Baby Boo

Sep. 25th, 2016 08:58 am
zeon_avalanthe: (hidarime)
[personal profile] zeon_avalanthe
Title : Baby Boo
Author : [info]zeon_avalanthe
Rating : PG
Genre : AU ; Fluff
Fandom : Arashi
Pairing : Sakuraiba ; Ohmiya
Disclaimer : Everyone knows that I don't own any of those boys, sadly.
Summary : Sho is known for many things. But even Sho cannot solve the world's biggest mystery- Love.
Author's Note : For [livejournal.com profile] arashi_exchange 2016! Thank you to Tanja my fabulous beta for putting up with me!

~~~Baby Boo~~~

Sho is known for many things.

Sho is known for being top of his class. Sho is known for being an over-achiever. Sho is known for his charm. Sho is known for being a real gentleman. Sho is known for being a smooth talker. Sho is known for being a fun companion. Sho is known for his vast knowledge. Sho is known for knowing an answer to almost everything.

But even Sho cannot explain the situation he’s currently in.

Because right now a stranger is practically lounging on his living room couch, eating his crackers and drinking his beer, watching some re-run of a comedy drama on his TV and almost laughing his lungs out.

Sho wonders if he entered the wrong apartment so he checks. He’s got that weird statue from his bestfriend’s friend standing on his table – and, yep, it’s there. Sho is sure this is his apartment. Now the question is, who is this guy and why is he watching TV in Sho’s livingroom as if it’s his own house?

Sho decides he might as well ask the man.

“Uhm, may I know who you are?” Despite the weird situation Sho still asks the man politely.

The stranger slowly turns his head to face Sho. The man looks confused at first, before a grin forms on his gorgeous face.

Wait, did Sho just think that this stranger is gorgeous?

“Are you Nino’s friend? He’s not home yet, but you are welcome to wait with me. We can watch this drama together as we wait,” he tells Sho cheerfully, almost too cheerful for a stranger who came into his apartment without permission.

But the man did mention a name. A Nino. Sho knows no Nino. But this man does, and he apparently thinks that his apartment was that Nino guy’s place. Nino sounds familiar somehow. But Sho can’t recall any person called Nino. Unless...

“Uhm, by Nino, do you mean Ninomiya-san?” Sho tries.

“Yes, yes,” the stranger replies excitedly. “But Nino prefers to be called Nino, you know.”

“Ah.” It now makes sense. “I’m sorry, but I think you’ve got the wrong room. Ninomiya-san’s room is on the other side of the corridor.”

The man’s sparkly eyes blink, as if he cannot comprehend Sho’s words. Then suddenly the man shows a sign of realization. And he screams.

“EHHHHHHHHHHHH?!!!”

***

“Why the long face? It is still 9 in the morning and workaholic-Sho usually doesn’t mope until around 4 in the afternoon when it’s almost time to go home.”

Sho throws a glare at his colleague slash best friend, which earns him a laugh from the other.

“Shut up, Jun. I’m not in the mood for your jokes.”

Jun immediately stops his laughter, though faint giggles can still be heard from him.

“Seriously though, why are you looking so gloomy today? Did something happen?” Jun asked again, his tone serious this time.

“Actually,” Sho sighs, “something did happen last night.”

“What was it?” Jun pries as he moves his office chair closer to Sho.

“When I arrived at home last night, someone already occupied my couch, ate my favorite crackers and drank my precious beer while watching some stupid drama without my permission.”

Jun almost laughs again. Almost. Sho’s glare stops him. It doesn’t, though, stop Jun from throwing Sho a knowing grin.

“What?” Sho asks in irritation.

“Nothing.” Jun gives a shrug. “Just thinking that I want to meet this lucky guy.”

Sho recognizes that look on Jun’s face immediately and groans.

“I do not think he’s cute, Jun. Stop fantasizing.”

“Who said anything about cute?” The smirk on Jun’s face grows wider and Sho has this sudden urge to punch his best friend’s face.

“You’re thinking I’m thinking that. And it’s annoying.”

Jun looks like he’s about to retort back, but their manager arrives in that very moment to call for a morning briefing and Jun quickly shuffles back into his stall to prepare his files.

Sho has never felt so thankful towards their manager in his whole life.

***

When Sho arrives at his apartment later in the evening, he finds that intruder guy leaning against Ninomiya-san’s door, as if he’s waiting for someone, or something, Sho isn’t sure. His face lightens at the sight of Sho’s face and he breaks into a smile.

“Sakurai-san!”

Sho offers a smile in return.

“Good evening,” Sho greets the guy.

He’s ready to move on into his apartment when the other calls out to him again, his voice hesitant –almost shy.

“Uhm, do you have a minute?”

Sho cannot understand why he gives the man a nod. He’s even more confused at himself when he offers the guy to talk inside his apartment. The other guy quickly agrees to Sho’s idea, his eyes suddenly sparkling as he excuses himself to retrieve something from inside Ninomiya-san’s apartment, only to be back with a tupperware box in his hands before urging Sho to get them in already.

