characters: Shibutani Subaru, Ninomiya Kazunari, Yasuda Shota, Matsumoto Jun, Nishikido Ryo, Aiba Masaki, Yokoyama You, mentions of various other members of the Jimusho
pairing: Subaru/Nino, Nino/Matsujun, Yasu/Subaru
word count: ~3300
rating: r, for sexual themes
warnings: angst, sex, depression
summary: ‘Trace our shadows, melting together, with your fingertips.’ Nino and Subaru crash and (maybe) burn.
note: references translations of Subaru and Nino’s various solos (Desire, Navy Blue Tears, Greedy, Niji, Gimmick Game, 1994*4##111 and Kako). More information and proper credit to the lovely ladies responsible available at the notes page for this fic here.
'even the glory of the song that sings of the hopes of tomorrow
has been shut in
and I can no longer advance.'
Nino watches Subaru's hands, fingertips ragged from strumming his guitar, as they slide over Nino's knee. Subaru goes to speak, to say something--anything to break up the silence eating at them, but his voice is hoarse and dry and he coughs, instead. Nino's mouth tightens, and he pulls Subaru's chin towards his brusquely to kiss him silent. Subaru makes a noise that’s probably a little like laughter as those ragged fingertips slide into Nino's hair.
Eventually, they pull apart, Nino's knees brushing up against Subaru's and his hands on Subaru's forearms. "So you're gonna debut, huh," he manages, eyes firmly locked on the skull stretched across the back of Subaru's hand. He traces the edge gently.
Subaru smiles, bright and real. All of his hard work--and it had been hard work, stuck inside the four walls of his head trying not to go crazy (crazier)--has finally given him what he's wanted for longer than he can remember. "Yeah," he admits, finally, voice as rough as the calluses on his hands, "yeah. I am."
Nino's mouth quirks up on one side. "Good," he whispers, fingers tracing Subaru's cheek.
"Hello, I'm Shibutani Subaru, I'll be in your care!"
"Hi, I'm Ninomiya Kazunari, I'll be in your care!"
Nino has always thought Subaru was cool. Not like the other guys his age are cool, not like Ohno's snap-focus or Yoko's (over-)exuberant intensity or Jun's drive, cool in a different way. Cool like the way only the artist-types are cool. Subaru is--Subaru was like Nino, Nino thought. Now, watching Subaru try to simultaneously check out and hide from Kato Ai-chan, Nino knows Subaru isn't cool--but he is just like Nino.
"Subaru," he hisses, and grabs his coat sleeve to drag him closer. Thankfully, the director starts talking again, which distracts Kato-chan, and Subaru breathes a great sigh of relief, sagging against Nino's side.
They share a trailer; it’s cramped, but Nino isn't in it much anyway. Subaru spends a lot of time cooped up inside, though, playing his Gameboy or strumming his ancient acoustic. Nino won't admit it, but those moments are reminders of why he'd ever thought Subaru was cool in the first place.
"What's this song?" he asks, eventually, curled up in his chair. His eyes flick up from
Super Mario Brothers Deluxe (which is only the best Mario Brothers game for a handheld, forget Subaru's stupid opinions) momentarily.
"Nothing special," says Subaru, pen stilling on the paper in front of him, "just… a song about hope."
Nino doesn’t know what to think about that. What does a guy as young as Subaru need to be singing songs about hope for?
'In the end
You can leave if you want
But, listen, take them with you
All of them, all of it, everything
The memories too – everything'
Nino doesn’t know what’s possessed him. He just knows that he has to see Subaru—that the distance behind Subaru’s eyes isn’t because he’s recording a single, finally. He’s always spent a lot of time with Yasuda, with Hina and Yoko and the others. This is different. This resonates in his lungs, thumps against his ribs, hammers against his skull. It settles in his shoulders all the way down his back until he’s dragging through the lonely evenings.
So he goes to meet up with Subaru at the studio. Arashi’s done with their recording—and he kind of has a good feeling about Hitomi no naka no Galaxy and Hero. The drama tie-in is good, the songs’ lyrics are good… so this is a nibble of unhappiness that only really bites at him when he lies, sleepless, in bed, staring aimlessly at the ceiling for hours.
He asks around for ‘Kanjani Eight’, the name new and perfect, rolling off of his tongue like victory on Subaru’s behalf. Most of them are gone, they tell him, but some of them are still in the third floor planning room. Nino grins, jokes, waves goodbye. He leans against the wall of the elevator and thinks about sharing the latest news on the Yamapi-Toma front with Subaru over conbini ramen and a six pack of beer, about tearing up Subaru’s ticket for the bullet train and locking the door to his tiny apartment.
He knows where the third floor dressing room is; he leans inside the door, thinking about hope. And Nino tastes something bitter at the back of his throat—like jealousy, defeat maybe, in the way that the wattage of Subaru’s smile kind of dims when he sees him.
