“That's OK I can do it for you” Koyama offered .
“Really? You wouldn't mind” she asked already heading back towards the door.
“No it's fine. Go before you're late. I promise I'll take good care of Shige.”
“You really are a good friend Keiichiro-kun. Shige is really lucky to have a friend like you. His next pill is in an hour and he complains horribly if it's late. If you need me my number is on the counter. I should be back by 6:30. Thanks again.”
“Bye bye see you later.”
Koyama walked over and picked up the tube off the counter. Where exactly did Shige need anti-scaring ointment? It had to be for the burn on his thigh.
Shrugging he brought the tube and the rest of pills from the counter into Shige's old bedroom. Koyama had already gotten used to the fact that the room that had formerly been Shige's bedroom was now some kind of hobby room for his parents, just with a bed shoved in it.
He placed the medicine next to a glass of water on a storage box being used as a bedside table and pulled back the bed covers. He had expected Shige to stir or even make a pained noise but he did neither, he didn't move. Koyama looked at Shige's relaxed sleeping face. It was hard to believe that such a handsome face had been the source of so much comedy.
Koyama let his eyes go lower. Shige wasn't wearing anything but bandages and a pair of boxer briefs. The bandage seemed to be wound so tightly around Shige's ribs that it was causing his breathing to be shallow.
It had been a while since Koyama had seen Shige in just his underwear and he was surprised by how developed Shige's arms and chest had gotten in such a short period of time. Even his abdominal muscles were starting to show definition. Koyama knew he wasn't working out except for some low impact stuff when he had a chance so most of his muscle gain must be directly connected to the show.
Koyama felt a pang of jealousy. It had taken Shige only a couple of months to do what had taken him a year of effort and struggle to do. At least his arms were still better.
Perching on the edge of the bed Koyama decided to get down to business. Parting Shige's legs he rotated his right knee until a raw red gash, extended up underneath his briefs came into view. The hair on Shige's right thigh had been shaved in order to make it easier to treat and Koyama was surprised to find that the gash wasn't scabby but soft like the medicine had already started to take effect.
Koyama reached for the tube and read the directions. They were pretty simple. He just had to massage a small coin sized amount into the effected area until it was absorbed into the skin. Contemplating the task now he really wished he'd had Shige's mother be late so she could have done this but, he'd promised to do it and at least Shige was asleep.
Squeezing a decent amount into the palm of his hand, and giving it a moment to warm up, he reached down and started to massage a spot close to Shige's knee. It wasn't that bad. The salve was very thick so it wasn't as easy to spread at first but the more Koyama rubbed the warmer it got and the easier it became. By the time he had massaged his way up to Shige's upper thigh he realized he hadn't used enough and needed more. He squeezed more into his palm and he went right back to his task.
There was something exhilarating about the warm muscular skin beneath his fingers and palm. Maybe he had missed his calling. Maybe he was meant to be a massage therapist.
Without hesitating Koyama let his hand slip directly into the leg of Shige's underpants ignoring the soft skin that was hitting the back of his hand, skin that was surely Shige's balls, and continuing to massage the unseen area just out of sight.
When Koyama moved his hand back down in order to give a final smooth down the length of Shige's thigh, Shige gave a small moan. Koyama looked up to check if he had hurt Shige in some way and was shocked when a pair of feverish eyes met his. They seemed to admonish Koyama while at the same time they were daring him to do more. He wasn't sure what until he lowered his eyes, about to explain himself, only to have the words die in his mouth when his eyes fell upon Shige's semi hard arousal.
Koyama's eyes flashed back up and were met with the same ferocity as before. Those eyes seemed to be challenging him to finish what he had started or get the hell out.
Without thinking Koyama let his hand start back at its ministrations. He wasn't sure what he was thinking or where this was going. It was like he was daring himself to look at a part of himself that he'd been ignoring. It seemed dangerous and forbidden but it also seemed like he'd been waiting for this moment. Working his way back up to the top of Shige's thigh Koyama let his hand roam freely in a way he hadn't thought to before.
Shige licked his lips then gave Koyama the dirtiest look he had ever seen. It looked like he wanted to devour him and for some reason Koyama wanted him to try. Shige tried move closer but when he did he let out a moan that had nothing to with his steadily hardening cock but instead seemed to be caused by the pain in his side. He immediately lay back down. Shige had the look of a wounded animal that could smell food but was being prevented from getting to it and couldn't understand why.
