Title: Something Right
Disclaimer: ...I don't even know what to say. >>;;
Pairing: Isaka Tatsuya/Uenobori Makoto AS their characters from Trenchcoat Mode
Warnings: BL, kissing, hints of other things, mentions of prostitution, spoilers for the end of the story
Author's Note: Uh, so... I don't have any excuses for this, but here it is. XD;;; Enjoy.
The first time Tatsuya sees him, it's completely in the wrong place at the wrong time, a fleeting glimpse between passing waiters with trays of exotic drinks and tired businessmen hiding from the public eye for a few hours of worldly pleasures. The air is warm and clouded with cigarette smoke, stale and thick making it difficult to draw the line between vision and illusion, and even seated at his barstool, Tatsuya feels adrift and lost.
He never wanted to be here in the first place. He's recently been promoted, and to celebrate, his boss has brought him here, to this bar, this place. Hidden away in the thick of the city, completely unassuming in its exterior, Tatsuya had hardly know what to expect when he had been offered a "few drinks after work," but what he hadn't been expecting was this place, with its dim, warm lights and needles and powders and slender, pretty boys dolled up in satin and powder and perfume. It's too much for him to understand, too much for him to handle, and so he sits stiffly beside his boss at the bar, accepting the drink that's handed to him, unable to even speak in response. Certainly, he's heard of places like these, but he's always been a straight-laced sort of guy, never thought he'd actually see one, actually be in one.
He lets his boss make small-talk at him, he smiles and nods and says his "thank you"s when he's supposed to, but more than anything, he's incredibly uncomfortable, and he wants to go home. Intermittently, people offer him more drinks, offer him liquids and paper envelopes, all of which he turns away, wishing desperately that he could melt into the floor. He tries his best not to make eye contact with anyone, not even his boss anymore, because he can't deal with it, he just can't deal with it.
But then he does catch someone's eyes, entirely by accident. It's for a split second as he's staring pointedly into the distance, but it happens-- he meets gazes with the boy on the low stage across the restaurant, the one singing to a small audience of older men at tables with drinks and wallets in their hands. He doesn't mean to stare, but he can remember even to this day the mauve dress with the slit up to the hip, and the long beige gloves and the string of pearls and the short copper ringlets framing that sweet face, and Tatsuya doesn't know what's wrong with him, but it's not because of the smoke that he can't breathe.
"He gets off at two," the bartender offers helpfully, and Tatsuya's hands are shaking as he gives the man his tip.
He comes back the following evening, around one-thirty. His face is hot even as he opens the door as inconspicuously as he can; if anyone had asked him forty-eight hours ago if he would even set foot in an establishment like this one, he would have been insulted even at the thought, and now here he is, coming back of his own accord. Still, he sees no one he recognizes as he slinks to the lounge area, seating himself at a table in the back and nearly tripping over the leg of the chair in the process. But how could anyone blame him? He's completely incapable of peeling his eyes away from the boy on the stage, the same boy from last night. He's beautiful, so beautiful, and this time he really and truly is staring, but he can't look away, not until the last song ends and he's willing his legs to move as the boy descends the stairs from the small stage.
Tatsuya's heart is racing and he's terrified the boy is going to disappear into the crowd, but luckily, his body remembers that he does, indeed, have legs, and he makes it in time. It's only, however, when he's face to face with the boy that he realizes that he has no idea what to say, even as those large brown eyes are looking up into his own, intentionally this time, attention completely on him. He trips over his tongue and feels stupid, but no words are coming, and he must look ridiculous, face hot and hands shaking as he finally gets out a greeting.
"Can I help you?" the boy asks, his voice just as sweet speaking as it is when he sings, and Tatsuya is transfixed as if it's a siren's call. But this boy is far too pure, far too charming to do any wrong, Tatsuya is sure, and he swallows, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment as he tries again.
"I'd... would you like to go to dinner?" he asks, which, in afterthought, seems horribly ill-planned; he has yet to introduce himself or even learn this boy's name, and here he is asking him on a date at two o'clock in the morning. "I...I mean, some other time... whenever you'd like..."
A look of confusion comes over the boy's features, and Tatsuya's heart leaps into his throat; he must have said something wrong, he must have screwed up, and he's terrified. The boy thinks a moment, and then those pretty pink lips part again, and Tatsuya's breath catches in his throat as the boy responds hesitantly, "... for how much?"
Tatsuya doesn't understand at all for a good, long moment, but when he does his face grows hot and he feels so incredibly stupid. How could he not have realized? At a place like this, it only makes sense, and yet he can't imagine this sweet, beautiful thing being forced to-- but he doesn't want to think about it, he can't think about it, he can only blunder ahead feeling even blinder than the day previous.
