pairing: Kusano Hironori x Kato Shigeaki
warnings: mentions of cigarette smoking; vague negative portrayal of Yamashita Tomohisa and Nishikido Ryo
word count: 1,860
beta: 9kinds and yomimashou
author's note: I don't… even have any excuses. They're in love okay. Written for shiritori @ writetomyheart. The title, sasaeau, means something along the lines of "supporting one another together," which is much less catchy in English. Special thanks to 9kinds who is my expert Paana~
summary: They've gone through a lot to get to this point, yes, but Shige knows that he wouldn't trade all the times they've had together for the world.
Before, things had been different. In fact, there have been so many 'before's, so many different normals for the two of them that it almost feels more accurate to say that things have always been changing, things have always been inconsistent and unstable, but while there have been a lot of bad times, a lot of difficulties, a lot of tears mixed in with the smiles and laughter and the happy memories, Shige doesn't like to think of it in such negative terms. If there's anything he's learned since his first youthful days in Johnny's, and then over the ten years of ups and downs that have left him at this truly, honestly (finally) wonderful point in his life, it's that the way he looks at things makes most of the difference in how he feels, and no matter how he feels about anything else around him, he doesn't want his feelings for Kusano to be anything but positive. They've gone through a lot to get to this point, yes, but they've learned and grown a lot along the way, and after years of doubts and fears and anxieties that haunted his mind day and night until he was able to cast light into the darkest corners of his own mind, his own heart, Shige knows that he wouldn't trade all the times they've had together for the world.
Because of course being a teenager had been awkward and full of insecurities and embarrassment, but Shige remembers it equally as much (if not more) for the days spent in a whirlwind of fluttering emotions of his strongest youthful crush and the nights filled with dreams of romance and tritely but earnestly poetic thoughts of love, and he can still remember as if it was yesterday the feeling of his heart leaping the first time Kusano had taken his hand, interlocking their fingers as they waited in the wings at NHK Hall during a filming for The Shounen Club. It had been so incredibly teenage, so naive and unsophisticated, but it had been what felt at the time like the biggest and most important happening of Shige's fifteen years of life when Kusano had pulled him aside as all the other Juniors had gone ahead of them, gathering to hear the choreographers' critiques after rehearsal one day. I maybe kinda like you, Kusano had said, just the two of them in the dressing room, Wanna go out with me? and Shige can't help but smile as he remembers nodding hurriedly, emotion causing his voice to go missing, in what was probably the easiest decision of his life.
And looking back now, from the vantage point of an adult who has now been able to come to terms with the numerous demons inside of him, it's with fondness that he remembers the sheer excitement when he'd found out that he and Kusano had been selected to debut together, because even if he still has complicated emotions about what became of their group over the following few years, the sincere feeling of joy that they'd shared meant just as much as the uncertainties that had later overwhelmed it. And Shige still grins a little when he thinks back to the way that Kusano had gaped like a fish for a whole minute and a half after receiving the news, before Shige's teasing had finally broken him out of his shock, and he'd turned around and thrown his arms around Shige and pulled him into one of the most awkward but most genuine kisses Shige has ever experienced to this day.
And despite the heartbreak that had come with the shocking announcement that Kusano would be removed from the group after the intervening wonderful but all-too-brief years together, despite the liters of bitter tears he'd shed, unsure whether to feel more angry and betrayed by the agency or by Kusano himself, despite the feeling of his insides freezing and shattering into a million pieces that he can still viscerally remember to this day that he'd felt when, in a jumble of flaring tempers and poorly communicated emotions, they'd broken off their relationship and parted ways in all senses, Shige knows that without those experiences, they'd never have been able to come as far as they have and make it to the point they're at now. And besides, more than the pain of the breakup, Shige remembers the catharsis of crying his heart out to Koyama after months and months and months of suffering in silence, the nervous excitement of boarding a plane to New York with nearly no planning and no idea of what he was going to do when confronted face-to-face with Kusano for the first time in over a year, and most of all, the indescribable feeling of relief and joy and amazement at how lucky he was when, after Koyama had left them alone to talk things out at Kusano's New York apartment, Kusano had pulled Shige into an embrace and said No matter what's gone down, and no matter what shit we're gonna have to go through after this, I don't wanna be without you anymore.
