Summary: Koyama has been Shige’s best friend for so long that Shige can’t even imagine life without him.
AN: Written for 2013 JE Remix. I’ve actually always wanted to write about Koyama/Shige’s trip together to NYC, so this was the perfect opportunity. In case you’re interested in seeing, here are some of the pictures that Shige took during their NYC trip, and here is Koyama’s Jweb about it translated. A lot of the other details come from other interviews just after their trip that I remember reading, but I couldn’t for sure tell you where. I hope you enjoy it!
Original Story: Second Try by owaranai_natsu
Second Try (the Don’t You Ever F-stop Remix)
Koyama has been Shige’s best friend for so long that Shige can’t even imagine life without him. Other people have come and gone, childhood friends, classmates, group members, but Koyama is always there.
“Ah, sorry,” Shige apologizes when Koyama drags him along to a lunch date with Yokoo. Yokoo’s eyes widen a little when Shige walks into the restaurant.
“Don’t mind,” Yokoo says easily enough, surprise melting into an easy grin. He doesn’t bother to lift his hand to cover his teeth like he does in front of fans if it’s just the three of them. “I like seeing the two of you together anyway. It makes me happy you can stay such close friends after being through so much.”
“Surely you all get along perfectly in Kisumai?” Shige asks, blinking in fake innocence. “Tama-chan and Nika-chan are so peaceful and easy to like~.”
“I wonder,” Yokoo says drily, and Koyama slaps Shige’s arm and says not to tease, play nice. Shige kicks him back gently under the table, and Yokoo laughs at them both when Koyama pouts sadly until Shige apologizes and promises to behave.
Out of the blue, Koyama announces to Shige that he’s planning a vacation.
“New York City?” Shige repeats, chopsticks poised above his bowl of ramen. Koyama’s mother had invited both of them out to the restaurant for a late dinner, and now Shige thinks he understands why.
“I’m so excited!” Koyama is aglow with his excitement, eyes bright. “I can only stay a couple days, but I cleared it with management already and they said it was fine. I have so many things I want to see there!”
“By yourself?” Shige asks. The thought of Koyama wandering around a big, foreign city by himself makes Shige’s stomach roll with nerves. Sweet, trusting Koyama, who forgets his wallet on a restaurant table at least once a week. Having waiters chase after him to return his things is something that only happens in Japan, Shige is sure.
“Well...” Koyama looks down, a little shy suddenly. When he looks back up at Shige, his expression is sheepish. “I also asked...do you maybe want to come too?”
“Normal people would ask their best friend first,” Shige scolds with a roll of his eyes, but the truth is he doesn’t expect much better from Koyama. Koyama chuckles and smiles at him hopefully. “Let me check my own schedule and talk to my parents. You haven’t bought plane tickets yet, have you?”
Koyama shakes his head. “I was waiting for Shige.”
They finish dinner chatting about work and friends, Shige’s suggestion that his mother hire Tegoshi to do an ad for the ramenya as Yuuko making Koyama choke on his gyoza, Koyama’s story about filming a Shounen Club arm wrestling tournament between Masuda and the rest of the juniors making Shige laugh until he has tears in his eyes. While Koyama is in the back to compliment the staff, Shige attempts to pay Koyama’s mother, even though it never works.
“Oh, put that away,” Koyama-san waves Shige’s wallet off. Shige pouts and says she says that to all the cute young men her son brings in here. Koyama-san giggles coyly, but then looks Shige over more seriously. “He asked you, right?”
“Yes,” Shige answers. “I have to check on some things, but I think I’d like to go.”
“I’m relieved to hear that,” Koyama-san says, expression easing a little. “The idea of him wandering around New York all by himself...I’d feel much better if you were with him. Take care of our Kei-chan, okay?”
“Got it,” Shige agrees, just as weak to Koyama-san as he is to Koyama himself. Koyama-san hugs him in thanks just as Koyama strolls out from the back. Shige only leers in satisfaction when Koyama complains loudly that he can’t leave the two of them alone for a second, his best friend and his mother, geez.
“It’s your fault for bringing such cute young men home,” his mother teases, and Koyama sticks his tongue out and tugs Shige away with possessive hands.
