It's a bright and sunny day outside, but in the dead of summer that means it's time to stay indoors. Yamapi and Jin have taken refuge from the heat inside Yamapi's air conditioned apartment, lying on the floor playing video games and eating watermelon. It's a normal sort of day, the sort Yamapi has experienced only a handful of times this year, and the rhythm of the day as it slowly turns from daylight to twilight lulls Yamapi into a lazy, sleepy feeling. He doesn't expect to be disturbed by anything more than Jin's squawks whenever he doesn't roll the Katamari the right way.
Unfortunately, this is just a false sense of security.
After they have beaten their team record time for the ikebana level for the third time in a row, Jin rolls onto his back with a groan, looking up at Yamapi with glazed eyes. "I'm going to have to get a taxi home," he says, closing his eyes and pressing his fingers to his temples. "Or else I'll be trying to roll up things with my car."
Yamapi smiles at the way Jin's hair falls into the wet plate of watermelon rinds behind him and lets his own controller go as he flips onto his back. "Don't worry, you'll sober up soon," he says, closing his eyes and seeing little princes and cousins rolling Katamaris on the backs of his eyelids. He's going to have strange dreams tonight.
"That reminds me!" Jin says, more excited than he's sounded all afternoon. Yamapi spends another moment watching Miso and Slip roll up some more snow for the snowman before he opens his eyes to the real world. Jin is now propped up on his elbows again, animated but definitely more apprehensive than pleased about the reminder. "I heard something the other day that I wanted to ask you about."
Yamapi refuses to get too agitated before he knows what is going on, though, and serenely folds his hands over his chest, blinking slowly at his friend. "What is it?"
"I heard that Toma's not doing so well. That he's been evicted and is living off other people, selling his body for money for coke, and that now he's got all these money problems and diseases and stuff... and I... well, I thought you would know. If that was true." Jin's voice is quiet and concerned, and very much sincere; Yamapi would know if Jin was making a joke, and he definitely isn't.
Yamapi takes a moment, then blinks slowly again.
His first reaction, handled on the inside because his mind is working slowly today, is that this is impossible. He and Toma are basically inseparable, and if something so serious had happened in his best friend's life, he would know about it. Or at least, he would have guessed that there was something wrong before Jin asked about it.
His second reaction, which bubbles into a confused expression on his face, is one of self-doubt. He sees Toma more often than he sees most people, but he doesn't see most people very often at all. They're in each other's company maybe every other week, and while they talk on the phone plenty, there are a lot of details he could miss over a telephone wire. He could have mistaken the redness under his nose for a cold when it pointed to something more sinister, or just not seen any number of details.
And then, a hazy memory of turning up to Toma's apartment only to find that he wasn't there floats through his mind, and the pieces click into place.
"Fuck!" He says out loud, bolting up as quickly as he can and dashing out of the room. Jin follows, perplexed, tripping over his feet as he hurtles into the kitchen after Yamapi.
"What are you doing?" Jin asks, though it's kind of obvious as Yamapi grabs his mobile off the counter and flips it open.
"Calling Toma. This can't be happening," Yamapi replies, biting his fingernails as he dials and presses the phone to his ear. Jin stands nervously by the door, watching Yamapi shift his weight from one leg to the other, and Jin can feel his own heart skip a beat when it's obvious Toma has picked up.
"Toma!" Yamapi says roughly, leaning against the counter. "Are you okay?" Jin can't hear the other side of the conversation, but in his imagination, Toma is sniffing the remains of his last hit as he says he's fine. "But I mean, really. Like, really? Because I just heard some really disturbing news." Yamapi looks distraught, and it tugs at Jin's heart strings. "Well, like that you... have a coke problem and got evicted and have all these sex diseases from being a male prostitute."
Jin doesn't need to be any closer to hear the sound of Toma asking where the hell he got that kind of information from. Thankfully, the noise trickles off into laughter, and instead of getting yelled at, Yamapi gets laughed at. Jin can't help but laugh a little, but that only gets him a glare filled with daggers, and after a bit more of an exchange, Yamapi hangs up on a still-laughing Toma and then folds his arms to square a proper look of contempt at Jin.
