Goo's Note- There's DEFINATELY spoilers in this chapter and here on out, so if you want to know what happens to Shuichi but don't want to be spoiled, at this point you know that the pattern is real world-show-real world-show, so just skip the show parts. However, you'd be missing a lot, since this fic revolves around the show and not the other stuff. (And yes, I have Yuki singing again, just something a little more his tone and not as sappy as last time.) And no, I don't really like the HiroxSuguru coupling, but since I'd much rather jump on that bandwagon than the HiroxAyaka one, well...*raises HiroxSuguru banner*

Disclaimer- *Opens her notebook* Well, I do own a A copyright, but not the copyright to Gravitation. Or any of the songs, for that matter. "Bed of Roses" was written by Jon Bon Jovi and performed by Bon Jovi, and "Life Is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back" was performed by Meat Loaf and written by *drum roll* JIM STEINMAN!!!

The Life of Shindou Shuichi: A Retrospective in Song

Written by A Guy Named Goo

Act 5: Bed of Roses/Life Is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back

~Curtain Rises~

Everyone had expected it to take a long time to adjust to Shuichi's missing arm, but five days after discovering it had been amputated (and exactly two weeks and two days after Shuichi had been first admitted to the hospital) everyone seemed to have adjusted to the change remarkebly well. Hiro, after making a vow similar to Yuki's to only quit smoking after this crisis was over, had returned to his normal, worried, and slightly less cranky self.

Another strange thing was that the number of people living in the hospital room had once again increased in number, especially after Suguru noticed there was a TV mounted near the ceiling in the far right corner of the room. Since Ryuuichi wouldn't let K out of his grasp (unless K told him he needed to use the bathroom), K had had no choice but to live out of the room. And Touma had also joined the group, announcing he needed a complete vacation from everything else going on in his life and having a roll-away bed moved into the room, as well as what had to have been half his wardrobe. His phone was shut off completely, and all NG knew was that he had announced he was taking a respite and he didn't know when he was planning on returning. Not even Mika knew he was living in the hospital room. And on K's request, another bed had been brought in.

No one working at the hospital had ever seen anything like it: a rock star in a coma, and a famous novelist, two other rock stars (one the president of NG records), and a man with a gun, living in a hospital room, one of the five talking about it like it was some kind of spa, a refuge from the outside world (and one not talking at all). They'd all brough their own clothes, their own beds, and their own toiletries, and seemed to be making themselves right at home, even bringing in their own food and having quite a few visitors coming in an out. Sometimes the occupants of the room could feel the eyes of surprised nurses and even a few patients gazing in at the odd sight, but they'd learned to ignore them.

Three and a half weeks since Shuichi had entered his coma had now passed, as Suguru and Hiro walked into the room, Suguru holding two paper bags and Hiro holding two cardboard beverage holders, one holding four drinks and another holding three. Yuki was sitting in the corner near the free outlet, typing aimlessly on his laptop (he hadn't decided what his next novel would be about, even with his editor breathing down his neck for him to submit a preliminary outline), his hair messy, a towel around his neck, wearing gray sweatpants and an unbuttoned black shirt, what he usually wore to bed. K was sitting on his bed, Ryuuichi having finally released him from his grip (though if K moved without saying where he was going, Ryuuichi would grab him and not let him move), dressed as he usually did only with his holster resting on the floor next to his bed (but his gun under his pillow) and his tie and shoes abset. Even Touma looked relaxed, wearing an uncharacteristic ensamble of faded blue jeans and a cream-colored turtleneck as he sat Indian-style in the center of his bed. One Sakano didn't look any more relaxed, his face flushed, fiddling with his tie and glasses, and pacing the room occaisonally (having to sidestep the beds and flowers and gifts scattered about the room. He'd managed to only fall twice so far...) before sitting back down in his seat.

"Food call!" Hiro announced. He sat the drinks in a seat and began lifting the lids of the unmarked cups. Suguru placed the bags in front of the chair and began to take the cups over to each owner as Hiro called out their contents and who they went to. "We've got an iced tea for Yuki- sorry, no alcohol in bulding, black decaf for Sakano, one coffee with two sugars and one cream for Seguchi-san, cherry soda for Sakuma-san, one coffee with milk but no cream or sugar for Mr. K, root beer for Fujisaki, and last but certainly not least, a Coca-cola for me."

Hiro moved the beverage holders out of the way as Suguru put the bags in the chair and opened containers to see what they had, this time Hiro delivering the food as each item was called, as well as who had ordered it. "Chicken and broccolli for Seguchi-san, a puu puu platter for two for Mr. K and Seguchi-san, sweet and sour chicken and pork fried rice for Yuki-san, one order of plain white rice for Sakano-san- sorry to hear about your ulcer, and peking duck for Nakano-san, leaving just beef and broccolli for me."

