Who: Harada Asaki (Japanese name order), Tristan Norcross
What: In which our boys arrive at a restaurant, eat, and they manage to annoy each other further.
Rating: PG (yaoi-ness [sort of], mild language)
Tristan wasn't the only one feeling weird about the interaction that had passed between them minutes before. It continued to play through his mind, as though he had watched from one of the fangirls' perspective... and it frustrated him to no end. Damn it... Clever as it might have been, why did the man have to use that particular tactic? He regretted it now... only because he couldn't forget. He could still remember the warmth and strength of the Englishman's hand on his bare arm, the breath so close to his ear, the feel and weight of his body pressed tightly to his own, just as though they were still locked in that embrace this very minute.
Asaki recognized this sensation... even if only unconsciously... for he had felt it before, but would certainly deny it now. There was no way. Everything could be blamed on the fact that he'd been surprised. Yes, everything.
Remaining perfectly quiet, he focused straight ahead on the winding black street and flashing lights. In spite of the time of night, the city was still bustling, most likely even more so than during earlier hours, and would continue to be long after midnight. There was a song that said it quite appropriately... No one sleeps in Tokyo.
His ears well accustomed to the loud, pounding beat of the music, Asaki was capable of hearing over it. He could make out Tristan's words, but couldn't piece them together... didn't try.
"What the hell's your problem over there?" He asked abruptly not expecting or awaiting an answer. The fact that he responded to this and nothing else, suggested that he had simply decided not to listen to the apology and welcome, rather than being incapable of hearing it. He still wasn't entirely comfortable with having said 'thank you' but... it had needed to be said regardless. He wasn't comfortable with the whole thing.
It suddenly seemed as though the car was much too small.
"We're almost there, so don't turn into some ranting lunatic on me now. You've already caused enough trouble..." The way in which his voice faded beneath the level of the blasting music subtly hinted that there was more than the most obvious meanings to that sentence, and that his usual bite was momentarily subdued.
Asaki became silent once more, but, sure enough, within a few minutes more he was in the process of finding a place to park in the busy lot. This happened to be a well known place... the tourist would probably enjoy it, for it seemed to be where many of them went. It was big... somewhat luxurious without requiring suits and ties... Of course, Tristan would've fit right in either way, wouldn't he? Remembering the hatred that had briefly been wavering, as well as just how much he didn't feel like doing this, the Asian pulled the key from the ignition almost instantly after parking, got out, and slammed the door.
"Order anything you damn well please when we get in there. We have the card, after all, and, to be honest, I'd love to hear Magira-san mercilessly scold you for spending too much. Whatever you do... just make it quick."
Tristan honestly hadn't expected Asaki to hear him. He hadn't expected a lot of things, really. This whole situation... No. He had to stop thinking like that. He glanced out the window at the restaurant and quickly got out of the car once Asaki had parked it
Not much else for him to do, really.
"You really don't like me, do you?" Tristan demanded as he closed the door to the car and straightened his jacket. "Not only do you not seem to appreciate me helping to get you out of that situation with your raving fangirls, you seem to have this...intense dislike for me."
Of course, Tristan was secretly planning to make this a living hell for Asaki, but he decided to refrain from mentioning it. After all, that would never do.
"Look, I know you don't like me and I'm not liking your attitude much, either," Tristan said finally as he shoved his hands in his pockets. "We should at least try to make the most out of this, all right?"
Oh, how he would love to tell Asaki to take whatever stick was shoved up his ass and get rid of it. He was not going to tolerate that attitude of his. If Asaki gave him much more of it, he was going to retaliate in full force.
His methods were rather...unorthodox sometimes, but that wasn't the point. Sometimes people just annoyed him, as Asaki was doing. He was willing to start over (though his willingness was slipping and would be replaced with annoyance soon enough). God damn it, how the hell was he supposed to work like this...
"You're going to be seeing a lot of me, so get over whatever damn resentment you have for me, all right? I'm not going to tolerate it," Tristan snapped finally, gracefully brushing past Asaki and into the restaurant. It wasn't bad looking, really, and he idly wondered how much was on that company credit card...eating here would probably cost an insane amount of money...
Not that he was paying for it, of course, so it didn't matter.
