Note to Those Who Read the Original- The psychiatrist scene has been completely rewritten because some people got the wrong idea of what was happening to Tokui. Hopefully it's easier to understand now. Also, I am using a less disputed and controversial diagnosis this time, not because of how radical the former was but because what I say happened to Tokui later on in the fic doesn't coincide with the initial diagnosis.
Disclaimer- Click back a chapter or two.
Chapter Four: Lost and Found
Written by A Girl Named Goo
Talking to Kyousei Himeko proved to be the conversational equivilant of sitting in on a lecture given by an expert in a field you have no interest in: it was occasionally interesting, definately better than sitting home alone doing nothing, but when it was over you couldn't remember anything that was said and you were sure you didn't want to repeat the experience.
Not that Hiro found the woman unpleasant. She was certainly friendly enough, and reasonably intelligent. But if you steered the conversation away from something other than work she tended to be quiet except for a few monosyllabic words of agreement and become rather distant. Hiro wasn't used to carrying a conversation on his own, having been best friends with a very talkative man for many years, hence he tried to bring up work more often. It was that, or ask her short-answer questions, from which he had only gathered that she wasn't married, had no children, had three older sisters and a younger brother, liked cats (but wasn't fanatical about them) and had majored in buisness management in college, graduating top in her class.
About the only thing about Kyousei Himeko that left Hiro relieved was that while she was an obvious workaholic, she didn't have the same stress-management problem that Sakano had always suffered from. She also had a birdlike appitite, only taking three bites of her salad during the entire conversation. And her face always seemed to be very sympathetic, though Hiro wasn't sure what he had said or done to earn her sympathy.
Hiro stood up, picking up the tray containing his trash. "If you don't mind, I think I am going to call it a day. If you'll let me pay-"
"Oh, no," Himeko interrupted. "This was my idea, so my treat."
Hiro didn't argue. Though he was a gentleman, he was never one to turn down a free meal, either. Besides, fighting over something like that was a futile gesture, at best. And at worst he would end up paying for both meals.
He pushed open the doors to the exit, stepping out into the chilly afternoon. The air smelled of coming snow, and the wind stung his cheeks slightly, causing him to dart over to his car door as quickly as possible. He was about to open the door when a voice stopped him dead.
Hiro turned around. Standing in front of him was a middle-aged woman, with a trim figure and rather flat chest. Her hair was short, almost the same style as Kyousei Himeko's, and dark blue with touches of gray. Her outfit was a perfect copy of Himeko's, only her jacket and skirt were black, as were her shoes, and her tie was green. She was also wearing glasses with thick frames over her dark eyes. Had Hiro not known better, he would have mistook her for being one of Himeko's sisters or classmates.
"Sakano-san?" Hiro asked, turning around and leaning against his car. "What are you doing here?"
The woman, formerlly known as Bad Luck producer Sakano Issei, now known as Sakano Ayame, just laughed slightly. "Nice way to say hi to your former producer, Nakano-san," she said teasingly. "I was waiting for Tou- ah, Seguchi-san. We were supposed to meet at the restaraunt next door for dinner, but he got held up at work. Since the reservation is in his name I can't go in until he gets here."
"Well, instead of freezing to death why don't you get in the car and wait with the heat on," he offered, pointing to his car.
Sakano nodded and walked around to the other side of the car, climbing in as Hiro got in on his side. He started the car and turned on the heat, then turned and looked at her. "So besides being forced to wait out in the cold for your fiancée, how are things going?"
She shrugged. "As well as one can imagine. Except my future stepdaughter doesn't seem all too pleased with the prospect of me marrying her father. I can't tell if it's because of her mother or because she knows I used to be a man and she doesn't think her father should marry someone like that."
Hiro nodded. "Amai is like that. I don't think it's because of her mother or because of your operation. She's just used to having her father all to herself. Not even her brother had that much interest in him. Now she has to share his affections with you."
Sakano sighed. "I just want her to like me. That's all. Is there anything I can do to make her like me?"
