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18 January 2017 @ 09:39 pm
[Fanfiction] My fair Model (Part 4/8)  
Title: My fair Model
Type: Series
Year: 2016
Fandom: Arashi, a few other Johnnies as well as japanese actresses guesting
Pairing: Sakumiya, Junba (side)
Genre: slice of life, romance, a bit comedy and a tiny little bit drama
Rating/Warning: PG 13 - NC-17

Jun and Nino are friends, but more than that - rivals. When their boss, owner of a prestige photo studio, is about to choose his successor, the two of them have to compete for the position. To make things even more difficult for Nino, Jun boldly suggests a bet according to which they have to pimp up a random stranger to become their perfect photo model. Suddenly, shy office worker Sho finds himself in the middle of this competition, his life turned upside down...

Author’s note:
Written on request by my lovely beta Juju (jtaytt) with the keyword "blossom" (who can find it? :D) for my Spring ficlet challenge 2016 and the wish for something based on "My Fair Lady". Thanks for betaing this for me!

Back to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

My Fair Model Banner2.jpg

My fair Model - Part 4

Never before have so many files from a photoshoot landed in the bin of Nino's desktop as when he was going through the pictures he took at Red Blossom Trading Ltd.

As sorry as he felt about this process each time, it was unavoidable, especially when a model wasn't experienced and couldn't pull off what was expected for the pictures from the start. Nino had showed a huge amount of patience during that last shooting with Sakurai, he told himself, but in the end, thanks to Ikuta's awesome idea of combining the office shooting with food, which turned out to be a welcomed coffee and donut break for everyone, he did it. He finished the "work" shooting for his and Jun's photo challenge and even if tons of pictures were crap, he found out that there was also a bunch of very nice ones among them.

"That one looks really good," a voice behind Nino said, startling him.

As the photographer turned around, he found his boss, Tacky, leaning slightly over his shoulders, one of his charming smiles dancing on his lips. His eyes were glued on a picture showing in Nino's editing software at that moment – the photo he took when Sakurai received his decaf the other day, pleasantly surprised over what came out as Nino's consideration of his fidgeting personality. Nino was still amazed how Sakurai could even interpret this as nice, but apparently, people considered it as a nice gesture rather than a hidden critique and maybe Nino should just let it stay like that.

"He has a gorgeous smile," Tacky pointed out, smirking. "I thought you said something about a creepy clown grin that gave you nightmares."

"Well...," Nino blushed slightly as he looked at the picture again. His favourite of the whole shooting. "I told you he can smile. But it works better if it comes naturally. He's still shit in posing and yeah... let's say it wasn't easy."

Tacky took one of the chairs nearby and sat down, rolling it next to Nino, asking him to show him a few more pictures from the photoshoot. Nino complied so they clicked through the selection of photos which the photographer thought were the best ones.

The one with Sakurai's decaf-smile. Another one in which he was holding the phone receiver between his head and shoulder while leaning backwards in his chair and handing a file to a colleague. Some – according to Nino – adorably cute pics of Sakurai stuffing his face with donuts while typing busily on his keyboard, frowning seriously, and a couple more. Nino couldn't help but watch Tacky's reaction, curiously, his heart was unwillingly beating a bit faster. He was always happy to earn some constructive critique from his boss, who had such a natural talent as a photographer that you would always learn something new when working together, and Nino had to admit, with this challenge in the form of Sakurai, he would need every single hint and tip he could get.

To Nino's relief, Tacky seemed to like the pictures; at least the amused smile on his face told him that. After checking all the pictures, his boss turned at him.

"What do you think?" Tacky asked, a typical trait of him – asking the actual creator of the pictures for his impression first before giving his professional opinion about it.

"I... I like them," Nino said, trying not to blush.

"I can see that," Tacky chuckled, causing the other man to frown a bit confused. "Ah, keep on, I'm sorry."

Nino didn't really know why but he became nervous suddenly, talking about the pictures.

"There are only a few usable pics but I think we have kind of improved," he continued carefully. "Your idea with the natural environment helping to make Sakurai open up worked," he finished, staring at the picture of Sakurai's incredible photogenic smile again.

Tacky nodded, satisfied. "I think it's a nice idea to combine the work with the break, it gives the whole thing a little less strict feeling but makes it still very realistic and relatable. You captured some really nice shots there. I can see that you two worked together. The model – Sakurai he's called, you said?"

Nino nodded. "Sakurai Sho. From Red Blossom Trading Ltd."

"He still looks a bit stiff, but it's much better compared to the test shot you showed me. If you work with the program to change the colours a bit here and there, blur some things in the background a bit more, play with the focus and such… I'm convinced the outcome will be nice," his boss said, starting to click through the pictures again and pointing at a few things that might need editing, giving Nino some very welcomed tips.

Nin nodded again, already editing the pictures in his mind to become the best possible.

"However," Tacky concluded. "Before you get completely drowned in your task here, please don't forget you have an event shooting at 4 pm."

Hurriedly, Nino opened his digital planner to go through his appointments. Indeed, there was a filed note for a shooting from 4 to 7 pm at a publishing company, as Nino was hired to capture the pictures of a press conference and a follow up meet and greet held by a popular writer.

"Oh crap, I almost forgot!" the man cursed as he checked the clock at the bottom right of his computer screen and found that it was 3:25 pm already. Considering the time it would take him to get to the publishing company, he better hurried.

"I'm off then!" he said, closing his laptop and grabbing his camera bag and a new SD card.

"Take care and do a good job!" Tacky waved after him with a smile as Nino stormed outside.

"Always," Nino smirked as he burst out the door.

- + -

If Nino thought that his job with Sakurai was difficult, he didn't want to be in Jun's shoes. Apparently, Ohno was quite a handful to handle and according to Aiba's reports about the progress of Jun's shootings with the painter, Jun was already at the edge of losing his nerves.

The photographer barely made it to hand in his pictures from the "work" shooting of which Tacky had demanded results by the end of the week. Nino couldn't help but notice the dark circles around his colleague's eyes on Friday morning. Aiba told him that they came from Jun staying up all night editing the pictures of Ohno painting in the streets and the frustrating task of choosing some satisfying pictures.

