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 Seasoning [complete]

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GlynZaelin

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PostSubject: Seasoning [complete]   Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:11 pm

Title Seasoning
Rating G
Warning NOT MAOTSUJUN!!
Summary A certain gamer is filled with thoughts of Mao.

Just something short, will be wrapped up in a few parts.

Seasoning

He had always liked her. That wasn’t surprising if you thought about it though. She was the kind of girl you couldn’t help but like. Smart, friendly, courteous, talented, funny, and cute, Inoue Mao was the reason the phrase “lights up a room with a smile” was invented. She was a girl’s best friend and guy’s best buddy. He couldn’t think of anyone who ever had said anything bad about her.

Inoue Mao was the kind of girl who was meant to be liked for obvious reasons.

But Ninomiya Kazunari loved her for all the unobvious reasons. All the unexpected reasons. All the little reasons. The little reasons were everything. She was everything. She was sunshine through the rain. She was the secret behind a smile. She was an angel with a devil’s gleam. She was the inspiration behind his really cheesy poetry of late. She…was standing right in front of him.

“Ni-no-mi-ya-kun!” Mao had leaned her face close to his, close enough to count all the lashes framing her beautiful eyes. “Ohaiyo gozaimasu!”

“Oh,” he nodded, leaning back a little, her close proximity causing system malfunctions, “Ohaiyo.”

She sat beside him, his skin prickling. Pursing her lips…he really wished she wouldn’t do that… and peering at him through squinting eyes, she asked him, “Ne, Nino-kun, what are you thinking about so intensely so early in the morning?”

“Eh?”

“You’re looking awfully full of concentrated serious thoughts really early on a beautiful morning,” Mao’s teasing and playful tone breezed through a veil of concern. “You’re an Idol, aren’t you? Can’t have those frowny wrinkles ugly up that funny face of yours.”

Nino had once been told that adding salt to watermelon brings out the natural flavor, makes it sweeter, more refreshing. Mao was like a secret seasoning, the salt of life, just a dash of her brings out all the hidden flavor of living. And too much of her was probably bad for his heart too.

Nino laughed to himself. Anyone else would’ve just asked him what was wrong, but Mao had her own way of doing things. Her mocking words only enhanced her innate cuteness and made her concern more genuine. He WOULD love a girl who teased him rather than complimented him. And they called Jun a sadist.

Ah, crap. Jun.

One of his best friends. His bandmate. Her boyfriend. Or so everyone thought. People sort of just got used to them not acknowledging their undefined relationship, whatever it was. The only thing that was obvious was that they were close and really cared about each other. Probably even loved each other. How could Jun not love her?
She poked a slim finger repeatedly against his cheek.

“Ni-no-kun!” Yep…Bad for his heart. Just the sound of her voice made it stop.

“Na-ni?”

She puffed up her face in annoyance. “Just what are you thinking about?”

“Just of all reasons why I’m in love with you.”

Ha. Yeah right.

“Just thinking about the scenes we’re going to be working on today, going over some of the lines in my head. Should I play them straight or play up the humor? You know. Work stuff.” Chicken. He was an absolutely cowardly chicken.

Doubt coloured Mao’s lovely face. Nino fidgeted nervously under her probing gaze. She placed her hand on his forehead. He stopped moving immediately. He stopped breathing.

“Well, no fever. Are you sure you’re feeling ok?”

“No, I’m completely lovesick over you and I don’t know what to do. Will you be my doctor and treat me?”

Bwhahaha…the inner Nino laughed hysterically.

Instead, out loud Nino said, “I’m fine. Really. Genki genki! That’s me.” Why was he so lame around her?

“Ok. Don’t worry too much about it.” She stood up and stepped away from him, leaving Nino to feel like the sunny sky had suddenly gone overcast. “I don’t see why you would worry so much about it. You’re Ninomiya Kazunari. You’re one of the most sought out young star these days.” She poked him on the forehead. “You must be doing something right.”