Hiro leaned against the steering wheel, giving this serious consideration. "What you have to understand about Amai is that she is like her father in a lot of positive ways. She looks like him for one, she is very smart with a great head for buisness, she's a hard worker and she isn't afraid to fight for what she wants, and music-wise she is multi-talented. But she's also like him in a lot of negative ways. She will do anything for what she wants, even resort to some ruthless and underhanded tricks. She can be very cunning and manipulative. And she has a bit of a jealous streak to be wary of. And then there are the traits that she has that are uniquely her, the few things she probably gets from her mother. She is very stubborn, she doesn't like to be told she is wrong, and she can be a spoiled brat at times. It's that last thing and her jealous streak that makes her not like you. All of her life it's been her and Seguchi-san. Seguchi-san has given her everything she has ever wanted or needed, both material and emotional. She has had his undivided attention all of her life as well. He has really spoiled her rotten. And then you come along, and suddenly she feels threatened. She's been the only one he cares about, and now she feels she has to compete with you. And trust me: when you force Amai into any kind of competition, she plays to win."
"So there's no hope?" she asked.
"I am not saying there's no hope. Maybe when she realizes there's no way Seguchi-san is going to back out of this marriage and how much he loves you she'll grow up and be willing to share. Or maybe you should tell Seguchi-san how you feel so he can talk to her. She thinks he's a god, after all. If he tells her to jump, she asks how high. So it's logical to assume if he tells her to behave herself and stop acting like a spoiled little girl then she will. And even if Amai does try to fight him on it, consider who she is going to be arguing against. Even I'd back down in an arguement with Seguchi-san. Though I would like to see an arguement between those two, since if it's anyone who can match wits against Seguchi Touma it'd be his own daughter."
There was silence for a few moments in the car. Sakano adjusted the heat to keep herself amused, and Hiro looked out the window, hoping to see his boss somewhere.
"You're not worried about Tokui?" Hiro asked at last.
"Well...no, not really," Sakano said, though her voice suggested otherwise. "He doesn't have much to do with his father, anyway, so I'll probably never see him. And between you and me, Seguchi-san is actually uncomfortable around him. But don't tell him I told you that. About the only people who have anything to do with him are Amai and Yuki-san. And Shindou-san, of course."
"Why would Seguchi-san feel uncomfortable around Tokui?" Hiro asked, raising a skeptical eyebrow. If it was one thing Seguchi Touma was famous for, it was that he was fearless, and could at least create the illusion of being at ease in any situation. "I mean, he's a little strange, but he's a good boy. Anyone who has been able to talk to him can tell you he's very sweet and gentle and downright adorable, he just doesn't value himself very much and thinks that people are wasting their time talking to him."
Sakano shook her head. "Seguchi-san doesn't like how quiet he is. And when he sees him, he feels like he did something wrong somehow. And not only that, but he looks just like Yuki Eiri did when he was sixteen, and that makes him both very sad and very unnerved."
Just as the first flakes of snow began to fall, both Hiro and Sakano noticed a black BMW pull up in front of them, and from it came Seguchi Touma.
"Thanks for letting me warm up in here," Sakano said, smiling warmly. "You're coming to the wedding, right?"
"Actually, I wasn't invited," Hiro confessed.
"Then you are now. As my guest," she told him. "I'll see you soon."
She shut the door, and Hiro watched her join her fiancée and walk with him into the restaraunt before he put his car in gear and prepared to drive back to his apartment.
"Let me get this straight..." Yuki said, shock and disbelief on his face as he stared at the woman in front of him. "Tokui is like this because of what happened to me when I was sixteen?"
"In a sense, yes," she said. "Yuki-san, I have treated you for years. Have I ever lied to you?"
Yuki shook his head, putting his forehead in his hand. The woman in front of him was his own personal psychiatrist. He had brought Tokui to her because she was the only one he knew and trusted, hoping she would treat him as well or, at the very least, recommend someone who could. "But...Dr. Mitsuri, how the hell is that possible?"
Dr. Mitsuri looked down at the book in front of her and sighed. "When children are born, they are like empty books. It's up to the adults around them to fill that book. For about the first 12 years of a child's life they do nothing but absorb. They take in the thoughts, feelings, and actions of those around them. They take to memory what they are told. Tokui is a very empathetic boy- that is, he feels what others are feeling. And you practically radiate pain. He idolizes you, so he's grown up observing you and taking in what you say and do and feel. He doesn't know what happened to you exactly, but he acts like someone who has endured the same experience as you. Think of when you were sixteen, when it first happened. How did you act? You were probably pretty quiet and withdrawn before you became so cold."
"But why me? Shuichi's had some pretty nasty experiences in his past and he's always near him. Why couldn't he absorb his feelings instead?" Yuki further inquired.
