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I know just one thing is true (life is better with you)

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Ep #00: Meet Your Hosts

The scene starts on a wide-shot of the house from above, the crane moving closer as the camera shows off the façade of the Sharehouse. It is a fairly huge house, wide enough to accommodate plenty of rooms, with two-stories and a large balcony right in the middle of the second floor. The walls are painted a fancy-looking beige with dark red accents for the railings and the windows. It’s a modern house, hidden in the shadows of the tall trees surrounding it. In front of the house is a black limousine.

[Just on the edge of Tokyo, there is a house for the stars], the text on the bottom of the screen says.

A jaunty tune starts up as the camera zooms in on the door of the limousine. It opens to reveal a man wearing a black suit with yellow linings and a yellow bowtie. He steps out of the car and four more people follow him, all of them with matching suits except with different colors: green, blue, red, and violet. They smile and wave as they line up outside the car.

The music fades away as the man with the yellow bowtie says, “Good evening, everyone! Today marks the start of the most awaited show this season! I am your primary host, Ninomiya Kazunari.” He gestures towards the house and the camera zooms out. “And welcome to the Sharehouse!”

“What are we, chopped liver?” The man with the red tie asks, rolling his eyes. “I am Sakurai Sho, your… guest, I guess? What am I here?” He looks around as if asking the staff for help.

Nino laughs loudly. “This is my show now, bye.”

“Oi!” The man in violet raises a hand in front of him, a look of vague annoyance on his face.

“Sorry, J,” Nino apologizes with an unrepentant grin.

With a long-suffering sigh, J introduces himself with: “I am Matsumoto Jun, your showbiz insider.”

“I am Aiba Masaki, your spy,” Aiba says, doing finger-guns at the camera.

“I am Ohno Satoshi, your leader,” Ohno says while raising one hand as if someone’s taking attendance.

“Wait!” Sho steps forward, looking around. “Why do you all have titles?!”

Nino cannot stop giggling at the side. “This is Sakurai Sho, the uptight neighbor you don’t want to interact with.”

“Hey!” Sho gasps in fake affront. “I’m at least the neighborhood committee chairman, right?”

At that, Nino, Ohno and Aiba bursts into fresh laughter.

“Everyone’s already changed the channel,” Jun mutters, eyeing his groupmates. “No one’s going to watch this show now.”

With overdramatic panic, Sho looks straight at the camera and says, “Don’t worry, everyone! Nino will be your main host, and we’re all going to behave.” He places a hand on his chest. “I swear.”

“The four of us will be your panel for the After Show,” Jun explains. “And Nino will be your main host for the Sharehouse Special.”

“As I said,” Nino says with a mischievous grin. “This is my show, and you’re just guests. I’m the main man around here.”

Aiba slaps him on the arm. “Then do your job, main-man!”

The camera zooms in on Nino again. “Well, then. Let’s start off by introducing our housemates!”

 


 

Ep #01: First Night

“Can’t sleep?” Chinen walks down the stairs, clutching a pillow in his arms. He’s wearing light pink silk pajamas, and his eyes are half-lidded from exhaustion. His hair is a mess. “If you fall asleep there, your back will hurt tomorrow, you know?”

Ryosuke looks up from where he’s watching a movie on the large flat-screen TV taking up most of the living room wall. “I know,” he says. “But it’s hard to sleep. I’m not used to being…” He shrugs. “It’ll take some getting used to, this place.”

Chinen nods in understanding before plopping down on the couch beside Ryosuke. “I know,” he says. “I’m used to sleeping in other places, but those are hotels. This feels different.”

“It’s like… it’s trying too hard to be home,” Ryosuke says, frowning. “My room has an EXO poster.”

“You don’t like it?” Chinen asks, raising an eyebrow.

“No,” Ryosuke says. “I mean, I have the exact same poster in my room. But instead of making it feel like mine, it just feels weird.”

“I get it. Mine has an Arashi poster and the desk has my books from home. I think my sister let them steal it from my apartment.”

Ryosuke hunches in on himself. “And all the cameras… I feel self-conscious. What if they catch me snoring?”

