Warnings/Time Continuation: Set before Kisumai’s debut [omedetou lovely boys ♥]
Notes: My guess as to why Nika and Yokoo had a fight, how the ‘space’ of the weekend helped. Thank you to my beta who read this last minute for me.
Original Story: You Will Not Be Alone Then
Original Author: omoikkiri
“Nikaaaa,” Senga calls, waving his hand in the air. “Nikaaaa!” he yells louder, ignoring how the salarymen roll their eyes at the enthusiasm of youth. “Nikaaa!” he snaps, this time impatient.
Nikaido laughs, picking up his pace and taking a few quick jogging steps over to where Senga’s waiting at the combini. “Who told you to come early?” he teases before Senga can whine that he’s been waiting forever. “Your hair is wet,” he notes when Senga drags him inside to buy whatever they’re after.
“I forgot to bring an umbrella,” Senga admits.
“So did I,” Nikaido realises—he left it at the genkan, when he was putting on his shoes.
“So we can get drenched together?” Senga laughs, throwing an arm around Nikaido’s shoulder. “If it’s with Nika, I don’t mind doing anything,” he crows into Nikaido’s ear with warm breath and that small hint of what could be offered. Senga’s a little bit tempting like that.
“You idiot,” Nikaido says with a roll of his eyes and a determined stride in his step. He buys them an umbrella and cans of hot chocolate because Senga made a face at the suggestion of the remaining cans of coffee—black. “Hold the umbrella, will you?” Nikaido requests distractedly as they leave the combini.
Rain patters onto his hair. It’s cold, trickling down his neck and under his collar. He’s shivering and then glaring at Senga.
“Oooh, don’t be mad!” Senga grins, opening up the umbrella. “Don’t be mad at me, Nika.”
“Senga!” Nikaido growls. “Senga Kento!”
Senga just cackles wildly, sheltered from the rain under his umbrella.
The warmth of the drink can isn’t enough to stop Nikaido from shivering. His hands are shaking as he tries to pop the tab—the whole reason why he asked Senga to hold the umbrella in the first place—and damnit, the small aluminium ring keeps slipping from his fingertips. Nikaido lets out a frustrated growl.
“Give it here.”
“I can open it up, Senga!”
“Uh huh, sure. I believe you, Nika.”
Nikaido tries not to shriek in irritation (he’s not Kamenashi Kazuya, thank you very much). He’s getting drenched and his stupid can won’t open.
“What?” he snaps, whirling around to glare at Senga because he’s cold, he’s thirsty and—
“I just thought Nika would want an umbrella over his head,” Senga says sadly with mock sniffles. They’re just a little bit apart, Senga holding the umbrella over their heads. “Or Nika can hold the umbrella.”
“Lazy,” Nikaido grunts as he keeps struggling with his can of hot chocolate. “No, I don’t need you to open it for me, it’s just being stubborn and apparently I’m being inept which shouldn’t really be possible and—”
“Too slow,” Senga complains, snatching the can from Nikaido and running off. With both can and umbrella.
“Senga Kento,” Nikaido roars because he’s forgotten that they’re in public and the middle school boys are staring at them like he’s a madman. The plastic umbrella lies strewn on the street, Nikaido stopping to pick it up and close it. “Senga Kento, you give that back, right now!” he yells as he darts past the people and the crowds of Tokyo past peak hour and around dinnertime. The rain flecks hit his rain lightly, his hair dampening as well.
“You found me,” Senga smirks when Nikaido catches up. The alley behind a restaurant is filled with crates and Senga huddles between two stacks. “Hi there,” he breathes when Nikaido grabs onto his wrist and pries the hot chocolate from his hands.
“Hello,” Nikaido gasps, trying to catch his breath back.
Senga smiles. “That was fun, Nika.”
“Oh my god, we’re going to get sick and die and freeze and get yelled at tomorrow,” Senga wails when they reach the top of the stairs and the train whirls by in a blur of monochrome and windows. He stands on the platform, mouth slightly agape in dismay. “Nikaaaaa!” he exclaims, flapping his arms around. “We’re going to be slaughtered if I oversleep.”
“Taxi. Come on.”
“Nika, are you still mad we stayed out so late?” Senga prods.
“Then?” Senga asks, whine creeping into his voice.
“Taxis are expensive.” He dials a number. Yokoo’s.
“Hello?” A sleep-ridden voice answers, murmuring and low. “Why the hell are you calling at this horrible hour in the morning?” Yokoo groans. “Please don’t tell me you fell over in your bathtub or something along those lines.”
“Drive me home. Senga and I stayed out too late.”
“Wait, what? Nikaido, where are you two? What are you doing out?”