The setting had been great and the items that the painter used - canvas, various paint and brushes, sketchbooks and the like - made the photographs looking interesting and colourful, but it had been a pain in the ass to capture Ohno with an appealing look on his face. In fact, the painter apparently looked very focused while working – when he didn't look like he was about to fall asleep -, as Aiba named it carefully.

Focused seemingly was a code word for "having a frown knitted on his face, parting his lips and sticking out his chin in an awkward way". Nino convinced himself about that when he was finally able to look at some of Jun's pictures too in the small meeting which Tacky had called the two photographers to in order for them to hand in their results from the first shooting.

Honestly, Nino had a hard time trying not to burst into laughter. In fact, if this wasn't such a crucial situation for Jun, he really would have laughed at the silly expression on Ohno's face. He definitely looked amusing. But admittedly, Nino wouldn't call that funny face useful for Jun's purposes. Despite his obvious struggles with patience and a model that would need a lot of patience when working with him, Jun wouldn't admit to it though. He preferred to drop a few hateful comments about Nino and his own struggles with his "stalker model", but Nino couldn't help but feel a bit satisfied about the fact that his choice for a model caused his colleague troubles. It was like a little payback for all the teasing he had to endure from Jun.

Against all odds, Jun couldn't wait to receive the next topic to work on, which would be announced by Tacky at the end of their "project overview meeting". Jun's willingness to work hard and win this competition was still there and as strong as before and Nino had to admit he admired him a bit for his passion. He himself had just started to adjust to the idea of probably becoming the successor of the "Blue Hour"'s owner – even if he doubted he would be able to win against his colleague – but Jun was definitely on fire to get the job.

"So the next topic will be...," Tacky started, switching looks between his year long employees as if he wanted to make it thrilling (causing Nino to roll his eyes and Jun to stand on his toes, impatiently), "Outdoor!"

Jun blinked, his excitedly fisted hands were loosening their grip. He turned to Nino, wondering. "Did he just say "outdoor"?"

Nino nodded slowly.

"Just to mention," Jun then said, facing their boss again. "I just did an outdoor shooting with that guy, even if the topic was "work", since he practically works on the streets. Can't we -"

"Combine it with spare time. Hobbies. Something like that," Tacky added quickly. "So the complete opposite of the previous topic. Be creative!"

"I see...," Jun murmured, sitting back and crossing his arms, apparently starting to think about it.

"Alright, deadline is next Friday morning, that should be plenty," Tacky said with a broad smile. "And don't forget your other duties. By the way, Nino, the publishing company from the other day called me after they received your photos, they said they are very satisfied with your work."

Nino nodded thankfully.

"However, they would appreciate a bit more communication next time, for better coordination during the shooting and such... you know what I mean."

Nino sighed. Yes, he knew exactly what Tacky meant. He knew his weak points. And he was working on them.

- + -

"That sounds pretty nice, outdoor shooting, doesn't it?" Nino's best friend asked a few hours later as the two were sitting together on the small balcony of the photo studio, cups of coffee in their hands.

Nino turned to Aiba, frowning. He didn't look as excited as his friend. "I don't even know what I should do with Sakurai outdoor... I'm certainly not going hiking with him or anything, just to clarify."

"Did you ask him which kind of outdoor activities he likes?" Aiba suggested, earning a shaking of Nino's head. "You should probably call him and find out."

Nino wasn't the type for phone calls, but he picked up his friend's suggestion and pulled out his cell phone to type a message to Sakurai's LINE. He didn't expect an immediate reply and so he stuffed his phone inside of his pocket again, finished his coffee and waved goodbye to Aiba as he headed for his last job before the start of weekend – a family portrait shooting.

As expected, Nino didn't receive any reply from Sakurai before the late evening – he just hoped that Sakurai didn't actually sit at work until such a freaking late hour – and he was already at home, sitting comfortable on his couch and playing some games. Right next to him on the side stand there was an empty paper box of Chinese delivery food and a can of cool beer, the perfect Friday evening according to Nino's standards.

"Shut up, Sally!" Nino barked when his cell phone informed him about an incoming message, disturbing his concentration when he was busy with slaying the big boss of his current fantasy role play game.

Once he finished the fight – winning over the big boss of course, even if he almost died - Nino checked his phone. Sakurai's message was already almost 30 minutes old and to Nino's surprise, it was pretty long.

"Good evening, Ninomiya-san and thank you very much for your message. Thank you for your hard work with the last shooting. So the next topic is "outdoor"? Sounds very interesting," the message started and Nino almost rolled his eyes on the flat politeness that underlined the message. Well, this was standard between people who only worked together, probably. He continued reading. "To be honest, I have a lot of outdoor hobbies, I like hiking," as Nino predicted it..., "going on vacation in general for sightseeing and when I was younger I used to play soccer. I was pretty bad though so I always had to sit on the bench when my club was participating in a match... does this help? Have a nice evening! Sakurai"

There was a sad LINE sticker added at the end of the message and Nino couldn't help but smile sympathetically. He didn't only find the image of a clumsy Sakurai trying to play soccer amusing, he also remembered the times when he as a kid had been interested in baseball, but used to be sick pretty often and so he never made it into a team's match either. He recalled the feeling he experienced back then, sitting on the bench on the side of the baseball field, watching his comrades. It sucked and Nino felt a bit sad for Sakurai having experienced something similar.

Nino let his thoughts wander for a while, thinking about what kind of things they could do for the shooting. As he told Aiba already, hiking was out of question. Too exhausting and it would eat too much time, especially when they had to try fit the shooting into both of their work schedules. There was no time for vacations and he didn't intend to embarrass Sakurai by forcing him to play soccer, either. So probably, something in a nearby park would be more realistic. He went through the few options that popped up his head and then reached for his phone again, checking his work schedule before typing a reply.

"What about meeting at the park near work and try a few small things? I'll bring along a few tools, badminton rackets, a small picnic, stuff like that. If you have any items at home that you find fitting for the shooting, please feel free to bring them along, maybe we can use them. How about Tuesday or Wednesday around 5 – 6 pm, would that be too early for you?"

Nino was surprised by how detailed his reply was, but he was satisfied with it and hit the send button. Shortly after, Sakurai's reply came.

