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Title: Taking Over

Author: [ profile] gina84
Characters: Shirota Yu, Kamenashi Kazuya or Akame (depends on how you decide to read and interpret it)
Disclaimer: In my dreams I can own anything… otherwise they belong to each other
Rating: PG-13
Warning: deathchar!fic and sort of a mindfuck I guess :|

Summary: Randomly and not-so-randomly meeting Kazuya, Shirota changes…

A/N: This happens when Cora ([ profile] wintersdancer) asks me to write her something about psycho!Yu… I can honestly say that I did all I could; just in the end, the story got a little Akame!undertone, and maybe it’s more about psycho!Kame than psycho!Yu :| #Fail

Kazuya finds Yu crouching at his door one evening while coming home after another tiring, endless day. He is exhausted, both physically and emotionally – but it’s a good thing because like that, he works on automat and this blunt numbness is exactly what he needs now to survive. To keep going. One day at time. He silently curses when he recognizes the person sitting on the floor; the last he has strength for now is to have to deal with one of Jin’s best friends.

A shattered memory flicks across his mind; a memory of Shirota, Nishikido and Yamapi standing in front of him and promising to be there for him if Kazuya ever needed anything. But he doesn’t need, has never needed. Not from them. Surviving yet another day is a little easier without the three of them being around as a living reminder of the past.

Kazuya swallows thickly and finds keys.

“Are you coming in?” The question rasps in his dry throat.

He doesn’t even know why he is asking. Or that he is asking at all.

And he is not sure if Shirota is really following him until the other’s tall figure stretches in the small space of Kazuya’s apartment foyer. There’s not too much room, only to take off one’s shoes and quickly proceed to the living room; however, Shirota doesn’t put on the slightest attempt to move any further. He just stays there, blank look roaming aimlessly around.

There is nothing much interesting though. Kazuya has always been sort of a minimalist freak who likes things neat and in order without excessive and flaming decorations – he has all of these more than enough at work and doesn’t need to bring sparkles and trimmings and feathers to his temperate, simple yet tasteful and stylish home.

Shirota’s eyes catch a glimpse of a small cabinet standing at one of the walls. There are photos of Kazuya’s family, parents and brothers with their children, but what draws Shirota’s attention is something else. There is quite a numerous collection of glasses aligned on the top of the cabinet, some of them dark, some of them with corrective lenses. Lately, Kazuya has been wearing glasses a lot; also now there is a pair sitting on the bridge of his crooked nose.

Shirota closes his eyes at a sudden flood of memories.

“What’s…” Kazuya clears his throat. It’s uncomfortable. Having Shirota so close brings back memories Kazuya wishes to forget. “What’s wrong?” he manages to ask and it sounds stupid. It must sound stupid because they both know what is wrong.

On the other hand, things have been wrong for the last three months. But this is the first time Kazuya’s and Shirota’s paths cross. Since then.

Shirota just stares, seeing the reflections of his tense face and empty eyes shattered in the glasses, all those eyes watching him back. Looking through him just the way he sees them and not, both at the same time.

“Why…why are you here, Yu?”

It takes a moment before Shirota finally blinks, tearing the numb feeling that has been creeping into him. His fingers absentmindedly tap the edge of the cabinet first then find their way to the glasses, grazing over random pairs while ignoring others. Just randomly, with no particular design.

“I… I don’t know actually… just…” his voice is trembly as he is trying to find the right words. To explain inexplicable. His fingers stop at a pair of dark shades then jerk away. The contact gives him a little shock. Shirota rubs the tips of his fingers together; his eyes keep avoiding looking up to meet Kazuya’s. “I don’t know,” he sighs in the end. “I miss him, that’s it. And I thought…”

It’s audible when Kazuya sucks in a sharp breath and if there was anything he could reach for to support himself he would do it but with nothing around, he staggers and both his heartbeat and breathing quicken.

It’s too soon.

Only three months.

It’s fucking too soon to talk about how much they miss Jin.

How much he misses Jin.

And maybe, if Kazuya had time or energy or strength to think about it, he would come to the conclusion it will be always too soon.


“I’m… oh god –” a gasp “ – I’m sorry!” Shirota shakes his head and realizes what he is doing. Kazuya in front of him is pale and shivering all over and Shirota knows it’s his fault. He has come here and brought the topic up despite all the alarms ringing in his head. He wants to cut the distance between his and Kazuya and hug the other but he doesn’t because his action wouldn’t change anything. It couldn’t change anything. Nothing can.

