Disclaimer- Um...something to do with threes?

Heart's Fašade

Chapter Five: Fire and Ice

Written by A Girl Named Goo

Hiro had to admit that he'd never actually seen a person steal from a vending machine before. Of course, the reason was probably that he had never been snowbound in a major media corporation with a borderline psychotic Chinese singer with no change and nothing to eat or drink before. Neverless, it was a learning experience.

First, Quon Yue had tried to reach behind the machine. Finding this didn't work, he'd tried to slip his entire body in. Failing at that, he'd asked for Hiro's help in moving the soda machine from the wall. From there he'd taken his knife and, before Hiro could figure out what he had done, he had somehow rigged the machine up to dispense soda whenever they pushed a button, whether they put change in or not.

Hiro had helped him move a candy machine next and asked that he work a little slower so that he could watch. Quon Yue had done so, explaining his every move. Then, to see if Hiro had been paying attention, they moved another soda machine away from the wall, and Quon Yue reluctantly handed over his knife long enough for Hiro to cut the appropriate wires and rewire it. Though he knew what he was doing was both morally and legally wrong, it gave him a thrill to know he was cheating the system, and he held up his first free soda as if it were a trophy.

After they were finished robbing the vending machines (which Quon Yue had insisted on rewiring properly when they were done so that by the time their handiwork was discovered no one would be able to trace it to the two people who were stuck there for a night) they collected their small feast in junk food and caffinated beverages and headed back to the rehearsal room.

Quon Yue placed himself in the corner, folding his legs neatly so he was sitting in a lotus position, his eyes turning dark blue as he stared off into space, nibbling a chocolate bar. Hiro sat down at the table, kicking off his shoes and taking off his jacket and tie before settling down to his own food.

"So where'd you learn a trick like that?" Hiro asked, if for no reason other than to break the silence.

Quon Yue seemed startled at this. Then he smiled, his eyes taking on that bright blue color that made Hiro's already apparent unease of the situation grow. "Relax, Mr. Suit. I steal a candy bar or a soda now and then when no one's looking. I don't knock over banks or anything like that."

"I didn't say you did. I just want to know where you learned how to do it," Hiro repeated.

Quon Yue shrugged, licking the chocolate off of his fingers and depositing the wrapper in the trashcan he was leaning against. "When I was eleven I saw a couple of older kids trying to do it without moving the machine. They saw me and gave me a knife and told me that I had little arms, and that they'd kick the shit out of me if I didn't do what they said. Then they gave me the instructions. I had a black eye and a fat lip before I finally got it right, and I've just never forgotten."

Hiro nodded slowly, taking a drink from the soda he had managed to filch himself. Suddenly he didn't seem so proud of what he had done...

Quon Yue stood up and left the room. When he came back, he was holding an acoustic guitar, obviously found in a supply room or in the recording studio, left by a session guitarist.

"Play," he ordered, thrusting the thing in Hiro's direction.

"Excuse me?" Hiro asked, taken off guard. He took the instrument, but didn't even put the strap on, much less play it. "Why should I do something just because you told me to?"

Quon Yue rolled his eyes, which were now the annoyed stormy blue-gray color. "I am not ordering you to do it because I want you to, jackass. You didn't give me a good reason for quitting guitar, and you didn't even believe your own crappy excuse. Therefore, there is no excuse. I know you have talent, and there's no sense in letting it go to waste. Now play."

Hiro wanted to tell the younger man to go to hell, but he knew he couldn't argue with the logic. Besides, what could a few fingering excercises hurt? It wasn't like he would be playing actual music...

Hesitantly, he put the strap over his neck. Annoyed that his ponytail holder was in the way, he took it out, shaking his hair loose (something else he hadn't done in public in years). Then, taking the pick that Quon Yue offered, he began to play, at first just trying to reacquaint himself with the chords and the fingering that went with them. But he was surprised when songs he hadn't played in years began to flow out. Even more surprising was that Quon Yue was only sitting in his corner, watching him with rapt attention, his eyes a curious sky blue color that Hiro had never seen. That alone was enough to make Hiro miss one note, and he stopped playing, cursing himself, both for losing his concentration and the resulting mistake, and for letting himself get so out of practice.

"Very nice," Quon Yue praised, though Hiro couldn't tell if he was being sincere. "You only missed one note. Not bad at all for someone who hasn't played in years, anyway."

"You seem to know a lot about it. Do you play?" Hiro asked, taking off the guitar and offering it to Quon Yue, only to be refused and mocked by bright blue eyes.