"Apparently I knew this, but Toma is staying at Shun's house while his apartment is being fumigated. He was not evicted, and has not picked up any drug addictions or sexually transmitted infections. He also tells me that his bank account is doing very well thank you, except for the fact he just bought himself an extremely fancy new juicer and soy milk maker that cost him a pretty penny." Yamapi takes a step closer as he leans in for the final blow. (Jin really wants to laugh at Pi's attempt at intimidating, but he knows it would end in a tickle fight, so he doesn't.)
"So, can you please tell me where you heard this ridiculous story?"
Kame doesn't actually mean to get completely drunk at the karaoke event of the season, but the crippling nerves at being in a whole room full of his peers and superiors took quite a bit to drown. He doesn't keep count of the drinks as he downs them, but he joins any drinking game that's proposed and by the third round of a particularly sloppy game of Ou-sama with Okada and Tegoshi, he's well and truly smashed. Which would under normal circumstances be cause for celebration, because it would mean that Jin doesn't have to spend the evening trying to remove the proverbial rod from Kame's ass, but tonight things are a little bit different.
Jin's nowhere near as drunk as Kame, but he's talking with his hands and is sitting close as he has a very involved, very meaningful conversation with Nagase about American football. He's not really sure why he and Nagase are discussing American football, because he doesn't really know that much about it (all he remembers are the pep rallies and cheerleaders), and it doesn't sound like Nagase knows very much either, but the discussion is engrossing anyway, and he's having a good time.
Until, that is, he finds Kame tugging at his elbow and pleading in a low voice to leave with him for a moment.
Jin makes his excuses to Nagase as politely as he can (with lots of eye-rolling and unnecessary gestures explaining that Kame is inebriated) and follows an agitated Kame out of the room, down the hall, and into the fire escape. Jin thanks his lucky stars that they didn't trip the emergency alarm as they stumble into the concrete stairwell, trying not to fall down the stairs as Kame flings his hand away dramatically.
"What's the matter?" Jin asks, steadying himself against the handrails as he watches Kame turn in a circle with rather impressive precision before stopping to face Jin, planting his feet on the ground but still swaying quite a bit.
"You can't talk to Nagase like that," Kame enthuses, folding his arms and nearly managing to topple over with the change in balance. "He's going to drug you and steal you and have his way with you!"
Jin blinks. He's seen Kame talk shit before when he was drunk, but he's never seen Kame completely delusional. He takes a few steps towards Kame and puts his hands on the other man's shoulders, looking at him seriously. "Kame, that's just stupid," Jin says, quite sensitively if he does say so himself. "Nagase is not going to drug me or steal me or... whatever. We were talking about football. Besides, you know Nagase! He's just a big teddy bear!" (Though, Jin feels rather lucky that Nagase isn't around to hear him say that.)
Kame's eyes grow wider and a little more desperate. "But Jin," he protests, voice just on the edge of hysterical. "Didn't you know? Sempais have a way of getting under your skin. They can take advantage of you."
Jin blinks again, and gets a strange twisting feeling in his stomach that tells him this is potentially not a conversation he wants to have. He ignores the feeling, though, and asks the question anyway. "Did something happen to you, Kame?"
"No!" Kame says, about ten decibels too loud for a concrete stairwell, and Jin closes his eyes as the sound reverberates around him. "Not to me," he adds in a low voice that very clearly tells Jin that there is gossip behind this drunken rant.
"Ooh, who was it, Kazu-chan?" Jin bounces on the spot a couple of times, but stops as Kame sways, remembering quickly that he is the guy's only anchor. "What happened? Who was it? Tell me!"
"It was Toma," Kame breathes, and Jin forgets to be offended at the stench of alcohol wafting from his mouth at the news. He knows Toma, he's hung out with Toma, and Pi is practically as good friends with Toma as he is with Jin, so how had he not heard this before? Jin's stomach twists again but he forgets it once Kame starts talking again. "He's been kicked out of his house, you know. For all his drug use. He's addicted to coke, Jin. At least it's not heroin, but... well, you know, I always wondered how he did all that running in Maou. Oh, wait, that would be speed. God, can you imagine? Toma doing speed and Ohno doing pot during filming? Actually that sounds kind of brilliant...."
