When Yasuda Shota walked into the classroom the next morning, Subaru was already sitting on his desk. He was tempted to look at the boy, but after his speech yesterday he was still feeling mildly embarrassed. Besides, Subaru wanted to be ignored at school.
So, instead of trying to get his attention and the usual nod from Subaru, Yasu walked to his own desk, setting his bag and guitar down and greeting Maruyama.
“Where were you yesterday?” Maru asked, glancing over at Subaru as though he already knew the answer.
But Yasu just smiled in response to the question. “Something important came up at home yesterday. I couldn’t make band practice. I’ll be there today though.”
“Good. Ohkura was so pissed yesterday when you left after school,” Maru commented in a low voice.
And at that moment, Ohkura walked into the classroom. Maru looked away guiltily as Ohkura stalked past Yasuda’s desk to his own. Yasu felt slightly guilty, too, for being the cause of Ohkura’s bad mood. He would have gotten up to apologize but the bell rang and Murakami entered the classroom.
So, the first half of the day went by at a torturously slow speed. Yasu was either trying hard not to pay Subaru attention, which was hard because he appeared to be drawing a rather hilarious doodle of Murakami-sensei, or trying to think of what he would say to Ohkura when he got the chance.
When lunchtime finally rolled around he grabbed both of the bento and walked towards the door. He sighed, knowing that he would be unable to eat both of them but if he gave one to Subaru, Ohkura would become suspicious. And the drummer was already very angry with him.
“Yasu, wait up!” A deep voice called, and Yasu’s body tensed when he realized it was Ohkura. “Bringing both bento today?”
Yasu nodded, his annoyance coming back when he noticed the satisfied smile on Ohkura’s face. And Yasu was positive that smug look had something to do with Ohkura thinking his talk with Subaru the previous day had put an end to their friendship.
“Are you coming to practice today?” He asked.
Yasu was beginning to think that Ohkura was socially awkward. In Ohkura’s mind, it was completely okay to bully Subaru because he wanted to be friends with Yasu. He knew perfectly well what Yasu was doing with the second bento, and yet he felt no qualms about bringing it up. He must’ve thought he had successfully ruined a friendship less than 24 hours earlier and was already pestering Yasu about band practice. Yasu was once again torn between pity and exasperation over Ohkura’s behavior.
“I am coming today,” Yasu said, trying not to sound as annoyed as he felt.
“Good. Now did you hear Maru’s idea about the solos? I think we should try it out today at practice and see how it goes.”
Yasu tuned Ohkura out, his thoughts drifting to Subaru, who was sitting in the classroom alone and with no lunch. He couldn’t help but wonder how this was going to work out because it already felt like he was betraying Subaru somehow.
After school, Yasuda met Ohkura, Maru and Ishigaki in the practice room. And as he opened the guitar case, he listened to the conversation in the room.
“It’s too early to compete,” Maru commented. “We haven’t really even decided on a lead singer.”
“Yeah,” Ishigaki agreed. “I think we should wait a few months.”
“But if we wait a few months, people will start to forget about Revolver. We have to keep competing before people forget about us,” Ohkura pointed out.
“But if we compete before we’re ready, people will think that we’ve gone downhill…” Maru protested, then turning to Yasu he said, “What do you think?”
“Eh? Me?” Yasu froze as all three pairs of eyes turned to them. “Well, I think we probably aren’t ready…"
“See? Even Yasu agrees!” Ishigaki interjected.
“Yasu is new to the group though,” Ohkura reasoned. “He doesn’t really understand how everything works.”
Yasu snorted at the comment, but when all three turned to him again, he busied himself with tuning his guitar. He knew that Revolver was important to Ohkura, but he acted like he owned the group and all the other members were people he employed and could control at his own will.
Normally he was pretty easy going about things and in the 17 years that he had been alive, that attitude had helped him successfully avoid conflict. But he knew that it was only a matter of time before Ohkura’s attitude pushed him too far, because this time it wasn’t just him who was being treated poorly.
“We can talk about it more later,” Ohkura replied, sitting down behind his drum set. “For now, let’s just practice.
Yasuda pulled the leather strap of his guitar over his shoulder before plugging it into the amplifier. As Ohkura began drumming, Yasu’s fingers started strumming the strings of his guitar and he found himself wondering what Subaru was doing at that moment.
As Yasu walked towards home he switched the heavy guitar case to his other hand. “Need some help?” A voice asked from behind. When Yasu turned around, Subaru was standing behind him, holding out his hand.
“What are you doing here?” Yasu asked with surprise as he handed Subaru his guitar case.
“I stayed after school to get some help from Murakami-sensei on the math assignment.” Subaru came into step next to Yasu, but not without looking around to make sure they were being watched first. “How was band practice?”
Yasu shrugged, not mentioning Ohkura’s tyranny. Subaru already knew what he was like. “Do you have to work today?"
