Title: Arrhythmia (You make my heart flutter) (Part 7)
Pairing: Sakumoto(main), Ohmiya(side)
Rating: PG-13 (up to NC17, eventually.)
Summary:Sho (29) is a doctor clearing his postgrad training in a university hospital and doing his A&E term; Jun (23) is a final year design major. After a forced visit to the hospital, things happen. (Also, I suck at summaries. Go figure. LOL)
Notes: This chapter is in Jun's POV. The lack of skinship for 7 chapters were getting to some people, so here I offer you a SMIDGE of skinship. Hai. Also, Love and more sakumoto cookies to She-who-betaed-this <3
Jun had to admit, the more he met with Aiba, the more worried he grew, thinking about what would happen if Aiba met Nino.
It wasn’t that he was being particularly cruel, nothing of that sort, but it was only their second session and the man told him to be prepared for wallabies, and promptly dumped baby capybaras in his lap.
Jun was bracing for jumping critters that could leave him with bruises with their tail, but no, instead, they were baby capybaras that did nothing except toddle around before falling asleep on the ground or on his lap. As much as he wanted to coo at them, what Jun honestly wanted to do was to slaughter the counselor, if not for the fact that he enjoyed talking to Aiba and Aiba was his best source of information about Sho.
Not that Jun was interested in Sho. Of course not. Jun simply liked learning more about his models in order to produce fitting costumes for them. Even if they were emergency models and meddling doctors. Moreover, he could not omit the fact that Sho had a body Jun was very much (NOT) drooling over and (NOT) itching to run his fingers all over.
“Are you really allowed to bring these animals into the office?” Jun suspiciously asked as he stroked the head of a baby capybara that was dozing off on his knee. Aiba nodded vigorously, paying no heed to a curious trio that were nosing the potted plant by the door. Instead, he was staring at Jun with a bright fascination that only slightly scared Jun. Slightly, scared. Despite his friendly demeanour, Jun also felt like Aiba was reading far more than what what he portrayed or communicated.
“They’re pretty harmless, anyway. I think the management would be more concerned if I asked to bring in something more…. Scary-looking, like a boar, or a kangaroo. Capybaras are harmless, especially when they’re just babies.”
“Kangaroos are scary?” Jun whispered lowly to the baby capybara, who merely rolled onto its other side.
“Terrifying!” Aiba hissed from across him.
Jun nodded warily. “If you say so, Aiba-san.”
Jun had given up trying to address Aiba by his proper title (that is, -sensei), given that the man would shoot Jun a wide eyed, sad expression whenever Jun did so. In fact, Aiba had told Jun to call him Aiba-chan instead, but there was no way Jun had the intention of doing so; Jun had known Nino for nearly 3.5 years now, and he’d never call Nino ‘Nino-chan’ (god forbid, Nino would slaughter him if he ever tried), or ‘Kazu’ (because that was reserved solely for Ohno).
“So, Jun-kun,” Aiba’s expression grew serious, “I know you think these sessions are a waste of time, so I’d like to first thank you for taking some time off to meet me. I know the last year in university is a very busy time period for you, especially for design students, so really, thank you.”
The frankness of the statement made Jun blush in embarrassment. It was true Jun felt that way, but he didn’t think he made it that obvious - it was not that Jun didn’t like Aiba… But it was true, he didn’t understand why Ohno and Sho, even Nino sometimes, wanted him to talk to Aiba. Certainly, Jun understood that his… Work habits could be particularly worrisome to people around him, but they couldn’t, or perhaps wouldn’t be able to fathom his reasons. Jun functioned fine like that. Despite the often ridiculous working hours, the extra work he has to put in to comprehend not just design, but also stage lighting and engineering... Jun didn’t mind it much.
He was good at it. He excelled at it, most of the times, so… There was no reason why he shouldn’t continue to pursue what he was good at.
Jun ducked his head. “I’m sorry if I ever gave you that impression, Aiba-san. It’s just that…”
“You don’t find this necessary. I know, Matsujun. No need to feel too embarrassed about that. Most people blanch at the prospect of having to see a ‘shrink’ or whatever you call us counsellors nowadays. There isn’t real emphasis on mental health, unfortunately.”