"The point, Kame!" Jin interjects impatiently. Usually he doesn't mind Kame's drunken rambling - finds it kind of cute, really, because he says all the things he'd never say while sober - but this is a story he needs to hear the end of.
"Right! Sorry. Anyway, he got evicted for his coke habit, and he got the clap from this sempai of his. Someone outside the agency, I don't know who; anyway, he doesn't have any money or a place to stay so he's been sleeping around. It's tragic," Kame finishes with a sigh, shaking his head mournfully.
Jin can't really believe it. He heard everything, of course. Took it in. But it doesn't make any sense. He's seen Toma recently, and he didn't show any signs - and Jin's been around enough functioning addicts to know the difference - but maybe he just wasn't paying attention. Maybe Toma's a better actor than Jin usually gives him credit for. It doesn't make sense for Kame to lie, though, especially since he's drunk - alcohol is a truth serum for most people, but Kame is almost painfully unable to lie when inebriated.
"Hello~? Ji~n?" Kame waves a hand in front of Jin's face, snapping him out of his thought processes. "Are we going back to the party now?"
The somber note has left Kame's voice; back is the light, tripping, practically giggling voice that Jin's used to hearing when Kame's this drunk, and it throws all the dark thoughts from his mind. He blinks, then nods and lets go of Kame's shoulders with a grin. He'll think about this problem later. "We've got to go back. I still haven't done my 'Flower' duet with Tsuyoshi yet!"
Domoto Koichi has much better things to do with his time than attend some ridiculous peer review project. Most people in the agency do, really (except for those kids in NewS; what do they do, exactly?), so Koichi just doesn't understand the reasoning behind getting everyone together to do pair peer review sessions. Then again, Koichi doesn't understand most of the decisions that Johnny makes, so he just turns up to do the job so he can get on with his life. At least he was paired with an obedient little kouhai who is likely not going to say anything bad in his review.
Kamenashi Kazuya, on the other hand, decides to take the peer review project quite seriously. He spent the two weeks beforehand watching as many Kinki Kids and solo appearance footage that he could, taking notes and analyzing what could be done better. He's always known Koichi's strong points and weak points, but he treats the study as a nice refresher course in the man whose career helped shape his own, and he spends more of his brain power than he should wondering what Koichi might say about him.
Kame turns up early and waits quietly in the empty room, re-reading his notes and final analysis, correcting things and tapping his pen nervously against the frames of his glasses. He's so caught up in working out what he wants to say to Koichi that he hasn't even noticed the absence of cameras and the fact that his sempai is nearly twenty minutes late. Koichi, for his part, is completely unfazed. He hasn't prepared anything, just breezes into the room wearing fashionably torn pair of jeans and a thin white t-shirt, looking completely unconcerned as Kame straightens his back and greets him with a trembling but polite voice.
"So, Kamenashi-kun," Koichi begins, noting but ignoring the fact that Kame is practically bouncing with anticipation to get into whatever it is that's written on his note paper. "I watched your concert DVD from last year's tour."
"Oh, thank you so much, Domoto-san. I didn't realize you were so interested -"
"Well, I feel responsible for you. And I couldn't help that notice that you are a little too... what's the word... familiar with your kouhai." Kame doesn't say anything to that; he knows it's true, of course, but he's never been told it was a bad thing. His mouth hangs open in surprise, unable to respond to the allegations, and Koichi smiles a little and leans forward in his chair. "It's okay. It's an easy mistake to make, Kame-chan." The diminutive makes Kame feel like a child, especially under the watchful gaze of Domoto Koichi, but he manages to hold the other's eyes.
"Is there anything... in particular... wrong with it?" Kame manages not to trip over his words, but the pauses show his nerves - which are real nerves now, rather than mere apprehension at critiquing his sempai.
"You just have to be careful, that's all," Koichi says, and Kame swears he sees a mischievous glint in his sempai's eye but it's gone before he can really analyze it. "I've heard stories, Kamenashi. Of people - your friends, even - being dragged away by people stronger than them. You would never want to be responsible for that kind of trauma, would you?"
