01 - 02 - 03

Notes: This was originally written out through RP, so forgive any weirdness in the writing style. Oh yes, and if you all care. Nov = Saki and myself (Goji) = Hitsugi.

Once again, Hitsugi found himself on Ruka’s doorstep, ringing the awkward, bent-in button that had obviously become quite distorted over all its years of use and wear – not necessarily on Ruka’s account, but the buildings in this area were quite old and it was just recently that the drummer had decided to move out of Sendai and join the others in Tokyo. Thus, the guitarist placed no fault in his friend for having to find new ways to make the ancient button work. He could knock, but there was always that chance that Ruka would ignore that and, knowing Ruka, he probably would. Hitsugi had nothing against the older man, but he was a little rude and he expected royal treatment from all of them to a point that was often intolerable. Yet somehow, despite all of the oddities attached to their group (especially his own, considering how ostracized from the rest of the band he was) Hitsugi seemed to become the one Ruka decided to cling to in the recent years. Before, the drummer was obscenely possessive of their tiny vocalist Yomi, but less discretely then Ruka was graciously granting Hitsugi. He didn’t quite understand what his appeal was to the drummer, but, since Yomi seemed to detach from him, the drummer was quick to snatch up new prey. Oh, goody.

Surprisingly, the guitarist found himself at ease in the drummer’s presence and the two had a bit more in common then he would have ever imagined. Hitsugi found himself smiling a little, amazed that the two of them had gravitated into a tightly knit friendship so quickly. He always considered himself a bit more reserved then the rest of the band, save for Sakito of course, who was even more of a prude then himself, but that’s why they’ve been best friends for years. Originally the thought of spending time with Ruka felt dirty and illegal in some strange way. When Ruka first offered for them to start hanging out he took the risk against his better judgment and what a great time they wound up having! Not only were the two heavy drinkers (high points in Hitsugi’s book), but they seemed to share a similar sick sense of humor, something that no one expected from the seemingly shy, quiet guitarist.

…It’s always the quiet ones, isn‘t it?

Hitsugi had no idea what Ruka had in mind for today, since the call came quite literally about 10 minutes ago, probably just a whim decision on the drummer’s part. So there he was, shivering slightly in the crisp, January air and cursing himself silently for not buying a thicker winter windbreaker. Sighing, Hitsugi maneuvered his fingers around to press the mute button again, wondering if the drummer was on the toilet since he was usually invited in by now. Maybe he was playing a joke on him with Niya (wouldn’t be the first time) and they were laughing hysterically in another room while he froze his ass off. Yes…they were that juvenile. For some reason, once those two got together, they’d combine into one super-stupid being of grade-school mentality and were amazing at accomplishing the most retarded, asinine things that the band had ever seen. It was a bit scary and disturbing at the same time, but…that was how they were. Somehow, it seemed to work for them all as a band.

“… Where the hell is that ass?”

Ruka was indeed quite the trickster, but that wasn't the case that bitingly cold January day. No, the drummer had, in fact, fallen asleep on the couch without a better way to spend the time waiting for Hitsugi. The ringing roused him after a couple of tries, and with a snort he jerked to life again. For a moment, Ruka wondered who in the world would be at his door so early in the morning, but then remembered that it wasn't morning at all, but late afternoon, and that he had invited said intruder. Sitting up, Ruka yawned and grumbled a 'be right there', pushing himself off the couch to reach for the door. Upon opening it, he stared dumbly at the guitarist before inviting him in, squinting in the bright light highly contrasted to the dim atmosphere of his living room. "Hey."

“Hi,” Hitsugi replied, granting the other man a weak smile. “Sorry, I almost became an ice sculpture on your doorstep here.” Hitsugi shivered, as if to add emphasis to his words, and observed how Ruka seemed disorientated (not too much different from usual), like maybe he had been sleeping away the afternoon. That made little sense though, since it was less then an thirty minutes ago that the drummer had placed the called to the guitarist…unless he did it in his sleep. Albeit weird, Hitsugi didn’t put the possibility past the drummer, who was more then full of his fair share of surprises. Stepping inside, Hitsugi was glad to be met with a burst of warm air, just enough to warm his frigid body. Sighing, he shed his coat and placed it over Ruka’s own on the single hanger next to the door.

