Being Human

Mar. 5th, 2017 06:07 pm
rollingday_s: (sakuraiba)
[personal profile] rollingday_s posting in [community profile] rollingdayscomm
Title: Being Human
Pairing: Sakuraiba (Sho/Aiba), a smidge of past & unrequited Sakumoto (Sho/Jun) + friendship pairs, namely Aimiya (Aiba/Nino) and a little Junba (Jun/Aiba).
Genre: AU, Fantasy, Angst, Romance, Fluff, Friendship.
Rating: PG-13, maybe R for implied sexual intercourse
Summary: For Aiba, finding love meant losing some things and gaining others.
Disclaimer: Arashi don’t belong to me. As far as I know, Aiba has always been fully human. Then again, his beauty is so out of this world that I’m not really sure about that.
A/N: This story is set after Of Wishes, Gods, and True Love. I’m sorry for being such an Aiba-biased fangirl. (Not really, though.) Please read the End Notes for some thoughts on this universe.

← Previous | Being Human

Their first year together hadn’t been easy.

The first two months Aiba spent as a human were delightful for him. Everything felt new and shiny. He still remembered the first time he felt hungry, and how satisfying it was to eat. He had taken a liking to cooking, and had started taking care of that. Sho was an okay cook, but he hated it, so he was more than happy to leave that chore to him.

But after the novelty had worn off, Aiba felt increasingly more frustrated by his human condition. He felt a slave of his own body sometimes. He hated that he had to eat, drink, sleep, and take care of himself. He started neglecting his body’s needs. While Sho was away at work, he would stop eating. He would just sulk by himself on the bed, watching TV just to have something to distract him.

Whenever Sho came back, he put on a smile and pretended to be happy, but he could see the hurt in his boyfriend’s eyes. Yet, Sho never said anything. The whole thing was new to the both of them, and neither knew how they should behave.

He was only truly happy when they made love. The body he hated so much became something he treasured when he was in Sho’s arms. He would close his eyes and let him hold his waist, caress his skin, kiss his chest, hungry for that loving touch and those adoring words spilling from his lover’s lips. Sho told him over and over again: you’re beautiful. And little by little, Aiba started to believe it. Little by little, Aiba could look at himself and see what Sho saw. Not a fragile human body, but a body marked with and by love.

Everything he was, was beautiful.


“This is Aiba Masaki,” Sho said. “Masaki, this is Matsumoto Jun.”

Aiba smiled and bowed his head. Of course, he knew who Matsumoto Jun was, but this was the first time they actually met. Matsumoto bowed his head and stared at him briefly with a curious expression. Aiba hadn’t missed the look of surprise in his eyes when Sho had called him by his first name.

“It’s very nice to meet you, Aiba-san,” Matsumoto said.

Aiba waved his hand. “Please, drop the ‘san.’ I feel like we’ve already known each other for a long time,” he said with a chuckle.

Jun didn’t say anything, but his lips curved up. Aiba noticed with disappointment that the smile didn’t reach his eyes.


The first time he realised he was really human, was when he cut himself.

He was cutting some vegetables in the kitchen to make nabe, when Sho had come in and had started rambling about something that happened at work. He had a meeting with a new client that day, but there had been a mishap with the storyboards, and he and his team had to do their presentation without them. Aiba was nodding for the nth time at Sho’s angry curses when he felt it.

He looked down at his thumb curiously. It stung a little as he saw something red come out of it.

“Oh,” he said. “I think I hurt myself.”

Sho’s head shot up and he ran to his side immediately. He cursed again when he saw that Aiba had cut himself deeply enough to cause a big cut. He took some kitchen paper from nearby and pressed it on his thumb, instructing him to keep it still. Aiba nodded, unfazed, and observed as Sho went to the bathroom and came back with some oxygenated water and gauze.

Gently, Sho cleaned his wound with the water and secured the gauze around his thumb. When he was all done, he patted Aiba’s hand.

“Please, be careful,” he said, a little nervous.

