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Title: The Camera Eye: Snow White and the Seven Porn Stars (Plus One)
Chapter: Installment 66 overall in The Camera Eye series, and the 18th story in Season 3. Links to previous installments can be found here.
Author: Boots
Rating: NC-17
Genre: Porn industry AU, drama, smut, romance
Warnings: Male/male sex, polyamory, teasing
Pairing: Junji (Kiryu) x Subaru (Royz), Junji x Mahiro (Kiryu) x Subaru x Tomoya (Royz)
Disclaimer: Royz and Kiryu belong to B.P. Records, Gotcharocka belongs to God Child, Fest Vainqueur belongs to PLUG RECORDS west, I own the story only.
Summary: Once upon a time, there was a beautiful boy named Subaru who ran afoul of the wicked king of a rival porn production company, leading to a saga involving a coveted crystal heart necklace, a group of actors whose career had been put in peril by the wicked king, the fulfillment of a relationship that had been a long time coming, and something called a Poison Apple.
Notes: Based on the Walt Disney Pictures film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as well as the original story as told by the Brothers Grimm.

Once upon a time, there was a dark kingdom called Heavy Hitter Productions that was ruled over by a very wicked king indeed.

Okay, Sakai Osamu wasn't the head boss of the company – there was a company president above him, and numerous shadowy money men pulling strings behind the scenes. But he was head producer/director, and just about everyone else at the company had to answer to him.

After all, he was responsible for the company's recent success. It was he who decided to take their output in a macho direction, to forego elaborate plots and scripts in favor of the raw, hardcore action he knew their audiences wanted. And it paid off.

Once the strategy kicked in, they were suddenly running neck-and-neck with their arch rivals at PSC Productions for the very first time. Every day, as soon as he got into the office, Osamu would consult his iPad – or, as he called it, his “Magic Mirror” - to check the blogs and sales charts and monitor how they were doing.

For awhile, he liked what he was seeing very much. His actors were getting mentions on social media. Their DVDs were moving off the shelves. Their raw, uncompromising style of porn was drawing positive reviews from critics who felt the same way he did – that gay porn should be GAY PORN, not soap operas aimed at teen girls with a little bit of sex.

And then, suddenly, their sales started slipping. Their social media buzz went down. And all because of ONE actor that started working for PSC Productions. As soon as appeared in his first leading role – as a fucking SEAL-BOY, for crying out loud, how lame was that – Subaru began siphoning attention away from all the other companies in general and Heavy Hitter in particular.

The little twerp was the industry's new fair-haired boy. The fairest of them all, in fact. And he was the OPPOSITE of everything Heavy Hitter was about.

“He's a cutesy-wootsy little blond uke,” Sakai griped to members of his staff. “He's one step away from being a GIRL himself!”

“Don't matter,” one staff member said. “He's what the industry seems to want right now, and he's what's selling.”

As Sakai watched in annoyance, every time a video with that twerp in it appeared – the sequel to that angel shit that PSC had put out the year before, some overblown twaddle about pirates – everyone talked about Subaru more and more, and his own people less and less.

Even the most Heavy Hitter-loyal members of the press, who had been all too glad to give his actors interviewers before, hedged when he would call them up with news of their new projects. “We've got Subaru coming out with a new video, and we've had a lot of requests for him, so . . . can we do your guy after him?”

In time, Sakai came to hate the twerp even more than anyone associated with the porn business. He blamed him singlehandedly for the public suddenly regaining its taste for cutesy actors.

“He's going to wreck the industry,” he murmured while looking at his “Magic Mirror,” which told him the same thing over and over. Subaru was hot, Subaru was selling, Subaru was in-demand. He was the fairest of them all – still.

“They should call him Snow White, not Subaru,” Sakai muttered. “He passes himself off as being so goddamn pure, but, of course, he's not pure, because he's a . . .”

And then his eyes fastened on the boy's latest photo. Specifically, what he was wearing in said photo. It was a necklace . . . one he knew well. And it couldn't be a coincidence, because as far as he knew, it was the only one of its kind.

“How did he get hold of that?” he growled. “He doesn't deserve to have it!”

And he knew that he had to get it away from him, no matter what.

* * *

Subaru wasn't expecting to be given a present from Mahiro and Tomoya for O-bon. Largely because he'd never gotten an O-bon present before. Presents were for Christmas and Valentine's and your birthday – not O-bon.

“We went to a flea market,” Mahiro said. “We were looking for a night light for your bedroom – just a small lamp. We didn't want to spend a lot of money. And while we were at it, we found this.”

Tomoya pulled out a velvet box and gently removed a crystal heart necklace. “Ta-da!” he said. “Isn't it beautiful?”

“We both looked at it and thought that it screamed Subaru,” Mahiro said. “So we got it.”

“Are you kidding me?” Subaru said, his eyes wide. “You really got this for me?”

“Really,” Mahiro said. “Because there's nobody else who deserves it more.”

Tomoya gently fastened it around Subaru's neck. “And you look adorable with it,” he said. “Just like we knew you would.”

Subaru looked down at the necklace, and then up at the fourth person in the room, who was watching the scene from across the room, on the couch. “Junji,” he called, “what do you think?”

“I think you have excellent taste,” Junji said. “In both the necklace and in him.”

Subaru hugged Mahiro and Tomoya, one with each arm. “Thank you!” he said. “Thank you so much . . . I love you both!”

Across the room, Junji continued to watch the scene with a smile . . . but he was feeling a little left out of it.

He was comfortable with their four-way arrangement, to be sure. He loved Mahiro with all his heart. He'd also fallen hard for Tomoya, and Tomoya for him.

But there was the matter of his relationship with Subaru, which right now, remained “just friends.” And there certainly wasn't anything wrong with that. That didn't mean, though, that he wasn't curious about there being something more.

What would happen, he thought, if I were to spend more time alone with Subaru? Maybe a whole night with just the two of us? Would we become lovers? Or would things stay . . . the way they were?

The problem was that to get an answer to his question, he had to think of the perfect opportunity, the perfect opening to bring the topic up with Subaru. And so far, it hadn't presented itself.

So, for the time being, he watched the other two being Subaru's princes . . . and he contented himself with being his friend, and wondering.

* * *

A few weeks after O-bon, just before the Viewer's Choice Awards, Subaru was on his way home from having pictures taken for the front box of his new video – Boy in the Bottle, the one where he played a genie – when he bumped into a most unexpected person. Literally, bumped into him, since he was looking at his phone for Pokemon at the time.

“Oh, I'm sorry!” Subaru said, bowing – and then wanted to run in the other direction when he saw who it was. Sakai, bigger than life and just as ugly.

