Pairing: Takaki Yuya x Inoo Kei (Hey! Say! JUMP)
Rating: PG - 15
Warnings: None I guess? Just mentioned of drunken guy.
Summary: Ten years of togetherness doesn’t guarantee anything. Up until he realizes his own feeling, all of his efforts are seemed pointless. And instead of understanding him, Inoo was trapped into a complicated mess named Takaki Yuya.
Notes: No particular notes.
It was maybe ten thirty, and he has no idea how to say fine words to Takaki at ten thirty.
Daiki observes his best friend in an obnoxious way. He’d encountered how Inoo could do better when he isn’t drinking like what he’s currently doing. Maybe for some people, three glasses of beer won’t be a problem. But for Inoo Kei, it surely might fish out something unpredictably bad until the last possible moment.
“You’re drunk!”, Daiki scolded.
“I am not.”, he replies, whining. And Daiki watched as Inoo poured his fourth glass.
The people are happily chatting around them. The smell of duck is penetrating their noses, with the busy waiters as the background. Well, they aren’t at the bar, otherwise it’s just such a small restaurant and almost no one had drunk like Inoo. It makes Daiki feel slightly embarrassed, though. Sure, maybe the owner won’t complain to them for drinking, but it’s just not comfortable to talk with Inoo when his face is all red.
“Why did you bring me here? I thought we’re just going to have dinner like usual. But here you are getting drunk like crazy and totally not talking to me!”
“Well, it’s just because we’ve finished our tour a week ago and I want to celebrate it with you, kid”, he smirked, and now his face turns magenta, almost reaching the ear part which makes it far, far worse.
“Don’t call me kid!”, Daiki protested, stealing his fifth glass.
“Now tell me, what was actually happening? Do you really think that I’ll believe it’s just because our tour is over? Pete’s sake, Inoo! We’ve known each other since forever and you want to spill out a lie to me?”
“What’s wrong with me celebrating the end of our tour?”
“So wrong. At least, this feels so wrong. Beers and stuffs. I don’t buy it!”
“C’mon buddy, don’t think too much or I’ll kiss you”
Inoo moves his lips forward, playfully. Daiki disgustedly throws him death glare. Though, it won’t work on Inoo. The pretty guy is still laughing uncontrollably while the lamp flashes on him like sunrays, making him look flushed which is actually the result of the amount of alcohol he has been consuming.
“Come come Daichaaaan, I will kiss you…”
“Fuck you. I am not Takaki!”
With that, Daiki could immediately sense the sudden change in Inoo’s expression. His eyes grew wider for millimeters. He stopped playing around, and there’s something deep in his drunken eyes that Daiki could hardly explain. It was kind of… empty. And he shouldn’t ask furthermore to know the reason of Inoo’s strange behavior tonight.
“Why did you suddenly bring up that baka guy?”, Inoo tsked silently, pouring another glass. He rests his elbow on top of the table, holding his left cheek with his palm looking extremely different.
“Do you have a problem with him?”
“Did you ever see me having no problem with him?”
“God. You guys are in the same group for eight years, excluding our JJE time. So approximately, you’ve known one another for eleven years. What made you behave like this actually? Only because he didn’t piggyback you during our concert so you’ve turned into this childish bastard?”
“So it really is because of that”, Daiki sighed, intimidatingly. He glared at Inoo without reservations, making the latter just gulp that sticky liquid from his crystal glass. And at this point, he couldn’t handle him anymore. “It wasn’t his fault for not getting the hint. I mean, you’ve only mentioned about the piggyback ride in an interview, and since he’s a natural baka so he didn’t take it seriously.”
“Yeah. He’d never taken me seriously.”
“He’d never believed me for whatever I say.”
“What’s with you?!”
“I know right, he’s just considered me as a random liar. He won’t trust me for the rest of his life. He won’t get whatever hints I’ve tried to show him. He won’t take me for more than…”, Inoo’s voice rose, and he bites his pink lips as if holding something so it won’t be burst out louder than it’s supposed to.
“…… more than just a friend”
A sign of desperation was evident in his eyes. And just very, very slightly, Daiki felt guilty for scolding him earlier. Well, even if Inoo didn’t tell him directly, but he knows his closest friend has this strange feeling for Takaki.
In the old days, Daiki had once been there, staying beside Inoo when the older complained about Takaki. He supposed Inoo just wanted to make their awkward tension better since they’re in the same group. But that thought is now somehow irrelevant. As a best friend, Daiki could catch a hint of Inoo’s real feelings even if it’s just a glimpse and even if Inoo always tried to cover it by acting silly and random. But he could tell that Inoo’s eyes and smiles can never lie.
