title:the best gift
pairings: Kento/Yugo, Jesse/Yugo are the explicitly stated ones~
word count: 3,186
author's note: Happy birthday, Yugo! I hope you have a great day, whether you're doing this or something else. ♥
summary: Yugo spends his birthday in several different ways, over the years.
Yugo spends his seventeenth birthday in the best sort of way, surrounded by friends and doing things he loves. Or, for the most part, anyway; he spends the entire day at school taking standardized tests, staring at rows and rows of bubbles to fill in until he thinks he's going to be seeing bubbles in his nightmares, which isn't the most pleasant way to start off the day. But afterwards, he has Shounen Club rehearsals with Kento and Hokuto and Fuma, and that's more than enough to lift his spirits and get him through the day. After all, yesterday was Fuma's birthday, and soon it will be Kento's birthday, too, and in Yugo's mind, if there's anything better than celebrating his birthday with his friends, it's celebrating his birthday with friends who are also celebrating their birthdays. Of course, rehearsal comes before the celebrating, but Yugo enjoys that too, enjoys dancing and singing with his friends more than anything else in the world. He wishes that he didn't have to go to school at all, that he could spend all day this way, running the choreography over and over again until sweat is running down his face into his eyes and his muscles are aching, pushing through the frustration until he gets all of the steps right, running his lyrics over and over again until they're perfect. It might seem mindless and tiring to some but Yugo wants, hopes to do this for the rest of his life, and even now, when the only time he can rehearse is after school, he gives everything he has. Yugo knows he's not as talented as the rest of B.I.Shadow, but he loves them and he loves his work, and to be together in rehearsal this way is enough for him on his birthday.
And then after rehearsal, it's time to celebrate; Hokuto had gone out with Fuma yesterday for Fuma's birthday, but Kento and Yugo hadn't had time, what with senior year of high school starting soon, and so today's little party is for both of them. They'll probably end up celebrating again, maybe on a weekend with some free time during spring break around Kento's birthday, but today, Yugo is more than happy just to go to McDonald's with his friends, to sit and eat unhealthy food together, to talk and joke and laugh, just the four of them. He really can't help but wonder, as they sit, pressed close in a little booth in the corner of the fast food restaurant, Kento gesticulating with his french fries and Hokuto trying to tell a story but tripping over his own tongue and Fuma giggling all the while, can't help but wonder how he had managed to be lucky enough to be put together with three wonderful people, how he managed to make the three best friends he could ever ask for. They even get him gifts, despite the fact that he's told them he doesn't need anything, a new set of fashionable earphones from Fuma and a homemade hat from Hokuto and a gag t-shirt from Kento, and he loves them even more with every gift he opens-- even when really, their friendship is all he ever needed.
They stay out way too late, really, too late for students who have school the next day and for kids who are only fifteen and sixteen (and seventeen now, Yugo thinks, feeling old), but finally, it gets late enough that they know they're going to be in trouble with their parents if they don't head home soon, and so they part ways, waving goodbye at the train station as Fuma and Hokuto break away to take the subway while Kento and Yugo head towards the JR lines. They're going in opposite directions, but even still, Yugo is happy to have a few last moments together, to have a few last moments of his birthday celebration to hang onto before going back to the reality of schoolwork and chores and home life. Not that he really dislikes any of those things, really, but he likes spending time with his friends, spending time with Kento a whole lot more.
Still, eventually, they have to part ways, and so Yugo waves as he heads towards the Sobu Chuo line, knowing Kento will be going up the opposite set of stairs, towards the Yamanote line. But before Yugo can turn away, he feels a hand grabbing his, and then suddenly Kento is pulling them into the corner beside the stairway and pressing his lips to Yugo's in a brief but firm kiss.
"I'll give you your real birthday present tomorrow," he murmurs with a wink, lingering close to Yugo for another moment before pulling away and turning towards his own train. "See you!"
And while Yugo knows he needs to get home, he can't find his legs, or, for that matter, his brain for a moment as he leans against the wall, watching Kento disappear into the crowd. He can still smell Kento's cologne lingering against his skin, his clothing, and despite the fact that even if they're not exactly famous, they really shouldn't be doing anything so intimate in public, despite the fact that Yugo was completely taken by surprise and his heart is still racing in his chest now, he can't help but think that perhaps this has been his best birthday gift yet.
Yugo spends his eighteenth birthday awash in a sea of confusion and nostalgia and loneliness. He spends the entire morning in graduation rehearsal, sitting in a freezing cold gymnasium and listening to people talk about how he's never going to see any of his high school classmates again, about how their time together has been brief and fleeting, about how they'll all go their separate ways now, like cherry blossoms scattered on the wind. In the past, Yugo has always felt the graduation speeches were a little overdramatic, but now, in his current state of affairs, he constantly feels as if he's going to cry, and it's not even the actual ceremony yet. But he knows better than let it show; he tries to choke back his tears and wipe his eyes discretely with the sleeve of his blazer, and when people ask what's wrong, he says it's hay fever.
