Title: Times Like These
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Pairing: Ohmiya; others if you want there to be
Warnings: Men kissing and all that. And, of course, as with most RPS, you're going to have to suspend your disbelief to some degree.
Author's Note: A friend really wanted me to write this after seeing the VSA where Hamada Tatsuomi (Hiroshi in Kaibutsu-kun) was the plus one, and I have to say, after seeing that episode, I'm also convinced that Ohmiya would be the cutest parents ever. It's also my first fic from Sho's perspective, and I definitely had a lot of fun writing this piece.
Also, for reference, 智 is the kanji for "Satoshi" in Ohno's name, and 也 is the second half of "Kazunari." Together, one way they can be pronounced is "Tomoya," among other things.
Sho hears about the whole thing from Aiba in passing. They're sharing a dressing room, just the two of them, for a photoshoot; Ohno's already been in in the morning and Nino and Jun are to come later in the evening. It's always a pity when their schedules simply won't mesh even to do a photoshoot together, but Aiba is always good company, and Sho is glad, at least, that he's not alone. Aiba chatters at him idly the whole time they're getting ready, all through hair and makeup except for when they're trying to do his lips. He tells Sho funny stories from the set of ShimuKen, recounting in great detail things that people have said that struck him as interesting even though Sho isn't always quite sure exactly what he's supposed to be laughing at. He informs Sho of Jun's new bed set, of how he's pretty sure the purple Egyptian cotton sheets Jun finally decided on were probably intended for the bedroom of a young woman and how Jun didn't take it very well when Aiba told him so, a scene Sho can only imagine too well. He regales Sho with stories of his family and his friends both inside and outside Johnny's, tells Sho about his broken coffee maker and the new clock he got for his kitchen and how he forgot to turn the lights off two days ago so his electricity bill is no doubt going to be painful this month. And Sho dutifully listens to all of it, because they don't have a chance to even breathe very often, and though Aiba talks and talks and talks, Sho is always glad for a moment to be together normally like this. It's nice, he thinks, though it would be better if it were all of them, it's nice to spend time this way, even if it's only for the few moments.
But then they're whisked away to the photoshoot, and they both smile and look pretty for the camera dutifully. The shoot itself isn't such a big deal; they're fully clothed and don't have to do anything ridiculous, and so it passes easily enough. Back in the dressing room, Sho packs up his things, wondering aloud the next time they'll all five work together again, and that's when Aiba replies, as if it's a given, "Well, Oh-chan and Nino are going to have the baby to deal with soon."
Sho thinks his hearing must be going, and he straightens from where he had been, bent over to tie his shoes. "Sorry?" he asks, because he must have misheard, but he's surprised to see Aiba blinking back at him, like he ought to be getting something that he's clearly not getting.
"The baby," Aiba repeats slowly. "It's due in a month, you know."
"...Excuse me?" Sho asks, his voice rising in pitch as worry creeps into his system. He doesn't know what Aiba's talking about, but his mind is racing to try to figure out, and nothing that he's coming up with can possibly be good. "Whose baby are we talking about?"
"Oh-chan's and Nino's," Aiba replies matter-of-factly, as if this ought to be obvious. "Have you been getting enough sleep, Sho-chan?"
Sho's face drains of colour as Aiba confirms the worst of his fears, and, he thinks, even if he hasn't been getting enough rest, no amount of sleep could really prepare him for times like these.
It turns out that the baby is genetically neither Ohno's nor Nino's, much to Sho's great relief. It's a staff member's nineteen year old daughter's baby. Apparently, Ohno had overheard the staff member recounting the story of her daughter's unplanned pregnancy to another member of the staff and had asked if they were planning on putting the child up for adoption. The staff member, it seemed, had been pleased with the idea of her genetic grandchild becoming the child of an idol, and much to both of their managers' chagrin, Nino had been delighted with the idea. Sho, of course, is horrified that all of this had managed to happen without his knowledge (especially when Jun and Aiba had both been in the know) and isn't quite sure how to handle this so that it will end in as little trauma as possible. He knows it isn't his job, but it is his peace of mind, and Sho's never been one to be able to sit still while his friends make fools of themselves. He may have high blood pressure, but in the end, he feels better if he can even avert one-tenth of a disaster.
It's a tough issue, though. He knows Ohno loves kids, he's aware of the reason behind Kaibutsu-kun and has seen Ohno with the boy, Hamada-kun. Nino's a bit of a kid himself, which probably explains a lot, and really, what right does anyone have to tell them, as people, as a couple, that they can't raise children? Sho is aware that, though it might not seem like it, both of them are very capable of love and of going the distance for the sake of those they love, but harsh reality is that their lives are very often not their own to live, and even their relationship is technically against their contracts. The unfortunate side of the path they've all chosen is that, no matter how careful they are, there are some things that they just can't manage, and if Sho could ever imagine any of them keeping a child secret and safe from the unforgiving eye of the media and the tabloids, it's not Ohno and Nino. And so, gritting his teeth, he decides to have a talk with Ohno himself, to see if he can't make some sense of the situation.
