Kouta was on one of the living room couches, watching a music special his band had done. Ryuu came and sat next to him during one of the commercials.
“I’d rather not be distracted right now,” Kouta told him before he could say anything. “I want to focus on how my band sounds.”
He was still annoyed with how much Ryuu’s work was overriding their relationship. Over the last two months, they’d barely been together. Kouta thought Ryuu had only made feeble attempts at being with him; he had long passed the point of being insulted. Currently, he didn’t feel like speaking to him but Ryuu was insistent.
“Is this the special you filmed a few weeks ago?” Ryuu asked. “You look really cold. Why didn’t you wear something that would keep you warmer?”
“Thanks for your concern.” Kouta finished watching the show and then turned off the TV. He was about to leave when Ryuu stopped him.
“Kouta, I’m sorry. I know I’ve been a bit difficult.”
“I’m tired of you apologizing but not making any progress at changing.”
Kouta got up and walked into the bedroom. He stripped off his clothes and went to take a shower. Afterwards, while he was combing his hair in the bathroom mirror, Ryuu came up behind him. He took the comb out of Kouta’s hand and rested his chin on his lover’s shoulder.
“What can I do to make things up to you?” Ryuu murmured huskily. He started nibbling on Kouta’s right ear.
“More than that,” Kouta replied, pretending not to be affected.
“But will I be forgiven if I make the right offering?”
“Maybe.” Kouta tried to stifle a smile. He wondered why, no matter how angry he became with Ryuu, his lover could change his mood so quickly. He promised himself that he would have stronger resolve…but not right at this moment.
“Hmmm, you’re awfully tough,” Ryuu said, as his hands slid against Kouta’s skin.
“That’s because I don’t really want you,” Kouta said.
“Well, that hurts me to the core. I think I’m going to have to change your mind.” Ryuu reached around and began to stroke Kouta’s cock with a slow, tantalizing rhythm.
“I’m not doing this because you’re in control,” Kouta grunted out.
“I know but I’m so grateful,” he said, turning Kouta to face him. “Let me show you just how much.”
Ryuu descended to the floor, kneeling in front of Kouta. He took his time, teasing his nut sack with light flicks of his tongue. He rimmed Kouta’s tip in the way he knew he liked, sucking on the head, causing him to grip the edge of the bathroom counter. Then he held onto Kouta firmly at his base and took him all the way in his mouth.
“You’re going to make me come too soon,” Kouta gasped out. “Wait.”
For at least the past month, he’d fantasized about being deep-throated by Ryuu. His vivid imagination during his increasingly frequent solitary sessions had helped him keep the sting off his need. Now, with the fantasy a reality again, he was rushing towards an orgasm.
“You really want me to quit?” Ryuu asked coyly.
“Yes, but only until we make it to the bed.”
“No, let’s stay here.”
Ryuu stood up and moved away from Kouta a little.
“Face the mirror,” he told him. Kouta turned. He handed Ryuu the lubricant that was on the sink.
It’s finally being put to good use again, Kouta thought, as he felt Ryuu drizzle it onto him. Then Ryuu pushed his legs apart, putting his cock to his entrance. Kouta suddenly reached around and stopped him.
“What is it?” Ryuu asked.
“Well, we haven’t switched in a while,” Kouta explained. “I like to be inside you too. You’ve been the one to enter the last couple of times…”
“Does it matter to you that much?”
When Ryuu asked that, Kouta felt awkward. He wondered if he was overreacting. Perhaps it was nothing. Still, it was on his mind more frequently. They were usually straightforward with each other. And yet, he felt as if an honest concern had been lightly dismissed.
“It’s not a massive problem but I’ve been thinking about it for a while now,” Kouta admitted.
“Do you enjoy it when we have sex?”
“This isn’t about how good it is.”
It was difficult for him to find the right words with Ryuu’s cock resting against him. Kouta definitely wanted him but some things remained bothersome.
