Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Rating: PG for language
Summary: "It glows brighter here than it does in New York."
Word Count: 3,937
Feedback: The best thing evar. Flame away, even, if you feel like it.
Disclaimer: I own nothing and make no money. It's all Square/Enix.
Notes: A rockstar!AU that takes place in Tokyo. "Heavily inspired"* by Lost in Translation. No, it's not self-indulgent and gratuitous at all. Title stolen from a Stereophonics song. Once again, lots of love to tatooine for reading it over.
Kain = Fury. Just in case anyone was wondering.
*ripped off from
Tokyo glitters neon at night. Large screens and signs line the streets, bathing them in a strange, multicolored glow. Yellows and pinks and oranges and greens and reds overlapping.
It glows brighter here than it does in New York, where all of that glitz is concentrated around Times Square. It's all spread out in Tokyo, everywhere. Billboards, signs, TV screens. Roy misses the soft yellow of New York street-lights. They have a certain age and classiness to them. Here everything seems new, new, new. Maybe it's just him.
He slumps in his chair. He has a good view of the Tokyo skyline from here, the large skyscrapers and their smaller, dotted, yellow lights. If you pressed your nose against the glass and looked down, you could see all of that neon below you. The people too. The bustling crowd of Japanese never seems to disappear.
On the forty-fifth floor of the Tokyo Hilton, all of that can seem very far away. Like you're on a cloud: separated and above it all. You can't touch, just observe. Watch the world go by. Roy doesn't mind it, really. He almost sort of like it.
Maes is by the floor-to-ceiling window, his forehead leaning on the glass. He's shirtless, too lazy to pull one on after his shower. His hair is still wet and unruly, and Roy can see the slight water stain it's left on the window.
It's nine at night, but it feels like nine in the morning. You could blame it on the jet lag or you blame it on the rock star lifestyle. Everything is pretty much twelve hours off for them anyway. Energy buzzes and hums through everything right now. Not too late, not too early.
They don't have a show tonight or tomorrow, and Roy is content to relax or wander around the city for a few days. They have a couple promotional things, but that's no big deal. Talk a bit to some interviewer, have your pictures taken by some photographer, hang out in the city.
Roy wonders what Maes sees out there. The dark sky speckled with yellow and red and white? Or maybe the swarms and neon signs below? Maybe he's just thinking, and the cool glass and faraway sights let his mind wander.
The lights in the room are dim, lessening the amount of reflection in the window, but there's enough for the pale ghost of the bed, carpet and Maes to linger outside. Roy can see himself, well his feet, if he concentrates enough.
"What are you thinking?" he asks Maes, who's unusually quiet.
Maes shrugs and turns around. It gives Roy a good look at his abs, strong and hard, with a whiff of the emaciated look that all indie rock groups have taken on, Roy included. Maes is in his pajama pants, loose and hanging off his narrow hips. He holds out a hand. Roy tosses him the white T-shirt that was draped over the arm of his chair. He pulls it over his head. Along the way, it gets caught on his glasses, and his wet hair visibly dampens the area around the collar.
Maes blinks for a few moments, still unable to pull out of himself.
Roy stands up and waves his hand in front of Maes' face. "Snap out of it, man. You're acting weird"
It's only sort of the truth, but Roy doesn't know how to put that into words.
By some weird twist of fate, they have to meet with Japanese reporters at eight in the morning the next day. Roy isn't really awake, but then again, he rarely ever is. He doubts many people will notice the difference if he puts a bland expression. He's the "cold, distant one" and he never really minded that role. Maes is the "warm chipper one who will talk your ear off if you give him the chance", Kain is the "shy, nerdy one", and Jean is the "cool, smoking one". It all works out in the end, really.
The sun likes to get in his eyes, and he curses himself for forgetting his sunglasses. He could wear them during the interview and maybe catch a few more hours of sleep. Not that Liza, their manager, would let him.