“Gee, thanks,” his sarcasm covered up the rising elation he felt at her praise.

“Baka. I’m off to hair and makeup. Ja ne!” She started walking backwards, laughing at him. “And don’t work so hard. You’ll make me look bad.”

Like that would ever happen.

“Go make yourself pretty, Inoue.” More laughter.

“I’ll take your breath away, Ninomiya.”

“You already do,” Nino whispered as she rounded the corner. “You already do.”

Ah, Pikachus... did he have it bad.


****

Yeah... I just like pairing Mao up with Arashi members. Personally, if Mao isn't with Jun, my second choice for her would be Ninomiya. I think they're adorable and would definitely keep things interesting. ;)

What?! Another fic? What about Co-Stars?!


Last edited by GlynZaelin on Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Seasoning, Part 2   Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:29 pm

“Please do your best,” Jun asked Mao, only those who knew him recognized the pleading his voice.

“Tekito de...” I’ll wing it, Mao had replied airily. She was obviously ticked that Jun was putting a lot of expectations on her while he couldn’t get even get one pin down. Nino thought it was little ironic that Jun was always thought to be the most cool and skilled Arashi member, but he kinda sucked at things. Like golf. And bowling.

Aiba, who sat beside him, couldn’t believe his ears, “Inoue Mao-chan says she’ll wing it.”

Even then, Nino felt irrationally proud of her. “What other woman would take such a lighthearted approach to something like this?”

Nino watched the monitor intently as the diminutive woman took a few hesitant steps and threw the bowling ball, which slightly larger than her own head.

Laughter erupted.

Mao had gotten a gutter ball.

“Saiko!!” Nino yelled.

Pause. Rewind. Play. Gutter ball. Saiko. Mao’s mischievous smile. Her infectious giggle. This was Nino’s favourite moment. This was the moment he fell head over Nike runners for Inoue Mao.

She never did reveal the truth if that gutter ball was on purpose. Not that it mattered. Jun had bowled so badly that day, one would think he WANTED to kiss Ooshima...

Ninomiya heard the door to the green room open and he hastily switched the video on his iPod.

It was Riida. Ohno took one look at Nino’s face and his iPod. He gave Nino a sympathetic smile. Nino sunk back into his chair. He never could hide things from Ohno Satoshi.

Ohno clapped him on the back. “You’re getting worse, you know. You should do something about it.”

Nino didn’t even bother to hide it. Love was a disease. Mao was cause. Or the cure. He wasn’t quite sure at this point.

“Tell me about it. Any advice, my Great Captain, lord of the fishies?”

Ohno closed his eyes and thought about it for a moment. The moment turned into a few minutes.

Ninomiya took a step forward to examine Ohno closely. Had Riida fallen asleep? It wouldn’t be the first time.

Then Ohno opened his eyes, startling Nino, who had to take a step back.

“The truth will set you free.”

“...” Nani? “That’s an incredibly lame line you know.”

“It’s all I got. Take it or leave it.”

He’d leave it, thank you very much. If it was as simple as just telling Mao the truth, he would have done it already. After all, he was an honest person. Brutally honest, just ask anybody.

But there were just other factors in confessing to Mao. Like feelings. And guys who like the colour purple who may or may not also have feelings for the object of affection. Or that his object of affection preferred purple to yellow. And then there was the fear. And the possibility of a rejection so bad he would decide to give up his life of sin and hop right into the next shrine to become a Shinto priest.

So yeah, many factors in confessing his feelings to Inoue Mao.

But he had to try, right? And he planned on trying. One day. In the future. Far, far off in the nearby future.

Ohno smacked him on the head. “Figure it out soon. Or people will start calling you the spacey one in the group.”

“Why is Ninomiya-kun spacey?” Sho asked, walking through the door followed by the Aiba and Jun. Nino met Jun’s eyes and looked away quickly.

“Are you talking about video games? Is that why you’re spacey?” Aiba asked him.

