title: daitai daijoubu ["mostly fine"]
pairing: Nakajima Kento/Kouchi Yugo; Matsumura Hokuto/Kikuchi Fuma background
word count: 3,655
author's note: Somehow, recently, I had a bunch of feels and ended up writing this. Set maybe 10 years into the presumably AU future.
summary: Yugo wakes up in the morning and thinks: he has a long day ahead of him.
Yugo wakes up in the morning and thinks: he has a long day ahead of him. After all, it seems hard enough to find the strength to roll out of bed when his muscles are sore and it's cold in his apartment and he has no real motivation besides work and more work, but unfortunately, that's the way the real world works. Luckily, Yugo has always been fairly good at accepting the real world, and so he finally takes a deep breath and ventures out into the chill of the apartment, switching on the space heater as he steps into his slippers and scuffs into the kitchen to put on some coffee. The walls of the apartment are poorly insulated, but at least in a few moments the bedroom will be tolerably warm, and once he has the coffee going, he returns, sighing from the doorway at the clothes tossed around the room, tacky silk shirts and skinny jeans mixed with parkas and sweatpants from days at the rehearsal hall. A lot has accumulated in the few days since Yugo last had the chance to tidy up, but he supposes that's life when you're an idol, that's just the way it goes, and so he tiptoes around the mess to the closet dresses quickly in layers to fend off the cold, the Summary 2015 t-shirt under that Sexy Zone parka that he'd "borrowed" and never returned a few years back. He has a long day of rehearsals in the morning before the Shounen Club Premium filming scheduled in the evening, and Yugo has never been one to put his looks ahead of comfort.
Once he's dressed, the coffee's done, and he braves the cold of the kitchen in exchange for the warmth and caffeine waiting for him in the pot. There are two dirty mugs on the kitchen table still from yesterday morning, but the pile of dishes in the sink is far more formidable, and so he picks the one the looks cleanest and rinses it quickly before pouring for himself. A few sips later and he feels marginally more prepared for the day, microwaving yesterday's leftover miso soup for breakfast. He realizes he's forgotten to set the timer on the rice cooker again; the night previous had been busy, and there's no time to make rice now before he has to be at work. He puts rice on anyway before the microwave chimes, but a glance at the clock tells him he doesn't have time for much more as he drinks the soup and his coffee quickly and checks that everything he needs in his bag. It takes him a moment to find his coat, slung over the back of the sofa in the living room rather than hung up properly, but luckily, his car keys are in the pocket, and then he's ready to go.
Before heading out, he ducks back into the bedroom, switching off the space heater and pulling the plug from the wall outlet, just to be safe. Rising, he's about to leave when the rustle of fabric catches his attention, and he glances back over to the bed. Kento has rolled over, already taking advantage of the space that Yugo had left behind earlier, and despite how tired he is, despite how cold he is, Yugo can't help but smile to himself. "I'm off," he says quietly, lingering a moment before turning to go. If he doesn't hurry, he's going to be late for rehearsal, and that certainly isn't going to make his day go any easier.
Kento wakes up in the morning and thinks: he's cold. It's not that the room is colder than usual, or that he's accidentally kicked the covers off in the night; he's tucked neatly into bed just like he'd fallen asleep last night, but with one major difference: he's alone. Without the heat of another body beside him, the bed seem much less comfortable, and so when his alarm rings, he forces himself out of bed, feeling as if there's no point in sticking around alone, anyway. Frowning at the space heater as he shivers in the cold of the room, he passes it by and goes straight for the air conditioning unit remote, turning on the heat-- it's not as energy efficient, he knows, but he's cold, and with no one else around to scold him, he doesn't figure it really matters. Satisfied with the stream of warm air slowly dispersing through the cold of the apartment, he moves to the kitchen, where he finds both coffee and rice hot and waiting, and he smiles to himself. He would rather have been less cold in bed this morning, but having breakfast ready is almost as nice.
