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Sho doesn't know when he became such a horrible person. After all, once upon a time, he used to be able to hold his head up, used to feel honest and sincere even if he had no other good traits to his name. At some point in the past, he used to feel trustworthy, used to feel like a good friend, someone upon whom the others could depend. There was a time, some time ago, when he used to be the good one, the responsible one, the upstanding one... he doesn't know when he fell apart. And he hates himself for it, strongly, acutely, bitterly, and sometimes, the thought of what he does makes his stomach churn and bile rise in the back of throat But when it comes down to it, the hate can't eclipse the love, and the love is the root of the problem. Or rather, his love for Aiba wouldn't exactly be a problem... if Aiba weren't already in another relationship. And if Sho weren't sleeping with Aiba while Aiba is still in another relationship.

And it's not just that he's having an affair. It's bad enough that he's sleeping with someone else who's sleeping with someone else, but Sho, horrible person that he is, gets off on it. Ever since the time he drunkenly made out with Ohno in the bathroom at one of Jun's parties with Nino standing right outside the door, Sho's known-- he's an observant guy, after all, what with his college degree. He didn't want to believe it, especially as he was battling his hangover the following morning from the floor of Jun's living room, but when he remembers the way his heart was beating, the way adrenaline was rushing through his veins as Nino whined from outside the door that Ohno needed to hurry up and Ohno kissed him all the same... he can ignore it if he wants, and he did, for months, but he could only avoid the truth for so long before it was bound to bite him in the ass.

And bite him in the ass it did, hard. Sho has always been attracted to Aiba, ever since they were juniors, because Aiba is everything Sho is not. Aiba is carefree and easygoing and sweet and inherently kind, Aiba can live his life without being choked by all he's lost, all he's gone through, and Sho knows just how much he's gone through. When Sho overthinks, Aiba goes with the flow, when Sho tenses, Aiba is relaxed, when Sho gets caught up, Aiba can let go and let go and let go. And Sho has always wanted to say let go of everything else but hold onto me, but unfortunately, Aiba's been holding onto Jun for almost as long as Sho has known them, and Sho has never been one to get in the way of something like that. Because he's the good, clean, responsible one. Or he used to be.

Because somehow, now, he finds himself holding Aiba's hand beneath the table in group meetings, finds himself stealing rushed kisses when they pass in the doorway of a vacated rehearsal hall or finding reasons to excuse himself to the restroom when Aiba has just gone. It's absolutely amazing, he thinks, that he can do this when, moments afterwards, he has to face Jun with a smile and say to himself yes, I'm your friend, yes, I'm your bandmate, yes, I respect you, it's just that I'm laying your boyfriend behind your back. Jun doesn't suspect a thing, if his pleasant attitude and regular conversation with Sho are any indication, and it makes Sho itch to get Aiba alone behind closed doors as Jun's saying to him and this weekend Masaki and I are heading out to Odaiba together, just the two of us... Maybe, he thinks, it's the assurance that they won't get caught. Maybe it's knowing that one day they will get caught. But just as soon as Jun's gone up to get his photos done and they're alone in the dressing room, Sho has the door locked and Aiba up against it, warm and soft and sweet. Aiba kisses like everything he is, gentle and earnest and pure, and he tastes like happiness or something, Sho thinks, which sounds stupid, but he was never really a poet.

"Sho-chan," Aiba whimpers against his lips and Sho presses closer still, if that's even possible, sliding his hands beneath Aiba's t-shirt and over the smooth expanse of his tummy, his chest. He slides his fingers over Aiba's muscles, his nipples, his scar, admiring every part of him as Aiba squirms and mewls beneath his touch, and it's another way in which Aiba's honest, Sho thinks with a bit of a smile against Aiba's lips. Aiba's body is beautiful, just like every part of Aiba, and Sho wants to pull away his clothes and have him right here, right in the dressing room into which, in a few minutes, Aiba's boyfriend will walk and in which Aiba's boyfriend has gotten changed and in which Aiba's boyfriend's belongings are sitting right now, just a few feet away--

But they're going to be wanted upstairs in a few minutes and so, with one long, final kiss, Sho pulls back slightly, eyes meeting Aiba's. "Come get dinner with me after work," he murmurs, which really means Come get dinner with me and then come back to my place and let me fuck you after work but Sho doesn't like to think of it that way despite the fact that it's true.

