You Will Not Be Alone Then
PG-13 (for language), 1405 words
Kisumai has a fight, Kitayama is too proud to lean on anyone, and Fujigaya does his best.
A/N: Same continuum as before.
Remixed into You Are (Not) Alone 0.2 by reiicharu.
On most days, Yokoo is the one who pulls them along during practices, poking and prodding until all seven of them fall into place. And Fujigaya is the one who boosts morale when it gets low with his sunny personality and infectious laugh. But once in a while, when Kis-My-Ft2 gets into a hopeless, tangled mess, only Kitayama is capable of unraveling everyone.
When he walks into practice on Tuesday to find a cluster of chibi Juniors frozen in fright outside their door, and Yokoo and Nikaido yelling at each other at the top of their lungs and throwing things, and Fujigaya nowhere to be seen, he knows it’s his turn to step up to the plate again.
Back home from practice that night, Kitayama collapses onto the couch with an open can of beer in his hand and three unopened of the same piled haphazardly on top of his knee. He should probably get a proper ice pack, he figures, but he's too tired to get up again.
The words his doctor had told him last week come to mind. "You should really lay off that knee for at least a week. If you keep straining it this way, you'll do permanent damage."
"I can't afford a week off," he'd replied with a sigh. "If I don't work as hard as I can now..." It might be too late, he hadn’t finished, but instead bowed a polite ninety degrees and limped out of the doctor’s office. He figured he'd just ice his poor knee as much as possible.
He falls asleep like that, and wakes up the next morning with beer cans between his legs, Pocky-kun’s weight numbing his right arm, and the biggest crick in his neck on this side of the Pacific.
During practice the next day and the rest of the week, Nikaido is sullen and will listen to Kitayama only, while Yokoo is obstinate and impossible. Senga acts more and more like a kicked puppy as the week progresses, and Miyata and Tamamori retreat into their own corner as soon as practices halts, as if recoiling from the rest of the group.
Kitayama makes the rounds wearily, comforting Senga during breaks with an arm around his shoulders and a can of the youngest’s favorite soft drink.
Nikaido is tricky, his mood changes at the drop of a dime, and it takes all of Kitayama’s focus to figure out when to encourage, when to scold, or when to leave alone.
Then, he can’t talk with Yokoo while Nikaido is in the room, because sometimes the younger one really lives up to his bratty reputation and will throw a fit about choosing sides.
He tries to make sure to talk to Tamamori and Miyata, too, because if they’re left to themselves too much, even Miyata will get all despondent and paranoid about the future.
When he gets a rare second to himself, he looks around with tired eyes and wonders where Fujigaya's wandered off to.
Listening to the younger man chatter mindlessly about how nice the weather had been that week, Kitayama suddenly feels like bursting. He bites down hard on his tongue so he won't lash out senselessly at Fujigaya, and after a few minutes of concentrated effort, the urge dies away.
Their conversation that night ends more quickly than usual. Kitayama barely mutters a "g'night" before he's snapping his phone shut and shoving it somewhere — he doesn't care where — deep inside his blankets, anxious to lose himself in sleep.
Unfortunately, sleep only provides a brief respite.
When they go shopping the next day, supposedly independent of their work selves, the suffocated feeling follows close at Kitayama's heels and refuses to leave, no matter how much retail therapy he indulges in.
All day, he waits, hopes, for Fujigaya to ask if anything is wrong. He’s not sure he’d admit to anything, but just to hear “Are you okay?” would be enough to tide him through.
Again, he ends the day with a smile that just doesn't feel quite like the truth.
“Are you blind?! Do you not see that your band is having problems?” is how Kitayama finally explodes.
Fujigaya’s immediate response proves that he hasn’t been completely absent to everything that’s been going on. “Just what the fuck do you want me to do? I can’t talk to anyone without you giving me those looks of yours.”
“I do not give you looks, you’re not even around for me to look at!”
“You look like you’re expecting me to say something wrong and ruin all your wonderful handiwork. So fucking type A! Your precious Sen-chan can only be talked to with a certain tone of voice and darling Nika-chan should be treated like glass and —”
“That’s just bullshit,” Kitayama snarls, “Excuses! You’re always just running away to other people’s dressing rooms! Afraid to stick around when the going gets tough!”
This makes Fujigaya as angry as a cat, spitting and cussing.
Kitayama hangs up before he can say anything more that he’ll regret in the morning.
Rationally, Kitayama realizes he's asking for a bit much. There's no way Fujigaya (or anyone, really) would know how much of a hard time he's having if he refuses to show it. His pride won't let him be anything other than strong for the people he wants to take care of. The paradox is that although he's proud of his mask of solidarity, all he wants is someone who will see through it.
Fujigaya hates when the group is fighting and awkward like this. He hates how easily words like “break up” and “quit” and “never” get thrown around; he hates the scared look that he finds on Senga’s face; he hates the antagonistic looks that Yokoo shoots everyone; he hates that he can’t fix things like usual with a tsukkomi and a laugh. But more than anything else, he hates how weak he is in the face of it all. And if he's going to be totally honest, sometimes he does try run to away from it, because he hates that he doesn’t know how to help Kitayama shoulder the burden.
By the time Monday’s practice comes around, the weekend has given everyone some much-needed time away from each other. Yokoo and Nikaido don’t flare up at the sight of each other anymore, and Tamamori stops cringing every time he takes a wrong step during practice, as if the group dynamic hinges on his dance being perfect.
Kitayama looks terrible, though, and the guilt everyone feels for causing their leader stress is reflected on their faces, but nobody knows how to approach the eldest when he’s burnt out and closed off like this. Fujigaya decides this is one of those times when he should apologize first, even if he’s done nothing wrong.
He sits down on the floor, next to where Kitayama's sitting with his eyes closed and back against the wall, and tugs gently until the older man’s head is resting on his shoulder.
“We’re sorry for fighting, onii-san,” he says, trying to put a smile into his voice so that Kitayama can hear it, “Looks like we had to rely on you again. Otsukaresama.”
In response, Kitayama slides down farther so that his face is buried in Fujigaya’s lap. He snakes an arm around Fujigaya’s waist and holds on tight.
Fujigaya doesn’t say anything like “it’s okay to cry” because he knows Kitayama would never do that in front of any of them. Instead, he runs his fingers through the other man’s hair and gently massages his scalp until Kitayama relaxes, bit by little bit, and dozes off.
When the other members notice, they go off one by one to distract the dance instructor, with the result that their five minute break gets extended to a half hour.
“You used to really call me onii-san,” Kitayama says over the phone with a sleepy yawn. “Whatever happened to that?”
“I realized that I don’t want to be your little brother. You have too many of those.”
“Hey! Is that another jab at my age? I’ll have you know I’m in my prime…!”
Fujigaya’s laughter is a panacea, and Kitayama doesn’t know how he could ever have gotten upset with someone who makes him feel so warm inside.
“Silly. If you have to take care of me as a little brother too, then who will you lean on?”
1. This one pretty much wrote itself, so I disclaim myself from any weird wording or pacing or whatever! ;;; lol. (Btw, titles for both fics stolen from Rob Thomas's Now Comes The Night :x)