Pairing: Sakumiya, Juntoshi, and a surprise at the end
Rating/Warnings: Language, gay references
Summary: Where Nino thinks Sho is gay and Aiba helps.
Notes: So here it is! This was the story I wrote for arashikuro at the great Arashi Fanfiction Exchange. I'm so glad that she liked it because me and my beta worked really hard together on it. Twishie is literally the person who keeps my creative brain alive. Comments are love! Thank you so very much for reading!!
Nino had always been good at observing people. He was so good that he often knew things about others that they themselves didn’t even know. For example, he could tell from the first time Jun and Ohno met that they would end up together. It wasn’t a very special meeting, but just at the way their eyes met and lingered Nino knew that his best friend was going to fall head over heels over the then-short-shrimp, and that Nino was going to have fun watching it all unfold.
He also knew right away whenever Aiba was having insecurities with his confidence. Aiba was always happy and smiling even when they weren’t working, but sometimes an unusual certain subtle look in his eyes betrays his uncertainty. The look only showed up maybe once a year, but when it did appear Nino knew exactly what to do. He always insisted on taking his friend out to dinner where, god forbid, he paid(he makes sure Aiba pays it back tenfold somehow anyway) and got Aiba as drunk as he could so he could forget, even for a little while, whatever it was that made him so sad.
Because Nino knew he was so good at reading others, he couldn’t understand what his problem was with Sho. Sho was always busy with News Zero, filming and interviews and whatever else he did that wasn’t fun. Granted, Sho was fun to hang out with and torment, and Nino enjoyed his company.
Nino liked to think he knew the details of everyone’s love life, so much so that there were no surprises if the press ever got a hold of anything on the other members. He knew whenever Jun and Ohno went on a date, he knew whenever they had a certain ‘fun’ night at home and whenever they were having a little petty argument, which always resulted in sex anyway.
He didn’t even need to pry to know Aiba got around. He’d lost count of the number of times the paparazzi had seen Aiba together with some girl, not to mention that he wouldn’t shut up about relationship advice. No, Nino was sure his best friend was pretty active in his love life even without him asking.
Sho, on the other hand, never really had a significant story to tell. Sure, he had been with a few girls back in college, but once work took over he had no time for anybody else. Nino always took that as truth because they were always busy. Television and radio shows and photoshoots and concerts always came first when it came to their crazy lives.
That’s why it shocked Nino so badly when it finally dawned on him.
One day, Nino and Sho were sitting in the green room waiting for everyone else to arrive. It was a rare occasion that Nino was there early, but it gave him more time to swallow his scalding hot coffee and play some Mario in peace before having to be ‘Ninomiya Kazunari: the Arashi member’. There was nothing out of place or new about this instant, until Nino looked up from his game to grab his coffee and found Sho drinking his coffee as well.
It was how he was drinking his coffee intrigued Nino.
His hand was on the cup handle, his little finger out as he took very polite sips out of his plain white cup.
Nino couldn’t help but giggle.
“Eh?” Sho asked, looking up from his newspaper. “What’s so funny?”
“The way you’re drinking your coffee is very polite and European-like,” Nino said. “Like you just walked out of a movie.”
“Oh, really? Sorry, I didn’t realize I was so humorous.”
“Ne, Sho-chan!” Aiba yelled bouncing into the room and throwing his phone under Sho’s nose. “Look at this picture! Look at how hot she is!”
“Masaki! What on earth—?”
“Just look! What do you think?”
Nino sat up and managed to get a look of the woman in question. She was obviously an idol who had very large boobs, and she was teasing the audience as she dressed in a black lace gown barely long enough to cover what was necessary. Anyone, much less any guy, would agree that she was very attractive.
Sho, however, just shrugged. “She’s alright.”
Nino looked at Sho, spluttering his coffee. He was shocked. ‘Alright’?! he thought. Have you not seen this picture?! What, are you, gay or—
Nino’s thought stopped dead in its tracks. He froze, then kicked himself internally.
Of course! Nino thought. That makes so much sense!