“Ehhh... I’m not spacey,” Nino denied. “I’m the straight-forward, focused one.”

“Isn’t that Matsujun?” Ohno corrected him. “Aren’t you the sarcastic, mean one?”

The others nodded.

“Oi...”

“But we love you for it anyway,” Aiba patted him on the back.

“Why are we getting all mushy about it?” Jun wanted to know, starting a spirited, bantering conversation, which included battery operated love t-shirts, who bought new underpants, and kissing octopus, that moved along way too fast for anyone who was not Arashi to decipher without subtitles.

As they sat around laughing in the green room, waiting for shooting of VS Arashi to begin, Ninomiya covertly shot glances at Matsujun, who was reading a manga.

“Kakkoi ne...” he couldn’t help but think. But he was cool too. He sat up a little straighter. In his own way. Just not in a Matsujun way.

An idea occurred to Nino. The truth will set you free, right? Taking the plunge, he called to Matsujun. “Yo, Jun-kun... I was wondering...you’re close with Mao-chan, ne?”

Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing. Nino had said the “M” word.

Matsujun looked over the comic he was reading. He kept his face blank. “We’re... friends...why do you want to know?”

Nino figured it was now or never. “Well, I was wondering if it would be a good idea to invite her over to my place for an afternoon of Wii game play. I know she likes playing DS games so I thought she might like this. For, you know, some co-star bonding time...”

The room filled with silence. Despite the rationality of Nino’s inquiry, Arashi knew that someone finally decided to acknowledge that pink elephant in the room. The pink elephant named Mao. Not that anyone was calling Mao an elephant...you get the picture.

Jun seemed to struggle with something silently before speaking slowly, “You should really ask Mao if that’s something she’d like to do.”

Nino also considered his words carefully. “I know that... but I just wanted to make sure it was ok with you. I know Mao is...special to you. I wouldn’t want to...” he let the sentence hang.

Yes he was in love with Mao. No, Jun never actually acknowledged what exactly their relationship was. But if Jun ever admitted that he and Mao were involved, that he was also IN LOVE with her, Nino would back down immediately. It would be hard, but he would deal. This new drama of theirs only had about...8 weeks of shooting left...he could do it. Or die trying in the attempt.

Nino braced himself for Jun’s answer.

“Kazu,” Jun looked him in the eye, “do you want to invite Mao over to play video games?”

Nino returned Jun’s gaze with equal seriousness. “Yes. I want to invite Mao over to play video games.”

Releasing a deep breath, Jun said, “Mao is free to play videogames with whomever she wants.”

Nino felt his heart beating like taiko drums in his chest. “So is it ok with you if Mao and I …play video games.”

Ohno, Aiba, and Sho shifted their eyes between Jun and Nino, whose eyes were locked in silent communication.

“This is pretty intense, ne?” Aiba whispered loudly.

“Shh!” both Ohno and Sho hissed at him.

“It’s ok if you ask Mao to play video games. She doesn’t need my permission to play.”

“But is it OK with you if I ask her in the first place?”

“As long as you do your best not to hurt her, it’s ok with me.”

“Why would he hurt her playing video games?” Aiba whispered loudly again.

“SHHHH!!!” Ohno and Sho smacked him on the head.

Nino felt a bit hesitant as he watched Jun nod his head. “Yosshi…” he whispered to himself before slapping Nino on the shoulder. “Gambatte, Nino-kun.”

“Oh. Arigatou,” Nino replied, sighing inwardly.

“What just happened?” Aiba wondered out loud. He was ignored as his fellow Arashi members walked out the door. It was show time.

***
I do not fear the purists...much
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PostSubject: Seasoning, Part 3   Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:29 am

* * *

Sexy.

That was a word Nino never really associated with Inoue Mao-chan.

Lovely. Beautiful. Gorgeous. Cute. Blindingly and dazzlingly adorable. Those were words were quintessential Mao.

But sexy?

The gods may strike him down for such inappropriate thoughts. Really inappropriate thoughts.

