Warnings: Possible language. Britishisms.
Summary: The ways of moping are wondrous indeed.
Notes: Original is the awesome Such a Hot Mess by katmillia.
Disclaimer: Any dialog involving Sakurai Sho is the intellectual property of katmillia. The Strokes lyrics are property of The Strokes. I clearly had nothing to do with anything that is awesome in this fic.
“How was your day?” Aiba asked as Jun stepped through the door, waving at Jun with a gherkin.
“Go away,” Jun grumbled, kicking off his boots. Life, in general, was infuriating. Like how when he came home each day to Aiba sitting there, eating pickles straight from the jar and hogging the telly, while Ohno papier-mâchéd the door to Jun’s room and the totally uninvited Nino rearranged furniture and Jun’s underwear drawer without even asking if he could. There wasn’t much to be done about Aiba; childhood friends are childhood friends are childhood friends (and Jun quite liked him anyway, with his lunacy and funny t-shirts), but it had been Jun’s mother’s idea to take in Ohno the artist as a lodger, and Nino was the second half of the buy-one-get-one-that-you-didn’t-want deal.
Aiba sent Jun a look. “I am your oldest friend,” he said imperiously with feeling, then deadpanned, “So I have spies everywhere.” He patted the bit of couch next to him invitingly, “Now spill.”
Jun flopped on the couch, expelling a breath. “It was okay.”
“How was Hot Guy?”
Jun made a reluctant grimace. Life was infuriating. It was bad enough that he had to go and fall into unrequited moping, why did it have to be Sho of all people? Why couldn’t it have been that Kimiko chick who was kind of slutty and had that pretty smile? And why did Aiba have to figure it out?
Aiba held up a gherking between his thumb and index finger. “Still at the stage where the closest thing to a sultry voice whispering in your ear is Ohno leaning over your his shoulder and asking are you going to eat that?”
“Rub it in, yeah?” He scrunched his nose, “What is Ohno doing?”
Aiba shrugged. “Painting dragonflies.”
“Dare I ask where?” Jun swiped the remote from Aiba’s hand and swapped the channel.
Aiba made a contemplative noise. “Not really.”
That night Jun had to climb to his bed on chairs Nino had strategically set out in his room to avoid stepping in the wet colours of newly-painted dragonflies on his floor.
It was kind of ridiculous the way Jun’s stomach tingled when he was around Sho, becuse Sho was pretty much everything Jun thought he would never want to be. Pedantic on the verge of OCD, incredibly uptight about rules, and impeccably studious. But there was something in that which gave him an air of shy innocence, and which made the times when he went against the rules intriguing to watch.
The first time when Sho skipped class and found Jun on the roof, a tiny giddy tingle burned in Jun’s tummy and it took him every ounce of determination he had to keep his nose in his manga, and offering another one with a nonchalant kick of his bag. He chanced a glance when Sho had settled down next to him, squinting a little to read in the brightness of late-spring sun.
It was obvious to Jun that there couldn’t be anything between him and Sho that would make a QX reader drool, but he wasn’t really bothered about it. No hoping, no heartbreak. He just wanted to enjoy the moment - he didn’t see the point of panicking about life and obsessing about what he was going to do for the next few years - and Sho amused him, with his using white-out instead of a rubber on pencil, how he could be so oblivious to how people paid attention to him, and Jun especially liked the cautiously curious look that would cross Sho’s face when he knew he was doing something he wasn’t supposed to.
“You’re a bit like that song,” Nino said, “the one about misbehaving and stealing innocence.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Jun commented in a bored tone. On the telly, contestants were trying to river dance on a soapy floor without falling over.
“You’re making him into a delinquent.”
Jun shrugged, a tiny smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Only during class hours.”
But if Jun was trying to make Sho into a delinquent, it was balanced by how Sho was trying to get Jun to actually read the textbooks. Jun would usually blow it off with a light shrug, but when Sho decided to tutor Jun in English (the ridiculous language that it was, hardly made any sense at all, and honestly what was that grammar about? totally bonkers), he got exasperated with Jun and was about to leave when Jun, a little surprised that Sho actually seemed to be pissed at him, picked up his book and said “Hey, wait, Sho,” acutely aware of the uneasy jolt running through his body and that he really didn’t want Sho to leave while he was angry with him. “What did you say, page 67? Look, look, I'm studying.”
