|Back Stage Novel Chapter 6|
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Here the manga continues with the present plot!
It all starts when one day, Rei finds a strange letter stuffed in with the rest of the mail in the SenaPro official mailbox.
It’s been a few years now since the Crusherz made their debut, and they’ve got their own personal manager now in Sotomura, with Rei handling the affairs of SenaPro in general and being less pressured with the band’s activities.
But only just recently, it was decided that the last non-showbiz member of the Sena family, Sena Izumi, would make his debut into the entertainment world, and Rei’s been fluttering about as busily as before with preparations for the debut press conference and the subsequent workload.
He’s working at his limit these days, and he knows that he needs to find someone who can take over all of Izumi’s incoming work, but handling Izumi will take a lot of finesse, and Rei wants to watch over him himself for a while.
He stares at the letter–it’s addressed to him. A letter addressed to Rei, with no return address.
Getting a bad feeling about the whole thing, he opens the envelope and pulls out the paper inside, opening it to reveal a single line of text: “I know about your past.”
All Rei can say is, “…I knew it.” He’s tried to be careful all these years, doing his best not to have his face in the mass media and turning down all offers for himself to debut–all because of his shady past.
After all, until Seiya took him in, Rei had led a pretty desperate, destitute life. He’d gotten into fights all the time and made more than his fair share of enemies. There have to be dozens who’d leap at the chance to get revenge on him.
But there’s absolutely no way to tell who’s sent this letter from one line of text alone, so he decides to just see how things pan out. They aren’t making any demands, after all, so there’s nothing left to do, actually.
He doesn’t want to inconvenience the Sena family in any way, so he’ll solve this on his own.
It’s a few days after Rei received the letter, and Shougo’s bothering him at the office. He’s already made sure they’re the only ones in the office, and therefore he’s taking advantage of their privacy to make a nuisance of himself. There they decide to meet up again after work at Rei's place. As Shougo makes his exit, Rei watches him leave and shakes his head, sighing. It’ll be their first time together in a while, though–the guy’s been awfully busy of late. Taking that into account, he supposes he can’t hold it against Shougo for being that excited at the prospect.
He takes his leave, despite his confusion, and heads home–where he finds in his mailbox…another letter addressed to him, still with no return sender. It’s not strange for the previous letter to have been sent to his workplace where he spends most of his time and the address of which is publicly available…but this one came to his house.
And more so–it has no stamp. Which means the sender put it in his mailbox themselves.
He quickly opens the letter and reads its contents: “I’m always watching you.”
A chill runs down his spine–and then he takes in the veiled threat in the words that he hadn’t considered before: Shougo. If this person really is watching him all the time, and knows his checkered past where he’d involve himself with anyone, man or woman–and then sees a huge star like Shougo coming into his apartment alone at night…
It could be a huge scandal for Shougo. He quickly palms his cellphone and texts Shougo, making apologies for backing out but fibbing that he got saddled with work he just can’t get out of–and if Shougo agrees to put off his ‘reward’, Rei will do whatever he asks. A response comes within a minute, reflecting Shougo’s disappointment but simple understanding that Rei’s got a job to do so it can’t be helped.
The next day, Rei’s trying to go about business as usual. He’d kept a sharp eye out on the way into the office, but had seen nothing out of place. He knows he needs to get this situation under control quickly.
Then he gets a call from Mitsudzuka Toshihiko. Back in high school, he’d often left his house for the evening and spent the nights with friends or acquaintances, and Mitsudzuka’s house was one of these sleepover places.
Mitsudzuka had been a few years older than Rei, already working, and he’d often given Rei good meals and clothes when he needed them. He’d always been kind to Rei, and so hanging at his place had been particularly nice, Rei recalls–in fact, he’d probably stayed at his place more than any other. But after his mother’s death, Rei had cut all ties with most everyone…
Rei thanks him and apologizes for dropping off the face of the earth as it were, but Mitsudzuka seems to not have taken offense, understanding that Rei had his own problems he’d been dealing with. He expresses a desire to get caught up and asks if perhaps Rei has some time for a meal, and Rei readily agrees, suggesting they have dinner that evening. They then exchange cellphone information and agree to meet up later.