"Because he doesn't feel as close to Shuichi as he does to you. Think of when you were in school as a child and how other children treated you because of how you look. Now think of when Tokui tried school. It never occured to him he looked different before then because he'd grown up near you, just like you didn't know because your family never told you. He doesn't get along with his parents just like you never got along with yours. He wants to be a writer, you are a writer. You are his role model, his mentor. You raised him, you cared for him. His parents might have handled the financial and technical aspects, but you were there emotionally. He associates with you, and as a result he associates with your emotions. And there are only two solutions to that problem, and neither of them are nearly as simple as they sound: either he stays away from you for a while and develops his own feelings and personality, or you start to make progress so he can sense it. With Shuichi you made tremendous amounts of progress, but you still have all of the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I'll leave it up to you which method you choose. The first could compromise his physical health, but the second could be emotionally difficult for the both of you. If you choose the second, I advise you tell him about what happened. I also think, under the circumstances, you should be treated together. So come in at your usual time next week, but bring him with you. I'll also schedule individual sessions for him on Wednesday and you on Thursday, since a few of my patients are no longer in my care. And I'll also prescribe some anti-depressents and sleeping pills for him, but monitor him when he takes them. With his health problems and food and drug allergies they could harm him or they might not react well with his other medications."
Yuki thought about this hard. "Doctor, can you help him?"
The psychiatrist sighed again. "I don't specialize in children, and honestly I don't know. If he doesn't open up then it's possible he never will get better, and if he doesn't get better he'll only get worse. I think there is more that he is not telling anyone, and I was only able to form my diagnosis based on what he would tell me. His preference for small spaces, severe aversion to other people, secretive nature, and phobia of elevators are all things that I can't explain yet, and I can't treat them unless I can explain them. But they are all very alarming symptoms. They suggest he's endured some kind of trauma, especially when his phobias are so specific. He's hiding something, and I am afraid that if we can't figure out what it is then he'll have a breakdown and end up being institutionalized."
Yuki just nodded dumbly and took the slips of paper Dr. Mitsuri offered (one with a prescription and one with the times and dates of the appointments), standing up and leaving the office. Tokui was in the waiting room, having been unable to run because Yuki had instructed the receptionist to keep an eye on him and not let him go anywhere, not even to the bathroom, unless she accompanied him.
"Come on, Tokui," Yuki said, his voice sounding more harsh than he meant it to. Tokui rose from his seat obediently, falling into step behind his uncle..
It was already dark and snowing hard when Shuichi came home. He didn't look pleased, but he wasn't in as bad a mood as he had been the day before, either. He scanned the living room for any signs of life. The light over the sink was on, but the TV was off, and Shuichi had seen Yuki's car parked outside so he knew that he was home.
Shuichi's first instinct was to walk into Yuki's office. The light was off in there, but the light in the closet was on, suggesting Tokui was home. Leaving the office, he walked into their bedroom. The light was off in there, too, but in the dim light from the street lights Shuichi could see a sillouhette on the bed. Shuichi sat on the edge of the bed, knowing Yuki couldn't be asleep because he was laying on his back.
"It's snowing hard outside," Shuichi said softly. "I thought for sure you'd be on the balcony watching it."
"I was for a little while," Yuki confessed. "I was talking to Tokui."
Shuichi laid down next to Yuki, wrapping his arm around him. Ordinarilly he would have told Shuichi to go away because he needed to be alone, but much to his own surprise having Shuichi against him seemed to be just what he needed.
"Bad day?" Shuichi asked, rubbing Yuki's bare chest a little and kissing his shoulder lightly.
"That's an understatement," was the solemn reply. "I took Tokui to my psychiatrist today."
"And what did she say?"
Yuki swallowed, hoping Shuichi wouldn't hear the tears in his voice. "She said that the reason Tokui acts the way that he does is because of me. Or, to be more accurate, because of what happened to me when I was 16."
"But how can he possibly know what happened to you?"
"He doesn't. He just feels it. He feels what others feel, apparently, and because he thinks so highly of me he feels my emotions the most. She also says that he's endured some kind of trauma of his own that he's hiding, because of how specific his phobias are. And if we can't figure out what they are then he'll eventually have a breakdown and have to be institutionalized."
Shuichi took Yuki's hand in his own. "We won't let that happen though, will we? I mean, we've been through a lot. We can make it through this, too."
Yuki readjusted his hand so that he was holding Shuichi's instead of the other way around. "I don't know, Shuichi. I really don't. I want to agree, but I'm not an optimist like you. For Tokui's sake, I have to say I believe that. And I am sure as hell going to do what I can in the meantime to keep that from happening."