“I cooked gyoza,” the man tells Sho as he places the box on Sho’s kitchen counter. “It’s for, you know, it’s an apology for yesterday. I hope you like it.”

Sho watches as the man shifts nervously until he realizes that the man is waiting for Sho to say something.

“Ah, thank you, uhm-“ Sho glances at the man, suddenly aware that he has yet to know the man’s name.

“It’s Aiba. Aiba Masaki,” the man introduces himself. “I’m currently living with Nino, so I guess that makes us neighbours?”

Sho thinks that he has never heard such a nice name, which fits the image of its bearer so perfectly. And does he imagine things, or is Aiba-san actually glowing when he smiles?

“A-ah, yes! Yes, neighbours.” Sho smiles awkwardly. “Let’s get along well, Aiba-san, and, uhm, thank you, for the gyoza. You didn’t have to- to bother, really.”

“It wasn’t a bother at all.” Aiba-san smiles again and Sho suddenly feels weak in his knees. “My parents gave me those yesterday. All I did was cook them.”

“Oh, yeah, I see. Thank you, still. So-” Sho clears his throat once. Twice. “So, what did you want to talk about?”

“Oh, right,” Aiba-san claps his hands together as he remembers. “Right. So, uhm, I just, I just wanted to say sorry. About yesterday. I- Well, Nino didn’t tell me his room’s number. He only said that his room is the second on the right. But I wasn’t sure which right so- But Nino told me where he keeps his spare key and then I found your key exactly where Nino said he keeps his, so I guess, I kinda assumed that your apartment was Nino’s and went in.”

Sho feels Aiba-san’s eyes on him, as if analyzing Sho’s reaction. Sho guesses that Aiba-san takes his expression as an okay to continue, because he goes on.

“I swear I didn’t do it on purpose. And I didn’t mean to be rude or anything, but Nino said to not hold back and do whatever I want to do because it’s basically my apartment too. Well, Nino’s apartment actually is mine too, you see. And I’m sorry that I kinda just ran away yesterday. I was, you know, I guess I kinda panicked and I felt embarrassed, and I just did what my head told me- which was to just get away. So, yeah, I really am sorry, Sakurai-san.”

They both fell silent for a while. Until Sho spoke up.

“It’s… it’s okay, really. I understand, Aiba-san. It wasn’t entirely your fault and no harm has been done anyway.” Sho smiles.

“Really?” Aiba-san’s eyes glitter as he moves closer to Sho.

“Y-yeah.” Sho can’t help but be reminded of that toy-poodle Sho used to own when he was a kid.

“Thank you.”

And Sho suddenly finds himself with an armful of Aiba-san who just jumps on him, most probably in order to show his gratitude. Sho is taken aback at first, but he thinks he doesn’t hate the feeling as he inhales Aiba-san’s scent. Sho is a little disappointed as Aiba-san pulls away.

“Uhm, Sakurai-san, I think I kinda left my bag in your room last night, so if it’s not too much of a hassle, may I retrieve it?”

Sho nods as he lets Aiba-san enter his room to get his bag. He returns not one minute later with a green-leaf duffel bag on his shoulder. Too soon for Sho’s liking Aiba-san excuses himself to return to his shared apartment. Sho watches as his back disappears behind the door, and he keeps standing there staring the door down for almost half an hour. Sho doesn’t know what he expected, standing there, as he heaves a deep sigh and finally goes back to his living room.

Taking the tupperware box Sho gives Aiba-san’s gyoza a shot. It’s not bad. Sho has certainly had better gyozas in the past, but somehow, they taste special to Sho’s mouth. And Sho loves them.

Sho leans back on his couch and inhales deeply. He regrets that he did not keep one or two pieces of Aiba-san’s clothes for himself. Inhaling Aiba-san’s scent is like feeling summer. It feels like ocean breeze and refreshing orange and sparkling fireworks and tinkling bells with a faint hint of woods and mints. And Sho thinks that he would seriously sleep better with Aiba-san’s unique scent around.

But Sho has none of Aiba-san’s clothes – not that any of those will be the same as Aiba-san’s scent itself anyway. At least the faint traces of Aiba-san’s scent still linger on him and Sho hopes that will be enough for the time being.

(Not that he would admit it to Jun. Or anyone else for that matter.)

***

Sho thinks fate is playing him.

It’s just a simple afternoon on which Jun drags him into his favorite coffee shop that his friend owns – the guy who got the statue which now stood on Sho’s genkan for his birthday last year. Jun has invited Sho to come along many times, but Sho could never make it. This afternoon Jun insists that Sho has to come, because his friend apparently has just hired this handsome barista and Sho just has to see him.

And Sho doesn’t know whether to thank Jun, or slap him across the face for taking him there.

“Sho-chan!”

Before Sho can fully comprehend the situation, the man behind the counter already calls out for him. Sho can’t remember ever giving his permission for the man to call him by his first name, let alone with such an endearing suffix. But Sho likes how it sounds whenever the man says it, so he doesn’t complain. And besides, this is Aiba Masaki – the man who has befriended a whole apartment complex in the span of less than a week. He’s just too friendly, sometimes too much for his own good, Sho thinks.

