TOP3, A Little Help From My Friends

Title: A Little Help From My Friends [TOP3]
Rating/Warnings: PG for Kitayama threatening to kick Nikaido’s ass, and for anything Koki tells the juniors to do.
Summary: Koyama seems sad, and Hasshi, Nozawa, and Sanada just want to help out. Also Nikaido is a tool, Nakamaru is wise, Shintarou is leader, Shige is panicked, Akun is skeptical, and Shoon is coordinated.
AN: The TOP3/Koyama fic I promised both snowqueenofhoth and blahchiharu. But even if you aren’t a TOP3 fan yet, you should read this because it is full of hijinks and JE cameos, and juniors who adore Koyama for taking care of them! Trust me, you won’t regret it.

A Little Help From My Friends

It was a normal afternoon of Shounen Club practice, which meant that dozens of juniors were milling about, A.B.C. was refusing to stay in their own dressing room, Shintarou was claiming himself leader, and in the midst of everything, Koyama-kun was trying desperately to get people to fill out their Jr ni Q cards with interesting and airable answers.

Today, though, something seemed off.

“Here you three go,” Koyama said, handing three bright pink cards and markers to Nozawa (Sanada would throw the markers at Hasshi, and Hasshi would get distracted by sniffing them if not supervised). “Don’t forget to pin them up and turn back in your markers, please.”

Koyama gave them a smile, but it wasn’t anything like the way he usually beamed encouragingly during Shokura practices, and then Koyama turned away to continue distributing cards.

“Hey,” Nozawa thumbed the corner of the cards thoughtfully, “does something seem funny about Koyama-kun?”

“He didn’t warn us about papercuts,” Sanada realized. “Or that the markers aren’t as washable as they say.”

“Or about writing down things other senpai tell us!” Hasshi added.

TOP3 exchanged concerned glances, then turned to watch Koyama as he went on his way throughout the mirrored room, handing out supplies. It was hard to say exactly what was wrong, since Koyama still casually broke up fights and helped out people with their stretches or their costumes, but the usually sunny MC seemed dimmer today, just a touch off.

When Koyama got to the edge of the room, having handed out all the cards, he glanced around a little to check on everybody’s progress, and when nobody seemed to be him any attention, Koyama let out a sad, little sigh, shoulders slumping. After a moment, Koyama shook himself, put a smile back on his face, and strode with purpose into the crowd to make Nikaido stop tying people’s skates together.

“I think Koyama’s not feeling himself today,” Nozawa concluded, turning back to the other two. They both nodded.

“We should do something!” Hasshi exclaimed, sitting up on his knees. The other two blinked at him.

“We don’t even know what he’s sad about!” Sanada said, shooting another glance over his shoulder as Koyama half-heartedly pulled apart a squabbling knot of chibiko and made them apologize to each other. “Besides, don’t you think if something were wrong, Nakamaru-kun would…”

“That’s a great idea!” Hasshi hopped up, beaming down at the other two. “Nakamaru-kun will know what’s wrong for sure! Let’s go ask!”

“That’s not what I…” Sanada tried, but Hasshi was already yanking them up by the hands and dragging them along for the ride.

*****

“Let me get this straight,” Nakamaru-kun said after a moment of staring at TOP3 like they had the collective insight of a Kansai vocal unit. “The reason that you think there’s something wrong with Koyama is because he didn’t tell you not to write down obscene things on your Jr ni Q cards?”

Kawai and Goseki, leaning around Nakamaru’s shoulders since it was A.B.C.’s practice that Hasshi had interrupted, wanted to know exactly why Koyama felt they needed to be reminded of that anyway. Nakamaru shrugged them off and back towards their bandmates with practiced ease.

“He just seems sad today,” Sanada finally spoke up, since letting Hasshi do all the talking rarely ended well. “And we want to do something, since Koyama-kun always cheers us up when we feel worried or lonely or scared.”

Nakamaru’s expression softened just a bit. “That’s very thoughtful of you, but Koyama-kun is a grown-up and can take care of himself. What will definitely make him sad is you three goofing off instead of practicing like you’re supposed to.” Nakamaru gave the markers and cards still in Nozawa’s hands a pointed look. “So how about you finish up with those cards and get back to work, hm?”

“Yes, Nakamaru-kun,” the three of them chorused, then turned and trudged off.