Sho invites himself to Ohno and Nino's apartment at a time when he knows Nino will be out; Nino does so many dramas these days that it's not that hard. Ohno offers him lukewarm coffee and leftover takeout Chinese when he arrives, humming as he microwaves the coffee in a pair of chipped old mismatched mugs. Sho waits for him to sit, sipping his coffee and trying not to let it show on his face that it's a little too strong for his taste as Ohno smiles serenely across the table at him. He looks legitimately happy, more than just the pleasant vacant look he usually wears, and Sho feels almost guilty when he asks if Ohno and Nino are sure they can handle a baby.
But surprisingly, Ohno has an answer to everything. Each of them will take on less work, he explains, so that one of them can be with the baby, and when they're not free, Ohno's parents are willing to babysit. "And you," Ohno adds with an earnest smile, "We were hoping that you'd look after him too, every once in a while," and Sho knows that he can't let flattery sway him, yet his heart squeezes a little in his chest all the same. He's always fancied himself good with kids, but well-- he'll have plenty of opportunity to play with kids at other times, in other places.
"Whose family registry will the baby be on?" Sho asks, a little more gently than his previous questions. "Have you two thought about that?"
Ohno nods, a vacant smile on his face as he looks towards the window; whether or not he's looking out or looking past, Sho is never sure. "Kazu's," he replies simply, his voice distant in the way that it so often tends to be. "I don't mind."
Sho rolls his lips together, his mouth drawn in a tight line the way it does when he's thinking. It's a habit that he's never quite been able the break, the way Jun bites his lip when he's thinking of the best thing to say, the way Aiba will mutter, "Crap--" under his breath before he can stop himself when he's forgotten something. As much as he doesn't want to let go of his worries, Ohno seems to have thought this through, and Sho can only assume that Nino is equally, if not more, on the ball. And Ohno's more vacant than usual these days, it seems, though any passerby might not notice, and Sho can see it in his eyes, he's excited, he's impatient. He wants this child, and, really, who is Sho to tell him that he can't have it?
But the overly responsible part of him can't let it go just yet, and he continues to grill Ohno on all the logistics until he can't think of anything else. Surprisingly, Ohno (or else Nino) seems to have thought of everything that Sho can think of, which is alarming and bizarre and unusual. But in a situation like this, Sho has to admit, it's perhaps a sign of just how much they want this, and despite his reservations... well, he has to give them that much.
He sighs and runs a hand through his hair, chuckling. Ohno blinks at him, and Sho shakes his head, a smile drawing his lips up in the corners.
"What will you call him?" Sho asks.
Ohno draws out a pair of kanji on his napkin, sliding it in front of Sho. 智 is next to 也, all in Ohno's scrawling handwriting, with a set of furigana at the top for pronunciation.
"Tomoya," Sho reads aloud, and perhaps Ohno's proud smile is contagious, because Sho can't help but smile, too.
The day that everything is to go through, Sho is all nerves again. He's not even supposed to be involved in the process, really, except for the fact that he's sitting in a small izakaya booth with Ohno and Nino, which is just as bad as being in the hospital room itself. Jun's there too, but Aiba has work, and keeps texting Jun, from the way Jun's been practically glued to his phone.
To make things as quick and easy as possible, Nino's lawyer is at the hospital; the deal is that the biological mother of the baby will register the child as Nino's despite the fact that it's not, to avoid the stickiness of adoption. The fact that they're idols and the paparazzi is dying to catch one of them with an illegitimate lovechild complicates matters a lot, and so Ohno and Nino are both to stay as far away from the hospital as possible. And so here all are, together in the back of an izakaya, trying to distract themselves from the fact that everything should be going smoothly but might not be.
And Sho is tense, because this is so illegal and so many things can go wrong. Depending on by whom they might get caught, they could end up all over all of the tabloids or else probably arrested, and Sho doesn't do well with this sort of stress. Not that the rest of them are the picture of relaxation, of course; Jun keeps fidgeting and tapping his cigarette butt on the edge of the ashtray despite the fact that there's nothing to tap off, a habit that drives Sho crazy but that he can't really fault at this moment. Jun's phone chimes and lights up every few seconds, and when Sho glances over his shoulder, it seems like Aiba is texting the same message over and over again: Any progress?
