Pairing: Aiba, Jun, Sho, Nino, Ohno, Kame. (Sakumiya and probably: OhBa and MatsuKame)
Rating: PG-13 (for now)
Warning: Arashi as hosts; in later chapters: smut
Disclaimer: I don't own the boys, but the story is mine.
Summary: To start a new life is everything Aiba wants. And his new work place in a different host club brings him a bunch of new friends.
Aiba woke up when he heard someone talking on the corridor. He blinked. For just a moment he didn’t know where he was. He lied on a tatami. A small breeze from outside brushed over his face. He turned to look at the open window. The sun was already shining and the clock on the wall told him that it was 8am. Too early for Aiba, because in the end he worked till 4am o’clock, even though he had no other guest after Ohno left.
“Aiba-chan?” He heard a well-known voice from outside.
“Hm?” Aiba grumbled loud enough so that the others could hear him.
“Can we come in?” the voice asked.
“We? Who is we?” Aiba said sleepy. He had his eyes closed again, his head buried in the pillow. He heard how someone opened the door and slipped into his room.
Two bodies landed left and right next to Aiba and he grunted because someone started tickling his sides. “I am not ticklish,” Aiba grumbled.
He looked up to see Nino on the one and Jun on the other side smiling at him. At the doorframe stood Sho, his hands crossed. “I said he is still sleeping.”
“No he isn’t,” Jun said, and pulled on Aiba’s arm till he sat up.
Aiba looked from one to the other. He still felt dizzy and he was sure that he was still half asleep. “What do you want at this time?” Aiba yawned.
“Shopping.” Jun smiled at him.
“Shopping at 8am?” Aiba pulled one eyebrow up. “The shops are still closed.”
“Yeah, but no one said that we go shopping without having breakfast first.” Jun smiled at him. “You have 20 minutes to get ready.”
Sho looked at Jun when he passed him at the door. “Sometimes you are really a tease.”
“Says the one who is never a tease?” Jun’s voice sounded sarcastic.
Aiba let himself fall back to the tatami. He was awake now. Not completely and it would need a strong coffee to get all his life spirit back, but it was already okay. The others really wanted to go shopping with him. Did he find something like friends here? Already? After only one day in this club?
Aiba stood up and hurried to get ready for the others. He took one of his shirts and pulled it over his head, angled for his jeans and slipped into it, while he tried brushing his teeth. In the end it took him 15 minutes to get downstairs to Jun, Sho and Nino.
“Wow, that was fast,” Nino said, looking at Aiba. “Jun needs at least 40 minutes in the bathroom.” Nino pointed at Jun, who gave him a small punch on the back of his head.
“Brat.” Jun laughed.
“Have you seen this? He is hurting me, and you don’t even say something?” Nino glanced at Sho, who just grinned at him.
“What shall I say? Sometimes you just deserve it.” Sho answered in a slow and unimpressed voice.
Nino snorted. “And that is called boyfriend.”
Aiba looked at them, smiling. They really liked each other, he could see that. And the most amazing thing for him was that he was about to be a part of them. And it happened just coincidentally. Aiba tried remembering when he had friends the last time. Not only colleagues or people he randomly talked to, but real friends. It had been ages since he was last out with some others.
“We all love you Nino,” Jun just said, placing a hand around Nino’s shoulder. “Right Aiba-chan?”
“Sure,” Aiba said.
They sat in the nearest coffee shop back in the corner of the room. Jun walked up to them with three coffees and one tea on a plate. “Here is your coffee.” He handed the two cups to Nino and Aiba. “And your tea,” he said to Sho, who thanked him and took the cup.
“What are you drinking?” Aiba wanted to know.
Jun licked his lips lustfully. “Double caramel latte macchiato.”
The others started laughing. “You and your caramel obsession,” Nino said. He nudged Jun’s shoulder playfully.
“Yes, I am really obsessed. It’s horrible, someone needs to help me,” Jun said theatrically.
Aiba looked at the boys joking about their habits and attitudes. There was a feeling Aiba had already forgotten about: feeling comfortable.
“So what’s your secret, Aiba-chan?” Sho asked him. Aiba looked up. All of them looked at him. Aiba didn’t know what to say. He rubbed over his wrists absent-minded. Actually this was his secret, but he wasn’t able to talk about it, not yet.
“Peaches,” Aiba said after a while. Jun pulled one eyebrow up, looking at Aiba. “Peaches?”
“Yes, I love them. I can eat so much till I get a stomach-ache.” Aiba grinned. It wasn’t a lie what he told them, but of course it wasn’t really a secret. “And yours Sho-kun?”
