[Oneshot] The Job You Want to Have, Jun/Sho

Title: The Job You Want to Have
Author: astrangerenters
Rating: R (Strong language, dark humor, sexy times)
Genre: Humor, AU
Pairing: Sho/Jun (Sakumoto) with appearances from 3 other gentlemen you might know
Summary: “Hello, Mr. Sakurai, my name is Matsumoto Jun, and I'd like to tell you about a great offer.”
Word Count: ~7500
Disclaimer: Arashi's not mine
Notes: I don't think I've ever characterized Arashi like this before. If you can't handle them being uh...losers, this might not be the fic for you? I really do love these boys, honest!!



Every time he sat down at his desk, put on his headset and pressed the button on the auto-dialer, Matsumoto Jun realized he hated his life.

Sure, there were worse jobs. Changing old people's diapers at care facilities. Cleaning up bathrooms at nightclubs. Working on an assembly line that made Hello Kitty butt plugs. But at least in those jobs, you could look back at the work you did and feel like something was accomplished. Grandma wouldn't wet her pants. People wouldn't slip on vomit. Someone's butt would be plugged. Adorably.

Working as a telemarketer for Away We Go! Car Navigation Systems did not give him that same sense of accomplishment, seeing as how he rarely managed to make a sale. From the beginning of his shift at 4 PM until 11 PM, Jun tried to get people to buy the car navi they sold, and truth be told, Jun would rather drive blindfolded and with his feet than trust an Away We Go! product.

For one, they didn't actually sync up to a satellite. Not legally anyhow. He didn't really know the logistics of it, and to be honest, he really didn't want to. All he knew was that the maps and stuff on the navi piggybacked off of some other systems, occasionally resulting in inaccurate or delayed information. An Away We Go! navi would warn about traffic for the next 10 miles when you were already parked in it.

And yet, from 4 to 11 he tried to convince people to buy it. Having to lie over and over again, deal with harassment from customers...that coupled with the fact that he had no other real job prospects made him pretty fucking miserable. He'd been awesome in high school – on the baseball team, popular with the girls, but none of that translated to career opportunities. He'd spent a few years mixing drinks for some bar in Shinjuku while trying to get the whole acting career thing off the ground.

He gave up auditioning some time ago. He was convinced he was meant to be a star – the Japanese entertainment industry thought otherwise. So he'd turned to telemarketing – initially for the hours. He had the morning free to go on auditions, other interviews. But as the weeks turned to months, Jun found that he was stuck at Away We Go! and growing more homicidal by the day.

Telemarketing was all about calling people – sometimes he had a prospect list, compiled by his co-worker in the cube next to him. The prospects were people without navi systems. So that made up half of Jun's call list. The rest was cold calling people that Ninomiya hadn't gotten to yet (he was the one who made the prospect list, as he took a sick pleasure in cold calling, especially after 9 PM). Those were the ones who hung up on him, berated him, put the phone next to their stereo and cranked it up until his eardrums were about to split.

And that was just his job. Being at Away We Go! every day was enough to drive one up the wall. Nobody wanted to be there. For all that Nino got off on pissing off customers, he hated working there. He'd even brought in an action figure effigy of himself and had it hanging from the cubicle wall with a miniature noose around its neck. And then on Jun's other side was Nino's complete opposite. Ohno Satoshi didn't like his job, but he didn't hate it either. In fact, he was so apathetic that he usually spent most of his time on the clock taking a nap.

Jun didn't like his job. But he earned his money, which was more than he could say for Nino or Ohno.

So his work sucked, his co-workers were strange, and then there was his boss. Oh Jesus, his boss. Aiba Masaki lived, breathed and maybe smoked Away We Go! He had to be smoking something, Jun figured. Aiba was the boss you loved to hate, mostly because he was so annoying. At first, Jun had liked him. He tried to get to know his employees, directing their attention in every meeting to the array of motivational posters he'd hung in his office or around the call center. But for all that he was a smiling face, he would smile as he brought a box out to an employee's desk to fire them on the spot for not meeting a sales quota.

“Let me walk you to the door!” Aiba would say brightly. He was kind of evil. At least that was Nino's theory. He was convinced that Aiba was sent from hell itself to give them an idea of what it would be like when they got there – 'Hang in there, baby!' posters, painfully annoying humming of Hikaru Genji songs, and the constant threat of eternal hellfire.

Today would be one such threat of hellfire day. It was the beginning of a new sales quarter, and Aiba had worn a suit to let them all know what an important day it was. They worked in a call center – nobody saw them aside from the guy who brought the big bottles of water for the water cooler every few weeks. Jun tended to wear a button-down and slacks every day while Nino usually rolled in with jeans and a t-shirt. Ohno wore sandals every day of the year.

The marker board in the meeting room was covered in Aiba's pitiful handwriting. Today's important message was “Dress for the job you WANT to have,” and as he sat down beside Nino, the other man snorted.

“How does a guy who does gravure photoshoots dress?” Nino asked. Ohno was on his other side, asleep.