“Okay, I understand,” Ryuu said smiling. “I’ll keep it in mind. I’m sorry if I’ve been overbearing. I’ll try to do better.”
Kouta let go of him, satisfied with his answer. Ryuu slipped inside Kouta, making him sigh with pleasure.
“I’ve been punishing both of us,” Ryuu said, as he began to move. “How could I let work deprive us of this?”
He held onto his lover’s hips, pushing into him hard. Kouta braced himself, placing his hands on the counter.
“I forgive you, Ryuu. You’re just a lost soul who needs my special guidance.”
“Oh, is that so?” Ryuu asked, giving a shuddering laugh.
He pushed into Kouta more fiercely. Kouta looked in the mirror, catching one of Ryuu’s expressions that he’d missed so much. When he was really enjoying sex, he’d tilt his head back, his eyes closed. There was a deep furrow in his brow; Kouta was glad to be the one breaking the calm that usually graced his face.
Kouta stroked himself, reveling in the feelings he was causing in Ryuu. He clenched his ass, tightening around him to the point that it hurt both of them. Ryuu’s eyes flew open in surprise and then he lost it.
“Damn Kouta,” he groaned out, emptying inside him.
Kouta’s body heated up even more and then he was coming too.
When they caught their breaths, Ryuu gave him a deep kiss.
“Did you enjoy that?” Ryuu asked.
“Yes,” Kouta admitted, laughing softly.
Ryuu smiled and ran his fingers through Kouta’s damp hair. Then he became very serious.
“I know sometimes I distance myself from you,” he admitted. “I’m sorry. Things will settle down soon.”
Kouta was stretched out on the bed, thinking about his situation with Ryuu. It had been almost two weeks since they’d last had sex. Kouta’s libido was stronger than Ryuu’s; he preferred to have sex three or four times. He’d learned to compromise, especially since he found sex with Ryuu to be especially satisfying.
For a while after their discussion, things appeared to have been resolved. However, Kouta now felt that his needs were being neglected again. As stress increased in his life, Ryuu became more dominant and the sex was less frequent. Sometimes, Kouta would reach out for him and he’d reject his advances.
Kouta tried to push the issue out of his mind but he couldn’t. From all indicators, Ryuu had forgotten about their discussion to make each other a priority. Kouta knew a decreased frequency in sex was one of the main signs that a relationship was falling apart. He always tried his best to make some quality time with the person he was dating, even if he was steadily working on an album or touring. It appeared to Kouta that Ryuu wasn’t putting in as much effort. He wasn’t meeting Kouta halfway, as they had agreed.
Tired of spending so much time rehashing his conversations with Ryuu, Kouta shook his head clear. He turned on the TV and paused when he saw Freefall being interviewed.
Kouta increased the volume so he could better hear what Takayuki was saying.
“Our new video is for the song Internal Wounds,” the lead singer explained. “We were able to get the Kobayashi Anime Studio to do it for us. The president, Ryuu Kobayashi, is incredibly talented. I’m looking forward to our collaboration.”
Kouta was convinced that he had misheard what Takayuki had said. Surely Ryuu wasn’t working with him. Surely, Freefall wasn’t using the very same idea he’d mentioned to Ryuu.
“If you crunch on that ice any harder, you’ll break a tooth,” Ryuu teased.
He’d been at the dining room table, working on some sketches. The noise from Kouta crushing the ice had easily reached him. When he’d returned home a few hours ago, he’d known something was wrong. Kouta had been avoiding him. He’d decided to wait and let him address what was bothering him.
Kouta was on a couch, aimlessly flipping through the most recent issue of one of his favorite mangas. He hadn’t truly been reading it. Instead, he’d been mechanically demolishing ice, as he tried to control his anger. He’d been incensed at what he’d seen on the entertainment news. Between that and his other grievances with Ryuu, he’d regressed to the childhood habit for managing his extremely bad temper.
