AN ARASHI FICTION QUEST.
Title: images of broken light
Word Count: ~3800
Summary: Ohno spends the night at Jun's.
A/N: This fic, besides being written for the a kiss and all was said challenge, is not usually like the ones I post here. The style is very different, for one (though this is how I used to write my Harry/Draco fics way back in the day). It might also leave you with some questions at the end. But I won't say anything else (except that I hope you all enjoy it, though I always hope that). :) Thank you to aeslis for the beta (♥).
The title of this fic comes from Across the Universe by The Beatles. Also mentioned in this fic, for the sake of--er--detail: Hey Jude, Eleanor Rigby, and Yellow Submarine.
I mean, I'm not going to ask you why, Jun says, lighting up. His reflection is visible in the window of a random car, the split-second flare of orange by his fingers as he drags the last flame out of his lighter. You can tell me anytime you want to. Or you don't have to.
Ohno decides that the second option is probably the best choice. He reaches out, takes the nearly-empty lighter from Jun's fingers, and holds it in the palm of his hand. He's not sure why. Maybe there's something in holding Jun's belongings in his hand that makes this all okay, but Ohno's decided he's not going to think about it too much. Do and don't think. Feel and don't dwell.
Okay, Ohno says.
Jun reaches inside his pocket for his keys and clicks the car door open. The smoke from his mouth billows out, a thin tornado, and Ohno can't see his face for a second.
Your place first? Jun asks.
And Ohno nods. He knows Jun sees.
Ohno's house is empty. His family left him just yesterday to embark on a vacation to Karuizawa, and Ohno waved them off with a smile and a promise to not fill the house with raw fish in their absence.
Normally Ohno would enjoy the house to himself, all its hidden curves that open up when his sister, mother, and father are gone. He gets to make weird food concoctions and eat them at the kitchen counter in his boxers and not clean up the leftovers for days. He gets to smoke on the balcony at three in the morning if he wants to, and he gets to sleep in without anyone making noise to wake him up.
But this time he's not staying here. He'll be in the city until his family returns.
Jun is pulling into Ohno's driveway and saying, five minutes, okay? I'd like to make dinner before it gets too late.
Ohno likes homemade dinners, and the lazy look of delight on his face makes Jun laugh. Five minutes, Jun says again, and pushes Ohno out of the car.
Once inside the house Ohno gets a call from Jun, who says not to bring a towel, he has those, and also lots of pillows, and extra sheets.
Just pack clothes, Jun says. Clothes and your toothbrush.
It's so dark in here, Ohno replies, feeling his way through, grabbing onto random edges that are familiar and smooth underneath his hands. I don't think I've ever been back when the lights aren't on for me.
Jun is quiet.
Happens a lot at my place, he finally says.
Not that it matters much to Jun that he lives alone. If he lived with someone else he would have to adjust completely; it would probably mean not being able to take his socks off in front of the television, and Jun wouldn't like that.
He just imagines what it would be like to come home to somebody that matters, to come home to the lights on and the television going. And when he thinks about all of that, if the timing is just right, he starts feeling a little lonely, a little empty--the kind of empty where all you want is a nice warmth by your side and a smile or two just for one night.
Jun could get that from anyone he wanted, and he has. But sometimes it's better to be picky.
Maybe Ohno is staying at Jun's for the weekend because he feels like it will be just like being by himself, only with another person to smoke with and watch television with. Maybe Ohno is staying at Jun's because he simply wants to and there's not really a concrete reason behind it. Or maybe Ohno is staying at Jun's because Jun joked about it, a passing remark, and a part of Ohno decided that, well. You certainly don't know until you've tried it, so why not?
Ohno brings a duffel bag back to Jun's car. When the door opens Jun is grinning; in the dark his teeth gleam.
Ready? Jun asks. He takes Ohno's duffel and puts it carefully in the backseat.
Yes, Ohno says, and settles down.
Jun's car drives like a billiard ball rolling smoothly across a pool table, no noise or feeling, and so quietly. It's like a cat purring, Ohno thinks. Or like when he talks to Jun and doesn't actually have to say anything. Yeah, it's exactly like that.
And now--Jun reaches over at a stoplight and puts his hand on Ohno's thigh, where his fingers curl, maybe just to do something, maybe to make a point. Ohno looks down.
My bed's probably too small, Jun says, and he's actually thinking about it, lips turned down. So I'll sleep on the couch if you want.
No, that's, Ohno begins, then stops.
The light is still red. Ohno picks up Jun's hand in his own, plays with a finger or two--
I've turned into Nino, Ohno mumbles, and puts Jun's hand down as they laugh together, two lines of caustic sounds entwining in the interior of a fancy car. Eventually they settle, and Jun says, well maybe the bed is big enough. Ohno makes an agreeable sound.