The chopsticks had just been passed around and everyone had started eating when the door flew open. Standing on the other side was a very displeased Mika.

"Seguchi Touma, where the hell have you been?!" she cried, looking around the room. She suddenly raised an eyebrow upon seeing everyone settled down for dinner, the television on an action movie, flower arrangements, gifts, and suitcases scattered around beds and chairs throughout the cluttered room, and Shuichi still on life support, now sans right arm.

"I've been right here," Touma said offhandedly. "Ask anyone in here."

Everyone nodded and resumed eating, intentionally ignoring the woman.

"You're welcome to have some, if you want," Suguru offered, holding out his container of food to accentuate his point.

"I didn't come here for Chinese food, dammit, I came here to find my husband! Do you know how worried I was?! Your office said you called them and told them you were taking time off and you didn't say where or when you'd be back, no one can reach your cell phone, and then someone comes to our house saying they work for you and they want your clothes and two of our roll-away beds!" Mika fumed. Only the first sentance was guided at Suguru, and was enough to make him shrink back in his seat and continue eating in silence.

Touma shrugged cooly and finished the piece of chicken he was chewing on, washing it down with coffee. "Why should you be worried? You're alone in the house and my stuff was gone. You knew it was going to happen. Besides, I just wanted some time away from the pressures of work. My number one act just had his arm amputated not even a week and a half ago, and I'd like to make sure he's getting taken care of properly."

"You could have told me," Mika told him cooly, bringing her voice back down. She looked like she was still trying to register what was going on in the room. "You all don't seem too damn worried for people staying in a hospital room because someone you care about could die..."

Hiro shrugged and put down his food, taking a drink of his soda before speaking. "You know Shuichi. Would he want us moping around, acting like he's already dead, or would he want us to carry on around him and treat him like he's still with us? I'm pretty sure he can hear us. We're not enjoying ourselves, that's true, but if we act like he's dead then he will die."

Mika didn't know what to say or do. It was obvious that no one was going to even stop eating because she was there, and therefore there was no point in talking them out of resuming their normal lives and to stop living in a hospital as if it were a hotel.

"Mika-san, the way I see it, you have two choices," Touma said at last. "You can pull up a chair, maybe get some food, and join the rest of us, or you can leave right now." It was obvious that he meant a lot more by his words: if she stayed in the hospital room, that meant she was going to stay with him. If she left, then they were finally through.

Mika gave the hospital room one last look around, then turned and walked back out, shutting the door behind her with a slam that meant more than any words could have for Touma.

"I guess she made her decision," Touma said quietly, nibbling on a piece of broccolli.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The set hadn't changed, Shuichi noticed, as the lights came back on, still dimmed.

"Act five," a female voice said. Out of the shadows stepped Mika, and Shuichi turned to look her in the eye. The curtain raised, and Shuichi was left standing with the woman, oblivious to the audience, if there was one.

"You don't understand how Eiri thinks," Mika said. But what she said next let Shuichi know this was definately not THE Mika, just a narrator. "But if you did know, then you'd know that he doesn't want to hurt you. He thinks you deserve better, and he thinks he is nothing."

Suddenly, the Mika actress stepped away, and Shuichi walked over to the eaves of the stage. He wasn't in this scene, he guessed, as the spotlight shown on the Yuki actor.

The orchestra began playing as Yuki walked by his couch, running his hand across the black leather couch. "Sitting here/Wasted and wounded/At this old piano/Trying hard to capture/The moment this morning I don't know," he sang quietly, barely audible. He leaned over and picked something off the coffee table. A bottle. "'Cause a bottle of vodka/Is still lodged in my head/And some blonde gave me nightmares/I think she's still in my bed/As I dream about movies/They won't make of me when I'm dead..." He took a drink from the bottle, then threw it.

The lights on the stage turned up a bit more, as if to make it seem like the daylight. "With an ironclad fist I wake up and/French kiss the morning/While some marching band keeps/Its own beat in my head/While we're talking..."

He picked up the blanket and pillow that were laying on the couch, holding them both against him. "About all of the things that I long to believe/About love and the truth and/What you mean to me/And the truth is baby you're all that I need..."

He then threw them both back down. "I want to lay you down in a bed of roses!/For tonight I sleep on a bed on nails!" He sat down on the other end of the couch. "I want to be just as close as the Holy Ghost is/And lay you down in a bed of roses..."

He reached over and picked up his cigarettes, lighting one as the music still played, singing at the same time. "Well I'm so far away/That each step that I take is on my way home/A king's ransom in dimes I'd given each night/Just to see through this payphone..."

He stood up and walked around to the front of the table. "Still I run out of time/Or it's hard to get through/Till the bird on the wire flies me back to you/I'll just close my eyes and whisper/Baby blind love is true..."