“I am just a stupid…”, Inoo whispered, drinking another glass.
“You’ve drunk too much…”, is all Daiki says, before he took a piece of meat from his own plate and let Inoo mumble incoherently with a broken expression.
“I said don’t drink too much!!”
He can’t do anything except to chuckle. They stumbled on the nearby park by now, with Inoo who’s rambling out of context after getting drunk. Well, maybe it’s not that late at night, and Daiki could just send Inoo home without much trouble. But at the moment, he has promised to meet up with Yamada and the idea of sending Inoo home himself seems inconvenient. He’ll be late. He must come on time since he and Yamada were watching a show together.
Add to that, Yamada Ryosuke turns into a nag if someone makes him wait. Daiki isn’t in a mood to hear Yamada’s endless arguments. So he now needs to find a way to send Inoo home and meet up with his partner at the same time.
“Hey, what should I do with you now?”, Daiki asked.
Inoo didn’t answer. Instead he started whispering something Daiki couldn’t clearly hear. Then the pretty guy started leaning his head on the bench, probably losing his energy and wishing to be off to dreamland.
It wasn’t funny. It was terrible. If he were to leave Inoo alone with that red and weak face he might get kidnapped.
Cursing whatever made Inoo turn into this state, Daiki considers the reason why his bestfriend is drunk out of his mind tonight. It’s because of one certain guy. And the more Daiki thinks about it, the more it made a terrible kind of sense. He bites his lower lip, caresses Inoo’s unreasonably warm face with much affection before reaching out for his smartphone and dialing a familiar number.
“Hello…”, said a deep voice on the other line.
“Arioka-kun? What’s up?”
“Anoo—can you do me a favor?”
“What is that?”
“Actually—“, Daiki doubts first, wondering if Inoo will agree to this move or not. But he has no choice at all. And moreover, he hopes that maybe, maybe, the two of them could settle the strained aura lingering between them.
“Actually I am with Inoo now.”
“And, unexpectedly, he is drunk. Well, I didn’t know a couple of beers could do this to him. I’m willingly to send him home but I have a previous engagement with Yamada and I don’t think I can make it on time if I do.”
“Then—can you—can you pick him up? Basically we’re at the park that’s close to your apartment.”
“Where is that?”
“Well, it’s a 20 minute walk from my place though.”
“Yes… so will you take care of him?”
Daiki could only hear silence on the other line. For people who have been around Takaki and Inoo for a long time, they know for a fact that the day when Takaki and Inoo will grow closer is very unlikely, a miracle even. On the other hand, the chibi guy sighs waiting for the answer and hoping that the odds would somehow swing in their favor.
“Takaki if you—“
“Fine”, he cuts. “I will pick him up. Just wait for me.”
“He looks pretty horrible there”, is the first comment that spilled out from Takaki’s mouth. The tanned guy kneels down a bit, observing Inoo’s red face from such close proximity. The pretty guy is snoring softly, being muted as he sleeps in peace.
“He is. I tried to warn him but he didn’t give a damn.”
“Well, not listening to what people say is probably one of his problems.”
“You’re right.” Daiki puts back his phone on the back pocket of his jeans. “Anyway, I’ll leave you here, ’kay? I should meet Yamada soon.”
“Un. Take care you two.”
“Thanks for your help Takaki. Good luck with taking care of him. Adios!”
After bidding his goodbyes, Daiki is already nowhere in sight. And as awful as he is, Takaki gives his full attention on Inoo again. Truth to be told, he doesn’t know exactly what he’s gonna do with this drunken man.
Right, it’s not the first time he lended help to his drunken buddies. He used to take care of Shohei a lot. But for Inoo, Inoo Kei, this is the first time. And because the latter is Inoo Kei, Takaki can hardly figure out what’s the best way to handle him.
“Can you stand up?” he whispered.
The guy in question didn’t give any answer, thus Takaki tries to pull his hands, making him stand on his feet.
“I’ll lead the way.” he promised.
“Well, try to walk normally and—watch out!!”
But then, not so long after the third step, Inoo stumbled and almost falls down. If Takaki hadn’t caught him right then, his beautiful face would’ve met the hard concrete and gotten bruised.
“Damn. Are you that drunk?”, Takaki chuckled.
The older guy tries to balance Inoo’s position on him soon after. He slid his arm around Inoo’s shoulders and pulls the guy closer. God, he really had picked a jackpot for tonight. It’s getting worse when Takaki realized Inoo can do nothing, including walking on his own. So after all the ways he could possibly think of to make this task easier, Takaki finally decides to piggyback Inoo instead.
