Prompt: 030 ~ Define May 2011©
Focus: Aiji x Haruki & Maya x Miya
Word Count: 1,667
Focus: Aiji x Haruki & Maya x Miya
Word Count: 1,667
“It’s nice how you look after her,” Aiji commented.
Sighing as she sat lightly on one extreme end of the couch, Haruki tried to relax. With Aiji in the middle and the couch not being all that big to begin with, there really wasn’t anywhere else for her to sit.
“I suppose,” Haruki replied, almost wistfully. “But if really depends on how you define ‘looking after,’ more than anything.”
“What do you mean?”
Haruki didn’t answer for a moment. She was caught up in watching as PonyCanyon’s favorite fanpairing were bickering away. Maya and Miya were a combination of two powerful visual kei personalities, both having more than proficient skills as guitarists and vocalists. LM.C’s recording studio was much more often their battleground than it was a peaceful place of creativity. At the moment, the singer and LM.C’s new support bass guitarist were working on a song together, ironing it into perfection between the solid plates of their opposing wills.
So far in their collaborative relationship, everything had always worked out better than could possibly be expected. The songs Maya and Miya made together had been some of LM.C’s most popular to date. Of course the creative process involved more arguing, shoving, practical jokes, and the theft of important things like lollipops, clothing, and keys, than any of the fans would ever know or could ever imagine.
LM.C had always been a band of extremes. Maya’s psychotic enthusiasm and overabundance of energy had been somewhat contained and balanced by Aiji’s calm and cool demeanor. It had worked out well for them.
With the more or less permanent attachment of Haruki and Miya to their ranks, LM.C’s balance had been significantly thrown off. The sweet natured, but spunky Haruki wasn’t half the match for Miya that Aiji made for Maya in terms of containment. They balanced each other in other ways, but Miya’s explosive energy overpowered her level-headedness easily. And with Miya running loose, Maya was less easily contained.
Maya and Miya were both true artists, content to hammer away at a single riff for hours until it was set perfectly into whatever song it was they were working on. They gravitated naturally towards each other, and they never really pissed each other off; though from their shouting matches anyone who knew that would often be hard-pressed to defend it to an outsider.
“No! It should be smoother through here, like this,” Maya was saying, at a decibel level that would convince most people he was about to tear Miya’s head off. Neither Aiji nor Haruki reacted to it in any way; there wasn’t anything to react to when this was the baseline of their conversation. Maya continued to shout, “And then it can jump into the beat again, here.”
Miya punched his shoulder with no hint of feminine delicacy and enough force to shove him aside so that she could have access to the computer. “Idiot.”
As unfortunately impulsive as Maya was, he would not stand for being hit without hitting back, regardless of his opponent’s gender. He shoved Miya back, nearly causing her to fall off the bench they had squeezed onto together. “Crazy bitch.”
Aiji frowned. Even Maya ought to have had the sense to treat a girl better than that. Miya on the other hand wasn’t bothered at all. She laughed and shoved back, kicking at Maya until he actually fell off the bench. “You bastard,” she shouted, almost laughing as he tumbled away from her. She bent down to smirk at him once he’d rolled into a heap on the floor. Then she snatched the lollipop out of Maya’s mouth and stuck it triumphantly into her own.
At this point, the chupa-chup had swapped hands so many times that neither Aiji nor Haruki could remember which of the two had actually opened it. And it was their fifth one at least. It seemed that whoever had the sweet in their possession was the one allowed to speak and mess with the track, because as Maya had before her, Miya took over he controls and altered the piece carefully without the other’s interference.
“It can’t be so abrupt. There at least needs to be an echoing decrescendo before the pause,” she complained. “Like this, listen.”
The pair were like this as a constant state of being, their bickering was as much a part of their fundamental existence as their music was. They together constituted their own little universe, and outsiders were simply compelled to look in and stare at the completeness of connection that they would never understand.
Haruki smiled at them, relaxing and leaning her head back against the couch. Staring at the foam tiles of the ceiling, Haruki answered Aiji’s question, “It depends on how you define ‘looking after’. If you mean like how you look after Maya, like how you make sure he’s more or less contained, that eats and sleeps and doesn’t get himself killed, then I do a terrible job of it with Miya.”