“We shouldn’t give up, though,” Hasshi said when they were tucked back in their corner, scribbling down their answers. “If we don’t give up, there’ll definitely be a chance!”

Sanada looked up, impressed. “Hasshi, that’s actually sort of inspiring!”

“It’s from JUMP’s new single.” Nozawa rolled his eyes. He finished writing and blew over his card to dry the marker. “Hurry up, we’re supposed to be learning our song for the medley.”

“It’s LIPS again, we can do the whole thing blindfolded,” Sanada replied, scribbling something on his card, then wrinkling his nose at it. “The only reason we practice it is so that Hasshi doesn’t put out somebody’s eye with a poorly-timed hiproll.”

“My hiprolls are awesome, you jerk!” Hasshi stuck his tongue out. He finished doodling on his own card, and all three of them climbed to their feet. “Let’s go pin them up, and then we can figure out what to do about Koyama-kun.”

“Then we can practice,” Nozawa said firmly, but he sighed when Hasshi’s determined expression didn’t waver.

It was as they were tacking their cards up to the corkboard that Hasshi had his second genius plan. Just as they were finishing, Anderson-kun came around the corner of the board and shrieked in surprise.

“Man, you guys scared me!” Anderson said, clutching at his chest. “I had no idea you were there! You’re like ninja or something!”

“Sorry, Anderson-kun,” Sanada chuckled, patting him on the back. “We weren’t trying to…scare…” Sanada trailed off as he noticed a maniacal glint in Hasshi’s eyes. “Hasshi, why are you making that face?”

“Ninja!” Hasshi exclaimed fervently, and after getting a look at Hasshi’s face, Anderson pinned his card up and then scampered off as quickly as he could. “That’s how we’ll help out Koyama-kun!”

“Have you been reading Shounen Jump on the train again?” Nozawa asked, straightening a few of the cards before turning to give Hasshi a skeptical look.

“Look, we’ll just follow him around a bit!” Hasshi exclaimed, then clapped a hand to his mouth and glanced around to make sure nobody was watching. Satisfied their mission hadn’t been comprised, he pulled the other two in closer with arms around their shoulders and continued in a loud whisper. “We’ll listen in on his conversations until we figure out what’s wrong, he won’t even know we’re there!”

“That’s a little…” Sanada started.

“Creepy?” Nozawa supplied. “Seriously, practice is right over there.”

“Perfect!” Hasshi grinned. “He’ll never suspect a thing!”

*****

“So I think for the game, then…” Koyama broke off in the middle of his sentence and looked over his shoulder. It wouldn’t have been strange, except it had already happened several times during the conversation.

Shoon exchanged a glance with Akun. “Koyama-kun, are you feeling okay?”

“Hm?” Koyama turned back around and smiled sheepishly at the look Shoon and Akun were giving him. “Oh, it’s nothing! I’m fine! Anyway, you two are certainly popular during the games recently, so Nakamaru-kun and I were thinking that…”

Koyama broke off again, turning around, and this time when he insisted it was nothing, Akun gave him a skeptical expression.

“It’s just…” Koyama rubbed the back of his neck, as if it tickled. “It feels like someone’s watching me. But when I turn around, nobody’s there. Silly, ne?”

“Watching you?” Akun’s brow furrowed. “Like…spies?”

“Spies!” Koyama’s eyes grew round. “I was thinking that, but I felt silly telling anybody! Ne, you don’t think there’s spies in here, do you? What would they want with me?”

Shoon, who had been watching over Koyama’s shoulder since the last time he turned around, gave Koyama a reassuring smile. “I really don’t think it’s spies, Koyama-kun. I’m sure whatever you think for the game is fine, excuse me a minute.”

Shoon stepped around a puzzled Koyama, and strode towards a nearby costume rack, where he’d just seen three familiar heads pop back behind. The costume rack inched a little to the right, before Shoon put his foot down on one of the wheels to stop it.

“And just what,” Shoon inquired of the costume rack, “do you three think you’re doing?”

When he got no immediate answer, Shoon grabbed two handfuls of fabric and pushed costumes to either side. Three cute juniors beamed at him innocently. Shoon stared right back at them, having long ago perfected his unfazed older brother stance.

Sanada was the first to crack. “Hasshi made us!”

“Made you what?” Shoon asked, while Hasshi whacked Sanada across the back of the head. “Really, what are you doing? Aren’t you supposed to be practicing?”

