Time seemed to stretch on for an eternity after Ryo had dropped his bombshell. After what felt like hours, Yasu finally managed to open his mouth and utter a tiny, “What?”
“Subaru didn’t quit Revolver. It wasn’t his choice. Ohkura kicked him out.” Ryo watched Yasu’s reaction, trying to gauge whether or not the shorter boy knew anything.
“But why?” Yasu asked, searching Ryo’s face for some type of answer.
Ryo shook his head in reply. “It’s not my business to tell you that.”
Yasu, beginning to feel frustrated by the situation, plopped down onto the floor. “I really didn’t know. Ohkura told me that Subaru quit.”
Ryo leaned against a shelf, staring down at the distressed Yasuda with sympathy. “Yasuda?”
“Hmm?” Yasu looked up at the tan boy.
“Are you serious about being friends with Subaru?”
Yasu nodded enthusiastically. “Of course.”
“Did you really not know anything about this?” Ryo sighed.
“I didn’t. How could I? Ohkura only told me what he wanted me to know.” Yasu sighed too, wondering what he was going to do about the entire situation. He loved being in the band, and his friendship with Ohkura up until this point had been precious to him.
He didn’t want to quit the band, and he didn’t want to lose Ohkura as a friend. But he wondered whether he would be able to continue being in the band guilt free when Subaru had been kicked out. And he couldn’t just ignore the fact that Ohkura had taken away something precious from Subaru.
“I have to go find Ohkura.” Yasu stood up, picking up his school bag with a determined look on his face.
“Yasu,” Ryo grabbed his arm as he tried to leave. “Wait.”
Yasu stood in place for a moment, looking completely distressed.
“I think you should hear Subaru’s side before you go running off to Ohkura,” Ryo pleaded and when Yasu nodded in agreement, Ryo disappeared into the stock room to coax Subaru into reappearing.
Yasuda leaned against the counter, straining to hear the conversation taking place behind the door at the back of the shop. He could not catch the conversation, but Subaru’s upset tone was loud enough to reach his ears.
He signed, wondering if it was too late to salvage their blossoming friendship. Subaru thought that Ohkura had sent him. Although he was friends with the drummer, he couldn’t help but think about how Ohkura had betrayed Subaru. And he couldn’t ignore the feeling that he, too, had been betrayed by Ohkura as well.
The more that Yasuda thought about it, the angry he was becoming. Then he felt bad for getting angry, because it so seldom happened to him.
He was so lost in his thoughts when Ryo finally emerged from the stock room a few moments later. “He won’t listen to anything I have to say. Maybe you should go talk to him.”
But Yasu shook his head. “He’s mad at me. If he won’t listen to you then he definitely won’t listen to me.”
Ryo walked towards Yasuda, a pleading look on his face. “Please. Just talk to him. Ohkura was once his friend and he was betrayed. You can’t blame him for thinking you had ulterior motives. But if you don’t talk to him now he’s just going to think that you were betraying him too. Please, Yasu.”
The shorter boy looked torn. He was afraid of Subaru yelling at him again. But even more than that he was afraid that Subaru would have the wrong idea about his intentions regarding their friendship. So he nodded to Ryo, walking slowly and nervously towards the stock room.
When he got to the door, he saw Subaru’s back as the boy crouched in a corner. “Subaru-kun?” Yasu asked quietly, and his voice came out barely above a whisper.
“Go away,” Subaru said, his voice muffled.
Yasuda took a deep breath and stepped into the store room. “Can we talk first?”
“There isn’t anything to talk about,” Subaru replied, his voice still muffled as he pressed his face against the long sleeves of his shirt.
Yasu crossed the room and crouched down next to Subaru, placing a hand on his shoulder. When Subaru didn’t make a move to push him away, Yasu continued. “Subaru, I really didn’t know anything. Ohkura told me that you quit the band.”
Subaru didn’t say anything in reply and didn’t lift his head, but Yasu knew that he was listening.
“If I had known you’d gotten kicked out, I wouldn’t have said anything to you today. I’m sure the band was a precious thing to you. Ohkura took that away and you’ve been miserable ever since. I’m sorry for bringing it up.”