Jun sighed, waiting for Aiba to start the meeting. The three of them had been at Away We Go! the longest, and whenever a new quarter started, they took bets on which of the newbies would get an Aiba Masaki Firing Special first. The cash prize was 5000 yen. Nino was pretty stingy, never betting on a dark horse. They observed the other employees on their shift as they filed in. Nino had eyes for the pretty girl in the low-cut blouse.

“Mine,” he said almost immediately.

Jun was skeptical. “Her? Why?”

“Why? Can you say AV actress? This is just until her other job takes off. Look at those eyes, look at that face. That's a face made for guys to come all...”

“Alright, alright,” Jun mumbled, waving Nino off. He gestured for the guy listening to his iPod. “I'll take him.”

Nino nodded. “A fair pick. I overheard him and his buddy. He was talking about hitting on JET people.”

“JET people?”

“Foreigners that come over here to teach English but really just want to bang Gackt or something. Guy thinks he can swoop in on that action.”

Jun would never understand his fellow man – the ones he worked with, the ones he talked to on the phone. If there was a god, and after a few years in telemarketing he was pretty convinced there wasn't one, why would he make his creations so stupid? So damn lazy? So...weird!

“What about Satoshi?” Jun asked. “Is he in this quarter?”

Nino leaned over, taking Ohno's wallet from the man's pocket. “Oh yeah, he's totally in. He said I could pick one.” Nino frowned at the wallet's contents. “He just has a coupon for a free melon soda.”

Jun sighed. “Aiba won't fire anyone today, so don't worry.” Aiba wasn't in his firing outfit. He usually had on a tracksuit for that, in case a particularly disgruntled fired person tried to chase him down with a knife or something. Jun wished he was making that bit up.

“Alright,” Nino said. “We'll have Satoshi take the virgin.” Jun followed Nino's gaze to the overweight otaku in the front row who was writing down Aiba's messages of wisdom in his Gundam notebook.

“Okay!” Aiba announced, clapping his hands. “Okay okay, it's third quarter! And that means I'm setting a new goal!” When nobody expressed any opinion either way, he continued, just as fired up as if he'd just won free tickets to a concert. “In honor of the third quarter, whoever meets three times their monthly quota will get a sticker!”

“Gee, I hope it's a shiny sticker,” Nino muttered for Jun's hearing only. Ohno snored lightly, as if in response.

“Before we continue the meeting any further, I'd like to introduce some new friends to our clubhouse!” Aiba proceeded to introduce the AV wannabe (Kumiko-chan), the iPod guy (Jin-kun), and the virgin (Satoshi-kun).

“It's a sign from god,” Nino declared. Jun already felt bad for Ohno – Aiba would probably try to make the two Satoshis become best friends forever. Or at the very least he'd probably start calling them Satoshi One and Satoshi Two.

The meeting dragged on. They were informed to meet sales quotas “or else,” which Aiba was creepy enough to punctuate with one of his breathy giggles. Additionally, the software on the navi system had just upgraded to version 3.1.6.1, so they had to let customers know about the newest changes (apparently, the default text color could now be changed to green if desired). They were all dismissed with one more smiling threat about quotas and a reminder that next week would have Cupcake Friday.

Nino gave Ohno a tap to wake him, and they all got up out of their hard, plastic chairs that probably cost about as much to make over in Taiwan as the car navi systems they sold did. His pick, iPod guy Jin, had the cubicle just in front of his now, so if Aiba fired him, Jun could gloat about it to Nino for weeks since AV girl was on the opposite side of the call center.

Ohno leaned against Nino's cubicle wall, watching the other man not work as Jun adjusted his headset and got ready to do his job. “I like that, Kazunari. I like how the blood sprays out from the neck. But I think you had it arc too much. I think if you were to really stab yourself in the carotid it would just spray forward.”

Jun blinked, leaning back in his chair to see what the hell was going on. Nino was showing off his latest drawing. There were at least fourteen of them hung up in Nino's cubicle. He was drawing the various ways he intended to kill himself in honor of his upcoming third year working at Away We Go! Car Navigation Systems. Ohno had even drawn a few of them himself for Nino as presents, and he was actually pretty good. Jun's current favorite was the one where Nino jumped into a lake of fire filled with electric eels while wearing a wetsuit that had “ALL YOU CAN EAT” stitched onto it.

“Hmm, you might be right,” Nino remarked, reaching for an eraser. “But if I arc it enough, I can draw Aiba over here getting spectacularly drenched by my life force as I die.”

“Tough call,” Satoshi admitted.

Jun rolled his eyes and looked back at his computer screen. Already his email inbox was letting him know that Aiba had sent them all an encouraging message.

--

To: All-Employees
From: Aiba Masaki
Subject: DO YOUR BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy third quarter!!!! Thank you 4 attend meeting :)!!!

I look forward 2 working with u all. Please make friends, please make quotas!!!!!!!

Love,
Masaki <3

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

--

Jun wasn't sure if Aiba had even graduated from high school.

He deleted the message immediately, pulling up the auto-dial program connected to the machine and got started. Nino and Ohno were still discussing the geometry of arterial spray as he got hung up on or reached voicemail boxes for the first six calls. Finally, Ohno headed back for his desk while Jun could still hear Nino's pencil scratching across paper to his left.