“Does it bother you when I crunch?” Kouta asked. His tone didn’t indicate that he would have been concerned if Ryuu did find it troublesome. “If it does, you can go work in the bedroom; you know, the one I spent time making into a studio for you.”
“Sometimes I want to be out here, closer to you.”
“Oh the fucking irony…”
Hearing that Kouta’s temper was rising, Ryuu put aside his work.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, going over to him.
“It amazes me that you’ve managed to add a project with Freefall.”
Kouta was expecting an apology. Instead, what he heard was Ryuu’s inability to understand the depth of the issue.
“Well, this new deal could mean that my company becomes stronger,” Ryuu explained, as he sat down near him. “I’ve wanted this for so long. I can’t ruin this chance.”
“You’re going to stand on top of the world all alone, huh?”
“No, it’s nothing like that. I just—”
Kouta was going to slide another piece of ice into his mouth but his glass was empty. His anger exploded.
“I can’t believe this shit! I barely get to be around you, as it is. Now, you’re going to be wasting your time working for a moronic band like Freefall.”
“Is that what my work is to you?” Ryuu asked, wounded by Kouta’s views. “A waste of time? Look, I figured the less I talked about my work, the less you’d be upset with me. Should I have mentioned the video? Was it important?”
“Yes!” Kouta bellowed, staring at him incredulous. “I can’t stand Takayuki or anyone else in that group. There’s bad blood between us and I wish you’d told me that you’d be working with them. And besides, months ago, didn’t I ask if our band could do a video with you? I even told you the idea I wanted to use. Why didn’t you ask my band?”
“I did talk to you about it!” Ryuu fired back. “You brushed me off.”
“What’s that supposed to mean? We never confirmed—”
“Exactly, we never confirmed what would happen! I did try. You were busy with recording and planning your tour. You said you didn’t have time. You hadn’t even raised it with the other members yet.”
Kouta was silent, trying to remember if they’d discussed it any further. He wasn’t sure now. Ryuu stared at him, reading the uncertainty on his face.
“You should have kept trying!’ Kouta replied defensively.
“You’re busting my ass and you’re the one who doesn’t have things straight. That shows how distracted you are. Apparently I was nothing more than an insignificant fly buzzing around you. Do you remember my sketchbook that you practically threw at me? I’d drawn concepts for your video.” Ryuu sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. The argument was giving him a headache. “When I became angry with you, I decided not to show you the drawings. Anyway, Takayuki mentioned the same concept to me and I chose his band.”
“You couldn’t see how that would be a problem? You just went ahead and—”
Kouta stopped to get himself under control. The phone rang, as he tried to collect his thoughts; it was one of the few times lately that he was glad to hear it. He went to answer it, needing to shift his attention elsewhere for a while.
“Hello…Yes, Ryuu’s here. I’ll get him.” Kouta covered the mouthpiece and called out, “It’s Natalie.”
“Thanks,” Ryuu murmured.
He took the phone from Kouta, without looking him in his eyes. Kouta shook his head and returned to the couch, staring straight ahead as he continued to seethe, despite his best intentions to be calm.
He was livid as he heard Ryuu speak with Natalie. Ryuu had agreed to meet with her that evening.
For the first time, Kouta wanted to pick up something and hurl it at his lover’s head. His choice, instead, was to get more ice and brutally chew on it, drowning out the sound of Ryuu slamming the door as he left.
When Ryuu returned from speaking with Natalie, Kouta ordered him to get out. Ryuu quietly gathered up the things that he’d need immediately and went back to his apartment.
A week later, when Kouta arrived home from running a few errands, there were five voicemails for him. Only one mattered:
Kou, I’m sorry. I should have stayed and talked about what happened.
If it’s alright with you, I’d like to see you tonight.
Kouta eagerly called him, letting him know that, of course, he wanted to see him. They did need to talk.
