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Ruka followed a still-angry Ni~ya offstage at the end of the show, feeling helpless. The others trailed a few feet behind the couple, trying to give them their space as Ni~ya stormed off, Ruka in tow. Ni~ya stopped when they reached one of the dressing rooms, wheeling around on Ruka.

“Why the hell are you following me like that?” the bassist demanded, his voice coming out as nearly a hiss. Despite his better judgment, Ni~ya’s tone made Ruka a little angry himself.

“Maybe because I love you want I want to know what’s bothering you!” Ruka yelled, feeling his anger boiling. Ruka stopped suddenly as he glanced over at the door, seeing Hitsugi standing there, looking incredibly uncomfortable. The guitarist shifted uneasily in the doorway.

“Sorry,” Hitsugi apologized quickly. “I have to—my pants.” He motioned across the room, where his pants were lying folded on a chair. Feeling the tension in the room, he scrambled across the space quickly, going to grab the pair of pants from the chair. He scrambled out just as quickly, but the quick pause had given Ruka time to calm himself.

He and Ni~ya had gotten into their share of yelling contests, and they’d never ended well. He took a few long, deep breaths as he watched Hitsugi leave, trying to keep himself from yelling again. Once Hitsugi had left the room, he felt himself significantly less worked up, but looking at Ni~ya, he wasn’t sure the other man felt the same. Ruka sighed.

“Look—let’s just not yell at each other, okay?” Ruka begged, his voice sounding as tired and dejected as he felt. At his tone, Ni~ya’s anger seemed to deflate a little as well, and he sat down in a chair, burying his head in his hands. He rubbed his temples gently, sighing.

“Sorry,” he mumbled into his hands, his voice muffled. Feeling slightly endeared toward the other man, Ruka squatted down in front of him, sliding his hand around Ni~ya’s to cup the bassist’s cheek. Ni~ya raised his eyes after a moment, looking deeply into Ruka’s own dark orbs.

“You don’t have to apologize,” Ruka excused gently, “but I’d like it if you’d tell me what’s bothering you.”

Ni~ya’s gaze darkened immediately, and he turned his eyes away from Ruka’s, face flushing. “I—it’s stupid,” Ni~ya excused, looking flustered and embarrassed. Ruka waited patiently for a few seconds for Ni~ya to elaborate, but when he didn’t, Ruka stroked the other man’s cheek gently.

“Tell me,” Ruka commanded softly, his voice urging but not forceful. Ni~ya shifted uncomfortably, refusing to meet Ruka’s gaze. He took a deep breath.

“It—it’s about Kei,” he forced out finally. Ruka’s eyes widened.

“Kei?” he echoed disbelievingly. “What about him?”

Ni~ya looked even more ill at ease. “Wouldn’t it bug you if some other guy were sending your boyfriend flowers?” Ni~ya asked, his tone nearly emotionless. It took a minute for Ni~ya’s words to hit him, but after they did, Ruka sighed, smiling gently.

“Ni~ya, look at me,” Ruka ordered, sliding his hand beneath the bassist’s chin to lift his head. Reluctantly, Ni~ya did so, meeting his lover’s eyes. Ni~ya’s dark eyes were so filled with sadness and anguish that it nearly made Ruka’s heart break. The drummer looked right at Ni~ya, trying to express everything he felt through his own eyes.

“Kei is a friend,” Ruka said, putting emphasis on the last word. “Nothing more. He’s young, he’s fun, and I enjoy his company. But I love you, and that’s never changed. I love being with you, I love your perverted little jokes, and I even love that wacky little nickname you have for your penis.”

Ni~ya blushed at that, averting his eyes with a nervous laugh. Ruka’s smile widened, glad that he could make his lover laugh. “Kei and I send each other flowers because we’re huge dorks—no other reason. There’s nothing more to it. Okay?” Ruka asked, looking intently at Ni~ya for the other man’s reaction. After a long moment, Ni~ya nodded.

“Sorry,” he apologized again, his voice soft. “I guess I’m just a little—”

“Possessive?” Ruka cut in with a raised eyebrow. Ni~ya mock-glared at him. “It’s all right for you to be a little possessive. After all, I am yours; never forget that. Now come here and kiss me.”

Ni~ya smiled widely, leaning forward and catching his lover’s lips with his own.

Hitsugi returned from fetching his pants back into the room the others had decided to change in, in an attempt to avoid Ruka and Ni~ya’s fighting. Yomi was already half-changed—the first thing he’d done was remove his shoes, swearing at the next live, he wasn’t wearing any. He had on his regular pants, but still had his shirt and makeup from the concert. Sakito was already in street clothes; a pair of jeans and a t-shirt that just barely covered his flat stomach, riding up a little each time he moved.

