I’m too quiet, Kouta thought. That’s why he can’t hear me.
Kouta called for Ryuu again, raising his voice. There was no response. He tried to keep his eyes open because he was sure his lover would appear any minute. But his eyelids grew heavy, his body lulled back into much needed sleep. Several hours later, Kouta slowly forced his eyes open. His parents were sitting near him.
“Honey, you’re awake,” his mother said.
Her voice broke and she began to cry, turning her face into her husband’s shoulder. Kouta tried to reach out but his hands fell to his side, the pain in his body halting him.
“Mom…” he murmured. His mother stroked his forehead like when he was a little boy. He sighed, instantly soothed.
“Do you need anything?” his father asked.
“No…Mom, Dad, I’m so sorry.”
“Sweetheart, there’s no need to apologize,” his mother told him. “It was an accident.” She held onto his hand and he gave hers a squeeze.
“I feel awful.”
“I think that’s understandable,” his father said. “But you’ll pull through…Yuki and Takeshi came by to see you earlier but you were asleep.”
“Please tell them I’ll be okay. Try to keep Yuki from worrying.”
His sister was nearing the end of her pregnancy. Kouta didn’t want his recklessness to cause any complications for her.
“Just concentrate on getting better,” his father replied.
As his mother tucked the blanket more firmly around him, his eyelids grew heavy and closed.
“It’s about time you got up.” That was how Hiro greeted Kouta, smiling and peering down at him. “I’m glad you’re out of the ICU. Now, why did they transfer you to a florist?”
The room was filled with bouquets of flowers from family, friends and fans. Kouta was overwhelmed by the support but the scent was becoming quite strong. At his request, his parents had made arrangements to have many of them transferred to decorate other parts of the hospital. Besides, gifts from Ryuu were conspicuously missing. He didn’t need reminders of that. He knew that his last words to Ryuu had been said in anger. Still, he’d hoped that Ryuu would at least send something, even if he didn’t visit.
“Are you okay?” Hiro asked, pulling up a chair next to Kouta. “You’re healing well, right?”
“Yes. I’m just in a lot of pain,” he replied. “But I think I’ll still be able to have sex. That’s a positive.”
“And the world rejoices,” Hiro quipped. “I wish I could add to your pain. You make it tough to be your friend. You should have just stayed at my place like I—never mind. I’m not going to harass you.”
“I deserve it but thanks. So, exactly how much damage did I do? The doctors told me before but everything was hazy.”
“On a small scale, you cut and bruised yourself in all kinds of places. There are also some problems with your legs but I don’t have too many details. I know you’ll need crutches for a while. On a not-so-small scale, you had a horrible concussion and cracked two ribs, broke one. You have a punctured left lung because a broken rib pierced it. They had to operate.” Hiro’s voice became quiet. “We were so scared for you, Kou.”
“I can’t believe what I put everyone through,” Kouta murmured.
“Wait, there’s good news. As you suffer through the months of healing, remember that you still have your pretty boy looks.”
“Oh, you’re encouraging,” Kouta joked. “By the way, it’s amazing how far a human body can bounce.”
“You sure you didn’t want to do more damage?” Hiro questioned dryly. “I mean, you can always try it again.”
“Don’t make me laugh, Hiro” Kouta said, chuckling and then wincing. “I really hurt.”
“Serves you right…By the way, you should know that you’re in the news. There were weeping fans and everything. The newshounds want updates but the management staff has been very careful to keep the press away.”
“Why did I do this to myself?” Kouta groaned. He trailed one hand down the surgical tape that protected the scar on his chest.
“You did it because you’re stupid…Anyway, the rest of the guys came by to see you but you were out cold. They’ll drop in again…Do you mind if I ask whether Ryuu has been here yet?”
“Well, you kind of just asked didn’t you?” Kouta grumbled. “Anyway, as far as I know, he hasn’t.”
“I talked to him. He’s really broken up. When you see him—and I’m sure you will soon—don’t be an ass. The press bothering him for his reaction is bad enough. He just looks haunted. All the things that were going on in his life came to a halt when he heard about you. I know how he feels; I remember when Aya had her car accident. I hated not being really able to do anything for her…I guess I’m just saying to think about how Ryuu must feel.”
