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The Roses of Pain

Chapter 4: Silent Jealousy

      Yoshiki stood dumbfound in the doorway. "Uh.. Toshi-san," he whispered. "What brings… what are you doing here?"
      "I don't know."
      "How many times have I head THAT today," Yoshiki whispered to himself, gesturing aside. "Please, come in. Get out of the rain."
      Toshi hesitated a minute before stepping across the threshold and into Yoshiki's house. As common courtesy called for, Toshi quietly removed his shoes and bowed slightly to Yoshiki hoping that the other wouldn't ask to many questions that he couldn't answer.
      "Um… please have a seat," Yoshiki gestured to the living room aside from the front door.
      Yoshiki watched a bit confused as Toshi stepped into the house and looked around. "It's exactly how I remember it… the house I mean."
      Thoughts ran through Yoshiki's mind, creating a huge jumble of chaos that he couldn't think through. His chest was tightening… he was getting nervous. "If you'll excuse me a moment," he bowed, "But I was just on my way to the washroom. Please have a seat. I'll be back in a moment."

      Hide closed his eyes shut tight, so tight that he thought that he would blind himself. "What's HE doing here…?"
      Toshi sighed from his seat in the corner of Yoshiki's couch. He was thirsty and much more antsy than he had first thought. It made him uncomfortable to be in Yoshiki's house after all this time. He needed to streatch his legs.
      He pushed himself from the couch and wandered off to the back hall that he knew lead to the kitchen.

      Hide sighed and opened the window over the sink, taking a stiff sniff of the falling night's rainy air. The gentle tap of the rain was all he heard. In fact, he was so engrossed in listening to the rain that he didn't hear the sudden presence of Toshi behind him.
      Toshi jerked to a halt when he realized someone was in the kitchen before him. "Oh, I'm sorry…" he bowed with a chuckle, thinking that he had encountered one of Yoshiki's cooks.
      Hide twirled around from the sink, meeting eyes with Toshi.
      "Oh gods…" Toshi whispered, shuffling back a few paces. "Oh gods, you're alive."
      Hide pressed his back against the counter behind him, flattening himself out like a cornered animal. "Um.. really, I'm not who you think I am," he lied sloppily, slinking down the counter.
      Toshi frowned, trying words in his mind. "But.. you're dead. I... I know you're dead!" he hissed. "Yoshiki told me you were dead!"
      Hide chuckled slightly. "Um. I better be going…"
      "You're going no where," Toshi snarled, reaching to the cutting block, retrieving a butcher knife. "If anywhere, you're going back to that coffin of yours."
      Hide's eyes grew wide. "Wha… Toshi…"
      "You ARE him," Toshi seethed, rounding around the kitchen island. "You're ruining everything!"
      Hide turned and took off across the kitchen to the back hall, his sock-feet sliding on the wooden floors. His heart raced in his chest, the heavy footfalls of Toshi echoing closely behind him. "Shit shit shit…" he cursed to himself, flying blindly through the house. "My god, he's trying to kill me…" Hide broke out into the main foyer, sliding across the marble floors. Toshi broke from the hall closely after, clumsily trying to give chase, swinging the butcher knife dreadfully close to Hide's chest.
      Again, Hide twirled and found his footing, heading off across the foyer. "YOSHIKIIIIII" he screamed, feeling Toshi nearly catch the hood of his shirt. "HELP ME!!"

      Yoshiki looked up suddenly from the sink where he had been splashing his face with water. He listened closely to the air around him, certain he heard someone yelling. He watched his reflection in the mirror above the sink closely, watching the droplets of water drip from his face into the sink. "Something's not right here," he heard himself whisper, but his mouth never moved in the mirror's reflection. The spider bracelet on his wrist began to get hot. Reality around Yoshiki seemed to bleed out, the vision in the mirror fading out to reveal Toshi running through the house with a butcher knife, coming around a corner to grab Hide by a large handful of the brilliant pink hair. Toshi pulled the squirming man back roughly, bringing the butcher knife into sight…
      "TOSHI!!!" Yoshiki screamed and reached for the reflection in the mirror…