"Of course not," Kame answers immediately, his back straightening as he clutches his notes to his chest. "I would never -"
"Let me tell you a story, Kame-chan," Koichi interrupts, and doesn't wait for Kame to respond before continuing. "Once upon a time, in a world not so different from our own, a certain kouhai looked up very much to his sempai. Though they were from different worlds - the kouhai bound by contracts and the sempai a free agent - they shared a close relationship. At some point, that relationship changed: the younger man became attached, and the older man saw that he could take advantage of his kouhai's attentions. Little by little, the sempai brought the kouhai into a position of complete submission - first with friendliness, then with sexual attention, then with illegal substances. Eventually, this poor kouhai found himself evicted from his home and trading his body for a place to stay, living with chlamydia, and addicted to cocaine. All because his sempai didn't know when to stop taking his kouhai's affection for granted. And do you know who the poor, unfortunate kouhai in this story is?"
Kame has been listening with rapt attention, soaking up Koichi's words rather than just letting them roll off his back, and a shiver runs down his spine at the question. The thought that he might know the poor, unfortunate kouhai personally makes him feel sick - is it someone he knows well who is battling through this alone? Or is it someone older, a story from a sempai's past that will color his image of that person forever? He isn't sure he wants to know, but he finds himself shaking his head and making a strange noise in the back of his throat as though to encourage the answer.
Koichi keeps his features schooled to neutral and lowers his voice to a conspiratorial whisper to divulge the final detail. "Ikuta Toma."
Kame can't help the gasp. Dramatic tension always gets to him, and he puts a hand over his mouth to cover the noise. He doesn't know Toma as well as he should, but he's hardly some intangible image of a sempai, and the force of the new information colliding with what he thought he knew runs a chill through his body. "Really?" he breathes, taking his glasses off and subconsciously hanging them on his collar, hugging his notebook to his chest like a safety blanket.
"Come now, Kamenashi-kun. Why would I lie to you?"
What Tackey likes most about his monthly dinners with Domoto Koichi is that they make him feel like an adult. Not that he isn't an adult, and not that Koichi is that much older than him, but there's something about sitting down to dinner with Koichi that makes him feel as though he's part of the adult set within their agency of perpetual youth. Koichi might be his senior, but Tackey likes to think that they're on a similar wavelength, each of them being part of the only two duos Johnny's has ever produced. (Tegomass doesn't count. Neither of them thinks Tegomass counts.)
Koichi, for his part, likes indulging his juniors, and enjoys the way Tackey still manages to look like a ten year old playing dress-up with his mother's high heels as they talk about work. His smile says as much, but Tackey still doesn't know how to read Koichi properly, and that makes Koichi even happier with their monthly dinner arrangements.
They mostly discuss their work lives, and catch up with each other on the state of their juniors' careers. Tackey does most of the talking, since he's made it his mission to play good sempai to the undebuted junior groups in the agency, and Koichi doesn't mind because he loves to listen. Listening means he doesn't have to talk, and most of the time Koichi is sick enough of talking that this is a blessing.
"I heard something distressing the other day," Tackey comments one particular evening, dabbing the corners of his mouth with the pristine white serviette. Koichi raises his eyebrows slightly and takes a sip of wine, a silent prompt for more information. "I heard that Oguri Shun is keeping Ikuta Toma at his house as some sort of... debauched sex slave."
Koichi nearly spits out his wine; not because it's a ridiculously scandalous story, but because Tackey manages to deliver it in such an earnest manner and without even a hint of irony. Koichi manages to swallow his wine civilly, though, and tilts his head. "Is that so?" It's much more fun to play adult when the other person is taking it seriously.
"It is," Tackey says gravely. "Toma was evicted some time ago - goodness knows for what, though I think he's having money troubles and that concerns me just as much - and Oguri took him in, with the arrangement being that Toma would compensate for his part of the rent in sexual favors. Apparently, Oguri's girlfriend knows all about it and has no problem with it. You'd have thought a sensible woman like Yamada Yu would talk him out of it, but I guess you just don't know what goes on behind closed doors."
"I suppose not," Koichi agrees amiably, taking in each of the details and weighing them against what he knows about each of the players - and the source. His knowledge is, unfortunately, lacking in all areas, and while he knows that Tackey is the sort of man to embellish a story to make himself seem better, Koichi can't be sure that there is much room for error. The story's a good one, though, so he stores it away for later use and lets the silence drag on in case Tackey has anything else to say.
