Claim of Ownership: All characters and situations presented in this story are copyrighted (©) as of October 30, 2003 by Lauren Kollett, AKA the Dragon Mistress. All characters and situations are entirely fictional and exist wholly in the author's imagination; any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Warnings: Mild language, bisexuality, eventual yaoi (m/m) content. Nothing graphic.

Note: All full names are written in the traditional Japanese format of Family Name-First Name.
Plain Text - present events. Italics - Narration.

~*Glitter*~

While browsing one day in a bookshop and feeling down, famous J-pop star Mizoguchi Komaru bumped into one of his most devoted fans - Arakawa Setsuya...

Setsuya soon became the love of Komaru's life, and in his lover the depressed singer finally discovered a view on life he had never dreamed existed...

Despite the jealousy and competition from Komaru's half-brother Rain, the aggravation of Setsuya's friend Mitsuharu, and the challenges and annoyances of a star's busy life, Setsuya and Komaru are determined to live happily ever after!

Episode 1 - Meeting Of Chance : Love In A Bookshop

~11:30 p. Osaka, Japan~

Mizoguchi Komaru straightened up and frowned severely, adjusting the strap of his heavy messenger bag as his manager, Kono Usaji, approached him. Usaji looked rather frantic, and was clutching a sheaf of papers in one hand.

What is it? the brunette pop singer inquired, brushing his long bangs out of his eyes and lighting a cigarette, the flame of the lighter momentarily illuminating the blue crystal necklace he wore.

This, this, this! Usaji practically wailed, shoving the clutch of papers under Komaru's nose. Our tour schedule! Or have you forgotten? You've got a five-week tour of Japan to finish, and that's not counting our dates lined up for China, Australia, and Germany! You can't leave now, you just can't!

Komaru ignored this and peered up and down the street, waiting impatiently for his cab. I need a rest.

A rest? You're always sleeping, you don't need a rest - come on, you can't do this to me! I'd have to rearrange the entire tour just to accommodate your rests' -

The cab finally pulled up. Komaru dropped his cigarette and ground it into the sidewalk under one cowboy-booted foot. It'll be all right.

Usaji stopped as Komaru looked back at him. Not for the first time in the past five years, Usaji noted how strained and pale the younger man looked, and the desperate look in his green eyes.

Komaru was prone to long fits of all-consuming depression; and his manger knew him well enough to know when one of those fits was approaching. Like now, for instance.

I've got to, Komaru mumbled. The cab driver honked his horn impatiently, but Komaru paid no heed. He focused his emerald gaze on Usaji's violet eyes. If I don't get away from it all... tonight... I'm going to kill myself. I've had just about enough.

He climbed into the cab, which took off as soon as the door shut. Usaji stared after it helplessly, wringing his papers in his hands. Finally, he heaved a huge sigh and trudged back into the hotel. It was time to start rescheduling the tour.

~3:15 p. Kyoto, Japan~

Tachibana High School

Did you hear, did you hear? Mizoguchi Komaru's canceled his tour!

I heard he's locked himself in his hotel room and won't come out!

I heard he tried to kill his manager!

I read on the Internet that he might never preform again...

Arakawa Setsuya ignored the wild rumours that had been flying around the school all day. Tossing his long, strawberry hair over his shoulder, he slid his Ancient History text into his locker and rummaged in the mess of crumpled papers and dried-out pens to find his Geometry book.

The young man looked up from his messy locker, his irritated frown replaced by a wide smile. Hi, Mi-chan.

Sanjou Mitsuharu is Setsuya's best friend. They are both the same age, born only about a month apart, and have known each other for their whole lives. Mitsuharu is a very cheerful, sweet girl with big brown eyes and long, curly purple hair that she almost always wears in a ponytail. She calls Setsuya 'Suya-chan' he calls her Mi-chan'.

Mitsuharu's eyes were gleaming with excitement as she twisted her combination lock without looking at it and yanked open her locker. Did you hear? Mizoguchi Komaru-kun's canceled his tour!

Yeah, I heard, Setsuya sighed, finally locating his Geometry book under his gym uniform. He stuffed it in his bag and slammed his locker. You don't believe it, do you?

Mitsuharu shrugged, locating her Geometry book easily. Setsuya envied her - try as he might, he could never keep his locker neat for more than a week or two. I don't know. If we hurry, we can catch the music news on JMTV and see if they say anything.

The two teenagers shouldered their bags and hurried out into the bright September sunshine. Setsuya hunted in the pockets of his jeans and found a chocolate bar, which he snapped in half and shared with Mitsuharu.

Your mother enjoyed Paris, then? Mitsuharu said through a mouthful of chocolate as they stopped on a corner and waited for the light to change.

