title: Grown Up
warnings: mentions of a minor in an unhealthy sexual situation with an adult (depicted in a negative light); if this might be upsetting to you please read with caution.
pairing: gen; Fuma and Marius-centric
word count: 2,428
author's note: I'm a big fan of Marius... but I definitely think he can get himself into pretty shitty situations that might get him hurt... ;A;
summary: Marius is practically an adult, while Fuma has never felt smaller.
Marius is practically an adult-- or at least, that's what he thinks. After all, at a mere twelve years old, he already had a steady and dependable job, and not only that, but a job through which his face is plastered tens of times larger than life size on billboards all over Japan, a job through which he gets dozens letters from people he doesn't even know each day. And so, at twelve, he's already responsibly balancing his work and school schedule, already focusing not only on homework but also on learning scripts and choreography with little free time for things like clubs or games, things kids his age normally enjoy. But Marius isn't a kid, he's a grown-up, because outside of his responsibilities for work, he also understands the ways of the world far more than normal for a twelve year old-- he knows it's not normal by the looks on the faces of his senpai, his kouhai, the people around him. But Marius has always liked boys for as long as he can remember, and it only seems natural, he thinks, to learn how to get what he likes. But perhaps that's because he's mature for his age.
Because he knows, kids don't spend their break time at rehearsals curled up in the farthest corner of the rehearsal hall with their bandmates, mouths pressed together into hot urgency, bodies entangled just so, just right, and kids don't spend their time in between filmings on their knees in the bathroom, mouth full, moving to the sound their coworkers' breathing. The juniors his age look scandalized when Marius returns to the dressing rooms licking his lips and his fingers, but, Marius knows, it's just because they don't understand, because they're not grown-ups yet. "They're just jealous," Fujigaya-kun (the coworker of choice, most often) says, and Marius knows he must be right, they're jealous of the attention of a senpai like Fujigaya-kun and they just don't understand, because they're not adults like Marius, just like they don't understand why Marius giggles when Fujigaya-kun grabs his rear from time to time in rehearsal, or why Marius follows him home, a skip in his step as he walks out of the building with his hand wrapped tightly around Fujigaya-kun's own.
And it's great, Marius thinks, great to a grown-up, great to already be able to enjoy everything Johnny's has to offer him. He feels sorry, sometimes, for Sou and even occasionally Shori, who seem more immature than he is despite the fact that they're much older. Their eyes don't light up every time a particularly attractive senpai (or kouhai) appears in the same room, they don't know how to cock their heads and swing their legs just right to get smiles and winks from their admired senpai, and Marius thinks, it must be hard not to appreciate the finer things in life, must be dreary not to indulge in the more enjoyable parts of downtime at work.
And so Marius wouldn't give up his maturity for the world, wouldn't ever want to give up the situation that he has here and now. But still, there are some days when he doesn't know what to do, days when, despite his grown-up mentality, he feels lost and confused. Days like today, when onstage, during a show, with 3,000 people in the audience, Kento has for some reason decided to tease and make fun of him to the point that hot tears of frustration are welling in Marius's eyes and yet there's nowhere to turn, nothing to do but endure. And he just don't understand, doesn't comprehend why Kento feels the need to bring up one particular slip of the tongue on Marius's part from some moment of downtime weeks ago, especially when he knows Marius doesn't have the Japanese skills to speak perfectly all the time, especially when he knows Marius doesn't have the presence of mind to defend himself in a non-native language in front of thousands of people. It's ridiculous, really, the whole situation, and Marius doesn't know what to do, because he can't cry here-- tears are for when he hurts himself and wants kisses to make it feel better, tears are for when someone is holding out on something that Marius really, really wants. But these tears, burning against his eyes as he desperately fights to keep them at bay, have no place in the middle of a performance, and so he bites his tongue and says nothing, because there's nothing he really can say.
He tries to push it from his mind, because that's what grown-ups do, but by the end of the show, he's played the whole scenario over in his mind about a hundred times, and with embarrassment and frustration coiling hot and painful in his chest, he retreats to their dressing room while the others run through the halls in celebration of another successful show. They don't have much time before the next show, but right now, Marius doesn't care. Curled up in the corner of the dressing room sofa, he hugs his knees to his chest and cries all alone, because he doesn't know what adults are supposed to do in situations like this, and because he can't hold the tears in any longer. When he's usually the center of attention, usually surrounded by friends or adoring boys or some combination, he feels small and lonely now, huddled up in a ball, like he's shrinking into the corner so much that no one will ever notice him.
It's only a few moments, however, before a palm on his back startles him out of his self-pity, and he sits up with a start, surprised to see Fuma looking down at him from where he stands directly in front of Marius. Startled, Marius wipes futilely at his eyes, but before he can swallow back the lump in his throat and fumble for some explanation, Fuma offers him a small smile and sits down beside Marius, pulling Marius into a tight embrace.
"Shh," says Fuma, comforting fingers rubbing slowly up and down the length of Marius's back, a strong hand cradling his head against Fuma's chest, "It's okay to be a kid every once in a while, you know." And as Marius relents, crying into Fuma's chest and letting Fuma hold him for just a little while longer, he thinks, maybe, sometimes, being a grown-up is overrated.
Ever since Sexy Zone's debut, Fuma has felt very small. Despite the fact that, in rehearsals with his new bandmates, prepubescent kids, all of them but Kento, he's obviously he's the elephant in the room, tall and muscular and completely opposite of their light, cute, youthful charm, emotionally, he's lower than he's ever been, and he knows it. He looks at the younger three with envy when they bolster themselves for another rehearsal despite the fatigue obvious in their small bodies, when they smile and laugh and support one another in little failures. They have more strength in their slender frames, Fuma thinks, than he does in his whole hulking body, because while they push forward, Fuma can only sink down, can only think back to how it was before he was reduced to the emotional volatility of a child on the first day of school, surrounded only by unfamiliar people and taken away from those he loves.