"I don't want--" he starts, but he can't quite bring himself to say it, and coughs into his hand, looking away for a moment. "I mean... I'd... I'd like to take you away from here. Someplace... nice." That sounds so, so lame, and his face is steadily growing redder still, but he looks down at the boy hopefully, anyway, in the case that somehow, somehow he doesn't come off as as blundering and foolish as he feels.
The boy looks hesitant, but even before he speaks, what looks like maybe the tiniest bit of a smile appears on his lips, and he nods. "My day off is Wednesday," he replies quietly, one gloved hand cupped around his mouth, like he's divulging a secret. It make Tatsuya's heart pound and his mind go blank, and he's frozen even as the boy draws back and disappears into the crowd.
It takes him a whole minute to realize he's forgotten to ask the boy's name again.
The Wednesday dinners become habit faster than Tatsuya realizes; or rather, perhaps he always wanted to hope, but never allowed himself for fear of losing it all. At first, the boy-- Makoto, Tatsuya finally learns-- is hesitant, shy, unwilling or unable to meet Tatsuya's eyes for long periods of time without flinching away. His hands tremble when Tatsuya holds them and his pulse races when Tatsuya puts an arm around him, and Tatsuya doesn't know whether to be horrified or disgusted at the thought of whatever ingrained these habits, trained these reactions into this poor, sweet thing. He wants to make it go away, wants to make things right, wants to take Makoto away from all of that, forever. But more than that, he's terrified that anything he might do will scare him away forever, and that, Tatsuya knows, he cannot bear, so he controls himself and tries to take it slowly, tries to ease Makoto out of the fear.
Over time, it gets better; slowly, so slowly, but changes do happen. Makoto begins to meet his eyes more often, begins to smile. More and more often, Tatsuya can feel him relax into his embraces, and when he steadily intertwines his fingers within Tatsuya's, Tatsuya thinks he must be the happiest man alive. "Isaka-san" becomes "Tatsuya-san" becomes "Tatsuya," and with each change come more genuine smiles, more small laughs, like an abused animal being coaxed out from hiding. Tatsuya so badly wants to say "I won't hurt you," because he would never, ever be able to dream of even thinking about anything that might hurt this boy, who had become so precious to him even in such a short amount of time, but he can only imagine any number of people who had probably voiced similar sentiments to him in the past, and the very idea of comparing himself to them makes Tatsuya sick. And so he shows it as best he can, because it's all he can do, and whether consciously or not, Makoto, blessed, beautiful, wonderful thing that he is, seems to understand.
Tatsuya is more than hesitant to be physically intimate beyond innocent hugs and handholds, beyond chaste kisses to the cheek and brushed across the lips so lightly it hardly counts at all, because who is he to force anything on this poor creature who has been victimized so many times before. It's not as if he doesn't want; he's only a man, after all, and he cares about Makoto so much, with every fibre of his being-- but he won't ask for anything, he can't. It's obvious Makoto has been trained to give in, to accept anything, everything, and Tatsuya doesn't trust that anything he says, no matter how he means it, won't trigger that response. And so he waits and does nothing, because Makoto is more important to him than anything else in the world, and even if he has to wait forever, for the sake of that beautiful smile, he's sure he can do it.
But then they're outside of a restaurant one Wednesday evening, and, hand wrapped tightly around Makoto's, Tatsuya is preparing to walk him home as always when Makoto tugs him back, lightly, gently, just enough of a motion to register as resistance at all. Tatsuya looks back at him, confused, and Makoto is looking down at his feet, shifting nervously before he licks his lips and his eyes flicker up to meet Tatsuya's.
The silence hangs in the air for a moment, but then he speaks, voice soft and yielding as always, but his tone more certain than Tatsuya has ever heard it before. "I don't want you to leave me yet," he admits, more of an assertion that he's ever made before, and once Tatsuya gets past the fact that he's not dreaming, he can't help but grin and nod and pull Makoto into his arms as he turns back in the direction of his own apartment, because perhaps he won't have to wait forever, after all.
The day that Makoto is supposed to move into Tatsuya's apartment, Tatsuya arrives at his residence to find him covered in bruises and bite marks and sporting a serious limp. At his immediate worry and concern, Makoto insists that it's nothing, really, it's nothing, and it doesn't hurt at all, but Tatsuya doesn't buy it for a second, especially not with the situation that he knows Makoto is in. They've been together for almost a year now, and though Tatsuya never had any delusions about the nature of Makoto's work, his already low expectations have been lowered time and time again. But this is too much, this is worse than ever before, and Tatsuya is almost in tears by the time he breaks down and puts his hands on Makoto's shoulders and admits, his voice cracking under the emotional strain as he stares at the floor and wetness in his eyes, "I can't bear to see you hurting."