“You should be,” Sakai said – and then realized just who it was. The stone in his shoe. The stye in his eye. Little Mr. Snow White himself. “Oh – it's YOU.”

“Yes, sorry again,” Subaru said, bowing again, the crystal heart around his neck swinging forward. Now that Sakai got a good look at it, he knew he was right – it WAS the one-of-a-kind necklace.

“Boy,” he said, “how much do you want for that crystal heart?”

“Oh, it's not for sale,” Subaru said. “Not for any price.”

“What if I make it worth your while?” Sakai said.

“I said, not at any price,” Subaru said. “You see, it was given to me by two people who mean everything to me – and more. So, I'm sorry, Sakai-san, but I want to hold onto it. It's literally priceless.”

“You mean that,” he said. “You really mean it.”

“Yes, sir, I do. Sorry about that.” He turned to go. “But I'll tell them that you loved it!”

Sakai stood there, fuming, hand clenched at his side. The twerp refused to sell? At ANY price? He was just so . . . so . . .

If it had been anyone but him, Sakai would have let it go. But the fact that it was SUBARU, Snow fucking White, the bane of his existence . . .

“If he won't sell it, I'll find some other way to get it,” he murmured. “I'm going to have somebody bring me back that heart in a box!”

* * *

After a night of fuming while watching the twerp wearing the necklace at the Viewer's Choice Awards – its sparkle somehow visible under all the goddamn medals he won, and that just made Sakai fume even MORE – he came up with a solution.

In the seamier sides of the industry, all it took was a little asking around to find out if there was someone on the staff who had any kind of a criminal past. And, as it turned out, there was.

Karyuudo was his name, and before he became a stagehand and general errand boy for Heavy Hitter, he'd been arrested several times for theft. Specifically, relieving people of their phones, wallets or jewelry while they were still on their person.

“You think you could steal a necklace from around someone's neck?” Sakai said. “While he's still wearing it?”

“Hell, yeah,” Karyuudo said. “For the right price? I'll make sure he never even notices it.”

“Good,” Sakai said. “Here's a picture of the boy.”

“Subaru?” Karyuudo said. “I know him! He's with PSC, isn't he? Really big right now.”

“I know,” Sakai mumbled. “I know all too well. He has a crystal heart necklace. I want you to relieve him of it, put it in this box and bring it back to me. And make SURE it's the crystal heart. I'm not interested in his other jewelry.” He handed a velvet box to the thief.

“Well, okay,” Karyuudo said. “You SURE you want nothing else of his? I mean, from the looks of that picture, he's got at least one Justin Davis piece, that's got to be more valuable than . . .”

“You heard me! The crystal heart, and only the crystal heart!”

“Okay, okay, sheesh. Don't know what the big deal is, but you're gonna get your damn heart.”

When the thief left, Sakai sat there, rubbing his temples. How appropriate that the guy's name meant huntsman, since he was being sent out to hunt down the necklace.

“And he'd better bring the fucking thing back,” Sakai murmured, “or he's fired AND blacklisted.”

* * *

Subaru was taking the long way home that day. He'd had a meeting with Uruha to schedule the publicity events for Boy in the Bottle, after which he'd texted the other three partners in their relationship to see what they were doing.

Tomoya was going into a writer's meeting to discuss the vignettes for the upcoming Real Love video, which would be a compilation featuring actual offscreen couples. Mahiro and Junji were doing an in-store publicity event for their new release, Kabuki Disco.

If I were to go home now, Subaru thought, I'd be alone. Maybe I'll text MiA and see if he wants to do something . . .

He looked down at his phone, not noticing the person creeping up behind him, the hand reaching for the back of his neck, for the clasp of his crystal heart. And at that precise moment, a bug landed on his nose.

Subaru suddenly jumped with a yelp – which made Karyuudo, behind him, jump with a yelp as well. And because the thief didn't let go of the necklace, he ended up pulling it upward by reflex action – and Subaru felt it move against his flesh.

Instantly, it registered in the boy's brain – correctly so – that he was being robbed. Panic set in. He gripped his phone with one hand and pushed his elbow backward with a quick, hard jab. It connected with the thief's stomach – Karyuudo let go of the necklace with a grunt.

And then, Subaru just began to run as fast and as hard as he could. He crossed the street, flying into a small park, running through the trees . . . in his agitated mental state, the trees looked monstrous, their branches seeming to be gnarled hands trying to grab him.

He just kept running, not slowing down in the least.

Back on the street, Karyuudo just stood there, stunned at what had happened. He'd never failed in a theft attempt like that before! What the FUCK had happened to that boy?

One thing was for sure – he either had to lift a crystal heart that looked close enough to Subaru's from somewhere, or start thinking of excuses. Otherwise, he was fucked.

* * *

On the other side of the park, a man was walking along slowly, a big grocery bag dangling from one hand.

If there were young people of either gender, they'd probably be turning their heads to look at him. He had the soft, effeminate good looks that were common in the porn industry – complete with dyed brown-and-blond hair. He didn't bother with a face mask for this excursion, he didn't think he'd be recognized. Not like he was strolling down Otome Road or anything.

No, he was expecting a completely uneventful trip home. He was in no hurry to get back to his place – even though it was full of his friends, and they were having a party. Hence the assortment of junk foods he was carrying with him. The occasion that the party was marking, however, wasn't what most people thought of when it came to reasons for a celebration.

And then, suddenly, a blond tornado came barreling out of the park and knocked into him, sending him stumbling, flailing, and nearly toppling over.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” he said. “What's this?”

“I'm sorry!” said the blond tornado, breathlessly, as he bowed. “I was . . . I was . . .”

“It's okay,” the man said. “Hey, wait a second – I know you, don't I?”

“I'm sorry, I'm . . . I'm . . .”

“What's wrong? You look really flustered.”

The boy looked around him nervously. “Someone tried to steal my . . . my . . .”

“You were robbed?”

“He tried to!”

“Okay, we're going up to my place,” the man said. “You'll be safe there.”

The boy looked even more panicked. “No, no, it's all right!”

“You can trust me, Subaru. I'm not going to do anything to you, and I won't let anyone else, either.”

Subaru looked shocked. “You . . . you know my name?”

“'Course I do. Everyone in the industry knows you. Now, let's get you to where it's safe.”

The man took Subaru's hand, and Subaru just let himself be steered around the corner, halfway down a block, and into an apartment building. “You do look familiar,” he said to his rescuer. “You're in the industry?”

“I worked with your co-star Yo-ka at one point, before Eros hooked up with PSC.” The rescuer punched the elevator button. “I've seen you at the JAVAs and the Suicide Ball, too, but I never got a chance to say hi.”