Thankfully, Inoo’s body isn’t too heavy. His slender form could rest perfectly on Takaki’s broad back. His face is nuzzled onto Takaki’s neck, and based on their very close distance, Takaki smelled apple, combined with alcohol. He starts walking along the path when he realizes halfway that he has no idea where Inoo lives.
Screw it. He didn’t ask Daiki, and he couldn’t make a call either since his phone is in his jean pocket.
“Hey, gimme your address…”
“Inoo? I can’t send you home if you don’t tell me where you live”
Once more, he took a long deep breathe. It’s useless, though. To ask such unconscious man for directions. So in order to make a fast and appropriate decision, Takaki decided to just bring Inoo to his apartment. It didn’t sound like a bad idea after all. He could send him home tomorrow morning or Inoo could just take a bus by himself after he’s no longer hungover.
But one realization hits him out of the blue. He doesn’t know Inoo Kei. Despite being bandmates for more than ten years, he doesn’t know any details about his bandmate. He has no clue what Inoo did in his private life. He doesn’t know what Inoo is thinking since he’d never says it out loud. He is just like a mystery, yet this mystery is somehow inviting to be solved.
True, he never hated Inoo. That’s never what it was. It’s just he’s somehow aware Inoo and him are complete opposites, which makes everything around them go unsmoothly. Deep inside, he always wants to know more about Inoo, to put an end to the entire strained aura, to be more casual, to be… closer.
The guy on his back moves slightly, and to Takaki’s surprise, Inoo is circling his free hands around his neck. But it was turning into a cliffhanger. A simple move and then—end. No further reaction.
With that, Takaki continued on their way back home.
The sky is definitely dark up there. Inoo slowly returns to consciousness, but the stars are still lingering around his head.
Damn. The beers surely struck him hard. And even lifting his head up is becoming such a difficult thing to do.
He blinked for a few more times, and one thing he recognizes is, he’s on someone’s back, being carried as his feet were obviously not on the ground. As far as he could remember, the last person he spent the time with was his best friend, Daiki. But the memories were hazy, and he never knew that Daiki smelled of citrus. A very summery feeling, a fragrance with good sillage. He never knew either, that Daiki’s hair could grow longer and turn brunet in such short time. And he’d never thought the chibi guy will be able to piggy-back him as well.
It was strange. This body he is leaning on is so unfamiliar. But however, all the fuzzy feeling was real. Like somehow it’s just perfectly fit to carry him without any specific reasons.
Am I dreaming?, he thought. But then curiosity is just one of those things you can’t put off forever. So Inoo scans the area and finds his reflection on one of the stores’ huge window display. He almost lost his hold on the body once he realized who’s carrying him by this point.
“T—Takaki?”, he muttered, low and quiet.
“Oh. You’ve already sobered up.”
“Am I heavy?”
“In fact, yes.”
“Then you could just put me down.”
“And let your face meet the hard street? No. I don’t want to be the one taking responsibility if you can’t appear on TV later.”
Conversation doesn’t progress from there and they immediately lapsed into silence. Inoo felt entirely uncomfortable with this situation. He never expected that they will be meeting today, particularly given his less than sober condition. He doesn’t know what to speak about, either. Confused if he should keep insisting to walk by himself, or letting Takaki carry him like what he’d wished earlier, which one is finer, he couldn’t decide. So many words are caught up inside him, but a lump in his throat restricts him from spilling it out.
It was maybe ten thirty, and he has no idea how to say fine words to Takaki at ten thirty.
He has no idea at all.
Takaki fixes Inoo’s position on his back since the drunken guy is about to slide down. And at the moment, the younger guy tightened his hands around Takaki’s neck, burying his nose on the other’s nape, sniffing that signature citrus scent. So soft, so subtle. And Inoo wonders why he fell in love with this guy who feels so far away when they’re just this close. Like, he could have just fallen for anyone who understands him better, or one of his best friends, or some other girls, not Takaki who didn’t even tell him where they’re going.
It will be forever unanswered.
Until they stop in front of an automatic door which leads to an unknown apartment. The light was coming into Inoo’s eyes, slanting through the tree ornaments on the quiet lobby.
“Ah, we’ve already arrived at my place.”
