Story Title: In the Changing Room
Chapter Title: Conclusion
Jun's hands were trembling so much that he had a hard time as he fumbled to open the taxi door and stepped out. They shook as he dug his keys out from his pocket and as he inserted them into the keyhole. Everyone was already asleep, so he entered as quietly as he could so as not to disturb the rest of his family members.
His bedroom door was closed behind him as he entered the room, and he leaned against the door. The young man who had just recently entered into his twenties hung his head down, loose brown curls falling down too, and brought his trembling hands in front of his face, staring at them.
He could see images quickly flashing by, images of a very surprised, fearful Sho, images of his fair neck, of his collarbone... Jun knocked his head against the wall, hard, trying to stop his line of thoughts.
Nino sat cross-legged on his bed, holding onto a pencil and a piece of paper. On that piece of paper, he had replicated the list of rules that Jun had written down around a year ago. Raising it upwards, he glanced down at rule number 3.
'Strange. That didn't quite go as well as expected.' Nino circled rule number 3 with the pencil and placed a '?' beside it. He sighed.
Sho drank that night. Drank and didn't stop.
The next morning, while the whole Sakurai household was awakened by the sound of Mrs Sakurai screaming bloody murder, then yelling. She had tripped over the unconscious body of her son who was lying on the kitchen floor, and so she screamed. Then she noticed all the empty beer cans surrounding him, snapped, and shook him awake, yelling at him for being a bloody unkempt fool.
"DAMN YOU IDIOT SON OF MINE!" Sho, not quite awake, winced as the throbbing pain in his head was further amplified by his mother's yells.
"W-what? Please don't yell..."
"HUH! LET ME YELL AS I LIKE. THIS ISN'T A BAR WHERE YOU CAN SLEEP WHEREVER YOU LIKE AND DIRTY WHATEVER YOU SEE!"
"S-stop yelling, Mom..." His reward was that she raised her voice a note higher.
"STOP YELLING?? WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME THAT?" Sho winced, curled up on the floor and clutched his head.
A new voice interrupted,
"Mum, calm down. Brother's having a hangover." His brother, Shu.
"Hmph! Serves him right too!" But she stopped yelling as if she wanted to bring the house down.
"Clean yourself up, bathe, AND CLEAN ALL OF THIS before you get breakfast!" And she marched out of the kitchen, leaving Sho and his throbbing head with blissful silence.
A hand reached to help Sho up, and Sho took it willingly, struggling to stand up.
"You owe me one brother."
Sho just nodded and headed for the bathroom.
"There were many points in my life where I wanted to give up, where I wanted to just let go of my life... but Arashi, because of you guys... your songs... your shows have saved me many, many times. Gave me my courage back so many, many times. When I was down, when I watch you guys, my spirits get raised up again. I hope Arashi can stay that way forever more, bringing joy to and saving other people's hearts as well!"
It was a fan letter from a 15 years old girl. Arashi had been sitting together reading the few of the fanmails that had made it through the thorough inspections that any mail was addressed to them.
"It's tough being a teenager huh?" Nino leaned back after the letter was read.
"I'm so glad that even the we as we are, can help make people feel better." Aiba commented, being serious for one of the few times he was. Ohno just nodded, as quiet as he always was, although there was an indication in his eyes that showed that he was actually quite touched.
Both Jun and Sho kept silent.
Sho decided to have a discussion with Jun the next time they had work together. The younger man had just entered the same room as Sho, where blissfully, no one else was inside at the moment. With a single glance, Jun realised that he was in the same room as Sho alone, and gave him a cold look before stepping towards the other side of the room, obviously moving away from Sho as much as he can.
The older man blocked his away with a quick run. Jun glared at him, and tried to move past him. But Sho moved along with him too, staring at him earnestly.
"We need to talk, Matsumoto-san."
"What?" Jun snapped.
"A-about this whole thing."
Jun realised he was actually staring at Sho's collarbones, which were pretty much exposed due to Sho's low v-neck top, and quickly turned away, feeling his cheeks turn a bit warm, but throwing Sho a somewhat contemptuous look as he did so.
"About what?" Jun asked, not quite facing Sho, who was standing a bit too close to Jun's liking. Jun could feel the heat radiating from Sho, and felt his head began to throb.
