blackwidow: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] blackwidow at 02:11pm on 20/12/2008 under , ,
Title: Zodiac
Rating: R18+ (NC-17)
Warnings: Weirdness, drugs.
Pairings: KuramaxHiei, KarasuxKurama.
Summary: Rule Number One: do not fuck bandmates or members of other bands.
Notes: Apocalyptica have been a big inspiration for Karasu’s instrument and the music he makes (other than the typical Karasuness). The song he plays here isn’t a song they wrote, but they covered it and raped the shit out of it in wonderful ways that would make even Andre Rieu weep. Here’s Hall of the Mountain King for you. I’m also a little worried about Karasu’s characterization this chapter. Sorry if he’s a little out, I blame it on the LSD.
Previous Chapters: Prologue



--
ZODIAC

Chapter One
Crappy Old Television

--

The old television looked out of place among the high quality instruments, cases, boxes and amps strewn about what had originally been a living room. Yusuke had mentioned its presence in passing a long time ago and he’d shrugged a then smirked when Kurama raised an eyebrow at him over it.

They could have replaced it with another; one that didn’t seem to be filled with snow no matter what channel it was manually tuned into, or how well the antennas were adjusted. They didn’t. It stayed, small and useless, yet looked upon with an odd sort of fondness by the bandmates.

“It’s Yusuke’s house,” was the general nonchalant and often distracted response when someone asked about it. Film crews or even their own manager, Botan, commented on its feeble appearance sitting on top of Kuwabara’s large Flextone III amp.

Currently the television was getting quite a lot of attention as the picture rolled and finally settled, ridden with bad quality vision, hissing and distorting the sound slightly at infrequent intervals. They’d written a song about it once before, commenting about white noise phenomena.

“--versatile young cellist who was, prior to murder trial, in recording his fifth album with the record company giant Akuma Inc. has been cleared of all charges today. The jury’s ‘not guilty’ verdict came after the savage murder of a fifteen year old--”

Yusuke made an amused sound and leaned back on one hand as he tipped back his beer bottle and drained the lasting dregs before resting his hand in his lap once again. His hair untamed by gel today fell in his eyes as he leant against the plush leather couch. Kuwabara, sitting behind him, blinked and replied with a sound somewhat life a soft grunt.

Kurama fought not to roll his eyes at their wordless communication, even if they didn’t realise their actions. Their bond had grown close over the years, full sentences were rarely needed. It helped in the creative department at least. Their rivalry spawned better and better sounds as time wore on.

On the television screen, there were clips of the cellist playing at a concert, and then further clips of interviews and short paused pictures where only the cellists face was shown, and his black rimmed violet eyes were shown. They were oddly intimidating eyes, Kurama couldn’t help but notice, and it made him frown. Even through the horrible quality of the television it still made his hair stand on end, regardless of what was being said. That in itself was strange.

Strange because he couldn’t identify the source of his reaction, nor what it actually meant.

He pinned it down to a lack of sleep without further thought.

“-heard what his music is about? Serial killers. He romanticizes death. A person like that…someone that evil… I know he killed my son… and he got away with it! How many have to die before people stop and realise the true extent of his crimes!”

“I’ll bet you ten bucks that it was all a publicity stunt,” Yusuke announced looking to his right at Kurama and then craning his neck back to look at Kuwabara.

“Only ten?” Kuwabara squawked and then glared, leaning forward and pushing Yusuke’s head forward. There was a loud slap when Yusuke forcefully pushed away when he attempted to do it again when no response was made.

“Piss off!”

Kurama ran one of his fingers over his lower lip, watching them both from the other end of the couch. “What makes you say that, Yusuke?”

Yusuke, who looked as if he’d been about to punch Kuwabara, unwound his hand from his friends shirt and stood up straight, looking from the antique box and back to Kurama again. “Any publicity is good publicity, yadda yadda yadda. It’s a little too convenient. Karasu, whose about to release an album, gets accused of being a serial killer. Even if it is just the media being the dickheads they are, half of his songs are about those Hannibal Lecter kind of guys.” He shrugged. “It fits.”