“When I woke up, the first thing I did was call his name…and he wasn’t there Hiro. He—”
“Weren’t you listening? Ryuu obviously still cares about you.” Hiro looked at the time. “I have to go. The guys and I will be back…Hey Kouta, please think about what I said.”
A day later, Hiro, Shinji and Toru had returned to see Kouta. They were full of stories and he was glad about that. He needed to take his mind off what worried him—Ryuu if Ryuu was going to visit at all.
“Just tell me everything that has been happening,” he said, hungry for news.
“Are you really going to pay attention or will you fall asleep, huh biker boy?” Shinji asked.
“I’m not going to doze off,” Kouta said, laughing and then grimacing as various places in his body spasmed with pain.
“Okay, we went out drinking at one of our favorite little bars,” Shinji began. “You know the one, in Azabu Juban? It’s next to the ramen shop that’s across from that American university.”
“Yeah, Shinji, I got it.” Kouta laughed at the amount of detail.
“Well, that was just in case the accident had scrambled your b—”
Hiro elbowed Shinji to stop his callous remark and then continued the story.
“Well, guess who really started putting away the drinks,” Hiro said. “Our dear Toru.”
“You don’t have to share that…” Toru trailed off, a flush coming to his face.
“This time Toru almost crapped his pants,” Hiro finished, beginning to laugh loudly. “He kept on drinking shochu. Picture this. We’re doing karaoke. Shinji is singing—or what passes for singing when he’s drunk. Toru starts looking uncomfortable. I ask him what’s wrong. Then he leans over and whispers, ‘Hiro, I think the shochu makes me want to take a shit…but I’m too drunk to be sure.’ Suddenly, his eyes get really wide. Then he takes off for the bathroom telling me, ‘I’m sure now, Hiro. I’m sure.’ Can you believe him?”
Kouta had enjoyed the story, as he’d endured a few horrible experiences with shochu, a Korean alcohol. He could understand Toru’s troubles. He started laughing but immediately regretted it. His body ached so badly, it was as if he’d made no progress in healing.
“I’m usually much better at holding my drink,” Toru said, staring down at the floor. “You guys know that.”
“Yeah, right. Out of the four of us, you’re the worst,” Shinji said, chuckling. “You become a big spender when you get drunk too. Thanks!”
“Man, don’t use me like that,” Toru grumbled, sounding angry. “Why don’t you ever stop me?”
Kouta knew he was just pretending. They usually treated each other; it all evened out. Most of the time, they were also careful not to go overboard with alcohol. One of Kouta’s pet peeves was losing control; getting drunk was towards the top of his list of things to avoid. Having a motorcycle accident was now firmly located on his list, right at the top.
“Look, the bottom line is, hanging out isn’t much fun without our leader,” Hiro told him.
“I’ll be better soon,” Kouta promised.
“Just don’t heal too quickly,” Shinji said. “I like coming here to see the nurses.”
“Thanks for your concern,” Kouta told him, laughing.
“Speaking of concern, before I forget, Yosuke and Minako said they came by but you were resting,” Toru explained. “Yosuke said, lovingly of course, that he’ll ‘pound you into the ground’ for making Minako cry. He’s worried too but you know how he is about showing emotions.”
“I’ve stressed out a lot of people.” Kouta let out a long breath. “As soon as I’m better, I’ll…”
Kouta’s voice trailed off. His band followed his line of sight to see why. Ryuu had entered the room, an unreadable expression on his face.
“We’ll take off now,” Hiro announced. “Kou, please remember what I told you the last time.” After saying a quick hello to Ryuu, the other members of Polaris left.
“Kouta…” was all Ryuu could say, before his voice began to tremble.
He started pacing the room. Kouta watched him, marking his steps, hearing them become bolder as the emotions in him built. When Ryuu stopped to look at Kouta, there were tears in his eyes.
“I usually don’t cry,” Ryuu said, sitting down in a chair near Kouta. “Now, here you are making me do it.” He rested his head on Kouta’s bed.
