Title: Arrhythmia (You make my heart flutter) (Part 8)
Pairing: Sakumoto(main), Ohmiya(side)
Rating: PG-13 (up to NC17, eventually.)
Summary: It never occurred to Jun that he might have been pushing himself too hard, but when it came down to it... who was he doing it for? The story of an over-achiever who thought he could, a meddlesome doctor, and their odd gang of friends.
Notes: This chapter is in Sho's POV.
“Sho-san? What are you doing here?”
Sho looked up from his phone, fingers poised over the screen mid-text as he turned to face the source of the familiar voice calling out to him. Balancing the tray of coffee with one hand, Sho hurriedly pocketed his phone and waved at friendly face.
“Kazama-kun! It’s been a while!” Sho greeted his former ‘colleague’, grinning sheepishly at the confusion written all over Kazama’s face. “I’m here as a visitor, not for work, of course.”
“I haven’t heard from you in what, nearly a decade? You’re a doctor now, aren’t you? Congratulations. Aiba-chan talks about you all the time.”
Sho had nearly forgotten that out of the three, Aiba interacted the most with their colleagues from their idol days, whereas Sho had been too preoccupied with medical school (and overworking himself, to his present-self’s chagrin) to keep in touch with whatever friends and/or acquaintances he had made as a Johnny’s Jr. In fact, Ohno had a better track record than Sho did, in terms of people he still kept up with, but that was mainly because he had a lot of connections in the creative industries, which by extension, often led back to the entertainment industry.
“And you’re a famous voice actor. I think my achievements pale in comparison to yours, Kazama-san.” Sho responded humbly, smiling when the younger man shook his head rapidly.
“Nonsense, Sho-san. Or is it Sakurai-sensei now? Saving lives. Just like Aiba-chan. And Ohno-san is making a name for himself in the art world, isn’t he? Sakamoto-san mentioned he attended Ohno-san’s last exhibition. This is why so many Juniors admired the three of you.”
Sho chuckled. “Until we left, right? The three of us in one go.”
“Johnny-san was sad to see you go. Most of us were.” Kazama shot Sho a childish pout that reminded Sho of his adolescence. “Why didn’t you stay? I think Johnny-san was that close to letting the three of you debut as a group, right after you graduated.”
“Ahhh….” Sho shrugged. “We all had our reasons. Wouldn’t have felt right either, if it was just the three of us. You now how it is.”
Kazama whistled lowly, and Sho was suddenly reminded why he and Aiba got along well - they were very similar in character, although Aiba was a lot more...liberal with his emotions. Kazama was just playful.
“That’s the Sho-san I know. Stoic. Serious. Fiery.”
Sho rolled his eyes. “That temper hasn’t quite disappeared yet, Kazama-kun.”
He received a cheeky grin in response. “Had to try, Sho-san. So really, why are you here?”
Sho reached to look at his phone again. “I’m meeting someone for lunch in… three minutes, actually.” Sho peered around the floor, grimacing at the flurry of movement and absence of Jun. “Perhaps I should find him instead, but he isn’t replying to my messages...”
“Who is this him?” Kazama inquired curiously, and Sho hesitated to answer.
“He’s a new intern from Keio. Been working here since the start of August, so I’m not sure if you know him.”
“Ah! Jun-kun? Everyone knows him.” His tone was half-amused, half in awe. “I think almost every concert-related department wants him; lights, production, costume design… And to add to that, he was assigned to the hardest talent to work with.”
Sho grimaced instantly. No wonder Jun had always asked for coffee this morning when Sho messaged him in the morning. He remembered Gackt, the man debuting as a kei rock band around the same time Sho had entered the agency. Their group was popular, but Gackt himself, even more so. He had debuted as a solo artist the same time Sho had quit, but the few years where he had known and interacted with Gackt had left a very deep impression on Sho.
He was serious about his music, but his ideas were very… unique, to say the least. The man was kind and extremely generous, but at the same time, he could be very stubborn; Sho vaguely remembered how the staff would be sent running around to make whatever desire Gackt dreamt up come true. The man was that frightening.