“What if that is what he wanted you to think?”

The whole trial had been a national event that seemed to rival the invention of electricity. Sensationalism in the newspapers and magazines was rampant, Karasu would make a fortune out of it, and so would his label. It had been an insane, risky, but lucrative business move. For his fanbase, the accusations were perfect for his image, where as to every other person who wasn’t, it was horrific. Ah, the wonders of the media. Such a lovely double edge blade it could be.

Botan chose that moment to wander in with many papers in her hands. She dressed, oddly enough, in rather flamboyant colours during business hours and out. Her pastel blue hair was pulled back in a high tail, it fell over her shoulder as she leaned forward and placed her hands on her hips, crumpling half of her documents. She glared at them, clicking her tongue as she came to a stop by the television.

“You’re meant to be writing songs, Yusuke Urameshi! Not laying about—”

“Discussing marketing strategies,” Kurama cut in calmly and smiled apologetically. From behind them there was a slight snort and a tap at one of the symbols Hiei was tightening to his foot stand. Then: da dum tch.

There was a moment of pure weirdness in which everyone pondered over whether Hiei had just made a joke or not with those three notes. Hiei? Make a light hearted joke? No. That would just be strange.

The moment passed with no one commenting on it.

Botan’s eyes lit up suddenly and, as if she’d already dismissed their conversation before it had even began, she snapped her fingers and waved the documents in her hand. “Oh! Right, before I forget. There is interest of you headlining your next world tour with Ammonium Chlorate.”

“Tour with that wackjob?” Kuwabara exclaimed, pointing at the television that was currently displaying white noise as Yusuke tentatively poked and pulled at the antennas.

Kurama’s eyebrows shot up. Their market was different to Karasu’s, yet their music was somewhat similar. There would probably be an all out war over who would headline, Botan had probably neglected to tell them anything about that, but Kurama had the confidence to assume she was sugarcoating things—perhaps she thought it was a long shot to get them to agree.

“His music is quite good, Kuwabara. He’ll bring a different crowed for us to convert.” She smiled and her eyebrows pulled down as she placed her hands back on her hips and twisted to run her eyes over them all.

Ultimately Yusuke had the final say, and they all knew even he was no match for a determined Botan. Kurama resigned himself to touring with a man who sang about serial killers and flirted with death as if he himself were in love with the very idea of it.

Yusuke grumbled an answer about needing to sleep on it for a week or maybe a month, Botan apparently found that acceptable because she dropped the subject perhaps trusting Kurama to bring it up again when the band was alone and left to their own vices. She nodded and shifted her weight from foot to foot, flicking through her papers for a moment and she nibbled on her lower lip.

The television fuzzed in and out of channels, displaying white noise in between and grating on Kurama’s nerves. Hiei was playing around with backbeats for one of their songs quietly, shifting things around. Usually Hiei’s drums, and there were a lot of them, were what they built their songs around. Hiei and Yusuke worked surprisingly well together, there was a sense of challenge between them, whereas there was nigh contempt between Hiei and Kuwabara.

It had something to do with Hiei’s wayward sister, Yukina, but Kurama kept himself from knowing too many of the details. He had heard her name slip from Hiei’s lips a few times, always when he was sleeping and caught in dreams. It would have been sad if it didn’t make Kurama think of his foster family, and then back further and with considerably more vehemence about his own, true family.

Bands had issues, with themselves and with each other. Kurama considered himself lucky to be in a band that survived so well, considering their occupation and the amount of time they spent together. But they were on break now, almost. If Kurama wanted, he could take a week off writing, or ‘practicing and maybe writing’ as Yusuke called it. They were all still riding on the high of their last tour and album and it would take a moment for normalcy to reign and their muses to start hacking at them.

