He didn't quite look like Hyde. He didn't quite look like Masa. He had his own look, and he was younger, but he was a type (slight, with lashes canting over gleaming dark eyes) and Gackt, who was not quite self aware enough to realize that he had a type, nevertheless put down his drink and went over.
Miyabi saw Gackt coming a mile off, and forced himself to relax against the bar, hyper-aware of Gackt's approach.
This is not happening to me, he thought.
Due le quartz fell apart the day that Kikasa said he was leaving to get a job and get married and do all the things that his family had been pressuring him for three years to do. Four hours of talking: exhausting, embittered words as they threw themselves against the wall of Kikasa's decision. It ended when Miyabi said, "So what? You can't play bass anyway. We put up with you because you were friends with Sakito," and Kikasa turned white and walked out.
Miyabi, Sakito and Kazuki decided to go down to the local Jonathan's and talk it out. Miyabi ordered a plate of fries and picked over them listlessly, dunking one in tomato sauce and leaving it there bent and protruding at an odd angle and then for a while they just sat there.
Sakito said, "So that's it. We break up the band. Without all four of us, there is no Due le quartz," at the same exact moment that Miyabi opened his mouth to say, "We can find another bassist, can't we?"
Miyabi shut his mouth. He stood up and tucked his hands into his long sleeves, kicking his way into the bathroom. When he came out, he told the others that he had somewhere to be. No one called him on it.
Three days later, management took Miyabi into a room with grey peeling walls and a low ceiling and told him as he stared at them in dull incomprehension that they wanted to sign him as a solo act. When he queried it, they clarified that solo act meant singer but he'd have complete artistic control, they said. He could still play guitar if he wanted to.
"I can't sing," said Miyabi.
"We don't care," they said.
It happened like this: Gackt leaned in and murmured into his ear, and Miyabi slipped his fingers under the hem of Gackt's t-shirt. It was hot and seductive. At first.
In the passenger seat of Gackt's car, reality returned with a vengeance. The drive wasn't hot or seductive, it was difficult and uncomfortable. Gackt could turn intensity on and off whenever he felt like it, but he didn't flirt, not exactly, and was apparently at ease with conversation as a series of fragments that went nowhere. The pauses went on and on. In the bar, Miyabi had thought: Is he hitting on me or not? Now that he had his answer, the silence was deafening. They drove down mostly empty roads pasted with neon. This was dead hour in Tokyo; not even the Yamanote line was still running. There was too much time to think, and that wasn't what this was supposed to be about.
Miyabi's stomach was flipping when they got to Gackt's apartment. He was tonguing the inside of his lip piercing, a sign of nerves. He wasn't sure he wanted . . . he wasn't sure what he wanted. This wasn't how he usually did it--with anyone. He'd fooled around with Sakito semi-regularly, and even with Sakito it had never been about inviting him home to--what? Spend the night?
He'd be more comfortable in a love hotel. He'd be more comfortable in the car. He'd be more comfortable if he were drunk, if this were more his style, with someone who didn't hold back, if it was already over. Gackt was hot when he turned it on like he had at the bar but he hadn't said anything for ten minutes and the way that Miyabi's stomach was flipping was unsettling.
On the drive over, the silence had been broken only when Gackt, straight faced and without warning, had launched into an anecdote about falling asleep at the wheel on a drive to Sendai that was so helplessly funny that Miyabi had found himself wiping his eyes.
It hadn't happened how he had planned, any of it.
He changed his name, but they all did that.
Miyavi. Sakito and Kazuki said that no one would be able to pronounce it. Kazuki wrote a seventeen-stroke kanji that Miyabi had never seen before on the table with a wet fingertip and said, "It's like calling yourself that."
Miyabi gave Kazuki his version of the finger, pressing it to his own lips and kissing it.
It was strange hanging out with them. There was distance between them now, and a part of Miyabi that couldn't believe how easily they'd given up: that Sakito had moved back in with his parents, and Kazuki had a full-time job.
He ended up at Kazuki's apartment, wandering back there after they walked Sakito to the station. On the way, they bought beers at the Daily Yamazaki. Sprawled out on tatami, barefoot, Miyabi avoided Kazuki's gaze and instead looked at his own toes. Wiggled them. Kazuki said, "It's okay. Sakito's weird about it. I'm not. You deserve this contract. You were always the one who was going to make it, Miyavi."
