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8 times JUMP made Yuto realize he needed to talk to Yamada + 1 time Yuto figured it out himself

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1. ~ Daiki ~

“Wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up Yuto-kun ~~ We’re lateeeee!”

A shrill voice sounded near Yuto’s ears, accompanied by rhythmic bouncing on his bed. In his state of half-consciousness Yuto could only roll across the mattress, determined to get as far away from the source as possible.

The person was relentless, though: in the next second Yuto felt a heavy weight pressing on the bed. Then vigourous shaking of his shoulders. And a sharp tug of his blanket. Then…

“Nakajima Yuto! I have a bucket of water with me and I’m not afraid to use it!”

Well, that did it.

“What, Dai-chan? It’s only –“ here he checked his watch on the bedside table and felt a sudden rush of rage. “Damn you, Dai-chan! It’s 1 in the morning! Why –“

Daiki shut him up with a smack upside the head.

“We’re in Los Angeles, baka! It’s 9 a.m., and we have a dance lesson, and to hell with Yamada for refusing to wake you up while obviously he had more experience with this and would not have to waste 30 minutes, and we are going to be so late if you don’t freaking hurry!”

He huffed, then added:

“I’m gonna be outside.”

Yuto was already out of the bed and changing, but his thoughts snagged on something Daiki mentioned. Why did Yamada refuse to wake him up? No, scratch that, he already knew the answer. He even knew the solution to the problem, actually.

He just did not have the courage to do it yet.

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2. ~ Inoo ~

“Let’s go for ramen, Inoo-chan!”

They had finished their rehearsal in unusually high spirits, with no scolding from the choreographer or the staff. (Keito definitely had extra practice last night, because his dancing improved significantly.)

Which, for Yuto, was a great excuse for a ramen night. And as per usual, he invited his “ramen partner”, Inoo, who promptly agreed.

After nearly 2 hours of queuing – for the general excitement from the successful dance rehearsal had led them into making the possibly regrettable decision of choosing the most popular ramen restaurant downtown – that saw their conversation flowing from Inoo’s university studies to their new dramas, Inoo was starting to question his clarity of mind. Especially now that Yuto had started to do impersonations (admittedly, his Yabu monomane managed to get a few chuckles from Inoo, but as for the rest… there was a reason why he seldom showed them in concerts.)

Yuto was in the middle of a particularly overdone Kamenashi monomane when Inoo burst out the one thing that was on his mind.

“It’s high time you talked to Yama-chan about your relationship.”

In hindsight, Inoo reasoned to himself, seeing Yuto’s Kamenashi impression frozen in a moment of shock was worth all the awkwardness that ensued and lasted until they said goodbye to each other at the train station.

And in any case, he really meant what he said. And he hoped Yuto understand.

(He did.)

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3. ~ Takaki ~

Takaki Yuya was known for his general inadequacy when it comes to giving advice. It had become some sort of urban legend within Johnny’s, whispered in nearly-empty dressing rooms and after dance lessons: the junior who was stuck in the delivery elevator on the 3rd floor, another one who went missing between two 8-beat counts of a dance lesson. If all the rumours were to be believed, even the senpais had fallen victim to Bakaki’s careless suggestions: one such senpai (whose-name-must-not-be-revealed-for-fear-of-utter-pain-possible-death-and-eternal-bondage-in-an-ill-fitted-junior-costume) had had to cover his face with a mask for a week to hide his swelling lips – according to some versions of the story, the remnants of which was still visible today if we look closely enough at “before” and “after” photos.

JUMP members, through constant exposure and a deep desire for self-preservation, had developed defense mechanisms against Bakaki. Yabu and Hikaru settled for straight-out ignoring him when he started his advice mode; Daiki was more subtle and just pretended to listen to him. Inoo and Yamada would throw back a retort, which started as attempts to talk some sense into him but lately had seemingly developed into a competition between the two to see who can pull a trick on Takaki first. Keito had had to resort to physically running away from Takaki after having been caught in a precarious situation 3 days in a row. Chinen swore by a method that involved a frying pan, salt, candle wax, feathers from Juniors’ costumes and an Arashi CD. It was the only defense that no one else dared to copy (even when Chinen assured them that it didn’t have to be an Arashi CD, and any Johnny’s album would do).

In the spectrum between flat-out ignorance and physical distancing, Yuto would be somewhere in the middle. He would have still been somewhere in the middle had it not been for Yuya’s out-of-the-blue, completely-uncalled-for advice when the two were having lunch.

