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Jul. 16th, 2017

Two-way Street

Things don't always work out how you planned. Masuda Takahisa knew this as a fashion guru, an idol, a friend, a sibling, a son. There were some things in life you couldn't control, and you shouldn't really be aggravated by it.

One of those things was seated across from him, blond and unusually bubbly for there to not be any cameras around.

“Maaaaassuuuuuu~!”

“Could you not yell like that? I'm right here. What do you want?” Masuda was looking over his notes for tour costumes and couldn't be bothered with any loudmouths named Tegoshi at the moment. Koyama had left earlier to get some sleep before Every, Shige was plucking at his guitar in the corner, and Massu was busy...doing stuff. Tegoshi, slouching in the chair across from him, was the antithesis of busy.

“I have today and tomorrow off with nothing to do,” Tegoshi whined. “Let's go do something, Ma-su-da.” Each syllable accompanied by a poke to one of Massu’s cheeks. He really was being a pest. “C’mon, let's go out for drinks. We haven't hung out together in a long time.”

Massu spared him a quick glance. “That's because I'm not interested,” he said nonchalantly. He went back to scribbling something next to a sketch. “You kiss people when you’re drunk, Tegoshi. It always happens, and I’m not eager to experience that, ever again.” The last bit he added in a terse whisper.

Tegoshi frowned and he indignantly said, “Hold on a minute, does this mean we're talking about-”

Shige piped up with a, “Why are you two whispering?” and Massu jumped

from his seat, his notes immediately forgotten and clapped a hand over Tegoshi's mouth. The younger man's eyes went wide. So he was right. Tegoshi would be the one to bring up the one thing that Massu didn't want to be reminded of. It was a nuisance. It needed to stay buried in the corners of his mind, never to see the light of day again. He stuck Tegoshi with a warning glare before letting his hand fall back to his side. Massu didn't have to look at him to know there was a smirk on his partner's face. Shige saw it, shook his head and decided he didn't want to know anymore. He put on his headphones and turned on some music loud enough to where he couldn't hear their conversation.

“So that's it, huh Taka-chan?” Tegoshi asked. “I get it. But it's not fair.” He walked around the table and stood next to him. Massu thought the sensation creeping up his spine must be the same thing cage divers feel when they're being circled by a shark. Nerve wracking.

“If you would just let me talk, things would be so much easier between us.” For someone so short, Massu had to admit that his partner gave off a very intimidating aura as he stared at him with a raised brow and crossed arms. However, Massu had worked with Tegoshi one on one for such a long time that he'd gotten over it and was able to respond with a withering look of his own.

“I don't want to talk about this right now,” he muttered. He stuffed the folder he'd been scribbling in back into his messenger bag and quickly sidestepped Tegoshi, making his way to the door. His fingers had just touched the handle when he felt Tegoshi's firm grasp on his shoulder.

“I do,” said the quiet voice in his ear. Lips brushed ever so lightly against the lobe. Lips that shouldn't be there. Massu shivered.

“I want to talk, Massu,” Tegoshi pleaded. There was sincerity there now. Massu could tell. Damn, it was so much easier to ignore the man when he was playing around. “We need to. You can't just… It's not fair that… dammit.” Tegoshi's grip was quickly replaced by the weight of his arms as he threw them around his partner, his face pressed against the back of Massu's neck.

Massu felt his face flush crimson against his will. He hoped Shige wasn't looking. He could smell Tegoshi's cologne and hoped to God it wouldn't linger on his jacket, he was meeting Nakamaru later, he didn't want to have to answer any questions. He hoped the way Tegoshi's arms felt as they wrapped around his frame wouldn't visit him in his sleep tonight. He was frozen in place. This was literally too much to process right now.

“You're not being fair, Taka.”

Masuda heard the catch in his voice, the slight waver. God, he had to get away. This was exactly what he needed, he thought ruefully, to be emotional along with Tegoshi. He shook his head, gently shrugging the younger man's arms away. “I know it's not fair,” he replied. “But I just… I can't.” That sounded so weak when he said it out loud. He couldn't look at him, though, not now. Not with all of these unwanted thoughts and feelings swirling around in the back of his mind. He said bye to Shige, opened the door and stepped into the hallway buzzing with activity, Tegoshi close on his heels. There was a tug on his jacket as he stepped away. Such an insistent blond.