Sho seemed to think about Aiba’s words. He tilted his head left and right, a small smile curling around his lips. “Probably Nino.”
Aiba could see Nino blushing at this. He didn’t seem to count with that answer from Sho. “You are stupid,” Nino only said, but Aiba could see how happy Nino looked about that.
“So, our plan for today is to get this man something to wear.” Jun pointed at Aiba, who looked up at him.
“You want me to buy new clothes?” Of course Aiba remembered about the talk from the day before, but he didn’t think that they’d go immediately.
Nino chuckled. “You didn’t think we’d really do this, right?” Nino poked Sho’s side slightly. “See, Sho, I told you he doesn’t believe in Jun’s words.”
“I think I wouldn’t either,” Sho admitted. He smiled at Nino, who just shrugged his shoulders like he agreed to Sho’s words.
“Let’s go, guys,” Jun said, clapping while he stood up. “Let’s get this man dressed.”
After trying a bunch of clothes, Aiba let himself fall on the couch which was in the corner of the shop. He panted because it exhausted him to try so much stuff in such a short time. “I can’t anymore.”
Jun laughed at that. “We aren’t done yet. You have two jeans, four t-shirts and shoes, but you need a belt and you definitely need a scarf to be perfect styled.”
“Can’t you just bring it here? I think I am not able to stand up anymore.” Aiba smiled. He didn’t know how long it had been since he was last shopping. Of course he went buying the things he needed, but he was always alone in the shops.
“What do you think?” Everyone turned when Sho stepped out of the stall. Aiba supressed laughter when he saw Sho standing there with pink pants and a blue t-shirt, turning to watch himself in the mirror.
“Do you want to kill us or yourself?” Jun asked. They laughed about that, but Aiba was sure that it wasn’t only a joke from Jun’s side. Maybe he’d have killed him when he had bought these clothes.
Nino just shook his head, brushing over Sho’s arm softly. “Listen to Jun, he is Mr. Style here.”
“That was just a joke,” Sho whined. “I really wanted to make a joke with these clothes.”
Nino just nodded at him. “Yeah, I believe you.”
Aiba turned to Jun, who was busy with collecting the clothes Aiba should buy now. “Was it really a joke?”
Jun smiled at him. “Yes, I guess. But Sho, you know…he looks good. And as long as he buys suits, he is perfectly dressed, but don’t send him buying street clothes. That’s a bad idea. Maybe not that bad like he showed right before, but bad enough to be embarrassed because of him.”
“Oh,” Aiba just said. Somehow they were all strange, Aiba thought. Not in a bad way though, they were all just special. Aiba saw Nino the day before with his PlayStation in his room, playing a shooter game, Aiba didn’t know. Jun was obsessed with clothes and caramel, and Sho had a strange taste for clothes, and he seemed rather strict and humourless, but he tried hard to be more open when he was with them. And Aiba himself? He thought of his own speciality. Maybe he was just a sunny person? At least he once was, but was it still true that he was like that? Or did he lose his carefree and positive attitude completely?
Aiba carried the five bags upstairs to his room. He put the things on the floor to look at them again. The colours of the shirts were strong, but not too much. Aiba liked what Jun chose for him. He really had a great taste and he pulled out exactly the things which suited Aiba.
“You like them?” Aiba turned round when he heard the sudden voice. “Sorry, you had the door open, I didn’t want to interrupt you,” Nino said. He stepped into the room and sat down on the floor, looking at Aiba.
“Yes, I really do.” Aiba smiled. He slipped out of his shirt to try on a new one. He stopped when he heard Nino breathing out behind him. Sometimes Aiba forgot about his body, about the scars on his hands and the marks on his back. He closed his eyes.
“Am I allowed to ask?” Nino finally said.
Aiba nodded. He hardly ever talked about what happened, but he had the feeling that he was safe now. Maybe it would be a good chance to get rid of the ballast on his soul.
“What happened?” Nino asked.
Aiba turned to face him. “Come in Jun,” he said. Aiba learned to listen to things around him, and he heard Jun standing next to his door.
“I am sorry,” Jun said, bowing. “I didn’t want to spy on you. I heard you talking and I stopped to listen.”
“So you were spying.” Nino smiled. He got a dark glance from Jun, but Nino only raised his hands to show that it wasn’t him who did something wrong.
“It’s not a problem, really. But please close the door. I don’t want everyone to listen,” Aiba answered.
“Listen?” It was Sho asking from the corridor. Aiba sighed. In the end he didn’t want a group meeting with him talking about his problems, but when he looked from one to the other he knew that they wouldn’t laugh at him or blame him for anything happened to him.
