Rating/Warnings: PG for Hasshi's oblivious nature.
Summary: After Kamei leaves, things change. But Sanada's just afraid they won't ever stop changing.
AN: Even though TOP3 is (maybe) not an official name yet, I think it's cute :) Also, Word wants to change "Takaki" to "teacake" and as musikologie says, that pretty much says it all.
snowqueenofhoth offers the following for visual aid:
With Kamei gone and the position of Leader up for grabs, Hashimoto and Sanada agree that they will have to shift roles a little. Because they are jyannis, they of course jankanpon for it.
Sanada emerges victorious because Hasshi throws 'ladybug.'
"But ladybugs eat paper!" Hasshi whines.
"Ladybug is not an option, and I hereby declare you the loser of janken forever!" Sanada snaps, rubbing his temples. "God, no wonder the senpai keep sticking things in your mouth!"
“Hey!” Hasshi pouts, and Sanada just clicks his tongue in disgust because that’s the other reason the senpai keep sticking things in his mouth.
The pout evaporates after a second, though, because Sanada points out that as Leader, Hasshi would have to focus on the good of the group rather than whether or not his hair was curling properly in the back.
“And we definitely can’t put you in charge of that,” Hasshi agrees, giving Sanada’s head a significant look.
“Stop that, there’s nothing wrong with my hair,” Sanada says, but he puts a hand up to feel before he can stop himself, and Hasshi just whistles innocently at his glare. “At any rate, the next thing we need is…”
At that exact moment, Koyama-senpai bustles into the warm-up, shoving a terrified-looking Nozawa-kun in front of him. He draws to a halt right in front of Sanada and Hasshi, and gives Nozawa a little shove forward.
“…a replacement for Kamei,” Sanada finishes. Hasshi hums a little, looking Nozawa over, and Nozawa stares at his sneakers.
“You three will be singing as a trio for this filming!” Koyama-senpai announces, giving them a big smile. “You all know each other, right? You’ll definitely get along!” he continues without waiting for an answer.
Just then, they are interrupted by Takada nearly knocking all of them down as he runs past, screaming at the top of his lungs. Right behind him is Shintarou, brandishing a baton and hollering some sort of war cry, and behind Shintarou is Taiga, who gives Koyama a panicked and pleading expression as he dashes by, snatching in vain at the back of Shintarou’s fuchsia jacket.
“Um, I’ll be right back,” Koyama says, and then takes off after the tinier, more violent juniors.
Sanada and Hasshi look Nozawa up and down some more, and Nozawa continues to stare at his shoes.
“It’s not really what I had in mind,” Hasshi says finally, but when Nozawa’s shoulders slump a little, he hurries to add, “but it’s okay! It could be worse!”
Sanada punches Hasshi in the shoulder, then says a much more polite, “Hello,” to Nozawa. He waits a beat, getting no response, before asking, “You talk, right? I’ve seen you talking.”
“Yes.” Nozawa lifts his head just enough to peek at them, and jumps when he finds Hasshi leaning in to examine him closely. He clears his throat and mumbles a shy, “Please take care of me.”
“He’s cute,” Hasshi reports to Sanada in satisfaction. “But not too cute. Let’s keep him!”
“He’s another junior, not a hair scrunchie!” Sanada chastises, but Hasshi just grins at Nozawa and gives him a little wave, as if he is a puppy they are selecting through the glass window of a pet store. “Ignore him,” he says to Nozawa, who is glancing back and forth between them with a mix of shyness and dawning comprehension. “He thinks he’s the cute one.”
“I AM the cute one!” Hasshi says.
“There’s only two of us, and you just made me Leader!” Sanada points out, rolling his eyes. He inspects Nozawa some more. “So, what do you do?”
“Um,” Nozawa lifts his head a little more. “I dance and sing, actually.”