Yeah. There's more chocolate at home, if you want more. She brought back lots.

Setsuya's mother, Arakawa Nami, is an international businesswoman who raised her son in considerable wealth. She had been promoted shortly before her husband's death and rose quickly, becoming president of her own company. Though she often has to go on business trips to other parts of Japan or even other countries, she tries her best to be with her son whenever possible.

They reached Setsuya's apartment house and ducked into the elevator. The only other person in the lift was an elderly woman in a kimono, who cast a disdainful look at Mitsuharu's micro-mini skirt and Setsuya's ragged, holey and patched jeans. The teenagers avoided each other's gaze until the old woman got off on the tenth floor, then looked at each other and burst into giggles. It was infectious, and they didn't stop giggling until they reached the twentieth-floor penthouse where Setsuya and his mother lived.

Mrs. Arakawa must have been reading their minds; as soon as they burst through the door, she came into the large, sunny living room with a plate of snacks in her hands. The television was already tuned to JMTV, and the familiar notes of the music heralding the Music News started as Setsuya and Mitsuharu kicked off their shoes at the door and hurried to sit down in front of the television.

Topping Music News today is the seeming disappearance of pop singer Mizoguchi Komaru... the announcer began, and Mitsuharu and Setsuya exchanged half-excited, half-fearful glances.

...Mizoguchi disappeared from his hotel last night some time before midnight... the last person to see him was his manager, who assured the press this morning that Mizoguchi is merely away on a short vacation.

The scene switched to a tall, fidgety man in a blue blazer and sunglasses, looking very agitated and surrounded by shouting reporters.

I'm telling you, Komaru went away for his health, the fidgety man said impatiently. He decided last night that he wanted to leave; no, I'm not telling you where he's gone. He'll be back. In the meantime, all of his tour dates are being temporarily postponed...

The announcer reappeared.

Mr. Kono assures the public that there is no cause for alarm... he claims his client will return in a week or so... those who have purchased tickets to Mizoguchi's shows are assured that they will be allowed to use these tickets to get into the shows once the tour resumes... in other news... Japan's most famous supermodel, Rain, is scheduled to -

Setsuya switched off the television, cutting the announcer off in mid-sentance. This sucks, he pouted, opening the bottle of cola his mother offered him.

Mrs. Arakawa pushed her son's strawberry bangs away from his face and kissed his forehead. I wouldn't worry about it, my love. I'm sure he's all right.

But Mom! Setsuya protested. I wanted to go to his show next Thursday-and now I have to wait-

Just then, a cell phone rang. Mrs. Arakawa snatched it up from the table, glanced at the number, and sighed. Wearily, she answered it, heading for her bedroom to talk in some privacy. Setsuya and Mitsuharu exchanged glum looks.

D'you think he'll ever come back? Mitsuharu asked, playing with the end of her ponytail.

It's too bad we have to wait. I mean, I know you wanted to talk to him and everything...

Yeah... I sure hope the backstage passes Mom got us will still be good...

~12 a. Arakawa Residence~

Boy, I hate Geometry...

Setsuya doodled aimlessly in the margin of his homework. With a sigh, he put down his pencil and stretched. He'd finish this later tomorrow - er, today. Lucky it was Sunday... he had been planning to go to the bookshop with Mitsuharu, but there would be plenty of time afterwards to finish his Geometry...

Yawning, he changed into a pair of sleeping shorts and pulled his long hair into a loose ponytail. Climbing into bed, he gave the poster of Mizoguchi Komaru over his desk a critical glance before switching off the lamp and falling asleep.

You see, Setsuya's been a fan of Komaru's ever since Komaru first started singing. Of course, he was almost an instant success, so almost all his fans had been there from the beginning... anyway. Every year since then, Setsuya's fan-love' grew into a romantic desire that made him both happy and confused at the same time. The only other person who knows how he feels is Mitsuharu. She was the one who had finally convinced Setsuya to work up the courage to talk to Komaru face-to-face. But will he get that chance?...

~9:23 a. Miina Bookshop~

They have it, they have it! Mitsuharu squealed as she and Setsuya entered the bookshop the next morning. She pointed to a gaggle of girls clustered around a display of thick books. The Kondansha Best graphic novel - I've got to have it!

Setsuya smiled. All right, go battle them for a copy - I'm just going to browse.

He was talking to thin air. Mitsuharu had already vanished from his side and was fighting her way through the giggling girls. With a smile, Setsuya headed off to the back of the shop.

Ignoring the displays of shoujo and shounen manga, he made a beeline for the shelves of English literature. English was one of his best subjects, and he was proud of the fact that he was almost fluent in the language. To keep up on his practice, he liked reading books written in English.

