Anime: Weiss Kreuz
I am only borrowing their persona’s and characters
which have nothing at all to do with their real lives ^_^ Flames will
be hysterically laughed at and then launched into space.
‘Now just hold still…’
As usual before a show, even one as small as this one, chaos reigned supreme backstage. Stage managers could be seen shouting intelligible instructions into sleek black headpieces while technicians ran around like headless chickens. Amidst all of this the band seemed almost untouched by all the turmoil with Heath and Pata quietly going over the night’s song list in one corner while Toshi did some vocal exercises to warm up his voice in the other. Hide was still busy getting ready but Yoshi was already dressed and sitting patiently, letting his makeup artist even out his skin tone with a little foundation.
‘Close,’ she ordered, uncapping a tube of liquid eye shadow. Yoshi obediently did as he was told, closing his eyelids so she could draw a thin shimmery blue line just above his eyelashes, which she expertly blended into his skin using her little finger.
‘Open and look up please,’ she deftly applied a coat of lengthening mascara to his already dark lashes, darkening them further to give him a smooth sultry look.
Nearby Hide was busy running gel through his fuchsia coloured hair in an effort to make it spiky. Yoshi shot him a sidewise grin.
‘Ne Hide, you know you still are the only person I know with enough poise to carry off those colours. What’s more you actually look good them, you always have,’ he remarked taking in his bandmate’s Day-Glo orange outfit. Hide stopped what he was doing at Yoshi’s words and quizzically cocked his head to one side.
‘That’s rich coming from the person who said, and I quote, “My ass was made for PVC trousers” unquote,’ he laughed.
Toshi, Pata and Heath who had all been listening burst into laughter at their bandmate’s droll impersonation. Even Yoshi managed to crack a smile although at that moment his makeup artist was busy painting his lips with a soft, nude lipstick.
‘Baka,’ he said his expression taking the sting out of his insult. Hide sat down next to him.
‘What’s the matter Yoshi,’ he asked putting a comforting hand on the drummer’s shoulders, ‘usually you aren’t so down on your looks.’ He smiled as he pushed back a lock of pink hair, ‘I mean…it’s hardly something I expect from a man who published a book of himself entitled NUDE.’
Yoshi nodded briefly at his makeup artist who told him she was done before turning his attention back to the guitarist.
‘That was all makeup and good photography,’ he said dryly. ‘Its not that Hide….I am happy with who I am, looks-wise and everything else, its just that lately….’ he hesitated and then added the next bit as casually as he could, ‘I’ve been wondering if its enough.’
Hide shook his head.
‘If you could only see yourself through our fan’s eyes, that feeling would go away in an instant,’ he gently squeezed his shoulder, knowing it wasn’t wise to press him further when he was in this type of mindset. Yoshi took great pride in seeming almost effortlessly capable at doing everything and even his bandmates knew their boundaries around him.
‘Hide-san,’ he looked up at the mention of his name, ‘would you like me to do yours now,’ she asked.
‘Yeah sure,’ he sat back as she rummaged around in her makeup kit.
‘Only then perhaps,’ Hide added in his mind as he glanced at his friend’s sitting form, ‘you would see a man so beautiful he takes your breath away. Most people I know would kill to have half your looks.’ It wasn’t an exaggeration; it was just the way it was.
It seemed like everything about Yoshi was exquisitely made from the slender line of his shoulders to the delicate bones of wrists to his long tapered fingers. His features were fine, framed by two long bangs that he kept tucked behind his ears. His hair which until a while ago had been almost totally blonde, wavy and fell past his shoulders was now streaked and bleached a pale burnished copper brown, cropped so it brushed his earlobes. Just mere makeup couldn’t account for all of that.
However any idea of fragility disappeared the minute he took his seat behind the drums, playing them with such frantic energy that didn’t seem to wane even after two hours. He played so hard it looked like he might break them, hence why he was forced to wear a neck-brace.
Yet this went through another dramatic change when he stepped up to the piano. Here, he looked like he belonged, like he was born to play it, which he had been since he was four. Hands that had previously held drumsticks in a grip of iron, now glided over the black and white keys coaxing whispering melodies at the slightest touch.
A devil at the drums….an angel at the piano….a contradiction, but then Yoshi always did have an affinity for opposites.
