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The Roses of Pain

Authors Notes: Well, I've always loved sci-fi and fantasy. I was at my boss's house for a meeting one night and got into his comic books, stumbling upon a series called "Sandman". And I must say it sparked some creative brain cells. Here we go (although this really has NOTHING to do with the Sandman comics! I just liked the mysticism.)

DISCLAIMERS: The bands Zilch, hide, old X-Japan, Marilyn Manson, Luna Sea, Gackt, the recent Malice Mizer and whoeverthehellelse happens to be in this have no connection, except for the obvious connections between hide and Marilyn Manson himself (HELLO! We're talkin' music-label connections here!), have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

This is FICTION people! Any similarity of these characters to those either living or neigh (God rest, hide) other than the fact that they're based off of band members in question, is purely coincidental. Situations in this are COMPLETELY fictitious! Similarities to any situations experienced by readers of this fiction is complete coincidence.. that and you earn a big, weird-o gold star for scoring big on the Strangeness Charts!

And finally. This fic is MINE! Feel free to distribute it about your sites PROVIDED THAT this disclaimer (and my random babbling) moves along with the original work, and that this fic is not changed in ANYWAY, or I come after you! Also, can't use it for commercial or profitable means without my permission. I hope you know the drill by now.

Okay.. I'm done ranting. On with the meaning of this fic.

What's this fic about?

This fic takes place about a year or so after hide-san's passing, but that doesn't exclude him from the fic.

Scattered throughout the rock community, there are 5 rockers who were, in a sense, "Chosen" to fight out the battles between good and evil (Think of the dragons of heaven and Earth in Clamp's manga X/1999) Anyway, each one of the 5 Chosen has a bodyguard of sorts who can protect them. Suppose one of these Chosen is lead to believe that one of the other Chosen is trying to destroy the earth?

Cast (By Bands)

Marilyn Manson - Dragon of Fire
Twiggy Ramirez - Protector of Fire
Toshi - Dragon of Earth
Yoshiki - Dragon of Wind
Hide - Protector of Wind
Sugizo - Dragon of Death
J - Protector of Death
Mana - Dragon of Water
Gackt Camui - Protector of Water
Raven - Protector of Earth, supposedly

Chapter One: Endless Rain

      The weather in Los Angeles had been horrendous for the past few days. A grouping of thunder cells had gathered themselves over the city and had refused to move since noon the previous day. Rain had fallen on the City of Angles for over 24 hours straight now; Roads were rain-slicked, storm sewers were filled and the city's normally rough crowd had dwindled to a dreary mass of faceless zombies.
      As the rain pattered on wet skylights, a sad and slow piano tune resonated through a home fit for a king, settled off in Melrose, away from the hustle and bustle of LA life. The dreary notes rang from a crystal piano, positioned in the exact center of an over-passing loft of the home, overlooking the barren front foyer. Thin fingers gently played out the notes, passing over the keys with an almost phantasmal ease, barely striking the surface as they extracted their tones.
      The fingers stopped their dance and pushed away from the piano in a single fluid movement, grabbing a coat that sat lifelessly on an easy chair and headed for the loft stairs. The fingers belonged to a tall, thin man dressed in a pressed black Armani suit, the lines of a crisp, white shirt peaking out around the collar. Japanese in appearance, his hair had been died deep red, and his eyes were painted with black shadows as he slipped on a pair of sunglasses to hide his visage.
      His name was Hayashi Yoshiki, President of a Japanese record company here in Los Angeles, Extasy Records. And Yoshiki was forever a dreary man, dressing all in black as if still in mourning for a friend he lost over a year ago. A friend who's personality and passion outmatched any Yoshiki had ever known. A friend whom perhaps could have been more than just a friend to him.
      Yoshiki grumbled lightly to himself, grumbling away the old memories, and grabbed a set of keys as he entered into the garage, a sleek black Ferrari Testa Rosa parked silently in the dark .

