Title: Ah-choo! I Love You
Genre: Friendship (Meh, I'm no good at yaoi writing)
Featuring: Mainly Subaru, but all eito appear.
Word count: 2,310
Description: This short fic was based on the Honjani [2005.05.31] - Bowling (3rd try) episode, 'cause my imagination just works that way. XD (You can get the episode from cattness, who provides me with endless hours of entertainment)
“I’m fine,” Shibutani Subaru insisted, trying to keep himself from shivering. “It’s just a cold.”
“Don’t give it to me,” said Nishikido Ryo, backing away from his bandmate. “I can’t afford to get sick right now.”
Subaru was about to pretend to cough over Ryo in retaliation when a real coughing fit struck, forcing him to bend over and gasp for air. Damned cold.
Uchi Hiroki placed a hand on Subaru’s back and rubbed gentle circles until he stopped coughing. “Ryo-chan, don’t be so cold. Be nice to Subaru-kun. After all, didn’t he take care of you last time you had a fever?”
Ryo mumbled something under his breath about Subaru not doing much for him other than eat his food, but he made sure it wasn’t loud enough for anyone else to hear. Uchi was right anyway; last winter when Ryo had the flu, it had been Subaru and Yokoyama who’d kept watch over him until he felt better. But he’d never admit he’d needed help in the first place.
“Hina-chan is right, though, Subaru-kun. You should go home and rest,” Uchi told the older boy.
“It’s just a cold,” Subaru repeated firmly. “And I’m not missing work for it.”
Of course he wanted to go home and rest. He wanted to go home and pull the covers over his head and sleep for a week, safe in the refuge of his own room. But Subaru knew if he gave in to that temptation, he’d be hard pressed to come back out of hiding. Yes, things were looking better for his future these days – Kanjani8 was due to release their first album in a matter of months – but old habits died hard.
The producer called for the boys to get ready for the opening segment of the Honjani episode they were filming that day. It was another bowling one, the third they’d done, and each time had been more fun than the last. Or at least it was when they weren’t being lectured on the proper way to bowl. Subaru sniffled. As if he needed pointers.
Subaru’s chills increased in severity as they waited for the shot to be set-up. Damnit, now he had a fever. He was pissed at himself for getting sick in the first place. With all the care he put into keeping his body healthy, it only took one idiot sneezing on the Shinkansen to make him miserable. Subaru frowned at the unfairness of it, and found that frowning made his head ache. He sniffed and blinked slowly, trying to place who it was that got him sick.
Murakami, already in position next to the female host of the show, saw the moment Subaru decided to space out. Such moments were relatively easy to spot, truth be told, and usually involved the slow blinks and a completely expressionless face. This time though, Subaru seemed to be bouncing around more. In fact, he was swaying back and forth. Hina watched his friend for a few more seconds before he realized Subaru wasn’t pulling one of his normal goofball acts but was actually shivering and trying to keep his balance. The idiot really was sick.
Yokoyama Yu, standing in front of Subaru, turned around to see what his friend was doing back there. Subaru had been mumbling something or other about the Shinkansen and now he wouldn’t stop moving. Yoko stared down at Subaru in surprise. He wasn’t preparing to do his normal bounce-at-the-camera opening but was instead staggering slightly as a shiver ran through his body.
Yoko’s eyes met Hina’s and Hina nodded his chin towards Subaru. Yoko turned slightly and moved back a step so that his shoulder partially blocked Subaru from the camera. It was telling how truly ill Subaru was that he didn’t shove Yoko out of the way but instead leaned gratefully against his best friend’s shoulder. Yoko was always so warm, Subaru thought, snuggling in closer. It was also telling how much Yoko cared for and was worried about Subaru that he didn’t immediately move away. He hated clingy-ness.
The director called for action and the opening ran smoothly. Subaru concentrated and somehow found the energy to appear as his normal self, leaping out in front of everyone and yelling before ducking back behind Yoko. He even managed to make suitable noises that showed he was paying attention to the talk.
As they cut for the next segment, Yoko turned around fully. “Subaru-kun, are you Ok?”