It's not much of a surprise when Tackey opens his mouth again. "Personally, I think it's atrocious behavior, on all of their parts. Oguri, well... I don't know the man very well, but I thought he had more integrity than that. And I feel like Toma should have known better than to agree to the terms; it's putting his career in danger and his personal health and safety at risk. It's amazing what juniors will do to keep up appearances, isn't it?"
Koichi looks at Tackey, a man who is no more than two years older than the person he is criticizing, who is talking to someone not only three years older but also four years ahead in his career, and a smile spreads over his lips. "I am constantly amazed myself, Takizawa-kun."
Ryo is sulking around stage and the director is getting more and more frustrated with the angry pout that keeps creeping into his close-ups when Tackey decides to take matters into his own hands. He convinces the director to call for a break and then corners his junior in the green room.
"Ryo-kun," Tackey begins, opting to take the gentle, friendly approach by using his given name. "Is something wrong? You've been off your game today."
Ryo glares at Tackey as he sits down on the couch and offers Ryo a cigarette. Tackey knows Ryo hates being talked to like a junior (even though he is; it's not age that's the difference, it's experience), but the best way to overcome that is with bribes. Cigarettes and alcohol have bridged many a divide before, so Tackey just smiles to himself as Ryo grudgingly takes one and lets out a clipped sigh.
"I'm never going to have a private life being in Johnny's," Ryo says, leaning into the light that Tackey offers him. It's a bit of a shock, for Ryo to just come out with what was wrong, but what strikes Tackey more is that problem; surely Ryo has had this realization before.
"You can have a private life," Tackey says in a measured tone, trying to gauge whether Ryo is drunk or having a crazy day or what. "You just need to be careful about where you go and what you do. And you know there have been worse things this agency has had to cover up than a girlfriend."
Ryo looks at him, and Tackey doesn't like the way his smirk says 'yeah, like the time that paparazzo caught you and Tsubasa making out in a bathroom stall'. "I know," Ryo says, the smirk receding into the same pout he'd been wearing all day. "It's just... some people have it all, you know?"
Tackey doesn't really know what Ryo's talking about, and decides a blank stare will get the answer out of him better than a question.
"Well, okay, so there's this girl I keep running into when I go out with my friends, right? And I really want to ask her out, and I've sort of hinted at it, but she's all, 'only if you weren't famous,' which just doesn't make any sense, seeing as that's about the only reason Tegoshi gets laid at all, ever, so I want to be able just take her out like we were normal people or like... Oguri Shun, you know?"
Tackey isn't entirely sure he knows how the topic changed so suddenly, but he goes with it, and gives Ryo a quizzical look for encouragement.
"He's got a girlfriend, right? They go out all the time, people take pictures, but because he's a free agent, nobody gives a shit, and he can go out with her and date her and nobody cares. And then, on top of that, not only does he have a girlfriend, he has a fucking boy toy on the side!"
That one is a bit of a revelation, and Tackey can't help but do a double-take. "Wait, what?"
"Yeah! And not only that, it's Toma! Ikuta fucking Toma, with his big nose and stupid hair."
Tackey's pretty sure his brain breaks, and he shakes his head to clear his mind of the thought of Toma and Oguri Shun together - a unsurprisingly easy image to conjure, but one that is more difficult to get rid of. "You're saying that Toma and Oguri Shun are..."
"Butt-fucking? Yes!" Ryo sounds indignant, but not really surprised, and Tackey grimaces at the phrase but doesn't say anything. "Toma got evicted like a year ago for skipped rent or some shit and moved in and they've been fuck buddies ever since. But what I'm annoyed at is that Oguri gets to have two people he can fuck whenever he likes and I don't even get to take one girl on one date because my stupid fucking agency's so fucking controlling I can barely pass wind without them clamping down on my ass cheeks."
Tackey decides then that he is never going to ask Ryo to share anything. Ever again.
"So guess what I heard yesterday?" Yoko says in perfect ventriloquist's voice, smile plastered on his face as the photographer shouts at Subaru to stop staring off into space. Ryo doesn't react for a second, because he's incapable of talking through a smile (Yoko's sure it has something to do with his stupidly large mouth), but makes an interested sort of noise between shots.
