Title: More Then Friends
Author: Kyoko_godaikun aka sentaikat
Genre': Angst
Rating: R for violence against Maru
Pairings: TaNaka, Ryo/Maru

Warning: Psycho! Ryo

Warning two: this story involves Maru trying to get away from a bad relationship. This includes abuse to Maru.

Note: this story will have a happy ending :)

Summary: Maru tries to get away from an abusive relationship. He asks Koki for help, but will Ryo let him go?

 

Koki never saw the bruises. The marks that always dotted Maru's flesh. When everyone else treated Maru differently then everyone else, almost as if they had to walk on egg shells around him. Koki didn't. Koki never had pity in his eyes when he talked to Maru. Everyone else seemed to. They felt sorry for him. But Koki never felt sorry for Maru, not once.

Maru liked Koki a lot. A whole lot. He always felt special when Koki called him his partner. But he knew that when the concert was over, the performance was finished, he would go home to the boy friend that showed love with a fist and the belt.

Everyone warned Maru about his boy friend. He was crazy, dangerous. Maru didn't believe it. At first his boy friend was kind, gentle. He really seemed to care for Maru. Then the day came, when Maru was caught talking to Koki by his boy friend. Ryo had gone insane with jealousy.

The first beating started a cycle. Of beatings, then of afterwards Ryo treating Maru as if he was the most wonderful thing on earth. But Maru always did something to mess it up, at least that was what his boy friend Ryo insisted. Then Maru would be beaten yet again.

The wonderful day came when News had been put on hiatus. Ryo had moved back to Osaka. Maru felt relieved. They would now live apart. Maru could go on with his own life without the constant fear of being hurt.

That's when Maru began to go out with Koki. They went out sometimes as friends. But it was only friends.

Maru hadn't had much luck in love. He wasn't attracted to girls. He had a thing for bad ass types. The types that always hurt him. He had trusted Ryo, but he had been abused by his friend. He had felt hurt and humiliated by Ryo. He felt trapped. He wanted to leave, but couldn't.

Then the news came. News was back together. Ryo moved back to Tokyo, and back into Maru's apartment. The beating that Maru received had been one of the worst he had ever gotten. Maru's shoulder had been hurt by his boy friend. He hadn't told anyone. It really didn't matter much if he did. He wasn't the star of the group. So any bump or bruise had to be treated by himself.

Kat-Tun had just finished practicing for a performance. Maru took the cream out of his bag. He smeared it on his shoulder and began to rub it in.

"Ryo's back?" Koki asked.

"News is back together," Maru reminded him. "So of course he's back to living in Tokyo."

"You shouldn't push yourself so much." Koki thankfully changed the subject.

"Have to," Maru shrugged. "I keep thinking that one day, Johnny's will notice I have no talent, and I'll be out of the group."

"Don't talk that way!" Koki got to his feet, he went to Maru. He began to rub the cream into Maru's shoulder. His fingers were surprisingly gentle. "You have a lot of talent."

"I look like a koala bear."

"No, you don't."

"I'm ugly," Maru protested.

"Please Yu-Chan; stop saying those things about yourself!" Koki said softly.

"What I say is true." He gasped when Koki hit his sore spot.

"Why don't you talk about the good things about you?" Koki's voice was even gentler.

Maru looked down to his hands. "What good things?"

"You have eyes that anyone could get lost in." Koki told him. "Your dance is so effortless. You're the best singer in the group."

"I'm not the best," Maru pointed out.

"Why do you have such a hard time taking complements?" Koki sounded impatient. He let his hands drop.

"Everyone whoís ever given me a complement before does it simply because they wanted something from me." Maru put back on his shirt. 'Thank you for the back rub."

***************************

Koki wondered why on earth he would have fallen for such a wounded bird such as Maru. Every time he had gotten too close to Maru, his friend has pushed him away. That had changed in the months since News had been put on hiatus. It had taken such a long time for Koki to get Maru to trust him enough to hold his hand. Koki hadn't dared kiss him yet.

