: PG13Word Count
: canon, pre-debut and debut eraNote
: Originally I was thinking of something cute and fluffy, prompted by this fanart
Lulu linked me. That’s not quite how this worked out. Er. >.> ps. happy birthday, Lulu ♥Summary
: No one knows what to make of Kame’s Nakamaru bias.
The first time it happened, Nakamaru didn't quite get it.
He was seventeen and trying to fix his hair into something flashy and appropriate for a Johnny's in the dingy washroom down the hall of their dance practice room. Akanishi and Tanaka had started goofing off like usual and Nakamaru had slipped out of the room before Kamenashi could stuff a lecture down their throats. He figured he could use his time more constructively trying to arrange his bangs the same, cool way Takki styled his.
When he returned, the room was much quieter than when he had left. Akanishi was frowning at his feet while Tanaka scowled at the mirror. Ueda had his headphones on. On the opposite end of the room sat Kamenashi, legs crossed on the floor and his lunch box pulled open in his lap.
"You're back," Taguchi noted, the cheerful note in his voice screeching against the silence. Trust Taguchi to try and smear a rainbow onto a sky filled with thunder clouds. Nakamaru didn't know why he bothered half the time.
Nakamaru shrugged and walked over to Kamenashi, plopping down beside him.
"We're having a break?" Somehow, Kamenashi usually ended up being in charge of these things.
Nakamaru was suddenly aware that the rest of KAT-TUN were staring at them, all wide and googly-eyed. Weirdos. After being hassled for being too normal
all his life, of course Nakamaru had landed himself in the weirdo group. Such was his luck."Well,"
Kamenashi began curtly, lips tight and his face doing that twitchy thing it did whenever he was trying not to frown; it was the expression he wore more often than not, the one that made him look like he was forty instead of fifteen. "Since we all can't stay focused and choose to leave whenever we please, I figured, why not? I'm hungry."
He watched Kamenashi stuff a clump of rice the size of his fist into his mouth as if to prove it. Nakamaru felt his own stomach grumble as Kamenashi chewed, looking like a vicious hamster with his cheeks ballooning out.
"Can I have one?" he asked, pointing to the onigiri sitting in Kamenashi's lunch box. He laughed sheepishly. "I forgot my lunch."
From his periphery, he could see Ueda lower his headphones.
Kamenashi turned to give him a long look, thick eyebrows furrowed, and returned to his lunch wordlessly. Nakamaru grinned. He figured that was as much of a consent Kamenashi could give with his mouth full and snatched the onigiri without further ado.
When he bit into it, he caught Akanishi's gaze and tilted his head to ask what?
Akanishi stared back at him, mouth slightly ajar. Next to him, Tanaka did the same.
Later, when they had divvied up to head home in different directions, Akanishi sidled up to him and said in a ghost whisper, "Duuuude, if I tried that with Kazu, he'd have stabbed me in the throat with his chopsticks."
Nakamaru laughed. "I thought he liked you."
"He does," Akanishi said swiftly, giving Nakamaru a brief affronted look for questioning something that was fact. The awe returned to his face shortly. "But, dude
. That was cool."
Nakamaru didn't get it.
Kame had been in a bad mood all day and it was coming to a boil in their dressing room. Nakamaru didn't know what had set it off but he had caught Koki whispering something about rumours and a tabloid article. They were scheduled to perform their debut song in less than half an hour and Kame was tearing the room apart in search of a curling iron that, "actually fucking works
"You look fine, Kame-chan. Girly and idol like. Very Kamenashi Kazuya," Koki tried, only to receive a glare so forceful that he recoiled back into his chair.
Promptly, Nakamaru joined the others in their wise strategy to avoid any eye contact. They watched on in sympathy as Junno made the mistake of looking up at the wrong time.
"What are you looking at? Pretty relaxed, aren't you?"
"Here's your stupid curler," Ueda called out from the other side and Nakamaru caught Junno releasing a breath of relief.
Kame stood in the center of the room and gave the most spectacular huff any of them had heard as he let the curling iron drop onto the table with a clunk
"Never mind," he said sharply with a flick of his long, long bangs, "I don't have time for this."