On the seventh dial of the afternoon, he reached an old woman in Sendai who did not drive, had no interest in driving, and took the bus to the beauty parlor once a month as a treat. On the eighth dial, a junior high school student answering on his parents' behalf called him a “stupid butt face fuck stick,” which was a new one for Jun. By call sixteen, he was ready to ask Nino for a piece of paper and a spare pencil.

Instead he kept the dialer doing its magic, pulling up his internet browser instead. When he got particularly down, he looked at websites for restaurants that one day he'd like to patronize. On his current wages, he could maybe afford to enter the restaurant and be told to leave. There was a new Italian place near Roppongi that sounded pretty good, and they'd been cruel enough to post pictures of their spaghetti bolognese for Jun to be envious of for a while.

He was so lost in the rigatoni and linguini that he almost missed the guy picking up on the other line. “Hello? Hello? I'm going into a tunnel soon...hello?”

Jun jolted, readjusting his headset and pulling up the script in the word processing program. “Hello, Mr. Sakurai, my name is Matsumoto Jun, and I'd like to tell you about a great offer.” This was usually where they hung up or started cursing. “For today and today only, we here at Away We Go! Car Navigation Systems would like to help you upgrade your existing automotive navigation software in favor of our superior product...”

“Hello?”

Jun paused briefly. He could already imagine Aiba watching him like a hawk from his office, “Boss By Day, Superhero by Night” thermal mug in his hand. Stay on script, Matsumoto.

“For today and today only, we here at Away We Go! Car Navigation...”

“Holy shit!” he heard before he heard the sound of tires squealing and metal grinding.

Well, this was a new one.

All he could do was continue. As long as the call was connected, he had to read the script. “...Systems would like to help you upgrade your existing automotive navigation software in favor of our superior product. Now on version 3.1.6.1 software, our latest navi system has little to no learning curve. No matter your make and model, our product will...”

“Could you...hey, could you call me an...”

“...function right out of the box. Synchronized with NASA satellites, our latest model...”

“Hey!” He heard a door slam. “Why don't you look where you're going, asshole?”

Jun got the impression that the guy wasn't really talking to him now. “...gets you to your destination safely with clear, easily understood maps. Wow your friends with the newest zoom feature...”

The guy came back on the line. “Hey buddy, can I get back to you?”

Jun stopped, scrolling down his script. This had never really happened before. Nobody had gotten into an obvious car accident while on the line with him. “Uh, sir...I'm a telemarketer. If this is a bad time, I'd be happy to talk with you again when convenient. Can I reach you at this number later this evening?”

“Yeah, yeah okay. Sure. Great. Call me later.” The voice changed back to something akin to the rage Jun felt on a day to day basis, but just couldn't get out. “You rear ended me, you fucking prick!” The line then abruptly cut, effectively ending the call.

It was time for a break, definitely. He took off his headset and stretched. He heard the squeaking wheels of Nino's chair, and just as soon as he heard it, Nino was in his space, holding up the drawing. There was now a sketch of Aiba added, or so Jun imagined it to be. He had indeed been soaked in Nino's blood as Jun could barely see a person under the amazing amount of red. He did, however, recognize the posters of kittens just to the left of his bloody boss that were engulfed in a bonfire.

Nino held up a red marker and smiled. “Pretty good, huh?”

“I'm getting some coffee.”



The rest of the shift went as it always did – mind numbingly slow. Somehow, Ohno made four sales, though Jun suspected that the soft-spoken, gentle Ohno had convinced old deaf ladies that he was selling them tea cozies. It was probably the only reason he still had a job, seeing as how Ohno had no driver's license. Why the guy sold car navigation systems made little sense to Jun. Nino was spinning in his chair, tossing pencils up at the ceiling tiles while Jun was on his fifth cup of coffee. It was half past ten, and in half an hour he could leave.

Nobody had been fired, Aiba had tried to get a phone number from the girl who delivered his tempura dinner around 8:00 and failed, and Jun couldn't help thinking about the guy who'd gotten in that car accident. Maybe it was just the growing lateness of the hour, but Jun was feeling kind of guilty. The guy had been driving when Jun called – maybe he wouldn't have gotten into an accident if some asshole telemarketer hadn't interrupted. Well, at least he hadn't died. That would have been kind of awkward.

He had made the necessary number of calls for the day. He always did – Nino was usually rushing towards the end since he spent half his work time playing Bejeweled on his cell phone. So Jun was free, in a way, but if he left early, Aiba would talk to him about dedication and being a team player and “Oh, I'm having a barbecue next weekend, you should totally come,” and Jun would rather pluck out each hair on his leg with tweezers than deal with that.

So he stared at the dialer, wondering if he was just going crazy worrying about this guy he'd never met. He scrolled back through the program, looking for the call time when he'd been connected to Car Accident Guy. He found him, Sakurai Sho, then the number was listed. He heard the all too familiar sound of a face planting against a keyboard – Ohno was down for the count.