Koki thought foolishly that since Maru had broken up with Ryo, Maru might have healed. While the bruises had healed, Maru still hurt inside. Not only that, but when News reformed, Ryo was suddenly back in Maruís' life. His friend showed up with even more bruises.

"Koki, can I ask you a favor?" Maru said when they got a moment alone together.

"Sure, what is it?"

"You know that News is back together." Maru looked away from Koki. "Ryo's moved back in."

"Why did you let him do that?" Koki felt his heart break. Ryo was back in Maru's life, there was no room for him.

"I returned home one day and he was there. He wouldn't leave when I asked him to." Maru told him. "I want to move out."

"Then do it," Koki snapped. . "Why do you need to tell me?"

Maru flinched. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked for help. I'm a man; I should be able to handle this."

Help, the word hit Koki like a hammer. For the first time ever, Maru had gotten the courage up to ask for help. He watched as Maru turned away from him and pick up his bag. Koki realized what would happen next. Maru would return to his apartment and be hurt again.

"Why don't you stay at my place tonight?" Koki suggested.

"I don't want you feeling sorry for me."

"I donít' feel sorry for you." Koki said firmly. "I want to help."

"Thank you," Maru turned back to him.

Koki picked up Maru's bag and took his hand. Then Koki smiled his wonderful smile at Maru. "Let's go home."

************************

Maru began to stay with Koki. Since News had reformed, Ryo was living in Maru's apartment. Maru had lost all of his possessions with his leaving. Thankfully, Koki shared his things with his friend.

It was the hardest thing for Maru to ask for help. But he was really scared. Ryo wanted him back. Maru didn't want to go back. Instead, he wanted a future, with someone as wonderful as Koki. His friend's hands would never bruise him.

If only Koki loved him too.

Maru had taken a shower and put on the big fluffy robe that Koki had laid out for him. Then he went into the living room. Koki was playing video games.

Maru's ketai began to ring. He picked it up. He didn't recognize the number. "Hello?"

"Where are you?" Ryo demanded.

"I can't tell you that!" Maru said firmly. "I told you, I no longer want to be with you!"

"It's not over until I say it's over." Ryo told him. "Now tell me where you are, and I might forgive you."

"No! I won't tell you!" Maru told him bravely. "I'm free! I will never go back to you!"

"If you don't do as I say, I'll kill you!" Ryo threatened. "I'll cut you into tiny pieces."

Suddenly all of Maru's bravery left him. Instead, he was simply a terrified man. "Please donít' kill me."

Koki put his controller down. He went to Maru's' side. "Is it him?"

"Is someone with you?" Ryo demanded.

"Yes," Maru said.

Koki grabbed the ketai from Maru. "This is Ryo isn't it?"

"Please Koki, give it back. He'll get upset." Maru begged.

"Maru doesn't want to go out with you." Koki hung up on him. It immediately began to ring again. Koki turned off the phone. Then he threw it across the room, it landed with a crash.

Maru was terrified. Koki was mad, really mad. Unconsciously he stepped away from Koki. "I'm sorry, don't hit me."

"I'm not going to hurt you." Koki's voice was soothing.

Koki moved closer and closer to Maru. Until he took Maru into his arms. Koki's arms were warm, comforting.

"He says he's going to kill me." Maru admitted.

"He's a coward. He won't hurt you." Koki promised. "You've got me now. I'll protect you from him."

Maru could feel Koki's lips on his, so soft, so gentle. Maru sighed and opened himself to the kiss. He felt Koki's tongue love him. This felt so perfect, so right. Even Koki's kiss was different then Ryo's. Maru felt love in the kiss.

"Make love to me," Maru said between kisses. "Show me that love doesn't have to hurt."

Koki pulled away from him. "I can't."

"I want it," Maru told him.