“Look, if you don’t want to pick us up, we’ll just waste an excessive amount of money on a taxi,” Nikaido snaps down the phone. “How about we just get kidnapped by a taxi or have our cash stolen. If you don’t care, just make us walk home.” So maybe he’s being impertinent but he’s cold, his clothes are soaked and he wishes Senga would just stand a little bit closer. “Oh and when Friday or Tokyo Sports News picks up on it, I hope you feel happy—”
The line goes dead.
Nikaido resists the urge to fling his phone down, grabbing Senga by the upper arm and opening up their umbrella as they plod out into the pouring rain. “Freaking,” he mutters, as he and Senga splash through puddles and the water soaks his socks through his shoes.
“Nika,” Senga says, nudging him.
“You know, it was fun.”
“Yes and who was screaming how we’re going to not turn up to practise tomorrow alive and whatnot?”
“I bet Kitamitsu would sleep through his alarm. Then if he’s late, we can focus on that,” Senga realises with a cheeky grin. “Oh, how about Taipi? They’re probably still talking to each other at this hour.”
Nikaido laughs, slinging an arm around his shoulder so they can squish under the umbrella properly. “Yeah, something like that. And then Taipi will look at Kitamitsu because he’s probably sleepy. I wonder if their late night phone calls will turn Kitamitsu nocturnal.”
“Pff, I’m sure they do other things at night.”
“Oh?” Nikaido smirks.
Senga waggles his eyebrows.
Nika rolls his eyes. So even Senga isn’t oblivious to what goes on between their supposed Leaders.
Yokoo’s car pulls off, the water splashing onto the sidewalk. The window slides down, Yokoo glaring from the driver’s seat at Nikaido. He opens his mouth to say something but then shakes his head.
Senga slides into the backseat, Nikaido wrenching open the door for the passenger’s.
“I can’t believe you,” Yokoo hisses through clenched teeth. “Do you have any idea what time it is?” he snaps, looking at the digital car clock.
Of course he does. Of course he knows the time, but Senga’s home safely, they had an enjoyable few hours together and Yokoo didn’t want to pick them up. Until now. Nikaido remains silently, folding his arms across his chest and looking right out the window as the streetlights flash back like tiny little fireflies.
“What if you got sick? You’re both drenched.”
“What do you mean ‘so?’ None of us can afford to get ill.”
“No one asked you to worry,” he snaps back.
The traffic light is red, Yokoo coming to a slow stop. “It’s what I do. Unless you want no one to care and leave Taipi and Kitamitsu to worry about this group by themselves and you know Mitsu’s knee—”
“Fine, then care about other people,” Nikaido replies, miffed. “You know what, just do what you want. I didn’t force you to drive out at night.”
“And what, call your place tomorrow morning asking where the hell are you when you’re sick in bed with pneumonia?”
“I don’t need you to care,” Nikaido yells.
Yokoo is quiet, just for a second. Just until the next traffic light. For the rest of the drive.
When Nikaido gets out of the car, he tries to find the words to apologise, to say that maybe those words were uncalled for. But why? He doesn’t say it. Instead Nikaido stomps into his home (quietly, he doesn’t want to wake his family), dripping all the way from the genkan to the bathroom.
Tama-chan is sitting in a corner with Miyata, laughing over some manga release when Nikaido’s in for the day. Of course, he’d usually join them, dragging Senga into the fray but no, he can’t.
“What?” Nikaido snaps.
Yokoo just casts him a disappointed glance before sitting on the wooden floorboards to do his stretches.
“Really mature, Watta,” Nikaido says under his breath.
“Just like staying out late in the rain when everyone’s trying to pull their weight?” Yokoo retorts quietly.
“Oh, is that it? You think I’m not serious about this group?”
“No, I’m just thinking you’re being an idiot, that’s all.”
Nikaido sits down to down his own stretches. He can’t. His blood is boiling, his muscles tensed all over and somehow, he rips of his sneaker and hurls it at Yokoo’s head. “What I do in my spare time is up to me. Why do you care?”
“I care about this group!”
“So do I!” Nikaido shouts, throwing the other sneaker.
“Guys,” Senga pleads desperately from where he’s in the corner with Tamamori and Miyata. “Don’t fight.”
Yokoo grabs a pillow from the couch, hurling it right at Nikaido. It hits, right on target. “You have a funny way of showing it!”
And it carries on, stupid little accusations that Nikaido blurts out, rebutting everything Yokoo hurls at him because the words hurt, because he does care. He cares about all of them, even if he doesn’t mind getting his way with Kitamitsu if he pulls the ‘I’m second youngest’ card and sometimes sneaking off with Senga to hang out. But he does care.
Yokoo, stupid caring Yokoo has no right to say otherwise.