"I played a lot of instruments. Piano, guitar, drums, trumpet, flute, clarinet...I had a lot of free time on my hands as a kid," Quon Yue told him with a shrug. He lit another cigarette, blowing out the match and throwing it into the trashcan. Hiro noticed that he didn't seem to be bragging. He also spoke in the past tense.

"'Played'? Why don't you play anymore?" Hiro asked.

Quon Yue held up his left hand. The nicks and cuts on it had already scabbed over, but with his pale skin it looked ghastly. "No feeling in my hands. Not since I was twelve, anyway. A major nerve was severed in each one or some shit like that, I wasn't paying attention. But it is very hard to work on activities that require your fingering to be just so when you can't even feel your hands at the ends of your arms. As it stands I can barely perform simple tasks, like holding a cigarette, writing my name, or opening a can of soda. That's also why I play the knife games. To try to develop my hand-eye cooridination and because it tends to gross people out when I miss."

Hiro flinched and refrained from asking what had happened to make him lose feeling in his hands. Quon Yue used the lip of the trashcan to snuff out his cigarette, letting it fall in. Then he removed his own ponytail holder and vest, throwing them in a corner.

"Well, we're stuck here. Might as well settle in. At least we have a TV in here," Quon Yue announced. Just then, the lights flickered and shut off completely. "Or not. Guess it's a good thing we stocked up when we did..."

Hiro blinked a few times, his eyes adjusting to the darkness. He actually found himself wishing Tokui was there instead. At least the boy always had a flashlight and plenty of batteries on him...

Quon Yue's sillohuette was barely visible below the window as he sat still on the floor. He didn't seem at all bothered by this turn of events, and that thought disturbed Hiro.

"Isn't there anyone that would miss you?" he asked, to break the silence again.

Quon Yue shook his head, though Hiro could barely see it. "Nope. I live alone on the other end of the district. Well, my cousin lives with me, but he's big, dumb, lazy, and doesn't speak a lick of Japanese. If he's even awake I doubt he'll be able to put two and two together and figure out it's almost midnight and I'm not home. Might get pissed about me not having dinner, though."

"That's right. You're Chinese..." Hiro muttered.

"That I am."

"Where in China are you from?"

Quon Yue shrugged. "I'm not from China. I was born in Japan. My mother was born in Beijing, though. She moved here with her family when she was ten. So I spoke Cantonese pretty much since I was able to talk. Interestingly enough, though, my stepfather was from Hong Kong, so I learned to speak Mandarin, too."

That actually was interesting for Hiro. He only spoke Japanese and barely spoke English, but this other man spoke at least three languages.

"My turn," Quon Yue announced.

"What?" Hiro asked, jarred from his thoughts.

"To ask a question." Quon Yue elaborated. "When did you first meet Shindou-san?"

Hiro closed his eyes, trying to remember. "Christ, we couldn't have been older than four. He was a the only boy on the playground with pink hair╣ and was eating a strawberry ice cream cone, and he was a little small for his age. Some boys hit him, made him drop his ice cream, and made him cry, so I pushed the boys down and gave him my Pocky. We've been best friends since."

There was the glow of a flame as Quon Yue struck a match and lit another cigarette, shaking his hand to put the match out and pitching it into the trashcan. After that, the only light in the room was the dull red point of his cigarette. "That story was sickeningly sweet. Your turn."

"My turn?"

"Question, dumbass. This is a Q&A game, right? We keep going, questions get more probing, we see who is the first to duck out."

"I wasn't aware that this was a game."

"It is now. So start asking some juicy questions if you want to win."

Hiro gave this serious consideration. He would like to ask the so far mysterious Chen Quon Yue a deep, probing question, but he knew that for every one he asked, he would be asked one equally as probing in response.

"All right. What's your natural hair color?" he asked at last.

"That's a wussy question. Ask another one," Quon Yue ordered.

"No. I want the answer to that one."

"If you ask me that one, I'll ask you how long your dick is. Now ask another one."

Hiro smiled smugly. "I win?"

"No. It's just a damn stupid question. You can ask me anything in the world, and you ask my hair color? I mean, come on."

Hiro sighed. "All right. Fine. Why do you cross dress?"

Quon Yue smiled slightly, though Hiro couldn't see it. "That's more like it." He took another drag from his cigarette, snubbing it out using the edge of the trashcan again. "Well, if you want the short answer, it's because I don't think of myself as male."

Hiro nodded. "My producer was like that. He's a she now."

"No, not like that. I don't think I'm female, either."