A few moments later, the phone rings again–and Rei answers…but there’s no response. He questions who’s calling, but all he receives is a soft snicker and the click of the line disconnecting.
…Could it have been the person who sent the letters?
His cellphone buzzes in his pocket, and he stiffens–but one glance at the screen shows it’s from Shougo, wondering about his ‘reward’. Rei apologizes again, saying he already has plans. He knows it was rude to make them–when his deal with Shougo should take precedence after all–but what’s done is done. Shougo is understanding as always, though, and Rei promises to contact him when he’s free.
He wonders how long he can keep putting off the ‘reward’ before Shougo starts making noise about having ‘Rei withdrawal’ again and not being able to write songs…
That evening, due to work, Rei arrives 5 minutes late to the shop where he’d agreed to meet Mitsudzuka. It’s a dimly lit, chic little place, and Mitsudzuka is already waiting.
Rei easily deflects the compliment–but inside he feels a bit strange. Who greets a man they haven’t seen in years with a comment like you’re just as beautiful as ever? Perhaps he should be a bit on his guard with this guy…
After all, it’s not like they never did that in their past…
It wasn’t as if they’d been in love or anything–Mitsudzuka had been nothing more than one of Rei’s many sex friends, a casual partner.
They’re having a nice time reminiscing about old times and old acquaintances–but two hours into their chat, Rei’s cellphone rings. He assumes at first it’s from Shougo–but the caller ID is blank, and his stomach turns.
He excuses himself and answers, and just as earlier that afternoon, all he hears is a man’s soft laughter. He cuts the phone off quickly and feels sick–he can sense them getting closer now that they’ve even called his personal phone. Returning to the table, Mitsudzuka asks what’s wrong, as Rei’s expression is dark. After a moment’s consideration, Rei decides to tell Mitsudzuka everything about his stalker, hoping that this person who’s known him at the darkest period of his life might be able to offer some guidance.
Mitsudzuka listens carefully before telling Rei what he already knows: that it’s not safe for him to go back to his apartment, and that he should stay with Mitsuduzka the evening, as the rest of his family are home visiting his wife’s parents and it’s an empty house. Rei stalls–he doesn’t want to inconvenience Mitsudzuka–and eventually Mitsudzuka agrees, so long as Rei allows him to escort him home.
Rei allows this, and reflects that Mitsudzuka’s always been a kind person this way. He feels particularly grateful in this instance, though…as truthfully, he’d been scared to go home alone.
When they reach Rei’s door, though, the mail box is open again, just slightly, and when they draw closer, they can see that someone has left a cup of coffee inside–and it’s still hot, which means it was left here only recently.
A cold chill runs down Rei’s spine–the letters and phone calls are bad enough, but to have such clear evidence that the culprit is nearby is just…
Mitsudzuka once again offers to stay: Rei can but nod and accept, in light of his current situation.
~At Rei's place~
There’s a beat of silence, and he stretches out one hand slowly.
Aah, of course. He had known it would come to this–but he quickly gives in; just once won’t hurt anything. It’s not like it’s their first time after all.
He closes his eyes and feels the heat of Mitsudzuka’s lips as they brush over his own, pressure following to slowly ease him onto his back.
But at that moment, Rei reacts in reflex and shoves Mitsudzuka away. Mitsudzuka thinks Rei might not feel well and leaves to get him some water. He drinks it in one gulp. But that’s when his vision starts to blur, and he can feel his body sway in place, unable to stop himself from slumping over onto the floor.
Rei freezes at the unexpected confession. He was…in love with Rei? It’s hard to grasp. Sure, the guy had treated him nicely, and Rei had spent more time with him than anyone else, but he’d always had others. He’d sleep with anyone if the mood struck him and had never thought it strange. Mitsu said he will take some dirty pictures of Rei to blackmail him.
But he’s not worried so much about himself as the way this will reflect on SenaPro. Even if he were to quit right now, there’d still be a scandal involving him as the former manager of the agency. On top of that–he doesn’t want to even think about quitting the agency. To do so would be tantamount to losing his reason for living.
He’s losing all power in his body, and can no longer fight against Mitsudzuka, who’s grabbed him by the necktie now to hold him steady–and he lets himself fall into a pit of despair, understanding that he’ll have to bear the guy doing what he wants with Rei’s body.