“Enough,” Kitayama shouts when he turns up, pulling Yokoo back before Nikaido can leap at him to stop beating his face into the ground. “What’s gotten into you two?”
“Fine, take his side,” Nikaido snaps, stomping out of the room because if anything, Kitayama should have spoken to him first. Yokoo’s the most responsible one, Nikaido seethes even if he does pass a pertified Senga on his way to the vending machine. Because Yokoo’s been in this group with Kitayama and Fujigaya longer, because they can stick together whilst Nikaido—
“Nika,” Senga calls after him, voice cracking.
Nikaido stops. He turns. “What?”
“Well, I’m not going back in there,” he snaps.
Senga shrinks back, looking smaller than an ant. “But Nika,” he protests quietly. “You both were just angry. And I made us stay out longer, maybe if I talked to Watta, maybe he won’t yell at you. We shouldn’t fight. Even Kitamitsu doesn’t want us to fight. He’s in there, trying to reason with Watta.”
“Well of course he’ll reason with Watta, he’ll even take his side,” Nikaido yells before turning on his heel. He walks to the vending machine, kicking it when it doesn’t give him the drink he wants. He growls when the stupid machine won’t give him back his change.
Kitayama’s hand is on his shoulder. “Let’s try the one upstairs,” he suggests.
He relents, only because he’s Leader.
No, he relents because well, he’s Kitayama. Nikaido follows quietly, watching as Kitayama gets three cans of soft drink, holding on to his forehead. “Feels good,” Nikaido mumbles, the coolness of the can toning down his former fury at Yokoo.
“Just calm down a bit, yeah? You two should talk but—”
“I don’t want to talk to him!” Nikaido insists.
Kitayama looks at him grimly. “I know,” he mutters before dragging Nikaido back for practise.
It’s the gazes from all of them, in particular Miyata—even Tamamori who would space out (Where is Taipi?), but it’s Miyata who’s eyes hold all that concern and worry. Like one argument could break them apart because the future is so near but out of their grasp.
Kitayama hands Senga one of the soft drinks.
“Spoil him, go ahead,” Yokoo says under his breath when Nikaido takes a sip out of his own drink.
“Can you just lay off?” Nikaido snaps.
“Can we just get some practise done here?” their choreographer asks desperately, oblivious to the slow brewing storm around them.
It gnaws away at his nerves, whenever Kitayama talks to Yokoo.
Doesn’t he know that Yokoo’s accusations are completely senseless?
Nikaido does care about the group, he does worry and even if he stomps out whenever Kitayama talks to Yokoo, even if he’s pretending to ignore how tightly Tamamori is gripping onto Miyata’s hoodie sleeve or the fact that Taipi is not there, he can’t pretend Senga doesn’t exist.
Their youngest member, not a baby but still playing adult games, stuck.
“Don’t blame yourself,” Nikaido tells him when they sit in the men’s bathroom on dry sinks. “This isn’t your fault.”
“You’re fighting and because I made us stay out late,” Senga insists quietly. “If you would just—”
“Watta is a stupid, pigheaded idiot that said I don’t care. How’d you like it if I said you don’t care?” Nikaido snaps. “If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be here with you.”
I wouldn’t watch as Kitayama looks after you because I can’t do that, Nikaido realises. He’s not strong enough yet, to put aside his pride like Kitayama. He’s not like their strong, invincible big brother or maybe Yokoo who’s hurling words of hurt just to make sure they know where they stand in this endless sparkling world. Time for their oldest members (even for Fujigaya, Fujigaya whose smile is the brightest), it’s running out.
“You care, but we all care about you as well. Watta doesn’t want you to be like this,” Senga adds gently.
Nikaido rolls his eyes. “So? It’s not like I’m going to talk to him about this. I don’t ever want to talk to him again.”
The bathroom door flies open.
Yokoo stands there, not sure what to say.
He wants to take it back, every little horrible accusation but what’s done is done, Nikaido realises. He wouldn’t be fighting with Yokoo if the guy didn’t care. It’s obvious enough, how they’re about to fall apart—maybe, anyways—because they’re idiotic boys.
“Kitamitsu is looking for you,” Yokoo says quietly to Senga. “He’s got some soft drink for you.”
Kitayama sits down across him, instant ramen with the steam rising. “So Yokoo told me.”
“Well, I’m not surprised,” Nikaido snaps viciously. He gets up to leave, chair clattering to the floor from the sudden movement.
“Saying things like that, especially in a place like this, hurts people very easily,” Kitayama reminds him. “You’ve been in this business, in this Jimusho long enough. You know Watta. You know me. You know yourself. Think. I know what he said might have been harsh—”
“It’s wrong,” Nikaido insists.