Koyama let his hand slid back up into Shige's underpants massaging the same spot while Shige's wild eyes watched his every move. Spurred on by the lust in those eyes Koyama let his hand move to give Shige the touch that he was waiting for.
Again the electric feeling of Shige's most intimate flesh beneath his hand made Koyama feel something he hadn't expected, a desire so strong and hot that he wanted to let it carry him away. He wanted to let it engulf them both, this was his vibrant, sexy Shige. His Shige seeing only him, wanting only him, needing him and no other.
He felt like they'd reconnected in a major way. The two of them against the world, where all that mattered was that Shige needed him. He allowed his hand to slide up and down Shige's length enjoying the instant reaction it drew from Shige. However, when he noticed that Shige also seemed to be hurting himself, he was struck by the realization that he'd gotten lost in the craziness of the moment.
No. He couldn't do this, not like this. Shige seemed to be so out of his mind with his medication that he probably didn't even know it was Koyama who was touching him. Koyama knew he had to stop. He really didn't want to but he had no interest in taking advantage of Shige, more than he already had.
He needed to get out of there. He needed to think. Before he could change his mind and do something he might regret, Koyama quickly withdrew his hand from Shige's pants. Unable to do more than that for the moment he looked up at Shige again. As soon as their eyes met Koyama wanted to look away. The intense pleading that met his eyes was hard to ignore.
Finally after a moment Shige spoke, “Kei,” he gasped, full lust and breathiness. “I need you.”
Koyama almost lost his resolve, but what would he be if he just gave in?
Just when Koyama thought he might be able make a quick exit before he did anything stupid, Shige did something that made it impossible to leave. He moved his own hand down into his underpants and started back where Koyama had left off.
Shige stroked himself but added Koyama's name on every stroke. The slap of skin and the deep breathy chants of his name set a rhythm that had Koyama contemplating doing the same. But then Shige was cumming all over his hand and his stomach and Koyama noticed he seemed to be receiving just as much pain as he was pleasure from the way he was arching his body and crying out. Then he was shaking and making noises that sounded like laughter but there were tears in his eyes and he kept chanting, “it hurts it hurts it hurts.”
Grabbing a wad of tissues from the box on the floor Koyama quickly cleaned Shige off the best he could. Then he reached for Shige's pills and helped him take his dose. It took a while for the medication to take effect. Shige whimpered while Koyama stroked his hair trying to soothe him, all the while trying hard not to think about what he had just done.
As soon as Shige was resting again Koyama had to fight down the urge to flee. He couldn't leave Shige by himself and he had promised his mother to stay till she returned. So instead, he busied himself cleaning Shige off properly and making sure that his medication had no chance to wear off so he wouldn't feel anymore pain.
Two weeks after what Koyama called in his mind, 'the incident', the doctor changed Shige's medicine to something milder that wouldn't keep him in an almost constant drug induced coma. Koyama knew everyone expected him to run over to be with him but he was still too confused by what had happened.
Shige kept calling him and leaving him voice mails but he just wasn't ready to face him. Koyama kept texting back that he was tied up with this or that, which was fortunately mostly true but it didn't stop Koyama from listening to his voice mails over and over. He couldn't help worrying about the sad loneliness in Shige's voice that seemed to call to him. He was in constant state of distraction, all of his thoughts circling over and over again on themselves and always a big question mark drawing him up short at the end.
Had Shige known what he was doing? None of the messages he left had indicated that it had made an impact on him. They all just seemed to indicate that he missed hanging out. And even if Shige didn't know, or if he didn't care about Koyama like that, what were his own feelings for Shige? Was it just a physical thing? Had it been lurking about in the background until that moment had forced it to the surface?
He knew his feelings for Shige had always been complicated. He had been drawn to him the moment they'd met but the idea of having sex with him had never crossed his mind. In fact, if anything, he had always been very careful when he was around Shige. Never roughhousing with him very much and always pushing Shige away when he got too close.
Had he unconsciously been trying to keep these feelings at bay? Did everyone see them as Ishikawa did? Did everyone believe that he was hot for Shige? Was he and had not even realized it?
