Pairings: Ohmiya, Sakumoto
Genre: Drama, Romance
Summary: Nino likes to make a spectacle of things, Arashi tries to deal with the aftermath.
Authors Note: This has got to be the longest thing I've ever written and it's still under 5000 words XD I should have been asleep three hours ago . . . oh well. I hope this doesn't reflect the late hours I wrote it in ^^
EDIT: I wrote the author notes really in the morning and I forgot to mention: "This is the one I started ages ago but I finally wrote it! I hope you enjoy it salwaphoenix <3"
It feels good to relax; I don’t think I’ve had a chance to unwind since those stupid pictures were published. The knocking and doorbell ringing never lasts long, especially in an apartment. The phone never stops though, even if they know you won’t pick up, but now I can sit here in silence. I don’t have to turn the volume all the way up on the video game, just to hear something besides that incessant ringing, anymore.
Unplugging the phone was probably a good idea.
Knock Knock Knock
So I might have been wrong about the knockers, whatever, best to ignore it. It’s best to ignore all of it. It’s no use for me to think about what went wrong, it’s not my fault those idiots stalk us 24/7. I didn’t do anything wrong.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
It’s not like I’m one of those stubborn bastards who call an invasion of privacy a job. Now there’s someone who deserves a scandal in the papers. “Paparazzi Arrested in Record Numbers; Charged With Disturbing the Peace and Harassment”
THUMP THUMP THUMP
God, why isn’t the landlady here yet?
THWAK THWAK THWAK
“I know you’re in there Nino! Open up already!”
Jun? Why Jun of all people?
- - -
Jun had been worried sick since he saw the pictures; he didn’t know how they could be that careless. That was a lie though; Nino was all about pushing the envelope, Jun knew it well, and Ohno wasn’t exactly known for his vigilance. The next few days would be important; Jun knew he had to make sure Ohno didn’t drink himself to death and Nino didn’t become a recluse.
He had tried the Ohno household first but the gate was swarmed with too many reporters for Jun to get anywhere close without being mobbed himself. After determining that it wasn’t slowing down anytime soon, and that Ohno’s mother was probably taking care of him, he decided to move on to Nino for the moment.
There weren’t any reporters around the apartment building, Jun made a mental note to send some flowers or something to the landlady. Looking only a little bit ahead of himself with his hair pushed back and under a fedora, because a baseball cap is way too obvious, he headed up to Nino’s apartment.
At first he knocked raptly, but politely, with his knuckles but he got no response. So he knocked a little louder. When he got no response again he started getting a little angry, pounding the door with the heel of his hand. Still being ignored Jun beat the door with his fist, essentially punching it.
“I know you’re in there Nino! Open up already!” After a moment the door opened to Nino looking no different from any other day.
“Your rings make the weirdest sound on the door.”
- - -
I step to the side for Jun to come inside. He looks at me like I’m sort of alien. I know why, it’s because I’m not a wreck. I imagine everyone else is; Aiba crying his eyes out, Sho tearing his hair out, Ohno not eating and just sitting there spaced out, and Jun restless with the need to go out.
I’m sure Jun expected me to be all freaked out, but I’m not. I did absolutely nothing wrong, even if people believe the pictures are real we can always hide behind fan service. It will all blow over anyway. The only thing wrong with me is a lack of sleep.
“You seem to be holding up well,” Jun comments with an ungodly amount of suspicion in his voice. Does he think I’m faking it or something?
“No, I’m terribly miserable.” I roll my eyes and usher him inside before the neighbors get any more annoyed. ”Jun, I’ve been through this type of stuff before, it will blow over. You worry too much.”
“Are you dense?” I watch as Jun get’s worked up.
“Apparently, and you’re about to tell me why, right?” Okay, so the sarcasm is probably unneeded but I really haven’t broken any laws or anything. I just kissed Ohno, usually the fans love that.
“No, apparently you just don’t care. You never really did anyway.” Jun stands as far away as he can without just walking out the door; I’m beginning to wish he would. I don’t need an angry sadist king standing in my apartment with his arms crossed, I need sleep.
“Yes, that’s it, I don’t care about the people I’ve worked with for the last decade.” I can’t stop the sarcasm; I’m not going to let Jun win this.
