title: clear blue
pairings: Jesse/Kouchi Yugo, Nakajima Kento/Kouchi Yugo
word count: 1,840
author's note: Sometimes, things in life just don't make sense.
summary: "I think I'll quit Johnny's," Yugo says one day, out of the blue.
"I think I'll quit Johnny's," Yugo says one day, out of the blue. He and Fuma are sitting in Fuma's bedroom, Fuma sprawled across his bed, textbooks scattered about his pillows, while Yugo sits on the floor with his back against the bedframe. The air is cool but the February afternoon sun is warm; they've been studying for finals together on a rare afternoon while they're both free. For a little bit, it had felt like the days back when they were Juniors, like nothing had changed. But it's different where it matters. Everything changes.
Fuma has been talking this whole time, about music, about his junior year of college, about the not-so-little-anymore ones in Sexy Zone and Nakajima and Hokuto. But at Yugo's words he goes silent, and Yugo can hear him shifting uncomfortably on the bed behind Yugo. He doesn't lift his eyes from the book he's looking at. This isn't a big deal. It can't be.
"What," says Fuma after a long pause, and it's not a question, not a request, not an exclamation. Yugo's not sure what it is, really, but he doesn't think too hard about it. It's not a big deal. It's just as normal as the schoolbooks around them, the walls of Fuma's room, the wide blue sky out the window.
"I think I'll quit Johnny's," he repeats, no explanation, no inflection. Just words. Just the truth. As if, if he's calm enough about it, it will keep Fuma calm, too. But it can't.
"Why?" Fuma repeats for what feels like the hundredth time two hours of tears and begging and shouting later, "Why?!"
Yugo's never been one to say anything he didn't want to any time he didn't want to, but this time, he can't answer. He has no answer.
Hokuto finds out from Fuma. Somehow, Yugo hadn't expected this outcome, despite the fact that really, it seems obvious after the fact. Sort of like how the fact that joining Johnny's at 15 was going to get him nowhere was only obvious after the fact.
Hokuto takes the news even less gracefully than Fuma. He yells until he's blue in the face, and then, when Yugo fails to have anything to say for himself, storms off. He's shaking as Yugo watches his back disappear down the hall almost as if it's a dream. He doesn't follow.
He doesn't speak to Yugo for two weeks, though whether its out of anger and spite or sheer social awkwardness, Yugo doesn't know, but he doesn't make the first move, either. The feelings are there, but the motivation isn't.
At the end of two weeks, though, Hokuto comes around. He's waiting for Yugo at the train station one Saturday morning as they head in for a filming-- one of Yugo's last, he knows somewhere in some foggy corner of his mind, but he isn't thinking about it, because it doesn't really matter. He's done dozens of filmings in his life. This is just one more.
The wind is cold despite the deceptively bright sun, and Yugo's hair blows into his eyes as he looks back at Hokuto, waiting for Hokuto to find words. He'll have to cut it soon, he thinks. He's always hated when it gets too long, but his manager has always insisted. Soon he won't have to worry about that anymore.
It takes Hokuto way too long to speak, and when he does, it makes no sense, anyway. "I've asked them to let you do a solo on your last Shounen Club," he announced, like that makes sense, like that's clear at all, Yugo laughs. He's never really been good with this sort of situation, he thinks, and now is worse than ever.
"E-eh?" he finally manages after a moment, running a hand through his hair to push it out of his eyes, still laughing. "This isn't AKB, you know."
And in that moment, the smile doesn't feel fake or wrong, really. It doesn't feel like anything.
The news trickles through Johnny's slowly but surely, earning quite a few "who?"s from senpai and kouhai alike. No one gives much of a reaction beyond that, but even still, word gets around, and Yugo knows he has to tell the people who are important to him sooner rather than later. Strangely, in the midst of it all, no one really seems that important, everything seems sort of grey and dull and mushed together even amongst the constant glimmer and shine of Johnny's, but he supposes there are those who deserve to hear it from him first.
And so, "I think I'll quit Johnny's," he says to Jesse one afternoon. They're walking to Yugo's apartment together after a work obligation, hand in hand. It's routine by now, being a couple. Jesse is much less awkward than he had been four years ago when they'd first stumbled upon on another, has become the ideal boyfriend. Yugo feels like he's the one stumbling now.
Jesse stops walking, looks at him, makes eye contact. Yugo can't really read his expression; maybe it's because he's squinting into the sunlight shining harshly on them from the clear blue afternoon sky, or maybe it's because Yugo can't even really feel whatever he's feeling and is in no position to understand what others are.
