Yoko's first thought upon waking up is oh god, what time is it? The sun is peeking in through hastily-drawn curtains, long stripes of light over the floor and across the end of the bed. Yoko turns over, feeling his stomach churn in protest at the movement, and looks at the clock: 7:48.
It's 7:48 on a sunny Tuesday morning in September, and Yoko is naked in Hina's bed.
He thinks back over the previous night: they'd gone out, both knocking back more than they might usually to cover for the awkwardness of being alone together, and somehow Hina had convinced Yoko to come back to his place. Yoko remembers a taxi ride, remembers stumbling through Hina's door. They'd drank more once they got there, sitting on Hina's floor and watching something stupid on TV while they sipped at their beers. Yoko remembers Hina's lips pressed firm and demanding against his own, but that's not all that out of the ordinary; he's woken up more than a few times to the memory of being kissed by Hina. He doesn't know what made that night so much different, how the kiss led to the string of hazy memories he has now: of the smooth, muscled planes of Hina's body under his hands, of Hina pressing him back against the bed.
The memories bring a rush of conflicting feelings flooding through Yoko, a host of things he doesn't really want to examine while he's both horrifically hungover and also on the verge of what will probably be the most awkward morning after he's ever experienced (possibly the most awkward morning after any human being has ever experienced, if Yoko allows his dramatic tendencies to come out a bit). He hears shifting next to him and tries to even out his breathing, so Hina can't tell he's already awake. He'll have plenty of time to think about the previous night later: for now Yoko needs to concentrate on getting out of there without having to acknowledge what happened. There's a sleepy snuffling sound from the other side of the bed, a rustling of sheets, but then Hina's still. Yoko can hear the evenness of his deep breaths, and he's had Hina fall asleep next to him on the train often enough to identify the sound. He's fast asleep, so if Yoko's quiet enough he shouldn't wake up at a little movement.
Luckily, Yoko's on the outside edge of the bed. He looks around the room in the early morning dimness, searching for the clothes he'd been wearing yesterday. He sees his t-shirt on the floor near the bedroom door, Hina's shirt lying next to it; and his jeans are at the foot of the bed, one leg inside out. He casts a hopeful eye around in search of his underwear, but they're nowhere to be seen. Yoko mentally debates the risk of getting up and trying to look around for them, but eventually decides to leave them as a casualty. Getting out without waking Hina is more important.
Yoko slips out of the bed slowly, grabbing his pants and padding across the floor for his shirt. He spares a backward glance at Hina, who's sprawled out on the right side of the bed, face mashed against his pillow. A traitorous part of Yoko thinks, cute, but he squashes it down, slipping out through the half-closed bedroom door.
He gets dressed in the bathroom, splashing cold water on his face and running a comb quickly through his hair so he looks like slightly less of a complete mess, and then he picks up his bag from where he'd left it by the sofa and slips out the door. The elevator ride to the building's lobby doesn't do much to help the state of Yoko's stomach, still threatening to remind him just what he'd eaten last night at every sudden movement he makes, but he makes it down, pulling on a hat he'd left in his bag and a pair of sunglasses before stepping out the door.
Hina's apartment building is tucked into a somewhat quiet neighborhood, so Yoko has to walk a few blocks before he reaches a street busy enough to find a cab. The morning air is cool; he'd probably think the breeze was pleasant if he were in a better mood, but as it is all he can think about is getting home, taking a shower, and then curling up on his futon to sleep (or worry endlessly).
The ride from Hina's place to Yoko's takes about half an hour if the traffic is good, but it's a weekday morning so the going is slow, a series of lurching starts and stops that have Yoko worrying he's going to have to roll down the window to throw up. He tries to keep his mind occupied, listening to the inane morning radio program the cab driver's playing, but it doesn't last long, and soon enough he's thinking about the night before. There's an uncomfortable tingling rush as Yoko pieces together the memories, recalls pushing his hand into Hina's pants, mouthing at his hot skin, lying back on Hina's bed with his knees up while Hina fingered him. It feels like trying to remember a dream, the details slipping away whenever he tries to grasp at them, nothing but a series of finely-connected images and sensations. Yoko remembers the feeling of Hina's cock inside of him almost too clearly and he shivers, throat going dry.
He does roll down the window then, hoping the cool air will lessen the sudden warmth he feels in his face, creeping down the back of his neck. No, Yoko thinks, trying to remember what happened definitely isn't going to help. But there's a part of him (a rather big part of him, if he's honest) that wants to remember every detail, if only because he knows it's never going to happen again. Then, of course, there's the anxious, insecure part of him that's thinking, was I any good?
Yoko's certainly not a blushing virgin, but he knows for a fact (if rumors, dressing room whispers, and drunken bragging count as fact: to Yoko, they do) that Hina's got more experience than he does, and it's not like he was at his best last night, if his current hangover and inability to remember the details of the encounter are anything to go by.
There is something seriously wrong with his life, Yoko concludes, when he's just woken up from a drunken one-night-stand with one of his best friends, someone he's known half his life, someone he basically considers family, and the first thing he thinks is whether or not it had been good for him.
Thinking of it that way reminds Yoko of all of the other potential reasons for anxiety, like, most notably, the fact that this is surely going to screw up their friendship, how awkward it's going to make working together--working together, oh god, they work together, they can't just avoid each other until the awkwardness blows over, and what if the other members find out?
Yoko's panic attack is interrupted by the taxi arriving outside his building. He distractedly counts out the fare, ducking out of the cab and heading inside. He's kind of hungry, but there's not much to eat in his apartment, aside from bananas. He peels one and gets through about half of it before feeling like he's going to throw up, so he sets it down on the kitchen counter, going to take a shower instead.
The shower makes Yoko feel slightly more human. He stands under the spray, warm water beating down on his head, and tries to clear his mind. It's marginally easier now than it had been in the cab, his thoughts not racing as much anymore, but there's still a ball of anxiety sitting in the pit of his stomach, and Yoko knows from experience the only thing that will make it go away is time (or alcohol, but he doesn't even want to think about drinking, the way he feels).
By the time Yoko's out of the shower it's 9:30, almost time for him to go to work. He has photoshoots and magazine interviews scheduled for today, nothing with the other members, and never before has he been so thankful for the annoying monotony of answering a series of inane questions and taking a bunch of stupid pictures. It's not taxing enough that he can't do it hungover and sleep-deprived, but it requires enough of his attention that he can't spend the day thinking about what had happened with Hina. When he gets home, he has just enough energy to eat the bento he'd picked up on the way, take a bath, and collapse onto his futon.
When Yoko wakes up the next morning, he has about thirty seconds of blissful, sleep-fuzzy unawareness before his brain reminds him, you slept with Hina, and you're going to have to see him today.
Thankfully, they have meetings about the concert tour that day, so the other members will be there. He'll hopefully be able to avoid talking to Hina without seeming too weird; the other members will probably just chalk it up to Yoko being in a mood and not think anything of it, if they notice at all. Yoko's more worried about how he's going to handle Thursday: between Hirunandesu and Recomen, he basically spends the whole day with Hina. He tries to put it out of his mind for now, figuring he can take it one day at a time. Maybe, he thinks with a burst of uncharacteristic optimism, it won't even be that awkward.
It's more awkward than Yoko could have possibly imagined. He arrives to the meeting just barely on time, not wanting to be early in case Hina was also early and they got stuck alone together. When he comes into the meeting room he sees everyone else there but Ohkura. They all look at him, mumbling their greetings, and Yoko says good morning, looking anywhere but at Hina. He slides into an empty chair between Subaru and Ryo, the farthest away from Hina he can get, and they continue the conversation they'd been having about some TV show Yoko hasn't seen. He finds himself relaxing a bit, listening to the familiar chatter of his bandmates. Things seem almost normal, enough that Yoko decides to chance a look over at Hina. He's playing with his phone, and Yoko watches for a moment until Hina looks up. Yoko's frozen, heart in his throat, but Hina just smiles at him, like everything's totally normal, and then looks back at his phone.
How can he be acting normal about this? Yoko thinks. Of course, it kind of figures. Hina's like a brick wall; it's almost impossible to knock him off-balance. Yoko finds himself sort of annoyed just thinking about it. Here he was, agonizing over how horrible it was going to be the next time they saw each other, while Hina probably hadn't even given it a second thought! It makes Yoko feel insignificant, somehow, like he's not even important enough to catch Hina's attention. He probably has no idea how Yoko's feeling right now.
