pairing: Okamoto Keito/Nakajima Yuto
word count: 1,748
author's note: This fic runs along with my theory behind why Keito's dad sent him away to Britain-- that he has a minor learning disability like dysgraphia that would have made it really difficult for him in the Japanese schooling system. Take it or leave it, it's not really a major part of the fic, but there you have it.
summary: It's hard to say with what, really, but Keito has always had trouble with a lot of different things.
Keito has trouble.
It's hard to say with what, really, but he's always had trouble, with a lot of different things. Reading, writing, kanji-- not just as an adult, explained away by years out of Japan, but as a child, before he was sent away at all; in fact, the reason, he thinks, that he was sent away in the first place, if the way everyone treated his writing ability at boarding school was any indication. And reading music is hard, too, but at least that was remedied with years of practice and dedication… Not so much with his looks, for example; he struggles, even as a full grown idol, to try to put together an outfit in the morning, to tell the hairdresser exactly what he's looking for when he goes into the salon, to make his face into anything even vaguely attractive when he smiles for the camera, be it for a photo or for film. And not so much when it comes to people, either.
Because Keito has a lot of trouble with people. He loves his friends in JUMP, loves them dearly, and is more than grateful that they have taken him in the way they have. But it's unfortunately easy to remember how things were at the beginning, when they had all known one another for ages in some way or another, all been juniors together, sang and danced and performed on Shounen Club together while Keito was literally a continent away, practicing his penmanship and long division in a British boarding school, when they had all easily fit together as a group as Keito struggled to fit in anywhere, dealing with culture shock as a teenager along with the stress of debut. None of it helped on top of his inherent shyness, and he can still remember all too well how painfully awkward he used to be, how lonely he had been on their first night as a group, when the management had thrown a little party for them and the others had all been eating and drinking and laughing while Keito had felt invisible, pressed into a corner and afraid to even attempt to break into this group of people that he barely knew.
But at least they're all friends now; Keito had never been good at being social, at finding new friends at his international high school after being removed from the few friends he'd had in Britain, but more than anything, he knows he can count on the others in JUMP, no matter what. Sure, they like to tease him, like to poke fun at his accent or his appearance, but Keito doesn't mind, because at the end of the day, he knows it's out of love. He might not be the most popular person in Johnny's or the biggest social butterfly in the group, but he knows that if he ever needs a shoulder to lean on or someone to listen, the rest of the group will be there, and he loves them for it, every one of them.
But unfortunately, Keito's life has always gone in a slightly different direction from those of his peers, and every now and again, circumstance leaves Keito alone again. On this particular evening, he's having trouble yet again; while the rest of JUMP is off on their dinner break, Keito is stuck with a conbini sandwich in JUMP's dressing room at Shounen Club, frowning at the blank piece of paper in front of him. Exams for his international school always fall at a different time of year than his friends', and as a result, while everyone else has already finished their lyrics for the new album, Keito has yet to start, and he's stuck. It's frustrating, trying to find words when Keito has never been any good at writing to begin with, never been able to truly formulate his ideas on the page when the intricacies of written Japanese had gotten in the way, and so he stares and frowns and feels inexplicably lonely. It's not the rest of JUMP's fault that he's stuck here for dinner, he knows, and they'll all be back soon enough, but something about the emptiness of the room is distracting. Or something. Maybe it's all in Keito's head, but for whatever reason, he's having trouble thinking around the fact that he's the only one here, that all his friends are elsewhere.
But all he can do is try his hardest, and so he stares at the page, as if maybe staring it down will help, as if maybe it will get intimidated. But Keito's the one who's intimidated, really, because sometimes, it feels like he's no good at Japanese or English, sometimes, when he feels flustered or pressured, the words just don't come, and so he stares and stares and stares at the blank page, hoping that somehow, the right words will appear. It's probably this state of intense concentration, then, that distracts him from the sound of the door opening and leaves him jumping in surprise when suddenly, a voice behind him asks, "What's up?"
