Title: Lean on me
Summary/Prompt: One day something inside Yamapi breaks. He half-asses his job, drowns his depression in girls and alcohol, gets a tattoo and Koki inspired hair cut. His friends are dead worried, but only Jin can help, because he has been there himself.
Author’s Note: 7173 words. For the Pin Meme Part 2! Idk what to say about this; it was fun and difficult to write all at once. Really angsty, but there’s a happy ending, I promise. :)
He just walks right off the set, in the middle of filming. He just walks straight off. He grabs his things from the dressing room, ignores the calls from the staff, his co-workers, the director, and just walks right out of the building. It’s bright, sunny outside. Yamapi pulls his sunglasses on, shrugs into his coat, and walks home.
It’s in the papers the next day. Top idol Yamashita Tomohisa walks off the set of Ashita no Joe! Followed by speculation of what could have happened, interviews with some lower staff members who don’t know anything, and Johnny’s statement that consists of no comment.
He gets calls, hundreds of them, maybe, but Yamapi shuts his phone off halfway through the following day, and hides under his covers. After the third day, he’s surprised management hasn’t broken down his door. He’s missed three days of filming, four photo-shoots and interviews. He’s surprised that he doesn’t care.
That weekend, he goes out for the first time, to a dark, shady club that even Jin won’t enter. He doesn’t care if he’s seen, and he fucks a tall blonde in the corner behind the speakers. He has drink after drink after drink, until he can’t feel anything other than the buzz of alcohol and the dizziness of inebriation. He takes another girl home, and the following day, its front page in the papers.
That same night he goes out again, uncaring of the gossip, uncaring of the occasional looks. He drinks and he dances and he lets a curvy brunette grind against him, her hands under the back of his shirt, his on her hips. He’s getting really worked up by the third song they dance together, but before he can whisper dirty things into her ear, a hand not belong to the girl grabs his shoulder and pulls him roughly away.
Yamapi almost falls over, but upon finding Jin standing before him, a dark, unimpressed look on his face, he straightens up instantly. Yamapi’s at a loss for words, only stares as Jin glances at the girl, and tells her to get lost. The girl makes a face but saunters off, and then Jin’s grabbed Yamapi’s hand, his palm warm against Yamapi’s skin, and drags him out of the club.
“What’re you doing?” Yamapi finally asks when cold night air hits him and clears his mind a little.
“What the fuck are you?” Jin shouts back, and Yamapi stops in his tracks; he’s never seen Jin this angry before, least of all at him. Upon seeing Yamapi’s shocked eyes, Jin sighs, calms down, and adds, “I’m taking you home.”
And Yamapi lets him. He’s too confused, too lost to care.
Jin is silent the entire way back, but he holds Yamapi’s hand the whole time, only letting go when they reach Yamapi’s apartment and Yamapi has to unlock the door. Jin pushes him inside and follows, locking the door after them, and kicking off his shoes. While Yamapi unlaces his boots, Jin strolls into the kitchen, and Yamapi hears him opening the cupboards, the fridge, before he walks back down the hall, his mouth set in a thin line. Yamapi finds him standing in the sitting room, looking at the piles of dirty laundry, of trash, of newspapers with Yamapi’s face on the front, at all of the things Yamapi hasn’t cared enough to clean or throw away.
Jin starts when he feels Yamapi join him, turns worried eyes onto his friend, and Yamapi would feel guilty if he wasn’t so wasted. “Pi,” Jin says, sounding rather devastated, uncertain, and reaches out both hands, resting them on each of Yamapi’s elbows. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Yamapi lies, shrugs Jin’s hands off, but Jin grabs him again, holds on tighter.
“Don’t fucking tell me it’s nothing,” Jin says, his voice raising, but still managing to stay level. Yamapi’s a little impressed. “Something’s happened. What’s wrong? Why’re you acting like this?”
Yamapi looks away and doesn’t answer. Jin waits for a few long minutes, then sighs, lets his fingers slip off Yamapi’s skin, and somewhere deep inside, Yamapi cries at the loss. But on the surface, his face remains calm, cool, collected. Jin steps back, runs a hand through his hair.
Yamapi walks around him. “I’m gonna take a shower,” he says and leaves to do just that. It helps clear his mind, his intoxicated energy slowly draining out of him. As he dries off and changes into a pair of old sweats, he can hear Jin shuffling around the apartment, no doubt cleaning the mess that’s accumulated over the past few days.
Yamapi joins him and Jin looks up instantly, wearing that same concerned look, and now Yamapi’s lucid enough to feel that pang of guilt in his gut. He doesn’t say anything, though. Just walks to the kitchen, grabs two beers, and sits on the couch. Before he can crack open his can, Jin snatches it from his hand, his eyes dark with anger.