Realizing that Aiba-san is waiting for some kind of a reaction, Sho forces a smile as he lifts his hand in an attempt to wave.

“Good afternoon, Aiba-san.” He can feel Jun’s stare as soon as the name left his lips.

“Good afternoon,” Aiba-san chirps as Sho walks closer. “You’re on your break?”

“Yeah,” Sho gulps before adding, “Jun here insisted on coming to this coffee shop. I wasn’t aware that you work here, though.”

“Oh-chan is my employer,” Aiba-san tells him. “Remember when I told you the reason why I moved into Nino’s apartment?”

Sho nods. Aiba-san came over one night and told him that he was hired in some shop in the neighborhood and since his former place was quite far away and commuting would be troublesome, he asked Ninomiya-san to share his apartment, at least until Aiba-san finds a new one.

“Well, this is the shop I was talking about. I’m the barista.”

“You’re the barista.” Sho repeats. “Right. So, uhm-“

“Oh, right, your orders.” Aiba-san’s face is suddenly professional. “May I have your orders, then?”

Sho quickly asks for an espresso, while Jun opts for a caramel latte with a couple of banana muffins.

“Very well. Please wait as we prepare your orders. I hope you like it, Sho-chan. And-“ Aiba-san turns his gaze at Jun, a sweet smile adorning his face, and Sho feels something in his stomach clench. “Nice to meet you, Jun-san.”

Sho is about to pull Jun away, but not before Jun returns the greetings. “It’s nice to finally get to meet you too. Sho told me a lot about you.”

“He did?” Aiba-san’s eyes grow wide as his glance turns to Sho. “I hope they’re all good stories.”

Sho catches the worry in Aiba-san’s voice and his mind quickly flies to their first encounter.

“Sho spoke very highly of you, you know,” Jun commented, a teasing smile on his face. “He said that you’re very kind and friendly and really nice to be around. Sho said that you have the most amazing smile, too. And I can perfectly see what he meant.”

“Is that so?” Aiba-san averts his eyes, looking uncomfortable and shy.

And Sho thinks that he’s the most adorable thing in the world.

“Yes. Sho always looks so happy when he’s talking about you. I wouldn’t be surprised you two start da-“

With a swiftness Sho doesn’t know he possessed he clamps a hand over Jun’s mouth, stopping him from saying anything more. He throws a look at Aiba-san, smiling awkwardly as the man looks at him and Jun weirdly.

“I’m sorry, Aiba-san. Jun’s just teasing. He’s always been like this,” he tries to explain. “We will be waiting for our coffee, then.”

As soon as they are seated at a table by the far end corner, Sho hissed at Jun.

“Stop saying weird stuff in front of him, Jun.”

“Why shouldn’t I say anything?” The younger man shrugs, his eyes glinting with something that Sho knows to mean trouble.

“Because-!” Sho is suddenly aware that he doesn’t have any good reasons to get Jun to stop his verbal outburst, after all. None he’s willing to give away, anyway. “Just because!” He tries to look threatening, which is clearly not working.

“Admit it, you like him,” Jun says instead, chin resting on his palm, his expression knowing.

“I do not,” Sho half-shouted half-whispered.

“Huh.” Jun squints his eyes. “So you surely won’t mind if I take him, no? He’s attractive and has a good fashion sense. And you were right, he does have the most amazing smile.”

“You-“

But Sho is forced to swallow back his words as Aiba-san is approaching them, a tray in his hands.

“Your orders, gentlemen.” Aiba-san gives them a smile. His professional smile, Sho notices, because his normal smile is so much brighter and more beautiful. “Enjoy.”

“Say, Aiba-kun,” Jun stops Aiba-san just as he was about to leave. “How would you like dinner tonight?”

“Eh, I-“ Aiba-san takes a side glance at Sho, but Sho averts his eyes. “That would be lovely.”

“Awesome. When will you be done here?” Jun asks again.

“Around six, I guess.”

“Perfect. I will wait for you at six, then.” Jun throws the man his infamous flirting-smile.

“Yeah, sure.” Aiba-san smiles back. “I will see you two at six then.”

“Oh, no.” Jun shakes his head. “Sho won’t be joining us. He said he has to catch a deadline today so he will be working late, he might even spend the night at the office. So it’s just the two of us.”

“Oh, is that so?” Aiba-san throws another look at Sho and this time Sho can’t help but look back. It could be Sho’s imagination, but he sees something in those usually bright chocolate eyes. Something like, disappointment?

“Yeah. So, Sho won’t be joining us. Right, Sho?” Jun turns to look at Sho, his expression expectant. And Sho suddenly has this urge again, the urge to punch him in the face.

“No, it’s okay.” Sho tells him. “The paperwork won’t be due until next Tuesday. I still have time to work on it later. So I guess I could join you guys for dinner.”

“Really?” Sho sees Aiba-san’s look brightened all of a sudden, like he’s genuinely happy, and it warms his heart.

