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03 January 2012 @ 09:36 am
You exist an ocean away.  
You exist an ocean away.
Summary: There are the stories with happy endings and there are the stories that break your heart.
Rating: PG13
Warnings: mentions of historical death, references to drugs and alcohol, angst
Notes: written for adistantsun in the 2011 je_holiday exchange. Original posting is here. This fic was one rollarcoaster ride of crazy; research, extra drafts, source materials, rewrites (oh yes, I did rewrite it last minute) and emailing the mods with panicked pleas, asking the usual suspects for a test read (randomicicle, tatoeba, lifesavers forever, additional thanks to becquinho for the handholding) and then creeping on my recipient in every possible way I could without access to personal LJ. A lot of my inspiration for this fic came from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (both book and film), BANDAGE (film and its original book form, Good Dreams) and also interestingly enough, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. I did research on Morii Ranmaru, in addition to my former knowledge of him as my interest can from a few years back when I had to write a report of significant Japanese historical figures, etc etc but I went more into depth of his past. One of my originals had a full blown story of his childhood, his own qualms of serving Oda and so much more. I was crazily invested in this fic, it's one of my better writings and you can attribute part of that also to virdant who told me to rewrite last minute (almost from scratch) and resend it to the mods.

Jin leaves. Kame never stops him.

They move on. Jin writes love songs, finds a lust for glitter and lights and cheap perfume within a shot-glass. Kame says that it won’t last, that it’s not what’s meant to be.

“They’re just stories,” Jin snaps, “They’re just good stories.”

“When you wake up alone in the morning, that’s the ending. That’s the part you leave out. It’s a half told story, the real stories are the ones with no happy endings.”

Jin is quiet, then he asks: “What makes you say that?”

If I tell you, it’ll break your heart— “Because I know.” –just like how our story broke mine, “I just know.”


It’s not entirely Natsu’s fault that LANDS split up. But, it is because of Natsu that LANDS existed, or at least that’s how Yukiya sees it.


Kame knows that Jin never read Good Dreams, knows that Jin never really thought about Natsu. He saw Bandage, just like the rest of Japan, and he realised that Jin found Natsu, only had to look for him.

Natsu drives Kame insane, in a good way.

But then again, so does Jin and there’s not much difference in that, is there?


When the music stops, Natsu’s world comes crashing.


Kame says he wishes Jin well. But they both know it’s not enough and songs about vodka and flashing lights will only get them so far. He stops trying to clip Jin’s wings, like it makes a difference.

Jin tries to fly, but he snaps and asks: “What would you suggest?” even if it’s a repeat of a conversation they’ve had before.

Kame says, “Write about something that matters.”

“Love matters.”

“I don’t think that’s what you write about.”

Jin throws his hands up, frustrated. Says he doesn’t have time for this, that he’s doing this his own way, this is what he wants and Kame can’t say anything, Kame’s not brave enough to make it on his own—

“I don’t need to separate myself from everyone else to be special,” Kame tells Jin. This is how their conversation always ends, with the two of them walking opposite directions and trying to cut all the threads.


Ranmaru is different from the rest.

“How would you know, milord?”

Oda doesn’t tell Ranmaru, just says: “Stay by my side, Ran,” as though it’s a wish that will last for ten thousand years.


Jin wears his big boy clothes, stands in front of a camera and lives it up like a rock star.

Kame puts VOGUE through the shredder (small star, big galaxy, you’re nothing—and you’re any better?). There’s nothing good in that, nothing worth reading, at least that’s the tale Kame tells because he says that Jin’s all charades and masks.

“Hypocrite,” Jin hisses.

Kame smiles bitterly, says that he never denied it in the first place.

“I’m good enough,” Jin shouts to no one because in the end, Kame’s stopped listening (he hears it, but Kame pretends Jin’s voice doesn’t exist).

But, the two of them are just goldfishes with their tails fanning out in a rather large river.


Natsu sang Hey Hey My My for the first time in a dingy bar in Hokkaido. The bartender gave him a thumbs up, ten hundred yen for the hour and said to come back the next day.

The next day, he met Yukari.

“You should sing more, you know,” she said to him, smiling. “I used to play the drums.”

He asked her if she was any good, but the fact that she wears an ironed skirt and a blouse told Natsu more than enough.


Jin says he has nothing if he can’t sing. Kame tells him that’s a lie.

“Why didn’t you tell me not to go to LA?” Jin asks.

Kame replies: “I can’t live with you hating me. It was easier that way.”


A boy walks by the sea, alone.


Every night, Oda watches Ranmaru set up a miniature stage on a table in his room. Oda listens to stories told, watching as Ranmaru plays with finger puppets and tells him of Kaguya-hime, her return to the moon and the broken heart left behind.

The dolls wear small silk kimonos and Ranmaru say that they’re just stories, My Lord, don’t let them break your heart.

“Tell me a happier one,” Oda requests.