“But Aiba-san... I’m perfectly fine.” Jun stressed slowly.
Aiba cocked his head, eyes thoughtful. He steepled his fingers together. “Do you know why Oh-chan asked you to see me? And Sho-chan as well?”
“... Because of the hospital incident?” Jun started hesitantly. “I’m perfectly functional and can take of myself, Aiba-san. It was just an accidental slip, and it won’t happen again. Especially now that Nino and Ohno-sensei are watching me like hawks.” Jun grumbled the last bit.
“That’s not it.”
“Then what is it?”
“... I think it’ll be cheating if I tell you the reason.” Aiba grinned sheepishly, much to Jun’s annoyance.
Jun’s flat glare surprisingly did not work on Aiba, who merely reached over to grab an unsuspecting capybara.
“Don’t tell me that is the bit where you tell me that I have to acknowledge my own problems, because as I’ve said - I. Am. Fine.”
“If you insist so, Matsujun. You don’t have to come here if you don’t want to anymore, then.”
The flippancy in Aiba’s voice stunned Jun for a moment; he had expected Aiba to be more forceful about it, but the counsellor merely gave him the option to leave. For a moment, Jun felt slightly mad that - dare he think so - he was being ‘dumped’ in a proverbial sense, but simultaneously, Jun felt guilty for being fairly dismissive towards the prospects of seeing Aiba.
Jun stayed silent, staring at the sleeping capybara by his knee but unable to meet Aiba’s eyes.
“Of course, you’re free to visit if you ever want somebody to talk to.”
Jun looked up in surprise, to find Aiba giving him a smile gentle enough to make Jun flush in embarrassment. “I did mention that I prefer being considered a friend, rather than a professional. If you’d like to de-stress, as well, I can bring in some animals. Nothing vicious like kangaroos, mind you. Although you might prefer Sho-chan to me for de-stressing, I’m sure.”
The insinuative eyebrow waggle and statement was enough to send Jun sputtering; causing the poor animal by his feet to jerk awake by Aiba’ giggles and Jun’s indignant response.
“Sooo,” Nino drawled as he carelessly flopped onto his chair with the elegance of an armadillo, curling around his camera and fiddling with the settings, “When did you say your doctor would be dropping by? I am on a strict schedule - photos to take, games to play, Oh-chans to disturb.”
Next to him, Jun rolled his eyes from where he was neatly pressing the proper creases onto Sho’s costume, and threw a (thankfully) blunt pencil in the direction of Nino’s shoulder. “Don’t slouch - it’s bad for your back. Also, Sho-san isn’t my doctor anymore. And that isn’t strict schedule.”
The photography major simply dodged the pencil, letting it clatter to the floor next to him as Nino tutted. “Violence is not the solution to everything, Jun-pon. Disturbing Oh-chan requires a lot of time, don’t you know?”
“I’m bribing you with hamburgers already, what else do you want? For me to convince Ohno-sensei to fuck you?”
Nino brightened and looked at Jun with eager eyes, to which Jun religiously ignored. “You would?”
“That was sarcasm.”
Instantly, Nino slunk forward in his chair, pouting.
“I don’t understand why you’re so eager to have sex with him; it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get any until next March. That’s what, only six or seven months away.”
To be fair, Jun was a workaholic to the point where celibacy was almost a part of his lifestyle, not that he wanted it to be so; he had been propositioned several times over the last three years in university, but ironically, by the wrong gender. The last ‘action’ he had was a slobbery kiss in his junior high school graduation by one of his best friends then; it also put him out of liking girls entirely. Given that he didn’t makean effort to announce to the entire school that he was very much into men, it had been very just him and his hand for the past few years.
(And recently, a certain doctor in mind to ‘help’, but Jun wasn’t going to admit that anytime soon.)
That being said, it was strange but heartening to see Nino very much attached to someone. Despite the brash personality Nino put up at times, Jun knew that his room-mate was, in fact, a very sensitive and kind man (with certain annoying habits, but no one was perfect). As such, when Nino came home one night looking very pleased with himself, Jun found it extremely suspicious that Nino was making a concerted effort to make himself a dinner that wasn’t just instant cup ramen, instead fried rice and packing it into tupperware.