“Yes, really.” He smiles at Aiba-san and the man looks like he’s ready to jump up and down in excitement.

“See you later, Sho-chan. And uh- I’ll see you later too, Jun-san.” And with that, he leaves.

“So you will abandon your precious work for this Aiba-guy. How sweet of you – seeing how you don’t like him.”

Sho glares as intimidatingly as he can at his best friend who sits there with that annoying grin on his annoying face.

“Stay away from Masaki, Jun.”

Jun’s grin suddenly gets wider and it’s too late for Sho to realize his mistake.

“So, now it’s Masaki?”

***

It has become a habit of Sho to visit Ohno’s coffee shop. Towards anyone who would ask, he insists that the coffee there is his favorite, but Jun is not that easy to fool.

“You’re there for Aiba-kun.” Jun looks up from his monitor and smirks. “It’s all over your face. You’re just so obvious.”

Sho rolls his eyes as he walks away from his desk, leaving a snickering Jun behind. It doesn’t take Sho five minutes to finally arrive at the coffee shop and he opens the door, hearing the usual tinkling sound as the smell of freshly brewed coffee filled his nostrils.

“Welcome!”

Sho frowns. It was not the familiar voice that Sho is expecting. Sho checks his phone. It’s Friday. Aiba-san’s days off are Tuesday and Saturday. He should be working today. And whenever Aiba-san is at work, he will diligently welcome the customers, no matter what he’s doing.

“Ohno-kun.” Sho approached the other barista.

“Oh, Sho-kun!” The owner called out. “What would you like today?”

“Two cappuccinos, please. For the go.” Sho places his order and watches as Ohno smiles before preparing his order. “By the way, why are you here? I thought you usually do the baking?”

Ohno turns around for a second to give him a smirk before returning to his work.

“You mean why am I here instead of Aiba-chan, right?”

Sho blushes at Ohno’s words and looks away.

“Aiba-chan called in sick this morning.” Ohno tells him and something in Sho’s heart clenches. “Despite his sunny persona, Aiba-chan is quite frail in health. He falls sick easily.”

Sho is suddenly reminded of a certain conversation when Aiba-san mentioned how he likes spring, but at the same time dislikes it, because he suffers from a bad hayfever.

“Is he okay?” Sho can’t help but worry.

“Aiba-chan always has it bad, but I’m pretty sure that he will be okay. Usually all he needs is good rest.” Ohno smiles as if to assure Sho that it will be okay.

“I see.” Ohno’s attempt is futile, for the uncomfortable feeling doesn’t leave Sho. “Maybe I will visit him later.”

“Nice idea.” Ohno agrees. “I would love to go as well, but I already have plans that I can’t cancel. You know, a date. Please send him my best wishes.”

“Yeah, sure.” Sho nods as he pulls a bill from his wallet and hands it over to Ohno.

“And oh, wait a moment.” Ohno disappears through the back door for a moment, returning a second later with a plastic bag in hands. “Please give this to Aiba-chan. It’s his favorite muffins.”

Sho takes the plastic bag from Ohno’s hands. “I will. Thanks, Ohno-kun.”

***

Sho feels somehow nervous as he stands in front of Aiba-san and Ninomiya-san’s shared apartment. Aiba-san has been in his apartment many times already by now, but Sho has never stepped into his. And Sho doesn’t really talk much with Ninomiya-san despite them being neighbors. Partly because Sho often comes home late and partly because Ninomiya-san is an antisocial person by default.

Sho takes a deep breath and raises his hand. But just as he’s about to knock on the door, it opens. And in front of Sho stands Aiba-san’s room-mate, looking all ready to leave.

“Ninomiya-san.” Sho bows as he quickly says his greetings.

“Oh, Sakurai-san,” Ninomiya-san greets back.

“Uhm, I heard that Aiba-san is not feeling well, so I’m here to visit him?” Sho tried hesitantly. “Is it a good time?”

“Oh,” Ninomiya-san nodded, “it’s perfect, actually.”

Sho frowned questioningly at the man.

“I need to go out, you see. It’s a date. I’m kinda worried about Aiba-shi though, so I thought on cancelling it. But Aiba-shi insisted that I go, he even threatened to burn all my video games if I don’t, so I don’t really have a choice but to leave.” Ninomiya-san sighs. He clearly thinks that it’s ridiculous. “So you kinda came at the perfect time. Do you mind watching over Aiba-shi tonight? I’m afraid I won’t be home until tomorrow, so-“

“Oh, no. I mean, yes. I mean, of course I don’t mind. I will, I will watch over Aiba-san tonight, sure.” Sho quickly tells the other man, smiling awkwardly.

“Awesome.” Ninomiya-san smiles. “I will leave him to your care, then.”

Sho stares at the spot Ninomiya-san is standing in, still dumbfounded to even move an inch. He’s brought back to reality when Ninomiya-san’s voice rings in his ears again.

“By the way, if you hurt Masaki in any way, I will give you hell.”

