X.

     Gackt never got drunk, but then one night he did.  In an izakaya of all places, not even a bar, drinking sake like it was water.  Taka, who was perfectly sober, maneouevred Gackt into the car afterwards with no more than a little trouble, but he found himself unsettled by the mingled smells of sake and Gackt's Chanel perfume, and the feeling of Gackt's arms sliding from his shoulders.  He had to lean on the outside of the car for a moment to catch his breath.

They hit the road.  Gackt didn't seem to want to go home, so they drove to Yokohama, to a lookout with trees, a scrap of nature that couldn't be found in Tokyo.  Gackt sobered up a little on the way there.  But only a little.  Taka left the motor running, wrapped himself in a coat and stood leaning against the passenger door, while Gackt sprawled out like a luxury accessory on the bonnet, another weird habit, and Gackt said he liked the contrast of warm metal and cold air.

But after half an hour or so, Gackt slid from the bonnet and snagged the sleeve of Taka coat, drawing him closer.  Taka's breath hitched as Gackt's arms wound around his waist, inside his coat, so that there was just the thin material of his t-shirt between Gackt and his skin.  "You're warmer than the car," Gackt murmured, pulling their bodies together.  Taka bit his lip until he felt pain there.

Hiro was at his worst the next evening, his black eyes full of malice, his tongue poison until all Taka wanted to do was grab his jacket and get out of there, held back only by the pounding in his chest, the dizzying connection he had to all of them that made moonlighting with Gackt feel so much like disloyalty.  To Hiro, who had roomed with him in college, who had held him when Strippe foundered and said, We'll make it.  We'll make it, Taka.

"Are you screwing him?  Is that it?"  said Hiro finally, and when Taka stayed silent, his fingers tightening around his shot glass, Hiro widened his eyes.  "You are."

"Fuck off, Hiro.  I'm not screwing him."

"So Taka, man," said Shuse affably, when he heard that, "why are you wasting your time?"

"Shuse," said Levin.

"Do you ever have that fantasy," Shuse was saying, "where you get to ream out one of those visual guys that you can't stand?  Someone who does it all, the dresses, the makeup, just enough lipstick to smear all over his pretty face when he sucks your--"

"If you feel like that, screw Hiro," said Taka.  He refused to let the conversation get to him.  He tossed back his shot, then met Hiro's gaze and coldly raised his brows.

The flash of Shuse's smile came close to melting the tension.  "Yeah, but I don't fuck with the band.  Levi'd get all cute and jealous on me."  He threw his arm around Levin, who promptly went as red as his hair.

"Shut up.  Would not.  Please talk about something different, Shuse."

Koji, who kept out of these conversations for the most part, slid in next to Taka at the bar some time later.  "Hey," he said softly, glancing at him sideways.   "If this is--getting--" and it was an attempt to broach things neutrally, but it was the final straw.

"He's just a guy, Koji.  He's just a guy I hang out with.  Fuck you all."

"Hey, have I said anything?  Has Levi?  Shuse is just being Shuse, and he'd be ten times worse if Gackt was a girl, and you know it."

"Hiro--"

"Hiro was always going to take it hard, Taka."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

Koji shook his head.  "Look, management thinks Gackt's, like, this innocent flake, and maybe you do too, but something about him has pulled Malice Mizer up onto our level this last year when it's a miracle that a band like that is out of the indies at all.  Do a shoot with him and his looks steal our press, and six months ago that would have been getting to you, too."

"So you are saying something."  Flatly.

"I'm saying that if all this is about someone getting screwed, just make sure it's not you."

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