“What is your name?” Subaru said as the doors opened and they stepped inside.

“Jui. I'm called Jui. Oh, there's a few friends in my apartment, by the way. Seven of them, to be exact.”

“SEVEN?”

“We're kind of having a get-together. I'll explain why – but first, YOU explain what happened to you, and then we'll call the police.”

The doors opened, and the two headed down the hall. Jui pulled out a key, unlocked his door and pushed it open, yelling, “I'm home! And I have company!”

Subaru glanced around the apartment – which was about the size of the one Yuuki and Yo-ka lived in. And there were, in fact, guys everywhere.

There was one with pink-streaked hair leaning over the sound system. There was one with brick-red hair sitting on the floor, looking through what seemed to be a pile of industry publications alongside a guy who looked a lot like Saga, the co-writer of Datenshi Blue. In the kitchen, making something in a blender, was one with spiky blond hair, and supervising his work was one with honey-colored hair and a big smile, who waved at Subaru as soon as he saw him. Sitting on the opposite end of the living room from the two with the magazines and looking at a phone screen were a guy with long brown hair and one with short, very black hair – who instantly struck Subaru as very attractive.

“Um . . . hi?” Subaru said.

The pink-streaked guy turned toward the newcomer. “Subaru?” he said. “You're Subaru?”

“Yes,” he said. “And I'm, um . . .”

“Subaru's had a problem,” Jui said. “I'm helping him out. Subaru, these are my friends. Over there with the magazines are Airu -”

“But he spells it I-apostrophe-L-L,” said the redhead.

“Just like you spell yours H-A-L, Haru,” yelled the spiky-haired one.

“HAL and I'll, as you might have guessed,” said Jui. “On the other side, watching a video, are Gaku and Toya. By the sound system is Jun, and in the kitchen are Hiro and Kazi.”

“Yo!” Kazi said, waving at him.

“And now, we're going to find a quiet place, because Subaru has to call the police.”

That brought about an immediate reaction. Haru leapt to his feet, followed by Gaku. Toya dropped the phone. “The POLICE?” Gaku said.

“Someone tried to steal my necklace,” Subaru said. “That's why I'm here.”

“Holy shit, for real?” Hiro dashed out of the kitchen toward him. “What happened?”

“I was just walking home,” Subaru said, “and suddenly, someone grabbed the back of my neck, and pulled at my necklace, and I just ran.” His hand closed around the crystal heart, protectively.

“He didn't hurt you, did he?” said Jun, walking over as if to examine Subaru.

“No,” Subaru said. “Just scared the hell out of me.”

“Come in here,” Jui said. “This is the bedroom, but I swear I'm just taking you in here to make your call.”

“Don't worry about it,” Subaru said. “I trust you.”

Soon as the two were out of sight, with the door closed, HAL flopped down to the floor. “Great. First we get dumped flat, now this guy gets robbed. Is EVERYONE having a shitty day?”

“If the guy didn't look scared shitless for real, I'd congratulate Jui on the best pickup method ever,” Hiro said.

“Jui doesn't need to pick up boys by rescuing them off the street,” Jun said, walking into the kitchen. “Believe me, I know.”

“Because you know him better than anyone?” Hiro said as Jun got a glass out of the cabinet.

“Because nobody has seen him pick up more boys,” Jun said. “Give me a glass of whatever you made, Kazi, I think I really need it.”

“How do you know it's not a vegetable smoothie?” Kazi said.

“You've never made anything that wasn't laced with tons of booze,” Jun said. “If that's a vegetable smoothie, the main vegetable in it is vodka.”

“That isn't a vegetable,” Hiro said.

“Is too,” Kazi said as he poured the drink for Jun. “Vodka's made from potatoes.”

“I just hope Subaru's going to be okay,” Toya said, quietly. “He looked pretty rattled.”

“And you looked pretty interested,” HAL said, sitting up. “Your eyes lit up the moment he came in the room.”

“Fuck you, I don't pick up guys who have just been robbed,” Toya said. “Besides, doesn't Subaru have a boyfriend?”

“Like that means anything in this business?” Hiro said. “You've got a boyfriend, too. TWO boyfriends. Plus side action. And between all of you, you've had . . .”

“Had what?” Jun said. “Nothing different than anyone else, I'm sure.”

“Nah, not me,” Kazi said. “I just WISH I had your success rate with guys.”

The bedroom door opened. Subaru shuffled out, looking a bit dejected. “They couldn't do anything,” Jui said, coming out after him. “He didn't get a good look at the guy's face.”

“There's something else about all this,” Subaru said. “Something I can't remember right now, that I KNOW is important . . .”

“Hey, just chill,” Kazi said. “It'll come to you in a little while, after you've calmed down a bit. Hang with us for now, I'll make you one of my specialties.”

“Kazi's our bartender,” Hiro said. “That's what he did before he got into the business, and it's what he plans to do afterward, too.”

“I plan to OWN a bar afterward,” Kazi said, retreating back into the kitchen. “Though that might not happen now.”

“Why not? Subaru said, walking over to a pile of cushions and sitting on it.

“Well, it seems you're attending the End-Of-Our-Careers-As-We-Know-Them party,” HAL said.

“Our company had a great distribution deal,” said Jui. “And it seems that, well . . .”

“We got dumped,” said Gaku. “We got told today that our deal was terminated.”

“That's awful,” Subaru said.

“You're telling me,” said Jui, walking into the kitchen and pouring himself a drink from the blender. “Jun and I put together The Diamond Mine with a couple of other guys after we both walked away from Hard Candy.”

“We couldn't take the bullshit anymore,” Jun said, walking over with his drink and sitting down on the couch. “We decided to go indie.”

“And then we hooked up with these guys,” Jui said. “They were from a company called Fest Video that went under. Well, except for Toya. We found him when he signed up to be a sound guy. He looked so good that we put him on-camera.”

“We thought we weren't going to make it at first,” Jun said. “And then one of the big porn companies stepped in and offered to be our distributor. They never put their names on the videos – just our company name. They just made sure we got into the stores and took a cut of the profits.”

“Except we're not good enough for them now,” HAL said. “Oh, excuse me, we” - he made air quotes with his hands - “don't fit their image.”

“We fit them until today,” said I'll, who'd been silent until this point.

“Bastards,” Kazi said, slamming the bottle he was pouring from to the table for emphasis. “We were acceptable in their eyes until someone printed that we were connected to them!”

“That's what happened,” Gaku said. “One of the bloggers put out that we were related to them, and they kicked us to the curb.”

“Who was the company?” Subaru said.

“Heavy Hitter,” Jui said.