Sho’s eyes grow slightly wider at those words.

“W-wha-what do you mean?”

But Ninomiya-san only smirks as he takes a step back.

“Oh, I think you know what I mean, Sakurai-san.” Ninomiya-san gives him a knowing look. “I’ll see you later.”

And then he disappears inside the elevator.

Sho heaves a deep sigh. Guessing that he needs not to knock now, Sho walks into his neighbors’ apartment.

“Excuse me,” Sho whispers to himself as he changes his shoes to a pair of indoor slippers and tries to find his way around the unfamiliar place.

“Nino? Is that you?”

Sho hears Aiba-san’s voice coming from one of the rooms and frowns. He sounds weak and tired and simply miserable. Tiptoeing to where the sound comes from, Sho quietly turns the doorknob and walks into a dim-light room. What he sees makes his heart clench.

The room is dimly lit and right in the middle of the room a form can be seen hidden under many layers of blanket. As Sho approaches the bed, he can see how Aiba-san’s half-lidded eyes look at him tiredly. His pale complexion is apparent despite the lack of light and beads of sweats are running down his face.

“Hi.” Sho smiles at the sick man. “Ninomiya-san let me in. How are you feeling?”

“Sho-chan,” Aiba-san calls his name, his face contorted in confusion. “What are you doing here?” he asks Sho back instead.

“I heard that you’re feeling under the weather,” Sho tells him truthfully. “So I figured I should visit you. And Ninomiya-san said that he needs to go out, so he kinda asked me to look after you.”

“You don’t have to.” Aiba-san shakes his head as he tries to sit up with quite some difficulty.

“Easy there.” Sho holds his hands to help him up. “And I want to.”

Aiba-san smiles weakly at his words. “Thank you, I guess.”

“You’re welcome.” Sho returns his smile. “So, how are you feeling?” Sho repeats his question.

“It’s nothing big. Just a cold.” Aiba-san starts to cough and Sho is quick to bring him the water bottle from his desk. “Thank you. It’s a cold season. I always get cold when it’s chilly.” He then sighs deeply as he slowly closes his eyes. “I will recover after getting some good rest, though. There’s no need to be worried.”

“I see.” Sho places the bottle back on the drawer. “Have you eaten?”

Aiba-san shakes his head. “I’m not very hungry.”

“But you have to eat something.” Sho shoots him a disapproving look. “Ohno-kun got you some muffins. It’s already cold, but it’s better than nothing. And besides, Ohno-kun’s muffins taste awesome either way.” Sho adds while handing Aiba-san the plastic bag he’s carrying.

“Thank you.” Aiba-san smiles as he takes the plastic from Sho’s hands, but makes no move to open it.

Sho sighs. “I will borrow your kitchen for a while, okay? And when I’m back, I want at least one of the muffins gone.”

Aiba-san is ready to protest, but Sho makes sure to leave no room for it as he quickly leaves the room and heads for the kitchen. He feels slightly bad for intruding, but Sho doesn’t have the heart to leave Aiba-san alone in favor of cooking in his own kitchen. Sho doesn’t cook often, but he sure knows how to make a simple vegetable soup, so he takes the needed ingredients and proceeds to put his skills to use.

Not half an hour later Sho walks back to Aiba-san’s room with a tray of hot-steaming soup and hot honey-milk on it. He chuckles at seeing Aiba-san dozing off with a half-eaten muffin in his hand.

“Aiba-san.” Sho puts the tray on Aiba-san’s desk before shaking the man gently to wake him up. Aiba-san slowly re-opens his eyes and smiles at Sho. “I made you some soup. I hope you like it.”

Sho helps Aiba-san straighten up, before handing him the bowl and urging him to eat. He waits nervously as Aiba-san takes the first sip.

“It’s delicious. Thank you, Sho-chan.”

Sho releases a breath he didn’t realized he’s been holding and sits there as Aiba-san continues to sip the soup. After he finishes his bowl, Sho exchanges it with the cup of hot honey-milk, which Aiba-san drinks with a delighted look.

“Have you taken your meds?” Sho asks as he puts the cup back on the tray.

Aiba-san nods, a big yawn on his face.

“How about lying down?” Sho chuckles under his breath at the adorable face Aiba-san is showing him.

“Okay.”

Sho helps Aiba-san to lie back down on the bed, asking him if he’s feeling comfortable enough as he fixes the blankets. Aiba-san merely cuddles deeper into his sheets.

“Sleep now. I will be here if you need anything.” Sho brushes a few loose strands out of Aiba-san’s face.

“Good night, Sho-chan.”

A fond smile makes its way to Sho’s face as he watches Aiba-san’s breathing evening out. Sho is about to stand when a barely audible voice comes from Aiba-san’s sleeping form.

“I like you, Sho-chan.”

***

Sho dares not hope. That’s why he says nothing about what he heard last night when Aiba-san wakes up in the morning, looking all better already. Still, that doesn’t keep him from being suddenly all nervous around Aiba-san. Sho can’t even look Aiba-san in the eyes anymore without his face turning beet red.