“Otoussan...” she called out to him. Nino grinned wildly. He loved it when she called him that. Nino liked to think it meant that shooting “Tengoku” meant as much to her as it did to him, even if they did only shoot for 2 days. Nino turned to find her peeking through the door to the green room.

He was playing on his DS, waiting around for shooting to begin, and...well, waiting to talk to her. His palms were doing that nervous sweaty thing that they usually did when he was stressed. Asking Mao out was becoming a very stressful thing. She had arrived much earlier than he this morning and had been in wardrobe when Nino arrived. So he tried to take the opportunity to get his sweaty palm thing under control.

“Otoussan...” she called again.

“Hmm? Nani?” he replied.

“Anoo...” Why was she still trying to speak to him peeking through the door? Was it...?

“Ne, Okaasan... do you happen to have your costume on?” Souka. In their new drama, Mao was playing the reluctant lead singer for a new visual kei band, while he was playing a famous performer who falls for her. His job was too easy.

Today they were filming the first concert scene. Mao was pretty excited about the chance to wear something completely different from any other character she portrayed.

Though at the moment, she seemed...shy...

“Stop being a chicken, Inoue,” he barked at her. “Let’s see the transformation.”

“Promise not to laugh?” She was going to kill him with her cuteness.

“I promise nothing.”

“Meanie.”

“Scaredy cat.”

“Fine. If you laugh, I’m going to put loads of wasabi in your water bottle.”

“Sounds delicious. Now quit stalling.”

“Yosshi...Ok. Jyan!” She quickly stepped through the door.

Remember the salt thing? Bad for his heart? Well...Nino was pretty sure he was in the midst of a heart attack.

The moment Mao stepped out of the door and into his line of vision, he felt his body go numb. Was he even breathing?

Mao misunderstood his silence and tucked her hair behind her ear self-consciously, “I look ridiculous, ne?”

No. Not ridiculous at all.

Mao’s dark hair now had shots of cobalt blue and magenta running though it. Loosely curled and tousled, it was pulled into a riotous pile at the back of her head. Her usually sweet, clean and fresh face was an artist’s pallet. Her bright eyes kohled out, darkened and smoky, her pink lips a dark, pouting purple. And her outfit. Yattaman save him.

Usually clad in loose blouses and shirts, nothing could have prepared him for the sight of Mao’s small and curvy frame laced up in a body hugging black and purple corset, her modesty barely concealed by the lacy black shirt thingy she wore underneath. And whose idea was it to dress innocent Mao up in tight, tight black pants and stiletto lace up boots. How did she get into those things in the first place?

How would she get out of them?

Bad. Bad. Bad.... Thou shalt not think hentai pervy thoughts about Inoue Mao.

Too late, Nino’s inner voice reasoned.

How could he help it? With black fingerless gloves and bright purple, pink and blue ruffled scarves floating from her waist, Mao looked like funky, dark, dangerous, sexy pirate/dominatrix come to life.

It was almost too much for Nino.

“Hehe...Nino-kun... could you say something please?”

“...” He hoped he wasn’t drooling.

“Ninomiya-san...you’re staring...” Mao cheeks turned a rosy pink as she crossed one arm around her, her other hand brushing back some of her hair. Mao-chan was feeling shy. Nino felt himself fall a little bit more in love with her.

He approached her slowly, unable to speak, just able to stare. Nino was afraid of what would come out of his mouth if he attempted to say anything. He just felt hot and restless and incredibly stupid at the sight of her.

Mao was nervously avoided his gaze and stumbled, her back hitting the door. She opened her mouth to speak, but when her eyes met his, nothing but a squeak came out. She appeared transfixed by something she must have seen in his intent stare.

Nino’s breathing became ragged with each step he took towards her. One step, two step, three step... his slow and deliberate footsteps belied the furious beating of his heart.

He stopped with just a breath of space between them. Wanting to touch her, but afraid at the same time, he placed his hand on the door behind her and leaned in close, just content to look her.

