Sho has always been bad at foreign languages and when he realized that signing is like one, he nearly wants to give up but he doesn’t. Still, it’s difficult, even though he really wants to understand Nino, because he doesn’t have time. It doesn’t help that his study time has decreased because Nino always manages to distract him; he doesn’t really mind though and just studies extra hard at home, when he comes back from the library.
Sho is staring at the piece of paper. He hasn’t failed per se but it feels awfully like it and anyway his parents will see his grades slipping as a failure for sure. He sighs. He doesn’t want to study anymore. He doesn’t want to go home tonight. He doesn’t want to see Nino either though, so he avoids Ohno on his way out of the lecture hall and hangs out with some classmates instead.
They talk about films but he doesn’t go to the cinema anymore because… well, because it’s awkward for them and they pile up at Nino’s instead and watch his dvds with subtitles while Sho describes the visual stuff for Jun. It’s been a while that he hasn’t been able to truly lose himself in a story so he nods along and proposes to go see a film to forget all about their results.
They all agree and decide to go watch The Avengers again but in v.o. with subtitles. It’s not again for Sho. This time, though, none of the subtitles describe the sounds; they just translate the dialogues. It’s still difficult to get into the film. He doesn’t know who is who and why does he wait for them to stop fighting instead of running away but he decides to just enjoy the fighting scenes.
Apparently, he should have seen Thor, Iron Man and/or Captain America to enjoy The Avengers better they tell him, but all the films he has watched recently are more undeground because of Nino's taste and more dialogue-heavy because of Jun.
Sho ignores the incoming messages and turns his phone off.
He doesn’t understand their jokes half of the time and that’s when he realizes he doesn’t really know them anymore, or had he ever? but he can’t remember and doesn’t care. It’s actually better that they don’t know him that well either, he’ll just have fun.
They at least have the same definition of fun; drinking and partying, but they never really get to the partying so it’s mostly drinking.
It’s cheap beer at one of their flats, Shige’s maybe, with loud music, which he hadn’t realized he had missed and so he dances around. No one cares because someone is telling a juicy story about that time they had flirted with their hot professor of macro econ.
They are playing truth or dare. Isn’t that awfully childish? Sho had asked but they replied with an are you afraid, you are, aren't you, and so of course he is playing too. He chooses dare each time though, and ends up drinking more.
Sho wakes up with a start, cold and wet, and there is a glass half-empty above him. His brain painfully informs him that he just got doused with cold water.
His neck aches and he rubs the back of it while he gets up from the floor, throwing a withering glare to Tegoshi, who is still holding the glass. Shige looks at him apologetically but Sho’s head is pounding and his clothes are sticking to his body so he just nods and ignores Tegoshi’s it’s just a joke before he grabs his bag and leaves.
Once outside, he checks his phone. There is a missed call from his mother and another one from Jun. There’s also a message from Ohno and another one from Aiba and several from Nino.
where are u??? jun ll maybe get a dog for real!!
where are you? i’m waiting for you
should i call the morgue?
your a jerk ho doesnt derserve porper speling
Sho suddenly remembers that he told Nino he would come over yesterday. His tongue feels thick and dry inside his mouth.
He takes the bus and huddles against his seat, trying to get some warmth. He hesitates, fiddling with his phone, about whether he should send a message or not but he doesn’t and just goes straight to Nino’s.
It doesn’t take long for Nino to open the door but he doesn’t spare him a glance as he goes back inside and settles on his couch, his eyes glued to the screen of his DS.
Sho lets himself fall on the opposite end of the couch. He rubs at his eyes but the headache doesn’t go away. He really wants some water and his clothes are still cold and sticky. He throws a glance at Nino, who ignores him, and he remembers why he got drunk in the first place. He closes his eyes.
When he wakes up again, it’s because someone is shaking him and he realizes he must have fallen asleep. He cracks his eyes open and it’s Nino, who makes him get up and guides him to the bathroom.
He helps him strip because Sho is shivery and wobbly and taking forever to peel the clothes off. The water is too hot but Sho lets Nino push him under the spray. Nino leaves him alone and Sho doesn’t know how long he stays in the shower but his hands are all wrinkled when he gets out.
He feels a bit better, enough to feel guilty, and quickly changes into the set of clothes Nino left for him, cargo shorts and a hoody.
Nino is waiting for him in the living room but this time he pauses the game and stares at Sho. Sho looks down and takes his notebook out of his bag before sitting down.
He writes. It’s easier than signing, not only because he is better at writing but also because he doesn't have to look at Nino when he scribbles words on a piece of paper. It’s not easy enough though; his pen hovers above the blank page. He doesn’t know where to start.
Let’s run away, he wants to write. He doesn’t but it’s not far off.
I’m tired. I want to give up uni. I don’t think I can live up to my parents’ expectations anyway.
He knows it must seem pathetic but he doesn’t expect the sharp look Nino throws him after he has read the few lines. He doesn't expect Nino to suddenly get up and leave either and it takes him a few seconds to follow Nino. He is too slow because Nino slams the door in his face. Sho sighs and lets himself fall down to the floor, leaning against the door, and waits.
It takes a while but then Sho can hear some rustling and a paper is slid from underneath the door. Sho pushes it in front of him on the floor and gets to his knees to read it, propping himself with his hands that rest on both sides of the paper.
You get to listen to Ohno sing. I feel jealous but then I think that I can do everything but hear and that maybe Jun has it worse because he can’t see any of Ohno’s paintings. You get to do both, everything, hear and see. You get to have parents that have expectations of you and not dead ones, or ones that drag you everywhere to find a cure, or ones that pity you and just let you do whatever you want.
Tears fall on the sheet of paper and bloat the ink and Sho realizes they are his. He really wishes Nino could scream all those things at him.
‘It’s not fair,’ and Nino won’t hear but he doesn’t need to because Nino knows, has always known while Sho had dreamt of big things and so Sho is sobbing. It’s almost soundless because he tries to stop himself, one hand pressed against his mouth, but his breath catches in his throat and then it’s all harsh breathing and whimpers and hot tears.
He hears the door open and there is a few seconds of nothingness, of trying to control his breathing, until Nino hugs him from behind because his shoulders are probably shaking. Nino, then, does something he rarely does, he hums and it’s tuneless and not really soothing but the vibrations against his neck still calm him down.
One of Nino’s hands snakes past him to reach the piece of paper. He turns it over and starts to write. It’s awkward and Nino’s handwriting is messier than usual and it doesn’t help that the sheet is already wet but Sho watches how the words take form and, with the humming on his neck, it’s almost as if he could hear Nino talk.
you know that jun has a color-coded wardrobe. I want to mess with his system and make him wear a red sock with a green one at least
Sho is laughing now, still crying at the same time maybe, and he snatches one of Nino’s hands and writes I am sorry in the palm of his hand.
Sho feels Nino nod before his arms wrap themselves around him and hugs him tightly.