Of course, as a fellow junior of his, Sho was never put under the same stressors as the staff were, but merely being in his presence was a bizarre affair of wrapping his mind around Gackt’s ideology of life.
Sho was suddenly extremely concerned about Jun’s sanity. Kazama must have noticed the alarm in Sho’s expression, and he hurriedly added, “you don’t have to worry! Gackt-san has taken a shine to Jun-kun, so really, I’m sure your companion will be fine.”
The word ‘companion’ was promptly lost on Sho, who simply raised his eyebrows in disbelief. Gackt had taken a shine to Ohno as well, and had invited him to his home one day… Ohno came to school the following day, still stunned or terrified, Sho and Aiba couldn’t tell even to this day.
“Okay maybe not fine, but Jun-kun seems to be a very capable person. I’m sure he’ll come out unscathed...ish.” Kazama’s uncertainty did not make Sho feel any better, and Sho grimaced as he looked at the time again.
“Do you mind showing me to where Jun-san might be right now…?” Sho asked hesitantly, to which Kazama nodded good naturedly.
“Of course, of course. Best rescue him. I heard from my manager that he has a propensity to work over lunch, so I’m quite surprised you’re meeting him, actually.” He gestured Sho to follow him as he led Sho further into the building, and into an elevator.
The elevator was travelling up to the tenth floor when Kazama spun around and shot Sho a mischievous smile. “So, Aiba-chan mentioned about a certain patient of yours that you are interested in…”
Sho rolled his eyes, inhaling deeply. “You and Aiba-chan need to stop gossiping over beer and mapo tofu.”
“Must be Jun-kun, huh? The old Sho-kun back then wouldn’t have put this much effort for someone he wasn’t serious about.”
Sho kept his lips stubbornly shut. Anything he said right now would end up in Aiba’s ears, Sho just knew it, and there was no way he was going to let said nosy psychologist get a hold of any additional information that can be used against Sho.
“Oh, so that’s how it is, isn’t it?” Kazama laughed just as the elevator dinged and the doors opened to reveal a vaguely familiar hallway. “I do have a fiancée, Sho-san. I know how it goes.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Sure you don’t. Now, Gackt-san has a concert scheduled in early October, so I suspect the costume design department would sort of be in a need for extra people right now...” He cheerfully opened the door labelled ‘GACKT (COSTUME AND PROPS PRODUCTION)’, and nodded as he peered inside. “There you go.”
The room was surprisingly devoid of people - likely because it was the lunch hour, but there was a recognizable figure hunched over a drawing desk. Sho couldn’t help but sigh in exasperation at the sight, a small smile playing at his lips.
“...O...kay, I shall leave you here, then. It was nice seeing you, Sho-san. I hope we keep in touch.”
Sho nodded in thanks, and let the door close behind him.
Jun barely shifted at the noise, earphones plugged in as his hands flew over the sketchpad. Sho whistled at the multitude of small sketches and notes scribbled on a single page. Costume ideas, design themes, fabric swatches needed. Jun definitely looked as though he was in his zone, but Sho was getting hungry, and the two of them should really have lunch.
Balancing the tray of coffee with one hand, Sho lightly tugged at one earphone, and Jun jerked in surprise.
“Hello.” Sho cheerfully greeted as he brought the coffee in front of Jun’s nose, holding it as a butler would offer a dinner plate. “How has your morning been?”
Jun blinked in surprise, mouth falling open before hurriedly glancing at the clock behind him. “Oh! I’m so sorry! I…”
“...lost track of time.” Sho finished, still smiling as he nudged the coffee closer to Jun. “It’s alright. Would you be insulted if I told you I was expecting that to happen?”
Jun timidly grabbed the coffee and removed the other earphone from his ear. “Surprisingly, no. Let me just clean up and we can go for lunch. I didn’t realize how hungry I am, actually.”
“Of course. Take your time. Do you have work after this?”
“No. Gackt-san apparently has a date today and is impossible to work with when he’s dreaming about her, and I quote, ‘warm, soft body’.” Jun grimaced, then looked around hurriedly to make sure that no one else was present besides them two. “I didn’t tell you this.”
Sho snorted. It sounded exactly like the Gackt he knew as a teenager.
“Sounds exactly like him.”