After school, he has the afternoon free; the next week, after graduation, he's scheduled to start filming for this new drama he's going to be in, but right now, he can't even really bring himself to look forward to it. Kento and Fuma, of course, are far too busy to spend much time with him right now, now that they're debuted and putting out new singles and doing concerts all the time, and besides, Yugo doesn't know if he has the energy to spend time with either of them. Being around Kento hurts, after everything that's happened over the past year, and while Yugo knows he just has to suck it up and move on, he doesn't think he should have to endure listening to stories of Kento's sexual escapades with all of his new friends now that he's a real debuted Johnny's talent. And Fuma… Fuma is the opposite, constantly in tears and emotional, saying things that terrify Yugo, that he wants to quit Johnny's, that he wants to lock himself in his room and never leave, that he wants to die, and Yugo doesn't think he has the strength to comfort him today, not when Yugo is also suffering in the wake of B.I.Shadow's destruction, not when today is supposed to be a happy one. After all, he'd spent yesterday with Fuma, trying to distract him from the fact that he was having to spend his birthday without the group people he held closest, and Yugo doesn't think he can take a second day in a row.
And so he ends up spending his birthday with Hokuto, who's also free for the afternoon, in a little coffee shop in Ikebukuro. It's threatening to rain and Yugo's collarbone aches; it's healed completely now, and he's perfectly fine, but somehow, it's harder to find his usual positive attitude about the whole thing as he stares down into his coffee, not feeling much like celebrating. Hokuto has never been good at being social, but these days, it's gotten infinitely worse; when he doesn't sit in long, sullen silences, staring into the distance, his conversation sounds so forced that Yugo is tempted to tell him that it's okay, he doesn't to strain himself for Yugo's sake. He knows Hokuto had put his entire heart and soul into B.I.Shadow, that he's been broken to pieces ever since the announcement last September, but Yugo thinks, after almost half a year, if he isn't pulling himself together by now, what's going to become of him? What's going to become of all of them, Yugo can't help but wonder despite the fact that he tries so hard to push that thought from his mind every time it crops up, but the fact of the matter is that, when so much of Yugo's life has been about B.I.Shadow, about Kento and Hokuto and Fuma, the worry is more of an ugly cloud hovering over his head, and Yugo has yet to see the sun even after five months of bad weather.
But it's his birthday now, and so he tries to enjoy it, tries to make light conversation with Hokuto as they sit at their little table, forcing themselves to talk about work, about the other juniors (but never their former groupmates), about school and home and everything else in between. Eventually, Hokuto beings to smile a little bit, here or there, when Yugo makes a joke or mentions something funny that happened at school, and as long as they steer clear of Sexy Zone, as long as they steer clear of the past, Yugo is happy to find that usually, given some time, he can draw a little bit of happiness out in Hokuto, even if he tries his hardest to be as miserable as possible.
And so when they're about to part ways, paying their bill and grabbing their things, Yugo can't help the way his heart squeezes in his chest when Hokuto suddenly grabs his hand and catches his eyes to say, "Sometime this week, maybe we could meet up to do remaking. If you want." And even if it's something little, something that Yugo wouldn't have thought twice about a year earlier, he can't help but feel that this is the best birthday gift he can hope for.
Yugo spends his nineteenth birthday free, for the most part; he has class in the morning and needs to study a little for one last final exam, but he's always been good about planning ahead to avoid last minute cramming, which is especially important when a lot of the time his classmates are cramming, Yugo is filming for TV or rehearsing for shows or getting photographed and interviewed for magazines. He doesn't know if he's more or less busy than when he was juggling high school and idol life, but at any rate, the more freeform schedule of college makes it easier for him to manage his time, and allows him to enjoy himself on his birthday, much more, at least, than during the two years previous.
And so he goes to his class and does his studying in a coffee shop on campus in good spirits; he likes college well enough, even if he had always hoped he'd be an idol soon enough that college wouldn't be a part of the picture, and he's not unhappy with his classes, his college life. But in reality, he spends most of the morning waiting, and as soon as the clock strikes three pm, he can't help but head out to the train station despite the fact that his meeting time isn't until four-thirty and it certainly doesn't take him that long to get across town. Who can really blame him, he thinks, when he's off to start celebrating his birthday?