He's just about to look up from where he's been staring at a spot on the table to glare at Hina a little bit, but then Ohkura walks in, and shortly after that the meeting starts. They talk for seemingly hours about staging things in the domes, how they want the layout to look and what kind of pyrotechnics they can get away with. Yoko tries to throw himself into the discussion of every minute detail, even stuff he wouldn't normally care about, because every time he lets his mind rest, he's suddenly reminded of Hina's presence, of the tangled knot in his stomach.
"I like this one better," Hina says, pointing to one of the five possible stage diagrams laid out on the big meeting table.
"That one's stupid," Yoko says. He'd normally be a bit more diplomatic, but his earlier annoyance is getting the best of him. He regrets it as soon as he says it, though, because then Hina's looking at him with this weird, confused expression, and the others are giving him sidelong glances. He feels his face heat up a little and leans back in his chair, avoiding their eyes. "I mean, that's just my opinion," he mumbles. "What do you guys think?"
There's a moment of awkward silence before the discussion continues as normal. Thankfully it's not that unusual for one of them to make a comment like that; long meetings mean tempers run high, and no one seems all that concerned about it.
Maru invites Yoko out for dinner after the meeting.
"Who's coming?" Yoko asks, trying not to glance obviously over to the corner where Hina's sliding a folder into his bag.
"Just you, so far," Maru says, smiling. When Yoko says nothing, he goes on, "I asked Shin-chan, but he said he has plans already."
"Of course he does," Yoko mumbles, mostly to himself. He clears his throat, looking back at Maru. "Yeah, sure, I'll go."
Maru invites Subaru along as they're on their way out, and the three of them head to a restaurant near the company building. Yoko figures it's better to go out and keep his mind off of the fact that he's going to have to work with Hina for half the day tomorrow, and Maru and Subaru are fun, easy to be around. The beer flows freely, and Yoko can just sit back, stuff his face, and watch the two of them telling and cracking up at jokes no one else understands. By the time he's climbing into a taxi, Yoko's already starting to nod off, and he's on autopilot when he gets home and takes a bath before curling up on his futon and falling asleep.
Yoko wakes up on Thursday morning overwhelmed with a feeling of dread. He mentally reviews his schedule for the day: Hirunandesu filming, then recording for the album, then Recomen. He doesn't know if Hina has recording today too; if he does, they'll probably take the same car there. At the very least, he's going to be spending something like six hours with Hina. Yoko (tenuously) trusts himself to be professional while they're actually on air, and Hina, if the previous day is any indication, is going to act as though everything's totally normal, but what's tying Yoko's stomach into knots is the thought of sitting in the green room with him, sharing a car, or sitting through other people's corners and commercial breaks during Recomen.
As Yoko brushes his teeth and gets dressed, he mentally reviews the parts of the songs he's supposed to record today, trying to keep his mind busy. As soon as he gets in the car to head to the studio, he pulls out his PSP. Games are always a surefire distraction.
Yoko's just finished killing a particularly troublesome monster when the car pulls up at the studio. He takes a deep breath, thanks the driver, and gets out. As he walks through the halls, he tries to steel himself, to calm his nerves. It's just Hina, he tries to tell himself, but a louder part of his mind is screaming you had sex with him!!!, and at the moment, that's the part that's winning.
"'Morning," Yoko mumbles, pushing open the door of the green room. Hina's already there, sitting in front of a mirror and messing with his hair.
"'Morning," he says back, looking at Yoko through the mirror.
Yoko puts his bag down, busying himself with looking through the wardrobe rack for his clothes. He sneaks glances at Hina through the mirror, watching him play with his hair a little more. It occurs to Yoko that he has to change clothes, that normally he'd have no problem stripping down in their dressing room with Hina right there, but now the thought of taking off his clothes while in the same room as Hina makes him want to hide in the wardrobe rack and never come out. He's frozen with his hand on a hanger when he hears movement next to him, and he turns.
"I found these when I was cleaning," Hina says, holding out a plastic grocery bag. Yoko takes it, opening it apprehensively. Inside the bag is a pair of underwear. His underwear. His underwear that he'd been unable to find the other morning. His underwear that had been left somewhere in Hina's apartment after they had sex with each other.
"Thanks," he mumbles, staring, dumbstruck, at the bag. He watches Hina's feet move away in his peripheral vision.
"No problem," he says, then slips out the door, leaving Yoko standing by the wardrobe rack, holding a grocery bag with his underwear in it.
Yoko looks again. They're nicely folded, and he can smell Hina's laundry detergent when he opens the bag. That means Hina not only found them and identified them as Yoko's, but he actually put them in the wash, folded them and brought them here. Yoko imagines what he would have done if the situation were reversed, if he'd found Hina's underwear in his own apartment. He has a brief vision of setting up a barrier around the area, with traffic cones and police tape. In reality, he'd probably stuff them into the bottom of his hamper and leave them for his future self to deal with. He might throw them away, if they didn't seem expensive. What he would definitely not do is wash them, fold them, and cheerily bring them to Hina at work.
Yoko crumples up the bag, shoving it into the bottom of his own bag. He takes the opportunity of Hina being gone to change, as quickly as possible. If there's one thing Yoko's gotten the hang of in his years in Johnny's, it's how to change his clothes quickly, and he's finished long before Hina comes back. He flops down on the couch, sighing heavily. How can Hina be so casual about this? Yoko again finds himself offended by Hina's seeming lack of concern. It's not that he wants to talk about it, or something: far from it. He just wishes Hina would seem at least a little shaken up, a little uncomfortable, a little different somehow.
Hina comes back, then, and Yoko checks his watch. He still has about half an hour before he needs to be in makeup, so he pulls out his PSP and switches it on. As the title screen loads, he glances across the room at Hina, who's leaning back in a chair flipping through the newspaper. Then the game starts, and Yoko loses himself in it until it's time for them to head over to makeup.
Filming goes pretty much the same as usual, almost easier than Yoko had expected. He's reminded of his own discomfort each time Hina happens to hit him, but he manages to shake it off quickly enough, sliding smoothly into his usual television persona.
"What are you doing now?" Hina asks as they head back to the green room after the show.
"Recording," Yoko says. "You?"
"Just going to lunch," Hina says, and Yoko lets out a breath. "I'm doing recording tomorrow."
The moment they walk into the dressing room, Hina's already stripping off his shirt, pulling up on the back of it with one hand and revealing the curve of his back. Yoko immediately turns away, trying to shove down the visions his mind immediately provides, of Hina doing the same thing the other night. He recalls, with uncomfortable clarity, the way Hina had shivered as Yoko ran fingertips over his bare skin.
"Fuck," Yoko mutters under his breath, frustrated with himself, with the situation, with pretty much everything going on in his life right now.
Of course, Hina turns around at that, giving Yoko a quizzical look.
"I, uh. I think I lost my phone." Nice cover, Yoko thinks to himself. Hina will definitely believe that.
Hina's eyebrows climb higher, but it's not an expression that suggests anything out of the ordinary, just his usual exasperated face.
"It's right there," he says, pointing to where Yoko's cell phone is poking out of the pocket of his bag.
"Oh," Yoko says, "right. Thanks."
Hina returns to the task of changing clothes, and Yoko pretends to be busy checking his phone for messages, hoping that if he stalls long enough Hina will just leave and he won't have to get undressed in front of him.
"Well," Hina says eventually, "see you tonight."
Yoko waves absently, then actually looks at his phone's screen and realizes he's going to be late for recording if he doesn't leave within the next ten minutes. He changes quickly, washes his face to remove the layer of TV makeup, and is out the door eight minutes later.
During the car ride to the recording studio, Yoko tries to zone out with Monhan, but finds his mind wandering back to Hina any time he stops consciously concentrating on the game. It's like all of the awkwardness he was able to clamp down on while they were on the air together is rushing belatedly through him, mixed with uncomfortable images of Hina taking his clothes off. He shuts off his PSP after the third failure to defeat an extremely easy monster, sighing and rubbing his temples.
Why can't I stop thinking about this? Yoko wonders. He stares out the window at the passing traffic, letting his mind wander since it seems he's helpless to stop it. He remembers something he heard once, about it being easier to solve a problem when you look at it from an outside perspective, so he tries that. If one of his friends came to him and described this problem (in an imaginary world where anyone would actually bring something like that up to Yoko), what would he say to them? What would be the first thing he'd ask?