For a long time there was only silence, Shuichi curled up against Yuki, and Yuki looking out the sliding glass doors in his bedroom outside at the snow falling past the streetlights. When he finally realized how much time had gone by, he looked down at his smaller lover curled up against his body. The other man was fast asleep already, and though Yuki ordinarilly would have woke him up long enough to get him to move over to his own side of the bed, he lacked the heart on this night. Sighing, he began to run his fingers through Shuichi's strawberry-scented pink locks, half expecting him to start purring (and finding himself a little disappointed, much to his own surprise, when he didn't).
Yuki reached over to his nightstand long enough to fumble with a bottle and, squinting to read it (both from absence of light and absence of his reading glasses) finally opened it and took a pill out of it, swallowing it without anything to wash it down, then laid back and waited for the sleeping pill to take effect, a little uncomfortable because he wasn't lying on his stomach.
What Yuki didn't know was that everything he had said and done was being watched by a pair of large, golden eyes looking in from the still-open bedroom door...
"Why are we here and not in the studio? We've only recorded three tracks." Quon Yue asked, his icy tone matching the color of his eyes. He currently had his left hand flat on the solid oak table of the rehearsal room, his knife in his right hand, trying to see how quickly he could stab between his fingers. So far he had nicked his fingers eight times and caused serious damage to the surface of the expensive table, as well as staining the front of his white T-shirt. He was sans make-up today, wearing his hair in a loose ponytail, a white T-shirt, a black vest, black shoes, and blue jeans. Again, his jewelry was unchanged, and Hiro wondered if he ever took it off.
"Only..." Hiro muttered, but loudly he said, "We've been working for five and a half hours straight. While I commend you for your work ethic, give the poor session musicians a chance to recover. Besides, everyone's gone home now. I don't even know what we're still doing here."
Quon Yue nicked his index finger again, but didn't seem to notice as he kept moving the knife between his fingers, faster than ever now, and closer to the webs of them. "Where did the producer chick go?"
"After the recording session was over she said she had another appointment," Hiro explained, watching him move the knife. "And could you please quit that?! You're ruining the table! As it is I already had to pay for Seguchi-san's new carpet because you ruined the old one! I was nice last time, but this time I won't hesitate to send the bill your way!"
Quon Yue's eyes turned that mischevious bright blue again. "Whatever you say, Mr. Suit," he said with a grin that made Hiro grit his teeth as he folded his knife and pocketed it. "Though I imagine you have money to spare on little things like a new table or a new carpet."
"You assume wrong. How much money do you think I make?" Hiro snapped, losing his patience.
"From this job? Close to jack shit. But don't think I don't know who you really are," Quon Yue said tauntingly.
"Oh? And who am I really?"
"You are the Nakano Hiroshi, a.k.a. Hiro from Bad Luck."
"I didn't think that was a big secret."
Quon Yue leaned back, putting his feet up on the table and ignoring the scrapes and blood on it. "Why don't you play the guitar anymore, Mr. Suit?" He took his knife out of his pocket and began to clean under his black-painted fingernails with the blade.
"I outgrew that phase of my life. Moved on," Hiro said, though his voice lacked the confidence he was hoping for as he found he was asking himself the same question. The first time he has threatened to quit guitar was because of his studies, and the next time because of Ayaka, but he had never actually done it either of those times. So why did he think that because he wasn't touring with Bad Luck anymore it meant he couldn't ride his motorcycle or play his guitar? And if he had really put them away for good, how come he put them in storage instead of selling them? There seemed to be no logic in that...
"You don't sound so sure, Mr. Suit," Quon Yue taunted. "Now, there's something I've been dying to know ever since I first saw you guys when I was a kid."
"You're a Bad Luck fan?" Hiro asked skeptically.
"I was. How could I not be? Your music was playing every minute of every day. It was inescapable. But I digress." Quon Yue put his knife away and put a cigarette in his mouth, lighting it with a match. Before he could drop it, Hiro walked across the room and took it, dropping it in the trashcan. "Anyway, you know the little pink-haired guy in your band? The singer?"
"Yeah. He's only my best friend," Hiro muttered, as if it was obvious.
"Did you and him ever fuck?"
"You know. Get it on. Do the horizontal mambo. Have sex. Whatever."
Hiro tried to hide his rage. "Why the hell do you want to know?"
"It's just bugging me."
