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FIC -- "Lens and Gifts" - one-shot - Dir en grey - mild Die/Kaoru - PG
by Magga (epicrauko)
at April 5th, 2008 (09:24 pm)
now singing: the tictactictac of keyboards

Author: epicrauko 
Pairing: Mild Kaoru/Die -- it could be interpreted in a number of ways. take it as you please.
Rating: PG. Nothing much.
Length: one shot.
Summary:
Kaoru does some thinking about the band on a day off. Very "stream of consciousness" and "drabble."
Warnings: Cheese, long-windedness, a few mechanical errors I'll get to fix when i'm not so tired... never
A/N: the first complete work I've written in years and my first RPF, came as a result of offline stress relief from finals in November and some old, outdated role-playing with red_audrey |D. I'm posting here in pursuit of THE ELUSIVE C&C ~~



        There was always a certain feel, perhaps aura, that Kaoru seemed to exude. It did not matter whether he was metal or rock, visual or casual, live or recorded; it did not matter what “Kaoru” he was.
    Kaoru was not pleased. He groped around in his pocket and felt nothing but a few coins, his lighter, and a pick. His breath, he could feel, stunk of strawberries from that far-too-fruity crepe, and his body yearned for the taste of tobacco and the kiss of nicotine that came with each cigarette. He noticed a convenience store nearby, focused mainly on satisfying his craving. A tiny old man seated behind a counter greeted him, and after a slight, acknowledging nod, Kaoru skimmed the shelf of cigarettes behind the old man, ordering his usual pack of Mild Seven Light once he spied the familiar package. He spoke with a level of aloofness learned over he past ten years, contributing to that “cool” character he unfailingly exuded. He thought for a minute about the concept that the balding old man limping his way to the cigarette shelf only saw him as a customer, and then considered the other possibility: that the old man may have seen him or knew of him, through a daughter or nephew or perhaps a TV special, but merely did not recognize him--maybe he was a fan who simply had very bad eyes or very good self-control. Kaoru’s mind whirred behind a stoic face, but the minute the pack of cigarettes was dropped on the counter, he paid, scooped them up, and soon left the mystery man in the convenience store, unlit cigarette in mouth and lighter in hand. 
    It did not matter if he was Kaoru the guitarist, Kaoru the rockstar, or Kaoru the celebrity; it was always unmistakably, undeniably Kaoru who played each of these roles with idiosyncratic, effortless intensity and unmistakable suaveness. The fans saw the same Kaoru of Dir en grey that was the Niikura Kaoru he characterized himself as-- that intense, masculine, passionate man who remained as such both in and out of the band. It was quite a contrast from Shinya, who the fans assumed to be sweet, gentle, and effeminate from the only side they could see. Kaoru, however, had learned from years of experience that the drummer was driven and focused to the point of being cold.
    His hands were now red and stiff from the cold. For several minutes now, he had been trying to light his cigarette, but the wind was too strong to keep an open flame. He stuffed both lighter and cigarette in his pocket, the wind nipping at the flame tattooed on his right hand, but refused to let his hands totally dig their way inside. The cold wasn’t so bad, he told himself, and it was certainly nothing he couldn‘t deal with. He briefly thought otherwise when a particularly strong gust blew off his hat, leaving Kaoru to question why he chose his green trucker cap over the cozy beanie. When he finally recovered it, he took advantage of the nearby electronics shop and looked into the camera on display in the window, using the many television screens his face appeared on as a mirror as he replaced and adjusted his hat.
    Kyo was the same as Shinya, though in an entirely different manner. He showed so many faces of himself that he became an enigma, whose true self, Kaoru knew, was hotly debated amongst the fans. Even he wasn’t totally sure about Kyo, who sometimes showed a sociable, amiable side that joked around and loved animals, but mostly chose to sit alone, isolating himself from the rest of the world, earbud headphones always stuffed in his ears.                                             
    Kaoru’s eye was caught by a brightly-colored sign for the release of the latest Gundam soundrack, advertising that it featured a few rather well-known bands. He was slightly rueful, secretly wishing that he could see “Dir en grey” on one of those lists instead of someone like Gackt. Gackt, of all people, was working with Gundam. While he was the member who protested the most to Warcon’s decision to use Child Prey as an anime theme song, there was a secret, seething jealousy Kaoru felt towards Gackt that made him revert back to immature fantasies, the main one of which being clocking the plastic man in the mouth and knocking a tooth or two out of that pretty-boy mannequin.