Aiba rolls his lips together, his gaze flicking down towards the floor, and he looks guilty. "Jun's making dinner for me tonight, just the two of us," he replies quietly after a long moment, his eyes returning to Sho's, eyebrows knit into an expression of regret. "I'm sorry... I'll tell him I'm working late tomorrow--"

But, "No, it's fine," Sho assures, stepping away from him and running a hand through his hair. This happens with some regularity-- how couldn't it?-- and Sho, of course, knows that it's going to keep happening. If he wants not to worry about it, if he wants someone without that other commitment, he can break this off and see someone who isn't already seeing someone else--

But instead he offers Aiba a smile and shrugs. "Don't worry about it, really," he insists, as considerate and congenial as he's always had the politeness to be. And Aiba smiles back at him, beautiful even in his obvious relief, but as he walks away, Sho's bothered by the glint of the platinum band around his left ring finger.

...

Two nights of the work week-- that's what Sho's come to expect, no more and no less. Two nights of the week, Aiba can make excuses (he has to work late, he's having dinner with friends, he's seeing his family), and then after he's kissed Jun goodbye, he gets into the passenger's seat of Sho's car a few blocks away and they're off. They can't be seen in public on the best of days, and it really wouldn't do for Jun to discover his boyfriend's infidelity through the tabloids, and so usually it's takeout or else delivery, which is, Sho laments, not exactly the most romantic, but the most practical. But Aiba's never seemed to care, and as they sit together at Sho's kitchen table chatting about TV and music and their coworkers, it somehow feels more intimate, anyway, like they have their own little place, just the two of them. It isn't perfect, but Sho likes before able to slide his hand over Aiba's on the table, likes being able to lean in close and admire his companion in a way that he could never do in public, even if this wasn't an illicit affair.

And sometimes, when things are good, it's more the two times a week-- sometimes, even, when Jun's away filming on location, Aiba is lonely and needy and comes and curls up in Sho's bed and stays the whole night through, and it feels like heaven, Sho thinks, a sick, twisted, beautiful heaven where Aiba doesn't have to leave him, ever. But then, sometimes, things are bad, and Aiba actually does have to work late or meet with friends or visit his family, and then Sho struggles by with nothing, feeling starved for attention and delirious with desperation when he has to work side by side with Aiba day in and day out and keep his hands to himself. But these occasions are rare, the good and the bad, and for the most part, Sho gets two nights a week just to himself, and that's something he can definitely live with.

Because when Aiba's with Sho, it's as if there's no one else in the world, as if things are supposed to be this way, just the two of them. Aiba is sweet and natural and funny and never once mentions anything outside of their little world together-- they hardly ever even mention Jun's name at all, something that makes Sho feel guilty in passing, but not enough to ruin what they have. They talk and laugh together over takeout curry, flip through the most recent magazines with pictures of themselves, their friends, catch a few hours of TV together, and it all feels almost normal. It feels, Sho thinks, like they're playing house, just really well, with toys for grown-ups in a real apartment, but he doesn't like to think on it much, and instead simply appreciates it when Aiba smiles at him and squeezes his hand and says, "It's getting late, isn't it...?"

Aiba has his own toothbrush in Sho's bathroom, and they stand side-by-side at Sho's sink, bumping elbows, bumping hips as they ready for bed. Real couples, Sho thinks, probably have this worked out and take turns at the sink like adults (Aiba and Jun probably have this worked out and take turns at the sink like adults), but he likes it this way, just a little, to have Aiba this close, to take advantage of their time together. He steals kisses at every stage along the way and expects Aiba to swat him away eventually, but Aiba just giggles and giggles until one of Sho's stolen kisses becomes more than just a simple kiss, and then they're collapsing into Sho's bed together in the blink of an eye.

Aiba has always been amazing in bed, but on nights like these, Sho is often surprised in himself, in his own enthusiasm. With the obligatory girls of the past, he's always been good at being reserved, at being gentlemanly, and with his friends, with the boys with whom he's been comfortable enough to show his affection as openly as that, he's never been the one to push, he's always been the one who's gentle and assuring and supportive. But with Aiba, it's a whole different story, with Aiba, they're both far beyond that point, and when Aiba pulls Sho on top of him, Sho is far from complaining. He kisses Aiba with pure abandon, goes in for pecks and is drawn into long and deep and heated kisses that leave him panting and yearning for more. Aiba is addictive, he thinks as he feels Aiba's fingertips sliding beneath his shirt, along the line of his back, Aiba is like a drug, only Sho's never grown dependent on nicotine and he can't get enough of Aiba.