Aiba-san must have misinterpreted Sho’s nervousness, though, because he’s suddenly sulking. He thanks Sho sullenly when Sho excuses himself after Ninomiya-san returns. Sho thinks that maybe it’s just because Aiba-san is still sick, but he can’t get rid of the image of the sad-looking Aiba-san as he leaves.

“I don’t know if you’re pretending to be oblivious or if you’re just plain stupid,” Jun sighs in exasperation after Sho tells him everything.

“You’re not helping, Jun,” Sho glares at his best friend.

“Look, Sho. I have only one advice for you about this. That is for you to go for Aiba-kun quickly. Aiba-kun is very attractive, I believe many women and men are lining up for him. And he looks like he’s not the type to gamble on a losing battle, so you might lose him before you even had the chance to have him if you’re not quick enough.” Jun loos at him, his eyes serious.

“What are you talking about?” Sho raises his eyebrows.

Jun sighs again, his hands reaching for Sho’s sloping shoulders.

“You better confess to him right now, when he’s clearly showing signs that he feels the same towards you.”

Sho’s eyes widen at Jun’s suggestion.

“But I’m not- I mean, I’m not sure if I like him or not yet.”

“You might be too late if you wait until you feel like you know it.” Jun grips Sho’s shoulders tighter. “And from my perspective, you are pretty much head over heels for him already. You’re just denying your feelings.”

Sho takes a moment to process Jun’s words. Maybe Jun is right. Maybe he really has fallen for Aiba-san. Maybe he should confess his feelings to Aiba-san. Maybe this is his only chance. But-

“I don’t know, Jun.” Sho shrugs Jun’s hands away. “I’m not sure about this. I-I’m not ready.”

Sho can see Jun sighing from the corner of his eyes.

“I just don’t want you to regret it later, Sho.”

Maybe Sho already regrets it.

***

Sho stops going to Ohno-kun’s shop after that conversation with Jun. He leaves earlier and comes home later to lessen the possibility of meeting Aiba-san. He ignores Aiba-san’s mails and calls. He needs time to think over his new-found feelings.

Sho has never felt real love before. His high-school crushes came and went without giving Sho a chance to actually feel more than affection. And now, his friend just points out that he has fallen in love with someone he barely knows. Sho wanted to deny it. But the more he tried to push back the image of Aiba-san’s smiling faces, the stronger they came back to him.

Sho is in the middle of drowning in self-misery when loud knocking can be heard from his front door. He thinks of ignoring it at first, but the knocking only gets more insistent and louder. Sho sighs as he slowly makes his way towards the door.

He finds Ninomiya-san and Ohno-kun standing in front of his door. Ninomiya-san looks like he’s ready to murder someone and Ohno-kun is desperately trying to calm him down.

“You!” Ninomiya-san points a finger at him, his voice spiteful. “I thought I had warned you. I thought I had warned you to never hurt him.”

“Wha-?” Sho takes a step back, his eyes moving to Ohno-kun to look for some explanation.

“Nino, please calm down.” Ohno-kun tries as he pulls on Ninomiya-san’s arm, but the other ignores him.

“I thought you care for him. I thought I could trust him to you. I thought you feel the same towards him. But I was wrong. You’re a bastard and you hurt him. You don’t deserve him at all. I swear, I swear to God that I will make your life a living hell. Just you wait, you bastard. You fucking piece of shi-”

“Nino!” Ohno-kun looks at Ninomiya-san with disapproving eyes.

“What? He deserves it.” Ninomiya-san finally turns to face Ohno-kun.

“Yes, perhaps Sho-kun does. But getting angry at him won’t make Aiba-chan better.”

At the mention of Aiba-san’s name, Sho’s heart starts pounding.

“Eh? What’s wrong? What happened with Aiba-san?” Sho asks the two men.

Ninomiya-san looks at him with a piercing glare that makes Sho suddenly feel small.

“It’s none of your business. Come on, Satoshi. We have better things to do.”

“No, please!” Sho reaches for Ninomiya-san’s arm, stopping him from leaving. “Please tell me what’s wrong.”

Ninomiya-san pulls himself free from Sho’s grasp as he looks at him judgingly without saying a thing. It’s Ohno-kun who finally brakes the news to Sho.

“Aiba-chan is feeling sick again.” Ninomiya-san throws Ohno-kun a dirty look, but he continues anyway. “It seems like it’s worse than the last time. He won’t eat or drink and he’s restless, barely able to sleep. When I came to visit him this morning, his fever had already reached forty degrees and he couldn’t even stand, so we took him to a hospital.”

“And it’s all your fault,” Ninomiya-san adds, his face still angry. “Because you suddenly avoided him, so he cried and cried and started to think that you hate him now.”

Sho feels dizzy so he grabs the nearest thing to balance him. His heart worries for Aiba-san and he doesn’t know what to do.

“Where is-“ Sho gulps. His throat is suddenly dry. “Where is he now?”

“What?” Ninomiya-san scoffs. “You think I will just tell you where he stays so you can hurt him more than you already have?”