And sure enough, they'd had to go through a lot even after talking through their feelings and agreeing that despite what had happened they wanted to be together; they had still both been so young and so unaware of the world around them, and neither of them had fully come to terms with the mess they'd gotten themselves into in the first place. But no matter how many minor fights they'd had, no matter how many disagreements they'd pushed through, no matter how scary it had been for Shige to watch Kusano turn his back on Johnny's forever and walk away from what had originally brought the two of them together in the first place, they'd made it through those rough middle years together. And more than a cause of stress for one another, after things had settled back into a new normal in their relationship, they began to be able to support one another against outside stressors instead, and Shige knew that Kusano had been a pillar of strength through one of the hardest periods of his post-debut life. Kusano had listened to Shige's fears and frustrations about NEWS and Yamapi and Nishikido and the management, and in a way that the other members, who'd been suffering the same as Shige, couldn't, he'd pulled Shige back onto his feet whenever Shige ran out of strength. He was cheering Shige on when NEWS was finally able to make their comeback with four members after years of inactivity; he was there for Shige during the sleepless nights and stressful days while he wrote Pink and Grey in a perpetual time crunch; he held Shige's hand in the anxious hours before heading out to the various prefectures and venues for their comeback tour. And sometimes, Shige doesn't feel like he was able to do enough in return, but knowing that he was able to support Kusano as much as possible as he struggled to find his place in the world in the years after his departure from Johnny's helps.
And so now, countless concerts and CD releases and memories later, here they are, sitting together in Shige's apartment late into the evening. Shige has a deadline coming up and so he'd apologized in advance that he wouldn't be much fun and suggested Kusano spend his time elsewhere, but Kusano had stubbornly insisted on coming, and had already been in Shige's apartment when Shige had gotten home from work, parked on Shige's bed with his guitar and a convenience store bag full of snacks and bottled drinks, to give you energy, he'd said. It was stupid and almost comically immature, yet the way he grinned proudly at Shige as he tossed him a package of umeboshi-flavored chips made Shige's heart flip a little as if he were just a kid, too.
Shige thinks it must be boring for Kusano to just sit around strumming random melodies while Shige works, but three hours later, he doesn't seem to have grown tired of it even as Shige begins to feel as if he's going to pass out face-first into his desk, and when Shige glances over to the bed, the only things that seem to have changed are that Kusano has, at some point, pulled his hair into a messy ponytail, and over the course of the evening, he's finished off more than half the bag of snacks. "Oh… were you hungry?" he asks guiltily when he notices Shige looking at the empty packages strewn around him, "…I could run back out… uh… sorry…"
But Shige only laughs; more than any potato chips or soda, he thinks, Kusano's carefree attitude and genuine concern for him give him all the energy he needs, and so he shakes his head. "Just running out of steam," he replies stretching out and leaning back in his chair a little, "But I've still got a little further to go tonight…"
As he turns back to his work, however, he hears the rustle of sheets that he knows is the sound of Kusano setting aside his guitar and standing, and a moment later, suddenly, there are strong arms wrapping around him from behind. "What's up?" Shige asks, but he can't help but smile and relax a little into the familiar feeling of Kusano's body against his own, the familiar scent of Kusano's shampoo mixed with cigarette smoke.
Kusano doesn't respond for a moment, only presses a kiss to the back of Shige's neck, and Shige's smile grows even despite the daunting paragraphs still waiting to be written tonight. "You need to shave," he says teasingly for lack of words to describe just how good it is to know that Kusano is here with him no matter what, for no reason other than that he wants to support Shige. It's still overwhelming to think about sometimes, that someone could love him so much, that someone who he'd met and grown to love with all his heart over almost fifteen years could really have become such an integral part of his life… but, he supposes, they worked hard to make it here together, and they deserve the little joys, insignificant and ordinary as they may be, that go along with it.
"Shut up," Kusano replies with laughter in his voice as he kisses the nape Shige's neck again before leaning his head against the back of Shige's shoulder gently. He's silent again for another moment, but in this position, Shige can feel him breathe, can practically hear the beating of his heart, and that in and of itself makes him feel as if his batteries are totally recharged.
But then, "I know you can do it, because you can overcome anything, and you can do anything, and you're the most fucking amazing person that I know," he adds quietly but unwaveringly, and in moments like this, more than ever, Shige knows that no matter what bad times, no matter what difficulties, no matter what hardships they face, they're going to make it through another fifteen years just fine.