Subaru nodded his head. “Do you want to come hang out?”
Yasu’s heart started beating faster at the invitation, though he wasn’t sure why. He nodded, trying to calm his racing heart.
“Hey, Yasu,” Subaru was looking ahead as he walked.
“Hmm?” Yasu asked, studying Subaru’s face.
“Thank you.” Subaru turned to him and smiled briefly before looking away.
Yasu blinked, unsure of why exactly Subaru was thanking him. When the long haired boy glanced back over at him, Yasu’s heart started racing again and he nodded his head happily.
The walk back to the music shop was mostly silent except for Yasu and Subaru occasionally switching the role of guitar carrier.
For Yasu, it was hard to ignore how warm Subaru’s hand was every time it touched his as they exchanged the guitar case. In fact, he found himself asking to switch far more often than he actually needed to just so that he could feel the warmth of Subaru’s calloused fingertips brushing against his skin.
He wondered if perhaps Subaru felt that same electric jolt through his body when they touched, because he too would blush as their hands met for that brief moment.
“Is Ryo working today?” Yasu asked, feeling nervous to be alone with Subaru as they arrived outside the shop. He took the guitar from Subaru’s grip.
Subaru nodded. “Probably.” He opened the door to the shop, holding it for Yasu as he crossed the threshold into the store.
“Hey, Yasu,” Ryo smiled from behind the counter where he appeared to be studying.
Yasu returned the smile, though part of him was still very much afraid of Nishikido Ryo after their encounter days earlier.
“You don’t mind if Yasu hangs out here today, do you?” Subaru asked, but from his tone of voice, it wasn’t really a question.
But Ryo shook his head anyway. “The boss wants us to put together that drum kit that just came in the order though.”
Subaru nodded, heading towards the stock room with Ryo. “I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.”
Yasu nodded his head, walking around the music shop as Subaru disappeared into the stock room. Strolling somewhat purposely towards the guitar section, his eyes landed once again on the red guitar he had played on his first visit to the store.
His hands were itching to pick it up, but he tried his hardest to resist. He had seen the price tag and knew that he could never afford that guitar.
But he couldn’t help himself as he picked the guitar up, sighing at the way the weight was perfectly distributed in his hands. He slipped the strap over his head. “I won’t play it though,” he muttered because he knew how easily he would fall in love with that guitar if he heard what beautiful music it was capable of creating.
Even though he said that, he found himself plucking lightly at the strings, and he was glad that it wasn’t plugged into an amp so that he couldn’t hear the sound.
“Here,” He heard Subaru’s voice behind him and when he turned around, his friend was pushing the prong of an electric guitar cord into an amplifier.
A buzz filled the room and Yasu strummed his fingers against the strings, his eyes closing and his head tilting back. A moan escaped past his lips as his hand slid down the neck of the guitar.
And when the last few notes left the air, Yasu opened his eyes to see Ryo looking at him with an amused stare and Subaru sort of gawking at him, a faint blush dusting his cheeks.
“What?” Yasu asked, also blushing a little as both boys continued staring at him.
Ryo was the first to speak, “That was a little erotic.”
“Eh?” Yasu asked, feeling a mixture of shock and embarrassment over Ryo’s accusation. Realizing that he had moaned, and rather loudly, he shook his head. “No...
Subaru turned away, busying himself with opening one of the crates he had carried out of the stock room
“It’s just that this guitar feels so good, and the sound…” he trailed off, noticing that the two boys had already walked away and were busy pulling various pieces of a drum set out of boxes.
Yasu really couldn’t have stopped himself from continuing. He had already felt the heavenly way the guitar fit against his body and had heard the beautiful notes it produced under the touch of his fingertips.
Yasu had played guitars other than his own before. Usually, more often than not, a guitar other than his very own felt different to his hands. They always needed tuning. Or even if the strap had been adjusted, it still felt like a foreign guitar.
But this guitar felt so perfect in his hands, as though it were made just for him.
He started playing again, just a few random notes at first before switching to a simple melody. Before he knew it, he was playing an entire song. Subaru and Ryo had stopped what they were doing, leaning against the empty crates as they watched him play.
When he finished, Ryo was staring at him in astonishment. “You’re good. Did you write that yourself?”
Yasu nodded, blushing slightly as he felt Subaru’s appraising eyes on him.
He felt nervous and excited as Subaru continued watching him. The intense way he was being stared at made Yasu’s heart beat fast in his chest and he found himself staring back at Subaru.
A snort from Ryo broke the eye contact between the two short boys. “I’m going to go get something,” he muttered, excusing himself from the strange atmosphere that filled the room.
Yasu, feeling extremely embarrassed, went back to playing the guitar. When Ryo came back, he was carrying a green guitar, older, covered in stickers and clearly well used.