When they met up again, they didn’t say a word about their argument. Instead, they eagerly undressed each other. Kouta was now kneeling in front of Ryuu, enjoying his familiar length and thickness.
If only my fans could see me now, Kouta thought. This is the kind of service they’d love.
“What are you thinking about?” Ryuu asked.
“I’m the only person who should be on your mind, especially when I’m right here.”
“You sound jealous,” Kouta teased.
Ryuu ran his fingers through his hair as he positioned himself against his lover’s lips. Kouta opened his mouth, receiving him.
“Ahh,” Ryuu gasped. “Yes, please me.”
And Kouta pleased him, taking Ryuu deep into his throat until he came. Ryuu filled his mouth, some of his jism almost spilling out.
“You still look like a wolf in need,” Kouta told him, as he stood to face him.
Ryuu took his chin in one of his hands and turned his head from side to side.
“Do you like what you see?” Kouta asked, putting on an exaggerated, shy act.
“More than it’s proper,” Ryuu said.
“You know ‘proper’ has no place here.”
“No, it doesn’t…” Ryuu led him over to the bed.
“On your back.”
“I have to?” Kouta asked.
“There’ll be no other role for you tonight.”
Kouta did as he was told. He felt Ryuu nudging at his hole and then slowly beginning to slide inside him. Kouta shifted to deal with the discomfort. He was a little tighter than usual and wanted Ryuu to use more lubricant but he kept quiet about his need. He didn’t want to break the moment. Yet, his mind registered that Ryuu didn’t seem to notice he was hurting.
Ryuu slowly began to thrust. He moved inside Kouta in that for a while. Then he wanted to change positions.
“Get on your hands and knees,” Ryuu said, as he withdrew.
He flipped Kouta over onto his stomach and the show of strength surprised him. Kouta was beginning to feel troubled that he could be so easily manipulated.
“Make me get on all fours,” he challenged, stiffening his body.
“Kou…” There was a warning in Ryuu’s voice. “Did you hear me?”
“Yes Master Ryuu…”
“Then follow my order. I want to come and you’re delaying that.”
“Store up the tension. Let’s see how long you can—” The heavy smack on Kouta’s ass cut off his voice. He whipped his head around to look at Ryuu. Then he looked down at his ass and saw a handprint beginning to appear. “Hey!”
“You deserved it,” Ryuu said, unsympathetically.
“So abusive,” Kouta complained half-heartedly.
Ryuu grabbed him around his waist and yanked until he was kneeling. Kouta laughed, flopping down just to be difficult.
“Tsk, tsk. My poorly-behaved personal toy,” Ryuu said. He roughly kneaded sections of Kouta’s backbone with the knuckles of one hand. “You must want pain.”
Kouta cringed, laughing louder. He turned his head to look at Ryuu and saw the glint of dominance in his eyes. He decided that he would indulge him, especially since they hadn’t slept together in a while.
“You win, Master Ryuu,” Kouta said, getting on his hands and knees.
Ryuu quickly slid into him again, bearing down hard on him, hitting all of the pleasure points that only he could find. Though he knew Ryuu would revel in hearing him express pleasure, Kouta resolved to be stubborn, to stay silent.
“No, don’t hold back,” Ryuu ordered, pounding faster, punctuating his words with thrusts. “Let me hear you.”
Kouta finally gave in, letting him know how good he felt, how much he really needed it. Kouta requested that he do it harder, that he give him more. Ryuu leaned forward, weighing him down into the bed, making Kouta’s knees buckle.
“I’m going to come!” Ryuu announced. Suddenly, he pulled out, leaving Kouta empty—and surprised. Ryuu came, his sperm spraying far, some of it landing on Kouta’s back and on the headboard.
“What the fuck was that?” Kouta demanded.
Ryuu’s actions had eliminated Kouta’s orgasm, making him feel used.
“It’s punishment for not listening to me right away,” Ryuu said, as he caught his breath. He casually reclined on the bed, unmoved by Kouta’s anger.
