Rating/Warnings: PG-13, but it's mostly for Yuto and Yamada.
Summary: Yabu isn't Leader, Hikaru hasn't noticed, and Yamada doesn't get a solo.
AN: For Yabu's birthday, but a few days early, since I'll be out of town over the weekend. お誕生日おめでとう、やぶっち！
“Yabuuu!” Chinen was whining before Yabu had even taken his jacket off. “Tell Ryutarou to stop being weird!”
“You tell him,” Yabu replied, setting down his bag on the practice room floor.
“I did, but he won’t stop!” Chinen protested, pointing. Yabu looked over to see Ryutarou looking in their direction, doing very little at all except for watching. Although he didn’t seem to be blinking much. “See?” Chinen demanded. “You tell him, you’re Leader!”
“I’m not Leader. Hey Say doesn’t have a leader.” Yabu ruffled Chinen’s hair and went to go find Hikaru. On the way he broke up another argument between Keito and Inoo over who had stolen Inoo’s sunglasses (answer: they were on Inoo’s head but buried in his perm), and also reminded Yuto and Yamada that there were young bandmates about and anybody could see them behind that folding chair.
“You’re a prude, Leader,” Yamada grumbled as he let Yuto shove him off and start fixing his shirt. “We can’t scar them any more than they are already.”
“I’m not Leader,” Yabu called over his shoulder as he moved on, “and they won’t be scarred, they’ll just take a lot of pictures with their phones and send them to the senpai!”
Hikaru was standing in a corner of the room away from everyone else, his jacket still on and his bag still on his shoulder, staring at a piece of paper. As Yabu approached, Hikaru barely even seemed to notice.
“Hey,” Yabu tried for his attention, “whatcha got there that’s so interesting?”
“We’re doing the winter concert,” Hikaru said, voice flat.
“No kidding?” Yabu teased. “A concert? Really?”
“No, you jerk,” Hikaru rolled his eyes, “WE,” he waved his hands in a wide circle encompassing both himself and Yabu, “are DOING the winter concert!” and then did a little flailing dance that ended in him doing jazz hands with the papers rustling in his grip.
“We’re…the…” Yabu’s eyes went wide. “You mean…”
“Producing the whole thing,” Hikaru nodded, shoving the papers into Yabu’s hands. “Set list, choreography, everything.”
“That’s great!” Yabu grinned, looking at the papers, but unable to concentrate, and after a second he looked back up to grin wildly at Hikaru. “You and me? The whole thing? But,” Yabu’s eyes suddenly went wide, “the winter concerts are only a few months away!”
“You got it, partner.” Hikaru slung an arm around Yabu’s shoulders, and Yabu manfully pretended he couldn’t feel Hikaru shaking a little. “Good thing you didn’t sign up for university after all, huh? Ah, but look at the bright side, we get to tell everybody what to do and they have to do it, ne, Leader?”
“I’m not Leader,” Yabu replied on autopilot. As he thought of all the things that had to be done, the beginnings of panic started to claw at his chest, especially when he glanced over at the rest of his unit and saw that Yamada and Inoo were having a girly slapfight contest with Ryutarou as the referee while the others stood in a ring and cheered them on.
But when he looked back at Hikaru, the panic eased. It’d all work out somehow, so long as Hikaru was with him.
“Something on my face?” Hikaru asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Yup,” Yabu answered, reaching up and flicking Hikaru between the eyes.
“Don’t stay up too late, you two,” Hikaru’s mother said when she came up to collect their glasses and plates from their snack. She ruffled Hikaru’s hair as she leaned over to see the notepad they’d been scribbling set list ideas on.
“We won’t, Yaotome-san,” Yabu answered, giving a little whine when Hikaru’s mother ruffled his hair as well. “I’ll make sure Hikka-chan gets up in time for school.”
“I’m sure you will.” Hikaru’s mother beamed at them, oblivious to the dirty look Hikaru was shooting Yabu. “You know, I’m very proud of both of you. It’s such a big responsibility to plan a whole concert; the staff must trust you very much. I’m sure you’ll do a wonderful job.” She gave both of them a little pat on the shoulder before leaving them to it.
“Traitor,” Hikaru grumbled to Yabu as soon as his mother had shut the door.
“Tell Taiyou hello for me,” Yabu hummed, smirking, and Hikaru kicked him under the desk.
It wasn’t much longer before Hikaru dropped his pencil with a scowl, cracking his neck.
“This looks too much like our last set list,” he complained, curling his lip at the notebook.
“What do you expect? It isn’t like we have an album or anything.” Yabu reached over to pick up the notebook and look at what they had. “It’s not that bad. Should we move ‘Mayonaka no SHADOW BOY’ earlier? It’ll raise the tension.”
“No, then we won’t have anything good at the end,” Hikaru argued.
Yabu was going to argue back, maybe even tease Hikaru that even though they were supposed to be doing this together they always ended up using Hikaru’s ideas, but just then Hikaru stretched, T-shirt riding up to bare a pale stripe of skin along his stomach, and Yabu completely lost his train of thought.