He quickly surveyed the groups of people clustered around the restaurant. He could survive through this without a cigarette, he decided. It was just pointless mingling, attempting to get Asaki to tolerate him. Hopefully.
Tourists littered the restaurant, the occasional Asian amongst them. Asaki had done this on purpose, hadn't he?
So much for attempting to get along with him.
Walking away from the car, his hands casually slipped back into his pockets, silence was Asaki's response to the other's demanding questions and statements... not that he wasn't listening.
"Not only do you not seem to appreciate me helping to get you out of that situation with your raving fangirls, you seem to have this...intense dislike for me."
He did appreciate it... the general idea and effectiveness anyway. There were, however, other aspects that he did not like. Aspects he preferred to dismiss. But 'intense dislike'... Yes, that said it well. He was no longer even aware of the roots of this hatred, all he knew was that it was there and it was strong. Really, it only took one look at this man to make him slip into attack mode, his pulse race.
When Tristan brushed past him in such an annoying, graceful manner, The Japanese man stopped short and found himself watching his retreating form for a few, short moments before picking up the stride again. He then followed him inside the establishment.
There were a couple of reasons for why he had chosen this spot. One was because it was within Palette Town... where Zepp Tokyo, the concert hall he had just performed at, was located. Coming here meant the shortest drive possible, and one of the very last things he wanted right now was a long car ride, driving all around South East Tokyo to find a place to eat with this man. The other, of course, was what he was sure Tristan would figure out for himself as soon as he got a good look at the mix of people. The foreigner had already found one of Tokyo's somewhat secretive spots, he wasn't about to lead him to another. This entire area was dedicated to entertainment, lights and money absorption. The tourists loved it.
Soon after entering, a waitress, one of the few other Japanese in sight, was quick to pounce on them. Leading them to a corner table by a window, she gave them menus, meticulously recited the specials, then hurried off as though the place might explode without her assistance.
It was then that Asaki chose to speak, once they were left alone, and his menu had been unfolded and slightly raised. He idly wondered how much irritation it would take to inspire the other to quit.
"The feeling's mutual then. I hate you and you hate me. Tolerate that." Certainly not sugarcoating it or making an obvious attempt to be reasonable as Tristan was, he smirked over the top of his menu at him. Placing it back down on the covered table once his decision had been made, he slouched in his chair and crossed both his legs and arms, preparing for what could be a long wait.
"So, Igirisujin(Englishman)... since I can't get rid of you just yet, tell me what damage you intend to do. I'm not changing my hair or eye color, so you can just forget about that right now. And if you think you'll slap one of your fedoras on me, I'll slap you."
"Contrary to what you may believe, Harada-san, I have no intention of quitting this assignment," Tristan replied, an infuriating smile present on his face as he examined his menu. "Nothing you can do or say is going to force me to do so." After settling on something to eat, he closed the menu and placed it on the table, fixing the Asian man with cold dark eyes. "Like it or not, your manager hired me. Not you. I have a contract to fulfill with her; so don't try to pull one of your imperialistic acts on me. Anything you can think up, I've seen it and heard it all before."
Magira-san all ready knew how completely unreasonable he could be. She had heard about it from Kurowa, the last manager he had dealt with. She didn't care. The results he always produced were what was expected of him: perfection. Flawless and unmistakable perfection. That was his goal this time with Asaki.
If everything went according to plan, that is.
"If I tell you to change your hair or your eye color, I'm afraid you'll have no choice but to go along with it. I will try to prevent myself from touching them, but if the occasion calls for it, you must do as I wish."
He leaned back in his chair, focusing on Asaki for a moment. "What I'm going to do with you is perfect you. Most people have a tendency to focus on just one area of their entire being and leave the rest untouched. My job is to bring out the rest. That involves new clothing...possibly a new hair design...a slightly different way of movement... Though in your case, I believe I can leave movement alone. You have a particular way of moving that I happen to like..."
Wait...he had really just said that aloud, hadn't he?
Fortunately, the waitress returned at that moment, smiling at them. "Konbanwa. I'm Mariko. I'll be serving you two gentlemen tonight. Can I get you something to drink first, or would you like to order drinks and your meals now?"
"Well, I'm all set," Tristan replied, smiling and glancing across the table at Asaki. "How about you, Harada-san? Are you ready, or shall we send this young lady off to obtain drinks while you make a decision?"