There's enough leftover miso soup in a container in the fridge for one more serving, and so Kento throws it in the microwave despite the fact that the container probably isn't microwave safe before attempting to find a clean mug. The pile of dishes in the sink has been growing for days, and Kento knows he ought to try to find time to clean it sooner or later, but he definitely isn't brave enough to face that challenge before his coffee, at the very least. There's two mugs sitting out, anyway, one of them more recently used than the other, and after a moment of inspection, Kento choses the former, figuring it's been rinsed at least once this morning. It's the one with the large green letter Y on the side, the mate to the one with the K buried somewhere in mass of dirty dishes, but Kento only smiles to himself and doesn't let it bother him as he pours himself coffee and sits down to breakfast with the newspaper.
He feels significantly better by the time he's done, but he doesn't have too much time to dawdle before heading out to work. He has a magazine photoshoot and interview with the rest of Sexy Zone that afternoon and a filming in the evening, after all, and if he wants to beat traffic, he needs to get going, and so he finishes off his coffee with a sigh, turning off the coffee maker and packing the remaining rice into a plastic container before heading back to the bedroom. He frowns from the doorway; the place is a mess, various articles of clothing overflowing the hamper and strewn about the room, and he sighs, wondering if there's ever going to be enough time in the day to get the place cleaned up. But there's certainly not today, and so he nudges a sweatshirt and a pair of shorts out of the way so that he can find a pair of jeans and a button-up shirt in the closet, as well as a pair of boxers. It's hard to tell if any given pair of generic black boxers are actually his or not at this point, but he supposes it doesn't really matter at this point as he begins to dress in front of the mirror, carefully putting his outfit together just so and finishing the look off with a necklace and his watch… even though he's going to end up costumed for all of his photos and filming, there's no reason, Kento thinks, not to look his best at all times.
Once he's ready for the day, he has a few minutes before he needs to head out, just enough time to duck back into the kitchen. There are three bananas left sitting in the bowl on the table, and Kento frowns; he'll have to buy more as soon as he gets the chance. He throws one into his bag before grabbing and peeling another, leaning against the counter and finding his phone, opening a blank email as he takes a bite. Thinking a moment, he taps a quick message, thanks for making coffee & rice, let me take u 2 dinner tonight? oh and can u get bananas if u have time?, before shoving his phone back into his pocket and tossing the banana peel into the burnables on his way out the door. Today is going to be a long day, but, at least, he thinks, probably not a bad one.
While the group of former Johnny's Juniors who starred in the Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou franchise so many years ago never reached peak popularity after debut, that isn't to say that they haven't done fairly well for themselves. Well enough to keep them more than busy, anyway, and by the time rehearsal is winding down, Yugo is exhausted. They're coming up on a new concert tour now, not too many locations, not too big venues, but they're all excited, all working their hardest to put on a good show nonetheless. Throughout the choreography, Yugo is always placed in the back or off to the side, the most out of the way place that there is to have in a group of six, but he doesn't really mind. He's never been the most popular out of any group he's been in, and besides, what matters is that he gets to perform, right?
And he loves performing, but rehearsal really is exhausting, and he spent a good chunk of his lunch break running to the nearest grocery store to pick up a fresh bunch of bananas, as per request. Still, even if he's worn out by the end of it, he's doing what he loves, and so it's with a tired smile that he chats with Hokuto about nothing as they clean up and pack their things at the end of rehearsal. Besides, even if Yugo has already heard the story about how Fuma, genius that he is, has managed to fix his and Hokuto's hot water heater despite the fact that Hokuto thought they were going to have to throw it out twice already in passing (once when Hokuto was telling it to Shintaro and a second time when he was telling it to Juri and Taiga), it's nice, he thinks, just to be able to spend time with friends this way. He's lucky to be in a group with people he loves and trusts, he thinks, even if it isn't the group he had originally been hoping for.
Eventually, Hokuto's story winds down and they have to head out; "see you at NHK hall," Yugo calls as they head for their separate cars. Traffic is bound to be bad at this time of day, office workers heading home from work and parents picking up their children from club activities and couples, families going out to dinner together, and Yugo does his best to wait patiently, not to get anxious about making it to the filming on time. He and Hokuto had left with plenty of time, but of course, it's a little hard not to look forward to a filming, an actual performance after a whole day of exhausting rehearsal-- as much as Yugo loves his work there's nothing quite like standing under the lights, up on the stage. And as much as Yugo loves his band, his groupmates, the bond that they have together, there's nothing quite like performing with old friends, either.