“Don’t you fucking dare,” he snaps. “You’re going to talk, and you’re going to do it sober. What the hell’s wrong, Pi?”
“I told you it was nothing,” Yamapi replies petulantly. “Why does something have to be wrong?”
“Because this is not you!” Jin practically screeches, throwing one of the tabloids onto Yamapi’s lap. “You don’t do things like this. You don’t walk out of filming, you don’t skip work, you always return phone calls – what the hell’s wrong, Pi? Can’t you even tell me?”
Yamapi shoves the paper off his lap, glares at Jin. “If you dragged me out of the club to yell at me, then—”
“I dragged you out because I’m fucking worried!” Jin exclaims. “We all are. Have you listened to the messages I’ve left? That Ryo and Yuu and your mom have left? She’s called us at least five times a day wondering what’s wrong with you.”
Yamapi says nothing. He can see in Jin’s eyes he’s getting frustrated, confused, angry. But Yamapi has nothing to tell him, doesn’t even know what’s really wrong himself. Jin sighs and stands up, goes into the bedroom and returns with Yamapi’s phone. Yamapi tries to grab it from him, but Jin plays keep-away really well, turning on the phone and pressing speaker phone and going straight to voicemail.
Message after message of similar nuances fill the quiet apartment. A message from everyone in NewS – five just from Koyama, while Ryo’s grow steadily louder and angrier with each new message, while the other address their state of worry. Even members from KAT-TUN – Koki and Kame – call to give in their two cents, asking him to call back. Dispersed between these are messages from Jin, who’s left the most out of anyone. Unlike Ryo, unlike how Jin’s acted tonight, all of his messages are soft, consoling, careful. And then, the last one, the last one strikes that final chord inside Yamapi, and he doesn’t know why he never realized it himself.
I know how you feel. I’ve been there, too. Don’t shut me out, Pi. I can help.
Yamapi wakes with a start, his head pounding and his heart racing. He’s had the strangest dream, that Jin came by, that he’d tried to help, that Yamapi had ended up more frightened out of everything that has happened, he locked himself in his room. He shakes his head, and slides out of bed, but when he opens the door and walks into the sitting room, finds Jin lying on the couch, reality hits smack-dab in the face. It wasn’t a dream. It had really happened.
Yamapi’s stomach churns unpleasantly. He doesn’t know what to do. After he heard that message from Jin, he’d jumped from the couch, and shut up in the bedroom. Jin had called after him, numerous times, but Yamapi didn’t relent, didn’t give him. He curled up in bed, wrapped up in his blankets, and had fallen asleep before he ever heard Jin leave. Turns out, Jin never did, and Yamapi just doesn’t know what to do.
So, as quietly as possible, he dresses, and leaves the apartment. He goes out, wandering about aimlessly, hands in his pockets, head titled low. It’s around lunchtime, but Yamapi’s not hungry, and he passes by shop after shop, not really paying attention, just letting his feet take him wherever they see fit.
He walks for hours, as the sun passes over its highest peak and starts it’s slow descend downward. The sky changes colors, and just as the streetlights flicker on, Yamapi sees it. He stands before the door, the loud music from inside almost shaking the walls, the flashing sign above the door enticing him to reach for the handle. The tiny sliver of his conscience tells him not to do it, but it’s barely heard because he’s already pulling open the door, and stepping inside.
It’s a cool, squiggly kind of design that spreads across his right shoulder in clear black ink. It hurts like a bitch, but it’s a pain Yamapi welcomes, lets him forget everything else that’s happening, everything that’s gone down in the past few days. They gauze it up and after he pays, he walks out into the dark night, feeling rebellious, accomplished.
The thrill is still in him when he returns home, and is glad to find that Jin’s left, though not before leaving a note on Yamapi’s fridge saying he’ll be back tomorrow. Yamapi crumbles the note in his fist, tosses it into the trash.
The next day, he leaves early and gets a haircut. It’s as short as he can take it, choppy and un-idol-like. Just as he wants it. The stylist asks him nearly a hundred times if he’s sure, and Yamapi eventually says it’s for a drama, just so she’ll finally pick up the scissors and shut up. He watches the clumps of hair fall to the floor around him, and feels a strange sensation each time. Half of him is confused, estranged, while the other surges with liberation.
He holds his head proudly as he walks home, but this time, Jin’s there when he returns, and Yamapi remembers he once gave Jin a spare key. Jin’s jaw drops when he sees Yamapi’s hair, and then his eyes widen when he notices the gauze on Yamapi’s arm.
