Molliarty (articulation) wrote in jent_fanfics,
Molliarty
articulation
jent_fanfics

Walking Club - 9/?

Title: Walking Club - 9/?
Rating: PG
Pairing: eventual ohmiya, sakuraiba, matsuba .. in a way
Summary: The coming school year is going to bring changes to every aspect of their lives: family, school, social. But if there's one thing you can always rely on, it's the walking club.
Notes: You can find previous chapters here.



Nino didn't have to knock twice before the door opened and he was hustled in. It was not, however, the boy he was a little scared of seeing, but his mother that had pulled Nino in by the scruff of his collar. Looking up into her eyes at that moment, Nino was beginning to wonder if perhaps this was such a good idea.

"You know what came, don't you?" It wasn't really a question, more of a test and Nino didn't know what else to do but nod, hoping that Ohno's mother would release his shirt soon. The two of them had always been on good terms, having a common bond of video games and fretting over Satoshi, but at this moment, he felt more than a little intimidated.

"He's in his room, staring at the envelope last I checked. Go and report back as soon as you can." And with a wink as if they were comrades on some secret spy team, she simultaneously let go of him and pushed him down the hallway. Maybe there was more to Mrs. Ohno than met the eye.

Nino cautiously made his way down the hallway, more wary than he had felt earlier. This was Oh-chan's first choice school. This was his future. And Nino ... Nino wanted to be a part of it, as much as possible.

He knocked as he opened the door to Ohno's room, not really giving the older boy time to reply. Ohno merely glanced up, a resigned look on his face. Nino gulped. The envelope had to come first, it was obvious. But when that was over, would Nino still have the courage he had managed to screw up on his way over? Only time would tell.

"It came," Ohno said in a monotone, staring down at the envelope of indeterminate size in his hand.

"It came," Nino agreed, sitting down on the bed next to Ohno.

"I should open it," Ohno observed.

"You should," Nino agreed again, feeling a little antsy. The silence dragged on a bit longer as Ohno continued to stare down the envelope, as if his stare could somehow influence the words written inside.

"Okay, I'm going to open it," Ohno announced a little uneasily.

"Okay. Good luck," Nino prompted, peering over Ohno's shoulder so as to get a better view.

It seemed like eons as Ohno slipped his finger between the seam of the envelope, slowly ripping it open. After his slow progress was finished, he reached inside the envelope slowly, as if he could somehow will it to be an acceptance. Finally, his fingers grasped the paper on the inside and he pulled the letter out, upside down. There was still no clue what was written on it. Nino and Ohno looked each other in the eye and with a nod, Ohno flipped the sheet over.

Dear Mr. Satoshi Ohno,

Thank you for applying to Asakusa Art College. We were very impressed by your portfolio. However, we have a very large number of applicants this year and we're sorry to inform you...


The paper fell from Ohno's hand before Nino could read anymore. Nothing else really needed to be seen, though. They had said no. It was a rejection letter.

"Oh-chan?" Nino asked lightly, noticing that the older boy had fallen forward, his head in his hands, staring down at the floor. Nino put a hesitant hand on his shoulder but in an uncharacteristic move, the other boy shrugged it off.

"They said no," he breathed. Nino didn't reply. He didn't know what to say.

The two sat in silence for awhile, Ohno a ball of tense energy and Nino completely at a loss for words for once in his life. Usually a silence between the two of them wasn't unnatural, a more companionable situation. Nino felt ridiculously uncomfortable now, however, and was desperately trying to think of something to say.

After about five minutes of deliberation, Nino finally opened his mouth.

"They don't deserve you," he said with as much confidence as he could muster. Ohno didn't say anything but turned his head to look at the other boy, a skeptical expression on his face.

"They don't," Nino continued, gaining courage from the fact that at least Ohno was responding. "Those uppity pricks. I bet they only accepted people that lined their portfolios with ten thousand bills. You have talent which is way more than any of those other hacks can say."

"You don't know that, Nino," Ohno sighed. "They're probably all much better artists than me that deserve a place at that school. Don't patronize me; I'm just not as good an artist."

"Don't say that!" Nino cried. "You're the best artist there is! Do you remember that picture you drew me for my birthday last year? That was amazing. I bet I could enter it in a contest and win an award. There is no reason other than bribery or sheer ignorance for them to turn you down."

"But they did, Nino," Ohno's voice rose gradually as the argument continued. "They turned me down. The world isn't as black and white as you're painting it. Don't just say things because you're my friend. I understand. I get it. I'm just not a good artist."

"Then why did the other schools accept you, hmm? Why did all those other schools practically beg you to come to them?" Nino's voice rose to match Ohno's in pitch. There was desperation in his tone.

"Because they're not as good. They need students. They're not very good schools, Nino. They were just backups. But now I'm going to have to tie my future to one of them. Maybe I'm just not cut out for this. Maybe I should just get a job and stop worrying about this."

"Stop doubting yourself," Nino's tone was firm. "You're a good artist, Oh-chan. We all know it. We all believe in you." There was a pause. "I believe in you."

"That's very nice, Nino," Ohno replied, not picking up on the subtlety of Nino's speech, "but you guys aren't art critics. It doesn't matter what you think."

The words hadn't meant to be harsh or grating but even Ohno winced when he heard them come out of his mouth. Nino seemed a little taken aback but he didn't back down.

"It should matter what I think, Oh-chan," Nino stated, determination behind his eyes.

"Why?" Ohno caught his gaze as he asked the simple question, self-deprication dripping off the single syllable. Nino simply swallowed and said what he had come meaning to say.

"Because I love you."

There was a pause before Ohno burst out into laughter. Sarcastic, demeaning laughter.

"Why would you love me, Nino? I'm a failure at life. I'm a third year that can't even get into art college. All I do is draw and fish. I can barely pass math without Sho helping me. You should have aimed for Sho, honestly. I'm a bad choice, Nino. Don't do this to yourself."

"Don't say that about yourself," Nino said weakly, the laughter having taken away much of his energy. "You're an amazing person."

"Amazing?" Ohno laughed again. "Tell that to Asakusa Art College. Oh wait! They won't listen to you because you're only a lowly second year at some crap school in Heiwadai."

"Oh-chan?" Nino's voice quavered.

"Get out of here, Nino. You deserve better than me."

A scene flitted in front of Nino's eyes. His mother, crying. His sister, expressionless. A note on the counter. You all deserve better than me.

Ohno looked up into Nino's face, the anger, frustration and self-disgust meeting together to twist the image of his best friend into an object to focus his anger.

"I said get out of here!"

Nino took one last look at Ohno, saw the confusion and anger on his face, and ran. Ran past Mrs. Ohno who didn't even have to ask what had happened. Ran past the genkan where his shoes waited for him patiently only to be forgotten. Ran past the stop sign outside that seemed to be laughing at him.

They all left. They all left in the end.

~

And thus, we have Chapter Nine. I knew I'd have to get this out soon as Chapter Eight was ridiculously boring (sorry about that) and honestly, I was pretty excited to write Chapter Nine. I couldn't tell you why. Sorry about the lack of Sakuraibamoto in this chapter but we'll get back to them soon enough. As always, thank you for reading. ♥
Tags: g: arashi, r: pg, x: au
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