Title: Open Arms part One
Summary: Subaru has been sober for almost two years. Has his best friend stayed at his side?
Note: this is a sequel to the Story "What About Love" Which can be found on my livejournal
Open Arms Part One:
Subaru glanced at his cell phone; he wanted to make sure that the date was right. It was less than a week until Subaru's second anniversary. It was a very important date for Subaru. It was the day that Subaru had finally become sober.
It was also the eighteen month anniversary of Shota agreeing to be his friend again. Subaru still couldn't understand why his friend agreed to forgive him. That was when Subaru had gone to Shota, confessing all the wrongs done to him. It was step nine of his twelve step program.
Subaru's sobriety had changed many things in his life. He was busier with work then he had ever been in the past. He had proved to the agency that he was no longer a liability.
Subaru had a new drama. That wasn't unusual. He had costarred in several during the years, but this was the first time he was the lead actor. The director had requested that the Subaru Band record the theme song. Subaru had always loved the song, "Open Arms." which was originally recorded by the American group Journey.
Subaru had been listening to the song almost constantly during the past year. It summed up everything he wished he could have from Shota, but had destroyed with his drinking. He desperately wanted Shota back at his side as a lover. He knew in the long run it would be better for Shota if they stayed just friends. Though his almost nightly dream was having Shota back as his lover.
The theme song bothered Subaru. He didn't know why the producers picked it. He knew he would have trouble performing it in public with his band. The problem was Shota, Subaru wasn't too sure he could sing the song while Shota was in the studio.
Subaru practiced the song in secret. It was hard to keep a secret when the entire Subaru band was part of the song. But he had a problem singing it when Shota was around. He didn't want to let his friend know just how much he really missed him.
The sub group was thrilled; this would be the first time that they would release a solo outside of Kanjani 8. Hina had even been added to the group as a piano player, because the song had a piano track.
"Have you been told what song we're to perform?" Maru the bass player asked.
"It's a song that was originally recorded by Journey, called "Open Arms." Subaru tried to explain. He passed out the music to the song to the group.
"Open Arms?" Shota repeated. "Isn't that a ballad?"
"It's a power ballad, so it will really highlight your guitar playing talents." Subaru explained.
"That's a good song," Ohkura said thoughtfully.
"Are we singing in English or Japanese?" Maru asked.
"It's in English. But the song only has one vocalist." Subaru told him.
"Do you understand what the words mean?" Ohkura asked.
"Yes, I've been listening to the song a lot lately." Subaru looked away from his friends. "It sums up my life really."
Shota wasn't quite sure what had gone wrong with his relationship with Subaru. Every time he wanted to move forwards, Subaru stopped it dead in its tracks. They called themselves friends, though Subaru had never stopped calling Shota by his family name. The only time they ever spent together as friends was when they went on their almost daily walks with their dogs.
Shota decided that it was time to try and move their relationships forwards. He wasn't quite sure why he still tried. He didn't know if Subaru still cared for him. He knew that Subaru would probably turn him down again. There had never been a time when Subaru accepted Shota’s offers of going out.
Shota arrived late to the group's rehearsal. Even though in a few weeks the Subaru band would be recording a new song, they still had work together as Kanjani 8. Subaru was sitting alone in the corner of the dressing room. He was studying the script to the drama he was staring in.
Shota set his things on the table beside Subaru's. "Mind if I put my stuff here?"
"No, go ahead." Subaru didn't look up from his script.
Shota sat down beside Subaru. His friend continued to study his script, so Shota took out a bottle of nail polish and began to apply it to the nails on his left hand. After a while, he realized that Subaru was watching him.
"I like your new fingernail polish." Subaru said changing the subject.
"You want to use some?" Shota asked.
"Sure," Subaru put down his script.
"I'll put it on you," Shota put the brush back in the bottle, then took it back out. He moved closer to Subaru and took his hand. Then he brushed the polish on Subaru's index finger. Subaru's hand was quivering so hard that it was difficult to polish his nails. "Perhaps we shouldn't do this."