"Tuesday at 5 is fine, I think I can leave a bit earlier that day. Let's meet at the huge oak tree in the middle of the park."

"Alright, works for me," Nino began his reply, then he thought about what he could add further. He smirked. "Try to wear something stylish." He added a sticker of a winking cat boy.

"Understood! Good Night!"

"Have a nice weekend."

"You too."

- + -

Nino was relieved that despite his instructions to Sakurai, he still had asked Aiba to come along to the "outdoor shooting", his styling stuff in tow. Alongside with Suzu as Nino's assistant for today's shooting, camera equipment and some spare time stuff (including the promised picnic, provided and self-made by Suzu herself), the group of three went to the nearby park after work. When they approached the huge oak tree that Sakurai chose as their meeting spot, the business man was already there. He seemed to be waiting underneath the tree and as soon as he spotted Nino and the others, he jumped up, waved at them a bit shyly and came closer.

Seeing Sakurai's interpretation of "stylish outdoor clothes" was a horrifying image and Nino felt the urge to beat up the clerk in the clothes store who sold Sakurai the ugliest outfit in the galaxy. Frustrated, Nino covered his eyes at the sight of the man walking towards them – even if Sakurai's smile might have been worth a look, his inner voice teased him – and sighed heavily.

"Aiba, please... Please do something with this... accident," Nino begged, not knowing how else he should describe this crime to his eyes. "His fashion sense is worse than mine and that means something!"

Aiba chuckled amused at his friend's reaction, but he certainly agreed with him. The combination of black and neon orange striped shorts and an oversized neon green tank top decorated with one of those lame and terribly wrong English phrases, was enough to make everyone's eyes bleed.

Faster than Sakurai could properly greet the others, Aiba was there with his miracle suitcase and dragged the man along, behind the huge oak tree. Just a few minutes later as they returned, Sakurai was dressed in some comfortable baggy indigo jeans, sandals and a
Khaki coloured t-shirt with white lettering – the name of an American college and a year – which looked way better than the horrible outfit from Sakurai's closet.

Aiba of course had also taken care of Sakurai's hair and had confiscated his glasses, even if Nino could already hear the man complain about that and even saw him stumble over – what, grass? – as they came closer again. As much as Nino was amazed by the wonders Aiba did to that man, he seriously wasn't sure if letting Sakurai play Badminton without glasses would be such a great idea. What if he got hurt or broke some of the camera equipment?

"Now you look ready for a casual photoshoot," Nino addressed the other nonetheless.

Sakurai blushed and rubbed his neck sheepishly. "Aiba-san told me to burn my clothes..."

Nino chuckled automatically. "That will be for the best, believe me."

"I'm sorry, I'm seriously not good with fashion," the other man replied.

"That's OK," Nino said, his tone sounding much smoother than intended. Didn't he plan to throw another sneaky comment at the man? Instead, he murmured, "Don't worry, that's why I brought Aiba along," his lips curled up in a smile.

When Sakurai answered with a smile himself, relieved that the photographer didn't scold him or grumbled at him or something, Nino swallowed hard. His hands started shaking slightly and so he tightened the grip around his already prepared camera a little. He cleared his throat and turned away from Sakurai and towards Suzu and Aiba to give a few instructions about how to place the shooting equipment like the portable reflector they brought along and a few other details.

Then, when Nino dared to turn around again and found Sakurai day dreaming, he quickly lifted his camera to snap a first, surprising picture of his model. He smirked to himself as he checked the picture on which he had caught Sakurai completely off guard, just standing there in his – now – fashionable clothes and taking in the nature around him while waiting for the photographer to get ready.

"Sakurai, did you bring along something too for the shooting?" Nino asked, honestly more to distract himself than being curious what it could be, if he did. Probably, Sakurai brought work along, or a book or something nerdy like that.

"Uhm… yeah, I made some snacks… for the picnic."

Or something to eat. Nino should have known. He smirked without noticing.

"Oh, that's nice! Show us!" Aiba said, enthusiastically.

Sakurai stumbled towards the oak tree where his briefcase and a backpack were rested, and started rummaging through the backpack until he pulled out a big box. He came back, his face blushed cutely and obviously, he was nervous.

"I'm not a talented cook so…," the man started before he lifted the cover and exposed a few fist-sized chunks of rice and whatever else it was that he threw in there.

Nino frowned, blinked, tilted his head and frowned even more before he lifted his face to meet Sakurai's big eyes.

"What the hell is that?" he asked, seriously confused.

"Onigiri?" Sakurai offered insecurely, blushing even more and Nino, accompanied by Aiba and Suzu who didn't look less confused than he did, lowered their gazes onto the content of the box again.

"Onigiri…," Nino repeated in disbelief staring at the supposed-to-be rice balls.

Indeed, when he looked closely, he could spot some seaweed, sesame and even some red spots that he assumed to be plums, but everything was extremely out of shape.

"We can't use them in the pictures," the photographer then stated, bluntly. "They look like you threw them out of the window and scratched them from the streets."

His lips still parted, he was ready to find some other – in his opinion very accurate – comparisons to the mess in front of him, but then, Nino's eyes met Sakurai's again and he stopped immediately. He saw the hurt in the other man's eyes and it made him immediately regret what he just said.

"I see…," Sakurai murmured, trying to smile, but his smile didn't reach his eyes.

Nino felt a slight sting in his heart and then, his words left his mouth faster than expected. "Ah… Sakurai, look, don't be sad... I'm sure even if it looks horrible; it must still taste great, no?" he shrugged, offering a crooked smile.

As to verify his assumption, Nino lifted his hand and took a chunk of rice with a piece of seaweed, standing on edge – almost dropping it because it was in fact too big for his small hands – and before Sakurai could stop him, he took a large bite of it.

As soon as he began to chew, his face changed, from curious and expectant to first neutral, then… something different. He frowned and stopped chewing for a second, as if he was thinking about if he should even continue, then he tried again, slower this time but the more he chewed, the more he cringed, until his face looked completely disgusted and he held up his hand to cover his mouth.

"Oh my gosh, what…?" Nino murmured, looking down, trying to finish his bite despite the hellish taste. He had no idea what exactly Sakurai put in there to make the simple rice balls taste so bad – too much rice vinegar for sure but he just could not define the other spices in there - but no matter what it is, he didn't want to ever try it again.

