Kaz tiredly swings his bag over his shoulder and runs along after Hyde. Ava hasn’t responded to his last few messages and hasn’t picked up the phone to answer a call either. It bothers him just enough, she had warned him that she might be out of touch over the last couple days. He didn’t have to like her being out of touch though, it’s hard enough having to deal with the distance.
“Hurry!” Hyde shouts back to the group as they run for their plane.
“Shut up and run!” Ju-ken responds, longer legs taking him out to lead the group. “You overslept! This is your fault!”
“Shut up!” Hyde yelps and tries to keep the front position. The group skids to a stop at the gate, holding their tickets and passports in hand and shoving them in the direction of the gate official. The agent looks from them to their images on the papers.
“Hideto Takarai.” Hyde waves his hand, the rat’s nest his hair had become from not being brushed attempting to move with him. He came close with the bags under his eyes and a distinct lack of makeup to not looking like his passport photo.
“Yes, me, sorry!” Hyde retrieves his passport and is handed the ticket piece back.
“Have a nice flight.” Hyde takes off down the corridor to the plane as the TSA agent picks the next one up, matching it to the next ticket.
“Ju..ichi Mishiba?” Ju-ken steps forward to take his ticket and passport back. The bassist’s hair is a mess and his face holds a 5 o’clock shadow along his cheeks.
“Me.” Ju-ken hurries down the corridor after Hyde’s disappearing coattails.
“Ka… Kazuhito… Iwaike?” The official stares a bit at the name, not sure if she’s gotten it right and Kaz moves forward.
“That’s me.” The official looks from him to the passport photo a couple times, eyes traveling up a bit more for a second. Kaz reaches up and pats down the strands of hair that are refusing to stay down. However he had slept last night had ruffled his hair straight upwards.
“Have a good flight.” The official hands off the passport and ticket stub. Kaz manages a thanks before hurrying down towards the plane. Ju-ken’s already out of sight thanks to the gate official doing the double-takes on Kaz. The flight attendants greet him when he pops onto the plane.
“Any more behind you?”
“Two more,” Kaz states before heading for his seat, catching up to Ju-ken as Hyde ahead of him attempts to shove his over-sized bag into the overhead compartment. Kaz leans heavily on a chair arm and shuts his eyes. He’s completely exhausted, he’d stayed up far too late hoping that Ava would contact him. His mind recognizes a small sensation, dulled by his tired state before he shoves it away, imagining sleeping in the seat. He reopens his eyes to see that Hyde’s taken a seat and Ju-ken slips past to take his seat in the following row. Kaz drags his bag into the middle seat beside Hyde, kicking it under the chair. He ignores Hyde staring at him in favor of closing his eyes, giving a deep sigh.
“Hyde, don’t start. I’m exhausted.” There’s a long silence. Someone reaches up and pats down the hair sticking up. There’s a small, feminine giggle that comes from the other side of him.
“Running late I see.” Kaz pauses before opening his eyes and blinking at the occupant of the window seat. Ava looks more amused as she attempts to pat his unruly hair down again. Kaz reaches over and thumps Hyde a few times, the singer giving a yelp when Kaz’s hand hits him in the face.
“Hyde—Hyde, I’m imagining things.”
“I assure you that your little lovebird is in the window seat,” Hyde states as he rubs at his face where Kaz hit him, touching his nose delicately as if to check if it’s still in place. “No need to hit me in the face.” Ava smiles more at the two of them.
“Hyde, your hair looks like a bird’s nest.” Hyde grumbles loudly at Ava’s statement, reaching up and trying to brush out the strands of hair with his fingers. Kaz stares more at Ava before leaning in and pressing a kiss to her lips. She gives a quiet noise of pleasure, kissing back. He breaks the kiss to nuzzle her softly with a soft, pleased sigh, body relaxing.
“You’re not going to mind me passing out, right?” Kaz questions and Ava chuckles.
“It’s fine, I’ll bug Hyde.” Ava giggles and Hyde grumbles. “Only fair for him making you late.” Hyde leans forward to stare at Ava around Kaz.
“Wait what? Who told you?”
“Kyoko.” Ava sniggers at Hyde’s expression. Hyde turns in his seat to glare into the row behind them where Ju-ken, Arimatsu, and Jin are sitting. Kaz chuckles at Hyde’s reaction.