“…Did I wake you?” the guitarist asked finally, letting his suspicions get the best of his cautious nature. Removing his shoes and leaving them by the door while Ruka held it open for him, Hitsugi padded inside, trying to get as far away from the cold draft of the door as possible.

"Yeah, I fell asleep on the couch waiting for you." The drummer added another yawn in demonstration, not bothering to cover his mouth, as would have been polite. While Hitsugi shed his outer layers, Ruka returned to his delightfully warm spot on the couch and flopped down, spreading out limbs in all directions. With a naked foot he pushed aside a mixed pile of junk littering his coffee table, making enough space to rest a leg on top of it. The clutter of the table was a clear example of the state of the rest of his apartment, with empty cans, paper plates, old newspapers and other nameless litter covering its surface.

Now that the initial cold shock had left him, Hitsugi took a moment to survey the room…or what was left of it. The place was a wreck, which was to be expected of Ruka. God forbid he pick up a Swiffer. “I hope you didn’t call me over here to be your house-husband, because I’m not picking up this mess,” he stated matter-of-factly while waving an arm effeminately at the surrounding mess. “Don’t even ask, ok?” It was bad enough he had to clean up after himself and three cats (that alone was enough to mimic the mess of young children.), much less desire to clean up his band mate’s sty. Sighing, he drifted over to the couch and knocked over all the litter on the only ‘empty side’ (might as well add to the mess since he wasn’t going to clean it up) and took a seat next to the drummer. “You know, I think the state of this place has gotten worse since I was last here. Are you and Niya having a contest to see who can do the least amount of work in a month? Or who can have the dirtiest place?” But as he spoke that, he knew that the latter couldn’t be possible, since Niya lived with Sakito and there was no way Sakito would ever allow their home to become a federal disaster area like Ruka’s place was no matter how much he loved the crazy bassist. Ruka merely raised an eyebrow at him, considering asking his friend to clean just to be his usual obnoxious self. But no...that would only earn him a swat on the head and an annoyed Hitsugi, two things he was decidedly not aiming for that day. Instead, he reached into one of the piles, hand emerging miraculously with a pack of cigarettes and lighter. How he knew exactly which pile they were in was a mystery that may never be solved.

"I'm winning," the drummer mumbled around the cigarette he had jammed between his lips.

“…Clearly.” Hitsugi smiled, reaching over and to take the pack from the other man. He plucked a cigarette out of the nearly empty (not to mention crushed, probably from the weight of all the trash it was buried under) pack and placed it to his lips. Ruka smoked lights, which Hitsugi was not particularly fond of, but a free cig was a free cig and he wasn’t one to complain. He stretched out a hand, waiting for Ruka to fork over the lighter once he was done. “So, what’s going on? Other then attracting some new roach residents….”

Obligingly, Ruka dropped the lighter into Hitsugi's outstretched hand, pausing to take a drag before answering. "...Nothing. Just felt like hanging out today."

Ruka made no effort to contest that fact that he wasn't the only occupant of the apartment, seeing as how the drummer had found a lurking visitor in his bathroom sink upon waking that morning. Hitsugi, on the other hand, had no need to worry about unwanted insectoid visitors as with three cats his house was significantly insect, lizard, and frog free. Ruka cast a sidelong glance at the guitarist; quite sure his friend had no inkling of his ulterior motive in asking him over so often in recent months. Thoughtfully, Ruka turned his gaze back to the table, puffing apathetically on his cigarette while he mulled over his options.

Taking the lighter, the guitarist nodded his silent thanks while lighting the end of his cigarette and taking in a deep drag. As it was a lighter brand, it didn’t have as much flavor. Eh, still nicotine. “That’s cool. We just gonna sit here?” he replied, chuckling a little while letting out a puff of smoke.

Of course, Hitsugi was oblivious to anything Ruka was thinking, as he was oblivious to most everything really. Not that whatever it was would bother him. The guitarist had gotten quite used to his friend’s…quirks, and he was certain Ruka had done the same for him. “We can play something or go out drinking.” He smiled at the second option, since they always had fun doing that. It was a rare day they’d go out drinking and nothing interesting would happen.