“What’s that?” he asks, as if he doesn’t already know.
“Nothing,” Yamapi replies, turning away, but Jin’s grabbing his arm and dragging him to the couch.
“You got a tattoo, didn’t you?” Jin demands. “Are you insane?”
Yamapi shrugs his arm away, and doesn’t answer. “What’re you even doing here?” he questions instead.
“I told you I’d be back,” Jin says. “I’m not leaving you to your own devices, because clearly you’ve lost your fucking mind.” He gestures to Yamapi’s hair, the tattoo.
“What, don’t you like it?” Yamapi teases darkly, but Jin is not impressed.
“Pi,” he says as serenely as he can manage. “Why can’t you tell me what’s wrong?”
“Because nothing is!” Yamapi shouts, getting sick of this. “There’s nothing wrong, so leave me the fuck alone.”
“I won’t!” Jin shouts back. “You’re not fooling anyone, Pi. Something’s happened, or something’s been happening for a long time for you to have snapped like this. This is not you!”
“Maybe it is,” Yamapi shoots back. “Maybe this is the real me, and the one I’ve been showing to the world is the fake ‘Yamapi’ that I’ve had to act as for years.”
Jin shakes his head. “I know that’s not true,” he says. “I know you. And this isn’t it.”
“You don’t know anything,” Yamapi snaps before he can stop himself, and he looks away quickly when hurt flashes in Jin’s eyes.
But Jin doesn’t lash out, like Yamapi expects him to. Doesn’t yell or throw a fit, doesn’t storm out of the apartment – doesn’t do everything Yamapi wishes he would. Because instead, he rests a gentle hand on Yamapi’s knee, and says quietly, “Then tell me. Tell me so that I know. Please, Pi,” and this is everything Yamapi doesn’t want. He doesn’t want the comfort, doesn’t know what to do with Jin’s kindness, his friendship. Right now he doesn’t know what he wants himself.
But everything is just tiring him; Jin’s presence, work, appearances, life. Yamapi can almost feel it seeping out of his pores, draining him completely until he all but caves in, curling forward, his face in his hands that rest on his knees. Jin’s hand is on his back, sliding over his spine soothingly, as Yamapi mumbles, “I-I don’t know, Jin. I just don’t know anymore.”
“Okay,” Jin says kindly. “That’s okay. You don’t have to say anything right now. Just let me handle it.”
Yamapi shuts his eyes tightly, and the last thing he remembers is thinking that after everything he’s said to Jin the past two days, he doesn’t deserve this unbreakable friendship.
Yamapi doesn’t recall ever moving to the bed, and definitely doesn’t remember Jin climbing in with him. But it’s . . . kind of nice, he can’t help but think, with Jin’s arm wrapped protectively around his waist, as if concerned Yamapi will up and disappear again. He’s completely awake, but doesn’t want to move just yet, surprisingly content with lying like this, Jin’s warmth fusing with his own.
Almost an hour later, Jin’s phone goes off, but Jin sleeps straight through it, not even moving a muscle in response. The call dies before Jin answers, but a minute later, it rings again. Yamapi contemplates for a moment, as Jin continues to sleep unperturbed, and then fishes Jin’s phone from his pocket. The ID says Ryo-chan, and Yamapi hesitates just a little before he answers with a quiet, “Hello?”
There’s a small pause on Ryo’s end, then, “Pi? Is that you?”
“Yes,” Yamapi replies.
“Fuck!” Ryo practically shouts, and Yamapi has to pull the phone away from his ear, wincing. “What the hell have you been doing? Where are you?”
“I-I’m okay, Ryo-chan,” he says, half-truthfully. “I’m at home. Jin came by yesterday and stayed over. He’s sleeping.” Though from the way he feels Jin stir beside him, he’s sure it won’t last much longer.
“Pi,” Ryo says in the voice he uses when he’s about to lecture, “Look, I don’t know what’s been going on with you, but if you need the time to figure it out, that’s okay. We’re supporting you, me, and the rest of NewS, too. You should call them, at least send them an email, or something, because Koyama keeps asking me what’s wrong with you, and if he calls one more time, I swear I will drive over to wherever he is and punch him in the face.”
Yamapi cracks a small smile at that, but quickly drops it when he feels Jin’s eyes on him, still dazed with sleep. He snuggles closer to Yamapi, his head on Yamapi’s shoulder, and tightens his fingers at Yamapi’s hip. He mouths, “Who is it?” and when Yamapi tells him, he nods slowly and closes his eyes again.
