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Blue on Blue
Chapter Six: I Feel the Sky Tumbling Down
Soundtrack: I Feel the Earth Move, Martika
Masato almost hated it when Jinguji asked all the right questions. He glared at his roommate from beneath his unbelievable bed-head and grunted, "What are you talking about?"
"You know what I'm talking about," Jinguji answered with a smirk. "Why are you letting her get away with so much?"
"I honestly don't know what you mean."
The blond sat up in bed and pushed his hair out of his eyes. "Stop playing coy with me." Jinguji pointed his finger, letting his word hit the bull's eye. "You're letting Haruka call all the shots in this situation between you two. That's not like you at all."
Masato knew Jinguji was right. He pulled his knees up and wrapped his arms around them. "I don't really know why," he started. "I feel as if I make one wrong move—argh!" He scrubbed at his hair, at a loss for words.
"She does have a habit of making a man forget himself," Ren murmured.
Masato gave him a narrow eyed glare, not in the mood for any sort of teasing.
"You know what I mean," Jinguji said, waving his hand. "Maybe she's wondering if you want to fight for her. Maybe by setting up all these rules and barriers she's testing you, to see if you will override her objections."
"Haruka doesn't play games like that." Masato was irritated for her sake.
"True, she doesn't know how, which makes her all the more dangerous." His roommate swung out of bed and padded toward their bathroom. "She might not even realize she's testing you."
Masato watched his Jinguji's back and wondered if it had been the right thing to confide in him. He looked over to see if the deep sleeper Kurosaki heard any of their conversation.
That heterochromatic gaze pointed right at him. He flushed and tried to gather up the tattered remains of his dignity by fiddling with his mashed up hair.
Kurosaki rolled over on his side and propped his head on his hand. "Quit being a wuss and grow a pair, Hijirikawa. No girl, anywhere, wants a man she can stomp all over. Not even a little kitten like Nanami."
Masato growled and flopped back onto his futon, staring at the ceiling. Of course, they were right. He was being a weak fool, and he knew enough about Haruka to know that she valued someone who at the least had a pair of testicles to call his own.
He remembered all the way back to the first time he ever had contact with her, when Natsuki tried to crush her under a wave of disgusting cuteness.
When he swept her out of the way, and held her close for just that short moment, he had seen that she had flushed an attractive rose shade and her breathing had hitched just a bit when he put his hand on her back. Then, he refused to admit that it had affected him, but now, he admitted that he had never been immune to her charms.
He closed his eyes and attempted to clear his mind, the way he always did. It would not do to go to breakfast in his current state, nor with his mind so scattered by wondering exactly how soft Haruka's skin underneath those pretty dresses she wore was. It took quite a bit of slow, calm breaths and many prayers to the ancestors before he felt much more like himself.
His resolve returned as well. He had to finish the plans he had started before the end of his performance, and before he could talk with Haruka about… things. He was not going to let anything, least of all his father's… wishes to interfere with his life or their happiness.
Once a month, it had been ordained by their illustrious leader that all members of both idol groups, and their composer, spend a full day in each other's company, sans work. They started the ritual soon after their debut, and realized that, for once, Shining Saotome was not taking them on some wild-brained trip of insanity. It actually felt good to unwind, recharge, and cultivate the delicate bonds of friendship they had forged.
The ritual did not stop Haruka from grabbing some score paper and her favorite pencil on her way to the breakfast table. Halfway through the night, she would woke to a fabulous melody playing in her mind and had to get it down on paper. Though she itched to get to a standard piano, she used the one on her new tablet to get her through the basic notes. Now she was three-quarters of the way through it and nothing – not even her stomach – was going to stop it from making its way out of her.
The others were used to Haruka's bursts of creativity, so they paid no mind her to as she scooted into her chair next to Otoya and scribbled the notes down. She was so engrossed was she that she almost did not notice when a bowl of fruit slid across the table toward her. The notes in her head scattered for a moment as she realized that they were her favorite fruits, and she looked up at Masato, who was slowly retracting his hand. That surprised her a little, not expecting him to make any kind of obvious overtures. She blinked through his slightly intense look, and then gave him a small smile.
