Title: Sleeping in a cold river
Genre: friendship, bit romance, bit angst
Summary: It's been one year since Ryo and Uchi had been talking for real... They drifted apart from the moment on when Uchi gave up on returning to Kanjani. But after Uchi's speech during his concert, Ryo suddenly knocks at Uchi's door. What he says is cryptic. And Uchi soon realizes that too many things might be standing between them to really understand each other. Did they change too much to ever get along again? But then, just one day later, one decision changes it all...
Note: This is based on Uchi's MC message during his concert from 23rd of August, 2011. And on Ryo's decision to leave News.
[Yodogawa, Fujie, Goto, Daisuke and Akun are the guys from Question?]
Looking back on it now, I was so dumb.
I caused trouble to so many people.
Of course, the music I'm doing now may be different from when I was in Kanjani8 and NEWS, but please give me your support, although there may be people who don't want to accept it.
There are times when I still receive fan letters asking me to return to Kanjani8. However, I don't want to look back. If I keep looking back, I will never be able to move forward.
(Parts of Uchi’s MC message during one of his concerts in August, 2011, shared on uchi_daily here)
Ryo had always had this imagination… that lying in a cold river was actually not really uncomfortable - when it was cold outside. The cold water would swap over him, tickling his body, pierce him, until he would wake up. The sound in his ears getting dimmed, blurred. And like that he would slowly warm up…though everything around him was cold.
Uchi rubbed over his eyes tiredly, patting to the door, when he heard his doorbell ringing. It took him forever to open it… the more he tried to hurry, the more he messed up with his security system. He just hoped the person in front of the door wouldn’t be too impatient or annoyed. When he opened the door, his eyes widened, this very special nervous feeling spreading through him…A feeling that made him feel small, unimportant and totally crappy. There was this awkward silence suddenly engulfing him and the other person… like always when they met and remembered the huge amount of unspoken things between them.
“You are still messing up your security system when sleepy?” Ryo broke their silence while looking at everything but Uchi.
Uchi shifted around a bit, not sure what to do now. What was expected from him? “Yeah…” he merely answered.
They stayed quiet for a few minutes, until Uchi realized that Ryo was clenching his fingers because of the cold outside, his skin already turning from red to white. “Wanna come in?” he offered half-heartedly. Not exactly because he didn’t like to invite Ryo, but rather because he felt embarrassed and nervous to have him around.
Ryo obviously wavered for a moment, then he sighed silently. He couldn’t talk to Uchi here on the corridor, while he was trembling because of the cold and Uchi still in his pyjamas. “Thanks.”
15 minutes later he was sitting on Uchi’s sofa, until Uchi brought him some tea…and changed his clothes.
Ryo held the hot cup of tea in his hands, feeling how the warmth was spreading through his body, heating up his cold fingers and giving them back some feeling. He loved this feeling… the moment everything started to warm up when he went into a café on a cold winter day or when he lied in the sun after he had been swimming in a freezing cold lake. It tickled and overwhelmed him.
“Sugar?” Uchi offered politely.
Ryo nodded his head a bit. He looked at the other thoughtfully, not sure how to talk to this new Uchi now. Some years ago everything had been so easy, and now… it wasn’t that simple anymore. Uchi was so mature now and grown-up. Almost earnest sometimes.
Uchi angled for a small bottle of sugar, wanting to handle it over to Ryo. He squealed in surprise when he stumbled over his own feet, dropping the whole sugar on the table, the floor and Ryo.
Ryo blinked for a moment, then he giggled. “You are still so clumsy!”
“I’m not!” Uchi grumbled angrily, pouting a bit.
“Yes you are!” Ryo laughed, for a moment forgetting the awkwardness that was lying over them.
“You are always so superior Ryo!” Uchi complained, shooting little daggers at Ryo.
Ryo grinned even more. “I’m not superior at all. But you are still so whiny…”
“I’m not! I’m not your little princess any more!” Uchi complained.
Ryo stayed quiet for a moment, then he rubbed over his forehead. “No… you are not.” he answered silently at that, not laughing anymore. Uchi thought that he sounded sad, but then…it was not easy to read Ryo. At least not this Ryo. A few years ago it was so easy for him to talk to Ryo and to get through to him. He was able to understand him without words. But now Ryo had lost almost all of his snarky attitude and his biting remarks, just sometimes they popped up and showed him that Ryo was actually still Ryo.
“I heard about your MC message.” Ryo suddenly broke the new awkwardness around them.
“The one you held during your concert.” Ryo explained randomly. “Kamenashi-kun told me about it.”