"Someday, we will be lovers." Koki promised. He reached up, touching Maru's cheek. "I think we both should wait until you're fully over Ryo. I can't just be someone on the rebound to you."

"Can we still be friends?" Maru asked.

"More then friends," Koki promised. He kissed Maru one last time, this time chastely.

*****************

In the time that passed, Maru's relationship with Koki matured. They lived together. They shared the same bed. Maru was always careful to stay on his side of the bed. Not touching, never touching. They hadn't kissed since that one time. Maru would always wait until Koki was asleep before he kissed him. It was better that way Koki insisted.

Then the nightmares would come. Maru dreaming again and again about Ryo. That was when Koki would hold him in his arms. He would stroke his hair. Promising Maru that he would always be safe. Koki would protect him. Maru felt so safe in Koki's arms. He had learned to trust Koki.

They had been at each other's side almost constantly. Then Koki had a new drama. He was so excited. After years of playing side kicks, he had finally gotten the lead. That meant that Maru had to be alone. Maru didn't mind. He had locked the door behind him. The days of being afraid of Ryo seemed very far away.

Ohkura had called, to ask if he could come over for a while. Ohkura was the member of Kanjani 8 that Maru was closest to.

Maru didn't suspect a thing when the door bell rang. He looked out the peep hole. It was his old friend.

Maru unlocked the door. Then he opened it. What happened next surprised him. Ohkura stepped to the side. Suddenly Ryo was there!

Maru quickly moved to shut the door, but Ryo pushed his way inside. He punched Maru hard in the face.

Maru fell to the ground. He looked up to his friend. "Why?"

"Ohkura's my good little bitch. He does what I tell him to." Ryo sneered. "Unlike you, cheater!"

"I'm sorry, he made me do it." Ohkura told him. He moved his hair out of his face. For the first time, Maru could see the bruises.

Maru ran as fast as he could to the bedroom. He locked the door behind him. He could hear Ryo pounding on the bedroom door.

Maru dialed Koki's ketai number, but it went to voice mail.

"Koki, if you hear this help! Ryo's here."

Just then he heard Ryo kick the door once, then twice. The third time the door flew open.

"I'm going to kill you!' Ryo screamed. "Cheating little slut!"

Maru dropped the phone. It was still on Koki's voice mail. Koki had one of those bizarre plans where he had five minutes of voice mail. He would call himself and rap his latest song into it. Now, it was picking up the sounds of Ryo beating Maru.

"I don't want to be with you!" Maru told him. "Get out, or I call the police."

Ryo took off his belt, and began to beat Maru. He curled into a ball, trying to protect his head. He prayed that somehow Koki would hear his call. That someone would come and rescue him.

 

*******************

The hardest thing Koki did in his life was to turn Maru down when he asked to for them to become lovers. Maru was hurting. It would have been wrong to love anyone in such a fragile condition. But as time passed, Maru began to change. Maru's eyes had begun to light up around Koki. The thing that made Koki realize Maru loved him was the way Maru smiled just for him.

They had plans for the up coming weekend. They would spend the weekend at an onsen. The onsen belonged to Maru's uncle. They would make up for some time away from each other at the onsen. They all ready had their bags packed. As soon as this days filming was over, they would leave. Maru had plans for Koki. Koki began to wonder if the plans included becoming lovers.

Koki was the only one that believed that Maru was being abused. Ryo had told everyone that the bruises came from the fights. Maru had never told them any different. Koki knew that Maru was too ashamed to tell everyone he was abused. The rest of the group insisted that If Maru had a problem, he would ask for help. They walked on egg shells around Maru. They had become afraid he would loose his temper with them.

Koki tried to always be with Maru, but then he was cast in the lead role of a drama. As soon as the show was finished taping, Koki checked his messages. What he heard chilled his soul. He called the other members of Kat Tun.

Kame was the first one to answer his phone. Kame lived near Koki's apartment.

"Are you sure they're not just having another fight?" Kame asked. "They do fight all the time."