"Thank you," she said. He said nothing, shuttering everything beneath lowered eyelids and turning back to his own breakfast.
Haruka picked up a piece of fruit and popped it into her mouth. Her hum of pleasure was simply a reflex, and she smiled as she went back to her work.
In her small area of the table, she realized that the buzz conversation had suddenly ceased. Looking up again, she took in the wide eye look from Otoya, the open-mouth, glazed glance from Syo, and the small, mischievous smile that turned Ren's lips. Then she looked across the table and discovered that she had never before seen the shade of red she now saw exploded all over Masato's face. She blinked again, utterly confused as to what had caused the small disturbance. What was wrong with them and why did they look like the shinkansen had just sped through the dining room.
Otoya cleared his throat. "Is that for the musical?" he asked in a curiously reedy voice.
"Yes," she answered. "It should be finished very soon."
The buzz of a cell phone caught her attention yet again. She saw Masato pull his phone from his shirt pocket. She could not really help but watch as she saw thunderclouds grow in his eyes. "Excuse me," he said abruptly to the table at large, stood and moved toward the door.
Every person at the table leaned slightly toward the door. It was rare that Masato let a phone call interrupt him like that. He was one of those who firmly believed that a phone had its place, it was not at the meal table, and voice mail was there for a reason.
Those closest to the door could hear more than those on the other side of the table could. That meant that the resident busybodies – Syo and Reiji – had allowed their ears to grow to twice their size. Syo put a quieting finger on his lips. Everyone, including Haruka, hushed, barely breathing. She could hear his deep voice faintly through the open door.
Then suddenly: "No!"
The sound stopped everyone mid motion. Ren gave up the pretense and moved toward the door. The other stood to follow, but Ren waved them back down.
"I will not!" Masato's agitated voice carried clearly this time. "I am not having this conversation with you again. In fact, sir, this conversation is at an end. Good bye."
Ren scrambled back to his seat before Masato could appear again. Everyone did his or her best to look innocent, but Haruka could not hold back.
"Is everything alright, Hijirikawa-san?"
He started and looked at her, still perturbed. Haruka looked into his stormy eyes, noticing that they had darkened to an almost midnight blue. A shudder passed through her and she quickly prayed for the safety of the person on the other end of the phone. "Ah. Well." He looked at the others. "Not at this moment, but it will be better soon."
"Is there anything we can do to help?" Syo asked cautiously.
Masato looked at his bandmate. "No. This is something I have to handle on my own." His chair scraped back. "And, since I don't believe I am good company right now, I will go get to it. Excuse me." He left without another word.
No one knew what to say. Haruka sat back for a moment, considering her options at this point. Her instincts were telling her to go find out what was wrong, but her brain was reminding her that she had no right to do that at that time.
"What should we do?" Cecil asked the room at large.
Haruka looked up to find Ren giving her a speculative glance. Then his chair went back and he excused himself as well. "I have a feeling Hijirikawa's going to need a hand, whether he knows it or not."
Syo leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms. "I wish all of this drama would just go the hell away!" he grumbled, as usual saying the one thing that was at the top of every mind at the table.
"You're not alone," Haruka whispered. She looked down at the score, sighed and made herself return to transcribing the notes on the page. The quicker she finished, the quicker they could move on.
Jinguji looked at the documents Masato handed him in shock. "Are you serious?"
Masato looked up from his kneeling position at his friend. He knew Jinguji would be surprised. What he was planning to do was not the normal course of action for any child of a traditional family. He nodded. "I am half-way through the procedure."
Jinguji whistled and handed the paper back to his roommate. "You're not playing around, are you? You are determined to get the lady back."
Masato shook his head, even as he felt his face grow warm. "This has nothing to do with her. It has everything to do with STARISH."
"So, who was on the phone?"
Masato busied his hands with preparing to affix his seal on the legal document. "My father," he answered, pressing the small round stamp into the appropriate circle on the bottom of the paper. "He wanted to give me another chance to re-think my decision."
"Really?" Jinguji laughed. "Your father really doesn't know you that well, does he?"
"And that is the root of the entire problem," Masato murmured.
"Are you going to tell Haruka?"
Masato gave him a long look. "When it's official."
