Summary: Yabu hates comforting people, but isn't great at needing it, either.
AN: My first Hey!Say! fic? masquerading as a Y3 fic. Haha, nobody want me to namedrop them in a Hey!Say! fic. so i will name swtjemz because she cries if I don't mention her. YOU LOVE THE JRS TOO, JEMZ.
They've been told by management that they aren't supposed to room together, but when the door to the hotel room swings open, Takaki takes one look at Hikaru's expression before telling Yabu that he's going to hang out in Arioka's room. Hikaru stands aside to let Takaki pass, then pushes the door shut behind him.
Hikaru's shoulders are slumped and he's crossing the room at not quite a run, and before Yabu can even get his textbook the entire way out of the way, Hikaru is crawling up onto his bed and into his arms, arms tight around Yabu's back and shoulders shaking.
"Sorry," he mumbles into Yabu's shirt, "sorry, I just…" He's clinging to Yabu like he hasn't done in years, since they were so small that senpai would get them confused until they opened their mouths.
"It's okay," Yabu lies, shoving the book the rest of the way off the bed. Yabu's terrible at comforting people, and he hates it. Hikaru is heavy and crushing his arm and he has no idea where to put his hands and his leg is already falling asleep. Hikaru knows all of that, but there isn't anyone else. "It'll be okay."
"I know," Hikaru says, grip somehow getting even tighter. Yabu doesn't ask what's wrong, and Hikaru doesn't say; Yabu assumes it's a mix of everything, new bandmates, new songs, new dances, new venues, stage fright and awkwardness and adrenaline all at once.
Neither one of them says anything as Yabu watches the clock tick off the minutes. There's nothing new to say really, since the first conversation they had as Hey! Say! JUMP's Yabu and Hikaru. There wasn't even much to say then. Mostly they talked about how they wished they could have pretended they didn't know all along that this was how things would end up, that they were shocked enough to protest, to fight even though it wouldn't have done any good.
Shoon would have stopped them, but Yabu still wishes he hadn't let go of Ya-Ya-yah so easily. He misses Shoon sharply, the ache of it pressing on his chest heavier than Hikaru's dead weight. Shoon would know how to make Hikaru feel better. Even Taiyou would do it better than Yabu.
But then, if Shoon and Taiyou were here, Yabu wouldn't be awkwardly patting the spot between Hikaru's shoulder blades in the first place.
Hikaru's shaking is almost gone, so Yabu pulls his hands away, and Hikaru sits up. His eyes are dry, which surprises Yabu a little; he remembers when Hikaru used to burst into tears over bad practices and lost jackets and growing pains, emotions running too high to keep a lid on.
He's been growing up, right in front of Yabu's eyes, the young adult he's going to be all too soon simmering just under the surface of his skin and in his eyes, dark and dry, as he regards Yabu. Hikaru's become the older brother their unit needs, and suddenly Yabu feels the tug of too much change all at once, too much, and he is the one who wants comforted by someone familiar.
Yabu doesn't go in for that sort of thing, though. He doesn't reach out for Hikaru, even though he knows Hikaru would gladly offer the same comfort he's just received, when Hikaru murmurs that he's going back and stands up. He watches Hikaru go, shutting the door behind him, then looks at the textbook facedown on the floor.
Takaki probably won't come back for a while, and Yabu knows he should go find him, go find somebody, bond with his bandmates, anything instead of sulking alone in his room, but instead he reaches into his pocket and pulls out his cell phone.
He isn't sure what he intends to say as he thumbs the buttons to call the familiar number, breath catching unsteadily and feeling like a flood of things are building up in his throat, ready to come pouring out. He thinks about hanging up as the rings sound, cell charms ("For luck, Yabu-kun, good luck") swinging against the back of his hand, afraid that a friendly voice might be the last straw.
But, curiously, when the voice mail clicks on, it's the smooth, warm sound of Shoon's voice that steadies Yabu, and by the time he hears the beep, he's composed enough to leave a normal message. They're safe at the hotel, he says, and thinking of him, and Yabu hesitates a second before deciding not to add Hikaru's name to the sentiment, not wanting to make it feel like pressure.
"You don't have to call back, if it's late," Yabu finishes. "But if you want to…" His glance strays to the textbook on the floor and he suppresses a sigh. "I'll be here."
