Home again at last, Asanao was only too happy to drop down onto his couch with a sigh of relief. And it was even better when Aya curled up against his side, resting her head on his chest. The whole world could go burn just then, the only thing that mattered was right here in his arms.
“Missed you,” he mumbled, brushing a kiss to the top of her head. Aya hummed and though she was being quite still, he could almost feel her vibrating with something.
“All right, Aya, you've been dancing around the subject since before New Years,” he mock grumbled. “What the hell secret have you been keeping from me anyway?”
“The sort that I couldn't tell you over text or the phone, obviously,” she said, playfully jabbing him in the chest. “And that is no kind of way to be asking, you ass.”
“What do you want me to say, pretty please with a cherry on top?” he teased, squeezing his arms around her a little more.
“Yes!” she replied, laughing.
“Okay, okay, he said, laughing with her. “Pretty please will you please tell me what you've been hiding from me this past week, oh light of my life?”
“Gods, you are such a brat, she huffed, swatting at him again. “I know it's been awhile since we last talked about it, but I think I'm actually read to graduate from E Girls.”
“Are you sure?” he asked. “Isn't that a big change?”
“Well, it wouldn't be right away, actually it probably wouldn't even be until next year, which could make things, um, a bit difficult. But the agency was able to put a gag on my marriage announcement, so maybe they figure out a way to keep this on the down-low, too. Going to be a little harder, but....”
“Keep what on the down low?” he asked, something tickling at the back of his neck.
“It wasn't actually planned on my part, but I guess we had an oops? I saw the doctor again this morning, he confirmed it. I'm pregnant.”
Asanao could only sit there for a long moment, gaping at her. Had he even heard that right?
“Baby? Did you hear what I said? You're going to be a father.”
A bubble of pure joy burst in his chest. Asanao scooped Aya up into his arms as he got up from the couch, laughing and whooping and hugging her tightly.
“Holy shit. You're completely sure, you're not just winding me up?”
“Doctor confirmed this morning. Too soon to tell boy or girl, but definitely pregnant.”
“Aya! Oh baby, that's amazing!” he said, laughing and hugging her tight again. Definitely not news to tell him over the phone! Laughing again as he set her back down on her own two feet, he cradled her close, his hand splayed over her belly. Nothing yet, but then of course it was too soon for that.
“I love you,” he murmured. “Ah shit, I gotta tell ... er, who am I even allowed to tell?”
“The agency is going to want to deal with this, so ... who will be the most pissed if you keep it a secret until an official announcement is made?” she asked.
“Mom, but I can handle her. And I should probably tell Reo-nii sooner rather than later, as my boss if nothing else, you know?”
“All right, well, your mom couldn't keep a secret in a locked vault,” Aya teased, grinning, “but Reo-nii I trust. Just make sure he knows not to tell anyone else, yeah?”
“Of course, of course, complete secret,” he agreed with a nod. His mother would give him ten kinds of hell for keeping this a secret from her, but better a little hell than a whole lot of trouble.
Getting Reo alone was surprisingly easy, the older man pulling him aside before he could even try to do the same himself.
“All right, Nao-kun, you've been about ready to burst with something all day. What's up?”
“... have I really?” he asked, glancing at the others, but the room was already empty of their bandmates. That was ... suspiciously fast, even for them. Had Reo said something to the others behind his back? Did that mean he really had been that obvious all day? Aya was going to kill him if he had already blown their secret.
“Sorry, it's just ... promise you won't tell anyone else?” he said, nervously rubbing the back of his neck.
“... why?” Reo asked, his guard already visibly going up. Fuck.
“Come on, bro,” Asanao said, putting on his best pathetic begging face. “Do me a solid and just promise first?”
“All righ, all right, I promise. Now what's going on with you?”
Asanao glanced around the studio again, but it really was just the two of them. Still, who knew how long that would last. Best to get on with it.
“What, really? Hey, that's great, man! Congrats!” Reo said, clapping him on the shoulder with a bright grin.
“Shh! It's a secret, she says I'm not to tell anyone but you.”
“You mean like how you weren't supposed to tell anyone you and her got married?” the guitarist asked with an amused smirk.
“Come on, Reo-nii, I'm being serious here,” he replied, huffing a little.