Who was in Jun's bed last?
It takes him a couple of minutes to remember, and that unnerves him. For someone who likes living alone, there's something about waking up with another person next to you that Jun finds thrilling. He enjoys the extra weight on his mattress and the thoughts that flood him as soon as he opens his eyes: hello there, you--who are you, again?
He likes lying there and remembering the abridged version of Last Night, the taxi and the lights and the grabby hands. Jun is an avid collector of Last Nights, and they're all starting to blend into the other. This is probably why he can't remember whether he last woke up with that one girl that Nishikido introduced to him, or if it was his hairstylist's sister, the one with the mole on her collarbone. Or maybe it was the twenty-year-old boy with the terrycloth underwear, the kind just like Nino has.
It doesn't matter, anyway. Jun has decided that he needs a break. He's putting his Last Nights into a jar and putting it on a top shelf, like how Sho put his wisdom teeth in a bottle. They're keepsakes and he'll look back at them from time to time just to remember those moments, but for now he doesn't need them. There are too many of them, enough to have chilled him more on the inside than he would like.
So he had been glad to be pulled aside by Ohno, to be asked: can I stay at your place this weekend?
Two and a half days of the two of them in his apartment, Jun had thought. Just the two of them. This wouldn't be another Last Night and it's nowhere near a roommate request. It's just a weekend.
So Jun said, sure.
I mean, I'm not going to ask you why, Jun continued.
He was nervous. He needed a cigarette.
You can tell me anytime you want to. Or you don't have to.
Jun flicked the last out of his lighter and let Ohno take it from him. He didn't mind, and probably wouldn't have even if it was brand-new and a gift from the hostess of his favorite restaurant.
Okay, Ohno said finally, and Jun relaxed.
It's midnight when they pull into the parking garage, 12:03 when the engine cuts off.
12:05, and only silence to speak of.
Ohno is fine with silence. He gets out of the car slowly, rolling his shoulders and carefully shutting the door behind him. Jun already has the duffel bag slung around his left shoulder.
Ohno wonders, not for long, if this is really all okay with Jun. Jun is a private person after all. Jun keeps to himself most of the time, even after all of the things they've been through. Jun has his own house and his own space. And here is Ohno, intruding on it all.
Jun holds the door open for Ohno, but walks on ahead, two steps at the most. He's talking about dinner, what he'll make, and Ohno is thinking about pans and sizzling noises and tangy pasta sauces when Jun takes a hold of his elbow and navigates him into the elevator.
Then after dinner I guess we can watch a movie or something, Jun continues, eyebrows knitting together, intent on finding the right schedule for the next two and a half days as if Ohno is a faraway friend, a visitor from out-of-town.
Jun, Ohno interjects. He turns so that they're facing each other. You don't have to treat me like your guest or anything.
But you are, he says.
No, Ohno insists. I'm not.
He smiles. The words hang stiffly in the air for a few seconds, like the still iron bars of an old-time elevator, and Ohno watches Jun think. It reminds him of his dark, empty house and the way it all lights up, switch by switch, cheekbone by cheekbone.
But Ohno doesn't live in the delicate contours of Jun's face. Maybe he has dreamed of it, but it will certainly never happen, and he records every little moment like this in the film of his mind to be reviewed at a later date. A later, more private date.
Because it's a Friday night, Jun puts on The Beatles while he makes dinner. It's been awhile since he's let himself do this but he knows Ohno won't mind. In fact, Ohno hums along as he sits on the couch, flipping through Jun's cable and wiggling his toes on top of the coffee table.
Remember to let her into your heart, then you can start to make it better.
Get comfortable, Jun says over the seven millionth chorus of Hey Jude. That's where you're sleeping tonight.
Ohno pauses. Then:
The bed is big enough, you said.
Jun cooks for a minute or so--mushrooms in the pan, a tad more olive oil. It's like pasta is all Jun ever cooks and he could probably do it with his eyes closed and his fingers tied together, but he pretends for a second that he has to pay extra-special attention to this particular dish.
Maybe it is, he finally says after a dash of coarse-grained black pepper (a bigger dash than he intended, but his fingers slipped). We'll see.
We'll see, Ohno echoes, and hums some more.
Ohno likes Hey Jude. He likes The Beatles, actually, even though he doesn't listen to them much (his favorite album is Yellow Submarine). And he likes that Jun is the type of person to play good music while cooking good food. His mother, as much as Ohno loves her, forbids music in the kitchen unless it's classical and played at a nearly-muted volume.