Once Shige gets the go-ahead from management and his own mother, the next few weeks go by in a blur of work and vacation planning. It seems like no time at all before he and Koyama are squished close together in their economy class seats. Like a child, Koyama is overexcited for the first hour of the flight, and then passes out against Shige’s shoulder almost as soon as their in-flight meals have been cleared away.
“Idiot,” Shige says with affection, glad he’d had the sense to tuck his book into the back pocket of the seat in front of him before he’d stowed his carry-on in the compartment above them. He won’t be getting up anytime soon with Koyama’s weight heavy on his shoulder.
He wishes he had been able to sleep as easily as Koyama on the plane, because after they check into their hotel they go right out to start sight-seeing, not wanting to waste a second of their short vacation. By the time they tumble into bed that night, almost drunk with jet-lag, neither of them cares that there’s only one bed in the room because of their last-second hotel booking.
“Just to make sure Shige doesn’t try to take advantage of me,” Koyama teases, building a squishy wall down the center of the bed with several of the pillows. Shige reaches over the meager defenses to bop Koyama on the head.
In the morning, the pillows are on the floor when Shige wakes up. He lies there in the thin, early-morning light, body clock all a mess, and it takes him a few seconds to realize he’s holding hands with Koyama, their fingers twined together. He’s still half-asleep, not with it enough to be embarrassed until long after the moment where that might have happened has passed. In the end he gives Koyama’s fingers a squeeze and slips out of bed to shower, knowing Koyama won’t forgive him if he lets them sleep a whole morning of their precious vacation away.
During the day, they actually go their own ways most of the time, both of them wanting to see different things and not enough time to do everything together. They make plans to meet up for dinner, but completely mis-judge the distance to their rendezvous point based on their street map. By the time Shige gets there, Koyama has already given up waiting for him and gone back to the hotel, exhausted from his own adventures. It seems so much like a silly drama plot device that Shige can only laugh about it, used to Koyama’s childish whims and carefree himself from vacation relaxation.
“I think this is the first time we’ve ever shared a bed,” Koyama says that night, while he’s rebuilding the pillow wall between them. He tilts his head, thoughtful. “All those times we’ve shared hotel rooms...how many times, do you think?”
“A hundred million,” Shige murmurs, stretching out on his back and trying to ease the ache in his legs from walking too much. At least the bed is a king, there’s plenty of space. “Why are you bothering with that? We just knock it over when we sleep.”
“Shige knocks it over,” Koyama accuses, fussing with the balance of the pillows. “You kick!” Koyama leans up to eye Shige mischievously. “And you talk in your sleep too~.”
“Do I?” Shige squirms a little when Koyama only grins wider, secretive and way too amused. “What do I say?”
“Mm, I wonder,” Koyama hums, breaking down into laughter when Shige knocks the pillows aside to tickle him in all his weak spots. Koyama rebuilds the pillow wall faithfully before they fall asleep, though.
In the morning they are even closer than the day before, their legs tangled, Shige feeling warm through and through from Koyama’s body heat when he wakes up. He doesn’t know what it means, but it does feel good against his sore muscles. Shige can hardly blame his body for doing this sort of thing without asking while he’s asleep.
Their vacation speeds by, as vacations do. Koyama goes to see musicals, and Shige visits museums and takes dozens of pictures. They go out together sometimes, and Shige takes pictures of Koyama too, unposed and candid shots that he’s sure are going to turn out well as soon as he clicks the shutter. Koyama looks so relaxed, happy and excited by everything they see, and Shige can’t resist trying to capture as many of those moments as possible.
“Give me that,” Koyama tsks when he hears the click of the camera catching him for the umpteenth time. “You won’t be in any of the pictures yourself!”
“It’s okay,” Shige assures, holding his camera out Koyama’s reach. “I like it this way.”
Koyama just rolls his eyes, and then purposefully stands in front of a reflective glass building so that Shige will have no choice but to photograph himself. Shige chuckles and complies, thinking that at least the shot will be compositionally interesting.
