GIFT FIC for eternallyskyed
Title: the spoon in the cup
Pairing/Group: Matsumoto Jun / Sakurai Sho
Summary: It became like a game for him over the years, watching Jun drinking his coffee, observing whether or not he would take his spoon out.
Note: I tried to include all of them, eternallyskyed, but somehow it got Sakumoto-heavy for which I am sorry. I hope you will still like it... just a little.
If Sho hates one thing it’s got to be sitting in the economy class. The plane is as full as it can be, the seats narrow with no room for his legs to stretch. Maybe it would only be half as bad if he shared a double seat next to the window like lucky Ohno-kun and Ninomiya-kun but then again he can't really tell anymore where the two seats are separated with both boys all over each other, limbs entangled, faces close. And with that prospect he would rather not switch positions.
It stays civil in the four seats middle row. Only Aiba-kun invades his neighbor’s personal space, a poor staff member of the camera crew, leaning onto his shoulder, sleeping soundly. Something Sho is far away from achieving. He sighs, switching off the third repetition of "Sleepless in Seattle" and casts a glance at his other neighbor, Matsumoto-kun, currently squirming, trying to find another position to sit--his legs must tingle as much as Sho's do, he thinks. His gaze shifts to the books, stapling on Matsumoto's folding table; Knigge, Exercise in Style and Coin Locker Babies with dog ears in random places.
A strange kid, reading strange books—figures.
Sho doesn't know why but he is uncomfortable around this smiley, lanky elite kid. Maybe because he can't figure out where the admiration for his person comes from which leaves Sho being bullied for, in the end. Maybe it’s because he can’t quite figure out from where this kid’s admiration for him comes from, which ultimately results in Sho being bullied for it. He hopes it’s a phase and that during their coming years together Matsumoto will mellow down.
Matsumoto squirms again, knee ramming accidentally into the table, almost sending the books flying onto Sho's knees and Sho flinches, caught red-handed.
"You should sleep," Sho whispers hurriedly when Matsumoto notes his stare.
Matsumoto smiles one of his big smiles in response. "I will, Sakurai-kun."
Sho nods, averting his eyes only to close them himself; trying desperately to sleep and not invade other’s spaces.
When he opens them again, because hell he can't, he just can't sleep, he finds Matsumoto leaning over his books, his forehead resting on the staple, hands on his neck, fingertips drumming in an unknown rhythm on the skin just below his hairline. Suddenly he seems like a nervous ball to Sho; doubt, fear and uncertainty written all over his form.
That's a first.
Sho frowns, realizing not without a little relief that this boy who always looks like he has wanted to debut the most, for real, has doubts as well. It makes the elite kid a little more human, a little more approachable.
He hesitates, his hand reaching out, hovering insecurely above before settling finally on those hurried fingers playing piano on skin. He feels Matsumoto jerking briefly before he stills completely, caught. He's so still, so frozen in place that Sho briefly questions his own action before he resolutely peels one hand from Matsumoto's neck to take it in his own.
He can see how Matsumoto tries to peek at him and the corners of his mouth twitch briefly.
"Sleep," is all he says before he closes his eyes himself. After a minute he feels Matsumoto shifting, squeezing Sho's hand briefly like he had to think twice about it and bring himself to dare to do it at all. It makes Sho smile once again before drifting into a restless sleep wherein he couldn't really tell if he has slept at all. For instance he could have sworn that at some point Matsumoto's breath had been strangely close to his collarbone but then again his mind was so foggy that he couldn't be sure.
When he wakes up, the tray with the “light continental breakfast” (as in watery yogurt, hard buns and too sweet marmalade) is already in front of him, Aiba is still snoring to his right and Matsumoto stirs his coffee with odd concentration to his left before placing the spoon next to the plastic cup.
"Aren't you too young for coffee?" Sho asks, yawning.
Over the rim of his cup Matsumoto casts him an odd glance, Sho can only interpret as If You Drink It, I Drink It which makes Sho uncomfortable once again but then the fierce look gives way to making a face at the bitter taste Matsumoto obviously couldn't held back before he settles in his usual big smile.
"You think so?"
“If that isn’t the number one fan.” Nino greets him cheerfully, a cigarette dangling between his fingers.
Jun glares at him. “Spare me.” He groans, squatting down next to him, leaning back into the concrete wall, running a hand through his hair before re-arranging them carefully back in place to hide his upset skin.
Nino laughs shrilly, uncaring. “After your confession, on tape,” He takes a drag, smirking. “I don’t think so.”
Jun groans, frustrated.
“Give me one?”
“Matsumoto-kun!” Nino exclaims in fake, fake shock. “You are seventeen.”
“So are you!”
“Yeah, but I am two months wiser!”
“What the hell?!”
Nino ruffles his hair, just a little affectionate. “Ask me again in two months.”