"I heard Ryo say he was going to kill Maru!" Koki insisted.

"All right, I'll go over there." Kame promised. "But I think that Maru can hold his own."

He only got the voice mail of Ueda. Then he called Junno, who also promised to meet him. Junno too thought that the pair was simply having yet another lover's spat.

Koki hated himself. He couldn't always protect his friend. He had made a promise to his friend, a promise he couldnít keep.

Koki found the other three members of Kat Tun waiting outside of his apartment. Koki could hear noises coming from his apartment. Koki tried to control his anger; the other three members of the group were just standing there listening. None of them made a move to help Maru.

"Why are you just standing around?" He demanded. "If I was called to help you, I wouldn't wait for your room mate to arrive!"

"We don't have keys," Ueda pointed out. "We did try the door, but he wouldn't let us in."

"We have to do something," Kame decided.

"I agree. I know we promised not to help him unless he asked, but..." Junno said.

Do you love him?" he heard Ryo demand through the door.

"Yes, I love him." Maru confessed. "But he doesn't love me. I'm just a friend to him." Koki knew Maru was lying. "So kill me and leave him alone."

"Of course he doesn't love you. I'm the only one that loves you." Then there was the sound of something hitting flesh, and Maru crying out in pain. "I love you so much that I want you dead! Then I'm going to kill myself. We'll be together forever in heaven!"

Koki unlocked his apartment door. He burst into the room. Maru was slumped against the far wall. Ryo stood over him, holding a knife. The knife was covered in blood.

Koki knew what he had to do. He ran to Ryo and punched him hard in the face. Then he drug Ryo to the wall and began to hit him over and over. Ryo cut him with the knife. The cut going deep across Koki's forearm. Then another cut, this one deeper. Koki started to bleed, but he could take care of that later. He had to rescue Maru.

Ryo tried to fight back, but Junno and Ueda each grabbed one of Ryo's arms. Ueda twisted one arm, and the knife fell to the ground with a clatter.

Koki punched him over and over. His blood spurting on both him and Ryo.

"Stop hitting me!" Ryo ordered.

"Go to hell!" Koki countered.

"You first!" Ryo tried to get away from the Kat-Tun members. "I had him, do you know that!" Ryo screamed. "His ass was so tight! He bled so much; it was almost like he was a virgin!"

"Get him out of here, before I kill him." Koki ordered.

Ueda and Junno pulled Ryo towards the door. Ryo struggled against the pair, but they where able to get him out of the apartment.

"Donít' worry, we'll take care of him." Kame promised. "He'll never hurt anyone again."

Koki watched Kame leave. Then he locked the door. The words of Ryo sunk into Koki. Had Maru been raped?

Koki could hear sobbing coming from the other side of the room. It was Maru, who only wore jeans. His body was covered with bruises and cuts. The apartment smelled of blood and sex.

Koki went to his loverís side. He reached out to touch him, but Maru flinched. "Please, don't touch me."

"Are you all right?" Koki asked concerned. For the first time, Koki realized that he was bleeding. He took his handkerchief out and quickly bandaged his arm.

"I didn't want it," Maru said weakly. "Please Koki, don't hate me for cheating."

Maru slumped unconscious to the floor. Koki realized that Maru had been stabbed several times in the back. He checked for a pulse, Maru had one, but it was very faint. Maru was so pale. His breathing shallow. Maru's pants were soaked with blood.

Quickly Koki called emergency services. Then he sat back down beside the unconscious Maru. He had never wanted to kill anyone before in his life, but now watching Maru, he wanted to kill Ryo.

****************

Koki would have scars. That was what Koki was told when the doctors treated his arm. The cuts were so deep that steri strips wouldn't be enough to mend them. Koki didn't mind if he had scars. The scars would be a reminder of how he failed Maru.

The hospital staff allowed him to watch as they stitched up his arm. Then he was given permission to join the rest of the group in the waiting room. There was also a very bored looking Johnny's staff member looking at a magazine.