Aiba moved his thumb carefully. It hurt a little, but other than that he was okay. It had been more of a weird experience than a shocking one. “Thanks, Sho-chan,” he said gratefully, looking at him with a smile. “I lo—”

Sho’s lips were on his before he could say another word. He surrendered to the bittersweetness of their kiss and pretended that the tears forming in his eyes were because of the cut on his thumb, and not the burning in his heart.


It wasn’t like he didn’t trust that Sho loved him. He knew that what they had was true love, but he had also learned that being soulmates didn’t mean that they would be happy all the time.

There were times when Aiba felt like he had to put on a brave face for Sho, when in reality he felt anything but happiness inside. Just because he didn’t have doubts about their love, didn’t mean everything was going well. Sometimes Aiba asked himself if they were supposed to already know what to do, or if they should learn how to make it work gradually. Did everyone feel like this, in the beginning? Like they should dance around each other, afraid to voice some feelings in fear to hurt the other? Or were they supposed to be laughing all the time, smiling, revelling in each other’s presence?

And it wasn’t like they didn’t have those moments either. They spent their nights in each other’s arms, and their waking moments treasuring every second together. And yet sometimes Aiba wondered about it. He wondered if they did the right thing, Sho and him. After all, Matsumoto was truly everything Sho ever looked for in a partner. They were compatible beyond reasonable doubt. Aiba often asked himself if perhaps they weren’t better suited for each other than he and Sho were.

“Jun-kun was put at the head of the new Kirin commercial,” Sho was saying. “We’re all so very proud of him.”

Matsumoto beamed at him. His smile was beautiful in a goofy way, like he felt embarrassed to show it to the world. His eyes crinkled gently as he lowered his gaze for a second before looking back up and shifting his attention to Aiba. Aiba couldn’t help but smile in return.

“Congratulations, Matsumoto-kun,” he said sincerely. “I’m sure you’ll do a great job.”

“Thank you, Aiba-san,” he bowed his head.

Aiba pouted a little. “How many times do I have to tell you to drop the ‘san’ already?”

Matsumoto apologised, but he only called him ‘Aiba-kun’ once before reverting back to his old habits.


Aiba only met Nino four months after he became human.

He knew Sho and Nino had their game night on Saturdays, and he had looked forward to the time he would finally meet him. After having read so much about him on his notebook when he was still a love god, Aiba felt fascinated by him.

Nino was an interesting person indeed. He had a game shop and was studying to be a programmer. He was very good in the kitchen, and Aiba already imagined what it would be like to bond over cooking. He wanted to learn from Nino as much as he could, so that he could become a better cook himself. And then, he remembered Nino’s profile saying, he was a sweet, caring man with a rough exterior. He was snarky and sarcastic, and very often said things in the worst, rudest way possible, but he was very sensitive and smart. Deep down, Nino was someone who cared a lot for the people he loved. Aiba was happy Sho had such a good friend by his side, and hoped to become friends with Nino too.

Yet, Sho never let the two of them meet. He even called off their game nights for a while, and only met with his friend when Aiba was at work. He didn’t know why his boyfriend was acting that way, especially because he had no problem letting him meet Matsumoto right away. So it came as a pleasant surprise when one evening he had gone to open the door and had found a small man looking up at him with an inquisitive look in his eyes.

“So, you’re the cupid guy?” he said, scanning him from head to toe behind his thickly framed glasses.

Aiba smiled and let out a giggle when he recognised him. “Nino?”

Nino grinned and walked in when Aiba moved away to let him in.

“If you’re looking for Sho-chan, he’s not here,” Aiba said, walking to the kitchen. “He’s still at work, but he should be getting home any time now.” He smiled and pointed at a kettle on the stove. “I was making tea for when he comes back, do you want some?”

Nino nodded. “Thanks.” He sat down on the stool near the counter. “I know Sho’s at work, that’s why I’m here.” He rested his chin on his hand and tilted his head. “I came to see you.”

Aiba took two cups from the cupboard and placed them next to his guest. “Me?”