“You don’t care about the job. You don’t care if Arashi disbands because of this. You can get acting jobs easily, you can compose on your own, you don’t need Arashi. It’s not like you even wanted to be a part of it, right?” He sounds a lot angrier than I’ve seen him in a while; he’s really making a big deal out of nothing.
“You know what, you’re right, I would be perfectly fine without Arashi, but so would you! You could focus on just acting and you wouldn’t have to do all the rainbows and the dancing anymore! So why are you the one who’s here, Jun?”
“I give a damn Nino! Arashi is my life, the five of us were thrown together but it worked. We all work together and support each other. I even like the stupid costumes! None of us need Arashi any more, at least not for money, but everyone except you seems to enjoy it.”
“Like you said, I never wanted this. I didn’t want the paparazzi, the special treatment, the constant flashing of cameras or glare of lights. I didn’t want to turn my life into some sort of spectacle.” I stare him in the eyes, they look more angry than I’ve ever seen him.
“So you’re trying to ruin it? You could care less if we break up so you keep pushing, like a kid seeing just how much he can get away with. No, you’re worse; it doesn’t matter to you if you step over the line.”
“Step over the line?” I walk over to him, painfully aware of the height difference, and stand a few feet away “Where is this line then? Here?” I move even closer, “Here?” I take another step closer and we’re standing toe to toe. “Here?” I glower up at him as he looks down at me.
- - -
He wasn’t sure why, after all he had every reason to leave, but Jun stayed in the apartment. Saying the paparazzi were waiting across the street and he was going to wait for a while first, the visitor became an intruder and sat down on Nino’s couch. He tapped his fingers, looked at anything that wasn’t Nino, and didn’t say a word as Nino went into his bedroom and fell asleep.
After riding out the adrenaline high, it occurred to Jun that Nino was probably exhausted. He convinced himself that Nino probably didn’t mean any of it. Not hearing any noise, Jun went to the bedroom and peeked in.
Nino looked like he had died and fell on the bed, but he was breathing. Jun managed to get Nino into a position where he wouldn’t have a stiff neck the next day and cover him up. He felt drowsiness washing over himself and plopped on top of the covers on the other side of the bed.
- - -
I wake up, stretch, and see Jun next to me fully clothed and asleep. I’m surprised, to say the least, that he’s still here. Much less sleeping in my bed. Careful not to wake him as I get up, I head to the kitchen and make a pot of coffee. For a second I’m considering putting the coffee right underneath his nose to make him wake up, but it’s probably not worth it. It’s unnecessary anyway; I can hear him making his way toward the kitchen for himself.
He pours a cup and sits across from me. Aloof as ever, if not even more so. I think he’s trying to ignore me, and obviously having a hard time of it. Even Aiba could do a better job than this. As Jun pretends to be drinking coffee, okay, he really is drinking it, but he keeps glancing over at me. I’m not even pretending to avert my gaze.
“You’re such an idiot.” I’m a little irritable, I’ll admit that, but I really don’t want to deal with this right away in the morning. “For someone who’s so worried about the paparazzi was really stupid to stay the night.” Jun is too calm, usually he retaliates.
“There weren’t any, you should really thank your landlady.”
“Why in the world did you say there were then?” It’s really hard to understand Jun normally, but now he’s contradicting himself. My voice raises and I can feel myself getting upset again.
“I was worried about you Nino!” I’m more than relieved; it’s just too weird for Jun to be that nice in the morning. “This is way bigger than you seem to think it is!”
“Once the initial shock is over it will just be put down to fan service, so calm down already.” Relief and wanting to be yelled at are completely different.
“You seriously believe that? You’re the idiot!”
“I’ve done nothing wrong!”
“No, but you certainly didn’t do anything right.”
“You’re just being contradicting now.”
“Am I? Sure, there is nothing wrong with two guys falling in love. I’ll even give you the whole ‘it’s my life’ thing. But you’re an idol; your job is to please the public. And, apparently, the public isn’t ready for this.”
“I can’t help it if people are that simple minded.” Its obvious Jun is angry, but I’m not in the wrong here.
“No, you can’t.” He’s leans back and takes a second to, presumably, calm down. His gaze is dark as he finally meets my eyes.
- - -
Jun wanted to comfort Nino, more than anything, but he knew that he was right. There was nothing wrong with what they did; the problem was other’s perceptions of it. To tell the truth, Jun was envious of them. They really didn’t care about public opinion or anything like that. But they still could have found a better place. Sighing Jun finished his cup and got up.