“Koyama-kun seems sad today,” Nozawa explained, beginning to take on the air of somebody giving a well-practiced speech. “We want to help cheer him up, but we don’t know what the problem is, and Nakamaru-kun didn’t know either, so we decided…”

“To give him a nervous condition?” Shoon interrupted, crossing his arms. “I can see how that would cheer him right up. Personally, I love it when people follow me around until I think I’m going crazy.”

Hasshi, Nozawa, and Sanada all hung their heads. “Sorry, Shoon-kun.”

“Mmhmm.” Shoon unfolded his arms and bopped each of them lightly on the top of the head in turn. “It’s nice of you to be worried about Koyama-kun, but he’s a grown-up and he can take care of himself.”

“That’s what Nakamaru-kun said,” Hasshi sighed.

Shoon nodded. “Since Nakamaru-kun knows Koyama-kun really well, you should leave it up to him. And furthermore…”

At that moment, Shoon was interrupted by his younger brother running up and launching into a bunch of questions, and TOP3 burst into giggles because Reon and Shoon were wearing matching shirts. Shoon’s mouth flattened into a thin line.

“Would you three excuse us a moment?” Shoon said, putting a tight hand on Reon’s shoulder to push him to the side. “I need a moment to speak to my brother.”

“Okay!” Hasshi said as soon as Shoon turned away. “So next we’ll…”

“GO BACK TO PRACTICE,” Shoon’s voice interrupted, making all three of them jump.

“Well…” Hasshi grinned sheepishly, and Sanada and Nozawa groaned. “I can think while we practice, I guess.”

*****

“Okay,” Hasshi said a little while later, during a break from practice. The choreographer had seemed to take a lot of pleasure in working them like a slave-driver in revenge for their lateness, and now all three of them were collapsed on the floor in sweaty heaps, guzzling water.

Sanada and Nozawa gave Hasshi dirty looks as soon as he started speaking; Hasshi ignored them.

“Shoon-kun said we should leave it up to Nakamaru-kun because he and Koyama-kun are close,” Hasshi said, pursing his lips in thought. “But Nakamaru-kun doesn’t know what’s wrong.”

“So what?” Sanada asked, draining the last of his water bottle and collapsing flat on his back. Nozawa, already prone on the ground, gave a noncommittal grunt.

“So, we have to ask somebody even closer to Koyama-kun,” Hasshi concluded. “Like his best friend in the whole world!”

“But how are you going to ask Shige-kun anything?” Sanada mumbled from the floor. “It isn’t like he’s MCing again.”

Hasshi’s eyes lit up, and this time it was Nozawa who whacked Sanada across the back of the head.

*****

“We really shouldn’t be doing this,” Nozawa fretted from the locker room doorway. “I mean, really. I can’t watch. I’m covering my eyes so I can’t see you doing it!”

“Open your eyes, you idiot, you’re the lookout!” Hasshi snapped. “Aha, got it!”

Nozawa pulled his hands away from his face to find Hasshi holding up Koyama-kun’s phone triumphantly, a nerve-wracked Sanada at his elbow.

“Just put it back in his bag,” Nozawa begged Hasshi. “We’ll just hug Koyama-kun a lot, that’ll make him feel better, I know it!”

“I’ll put it back as soon as we’re done,” Hasshi brushed Nozawa off. “Nobody’ll know, trust me. Come on, let’s find someplace quiet to do this.”

The three of them crept into the nearest bathroom, and Hasshi instructed Nozawa and Sanada to lean against the door to keep it shut in case anybody tried to get in, while he thumbed through Koyama’s contact list.

“The senpai are going to kill us,” Sanada intoned in a hollow voice. “They’re going to torture us into giving evidence.”

“Speak for yourself,” Nozawa answered, hands back over his eyes. “I don’t see anything bad happening.”

“Got it!” Hasshi chirped, pressing a couple buttons, and then he put the phone to his ear and gave the other two a thumbs up. “It’s ringing!”

Sanada covered his eyes like Nozawa.

“Kei-chan?” Shige’s voice came through the speaker. “Aren’t you filming Shokura right now? Is everything okay?”

“Shige-k…I mean, Shige-chan!” Hasshi corrected himself, in what was possibly the most cheerful and yet least accurate Koyama impression ever. “My best friend in the whole world, ne?”

“I…yes? Kei-chan, you sound funny. Do you feel sick?”