In a waiting room down the hallway were several members of News. Ryo had arrived at the hospital about the same time that Maru had.

"What did you guys do to Ryo?" Koki asked.

"He had an accident," Ueda told him.

"An accident," Koki repeated. "What was the accident?"

"He fell down a flight of stairs," Junno shrugged.

"Too bad it didnít' kill him." Kame continued.

"You should see his arm," Ueda bragged. "I bet it was broken in three places."

A doctor came out from the exam room. Koki got to his feet. "How is he?"

"Who are you?" She asked.

"I'm Nakamaru-kun's partner." Koki told her.

"The police will be coming soon, they will want to interview everyone involved." She told him.

That set the Johnny's staff member in action. She got to her feet. "Why would the police want to talk to everyone?"

"Nakamaru-kun was brutally attacked."

"Yes, we know he was stabbed," The Staff member interrupted.

"He was sexually assaulted, to the point that his anus will have to have repair surgery." The doctor said matter of fatly. "The police will want to search the apartment he was found in for the instrument that was used to rape him."

The news hit Koki like a tidal wave. Maru, the wonderful gentle soul had been hurt. Koki had promised Maru that he would never be hurt again. He had broken that promise. He decided that he would stay at Maru's side. To protect him, in case anything else happened.

************

Koki waited in the waiting room until he could see Maru got out of surgery. The rest of the group stayed with him. A staff member told him that Ryo had been moved to the top floor of the hospital. An armed guard had been put outside of Ryo's hospital room door.

Ryo could have been released from the hospital but some of his actions made the doctors seriously worried about his mental health. Ryo had confessed that he tried to kill Maru. Then he told anyone who listened that he was planning to kill himself. He had to be watched, for his own safety.


There was a loud thud just outside the hospital. It sounded inhuman.

Koki could hear Koyama scream. "Who was that?"

"Call for help!" Yamapi ordered.

"I think he's dead!" Someone else said.

Suddenly there was as loud commotion. An alarm sounded. Hospital staff ran to the front of the building. They where soon followed by a staff member pushing a stretcher.

Kame went to the waiting room window. "Oh my god it's Ryo!"

Those made Koki get up. The group crowded at the window. Several meters away from the window, Ryo lay on the ground, his body broken. There was no way he could be alive, but Hospital staff worked on him. Hoping desperately to save him.

"What floor was Ryo on?" Ueda asked.

"The top floor," Junno told him.

"Which is?"

"I'm not sure, twelve or fourteen." Junno shrugged.

Ryo was finally put on the stretcher. Then he was rushed inside.

It didn't take long for the news to come to the Kat-Tun waiting room. Ryo had died on impact.

**************

Maru woke with a start. He had been dreaming he was in a hospital bed. He couldn't remember how he had gotten there. His back hurt from the stabbing. He was lying on his side, pillows propped behind him. There was a gap in the pillows, so that his aching bottom could get air.

That was when he realized that the attack hadn't been a dream, instead it had been real. He wished he could forget. He had tried to fight back against Ryo, but that was when he had been stabbed for the first time.

"How are you?" Koki asked concerned. Koki's left forearm was covered in a gauze bandage. Maru couldn't remember Koki's being hurt.

"I hurt all over," Maru looked around confused. "Am I in the hospital?"

"Yes, you're in the hospital," Koki told him.

"What happened to your arm?" Maru asked.

"I hurt it during my filming." Koki liked. He could tell that Koki was lying. But he didn't feel like arguing with his friend.

"What if someone tries to get me?" Maru asked. He didn't want to tell Koki that he was still afraid Ryo would finish what he started.

"You're safe, no one can hurt you." Koki told him.

Maru suddenly felt very afraid. "Where is Ryo?"

"He died," Koki said simply.

"He died?" Maru repeated.

"He jumped out the window of his hospital room." Koki told him. "His room was on the fourteenth floor."