Kouta stroked his hair, trying to sooth him.
“I didn’t mean for this to happen,” Kouta told him quietly.
At those words, Ryuu raised his head and gave him a long, hard stare.
“In the back of your mind, this was your way of getting more attention from me.” Ryuu’s voice was hoarse with anger. “If you want to permanently push me away, this is the way to do it. You will not hurt yourself to hurt me.”
“It wasn’t like that!” Kouta protested. “I don’t want things to end between us. But the way you treated me that night can’t ever happen again…” Kouta choked on his words and turned his face away to hide his tears. “Ryuu, don’t watch me cry, okay. I feel like an idiot.”
Ryuu ran one hand tenderly through his hair, kissing him, making the tears come even faster. The ache in Kouta’s lungs and ribs became worse as he tried to control himself.
“Kou, I’m sorry for the things I’ve done wrong,” Ryuu told him. Then he whispered fiercely. “And you have me. Please believe me…”
“Dr. Uchiyama said I could help you out at home,” Ryuu began. “Each day, we can flex your legs. It would be good for us to take walks too. I’m sure we’ll find nice places to go. Just let me—”
“You don’t have to do any of this,” Kouta interrupted.
“I want to, Kou.”
“Out of guilt?”
“It better not be.”
Kouta hobbled to the bedroom. Roughly pushing the door with one crutch, he slammed it. He was already quite tired; being around a hovering Ryuu was sapping even more of what little energy he had. He was annoyed that Ryuu was more interested in nursing him than in addressing the larger issue that was still hanging between them.
They’d grazed the subject of the events behind Kouta’s accident. Now, he wanted to have a deeper conversation. He was hoping Ryuu would be first to raise the matter. However, in the month since he’d been home, they’d discussed everything but that.
When Kouta awoke from a nap, Ryuu was gone but there was a note on the kitchen table for him:
I do want to talk more about everything with you. Right now, I honestly can’t figure out what to say. You’re angry with me and I deserve it. I understand why.
Please don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on us.
Kouta read the note twice, more slowly the second time. Then, exhausted, he rested again, thinking about what Ryuu had written.
Had Kouta been in a better mood, he would have appreciated the care and attention Ryuu was trying to provide. Kouta’s rehabilitation was proving to be more difficult than he’d expected. His ribs and legs continued their fierce aching, making a decent night’s sleep a rarity.
Dr. Uchiyama hadn’t been able to explain fully what was happening with Kouta’s legs. There was little for Kouta to do, besides deal with the pain and take advantage of any relief he could fine.
His recovery had become more and more draining. In the face of his mounting doubts about the progress he was making, Ryuu’s optimism was beginning to annoy him. He started to take his frustrations out on him. They were trying another rehabilitation technique with Kouta walking towards Ryuu without his crutches.
“Just a little more Kou,” Ryuu encouraged him yet again. It wasn’t what he wanted to hear.
“Is this the only way you can care for me?” Kouta snapped, as he gripped onto a nearby couch. “Do you need me to be injured before you can give a damn?”
“I’m just trying to help…” Ryuu stared at him, stunned.
It was difficult for Kouta to keep walking towards Ryuu, no matter how eager his lover was to see him improve day by day. Kouta was tired of going to the rehabilitation center and he was especially tired of Ryuu being his champion. Today was one of the worse days. He’d had enough. Ignoring Ryuu’s beckoning hands, he flopped down on a couch, looking at him defiantly.
“I’m not doing this shit any longer,” Kouta informed him, just in case he hadn’t realized.
“I know it’s difficult but—”
“No, you don’t know!” Kouta shouted at him. “You don’t have any idea how I’m hurting!”
Ryuu remained silent, staring at him, letting Kouta’s anger hang in the air. Then he gave a small nod, sharply turned and left house.
Kouta groaned in disgust at himself and opted to get some sleep. When he opened his eyes, darkness had almost replaced the natural light that had bathed the living room. He heard the sound of Ryuu returning home and he waited for him, trying to think about what to say to him. He turned on a lamp when Ryuu entered the living room.