The drummer inclined his head slightly to glance down at Hitsugi again. Somehow, he didn't think the guitarist would be 'used to' these kinds of thoughts, regardless of how obscene he normally was. "I dunno, it's too cold to go out. And we played all my videogames already...." What to do, what to do.... Ruka wasn't exactly a wealth of ideas, nor did he care for doing much besides drinking, sleeping, and smoking. Movies were alright, but that would require leaving the house as half of the ones he owned were old news and the other half had gone missing weeks ago.

“Yeah, it is too cold,” Hitsugi agreed, immediately retracting that thought from his head after remembering the frigid temperatures he had to endure outside. Not pleasant. What Ruka spoke was true. They had played all of his games and watched most of his movies – not that they could find anything in the horrendous mess anyway. “So then…I guess we’re just sitting here. Smoking.”

Like the drummer, Hitsugi wasn’t terribly good at coming up with things for them to do. When he did it usually involved drinking and neither of them was keen on going out in this sort of weather. Stretching out his shoulders and rolling his neck to pop a kink in it, the guitarist stretched out; resting both feet on the messy table and leaning his head back. The cold messed with his back, which hurt from playing guitar all the time. Ah, the pains of stardom….

"Hrn..." came Ruka's incoherent reply. While he was certainly not averse to vegetating all day, it wasn't ideal when he had a guest. Even the often misanthropic drummer wasn't that boorish. "Well...we could play cards." Provided he could actually find some cards, that is. The prospect was dubious at best, but it might be worth a shot instead of staring at the wall or the TV the rest of the day. Ruka had a few beers in the refrigerator and he had played a few hand of cards in his lifetime, but not in quite a while. Blinking slightly, Hitsugi seemed surprised by the thought, not that it was a bad one, but he wasn’t sure how well it would work out.

“I…uh…don’t know how to play any card games,” the guitarist admitted, smiling weakly at his companion. Cards were something he’d never gotten into, seeing as he always had access to video games growing and up didn’t venture far out of that realm even reaching adulthood. “So maybe that’s not such a good idea.” He held his hand out, studying the cigarette held gingerly between two fingers as it burned itself up into ashes. Taking another puff out of it (probably the last since he had forgotten about it for so long now), he sat up and leaned over to the table, squishing it out on a dirty plate. If Ruka didn’t care, why should he?

With a shrug, Ruka responded to his friend’s hesitation, "Why not? I can show you how to play." It was something to do, even if not the most exciting option. Not only that, but the guitarist would be easy prey for a more experienced card player like Ruka.

“Okay.” Hitsugi agreed easily, trusting the drummer to teach him fairly. Brainless idea, but hey, it was something to do, right? Sitting up, he stood to stretch again, this time tilting his head towards the other man to tease, “Do you even think you can find cards in here?”

"Uh huh. Got a shovel?"

Sighing, the guitarist tottered off towards the kitchen. He didn’t worry about asking Ruka’s permission, since they had long since established that they shared each other’s things while in each other’s house without having to go through all those annoying and messy formalities. Opening the refrigerator, he smiled at the sight of beer, fishing out two and bringing one over to offer to his companion. “Guess we better start digging.”

The drummer was suddenly loathe to move, especially with a cold beer in his hand, but had just promised Hitsugi something to pass the time. Popping open the can, Ruka took two swigs and set down the can, hoisting his long body off the conch with a grunt. Shovel or not, they would still have a heck of a time hunting through the garbage pit he called home. Nevertheless, it was better than watching the dust motes creep across the ceiling, he figured. Near him, Hitsugi folded his arms at his chest, still holding his beer in one hand. He took another glance at the mess before him, suddenly feeling a wave of displeasure at the idea, seeing as they might be ancient and gray before ever finding what they were seeking.

“Don’t look at me, I don’t even know where to start looking in this wreck for cards,” Hitsugi told the drummer, giving him a look that said ‘don’t even start.’ Taking another sip of his drink, he continued, “Any possible chance that they’re just tucked away nicely in a drawer somewhere?”