Yasu turns, grins his hello, and he doesn’t know Nino well enough to know his wave is a lie. The way Subaru’s fingers wind through Yasu’s, though, reminds Nino that he is. Nino thinks maybe he hates him then. Subaru, that is, not Yasu. It’s not really Yasu’s fault.
"I was just… in the building," he finally says, "don’t get Friday’d, you two~" He laughs at Yasu’s blush and walks out with his hand in his pocket.
"Waiting for your train?" asks Nino, dropping his bag and leaning on the pillar next to Subaru.
Subaru presses pause on his CD player, tugs his headphones off of his head. "You going home?" he asks, after a moment of rustling things back into their cases.
"Yeah," says Nino, "dorms?"
Subaru makes a face. "Just for tonight," he says, "they’re finally letting me to go back home on Saturday."
"Come over," Nino says.
"I’ve got an extra futon," Nino explains, "and we have work together in the morning, so. Y’know. You can stay over."
Subaru’s fingers twitch uncertainly at the hem of the too-large long sleeved t-shirt Nino sometimes thinks he lives in, and finally he nods, soft and hesitant. Nino smirks.
"I can kick your ass at Super Smash Brothers, you can cry yourself to sleep…"
Subaru rolls his eyes. "Don’t underestimate me and Donkey Kong," he says.
"Oh, god, you would use Donkey Kong."
"What’s that supposed to mean?" Subaru raises an eyebrow.
"Nothing, nothing," Nino says, and then the train comes so he has an excuse to duck away from Subaru’s swing at his shoulder.
Nino rolls over in his bed and pokes Subaru in the back of his head. "Quit it I’ve almost got it," Subaru complains, all of his attention focused on taking the perfect picture of the elusive Mew, "Nino!"
"You’ve ‘almost had it’ for the past half an hour," Nino says, "gimme a try."
Subaru passes him the controller with a minimum of fuss, but the cord’s too short for Nino to lie down, so he slides onto the floor, lying lazily against Subaru’s arm. He slides his feet under the pile of blankets his sister had left behind when she’d gone to bed and wiggles until he’s comfortable.
Subaru’s hand rests, warm, on Nino’s hip. Nino doesn’t wiggle into it, like he wants to; he just tosses another pester ball at Mew and takes the damn picture. Subaru’s fingers tighten in the material of his shirt, and he complains bitterly at the top of Nino’s head.
Nino shrugs, easily, his heart thumping so loud he’s sure the whole house can hear it. "It really is too bad you’re so terrible at this," he teases, as he leans forward to flick the machine off.
Subaru’s fingers around his wrist don’t surprise him at all, but he still gasps when Subaru kisses him, mouth wet against his and fingers digging, slightly, into the hair at the nape of his neck. Nino shifts around, his fingers curling into Subaru’s shoulder so he can get rid of the cramp that’s starting to form in his neck.
They sleep like that, curled up together on the futon. Nino’s sister doesn’t say anything about the way their fingers are intertwined, their heads ducked together like they’re sharing a secret, just throws a pillow at them and tells them to hurry it up.
In the car, Nino’s fingers shake a little as they find Subaru’s. A smile drifts over Subaru’s face, and he tightens his grip.
'You're right next to me but it's so vague
It's always like this
Are you close to me? Or are you not?
I'm the only one that's about to break'
Subaru rolls into the comforter of his narrow bed and tries not to think. Tries not to remember Nino messaging someone at dinner, fingers flying across the keys of his cell phone. Nino’s smile when he waved goodnight is a movie in Subaru’s mind, and he can’t stop playing it over and over again. There’s a lie in it, a lie he doesn’t want to see, and it won’t leave him alone. He doesn’t think he wants it to, maybe.
Subaru’s dried out. There are no tears left; not for Nino, not for himself. So instead he turns toward the wall next to his, arms tight around his pillow and his eyes shut tight against the silence, and breathes until morning comes.
He sends Nino an email that says ‘good luck at work today’. He’s not surprised when he doesn’t get a reply, but he is surprised that he still has room for hurt.
(An unsent message sits in Nino’s drafts for eight months.)
Subaru laughs when Yasu presses his fingertips against Subaru’s ribs, skittering playfully across the ridges. Yasu laughs into the curve of Subaru’s shoulder when he does, a little breathless and a little confused. Yasu lets Subaru get his fingers in Yasu’s hair, lets him settle across Yasu’s thighs and kiss him, too sharply and too hesitant. Subaru doesn’t beg, but his eyes flicker with need before Yasu takes pity on him, hands seeking the heat between his legs. After, Subaru rests his forehead against Yasu’s temple, pressing an open-mouthed kiss to his jaw.
