Rating/Warnings: PG because Ryo is terrifying
Summary: Pi-tousan gets lost. A lot.
AN: This is all darkeyedwolf's fault, always. Forever.
Gackt-chan Rides The Subway
"Yamashita Tomohisa!" Ryo yelled down the hall, loud enough that Uchi put his hands up to cover his ears. "If you don't get your designer ass out here in five seconds, we're going to get fired, and then you won't HAVE to argue with Jin about who baby-sits!"
Four and a half seconds later, Yamapi sauntered out of his bedroom and down the hallway of his apartment, Gackt-chan riding on his shoulders. They grinned at Ryo from under identical hot pink, heart-shaped sunglasses; Gackt-chan also had a matching hat.
"Do you two even know the meaning of the word incognito?" Ryo inquired.
"I think I ate that flavor pocky once," Yamapi said thoughtfully, just as Gackt-chan yelled, "FLY WITH NEWS."
Uchi tried to hide his snickers with the back of his hand and Ryo punched him in the shoulder anyway.
"Look, let's just go," Ryo pushed them all out the door, rolling his eyes for divine guidance or maybe some traffic to shove them into. "There's still a chance we could all be employed an hour from now, because I called Bakanishi and made him swear he'd meet us at the subway exchange."
"Well, I like your sunglasses, Gaku-pi," Uchi confided in Gackt-chan, tilting his head back to smile at her, and she reached up to yank off her hat and drop it on Uchi's head.
"Yamashita. Yamashita, wake up!"
Yamapi snorted and blinked his eyes open, staring for a minute before he could put together the fact that Uchi was still wearing Gackt-chan's hat, and Ryo had since acquired Gackt-chan's sunglasses, perched on top of his hair.
"We're almost there," Ryo informed him. The rock of the subway had knocked Yamapi out almost as soon as he sat down, Gackt-chan on his lap with her arms locked around his neck.
"And Ryo tied your shoelaces together," Uchi added. "I think he was hoping you'd fall in the gap."
"Uchi-kun," Ryo said sweetly, "you had better hope your costume isn't sleeveless today," and punched him again.
"Gnh," Yamapi said, still not totally awake. Jin had dropped off Gackt-chan late last night, and then Koyama had called in the middle of things, and...well, it had been a long night.
He peeled Gackt-chan, who was drooling on him, off his shoulder and sat her on the empty seat beside him to bend down and untie the knots Ryo had put in his hi-tops' laces.
"You crinkled up my new rainbow laces," he grumbled, wishing he had nails like Jin's as he picked at the knots, and also remembering that his back kind of hurt in several long, thin lines where his T-shirt was rubbing his skin.
"Hurry up, this is our stop!" Ryo snapped, shaking Yamapi's shoulder again. His hand landed in the wet spot, and Yamapi grinned at Ryo's noise of disgust.
The train was slowing, and Yamapi straightened up and looked over his shoulder to spot Jin and a vaguely disgruntled Ueda through the plastic subway window. Just as he was standing up, the doors opened and crush of people forced Yamapi along, connected to Ryo and Uchi by
the tight grip Ryo had clamped onto his wrist the second the train stopped.
"Ueda, look!" Jin's voice came over the din of rushing people, "they all match!"
"Don't they just," Ueda said, just as the three of them stepped out of the ebb of the crowd. He exchanged a curt nod with Ryo.
"Hats don't do a thing for me," Uchi said, snatching Gackt-chan's hat off his head and blushing just a tiny bit.
"Pi," Jin asked, glancing around, raising his voice over the hiss of the departing train, "where's Gackt-chan?"
The soft tones of the subway station over the loudspeaker made Gackt-chan startle awake. Sitting up on the subway seat, wincing at the way the plastic stuck to her legs where her skirt was bunched up, Gackt-chan rubbed at her eyes and looked around.
No Pi-tousan. No Ryo-sama or U-chan either. There was nobody at all in the whole subway car, in fact. Just Gackt-chan.
Just to make sure, Gackt-chan sniffled, then gave a little test-wail. Nope, nobody. If Pi-tousan was hiding, he would have run right out when Gackt-chan made that noise.
