title: (third time's the) charm
pairing: Jinguji/Reia, side Yuma/Shintaro
word count: 2,438
author's note: All of my Jinguji and Reia fics have been in chronological order (ish) up until this point, so I figured it might be time to backtrack.
summary: In fact, pretty much everything seems perfect in Jinguji's life except for one sticky little factor-- all the cool older juniors have boyfriends, and Jinguji is painfully single. Set in summer of 2012.
Jinguji likes to think that he's pretty much the most fabulous Junior who should have been but wasn't chosen for the younger half of Sexy Zone. After all, he has it all-- charm, good looks, wit, a great voice, sexy dancing abilities… maybe, he tells himself, he was too good to be in Sexy Zone, and that's why he was passed over, so as not to upstage Nakajima and Fuma. Or maybe Johnny is just going senile like everybody whispers about when they think none of the management can hear, but either way, he's definitely not at all bothered by the fact that he got passed over for debut. In fact, he thinks, this is a good thing-- he'll be the top of the juniors for a while and then debut when he's even more perfect and has a huge fanbase, to boot.
Of course, he's not really sure how to go about enacting his plan right from the get-go; a huge fanbase takes time to build up, after all, and he's already so talented that he's not sure what to work on. There are certain limits to being fourteen-going-on-fifteen, like the fact that, try as he might, he can't make his voice come out as deep as he'd like, or the fact that no matter how much he eats, he can't seem to put on weight, only get taller and skinnier. Still, he tells himself, there's time, and besides, there's a certain charm to having a high range, a certain draw to being the tallest Junior in his age group. And so for the time being, he does his best to smile big and elbow his way to the front of every lesson and buy only the coolest, most fashionable animal print sweats and flashy-coloured skinny jeans.
And sure, maybe it's hard to push himself above and beyond perfection, but by the time Sexy Zone's one year anniversary is getting close, he thinks he's pretty much got the hang of it. He's already making more and more friends among the juniors, impressing them all with how cool and funny he is, and he's sure that he's well on his way to impressing the management, as well. In fact, pretty much everything seems perfect except for one sticky little factor-- all the cool older juniors have boyfriends, and Jinguji is painfully single.
But, he tells himself, that shouldn't be a problem. Seeing how cool he is, he's sure plenty of boys want to date him, or would want to, if he decided to turn up his charm another notch around them. But of course, he can't just settle for anyone; he has to have the best, because he is the best (or at least, he's going to be), and so when he isn't showing off his amazing sexy dancing in rehearsal, he starts trying to scope out the other juniors around his age for the perfect match. There are a lot of cute kids, making it a bit of a decision, but he keeps finding himself coming back to one choice that stands out amongst the others: Nakamura Reia.
Because Reia is really everything he needs to up his image, Jinguji thinks as he waits his turn in the back of the rehearsal hall and watches Reia move across the floor with somehow the perfect balance of grace and style, Reia is older (already fifteen, practically an adult, really) and experienced and confident, always flirting and laughing with everyone around him, and he's been in Johnny's for years, too, with an established reputation. He's best friends with Morimoto Shintaro, the apple of everyone's eye, making him popular, too (and for a while, Jinguji had been worried that Reia and Shintaro, who's gotten, loathe as Jinguji is to admit it, much bigger than Jinguji recently, might be an item, but that was before he'd, for better or for worse, walked in on Shintaro and Nakayama Yuma in the dressing room at Shounen Club). On top of it all, Reia's cute and tiny and, Jinguji is sure, would look great on Jinguji's arm, and so after a brief period of deliberation, he sets his sights on Reia, feeling confident that soon, he'll be able to check "boyfriend" off his list, too.
