title: the cutest
pairing: Nakayama Yuma/Morimoto Shintaro
warnings: Relationship between two minors. Read at your own discretion.
word count: 2,060
author's note: These two have been adorable together ever since Battery ♥
summary: To Yuma, Shintaro is cute.
Shintaro is small, Yuma can't help but think on the set of Battery, so small and so cute. Yuma himself isn't exactly an adult; at fourteen, he's gangly and awkward and in the middle of puberty, his voice cracking and his limbs never doing what he wants of them, but in the midst of a growth spurt sending him upwards and off balance, if there's one thing he's not, it's small. Sometimes he wishes he were, wishes he were small enough to shrink out of sight when he trips over his own feet like an idiot, when he can't remember the choreography at rehearsal and couldn't execute it even if he could remember it, when his hormones get the best of him at all the wrong times… but he's not, he's tall for his age and all limbs and all over the place.
But Shintaro is the exact opposite of all that, Shintaro is so small and so cute and so confident, greeting everyone around him with a sweet smile and the most precious little wave, and sometimes, Yuma catches himself just watching as Shintaro flits from staff member to cast member, saying hello or sometimes pausing to receive compliments and praise. Yuma wants to compliment, wants to praise, too, but he's too awkward and can't find the right words, and so when Shintaro chimes his good morning to Yuma, Yuma can only wave back, a dumb smile on his face as he watches Shintaro drift away to the next person. It's a bit rough, when there's just something about Shintaro that captivates Yuma, perhaps like the younger brother he never had (because sometimes having only sisters can really suck), or perhaps as something else altogether (though Yuma really isn't sure what), and he wants to ask Shintaro about himself, or to play with him, or… or anything really, and yet, when Shintaro is in his vicinity, there's a lump in his throat and his tongue feels numb and all he can do is smile and wave and think so small, so cute…
It sucks, and Yuma isn't quite sure what his problem is, but it's hardly life-shattering, either, and so Yuma goes on with his life, trying not to stare too much when Shintaro does something particularly cute, either on or off the camera. But then one day, for whatever reason, Yuma finds himself alone on set with Shintaro; they're filming a scene just the two of them, but the staff members present suddenly decide they need to double check something about the lighting and run off, telling Yuma and Shintaro to stay put for the time being. The set is suddenly awkwardly silent, and Yuma sits on the floor feeling completely out of place, not sure whether to try to make conversation or to keep to himself or what.
He's staring into the distance, contemplating his distressing state of affairs when suddenly, he notices movement out of his peripheral vision, and suddenly, Shintaro's face is mere inches from his, looking up at him with adorable, wide eyes from where he kneels on the floor beside Yuma. Yuma's heart is suddenly in his throat and he can't find words, all he can think about is Shintaro's round cheeks and smooth skin and the adorable way his lips curl up at the corners… but luckily, Shintaro does the talking for him, chiming, "Can I sit in your lap~?" before crawling on top of Yuma without waiting for an answer.
But even if Yuma doesn't have the words to say it, it's yes, a hundred times yes and then some, and as Shintaro situates himself on top of Yuma, Yuma can't help but slip an arm around his middle, can't help but put a hand on his head, holding him tight and petting his hair like he's some sort of oversized puppy that Yuma's begged and begged for and finally gotten for Christmas. But Shintaro isn't a puppy, he's something even more wonderful and magical, a little boy with his own mind and his own will who has chosen to come close to Yuma simply because he wants to, and it's almost too much for Yuma to wrap his mind around.
Everything is quiet for a moment; Yuma feels awkward, but Shintaro seems happy enough just to be here, angling his head appreciatively into Yuma's hand and humming contentedly. He's only a child, though, his attention span is short, and so after a few more minutes, he begins to talk, first about the drama but soon expanding to other topics that Yuma knows less about, school and his brother and their fellow Johnny's Juniors. Yuma listens with rapt attention; even if he doesn't know any of Shintaro's teachers in elementary school or much about his older brother's eating habits or the names of the other small Tokyo Juniors with whom Shintaro spends his time, the sound of Shintaro's voice, his cadence and the way he pauses between thoughts are somehow just as cute as his appearance, and Yuma wants to sit here like this listening to him forever. He knows that soon, they're going to have to start filming again, and he's dreading it, but for just a few more moments, he hopes, they can stay this way, just the two of them…
And, "The other Juniors," Shintaro is saying, voice small and high in pitch, "We all have rehearsal together next weekend… they're all really cute, aren't they?"
Yuma doesn't really know any of them, their names or their faces, but without thinking about it in the slightest, he replies easily, "You're the cutest to me."
He hears the words as they come out of his mouth and immediately turns a brilliant shade of red, because where did that come from, what was he thinking? But Shintaro only giggles and leans further back into Yuma's embrace, and Yuma can't help but think that, well, it is the truth.