Subaru let out a big sigh. “Why am I not surprised?” he said. (And why did he have a nagging thought in the back of his mind that there really was something he should remember, and this conversation was somehow attached to that . . .)

“We heard what they said about you guys,” said Jun. “Blythe Dolls? That was harsh.”

“Of course, they were probably saying the same thing about us behind our backs, too,” said HAL. “We're not exactly the sides of beef they usually hire.”

“No, they didn't call us Blythe Dolls,” said Hiro. “That bastard Sakai had other names for us, remember? He came on one of our sets one day – and he couldn't remember any of our names. So he made up nicknames.”

“Oh, yeah,” Jui said. “Smoky, Drunky, Snarky, Surly, Dorky, Femmy, Bitchy, Flashy. . .”

“Was I Flashy?” said Jun.

“I thought I was,” said HAL.

“No, you were Snarky,” said Hiro. “Jun was Flashy. I was Dorky, and Kazi was Drunky, because he had the audacity to be nice and offer the bastard a drink.”

“Speaking of which,” Kazi said, “here's my specialty just for you!” He handed Subaru a cocktail glass containing an amber-shading-to-light-brown liquid. “Drink up!”

Subaru sniffed the glass, then took a tiny sip. He tasted apples, and cinnamon, and some other kind of spice he couldn't identify. “I like this!” he said.

“Just the thing to make you forget what happened,” Kazi said.

“I really should tell my boyfriends,” Subaru said, pulling out his phone with one hand, holding the glass with the other. He took another drink. Kazi really was talented at this – it was a symphony of mingling flavors. There was an underlying heat to the drink – there definitely was significant alcohol content – but the fruit and spice was just so delicious that the alcohol itself became almost secondary.

“Did you say boyfriends, plural?” said Toya. He looked disappointed.

“Well, it's kind of an odd arrangement,” Subaru said, blushing a little. “Tomoya and I were together, and Mahiro and Junji were together, and then when we met each other . . . Mahiro and I fell in love, and Tomoya and Junji did the same thing, and, well . . . we decided to be a group.”

“Three boyfriends?” HAL said. “WHOA. Jui, that tops you.”

“I don't think I could handle three,” Jui said. “Two is enough.”

“Two boyfriends plus side action, remember,” Hiro said.

“You keep pointing that out,” Kazi said. “You want to get in on their side action?”

“I'm already in it, remember?” said Hiro.

Subaru, meanwhile, was writing a group text to Mahiro, Junji and Tomoya, explaining briefly what happened, saying he was okay and telling them where he was. “I'm going to finish this drink and then go home,” he said.

“Don't go home by yourself,” Jui said. “Have one of your boyfriends come here and meet you. It's safer.”

Subaru nodded. “Can you give me the address?”

As Jui gave it, and he typed it into the phone with one hand, the other was bringing the drink to his mouth again. He had to get the recipe for this. It was making him feel very, very relaxed, to the point of being sleepy . . .

* * *

Mahiro and Junji were finishing up their event and were talking to the manager of the adult video specialty store when their phones went off at the same time. They pulled them out, looked at them, and looked at each other.

“Subaru,” Mahiro said.

“Can you excuse us?” said Junji. “This may be important.”

The two of them retreated to a corner, looking at their screens . . . and Mahiro said, “Holy SHIT.”

“Oh, my God,” Junji said. “I'm going after him, right now.”

“I'm coming with you,” Mahiro said.

“No, I'll go,” Junji said. “You go home . . . pick up the stuff he likes to eat. We're going to deposit him on the couch, stuff him with snacks and spoil him.”

“Junji, I really think that I should . . .”

“It's okay. I'll be back in a flash, I promise.”

Junji rushed out the door, thinking that if he had the bastard who tried to steal that necklace in front of him, he'd beat him to a pulp. The idea that someone would dare touch Subaru, dare to hurt him . . .

It occurred to him that he was just as upset about this as Mahiro was. Maybe even more.

* * *

The group in Jui's apartment surrounded the pile of cushions where their guest had very suddenly, and totally, fallen asleep, right after finishing his drink.

“Damn,” said HAL. “He's out like a light.”

“What the hell did you give him, anyway?” Jun asked Kazi.

“One of my specialties, like I said. A Poison Apple.”

The group looked at each other, blinking, then back down at Subaru, and at each other again.

“A Poison Apple?” said Jui. “Really?”

“Well, yeah,” Kazi said. “I felt he needed to relax. That's a relaxing drink.”

“It's relaxing because there's more alcohol in that than in a whole Suntory factory!” Jun said. “No wonder he's passed out! If he's not used to drinking something that intense, it's going to hit him like a ton of bricks!”

“Especially as fast as he was drinking it,” said Gaku. “Like it was Pepsi.”

A knock came at the door. “Great,” said Jui. “His prince has come. He's going to find him comatose.”

“I didn't think he'd react that way!” Kazi said, springing over to the door and opening it – and then smiling when he saw the very attractive specimen on the other side. “Oh, hello!”

“Hi . . . Subaru is here? I'm here for him.”

“Right this way,” Kazi said. “But he's kind of . . .”

“Comatose,” said Jun. “He had a drink, and it hit him hard.”

“Comatose?” Junji walked past them, quickly, into the living room. There was Subaru, lying against a pile of cushions, a little smile on his face, one hand protectively covering his heart necklace. He looked, well . . . beautiful.

Junji knelt next to Subaru and shook him a little. “Subaru?” he said, softly. “Subaru?”

He stirred and made a little noise, but he didn't wake up. So, on impulse, Junji bent over, bringing his lips to the other man's.

Subaru's eyes fluttered open at that. “Junji?” he said, a touch of surprise in his voice. “Is that . . . is that you?”

“You'd better believe it,” Junji said, as his eyes scanned the younger man's face for any signs of disappointment that it was him, and not Mahiro or Tomoya. “How are you doing?”

“Better, now, but it was . . .” He threw his arms around the other man, impulsively.

“Sssh, it's okay,” Junji said, hugging him tightly. “I've come to take you home. We're going to roll you in a blanket and feed you snacks all night.” He suddenly stood up, sweeping Subaru into his arms and carrying him bridal-style. To the others, he said, “Thank you so much for looking after him until now.”

“Yes, thank you, guys,” Subaru said. “I need to get your numbers.”

“Already have then,” Hiro said. “Here's your phone back, by the way.” He handed it to Subaru.

“We all passed your phone around and put our contact info in it when you first passed out,” said Gaku. “We caught it before it locked.”

“Oh!” Subaru said. “Well, thanks again!” He waved as Junji carried him toward the door. Kazi opened it, and Junji walked into the hall, with Subaru still waving goodbye to his new friends.