“What?” Hikaru wanted to know, and Yabu shook his head, snapping himself out of it.
“Nothing.” Yabu dropped the notebook and looked away. “We should go to bed, maybe we’ll have better ideas in the morning if we sleep on it.”
Hikaru agreed and they both stood up, shaking out stiff limbs, Yabu stumbling over his half-asleep foot. Neither of them bothered to leave the room to change, stripping off their clothes as easily as they did in the Jimusho changing rooms. They’d done it a thousand times in each other’s presence without comment.
But this time, when Yabu turned around to ask Hikaru to throw him a clean T-shirt, his breath caught in his throat at the sleek line of Hikaru’s bare back and the stretch of his legs under his frog-print boxers. Question forgotten, Yabu whirled quickly back to his bag, face burning, pretending to still be hunting through it.
“Here,” Hikaru said anyway, dropping a T-shirt on Yabu’s head so that it fell over his face. “I’m going to brush my teeth.”
Hikaru sauntered out casually, and Yabu pulled the shirt off his head with a sigh and wondered what the hell was wrong with him lately as he tried to cool his cheeks with the backs of his hands.
They were far too lazy to set up the extra futon, and Hikaru just flopped onto his bed and slid over against the wall without comment. After a moment, Yabu crawled in beside him, just like he’d done a thousand times.
But when the lights were out, Yabu found himself staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep. After a little while, he rolled onto his side to face Hikaru. Hikaru was already on his side facing Yabu, eyes closed and breath steady.
“Hikaru?” he asked softly, not sure whether Hikaru was already asleep.
“Yeah?” Hikaru answered, eyes fluttering open just enough so that Yabu could see their dark glimmer in the dim light from Hikaru’s window.
Yabu watched the steady rise and fall of Hikaru’s breath for a moment, not sure what he wanted to say. “Nothing,” he finally said. “I’m glad I’m doing the concert with you.”
“Of course you are,” Hikaru answered, eyes slipping shut again. “We’re partners. Who else would you do it with?”
“Nobody,” Yabu whispered, but Hikaru was already asleep.
It took a little while longer for Yabu to understand the extent of his problem. Curiously, it wasn’t sharing a bed with Hikaru or seeing him undressed that did it, or even watching him twist and hiproll his way effortlessly through a complicated choreography. It wasn’t the way Hikaru handed Yabu things before he’d asked for them, or the way he smiled so only Yabu could see it sometimes.
It was actually during their next photoshoot, Hikaru fully dressed, across the room, sitting perfectly still. He was facing the other direction, and when Yabu came onto the set, he almost asked Ryutarou who the random guy was before Hikaru turned, and Yabu’s breath caught in his throat.
“How long has Hikaru looked like that?” Yabu asked, eyes still glued to the way the silk shirt clung to the lines of Hikaru’s body, the sharp cut of his cheekbones, the way his eyes were low-lidded in invitation to the camera.
“Always?” Ryutarou answered, rolling his eyes. “Some Leader you are.”
“I’m not Leader.” Yabu stared some more. “He hasn’t always looked like that. He didn’t used to look like that. I should know, shouldn’t I?”
Ryutarou snorted, and Yabu jumped a little when an arm landed heavily on his shoulders. He looked to find Inoo smirking at him.
“Been a while since you looked properly?” Inoo asked. “Honestly, you two. How can you spend so much time together and not notice? Shoonie was right about us having to keep an eye on you.”
“Jerk,” Yabu grumbled as he shoved Inoo off, but his push was half-hearted, his attention still captured by Hikaru, and when Hikaru stood up from his shot and flashed Yabu his usual dorky smile from across the stage, that was when Yabu realized that now that he was looking, he couldn’t look away.
Yabu hoped that his sudden awareness of Hikaru would fade after a few days, but instead of ceasing to see the beautiful stranger from across the photography studio, Yabu saw him more clearly every day, overlaid with everything that was familiar about Hikaru.
Of course Hikaru noticed right away that something was odd about Yabu, but Yabu held him off at first with excused about exhaustion and nerves about planning the concert. Hikaru knew him better than to believe him, but he didn’t push the matter either.
“You’ll tell me when you’re ready,” Hikaru said, clapping Yabu on the shoulder. Yabu flushed and felt heat spread out across his skin from under Hikaru’s hand. “And also, your idea about us dressing up as astronauts is retarded.”
“Johnny’ll send us to the moon sooner or later, you wait,” Yabu shot back, sticking his tongue out. “What do you think he keeps making us fly for? It’s all practice, I’m telling you.”
And it was okay, like that. Even though Yabu was confused and worried, Hikaru was still his best friend. The difference was that now when Hikaru made him snort his tea laughing, Yabu wanted to lean over and kiss the smirk off his face. When they slept in the same bed, Yabu would inch backwards until Hikaru’s back was pressed against his in a warm line, and wonder what Hikaru would do if he rolled over and woke him up.
And when they changed together, or Yabu watched Hikaru dance, his face (sharp cheekbones, eyes heavy-lidded in invitation) a mask of concentration, Yabu wanted to do a lot more than kiss Hikaru, or to wonder what Hikaru would do.