You're the first person to have dinner here in about two months, is the first thing Jun says when they sit at the kitchen table. The last was--
--Aiba-chan, Ohno finishes, already twirling noodles round his fork. He told me. I think you made carbonara?
Yeah, Jun says. He was only here for a couple of hours, though. He had to go home.
Silence again, but the comfortable sort.
I'm not going until Sunday afternoon, Ohno says.
He's not sure why he feels like he has to reassure Jun that he's not just going to leave in the morning, but Ohno is okay with saying so. Something in Jun seems to loosen up when Ohno reminds him that yes, he'll be there for two more days and no, this is not some random hook-up. Even if it was a hook-up it wouldn't be random, and perhaps most importantly, Ohno wouldn't mind.
How's the food? Jun asks, even though he doesn't have to. Ohno is already on his third helping.
It's great, Ohno manages to say after he has inhaled everything edible on his plate. It's really great, actually.
Ohno puts down his fork.
I'll help you with the dishes, he says.
I thought you weren't my guest, Jun teases, and his smile is a little spark of brightness in the dim kitchen. Only a guest would say something like that.
Fine, then I'll just take up space on your couch and watch the pay-per-view fishing channel, Ohno says. He hopes he looks indignant enough.
The silence returns and now is something slyer, like steam creeping round unnoticed. Ohno is looking to see if Jun has noticed--but of course he has. Jun is used to the air changing, to dropping hints. He is a veteran of those sorts of things. He would know what to say here, the exact words to drop on the table.
I need to change the sheets on my bed, Jun says as if it's an afterthought. He stands and his chair squeaks against the tiles.
Too fast, Ohno thinks. He's nervous.
So Ohno says:
Let me help you with that, at least.
His chair squeaks too.
Jun puts The Beatles back on after dinner.
The next song begins with violins, but Jun doesn't know the words to Eleanor Rigby. Just this one line: Ah, look at all the lonely people; where do they all belong?
Now Jun is putting dishes into the sink and planning to forget about them for the next day. It's unlike him, extremely so, but he's got the jitters in a funny place--his chest. Usually he is calm about these things, calm about asking Last Night Girls and Boys to accompany him to his room, then even calmer, smoother, and very much confident about what comes next. He has a blueprint in his head of these sorts of things.
But this is Ohno in his house, this is Leader, and Jun has decided that this is not the same as any other night or any other person. He has no choice but to crumple his blueprint and toss it in the trash and hope for a smile in the morning and something to last the next forty-eight hours. And if not a smile, then just warmth. And if not a smile or warmth, then just--.
--No. Jun will hope for everything he can. He has to. Once Jun has started something, he has to go through with it until the end.
Do and don't think. Feel and don't dwell.
So Ohno chooses to observe, which is sort of like thinking except not really, because he is using his eyes and so it's automatic processing--he can't help it.
Ohno notices that Jun isn't in control, for once. Not that this is a bad thing, because it's Friday night and everyone should be allowed to lose themselves once the weekend has started. That's why Ohno is here, he has decided. He wants to lose himself for a little bit. He'd like to lose himself with Jun.
Which is why he's following Jun into his bedroom and helping Jun find matching sheets and pillowcases (which takes all of three seconds; it is Jun's closet, after all). He's hovering close, but keeping a distance that he expects Jun to close when he's ready.
Pull the other side, Jun says, casually, but his voice is a bit tighter than usual.
Ohno pulls. There is a flutter of fabric and some wonderful scent; above the swish of cotton Across the Universe plays.
Words are flying out like endless rain into a paper cup, Ohno thinks to himself, and the lyrics slither onto his tongue and escape in a whisper, a near-hiss.
I wouldn't expect you to know the words to this song, Jun points out. They're tucking in the corners of the fitted sheet now. But you've been singing along to the whole album, haven't you? In your head. You've been humming.
I can't help it, Ohno says, and smiles.
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box, they stumble blindly as they make their way across the universe…
Surely no one that Jun could ever coax home would hum along to every song on his Beatles albums, or help with the dishes, or eat three helpings of his homemade pasta.
Well, maybe they would have, but Jun wouldn't have felt the way about them as he does Leader, who is a smile standing in his bedroom, and one that will still be there in the morning, tangled in sheets and still clothed and willing to stay for another night. Leader will wake up in the morning and want leftovers, and he won't be polite about it, either.
Even if Jun finds it a tiny thrill to try and remember who's lying in bed next to him, he doesn't mind the comfort of knowing who fell asleep with him and hoping that they'll still be there the next morning. In fact, he craves it. He wants to open his eyes and have the lights on for him and the water already running, just for once.
Jun tucks in one corner of the top sheet and then tosses a pillowcase across the bed.
That's for the big one, he says, and nods to one of the naked pillows.