Chinen places his pillow on Ryosuke’s lap and plops down like this is something they do, as if they didn’t just meet earlier this evening. “Don’t worry,” he says. After a few moments of silence, he yawns. “I’m going to sleep now.” He closes his eyes and burrows in like a tiny kitten.

“Here?” Ryosuke asks, eyes wide. “I thought-”

“Ssshhh.” Chinen pats his knee and says, “It’s gonna be fine. Wake me up when you’re going to your room.”

There’s a long silence as Ryosuke alternates between looking at the screen and at Chinen’s face. A moment later, he relaxes on the couch and mutters, “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” Chinen mumbles.

♡ ♡ ♡

The scene goes back to the studio, where Aiba is actively cooing at the screen beside him. Nino stands on one side of the screen, while the other four are sitting on bar stools on the other side. The screen is paused on the image of Chinen sleeping on Yamada’s lap as Yamada dozes off with his head leaning on the backrest.

“What a great way to start a friendship!” Aiba says, clapping his hands like an overexcited seal. “I’m rooting for them!”

“YamaChii starting strong,” Jun says, nodding in appreciation. “That’s one thing we’ll definitely be watching for.”

Nino nods. “So far, we’ve seen Nakajima-kun interact with Ohgo-chan and Shida-chan, and they all seem to know each other from before. And Kamiki-kun obviously knows most of the housemates. Umika-chan easily befriended everyone as soon as she came in. Yamada-kun and Chinen-kun are our wildcards.”

“Yeah,” Jun agrees. “Gamer and Olympian. They don’t usually interact with other celebrities.”

“Okay, but can we talk about how Chinen-kun has an Arashi poster in his room?” Aiba asks, grinning widely at Nino.

“Let's talk about that, yes,” Nino says with a chuckle.

Jun rolls his eyes and faces the camera. “I just want to be the first to say this: for those who don’t know, we’ve personally met Chinen Yuri.” He points to Ohno. “He loves this guy for some reason, but I’ve hung out with him before.”

“What do you mean for some reason?” Ohno asks, feigning offense. Jun pats him on the back but doesn’t reply.

“He was a guest in VS Arashi with the other Olympians!” Aiba adds. “Chinen-kun still holds the record for Pinball Runner.”

“If he liked me so much, why did he win?” Ohno mutters under his breath. Jun puts his arm around Ohno’s shoulder and laughs quietly.

“I met him at the Olympics first,” Sho shares. “He’s a really good kid. Smart, too.”

“A good kid, huh,” Nino says, crossing his arms and nodding to himself. “We’ll see, we’ll see.”

“That’s ominous,” Aiba points out.

“Well, they’ll just have to watch, right?” Nino looks right at the camera and smiles. “Next up, we’ll look at more of the events that happened on their first day in the Sharehouse! Right after this commercial break!”

 


 

Ep #19: Living Room Salon

“This next video is one of my favorite things,” Nino says, motioning towards the screen beside him. It is frozen on a picture of Umika and Ryutaro lying on their backs on the huge sectional sofa, the tops of their heads touching, with Kamiki and Haruna sitting on the floor beside them. Kamiki cradles Umika’s hand on a pillow on his lap, putting nail polish on it carefully. Haruna is mixing something in a plastic bowl.

“Kawaguchi-chan started it, right?” Jun asks, smiling at the picture. “About two weeks in?”

Nino nods. “With Shida-chan and Ohgo-chan,” he confirms. “They’ve done it now every time someone is stressed in the living room.”

“The first time we saw this, it was a massage party. Was it episode 5?” Aiba muses. He narrows his eyes at the bowl and asks, “What’s that?”

“This is why we’re showing this particular footage,” Nino explains. “Let’s see, shall we?”

♡ ♡ ♡

Kamiki hums Doraemon’s theme song as he paints Umika’s nails, smiling to himself. The nail polish is pastel pink, and there’s a whole array of nail polish and nail care tools at his side. Umika is sleeping quietly with a peaceful expression on her face.

Haruna mixes a white goop on the plastic bowl as she explains the process to a frowning Ryutaro. “Don’t worry,” she says, patting him on the arm. He’s tense all over. “This feels really good, I promise. We’ll apply this to your face, and then you can nap for a bit and then I’ll wake you up so we can remove it after 45 minutes.”