Hiro sighed. "Yeah, we did a few times on tour, before I started dating the keyboardist. Happy?"
"Very," Quon Yue said with a nod, taking a drag from his cigarette but, thankfully, flicking the ashes into his hand. "Now that I see how tall you are, though, I'll bet he's just a little thing. How little is he?"
"Dammit, why are you so concerned with Shuichi? He's short and skinny and has one arm, all right? He works here, you know. I'm surprised you haven't run into him yet."
"Really?" he asked, brightening considerably. "Is he still here?"
"At eleven at night? Hell, I don't even think Seguchi-san is still here." Hiro looked out the window. It had been snowing when he had pulled in that morning, but what he saw now nearly made him faint: an all-out blizzard.
"By any chance, have you noticed the weather?" Hiro asked, trying to sound calm.
Quon Yue looked out the window, his eyes briefly turning violet. Suddenly, they turned bright blue as he turned and looked at Hiro. "Looks like we're stuck, Nakano-san."
"You wanted to see me, Tousan?" Amai asked, walking into her father's home office.
Touma, though wearing his dark green silk pajamas and a housecoat and slippers, still looked poised and professional sitting behind his desk, pen in hand and reading glasses alighting his face. His daughter was also dressed for bed, in a mint green-colored lacy nightgown and hunter green housecoat and slippers similar to her father's.
"Yes, Amai, I did," Touma said, his tone grave. "Sakano-san told me something that upset me a great deal."
"And this has to do with me why?" Amai asked, leaning in the doorway, not the least bit afraid of her father.
Touma sighed. "She's convinced you don't like her."
"Well, I don't," Amai pointed out. No sense in hiding anything from her father.
"Why not?" Touma asked, his voice even, though Amai wasn't fooled by his calm ruse. She knew when he was angry.
"She's all wrong for you. For one thing, she is actually a he-"
"We went over this, Amai. She used to be a man. But she isn't now."
"She still has all the important parts that make her a him."
"She's going to have that taken care of. After the wedding."
"And notice how she wants to wait until after she marries a rich, good looking guy to finish getting an expensive and elective operation. She only wants you for your money, Tousan."
"I've known her longer than I've known you, Amai. I know that she isn't like that. She had the operation because before it she was a nervous wreck. And she wasn't happy with herself. Now she is. It was my choice to get married before her last operation, not hers."
"Well, you're Scorpio and she's a Virgo. Not a good match. Virgos tend to rely on Scorpios for too much, and that drives Scorpios away. That won't work."
Touma sighed and rolled his eyes. "Forgive me for not consulting the stars on who I should marry. Amai, you know I don't believe in all that astrology buisness."
"You should. You're an almost stereotypical Scorpio."
"Either way, I am not going to call off my marriage because my sixteen year old daughter told me that the stars say we shouldn't be together. Besides, isn't your brother a Virgo?"
"Yes, he is, but-"
"And you're a Leo, which, if I am not mistaken, doesn't work well with either Scorpio or Virgo. Yet you still love me and your brother, correct?"
"Yes, I do, but-"
Touma swiveled in his chair to look out the large picture window at the blizzard, thankful for the fireplace on the other side of the room. "Amai, I love you. A lot. And you will always be my first priority. But I also love Ayame a great deal. And I really don't want to have to choose between you. Don't make me do that, Amai, because I don't want to lose either one of you. Yes, my attention and affection will be divided, but we've been dating for years. The only difference will be that she will be living here with us. You're already used to having to split my affection with her. Do you see what I am getting at here? I am not choosing between you. You'll just have to learn to share. Ayame never did anything to you except try to get you to like her, and she shouldn't be punished for it."
Amai sighed, knowing she was beaten. "Yes, sir."
"And speaking of sharing, have you given the Neo Grasper idea any thought?" he asked suddenly, swiveling back around to face her.
Amai shrugged. "Do you really want me to do it?"
"From both a financial and emotional standpoint, yes, I do think it would be best. I never persued a solo career for a reason, Amai. My days with Nittle Grasper were both the greatest and the hardest days of my life, but I'd never trade that experience for anything, and I knew that a solo career just wouldn't be like the band experience. If you are anything like me- which I do know that you are- then you will probably find the band experience to be much more rewarding than a solo career."
Amai just nodded. "Can I go now?"
"Yes, you may go. Oyasumi, Amai."
"Oyasumi!" she shouted as she ducked out of her father's office. Touma just sighed, shook his head, and returned to work.
End of Chapter Four