He threw down the cigarette and stepped on it. "I want to lay you down in a bed of roses!/For tonight I sleep on a bed of nails!/I want to be just as close as the Holy Ghost is/And lay you down in a bed of roses..."

He walked over to were some more bottles were and poured himself a drink, singing at the same time. "The hotel bar hangover whiskey's gone dry/The barkeeper's wig's crooked/And she's giving me the eye/I might have said yeah/But I laughed so hard I think I died..."

The drank the contents of the glass in one gulp before he continued to sing, walking back to the couch as he did. "Now, as you close your eyes/Know I'll be thinking about you/While my mistress she calls me/To stand in her spotlight again." He kicked away the table. "Tonight I won't be alone/But you know that don't/Mean I'm not lonely/I've got nothing to prove/For it's you that I'd die to defend."

He then threw the glass to the fake hardwood floor, shattering it. "I want to lay you down in a bed of roses!/For tonight I sleep on a bed of nails!/I want to be just as close as the Holy Ghost is/And lay you down on bed of roses!"

He walked back to the window, which had also changed to the city, smacking it after each line. "I want to lay you down in a bed of roses!/For tonight I sleep on a bed of nails!/I want to be just as close as the Holy Ghost is/And lay you down in a bed of roses..." With the last line, the window smashed, and the music stopped abruptly. The lights turned off, and the curtain came crashing down.

Shuichi was just frozen to his spot....

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It was four days after Mika's appearence. The day before had been very solemn, as it marked the one-month anniversary since Shuichi had entered his coma, but the day after things once again began to pick up. Hiro was flipping through the channels on the television, mostly the give his hands a rest. (He'd been playing his guitar all day in the room, and though Yuki had complained about it, he'd actually enjoyed it.) Suguru had been sent out in search of coffee, and Touma was stetched along his bed, a notepad in front of him, scibbling away. It was K's turn to take a shower, and as he had taken Ryuuichi with him, everyone had gotten suspicious. Yuki had finally sent away his outline for his novel, and though his editor had called him to tell him she wasn't sure about his new idea and that she wasn't happy about how vague he was about the ending (at least, she had said so on his answering machine when Yuki called it from a payphone to check it), Yuki had assured her it wouldn't be much different then his other books when he'd returned her call.

Suguru finally returned, holding two coffees. He handed one to Touma, and the other to Yuki, before sitting next to Hiro to watch him flip through the channels.

"Seguchi-san, what are you writing?" he asked offhandedly, as if watching his cousin write hadn't been bothering him for the past 4 hours.

"Nothing, really," Touma said with a shrug. "Just amusing myself. Playing word games, jotting down things that would make good lyrics, doodling, thinking of baby names, that sort of thing. Also trying to think of how I am going to tell the press that I disappeared for a few weeks to hide in a hospital room. Hiding from my wife just isn't a good enough answer. And saying I'm hiding because I found out she's having twins sounds even worse."

"Do you know if they're boys or girls yet?" Hiro asked as he settled on a quiz show. It wasn't the same one he'd appeared on, but it didn't matter much to him.

"Well, one is a girl," Touma answered. "Mika told me that when she told me she was having twins. I think Amai would be a good name for a girl. However, we won't know what the other is until they are born. They're fraternal, so it's possible the other could be a boy. What do you think of Tokui for a boy?"

"This is all assuming Mika lets you name even one of them," Yuki pointed out, still typing away.

Touma sighed. "Yes, this is true."

The door opened, and Ryuuichi and K came back into the room, K sitting down on his bed and Ryuuichi sitting on the one Yuki usually slept in. Kumagorou was sitting on the stand between the two beds (Ryuuichi claimed he'd put it there so if he missed anything the rabbit would see it), and he picked up the rabbit and bounced over to K. No one was sure what kind of effect this man had over Ryuuichi, but whatever it was was nothing less than miraculous.

"You never told us what your controversial new book is about, Eiri-san," Touma said after everyone had settled in once again.

Yuki sighed. He usually didn't discuss his new book with anyone not responisble for seeing it published before it was ready to come out, but he decided this time could be an exception. "The main character is a man whose lover is in a coma. His family wants him to forget her and marry a different woman, but he won't move on because he thinks she will wake up. Much of the story is just flashbacks, him reflecting on how they met and ending with how she got to be in a coma."

Everyone thought about this for a second. Hiro was the first to ask the question everyone was thinking of: "How does it end?"

Yuki shrugged and set his computer aside, standing up to leave the room for a cigarette. "I don't know yet. It depends. I told my editor that, and that's why she wasn't too happy."

