When Yasu woke up the next morning, he had the distinct feeling that there was something important that he was forgetting. And it wasn’t until after he had gotten dressed, eaten breakfast and put on his shoes to leave that he remembered the important thing he had forgotten.
When he did remember, he raced from his house to school, pausing only outside the music shop on the tiny chance that Subaru was still there waiting. He knew the chances he would still be there were slim, and he felt relieved when he passed and the lights inside were off. Yasu would feel unbelievably guilty if Subaru had been waiting for him all night.
The closer he got to school, the less guilty he began to feel. He would immediately apologize to Subaru, of course, for not showing up as promised the previous night. Subaru would understand, if he explained, and then they could talk about Rikiya and why he left.
But when Yasu got to the classroom, Subaru was not there. So Yasuda set down his bag, searched the halls, the school yard, and the bathrooms for any sign of him. And when the bell rang, signaling students to their classrooms, Yasu noticed that Subaru’s shoe cubby was still empty.
Throughout class, Yasu couldn’t pay attention to anything that Murakami was trying to teach the class. Instead, he spent his time between staring guiltily at Subaru’s desk and longingly looking out the window in the off chance that a late Subaru would be coming to school.
But by the time lunch had rolled around and Subaru had still not showed up, Yasuda Shota felt sick to his stomach. Inside, he was alternately beating himself up for forgetting to return the previous night and trying to convince himself that Subaru’s absence had nothing to do with the fact that Yasu had ditched him.
“Coming to lunch?” Maru asked, waving his hand in front of Yasu’s face.
“Huh?” Yasu broke out of his trance, looking up at Maru’s concerned face. “Oh, yeah.” He stood and followed Maru from the classroom. “But what about Ohkura-kun?”
“Ohkura is going to study in the library during lunch today,” Maru replied, walking beside Yasu. “Are you okay today?”
Yasu nodded. Then shook his head. “I actually have a question…”
Yasuda hesitated. He knew that Rikiya and Subaru were touchy topics with Ohkura and Maru. His friendships with Ohkura and Subaru were already on shaky ground and Yasuda didn’t want to scare Maruyama away too. “Um, it’s about Subaru…”
“Oh,” Maru looked over his shoulder, as though checking to make sure Ohkura wasn’t sneaking up on him. “What about him?”
They had arrived at the cafeteria by then, and Maru led him to their usual table. Ishigaki was already there waiting for him, and as Maru took his seat he leaned over the table towards Yasu.
“Well, Ohkura told me that it was Subaru’s fault that Rikiya left…”
Ishigaki looked at Yasuda with wide eyes and then his eyes darted around the cafeteria as though, he too, was paranoid that Ohkura could hear them.
“Well,” Maru began, tilting his head to the side, deep in thought.
“It’s true,” Ishigaki started, and when Maru shot him a look, he guiltily mumbled, “Well, it is.”
Yasuda sighed. This was exactly what he had been afraid of. Subaru was hurt about the whole thing, he was sure of that much. But it also seemed like Subaru was is in the wrong the entire time.
Maru spoke up again, “I don’t know, to be honest. The whole thing was weird…”
Yasuda looked up then, “What do you mean?”
“Well,” Maru began. “It happened a couple months ago. Rikiya would be graduating soon and there was already a lot of tension in the band over what was going to happen after he graduated. He’d never announced any plans to leave, so we figured that we would work something out.”
Yasu listened intently, leaning across the table. Maru’s voice was barely over a whisper, perhaps because he was still worried about Ohkura overhearing their conversation.
Maruyama continued, “We had a couple of big competitions coming up, but all of a sudden, Rikiya stopped showing up to practices and Subaru was always guiltily moping around the practice room. And then Rikiya started avoiding us completely. He wouldn’t sit with us at lunch, or if he saw us coming he would make an excuse to leave.
“It was weird because Subaru and Rikiya had always been close. From the time they met, you could tell that they would be best friends. They both loved music and that led to them starting Revolver together. They worked so well together too. Rikiya would compose all the melodies, and Subaru would write these amazing lyrics…”
Yasu remembered then the lyric sheet that Subaru had left on his desk, and he felt bad for the long haired boy. He had no band, no best friend, no happiness. Music and lyric writing were the only things he had left, and the sadness he must have been feeling leaked into that as well.