      The Ferrari pulled to a stop on a city street, neatly parking itself on the side of the road. Yoshiki sighed lightly and looked out the passenger window to the store at which he found himself. It was a specialty store, menacing letters carving out the word "Necromancer" on the store window. "What am I doing here?" he asked himself lightly, turning off the engine to his car and pocketing his keys.
      Quickly, Yoshiki climbed out of his car and popped open an umbrella. For a moment, he stood in the rain listening to the pitter-patter of the raindrops on the canvas above his head. He found his feet leading him around his car and up to the wet sidewalk, a hand reaching for the door to The Necromancer shop.
      And Yoshiki's senses found him inside the store before he could tell his feet to turn around and take him back to the car.
Like a statue, he stood in the doorway a moment, water dripping off his umbrella onto the old, creaky wooden floors below. The feeling of his surroundings was like being in the middle of an old gothic movie. Chills found their way up Yoshiki's back and arm as he shook his head clear of his own voice, raising eyes. The shopkeeper, an older woman in her 40's, raised her head from one of the antique counters and smiled brightly. "Hello," she greeted.
      Yoshiki nodded to her briefly and closed his umbrella. "Hello."
      "Dreadful weather, huh."
      Yoshiki smiled lightly to the shopkeeper and walked in.
      Heads of wild animals snarled at him from the corners of the shop, preserved pig embryo's and unidentifiable animal parts sat in orangish liquid-filed bottles on shelves. And despite himself, Yoshiki found himself shivering.
      "You don't look like the type that would be in here," the woman said through Yoshiki's thoughts, almost as if she was speaking to him through his own mind.
      "Um… I'm not, really. I had a good friend who loved this place," Yoshiki spoke in his quiet, penetrating voice. "He would wear odd stuff like this," he pointed to eyeball rings and medallions made of spiders and scorpions.
      "Oh? Which one was this friend of yours?"
      "Japanese… pink hair, bad English."
      The woman laughed. "With the big sunglasses that made him look like a bug? I remember him," she chuckled, digging around behind the counter momentarily. "Bright little fellow he was." Curiosity pulled Yoshiki a bit closer to watch just as the woman pulled out a ring and handed it to him.
      Carefully taking the ring, Yoshiki turned the silver item over in his hand, feeling the cold metal on his warm hands. It was a small silver skeletal hand curling around so that it would appear to be gripping whoever's finger it would happen to rest upon. "Hide," he whispered as he looked the ring over, letting his hand close tightly over the metal. Vivid memories flooded back to him, memories of his friend with the pink hair, often dressed in some of the ugliest clothes Yoshiki had ever seen. Though, no matter what, Hide seemed to look good in anything he could wear, no matter if it matched or looked like some hideous throwback from the Salvation Army.
      "You miss him terribly, don't you?" the shopkeepers voice gently floated into existence around Yoshiki, ripping him harshly from his thinking.
      Yoshiki frowned and shook his head free a moment to clear his vision of his brownish-red hair. "Excuse me," he almost spat at the woman. "You know nothing of him."
      "I can see it in your eyes… I can see his smile in your eyes."
      "You know NOTING of him!!" Yoshiki found himself yelling to the woman across the counter, slamming a hand onto the glass display under him. He met with her eyes menacingly, tossing the ring onto the counter to let it clamber to rest. "You know nothing…"
      "I know more than you think," she smiled sweetly, handing Yoshiki a small brown paper sack. "You don't belong here my friend, but perhaps this will help," she nodded to the paper bag.
      Yoshiki could not think of a comeback, but snatched the paper bag out of her hand and stormed out of the store, slamming the door behind him.

      Deyama Toshimitsu leaned heavily on his elbows hanging his head over a pile of papers on his desk. Rain was falling outside the windows of his Tokyo home in steady sheets, making the outside scenery look like a massive glob of undulating reality. He was going through the day's mail: bills, junk mail, more bills. He hated the rain, hated the way it confined him to the house on days like these.
Toshi sighed and leafed through the mail, fingers coming to rest on a hand-lettered envelope set amongst the seemingly endless pile of bills. It was addressed to him personally, using the short form of his name in a less than honorific form. The originating address simply read "Los Angeles, California" Frowning, he opened it quickly and pulled out a letter written in English.

 Mr. Deyama,

	Who I am is of little concern to you at this point.  It is WHOM I am writing 
	you about that you should be concerned.  And I think you can guess who I'm 
	talking about here in LA.  Situations have arisen and your presence is requested 
	in LA.  Please come.  I ask that you trust me on this.  Details of my need have 
	been left out of this note for confidentiality and for your safety.

	When you reach LA, there will be a limo waiting for you.  It will take you to 
	your destination and inform you of the reasons for why you are in LA.

	Please do not bring your family.

  Anonymous

      Toshi frowned at the note. "Why would I go to LA on a whim?" He folded the note back up and intended to shove it back into its envelope and forget that it ever existed. But the envelope wasn't empty. A group of papers sat nestled in the envelope, Toshi reaching in to pull them out. A one-way plane ticket to LA.

© 1999 Korogi Nagisa & HTMS Interlink. All Rights Reserved

On to Chapter 2