Makoto softens and dips his head down in an attempt to catch Tatsuya's eyes, taking a few steps closer. Brushing the trembling hands from his shoulders, he takes them in his own, much smaller ones and offers a bit of sad smile. "I traded a few favours with important people so that I could have an earlier shift some of the time. It's not really a big deal-- I hated the idea of always being gone when you got home from work." He blushes as he says it, as if it were silly of him, but Tatsuya can feel a warmth swelling inside his chest, and he doesn't know whether to cry tears of happiness that Makoto would go so far out of his way for him or depression that this is what he has to do even for something so simple.
"I don't want you to be hurt," he repeats, straightening a little and meeting Makoto's gaze, even despite the fact that he really is on the verge of tears. "Especially not for my sake." The fact that Makoto is willing to go to such great lengths, of course, makes his heart feel as if it might explode right from his chest, but Tatsuya is willing to give up almost anything for Makoto, and time spent together is most definitely not worth his well being. He doesn't think he has the verbal capacity nor the vocabulary to explain just how devoted he is, but at the very least, he can explain it in the immediate context. "I... I just want you to be happy."
But Makoto does him one better, and with a simple smile and a chaste kiss on the cheek, he replies, "To be happy, I have to be with you," before pulling back and gazing around the room, cluttered with a few boxes and even fewer suitcases containing all of Makoto's possessions. "So, are you going to help me move these, or do I have to carry them myself?"
And all Tatsuya can do is grin and nod and insist upon carrying everything himself, because despite that they're not anywhere great or special, things are looking up, and that's a start.
It's been almost a month since the events leading up to Moriyama's flight from town and from the law, and things, for the most part, have settled down. Tatsuya is home from the hospital, and his wound has healed for the most part, though it's already on its way to leaving an ugly scar on his shoulder. Things are going better than ever for Makoto now that he's been freed from the oppression of his former job, and since Washio refused to take any substantial amount of money from them after they didn't even use his services, the future looks bright. Tatsuya is glad, he's grateful for all of it, and during the day, he doesn't think about anything else.
But at night... at night, it's different. At night, as he lays awake in bed for hours, unable to sleep, he feels unbearably weighed down by the guilt of his betrayal. When he closes his eyes, all he can see is Makoto, bound and gagged and alone and helpless in the back of a dingy, dark room, all because of Tatsuya's actions. His healing scar throbs, adding to the insomnia, but somehow, it seems right, like a little bit of retribution for everything he did wrong.
As the early hours of the morning tick by, he feels more and more restless, more and more hatred for himself and his own actions. Eventually, he slips out of bed, not wanting to rouse Makoto with his tossing and turning, and leans against the windowsill, looking out onto the darkened city and imagining. What would he have done if Makoto had been hurt because of him? What would he have done if Makoto was killed? How could he have been stupid enough to take the word of a crime boss like a promise, how could he have endangered others while not even being able to protect the one he loved? He's a real mess, and the more he considers, the more he hates, and the more he knows he's going to have to go another night without sleep.
He barely notices the rustling of sheets from the bed beside him, and he's startled by Makoto's voice, soft and heavy with sleep, breaking the silence of the room. "Come back to bed," he bids, propped up on one elbow and looking up at Tatsuya with half-lidded eyes. Even in this tussled, sleepy state, he's beautiful, and Tatsuya feels his throat tighten. What right does he have to even lie in the same bed as this sweet angel who has done nothing wrong, and who has been victimized over and over and over again? But when he hesitates, Makoto only sighs and sits up further, beckoning to him. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," Tatsuya lies through his teeth, swallowing back the overwhelming emotions and moving to sit on the edge of the bed. "Just... thinking. I don't want to keep you up." He tries to smile at Makoto through the dark, but his mouth can't quite be coaxed to turn up at the corners when he knows how many horrible things he's caused in Makoto's life. "Go back to sleep."
At this, however, Makoto only frowns for a moment before crawling out from under the covers and reaching out, tugging lightly on Tatsuya's arm. "Come back to bed," he repeats, his voice somehow gentler, softer, but completely earnest. It's not an entreaty nor a complaint, and there's nothing put on about it as he continues, "I can't sleep without you next to me. You make me feel safe."
Tatsuya simply looks at him for a moment-- he can't understand how that could in any way make any sense when he's the one who's gotten Makoto into so much trouble-- before he gives in; he can never say no to Makoto in the end, and he moved over beside him, surprised when Makoto moves in close beside him, resting his head on his shoulder lightly. He really is beautiful, with his hair splayed out on the pillow and his eyes slightly shut and his lips curled in a pleased smile, and Tatsuya feels his breath catch in his throat again. He doesn't know what he's done to deserve this, he doesn't think he deserves it, but--
"I love you," Makoto murmurs softly, already drifting back to sleep, and this time, Tatsuya can't help but smile. If he really has earned this love, if he really can make Makoto feel happy and safe... then perhaps he's done something right, after all.