Mao smiled and laughed nervously, her breathing hitched.

“I must look terrible if you of all people are rendered dumbstruck and silent.”

Nino didn’t feel like laughing. Not in this perfect moment when he felt fortune was on his side.

“You are lovely.”

Nino could see Mao’s pulse flutter as she gulped loudly. Leaning in a little closer happiness exploded inside of him as Mao’s eyes closed and she tilted her chin up towards him.

THIS IS IT!! inner Nino cried in ecstasy. Just a little closer.

Until a knock on the door absolutely killed the moment, sending inner Nino into the depths of despair.

“Ninomiya-san? Inoue-san?” Nino recognized the voice of the assistant director. “We’ll be starting soon.”

Mao recovered first. “H-Hai! We’ll be right there!” She cast one bright eyed glace at him, blinked rapidly for a few seconds, then bolted as fast her stiletto boots could carry her.

Nino banged his head against the door. It was going to take a moment to recover.

It was going to take a lot of moments to recover.


***********

Bwahaha...

This story is so random...
Glyn is EVIL INCARNATE
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PostSubject: Re: Seasoning [complete]   Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:02 pm

Disclaimer and Warning to All Maotsujun fans: like all my stories, this is purely FICTION. While Maotsujun is the couple of my heart, I also like to believe that Mao can have any member of Arashi if she really wanted. Ah. one can dream. With that out of the way, on with the story!

***

“Mao-chan, I was wondering, if you’d maybe like to, you know, get together sometime... maybe...” No, that doesn’t sound right.

“Mao, I’m head over heels in love in love with you. Please put me out of my misery...” No, definitely not.

“Mao, you’re mine. So let’s kiss...” Bwhahaha...somebody shoot him.

Nino ran his hand through his hair in frustration. What the Gundam was the matter with him? He was an Idol! He never had trouble asking girls out before. So why in the world was he currently pacing up and down Fuji Television hallways trying to come up with none-lame pickups lines while waiting for Mao to get out of those tight...er... out of her costume. And into normal clothes. Because she would definitely be wearing clothing when she came out.

Ignoring the strange looks from random passerbys, Nino started banging his head against the wall. He really needed to stop being such a pervert. Old Man Hentai...that was him.

He’d been like this all day. Ever since this morning in the green room. Nino was still cursing the assistant director for interrupting what very well would have been a fire inducing kiss. But as it was, he and Mao had a hard time meeting each other’s eyes whenever the camera stopped rolling.

Baka baka baka...what was he thinking this morning? Letting a pair of tight pants get to him like that? She probably thought he was the biggest creep on the planet coming after like that out of the blue.

Nino continued to bang his head on the wall. Baka baka baka...

“Anoo...” Nino stopped banging his head. “”Ninomiya-kun... daijoubou...?” Mao asked him in a quiet voice.

Nino didn’t look up at her, instead leaving his forehead resting on the wall.

“Etoo...er... that is....I... forgot something. But I forgot what I forgot so I was just trying to jog my memory...”

“Oh...souka...” Mao didn’t look like she believed him. Nino didn’t blame her.

They both kinda looked at each other and blushed, unsure of what to say, but wanting to say something.

“Uh... I guess I’ll just say good night now. I’ll see you tomorrow, Nino-kun.” Mao turned to walk away.

“Wait!” Nino lunged forward and grasped Mao’s wrist. Maybe it was from hitting it on the wall too hard, but Nino’s brain had stopped working. Instincts had taken over.

Mao was surprised...but not angry. Or offended. Nino took that a positive sign.

“I was wondering... are you free sometime this weekend?” Nino felt his throat go dry, watching Mao blink and her perfect mouth form the shape of an “o”. “I was thinking that it would be fun if we could get together. To hang out. Or something.” That’s good. Sound cool. Sound calm. Be casual.

And then she smiled.