Jun pressed the dialer, hoping that this time Sakurai wasn't in the middle of performing heart surgery or something.

“Hello?”

Jun's mouth went dry as he stared at the script, seeing the words blur a bit since he didn't have any drops and his contacts were screaming. And he felt like an asshole trying to sell to this guy again. “Yeah, hi, this is Matsumoto Jun. I called you earlier today.”

“From the car navi place?”

“Uh...yeah, that's me.” Sakurai Sho had a deep voice, aside from the screaming bits Jun had heard earlier that day. It was kind of nice and soothing, especially when he was about to go home and crash. “I wanted to apologize.”

“Why? About the accident? Oh, no it's not your fault. Some asshole rear ended me.” The guy paused, and Jun could hear the television volume being lowered in the background. “Totally his fault, but ugh, doesn't change the fact that my bumper's hanging halfway off now.”

Why was he talking to this guy? When he was on the phone here, he was supposed to be selling. But he couldn't bring himself to read the script to the guy. Sakurai sounded exhausted, annoyed. He'd still answered the phone though. “Mr. Sakurai, I'm sorry to bother you at such a late hour, but I was wondering if you'd like to learn more about our latest navi system?”

Where Jun expected him to hang up, or just decline, Sakurai surprised him. “Yeah. Yeah, tell me about it. Maybe if I had one of those navi things I would have avoided that highway.”

He took another sip of coffee. Shit. He didn't need to sell this guy a shitty nav system when there were at least twenty other products on the market that kicked its ass – and that included paper maps kept in your glove compartment. “Really?”

“Why not? I don't have one.”

“Uh...”

Nino gave him a light tap on the head as he headed out for the evening, pulling Ohno along with him to hit a bar or two. Jun wondered if Nino had been listening in. Aiba tried to get Nino and Ohno's attention, but they ignored him as they headed for the exit.

“Well...”

Others were already packing up to go. They wouldn't hear him. Aiba wouldn't hear him.

“Can I be honest with you, Mr. Sakurai?”

“Uh...sure?”

“Look, I'm just getting paid to sell this. But if I were you, I would save my money. This thing's a piece of shit. It's shit.”

Sakurai sounded puzzled. “Is this a prank call?”

“No, I'm serious. I sit in a call center, I'm bored, I hate my job. I have to interrupt your day to tell you about our shitty car navi system when you could be tucking your kids in for bed or sleeping with your wife or going out with your friends...”

“Wait...”

“No, listen to me.” Jun hadn't been so passionate in a while. Maybe it was the coffee. “Please, do yourself a favor. Don't buy anything from me. Don't be stupid enough to buy something that you haven't tried out in person or looked up on a consumer ratings site.”

“Uh, okay.” Sakurai cleared his throat. “But uh, you were the one who called me back.”

Well, he was right about that. And since when did Jun give a shit about the people he called for work? They didn't give a shit about him. “Right. Well. I just wanted to make sure you were okay.” He was horrified by the truth of it. It made him feel kind of ill – thank god Nino wasn't here to make gagging noises.

This job forced him into reading scripted conversations with people all day, and the remaining people he did interact with were just as miserable as him or worse, they were just kind of weird. He turned in his seat to see Aiba smiling at him through his blinds. It was especially creepy when all he could see was Aiba's eyes and nose. He probably thought Jun was closing a sale.

Jun had no real friends to speak of, seeing as how he was in the call center when most people were out enjoying happy hour. Sure, Nino was a funny guy, but Jun didn't want to be his friend. What did people like Nino DO when they weren't at work? All he could imagine involved pornography and a lot of crying, which didn't interest him that much.

Maybe Sakurai Sho hated his life just as much as Jun did. If he'd picked up the phone, even carried on a conversation with Jun and shown genuine interest in the stupid car navi, maybe he was someone he could relate to on some level. Or maybe Jun was just fucking lonely and growing increasingly frustrated talking to his goldfish when he came home from work (especially because the fucker wouldn't even look at him any more).

“Mr. Sakurai, did you want to grab a coffee?”

What? Did he really just ask the guy for coffee? Oh shit. Shit shit shit.

“You mean...like, now?”

“No, no.” He shut his eyes, not wanting to look at his monitor or his dialer or anything. Oh god, who goes out for coffee with a telemarketer? “No.”

It was the longest pause of his life, even longer than the silence that had followed when he told his parents that he wanted to become an actor. And they'd at least responded with hysterical laughter.

“Yeah I...I guess so. I have meetings all day tomorrow but uh...what was your name again?”

“Matsumoto.”

“Okay. Uhh...coffee? Do I meet you or do you meet me or uh...”

Oh god, Sakurai thought he was getting propositioned. Shit. This was the most embarrassing conversation he'd ever had. He just wanted a friend, even though Sakurai had one of those voices that sounded like maybe...maaaybe he was kind of good looking? “I'm off all day Saturday.”

“Okay.”

They awkwardly arranged to meet at a Starbucks and during the mid-afternoon. Any later and it would be a date, and that...just, no.