“Of course, you don’t!” Aiji protested. He would have gestured dramatically as he continued but he’d been lounging with his arms spread over the back of the couch when Haruki had tipped her head back and he didn’t want to disturb her by moving his arm out from under her head. “Miya-chan is perfectly alive and well! You always make sure she has enough candy to keep her at her preferred level of hyperness, and enough clothing to stay warm even when Maya steals her hoodies! And like now, you even manage to bring up points for her to argue over like this thing with the guitar before the drum solo.”
“Ah, but you see, it’s all in how you define it,” Haruki said, letting her gaze fall sideways from the ceiling to land on Aiji’s curious expression. “I keep her mentally well, and ready to fight off the world, but she’s the one that keeps me physically well. Miya’s the one that makes sure we have regular meals and enough sleep, and she’s the one that fights off all my bullies. If you define it like I do, she’s the one looking after me.”
Aiji was mulling over her words when Maya suddenly stole back the Chupa-chup, which was really more of a sugar-coated plastic stick at this point, and began to gnaw on it thoughtfully. Maya didn’t even bother sucking on it at all, as there really was nothing left to the lollipop. Work was done for the day then, Aiji noted, as there weren’t any more lollipops to replace the one about to be given up for dead.
“I think it’s pretty good,” Maya said at last, hesitating only an instant before he flicked the stick he was twirling in his teeth and fingers into the studio’s trash can. “We can go over it again in the morning, but I think it’s about done.”
Stretching her hand up above her head, Miya agreed. Then she checked her watch and bounced up cheerfully to skip over to where Haruki was nearly dozing on the couch with Aiji. “Nee, Haru-chii,” she crooned softly, poking gently at Haruki’s cheek. “Come on, wake up! You need to have supper before bed, or else you’ll wake up with a stomach ache in the middle of the night.”
Haruki came back into full consciousness slowly, realizing only then exactly how asleep she had fallen. Miya pulled her up and said a quick and friendly goodbye to Aiji before gallivanting off to find some food. She didn’t even need to glance back at Maya, the two were involved in a continuous stream of conversation, one that rendered things like ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ as completely irrelevant.
Sure enough, before even a full two minutes had passed, Maya had his phone out and was typing something or other to send her. Getting to his feet heavily as Maya finished typing out his message, Aiji mentioned, “We should probably get something to eat, too.”
Maya nodded and trotted docilely behind the LM.C guitarist as Aiji made his way to the best ramen restaurant on this side of Shinjuku. They were just sitting down at the counter when Maya tuned his Cheshire grin on Aiji and asked, “So, are you two dating yet or what?”
“Eh? What are you talking about?” Aiji broke his chopsticks apart as he waited eagerly for their order to arrive and for Maya to clarify himself.
The younger of the two grinned devilishly. “You and Haruki-chan were looking awfully cozy there on the couch, you know. It’s bound to make a guy ask questions. I deserve to know if my bandmate is dating anyone.”
Thinking a moment, a pause possible due to the arrival of their meal, Aiji got an idea to turn the tables. “Define ‘dating’,” he commanded.
“You want to know if I’m dating anyone; if I’m dating Haruki-chan,” Aiji explained. “I wouldn’t say we are, because we don’t do that cute ‘annoy each other to sleep’ thing that you and Miya-chan do. But really it depends on how you define it.”
Maya blushed. It was rare for him, rarer still that Aiji was the cause of it. He faltered for a moment, trying to say that what he and Miya did was different, that they were just good friend with a similar music vision. But then he refocused saying, “That doesn’t answer my question.”
“I can’t answer yours until you answer mine,” Aiji said, enjoying the upper hand position he held over Maya at the moment.
Maya was suspicious of him as he asked, “And what exactly is your question?”
With a slurp of his ramen, Aiji said what he knew would drive Maya into an embarrassed silence, “How do you define ‘dating’, exactly?”
As Maya tried to find some way, some terminology to describe a dating situation that fit Aiji and Haruki without fitting himself and Miya, Aiji was able to eat his meal in peace.
Definitions really were powerful things, so much more important than people generally thought.
And so much more useful.