Yoko continues once the photographer starts to yell at the makeup staff for leaving shiny spots on Yasu's forehead, giving them time to relax. "Oguri Shun's totally banging Ikuta Toma twelve ways from Sunday," he says, turning to Ryo just in time to catch the part-scandalized, part-angry look on his face. He wishes he could catch it on camera.
"He's what?" Ryo splutters, choking on his own indignation (or saliva, but whatever) and an assistant offers him a glass of water but he waves her away. Yoko just grins smugly. "But he has a girlfriend! A girlfriend! With big tits and everything! Why would he be fucking that little runt Toma?"
Yoko is nice enough to not remind Ryo that they're probably of similar proportions and shrugs. "I don't know," he says in a leading manner. "But apparently, it's so good that Toma hasn't been home to pay his rent in six months. There's an eviction notice on his door and everything."
"That is such bullshit!" Ryo says, hands firmly on his hips now. Yoko wonders if they have time for a bitching session before the photographer is satisfied with the masking of Yasu's shiny forehead, but they will if Yasu starts to cry (which is looking likely at this point). "Not only does Oguri get to have a fucking girlfriend and flaunt her all over the place, he gets a little on the side from Toma at home? That is the most fucking ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life. I can't even step into a club these days without being attached to a girl or a drug bust, and yet here's some hot shot actor doing whatever the fuck he wants? This is fucked, I'm having a talk with the higher-ups about this."
Yoko knows it's all hot air and Ryo won't actually do anything, but Yoko also knows that Ryo turned up to this photo shoot a bit drunk so it's probably a good idea to stick close by, just in case he does call anyone stupid. Still, it was worth it for the reaction, and it fuels Yoko's grins for the rest of the shoot.
Yoko screams in Aiba's ear, but Aiba doesn't care about the noise because they are nearly out. He grips onto Yoko's arm just a little tighter, fingernails digging through the material of his jacket and Yoko would usually berate him but they both know - they can just feel it in their bones - that something else is going to jump out at them before they're allowed to exit the haunted house.
Tip-toeing down the seemingly endless hallway to the exit sign, all they can hear is each other's heavy breathing and the clunking and clanking of the rest of the haunted house scaring the other patrons. Seconds away from the exit, they think they're safe - Aiba's grip slackens and Yoko takes a deep breath - but a heartbeat later, a scythe drops heavily onto the ground in front of them with a great clang. They both scream and run the few short paces to the door, bustling and pushing each other in their hurry to get out.
Once outside, startled by the sunlight overhead, they stumble around, into each other and small children, before collapsing on a bench nearby. Aiba can't help clutching to Yoko's arm out of habit, but he lets out a breathy giggle as the fear and adrenaline rush out of him.
"That scared the shit out of me!" Yoko all but yells, which just makes Aiba giggle a little more and slump down on the bench, nodding his agreement.
"It was amazing," he says, sighing as his body continues to relax, letting his head fall onto Yoko's shoulder.
Yoko just grins and sighs exaggeratedly. "Yeah, it was good for me, too, baby." Aiba giggles again, swatting Yoko's arm ineffectually, but doesn't move away. The feeling is reminiscent of post-orgasm bliss, Aiba supposes, but that's not really something he wants to think about, so he casts his mind around for a change of topic.
"Oh! Guess who's shacking up?" He asks excitedly, sitting up properly now and extracting his arm from Yoko's.
"If you're going to try to convince me of Nino and Ohkura's secret love affair again, I'm going to -"
"No, no, it's not that!" Aiba interrupts Yoko before he can get to the threat. "Besides, they are totally fucking, I can tell. But anyway, it's Toma! Toma's moved in with Oguri Shun."
The revelation does not have quite the effect that Aiba hoped, but at least Yoko looks as though he is trying to work out who the people were. "I remember Toma.... Is Oguri the one Matsujun was banging for like, two years before he came out?"
"Yes, that's him!" Aiba says, practically bouncing in his seat. "They did a show together a few years ago, HanaKimi? They had to kiss a million times for this one scene. I knew there was something more to them."
"Hang on," Yoko says, holding down Aiba's flailing arms. "Oguri Shun. Doesn't he have a girlfriend? I swear Ryo was complaining about that the other day...."
"She's out of town," Aiba says significantly, giving Yoko a look that distinctly says 'they're totally fucking, I can tell'.
