?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
22 December 2007 @ 05:39 pm
fic: Underrated  
Title: Underrated
Author: nami
Genre: I wonder. Humorously semi-serious?
Rating: PG-13
Central Characters: Ryo, Ueda
Summary: Unable to locate the rest of Kanjani8 when he gets lost in the middle of LA’s Chinatown, Ryo runs into a familiar face—perhaps not that familiar after all, he realizes, as he follows Ueda Tatsuya for the rest of the afternoon and discovers a side of him that Ryo has never before bothered to know.
Notes: For koneho / konliza, whose amazing fics just keep blowing me away. Ancient fic request. I do keep my promises… Eventually xD


Maru stands in the middle of the aisle, offering a box of mung bean pastries to Ohkura.

“Oi! No walking in the aisle while the bus is moving,” Hina shouts from the back of the bus, just as the bus lurches and causes Maru to topple forward and become well-acquainted with the floor carpet, Ohkura managing to snatch the box of food from his fingers just in time.

Yoko pauses from his argument with Subaru long enough to laugh at Maru’s expense. Subaru, who is in the aisle seat behind Yoko’s, takes advantage of the distraction by thwacking Yoko over the head with his tourist pamphlet, quite a feat considering he could barely move, what with a sleeping Yasu’s head on his shoulder.

“Hey!” Yoko protests, leaning into the aisle and mock-glaring at Subaru after Maru picks himself up and shoots Yoko a winning smile.

“Rodeo Drive,” Subaru tells him as loudly as he dares without waking Yasu up.

“Beach,” Yoko says in his normal voice volume, which is loud enough to make Yasu stir in his sleep, arms unconsciously wrapping around Subaru’s and thus incapacitating him from leaning forward to attack Yoko with his LA sightseeing brochure again. Subaru gives Yoko a dirty look for his underhandedness, and Yoko simply grins back. “Why would you want to go watch a bunch of horses running in circles when you can meet beautiful and sexy American girls instead?”

“There were American girls when we went to Chinatown,” Subaru retorts, “and there are going to be American girls at Rodeo Drive, too. They will be wherever we are, because we are in America, meaning they are everywhere.” He gesticulates awkwardly at the window with his free hand.

“Not in bikinis!” Yoko answers, unfazed. He thinks that Subaru ought to stay away from Ryo more often, though, because he is beginning to pick up a few of his bad habits.

“Let’s go to Disneyland next!!!” Maru exclaims enthusiastically through a mouthful of mung bean pastry.

Yoko’s eyes light up and he temporarily abandons his thoughts on big-breasted blondes as he considers Maru’s suggestion. “Yeah, I want to go there, too!”

“Disneyland is in Anaheim, California,” Ohkura recites from his guidebook. “The managers said we’re allowed to go anywhere we want today, as long as it’s in LA.” Maru’s smile droops.

Yoko shrugs and glances back at Subaru. “Pity. But at least we can still go to the beach—”

“Rodeo Drive,” Subaru interjects.

“Beach!” Yoko says.

“Rodeo Drive!”

“BEACH!”

Yasu wakes up with a start and blinks groggily at them. He looks out the window. “Where are we? Is it time for us to go to the LA Zoo?”

Subaru pats Yasu’s hair and flashes him a big grin. “No, we’re going to—”

“The beach,” Yoko supplies.

“No, Rodeo Drive!”

“Beach, beach, beach!”

Maru and Ohkura amusedly watch their group’s two oldest members and their highly commendable demonstration of maturity. Hina heaves an exasperated sigh. He had chosen to sit at the back for a reason, but his group can still manage to give him a migraine even from a considerable distance. He wishes he hadn’t sat so far away; from where he is he cannot bop them all over the head. “Could you guys act your age for five minutes? In case you didn’t know, we already have an itinerary for today. Ryo wrote it.”

“Why the hell didn’t you say that from the start?” Yoko complains halfheartedly. “NISHIKIDO!” he hollers, because the bus is long and he doesn’t know where Ryo is, exactly.

“He’s up at the front, sitting next to one of the managers,” Yasu informs him sleepily, and when Yoko makes to lean forward and shout in that specific direction this time, their schedule manager sticks his head into the aisle.

“Isn’t he in the back with Murakami?” their manager asks quizzically.

Everyone looks at Hina, who is indeed sitting at the back, which is otherwise deserted. There is a long, uncharacteristic silence from all present, before Yoko finds his voice and verbalizes the other passengers’ collective thoughts.

“Oh, crap.”

-----


Somewhere in Chinatown, an upset Nishikido Ryo is having a rapidly escalating argument with a group of chinky-eyed old women. Passing locals, after witnessing several casualties (a shattered tea set and a couple of smashed-up spring rolls) wisely opt not to interfere in the multilingual shouting match.

-----


Ryo stomps down the market district, extremely pissed off. A few daytime shoppers inch surreptitiously out of his way, and he shoots them a glare. As if it isn’t enough for him to be lost in LA, he has to get lost in Chinatown. He had been proud of his limited English-speaking skills, something he had taken time on practicing as soon as he found out that Kanjani8 had finally been granted a chance to fly to LA. Fat lot of help that will do him in a place where everyone else speaks just about as much English as he does, and about a hundred times more Mandarin.

And what was with those grannies he met earlier? He was just asking them for directions. Sure, he had shouted at them a little—he didn’t think their decrepit ears had picked up on his obvious distress—but they hadn’t needed to shout back. And it certainly wasn’t his fault that he accidentally spilled his spring rolls onto one of them as he attempted to use sign language to communicate. Besides, they were the ones who had the nerve to throw a teapot at his head. This is what he gets for trying to be civil.