“You bastard,” he spits out and Arimatsu shrugs.
“You made us late, it’s not a lie,” the drummer states and Ju-ken laughs quietly.
“Now I know why you were crazy about catching this flight in particular,” Ju-ken states and there’s a short pause.
“Yes, because if you missed it, there would be a very angry woman waiting in Tokyo for your flight to arrive,” Ava fills in and Hyde turns to look at her again, staying quiet for a while at the smile on her face. He decides that it most definitely isn’t a friendly smile and swallows thickly.
“Jin, would you like an aisle seat?”
“I’m quite good.”
“Ju-ken, do you want to sit further forward?”
“Oh hell no, this is entertaining.” Ju-ken laughs. Hyde glares back at them again. Ava shifts to adjust herself in her seat and Kaz slips his hand up, gently taking hers. He gives a deep sigh of contentment as her fingers entwine with his.
“I didn’t expect you to be here at all.” He lifts her hand up to press a kiss to the back of it as the plane begins to taxi away from the airport.
“Surprisingly, you can thank Hyde for that. He helped with getting the flight.” Kaz turns his attention to Hyde at Ava’s response. The singer’s face has turned bright red despite having a pair of headphones in. Kaz elbows Hyde over the armrest.
“Yeah yeah, just go to sleep,” Hyde responds. “You get her for a week.” Kaz pauses in thought.
“Just a week?” Kaz looks at her and she gives a nod.
“Best I could do. Though I did take off early to get here to be on this flight.” Ava frowns. “My pay’s getting docked for that.”
“I’ll fill it in if you’re concerned about it,” Hyde states.
“I’ll be all right. You got the flight upgrade.” There’s a pause and Hyde leans to look around Kaz a second time. The guitarist has his eyes closed, content to hold Ava’s hand.
“I paid for the whole flight, return trip and all.”
“Nope. I didn’t let that happen.” Ava tilts her head. “But I did let you pay for the difference between coach and first class.” Hyde grumbles and sits back again.
“So one week then,” Kaz states.
“Yeah.” A reminder about making sure everything is put away comes onto the intercom.
“Can I be sick for the concert?” Kaz questions Hyde, turning to look at the singer.
“No.” Ava answers for Hyde, running a thumb over his hand, drawing his attention back to her. “I won’t let you and I’ll stay backstage or with the fan club during the performance, whichever is more comfortable for you.”
“Hah, your girlfriend is dictating what you do.” There’s a long silence as Kaz focuses on Hyde again.
“He has someone willing to take a ten thousand kilometer trip to figure out their relationship but not interrupt his life and obligations. Not at girlfriend status,” Ava states and Hyde turns the statement over in his mind.
“You haven’t figured that out yet?”
“It’s difficult,” Kaz provides with a blush on his face.
“It’s long distance,” Ava adds.
“Keep offering excuses. It’s weird. You’re clinging to each other and Kaz was one four-in-the-morning text message or phone call or whatever from getting his phone pitched out a window,” Hyde mutters as the plane starts to leave the ground. Ava falls silent, holding tighter to Kaz’s hand, making the guitarist turn to look at her.
“I—I’m fine.” There’s a silence as he considers her reaction.
“Are you—” Ava hushes him and he reaches over with his other hand, holding hers with both of his. “It’s okay.” When the plane evens out, she’s calm enough to loosen her grip on his hand. Kaz isn’t sure when he dozes off, he still has her hand in his when he wakes up though and her head is on his shoulder. He turns his head, kissing her head before dozing back off, feeling Hyde’s head leaning against his other shoulder.
Ava gives a small sigh and leans down, pressing a kiss to Kaz’s lips as the guitarist’s sleepy eyes follow her movements. “I’ll be back in a second.” He nods and shuts his eyes again, letting Ava slip out of the row and to the bathroom. She returns fairly shortly and slips back in past the two musicians, Hyde grinning up at her as he plays around on a handheld game system.
“He muttered something about missing ‘his’ Ava.” The singer tells her and Ava chuckles softly. Hyde’s hair looks neater; he had taken a brush to the bathroom to brush the mess that his hair had turned into, pulling it back into a ponytail afterward.