“Oh.” Uchi made, not sure what to answer. He shifted around a bit. So Ryo knew about his speech from one month ago… Was that something bad? If not, why did he drop by then? They hadn’t met since over a year now. Since… Uchi sighed a bit. Exactly since Uchi had given up on Kanjani. Apparently for Ryo it had been like giving up, while for Uchi himself it was like moving on. He had made that clear during this speech Ryo was mentioning now. “Yeah…” he stuttered, not sure what Ryo wanted to hear now.
“So these were your real intentions?” Ryo asked, lost in his thought.
Uchi shifted around a bit. “Of course. What did you think?”
Ryo glared at him angrily. “You don’t understand, do you?”
“No.” Uchi told him fiercely. “I don’t know why you were so worked up back then!”
“Damn, Hiroki. While I fought, you decided to change your plans… When did you decide that without telling me? Did you give up on Kanjani or on me?” Ryo interrupted him fiercely. “I heard about it from a fucking magazine! Did you never think of telling me about it…personally? You know that I almost got into a fight with Yoko, because he already sensed it and wanted to prepare me carefully for this news? And I kept defending you?”
“It wasn’t that easy for me!” Uchi interrupted him angrily. “I didn’t make this decision light-heartedly! And I couldn’t tell you… I still can’t fail in front of you!” he paused, sighing tiredly. They were running in circles… and he knew it would be like that once they started to talk about it. There was no use in talking anymore. “Why did you come, Ryo?” Uchi asked out of a sudden, because he wasn’t sure what to answer to the rest of Ryo’s questions and how to talk to Ryo at all. “To ask this?”
“Maybe.” Ryo mumbled, sounding disappointed for a moment. “Maybe not.”
Uchi looked down on his fingers, before he shifted his gaze back to Ryo. “You don’t know how it feels like…”
“How what feels like?” Ryo wanted to know.
“The feeling that you failed. That no matter what you decide someone will be disappointed” Uchi mumbled. “You don’t understand that. You never had such a difficult decision to make.”
Ryo stayed quiet for a moment, then he placed his cup back on the table, standing up. “Yeah…” he mumbled, more to himself than Uchi
He left. Without even looking at Uchi once more. Five minutes later Uchi realized that he had forgotten his jacket, but he couldn’t bring himself to run after Ryo.
And to his surprise Ryo didn’t return himself, though it was freezing cold outside.
“Hey Hiroki-kun!” Fujie jumped up and down like madly when he saw Uchi. “Come! Have lunch with us.”
Uchi smiled happily, dropping down on the place between Fujie and Daisuke. “Thanks guys.”
“You look bothered.” Daisuke said softly. “Everything alright?”
“Yeah.” Uchi stuttered. “I didn’t sleep well…”
“Oh, then you already heard about it?” Yodogawa asked bluntly, wincing a bit when Fujie glared at him.
“Heard what?” Uchi asked curiously.
The others stayed quiet for a moment, obviously not sure how to answer that. Apparently they thought he would already know…whatever ‘it’ was.
“Come on guys…” Uchi begged. “Tell me!”
“Well, you know…” Daisuke started. “We just heard it from Takki. Apparently it had been discussed within the management since quite some time. And within News. The final decision was made yesterday. We didn’t know about it either, we just heard some rumours of course. But apparently they were all really careful to avoid rumours and other things, not before they made a decision between themselves.”
“News?” Uchi’s eyes widened in surprise. He remembered Ryo’s strange visit from last night immediately. What the heck was going on here? “What decision?”
“Yamashita-kun is going solo.” Akun explained carefully. “Nothing too surprising. It’s already been an issue since around two years. And…”
Akun shifted around a bit, looking at Daisuke expectantly. The latter glared at his friend. “Thanks Akun…” he mumbled, before he looked at Uchi directly. “Nishikido-kun is staying with Kanjani. He can’t bear with the double amount of work anymore and with his clashing schedules.”
Uchi merely stared at the others, not able to grasp everything completely. “What?”
Yodogawa shrugged helplessly. “It’s not really a surprise, right? I heard they had been talking about that since months already… He had to decided one day.” he paused for a moment. “I really don’t want to change place with him. Actually I never wanted to…”
“Nope.” Goto agreed. “I prefer my calm, quiet and normal life.”
Uchi looked down at his plate for a moment, not sure what to say…or even what to think. His stomach started to twitch slightly, like when he was driving in a roller coaster. Just that it didn’t twitch in a good way… rather in an uncomfortable way.
“You never had such a difficult decision to make.”
