title: Common Sense
pairing: Yaotome Hikaru/Inoo Kei
word count: 1,420
author's note: This is a direct sequel to もっとみてよ、みつめてよ, meant to be read second, so please read that first! Set in the same AU based on the s3art subgroup songs (affectionally dubbed "idolverse". Written for shiritori @ writetomyheart!
summary: Even Inoo has a little common sense, and so despite how strong the temptation, despite the tightness in his chest and the flipping of his stomach when he thinks about Hikaru, his better judgement stops him from calling every time.
One way or another, Inoo avoids the temptation of calling Hikaru (or whatever his admirer's name is; Inoo isn't confident that the name he's given is real) in the weeks following their fateful meeting at the handshake event. He's never been exactly known for his willpower-- not when he's always the first in Aioi-tai to beg that they go out someplace just a liiiiittle nicer (and more expensive) than fast food when the three of them hang out together, not when he's the first to cave for nicer skin products, nicer hair products, nicer makeup (as an idol, his image is important, okay!)-- but there's something more complicated about this, something a little scary that stills his hands from moving near his phone every time he stares at the bottom of the letter.
Because yeah, Inoo is definitely intrigued despite himself by this guy who's taken an interest in him as an artistic subject; honestly, he's more drawn to the idea of getting to know more about him, whether out of simple curiosity or something else that he really doesn't understand, than he can even really understand, but at the same time, the sheer possibility is frightening. Meeting fans outside of official events is strictly forbidden and could get Inoo fired, could destroy not only his career but Daiki's and Keito's as well; this is the hardest and most important rule to being an idol, and up until now, it's not something that Inoo has ever really struggled with. He was never exactly a popular guy in high school and he doesn't really have that many friends in college, either; making friends and hanging out with people in a normal setting isn't really Inoo's strong suit, not to mention amongst his fans. He's not exactly on the dating scene, either, and so he's never really felt any temptation to break either his contract or his responsibility to his friends.
But maybe it's because he doesn't really have many friends, or maybe it's because he's always had some sort of deeper desire to be liked (enough so that he'd always aspired to be an idol, beloved by all), but whatever the reason, now that suddenly, the contact information of a fan has been placed in front of him, he finds himself caught up in an endless cycle of worry and curiosity. How much could it really hurt just to call once? he keeps asking himself, How would anyone ever find out?, but on the other hand, there are so many variables-- not least of all, the fact that he knows nothing about "Hikaru," not even his real name-- that there's no real way to know what he's getting into. Inoo has been known to leap before he looks, certainly, but when it comes to his career, as well as the career of his two best friends, even he has a little common sense, and so despite how strong the temptation, despite the tightness in his chest and the flipping of his stomach when he thinks about Hikaru, his better judgement stops him from calling every time.
It's hard to deal with, but it's not exactly like his life is empty without an illicit friend, either, not when nothing, really, has changed since before Hikaru had forced his way into his life. He performs, he rehearses, he spends time with Daiki and Keito, he goes to class, he has his photo taken-- by and large, all things that he enjoys, and so it's not so hard to push Hikaru's letter from his mind. In fact, while he thinks about it a lot in the first few days after the handshake event, staring at the letter where it sits on his table at home in the evenings, and wondering about what Hikaru would say, about what he would talk about at work and in class, soon, it begins to fade from his mind, at least, so long as it's out of sight. He really ought to just forget about it altogether, he tells himself, and while that's probably out of the question at this point, by the end of the following week, he's at least doing his best at trying.
And at the very least, it's easy to forget during evenings with shows, easy to forget when he and Keito and Daiki are all together in their little dressing room chatting easily and excitedly for the two hours before the doors open, when they all stretch and warm up together as the background noise of hundreds of people talking builds from the other side of the stage door. And anything besides Aioi-tai, besides performing is the last thing thing on his mind under the lights, in front of the crowd. Maybe he and Keito and Daiki are sweaty and gross, maybe their dancing isn't that great, and their singing sometimes goes off-key, but Inoo can't imagine that the feeling he gets from performing this way is anything but happiness, and in these moments, he thinks, he doesn't need anything but this.
He's still riding high on that feeling as he and Keito and Daiki tumble back into the dressing room, all giggles and smiles after the last encore, and he's still feeling the endorphins buzzing around inside of him even as they pack up their things and brace themselves to head out for demachi. They've made plans to reconvene in an hour at a Sukiya a safe distance from Akihabara after they make it through the swarms of fans, and with that knowledge in mind, it's with an even bigger smile than usual that Inoo greets both the regulars and the new faces alike, accepting odd gifts and compliments without batting an eyelash.
However, he's almost to the end of the line when suddenly, it feels like his heart stops beating in his chest, because seemingly out of nowhere comes a familiar face, and there is Hikaru, giving him that enigmatic grin from a few feet away. Inoo almost drops the stack of letters and a few boxes and bags he's juggling, and he certainly hopes in hindsight that he didn't totally blow off the fan he was talking to at the moment, because all he can think about is smiling back.
"Good job~" Hikaru greets when Inoo finally makes it to him, struggling to adjust his gifts so that he doesn't drop them like the idiot that Hikaru apparently makes him. "You were cute today, as usual~"
The compliment isn't anything out of the ordinary; in fact, several people have already said it to him in the past ten minutes, but still, coming from Hikaru, it feels like poetry, almost, and it makes him blush an embarrassingly deep shade of pink as he bows his head in thanks. Before he finds the words to respond, however, Hikaru is leaning closer, making Inoo's breath stop short as he adds, his voice quiet, "I guess you couldn't call, huh."
A million excuses run through Inoo's mind in a surprising rush of panic-- he was busy, he lost the number, he couldn't afford the call-- but they all jumble inside his head, mingling with the confusion over the fact that he clearly cares way too much what Hikaru thinks of him, and all he manages to do is nod, his throat too tight for words, anyway.
But all Hikaru does is smile that mysterious smile, his eyes meeting Inoo's unwaveringly as he finishes, "Well, that's okay. But I tend to hang around in Yoyogi Park around noon on Tuesdays. Just for your information."
He grins at Inoo a moment longer before taking an unassuming step back, as if he were any other fan. Inoo knows he has to finish the line, has to head out, has to get to the train station so that he can meet up with Keito and Daiki again, but for that moment, it feels as if the world is standing still. Somehow, he finishes demachi and makes it to the station without event, but even as he stares down the tracks waiting for the next train, he feels as if his mind is in a jumble, his heart beating out of his chest. Because after all… calling Hikaru couldn't be anything but against the rules, couldn't be anything but putting himself and his friends in danger, but if he just happens to be in Yoyogi Park at noon next Tuesday… well, he thinks, it's just common sense-- there's definitely no way that that could be anything but a coincidence.