Group/Pairing: Kanjani 8, Gen, some hidden Yasu/Subaru
Notes: Remix to Waking Up, because I loved the story too much not to remix it.
Link to Original Story: Waking Up
Link to Original Writer: elyndys
At 3:14pm, on the 13th of February, the world as Subaru knows it ends.
It feels like the first time all over again.
The distant cheer of the crowd, the tingling in his fingertips, his voice humming melodies, the sticky air of rooms cramped with rushing people and metallic pillars. He loves this feeling, loves being with everyone, loves how Maru would be sitting in a corner doing some kind of Yoga thing while Ohkura would be trying to steal some food from Yoko who is too busy complaining to Hina that his pants were too uncomfortable. Ryo would be trying to tune his guitar for the fifth time and Yasu… Yasu would smile at him, reassuringly, before putting on those pants that might as well be a skirt.
This time there is no place left for someone doing some Yoga exercises and no one is complaining about sequined skirt-pants. Guitar tuning doesn’t sound the same when it’s not Ryo doing it and there is no smile, only brotherly hands on his shoulder, wishing him luck and success and five seconds later he is standing at the exit, ready to leave for stage where he can hear the first chords of music.
And finally he is where he belongs.
Sometimes, when he happens to have a day off, he notices his Nintendo DS lying in a corner of his couch, somewhere between an empty Ramen cup and a half-empty bottle of Coke, where most of the gas had already left.
It’s moments like these he misses Yokoyama Yuu the most.
It makes him look for that Dragon Quest game he still has to return to Yoko and switch on his computer, logging in to MonHan to find the other guy online and it feels good to just scream some commands into his headset instead of having to explain anything.
Yoko is still around, so they occasionally stumble over across other, and sometimes they even find the time to have some coffee together. Or beer. Because beer makes everything so much easier to handle.
Sometimes he thinks Yoko must hate him, really hate him, because all he does is play minor parts of useless detectives in not-so-prime-time-dramas and make stupid comments on even more stupid variety shows.
But then Yoko pays for another round of beer and Subaru thinks that maybe, just maybe, Yoko might not hate him as much as he thinks.
He tries not to miss Yasu, though.
“How about moving? There’s a free apartment near the studio. You would need less than five minutes to get to work. Think about how convenient it would be!”
Really, how convenient it would be, not being forced to remember evenings he spent with Yasu, drinking and talking and writing music every time he passes his couch.
So he moves out.
Hina would make pretty goofy football player, he sometimes thinks and chuckles, taking another sip of his beer.
He does not miss Yasu.
Being on tour is different when you are alone.
He remembers sights and places and that special type of ramen.
The beer tastes different, though. And sunburns don’t feel the same when you don’t get them looking for crabs.
Then again he thinks that maybe he really is too old for being in a boy band, because a boy band should usually consist of teenagers and not thirty-somethings.
It is only normal, he thinks, that there is a point where you start to think about the future and the past and suddenly everything gets blurry only to get sharp again when you’ve spent too much time thinking about everything.
It is normal, he thinks, that there is a point where friends cannot stay friends anymore because friends never stay, especially when you were forced to be friends. It was bound to break sooner or later.
Besides, you’re supposed to get out when the going is good, aren’t you?
Sometimes he sees a particularly pretty girl in a café, one of those girls who are classy and clever, brown hair and short skirts, not too much make-up but a nice and expensive handbag and that’s when his thoughts wander to Ohkura Tadayoshi.
Dating, love, even marriage. Ohkura was the one who had suffered the most, it seems. He had tried, the single members knew very well, but girls are not happy with secret dates and telling lies and eventually he simply couldn’t bear it any longer.
Either a secret relationship and the fear of getting caught or no relationship at all.
Subaru sighs. And thinks that maybe he did Ohkura a favour.
There is no way Ohkura could not be happy this way.
Yasu was too flashy to be missed.
The new apartment is awfully big. And empty.
There is no time to paint the walls because the band is scheduled to leave for a tour three days later, so Subaru just takes over what’s already in the apartment and maybe adds a microwave.
When he comes back from their tour, he has to call his manager after trying to open his old front door with his new keys, to ask where the new apartment is.
In the corner of his eye he sees the flash of a camera and he remembers Maruyama Ryuuhei.
He remembers Maru struggling, he remembers Hina complaining that Maru wouldn’t answer his calls and remembers not remembering when it was the last time he had actually heard anything from Maru.
And maybe he regrets it. Regrets it because he sees how he made others suffer, how he split friendships and destroyed purposes.
He really doesn’t miss Yasu.
There are roughly 40 people in this place and maybe it still feels as empty as it always does.
Subaru opens the door for the umpteenth time this evening, revealing unknown faces with unknown names and an unknown amount of alcohol and eventually he feels even emptier, despite being abundant in people.
He spots his team members somewhere and there’s a small group of people he hasn’t seen before so he decides that he wants to talk to them, because that’s what he’s here for, isn’t it?