Jin made a strangled sort of sound that Nakamaru didn't have time to spare attention to because Kame, in his fiery, directionless fury, was suddenly making his way towards him. Nakamaru lowered his eyes to his knees and tried to sink down into his corner of the couch and let the cushions swallow him.
The couch dipped and he waited for a scathing comment or a diatribe about everything that pissed Kame off that day, including Nakamaru and his hopeless face, big dumb nose and all.
Instead, he felt the warmth of a body flopping against his side, Kame's head coming to rest on his shoulder.
Nakamaru peeked to the side to see Kame's eyelids droop, his entire body loose limbed. Whatever tension he had been carrying lay uncoiled at Nakamaru's feet and all Nakamaru could do was stare.
"God, I'm so tired. I just want it all to be over."
Kame turned his head, burying his face into Nakamaru's arm. Nakamaru swallowed slowly and tried to keep as still as possible, his heart still doing a strange skip--obviously from the danger he had so narrowly avoided.
Jin's stare wasn't wide-eyed this time, it had a scrutinizing edge to it that Nakamaru hadn't seen before, but it brought back the memory from years ago. The words that hadn't made sense.
Nakamaru didn’t know the why or how but he sort of got it now.
“So. You and Kame. Are you banging?” “What?”
Koki didn’t look the least bit apologetic for the coffee Nakamaru had just spilled on himself. The hot coffee
. Nakamaru was in a group full of dicks.
“Come on,” Koki nudged him with an elbow, his voice low, “there’s gotta be a reason why he goes soft on you. Rumour has it your lips aren’t just good for beat boxing.”
Across from them, he heard Ueda snicker from behind a magazine.
Nakamaru wiped the front of his chest with his sleeve, the tips of his ears feeling warm.
“You’re insane. Is Akanishi feeding you this crap?”
“He thinks you’ve been giving Kamenashi blowjobs in the shower stall,” Ueda said, voice lofty and disinterested in his group members’ sexual affairs. Imaginary
Nakamaru put down his coffee before he spilled it again. Where was any of this even coming from?
Desperately, he tried to shoo away any visuals that came to mind; he needed to be able to look at Kame in the face again, after all.
“Kame treats me like any of us.” He rounded on Koki. “He sits in your lap! You—you do things
with him on stage.”
Koki shook his head at him like he was a child. “Those are fake blowjobs though.”
Nakamaru wanted to scream that that wasn’t the point but Ueda’s words drifted in between them.
“I broke Kame’s music player the other day. The fancy new one was going on about.” Ueda lowered his magazine which didn’t do much to show his face since he was sporting his sunglasses again, despite being indoors. “I told him it was you.”
Nakamaru stared. “Why?”
Ueda shrugged, not the least bit ashamed. “I figured he’d let you get away with it.”“And?”
“He did. Accidents happen,
Koki grinned at him victoriously and Nakamaru sputtered. “That doesn’t mean anything!”
“We all love you, Nakamaru, but not as much as Kame-chan. You’re his favourite.”
“I’d milk it if I were you,” Ueda told him wisely.
“Yeah, work those lips—mmfffhp!
The cushion hit Koki squarely in the face and Nakamaru looked on in deep satisfaction before he stood and threw his coffee away.
It took him days before he found an opportunity to be alone with Jin and snarled, “Stop spreading lies!” in the middle of an empty corridor.
Jin blinked back looking stunned and confused. “Is… this about your wig? Sorry, man.”
Nakamaru closed his eyes and took a deep, calming breath. And then another. When he opened them, Jin had edged away from him, like Nakamaru was carrying some contagious disease.
Nakamaru stepped closer, just to see Jin flinch.
“Whatever you’re saying about me and Kame—stop it.”
It was weird, how even to this day, the mention of Kame’s name could have such a transformative effect on Jin. He bristled instantly, standing at his full height with his lips puckered girlishly and his eyes strangely vacant. Where Kame’s threw daggers, Jin’s became unreadable. Grow the fuck up,
Nakamaru wanted to snap because Kame didn’t belong to anyone and the AkaKame drama had been dragged on for far too long. The last thing Nakamaru wanted was to be dragged into it.