“So Ohkura figured out that something must have happened between Subaru and Rikiya. When Ohkura brought it up with Subaru, though, he would just ignore the question. Or get mad and leave. So we decided that if Subaru wouldn’t tell us, we’d have to get it out of Rikiya.
So we waited until Subaru wasn’t around and cornered Rikiya after school one day. Well, when he finally told us what happened, we were shocked…” Maru looked over at Ishigaki.
Ishigaki poked at his bento, deep in thought.
Yasu sighed, annoyed that Maru ended the story at that point. “So what happened?”
Maru tilted his head again, “Well, this is where it gets weird in my opinion. Rikiya told us that Subaru just… confessed. Out of nowhere he tells Rikiya he’s in love with him.”
Yasu dropped his chopsticks, shocked.
Maru nodded, noting Yasuda’s expression. “Yeah. That’s exactly how we felt. I mean, they were best friends, right? I don’t know what Subaru was thinking!”
And Yasu remembered the lyrics on Subaru’s desk once more. The song about unrequited love. And things were starting to fall in place. “So that’s when Rikiya decided he was going to leave Revolver?”
Maruyama nodded again. “Yeah. I mean, he couldn’t really stay with Subaru there, could he? It would be too weird.”
Ishigaki nodded in agreement. “Well, when Ohkura found out he was pissed. I don’t think he originally planned on kicking Subaru out.”
“Right,” Maruyama nodded in agreement. “He was just going to try to talk Subaru into making Rikiya stay. But Subaru refused. He told Ohkura that it was Rikiya’s choice and he had nothing to do with it.”
“So then we had to pull out of a bunch of competitions because Rikiya was gone. We didn’t have a lead guitarist. And that’s when Ohkura kicked Subaru out,” Ishigaki continued where Maru had left off. “I mean, he was so mad. He didn’t even ask us or anything. If it was up to me, I would have let Subaru stay…”
Maru nodded. “Right? I mean, Rikiya was replaceable obviously,” he waved his hand at Yasu. “You’re just as good, if not better, than Rikiya. But Subaru… he was one of a kind. Not that any of us are bad singers, but Subaru…” he trailed off again.
Ishigaki nodded profusely. “He’s impossible to replace.”
“Are you guys talking about me?” A voice asked from behind them, and when they turned around, Ohkura was standing behind them.
“NO!” Maru and Ishigaki both shouted simultaneously.
Ohkura smiled, taking a seat next to Yasuda. “So then that means you were, right?”
“Well,” Yasu began, looking slightly guilty. “We were actually talking about Subaru-kun.”
“Ah,” Ohkura said, the smile still not leaving his face. “Did you find out what you wanted to know?”
Yasuda nodded his head, “Mostly. I think.”
Ishigaki and Maru exchanged nervous glances. “Relax, you two,” Ohkura laughed. “It was stupid of me to try to keep it from Yasu. I should have known that he’d be curious. And if I told him in the first place, he probably wouldn’t have gone to Subaru for answers…”
“He talked to Subaru?” Maru asked, looking back and forth between Yasu and Ohkura.
“It seems that way. Speaking of Subaru, looks like he skipped today…”
Yasu stared down guiltily at the table, thinking about what he had done to Subaru. Now that he had heard the whole story, he would be lying if he said that his feelings hadn’t changed. Subaru seemed nice enough, but no matter how Yasu looked at it, he wasn’t guiltless in the whole thing.
A person’s feelings were important, and Yasu understood that. But he had never been in love before so he couldn’t understand what would make Subaru risk his friendship and his band on the slim chance that Rikiya might feel the same way.
Matters weren’t helped once he realized that things had been smoothed out between him and Ohkura. Of course, he could see that Ohkura had acted a little rashly in kicking Subaru out of the band. Even Maru and Ishigaki could see that. But his reasons for doing so were clear. And in a way, he admired Ohkura for so fiercely protecting Revolver.
So he tried to push Subaru and all of the guilt he was feeling far from his mind, finally realizing that he had chosen Ohkura and the band.
After band practice, Yasu was starting to feel much better than he had when he left the house that morning. Things were finally starting to come together with the band. Yasu had composed a new song, and although a lead singer had not yet been chosen, he was coming close to finishing lyrics for the song.