"I want you to polish my nails." Subaru admitted.
"Your fingers are shaking." Shota told him gently.
"It's been a while since anyone did my nails." He admitted. "For some reason I'm nervous."
"It's nothing to be nervous about," Shota smiled a bit. "I used to polish your nails all the time."
"I never thought you would polish my nails ever again. Not after...." The older man looked away from him. That was when Shota realized that Subaru had yet to forgive himself for what happened in the past.
"Don't worry, I'll be gentle." Shota smiled reassuringly.
"I feel like I'm missing something," Maru said a little too loudly. "Since when did those two talk to each other?"
"We work together; it would be very silly if we didn't talk." Shota reminded him.
"But you haven't polished Subaru's nails in almost two years!" Maru was kicked by Ohkura. "Ouch! What’d you do that for?"
Ohkura grabbed Maru and whispered something. Maru nodded and became fascinated by his shoes.
Shota looked at his ex-lover and winked. Then he went back to polishing Subaru's nails.
Do you want to do something tonight?" Shota suggested.
"We could go out on a date," Shota suggested. "Not anything fancy. Just something small. We could bring the dogs with us."
"A doggie date?" Subaru guessed. "That was what we called when we went out with our dogs before..."
"I miss our doggie dates." Shota confessed with a smile.
"I missed them too." Subaru smiled a bit. "Sure, why not."
"Wonderful." Shota's smile grew wider, and for the first time in a long time, Subaru looked happy. Perhaps he had finally changed Subaru’s mind and the Shota could really be his friend.
A doggie date, Subaru couldn't believe that he had actually agreed to go on a doggie date. It had always been something Shota loved. Subaru always thought it was too silly, but had always gone along with them.
Subaru wanted to call Shota, to tell him to forget about the date. He knew that it would be in Shota's best interest if he turned his former lover down. The only problem was that he would have to see the sadness in Shota's eyes. He hated when Shota looked sad.
Subaru got home from rehearsal late. Miru greeted him at the door as always. The little clown faced dog, his face half black, half white. The dog was a gift from Shota. Behind the little dog trailed another dog, this one a year old puppy. It had the clown face of his father, but the brown hair of its mother, who was Shota's dog Leila.
"We're going on a date," Subaru explained to his two dogs. "You'll see your doggie sisters again. I know I should tell Yasuda Kun that we shouldn't go out, but it made him so happy I agreed." Subaru reached over and pet the puppy. "You need to see your mommy. She probably misses you."
Even though Miru and the puppy were there, the apartment seemed so empty. Subaru could still remember the past when Shota lived there with him. It had been their apartment. He could remember the days when he came back from work and Shota had been waiting for him. The bad times had faded from Subaru's memories. What he remembered more and more was the happiness he felt when he was with Shota.
"Stop it!" Subaru told himself. "I have to stop remembering the good times. They no longer exist. It's my fault, I destroyed them. They'll never come back."
Miru wagged his tail. He petted the dog. Subaru felt tears stinging his eyes. "Why do I still want him back?"
"Why couldn't I tell him no things time?" Subaru asked. He got to his feet and went to the bedroom. He looked at the framed photo beside his bed. It was his favorite photo of him with Shota. "Why can't I stop loving you?"
Shota waited for Subaru in the park that they walked their dogs. He glanced at his watch. It was getting late. He began to wonder if Subaru had decided not to come. It wouldn't be the first time that his former lover had stood him up. He checked his cell phone, but there were no messages.
Shota knew he should do what Ohkura told him, and give up on Subaru ever coming back to him. But he couldn't. He was still deeply in love with his ex-lover. He had promised to wait, and he knew he couldn't break that promise.
Shota's three dogs began to get restless. They yipped happily. Shota looked around. Subaru was coming down the path; he was holding two dog leashes. Miru and the puppy trotted beside him.