He briefly plans his attack the first time he attempts to engage Reia in conversation just the two of them, thinking he'll compliment Reia to win him over and ask him for advice to flatter him before asking him if he wouldn't like to practice the choreography together, just the two of them. It practically sounds like something out of a romance drama (or at least a mune-kyun lines segment), and so it's with confidence that Jinguji sidles up to Reia one day during a break in Shounen Club rehearsals. He's just separated from a group of his friends, a smile still lingering on his lips from some joke as he checks his phone, a somehow effortlessly artistic single bead of sweat rolling down his cheek, and when Jinguji takes a deep breath to steady himself, he can't help but think that there's something unique and enticing about Reia's scent. Suddenly, his heart is beating out of his chest, because Jinguji's never had a boyfriend, or a girlfriend, or anything like that before (why did he need one when he had his mom and anime?) and this all feels a little overwhelming, but he's confident in his abilities nonetheless, and so he sidles up to Reia flashing his most charming grin.
"You looked pretty good out there," he says, and Reia looks up at him in a way that makes Jinguji's pulse race even more, though he can never tell if Reia's raising his eyebrows or if that's just the way they look.
"Thanks~" Reia replies, grabbing his water bottle and taking a drink in the most enticing way, and, Jinguji thinks with excitement, this must be for his benefit, this must be because Reia wants him too, giving him confidence to continue.
"You're way better than me, huh~" he adds, gazing down at Reia with what he hopes is a seductive look in his eyes. "What do you say to practicing together sometime, just the two of us? I bet I could really benefit from your… expertise." He winks afterwards for good measure, because winking is totally charming, right?
But Reia only laughs, setting his water bottle aside and rolling his shoulders to keep his muscles from cooling down too much. "Sorry, I'm busy~" he replies lightly, looking right back at Jinguji, eyebrows still frustratingly high, "but you might want to watch your arms in the opening number; you're a bit early at the end." And with that, he flits away, leaving Jinguji standing alone, not sure whether he should feel discouraged or insulted or what.
But after pouting about it for a few hours, being the mature adult that he is, Jinguji decides that pouting isn't going to get him anywhere and starts planning his next move. True, the last time had been like a romance drama, but… well, perhaps that was a little too contrived. He doesn't want to come across like he's just trying to take advantage of Reia, after all! Besides, he has a lot of competition-- there are tons of boys who flirt with Reia every day, since he's quite a catch, after all-- and Jinguji knows he has to think of something to outdo them all. Lots of boys tell Reia he's pretty… but how many, Jinguji thinks, patting himself on the back for his own ingenuity, go out of their way to try to help him? That shows real, concrete interest, right?
And so, the next weekend finds him in the doorway of the dressing room waiting for Reia after rehearsal, a bottle of fruit juice in one hand and his most handsome, charming smile on his face. He's practiced it in the mirror for the past week, worried that the last one came out a bit too overconfident and not enough like boyfriend material. He's heard the complaint boys only date assholes, not nice guys enough times that he doesn't think it would help to seem too overly kind, but since Reia is older and assured and experienced, Jinguji knows that the haughty tactic probably isn't going to work either. He thinks that, over the past week of practicing in his bathroom mirror, he's found just the right balance, though, and so it's with some confidence that he straightens himself from where he's leaning against the door frame when Reia comes around the corner.
"Hey," he says as nonchalantly as possible, and he really wishes at times like these that his voice weren't so high, but he supposes that Reia's not so much older than him that he ought to mind, and besides, he sounds pretty darn charming, for a fifteen year old.
Reia looks up at him with that damn raised-eyebrow look again, and for a moment, it feels as if he's staring into Jinguji's soul. But all he says is, "Hey," in return, and Jinguji tells himself, it must be all in his head.
And so, "Good work today. You look tired," he says, proceeding as planned and holding out the drink to Reia. "I got this for you."
Reia looks at him for another moment, then looks at the drink, and it feels like ages of nothing as Jinguji waits in suspense. Finally, though, probably only a second or two later, he accepts the drink, blinking at the label. Jinguji thinks he's won, but then Reia walks right on past him, stopping only a few feet away and looking back over his shoulder to reply, "I don't really like fruits, sorry~" leaving Jinguji to wonder if he's cursed or something.