Because Jin is gone and nothing can bring him back.

“I…I can’t do t-this,” Kazuya swallows and crosses his arms at his chest, palms rubbing the shoulders. :I just…”

“I shouldn’t have come here,” Shirota mumbles and without prolonging the torture rushes out of the door and the building, leaving Kazuya there, standing in the small foyer of his apartment, empty eyes staring at nothing particular. At something that is not here anymore.

Only when he reaches the station to take a train home, Shirota realizes the small object he has been holding in his hand the whole time. His fingers are tightly clenched around a pair of sunglasses.

Jin’s sunglasses.

For a couple of following days, Shirota feels like the worst. At first, he was trying to find an excuse for what he did, he really was; however, there was no acceptable or at least partly logical explanation for his act.

The dark glasses he took at Kazuya’s are lying on a coffee table in Shirota’s living room and his eyes land on them every time Shirota passes through the room. He can’t make himself move them away though. For a reason behind his comprehension.

There’s a chance Kazuya has already noticed something is missing. – Shirota can’t be really sure how much attention the other pays to details in his apartment. – Or maybe Kazuya has had so much work that his OCD tendencies haven’t had time to expand in their usual force yet.

Then finally, after an eternity of talking himself into and out of it countless times, and having no poor excuse not to do it, Shirota takes the sunglasses one evening to return them to Kazuya. Because that’s how things should be.

He stops just before leaving the door and without really thinking about what he is doing, he puts the sunglasses on and looks into a mirror on the wall.

Jin used to go through phases when he practically lived with sunglasses on 24/7 and no one was able to talk him out of it. And Shirota cracks a smile at a memory of the one afternoon when Jin was annoying everybody to no end with stopping at every store and trying on every sunglasses he found until Kazuya caught his wrist, leaned in and whispered something into Jin’s ear. No one knew the exact words – and Ryo had a few remarks hinting it was better that way for them – but be it anything, the sunglasses ended hooked on Jin’s t-shirt and stayed there for the rest of the day.

Shirota doesn’t really like wearing sunglasses but looking at his reflection, he thinks he might get used to it eventually.

Then the moment is gone, he takes the glasses off and leaves the apartment, rushing to catch a train.

He reaches Kazuya’s in less than 40 minutes and only then cares to actually check the time – to learn it’s too soon and Kazuya might be either still at work or on his way which could give Shirota some precious time to change his mind and leave. However, Kazuya opens the door after a second ringing of the doorbell.

He looks tired, that’s what Shirota notices as the first. And it’s not the kind of tiredness one gets after a long day at work – the less Kamenashi Kazuya who has been overworking himself since Shirota can remember. No. It’s the deep, numbing exhaustion when nothing in the world makes sense anymore.

Shirota mumbles a curse.

With a silent resignation, Kazuya steps back into the foyer and lets Shirota enter. He is wearing an oversized, grey sweater that would have been too big for him even at times when he was working out for Going!. The times are gone now and Kazuya is back to his skinny form from years ago. Shirota would have surely noticed before but they haven’t been in touch until the other day… And Kazuya is plunged in the thick wool now right in front of Yu’s eyes, sleeves coming almost to the tips of his quivering fingers; small and somewhat vulnerable yet stubborn to admit anything as always. Shirota thinks of how difficult it must be to spend the whole day pretending only to come back here, night after night, into a grievously empty apartment when there are still Jin’s clothes neatly folded in drawers. – And Kazuya doesn’t seem to be getting rid of them any time soon. – Yu is still not over the loss himself, but it must be different for Kazuya; Shirota knows that, or at least he assumes.

Jin was Shirota’s best friend after all. It makes sense that Yu misses him. Three months are not enough. However, the bond Jin shared with Kazuya was beyond everything. Kazuya must be beyond just ‘missing’ Jin; and the way he looks like shows it well.

This time, Kazuya leads Shirota to the living room. The dogs are lying snuggled in a blanket thrown on the couch, curiously watching the unexpected guest. Neither Ran nor Jelly makes the slightest move to greet him though. – The dogs would act different if Jin was the one coming in, Shirota thinks despite trying hard not to ponder about it. In the end, he is not even sure why the thought actually came to him. He doesn’t need to compare himself to Jin; for many reasons. He doesn’t want to.