Upon seeing Hitsugi enter, Yomi looked up, appearing eager. “Well?” he demanded. “What are Ruka and Ni~ya doing?”

Sakito shook his head at Yomi’s nosy manner but kept his mouth shut about it, eyes flickering briefly over at the other guitarist. Hitsugi shrugged. “They were yelling at each other. I didn’t stick around to hear very much, but they both seemed pretty angry,” he explained before starting to remove his own costume. Yomi looked nervous.

“I say we change and get out of here sooner rather than later, then,” he suggested. “Hurry up and change, Hitsu-chan.”

Suddenly, Sakito slid out of his chair, leaving the room wordlessly. Yomi glanced over at Hitsugi with a raised eyebrow, knowing that Hitsugi was much closer to Sakito than he was—than indeed any of the other band members were. It seemed, sometimes, that Hitsugi was the only one out of all of them who ever really understood Sakito’s behavior. “What’s with him?” Yomi asked as he changed his shirt. Hitsugi looked thoughtful for a second.

“You know how much Sakito hates conflict,” Hitsugi replied after a moment, beginning to change his clothing as well. “It’s been getting him agitated. He’s smoking—he shouldn’t be.”

Yomi pulled his new shirt on, frowning. “Come to think of it, Saki’s been acting kind of strange lately,” Yomi commented. “Quieter, kind of, if that’s possible. And weirdly enough, his whole wardrobe seems to have changed. He’s showing less skin.”

Hitsugi rolled his eyes at the vocalist. “Maybe because he’s tired of you three calling him a slut,” he suggested dryly. The tone was rather out-of-character for the shy guitarist, but he had always felt as if Sakito needed to be defended sometimes; he found it difficult to really get close to anyone, but Hitsugi was one of the only people who had managed it, and it gave Hitsugi a certain sense of duty.

Yomi stopped where he was, looking intently at Hitsugi. “That doesn’t really bother him, does it?” Yomi asked worriedly after a moment. “If I thought it did, I’d tell the others to stop. We know Sakito doesn’t really sleep around; we’re just teasing him because all the girls seem to like him so much.”

Hitsugi shrugged again. “You’d have to ask Sakito about that, but I can’t guarantee he’d give you a straight answer.”

Yomi fell silent for a moment, looking contemplative. Finally, he looked back at Hitsugi, seeming a little guilty. “You don’t think we contributed to whatever’s bothering Saki, do you?” he inquired. Hitsugi stopped as well, looking over at his friend.

“Well it certainly doesn’t help. It just reminds him of the fact that he doesn’t have anyone…you know…like that. Romantically, sexually,” Hitsugi said, blushing softly. “I think he’s lonely.”

Yomi bit his lip, remaining silent as they finished changing.

Sakito strode out of the building determinedly, making sure to carefully avoid the room in which he knew Ni~ya and Ruka were. He didn’t hear any yelling as he was in the area, but he didn’t want to stick around to see if he could catch any, so he walked past quickly, trying his best to ignore his surroundings.

He stepped out of the building into the cool night air, taking a deep breath and filling his lungs with the fresh air—or as fresh as it ever got in the city, anyway. It was at least better than the cramped, stuffy feeling of the air inside, especially during the show.

“Sakito-san!” someone suddenly yelled, making the guitarist turn around abruptly, startled. He was surprised when he spotted a familiar, dark-haired man running over to him, looking a bit out of breath.

“Kei-san. Hello,” Sakito said softly as the younger man reached him. Kei smiled brightly at him.

“Hey. I saw you guys perform. You were really good,” he remarked, that same smile never leaving his features. Sakito found himself giving a tiny smile back to the other man.

“Thanks,” he said with a slight blush. He had never been good at receiving compliments, though he was nowhere near as bad as Hitsugi.

“No problem. Hey—did Ruka-kun get my flowers?”

The reminder of Ruka and Ni~ya suddenly turned Sakito somber. He wasn’t so thick as Ruka; he knew exactly what was bothering Ni~ya, and he knew that it was directly connected to those flowers. He sighed deeply. “Yes, he got them,” he answered flatly.

“Well, can you tell me where he is? I’d like to go say hi,” the other man told him, sounding wary of and confused by Sakito’s solemn tone.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Sakito warned. “Just trust me on this one, Kei-san. You don’t want to go in there.”

Kei raised an eyebrow but didn’t speak. Sakito took another deep breath before speaking again. “But since you came all the way out here, why don’t we go out for a drink?” he suggested after a moment, sounding a bit nervous. “My treat.”

Kei’s smile returned. “I’d like that,” he agreed.