“Clearly. You’re a jyannis.” Sanada elbows Hasshi when he opens his mouth, and Hasshi goes back to pouting at him. “I mean, are you the funny one? The mood-maker? The responsible one? In a group, what is it that you do?”
“I don’t exactly know,” Nozawa reaches up to scratch the back of his head. “I’ve never been in a group before.”
“Oh damn,” Sanada says. “I bet you’re the quiet one who secretly turns out to be the hottest one of all in the end.” He sighs while Hasshi and Nozawa blink at each other. “Well, I guess you better stick with us then.”
“But,” Nozawa turns to look in the direction in which Koyama ran off, “I think we’re just grouped for now, aren’t we?”
“I like him!” Hasshi tells Sanada. He makes a face of self-sacrifice. “It’s okay if he turns out hot later. I’ll tell Koyama-senpai that we’re keeping him!”
Hasshi beams at Nozawa, who looks confused and a little bedazzled, and Sanada tells Nozawa that he’ll probably be stuck with them for a bit.
A bit later, when Nozawa tells them that what they’re singing together is “LIPS,” and Hasshi’s face lights up like fireworks, Sanada wonders exactly who is stuck with who.
Nozawa, as it turns out, is indeed the responsible one. It’s hard to tell at first, since his reluctance to go along with Hasshi’s every half-baked notion could be shyness or dislike or even self-preservation, so it’s ages later on the Hi! Hey! Say! set before Sanada knows for sure.
“Don’t,” Nozawa says when Hasshi goes to dash thoughtlessly after Hikaru-kun, and his voice is soft as usual, but he catches the back of Hasshi’s collar, and Hasshi turns, head cocked like a confused puppy.
“I was just…” Hasshi starts, but Nozawa shakes his head.
“I think they want to be alone for a bit,” Nozawa says, and Hasshi glances from Hikaru-kun to Yabu-kun, leaving the stage in opposite directions, neither one of them saying anything to either bandmates or crew as they disappear into the bustle. Sanada understands then, and gives Nozawa a thoughtful glance for having seen it right away.
“Because of the song,” Sanada helps explain when Hasshi goes on staring at them.
“’Ikujinashi?’” Hasshi asks, looking even more puzzled. “But why? It’s a good song! And it turned out really well, didn’t it?” He starts to look nervous when the others don’t respond right away. “Didn’t it?”
“But it isn’t their song, Hasshi,” Nozawa tries again, still in that same patient, soft voice. “How would you feel if Takaki-kun sang ‘Back in Time’ without you? How would you feel if you had to do it alone?”
“Oh.” Hasshi chews on that for a few seconds, and Sanada realizes that it’s the first time Nozawa’s used Hasshi’s nickname instead of ‘Hashimoto-kun.’ Hasshi offers Nozawa a sheepish smile. “I think I get it now. Thanks, Nokkun.”
Nozawa wrinkles his nose at the nickname, which makes Hasshi give an immediate shout of “CUTE!” and Sanada hopes that Nozawa doesn’t mind being called that forever.
Sanada doesn’t see the first time Hasshi kisses Nozawa, but he knows exactly when it happens. Before break everything is normal, and after they return from the vending machine, Nozawa is pink-faced, tripping over himself, and refusing to look anybody in the eye.
Sanada sighs, because he was really hoping it would take Hasshi longer to figure out how to incapacitate the responsible one, and pulls Hasshi aside for a talk.
“You can’t do things like that!” Sanada scolds. “You have to think!”
“Sanadaaaaa,” Hasshi whines, fidgety since he can see others dancing but isn’t himself in motion.
“No, it isn’t fair to Nozawa.” Sanada crosses his arms and refuses to let Hasshi’s pout have its way. “Because you’re just screwing around, and I know you don’t mean anything when you play like that, but I think Nozawa…” There’s a crash as Nozawa takes several tiny juniors to the ground along with him, and Sanada grits his teeth. “Look, you can’t tease him like that.”