“All right, all right, I'm sorry. But I don't understand why the big secret?”
“... because she's an idol and getting pregnant isn't something idols are supposed to do?” he said, quirking an eyebrow at his leader. “Come on, Reo-knii, this isn't brain surgery. Her fans don't even know she's married.”
“Okay, okay, fair point,” the older man said, squeezing his shoulder briefly in solidarity. “What do you need from me then?”
“I don't know, to be honest,” he admitted, running a hand through his hair to push it back from his face. “She, uh, she's worried something's going to go terribly wrong if we tell people which, um, seems pretty paranoid, but I couldn't say that to her, so....”
“Isn't that why she pushed to keep your marriage a secret in the first place?” Reo asked, sitting Asanao down on their studio's couch.
“Yeah, that and her company really didn't want it getting out that she wasn't single anymore,” he agreed with a nod. “Not that I've been in any big hurry to tell the whole world, either. Like the horror stories are all pretty old now, but I gotta figure a lot of that is because we've all learned to keep things quiet.”
“Mm. Well, if you need my help for anything, I'm here. Are you going to want your paternity leave?”
“Maybe? I don't know, she just told me about this last night, I'm still trying to process it, you know?” he confessed, rubbing sweaty palms against his jeans. “Shit. I'm going to be a father. Me. This is so....”
“You'll be fine, the both of you. I'm sure of it.”
“I'm not ready to be the staid, settled down and serious guy!” Asanao protested. “That's your gig!”
“So don't be?” Reo countered, laughing again. “Nao-kun, just because you're having a kid, that doesn't mean you're going to turn into your dad overnight. You're still you, yeah?”
“I, well ... yeah....”
“So relax. Now come on, at least let me buy you a beer. Just because we can't tell anyone why we're celebrating, that doesn't mean we can't still celebrate, ne?”
Asanao couldn't help another little nervous chuckle. Reo was right, in more ways than one. He might not be ready for any of this, but he and Aya were solid. They would figure it out.
February and he still wasn't allowed to talk about Aya's pregnancy with anyone but her and Reo. It was driving him just a little crazy. As was, apparently, his current lack of male partner, since doing lives was turning into hours long torture sessions with the way Hazuki and Akinori and Yusuke would play with the audience. Assholes. He was surrounded by hot assholes who had absolutely zero idea what they were doing to him or why he kept being very careful about how exactly he left the stage at the end of each set.
“When's the last time you had a date?” Aya asked abruptly the day after their Fukuoka live.
“Um. Assuming you meant not with you ... October?”
“Well no wonder you're wound so tight, baby,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Go find you some, yeah?”
“W-what?” he sputtered, gaping at her.
“Cultivating a relationship takes time. In a couple of months, sex is going to be the last thing on my mind, I'm sure. You should really do something about your own needs before then,” she replied pragmatically, making little shooing motions with her hand. Asanao was almost positive he couldn't have heard that right. He loved Aya's open support of his bisexuality and his polyamorous nature, but still....
“What, do you need me to dig up your little black book and make some calls for you?”
“What? No! Don't be ridiculous! Baby, I'm not –.”
“October means you haven't seen anyone since Shi-kun dumped you,” she said, pretending to turn her attention back to her magazine. “Which makes the longest you haven't even tried since we got married. You should do something about that.”
Asanao just stared at her for a long moment, then gave up and texted Yusuke.
« busy tonight?
» Depends. Got a better offer than laundry?
« i'm being thrown out, have a drink with me so i don't feel pathetic?
» Just us? Or can I bring a friend?
« the more the merrier?
« usual place by my place? twenty minutes?
» Can do. Order a pitcher.
Asanao spent just enough effort on himself to keep Aya from accusing him of not even trying – even though he really wasn't interested in picking up some random hot guy tonight – and then hurried down to his favorite local yakitori izakaya. The owner seemed happy to see him, at least. And even happier when Asanao put in a big order along with the pitcher of beer Yusuke had suggested.
Of course it was one thing to know Yusuke was bringing someone. It was another thing entirely to find out that someone was Akinori. Asanao wasn't even sure where to start, instead silently quirking an eyebrow at the guitarist.