It wasn’t like Uchi was exactly searching for Ryo. Of course not. That would have been pathetic and Uchi wasn’t pathetic at all. But it was a nice coincidence that he met him, not on purpose!, in one of the rehearsing rooms. Truth was that Uchi had just been searching for his wallet… He hadn’t looked properly, because it was in his jacket, but oh dear, one could easily make such a misunderstanding.
When Uchi finally had found Ryo (coincidentally!), he almost immediately felt nervous again. As if someone was about to punch him. “I was just looking for my wallet…” he stuttered when Ryo kept looking at him.
Ryo didn’t even answer to that. He simply turned around again, ignoring Uchi’s presence. Apparently he was pretty well aware of the fact that no one would loose his wallet at a rehearsing room that was actually not used by anyone, because it was located in the cellar.
When Uchi didn’t leave the room, Ryo turned around a bit. “Can’t you leave?” he asked bluntly and not really friendly. “I want to be alone now.”
Uchi coughed a bit, one step away from simply running out of the room again. But he didn’t want to. He was a new Uchi after all. The old one would have run away and hoped for Ryo to come after him. The new one wasn’t a little kid anymore. Maybe it made things more difficult like that, because he pulled them out of a specific pattern, but then, there was also no use in pretending something. He gathered his courage to look at Ryo directly. “Since when were you thinking about it?” he asked carefully.
“Two years.” Ryo answered shortly.
Uchi’s eyes widened at that. “You never said something!”
“True, I didn’t.”
Uchi frowned, wanting Ryo to give him a better answer than just that. “Why?”
Ryo huffed in frustration. “Because you were working so hard. How could I disappoint you?” Ryo stayed quiet for a moment, then he shrugged. “And then you drifted away from me. It’s not like you exactly cared.” He smiled bitterly. “Don’t worry. It’s not like I cared too much either.”
Uchi bit his lips nervously, feeling hurt by Ryo’s words… and at the same time he had the feeling that this was exactly Ryo’s intention. He felt like crying, but somehow it made him even more determined. “Still…” Uchi complained. “You could have said something!”
“Could I?” Ryo looked down at the floor thoughtfully. “In this decision I was alone. There was no one I could have talked to.” he finally explained. “It’s not like you said something either.”
At that Uchi felt his well-known tears burning in his eyes. He decided that it would be better to leave instead of staying there and falling back into old patterns.
He tried so hard during the rest of the day to get some distraction, but it didn’t help. He had never been good at distracting himself. This had always been Ryo’s part…distracting Uchi. And later when Uchi stopped trying to return to Kanjani, leaving Ryo like that, Ryo couldn’t distract him anymore. Staying away from Ryo had distracted him then and for the rest of the time he hadn’t needed any distractions.
Just now he needed it! And Ryo wasn’t around to distract him or to comfort him, most likely he was searching for his own comfort right now. And Uchi didn’t like this thought either. No matter how far they had drifted apart, he still felt possessive when it was about Ryo.
“What do you want to eat?” Fujie looked at the others expectantly, wanting them to choose first so that it would make it easier for him to decide.
“Tempura.” Akun answered calmly.
Daisuke smiled. “Ramen.”
Yodogawa took a closer look at the menu then he shrugged. “Maki, I guess.”
“I’m not sure yet.” Goto mused. “I guess I’ll eat something warm. Hence…no sushi.”
Fujie nodded his head slightly. “Alright, I’ll go with Dai-chan and order some ramen.”
“You know you can make your own choice!” Akun snorted. “Right Hiroki?”
Uchi blinked for a moment, surprised that someone was talking to him. Then he blushed a bit. “Yeah.” he stuttered, when he realized that he was actually going out with his friends right now.
“And you?” Fujie tried to pull Uchi out of his thoughts. He looked at him encouragingly and at the same time full of motivation himself. Uchi blinked out of a sudden. He didn’t know why or how but he had to remember it. The times when he had been deep down, when Ryo had been the one knocking at his door and pulling him up again, helping him to achieve his dreams… once more. It was Ryo writing him a letter to support him, it was Ryo making a video message for his fans when he was standing on stage again. It was Ryo who accepted a small role in a drama just to be there together with Uchi. It was Ryo who was happy together with him when he was allowed to come back.
“Hiroki-kun?” Daisuke blinked when Uchi got up.
“Sorry.” Uchi smiled nervously. “I forgot… I still have to do something. Sorry.”
“It’s okay.” Akun blinked. “We can still meet together for lunch.”
“Yeah.” Uchi smiled thankfully. “That would be great.”