Maes half dragged, half beat him out of bed this morning. "Stop being such a lazy bum," he had said."You knew you needed to get up this early."
Sometimes Roy really regretted agreeing to share a room with the asshole.
It's all worth it, though, when Maes hands Roy a cup of coffee. The smell is so welcoming, Roy nearly drools. Nearly. He accepts the cup gratefully and gives Maes a half-smile. It gets him a full-fledged Maes grin in return. Roy feels a certain glowing warmth, but he blames it on the sun and the coffee and Maes too, just for the hell of it.
Liza isn't really pleased to find that Roy still isn't dressed at seven-thirty. She gives him a dirty look and tells Maes that he really has to take better care of That Pathetic Excuse For A Bassist. Maes just shrugs and says that it's too much effort on his part, because Roy is such an incompetent bastard.
Roy doesn't have the energy to get indignant, but he does get dressed. He puts on his favorite pair of jeans and a plain black T-shirt. His sneakers are five years old, worn and hole-filled. Roy slides them on without undoing the laces.
They meet the others in the hallway. Jean looks worse off that Roy does, but he's still smoking, which means he's fine. "Took your sweet time, didn't you, Mustang?" he says.
Roy flips him off. He's not really ready to get into an argument, no matter how friendly and laidback it would be. Liza snatches the cigarette out of Jean's mouth and puts it out on his jeans over his protests, leaving a round burn. She's never really liked smoking.
Kain is wide awake and kind of fidgety, though he's usually like that. His eyes blink behind his round glasses and he absently shoves his hands into his pockets, playing with some of the change inside.
At the interview, Roy eats breakfast, shoving a bagel down his throat as Maes rambles on and on about how much they love music and Japan. Jean chimes in to make a comment about the food and women. Kain even joins in the conversation at one point to talk about how they met. Roy sits there and eats.
Maes kicks him lightly at one point, and Roy makes an obligatory comment about how wonderful the Japanese fans are.
The interviewer doesn't really speak English, and all of the questions go through an translator. Her voice is heavily accented, but her English is flawless.
Roy ignores the conversation for a while and plays with the hem of his T-shirt. His mind wanders to lunch, the new strings he needs to get for his bass, and the fly that flitters around the room. Someone apparently asks him something, and Maes kicks him again. Roy throws him a glare. The translator repeats the question. "Who has influenced your musical style?"
It throws Roy for a loop. It's the sort of question better suited for Maes (who sings) and Jean (who plays guitar) than for him. "Erm. The Beatles?"
The other three do their best to hide their snickering. Even Kain, who always has this sort of wide-eyed naivete to him, seems to be laughing at him. Roy understands why they're laughing, even if he is planning their grizzly murders at the moment. Everyone and their mom has been influenced by the Beatles. Even if you haven't been influenced by the Beatles, you've probably been influenced by someone who has. Roy resists the urge to kick Maes back. He'd have not-kicked Jean and Kain too if they were in range.
They have the afternoon off, and they split up. None of them speak Japanese, so they're all equally screwed anyway. Roy and Maes head off in one direction, while Jean and Kain go in the other.
Roy is tempted to make a break for it and head back to the hotel. He's still not fully awake and the thought of comfortable, warm, inviting bed is tempting. Unfortunately this is Maes, who knows him way too well. There's no way he's going anywhere without having lunch first.
They find fairly small, touristy restaurant. The menu has English translations, much to their relief. Walking in from the sunlight is disorienting, the sudden darkness swallowing up his vision for a few seconds while his eyes adjust.
They sit opposite one another in the booth. Maes' slightly longer legs tangle with Roy's underneath the table. It's not really uncomfortable; they've sat like this plenty of times before, in dingy Chinatown restaurants where the tables could barely fit two plates widthwise.