The only other person in this part of the shop was a man down on one knee, browsing through the books on lower shelves. Setsuya barely spared him a glance, instead picking up an enormous collection of Shakespeare works and thumbing through it. But then the man got to his feet, tossing a long, brown braid back over his shoulder. The overhead lights flashed on a blue crystal the man wore around his neck on a leather thong.

Setsuya froze. His eyes widened as he realized who this man was, and the book slipped from his fingers, making an almighty bang as its hard spine hit the floor. Embarrassed, Setsuya ducked to grab it at the same time the other man did. Their fingers brushed - blushing furiously, Setsuya opened his mouth to apologize, and found himself looking into the green eyes of Mizoguchi Komaru.

Shakespeare, yes? Komaru said, smiling slightly and handing the book back. He's very good - did you ever read Hamlet?

Setsuya said shyly as they both stood. It was an assignment in my English class... at first I thought it was going to be really boring... but I liked it a l-lot...

Komaru smiled, the warmth not quite reaching his eyes. School takes all the fun out of reading things, doesn't it?

Setsuya blushed and nodded. Komaru studied him thoughtfully - he was a small, slender young man with long, strawberry-red hair, dressed in a pair of tight, patched jeans and a black t-shirt with a glittery heart on it. Actually kind of cute.

Say, kid - what's your name?

S-Setsuya. Arakawa Setsuya.

Komaru held out his hand. I'm Mizoguchi Komaru.

Yes, I know! I have all your CDs! I'm a huge fan - Setsuya blurted, but then bit his lip and pulled his hand out of Komaru's grasp. I-I'm sorry...

But the other man merely laughed. It's okay. I'm used to it by now. How old are you?

So you're nearly done high school?

Komaru smiled, glancing at his watch. That's cool... say, listen. I'd really like to talk to you some more... but I have to be somewhere in ten minutes. Would you like to go out sometime?

Setsuya gaped. Maybe it was just wishful thinking, but was Komaru asking him out... on a... date, maybe? He couldn't help but notice the way the singer's eyes kept straying downwards to his legs, and bit his lip - it was taking all his will to keep from staring at the tight leather trousers Komaru was wearing. Heart pounding, he tried his best to keep his voice steady.

Do you mean... like... a date?

Komaru shrugged, his eyes sparkling. Maybe I do. If you don't mind guys, that is.

Well, rumours confirmed - nearly all of Komaru's fans speculated that he was gay or at least bisexual. Setsuya found it hard to swallow. Before he really realized what he was doing, he was nodding. No- I don't mind - I mean, I'd like to go out with you -

Meet me in front of this bookshop Thursday afternoon at four, Komaru murmured. And here -

He reached behind him and untied the leather cord around his neck. He handed it to Setsuya, whose eyes widened at the sight of the blue crystal strung on the cord. Komaru smiled.

Wear it... so you don't forget, he said, before brushing past the awestruck teenager and striding out of the shop.

Setsuya stared mutely after him, the crystal necklace in one hand, the Shakespeare book still clutched to his chest. It didn't seem real... had the Mizoguchi Komaru asked him out, and given Setsuya the necklace that was his trademark?

He pinched himself. It hurt a lot, ruling out the possibility of it being a dream. With trembling hands, Setsuya tied the necklace on and slipped it under his shirt, unwilling for anyone to see it at the moment. The crystal was still warm from lying against Komaru's skin, and as Setsuya put a shaking hand against the small lump under his shirt, he felt a timid yet unmistakable tremor of lust in the pit of his stomach.

Suddenly feeling happier than he could ever remember being, Setsuya hugged the Shakespeare book to his chest and headed up to the front of the store to pay for it, and find his best friend. Even the thought of the Geometry homework he had to do when he got home couldn't squash the bubble of joy welling up inside him.

To Be Continued...

The Making Of - Mizoguchi Komaru

There wasn't really an inspiration or model' for the character; he was sort of a blend of characters, I suppose. The story as a whole was largely inspired by the anime Gravitation' and the British film Velvet Goldmine'. Komaru was not the original main character; I had planned on Setsuya being the star. But a short while before beginning to write I decided to switch their roles.
For Komaru, his looks are entirely spur-of-the-moment, no consideration put into it at all. I just started drawing, and after a few changes and additions, I wound up with this guy with a long brown braid, funky striped trousers, and a cigarette. The braid makes him look a little like Duo from Gundam Wing', which is sad, since I don't like Gundam Wing at all.
Komaru's character is meant to be how I feel some entertainers must feel when they're alone; very moody and depressed. There's an educated side of him too, to add some interest and depth, and to show that not all musicians are only interested in drugs and sex.