And added to all that Koyama knew he still had the equally, or possibly more, important business of finding out what Ishikawa was up to and how to get Shige out of it. Though until he cleared the air with Shige he couldn't see how he was going to accomplish that. It seemed like his problems were in an infinite loop.
Shige wasn't sure why but Koyama was definitely avoiding him. It had been a week since his medication had been changed and Koyama hadn't been by once to see him.
At first Shige had let it go thinking he was being selfish. Just because he was laid up and no longer busy didn't mean Koyama's world had stopped as well. Koyama had been very understanding when Shige had been unavailable, but after 3 days with nothing but a couple of text messages, he knew it was something else but he couldn't figure out what?
A knock on his door interrupted Shige's thoughts and he called out for whoever it was to enter. He had expected to see his mother or maybe even his father but when Koyama slowly entered the room instead he couldn't help the wave happiness that overcame him.
“Hey,” Koyama said, his eyes only meeting Shige's for a moment before he looked away. “How are you feeling?”
“I'm getting better. I think I'll be up and around soon. The doctor said I'm healing at an amazing rate.”
Koyama looked up at him again, as if he was going to say something about that but he didn't. "I'm sorry I couldn't come by sooner. I've been out on location."
An uncomfortable silence fell over the room. Normally Koyama would have animatedly gone into detail about where he had been and the things he had seen, the people he had talked to. Instead he just stood awkwardly close to the door and it seemed to Shige like he was preparing himself for his big escape at anytime. What had happened while he'd been out of it? Had he said something to Koyama? Was it the fall? A panicky feeling started to develop in the pit of Shige's stomach. What was this?
Koyama, in the meantime, was haunted by his memories of the last time he had seen Shige in this room. He needed to figure out where they were so he would know how to proceed. But images of Shige in the throws of passion as he panted Koyama's name were making things hard, both literally and figuratively. He couldn't even keep eye contact much less work out how to proceed.
Was Koyama blushing? Oh God, had he told Koyama about his feelings when he was out of it? Shige racked his brain but no matter how hard he tried he couldn't remember anything but the pain and some flashes of the most basic activities during the time he was taking the harder pain medication. Even eating and using the toilet were only vague memories.
He had had some pretty crazy dreams during that time though. Everything from talking cat people and a Johnnys host club to mundane things like doing laundry and shopping. Some of them had been sexual but how would Koyama know that? The only person that would have any idea about what kind of dreams he'd been having would be his mother and Shige very much doubt that she was running around telling people her adult son still had wet dreams. No, there was no way that would have anything to do with what was going on with Koyama now. His poor mother though. He'd have to buy her a present for all he'd put her through.
The silence started to stretch and Koyama wondered if he shouldn't just go. He wasn't getting anywhere just standing there and with his new problem on the rise, he wasn't sure if the best course of action wasn't just to make a hasty retreat before he did something stupid. He had only come here to talk. He was still too confused about his new sexual feelings for Shige to know whether to try and act on them, if that were even a possibility. And if he did act on them, how would it effect their current friendship? What would they be to each other then?
“Shige...” they said at the same time. Both gave a nervous laugh.
“Please you first,” Koyama said.
“I just wanted to say,” Shige said looking at his hands while he twisted his fingers in the sheet, “That my mother told me that you visited me before you got so busy.”
Koyama's whole body clenched as he wait for Shige's next words.
“And … and even though I can't remember anything from that time ...”
The tension left Koyama's body but disappointment also seemed to cloud his thoughts. He should be relieved. This meant their relationship could remain the same and they could just continue being Koyashige, friends that were lucky enough to get to work and hangout together, friends that didn't have hot sex with each other.
“I'm glad I can always count on you being there for me,” Shige said blushing slightly.
Koyama sighed. Even though he knew Shige wouldn't understand why but he couldn't help it. It looked like he'd been right in the first place and Ishikawa had been wrong. Shige clearly hadn't been aware of what he was doing that day and it was time for Koyama to try and forget it had ever happened.