He hung up, feeling kind of like he wanted to throw up and never stop. He packed up, shut down his computer. As he was leaving, Aiba called out to him, holding up his hand for an air high five. “Don't leave me hanging, Jun!”

Without looking, he returned the air five and headed out the door. He was the only one in the office who ever did, and he sure as hell did not want to know how much joy that brought to his boss' life.



It was his first meet-up arranged by auto-dialer, and Jun didn't know why he was so fucking nervous. He'd stood in front of his open closet for twenty minutes before deciding on a hooded sweatshirt and jeans. And some black boots – sneakers would just remind Sakurai that he worked in a call center. Or something. This wasn't a date, he repeated. Ugh, he really needed friends.

The Starbucks was pretty empty, and he was able to peg Sakurai right away. He'd picked a table in the middle of everything, as if to reassure Jun that he didn't think this was a date either. He was already sipping something while he read the newspaper. Oh shit, this guy was a newspaper reading type. Jun just read updates on his phone, and usually that was just sports scores.

He ordered a latte and approached slowly. “Sakurai?”

The guy looked up from the newspaper. Oh crap. He was kind of hot. Hot in a way that Nino would totally have pegged him for an Aiba Masaki Firing Special. Where Jun's hair was kind of a mess, Sho's was cut neatly. Where Jun slouched, Sho sat up straight. Where Jun worked in the sulfurous pits of hell, Sho looked like a future CEO. “Matsumoto?”

Introductions out of the way, Sho folded up his newspaper as Jun took a seat across from him. “This is weird, I'm sorry if it's weird.”

“No, no, it's totally fine,” Sakurai answered. “You were honest about the car navi thing. I appreciate that.”

“Yeah, sorry about that whole thing. It's kind of my job.”

Sho smiled, and Jun had to look down at the coffee cup. It wasn't a date. “You don't have to apologize. Everyone has crappy jobs from time to time.”

Jun didn't want to admit that he was in his second year in said crappy job. “What do you do, if you don't mind me asking?”

“Oh me? Just another guy in an office.”

Jun smirked. “Yeah right. What kind of office?”

“We make sure used textbooks and supplies get sent to needy schools in sub-Saharan Africa.”

His heart sank. A newspaper reading do-gooder. He should just get up and go back home. But that was when Sho started laughing. It wasn't the hyena cackle that Aiba had, nor the cynical snort that Nino had. It was kind of nice. “Oh, I'm just kidding,” Sakurai assured him. “I work for a soulless corporation just like you. We sell teeth rotting energy drinks instead of faulty car navigation systems though.”

He looked up, seeing that Sho was now telling the truth. Thank god. No, really. Thank god. He exhaled. “I was freaking out.”

Sho shook his head. “I'm sorry, I'm sorry. But you looked so heartbroken, I'm sorry for laughing at you.”

The rest of the coffee not-date went well. Sho wasn't miserable in his job – he was on the office bowling team, he seemed to make decent money, and he had a lot of friends from university. But at the same time, he wasn't all that happy. He still lived at home (which Jun tried very hard not to laugh about), there was little opportunity for advancement in his current position, and like Jun, he'd had different aspirations that continued to go unfulfilled.

To Jun's complete and utter surprise, the well-groomed and well-educated and well-everything Sakurai Sho had wanted to be a rapper. Which was kind of difficult when you went to elite private schools and worked as a salaryman. And still lived with your mom. Sho had zero street cred. “But my lyrics are really great,” he assured Jun.

In order to not laugh in Sho's face at the thought of him breaking things down like Snoop Dogg, Jun excused himself to get another coffee. When he returned to the table, Sho was on his phone, mouthing “I'm sorry.” Jun drank his second latte in silence, trying not to overhear his companion's phone call. It was about work, some report that needed to be on someone's desk before he came in on Monday. Sho's face grew angrier and angrier – he had a short fuse, Jun learned.

“Well just tell Hanamura that if I'd had those charts on Thursday, I could have gotten this done yesterday.” Sho made a pistol gesture with his thumb and index finger, pulling the fake trigger over and over against his head. Jun snorted. “I don't care! How fucking hard is it to learn Excel? My neighbor's six year old knows how to use fucking Photoshop!”

Jun had an epiphany then. All the frustration that he had stayed bottled up. He was polite to the people he called, even when he wanted to tell them that he was in fact a human being and not a “waste of space.” He never told Nino to shut up when he went off on hour-long rants about the way his favorite big-titted character was drawn differently in the anime than in the manga. He never ratted out Ohno when he fell asleep midway through a customer call. He worked his ass off to make quotas to avoid Aiba firing him. He never said a god damned thing.

“Well, it's not my fault! Now I have to stay up til two fucking thirty fixing your group's incompetence!”

Sho said what he was feeling. Quite noisily too. And he still had a good job and friends and a bowling team to be a part of. Jun almost wanted to kneel down and bow and say “Teach me, Sakurai. Teach me to be more like you.” It had been the most enlightening coffee not-date of his life.

Instead he and Sho scheduled another not-date – karaoke on the following Saturday. Sho was bringing his lyrics book.