“I shouldn’t be late for work.” Nino checked the clock and raised an eyebrow.
“There’s at least two hours before you’d have to leave to make it on time.”
“I’m not so sure about you but some of us like to shower and change out of the clothes we slept in before going to work in a building that will be completely surrounded by people with cameras.”
“Snobs.” Nino grinned and Jun rolled his eyes before smiling back.
“Make sure you come into work, it will only cause trouble if you don’t.” Jun grabbed his coat and headed out the door.
- - -
“Nino! There you are! I couldn’t get a hold of you.” Great, I just got to work and Sho’s started mothering me.
“Well, of course not, I turned off my phone.” Throwing my bag down by the other I try to sidestep him. Predictably he doesn’t let me; sometimes I think he and Jun could beat any fretting mother when it comes to worrying about stuff.
“Well, at least you look okay.” He looks me over like he’s double checking for some mysterious sign that I’m freaking out. “Wait, don’t you have an unlisted number?”
“You say that like it matters when it comes to paparazzi.” God, I don’t want to talk about this anymore, but it doesn’t seem like he’s going to stop soon.
“But aren’t there services to screen calls or something?” Well, at least he’s not fussing anymore.
“That’s only those unsolicited calls from insurance companies and stuff like that. Jeeze, aren’t you supposed to know that type of random stuff as a reporter? Besides, that costs money.” I dig my DS out of my pocket and plop into a chair.
“Don’t bother Sho, that cheapskate has an answer for everything.” Jun walks in and places his bag carefully on a table. Neat freak.
“Hey, I may be a cheapskate but I’m not the one who takes two hours to get ready for work.” Rolling his eyes and pulling out his phone he sits across from me.
“I had to go all the way back to my apartment in morning traffic.” He starts flipping through something as the warning for seizures appears on my screen. That thing really gets on my nerves; it’s just another thing to tap away before I can actually play my games.
“Excuses, excuses.” We both grin and go back to our own business until the “damage control” meeting starts (I’ve been through this enough to know there will be one). I wish I could say that but Sho takes this opportunity to cross his arms and look menacing. It’s a little funny actually, Jun and me just sitting there calmly as he stands directly in the center of us in exasperation.
“Wait, what do you mean go back to your apartment?” Jun glances a warning at me but I suppose I can’t resist crossing the line.
“He was with me this morning, after we slept together.” Almost instantly Jun is standing next to Sho and trying to calm him down.
“What did you just sa-“
“Sho, he’s making things up, you know Nino.” Uncertainly, Sho starts to relax.
“So, you weren’t at his place?” I can’t resist when Jun hesitates this time.
“You’re so gullible Sho!” I laugh. “I can’t believe that you fell for that. We didn’t sleep together; he just came over really late at night and didn’t leave until morning.”
“What?” He’s practically screaming now.
“Stop worrying, please, I went to check on him then I fell asleep. That’s all.” Jun pleads with Sho.
“You forgot the part where we were two inches apart and the fact that you fell asleep in my bed.” I chuckle and Jun looks murderous, but not as much as Sho.
“On your bed, there is a difference. And that’s enough from you.” He hits me over the head.
“Ow! The rings, Jun, the rings!” Completely red with anger Sho doesn’t speak for a moment, for the first time I think I’m starting to worry if this is a line I shouldn’t have crossed.
“I think Jun’s right,” he finally starts, “that’s enough from you. Jun, we need to talk alone, now.”
- - -
Sho dragged Jun into the hallway and paced as the later tried to explain.
“Sho, don’t look at me like that, please, nothing happened.” Jun reached out and tried to grab Sho’s hand but he kept out of reach.
“What am I supposed to say to that? Am I supposed to take your word just like that?” Sho was furious and didn’t seem to be calming down.
“Yes, Sho, yes. You know I love you.” He didn’t beg, but he was close.
“And I’m supposed to ignore the fact that you haven’t been acting like yourself the morning after you spent the night at a close friend’s? Not to mention you two flirting like mad as soon as you saw each other. For god’s sake you didn’t even properly greet me.”
“Sho I-“Jun attempted to stop him, but Sho was on a roll.
“Not only that!” Sho realized his pitch and lowered his voice. “You seem completely unconcerned about the scandal, and I haven’t heard a word about Ohno yet.”