“Tomorrow.” He looked over his shoulder at pitiful puppy dog eyes. “We'll talk tomorrow, Tegoshi. I promise.” That seemed to satisfy him. Tegoshi let go of Massu’s jacket and took a step back, a smile on his face.

“It's a date, then.”

¤¤¤¤

“He called it date?” Nakamaru took a sip of his drink.

Massu shrugged. “It's an expression in some countries.”

“It's gonna be a date.”

“I don't know what you're talking about. Are you going to finish that or should I?” Massu was trying to ignore the glint in his friend's eyes.

“...Have fun patching things up with your boyfriend tomorrow~”

“Shut up.”

¤¤¤¤

“You know…”

“Yeah?”

“When you called today a date, I wasn't expecting it to be so much like...a date.”

“I don't waste words, Massu.”

“I see that.”

The day had started with a wake up call from Tegoshi telling Massu that he'd be over to pick him up in two hours. He didn't give his partner any time to respond, just hung up, so Masuda decided now was as good a time as any to get ready for the day. He'd picked out an outfit the night before, just like always, and after washing up, got dressed and took his time doing his hair. Just like always. It had nothing to do with spending a day with Tegoshi, he kept telling himself. Not at all.

They went window shopping, stopped for ice cream, even had some time to catch a movie, after which they came here. Massu looked at their surroundings again. Nice restaurant, a room off to the side just for them, good wine, even better food judging by the smell. He was gobsmacked when Tegoshi told him that Massu didn’t have to worry about paying his half. Who… who died and replaced the egocentric little blond he’d come to expect over the years, the one who always insisted others pay his share? No, Masuda wouldn’t question it. This would probably never happen again.

A waiter brought in their food, something fancy for Tegoshi, and something equally fancy for Massu that the blond had recommended. It looked incredible and he couldn’t wait to dig in, but was wary all the same. This was becoming irritating. They made small talk while eating and for the most part, if Massu ignored the aroma of the wine in front of him and the soft music playing in the background, it felt like a normal outing. Until he heard Tegoshi clear his throat, and looked across the table to see him tilting his wine glass back and forth, watching the crimson drink swirl around.

He watched transfixed as Tegoshi worried his bottom lip, something he'd stopped doing in public for the most part, and furrowed his brow for a moment before he spoke.

“I've thought about this a lot. What I would say. How I would say it. And now that we're here like this I can't find the right words.”

Massu took a sip from his own glass, the alcohol warming a path down his throat reminding him that this conversation was actually happening. His chest tightened. “Tegoshi don't bother. This is pointless, just forget-”

“I can’t do that. I’m sorry, Massu.”

There were tears shimmering in his eyes, his voice was hard with determination, and Masuda was reminded anew why he'd never wanted to have this conversation in the first place. Not because he didn't care about Tegoshi, no. It was the exact opposite.

He cared way too much.

He couldn't stand admitting it because it was his one secret weakness. But here he was, his eyes already glossing over because he knew what Tegoshi was going to say. He couldn't find the words to make him stop.

Tegoshi continued on. “Yesterday I had a hard time...I was trying to be transparent, honestly. I wanted to be. Massu, I hurt you, and I'm sorry. What we were...it was good. It was better than good, actually. You balanced me, Massu. You complete me.” He paused to chew on his lip again. Judging by how cracked they were, he'd been doing it a lot lately. “I should've told you how I felt about Kei-chan. Getting drunk… I shouldn't have used that as an excuse to confess. I should've been honest with him, and myself, and you… I didn’t know how to tell you, Massu. I’m sorry.”