“You know him? Wait, how did you find me here?” Jun’s eyes narrowed suspiciously as he zipped up his messenger bag and slung it over his shoulder. Jun took a sip of the coffee, and suddenly Sho found himself enraptured by Jun’s bespectacled gaze staring at him over the coffee cup’s lid.
“Old friend of mine.” Sho answered with a cryptic smile. “I’ll tell you over lunch. Come on. Kazama-san told me you have already gained a reputation of working overtime. Bad Jun.”
Jun flushed prettily at being caught, taking a large mouthful of his coffee to hide his embarrassment.
“You were under Johnny’s?!”
Sho nodded as he swallowed a mouthful of okonomiyaki, pointing to Jun’s own untouched yakisoba with his chopsticks as a reminder for Jun to eat his lunch. It was only when Jun had taken a bite, did Sho reply, “Why do you sound so surprised? I did mention I had an idol phase, didn’t I? I was a Johnny’s Jr until I graduated from high school. Afterwards I was accepted to Keio’s medical programme, and Aiba into their psychology programme, while Leader ended up in Geidai’s fine arts school.”
“You shared an apartment with Aiba-san, didn’t you?” Jun licked his bottom lip and smiled cheekily, “just curious, how animals did he keep in the apartment?”
Sho nearly snorted out the iced tea that he had been drinking at the question, and glared as Jun laughed at his reaction. “That,” he coughed, “was low of you.”
“It was a valid question.” Jun defended with good humor.
“To answer your question, the answer is none.” At the widening of Jun’s eyes, Sho quickly added, “but he did bring strays home very often. He even rescued a polecat once, and it somehow got into my sock cabinet.”
Sho remembered that incident very clearly - it happened very early in his degree, when he wasn’t too stressed with juggling examinations and work attachments. He was getting ready to leave for his lectures when the brown weasel popped out of the cabinet and hissed at Sho. Sho had shrieked loudly enough that Aiba came running to his room in concern… and was ecstatic at finding ‘Ita-chan’. Sho was not pleased, to say the least.
“Couldn’t you at least tell me when you bring an animal home?” Sho complained as he watched the creature scurry into Aiba’s arms.
“Sorry Sho-chan, but, I swear he was asleep in my room when I went to bed last night. He must really like the smell of your socks.”
Jun laughed at Sho’s disgruntled pout after he finished his recount of the incident.
“It’s really not that funny, Jun-san.” Sho hoped he wasn’t whining, but he would not deny that he found Jun’s laughter captivating.
“On the contrary, Sho-san, I find it very amusing.” Jun teased. “Tell me, does Aiba-san use your socks to lure in stray polecats nowadays?”
Sho groaned. “I didn’t tell you this for you to use it against me.”
“Sorry to disappoint.” Jun bit his lip, eyes twinkling behind his glasses as he continued, “but I have to know, does your laundry soap smell like the den of polecat?”
Sho certainly did not throw a clean piece of tissue at Jun.
Truth be told, Sho was already approaching his limit regarding his patience towards the progress of their relationship - or friendship, Sho had to sullenly admit. Admittedly, they had only known each other for less than three months, and while Sho wouldn’t say that they had gotten off on the wrong foot, he wouldn’t claim that immediate sparks had flown between them either.
To be accurate, sparks had flown from Sho towards Jun. The other way around, Sho wouldn’t know, although if he was reading Nino’s motivations right, then there might be some chance.
The catch was that if he had read Nino’s motivations correctly. The photography major had been sending him pictures of Jun in many different candid shots ever since Sea Day - one of which included Jun still half naked from a shower, with only a towel wrapped around his waist and hair wet. Paired with black-framed spectacles, Nino perfectly framed Jun as a form of angelic innocence that Sho was just dying to kiss.
That man was good with his camera, Sho was not going to deny that. Simultaneously, Sho wanted to throw something at that brat, who always delivered the photos via Ohno, meaning that Sho couldn’t stare at them for five whole minutes as soon as he got them. The more rational, logical side of Sho was telling him that he should confront Nino and tell him to stop sending Sho such compromising photos of Jun, but who was Sho kidding… he kept every one of the photos in his bedside drawer, unwilling to throw them away.