“We’ve never been introduced formally, haven’t we?” Nino smirked. “Ninomiya Kazunari, but you can call me Nino. Not that you don’t already,” he clicked his tongue in fake irritation.

Aiba giggled as he poured some boiling water in the cups. “Aiba Masaki.”

Nino stared at him and hummed. “Aiba-san, is it?” He took a spoonful of sugar and added it to the tea Aiba handed him. “So,” he said, “what’s the catch?”

“The catch?” Aiba repeated.

Nino blew on the tea. The heat made his glasses fog up, so he took them off. His eyes pierced Aiba on his spot with an inquisitorial look as he said the next words. “You’ve been together for months already, and Sho never introduced you to me. So, what is it? What’s wrong with you?” he asked, squinting his eyes.

Aiba chuckled. “Actually, I was wondering the same thing. I have no idea why Sho-chan wouldn’t let us meet.”

Nino made a thoughtful noise as he dared taking a sip of his hot tea.

“I’m home,” Sho’s voice from the hallway said.

Aiba straightened himself as he watched Sho’s head appear in the kitchen. “Welcome back,” he said with a smile.

Sho acknowledged him with a soft look before his eyes moved to the figure on Aiba’s right. “Eh!? Nino!?”

Nino lifted two fingers. “Yo.”

“What are you doing here?” Sho asked, walking towards them. He slipped a hand around Aiba’s waist instinctively, bringing him closer.

“I came to see cupid guy here.”

Sho slapped him lightly on his head. “He’s not…” he glanced sideways at Aiba. “His name is Aiba.”

Aiba giggled lightly. “It’s okay, Sho-chan. We’ve already introduced ourselves.”

Nino pretended to be hurt. “Yeah, I don’t get why you didn’t want me to meet him. I think we will have so much fun together, ne, Aiba-chan?” he sing-songed.

Sho sighed and sat beside Nino.

“This,” he had said later pointing his finger at the two of them. Nino had spent the whole evening telling Aiba about embarrassing things Sho did – not that Aiba didn’t know already, but Nino had too much fun so he let him – and the two had started bullying him a little in between jokes.

“What?” Nino had asked. Aiba, who had been in the middle of a very good imitation of Sho’s loud snoring, had stopped to look at him.

“This is why I never wanted you two to meet,” Sho had whined.

He had still joined in the laughter that had come from his comment, though.


Do you think we could beat all the odds?

That’s what once Sho had asked him. And then he went and made the impossible happen. From the moment Aiba’s heart started beating, he knew Sho had changed his world forever. He could never live without him any more, now. Everything he was, his humanity, his life on earth, was all because and thanks to him.

He stole closer to his body and buried his head in his chest. Sho flinched slightly, surprised at the sudden movement, but he didn’t hesitate to wrap his arms around him and kiss the top of his head. Aiba hummed into the hug and placed a couple of kisses on Sho’s chest, over his shirt, smiling when he felt Sho’s chuckle shake his body.

Aiba pushed him down on the couch so that he was now lying on top of him, still hugging him. He loved to feel Sho’s warmth all around him. He looked up.



His boyfriend looked back at him. One of his hands went to caress his hair. Aiba had to resist the urge to close his eyes and lean into his hand. There was something he needed to do right now, and he couldn’t let himself be distracted. He lifted his body slightly so he could look better at him.

“I love you,” he said in one breath.

Sho’s eyes widened in fear. He grabbed Aiba’s arms and pushed him back against his chest, holding tight and not letting go. His breathing accelerated in time with his erratic heartbeats for a while before he calmed down.

“I love you too, Masaki,” he whispered, out of breath. “I love you too.”


In the past eleven months, Aiba had picked up a couple of odd jobs, but nothing he really liked.

He had been a delivery boy, a waiter, a phone operator, and a cashier. These days, he was working at a pet shop from 9 to 5.