It would be a lie if Shige said it wasn’t awkward to wake up and find himself hugging Koyama tightly. Koyama stirs when Shige does and blinks in sleepy confusion, but even when realization creeps into his eyes, Koyama doesn’t pull his arms away from how they’re curled around Shige either.
“Shige?” Koyama asks, voice rough with sleep. He sounds uncertain, and Shige hugs him tighter without thinking it through the whole way.
“Shh, it’s fine. Go back to sleep.” Koyama obeys, going limp almost immediately against Shige, and Shige finds it surprisingly easy to follow his own advice, lulled by Koyama’s even breathing and steady heartbeat.
It’s like that the rest of the trip; Koyama builds the pillow wall each night, and each morning they wake up tangled more tightly together. Shige finds himself wondering what’s going to happen when they go home, but then puts it out of his mind and just enjoys the vacation time that they have left. It’s a vacation well spent, and Shige doesn’t need any pictures of himself to keep these memories in his heart, he’s sure.
“Maa, there it goes,” Koyama sighs when the plane rises high enough that the city lights are lost under the cloud cover. He flops back into his seat instead of twisting to have his face pressed up against the window, and turns to Shige. “It was fun, right? Thanks for coming with me.”
“I’m glad I came,” Shige says, meaning it with his whole heart, and Koyama’s bright smile warms him all through. Like before, Koyama falls asleep on his shoulder, but Shige stays awake as long as he can, wanting to stretch out this last bit where they can sleep next to each other for as long as he can.
Shige doesn’t sleep well for days after he’s home.
“It’s jetlag,” he assures the others, the staff when they ask, the make-up girl who tuts at the dark circles under his eyes. “Too much vacation excitement,” he lies, knowing full well that isn’t the reason at all.
His bed seems too big, his body pillow unappealing. Shige tries to tell his body that it’s slept just fine on its own all these years so he doesn’t see what the big deal is now, but his body clearly does not agree.
Shige brings a stack of pictures in to work with him once they’re developed, both to show them off and to get some opinions about which shots he ought to submit for his Shigegenic column this month. The other members go through them on their lunch break, Koyama blathering on happily about the places and things in the pictures.
“It’s so hard to pick just a few,” Yamapi says, moving some pictures around on the low table. “Your photography has really improved.”
“I only brought in the good ones,” Shige protests, but he’s pleased at the praise all the same, especially when Masuda and Ryo murmur their agreement.
“Kei-chan looks really good in these, too,” Tegoshi says, reaching to tap one of the pictures. Koyama is looking into the distance, not paying any attention to Shige photographing him, and Shige agrees with Tegoshi whole-heartedly.
“It’s because that’s how Shige sees me,” Koyama says, matter-of-fact, as if he isn’t saying anything out of the ordinary at all, even as it makes Shige’s heart skip a handful of beats. Their eyes catch by chance, over the pictures, and Koyama gives Shige a small smile that’s every bit as beautiful as any of the pictures on the table.
After lunch is finished and the pictures have been decided on, the others head out to start concert rehearsal, but Koyama holds Shige back for a moment.
“Hey,” he says. “The new apartment...it’s hard to get used to sleep in a new place at night, you know? It makes funny noises, and it’s a little scary to be alone after living with my family for so long.”
“Yeah?” Shige asks. Koyama’s hand is still wrapped loosely around Shige’s wrist, and Shige wonders if Koyama can feel how his pulse is speeding up.
“Do you maybe want to stay over tonight?” Koyama asks, a bit shyly. “I’ve only got the one bed, though...”
“That’s okay,” Shige says quickly, hardly daring to hope that Koyama means what Shige thinks he does, that maybe Koyama could miss waking up tangled together as much as Shige does. “I don’t mind.”
“Great!” Koyama’s smile is bright and a bit relieved, and Shige hopes a little harder.
“You were right,” Shige adds, on impulse. “About the pictures. That is how I see you.”
“I know.” Koyama’s hand slides down until his fingers are laced with Shige’s. “After being friends for so long, how could I not know?”
“Is it...okay?” Shige can’t help but ask, even though he’s scared of the answer.
Koyama doesn’t answer in words, but when he squeezes Shige’s hand tightly, promising to be there always, Shige can relax and just look forward to whatever comes next between the two of them.