Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for Nino's usual stage activity.
Summary: Ohno has a system, Aiba and Sho investigate it, Jun steals it, and Nino breaks it by accident.
AN: Unrelated to Ohno's sex scandal, because I wrote this on the way home from Ohio and didn't know about it until much later, but I will take this opportunity to say that if there's anybody on the planet who does not in any way need pot, it's Ohno. Some Aderol, perhaps, but not pot.
Two Million Reasons
Somehow in conversation in the waiting room of some studio or other, it comes out that Ohno loves approximately two million things about Nino.
“Two million?” Aiba asks, looking up from Ohno’s lap, brown eyes curious. “You count them?”
“Not exactly,” Ohno shrugs. “I just have a general sense. Only the important ones have numbers.”
Across the room, Sho turns to Nino and asks how many things about Ohno he loves.
“One,” Nino answers, turning a page in his Nintendo Power. Ohno goes back to scratching Aiba’s scalp, and Aiba’s eyes flutter shut before he can think to investigate further.
But a few days later, when they’re sitting in a row of studio chairs, waiting for an interview to start, it turns out that Aiba’s been thinking about it still.
“Like what?” he asks.
Ohno takes a second to realize that Aiba is talking to him, and then another second to answer, “Hmm?”
“What important ones have numbers?” Aiba wants to know. Jun and Sho have turned to watch them curiously, but neither Aiba nor Ohno seems to notice. On Ohno’s other side, Nino continues to drum his fingers on the arm of the chair.
“Well,” Ohno looks thoughtful, “#176 is that Nino doesn’t mind talking about us in public.”
Everyone turns to look at Nino, but Nino doesn’t have any comment about that. A few seconds later, the studio lights come up, and the hosts spend forty-five minutes wondering why they keeping coming back to the fact that Nino grabs Ohno’s ass during performances.
“What else?” Aiba asks another few days later. It’s actually been happening on and off since the interview, and Ohno doesn’t seem to mind obliging him.
“#6921 is that Nino reminds me when Sho is on the news so we can watch,” Ohno says.
“Really?” Sho asks Nino, and Nino shrugs without looking up from his DS, but Sho looks thoroughly pleased anyway.
“You’re just making up numbers,” Jun accuses, “aren’t you?” And then he demands that Ohno prove it when Ohno shakes his head.
He shuts up, though, when Ohno runs back through all the ones that he’s already told Aiba, and the numbers are still the same so far as anybody can remember.
Aiba remains fascinated with the inner workings of this system.
“How are they numbered?” he wants to know, ignoring the request of the increasingly frustrated stylist that he stop moving please. “Is it chronological? Or in order of importance?”
“They just have numbers,” Ohno answers. It seems to please him to talk about the system, or maybe it just pleases him to keep Aiba so interested. “It just feels like #10638 that nobody likes Nino’s magic tricks half so much as he does.”
“Oi, oi,” Nino grumbles, the first time that he’s shown an actual response to any of the statements Ohno’s made so far.
“It’s just that you like them so much,” Ohno explains, looking a touch flustered for the first time, and that seems to satisfy Nino enough that he goes back to discussing Tekken with Sho, and Ohno goes back to Aiba.
“Is it by subject matter?” Aiba persists. “Like in the library? So all the ones that have to do with Nino and magic are all in the ten-thousands or something?”
“Hmm,” Ohno thinks about this for a few moments. “Maybe it’s a little like that? But I told you only the important ones have numbers.”
“But watching Sho on the news has a number?” Jun sticks his head in. “What’s something that doesn’t have a number?”
“Nino puts your magazines in order on the coffee table because you like them better that way,” Ohno responds immediately, and Jun blinks as if suddenly he’s thinking about every time he’s ever left Nino alone with his coffee table. “But it’s #47 that he restyles the back of your hair if you fall asleep before a performance and you never know it.”
“Ooh,” Aiba says with interest, “that’s the lowest number yet! Are low numbers good or bad?”
Ohno shrugs. They exchange a glance, both of them thinking too hard to notice that behind them, Sho is just barely holding Jun back far enough to keep him from strangling Nino.
“And how specific are they?” Aiba continues during a photoshoot, his questions having weird pauses in the middle where the cameras are actually snapping. “You like Nino in white, right?”
“#807271,” Ohno says with a dreamy smile, and there’s a burst of cameras snapping like a tiny mechanical thunderstorm.
“Wow, high!” Aiba marvels, despite the fact that they still have no idea what, if anything, a high or low number denotes. “But how about other colors? Purple? Or green?”
“Liking Nino in other colors are all one thing,” Ohno answers after a moment’s thought. “But it almost has a number that he looks bad in orange.”