Sho gave him a bewildered look and lowered himself to the floor again, his hands pressed against the concrete. "So you'll stay?" Jun asked, the unease loosening a little from his gut.
Sho gave a demonstrative sigh of displeasure but replied, "Yeah, yeah."
Jun held up the cigarette he was smoking in an offer to Sho, and Sho waved it off.
"Well, there's only so much," Jun remarked in good humour, and sniggered at Sho’s weary, put-upon grimace.
And then one day, Sho got a less-than-perfect score on a test and threw a hissyfit and started kicking the wall. And to stop him from inadvertently breaking his toes Jun eventually offered him a cigarette, which had Sho wheezing like an asthmatic for long enough to stop kickboxing the walls (which were doing way better than Sho, in Jun’s opinion). They went clubbing, to take the edge off, and Jun smirked as Sho protested feebly when he dangled a bottle of liquor in front of his face.
The rest of the night was a bit of a blur, blinking lights and the heavy scent of perfume; Sho’s eyes glossy as he looked at someone who wasn’t Jun.
He was woken by a pained moan, but he didn’t want to brave the world just yet - or at all, really - so he stayed buried under his covers while the voice that he dizzily recognised at Sho’s went apeshit about being late for school.
Bugger school. And those fecking dragonflies.
Ohno came into his room later without knocking, flopping down over the Jun-sized ball of hung-over misery and said, “He’s really pretty. Maybe you can let him sleep on the bed next time.”
It was strangely calm after that, because Sho seemed to take the whole thing very well - his father had been raging, given, but Sho had seemed fine. More than fine. He was more relaxed, more at peace with life in general, and his colour-coding wasn’t a crazy splutter of a rainbow over every page of study material. They went out again - it was fine, it was a joke, it was living a little despite the rigorous study-schedule Sho had going, the sharpened pencils sorted by length, the pressed slacks.
But slowly a tenseness seeped into Sho’s movements, a hesitating look in his eyes. He closed up on himself like a clam, and when Jun wryly suggested that maybe they should study, it was as though Sho had suddenly snapped. He was in the middle of getting his books out when he froze, whispered a shaken “Oh no,” and shoved his things back into his bag.
“What?” Jun asked, but Sho didn’t even look at him as he walked away, throwing out an, "I have- I have to go," in the opposite direction.
Sho didn’t talk to him from then on. Jun tried to corner him a couple of times, but Sho would always manage to slink away, and after a while Jun stopped trying. There seemed like there was nothing he could do to make Sho talk to him, and when he finally had a last dab at it, showing up at Sho’s house one afternoon where he was just-this-side of politely turned away by Sho’s mother, Jun didn’t see the point of going to school anymore.
“Why are you here, Jun,” Aiba complained one early afternoon, and Jun uncurled from his ball of blankets enough to give Aiba a scathing look. Aiba poked his tongue out. “That look won’t work on me, I’ve seen you in your scanties.”
“How horrifying,” Nino said, giving Aiba a pitying look, “How do you cope?”
Jun shot him an outraged look. “What the hell?”
“You,” Nino gestured vaguely in the direction of the bundle of fabric that contained Jun, “Are moping. Aiba has suffered trauma.”
Jun huffed, “You are deranged. You could give a cow reasons to end up seeing a shrink.”
“Maybe,” Nino considered, “But the first and middle bits would be brilliant.”
Jun made a pained noise and pulled a blanket over his head.
“If nothing else, you should just go out,” Aiba said, “Smell the flowers, pet a dog, eat your weight in melon bread. He is clearly not worth this misery.”
“I,” Jun said very distinctly for being talking through a bunch of blankets, “Have not the slightest idea of what you are talking about. Now go away, I have to get some stuff on the shopping channel.”
He took Aiba’s words to heart and went out, but not to do the lame-ass shenanigans that didn’t in fact deserve to be called shenanigans at all, but Jun had some difficulty sorting out synonyms when he was drunk, so he didn’t.