Jun planned to bring a new version of himself. Matsumoto Jun, version 3.1.6.1 - the version that didn't take anybody's shit any longer.



Okay, so getting to the new version of Jun was more difficult than he'd realized. One couldn't gain years' worth of confidence overnight. His first experiment was to stand up to Nino a little bit. It wasn't that Nino bullied him. He was half Jun's size. Nino just thought everyone was entitled to his opinion, as theirs were probably deficient in his mind.

They were having a coffee break, and Nino was as usual, leading the conversation. To nobody's surprise, the girl Nino had chosen as the first victim of Aiba's firing had won. She showed up late every day and sat at her work station picking at the cheap nail art adorning her fingers. Ohno, an eyewitness to the event, noted that Aiba had tried (and failed) to ask the girl out after he escorted to the door.

Their boss had allegedly called the girl a “sore loser” before slamming the door in her face.

Nino was holding up Jun's 2000 yen note to the light, examining it shrewdly. Nino did this every time he won. It pissed Jun off a lot. He'd worked hard for that money, unlike Nino who felt like he should be rolling in money for lowering himself to customer service when his hentai computer game hadn't taken off the way he'd expected.

But this time, Jun would let Nino know he didn't appreciate the lack of trust. He prepared a Sakurai Sho f-bomb laden rant, preparing to use the terms weasel, chihuahua and possibly sea monkey to describe his toxic co-worker. Instead, he only managed to choke out something less than menacing.

“Nino, do you think I'm stupid enough to pass you counterfeit bills?”

Ohno looked a bit stunned that anyone had interrupted Nino, but Nino himself seemed unfazed. He slipped the money in his wallet and got up from the table. “That a new vitamin supplement, Matsumoto? Vitamin bitch?”

Jun was disappointed as Nino left, once again getting the last word. Ohno just patted him on the shoulder in sympathy. Sho wouldn't be very impressed. Sho wouldn't want to be friends with someone who couldn't even tell off a sea monkey.

He shuffled back to his desk, finding a bright yellow post-it on his keyboard from Nino.

“Who pissed in your miso this morning?”

Nino, shockingly enough, was on a call and didn't even glance over as Jun crumbled it up and tossed it in the wastebasket. He put on his headset and punched the button for the auto-dialer.



Aiba was looking at him expectantly. Jun wanted to be anywhere else but here. Maybe stuck in traffic, maybe getting a root canal. Instead, his boss had invited him to be the chairperson for the Cupcake Friday Judging Committee – a committee of which he was still the only member. While everyone was allowed to bring in treats for tomorrow's day, only Aiba was cheating – he was forcing the committee to evaluate his cupcakes in advance.

Aiba had promised Jun a special bonus for his participation. If Jun knew how Aiba worked, and sadly he did, that bonus was either A – the ability to continue working for Away We Go! Car Navigation Systems or B – an invite to dinner at Aiba's parents' restaurant as Aiba's special guest. Neither of those things were particularly appealing.

He'd been eating cupcakes for the better part of twenty minutes with no break, and Aiba hadn't offered him anything to drink. Plus, Aiba used way too much frosting – Jun could already feel a cavity forming. But regular Jun, the Jun he'd been before meeting Sho for coffee, would just smile and tell Aiba that all of his cupcakes were tasty and that the judging would surely be a tough decision. It was what Aiba wanted to hear. He had to break the cycle, had to tell Aiba to stay out of the kitchen and focus more on retaining employees who had a basic grasp of Japanese – then again, the Filipino guy on the morning shift had the highest sales volume of anyone, but Jun suspected the guy was posing as a yakuza or something on the phone.

He thought of Sakurai, energy drink corporate wage slave Sakurai with his bowling buddies, their matching shirts and their Christmas bonuses. Sho would tell Aiba to “stop with the fucking cupcakes” and smile that amiable smile and put little hearts in Aiba's eyes. He needed an ounce of that confidence, that “I don't give a shit” attitude.

“Aiba...”

“Masakiiiiii,” his boss reminded him. First names at work was an American thing that Aiba had latched onto at some leadership conference a few years back.

“Masaki.” He thought of Sho, waiting for him in the karaoke booth. Jun needed a friend – a smart friend with quirks that didn't necessarily send you screaming in horror. He needed to impress him. “I think you need to ease up on the frosting.”

“Oh, you don't have to...” Aiba had obviously expected a compliment, and his face froze in a strange half-smile, half-frown. “I'm sorry?”

Courage, Matsumoto. He's fired people for less than this. Be constructive. “I think if you put more of the little funfetti things in the cake batter people will be excited. Less frosting, more color inside the cupcake.”

Aiba's bubbling madness subsided. “People do like funfetti, huh?”

He'd dodged the bullet, and somehow, it felt good. It felt really damn good to just be honest. He hadn't been a prick about it either. If he was one for flowery thoughts, he'd say that his heart was soaring. But he'd settle for a sigh of relief as Aiba started scraping layers of frosting off of his cupcakes, humming off-key the whole time.