There was no getting around it now. Massu remembered everything clearly. Things had been slightly awkward between himself, Tegoshi and Koyama after he’d read that interview blurb from the latter. Shige had brought it to him, his puffy eyes signalling a night of tears over the short piece of script. Massu understood why, since he knew Shige had secretly harbored feelings for Kei-chan for years. Likewise, Shige knew about Massu’s relationship with Tegoshi. Massu had stared at the print, mouth open; he'd felt angry, confused, hurt… He hadn't properly broken up with Tegoshi after that either, just ignored the man every chance he got. He reasoned that it was fine, since Tegoshi didn't even attempt to have a conversation with him afterwards, just countered Massu's coldness with shady little quips of his own, at least for the first month. They'd eventually scaled it back to something resembling civility, but that anger and pain, the sense of betrayal Massu felt was always hiding beneath the surface.

Coming back to the present, he studied the blonde across the way from him for a while. The smile he was known for was missing from his visage, replaced by an uncharacteristic frown. He looked so sad, so apologetic, the negative emotions that Massu had dredged up subconsciously dissipated at the sight. For the first time in a long time Massu was seeing the Tegoshi that existed beneath the mask of “idol”; it was only fair then, that he drop his own stony exterior.

“Yeah….you did hurt me, Tegoshi.” The blonde in question seemed to get even smaller in his seat, unable to look Massu in the eye. Massu drank the last of his glass before continuing. “I would've been okay with it if you would've just told me. We could've talked about it, figured something out. You didn't give me that chance.”

Tegoshi was so absorbed in looking at everything but his companion that he didn't hear the sound of chair legs scraping across soft carpet, or the padded footsteps that followed, which worked to Massu's advantage. He slowly lowered his arms around the blond's hunched shoulders and felt them rise as he gasped.

“Relationships are a two way street,” he muttered near Tegoshi's ear. “You know that, but you decided the direction it would take on your own. So yes, I got mad at you. I had a right. And I'm still upset with you. But... I forgive you.”

It took everything in him not to tell Tegoshi to shut up when the only words that would come out of his mouth were, “What, what, what? But...But….” He reasoned having Tegoshi repeat the same words in shock was better than carrying on a monologue by himself.

“What I'm trying to say is...I’ve spent so much time being hurt and waiting for an apology, I didn't realize how I was hurting you. So I'm sorry too, Tegoshi.” Massu lingered for a second more and returned to his seat shortly after. What he'd just done had been nothing but spur of the moment emotionalism, something he knew he should steer clear of with his ex, but at this point, after going on a date with said ex who’d handled everything just so he could properly apologize…. Well, he may as well cut him some slack.

The ride back to Massu's home was filled with idle chatter which trickled to a stop when they pulled up to their destination. Tegoshi was biting his lip again and Massu called him out on it.

“I'll stop if you kiss me.”

“We just made up, you're kidding right?”

“Do I look like I'm kidding?” Tegoshi leaned over with his eyes closed, lips slightly puckered, waiting.

“You're ridiculous, you know that?”

Massu sighed and pressed his lips quickly against Tegoshi's forehead. He got out of the car laughing and as he stepped inside, he heard Tegoshi whining about how unfair he was.

Oh well, Massu thought.

That's how life works.

Things don't always work out how you planned.

Feb. 11th, 2017

A Love Not Quite Lost

Title: A Love Not Quite Lost
Author: ta_chan_92
Rating: M for language
Pairing: Nishikato
Genre: Angst/Romance
Summary: Some years after our boys become a 4-nin group, Shige gets an unexpected visitor.

Five years ago to the day, his life had been completely turned on its head. Of course it had affected the other members as well, as Shige still remembered the nearly visceral heartbreak that hung in the air after the announcement was made. But for him, the pain had been twofold. He recalled how a few minutes after that he'd excused himself and left their dressing room to clear his head. How he'd only taken a few deep breaths before the click of the door opening brought him back into focus. And then how he'd felt like god, or the universe, or what the fuck ever had an absolutely fucked up sense of humor to send Ryo - of all people - after him at that time, in that moment, on that day. The day Ryo had called it off.

As if him and Yamashita leaving at the same time wasn't shocking enough, as if the uncertainty of the future of News hadn't just dealt him a blow he wasn't taking well at all; send in his brand new ex to try to comfort him, may as well crush his heart in one blow.