"I'm sorry I made you wait Yasuda Kun." Subaru told him. His friend smelled really good, and he had changed. "Right before we left, Siva made a big mess. You know how puppies are."
"That's all right." Shota smiled. "Her sister Java makes messes all the time too."
"So what's the plan for tonight?" Subaru looked around if he was afraid.
"I thought we could take the dogs to the fenced in dog area." Shota smiled at Subaru.
"Sounds good to me." Subaru agreed.
They took the dogs to the small fenced in dog area. Subaru bent down and unfastened the dog’s leashes.
Shota soon freed his dogs. They played together happily.
Subaru went to a bench and sat down. He looked terrified as he watched his dogs.
"Can I sit down?" Shota asked.
"Sure," Subaru told him.
Shota sat down. They chatted about the dogs. Subaru didn't seem to relax. Shota couldn't understand why he was so much on edge.
"When was the last time you went on a date?" Shota asked.
"You know I've been alone." Subaru reminded him. "When you left me that final time, I stopped dating. I had to get my life in order without thinking of boyfriends. Besides..."
"How can I go out with anyone else when I still love you?"
"I've never stopped loving you," Shota admitted.
"I'm glad." Subaru looked away from him. "It's a beautiful day isn't it?"
Shota realized he had gotten too close to what was bothering Subaru. He let his friend change the subject. Realizing for the first time that the reason they weren't together was because Subaru still hated himself for what he did when he was drinking.
Shota took Subaru to a small udon stand. He told Subaru to have a seat. He ordered for both of them. Subaru tied Siva and Miru's leashes to a post. He then tied Shota's dogs to the next post.
Shota brought the tray to the table. He set one in front of Subaru. Then he set one across the table. Subaru looked down to his food. Subaru was surprised that his friend remembered how he ordered udon.
Shota sat down across the table from Subaru.
"What is it?" Shota asked.
"It's been so long since we've ate udon together." Subaru pointed out.
His friend smiled at him. "Then it's time we do.”
"You're right, it is."
"So what did you think a date would be like?" Shota asked as they ate.
"I don't know," Subaru looked away from Shota. He hoped that Shota wouldn't ask him to his apartment. He wasn't too sure he could control himself if he went to his friend's place.
"What’s bothering you?"
"I'm nervous." Subaru admitted. "It’s the first time I've gone out without me being drunk"
"You're a different person now. You've been sober for almost two years." Shota reminded him.
"We'll be taping the song on my anniversary." Subaru told him. "So I've been sober for twenty three months."
"That's something I really admire about you. Not many people can really change their lives the way you did." Shota gave him a special smile. "Sometimes change can be a good thing Babu."
For the first time in a long time Subaru smiled at his ex lover. "You're right; change can be a good thing."
Subaru rang Hina's doorbell. He knew that it was late, but he couldn’t' stay home. He had dropped off his dogs and went up the three stories to Hina's apartment. The emotions were beginning to get to him. His body was craving beer. He knew if he could drink, he would be able to forget the pain for a while. Subaru also knew that if he drank, then he would be returning to what his life used to be. He had destroyed his life once; he didn't want to do it again.
Finally Hina opened the door. He was only wearing a robe. "What is it?"
"Can I come in?" Subaru asked. "I really need to talk to you."
"Sure," Hina stepped aside and let Subaru into the apartment. Subaru realized that Hina smelled like chocolate and peanut butter.
Subaru took off his shoes and put the pair of guest slippers on. Then he went and sat on the couch. "For the first time in a long time, my body is craving beer."
"You only crave beer when something's bothering you." Hina reminded him. "Did something bad happen?"
"I went on a date with Yasuda-kun." Subaru confessed.
"That's a good thing isn't it?" Hina encouraged.
"I know I should have turned him down, but I couldn't." Subaru looked at his skull tattoo. The one that he usually covered with makeup. He had been in such a hurry to go out with Shota that he had forgotten to cover it.
"So you're letting him move your relationship forwards."
"A little. I haven't had this much fun in a long time." Subaru confessed.