“Well I don’t like how you acted,” Kouta assured him. “Don’t do it again.”
Kouta started to get off the bed but Ryuu grabbed an arm, stopping him. Kouta yanked his arm away and went to the bathroom to clean himself. He avoided looking in the mirror. Self-disgust was rising within him. He didn’t want to return to this emotional place.
Years ago, when he’d been much more impressionable, he’d dealt with someone who had made him feel worthless. Tatsuo, his previous lover, had been domineering to the point that Kouta had lost himself. The relationship had ended after a year. Kouta had known that things were completely wrong six months before they’d finally split. However, the drama of the relationship had kept him tethered to Tatsuo.
Tatsuo had been controlling, his demands clashing with what Kouta was trying to do with his career and his life in general. When Tatsuo’s anger escalated to giving Kouta a black eye and a busted lip, Kouta knew he could no longer stay with him. He’d called Hiro, asking him for help. Hiro had contacted their manager. The two of them had shown up to personally remove Tatsuo from Kouta’s life.
Kouta didn’t want to return to that kind of relationship. Towards the end of their time together, Tatsuo had come on him during sex, repeatedly. It always made him feel demeaned because it hadn’t been something he’d ever wanted. To have Ryuu do the same thing hurled him backwards to that time almost ten years ago.
He heard Ryuu call him several times but he didn’t respond, taking his time to clean his body. He scrubbed hard enough to redden his skin, trying to erase the harsh memories of his past. Then he returned to the bedroom and threw a washcloth at Ryuu.
“Clean up your come!” Kouta shouted. “You will never again treat me the way you just did!”
“Right now it’s best that I get away from you for a while.” Kouta told him, cutting off any response from him. “I don’t like the type of person you’re becoming. When I get back here, your mess will be gone and so will you.”
Without another word to Ryuu, Kouta dressed and left the house. As he headed towards his bike, he called Hiro to see if he was home.
“Ryuu and I had a fight,” Kouta said. Hiro heard the amount of strain in his friend’s voice. He sensed that much more had happened than a simple fight.
“I’m sorry, man,” Hiro told him. “You know where I live.”
“Aya’s having some other guy’s baby.”
“Oh, so now you’re listening?” Hiro muttered. “I had to say something outrageous to get your attention.”
“Hiro, I’m really sorry.”
“I was talking about Aya and her vacation plans for us. They started out being our plans but now she’s getting carried away. Now, stop stalling and tell me the reason you’re over here.”
The phone rang, a noise that made Kouta cringe. Lately, that sound represented someone calling to monopolize Ryuu’s time.
“Sorry. I’ll just answer this really fast. Whenever Aya’s out, I make it a point to pick up the phone.” Hiro talked to Aya and hung up in a few minutes, turning his attention back to Ryuu. “I know you’re not really here to talk about my vacation. So, why don’t you finally tell me what caused the fight?”
Kouta began his explanation. When he finished, Hiro looked surprised.
“Ryuu has a strong personality but I’d never imagined he’d treat you that way.” Hiro was aware of Kouta’s history with Tatsuo. “After Tatsuo, I can see why you don’t want go through anything like that again.”
“It’s just ridiculous.” Kouta sighed, slumping on the couch. “I got laid tonight but not in the way I expected. Or, honestly, even liked. Ryuu acted like such an asshole.”
“Whoa. I don’t even know what to say…Ryuu’s always gentle with me.”
“Shut up man!” Kouta told him, laughing despite his annoyance.
“How about we change the topic, just for a bit?” Hiro suggested. “I think you need to have something else on your mind.”
The two moved onto the lyrics of the new song he was writing. Kouta was looking over them when Aya returned.
“Hey stranger, long time no see,” she said. Kouta smiled and gave her a hug, her 5’4” frame engulfed by him. “What’s going on? Why do you look so sad?” There was concern in her dark-brown eyes.