Writing songs, doing concept albums, it all required thought. The best ideas, they found, came from nowhere at no particular time. Kurama had gotten quite a few frantic calls from Kuwabara at 3am demanding he listen to something he’d ‘pulled together’ because Yusuke had passed out long ago and he needed a second opinion ‘that didn’t suck.’

“Oh! That’s right.”

Botan’s voice broke through his thoughts and he turned his head to face her, noticing the sudden quiet in the room. He supposed if they didn’t like Botan, they would have continued on with whatever they were doing, but Botan had earned their respect long ago when she’d taken out a trespassing fan with a steal pipe she kept handy in her office (of which she had four, depending whose house she was in).

“You have a photo shoot the day after tomorrow. Don’t forget, I’ll send a car around to pick you up at nine am and meet you there. And you have to sign these.” She waved the documents and pulled a pen from the inside of her garish pink jacket.

Kuwabara had been scowling at Yusuke’s attempts to regain the channel they had been watching, but now he turned his full attention to Botan, a curious expression creeping up onto his face. “What magazine?”

“Does it matter? They’re all the same anyway,” Yusuke muttered, then kicked the amp rather violently, frustrated with the lack of reception. Kuwabara complained.

Kurama sighed and stood from the couch, pushing his skirt down a little more so that the black denim hem brushed along his ankles. “Is that all Botan?”

She nodded and smiled at Kurama. “For now. I may come and see you a little later, there are some contract issues I have to discuss with you. Endorsements, those kinds of things.”

He nodded and cast a look to Yusuke and Kuwabara. “I’ll be in my room then.”

His ‘room’ was really more like a wing, Yusuke’s mansion was extensive and they usually pooled here when they needed to be within easy reach of each other, and yet farther enough away so that it wasn’t completely obvious they were living together. There was also other things like…overhearing sex, which was an annoyance to hear.

Especially if it was two, very distinctly male, voices that usually rose from Kurama’s room.

His gaze lingered in Hiei before he left the threshold of the lounge room, tugging Hiei’s eyes with him as he went. He smiled.

Hopefully Hiei would pay him a visit a little later on.

-

The shrill scream of the unanswered mobile carried on. It was stubbornly ignored. The mobile turned itself off after a last bleak warning; its silence was appreciated, but not acknowledged. Previously the mobile had lain on top of the glossy cover of a magazine, but it had vibrated itself off the magazine to rest in its side against the crumpled white covers of the bed.

Trapped within the cover, the chocolate eyes of Yusuke Urameshi and the rest of his band, who stood behind him, stared up at the ceiling of the darkened hotel room. An upturned digital clock, flashing ‘00:00’ in bright green letters, cast strobes of odd lighting through the pitch black room.

Silence reigned.

Then a haunting sound swelled from the living area of the expensive and once pristine hotel room, now trashed and disorganized. In the living area, before the closed glass doors leading to the balcony, where a wonderful expanse of open blue ocean and lightly overcast sky could be seen between the dark curtains, stood a cello. Sable hair gilded over its polished wood surface as the cellist standing behind it leant back slightly, raising his bow from the strings.

Long, red nailed fingers plucked at the strings three times and then after a long stretch of silence the cellist rested the bow against the strings, and pulled slowly. He made a low, almost groan-like note murmur through the mostly empty hotel room once again.

The note carried on without a noticeable change as the bow came back down then strings, and an experimental note was thrown in, and then discarded for a higher note on the second cycle of bow’s long passes. The sustain of the two notes took on a slightly disconcerting tone, then was quickly followed with a short melody. It was oddly somber, yet frantic.

The shaft of dull light cast a stark shadow, stretching along the floor and reaching for the door of the hotel room.

Again the sequence was played, the very beginnings of a song. Quicker this time, the cellist added in what was written in neat writing on the pad of paper sitting on the table he’d pulled to stand beside him while he played his instrument in an unconventional standing position.

Letting the notes speak to him and allowing his mind to pull up whatever images it deemed necessary to match the words to, the cellist stopped suddenly at the unexpected face. The bow shrieked as it flew off half way through the sustain of a high note and scrapped against a few unintended strings. The jarring sound made the cellist narrow his eyes, in anger and in confusion.