"Then why do you need my help?" Hina asked gently.
"I don't deserve to have this much fun," Subaru confessed. "Not after everything I did to Yasuda kun. I go out with him, and my body suddenly wants to get drunk."
"What does your mind want?"
"Well, I don't want to get drunk." Subaru admitted. "I know it's not good for me to drink. That's why I came here."
"Who’s at the door?" Ohkura came into the living room. He had a bath towel wrapped around his waist. There was chocolate sauce and peanut butter smeared on his bare chest and his face. His eyes settled on Subaru. "Hi Baru."
"Sorry, did I interrupt something?"
"Not exactly. It’s just ice cream sundae night." Ohkura sighed. "Are you going to be here a while?"
"Go take a shower and go back to bed." Hina told his lover.
"But there's chocolate sauce all over the bed." the drummer pointed out.
"Then change the sheets before you take your shower." Hina rolled his eyes.
“We haven’t had an ice cream night in weeks!” Ohkura put on his best pout. "Please Shingo-Chan...."
"I'm sorry; I came at a bad time didn't I?" Subaru apologized.
"Of course not," Hina glared at Ohkura. "I'll make it up to you later, okay? We’ll have the best ice cream night ever!"
"You'll let me use caramel sauce? What about strawberries?" Ohkura asked hopefully. "I want to use chopped nuts!"
Hina got up and grabbed his lover; he dragged him back into the bedroom. Subaru realized he had just learned something about Hina and Ohkura’s relationship he really didn’t want to know about. Subaru realized he had been interrupting something. He left while Hina was still in the bedroom with his lover.
Subaru wished it had been different. Ohkura and Hina had been together for five years, and they were still so close. Hina's relationship with Ohkura made him think of Shota. They had been so happy once, before Subaru's drinking destroyed everything.
It had been a long three weeks since Subaru had his doggie date with Shota. Almost every night the pair went out. Even if that meant their dates were early in the morning. Subaru felt good when he went out with Shota. He felt alive again. The loneliness that had taken over almost everything disappeared when he spent time with his friend.
Subaru was a very busy man, with his Kanjani 8 commitments, his filming of the drama, and practicing the title song. Subaru didn't think of the song title. It was just the theme song
Subaru went to an unused rehearsal room. Almost every studio had one. He had promised Hina he would meet him there earlier. Hina practiced the song on the piano. He had been working hard at mastering the song.
"You're so late, I didn't think you'd come." Hina told him.
"Sorry, got delayed at the studio." Subaru admitted.
"Are you ready?" Hina asked.
"I guess." Subaru put his bag on a chair, and then he picked up the microphone.
Subaru began to sing. He tried to keep the emotions in as he sang.
Softly you whisper,
You're so sincere
How could our love be so blind?
sailed on together
We drifted apart
And here you are by my side
So now I come to you with open arms
Nothing to hide
Believe what I say
So here I am with open arms
Hoping you'll see what your love means to me
Subaru began to think of everything he lost with Shota. The emotions got too much for him and he began to cry.
"Living without you, living alone." Subaru sang, before the crying turned into sobs.
Hina glanced at him, and stopped playing. He went to Subaru, taking his friend into his arms. Subaru held onto him as he cried.
"You did better this time, you got to the second verse before you started crying." Hina tried to reassure.
Subaru pulled away from Hina and wiped his eyes. "I've got to learn to sing this without crying."
"You will," Hina promised.
"What's going to happen when I sing it when Yasuda Kun is there?" Subaru wondered.
"Hopefully you'll be back with him before you have to sing it near him." Hina said encouragingly.
"I can't go back to Shota." Subaru said quickly. "I can be friends with him, but I can't be his lover."
"You love him. He loves you. Why can't you be with him?" Hina asked.
The guilt began to well up in Subaru. "You know what I did to Shota. I lied to him, I cheated on him. How can I hurt him again?"
"You’ve been dating him." Hina reminded him.