“Something to drink?” Kazuya asks in a reserved, cold even voice, yet still polite enough to actually ask nonetheless.

“Water. Or beer. Or nothing, really,” Shirota shrugs.

Kazuya nods and goes to the couch, sitting down there. Shirota takes it as a sign the offer has just expired. It’s awkward because there is nothing much they could talk about. They have never been exactly friends and now also the only thing linking them together is gone. Yet Shirota is here, in Kazuya’s living room and they should find something – anything – to break the heavy silence between them.

Absentmindedly, Kazuya reaches for a hat lying on the cushion next to him; Jelly has been nuzzling it so far since the moment Kazuya had to get up to open the door. Shirota watches how Kazuya’s fingers, still mostly covered with the sleeves, play with the rim of the fedora.

It’s more than clear Kazuya is not the one to wear it.

Shirota clears his throat, he is nervous and he can’t help it. “Is there…” he scratches his head with a jerky move, only to occupy himself with something else than excessive thinking, “ehm… anything new at work?”

The fingers stop in the middle of another brush along the rim and Kazuya looks up. He frowns but quickly blinks it away. He gets it; he gets that Shirota is trying and deep down under the warp of numbness and heavy nothing Kazuya knows he should try too. And maybe not only now, not only when Shirota is sitting in his living room and doesn’t seem to be leaving any time soon; he should try every day. Step by step.

“It’s… good. It’s work. There may be a new show. Maybe next month.”


Shirota’s eyes follow Kazuya’s fingers. He doesn’t notice he is doing it; they both don’t notice. Kazuya keeps playing with the rim and Shirota keeps watching.

They talk a bit. About the show. About Yu’s new single. About work. Because work is safe. Sort of. Safer than asking Kazuya how he has been doing lately. The dark bags under his lifeless eyes are an answer enough anyway. Eventually, Shirota gets a glass of water and then it’s time to leave because the conversation starts dying again. Kazuya follows him to the door, while the dogs don’t even flinch, half asleep curled up together.

The door close and Shirota realizes he didn’t return the sunglasses.

He can’t make himself press the doorbell again though. And leaves.

Two weeks later Kazuya spots Shirota in Shibuya.

Or at least he thinks that the one he sees in the crowd is Yu. It’s difficult to tell as the guy is hidden behind dark glasses with a fedora pulled deep into his forehead. Kazuya sees him entering a shop with sportswear. The idea of Shirota Yu shopping at such a place is surprising. And confusing. Shirota has always been more a type to wear shirts and trousers, stylish jackets; and Kazuya can’t imagine the other suddenly turning to sneakers and sweatpants and hoodies.

Kazuya shakes his head and for the rest of the afternoon tries to convince himself that the glasses sitting on Shirota’s nose were not similar to those Kazuya remembers Jin used to wear.

It would be a sick joke.

And Yu wouldn’t do it. Wouldn’t do anything to hurt Kazuya.

A month later Kazuya hears a rumor about Shirota and a blonde actress. It says the two spent the whole night having fun at a club where Shirota and the others often go for a couple of drinks and to relieve stress after a tough day or week or whatsoever.

He is not particularly interested because Yu can do whatever he wants. Just because Kazuya’s life was put on hold after Jin’s accident doesn’t mean the others can’t move on.

It’s actually better that way.

Kazuya drowns himself into work. More than he has already been – if something like that is possible. He doesn’t mind being awake twenty hours a day and sleep for only three or even less. It’s not the first time in his life when he is like this anyway. There is the new show he told Shirota about a while ago. Then there is a new single and its promotion. Maybe a tour in the upcoming summer if the sales go well, and the sales go always well.

When at work, he doesn’t think about stuff.

Jin is gone. Not gone as in the sense of having another life overseas as Kazuya might have feared once, but gone as never-to-come-back-gone. This kind of stuff.

Or about Shirota coming over to the jimusho to pick up Ryo the other day, and wearing shining orange sneakers and worn out baggy jeans. Nishikido didn’t seem to mind either of these; Kazuya, on the other hand, almost walked into a wall because the sight took him aback.

Sometimes, Shirota calls. Just occasionally and the length of the calls depends on how tired Kazuya is or how quickly they run out of non-awkward topics. Surprisingly, things are getting easier with time. Despite all the weird details Kazuya has noticed about the other lately, Shirota is the only person who Kazuya doesn’t really mind having around outside work.

