But Are You Happy?
The sound of breathy laughter over a grating, electropop backing track is the first sign of trouble when Jun opens the door to Aiba’s apartment. He doesn’t know whether to feel any surprise when he reaches the living room and finds Aiba and Sho in total disarray, red-faced and sweating, their heavy pants interrupting fits of giggles.
Aiba tries to leap over to Jun when he spots him, yelling out an enthusiastic greeting. He stumbles over his feet on the way and Jun staggers under the weight of forceful hands landing on his shoulders, gripping painfully against bone.
“Matsujun! Perfect timing!” Aiba doesn’t lower his voice even though he’s close enough for Jun to read the syllables off his lips. “We need your help.”
Jun reaches up to tug the large, glittery bow clipped to the side of Aiba’s hair. A few strands of hair snag in the metal clasp and Aiba winces.
“Is this something I’m going to want to help with?” Jun looks over Aiba’s shoulder at Sho, wearing a skirt made of the same pink fabric as the bow. It’s hiked up on his waist needlessly high—Jun thinks he can see bulges where it’s been rolled—to show off sturdy thighs and hairy knees.
He should probably turn around now.
Aiba’s already pulling him into the disaster zone, not giving him a chance to escape as he says, “It doesn’t matter what you want, Jun, we need three people to do this right and you’re our lucky third.”
Lucky. Aiba has an interesting idea of what words mean.
Sho offers a small shrug, though he’s got that look on his face, the one to show he’s resigned to his fate and he’s not going to act embarrassed, no matter how much Jun might poke fun. “We’re practising,” he says. “For a parody thing.”
The song that has been playing ever since Jun stepped inside comes to a stop with a last, echoing screech of an electric guitar. There’s a brief second of silence before the same song starts again, from the beginning, and Jun can recognise it now. The hit single from an upcoming trio known for cutesy and quirky concepts, “Love.Candy.SMASH!”—it’s been near-inescapable since the start of summer.
“A parody?” he says, quirking a sceptical eyebrow at Sho. Aiba’s fingers are yanking at Jun’s buttons and Jun bats him away without looking.
“We might do it for a segment on Shiyagare,” replies Sho. “The comedian we’re having on as a guest in two weeks has a whole bit he does with the dance and the staff thought it would be funny if we joined.”
The explanation is plausible enough that it could be truthful, though from looking at Sho’s carefully neutral face, Jun suspects it’s a cover. He’s given up trying to understand the strange ideas birthed from Aiba and Sho’s mutual, warped thought processes, but he knows crossdressing for private fun instead of the entertainment of fans is entirely too possible.
Either way, Aiba won’t cease attempting to undress him. “Can you stop that?” snaps Jun, and he grabs at Aiba’s hands.
Aiba is good at wriggling free with a buoyant smile on his face. “We need to get you undressed so you can change! I didn’t manage to get a Maki-chan costume, so Sho and I had to share, but I do have one for Ran-chan.”
There’s little about what Aiba just said that makes sense to Jun. “I don’t need to change.”
“Yes you do.”
Jun is interrupted by a terrifying mound of sparkly blue fabric being thrust in front of his face. He’s not even sure when Sho moved away to get it.
“Thank you for being our Ran-chan,” Sho says with a completely serious expression.
“I’m not doing this.” Jun twitches reflexively to take the offered costume from Sho but he stops himself just in time. “And if you’re supposed to do it with that comedian guy, you don’t need a third person anyway.”
“Yeah but we need someone to step in for him when we practise.” Aiba takes the costume from Sho’s hand and dumps it on top of Jun’s head before moving an insistent hand to press against the small of Jun’s back. “Come on, it’s fun! Stop being stubborn.”
Jun’s fingers curl around the fabric sliding down to his shoulders and he stills. “Even if I agree, there’s no need for me to dress up.”
Sho is more hesitant than Aiba to touch. Jun can feel fingertips on the inside of his elbow, a thumb moving around to rest lightly over bone. “You owe me,” he says, taking a small step closer. “For my birthday, remember? You cheated.”
Aiba slides his arms around Jun’s waist and props his chin on Jun’s shoulder. “I told you back then Sho wouldn’t be happy. He wanted to see Matsujun in a skirt.”
“You’re seriously bringing this up now?” Jun gripes, but the conviction is fading from his voice.
Sho’s grip on his elbow tightens and it’s no longer a gentle encouragement but a firm command. Some part of Jun still reacts instinctively when Sho decides to exert authority, as if Jun is sixteen again and so eager to prove himself worthy of Sho’s expectations. He can’t help the subtle shiver running down his spine or the thick press of his Adam’s apple in his throat.