His untamed bangs always had a habit of falling forward while performing obscuring what many people thought were his best feature, his expressive hazel eyes that showed every break and ripple in the depth of his emotions. They gleamed near green when content and dark brown when moody.
He was a loner by nature and it was public knowledge that he was often cool with just being by himself. This was where the aloof and mysterious persona that he liked to project on stage spilled over into his real life. It was his standing joke that he was never in one place long enough to have a relationship and that he would drive that person insane whenever he had a song in his head.
But lately he felt an unexpected twinge of jealousy when he saw his bandmates with their partners. Hide and Toshi had their girlfriends, Heath and Pata were always together leaving him in the middle feeling suspiciously like the odd man out….feeling…alone. It wasn’t something that he was sure he was entirely comfortable with.
It didn’t help that he had just gotten out of a serious relationship himself and while he had had many girlfriends and partners, there still wasn’t anyone else other than his bandmates that understood his darker moments.
‘But it will pass, Hide is right,’ he thought vehemently to himself. The stage manager poked his head around the corner and gave them a questioning thumbs up. Yoshi nodded in response and jumped to his feet, the excitement of performing causing electricity to crackle through him.
‘You ready to go Hide?’ he asked straightening the sleeves of his transparent silver shirt. Hide playfully stuck his tongue out at him.
‘I was born ready,’ he struck a mock pose as if he was already holding his guitar. Yoshi confidently tossed his head back.
‘Right,’ he said, ‘lets make them scream.’
‘Ran! Omi’s here…with his boyfriend,’ Aya-chan chanted as she burst through the door of her brother’s bedroom, eyes sparkling. ‘And Ken’s here to, so we’re leaving after you…’
Her words halted and her sparkle faded as she saw her brother still in his dressing gown listlessly getting ready. He seemed almost dazed and didn’t even seem to notice that she was in the room. She took a hesitant step forward.
‘Ran,’ she said cautiously, ‘Ran, are you ok?’
Her voice finally pierced through the fog Aya had been wondering in causing him to turn around.
‘Sorry Aya, didn’t see you standing there,’ he said quietly as he sat down at the corner of the bed so as not to rumple the clothes laid out on top. Aya-chan bit her lip and felt her heart sink down to her shoes at how haggard her brother looked.
‘Just to tell you that Omi’s waiting downstairs and that Ken and I are leaving for a movie afterwards,’ she said her tone drastically different from when she had previously uttered those words.
‘He was fine this morning, what could have brought on such a drastic change?’ she absently glanced at the articles of clothing behind Ran and her eyes widened. ‘That shirt…I’ve never seen it before and I buy all his fancy stuff… don’t tell me it’s…’
‘Aya,’ her brother waved his hand in front of her eyes, ‘Aya..’
Her attention snapped back to her brother. ‘Sorry Ran, I drifted off there for a sec.’
Aya’s eyes softened as they did whenever his gaze fell on his sister. ‘Its ok, just tell me Omi I’ll be down in fifteen minutes,’ his hand drifted up to lovingly stroke the side of her face, ‘and tell Ken if he breaks your curfew again, I will run him over with the car.’
‘Raaannnn,’ she said pouting but Aya wouldn’t be swayed. ‘Don’t give me that look,’ he said warningly, ‘now go.’ She may have grumbled at his parenting ways but her eyes reflected her clear adoration for him. She dropped down and kissed him on the cheek.
‘I love you,’ she whispered. ‘I love you to,’ he echoed, returning her kiss with one of his own to her forehead.
Once she was gone, Aya’s shoulders slumped as if that conversation had drained all his strength. He leaned forward and buried his face in his hands, the red silk of his hair fluttering softly against the backs of his hands.
He didn’t know how long he just sat there like that but a nagging voice at the back of his head kept telling him he should be getting ready. Once he had heard that voice, he knew it was right and after taking a deep breath slowly rose to his feet. He undid the belt to his robe and let it carelessly puddle on the floor as he reached for his skintight pants.
‘What do you wear to a rock concert?’ he had asked himself earlier that day. His leather trousers were fine but the rest of his wardrobe seemed woefully inadequate to answer that question. He had left it till so late that there wasn’t any time to go and buy anything, so he was forced to raid Yohji’s closet.