He held it out to Subaru, but his friend only shook his head in response.
“Sure you can,” Ryo countered as he pressed the electric guitar into Subaru’s hands.
Subaru set the guitar down, shaking his head. “I don’t want to.”
Yasu stopped playing, watching the conversation with interest.
Ryo looked at Subaru almost as if he were annoyed. He opened his mouth to say something again, but Subaru walked around him and straight into the stockroom.
Yasuda waited until Subaru was out of earshot before turning towards the younger boy. “What was that all about?”
“Subaru’s guitar,” Ryo pointed towards the instrument that Subaru had placed in the corner. “It’s been here since Rikiya left. I don’t think he’s played in front of anyone in months."
Yasu’s mouth opened into an O and he nodded in understanding. There was a small part of him that pitied Subaru and wanted to comfort him for what being abandoned by Rikiya must have done to him.
But there was an even bigger part of him that was sick of hearing about Rikiya. He felt annoyed with how hung up Subaru still was with Rikiya. He didn’t care how good of a guitarist Rikiya was. Or how much Subaru loved him.
In fact, the image of Subaru and Rikiya playing alone together in that very shop, or stealing kisses from one another in abandoned classrooms, filled Shota with an overwhelming nausea. And he really couldn’t place the emotion he felt as he set the red guitar down, clenching his fists at his side.
The only thing he was sure of at that moment was that he wanted to be the one there playing songs on the guitar with Subaru. He had to shake the thought from his head, and convince himself that he wasn’t crazy, as he felt the desire to be the one stealing kisses from Subaru.
As the first days at a new school stretched into the first weeks, Yasuda Shota looked back on how he was adjusting to his new life.
Revolver was planning their first gig, a spot at the school’s talent showcase. And while no lead singer had been decided yet, there was a lot of progress being made.
Yasuda was getting used to Ohkura’s attitude. Although his bossiness and unwillingness to compromise were constant sources of annoyance for Yasu, he dealt with it. After all, he was really enjoying playing in a band and he really liked Maru and Ishigaki.
Subaru had also become a source of equal parts enjoyment and frustration for Subaru.
The two had so much in common, sharing many of the same passions. Like Yasu, Subaru had a flair for fashion. They loaned each other CDs. Subaru would sit and watch Yasu play for hours, occasionally offering opinions or advice.
Yasu found himself drawn to Subaru’s shyness. The way he became flustered and would turn red at the drop of a hat was amusing and endearing to Yasu.
And that’s where he ran into most of his frustrations. Not only because Subaru’s shyness made it so hard to break through to him, but also because Yasu found himself confused about his own feelings.
In the short weeks that had passed since he had befriended Subaru, Yasu’s feelings had changed half a dozen times.
When he had first met Subaru, he had been curious. The long-haired boy made no effort to fit in. The way he dressed, the attitude he gave off was that of a person who did not care what the world thought of him. He was the complete opposite of Yasu.
His fascination only escalated by the fact that Subaru had carried a guitar around with him. And because Yasu had no friends at his new school, he thought that perhaps he had found someone who he could relate to, if only a little.
Then when he met Subaru at that shop, when he talked to him, he felt inexplicably happy. And when he went home that night, he was excited to see Subaru again.
Things only became more complicated at that point, because Subaru was essentially the enemy of his other new friends. He was stupid enough at one time to believe that he could just forget about Subaru and live life happily with his new friends.
Looking back, it was laughable that he had ever thought so, because Subaru had become a daily part of his life. School, the band, Subaru, and sleep had become Yasuda Shota’s new life. School, while he had never found it hard, was boring. The band could be fun at times, but on days when Ohkura’s bossiness became too much he contemplated just quitting.
Yasuda would love to say that his friendship with Subaru was the only uncomplicated thing in his life, but that would be a lie. Because as happy as it made Yasu to see Subaru’s smile, or the hear way he would burst into laughter when Yasu said or did something stupid, it also confused him and caused his stomach to flutter with excitement. Or when Subaru’s eyes gazed at Yasu intently as he played his guitar, his hands would become sweaty.
All of the things he was beginning to feel whenever he was around Subaru grew more and more intense as the long-haired boy occupied more of his time. And he grew worried as he searched for a word to describe all of those feelings he had developed for Subaru. Friendship, companionship, happiness; no matter which word Yasu tried to settle on, none of them quite described how he felt. He became frustrated that he was unable to think of what it was. And afraid when he got close enough to figure out and admit exactly what it was.
A/N: Big Big thanks to chibayasu who beta read this chapter and offered some much needed feedback ♥ Also, sorry to those who were waiting for this chapter. I went out of town for the weekend at the last minute. The good news, though, is that the next chapter is done. I just need to get off my lazy but and type it up.
P.S. No Subaru/Yasu/Ohkura love triangle. That is all. XD