He knows he ought to be happy, he knows that this is any Junior's dream come true, to debut, to effectively "make it" in the world of Johnny's; he knows, if nothing else, he ought to at least look on the bright side and appreciate what he has. But how can he when there's no bright side to be found, when he has nothing, because B.I.Shadow was his everything? And so despite his responsibility to his group, despite being the second eldest and therefore in a leadership role, Fuma crumbles under pressure again and again and again, retreating to the dressing room in tears time after time.
And the worst part of it is, just like a child having a tantrum, he can't even find it in himself to try, he can't even bring himself to do the right thing and pretend. Every now and again, Kento will seek him out and invite him to spend time with the rest of the group, every now and again, one of the younger ones will take him by the hand and ask him to come with them, but despite the fact that Fuma knows he should be an adult about it, despite the fact that Fuma knows he should swallow his own problems and go along for the sake of the group, for the sake of his own sanity, he turns them down every time, giving up trips to fast food restaurants and coffee shops for the back corner of their dressing room and rereading text messages from years ago, all saved in a special folder on his phone. It's so childish, he thinks, so immature to sit here and do this to himself, to break himself down further by trying to relive what's gone now, but he can't find the will power to stop when escaping into the past is so much more tempting than facing the unknown future.
And even during shows, he can't find it in himself to be an adult and do his job right, he just can't let go. When the staff asks his opinion for solos and duets with Kento, he chooses only nostalgic songs from their youth, or else depressing songs about breakups and loneliness, and even when Kento puts a hand on his shoulder later and meets his eye with a look of seriousness that, in Kento, Fuma knows means business and asks, are you sure about this, even then, Fuma can't grow up and say no, you're right, this is childish. Instead, like a student being scolded by the teacher, he averts his eyes and shrugs and says yeah, he is, why wouldn't he be?
And so just like rehearsals, he spends concerts, too, brooding and moping and crying, pretending that he's not singing to an audience but to people from his past, and it's ridiculous when this is his job, when this is his career, but yet, childishly, he can't stop, he can't let go. He knows he shouldn't but he does anyway, eyes clouded with memories as he sleepwalks his way through the group songs and fumbles his way through the choreography.
Often, he's the same way in the MC portion, mind elsewhere, expression unreadable as his bandmates tell anecdotes about one another, about juniors, about the group. Occasionally, when his name is said, he comes to and adds to the conversation, occasionally, the other members are engaging enough that he forgets his woes and is drawn into the stories, but for the most part, he couldn't care less, he couldn't care less about so-and-so's bike or what Shori did with whatshisname the other day. He doesn't care about anything that's happened in almost the past year, really, he doesn't care about anything that won't make B.I.Shadow exist again.
But at one particular Summary performance, for whatever reason, his attention is brought to the present briefly but enough that he notices Marius practically on the verge of tears. Perplexed, Fuma puts an arm around him and forces himself into the conversation; he isn't sure what's going on, but if there's something wrong, he figures he better involve himself. This, to him, seems like the natural reaction-- if one of his bandmates is crying, no matter how much Fuma doesn't want to be there, the least he can do is make sure he's the only member in tears after the show. But no one else seems particularly concerned about the incident, and so, despite the fact that Marius's mouth trembles as he rolls his lips together tightly, despite the fact that his eyes gleam with tears as he draws back away from the group, the incident passes and the show goes on, just as, Fuma has learned, it must.
But once the show ends, it's even more apparent that something is wrong, and for once, Fuma's own problems are the furthest from his mind as he watches Marius retreat from the group, disappearing in the direction of the dressing rooms. The other group members say nothing, but Fuma, who knows exactly how miserable it feels to tumble off the adrenaline rush of a show into tears, can't just look on as the baby of their group (and that's all he is, really, two years younger than the next youngest member, no matter how grown-up he acts) is left to cry all alone. And so, somehow, Fuma finds himself also retreating to the dressing rooms, not, this time, to nurse his own wounds, but to nurse someone else's instead.
When Fuma arrives in the doorway, Marius is curled up into the corner of the sofa, knees hugged to his head, face hidden. Even if his position doesn't, however, the small sobs and weak sniffs coming from his general direction give him away, and, without another moment of hesitation, Fuma crosses the room to put a comforting hand on his back and offering the most encouraging smile he has on hand.
Marius starts, his whole small form shaking with the surprise, and looks up at Fuma with wide, unsure eyes. His pale cheeks are damp with tears and his eyes are swollen with tears, and poor baby, Fuma wants to say, you poor baby. But instead, before Marius can try to hide the fact that he was crying, Fuma offers the only advice that he has, the only advice that he's been living by for practically the past year. "It's okay to be a kid every once in a while, you know," he says, and even before it happens, he can feel Marius start to give out, even before he consciously knows what to do, he's pulling Marius close likes no one has ever been there to do for him.
And so Marius cries into his chest, slender, weak fingers clinging to Fuma's shirt as he collapses into Fuma's embrace, and somehow, in that moment, Fuma feels a warmth in his chest that's been absent for a long time. "Shh," he hushes gently as he strokes Marius's back as comfortingly as he knows how, "Shh, baby, it's okay," and somehow, in that moment, he thinks that maybe, just maybe, it's okay for him to be a grown-up every once in a while, too.