He found that job a little bittersweet at times. He loved being surrounded by different animals, and had discovered that he had a soft spot for petting them, no matter how undesirable, dangerous, or poisonous they might be. Still, there was something painful in managing a pet shop. The puppies and kittens were sold relatively quickly, but most of the pets remained there for a long time, and when they were too old, the shop owner sent most of them away. Aiba didn’t know what happened to them, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to.

“Animals are nice,” he voiced his thoughts. “They’re very cute and all, but it’s sad when you see so many of them left behind.”

Nino nodded distractedly. They were both past sobriety, and had been for a while now, and yet there were still beer cans in their hands. At one point, Nino had dozed off for a few minutes, and the beer in his hand had ended up spilling onto his lap, so he had just decided to take off his pants and was now sitting there only in his boxers and shirt, but neither of them seemed to mind. It might have been that they were both too drunk to care, but Aiba knew they probably wouldn’t have minded either way if they were sober.

“It’s the same with my game shop,” Nino whined, shaking a fist in the air. “There are so many beautiful games that people don’t buy. They go for the Pokémons and the Zeldas, and gems like BioShock 2 are just neglected.”

Aiba pointed his finger at him. “That’s it!” he exclaimed. “Like, they come in for the Labrador puppy, and the Siamese cat is sitting lonely in his cage. Or the iguanas! What do people have against iguanas?” He felt the tears prickle at his eyes.

They heard the front door open, and a few seconds later Sho strolled in, looking exhausted.

“Shooo!” Aiba yelled happily.

“I’m home,” he said. “Man, I hate business dinners. I can’t even enjoy the food properly.” He looked at the two men sitting on the floor. There were cans of beer all around them, and Nino’s pants were hanging over the TV. He shook his head and rolled his eyes. “I see you were having fun.”

Aiba chuckled as he tried to get up. Sho held out a hand to him and helped him stand up. Aiba placed a wet kiss on his cheek, and Nino made gagging noises.

“Do I even want to ask why you’re not wearing pants?” Sho said, looking at him.

Nino shrugged and murmured something about comparing sizes.

Sho took away their beers as the two started chuckling. It took him almost an hour to clean everything up, push his boyfriend in the shower, making sure he didn’t drown as well as having to fight off his advances, pull a futon out of his closet for Nino to sleep on, and make a reluctant Aiba finally get into bed.

“Sho-chan?” Aiba murmured sleepily when he joined him.

Sho hummed tiredly.

“Do you like puppies?”

“They’re cute.”

Aiba giggled.

“We should definitely get an iguana.”

And with that, he fell asleep.


When Sho and Nino reinstated game night, Aiba started a new tradition.

Nino would go to Sho and Aiba’s place every Wednesday and every Saturday with his games and let them treat him to beer and food. In exchange, Aiba was happy to receive cooking lessons from Nino. They would start cooking at 6, and then, if it was Wednesday, they’d wait for Sho to come back from work at around 7 or 8, have dinner together, – during which Aiba observed Sho gobble everything up with happiness and delighted noises, even going as far as stealing from Nino’s plate, – and finally they’d take turns playing Nino’s games together.

One day Sho came back later than usual with a guest.

Matsumoto bowed in the entrance before coming in, and handed Aiba a bottle of wine asking him to forgive him for the intrusion. It seemed like their meeting had ran late, and Sho had insisted that Matsumoto joined them for dinner after he’d learned that he was planning on eating some leftovers alone that night.

“This is Matsumoto Jun-kun,” Aiba said to Nino while they entered the kitchen.

Nino looked up and gave him a nod. “Ninomiya Kazunari.”

Matsumoto bowed his head. “Nice to meet you.”

They added a plate in the living room and started dining after a few minutes.

“It’s so good,” Sho commented between bites. Matsumoto nodded in agreement as he continued: “what is it?”

Bœuf bourguignon,” Aiba replied. “We’re trying French cuisine this week.”

“You cook?” Matsumoto asked, interested.

“I try,” Aiba said with a smile. “Nino is the chef here.”

Nino snapped his tongue. “Please, don’t insult me.”

