Rating/Warnings: R because we all know what happens when Ryo reaches the end of his rope.
Summary: At first, Ryo's relieved when Uchi starts humming again, but that doesn't last long.
AN: for the Uchipornfest, but also for swtjemz who always knew she'd get me with Uchi one day. Title from "Sayaendou" as translated by goro_chan.
We Can Hear It From Our Pillows
It takes more than a year, but eventually Uchi starts humming again.
At first Ryo is so thankful to hear it that he barely even notices what exactly Uchi is humming the first time. He'll be even happier when Uchi starts singing again, but for now humming is more than good enough after fourteen months of painful silence, even Uchi's phone stripped of the cheerful ringtones Ryo had grown so familiar with.
As it happens more and more, however, Ryo can't help but take note. At first it's just the end theme of the drama Uchi's been marathonning, then it's a snatch of the gum commercial you can't escape if you watch more than ten minutes of television in a row. Ryo has to pull his cap low to hide his snicker when they spend an afternoon in Harajuku and he realizes Uchi is humming the music from the purika machine as they walk back to the subway.
Eventually the songs become more familiar. Uchi hums "Ai no Katamari" while he chops vegetables for his mother, and Ryo can't blame him for starting out with something that probably everybody in Japan hums at some point or other. It's "Garasu no Shounen" while Uchi stacks books in his room before moving his bookcase, giving a throaty little downbeat in rhythm with the thump of the books. Bits of "Darling" leak out of the corner of Uchi's mouth as he sticks his tongue out in concentration during Ryo's parallel parking lessons.
It's slow, so slow, but Ryo's had a lot of practice with patience this year, and the songs creep closer and closer to familiar territory by centimeters, and if the creep of it is maddening for Ryo, at least it's some kind of progress. Arashi becomes safe territory over the course of weeks, Uchi bobbing his head along to "Sunrise Nippon" when they pass a combini that happens to be playing it. It makes Ryo fumble his magazine when, in the middle of doing homework, Uchi suddenly voices the o-oh-o-o-oh of "Love So Sweet," open-throated and clear as a bell, but when Ryo looks up, Uchi is back to humming the chorus quietly, nose buried in his textbook as though nothing had happened.
The closer chronologically Uchi gets to humming something that should mean something to him, the songs that mean everything to Ryo, the crazier it drives Ryo. Ryo knows he should talk about it with somebody who understands, maybe Yamashita or maybe Hina, instead of stewing about it alone, but he doesn't think that anybody will understand, that they will just tell him he's been working too hard and he shouldn't let Uchi get under his skin like this.
He's even more afraid to talk about it with Uchi himself, now that Uchi is starting to come back out of his shell. As maddening as the whole thing is, Ryo thinks that if he did anything to halt Uchi's steady, cautious progress, that he would never forgive himself. So he grits his teeth and says nothing when Uchi hums "Yume Monogatari" when he ties his shoes and "Pika**Nchi Double" as he's hanging one-handed from the strap on the subway, swaying with the rhythm of the train.
When Uchi starts in with the KAT-TUN, Ryo's fraying nerves double the pace of their unraveling. It's far worse, he discovers when Uchi's humming "Real Face" in a checkout line, now that Uchi is so close to singing one of their songs and still not doing it.
Ryo tells himself that it's probably painful for Uchi, that he shouldn't take it personally that Uchi is systematically working his way through Jin and Kame's entire discography. He tells himself that he's making a huge deal out of nothing. He tells himself that KAT-TUN can't sing anyway, so this really doesn't count.
Finally, one night when Uchi is hanging out at Ryo's apartment, curled up on opposite ends of the couch and reading a magazine while Ryo channel surfs for anything at all worth watching, Uchi starts humming again.
Ryo's ears perk, but he stares straight ahead at the television. He can't quite make out what it is over the noise of the television, but it's familiar, the rise and fall of it something he knows and knows well. It's not from the dai-senpai, it's not something that's been on Shokura lately, and it's not something he's heard on the radio in a while. Ryo gives up and hits the mute button, turns to look at Uchi, who is flexing his toes in time with the melody, and all at once Ryo knows exactly what Uchi is humming.
It's "Daite Señorita" and Ryo cannot take it any more.
He pounces Uchi, tossing the remote aside and sending Uchi's magazine flying in a scatter of glossy pages, and stops the humming the quickest way he knows how. Uchi slaps at Ryo's shoulders at first and argues against Ryo's mouth, but Ryo kisses him harder and presses down with his full weight, and after a minute, Uchi gives in and kisses back.
Ryo kisses Uchi until Uchi's hands are buried in his hair and he spreads his legs to let Ryo settle closer, and by the time Ryo pulls back for air, he's almost forgotten why he did it in the first place.
"What…" Uchi asks, eyes puzzled and mouth pink, and Ryo kisses him again rather than answer. "Hey," Uchi tries to protest, "hey, wait," but Ryo's been waiting for weeks and if he waits another second he's going to strangle Uchi, and this, he thinks as he sucks on Uchi's tongue and rolls his hips, is a lot more satisfying.
