pairing: Matsukura Kaito + Matsuda Genta friendship (or whatever you want)
word count: 1,258
author's note: Takes place after episode 14 of Gamushara. I could barely watch what happened to Kaito, so I wanted to give him a little resolution. For shiritori @ writetomyheart!
summary: It's not just that he wasn't able to get a hang of the stupid drumming thing, it's not just that he was the slowest to be able to pick up the routine out of any of them. It's the fact that, upon not being able to do it, he had to go and get flustered, had to get frustrated, had to break down, right there, in front everyone, and worse, in front of the TV cameras.
Happiness feels like the least relevant song in the world when it comes up on Kaito's iPod on shuffle. Usually, it's a sure thing to put a smile on his face; Yamada Tarou Monogatari was one of his favourite dramas back when he had to beg his parents to let him stay up and watch it on Friday nights, and Arashi's music, old and new alike, always brightens his mood… or at least, almost always. But right now, it doesn't feel like anything can make his outlook on life feel better, not his favourite music, not his favourite foods, not even two hours sitting in a secluded little booth in Tully's sipping iced matcha lattes and gossiping with Reia. Not that it's any fault of Reia's; Reia is his best friend from school, the person he probably spends the most time with on any given weekday, and probably one of the few people that Kaito feels safe showing weakness around, but as much as his hugs and kind words and insistence that they go out to dinner after rehearsal, his treat, make Kaito feel loved, as much as his assurances that the drum instructor is an asshole and Kaito will certainly get the hang of it with a little more practice make Kaito feel a little steadier than he did earlier that day, for some reason, this is something that even the usual with Reia can't fix.
Because it's not just that he wasn't able to get a hang of the stupid drumming thing, it's not just that he was the slowest to be able to pick up the routine out of any of them, even little Inoue Mizuki. It's the fact that, upon not being able to do it, he had to go and get flustered, had to get frustrated, had to break down, right there, in front of stupid Jinguji and the instructors and everyone, and worse, in front of the TV cameras. He's not supposed to be the kind of person who lets things get to him, and he's definitely not supposed to be a crybaby; he hates the thought of his fans seeing this, of everyone's fans seeing this, his embarrassing, immature display. And yet, still, he can hear the instructor's snide words in the back of his mind, ringing in his ears, What's wrong? You can't do it and you're frustrated, is that it? over and over again. It drowns out any attempt at positive thinking-- Reia provided a distraction, sure, but now that they've parted ways, it drowns out his assurances and the music in his headphones as he hurries towards the station, staring at his feet and wishing he could just disappear.
It's stupid, he knows it's stupid, but he can't shake the feeling of humiliation and failure, the vivid memory of his cheeks burning, his throat tight as the instructor goaded him again and again. No matter what he tries, he can't draw his mind out of the whirlpool or misery and embarrassment, and despite the fact that he has his earphones in and his eyes are on the ground, really, it's the way he can't stop replaying it over and over again in his mind that keeps him from noticing the loud footsteps behind him or the sound of a voice calling out his name until suddenly, a hand on his shoulder makes him jump, his heart racing loud in his ears as he whirls around to find himself face to face with none other than Genta.
"K-Kaito?" Genta asks hesitantly, his expression nervous at Kaito's strong overreaction as Kaito takes a deep breath and steadies himself. He bites his lip in that way he has, eyes wide and worried, and Kaito almost instantly feels awful, pulling out his headphones and shoving them into his bag hurriedly. "Hey-- sorry," he offers with a laugh in an attempt to lighten the mood, but it feels forced and he can tell Genta knows it, too. "You just startled me…" he adds, biting his own lip and feeling awkward, which makes no sense, because Genta is his best friend, goddammit, the person he's supposed to feel comfortable around no matter what. It's enough to turn his stomach, and he swallows, trying to gather himself.
Genta nods, the worry clear on his face despite how hard he's obviously trying to seem nonchalant, and he reaches out towards Kaito's hand before hesitating, clearly troubled by Kaito's reaction the last time Genta touched him. He changes his mind and tries not to show it, shoving his hand into his pocket, giving an awkward laugh as he looks up to meet Kaito's eyes waveringly. He's even worse at pretending than Kaito, though-- it's something Kaito loves about him, but right now, it's making his heart squeeze in his chest, and he's trying to find words when Genta asks, voice quiet and unsure, "Are… you okay?"
"Oh-- yeah, totally fine," Kaito responds, and while it's incredibly unbelievable, he prays Genta won't ask questions. Somehow, despite everything, despite the fact that he's never had any reason to lie to Genta before, it's too hard right now to admit his own weakness when he's supposed to be the strong one, he's supposed to be the one who takes care of Genta, who protects him from mean teachers and leering older boys and everything in between. He doesn't want to lean on Genta, doesn't want to burden him, and so he forces another laugh, hoping that somehow, Genta will believe it.
But then, after a beat, he realizes something else, and before he can bite it back, "Why are you even over here? You live in the other direction," slips out. Genta blushes and purses his lips despite the fact that he obviously tries not to react, and it's cute, Kaito thinks, possibly the most pleasant thought he's had all day, the way he can't hide anything. "I… I just wanted to come hang out," he replies, glancing nervously at his phone, and he might as well have said out loud Reia definitely didn't call me after you left because he was worried about you. But it's still cute, and Kaito laughs, actually laughs, for real this time.
"Well, come on then," he says, nodding towards the train station and meeting Genta's eyes with more assuredness than he's felt this whole time, a real smile curling on his lips.
"Is it okay…?" Genta asks, but he's smiling too now, his face lighting up in that sweet, innocent way he has. "I mean… I don't want to be a bother…"
"Shut up," says Kaito with a real laugh, a real grin, reaching out to grab Genta's hand as he turns back towards the station. "And come on, I can hear the train coming."
Genta giggles, nodding and replying, "Okay!" his smiling radiating like the sun as he takes off towards the sound of the approaching train, dragging Kaito along after him. But somehow, despite the fact that early July is already suffocatingly hot, and the exercise only makes him feel sweatier, the warmth of Genta's slender fingers curling around his own makes the memory of earlier feel more distant already, and despite the fact that he doesn't have his headphones in anymore, somehow, Kaito can hear the music clear as day…
Asu wo mukae ni ikou
Kimi dake no oto wo kikasete yo
Zenbu kanjiteru yo
Ima wo ugokasu kimochi
Donna ni chiisana tsubomi demo
Hitotsu dake no Happiness