"I'm sorry," Sakurai said in a low voice, cringing himself. "I told you I'm not the best cook!"

With a pained look, Nino looked up again in the man's direction. "You didn't tell me that you are the worst cook!" he said from behind his hand, his mouth still half full – for some reason it just didn't want to get lesser.

Sakurai reached out his hand to the photographer, slightly touching his arm, his expression worried.

"Just… just spit it out, OK? It's fine, I'm not mad or anything, I know it must taste bad…"

But Nino didn't spit it out and just continued chewing.

"Bad? Seriously, I could assume you wanted to poison me with that!"

"Definitely not!" Sakurai insisted.

"Then why did you bring that along?!" Nino dumped the rest of his rice ball back into Sakurai's box, not bothering about it any longer.

"I… I just… I just wanted to provide something too," the man said, discouraged. "I'm sorry. It's useless, isn't it?"

Nino almost felt sorry for his horrible reaction, especially when he pictured Sakurai standing in a kitchen, trying his best to make something for the photoshoot, but seriously, he could have been the best actor and still wouldn't be able to pretend that it was tasty.

"Please, take that box away, I feel kind of sick…"

"I'm so sorry, Ninomiya-san! Really!" Sakurai said again, putting the box' cover back on top.

"OK, OK," Nino nodded. "Just… oh ugh…," he turned around to face his friend. "Aiba? Water!"

Thankfully, the stylist – as usual – had a small bottle of water on hand, very thoughtful indeed, and handed it to his friend with an amused smile. "Here you go."

After sending his friend a death glare, Nino murmured his thanks and put the opened bottle against his lips. While he swallowed some of the water and tried to get rid of the strange taste in his mouth, Sakurai went away to store his box back inside his backpack. Aiba in the meantime laughed heartily, not to Nino's elation.

"What's so funny, Aiba?" he frowned grumpily as he handed the water bottle back and brushed his arm over his lips to catch some water drops. Sakurai, who just returned to the group, gave the stylist a questioning look too.

"I'm sorry," Aiba said between two chuckles. "It's just… Sakurai-san, you have to know that Nino is a really picky eater usually. It's very uncommon for him to even taste… - sorry, no offence – something like that. I just thought, it's cute of him."

Nino arched an eyebrow. "Cute?! Watch your mouth, Aiba, I warn you!"

"Ohhh? That's really nice, you wanted to cheer Sakurai-san up, didn't you?" Suzu chimed in. "Even if you failed…"

"I…," Nino blushed deeply, looking everywhere but in Sakurai's direction. "Well, I didn't want our model to feel bad and… out of mood for the shooting. That's all."

When he heard a soft chuckle coming from said model, he slightly turned his head.

"Thank you, Ninomiya-san," Sakurai said sheepishly. "I really appreciate your thoughts."

Nino averted his look again, stomping a few steps away to bring some distance between him and Sakurai and to bring his camera back into position. After clearing his throat, he pointed at Suzu, throwing her a meaningful look.

"Suzu, the picnic basket," he ordered.

The apprentice quickly reached for said item and the picnic blanket, which they had brought along – of course matching the colours of the outfit Aiba had chosen for Sakurai.

"Now get ready, Sakurai, we don't have the whole evening, the sun is already starting to set."

Which by the way made the hair of the man glow in the most beautiful hair colour Nino had ever seen, but he didn't say that out loud, of course.

Sakurai's eyes became as big as wheels at the sight of Suzu's homemade picnic basket, filled with whatever delicious treats one could think of. There were sweet and salty snacks, sandwiches, real onigiri, egg rolls, salad, fruits, and cookies, it was awesome. When the man questioned if he was allowed to really eat all those things, Suzu just giggled and nodded her head, turning around, flashing Nino a smile.

The latter had already started taking pictures of Sakurai's reaction. He was literally glued behind his camera, snapping pictures here and there, of Sakurai gaping at the food, Sakurai trying the food, enjoying the food, literally almost dying over the food. He took pictures of Sakurai as he was lying on the picnic blanket with a book in hands – which he had indeed brought along by himself – and snacking on a cookie while pushing his glasses back up his nose.

Nino loved the picture the moment he took it because it showed both, a very intellectual as well as a cute side of Sakurai and the mixture made it just adorable. His heart fluttered a little at the imagination of joining the man on the picnic blanket on a warm summer evening like this, maybe reading a book too or gaming a bit with his Nintendo DS while simply hanging out together. He would probably take little breaks just to watch the man flicking some cookie crumbs off the pages of his book with an adorable frown on his face while he murmured something about his own clumsiness. And maybe, Sakurai would let him taste one of the cookies too, not that Nino was such a big fan of sweets but if Sakurai would feed him…

Nino shook his head instantly. What the hell was he thinking?!

He backed off a little in surprise when Sakurai was suddenly staring at him. It was just then, when the photographer remembered that Sakurai technically couldn't look into his eyes since the camera's lens was between them (why did Nino feel like the stalker now?! This was his job, damn it). He tried to calm his suddenly raised heartbeat down and instead – like the professional he was supposed to be - used the rare opportunity of Sakurai actually looking into the camera, to take another few pictures, even getting closer, down on his knees, rubbing through the grass to find the best angle.

"Smile, Sakurai," Nino said in a low voice and surprisingly, Sakurai did, a small cookie crumble decorating his lips.

Nino, elbowing on the ground, sighed. This was killing him. So. Adorable. He took a deep breath, lowered his camera and looked straight at the man, pointing with the tip of his finger at his own lips at the respective spot to make him aware of the crumb. Sakurai raised his eyebrows, until he got the hint and raised his hand to brush away the crumb, blushing nicely and chuckling slightly. Automatically, Nino mirrored the gesture and for a few seconds the two men just smiled at each other, a little silly, until the photographer heard the voice of his friend behind him who pulled him out of the strange atmosphere.

"I don't want to disturb whatever kind of secret photographer – model communication you two are exchanging here but Nino, the sun… didn't you want to take some pictures of Sakurai and Suzu playing Badminton before it gets too dark?" Aiba asked and Nino immediately jumped up, nodding heavily at his friend.