They start meeting in the park where Kazuya walks the dogs. It takes time before he stops flinching every time Yu appears from behind a corner, taking leisure steps and coming over to him, but then he somehow calms down and seeing Yu doesn’t bring him to the verge of a heart attack anymore. It’s nothing but strange at first though; especially since Yu has adopted this weird habit of wearing comfy clothes and taking off his sunglasses only when getting close enough to the spot where Kazuya usually waits for him.

It’s both strange and not at the same time that eventually, the dogs start reacting at Shirota’s presence. Jelly is the first one curious and courageous enough to go over to Yu and nudge his ankle with her neb. She jerks away when the guy reaches down to pat her, but then goes back and snuggles into his big, warm palm. It seems simple but it’s not. Kazuya thinks that maybe Jelly has just got used to Shirota’s presence; and she has always been the livelier and easier to please one. But then he sees also Ran taking slow, hesitant steps and sniffing to Shirota’s leg.

Kazuya finds himself freeze at the sight. Ran has never been good with people around, save him and Jin, of course; she hardly let anyone touch her, not even Koki who is widely known for his love for animals and for how much animals love him in return. However, Ran is tilting her head and nearly purrs in content now when Yu’s fingers scratch her just behind her ears.

“Seems that she could finally accept me,” Yu looks up, grinning. Ran gives a few tentative licks to his hand and they are friends now.

Kazuya feels his hand is about to shake and squeezes it in his other hand to hide the sudden trembling from Shirota. It hurts. It hurts so much that he needs more than one deep intake of breath to put himself relatively together and not turn around and leave. It’s nice to see Ran being friendly with Yu, yet at the same time Kazuya feels like snatching the dog away and not letting her get near Yu ever again. Because it shouldn’t be like this. She shouldn’t be friendly with Shirota.

Shirota is not Jin.

With his lips pressed tight together, Kazuya slightly nods.

They take a little walk around the park then, watching Ran and Jelly having fun on the lawn, and Shirota tells Kazuya that he has been thinking of having a couple of concerts overseas because his singing career works just fine right now. He could start in Europe, in Spain. But America would work as well, maybe even more. Shirota tells Kazuya that the music market in the States could be good for him. As a springboard. An international base. And he is so engrossed in painting his vision that he doesn’t see the dread in Kazuya’s suddenly paled face.

Kazuya gets nervous and fidgets around.

It’s not like he is going to break down just because Shirota has mentioned America just now; of course he is not. He hears about the opportunities overseas on a daily basis, and as much as it’s nothing for him, Kazuya knows there are people whose luck and happiness is waiting over there. However, these people are not dressed in baggy jeans and oversized hoodies and don’t wear dark fedoras and sunglasses. These people don’t resemble Jin.

“I s-should… maybe…” his throat is dry again. “I should go back.” He rubs his hands against his hips in tense, jerky moves. There is a big chance he is going crazy.

Yu glances at his wrist to check the time. “Already?” He is not the least aware of what is going on, or that Kazuya’s heart makes a flip flop at spotting the watch, the same watch showing five time zones that Jin bought for nearly two millions yen and was excited about like a kid under a Christmas tree. Then the watch disappears under a sleeve again. “I thought you said you were free for today.”

“Yeah… I… I just… realized I forgot something. Sorry.” Kazuya casts a weak apologetic smile and whistles at the dogs to call them back. He needs to get out of there, away from Shirota before things won’t make sense anymore. He feels like being trapped in some twisted imaginary world. Only it’s not clear if the one creating it is him or Yu.

Shirota nods and doesn’t seem to be mad; he understands. He always understands that Kazuya has work or some stuff to do and needs to be somewhere on time. He understands because Jin used to talk about it all the time; about how it was difficult for him and Kazuya to be together because of their schedules, the less after Jin going solo; about how Kazuya sometimes forgot about time while working, too focused on reaching perfection.

“It’s okay. Do you… do you want a lift or something? My car is parked…” Yu waves his hand in a vague direction somewhere behind him but keeps an eye contact with Kazuya.

“I’ll take a train. Thanks.”

As quickly as he can, Kazuya put the dogs on leash and walks away.

Shirota frowns and reaches for his sunglasses, putting them on. He has no idea what has just happened or if he has done something wrong.