“Okay, but now close the door please.” Aiba turned to Sho, who slipped into the room and did like Aiba said.
Aiba felt observed when the three of them sat there, looking at him. He rubbed over his wrists. He walked up and down in his room without saying something.
“Can you please sit down?” Jun said after a while. “I get nervous when you run around like this,” he added with a smile.
“Sorry,” Aiba said. He sat down on his tatami and wrapped his arms around his legs.
Aiba kept silent again. He didn’t say anything, till Nino broke the silence. “It seems you can’t talk about it?”
“What happened to you?” Sho asked. Aiba could feel Sho’s eyes resting on his hands.
Aiba sighed. He felt a knot in his throat. He wasn’t sure how the talk would end. Would he cry? Would he scream? Would it be both? “I worked in the Melon Club,” Aiba started. He knew that everyone in this business knew about that club. There was hardly anyone who didn’t know that it was the worst place around Tokyo.
“That must have been hard,” Sho said. “Is it really like people say?”
Aiba nodded and then he shook his head. He smiled a bit when he saw the others looking at him confused. “It’s worse.” He rubbed over his forehead, thinking about how to start.
“Let me guess, you had not so nice customers?” Nino asked and earned a punch from Jun into his side. “I just asked,” Nino whined.
“Yes, everything was allowed, also non-consensual things. That was the biggest problem,” Aiba answered.
“And the other guys who were working with you?” Jun wanted to know.
Aiba shook his head. He thought about what to answer. He didn’t want to blame anyone for something they only did to make their life at least a little bit easier. “We were together in a five bed room, and we didn’t like each other really much.”
“But especially because of the circumstances, right?” Sho said.
Aiba nodded. “Yes, but in the end everyone was just trying to get the best customers and everyone wanted to have advantage over someone else.”
“Why didn’t you leave earlier?” Nino asked.
“Good question.” Aiba tilted his head. “I needed the money, and there was no chance to get away there.”
“You came here because Kame helped you out, right?” Jun said.
Aiba looked at him, surprised. “Why do you know this?”
“He is my … friend,” Jun answered.
“Yes, he was the reason I left there. He pulled me out and brought me here.”
Nino and Sho looked from Jun to Aiba. “That’s why you immediately wanted to help Aiba-chan,” Nino guessed. “You knew him. Not personally, but Kame told you that he’d bring him here.”
“Yes.” Jun leaned back on his arms. “You know that Kame was also a part of that club.”
Aiba looked at Jun. He smiled sadly. “Yes, I know. I know him from back then. When he left the club from one day to the other, he promised me to be back for me.”
Aiba bit on his lips. He understood what Jun meant when he said they are friends. He knew it from Kame already that he and Jun were together. And Aiba knew that Kame left because Jun pulled him out there, and just a part in Aiba felt like Jun made also him get out there.
“And he came?” Sho asked.
“Yes. He came with a job offer from this club here,” Aiba answered. “And I guess it was Jun who made this for me?”
Jun grinned at him. “Na, it really was no problem. We needed help here.”
“You never thought of changing your job?” Nino said.
Aiba shook his head. “No. I like this job, really, just that the Melon Club is no place where anyone should work.”
“Kame told me that you like it, and I immediately wanted to help you, even though I didn’t know you,” Jun said. “You are important to Toma,” Jun added.
“He is the only friend I had back there. When he left everything went worse. It sounds stupid, but he was something like my bodyguard.” Aiba scratched his head. “But I knew he’d keep his promise and come back to take me out there.”
“But Kame doesn’t do this job anymore, right?” Sho looked at Jun.
“No. He always hated it, but he is okay with me doing it. He understands that I like it,” Jun answered.
“What did they do to you, Aiba-chan?” Nino’s voice was soft and Aiba could hear that Nino wasn’t sure if he was allowed to ask this.
“We had one guest who wanted rougher things. And he didn’t accept a ‘no’.” Aiba brushed over his wrists. “Metal and leather can leave scars,” he just said. “And the other guys there took what they wanted to take. They took money from others, stole clothes and whatever they needed. And they had sex, even though the other didn’t want it in that moment.” Aiba couldn’t say out loud that they used him against his will, but he knew the others understood what he meant.
“Wow,” Sho started. “And you still like this job?”
“It’s weird. I am weird, right?” Aiba laughed.
Jun robbed closer to Aiba and put his arm around Aiba’s shoulder. “We are all weird. Especially Nino, you should see him when he is at work.”
“Hey, not fair,” Nino laughed.
Aiba appreciated it that they tried to cheer him up. He felt good. He felt safe. He thought the others would ask about details, would pity him or they would be shocked. But they understood him, and even without words they made him understand that they’d support him.