“What if you forget?” Ryutaro side-eyes her suspiciously.

“I won’t!” Haruna laughs. “We’ll watch TV and set a timer.”

Ryutaro sighs and nods a bit. “Fine,” he concedes. “Promise to wake me up?”

“Umi’s going to have this on her, too,” Kamiki says. “So she’ll make sure we won’t mess up.”

Haruna pouts. “Do you trust Umika-chan more than me?” She looks at the two.

“Well…” Kamiki flounders.

“Kawashima-san will murder us if we leave her with the facemask too long,” Ryutaro answers. “It’s her only scary trait.”

“I have many scary traits,” Umika answers, blinking her eyes awake. She yawns and stretches her other arm.

“Yes, you do,” Ryutaro allows. “See, she felt we were badmouthing her and woke up from heavy sleep. That’s inhuman.”

Umika bops her head to the side, headbutting Ryutaro lightly. “That’s true, but.”

Ryutaro grins. “Anyway,” he says, “are you putting on this thing or not? Put it on Kawashima-san first before me.” He says the last statement to Haruna.

“We’re doing it at the same time,” Umika says, sitting up. Kamiki lets go of her hand but waves his hand as if readying to snatch it back if she ruins her nails in any way. “Kamiki-kun will put some on me, and Haruna will put them on you.”

“Are you sure you trust Kamiki to put this on you?” He looks down at the concoction warily.

Umika shrugs. “He does my nails perfectly. I trust him to do this.”

Kamiki puts a hand on his chest dramatically, eyes wide in joy. “You trust me?!”

Shaking her head in exasperation, Haruna elbows Kamiki so she could kneel. “Once I put this on, you go take that nap, okay?” She raises an eyebrow at Ryutaro, lips pursed in a thin line.

“Yes, mom,” Ryutaro mumbles, but there’s a small smile on his lips.

The scene speeds up as they put the facemasks on the two, and then Haruna puts some on Kamiki and Kamiki puts some on Haruna. Ryutaro does close his eyes and seems to go to sleep. Umika sits up and watches TV with the other two.

30 minutes later, the text on the bottom of the screen reads as the speed goes back to normal.

The three look up in unison at the sound of the door opening, and seconds later, Yuto and Chielu walk in. Upon seeing them, with their white facemasks and the only bright light in the room being the TV behind them, Yuto shrieks and runs back towards the door.

Chielu stares at them, wide-eyed, and then walks off towards the stairs without another word.

♡ ♡ ♡

The show cuts to the studio again, where Arashi are doubled over in laughter and the TV is replaying Yuto’s shriek on a loop.

 


 

Ep #06: Backstory

“This is a bit different,” Nino starts, scrunching up his nose at the audience. “We’ve got… Well, an intruder, basically.”

“I’m a guest!” Chinen protests from where he was seated on the other side of the screen. Only Aiba is present, the other seats notably empty. Chinen is sitting on the blue bar stool.

“Everyone, let’s welcome: our very own Gold-medalist and Chaotic Evil Prince, Chinen Yuri!” Aiba does jazz hands at Chinen’s direction and smiles widely when Chinen laughs at his introduction.

“I can’t believe that stuck,” Chinen says, pouting. “I’m not evil.”

“But everyone needs a little chaos in their lives, right?” Aiba asks immediately, grinning wide.

“That clip is the single most played video in our YouTube account. Did you know that?” Nino asks as the screen shows the said video. It has millions of views and likes. “You’re quite the fan-favorite, Chinen-kun.”

Chinen blinks, looking at the audience then at the camera before finally looking at Nino with wide, innocent eyes. “I am?”

Nino narrows his eyes. “Are you sure you didn’t plan this?”

“What?!” Chinen laughs, waving a hand in front of him. “I’m not some evil mastermind, Ninomiya-san.”

“Uh-huh,” Nino says, doubt clear in his tone. “Like how you didn’t plan to bump into Sho at the Sochi Olympics.”

Chinen groans. “Are we really doing this here?”