The silence stretched on and Yasu worried over what else he could say. He had inadvertently messed up any chance he had at being friends with Subaru. And now that he better understood why Subaru was so lonely, he felt sick to his stomach and ashamed for being so insensitive. “I didn’t mean for you to get the wrong idea about anything I said earlier. I’m sorry. Subaru, I still want to be friends with you. ”
Subaru finally looked up then, “Isn’t it easier to just leave me alone? Why are you trying so hard?”
“Because everyone needs friends, Subaru. And I like you…”
“It won’t work. We can’t be friends, Yasu.”
“Why not?” Yasu questioned, his hand still resting on Subaru’s shoulder.
“Because you’re friends with Ohkura. You’re in the band that used to be mine.”
His grip on Subaru’s shoulder tightened. “I already told you that I don’t care about that. What happened in the past is in the past. I’m allowed to be friends with whoever I want. I’ll go talk to Ohkura, okay?”
Subaru shook his head. “You can’t be friends with us both. He’ll make you choose.”
“Subaru,” Yasu began, and his voice came out angrier and more forceful than he had planned. “Do you want to be friends?”
Subaru hesitated, but nodded his head after a few moments.
“Then I’m going to go talk to Ohkura.” Yasu stood up and turned to walk away.
Subaru reached out and grabbed Yasuda’s hand, stopping dead in his tracks. “Promise me that you won’t change your mind. No matter what Ohkura tells you, please don’t change your mind.”
Yasuda nodded, smiling down at Subaru. “What could he possibly tell me that would make me change my mind?”
The long haired boy looked away from him then, giving no reply to his question.
“Why don’t you just tell me what happened?” Yasu asked, but Subaru shook his head immediately. A silence stretched over the room again. And after the silence became unbearable and it was clear that he was not going to get any type of answers from Subaru, he continued, “Do you know where Ohkura lives?”
Subaru stood up and left the stockroom. Outside, Ryo tried to busy himself dusting shelves, but it was clear to both of them that he had been listening in on their conversation. Subaru grabbed a piece of paper and a pen from behind the desk, jotting down instructions to Ohkura’s house.
Yasu smiled when Subaru handed over the paper. “I’ll be back. Wait for me, okay?”
Subaru nodded, and a goofy grin stretched across Ryo’s face, “You two are so cute.”
Yasuda smiled at the comment, and Subaru looked away grumbling about what an idiot his friend was. As humorous as the exchange was to Yasu, he had to leave. He waved to the two boys at the counter, hurrying from the store.
He stared down at the piece of paper, marked with Subaru’s messy handwriting. The directions were complicated, and he would have to take switch trains twice to get to where Ohkura lived.
As he sat on the train, speeding across Osaka, he wondered why Ohkura went to a school so far away from where he lived. And when he walked through Ohkura’s neighborhood, he wondered why his friend was going to a such a crummy school.
The directions that Subaru had written down led to a neighborhood of posh homes, hidden behind large walls and secured from intruders behind gates. If Ohkura really lived here, then he had to be filthy rich. And Yasu’s eyebrows shot up in disbelief as he stopped outside of a gate with a stone plaque that read ‘Ohkura’.
He pressed the button on the intercom attached to the gate. After a brief moment a voice came over, “Can I help you with something.”
“I’m a classmate of Tadayoshi. Can I speak to him please?”
“Tadayoshi-Bocchan isn’t allowed to have friends over on school nights.”
“It’s very important,” Yasuda began, thinking about how strange it was that his friend lived in a home where he was called bocchan.
“Yasu?” He heard a deep voice behind him, and when he turned around, he saw that a dark car had pulled up, and Ohkura had the window rolled down, his head sticking out. “What are you doing here?”
“I needed to talk to you,” Yasu replied moving aside as the gate opened for the car to pass through.
He walked behind the car, following it into the grounds, and Yasu paused, looking up at his friend’s house in astonishment.
Ohkura stood beside him, “It’s not as big inside as it looks.”
That shook Yasu from his thoughts. “I need to talk to you.”
“How did you know where I live?” Ohkura asked, ignoring Yasu’s statement and walking towards the house.
“I got the directions from Subaru.”
Ohkura stopped dead in his tracks. “I thought we talked about that already. You shouldn’t hang around with that guy.”
“You lied to me,” Yasu said, loudly, cutting off whatever Ohkura was going to say next.
“Is everything okay, bocchan?” One of the servants asked, taking Tadayoshi’s school bag from him.
“Yes,” He spoke calmly.
“Dinner will be ready shortly.”