“I’m fine,” Subaru said, wondering why his voice lacked the annoyance he’d meant to put in it. “I’m just cold,” he conceded as his teeth chattered.
Yoko gently shoved Subaru into a seat and walked off, coming back moments later with a jacket. “Here, put this on.”
“Thanks Kimi-kun,” Subaru said gratefully, tugging the sleeves down over his hands. The jacket made him feel a little better, as did sitting down.
Subaru made it through the second segment as well, even managing to make Uchi laugh. Of course, Uchi always laughed when Subaru was around, but still, the older boy felt all the better for it. Uchi and Ryo must have had a fight, Subaru figured. They hadn’t been as tight as they normally were and Subaru noticed Ryo holding Ohkura Tadayoshi’s hand during filming. He wondered if Tacchon minded being Ryo’s revenge toy. Tacchon didn’t seem to mind much of anything.
After bowling a few frames – Subaru had a strike – it was time for another instructional segment. Once again they lined up on the lanes, but this time the producer arranged how the boys stood for “artistic balance.” Yoko was annoyed because it now meant he was too far away from Subaru to do anything. He glanced down the line and saw his friend between Tacchon and Uchi and rolled his eyes. So much for artistic balance. Subaru just looked terribly small standing there. Yoko stepped in closer, so that his foot was nearly even with Subaru’s. It was all the support he could offer from where he stood.
“Shibuyan-san, are you feeling ok?” Tacchon asked as Subaru latched onto his arm from behind and rested his forehead against the taller boy’s back. Subaru never cuddled with Tacchon, especially when Yasuda or Maruyama was around.
“You’re so warm,” Subaru said, moving in closer. “I’m cold.”
“Oh. Ok then,” Tacchon said easily.
They began filming and Subaru tried his best to concentrate but the chills were back, as was his runny nose. He sniffed and turned around to say something to Uchi when the room spun on him and he stumbled backwards. Uchi’s arms quickly went around his middle and held him up. Subaru looked up at him in thanks and turned back around, bringing Uchi’s arms tighter around him.
“Hold tight or I’ll fall over,” he said softly.
Uchi complied, whispering, “He’s really sick,” to Maruyama who was watching over Uchi’s shoulder.
As the segment ended, Hina disappeared for a moment to speak to one of the assistants. Subaru sat miserably at a scoring table and hugged his jacket tighter around him. He jerked in surprise as someone pulled off his baseball cap.
“Hey! What are you--?”
The sentence went unfinished as Tacchon tugged his own knit hat over Subaru’s head before replacing the baseball cap. “If you’re cold, cover your head better,” was all he said before wandering off.
Although he was playing on a different team, Yoko came over and stood next to Subaru. The two didn’t talk – Yoko was busy talking with Yasu – but they didn’t need to. Subaru knew Yoko was there if he needed him, and Yoko was confident if he were there, then Subaru would be just fine.
Yasu stepped around the chairs before filming began and zipped Subaru’s jacket up to his chin, smiling at him gently. Then Maru came closer, sitting in a seat across from Subaru and watching him closely, though not bothering with conversation. Subaru seemed like he was in his zoned-out mode, and Maru knew talking to him at this point would be useless.
Hina came back with a glass of water and a packet of medicine.
“Here, take this. It’ll probably make you sleepy though.”
Subaru downed it. “Too late. I guess you were right Hina-chan. I should have gone home.” He sneezed.
Hina smiled. “It can’t be helped now. And besides, it’s not as fun without you around.”
Subaru blinked back sudden tears as an overwhelming rush of love swept through him. The seven people now arranged around his seat at the scoring table were his best friends in the world, and he loved every one of them.
It was obvious the other seven stepped up the challenge of making up for a subdued Subaru. Even Ryo became more boisterous, pretending to throw a tantrum when he missed a shot. Subaru felt so happy when Hina was the only one who managed to complete two level challenges, and felt genuinely sad when he lost the third. Hina hated to let the others down. Inspired, Subaru did his best when the cameras were on him, using up all his energy to appear normal for the fans who would be watching the show.