After a second round, Aiba left Nino and Sho while they were bickering over the last piece of beef. Sho kept on yelling that Nino didn’t really want it since he didn’t even like to eat, but Nino was so resolute that he had to have the last slice that he had licked it all over. Aiba placed the dishes in the sink and laughed to himself as he heard Sho’s outraged cry come from the other room.

“I’m sorry,” Matsumoto said, entering the kitchen.

“Uh?” Aiba turned around and looked at him with a confused frown.

The other man took a deep breath and bowed his head. “I know I was the one who told Sho-san that we should break it off, and then that I admired him more as a friend than anything, but the truth is, I wasn’t completely honest.” He lifted his head and looked back at Aiba hesitantly. “At first, I was jealous of you.”

Aiba wasn’t surprised. He held out a hand and placed it over his shoulder. “Do you still have feelings for Sho?” he asked, calmly.

Strangely, Matsumoto didn’t push his hand away. He shook his head firmly. “I did for a while. But I realised that I didn’t love him, rather the image of Sakurai Sho I had in my head.” He looked at him with an honest expression.

Aiba smiled gently and squeezed his shoulder. “Thank you, Matsumoto-kun.”

“Jun…” he said quietly, almost shyly. “You can call me Jun, Aiba-kun.”


“Masaki,” he said.

In the darkness, Aiba could only make out his silhouette sitting on the bed. There was only the pale moonlight as source of light, and as it spilled on the figure in front of him, Aiba couldn’t help but notice that his shoulders were even more sloping than usual.

“Yes, Sho-chan?” he said warily, taking a step forward.

To his surprise, Sho got up and hugged him, knocking the wind out of him. He didn’t say anything, and neither did Sho, but he tentatively linked his arms around his lover’s waist and rested his chin on his shoulder.

“Do you regret it?” Sho whispered in his ear.

It was a soft whisper, so feeble that Aiba wasn’t sure he really heard it. He clang to Sho’s shirt for a second and then pushed him away a little, to look him in the eyes. The gaze that met his was full of sadness and fears, mixed with the adoring look that he knew so well Sho only had for him. He cupped his lover’s face and looked at him with a determined gaze.

“I will never regret choosing you,” Aiba said with a clear voice. “You hear me? Never.”

Sho lowered his gaze and bit his lip. Aiba hated seeing him so insecure. He would do anything in his power to make Sho happy all the time.

With decision, he pulled off his shirt and made Sho look up. He then found one of his hands and, without a word, placed it on the scar right above his heart like he had done before. He closed his eyes and willed his heartbeats to speak, to sing for Sho as loudly as they sang in his ears whenever he thought of him. He hoped his lover could hear what his heartbeats were trying to tell him. That this was what he had always wanted. That the only reason he even had a heart was because he, Sho, had been generous enough to offer him his own.

He opened his eyes to meet Sho’s. His lover’s fingers curled over his beating heart, like he was trying to hold on to it. They never left each other’s gaze as they got closer. Aiba’s heart skipped a beat when their lips met, and all he could think was that this is what it felt to be alive. He had never really lived before he met Sho. When he had breathed in from their first shared breath, he had gained a soul.

They never really needed words when they were together. Everything was written in the way their bodies completed each other. The only time Aiba felt really whole was when they became one. When he was inside Sho, or when Sho was inside him.

They spent the whole night in each other’s arms, aching to complete each other for an hour more, a minute more, a second more, before the first ray of the sun could break the spell, and they could see that they were two bodies instead of one, but with the same beating heart.

Aiba watched as Sho’s fingers wrapped around his over his own chest. He snuggled closer to Sho’s side, breathing in the scent of their lovemaking and finding it intoxicating.

Even after all this time had passed, Sho was still afraid to hear him say that he loved him. Aiba could see the terrified look in his face whenever he did, and the relief when Sho could hold on to him firmly and he didn’t disappear. He knew that Sho was still afraid that everything was just temporary, that Aiba would really disappear again one day, and that when he whispered that he loved him, that reminded him of their first night together, and how Sho was left alone without him, holding on to empty sheets instead of his body.