“Please,” Sho begs as he falls onto his knees. “Please, I need to see him.”

Sho can see something flickering in Ninomiya-san’s eyes, but he refuses to say anything to Sho, so he turns towards Ohno-kun.

“Ohno-kun, please.”

Ohno-kun looks torn. He looks at Sho before turning to Ninomiya-san. He sighs after a while.

“He’s at Tokyo University Hospital.” He tells Sho at last.

“Satoshi.”

“Maybe this is what Aiba-chan needs, Nino.” Ohno-kun faces Ninomiya-san, his eyes soft. “So please, give him another chance, yes?”

“Thank you,” Sho grabs Ohno-kun’s hands and grips it tightly. “Thank you.”

“Just remember, Sho-kun,” Ohno-kun’s eyes suddenly glint dangerously, “Do not give him hope where there is none. If you’re still not sure about your feelings, I suggest you stay away from Aiba-chan forever. I will never forgive you if you hurt him a second time.”

Sho gulps, feeling an unfamiliar urgency in the voice of his usually laid-back and friendly friend of his.

“I won’t,” Sho says after a few moment. “I promise.”

***

Sho feels like he showered with his clothes on when he arrives at Aiba-san’s hospital room. He notices the weird glances coming from the nurses when he half-runs through the hallway. But he couldn’t care less about that right now.

Sho’s eyes soften at seeing Aiba-san’s sleeping figure as soon as he closes in on the bed. Watching how the man’s chest moves up and down in a regular rhytm makes Sho feel such a strong wave of a relief, it almost takes all of his strength away. Sho plops down on the chair by the bedside, his head hung low as he heaves deep breaths to calm his raging lungs.

Sho looks up after a while, and it feels like it’s the first time that he sees Aiba-san properly. Aiba-san has long eyelashes and a finely shaped nose. His usually red full lips are now pale and slightly opened. Sho reaches out and brushes away a few strands of brown locks which stubbornly fall over Aiba-san’a face and sees how Aiba-san stirs for a second, but doesn’t really wake up.

Sho’s eyes travel down. He catches a few moles decorating Aiba-san’s face down to his long neck. It’s slightly covered by the hospital gown, but Sho doesn’t fail to notice a dark mark on his left shoulder. Probably a birthmark. Sho moves to Aiba-san’s left hand, seeing the tube peeking from under the sleeve and into the IV bag on the left side of the bed. He traces down to Aiba-san’s long and slender fingers, calloused from work but no less beautiful.

To Sho, it feels like hours as he is sitting there and waiting for Aiba-san to wake up. But Sho doesn’t feel bored at all. Sho can do nothing but watch Aiba-san sleep and he feels very much content with it. Sho could spend forever memorizing every little details of Aiba-san’s features.

Perhaps that’s why Sho is slightly taken aback when Aiba-san’s eyes suddenly flutter open and those chocolate brown orbs slowly peek out from under the heavy lids. Sho can feel his heart beating faster, half-nervous half-excited, as he finally sees Aiba-san wake up.

Aiba-san frowns at the sudden light in his eyes, but as he slowly adjust, he starts looking around, seemingly clueless as to where he is or why is he there.

“Where am I?” Aiba-san whispers quietly.

“You’re in hospital,” Sho says softly, waiting as Aiba-san’s head finally turns his way. “You are sick and Ninomiya-san and Ohno-kun brought you here.”

Aiba-san looks more surprised about his presence than about Sho’s answer.

“S-Sho-chan?”

Sho smiles. He gives the man a gentle push when he’s about to sit up.

“Don’t push yourself,” is what he tells the man, before adding, “how are you feeling?”

Aiba-san blinks a few times, before his lips curve into a small smile as he nods.

“I’m feeling better. Thank you.”

Sho watches how Aiba-san averted his eyes, avoiding Sho’s gaze. Sho sighs.

“I was so worried.” Sho says. “I still am. And I, I’m sorry. It appears that I was the reason of your sickness.”

Aiba-san throws a short glance at Sho, as if he’s analyzing him.

“Nino told you, didn’t he?”

Sho wiggles on his seat. The way Aiba-san looks at him makes him uncomfortable.

And then he hears Aiba-san sigh.

“Nino said too much,” Aiba-san says, eyes moving from Sho to the view outside the window. “I’m sorry for whatever he said to you. And no, it was not your fault at all. I was, it was just me being silly and all. So there’s no need for you to feel guilty and come all the way here.”

Sho blinks. And then it all comes to him. Aiba-san has misunderstood him. He thinks that Sho is here because he feels like he has to, because this is his fault. But he’s wrong. Sho’s there because he wants to.

“But I want to,” Sho replies to his words. “I want to make sure that you’re okay with my own eyes.”

Aiba-san smiles. But it’s different. The smile doesn’t reach his eyes and Sho hates it.

He hates it because he’s the reason behind Aiba-san’s sadness.