The feeling of Aiba on his other side, enclosing him with reassuring warmth, rebuffs any desire to run away. Jun is caught.
“I want to see you too,” Aiba whispers into his ear, breath hot. “Sho looks so hot when he tries to act like I can’t see his cock poking through his skirt. All red-faced and twitchy. Will Matsujun be the same, I wonder?”
There’s no hope left for Jun. He bolts for the bathroom to change so neither of them can receive the satisfaction of seeing his growing erection before he can calm himself.
Jun still has some pride left he wants to maintain.
They make it through about two minutes of pretending to be serious with the choreography of exaggerated finger waggles and air punches before Aiba’s hands start reaching for Jun’s hips a little more than necessary under the guise of providing guidance, and Sho ends up slumped on the floor, body shaking with laughter and eyes growing dark.
There are certain advantages to skirts Jun could grow to appreciate. Like how easy it is for Aiba’s fingers to crawl up the bare flesh of his thighs and find the edge of his briefs, or the way it looks to see Sho’s head disappearing under a curtain of sequins, moans muffled by the layer of fabric.
He likes it even more when he pulls Sho up to stand and pushes him against the wall, gaining immediate access to what he wants with a simple flip of Sho’s skirt. Sho isn’t wearing any underwear.
Aiba finds a spot beside them and coos delightedly, hands tracing the top of Jun’s skirt. “So sexy” he says, tugging elastic so it snaps against Jun’s skin. “My pretty girls fucking each other. Just for me.”
Sho groans and Jun swats a hand at Aiba’s head, but he’s too unsteady to make contact. Aiba ducks away with a giggle.
“Careful, Jun,” he chides. “That’s no way to treat a lady.”
Forming words is difficult when his chest is seized by heavy grunts growing faster with each needy push of Sho against him. “You’re not the one wearing a skirt,” he manages, though he’s not sure if any of it is comprehensible through the rasp of his voice.
“I can, if you want. I think I have some stockings buried somewhere as well.” Aiba trails light fingers down Jun’s leg, spreading prickles that distract. “It feels nice to rip them. Sho can tell you.”
Sho slumps forward against the wall with a desperate “Yes” and Jun only barely stops himself from making a similar cry. He reaches blindly for Aiba’s neck, tugging him close so Jun can let the pleas threatening to spill be swallowed by Aiba’s mouth.
By the time they’re finished, the costumes are in no state to be returned to wherever they came from. Aiba doesn’t seem to mind.
Jun can’t say how exactly the arrangement between them came about, but he can pinpoint when it started.
A late flight back from Seoul after long days of exhausting concerts isn’t helped by Aiba in a restless mood, his leg jiggling non-stop in the seat next to Jun. Jun starts a slow count backwards from ten in an attempt to prevent an ill-tempered outburst, eyes screwed shut and breaths measured as he searches for some kind of inner peace.
Aiba’s movements stops before he can reach the end of his count. Everything is blissfully still for a moment, and then Jun feels the distinct spread of warmth encroaching closer, signalling the arrival of a sweaty hand on his arm.
“Hey. Matsujun.” Aiba’s whisper is prickly against the side of his neck. “You awake?”
Jun cracks one eye open, gaze sliding slowly to see pretty eyes and chapped lips, too close.
“What?” he says.
“So, I talked to Sho. Last night after the concert finished, y’know, we kind of… drank too much.”
Jun snorts. Such an outcome had been promised the moment they discovered cheap Korean beer at the supermarket next to their hotel.
“Yeah, so, anyway—we were drunk and we were talking and Sho might have let something slip. About you.”
The emphasis on “you” echoes through Jun’s veins and suffocates his throat for a terrifying moment of silence. “What do you mean?” he says, voice strained enough for Aiba to notice.
“I mean… about the two of you. Before. How you”—Aiba’s face shifts closer, voice dropping with the secret—“messed around. Or whatever you want to call it.”
Every nerve ending in Jun’s body flares with cold fire and he throws his head back against his seat. “I’m going to kill him.”
“No, don’t.” Aiba’s hand tightens its grip on Jun’s arm with an almost painful twist. He’s sometimes too unaware of his own strength. “It was an accident and I’m not going to tell anyone, okay, I was just… curious.”
Jun looks at him. “Curious.”
“Yeah, well, I—yeah,” Aiba says, and it’s not even close to a sentence but then he continues: “About what it’s like, I guess. I was thinking we could… if you want.”
“It wouldn’t have to be weird,” he says, breath too warm when it reaches Jun’s face for him to concentrate on anything else. “Just think about it.”
Then, as if nothing happened: “Can I have the rest of your water?”