Angered that the man had effortlessly caught on to his idle plotting, Asaki merely stared across at him, his features sharp but unreadable, and his body language closed up and distant. It was safe to say that he had never once in his left come across anyone quite like Norcross. The fact that he didn't quite know how to deal with him was only more infuriating.
He let the other man speak without breaking in, listening to the contrast between his tone as he explained his skill and the soft, atmospheric music of the restaurant. A woman sang in Japanese, but it was too faint a sound to be comprehensible.
It was rather suddenly however, that his full attention was drawn back to the designer, previously blank blue eyes focusing.
"You have a particular way of moving that I happen to like..."
Had he heard that right, or was he daydreaming more than he thought. There was only enough time for Asaki to slowly arch a dark eyebrow and part his lips as though to respond, but that was when the waitress cheerfully stepped back into the picture. His eyes narrowed on Tristan again just before he sat up straighter and turned to look at the girl.
"Iie. I've made my decision." Handing the folded menu back to the waitress, he told her his order in a smooth, softer voice. Clearly a nicer one than what he used with Tristan. Her response was to blush very subtly, perhaps finding him, the voice, or both attractive. It was obvious however that she didn't know who he was. What he asked for really wasn't much, just one of their smaller dinners that would surely be expensive regardless. Despite the amount of energy he'd spent tonight, he really wasn't feeling very hungry. In fact, there was still a sensation inside his stomach that made him feel somewhat sick. He knew when it had started, and blamed it entirely on the other man's presence. What he was far more interested in were the drinks. Hard drinks of pure alcohol, undiluted by any other liquid, and he wanted them frequently.
Even after Tristan had given his own order and the girl had stepped away once again, he didn't return to what had originally caught his attention. Instead he simply asked another question. Almost protectively, he slid a hand through his dyed hair, momentarily mixing blue strands with blonde only to feel them slowly shift back into more or less their proper place.
"What would be the first step toward perfection?"
"For you? Wardrobe change," Tristan replied almost instantly, giving him a look. "Where and from whom do you purchase your clothing? They are an absolute disgrace..." Absently, he took a notepad and pen out of his pocket and hastily scribbled down a note to tell Magira-san to fire whoever had picked out the attire for the concert.
The waitress returned only a moment later with their drinks, water for Tristan and some sort of alcoholic drink for Asaki, though Tristan was unsure as to what it was. He wasn't sure he wanted to know what it was.
"Arigatou gozaimasu," Tristan told her, smiling faintly at her. She blushed and took off again, causing Tristan to shake his head in amusement. "You'd think she'd never seen two gentlemen having dinner together before."
He took a sip of his water, pretending to make a few more notes in English in his notepad. Instead of writing, however, he was watching Asaki. Oh, he had seen how the other man reacted to his comment on how he moved, though he pretended not to notice. He did like it, though. It was hard to put into words. Rough, and yet...
He scribbled down a note to ensure that Asaki moved a bit more gracefully than that. Just a few refining touches and Asaki would be fine, Tristan decided.
"I'll also be designing the clothing you'll be wearing at your next concert," Tristan informed him, sketching a rough idea for an outfit for Asaki on another piece of paper. "You're free to tell me if you don't like something, but Magira-san will make the ultimate decision as to whether it is acceptable or not."
"I buy my own clothes, but, really, thanks for the opinion." Asaki replied, showing a bitter grin along with a cold, narrow stare. Before Tristan's appearance, there was no one person in particular in charge of choosing his stage outfits... which explained why they were quite plain, little more than regular, everyday street clothes. While the man was scribbling something illegible in English on a pad he'd just pulled out, the Asian quickly looked over his black shirt and leather pants. He wouldn't call it a 'disgrace' ... but it wasn't all that great either. Did the tourist actually have a point? Maybe so, but not one he was willing to admit so easily.
Glancing across the table, he silently studied Tristan as he wrote. Perhaps the man wasn't such a bad dresser. He could give him that much at least.
He also took notice of the way in which the color rose on the waitress' cheeks again when she came back, this time at the other man's words. It seemed as though the girl simply wasn't choosey about who she blushed for. Or maybe...