He thinks for a minute before the answer comes. He'd ask if they had feelings for the person, if maybe they were in love with them.
Oh god, Yoko thinks, am I in love with him?
At this point, Yoko's imagination clicks into overdrive. He imagines himself and Hina in a nice little house outside Osaka, Hina coming home from work in a suit as Yoko finishes dinner in the kitchen. He pictures himself in a pink, frilly apron, drawing Hina a bath. Hina buying him jewelry. Attending their children's school events. Going to bed together every night.
Yoko bangs his forehead against the car window to stop that train of thought, shaking his head. What in the world is wrong with him? And why had he made himself the woman? He takes a few deep breaths, trying to think about the question seriously. Is he in love with Hina?
His immediate reaction is a very firm no, and when Yoko tries to examine it further he finds himself quite sure he doesn't have romantic feelings for Hina. Obviously he thinks Hina's good-looking, and it's not like he didn't enjoy sleeping with him, but when Yoko thinks of Hina, he doesn't feel any differently than when he thinks of any of the other members, or any of his close friends (other than the current addition of extreme awkwardness).
It would almost be easier, really, if he were in love with Hina. At least then he'd have a goal, something he wanted. As it is he just wants to go back to normal, but he's not sure he can do it. That's what's really upsetting him about it, Yoko realizes: the thought that he's irreparably screwed up one of the most important friendships in his life. He tilts his head back with a sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose. If only he were more like Hina, able to plow through these feelings and behave as though nothing out of the ordinary had ever gone on.
Despite Yoko's rush to leave earlier, the car still pulls up in front of the recording studio a few minutes late. He hurries in, muttering apologies to the staff. Yoko always feels guilty if he makes them wait. Maru's already there, sitting on a couch in the back of the studio and looking over some lyric sheets, humming to himself.
"Hey," Yoko says. Maru looks up and smiles as Yoko walks over. The music he's got is for Pan Panda, which they'll record first. Maru had gotten there earlier, to record some of his parts for the other songs, so once they finish he'll be done for the day.
The recording goes pretty smoothly, considering it's one of the parts of his job Yoko tends to hate the most. Listening to his voice played back over headphones still kind of embarrasses him, and he wants to pick at every little mistake. Working with Maru is nice, though. He's strangely attuned to Yoko's moods, and he knows just the right way to distract him and make him laugh when he gets discouraged.
Maru sticks around even after they're done, while the staff get the studio set up for Yoko's parts of one of the album songs. Apparently he'd gotten in early the other day and seen Subaru recording for his solo, and when Yoko asks how it was, Maru does an impression of Subaru, singing the tune of Subaru's song but changing the words into nonsensical puns, and it has Yoko practically hyperventilating with laughter on the sofa.
They call Yoko into the recording booth a little while later, and Maru starts gathering up his things to leave.
"Thanks for staying," Yoko says, before he goes in.
Maru smiles, almost knowingly. "Anytime."
Yoko wonders if Maru can tell what's wrong, or if he just noticed there was something off in Yoko's mood. Hopefully the latter; Yoko hates to think about any of the other members having even an inkling of what went on between him and Hina. He's pretty sure they'd never live it down.
Yoko records for about two hours more, doing his parts in some of the other album songs. It doesn't go quite as smoothly as the recording with Maru had; Yoko's feeling more on edge, especially with the thought in the back of his mind that other people are noticing that something's wrong. He tries to tell himself that thinking about it will only make it more obvious, but he can't stop the wheels from turning in his head, and he keeps making small mistakes, messing up the lyrics or losing his place in the music and singing off-key.
He apologizes profusely to the staff on his way out. The parts he recorded were only supposed to take an hour, maybe an hour and a half, but it had ended up longer because of his mistakes.
It's about 7:30, and Yoko calculates in his head whether or not it would be worth it to try going home before Recomen. He'd lose about an hour in the traveling, and he'd have to make himself dinner; laziness wins out and he finds himself wandering around the neighborhood of the recording studio, looking for somewhere to eat. The studio is in a slightly quiet, residential area near Roppongi, and most of the restaurants around seem kind of upscale, not the type of places Yoko can go into by himself and sit in the corner, maybe play games.
After about half an hour of aimless walking, he finds a suitable-looking family restaurant. He orders one of the dinner sets, eating it quickly when it arrives. Between filming and recording, Yoko hasn't eaten anything other than stuff he'd picked off the snack platter at the filming location. He checks his watch; he still has about half an hour to kill before he needs to go for Recomen.
Don't think about it, he tells himself, do not think about it, but that only works for a few seconds, and then he's getting wound up about how he's going to be stuck in a room with Hina for three hours, trying to act normal. He's more worried about this than he was with Hirunandesu; having people actively watching makes it easier to play a role, but Recomen is so relaxed that some of the time Yoko's just being himself. It doesn't help that there's not really anyone else to depend on to hold up the conversation, just him and Hina.
In the course of his worrying and wishing they had someone else on the show, Yoko comes up with the idea to call Subaru for his birthday, a week early. It'll only take the pressure off for a few minutes, but it'll definitely be more entertaining than if they wait to call when he's expecting it, and Yoko starts to get excited about the idea.
It's a suitable distraction as he heads to the radio station, thinking about how funny it will be, especially if Subaru doesn't figure out at first who the call's come from.
"Let's call Subaru tonight," he says when he walks into the booth.
"His birthday's not until next week," Hina says, glancing up from the magazine in his lap.
"Yeah, but it'll be more fun if we do it tonight," Yoko says. "It's always better when they're not expecting it."
Hina seems to consider it for a minute, smiling. "Good point," he says.
Yoko settles into his chair, opening a bottle of water. He gives the evening's script a cursory scan, leafing through the pages absently, then pushes it away. If he's trying to act normal, actually reading the Recomen script is the last thing he should be doing.
"We should make him comment as Yasu," Hina says, after a few minutes of silence.
"Subaru. Since we made Yasu pretend to be him before."
Yoko laughs, remembering it. "Good idea," he says. "That'll be great."
It almost seems normal, until Yoko reaches for his water bottle just as Hina's setting down his script, and their hands touch. Yoko jerks his hand away.
Nope, he thinks. Not normal, definitely not.
Hina gives him a sidelong look, but doesn't say anything to acknowledge Yoko's behavior. It's almost time for the broadcast to start, and Yoko wishes he'd just been able to keep up the illusion of normalcy a bit longer. He rubs at his forehead, squeezing his eyes shut, and takes a deep breath.
"I'm gonna have a cigarette," Hina says, getting up. Yoko watches him go through the glass of the booth. He seems perfectly normal, chatting to the staff before he heads out the door.
Yoko wonders if it's possible Hina hasn't noticed the way he's acting. He dismisses that possibility pretty quickly: while Hina can seem oblivious at times, he knows Yoko better than most people, and it's not as if Yoko's been particularly good at hiding his feelings, he thinks ruefully. Why, then, is Hina just letting him go through this mental torture without acknowledging a thing? Does Hina think Yoko's in love with him? The thought makes Yoko laugh at first, imagining Hina worrying about ways to let Yoko down easily, but then it just makes him kind of annoyed. Yoko wonders if Hina's ever going to confront him about it, wonders what good talking about it could even do.
Hina comes back three minutes before the broadcast will start, smelling of smoke. Yoko wrinkles his nose.
"You smell," he says, with more bite than he'd usually put into the words.
"At least I have a reason for it," Hina says, grinning at him.
Yoko pouts, then pulls out his phone to set it to silent.
The show starts out smoothly, the familiar pattern of banter easy enough to settle into, and the first hour goes by easily. Partway through the second hour, Hina's foot knocks against Yoko's under the table, and Yoko spends the next half hour sitting rigid in his chair, feet tucked behind the legs. After midnight they call Subaru, Yoko putting on a Tokyo accent to confuse him, and it's just as hilarious as Yoko had imagined. They ride that out until the end of the show, and Yoko feels mostly okay, until the on-air light goes off and he's no longer on the radio, just in a room with Hina.
"What are you doing tomorrow?" Hina asks as they gather up their things to leave.
It's not an out of the ordinary question, probably just an attempt to make conversation, but Yoko still feels nervous and wary.
"I've got Morning Bird with Ohkura and Subaru, then I'm filming Zettai Reido," he says carefully. "Why?"
"Just wondering," Hina says. "Are you nervous about working with Aya?"
Yoko feels himself blush, cursing inwardly. "No," he mumbles.
Hina laughs at him. "I can tell you are," he says, grinning.