All Jun can do is watch Aiba as he reaches across Jun’s lap for the water bottle in his front seat pocket. There’s nothing to think about, really. Jun’s never going to say no to Aiba, not with an offer such as this. He can’t even comprehend the idea.
A thought flashes into his mind. “Did you and Sho?”
Water dribbles down Aiba’s chin when he can’t quite hold his laughter. “No,” he says, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “I wasn’t going to do anything when you guys have history and all. Not without asking you first.”
“But it’s okay the other way around?”
“Ah.” Aiba grins. “Sho already said it’s okay.”
Jun doesn’t know what to say to that. He turns his gaze to the window and thinks about how much longer it will be until they land.
When they reach the cars waiting at the airport to transport them home, Jun takes Aiba’s bag from his hand and loads it into the trunk of the car already holding Jun’s own luggage. He doesn’t turn around to look at the reactions of the other members.
“Matsujun?” he hears Aiba say from behind him. “What are you—oh.”
Jun anticipates the feeling of a body sliding next to him when he hesitates after closing the trunk, a hand coming to rest on his back.
“Your place or mine?” Aiba says.
“Mine,” he replies, and tugs Aiba into the car’s backseat.
Being with Aiba is different to whatever it was Jun had with Sho. There’s no foggy confusion, no strange sense of pressure, no need to put on pretenses. Aiba is a free-flowing river taking Jun on a tumbling journey; he can’t see past the bends lying just ahead, but he knows as long as he sticks with Aiba, they’ll move past them without stopping.
They sneak sloppy kisses in the studio bathrooms, fall asleep on Jun’s couch whilst revising scripts, set aside rare blocks of shared free time so they can take things a little slower. Jun shows Aiba how to give a blowjob and Aiba shows Jun just how good he is with his tongue.
It takes Jun two months to conclude for certain he wants more from Aiba than a temporary entanglement. It takes him another month to even consider Sho.
“Why happened with you guys, anyway?” Aiba asks one day, crawling onto Jun’s lap where they’re sitting on the couch. “Why stop?”
“Sho didn’t tell you?”
Jun knows Aiba and Sho talk a lot. They do more than that, too, but nothing beyond kissing, according to Aiba. When Jun questioned him on it, Aiba just said Sho wasn’t ready yet. “No one is,” he added with a cryptic smile.
Aiba shrugs Jun’s question away. “I want to hear it from you.”
Jun eyes him for a second and sighs, head dropping back. “We were young. Stupid. It’s cliché but true.”
“You’re not young anymore.”
“Yes.” Jun looks at Aiba, eyes narrowing as he tries to read the expression on his face. “But we’re different now.”
Aiba lifts two fingers to play with the edge of Jun’s shirt collar, slipping past it for the dip of a collarbone below.
“Are you sure?”
Jun is blackout drunk the first time Sho joins them.
He wakes the next morning to a shooting pain behind his temple and a jarring stiffness in his back when he tries to sit up. The smell of strong coffee drawing closer with Aiba’s too-loud greeting is the only thing that encourages him to stop himself burying back under the covers.
Aiba sits on the edge of the bed as Jun gulps down the coffee and watches him with an irritatingly eager gleam in his eyes.
Aiba grins. “How do you feel?”
“Like someone took a sledgehammer to the back of my skull.”
“No, I mean—” Aiba waves his hands in front of him and the movement makes Jun dizzy. “About what happened last night. How do you feel?”
Jun blinks. “What are you talking about?”
“You know. Sho.”
Sho. He was there last night with them at Aiba’s apartment, Jun remembers now. Something about a need to clear the air; to make certain they were all on the same page. At least, that’s what Aiba said after informing Jun he’d invited Sho over to have dinner with them.
That was when Jun started drinking.
“Aiba,” he says slowly. “Did something happen with Sho?”
Aiba frowns. “You don’t remember?” He holds Jun’s gaze for a moment, as if suspecting a trick, and then shifts closer along the bed, body unfurling to lean right into Jun’s space. “You definitely enjoyed yourself last night.”
Jun’s breath catches. What he remembers is weeks of Aiba’s probing hints and teases, Sho’s meaningful glances, his own struggle to decide what it is he wants. He remembers Sho arriving at Aiba’s front door the previous night, hesitating with an unspoken question on his lips when Jun invited him inside.
And he remembers the sound of a breathy moan, maybe. Not one belonging to Aiba. He can still hear it echoing in his ears with the lingering sensation of too many hands on his thighs, his chest, his cock.
“I don’t believe it,” he says. There’s nothing more solid to be found in his memories than the wispiest of impressions. Jun isn’t going to have forgotten anything so important.