And then Gackt-chan started to cry for real, because she was all alone and the subway was moving and her head was still fuzzy from sleep and the seat was stuck to her leg all over.
"You left Gackt-chan on the TRAIN?!" Ueda and Ryo both yelled, because Jin was just standing there with his mouth hanging open. Yamapi, eyes huge and wide awake now, was looking back and forth from Jin to the place where the train had been over and over.
"I just...I was..." Yamapi pointed at Ryo. "He tied my shoelaces together!"
"You lost a person!" Ryo snapped. "This is like the virtual pet all over again!"
"Okay, everybody calm down!" Ueda said, putting out his hands and making calming motions, or maybe pantomiming wringing Yamapi's neck.
There was the whoosh of another train approaching, and Ueda looked up briefly to make sure it was on their side of the tracks. "Listen, this is an emergency! Uchi, you go tell the platform police officer we've lost a child. Jin and Yamapi, you two get on that next train and try and see if Gackt-chan's gotten off at one of the next platforms. Ryo and I will go up and catch a taxi and see if we can get ahead of the train and get back on it. It's a local line, so we might be able to catch it. You've all got your phones?"
Everyone nodded, staring at Ueda.
"Good, call if you find her or something else happens. Hurry up, there's the train!"
The group burst into motion, Ryo and Ueda up the stairs, Uchi towards the information kiosk, and Jin and Yamapi towards the train, elbowing commuters out of their way.
"Wow," said Yamapi when they were on the train, as close to the windows as they could manage in the crush of people, "Ueda-kun is pretty cool."
"I hope he doesn't knock this taxi driver unconscious," Jin answered, chewing his bottom lip and pressing his nose to the plastic window as the train pulled away from the station.
After a few minutes, Gackt-chan hiccupped, swallowed, gave a last sniffle, and stopped crying. It didn't seem to be helping.
Clearly Pi-tousan was lost. Gackt-chan was still a little hurt, because usually it was Okaasanishi who got lost and Pi-tousan could be trusted, but it looked like she would have to find him this time anyway. Ryo-sama and U-chan too.
Gackt-chan was starting to think that the reason all of Pi-tousan and Okaasanishi's friends had to always play in groups was because they couldn't stop getting lost like this.
Gackt-chan wriggled to the edge of the subway seat, then dropped over the edge, stumbling when her feet hit the ground and the train went around a curve and landing hard on her butt.
It stung, but there wasn't time for crying, so Gackt-chan pushed herself back to her feet, holding onto to one of the big metal poles stuck in the floor, and began toddling towards the end of the car on her pink designer sandals.
Sometimes when she rode the train with Pi-tousan, they went through the little doors and found more train on the other side. Maybe Pi-tousan had done that without her and couldn't remember which train was his; they did all look exactly the same, except for the pictures on the walls and ceiling.
There were other people in the next train, but none of them were Pi-tousan. Gackt-chan trundled determinedly down the aisle, past a newspaper with legs and a lady with a tiny dog in her huge purse and some people who seemed to be stuck together at the mouth.
It looked uncomfortable to Gackt-chan. Maybe they were magnetic, since they both had metal things stuck to their lips too, like the pineapples on Okaasanishi's refrigerator.
At the end of the train was another door, but Gackt-chan couldn't get through it because there was a man in her way. He was standing in the aisle, talking to a man sitting in the seat there, who was clutching a tiny suitcase to himself tightly.
He was loud, and he was in Gackt-chan's way. Gackt-chan reached up and yanked on the pants of the man.
"Scuse me," she said when he looked down at her, because Koki-kun said somebody had to teach her manners. The man looked away, and didn't move, and Gackt-chan yanked on him again, figuring maybe she had to be loud like him. "SCUSE ME."
The man finally turned the whole way towards her, smiling like Ryo smiled at Uchi sometimes and doing a thing with his hand that made a loud crack noise like Ryo did sometimes too.
Gackt-chan crossed her arms. Ryo-sama was way scarier than this guy, and Gackt-chan knew just how to handle Ryo-sama. Okaasanishi had taught her.
"Door!" she said, sticking out her lower lip as far as she could and tilting her head to the side.