“Shut the hell up!” he snaps in Japanese at the merchant calling out to him. The merchant, smiling face morphing into a steely glare, starts screaming furiously at him in Mandarin. Ryo steadfastly ignores him and starts turning away, but before he can do so one of the merchant’s customers backs out of the stall and Ryo’s eyes go wide as saucers. “What are you doing here?”

Clad in designer jeans and an oversized knit sweater, Ueda Tatsuya blinks at him in surprise. “I’m on vacation,” he answers. “What are you doing here?”

Ryo opens his mouth, ready to rant about being left behind by his so-called friends, when it occurs to him that it would be completely mortifying to admit that he had gotten himself lost in another country, with only a few crumpled twenties and a dead cellphone in hand. “I’m here for Kanjani8’s special photobook,” he says instead.

Ueda glances around the noisy marketplace, at the bargainers speaking in rapid Chinese, at the food stalls and the shops overflowing with Oriental merchandise, before settling his gaze back at Ryo. “Is that so.”

For some reason his lackluster response incites Ryo into defensive mode. “Yeah. We’re just taking a little break; we’re supposed to work full time tomorrow.”

Ueda nods. “Where are the others?” he inquires, but his tone is bored, as if he feels he is required to ask for the sake of asking.

“Over there,” Ryo is quick to respond, waving vaguely at a cluster of food stalls crowded with people. No freaking way is he going to let Ueda know that he was left behind.

Ueda’s eyes flick in the direction Ryo is motioning at, looking a bit skeptical. “Well, have fun.” He shrugs and starts walking away.

Ryo is overcome with a sinking sense of panic. Without stopping to think, he chases after the other man and grabs him by the shoulder.

“What?” Ueda asks in annoyance.

Ryo retracts his hand, for once in his life unable to say something articulate. “Um, er… Maybe we should walk together for a while. I mean, it’s not everyday you meet your colleagues unexpectedly in another country, right?”

Ueda merely stares at him as if he has grown three heads. “No thanks.”

“Why not?” Ryo demands, irritated. He has always had the impression that Ueda is a snob, but this is a little too cold, even for him. Is Ueda implying that he doesn’t want to be seen with Ryo? What nerve. Ryo knows a lot of people who would kill to walk with him. Ueda should consider himself lucky that Ryo even deigned to ask for his company, because God knows that Ryo is thus far the coolest person that Ueda could possibly hang with—everybody in KAT-TUN pales in comparison to Ryo’s utter coolness, especially Ueda with his stupid Gackt obsession and his random bouts of angst and his incurable weirdness and his dire need for makeup and an insanely skilled stylist in order to look halfway decent. Ueda—

—is walking away again, this time in long, quick strides that Ryo only succeeds in overtaking by sprinting fast. Ueda stops and sighs. “Do you want something, Nishikido?” he asks exasperatedly.

“What the hell could you have that I would possibly want?” Ryo answers haughtily, crossing his arms over his chest.

Ueda raises an eyebrow. “I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess,” he answers, all sarcasm. “How about…directions?”

Something plummets in Ryo’s stomach. “I’m not lost,” he stubbornly insists.

Ueda smirks at him. “Of course you aren’t,” Ueda says in a patronizing tone.

Ryo is starting to feel a little hot around the collar, and he glowers at Ueda. “Fine, I am,” he admits grudgingly, and Ueda’s smirk widens. Ryo’s glare intensifies. “And by the way, I’d try not to be so smug if I were you. Did I mention that smirking makes your face look constipated?”

Ueda is unfazed. “You ought to show a little more respect to the only person who can get you out of here.”

Ryo turns up his nose. “I can get out of this place with my eyes closed—”

“I’d like to see you try.”

“…..”

“The word ‘please’ is extremely helpful …”

“Please,” Ryo says bitingly, as if he is spitting out something rancid.

Ueda smiles.

-----


To say that Ryo is not in the best of temperaments is an understatement. It doesn’t help that Ueda has a look on his face that Ryo finds quite infuriating. Ryo steadfastly recites to himself that the way Ueda wears self-satisfaction bears such a striking resemblance to the expression one makes when coping with difficulties in bowel movement. Thinking so, however, doesn’t alleviate his silent humiliation and anger much, if at all, especially when Ueda thought it funny to break away from Ryo’s line of sight within the mob of Chinatown-goers for all of ten seconds (“Sorry, I didn’t know you were prone to having coronaries. Would you like me to hold your hand so you won’t get lost again, Nishikido?”). Ryo bristles; not being in control is something that he isn’t used to, and now he remembers why. He hates being dependent, and the fact that he is currently forced to rely on Ueda makes him feel all the more degraded. So he copes with it the only way he knows how.

“You’re going to buy one of those?” Ryo asks incredulously as Ueda stops beside a stall and inspects the merchandise—cutesy phone charms that must be bigger than any phone they could be accessorized to. Most of them were a hideous shade of bright pink.

Ryo makes a mental note to purchase one for Uchi once he is sure that Ueda isn’t looking.

“You are such a girl,” Ryo continues when Ueda pointedly ignores him in favor of a dangling pink cat wearing generous amounts of ruffled lace. “You failed as a Gackt poser, so now you’re aiming to be a member of the opposite sex instead? I understand that with the little aesthetic value that the gods tried to endow you, you’d be desperate to be someone else, but personally I think that your image is beyond saving.”