“Pi, are you listening?” Ryo’s voice cuts through his thoughts. Before Yamapi can respond, however, Ryo continues, “I was saying that you have to talk to management today, or I don’t even want to know what the fuck will happen. It’s fine, honestly, if you need time off. Take it, as long as you want. But you can’t just not show up for work, Pi.”
His voice steadily gets louder, and it rouses Jin, who sits up and grabs the phone from Yamapi without giving him the chance to speak, again. Yamapi watches as Jin exchanges harsh words with Ryo for a few minutes before he hangs up, and drops his head back down on the pillow. He says nothing and Yamapi grows impatient after a minute, pokes him in the side. “What happened?” he asks.
“Don’t worry about it,” Jin replies. “I’m handling it.”
Yamapi frowns, but Jin is already falling back to sleep, and Yamapi weighs in his trust of his best friend, and follows suit.
“We should get you a wig,” Jin muses. “If you want to go out ever, you’ll need one. Imagine the fans’ reaction to seeing you like that.”
“If they haven’t already. I bet it’s in the papers by now.”
“I wouldn’t know,” Jin says. “I had them stop bringing the paper up to your door. You don’t need to know what trash they’re saying about you.”
Yamapi feels his heart swell a little for Jin right then, but he just nods and doesn’t reply, dropping his gaze to pick at his lunch. When Jin had wheedled out of Yamapi that he’d only been living off ramen cups the past few days, Jin had gone all out for lunch, taking everything he could out of Yamapi’s cupboards and fridge and creating a feast of sorts. But Yamapi’s lost his appetite the day he walked off the set, and despite the delicious looking meal before him, he doesn’t eat any of it.
That is until Jin sighs with annoyance and pulls his chair up to sit beside Yamapi. He grabs Yamapi’s chopsticks from his hands and picks up a piece of meat, holding it out to Yamapi’s mouth.
Yamapi blinks at him uncomprehendingly, and Jin sighs again. “You are going to eat something, and if I have to feed it to you like this, I will,” he says sternly, and Yamapi feels like a child when he finally opens his mouth and lets Jin pop the meat inside.
It’s really good, the flavors exploding across his tongue, and Jin smirks knowingly as he picks up the next piece. Jin doesn’t stop until Yamapi’s cleared the whole plate, and by then, Yamapi feels surprisingly sated, happy. It’s been a while since he’s felt this way, and he wonders if it has to do with the meal, or because of the way Jin is taking such care of him, all concerned eyes and gentle smiles.
He wonders vaguely about whether or not Jin should even be here – he has his upcoming L.A. lives to worry about – but Jin doesn’t say anything about work, and Yamapi doesn’t particularly want to talk about it, either. So he keeps his mouth shut and sits around with Jin aimlessly for most of the day.
It’s a few hours after lunch that Jin gets the phone call. Normally, Jin wouldn’t mind talking to someone on the phone in front of Yamapi, but the second he sees who’s calling, he jumps up from the couch and shuts himself in the bedroom, and instead of watching the television, Yamapi stares at the back of the door, confused.
Jin’s in there for almost an hour and as each minute passes by Yamapi grows more concerned. When he finally returns, he looks frustrated, and Yamapi quickly glances at the TV, so Jin doesn’t realize he’d been waiting from him to come back this whole time. Jin collapses beside him with a deep sigh, and Yamapi says, “Who was that?”
“Management,” Jin answers and Yamapi tenses instantly. “I tried, Pi, to let you off for awhile. But they’re pissed, especially since you fucking walked off during the middle of shooting.”
Yamapi clenches his fists at his side; this is the last thing he wants to hear, but Jin doesn’t seem to care, continuing without pause. “You have to go back to work,” he says. “The movie’s obviously been postponed, since you cut your hair, and I don’t even want to get into the mess with the tattoo, considering you’re doing a film about boxing.”
Yamapi grits his teeth and Jin sighs, shifts to face him directly. “You’re supposed to go in tomorrow. Talk to your manager, talk to Johnny, and you’re supposed to answer stupid interview questions and meet with NewS about your single.”
“What if I don’t want to?” Yamapi shoots back.
“Take that up with the boss,” Jin says, then softens his voice. “If I could, Pi, I’d keep you out of there, but this is what they want, so just go. Go and see what they say.”
Yamapi slouches in his seat. “Fine,” he relents after a few minutes, and Jin gives him a warm smile, pats his shoulder.
“Thanks,” he says, and Yamapi almost thinks it’s worth it, almost.
His meeting with Johnny is uneventful, telling him things he already knows. YOU can’t just do whatever you want. What YOU do affects this company. How are YOU going to fix this? What do YOU want?