It's Yuto, Keito's mind realizes belatedly as he looks over his shoulder, his heart racing with the sudden adrenaline rush of being startled. But Yuto is grinning at him, and Keito can't help but grin back, even as he tries to catch his breath. "You startled me," he finally manages to respond, sifting through the jumble of languages in his head, and Yuto only grins back at him, unapologetic. That's the way Yuto is, though, playful and energetic and so not like Keito in practically any way, and maybe that's what Keito likes best about him. But it's hard to say what Keito likes best about Yuto, really, at the end of the day, maybe just like it's hard for him to figure out what to write to make this song into a reality. If he could think of poetic wordings for the reasons that he loved all of his friends, he probably wouldn't be stuck here right now.
"You've written barely anything," Yuto points out with a pout, nodding towards the page, a few scribbles in English smudging the corners but otherwise completely empty. "I thought maybe you'd be done in time for dinner. What's it say, anyway?" He points to the English, thoughts of dinner seemingly already forgotten, and despite all of his frustration, Keito really can't help but smile, not in the face of Yuto's mannerisms, his conversation. Maybe this is a distraction, but it's not as if Keito was getting much done before, anyway, and it's easier to face his own unproductivity with Yuto here.
And so, "It's a secret," he replies easily, much more easily than he might have with anyone else. Keito is shy, and with the others, he's the brunt of the joke, the person to tease, but with Yuto, somehow, one on one, things are much more equal. Five years ago, Keito never would have thought he'd have the presence or courage to tease anyone, but being in JUMP has changed a lot of Keito's previous ideas about himself, being with Yuto, in particular, has changed things. Yuto puts on an over-dramatic pout, but shrugs, peering over Keito's shoulder further, his long neck craning around, as if looking closer will help him decipher Keito's messy cursive, and Keito can't help but add, almost as an apology, "I can't figure out what to write…"
Yuto frowns at that, and for a moment, Keito's worried that he's said the wrong thing. It sends him into a momentary panic; perhaps he won't be any more productive with Yuto here than alone, but he wants the company, almost as if he were young and lost and lonely again. It's silly, because of course, in an hour or so, all of JUMP will be back, spreading boisterous warmth and laughter and love around the room, but still, there's something about spending time with Yuto, just the two of them, that feels like a different kind of right to Keito, something that he loves, something that he doesn't want to lose right now, in the face of frustration and failure.
But then Yuto shrugs, dropping easily into the chair beside Keito at the mirrors and elbowing him in the side, giving him a sly grin. "I'm here to give you inspiration, then," he responds playfully, leaning over the counter to look at Keito's page again. "You should probably write your song about me, or something!"
Keito laughs at that, and Yuto does too; it's a joke, and they both know it, but still, something about Yuto's words ring true with Keito. Sitting all alone here, he had been distracted by his own writer's block, but his own intense concentration over what to write, but now, with Yuto here, somehow, it seems as if the playful atmosphere might, in some way, make the words come easier. "I'll do my best," he responds with a laugh, giving the paper a rueful look and telling himself that somehow, he could conquer it. With Yuto's help, at least, maybe he could conquer a verse or two.
"You can do it!" Yuto encourages, pumping a fist into the air as if he's encouraging Keito at some sporting event, rather than lyrics composition. It's so Yuto, though, and Keito laughs again, nodding in response, but before he can get any words out, Yuto adds, "Because I'm here to be your hero!"
It's silly and stupid and joking, Keito knows, just as this whole conversation has been, just as Yuto always is, but yet, something about Yuto's words make Keito flash back to that very first day, all alone in the corner, while everyone else was chatting and celebrating and completely forgetting that Keito even existed, make Keito remember the one person who came and found Keito and with that same big grin on his face, dragged Keito from his hiding spot and introduced him to the others and stuck to his side for the rest of the afternoon and the rest of the week and the rest of forever. And Keito thinks, maybe Yuto is just kidding around, but he doesn't know how right he is.
But all he does is grin back at Yuto as he begins to write, fingers cramped and handwriting practically illegible and writing slow. But it doesn't matter, none of it matters. He knows exactly what to write now.
I wanna let you know, you are my everything…