In that moment, Yoko kind of hates him.
"I kind of hate you," he says, and maybe he sounds more serious than he'd really intended to because Hina shuts up.
Yoko feels bad, for a second, but then he feels annoyed again: annoyed at himself, annoyed at Hina, annoyed at this idiotic, ridiculous situation he's stuck himself in. He stays annoyed pretty much the whole way home, mentally berating himself for being an idiot and sleeping with Hina, for being unable to deal with it like a normal person, Hina for being the kind of freak who's not bothered by something like this (because secretly Yoko thinks he's the one dealing with it like a normal person), Hina for kissing him in the first place, himself for letting him. It's like a tennis match of annoyance going on in Yoko's head, the blame pinging back and forth between the two of them.
It becomes obvious that Yoko's not successfully hiding his mood when the old lady who works at the convenience store near Yoko's apartment building tells him that she knows he's busy, but he really ought to get some more sleep. He nods guiltily, thanking her as he pays for his onigiri.
Yoko has to be up early, so he plans to rush through his bath, eating the onigiri in front of the television as the tub fills up. As he soaks, he thinks about the next day. He's nervous, of course, despite not wanting to admit it to Hina. Working with Aya on The Quiz Show had done a little bit to make her seem a little more real and dull Yoko's crush on her, but not much; she still stars in the occasional daydream (or masturbatory fantasy). Being a guest in the last episode of a drama is weird enough anyway, with the cast all close with each other already, and Yoko's certain he'll feel like an outsider. At least a lot of the staff know him.
It figures, Yoko thinks bitterly, that the day he gets a break from Hina he has to be thrown into another totally awkward situation. It feels like there's a ball of nerves in his chest any time his mind wanders to Hina, and his brain supplies him with a thousand hazy, alcohol-soaked images of what happened before he can successfully push them out of his thoughts. The bath is usually an easy place for Yoko to relax, to actually turn his mind off for a bit before he falls asleep, but he can't stop the racing of his thoughts, and before he knows it, his fingers have gone pruney and he's probably been in the tub for something like an hour.
Yoko gets out, pulling the drain plug and toweling himself off before pulling on his pajamas. According to the clock under his TV, it's past three in the morning, and when Yoko climbs into his futon, he falls asleep within a few minutes.
It feels like no time's passed at all when Yoko's alarm blares next to his head. He punches the snooze button, rolling over and shoving his face into his pillow, but he can't go back to sleep, so he just lies there, half-awake, until the annoying beeping of his alarm sounds again. He's got about half an hour before it's time to go, so he turns on the TV to have something to half-listen to as he goes about his morning routine.
Subaru's already dozing in the back seat of the car when it pulls up in front of Yoko's building.
"Morning," he says, poking Subaru in the side. He twitches, curling into a ball and mumbling something incoherent without opening his eyes. Yoko pokes him again, to see what will happen.
"Lemmealone," Subaru grumbles, voice sleep-slurred.
"You haven't thanked me for your birthday call yet," Yoko says, pushing through the thick, soft material of Subaru's hoodie to find his ribs. Subaru bats Yoko's hand away, eyes opening briefly before snapping shut against the bright morning sun. He burrows further into the hoodie, hands retracting into the overlong sleeves like a turtle.
"Why are you so wide awake?" he asks.
Yoko shrugs, though Subaru can't see it. He's not particularly sure why, really; he hadn't felt this way while he was getting ready, but something about seeing Subaru there had made him feel somehow at ease.
"I'm just so happy to see you," Yoko says, in as cutesy a tone as he can manage.
Subaru very deliberately opens his eyes, rolls them, and then closes them again. Yoko giggles.
"You're so annoying."
"You love me."
Subaru sticks his tongue out, then pulls his headphones from his bag and turns his ipod on. Yoko pulls his PSP from his own bag, flicking it on. Within a few minutes Subaru is looking over his shoulder as he plays, giving (unwanted) advice, until Yoko shoves him away with a hand on his forehead and tells him to play his own goddamn game.
Ohkura's already there when they get to the studio, halfway through makeup, and as the other stylist starts on Subaru, Yoko looks through the spread of breakfast foods laid out on a buffet table. There's a basket full of croissants, their rich buttery smell making his stomach growl, but Yoko just grabs a fruit cup and some coffee. He flops into a makeup chair, picking through the fruit cup with a plastic fork. He eats all the pineapple pieces first, enough of them that his mouth tingles from the acidity, then the strawberry slices, the big purple grapes, and finally the few mild green slices of melon. While he eats, he tries to listen to Ohkura's conversation with the stylist, but they're talking about foreign celebrity gossip, something about a wedding and some woman with a name Yoko can't decipher, so he tunes it out in favor of paging through a magazine in front of him. It's not much more interesting, but by the time Yoko's done eating, the stylist is finished with Ohkura and ready for him.
"You're filming for Zettai Reido later, right?" Ohkura asks conversationally. Yoko glances at him in the mirror. He's eating one of the croissants from the buffet table, fingertips glistening in the bright light from the mirrors.
Yoko hums an answer, not feeling up to having a conversation about his impending nervousness.
"Ryo-chan said he's in the next studio over," Ohkura continues, grinning and leaning in conspiratorially, "so you can go hide there if you get scared."
"Go stuff your face elsewhere," Yoko says, narrowing his eyes and meeting Ohkura's gaze in the mirror. The effect is probably ruined by the fact that he's blushing, but Ohkura wanders off anyway, a smirk on his lips.
Once the stylist is finished with Yoko, they have about fifteen minutes before they go on. They watch the show on a monitor in the green room, the hosts going over the top news stories of the morning, then a break for the weather report before they're ushered off to wait in the wings until they go to commercial.
"The show's on at eight, right?" Yoko mumbles to Subaru, thirty seconds before the cameras start to roll. He's suddenly afraid he's going to forget and say the wrong time when they ask. Subaru nods, and he's still half-laughing when the filming starts.
It goes smoothly, and Yoko's in a good mood by the time their segment is over.
They go their separate ways after they change and wash their faces, Subaru heading home, Ohkura to a studio to meet Yasu and Hina and record their song, and Yoko to the TV studio.
"Tell Hina I say thanks for the birthday call," Subaru says to Ohkura, grinning pointedly at Yoko.
Yoko sticks out his tongue, and Ohkura looks between the two of them, perplexed, before shrugging and ducking out the door.
"Ungrateful," Yoko mutters.
Subaru's leaning against the doorframe, watching Yoko gather his things.
"Nah," Subaru says, "with a married couple, saying thank you to one is just like saying it to both, anyway!"
Yoko drops his phone, the plastic casing of it clattering loudly against the floor.
"We're not a married couple!" he says, and maybe he's said it a little too emphatically because Subaru's laughing at him now, shaking his head.
"Sure, sure," he says between laughs, "whatever you say."
Yoko doesn't respond, worried that anything he says will just dig him deeper into the hole, and instead focuses on picking up his phone. The drop had loosened the battery, and the screen is blank until he jiggles it back into place. He should really get a new phone, but every time he goes into the shop he just gives up, overwhelmed by all the choices, new technology he doesn't understand. When he looks up, Subaru's still standing in the doorway, giving him a thoughtful, wide-eyed look.
"What?" Yoko says. "Don't you have somewhere to be?"
"I think that's you," Subaru says with a quirk of his eyebrow. Yoko looks down at the phone in his hand, the display slowly lighting up with the time, and Subaru's right; he's going to be late if he stays any longer.
On the way to the studio, Yoko pulls the script out of his bag. He only appears in the last scene, and he'd already memorized the few lines he has a couple of days ago, but he goes over it again, partly to keep his mind occupied. He doesn't want to make a mistake, either, since he doesn't have much to remember anyway.
When he gets to the studio, Yoko greets everyone there, bowing when he's introduced, before being shuffled off to wardrobe.
"You know, I was just wearing a suit like an hour ago," he jokes when the stylist hands him his outfit. He hears from another stylist that it will be the last day of filming for some of the actors, which just adds another level of potential awkwardness to the situation. Yoko wonders if he'll be able to sneak out before they start in with the speeches and handing out of bouquets; maybe he actually will run and hide in the Zenkai Girl studio like Ohkura had suggested.
There's some time before they'll be ready to shoot his scene, so Yoko stands around on the sidelines watching for a while, before he starts to feel nerves creeping up on him.
Hey, a part of his brain that Yoko wishes he could lobotomize thinks, at least I'm not thinking about Hina!