Yamapi doesn’t know the answer to the last two, just keeps silent, and stands in place. Johnny stares at him with beady eyes, and tells him exactly what he’s going to do: Behave. Finish recording this single. Do the promos. Smile. Act like nothing is wrong. Be an idol.
Be a fucking idol.
Yamapi’s sick of hearing it; tired of having all of these expectations he has to live up to, appearances he has to keep, but he nods his head and says, “I’ll do my best.”
NewS practically renders him deaf with the way they greet him when he walks into the meeting room, and he’s tackled by all of them. Tegoshi clings to him like a limpet while Koyama cries and complains he hasn’t eaten anything. Shige and Massu just tell him everything is okay, and give consoling pats on the back. Ryo, with his arms crossed, and mouth in a tight frown, disapproves from the corner, and says nothing. But the look in his eyes says everything. Yamapi knows he can’t fool Ryo, his friend for half his life, but thankfully Ryo doesn’t say anything, just keeps giving Yamapi looks that switch between concern and annoyance.
Their first promo for BE FUNKY is tomorrow, and Yamapi is told to visit a salon as soon as possible to see if they can’t do something to his hair. He doesn’t go, and he gets chewed out for it the next day, but he could care less. The stylists do as much as they can, and then shove a beanie over his head in the end. He’s made sure to wear long-sleeves, too. The station has already been told not to bring up any of Yamapi’s recent stunts, but that doesn’t stop them from asking him the most questions, just to draw attention to the fact that he’s there.
Yamapi puts on his idol-face and gives out his idol-answers and is all around a perfect fucking idol, and is patted on the back by his manager when the program ends. He throws the beanie into the trash when no one’s looking and goes home.
Promos are lined up almost daily for the next few days, and Yamapi slowly starts to half-ass his way through all of them. He gives short, clipped answers. He doesn’t smile, doesn’t laugh. He slouches in his seat. He looks uninterested. He does everything that’s frowned upon by the company, but he can’t find it in him to care.
Ryo tries to corner him a week later, his brow furrowed with worry, but Yamapi just shakes off his concern and goes home. He’s turned his phone off, again, and spends hours just curled up on the couch. It’s still early but he goes out anyway, starting at a bar and getting a few drinks in. It helps his mood considerably, the alcohol surging through his veins. He sits at the corner of the counter by himself, ordering drink after drink after drink, before he makes his way to one of his favorite clubs. He orders some tequila, buys a few drinks for the girls in a booth a few feet away, and when one of them slinks up to him for a dance, he downs his shot of vodka and weaves his way onto the dance floor, pulling her with him. She puts his hands on her hips and she moves against him deliciously, and Yamapi manages to forget everything for awhile.
She whispers dirty things into his ear, her lips soft against his skin, and he grabs her wrist firmly, takes her home. She giggles and clutches onto him, her long hair flowing over his shoulder, and pushes him up against the door when they reach his place. Yamapi pulls her as close as possible, devours her mouth, and then breaks apart with a gasp, hastily finds his keys in his pocket as she licks her way down his neck.
He finally gets the door open and they stumble inside. She pushes him against the adjacent wall as the door clicks shut, but before anything more can happen, there’s a rush of feet from down the hall, and then Jin’s voice exclaiming, “Pi?” as he turns the corner into the genkan.
Yamapi instantly pushes the girl away, who clicks her tongue with annoyance, and looks back and forth between Jin and Yamapi. Jin, his eyes dark with obvious anger, steps closer, opens the door and says to her, “Leave. Now.”
She doesn’t even question it, flounces out of the door with her head still held high. When Jin shuts it and locks it afterward, Yamapi finally has the sense to ask, “What the fuck are you doing in here?”
“Where the fuck have you been?” Jin demands. “I came over after work and you weren’t here. You wouldn’t answer your phone, and you weren’t with Ryo or anyone. And fuck, Pi, how much did you drink tonight? You reek of alcohol.”
Yamapi snorts. “That’s a good one,” he says, shoving past Jin into the apartment. “Coming from you.”
Jin follows him. “What the hell does that mean?”
Yamapi rolls his eyes. “Do you really need me to spell it out for you?”
“What has gotten into you?” Jin exclaims, looking troubled. “I don’t know what’s wrong, but this destructive behavior isn’t gonna help, Pi.”
“Shut up,” Yamapi snaps, clenching his hands into fists at his side. “I don’t need a lecture from you.”
“Don’t fucking tell me to shut up when I’m worried to death about you!” Jin shouts, stepping up into Yamapi’s face, his eyes ablaze with fury.
“I didn’t ask for you to be so worried,” Yamapi retorts.
“I’m not just going to sit here and let you do this to yourself!”
“Fuck, Jin,” Yamapi yells. “Just leave me alone!”