Sometimes Aiba just couldn’t stand how insecure his boyfriend felt. But then he looked into Sho’s eyes, saw the same fears reflected back at him, and realised that being in love didn’t mean that everything was perfect and effortless. Being in love meant to get up every day with fear in your heart, and still be able to face those doubts together. There, he thought, lied the simple, fundamental humanity of love that he had learned to accept.

“What are you thinking of?” Sho asked him quietly.

Aiba looked up to see him looking back with a soft expression. His hair was dishevelled, his cheeks were still a bit flushed, and his lips were wet with their last kiss. Aiba smiled happily and squeezed his hand. He slid up and pushed Sho’s hair away from his face, kissing him quickly once, twice, thrice, on his lips.

“You,” he said with a kiss. “You.” He kissed him again. “I love you,” he said, and he didn’t let him feel afraid this time, didn’t let him hold on to him for fear that he would let go. He kissed him again, I love you, and again, I love you, and again and again, until the words lost their meaning, and all that remained was their hearts beating in unison.

← Previous | Being Human



The truth is, I’m so in love with this universe that I never want to let it go *sighs* which is why I decided to expand on it some more.

After the way things ended in the original fic, I felt like the story needed something else to feel complete. Of Wishes, Gods, and True Love was designed to be a fairytale meets reality sort of fic, but their characters were never supposed to feel “fictional.” Despite the fantasy setting, their stories, their mistakes, their emotions, their doubts and fears, were supposed to feel realistic. That’s why the first fic doesn’t end with “and they lived happily ever after,” but with a silent promise of love between Sho and Aiba.

I wrote Being Human right after handing in OWGaTL for the shoexchange. I felt like it didn’t fit in with the original story, so I couldn’t add it as an epilogue. In this fic, Aiba’s feelings are supposed to come out, as opposed to Sho’s, whose point of view was expressed in the first story. I wanted to show an Aiba who was now completely human, and struggling with his current condition. His love for Sho is still unwavering, but he needs time to adjust to his new life, his new emotions and doubts.

At the same time, Sho is still a bundle of insecurities, and he still keeps on making mistakes. He’s uncertain around Aiba at times. He doesn’t want to remind him, and himself, of the fact that he’s just new at being human. He’s still afraid that Aiba won’t be happy, that he will disappear from his arms again one day. I feel like their journey together couldn’t just end with a simple happy ending. Their love story is pure, but it’s messy, and they are both flawed, so they need to work hard to make it.

I don’t want my characters to be flawless, ever. I want them to cheat, to hurt others, to cry, to fight, to fail, to fall in love, and to make every mistake they can make. So I feel like Sho and Aiba needed to continue being insecure, so that they could realise that they're not perfect, but just human, and that they could find the strength they needed together.

When I finished Being Human, I started drafting another sequel afterwards, called The Last Assignment (tentative title), focusing on setting things right and tying up loose threads from OWGaTL. I probably won’t be able to post it very soon because it’s not finished, and I have another fic to tend to that has been long overdue *coughs* that Aimiya fic someone has been waiting for *coughs* but you can expect a continuation of this series to pop up someday (hopefully) soon-ish.
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rollingdayscomm: (Default)
Rolling Days


Disclaimer: I don't own Arashi.
It's them who own my Soul! Soul!

Fics list (please see the masterpost for details):

~ {Ravenclaw AU} Out Loud
~ Backstage Sex (Pun Intended)
~ Ficlets batch #1 [ 1 & 2 ]
~ Amore [ 1 | 1.5 ]
~ Paradox
~ The Only Exception
~ Boy/friend?
~ Idols don't need to be smart
~ Stronger
~ マイリーダー (My Leader)
~ L is for... [#1 | #2 | #3]
~ Truth or Dare [1 & 2]
~ Operation Jeannie
~ Their Relationship & His Laugh, His Smile
~ Lemon and Mint
~ The Biggest Fan
~ Not Like That
~ Patience
~ The Shadow/Leader

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