“Sho, we both know what they did wasn’t wrong.” His next move had been to soothe Sho, but it wasn’t very affective.
“Not wrong! Jun, you know as well as I do that our lives are going to be hell because of those pictures. It already is. You’ve already started enabling him, letting him make a spectacle of himself. Why aren’t you madder at him if he’s lying about what happened last night? Why aren’t you more worried about this?”
“He’s in denial, Sho, isn’t it obvious? He’s creating more trouble so we’ll stop talking about his. Sho, I love you, but we’re all at the ends of our ropes, even you.” Jun tried again to grab Sho, but the older man stepped back.
“Then why are you only concerned about Nino?” He walked away.
- - -
“Nino,” Oh god, now its Aiba’s turn, “are you okay?”
“I’m fine Aiba. Better than your pillow, at least, I’m sure it drowned in your tears.” He chokes up, halfway to putting his bag on the floor next to mine. I start to feel guilty for being so rude to one of my oldest friends. “Sorry, I’m tired.”
He nods and leaves the room. Why am I being such a jerk to my friends? I’m just tired I guess.
- - -
“Aiba, what’s the matter?” Sho had stumbled across Aiba who was sitting in one of the chairs by the vending machines with his knees against his chest and his arms wrapped around them.
“I just hate when this happens, everyone starts fighting and acting weird and sometimes I’m just not sure if we’ll get through it.” He looked up at Sho. “Why does it have to be this way? Nino just checks-out of his senses because he doesn’t want to think about it, you and Jun run around fretting or yelling or something, Ohno could calm things but his mother tries to keep him at home and his dad’s probably lecturing about shame on the family. Aren’t we supposed to be friends? We should be supporting each other! I can’t take this!” Aiba’s head retreated behind his legs; Sho felt more shame than he could possibly show.
“People are complicated, I suppose.” He attempted to reassure Aiba.
“They shouldn’t be! This whole thing shouldn’t even be a problem!” Aiba lifted his head. “Nino and Ohno should be able to kiss whenever they want, you and Jun should be able to be more open about your relationship, and love shouldn’t be something we’re ashamed of.”
“The world isn’t like that.”
“It should be.” Even though it was childish, Sho agreed.
- - -
“Nino, I’m sorry about earlier, I should have realized you were just deflecting.” Has everyone turned into a shrink? Sho’s sitting near me and I’ve just gotten to the boss stage in my game.
“Yes, you’re right, I’m deeply shook-up inside.” He sighs like he had expected a different response; I land a critical hit on the boss.
“Look, deny it all you will but we’re here for you. You can stop with the apathy and cry or admit this is upsetting you, we still care about you.” Sho looks so sincere; I don’t know what to say or do anymore. The boss throws a bomb at me.
“Even when you’re being an idiot like this.” Jun smiles warmly from the doorway. When it’s clear I’m not going to say anything they both leave me alone. The bomb explodes and my character dies; I don’t really care, I’ve already put the game down.
- - -
“Jun, I’m sorry, I-“ Back out in the hallway, Jun grabbed Sho’s shirt and kissed him.
“No more apologies, okay? Talking too, I’m getting sick of it.” Sho smiled in return.
“Fine, but let’s not get into any more trouble.” With a quiet laugh Jun let go of Sho’s shirt and entwined their fingers instead.
“There are no cameras, I already checked.” Sho grinned and grabbed the chance to grab Jun’s lips in his own.
- - -
Ohno walks into the room calmly and squeezes in next to me. He says nothing for a while and finally I find myself clutching at his chest and crying my eyes out.
“Why do they worry so much?” He’s rubbing my back and in a low soft voice he just hums in response. We both already know the answer to the question.
- - -
They had all received the same scolding, the same warning. Management figured out quickly that the pictures were too good of quality for them to claim they were shopped. Arashi was told to have the equivalent of a “no comment” or an “I will not dignify that with an answer”. If asked, they were supposed to say that something like this shouldn’t matter in the 21st Century; it was a tactic devised to make the people criticizing them feel guilty, not that Arashi really cared about that.
Of course, that all went out the window when Nino walked into the press conference with his speech and left the audience dumfounded by confirming all the rumors (even the ones that couldn’t possibly be true).
The pandemonium after that was truly a spectacle, but Arashi had plenty of experience dealing with those.