Aiba looks at the two, gaze going back and forth. He looks towards the back and a staff member hands him a bag of popcorn. He munches on some.

Nino grins, not taking his eyes off Chinen. “Oh, yes. We’re definitely doing this here.” He gestures to the screen where an old picture of Chinen and Sho is being shown. They are smiling at the camera, Chinen’s cheeks pink and Sho’s laugh lines clear on his face. “You met Sho-chan five years ago when you bumped him on your way to your team’s dinner. A few weeks later, you end up in VS Arashi. Coincidence?” He dramatically points towards Chinen the way they do in detective dramas. “I think not!”

“These conspiracy theories are unbecoming, Ninomiya-san,” Chinen chides. “Are you sure your old age isn’t affecting your judgement?”

“Oooooh!” Aiba gasps and stares at Nino avidly, as if waiting for the next serve in a tennis match. “He said you’re old!”

“I heard,” Nino says, scowling. “Why are you even here, Macchan?”

“I heard Chinen-chan was guesting so I came here as fast as I can!” Aiba gives them both a thumbs up, and Chinen high-fives him. They huddle closer as Chinen takes some popcorn from the bag.

Nino frowns harder at the two. He sighs. “Okay, let’s move on.” The screen at his side changes to a picture of Chinen doing a handstand in front of the practice room. “This week, you were in charge of making your housemates go through training. How was that like?”

Chinen chews on the popcorn for a moment, glancing at the screen. “It’s very different,” he says. “Training has been part of my life for as long as I remember, but that’s not the case for them. It’s… frustrating, at first.”

“We did see you lose your patience for the first time.”

“I’ve been doing my exercises every morning since I came in the house, so I’ve never strayed from that mindset. Ryutaro started joining me a few days in, and Yama-chan joins me when he wakes up early. Suzuka-chan likes to jog in the afternoon with me. I forgot not all of us had that kind of time.” Chinen grimaces. “I might have been too hard on them.”

“Nakajima-kun, right?” Nino shares a look with Chinen, identical frowns on their faces. “His schedule is nuts.”

“Yeah,” Chinen agrees. “For us athletes, we have other jobs to support ourselves but our passion is with the sport. The job is to keep us afloat when we don’t have sponsors. I forgot that some people have jobs they actually like.”

“So you got angry.”

“So I got angry.” Chinen nods. “Yuto was late to one training session and I should have known he was tired, but…” He shrugs. “I messed up.”

Nino’s expression turns soft for a second, almost fond, as he says, “But you made up, so you’re fine, right?”

“I guess,” Chinen says, but he doesn’t sound like it. His shoulders slump like he is weighed down by what happened.

“Yamada-kun was able to do a double backflip earlier because of you, and Yuto-kun did a full bar rotation, right?” Nino pushes on. “You did the best you could, and the results were good.”

Chinen smiles a bit, tilting his head at Nino. “Are you trying to cheer me up, senpai?”

Aiba starts giggling at the side, clutching on the popcorn on his lap. Nino throws a glare at him. “Brat,” he starts, “don’t call me senpai.”

“Oh? You’re not denying it, then?” Chinen smiles wider, his posture loosening up.

“I was being a good person,” Nino says haughtily. “Something you should learn to do more.”

Chinen laughs at that. “I guess you should teach me about that, then.”

Nino sneers, “Maybe I will.”

Aiba laughs harder.

 


 

Ep #21: The Prank

“Oh, man,” Nino starts, already grinning from ear to ear. “We’ve got a special treat for all of you today.”

“This one’s really special,” Sho agrees.

“We’ve got a guest from abroad,” Jun adds.

Nino nods. “I know you’re all curious, so let’s cut to the footage, shall we?”

♡ ♡ ♡

The front door opens to reveal Umika, Suzuka, and Kamiki walking into the house, giggling to themselves. They tiptoe to the living room, looking around the corners. Kamiki rushes back to the front door and says, “Come in! We’re clear!”

EXO’s Park Chanyeol walks in, and the scene freezes. Cartoon confetti pops around the side of the screen as a text box appears on the bottom. It says: [Park Chanyeol is a member of the Korean group EXO who are touring the world right now. He was a guest on Kamiki’s variety show where he was recruited to appear here.]