The room smells of ginger and honey, most definitely coming from the huge tea cup in front of Matsumoto who warms his fingers around it.
“Sakurai-kun,“ he utters surprised, ending in a fist of coughs which leaves Sho awkwardly at the door to his room, waving dumbly.
Jun manages to arch an eyebrow besides his state and Sho swears inwardly. Both know he doesn't want to be here, that this is a visit of pure politeness. Ever since he told Jun to get the hell out of his space he did, growing up into a man trying to tests his limits which, in the end, it pissed Sho off even more but it was not like he could approach Matsumoto and tell him to leave the nail polish, or the extensions, or his attitude.
“Have a seat,“ Matsumoto gestures and Sho jumps out of his thoughts, nodding before closing the door and taking a seat opposite him.
“How are you?“ he asks.
Matsumoto looks at him oddly before averting his gaze towards the frosted window which only allows silhouettes from the outside world to be seen. “Fine,” he rasps which ends the purpose of Sho’s visit if it had not been too short. So his gaze shifts to the things in his room, to the notebook on his bed, his desk, cramped and untidy, his shelf with countless books. He spots Knigge, a book he remembers, a book he had read himself years ago just to try and find out what made Matsumoto tick. A kid, changing so fast, trying on so many faces, masks, personalities, not able to settle or to find his place within the group yet.
He looks almost automatically to the tea cup, recalling all the moments he had seen Matsumoto stirring his coffee before placing the spoon on the saucer, or napkin, or table, leaving ugly blotches in the process.
Sho doesn’t know if he’s surprised or not, to see the spoon still in the cup, resting innocently against the rim—an affront to Knigge's table manners, Sho knows by now. Then Matsumoto really does look after his image in public, Sho ponders, and doesn’t care when he’s at home, alone.
Jun must have noticed his gaze (like so often) because the spoon is almost flying out of the cup and it startles Sho to no end. He looks up, meeting Jun's uneasy eyes, clearly seeing how the other does not want to lower his guard.
“I am fine,“ Jun emphasizes again, an order to leave, Sho understands and he nods.
“I'm glad,“ he says as he stands up, wondering if Ohno, Nino or Aiba ever had the pleasure of a spoon inside the cup, wondering what it would take for Matsumoto to loosen up around him again, wondering if he is yearning for it or not, wondering—he shakes his head.
“See you, Matsumoto-kun.“
Ohno grabs his ankle like it could break before putting it on the cushion in his lap. He reaches for the deep midnight nail polish before he mumbles, “He didn’t mean it, Matsujun.” His head is low and Jun has problems catching the words but he can clearly see the pink tongue darting out in concentration.
Jun wants to oppose, wants to ask how much “fuck the hell off, Matsumoto. I mean it” can be misinterpreted. The “no, all of you” helped only a little bit. Still, Jun has troubles to contain his god damn tears. And he wants to grow out of these feelings, of this weakness, at best overnight...
Ohno’s touch is so soft, it’s ticklish and Jun finds himself watching hypnotized how toe after toe gets colored, first in that deep, deep blue, then in a green followed by a popish yellow. At some point it all blurs together and he turns his head up and sideways to keep the said damn tears in place because he knows, he knows the moment they trace down his cheeks he will suffer a complete breakdown--and he doesn’t want that, not over this egoistic, selfish stubborn, high and mighty idiot.
All he wanted to do was help.
“Matsumoto-kun?” Ohno asks suddenly and Jun sobs. “Stay above such things,” He says gently, painting stroke after stroke. “He will cool down and you...”
Ohno looks up then and Jun’s breath hitches upon the smile. “You go your own way.”
It became like a game for him over the years, watching Jun drinking his coffee, observing whether or not he would take his spoon out.
The occasion were few at the beginning: brooding over his script when he had been in the green room first, the cup (with the spoon obviously forgotten inside) already resting at his lips while he mumbled against the porcelain; an afternoon tea with the five of them, waiting relaxed at the photo shooting location for it to start.
Each time—and it occurred more often over the years, with Jun seeming to find his place and open up again—Jun left his spoon in his cup, Sho felt like rewarding him (oddly enough): remarks, hidden compliments, purple ties on News ZERO. At first Sho thought that his actions where stupidly subtle, that Jun wouldn't even pick up on them. But after every specially selected tie on Monday, Jun would stride into the green room on Tuesday in a remarkably good mood. That was how the ice melted, little by little—though Sho was sure Jun had no idea what had animated him.
Today, though Sho wonders if he did anything wrong. Jun stirs and stirs painstakingly slow, a steady kling kling kling against the porcelain. Sho grabs his magazine harder, asking himself if the bottom of the cup is about to become as thin as the paper crumpled in his hand.
Sometimes he wonders if Jun does it on purpose or if he just likes his tea well sugared. He wants to know if Jun would leave the spoon in the cup eventually, with just the two of them in the green room but he will never know because right then the AD is calling him for his solo shot, and Sho stands, almost swearing.
