Rating/Warnings: PG, gen
Summary: Juri has some feelings about the summer split, but Jesse helps him sort them out.
AN: Set kind of loosely after the pair of Gamushara shows I saw where Ra beat Ga in both matches. Juri seemed kind of frustrated about missing his first back-dunk, and some other stuff too. Clearly I don't know what exactly he feels like about any of this, but I do know that all of 6T is really glad to have each other to come back to in the end, so this is what came out. Also I may or may not have googled some tiny Hip Hop JUMP Juri and Jesse for the purposes of feelings.
"Sorry," Shintarou says awkwardly, and Juri looks up from his Gamushara costume rack to roll his eyes at him. "Um, you know, about…"
"Did you actually come over here to apologize for winning?" Juri asks. Shintarou shrugs sheepishly. "Don't you have your own team to go celebrate with? Go on, shoo."
"Aw, Juri." Shintarou frowns more deeply at Juri's brush-off. "Don't treat me like I'm dumb, I know what that face means. I know you're mad."
"It's not like it feels good to lose twice in a row," Juri points out. He finishes hanging up his last shirt and turns to face Shintarou head-on, arms crossed over his bare chest. "And I know you're not trying to, but you coming over here to apologize for it is just a little bit like rubbing my face in it, don't you think?"
"No!" Shintarou protests. "That's not what I'm doing! I just…I…it is like that, huh."
Juri nods patiently.
"Ugh, dammit." Shintarou runs a hand through his hair. "Being on a different team than you is annoying. I'm trying to make you feel better!"
Juri smiles faintly because Shintarou is his best friend and wants to help, and his distress over sucking at it is a little cute. "It would make me feel better if you were happy that you won, and if you went over there and celebrated with your team."
"I am happy! But…" Shintarou glances over his shoulder and back at Juri. "They're not my group. You are."
"They're your team. And I have one of my own, you know. Here, let me show you how to do it." Juri sticks his hand out. "Good game. Congratulations."
"Good game," Shintarou agrees, giving Juri a resigned smile as he shakes on it. Juri gives Shintarou a few extra seconds to squeeze his hand, then pushes him off.
"Enjoy it, because we'll kick your ass next time." Juri gives Shintarou a push in the right direction. "And keep Kouchi from coming over here and doing this same shit to Jesse, hm? We're big tough guys, we can take care of ourselves."
"Yeah. Yeah, I know."
Juri's kind of lying, but Shintarou knows he is, so it's all right. Shintarou goes back to his teammates and Juri turns back to his costume rack, and he waits until neither Shintarou nor Hokuto nor Kouchi is close enough to see before he rests his forehead briefly against the pole of his costume rack. Losing sucks. Being on a different team sucks, and having to root oppositely than half of his unit sucks. Juri gets it, why he's the one they pulled from Ra, but that doesn't mean he has to like it and it doesn't mean he isn't a little jealous. It didn't feel like this last year, and that sucks too.
But Juri picks his head back up and goes back to getting dressed, expression tired but neutral because he's old enough not to throw a tantrum over feelings like that. He's got a team himself, after all, and honestly they aren't in much better shape than him. Masuda is sitting in a folding chair with more ice on his ankle when Juri comes over, Hanzawa standing behind him like his job is to shove Masuda back down if he even thinks about getting up. Myuto is at the nearest costume rack, looking like he's still in a bit of a sulk about missing his dunk and trying to hover nearby without it looking like that's what he's doing. Sanada is standing there too, arms crossed, and obviously giving Masuda the business about performing at all, even just the few songs he's been doing.
"What if you tear a tendon, huh?" Sanada is demanding. "Do you know how long that will take to heal?"
"Yeah, I know," Masuda says, looking a lot calmer than either Sanda or Hanzawa look. "But I didn't practice all summer to do nothing, come on. Hey, shut up about that a second. If you're gonna be here for a bunch of shows, we can work on some other songs, right? For the band? It'll be boring if we just do the one over and over. Myuto, tell him."
Myuto looks over his shoulder, exasperated. "You want to do new stuff now?"
"That guy's pretty amazing, huh?" Jesse asks, standing at Juri's shoulder. Both of them are a meter or so away, watching without being noticed so far. Jesse jerks his chin at Masuda. "It's killing him to just sit there."
"Yeah." Juri looks at Jesse instead. Jesse looks tired too, his smile a little bit glued on, but Juri doubts that anybody who doesn't know Jesse as well as he does would be able to see it. "How about you?"
"I'm amazing too, obviously." Jesse grins a little harder, shouldering Juri, and Juri can't help but smile a little back.
"No, I mean, how are you?"
