III.

      It became normal for them to spend their down time together.  Normal to just get in a car and go.  At night, because during the day they both had crushing schedules.  Gackt spent proportionally less time in rehearsal, but management shuttled him from photo shoot to photo shoot and he had been known to spend as long as eighteen hours in front of a camera in one day.  When he was really wiped, he made Taka drive, and vice versa.  Whoever rode shotgun often dozed along the way.  Once Taka had slipped off to sleep curled in the passenger seat and woken an indeterminate time later feeling comfortable and rested after a long day.  "What--"  Still in the car, blinking at his surroundings, disoriented.

Next to him Gackt was sleepy but happy-looking.  "Something I wanted to share with you," he said, and out in front of them a view to break hearts, the city lights shining softly, like a thousand stars.

"You're late."  Hiro at the studio the next morning, flatly.

"Sorry--"   On the cusp of a yawn:  "I went to Sendai last night.  Only just got back."

"Sendai?"  Levin, wide eyed.

"Gackt drove."

"Gackt did," Hiro said.

"It wasn't like it was planned," Taka said.  "It was--more like--"  He thought about it--  "Imagine someone taking their hands away from your eyes and saying, 'Surprise,' and when you look, right in front of you is--"  Taka cut himself off when he saw the way Hiro was looking at him.  Saw the way everyone was looking at him.  When he realized how much he was sounding like Gackt.  He shut up.

"Let's get started," was all Hiro said after that.
 
 

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