I don’t want this. …Please, help me!
The moment the name leaves his lips, his front door is slammed open with a loud BANG, and when Rei turns his gaze that way, a man he doesn’t recognize rolls inside to the ground–with Shougo standing behind him.
Rei is at a complete loss for words. Sure, he’d prayed for someone to save him in his mind, but he never would have thought…that Shougo of all people would show up just in the nick of time.
At hearing his name called, Shougo flashes Rei a quick smile to put him at ease, then glares at Mitsudzuka. “I’ve got everything on video–if you lay another finger on my Rei, you won’t get off easy. I’ll use all the power at my disposal to end you.”
Tossing back a final few choice words, Mitsudzuka scrambles from the room, fleeing the scene along with the stalker Shougo had caught. Shougo makes sure to lock the door tight after they leave before rushing to Rei’s side.
There Rei asks Shougo to kiss him. As much as he’d hated and been sickened by Mitsudzuka’s kiss, he feels absolutely none of that now. In fact, far from it, he feels… Amazing and he wants more.
Either way, Rei’s quite on board with it. As sickening and deplorable as it was being kissed by Mitsudzuka, now it’s just… Why is it? Before, he’d never had any issues sleeping with multiple partners. If he liked someone enough, he’d sleep with them, simple as that. When did that change…?
Maybe when he fell in love with Seiya?
But as soon as he considers this prospect, he immediately realizes that’s not right either; if it was, he never would’ve been able to sleep with Shougo in the first place. He’d long since been in love with Seiya when they’d first started their relationship, after all.
Then that must mean, the one who changed Rei was…
Rei has always assumed that’s why sex with Shougo feels so amazing–because they know each other’s bodies so well, and how best to bring one another pleasure for all the times they’ve slept together. But lately…he’s felt as if there’s some deeper meaning to it all as well. It’s not just a physical relationship like the ones he’s had in the past, it’s something…more.
Shougo calls his name, kisses him, touches him–and with just that, a reason starts to form inside his mind as to why it’s always felt this good being with Shougo. He knows now.
The reason being with Mitsudzuka repulsed him so is surely because of Shougo. Of course, he loves Seiya more than anyone else–that hasn’t changed; in the back of his mind he can still see the little candy that Seiya gave him days before, and how warm it made him feel. His feelings for Seiya shine down on him, lighting his path, like a bright sun.
But he can understand now…that there are feelings for Shougo growing within him, completely different from those he shares for Seiya. Somehow…he’s grown fond of Shougo to a certain extent, without even realizing it. At the very least, it’s enough that he can’t be with anyone else. He can’t tell when it started, but if that weren’t how it was, he wouldn’t have been able to keep up this relationship with Shougo for so long.
He recalls how, on the night that he received the candy from Seiya, the man commented that he looked happy, like he was looking forward to something. While he may have brushed off their agreement as simply rewarding Shougo for his help, he can’t discount that somehow…he’d started to look forward to spending time with Shougo.
~After they were done. Btw I just place the whole scene here, because I thought it was way too cute to just summarize it -Eucliwood1~
Still… he’s more than a little pissed at himself for needing something like this to make him see what’s been in front of him all this time. How could he have survived all these years so blind to his own feelings?
“Hn? What’s wrong, Rei?”
Rei blinks slowly up at Shougo, who’s leaning over him to peer down. His body’s filled to the brim with all manner of fatigue and joy, and it’s sapping all his strength.
“What is it?”
“Well just–you were smiling about something…” And it’s only now that he realizes he was indeed smiling at this whole situation. He’s probably always smiled like this, before he even realized it.
The voice which calls his name is soft, nearly unintelligible, but Shougo still turns his head towards Rei as if to ask ‘What?’
“…Seems I apparently actually love you quite a bit.”
But that’s his limit—he’s so tired, he can’t even tell if it had really been him speaking those words.
“Wh-wh-wh-wh-WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?! Once more! Say it once more, please!”
And with Shougo’s voice ringing in his ears, Rei slips into a deep, comfortable slumber.
He’ll never be able to speak of his feelings to Seiya. So—perhaps, he’ll just keep those feelings hidden inside himself, and instead…spend his days at Shougo’s side.
That doesn’t sound so bad at all, really.