Again the redhead had invaded his mind.

The tip of the bow rose to pressed against pale lips, and violet eyes slid to gaze in the direction of the bedroom. The magazine there, which he’d bought on pure impulse, had yielded interesting information about this other band. They’d been brought to his attention through his manager, however he found two members in particular amusing. The rumours about them were most definitely interesting, but they also grated on his nerves.

He turned back to his cello and ran through the song again, quickly until he found a tempo he’d likened to the song, then closed his eyes and tilted his head. His words formed along with the notes, and he sang along with it, his voice smooth and not quite deep, but of a taunting texture and also perhaps a little vain at the notes he ran through, seeing which scale fitted best.

He paused, running his tongue along his upper row of teeth. In his mind flashed the muted candy cane of the mixture of personas, past and present, of the man who was inspiring this song.

“Taste the wealth inside…Bathory…”

Elizabeth Bathory was the name that came to mind, and yet he likened her to this Kurama of Spirit Virtuoso amazingly easily and with annoying consistency. He imagined, were he a murderer, this would be the moment where the time he’d spent savoring the images of his last fresh kill stretched on for too long, and the images became dull and worn. The urge would swell inside him again, and that would be the time he’d fantasize about taking Kurama’s life and then once the deed was done he’d live on the hangover of the knowledge of his deed for weeks on end.

But the act of murdering Kurama deserved a little more attention than he paid it. Murder was an incredibly intimate act. Unlike fucking for the first time, it was impossible to be murdered once again after death. That person, the murderer, was the sole interest in the victim’s eyes.

‘He was my murderer’ was far more permanent than, ‘he was my first’.

He pulled his bow across a string, placing his fingers high on the fret board to sound a higher note. It was a shrill cry, sounding like a dying cat. He licked his lips and closed his eyes, sliding his bow back the opposite way, holding the sustain. Two and then three strings, the note raised slowly, turning on its side to create a nerve wracking sound.

He paused again and opened his eyes to the ceiling, he sighed shakily and gritted his teeth.

He looked down to the dark wood of his cello, and licked his lips. Previously he’d been unwilling to go on this tour with such a strange band, ones whom he considered competition, but slowly he found his opinion changing. To observe the band with such ease, and to be around them so easily…it was almost too easy.

He plucked the strings, this time playing a song he knew all too well. The classic Hall of the Mountain King, a song he could, and did, play with his eyes closed. This was his most beloved classic, for its energy and its slow building tension.

It was like the rhythm of life, the rhythm of the death cycle. Fantasise long, slow and calm. Reach breaking point and slaughter at the crescendo. Savour on the ending note until things become dull and the song is repeated.

The song of his life.

He opened his eyes again, squinting slightly as the sun came through the clouds and turned his eyes and pale features visible.

A pounding knock sounded at the door sounded, but he didn’t hear it. His eyes were focused on the rolling waves through the thick glass doors before him. A deep voice called his name, and he recognized the voice, but he still ignored the calls as surely as he’d ignored his mobile.

His gaze dropped to his cello again, and he made that beloved sound if his that sounded so much like a shriek of agony. A grin broke out across his face, and his eyebrows pulled down as his eyes narrowed.

“Karasu.”

He paused as he heard a different voice this time and turned his head to the side. Deeper, calmer. Familiar in the sort of way a favourite pair of shoes was familiar, rather than merely recognisable.

Sable hair slipped from the dark wood of the cello, and he propped it up carefully before making his way to the door, sidestepping a spot on the floor absent mindedly, managing to control his trembling hands long enough to appear normal. “Bui?”

He opened the door and leaned against the doorframe, squinting past the sudden unwanted light. He felt ill, as if he’d pass out in a moment. He was shaking and not in the mood for the company of other people, certainly not his manager. Bui however, had become background noise long ago. He’d known him so long he had no idea where Bui ended and he started.