“But you’re carrying on,” Kitayama notes. “You’re carrying on like a princess—don’t give me that look—whilst he’s just sulking. It’s more obvious than day that everyone’s unhappy but be a bit reasonable, Nikaido. Do you want us to break up?”
“Why do you think like that? We won’t break up,” Nikaido growls.
Kitayama looks at him, reservation and patience on display but everything else, all hidden behind the professional leader he was chosen to be. “Nika. Just…”
He storms out before Kitayama can keep reasoning.
Of course he doesn’t want them to break up.
Well, Nikaido doesn’t know.
Senga calls him over the weekend. “Same combini?” he asks timidly, almost afraid that Nikaido will snap at him and hang up (which Nikaido is almost tempted to do but it’s Senga and if everyone gives in to him, he might as wel give in to Senga).
They meet in the evening.
Yokoo’s standing outside the combini, arms folded as well.
“We,” Yokoo starts, glaring at the two of them, “are going to drink coffee, watch a movie then I’ll drive you home and you can both turn up to practise on time and not be soaked from the rain.”
Nikaido bites back the urge to point out it’s not raining. “What movie?”
They let Senga choose, Yokoo paying for the tickets and Nikaido sneaking the snacks and drinks in via his totally unsuspicious bag. (“It’s a manpurse,” Senga insists, waving his own manpurse. Yokoo only rolls his eyes and doesn’t comment.)
It’s after the movie that Yokoo makes a call to Miyata and Tamamori, laughing when he hangs up.
“They went to Disneyland. Because they thought we’d be jealous about that and maybe it’s something else to fight about instead,” he laughs, shaking his head. Yokoo pulls Senga away from the curb as a car comes speeding by. “What are you, crazy? Don’t jay-walk!”
“Toshiyaaaa,” Senga mock whines, turning to Nikaido with his most charming smile. “Defend me, will you?”
He can only roll his eyes because he’s not going to get into a fight over—
Of course. That scheming little…
“You,” he accuses, pointing his finger at Senga whilst Yokoo yells: “I should have known!”
Senga grins and runs all the way down the street whilst Yokoo drags Nikaido along so they can give chase and corner him in an alley when the thunder starts rumbling they everything is grey and drab. It’s cold, the stone walls that they press Senga against, one hundred thousand accusations flying.
“Hi,” Senga says to both of them. He’s smiling, even if Nikaido is about to shake him back and forth and yell abuse at his ingenius plan. “Was it fun?”
He messages Yokoo once he gets out of the car.
“I didn’t mean it,” his message reads.
Yokoo’s reply is of course, brief. “I know.”
Nikaido rolls his eyes. Idiot.
Although, on Monday, Kitayama looks worse for wear. It’s like the world’s crashed right down over their leader’s head and then perhaps an anvil came along with it because Kitayama is fighting to keep himself going, even if everyone is somewhat okay.
(Somewhat, not really. Okay for sure because Senga manged to get a soft drink out of Yokoo—Nikaido laughed at Yokoo’s long suffering expression.
“This is what you get for making up with me,” he mocks.
Yokoo throws his own empty drink can at Nikaido.)
So they manage to wrangle a break out of their choreographer, something on the grounds of exhaustion and if the jimusho really cared about them, breaks were completely necessary or else all of them will go on strike and rally the chibiko Juniors to join in as well. They get five minutes.
Nikaido takes a step forward but Yokoo tugs him back.
“Let them be,” he advises as soft murmurs pass between the two.
“I should say sorry.”
“You didn’t say sorry to me!”
“I took it all back, didn’t I?” Nikaido mutters, watching as Kitayama lets his head rest in Fujigaya’s lap.
“Well, apologise by getting us a longer break,” Yokoo directs as he gathers Tamamori and Miyata out from their corner. He nudges Senga towards Nikaido. “You two get to distract. I’m going to find Mitsu a blanket so he can actually sleep on Taipi.”
After much persuasion (more begging and promises that they totally would master those new steps after a half hour break, really), Nikaido joins the small circle forming where Fujigaya sits next to Yokoo with Kitayama sprawled out between the two of them. No one misses how Fujigaya has his fingers in Kitayama’s hair whilst Kitayama is clinging to Taipi’s waist like it’s a lifeline.
“Well,” Nikaido says, awkward now that he’s broken the silence.
Senga links arms with him, smothering his face right into the crook of Nikaido’s neck. “Nika can be my pillow. Tama-chan has Miyata. It’s only fair, right?”
“Yeah, we’re each other’s pillows,” Nikaido says with a smile. “What about Yokoo though?”
Kitayama lets out a content sigh. “No one has a set pillow. Except for me. Everyone lets me sleep on them and no one complains.”
Of course not Leader, they think silently.