Ueda’s left eyebrow twitches slightly, but he says nothing. He turns his back on Ryo and hands a phone charm to the vendor, who promptly wraps it up and puts it back in Ueda’s palm with an easy grin. “That’ll be a dollar fifty, miss.”

Ueda sighs quietly as he pays the man; he moves off and Ryo falls into step beside him, not bothering to suppress his loud snickers. “So how many guys have managed to hit on you so far?” he quips. “And how many got a heart attack after realizing that you’re not female? Not that they don’t deserve it; no man in his right mind would find you pretty.”

Ueda shrugs wordlessly. Ryo is starting to get ticked off again; this is supposed to be Ueda’s cue to whirl at him and shriek in indignation.

“Just look at your hair. It doesn’t suit you at all. I don’t know what type of girl you’re trying to emulate, but if you were going for the mouth-breathing high school geek, then you’re not far off from your goal. And your clothes. Have all your years posing for magazine photo shoots not taught you anything about acquiring a decent fashion sense? And now that we’re on that topic, you’re still wearing that tacky bracelet. I’m amazed that that murder weapon even got out of Customs – although it might be useful for when some lunatic with zero taste comes along and tries to cop a feel—”

“Are you normally this talkative?” Ueda interrupts, rolling his eyes.

Ryo ceases talking, too flabbergasted at Ueda’s unconcern to snark at him for having the gall to ask Ryo to shut up.

“…anybody would be compelled to criticize a person who fails at everything as much as you do. It’s basically human instinct to want to protect one’s eyes from something so unsightly,” Ryo manages to recover. There is a tinge of desperation and panic in his voice. Surely Ueda’s fish lips should be trembling with repressed sobs by now.

But Ueda merely exhales irritably, as if Ryo is a fly that refuses to leave him alone. He stops at another stall and talks to the vendor in fluent English.

“What’s wrong with you?” Ryo bursts out, baffled and miffed. “You’re acting weird—

“How so?” Ueda glances amusedly at him.

Which he isn’t supposed to. He’s supposed to cringe and cower under Ryo’s belittling gaze and maybe even blink his eyes rapidly in a useless attempt to stave off tears. What the hell happened to the pathetic crybaby who didn’t know who he was?

“He never existed,” Ueda says calmly, looking Ryo straight in the eye, and it’s only then that Ryo realizes that he had unconsciously said that last part aloud.

Ryo stares, open-mouthed, as Ueda hands him a fresh batch of spring rolls and a can of Coke. When Ueda starts walking off, Ryo struggles to catch up with him.

This wayward trip is going against all of Ryo’s expectations, but if he’s going to be stranded here awhile, he might as well stick to Ueda.

He isn’t going to admit it, but Ueda is proving to be a little more interesting than Ryo had originally thought.

-----


“You can’t say that he never existed,” Ryo muses aloud while munching on one of his (free) spring rolls. He and Ueda are sitting side-by-side on a bench next to the main stone pathway, people-watching. Occasionally there is someone watching them, or, more accurately, Ueda, who obliviously sips on his cup of chai tea, lost in his own world. Ryo cannot explain why he feels the sudden urge to throw an arm around Ueda as he shoots baleful glares at the random creeps who keep leering at the older man. God, is Ueda that daft or what? How did he even survive alone for this long without getting assaulted by perverts or something? Or maybe he already did, and he just didn’t feel the need to share such an experience with Ryo. Ryo thinks Ueda is capable of beating them up without much effort, anyway. Of course, Ryo would never tell him that, either.

“What?” Ueda says after what seems like half a minute, blinking confusedly at Ryo.

Ryo rolls his eyes. “You. A crybaby. Even if you aren’t one now—which I still doubt—you can’t deny that you were, once. So unless you’re saying that you used to have an evil twin who posed as you during all those Shounen Club episodes where you made such a sorry ass of yourself, then you should admit that at one point, that part of you existed.” He smirks triumphantly, pleased with his flawless logic.

Ueda looks heavenward, another exasperated sigh escaping his lips. “Are you still thinking about that?” he asks. He glances sideways at Ryo. “What does it matter to you? You always used to say that I’m a total loser who isn’t worth establishing an acquaintance with.” And there is that bored tone again, the tone of a person who genuinely couldn’t care less. It is as if Ueda is talking about the weather and not the many times that Ryo had tormented him in the past.

Somehow it makes Ryo feel worse about the things he did. He wishes Ueda could have just acted the way he used to. Ryo can deal with tears of frustration, intimidated fear, helpless rage. Such reactions are so simple to handle, unlike the blatant apathy that Ueda is displaying right now. “I don’t remember ever saying something like that,” Ryo says, unsure. It wasn’t like he ever said he was better off not knowing who Ueda was. Wait…maybe he did. He seems to remember thinking that if Ueda didn’t know himself, why should other people bother getting to know him? But that was years ago. How could Ueda possibly recall that?

Ueda snorts derisively. “Every group needs a crybaby. You of all people should know, because you’re in two of them.”

“Tegoshi and Yasu are naturally cute. What’s your excuse?” Ryo automatically responds. He can’t help it; insulting Ueda is like second nature to him.

It doesn’t seem to have any adverse effects on Ueda, who simply shrugs. “It’s part of the job. I get paid to look upset when people insult me.”

“So you’re saying that you can sell your pride without batting an eyelash?”

Ueda stares strangely at him. “I wouldn’t call it that, exactly. But for the same reason you run around a concert hall donning a yellow jumpsuit and helmet, or willingly kiss your colleagues on the lips, then yes, I suppose I can.”