Ruka cast him a pointed look and then moved his line of site to the desk in the corner, which had what one might call drawers. None of them closed, with papers and other paraphernalia sticking out at all angles. "...No." Reaching down, the drummer picked up his beer and took a drink, ambling toward the vaguely desk-shaped piece of furniture as a likely place to start.

“Hnn, I thought not,” Hitsugi whined, following the drummer to the first site. He glanced down at the ‘desk’, completely unrecognizable under all the clutter and dust, not really wanting to touch it in fear of getting a strange disease, but the guitarist figured that he’d already stepped past the hidden quarantine sign just coming in the door and was screwed either way. Grumbling under his breath about how the drummer was a pack rat, he opened one side of the desk, shifting through the muck and luckily coming across something that seemed vaguely correct. A box? Yes. And small! What luck! Yanking it out, he held up for Ruka to see.

“No way am I that lucky,” the guitarist said in disbelief, holding the cards out to the drummer. He grinned and added, “What do I win for finding them?”

Ruka, unable to restrain himself after glancing at the guitarist's triumphant little smile from the opposite end, slung a heavy arm around Hitsugi's neck and gave him a kiss on the side of the head that was probably more forceful than he realized. "Good eye you got there." Releasing the other man and snatching the pack from his hand, Ruka returned to the couch and his neglected beer, peeling off a scrap of yellowed paper that had stuck to the side of the box.

“I get a sloppy kiss and broken neck. Sweet.” Hitsugi laughed, pushing the drummer away from him playfully. The guitarist was very much used to Ruka’s affection, as it had grown more and more over the years, most certainly because Yomi was no longer comfortable being his toy. Tailing the taller man to the couch, he hopped over the back and into his spot with an ‘oof’. “So what are you gonna teach me to play?” he asked Ruka, watching him pull the deck out, curious about what game the drummer had in mind.

"Poker, I guess," Ruka replied, sticking another cigarette in his mouth and lighting it. A moment later the cards fluttered back and forth in his broad hands as he shuffled them idly, setting the deck down again face up. "Uh...do you know anything about cards?"

“Nope,” Hitsugi replied cutely, as if that was a positive factor on his behalf. Shifting his position, the guitarist pulled up his legs to that he could sit cross-legged while facing the drummer on the couch. Smiling sweetly, he rested his elbows on his knees and leaned his chin down into the support of his hands while he watched Ruka’s movements. “Still think you can teach me even though I’m totally dumb on the subject?”

"Er." The drummer's attention was suddenly distracted by his friend's expression and posture, and for a moment he was at a loss to continue on the topic of cards. He didn't mean to stare, he really didn't, but for a moment Ruka's head was totally devoid of all other thoughts. Finally, he pulled his gaze back to the cards, spreading out a few on the table. "Do you know what they all are, at least?"

“The cards? Yeah, I know what they are,” Hitsugi replied slowly, totally oblivious to Ruka’s pause. “I think…” he added afterwards, biting at the central labret piercing below his lip, playing with the metal piece while scooting forward so that he was sitting with the table and Ruka’s hand in plain sight. “I’ll pick it up, so just continue,” Hitsugi insisted, taking the drummer’s staring as concern over his competence to play. Perhaps not the smartest guy around, but he could pick up a simple card game…or so he hoped.

"So...we'll play five card draw since that's the easiest version...." Ruka was finding it harder to concentrate the more Hitsugi played with his piercing, but he made an effort to plow through the rules regardless. "You can have different sets. The lowest value is two of a kind, where you have two cards of the same number. Then there's three of a kind, two pair...."

As he explained, Ruka picked out cards from the pile to make examples, pointing at each combination slowly. Hitsugi followed along, surprised that he was taking the time and care to explain it to him instead of rushing through. It was a little outside of the drummer’s inherent nature, but sometimes Ruka gave him good surprises, like this one. While he continued, Hitsugi tried to gather as much of what he said as he could. The game’s concept wasn’t difficult; it was mostly just odds and whether or not he could remember the sets. He twirled the barbell in his tongue between his teeth and lips, a habit he had when he was trying to concentrate on something. “Uh huh…” he replied after Ruka paused for a moment to show him the pairs.

