To Eiri, it was a sad sound coming from his brother-in-law, and the older man actually looked remorseful. Eiri narrowed his eyes as a thought wriggled is way into his mind. Had Tohma known something about this scandal beforehand? If so, why hadn’t he done anything to stop it?
As soon as the thought had come to Eiri, it disappeared just as quickly. If Tohma had known about Nakano sleeping with that bastard Aizawa, the story would have been blocked because Tohma would have thought of the repercussions. He knew he would have problems within his biggest moneymaker, and Eiri was also certain of one other thing. Tohma placed a great value on their friendship. The older man would have done anything he could to spare them this current pain.
“No,” he finally murmured. “Nothing’s changed.”
“Has Nakano-san tried calling Shindou?”
“No,” Eiri said, his tone edged with steel. “Not since the first interview.”
Tohma then glanced at Eiri, his blue-green eyes glittering with curiosity and concern.
“He hasn’t? And you have not tried contacting him?”
“And how are you holding up, Eiri?” he asked. “I’m surprised you haven’t confronted Nakano-san about this.”
“Because I asked him not to go to Hiro,” a quiet voice stated. Both men turned their heads to see Shuichi standing in the hallway door, the singer looking pale and gaunt. His clothes hung loosely on him from the amount of he had lost. Not for the first time, Eiri felt a surge of anger course through him and a surge of envy. How dare Hiroshi Nakano have this kind of an effect on Shuichi! It was absurd, and Eiri could not stand it. he hated the guitarist for having such an impact on Shuichi and for meaning more to the singer than what Eiri believed he did. He and Shuichi were the lovers. Not Nakano. Hiro was a friend and nothing more. Shuichi should not have reacted as he had!
“You asked him not to confront your best friend?” Tohma inquired, raising an eyebrow at the younger man. “And why is that?”
Shuichi simply shrugged in response before he shuffled over to Eiri’s side. The novelist noticed his brother-in-law watching Shuichi the same way a cat watched a mouse. Once Shuichi had reached, Eiri wrapped his arms around his lover and rested his chin on the top of Shuichi’s head. He knew why Shuichi wanted him home.
“So I don’t hurt Nakano,” Eiri replied. “Because if I confront him, it’ll create a bigger rift between them. He would have to choose between me and his best friend, and Shuichi doesn’t want that. That’s why. Right?”
Eiri could not refrain from blinking in surprise at Shuichi’s answer. His lover was not worried about choosing between him and Nakano? Then why had Shuichi asked him to stay?
“I see,” Tohma murmured.
“Do you?” Shuichi whispered. It sounded, to Eiri, like the younger man was about ready to start crying again. “Do you really see why, Seguchi-san?”
“Yes.” A warm smile touched Tohma’s lips, a rare occurrence. “I do. You do not wish to be alone. If you are alone then you are not safe. As long as Eiri is close by, you feel safe. Protected, even. He chases away the nightmares that plague you. Am I wrong, Shindou-san?”
Eiri glanced down at Shuichi. Were those the reasons why Shuichi constantly asked him to not confront Nakano? They were simple enough, and they made sense. Nakano’s confession had seriously rattled the singer’s confidence, and Shuichi had always needed some kind of an emotional safety net, a person he could trust to not betray him. Nakano had always been that net, that someone. At least, he had been up until recently. Tentatively, Shuichi shook his head.
“No. You’re not. I feel better with Eiri here.”
“I thought as much,” Tohma murmured. He reached into the inside pocket of his vest and pulled out a long, thin envelope. Then he held them out to them. Eiri gave him a quizzical look.
“They are two tickets and a key,” Tohma said. “To Seattle, Washington. I have an apartment waiting for you there.”
“Seattle, Washington?” Eiri echoed. He glanced at Shuichi the same time the vocalist looked up at him, the both of them confused. Then they were looking at Tohma once more. “Why Seattle?”
“I have been working on expanding N.G.,” Tohma explained. “I’ve had some studios built along the east and west coasts of the United States, hoping to attract some more talent. Seattle is one of those locations.”
“But why are you sending us there?” Eiri demanded. His grip on Shuichi tightened. “You’re not sending Nakano there as well, are you?”
“Of course not,” Tohma replied smoothly. “However, until their current project is finished, I need Bad Luck as a working entity, and the two of you need some time away from Tokyo. This way, Shuichi-kun can work through this ordeal while finishing the album. You can work there as well as you could here. I’ve already talked with Mizuki-san about this, and she’s agreed it is an acceptable arrangement. After the album is finished, the rest will be up to Shuichi.”
“And if we don’t want to leave?” Eiri retorted. He disliked the notion of them leaving.
“This is not negotiable, Eiri,” Tohma stated. He folded his arms as he spoke, the envelope still in his hand. “Believe it or not, I am doing what is best for you, Shuichi, and Bad Luck. Relocating you and Shuichi will be far easier to explain that it would be for Nakano-san, given the current media attention on him and his . . . relationship. Pack everything you will need tonight. Your plane leaves tomorrow morning at eight.”