"He told me that he planed a murder/suicide." Maru told him. "He told me he wanted to die."

"The good thing is that you're still alive." Koki took Maru's hand.

"What about me?" Maru asked.

"As soon as you recover, you'll return to the group." Koki promised.

"How will Johnny's explain all of this?" Maru asked. "There has to be some reason I'm in the hospital."

"They've all ready come up with a story." Koki told him. "You're out of the group for six weeks because you hurt your back."

"But they'll let me return?" Maru still didn't feel too sure.

"Of course they will!" Koki smiled, but the smile didn't go to his eyes.

Maru wanted to ask about his relationship with Koki, but how could he? What would Koki do if he found out everything that happened to him? He knew that Koki would leave him.

"I'll stay at your side until you get better,Ē Koki brought Maru's hand to his lips and then he ran his lips over his fingers. "When I have to be at a filming, one of the other groups members will be with you."

Koki had so much love for him. But all Maru could think about was the attack. Maru knew that once Koki found out that he had been raped, that Koki would leave him. Maru began to cry. Koki told him it would be all right. But Maru knew it wouldn't be all right. It would never be all right. How could everything be okay, when Maru felt as if his soul had been ripped out?

*******************

 

The weeks passed, until finally Maru recovered enough to go home. Koki was always by his side. Loving, kind. Taking
care of him. Still, Maru couldn't fight the feelings he felt, of overwhelming loneliness. No one had been there when he called
for help, no one had rescued him.

Maru tried to fight his depression. He hadn't told Koki yet of the attack, or the words the doctors had told him. Eventually
Koki would want to make love to him, and Maru couldn't. Maru could be a top, but he knew that Koki loved topping others
He wouldn't settle on just being a bottom. He would want Maru, and Maru would never be able to love him that way.

Instead of telling Koki how he felt, Maru let Koki take him to his their new home. It wasn't at all like the other apartment.
Koki had gotten rid of all the furniture. Everything that might remind Maru of the attack. Maru looked around for the statue.
The one that Ryo had used to split open Maru's insides. He couldnít find it any where. He let out a sigh. At least he
wouldn't have look at it again.

Maru shook his head. He had to stop thinking of the doctor's words. They wouldn't help his relationship with Koki. This
was now their apartment. He was living with Koki, the man whom he loved.

"Do you like it?" Koki asked, so eager to please.

"Yes, it's nice." Maru sat on the couch.

Koki sat down near him. "Do you remember when we first joined the agency?" Koki asked. "I was hurt badly by the
security guard. At the time I thought it was my fault."

"How could it be your fault?" Maru asked. "You didn't want it."

"What Ryo did to you wasn't your fault." Koki told him.

"You mean when he stabbed me."

"Ryo told me what he did to you." Koki said softly. "Then the doctors confirmed it."

"Why did you stay with me?" he pulled his arms around him, protecting himself. "I cheated on you."

"Did you want it?"

"Of course not!" Suddenly the dam broke and all the grief that Maru had kept in began to come out. Of the pain of feeling
truly alone.

"Then it wasn't cheating." Koki moved closer to Maru. "Please, Yu-Chan let me hold you."

All Maru could do was nod. He couldn't stop crying. Koki took him into his arms. The arms so warm, so loving. He held
onto Koki. Safe, he felt safe in Koki's arms. But he still wasn't sure if Koki would be different then Ryo. That Koki wouldn't
beat him.

*******************

After crying for quite a while, Koki pulled away from him. He reached out, touching Maru's cheek very gently wiping the
tears away. "Why don't you take a bath? They always make me feel good."

"I would like that," Maru agreed. He got to his feet. They walked towards the bathroom, to do that they had to go through
the bedroom.

Maru glanced to the bed. Even that was new. It was even bigger then the bed Koki owned before. Koki had wanted a
California king for quite some time. It looked as if he got one.

"Come on Yu-Chan, let me clean you." he led Maru to the bathroom. He turned on the hot water in the bath tub.

