Pairing: Nino/Jun, Ohno/Nino, Sho/Ohno
Summary: Sho sees it before anyone else does, he thinks; maybe even before Nino himself realises that he can't take his eyes off Jun.
Notes: Remix of mrsatterthwaite's Mindfucking. Many thanks to forochel and darong for looking through this. ♥ Originally posted here at jentfic_remix.
Sho sees it before anyone else does, he thinks; maybe even before Nino himself realises that he can't take his eyes off Jun. He mentions this to Ohno one afternoon, when they're on location for a PV shoot and waiting for their turn under a nearby tree.
Ohno appears to ponder this for a moment, picking absently at the sleeve of his costume. He doesn't seem bothered by this information at all, but then again he's Ohno, always two years too old, two years ahead of Sho in everything that's ever mattered. "Jun's new haircut suits him," Ohno finally pronounces, and Sho finds himself wanting to ask, but does it hurt, like a bad line from a daytime drama.
Nino moves in with Jun or Jun moves in with Nino; it isn't quite clear but the point is that one of them gets hold of the apartment and the other elects to join in because the rest of Arashi either live with their parents or regularly set their kitchens on fire. Sho watches them meander off together to hail a taxi after a night out, Nino huffing a laugh into Jun's shirtsleeve, too wasted even to snipe at him. Jun has that look he gets when he's seriously thinking about sex, all uncertain heat, considering. Nino doesn't appear to notice but Sho does, and it only makes him wonder if Ohno's caught sight of it as well.
In one of Ohno's numerous sketchpads is a series of line drawings of hands - lying restive atop a table; clutching a fretboard; one firmly clasped in another. Sho knows these hands probably as well as Ohno does, recognises the narrow wrists and stubby fingers captured deftly, lovingly.
He never apologises for looking through Ohno's things - instead, he asks Ohno what title he would give those sketches.
"Waiting and Seeing," Ohno replies, peering at Sho over the top of The Pocket Guide to Fishing Knots.
If Ohno were to betray even the slightest sign of unhappiness he would be there in a heartbeat, Sho thinks. But Ohno doesn't, so Sho's only response is to let Ohno try out a variation of the nail knot on Sho's pinky finger and complain good-naturedly that his blood circulation is being cut off.
When Aiba proposes potluck for the Christmas party it is immediately apparent that Sho will have to assist him, because there is no telling what sort of disaster awaits. It's only logical that Nino and Jun work on the side dishes because they live in the same house. Also, Jun has that insanely good cheesecake that he hasn't made since Aiba's birthday two years ago. In light of Ohno's previous attempt at festive chahan, he is tasked with getting the drinks.
Sho arrives at Aiba's apartment armed with a heavy cookbook and three aprons (one for each of them and an extra one for luck), fully prepared for an evening of abject failure, and finds that he is not far off the mark when he discovers Aiba making the stuffing for a mala-flavoured turducken. Aiba in his excitement seems more than slightly demented, deboning the poultry and fumbling around with string and seasoning with a frenetic energy that is hilarious on television but mildly frightening in real life, calling Jun and Nino up to gabble cheerfully about the turducken and to ask if everything's going as planned.
Under normal circumstances Sho will at least attempt to stop Aiba when he sees him shoving the turkey into a large pot. He's distracted, though, caught up with thinking about whether Jun and Nino will kiss over the whipped butter, exchange burning glances and sexual innuendos while passing the extra virgin olive oil - whether Ohno is imagining that, whether it makes him squirm as much as Sho thinks it should.
When the pot bursts into flames it is all Sho can do to drag Aiba out of the way, pull him out of the kitchen and into the entryway where they scramble to get out of the apartment. It's not a very new building, its sprinklers faulty or nonexistent, but it has a working fire alarm and very soon all the residents are pouring out of their homes and making for the ground floor.
They are standing on the pavement opposite Aiba's apartment when Ohno arrives, bearing three large plastic bags of alcohol.
"Am I late?" he asks.
"Leader!" Aiba exclaims, "We forgot to call you!"
Ohno looks from the rather charred fourth-floor windows to the nearby firetrucks, and then to Aiba and Sho, still wearing their room slippers and covered in soot and grime. After a long moment, he says, "I brought drinks."