“You should talk to Yama-chan.”

Now Yuto did not even know where he was in the JSODMAB (JUMP’s Spectrum Of Defense Methods Against Bakaki). Definitely not in the middle, not even in the extremities.

Possibly already out of the charts, since Yuto was certain there was no category of being convinced by Takaki’s advice.

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4. ~ Yabu ~

Yabu missed the old Yuto – the younger Yuto, that is. The confident Yuto that he saw when spying on the auditions. The kind Yuto who always had candy to share. The bubbly and cheerful Yuto who bounced around the sets with unrivaled energy. His favorite kouhai, and later fellow group member.

Not that Yuto had completely changed. Yuto was the epitome of confident when he was behind his drum set. Kind as he never forgot any member’s birthday. And still bubbly and cheerful, if the PV Makings were anything to go by.

Now that Yabu looked at it, he had always been there when the changes happened, and did not realize it simply because they took a while to actually make a difference. A little tweak here, some altering there, and suddenly Nakajima Yuto was not Johnny’s golden boy and Yamada Ryosuke was Hey! Say! JUMP’s center and they were no longer going back home together.

But when both Yuto and Yamada started coming to him for advice – on the same day, no less, he mused, these two must have a special bond – Yabu believed that their relationship was not beyond saving. And he was determined to be the person who did the … ah, saving. Right.

Which was why he ended a depressing session with Yuto (in which the younger had ranted on about how Yamada replied to his mails as if they were merely acquaintances, and how Yamajima had become so fake he was afraid the fans would see right through) with:

“I still think you just need a talk with Yama-chan, Yuto-kun.”

And also why he kept repeating the suggestion again and again and again.

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5. ~ Chinen ~

Yuto thought Yamada spoiled Chinen too much.

Granted, Chii was born to be spoiled. Even Yuto was guilty of this: when they were classmates in high school, he would always help Chii with whatever the younger boy asked. Even the other members softened whenever they saw Chii as well.

But surely, there must be a limit to what Yamada is doing with Chii! Yuto could not remember a time when he entered the dressing room without seeing them doing ... something together. Snuggling, giggling at their phones, sleeping on each other, he had seen it all.

And let’s not mention the fan service. Oh, the fan service. There has to be an upper limit, Yuto desperately thought, where fan service becomes illegal, hasn’t there? Sometimes when he allowed his mind to wander he thought if he ever become in charge of the Jimusho that would be the first rule he put in place.

Something like: “No excessive fan service! At concerts or on magazines!”

Or: “No fan service in consecutive concerts!”

After messing around with the phrasing of a non-existent rule in his head, Yuto bitterly realized that what he actually meant was:

“No excessive fan service for a pairing in disregard of another pairing who is literally standing right there and has to listen to all the lovey-dovey talks between his ex-best friend and his new best friend.”

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6. ~ Hikaru ~

It was the day before their Tokyo Dome concert, and Yaotome Hikaru could be found pacing the alley leading up to JUMP’s dressing room. He had no intention of entering the room, though, knowing how hyper the members could be before a performance as they channeled their nervousness into mischiefs. And right now, the last thing Yaotome Hikaru needed was mischiefs.

On any other day, that sentence would have contradicted itself, but today was different. Today, Yaotome Hikaru had an important mission to accomplish.

Yaotome Hikaru was in charge of thinking up ideas for the concert (or rather, he took it upon himself, being the perfectionist that he was).

And Yaotome Hikaru still had not finished the plan for the performance.

Because Yaotome Hikaru was being confronted by the gravest, most serious problem ever to grace a Hey! Say! JUMP concert.

A problem that the other members did not even consider (oh bless their oblivious souls), and Yaotome Hikaru was the only one who could prevent the impending disaster.

Yes, it was the dire problem of a lack-of-Yamajima-moments-due-to-the-exclusion-of-Super-Delicate.

Hikaru stared at the conspicuously blank paper in front of him, clicked his tongue, realized he had reached the end of the passageway, turned around, and clicked his tongue again. Still nothing.

All this would not be happening if those two idiots would just talk to each other! Hikaru thought, on his 53rd revolution (yes, he counted) along the alley. He glared at the dressing room’s door, where his 2 subjects were ignorant of the tribulations that he was going through.

An idea flashed across his mind. It was a reckless one, actually, but in his desperation to be done with the plan he just decided to go with it. (Besides, it was not like he would be the one affected anyway.)