After clearing his throat, Nino said, "Good point, Aiba, good point," and moved back a little, away from Sakurai...

Then, he picked up two badminton rackets to hand them over to Suzu and gestured her to go play with Sakurai. He and Aiba quickly put away the picnic blanket and the basket – much to Sakurai's dislike who still looked at some of the snacks, longing, until Suzu laughed and told him he could take home the leftovers if he wanted, which earned her a big smile. While Sakurai and Suzu practiced a few exchanges with their sports equipment, Nino set the reflector right and cleaned the lens of his camera, murmuring something to Camelot that nobody else was able to hear, before he himself was ready again.

"Nino?" Aiba asked, putting a hand on his friend's shoulder. "Is everything OK?"

"Eh?" Nino whirled around, looking into Aiba's worried face. "Ah, sure, everything OK, why?"

"Just wondering," Aiba smiled softly. "So, let's keep on!"

The shooting of the small badminton match was fun, so much fun! Of course, Sakurai was pretty clumsy, he managed to lose the racket while serving the ball which ended flying through the air, turning in a loop and hitting Sakurai's head when falling down – but thankfully he didn't get hurt. One time, he tripped over his own feet and almost crashed into the reflector Aiba was holding close to the two players.

Nino shouted a few instructions, and he was surprised himself that despite Sakurai's disability he didn't lose his nerves with him, like the first and the second time when they did a photo shooting. He was too busy though, to even start wondering why this could be and just kept taking pictures and giving instructions.

In the middle of the shooting, suddenly, a golden retriever came running along, jumping up at Sakurai and causing the man to fall down onto the soft grass. It took the owner of the dog a few more seconds to run after him and the young woman tried her best to get "Finnick" away from Sakurai but apparently, the dog seemed to like the man a lot and continued licking him all over his face, making him laugh and cry for help at the same time.

Those pictures were amazing, Nino thought, immediately asking Finnick's owner for permission to use the pictures featuring her dog, on which she proudly agreed, of course. A few shots later, Nino seemed to be satisfied with the result and declared the shooting over.

However, in the end, before going home, and when the sun was down, with only the streetlamps that were placed all over the park lighting up the place, Nino and Aiba ended up joining one last short badminton match too, much to Nino's own surprise. It has been ages since he played that kind of game and he sucked big – even if it was not as much as Sakurai – but it was surprisingly fun. He couldn't remember when was the last time he laughed so much as during this evening, and the others laughed a lot too.

It felt good, really good, to hear his friends' laughter, it was rare for Suzu to let her emotions out so much and it was always good to hear Aiba's typical chuckles and his excited yells. And if the photographer learned something this evening, it was that Sakurai's laughter was the most adorable of all.

When the four of them had exhausted completely and dropped onto the soft grass, laughing, Nino's heart was beating like crazy from the exercise. He stretched all fours as much as he could, until his arm accidentally brushed against Sakurai's, who was lying next to him. Nino retreated quickly, snapping his head to the side to look at the other, who did the same impulsively, but unlike the photographer, he didn't look shocked but continued laughing.

Sakurai rolled on his side then, to face Nino better, and with a huge smile on his face, he said, "Ninomiya-san, seriously, this was the most fun I had in years!"

The man rolled back on his back then, letting out this incredible hearty laughter again that reached deep into Nino's heart, preventing it from slowing down the rapid beating, even though his breath has settled and the exhaustion ebbed down.

Charming, Nino thought. So. Charming.


Before Nino's thoughts could get carried away to places he was afraid to visit in his inner world, a cell phone rang – Aiba's apparently, judging from the happy tune - and Nino got pulled out of his mind immediately.

"Ah, Jun," Aiba breathed into the phone after he picked up. "Yes, we're finished here, we just played one last round Badminton, it was so much fun, you should have been here! I'm almost on my way home. Shall I fetch something from the conbini?... Oh, you're already cooking?! Awesome! I'll hurry!"

Nino chuckled when his friend jumped up excitedly on the premise of returning home to home-cooked dinner by his beloved boyfriend, and he sat up himself. He thought he felt Sakurai's eyes on him, which made him a bit nervous and confused, but he ignored it.

"Aiba, I know you're eager to get home but do you mind giving me a ride?" Nino asked quickly, before his friend could storm off, as he remembered that Aiba came to work by car this morning.

"Ah, sure, your apartment is almost on the way anyway," his friend gave him a thumbs-up that Nino returned gratefully.

- + -

"Ne, Aiba...," Nino murmured in a low voice next to the man as the car came to halt in front of a red traffic light. He wasn't even sure if his friend heard him.

"What is it, Nino?"

OK, apparently, he did.

"Uhm...," the photographer started, a little caught in surprise, wondering if and how he should put his question. He lowered his look onto his fingers that absentmindedly played with the straps of his camera bag placed on his lap. "Do you... think he is... I don't know... attractive?"

"You mean... Sakurai?" Aiba asked, turning to his friend who bit his lower lip slightly and hoped his cheeks didn’t turn as red as they felt. "He's great on pictures when he doesn’t do that creepy smile or a strange pose, right?"

"He… improved, I think," Nino said, trying to sound nonchalant.

Aiba didn't say anything more, but instead he smiled slightly and then answered properly. "From my viewpoint as a stylist I can say that he is definitely a handsome man. His fashion sense is very questionable, and he needs a little help to make something out of him, but he's definitely attractive."

"I see," Nino sighed, somehow a little relieved. So it wasn't just him. "Everyone would think so, right?"

"Probably, but...," apparently, Aiba couldn't keep the question to himself any longer. "What makes you ask that?"

"Eh?" Nino snapped his head into Aiba's direction who grinned at him. "Nothing," he blurted out, maybe a little too suspiciously. "I mean... I just wondered. From an objective point of view, if people might find him attractive."

Aiba smirked and Nino averted his eyes, blushing. He wasn't sure if Aiba caught up with his train of thoughts that he himself wasn't able to understand properly yet.

"Then... from an objective point of view," his friend pulled the car over the crossing as the light turned green and Nino was grateful that Aiba's attention was now focused on the street again instead of him. "Do you find him attractive?"

Nino considered his options for a few seconds before replying and then he said, "Well, objectively speaking... yes."

"Thought so," Aiba chuckled. "But say, isn't he kind of your type?"