"Fine, I'm okay," Jesse answers with a shrug. He stretches one arm over his head, other hand grasping his elbow. "Nothing hurts now that didn't hurt this morning. You?"
"I'm…" Juri tries to figure out what he wants to talk about. "If I ask you something, will you answer me seriously?"
"Probably not. But go for it."
"This year or last year," Juri says. "Is this year harder?"
"Hmm." Jesse actually thinks about it for a few seconds, which Juri wasn't expecting. "Last year…they kept saying I was leader, but Iwamoto helped out a lot. This year I'm really it, so it's harder, yeah. But this year's better, though."
"Is it?" Juri looks over to the scuffle of Sanada and Hanzawa trying to keep Masuda in his chair. "Why?"
"Come on, man. You know why." Jesse looks at Juri, one eyebrow raised. Suddenly Juri feels a small wash of guilt for his jealousy at being taken away from Shintarou and Hokuto. Last year he'd had both of them and Taiga too, but Jesse hadn't had a single one of them. "This year I'm not alone."
Juri opens his mouth to say You weren't alone last year, but then closes it, because he knows what Jesse means. This year Juri knows it's a comfort to all of them that when summer's over they'll get their real group back, but last year there was nothing to look forward to but more uncertainty. It was probably even worse for Jesse, when Ra pulled together so tightly that he wasn't even singing with Hokuto for a while.
"I was surprised they pulled you at first," Jesse goes on, apparently with more to say. "I didn't think they'd separate you and Shin. But I was glad once I saw all five of us, because you make it easy for anybody to get along with anybody. And last year we couldn't fix some of the performance problems even though we practiced over and over, but you always see things a little differently, you know? When we do it ten times and it still won't work, that's when you speak up with some suggestion none of us have thought of."
Juri rubs the back of his head, embarrassed by Jesse's frank praise. "They don't always work."
"They don't have to." Jesse slaps Juri on the shoulder. "What's important is you want to break up the frustration so we can work again. Maybe our performance isn't perfect this year either, but we came a lot further. I'm probably stuck as basketball for as long as we do this, so I hope you don't mind that I'm hoping you're stuck with it too. It's really selfish, huh? You don't even like it."
"No…well, yeah," Juri laughs. "But it's okay. It looks cool. If we get a chance to do it again at shows, like double-dutch did at A.B.C-Z last year, I'll do it with you."
"Yeah? You're the best," Jesse says, squeezing Juri's shoulder before finally letting go. "We can be like a cool sub-unit. Hip Hop JUMPSHOT, YEAH~!"
It doesn't fix anything, but it makes Juri laugh harder, and then Jesse starts laughing too, so maybe it does fix things a little. Jesse's chance comment makes Juri think for a second about how long the two of them have been working together, and what a relief it is that there's someone else carrying their old unit along with them too.
When he looks over, for a second Juri sees the old Jesse, back before that first growth spurt, shyer but just as silly. That Jesse used to show up to work sometimes with bruises from the kids in his old school, but he would always come in laughing like they weren't even there. If somebody else commented on them, Jesse would make a joke out of that too, brushing it off. Looking back now, Juri recognizes easily the way Jesse tries so hard to not mind about his own feelings so much, preferring to put everyone around him at ease instead.
The two of them are a lot alike, that way.
"What are you thinking about?" Jesse asks, tilting his head. "You're staring."
"Ah, nothing. It's just, I came over here to check on you, and you made me feel better instead." Juri shakes his head, still smiling. "You always do that. You've always done that."
"Yeah? Good." Jesse throws an arm around Juri's shoulders, and Juri slides an arm easily around Jesse's waist. "I feel better too, so we're even. I told you this year was better."
"Yeah," Juri agrees. He means for Jesse, not so much for him, but Juri thinks that's okay. Hokuto and Shintarou don't need him this year, not the way that Jesse does. Seeing things that way, Juri can live with it for a while longer. At least for the rest of summer.
"Ahh, let's go save our team from Sanajii's lecturing," Jesse finally says. "Before they duct tape poor Massu to that chair."
"I kind of think we should let them," Juri mutters, but he lets Jesse drag him along anyway.
There's a lot of flailing and some yelling, and Jesse lets poor Masuda up to at least change back into his street clothes, but then Juri finds two more chairs and shoves Myuto and Sanada down into them so they can sit and talk about this band thing while Hanzawa drags over one of the floor fans on the grounds that he's going to die. For about two and a half minutes, things are actually kind of peaceful, before Jesse initiates a contest to see who can make their voice the weirdest yelling into the fan.
It's always kind of like this around Jesse. Juri hopes that it always will be.