Yoko rolls his eyes. "You know, just because you fuck anything on two legs doesn't mean everyone else is hooking up."
"Yeah, but I don't shack up with someone and then forget to pay my rent for six months."
Koyama knows that Aiba Masaki is a very busy man, it being Arashi's tenth anniversary year, so he doesn't expect his phone to ring one sunny afternoon and have Aiba invite him to Jidayubori Park for lunch. It's a little far to go for Koyama, and he already had plans for his afternoon off, but he's not sure the opportunity will arise again, so he agrees, gets on the next train, and cancels his lunch date on the way.
It's not that he has a thing for Aiba (contrary to what Shige kept telling everyone), just that he had gotten on very well with his sempai when he'd visited Tensai! Shimura Dobutsuen and been slightly struck by the energy Aiba exuded, whether the cameras were on or not. He'd said as much to Aiba, and vowed to take some lessons from the other man, so he wasn't about to turn down the chance to spend some time with him.
It all feels a little bit sudden, Koyama realizes as they leave the quiet cafe in the middle of the park, but it's only because it's so easy to relax in Aiba's presence. There is an undeniable energy to Aiba, that's certain, but he makes conversation easy so that even silences are comfortable and companionable. They speak mostly about work, about the different stages they're at in their career with Johnny's, and Koyama finds himself feeling as though he's always known Aiba.
"So, who do you hang out with, amongst your generation?" Aiba asks as they wander alongside a pond, pulling tiny pieces from his leftover bread and throwing them out to a string of ducks that have decided to follow them.
"I guess, mainly Shige. He's one of my best friends, I suppose." Koyama feels a little strange describing Shige as his best friend, but he supposes it's true, whether or not they're also co-workers.
"Ah, so not Yamashita-kun? I suppose the rest of you are fairly new, compared to him."
Koyama shrugs. He doesn't really like to think about it like that; it's the biggest divide the band had to overcome, and though they've managed to stitch themselves together fairly well, it's still not something he likes to dwell on. So he changes the subject. "He has his own friends, from before we debuted. Like Toma-kun. I think you were in a group with Toma, too, right? Before Yamapi was."
Aiba looks impressed that Koyama has done his homework and smiles, stopping in the middle of the bridge they're walking over. "That's right," he says, turning to the ducks, who have also stopped, watching as they fight over the crumbs he drops into the pond.
Koyama can hear the wistful sigh in Aiba's voice, so he continues. "Speaking of Toma-kun, I heard that he's been evicted."
That wipes the wistfulness away from Aiba's expression. "Evicted?" He exclaims, nearly dropping the rest of his bread into the pond in surprise. His loud voice disturbs the silence and seems the rustle the leaves, for which he looks suitably sheepish, so he lowers his voice to a whisper when he next speaks. "Evicted? What for?"
"He hadn't paid his rent in a few months, I guess," Koyama replies solemnly, though he sort of wants to laugh at the way Aiba is now clutching the bag of bread to his chest. "Apparently he's staying with Oguri Shun-san while his girlfriend's out of town."
"That sounds terrible," Aiba breathes, relaxing his grip on the bag of bread though his forehead remains furrowed in concern. "I hope Oguri-san is taking good care of him."
"Don't worry," Koyama consoles Aiba as they begin walking again, putting a hand on the other man's shoulder. "I'm sure he's taking very good care of him."
Yamapi lies on the couch in the dressing room with his head in Koyama's lap, his fingers splayed dramatically over his eyes. The others are eating lunch with the rest of the staff, but Pi can't bear the thought of food, and Koyama is staying by his band mate's side with a bucket of ice and a cold compress pressed against Yamapi's forehead. He doesn't really have any sympathy for Yamapi, but they have a music video to shoot, so it's really in everyone's best interests to restore his energy.
"Koyama, I'm going to die," Pi whines around a mouthful of ice chips, reaching up with his free hand to curl into Koyama's brightly-colored shirt.
Koyama peels Yamapi's fingers away and presses them back to the couch. "You're not going to die, Pi," he says reassuringly, patting the cold compress lightly. "You've just got a hangover."
"But I don't want a hangover, Koyama!" Yamapi enthuses a little too much, sending shooting stabs of pain straight to the back of his head, which makes him whine loudly.
