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Roses of Pain

Chapter 3: Break the Darkness

      Slowly, Yoshiki came-to on his couch, the TV going quietly in the back ground. The lights were on in the living room and the rain was still falling heavily outside, seeming to lull his senses as if he was still caught in his dreams. He frowned slightly. Could it all have been a dream?
      A woman on the TV screamed and Yoshiki turned to watch. She was running through her house in the pouring rain being chased by some phantom intruder. Yoshiki laughed and rubbed his eyes and his chest which seemed to throb dully in pain. "Just a stupid dream," he whispered.
      "No it wasn't."
      Yoshiki sat up instantly at the voice, his heart suddenly breaking into quick beats. Hanging over the foot of the couch was a man with wild pink hair, arms hanging over the couch side as if he had been flung there like an old blanket. Instinctually, Yoshiki bolted to his feet, intending to take off across his house to the front door.
      "No.. please don't take off again," the man stood from the edge of the couch, holding a hand out in peace. "Yoshiki…"
      "Who the hell are you and how did you get into my house," Yoshiki nearly whispered, backing up slowly across the living room.
      "Yoshiki… I don't know. I don't know what's going on…"
      "Why do you look like him! Why do you look like Hide!!" Yoshiki screamed. "You sick bastard!"       "Yoshiki…"
      "What right do you have to call me by my first name! What fucking right have you to come into my house. Why do you look like HIM!? WHO ARE YOU!"
      "Who do I look like!" the other yelled back at him furiously, taking a few steps forward. "Answer me!"
      Yoshiki stood panting in place, his heart threatening to pound out of his chest. He shook his head and pointed an accusing finger at the man. "You're not Hide. Hide's dead. You've impersonated the wrong man, asshole."
      "I'm not impersonating anyone. I don't know how… but… here I am again, Yo-chan. It's me!" the other yelled back, pounding a fist into their chest. "It's me!"
      Again, Yoshiki shook his head. "You're sick. Get out!"
      The other laughed and hung his head, running a hand nervously through his wild pink hair as if the action would somehow tame his mop. The tension between the two of them seemed to fade momentarily, the rain outside the living room window letting up slightly in respect for the silence. "I can't explain it either. I remember staring at the ceiling in the hospital… I remember tying the towel around my neck. I remember drinking that night…"
      "Stop it," Yoshiki whispered, watching the man closely as the intruder raised his head and took a few steps toward him. "I don't care if you are Hide or not. I want you out of my house. You know where the door is."
      The other's face fell silently and they hung their head, shoving their hands into their pockets. "Remember that night after the Rose and Blood Tour when I threw the hotel's TV set out of the window…"
      "Every reporter knows about that…"
      "Remember how upset I was with you that night. Remember WHY I was so upset with you?"

      "Like hell, Yoshiki!" Hide yelled from behind his long, flowing red hair, following Yoshiki as he rounded through Hide's hotel room. "You're like a brother to me... and more!"
      "It's the "more" that has me worried, Hide!"
      "So!" the other protested. "And what do you think I mean by that? Huh? And here I thought I could tell you anything. I thought I could come to you about anything. And THIS is what I've come all this way to learn? That you don't feel the same way?"
      "Incase you haven't noticed… we're both GUYS you idiot! Guys can't fall in love with other guys!" Yoshiki screamed with all the rage he could muster, balling his hands into fists and shaking one at Hide.
      "Like hell they CAN'T!!" Hide screamed in retaliation, overpowering Yoshiki's darker, softer voice. He spun around and nabbed a bottle of vodka sitting on the dresser, launching it across the room. The bottle met with the wall beside the open balcony window, shattering into a million pieces, spraying vodka everywhere. "Two-faced son of a bitch."
      "Throwing temper tantrums is not going to solve problems, Hide. Childish tantrums are seem to be all you can do anymore."
      "You loved me once too."
      "I did not! We're both drunk… you're WAY passed pissed drunk…"
      "Just because I'm drunk doesn't mean I can't express feelings!"
      "No… it has EVERYTHING to do with you being drunk!"
      "Get out of my room, Yoshiki!!" Hide screamed. He reached behind him, only able to grab a handful of ice and launch it at Yoshiki. "GET OUT!! Get out get out get out…"
      Hide steamed, whirling about on the verge of breaking down and crying on the floor. He threw his arms around the television set bolted to the hotel dresser and gave it a good hard tug, ripping it out of the wooden casing that held it to the frame. He stumbled across the room to the balcony with the burden and launched the TV set from the window, collapsing soon after it's seven-story maiden voyage.
      Yoshiki stood stunned a moment, listening to the TV meet a rather loud demise seven stories below them, hoping that no unsuspecting passer-by was caught in it's flight path. Hide sat in a pile on the balcony, clutching his side, shaking violently.
      Slowly Yoshiki walked across the room and bent down beside his friend, gently smoothing back the long, stringy red hair. "Daijoubu desu ka?"
      Hide snorted and ripped his face from Yoshiki's gentle touch. "The damn TV caught me in the chest," he whispered, pulling his hand back. His side was bleeding, a large gash running down over a few ribs in his side.
      Yoshiki leaned over and hugged his guitarist lightly, resting his hand on the wound. "I'm sorry… you took me by surprise."
      "Shut up and get me some ice and a towel," Hide snarled. "I don't wanna talk about it any more."

