Pairing: Ninomiya Kazunari x Yoshitaka Yuriko
Summary: Nino’s a smart person. He would easily catch on to things and would make a quick and witty comeback to tease the others. Sometimes though, Jun wonders if Nino lacked cleverness when it comes to figuring out the more important things.
Number of Words: 2,190
Warnings/Notes: Nino might be a little OOC. I'm not entirely sure. I can't seem to write him well (and yet here I am, still trying). XD Also, this is my first time hitting the 2000 words mark in a LOOOOOOOONG while (my first time in the Arashi fandom).
‘This indicates thoughts’
“This indicates that the sentence/word is in Japanese.”
“Nino, you’re losing.”
“What?” Startled and embarrassed that he was caught off-guard, Ninomiya looked up to see Jun standing before him.
“It’s only the second level,” Jun said, pouring himself a cup of tea. Walking over to the other side of the room and propping himself on the couch, he added, “And yet you’re already losing.”
“Oh. Just giving myself a handicap,” Nino countered with a cheeky grin. “Too easy,” he continued, turning his head back to the game and started to do some button smashing. Not three minutes had passed when he looked at Jun and held the DS up, the screen facing his companion, saying, “See?”
Jun crossed his legs and brought the cup close to his lips. As he was taking a sip of his tea, Jun stopped, as if thinking thoughtfully.
“You know,” he started, drinking the last mouthful. “I wasn’t really talking about that game.”
“What was that about?” Nino murmured, recalling what Jun said as he walked into Aiba and Sho playing cards. He did try to ask Jun what he was talking about, but the younger man just silently stood up and left like he needed to be in someplace else, saying something a little too vague for his liking--“Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.”
“You’re cheating!” Nino heard their Monday newscaster shout.
“I wasn’t! You’re just bad at this game!” Aiba laughed and pushed Sho’s pointing finger away. He then turned towards Nino and added, “Nino, join us! Sho-chan’s on a losing streak!”
“I’m not!” Sho countered and then turned to the youngest man in the room. “Aiba-kun’s just cheating,” he declared before standing up.
Aiba stood up as well, and, with a teasing voice, said, “Hmm? Sho-chan, are you sulking? That’s not good, you know. You’re Sakurai-caster!”
Nino grinned at seeing the playful banter between the two. "Stop it, you both!” He said in his usual high pitch voice. He pulled Sho away from Aiba good-naturedly and stepped in between them like a parent scolding his children. “Are you kids?”
The older men laughed. After a few moments, Aiba sat back down and simply said, “But still, you should just be honest with yourself.”
Nino blinked. For a moment, he wasn’t entirely sure whether or not Aiba was actually talking to Sho. Actually, he wasn’t sure why he’s even considering himself to be the recipient of the sentence. He tilted his head to the side and shrugged.
“I know, I know!” Sho countered, pretending to whine. He then broke into a grin and walked towards Aiba. Jokingly, Sho held out his hand, gesturing for a handshake. The other man took it and nodded superiorly. “But you still cheated,” Sho added before subsequently dodging Aiba’s attempt to smack him.
Nino chuckled and shook his head. “Did you see Riida?”
“What are you drawing?”
“Sakura. It’ll be a good time for hanami soon.”
“Aah. Hanami..” Nino repeated, sitting down beside Ohno. For a few minutes they sat silently, with Nino looking at a distance and Ohno just drawing. “Should we go eat afterwards?”
Ohno paused for a while to look at Nino. He smiled sheepishly and then turned back to his drawing. It had always been just like that, and Nino knew better now than to expect any positive response from their leader. “Ah, I see. Of course.” He simply said, no trace of hard feelings in his voice.
“Are you going fishing?”
“Hmm.. Not tonight,” Arashi’s leader answered, his skilled hands sketching the last bits of detail carefully. “You’re okay, right?”
When Nino’s expression reflected confusion, Ohno continued, “You’re not disturbing OR touching me today.” Hearing this, Nino laughed loudly. Ohno broke into another smile and put his finished sketch on the table.
“I was talking to you while you were drawing.”
Ohno seemed to contemplate about what the younger man said for a moment, but then he shook his head and supplied, “I don’t think that counts, ne? Considering all those other times.” Nino smirked and waved his hand dismissively.
