"Try and stop me," said Miyabi. He stretched his long arms out across the table top, crossing them at the wrists. "Handcuff me to the table."
"I'm not going to try and stop you," said Sakito, and Miyabi said, "Watch me, then." He grabbed the bottle of red wine off the table by its neck, uncorked it and took a long swig, four swallows, before setting off across the izakaya, wine bottle in hand.
Do you think it's him? No way. Could be. Here? Get real. How much have you had to drink? Halfway across the izakaya all that noise resolved itself into: It's him.
Gackt, dressed like he was right off the set of Doumoto Kyoudai, elegant and bored behind orange tinted glasses and an expensive suit.
He'd arrived with some guy. The sheer unlikeliness of his presence in a cheap izakaya had riveted the attention of every other patron, so that the intense conversation he'd had with that guy had played out in an amphitheatre of subtle glances and is-it-him-or-isn't-it speculation. Gackt had looked little more than disinterested the whole time, but the other guy had grown noticeably upset. The other guy, abruptly, had left. After that, Gackt had moved to the bar, surveying the place with a detached gaze, which had fixed unerringly on Miyabi.
Now, bee-lining across the izakaya, Miyabi was conscious that Gackt's eyes were still on him behind the sunglasses, an oddly impersonal experience, like being reflected in a mirror. Miyabi wasn't drunk, but he was bold enough with wine to do this. He was pretty bold to start off with.
"Want a drink?" He held up the wine bottle, his fist around the neck.
"That depends," said Gackt.
"Are you trying to get my attention, or his?" said Gackt.
Miyabi swung back round to look at the table where Sakito and the others were sitting.
"--Yours." Too slow. And he shouldn't have looked round.
Gackt's gaze transferred to Sakito's table for a few seconds before it returned to Miyabi. Then, deliberately, Gackt took the bottle.
It was the cheapest stuff on the list. Gackt wiped the mouth of the bottle off with the bottom of his million yen suit, then lifted it to his lips. Drinking cheap red wine straight from the bottle, probably the most inelegant thing he'd ever done in his life, and he still managed to look like the CM for a boutique mineral water.
After a swallow, Gackt put the bottle down on the bar, placing it carefully out of reach. Miyabi could feel eyes on him even more than he did on stage, the devouring curiosity of the other patrons that Gackt seemed to inspire just by breathing.
"If you really want attention," said Gackt, with no noticeable change in tone or relaxed posture. "Why don't you kiss me?"
Miyabi's thoughts screeched like feedback: they were being watched by--he was usually the one who--did Gackt really just say that? No way, no one made that kind of invitation out of nowhere, with a face so expressionless it might have belonged to a coma patient.
Miyabi took a step forward. Hesitated: Gackt seemed to give off kind of a weird vibe, weirder than normal, maybe he was just weirder in person than he was on TV. Gackt had his back leaned slightly against the bar. His sunglasses created a polished surface, his clothes had the same inaccessible perfection they would have had on a mannequin in an elite store: look, don't touch.
Watch me, he'd said to Sakito. Ignoring the Do Not Cross line of personal space that Gackt projected, Miyabi stepped up, hooked an arm around Gackt's neck, and kissed him.
Gackt just sort of--accepted the kiss. He didn't kiss back more than was necessary. No tongue. Miyabi usually only kissed guys when he was showponying on stage, big, obvious tongue kissing, and this was unfamiliar except for the audience. It felt like he was trying to get the attention of a disinterested deity.
He was about to pull back when Gackt's hand lifted to his cheek, then curved around to cup the nape of his neck. The kiss deepened, and there was suddenly no question who was in control of it. Gackt's tongue unfurled in Miyabi's opening mouth, the taste of cheap wine at odds with the deliberate way he held Miyabi's head, and the expensive feel of his suit. Miyabi felt his inside turn to hot liquid.
Gackt broke off, his attention caught by something to his right. "Whoa," said Miyabi, as Gackt's face swam back into focus. He thought: I just kissed him with his sunglasses on.
"I thought you left," said Gackt.
Miyabi turned, but it wasn't Sakito. The other guy was back. The other guy was staring at them. Miyabi recognised him vaguely as one of Gackt's band members. Dark hair, slight build, very pale Hokkaido skin. Cute. If you went for cute.
"I didn't want to leave things like that between us," the other guy said. "But I can see you're fine." He was looking at Miyabi.
"I'm Miyabi," said Miyabi, opening and closing his hand in a little wave instead of bowing. "We just met."
"You're, what, a high school student?"
"I'm a guitarist," said Miyabi.
This news was, for some reason, electrifying. The guy stared at Gackt, emotion brimming in his dark eyes, but he seemed unable to voice what now churned up inside him. He looked like he was right out on a high ledge.
"This is Masa," said Gackt, calmly. "He quit my band tonight."
Masa said, "I told you, it doesn't have to be like--"
"You told me. Was there something else, or did you just want to draw it out?"
It wasn't silence that stretched out, because the izakaya provided a background of voices and drinking, and the tinny sound system was piping out Namie Amuro.
Masa said, "There's nothing else."
Miyabi, watching him leave, saw the expression on his face. Gackt didn't. Gackt had resumed his former blank appearance, his gaze fixed on a point of no particular interest slightly to the left.
"Wow, you were really an asshole to that guy," said Miyabi, not sure whether he was appalled or impressed.
Except, the weird vibe was back, and now that he was really seeing it, Gackt's cool bored look behind the sunglasses had a shuttered, inward appearance, like something inside was strapped down, and maybe he wasn't fine like that guy had said.
"Are you really a guitarist?" said Gackt.
"Yeah, I am. Too bad for you: I already have a band, and my band's got a singer."
"Do you mean the guy with the dyed blond hair?" said Gackt, as deliberately as a collector pushing a pin into a butterfly. "He left."
Miyabi turned. The table where the band had been sitting was empty. He could see the half-empty glasses, Kikasa's melon soda, Sakito's beer.
"He wasn't watching," said Gackt. "He didn't seem to care what you were doing."
"Shut up," said Miyabi.
"Maybe you know that. Maybe you're the type who doesn't walk away because you know that no one's going to stop you."
"I said shut up."
"Don't like it?" said Gackt, like he could do this all night. Like slicing into Masa wasn't enough, in this mood he was going to take anyone near him apart. And like it.
"Is this a come on?" said Miyabi, incredulously, feeling his face heat up. "Fuck. It is."
Miyabi was suddenly thinking about the way he'd stretched out across the table offering his wrists to Sakito, sort of as a joke. Metal handcuffs locking around his wrists and--it wasn't funny; he was spontaneous, liked to move, to do what he wanted when he wanted it. For real, the idea of being tied down caused the first spiral of claustrophobic panic. And Gackt . . . Gackt didn't seem like he was about playing to the other person's kinks, more like Gackt would find the one thing that scared Miyabi to bits and make him do it.
"If you're coming, hurry up," said Gackt, tossing a ten thousand yen note onto the bar next to the half drunk bottle of wine to pay his tab.
[[End torn page]]