Of course, that thought is enough to set him off. He thinks about Subaru's comment about the two of them being like a married couple. It's nothing Yoko hasn't heard from Subaru (and the other members, and that palm reader, and the fans...) before, the sort of thing Yoko could usually laugh off, but in light of what happened between them it feels very, very different. He remembers wondering the previous day if he was in love with Hina, the daydream he'd had about the two of them getting married...Yoko shakes his head, as if he could physically jar the memory loose, get his thoughts in order somehow. He pinches the bridge of his nose, squeezing his eyes shut. If he's going to react all awkwardly like this every time someone makes a joke about his relationship with Hina from now on, he's in for a whole world of trouble.
Yoko's so absorbed in his own thoughts he almost doesn't notice Aya walking toward him. He tries to pull his face into something resembling a normal expression, something other than "I'm currently busy thinking about how I feel awkward about having slept with one of my closest friends who also happens to be my bandmate," and ducks his head in a bow when she gets close.
"Hi," she says, smile bright, "it's been a while."
"Yeah," Yoko says, fumbling for something else to say. "How have you been?"
"Pretty good, and yourself?"
Yoko shrugs. "Can't complain." Yoko laughs inwardly at the phrase: he's got plenty he'd like to complain about, but he can't exactly share it with her.
A silence stretches out between them, Yoko looking down at his newly-polished shoes, before Aya is called back to the set. She flashes him a smile that's a bit more pitying than Yoko would really like, and dashes off. As he watches her go, Yoko decides he needs to get out of there, if only for a few minutes.
The Zenkai Girl set is easy to find, and Yoko wanders in as Ryo's getting some notes from the director. He waves, and Ryo breaks into a smile and waves back before his expression turns serious again as he listens to the instructions. Yoko likes to see the other members at work like this, doing stuff outside of the bubble of the group. Seeing their hardworking, serious sides always makes Yoko feel like he's got to keep on working hard too, so they don't leave him in the dust.
"Hey," Ryo says, jogging over to greet Yoko. "What's up?"
"I was in the neighborhood," Yoko says. "I just wanted to come see 'The Nishikido Ryo' in action."
Ryo snorts. "Well, you're too late; I've got a break right now."
Yoko follows Ryo to his dressing room, where they sit on the couch, talking and watching TV with Bitaro.
"You two have the same taste," Ryo jokes when Yoko's channel-flipping stops them on an episode of Doraemon.
When the episode finishes and Bitaro has run off to play somewhere, Ryo pulls out his PSP.
"Wanna play a little?" he asks.
"I left mine in my bag on set," Yoko says, getting up. "I should probably get back anyway, I think they'll be shooting my scene soon."
"Good luck," Ryo says, briefly looking up from the screen as Yoko leaves.
They're just finishing up the scene before Yoko's when he comes back into the studio. He says his greetings to the staff before they start. The scene is short, easy enough to film, and they've got it done within a few takes. Yoko's glancing over at the door, wondering how he can make his escape, when several of the ADs appear on the set, their arms full of flowers. At this point, it would be rude to just run off, so Yoko stands around on the sidelines, trying to avoid getting filmed by the rolling cameras. They drag him over for a group shot, but otherwise he manages to stay relatively inconspicuous. He even has another relatively successful conversation with Aya, until Ryo sends over Bitaro to mess with him. He ducks out shortly after that, face red.
It's early evening when Yoko gets home, and he flips through the TV channels for a little while before settling on a variety show to watch while he eats dinner. When Yoko's finished eating he looks down at the way his t-shirt is stretched over his stomach, thinks of the disused gym membership card in his wallet, of the tour coming up. He has the next day off; it seems as good a time as any to start trying to get in shape. Having recently seen Hina naked might be spurring him on just a little bit more, too, but Yoko tries very hard not to think about that part. He sits in front of the TV for a while longer before getting up to run the bath. Normally Yoko would take the opportunity of an early evening and no work the following morning to play games until the wee hours of the morning, but all of the stress of the past few days seems to be taking its toll on him (or maybe he's just getting old), and he feels exhausted, ready for a long night's sleep.
Yoko's plans for a lengthy lie-in before dragging himself to the gym are ruined by the fact that he'd forgotten to pull his curtains fully closed the night before. His bedroom window faces east, and by around eight there's sun streaming through the small crack between the sheets of dark fabric, settling right over Yoko's face. He grumbles, turning over a few times and hiding under the blanket, but he can't fall back asleep. He pushes the blanket down to his stomach, rubbing his knuckles over his forehead, and turns over so he's face down.
He may not be able to go back to sleep, but Yoko decides to stay in bed at least a little while longer. He rocks his hips absently against the futon, his cock half-hard. Yoko hasn't jerked off since waking up with Hina, partly because he's been busy but mostly because he's afraid he'll end up thinking about it, but the need's been building over the past few days and he doesn't really feel like ignoring it anymore. He lifts his hips up, pushing his hand under the waistband of his pajama pants. Yoko's skin is sleep-warm under his palm, and he sighs against the pillow when he wraps his fingers around his cock, hips shifting forward.
He strokes himself to hardness slowly like that, lying on his stomach and thinking about the most recent porn he'd watched, an American DVD he'd borrowed from Subaru; something without mosaics that had left Yoko feeling a mix of turned on and concerned about Subaru's preferences. In Yoko's mind he skips over the twenty minute scene where the man licked the woman's vinyl boots and goes straight to the blowjob. The woman was blonde, with breasts of a size Yoko thought only existed in cartoons, and she'd knelt down after taking off her dress, parting her plump, wet lips to take the man's cock into her mouth. The way it was shot from above made it easy for Yoko to imagine himself in the man's place, slipping his cock between her lips and feeling that sweet suction as her cheeks hollowed out.
Yoko turns over onto his back, breathing hard now, and pushes his pajamas so they're halfway down his thighs. He spits in his palm, thinking of wet, red mouths and tight, hot suction. His strokes get faster, and it's harder to concentrate on the fantasy, to lead it where he wants, and before Yoko realizes what's happening he's thinking about Hina poised over him, straddling Yoko's hips and scraping his teeth against Yoko's neck. Yoko stops abruptly, his cock twitching in protest.
"Fuck," he mutters, and tries to steer his mind back to women, breasts and long hair and soft curves, things that are very much the opposite of Hina. It works for a while, he manages to keep his mind occupied, but the strain of corralling his thoughts means he's distracted from the task at hand; he'd been close to coming before, but now it feels like he's barely gotten started. He groans in frustration, his hand stilling again.
This situation is already messing up almost every other part of his life, Yoko thinks, he's not going to let it ruin one of his favorite pastimes.
He stops fighting it, then, gives his mind license to go over every detail as he strokes himself. He hadn't really allowed himself to remember it before, always trying to hold back even when he did think about it intentionally, so when it comes back it's like a flood of images and sensations. He remembers Hina pinning him to the floor in his living room and kissing him, lips and tongue insistent against Yoko's mouth, and he remembers giving in to it, opening his mouth to suck on Hina's tongue, pushing a hand up the back of his shirt. He remembers being out of breath when Hina finally pulled away to sit up, Yoko following to kiss him again, almost desperate for the feeling of Hina's mouth on his. From there things had moved fast: Hina got up, pulling Yoko up after him and leading the way to his bedroom, where he'd pushed him up against the wall and started undoing Yoko's jeans. Hina was wearing track pants, so Yoko slipped his hand in easily, cupping Hina's cock through his underwear. Yoko remembers how exciting it had been, the feeling of Hina hard against his palm, and he bites his lip.
His breath is coming faster now, and he feels close to coming again, but his hand slows a bit as Yoko tries, almost subconsciously, to prolong the memory. He's not going to think about this again, he tells himself; it's okay just this once. He remembers how Hina had pulled back from the kiss to take off his shirt, Yoko pulling off his own as his pants, unbuttoned and unzipped, slipped down his thighs. Hina had taken off his pants too, then his boxers, and Yoko remembers staring, frozen, until Hina had laughed and told him to get moving.
Yoko had stumbled trying to get out of his pants, the cuff of one leg stuck around his ankle so he pulled the whole leg inside-out, but his underwear had come off easily, tossed to the side, and then Yoko remembers pushing Hina down onto the bed and climbing on top of him, kissing him. Yoko straddled Hina's hips and their cocks rubbed together, making them both moan into the sloppy, haphazard kiss. Then, at some point, Hina rolled them over so he was kneeling between Yoko's spread thighs. Yoko remembers the breathless, heady feeling of Hina pressing a slicked finger into him. It had seemed so natural at the time, Yoko arching with a whine when Hina crooked his finger up.