Sho did occasionally feel as though he was being perverted for keeping such (mildly) compromising pictures of Jun, but he exercised enough self-restraint to not revisit the photos, and it made him feel slightly better about himself.
After their small hand-hold on the boat, little had progressed between them. Besides the small dinners and lunches the two had over the weekends, as well as their small conversations over LINE that never failed to set Sho’s heart fluttering, all those did was to make Sho more entranced and curious about the person that was Matsumoto Jun.
Jun was exceedingly private about what he did in work - which made sense of course, for Sho never told Jun that he likely knew about half of people Jun worked with, and so their conversations rarely spoke about his internship. Rather, Jun would ask him about what strange cases Sho had over the week, and Sho would indulge Jun in as many funny or peculiar cases as he could (without breaching patient confidentiality, of course. Sho was responsible).
In exchange, Sho learnt more about Jun and what it was like to room with a gamer/hikikomori that was dating his academic advisor, and Jun’s motivations for studying what he was doing. They swapped stories of their family, albeit with slight wary from both ends, for Sho rarely told people that his father owned one of the largest private hospitals in Tokyo, nor did Jun often find motivation to tell people that none of his family members saw any profit or use in him majoring in the arts.
It struck Sho how similar their backgrounds were, but at the same time, he could see where their similarities ended, in terms of their ambitions and the source of it. Sho was pressured by his family - Jun pressured himself. Whereas Sho felt he could understand Jun’s motivations for doing what he was doing, and why he had such high expectations for himself, he would not go so far as to say he could relate. Nevertheless, Sho would still do his best to watch over Jun,
Returning back to the topic of the lack of progress between their relationship… Sho wanted to change that soon. Now that he knew Jun had the afternoon off, perhaps he could make it happen.
The moment Jun brought up that he was considering to return back to the HQ and shadow the lighting and visuals department, Sho shot him a flat look and told him, “no.”
“But, it’s interesting! And Gackt-san’s ‘requests’ are always really complex so --”
Sho rolled his eyes, grabbing Jun’s hand - ignoring how Jun’s defense died to a squeak at the action - and pulled him towards his car. “You said you had the afternoon off, therefore you should enjoy your afternoon off. No work talk.”
Sho paused abruptly in his steps, interrupting Jun as he crashed into Sho’s shoulder with a grunt. Turning around, he mustered his most apologetic face - not that he didn’t quite enjoyed seeing the pout on Jun’s face. The fact that it was merely a pout and not the signature glare that Aiba had informed him about - “it can wither your soul, Sho-chan!” - informed Sho that Jun wasn’t angry, nor was he that insistent in returning back to work.
Which meant that Sho had a very good chance of convincing him otherwise.
“It’s your birthday in less than a week, isn’t it? Next… tuesday.”
Jun nodded, then narrowed his eyes in suspicion. “How did you know that?”
“Patient history. And there is absolutely no way you would even think to take the day off, right?”
The words spilled out of Sho before he could even control himself. “So let me take you out this afternoon to enjoy yourself. Consider it a date, if you’d like.”
Jun’s eyes widened at the words, eyebrows raised high at the statement.
“I-I mean, well, as in, proverbially, you know,” Sho hurriedly sputtered, looking away from Jun’s surprised expression and then feeling his cheeks warm when he realized they were still holding hands, initiated by Sho, no less. Jun’s eyes traced the direction of Sho’s flustered eyes to their held hands. Despite their sudden precarious position, Sho was pleasantly surprised when Jun did not try to remove his hand from Sho’s grip, instead tilting his head at Sho and smiling shyly.
Sho felt his nervousness fade at the smile, confidence building in him as Jun teasingly tugged on Sho’s hand, Jun’s smile turning into a toothy grin.
“Well, Sho-san. If it’s going to be a date… you’ll have to impress me.”
Sho had no words to describe the surge of elation he felt upon hearing Jun’s words. Instead, he tightened his grip around Jun’s hand, and with a wide smile, pulled Jun forward. “What do you think of Odaiba and its onsens?”