Ordering is a mess of hand gestures, pointing, and slow, measured English. The waitress does seem to understand. She nods and takes the menu from them. The seats in the booth are surprisingly comfortable. Roy is tempted to doze off while waiting for the food. He can filter out pretty much anything that Maes could say. But they're too close. Maes has a devious mind. There's no telling what he could come up with.
So they do what they usually do, talk about music. It's their common bond. Their glue. Roy thinks that maybe, if it weren't for this, they'd have nothing in common. He doubts it, though. Maybe they just work. There doesn't need to be an explanation for it.
"The Thrills' new album is fantastic," Maes tells him. "It's even better than the first."
"What do you mean? It practically is the first," Roy falls into their familiar arguments easily. Just contradict whatever Maes says whether you agree with him or not.
Maes smiles and gets a faraway look. Oh no. Not about the girlfriend. Roy prepares himself for the torrent of gushing and boasting that will inevitably come crashing down. Maes has always been like this, before, but Gracia seems to have Maes a little more whipped than usual. Roy isn't jealous. Not at all. He only doesn't really like these moments because Maes gets ten times more obnoxious. Yup. That's it.
Girlfriends are generally more of a burden than a comfort while on tour. Frequently, there isn't enough money to bring them along, and with so many women offering, it just isn't pleasant dealing with your significant other being more jealous and clingy than usual. Or maybe that is just Roy. Maes did at look at things differently. Gracia is a lovely girl and all, but with this lifestyle, it is doubtful they would last. It isn't very conducive to long term relationships.
Hughes rambles on about how beautiful she is, how sweet she is, how amazing. Roy catches a couple minutes of sleep. Win-win situation.
The waitress brings them their food, and Roy gives her his best charming smile. Maes seems to study him while he does it.
"What?" Roy asks. The look unnerves him. Always has. Always will. It's Maes' "I know what you're thinking, and I know how to use it to my advantage" look. It only gets more unnerving when you learn that he really does.
"Nothing," Maes dismisses it with a wave of his chopsticks. Roy knows better, but he lets it slide.
Like New York, Tokyo doesn't seem to sleep. It almost seems to get brighter. Flashier, at least. They decide to go clubbing. It's their first time in Japan, and they have no idea what to expect. Sure, they've heard things, but word of mouth is hardly reliable.
They find a club filled with the smell of sweat and alcohol. From the doorway, they can see gyrating bodies. Perfect.
Inside, they temporarily go their separate ways. Roy to charm the pants off the prettiest girl. Jean to charm the pants off the second prettiest girl after Roy steals the first one away from him. Kain to mumble a hello to anyone who gets close. Maes to go talk to anyone about anything.
It's both different and familiar. In New York, the clubs are vibrant, unrestrained. People dance in the most suggestive and lewd ways possible. They jump up and down. All the energy of the city channeled through them.
The Japanese aren't quite so comfortable with it. They're not prudish. Just not as willing to express themselves. They dance, but it's not quite as unrestrained. Proprietary seems to hold back even the drunks, they don't jump around quiet as arrhythmically.
Roy gets a drink first. There's more hand gesturing and garbled English. Roy sits there for a few songs, not really ready to dive in. He likes observing. Just to see what it's like.
He blinks in surprise when someone starts speaking in Japanese to him. He's almost forgotten that he's not Caucasian. At home, sure, he's The Asian, but here he's The American. He forgot that people would not be able to tell at first glance. He's only half Japanese, and his mother was second generation, anyway. His Asianness is only a blip on the roadmap of his life. Figures that it'd only get called to attention in Japan, of all places.
He dances with a small girl with overly made up eyes. She's dressed brightly, in hot pinks and oranges. On the dance floor, she literally glows. A few other girls approach him, blushing slightly as he turns to dance with each of them. Maybe he's imagining that part, though, it's hard to tell in the dim light. Maes always said that he had a swelled ego. Roy decides to head back. Dancing is fun and all, but Roy's heart's not in it. Maybe he just needs some sleep. And to get away from this mildly obnoxious J-pop.