Hiro quirked an eyebrow. "Hate to tell you this, but you have to be one or the other."

Quon Yue laughed a bit. “I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t feel I identify with either sex. I find the stereotypes surrounding them make them too restrictive. So I declare myself to be genderless or beyond gender, and I don’t have to stick to those rules.”

Hiro nodded skeptically. “All right. I can see how you don’t like the stereotypes, but not everyone on earth can be that way, no matter how much you want them to be.”

“But I don’t want them to be,” Quon Yue insisted. “It’s like this: think of any industry in the world. I’ll say onions for the sake of this example. So we have the onion farmers. They represent the continuation of the human race. They grow onions and ship them all over the world. The overwhelming majority likes onions, or at least enough people to keep the onion industry booming and the onion farmers in good shape. They represent the heterosexual masses and people who identify securely in their gender role. Then we have the people who just dislike onions. They hate the taste of them, and ignore them when offered them. They represent the homosexuals of this world, the people who, by no fault of their own, find themselves unable to join the majority of the world because of this taste. Does the onion industry fail because of them? No. But chances are they get ridiculed for it, and people offer them onions and try to get them to eat them even though they don’t want them, just like homosexuals often have people forcing the opposite sex on them. Then we have the smallest percentage, those who are allergic to onions. These people are actually harmed by onions, and therefore avoid them at all costs. These represent people like me, who don’t identify with any gender, and people like your producer, who don’t identify with the gender they were born as, and go through a great deal of pain in their lives as a result. Does the onion industry fail because of them? No. Does the human race fail because about 3 percent of the population, three percent of six billion, for whatever reason, will not reproduce? No. And the world is overpopulated, anyway, so a few people removing themselves from the gene pool is probably a good idea. Understand what I’m getting at now?”

Hiro was surprised. He had figured that no matter how strange, annoying, or downright evil Quon Yue was, he was at least reasonably intelligent, but he had no idea he was so philosophical. Hiro was also starting to pick up that maybe he wasn’t as evil as he had first seemed, even if he did like to be in control all the time.

“My turn, Mr. Suit,” the young man said, cutting into Hiro’s thoughts. “And I’d better make it good,” he added sadistically. Hiro could hear a can of soda opening, and there was a pause as Quon Yue either thought or took a drink. “You told me earlier that you slept with Shindou-san, and other than that you were best friends. Have you ever wanted to be more than that with him?”

Hiro was glad for the darkness, for he could feel the color draining from his face. He took a drink from his own can of soda, fumbled with a bag of chips, then cleared his throat. “Sometimes. Once or twice. When we were in high school I did imagine being with him once in a while, but he never showed the same kind of interest, so I ignored it. I didn’t even know he was gay until we were nineteen, but then, I don’t think he did, either. Then he was with Yuki Eiri and I met a girl named Ayaka that I thought was the one, but she left me and I found myself thinking about Shuichi again. Then he got into an accident, the same accident that cost him his arm, and Suguru, the keyboardist of our band, helped me out, but after the band broke up he announced that he wanted to go to America to find himself and I wasn’t invited, so I knew it was over. Probably just as well. He went to find himself and all he did was find drugs and lose what little of himself he had to begin with. And again, when he was gone, I found myself thinking about Shuichi. I had a few other little relationships doomed to fail, plenty of one-night stands, but lately I’ve been getting more lonely than even I can believe, and I find myself wanting Shuichi more than ever. It’s so glaringly obvious even he noticed it, and he’s a bit dense on subjects like that.” Hiro sighed deeply. “I don’t think it’s so much that I love him. Of course I do, on many levels, but we both agreed a long time ago and again recently that any situation with us as lovers would probably end in catastrophe, so we don’t love each other in that way. Besides, he’s been with Yuki Eiri for seventeen years now. I think he’s in it for the long haul. Has far more patience then I give him credit for, that’s for sure, since Yuki Eiri is one of the coldest, most insensitive bastards you could ever have the misfortune of meeting, and all he ever does is make Shuichi upset, and everyone knows that if Shuichi is ever hurt or upset then God help the one who upset him, because I can and have inflict bodily harm on those who do upset him. It’s been that way since we met. It’s how we met in the first place. But Shuichi thinks Yuki Eiri is God, and has for almost twenty years, and if I can’t convince him otherwise no one else will. So, is that enough of an answer for you?”

“Your turn,” was the only response he got, so Hiro assumed he had answered the question to his satisfaction.