“As you can see, I’m fine already. You don’t have to be worried,” Aiba-san tells Sho, but Sho knows better. He can tell that Aiba-san is far from okay. “It’s late, Sho-chan. You must be tired. Please don’t feel obliged to stay for me.”

Sho shakes his head. “I’ll stay with you. And not because I’m obliged to, but because I want to. Because I care about you.”

Aiba-san bites his lip, his gaze lowered.

“If you say so.”

The two of them fell into a tense silence. And it unnerves Sho. Ninomiya-san’s words float back into his mind as he looks down into his lap.

“Aiba-san, I’m sorry.”

The man turns towards Sho with a confused look on his face.

“What for?”

Sho looks up, his eyes looking straight into Aiba-san’s brown orbs, as if trying to convey everything with his gaze.

“For hurting you.” The words come out in a whisper, strained and trembling. “I was a fool. I was afraid of my own feelings and tried to push them away, not realizing that I hurt you by doing so. I… I was so engrossed with myself and my own problems that I failed to see you and your feelings.”

Sho can feel his heart pounding and a cold sweat runs down his forehead. But he has to do this. He has to clear things up between him and Aiba-san.

“I like you,” Sho finally admits, before shaking his head as a small smile forms on his face. “No, I… it’s more than that. I’m in love with you, Aiba-san. I’m an idiot. And I know that I don’t deserve you, especially after all of this, but I just want you to know that you’re important to me. More than anything.”

Aiba-san’s mouth opens and his breathing quickens. Sho sees how the taller man lifts his hand to wipe at a stubborn tear which fell from his glistening eyes.

“I-“ Aiba-san begins, his voice choked. “You don’t have to lie to me just to make me feel better, Sho-san. I don’t need your pity.”

Sho’s heart clenches at the change of suffix. But Sho won’t allow it to dishearten him.

“I’m not lying, Aiba-san. I’m being serious.”

Aiba-san bites his lip, still avoiding Sho’s gaze. The tears are falling freely by now.

“I’m sorry,” Aiba-san apologizes. “But, I just… I don’t know what to trust anymore. I… I’ve had enough of heartbreak. You came and gave me hope, only to go away and leave me back. And if this is just another dream, I don’t think I can take it the second time. I’ve cried enough, Sho, and I’m tired of it.”

Aiba-san’s confession breaks Sho’s heart. More so because he knows he’s behind Aiba-san’s tears. The man must have suffered alone- expecting, only to be disappointed, again and again. All because Sho couldn’t be brave enough.

But he intends to change that.

So Sho leans forward, his eyes locking on Aiba-san’s surprised orbs, as he captures those chapped lips with his and savoring the chance.

When Sho pulls away, Aiba-san is looking at him with disbelief in his eyes, his cheeks a rosy color of red.

“Wha-“

“If that doesn’t convinced you, I don’t know what will.”

Tears start to pool once again from Aiba-san’s already wet eyes, before he breaks into tiny sobs.

“You!” He points an accusing finger at Sho. “You turned me into such a crybaby. You better take responsibility.”

Sho laughs. He laughs and laughs and laughs until he hears Aiba-san laughing as well. It’s cute. To see the man laugh as he cries.

“Do you want to cry, or laugh? Pick one,” Sho teases and smiles as he sees Aiba-san pout.

“It’s your fault.” The man rolls his eyes as he wipes the remaining tears and sniffs.

“Yes, yes. I’m sorry.”

Both Sho and Aiba-san say nothing after that. They feel content just looking at each other.

“I love you, Sho.”

A grin breaks onto Sho’s face at the words uttered by the younger man.

“I love you too, Masaki.”

Sho has never felt happier.

~OMAKE~

“By the way, I never knew that Ohno-kun is such a close friend of Ninomiya-san.”

Sho’s mind travels to last night’s events and the interaction between the two men.

When he looks down, Aiba-san is currently staring at him with an unbelieving look.

“What?” Sho demands.

The other man brakes into a laugh.

“I can’t believe you, Sho-chan!”

“Did I just say something wrong?” Sho frowns.

Aiba-san shakes his head in between his laugh. His eyes are looking past Sho when the sound of the door creaking can be heard.

“Satoshi,” the cold and intimidating sound of Ninomiya-san sounds clearly in the small room, “is my boyfriend. Yo, Aiba-shi. I bring you games.”

Sho almost jumps up from his seat as he stares at the two newcomers in disbelieve, Ohno-kun appearing in the door frame right behind Ninomiya-san.

“You- with Ohno-kun- ? B-but- I- ?!”

“It’s the wonder of love, Sho-kun.” The older man gives Sho a pat, his eyes warm. “It comes to you when you least expect it.”

Sho turns back to his boyfriend who is now busy telling Ninomiya-san all the things that happened and suddenly remembers their first encounter. A small smile forms on his lips at the memory. He never would have expect that he would fall in love with the guy who intruded and made a mess of his apartment.

“Yeah, I can totally relate to that,” Sho grins when Aiba-san pouts at being ignored by Ninomiya-san. “Wonder of love, indeed. And a beautiful surprise.”

~~~END~~~
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