On the way home, Yasu thought, once more about Subaru sitting alone in the music shop the previous night. The guilt bit at him a little more then, and he quickly shook it off. Was there anything to really feel guilty about? Subaru was used to being alone, and being ignored by others. Surely he hadn’t waited around for Yasu to return.
He considered taking a different way home to avoid the store, but curiosity got the better of him. So he decided that passing and just peaking in to see if Subaru was there wouldn’t hurt anything.
When he got close to the shop, he slowed down his pace, just so that he could peak inside and then he was on his way. But as he drew closer, his heart started beating faster, because someone was standing outside, leaving against the wall.
He breathed a sigh of relief when he noticed it was just Ryo. But his relief was quickly extinguished as Ryo also glanced in his direction, a look of fury crossing his face as soon as he caught sight of Yasuda.
“Oi!” Ryo shouted, pushing himself off of the wall he was leaning against and stalking towards Yasu. “I need to talk with you.”
“Eh?” Yasu instinctively backed up a few steps, frightened by the look on the usually quiet boy’s face.
Ryo grabbed his arm, dragging him down the street back towards the music shop. When he managed to angrily yank the door open, he pushed a very scared Yasuda inside.
“Where’s Subaru?” Yasu asked, suddenly very scared to be alone with Ryo.
“Why don’t you tell me?” Ryo spit out at Yasu. “He called in sick to work today…”
“Oh,” Yasu sighed. “He’s sick? That’s a relief.”
Ryo smiled, and it wasn’t a friendly smile. His grin grew wider when he saw Yasu swallow hard, backing up against a wall. “He’s not sick, you asshole.”
Yasu whimpered a little when he realized he had nowhere to go as Ryo continued advancing towards him.
“He waited for you for hours last night,” Ryo growled out. “Because you told him to. And then you just decide not to come? I should beat the shit out of you…”
“I’m sorry.” And Yasu flinched as Ryo grabbed at the collar of his school uniform jacket.
“It’s not me who you should be apologizing to,” Ryo raised Yasu from the wall, slamming him back into it.
Yasu flinched a bit at the pain, closing his eyes tightly and waiting for Ryo to hit him. But Ryo let go of him and when Yasu opened his eyes the taller boy had his back to him.
“I’m so disappointed right now,” Ryo sighed.
“Huh?” Yasu replied, still confused over the fact that Ryo had released him.
“I thought you were different from Ohkura and Maru and Rikiya and all those losers who claimed to be Subaru’s friend. Do you even realize how lonely he is?”
“I’m sorry,” Yasu said again, this time with more conviction as all his guilty feelings came back tenfold. He mentally berated himself for ever thinking there was a possibility that he hadn’t hurt Subaru. Of course he had hurt him. Just because Subaru was used to being treated that way didn’t mean it hurt him any less. He was human after all, and had feelings just like everyone else.
“He thought you would come back. He thought he would finally have a friend, that he could stop feeling lonely all of the time. And you just stabbed him in the back. I really thought you were different…” Ryo turned around to face Yasu again.
“I’m sorry,” Yasu mumbled, feeling close to tears. “I didn’t mean to stand him up yesterday. After I went back to see Ohkura I had so much on my mind that I forgot about telling Subaru to wait for me.”
“Subaru didn’t forget,” Ryo spat out. “And I suppose Ohkura brainwashed you to be on his side?”
Yasu shook his head, but when he thought about the question, he shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t know what to think. I’m so confused.”
“What is there to be confused about? You said you wanted to be friends with Subaru, so it shouldn’t matter what Ohkura said to you…” Ryo replied.
“Its not that simple. Because I can see where Ohkura is coming from too…” Yasu retorted, his voice desperately sad.
“So he did brainwash you…” Ryo sighed.
“No,” Yasu shook his head. “Revolver is the only thing that Ohkura has. He was just trying to protect the band. After Subaru just confessed to Rikiya out of the blue, he did what he thought he had to.” Yasu opened his mouth to continue, but Ryo cut him off.
“Is that what Ohkura told you?”
Yasu nodded, feeling confused.
Ryo sighed, rubbing his temples. “Subaru didn’t confess out of nowhere. Him and Rikiya had been seeing each other for over a year…”