Yoko remembers the feel of Hina's cock in his hand, thick and heavy as Yoko stroked lube over it, and if he hadn't been drunk, he thinks, it probably would have hurt. Yoko doesn't remember any pain, though, just how good he had felt, stretched open and filled. Yoko rubs his thumb over the head of his cock, eyes squeezed shut as he remembers, and it almost surprises him when he comes, shuddering and curling in on himself with a low groan.
He lies there for a while, hand loosely wrapped around his cock, as his breathing slowly evens out. When the post-orgasmic fog starts to dissipate and Yoko's mind clears a little, he starts to realize just what a horrible idea that had been. He wipes his hand on his pajama pants, wriggling out of them and tossing them towards the hamper on the other side of his room.
"Fuck," he says aloud. The memories, now that Yoko's brought them to the surface, are going to be even more difficult to banish now. He sits up, thinking of his plan to make himself go to the gym today. It's a good idea, he thinks; maybe he can just torture himself physically rather than mentally for a little while.
He gets up, brushing his teeth and washing his face, and comes back into his room to change clothes and throw some things into a bag to take with him.
After a search through his tangled futon, Yoko finds his phone under his pillow and flips it open. After a moment's hesitation, he calls Mitsuru.
"Come to the gym with me," Yoko whines when his brother picks up.
"Nii-chan?" Mitsuru says, sounding harried. "I can't today, sorry."
"You've gotten too old for me, haven't you?" Yoko says, using a joking tone to mask the serious sentiment in what he's saying. "You've grown up and you're going to leave me to die in a ditch..."
Muffled laughter on the other end of the phone. "I've got to work!"
"And you can't even take some time off to be with your dear brother in his time of need?" Yoko's smiling, though; as long as he's not being turned down because Mitsuru has plans with someone else he's not too upset.
"I'm not a rich super idol; I can't afford to go taking time off." Yoko snorts, still unused to thinking of himself as "rich." There's a voice in the background, saying something Yoko can't hear. "I've gotta go now, bye!"
Yoko sighs, resigning himself to making the trip alone. The gym is only a few blocks from Yoko's apartment, which is one of the reasons he'd picked it: if he had to travel very far to get there he'd be even less likely to go.
Once he's gotten to the gym and stowed his stuff in a locker, Yoko finds a treadmill in one of the less-populated corners. He runs for a while, listening to music, and manages to clear his head. After the treadmill, he wanders between the few exercise machines he actually knows how to use. He always feels like an idiot on them, so the part of his brain that isn't counting repetitions is thinking oh god, I hope no one's looking at me.
By the time Yoko's run out of equipment whose purpose he understands, his arms and legs feel like jelly and he's more than ready for a good soak. One of the other reasons Yoko had chosen this gym was the nice bath facilities they had: a variety of spacious tubs, all of differing temperatures and purported benefits. He showers off, already feeling better as he washes away the sweat from the workout, and wanders into the large, tiled bath area. The place is a bit loud, the voices of the groups of old men who hang out in the baths for hours on end bouncing off the walls, amplified. Yoko lowers himself into one of the hot baths, sighing and tipping his head back.
"Ahh," comes a familiar voice from across the bath, "feels good."
Yoko feels like his heart's just stopped. Yoko had heard almost the exact same thing when Hina had first thrust into him, maybe a little deeper and a bit more slurred, but the voice and the words were the same.
Maybe, Yoko thinks, I can just hide under the water until he gets out. He's trying to calculate how long he can hold his breath when he hears the splashing of movement, feels the water shift as someone moves closer to him.
"Hey," Hina says. Yoko slowly opens his eyes, blinking at the brightness, and there's Hina right next to him, baring his fangs in a friendly smile.
"What are you doing here?" Yoko asks, not bothering to try hiding his irritation. Anyway, maybe arguing with Hina will help keep his mind off the fact that they're both naked.
Hina hits him, wet palm slipping against Yoko's forehead. Yoko twitches away from it, grimacing.
"I've been coming here longer than you have, you know," Hina says.
Oh, right. The other reason Yoko had picked this gym: Hina had recommended it (Yoko's pretty sure he'd gotten some kind of cash reward for referring a new member).
"So, you free all day?" Hina asks, forging on with the conversation despite Yoko's lack of response.
"Yeah," Yoko says. He leans his head back against the tile wall of the bath, closing his eyes. Maybe if he keeps giving monosyllabic answers Hina will go away and he won't have to deal with this until the next time they work together.
"Let's go have lunch, then! I know a good place."
"I, um," Yoko begins, opening his eyes. He casts around in his mind for some kind of excuse, but he'd just told Hina he was free all day. He sighs. "What kind of food is it?"
"Soba," Hina says. Yoko's never heard Hina mention going out for soba before, though he himself goes a lot; Hina must be suggesting it because he knows Yoko likes it. Yoko manages to swallow down the grumble of annoyance before responding.
"Alright, I guess I am pretty hungry."
"Sounds good," Hina says, and claps him on the shoulder. It's then that Yoko actually turns and properly looks at him.
Hina's hair is damp, the tips of some of the wetter strands slicked against the skin of his forehead and neck. Yoko's eyes track down seemingly involuntarily and there are Hina's shoulders, relaxed back against the tub's wall. Further down, his stomach, defined muscles visible even through the haze of the water, and then his dick, Hina's dick, something Yoko's seen probably hundreds of times before in his life, something he's talked about on the radio, for fuck's sake, that he now can't so much as think about without blushing and feeling an annoying mix of embarrassed and turned on. He turns away, hoping Hina hadn't noticed him staring, and ducks his head under the water.
Get it together, he tells himself, it's just Hina. He repeats the phrase a few times, but it doesn't do much to calm Yoko's nerves.
"Well," Yoko says eventually, "shall we?" He figures he'll feel at least a little less awkward if they're both wearing clothes.
As Yoko's drying off and getting dressed in the change of clothes he'd brought, he wonders why Hina asked him to lunch. It's not like the two of them make a habit of going out together on their own, even when Yoko's at his most gregarious, and even someone as occasionally dense as Hina can be has to be able to pick up on the fact that Yoko isn't feeling particularly friendly that day.
Maybe Hina is more sadistic than any of them realized, and he's inviting Yoko out because he wants to watch him suffer? Yoko considers the possibility for a minute before dismissing it. Maybe Hina wants to talk about what had happened, Yoko thinks with horror. It seems unlikely, though: if Hina had wanted to talk about it, he had the perfect opportunity when he returned Yoko's underwear, and he hadn't said anything then. Unless Hina had been thinking about it more than Yoko gave him credit for, and maybe it had taken him a while to decide what he wanted to say. Maybe he'd even gone through the same kind of mental crisis Yoko had? Yoko laughs to himself, trying to imagine Hina going through any kind of mental crisis. It's just not something he can picture. Yoko thinks and thinks, but he can't come up with a satisfactory explanation, and soon he finds himself on his way out to Hina's car.
"The place is pretty close," Hina says as he starts up the car. Yoko stares out the window for a while, watching the familiar scenery of his neighborhood go by. Hina fiddles with the radio, eventually leaving it on a news program, and they spend the rest of the ride in silence, leaving Yoko plenty of time to worry about having to share a meal with Hina.
Hina parks the car in a small lot around the block from the small restaurant, which is empty when they go in, since it's a little bit after the usual lunch hour. The old woman behind the counter seems to know Hina, and she greets him enthusiastically, asking how he's been and why it's been so long since he last came in. Yoko stands back, feeling awkward and hoping she doesn't ask Hina--
"And who's your friend?" she asks, gesturing to Yoko, who grimaces.
"He's another one of my group members," Hina says. He nudges Yoko with his elbow. "Introduce yourself."
Yoko mumbles his way through a polite introduction and bows, feeling oddly like he's meeting a date's parents, or something. The woman seems satisfied with this, though, and gestures to a table near the corner.
Yoko wonders who else Hina has brought here, since he'd said Yoko was "another one" of his group members.
"So you come here a lot, huh?" Yoko asks as he flips through the menu.
Hina shrugs. "No, I've actually only been three or four times! Yoshimoto-san is just friendly."