He thought he could handle it, that enough time had passed for it to be alright. But the instant he stepped through the door, he realised how desperately wrong he was. Although everything was covered with white sheets and a layer of dust his mind’s eye wouldn’t let him forget how everything had looked or what they had shared in here. A rising feeling of hopelessness had almost choked him making him stride over to the cupboard, pull out the first shirt he saw and get the hell out of there as fast as he could.
That shirt was what he had on now. It was typical Yohji, expensive, form fitting, a deep sparkly purple ending just above his belt line. But it could have been a sackcloth and Aya wouldn’t have cared. He zipped up his pants and was about to leave when he thought he heard a voice behind him.
‘Your eyes Aya, they are just too beautiful not to highlight.’ Aya froze and his head snapped up but no one was there. He quickly scanned the room only to confirm he was indeed alone.
‘I could have sworn…..get a grip Aya,’ he ordered himself, ‘Yohji wouldn’t come back from the dead just to offer you makeup tips now would he?’
Still he made his way to his desk and rummaged through the drawers till he found was he was looking for, a small bottle of black liquid eyeliner. Unscrewing the top, he carefully swept the fine brush just above his eyelids to the corner of his eye, his hand steady as a result of years of martial arts training.
The black just made the violet of his eyes that more prominently exotic and gave the impression that his eyes were half-lidded and smoky. He looked, as his former lover had been fond of saying “heartbreakingly beautiful”. But Aya saw none of that; all he saw was man who had seen far too much in far too little a time. He hadn’t cared a penny’s worth for his appearance in years since there wasn’t anyone whose opinion in that department mattered to him. The only person who had cared, who he had made an effort for, was now dead.
Almost automatically he found himself reaching for a well handled Polaroid snapshot that was wedged in between the glass of the mirror and its walnut stained frame. It was a photograph taken during a trip to a funfair that they had been dragged to by Aya. In it, they had been standing at the edge of the grounds and you could just make out the Ferris wheel in the back. Yohji had an arm slung around the redhead’s shoulders and Aya…for once..looked happy, the corners of his mouth lifted in a small smile. It was a pose that was too casual to be erotic but that was exactly what was so intimate about it.
It wasn’t the best photo of them together but, Aya realised afterwards when sorting through the albums, it was the only one where he wasn’t wearing a stern expression. This simple fact had pained him deeply.
‘Yohji,’ his throat suddenly felt thick, ‘why did you leave me?’
It had been almost four years since Yohji Kudou had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, one of the most virulent forms of the disease, and two years since he had consequently succumbed. The benefit concert that he was going to tonight with Omi and his longtime boyfriend Nagi was in aid of the Japanese Cancer Association (JCA), who had helped to take care of Yohji during the latter stages of his leukemia.
He usually gave them a large donation each year but this time they had scored a big coup in getting X Japan to play a small concert to be a telecast on TV. It wasn’t open to the public, the audience would be made up of only a select few of whom the association had given tickets and Aya had been one of the lucky ones. Aya originally hadn’t wanted to go but Omi had begged to since X Japan was his favourite band and the tickets were in Aya’s name.
But he admitted going to a concert was the last thing he wanted to do now. Aya felt tears threaten to fall and roughly brushed them away with the heel of his hand but more kept coming, wetting the picture.
‘For God’s sake don’t cry, you’ve already gone through this once. Aren’t you tired of crying?’ he scolded himself. ‘If anything else, it will make your makeup run.’
He let out a weak watery laugh but it was covered up by a sob. The tears were coming in earnest now wracking his thin frame.
‘I’m sorry I was such an asshole to you Yohji,’ the apology came out even though he didn’t know what he was really apologising for.
‘You weren’t Aya,’ a soft voice whispered in his ear. Aya’s head jerked up and inhaled sharply. For through the shimmering veil of his tears, he thought he saw Yohji in the mirror’s reflection holding him. He blinked and the imaged wavered. Once he had wiped his tears away, he was once more alone.
‘Aya,’ Omi knocked at the door, ‘you alright?’
Aya caught himself and hastily grabbed a tissue. ‘Yes Omi, I’ll be down in a minute. Get the car out ok?’ he wiped the smudges from beneath his eyes.
‘Sure,’ the chibi replied and Aya heard him walk away.
What had just happened? Was he seeing things, or was he finally losing his mind. Perhaps it was just the blow from being in Yohji’s room for the first time in years. Of all his reasons, the latter seemed then most plausible. Glancing at the picture once more, he ran his thumb lovingly over Yohji’s face before sticking it back into the frame. Grabbing his coat, he walked purposefully out the door.