Sometimes, Kazuya doesn’t sleep at all. Just lies on the bed, eyes closed and breathing calm, and wishes for Jin to be back. By his side. To wrap his arms around Kazuya and soothe him into sleep when Kazuya thinks too much and his head doesn’t let him switch off. To be the first Kazuya sees after waking up. To be on the phone when Kazuya has a couple of minutes between a photo shooting and an interview.

It’s not about missing Jin as a lover. Missing the precious, intimate moments they shared in past. Jin hands burning on his skin. Jin’s lips sucking on his own, gently pressing against Kazuya’s. – Of course he does miss this, too; however, what the accident robbed him of in the first place was Akanishi Jin, his friend.

And loosing this hurts more than anything.

The digital display of the alarm clock on a bedside table reads a little pass 3AM when Kazuya reaches for his phone and scrolls down the contact list for Shirota’s number.

He doesn’t call though. Instead, he tosses the cell to the other half of the bed the moment he realizes what he has been about to do. In his head, images of Shirota suddenly blend together with treasured shreds of memories of Jin, and Kazuya silently wails into the darkness of his room when it’s not possible to tell which face belongs to whom anymore.

Shirota doesn’t come to the park the following weekend and Kazuya is glad for the little of privacy he has. He sets the dogs free and even smiles when Ran and Jelly start running around in circles on the lawn. Kazuya hasn’t been as relaxed for weeks. Months.

There are kids playing on a nearby playground, and Kazuya remembers the times he and Jin used to come here under an excuse of walking the dogs to watch the kids. – Kazuya found it a little creepy but Jin didn’t mind going as close as to a small merry-go-round, and soon the kids were all around him, dragging him into their games. And Jin complied without objections.

It was exactly here, at this spot near the playground, where Kazuya took Jin’s hand into his own one late autumn afternoon and gave him the last chance to escape. – “Maybe we could still stop it. You could find a nice wife, have your own kids.” – It was exactly here, only a couple of steps from the old merry-go-round, where Jin squeezed Kazuya’s hand in return. – “It’s late to stop it, Kazu.” – Jin was smiling. And for a little moment, everything was perfect.

Maybe what Kazuya misses the most is Jin’s smile. His laugh. How natural he could be without caring what would people around think of him.

It’s almost pathetic how much Kazuya wishes to have Jin back.

Just sometimes.

Like now.

Kazuya knows he can live on, he can make it from day to another; hold everything together and not break down because at some point, it’s exactly what he has been doing for most of his life.

However, everything would be much, much easier if he didn’t have to.

If there was no accident and no phone call from Reio telling him Jin was taken to a hospital in L.A. and no one knew what would happen next… until they knew.

And everything shattered.

Something is wrong.

The realization comes down to Shirota one morning when he, still half asleep because he is not really good at dealing with the annoying sound of his alarm clock and it seems impossible for him to get out of the bed before 9AM lately – and even then he more crawls than anything else –, enters his living room only to find it in one big mess of clothes scattered around, papers with what seems like fragments of lyrics, half-empty mugs of coffee and a bowl with remains of what might have been curry yesterday lying everywhere.

Yu looks around the room that doesn’t really look like his living room at all. Only that it is his living room, with his old couch and probably even older crotchet cover with blue and white Andalusian pattern. He remembers his grandparents giving him the cloth, saying that he shouldn’t ever forget about his roots. Yu blinks and reaches out a hand, but instead of grazing the cover with the tips of his fingers he quickly snatches a white hoodie lying thrown over the backrest, and leaves to the kitchen to fix some breakfast.

Without too much thinking he goes with a cup of strong coffee and an instant ramen.

It’s a bit strange because he doesn’t remember eating these things in the morning or actually, having any pack in the pantry; but then again, maybe it’s one of these things he always had at home for the not-so-rare occasions when Jin needed a place to crash and Yu’s couch was the best among options. Or the closest. Or Jin had tried it at Ryo’s first but was chased away and came to Yu to complain about what an idiot Nishikido was.

These little moments are what Yu misses the most. The friendship with Jin was always teetering on a line between teasing and caring; perfectly balanced. Maybe he still keeps a few packs of instant ramen in a crazy, impossible hope that someday his doorbell will ring and Jin will be standing there, grinning and begging for a couch to sleep on.