Nino frowned. "I don't have a type, Aiba," he replied.

But he wondered, if this was true. It had been so long since Nino's last crush, not even talking about a relationship, or even his last encounter with a potential date, that he seriously couldn't remember.

"Well, I think people who aren't fake and can smile sincerely are everyone's type," his friend replied, amused.

Nino didn't answer. Aiba probably had said everything that could be said about this topic and he didn't want to dig deeper.

Continue with Part 5

More author's notes: Sorry, I'm a bit late with the update, I'm not feeling well today. Hope, you enjoyed the chapter! Let me know in the comments down below and I'll read you soon! ^.^/

Seirapur3f8thxd on January 18th, 2017 09:35 pm (UTC)
omg!! Things are starting too look good here!! lols I really like how everything is developing. i can't wait to see how Nino's and Sho's relationship develops further!! They are so cute hahas~ And don't even get me started on Aiba and Jun lols, loved how Aiba was soo happy that Jun was cooking dinner.
Skysky_fish7 on January 19th, 2017 07:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your comment, dear ^^ Right, things are developing slowly but surely :3 I'm glad you also noticed the little Junba-love here ^^ <3
Life is Hard だけど be Happyicha_kazeinda on January 19th, 2017 12:34 am (UTC)

Uwaaaa~ this chapter is seriously my favorite so far!! XD they were really having fun at the outdoor shooting!! I laughed hard imagining Sho's outfit before Aiba helped him LOL XD And finally slowly Sho and Nino got closer thanks to Tacky's idea (〃∀〃) is it just me or Sho finally could talk to Nino without being shy at the end of shooting and now Nino was the one who's being shy when he looked at Sho? XD It seems that Aiba realized Nino's feeling, eh (≧∀≦) I wonder will Aiba help Nino in the future XD

Are you okay, dear? Hopefully you'll get well soon ne *sends some virtual cookies* Thanks for updating dear and cant wait for next week~ ❤

Edited at 2017-01-19 02:25 am (UTC)
Skysky_fish7 on January 19th, 2017 07:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks, dear, I'm so happy you enjoyed this chapter so much! ^.^ I tried to imagine the worst color combination possible (well, for my taste at least XD) and that's how Sho's "wonderful" outfit came to life lol

I think you're right, Sho is warming up and becoming less shy, while Nino is becoming more aware of Sho's presence and what it's doing to him...and of course Aiba can look through Nino, he's his best friend after all xD And I'm sure, he'll try his best to help him <3

Thanks for your concern, I'm not perfectly fine but better already. I'm just suffering from the monthly bloody monster, if you know what I mean... it usually knocks me out 1-3 days per month -.-"
Life is Hard だけど be Happyicha_kazeinda on January 19th, 2017 10:06 pm (UTC)
aahhh~ 'that' monthly monster ne >,< well I do feel it everymonth so I know how you feel dear *pats* for me it usually comes 2 days before until the 3rd day =.= but yokatta if you feel better now ^o^
Skysky_fish7 on January 22nd, 2017 01:06 pm (UTC)
I feel with you T^T it can be so cruel, right? Sounds horrible too for you... but we're strong, we can make it through~
indigo_loverindigo_lover on January 19th, 2017 12:45 am (UTC)
yay! some development! but really Sho-chan, your fashion sense is down right horrible same goes for your cooking XD try not to "poison" Nino next time ahhahahaha! oh Aiba is catching on....... jeng jeng jeng and so is Nino's heart

I hope you are well now dear, and dont worry we are patient fans!

Cant wait for the next update!

Much loves3
Skysky_fish7 on January 19th, 2017 07:58 pm (UTC)
Yei, indeed, Sho and Nino are progressing slowly but surely. Just Sho's fashion sense will probably never improve... and his cooking? Not so sure XD

Thank you, it's just the monthly bloody monster that knocked me out (it always happens for about 1-3 days per month that I suffer like hell but I survived once again lol).

See you next week, dear and thanks for dropping by <3
indigo_loverindigo_lover on January 19th, 2017 11:00 pm (UTC)

Haih that monthly monster is such a pain, isnt it.... Sometimes it gets so bad that i just want to lie in bed but even then it hurts like hell.... but we are strong! We get through it everytime ;D

Skysky_fish7 on January 22nd, 2017 01:05 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's horrible... and yes, I'd prefer staying home in bed with my hot water bottle and not move at all on the worst days but since I have to go to work... I'm basically on painkillers then for about 2 days and recently I started taking some warmth patches with me if it becomes really bad... but that only works in winter, in summer I'd die from overheating xDDD
Yuki: lovelyhana_jae on January 19th, 2017 01:14 am (UTC)
Kyaaa~ <3
My kokoro can't take it anymore.. Sho is so inocent and its so cute, while Nino being his real self ne.
I can smel love blossoming between our Sakumiya <3<3
Skysky_fish7 on January 19th, 2017 08:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your comment! ^^ I'm glad you enjoy this =)
yumi_usagi: Sakumiyayumi_usagi on January 19th, 2017 08:02 am (UTC)
Aww you are not felling well? Hope you feel better by the time you read this comment. And don't worry about late update :D
I love this chapter. So cute! Nino is completely falling for Sho, there's no way out Lol
My favorite part is when Nino didn't want to see Sho feel sad so he volunteered to eat the onigiri XD
Hehe I like how Sho really loves foods, how he was happy when he saw the foods and disappointed when they put the foods away Lol
And Nino likes games in here too. That part when he imagined lying down beside Sho in the park playing his DS is so cute. Hehe now we know Nino's phone's name Sally Lol Nino and Sho's LINE exchange with the emoji was cute too!
Thanks for sharing! Can't wait for next chapter! See you on Wednesday!

Edited at 2017-01-19 08:14 am (UTC)
Skysky_fish7 on January 19th, 2017 08:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks dear, please don't worry, I'm just suffering from the monthly bloody monster attack which uses to knock me out 1-3 days per month >.<" I'm almost over the critical phase, so I will survive xD

I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter :3 It was really fun to write, the scene with Nino trying Sho's food is one of my favourites in the whole series. As a very picky eater by myself I know exactly how much it means to try somone's food, especially when it doesn't really look... appealing XD It's a deep gesture of affection for people like us lol.