Shintaro is big, big and getting bigger these days, as he rehearses for the Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou cast shows of Summary. He's only a third year in junior high school, but yet he towers over most kids his age, both taller and broader than Jinguji Yuuta and Nakamura Reia and the other middle school seniors in the agency. Yuma hasn't changed so much in height or stature since he was fourteen himself, but now Shintaro is the gangly and awkward one, Shintaro is the one tripping over his own feet even as he executes the dance steps with a sense of grace and assurance that Yuma will never, ever posses. It's not his fault that his feet are suddenly far larger than he's been trained to expect, that his arms are longer, that his center of balance is higher, Yuma thinks as he watches from the doorway to the rehearsal hall, but yet every time he trips or stumbles, Shintaro seems to think that it is.
And it makes Yuma a little sad, to see him frown, to see him get frustrated and kick the wall when he thinks no one's looking, because it's so different from the kid Yuma used to know, the little boy with the sweet smile and the precious way of mingling with everyone he met; now, it seems Shintaro doesn't quite know how to mingle, now that he can look most of the staff members in the eyes, now that there's no prayer of being picked up and coddled. He doesn't know how to be an adult, Yuma thinks as he watches Shintaro, and he can remember the feeling himself… but it's different, he knows, different because Yuma was never the ideal little boy, either, different because he knows Shintaro doesn't want to be anything other than the ideal little boy. Now, when interviewers ask him about his ideal woman and he says he wants to date someone at least three or four years older, they give him odd looks and uncomfortable laughs, now, when he says he likes being treated as a "younger brother" character, they laugh, as if it's ludicrous. Shintaro laughs too, because he doesn't know what else to do, but Yuma can tell that he's hurting, he's scared, because if Shintaro can't be what he's always been… what is he?
It sucks, but Yuma isn't quite sure what to do about it, when obviously, he can't force Shintaro to de-age back to a tiny ten-year-old. He wishes he could grow, could become like Jesse or Nakajima Yuto and tower over Shintaro, make him feel small again. But now he and Shintaro see eye to eye, too; Shintaro is a good four centimeters shorter than him at least, but it's not enough for Shintaro and Yuma can tell. Before, when Yuma used to take Shintaro out back when they first started "going on dates," when Shintaro was only twelve and Yuma liked to pretend that they were a real couple, he used to pick Shintaro up to give him a better view of Christmas illuminations, used to let Shintaro sit on his lap for a better view from the kankeisha seats of concerts they attended together. But now that they are a real couple, now that they're both old enough to do the thing right, to go on real dates and hold hands without it seeming as if they're brothers and spend evenings curled up together on the sofa in a much less innocent way than they used to… now Shintaro certainly doesn't need the help, and it's driving a rift between them as they awkwardly hover side by side, Shintaro unsure of how to proceed and Yuma afraid of doing the wrong thing.
But he tries his best, anyway, he takes Shintaro by the hand and leads him when they go out, he still orders for him in restaurants and ruffles his hair when they're alone together, and he thinks maybe, a little, it helps. Shintaro smiles when Yuma coos over over him, curls in closer when Yuma puts a protective arm around him, and even if the size and scale is a bit different from years past, Yuma thinks, it still feels right, it will always feel right as long as it's Shintaro. He wants to say it, but he can't, doesn't know the right timing, the right circumstances, the right words, and so he just keeps trying to show it through every look, every smile, every touch.
But today is a bad day, he can tell, today Shintaro is struggling more than ever with choreography Yuma knows should be easy for him, if only his big feet and long arms weren't getting in the way, and so when the director calls a break and Shintaro sulks alone into the break room,Yuma follows. He finds Shintaro flopped down on the couch staring self-pityingly at the ground, and Yuma hates to see him this way, not when Shintaro has always been the brightest star in Yuma's sky, not when Shintaro's warmth and radiance have always been what picks Yuma up in his hardest times. It's the least he can do to repay the favor, he thinks, and so, offering a smile, he moves to sit beside Shintaro, letting Shintaro rearrange so that his head is resting in Yuma's lap.
Everything is quiet for a moment; Yuma has learned that it's best to wait for Shintaro to talk, and so wait he does; he'll wait forever if need be. But it's only a few moments before Shintaro sighs heavily, shaking his head against Yuma's thighs even as Yuma pets his hair as comfortingly as he knows how. "I'm a hot mess," he mumbles, voice thick and heavy, and it kills Yuma a little to hear him this way.
But he knows that right now, while Shintaro is down, he has to be the confident one, and while he's never been good at that, it's not so hard to simply speak the truth. And so without a moment of hesitation, he replies, "You'll always be the cutest to me," because even if everything has changed in the past four years, really, nothing has changed at all.
And Shintaro doesn't respond, but he nuzzles into Yuma's hand and nods, looking up at Yuma with that same sweet duck-lipped smile, and Yuma only shrugs, a smile forming on his own lips, and adds, "It's the truth."