Summary: If Kawai and Tsukada are going to be so useless, then it's up to the pair of them in the end.
AN: 30 kisses, day 23 (one day late, oops accidental naptime). I was sort of struggling for these two, so hope it's okay. Not that it really seems like very many of you are reading the ABC pairings anyhow...
For the Sake of Tomorrow, I'm Here
They're an odd pair, the two of them, but they make do somehow or other. Even within their own unit they're incongruous, Totsuka sweet-voiced and sweet-faced, always playing the innocent, versus Goseki's lazy grins and shadow king's directives, grin all the shaper when you don't listen properly and he gets to punish you. Neither of them are particularly partner-oriented, especially not towards each other, but then Hashimoto shows up, needing ten years of training in roughly ten minutes.
Kawai and Tsukada, bless them, are going to be patently useless, it's clear during the first afternoon, far too delighted with Hashimoto's wiles and sweet smile and willingness to please and hugging. Goseki and Totsuka catch eyes over the heads of the other three (or more like, around them), and understand without words that it's up to them if they don't want this to turn out like all the other fifth members.
Why don't they want this to turn out like all the other fifth members? Totsuka wonders often in those days, but there isn't an answer. All any of them can say when asked is that Hashimoto was different, is different, that A.B.C. is different with him and that it was something all of them wanted to hang on to, even before they really understood what it was.
On the second day, or maybe the third, Goseki pulls Hashimoto away before practice starts properly, out the room, and they don't return for ten or so minutes. Totsuka doesn't know what they talk about and he never asks, although it does turn into one of the A.B.C-Z legends. What he does know is that Hashimoto is subtly different after that, in a way Totsuka can't put his finger on exactly.
It's sort of that he's more serious (except how he still spends 95% of his time giggling and rolling about on the floor with Kawai) and sort of that he tries harder to catch up (except he was already working harder than Totsuka has ever seen anybody work in the face of such disheartening results). Maybe it's only Goseki's tacit acceptance that makes him seem more theirs, and even that is nebulous at best, since Goseki threatens to kick one or all of them out of the group at least every other day.
"What do you think?" Goseki asks Totsuka a few weeks later, about the midpoint between their name change and the day they have to humiliate themselves in front of fangirls instead of just Kis-My-Ft2.
"Why ask me?" Totsuka asks mildly. He's been helping as much as anybody, but no more than anybody else. Probably less than Tsukada who has been running acrobatic boot camp or Kawai who Hashimoto attached himself to like a leech weeks ago.
"Because you're the only one who hasn't fallen under his spell yet," Goseki says, laughing a little.
"Besides you?" Goseki shrugs, noncommittal. Totsuka sighs a little, thinking. "I think…are we really missing something so important that shachou thinks a sixteen-year-old can fix it? So I guess, mostly I've been trying to figure out what this sixteen-year-old has that we don't."
"I'd kill for his ass," Goseki suggests, and Totsuka pretends he's expressing jealousy over comparative physical features. "But your answer is…"
Totsuka shakes his head. "When I try to think about it…I can't get past how being told we need someone else is the same as telling us everything we've done up until now isn't enough, it's all been useless."
Goseki blinks and Totsuka winces; he hadn't meant to let those thoughts hit the air, and he almost wishes he hadn't said them, speaking out loud just making those feelings of resentment solidify. He doesn't take them back, though, since they're really his feelings.
"Sorry," is all he says. "I know that isn't helpful."
"Don't mind." Goseki shakes his head. He doesn't tell Totsuka not to think like that, or tell him he's wrong, or argue, or coax. That's not Goseki's way. He simply accepts Totsuka's feelings as they are, and Totsuka loves him all the more for it.
Maybe if Totsuka can learn to accept his own feelings so easily, he'll be able to see past them.
"When I joined," Goseki says, startling Totsuka out of his thoughts, "was it so annoying?"
"Yes," Totsuka closes his eyes and tries to remember back so far, remember how young and skinny and stupid they all were, how happy. Still are. "But we hadn't done so much and weren't so far ahead, so that was mostly just because it was you."
Goseki laughs, and Totsuka joins him more ruefully. Across the room, Tsukada is scolding Hashimoto, and Hashimoto is whining for Kawai to save him while Kawai cackles at his pain.
"What he has that we don't…" Goseki repeats, mostly to himself, then nods. "Hm. Let's let him win us over, don't you think? No fun being the only sane people in this unit."
"Yes, Goseki-sama," Totsuka agrees, thinking that maybe if he tried, if all of them did, then maybe this could be the last time they get told that everything up until now has been useless.
He gets a kiss on the cheek from Goseki for his tractability, a rare favor from their shadow king. Maybe new members can be worth it, sometimes.
"At least we got you a new vocalist to play with," Goseki points out. "Let's go make sure Tsuka-chan isn't breaking our new toy just yet."
"He claims Hashimoto is surprisingly flexible, actually," Totsuka says, and Goseki's laughter rings out loud enough to even drown out Kawai's.