“How old are you, anyway?” Hiro asked. Then he had a thought. “That’s not my question for the game. I honestly want to know. If you want to hold that until after the game is over, you can.”

“Nah, I’ll answer,” Quon Yue said with a sigh. “I’m eighteen.”

Hiro quirked an eyebrow. “The way you talk and act, I assumed you were older. Only eighteen?”

“At last count. My birthday was June sixth. I’m a Gemini. In fact, my appearance is supposed to be a physical representation of the sign of Gemini. Or as close as you can get with one person. Now, do you have a real question?”

Hiro gave that serious thought. “Actually, I do. Tell me, why are you so interested in Shuichi?”

There was a long moment of silence, and for a moment Hiro wondered if he had “won”. Then Quon Yue’s voice ended that thought. “You’re going to think I’m nuts, if you don’t already, but the reason why is because when I was younger I was a huge fan of his. I was a lonely kid. Really quiet. Got picked on a lot. I had nothing to call my own. Then I saw a Bad Luck video playing on a TV in a store, and I...fell in love, pretty much. I fixated on him. Not only was he good looking and talented, but just so unpredictable. I couldn’t wait to find out what he said or did next. He was everything I wished I was. And now that I’m older, thinking back he was a big inspiration to me. He made me want to sing. And I’m happy to know he’s smaller than me. I like people who are smaller than me. People who are bigger than me tend to intimidate me.”

Hiro was completely taken off guard by this response. The more he talked to Quon Yue, the more human he seemed. Finally, he said, slowly, “Shuichi modeled himself after someone else, too. Sakuma Ryuuichi of Nittle Grasper. He even went as far as to try and look like him. He worshipped him from junior high on. But he also realized that he had to be his own person, since people were looking for something new, not a rehashing of something old. But I can safely say you realized that already.”

Quon Yue was quiet for a very long time. Finally, he asked, in a voice so soft that Hiro could hardly hear it, “Do you think I’m a freak?”

Hiro looked at the floor. Before that night, he would have been quick to say yes. In fact, he probably still would have, had Quon Yue not asked him in a voice that seemed desperate for confirmation that he was, indeed, human.

“Not a freak,” Hiro said at last. “Different. Very, very different. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“You don’t mean that. But I guess I deserved it. When I was a kid, I was small, quiet, and lonely. And easy to pick on. I was Chinese, I didn’t have a father, and I had a defect in my eye. I was very smart, but that was all. It was enough to make the teachers make a token effort to reach out to me once in a while, but other than that no one paid much attention to me or cared what happened to me. So I decided that I was going to be really different, so different people would notice me and wouldn’t dare pick on me.”

Hiro suddenly felt ashamed for thinking Quon Yue was evil. He was arrogant, yes, and quite manipulative, but he had a feeling that there were good reasons for that. He decided he was only going to ask one more question, and after that resign from the game.

“What happened to your father?” Hiro asked.

“He was Japanese. He met my mother when she was sixteen, slept with her, and left her when he found out she was pregnant. I never knew him. I know he used to be signed onto this label and was a singer in a band. And I know his name. But I’ve never made an effort to find him. I’d probably hurt him.”

Hiro found himself interested. He knew most of the artists that had been signed in NG’s brief history. So he forced himself to ask. “Off the record and game aside, what was his name?”

Hiro was never prepared for the answer he got.

“According to my mother, his name was Aizawa Tachi.”

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

It was just after midnight when Yuki woke up from a nightmare, sweating profusely and breathing heavily. Shuichi, who had been curled up against him, arm around him, was sent flying backward at this, and thus was awakened by the sudden gesture.

“Yuki? Are you all right?” Shuichi asked softly, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and removing his tie and jacket, throwing them both into the corner and wondering how the hell he had fallen asleep with them on.

Yuki looked at Shuichi, blinking slightly, as if trying to remember who he was. Then he nodded, his breathing returning to normal. “Yeah. Yeah, I think I am. Just a nightmare, that’s all.”

Shuichi wrapped his only arm around Yuki. “Is it about what happened to you?”

Instead of answering him directly, Yuki stood up, causing Shuichi to sit back on the bed. “Is Tokui asleep?”

Shuichi stood up, removing his shirt and pants and socks and throwing them on the floor, pulling on a T-shirt of Yuki’s from the wash that still smelled like him and following him out into the hallway. “As far as I know. Why?”

“My nightmare. It was what happened to me, only it was happening to him. I want to know that he’s all right.”

“How can you tell it was him? He looks just like you did,” Shuichi pointed out, but he followed him into the office.