Those are the things he used to love, having a small party with lots of people to talk with about music and work and cute girls. And maybe he could talk to strangers about music, they do know him, at least well enough to come to this, his, party, so they must have some rather decent taste in music.
But there’s the sound of shattering glass and he is dragged into his kitchen instead, catching only a glimpse of the people he wanted to talk to in the corner of his eyes, enjoying themselves without him.
The kitchen is empty but for broken glass on the floor and before he can blink, he slips.
He has a terrible headache when he comes to and there’s blood on his hand, but all he hears is the loud bass of his stereo in the distance. Everything seems to be okay.
He can’t make out the group of people he wanted to talk to before and assumes that the group must have left or has parted. So he sighs, fishes for a bottle of beer from the fridge and sits down next to his band members on the couch.
Subaru shrugs and opens his bottle, listening to the conversation around him.
“As I said, there aren’t enough solos in there.” Subaru blinks.
“Maybe, but we don’t do instrumentals, do we?” Subaru blinks again.
“I think we should add more solos and instrumentals and skip the whole rock stuff. How about letting someone else sing the refrain?”
What follows is both planned and spontaneous, just like most of the things Subaru does these days.
“I think I should quit.”
The moment he knocks into something and a deep blue bruise starts to form on his leg, he thinks about Nishikido Ryo the most.
It’s impossible to forget Ryo, because Ryo is on television and radio and pretty much everywhere else, be it with News, as an actor, or promoting some styling gel.
The Ryo he sees on TV is different, though. He remembers Ryo being shy on Janiben, remembers Ryo being sleepy and cute in a Dokkiri, but now he sees the being cool and quiet Nishikido Ryo with News, nodding and commenting on how awful Kato’s hairstyle is and Subaru feels a tingle of regret creeping into his fingertips.
Ryo was not been there when the remaining members of the former band had met to discuss their possible futures.
Before he could leave the building, Subaru was held back by the distinctive fist of Nishikido connecting with one of his cheeks in a non-so-charming way, though, making him struggle to stay on his feet.
He could hear Ryo mumble something that sounded dangerously close to “asshole”, but when he looked up to face his friend, he was greeted with a dead-serious expression and five seconds later he felt Ryo’s knuckles land right next his cheekbones and this time it was unsettling.
Subaru had to use his hands for support and could hear Nishkido saying “That was for Yasu”, turning his back.
He deserved those injuries.
As if he would ever miss Yasu.
Three fucking years.
He’s still back where he had started, maybe even further away, because this time there are no Rainbow Rangers on the line, just five boys that might as well make it without him but with quite a number of solos.
It’s something he’d never planned but something that had been on his mind on these days he actually had time to be alone in his empty apartment.
Some would call it ‘creative difference’ - he would call it envy.
What follows are weeks of depression.
Shibutani Subaru is not one to sulk in a corner, of course , but he is one to pour his heart out to paper, to get lost in women and beer and guitar chords.
He would wish for friends, but he wouldn’t dare to call these people he had lost a long time ago, not even Yoko.
Who is he kidding? He misses Yasu the most. But when even Subaru hates himself, he doesn’t need to guess how much hate Yasu has collected. Six years is a long time to collect reasons to hate somebody.
His apartment gets bigger with every day, every hour, reeking of female perfume and take-away food, and when he has to wade through sheets of lyric-filled paper on his floor, he remembers a certain house in Okinawa but decides that no, Shibutani Subaru isn’t the person to live on an Island, so he takes some time off and visits his mother instead.
Yasu was the first one to say something. Which still hurts.
Subaru had never thought that Yasu of all people would leave the entertainment industry. Yasu, with his love for music and his short fingers, his rather interesting taste in fashion and his big heart and everything about him was perfect for the world of show business.
Subaru tried to avoid thinking about Yasu’s sad eyes he had the moment words were spoken and a break up was irreversible.
Subaru could have called. He know he could have called because Yasu is the kind of person who would be terribly heartbroken and disappointed, but would forgive someone if that person spoke long enough, lulled by nice words and an even nicer atmosphere.
But he didn’t want Yasu to be lulled into forgiving him, so he decided that it would be better to have Yasu hating him instead of Yasu faking forgiveness.
So Subaru can make up things in his mind now, and with time there are huge piles of papers in his room filled with thoughts of warm smiles, of blunt anger and of longed lust.
The words come easy - words were never difficult to find - but his fingers won’t make his guitar spill the right cords to apologize, so the words stay on paper and the paper stays in his room until he decides to put it away.
It’s a very nice shop. Small but cosy, a bit shabby with strips of wallpaper coming from the walls and the window broken in some dozen places and still the best place in the world to Subaru.
Because it makes him remember the mistakes he made and what made him who he is today.
There’s enough money left to hire contractors, but he fixes up the shop alone, coming home early in the morning with blisters on his hands and stains on his pants and when the first CD racks are built, he takes an afternoon off and gets a haircut and buys some glossy vinyl sleeves from a small back alley vintage shop on his way back home.
At 6:26am, on the 23rd of August, Shibutani Subaru wakes up from a dream.