"Heh. Maybe she thinks we're a couple... even without the acting." Asaki snickered as he took hold of his cold wet glass and swirled the ice around with a gentle movement of his hand. Leaning back and crossing his legs, he watched for any reaction over the top of the glass as he lifted it to his lips. "...Baka." He added, even if delayed, just before taking a sip.
Again his artificial blue eyes shifted to the notepad, catching a small glimpse of the design Tristan was sketching. Perhaps it was the somewhat calming effect the intense alcohol had on him, but he was beginning to think this arrangement shouldn't be too bad... considering the man stopped annoying him and they actually agreed. Of course, there were no guarantees there.
"Tch. Yeah, Magira-san's technically in charge, but I'm the one who'll have to move around in whatever it is you throw on me. But whatever. It's fine. My next concert is in two days... You plan to work whatever miracles you seem to think you're capable of and be finished with something by then?" Draping one arm across his slender waist, clearly defined by the tight shirt, he rest his elbow over it after taking another drink. "If so, I guess you'll need to bring it to my apartment. It's not like the company has one big building where we can always meet... not yet anyway... It's all spread out around Japan. Inconvenient as hell. Anyway. I suppose I can show you where to find me. Wouldn't want you getting lost, tourist... and with whatever I should be wearing? No, that wouldn't do. But, if I do bring you to my apartment, don't you dare get any ideas like our blushing little waitress."
"Two days?" Tristan asked, smiling. "I've worked under more pressure than that." Which wasn't that much of a lie. The last client he worked for had a performance the next day. "But, no, I won't be able do it completely. I should have at least one of the proposed outfits that Magira-san and I were discussing earlier ready by tomorrow night." Magira-san had given him basic measurements for Asaki, but it was nowhere near complete enough. "I'm going to have to see you tomorrow night to get everything fitted..."
He paused, frowning at bit at Asaki. "Must you insist on calling me 'tourist'? You know my name now and it is blatantly obvious that calling me a tourist is inaccurate."
Despite his protesting, he had the feeling that Asaki wouldn't stop calling him a tourist. Asaki seemed to like calling him that.
"So, yes, showing me where you live might be a very good idea. Unless you would prefer coming to my hotel room. But, then again, the hotel staff might get the wrong idea. Your choice, ultimately."
Placing his emptied glass back down on the table, Asaki leaned forward again and rest his chin on his knuckles. Staring across at the other man, there was a smirk present on his lips that he simply couldn't shake. With his mention of having worked under more pressure, he had such a terrible urge to lie, change the date of his next performance to something sooner, just to see what reaction it would provoke. However, he had a feeling the designer wouldn't even squirm. That would take the fun out of the thought entirely, and so he never voiced it.
He stopped and considered a moment. Why the hell was he so eager to get this man riled?
Dismissing this, the Asian's somewhat pouty smirk turned into a full, devilish grin, white teeth flashing, as Tristan complained about the nickname with which he'd been branded. Sure, it didn't necessarily apply anymore, but the Englishman's assumption was right. Asaki had no intention of stopping. Still, he said nothing but instead chose to respond to what was said next.
"Trust me. There will never be a reason for me to follow you to your hotel room."
Their food was brought over shortly thereafter. Sending the rosy faced waitress off with the precious company credit card... after requesting one last drink, of course... Asaki made it quite clear through the gesture that, once they finished with what they had, that was it. No more ordering. This night was to be prolonged anyway, there was no need to drag out the dinner portion, or the money, regardless of what he'd told Tristan when they first arrived.
Magira-san had suggested this little 'date' with the hope that the two would get to know each other and get along? Yeah right. Perhaps Tristan was willing to do that but the stubborn, temperamental Japanese singer was not. The idea was almost laughable... almost. He simply ate. Now that they had briefly discussed business, and had plans to take care of meeting arrangements, he completely neglected any other attempt at conversation.
The next time he actually spoke was only after he'd finished, the card already returned and put away. He was very ready to go.
"Hurry up already damn it." It was a quiet, but nonetheless harsh, demand.
"My, aren't we impatient," Tristan muttered in English, standing and straightening his jacket. "Shall we?" he asked in Japanese.
"Let's." Asaki replied, mocking the man's polite words, spoken so perfectly in Japanese.