“Friends, not colleagues,” Ryo corrects, giving Ueda a look that clearly conveys how highly he thinks of his ties with his own group, which is certainly more than Ueda can ever brag about his, what with his being a stuck-up snob half the time.

Ueda smiles slightly, the way one would when privy to an inside joke that the other party could never understand.

Another expression that Ryo finds extremely irritating for some reason. He doesn’t like not being in the know, even for something that concerns Ueda, who, to Ryo’s prior knowledge, is an inept and spineless freak with an obviously severe case of inferiority complex that he covers up with such excuses as being ‘sensitive’ and ‘mysterious’. Ryo doesn’t see those things in the person sitting next to him. Except maybe the mysterious part.

That one is true, considering the circumstances.

“Besides, that’s different,” Ryo continues, still feeling compelled to make Ueda angry. “The higher-ups exploit our assets. They know I look hot, whatever I wear, whoever I kiss.” He flashes Ueda a lazy smirk. “I suppose you don’t have any strengths they can take advantage of, but they have no choice but to give you something to excel at. I should give them some credit for being good at their job. You’ve got looking bad down to an art form.”

Ueda drains the rest of his cup. “That’s one opinion,” is all he says.

Ryo glares at him. What does he have to do to get a rise out of this guy?

Ueda stares amusedly back, and, easily interpreting Ryo’s mounting frustration, remarks, “If you do anything long enough, you get used to it.”

“What, taking crap from people?” Ryo grouses.

“Hmm. Yes, but mostly from you. It’s actually pretty easy, because half the time you don’t even mean the horrible things you say.”

“About other people,” Ryo answers. “If it’s you, I mean every single word I utter.” And for a second he sees Ueda’s smile waver, but then it turns out that Ueda is only letting out his nth sigh.

“I see I’m not the only one who’s gotten used to how he’s expected to act.” Ueda stands up and starts walking away. Ryo, startled, makes to jump up after him, but then he sees Ueda glancing back, lifting his empty cup in a silent reassurance that he would be right back. Ryo shoots him a dirty look and falls back onto the bench.

He keeps a hawk’s eye on the retreating man, just to be safe. Frail, he thinks. It is the first word that comes to mind when he stares after Ueda, at his soft brown hair curling at the ends, at his slight build and his narrow shoulders and the poorly-defined curve of his body in that impossibly large sweater. The sight makes Ryo think that maybe he should stop picking on Ueda so much, that maybe, if he does, he’ll be able to figure out the odd feeling that rises in his chest as he watches the other, so much like the defenseless child that he is anything but. The feeling is completely foreign, but somehow it’s the first time for Ryo not to be annoyed about something he cannot readily identify.

Ryo wonders if that was what Ueda meant by the last thing he said.

His thoughts lead him away from the task at hand, and when he snaps out of his daze and scans the surrounding area, he is dismayed to find out that Ueda is nowhere in sight. He suppresses another surge of anxiety, firmly crossing his arms over his chest, all previous thoughts replaced with the beginnings of an elaborate murder plan to execute as soon as Ryo has confirmed that Ueda has ditched him—

“Here.” Someone behind him taps him on the back, and before he can glance over his shoulder, his gaze is diverted to the pack of cigarettes now lying on his lap. His momentary rage vanishes as he rips the plastic from the packet and pops it open, extracts a stick, brings one end between his lips. The gesture instantaneously fills him with calm. He automatically shoves his other hand in his pocket to retrieve a lighter that isn’t there, and he frowns. When he glances to his left, Ueda’s hand is already outstretched, the tiny ball of flame atop metal flickering in the slight breeze.

Ryo is learning to like this non-crybaby Ueda more and more. He leans forward and accepts the light, pulling a long drag as he moves back. “Thanks,” he says graciously, and there is sincerity in his voice.

“You’re welcome. I’m always happy to help those who want to die early,” Ueda responds dryly.

Ryo blows a puff of smoke his way in retaliation. “Then a lot of people in the company must be grateful for your services.” He smiles innocently as Ueda waves the smoke away with his hand, shooting Ryo a long-suffering look.

“I try to stop my friends whenever I get the chance,” Ueda answers. “If it’s you, I have no qualms about being magnanimous.”

How rude. For a filthy rich guy, Ueda is still horribly lacking in proper social etiquette, for him to say that he wouldn’t mind if Ryo died soon.

Then again, Ryo has told Ueda to go die quite a number of times in the past month, and this is probably just Ueda’s way of returning the favor. He wonders if it ever bothered Ueda. Not that Ryo is bothered at all by what Ueda said. Ueda doesn’t have the right to tell him such a thing, anyway, because unlike Ueda, Ryo is a person who will be sorely missed if he died. Thousands of people would be devastated and mourn him for years and everything.

Ueda is probably just bitter and envious of how Ryo is more loved than he ever will be.

And Ryo would say so, if Ueda didn’t look as peaceful and at ease as he does right now. He is even smiling, right after telling Ryo to his face that it would be nice if Ryo kicked the bucket! There is just something completely wrong with this situation. “I’m so flattered. I’ll make sure that you’ll be invited to my funeral, then,” Ryo says sarcastically.

Ueda laughs. Ryo feels that he should be taking offense at this, but it is suddenly so hard to summon his resentment, especially when Ueda’s eyes are crinkled and his face is all lit up and his laughter is so surprisingly unpretentious and—

There is just something really wrong with this situation for Ryo to be thinking these things. That he is actually considering Ueda in a friendly light is an absurdity in itself.