“You want me to touch you, Riida?”
It was Ohno’s turn to laugh. “No. Not really. But you’re okay, right?”
Nino shrugged. “Of course.”
“Maybe you should ask someone else to dinner.”
Seemingly contemplating the idea, Nino stretched his arms and legs. “I don’t think Sho-chan will go. I think he wants to rest for tonight. And I heard Jun-kun is going drinking with Oguri-kun tonight. As for Aiba-chan, I don’t think I want to cry while drinking with him,” he said, grinning as he remembered the time when Aiba and Ohno went drinking together.
Ohno chuckled as he too, remembered what happened then. “You can call always someone outside Arashi,” the older man stated, crossing his arms.
“Someone who can make Nino-chan happy tonight.”
“I did good?”
“You did good, Riida.”
“Do you think he’d stop driving us crazy now?”
“It’s Nino. He’ll never stop driving us crazy.”
“Do you think he’ll resume skinship after this?”
“Yes. This is just a phase. He’ll come around.”
“You think he’ll really show up?”
“It’s his favourite place to eat.”
“How’d you know she’s free?”
“…Don’t ask irrelevant questions.”
“What if he doesn’t come?”
“Then we failed.”
“Can I go fish now?”
“You promised to come with us.”
He was panting. It had been quite a while since he needed to run that fast. Quite frankly, he didn’t really need to, but he was afraid he’d change his mind if he stalled. “What is it with--” He huffed. “--everyone and their cryptic--” He paused, trying to catch his breath. He took off his cap and wiped his forehead with his sleeves.
Startled, Nino looked up and saw the owner of the apartment standing in front of him. Embarrassed that he didn’t even hear the door open, Nino tried to grin. “Ah. Erm.. Are you going out?”
“I thought I heard something shuffle so I went to look. Why are you here?”
“Oh. Well.” Nino swallowed.
‘I just need to ask, right?’
Fully opening the door, the girl started, “Do you want to come--”
“That is, if you’re free, Chris*. I’m quite hungry.”
“But it's almost 9--they're here!”
“Ugh, shut up!”
“And then when he was almost there, Aiba-chan slipped and fell!”
They both laughed at the anecdote. It was an hour into their dinner. “Somehow, Aiba-san is really clumsy.”
Nino nodded before taking a bite of his hamburger steak. “Yes, yes.”
“I wonder why.”
Nino took the cloth beside his plate and wiped the sides of his mouth. “I wonder. Maybe he was born to make us all laugh.” He answered, settling the knife and the fork he used to the side of the dish and folding the table napkin neatly beside the dish.
“Ninomiya-kun, why were you outside my apartment earlier?”
And there he thought he could just get away with it.
He turned to look at her. With Yuriko, changing topics is like changing to the next song when they do their concerts. She’s quick to change gears. When she wants to know something, you should expect that she’s definitely going to ask about it.
Laughing nervously, he put a hand on his cheek and squeezed his face a bit. “Well, if I’m going to be honest,” A pause. How exactly should he put it? “I’m not quite sure either. That’s why I didn’t call first.”
“Why aren’t you sure then?”
He knew she would never let this go until she’s satisfied with his answer. “I don’t know. After the rehearsal today, I just felt like I needed to go,” he supplied, secretly hoping that it would be enough. He then muttered something along the lines of Jun, Sho, Aiba and Ohno forcing him to it.
“You were from a rehearsal?” She asked, her elbows on top of the table as her hand cupped her face, her other hand fiddling the used utensils.
He nodded silently and forced a smirk.
“Why didn’t you go straight home? It was tiring wasn’t it?”
“What is?” He asked, although he perfectly knew what she was talking about.
“Ah. Yes, it was.” He sighed. “All I know is that the minute it was through, I rode a train and ran for at least 10 minutes,” Nino stated quietly, almost as if he didn’t want her to hear any of what he just said.
“Why would someone ride a train and run for at least 10 minutes just to go to some other person’s place immediately after a tiring rehearsal?”
If anything, he knew she’s very perceptive. It might be a little strange inside her head, but she was always very observant and keen of things. She would notice the little things and would always point them out. She has a lot of questions. Mostly odd ones.
And then there were these kinds of questions.