      Yoshiki stood a bit dumbfound in his living room, watching the man across from him who seemed to be impersonating his friend as he finished the story. The man pulled his shirt up to expose his chest, a short but ugly scar running down the side of his chest. It matched the position and length of the scar Hide had received from throwing the TV set out the hotel window eight years ago. "This isn't possible."
      "I don't know how I ended up back here… I don't know what's happened to me."
      "You're not Hide. I buried him…"
      The other lowered his shirt and shoved his hands in his pockets, taking a couple steps forward, kicking sock-feet against the floor nervously. "So… I'm a ghost then," he declared mater-of-factly, as if he was impressed by the realization.
      "Okay, I've had enough of this… who are you really?"
      "A ghost now," the other smiled widely, laughing. He took a deep breath and slowly closed the distance between them. He raised brown eyes to Yoshiki's as the two stood about 2 feet apart. "There are just some things that can't be explained… and it looks like I'm one of them."
      Yoshiki watched the man who stood before him. Freckles, chicken pox scars… He knew Hide's face by heart, knew every feature of it. And the face before him now reflected that memory perfectly, as if looking through memory's mirror.
      Slowly, with shaking hands, Yoshiki reached a thin finger to the face before him, rubbing one of the soft cheeks slowly. He watched closely as the face smiled before him, the face twisting into the familiar grin Yoshiki had known and loved. "You can't be him," Yoshiki whispered, raising his other hand to hold the face in his hands. "You can't be."
      The other signed, raising a hand to cup one of Yoshiki's that rested on his cheek. "I'm so confused, Yo-chan. I don't know why I'm here… I don't know what brought me back…" A single tear escaped from one of the painted brown eyes and the man's head lowered.
      The big sign in the airport said "Welcome to Los Angeles, City of Angels."
      Toshi sighed and retrieved his baggage at the baggage claim area, dragging it with as little effort that he could put into it. He tugged the luggage behind him lazily, looking around with thin eyes. "What the hell am I doing here," he grumbled, pulling himself like a dead weight out into the pick-up area.
      He looked around briefly until he noticed a sleek black limo waiting patiently, a man in a black suit walking over to approach him. "Mr. Deyama?"
      "Uh.. yeah," Toshi spoke, trying to remember his English.
      "Please come with me," the man said, taking Toshi's suitcase and quickly walking across the street. Night was falling and the sheltered area was offering little sanctuary from the storm above them.
      "Wait... who are you? Who brought me here?" Toshi suddenly asked, taking a cautious step backwards.
      "Get in the car, Mr. Deyama," the man said rather sternly, holding open a limo door for him. "I think you know who you're here to see.
      "No I don't… and I'm NOT getting in any car until I get some answers!"
      "You'll have your answers," the man said. He reached out, grabbed Toshi and literally threw him in the limo.
      Toshi was a bit dazed as he felt the limo pull out of the airport and into the rain. He sat up, expecting to find a deserted limo…
      "We've never met before," spoke a voice, Toshi nearly startled out of his skin. "But I know that you know of me."
      The man in the limo with Toshi was a tall man, dressed all in black. His face was pale, his lips painted blood red to contrast on his skin. Short, black hair sprouted in odd angles atop his head, disheveled. "Have a seat," the man gestured to the other bench in the limo. "I'm sure the floor isn't comfortable.
      Reluctantly, Toshi pulled himself onto the seat in the limo across from the man. "Who are you."
      "You don't recognize me?"
      "Should I?"
      The other shrugged, sitting regally posed on the seat across from him. "Very well, if you insist. I was good friends with a man named Hide."
      Toshi frowned and growled slightly. "So. He had a lot of friends."
      "I was in his band here in the US… Zilch. You can call me Raven."
      Raven… Toshi had never met the man before, but had heard horror stories about the sadistic man from Pata when he had visited.
      "Raven," Toshi repeated. "Fine, so where are we going?"
      "Your band-leaders house. But, I guess you knew that already."
      "Yoshiki's house?" the other nearly choked. "Why are we going there?"
      "Wouldn't you like to take revenge on the man who put you through hell for 6 years? Wouldn't you like to make that man pay for your current financial situation?"
      Toshi frowned and almost laughed. "No," he stated, as if his answer should have been obvious to the other in the first place.
      "I know that's not how you feel inside. You just don't realize it yet. You don't realize how much hatred you have for that man and everything he loves."