“What? I didn't say I was doing my laundry,” his friend said, shrugging and then laughing. That ... didn't make anything better. Not that Asanao could explain any of that. Swallowing a sigh, he turned to Akinori instead.
“The machines in my building broke, Yu-kun is letting me borrow his,” the bassist said with a shrug.
“At this time of night??”
“When the hell else am I going to do laundry?” Akinori countered, pulling his hair up into a messy knot. Asanao felt his mouth go dry at that for some reason, hurriedly taking a gulp of his beer.
“She really kicked you out, didn't she?” Yusuke asked, sounding surprised. “I thought you were just joking around about that. Are you all right?”
“She? She who?” Akinori asked, helping himself to a couple skewers of grilled chicken.
“Uh, his wife? Aya-san? Really, Akkun, don't you ever pay attention?” Yusuke scolded as he helped himself.
“You're still together?” the bassist asked, giving Asanao a quizzical look. “Seriously? I thought you two broke up, like, forever ago.”
“... Akkun, we go married three years ago,” Asanao said, trying not to scowl at the kid. How could someone that cute be that oblivious? Or maybe he had just answered his own question.
“Don't look at me like that! You don't ever talk about her anymore!”
“That's bullshit, I talk about her all the time!” he protested, although the way Yusuke was frowning at him....
“Not really, Nao-kun,” the guitarist said with a little head shake. “Not when it's all of us, anyway. Not that it's a problem or even any of our business – Hazu-kun and Tatsu-san make enough drama for all of us anyway.”
“If I don't ... how did you know we were still married?” he asked, toying with an empty skewer.
“As wound up as you were when she said finally yes, I'm sure we all would have noticed if you had actually gotten divorced, Nao-kun,” Yusuke said, chuckling again, then immediately sobering. “She didn't ask for a divorce, did she?”
“No, no, nothing like that,” he said, waving off the very suggestion. “She just wanted me out of the flat for the night. Too much energy for her or something,” he lied, plastering on his best fake grin. If Akinori had seriously thought he wasn't even married anymore, then this was absolutely not the time to be trying to explain why Aya had actually wanted him out.
“Well, whatever,” Yusuke said, chuckling again. “We'll keep you company. And if she says you can't come home until morning, you can always crash with me.”
“Or me!” Akinori added. “Although, since I'm probably spending the night as Yu-kun's tonight anyway ... hey, sleep-over party!”
“Says who?!” Yusuke demanded in feigned protest.
“Oh come on, you can't hold my clothes hostage! That would be cruel!”
Asanao grinned as he watched his two friends bicker. It was fine, this was fine. He loved Aya, he didn't need anything more than her and the child they were going to have and the band. With a secret baby on the way, where would he even find the time for a new boyfriend? No, better to just stick with what he already had and find a way to be content with that.
Despite the bickering and implications at the start of the evening, Akinori went back to his own apartment without protest when the evening came to an end. Asanao hadn't intended to go home with Yusuke, but something about the guitarist's tone had made it impossible for him to refuse the invitation. So he meekly followed along, accepting another bottle of beer as he sat on his friend's couch.
He flinched at that tone and ducked his head. It wasn't likely to do him any good, of course, but ... a boy had to at least try?
“Nao-kun, you can talk to me, yeah?”
“Don't know what you expect me to say,” he mumbled, shaking his head. “Nothing to talk about.”
Well now he'd done it, the drummer wincing at that hard tone in his friend's voice. Yusuke could be so quiet, so demure, it was a little too easy to forget he also had his stubborn side. A hand fisted in his hair, yanking his head back, and Asanao froze.
“Talk to me.”
Another little shiver. He was caught, all he could do now was submit.
“Aya's pregnant,” he mumbled, averting his eyes. “She wants me to find a new boyfriend.”
“She doesn't know about us?” Yusuke asked with a hard tone. Asanao flinched again.
“What us? There hasn't been any 'us' in five years, Yu-kun,” he countered. “But yes, she knows, of course she knows. I told her everything, I always do.”
“Do you need it?”
“No,” he lied. Too quickly or maybe just too obviously. Yusuke's hand twisted in his hair and pulled, forcing him to meet dark eyes.
“I hate being lied to, you know that.”