The contract he deserved had been signed without a note of music written, without a note of music sung, without even the most basic demo or audition. All he'd had to do was show up.
Hey presto, he was a singer.
Nothing was happening like he'd expected.
Miyabi was propped up on his elbows, the sheets rucked up under him, his tongue unconsciously probing at the inside of his bottom lip, while Gackt showered. He'd taken out his piercings and stretched out on his belly, made himself completely at home--well, why not, if he was going to do this? Neat freak, he'd said, when Gackt had murmured that they should shower first, but he'd gone willingly enough, tossing a look over his shoulder that said he knew what was coming. Showers before sex: separate showers, ritualised like something out of a TV drama.
Drawing things out like this had been crazy-frustrating at first, but now it was starting to feel like foreplay. Without his lip piercing, Miyabi was hyper conscious of his lips, and kept biting and wetting them. There wasn't much to do, since Gackt's apartment was empty of furniture except for this bed and a single table. The table wasn't neat, it spilled over with notepads and magazines that almost covered the iMac. No chair. Miyabi had picked up a copy of Hanako magazine, wondering why Gackt had it, and was flicking through it absently. Eventually he realised that the sounds of the shower had stopped, and looked up.
Gackt had towelled off and was standing with his shoulder leaned against the door jamb, wearing sweatpants. Hanging back for whatever reason, he looked different. Less of a production. Brown eyes--it was disconcerting for a second--and a face fresh of make up. Clean, simple and stripped back to the essentials, the fact that he was beautiful was suddenly arresting.
"At the bar, I got this feeling you were hitting on me," said Miyabi, letting his lashes drop a notch.
"I was," said Gackt.
Unhurried, Gackt gazed at him, and the nilotic silence that stretched around him went on and on. And on. These teeth-gritting silences were by now familiar.
"Are you this weird in bed?" said Miyabi.
"Yes," said Gackt.
It was Miyabi who broke eye contact, dropping his head to laugh, swearing. Then he sat up, sort of, still in a semi-sprawl, his legs rucked under him. Like Gackt, he'd put on pants after the shower. He'd dumped his t-shirt, sleeveless, with the word, "Ambitious!" scrawled across it, beside the bed. His chunky shoes had been toed off in the genkan by the door. His hair was still damp, and a few drops of water clung to his bare shoulders.
"Weird's okay," said Miyabi. "It's kind of a turn on."
He watched Gackt finally push away from the door and approach the bed. It was intense. Miyabi felt heat spread through his body. Fuck, they were just looking at each other.
Gackt planted a knee on the bed, pushed his fingers into Miyabi's hair, and kissed him.
Slowly, he tongued Miyabi's mouth open. It was deep and unhurried. Heat flared across the surface of Miyabi's skin. At the slide of Gackt's tongue against his own he began to unravel. His fingers curled then clenched at the sheets on either side of him.
The bed was fresh white linen, clean and luxurious, like the apartment, like Gackt, shower-clean and warm. Miyabi was flushed when Gackt drew back. Worth the wait. The words tangled on his tongue.
Gackt, who Miyabi was learning never did anything like other people, stroked Miyabi's cheek with his thumb and said, "What's your name?"
"Miyavi. I wondered if it was going to come up."
"You're a visual artist?"
The made-up name was a dead giveaway. Miyabi made a circle with his thumb and forefinger to indicate: correct.
"Guitarist or singer?"
"A guitarist. At least, I was."
"You want to be a singer."
"That's what everyone's going to think," Miyabi said, feeling yet another burst of frustration as he realised that now--now, when he was showered, kissed, flushed and ready--Gackt was deciding to make small talk.
"Your voice is fairly deep. Baritone? Do you ever have problems with--"
"Hey, freak," Miyabi interrupted him, and if the words had a kick, his body language was as sweet as pie, sliding all the right bits together, his long arms wrapping around Gackt's neck. "You might want to pay attention now because I'm going to kiss you."
He sort of went for it at first, but Gackt drew him back into that languorous pace from before. It was dizzying and hot and nothing he was used to. Fresh, showered scent, skin like clean silk and slow, wet kisses, it was like tasting fine wine and trying to figure out how you'd lived up until now with cheap beer. Last time he'd had sex there had been a lot of drinking and fumbling and giggling, and Sakito had said, "Gross," when he came over Miyabi's stomach and Miyabi had pushed him good naturedly off.