“What?” Ueda cocks his head to the side.

“What, what?” Ryo answers, flustered, wondering if he had been speaking his thoughts again. He coughs and tries to come up with something more scathing to throw at Ueda than stupidly repeating his words twice, but the lack of hostility in Ueda’s face is incapacitating his reputed poison tongue.

Ueda says nothing, picking on a loose thread on his sweater. His laughter has settled into the slightest smile at the corner of his lips. “It’s strange, isn’t it,” he remarks, “how different people are when they’re forced into a situation where they realize they don’t have to pretend.”

“Eh?” Ryo frowns. “Are you talking about yourself? Idiot.”

Ueda rolls his eyes. “Your holier-than-thou attitude is really something. I was starting to think that was all just an act, too.”

“You say the most bizarre things, freak,” Ryo grumbles, blowing another puff of smoke at Ueda. Ueda makes a face at him, and somewhere in the back of Ryo’s mind he knows that he should be irritated at this, but all he can do is grin.

There are other things that Ueda is knowledgeable on other than the bizarre, apparently. Ryo can’t tell how long they have been sitting on that bench, and Ryo knows that weeks after, he’ll remember the light conversation, the familiar camaraderie he is feeling from the most unlikely person he could receive it from. They talk about everything and sundry—classical music and electric guitars; preserving the environment—Ryo gives Ueda a verbal beating about contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer because of the sheer amount of hair care products he uses, and Ueda rebuts that Ryo’s smoking isn’t doing the air any good, either; anecdotes on how much it baffles them that the juniors in the company always seem to be scared of them (Ueda snorts ever so delicately when a clueless Ryo asks why, and Ryo rewards him with a friendly kick in the shin). And as the minutes trickle into what seem like hours, Ryo realizes that he and Ueda have more in common than he originally thought, more in common than he had ever been willing to admit, anyway. He wonders why he had wasted so much time picking on a person who could turn out to be a potential friend.

“Where are you going?” Ryo asks when Ueda glances at his watch and makes to stand up again.

Ueda blinks. “I’m going to get another cup of tea. Do you think I can trust a little kid like you to sit still for a while until I come back?” he deadpans as he rises from his seat.

“Shut up,” Ryo answers good-naturedly, pulling his seventh cigarette from his pack. “Aren’t you supposed to ask me if I want anything?”

Ueda tosses his lighter at him. “Ingrate,” he shoots back sincerely. “Keep it,” he adds, watching Ryo finish lighting up. “Who knows what you’ll end up forgetting to bring the next time you get lost.” He takes a couple of steps away.

“Oi,” Ryo calls, and Ueda looks over his shoulder. Ryo waves his lit cigarette in the air. “The next time I do this, are you going to stop me?”

For a split second Ueda registers a look of surprise, and then he shrugs. “I’ll think about it.” He laughs, ducking from Ryo’s withering glare and into the safety of the throng of shoppers.

He is only gone for a couple of minutes when Ryo receives another tap on the back.

“RYO!!!” Yasu’s voice wails in his ear, and when Ryo tries to crane his neck around, a pair of arms are already encircling him and a blonde head is buried into his shoulder.

“What the hell?” Ryo sputters, wafting Ohkura’s face with smoke as he whirls abruptly to his other side.

“Geez, we were so worried about you!” Ohkura complains. “And it turns out you were just chilling out on this bench the whole time, smoking. Give me one of those.”

“Found him! We found him!” Subaru exclaims to no one in particular, jumping about in front of Ryo and doing a weird victory dance. He pauses to drag Ryo up, successfully causing Ryo to choke on Yasu’s death grip, and when Yasu releases him with a sniffled “sorry,” Ryo stumbles into Subaru’s waiting arms and a bone-breaking hug.

Maru pats Ryo on the back as soon as Subaru releases him, and bringing up the rear are Hina and Yoko, the latter’s arms loaded with steaming pork buns.

“It hurts, dammit!” Yoko yelps. “Come on, you idiots, get them off me before I get third-degree burns!” Ohkura and Maru immediately spring to his side to take their share, and Yoko sneakily tips the whole pile into Maru’s arms.

“It’s okay now Yasu, didn’t I tell you we’d find him soon? Stop crying, man!” Hina scolds, bopping the still teary-eyed Yasu over the head.

“Owowowowowowowwww,” Maru chants, the most astonishingly pained expression on his face as he passes pork buns around to everyone.

Ryo accepts a pork bun and glances around at them all, peeved at the fuss they’re making and touched at their overwhelming concern at the same time. “You guys are so noisy!” he barks at them.

The rest of Kanjani8 fall silent for three full seconds before bursting into raucous chatter again. “This is so goooo~d!” “Neat lighter, Ryo-chan. Did you buy it somewhere around here?” “We were so relieved when Nakamaru called Yokoyama-kun’s phone to tell him that Ueda spotted you alone in Chinatown—” “GROUP HUG!!!” “Wha—get off me!” “Yoko, there are red spots on your arms.” “Eh?? Whe—whoa, nice oppai!”

Ryo shakes his head and lets his boisterous group jostle him around all the way to the bus, feeling oddly at peace amidst the racket the others are making.

This day turned out okay, all things considered.

-----


When Ryo strolls into KAT-TUN’s dressing room as if he owns it, six pairs of eyes flick curiously in his direction for a brief moment before returning to whatever they had been previously focusing their attentions on.

“Ryo-chan!” Jin is the only one who chooses to acknowledge his presence, striding towards Ryo with a huge grin on his face. “You’re going to give me my present, right? You got me something from LA, right? Hand it over!”

