title: Your Chance to Rewrite the Bible
pairing: nanamine toru/shujin, possible shujin/saiko?
warnings: profanity bombs, so i thought kissing in the car would be hot
notes: like holy shit 2500 words. the idea sort of worked out better in my head, but sldkfj I wanted to fucking write this pairing so there you are. it's confusing as hell and it takes place somewhere around the general time frame of recent chapters, thus resultant spoilers include everything i remember about nanaminewhich seriously isn't a lot. idek. anyway tl;dr sorry there's no nanamine/saiko :\ i totally ship the fuck out of that too but i dun goofed.
summary: 2chan will have his ass before you do.
YOUR CHANCE TO REWRITE THE BIBLE
Takagi's new car is a Honda Accord with four doors and four wheels and six shiny panels of glass, three of them tinted at 60% and three of them scrubbed with grease and Lemon-flavored Windex, manganese-steel alloy and tacky stereo system that played just about everything at an intensity slightly below a fire alarm if you so much as brushed the dial a millimeter above seven, panels on the inside custom-designed leather and ordered by Kaya from a catalogue, the seats a lovely velvet plush although the left backseat was peculiarly squishier than the others as if someone had invited their three-hundred pound cousin over and made him hunker down on it for ten minutes. It was a very nice car. Elegant, in a way. Certainly very economic. On the weekend of Shujin's purchase, Saiko had snickered at it a little, and so did Niizuma, which made Takagi like the car even more.
He was still test-driving the thing at the dealership in Shinjuku when he came to the conclusion that he hadn't really any use for it; most of the places that he needed to transport himself to weren't difficult to navigate by foot or bike, the studio was only a few blocks away and it wasn't like the population of sex offenders on the subway was enough to encourage excessive trips to the gasoline pump. No, the Honda Accord was there to look pretty and to match the leopard print jacket that Kaya had bought near the host club in Roppongi; perhaps it will accompany them to a picnic under the beach and over the stars.
"Spend your money on something more meaningful," Saiko told him earlier on. "In a few months when the electricity bill comes you're really gonna regret this."
"We're still university students," Shujin said, and the truth was that there wasn't really anything meaningful that university students could spend their money on, regardless of whether or not they were popular mangaka or dishwashers at a Chinese joint. "But thanks."
Occasionally, he would try to trace a pattern on the windshield with his fingertips while he's driving, and when Kaya wasn't looking, his right hand would brush against the window and there would be a semblance of a superhero from a proper battle manga, a heroine with hair that looked a little like Aoki-san's and a lot more like Shiratori's dog's, a flower and a wooden drawer and a stencil with a signature. It was all very spontaneous. He liked it better when he was spontaneous, because he was never good enough to pull it off and Saiko or Hattori-san might give him pathetic pats on the back. They would write him off as being formulaic. He didn't mind.
So he bought the car, and he drove it to Shueisha one day to submit the new manuscript for PCP and it felt fucking great. He parked it in the left corner of the block within radius of several curious junior high students equipped with heavy cram school backpacks. Checked the headlights. Whistled a little when he took the key out of the ignition.
But it wasn't long before Kosugi-san came knocking at the door and winding a piece of lens cloth around a forefinger and a thumb, "Ashirogi-sensei!" he whispered, and there was a look of unspeakable urgence on his face. His glasses were fogging up. Knock knock. A fingerprint on his windshield. Shujin frowned.
"Ashirogi-sensei!" Knock knock.
He slid the keys back into the ignition and rolled down the window. "Wasn't expecting you here, Kosugi-san."
"I need your help, Ashirogi-sensei."
"If it's about Nanamine-kun, then I don't want to hear about it," said Shujin, because he was really tired of fake palindromes, if you had to know, and he was sure Kosugi would have understood but now he wasn't so sure.
"I'm going to die," the editor moaned, "I don't want to die, Ashirogi-sensei."
"Dying isn't very fun, I'll admit."
"I didn't want to ask anyone for help, but since you were familiar with the situation, I thought I'd come to you. It's urgent."
"What's happened now?"
