title: never my love
pairings: Hiro/Erika (Hashimoto Ryosuke and Triendl Reina's characters in Bad Boys J)
word count: 1,588
author's note: I just saw the Bad Boys J movie, and it was lacking in Hiro and Erika funtimes, so I decided to make my own. No spoilers, so no worries! This was for shiritori over at writetomyheart.
summary: Maybe it's stupid of her, but maybe she feels exactly the same way.
"My turn," Hiro says suddenly, standing up and elbowing his way through their drunken friends, stumbling around in various levels of intoxication as speckles of light from the tacky faux-crystal chandeliers above them dance around them, seemingly almost in time to the music coming from the speakers on either side of the large TV screen before them. It's the Hiroshima Nights' year-end party, and everyone is in a good mood-- everyone, that is, except Erika. It's not that she doesn't like parties, of course, she couldn't exactly be a member of Nights and not like parties, nor that she's particularly bothered by the drunken warbling of her teammates to an endless playlist of pop songs, and while sitting next to them isn't exactly her favourite pastime in the world, she's not even really offended that over the course of the evening, Jun and Kenjirou beside her have gone from coexisting to bickering to making out within the past few hours. Normally, in fact, she'd be out there with the rest of them, singing and laughing and poking fun at their drunken antics (she can hold her liquor better than any of them, and everyone knows it), if it weren't for the fact that just prior to the party, she'd walked in on Hiro and one of his regulars getting a little more than friendly in one of the back rooms.
And never mind that a non-Nights member shouldn't have even been allowed in the club after hours, never mind that Hiro is a host and is literally giving away their team's profits by going out with potential clients in his free time, never mind that, assuming that he is being paid, he's supposed to be a host, not a whore… because as much as Erika uses all those reasons as excuses to scream at Hiro, to call him childish and irresponsible and a horrible leader, she knows, deep down, that that's not really what matters. She loves Hiro, and she knows that in some unfathomable part of his vacuous brain, he loves her, too, but sometimes, it's really hard to remember that when he flirts (and more) with every girl he lays eyes on.
Honestly, she's not even really sure how far he'd go with another girl if he thought Erika really wouldn't find out; she's gotten good at knowing when he's going to "host events" that are really off-the-clock group dates and stepping in before things get too far, and afterwards, Hiro always pouts and insists that it was nothing, just a little fun, not like he'd actually cheat, and most of the time, somewhere in her heart of hearts, she trusts him. But it's a little hard to remember when time and time again, every time she thinks it's safe, every time she lets her guard down, Hiro has to go and do something awful. She tries to make it seem like she's made of steel and ice, tries not to let it show to anyone that it hurts her (because she's got responsibilities to take care of and an image to maintain and the respect of all the others to keep, and she can't seem weak, anything but weak), but at the end of the day, the week, the month, sometimes it's hard to keep pushing when every incident, every moment, fleeting as it might be, of infidelity makes her feel as if she's being cut down another notch, slowly but surely, until there's nothing left.
And it's not as if she never expects Hiro to look at another woman, not as if she thinks he'll never look at porn or stare a little too long at lingerie and swimsuit advertisement billboards, but it would be nice, she thinks, even if this loop could slow down a little. It's wearing her down, fight, make up, fight, make up, over and over and over again, and she doesn't know how much longer it's going to be before she either snaps or falls apart. She loves Hiro, she loves him with every inch of her being, and she wants to stay by his side, watch over him, protect him forever… but one of these days, she's afraid he's going to wear her out to the point that she can't anymore. Hell, right now, sinking into the cheap faux-leather sofa, surrounded by the white noise of dozens of people talking at once and ensconced in the faint warmth of alcohol, she's starting to feel like she can't even hold herself up anymore.
But then Hiro stands up to sing, and she sighs, crossing her arms across her chest, her lips pursed into a displeased pout. They haven't spoken since the incident earlier, or rather; Erika hasn't spoken to Hiro after verbally ripping him apart upon discovering him, and she hasn't acknowledged anything he's said to her long enough that, for the time being, he seems to have given up. She knows some of the guys, the younger ones, especially, who haven't known her for long enough, call her a bitch, say things about their relationship behind Erika's back (as if they won't get back to her, honestly), but she doesn't really care. Right now, she's hurting too much to let Hiro sweet talk or grovel his way back into her good graces, and she doesn't feel any responsibility to be polite about that fact when it's Hiro who's put them in this position in the first place.
And so she watches with a look of disinterested scorn, as Hiro snatches the mic from one of their stumbling friends, the closing bars of the most recent EXILE single fading out into the dulcet opening of a song Erika doesn't recognize. It sounds old; not just passe-old, but old-old, like something their parents might have listened to when they were young. Eventually, characters begin to appear on the screen in preparation for the first verse of the song to begin, and Erika is surprised to see English letters outlined in white in front of some generic background video. Honestly, she's not even sure Hiro can read English, and so she's utterly surprised when he opens his mouth and begins to sing as if he's been practicing for this his whole life.
She's no expert in English, but she does pay attention in class on the odd days she attends, and she's a bit stunned as the relatively simple lyrics unfold on the screen and then from Hiro's lips. More than the fact that this isn't the type of music Hiro has ever listened to for as long as Erika has known him, Hiro is proclaiming (albeit perhaps in a language he doesn't understand) his undying, unwavering love, a sentiment that, at times like that, Erika doubts Hiro is even capable of comprehending. Still, the words make her breath and her heart catch in her throat a little, and she straightens in her seat, blinking at Hiro's back as he sings.
But then suddenly, in what feels a little bit like a dream, or else a scene from a drama, Hiro suddenly turns away from the screen, locking eyes with Erika where she sits of the sofa before him. There's a look in his eyes that Erika doesn't quite recognize, and maybe it's close to how he looks when he's determined to do what's necessary for the sake of their team, or maybe it's a little bit like the way he looks at her first thing in the morning on days she's given up and decided to stay in bed with him instead of going to school like she really ought to, but she can't place the meaning, can't read his expression as he gazes at her with a look of surprising seriousness while the song continues around them, between them.
You say you fear I'll change my mind
I won't require you
Never, my love
And before she knows what she's doing, she's on her feet, face to face with Hiro, completely ignoring the fact that the song is still going, the fact that Hiro still has the mic in his hand, the fact that all of their friends are standing around them, watching. She doesn't know how somehow, in this moment, Hiro has said more than he was ever able to in hundreds of apologies and promises in the past, but right now, she doesn't care. She places her palms on Hiro's cheeks and pulls him in for a kiss right then and there, catcalls and groans of disgust coming from around them be damned, because maybe it's stupid of her, but maybe she feels exactly the same way.
Hours later, when they're tumbling out of the taxi and onto the sidewalk in front of their building, the sun just beginning to peek over the horizon and casting long shadows in front of them, their two forms merging into one as they walk towards the door hand in hand. Hiro's far drunker than Erika, leaning his weight on her maybe a little more than he'll want to admit tomorrow, but Erika can only smile. "When are you going to stop being so stupid?" she asks, bumping shoulders with him purposefully and looking up at him fondly.
Hiro only laughs back, leaning into her a little further as he turns his head to plant a kiss firmly on her cheek, drunken and clumsy but loving and devoted all the same.
Never, my love.