Ryo snorts disdainfully. “You lived there for six months, why the hell would I bring home a souvenir for you?” At the corner of his eye, he sees Ueda flipping through a magazine while talking quietly to Nakamaru.

“Tch, what a cheapskate,” Jin sulks. He brightens after a moment as a thought occurs to him. “Then you’re here to treat me to dinner? Good, it’s been a long time since we last hung out!”

“No! And it’s your turn to pay the next time we hang out, Bakanishi.” Ryo stares past Jin and at Ueda, who is doing a good job at carrying on his conversation with Nakamaru as if Ryo isn’t there.

Jin follows Ryo’s line of sight and immediately puts his hand on the other man’s arm. “Hey—you’re not here to fight with Ueda, are you?”

The other five members of KAT-TUN simultaneously look at Ryo—Ryo notices they aren’t disinterestedly averting their gazes, this time—and their various reactions don’t escape Ryo’s notice. Kame stops reading his drama script; Junno hits the pause button on his DS Lite; Nakamaru straightens in his seat and regards Ryo passively, and Koki hovers protectively over Ueda, who simply appears bored.

“…what are you all staring at?” Ryo snaps at them, suddenly feeling like a guilty convict being scrutinized by a jury. It is slightly alarming. Since when did the other members of KAT-TUN start caring so much about Ueda, anyway?

“Ryo, I know you’ve been out of the country for a couple of weeks and you need to say something bad about someone to make up for your long absence, but really, you don’t have to go all the way here to pick on Ueda,” Kame says calmly.

Ryo stares at him in disbelief. “I’m not—”

“You owe him,” Koki adds, slinging an arm around Ueda’s shoulders and looking defiantly at Ryo.

Nakamaru nods in assent. “He called me a couple of weeks ago, when he found you wandering around LA by yourself. He didn’t have any of the Kanjani8 members’ numbers so he told me to pass the message along.”

“See, you wouldn’t be back here right now if it weren’t for him!” Koki concludes, as if that settles the matter of stopping Ryo’s reprehensible bullying.

Ryo glares at them. “You guys are a bunch of retards.”

“Maa, let’s not fight,” Junno says, smiling brightly at them all. Koki shrugs and shoots one last suspicious stare at Ryo before turning his concentration back on sewing sequins onto one of his t-shirts.

Jin claps Ryo on the back. “That’s that. So, are we leaving now? I’m free until three in the morning—”

“Pathetic people like you should get drunk by themselves,” Ryo interrupts in irritation, extricating Jin’s hand.

“Why? I know you’re going to a bar anyway!” Jin whines.

“Yeah, I am,” Ryo retorts, rolling his eyes. “But you’re not invited, moron.”

Jin pouts—Ryo tells him to quit looking so disgustingly ugly—and promptly sticks his tongue out at Ryo. “Oh yeah? You don’t have any other friends in this room, so who do you plan on asking?”

Kame coughs surreptitiously. “Actually, Ryo and I have a very good rel—”

“Don’t flatter yourself, Kamenashi,” Ryo haughtily interrupts him. He glances back at Ueda. “So, you coming or what?”

Ueda blinks up at Ryo from his seat, his five group mates staring at him with equally stunned looks on their faces. He stares back at them blankly. “I don’t know anything about this,” he says defensively.

Koki glances from Ueda to Ryo and back to Ueda like a spectator of a heated tennis match. “Wait. You’re,” he points at Ueda, “going drinking with him?” He then points at Ryo, his finely-shaped eyebrows nearly disappearing into his hairline in his incredulity.

“Do you have a problem with that?” Ryo tells Koki bitingly as he stalks towards Ueda and attempts to pull him up by the wrist. “I’m a very busy man, so hurry up and tell your lap dogs that you’re a big girl now and you can take care of yourself.”

Ueda shoots him a halfhearted glare and promptly stands up on his own. “It would help if you actually told me beforehand, you know,” he responds, barely having time to grab his bag before Ryo drags him halfway across the room.

Nakamaru and Kame exchange anxious looks. “Is he going to be okay?” Junno voices out aloud.

“I’ll be fine,” Ueda reassures them, already half out the door. “Ouch! You can let go now, Nishikido! Geez!”

KAT-TN silently listen to Ryo and Ueda’s bickering as their voices gradually fade into the distance.

Well, that had certainly been…odd.

Nakamaru stirs, throwing his scattered things haphazardly back into his bag. “I’m going after them,” he announces, and as soon as he does, Koki and Junno start packing up too.

“Count me in,” Koki says, and Junno smiles excitedly.

“Ryo and Ueda, drinking buddies?” Kame asks dubiously, catching Jin’s eye in the hopes that someone else other than him is alarmed over the fact that the laws of human nature have just been clearly violated before their very eyes.

Jin claps his hands, grin wide and triumphant. “All right! We’re all going to drink ourselves stupid tonight!”

“You don’t need a couple of beers to be dumb, Akanishi,” Koki deadpans as he saunters past Jin.

Kame seconds that. He, of course, isn’t inclined to say it aloud, because people like Koki would only get a whap on the head for their efforts.

“Come on, Kame!” Jin shouts loudly in his ear, pointedly ignoring Koki’s mock-violent outburst.

And Kame sighs in resignation, allowing Jin to steer him out of the room. It might not be so bad, playing along with them like this. Wouldn’t it be impressive, to be able to tell other people that he was one of the first witnesses to an anomaly in the natural order?