The way Sho held his coffee cup, his refusal to date any girls, his love for all things sweet and pastry; it all fits!
Nino watched Sho hand Aiba back the phone, smile kindly at Aiba’s pout, then gently tell him he needed to get back to his newspaper. A smirk couldn’t help but spread across Nino’s face.
Oh, this is going to be so much fun.
Aiba rose a brow, taken aback by the mischievous smile on his friend’s face. That face usually meant trouble. “…Nino?”
“What are you doing this weekend?”
Aiba seemed surprised at the sudden question, but cleared his throat anyway. “Not much…. Why are you asking?”
“Well, I know you’re probably dating someone right now, and I was thinking if you had any special plans this weekend.”
Tensing up, Aiba cleared his throat again as if unsure if he should continue. “Well,” he admitted. “I was thinking of asking Sho-chan out on a double date. You know, with the whole keeping it all quiet and such.”
Nino smirked. “Keep it quiet? Aiba-chan, everybody knows that you get around so there’s no need to keep it quiet.”
“EH?!” Aiba sat straight up on the couch and looked like he was in a full panic. “Everyone knows?!”
Nino had to take a step back from his friend’s reaction. He assumed that Aiba knew. “Well, yeah,” he told him. “I mean, every time you go out with a new girl, the paparazzi always have a new picture. You’re really bad at being subtle.”
It took Aiba a few seconds before he started to calm down. “Yeah, when you put it that way—“
“But I think that it’s great that you’re wanting to invite Sho-chan with you and your girlfriend. I mean, you seem to have such a happy love life. Wouldn’t it be a shame if Sho-chan didn’t get that same chance as well?”
“It would be a shame.”
“That’s why you should invite Sho and set him up with a guy to make him happy.”
“A guy?” Aiba asked curiously.
By the time that Nino had finished telling Aiba about his theory about Sho’s gayness and wanting him to admit it, Aiba had an equally mischievous smile lighting up his face. “So you want to see if Sho-chan is into anyone specific?”
“Yeah, so that he can be happy.” And so that I can prove that I’m right, Nino thought quietly to himself.
“Sounds like fun!” Aiba exclaimed. “I wanna help!”
Nino began to beam. “Great! Thank you Aiba-chan!”
“No problem! This sounds like we’re going to have a lot of fun!”
The hardest part about Nino’s plan was proving his theory. Sho was stubborn. But Nino could be equally as stubborn. Plus, Nino knew how to slip questions so subtly that most people didn’t catch on until it was too late.
“Sakurai-san! Ninomiya-san! It’ll be your turn here in a minute!”
“Okay!” the two told the photographer as they made their way to the shoot.
“Anything interesting in the newspaper today, Sho-chan?” Nino started.
Sho frowned and shrugged. “Not really. Everyone is making a big fuss about the Olympics. As you know.”
“I’m sure it’ll be fun. They usually are.”
Sho laughed. “Yeah, especially on your end when you’re just sitting on the couch eating ramen.”
“Hey, it wouldn’t be so bad if I had someone to share that ramen with.”
“That reminds me, Aiba-chan was thinking of asking you out on a double date.”
Sho looks at Nino for a moment and then smiles carefully. “Sounds like fun.”
“He says it’s so it wouldn’t raise any suspicions”
Sho nods quietly. “Of course.”
“Good for you, huh?”
Sho stops walking and blinks, his brow raising only slightly. “And why do you say that?”
Nino shrugs. “Well, Aiba-chan said it would just be a friendly outing without having to be rumored to have another partner, and you’ll be free from relationship rumors as well. Then Johnny won’t have to scold either of you.”
Sho didn’t say anything as he continued walking, taking in what Nino was saying.
“Just you, Aiba-chan, his date, and your date.”
“I’ll have to find one.”
Nino leaned in and whispered. “Just bring him along.”
“Huh?” Sho asked confused. “Who?”
Nino smiled. “So you’re looking at Director-san?”