“I just knew. It was my nightmare, I think I know it a little better than you,” Yuki snapped, opening the door to the closet slightly and looking in. In the dim light he couldn't see anything, so he turned on his desk lamp before opening it a little further. Tokui wasn’t sleeping in the unmade bed that had been placed there just that day, causing Yuki to enter panic mode. He slammed the door and stomped out of the room into the hall.

“Yuki, if he isn’t in there, he can’t have left the apartment without setting off the alarm. He doesn’t have the code,” Shuichi pointed out, shutting off the lamp and following his angry and worried lover.

There wasn’t an answer. Shuichi stepped into the living room, where Yuki was standing, Tokui sitting bleary-eyed in the middle of the couch, wrapped in a blanket. He yawned, then looked at Yuki fearfully, causing Yuki to sigh with relief and throw himself into his chair.

“Eiri-ojisan?” the boy asked timidly.

“It’s all right, Tokui,” Yuki reassured, putting his face in his hand. “I had a bad dream about you and when you weren’t in your bed I panicked.”

“I-I can stay in my bed if you want...” Tokui offered meekly.

“No. I’ve restricted you enough as it is. You can sleep anywhere you want in the apartment. I just panicked, that’s all.”

Shuichi leaned over the back of Yuki’s chair. “Yuki, are you sure you’re all right? Do you want something to drink? Water? Tea?”

“Beer,” Yuki replied. He suddenly looked up, facing Tokui. “Have you been to bed at all yet?”

“Yes, Eiri-ojisan,” Tokui confirmed with a nod.

“Did you take your new medicine?”

“Yes, Eiri-ojisan.”

“Good boy.”

Shuichi handed Yuki his beer and sat down on the couch. “So is our nightly crisis over?”

Yuki sighed and opened his beer can, take a long drink of it. “Pretty much. Dammit, I am so sorry, Tokui. For a lot of reasons.”

“None of it is your fault, Yuki,” Shuichi said firmly. “The nightmare or what happened. And it’s not your fault that Tokui is like this, either. So just go to bed, and in the morning we can worry about pulling our lives together. All three of us. Got it? At any rate, I’ve got work in the morning, and Tokui, your tutor is coming in the afternoon, isn’t she?”

Tokui nodded, and Yuki just sighed. He didn’t want to deal with anyone, let alone Tokui’s teacher. Amai had gone to school normally, but when she was signed to NG she agreed to finish her work at home as a independent study and graduate early so she could focus on her music career.

“So get to bed. Both of you. Yuki, you need anything else?”

“Aspirin.”

“Doesn’t work with liquor.”

“Death.”

“Go to bed.”

Yuki finished his beer, left the can on the coffee table, stood up, muttered something about Shuichi being in no position to order him around, and disappeared into the hall.

Shuichi sighed at this display, turned to Tokui, and put his hand on his shoulder. “What were you doing on the couch, Tokui?” he asked softly.

“I had a bad dream,” he said quietly.

Shuichi didn’t bother asking what him having a nightmare had to do with him sleeping on the couch, since the boy was known for making strange connections like that.

“Go to sleep. You’ve got school tomorrow,” he said at last, standing up and walking into the hall. “Good night, Tokui.”

“Oyasumi nasai, Shindou-san,” Tokui shouted back.

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

Touma removed his reading glasses, rubbing his eyes tiredly, and resting his pen on the desk. He looked at his desk clock, saw that it was around midnight, deduced that it would be around ten in the afternoon in New York, and picked up the phone, dialing the overseas operator to connect him to a familiar number.

After a few rings, there was an answer. “Hello?” a cheerful but polite voice asked in English.

“Alexander?” Touma asked, forcing the foreign name awkwardly over his Japanese-accustomed tongue. He cleared his throat and continued (in English, though the boy spoke Japanese) “This is Seguchi-san. Are either of your parents home?”

“Oh, yeah, just a second, Seguchi-san,” Alexander answered in Japanese. He could hear a slight click as the receiver was placed on a table, the muffled call of “Dad! Phone!” in English, and then a few moments of silence as Touma waited patiently for someone to pick up.

Most people assumed that because Ryuuichi and K had been living together for so long that Alexander had been adopted by both of them. In all actuality, he was biologically Ryuuichi’s, the product of a short-lived relationship he had engaged in while conducting his solo career in America. When the boy was three, he had been abandoned with the two men, and K had adopted him and raised him as his own. But anyone who saw Alexander would realize there was no possible way he couldn’t be Ryuuichi’s son.