Yusuke didn't give him a chance to make excuses, pressing a hard kiss to his lips. Conflicted, Asanao hesitated before giving in, opening to the other man. It was too easy, but then with Yusuke it always had been. But was it right? There was a whole list of reasons why they had agreed it was better for them – and for the band – if they went their separate ways, even if he couldn't, at that moment, remember what any of those reasons were.
“Do you need it?” Yusuke asked again, softer this time. And again, Asanao hesitated. He couldn't escape the feeling that this was a terrible idea.
“We agreed –.”
“Do you need it?” the guitarist interrupted, tugging on his hair again. Asanao whimpered, one hand fisting in Yusuke's shirt.
“Yes,” he gasped, even knowing it was a mistake.
“Then strip,” his friend said, giving him a little push. This was a terrible idea, and yet still his fingers fairly flew over his buttons as he stripped down to nothing. Even in his hurry, each piece was neatly folded and tucked into a neat pile at the end of Yusuke's couch before Asanao relocated himself to Yusuke's futon. Without even needing to be asked, he arranged himself on hands and knees, presenting himself like a good submissive.
“Such a good boy still,” Yusuke murmured, lips brushing against one shoulder as the man slid a lubed finger between Asanao's ass cheeks. The drummer shivered at those words, welcoming the little glow of pleasure that scrap of praise had produced. He was almost surprised how easy it was for him to slip back into this mental space, to give himself completely to someone else. That it was Yusuke probably helped; he had been trusting Yusuke for more than nine years now, it was easy. Natural. He surrendered completely, moaning with each bite to his neck and shoulders, the slow teasing of his ass and balls. Yusuke knew him too well, playing Asanao's body as easily as he might one of his guitars, slowly driving him wild with hunger. And yet every time Asanao got too close, Yusuke would pull him back, denying him the release he craved until he was sobbing, begging for it.
“Not yet, pet,” Yusuke scolded, slapping him on the ass. “You've been naughty, isn't that right? More than just lying to me.”
Asanao hesitated at that, at a loss for what the other man meant. Naughty was such an unhelpful word, especially when they weren't in a relationship per se.
“It's all right, pet. I always find out in the end,” Yusuke continued, rubbing a hand along his spine.
“Please,” he whimpered, not sure what else to say, what it was Yusuke wanted him to confess. The guitarist hummed as he moved around him and then he was finally, finally allowed to feel the man's cock filling him. A low whine of relief and pleasure flowed out of him, his head dropping even lower. The slow thrusts were very nearly torture, and yet the sweetest of torments as their bodies moved together. Five years almost seemed to vanish, Yusuke knew exactly how to touch him until he was completely lost to it.
“Cum for me, Nao.”
Those words were all he had needed, his release flowing out over Yusuke's hand. The pleasure wiped away all the reasons why this was wrong, he didn't care anymore. And Yusuke felt so good, familiar and warm as the two men curled up together, the slender guitarist tucked into Asanao's chest. Couldn't this, too, be good? They had been good before, surely they could do it again, at least for a little while. And yet....
“Talk to me,” Yusuke murmured after some time.
“I know there's more to this than just Aya-chan's getting pregnant, Nao-kun,” the guitarist scolded, tugging on a forelock. “I can't help if you aren't being honest with me.”
He really hated the fact that Yusuke was right, as usual. About everything. But that didn't mean he had to like it.
“Can't we just ... be like this for awhile?” he mumbled. Yusuke pulled back enough to brush a kiss to his lips, fingertips brushing against his cheek. Dark eyes gazed down at him, seemingly seeing right through him. A sigh and Yusuke nodded, settling into his chest again.
“Fine, but we're talking about this later,” his friend murmured.
“I ... fine,” Asanao mumbled. When later came, well, he would worry about that then.
Asanao grunted something he hoped was polite enough as he dropped down onto Yusuke's couch. Must have been close enough, since the man was pushing a mug of coffee into his hands rather than yelling at him.
“We're going to talk about last night now, so drink up.”
Flinching in spite of himself, Asanao sipped his coffee. Ambushed. He wasn't awake enough to think of any excuses out of it, which was probably why Yusuke was insisting on now instead of letting him get away with putting it off even longer.
“What's really going on, yeah? And don't tell me it's just that Aya-chan's pregnant.”