He wasted no time, his steps never halting even while he nodded once, respectfully but quickly, to their waitress as they crossed paths. Within moments, he was out the front entrance and in the parking lot, unlocking the car doors from a distance with the small device on his keys. Impatient? Yes, that about covered it. He was tired, eager to be home... and even more eager to be alone. He was sick of this forced night, of his strange, fluctuating moods. One minute, he was ready to tear Tristan's pretty little English head off, and the next he found himself thoroughly studying him in silence. What was that? He'd rather die than admit it... He was more aggravated with himself than with Norcross.
Sliding easily into the driver's seat once again, instantly turning the nearly overbearing music on, it was only then that he actually waited for Tristan. With how he had walked ahead of him without so much as a look back, it must have seemed as though he had every intention of abandoning him in that tourists' restaurant. Though it didn't seem it, Asaki actually did have more compassion than that. Wordlessly, after watching the other man situate himself in the passenger seat from the corner of his eyes, he backed out of the space and began the annoying task of trying to drive through this busy lot. It was hazardous to say the very least, more cars than ever racing in carelessly in the hopes of finding that one free spot. It was as Asaki had inwardly observed earlier, the Tokyo nightlife was a crazy busy one, only escalating in madness as the hours went by, but it hardly fazed him.
Just like before, he simply drove, never saying anything, never looking to his passenger. The only sound he made was to begin drumming his long fingers over the steering wheel, to the beat of the music, whenever they were forced to stop for a red light. These moments were much longer than he liked, and, almost the entire time, smirk provoking thoughts entered his mind. Perhaps he couldn't get rid of this man by being rude... but, then again, anything else required him to have had many... many more drinks.
After what seemed to be an eternity, the traffic only adding to this time, Asaki finally pulled up to his apartment building, a large structure that seemed to be made entirely of lit windows and shadowed balconies, numberless, layers upon layers of contrast.
As casual as can be, he led the man into the elevator and pressed the button for the 27th floor. A few of the people in the crowded lobby had eyed the male pair with interest, but most, the ones who have lived here for quite some time, were accustomed to the sight. Stepping into the hall and pulling the keys from his tight pocket one last time, he reached his door, another seven, and leaned into it, pushing it open with the back of his arm, as though out of habit. In the same manner, he ceremoniously tossed the keys to the counter, the separation between the kitchen and living room and one of the first things seen, as they entered.
"I suppose I should be offering you something to drink right about now, but considering we just left a restaurant..." That was his only effort at being at all hospitable. Trailing, he moved to find a sheet of paper and pen from within a drawer and wrote out his address, home and cell phone number, even an email. Now that the designer, who he still saw as more or less unnecessary, was given a chance to see where he would need to go, received the information and methods of contact, he could leave. Such a pleasant prospect.
"Lovely...this place isn't too far away from my hotel," Tristan announced, flashing Asaki a smile as he took the piece of paper that Asaki handed him. "Magira-san informed me that she was going to call you at 5:30 tomorrow morning and drag you over to the rehearsal hall by 6:30. Naturally, I'll be there, as well."
He started for the door once again, turning to look at Asaki once he got there. "Once you're at that rehearsal hall, I want to make a few minor changes. And, hopefully, the bulk of what I'm designing will be done by tomorrow night. I'll fit it and finish it the day after. That should be in plenty of time for your concert, ne?"
Without waiting for a response, he added, "I'll see you tomorrow, bright and early, Harada-san."
And then he calmly left the apartment, closing the door behind him. The elevator ride down to the lobby was pretty much uneventful. Although he appeared completely relaxed while leaning against the back wall of the elevator, he was far from it. There was just something about Asaki that unnerved him and he wasn't quite sure what it is.
After all, he was just a client and nothing more than that as far as Tristan was concerned. There was nothing between them other than hatred (even though Tristan was making an effort to be nice now), and there would most likely never be anything else.
So why was he thinking back to the events from before dinner when he had pulled that 'lovers act'? He couldn't actually have liked having Asaki that close to him, did he? Asaki was a client and Tristan had made it a rule to never get involved with clients. It always turned out bad in the end. Such had happened with his sister and he wasn't too thrilled about that.
Sighing, Tristan made it through the streets to his hotel, greeted the doorman, and headed up to the elevator and his hotel room.
He was getting the feeling that things would get a lot more complicated from here on out.