Yu still has some time before getting ready and leaving for a lunch meeting with a producer of his upcoming drama.

For a second, he takes into a serious consideration leaving the mess in the living room the way it is – it’s not like he is planning to have guests soon after all… However, then his own thoughts scare him and Yu dashes to the room to get it into order as soon as possible, taking away the dirty dishes and folding the papers.

In the rush – he feels almost panicky all of sudden, surrounded by randomly scattered things – Yu doesn’t notice what he was, apparently, working on last night. His handwriting is a little messy, different from when he writes kanji… yet the raunchy, sexually explicit lyrics are all there, legible and clear.

There are three messages from Yu on his answering machine when Kazuya returns home from work earlier than he originally thought he would. He had some time to drop by a conbini to buy necessary groceries he has already run out of and after taking a relaxing bath, he thinks of cooking instead of just heating up some leftovers stored in fridge or ordering takeout. Cooking always works like a therapy for him and Kazuya feels like he could use one right now.

It has been nearly three weeks since he saw Shirota for the last time. And it has been both kind of relieving and, surprisingly, also disturbing. Kazuya might be actually worried about the other by now, no matter how irritating and strange it might have been at times to have Shirota around, with his changing wardrobe and way of acting. Despite everything though, Shirota has been the only one Kazuya let closer since the accident.

And for the first time since then, being all alone feels uncomfortable.

In the end, the cooking is postponed and Kazuya takes a phone and dials Yu’s number. It won’t hurt anyone if he asks how Shirota is doing. If everything is fine with him. Things may be a bit awkward between them at times but that doesn’t mean they are not friends, right?

Yu picks up the call after the second ringing. He sounds a little out of breath. “Oh… hey… hi. I’ve been just about to –”

“Are you… is everything alright?” Kazuya blinks, a frown crosses his forehead.

“Yeah, it’s just… wait.”

There are more muffled pants and quick, dull sounds on the other side of the line and Kazuya’s frown grows. “Should I…” he licks his lips then bites the lower one, silently cursing himself for ever having a thought of something as stupid as bothering Shirota on Thursday evening. “I’ll… call later?” Kazuya suggests; nervous for no particular reason. “Tomorrow?”

“No, it’s…” Yu heaves out once more and lets the sentence die out.

Then the doorbell rings. Both Ran and Jelly rush pass stunned Kazuya, impatient for the door to get open so they could greet the guest.

Still with the cell at his ear, Kazuya approaches the door and opens, only to face Yu in the next moment. Yu casts a smile from under a messy fringe of dark hair sticking from a hood pulled on, and with a shrugs ends the call that is not needed to be kept anymore. He is slightly out of breath and Kazuya realizes the guy must have run up the stairs instead of taking the elevator.

– Kazuya is so shocked to see him that he forgets to remember all the times Jin took the stairs in an attempt to reach the right floor sooner than Kazuya going up by the elevator. –

“Hey,” Shirota says again. The dogs are jumping around him, squealing in joy, until he eventually bends down to pat them. His eyes stay on Kazuya though, his face raised up. The tension of Kazuya’s posture is clear and makes Yu a bit worried. “Are you okay? I mean… I wasn’t sure… Is it okay for me to be here?”

“S-sure,” Kazuya nods. Something he can’t really grasp is creeping up his spine, impossible to be shaken off. “I just… didn’t know you would… you might… Never mind. I’m glad you are here.” It’s almost like at the beginning. Awkward and fidgety and uncomfortable for reasons Kazuya can’t put together. Only it’s different because Ran and Jelly like Shirota now so it’s not really like at the beginning.

He lets Yu in eventually, walking first and checking if everything is at its place. There’s a reason he doesn’t like unwelcomed or unexpected guests; Jin used to make fun of him, always trying to pay visits when Kazuya wasn’t expecting it – always snickering when Kazuya started with apologies about the mess at times he hadn’t had time to clean. Once in the living room, Kazuya motions to the couch, offering Yu a seat.

“I was just… going to make something for dinner if you…”

“I’m sorry I didn’t call,” Shirota blurts all of sudden and with a clumsy move pulls down the hood. His hair sticks everywhere and Yu ruffling them doesn’t make it any better. “I wanted though. Just… things were crazy lately.”

Kazuya nods, acknowledges the explanation and mentally smacks himself for his previous stupid, groundless worries. He would be the first to tell how crazy things can get sometimes when one makes living in the entertainment industry.