It was strange resting his body on such an unfamiliar sofa. Inoo keeps looking upward, to the ceiling above him, realizing the lamp contributes to a slight effect of dizziness. Yeah, he hasn’t fully recovered yet. But he’s not too drunk to not be aware that he’s in Takaki’s unit by this point. A huge size television is standing nearby with a medium sized potted tree by its side. An abstract painting is displayed on one side of the wall. The selection is largely artistic. And there is no such mess even if the one who’s staying here is a guy. Well, it’s not a new thing to know that Takaki is a clean freak.
But still, it doesn’t feel real in the slightest.
“Here, cold mineral water. You’d better drink this.”
Inoo tries to sit properly allowing Takaki to join him on the sofa. But then his balance is still messed up that the older guy needed to help him sit upright.
God. He hates him. He hates it when Takaki could easily turn him on in a second, sending a delicious tingle to run all over his body with a simple touch. He hates it when his eyes betray him and are glued at the view of the other guy. And he eventually realized that no matter how pissed off he is with the majesty Takaki Yuya, he can’t leave his feelings for the other guy behind.
“You live here by yourself?”, Inoo asked.
“Un, yeah. Why?”
“Nope, I thought you are the type who loves to bring your buddies here.”
Another moment passed in in silence. Maybe Inoo should have anticipated it. The cycle of their relationship. Awkwardness, an exchange of a few words, then awkwardness. But the truth was, Inoo had never taken his eyes off Takaki. He knows every detail of the older guy. He knows if Takaki’s hair grew longer for few millimeters. He knows there’s a slight scar on his earlobe due to his previous piercing.
And it’s always like that. Like now, Inoo carefully observes Takaki’s jaw movement when he gulps his drink.
So sexy and inviting.
Then a drop falls to his chin, hanging on there for a split second before Takaki wipes it away and Inoo struggles hard to press on his testosterones.
“Do you like guys?”
So random. Unprepared.
“Huh? Do I like guys?”
“C’mon bro”, he laughs, slaps Inoo’s shoulder in a casual way. “Do you think I’m gay?”
And he is still laughing.
Maybe, he thought it was a joke. Maybe, he didn’t really intend to hurt Inoo. But however, those simple words automatically made their way to sink in Inoo’s stomach. And when Takaki could usually bring a simple smile curving on Inoo’s lips by his childish laughter, now, it brings Inoo an irreparable broken feeling. A sign of discomfort is radiating around him. The walls felt so close, so claustrophobic, and being together with Takaki in the same room doesn’t seem appropriate anymore.
He kept repeating his mistakes over and over again. For everything’s sake, Inoo swears that he’d already tried his best to just move on and be normal. No matter what Takaki had done to him. But his heart turning into a traitor is just something that he couldn’t handle.
On the other side, Takaki realizes something. Ever since he responded to Inoo’s question, there’s a huge difference in the expression on that pretty face. Inoo is well-known as a cheerful person, but he always has this fragile look when they’re staying so close to each other. He just drinks his water silently now, looking down on the floor without any verbal words spoken between them.
Screw it. What did he just say? Why did he laugh? He should know in the very first place that Inoo wasn’t kidding. He should count as a probability that maybe, maybe, maybe Inoo was spilling a hint about the true him. And as stupid as he is, Takaki isn’t young enough to not understand what he’s into.
“So you like guys?”
“I am sorry…”
“Well, maybe I’m not one of those persons, but if you’re gay, I won’t have a problem either.”
“I am not gay.”
“I just fell for a certain stupid guy. I never had girlfriends before, and I never had a crush on someone else before, either. It’s just him for these past two years. So I don’t know if it can be concluded as gay or not. Or… maybe he’s just my exception.”
“Oh so that’s it.” Takaki nodded, quite confused on how to respond. “But… it’s the first time you’re telling me this. It feels like you just revealed a secret to me. I barely know you in person.”
“You’re such a mystery.”
“Then try to know me more.”
Inoo puts his glass on a small table in front of them. And despite feeling so reckless with his previous sentence, he’s rather grateful because Takaki just smiled after hearing the idea.
“Tell me about you, then”, Takaki demanded.
“I love a guy?”
“I love a guy who doesn’t love me back.”
“Okay stop. You’re not funny. You said try to know you more but why the hell do you keep on going on with that?”
Inoo laughed. “Tell me about you first.”
“I am such an open-book. If I love something, I’ll say it out loud. Everything is just too clear on my part. Even members and fans know what is my favorite food.”
“Your mom’s handmade onigiris. Yeah.”
“And you being such a clean freak is not a lie. At least I got to prove that tonight.”
“You’re easily bullied.”
“But I don’t know how you think about me.”
