Original: 10 Song Challenge by mrsatterthwaite
Pairings: Aiba/Jun, Matsumiya, Sakuraiba, slight hints of Ohmiya
Genre: Angst; non-chronological order
Summary: Everything has its place. Everybody finds their places. Sometimes we mess up. Sometimes we get messed up. Sometimes someone messes us up.
Betas: Thanks to _arcadia and sha_chan for the beta help. I adore you, girls. You were far braver than I.
Notes: It was hard, damn it! Choosing a challenge may be weird, but this story kept nagging me. I focused it more on the rest of the Arashi members and less on the couples. I hope it adds something to the original story.
September, every end is a new beginning
Everything has its place. Everybody finds their places. Sometimes we mess up. Sometimes we get messed up. Sometimes someone messes us up.
What once felt sure becomes unreliable. What once felt fickle becomes steady. What was wanted becomes nothing. What was nothing becomes everything.
Some things, however, change in a way that’s not changing. In a way that they almost feel the same. They were one of those.
June, any summer
He hears the cicadas and he sees the fireflies. The stars shine brightly and he wants to make a selfish wish if any shooting one deigns to show up.
He knows he’s falling apart but he won’t tell them because if he does, he knows they’ll try to put him back together. Even if it’s them killing him.
They were the first ones to be selfish. They should’ve known that this was going to happen.
You don’t fuck with friendship. He even thinks Aiba knows. He should know it’s killing him, this damn feeling. They are friends. Friendship is first.
And Jun. Jun should’ve realized. How he looks at him. How he touches him. How the banter hides something else.
A shooting star crosses the sky.
Break them up.
He hates himself after that.
August, goodbye to summer days
It’s raining and there’s nothing to do. Nino is the first one to take his call.
‘Sorry. I’m meeting Jun.’
Always. Always meeting Jun.
It wasn’t like this before. He was first. It’s ridiculous, he knows. It was never like that. Nino and he were too careful for that line to be crossed.
They thought friendship was first. He felt sure of the decision back then.
But now he wishes they had crossed it.
May, some stupid spring
Guilt is clutching Ohno’s insides. He’s not a good leader and even if it was a joke, it’s still his duty. The one thing he should be able to do.
It’s obvious that Jun hates it but Aiba and Sho-kun are too happy to notice.
Nino is looking at Jun greedily and that scares Ohno. He remembers that greed. It was so hard to resist. It had been. It had been so hard to resist before.
Why do things change like that? He tries to remember how it felt before, the tight-knit unit, the best friends forever. He resents Aiba and Jun for that. They changed the balance. Nino and he always avoided that step in order to protect that precious feeling of… them –the five of them- just being right.
But now it all feels wrong and he can’t help but wonder if this is the end.
January, beginning of an end
Sho hates lying. It might be part of his job description, but he never lies to them. It’s their solace, knowing that they can stop lying around each other.
So he feels like a bastard –even worse- because if it was just cheating, if it was just stealing Aiba away, then maybe…
He didn’t want this. He just wanted Aiba.
July, the summer of coming home
There are songs for going back to anywhere, Sho muses. Any tiny and dusty fisher town, any big and smoggy city, any long and remote path, any moon that has ever existed, any place –no matter how ugly, how distant or how unknown- is held dear in some musician’s heart. They all write songs about it too, apparently.
But the song fits. Because now, they’re coming home. They’ve all strayed off the way this year. Their ‘home’ is not the same anymore.
He knows Jun doesn’t admire him anymore. He knows Nino will always feel a little like a rebound. He will feel guilty forever and Aiba will feel like a coward forever too. Ohno may have noticed something, even.
But they’re home and it almost feels the same.
February, the winter of their discontent
Nino doesn’t know how longer he can wait. This stalemate has gone on for way too long. He’s sick of it and wants someone to kick the table. The pieces will scatter and they’ll have to rearrange them and it won’t be the same order, but at least it’ll be new. He wants change, fresh air. Even if it breaks them, even if they can never ever arrange the pieces again.
Everything has become chore and he can’t stand it anymore. Any of it. Jun being near, Jun being away, Jun being with Aiba, Aiba being with Sakurai, being alone. He never felt alone in Arashi before. If anything, it always felt too crowded. There used to be no secrets, no privacy, no lies.
Now there wasn’t anything else.
December, the winter of their confessions
Sakurai wouldn’t betray him. Aiba wouldn’t either… but Jun can’t help but feel uneasy.
He wants to call Aiba but he won’t. At least, they deserve his trust. What have they done to breach it?
But he’s worried beyond reason because it’s different now. The atmosphere is always laden with silence now.
When did this happen? How did he let it fall apart so badly?
March, the same stupid spring
He’s taking his stuff out of their house. His house. Aiba’s house. Sakurai’s house? Fuck it. Fuck them.
He looks at everything he wants to throw out but can’t quit bring himself to do it.
It wouldn’t be right, he can’t just forget such a big piece of him. Of them.
How many of their songs were about these moments? About cherishing them? About letting go and remembering the past with fond feelings? Even if it hurts? Even if everything is tainted now? Even if he hates them and just wants to forget, not forgive?
He takes a long breath.
Exactly. That’s the fucking point. That’s the damn hard part.
April, still the same spring
Aiba goes around the house, opening each door. The closet, mostly empty now. Only shampoo left in the bathroom. No books, just manga. Jun has left most of their CDs behind, as a sort of cruel reminder of everything they did together. Everything they used to be together.
It hurts, unexpectedly, but he knows it won’t hurt for too long. He hopes it won’t hurt too much, but he suspects it always will, at least a little.
Even the fridge is empty and Aiba wonders if he made a mistake because he has never known emptiness such as this.
November, just before the end
It’s boring now. It’s empty. Fun is gone. That exhilarating feeling is gone. Even the cozy familiarity is gone.
Just taking Jun’s hand used to be an adventure. They could talk for hours and the sex wasn’t half bad either.
He remembers summers and springs and winters and autumns of happiness. It was fun all around. Caring and warm fun. It didn’t feel like this, cold and empty and spiky.
It has been good, but it isn’t anymore.
Maybe Jun isn’t the same. Maybe he isn’t the same. But Sho is, Sho feels the same. He’s firm and steady and not fickle and not crazy and now that’s what feels fun and exhilarating, paradoxically.
He shouldn’t be thinking this. He isn’t, actually. He just feels it and that’s the worst part.
October, the beginning of time
Five stand together, scared yet excited. Anticipation and panic run hand by hand, just one feeling of incredible impatience.
Just five boys, trembling and fearing that the floor may be about to disappear. No trust, no confidence, just pure old fear.
They stand together, without really knowing their place. But there is a tiny spark of faith, of belief, of hope among the fear. They don’t know their place yet… but they will.