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, yaoi (m/m) content. Nothing graphic.

Note: All full names are written in the traditional Japanese format of Family Name-First Name.

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~*Glitter*~

Episode 12 - Confrontations, Part 2 - Komaru and Setsuya

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Komaru-kun, I -

Shh. I know you already know about... everything I did. But it's time you heard it from my perspective, okay?

Setsuya leaned into his embrace and sighed.

I'll probably only be able to say this once. his lover sighed softly. It's particularly painful to talk about, you understand? I'll tell you everything, but please don't interrupt me. You can ask me anything you like at the end.

Komaru drew a deep breath. I suppose... I should start with Mom and Dad. My adoptive parents. They were everything a kid could want, you know? They supported me in anything I wanted to do. I knew Dad had always wanted a great athlete in the family - but sports wasn't my thing, theater and chorus were - but he was proud of me anyway. Mom too. They sacrificed a lot for me... Mom used to tell me I was their miracle. They couldn't have kids, so adopting me was the best thing that could have happened to them.

When they died... it was almost like I died with them. A part of me, anyway. I loved them so much... they were on their way to see a friend, then wham, bam, along comes a drunk bastard in a tractor-trailer and it's all over. He lit a cigarette. Usaji took over after that. A month after my parents died, I found myself a pop star in the making. But then, he probably already told you about that... For two years, it was all I could think about - I didn't see any reason to keep on living. My career didn't make a whit of difference as far as I was concerned - teen idols are a dime-a-dozen - so I... decided it was time to... to die. His voice wavered; Setsuya squeezed his hand. I OD'd on sleeping pills. The doctors brought me around in the end. I suppose it was for the best, though I certainly didn't feel that way at the time. The doctors recommended a psychiatrist, Usaji backed them up, and as soon as I got out of the hospital I was stuck seeing a quack every week.

He scowled, tapping his cigarette over the ashtray. I hated that piece of sh- I mean, that jerk. He kept asking ridiculous questions about my family, had I ever been abused by my parents, had I ever tried to kill anyone besides myself, was I prone to violent sexual fantasies - truly stupid stuff. I couldn't take his shit anymore, and I canceled the appointments. Lied to Usaji about it, but he never punished me for it. Never even mentioned it, but I knew he knew I had lied.

That's around the time I discovered alcohol. I was an up-and-coming star; no one asked any questions. It was easy to get what I wanted. I'd get so drunk I couldn't even see straight. I can't even remember half of what happened to me. I'd have a few drinks before a show, then I'd really go to town afterward. It got to the point where I couldn't even keep track of who I'd slept with each night. Guy or girl, didn't matter - if it had a pulse, screw it. The whole point, for me, was just to drink and drink until I couldn't feel any more pain. Until I was completely numb.

I probably would have been dead from alcohol poisoning or something before too long, if Usaji hadn't stepped in to save my ass again. He wanted me to stop. I told him I didn't have a problem. We fought it out for nearly six hours - screaming at each other. I kept hurling bottles at him and kicking the furniture. he chuckled dryly. The bill came to almost 80,000 yen, I think. But after all that, I realised he was right. I didn't want to live that way anymore. I begged him to help me. Got right down on my knees and did it. I went into rehab. I was there for nearly a year, sobering up.

You know why I did this to myself? Because I thought no one wanted me. My real parents had given me up just hours after I had been born; my adoptive parents went off and died on me. There was no one else in the world who cared for me - even my own brother hated my guts. I was too oblivious to see that Usaji cared for me, very much - he's never been just my manager'. He's tried his best to fill in as a family for me - I just won't let him. Komaru stubbed out his cigarette and wiped his eyes on the blanket. Look at me - I'm crying over this. It's old history, but it hurts. Hurts so bad I can barely stand it.

Setsuya hugged him tighter and kissed him. If you weren't crying, I'd worry. Tears were shining in Setsuya's eyes as well. Komaru-kun -

His lover kissed him softly. Shh. Let me finish. He wiped his eyes again and drew a shuddery breath.

No, don't, Setsuya protested, suddenly alarmed. If it's that bad, you can't -

Don't tell me what I can and can't do, Komaru said, a little sharper than he had intended. He sighed. You need to hear it. Don't you see? I should have told you everything a long, long time ago. But I was afraid. Scared you'd be horrified, disgusted, and leave me. I couldn't lose you. I was half in love with you after meeting you in that bookshop, and by the time our first date was over, I was head over heels. To lose you on top of everything else... if that happened, I would've thrown myself into Tokyo Bay and just be done with it.