He hears Aiba coughing just slightly and is about to tiptoe back into the hut to fetch the half empty thermos jug for him but Aiba just laughs, breathy, knowingly and Jun slumps back into the chair, chuckling.
They only have three hours left before they have to get up but as long as Aiba does not show any desire to go to sleep, Jun won’t either.
“The stars are so bright, here.” Aiba whispers, sharing the same fear of waking the other three.
Jun hums in agreement. He unrolls his scarf to throw it towards Aiba who catches it without words.
They share a chuckle when they can suddenly hear Sho snore and Jun wonders how lucky he can be. They have come a long way to this moment. He came a long way to this moment. A moment when he feels right in place, an equal within Arashi.
He reaches for Aiba’s ice cold hand and follows how his breath goes up in the air and dissolves. Aiba squeezes his hand, Sho chokes on his own snore and they laugh.
He couldn't be happier.
He holds the door wide open for Jun to enter with what he hopes is a reassuring, warm smile. Sho can't be too sure, though, two months after the earthquake. In the background his TV is still blaring up the updates on the reactor temperatures and Sho scrambles for the remote control when Jun enters the living room and his gaze shifts immediately to the headlines rolling on the screen.
“Let’s,“ Sho says, switching off the TV, “Let’s not—not now.“
Jun looks at him, smiling faintly. “Let’s not,“ he nods in agreement.
“I have tea,“ Sho rambles on. “From India, Chai tea.“
Jun's smile spreads a little wider then. “Sounds good.“
Sho nods, not knowing why he is so nervous all of the sudden and busies himself with the tea preparations, knowing, just knowing that Jun would spread out all his folders, notebooks and papers for the upcoming tour.
He reaches for the honey and two spoons, halting only briefly when he touches the metal. Taking the tray to his living room he finds Jun sitting at his low table, his legs folded, his back straight, sorting papers just like Sho had predicted. Over time he had gotten to know him, he realizes not without some satisfaction.
He sets the cups down complicatedly, simply because there's no room on the table anymore and Jun moves things around quickly, muttering his apology. Sho laughs, taking his place opposite him, while Jun fishes out what looks like old set lists.
They are in the midst of jotting down possible songs, their mugs still untouched, when Matsujun suddenly looks up, eyes huge. “You should play Furusato.“
“I beg your pardon?“
“On the piano,“ Jun elaborates, eyes bright.
Sho leans back on his hands. “You're joking, right?“
“No, it fits and we could sing along—“
“I am not that good yet, Matsujun,“ Sho shakes his head, understanding where the idea is coming from but also knowing his own capability.
“Show me?“ Jun asks.
“Show me,” Jun repeats, eyes serious. “And I will tell you honestly.”
Sho does not know how he got roped into this. He plays nervously with the handle of his mug, his fingertips grazing the hot porcelain. Just when Jun is about to speak up again Sho nods, getting to his feet and to his piano in the corner.
He had, in fact, played the piece quite often, recently, humming along, because it calmed him down—but he was far from mastering it. And he doesn't know how he should master it if Jun is staring so intently it him all the time. It’s unnerving. He knows why his performance of Hatenai Sora turned out so crappy. With the intensity of Jun’s stare, he wonders how Nino is doing it so smoothly all the time because Jun spares him just the same amount of probing eyes whenever he touches an instrument.
He traces the keyboards nervously, adjusting his notes again, feeling Jun’s eyes on him, almost impatient. He takes a breath before playing the first chords, a little too fast in the beginning, he realizes quickly before changing into the right pace, trying to blend out his special audience who watchs him, half turned, curious and strangely sad.
Sho plays through the song, the melody vibrating through him as so often, vanishing with the last key he holds long, longer before turning around to face Jun and his verdict.
At one point, Jun must have turned fully around, with his knees drawn to his chest and his cup of tea balancing on them. He holds it with both hands, staring at Sho in awe, the metallic round end of the spoon clearly sticking out of the mug.
“You're right,“ Jun says after a minute of silence, after collecting himself. “You shouldn't perform this in public yet.“
Sho likes to think it's not because his weak performance but because Jun wants to keep it for himself a little longer and maybe he allows such thoughts only because Jun (finally!) moves to take a sip of his tea, stirring one round or two with the spoon, holding it firmly in place with his thumb after. Sho watches fascinated. He feels lucky, suddenly. He knows it's stupid but he can't help it. And he knows his feeling must be evident in the way he can't contain his lips from spreading into a huge grin because Jun asks a wearily “What?“ and Sho just shakes his head, keeping silent.
When he returns to the table and Jun points out the blueprint of the Sapporo Dome, he settles beside him, without further ado. He gazes at Jun while contributing his ideas and watches how Jun reacts to it, frowning, nodding, nibbling at the end of his pen, smiling, jotting his idea down, nibbling at the chai tea with the spoon inside the cup—finally, finally, finally.