"Sure," Yoko says. He has a hard time imagining himself becoming such fast friends with a shopkeeper in any span of time, let alone three or four visits, but Hina lives in a different world.
They both order, and Yoko sips slowly at his tiny glass of water. Thinking about food has made him realize just how hungry he is, after not eating breakfast and then going to the gym. The restaurant is quiet, apart from the sounds of Yoshimoto-san bustling about in the kitchen. Yoko watches the droplets of condensation drip down the side of his water glass, collecting in a ring on the scarred wood of the tabletop. There's a rustling sound from the other end of the table, and Yoko lifts his eyes to see Hina fidgeting with the plastic wrapper that had come around his hand towel, folding it back into its original shape.
With just a glance, it's easy for Yoko to tell that Hina's uncharacteristically nervous. It's one thing for Hina to have noticed Yoko being uncomfortable, but it's entirely another for Hina himself to be affected by it. Yoko takes a breath, trying to force himself to act normal, but thinking about it only makes it more difficult, and he just focuses even more intently on the water glass that he's now holding in an unnecessarily tight grip.
Yoko's in the middle of wishing he could melt through the floor when Yoshimoto-san comes out with two trays of soba.
"Not very talkative today, huh boys?" she says, and Yoko just barely suppresses a laugh. If only she knew.
Hina laughs and smiles, thanking her for the food, and Yoko watches him break apart his chopsticks, two perfect straight lines. Yoko splits his own pair, and there's a giant chunk of one hanging onto the other. He narrows his eyes, frowning.
"Still haven't gotten the hang of that, huh?" Hina asks, laughing.
"Shut up and eat," Yoko mutters.
Yoko has to admit that the food, at least, is good, and a welcome distraction from sitting silently across the table from Hina. He's hungry, so he eats fast, and Hina must be hungry too because he's done around the same time. He calls for the check, obviously not wanting to wait around much longer than he has to.
"Should I drop you off at home?" Hina asks as they walk back to the car. Yoko almost says no, that he'll walk home, or that he has somewhere exciting to be and Hina should take him there, but it seems like too much trouble and he assents, resigning himself to an afternoon of playing video games in hopes of keeping his mind from replaying the unpleasant parts of the day over and over again.
On the way to Yoko's apartment, there are a few times when Hina seems like he's about to say something, but changes his mind at the last minute, and Yoko, of course, doesn't press him. From the few glances he takes at Hina, he looks frustrated, mouth set in a line, jaw tight. Yoko figures he wants to say something about the way he's acting, but maybe doesn't know how to phrase it. It's strange for Yoko to think of Hina being at a loss for words, or feeling shy about expressing what he's thinking, but he supposes their current situation is different enough from anything the two of them have dealt with that it might change even Hina's behavior.
There's a part of Yoko, he finds as he thinks about it, climbing the stairs to his floor, that's almost happy about Hina seeming off-kilter. He'd felt so annoyed when Hina had been unaffected about the whole thing, so seeing that that wasn't the case was, in a way, satisfying. Of course, another part of Yoko is screaming that this only shows how the situation is even worse than he'd thought, if it's affecting even Hina. If it's that big of a deal, it's probably not just going to resolve itself, or go away, as Yoko had been secretly hoping it would.
Yoko spends the rest of his weekend being as antisocial as possible. He goes to the gym again because he feels like that will absolve him of spending the rest of his time sitting around playing video games, and, thankfully, he doesn't run into Hina again.
On Monday, Yoko wakes up, yet again, with a distinct feeling of dread. This time, it's not only brought on by the fact that he'll be seeing Hina today, it's also what they'll be doing: all of the members are meeting together to learn the choreography for a few of their new songs. Yoko may not like recording, but learning choreography is even worse.
When Yoko gets to the dance studio, Subaru and Yasu are already there, sitting a lot closer to each other on the couch than is strictly necessary. It leaves plenty of room for Yoko, though, so he flops down next to them, sighing heavily.
"I hate choreography days," he says.
Subaru disentangles himself from where he'd been tucked under Yasu's arm to commiserate.
"It sucks," he says, wrinkling his nose. "I wish we could just stand around and sing instead of having to dance all the time."
Yoko can hear Yasu trying to suppress his laughter from behind Subaru's shoulder. "You two make such great idols," he says. Subaru turns around, steals the fluffy blue knit cap from Yasu's head, and pouts at him. Yoko rolls his eyes.
The other members arrive in ones and twos, Ryo showing up out of breath, just before the rehearsal's set to start. He starts in on one of his apology speeches, but Hina cuts him off.
"You're on time, it's fine, shut up!"
When they're given a fifteen minute break after the first hour of practice, Yoko collapses on the floor, holding a water bottle to his forehead.
"I'm too old for this," he whines.
"I take it the exercise hasn't been helping," Hina says. He's somewhere out of Yoko's field of vision, and Yoko debates using precious energy to sit up or turn over so he can glare at him, then decides it's not worth it.
"Yokocho's been exercising?" Yasu asks, an offensive amount of incredulity in his tone.
"I ran into him at the gym the other day," Hina answers.
Yoko turns over, then, leveling a glare at the two of them.
"Stop discussing me like I'm not right here," he says. Yasu laughs, but Hina narrows his eyes at Yoko before looking away.
What was that about? Yoko thinks. He's pretty sure he'd been acting normal, just then; Hina should have no reason to be giving him weird looks like that. He tries to put it out of his mind and relax for the rest of their short break, but he finds himself watching Hina as he flips through a newspaper. Luckily, Yoko catches himself before Hina notices, and he crosses his arms, shoving his face into the crook of his elbow and groaning. He hears the scuffing sound of feet in front of him, and looks up to find Yasu kneeling down, looking concerned.
"You okay?" he asks.
"Fine," Yoko says, dragging a palm across his face. "Just...you know. Hate dancing."
Yasu gives Yoko a look that suggests he doesn't believe that's the source of the problem, but thankfully doesn't press him for details.
"Well," he says after a moment, "you know you can talk to me if anything else is wrong."
Yoko rolls his eyes, shooing Yasu away, but the offer sounds oddly tempting. Having someone to listen to the constant monologue of anxiety going on in his head would be nice, but of course there's no way Yoko could talk about this with anyone, much less one of the members. There's just no way.
He wonders if Hina's told anyone. Yoko wouldn't be surprised if he had, but he wouldn't really be surprised if he hadn't, either. Hina's got so many friends, he's probably got someone he'd feel totally comfortable talking about it with. Hina's interpersonal relationships have always been a bit of a mystery to Yoko, one of those things he's annoyed by but also kind of jealous of, if he's honest with himself. He looks over at Hina again: he's laughing at something Maru's just said, mouth wide open, looking like he doesn't have a care in the world.
Then, the choreographer calls that the break is over, and Yoko picks himself up off the floor with a sigh. At least concentrating on learning the steps will keep his mind off of Hina.
Of course, the steps they're learning put Yoko right next to Hina, and in his effort to ignore him as much as possible he ends up bumping into Ohkura on his other side.
"You're too close," Ohkura says. "You should be halfway between me and Murakami-kun."
Yoko takes a step closer to Hina, looking at their feet in the mirror to align himself properly.
"Come on," Hina says, "I won't bite."
Yoko feels a prickling on the back of his neck as he blushes, unable to keep himself from remembering Hina's teeth closing over his lower lip.
"Let's just try it again," he mumbles, staring resolutely at the floor.
The rest of the rehearsal passes mostly without incident, although the choreographer insists that Yoko stay a bit later to practice some of the parts he hadn't gotten quite right. By the time he's finished his muscles are aching and he just wants to go to bed. He flops down on the sofa to rest for a few minutes before leaving. The only other people left in the room by then are Yasu and Hina. Hina had taken a shower in the locker room because he had somewhere to be later, and Yasu just seemed to be taking a really long time to get his stuff together and leave.
Hina's half-dressed, his belt unbuckled and no shirt on, when he turns to where Yoko's sprawled listlessly on the sofa. He crosses the room, standing close and looking like he's trying to decide what to do before finally saying,
Yoko raises his eyebrows. He doesn't want to twist around to look up at Hina's face, but if he stares straight ahead he'd be looking directly at his crotch, so he settles for turning his head in a general upward direction.
"What about it?" he asks.
Hina gestures vaguely to Yoko's lap. "You're sitting on it."
