pairing: Yaotome Hikaru/Inoo Kei; mentioned past Yamada/Chinen
warning: Negative portrayal of Yamada in 2012 (I love him now! But 2012 was a mess.)
word count: 1,300
author's note: This is set in September 2012, during the filming for the October 2012 Shounen Club episodes (in one of which, this happened XD;) I'm of the opinion that pretty much everything in JUMP sucked in 2012, so this reflects that. Written for shiritori @ writetomyheart!
summary: He doesn't really have the energy for anything right now, and so while the other members trickle out of the dressing room to go their own ways, Inoo curls up on the couch and lets his eyes fall shut, desperate for a reprieve from this mess.
This is insane, Inoo thinks as he drags himself off the stage and towards Hey! Say! JUMP's dressing room at NHK hall at the end of dress rehearsal. They have two hours to get ready for the show before the actual filming is to happen, but as MCs, JUMP has no costume to change into, no real need for hair and makeup. Even a year ago, they'd probably have found a secluded spot in a corner somewhere as a group, eaten their bentous and joked and laughed together, the nine of them, as a group, but now… even before the various members begin to drift off in various directions, Inoo knows it's impossible. After all, they're barely even a group anymore, really, their ragtag group of nine spoiled kids whose bad decisions and personal issues had torn them apart. Inoo knows he's not helping, knows that the decision to go to college was probably one of the dumbest that he's ever made (especially considering the management's warnings not to go or else there'd be consequences after so many others had gone and dropped out and made the agency look bad), but his own absenteeism, he likes to tell himself, at least, is the least of the group's problems.
After all, the fact that he has to miss a sprinkling of activities and is relegated to the back or corner for all the rest pales in comparison to the fact that Yamada spends ninety-nine percent of his time looking miserable, huge bags under his eyes and skin pale and sallow as he insults anyone who's willing to come near him under the guise of humour, and Inoo doesn't think his problems hardly compare to Chinen, either, who, since his breakup with Yamada almost a year ago now, rarely jokes or acts playful like he used to, rarely speaks, really, beyond what's necessary to get through the day, and Inoo knows him well enough to know that while he tries to hide it, the light in his eyes has been growing dimmer and more dull with pain over the months. And of course there's the fact that Keito, one of the few people still willing, spends most of his free time with Yamada while Yuto, who's never really been fond of Yamada at the best of times, not to mention now, glares daggers into the back of Yamada's head and insults him to Chinen as if he thinks this will make Chinen feel better as well, and then there's Daiki, who's been growing thinner and paler and more frail with every day that their group is being torn apart, and Takaki, who tries so sweetly to be nice to everyone only to be insulted and shot down, and then there's Yabu and Hikaru, senpai to them all (almost all, anyway; Inoo predates Hikaru in the agency, but no one ever acts that way), who have been shunted to the side as collateral damage. And fact that their splintered mess of a group can barely even be called that anymore is only driven home by the burgeoning weight of the knowledge that soon Yamada's solo single will be announced when JUMP hasn't had a single in almost a year, and by fact that, in two hours, Kawai-kun will announce a song by Hey! Say! JUMP only for Yamada to perform a 45 second solo.
And Inoo's not really one for throwing blame, not one for pointing fingers or doing much, really besides trying to evaluate the situation and move forward from there, but he honestly isn't even sure what to make of their situation, and with classes all day and work in the evening and his thesis looming on the horizon, he doesn't really have the energy for any sort of assessment, anyway. He doesn't really have the energy for anything, and so while the other members trickle out of the dressing room to go their own ways, Inoo curls up on the couch and lets his eyes fall shut, desperate for a reprieve from this mess.
Despite the fact that he has to be on top of his schedule, to plan and use every free moment of the day to the best of his ability, he's still the same old prince of carefree recklessness that he's always been, and so he doesn't even bother to set his phone alarm before drifting off. The group is a mess, but Inoo knows there will be someone to wake him up, Chinen or Yuto or Yabu or Hikaru. Things are messed up amongst the nine of them, but Inoo knows there are still people who love him, and so he sleeps without worry, until what feels at once like seconds and years later, the sensation of someone's fingers touching his scalp brings him into wakefulness, slowly, gently. At first, the feeling is so comfortable that Inoo doesn't want to wake up, but he doesn't want to fall back asleep, either, doesn't want to lose the feeling of those long, sturdy fingers running through his hair over and over, somehow comforted by the repetitiveness. There's no question in his mind whose fingers they are, well muscled from years of guitar and bass practice but tender in a way only Inoo knows, and without even opening his eyes, he smiles a little and asks, "Time for me to get up already, Hikaru?"
He can hear the smile in the way Hikaru exhales, and there's a moment before the answer comes. "Hmmm~" Hikaru hums, his fingers slowing before beginning to move in small circles in Inoo's hair instead, "I think you have a few more minutes~"
Inoo hums as well, adjusting slightly to move his head into Hikaru's lap but still not opening his eyes. They stay that way for a few more moments, and Inoo is just on the verge of drifting back off to sleep when Hikaru speaks again.
"You work so hard," he comments idly, his hand moving lower to brush against Inoo's cheek, and it feels so good that Inoo can't help but tilt his head into the touch. He doesn't see Hikaru enough these days, what with work and school and everything else, and the sensation against his skin is enough to draw a little sigh from his throat. The reaction doesn't slip past Hikaru, if the way he repeats the motion is any indication, but Inoo is hardly complaining.
There's another moment of silence before Hikaru's hand dips lower still, tracing Inoo's lips as if to kiss him with his fingertips before falling away, and Inoo is about to whine when Hikaru speaks again. "So…" he trails, the tone of his voice turning more playful, "I thought maybe I'd give you a little surprise during filming."
During filming? Inoo wonders groggily, but before he can become too confused, he feels Hikaru's other hand sliding down the small of his back and over the curve of his ass before very distinctly pinching him, and even laying here with his eyes still closed, Inoo can't fight back the grin that tugs up at his lips. Things in the group might be horrible, Inoo's personal life might be a mess, but if nothing else, he'll always have Hikaru to look after him… and to know exactly what he wants, and for now, that's all the consolation he needs.
And so he forces himself into a sitting position, smiling at Hikaru for another moment before finding his way to the mirror to at least marginally fix his hair before the filming with renewed energy. He isn't quite sure what surprise Hikaru has planned, but when Hikaru casually grabs his ass again as they wait in the wings for their entrance twenty minutes later, Inoo knows that whatever it is, he can't wait to find out.