The door shut. “Well, damn,” Kazi said. “So that was the boyfriend.”

“ONE of the boyfriends,” HAL said. “And you looked damn interested in him, too.”

“Like YOU weren't interested in Subaru,” Kazi countered. “I saw you looking him up and down!” He turned toward Toya. “You, too!”

“I'm only human and I have eyes,” Toya said.

“I just hope he's gonna be okay,” Jui said, quietly, sinking down on the pile of cushions Subaru had just vacated. “He was REALLY shaken when I found him.”

“You'd be, too, if someone tried to steal something from around your neck,” Jun said. “I wonder why the guy went after that necklace? It didn't look like it was valuable.”

“Who knows?” said Jui. “If criminals were logical, they wouldn't be criminals.”

“At least having him around was a distraction from what's going on with us,” said I'll.

There was a moment of silence in the room as the reality they'd been avoiding crashed in on them again. Thanks to Heavy Hitter, they were facing an uncertain future.

* * *

Junji continued to carry Subaru to the elevator, setting him gently on his feet to push the button. “I can't believe you came for me,” Subaru said.

“I wasn't going to let you come home by yourself,” Junji said – and then added, “WE weren't going to let you come home by yourself. Mahiro went home to get things ready.” He put an arm around Subaru and hugged him. “Did you call the cops?”

“They can't help,” Subaru sighed. “I didn't get a good view of the guy. They said they'd put out a call for witnesses, but they weren't optimistic.”

“At least he didn't hurt you,” Junji said as they boarded the elevator. “That's the important thing.”

“He just scared the hell out of me,” Subaru said. He reached over and squeezed Junji's hand. “That's why I'm glad you're here.”

“I'll come if you need me for anything. You know that.”

Junji hailed a cab outside, and texted Mahiro as soon as they were in the lobby of their building. When they opened the apartment door, Mahiro all but threw himself at Subaru.

“Baby,” he said, squeezing him tightly. “I'm so glad you're safe . . .”

“Mahiro . . .” Subaru buried his face in his lover's shoulder. “I was so scared . . .”

“It's okay,” Mahiro said. “It's okay, now . . .”

He led Subaru over to the couch, and Subaru flopped down on it, Mahiro next to him – and then the door flew open, and Tomoya rushed into the room. “Are you all right?” he said.

“Tomoya . . .” Subaru reached for his other lover, and Tomoya pulled him in a crushing embrace.

“I would have been there in a heartbeat,” Tomoya said, “but I turned off my phone for the meeting, and I didn't hear your message, and . . .”

“It's okay,” Subaru said. “Junji came and got me.”

And then, another voice said, “Subaru, what happened?”

Subaru's head snapped up – to see the director standing in the living room. “Uruha-san?”

“When Tomoya saw your message, he freaked out,” Uruha said. “I came home with him to make sure you were okay.” He knelt on the floor in front of the couch. “Now, tell me what happened to you. As much as you can remember.”

So Subaru relayed the story, the way he felt someone grabbing at the back of his neck, the way he'd jabbed his elbow in the assailant's stomach and fled through the park, and then how Jui had found him and brought him home – only to have Subaru make a useless call to the police.

“They can't do anything?” Tomoya said. “That's bullshit!”

“Unfortunately, that's the way it works,” said Uruha. “If Subaru didn't get a clear look at the guy, they have nothing to go on.”

“There's something else,” Subaru said. “Something I know I should remember, but . . . I can't come up with it.”

“Sleep on it and you'll come up with it in the morning,” Mahiro said, gently stroking Subaru's hair.

“Now, who was it that helped you again?” Uruha said.

“Jui,” Subaru said. “He and his friends were really nice. They're with a company called Diamond Mine, but they were distributed by Heavy Hitter, and Heavy Hitter cut them loose . . .”

“So THEY were the ones Sparxxx was talking about,” Uruha said. “I got a message from Sparxxx earlier today telling me Heavy Hitter had just backstabbed an innocent indie company, but no names could be named yet.”

“It was just because they don't fit Heavy Hitter's image,” Subaru said. “They'd kept the connection silent, because they didn't want anyone to know they were affiliated, but it got out anyway . . .”

“And I'm going to do something about this, just on principle,” Uruha said. “The boss and I are having a talk first thing in the morning.” He looked at Tomoya and Mahiro. “And the two of you can skip what you were supposed to do tomorrow morning if you want.”

“What was that?” Subaru said.

“The Porncast,” Uruha said, referring to a video podcast. “They were going to do a big interview about Kabuki Disco with the two stars – Mahiro and Kouki – the director, and the three writers. But Kouki, Kobe, Takemasa and Mitsuki can handle it themselves.”

“No,” Subaru said. “You should still go.”

“Baby, are you sure?” Mahiro said.

“I'm positive,” Subaru said. “The Porncast doing a whole show about one video? That's huge! They barely even talk about gay stuff most of the time, let alone devote a whole show to it! You shouldn't give that up!” His voice softened. “Besides, I'll be fine. It's not like I got really hurt, right?”

“I'll stay with him,” Junji said. “I don't have anything in the morning.”

“All right,” Uruha said, standing up. “Subaru, if you remember anything else, you call me, all right?”

“Okay,” Subaru said. “Thank you, Uruha-san.”

The director turned to go. “You want anything to drink, love?” Mahiro said.

“Just soda,” Subaru said. “I had far too much booze before. They gave me a drink that was – intense.”

He pulled out his phone. He really should text Jui, tell him he was okay, and thank him again.

And why did he keep having that nagging feeling, over and over, that he couldn't remember something important?

* * *

He saw Tomoya and Mahiro off for their podcast the next morning, then came back to bed, where Junji was lying on the pillows, having just woken up.

“Hey,” he said. “How are you feeling?”

“Okay,” Subaru said, lying next to him on his back. “I'm not hung over – surprisingly.”

“That was one hell of a drink they gave you, wasn't it?” Junji said.

“It didn't taste that strong at first,” Subaru said. “But before I knew it, I was out like a light.” He turned toward the other man. “Junji . . . why did you come after me yesterday?”

“I told you why. As soon as I got the message, my heart stopped. The thought of something like that happening to you was unbearable. I had to bring you home.” He reached out and squeezed Subaru's hand. “Were you surprised?”

“Well, um . . . honestly?” said Subaru. “Yes. I thought it would be Mahiro or Tomoya . . .” He added, quickly, “But it was the good kind of surprised! I mean, when you kissed me . . .” He looked away. “I was glad,” he said.

“We haven't had a chance to be together, have we?” Junji said.