“So… dinner?”

Shirota smiles. “Sounds good.”

Kazuya is not aware of how his lips twitch in something near smile as well when he turns around and heads to the kitchen, leaving Yu in the living room with the dogs. He hears a dull sound followed by Jelly’s cheerful whimper and peeking back over his shoulder, Kazuya spots Yu plopped on the couch with Ran and Jelly trying to get onto his lap. To make himself comfortable, Yu lifts his legs and props them against the edge of the small coffee table in front of him.

The previous tension loosens. It’s not strange to have Yu – dressed the way he is, the way Jin used to be – lounging in Kazuya’s living room anymore.

The strange is that Kazuya didn’t find it strange when Yu wasn’t there.

They are back to their routine.

Just not really though, because Shirota is recording a new single for his upcoming drama and Kazuya has his own tight schedule so it’s difficult to set up a plan of regular meet-ups.

However, life is as normal as it can be.

Yu’s mailbox is filling up with messages containing more emojis than the actual words and in return, he keeps sending Kazuya random pictures of things and people around him. He knows Kazuya doesn’t know a half of the faces, can’t know them, but that doesn’t stop Shirota from taking the pics anyway.

When they both have time and are not tired too much, Shirota comes over for dinner, bringing a pack of beers, so they can spend an evening sitting in Kazuya’s living room watching a match – after some little arguing about baseball being better than soccer or soccer being better than baseball; an argument with no real solution.

Then one day, Kazuya opens the door and Yu is standing there with a beanie pulled deep into his face and a paper bag with groceries at his hands.

“My turn to cook, remember?” he announces, making his way to the kitchen without waiting for Kazuya’s reply. They were talking about it a couple of times before, about Shirota taking care of dinner someday because Kazuya remembers Yu is actually a great cook and thus Kazuya’s kitchen wouldn’t be endangered anyhow. – It’s just a little weird to really let someone else use the kitchen when for the last couple of years Kazuya was the only one cooking in there; Jin’s access being highly limited in order to keep Kazuya’s sanity and the apartment in one piece.

Kazuya leans against the doorframe, watching as Yu takes off his hoodie – he wears a white v-neck t-shirt but Kazuya is already kind of used to Shirota’s new wardrobe by now so it’s not as much a big deal as it was at first; and sometimes Kazuya even thinks of what could Yu wear the next time they meet – and starts taking the groceries out of the bag, placing them randomly on the kitchen counter.

“You are not going to control me, right?” Yu grins; a hint for Kazuya to go and make himself comfortable on the couch, reading or doing whatever he wants, just the way he always chases Yu out of the kitchen while being the cook in charge of the meal preparations.

“My kitchen, my rules.”

Shirota pouts but he wouldn’t really mind Kazuya staying there because things are fine between them right now and he likes seeing the other relaxed.

Kazuya laughs softly and makes a tiny waving gesture with his hand in front of his face. “No, of course not, just…” He can’t stop thinking of everything that could possibly go wrong. But it won’t, he assures himself and with one last anxious look at Yu chopping vegetables, Kazuya leaves the doorframe to open a bottle of wine so they could drink a little before the dinner will be ready.

Opening the bottle, Kazuya is listening to the sounds coming from the kitchen, cutting, slicing, frizzling of oil, Yu’s steps along the counter, opening and closing of the pantry doors, more cutting, tingling sounds of pots and pans; and doesn’t notice the smile that has slowly found its way into his face. At some point, Shirota starts silently humming a random melody and gradually, it turns into singing and gets louder. Kazuya is sitting on the couch, a glass of red wine in a hand, and listens to the Spanish lyrics coming from the next door. It seems Shirota even taps the pots to the rhythm of the song…

Kazuya doesn’t understand a single word but it doesn’t really matter that much.

He’s somewhat used to it; he used to listen to Jin babbling in English all the time and understood only occasionally; either because Jin was using words Kazuya didn’t know or because the pronunciation was completely out of place.

Ran has curled on the cushion next to Kazuya and is now whimpering from her sleep while Jelly keeps watching the kitchen door. Kazuya flicks through a fashion magazine that is not even half as interesting as the title page looked like when he bought it earlier the day, but the noises from the kitchen are an entertainment enough right now.