Distracted again by the spark from the twirling piece of metal, Ruka glanced over at the guitarist, mesmerized by Hitsugi's habit as he had been for some time now, although he was more fascinated by the guitarist's lips and tongue than the bar itself. "Uh...then there's a straight which is...five consecutive cards...and a flush, which is five cards of the same suit...." Laying out the hands, the drummer's concentration was still lacking, stealing peeks at his friend at every possible chance. "Then you can have a full house - two of the same number and three of another. Four of a kind and straight flush are pretty obvious...."

“Okay…” Hitsugi replied, frowning as he tried to absorb the information being fed to him. There was little chance of him winning, but maybe after some practice he’d start to remember the rules. Clicking the metal against his teeth, he looked up at Ruka, meeting one of the drummer’s wayward glances. “…What?” he asked, feeling a little paranoid under such a look. “I’m trying to remember, ok?”

Instead of acknowledging Hitsugi's discomfort, Ruka quickly shifted his gaze and continued. "The rest is pretty easy - you get five cards in your hand to start, then you can put some back and take new ones. After that, you show your hand, and whoever has the highest set wins. You can bet and stuff too, but I gueeess I should let you practice first." Turning completely toward his companion, Ruka offered him a grin full of mischief.

“That would be nice,” the guitarist replied, sticking out his tongue at the other man quite childishly. A practice round would be good, or at least something to help him remember since he his memory wasn’t always the best. Hitsugi unfolded his legs and crawled over to where Ruka was, sitting down next to the other and leaning out to pull the coffee table closer to them. “Okay…now, how are we gonna do this practice? Do you want me to do it alone and you just show me what you’re talking about, or want me to play against you. I think that means I’ll need to move so we can’t see each others cards.”

"It'll probably work better if we play against each other a few times. We could just face each other on the couch, I guess." In illustration, Ruka turned and sat cross-legged toward Hitsugi on his side of the seat, an awkward, goofy position for his long legs. One knee stuck far out over the edge, nearly hitting the table next to them. "I'll deal."

Sighing because he had to move again, Hitsugi went back to the same position he was to start, wondering why he didn’t stay there in the first place. He waited for Ruka to deal the cards, flicking a few crumbs off the couch while waiting. “You know I’m gonna lose, right?”

"Yeah." Ruka dealt five cards to each of them and set the rest of the deck in front of him while he looked over his hand. Patiently, or as patient as the drummer could be, Ruka waited for Hitsugi to examine his own, a quizzical expression on his face while he watched the guitarist. "You want cards?"

“Umm…” Hitsugi hesitated, glancing at the cards in his hands. He had a pair - two sixes - plus an eight, a jack and an ace. Frowning, he tried to think of what to do. “I…don’t know?” he half asked, unsure of what his next move would be. The jack and ace were considered high cards, right? And he had a pair, which was good…right? “Uh, if I take cards, what do I do to switch them?”

"You pick out the cards you don't want and put them face down. Then I give you one to replace them." Ruka had already chosen his cards and set them down for the time being. "How many do you want?"

Frowning again, Hitsugi glanced at his hand, taking the eight and setting it face down. “Just one I guess….” The guitarist really had no idea what he was doing, as if that wasn’t clear enough already to the man across from him. Taking a glance at Ruka, he cast him a pathetic look. “I think I suck at this.” Where was a good old playstation when you needed it?

In a rare fit of sympathy, Ruka chuckled lightly and handed him a card, responding, "It takes a while to get the hang of it. Give yourself a chance." In his hand, the drummer had four of a kind, which would be very hard for Hitsugi to beat.

Taking the card, Hitsugi sighed grumpily. Whoo hoo…a ten. Great. The guitarist rolled his eyes and stuck the card in his hand. Things evidently weren’t going to go well for him. “Okay, so that wasn’t helpful…. Now what?” he asked, giving the drummer a morose look. Why couldn’t the cards be nice to him? It was only his first time…. Shouldn’t there be, like, a handicap or something? Eh…or maybe one of those little odds counters like they have on those online casino games?

"Now you show your cards...." Ruka fanned out his own hand - four tens and a two - for the guitarist to see. His grin contained a bit of triumph, knowing that he won, despite the fact that this was Hitsugi's first game.