Subaru looked confused. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, you and I haven't had enough of a chance to get to know each other,” Junji said. “It was always you and Mahiro, or you and Tomoya, or me and Mahiro, or me and Tomoya. And, well, I only started to notice that after the Suicide Ball, when we were upstairs with Mahiro, and things started happening between Mahiro and Tomoya . . .”

Subaru nodded. “They've opened up a lot to each other since that night.”

“And, yeah, I started to wonder what the status of my relationship with you was,” Junji said. “Whether anything would happen between us, whether we'd be a couple, whether it mattered if we did or we didn't . . .” He squeezed Subaru's hand. “And then yesterday happened, and I had my answers.”

“You . . . did?” said Subaru.

“It took you being in danger for me to realize how deeply you'd gotten into my heart,” Junji said. “ I knew that I had to be the one to go to your rescue. To be your prince, so to speak. Because I wanted to make up for lost time.” He leaned his head against Subaru's. “I don't know if I'm even making sense.”

“You are,” Subaru said. “You realized how much I meant to you, and you did something about it.” He brought his hand up to the back of the other man's head. “And when you did that? It made me realize . . .”

Before he knew it, he was leaning over and kissing Junji, and Junji was kissing back, wrapping his arms around him. They moved closer to each other, kissing deeper . . .

Junji eased back. “We'd better brush our teeth before we go further,” he said.

Subaru laughed a little and nodded. Well, they HAD both just gotten up . . . He rushed for the bathroom, did what he had to, came back to bed for Junji to take his turn . . . and slid out of his T-shirt and shorts, lying back on top of the covers naked.

Junji walked out of the bathroom – and liked very much what he saw. “If you're kind enough to do that,” he said, “I pretty much have to do the same thing, right?” He stripped off his own shirt and shorts, lay down next to Subaru and kissed him again.

This time, since they'd both brushed, they went straight for the deep kissing, for lips opening and tongues probing and hands sliding over each other's flesh. Junji moved his mouth down to Subaru's neck just long enough to suck and nibble at it – careful not to leave any marks, he knew how it worked in this industry – before kissing his lips again, rolling them both over so that he was on top.

Subaru hooked his leg over the other man's hip, thrusting upward so he could rub himself against Junji, thinking that his body felt so very good, he could feel strong muscles everywhere, and his skin was so smooth . . .

Junji moved down his neck again, not stopping this time, kissing and licking at the slim column, moving down to his collarbone, which he nibbled at lightly. His tongue traced a wet line across the other man's chest, circling the nipple, then pulling it in and sucking.

Subaru closed his eyes, reaching for the back of Junji's head, thinking that he felt different from his other two lovers . . . he was sucking a bit harder than Mahiro usually did, flicking his tongue slower than Tomoya. And yet, even though it was their first time together, he seemed to know just how to please him, how much pressure he needed, when to suck and when to lick.

Of course he knows, Subaru thought. He's seen Mahiro and Tomoya make love to me when we were all together.

Junji moved down further now, tongue moving across Subaru's stomach, and Subaru raised his hips, his breath coming heavier . . .

Only to have Junji lift his head and move all the way down to Subaru's foot, kissing along the instep, working slowly up his calf. Subaru raised his head, looking down at him, moaning in anticipation. “Junji, please . . .” he murmured.

Junji made his way up to Subaru's knee, and he looked up at him, eyes teasing. “Please, what?” he said.

“I want your mouth on me . . .”

“Really? I thought my mouth was on you already.” And he resumed kissing his way up the younger man's thigh, moving close enough to the sensitive inner part that Subaru let out a shudder.

“I want you to suck me,” Subaru murmured.

Junji responded to that by sucking on a spot on Subaru's inner thigh that made him arch up again, moaning loudly. It was just enough sensation to make him want more.

“On my cock,” Subaru gasped. “I want your mouth on my cock . . .”

“I thought you'd never ask,” Junji said – and he moved up swiftly, capturing the other man's erection in his lips, sucking hard right away. He began to slide down, taking him in deep, then pulled back just as quickly, hardness sliding over soft lips.

“Oh,” Subaru moaned. “Oh, you're so good . . .” His fingers tangled in his lover's hair again, thinking, why didn't we do this until now, why are we just now having each other like this . . .

Junji was lost in the sensation of what he was doing, of the feel of Subaru's hardness filling his mouth, the taste of him, the feel of the younger man's hands gripping his hair . . . he could do this all day, he could just suck Subaru for hours, or at least as long as he could hold out . . .

But he couldn't do that if he wanted them to fuck, though. And he so, so wanted to be in that gorgeous ass.

Junji pulled away from Subaru and reached for what he needed in the nighttable. “Tell me what you want next,” he said, kneeling in front of his lover.

Subaru sat up, panting. “Fuck me,” he said. “Fuck me, please . . .” His eyes were filled with the sight of Junji kneeling on the bed in front of him, hair in lovely disarray, gorgeous body on full display, and his hard, beautifully formed cock standing at attention . . .

On impulse, Subaru leaned over, taking that erection in his mouth, doing what Junji had done to him. Junji moaned, the sudden motion taking him completely by surprise, but it was damn exciting – Subaru was sucking him nice and tight, moving his head just fast enough . . .

And he realized the position Subaru was in, bending over with his ass in the air, just might allow him to penetrate him with his fingers, if he could lean over far enough without disturbing his lover . . . He bent forward, and found he could do it, yes, it was easier than he thought.

When he felt the lubed finger slide in, Subaru breathed in deeply through his nose and began to move faster, sucking harder. He tried to match the rhythm of the movements within him, feeling like he belonged to this man entirely at this moment, being deliciously invaded from front and back.

Junji moved a bit faster when he pushed in the second finger, because he was eager to open him up and get him ready, to have him completely, give him ultimate pleasure . . . but at the same time, he didn't want what was going on to end, because Subaru was so wickedly talented, that soft mouth caressing him, loving him every way possible . . .

The third finger pushed in, thrusting into him rapidly, and Subaru pulled away from Junji, moaning loudly, saying, “Please, please, I'm ready . . .”

“Are you sure of that?” Junji thrust his fingers into him again, going deeper.

“Yes! I need it, please . . .”

“Well, since you asked nicely . . .” Junji moved so he was behind Subaru, reaching for a wipe to clean his fingers. Subaru got on all fours, pushing his ass back toward the other man, moving his legs apart to open himself up more.

Junji poured lube into the cleft, rolled on a condom and slicked himself quickly, and then pressed into the other man, moaning as he felt the tight heat close around him.

“Oh,” Subaru gasped. Junji was big – he felt bigger inside him than he had in his mouth, in fact. He had to take a deep breath, relax as much as possible, because he wanted this to be good for both of them.

