Pairing: Yabu Kota/Takaki Yuya
Rating/Warnings: G; mentions of real-life scandal photos
Word Count: 2,181
Author's Note: Written for rikikomori for je_holiday!
Summary: Yabu has the perfect plan to help Takaki.
Yabu and Takaki are friends. They've been friends for a long time now, and as the oldest two members of JUMP, Yabu thinks they have something of a special bond. He knows he can always count on Takaki to laugh at his jokes, and he's always up for a meal or a drink when Yabu is bored--and he'll finish Yabu's food for him when it's too much, too.
But they understand each other in more ways then just on the surface, Yabu thinks. Sometimes, he'll hear stories about his bandmates' hookups, or two members won't be speaking after a bad breakup, or someone will complain to him about relationship woes with another member, and... well, Yabu just doesn't get it. It's not that he has anything against guys dating guys, and it's not like he's never had a crush on a fellow Johnny, either--there was definitely a period of time back in Ya-Ya-yah when Yabu had eyes for no one but Kamenashi-kun. But Yabu likes to keep things simple, and from what he's observed his bandmates doing, dating or hooking up with your coworkers is anything but simple.
It's always seemed like Takaki is the one other member who agrees with him on this point, though. They hang out with the other members, of course, and after seven years together they're all really close, but as far as Yabu knows, Takaki hasn't dated any of them, and it feels like a point of common ground. Takaki laughs along if Yabu makes jokes about who's sleeping with who among the other members, and he seems just as baffled as Yabu by some of the things they hear about. Sometimes when the two of them hang out, a current hookup or an upcoming date will come up in conversation, and it feels good to know that it's something Takaki understands, too, but for the most part, they don't talk about it that much, and Yabu is happy just knowing that he and Takaki see things the same way. Work is work and private life is private--simple. Or at least, it's all simple until Friday gets a hold of photos of Yabu and a girl.
It's a nasty surprise to see his own face plastered all over a tabloid, but the knowledge that someone had taken those pictures to Friday and sold him out is what feels the worst, because suddenly, what had been simple is no longer so simple. But JUMP has a tour about to start, and after enduring the lectures and scolding from the management and promising to be more careful, Yabu tries not to let it get him down. He puts all his energy into their concerts and tries to think just about the tour and his groupmates and leave the scandal behind him, but sometimes when a member complains about drama with another groupmate, he thinks about it again, and he thinks maybe he understands their feelings a little bit, because maybe relationships and friendships can't always be kept that simple. But still, that's only another reason to keep things separate between work and private life, because if something that bad had happened to him but with groupmates, with the guys who had been his coworkers and friends for years and years, it would have felt a hundred times worse.
And as time passes it gets easier not to think about it, as he travels around the country with JUMP and the fans scream just the same as always, and as they record and promote their new single, working ridiculously long days but getting through it because that's what JUMP does. He's busy doing what he loves, and the scandal has all but faded from Yabu's mind--until suddenly, jarringly, it's brought back to the forefront.
While they're doing last-minute rehearsals in Shizuoka, with their first show there coming up the next day, more pictures come out in Friday. Not of Yabu, but of Takaki this time, and Takaki doesn't take it well--or rather, he doesn't talk about it much after his closed-door meeting with the management, but Yabu is close enough to Takaki to be able to tell that something is more than a little wrong. After Yabu's photos had come out, Takaki had offered to buy him dinner, and Yabu had appreciated it at the time, knowing that Takaki had been through some similar stuff a few years back. Now it's Yabu's turn to understand how Takaki must be feeling, remembering the twisting feeling in his stomach when he'd worried about what was going to happen and about what had gone into getting the photos published in the first place. But just buying Takaki dinner doesn't really feel like it would be enough when Takaki seems so upset, and Yabu hates seeing him that way. Takaki is his closest friend, and seeing him stare dejectedly at his feet in their dressing room and thinking about what had happened when photos of Takaki came out back in 2009 doesn't just make Yabu want to comfort his friend. It makes him want to fix it.
He has no idea how, though, and he frets about it for the rest of the day. He's glad to see Daiki making sure Takaki eats enough at dinner and Chinen offering hugs and cuddles and taking Takaki back to his hotel room, but as Takaki's best friend, Yabu feels like he should do more. He's just not sure what, and he's still fretting by the time the first show starts the next day. He tries not to let it show in his performing, and he's almost managed to put it out of his mind when suddenly, watching Yamada and Yuto tickle each other's faces during Super Delicate, he's struck with inspiration.
It's brilliant, he thinks, grinning and trying to get his dancing back in sync for the rest of the song. The fans love it, and they love their idols more the more they do it, and what better way to make everyone forget about seeing Takaki with a girl than to give them tons of chances to see him being really close with his bandmate?