Karasu’s manager glared up at him, waving an angry hand. His accent was thick and one Karasu didn’t care for at all. It was an annoying racket, and his tolerance for these sorts only lasted so long. “How come you never answer to me, but you answer to this guy? I have been calling you for hours!”

Bui stood like a tall, immovable statue by his manager’s side. His blue hair gleamed oddly in the light, to Karasu it was oddly fascinating and for a moment he actually felt a stab of attraction, but it quickly faded. Bui was not his type, he was…acceptable, but not his type. Still he stared as if transfixed.

He pushed the door open a little wider, tearing his eyes away from Bui to glare at his manager. Bui squeezed past him, saying nothing about the darkness of the hotel room, nor the slam of the door as he wandered further in.

Muffled angry and bitter insults came from the hallway, but Karasu ignored them. He’d go away soon, and he’d teach him the meaning of not wanting to be disturbed later on when he visited his PR company. He was getting sick of this manager, perhaps it was time he found another. A better one.

“You’re not usually this messy.” Bui’s voice came from the bedroom along with she sounds of shattered glass being swept off the bed.

Karasu padded his way back to his cello and retrieved the bow from the table, running his fingers along it and clasping it between his palms, his eyes flitted to his worn instrument with an odd fondness. “He wanted to play a little. Who was I to not join in?”

“So I see. Did he hit you with the vase?”

Bui flicked on a light as he moved into the living room, watching Karasu turn his head away and blink a few times, willing the pain in his eyes and skull away.

“He missed and hit the wall.”

Finally somewhat adjusted to the light enough to turn his head to spare a glance at Bui, he offered his a smirk. “Groupies these days are so violent.”

Bui stared at him for a long while, his expression blank and his body language neutral. Then his eyebrows pulled down. “You’re flushed.”

Karasu blinked and then narrowed his eyes at him. He was flushed, a tinge of red on his pale skin. His stomach wasn’t happy with him and his mouth was dry. What he wouldn’t give to be away from this place, but this was all there was. There was nothing else, was there? Just Bui and his cello. He needed something more, something of a challenge.

There was a sinkhole just behind the entrance to the hotel room and Bui’s eyes sounded like the sweetest of all colours. Karasu’s lips parted and he took a breath to speak but he had no idea what he wanted to say. It was there, a thick wall of words, and he didn’t know which one he wanted to pick.

He stood his ground when Bui approached, despite the sudden irrational fear. Bui could not hurt him, Bui was background noise, not muse fodder like this new redhead. When he was close enough, Bui leant down and inspected Karasu’s eyes. A thumb pulled his eyelid down and Bui tilted Karasu’s head up, grunting quietly. He covered Karasu’s mouth as if in afterthought, his thumb slipping away from his cheek. He pulled Karasu’s hair back from his face too, frowning at the blood he could see there. Karasu was lucky not to have a concussion.

“Your eyes are nearly black. Sleep it off.”

Karasu glared at him, and jerked his head back, away from Bui, he had intended to get as far away from him as possible but Bui reeled in quickly before he could, crushing him against his chest. He wheezed slightly and clawed at Bui’s shoulders as violent anger sparked in his chest. Again the wall of words, there was so many insults on the tip of his tongue he couldn’t chose one of them. He felt giddy.

“Don’t.”

“What’ll you do, tie me to the bed until I sleep? Leave me alone, Bui, you’re like a mother hen,” he snarled, bucking against Bui. It was indignant, being handled like this. He wasn’t a child. Bui might have been stupidly strong compared to Karasu, but he was not his keeper. Karasu could hold his own against him, but he had to be away to do so otherwise he was a rag doll in his hands.

A hand clamped around the nape of his neck before he could say anything further and Bui hoisted him up enough so he could drag Karasu towards the bedroom, an arm wrapped securely around Karasu’s waist. “Will it help?”

Karasu struggled hissing and pulling at Bui’s clothes, but then clutching onto him with a sort of panicked desperation when he threw him down on the bed. He scrambled to kneel, facing Bui and growled when Bui caught his hair and yanked him towards him.