Sho wasn’t going to be in denial anymore - the afternoon turned out too date-like to be, by any means platonic, and Sho was fairly certain that Jun felt the same. He felt really proud of himself as well, as he let himself be led by an eager Jun along Palette Town, the younger man looking much happier, healthier, and relaxed since Sho picked him up from Johnny’s.
The two did not spend too long in the onsen area, Jun deciding that it had been too long since he had visited the faux-medieval styled mall that was Venus Fort. Sho agreed as well; he hadn’t had this much fun with someone in a long time, visiting tourist spots and trying on random camouflage-themed bucket hats that Jun decided would look good on him.
(Not to mention, Sho wasn’t sure what he would do if he had to see Jun in a yukata any longer than he had - Jun’s skin flushed pink from the hot spring water and looking refreshed… forget Nino’s paparazzi-esque pictures; Sho had the image of Jun’s naked back and shoulders imbedded in his memory.)
The sun was just beginning to set when Jun excitedly pulled Sho by the hand towards Daikanransha, the ferris wheel that towered above Odaiba. Sho's eyes widened at the sight of the large wheel, and instinctively dug his heels onto the ground (even though it was impossible given that they were on pavement). Jun turned around in surprise, feeling Sho stop behind him.
Sho swallowed thickly, but forced himself to smile. “No no, nothing is wrong. I thought I saw something in the sky, that’s it.”
Jun looked at him curiously, then at the ferris wheel that Sho was nervously staring at. “Are you afraid of heights, Sho-san?”
“N-no!” Sho hurriedly stammered, internally cursing when Jun adopted a suspiciously smug and sadistic smile. “I’m not afraid of heights at all, of course.”
“That’s good, Sho-san. Because I heard the ferris wheel over here has clear gondolas, and I want to get on one.”
“W-what? Clear gondolas? Why would you want to ride that?” Sho could feel himself turning pale at the prospect, but Jun merely shrugged, and then directed his large, bright eyes at Sho.
“Because I want to see what Odaiba looks like from above, and the clear gondolas have transparent flooring.” Sho inhaled sharply at the description, feeling his panic rise slightly. However, the puppy eyes Jun was directing him made it impossible for Sho to say no, especially when Jun said, “please? Today is sort of an early birthday present, isn’t it?’
Sho looked up to the sky and slowly nodded reluctantly, suspecting he would not enjoy the process as Jun cheered and tugged Sho to the ticket counter.
He definitely did not enjoy the process.
“Don’t look down. Do not look down. We are not a few hundred metres up in the air. WE ARE NOT.”
Jun looked highly amused at Sho’s building fear and almost crazy mumblings as Sho pressed himself to the corner of the gondola, eyes wide as he clutched tightly only to the bench. As Jun slid over closer to Sho, the gondola shifted to the side due to the change in weight distribution and Sho nearly flailed as he hurriedly cried out, “don’t move!”
His cries were ignored by Jun, who rolled his eyes and promptly crossed the small space to sit right next to Sho; the gondola once again swayed in the air and tilted more conspicuously at the added weight in Sho’s side and corner. “Sho-san…” Jun started slowly, reaching forward to touch Sho, who instantly pressed himself even closer to the corner, closing his eyes as he slapped away Jun’s hand.
“Hey, don’t touch me! Don’t touch me now! T-the weight of the two of us--”
“-will not cause the gondola to fall.” Jun interrupted, seizing Sho’s flailing hands by his wrists and lowering them down onto Sho’s lap. Jun sounded amused, but all Sho could do was focus on not hyperventilating as he felt their gondola continue to rise.
16 minutes. The ride would only last for 16 minutes. Sho thought feverishly, but froze when a warm hand patted the side of his face and rested there.
“I thought you said you weren’t afraid of heights?” Jun’s voice sounded temptingly close to Sho’s face, but Sho refused to open his eyes, knowing that if he did, he’d likely see how they were more than a hundred metres off the ground and steadily rising.
“I’m n-not afraid of h-heights.”
“Then why don’t you open your eyes?” Jun teased, and Sho felt himself calming slightly as Jun’s thumb lightly stroked his cheekbone. The idea was very tempting, Sho had to be honest, especially when Jun was touching him like this, but Sho did not really want to see what was below them.