     There was also Toshiya to be considered-- he was a smoking sexpot to some, a playful yet immature pervert to others, sometimes, Kaoru had learned, even the wonky-toothed ‘moron‘ of the band. Fans continually saw different sides to him and never seemed to be able to decide which one was better, let alone true. He wondered why the fans could never look at Toshiya as he did-- Toshiya was simply Toshiya, both with boyish charm and mature sex appeal, sincerity and lightheartedness, and moments of brilliance and idiocy, just like nearly every person on this earth.
    Kaoru was not sure why he found himself wandering dangerously close to the Harajuku district. He knew very well that the most neurotic and cultish of their visual-kei fans that treated them more like gods than musicians ran amok there, and he was hardly in the mood to deal with the likes of them. The screaming he was more than used to, but Kaoru could think of little else he found more intolerable than their overall attitude; it annoyed him so much that he wouldn’t even acknowledge them as “fans.”
    But Die would, a very surprised Kaoru found himself thinking. As he examined the thought closer, however, he suddenly realized how -- almost sickeningly -- correct he was. No matter how obsessive, annoying, even outright disrespectful a fan was, Die was always smiling and unfalteringly upbeat. He would always offer a thanks or two to the fans and complements and struggle out a sentence in foreign countries‘ native tongues,  and always became excited whenever he was given a gift, any gift. Kaoru thought -- no, he was pretty positive-- that a fan could give Die a turd, and he would somehow think that it was not some horrible prank or expression of hatred, but rather an…interesting way of saying thank-you.
    Kaoru now forced himself away from the area, no longer wanting to walk but to just sit and think. He noticed a confoundingly empty subway, and, perhaps to satisfy his own curiosity, perhaps to allow himself to be further alone, went in, purchased a ticket, and seated himself on the incoming train, only three others in the car with him. He had never seen a subway so empty, especially for Japan, of all places.
    He suddenly remembered one of the first times he and Die had been stuck on a crowded train together, those years ago when they still had long hair and wore makeup in La:Sadie’s. They had found that they took the same train to practice and home, and had ended up conversing together for quite some time. They eventually came to complaining about how tired practice and the long walks to the station had left their legs how they hoped there were seats left on the train, but as luck would have it, the train was packed, only a single seat left. Die had bolted and quickly grabbed it as Kaoru lumbered onto the train.
    “Here,” he had said, grinning and standing up, offering the seat. While they talked, Kaoru had noticed Die had been walking with a slight limp, and even now, he was leaning to one side and holding onto the rail for support. He himself had only a mild ache in his thighs and the soles of his feet, so he refused-- but Die insisted so intently that Kaoru eventually gave in and took the seat.
    Die was one to please people, Kaoru learned that day. He liked to see people happy, and it seemed he knew--or, at least, believed--that each fan he talked to, that each fan he met, he had made them happy, and that was gratification enough for him to disregard their vices and flaws, and to become overjoyed whenever a fan expressed joy, excitement, and thanks to him.
    Kaoru stuffed his hands into his pockets as far they would go and sighed deeply.
    It bothered him how much he wished he could light up Die’s face the same way the fans did these days. He and Die were now brothers in arms, kind acts and consideration between them became part of the relationship they shared, as natural as words in conversation. He could still make him smile, but it was far different than the one he saw at each of the meet and greets they had done, the one that made him want to forget the macho image he knew he gave off and had to maintain, become more patient and kind, and be able to not just tolerate the fans, but to appreciate them the same way his fellow guitarist did.
    That smile! Even if it was only once more, Kaoru wanted to be able to make that bright, beautiful smile of Die’s his own. That sense of genuine happiness he exuded---even if it was the opposite of what Dir en grey stood for, Kaoru found himself craving it more than he had ever realized.
    The train suddenly halted at a station, horridly crowded. As people poured in, Kaoru kept his head low, hiding his face from anyone who might recognize him, but still observed the flow and coagulation of those who trampled in.
    “Doors closing, please stay clear…” the robotic voice said, the distinct slapping of sneakers on concrete slightly blocking it out.
    “A-ah! Wait!”
    Kaoru looked up, surprised.
    “…a-ow!”
    The slapping had stopped, and Kaoru had totally forgotten about any worries he had about people recognizing him. The voice and the slapping had both been familiar, Kaoru realized as he saw a distinct studded jacket and shaggy mess of blonde hair.
    “Die--Daisuke! ” Kaoru caught his attention with a low-yet-still-clearly-audible voice, thinking better than to call him by his stage name a bit late. Die looked overcome by surprise for a moment, but gladly trotted over once he noticed Kaoru motioned him to.
    Kaoru stood up once Die came close.
    “Here,” he said, offering the seat.