He knows he can't give up, after pouting around again for a day or so, but this time, he's really stumped. If the cool approach didn't work, and the nice approach didn't work, then… what else is there? Why is it that Reia will flirt with other boys who aren't half as cool or talented as Jinguji but won't give him more than a second glance? It pisses him off the more he thinks about it, the more he watches Reia flit around the studio, cute and graceful and pretty as he is, and with each passing rehearsal, it makes Jinguji more and more frustrated that he may never be able to attain what he wants. Because sure, there are lots of other boys, but by now, Jinguji has his heart set on Reia, and maybe it's because he's stubborn, or maybe it's because in the past few weeks of plotting, Jinguji hasn't been able to help noticing how sweet Reia is whenever anyone asks him for help, or how adorable his face is when someone makes him laugh, or how beautiful he looks with concentration in his eyes and a serious look on his face when he pays attention in rehearsal… And it sounds stupid, but worked up as the whole situation makes him, Jinguji can't give up, not now, not after all that.
But he doesn't know what to do, and so he pouts around rehearsal for the next few weeks, hanging off to the side or the back of the room and watching Reia, as if somehow, gazing at what he can't have is going to give him some sort of divine inspiration. It's hard not to watch Reia, though, talented as he is, and so Jinguji sits and stews for lack of anything better to do. He ends up getting lost in thought more often than not, wondering what type of guy it is that Reia really likes, what sort of dates he might go on, what it would feel like to be on those dates with him, knowing that he had the cutest boyfriend in the world…
But then one day, a pinched-voiced "Anyone home?" startles Jinguji out of his daydreams to find Reia alarmingly close to him and peering up at him as he stares into space. Jinguji flails and almost loses his balance before cursing himself for letting his guard down and doing his best to recover his cool look and relaxed posture.
"H-hey…" he manages running a hand through his hair and hoping Reia can't see through him quite as easily as it seems like he can from the look on his face. "What's up?" Because suddenly, it occurs to him, it's really unusual for Reia to approach him, and then his heart is in his throat and his mind is racing.
"You were looking at me," Reia replies with a mischievous grin, and fuck Jinguji thinks, Reia probably thinks he's a weirdo, probably is going to tell him off, or call him gross… but instead, he just cocks his head to the side with sparkle in his eyes that Jinguji doesn't know how to read and adds, "Is there anything you want to say~?"
Jinguji's mind feels like it's going on overdrive, his palms getting sweaty with nervousness, and before he even knows what he's doing, "I like you!" is coming out of his mouth, and god, he feels so stupid, like a kid, really, but he can't seem to stop himself now. "You're cute, and good at dancing, and… please go out with me!!" And now his face is bright red, and it feels as if he's yelled the last bit loud enough for the entire room to hear, and he feels like he's about to die of embarrassment, because fuck everything, he's such an idiot, and now he's going to have to find a way to forget Reia and start over from square one with someone undoubtably less appealing and talented and… well, perfect.
But all of that fades away a moment later when Reia flashes him a grin and replies, simply, "Okay," just like that. It feels surreal, and Jinguji's been planning how he'd react when Reia agreed to go out with him for a while now, but he can't remember any of it, and "Really…??" is all that's tumbling out of his lips.
Reia giggles, but somehow, after months of feeling judged, it doesn't seem like he's laughing at Jinguji at all. "Really, silly," he replies easily, and somehow, it puts Jinguji at ease.
Later, after they've exchanged phone numbers and agreed on six o'clock on Friday, it's all starting to feel a little more real to Jinguji, but there's still some part of him that's a little shocked when, as he's about to go to bed, he gets a text from Reia. "Goodnight <3" is all it says, the little pink heart emoji bouncing pleasantly beside the text, but for some reason (in a way that he'd never admit to anyone for how intensely uncool it is) it makes Jinguji's heart skip a beat. Maybe he still has a ways go to until he's the coolest Junior in his age group, maybe his voice is still too high and his limbs are still too lanky, but if someone like Reia is texting him things like this, he thinks, maybe, he's at least got some charm.