It wasn't like his feelings for Shige had changed at all, so really all that had happened was that Koyama had realized that he found Shige sexually attractive. And that wasn't really such big a deal. If anything it was more surprising that it had taken this long for it to happen considering how attractive he had always found Shige and how much time they spent together. He'd had plenty of coworkers, friends, and even customers at his mother's shop that he had wanted to have sex with over the years. There was even a short time when NEWS had just started that he fantasized about Yamapi so much he could barely look him in the eyes. He would get over this like he'd gotten over that and he'd do it right by Shige's side helping and protecting him and being there for him like he always was.
3 months later
They had just finished filming the 2 hour special, the last filming until the main event for Shige's show. Koyama was no closer to finding out the rest of Ishikawa's plan than he was to getting over wanting to ravage Shige on a regular basis.
He had decided to take the TV execs up on their offer and accompany Shige to his training. Through all Shige's training Koyama was there right beside him, cheering him on, exercising and running with him, lusting after him.
At first Koyama had gone against his own nature and tried to stay off camera for fear of more We R Boys moments. But after the comedians had tried to mock Shige's fall, Koyama's shock and subsequent care in the tightrope episode, the public who had been touched by their friendship, no longer found the group funny.
It was wonderful working on and off camera again with Shige and because of style of the show all they really had to do was be themselves while training. The training was hard but Koyama hadn't enjoyed working like this with Shige since they were juniors. He loved every minute. But as time ticked down and only a week separated them from the marathon Koyama decided he couldn't wait until he had more facts before telling Shige what he'd overheard.
Shige listened as Koyama repeated everything he'd heard Ishikawa and that woman, who Shige guessed was Oosawa-san, discuss including some of the less than kind comments and how he knew Ishikawa was wrong about how Shige felt about him.
“I thought you should know. I would have said something sooner but I didn't want to effect your recuperation or your training, and I was hoping to find out what the missing element was to the plan before I told you everything.”
Shige couldn't help just standing there, stunned. He had known that he wasn't made for this kind of show. He'd even sold himself to Ishikawa that way. But the idea that Ishikawa was so sure that he'd fail that he had allowed him to train for the marathon was horrifying. It was even worse that Koyama thought he was so weak willed that he wouldn't have been able to do his job even if he'd found out Ishikawa was against him.
“So Shige, do you have any ideas about what will happen if you can't complete the race?”
“I'll lose the ASICS contract,” Shige replied absentmindedly. “When they asked me if I would run the marathon they also told me if I was able to complete the marathon I would be the spokesman for ASICS for their nation wide prime time campaign. That's why they got Ishikawa to do the show even though sports shows aren't his specialties. They needed someone whose shows always did well. Someone who could make a winner out of a loser.”
“Why didn't you tell me about this contract sooner it's such a big deal and I ...”
“We were asked not to since it's contingent on the completion of the race.” Shige didn't want to admit that he didn't want to say anything in case he couldn't finish. “The bigger question is why didn't you tell me? Why didn't you say something to me the moment you heard it? Was it because of what he said about me liking you? Is that why every time I touch you you jump? Do you think I'm so crazy for you I can't control myself?”
“What are you talking about Shige? I didn't believe a word that monster said. I know we are nothing more to each other than good friends, best friends.”
Even in his anger at being left in the dark, it hurt to hear Koyama say those word even if they were true. Shige wanted to lash out to hurt him back even if it wasn't fair.
“You know what Koyama, just go away. I don't need more people around me that I can't trust. No matter what your reasons for not telling me, waiting until now to tell me something this important makes you someone I can't trust.”
“Shige”, Koyama pleaded, “You're being unreasonable. I just didn't want to effect your recovery or your training. I wasn't keeping it from you.”
“What are you now, my mother!? Quit trying to protect me! I'm not some little junior that needs you to protect them. I'm an adult! Don't you think I had the right to be told as soon as possible so that I could have decided what I wanted to do next!? Now I have no options!”
Shige could physically feel the pain on Koyama's face, it mirrored the pain in his own heart. He wanted to apologize and say he didn't mean it but he also wanted to keep shouting. He wanted to shout other questions like 'why can't you really see me' or 'why don't you love me the way I love you'? And then it was too late.
“If that's really how you feel then, I'll go. Good luck Shige, I know you can do it.”
And without a backwards glance Koyama turned and left. Shige's heart screamed at him to stop him but his pride wouldn't let the words leave his mouth.