Of course, Jun nearly received a heart attack the following day when his own academic advisor showed up in his apartment, accompanied and apparently invited by Nino, resident hikikomori, to play Mario Kart after having Nino having helped his drunken self home the previous night.
The fried rice? It was hangover food for Ohno.
Jun was boggled. But it could have been entirely worse, like Nino bringing home a stray puppy or raccoon. At least a human could take care of himself… Or at least Ohno could. (Jun hoped.)
Nevertheless, it was the first instance Jun had ever seen Nino attached to any living being besides his family and his family’s dog, and if Nino was happy, Jun was happy.
Except that now Nino kept whining about his lack of sex life to Jun. Jun, whose current love life revolved around an unrequited crush on a hot doctor who was slightly more than half a decade older than him. Jun didn’t think himself to be an exceedingly selfish person, but when a man gets jealous over his room-mate having a stable two year relationship with his academic advisor and them being able to make out… Jun would rather not continue that train of thought.
Given that said doctor had seen him in an unflattering state, Jun had no expectations of said crush proceeding any further. (Sho was a kind man, who was keen on helping Jun. No other suspicious motives, no matter what Nino said.)
“I really like him.”
Jun blinked, looking at the frowning Nino, who was stubbornly staring at his camera and unwilling to meet Jun’s eyes. “I know that. I’m sure he does too. Hell, he must know that.”
“But… it’s hard to tell with him. I hate to sound clingy but sometimes he seems so distant and I can’t read him at all.”
“Sex doesn’t quite fix that, Nino. Maybe you should talk to him about that.”
“But it’s awkward…” Jun grimaced at the whine, but walked over to pat his hair.
“Both of you are adults, despite me doubting that at times.” Jun ignored the indignant ‘hey!’, and continued, “So I’m sure that if you have some insecurities about your relationship, you can and should talk to him about it. You’ve been dating for nearly two years now. You can’t be telling me that you both haven’t had a fight before.”
Nino looked away, and Jun gaped at him.
“You’re kidding me.”
“What can I say - we get along fine.”
Jun rolled his eyes. He wondered why he was surprised given that this was Ohno and Nino. It was almost expected of the two to not have fights.
A brief knock on the door startled the pair. “Sorry to disturb, but is this photography studio 2-A…?” Sho’s familiar head peeked inside, expression brightening when he saw Jun. “Found you! I was afraid I was going to be late.”
“You’re right on time, Sho-san. Thank you for coming down today. I promise to be out of your hair after today.”
Next to Jun, Nino muttered a swift: “Pretty sure he’d rather you stay in his hair for as long as you want. Or in his pants.” Jun gave Nino a quick side glare, to which Nino simply smiled his gummy smile at Sho and waved his camera at him. “Nice to see you again, Sho-chan.”
Sho merely looked between the two with slightly amused confusion, before pointing at the costume that was spread over the table. “It’s not a problem, really, but… Should I change into that?”
Jun nodded briskly, grabbing the linen shirt and pants and handing it over to Sho. “There’s a corner over there that’s been cordoned off as a changing ar-- or you could just change here, if you don’t mind.” Jun trailed off distractedly when Sho shrugged and started changing on the spot. Nino snorted and stared at Sho for a straight ten seconds until Jun jabbed him and pointedly made him look away.
“You don’t have to be selfish.” Nino whispered in a half-hearted manner, earning himself a light slap at the back of his head.
“It’s called personal privacy!” Jun hissed to Nino, smiling at Sho when the doctor looked at the pair.
“You don’t need personal privacy when you have a body like his.” Nino scoffed, and peeked over. “And he’s interested in you? Jun, you lucky dog.”
“Shut up!” Jun hissed. Noticing that Sho was nearly done, Jun shot Nino one last warning glare and grabbed the blazer, handing it over to Sho while scrutinizing his appearance thoroughly.
He frowned at the sight of shadows under Sho’s eyes, and tugged Sho to sit on the nearest chair. “You look tired. Long week?” Reaching into his bag, Jun removed a tub of hair gel and a concealer stick, dropping them onto Sho’s lap. Readjusting his glasses, Jun tilted Sho’s chin upwards to get a better look before lightly dabbing the concealer just under the shadows.
Behind him, Jun heard the camera go off.