Yasu doesn’t ask; he never does. His fingers card through Subaru’s hair, gently, as his eyes fall shut. His smile gains an edge when he sees Subaru scrabble for his cell phone first thing, sees Subaru’s mouth tighten when his only unread message is from Yoko, talking about lunch.
"Yasu, I have this song," confesses Subaru, suddenly.
Yasu nods, looking up from his sketchbook momentarily before going back to it. A piece of paper, scribbles and red pen and scratched out black blots all over, slides into the edge of Yasu’s vision.
Yasu cries the first time he reads it. Then he folds it, carefully, and puts it in his guitar case for a ride in his car, alone, toward nowhere. His voice echoes in the stillness of a car on a road at midnight, and eventually Yasu pulls to a stop at the pier. The darkness, the lap of the waves, and the emptiness of the abyss watching him (or however that saying goes) seem perfect. Yasu sings his heart out, and Yasu’s heart aches for days after he finishes. He can’t show his chords to Subaru until it stops; he can’t look at Subaru until it stops, and it hurts so sharply he’s not sure if it ever will.
'I'll hold you tightly; I'll be the only one to mess you up with love
Don't stop, don't go, keep this up...'
"Kazu," Subaru manages, trying to get his hands in Nino’s hair but it’s too short and Nino’s mouth is all around his cock, "fuck, Kazu—"
Nino smirks as best as he can and pulls him forward by the hips. Subaru grunts when his cock hits the back of Nino’s throat, biting down on his lip to kill the noise trying to claw its way out of his mouth. Their bandmates are in the room next door, drinking to Nino’s return from America. Subaru hasn’t been able to keep his eyes off of Nino; he’s watched more mostly-English programs just for a glimpse of Nino in the past few weeks than he cares to even think about, and now. Now Nino is here, looking tired and being snarkier than usual, but he’s here and his eyes are bright when they meet Subaru’s. Subaru doesn’t remember aching this much for Nino (probably because he filled the time with Yasu and recording for the album and concert planning). He’s never ached this much for Nino—even when they were horny teenagers fumbling with condoms.
"Kazu," he hisses, "stop I’m gonna—gonna—"
He comes. Nino reaches for a tissue and, after wiping his mouth, finds himself being hauled up by the elbows.
"Ow," Nino mutters, when his elbow hits the wall and Subaru’s chest hits his.
"You," Subaru says, between kisses, "you."
"Yes, me," Nino answers, whatever else he’s going to say strangled by Subaru’s hand finally getting into his underwear. His breath hitches, and his hips snap forward.
"Miss me?" Subaru asks, and there’s a smile on his mouth but the line of his shoulders is tense.
"Fuck—yes," Nino answers, and Subaru would blame it on the hand on his cock, but Nino’s eyes never leave his. Subaru doesn’t think it’s a lie; can’t handle it being a lie. He presses a kiss to the edge of Nino’s mouth and concentrates, angles his wrist, and ends up having to reach into the dirty laundry to wipe his hands clean.
Nino’s eyes are closed, his head back to reveal the expanse of his neck, his pants sliding over his hips with the button undone. The expression on his face when he opens his eyes and smiles at Subaru is one Subaru hasn’t seen in years; it makes him close the gap and kiss him again, hands cupping his jaw. Nino’s hands press into his back, pull him close, and for a moment they simply breathe.
"Do you still have my shirt?" asks Nino, as the noise of what’s probably Maru and Aiba breaking something makes them separate, straightening their clothes (Nino) and hair (Subaru).
"Which one?" asks Subaru, using his foot to leverage open the bottom drawer of his dresser.
Nino kind of laughs at that, a high snorting noise, before he bends over to rifle through the drawer for something clean. He picks up a shirt he barely recognizes—"how old is this?" he asks, lightly.
"Three or four years," Subaru admits.
Nino’s about to ask why he didn’t just throw the collection of shirts into a grocery bag to pass back to him, but then he remembers whom he’s talking to. He’d be surprised if Subaru doesn’t still have the pair of sweatpants Nino lent him when he slept over instead of going to the after party for Abunai hokago (because he was afraid of Kato Ai).
"Come on," says Subaru, after a minute of watching Nino toss his dirty shirt into Subaru’s pile of laundry.
"Yep," agrees Nino.
Subaru throws himself into Maru’s lap, toasting to Nino. Nino tucks himself against Ohno’s side and plays off his disappearance with talk of unclogging a toilet.
Three days after he and his friends—his bandmates—stumble home from Hawaii, Nino goes to find Subaru. He checks the rehearsal room for the Juniors that the kids from Kansai usually stake out, only to find Tackey arguing in low tones with Murakami. From the expression on Hina’s face, it looks like he really doesn’t want to know. So he walks (runs) away, because the only thing more annoying than Tackey trying to tell you what to do is Hina’s hand on the back of your head whenever you say something smartass. He’d spent the night before on the phone with Toma, Aiba and Jun on either side of him in the painfully awkward silence kind of broken up by Toma alternately sniffling and telling them to work hard and not let Ohno-kun fall asleep on Music Station or anything.