Did he mention that he loved it when Mao smiled? There was magic in her smile, lighting her face and making her eyes glow.

But as quickly as her smile came, it went. She pursed her lips, like she often did when she was thinking.

“I think I should be available. Depends on when.” Oh, Nino thought disappointedly. He really should have better prepared his heart for rejectio... chotto...what did she say?

“What did you say?”

Mao glared at him for making her repeat it, but she opened her mouth to speak anyway. But before she could say anything, her cell rang.

“Ah...sumimasen...”

“Iie,” he needed to calm the beating of his heart and control his breathing anyway.

“Moshi mosh. Oh, Jun-kun!” Nino felt his spirits drop. “No... Hmm...” Mao snuck a glance at Nino before turning around. “Hmm... are you sure? But I thought... Really?” She started speaking in a low voice, obviously not wanting him to overhear. Nino strained his ears trying anyway. “It’s ok... I can...Do you want me...”

At that point Nino stopped trying to listen. How quickly can feelings of elation disappear, he thought bitterly. All’s fair in love and war, right? Just because Jun didn’t stake a claim didn’t mean that he’d stop trying. But really, enough was enough.

Nino’s temper flared up.

“Gomen ne, Nino-kun. Jun was just...well, never mind, you were saying before?”

“You know,” Nino said sullenly, “the way you and Jun are kind of pathetic, don’t you think?” Hurt flashed in Mao’s eyes at the unexpected insult.

“Eh?”

“Really, the two of you dance around hiding from the rest of the world, oblivious to everyone else around you. It’s kind of selfish.” Nino knew he was being a jerk, but everyone had their limits.

“I don’t understand...” Mao whispered.

“You! You and Jun! You drive me crazy! If you two are so crazy about each other, just come out and say it! Give the rest of us some peace of mind. It’s just sad and pathetic. Stringing along other people. Why the big secret anyway? Is there something your ashamed of? Don’t want to be seen with a boyband member? Or maybe there’s something wrong with you!” Inner Nino started beating the inside of his head with a mallet. Shut up, stupid! You’re not making any sense. But he couldn’t help it. Jealousy really was a bad thing. And he was really, really jealous.

“You...I...You don’t...” Mao was so angry that she couldn’t even speak. “You sound jealous!”

“Jealous?! Huh? Over you? Ha! Who’d be jealous over a skinny, flat-chested, tomboy with no sex appeal!” He didn’t just say that, did he?

“You just don’t understand,” Mao said quietly. “NINOMIYA NO BAKA!!!”

And she hit him. Hard. With a fist. Right across the cheek. Looks like Mao-chan still had some of the Makino weed power inside her.

Without waiting to see if he was all right, Mao stormed off.

Nino felt comfort in the stinging in his cheek. He really was a lovesick fool.


***


“Ninomiya Kazunari! You idiot! What did you do to Mao-chan?! She is pissed at you.” Nino wasn’t surprised when later that evening before a taping of Himitsu no Arashi-chan, Matsujun came crashing into the green room, his temper flaring.

The rest of Arashi followed him through the door. Nino ignored them and continued to play on his DS.

Then Matsumoto Jun did the unforgivable. He grabbed Nino’s DS and turned it off… BEFORE Nino could press SAVE. Frustration and anger raged inside of him.

“NANDA!?” He stood up and grabbed Jun by the collar. Nino new he didn’t look all that threatening. Why did he have to be so damn short? Jun just stared down at him.

“They’re doing that intense staring thing again,” Aiba said in awe. Both Sho and Ohno slapped their hands over his mouth to prevent him from speaking.

“You said you wouldn’t hurt Mao-chan,” Jun accused him.

“And you said it was ok for me to go after her,” Nino countered.

“It is.”

“Then why were you calling her? And why was she being so secretive?”

“I was calling her to cancel our plans for the weekend.”

“What are you doing making plans with her in the first place?” Nino knew he sounded irrational, but he needed answers.

“I can’t make plans with my friend?” Jun was stalling and they both knew it.