They should move to Ryo's bed, Ryo knows, or Uchi's back will be paying for it, but it's hard to concentrate when Uchi is shoving Ryo's shirt out of the way and palming his back, hard to think about moving or stopping or anything else as Uchi strokes all the skin he can reach and then bares more to start all over.
"Come on," Ryo finally growls, struggling to get loose, because he needs room to work if he's going to get Uchi humming the right thing finally. He yanks Uchi to his feet, nearly overbalancing both of them, and they struggle towards Ryo's bed, tangled in their clothing and stumbling over each other, and when they finally get there, as if he hadn't been planning on doing it anyway, Ryo gets an ankle in between Uchi's feet and uses the ridiculous length of his stride to trip him onto the bed.
Ryo falls on top of Uchi immediately, kicking off his jeans, gets a hand into Uchi's hair to hold his head still and sets about littering Uchi's throat with small marks, some of which are bound to last.
"Not fair," Uchi gasps, shoving at Ryo with his hands and his hips both, "I can't do it back!"
"You just can't do it on my neck," Ryo answers against Uchi's skin, on auto-pilot, and it doesn't register with him fully what he's said until Uchi's shoved him over onto his back and is doing exactly that, just much lower, the sharp edges of his teeth against the inside of Ryo's thigh making him shake and sink fingers deep into Uchi's shoulders.
"Let me have you," Uchi says suddenly, lifting his head to look at Ryo, and Ryo's struck clean through by how dark Uchi's eyes are, the light of the bedside lamp only showing in them in darting glints. He can't remember the last time Uchi demanded something like this, the last time Uchi took the initiative.
"Yes," Ryo agrees immediately, desperately, because he hadn't realized how much he'd been missing that. He wants more of it, wants Uchi to tell him exactly what he wants and to take it from Ryo without asking. He wants Uchi to be himself again, and he wants to feel like himself again too.
Uchi isn't gentle with Ryo, but Ryo doesn't want him to be, he just wants Uchi to hurry, greedy for the surge of Uchi against him, for the low sounds Uchi makes in his throat, the pitch rising and falling as Ryo squeezes him purposely.
Ryo turns his head aside when Uchi goes for his mouth, wanting to hear Uchi instead. So he presses his forehead into the curve of Uchi's shoulder and holds his breath so his own noises don't drown out Uchi's against his ear. It makes him dizzy, but that's good too, the room spinning a little, and he clings tighter to Uchi, both arms wrapped around Uchi's shoulders, not caring if he comes or not so long as Uchi stays close and doesn't stop.
He does stop eventually of course, shuddering and crying out as he comes, then falls heavy on Ryo, whimpering unsteadily, almost a sob, and Ryo finally sucks in a breath himself, lungs burning. After a few moments, Uchi lifts himself up on one elbow, not moving away, just enough to see Ryo's face, and Ryo looks away as Uchi clearly takes note of how quickly Ryo's chest is rising and falling.
"Breathing's good for you," Uchi says, teasing.
"I wanted to hear you," Ryo answers, and then as Uchi begins to shift, tightens his grip. "No, don't move. Stay like that, just," Ryo finds one of Uchi's hands and pulls it in between them, "just don't move."
It's awkward, but Uchi indulges Ryo, stroking him unsteadily. "I want to hear you too, you know."
That isn't what he meant, Ryo tries to say, but his breath catches in his throat as Uchi finally gets the twist of his wrist right, and he's starting to harden inside Ryo again. Ryo gives in to the pull of Uchi's grip until Uchi draws him right over the edge, humming his approval in Ryo's ear and making Ryo dizzy all over again.
"Better?" Uchi asks, lips brushing Ryo's temple, when Ryo comes to, still inside, and it is, it's so much better than the other thing that Ryo starts all over again with the marks on Uchi's throat and they go again, finally falling apart when Uchi's arms are too shaky to hold him up anymore and Ryo feels like his skin is the only thing keeping him from breaking into a million pieces.
"Hey," Ryo finally says, and Uchi rolls over to look at him, sheet tangled around his hip and hand curled under his cheek. "You keep humming other people's songs. I don't like it."
He isn't sure what response he's expecting out of Uchi, but it isn't for Uchi to chuckle indulgently, like Ryo is a puppy doing something adorable. He scowls as Uchi slides closer to pillow his cheek on Ryo's chest instead, casually throwing his leg over Ryo's hip.
"Of course you don't," he murmurs, making Ryo scowl harder, but then Uchi's breath evens out, and Ryo sighs and succumbs to a nap himself, fingers smoothing through Uchi's bangs.
He wakes sometime later, disoriented from sleep and taking a few seconds to realize he's alone and the bedroom is dark. The blankets are still warm, though, and Ryo rolls over to snuggle in them against his pillow.
The bathroom door is ajar, a sliver of light lighting the edges, and Ryo can hear Uchi's steps on the tile. He's humming again, Ryo's heart giving a painful thump as he fills in words that he knows better than by heart, body and soul, because the magic will wear off, we'd better be off soon…
Ryo smiles and rolls over, letting his eyes fall shut again. He'll let Uchi get into the shower before he gets up and joins him.
He's had enough of humming. He's betting he can make Uchi sing.