He’d nothing nice to say to Ryo back then. Shige, who was normally so reserved and well-kept, had lit into his senpai. He'd dumped everything he felt on his shoulders, set the blame on him like kindling, struck the match and threw it, hoping Ryo would burn. He never looked back, either. Except for once every year since then, when the guilt would rush over him so heavily he could barely function. He'd plan his day off in advance, stock up on everything he could think of that would bring him comfort and shut himself off from the world.

It was on that same day five years later that his past came to visit him in the form of a knock at his door and jingling keys. There was nothing out of the ordinary about it; Koyama had a spare set and would frequently let himself in to bring Shige food and small gifts he'd pick up on his travels. The gestures were never lost on his friend and Shige had always made it a point to return the affection in kind. He got up from his blanket cocoon and tried to brush out the wrinkles in his shirt before leaving his room. He didn't feel like being fussed over by his worry prone friend. He did his best to put on a smile, hoping it would be distraction enough from his puffy red eyes.

“You haven't changed at all.”

The words were spoken by a husky, much too familiar voice that had the hair on the back of Shige’s neck standing on end. He was momentarily afraid to turn and face the source, afraid that he, too, remembered those moments as if they’d happened just yesterday. He shoved the sudden and unwelcome insecurity aside and lifted his eyes to meet the smaller, older, sparkling ones of Nishikido.

Shige’s first attempt at speaking failed on his lips. It left his mouth as a breath, whether in indignance or disbelief, he didn’t know. “What are you doing here?” It was one of many questions running through his mind.

“Nice to see you too, Shige.” They stood at odds, Ryo slightly slouched with his hands in his pockets, Shige standing ramrod straight. “I’ve been talking to Kei-chan,” the older Osakan continued. “I’d been thinking about you...especially with today coming up so soon, and I just... wanted to see your face.” He grinned. His teeth were still just as white, his eyes still crinkled in all the same spots as they did years ago. “So here I am.”

“...why,” Shige asked before he realized it. He was defensive. Angered. Hurt. “Why do you show up now, and here, after all this time? I haven’t seen you or heard from you since then, all those years ago, and you choose today of all days to just drop by unannounced and you think I’ll just be giddy as hell to see you?” His voice was getting louder, and he felt more irate, but he didn’t care as he crossed the floor between them in a few steps. “I don’t know what fantasy world you live in, Nishikido-san, but here’s a tip: today is not the day to fuck with me!”

They were eye to eye now. One with his hands balled into fists, the other fighting to keep his cool.

“Why,” he asked again, breathless, searching for an answer in the other man's eyes, a twitch of his mouth, anything.

It came in the form of swift hands grabbing his shoulders, fingers deftly trailing through his unkempt hair, and a heartbreaking, soul crushing, long overdue kiss. Ryo kissed him over and over, breaking down the carefully built defences Shige had been crafting for years in the aftermath of their breakup. All of the negativity he'd harbored rose to the surface for air only to be smothered by Ryo's lips against his own.

There was a brief pause while Ryo caught his breath, stroking Shige’s cheek gently enough to stoke the small fire in the pit of his stomach. “Because I missed you,” he answered. “I missed you, Shige.” His voice broke and once again Shige's breaths and wines were swallowed up by Ryo’s deep kisses. Not that he had anything else to say after that. Back then Ryo had always told Shige that there was no one else for him, and Shige had forgotten. In his hurt and anger, he'd turned Ryo into the villain, the betrayer, but he'd never once asked the other man why he'd come to that decision. Now that his reasoning wasn't clouded by pain, he realized that he would eventually get his answer in time.

They were a tangle of arms and legs on their way to his bed, and after they'd stripped and Ryo had teased Shige to his breaking point so many times, they melted into each other and Ryo wrecked him over and over until they were both spent and drenched in sweat. And for the first time in a long time, with Ryo's arm draped over Shige's waist, the other's breathing and heartbeat a familiar score, they both knew that they would be okay.