Junji paused for a moment. “Are you okay?” he said.

“Yes . . . I am, it's just that you're . . . big . . .”

“Flattery will get you everywhere,” Junji said. “I'll go slow at first, okay? Let me know if you want me to stop.”

True to his word, he began to thrust very slowly and gently, and the more he moved, the more Subaru's body adjusted to him, opened up for him, relaxed . . . and it started to feel good, damn good. The tension was giving way to a gentle relaxation, the pain was being replaced by pleasure.

When Subaru started to move his hips, thrusting up gently against him, Junji took that as permission to move a little faster, a little harder . . . but he sped up very gradually, paying close attention to his partner's movements and sounds . . .

Even though he was tempted to just thrust deeply into him, because Subaru felt absolutely delicious. The part of Junji's mind that was still capable of conscious thought formed the idea that if he'd known that this was what Tomoya and Mahiro were experiencing on a regular basis, he'd be very, very jealous of them.

Subaru was moaning loudly now, thrusting backwards faster, and Junji picked up the speed, moving harder, letting his hands move under Subaru's body, running over his chest, downward toward his erection.

They developed a rhythm, pushing toward each other fast and hard, both of them moaning loudly now, their bodies covered with a light sheen of sweat. Subaru felt completely possessed by this man now, filled to the utmost, and it was so, so good, every motion sending a torrent of hot, tingling sensations running through his whole body.

He felt Junji's fingers wrap around his erection, stroking rapidly, and Subaru cried out, his head falling forward, hair obscuring his face. His whole body was trembling on the brink now, and he thrust back harder, wanting that last little bit he needed to go over the edge . . .

There was a deep thrust against his sweetest spot, and Subaru cried out, arching back against Junji, the orgasm exploding through his body in long, sparkling bursts – and when Junji felt that tight sheath tugging at him, he didn't last long after that. He pushed into the sweet ass one last time, crying out loudly, letting go entirely, completely consumed by heat.

The two fell down to the bed, panting, and turned toward each other so they could kiss, and kiss again. They snuggled together, holding one another as their breathing and heartbeats calmed.

“Damn,” Junji said. “That was worth the wait.”

“Mmm,” Subaru said, not wanting to move. “I'm so glad we did it.”

“So am I,” Junji said. “And you know we have to do this again, don't you?”

“Mmm,” Subaru said again. And then, after a pause, “I don't think Mahiro and Tomoya will mind.”

“Not if they can watch,” Junji said. “Or join in. Or they can be at one end of the bed, and us at the other.” He hugged Subaru tighter. “You know that I love you, right?”

The words hit Subaru's ears, and turned his heart to melted butter. And in that moment, he realized that he'd probably wanted to hear them since he met this man. It just took him this long to realize it. He felt almost grateful to the bastard who tried to steal his necklace right now – because this might never have happened if that hadn't.

“I know,” he said. “Because I love you, too.”

* * *

Subaru woke up from his nap feeling warm and content. He snuggled next to Junji, letting himself drift back into a half-waking, half-sleep state, his mind wandering.

The last 24 hours had been nuts, but it had all come to a good end, hadn't it, sure his necklace almost got stolen but he had this special time with Junji and he made new friends even if they'd given him the strongest drink he'd ever had in his life and this craziness had really started a week or so ago, hadn't it, when that bastard from Heavy Hitter tried to buy the necklace from him . . .

And suddenly, he sat bolt upright, eyes flying open.

“Junji!” he shouted. “I remember! I remember now!”

Junji sat up, rubbing his eyes. “Remember what?” he yawned.

“I knew there was something else important about the necklace!” Subaru said. “That bastard from Heavy Hitter – the one who's always insulting us – he tried to buy it off me a couple of weeks ago, right before the awards! I told him politely that it wasn't for sale.”

Junji jumped out of bed. “Call Uruha, now,” he said.

“Junji,” said Subaru, “you don't think that . . .”

“I wouldn't put anything past those bastards,” he said. “There's some nasty people in this industry, Subaru. Believe me, I know. Call him.”

If he wanted to punch whoever did this yesterday, he wanted to throw the person off a cliff today. Especially if it was the bastard from Heavy Hitter.

* * *

Sakai was sitting in his office, gazing at his “Magic Mirror,” when the door suddenly banged open. “I told you I didn't want any visitors!” he barked at the sheepish-looking underling that was manning the front desk.

“I'm not just a visitor,” Uruha said, storming into the office. “I'm looking for answers.” He pointed to Subaru, who was following him into the room, half-hiding behind him. “And so is he!”

“Answers?” Sakai said. “Answers to WHAT, I might add? If you've come here about our latest Twitter feeds, I can assure you . . .”

“Oh, this has nothing to do with Twitter,” Uruha said. “It has to do with . . . THIS.” He put his hand behind the charm of Subaru's necklace and held it up so Sakai could see it.

The other man's eyes widened in surprise. “He still has . . .” He stopped himself before he could go further. “I don't know what you're talking about.”

“He still WHAT?” Uruha said. “He still has it? You're surprised your hired gun didn't complete the job?”

Sakai stood up. “Uruha-san, do you have any IDEA what you are accusing me of?”

“Yes,” said Uruha. “The truth! The fact that you tried to buy this necklace off this boy, and when he wouldn't sell it, you STOLE it from him. Or at least tried to have it stolen. If it wasn't for a bug that landed on Subaru's nose, you would have pulled it off. What is this, some kind of mental torture? What is a crystal heart necklace to you that you'd have it literally torn off the neck of one of my actors?”

Sakai nearly leapt over the desk. His face was bright red, the muscles in his thick neck were bulging. “YOU. HAVE. NO. IDEA,” he said.

“Of what?” said Uruha. “Of the fact that Subaru's videos have been outselling yours? Is that why you pulled this?”

“Yes, his videos have been outselling ours!” Sakai shouted. “And we were starting to match you in sales before that super-uke of yours came around! Every day I look at the blogs” - he held up his “Magic Mirror” - “and all I see is Subaru, Subaru, Subaru! But that is NOT what it's about! It's about the necklace!”

“Well, what about the necklace, then?” Uruha said.

“He shouldn't have it!” Sakai jabbed an accusatory finger in his direction. “NOBODY should have it! It should have been mine!”

“And why do you say that?” Uruha said.

“None of your fucking business!” Sakai looked like the top of his head was going to pop off.

“When you hire a goon to STEAL it off the neck of one of my actors, you're damn right it's my business!” Uruha said. “Now tell me why, or I WILL go to the police!”

Sakai paced behind his desk. He ran his hand over his head and exhaled a long breath. Finally, he said, “It was my grandmother's.”