Ranmaru stops, thinks.

Oda watches as Ranmaru tells him about a boy, who met someone. This boy, so fascinated, chose to follow, because this man had a vision, saw the unification of a land where the sun rises and this boy, he wanted only to help this man make dreams come true.

“And the ending, Ranmaru?” Oda asks.

Ranmaru puts down the dolls, bows. “I leave that up to you, My Lord,” he says.


Sings, get lost and the crowd screams, trips back stage—

—Never forgets, doesn’t know what else to see but a girl with wide eyes and searching.

(Come find me, Natsu says but Asako never heard him, just listened to his songs.)


It wouldn’t matter if Kame were a baseball player or if Jin were singing outside the train stations of Shibuya. Either ways, they lead their separate lives on paths that align but never cross.

Jin says that Bandage is just a movie; Kame says that no one ever found the bodies of Oda and Ranmaru.

Even if that’s the case, “They still died,” Kame notes, sombre. “Maybe separate, maybe together. But there’s no happy ending.”

“Natsu still sings,” Jin argues.

“Does anyone hear him?”


When she was a little girl, Asako had to play the piano. She wasn’t very good at it, didn’t understand the rhythms and the notes in front of her. In the end, Asako only saw it as black on white paper.

Natsu’s all heat and just an edge off danger, like the scorching summer sun and his kiss is heated with liquor and Asako’s never felt anything like it. She listens to his music, emptiness ringing.

Their first and last kiss, and then Asako realises she’ll feel never summer so closely again.


Kame thinks that Jin goes between Japan and Los Angeles like a bird, the change of seasons directing his life.


Ranmaru never tells Oda, knows that not in this life will he have the authority of such feelings. He serves his master faithfully, only addresses Oda as ‘my Lord’ and memorises the way Oda walks, just so that Ranmaru knows how to follow exactly five steps behind.

“Kipposhi, he was a strange child,” Oda murmurs occasionally. “You must not let me be a strange man, Ran. Kipposhi was such a strange child.”

The story Oda never tells, Ranmaru fears it might be piercing his master’s heart.


Jin insists there is some difference between Jin Akanishi and Akanishi Jin.

Kame tells him, “People still call you Jin.”

“And you regret being Kame?” Jin asks, quiet. It doesn’t suit him, hesitation.

But Kame shrugs, never answers because: “Being Kame has given me more in this life than I could have imagined.”


Natsu never asked Asako how she wrote her name. To him, she was the sun that shone during summer, and Natsu wonders if Yukiya was born on the first snowfall of winter.


Kame never asked Jin to stay, Jin never asked Kame to wait.

Neither of them are sorry.


The ocean is dark as ink, loneliness consuming them like a virus with no cure. Natsu stands with his feet in the sand. Yukiya is right next to him.

“Why did you bring her here?” Natsu asks Yukiya. “Why did you do this?”

Yukiya says nothing.

“This has nothing to do with Asako,” and this time, Natsu doesn’t shout.


“I can’t.” The world comes to a jarring halt. “I can’t sing,” Natsu says, voice cracking. “This has nothing to do with Asako, why did are we here, I can’t sing,” and the words tumble out like a child tripping over stairs. “I can’t sing.”

Yukiya, still, says nothing.


Kame once threw a ring into the oceans of Okinawa. The sea must be made of tears, why else would it be so salty.

“I lost mine, at the beach. I was surfing,” Jin mutters. He won’t look Kame in the eye.

Why is it, Kame wants to ask, that the ocean never ends and loneliness seems to dwell where the waters touch the shore. “I lost mine too,” Kame lies.


Oda asks Ranmaru to grow his hair. He says it just suits Ranmaru, it’s a simple request.

Ranmaru follows his master’s wishes, grows his hair. But, Ranmaru never tells Oda that at night, he tosses and turns and the words are trapped within his lungs. Ranmaru knows to serve, only to serve and that duty is everything. Ranmaru traps his words, wish they could burn like the incense he offers his parents at the shrine.

“I do wish I could be peaceful and good like you,” Oda murmurs on a day in summer, just a halcyon day. The land where the sun rises still remains divided, maps disjointed.

“Milord,” Ranmaru says, a quiet thanks.

“The world is so wide, Ran.”

“I believe so, my Lord.”

“I’m thankful to have known Ranmaru in this life.”


Alone, a girl looks out at the ocean.


Natsu’s world collapses and he runs back to Hokkaido, sleeps through winter, hides during the summer. He doesn’t want to feel the sun, doesn’t know anything but Jack Daniels and he wonders if this is what it was like for beloved Kurt.

It’s when he turns on the radio and he hears a love song from years ago that Natsu remembers lying in the tour bus with Yukiya and a bottle of whiskey shared between them.

They shared secrets and cigarettes and something that might have tasted sweeter, might have made them woozy. Natsu wrote on Yukiya’s arm with a felt marker and the next day, they closed with the song in Sendai. The crowd went crazy.