“Well, yeah, she’s pretty but not exactly my type—“
“Eh?” Now it was Nino’s turn to be confused. He looked over at the director in charge of the shoot and kicked himself when he saw she had a pair of boobs. “No, not her!”
“Then I’m confused. Who are you saying I should take?”
Nino tsked and whispered slyly. “How about him?”
It suddenly seemed to dawn on Sho what Nino was talking about. He looked over at Nino with an equaled panic look that Aiba had on his face earlier. “Wait. You mean—“
“Nino, what the…?“
“I know your secret!” Nino tried. “Don’t deny it!”
“Ninomiya Kazunari, we are not talking about this here!”
Sho took the opportunity to dodge the conversation and took off for the set. Nino frowned and cursed himself. His first attempt failed.
Fall was usually the busiest time of year for Arashi. Between album recording and concert planning, hardly anybody had free time for much of anything. However, that wasn’t going to stop Nino from trying to implement his plan.
“Yosh!” the concert director finally said after a long staff meeting. “We’ll take a quick twenty-minute break and then we’ll meet back here to finish.”
Sighing, everybody but Arashi got up from their seats and exited to go enjoy their breaks. Most of Arashi, however, loved to spend their breaks in the quiet of the meeting room.
“I’ll be right back,” Jun said standing up. “I need to go talk to the director. Does anyone need anything?”
“No thanks,” the other four members answered. Nino watched as Jun left the room, and as soon as the door clicked shut, both him and Aiba got up from their chairs and went to the front of the room towards the whiteboard.
“What are you two up to?” Sho asked.
“A quick presentation before everyone gets back!” Aiba smiled, handing Nino a pair of fake glasses and a white lab coat. Quickly, Aiba put on his own white coat as both Sho and Ohno began to giggle at the nostalgia of it.
“Are we revamping A no Arashi?” Sho smiled. “We’ve missed that!”
“Not quite,” Nino smirked, turning the board over. “Today, we are doing a presentation on the species of man.”
Sho laughed. “Sounds fun! Ohno-san, can you hand me that water bottle please?”
Aiba cleared his throat. “Since the beginning of time, history has always made man able to reproduce. In order to do that, they need to have to be attracted to the female part of the species, right? Examples include—“ Nino put up a picture of a large busty porn star on the whiteboard, then next to that he placed a beautiful gravure idol in a swimsuit, followed then by a bright blonde foreign woman. “—women who are beautiful to the eye. For most men, these pictures will release a certain hormone in the man to get him excited enough to want to reproduce with said females.”
“Why do I feel like I’m watching a documentary on bugs?” Ohno asked.
“However!” Nino exclaimed. “Studies have shown that this specific specimen does not react at all to these beautiful females. That specimen is this!” And as he said that, Nino slammed a badly taken picture of Sho stuffing his face with ramen on one of his few days off.
Sho choked on his water. Ohno had a look on his face torn between humor and utter confusion.
“Why is this so?” Nino asked, still fully in his scientific role. “After countless observations, we have discovered he doesn’t react to boobs or asses. The fact that he’s never had a steady girlfriend is also a big hint. Perhaps the best way to answer this question is to ask the man in question. Sho-chan!” When Nino looked over at Sho, he looked pale. “Would you like to answer us now?”
“No, I would not.”
“I’m still lost,” Ohno said. “What is the point of this?”
“Nino-chan wants to find out who Sho-chan if he’s gay or not and if there’s anybody that he likes,” Aiba finally answered.
“Ah,” Ohno responded. “Okay. Now that makes sense.”
Nino put his hands on the table so he was eye to eye with Sho. “Well, are we going to get an answer, Sho-san?” he asked. “We’re all waiting on an answer.”
Sho glared back at him. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Why the hell is there a picture of an ugly porn star next to Sho-san’s ramen face on my whiteboard?!” Jun snapped at the four men as he came back. “I leave for five minutes and already you’re having a God-knows-what conversation?! How old are you guys? Fifteen? Clear this board now!”
Damnit! Nino thought as he started taking his pictures down. I almost had him!