“You two,” Inoo just sighed when Yabu was being particularly unsubtle. Yabu pretended not to hear him in favor of keeping an eye on Takaki harassing Daiki and Chinen, even though he made no move to intervene other than yelling over that he wasn’t Leader.
“There’s just too many of us,” Hikaru finally said. “We’re going to have to do duets after all, I think.”
“Good,” Yabu replied, hoping that Hikaru thought he looked pleased because they were using his idea and not because they were squashed together on the tiny couch in the meeting room they’d found for themselves.
“Good he says,” Hikaru sighed melodramatically. “Don’t you care about me at all? Because Yamada’s going to freak out when he finds out. There’ll be violence, with pointy objects, just you wait!”
“You can defend yourself,” Yabu soothed. “I’m willing to risk it.”
“Some partner!” Hikaru exclaimed, outraged, and shoved at Yabu’s shoulder, not that the couch was big enough for Yabu to go anywhere.
“I’ll make it up to you,” Yabu laughed, and then without thinking leaned over and kissed Hikaru’s cheek.
They both froze at the same second, and when Hikaru turned his head slowly to meet Yabu’s eyes, his eyes were wide and dark. They’d play-kissed more than a couple times in the half-decade they’d been together, and both of them knew that this wasn’t anything like that.
“Yabu?” Hikaru asked after a few beats, and Yabu swallowed and found his voice.
“I…” Yabu wanted to look away, but he was too afraid of what Hikaru would do if he did, “lately, I’ve been thinking…about you. And us. And I think…I like you. I want to be with you.”
“Yabu,” Hikaru started.
“I like you,” Yabu repeated, more firmly, and his heart jumped into his throat when Hikaru threw down the notebook with a loud slap.
The next thing Yabu knew, Hikaru was pinning him to the arm of the couch, hands tight around his wrists. Yabu’s breath caught at the glitter of his eyes.
“Are you sure?” Hikaru demanded.
“Yeah,” Yabu’s voice shook and he swallowed again, unable to tear his gaze away. “I mean, yes.”
“You have to be sure, Yabu,” Hikaru repeated, but this time Yabu heard it: a tiny crack in Hikaru’s voice, a waver that nobody would have heard except the person who knew Hikaru’s voice inside and out.
Yabu took a better look at Hikaru and saw it in his eyes as well, the fear and the hope. He also saw the way Hikaru was looking at him, the same intense look Hikaru had when he danced, focused so fiercely that it made the hair on the back of Yabu’s neck rise.
“I’m sure,” Yabu said, meeting Hikaru’s gaze, and then he laughed, because he remembered how Inoo had said it, ‘honestly, you two.’ “You too?”
“Me too,” Hikaru admitted, looking grumpy. “What are you laughing about?”
“Everybody knew but us.” Yabu shook his head, laughing harder. “Shoon told Inoo we needed taking care of, Ryutarou said you’ve always looked like this…”
“Looked like what?” Hikaru asked, tilting his head.
“Grown up,” Yabu answered, wishing Hikaru would let go of his wrists so that Yabu could touch him. “Good. You look really, really good.”
“You too,” Hikaru admitted, sounding a little shy. “You grew up too, but I don’t know when it happened.”
“You just weren’t looking,” Yabu shrugged with a smile, and then he yanked one of his hands free to wrap in Hikaru’s hair and pull him down for a long-overdue kiss.
“What do you mean I don’t have a solo?!” Yamada demanded, hands on his hips and eyes narrowed, Yuto lurking nervously at his shoulder. Behind them, Takaki and Arioka were shamelessly eavesdropping and snickering at Yamada not getting his way for once, while Ryutarou was just watching all of them silently.
“You’re doing a duet with Yuto. It’s already been decided, Yama-chan,” Yabu said reasonably.
“Then un-decide it!” Yamada snapped. “You’re Leader!”
“As I’ve told you repeatedly,” Yabu rolled his eyes, “I am not Leader, and thus do not have the power to appease your whims.”
Just then, a weight landed heavily on Yabu’s shoulders, making his breath rush out in a whuff.
“You’re doing it all wrong, Yabucchi,” Hikaru said, voice close enough to Yabu’s ear to make Yabu’s scowl shiver a little. “Leader says you don’t have a solo, so suck it up, Yama-chan~.”
Yamada eyed them both with derision and announced, “I liked it a lot better when I was the only person fucking somebody in this unit,” before stomping off.
Leaving Yabu and Hikaru regarding Yuto calmly, and Yuto turning a furious crimson.
“WHOA!” Takaki exclaimed, gaze swinging from Yamada to Yabu and back again, eyes wide. “Whoa whoa whoa, what?! WHAT?!”
“You are so slow,” Ryutarou informed him, while Arioka toppled over onto his side laughing. Inoo just beamed at them knowingly, then tugged out his cell phone and started furiously typing a mail.
“Maybe we weren’t the only ones who didn’t know, Leader,” Hikaru chuckled, and he kissed Yabu’s cheek when Yabu only replied that he wasn’t Leader.