Karaoke usually required a few drinks first, and it required a few more once Sho had gingerly handed over his notebook of “fresh rhymes” like it was the damn Bible. Jun had spent his entire week with Sho as his example of how to live, how to be confident. How to dress for the job he wanted, how to dress for the LIFE he wanted.

But as he watched Sakurai, tie around his forehead, adding a completely unnecessary rap section to 'Sweet Caroline' that incorporated the line “Caroline, you look so fine, need you like Neil needs Diamonds,” Jun had another, far more horrifying epiphany.

Sakurai Sho was a loser.

A dorky, goofy loser who would probably get served by someone's Great Aunt Mika when it came to a rap battle. Sho was as much of a loser as Aiba, who had no game. As much of a loser as Ohno and Nino, who mostly just played games. And as much of a loser as Jun, who had created a Mixi page for his fucking goldfish because he had no life.

So when the song was over and Jun's world was crashing around him spectacularly and Sho was looking with those sweet, bright, drunken eyes for feedback on his rapping, he did only what came natural to someone at the end of their rope.

He tugged Sakurai by his tie and kissed him.



They decided to go back to Jun's apartment when the karaoke hostess caught them making out instead of singing in the booth. It was pretty obvious that Sho's parents wouldn't be too fond of him bringing home someone, especially a guy, at such a late hour.

It hadn't had much chance to surface on their coffee outing, and Jun had been so creeped out by Sho's rapping that he hadn't noticed it at the karaoke place, but Sakurai was clumsy. Painfully so as they were standing just inside Jun's doorway trying to get their shoes off – he didn't know how, but Sho had already gotten a cramp in his leg and was sitting on the floor half-cursing, half-crying.

Jun didn't care. He just didn't care any more. He was a loser who telephoned losers every day, he worked with losers, and he really just wanted to have mildly good to decent sex with a loser – at least Sho was hot. “Get up,” he demanded, trying to get Sho under his arm.

“It hurts, damn it!”

“I'll make it feel better, come on,” he said, pulling Sho to his feet. Where was the guy who cussed out the man who'd rear ended him? The guy who yelled at his co-worker for not pulling his weight at work? Even the guy who had confidently rapped 99 Luftballons in some German/Japanese hybrid language instead of singing was preferable.

Jun managed to get Sho over to the couch since he was heavier, drunker and grumpier. He was responsive to kissing at least, particularly enjoying the attention Jun paid to his pouty lower lip. “Leg still hurts,” Sho mumbled before Jun cut him off again.

Sho's whimpering changed once Jun had his belt buckle undone and open, sliding his hand inside Sho's boxers. The underwear his mother probably still washed and folded for him, the voice in his mind nagged him. Focus, damn it. Focus already! Sho was bucking impatiently against Jun's hand, trying to get his hands under Jun's shirt. This would have been a lot easier in the bedroom, considering it was where everything he needed to make this a safe and enjoyable experience waited in a drawer.

He dragged his mouth across Sho's jaw. “I'll be right back.”

Sho was disappointed once Jun's hands disappeared from his pants. He called out after Jun, who was already in his bedroom digging through his woefully underutilized party time drawer. “I'm going to write a rap about you!” Sho slurred, and thankfully, Jun was hard enough to ignore that. It was kind of sweet, in a way he couldn't quite explain.

He returned, setting down the necessities. In the time it had taken Jun to go to the bedroom and back, Sho had slid off the couch to lie awkwardly on Jun's floor. His eyes were kind of glassy, staring up at the ceiling. “Jun, you would have been a great actor, I'm sure you would have.”

“Yeah I know,” he answered, tugging on Sho's slacks.

“And I think,” Sho said, wriggling around a bit to pull off his t-shirt, revealing a damn nice body. “I think I could have rapped the theme song for your first movie. It would be all, it's Jun! Big fucking movie star! Bang, bam, wow!”

“Uh huh.” Jun wasn't listening. He was almost naked himself, teeth tearing through the corner of the condom wrapper as he tried to multitask.

Sho was pretty damn drunk. “And they'd be all, hey, who's that guy doing the rapping? He's great! Your hands are cold, Jun...”

Old Jun would have waited longer, would have probably sat patiently and eventually been disappointed as Sho feel asleep halfway through blowing him. New Jun wasn't feeling that tonight. He positioned himself over his fellow loser, his beautiful, adorable, rapping loser and kissed him.

“We're going to have sex now, is that alright?”

Sho agreed, stroking his thumb across the tiny mole on Jun's upper lip. There were worse ways to spend a Saturday night – and worse people to spend it with. He was nearly undone by the gasp Sho made as they came together. Maybe being a loser was kind of okay in the end.



As Aiba's sloppy message had advised him not very long ago, dress for the job you want to have.

So there he was, in suit and tie, nervously tapping his toes as he waited for them to call him in. Aiba had actually cried when Jun gave his two weeks' notice, since he apparently thought they were best friends. When Jun informed his co-workers of his decision, the only reaction had been Ohno taking out his wallet, sighing, and then writing up an IOU on a post-it to give to Nino.

He would not be missing Away We Go! Car Navigation Systems.