Nino tugged on Jun’s collar, his head hanging down low. “Jun, do you love Mao?”

Jun sighed. “Yes, I love her.” Nino went rigid. “But I’m not in love her. Not like you.”

Ninomiya through his hands up in the air. “Well, that’s just peachy, because she obviously loves you!” Nino didn’t realize that he had started yelling and pacing.

“Kazu…” Jun started to say. Nino ignored him.

“She seemed reluctant to get out of the plans that you two had.”

“Nino…”

“And she sure wasn’t exactly jumping at the chance to spend time with me.”

“Ninomiya…”

“And she hit me. Sure I deserved it. But she still hit me.”

“I’m gay.”

“And she definitely wasn’t running into my arms when I tried to kis…”

The silence in the room was deafening.

EH?!

“EH!!!???” Ohno, Sho, and a muffled Aiba loudly echoed his sentiments.
Jun averted his eyes and shuffled his feet.

“I didn’t know how to tell you guys. I’ve been meaning to for a while, I just didn’t know how. But when your feelings for Mao were starting to get obvious… well, I knew it was only a matter of time.”

“…”

“You’re gay?” Nino asked.

“You’re gay?” the others echoed.

“I’m gay.”

“Ohh… that explains so much…” Sho nodded his head in understanding. The others agreed.

“Oi,” Jun glared at them. “ANYWAY Mao knows.” He walked up to Nino and grabbed him by the shoulders. “Mao is one of my best friends. I love her. And she loves me. She’s been helping me keep this underwraps for a while, though I’m sure it’s been costing her.”

Ninomiya’s brain was on overload.

“You’re gay.”

Jun sighed. “Yes.”

“You’re not IN love with Mao-chan?”

“No. I’m in love with someone else.”

“Who?”

“I don’t want to say too much yet, but let’s just say, everyone thought he was covering for me and Mao when it was really the other way around.”

“Huh? Oh.”

“OHHH!!” It dawned on the rest of the members.

“So Mao isn’t in love with you?” It was taking a while to process all this information, but Nino wanted to make sure he wasn’t jumping to any conclusions again.

“No. Mao isn’t in love with ME.”

“I messed up didn’t I?”

“Yes, you did.”

“I have to fix it, don’t I?”

“Yes, you do.”

“Do I have a chance with her?”

“You have to take that up with her.”

Nino looked over to his DS, his feelings over his unfinished game nothing compared to the rush of emotions about Mao. He smiled. He had an idea.

“OH!!” Everyone turned to Aiba, who had let out a loud noise. “OHHHHH!!! That’s what you meant before about video games. Nino-kun wants to date Mao-chan.”

They all stopped at stared at him. “Baka,” they all muttered, before exiting to begin taping.

* * *

Nino could feel Mao’s eyes on him as he played with wires and adjusted the television in the green room. But every time he turned around, she’d look away. He sighed. It had been like that since he entered the room 10 minutes ago. She wasn’t speaking to him. She wasn’t acknowledging him. She blatantly ignored him when he said good morning to her. But when he wasn’t looking, she was watching him.

“Yosshi!” he was finished. He had spent the past five minutes hooking up his Wii to the TV.

He looked over at Mao. She buried her face in a magazine she was “reading”.

“Ne, Mao-chan,” he called to her. She flipped a page.

Nino stepped a little bit closer to where she sat, curled up on the couch. “Mao-chan.” She loudly flipped another page.

Kneeling behind the couch, he placed his chin up on the back so he was almost next to her shoulder. Her hair smelled like mangos.

“Ne, Mao-chan.” He was surprised she didn’t rip the page with the force she turned it. “You know your magazine is upside down right?” It wasn’t, but it tickled him to see her look at the magazine in surprise and flip it over so that is was upside down. When she realized he had tricked her, she glared at him.

“I’m sorry about the things I said yesterday. I didn’t mean them.” She pouted her lips and concentrated on the magazine. “You were right. I was jealous. And I really don’t want you to be mad at me anymore.”