There was a knock on the door. Masato shoved the documents back into the envelope while his roommate opened the door.
"Lady!" Ren said, just loud enough for Masato to hear. Masato's head flung up, turning toward the door and he watched Haruka step into the room. He stood, trying not to look like he was scrambling and smoothed his hands down the thighs of his trousers.
"I… I just wanted to give you the score, Hijirikawa-san," she said quietly, handing him a sheaf of papers. He accepted them with calm and peaceful movements, shoving everything else down into his gut and willing his heart to stop hammering in his chest.
He felt it when their fingers brushed one another and wondered exactly how many times they'd done that throughout the entirety of their relationship. It was a perfectly choreographed move, subtle, and discreet. Something they had used as a signal to let the other know that they were in each other's thoughts. He missed it.
A light flush of color touched Masato's cheeks. "Thank you, Nanami," he murmured, turning away to shield his expression.
"I look forward to hearing the completed song," she said.
"You will be the first to hear it."
Haruka gave a small smile and turned toward the door.
Both Haruka and Ren turned at the urgency in the tone. "Yes?" she asked.
"You will be at the performance, right?"
Relief washed over her features and she smiled. "Of course I will."
Masato gave a small half-bow. "Thank you." He ended the conversation by turning to the music score and carefully going over it.
As if feeling his roommate's perplexed stare, Masato looked up and turned toward him. "What?"
Jinguji chuckled. "Nothing, Hijirikawa. Nothing at all."
The time I spend with you is both delightful and painful. I must do something to stem these overflowing emotions.
Masato remembered the last time he had that thought. It was harder this time than the last. He closed the door to the rehearsal room and took a deep breath. This was his last dress rehearsal before the premier performance. It was hard for him not to show her the lyrics, but it had to be a surprise.
As soon as he saw what she'd written for him, he immediately knew what lyrics he would use. They were still in his head, but he'd let them flow out of him onto the paper in front of him. It had been cathartic. The words had been swimming around in his mind for weeks, and every time he looked at Haruka, they powered to the front of his brain and lightly scattered his thoughts, making it so he had to pull himself together. It was stressful, but he couldn't write the words down until he had a melody to go with it. It was inconvenient and annoying at times but it was always that way for him.
He hoped she would like the finished product. He hoped she would understand.
"Have we decided who is going to opening night?" Syo asked the group at large. "Who has prior commitments?"
"I know I'll be going," Ren said.
"My dance card is sadly empty, so I will be there," Reiji commented, looking at his students. "I think my kouhai will be going with me as well, neh?"
"Of course," Tokiya murmured.
"Not something I would miss for the world," Cecil said.
"I have a shoot that day and I don't think I'll be back in time," Natsuki said.
"Is that tomorrow?" Syo asked. "Damn. I wanted to go."
"Then go. Support Masayan," Natsuki told him with a smile. "He'll need it."
Reiji looked around. "Where is he?"
Ren smirked. "He is in our rooms, doing his preparing thing."
"Meditating." Tokiya said. "Indoors?"
"Too cold for a waterfall," Ren said.
The door opened, and Haruka leaned in. "Hello," she said, smiling.
"Nanami!" Syo called. "We were deciding who was going to the opening tomorrow."
"Oh, good!" Haruka said. She moved into room and sat on the couch beside Ren. "I was just going to ask if anyone has seen Tomo-chan. We're going together."
Natsuki shook his head. "Last I heard she had errands to run. Ittoki was going to help her."
Haruka bit back a grin and gave Natsuki a wide-eyed look. "She's with Ittoki-kun? Running errands she said?"
Ren narrowed his eyes at the tiny glint of mischief in her eyes. "Sounds like you don't believe that, Lady."
Haruka blinked and shook her head. She rearranged her features into something more normal and folded her hands in her lap. "As it happens I have a few errands to run in the city as well." She stood, smoothing her skirts. "I should get to them so that I won't have anything to do tomorrow."
"The cars will be out front at 7:00pm tomorrow night," Reiji said. "Don't be late."
"Even if Shining-sama hadn't decreed that I attend," Haruka smiled softly. "I wouldn't miss this for anything."