“I won’t,” Jin grits out, determined, and gets even closer.
It happens in an instant, the flash of anger in Yamapi’s eyes the only warning Jin has, but even then it’s not fast enough. Yamapi’s fist connects with his jaw, and he stumbles backwards, clutching his injury and looking up at Yamapi with wide, incredulous eyes. Yamapi is still standing with his arm in the air, looking momentarily torn between furious and shocked. But Jin’s far from being patient, now, and he retaliates without thought, throwing a punch at Yamapi’s face and meeting him dead on as Yamapi is too surprised to move in time.
Yamapi almost falls over, but manages to keep his balance, and he lets out an angry growl and hits back. Jin moves out of the way, but Yamapi’s uppercut connects a second later. Jin struggles to maintain his stance then strikes straight. Yamapi ducks, but Jin gets him in the gut next, and Yamapi coughs loudly, while Jin uses that distraction to land a right-hook in his chin.
They’ve never fought before, not like this, and Yamapi is too blinded by his anger, by everything else that has happened recently, everything that has accumulated over the years and has been resting on his shoulders, a never-ending weight that drags him down, down, down to the ground. He’s lost in the need to let out his frustration, and it doesn’t matter that it’s Jin, that it’s his best friend he’s beating to a pulp, doesn’t even think twice that he should stop before he hurts him. He can feel Jin’s rage in his punches, in the way he fights back, doesn’t just let Yamapi release his anger, but unleashes his own tenfold.
“Why do you keep shutting me out?” Jin yells, each word punctuated with a punch.
“I’m not!” Yamapi shoots back and manages to swipe his foot beneath Jin’s and watches as Jin loses his balance and falls straight to the floor.
There’s a moment of utter silence afterward, the tension in the air thick and daunting. Jin stares up at Yamapi with a stunned expression, and Yamapi almost feels guilty, almost, but his veins are rushing with rage, that it’s the only thing he’s able to comprehend.
Jin’s the first to move, gingerly standing up, wiping the back of his hand against the corner of his mouth and wincing. Yamapi knows he’s got some cuts and bruises himself, but can’t find it in him to worry right now. Instead he just watches as Jin grabs his coat off the back of the couch and shrugs it on, winces again at the pain, and then pins Yamapi with a look of so much anguish that it nearly hurts Yamapi more than the physical injuries he’s already sporting.
“I…I don’t even know who you are anymore,” he says quietly, his voice choked. “Call me when you’re back to being Pi—When you’re back to being Tomohisa.”
He leaves without another word, leaving Yamapi transfixed in his living room. He hears the door click open and then shut, and then feels as though the entire world has just fallen into pieces around him. He should probably run after him, he thinks, run after him and apologize, explain, explain everything that’s been running through his head, even if it makes no sense to him, even if it’s just a jumble of all that’s been happening for years, it’s Jin – Jin won’t care, Jin won’t judge, Jin will listen, Jin will help.
But he’s too drained, too tired, and pained to even think of doing anything other than grab and icepack from the freezer, and relocate to his bed. He’s out before he even knows it, and it’s the worst night’s sleep he’s ever had.
Yamapi books a flight to Hawaii a week later. He cleans his apartment, packs up one suitcase, and leaves a message for his mother, and a similar one for management. He spends hours contemplating to call Jin, but in the end he realizes he doesn’t know what to say. Since their fight, Jin hasn’t called him, hasn’t shown up announced at his apartment, hasn’t made any form of contact. Yamapi doesn’t know whether to be glad or disappointed. He knows Jin’s now busy with his upcoming concerts, is probably preparing his trip to L.A., probably doesn’t care what Yamapi’s doing anymore, after everything Yamapi did to him.
So he doesn’t call him, doesn’t tell him anything. He doesn’t even tell Ryo, or any of his other friends. They’d probably find out sooner or later, he figures, depending on how management decides to spin his story. He’s too eager to leave that he doesn’t think about what this will do to NewS, and is just glad all of their promotions have ended, that the single dropped before he takes off.
He’s on an early-bird flight out of the country at the beginning of May, and lands seven hours later in the bright sunshine and blue skies of Molokai. He’s rented a small cottage just close enough of a walking distance to the nearest city and right on the beach, the waves of the ocean a constant symphony in the background.
It’s the most calming place Yamapi has ever been to. He spends everyday out on the beach, swimming, surfing, just lying in the warm sand that sticks to the bottoms of his feet. He does whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and it’s complete bliss. He eats his meals outside, on the small rickety white porch, or down by the shore. He frequents the closest town a few times a week, walks down the sidewalks and window-shops. Some days he’ll spend a few hours in a quaint coffee shop with a book he’s bought from the store down the street. He experiences the luxuries he never had the chance to before, fourteen years in this industry, scheduled down to the last second.