“Hmm,” Ohno said when Jun stumbled through the door early in the morning, “Aiba said you were in it bad, but I didn’t realise just how bad.”
Jun inhaled an affronted breath. “You shouldn’t trust him, he’s a drunk,” he said in his best rendition of a matter-of-fact voice. Ohno just looked at him silently. “...Fine,” Jun amended, “You’re a drunk.” Silence, and then Jun throwing his arms in the air dramatically. “Alright! I’m a drunk, let’s not get hung up on technicalities here.”
Ohno gazed at him with a concerned expression for the longest moment. Then he asked, “Do you want a hug?”
Jun steadied himself with an arm against the wall next to the stairs and didn’t look at Ohno as he uttered a forlorn “Yes.”
On Jun’s birthday, as he was moping around in the garden for a change, and his mother kept bringing him a never ending supply of colourful fizzy drinks, Sho rang. Sho rang.
A misdial, Jun thought first, after the giddy jolt had settled back into disappointment, and disconnected the call.
The second time it rang Jun got indignant - why was Sho calling him after all this time?
The third time Jun picked up, frazzled and annoyed. He was having a perfectly good time moping, why did the object of said moping have to suddenly find the urge to speak to him? “What?”
He thought maybe he wouldn’t show up. Maybe he should show Sho how it felt. But despite everything, when he finally left the house after having endured far too much of Nino’s mocking, Jun rushed over. Whether it was the want still tingling in his skin or the rage that he told himself it was, he had arrived and was in Sho’s desk chair before he had managed to decide on how to feel about it.
He waited for a while, but Sho didn’t seem to be anywhere close to talking, moving in jittery little stutters of twitching.
"What the hell," Jun said eventually, quite softly, not looking at Sho. "I thought you wanted to talk."
"I-" Sho sounded almost like he was choking.
"You know what? I don't want to talk," Jun snapped. "I don't want to talk to you. You can't just treat people like that."
"I know," Sho whispered, and Jun saw red.
"No, you don't know,” he flared, “What the fuck, Sakurai? I thought you were my friend- I thought you were my best friend, and then one day you just stop talking to me? What the fuck? You can't just do that to people!"
"I-" Sho made the garbled attempt to speak again, but Jun cut him off.
"Why the fuck would you do that to anyone?!" Jun looked up at Sho, feeling the heat of anger bursting on his cheeks.
Sho stared at him. "Are you stupid?!” he cried, “Can you seriously not tell? I'm completely in love with you!"
The room fell quiet for a second, and then Sho panicked, folding in on himself and looking like he was going to be sick. "Oh god, oh shit, I'm sorry-" but Jun wasn’t listening. That was the reason Sho had been avoiding him?
Very slowly and very deliberately, Jun rose from the chair. Sho was looking at him with panic in his eyes, twisting his fingers painfully. Then Jun very deliberately took a step towards Sho, and then pulled him down on the bed, pressing their mouths together and forcing away the panic.
"Jun," Sho managed against Jun’s lips, his eyelashes splashes against his cheeks.
"You're so stupid," Jun said, pressing his nose against the soft spot under Sho’s ear, running his fingers over all the bits of Sho’s body that he had not quite allowed himself to think about. "You're so fucking stupid."
"What?" Sho sounded a bit breathless, stilling a little pressed up against Jun.
It bubbled up without thinking, "I've loved you since I saw you," Jun giggled, all the moping and denying and mockery vanishing in the feeling of Sho’s fingers brushing against his neck softly, "Why do you think I kept talking to your uptight ass?"
He grinned as he pulled Sho down into another kiss, and if one was to judge from the way Sho curled into him, mouth opening against Jun’s and hands finding their way underneath layers of fabric, Sho didn’t mind at all.
(When Jun came home, ruffled and with a gorgeous new set och of hickeys, Aiba spilled a whole jar of pickles over the couch, and Ohno smiled serenely from beside him while Nino cackled like a madman.
On Jun’s bed there was a purple life-size sculpture of a cow made entirely of clay.)