"I know," Subaru admitted. "I should turn him down, but I can't."
"If you don't want to be with him, you have to stop dating him." Hina said firmly.
"I do want to be with Yassu Kun." Subaru said in a rush. "But I can't stand to see the sadness in his eyes. I'm the one that always give him that sadness."
“You have to forgive yourself.” Hina decided. “Then the two of you can be happy.”
“I’m not sure I can.’ Subaru admitted. “But I’ll try.”
"Try just as hard to forgive yourself as you have been trying to master this song, and you'll be together." Hina promised. He went back to the piano. "Let's try the song again."
The next day, the group was scheduled to make a television appearance. Subaru wouldn't be there, he was too busy filming his drama. With Ryo in Tokyo working with NEWS, that left only five members of Kanjani 8 appearing on the show.
Ohkura came into the dressing room. He tossed his bag beside Shota's. Shota couldn't help but notice the visible dark circles under his friend’s eyes.
"Didn’t get a lot of sleep?" Shota asked.
"Shut up Yassan." Ohkura glared at him. He lay down on a couch. He picked up a towel and covered his face with it.
Hina soon came into the practice room. He picked up the drummer's legs and moved them off of the couch, and then he sat down.
"Leave me alone!" Ohkura ordered. "Just go away Shingo! You promised to make it up to me, but it's been three weeks of this shit!"
"What's wrong Tacchon?" Shota asked.
"It's all your fault!" Ohkura groaned. "Why can't the two of you just get together so I can sleep at night?"
"I don't understand." Shota asked confused.
'Tacchon, it's confidential." Hina warned. "I'm Subaru's twelve step sponsor!"
"But all this is Subaru's fault!" Ohkura insisted. "Besides, I'm Yassu's al-anon sponsor!"
"Does this have something to do with Subaru?" Shota guessed.
"You did know he comes over after every date with you?" Ohkura took the towel off his face. "Why can't you just let him stay for once? I used to have a sex life before Subaru started dating you! It was a great sex life! We did all sorts of fun stuff! Now all I get is 'I'll make it up to you." Do you know how it makes me feel?"
"Don't answer Tacchon, he's just frustrated." Hina encouraged. "Your relationship with Subaru is private."
"Subaru's discussing our dates with you?" Shota was curious.
"I am his sponsor," Hina reminded him. "I know I'm not supposed to say anything to you..."
"Please say something to Yassan, Shingo Chan." Ohkura groaned. "I'm begging you, please! I just want a few hours alone with you without anyone bothering us!"
"How about if I take you to Hershey land on our next week off?" Hina tempted.
"Hershyland? Really?" Ohkura seemed to brighten up. "We'll really go?"
"We'll also go to Cadberryland and M&M Park." Hina promised. "Just please calm down."
"Will do baby," Ohkura put the towel back over his face and began to snore.
"You're going to have to give Subaru some understanding." Hina tried to explain. "He still hasn't forgiven himself for everything he did to you."
"That was years ago!" Shota said.
"Have you forgiven him?"
"Of course I have." Shota said firmly.
"Then try and give him some patience. He still loves you, he just needs some time." Hina suggested.
"I understand, I won't rush him." Shota decided. "I'll try and be happy for what he gives me."
It was another date. Subaru had gotten away from the studio early, so the friends decided to go to their favorite Udon stand. Shota and Subaru were walking in the park when it suddenly began to rain. It wasn't the type of rain that was light, no it was the type of rain that was very heavy and soaked the person to the skin. Not only that, the rain was cold.
Subaru put the hood up on his jacket, and noticed that Shota wasn't wearing a jacket.
"My apartment is closest!" Subaru suggested.
They run to the apartment building. Subaru was surprised when Shota hung back.
"It's pouring down rain! You could get sick!" Subaru pointed out.
"We promised we wouldn't go to each other’s apartments." Shota reminded him.
"We're just getting out of the rain." Subaru reminded him. He unlocked the door and opened it. "Please Yasuda Kun, come in."