After their little fiasco, Nino and Aiba were not left alone in the meeting room alone anymore. Jun flat out refused to leave their side when it was time for meetings, saying something along the lines of “having to fucking babysit you two all the damn time.”
However, it didn’t discourage Nino from his task. After the first two attempts, Nino had pretty much narrowed down that there was somebody that Sho liked. The problem was just getting Sho to say that there was.
“Why do you keep staring at Sho-chan?” Aiba asked one day at lunch. “You look like you’re trying to find a way to pull his pants down.”
Nino turned around to look at him. “Aiba-chan, if I just find out who Sho-chan likes, then I’ll be able to make him admit if he’s gay or not!”
“Who do you think it could be?” Aiba asked, almost indifferent to what Nino was telling him.
“I don’t know yet. I mean, he doesn’t exactly have a scandal all the time like you do.”
Aiba frowned. “I don’t have a scandal all the time. I just wish I was able to date freely, is all. I hate feeling constricted.”
“But if you’re seen with those girls all the time, then how constricted do you really feel?”
“You don’t get it, Nino….”
Nino watched his friend curiously, wondering what he meant, but he didn’t really pay much mind to it because he had a bigger plan on his mind to worry about instead of the Aiba-riddles. “Anyway, don’t tell anyone anything. He’s not being very cooperative.”
Sighing, Aiba nodded. “Yeah, okay. I won’t tell. But don’t push Sho-chan so much. He won’t like that at all.”
“Oh please, there’s no way you could ever push him off the edge. As much crap as I’ve pulled on him over the years, he’s never gotten angry at me. I don’t see how this could be different.”
The third time Nino attempted his plan, all five of the Arashi members were sitting in their van on their way to the next filming location. Usually everyone was quiet during the drive, but today everybody seemed to be talkative and excited.
Nino took this as another opportunity. He leaned over to Sho, who was in the front seat talking to the manager about something possibly boring, and whispered into his ear before shoving a magazine in Sho’s hands. “Sho-chan, out of all these hot guys in this picture, who is the most attractive?”
Sho looked over at him. “Are you still on this?” he asked. “Where the hell did you even get this crazy idea?”
“Well, apparently you aren’t attracted to women—“
“No, I’m just not attractive to the women you are attracted to. There are plenty of women I like.”
“No, because why should I give in to your crazy antics?”
Nino wouldn’t give up. He was getting rather frustrated, however. “Sho-chan! Just admit it! What’s the big deal?”
“Just leave me alone, please,” Sho said before diverting his attention to a game on his phone.
“Aw, c’mon Sho-chan—“
“NINOMIYA! STOP IT!”
By this time, Nino had also somehow gotten the attention of the rest of the van and had every pair of eyes on him and Sho. Sho looked like he wanted to die and sink into his seat. He looked so embarrassed and upset that Nino immediately felt bad.
“What are you idiots doing up there?” Jun asked. “Nino, what are you pestering Sho-san about this time?”
“I bet he owes him money,” Ohno added. “Nino’s never this persistent about something unless it is about money or video games.”
“It’s nothing of the sort!” Sho almost yelled. “Ninomiya-san just think that he knows everything around here and he needs to learn to shut his mouth for once in his life!”
Nino shrunk back in his chair, surprised at the words coming out of Sho’s mouth. Sho had never talked to him that way before. Maybe he had been wrong. Maybe he was acting rather stupid this time.
Sho glanced over at Nino before diverting his eyes again. This was the first time Nino had seen Sho this closed off.
“Way to go, Nino,” Aiba frowned. “You upset Sho-chan. Exactly what I told you not to do.”
Instead of answering, Nino just shrunk further into his seat and stared out of the window to avoid looking at anyone.
The next day, Nino slumped as he worked his way to the greenroom. He still felt really bad about what happened the day before. He knew he had really upset Sho, and this time he was going to properly apologize. Nino really felt like an inconsiderate bastard, especially since he never once considered how Sho might be feeling about all of this. He needed to really mean what he said in his apology.