“I’m sorry,” Ryuu said right away. “I thought I was helping.”
“It’s okay,” Kouta murmured.
“Do you want me near you right now?” Ryuu asked, quietly. “If not, I’ll understand.”
Kouta sat up and made space for Ryuu on the couch.
“We’ll go at the pace that you think is best,” Ryuu promised. “I’m here for you…except, of course, when I storm out in anger.”
Kouta laughed softly and rested his head on Ryuu’s shoulder.
One of the toughest adjustments Kouta had to make was dealing with the scar on his chest. It reminded him of how much he’d put his life at risk. However, his legs continued to trouble him the most during his recovery. At times, they became weak and shaky without much warning. Still, he had made enough progress that he no longer needed crutches. He could move about more easily than he had only two weeks ago.
Over time, he’d taken a more active role, pushing himself to be more positive about his recovery. He’d begun to accept the changes in his body, his attitude mellowing to the point that it sometimes worried Ryuu.
Kouta was currently adjusting the wrap around his rib cage, stifling a groan as his ribs pained him. He knew Ryuu was watching him and didn’t want to alarm him.
“Are you doing it right?” Ryuu asked. “You don’t want to make things worse.”
“I’ve had to do this before, when I was sparring with Shinji and got injured,” he said, chuckling. “I’m a favorite at the nearest hospital.”
From the frown on Ryuu’s face, Kouta knew he was about to get lectured about taking his healing more seriously.
“Don’t start,” Kouta told him. He motioned for Ryuu to join him on the bed. “I have other things on my mind…It’s been too damn long since we’ve had sex.”
“Really? Whose fault is that?” Ryuu teased, leaning into Kouta.
“It’s not just mine,” Kouta told him, giving his crotch a rough squeeze.
Ryuu chuckled and gently pushed him back on the bed, maneuvering on top of him. Ryuu’s weight caused Kouta sharp and sudden, unexpected pain. He’d known his ribs would take longer than the usual three to six weeks for healing, as the fractures had been severe. Though the doctor had told him it could take a while to see more improvement, he’d hoped that his body was now strong enough for him to start having sex. However, the pain he was feeling, the evidence of it on his face, showed that he hadn’t made as much progress as he’d expected.
“We need to wait,” Ryuu said, quickly sitting up and moving away.
“No, I don’t want to do it.” Kouta tried to bring him close again.
“But you’re still healing. I’ll only cause you pain.”
“Well, you know I’m kind of masochistic. After all, I’m with you…”
“Watch it,” Ryuu grumbled playfully, then he reached for Kouta again.
They undressed each other, Ryuu aiding him with his shirt. When Ryuu saw the scar on his chest, he ran his hand lightly over it.
“Don’t think about that,” Kouta coaxed, seeing the sadness in his eyes. “I need you so much. You take the lead. I miss…” He paused, the next words he wanted to say momentarily catching in his throat. “I miss having you inside me.” He’d mumbled the words against Ryuu’s neck, his face heating up as he blushed.
“Alright love,” Ryuu murmured.
Going slowly, Ryuu prepared Kouta for being entered. Then he brushed the hair off Kouta’s forehead, kissed him and then gently slid inside him. When he began pushing, Kouta did his best to ignore the pain. None of it mattered because making love was more important to him.
“You’re grimacing,” Ryuu said. “We have to stop.”
“I’m fine, really,” Kouta told him, even as he let out a hiss of pain.
“Don’t lie to me. I know when you’re enjoying sex.” Ryuu pulled out of him and rolled to his side. “Let’s put this off for another week or two.”
“You sound like you did not too long ago. ‘Kouta, not now. Later. This isn’t a good time’. It’s all so damn familiar because the result is the same. We’re not having sex.”
“Oh yeah? Well, I’m okay with that. I actually miss the days when you couldn’t make it to the bathroom by yourself.”
If Kouta hadn’t seen the mischievous glint in Ryuu’s eyes, he probably would have clobbered him.
“That’s not funny!”
“I’m sorry, love. Please let me atone for my sin.”