“You like that I look bad in orange?” Nino asks, turning his head with a raised eyebrow. “That’s very silly,” he says, but the curve of his mouth says that cute is what it actually is.
“I like that you don’t look good in everything,” Ohno says, then tilts his head. “And now it feels like #494813.”
They’re distracted from the conversation by a change in pose after that, but Nino reaches over to swing their joined hands in between them more than once. Eventually Jun tells them to knock it off or a shot of that will make it to the official store, and then Chinen-kun will probably photoshop himself into it and bring it to Shounen Club with him.
“Speaking of Shokura,” Nino says mildly, “Kawai-kun’s been awfully cute lately, hasn’t he?” and Jun tells him to go fuck himself.
“So,” Aiba says when the Curiosity Team is having all-you-can-eat yakiniku of questionable origin but unquestionably awesome goodness, “what’s number one?”
Sho laughs. “We should have thought to ask that ages ago! And what’s number two million?”
“#1,” Ohno says after swallowing a mouthful of burnt carrot, “is that he’s never called me Ohno-kun. And #2000000 is that he didn’t laugh when I confessed.”
A moment of silence follows while they digest that, even Ohno seeming to think about his answers. Then Aiba rings the bell for more meat, and the shop owner looks up at them in horror.
“Okay,” Sho’s suddenly, “I think I understand. We keep asking questions about one factor at a time, like whether the list is chronological, or by subject, or what. But I don’t think the list is linear at all.”
“What?” asks Aiba and Ohno. Sho reaches for a napkin and starts scribbling on it; Aiba and Ohno get distracted by the platter of meat arriving and by arranging pieces of steak on the grill in a smiley face.
When Sho is done, he holds up his drawing and proudly displays a graph with several points plotted on it. Aiba and Ohno examine it with interest.
“I think the list is at least two-dimensional,” Sho explains, “because there’s more than one factor. Based on your answers for the limits of the range, I think one factor is how long something’s been going on, and the other is how important it is. Nino calling you Oh-chan is the oldest, and him not laughing at you is the most important.”
“Oooh,” Aiba says, looking closer to examine Sho’s labels on the graph. “Sho’s amazing!”
“It’s just a guess,” Sho waves him off, but he looks pleased. “There might be other factors too. But I think it’s like a sliding scale, or like two of them, so that when you drag one lower or higher, the other one moves too. That’s what makes the numbers so variable.”
“Complicated!” Aiba plucks one of the eyes off the smiley face and pops it in his mouth, gazing at Ohno with admiration. “You’re really cool, Captain.”
“Maa, but I don’t really get it either,” Ohno murmurs, rubbing the back of his head, but he lets Aiba feed him the other eye.
“That’s just like Leader,” Sho grins, and Aiba feeds him a couple pieces of the smile while Ohno goes back to burning vegetables.
Sho’s explanation seems to finally satisfy Aiba’s curiosity, and for a few days nobody asks Ohno any more about it, aside from Jun stealing the system and modifying it to pick on them. The new system seems to consist of him loudly announcing their rankings in his affections based on constantly variable factors that only Aiba and occasionally Ohno have any success negotiating.
“So I hear Sho cracked your system,” Nino comments while they’re in a loose tangle on Nino’s couch, watching a commercial for a gum that apparently gives you the energy to hack into high-security computer networks.
“Sho’s really smart,” Ohno agrees, and then that makes him think of the first day they started talking about this in the dressing room. “What’s the one thing?”
There’s a long pause where Ohno thinks he might have to clarify his question, but then the commercial about the new Gundam game ends, and Nino answers, “Everything.”
Ohno squeezes Nino tight enough that Nino protests a little, and shivers from the rush of happiness in his chest, because #23984 is that Nino is only ever romantic by accident and Ohno likes being surprised.
During the next commercial break, Nino twists around so that he can see Ohno’s face and asks, “What number is it that I love you?”
Ohno gives Nino a slow blink, then laughs. “Seems like it’s number two million and one.”
“You moron,” Nino says, rubbing his fingers through the longish pieces of hair on the back of Ohno’s head. “You really don’t understand your own system, do you?”
“Yours does seem much simpler,” Ohno agrees, pushing into Nino’s touch. “But I’ve had mine a long time, and I like it.”
“I guess if it’s Oh-chan’s system,” Nino says with an air of self-sacrifice, “then it’s fine.”
Ohno kisses him thank you, and then kisses him some more because the way Nino kisses him occupies a whole range of numbers, some very low and some very high, and in the end when they both come up for air, Nino admits that at least Ohno’s system gives out better prizes than Jun’s.