But even though Alexander looked like Ryuuichi, he actually acted more like K. This was probably better all around, since when K had adopted him his own son, Michael, had decided that his father had moved on and wanted nothing to do with him, and had refused to have anything to do with his father, instead attaching himself to his stepfather. This had been a blow to K, and he had begun to dote on his adoptive son as a result.

Finally, a familiar voice said, in English, “Hello?”

“Mr. K?” Touma asked.

“The one and only,” K confirmed, still in English. “And who is this?”

“Seguchi-san,” Touma answered.

“Seguchi! Sorry, it’s been so long since I’ve heard your voice I didn’t recognize it,” K said in Japanese, obviously surprised that his former employer was calling him.

“It’s all right,” Touma said, smiling slightly and trying to fight off his own tired feelings.

“Actually, I was just getting ready to call you,” K told him.

“Oh?” Touma asked with interest, pulling the receiver of his phone away as he yawned.

“Yeah. Two days ago your cousin appeared on my doorstep. He’s been crashing on my couch during the day and at night disappearing to parts unknown. And dammit, does he ever look like hell.”

Touma suddenly felt himself growing very angry. “You didn’t give him any money, did you?”

“No. If he wants to go to hell in a hand-basket that’s his priority, but he can leave me and my family out of it. I’m kicking him out as soon as he wakes up. And I’m saying you ordered it, since I have a feeling that’s what you were about to do. Anyway, I assume this isn’t a pleasure call, since it’s after midnight there. What’s on your mind?”

“I actually called about Alexander. By the way, why isn’t he at school?”

“He graduated a year early, and before that he was home-schooled. He’s just staying here until his music career gets going. So what about him?”

“Well, first, you and Sakuma-san are coming to my wedding, right?”

“Yes, as far as I know. It’s at the end of this month, right?”

“Correct. But I wanted to know if you three could come a little sooner. And if my cousin is there, put a gun against his head and force him to come with you so I can put him in rehab.”

“With pleasure. But why?”

“A new idea. Actually an idea of Shindou-san and the new manager’s: Neo Grasper.”

“Neo Grasper?”

“Right. My daughter, Ryuuichi’s son, Noriko’s daughter. Neo Grasper.”

“I’m intrigued. And I’m sure Ryuuichi will be thrilled at the idea as soon as he hears about it. But shouldn’t you ask Alex about that?”

“Actually, I would rather you did. Preferably while on the way here. You see, I haven’t quite sold Amai on the idea yet, and I think if I can get her, Alexander, and Saki in the same room she’ll see what a good idea this is and back down.”

“You mean you want to put her on the spot so she’ll say yes. I’m warning you right now, Seguchi: don’t force your kids to follow in your footsteps if they don’t want to. But I think I will do that. Ryuuichi has been excited about going to Japan and seeing you again, Alex has been excited about visiting there for the first time in ten years, and I am about due for a vacation. The firing range is doing well, but it’s a little more stressful than I thought. Alex has been helping me with it, but he’s been busy himself lately. Plus I want to get Fujisaki back to Japan so you can get him to straighten up and fly right. He wants to get better. He really does. He just needs a push in the right direction, and I think you’re the one who should do the pushing.”

“Then it’s settled. You can stay at my house. There are plenty of extra bedrooms, and it has a ramp and an elevator because the last owner was an elderly, wheelchair-bound man.”

“Sounds perfect. We’ll be there...I’ll get back to you on that, since we still have some things to get in order, plus I don’t know when the next flight to Tokyo is. Plus I still have to run the idea by the others. But I’ll keep Fujisaki here and bring him with me when we do arrive.”

“That sounds good.”

“Seguchi, you sound tired. Hang up the phone an go to bed.”

“Yes, of course. And tell Ryuuichi-san that I said hi.”

“Fine. See you soon. Good bye.”

Touma audibly yawned this time. “Good bye, Mr. K,” he said groggily in English, hanging up the phone.

Now all he had to worry about was telling Amai that Alexander was on his way in the morning...

End of Chapter Five

╣ There is absolutely NO indication in the anime that Shuichi dyes his hair, nor is there in the OAV. As far as we know, it’s natural. In the manga, he DOES dye his hair, but it’s naturally burgundy and he dyes it blonde later, not pink. Just because he has hot pink hair does not mean he dyes it, since anime has all sort of interesting hair colors that are, as far as we know, natural in their world. (Like Noriko’s is violet and Suguru’s is dark green.) I am mostly using anime continuity, but I use some details from the manga, namely K’s son, Michael.