“I know you’re not coping with it, no matter how much you try to hide it. What did you take and how long ago?”

Karasu glared at him wordlessly, saying nothing, held still by Bui’s tight grip on his hair. Rarely was Bui forced to act on it as he was now, but when Karasu’s sanity grew thin in moments like these, he was forced to become his outlet. It was the way it always had been, and the way it always would be.

A new light entered Karasu’s eyes, and he smirked up at Bui. Tilting his head and arching his back. His hands on the bed lifted to clutch at the leather of Bui’s jacket. “Do you like treating me roughly Bui?”

“No. I’d prefer it if you stayed away from the drugs. You’re unproductive when you’re like this.”

Karasu snorted, then raised his chin, sliding his hands up at his seemingly untempted childhood friend’s chest. “You like it don’t you, the power and intimacy you gain…”

“You have enough inspiration already, you don’t need more. You’re unstable enough sober.”

“Fucking is my favourite pastime, next to writing songs about certain things. You get to see many wonderful images in your mind, have you ever wondered what it would be like to kill someone? Philosophically it would be the most intimate act one could ever share with another person, if I were to act on these theories-”

“Karasu...”

“-then I will have been closer to that person more than anyone else had ever been, and think of the emotions that would come after their death. Would you mourn the death of a stranger or is their death nothing? Dissociation is easy, tempting even.”

Bui frowned and Karasu leant up, sliding his fingers along the soft skin of Bui’s neck. He pulled Bui down until he was more or less at his height.

Bui stared at the wall over his shoulder, his hands still around Karasu’s waist, only to stop him incase he decided he wanted to try and jump off the balcony again; claiming he’d fly anyway, not to worry. He’d locked the doors last time Karasu’s sanity had worn this thin (not that it was much of a change from his normal self, the only different was the erratic and slightly weird comments on certain things) it had been a necessary venture.

“Lay down,” he muttered, licking Karasu’s upper lip and then moving his head away.

“Why?” His nails scrapped along Bui’s neck, and the bed creaked as they both fell onto it. There was a moment where the only sounds in the room where Karasu’s gasps for breath and the impact of fists. Karasu came out on top, chuckling and flipping them over so he was straddling him. He extended his hands out to the side, palms up. “I want to play.”

“We’re going to pretend you’re asleep until it translates into reality.”

“I don’t know why I keep you around.”

“Because we’re compatible,” he said sarcastically.

Karasu’s laughter echoed on forever and drifted down the hall. He stared at the ceiling, blinking at the little creatures there. He leaned forward placing a hand on Bui’s chest. “Spirit Virtuoso.”

Bui’s eyebrows rose and his voice showed the first true sign of emotion, it was surprise. They were in Karasu’s league, yes, but they weren’t worth the thought. “What about them?”

“I want Kurama.”

Bui closed his eyes in thought, and was silent for a moment. Karasu took this time to slide off him and lay next to him, his head missing the pillow slightly. He reached up and dragged it down to him then settled, his eyes flicking to certain spots in the ceiling every now and then.

“Go on tour with them. There’s talk about it already, it will give you a chance to be around them a little more.”

Karasu wouldn’t sleep. He was far too awake, but he lay with Bui and pretended, as he’d suggested he should, keeping his thoughts about Kurama to himself.

Perhaps Bui had noticed the trend in these fixations, perhaps not.

Absent-mindedly he rattled off on the possible lyrics for Bathory, focusing on this sole song for now. Next to him, Bui’s calm breathing kept him company and in the moments when he moved to sit up, his arm reached across to press Karasu back down again.

In the morning, he’d sort out the manager, then see about this tour he’d been told about numerous times. Perhaps even during the recording of the album, he’d get a chance to meet them. Any excuse would do.

The sun set slowly, and eventually Karasu closed his eyes.



Music:: Tie My Rope - Children of Bodom
Mood:: 'groggy' groggy

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