He was pretty lucky, Yamada thinks as he lays in bed beside Chinen in the early hours of the morning, to have been chosen all those years ago. When he’d been young, when he’d first auditioned for Johnny’s, he hadn’t really had any idea what he was getting into. I want to be a famous person! he’d told the interviewer when he’d been chosen as a finalist in the televised audition so long ago, but what being a famous person really entailed had been vague in his young mind at the time, aside from seeing his face on TV and hearing his voice from the radio.
He certainly hadn’t been prepared for how hard it would be on him as he grew older and more insecure, thrust into the limelight, praised as the most beautiful and most talented and always put in the center, in the position of utmost responsibility. There had been no denying that he wanted it, but also no doubt in his mind that this was all some big mistake and he didn’t deserve it, he wasn’t good enough. And as he’d gone from a featured junior to the frontman of a debuted unit, the sense of stage fright and fear had hardened into a permanent rock in the pit of his stomach and a quiet voice whispering in his ear, every moment of the day, you’re too fat, you’re too ugly, you’re bad at singing and dancing and acting, and one day they’re going to realize they made a mistake and boot you out of the group. It still hurts a little to remember everything he’d done to try to satisfy that part of him, the unhealthy diets and obsessive, never-ending scrutiny of his own looks and performances, but at the same time, he’s still amazed every time he thinks about how he’d managed to overcome it, overcome the worst struggles in his life to be where he is now. It would be a lie to say that he was totally content with every aspect of his life, but at the very least, now he can look back at recent concert recordings and magazine shoots and think okay, that one part was a little funny, but I did a pretty good job overall and really genuinely mean it.
But the luckiest thing of all, he often thinks, is that he’d found a group of people who really cared about him for him, who were always supporting him, always there for him, always surrounding him with love and encouragement. He’s still a little convinced that the other members of JUMP must be some sort of angels or, at the very least, saints for all that they put up with and then still took him back when things were bad, but he’s come to terms with the fact that, even if he feels indebted to them for life, they like him for him, and they really want to keep him around. It had seemed totally unbelievable back then, and sometimes still does, but it’s the truth, and he thinks, he’s extremely lucky to have met them.
And sure, sometimes he doesn’t feel lucky. Sometimes, like earlier today, when he’d been out at a filming until half past midnight, he feels like maybe the world is out to get him, and why oh why does he have to be up early tomorrow for a magazine shoot when he didn’t get home until nearly one am today? Sometimes, like he knows he’s going to feel tomorrow morning, he feels like the unluckiest person alive, to the extent that he doesn’t even want to bother to get out of bed.
But at times like these, there’s always something that turns it all around soon enough, and sure enough, when he finally made it to his bedroom, he had found a small piece of note paper taped to the door. Even before he could read the characters, he recognized Chinen’s messy, lopsided handwriting, and he couldn’t help but smile to himself. But a closer look only had him smiling even wider, and It’s late, I went to sleep. Wake me up if you need anything. Love you, he read, unable to fight down his stupid grin even as he had taken the note from the door and quietly let himself in.
When he’d been young and stupid, he thinks now having changed into pajamas and flopped down into bed beside his sleeping boyfriend, he probably would have been angry at such a message, because how dare Chinen not care enough to wait up for him?? It must mean, he’d have thought, that really, he wasn’t good enough, and Chinen would certainly have waited up for a better, more attractive, more talented boyfriend, and he’d certainly have been sent into yet another cycle of self-hatred. But now, he can’t imagine seeing it as anything but kind and considerate; he knows how much Chinen values his sleep, and the fact that he’d invited Yamada to wake him if necessary speaks volumes about just how much Chinen really does care about him.
But Yamada doesn’t need anything, and really, he wouldn’t want to wake Chinen even if he did, and so he lays on his side, gazing at Chinen’s peaceful resting face, long eyelashes resting on his cheeks in a way that Yamada can only think of as a work of art, lips parted slightly as he breathes in and out slowly. It really is amazing the effect he can have on Yamada just by existing, and so, all complaints at least momentarily forgotten, he leans in to place a gentle kiss on Chinen’s forehead before settling in next to him for the night and thinking that, at the end of the day, he really is pretty lucky.
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