“Just testing the lighting.” Nino added before Jun or Sho could bother asking, to which the pair accepted.
“A bit. I had to take a thirty-hour shift two days ago and I’m still tuckered out.” Sho replied to Jun’s question and obediently sat still when Jun blended the concealer with his finger.
Jun’s forehead furrowed. “I’m sorry you had to come down here today then. We could have postponed it.”
“Nah. I wanted to see you.”
Jun religiously ignored the snort from Nino. doing his best to stop himself from blushing instead. “You’re a doctor. Aren’t you supposed to be pro-sleep and health?”
“Well, just because we spout advice that doesn’t necessarily mean we practice it.”
“It’s not too good for your health, is it?”
As a response, Sho’s hand extended upwards to trace the shadows hidden under Jun’s spectacle frames. “No, it isn’t.”
Another flash caused Sho’s hand to fall away quickly and the pair to look at Nino with a quizzical expression.
“Sorry, had to test the settings. Think it’s alright now.” Nino stuck up a thumbs up in their direction and he looked at the screen of his camera. “We can get started once the two of you are done.”
“Ah, well,” Jun hastily stood up, reaching for the hair gel. “We should work fast then. So you can get some rest after this.”
“Actually, I was wondering if you’d like to have some coffee with me after this. I’m off tomorrow as well, so I can sleep in tomorrow morning.”
Sho’s eyes were so eager and wide that Jun found himself unable to say no, even if he was planning to work on the new lighting design interfaces Toma had dropped off in the morning. The bright grin he received in return for his agreement, Jun decided, was enough to offset his mild annoyance with himself at having to procrastinate till the next day.
Jun’s primary concerns about Aiba ever meeting Nino were unfortunately extremely accurate, as Jun found himself looking warily at the giggling duo in front of him. The five of them had finally met up together along the beaches of Oarai and were joining Ohno on a fishing boat he was chartering for Sea Day, and Jun was excited that he could finally relax and enjoy himself at sea for a day with good company.
(“When you say good company, are you telling me that your doctor is joining us?” Nino had asked curiously when Jun mentioned the invitation to him, a few days after Sho’s costume fitting.
Jun rolled his eyes, hoping to hide his nervousness as he transferred the boiled pasta into the prepared alfredo sauce in the saute-pan. “He did invite us, Nino, of course he will be coming.”
“Well… watching the two of you trying to flirt with each other is tempting, and to add the fact that Oh-chan will be around…”
“No boat sex.”
“Damn it, Jun.”)
Speaking of Sho and Ohno, Jun turned behind to look at the pair lugging their (well, Ohno’s) fishing equipment, Ohno amicably explaining the different types of fishes that they might be able to catch that day. It was a perfect day to go out at sea, Ohno had mentioned on the drive there, and Jun agreed - the sun was out and shining, with just enough clouds to provide some shade occasionally. Perfect weather for T-shirts, shorts and shades.
“You’ve never been on a boat before, right?’ Sho had caught up to Jun and looked over at the sea with that breathtaking, toothy smile of his that Jun very much liked. “It’ll be such a fun trip.”
Jun shook his head, and looked in the same direction to admire the sun-lit waves. “I hope so. The sea is so beautiful… You don’t get a view like this from Tokyo…” He narrowed his eyes suspiciously when Nino and Aiba turned around simultaneously stare at them, before cackling/giggling and starting to whisper conspiratorially at each other. “Okay, I knew that the two meeting would be a bad idea.”
“It isn’t too bad… They seem to be getting along very well.”
Jun threw Sho a flat look, to which Sho replied with a sheepish grimace. “A prankster with a trigger-happy-counsellor who probably has an animal hiding in his pocket. Not that I don’t love the both of them, but I have lived with one of them for nearly three years now, and I know what ideas he’d think of.”
“Nino-san can’t be that ba…”
Jun silenced Sho with a quick glare, sighed, and forced himself to relax. “Let’s not think about that for now.”
“Good plan.” Sho added congenially next to him, resting his free hand on Jun’s shoulder to squeeze it reassuringly. Jun felt himself relax further at the action. “Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll be distracted with Leader today.”
It turned out that Nino was distracted, but less distracted by Ohno and more distracted by the fact that they were at sea, Jun discovered.