“Why?” Aiba’s head tilts and his thumb reaches to brush an eyelash off Jun’s cheek. “It was good.”
Silence stretches when Jun can’t think of anything to say. Aiba nods at him, coming to an understanding only he’s aware of, and takes the coffee mug from Jun’s hands before climbing off the bed. He tugs at Jun’s wrists to follow him. Despite Jun’s protests, he finds himself being dragged out to the living room, muscles aching with every step.
“Look,” Aiba says, and points to a square of the white wall near his bedroom door.
At least, the wall is mostly white. It’s been marred by the strokes of thick, black marker in a looping script. Jun recognises the handwriting instantly and flushes with embarrassment. His flush worsens when he reads what it is his drunken self chose to inscribe.
MJ + Masaki + Sho.
“I don’t even know where you got the marker from,” Aiba says. “But whatever—see? It’s proof!”
It is. Incontrovertible proof stamped with a surprisingly accurate date and several sloppily-drawn love hearts. Jun just doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do with it.
He avoids Sho as much as possible for the following week. Aiba fights him on it at first, with puppy-dog pouts and wheedling suggestions, but soon gives Jun the space he needs to figure things out for himself.
Jun should have realised Aiba had never intended to give up; he just chose to devise a smarter, sneakier plan to quicken the process.
An invitation to Aiba’s apartment for dinner and more after filming finishes on Thursday is an ordinary event. Jun stops by his apartment first to shower and pack a bag for the following day—he knows he’s unlikely to make it home later.
He has a key to Aiba’s apartment so there’s no need to call to be let in. He wouldn’t normally even bother to let Aiba know the time he plans to arrive, but Aiba asked him to earlier, so he sends a quick text before he leaves his apartment.
He understands the reason for Aiba’s request when he walks inside the living room and finds Sho there on the couch, neck straining as Aiba kisses him.
Jun’s always been okay with the thought of Aiba and Sho together as long as it remains just that: a thought. Seeing it in action is another matter entirely. Heat flushes down his spine with the need to rush forward and yank Aiba away from Sho; to wrap him into his arms and claim him as Jun’s.
Aiba breaks away from Sho’s mouth, not appearing as guilty as he should when his eyes meet Jun’s. He shifts his gaze back to Sho and Jun follows the movement. Sho’s mouth is damp with Aiba’s spit and his eyes are clouded with a mixture of fear and lust.
A different feeling overtakes Jun then. One of desire to have himself be in Aiba’s place, to taste Sho’s mouth and touch his body and feel the way he’s changed from Jun’s memories.
Aiba and Sho are still looking at him from the couch, unmoving. Waiting.
One look at Aiba’s face lets Jun know he’s being played.
He doesn’t care.
Less changes after that than Jun expects. They’re still Arashi, still busy with their own careers and friends and schedules, still the same people who have known each other since puberty.
Except Jun learns how Aiba tastes with Sho’s come in his mouth, how Sho sounds when Aiba muffles his moans, how they both look at Jun when he undresses in front of them. He carries the knowledge with him in a secret part of his mind and never once feels dissatisfied.
Aiba paints over the wall bearing Jun’s scribbled message. He takes a photo first, despite arguments from Sho and Jun as to how risky it is to keep such damning evidence—Aiba can be the most stubborn of all of them when he wants to be.
Jun never tells anyone about the copy he took from Aiba’s computer. He made a print before he trashed the file and keeps it hidden in the back of a photo frame in his apartment.
Sho’s fingers dig into the curves of Jun’s bicep as he pushes Jun against the wall, mouth reaching to mark skin with teeth. A day of Aiba and Jun messing around backstage during filming has left him frustrated, more desperate to take what he wants without waiting.
Though Jun will never admit it, he likes it when Sho is a bit forceful. The cold press of Sho’s eyebrows and the tightening grip of his hand on Jun’s arm reminds Jun of the days when he would have let Sho take anything he wanted. He can’t help but be swept up in the feeling for a little while.
The pleasure he gets from denying Sho still outweighs any sense of nostalgic longing.
“No.” Jun’s hands push firmly at Sho’s hips, removing him with practised efficiency.
Aiba is there to catch him from behind. His arms encircle Sho’s waist, hands stroking his stomach as his lips blow a kiss against the top of a shoulder. “You’ve had a hard day,” Aiba says. “Let us make you feel better.”
“My day was only difficult because of the two of you.” Sho attempts a pout but the effect is rather ruined when Aiba pinches one of his nipples and he surrenders a strangled gasp.
Aiba giggles and Jun snorts and Sho suddenly looks deeply concerned.
“You’re going to make it worse now, aren’t you?”