But it's fine, because Sho doesn't want to quit, and he kisses longer, deeper, harder. He peppers Aiba's jaw, his neck with butterfly kisses, careful not to leave a mark for Jun catch later, he tugs Aiba's clothing from his body with an impatience that is truly uncharacteristic of him. But Aiba never complains, only wiggles his way free compliantly, squirming and arching with each of Sho's touches as if he were putty beneath Sho's fingers, all his to mold and shape as he pleases...

There are so many ways that they can and have done this, but in the end, despite Aiba's adventurous streak, Sho's always been a traditional romantic in the long run, and he likes to be able to see Aiba's face, likes to be able to embrace him and pretend that they're really doing this the right way. There are days when Aiba will tease him or suggest something else, but for the most part, he doesn't complain as Sho spreads his legs and situates himself between them, prepping with the utmost tenderness and care before pressing inside of Aiba's body, slowly but steadily. "Are you okay," Sho always asks, and "Sho-chan--" Aiba always responds, as if it's a stupid question to which Sho ought to know the answer by now, and Sho does. Without further hesitation, he begins to move, pistoning in and out of Aiba's body, slowly at first but not for long. He braces himself above Aiba's body, just so that they're chest to chest without his full weight against Aiba's body, and links their fingers together as he watches Aiba's face for a reaction. Sometimes it takes a few goes, but Sho is a quick study, and usually, it doesn't take him long to find just that place that makes Aiba's eyes squeeze shut and his voice get breathy as he moans out his pleasure without restraint. He's so fucking honest, Sho thinks, so fucking beautiful, but he says nothing as he does everything he can to give Aiba even some small fraction of the pleasure that Aiba gives him just by existing, just by being sweet and perfect and beautiful and Aiba.

Sho's endurance isn't anything special, but Aiba isn't one to draw things out too long, and they come one after another, hot and sticky together above Sho's sheets. He hates that he has to do the wash every time Aiba comes over, because Aiba's scent on his sheets is one of Sho's favourite things in the world, but there's no avoiding the mess, really. Afterwards, Aiba lays in his arms for a while, head pressed in the crook of Sho's neck as he nuzzles closer every once in a while, murmuring exactly how he feels, Sho-chan, I love you, I love you Sho-chan...

But inevitably, after a few moments, he'll ask Sho the time. If it's before midnight, he'll throw on his clothes haphazardly and thank Sho for the evening with a regretful smile that will linger hauntingly with Sho for the rest of the night before ducking out to catch the last train to his and Jun's place in Shinagawa; if it's after, he'll settle in for the night but be gone before Sho wakes up in the morning. Sho hates it, dreads the ends of these evenings like nothing else, but in the end, there's nothing that he can do about it. It's the nature of the beast, it's what he gets for sharing, for getting greedy and sticking his hands in someone else's cookie jar.

But then, occasionally, ever so rarely, Aiba doesn't ask the time, doesn't get up and rush out the door. Not more than three times in their entire relationship or affair or whatever it is that they have, Sho has had the sheer and absolute pleasure of waking up with Aiba's head resting his shoulder and Aiba's long legs entangled with his, and it's beautiful, beautiful moments like these that remind Sho that no matter how selfish, he'll never be able to let this go.

...

They're rarely ever together at Jun and Aiba's apartment alone. Of course, Sho comes when Jun throws his big parties or when all of Arashi meets up there, but even then, he feels a little out of place and a little guilty, like he's someplace he shouldn't be, like somehow, by placing himself in Jun's home, he's making himself more vulnerable to discovery. But even so, there are a few occasions when Aiba asks him to come by while Jun is out, and for Aiba, Sho will do anything. And so, tense and nervous and hiding behind the brim of his hat, Sho has, from time to time, made his way into the lion's den for a few brief moments of happiness with hopes that he won't get eaten alive.

Often, he knows, he worries for nothing. Most of these occasions are when Jun is scheduled to be out of Tokyo all day for filming, when there's no chance of him simply coming home a few minutes too early and catching them in the act, but Sho remains a little nervous, anyway. It seems like it's asking for trouble, for him to be here alone with Aiba, but if Aiba wants him to come try out something Aiba's cooked or look at Aiba's new clothes, Sho will never object. And honestly it's not as if the doormen are going to tell on him or Jun is going to look at the security camera footage, he reminds himself, and even then, Sho is a friend, Sho is a coworker, Sho has plenty of reasons to be meeting Aiba at home. And so when, "Relax," Aiba says with a smile, pressing a gentle kiss to Sho's lips, Sho does his best, he really does.