Anyway... Germany. I suppose Usaji told you I tried to kill myself a few other times after getting out of rehab, but those times were nothing compared to this. I didn't even think of taking a vacation', like I've been doing for the past year or so whenever things get too much to handle. I wasn't thinking of Usaji, or you, or anything. I was just thinking... I don't know what I was thinking. The only thing I can remember thinking is that if I was dead, at least I'd see my parents again... I can't even remember where I got the gun. Stole it, probably. I just wanted to put a bullet in my head and end it all. No more pain.

Setsuya trembled slightly, his imagination spinning images of Komaru and his gun against his will. Komaru felt him tremble and held him tighter, wrapping the blanket more securely around them. Usaji saved me again. I shot him. He bled like a stuck pig. That snapped me out of it. I ran for the phone and called for help. he sighed. And after all that, Usaji still stuck up for me. He kept everything under wraps as best he could. The tabloids are experts at making people look bad, but even they don't know how bad this was. The rumours and mostly made-up stories they print are bad enough. I was amazed Mother even came to see me. But then, I guess she figured her depressed kid needed some help.

Komaru-kun... why... why did you... try again? Setsuya whispered, unable to hold back the question he had been wanting to ask for a long time.

Komaru closed his eyes. It's not Mother's fault. Not at all. I'm so happy she bothered to come and tell me everything... but there are just some things I can't get around. Like the story of my conception, for example. How do you think I felt, hearing that my father was a low-down scumbag who took advantage of a girl too young to understand what was going on? To know I'm the child of a pedophile? To think I'm... I could be like him... I don't want to be like him... I couldn't... live with it. I wanted to die. I wanted to kill myself, so I would never end up like - like him!

Setsuya stroked Komaru's head as his lover began to weep, holding Setsuya so tight the redhead found bruises on his skin the next day, trying to soothe him. Minutes passed in silence, broken only by Komaru's sobs. Setsuya shut his eyes, tears flowing silently down his own cheeks as well. He couldn't begin to imagine how badly Komaru had hurt at times, or how badly he was hurting now. He felt a sudden, burning hatred for Komaru's father, whoever he was, wherever he was, for making his own son's life so miserable... to have a father Komaru hated so much that the only choice seemed to be to kill himself and end a life born of rape... it was a thousand times worse than anyone would ever know.

After a very long time, Komaru's tears slowly trickled to a stop; the shoulder of Setsuya's t-shirt was soaked clear through, but he couldn't have cared less. He stroked his lover's hair and kissed his forehead, trying to calm him. Komaru was still trembling, his breath coming in small hitches and gasps.

Komaru-kun... why don't you lie down? Setsuya asked gently, his fingers running through the singer's long, glossy hair. I'll get you a glass of water, okay?

Komaru whispered. No, don't leave me. Stay here. Please.

Setsuya murmured. It's okay, my love, I won't go anywhere. He placed a small kiss on the tip of Komaru's nose. I promise.

Komaru nuzzled his neck. I want...

What do you want?

I... want to make love. Komaru whispered. Please. I need... I need to be as close to you as I can right now.

Setsuya smiled slightly. I know. Forget about the bad things for a little while, all right? Just for a little while, he murmured, settling himself back on the pillows and allowing Komaru to undress him.

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A week after his son had cried and bared his innermost soul to his lover, Tomoe Akira was leaving his hotel for a walk. He decided a leisurely stroll would be a fine idea at this time of day. Humming to himself, he bought a newspaper and scanned the headlines as he headed vaguely for his favourite coffee shop.

He was in a much more cheerful mood today than he had been all week. He had spent the week calling everyone he could think of, asking for the whereabouts of Yamazaki Shukuko, only to turn up nothing. Nobody seemed to know her. The only glimmer of hope he had received was from one of his old colleagues in Kyoto, an old woman named Hisakawa. Ms. Hisakawa had told him that she remembered Shukuko leaving school around the same time Akira himself had transferred to Europe, but after that, no one knew what had happened to her. To be perfectly honest, that wasn't much help, but at least it cemented Akira's belief that Shukuko had been pregnant. Why else would an intelligent, promising girl like that drop out?

But since the conversation with Ms. Hisakawa on Tuesday, there had been nothing else. Akira had been becoming increasingly frustrated, but today, he had an odd sense that something good was going to happen. Something very good.

He tucked into the coffee and eggs he had ordered, surveying the other customers in the shop. A few eyed him as well; they obviously were fans of his books. He ignored them, instead casting an appraising eye on the young waitresses in their short skirts.

A tap on his shoulder made him look around in annoyance. A young man with long, caramel-coloured hair was standing beside him, dressed in a ridiculously tight combination of leather and satin. He looked like a fruit, and Akira opened his mouth to tell him to get lost, when the young man slid onto the stool behind him and said, I hear you're looking for a woman named Shukuko.

Akira blinked. He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and peered suspiciously at the young man. How do you know that?