***

“At the end of the concert, I will give a signal, and then you will go to Yama-chan and kiss his cheek. Savvy? Good.” Hikaru explained at top speed to the flustered guy whom he had just pulled from the dressing room.

“But… but…”

“Well if you can think of a better plan, I’ll be willing to listen to it. Talk to Yama-chan if you have to,” Hikaru gritted his teeth. “But make sure there is Yamajima in that concert, or else. God knows why the fans are so adamant about you two.”

Despite the disbelief on his face, the taller member could not help the blossoming feeling of hope in his chest.

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7. ~ Keito ~

“Yuto-kun, are you free next Saturday evening? Let’s have a party as 7!”, Keito told him through the phone, his excitement unhidden despite their distance and the fact that Yuto could not see his face.

“Sure, sure.”

“Great! Then I’ll call Yama-chan and Chinen and then I’ll make reservations at this yakiniku restaurant… unless you have any idea Yuto-kun? I heard Yama-chan knows quite a few restaurants; maybe he would have a better suggestion. Do you think we should ask BEST as well, they are certainly much more experienced in this than us. I remember Takaki-kun telling me about …” Keito continued to rattle on happily, which in light of his usual quietness, only showed how enthusiastic he was about this party.

Yuto figured he should be excited too, since this was the first time 7 had a party together – as opposed to BEST who spent most of their weekends at each other’s house. For 7 it was a matter of work schedules. Being underage. Not living independently. Tensions between certain members.

When Yuto thought about the last reason he half-wanted to call Keito and make up some stupid reasons (like he used to) to avoid the party. But that would mean disappointing his best friend and that was the last thing he wanted to do.

He, more than anyone, would know what it was like to lose a best friend.

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8. ~ Yamada ~

What Yamada did during that Live With Me concert came as a surprise for Yuto.

Just like they planned, upon Hikaru’s signal, Yuto went up to Yamada and tried to kiss his cheek. Up until then, everything was predictable, even Yamada’s pushing him away. Judging by the screams, he thought, that was enough Yamajima for a concert.

That was precisely when Yuto felt a weight on his back. His surprise must have registered on his face because once again the arena was filled with deafening screams. But he regained his balance and composure in a heartbeat –

Which was probably the wrong word to use (or the right word, depending on the way you look at it), because as he piggy-backed Yamada in a run down the walkway to the deafening screams of fangirls, he could feel his heart doing somersaults and jumping jacks and all kinds of things that a heart should not be doing if ever he wanted to use it as a measure of time.

Even after the concert, Yuto still did not know if Yamada really wanted to do it, or if it was just a part of a fan service. Hell, perhaps Hikaru had planned it all along, hoping that they would both be so surprised that the expressions were genuine.

Either way, he would never know unless he talked to Yamada.

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9. ~ Yuto ~

“Si, oretachi wa itsudemo futari de hitotsu datta.”

Sometimes he wondered why they were not talking. True, Yamada used to look at him as a rival to be surpassed, but isn’t that over now? And he used to be bitter about Yamada becoming the centre and getting all the exposure – basically replacing him in the Jimusho – but hasn’t he come to the conclusion that the guy more than deserved the place? Technically, there was no more bad blood between the two.

Maybe the problem was that they were friends before all this happened. Theirs was the friendship that could only be struck up between 11-year-olds who saw a certain spark in each other that adults are oblivious to, who trusted each other to wake them up on the train, who begged adults to include the other in activities they do.

But fate would have it that they just so happened to want the same thing. And when one got it and one did not, their youth, which had made their friendship so beautiful and so strong, also made it so fragile that it broke after their choreographer put Yamada in the centre for Dreams Come True. Such was the break that even after they realized they were being childish, their friendship could not be the same.

***

But Yuto missed Yamada even more than he missed them being “futari de hitotsu”. And so it had come to the point where he felt like Yamada could ask him to be anything from shopping buddies to ghost house exploring enthusiasts and he would have gladly accepted just to have the presence of Yamada back in his life, even if not as the close friends they were before.

Frankly, there was only one thing left to do.

--yy--yy--yy--yy--yy--yy--yy--yy--yy--yy--yy--yy--yy--yy--yy--

[From Yamada Ryosuke’s 10000-word Myojo Interview:

Yamada: To be honest, I used to hate you.

Yuto: I get it. I hated you as well.

Yuto: Let’s end this already.

Yamada: Understood.]

 

THE END