Kouta gasped when Ryuu’s hands made their way to his crotch. Ryuu gently kneaded his balls, smiling when he groaned.
“I am care about your needs, you know,” Ryuu assured him, quietly. “Let me show you.”
He took Kouta’s cock in one hand, stroking him firmly. Then he moved down the bed and went between his thighs. Suspended above Kouta’s hardened shaft, Ryuu breathed slowly on it, causing it to twitch.
“You don’t have to…Don’t let my complaining…I…” Kouta couldn’t finish a sentence, his excitement reducing his ability to communicate.
“Shhhh. Let me take care of you,” Ryuu said. Then his mouth descended. He gently raked his teeth across Kouta’s skin, causing him brilliant pleasure-pain. Kouta loved the sound of Ryuu sucking on him, the sight of his lover’s dark hair contrasting with his sweat-covered flesh.
“Yes,” Kouta groaned, his voice raspy. The sounds coming from his throat let him know how badly he had needed a release. His back arched and he gripped Ryuu’s head to his crotch as he came. Jism shot out of him so fast and hard that it hurt. Ryuu’s mouth worked, swallowing everything.
“Kouta, you’re so damn delicious,” Ryuu said. He moved up to kiss Kouta. His essence filled his mouth when Ryuu’s lips met his. “Are you alright? Did I hurt you?”
“I’m fine. You don’t have to worry so much.”
Sliding his large hands up and down Kouta’s back, Ryuu held him tighter. After being silent for a few minutes, Ryuu took a deep breath.
“I want to apologize because I’ve treated you badly,” he murmured. “I was wrong… Kou, you really scared me.”
“I scared myself…” Kouta bit down on his bottom lip, wondering if he should bring up what bothered him most. Finally, he voiced his concern. “Ryuu, I kept on calling your name but you weren’t there.”
“You were unconscious for two days. I couldn’t do anything for you.”
“You could have been there when I woke up!” Kouta shouted, pulling out of his arms. The resentment was coming to the surface. “Do you know how much I wanted yours to be the first face I saw? Do you have any idea how important it was to me?”
“Kou, I was there for a while, watching over you. You were so pale and broken. It was hard to see you like that, especially after your operation. I was in the ICU surrounded by people with unclear chances of survival. Your family didn’t say anything but I kept thinking everyone was blaming me. I was angry with myself. I felt ashamed about what I’d caused you to do. The last thing you’d said to me was that you didn’t like the type of person I was becoming. I didn’t think you’d want me near you…”
Kouta listened to the words tumbling from Ryuu, feelings overwhelming him. He replayed the accident in his mind. He saw himself struggle to control the bike. He remembered what it was like to go rocketing through the air, landing hard on his left side.
He’d woken up in the hospital, only pain registering. Then what had only been physical anguish became mental too. There was the ugly, jagged scar stretching down his chest; he’d looked like a child’s poorly made project.
He thought about how much he’d needed to see Ryuu. But he hadn’t been there right away. The desire to remain furious warred with the relief he felt at hearing how concerned he had been, how concerned he still was.
“I understand if you don’t want to be near me,” Ryuu told him, beginning to get out of the bed. “I’ll go sleep in another room. I can’t handle it when you see me as weak, when you’re disappointed with me.”
“Don’t go,” Kouta said, gripping his arm. “We can deal with this. We both did some foolish things. I should have been more patient.”
“No. I didn’t pay attention to your needs. You matter to me so much…”
Ryuu’s hands found Kouta’s scar, his fingers moving along the bumpy ridges. Kouta guessed he wouldn’t be going bare-chested for concerts now or just having his shirt open, unless the makeup team could make it disappear with the magic of well applied body makeup. He realized it would take quite a bit of skill to cover.
“It’s ugly isn’t it?”
“No love, it’s not.”
“You mean that?”
“Of course…Let’s talk about something else, please.”
“Alright…hmmm, how soon can we have sex? I mean, the sex I really want, like at least a weekend’s worth of serious loving.”
“That’s quite specific,” Ryuu said, grinning. “Well, I want to wait a few more weeks, just so you can be better healed.”
“Will you at least give me head…everyday…maybe twice a day to make up for all the lost time?”