      Yoshiki found himself bringing the man before him into his arms. He stood a bit shocked at first, feeling the other's long, thin arms wrap about his waste and bury his head in the shoulder of his suit jacket. The other was crying, Yoshiki lightly petting the wild pink hair. The soft smell of expensive hairspray mixed with cigarette smoke floated to his nose. The man looked like Hide… acted like Hide… smelled like Hide… It was impossible. Yoshiki had seen Hide lying in the satin coffin back in Japan; he had watched as it was sealed with the guitarist in it. It couldn't be… " … Hide…" Yoshiki felt the other's fingers gripping the material of his suit jacket. "Hide… how can you be here?"
      "I don't know," the other sniffed.
      Yoshiki hugged his resurrected friend… and noticed something pinching his wrist. Still holding Hide, he raised his arm and noticed something odd. The bracelet the woman at The Necromancer had given him was fastened securely around his wrist.
The bracelet with the black widow set against the pink background. "Pink Spider."
      Hide sniffed and drew back, wiping a hand across his eyes. "Hmm… what?"
      Yoshiki shook his head slightly and laughed. "No, not you. This…" he raised his wrist to show Hide the bracelet.
      Hide took Yoshiki's hand and gave the bracelet a look. "Cool, you have one too?" he declared, pulling up his shirt sleeve to reveal an identical bracelet.
      "I must have put it on when you were chasing me through the house," Yoshiki smiled despite himself, wiping a tear bed from Hide's face. "Some odd woman at The Necromancer gave it to me."
      Hide chuckled and drew a finger across the spider on the bracelet. "Do you know the history behind these bracelets?"
      Yoshiki frowned slightly and cocked his head to the side. "No… I guess not."
      "You see, a few years back a man and a woman were bitten by these two spiders and died in the hospital together. One of the necromancers caught both spiders and suspended them in these crystals. Supposedly, the two people who wear these bracelets will be linked together forever."
      Yoshiki chuckled. "Superstition?"
      "Hn, maybe. Ya never know."
      The two exchanged a smile for a moment as the rain continued outside.
      Suddenly, the front doorbell rang, cutting through the house, splitting the air wide open.
      Yoshiki startled to his senses, looking over his shoulder back at the door. "Who in the hell would be out in this weather?"
      "I don't know," Hide whispered, leaning around him. "Something doesn't feel right."
      "You read my mind."
      Hide chewed nervously on a finger, leaning his pink head on Yoshiki's shoulder. "Um.. I'm gonna go hide in the kitchen, maybe get a beer."
      "Good idea."
      Yoshiki watched as Hide walked off quickly and disappeared into the house before he went to the front door. He didn't bother to see who it was; he just opened the door. "Yes?"
      "Yoshiki…" a voice greeted him at the door.
      Yoshiki met eyes with the man at his door. "By the gods… Toshi."

      Dark clouds continued to form over the house as Hide closed the kitchen window, reaching into the sink to retrieve the knife Yoshiki had dropped when trying to escape his intrusion. He sighed and took the knife to his finger, slicing through a small section of his skin. He winced and watched his finger bleed for a few moments before turning and running it under the cold water tap. "Damn," he whispered, rubbing his finger under the water. "I guess I really AM alive again."
      He stuck his finger in his mouth and walked out of the kitchen, peaking around the corner to see Yoshiki's guest. "Oh my god…"

On to Chapter 4

© 1999 Korogi Nagisa & HTMS Interlink.