And then there's Ohno and Nino. They're sitting in the booth facing Jun and Sho, but Sho has a good feeling both of their eyes are on the clock on the wall behind their bench, rather than their companions. They'd originally each had a cigarette in hand, but partway through the evening after two hours of chain smoking, Nino had run out. Rather than giving him another, Ohno had simply held his own to Nino's lips, and they've been sharing since, one of the unconscious gestures that make Sho smile and reminds him that there really is more to their relationship than what they show the fans. Nino can't sit still; he can't on the best of days, and today is far from that. He rocks back and forth, crosses his legs, sits seiza on the booth bench, practically shaking the whole table sometimes and very clearly rocking the man sitting beside him. But Ohno makes no response, only stares at the clock, and for once, Sho is absolutely positive that his gaze is on something in the room around them rather than somewhere inside of him. He stares as if, by sheer force of will, he can make time move faster-- occasionally, he'll get distracted by something, as Ohno is want to do, a crack in the table or the condensation on Jun's drink or the curve of Nino's wrist as he presses their umpteenth cigarette to his lips with a trembling hand-- but then Nino will look over at him and say, "What's the time, Satoshi?" and then Ohno's attention will be back on the clock.
From above the table level, Sho notes, the average person wouldn't be able to tell that these two people were in fact a couple about to adopt a child. They hardly look at one another, not to mention speak, and besides occasional passing back and forth of the cigarette, there's nothing to indicate that they're even close. Nino squirms to keep his mind busy and Ohno stares at the clock, and it's so indicative of their personalities, Sho thinks. He would point it out to Jun, but Jun is always anticipating the next text of the same message, and Sho thinks, that's probably indicative of something in Jun, too. But regardless of everything, when Sho drops his napkin and has to bend down under the table to pick it up, he notices that Ohno's and Nino's hands are clasped tight together, fingers interlocked, and it's really at times like these when he thinks that no one will ever be able to understand those two fully. There's so much beneath the surface of their relationship that Sho doesn't even kid himself that, even as a close friend, he knows anything, but it's reassuring all the same, somehow, that such an odd couple have fit together so well.
But now is hardly the time for Sho to be waxing introspective on Ohno and Nino's relationship, because Jun is probably going to break his phone from how tightly he's gripping it, and if not, Nino is going to accidentally push Ohno out of the bench the next time he shifts in his seat. This is getting ridiculous, Sho thinks, and one of them is going to have a heart attack if some news doesn't come sometime soon. Sho has always been the one who's stressed out of all of them, so to see his friends this way is odd and somehow even more stressful; he gripes about it, but really, Sho doesn't mind being the one to bear the burden of worry for all of them. He wants to take the stress away, wants to promise them everything will be all right-- but of course, he can't. Still, it's just not right to see Jun's perfectly-waxed brows knit together this way, to see Nino tense and uptight like this, to see real worry in Ohno's glassy eyes, and Sho just wants this to be done.
But then, Nino's phone chimes, alarming all of them in the silence. Jun visibly starts, Ohno's gaze snaps down from the clock, Nino practically drops the thing, his short fingers fumbling with a clumsiness he usually never displays. Sho can't help but lean forward in anticipation, feeling his breath tighten in his throat as Magical Song (Aiba had set it that way when Nino wasn't looking and Nino hasn't changed it back) plays for them and the front screen informs them that Nino's lawyer is calling. Nino glances up to meet Ohno's eyes nervously, and Ohno offers Nino a tight smile, fingers squeezing white lines in Nino's hand, and Nino takes a deep breath before pulling open the phone and pressing it to his face, his voice tight and hopeful as he answers.
Sho studies Nino's face as the call commences and he thinks, out of everything that Arashi has done and will do, there's nothing that has been or will be more stressful than this. He's proved wrong a moment later, however, when Nino practically throws the phone across the room and pulls Ohno into a kiss right there in the izakaya.
The first week after the baby goes home with them, Sho thinks, is rough. All of their managers know what's going on, though very few others do, and they make accommodations as much as possible, but the fact of the matter is that Ohno and Nino's lives were already busy as it was, and this certainly hasn't made anything less complicated. For the first few days, Sho sees only Nino; Ohno, it seems, does better at home alone with the baby, a fact that clearly frustrates Nino no end. There are bags under his eyes and his skin looks paler than usual, and he snaps at every little thing. Jun rolls his eyes and ignores him and Aiba quietly tries to be helpful, leaving bentou by his things in the dressing room or making excuses when he falls asleep curled up in the corner of the rehearsal hall, but all Sho can do is worry. He wants to ask, wants to find out, wants to invite himself home with Nino, but he can't do that, and so he sits and frets as Nino snaps back to the staff that No, nothing's wrong, I'm just tired, god.