A flashback of the said “recruitment” is then shown:

“I’m in another show called Sharehouse Special. Do you know that?” Kamiki is backstage with Umika and Chanyeol. “We want you to come home with us to surprise our friends.”

Chanyeol blinks down at him, seemingly confused. “I know,” he says slowly. “But. We have a concert.” He frowns and mutters a few Korean words.

Umika bites her lip, narrows her eyes, then takes out her phone. “Let’s have Suzuka explain everything. I think she knows fluent English. He understands that better, I think.”

“Oh yeah, she studied abroad,” Kamiki said.

“Mr. Park,” Umika tells him in stilted English, “our friend would like to talk to you.”

The flashback ends with a black screen and white text that says: [Ohgo Suzuka is fluent in English and she is very convincing.]

The scene goes back to Chanyeol coming into the house with a sheepish smile. He follows after Kamiki, hunching his shoulders as if to make himself smaller. The attention seems to be embarrassing for him. He scrunches up his nose when he stops by the others.

Before anyone could say anything, a door down the hall opens and Yamada’s voice reverberates from the game room. “Welcome home,” he greets. He walks in and freezes the moment he sees their guest. “Uhhh…” Wide eyes stare unblinkingly at Chanyeol. “What?”

“What?” Umika echoes, blinking innocently at him. “We’re home.”

“We’re home,” Kamiki says. He elbows Chanyeol, who mumbles, “We’re home” shyly.

“This is not your home,” Yamada says almost robotically like his brain is having a hard time processing this.

“That’s mean,” Umika says. She frowns disapprovingly. “Is that any way to talk to our housemate?”

“Yeah,” Kamiki agrees. “Why are you looking at Yuto like he’s a ghost?”

“That’s not Yuto!” Yamada exclaims hysterically. “That’s-- That’s!”

“I’m?” Chanyeol asks, smiling slightly at Yamada.

“Oh my god,” Yamada whimpers, turning red. He turns his back on them and breathes deeply. “I’m sleep deprived,” he tells himself. “I’m going back to sleep.”

The moment he’s gone, Kamiki, Suzuka, and Umika burst into giggles. They raise their hands and Chanyeol happily gave them double-high fives.

 

Later, after a montage of Chanyeol going to the game room and meeting Yamada properly (with Yamada blushing and effusing praises at the idol), the five hung out while playing a game Chanyeol was interested in. Yamada happily taught him how to play it, with Suzuka translating some things when Yamada had a hard time getting through.

“I’m home,” Yuto calls out as he walks directly to the game room as usual.

“Hm?” Yamada says, looking up with an innocent expression on his face. “Are you lost?”

“What?” Yuto asks, taking in the occupants of the room. He looks shocked to see them here and gets even more surprised when he sees their guest.

“Are you a guest?” Umika clarifies. “We already have a tall superstar here.” She gestures to the other man, who is blushing at her words. “We don’t really need two.”

Yuto pouts. “Hey!”

Yamada is obviously trying hard not to laugh. “He’s taller.”

“I think he’s cuter too,” Suzuka offers. She turns to Chanyeol and says in English, “You’re taller than him and cuter too. You win.”

Chanyeol laughs in embarrassment, shaking his head. “No, no,” he says.

“So you think Yuto-kun is cute?” Umika asks, smiling wide. She leans to Yamada’s side and says, “That’s like your dream come true. A tall sandwich.”

Yamada turns red to the roots of his hair. “Umika Kawashima,” he scolds.

“What? I’m just saying the truth.”

“I am a guest,” Chanyeol says in Japanese, trying to diffuse the situation. “This is a prank.”

“That’s true,” Kamiki says. “But if you don’t act fast, I’m afraid Yamada-kun would kidnap Chanyeol and make him stay here with us.”

“He has a crush,” Suzuka explains.

Yuto rushes forward and hugs Ryosuke to his side. “No taking!” he tells Chanyeol in English. “Mine. You get your own.”

Chanyeol smiles and shakes his head, waving his hands in front of him as well. “Don’t worry,” he says. “I have my own.”