As he sits on the congested mess that is Tokyo rush hour, Yugo flips on the radio, anything to keep his mind busy, to distract him. It's only a matter of time before Sexy Zone comes on; they are, after all, the next big thing, and their new single has once again topped the Oricon charts by a landslide. The tune is catchy, and Yugo taps his fingers against the steering wheel as he listens-- he's heard this song before, of course, seen Kento and Fuma perform it on TV and in concert, but he hasn't really sat down and listened to the recorded version yet, just listened without being absorbed in the visuals, in his friends. The lyrics have changed since Yugo had first seen the unofficial version scribbled in an B4 notebook months ago, and he smiles to himself. They've definitely gotten better, compositionally speaking, but Yugo was a little partial to the original.
Eventually, the song changes over to a new one, and Yugo's attention fades, his mind back on the road as he finally makes it to NHK hall. They've already done the interview portion of the episode, and so today is just the performance filming, which means hair and full makeup and costumes and stage shoes and all the rest, and it's going to be a few hours before Yugo is actually in front of the cameras, singing, dancing, doing what he loves. But still, he can't help but bubble a little bit like a teenager as he locks the car and heads inside; he might still have hours left of work, but at the end of a long day, honestly, this feels more like play than work, and Yugo is looking forward to it.
While Sexy Zone has been dubbed "the new Arashi" by more than one member of Johnny's management in the past few years, that isn't to say that they don't have some down time in their lives. Besides, most of the time, work is fun for Kento, dancing and singing and interviewing and planning are fun. Of course rehearsals are tiring, of course hurrying from one photoshoot to the next interview, one filming to the next concert is tiring, but it's all rewarding, and Kento would never want to do anything else with his life. And since today is all magazine engagements, no actual rehearsing or performing, it's practically breeze as Kento sits still for hair and makeup and then smiles pretty for the camera before regaling magazine staff with all the most interesting (and only slightly aggrandized) stories of his life. It's not like he's the only one who exaggerates, anyway; as he sits and listens nicely to Fuma go on and on about how Hokuto had managed to fix their hot water heater despite all of Fuma's best efforts, Kento has a feeling that that's not exactly how it went; Hokuto has always been a little clumsy, and Fuma has always been way better with technology, but he says nothing. His and Fuma's rapport hasn't changed much over the years, and Fuma is the one who pokes the fun. Kento will wait until later to tease him, when maybe he'll even be able to tease Hokuto at the same time.
Kento always enjoys talking about himself and listening to his bandmates talk, and so he's surprised when he glances at the clock after the interview and finds that they ran almost an hour over. At this point, he and Fuma are going to be late if they don't rush, and so he quickly shoves his banana into his face despite Fuma's disapproving looks (it's not Kento's fault that he hasn't had a real meal since breakfast!) before gathering his stuff. Luckily, by this time of the evening, traffic will be clearing up, and so, Kento thinks, he'll probably be able to make it in time. Not that it really matters; call is always ridiculously early so that the staff have plenty of time for hair and makeup, but Kento doesn't want Fuma and Hokuto on his case for the rest of the evening. And besides, it's always nice to spend time with old friends, even if it is in a work setting.
And so he bids his bandmates goodbye as they take their time packing up their things and discussing dinner plans; Kento is a little sad he and Fuma will be missing out when they so rarely have time to do anything leisurely as a group, now that they all have dramas and variety shows and solo activities a lot of the time, but if he were to say he wasn't happy about the filming that evening, he would be lying. Fuma chides at him to hurry up as they make their way to the parking garage; it makes Kento smile to know that Fuma doesn't want to leave without him despite the fact that, obviously, they're taking separate cars, but he only rolls his eyes and teases Fuma that he should just go on without Kento if he's in such a hurry to see Hokuto. They both laugh--they both know that it's not only Fuma who's eager, and Kento smiles as he climbs into his car and tells Fuma he'll see him in twenty minutes.