Or well, Jun and Nino and everyone else discovered, when Nino regurgitated the contents of his breakfast over the side of the boat within half an hour of being at sea, looking distinctively white-green. Nino had been deceptively quiet once they started their journey out at sea, but Jun had attributed it to his typical social reclusiveness...Until Nino started throwing up. After that point in time, it was pretty clear that Nino was trying to hide his seasickness.
It didn’t help that Ohno had excitedly went and offered Nino - already shaky and dizzy from all the vomiting - the freshly fillet Hamachi sashimi that Sho and Aiba had managed to successfully wrangle on their first try.
Jun merely glared fiercely at the confused-looking Ohno as Nino clutched onto Jun and resumed retching into the sea. Simultaneously, Aiba hurriedly steered said confused art professor away before he could possibly wither in Jun’s fierce glare, while murmuring: “Not the best idea, Leader.”
Thankfully, Sho intervened before Jun could start on his own academic advisor, immediately bustling to look for antiemetic drugs - “Or something to knock him out until we get back on land,” Sho muttered beneath his breath as he grimaced and sympathetically patted Nino’s back. Jun could almost kiss the man - metaphorically, of course - for being somewhat sensible and helpful, if not for the fact that Jun was trying to make sure that Nino didn’t fall overboard.
“Perhaps you’ll feel better if you have a lie down in cabin? They have a small area to sleep in.” Sho suggested a bit later, when Nino was finally done throwing up everything he had eaten in what probably felt like an entire year.
“I’ll feel better when the boat stops rocking.” Nino half-groaned, half-whined (Jun didn’t actually think that was possible, to be honest).
“A little impossible right now.” Jun replied flatly, but reached over to sling Nino’s arm across his shoulder. “Let’s just have you out of the sun and flat, alright? You’re still a bit green.”
He ignored Nino’s grumble of “I’ll show you green.” and tugged the stumbling man into said cabin-slash-bunker before Nino keeled over.
Two hours into the boat ride, and Jun decided that he would enjoy himself a lot more if he went and sat with Nino, rather than join the trio in the front. The prospect of being able to enjoy the view of the sea from the cool shade of the cabin while still be able to keep an eye on Nino appealed to Jun far more than the idea of being up at the main deck with the three older men
Fishing didn’t really appeal to Jun - he preferred simply enjoying the view and breeze, rather than waiting for a bite and then floundering with said bite afterwards. He liked his fishes fresh, but not that fresh.
That being said, the time it was taking for Ohno to come check on Nino was stretching longer and longer, and Jun wasn’t impressed, to say the least. While no one knew that Nino was really prone to sea-sickness - not even Nino himself - Jun had expected that Ohno would have at least came over to check on Nino within half an hour. Instead, Aiba had dropped by to pat Nino on the head sympathetically (it astounded Jun how fast they became friends; Nino called Aiba “Aibaka”. After less than a day of meeting!), and Sho came by occasionally to give Jun and Nino water and food.
(And to flirt with Jun, Nino whispered half-heartedly to Jun once Sho left for the fourth time in the hour. Unfortunately, Jun made it a habit to not hit sick people.)
That being said… the more Jun waited, and Nino whimpered when a particular wave rocked the boat just a little bit more, the more his impatience grew.
Jun carefully smoothed Nino’s hair, frowning at the trembling form. “Are you sure you don’t want to head back to land? I’ll talk to Ohno-sensei about it, if you’d like, Nino.”
Nino shook his head with a whimper. “No. Let him enjoy himself.”
“You can barely move, Nino.” Jun frowned, glancing out of the small bunker and onto the deck where he could distinctly hear sounds of excitement. “He hasn’t even been by to see you yet.”
“Of course I can’t move - the boat is moving enough already.” Nino snapped, before whimpering pathetically and hiding his face with his hand. “Just go enjoy yourself, J. You’ve been wanting this holiday. Go flirt with your doctor. I’ll be fine on my own.”
“I’m not going to enjoy myself if you’re suffering like this.”
“You’re getting twitchy.” Nino mumbled, burying his face underneath the light sheet that was serving as a blanket when he realized turning to Jun meant seeing the bright sun outside.
“Of course I’m annoyed. Is your boyfriend going to check on you or what?”
