Title: Somewhere from the Dysfunction
Pairing: Sho/Ohno friendship more than anything
Word Count: 1,474
Author's Note: Written for rainbowfilling! The prompt was regrets.
Summary: Sho's parents have been on him again.
Sho's parents have been on him again.
It's intolerable, really. Every time he thinks things are getting better, every time his mother sends him a pleasant (if abrupt) email to say she's seen his new movie or his father asks him home for dinner, something happens to set them off, and then somehow, they all fall back to square one. And it's not as if Sho is under any delusions that their relationship is perfect, not when he can practically feel his parents' disapproval radiating off of them as they mention that one of his Keio classmates has just gotten a position at ToDai, not when they bring up the fact that his sister chose to follow him into TV and it feels like a punch to Sho's gut, but he's always hoping that they've progressed somewhere from the dysfunction that could barely be called a relationship when Sho was a teenager and his parents were never anything but disappointed.
He supposes it makes him a sap, to keep hoping that they'll accept him for being a Keio graduate and an idol, to keep thinking that maybe one day they'll understand that Arashi makes him happier than a Diet seat ever could have, but he hopes anyway. He can't help it; in the end, he's always been one to believe that if he only tries a little harder, he can succeed. But the Keio degree didn't do it and position with News Zero didn't do it and the fact that he's probably more well known than most people in Japan didn't do it, and by now, it's almost painful to keep hoping. He knows he's constantly betrayed by the little remarks here or there, by the lyrics to Hip Pop Boogie or the way he tenses whenever the other members mention something nice they've done with their family, but he just can't let go, and he doesn't think he'll ever be able to.
And sometimes, things are all right, but sometimes, things like the whole hotel-cigarette scandal happen and things go so far south it hardly feels like it's worth trying anymore. Sho really fails to see how a hotel employee abusing his privacy and collecting his trash is his own fault, but just like the media, which is constantly grasping at any hint of a scandal it can sniff out when it comes to Sho the worrier, Sho the careful one, Sho who always keeps his nose clean, they latch onto the one minute detail in Sho's disfavour-- the cigarette butts.
Johnny's management helpfully steps in and swears up and down that the cigarettes belong to a staff member and not to Sho, but as much as Sho appreciates it, it's clearly a lie. It's not much of a secret that Sho is a smoker; but really, who isn't? That doesn't make it okay, he knows, and he's tried to quit before, but as his stress levels have grown over the years, so has the number of packs of cigarettes he goes through weekly, and by now, it's practically a lost cause. It's not something he tries to defend, but it's neither here nor there, and he's pretty sure he's not even the worst of them when it comes to Arashi. But regardless, it seems like an awfully stupid thing for the tabloids to have fits about, Sho would be perfectly prepared to go back to worrying about his image, stressing about being careful and keeping his nose clean (and smoking all the more for his nerves, in an cyclic sort of irony) if it weren't for his parents.
They don't mention the article to him, of course, they've never been that way. But the day after the scandal breaks, Sho receives an email to his computer about the health concerns of smoking from his mother, and the next time he sees his father, he gets a cutting I noticed you made the papers in passing, which, Sho knows, can only be in reference to one thing. And then there's the sudden influx of name-dropping of daughters of politicians and family friends, of female kouhai from Keio who are now successful doctors and lawyers and professors, and Sho hates it all. He hates that he can never be what they want him to be, and while he's spent years and years and years hating himself for it, sometimes, he can't help but hate his parents a little bit, too.
But he's not with them most of the time, and so he can push those issues to the back of his mind and focus on the things that make him happy. Arashi is always supportive at times like these, and it's easy to distract his mind with other things when he has friends as amazing as they are. After all, there's nothing like Jun's home cooking and Nino's clever conversation and Aiba's laughter to cheer him up, and despite the fact that he always worries before they come over to his apartment, worries that his place is in too much of a disarray or else that it will be in too much of a disarray after they're gone, in the end, Arashi is always the cure to any of Sho's ailments. Regardless of the fact that nothing has changed with the tabloid situation, by the time his friends leave, Sho feels as if everything is better.
And then after Jun and Aiba and Nino have left, Ohno lingers, sitting beside Sho on his couch and leaning against him, just slightly, just enough. There's a cigarette between Sho's fingers; it's Ohno's but they share, it comes naturally when they're alone like this, just the two of them. They're quiet; Ohno is staring vacantly at a slightly askew pile of magazines on Sho's coffee table, and Sho follows his gaze for a moment, thinking. When they're in a large group, their leader is usually quiet, and Sho is never sure if he's contemplating the here and now or another world completely inside his head, but when they're alone, it's easier to tell, somehow, that Ohno's thoughts are on him even if, in the directest sense, they're not. It's comforting, really, and though Sho knows he should get up and do the dishes or go over that script for the upcoming drama filming or answer emails, he says put, leaning into Ohno comfortably, letting his mind mull over the events of the past week in slow motion despite the fact that he really shouldn't.
The silence is easy-- Sho knows Ohno will speak if wants to-- but Sho's thoughts are not, and so, after a moment, he takes a long drag on the cigarette and sighs, letting his head fall back against the couch tiredly. "Do you ever regret it?" he asks quietly as he hands the cigarette back to Ohno, despite the fact that he's not even sure if that's an okay question to ask. After all, unlike Sho who threw himself into Johnny's entertainment, into show business with all of his heart despite the pressures and the risks, Ohno had never wanted this, not when he got in and not when he tried to get out. And since Sho has thought so many times over about what it would be like if he had taken another path, if he had become the politician that his parents wanted him to be, or perhaps an academic, or an economist, he wonders if Ohno doesn't have those thoughts, too.
There's a moment of silence, but Sho knows Ohno has heard him and that Ohno knows what he's talking about, and if he chooses not to answer, Sho will let the question drop. Ohno shifts against him, humming quietly as he places the cigarette between his lips, but says nothing, and so Sho is about to give up and ask about the fishing trip Ohno took last weekend to lighten the mood when, all of a sudden, Ohno responds, as if it were obvious as anything, "Nope."
And as Ohno hands the cigarette back to him, Sho can't help but laugh at Ohno's clear, melodious tone, the same as if Sho were asking him if he wanted ramen or was too busy to spend time together that evening. Somehow, he had been expecting something else, some sort of emotional baggage, some unhappiness... but of course, Ohno is Ohno, and to Ohno, the past is in the past, and Sho thinks perhaps that's why he's always been drawn to Ohno this way, perhaps it's because Ohno is everything he's not-- everything his parents would hate-- and is wonderful and beautiful and perfect because of it.
And so, laughter still on his breath, he presses the cigarette butt into the ashtray and curls further into Ohno's side, breathing in the honest smell of soap and laundry detergent, and replies, "Me neither."