“Kouta’s having relationship problems,” Hiro explained.
“Ohhh, poor honey,” she said to Kouta. “Tell me all about it.”
Aya installed herself on Hiro’s lap, prepared to listen. When Kouta finished explaining, she expressed her support.
“I’m glad you let Ryuu know he was wrong for how he treated you. If you two try again, you’ll have to manage your expectations. Hiro and I sometimes have problems too. In fact, we’ve hit several really rough spots.”
“We almost broke up six months ago,” Hiro added. “I still can’t believe that.”
“He was so busy and I felt he didn’t really want a relationship,” Aya explained. “I let him know what I was thinking and we’ve worked through it.”
“So now you make time for each other, right?” Kouta asked. He needed to hear that it was possible to come back from the struggles he was having.
“Sure, even if it’s limited. Just being around each other for a little while is usually more than enough to satisfy me.” Aya responded. A mischievous smile crossed her face. “We don’t even have to have sex.”
“We definitely must!” Hiro quickly added. Aya laughed and smacked him on his thigh.
“Anyway, tell us what else is on your mind, Kou,” she said.
“Ryuu doesn’t even seem to care. I thought tonight we’d talk and resolve our earlier fight. Instead, we were just eager to fall into bed again…We’ve discussed how his plans might affect us, especially with me working on this next album. Even with everything going on, I’m available for him, in ways that I’ve never been for anyone else.”
“That’s what you’re supposed to do,” Hiro reminded him. “You’re in a relationship.”
“But that supports my point. He’s not putting in as much effort as I do.”
“Maybe you’re being selfish,” Aya boldly stated.
Kouta was taken aback, her words hurting him.
“Aya!” Hiro frowned at her.
“No,” Kouta murmured. A furrow appeared in his brow. “Maybe she’s right. Maybe I do want too much from him right now.”
“I don’t think it’s too much,” Hiro said.
“It might be, if his mind is on something that he has wanted for a long time,” Aya told him. “He had dreams before you met him, Kouta. I hope you’re not acting as if that isn’t true.”
Kouta sighed, the heaviness of the topic weighing him down.
“Why don’t you stay here for the night?” Hiro suggested. “We’ll even give you earplugs. We won’t force you to hear just how intact our relationship is.” He licked his lips lecherously, then jiggled Aya on his lap.
“Behave!” Aya admonished him, swatting at him.
“It’s no biggie,” Hiro said. “He knows I like to torture him. I can’t stand it when he mopes.”
“I’ll pass but thanks for the offer,” Kouta said, smiling. “I’m going to take off now. Thanks for listening to me.”
“No problem, man,” Hiro told him.
“I’ve seen the way Ryuu looks at you when you’re not even aware,” Aya said. She stood and gave Kouta a hug. “Don’t give up on him.”
“I won’t. Things will work out. This is just a ‘rough spot’ for us. Anyway, I’m going to take off.”
“You sure about that?” Hiro asked.
“Yeah, I need some time alone.”
Kouta left Hiro and Aya’s apartment, getting on his bike and riding through the city. He played back his conversation with them. Their words made sense. Kouta understood that he had to talk to Ryuu. But to talk to him, he had to get Ryuu’s attention, which had been scarce of late. Kouta blamed much of the situation on Ryuu working with Freefall. His dislike for the band grew. He didn’t know how much longer he could handle things if they continued this way. The more he thought about his situation, the faster he wanted to ride, despite the fact that it was now raining.
He took a deep breath and accelerated even more, wanting the speed to rip all of the chaos out of his head, wanting the rain to wash away his unhappiness.
Kouta was suddenly moving too fast to handle the curve of the road. His bike skidded, slamming into one of the columns of an overpass. He was thrown and he landed headfirst on the wet road. Even though his helmet remained on, he’d felt much of the impact. As parts of the motorcycle went flying, shrapnel from it shredded his clothing and pierced his skin. He passed out, unsure how much damage he had taken.