"Then you shouldn't have had so much to drink last night," Koyama answers in a soothing tone of voice.
"It's all Kame's fault. He drinks too much."
"Of course he does, Pi." Koyama's not really listening, threading his fingers through Yamapi's hair.
"It would have been okay if I hadn't had to go all the way home! We were right by Toma's place, too," Yamapi laments, pout both visible and audible.
"Why didn't you stay at Toma's then?" Koyama inquires, brushing strands of hair out of Yamapi's scrunched-closed eyes.
"I tried to! But he wasn't home." Pi furrows his brow, then, trying to remember why Toma wasn't home. The memories are vague and hazy in his mind, and he tries to pluck out the salient details. "He'd been kicked out of his apartment. I think he wasn't paying rent. So he's staying with Oguri while the girlfriend's out of town." The strain of remembering tires him, though, and he relaxes back against Koyama's lap like a dead weight the next moment, letting out a huff of air. "I had to ask someone to call me a taxi. It was so incredibly embarrassing."
"Kicked out for not paying rent?" Koyama confirms, so shocked he stops playing with Pi's hair.
"Something like that," Yamapi says quietly, bringing his hands up to massage his temples. "Another ice chip, please, Keii-chan?"
Toma wakes in the middle of the night to his phone blaring Daite Señorita, and he mumbles curses all the way from beneath the blankets to flipping the phone open. "This had better be really really good, Yamashita," he says, shoving the phone between his ear and the pillow. He soon regrets it, though, as a rush of noise bursts through the speaker and directly into his ear.
"TOOOOOOOOOOOMAAAAAAAAAA," Yamapi calls, and Toma scrunches his eyes shut as though it might block out the noise of his clearly drunk best friend. "Tomatomatomatoma... TOMA. Where are you?"
"In bed," Toma replies, trying not to wake up any more than he already has. "I was asleep."
"How were you asleep?" Yamapi shrieks, as though this is the most surprising thing he's heard in years. "I've been pressing the doorbell over and over again for like... ten minutes." The explanation makes Toma groan and roll over on the inflatable mattress beneath him, sheets tangled around his limbs.
"I'm not at home, Pi," Toma whines, now sufficiently awake to keep him up for another couple of hours.
"But... but why not?" Yamapi asks, slightly breathless as though the news has made him gasp. Toma rubs his eyes and props himself up on one elbow, wondering whether he should really bother to explain.
"My apartment is getting fumigated. Had a cockroach infestation under my sink, so I asked my landlord to do something about it. Had to withhold rent for like... two months, but he got around to it. Guess that's the main point." The details, Toma knows, are completely lost on his drunk friend, who is probably slowly getting sleepier and more sober as he realizes his plans to crash at a convenient location have been foiled, but he gives them anyway. He's tired enough to give out useless information.
"Well..." Yamapi says, his voice much quieter and flatter now that the wind has been taken from his sails. "Where are you now?"
"I'm at Shun's place. It's only for a couple of weeks, and Yu's out of town anyway." Again with the useless information, but Toma rambles when he's tired. Pi doesn't listen when he's drunk, though, so it works out.
"..." Toma can almost hear Yamapi blink as his brain tries to process the information. "But Shun's place is so far away!" he whines, finally, and Toma can just imagine Pi standing out front of his apartment complex, phone to his ear and head lolling on a loose neck as he whines up at the innocent apartments above him.
"It's okay, Pi. Just get a taxi home, you'll be fine."
"But your place is in the middle of nowhere, and it's late and it's been raining so I can't get a taxi!" Toma isn't quite sure how wet pavement has anything to do with being able to catch a taxi, but he lets it go.
"Just go across the street, there's that place with the gate that has the guard? Tell him you're drunk and need a taxi, he'll call one for you."
"But To~ma~," Pi begins, and Toma can hear the unmistakable intake of breath before a long-winded monologue. He cuts it off with a quick shake of his head.
"No, that's it, Pi. Good night! Send me a message when you get home." Then he hangs up and goes to sleep.
The next morning, Toma wakes to the sound of a message on his mobile.
Subject: morning death
have pv shoot today.
i blame you.
as revenge, will start nasty rumors.
your choice: sex fiend or drug addict?
my preference is both.