Ryo lied on his sofa, his eyes pinned to the white wall above him. He should paint it maybe… into a more pretty colour. Something distracting. Now he would have more time for that. He sighed, because he couldn’t help the bitter taste of these thoughts. To distract himself he glanced on his phone just to see that Yoko had called him around ten times. Subaru five times. Maru twice before he had sent him a stupid, dorky picture message. Some sort of elephant that was eating a banana. Hina had called and messaged… Yasu too. Then there was Yoko again, sending him the most obvious message ever, that he wanted to drop by to borrow this specific movie Ryo had talked about two weeks ago. As if Yoko would ever watch that. Ohkura on the other hand sent him a message where he had tried to sound as normal as possible. Ryo could tell that he had put the most effort into trying to do that. As if nothing had been changed in his life. He really tried his best not to show Ryo too much happiness that for him and the rest of Kanjani things had become clear since yesterday. No one needed to be afraid anymore that one day Ryo would stop being with them.
Ryo put his phone aside. He didn’t want to answer the calls and messages or to have someone drop by. For now he wanted to simply be alone. He closed his eyes a bit, trying to relax his tensed body. After half an hour he could tell that he was almost at the point to finally be able to fall asleep… when there was a knock at his door.
Ryo grumbled at that, deciding that if this was Yoko now, he wouldn’t care at all if he was his Senpai or not, he would simply throw him out of his apartment again.
For a moment he considered to ignore the knocking and ringing. But then he sighed. What if it was really Yoko who would be worried then… Ryo was sure that Yoko would try to actually break through his door then. Hence he stood up from his sofa, really reluctantly, opening his door.
The bigger was his surprise that he didn’t find Yoko standing outside, but someone else… He sighed a bit, not sure if he should be glad or nervous now.
“You still need a lot of time to open your door when you are sleepy.” Uchi broke the silence around them, shifting around nervously.
“Why are you here?” Ryo asked bluntly. It wasn’t like there were any secrets between them anymore. So why not coming to the point straight ahead?
Uchi looked away from Ryo for a moment before he shifted his gaze back to him, looking at the older one sadly. “I’m sorry.” he mumbled. “You had to feel betrayed back then… Truth is that I realized it immediately when you found out. That’s why I never tried to talk to you about it. Actually I was waiting for you to do that. Like always. I didn’t understand it back then that it was something I should have done…. But at that time I couldn’t tell you, because I was afraid of a decision myself. Looking into your eyes I wouldn’t have been able to do that. I would have kept looking back instead of moving forward. I didn’t realize back then that you wouldn’t have stopped me from moving forward. That no matter what you would have supported me…” he paused nervously. “Just like I would have supported you. You would never say that I failed you, because you would be proud that I’m finally making decisions on my own and for my own life. Just like I’m proud that you finally made a decision for you and your life.”
When Ryo kept quiet, Uchi inspected him carefully. He had always known how to read Ryo’s signs…and he was glad to see that some of them were still there. Ryo wasn’t a complete stranger to him. Gladly. “You think you failed, right? Like you gave up… But you didn’t fail. It’s stupid to cling to pride. You weren’t stupid but courageous.” he told Ryo softly, hoping that it would get through to the other. That they were both finally able to set things aside and to move on. They should step over these walls surrounding them and get rid off their doubts and fears. “Can’t we move forward? Together? Without taking the same way?” he asked carefully, almost afraid of the reaction he would get.
Ryo stayed quiet for a moment. Just at the moment when Uchi thought he wouldn’t get an answer from him, he finally looked at him directly. His expression was something between annoyed, amused and sad, before his gaze shifted down to Uchi’s white and shaking hands. “You feel cold?” he asked bluntly.
Uchi frowned at that, thinking that he had been much more considerate and sensitive when Ryo had been visiting and he had been the one with the cold hands. But when Ryo took his cold hands into his warm ones and led him into his apartment, Uchi was too relieved to complain. It had taken him long to realize it... A few years back it was Ryo who had been strong together with him, maybe now was the time for him to be strong together with Ryo?
“You should be careful not to get a cold.” Ryo told him almost silently.
Ryo finally had the proof. He had been right. Because this night when he fell asleep on the sofa, lying in Uchi’s still shaky arms, his cold fingers wrapped around Ryo’s waist, it felt like cold water surrounding him. He warmed up from inside slowly, realizing that he had found his very own river he had dreamed of.
Note: Hey dear friends and readers! Thanks so much for all your support!! So, I wanted to tell you that my Request Post is open. If you feel like requesting a specific pairing or situation you can do so HERE