He’d honestly rather not answer that, but her gaze was so intensely focused at him, he felt like he needed to say something, somehow. “Because that someone wanted to eat.”
Well, that really didn’t come out well.
Her eyebrows furrowed. “With me?”
At this, Yuriko smiled. Nino felt like there were little beings very much alive and fluttering in his stomach. When his companion opened her mouth to speak, he thought she was going to ask why he wanted to eat with her; instead he heard her say, “Well, you’re paying, right?”
Nino chuckled. “No. You are.”
“Ninomiya-kun, thank you.”
“It’s nothing,” he said as they were walking on the last flight of stairs. Why they didn’t use the elevator, he didn’t know, but he found himself not really minding it.
When they arrived at the front door, none of them spoke. He was just standing next to her; the silence seemingly louder than usual. Nino put a hand and rubbed the part below his lips. He does this when he wasn’t sure of something. And that moment felt like the right time to do just that.
“Here we are.”
“Here we are,” He repeated. “I should go.”
He reached out and squeezed her hand. “Good night.”
Doing his signature salute and wink, he started to walk away. Yuriko nodded and stayed at where she was standing, looking at his retreating figure.
‘Oh, what the hell.’
Nino retraced his steps and stood in front of her. Not saying anything, he carefully brushed the stray locks away from her face and gently kissed her forehead. The girl bit her lip and closed her eyes, savouring the fleeting feeling. When he pulled back, he explained, “That was Kurono-kun saying sweet dreams to Tae-chan.”
Yuriko caught herself smile. “Good night, Kurono-kun.”
With a smirk and his hands on his pockets, he left.
“I told you it wasn’t a date!”
“What’s happening here?”
“Jun-kun, Nino keeps insisting that he wasn’t on a date last night,” Aiba explained.
Feigning innocence, Jun asked, “Why, what happened last night?”
Ohno, whose behind just got groped by Nino, whirled around and answered, “We heard he was with Yoshitaka Yuriko-chan.”
“I just asked her as a friend. You guys were too busy last night,” Nino clarified, clearly horrified by the fact that they knew of last night’s ordeal.
“And, what happened? Did she say anything?” Sho, who just came in, asked.
Nino stopped and thought for a moment. He tried hard to ignore the image of him kissing her forehead and played back the time when they were having dinner in his head. “She asked a lot of questions.”
“Like why Aiba-chan’s always so clumsy.”
The four of them laughed at Aiba, who spilled his coffee when he heard what Nino just mentioned.
“Well, if she was asking a lot of questions--” Sho started, also getting himself a cup of coffee.
Moving away from Nino’s prying hands, Riida added, “--then it was clearly a date, no?”
Nino raised an eyebrow, evidently wondering why Ohno made such a bold declaration.
Aiba looked confused as well, but one peek at the Himitsu no Arashi-chan set that the staff was putting up outside and he instantly caught on. “Aaah! Of course! That's it!”
Looking more and more confused Nino turned to look at Jun. The youngest member was busy fiddling with his phone. Feeling Nino’s eyes on him, Jun looked up. “What?”
The resident tsukkomi gestured to the other three members.
Nino’s a smart person. He would easily catch on to things and would make a quick and witty comeback to tease the others. Sometimes though, Jun wonders if Nino lacked cleverness when it comes to figuring out the more important things. “It was a date. If not for you, then it was for her, at least.”
“You already forgot?”
Sighing, each of the four members dropped whatever they were doing to look at Nino, with the person in question tilting his head to the side, making an indeterminable face.
Simultaneously, they simply said, “Because she transformed to nande-nande man.”
Hanami – flower viewing
“Itai!” – “Ouch!”
Tsukkomi – the one who always butts in and corrects the boke in a Manzai duo.
*"Chris" is Nino's nickname for Yuriko that he made during the filming of GANTZ. In response to that, Yuriko calls Nino "Smith".
**Just in case you haven’t watched the HnA episode when Yoshitaka Yuriko was a guest, it was mentioned there that in a middle of a date, she’d turn into a nande-nande-man (basically someone who asks a lot of questions, usually “why” ones).
Well, it took me quite a while to finish this. I struggled with Nino's character. >_>
Feedbacks/reviews make me happy. :)