Still nothing.

“If you want, you can hit me again. Give me matching bruises.” She glanced back at him with an eyebrow raised. He made puppy-dog eyes at her. “Right here.” He lifted his fist and lightly hit his cheek.

She smirked. Nino felt victorious.

“Hountoni gomennasai, Mao-san.”

Mao peered at him closely, examining his face. Her lips were still pursed. She seemed to be satisfied with what she saw and finally spoke to him. “What’s the Wii for?”

“Ah. I thought you’d never ask.” Nino stood up and motioned for her to join him. “This was just in case you still wanted to beat me up. I figured we could handle our problems in a non-violent way.” He shyly held up Wii Resort.

Mao rewarded him with a laugh. “I also figured it would a more fun way to pass the time together between takes while they’re changing around sets... or something.”

“Oh.”

“Do you want to play? I’ll even switch the controllers around so I have the handicap.”

Mao pushed him playfully. “Don’t you dare go easy on me. Besides, I know you’re ambidextrous. It doesn’t matter which hands the controllers are in.”

Nino was surprised. “You know that about me?”

Mao stared at the screen. “I know more about you than you think.”

He worked hard to suppress his smile. “Oh.”

They waited in silence as the Wii started up and Nino set up the controllers.

“So to play, you have to set up your Mii- it’s a character you can dress and name, then play.”

“I do know that, Oniichan has a Wii. It’s not like I haven’t played before.” Mao poked his forehead with her finger. He responded by sticking out his tongue at her.

Then Mao started laughing. “Did you make Arashi Miis?!” She pointed to the screen. “AWW Sho-kun is so cute!”

“The guys made their own... but they may have some evil clones running around in there that I made.”

“Like that? Is that supposed to be Jun?” She pointed to one name DoS. He had a large afro and a unibrow.

“Maybe.”

“Aww, you made Hanadan characters! Kawaii!... Though... did you have to make Tsukushi so short?”

“She is short.” He got a smack on the arm for that.

Nino watched as Mao explored his little Mii community, his heart pounding loudly. He bit his lip as Mao’s eyes went a little wider.

“Ne, Nino-kun?”

“Un?”

“You made most of these characters, right?”

“So desu.”

“Did you make the one that says NinomiyaIsReallySorry?”

“So desu.”

“How about the one that says NinoIsAStupidJerk?”

“So desu.”

“And the one that’s called,” Mao stopped to clear her throat, “KazuLovesMao.”

“Yep.”

“And KazunariXMao...and NinoHeartsMao... and...”

Nino turned to Mao, then took the controllers from her. He placed her hands in his.

“I made all of those too.”

“Oh.”

Instead of saying anything more, Mao picked up the controllers again. She started to make her own Mii.

MaoLovesKazuToo.

Nino stared at the screen. Then stared at Mao.

“Really?”

She smiled brightly. “Hooooountou ni. Really, really, really...mff...” Nino had grabbed the back of Mao’s head and pulled her in for a deep kiss.

A perfect kiss with the sweetest lips he’d ever laid his own on.

When they finally pulled apart they were both a little breathless. Nino looked down tenderly at Mao, her cheeks gone bright right. She quickly ducked her head and hid her face against Nino’s shoulder. Mao lightly punched him in the stomach.

“Baka. I’ve been waiting for such a long time for you to say it.”

Nino laughingly tried to lift her chin up but she wouldn’t let him. “Eh? Nani? Say what?”

She punched him again.

“Oi.” He finally got a grasp of her chin and lifted her face up to him. “I love you, you violent girl, you. I’ll never let you go. ”

Giggling, Mao placed a small kiss on his lips. “I love you too, you baka boy.”

They were both laughing when Nino pulled her in for another kiss. I was right, Nino thought, just a pinch of Mao and life was just that much sweeter.


_____

...And Glyn has gone off into hiding.

Death threats go here.
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