Ohno grabs a handful of down pillow and stuffs it into the case, which is soft--not with wear but with the kind of satin feel that he likens to ladies' pajamas and five star-hotel sheets. This is an expensive bed, fit for a boy who finds his life just as rich.
Jun, Ohno begins.
Jun looks up.
I'll sleep on the couch if you want me to, Ohno finishes. Really, I will.
He sets the clothed pillow at the head of the bed, next to the smaller one that Jun has just put down. There, they look like partners in crime, disguised in bona fide silk suits, even if the one that Ohno dressed is somewhat wrinkled.
Jun's is impeccable. As expected, Ohno thinks. He does this a lot. He probably does it with other people, too, just like this.
No, Jun replies, after some time.
Ohno looks up.
No, you can sleep here, Jun says, and rests a hand on the bedspread. His fingers curl, maybe to make a point, maybe just to do something.
Jun gives Ohno a new tube of toothpaste, a towel, and a tour of the bathroom.
Hot water's on the right, he says, pointing to the shower tap. The letters rubbed out and you'd think it would be on the left, so be careful.
Ohno nods seriously. Got it, he says.
This is turning out to be just another concert tour; just another night of settling into yet another hotel room. Ohno is fiddling with the sink taps and making himself at home already: toothbrush down, towel on the rack next to Jun's, glass already nestled comfortably in a nook by the sink. He has even pulled off his shirt.
I'll go turn on the air conditioning, Jun says.
His mouth his dry. He takes a step to leave.
Wait, Ohno says.
Can I just--
Ohno takes one step forward, one step to move in, and brushes his lips against Jun's.
Good, Ohno mutters afterward in a puff of breath. It's as if he has just dipped his hand into a lake and determined the water cool enough to swim in.
Jun inhales sharply. He has no idea what to do, what the right thing to do is. There is no blueprint available for this situation, no instructions to follow.
This is not another random hook-up with the coolest-looking guy at the club in the leather trousers and studs. It's just seven minutes past one o'clock in the morning. It's just Leader.
Except it is not just Leader, and this is not just something to dismiss.
So Jun takes Ohno's elbows in his hands and eases him up against the wall, gently, slowly, before shoving hard. It's like Jun wants to wake up tomorrow morning to see holes dug into the plaster from Ohno's shoulder blades. It's like he's trying to gauge whether this is real or not.
Sorry, Jun says, after they have stared at each other long enough. Did that hurt?
Ohno shakes his head.
Jun, he says quietly.
Jun's instant remedy to any tension in his body: Ohno beginning a sentence with his name.
Jun, Ohno says again. It's okay. I'm staying.
He raises one hand and presses the tips of his fingers against Jun's lips.
Two days, Jun mumbles.
Just two, Ohno agrees. But two more than you're used to.
Jun closes his eyes.
In the morning, he hopes there will be a shower running for him, and a hand on his arm, and his name rolling through the morning air like birdsong. He hopes because he has to.
Or maybe he hopes because he wants to.
Thank you, Jun says. I need this.
I know, Ohno begins, in the same tone of voice like he is embarking on another journey into the water, this time deeper. So will you--?
Jun lets himself go. When his head dips, Ohno's lips are already there to meet him.
And it's a kiss, Jun thinks, worthy of a well-lit home and sleeping in with someone else to be your blanket.
Ohno rolls into bed like he has been standing for hours, like his knees have finally buckled, given out.
My lips are bruised, Ohno says after a beat. He is pouting.
Jun throws a pillow at him.
Shut up, he says, and leans over, elbows digging into the mattress.
Ohno presses the tips of his fingers against Jun's lips, again.
Gentle, he reminds.
Right, Jun breathes, I know.
The kiss is like the softest summer breeze, playing round curtains at dusk--balmy and lazy and sweet. Even Jun's tongue is playful, and Ohno lets him in without a second thought.
Good night, Jun whispers.
You would be that type, Jun-kun, Ohno says, laughing slightly. Do you give all of them good-night kisses?
Five past midnight, and a pocket of silence falls over Jun's room.
No, Jun finally says. He is sure of it.
There are good-night other things, he continues, and they're not really so good night as they are drunken and horny early morning (but Jun doesn't say any of that last part).
Ohno stretches, the tips of his toes reaching the edge of the bed and fingers wiggling at the wall. Then he sits up to pull the covers over both of them.
Good night, Jun-kun, Ohno says quietly.
Jun realizes quickly that the bed is not actually big enough for both them. Ohno's hand is somewhere near the small of his back, brushing against the end of Jun's spine.
If he is asking for something, Jun is fine with it, but not tonight. Tonight, right now, is just perfect.
Two more days, he thinks.
He falls asleep. He is warm, warm all over.