-----


Ryo checks the rearview mirror. “Your stupid group is tailing us,” he informs, glancing towards the passenger seat where Ueda is sitting.

“They’re not stupid,” Ueda says patiently as he puts his cellphone back in his pocket. “That was my manager, by the way. He says your group is already staking out the bar we’re going to.”

“Which group?” Ryo asks. They’re in Tokyo, so it couldn’t possibly be—

“The noisy one.”

Ryo groans. “The amount of interest all these people have in our friendship is mildly disturbing.”

“You can’t really blame them,” Ueda points out with a shrug. “Want to go somewhere else?”

“We could, but we’d have to lose those idiots first,” Ryo answers, jerking a thumb over his shoulder.

Ueda props his elbow onto the window ledge, resting his chin in his hand, and smirks.

“So, Nishikido, how much do you know about drag racing?”
Tags: ,
 
 
Current Mood: rushedrushed
Current Music: Choco Latte - Parokya ni Edgar
 
 
 
sam: this is the most awkward moment ever.samenashi on December 22nd, 2007 10:06 am (UTC)
jslkdfj;sf I HAD THINGS TO COMMENT ON, BUT

Ryo checks the rearview mirror. “Your stupid group is tailing us,” he informs, glancing towards the passenger seat where Ueda is sitting.

“They’re not stupid,” Ueda says patiently as he puts his cellphone back in his pocket. “That was my manager, by the way. He says your group is already staking out the bar we’re going to.”


I LOVE THEM. Hooray, fic heartheartheart!
momo.nami: hime: pick up the phoneomoshiroina on December 22nd, 2007 11:13 pm (UTC)
I can easily imagine Kanjani8 poking fun at Ryo for befriending someone he supposedly hates, then following him around to laugh at him some more from a safe distance xD

And Ueda - my image of protective!KAT-TUN grows every time I re-watch that old SC ep where Ryo asks Ueda what the hell he is, and Koki has his arm slung around him while the rest of KAT-TUN shield him and someone I fail for not being able to identify the voice randomly shouts, "He wants to be a fairy!" I dunno. They said the whole thing was staged but it still warms my heart like that ♥
(no subject) - ai_sumairu on January 3rd, 2008 01:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - omoshiroina on January 3rd, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ai_sumairu on January 4th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
newlyfallensnow on December 22nd, 2007 10:12 am (UTC)

I love this! It was so sooo funny. :)) Ryo and his snarky, I-am-so-cool-oh-yeaaaah attitude. And Ueda..for being totally mature and not giving in to Ryo's attempts to annoy him. Hah.

And yay for the Subassan and Maruda (:P). And Ryo thinking about getting Uchi the bright pink phone charm was cuuute. ♥ Wow, KAT-TUN is being protective of Ueda? They have member ai, after all. :P

momo.nami: over the harbor the princesses roamomoshiroina on December 22nd, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC)
...it was about time I wrote RyoDa fic where Ueda didn't cry like a baby, so yeah.

And yay for the Subassan and Maruda

You know I write them for you xP

And Ryo thinking about getting Uchi the bright pink phone charm was cuuute. ♥

You're the only one who said that! Damn I wish Uchi would come back to Eito soon T__T

And I believe in KAT-TUN member ai. It has to be there...somewhere just out of the camera's reach xP
(no subject) - newlyfallensnow on December 23rd, 2007 12:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - omoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - newlyfallensnow on December 24th, 2007 02:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
momo.nami: hime: pick up the phoneomoshiroina on December 22nd, 2007 11:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you~

Christmas. Just two days away. I can't wait xD
toosweet4wordstoosweet4words on December 22nd, 2007 11:25 am (UTC)
WOAH.

So, I'm not a huge RyoDa fan. Far from it, actually. Not that I hate it, but there are a few other pairings I much prefer to this one.

ANYWAY I have to say that this fic is awesome. Ryo's better-then-you attitude is total winnage. Ueda's apathy is so damn cool. And the lines in this fic just about kill me.

I shall make a list ;]

Ryo makes a mental note to purchase one for Uchi once he is sure that Ueda isn’t looking.

“That’ll be a dollar fifty, miss.”

--

“You guys are so noisy!” he barks at them.

The rest of Kanjani8 fall silent for three full seconds before bursting into raucous chatter again. “This is so goooo~d!” “Neat lighter, Ryo-chan. Did you buy it somewhere around here?” “We were so relieved when Nakamaru called Yokoyama-kun’s phone to tell him that Ueda spotted you alone in Chinatown—” “GROUP HUG!!!” “Wha—get off me!” “Yoko, there are red spots on your arms.” “Eh?? Whe—whoa, nice oppai!”

--

“That was my manager, by the way. He says your group is already staking out the bar we’re going to.”

“Which group?” Ryo asks. They’re in Tokyo, so it couldn’t possibly be—

“The noisy one.”

--

“So, Nishikido, how much do you know about drag racing?”