"All right," Shota agreed.
When they went inside the apartment, Shota was surprised to see his slippers still out, waiting for him. He hadn't stepped foot in the apartment in eighteen months, but still Subaru remembered him.
Subaru walked past him, going into the bathroom. Shota could hear the sound of water running. Then Subaru came back into the living room.
"I'm running a bath for you. I think you should get in." He told Shota gently.
"All right," Shota agreed.
Shota followed Subaru into the bathroom. He took off his clothes and quickly washed himself. He got into the tub. He thought Subaru would get in with him; instead, he smiled again at Shota.
"I've left some towels out for you."
"Thank you." Shota smiled enduringly. "Join me?"
"I'm sorry, I can't." Subaru looked afraid. "I'm not good for you. It's better in the long run if I put my feelings for you aside."
"I'll go make you some cocoa." Subaru quickly left the room.
Shota felt disappointed. He thought when Subaru had invited him to the apartment, it meant something else. But it didn't. They were still just friends. Shota then reminded himself about what Hina told him. His friend needed time to forgive himself. Even letting him come to his apartment was a big step. Shota decided to be grateful for that step, instead of being disappointed in what might be.
The guitar player quickly bathed. He got out of the tub and dried himself off. There was nothing for him to put on, so he went into Subaru's bedroom. In the closet he found Subaru's black robe. He slipped it on.
Shota looked around the bedroom; on the wall was a display of sorts. Shota went closer. There were childish drawings pinned to a bulletin board. There were also photos. Shota looked at them; all of them were of Shota, Shota's sister and Shota's young nephew. Shota's sister was a single mother, and the group decided as a whole to be male role models for her young son.
Subaru had been drawn to the little boy with large dark eyes. Shota had promised his sister that he would never tell anyone her secret, that one night with drunken Subaru had lead to something unexpected. Now Shota wished he hadn't made that promise. So much had changed in the past two years. He knew it was only a matter of time until someone would realize that Shota's nephew looked like his unnamed father.
When Shota was in his bath, Subaru quickly fed Miru and Siva. Then Subaru made some hot cocoa. Subaru knew that Shota was probably upset with him. He had asked Subaru to bathe with him, but Subaru had turned him down.
"It will be better in the long run if we're not together." Subaru told himself. "If I start drinking again, I could really hurt him."
Soon Shota came out of the bedroom wearing Subaru's black robe. It was so much like it used to be, when Shota lived with him.
"Thanks for suggesting that I take a bath. I feel much warmer now." Shota sat down on the couch.
"I made some cocoa, to warm you up." Subaru pressed the drink into his friends' hand.
"Thank you Shibutani Kun." Shota took a drink. "I've missed your cocoa."
Subaru turned on the TV. He found a movie that he knew that Shota liked. He sat down next to his friend. He picked up his own cup of cocoa.
"Shibutani-kun, can I ask you something?" Shota asked gently.
"What's that Yasuda Kun?" Subaru took a sip of his cocoa.
"Can you stop calling me Yasuda?" Shota asked. "We're friends now."
"I can't," Subaru said softly. "It's been hard for me to be your friend."
"Why is it hard?"
"Every moment of our new friendship has made me love you more." Subaru admitted. "If I call you Shota, it makes me feel as if we've moved up a level, though we really haven't."
"We've been dating," Shota pointed out.
"Have we?" Subaru sounded preoccupied.
"Yes Babu-Chan, we have." Shota said firmly.
"You're right, we have Shota." Subaru smiled sadly. "So what are we going to do on this date?"
"Watch a movie." Shota decided.
"Do you want me to pop some popcorn?" Subaru offered.
Shota thought for a moment. "Yes, that would be nice."
Shota occupied himself with playing with Subaru's dogs as he waited for his friend. Siva was a cute little puppy. She looked so much like her father Miru.
Subaru came out of the kitchen a few minutes later with a big bowl of popcorn. Shota was pleased that he only brought one bowl. Subaru gave the bowl to Shota and sat down beside him on the couch.