He does miss it. The longer he’s here, the more relaxed he’s become, the more chances he’s had to think without worrying about the media or the company or even his friends. All he’s ever known is music and dance and performing and being an idol. And despite the past month and half, it’s all he’ll ever want to know. This is the life for him; it’s something he was just born to do.
But lately things have just taken a toll on him and the only thing he could think of was the need to get out. And he did it the only way he could. He doesn’t regret it.
What he does regret has nothing to do with his running away from the company and everything to do with running away from Jin. There hasn’t been a day yet when Yamapi comes across something in Hawaii that he thinks Jin would appreciate and he’s got his phone out in his hand, scrolling through contacts to get to “Bakanishi” when he realizes that they haven’t spoken in weeks. And he stares at his phone for awhile longer before he puts it away with a heavy heart.
Yamapi knows he should just suck it up and call him, tell him he’s sorry and be done with it. Part of him, however, waits for Jin’s call, any indication that Jin is still worried, is waiting, even though Jin had told him straight up that Yamapi needed to make that first step, the last time they talked. It feels like years ago, that fight, that stupidity, and Jin’s harsh but honest words. Yamapi regrets not going after him that day.
Halfway through May is when he gets the first call from someone that’s not his mother. He’s not surprised that it’s Ryo, but half wishes it was Jin instead.
“How’d you find out?” he asks Ryo.
“Your mom,” Ryo answers. “How’re you?”
Yamapi considers the question for awhile before settling on, “Better.”
“Good,” Ryo says, sounding relieved. He goes on to explain everything that’s happened since Yamapi’s left, about the other members of NewS, about the other groups, about their mutual friends. He talks for awhile and Yamapi just listens, feeling oddly soothed albeit nostalgic by the sound of Ryo’s voice, and only realizing when Ryo’s saying his goodbyes that he never said one thing about the person Yamapi wants to know the most about.
Just before Ryo hangs up he says, “J-Jin…How is he?”
Ryo is silent for a moment and then follows a sigh with, “He’s good, I think. He’s in L.A. now.”
Yamapi bites his lip and doesn’t answer, but thankfully Ryo knows him well enough to answer the unspoken questions.
“He’s not mad at you,” he says. “You should just call him. Wait, I have his L.A. number, write it down and fucking call him.”
Yamapi hastily grabs a pen and jots down the number in the margin of a newspaper. “Thanks, Ryo-chan,” he says honestly.
“Come home soon, okay?” is all Ryo says before he hangs up, before Yamapi can promise him he will.
Yamapi dials the number at least ten times everyday for the next three days. On the fourth, he actually lets it ring and then hangs up at the last second. On the fifth he has Ryo find out where exactly Jin is staying, and on the sixth he buys a ticket to L.A. He knows it’s the only way he’ll ever go through with it, and he’d rather it be face-to-face. He hasn’t seen Jin in a month, and it’s inexplicable just how much he misses him.
L.A. is just as he remembers it from the last time he was there, lots of people and bright lights. It’s late when he arrives at the hotel and he wonders if Jin is even there when he rides the elevator to the tenth floor. He spends a whole of five minutes standing in front of Jin’s hotel room door before he finally, finally gets the courage to knock, and then it’s the worst feeling he’s ever experienced, waiting for Jin to answer.
He never does. Yamapi knocks again, waits another five minutes and tries one more time. By now he doesn’t know what else to do and slowly walks down the hall to the elevator, a sinking feeling in his gut. He pushes the down button, hoping to return to the lobby and find an available room, but when the elevator reaches his floor and the doors ring open, he looks up and finds Jin standing on the other side.
Yamapi’s heart nearly dies in his chest, his breath caught in his throat, and from the looks of things, Jin’s in no better shape, his eyes widening in realization of who it is staring back at him. They’re too engrossed in each other that Jin forgets to get off the elevator and Yamapi forgets to get in, and the elevator rings again, the doors start to slide shut.
They both reach out at the same time to stop it from closing, and Yamapi feels adrenaline start to rush vigorously through his veins. He swallows away the dryness of throat and manages, “Jin?”
It breaks Jin out of his spell, exiting the elevator and still staring at Yamapi as if he’s never seen him before. “W-What. What’re you doing here?” he exclaims finally.
“I…I came to see you,” Yamapi answers honestly.
“Do you have a room?”
Yamapi shakes his head. “I was hoping that…” he trails off but Jin understands and he grabs Yamapi’s hand and pulls him down the hall, and Yamapi’s skin burns with the feel of Jin’s fingers on him.