Ren looked after her for a moment then sighed, leaning back on the couch and folding his arms behind his head. "Tomorrow is going to be an interesting evening."
Haruka moved down the street, looking at her list and checking the street signs so that she didn't get lost. She knew they expected her to and, for once, she was going to prove them wrong. It wasn't that she was directionally challenged, as the others though; it was just that the crowds made her sweat, and made her breathing all wrong, and she got confused, and before she knew it... Not helping was the fact that every street looked alike.
The music store was first; it was a block away, according to the address she had. It was score paper first, then some shampoo and conditioner, and lastly a new outfit for tomorrow night. For once, nothing in her closet satisfied her for this particular occasion. She hadn't treated herself for a while, so she figured she deserved it. She just wished Tomochika were there with her to help her pick something out that wouldn't make her look like a washed out dishrag.
The first two errands were easy, and she had no problem finding the dress shop. However, before she even got to the door, she noticed another shop right in the next building. Peeking in the window, she saw a beautiful, modern kimono shop. Suddenly she was inspired. She pushed open the door and took a step inside.
Immediately she noticed that instead of the soft, traditional music she expected they were pumping high-energy beats out of the speakers. The atmosphere was bright and cheerful with a touch of fashion sparkle. After the shop assistant greeted her, she made her way through the small aisles, dazzled by the colorful kimono that fell to her touch. The more she looked, the better she felt about ditching the idea of a gown for one of these incredible beauties. It was time she got it through her head that she should dress to impress. As a member of the Saotome Agency, she had to present a certain appearance at special occasions. In addition, she was going to be with most of the members of STARISH, and, as one of the star composers, she would be the center of attention anyway. She might as well enjoy it while she had the nerve. All that was missing was Tomo-chan; but she knew that if her friend was in Ittoki-kun's company, she was involved in something much more interesting.
She giggled at the racy thought, then stopped, stunned at the gorgeous pastel floral fall of fabric in front of her. The shop assistant noticed her staring and offered to help her choose the perfect accoutrements for the kimono.
She went to try it on and was amazed; it was as if it was one of a kind, for her alone. It didn't take her long to complete the ensemble then, opting for soft, complimentary colors, with some bold splashes as accents. She paid for it and gave her the address for delivery by noon the next day. The assistant recognized the address and smiled brightly, assuring her that there would be no problem with her request.
Her mind was happily buzzing as she left the shop. It was going to be a bold move, wearing the kimono, simply because it was something she normally would never, but she could just picture the faces of her escorts when they finally saw her.
Her stomach grumbled lightly, reminding her that it was time to eat. As she considered her options, a familiar form caught her eye. She focused on it, then wished she hadn't.
It was the lead member of HEAVENS, leading two others toward a shop on the same street. She turned and ducked into another shop opening, wanting above anything else to avoid Ootori and his cronies. On top of everything else on her plate, an encounter with any of the rival group was that last thing she needed for her peace of mind. They were rude, crude and uncalled for and the group's leader was the worst of the trio.
However, who were the others with him? The three were wearing similar sports jackets, she noted as she peeked out of the doorway, dark blue and white. With Eiichi Ootori was another slight young man, his face framed with soft brown hair and dominated by soft eyes. It was too far away to figure out their color, though couldn't miss the thick lashes that framed them.
The other was a veritable brick wall. None of STARISH or Quartet Night was as powerfully built as this one; tall, muscular, with a bright thatch of blond hair and piercing eyes. He walked with unmistakable confidence, like Ootori, but not with the same slick smoothness that sent an uncomfortable chill down Haruka's spine.
Haruka moved back into the doorway just as the slight one looked up and down the street. It would not be smart for them to see her. She was not in the mood to dance around anything Ootori would have to say, and she had no wish to meet anyone acquainted with him.
She gave them a few more moments, and then peeked. They were gone. Sighing, she moved back toward the street and back on course, both physically and in her thoughts.
She so wanted Tomo to wear a kimono as well; they would look fantastic together. And Ittoki-kun's eyes would drop right out of his head. Perhaps if she could get in touch with her friend, they could find something later that evening. She scrabbled in her purse looking for her phone. Dialing her friend's number, she stepped off the curb as soon as the traffic light turned blue.