But another problem with spending time in Jun and Aiba's apartment is that Sho gets jealous. Looking around and seeing the sloppily-made double bed, the two towels in the bathroom, the pair of mugs in the sink waiting to be washed, Sho feels it sharply and more intensely than he ever does otherwise, like a stab to the gut, like some overarching narration telling him that he doesn't belong here, that this is Aiba's home with someone else. And certainly, there are signs of dual inhabitance in Sho's own apartment; Aiba's slippers, Aiba's toothbrush, Aiba's change of clothes. But these are things to be tucked away when their owner isn't around rather than left out in the open, things that clash with Sho's decor, Sho's own possessions, and Aiba's belongings in his home seem to mock Sho in their rightness. It burns inside of him, it's not fair. He wants this to be his, he wants to be one who can call Aiba his own, really his own, in every sense of the word. He wants to come back to a snug little home together for the two of them, and that's so stupidly not how their lives are or will ever be, but he wants the photo albums and family approval, he wants to come back from a long day of filming and call I'm home to be met with Aiba's enthusiastic Welcome back as he sets the table and asks about Sho's day...

It's a bizarre fantasy, even Sho knows that, and he's fairly certain that that's not how Jun and Aiba live, anyway, but he can't help it. He wants Aiba to his own so badly, so badly it practically makes him sick some days. It's the hardest, too, when he's spent the afternoon in Jun and Aiba's apartment, because there's always the encroaching deadline: Jun will be home at some point, and by then, Sho must be gone. It makes his heart clench in his chest as he watches the clock, counts down his moments with Aiba, and it's such an incredible pressure that one of these days, Sho thinks, he's going to go crazy.

And maybe he's already a little crazy, because even as he spends his last few moments here, his last few moments in Aiba's arms, his mind is working overtime, and when Aiba kisses him gently before murmuring, "It's getting late," Sho is hit with all the stubbornness of a child, and he swallows, shaking his head. "What if I stay?" he says, misplaced confidence swelling in his chest. "What if I don't go?"

Aiba laughs nervously, cocking his head to the side the way that he does, the way that's so adorably irresistible. "What are you talking about?" he asks, though from his tone, Sho can tell that he isn't sure he wants to know.

"What if we stop lying," Sho says, and then he's on a roll, he can't stop. "We can come clean. Today." Aiba looks at him like he's gone absolutely insane, and, Sho thinks, he probably has, he's probably snapped, but he doesn't care. His words are coming fast now, tripping on one another as he hurries to explain himself. "I'll tell him. You don't have to-- I'll stay and tell him. I'll let him hit me if he wants. I don't mind-- for you, I don't. I love you, and--"

But then Aiba's hand is on his cheek caressing softly, and Sho's words drift off, his brow furrowing, his eyes meeting Aiba's. Aiba offers him a smile, but Sho can tell right away that it's not one of agreement; it's too sad, to melancholic. "I love you too," Aiba murmurs, leaning in to catch Sho's lips in another kiss, but Sho is already bracing, already waiting for the but that's going to come in a moment. As Aiba pulls back, he squeezes his eyes shut and suddenly, it feels as if he's going to cry as Aiba speaks again.

"But think of Arashi," he comments gently, and Sho immediately knows he's right. Show business is all a matter of lies, of course, but what sort of a band would they be if Jun hated him? What sort of a group would they be if Jun were bitter-- as he would have a right to be-- that his boyfriend ran off with his friend? In a fairy tale world, coming clean seems like the right thing to do, but honestly, Sho knows better, he knows better than that.

"I'm sorry," Aiba is saying, his eyes lowered, his lips drawn tight. "I can't give up either of you..." He laughs humourlessly, and it's not right, not on Aiba. "It's selfish of me, I know."

And, no, Sho wants to say, it's not selfish of you, it's selfish of me, it's so, so selfish, but instead, he pulls Aiba into his arms and holds him tight for one last long moment before heading out into the evening. Saying goodbye is hard, but it isn't as if they won't see one another tomorrow, the next day. Two times next week, Aiba will come home with Sho, and they have those passing moments in the hallways and behind closed doors, and Sho thinks, he doesn't know when he became so bad, but it's better to stay this way than to make things worse.