The dogs, being dogs began to beg for pop corn. Shota threw each a kernel.
"I wanted to ask you, how you can forgive me." Subaru asked.
"What do you mean, forgive you?"
"I mean for everything I did to you in the past. I cheated on you.” Subaru persisted. “I can’t forgive myself for hurting you. How can you forgive me for the pain I put you through?"
"Because that wasn't all of you. It was the alcohol. When you stopped drinking, that behavior stopped." Shota reminded him.
"It did?" Subaru sounded very surprised.
"Yes, Babu it did." Shota said firmly. "You are a different person. You have to start forgiving yourself for what you did in the past."
"Hina told me the same thing," Subaru admitted. "I love you even more than I ever did when I drank. I don't want you to get hurt again."
"But it hurts me to know you haven't forgiven yourself." Shota admitted.
"I don’t' want to hurt you. I'll try to forgive myself." Subaru said in barely a whisper. "When I'm with you. I don't feel like that other Subaru."
"I'm glad." Shota smiled. "Why don't we watch our movie, and think about the future instead of the past."
"All right," Subaru smiled at Shota, it was the smile that Shota had missed since their break up, for it was the special smile that was only for Shota.
The day that the Subaru Band recorded Open Arms finally arrived. Subaru had made everyone promise that they wouldn't let Shota in the main studio when he recorded the vocals. Shota didn't understand why Subaru was so nervous about a song. It was just a song. Subaru had refused to sing it around Shota. Since they were recording in English, Shota didn't understand the words to the song.
Shota waited in a practice room that was soundproofed. His friend Hina had joined him about an hour into the taping.
"Why can't I be there when Babu records the song?" Shota asked.
"It took Subaru a month to learn to sing that song without sobbing." Hina told him.
"He cried?" Shota asked the older man.
"A lot, a whole lot." Hina paused. "Have you ever listened to the song in Japanese?"
"No, I haven't."
"You really should." his friend told him. "You'd understand why Subaru can't sing it in front of you."
"All right, perhaps I will listen to it." Shota decided. "When I get home, I'll download it."
"Why download, when you can hear him singing it? He recorded the Japanese version first." Hina took out his cell phone. He punched a few buttons. The song began to play. Then Subaru was singing the song in Japanese. There was so much emotion in his friend's voice. The song was about a break up, and the person desperately wanting the other to be back at his side.
That was when Shota realized why Subaru couldn't sing it around him. Subaru wanted him back.
"Is there anywhere I can watch him record, and he can't see me?" Shota asked.
Hina thought for a few moments, and then smiled. "I know just the place."
Subaru had never been so nervous in his life. He knew that Shota wasn't nearby, but he had to picture is friend in his mind’s eye to sing the song. He had all ready gone through ten takes of the song. The second verse was giving him troubles. The emotions had overcome him each time.
The music began to play. He closed his eyes and thought of Shota. He dreamed of things being different, how it would have been like if he wasn't an alcoholic. Then he began to sing, as he always did, to Shota.
This empty house seems so cold
Wanting to hold you
wanting you near
How much I want you home
But now that you've come back
Turned night in to day
I need you to stay
Subaru imagined that Shota was smiling at him. Telling him yes, he could come back. That he was forgiven. Subaru suddenly felt strong, as if Shota was really there. This time there was no hesitation in his singing.
now I come to you
with open arms
Nothing to hide
believe what I say
So here I am with open arms
Hoping you'll see what your love means to me
Finally the song ended.
'That's wonderful!" the producer told him. "That's a take."
Subaru opened his eyes. Through the glass, he could see Shota in the very back of the room. Tears were running down his cheeks. What was he doing here? Subaru didn't want him near when he taped, but he realized that somehow Shota had given him the strength of being able to finish the song.
Subaru took his headphones off. He went to the control booth. Staff shook his hand, congratulating him for his performance. The producer pulled Subaru to the side, to discuss the song. By the time he finished, Shota had left.