One week later
Koyama watched his phone as it rang for a second time with an unknown caller id then let his eyes turn back to his muted TV. Aiba-san was on the screen sharing the story of a little boys misfortune. Koyama had turned the sound off because while he couldn't bear not keeping track of Shige's run, at the same time he feared that if he started crying over the stories of these unfortunate people he wasn't sure if he'd be able to stop.
How could Shige have not called him? He'd thought for sure that he would have come to his senses before now. Koyama had almost gone to Shige himself and tried to apologize. He knew Shige had been right, that he hadn't given him enough credit. He should have told him about everything when he had first become coherent but, he wasn't sure if Shige would even listen to him.
Now all he could do was sit in front of his TV and watch for glimpses of Shige. The hardest part had been watching during the time they had planned to spend together. All the arrangements they had made for Koyama to take the place of his trainer during the early morning hours had been wasted. Koyama's phone beeped as a voice mail came in at the same time they showed Shige in the corner of the screen. He looked tired but was still running at a steady pace.
As the small Shige disappeared from the screen, Koyama reached for his phone to check the message.
“Hello Koyama-san. My name is Oosawa Miu. I am Ishikawa-san's personal assistant. I was able to get your number from a member of staff. I am sorry to trouble you privately but I have something very urgent I need to speak with you about. It's concerning a mutual acquaintance. If you can please give me a call back at 0805553866 as soon as possible. Thank you.“
Koyama dialed her number immediately, curious as to what she could urgently want to share with him. Before he could even say who he was she was whispering instructions for a meeting place near Tokyo station
“Thank you for meeting me on such short notice Koyama-san. I'm sorry that I couldn't tell you more on the phone but I need to discuss a rather delicate matter with you and time is of the essence. As I mentioned I am Ishikawa-san personal assistant and as his assistant I have become privy to some very important information. You see Koyama-san, I'm not sure how to ask you this but” Oosawa-san said worrying her lip, “But I need your help before it's too late.
“You see,” she continued, tears starting to form in her eyes, “I love Hirose but I just can't let him hurt Shige-kun.” She started to cry as she finished.
Koyama's blood ran cold. He had expected this to be about Shige but not something like this.
“Please Oosawa-san, if you want me to help you and Shige, you have to tell me more. What is it that Ishikawa has planned? How is he going to hurt Shige?”
“You see Koyama-san he's not usually like this. He's a brilliant man, he just doesn't like to be pushed. And I know if he hadn't become so obsessed with the big picture he wouldn't be doing this. I know he secretly likes and admires Shige-san. He thinks he's brave.”
“Please Oosawa-san you said time was of the essence.”
“Well I was in the meeting room in the studio helping to prepare some notes and Hirose was talking on the phone. You see Hirose didn't want Shige to finish this marathon to get back at the people responsible for forcing him to make this show. If the show failed they stood to lose a lot of money in ad revenues. I thought he was just sabotaging Shige-san's training and had picked him in the first place because he was such a poor runner. But when I heard him on the phone today I realized he wasn't going to just leave it to chance. He was checking on his preparations to drug Shige and I couldn't just ...”
“When and how?” Koyama interrupted grabbing her and shaking her. The other people in the restaurant were starting to stare but he didn't let her go until she answered.
“In his water, right before the last kilometer of the race. He said he wanted it to be dramatic but I think he thought it wouldn't look as bad for Shige if he ...”
Koyama dropped her arms and ran out the door.
He hadn't made it in time. Koyama watched as Shige started to weave. He was obviously struggling but he made it over the finish line before he collapsed.
Shige blinked and groaned as the bright lights burned his eyes. He felt as if someone had used him as a punching bag. He slowly turned his head to take in his surroundings and it looked like he was in a doctors office. He had no idea how he'd gotten there. The last thing he remembered was Koyama helping him into the back of a car.
“How are you feeling?” Someone asked and Shige was glad when the light was blocked and he could make out the form of what he thought was a nurse, leaning over him.
“Horrible,” he croaked, “Every place on my body is sore.”
The nurse laughed
“Well what can you expect when you've been running for 24 hours. What about anything else? Are you experiencing any double vision or shortness of breath?” She paused to check his pulse.
“No, just sore.”
“That's great. He's been waiting and is quite anxious to see that you're OK. I'll just go get him and we'll be right back.”