And with that he left.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Shuichi finally unfroze. He was compelled to move back to the center of the stage. As he did, the lights came on...to show a familiar parking garage. He swallowed, looking around for anyone else, any actor, no matter who, and dreading who he would find.

All he found were words. He found himself speaking them as the curtain rose. "It was probably the worst day of my life. I lost Yuki, and then later that night, in that parking garage, I was...attacked. When it was all over, I couldn't think straight. All I knew was that everything in my life was falling apart, and if I didn't do something, it would never come back together again..."

Finally, he saw four faces he'd hoped he'd never have to see again: Aizawa Tachi, and the three goons he'd hired to attack him. The orchestra began playing a hard driving beat, and he heard a chorus chanting the words "I want my money back! I want my money back!"

The four men approached him, and he tried to back away, but before they could touch him, he found himself singing. "It's all or nothing, and nothing's all I ever get/Everytime I turn it on, I burn it up and burn it out," he sang angrilly. He looked at the audience, away from the attackers. "It's always something, there's always something going wrong/That's the only guarantee, that's what this is all about!"

He was surprised to find the other men singing with him as he sang the next lines. "It's a never ending attack, everything's a lie and that's a fact/Life is a lemon and I want my money back!"

One grabbed Shuichi's arm, pinning him against a concrete pillar. "And all the morons and all the stooges with their coins/They're the ones who make the rules, it's not a game, it's just a rout," he sang as the man did so.

"There's desperation, there's desperation in the air/It leaves a stain on all your clothes and no detergent gets it out!" Shuichi cried out, as another of the men tore the arm of his shirt.

The men closed in more, joining him in singing the next verse. "And we're always slipping thru the cracks/Then the movie's over, fade to black/Life is a lemon and I want my money back!"

The voices continued chanting as the men took turns, each hitting him once. He could see a camera flash flashing in his eyes as they did, and he cried out. "I want my money back! I want my money back!"

Suddenly, they all pulled away. The men stood on one side of Shuichi, and Aizawa stood on another, so that Shuichi was standing center-stage.

"What about love?" Aizawa sang.

"It's defective!" the men sang in reponse.

Shuichi added his own response. "It's always breaking in half!"

They continued the pattern, Aizawa singing the question, the men singing "It's defective!" and Shuichi singing the response.

"What about sex?"

"It's defective!"

"It's never built to really last!"

"What about your family?"

"It's defective!"

"All the batteries are shot!"

"What about your friends?"

"They're defective!"

"All the parts are out of stock!"

"What about hope?"

"It's defective!"

"It's corroded and decayed!"

"What about faith?"

"It's defective!"

"It's tattered and it's frayed!"

"What about your Gods?"

"They're defective!"

"They forgot the warranty!"

"What about your town?"

"It's defective!"

"It's a dead end street to me!"

"What about your school?"

"It's defective!"

"It's a pack of useless lies!"

"What about your work?"

"It's defective!"

"It's a crock and then you die!"

"What abour your childhood?"

"It's defective!"

"It's dead and buried in the past!"

"What about your future?"

"It's defective!"

"You can shove it up your ass!"

As the voices began to chant "I want my money back - life is a lemon! I want my money back - life is a lemon, life is a lemon!" the lights dimmed, and nothing was visable on stage to the audience. Shuichi could feel all of the pain of everything that had been done to him that night as it was done to him again during the instrumental solo.

Then the lights came on about half-way through, and he began to sing again. "It's all or nothing, and nothing's all I ever get/Everytime I turn it on, I burn it up and burn it out/It's a never ending attack/Everything's a lie and that's a fact/Life is a lemon and I want my money back/And we're always slipping thru the cracks/Then the movie's over, fade to black!"

Shuichi prepared for the last line. "Life is a lemon and I want my money back!" The men closed in on him as he repeated the last word over and over again. "Back! Back! Back! Back! BAAAACK!!"

The lights went out during the final instrumental solo, and he could feel the men finishing, the only light on stage coming from the camera flash. Finally, the song abruptly ended, and the lights came on to show a very battered and bloodied Shuichi laying on the floor of the parking garage, breathing shallowly.

Then the lights went out again. The curtain dropped, and the pain subsided. But Shuichi could feel himself crying in spite of this....

~Curtain Falls~

End of Act 5

Goo's Note- For those puzzled about when I said I owned a copyright in my disclaimer, I'm as shocked as you are that I haven't plugged my original series yet. It's at http://www26.brinkster.com/spirit27/spirit.htm/.It's an original yaoi series I've been writing for a year and four months now (much longer than I've been into Gravitaiton) and has lots of bishounen, lots of yaoi, lots of angst, and an amazing coincidence in that the main character's band is named Track 13 and in Gravitation each episode is called a "Track" (as in a CD track) and there are 13 episodes. If you go now, I'll love you forever. ^_^