Yabu shuts his phone and tucks it back in his pocket. He feels exhausted suddenly, wants nothing more than to curl up in the blankets and sleep until everything slows down a little, but Yabu's been growing up lately too, and so he reaches down to pick his book up off the floor and smoothes the pages flat before going back to studying.
The jangle of his phone wakes Yabu out of a doze he hadn't realized he had fallen into, and he looks around in confusion for a second. Takaki is back, under his covers and curled up facing away from Yabu, blankets rising and falling steadily. Yabu hurries to answer the phone so it doesn't wake him.
"Hello?" He swallows against the roughness of his throat.
"Sorry it's late," Shoon says. "I was helping Reon with homework and left my phone in my room. Is it okay?"
"It's fine," Yabu answers quickly, pushing his hair out of his face and swallowing a yawn. "How are you?"
"I'm good." There's the snap of a can being opened, and Yabu wonders what kind of tea Shoon is drinking. "How are you? And don't lie about it, I heard your message."
Yabu, who was opening his mouth to say 'fine,' swallows it with a "Hmmph."
"There's no fooling Shoon-niisan," Shoon prompts, the tease in his voice almost hiding the streak of pride.
"It's okay," Yabu shrugs even though Shoon can't see it, and his glance strays over to the curve of Takaki's back. "Hikaru was upset earlier. It's just, it's so much. It's been so fast."
Shoon makes an encouraging noise, and Yabu tries to gather together his feelings enough to put into words.
"And there's…" Yabu tilts his head back to stare at the whitewash of the ceiling. "There's so many of them!"
"Ah, it's tough for Hey! Say!'s big brother, isn't it," Shoon chuckles, voice warm.
"You have no idea," Yabu lets the words come pouring out. "They're so little, and young! They get lost and need breaks and have the attention span of retarded hamsters! Every three seconds it's 'Yabu-kun, I forgot my water' and 'Yabu-kun, can you show me the dance again' and 'Yabu-kun, Chinen hit me!'"
"Let me guess," Shoon says. "Okamoto-kun, Yamada-kun, and Morimoto-kun?"
"The last one was Hikaru," Yabu sighs. Shoon laughs, full-throated, and it makes Yabu smile a little too, in spite of himself. There's a moment of companionable silence before Yabu asks, "Shoon?"
"It was like that for you too, wasn't it?" Yabu picks at the lint on the blanket. "With us."
"Well, since Hikaru was there…" Shoon pauses to let Yabu laugh, then gives a thoughtful little hum. "I guess it was. I didn't mind. But then again, I'm already a big brother, so I was better prepared. You've always been the baby, haven't you?"
"Hey," Yabu says gruffly, making Shoon chuckle, but he knows that Shoon is right. "Okay, maybe."
"Don't worry, Kou-chan," Shoon assures, voice sugary. "I'll always think of you as the brat."
"I'm going to hang up on you," Yabu threatens, but it's a weak threat, especially since his exhaustion is starting to show, words slurring a little. He can't quite hold back the yawn entirely, and Shoon says that he ought to let Yabu rest. Yabu hesitates before asking if Shoon would maybe call Hikaru when he has a minute?
"I already did," Shoon says, and he sounds a touch concerned too. "I exchanged texts with him today, but he seemed down. Have you…"
"I'm already taking care of it," Yabu interrupts, because that explains a lot about earlier.
"I know you will," Shoon says, quiet and proud, and Yabu says goodbye quickly before the tightness in his chest turns into something more embarrassing.
Yabu gets up to strip off his jeans and brush his teeth, flipping off the overhead light so that the room is only lit by the bedside lamp. He pushes back his exhaustion and scoops his book off the floor yet again, determined to at least finish the chapter before sleeping.
After he's been settled for a minute or two, there's a rustling from the other side of the room, and Yabu looks up to find Takaki grinning at him.
"Yabu-niisan," Takaki's smile gets wider as Yabu's eyes narrow, "I had a bad dream. Can I sleep with you?"
"Jerk," Yabu grunts, cheeks heating at the idea that his phone call was overheard, and then he tosses his book to the ground for the third time and reaches over to flip out the light, ending the conversation.
But he slides over to the far edge of the bed when he rolls over, and he doesn't pull away when Takaki slides in behind him and loops an arm around Yabu's waist. Takaki's arm is loose enough that Yabu doesn't mind and warm enough that Yabu can draw the comfort from it that he needed earlier, and as he gives in to sleep, Yabu is working towards the idea that the big brother thing maybe could be okay in the end.