The prospect of seeing Koyama made Shige smile. He knew that the first thing he needed to do the moment he saw Koyama was apologize. For the majority of his run, until he had to will his legs to keep moving, it was almost the only thing he could think about.
“Kato-san, I'm glad to see you are back with us,” said a man that Shige was sure he had never seen before.
“My name is Daichi Tamura. I am an executive in programing for NTV. I've just had a talk with your group mate and friend and I'd like to discuss what we talked about with you if that's OK?”
“Sure,” Shige said mystified about what was going on, but if he'd discussed it with Koyama then maybe it was OK. Still he was unsettled.
“As you may or may not know, your collapse tonight was due to drugs being introduce into your system via the water Ishikawa-san had a staff member give you.”
“What!? You mean he drugged me?” Shige struggled to sit up.
“Yes. According to Koyama-san you are aware of Ishikawa-san's plan to sabotage our contract with ASICS.”
“That is partly what I need to talk to you about. You see Kato-san, since you finished the race the contract is still yours if you want it. But … ASICS can't be linked to a scandal so, if you want to be their spokesperson we can't get the police involved. Naturally we will see to it discreetly that Ishikawa is held accountable for his actions and he will never work in the entertainment field again. I do realize though that this might be a far cry from the public justice you may feel is your due, but Koyama-san seemed to think the continuation of your TV show, minus Ishikawa-san of course, would help.”
Shige thought for a moment about this offer considering which meant more to him, fame or revenge. The answer was neither.
“I think Koyama was almost right sir. I could work with new staff to come up with a new concept for the show, and if Koyama joined me on the show, and we were guaranteed at least a one year run to prove ourselves - then I think I would have no problem with accepting your offer.”
Dachi-san didn't answer right away but Shige knew that he would agree before the words even left his mouth. Shige had seen the look of relief on his face when he had realized Shige would play ball.
“You've got a deal. And we can all thank Koyama-san's fast thinking. If he hadn't called to give us the heads up on his way to you, we wouldn't have been able to act so fast. Now Kato-san I'm sure you are tired and would like to get some rest. One of my associates will be in tomorrow with some contracts for you to sign. I'll let your management company know.”
Shige nodded his assent, unsurprisingly starting to really feel his exhaustion.
“Shige, Shige, I don't have long and I want to talk to you,” Koyama pleaded, lightly squeezing Shige's hand.
Shige forced opened his eyes to find the room mostly in darkness, the only light being a small desk lamp in the corner of the room and Koyama leaning over his bed.
“Koyama,” Shige breathed, a lazy smile gracing his face. “I'm sorry. I was waiting for you and I guess I fell asleep.”
“That's OK. The nurse wouldn't let me back here anyway. That's why I only have a moment but I need to tell you something and then I'll go.”
“Koyama, I'm so sorry for the things I said. I was so stupid.”
“Shige I would have let you poison people.”
“What?” Shige wondered if he was fully awake.
“I said I would have let you poison people.”
“I thought that was what you said. I just don't understand what it means.”
“Oosawa-san called me and had me meet her. She's who told me what Ishikawa was planning to do. She kept telling me that she loved him but that she couldn't let him hurt you. But after I thought about it I realized if I had been her, I wouldn't have told anyone. I would have cared more about making sure you were safe than worrying about anyone else. And after everything that's happened I realized ... I would let you poison people. I just wanted you to know that.” Koyama finished quietly, already starting to pull away.
“Wait!” Shige grabbed his hand and stopped him. “Koyama, what are you saying …I don't understand. I don't want to poison anyone.”
“I know,” Koyama said turning to face him, “I just want you to know that if you did, I would help you.”
“But I don't."
"But if you did, I'd help you cover it up.”
“So ...” Shige said again pulling Koyama even closer. “Koyama, are you saying … are you saying that you love me?”
Shige could hear his heart thundering in his ears.
“What if I am?”
“And you were just going to say that and leave?”
“I just needed to tell you and I was afraid if I waited until ...” Shige didn't need to hear anymore, he pulled Koyama to him in an awkward kiss letting his lips say what he had been unable to for so many years.
As Koyama pulled him closer and deepened their kiss he realized that as long as Koyama remained by his side he had nothing to prove but he could do anything.