After the song ends, Roy makes his way through the crowd to find the others. Jean actually looks relieved when Roy says that he's leaving. Kain merely shrugs. Maes volunteers to go with him.
It's hard to tell if it's a clear night. The neon signs glow brightly and clearly, lighting the sidewalks and streets. Florescent light from electronics stores reminds Roy of Manhattan. It gives him a momentary pang as he observes the strangely inflated prices. 150,000 yen for a laptop seems like way too much. Next to him, Maes seems to be radiating energy and his usual hint of devilish charm.
"I'll race you," he tells Roy and takes off.
Roy's still feeling sleep-deprived and a bit intoxicated, but he's always been insanely competitive. He chases after Maes, doing his best not to knock over anyone who gets in his way.
There's a surprising coziness to their room. They may not exactly be big stars (yet), but they could treat themselves reasonably well. Two double beds. One bathroom. A TV. A few chairs. An excellent view of Tokyo. All they needed, really.
The run winded both of them even with the ten minutes on the subway, but Roy feels awake. Alive. Maes laughs, and he glows. Maybe it's the lighting.
Maes flops down his bed, and Roy joins him. It's closer anyway.
"Hey. No bed poaching. This one is mine, fair and square," Maes says blandly.
Roy elbows him.
They lay like that, staring at the ceiling. Their hands brush. Roy loves this moment, tries to capture it. Tries to absorb everything about it. The sound of their breathing returning to normal. The way the bed is firm at their backs. The way Maes' glasses reflect the ceiling, making it impossible for Roy to read him. The utter stillness. Roy memorizes and preserves this moment, doing all he can to save it for a later date.
Maes gets up. "I'm taking a shower," he says.
Roy nods as best he can from the bed. He caresses the covers. "You known this means that I get this bed, right?"
"It does not, douchebag." Maes pulls off his shirt and chucks it at Roy. By a stroke of luck, it lands squarely over Roy's face. It also smells like Maes, which shouldn't be as surprising as it is.
Sitting up, Roy musses his shortish black hair. He needs a shower too. Absently, he turns on the television and watches people do wacky things to rapid Japanese. He doesn't understand what's going on, but he makes a valiant attempt. He chucks his shoes off into a corner and tosses his socks after them.
Maes comes out of the shower with a towel wrapped around his waist. His glasses have steamed up.
After a few glances around, he crosses the room and digs through their bags for his pajamas. "The bathroom's all yours," he says.
Inside the bathroom, it feels like a completely different world. The mirrors have fogged up entirely, and a mist still lingers. Moisture clings to Roy's skin. He tosses his clothing into a corner, waiting to be retrieved later.
Showers are Zen to the nth degree. They are Real Ultimate Zen. Roy knows this because he thinks best under a steady stream of water. Maes suggested that apartments weren't really Roy's thing, and that he would be best suited for living in a waterfall. He got a pillow in the face for that one.
Roy lathers up the hotel shampoo and rubs it into his hair. Gotta love those things. He lets the shower rinse it out.
He gets out of the shower and towels himself off. The towels here are nice. Large and fluffy. The television blares on and on about something in Japanese. Roy wonders what Maes is watching.
He exits the bathroom is a cloud of steam. Maes sits on his bed watching TV. The remote control rests in his right hand. Roy can see the reflection of the screen in his glasses.
Roy rummages through the suitcases for anything he can wear. He hasn't changed boxers for a few days, but he doubts that anyone cares. Clean clothes are rare on tour, and the time to change even more so.
He pulls on a Strokes T-shirt and a pair of Maes' pajama pants. They're slightly big on him, but they're comfortable and familiar. Maes never minds when Roy borrows his clothes. He curls his feet into the carpet and revels in the feel of sinking in. He may miss his apartment, but there's nothing quite like the feel of a soft, plush carpet.