Before walking in, Nino straightened himself and took a deep breath before finally turning the door handle.
Before Nino had time to finish his greeting, he felt himself being pushed against the door and he barely had time to hear the door being locked before he saw who had trapped him.
“Sho-chan? What are you—“
“You were right,” Sho said, putting his arms on either side of Nino’s head so that he couldn’t escape. “Nino, if only I had been strong enough to admit it last night in front of everyone. I just…. I just couldn’t admit my feelings to everyone when I hadn’t even admitted it to the one person who matters. I’m so sorry.”
Nino felt his mind go blank and his heart start to beat. “Eh?” was all he could come up with. “What are you talking about?”
“I love you,” Sho said, finally looking up into Nino’s eyes. The words made Nino’s heart nearly jump up into his throat. “Ever since I was nineteen, I’ve been feeling this way. I just didn’t know how to tell you properly. I was always so afraid that you would reject me.” Sho smiled and gently stroked Nino’s face with his fingertips before gently kissing his cheek. “But I know you feel the same way. And you really are right. I need to stop being afraid of what everyone else is going to say. I just lacked the courage. You really helped me with that, and I don’t know how I could ever thank you. Now I don’t have to be afraid to tell anybody my secret. Because as long as I have you, that is all I need in the world.”
Once the words were out of his mouth, Nino felt like he could hardly breathe. Well, considering that and how dangerously close Sho was standing next to him, Nino had a hard time thinking, let alone forming something coherent to say.
But Sho had confessed. Sho had told him how much he loved him, and he looked so relieved to finally say it. Nino wasn’t sure what to say or how to feel. He wasn’t expecting this.
“Sho-chan,” Nino finally began.
“Can I?” Sho asked gently.
Damn, how could he be such a gentleman? And in this position?! Nino thought when Sho moved just a little bit closer to him. He could feel how strongly Sho’s heart was beating and he could smell the mint on his breath as he finally leaned into the kiss.
Nino closed his eyes and braced himself for the sensation of being kissed by Sakurai Sho. His lips were probably as smooth as silk. He probably tasted of coffee and toothpaste, but Nino wasn’t going to complain a bit because he was going to be kissed by Sakurai Sho.
“I love you….”
Here it comes!
Nino eyes snapped open after a minute and was shocked to see Sho bearing a mischievous and rather proud smile.
“Sho-chan!” Aiba beamed as he finally came in. He slammed his bag down on the ground and embraced Sho tightly. “I love you too!”
“What did you think?” Sho asked.
Nino blinked. “Eh?”
“Did you enjoy my performance?”
“I loved it!” Aiba said looking up at him, ignoring Nino’s gaping face. “It was perfect!”
“Was it everything you hoped for?”
“It was so much better than what I had hoped for.”
Realization finally dawned on him, and Nino almost smacked the pair. “WHAT?! You mean—?”
Aiba burst into a hysterical fit of giggles. “I have never seen Nino so lost and confused! He’s like a little puppy!”
“You tricked me?!” Nino finally asked.
Aiba laughed. “It took you long enough! All of those girls were a cover-up! I figured you would have been smart enough to figure that one out!”
“You really scared us!” Sho told him. “We really thought you had finally found out about us! It was supposed to be a secret for a while!”
Nino pointed at Aiba. “But you helped! You and the pictures and the research and –“
“That’s for all that you did these past fifteen years!” Aiba smiled.
“YOU tricked ME?!”
Sho smirked. “You deserved it. Payback’s a bitch, isn’t it Ninomiya?”
However, Nino was completely oblivious to Sho’s words as he started chasing Aiba around the room with the intent on leaving his shoe so high up Aiba’s ass that he couldn’t reach it on his own. “YOU TRAITOR!”
By the time Ohno and Jun walked into the greenroom, the room was a complete mess with things all over the floor and Sho’s hysterical laughing that it didn’t take long for the pair to realize what had happened.
“Should we save him?” Jun asked his boyfriend.
Ohno looked back at him and shrugged. “Nah, I’m good.”