      … and Yoshiki found himself with his hands around Toshi's throat in the front foyer, strangling the man before him with every ounce of strength he had. He wasn't sure how he got out into the foyer from half way across the house, nor did he care. He only cared now about getting Toshi as far away from Hide as he could.
      A fire burned in his heart… Yoshiki felt a sudden surge of energy enter his body. He lifted Toshi easily off of Hide and flung him over his shoulder, sending him on a bee-line for the far wall of the foyer.
      Hide fell to the foyer floor, a hand rubbing his head as Yoshiki's arms wrapped around him, nearly squeezing the life out of him. "Jesus Hide.. are you okay?"
      "Yeah… fine…" he half-chuckled. "Yo-chan.. yer squishin' me."
      Yoshiki drew back and smoothed a hand over Hide's face. "How did he find you?"
      "I don't know… I was in the kitchen and he walked in on me." Hide opened his mouth to begin another sentence but stopped cold, eyes growing wide as he looked around Yoshiki. "Yo-chan… Toshi…"
      Yoshiki turned in his position on the floor to address the foyer. He expected to find Toshi in a pile at the end of the long, pillared room. Instead, the man hovered just inches above the floor by the far wall, the toes of his shoes touching lightly to the surface of the marble floors.
      "You lied to me, Yoshiki," the man snarled across the room to him, slowly beginning to float forward, the toes of his shoes dragging across the floor. "You lied… lied about EVERYTHING!"
      Yoshiki choked at the sight and fell back on his rear end. Hide threw his arms around Yoshiki's shoulders and clutched his friend tightly. "What in the fuck is going on here?" The other just shook their head and watched as Toshi floated slowly forward.
      "I didn't lie about anything," Yoshiki finally found his voice and spoke boldly to the man that was floating towards them.
      "You lied about yourself… about the band … about Hide being dead… EVERYTHING! Every word that has ever come from your mouth has been a lie!"
      "That's not true!" Yoshiki gathered himself and leapt to his feet as Toshi reached him, Toshi's hands reaching out for Yoshiki's throat. "I want you out of my house NOW!" Yoshiki screamed, and once again, found the strength to throw Toshi over his shoulders. The bulkier man sailed through the air and broke through a foyer window, landing out in the raining night in a soggy plop.
      Toshi was dazed but unharmed as he sat up in the rain. He was rather confused. "How did he do that..." he asked rhetorically.
      "Never attack a man in his own home," a deep voice came from behind.
      Toshi turned to see Raven walking across the front lawn, stopping to hold an umbrella over Toshi's head. "What?"
      "Never attack a man in his own home. It's where he's most powerful. And beside, it seems Yoshiki has a black angel with him… which makes your situation even worse."
      "Black angel?"
      "Someone who's been summoned from the dead."
      Raven frowned and looked down at Toshi. "Hide? You don't mean… the Spider?"
      Toshi rose to his feet and nodded. "He's brought Hide back from the dead, our old guitarist… your old lead singer," he pointed to Raven.
      Raven frowned and looked back at the house. "That's not possible."
      Toshi turned around, and this time it was his turn to frown. "I think it's time you explain things. I've flown from Tokyo, left my family behind, met up with my dead guitarist, floated through rooms and was just thrown out a plate glass window. I want some explanations!"
      Raven sighed and lead Toshi to the limo. "Things exist beyond your comprehension. There are seven dragons of the seven elements of reality: fire, wind, water, earth, light, life and death. Yoshiki is the dragon of wind, Ryufu. You are the dragon of Earth, Ryuchi."
      "Uh.. yeah," Toshi frowned as he slid into the limo, rubbing his neck. "So.. where does Hide fit into this all?"
      Raven slid into the limo and closed the door. "If indeed that IS the real Hide, it means that Yoshiki somehow has a link back to the body of Hideto Matsumoto. Hide's been reincarnated as a Black Angel, a sort of protector to Yoshiki. You can't get to Yoshiki without going through Hide first… and it seems that Hide doesn't know that he has the powers to protect Yoshiki. And we should keep things that way."
      Toshi sat back in the limo seat as he felt the car pull away from the curb. "Can he be killed?"
      Toshi paused and took a deep breath. "Yeah. Can I kill Hide?"
      "Alone, no. With another dragon of the Realms you could. Right now, you could do little more than scathe him. Unless… unless you can break the link that Yoshiki has back to Hide's body. It could be anything down to a pair of socks he's wearing. You need help from the other Dragons."
      "Who are they? Where can I find them?"
      "Two of them live in Japan without even knowing who they are. Those two are your best chance. The last dragon lives here in LA… but you won't have any luck in getting him to join you. He was good friends with Hide."
      "And their names?"
      Raven chuckled slightly. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
      "Try me. I've seen plenty of things today that I don't believe. Tell me who they are."
      "Here in LA… he's considered the Anti-christ. He's the Dragon of Fire. Ryuhi."
      Toshi frowned. "Who?"
      "Think hard. All the Dragons of the Realms are in rock entertainment… it's just how things worked out. Think of an American epitome of the anti-christ. Who would that be?"
      Toshi was getting tired of being kept in the dark. "I'm no good at guessing games. Tell me!"
      "Good friend to Hide. Owns a cult band that established the Church of the AntiChrist Superstar. That man is…"

      Hide sat wide eyed on the floor, blinking at the broken window. "Shit…" he whispered, rising slowly to his feet. "There is some crazy stuff going on here," he whispered. He slid across the floor to the phone and began dialing.
      "Who are you calling?" Yoshiki whispered grimly, turning slowly from the window to follow his friend.
      Hide kept a close eye on Yoshiki as he dialed. "A good friend. I think he's the closest thing we have to a witch doctor… or whatever the hell we need right now."
      "Who is it?" Yoshiki asked sternly, reaching out to lay a hand on Hide's shoulder.

      The phone rang insistently on the small glass table, a hand with chipping orange nail polish reaching for the receiver. "Hello…" it spoke deeply. "Yeah, speaking. Who's this?"
      The man chewed on an orange nail and listened to the phone. "Uh, yeah whatever pal. Listen… he's been dead for over a year now." he sat forward from the couch, orangish hair sprouting from odd angles on his head. "I'll believe it when I see him with my own eyes. Now, I don't know who the hell you are, but if you call again I'm gonna land your ass in jail for harassment!" … and he slammed the phone down. "Idiots."
      "Who was that, Marilyn?" a man's voice asked from the kitchen.
      He looked up from the phone to the kitchen. "Just a wrong number," he lied.

On to part 5

© 1999 Korogi Nagisa, Jiminy Cricket Presses.