He doesn't know what he was expecting. Jesse says some words to him, and then they begin to walk again, as if nothing has happened. Yugo isn't sure what he said, either because he didn't hear or because he didn't want to hear, but he nods before they continue on their way, because it's not a big deal.
They do everything they had planned for the afternoon: study, eat dinner, have sex, go to sleep. But even though they're touching, Yugo knows they're already a million miles apart.
They want him to go through with the solo, for some reason. "They" being the management, that unfathomable entity above-- and Johnny's management has never really made sense to Yugo before, but he can't really say no. Some part of him wants to, but it doesn't really matter anymore, anyway. Funny how these things only happen when they don't really matter anymore, he thinks.
He's to choose the song, but he doesn't know what he wants. The management leave it up to him and walk away; that's always the way it's been. It seems unprofessional, but clearly, he's not cut out for this business, so what does he know?
Most of the Juniors know what's up by now. He isn't sure if he's been acting strangely or not, but one way or another, word has gotten around, and the few people to whom he's ever been a meaningful part of their lives are approaching him. "Why?" they all ask, and he doesn't have an answer. It should be clear as day, but nothing he thinks to say is quite right. It doesn't make sense.
"I don't really want to be an idol," he finally begins to respond to anyone asking, but even before it's out of his mouth the very first time, he knows it's a lie. It's not that he doesn't want to be an idol. It's that he can't.
He doesn't really know why he hasn't told Nakajima by the time his last week rolls around. Then again, he doesn't know why he would have told Nakajima, either. They barely ever see one another anymore. It's not like when they were in a unit together, it hasn't been for years. Those were different days.
Nakajima seeks him out. He's surprised when Nakajima corners him one day at work, dragging him into an empty practice room with a look of intensity in his eyes that Yugo hasn't seen in a long time.
"Why didn't you tell me," Nakajima says, his voice a hoarse whisper. It's almost more startling when Yugo was expecting a yell, and he swallows. He doesn't know what to say.
Somehow, "I think I'll quit Johnny's," is what comes out. As if he can rewind and insert the phrase in a month ago, before it became I'm quitting Johnny's. Before it became goodbye.
Nakajima is red in the face and his breathing is heavy, and alone together in the dimly-lit room, it does really feel like they've rewound the clock. But they haven't, and they can't, and so Yugo turns to go.
Except a hand on his shoulder stops him, and when he turns back, there's Nakajima, all Nakajima, only Nakajima. Kissing him.
Yugo isn't sure how much time goes by in that position, Nakajima's hand burning white-hot into his shoulder and Nakajima's lips burning white-hot into his skin, but it doesn't really matter. He feels Nakajima everywhere in a way that he hasn't even realized that he hasn't felt anything in a long, long time.
"Don't do it," says Nakajima when they break apart finally, suddenly, painfully, and for the first time since he made this decision, Yugo begins to cry.
He doesn't know what song he's going to sing up until the day before the Shounen Club filming. His last Shounen Club filming-- he doesn't think about it that way, but it's the truth. Nakajima has agreed to accompany him on the piano, so he doesn't need backup music. The management is wary, but tells him that it just has to be ready for dress rehearsal.
The theme of the episode is "blue skies." Nakajima suggests a few songs he thinks are fitting, offers a list of pieces he knows offhand on the piano. Yugo thanks him, but he still doesn't know what to sing. The way Nakajima has suddenly started kissing him again, pressed up against the piano or on the dressing room floor or on a sofa in the waiting room, isn't helping things, either. Things that seemed clear a month ago are suddenly cloudy. He listens to every Johnny's song on his iPod, but he doesn't hear anything, no matter how hard he tries.
Dress rehearsal sneaks up much faster than it should, for all that the past few weeks seem to have gone by in slow motion. He gives Nakajima an answer five minutes before they're called to places for the opening. It doesn't feel like the right answer, but he's not sure if anything would. It doesn't feel wrong, either. It doesn't feel like much of anything.
He feels sick to his stomach through the intro and the Junior medley, but by the time his solo comes around, the feeling has subsided for reasons he doesn't understand. People are talking around him, but all he can hear is ringing in his ears as Nakajima kisses him one last time on the mouth before together, they walk onto the stage.
Alone at the mic, Yugo stares at the empty seats in the house, at the lights, at the staff and the cameramen. They're all familiar by now, after six years, like home.
He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes.