Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for various band gropings.
Summary: Uchi has a surprise meeting and a revelation.
AN: For 26 Birthday Kisses, Kiss Twenty-Six: Welcome home kiss. I FINISHED. OH GOD REMIND ME NOT TO DO THIS NEXT YEAR.
First Kiss | Good Luck Kiss | Drunk Kiss | Kiss and Make It Better | On-Screen Kiss | Morning After Kiss | True Love's Kiss | Goodbye Kiss | Good Morning Kiss | Surprise Kiss | Meltykiss | Goodnight Kiss | French Kiss | Congratulations Kiss | Sealed With a Kiss | Hello Kiss | Kiss Under the Mistletoe | I Forgive You Kiss | Birthday Kiss | Blown Kiss | Kiss on the Forehead | Kiss on the Hand | Kiss on the Cheek | I'm Sorry Kiss | New Year's Kiss | Welcome Home Kiss
Kiss Twenty-Six: Like You Would Not Believe
Uchi is in a state of shock when he comes out of Johnny's office, so it takes him a second to realize that he has an audience waiting for him right outside the door, all wearing grins that show the meeting wasn't as much of a surprise for them as it was for Uchi.
It's Masuda who breaks first, flinging himself into Uchi's arms so hard he nearly trips, and then Shige and Tegoshi, squeezing Uchi tight and shouting to be heard over each other.
Koyama clears his throat, and all four of them pause and turn to see Yamapi with his arms crossed, looking stern.
"Sorry, Leader," Tegoshi says sheepishly. He and Shige shuffle aside to give Yamapi access to Uchi without actually letting go of him.
"As leader," Yamapi says, as though it is an official ceremony, "I think I speak for all of NEWS when I say…welcome home, Uchi."
"I'm back," Uchi manages around the lump in his throat, eyes filling, and then he is crushed by another hug, this time with Yamapi and Koyama added in. Half a dozen arms are around his waist, and more than one person kisses his cheek, and he buries his face in Shige's neck because Shige is nearest and squeezes the fingers of whoever has their hands laced with his.
There's one very important person missing, though.
"Sorry, U-chan," Yamapi apologizes for him, "but he had to run back to Osaka for group activities. You know how it is."
"Yeah," Uchi says, laughing and crying at the same time and squeezing whoever he has ahold of even tighter. "I do."
The next day the scene repeats itself all over, only even more since it happens in the relative privacy of an Osaka ready room. Yasu and Maru crush Uchi in between them as though they're trying to squish him even thinner, and Subaru kisses Uchi's cheek noisily before Ohkura decides it's a competition and gets Uchi on the mouth instead. Yoko shoves a couple people out of the way when he gets sick of being patient to get a piece of Uchi, but Hina waits until things have just started to calm down before throwing himself into the middle of the pile to rile everybody all up again.
"We're eight members again!" Maru crows, practically strangling Yasu with a misplaced half of his hug.
"Almost," Uchi puts in, now that he's managed to wipe away enough tears to see that they're still down one person.
Ohkura and Hina exchange a glance, but Ohkura smiles at Uchi reassuringly when Uchi opens his mouth to ask what's going on.
"Ryo just went to find out the schedule for today," he says, pushing Subaru's cheek off Uchi's shoulder so that he can pat it. "He'll be right back."
When Ryo does come back, their eyes have barely met before the group is called for, and they don't get a chance to talk in the bustle of direction and stylists.
It's like that for the rest of the day: Uchi tries to catch Ryo's eye, to get a moment of his attention, but it seems like Ryo is always on some errand, always occupied with something, always helping another member out or concentrating on something.
By the end of the day, Ryo hasn't even said hello to Uchi, and his gnawing suspicion that it's on purpose flares from a spark into a blaze when Ryo claims that he has to stay to finish some things and that Uchi should take the train back to Tokyo alone.
"Ryo!" Uchi says desperately, but Ryo only pats his shoulder before hurrying off again. Bewildered and hurt, Uchi lets the others fuss over him and get him to his train, then spends the whole ride with his forehead pressed against the glass of the window, staring sightlessly at the dark fields and ocean zipping by.
He's been at home for about an hour when his phone rings. It's Ryo's number, and Uchi has a serious argument with himself about whether or not to answer, but in the end he decides that he can't give Ryo the silent treatment if he doesn't answer, so.
"Come over," Ryo says without any preamble.
"It's late!" Uchi blurts, anger making Uchi forget all about silent treatments. "Just what do you think you're…"
"Please," Ryo says, "just come over," and then he hangs up.
Uchi stares at his phone for a moment, then sighs and trudges out to call a cab because the last train is long gone.
Ryo is waiting for Uchi by the door, opening it before Uchi even gets his hand up to ring the bell, and he turns and motions Uchi to follow him in. Uchi, finally at the very end of his patience, slams the door as hard as he can, making Ryo look over his shoulder with a raised eyebrow.
"What is your PROBLEM?!" Uchi demands. "I'm finally back after two years, and the only person who won't give the time of day is my best friend? I've been chasing you from Tokyo to Osaka and back again, begging for your attention, and don't tell me you haven't noticed!"
"I noticed," Ryo answers, voice low, but he isn't meeting Uchi's eyes, and after a beat of waiting he still hasn't added anything else. Uchi wants to throw more of a tantrum, to yell and shove at Ryo from the hurt welling up in his chest, but he's spent a lot of time growing up recently, and he forces himself to swallow his knee-jerk response.
"I'm leaving," he says instead, forcing his voice even, but he barely gets turned around before Ryo's hand is on his shoulder, stopping him.
"Wait," Ryo says, and his hand is heavy and hot through Uchi's shirt. Uchi tries to shove him off, but Ryo digs his fingers in. "I just…I wanted to welcome you back properly."
Uchi looks back over his shoulder and gives Ryo a measuring look. "Well. I'm back."
Ryo flips Uchi around by the shoulder and shoves him up against the door. It's not a shocking response from Ryo, but instead of swooping in to ravage his mouth like Uchi is expecting, Ryo only wraps his arms tight around Uchi's chest before pressing his cheek against the sharp jut of Uchi's collarbone.
"Welcome back," Ryo sighs, quiet and muffled against Uchi's skin, and Uchi realizes that Ryo is shaking underneath his hands. Or maybe he is. Maybe they both are, but it doesn't matter because Ryo shakes it off to stretch up and does kiss Uchi this time, kisses Uchi like he hasn't seen him in ten years instead of two, leaving Uchi dizzy against the door.
Uchi sighs against Ryo's mouth, letting the worry and the irritation and the exhaustion flow out of him, and when Ryo finally pulls back, Uchi is clear-headed enough to see the traces of those same things in Ryo's face, even through the relieved smile that's lighting him up at this moment.
"Hey," he says, nudging his hip against Ryo's. "We get to take the train together tomorrow."
The flicker of emotion that passes over Ryo's face confirms what Uchi's been guessing, that it's the loneliness that's been getting to Ryo most of all, making him crazy, but if that's the bare minimum of what it takes to keep Ryo sane, Uchi is more than willing.
"And the day after that?" Ryo asks, mouth twitching as if he knows exactly what Uchi is thinking, and Uchi hums his agreement and sneaks in another kiss.
"And the day after that," he confirms, and when Ryo goes on repeating his question as he starts walking them backwards towards his bed, Uchi is more than happy to give him the same answer, over and over and over.