Jun tsked, wondering if this is what Nino meant about Ohno being distant and cold. He didn’t believe in interfering with other relationships, but Nino was his best friend, and if this was how Nino was going to be treated by Ohno....
Jun nearly jumped a foot into the air when Ohno appeared by the door, forehead scrunched up in worry.
About time. Jun pursed his lips, but got out of the way and back into the sun when Ohno entered.
Ohno knelt by the huddled form of Nino, who was still looking extremely pale and eyes shut tight, and gently reached forward to stroke Nino’s hair. “How are you feeling?”
Nino moaned pathetically, hands extending outwards in askance of a cuddle, and Jun looked away pointedly when Ohno leaned forward to hug him. It felt a little too private, too intimate for Jun to want to willingly witness the scene, but his concern for Nino greatly outweighed the awkwardness his felt. Instead, he walked a slight distance away to the edge of the boat and leaned against the railings to observe the sea.
He could only partly hear the conversation, but that was enough - Jun felt exceedingly annoyed with Ohno for his treatment of Nino just now, and he couldn’t just let that slide so easily.
“...orry about just now…asn’t sensitive...ack?”
“...can go and fish....stay here and...try to sleep.”
“Hey.” Sho’s soft voice pulled Jun’s focus away from the conversation as Sho rested his arms on the railings and looked curiously at Jun. “You alright? We missed you up at the deck.”
“You look a bit miffed. At Leader, perhaps?”
Jun sniffed. “It took him an hour to check on Nino. After offering him raw fish. Raw fish! To his boyfriend who looked more pale green than anything!”
Sho inhaled sharply. “Not one of Ohno-kun’s best moments, I admit, but he’s always a little slow like that. I’m sure Nino probably understa--”
“Even if Nino understands, it doesn’t change the fact that that was insensitive. Nino doesn’t show it when he’s upset. He hides it with laughter or snark, and he always puts others before him.” Jun was practically seething for Nino. Nino wouldn’t be mad at Ohno; for one, Nino was too miserable to be mad at anyone at this point of time.
“Jun-san…” Sho hesitantly tugged Jun away by the elbow, further away from Ohno and Nino, and to the top of the deck where it was a lot quieter. Once there, the doctor reached up to pat Jun’s hair comfortingly, much to Jun’s surprise. “You’re really protective of Nino, aren’t you?”
Whereas Jun would get annoyed with most people who played with his hair, the gentle weight of Sho’s palm on his hair calmed him somewhat. Jun huffed lightly. “He is my best friend, of course I’m protective of him.”
“Well, I think they’ll be fine. Ohno seemed to realize himself down there. If it helps, he was distracted just now, and lost several fish. I think Aiba and I had better luck.”
“He’d better have.” Jun pursed his lips and focused on the horizon. “I don’t like seeing Nino ill like that, even if it is just sea-sickness. It scares me.”
“It’s very kind of you to care about your friend like that.” Sho peeked over the railings to check on Aiba, who was suddenly crying out for help when one of the rods twitched and started moving. “But this is your holiday too, so why not we go hang out with Aiba-chan while Leader takes care of Nino-san, before Aiba-chan tosses himself overboard?”
Jun snorted at the imagery, and sighed in resignation. He wasn’t that angry with Ohno, but only annoyed at his lack of attention towards Nino, and Sho was right - it was very much in Ohno’s nature to do so, and Nino knew that as well as Jun. Not to mention, Jun did want to spend some time with Sho.
“That sounds like a good plan… But after I check on Nino. You should go and help Aiba-san.”
“Ah, actually…” Jun and Sho nearly jumped when Ohno tapped their shoulders from behind. “If you guys don’t mind, I think we should go back to the shore. We can still fish, but Nino can at least be on land.”
Sho shot Jun a knowing smile, reaching over to grab Jun’s hand and squeeze. Instantly, Jun felt his previous annoyance with Ohno deflate, and a blush to form. Despite the clear sign of affection, Ohno barely blinked at the hand hold, and was instead still shooting concerned looks over at the general direction of Nino, which meant that he wasn’t as much of an insensitive partner for Nino as he was a slow one. Turning to glance at Sho shyly, Jun returned Sho’s smile with one of his own.
Perhaps Jun had nothing to worry about after all.