‘Kagami wo mitsumenagara furueru karada ni,’ Toshi crooned, looking extremely handsome in velvet trousers and matching open design velvet shirt. ‘nagarehajimeta sukitooru chi wo aojiroi omae no kokoroni…karamase genkaku ni kieteyuku saigo no namida wo….hiroi atsumete chi no umi ni madoromu..’
‘Weekend,’ he sang in a lilting tone as Yoshi accompanied him on the piano. After he played the last note, he went back to the drums and quickly put on his neck-brace. Picking up his drumsticks he increased the tempo in accordance with the faster part of the song. His agile hands seemed to be in two places at once playing so fast that they looked like blurs. But it was clear from the ecstatic expression on his face how much he was enjoying himself; not even his previous neck injury could diminish that.
The benefit had been their record company’s idea but the band were more than happy to help out in the name of charity. Although small, the crowd was still extremely infectious in their enthusiasm and so far things had gone on without a hitch.
‘Yoshi, Forever Love next,’ he heard a tinny voice in his earpiece say as “Weekend” finished. Disentangling both the earpiece and the brace, he pushed back his damp fringe as he grabbed a bottle of water on the way to his trademark clear grand piano.
‘For everyone here and everyone watching at home, thank you so much for supporting this event. Without all you this wouldn’t have been possible,’ Toshi bowed, ‘We thank you and the Japanese Cancer Association thanks you.’
Hide, who was sitting at the foot of the piano, shot a knowing grin towards Yoshi that he reciprocated. That was why they always let Toshi do the talking, he always knew the exact right words to say. Yoshi turned his attention back to the piano in front of him and started to play the opening chords to “Forever Love”.
‘Mou hitori de arukenai,’ Toshi sang softly, his hand on his heart, ‘toki no kaze ga tsuyosugite..’
As the music swept over him, Yoshi would look up from time to time to smile at the audience. It was good showmanship after all. Amidst the swaying crowd cloaked in semi-darkness, a redheaded youth suddenly caught his eye. He was standing just behind the railing at the very corner of his line of vision.
He stood out from the crowd for Yoshi not only because of his extraordinary colouring but also because he was the only one not hypnotised by the music. He just stood there, his arms by his side with a look of irrevocable despair in his amethyst eyes. The phrase ‘the man with the sad eyes’ leapt to his mind.
‘Why are you in such pain? It cant be just be the song,’ Yoshi thought.
‘Yoshi,’ Hide hissed, ‘wrong bar!’ Yoshi startled and cursed under his breath before switching to the right one. He did it so quickly that nobody had realised he had very nearly made a mistake. When he turned to look again, the man had been swallowed up by the crowd but his image still lingered in the drummer’s memory.
‘Who are you?’ he asked himself.
The rest of the song went perfectly and soon all of the band were at the front of the stage taking their bows before dashing backstage for a quick change. After the camera had stop rolling, all five of them came out from the back to mingle with the small audience. Some of them were children whose parents were great contributors but mostly it was made up of beneficiaries of the association.
A crowd of them rushed forward as soon as they stepped out, eyes shining as they asked for autographs which they obliged and took time to chat with them as well. They warmed up to Hide especially who had changed out of his PVC suit to a more inconspicuous coloured top and jeans but whose smile was still as cheeky. But Yoshi who was now clad in a subdued black shirt, was anxiously looking for his violet eyed stranger. As people began the scatter, he finally saw him standing at the exit and hurriedly started to make his way there only to be was stopped by a snow-haired gentleman. The president of the JCA, Sekine Maasaki.
‘Hayashi-san, thank you very much. It was a big success,’ he heartily shook Yoshi by the hand. ‘It was nothing,’ Yoshi replied carelessly, ‘now if you excuse me..’
‘It is a big deal Hayashi-san,’ he boomed, ‘you have no idea how much this will help us. Last year it wasn’t anywhere as close to being as popular as this, why I remember…’
What else could Yoshi do except smile and nod politely although inside he was jumping up and down in frustration. For as Masaaki went on, he felt any chance of him meeting the redhead rapidly slipping away.
Sure enough by the time he had gotten to the door, his stranger was long gone.