"This whole matter- us."
"Us? Since when was there an 'US'?" Jun felt his head throb harder as feelings from the past incident surged throughout his body like a fast-acting deadly poison. He could feel anger rising and spreading throughout his whole body, and he didn't think he could stop it. He continued, raising his voice higher as he did so,
"It's always been about you, you AND YOU!"
Sho stepped back a little, looking slightly hurt at this unfair statement. He clenched his fists as he protested,
"I... I stopped after the first time didn't I? I tried my best- It's you who dragged it this far!"
Jun snorted, half laughing, bitterly. There was absolutely no stopping of all the negative emotions that was rushing through the core of his blood now.
"What? You expect me to be like, "Oh it's all fine Sakurai-san. You treated me like a plaything but it's fine, I can totally forgive and forget, so do it again next time 'cos, Ohhh I DON'T MIND AT ALL!!!' !!! WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT, YOU DAMN ASSHOLE??!"
Sho snapped his mouth shut, unable to answer him.
"What you did was unforgivable, Sakurai-san. No matter what you try, no matter how you try to amend for it, I will never, ever forgive you for that."
Jun threw him another contemptuous glare and turned around, making for the door to leave the room instead.
Jun stopped, his back facing Sho.
"You're right, Matsumoto-san. There's no forgiving for what I did." He could hear Sho's strained voice, and heard a thud behind him. Sho had dropped to his knees.
"I can't do anything that will make up to you for it. Nothing. But its just-"
Jun kept silent.
"It's the people out there. I may have realised it too late but...all the same... There are people out there who depends on Arashi as a group." Sho paused for a while before continuing.
"And I want Arashi, all of us, to really become someone people can depend on. I want us to become the pillar of support that people who needs us can rely on. That last letter made me think so. So please..."
Jun felt the anger slowly draining out of him. He vaguely remembered something. He too, had dream of becoming a group that people can depend on. He turned around to face Sho, and stepped back almost at once.
Sho had lowered his head as low to the ground as he possibly could, palms flat against the ground.
"Please! I'm not asking you to forgive me, and I know its too much to ask for, but I want us to be able to work as a group that can become a source of hope, courage and happiness for all the people out there! And we can only do it, if we put the past matter behind, I'm sorry!!" Jun felt his head throbbing again, this time more painfully then before.
"Get up." He whispered harshly. Sho shook his head.
"Please, Matsumoto-san! If we could just... just get along as comrades from now on!"
"Get up!!" Jun's head kept throbbing, as he resisted the temptation to just curl up on the floor and clutch his head.
"For the people...Matsujun." Sho's voice was lower now, his head hadn't even moved an inch higher. Jun remembered the wish he made under the waterfall, the wish for Arashi to bring happiness to people throughout the world.
He looked at Sho, who was obviously earnest and sincere with his statement. Who was obviously afraid of what Jun's reply might be to his request.
Jun could feel the reply at the tip of his tongue. He wanted to resist, feeling that with his reply, his whole being would somehow break apart. Yet, there Sho was, his head still close to the ground, desperately clinging to his request. He didn't like seeing Sho like that.
Jun knelt down in front of Sho, who, upon feeling his presence, slowly raised his head.
For a moment, the two of them just stared at each other in silence. Then Jun asked softly,
"For Arashi to bring happiness to other people?" Sho nodded.
"Alright." Jun's voice broke with that last statement, and along with it too, something that had been buried deep within his chest, and Jun felt pain searing through his heart, as if something precious had been dropped and shattered into a thousand tiny pieces.
"Alright." He said again, voice barely audible.
Nino was standing outside the door. For a moment, he stood motionless, as if in deep thought. Then, he took out a piece of paper from his pocket, stared at it for a while, before shredding it to pieces and threw it away into a nearby bin.
He turned to walk, but instead found a cat standing in his path, gazing at him most uncommonly. He smiled and crouched down, holding out a hand for the cat to sniff at.
"Don't look at me like that, little fella. They've decided it for themselves. If that's how they want it, I won't stop them. Even I understand their wishes as a group."
He rubbed the cat's head, once that cat had approved of him.
"Funny. I can feel their pain though."
I have no idea WHY BUT this chapter keeps getting truncated!!! I had to type this thing twice!! But, anyway, it's not the end yet guys~~