The second the door shuts behind them, Yamapi’s pulled into a tight hug, Jin’s arms wrapping around his waist and nearly knocking the life right out of him. His eyes widen over Jin’s shoulder and he stands tensely for awhile before his heart finally manages to calm down, and raises his arms to clutch onto the back of Jin’s coat.
Jin pulls away soon after, looking a little embarrassed as he walks into the room without a word. Yamapi slowly follows, still feeling winded, and stands awkwardly off to the side, unsure what to say.
Jin sits on his bed, crossing his legs under him and looks up expectantly at Yamapi, who after a long stretch of unbearable silence says the first thing that comes to mind.
“H-How’ve you been?”
Jin actually cracks a smile and Yamapi’s heart jumps at the sight. “How’ve you?” he counters.
“Good,” Yamapi says, and it’s the truth.
“You look good,” Jin says. “Your hair’s finally starting to grow back, even.”
Yamapi scowls at him, reaching up to tug self-consciously on his still short hair. “You finally cut yours, I see.”
Now Jin glares at him, and Yamapi lets out a laugh that he stops abruptly upon realizing it’s possibly the first time he’s laughed in months.
“I’m glad to see you laugh,” Jin says, pulling Yamapi out of his revelation. “Seems like your rebellion has helped.”
Yamapi quirks his lips. “Sad that we can’t say the same about yours.”
Jin just merely sticks his tongue out at him which only has Yamapi laughing again, a relaxing pleasure sweeping through his veins and taking place of the anxiety he had previously about coming here and seeing Jin again. He should have known things would just fall right back into place, teasing each other like they always have, smiling and laughing together as though nothing out of the ordinary has happened; nothing can tear them apart.
Yamapi feels at ease even when minutes pass in complete silence, neither doing anything expect staring off at the other until Yamapi finally breaks it with a quiet, “I’m sorry.”
Jin sits up straighter and tilts his head. “What for?” he asks.
“For, fuck, everything, Jin,” Yamapi says. “For not listening to you, for beating the crap out of you, for not letting you help, for not realizing that you understand more than anyone, for—”
“Okay, stop, stop,” Jin says quickly, looking flustered. “You’re just making me embarrassed, now.”
“It’s the truth,” Yamapi insists.
“Pi,” Jin says, sliding off the bed and walking around to stand before him. “I don’t fucking care about any of that anymore.” He smiles. “I’m just glad you’re all right now.” He pauses. “You are all right now, aren’t you?”
Yamapi nods, smiling. “Yeah, I’m all right.”
“Good,” Jin says with a grin, slinging an arm around Yamapi’s shoulders. “Because I’ve missed my best friend.”
Yamapi feels his heart swell with warmth. “I guess I’ve missed you, too,” he returns.
Jin nudges him in the ribs with an elbow. “Lies,” he declares. “I know for a fact that you asked Ryo-chan all the time about how I was. I say you missed me lots.”
Yamapi flushes and shoves him away. Laughing, Jin falls onto his bed and pulls Yamapi down with him. They lay beside each other in comfortable silence, and Yamapi is almost content enough to just fall asleep like this when Jin says, “Next time, don’t shut me out, okay?”
“Okay,” Yamapi says immediately. “Though I don’t think there’ll ever be a next time.”
“Even better,” Jin says. “You really had me worried to death.”
“I’m sorry,” Yamapi replies earnestly.
Jin shifts to lie on his side, looks at Yamapi and says, “How long are you in L.A. for? Are you staying for my concerts?”
Yamapi leans up on his elbows, shakes his head. “I think I need to go back to Japan now,” he says. “I have a lot to make up for.”
“Unless management said you died in a freak accident or something,” Jin remarks darkly.
“You don’t know what they said?”
“No, I refused to listen to any of that shit. I didn’t read the papers or magazines and ignored the stations that were talking about it,” Jin says.
“Why?” Yamapi questions.
Jin pins him with an intense look and replies, “Because I knew you’d come back.”
Happiness tingles up and down Yamapi’s spine at those words, at Jin’s never-ending faith in him, and he replies, “Thanks, Jin.”
Jin beams and says, “So you’ll stay right? Watch my concerts? You’re probably dead in Japan, anyway, a few more weeks here won’t kill you much.”
Laughing, Yamapi nods. “Okay,” he agrees, resting his head onto a pillow. His belly flops around pleasantly as Jin curls up beside him, and Yamapi thinks that from now on, no matter what happens, as long as he’s able to have Jin with him, he’ll be all right. Out of everything that’s happened in the past two months, this is the lesson he’ll forever remember.