Their eyes meet each other. And suddenly the atmosphere turns into deadly silence that the AC’s hum can be clearly heard in the entire room. Inoo wanted to cut his tongue right away for spilling something nonsense ever since then. Fuck his drunken mind. He’s now feeling so complicated. And as much as he wants to put a safe distance between them, Takaki’s stare was somehow signaling a magnetic power which is why Inoo couldn’t avert his eyes anyway.
“I am sorry I jus—“
“I don’t hate you”, Takaki cuts, “I never hated you… if by any chance you thought that I did. I don’t know either why the other members think that we have a problem. But, in fact, I’ve always wanted to talk to you, to joke together, be casual with one another. Something like that.”
“I’d never thought that you hate me, either. It’s just that you seemed quite—unapproachable.”
“You didn’t piggy-back me during our concert.”
“What? So you really meant that?”
Inoo shrugged. Took another sip of his mineral water. He’d been so stupid. A small hint was never going to work out with him and Takaki when they’re not even sharing more than twenty words in their daily lives.
Hoping that Takaki will have the same feelings as him, spoil him in their concert, or even just understanding his random words are just somehow too much.
“Hey, don’t tell me that you’re mad at me because I didn’t do what you wanted me to do.”, Takaki demanded.
“That would be an overstatement. I am not mad.”
“Can we change the topic? I don’t want to sound like a girl who’s nagging only because of a simple, stupid thing.”
“Okay…”, Takaki paused. “Actually, I wanna ask you something.”
“Go on. Ask me.”
“Well maybe it’s not literally a question, but I’m just quite curious with—uhm, sorry, your sexual preference.”
It was unpredictable. From all the possible questions, Inoo’d never expected Takaki will ask about this. He doesn’t know what to say, to explain, or how to not make him feel disgusted later on the subject of his sexuality.
“But it’s okay if you won’t tell me.”
“It’s not that I want to keep it as a secret, but trust me, I don’t even know how it happened to me, either. I used to curse myself a lot the first time I realized this special feeling for that someone. I hated myself, and I hated him who turned me this way. But then I’m just so tired of how sorry I am for myself, with all the wars inside me. So I finally tried to accept it.”
“Do you feel disgusted?”
“Honestly, I have no idea either. But there’s no danger alarm for me to get away from you, so I think… it’s not a big deal.”
“Yeah… Based on my experience with my ex-girlfriends, they were hard to handle. Sometimes I’m just exhausted with them. And somehow I felt like I was treated like shit. They’re pretty good liars. And that’s the reason why I’m not in any relationship right now. So I can finely understand if some of the men feel better when they’re with another guy. I guess…”
There is barely a space between Takaki’s words and Inoo’s sigh of relief. The younger guy pulls the sides of his lips, curving a simple smile while looking straight into Takaki’s deep brown eyes.
“And then it’s okay for me…”, Inoo muttered a bit too quiet, slightly competing with the vague turmoil on the background. “As long as you’re okay with I’m being this way, then it’s enough for me. Because all that matters is you, your thoughts about me…”
It sounds almost like a spell for Takaki. The way Inoo said it, the way his eyes were filled with longing, just made the words feel like it’s directed to him. What? Why did he just realize that Inoo has this kind of stare? A stare that he hardly sees when Inoo’s around other members. It looks warm, but unexplainably fragile. Like he is demanding something from Takaki. But he had no idea what that something is, exactly.
For the first time in years, he finds out that Inoo has a nice smile, a sort of embarrassed small laughter. It was familiar and unfamiliar. It’s not the first time Inoo smiled at him, but this time, his smile just looks different. Moreover, that shade of pink on his cheeks, an effect of his previous beer session, is contributing to making Takaki not blinking in the slightest. All of them are just one great package. And once more, Takaki cursed himself for not noticing this combination earlier.
Damn. Inoo Kei is surely an absolute mystery. Just like what he’d always thought. And when he’s peeling it bit by bit, Takaki couldn’t help but want to know more. To know more about the guy with his sweater too loose, until it’s almost slipping off one shoulder, exposing that white milky skin.
It was such an unplanned mess. Unpredictable. A clumsy sensation where he could feel a part inside him is liquefying due to the view.
And he wonders if Inoo’s drunken mind is transferred into him as well.
“Hey Inoo, do you want to know my new secret?”, he asked all of sudden.
“Hm? What is that?”
“You think… what?”
Their eyes meet each other’s. A short pause, while Inoo obviously frowns at the haunting absent sentence.
“There is a possibility that I’ll fall in love with a guy in the future.”
And then the quiet lull evaporated as Inoo laughs. They could hear the sound of the clock tick-tocking like they are waiting for something.