When Sho next sees Ohno a week and a half later, though, it isn't much better. Ohno's attention span has never been long, but now it's practically non-existent. His gaze drifts into space halfway through conversations, and, Sho has a sneaking suspicion, he's learned to sleep with his eyes open, so that in meetings with their managers, he can catch up for what he's very clearly losing at home. Sho worries that he's going to get sick, going to get Nino sick, going to get the baby sick. Sho worries that next time Nino leaves him alone at home, he's going to fall asleep and something's going to happen. Sho worries that while Ohno's here at work Nino will do something irresponsible...
But as much as Sho worries, there's really and truly nothing he can do, and though he lays awake at night wondering if Ohno and Nino are getting any sleep, the fact of the matter is that his bandmates are adults, and Sho has no business and no right to tell them what to do. Still, he frets and worries and wonders until, three months down the line, Ohno says in passing, "Don't you want to come meet him, Sho-chan?"
And so Sho follows Ohno home from work, heart pumping adrenaline through his system as he wrings his hands on the train. From beneath the brim of his hat, he can see Ohno watching the screens, or perhaps looking past them to something else entirely. But as they get closer and closer to their stop, Sho thinks he can see Ohno's eyes getting softer somehow, his lips curling up a little bit in the corners, as if he can't keep from smiling in anticipation, and maybe it's just Sho's imagination, but it soothes his nerves a little, nonetheless.
Ohno and Nino's apartment is a god-awful mess, Sho can tell even from the front door. Five or six pairs of sneakers litter the genkan, mixed in with three dress shoes and one misplaced leather sandal, and there are bags all around the front hall. But Ohno moves gracefully through it all as if it's not even there, and so Sho tiptoes through as well, trying not to make any noise in the stillness of the room. He follows Ohno into the living room, strewn with plastic bags and instant ramen cups, and there, in the centre of the mess, is Nino, a small bundle held close against his chest, head lulled back against the sofa. He's dressed in an old t-shirt and a pair of loose jeans that look like Ohno's, drab attire for Nino, and if anything, the circles under his eyes have gotten darker, but Ohno's face lights up in a smile at the sight. Sho doesn't know whether or not he's supposed to follow, and so he hangs awkwardly in the doorway as Ohno makes his way through the mess to stand behind Nino, leaning over the back of the sofa to press a kiss to his cheek.
Nino's eyes blink open slowly, and he stares at Ohno blearily for a moment before smiling tiredly and murmuring, "Welcome home."
"I'm back," Ohno replies serenely, smiling back at Nino for a moment before straightening and glancing back towards the doorway. "Sho-chan came to see Tomoya."
Nino follows Ohno's gaze, and Sho waves awkwardly, feeling completely as if he's intruded. The whole apartment feels like a completely different universe, like he might walk outside and close the door, and when he opened it and reentered, there Ohno and Nino would be, playing Halo on the floor in front of the TV, or else bickering about something stupid in the kitchen. But even when he blinks and rubs his eyes, here they are, and now Nino's coming over to him and Sho can finally see the small pink face peeking from beneath the bundle of blankets and god, he thinks, this is really happening, isn't it?
"Don't drop him," Nino says with a seriousness that worries Sho slightly as he hands Sho the baby, "And make sure you support his head." When did you grow up and become responsible, Sho thinks, and just yesterday, weren't we children ourselves, dancing in the background of groups who have never even held a solo concert in Kokuritsu? But he does as Nino says, of course, holding the infant tight to his body, and, Tomoya is a nice name, he thinks as he admires the baby's tiny nose, tiny mouth, tiny tuft of black hair protruding from under the blanket. It's transfixing, really, and though Sho doesn't particularly consider himself a baby person, he can't help but be captivated with this child, this child who belongs to Ohno and Nino.
"Go get some sleep, Kazu," he hears in Ohno's melodically vacant voice from somewhere behind him, but Nino does not reply, and Sho can feel him peering from behind him, watchful to make sure that Sho is doing as told. His gaze is practically tangible with how intently Sho can tell he's looking, an intensity Sho has only seen from him before when Aiba gets too close to an unsaved DS game or Jun gets too handsy with Ohno. But that's always been defensive, and this is softer somehow still in a way Sho hasn't seen before.
"This is your uncle Sho," Nino is crooning over his shoulder, "He's going to teach you math when you grow up so that you don't flunk out of high school like your other papa, you know..." And Sho can't help but laugh at that, really laugh for the first time since the beginning of this whole affair, because he isn't sure when Nino learned the right way to hold a baby or when he started caring about math and high school, but it's times like these when Sho realizes that maybe, sometimes, he worries for nothing.