Sakito had never forced Miyabi to slow down, had never set the pace or slid his hands down Miyabi's sides, then back up, as though he just liked the feel. Had never kissed him in a way that--changed things--
Ends and beginnings. Miyabi let himself be pushed down on the bed, let the kiss drag him under, and when he pulled back he was breathless and he could feel the new look on his face.
"I like it slow," said Gackt, in that soft deep voice, like everyone he'd ever said it to had rolled over.
"Yeah," said Miyabi, who'd never had it like this before, ever. "So do I."
"Kazuki says you're weird about it." He'd called Sakito on his cell phone the night after he'd crashed at Kazuki's house.
"I can't talk, I'm on the train."
"I was weird about it. I wanted it for all of us. I thought . . . we could get a new bassist." He took a deep breath. "I thought maybe we could talk about that. That's why I called, I--"
Sakito's voice had brought him up short. Miyabi was suddenly terrified that Sakito was going to say it.
Instead, Sakito said, "Just stop it. It's over. You've got a way to go forward, stop looking back."
Miyabi had blinked, transferring his cell from one hand to the other. "Look, it's not--"
"I told you. I can't talk. I'm on the train."
Miyabi had blinked again, then thrown his cell phone out the window of his fifth storey apartment, flopping down on his bed and fidgeting for a while. But he wasn't good at sulking, and so he threw on a pair of chunky shoes and a sleeveless t-shirt with the word "Ambitious!" scrawled across the front. He made a face at himself in the mirror, scrunching up his nose.
He was going out to get laid.
He dozed and woke.
Even asleep Gackt managed to look like he was posing for a shoot, bonelessly elegant, with the sheet stopping at the exact place on his body where his back dipped and then swept up into two curves.
Gackt was perfect like Kikasa's girlfriend had been perfect: perfect shaped eyebrows, perfect face, perfect hair, perfect worn-once clothes, perfect nails, perfect figure. Under it all, he had a kind of genuine niceness that reminded Miyabi of Kazuki; under that was the feeling that Gackt didn't care about anything at all.
"You're not my type," Miyabi said, a little desperately, but Gackt was asleep and the words didn't change anything.
In the bathroom at Jonathan's Miyabi had pressed his forehead against the inside of the stall door and thought, I just want what every musician wants. I want to be in a band that's as driven as I am. I want to play with someone as good as I am. I want you to have been better, Sakito, and it wasn't fair, it wasn't fair, it wasn't ever fair on me that Due le quartz was the only band in history whose guitarist was more popular than it's singer.
"I should probably--" said Miyabi, when Gackt stirred.
"Stay the night," murmured Gackt, his eyes opening.
Miyabi parted his lips to object, then let out a breath as Gackt tangled their legs together. Gackt's voice was drowsy and soft, and in this sleepy cocoon, he was tongue-loosened; he started talking, murmured words, random observations, more than he'd said all night.
"I don't date that often. Most people think I'm too weird."
"That's because you are too weird," said Miyabi.
"'Tenjou tenka yuiga dokuson'," Gackt quoted softly.
"Weirdo," said Miyabi, smiling ridiculously.
"What happened to your band?" said Gackt.
Gackt trailed his fingers down Miyabi's arm. Miyabi closed his eyes, trying not to freak out about it. About any of it.
Our bassist knocked up his girlfriend, Miyabi almost said, but he knew the real reason Kikasa had left. Cold, logical Kikasa had made the call that no one else had been able to make.
"We weren't going to make it. Our singer wasn't good enough."
He was surprised how easy it was to say, once he opened his eyes.
"With me it was . . . a lot of things," said Gackt. "But they weren't giving me anything, by the end. I was carrying them."
Ends and beginnings. Miyabi said, "How did you get your first break?"
"I had a friend who knew Kozi and Mana. He sent them something of mine that convinced them that I could front Malice Mizer."
"A demo tape," said Miyabi.
"A photo," said Gackt. Something inside Miyabi started to unclench, a grip so tight it threatened to leave an ache when it relaxed. He felt light headed. Gackt said, "You?"
"Something like that." Miyabi dipped his head again. Fuck, he could laugh about it. "If you haven't noticed," he said, "I'm pretty damned cute."
"I've noticed," said Gackt, and Miyabi gasped as he was tugged over to sprawl, still laughing, on top of Gackt. And it wasn't anything he'd planned, and it wasn't anything he was expecting, but maybe it was something he could get used to.