“But what if,” Hasshi fiddles with the hem of his shirt, “what if I maybe don’t not mean anything, a little?”
“Oh no,” Sanada’s breath catches at the hopeful smile Hasshi turns up at him, and the way his gaze darts towards Nozawa’s tangle of kouhai. “Hasshi…”
“Don’t worry!” Hasshi beams, throwing his arms around Sanada in a quick hug and kissing his cheek. “I like Sanada-kun too!”
“HEY!” Sanada shouts in protest as Hasshi scampers off to help Nozawa up. “Are we that kind of unit ALREADY?!”
Sanada feels his heart skip every time schedules are handed out or posted, always aware that they aren’t really a unit yet, even a junior unit, always afraid that their names won’t be side-by-side when he finds them.
But Summary schedules are out, and so far so good. Sanada thinks that maybe he can stop worrying, just for a little while. Especially when they get a look at the tour goods and they have their own photoset. Along with some other goods.
“It’s my face,” Nozawa murmurs, holding his own uchiwa and staring at it like he can’t make any sense of what he’s seeing. Sanada laughs, because he kind of feels the same, and because Hasshi is practicing kissing with his own uchiwa.
“Stop it, you freak,” he tells Hasshi, kicking at his leg, but Hasshi just grins at the interruption and goes for Sanada’s uchiwa instead, lips puckered. Sanada fends him off and whacks him on the head with it, and Hasshi turns to a Nozawa, who proves to be a much easier target.
“But, um,” Nozawa says after Hasshi has been distracted by some of the senpai coming in and has run off to show them his uchiwa. Sanada looks up to find Nozawa staring at his own, now defiled, uchiwa. Nozawa is chewing on his lower lip. “What’ll they do when Kamei comes back?”
It’s something Sanada and Hasshi talk about, sometimes, when they’re alone and sharing a hotel room or waiting for the train, sometimes when it’s dark and quiet and lonely even with the two of them sitting shoulder to shoulder. Hasshi seems like he’s getting to the point where he’s accepted the fact that Kamei probably isn’t coming back, and they talk about it less often, recently.
But now Sanada realizes that maybe they should have been talking to Nozawa too.
When Sanada doesn’t answer right away, Nozawa looks up, and the expression on his face reminds Sanada powerfully of the day that Koyama dropped him off in front of them, nervous and lonely and just enough hope to break Sanada’s heart.
He drops his uchiwa with a clatter and grabs Nozawa, pulling them tight together in a fierce hug. Nozawa’s uchiwa is dangling at his side, but his other hand comes up to grip the back of Sanada’s shirt.
“If Kamei comes back,” Sanada growls, and he can feel the hitch of Nozawa’s chest against his own, “he can find his own unit.”
There’s another soft clatter and then two hands twisting tight in the back of Sanada’s shirt, and shit, Sanada hadn’t meant to say something that was even more dangerous than Hasshi’s scattershot kisses.
But maybe, he thinks with Nozawa’s heart pounding against his own, it’s okay to be hopeful sometimes, even if you are a jyannis.
“Hey,” Hasshi bounces back up to them, oblivious and high on senpai hair-rufflings, “are we having a group hug? Let me in!”
Nozawa lets go of Sanada with one hand to hold it up for Hasshi, and Hasshi drops his own uchiwa on top of both of theirs without a second though before wriggling under Nozawa’s arm and getting arms around both of their waists.
“Not so tight,” Sanada grumbles, because Hasshi’s muscles aren’t just for show, but Hasshi only squeezes them tighter, and when Sanada sees the look of concentration on Hasshi’s face, he thinks that maybe Hasshi isn’t totally oblivious.
Nozawa leans up on tiptoe and kisses Hasshi’s check, and Hasshi flushes bright red, mouth in a shocked ‘O’ as he stares at Nozawa’s shy smile.
Sometimes, Sanada amends, and then leans up to kiss Hasshi’s other cheek, since apparently they’re going to be one of those units.