title: 遥かな約束 (Haruka na Yakusoku)
pairings: gen; Yugo-centric + Bakaleya6 (Jesse/Yugo if you want there to be)
author's note: Entitled after the KAT-TUN song of the same name; lyrics translated into English can be found here. I suggest reading before/listening while you read this fic! Inspired by seeing Gamushara J's Party Vol. 7… all the feelings came back, ahaha.
summary: Maybe they're stupid to have believed in any chance at debut at all, but Yugo wants to believe, even now.
"So do you all still want to debut together?" asks the Potato staff member who's been assigned this month to their little group of six, in a rare instance when they've been placed together for a magazine shoot and interview. What they used to take for granted as always slowly, insidiously became sometimes, and then every once in a while, before finally settling at almost never. They've adjusted, all of them, in various ways, but it still hurts, just under the surface. At least, that's how it feels for Yugo, but he's always fancied himself good at reading people, especially his friends.
In this sort of atmosphere, in this sort of state of mind, the interviewer's question feels like a punch to the gut, but it's directed at Hokuto, so Yugo bites his tongue and tries to read the look on Hokuto's face in the heavy silence that follows.
"…No," Hokuto replies at length with a hardness that Yugo has learned in him means fake definitiveness. It's the party line, but Hokuto has never exactly been a good liar, and even the interviewer seems to be holding his breath for a moment, waiting for Hokuto to crumble.
Yugo isn't sure what made the six of them come together so desperately, so intensely in such a short period of time. Half of them, at the very least, were the products of painful break-offs, cleaved from their previous lives, previous points of comfort and tossed aside like mis-matched puzzle pieces, but somehow, at a time when it felt like they'd never fit in anywhere ever again, something about this little group had softened the jagged edges, had made everything click together as if they had all originated from the same design.
Nothing is permanent in Johnny's, but the illusion of stability feels good, and so, Yugo supposes, they'd wanted to believe. Forever we can be, they'd all sung at the top of their lungs, voices growing hoarse, as if they could prove it to the world, as if they could prove it to themselves that they would withstand the Johnny's management through sheer force of will alone, but in truth, they'd been more lost than ever.
When they were split apart for Crea back in 2013, Yugo'd braced himself to endure the fallout. He'd done it once before, been the pillar of strength when things were torn to pieces, but he's surprised to find that this time, it's different. The others drift away with alarming ambivalence, and when Yugo mentions it in passing to Shintaro, he only shrugs. "Nothing lasts forever, right?" he offers with an awkward laugh, his shoulders looking too big for his body, but even though it's supposed to be an explanation, Yugo only feels more confused.
Life goes on. It's something Yugo has always known, something he couldn't not know after September of 2011, but it's surprising all over again. He goes to school, he goes to rehearsal, he spends his free time with Jesse and with Fuma-kai. Occasionally, he even manages to drag Hokuto along, if only by explaining that even if he won't say it aloud, it's what Fuma wants. Really, Fuma wants all of them to come-- he's rooting for them, Yugo knows, no matter how adamantly he refuses to admit it, but while the explanation works on Hokuto, it won't work on Taiga.
"I won't go out in a group larger than six," Taiga explains for the hundredth time, but somehow, unintentional as it may be, the number hurts more than Yugo would have ever expected.
Maybe they're stupid to have believed in any chance at debut at all. It's not as if the agency isn't known for stringing people along; Yugo knows that firsthand, but it was hard not to believe when everything about their little group had been so filled with promise for so long. They'd done so many Shounen Club performances together, they'd headlined their own concert together… they'd even been given a group name by magazines confused by their lack of an official one. It was easy to ride along on all that, on the sense of security, false as it may have been, it was easy to build up their own spirits, to push forward, to work harder with the assurance that surely the announcement would come, just a little bit longer, just a little bit more…
… but then an announcement came all right, came for all the wrong people, and while Yugo holds nothing against Johnny's WEST and wishes them all the best, while it's actually, he thinks, better that it was Kansai and not a few of them, not only their close friends leaving them behind, it's still a little hard to swallow. Some part of Yugo has always liked to think that if he believes, he can make things turn out all right through sheer force of will, and it feels like a kick in the teeth to have it turn out, yet again, that that's not the case.
Still, he tries to keep his head up. Even when the others get down, it's always been Yugo's role to pull them all together again, to rally them together. He's their banchou… or at least, he used to be. He'd laughed when they first called him that; now he wishes they'd say it again, even just once or twice.
"Pretty crazy that they just announced a debut that way at Countdown, huh," he remarks to Juri with a forced laugh, trying his best, anyway, even if his little title has fallen away.
But Juri only looks at him oddly before replying, "Well, debut doesn't really mean anything, anyway."
"I think I'm losing my touch," Yugo says with a heavy sigh, flopping back onto his bed after a long day of rehearsals and glancing at Jesse in the doorway. At the very least, in the midst of everything else that's fallen apart, Jesse hasn't fallen away, too.
"Why's that?" Jesse replies with a raised eyebrow, dropping his bag before dropping down beside Yugo, sitting on the edge of his bed and looking down at Yugo where he's sprawled out on his back.
Yugo shrugs. "I guess there was nothing I really could do. We were destined to fall apart from the start, huh." The words feel foreign on his tongue, though, as much as sometimes it feels like it would be easier to to believe them.
Jesse raises an eyebrow. "Shut up," he replies, punching Yugo gently in the shoulder. "Aren't you supposed to be our leader, or something? You're not supposed to say stuff like that. Without you, we're screwed."
And maybe it's not 'banchou,' but it's something.
He sends a message to the six-member LINE chat that they haven't used in months now. He considers sending separate notes to everyone separately, but somehow, that feels wrong. Maybe they all have their notifications turned off, maybe no one will see. But this is about them, as a group, not about any one of them individually.
Let's meet up. How does Ueno sound? I'll be outside the zoo entrance at noon on Sunday.
They do see, one by one. He isn't sure if only one of them has noticed and informed the others, but every time Yugo checks back, the notice changes, Read by 1, then 2, then 3, then 4, then 5. He waits for a reply, but none comes.
On Sunday, he gets on the Yamanote Line and heads towards Ueno. He still hasn't heard back from any of them, but somehow, he isn't anxious. At the end of the day, even when he wants to be cynical, he can't be. He wants to believe-- he does believe. He believes in the six of them, somehow, even still.
When his train arrives in Ueno, it's a few minutes after noon. Yugo has never been known for his attention to detail, but for some reason, today, being late makes him antsy. He walks briskly through the gates and across the street, but somehow, by the time he's a few feet into the park, he's jogging, and then running full out, not care about the stares he's getting from the tourists around him. He can't even really see where he's going, but he barrels ahead all the same, towards what he's sure he'll find when he arrives.
Maybe he's stupid, he thinks, somehow both giddy and introspective on endorphins as the sweat rolls down his temples, maybe he's naive, but even now, he can't help it. He still believes.