Uh you picked up Sally's name, yei :3

See you Wednesday and thanks for your lovely comment! <3
Say Oh-chansay_oh_chan on January 19th, 2017 11:27 am (UTC)
Wednesday is now my favourite day of the week ** (Well it's actually Thursday but I wouldn't read the chapter yesterday).
Aiba is the best ** I love his comments and the way he make Nino feel embarassed and shy. I think it don't happen often :p
The fantasy Nino had about him and Sho on the picnic was so cute *^* It start to feel really good *^*
But I wonder what Sho think about this all.

(And are you okay now ? :( Are you sick or it's something else ? If you want to talk I can listen ^^)
Skysky_fish7 on January 19th, 2017 08:17 pm (UTC)
Aw you're so cute, dear <3 I'm so happy you're enjoying this fic =) Thanks for your lovely comment! ^^

Aiba is Nino's better half so to say xD He makes sure Nino stays human haha. Sho's thoughts are kind of mysterious, ne? But soon he'll open up even more so please look forward to that. ^^

(Thank you for your concern! I'm suffering from the monthly bloody monster's attack, if you know what I mean... it usually knocks me out for 1-3 days per month, it's horrible... but I'm feeling better already. Not going to start about my moods though... it's better this way, believe me)
Say Oh-chansay_oh_chan on January 20th, 2017 02:11 pm (UTC)
I am looking forward to that :D We know almost nothing about him so it's really intriguing !

(Ah yeah I totally see it and I understand it really much :/
I have really a lot of time to hear so I don't mind but if you don't want it's fine too ^^ I'm usually a secret person too.)
Skysky_fish7 on February 25th, 2017 10:15 am (UTC)
I am sorry for the late reply on your comment here. I didn't mean to ignore you. Just, sometimes it's hard for me to talk about my troubles. My mental condition can be very unstable and so I experience some really bad days on which I just can't handle things any longer. Sometimes I write entries about it here on my journal then (friendslocked) and then I have better days when I feel ashamed of myself for writing all this shit and don't really want to whine about it any longer and such. Also I'm a person who doesn't really want to bother others. It's a bit complicated... but I really appreciate your nice words and that you are willing to lend me an open ear, thank you! *hugs*
deelovesryo: Cool Aibadeelovesryo on January 19th, 2017 06:41 pm (UTC)
The park shooting was really amusing and sweet. Nino is becoming aware of Sho's attractiveness, he is conscious of him now. Shy and in denial Nino is very cute.
I also like specially Aimiya friendship and the little Junba bits.

Thanks for sharing and I hope you are better now^^
Skysky_fish7 on January 19th, 2017 08:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment! I'm happy you enjoyed this chapter and the park shooting, even if there was just a little Junba in this <3 Sho is definitely getting Nino's attention now, more and more. Aiba is Nino's better half lol

Thanks, I'm better, it's just the monthyl woman problem, you know... ugh
learashi: Glasses! Junlearashi on January 19th, 2017 08:43 pm (UTC)
Nino is kind of shy underneath his bossy brattiness. I love how in denial he is about his feelings, but at least he is slowing acknowledging that he might just like Sakurai.
But not enough to eat his cooking ☺ (although I congratulate him on a valiant effort).
Thanks for the update 💜
Skysky_fish7 on January 19th, 2017 09:32 pm (UTC)
You looked right through him! Nino has trouble to deal with other people and part of the reason for that is that he's actually also shy and has quite low self-esteem. He can probably relate to Sho much more than anybody might think.

LOL Nino TRIED xD That's more than enough haha it surely made Sho superhappy ^^

Thanks for dropping by, see you next week =)
Hatori Sachiyo: pic#125150510hatorisachiyo22 on January 20th, 2017 07:47 am (UTC)
I'm sure Sho have the hots for Nino XD. And when they realized each other's feelings, it will be steamy and Aiba would have so much fun teasing Nino XD. Love sure can change people ^_^

Btw, I'm sorry for my late comment. T-T I had to be absent from my fan fiction lj (exams, my mom was sick and now in vacation) I hope you don't forget me yet 😂
Skysky_fish7 on January 22nd, 2017 09:06 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for dropping by, dear! I hope, life is a bit less stressful now and that your mom is fine again!

Hmmm you're looking through Sho, ne? XD Let's see if and how these two will get together. Hope you will enjoy the rest of the story too =) See ya! <3
yun: sakumiyayun_miyake on January 20th, 2017 07:50 am (UTC)
hi, sky
thanks for this chapter :)
there are so many scenes here and all of them are amusing
i think nino is already interested in sho, even though he tries hard to deny it.
i'm still in love with aiba, he's a great help and he takes care of nino sincerely, despite that nino is jun's rival.
i can't wait for the next chapter
Skysky_fish7 on January 22nd, 2017 09:09 am (UTC)
Yun-chan, thanks for your comment, I'm glad you liked this chapter ^^ Yeah... Nino's feelings seem to develop but probably, he's not ready for that. Haha that's the best trait of Aiba, I think. Even if his boyfriend and his best friend are rivals, it doesn't keep him from loving and helping both of them.
amnos13 on January 20th, 2017 11:18 am (UTC)
i am always waiting your update :)
yesterday i read it but no time to comment.
i really want to read sho's pov in this fic.
i want to hear sho's opinion about nino.
how nino blushes :) how nino tried to eat the onigiri haha....

so nice...
Skysky_fish7 on January 22nd, 2017 09:11 am (UTC)
Thanks for your comment, dear, I'm glad you enjoy this chapter! :D This fic is solely written from Nino's POV but you're right, it would be interesting to see Sho's side of it too, right?
Hope to see you at the next chapter again ^^
sakuraiba8282_vsho: pic#126676705vsho on January 20th, 2017 05:52 pm (UTC)
Wow the story getting heat up .. seems like Nino is getting attract to Mr shy and aiba realised it .. .. and im so happy there's some developments inside nino ... I love this chap ..uwahhh .. im so eager to read next one❤💛 ...
Skysky_fish7 on January 22nd, 2017 09:11 am (UTC)
It's progressing, isn't it? :3 Nino won't be able to deny his interest in Sho for much longer XD Thanks for reading and commenting and see you next chapter ^^/
ichiban_seiyakuichiban_seiyaku on January 28th, 2017 08:59 am (UTC)
It's amazing how Tacky was able to tease Nino in a subtle way. The boss does know his subordinates.