Yoko looks, and sure enough, Hina's shirt is under his legs. He sits up quickly, grabbing the shirt and holding it out without looking at Hina, who takes it wordlessly. He pulls the shirt over his head, buckles his belt, and is out of the room in less than a minute. Yoko mashes his face against the arm of the sofa and breathes, slowly, for about a minute and a half before the sound of Yasu's voice makes him raise his head.
"Kimi-kun..." Yasu sounds tentative, "is everything okay?"
Yoko turns back to face the couch's arm. He considers not responding, or trying to brush Yasu off, but part of him is screaming to let it out, to say something to someone, and really it's not his fault: he's exhausted, and Yasu's using that sweet tone that makes Yoko feel like Yasu's his caring girlfriend or something, so after a moment he answers, voice muffled against the fabric.
"Not really." Yoko hears a rustling, and then the couch dips as Yasu sits down at the other end. Yoko lifts his head a little, but doesn't look over at him.
"Do you want to..." Yasu starts, then trails off, apparently deciding to dive right in rather than ask. "Why don't you tell me about it?"
"It's..." Yoko begins, trying to think of a way to unburden himself without actually telling Yasu what happened between them. He may have decided to talk about the problem, but there's still a line that he has absolutely no intention of crossing. "Things are...weird. Now."
There's a pause, as Yasu presumably waits for Yoko to elaborate, though Yoko doesn't have any intention to do so yet.
"Did something happen?" Yasu asks, and Yoko can tell from his tone what "something" means. Is he seriously that transparent? Yoko hums noncommittally, not wanting to acknowledge the question. Yasu, mercifully, doesn't press that line of inquiry any further. Instead, he asks the question Yoko's been asking himself, with little to no success, for the past week.
"What do you want, now?" He pauses, then goes on a bit. "What do you want to happen? Like...what would be the best thing?"
"I want a time machine," Yoko mumbles. Yasu laughs under his breath, but doesn't say more. Yoko starts talking without really thinking about it, just letting his inner monologue spill out. "I really do, though. I just want to go back to normal. Everything's so weird now and I can't stop thinking about it and I'm sure it's mostly my fault, and...what if we can't? What if everything's weird and messed up forever?"
Putting his worst fear into words is simultaneously freeing and terrifying. Yoko balls his hands into fists, letting his nails dig into his palms, and his stomach churns as he waits for Yasu to say something.
"I don't think that'll happen," Yasu says eventually. He's speaking slowly, like he's thinking hard about what to say, and in that moment Yoko is amazingly thankful to have a friend like Yasu. "I think...there's not a lot that your friendship can't survive, you know? This is just a small thing, in the long run."
Yoko's not quite sure Yasu's grasped the gravity of the situation, but he feels encouraged nonetheless. He sighs heavily, turning to look at Yasu for the first time since the conversation started. He smiles weakly, and Yasu smiles back.
"Have you talked about it at all?" he says eventually. His tone suggests that he knows the answer is going to be no.
Yoko shakes his head. He feels embarrassed, finally letting someone see how poorly he's dealing with this situation.
"You're going to have to, you know," Yasu says. His tone is gentle, but that almost makes Yoko feel worse, like a little kid being lectured by his mother, or something.
If I were talking to Hina about this, he finds himself thinking, he'd just tell me to suck it up and talk about it. Yoko laughs to himself, rubbing a hand over his face.
"I know," he says.
Yasu puts a hand on his shoulder, palm warm and firm. "It's gonna be fine."
Yoko shrugs Yasu's hand off, coloring. "Thanks," he mumbles.
"Anytime," Yasu says. There's a moment of silence, and then Yasu gets up. He grabs his bag, pulling on his hat, and says goodbye to Yoko before walking out the door.
Yoko sits on the couch for a little while after Yasu leaves, thinking about the conversation they had, and about the one he's going to have to have with Hina. He tries to imagine how he can bring it up, going through a series of openers and rejecting them all, before getting frustrated and giving up. Maybe if he waits long enough, a delusional optimistic part of him thinks, they won't have to talk about it.
Yoko's gathering up his things to leave when he lifts his bag and finds Hina's cell phone sitting on the table underneath it.
"Fuck," he says aloud. He tries to remember if Hina had said where he was going, but either he hadn't said, or Yoko had been more successful than he realized in his attempts to ignore him, because he can't come up with anything. He considers opening the phone to see if Hina has his schedule in there, but that feels too much like snooping. Yoko's just scrolling through the contacts of his own phone to call their manager about it when he hears footsteps in the doorway. He knows, without turning around, that it's Hina: that's just how Yoko's luck works.
"Hey," Hina says, sounding surprised. Yoko turns, offering him an attempt at a smile. The conversation with Yasu is still fresh in his mind, all of his confused feelings roiling right at the surface, and he's not sure he can open his mouth without something embarrassing coming out.
"Have you seen my phone?" Hina asks, not returning Yoko's smile (which possibly looks like more of a grimace).
Yoko picks up the phone from the table behind him, holding it out at arm's length. Hina reaches out to take it, but when his fingers slip over Yoko's, Yoko jerks his hand away and the phone clatters loudly to the floor. Hina looks at the phone, then at Yoko, makes a noise of annoyance in the back of his throat and walks over to the door, pulling it shut. Yoko swallows hard, backing up against the table.
"What is wrong with you?" Hina says, the irritation in his voice obvious. He sounds exasperated, confused, frustrated: he sounds pretty much how Yoko feels.
"I don't know," Yoko says. He's surprised at the way his voice sounds, like he's about fifteen seconds away from crying. He takes a shaky breath, running a hand through his hair.
"Do you..." Hina starts, his tone considerably softer. "Are you..."
Yoko can see the end of that question coming, and he interrupts. "No," he says. "It's not...like that."
"Then," Hina says, sounding confused now, "what is it like?"
"I just want everything to be normal," Yoko begins, staring intently at Hina's cell phone on the floor between them, "but I can't. I'm not like you, I can't just pretend like nothing has changed after...after what happened, you know? I wish I could, but I can't." Yoko takes another breath before continuing, "I've messed everything up and I don't know how to fix it."
There's a pause, and Yoko opens his mouth to speak again but he's cut off by Hina's arms wrapping around his shoulders, and then he's standing there with his face pressed against the side of Hina's neck. Yoko feels totally drained, and he slumps against Hina, putting his arms around him and squeezing, silently.
The touch is kind of a shock to Yoko's system. Other than the usual tsukkomi, they haven't really touched since they slept together, and Yoko feels suddenly like he's totally enveloped by Hina's presence. He can smell Hina's shampoo from the shower he'd taken earlier, and his hair's still just a little damp against Yoko's forehead. His jacket smells like his laundry soap, and it makes Yoko think of the way he'd felt lying on his back on Hina's sheets. Somehow, it doesn't make him feel anxious or embarrassed, though; it's reassuring. Hina's arms are tight around Yoko's shoulders, his chest rising and falling with each deep, even breath.
Hina's not the type to hug very often, and whenever he's hugged Yoko it's always been in conjunction with some kind of monumental occurrence. It always makes Yoko feel the same way: safe, secure, and comforted. It's like he can feel Hina's stability in the sure way his arms wrap around Yoko, and more than anything that anyone could say, this is what makes Yoko feel certain that things will be okay. Hina's hugged him at some of the worst times in Yoko's life because Hina's always been there, and Yoko realizes now that Hina always will be there. Yoko breathes shakily against Hina's skin, clutching the soft fabric of his jacket briefly before pulling away.
He smiles at Hina, and for the first time in a week, it doesn't feel forced. Hina grins back.
"You're an idiot, you know," he says, but the tone he's using makes it sound like a term of endearment.
Less than a week later, all of the members have the evening free after PV filming, and they decide to go out for dinner, which, of course, turns into drinking.
In a private room of an izakaya somewhere in Shinjuku, as Maru and Yasu cheer and Subaru pulls out his phone to take a video, a very drunk Hina puts his hands on the shoulders of a similarly drunk Yoko and leans in, lips puckered. Yoko struggles, giggling as he tries weakly to fight Hina off, but Hina just grabs his hands instead, lacing their fingers together. He has the advantage in strength, and within moments he's got Yoko's hands forced down by his sides and his mouth pressed sloppily against Yoko's. Yoko tilts his head back and Hina leans in closer, his lips parting slightly, then abruptly pulls back after a few seconds.
They're both breathing a little hard, and there's a moment where they just look at each other, frozen, before Yoko wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, laughing.
"Go pick on someone else for a change," he says, and Hina smiles, giving him an exaggerated wink before turning to smack a cackling Subaru.