Sho scouts closer when Jun is pointing out the order and how he wants to start with “Everything“. Their shoulders touch and Sho is warm all over. Jun does not seem to realize it, continuing to rattle on his ideas.
It's good to see Jun like this, sure of his abilities, in peace with his faults. It had taken him years, years he tried to maintain a cool and perfect image without letting himself go. It must have been exhausting. Seeing him to turn into his goofy self again, without losing any of his integrity, Sho just can’t help a smile that spread so wide it hurts.
“Sho-kun, you're staring.“ Jun mutters, his eyes still on the papers in front of him. Sho coughs.
And ever so observant.
Jun watches the thousands upon thousands fans to enter the venue from the glass tube, high up the Sapporo dome and he feels so lucky to be able to hold concerts again. He leans against the hot glass, the air cool around him.
Mesmerized by the view he didn’t recognize the newcomer at all but by the hand on his shoulder and the squeeze he jumps and gasps and glares at the intruder. Sho laughs unapologetic.
“Not from behind!” Jun grumbles and turns around. Sho laughs louder and slides his hand across Jun’s back to rest his arm on his shoulder heavily.
Jun freezes maybe for a second. It took a lot of time to accept gestures like this from Sho again without having his head asking unnecessary questions such as why. But he came to like his place, he likes watching over them, over him quietly.
“Awesome view.” Sho comments before the grip on Jun's shoulder turns tighter. “Just a little high...”
Jun smiles at the comment but before he can answer, Nino is barging in, “Hey you lovebirds, save it for the fan service!”
Jun tips his head back, squeezing Sho’s forearm. “Nino!”
Nino ignores him as he steps forward. He presses his hands against the glass front. “Uwah! Awesome view!”
Sho’s laugh vibrates against his side. “Does he have a point, Jun? Should we save it for One Love?”
Jun freezes again, longer than a second this time before he remembers how they all agreed to call each other by their given names only, for the fans. But the way it rolls so easy from Sho’s tongue is almost too much.
He chuckles, a little nervous. “Should we, Kazu?” He gives the question out of hand and sees Nino salute with a “One Love it is, Sho~”
Jun grins. Whatever, he thinks, when Nino greets Aiba with a sweet “Masaki~” and Aiba’s followed up “Sa-to-shi! Come on, come on.”
Sho sees him from afar in his big, warm shooting coat. It's not the normal black version they usually get but a checked blue-red one. He smiles, catching up with him.
“Ah, Kageyama!“ Jun turns, grinning and Sho falls into step with him, not before reaching for his elbow to switch sides so he's walking along the roadside. He notes Jun’s knowing smile with a raised eyebrow.
“Huh,“ Sho let out uneloquently, highly bemused.
“Forever the gentleman.“ Jun just says, warming his fingertips at his coffee to go, taking a sip.
Sho laughs, rubbing his own cold hands together, seeking warmth—damn Ohno for snatching away his Kageyama gloves.
“What are you doing here? I thought you just cranked up, just leave Fuji already,“ Jun teases and Sho grins. “I was at the studio anyway and thought I could see you crank in.“
Jun blushes and Sho knows why. Jun is always nervous whenever a member of Arashi is watching him act.
They walk in companionable silence through the park between the television station and the Wangan set, when a staff notices them.
“We still need twenty minutes, Matsumoto-san,“ the AD says, nodding politely at Sho.
Sho returns the greeting, freezing by now with nowhere his hands to warm.
Jun, oh so attentive Jun, looks at him, frowning. “Where are your Kageyama gloves, I thought you bought some specifically?“
“You read my Otonoha?“
Jun blushes again and Sho just laughs, rubbing his hands in front of his mouth. “Ohno-kun kept them in the end.“
Jun ‘hmmed’ at the answer, taking another swig of his coffee and Sho’s attention shifts to his paper cup.
He wonders how Jun is drinking his coffee today, during their busy new year’s schedule—Kohaku, Lucky Seven filming, the Nagoya concert. He wonders how Jun is drinking his coffee today right after Sho called him “Jun” and only “Jun” during the concert. He wonders if there would be a spoon inside; if only it wasn’t a damn coffee to go. Over the years he’s picked up Jun’s moods and changes of pace only through the little piece of metal, wood or plastic, realizing his feelings towards him mainly through the way he drinks his coffee or tea—when he’s comfortable or tense around Sho.
Sho doesn't know how Jun drinks his coffee today, spoon in or out—and he doesn't have to, not when Jun reaches out with his coffee warmed up fingertips, balancing the nearly empty cup between his lips, grasping Sho's cold hands to put them in Jun's warm coat pockets.
Sho smiles at Jun who returns it almost shyly.
He has a feeling.