He was feeling a little better by the end of filming, but his head now had a pleasant buzzing sound and he was sleepy. All he wanted was his own bed, but the thought of making it home from the station to his house was overwhelming. He dozed on the van ride back to the station with the quiet hum of conversation washing around him.
“Subaru,” Yoko said, touching his shoulder. “We’re here.”
“Nngh?” Subaru blinked a few times and looked around him. “Ok.”
He stepped off the van and was forced into what Hina liked to call his “ossan stance”, legs wide apart and bent at the knees like an old man trying to keep his balance. Only in this case, he really was trying to keep his balance. He slowly gathered his things, irritated at the thought of riding the train home. Maybe he’d splurge on a taxi this time. Nah, talking to the driver was just too embarrassing.
“Feel better soon, Subaru-kun,” Uchi called from the doorway with a wave. “I’d stay with you but Ryo and I have to head back to
“Drink lots of fluids. And get some rest,” Ryo ordered. “And call me if you need anything,” he added awkwardly.
Subaru managed a small grin. “Thanks Ryo-chan. But don’t worry, I’m not about to give up my solo spots to you anytime soon. I’ll be fine by tomorrow.” Ryo smiled in return and left with Uchi.
“Subaru-kun, are you ok? I have to go back to the studio today, but if you want, I’ll stay with you,” Yasu offered.
Subaru waved him away. “Like I said before, I’m fine. Go do what you have to do.”
Yasu nodded and left with Tacchon, who never bothered to ask for his hat back. Subaru wasn’t about to give it back anyway.
Maru was next. “Want to come to
“Uh, no. Wait, you’re going home?”
“Family thing. I’ll be back tomorrow. Why don’t you come?”
Subaru couldn’t suppress the shudder the thought of going to someone else’s “family thing” caused. So many strangers! He shrugged off Maru’s hands. His skin felt prickly from the fever. “No thanks.”
Finally Hina and Yoko found him. “So would you rather miso ramen, miso soup, or something different?” Hina asked.
“We’re going to Yoko’s for the night. And he’s buying dinner.”
“Wait a second, where’d my wallet go?” Yoko asked, patting his pockets.
Hina smacked him over the head. “Not again you idiot.”
Yoko rubbed his head. “I was kidding. Your slaps have gotten harder over the years you know. They might cause brain damage.”
The three friends walked slowly to Hina’s car. “Too late in your case,” Hina joked, opening the front door for Subaru, who glanced at the longer legs of Yoko.
“Go ahead Subaru. I’ll take the back seat.”
Subaru didn’t argue but climbed in gratefully, pointing the heating vents directly at himself. Hina obliged by cranking up the temperature. Neither of the other boys complained of the oven-like heat inside the car, nor did they mind that Subaru wasn’t joining in the conversation.
At Yoko’s house, Subaru curled up happily on the bed while Yoko pulled the blankets over him. Hina motioned for Yoko to leave the room, but Subaru saw him.
“Don’t leave. I don’t care if you stay in here with me. You guys were going to play games anyway, weren’t you?”
Yoko and Hina sprawled comfortably on the floor in front of the T.V., the sounds of their conversation and the video game lulling Subaru into a deep sleep. He’d meant to say thank you to them before drifting off, but didn’t have the energy. A soft smile curved his lips upward instead.
“This brings back memories,” Hina said, watching Subaru sleep.
“Yeah, only he actually looks healthier this time around, even though he’s sick,” Yoko agreed, remembering the difficult years when both of them were afraid every time Subaru didn’t answer the phone. Back then it might have meant something very bad.
“Look at that face. I’d say he’s doing a lot better.”
“I think we all are. Even if I’m still not allowed to sing any solos.”
Hina laughed. “Hang in there Kimi-kun. Eventually you’ll get one. Until then, let’s just leave it up to him.” He nodded towards Subaru.
“Gah! Turn off the game, it’s time for that anime I’ve been watching!”
“But I was winning this time!”
Subaru’s smile deepened. He hoped he’d always be taken care of by those two.
His best friends.