Until there’s a loud crush followed by Yu’s cursing right away. Ran jumps up and Jelly disappears behind an armchair, just peeking out curiously.

“Shit! Shit shit… dammit!” Yu keeps swearing and that’s when Kazuya is already at the door again, eyes wide open at the disaster on the cooker and all around, at Shirota standing there and looking like a drenched puppy with his head lowered and brown stains all over him.

“What the hell?” Kazuya half grunts, half yells.

He thinks of five years ago when he moved in on his own and Jin came over so they would spend a nice evening, which eventually turned into Kazuya nearly having to call firemen since Jin’s cooking skills once again proved not to what the other had bragged about.

Shirota is silent, watching the splash of might-have-been-curry spreading on the wooden floor around the fallen pot. His hand hurts; he can feel all the springing blisters. Why the hell didn’t he use a potholder is one of those questions never to be answered as he doesn’t even remember himself reaching for the pot. He just knows it was hot and burning his skin and he dropped it, crying out in pain. He doesn’t dare looking up to meet Kazuya’s face. For the last couple of weeks things between them were more like a roller coaster and for every step taken forth, they managed to take two backwards.

But he doesn’t want it this way. He doesn’t want to take even a single step away from Kazuya anymore.

“I’ll… I’ll clean it. Everything. Just tell me where…?”

“Fuck you!” Kazuya shouts all of sudden, hands clenched in fists and breathing heavy in flurry. He is staring at the mess on the floor and needs to blink as tears blur his vision, and the world around loses its shapes.


“No! Nonono…! You can’t do this!” Kazuya’s voice trembles. “You can’t come here wearing his clothes and Ran and Jelly like you and you talk about America and… and…” he gasps as if only now all the small, tiny details of the last weeks, months were fitting together, giving him a clear image of something he was suspecting already before yet never even once dared to think about it too much. Afraid of what would happen. And now it’s happening. The puddle on the floor is growing. “And you are supposed to be fucking good at cooking and not gawky or left-handed!” Kazuya runs a hand through his hair, desperately pulling.

Shirota swallows. He is not sure if it’s okay or if Kazuya don’t run away but taking the risk, Shirota takes a few careful steps closer to the other, considering every move. “Kazuya, what…?”

… are you talking about?

I’ve always been a disaster in the kitchen and you know it…

“I can’t, Yu!” Kazuya shuts his eyes tight. Now it’s not about not wanting to look at Shirota but once again about looking at Shirota resembling Jin, and Kazuya’s stomach makes flips and twists and despite the lack of food he ate during the day, Kazuya feels like throwing up. “I…I thought I could and that it would be okay but it’s not and… I c-can’t –”

A pair of strong hands pulls Kazuya in against Yu’s chest, hugging him and soothing the shivers running up and down Kazuya’s body.

“I miss him so much, Yu, I…” the voice is muffled in Shirota’s t-shirt. Kazuya fists the fluffy cotton and holds on it tight. He is breaking and he knows it, feels it, but there’s no way to stop it.

It’s too late…

“You don’t have to, Kazuya, you don’t have to.”

Shirota’s hand is gently rubbing Kazuya’s back then goes slowly up and gives a few tentative brushes over the other’s nape and the soft hair curling there. Fingers naturally slip between the locks and start coiling them, playing with them.

Kazuya is silently sobbing against Yu’s chest but his furious breathing gradually subdues and he leans against Yu’s body, searching for support and warmth and something stable when everything else in his life has been breaking apart since Jin is gone.

He feels a soft kiss on the top of his head, just lips pressed into his hair.

“T-this… this has to stop…Y-yu…I’m…”

The hands around him squeeze his body tighter and Yu’s breath is hot at Kazuya’s ear. Kazuya jerks but can’t escape. Maybe he doesn’t want to. A small voice inside his head tells him he doesn’t need to.

“It’s late to stop it, Kazu.”

Something snaps and Kazuya struggles to get free. He is frowning when he sees the smile in Shirota’s face – a faintly familiar smile –, and it takes a moment before he allows his head to forget about everything. The images on his mind get messy once again. Just this time, all the mess seems to make bigger sense than anything else.

Kazuya gulps and his lips quiver when he – finally – gives in.


.the end

cr: [ profile] wintersdancer because apparently, ALL Yu's gifs on the Internet are her fault :p

OMG DDD: What the hell have I done??
Not gonna happen again .-.
*crawls away*
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