“Of course not,” Aiba says, eyes meeting Jun’s. Jun gives him a barely perceptible nod and Aiba smiles. He starts moving backwards, taking Sho with him as he moves through the living room, until they reach a plush armchair next to the lounge.
Aiba pushes Sho down onto it. “We’re going to take care of you, see? Doesn’t it feel nice to sit? Don’t you just want to lie back… relax… get—ah—comfortable…”
Aiba’s words become stuttered as Jun begins to grope him from behind, one hand palming his cock through his trousers and the other sliding under his shirt. He gives up on Sho and turns around to throw himself at Jun, almost knocking them to the floor as his lips crash into Jun’s.
There are few things in the world Sho dislikes more than being ignored. He’s fine with being tied up and teased, his orgasm denied, as long as it’s under their direction with both of them watching. Sho enjoys being made to put on a show; it’s when he’s forced to watch without involvement that he complains bitterly.
Together, Aiba and Jun can be cruel enough not to always care. What they do both care about is needing to touch Sho, knowing it’s always better to have him with them. They never manage to hold out on Sho for too long.
Jun gets tired of Sho’s insistent whining first. “What?” he says, breaking away from Aiba’s mouth to glare over his shoulder at Sho. “You’re being noisy.”
Sho bites his lip, suitably chastised. “You promised me things,” he says, and Jun can vaguely remember those promises made through whispers in Sho’s ear during a break in filming. He never gave any indication as to when he planned to fill them, however, so it’s Sho’s fault for getting his hopes up.
Aiba twists around to look at Sho. “You know, Sho,” he says, “if you want something, you don’t have to ask us. We’re right here.”
That’s not how things work and Aiba know it. Sho does too; he clutches at the arms of his chair, bunching fabric under his fingernails, and waits.
Jun and Aiba no longer need to say anything to each other in moments such as these. A slow raise of Jun’s eyebrow and a twitch of Aiba’s lips are all that’s required before they’re moving in unison, reaching to tug at Sho’s arms and move him into the space they create between their bodies.
Sho fits so nicely between them these days. He’s just a little bit softer, a little bit fuller, filling the gaps between bony collarbones and flat stomachs. Jun likes to be the one behind Sho, feeling the curve of his ass pressing flush against Jun’s cock.
“Are you going to come like this?” Jun asks as he grinds against Sho. He can’t see exactly what Aiba’s doing in front of him, but he can form some picture by the way Sho gasps and jerks in erratic movements.
“Don’t think he’s going to last very long,” Aiba says, lifting a finger to wipe a bead of sweat off Sho’s forehead. “Maybe we should just leave him here once we take care of him and move to the bedroom by ourselves.”
Sho’s frustrated groan of protest pulls a pleased smile from Jun’s lips. He flashes it Aiba’s way and receives a small giggle in response.
Aiba turns his attention back to Sho. “Okay, okay,” he says, stroking the side of Sho’s face. “We’ll all go to the bedroom together, then. No one’s getting left out.”
Jun starts to move them all there without a hint of warning.
“Aiba told me you’re going on another date.”
Sho looks up from his newspapers spread across the table. Moments when it’s just the two of them alone in the green room are rare, but Ohno and Nino disappeared somewhere and Aiba’s still getting his makeup done.
“Yeah,” he says, fingers drawing back from the pages. “Does it bother you?”
Jun shrugs. It doesn’t, and that’s surprising, but he knows Sho’s dates mean nothing. He always finds his way to Aiba and Jun after their conclusion, with an eagerness to prove where his heart still lies.
“Why do you even go on them?”
Sho slides back into his seat, face thoughtful. “Because it makes my parents happy. And it makes me happy if they’re happy.”
Jun tucks his bottom lip under his teeth. “Does it make you happy—”
“Being with you?” Sho finishes.
Sho rolls his eyes. “You.” He smiles. “It does. Both of you, together. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Jun nods, slowly. He still doesn’t know how long fate will allow them to continue the way they have been, but finds himself increasingly wanting to extend their time just a little longer.
“What about you?” Sho asks. “Are you happy?”
He’s prevented from answering by Aiba bounding through the door with his always perfect sense of timing. Aiba stills at the sight of them.
“Did I miss something?”
Jun smiles. “Nothing. Just being sappy.”
“No fair!” Aiba moves for the empty space on the couch where Sho is sitting and slumps down next to him. “You’re not supposed to be mushy when I’m not around.”
Sho laughs. “Hey,” he says, opening his palm so Aiba can slide his fingers through his. “Are you happy, Aiba?”
Aiba tightens his grip and rests his head on Sho’s shoulder, his eyes meeting Jun’s.