“I’ll take dinner later. I have something I need to discuss with my classmate right now.” Ohkura spoke calmly, completely ignoring how angry Yasuda was as he led him up the stairs to his bedroom.
Yasuda was trying very hard to keep calm and not yell at Ohkura, but the tall boy’s cool attitude did nothing to appease his anger. When Ohkura closed his bedroom door, Yasu spun around on him, spitting out, “Why did you lie to me about Subaru?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ohkura said, sitting on his bed and picking up a magazine.
“Subaru didn’t quit the band. You kicked him out.”
“Oh,” Ohkura smiled. “Yeah, that’s true.”
Yasu was about to explode at Ohkura, to demand how he could be so calm about the situation when he had really hurt Subaru. But there was a knock on the door then and someone entered the room.
“Bocchan, you have taiko practice in thirty minutes and then your father is having business partners over for dinner so you need to get ready for that.” The servant looked over at Yasuda, clearly expecting him to leave.
“I’ll be ready. Now leave us alone.” Ohkura turned away from the door, dismissing the man.
“But you need to start on your homework,” the man looked distressed that he was being dismissed so easily.
“I’ll get it done,” Ohkura spoke sharply and the man left immediately then.
A silence fell over the room and the interruption had made Yasuda completely forget why he had been so mad in the first place.
“As you can see, my life is pretty controlled,” Ohkura began, standing up and pacing the room. “I don’t have any say in anything. Where I go, who I’m with, what I do… none of it is my own choice.”
Yasu, although still mad, was beginning to feel slightly bad for Ohkura. If this is what life was like for him, every detail planned, and every aspect completely out of his control, he could imagine how miserable Ohkura must feel.
“There’s one thing in my life that I have control over, that gives me at least a little hope that my life won’t always be this way. And that’s Revolver. When I’m playing my drums, performing in front of a crowd, that’s the only time in my life I can remember feeling happy. And I think that maybe someday, it’ll be my ticket to getting out of this kind of life.” Ohkura’s face dropped, and the tall boy turned away before Yasu could tell how sad he was.
“I’m sure Subaru made me out to be the bad guy,” Ohkura continued. “I don’t know what he told you, but I am positive that he conveniently left out that he was the reason why we lost Rikiya.”
Yasu remembered then, Subaru’s plea not to change his mind, no matter what he heard from Ohkura. And he didn’t know who to trust in the situation as Ohkura continued.
“You’re surprised, right? Subaru probably didn’t tell you that it’s his fault Rikiya left the group. Without Rikiya we couldn’t perform in any gigs, we had to drop out of competitions, and I had no idea what was going to happen to us. I did what I had to. I told Subaru to leave the group. He’d ruined us anyway.”
“But,” Yasu began, still trying to decide who he would side with. “What did he do to Rikiya?”
Ohkura smiled, “You really want to know?”
Yasu nodded his head, although he was hesitant over whether or not he really did want to know. Would whatever Ohkura was about to tell him change his mind?
“Tadayoshi,” they were interrupted again, and when Yasu looked over there was a man, heavier and balder than Ohkura but with a similar face, standing in the doorway. “Your classmate needs to leave.”
Ohkura stood up, patting Yasu’s shoulder. “I’ll talk to you later.”
And as Ohkura walked out with his father, Yasuda found himself being led out of the house by a servant. He walked down the drive, and out onto the street, still wondering about what Subaru had down to make Rikiya leave the band.
He couldn’t decide what to think about the entire situation. The more he tried to understand, the more confused he became and the more complicated his situation became.
On the one hand there was Subaru. He had his band taken away from him by Ohkura. Not only that, but he had lost his friends, his popularity, his happiness. He couldn’t even begin to imagine how lonely Subaru must feel living like he was.
And then there was Ohkura, who also suddenly seemed so lonely. Every aspect of his life was so closely monitored and controlled that the band was the only thing that meant happiness for him. Yasuda really couldn’t blame him for trying to keep together the one thing in his life that meant something. And perhaps Ohkura had good reason to kick Subaru out.
If he was forced to choose between Ohkura and Subaru, he didn’t know what he would do. And as he entered his house, climbed the stairs and plopped down mentally exhausted onto his mattress, he forgot that a few blocks away, Shibutani Subaru was nervously waiting for him to return.
A/N: Not at all happy with this chapter, but the next one will be better. And everything will finally (probably) be revealed. *runs away*