Kosugi gave a little gulp, and in this light he was almost a little bit adorable. There was a large flesh-colored bandage stretched all the way across his nose from cheek to cheek. He pulled at the neck of his sweater uncomfortably and the lens cloth twisted farther and farther in his hand. "They had a meet-up on Saturday. Nanamine-kun, a-and his co-authors. They were mostly teenagers or college students, but there were a few of those basement-dweller types. Greasy hair and insomniac eyes and long faces and oh god help me. Otaku, but I don't really want to call them that. Ashirogi-sensei, it was like something right out of OreImo, only this time it's the older sister who finds her little brother addicted to shonen-ai, you know what I mean? I couldn't stand it and I left early which I really regret afterward but now I couldn't possibly go back and ask Nanamine-kun about his production meeting; I'm only the fifty-first person, after all."
"So what's the problem?" said Shujin. "Were there terrorist activities? Is 2channel going down?"
"...T-This isn't a joke, Ashirogi-sensei. The amount of anti-JUMP sentiment in the room was terrifying. It was so thick I could feel the particles on my skin burning to a very crisp."
"I see." said Shujin. "So anyway, remind me. When did I ever sign-up to be your psychotherapist?"
The expression on Kosugi's face was tragic. "Since Hattori-san punched me in the face," he said, gesturing toward the bandage on his face. "He told me to stand up for my pride as an editor. I-I didn't know he could be so violent. I always imagined him to be a friendly parental figure. Or a friendly octopus or something."
"...and that's why I get to hangout with you for an afternoon, Ashirogi-sensei," said Nanamine. His grin was triumphant as he plopped down opposite Shujin at the coffee table. Fingers motioned for a menu, which prompted the waitress to give them both a little smirk (duly noted, it was entirely inappropriate for the situation). "Takagi Akito-san. I was thinking about you all day."
He cleared his throat. "Let's get along."
"Oh, I hope we do."
"We're going to discuss your manga, aren't we? Or according to Kosugi-san, your teamwork."
"We really don't need to," said Nanamine. "Let's talk about your family instead. How about a photo?"
"My goodness, you're tall. Your wife is really pretty too, you know? Young and fair-skinned. She does put on an awful lot of lipstick. If you weren't married I'd probably ask you if I could go on a date with her or something, haha."
"You know, I always wished I could be brave enough to drop out from the track to a top-ranking university. Take the substandard path. My way or the highway, yeah? Must be an interesting experience."
"Where's Mashiro-san? Why isn't he in this picture? Oh, no, wait, there he is. Is that his girlfriend? She's damn gorgeous, too. Man, you guys are seriously lucky for mangaka. Scoring with these chicks and all. Is this what I can expect?"
"Hey, say something, won't you?"
He was running a fever, that's why he was feeling so warm and angry. He was running a fever and it certainly wasn't because Nanamine was pissing him off.
(The air becomes stale after a while. Someone outside is playing Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence on the piano and Takagi could hear from here, and so could Nanamine. Quiet, piano keys and fingers on stilts, tune bumped up and up like a carousel. A little fast and a little slow but always to a tempo, legato throughout most of it and prayers in the rest. It was a love song, it was delicate, and in the span of two measures, he had stared at Nanamine Toru unabashedly from across the coffee table and Nanamine Toru had stared unabashedly back. Something large and dark that resembled a forest had sprung up between them. The staccato stretches, and he averts his eyes. It's not really a song cut-out for intense staring.
"Like something from a movie, don't you think?" Nanamine whispers.
Your face is too bright, that was what Takagi had wanted to tell him at first. It's too bright. You smile like you're in a freaking iPhone commercial. Right now, puppies are frolicking in the meadows and a retarded glockenspiel is playing in the background. Not enough shadows, certainly not enough of those to showcase your inner talent for being a dishonest bastard. Not that I particularly care for it. The kids at your elementary school were probably all clamoring to tape KICK-ME signs to your back. They got scolded for it too, didn't they? You really do look like the type to be a teacher's pet. Kids like you are the worst. I'll bet if you went to my school you'd be hanging out with Ishizawa.
The pianist played it for them fifteen consecutive times.)
"It's getting late," he said later, aware that it had been the most unproductive afternoon out of all the unproductive afternoons he'd ever spent. "I'll drive you home."
"Ooh, you have a car?"