He smirked. I have my ways. Idane Hiroshi, he introduced himself, smiling. It was a vaguely unpleasant smile, but Akira ignored it. You're going about this all wrong. Her name's Nagai now, not Yamazaki.

She's married? Akira asked sharply.

Hell, no. She changed her name after she had two kids.

Take it easy, Pops. Only one is yours.

How do you know this? Akira asked angrily.

Easy, don't bust a blood vessel or five. I happen to be a good friend of her other son. Shukuko-san came to tea the other night. I was the one who picked her up. I can tell you where she's staying.

Akira raised an eyebrow.

Not anymore. She moved off someplace else after giving her kids away, and as far as I know she hasn't returned to Kyoto since then. But she's here in Tokyo now. Visiting your son.

His son? His son? Akira was stunned. What do you mean, my son?

Haven't I mentioned it? Oh, how silly of me, Hiroshi smirked. Your son's none other than mega-popular, mega-depressed pop idol Mizoguchi Komaru. Don't tell me you never knew?

Of course I didn't! Akira hissed, resisting an urge to throttle the young man. If I had known... I could have gotten to them a long time ago... where do they live? Tell me!

Hey, now - I think I've told you everything I can for free, Hiroshi said casually, buffing his nails on his shirt. Anything you want now's going to cost you a fairish chunk.

If looks could kill, Hiroshi wouldn't have lived to spend another night in Rain's bed. Akira's gaze could have melted steel, but Hiroshi didn't flinch or look away. He just looked back at Akira, smiling, until the older man opened his wallet and thrust some money into his hand. Now can you help me?

Sure, Pops. Hiroshi took a pen out of his pocket and scribbled something down on a napkin, which he handed over. There you go. Nice doing business with you. He got to his feet and departed.

Akira scanned the address on the napkin, a slow smile spreading beneath his moustache. The Takimoto building? He slipped some money under his half-eaten plate of eggs and stood, straightening his tie and strolling out the door.

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Setsuya was lying upside-down on the couch, playing video games (I don't quite know how he managed that) while Komaru read the newspaper. Shukuko was flitting around with a dustcloth, completely oblivious to Komaru's protests. She had insisted on tidying up', and while some might have gotten up to do it themselves, Komaru seemed to feel it was better just to let her do her thing. Shukuko's hobby was cleaning; Komaru couldn't remember his penthouse ever being as clean as it was now that his mother was living with him. She was better than the building's entire cleaning crew.

The doorbell rang. Shukuko hurried to answer it, smiling brilliantly as she opened the door. They had been expecting Mitsuharu.

But her smile died quickly. Standing at the door was a tall, broad-shouldered man with black hair, a bushy moustache, and glasses. He was dressed in a very nice suit that must have cost a lot of money, smiling politely, a newspaper rolled up under one arm. Shukuko took a step back, too frightened to make a sound. It was him... him... he had found her, even after everything she had done to make sure that couldn't happen. Terror clenched around her heart like an iron fist.

Akira surveyed her as she stood stock-still, like a deer in the headlights, her hand still on the doorknob. She was slightly taller than she had been at fourteen, but not by much; her hair was still long, but she wore it in a ponytail rather than pigtails. The cute sailor fuku had been abandoned in favour of a dark blue kimono and pink obi decorated with silver butterflies; she looked older, but there was no mistaking those wide, beautiful blue eyes.

Mother? Who is it? A young man joined Shukuko at the door, obviously curious over the lack of conversation. He was tall and slender, within an inch of Akira's height, wearing a tight t-shirt and a holey old pair of jeans. His hair was the same shade of brown as Shukuko's, and nearly twice as long, pulled back in a braid. But it was his eyes that struck Akira the most, as they narrowed suspiciously - he had seen those eyes enough times in his own mirror, emerald-green and framed by long lashes. This was him. Komaru. His son.

Akira smiled brightly. Shukuko, darling. It's been too long, hasn't it? Aren't you going to invite me in?

To Be Continued...

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The Making Of - Tomoe Akira

Who better to bring drama and excitement to a story than a big, scary, rich dad. How about a big, scary, rich dad who's determined to find you and the woman who bore you, and do whatever it takes to keep you both by his side for as long as possible? Brrrr. I get chills thinking about it.
Akira was another person created during the writing of the story. I like how these people just keep springing up from the depths of my imagination. Makes the story more interesting. Anyway. Design-wise, I've always thought that very large men with lots of facial hair are VERY scary. (Just look at Hagrid!) To tame his look a bit and make him look more like a professor/author, I gave him a neat haircut, glasses, and a suit, and I cut back on the facial hair. Akira is the kind of guy who, when he smiles, makes you want to run instead of smiling back. You know, those scary people that always seem to have bad things on their minds. The ones whose smiles never reach their eyes... brrr. Creepy Guy Overload.