Pairing: Nakajima Yuto/Chinen Yuri, Yamada Ryosuke/Okamoto Keito, Takaki Yuya/Yaotome Hikaru
Summary: Keito hadn’t fully explained the reason for their get together. Merely mumbled something about how Yamada wanted a few people over for karaoke night and Keito had off handily mentioned how Chinen could sing. It was why Keito had been the one to deliver Yamada’s custom invitation for the occasion and under no circumstance was Chinen supposed to decline.
Notes: I honestly thought I was done with this Idol AU once I wrote "Stone cold" but, apparently, Chinen wanted his own story to be told. I've been pushing the details around for this fic for a a couple of weeks, but I finally worked everything out. Enjoy~
There were very few moments in Chinen’s life that he felt warranted his full attention. The first was his sister’s wedding, being able to see his elder sibling walk down the aisle to marry the man she loved. The second when Keito was explaining how he, unknowingly, became friends with one of Japan’s top idols. The third was in this moment, as the Yamada Ryosuke took to the make shift mike stand in his living room, eyes closed as the music started.
He didn’t know why he agreed to attend this little get together. The small group of idols filling the room were far from the type of people he typically surrounded himself with. If Chinen were to sell his soul on eBay every person in this room would be able to easily buy it with their pocket money. They were from two worlds.
But not Keito, Chinen shot his friend a smile. The older boy was nestled on a couch next to Yaotome Hikaru and Takaki Yuya, two of the top idols in the business and rumors to be in a relationship with each other. If how their hands were laced together, Hikaru’s head resting lovingly on Takaki’s shoulder, were any sign, the two were definitely together. If only the tabloids could see it.
Keito hadn’t fully explained the reason for their get together. Merely mumbled something about how Yamada wanted a few people over for karaoke night and Keito had off handily mentioned how Chinen could sing. It was why Keito had been the one to deliver Yamada’s custom invitation for the occasion and under no circumstance was Chinen supposed to decline.
“But I can’t sing as good as half the people he’s probably inviting,” Chinen reasoned. He needed something, anything to get him out of attending.
“Doesn’t matter,” Keito said. “Once Yama-chan has his mind set to something it happens. Besides, you never know, it could be fun.”
Yamada’s voice was breath taking to listen to live, how it coiled around every note, caressing it softly, before releasing it into the world. The words came easy to him, melodies soaring through the sky with no sign of stopping. It was hard to believe such a beautiful voice had been filled with no much anger not twenty minutes prior.
“I’m gunna punch him right in the jaw when he walks in,” Yamada shouted, shadow boxing with one of his fancy lamps. “I’ll teach him a lesson he won’t forget.”
“Yamada, you can’t punch the kid,” Hikaru said. “He’s going to think that you hate him if you do that.”
“I do hate him,” Yamada huffed. “I mean have you seen him? Walking around like a pompous child and like he’s better than everyone. He’d deserve every second of it.”
“He’s a newbie, and they’re all like that when they first join,” Hikaru said. His beer was already halfway gone. “I’m sure you were the exact same way.”
“Uh, who exactly are we talking about?” Chinen asked. He cracked open a soda, not wanting to get completely trashed liked the other idols in the room. He’d take things slow this evening.
“A new trainee with the voice of an angel,” Takaki explained. “He hasn’t been with our talent agency for a month and he’s already holding a microphone and singing on the juniors’ tv program.”
“So he’s good?” Chinen asked.
“He’s not good. He’s absolutely horrible, and I’m putting him in his place tonight,” Yamada grumbled, plopping down on the couch next to Hikaru. “I’ll show him talent.”
“Ryosuke is just jealous,” Keito whispered, cupping his hand over Chinen’s ear.
Yamada’s feathers ruffled in a moment, eyes turned cold. “I heard that! I am not jealous over some stupid trainee.”
“Then why invite him tonight?” Keito asked. He stuck his tongue out at his boyfriend.
Yamada blinked before he sunk deeper into his couch. “I don’t need your sass right now, Keito.”
“Love you too, Ryosuke.”
Their laughter had sent small jolts of pain running through Chinen’s head, and he excused himself to the bathroom for a moment. Water, that’s what he needed. Something cool and refreshing to remind him where he was, that he was with people now and not cooped up in his apartment, trying to sleep.
He hadn’t been sleeping well, his dreams repeating themselves. Soft grass, a warm breeze fluttering through the air, a comfortable lap to sleep upon. A steady hand ran its hand through its hair while a soft voice sang to him, words promising a better tomorrow.
Chinen knew those hands, knew their comfort and size. He had always slept there when his father left, off to some training so he could represent their country in the Olympics once more. It was the only way he could escape from the world.
But no matter how he tried to look at that face, see the familiar angles and smile, he never had the energy to raise his head. He could only sleep while their name was on the tip of his tongue, mouth unable to form to characters of it not matter how his mind struggled.
Perhaps it was better this way. That he didn’t remember something his mind had locked away. The agony of the past was best kept behind those heavy doors he had built so long ago.
When he returned, the room had calmed down from the fiery passion it had radiated earlier. One of the idols had taken the stage and was singing a cheesy ballad from the sixties, the other members of the get together drunkenly singing along.