“Ne, Shige-chan,” Hasshi continued, getting into it, and Nozawa let out a little moan, “I have this feeling, ne. Like something’s wrong, ne. Ne, but, I can’t quite figure out what.”

“Am I in the game or something?” Shige demanded. “Are you recording this?”

“Since Shige-chan is my best friend in the whole world,” Hasshi winked at Sanada, who was peeking out between his fingers, and Sanada covered his eyes back up and whimpered, “he would know if something was wrong, ne, ne?”

“Are you using some sort of code?” Shige started sounding panicked. “Are you in a hostage situation?!”

“Um,” Hasshi started to look a little panicked as well. “N-no, everything’s fine, I just…”

“I’m coming down there right now! Hang in there, Kei-chan!” Shige shouted into the phone, and then the line went dead.

Hasshi looked down at the face of Koyama’s cell phone, which was cheerfully informing him that the call had ended, and then up at Nozawa and Sanada, who were giving him equal looks of horror.

Just then, there was the thump of somebody trying to push the door open, which made all three of them jump. Hasshi hurriedly shoved the phone in his pocket, just as somebody started pounding on the door.

“Oi, open up!” Kitayama-kun hollered, and Nozawa clutched at Sanada’s arm reflexively, making him yelp. “Nikaido, if that’s you in there again, I’m going to kick your ass from here to…”

“Sorry, senpai!” Hasshi shoved the other two out of the way and pulled the door open, grinning innocently up at Kitayama. “Nozawa was just standing behind the door when you pushed.”

“Oh.” Kitayama’s expression returned to his usual sleepy-eyed look as Hasshi scuttled out of the bathroom, pushing a white-faced Sanada and Nozawa in front of him. “Sorry about that, Nozawa-kun. Say, but have either of you noticed anybody looking suspicious?”

“No!” Sanada exclaimed, too loud. He swallowed and tried again. “No. Why?”

“Koyama-kun’s cell phone’s missing.” Kitayama shrugged a shoulder. “Seems like somebody took it from his bag. He’s really upset about it. Anyway, shouldn’t you three be at practice?”

“Yes, senpai,” all three of them said, downcast, as Kitayama strode past them into the bathroom. The three of them dragged their feet back to the practice room with their eyes glued to their sneakers, barely even noticing when Fujigaya-kun came skipping merrily by them.

*****

“We have to give it back,” Sanada hissed.

All three of them were standing just around the corner of the doorway that led to where Koyama and Nakamaru were doing the Jr ni Q filming, peeking in at a completely dejected Koyama, who was obviously keeping the brave smile on his face by sheer will alone.

“I can’t just go in there and hand it back!” Hasshi whispered back. “What’ll I tell him?”

“You should have thought of that before you took it, idiot!” Sanada punched Hasshi in the shoulder, making him give a hurt grunt. “Nozawa, tell him! Nozawa?”

When he got no response, Sanada and Hasshi turned to find Nozawa watching the filming intently. They followed his gaze, and both of them sucked in a breath as Nakamaru honed in on a very familiar-looking pink index card tacked up to the board.

“Ah, this one looks interesting!” Nakamaru leaned down to tap the card. “From Nozawa Yuki-kun, when he grows up, he wants to be a good senpai like Koyama-kun! How about that, ne, Koyama?”

“Ah…” Koyama cleared his throat, forced smile wavering. “That’s a little…”

Nakamaru ignored him and called for Nozawa to come over, and Hasshi and Sanada gaped at Nozawa as he elbowed his way out from between them and trotted over to stand in between the senpai.

“So, Nozawa-kun,” Nakamaru said, “you want to be like Koyama-kun?”

“Well,” Nozawa took a deep breath, “Koyama-kun is busy with his own things, isn’t he? But whenever I see him, he’s always helping us out.”

“Ah, that’s so,” Nakamaru encouraged with a smile, flicking his gaze from Nozawa to Koyama, who was looking a bit flushed, mouth gone sort of crinkly.

“He helps us with our singing and our costumes, and knows where everybody’s marks are, and who’s in which song. When somebody isn’t feeling well, he helps them, too. Someday I’ll be a senpai, and I’ll do my best just like Koyama-kun, to make sure that nobody’s sad or sick or lost.”

“Ah, how is it?” Nakamaru asked Koyama, and Nozawa tilted his head to grin up at him. Koyama opened his mouth, but nothing came out, and his eyes were shining a little. “Nozawa-kun,” Nakamaru jumped in smoothly to save both of them, “isn’t it really just that you’re hoping someday you won’t be the one who’s lost?”