The turducken debacle officially ends with Aiba having to pay an incredibly large sum of money to relocate seventeen of his neighbours to hotels while their homes are being repaired from smoke and water damage; for Sho, it ends the following Monday, with Nino and Jun exchanging hurried kisses on the battered sofa in the green room when they think everyone else is out. They kiss like they're sharing all their secrets, fingers curling in each other's shirts and hair; a close and gorgeous tangle that Sho is never meant to see.
There is a difference in Nino's gait that morning. In time they will become adept at ignoring it.
Sho looks at Ohno, who is looking at his fingers. In that moment Sho finds him irresistible in his wretchedness.
Ohno sometimes seems as if he's light-years away, like the Ohno Satoshi they see is the afterimage of the past - an imprint distant, cooled. Sho tells Ohno this, impulsively, his descriptions halting and less eloquent than he imagined them.
"But I'm right here," Ohno murmurs, still doodling on their tour schedule with a stolen hotel pen.
In Fukuoka Sho offers to share a room with Ohno before they even start the first round of janken, and blushes furiously when their manager tells them that they've all got individual units. Ohno invites him over anyway, and they sit on Ohno's bed in their pyjamas and watch bad variety shows on low volume as if they're seventeen and nineteen again, channel surfing discontentedly and drinking beer they're not supposed to have.
Three doors away, Jun may be tugging at the waistband of Nino's boxer shorts, the two of them trading barbs and kisses alternately, gasping into each others mouths. Sho imagines that Nino will smirk when Jun comes, before his own climax takes him, searing and sudden.
"Does it bother you?" he asks.
Ohno's eyes are bright in the dim lighting of the hotel room, the television screen casting weird shadows over his face. For the first time in months he looks like he should look - like he's been left aching in the wake of someone else's romance. When Sho leans in to kiss Ohno, though, he gets pushed away gently.
"Go to sleep," says Ohno.
"Why?" Sho asks.
Ohno's lips curve into a smile. It's not quite rejection.
"Did you think about Leader?"
They're on a boat filming a corner for Himitsu when Sho asks; he has to repeat himself twice over the roar of the engine.
Jun glances at Sho, hair whipping across his face. He looks as if he's anticipated this already, and it is clear that he has when he turns the question around.
"Do you think we did?"
If they were any other group, Sho thinks, there might be a falling out. There might be fighting and someone getting hit in the jaw even though the company has that rule about no attacks to the face. If they were any other group, they might not even stay a group.
Instead, they have Christmas Party, Take Two at Aiba's new house, a month after he moves out of the old one. Nobody cooks, Aiba buys the drinks, and most of the evening is spent being trashed by Nino at Tekken. When that is not happening, though, Sho attempts to stop Aiba and Jun from playing noughts and crosses on his copy of the Mainichi Shinbun while Ohno wanders off to hunt for more beer.
If they were any other group, there would not be this: Sho enters the kitchen to see Ohno and Nino standing by the refrigerator, conversing quietly. It is Ohno who is speaking, Nino nodding as he rests his hip against the edge of the counter. It's not a confrontation, that much is obvious, but Nino doesn't smile when he catches sight of Sho.
"Is everything all right?" Sho asks warily.
"We're out of drinks," Ohno offers, brandishing what presumably is the last bottle of beer in the house.
"I'll go get more," says Nino, pushing away from the counter and making for the door. Before he can leave, however, Sho catches his arm by impulse.
For the longest time they stand there frozen, Sho's fingers gripping Nino's elbow, Nino paused mid-step. There is a multitude of things he wants to say, but what he eventually tells Nino is, "Tekken re-match."
Nino grins. "You're already dead."
Sho ends up crashing at Aiba's because they have to get to the studio early the next morning and he can't be bothered to wave down a taxi two hours past midnight.
When he wakes up the next morning he finds that Ohno has drawn an entire Caribbean island on his right arm. The skin from his elbow to his wrist is covered with a cartoonish scrawl of coconut trees and bottles of rum, fantastical birds and one strange creature that looks suspiciously like a wallaby.
"What is this?" he asks, when Ohno emerges from Aiba's bathroom.
"It's a treasure map," says Ohno.
"Is it, now?"
Ohno considers the island for a while, before pulling out a pen (the one from that hotel in Fukuoka) and drawing a large cross in the middle of Sho's palm.
"There," says Ohno.
Ohno takes his hand and curls their fingers together. "Found it."