Then Koki filled a bucket with the water. He knelt down beside Maru. Koki washed Maru very gently. His Koki treated him
even more gently then he would with a young child Maru watched Koki as he cleaned him. It was a wonderful feeling. Koki
was acting so loving to Maru.

The Maru remembered, another time, when both were young. Maru had cleaned the young Koki after coming home from
being abused. Koki had cried and cried. He really thought the abuse was his fault.

"What is it?" Koki asked.

"Your hands are so soft," Maru said. He couldn't tell Koki that he was thinking of the past. "I feel so safe."

Koki couldn't help but smile. "Time for your bath."

Then Koki helped Maru get into the bath tub. The hot water made his aching sores feel better. Koki sat down on the bench
beside the tub. For a brief instant, Maru was able to see scars, fresh and new on Koki's left forearm. Koki quickly dried
his arms and pulled his sleeves down.

"You can get in with me," Maru offered. "There's enough room."

"No, I'm fine just sitting here," Koki told him.

Maru felt rejected at Koki's choice. He pulled his knees to his chest and put his arms around them as if cold.

If only, Maru thought. If only Koki had been there to rescue Maru. Instead, Maru had been alone. He still felt alone. He still
had amnesia for part of the attack. Maru had been left on the bed while Ryo went to the bathroom. Maru had pulled on his
jeans and tried to escape. Instead, Ryo had caught him. The last thing he could remember was Ryo stabbing him.

After soaking for quite a while. Maru decided that it was time to get out.

"Let me get your robe." Koki went into the other room. He returned with his fuzzy robe. He held it out for Maru. Maru got
out, he dried off. Then he let Koki put the robe on him. He was enveloped in Koki's scent. It was almost as if Koki was
holding him.

"Do you want me to give you my robe?" Koki asked. "I mean you wear it all the time."

"I wear it all the time because it's yours." Maru told him. "I don't think I would wear it so much if it was mine."

"You're always welcome to use my robe." Koki almost sounded embarrassed. "Do you want me to sleep on the floor?"

"No," Maru said. "The bed is big enough for both of us."

They got into bed together. Koki stayed on his side of the bed.

"Koki, I want to tell you something, before we get closer." Maru said.

"What's that?" Koki asked.

"The doctors say I'm not allowed to love." Maru confessed.

"What do you mean, not allowed loving. How can you just turn off your feelings?"

"I know you're a top, so you might want to know that about me."

"Why can't you?"

"My operation." Maru tried to explain. "I have a lot of scaring that could get torn. So I can't bottom."

"You really think that would make me change my mind about you?" Koki sounded like he couldn't believe his ears.

"I don't know," Maru admitted. "Why would you want to stay with me if we can't be lovers?"

"What ever gave you the idea that I'm a top?" Koki asked.

"You told me?"

"When you get healed enough to want to be lovers, I'll be honored to be your bottom."

For some reason, what Koki said made Maru feel much better. He stretched his hand out. His fingers
reaching out to Koki. His friend took his hand.

****************

The weeks passed. Little by little Maru began to creep over to Koki's side of the bed. Until Maru was usually sleeping with
his head on Koki's shoulder. The contact was a good sign. Still Koki didn't push Maru. Every thing would happen when he
was ready. It was hard for Koki to have Maru sleeping so close to him. Many times he had to go to the bathroom to
relieve himself. He would close his eyes, and dream that Maru was well enough to love. He couldn't let Mau know that the
touching was really beginning to get to him. So he kept his feelings to himself.

Maru was worried, about Koki's scars. He would stair at them every time Koki left his shirt sleeve up. Maru couldn't
remember how Koki got the scars. Koki knew that was for the best. The scars were a sign of Koki's failure.

Maru was finally well enough to go back to work. It was just a dance practice, but Maru was excited. They walked into
the rehearsal room together. The rest of the group watched them.

Kame was the first to go to Maru. "Welcome back."