“Maa, that too,” Nozawa admitted, rubbing the back of his head, and the tension broke as Koyama and Nakamaru both laughed. They sent him on his way to call up the next junior, and Nozawa returned to a dumbstruck Hasshi and Sanada.

After a moment of just staring at him, Hasshi threw his arms around Nozawa’s neck and exclaimed, “Nozawa is amazing!

“I just thought he’d see it when they read through them,” Nozawa admitted, scuffing his foot. His cheek turned pink when Hasshi kissed it loudly. “I didn’t think they’d call me up.”

“I thought Koyama-kun was going to cry, or hug you until your head came off,” Sanada agreed, grinning. “Look at his face!”

All three of them turned to see Koyama beaming like the sun at everything and everybody.

“That’s GREAT!” Koyama gushed at Taiga, who looked slightly terrified by Koyama’s enthusiasm. “Being an astronaut would be SUPER COOL!”

They were still lurking in the doorway as Koyama and Nakamaru finished filming the segment, and when Koyama noticed them, he left Nakamaru to clean up the board and came over.

“Ne, Nozawa-kun,” Koyama put an arm around Nozawa’s shoulder and hugged him a little, clearly holding back from squeezing him until his head really did come off. “I was touched by what you said. It really meant a lot to me today.”

Nozawa wrapped arms around Koyama’s waist to give him permission to hug him for real, and gave Hasshi and Sanada a dirty look over his shoulder.

“Um, Koyama-kun,” Hasshi cleared his throat, and when Koyama looked up, Hasshi pulled his hand out of his pocket to hold out Koyama’s cell phone. “We…”

“You found my phone!” Koyama shrieked in glee, letting go of Nozawa with one hand to pounce on Hasshi. He squeezed them both tight against his sides, getting a little misty. “I’m really lucky to have such thoughtful kouhai!”

Hasshi and Sanada tried to protest, but before they could get any words in over the sound of Koyama’s sniffling, Shige burst into the Shounen Club practice area, demanding to know where Koyama was at a volume that made several sub-units scatter in terror.

“Shige?” Koyama poked his head around the doorway and let go of Hasshi to wave. “I’m over here!”

Dashing over, Shige took one look at Koyama’s teary eyes and grip on the juniors, and exclaimed, “Kei-chan, what’s wrong?! You really are sick, aren’t you?!”

“Eh?” Koyama tilted his head. “I’m fine, Shige. What are you doing here? But never mind all that, let’s go out to dinner, okay? We’re treating the kouhai!”

“We are?” Shige asked.

“You are?” chorused Sanada and Hasshi with adoring eyes.

“Un.” Koyama nodded. “Nozawa-kun really cheered me up just now, and Hasshi-kun and Sanada-kun found my lost phone!”

“Your phone was lost?” Shige’s brow furrowed. “About that…”

Nozawa eyed Hasshi and Sanada some more, and their shoulders slumped in defeat.

“Um, Koyama-kun?” Hasshi pulled out of Koyama’s hug and put Koyama’s phone in his hand. “Your phone wasn’t lost. We took it.”

“Eh?” Koyama blinked. “But…why?”

“Koyama-kun looked sad today,” Sanada stepped in to explain. “Since Koyama-kun always helps us out with our problems, we thought we’d help Koyama-kun this time, but we didn’t know what the problem was.”

“First we tried asking Nakamaru-kun, but he didn’t know what was wrong. Then we followed you to see if we could figure it out,” Hasshi added. “But it seemed to just make you more upset.”

“I thought there were spies!” Koyama nodded fervently to Shige, who slapped a hand to his forehead.

“So then,” Sanada continued, even more shamefaced, “we thought we could maybe use your phone to call somebody and figure it out by…” Sanada’s voice got quieter, and Koyama and Shige leaned closer to hear. “…pretending to be you…”

“Shigeaki-kun is your best friend,” Hasshi nodded glumly. “We thought he might know something, but…eh….”

“That explains a lot,” Shige said with relief, but he continued giving the juniors a stern frown. “But what were you thinking, taking a senpai’s phone and causing trouble all day?”

“We really did just want to cheer Koyama-kun up,” Nozawa spoke up, offering Koyama a sad smile. Koyama patted his shoulder.

“Even if that’s so…” he started, but just then his phone began to shrill a vaguely familiar melody in his hand. He glanced at the number and gave a startled, “Oh!”