“No, you greedy thing.” Ryuu’s loud laughter shook both of them. “It will spoil you. Actually, you already get away with too much.”
Kouta sighed in disappointment.
“What about you then?” he asked. “Don’t you want anything?”
“What I want might put you in the hospital again,” Ryuu replied , chuckling sexily. “Now go to sleep.”
Kouta closed his eyes, determined to take care of Ryuu’s needs as soon as he could.
Kouta attempts to initiate sex were fended off for almost a month, but eventually he had his way. It was early one morning when Ryuu was too exhausted to protest.
“Ryuu,” Kouta murmured in his ear. “I’m much better now.”
“Hmm,” Ryuu grumbled. “Why are you up now?”
“I want you.”
“I want you too but not at…” Ryuu popped open one sleep-reddened eye to look at the clock. “5:45 in the morning.”
“It’s naked sexytime. That’s all you need to know.” Kouta moved on top of him. “You shouldn’t want me. I’ve got horrible morning breath—and as a matter of fact, so do you. Get off me.”
“That’s why I keep mints in a drawer,” Kouta said chuckling. “You’re not getting out of this.”
“Damn it, you think of everything.”
Kouta grabbed a mint for himself, and one for Ryuu, pushing it into his mouth.
“Kou, what about your bruises and the pain?”
“I’m healed. My libido is at full strength and…” Kouta paused when he noted that Ryuu’s eyes were becoming heavy-lidded again, as his lover attempted to go back to sleep. “Hey! Don’t you dare try that!”
“Ah love, can’t we wait until after breakfast or something? I’m…” Kouta’s tongue licking a hot trail to Ryuu’s crotch made his voice taper off. Ryuu ran his hands through his hair as he nipped at his ribs and then his hips. “Never mind, I’m perfectly happy to let you continue.”
“Should I awaken the sleeping giant?” Kouta joked.
“Oh he’s awake…”
Kouta laughed and teased the tip of Ryuu’s cock, tasting his tangy pre-come.
“You’re just all kinds of delicious,” he whispered. He sucked on him, rolling him against the roof of his mouth. Ryuu grunted and pressed his head lower. He moaned as Kouta took him deeper into his mouth. He blew out slow, shuddering breaths, a sure signal that he liked what was happening. When Kouta knew he was good and ready, he moved upwards, looking forward to entering Ryuu. He put his cock to his opening and pushed in quickly. He felt Ryuu flinch and he stopped moving, realizing that his urgency had caused him pain.
“I’ll be more careful,” Kouta promised.
Ryuu flipped them over so he could be on top.
“Not so fast,” Kouta said, swiftly rolling Ryuu back under him. Kouta chuckled at the surprise in Ryuu’s eyes.
“I guess you’re much better.”
Kouta held Ryuu close and made his thrusts much gentler. Then, he pulled back from him enough to be able to encircle his cock with his hands, stroking him as he still moved inside his body.
Soon, Ryuu’s voice became deep and raw, unrestrained. He sucked in air through his teeth and then what could only be described as a growl came from him. Kouta had never heard or seen him so openly enjoy himself. He made a note to remember this position.
“Shit,” Ryuu said, “Ahhhh…” He tried to tightly shut his eyes, one of the things he usually did when he was about to come.
“No,” Kouta said. “Open your eyes. Keep them like that.” He gave a few more thrusts and came right as he felt Ryuu release against his stomach.
“I really like being on top,” he told him. “I should do it more often.”
“Don’t think you’re going to ride me all the time…”
“Uh huh…You owe me a new pair of sheets. You’ve ripped these.”
“I’m sorry,” Ryuu said, laughing loudly as he surveyed the damage. “I’ll get you replacements. Look what you made me to do. You should be proud of yourself.”
“What I should be is scared of you. It’s a good thing you weren’t holding my cock when you came.”
“Thank you for waking me up,” Ryuu whispered.
“You’re very welcome,” he replied. “And before I forget, I want sheets with at least a 400 thread count…”
“You’re ruining the afterglow,” Ryuu said, stopping his words with a kiss.