Uno-chan and Chiaki-chan always bake chocolate cookies and cute little cupcakes for their bandmates on Valentine's Day, and Hidaka has a great time stuffing his face because they're both pretty good at them, but it's not the same. It always feels more like giri chocolate, given out of duty, and it's funny how it's something like cookies and candy that make Hidaka acutely aware of being single.
It's even funnier how it's the mini lollipop that Shuta gives him that doesn't feel like obligation.
"Hey," he says, "it isn't White Day for another month," and then screws up his face as the other man plants a smacking kiss on his cheek just for the entertainment of seeing him react.
"Hmm... so if I'd given you my gift next month, would that make you the girl?"
Hidaka snatches the lollipop in its kitschy strawberry-printed wrapper. "Get outta here!"
It's only later when he's sucking on it and thinking that he realizes that not only is he very keen on staying a guy, he's okay with Shuta being a guy, and that maybe he isn't as single as he thought.
*** *** ***
Shuta shrugs, amicably, as if groping one of his best friends is just another thing on his 'to do' list. "An ass massage."
"An ass massage. You're always so twitchy because you have too much tension built up in your ass. I can tell just by looking."
"No offence, man, but I call bullshit."
"Ah, but do you want to risk the health implications of a chronically stressed ass?"
Hidaka can't help but smirk at him. "Where d'you pick up this stuff, anyway? How about you moonlight as my massage therapist?"
"Too distracting. Now, you should be lying on your belly for this, but you're going to have to turn around and grab hold of something instead."
Still grinning, Hidaka braces himself on the edge of the dressing room's makeup counter. The flirty vibe that he gets sometimes from Shuta doesn't bother him like it would coming from other guys, because it's Shuta, and they understand each other; have gotten into one another's headspaces from the first time they met. Sometimes Hidaka gets the feeling that the universe played a big joke in making both of them male. Triple-A's made him crazy, he thinks. He hangs around these people way too much.
Hidaka's eyes get slightly wider when the hands behind him cup his buttocks and very professionally and deliberately squeeze. Okay, that feels amazing, and this is one of those times he's glad Shuta isn't a girl, because he's willing to bet that a girl couldn't get this kind of pressure going; know exactly how his muscles are screaming to be worked. He's also willing to bet that, unless they were doing it in bed, a girl would slap him when, after a few minutes of pushing and kneading, he starts to pop a hard-on.
"Feel good?" Shuta asks, in a matter-of-fact way.
"Uh," Hidaka says, eloquently. He wishes he wasn't wearing such tight pants, because this is starting to get uncomfortable. Relaxation, his ass.
When Hidaka goes to sleep that night, he has a dream about Shuta's ass, Nishijima's ass, Uno's ass and Urata's ass, and doesn't know which part he finds most disturbing.
*** *** ***
He does remember thinking about how Shuta's bed is really, really comfortable, and how Shuta is comfortable as well, and doesn't crowd him or have hair that gets in his face when he doesn't want it like some girls do. Hidaka's not a deep sleeper, and at home he usually winds up going to screw around in the studio until he gets dopey again a couple of times during the night, but he goes out like a light when he sleeps next to Shuta.
The other thing that's still blurry is the weird half-dream he had that first night, where he thought he felt the bed creak beside him and Shuta muss his hair, and heard him say, very quietly, "Love you."
So he must have been drunk after all.
*** *** ***
"Are we talking long-term here, or a one night stand?" Shuta cracks one eye open against the glare of the sun.
"Oh, making it complicated, huh? Why do I get suckered into these kinds of discussions with you whenever we spend a break on the roof?"
"Maybe Chiaki. Long-term. I think we'd have some fun living together."
"One night stand?"
Shuta grins. "Atae-chan. If he wouldn't run for his life at the idea. What a waste. So, Uno-chan for you?"
"Yeah, very nice. But kind of like getting together with your sister."
"Nishi?" Shuta suggests, slyly.
Hidaka gives a snort. "Maybe if you gagged him."
"But then he'd only be half as much use."
"And I thought I was a friggin' pervert."
Both of them laugh. They've always been like this: the silence, when it falls between them, as easy as the conversation, and Hidaka finds himself thinking what a great world it would be, what an absolutely fantastic life, if he could have someone like Shuta who he could get his rocks off with as well.
"So," he says, "Atae's your type?"
"Among others around here."
"Didn't think Leader did it for anybody but Uno. And Uno's never had any taste."
"You really can be slow on the uptake sometimes, can't you?" Shuta says.
Hidaka opens his mouth, then closes it again. Somewhere inside of his mind, he gets the image of a little light bulb switching itself on. Oh. Yeah. Well, that makes sense, doesn't it?
He scratches the back of his neck. "Look -" he says, "I'm really sorry."
Shuta smiles. "I know. And it's okay."
"It's not you, you know? It's me."
"I said it's okay, and it's okay."
A little breeze gets up, scudding a dropped pocky wrapper across the flat of the roof, bringing with it the smell of the sea. Somewhere below, between the rumbles of trucks, a bird sings, abrupt and piercing and sweet. Hidaka squints into the sunshine.
"We're pretty damn lucky, aren't we?"
"Would you change things, if you could? I mean - how we are?"
His bandmate contemplates this, lazily. "Not really."
"Thank fuck for that."
Shuta laughs out loud. Hidaka joins in, and it's all good, just the way they were meant to be. They look up at the sky, flat summer blue with a jet trail drawn across it. Hidaka lifts his hand and finger-writes his name against the backdrop, an invisible script in the air.
"You got to tell me one thing," he says.
"You ever thought about me when you were jacking off?"
"No," Shuta says. Then he adds, wickedly, "But I will do next time."
He's off the floor with dancer's speed and agility before the swipe can connect with his head, sprinting away. Hidaka takes a moment to recover himself and get to his feet, then plunges after him. They reach the steps together, just as Nishijima's curious face appears, wondering what all the yelling's about and why he can't have some of it for himself.