"I am sorry I imposed on the group." Maru apologized.

"It's no problem." Kame smiled. "It wasn't the same without you."

Soon Ueda and Junno joined them.

"How's the back?" Ueda asked.

"Better, I've been cleared for work." Maru told him.

"Do you know how it's like not to have a human beat box in the group?" Kame asked.

"Quieter?" Maru asked.

"So what's Koki to you?" Junno asked. Junno always had a way of making things uncomfortable.

"I'm his body guard!" Koki put his arm around Maru. "That's all I am to him, a bodyguard."

"Really Koki?" Maru laughed. He hadn't heard Maru laugh in a long time.

Maru still had scars. None where they could show. All of Maru's scars seemed to be on the inside. Those were fading.
Soon Koki hope that the scars would be healed, and they could be together.

************************

The weeks passed. Maru's relationship with Koki blossomed. They were more then friends, but not quite lovers. It had
turned into a strange relationship. They dated, and went out. He slept in Koki's arms. He would feel Koki's brush his
forehead with his lips. His lips always lingering and soft. But they weren't lovers.

Maru had a dream. He had them almost every night. Reliving the attack. This time, instead of reliving the bad parts of the
attack, he had a good one. It was of Koki, who had come in. He had stopped Ryo from killing him. Koki had been cut
twice in the arm.

"It's all right," Koki told him. "It's just a dream." Koki pulled Maru into his arms. Maru felt so safe when Koki held him.
Koki was always there after the bad dreams. It made Maru feel so good.

It was then he realized that Koki was wearing a long sleeved shirt. Maru thought it was odd, it was really warm, but Koki
still covered himself. Maru took Koki's arm. He moved the sleeve of his long sleeved shirt up. Then he felt along Koki's
arm. There were two scars.

The dream, it hadn't been a just a dream it had been real. Koki had fought with Ryo, and being cut again and again.
Even though he was bleeding, he hadn't cared for himself, only for Maru.

For the first time, Maru realized he wasn't alone. That during the attack, someone had been there to rescue him. Koki
hadn't thought of himself, only of Maru.

"All this time, I thought I had been alone when I was attacked." Maru told him. "I thought no one was there to save me."

"I didnt' rescue you, I failed you." Koki said softly. "My scars are my sign of failure."

"You saved my life." Maru insisted.

"I couldn't stop what he did to you."

"Ryo was going to kill me, until you came in." He ran his fingers over the scars. "This isn't the sign of a failure; it's the
sign of someone who saved my life."

"If I hadn't left you, none of this would have happened." Koki reminded him.

"But you can't always hide me away." Maru told him. "Risk is part of being alive."

"Yu-Chan,"

"When I look at your scars, I see my hero." Maru suddenly felt like the Maru of old, the one before the attack. "The man
came to my rescue when I needed him the most."

"I only did what I had to do." Koki said modestly.

"What you did for me makes me trust you. I know you'll never hurt me.," Maru kissed Koki's lips. His friendís lips were
warm and soft.

Koki pulled away from Maru. "You're not ready."

"What if I feel ready?" Maru told him. "All I want to do is kiss you."

"No, we can't," Koki told him. "I've been waiting so long for you. Even the touch of your lips on mine makes me want to
love you. I'm having troubles when I hold you when you have your dreams. But kissing is out of the question."

"Because it makes you want to love me." Maru guessed.

"Yes," Koki finally said.

"What's so wrong with that?" Maru moved even closer to him. He ran his hands over Koki's body. He could feel Koki
tremble under his fingers. "I trust you, I love you. I know you'll never hurt me. What more is there to know?"

"Nothing," Koki admitted.

Maru kissed Koki, this time his friend sighed and gave into the kiss. Koki's embrace was strong, very strong as he took
Maru into his arms, and crush Maru's body to his. But Maru now knew Koki would never hurt him. He would never be
alone again. For the first time in a very long time, Maru was happy.