Subaru and Uruha exchanged shocked looks. That was the last thing they were expecting to hear. “It was WHAT?” Subaru said.

“My grandfather was a craftsman,” Sakai said. “He made it for her. I recognize the shape. He put an extra little tail on the bottom of the heart – not everyone did that.”

Subaru lifted the charm and looked at it. Sure enough, there was an extra little point at the bottom of the heart.

“When my grandmother passed away, a couple of cousins of mine – who are freaking idiots – went through her stuff before I got a chance to,” Sakai said. “And they took a bunch of her things – things they didn't know were handcrafted – and sold them at a flea market for cheap. When I finally got to her place, there was nothing there. Nothing my grandfather had made, at least.”

“Subaru,” Uruha said, “did Mahiro and Tomoya buy that necklace at a flea market?”

Subaru nodded. “They went looking for a lamp, and they found that instead, and they thought it would be perfect for me.” He looked at Sakai. “Sakai-san, why didn't you tell me that the other day? If I knew it had real, sentimental value to you, I would have sold it. We could have avoided this whole thing.”

Sakai huffed another deep breath. He ran a hand over his hair, and seemed to be fumbling for words.

“You didn't want to blow your image, did you?” Uruha said. “You thought that telling him about your grandmother would make you look sentimental. And you want to stay the tough guy.”

Sakai snapped, “And that's why I SAID it was none of your business.”

Uruha turned a scowl on his rival. “Sakai-san . . . part of me feels for you. What your cousins did was wrong – the whole family should have had a chance to go through your grandmother's personal effects. But part of me still wants to throw you off a cliff, because you STILL tried to have the necklace robbed from Subaru.”

Subaru reached behind his neck, unfastened the necklace, and removed it. “Here,” he said. “Since it's your grandmother's, you should have it.”

“Subaru!” Uruha said. “You shouldn't do that! After what he did to you . . .”

“But I'm not going to give it to you outright,” Subaru said. “Your deal the other day was that you were willing to pay for it. You're going to pay me what you originally said you were going to, and we're going to forget about this.”

“And if I don't?” said Sakai.

“We go to the police,” Uruha said. “Oh, and by the way? This brought another important matter to my attention. Those poor guys from Diamond Mine that you so callously kicked to the curb? They helped Subaru out yesterday. And in gratitude for what they did, we picked up their distribution deal.”

Subaru looked at Uruha, his face lighting up. “You did?”

“The boss approved it this morning,” Uruha said. “Then he got in touch with their boss. They're back in business.”

“Thank you!” Subaru said. “They're going to be thrilled.” To Sakai, he said, “So, Sakai-san, about the deal . . .”

“Fine,” Sakai said. He opened his wallet, pulled out some bills and shoved them at Subaru. “Now, give it to me.”

Subaru handed over the necklace. He was sorry to see it go – it was a love-gift, after all, and he'd worn it every day since he'd gotten it, but the last couple of days had kind of put a new meaning behind it – and, like it or not, it did get into his hands by unfair means.

“Oh, and Sakai-san?” Uruha said. “If I hear about you firing any employees and having them blacklisted from the industry, well, then, that will tell me who your thief is, and you will BOTH be reported to the police. This whole affair gets dropped right now, and it's as if it never happened. Got it?”

Sakai grumbled something under his breath, then said, “Fine.”

“And now I'm going to bid you good-bye,” Uruha said, bowing. “I have some things to do to arrange for Diamond Mine.” He turned, followed by Subaru, and left the office.

As they headed for the elevator, Uruha said, “I'm just sorry you ended up giving up your necklace, Subaru.”

“It's okay,” Subaru said. “If his grandfather hand-made it, it really is his by right, except . . .” He held up the money. “I made him pay. Literally.” He paused. “It seems like even someone like him can have a heart – even though they keep it hidden.”

He put the money in his pocket. “And besides? Giving up my necklace is a small price to pay to make sure Jui and his friends have a future. He and Jun walked away from Hard Candy to start that company – did you know that? They risked everything on it.”

“I'd heard about that vaguely, but not the details,” Uruha said. “We'll make sure they get our full promotional efforts, then.” He put his hand on Subaru's shoulder as the elevator arrived. “At least something good came out of all this, right?”

Subaru smiled to himself. Something good had come of this, all right – and it wasn't just Diamond Mine's new deal. He and Junji had finally closed the last gap in their four-way relationship. They were no longer just two couples linked with each other – they were a true foursome.

Bringing together real hearts was worth more than all the crystal hearts in the world.

* * *

EPILOGUE
Jui got the call about the deal with PSC's B.P. Video division right after Uruha's meeting with his boss. He was calm and professional on the phone – and then woke up his two lovers, Jun and Toya, and they jumped around the room screaming like kids.

One day after having their End-Of-Our-Careers party, they and their friends had a Our-Careers-Are-Back-On-YAY party – complete with Kazi making a pitcher of Poison Apples, which were consumed very slowly and carefully by all involved.

Sakai continued to gaze at his “Magic Mirror” every day and continued to grumble about Subaru – but now, he had a crystal heart necklace in a special frame designed to show it off hanging above his desk. When people asked about it, he snapped, “Never you mind!” and changed the subject. (Oh, and he didn't fire Karyuudo, but he didn't go out of his way to give him missions anymore, either).

Mahiro, Tomoya AND Junji took the money Subaru had gotten from Sakai and used it to buy Subaru a new necklace, this one a love-gift from all three of them, a solidifying of their relationship. This one was a charm shaped like a bird's or angel's wing, with four small stones of different colors – which, to Subaru, represented four as one.

And so, as happens at the end of tales like this one, they lived happily ever after. (Well, not quite in Sakai's case, but you get the idea – and you wouldn't want the bad guy in one of these stories to live happily ever after, would you?)

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
hamhamheaven
Oct. 2nd, 2016 09:47 pm (UTC)
That was really super sweet, Junji rushing to the rescue! I knew he and Subaru would have a strong connection if they'd ever just take the time to explore it. Nothing quite like an attempted robbery to bring protective tendencies to the surface.

Meanwhile, the Fest and Gotcharocka boys make their grand appearance! I get the impression there's a lot of backstory to the threesome that is Jui/Jun/Toya, so I'm very interested to learn more about them, and how the older two in the relationship ended up leaving Hard Candy to strike out on their own. Meanwhile, Kazi eying Junji makes me hopeful for more drummer lovin'. (OMG, Jui and Yo-ka would be a yummy pairing, too! Maybe now that PSC picked up their distribution rights, they can have a repeat performance.)
leifang666
Oct. 3rd, 2016 11:37 am (UTC)
I loved this chapter so much. :) It may just be the best in the whole series.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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