Grand Romantic Gestures.
Yamada has never really been good at that kind of stuff. He has had a few girlfriends here and there. Nothing that lasted too long though because they always end it too soon. They look at him with pity in their eyes and they say they’re not the right one for him. He always was too scared to ask them why, ask them what was wrong with him so he could fix it. For the next one at least.
It wasn’t until he’d been dumped again once again, wallowing in self-pity, staring into the bottom of a highball glass that Chinen finally took pity on him. He had grabbed Yamada’s face into his hands, palms squishing his cheeks together and maneuvering his head until they were eye to eye.
“The reason you don’t work with anyone else,” he had said, slowly, enunciation clear so that Yamada could not possibly misunderstand, “is because you’re already in love with Yutti.”
He had scoff, whipping his head away. In love with Yuto? Impossible. And then wanting to cry right there on the bar when he realized Chinen was right and yeah, he’s in love with Yuto.
The thing is that Yuto might follow him around like a lost puppy more than half the time any permutation of the group is together but that hardly means anything more than say, an actual puppy following him around. But he can change that, can’t he? He really thought he could, had been working on it slowly quite honestly, and then Yuto had started filming Date. He had met Anne Watanabe and had lit up in ways Yamada had never seen before, and Yamada had given up right then. Maybe it wasn’t impossible for him to love Yuto, but at that moment it seemed more than impossible for Yuto to love him back.
The way he spoke about her, like he can’t believe someone that amazing and beautiful actually exists those first few days made Yamada hurt and ache in ways all those other girls previous had never managed before. Yamada is nothing like Anne. Anne is outgoing and strong and bright and cheerful. She’s smart and older, has experienced the world with those long legs of hers (just another thing Yamada lacks) and she’s confident in herself in a way that Yamada will probably never be.
He had met her once. Just once. With Yuto of all people. Yuto changes when he’s with her. He gives her the best smiles, eyes bright and shining, and yet so calm. He becomes unbalanced when she teases him, cheeks flushed red. He’s calmer, like his jagged edges are rounded out by her presence alone. He’s different when she’s around. Less of the boy-ish charm Yamada had gotten used to and more grown-up, handsome and confident and charismatic instead of just cute and adorable.
But Anne was engaged to be married and Yuto is a good guy. He just wants her to be happy. He’s the self-sacrificing type that way. Figures he would be. No matter how in love with Anne he actually was, he could never try to destroy anything that made her happy. And then she wasn’t just engaged to be married anymore, she was married, and maybe Yuto had dimmed a little at that, sadness in the crinkles of his mouth when he smiled. But he seemed determined to be happy for Anne and that was enough for a while. Until the start of a new year, this year, to be exact.
He doesn’t tell any of them, least of all Yamada because Yuto is a private person, has always kept his own feelings and thoughts to himself, private and separate from the group no matter how much Yamada wants to break down those walls. But he watches Yuto so much he can’t not know, and he knows that Yuto took the news of Anne being pregnant, finally starting her own family, hard. Yamada sees it in the way Yuto won’t rest. It’s job after job, promotion after promotion, not saying no to anything even when he’s already on his thirty-sixth hour of no sleep.
Like Yuto, he had thought that if Yuto was happy then he was happy. But Yuto isn’t happy anymore. Maybe it’s selfish, the way he’s thinking, but all he wants is to be the one who makes Yuto smile again, that bright, cheerful laughter lifting the mood of the entire room. When Yuto laughs, it’s contagious, and for him to be subdued for even a day is too long of a time.
So, grand romantic gestures. He’s never been the best at them. But he’s going to try. Even if it scares the hell out of him. Because someone like Yuto deserves it. And maybe it won’t work out the way he secretly hopes. In fact, he highly doubts it will work out that smoothly. But maybe hiding and watching from afar isn’t the answer anymore. Maybe it’s time to put it all on the line.
So, grand romantic gestures.
He’s freaking out.
He’s seriously freaking out.
Yuto is looking at him with wide eyes, mouth agape but Yamada sees a smile starting to peek through and that alone helps calm his nerves. Just a little. A fraction of a fraction really, but any little bit helps right now.
“Yamada, what are you doing?” Yuto asks, laughter bubbling under the surface. “Seriously, what is going on?”
He focuses all his attention on Yuto. If he doesn’t he might just pass out and that would be embarrassing. Fifty meters up, the wind is fierce against their faces, whipping Yuto’s black hair back and forth as the staff members manhandle him into his own jumping gear. Yamada stands on the edge, back towards the open sky as his fingers grip metal bars.