Hitsugi looked disapprovingly at his friend’s cards, reluctantly lowering his wrists to show his terrible luck and loss. “Eh…told you I’d loose,” the guitarist groaned, slightly irked at the drummer’s cheerfulness over beating him. Clicking his tongue piercing against his teeth, he dropped his cards onto the couch in front of him. “Now what?”

Ruka leaned back and crossed his arms, getting the impression that Hitsugi wasn't terribly interested in continuing. "You wanna do something else?" The drummer watched him with languid eyes, looking sleepy again though had had a nap already, gaze traveling over Hitsugi's seated form.

“Like what, though?” Hitsugi grunted with a shrug. “We really don’t have anything to do today, ‘cept sit here…and smoke.” The guitarist poked at his small pile of cards with a finger, pushing them around in boredom. Honestly, he wasn’t interested in playing anymore as he wasn’t fond of losing. Hitsugi flicked one of the cards at Ruka, watching it flutter and fall just short of the drummer’s crossed legs. Ruka shrugged from his position opposite the guitarist, then sat up and shifted until he was sitting properly again, though much closer to Hitsugi than he had been before.

"Smoking's fine with me," the drummer finally responded, taking the cigarette out of his own mouth and sticking it in Hitsugi's. Reaching over he, grabbed a new one from the pack, resting the end between his lips before leaning closer to light it against the guitarist's.

A little surprised when a cigarette was thrust into his mouth; Hitsugi pulled back once Ruka lit his new cigarette using the one just placed between his own lips. Blinking, he recovered quickly. “Don’t do sudden things like that, you know I’m jumpy.” Taking the stick between two fingers, he pulled it away from his face and exhaled the smoke infesting his lungs, smiling calmly at his friend. “Smoking is fine by me too. I guess we can talk, although we can sit here in silence if you want.”

"Jumpy, eh?" Ruka mused after a pause, ignoring most of Hitsugi’s comments, almost as if he were mulling over a plan, rolling it through his mind until just the right moment prior to acting upon it. Before Hitsugi had the chance to block his path with the smoldering cigarette, the drummer leaned over in one fluid movement, gripping the guitarist's shoulders and kissing him forcefully on the mouth. The drummer didn't try to go further than the initial contact, but he lingered for a moment before pulling away. "Was that too sudden for ya?"

“Yeah…” the guitarist replied shakily, looking visibly shocked by the drummer’s sudden action. So shocked, in fact, that he nearly dropped the cigarette he held gingerly between his fingers onto his lap, a precarious situation. Ruka had kissed him before, on the head, on the cheek, but never on the lips and not like that. The drummer usually played with him, but…this was a little bit too much for Hitsugi. He wasn’t as accepting of physical affection, playfully or otherwise, like Yomi was, but it seemed Ruka couldn‘t see that. Shaking his head a little, Hitsugi still felt fluttery, but he decided to put it off as his friend’s usual play, meaningless as always. “I’m you’re new Yomi, aren’t I?” he asked with a weak chuckle, trying to make faint joke out of it to block any stray thoughts of the kiss from his mind.

"Not quite," Ruka replied, returning to his cigarette like nothing had happened. With Yomi, it really was merely play, completely vapid and fun, but Hitsugi...he was different. Sure, the drummer had started treating him for the most part as he had the vocalist, but it had always been a guise for ulterior motives.

“Hnn…” was the guitarist’s only reply, leaning back into the couch to puff on his cigarette while he thought over the event. If he wasn’t ‘quite’ the new toy, then what was he to Ruka? Just another friend? Or did the drummer want more from him? If he did, Hitsugi wasn’t so sure that he was ready for something like that. The guitarist disliked relationships, and he’d never had one with another man, much less did he ever think about doing so. Glancing over at Ruka, his eyes were full of questioning and fear of the possible answers running rampant though his mind.

The drummer's attention was elsewhere, staring straight ahead of him with a vaguely thoughtful look instead of the usual blank expression. Eventually, he felt Hitsugi's eyes on him, and turned to look down at the shorter man. "...What?"

Pausing for a moment, Hitsugi decided to ask instead of ignoring the incident. “What was that...?”

"A kiss," Ruka answered simply, without any further explanation. If Hitsugi wanted to pretend the meaning wasn't obvious, that was his problem. "What did you think it was?"