“Why does last night have to mean anything like that?” he countered. The flat look Yusuke gave him told him plenty. Sighing, he pushed a hand through his hair as he tried to get his thoughts in order.
“I know we agreed we were all wrong for each other back then, but couldn't we just –.”
“No, we really can't,” Yusuke interrupted, an uncharacteristic lapse in manners. “Nao, I respect that you're polyamorous, but that's not me. Last night was ... special circumstance. You needed it. But that's not a solution either of us could live with and you know it.”
Another heavy sigh. Asanao sat back with his coffee, wishing he could argue while knowing that he couldn't.
“It always comes back to that, doesn't it?” he grumbled, sipping his coffee. “I can have my boyfriend or I can have my wife, but loving both, that's just too much, no one wants to believe I can do that. No one but Aya, anyway.”
“That's not fair,” Yusuke countered, a low murmur.
“Isn't it? It's the same line I've gotten from the last five boyfriends, including you, Yu-kun. That you couldn't be with me while I was still with her.”
“Nao, it wasn't like that, you know it wasn't like that,” Yusuke mumbled, almost pleading with him. “Don't do this, don't make this about us just because you don't want to admit why you keep going after guys you know aren't going to want to stay with you.”
“I am not self-sabotaging!” he protested.
“Aren't you? You just said the last four men you dated broke it off because they couldn't accept you were polyamorous. That sounds like you're starting with guys who aren't polyam themselves, setting yourself up to fail from the very start. Why?”
Quickly swallowing down the last of his coffee, he started to get up, only to find himself being pushed back down, Yusuke climbing into his lap with a hard frown.
“I'm not letting you run away from this, Nao. We're going to figure this out, whether you like it or not.”
“Look, it's not like it's something I can just casually ask on a first date, Yu-kun,” Asanao grumbled.
“Why not? It's kind of an important question, yeah?” Yusuke countered. “Why waste time on more dates if the guy's never going to be okay with your lifestyle?”
Asanao scowled at his lapful, but as usual, Yusuke wouldn't be moved so easily. Brat.
“It's a bit late for you to be afraid of falling in love again, Nao,” his friend murmured, toying with a lock of black hair. “So what's really going on in that head of yours, hmm?:
“Yu, can we please not?” he pleaded, rubbing at his face with one hand.
“Anything else aside, I'm still your friend, dumbass,” the guitarist countered, tugging lightly on his hair. “I'm worried about you. I'm worried that you don't even know what's wrong.”
“What's wrong is that I want men I can't have!” Asanao huffed.
Well fuck. Yusuke could be like a hound on a scent and now Asanao had caught his attention completely, He wasn't going to get out of this without giving up specific names.
“Like you,” he said with a sigh, sliding a hand up Yusuke's spine. The guitarist was studying him too closely, this confession wasn't going to be nearly enough. Dammit it all to hell and back.
“Diru's Shinya-senpai, for awhile,” he said, averting his eyes to the coffee table. That had been a mistake, Yusuke knew him too well. The guitarist grabbed his chin, pulling his head back up towards him.
He could keep trying to duck Yusuke, but the man was too good, knew him too well. Sooner or later he would have to admit the truth. Probably sooner, rather than later. Meaning he might as well skip the games and admit it.
“You heard him last night, he's too oblivious for this world, I swear. Besides, the kid's completely head over heels for Reo-nii, I could never compete.”
“Nao, don't do this to yourself.”
“You know I'm right, Yu. I'm not ... I'm not asshole enough to mess with that,” he said, dropping his eyes to his hands, caught between them. The way Yusuke went quiet ... well, he had been expecting that. The truth was the truth. Akinori loved Reo and Reo ... was blind to it because Akinori was determined not to let the man know for whatever reasons of his own. Asanao could be an asshole about a lot of things, but he wasn't going to mess with that. He wasn't. And that meant letting Akinori go, finding something else to fill that place in his heart. Somehow.
“All right, Nao, all right,” Yusuke said at last, brushing a kiss to his forehead. “We'll figure this out, you don't have to keep punishing yourself with doomed dates, okay?”
Asanao huffed a sigh. He didn't know how Yusuke thought he could help him, but maybe it was time to admit he needed the help.