The man burst out laughing, and Gackt-chan frowned, because laughing was not the proper response.
"Well, look at this cute little thing," the man said, starting to lean down towards her. He had something shiny in his hand, which caught Gackt-chan's attention, but it wasn't like Kame-chan's rings. It was long and thin and the man was just holding it.
"Hey, that's a little kid!" the man with the tiny suitcase said, straightening up. "Get away from her!"
The man turned back, the shiny thing hidden by his body, and Gackt-chan shook herself. She didn't have time for this! She had to find Pi-tousan! And if Pi-tousan hadn't gone through this door, then there must be another one.
Just then, the train stopped with a little lurch, nearly knocking Gackt-chan down again, and there was a whoosh of air behind her. She turned to find a door she hadn't notice opened, and the lady with the big purse and the tiny dog walking through it.
Pi-tousan must have gone that way, Gackt-chan realized, and she made a beeline for the door. Behind her the men had started yelling, and as Gackt-chan stepped off, holding up her skirt carefully to hop across the gap, a police officer rushed past her, onto the train.
She thought about asking him to help her find Pi-tousan, but he was going in the wrong direction, and anyway Maru-chan said you couldn't trust people who wore boring colors like navy blue.
Gackt-chan stood on the platform as train pulled away behind her, looking around to see where Pi-tousan could have gone.
"I can't believe you lost her!" Jin yelled, for the fifth time in two stops.
"Stop yelling at me!" Yamapi yelled back, pressed up against the window just like Jin was. "I'm sorry! It just happened!"
"It just happened?! That's what you always say!" Jin's mouth was so close to the window that Yamapi was sure they were both going to get diseases from it. "That's how we got into this mess in the first place! I was in hard labor for--"
"In prison!" Yamapi shouted, because other passengers were staring at them. "You did hard labor for years IN PRISON!" The passengers looked away again, and Yamapi hissed. "Shut up, can't you? And you had a Caesarian! You were in hard labor for like fifteen seconds!"
The train was slowing down at the third station, and Yamapi tried to watch as hard as he could, but there were people getting off (fleeing them) and people getting on, people rushing back and forth with bags and cases and stupid hats (just like Gackt-chan's...)
"You weren't even there!" Jin snapped, not shutting up at all. "Ueda had to beat up a taxi driver and you were doing some stupid Shounen thingy and I hope you're happy because now you've lost our daughter--"
"Shut up, shut up!" Yamapi whispered frantically.
"And we might," Jin's voice cracked like a junior's, "never see her a--"
"SHE'S RIGHT THERE!" Yamapi had caught just a glimpse of pink sundress and tiny ponytail, but he knew, for sure, that Gackt-chan was standing on that platform in the middle of that sea of people. "Quick, the door!"
But the door was already closing and the train was pulling away, and Yamapi and Jin strained for a last glimpse before the subway train slipped back into the tunnel. There was a second of silence.
"Your phone!" Yamapi snapped out of it. "Gimme your phone! We have to call Ryo and Ueda! What the hell station was that?!"
Jin fumbled the phone out of his pocket and hummed the tones that belonged to the last stop, over and over, holding on very tightly to Yamapi's elbow.
"We saw her!" Yamapi yelled into the phone. "She was the third stop down, on the platform! We're getting off the next stop, and doubling back!"
Through the phone there was the sound of Ueda screaming at the taxi driver and the screech of tires, and then the line went dead.
"It'll be okay," Yamapi promised, wrapping his hand tight over Jin's. "She made Ya-Ya-Yah cry, even Yabu-kun, and that was before she could walk!"
Jin nodded, held on tight, and kept humming.
Gackt-chan was getting irritated. Still no sign of Pi-tousan, no way to tell where he went, and now some lady was kneeling down in front of her, blocking her view, and wearing autumn colors even though she was very clearly a spring.
"Are you lost, sweetie?" the woman asked.
"Pi-tousan lost!" Gackt-chan answered in exasperation, trying to see over the woman's shoulder. What if she couldn't find him? There were so many people here. What if Pi-tousan was lost forever?
"Come on, let's find a policeman," the woman said, standing up and grabbing Gackt-chan's hand, and somewhere in the back of her mind Gackt-chan remembered Uebo telling her very seriously that if anyone ever tried to grab her, she should scream as loud as she could.