Roy climbs onto the bed beside Maes, shaking his hair a bit to fling off spare droplets of water. Maes wipes some off his face absently. They don't say anything, because nothing needs to be said. Roy leans his head on Maes' shoulder and watches TV. It's cozy.
Shows are always entirely too adrenaline-filled. After a two hour set, Roy is so wound up, he can barely stand still to meet fans or wave to people he supposedly knows. He navigates backstage as best he can, turning corners that should lead to doors which should lead to hallways.
Liza grabs him for moment to congratulate them for a great show, but he barely hears her. The music still echoes in his ears. And for some reason "Blister in the Sun" refuses to get out of his head. when i'm out walking i strut my stuff, yeah i'm so strung out Roy blames Maes. He blames Maes for the sucky environment and the travesty that is Episode I, too.
He stumbles back to the hotel without fully realizing how he got there. He vaguely remembers being crammed together in the subway, a few people giving him glares for humming. i don't even know why It's not like he's humming on purpose.
The lobby of the hotel is all brown wood and potted plants. body in beads, i stained my sheets He blinks at it for a few moments, trying to adjust his eyes to his light. At one point, he almost staggers into one of the supports, but he manages to make it to the elevators without much trouble.
Maes is their room, which surprises Roy. It's customary for them to go clubbing after a show, and he's pretty sure that's where Jean and Kain are at the moment. Maes stands there by the window, in his sweaty clothes and a faraway look. my girlfriend, she's at the end
Roy doesn't really want to disturb him, so he just stands there in the doorway, feeling somewhat awkward. After a few moments of feeling stupid, he walks in and shuts the door. she is starting to cry Maes turns to face him, his eyes unreadable. Roy's body is wound tight, just ready for something, anything. Flight-or-fight.
He nearly jumps and runs when Maes approaches him. high as a kite and i just might He manages to keep himself from doing anything stupid, like running or punching or jumping up and down like a five year old on a sugar high.
The kiss takes him completely by surprise. Completely. Roy doesn't know how anyone can put ten years of friendship, shared rooms, musical ambitions, arguments, and understanding into one kiss, but it'd figure that it would be anyone, it'd be Maes, the fucker. stop to check you out
Roy kisses back, hard, but he blames it on Maes and the adrenaline.
let me go on, like a blister in the sun
Airplanes are loud. It's not as annoying as it could be, as your ears get used to it. Roy dislike airplanes most of the time and detests the loud rumbling of the engines.
They're on their way home. Tokyo to New York JFK. Roy managed to get a window seat. He leans back as far as he can in the cramped space. They're going to be here for a while. Outside, the sun ducks behind the horizon, but not before throwing the sky into a gorgeous oranges, pinks, and purples.
Maes sits next to him, and their fingers brush every few seconds. Liza sits across the aisle from them, listening as Maes rambles on about their plans for next album and tour. She nods and takes notes, with an almost amusing sincerity. Behind them, Jean is doing his best to pull Kain out of his metaphorical shell through offensive jokes. It's not really working, but it's always entertaining to listen in to the sheer discomfort that Kain is in. At some point, Maes' and Roy's fingers tangle together and stay that way. It's not quite hand-holding, but it'll do. No one else notices.
Roy should probably get some rest. There's something like eight hours left. He stretches out his legs as far as he can; his shins bumping against the seat in front of him. Disentangling his fingers from Maes' for a moment, Roy fiddles with the seat controls. The seat falls back enough for Roy to at least pretend that he's comfortable, and he actually sort of is.
When he replaces his fingers, Maes tightens his grip slightly, just a friendly, reassuring squeeze. It's one of those just one of those things. A small, secretive smile that creeps onto Roy's face. He slumps in his seat, settling in for the ride. This a good moment. It's not a perfect one, but it'll do.
Outside, night draws closer, and Roy watches it approach.
Another note: I sorta want to get more beta readers. tatooine is teh awesome, but I'd like to get more opinions. Any volunteers to become one?