--

Err... yes XDD;;
momo.nami: hime: pick up the phoneomoshiroina on December 22nd, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC)
You don't know how flattered I am to have someone quoting lines of my fic right back at me. Especially a non-RyoDa fan. Come to the dark side; we have witty snark. Thank you so much ♥
(no subject) - yuaelt on December 23rd, 2007 03:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - omoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 10:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
sumomo_yukisumomo_yuki on December 22nd, 2007 12:00 pm (UTC)
omg ueda... u adrenaline junkie XD awesome!!! i really love this one!! <3333 ueda is sooooooooo kakkoii!!
momo.nami: hime: pick up the phoneomoshiroina on December 22nd, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I think I like Ueda better this way, seeing as all my other fics on him make him out to be a crybaby x.x
つきちゃん the Romantic Kipper: Yassan and Ryopixisity on December 22nd, 2007 01:23 pm (UTC)
Ahahahahahahahah *is dying here* The second awesome K8 fic in as many minutes. SO much love ppls! <33333333

momo.nami: hime: pick up the phoneomoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
This can never follow up Kon's awesome. Just saying xD But thank you.
yum_gumsyum_gums on December 22nd, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
waaaaaaaa!! i totally luv the fic!! it's well written and the characterizations were all very good!! XDDDD

ryo is just sooo self-centered at times...and ueda is apathetic...ahahhahaa

i had fun reading this XDDDDD
momo.nami: mmm rods turn ryo onomoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 12:04 am (UTC)
Glad you had fun reading it :)
Matchy西: Look into my eyes baby ♥matchynishi on December 22nd, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
I like KAT-TUN so much they are protective and ahahahaa tailing them and ofc K8 would stake out the restaurant asfdjksdf lmao this is very funny. XDDDD
momo.nami: over the harbor the princesses roamomoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 12:05 am (UTC)
Thanks Matchy xD
( k o n ) : 魂 : half of a dubious pear: 上田 // moment.koneho on December 22nd, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
I seriously gasped, "No way!" when I saw this on jent_fanfics. Not even gonna lie. ♥

I read through all this rather quickly, so I can't give out much in terms of my deeper thoughts (because I actually had deeper thoughts because OH MY GOD, "He never existed" just kind of made me die a little inside) but I just love love LOVE your wit and your way of writing characters. And the central characters may have been Ryo and Ueda, but you didn't throw away the others' importance, either. Yasu cries so cutely and Ryuhei and Yoko with PORK BUNS and dkjfa;lsdjf general Eito loving and KAT-TUN is not as bitchy as they seem okay. ;o;

Thank you thank you thank you. ♥ I am such a loser for saying this, but I always feel this surge of happy glee whenever someone writes fic for me. ♥♥♥♥♥
momo.nami: mmm rods turn ryo onomoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 12:45 am (UTC)
I am so happy you liked it, Kon ♥

I seriously love it when everyone is included, not just in passing, whenever I read other people's fics and I believe in give-and-take so I try to incorporate the same ideal in mine if I can. And the Eito scenes were so fun to write.

Prz to be writing more Eito fic? :D I really adored The Path to 'Sukiyanen'. I mean, I know you put Ohkura Tadayoshi/Yasuda Shota as the pairing but when I read it I saw EITO/EITO. The world will be a better place with more Eito rabu in it ♥
(no subject) - koneho on December 24th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - omoshiroina on December 24th, 2007 09:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
starts with k: Ryo // Rockstaranyotherknight on December 22nd, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
DEAD WITH GLEE AND LOVE.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
( k o n ) : 魂 : half of a dubious pear: 上田 // light.koneho on December 22nd, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
YOUR ICON JUST KILLED ME IN THE FACE WITH HOT. :O
(no subject) - anyotherknight on December 23rd, 2007 02:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - koneho on December 23rd, 2007 03:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - omoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 12:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
second to the right and straight on till morning.: ohkura!inevitabilityy on December 22nd, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC)
This is so...smart! That's like, the only word I have to describe it. It makes me sound like a pretentious ass, but what I mean is that this is so likely and your Ryo and Ueda are so comfortable.

I really really like this. ♥
momo.nami: over the harbor the princesses roamomoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 12:50 am (UTC)
Thank you! And I am happy you liked it ♥
friendly neighbourhood spidey pan: Ryo //in ur Vatican spread'n his gospellelola on December 22nd, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed Ryo's tirades and Ueda's nonchalant reactions. sfgsdf sdfgsdf afgsdfg sdfgadfgdfgsdfgdsfg PORK BUNS. And the last line is gold. XD

Why are your fics so brilliant? ♥
momo.nami: hime: pick up the phoneomoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 12:58 am (UTC)
I suck at answering something like that especially when there are so many writers out there who I believe write so much more brilliantly than I could...let's just say I strive for improvement? xD Thanks so much for thinking so, Pan ♥
isodia: pic#67627987isodia on December 23rd, 2007 01:30 am (UTC)
uwaaaaaaah!! i love it!! more please? ^_^;; i love the way you wrote it and the "interaction" between ryo and ueda is just win! ^_^ i'm happy to read your fics, hope to see more of your works... ^_^;;
momo.nami: hime: pick up the phoneomoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 03:19 am (UTC)
Thank you~ ...I hope so, too >_
vreemd23: Christmas <3vreemd23 on December 23rd, 2007 02:03 am (UTC)
Oh gawd. This is awesome. I love it! :DDDDD
momo.nami: over the harbor the princesses roamomoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 03:19 am (UTC)
Thanks xD
젤민: changminxiao_tian_jelly on December 23rd, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
Ryo groans. “The amount of interest all these people have in our friendship is mildly disturbing.”

OMG! THIS WINS!

I'm not at all spazzy with RyoDa fics but reading makes me WHOA like RYODA FOR THE WIN~
momo.nami: hime: pick up the phoneomoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 10:32 am (UTC)
Thank you. It means a lot to me that you made an exception for this xD
(no subject) - xiao_tian_jelly on December 23rd, 2007 10:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - omoshiroina on December 23rd, 2007 01:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - xiao_tian_jelly on December 23rd, 2007 01:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)