One shaky, long breath while he digs deep to find all the courage he has and holds on tight. “Yutti,” he begins, hearing his own voice quiver. He clears his throat and clamps down the fear. “I’m sorry about Anne.”
The smile falls of Yuto’s face, replaced by something sad and then gone just as quickly as Yuto tries to hide behind a fake laugh. “I don’t know what you’re talking about”
“I’m sorry things couldn’t work out with Anne,” he repeats, means it even. “I know how it feels to care about someone like that and not have them even see you but I want you to know something. I’d do anything if you would give me even half a chance.”
Confusion spreads itself across Yuto’s handsome face. He takes a step towards Yamada. “Hold on,” he says, words rushed. “Just wait. I don’t understand what’s going on. You drag me up here and then all these people are putting us in bungee jumping gear and you’re saying all these words but I don’t understand anything. The only thing I’m sure about is that you’re terrified of heights, which is why us being up here makes zero sense to me.”
Yuto has a point. He has spent all his time trying not to freak out by freaking out and nothing he says is coming out right.
“I like you,” he says, jumps right to it, doesn’t say the word “love” because it’s too soon and he doesn’t want to drive Yuto away. “You said for this year, you wanted to try bungee jumping so here we are.”
“But that doesn’t explain why YOU’RE here. You said you would never.” Is that a note of hysteria he is picking up?
“This is my grand romantic gesture.”
A pause. Then an unimpressed, “Your grand romantic gesture.”
“Yes.” It’s too late to back out now, not that he would want to, but he’s acutely aware that the option is no longer available. He feels like a fool standing there at the edge, fingers wrapped tight around metal handlebars, eyes staring right at Yuto’s face because if he looks anywhere else he might faint. “I wanted you to know that I’m serious. This is how serious I am about you.”
Yuto stares at him with wide, disbelieving eyes that tell him Yuto is starting to comprehend exactly what is going on. “Yamada, you’re not serious. This is a joke, right? Did Chinen put you up to this? Chinen always thinks he’s so funny.” A little laugh, forced out and awkward.
That hurts. To not be taken seriously. That really hurts. Yuto must see the pain on his face because the laughter dies on his face, fades away into something Yamada cannot read. Fear? Guilt? Concern? All three?
“I mean it,” he says, one last, sad smile, and then he’s falling backwards, eyes squeezed shut, heart in his throat pounding a million beats per minute as he slices through the air, screaming his lungs out as he falls and falls and falls and falls. Freaking hell, how long is this going to last?
Finally he stops. He opens his eyes to see the ground above him before someone comes over to undo his gear and he falls into a heap, finally on solid footing again. They clear the area and then he watches as Yuto, a spec against the blue sky, falls towards them, inching closer and closer, whooping and yelling and looking like he’s having the time of his life.
When Yuto is finally let down, he practically runs over to Yamada and throws an arm around his shoulder, pulls him in close. Yamada revels in the warmth, in the small comfort that Yuto isn’t turning him away at least.
“I’m not promising anything,” Yuto says when they’re riding the train back into the city, seated side by side in the very back, face covered in masks and hats hiding their eyes, words muffled. “You were an idiot. Grand romantic gestures. Who even does that in real life?” Yuto pauses, links their pinkies together like a promise. “You really made my heart skip a beat when you just jumped like that, you know?”
His breathing quickens. Hope blooms in his chest. “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
Yuto tilts his hat up with his other hand so that he can look at Yamada properly. “Definitely a good thing.” He turns away again, eyes concentrated straight ahead of him. “I don’t know how you know about Anne.”
Yamada wants to ask how he could not. Yuto is so obvious when he falls in love with someone. He keeps quiet though. This is Yuto, and Yuto clearly wants to say his piece.
“You know me better than I do myself sometimes and I can’t help but think that’s amazing.” Yuto squeezes his pinky. “I really want to try with you.”
Yamada presses his lips together and turns his head away, eyes out the window to the scenery speeding by. Finally, he says, “I’d like that.”
A quick look around to see that the two other people in their car doesn’t even know they’re alive, and then, boldly, he laces their hands together, fingers intertwined. Yuto doesn’t pull away. Instead his eyes light up, a smile hidden underneath the mask, and he falls asleep on Yamada’s shoulder.
Just half a chance, he thinks, watching Yuto sleep. Half a chance and he’ll show Yuto how amazing the two of them can be together.