“I have s-something in it, o-of course.”
“Liar. You’re totally afraid.”
Sho huffed, pouting at the tease. He heard Jun laugh softly, hand retracting from his cheek to rest on Sho’s hands instead.
“You should have told me that you were afraid of heights.”
“But you wanted to go up here.”
This time, Jun snorted. “Well I would still have dragged you up here even if you told me you were afraid, just to see your reaction.”
Sho squawked in indignation, this time nearly opening his eyes - nearly - just to glare at Jun. “Cruel.”
“I do try, Sho-san.” Jun’s hands - they were warm, and smooth - shifted to cup Sho’s face, and Sho felt his breath catch in his throat when Jun’s warm weight pressed against his side. “You’re cute like this.”
“I do try, Jun-san.” Sho croaked, repeating Jun’s previous answer as his heart began to race. What was Jun doing? Sho wondered, hope rising in his chest. He suddenly felt the urge to open his eyes, just to see where Jun was, and how close they were to each other, but Sho scarcely dared to even imagine what was going to happen. Did Jun just call him cute? “What are you doing?”
Sho felt Jun’s chuckle near him. “Why don’t you open your eyes and see, Sho-san? The view is very pretty from here. I can see Tokyo Tower much clearer from your side, and the Rainbow Bridge as well. We’re right at the top of the wheel right now.”
“As tempting as that sounds, no thank you.”
“Really, Sho-san? After this entire day, you wouldn’t even let me see your pretty eyes when I have the best view of Tokyo Bay around us?”
“You think my eyes are pretty?” Sho squeaked. For some strange reason, Sho felt as though the tables have turned between them two. Forgetting his nervousness (well, Sho pretended to forget his panic, just momentarily), Sho nervously licked his lips. Was Jun...flirting with him?
Next to him, Jun hummed. “Very pretty. Especially when you look at me with those irresistable puppy look of yours. You aren’t playing fair when you use that, by the way.”
“Sorry. Is there any way I could make it up to you?”
“Open your eyes?”
Sho scoffed, trying to keep his tone light-hearted as he continued, “Yeah, so, that isn’t enough to make me open my eyes, Jun-san.”
“What if I offer something more in return?”
This time, Sho felt Jun’s warm breath near his lips; he couldn’t help but hold his breath as he softly breathed out, “Like?”
“How about… a kiss?”
Sho could not open his eyes any faster. Before he could process the height they were at, Jun’s soft lips met his in a gentle kiss. For a moment, Sho wondered if Jun had any experience in kissing because, hot damn, Jun was a really good kisser. Sho wasn’t going to lose, of course (even though it wasn’t really a competition), and as Jun dropped his hands to his lap, Sho pulled Jun close with his hand around Jun’s nape; he felt smug satisfaction when Jun let out a pleased sigh, their lips parting momentarily before meeting once again in another small kiss.
And another, this time much longer. Warmth curled up in Sho’s stomach and chest, an indescribable happiness blooming at having Jun this close to him, kissing him.
Eventually, Sho felt Jun reluctantly part, cheeks flushed a cute pink as he shyly looked away from Sho, but not making a motion to move away from Sho. Instead, he leaned against Sho and casted his gaze far away to the sky. Sho joined him as well, acrophobia forgotten for a moment as he took in the beautiful, cloudless evening; At the horizon, closest to the setting sun, the sky was brilliant splash of crimson that eventually bled to a pink-purple.
Sho’s heart stuttered in his chest (the medical term was Arrhythmia) when he turned and saw Jun, painted in the fading light.
“If you keep looking at me like that, I’m going to want to kiss you, Sho-san.” Jun murmured as he squeezed Sho’s wrist without really looking at Sho. Sho did not let that deter him, continuing to look at Jun and admiring the view despite being fully aware that staring was never a polite thing to do.
“Don’t really care.”
“The ferris wheel operator would care, when he opens the door and finds us lip-locked.”
Sho pouted. Jun made a fair point.
“But…” Sho perked up when Jun turned to look at him with that dazzling smile of his, “maybe… I’ll let you kiss me once you feed me dinner.”
“I should warn you, I have an expensive taste when it comes to sushi.”