“He’s really good isn’t he?” one of the idols asks, sitting next to Chinen. He motioned to where Yamada was pouring his soul into the bridge of his song.
His muscles tense, eyes shooting up to the tall stranger sitting next to him at Yamada’s kitchen peninsula, and Chinen gulps. He had been fine when Keito was around, laughing and talking with him and the other guests of this party, but alone? It was why he pushed back from the group, sitting by himself to enjoy the atmosphere until Keito inevitably pulled him up to the mike to sing a duet together.
“I’ll take that as a yes?” the stranger says. “Do you not talk a lot?”
Chinen shrugged, sucking down half of his soda in an attempt to calm himself.
The other man laughed, his brown hair falling into his eyes. “You’re cute. Are you in the agency with us? Or are you a friend of Hikaru-kun’s?”
“Neither.” Chinen shook his head. “I’m a friend of Keito’s.”
He cocks his head to the side, and Chinen almost thinks it’s cute with how confused he looks. How he looked like a lost puppy who’s only trying to get home, and it resonates with him. As if something from deep within his memory is trying to claw its way out into the light of day once more.
“Yamada Ryosuke’s boyfriend,” Chinen says, choosing his words carefully. He’s not sure if Yamada has told his coworkers and friends just yet, but it’s the best way he can describe Keito in this moment.
“Oh,” the other man said, nodding. “I’ve never met him before.”
Chinen raised an eyebrow. “Then why try and fake like you know him?”
Before the other man has time to respond the music abruptly ends, and Yamada’s shrill voice comes out of his surround sound speakers.
“Nakajima!” he shouts. “That’s how you sing a god damn ballad. I’d like to see you try and do better.” He stomps off before returning once more. “I would have dropped the mike, but we need to listen to your tasteless voice first.”
“I never knew a short person could be so angry,” the man sitting next to Chinen calls out.
“Who are you calling short?” Yamada roars. “Come up here so I can teach you a lesson you…tall person!”
Nakajima only laughs and puts his own glass on the counter behind them. “Guess I have no choice. Save my spot?” He winks before getting up.
His heart burns as he watches Nakajima leave, his fingers flipping through the catalogue to pick out a song. Several times Yamada gets right into Nakajima’s face before Keito pulls him back once more, a frown pasted across his face as he drags Yamada away.
“I don’t get all of this animosity,” Chinen mutters, more for himself than anyone as he finishes the last of his drink.
“It’s cause Nakajima is that good,” Hikaru said. He’s leaning over the back of the couch, head resting on crossed arms. “There’s already rumors of him debuting, but the other trainees keep saying he denies the opportunity and wont say why.” Hikaru glances back to the taller man who’s adjusting the microphone to high height now. “Maybe he’s got something to prove? No one knows, but I agree with Yamada. It’s a shame to keep that talent hidden.”
The song starts, a gentle ballad that tinkles through the air of the apartment. It flows gently, softly, and the gentle murmur of conversation dies as all eyes focus on him. It’s a familiar ballad, one popular when their parents were late teens. Who hadn’t heard it day after day as their parents slow dances in their kitchen to memories of their youth.
When Nakajima finally starts singing, a weightless tone fills the room, flowing over the notes smoothly like honey. It was a faultless tenor voice filled with passion and sorrow that broke Chinen’s very soul in two. Nakajima’s hands wrapped around the mike stand, caressing it softly as his voice built with every note, crashing all around as he entered the chorus.
It was easy to see Yamada’s anger, his jealousy. There wasn’t a person Chinen could think of that had a voice like Nakajima’s. The way he handled his music, each and every note, was something that very few singers in the world could accomplish.
But his mind went elsewhere, pulled by strings to when he heard these very words sung on a warm summer’s day. Voice cracking, but still pure, still able to soar up to new heights each and every time the chorus hit.
Laughter, lots of it. Two children rolling around in the grass, hands clasping and never letting go. The forgotten name rolling off of Chinen’s tongue, finally unsticking itself from the memories he had locked away.
“Yutti, you should be a singer,” he said, his laughter never dying from his lips. “So that way I can always hear you sing, no matter how far apart we are.”
“Stupid,” Yutti laughed. “Of course I’ll be a singer. That’s my dream.” His smile is bright. Chinen can hardly look at his friend’s face. “But I promise…I promise I won’t debut until you accomplish your dream too! I can’t be the only one living out our dreams.”
Warm, so warm. It’s how he feels. How he is whenever he’s around Yutti. Nothing compares to how fast his heart beats, and how he never wants to let go of this feeling.
It’s a moment before Nakajima Yuto sits next to him again, hands tapping his knees. “So, did you enjoy the performance?" he asks.
“Yes, I did,” Chinen says.
Even when he smiles, he still has the same boyish good looks he did when they were kids.
“Good, good,” Yuto says. “I, um, wanted to ask you earlier. Did you ever accomplish your dream?”
There are many ways that he can answer the question. He went into his preferred field, finally working his way up to a position he’s happy in. He enjoys his life, his friends, and the trouble they get into. He’s kept a good relationship with his family, but none of it feels right. Not with the way his heart is whispering to him, telling him the one dream he’s kept silent on for all of these years.
“Yes, I did,” he finally answers. He takes Yuto’s hand in his, rubbing small circles into it. “I finally found you.”