“Something out of the ordinary and I think it meant something, but I don’t know because obviously you have no intentions of being clear about it.” Hitsugi looked right into the other’s eyes, searching them for some sort of real truth. Ruka was notorious for lying and messing with people, so he wouldn’t put it past him for it to be all a big joke to the drummer. Of course, if could be real and then…he still wouldn’t know how to handle it.

"You must be pretty dense," came Ruka's rather droll reply, returning the guitarist's gaze steadily. One eyebrow was slightly raised in impatience, willing Hitsugi to understand without having to explain all the mushy details. He was in love, or at least in lust, with the shorter man, something he had been harboring for quite some time, waiting to see if Hitsugi would notice without him mentioning it first.

“… Must be.” Hitsugi drew his legs up to his chest and curled his arms around them in a involuntary defense produced by his own realization to what was going on, not that it would have stopped Ruka if he wished to try again. Hitsugi bit at his lip, flicking the barbell in his tongue against his teeth in a nervous fit, having no clue how to address the current problem, much less formulate an opinion on the situation. His body was panicking, with the whole idea of even thrusting their friendship into a relationship was a being more than a little frightening to the guitarist. He wasn’t like Niya and Sakito, who had romanced each other with minimal effort, and he was scared of being around another person intimately. Besides, this was Ruka, the man who watched B-grade horror movies with him and ran around bars making fart jokes and tormenting their fellow patrons. He was his friend, how could he think of him as anything else? He couldn’t even see what Ruka was doing, other then perhaps following some misconstrued lust. As if trying to reiterate his previous physical statement, Ruka leaned toward the guitarist again, placing a hand on his arm. His movements were unhurried, less spontaneous this time, almost trying to coax Hitsugi into responding positively. He stopped when his lips were just barely brushing the guitarist's cheek, actually hesitating before pressing them to the soft skin, long fingers starting to curl around Hitsugi's arm. Ruka’s touch made the other freeze up, his body locking further as the drummer paused then placed his lips against his cheek. The contact sent a chill through Hitsugi’s spine, followed by another wave of an unidentifiable feeling which jangled his entire being. He made no move to withdraw from the other man, or to push him away, like a deer caught in oncoming headlights. The moment the drummer touched him again his mind seemed to shut off. Something about it was ok, but something else was not. This was not what he wanted. No, it mustn’t be. Why else would he be reacting like this? Hitsugi wanted to escape, but his body wouldn’t respond no matter how hard his mind screamed at his muscles to move.

After what must have seemed to both of them like an eternity, Ruka pulled back just as slowly, settling back into his previous slouched, thoughtful position. He didn't expect Hitsugi to react well if the drummer was the one that had to initialize the idea, and that was exactly the case. Still, he hoped perhaps he was wrong, that the guitarist wasn't so much appalled as simply surprised. "So...?"

It took a few moments for Hitsugi’s brain to reboot and let his motion system start working again. “I…” he started, still looking quite afraid while glancing all over the place to make sure his eyes didn’t meet the drummer’s watchful gaze. “I…need to think,” he answered finally, moving to climb off the couch and back to his feet. Yeah, time to think was probably best…. Maybe Sakito could grant him a solution that his erratic mindset couldn’t. He made a note to see his fellow guitarist as soon as possible and turned towards the door, gathering his coat but forgetting to put it on. Before he went out the door, Hitsugi turned back to the drummer looking at him pitifully. “I’ll talk to you soon…” he promised quietly, closing the door behind him as he exited, hoping what he was doing wouldn’t ruin their friendship.

"...See ya," Ruka replied belatedly as Hitsugi was closing the door. Scowling, he stared at the wall for a moment before picking up his cigarette pack, but paused before removing one. Somewhere in the back of his mind, the drummer realized the Hitsugi was justified in his shock and sudden departure, but Ruka tried not to dwell on the idea that he had gone about this all wrong. The crumpled box dangled from his long fingers over the edge of the couch, slipping and falling to the cluttered floor as he fell over onto the couch with a decisive thump and a heavy sigh. Likely he had ruined his chances on the first try, but Ruka wasn't about to give up after one small defeat.

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