It’s Subaru’s voice, pitched low and uncomfortable. Nino’s footsteps slow, and he stops when he sees Yoko hunched over on a table, head in his hands and shoulders shaking a little. Subaru’s hand is bunched up in the material of his t-shirt, tightly, and he says Yoko’s name again, more quietly. Yoko sniffles, and after a moment he looks up, forcing a smile.
"I’m okay," he promises, "I’m okay. I better go make sure Hina-chan isn’t getting into a fistfight with Tackey."
Nino hides across the hall in a costume closet before Yoko drags himself, still sniffling, out of the room and down the hall to get in the middle of whatever fight it is Tackey and Hina are having (Nino can fill in the blanks). Nino slides the door back open and steps into the practice room, holding his breath. Subaru’s on the table, now, knees drawn up to his chest and his eyes drilling into the flooring.
Nino lets his breath go; it echoes in the room, somehow, like the little slide of air has enough power to thunder over everything else.
Subaru looks up.
"Kazu," he says, finally.
"…hey," Nino says, and the draw of Subaru’s eyebrows makes Nino pad across the room and throw himself on the table next to Subaru, his thigh sinking against Subaru’s sneaker.
"Hey," says Subaru, quietly.
Nino’s fingers fall on the back of Subaru’s hand. Subaru’s hand twitches, but he doesn’t pull away like Nino expects.
"Don’t you dare apologize," Subaru says, finally, voice sharp in the silence.
Nino nods. "Yeah," he manages, "yeah, okay."
"I mean it," Subaru says, "no apologies. Just…you have to do it. Okay?"
"Got it," says Nino, fingers tightening around Subaru’s, "I will."
They stay like that for a little while, until Subaru uncurls and leans his shoulder against Nino’s, gently.
Forty-seven prefectures, five months, one hundred and thirteen performances. Nino feels every day of it as his fingers press into Subaru, one at a time. He watches Subaru pant and whine, tugging at the sheets impatiently, and presses a kiss to the inside of Subaru’s thigh.
"God," he murmurs, "you are so…"
Subaru’s eyes snap open, and he stares at Nino. "Get over here," he says, voice rough.
"Pushy," Nino teases, and crawls over Subaru. He crooks Subaru’s knee over his arm, biting his lip as he pushes inside, and it’s good, so so good. Subaru seems to agree, fingertips digging into Nino’s stomach and his head tossed back on the pillow.
It’s embarrassingly quick for both of them; Nino doesn’t delude himself that either of them was terribly celibate, but the one thing he’s always said about Subaru is that Subaru is special. He murmurs this, sleepy, against Subaru’s collarbone, and Subaru kind of echoes it back, his hand warm on Nino’s side.
'Even when you held me
Even when we were connected
I was freezing'
"I can’t do this any more," Yasu whispers, curled up in a chair at the other end of the room.
Subaru looks up from where he’s hunched over his phone. He doesn’t say anything, eyes steady on the drum of Yasu’s fingers on his knee.
"I can’t," Yasu says.
Subaru doesn’t make promises much, but the look in Yasu’s eyes breaks the only one Subaru remembers really making.
"If that’s what makes you happy," he says, finally.
Yasu sighs a little. "Shibuyan," he says, "could you even pretend I mean anything?"
"You do mean something," Subaru says, fierce.
"But not everything," Yasu answers.
Subaru’s shoulders droop. Of course he’s not. Music is everything. It’s always been everything, even on the darkest nights. Music, and the tilt of Nino’s mouth as he smiles around Subaru’s lyrics—
They’re at Nino’s place, in Nino’s bed. They only ever come here when Jun wants to have a fight, but he’s been pleasant all night. Nino’s smoking a cigarette (something he only does at his place, Jun hates the acrid taste of it in his sheets) and watching minutes tick past on the clock.
"You’re not happy," says Jun from the other side of the bed.
Nino shoves his cigarette into the ashtray on the bedside table with a vicious twist of his wrist. "Jun-kun," he says. ’Can we just not, please?’ he doesn’t say.
"You weren’t happy before, either, but now you’re just miserable." Jun’s voice is rising in pitch, now. He probably blames himself, can’t see that Nino does this to himself (it’s what he likes about Jun).
"Jun-kun," Nino repeats, "that’s not true. You do make me happy."
"Until you remember who I’m not."
Nino lights another cigarette.
"You have to make yourself happy," Yasu says, sometimes, offering Subaru an uncertain smile.
Subaru wishes it were that easy as Nino leans on Ryo and drawls something low-pitched and sarcastic at Yoko.
Nino’s eyes flicker toward Subaru when Subaru’s not looking.
'Even if I come to love someone else
They'll never be more than just "someone else"'