But what's funny about the situation is that neither of them cared very much about discussing the root of the problem. The rain comes down in trickles on the windshield and the streetlights make it reflect in shimmers across the dashboard of the Honda Accord, Takagi drives and Nanamine hums in his seat, sometimes his fingers motion toward the radio dial but most of the time he stays still and behaves himself, watching Shujin closely. They are at a ceasefire in the battle, and Takagi's new car was a neutral ground.
"Let's get along," Shujin said again. There was rushhour traffic at this time and they inched up the highway at three kilometers an hour. Raindrops bumped against the manganese-steel alloy and the rubber on the tires, splashed messily against the windshield.
"I'm afraid I can't."
"And why is that?"
"You're just a lousy oldtimer now, no offense," said Nanamine, and he was smiling while he said it. "Make way for me, won't you? I can't believe I ever thought you were something, to be very honest. Those were the days when manga was still innocent."
"I don't suppose there's any method to rectify this opinion," Shujin said wryly, and there was a stagnant pause. The radio announced that there was some sort of accident ahead, and from there the traffic came to a complete standstill. Shujin could hear impatient honking in the background. This was all perfectly fine, it wasn't as if he had anywhere to be. "Compared to you and your patchwork manga, anyone would think that I'd have the upper-hand."
"So you think," Nanamine said softly.
"I do think."
"...You're weighed down, you don't need Mashiro. He's a waste of your intellect," Nanamine said abruptly, "He's all about morals, isn't he? And I know that you aren't. I can see it in you. You wanted to fuck around with the editors as much as I do. But you didn't because Mashiro didn't want you to, isn't that right? To you, I'll bet he's like a real-life envisionment of a JUMP hero or some shit..." and before Takagi knew what he was doing he was pinning the boy against the custom-design leather compartment on the passenger side of his Honda Accord and looking into defiant eyes, breathing down at his face trying to use his seniority to his advantage, heaven help him.
"Say that one more time."
There was silence. Nanamine had the nerve to raise a brow.
"Is this assault? I'm going to sue you. You and Mashiro both. Why is he so special to you, anyway?"
"I've had enough of this."
"I am going to sue you-"
"Like hell you will," Takagi growled, and then he was pressing down on Nanamine and his hands were off the wheel and the traffic was stopping and the staccato on the piano tuned played and there was rain sloshing down the sides of the car and now he was kissing Nanamine and it was all getting confusing and messy so he didn't stop.
"...Storylines in a novel that are borderline essay. From prose to persuasion. That's a basic for your manga. You're trying to relay a central message, right?"
"Listen to it. 'I'm going home,' the boy says. He's going home, but what makes it great is that he is going home and no one will be home except him, and then he starts talking to his computer. And from there you can go into artificial intelligence. That's what makes it great."
"I talked to the computer too. I talk to the people in it, as well. They particularly like to hear about my love affairs."
"You're a regular densha otoko, aren't you?"
"I am going to take that as a compliment and smile politely."
"Nanamine Toru, densha otoko."
"Whatever you say, Hermes-kun."
"Please, we are not going for that comparison."
"Kiss me again."
And then they break apart, because Nanamine is a dishonest bastard and Takagi is married to a beautiful girl whom Nanamine would have wanted to date. Between them, the song plays on.
He arrived late to the studio and Saiko was of course already there, providing him with a glare that equated to the Wrath of God and information about a dip in their supply of instant ramen, so later he made a trip to the combini whereupon he was greeted with Nanamine's face behind the cashier counter. Must be a parttime thing, he thought to himself as he picked out a hasty handful of energy drinks and kimchee-flavored Nong Shim, and when he took out his wallet, he prepared a beautiful, heavy frown to wear.
"I dislike you," he said at the counter.
"I dislike you too," said Nanamine, and he handed Shujin his change and receipt. It was all very amicable.
And when Kosugi came tapping at his windshield again on Saturday morning Manuscript Day, Takagi made sure to have his window down.
"You," he said, and Kosugi was taken aback. The bandage on his face was now gone, replaced by a smaller strip of adhesive gauze. "You. Kosugi-san, you need to stop taking his bullshit." And then he rolled up the window of his Honda Accord and went inside to hand in the manuscript, and when he came back he backed-out from the parking space and made sure to check the rearview mirror twice. It was a nice car, after all.
and make sure to give me a big frown on the way out! reviews are lovely too. :)
+ densha otoko and hermes ( http : / en . wikipedia . org / wiki / 2channel#Densha_Otoko )