Natsu listens to the love song on the radio, sings along and his world starts once more.


Kame wrote Kizuna. Jin wrote Care.

Doesn’t matter, Kame says. It’s the past and it’s just a love story that’s not meant to be known.

What love, Jin asks.

“You don’t know love, do you? How can you write about it?” Kame argues.

“Don’t pretend you do either,” Jin hisses.

This isn’t a conversation they’ve had before.


Natsu tell Asako to go home, never mind they both know she hesitates (it doesn’t suit her, not anymore).

Outside, in the corridor, she collapses against the wall. Asako whispers, “I’ve done a terrible thing,” and she cries.


After the audition, it's years of hard work and its concerts and it's screaming fans and it's making the world theirs for the taking. And in such a literal sense, they try to make it worldwide.

(No, the fans aren’t screaming Natsu’s name.)

Kame used to dream about playing baseball in Chicago. He instead runs commentary for the Giants in Tokyo Dome.

“Is that so bad?” Jin asks.

“It doesn’t matter anymore,” Kame says quietly. “No story has a happy ending, just moments.”

Jin says, “You can be happy with just moments, you know?”


The first rehearsal, Natsu doesn’t know anyone, just stands in front of his microphone and sings Yellow Submarine as though it’d solve the arguing between the artists Yukari’s surrounded him with.


Kame met Jin at the audition. Jin never remembers, but Kame can never forget the kid that just bounces up and down and whose smile seemed to sparkle like a disco ball.

Kame used to think that Jin was annoying until Jin smiled.

Jin keeps saying that he doesn’t remember Kame from that day, but Kame knows that’s another lie between them.


It was Yukiya who strummed his guitar in the background, fingers lazy as they covered The Beatles and everyone watched, listened and Yukiya said that this is what they’re here to do.


Kame says, “We have no story.”

Jin says nothing.


Asako walks into a studio, hears a song on a war lost. The lyrics come easy as she hears Natsu’s voice float through the room.

When the song is over, Asako stays.

Natsu pulls off his headphones, turns and says, “Sometimes, Yukiya sings for me.”

“Is he here to?”

“LANDS broke up.”

It doesn’t answer her question, but Asako nods as though she understands. (She nods, sorry. She did a terrible thing.)

“Can you sing?” Natsu asks her, for the first time.


At an audition, two boys met. On stage, six boys danced. That’s it. Now five men are before the crowds and another speaks a foreign language.

“What’s so wrong with that?” Jin asks.

Kame mutters, “It’s just a good story, no ending.”



Oda requests for Ranmaru to call him Nobunaga.

“That is not my place, milord,” Ranmaru replies quietly.

Honnoji Temple is invaded the next day.


No matter how he looks at it, no one knows where Yukiya went, why Natsu is alone or whether Asako ever heard him instead of just the music. And Kame can’t rewrite history, he can’t say that Nobunaga and Ranmaru survived, that they resurfaced in a small town on the coastline of Japan and lived their years out, fishing and laughing. Kame knows they died.


The truth? Kame’s the one who has Jin come crashing down into reality, tells him: “The good stories are the ones that aren’t finished,” because Jin writes love songs about the pounding bass and romance between shots of tequila.

Kame sighs, says that Jin shouldn’t have come over. They’re just stories Kame tells to Jin in his kitchen, mugs of tea gone cold.

“You’ve got it wrong,” Jin tells Kame. “So what, a completed story has no happy ending. People die, the climate is changing, music is autotuned. Screw it, Kame.”

“This is your problem, you think everything is so simple,” Kame snaps.

Jin is almost ready to tear his hair out. “Isn’t it?” he hisses. “You tell me about two dead guys and a movie I acted in, expect me to believe that what you say is true? I get off the plane, I come here to talk to you and you don’t get to the god damn point.

“I already did. I told you there are no happy endings. Ranmaru loved his master, Oda never knew. LANDS breaks up, Natsu has no one,” Kame says quietly.

Jin scoffs, asks: “And what if they stayed? What if Natsu wasn’t alone in the end?”


Asako doesn’t understand music like Yukiya does. It was Yukiya who wrote the songs for Natsu, because a Natsu who couldn’t sing was no one. Yukiya heard a voice, he heard something good and he wanted only greatness.

“It’s okay,” Natsu tells them both. “You don’t need to understand my world. Just be in it.”

This time, Asako and Yukiya stay by Natsu’s side.


Kame says the words he knows Jin doesn’t want to hear: “We still have no story. You can’t base the non-existent on fiction.”

“So tell me your story,” Jin looks at Kame, slowly—cautiously, slides his hand across the table, “And I’ll tell you mine.”

Kame lets Jin’s fingertips brush against his. He falls all over, doesn’t stop and shakes his head, says to Jin: “Or we can start a new story, together.”


Somewhere, a boy named Nobu meets a girl named Ran.