So he starts by slinging an arm around Takaki during the MC, hanging off of him and calling him cute, and it's not that different from usual, but it's different enough that the fans scream about it, and that's all the encouragement Yabu needs. He keeps the fanservice up through both of the shows that day, and even if Takaki still doesn't seem quite like himself, Yabu doesn't miss the way his smile gets a little wider and a little more genuine each time they get a good reaction. He's feeling great about his plan by the time they finish the evening show, and as he walks off stage next to Takaki, letting Takaki's hand drop from his, he grins. "The fans loved it, right?" he says, and for a second, he can't read Takaki's expression, but then Takaki smiles too, nodding in agreement.
Yabu takes it as a sign that he's doing the right thing, and he starts to do it more and more, sneaking up behind Takaki on stage to steal hugs and grabbing his hand when they pass on the catwalk and always touching him in some way during MCs. Takaki always smiles when he does it, leaning closer or squeezing Yabu's hand back, and it's fun to be doing it together with his best friend, going all out on stage to give the fans what they want. And when he has his arm around Takaki's shoulders and the screams of the audience filling his ears, it really feels like he could forget about both of their scandals altogether, especially when he thinks about how Takaki has been acting so much more like himself, too.
But sometimes, alongside the happy feelings and concert adrenaline, Yabu gets a weird feeling, something that makes his heart skip a beat in a different way than the adrenaline when Takaki grins at him or pulls him closer. It's not a bad feeling, really, just weird, and he enjoys doing the fanservice too much to let himself worry about it, but it does hover in the back of his mind, and sometimes, when he sees Takaki looking at him with an unreadable expression instead of his usual smile, he wonders if Takaki sometimes feels a little weird about the whole thing, too.
But they continue the fanservice through JUMP's Yokohama shows, and Yabu tries to ignore how the fluttering in his chest starts to feel even stronger sometimes, because Takaki is his friend and his bandmate and Yabu's plan has been working perfectly so far. But at the last show of the run, everything feels more intense, with everyone's tension at an all-time high, and when Yabu pulls Takaki into a hug during the encore, suddenly he doesn't want to let go. Without thinking, he holds Takaki tighter, keeping him there far longer than usual, and afterwards, he barely notices how the fans react. He only registers the look on Takaki's face when he finally lets go, the way he looks at Yabu with a mix of confusion and something else that Yabu still can't place, and in the moment before Takaki looks away, Yabu is suddenly afraid that he went too far.
He puts it out of his mind through the final encore, but once they're backstage for good, he knows he should talk to Takaki. Yabu finds him toweling off his face in a corner of the backstage area, and he walks over to him slowly, not sure what to say. "Sorry about... well..."
Takaki looks up at him, and his smile looks forced. "Don't worry about it," he says, and Yabu is even more worried, because there's definitely something off about Takaki's tone of voice.
"No, I'm sorry," he says, shaking his head. "I guess I got carried away... Concert high and all that..." He laughs nervously, shoving his hands into his pockets. But if anything, Takaki's expression turns even more unhappy at Yabu's words, and Yabu swallows, hating to see his friend so upset again.
"It's not... well..." Takaki starts and then cuts off with a sigh. He raises his eyes to meet Yabu's, and for a moment, neither of them moves. Yabu's heart is beating faster, and he's not sure what's happening, if he should say or do something to try to fix things, but he feels frozen to the spot.
"I like you," Takaki says quietly, breaking the silence between them. It takes Yabu a moment to process his words, but he feels his heartbeat speeding up even more, and when he opens his mouth to reply, nothing comes out. But then Takaki continues, "I-I know you don't do that, with groupmates, so I didn't say anything, but I... I really..."
And Yabu doesn't know what he's doing or what he's getting into, but Takaki's face is so close and his heart is beating so fast, and he leans forward to press his lips to Takaki's. His hands come up to rest on Takaki's waist, and for a moment they're both frozen again, until Takaki starts to kiss back and the butterflies that Yabu has been trying to suppress on stage for weeks are suddenly threatening to burst out of his chest.
When the kiss breaks, they look at each other again, and Yabu wants to grin despite everything, because even though he'd told himself that he'd never hook up with a bandmate, even though he doesn't know what he's doing, it feels like everything has been leading to this. After all the fanservice, the hugs and touches and smiles and racing hearts on stage, it feels right, and when Takaki responds to Yabu's grin by pulling him close for another kiss, Yabu's doubt starts to melt away. He kisses Takaki back, wrapping his arms around Takaki's waist, and when Takaki threads a hand through his hair, he sighs happily into the kiss.
"Is this... really okay?" Takaki asks when they part again, and Yabu looks at him for a moment. Takaki, his best friend, the one who understands him the best and who's always there for him, his face handsome even with worry making his forehead crease up, his arms strong and warm around Yabu's shoulders, his grins on stage still fresh in Yabu's mind. Yabu had always wanted to keep work and private life separate, but is it really possible for him to do that when Takaki is so much to him? Everything they'd done for each other up until now after their scandals had blurred that line anyway, so if they want to kiss, too, if they want to stop trying to push back their feelings, the feelings that Yabu is only just now realizing he has, well... why not?
So Yabu smiles, brushing Takaki's hair back from his face. "It's more than okay," he answers, and when Takaki kisses him again, despite everything he'd thought before, it feels like nothing could be more simple.