Subaru had found that Shota had left the studio before Subaru could talk to him. He had texted and called his friend several times with no answer. Subaru wanted to go to Shota's apartment and find out what was going on, but he couldn't. He had to film his drama. It had been hard for Subaru to plaster on his fake smile, and pretend that nothing had happened. He knew that he couldn't tell anyone how he had driven the man he loved more than his life away.
It was late when the filming was finally finished. He attempted to call Shota again with no luck. He realized he must have driven Shota away with the song.
Subaru took a taxi to his apartment. He didn't think of it as his home. It had stopped being his home the day that Shota left him. Now it was just the place he lived. Even though his two dogs waited for him, it was a cold, lonely place.
Subaru wanted to talk to his sponsor Hina about his feelings, but he had imposed on Hina so much that it had affected his relationship with Ohkura. Subaru knew he had to grow up. He had to face his life alone.
Subaru unlocked the door to his apartment and went inside. His slippers were laid out for him. He took off his shoes and put them on. By then, the dogs had run to the door to greet him. It wasn't just Miru and Siva, but Shota's dogs Java, Leila and Tegan.
Why were Shota's dogs in his apartment? He looked around the living room. It looked the way it did before Shota left him. The photos of them together were back on the walls. Shota's prize display of guitars was back. He felt as if he had stepped through a time portal. He could feel the excitement roll over him like a wave. Could it be?
For the first time in a very long time he hoped that Shota was waiting for him. He fought down the feelings of anticipation. The hesitation that one gets before they open their presents on their birthday. Was the present that he wanted more than anything waiting for him?
Subaru gathered up all his courage, and said the words he hadn't said in a long time. "I'm home."
"Welcome back," Shota said as he came into the living room. He was wearing Subaru's black robe.
"Shota what are you doing here?" Subaru gasped. "I never told you..."
"You did with your song. I now know what you want, though you might still be too afraid to ask." Shota smiled his wonderful smile. "Can I stay?"
Subaru felt tears sting his eyes. "I would really like that."
"Have you forgiven yourself yet?" Shota asked.
"Yes, I have. I'm so very lucky to have you." Subaru confessed. "Not many men would have waited for me."
"Not many men love you like I do." Shota smiled at him. "Let's start new, like the past never happened."
"Sho-chan, please take me back." The emotions overcame him, and Subaru began to cry. "I've been so lonely without you."
"You'll never be alone again," Shota promised.
Shota went to Subaru. He kissed his friend very gently. Tears rolled down Subaru's cheeks. He could feel Shota slip his arms around him.
"Welcome home," Shota repeated as he kissed his lover.
Subaru never thought this day would happen. He would wake up in their bedroom. Their five dogs sleeping in on the floor beside the bed. It wasn't like before, Subaru didn't have a hangover. His hangovers were distant memories. Instead, it was dreams come true.
Someone was curled up in bed beside him. Subaru was almost afraid of looking, that all of this was simply a dream.
Subaru looked around the room. Everything was like it was before the break up. Shota's things were back in the closet. The sheets and blankets were also Shota's.
"What are you thinking?" Shota asked him.
Subaru finally looked at his lover. "I was wondering how long it took you to move in here."
"Why? You want me to leave?" Shota teased.
"Of course I don't want you to leave!" Subaru confessed. "It's just that moving all of your stuff must have taken you a lot of time."
"Not really, the rest of the Subaru Band helped me." Shota admitted. "We finished about fifteen minutes before you returned home. We owe them dinner next week."
"I thought we could have dinner here at home." His lover smiled at him.
"Home, do you know how long I've waited for you to say that?" Subaru marveled.
“As long as I’ve waited to be able to say it.” Shota’s smile grew wider. "I love you so much Babu-Chan,"
"I love you too," Subaru breathed before he kissed his lover again. This time, Subaru would work as hard as he could to make his lover happy. This time it would be different, because he knew that not many people had a second chance to be with the one that they loved.