He arrives at the meeting place-- Shinjuku station-- far too early, and does his best to not get spotted by the paparazzi or seem like a suspicious creep as he loiters around, waiting. He checks his phone, reads a book, tries to mentally study, but no matter what he's doing, he can't really concentrate, and spends most of his time glancing at the crowds flowing in and out of the stairways to the various tracks. It's silly of him and he feels like a small child, but he can't help himself, and when he finally spots a tuft of fluffy brown hair peeking out from the on average much shorter mass of balding salarymen and other commuters still wearing hats against the chill of the wind, he can't help but grin. "Hey," he greets as Jesse jogs up to him, apologizing for being late and straightening his rumpled school uniform. He's clearly rushed straight from school, and Yugo feels like the luckiest person alive to have someone who clearly wants to spend time with him so much that he hurries to make as early a meeting time as possible. And so, "Don't worry about it," Yugo replies with a grin, standing on his toes to straighten Jesse's skewed glasses and using the closeness as an excuse to grab his hand. "Aren't you going to wish me happy birthday?"
He's teasing and he's sure Jesse knows, but Jesse always gets flustered at times like these, and it's cute, Yugo thinks, as they head towards the JR lines together. He has to let Jesse's hand drop as they join he crowd for fear of unfortunate paparazzi photos cropping up later, but he doesn't mind so much as the bump sides amongst all the other people on the way before crowding into a packed train together, pressed side to side. Kento and Fuma have work today and are going to be late, but they're to meet Shintaro and Juri and Taiga and Hokuto at a Korean place nearby, and Yugo is already looking forward to his first real birthday party probably since he was eight years old. Still, he's glad for the time he has now with Jesse, silly and pointless as it is just to travel to to the restaurant together… because isn't enjoying the silly and pointless times the best part of being in a relationship?
He really shouldn't, but he can't help but wind his fingers through Jesse's again as they leave Shin-Okubo station and head into Korea town; hopefully everyone here will be too interested in the giant knockoff posters of 2PM and Girls' Generation hanging from shops all around them to notice the two Johnny's juniors making their way through the crowd hand in hand. Yugo doesn't notice anything out of the ordinary, at least, besides Jesse's adorable blush the whole time, and as much as he wants to keep hanging on, he pulls away again as they near the restaurant, knowing that if they show up hand in hand, they'll never live it down for the rest of the day. There are other distractions from the fact that he can't spend his entire life touching his boyfriend in some way, though; it feels like they've barely said hello, barely made it into the restaurant and ordered their food when all of his friends begin talking at him at once, throwing presents his way and laughing and smiling in a way that Yugo doesn't really understand but somehow knows means that they respect him. They've said it before, in magazines, in person, that he's their banchou, he's their leader, he's the one who holds them together when the uncertainty of their current position starts making them all fall apart at the edges, but seeing it now, in their eyes, in their smiles as they wish him happy birthday somehow means even more to him still, and he can't help but smile either, smile huge and stupid, because it feels like his heart is so full of feelings that if he doesn't try to get them out by smiling, he might explode.
They talk and eat until they can't talk and eat anymore, but soon enough, Fuma texts Yugo to say that he and Kento are out of work and are headed to meet him now, and so Yugo rounds up the party and they all hurry into hats and masks before heading off to Yugo's apartment together. It's a Friday, and though they have rehearsal tomorrow, Yugo can't help but want to spend every possible second with his friends, and so his parents have agreed to go out for the evening, letting him bring the party back to his place. They meet up with Fuma and Kento at the station before all heading back together, the raucous laughter and shouting and cheering only growing louder as they're finally really in private, they can finally shed their disguises and talk as loudly as they want about work, about friends, about who's dating who and how they bet they know what Jesse's going to give Yugo for his birthday, and is it really a good idea for them to all stay the night when that sort of thing is going to be going on?
And despite Jesse's brilliant blush again, Yugo only takes his hand and leans into his side as they sit together on the floor and laughs, happy to be able to do this without worry, finally, happy to be here with his friends who feel comfortable teasing him about that sort of thing, with whom he can laugh about stupid things like that. And even if they joke about all going home and leaving Yugo and Jesse in privacy, they all end up passing out on the floor anyway, entangled in one another accidentally or intentionally or some mix of the two.
And Yugo stands and smiles at them all, feeling like he really is the luckiest human being alive to have friends like these, before picking his way through to curl up on the sofa with Jesse for the night, hands still wrapped together tight. It's a little tight, but Yugo doesn't mind, and judging from how many times they've done this in similar places, Jesse doesn't either. They really ought to be going to sleep considering how early they have rehearsal tomorrow morning, but Yugo can't help but tilt his head up to press a soft kiss to Jesse's cheek. "Thank you," he whispers, his smile still lingering even as sleep tugs at his eyelids, and he feels Jesse squeeze his hand from where he lays with his arms wrapped around Yugo's waist.
"Happy birthday," Jesse replies, and while his words are simple, Yugo can tell from his tone of voice that what he really means is I love you, even if he's too young, too awkward, too embarrassed to admit it, and even more than the parties and the food and the presents, that, Yugo thinks, is the best birthday gift of all.