So Gackt-chan did.
Our of the corner of her eye, she noticed with artistic pleasure when the glass of the newsstand's window cracked down the middle.
Ueda and Ryo were at the top of the escalator, just stepping onto it, when they heard a noise that made every hair on their bodies stand straight up.
"It's her!" Ueda yelled, and then Ryo started elbowing people out of their way, not caring if they tripped or went over the side or what.
When they got to the bottom, they saw a ring of bystanders pushing back from the sound, and in the middle was Gackt-chan, along with a woman who was clutching her hand in one hand and trying to block her ears with the other.
"GACKT-CHAN!" Ryo yelled over the noise, which cut out abruptly.
When Gackt-chan heard her name, she stopped screaming and looked up to find Uebo and Ryo-sama rushing towards her, and for a second relief washed through her.
Until she realized that Pi-tousan was not with them. They had lost Pi-tousan! They were Pi-tousan's group, they were supposed to keep him from getting lost, not lose him worse!
Gackt-chan drew a deep breath, prepared to start screaming again, but Uebo reached her first and scooped her up, hugging her so tight that all the air whooshed out of her lungs.
"WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!" the woman yelled, hands still over her ears.
"A HIGH E," Ryo-sama yelled back, because now everybody was deaf.
"Pi-tousan lost!" Gackt-chan hollered at Uebo, pounding on his shoulder with her fists.
"Look, look!" Uebo was shouting, pointing, and Gackt-chan turned to look over the tracks to find a train pulling away, and Pi-tousan and Okaasanishi on the other side, waving their arms frantically and jumping up and down.
"PI-TOUSAN!" Gackt-chan waved back, so hard Uebo almost dropped her. Pi-tousan must have been really lost if he'd found Okaasanishi.
Her parents needed bigger groups.
"Go up the stairs!" Ryo-sama yelled over the tracks, pointing. "We'll meet you!" and then Uebo and Ryo-sama were running, Uebo clutching Gackt-chan tight to his chest. Gackt-chan held on even tighter when they reached the stairs, what seemed like hundreds of concrete corners, and they didn't even slow down.
And when they got to the top, there was Pi-tousan finally, and Okaasanishi too, and they both hugged Gackt-chan even harder than Uebo, Gackt-chan squished in between them, harder than when one went on summer vacation without the other, harder than when they went on vacation together and thought that Gackt-chan was asleep.
"I'm so sorry I lost you," Pi-tousan kept saying, over and over, and Gackt-chan wrinkled her nose in indignation. She hadn't been lost at all.
When they came out of the subway station, Jin and Yamapi blinked at the taxi that was smashed into the telephone booth, the driver yelling at the police officers and gesturing wildly, a thin white scarf waving in his hand.
"Don't make eye contact," Ueda said, and hustled them off to the side, around the corner.
They hailed two cabs, bundling Yamapi and Ryo into the first one on the off-chance that they might actually arrive at their photoshoot at some point this morning.
"Call me in ten minutes to let me know you're okay!" Yamapi yelled at them, and when Ryo slammed the door shut, rolled the window down frantically to yell some more. "And ten minutes after that! And ten minutes after that!"
"Pi, chill out!" Ryo said, finished giving the driver directions. Yamapi was leaning so far out the window to wave that he might have fallen out, and Ryo yanked him back down hard by the back of his shirt. "They're fine! Even Bakanishi won't lose Gackt-chan again that fast."
"It just happened!" Yamapi wailed. "You barely helped at all!"
"At least I don't lose people like they're pens," Ryo snorted, crossing his arms and settling into the seat for the ride.
"Hey," Yamapi asked, "where's Uchi?"
"It wasn't my fault!" pled Uchi, a half-hour late for the shoot and begging the mercy of the furious director. "We were on the subway, and Yamapi..."
"I don't want to hear your ridiculous excuses!" The director bellowed. Uchi shot a glare at Yamapi, who was hiding behind Koyama and Tego's shoulders, and also Shige's hair. "Just get in line!"
The director paused for a moment, looking Uchi over.
"And keep the hat!"