It turns out to take a little more than twenty minutes, but even if he's going to be a few minutes late for hair and makeup, Kento isn't too concerned. Fuma seems to have made more of an attempt to make it on time, because his car is already there when Kento pulls in, and Kento knows he's going to get scolded later, but he hardly cares, and besides, he's heard of enough scandals to know that he isn't going to run red lights, even if it is to make it to a work obligation. Still, he supposes he should hurry as he puts the car into park and climbs out, pulling his bag out, as well.
As he does, however, something catches the light as it falls out of the car along with Kento's bag, and he kneels to pick a silver ring up from the pavement. Kento recognizes it instantly; it's the mate to the one on his own left hand, misplaced a few weeks back. Kento had searched high and low for it at the time, and he doesn't know how it made it into the passenger's seat of his car, but really, that's not what matters, and he smiles to himself as he pockets it and heads into NHK hall. The day might be far from over, but, Kento thinks, there's only good things to look forward to from here.
The Shounen Club Premium dressing room at NHK hall is bustling with activity as the staff prepares for the evening's filming; it's only the performances segment, and with a tight schedule at the venue, everyone wants to get in and out quickly. Often, the livestage and talk segments are filmed in one evening, but since this week's guest isn't a group but rather a "special unit," a former junior group brought back together every once and again more because the members want it than at the desire of the agency, schedules didn't mesh, and things had to be done when there was time to squeeze them in. It all seems a little silly, but even now, there are a few fans who will put down a lot of money for the old B.I.Shadow, and so their activities continue, even if they're few and far between.
And busy and hectic as it might be, the dressing room differs from those of so many debuted groups in that the atmosphere is anything but tense. In a situation like this, where so little is riding on the upcoming performance and the members are all here genuinely because they want to be, there's no sharp words being exchanged, no preening or posturing. Yugo and Hokuto are the first to arrive, chatting amiably about their group's upcoming tour, soon followed by Fuma, who's greeted with a smile and wave from Yugo and a peck on the lips from Hokuto before he even gets a chance to set down his things. Kento brings up the rear, arriving ten minutes late, but manages to avoid any friendly (but annoyed) scolding from Fuma and Hokuto partly by somehow managing to time his arrival just as Fuma and Hokuto have gotten caught up discussing dinner plans, hand in hand even as Fuma sits to have his hair styled, and partly by heading straight to Yugo with a sly grin as he asks, "Guess what I found."
Yugo is delighted by the return of his ring, and its reappearance triggers a long debate hypothesizing how it ended up in Kento's car in the first place, but the discussion is interrupted when Kento is dragged aside by an annoyed staff member who reminds him that he's late and needs to get ready as quickly as possible. Yugo laughs at his pout and drifts away to join Hokuto and Fuma's discussion, but returns as soon as Kento's done to cheer him up with a gift of his own, dropping the grocery store bag from earlier into Kento's lap with an affectionate smile. "I skipped out on lunch to get these for you," he teases, bumping shoulders with Kento as he pulls on the sequined jacket left out for him, and is rewarded when Kento snakes an arm around his shoulders and pulls him flush again, planting an unnecessarily loud kiss on his cheek and asking in return where he wants to be taken for dinner.
The conversation starts at dinner but diverges, eventually drawing Fuma and Hokuto over and enveloping all four, joking, laughing, smiling, just like all those years ago. But soon enough, the staff members are back calling for them on set, and so they all amble along, smiles lingering on their features as they get into their old places, just the four of them together on the little stage. It's been years and years now, years of ups and downs, changes and new experiences, but as they all stand here together, words still seeming fresh on their lips, it almost feels as if despite all the struggles and hard times, some things haven't changed at all…
Four for the dream, yume no kirehashi
Hanasanaide, donna toki mo
Kujikesou na yoru ga kitatte, daitai daijoubu darou…
Yugo wakes up in the morning and thinks: he has a long day ahead of him. But with Kento pressed close against his side, arms still wrapped tightly around Yugo's waist and head fit just so into the crook of Yugo's neck, Yugo can't help but think, somehow, he'll make it through.