Fragrance no. 9
    by !Super Cat
       You lit a cigarette, his shoulder leaned against a wall.  Kowloon, the hotel district, a five minute walk from the Versace and Chanel stores.  The wall behind him looked pale blue, ghostly, the way snow white always looked in the pre-dawn.  It was dirty, brown with pollution and rust, and it'd look it when the sun came up.  The commuter push wouldn't start for another two or three hours, but shop fronts were getting washed down, there were voices on the street now.  It was already hot.

It had clocked half past four in the morning before Gackt rounded the corner.  He'd said, Let's meet at four, and You had been there since four, even though Gackt did this to him every morning, and had done this to him every morning now for a long, long while.

"Thanks for waiting," said Gackt.

You said, "Buy a car, will you?"

"Okay," said Gackt seriously, when anyone else would have said fuck off.  He was wearing last night's cotton shirt, blue, Hawaiian style.  White cotton pants.  He reeked of Platinum Egoist, an expensive Chanel cologne that made him smell cheap as hell.  You knew the scent.  Gackt smelled of it six mornings out of seven.  You pushed away from the wall, suddenly frowning.  Who knew how close you had to get to Chang's money before his stinking cologne rubbed off on you?

Gackt never talked about it.  They bought breakfast together, and Gackt told crazy stories about films he'd seen, actors he liked, or sometimes just people he watched in the thick press of the crowd.  You joked around with him, they hung out.  Some mornings Gackt was strange and silent, and they didn't talk at all, they just walked together up to the lower levels of the peak.

"Let's catch a bus this morning," said Gackt.  "I just want to walk a little.  Sleep, maybe."


They were the only ones on the bus for most of the ride.  Gackt talked about the condition of the track after the rain yesterday, and how he was betting on Ladies First, who was only third favourite, but who might have a chance if the dirt didn't dry up.  Chang had a horse in the race that Gackt didn't mention.  They both knew it and said nothing.  "If I win enough, I'll buy a car," Gackt told him.  "A convertible.  I'll take you joyriding."

"You can drive?"

"No," said Gackt, in the same dreamy voice.

"Great."  You flicked the butt of his cigarette out of the dirty bus window.

Gackt did drift off to sleep fairly quickly, his head resting on his arm.  It gave You time he didn't want, to think about Masa's encouraging whisper in his ear.  He let his gaze linger over the sweet curve of Gackt's neck and thought what the fuck am I doing?  The safest thing at this point would be to just stay off Chang's radar, not spend his twilight hours moonlighting with Chang's--

This is so fucking nuts.  You closed his own eyes, drew in a long breath.

The bus started it's ascent, swaying and rattling.

You nudged Gackt around the mid-levels, and they got off pretty much in the middle of nowhere; hard to find a place that fit that description in Hong Kong.  Clean air, or as clean as it got on the island.  The sun was rising, but not yet up.  On either side of the road, grass, trash, then a sharp drop into thick, tropical forest, eerily silent at this time of the morning.  The sound of the bus was fading away.  On the side of the mountain, they were alone.

Gackt wandered right to the edge, and looked over.  You stayed close to the road.  "How can you live in Hong Kong and be scared of heights?"  

"I stick to the ground," said You, uneasily.

Gackt closed his eyes, tipped his head back.  "I like it up here.  I feel . . . "

A step closer to the edge.

You felt his stomach flutter.

"Have you ever woken up too early in the morning?"  Gackt said.  The highrises behind him reared up almost level with the mountain, the orange sunrise reflecting in their mirrored windows.  "Do you know the feeling when you open the windows--it's almost dawn and you're tired.  But you can feel the morning breeze against your face.  It's so fresh and clean, you close your eyes to let it wash over you . . . and even though you're tired, and even though you know the feeling won't last long, it makes you glad somehow.  That wistful and good feeling wells up inside you . . . that's how I feel when I come here with you."

The flutter grew stronger.  You wanted to take a step forward.  He didn't move.

"You're acting strange today," You said.

"Am I?"

"Yeah."  In the hot, orange dawn, a slightly cold wind touched You's face.  His mind telling him to stay back.  His mind telling him:  Shut.  Up.  But he said, "I, uh, I heard that on Thursday . . . that he's--"

"Is this what you met me to talk about?" Gackt said.

"No," said You, quickly, cursing Masa.  "Forget it."

"You don't have to try to play me," said Gackt.  "You can just ask me, if you want."

"Forget it."

Silence from Gackt, and there was more going on here, You thought suddenly.  More than he knew.

"Gackt," he said.  "You know that I . . . that if you're in trouble . . . that I . . ."

Empty promise, not worth making.  If Gackt were in trouble with Chang, he'd be dead, and so would You. 

Gackt, turning away from the morning view, knew it-- had to.

But after a moment, he said, "Thanks, You.  That means a lot."

Choose your fragrance.