Sho had spent the past week and a half coaching him for the interview and helping him rewrite his resume. He was interviewing for a sales position (no cold calling!) in the office building across the street from where Sho worked, and if the other applicants in the waiting area were any indication, Jun was probably going to get the job. The AV girl was there with brand new nail art, and the third interviewee had shown up in pajama pants.

Dress for the job you want to have.

He and Sho were hitting the karaoke place tonight, and hell, maybe Jun would try to break it down if he had enough shots. If it led to more sex with his new boyfriend, he would suffer any karaoke indignity.

The door opened. The interviewer's eyes nearly crossed at the sight of the other two candidates, then brightened at the sight of Jun and his freshly dry-cleaned suit.

“Mr. Matsumoto, why don't you come in?”

He stood, picking up his briefcase and straightening his tie. Maybe this place had a bowling team, too.

This was SO good!
As much as I LOVE Jun/Sho fics you really had me at Aiba.
His characterization is HILARIOUS.
Thank you for sharing this great story about a bunch of losers. ^_^
Awww, I was so MEAN to Aiba here, but at the same time, when you can make fun of them THIS BADLY it shows that you love them right? Thank you :) :)
FRESH RHYMES I AM DYING. ♥

also now i want to see the full rap sho would write for jun. it would probably be so awkward but i'd endure for the lulz.

(lol editing because i apparently skipped over the rap line the first time. behold my super-awesome comprehension skills.)

Edited at 2009-11-08 02:24 am (UTC)
If there's a sequel to this (there won't be), I will post Sho's rap of love in addition to writing the whole story from the POV of Jun's goldfish)
this was awesome :D especially 'Working on an assembly line that made Hello Kitty butt plugs' and 'Someone's butt would be plugged. Adorably.'

you had me there O_o

<333
Yeeeeah this is me showing my true colors, aka I have a really twisted mind. I can't speak about butt plugs, but I know there are Hello Kitty vibrators!!

And thank you :)
i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your sense of humor. this fic made me laugh out loud. it definitely made me incredibly happy.

PLUS, it had sho/jun. you totally made my night. <3

thank you for writing and sharing!!! :)
LOL I worry that people will just o.O at what I call "humor" so thank you for sparing me that humiliation.

If I could come up with coherent Sho/Jun plots, I would write them all day long.
This was seriously awesome!
I really loved it!
Oh Jesus, his boss. Aiba Masaki lived, breathed and maybe smoked Away We Go! this was hilarious, well at least to me.
Thank you for sharing!! ^^
Thanks so much!!

I am happy that people haven't wanted me killed for how strange I made Aiba in this story (or Nino for that matter, haha)
Oh god you had me from Hello Kitty butt plugs. I loved everyone's personalities, too. Awesome, awesome fic. XD
I figure that if you're not on board with Hello Kitty butt plugs, then you are not on board with this story :)

Thank youuuu
I COULD WRITE SNARKY, BITCHY NINO ALL DAY. BUT THIS WAS A SHO/JUN STORY. I HAD TO REMIND MYSELF THAT SEVERAL TIMES.

Thank you :)
this was flipping epic.
I don't know what it was. The rampantly AU-ness of it all, or the immensely pissed off Jun, or the scary yet enthusiastic Aiba.
Plus, it was written well.
And..I loved it! XD
Rampantly AU - and yet, some of these things rang true about them I hope. Because in the end, all five of them are pretty weird (which is why we love them)

Thank you!!
This was frikkin' fantastic.
The mixi page for his goldfish got me bad - Rofl
I don't know why, but that made me laugh out loud for about a minute - epic ^_^

Aiba was genius, and the rest were just astounding.
Thank you for this. The world is a better place becasue of this:P
The neverending saga of Jun and his goldfish. You can just imagine him, tapping the bowl to get the fish's attention and then being sad when the fish ignores him. Jun <3 <3 <3

I like to tap into Aiba's DoS side.
You totally made my day. <3
loser!arashi is beyond hilarious!!
and the best part is my OTP Sakumoto<333
btw, aiba masaki firing special = LOVE XD
Sakumoto is my OTP too!! Which is why I can write 7500 words of crack and still have them do each other before it's over :) ;)

Thank you!
this is not a good thing to read while your house is full with your nosy relatives and you're dying because you're trying so hard not to laugh or even smile while reading this fic. which means, this is totally epically cracktastic and omfg i love loser!Arashi with loser!OTP plus an evil-hyper-cheerful-idiot Aiba.
heartheartheart
I'm very pleased with all the positive reactions to me making Aiba an evil-hyper-cheerful-idiot. Because I love him so so so much, but think he'd probably be the world's worst boss.

Loser Arashi - you know, sometimes I forget that they are wildly successful pop idols when they're acting like morons on TV every week. This is just them without the Johnny's Gay Umbrella to support their loserness :)
omfg loser!arashi is like my new favorite genre! i cannot stop laughing!

i love you so much for writing this!!!
Hahahaha, if this becomes a genre, I will eat my hat. I'm cruel to these boys (but it shows my undying love, I hope!)

Thank YOU for reading :)