“I can say whatever I want. Free country.” Jin chewed on his lip for a moment before he tilted his head back and looked down at Nakamaru between the sweep of his eyelashes. “If it’s not true, it shouldn’t bother you.”
There was a question in that, a bait. Jin could pretend to care less but everything in his posture and the tense set of his shoulders gave it away. The whole situation was ridiculous. Jin was a moron.
“Are you really that jealous?”
The corners of Jin’s eyes narrowed just slightly. “Are you that desperate for attention?”
It would be easy to diffuse the situation. All Nakamaru would have to do is laugh and deny everything and play the peacemaker as usual. He was good at it; that was his role. The safe one, the one who cared and did things for everyone’s best. The one who didn’t count as competition.
Instead, Nakamaru lifted his fist and sent it flying at Akanishi’s face.
He missed, fortunately.
“Hey, Kame,” Nakamaru said as they waited for the outdoor photo shoot to begin. They were sitting on a blanket on the grass. Kame was staring up at the blue, cloud-patched sky with a distant smile. The traces of it lingered when he turned to look at Nakamaru.
“What would you do if I emptied a bottle of permanent neon green dye onto your head?”
Kame blinked slowly over the sharp jut of his cheeks. “Why?”
Nakamaru weaved the blades of grass between his fingers. “Just because.”
“Hmm,” Kame said and turned back to the sky with a thoughtful look, “I’d have to clear my closet of anything that would clash with it, for one.”
Nakamaru clenched his fist hard enough to tug the blades from their roots.
“What if I drove your car into the river or lost your autographed baseball?”
The entire length of Kame’s throat quivered as he threw his head back with a laugh.
“I’d make you buy me a new one and… I think I’d cry.” Kame sent him an impish smile. “You don’t like baseball though. You suck, Nakamaru.”
“Kame,” Nakamaru frowned as his fist unclenched, the grass falling from his fingers in forfeit, “how come you don’t get mad at me?”
“Huh?” Kame tilted his head to the side as if Nakamaru was the mystery. “Do you want me to?”
Nakamaru paused. You’re his favourite.
Despite Jin, despite everything, he liked it.
Nakamaru didn’t want Kame’s fame or to make fans scream the way he and Koki did on stage. That’s not was he was after. He wasn’t after anything, really. He just… Being Kame’s exception was a heady feeling. It made him feel powerful, like had something no one else had, but more than that it made him… happy. Pleased.
As much as he was confused by it, it was something he didn’t want to give up.
“No,” Nakamaru answered. “Not really.”
“Good.” Kame smiled and his eyes returned to sky. “You’re my home, you know? I want it to stay that way.”
The wind blew a whistle in his ears and Nakamaru traced the odd bumps and curves of Kame’s profile with a thoughtful gaze. He thought he understood him, them, this, just a little bit more now.
“Would you ever kiss me?”
The half of Kame’s smile that he could see grew wider.
Kame’s eyes slid to the side. “If I didn’t think I’d lose you… maybe.”
The photoshoot began and Kame slid an arm around his waist as Nakamaru wrapped one of his own around Kame’s shoulder. The camera clicked and they were a set. They wouldn’t get screams or rumours—not the kind anyone would believe—because they were Nakamaru and Kame. They were safe.
When the camera lowered and it was time to wrap up and Kame didn’t budge, Nakamaru knew it didn’t matter. Kame leaned into him until Nakamaru could feel the warmth of his breath on his neck and they held onto each other for a moment as the staff tidied up around them, just because. Because they could and they wanted to and no one would question it.
“What if I ever kissed you?”
Kame’s laugh tickled. “But you wouldn’t.”
Because they were Nakamaru and Kame. They couldn’t go together because there was no safety net, no going back if they fell apart. He was singled out because he was untouchable.
Nakamaru pressed his lips into Kame’s hair, too softly for him to feel it, before slowly letting go.
It’s what he was good at. It was his role.
For everyone’s best.