“Is that ‘Code?’” Sanada asked after a second.

“Hey!” Shige protested, and Koyama flushed slightly as he flipped the phone open, then stepped away to have a hushed conversation, leaving Shige along with the juniors. Shige gave them a toothy smile, and Nozawa took two quick steps to hide behind Hasshi’s shoulder. “So. Which one of you is it that does the worst impression on Kei-chan on the planet?”

“Kawai-kun wouldn’t help!” Hasshi wailed.

“Oh, thank goodness!” Koyama exclaimed, making everybody turn towards him. “Thank you so much!” He shut his phone and looked up, realizing that everyone was staring at him. Koyama explained, “Nyanta-chan had to have some tests at the vet’s yesterday. I was really worried, but they just called and said that everything’s fine.”

“So that’s what all the fuss was about!” Shige exclaimed with relief, and Koyama bobbed his head happily.

“We’re glad Koyama-kun feels better,” Hasshi said. “And we’re glad Nyanta-chan is okay too!”

“Ne, Shige, we should celebrate!” Koyama looped an arm through Shige’s. “Let’s go eat!” He started walking off, dragging Shige along with him, but he stopped when he noticed nobody was following them. When he turned around, he found TOP3 still standing in their sad little knot, staring at their feet. “Hey, aren’t you three coming?”

Hasshi, Nozawa, and Sanada all pulled their gazes up from the floor, blinking.

“But…” Sanada said. “…we’re the ones who…”

“No harm done, right?” Shige shrugged a shoulder. “Unless you don’t want to be treated by your senpai…”

“We definitely want to!” Hasshi interrupted, grabbing Sanada and Nozawa by their shirts and hauling them forward as he dashed to catch up to Koyama and Shige.

“Good.” Koyama dropped an arm each on Hasshi and Nozawa’s shoulders, then gave Shige a pointed look until he put his arm on Sanada’s, both of them looking dubious but resigned as Koyama beamed at them. “Besides, if you really want to help me out, you three can be in charge of collecting the Jr ni Q cards next time.”

“But that job su—” Sanada whined, before Nozawa’s sharp elbow to his ribs cut his protest off.

“We’ll definitely help out Koyama-kun!” Hasshi grinned up at Koyama, preening under the attention when he got a warm smile in return.

*****

Next Month

“God, this job really does suck,” Hasshi announced to nobody in particular, glaring at the stack of pink cards in his hands.

“You’re just mad because you got demoted from holding the markers,” Sanada replied, glancing idly at the card Shintarou was handing him, then doing a double-take. “Oi, you definitely can’t write that on here!”

Shintarou pouted. “But Koki-kun told me to!”

“Don’t listen to anything he tells you!” Nozawa told Shintarou sternly, then handed him another card and watched carefully as he filled it out. “I hate when KAT-TUN are the guests,” Nozawa grumbled, taking Shintarou’s new card with one hand and grabbing Hasshi’s collar with the other just as he was about to wander off towards the senpai in question.

“Ah, it’s such a relief to have help!” Koyama beamed at them when they turned the neat stack of cards in, and it was hard for any of them to stay grumpy when Koyama smiled at them like that.

“You seem to have learned your lesson,” Nakamaru commented with a sharp eye, and all three of them nodded dutifully. “Good, then…ah, excuse me a moment!”

Nakamaru took off across the practice room at a dead run, leaving Koyama, Hasshi, Sanada, and Nozawa all blinking after him.

“Ne,” Koyama frowned, tapping his chin with the stack of index cards. “Does Nakamaru-kun seem a bit odd to you today? Since his band is the guest, you’d think he’d be happy, but he keeps running off like that. I wonder if he’s feeling all right?”

“We could…” Hasshi started, but Nozawa and Sanada interrupted by simultaneously whacking him over the back of his head.

“Nakamaru-kun’s a grown-up,” Nozawa said.

“And I’m sure he can work it out for himself,” Sanada finished.

Koyama grinned in approval at them. “Maa, you’re right. Seems like you’re growing up after all, doesn’t it? Yosh, I’d better get back to work!”

As Koyama trotted off, casually sorting out junior’s costumes and squabbles on his way, Nozawa and Sanada grinned at each other, feeling proud and happy from Koyama’s praise.

“Hey,” Hasshi spoke up, “is Nakamaru-kun strangling Koki-kun?”

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