“Is that so?”
“Yep. Specifically his.” Hyde returns his gaze down to the game system as Ava retakes her seat. She reaches up and pats the strands of Kaz’s hair still standing up down again. He tilts in her direction, head landing on her shoulder, making her smile and she ruffles his hair before retrieving her book again.
When they land, Ava blends in with the staff as best she can. It’s an easy matter considering all eyes are on the band and she has a hoodie pulled up over her head. Kaz seems to check on her more than once before they’re all filtered into vehicles. She’s separate from him and has Arimatsu with her instead. The drummer stretches in his seat.
“It’s good to be back home.” He pauses before looking at Ava. “This is your first time out of the United States?”
“Second, I took a trip to the UK a long time ago.” Ava looks out the windows of the vehicle. “It was interesting. Went wrong in quite a few places but interesting.” Arimatsu gives a humming noise and there is a long silence between them.
“You’ll be kind to Kaz, won’t you?”
“Of course.” Ava turns to blink at Arimatsu to find the drummer’s eyes focused on her.
“I just have some concern.”
“The bit about not being his girlfriend?”
“I can’t agree to it yet.” Ava returns her gaze to outside the window. “He may be certain but I’m not. I’m not like him, I don’t have that ‘sixth sense’ thing. But I’m here, hoping to see if it does work.” There’s a long silence.
“I’m glad,” Arimatsu states quietly, relaxing back in his seat. “Be careful with him. He can be surprisingly sensitive. He doesn’t let on about it very often. It’s why seeing him around or away from you has been quite shocking.” Arimatsu gets his phone out, looking at it after a buzz.
“The silent guitarist.”
“Currently the growling guitarist.” Arimatsu chuckles. “He’s apparently very unhappy that I’m in here with you. At least that’s Hyde’s report.”
“Seriously?” Ava blinks at Arimatsu.
“Yes, he is.” There’s a short pause as Ava frowns.
“He and I are going to have to have a talk about this possessiveness.”
“Good luck with that. It might be innate.”
“I hope not because I’m going to get frustrated.” Ava pauses. “It’ll at least cause some strife if it doesn’t lessen up.” Arimatsu chuckles quietly and pats Ava on the shoulder.
“You’ll enjoy your week here.”
Ava barely gets a couple feet into the studio with Arimatsu before Kaz has a hold of her, lifting her up and growling at the drummer, eyes reddened and fangs showing. “Oi! Down! Now!” Ava kicks her feet and there’s a pause before the guitarist gently places her down on the ground. Arimatsu only appears amused, shaking his head as Kaz’s countenance changes back towards normal.
“You are going to have a difficult time with that, Ava.”
“I’m becoming aware of that.” Ava crosses her arms, looking frustrated at Kaz as the guitarist starts to look sheepish. “I’m not a delicate little flower that you have to protect from the menfolk taking advantage of.” Kaz shifts a bit back and forth before Hyde’s laughter is heard from down the hallway. Arimatsu pats Ava on the shoulder again, receiving a glare from Kaz before Ava snaps him out of it.
“Thank you Arimatsu, I believe I need it.” Ava smiles at the drummer as he nods and begins away. Kaz shifts back and forth, glancing after Arimatsu before returning his gaze to Ava and the annoyed look on her face. “Repeat after me. Ava is not…”
“Ava is not…” Kaz murmurs, feeling his face heat up.
“…at risk of being…”
“At risk of being…”
“…taken advantage of.”
“Taken advantage of.” Ava nods at his final recital.
“Good. Try to ingrain it into whatever instinct it is you’re having issues with. I’m not about to let someone grope me nor am I going to hop into bed with someone.” Kaz grumbles loudly at Ava’s statement but relents as she leans up and presses a kiss to his lips. “Besides, I’m staying with you.” At the blank look on Kaz’s face, she laughs. “As in staying at your apartment for the week. Hyde mentioned that it might be better than a hotel and being separate. Also it’s notably cheaper.”
“So Hyde can dole out my apartment?”
“Yeah, sounds accurate.” Ava tilts her head, smiling more. “I think this might be the one case where you don’t mind though.”
“The only one,” Kaz affirms and begins to lead her back towards the room. There’s more laughter and the playing of instruments.