I like Nino's attitude when hearing a criticism. People are always going to find good things and faults in our work. It's good that he's willing to listen with an open ear to criticisms. It is one way to understand one's work and to grow in the field. Sometimes though, there are just some others who only find faults. There are also some others who cannot take criticisms.

Ohno is making Matsujun's life harder without even knowing it. I wonder what Aiba had to do to de-stress Matsujun after all that. hahaha

You can usually tell how a person is by how they construct messages. Personally, when it comes to emails and work stuff, I try to make it as formal as possible. When I am sending a message to people I have only met, I also seem to be a bit formal. I can understand why Sho is taking the stiff stance when sending the message. He barely knows Nino and it concerns Nino's job. It's just really cute though how earnest Sho is even in sending a message. I can feel that he really wants to be a professional and help out as much as he can.

And I see you brought in Sho's fashion sense from the real one. In paprazzi pictures, I always see Show wearing a colour. It might be red or blue or brown but there is a colour in his attire. It can be his shirt, his coat (I think it's always his coat), his shoes, or his hat. I think it's nice because it shows that he's not monotonous. I think that Aiba's the most stylish one among the five though. I also like most of Nino's choices.For someone who says that he's not into fashion and is just putting on clothes, he has that street rugged style. His clothes are usually a monotonous black. Ohno too can be a monotonous gray or black. But Matsujun, I find some of his clothing choices weird. I am not a fashionista myself so I might be wrong but there are times when I wonder if Matsujun chose his clothes in the dark (or in dim light at least).

And Sho's cooking skills! I really like how you incorporated little things from the real Sho.

It was funny how Nino tried to cut down on his sarcasm and even tried Sho's food. Aaahhh...the things we can do for our crushes. Nino's not immune to that feeling after all. It's also amusing how Nino keeps telling himself that he only feels sorry for Sho and that he wants to help him. He almost always crosses the thought of being attracted to the guy.

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, they say. I think that saying is really applicable to Sho. It's one of the things I love about Sho. He really is a passionate eater and loves to try anything. Food will not be wasted on him.

I also really like how Nino's always caught off guard with Sho's natural smiles. It shows that Sho does know how to genuinely smile and that Nino's attracted to Sho. Nino can groan all he wants but it doesn't change the fact that he's becoming fond of Sho.

It's good that Nino has opened up to Aiba; even if it was just asking if Sho was attractive. But then I think Aiba already knows that Nino's interested in Sho. Aiba's the type of best friend who can easily turn your sentences to his own prompts.
Skysky_fish7 on February 15th, 2017 09:21 pm (UTC)
Yes, since Tacky is my ideal boss here, he really knows his folks well, and he knows how much he can tease them xD lol

Dealing with criticism is hard. Especially if it's critisism that isn't helpful, aka if it's rather bashing than real critisism. Criticism itself should not bear that negative vibe that it mostly does. Hearing things like "This is shit" or "You are useless" isn't criticizing, it's empty and not helpful. Thus, I think it is important to point out not only weak but also strong points in things and to offer a solution to problematic parts. When this is given, then criticism can help someone to understand and grow. I guess, both isn't easy, giving and taking criticism. On the receiving end it's also important to not only hear the negative voices but to reach out for offered solutions and to learn from mistakes, right?

Haha oh Aiba surely did take good care of his boyfriend to make him feel better after the one or other disaster with Ohno, don't worry XDD

I totally agree with you about what you wrote about people and their way of writing messages. Like you I tend to stay formal unless I am really really close to someone. I think it's a matter of keeping distance and showing respect, especially when it's connected to business. But probably, sooner or later Nino and Sho's texting will become much less formal ^^

That's an interesting thought that Sho with showing colour also shows that he's not monotone. I have to admit that I don't really know anything about fashion. For me it doesn't matter which colour or pattern or size is "in", for me it's a matter of "suits my eye" or "does not suit my eye". So I often wonder if the outfits I imagine and describe for the characters fit the setting/atmosphere etc. I am also not very informed about Arashi paparazzi pics so I don't know much of their "off camera closets", but I also have the impression that Aiba is stylish and that Jun... has a bit weird fashion sense? While Nino and Ohno for me look like the types who don't care at all what they are wearing but sometimes can land a hit too.

In this chapter it's a first that Nino really shows that he tried to get along and work well with Sho, right? It's of course connected to him having a crush on Sho, however, it's a step into the right direction. XD

I agree, Sho definitely is one to be caught by food, ne? haha It's always fun to hint on this in fanfics lol

Nino opening up to Aiba is a first sight that he's beginning to let someone into his heart. It's a big deal for him to share his thoughts and especially his feelings and probably, Aiba is the only one to whome he can talk like this. It shows how much he trusts his friend, even if he doesn't say it and of course, Aiba understands him better than anyone else. ^^
airifan: pic#118165857airifan on February 10th, 2017 03:08 pm (UTC)
Hmmm xD Also bisher ist ja Sho echt ...hmm mir fehlt grad das deutsche Wort ... "clumsy"?
Er hat keinen Modegeschmack, kann nicht kochen...hmmm ich hoffe er kann Nino noch mehr begeistern von sich. ;D obwohl er das ja anscheinend bald geschafft hat...irgendwie. ich bin gespannt wie es weiter geht, dieser Teil war in meinen Augen gut zu lesen...schöne Szene und gute Situation. bringt auch die Beziehung zwischen den Beiden gut vorran. :)
Skysky_fish7 on February 14th, 2017 05:43 pm (UTC)
Haha ja, Sho ist der totale Tollpatsch und sein Modegeschmack hier ist echt fragwürdig. Natürlich kann er auch nicht kochen, obwohl er total gerne isst - da konnte ich es mir nicht verkneifen etwas "real Sho" mit reinzubringen lol. Nino ist schon ziemlich verknallt für seine Verhältnisse, könnte man sagen. Es fragt sich nur, ob er es sich auch wirklich eingestehen wird. Danke fürs Lesen und deinen Kommi ^^