JE, Every Step Up the Mountain

Title: Every Step Up the Mountain [Juri, Taiga, Shintarou, Kouchi, etc]
Rating/Warnings: PG
Summary: SixTONES takes a field trip and decides what the best wish would be.
AN: So while I was in Kyoto I went to the temple they took Yasui to for Gamushara, where idols go to pray about their careers and they can buy red fence pieces to have their names painted on. It took a long while to find Yasui’s because it wasn’t where it was originally put up in the show, but while I was looking around, this happened.

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So that’s Shintarou, Kouchi, Taiga, and Juri in the middle, with Daigo on the left, and then Genki and Fukka on the right. There were some other guys around probably, but it’s hard to scan a wall of kanji 3 rows deep. The only reason I spotted these guys was they were all together and Juri’s kanji is so distinctive. So it seems like after that Gamushara filming there was a little field trip to Kurumazakijinja. PS: one of those fence posts costs about $80 to have painted!

Every Step Up the Mountain

“His mouth full of—”

“Come on, ew!” Genki interrupted Daigo’s story. “Gross! Fukkaaaa, make him stop!”

From across the row, Juri chuckled, shamelessly eavesdropping. His own group was surprisingly quiet, settled in the group of four facing seats at the front of the train car. Across from him, Shintarou and Kouchi were leaning against each other to nap, and beside Juri, Taiga was staring out the window, earbuds in.

“Oi,” Juri said, nudging Taiga to get his attention. Taiga turned and raised an eyebrow to ask if this was going to be worth taking out his headphones. Juri eyed him evenly until Taiga huffed a little sigh and pulled one earbud free. “Is this really okay? Wasting your whole day off to come with us? Shouldn’t you be resting? You’ve already been there.”

Taiga shrugged a shoulder, expression neutral. “That just means I’m the only one who knows how to get there. You guys are pretty useless.”

Juri waited a few seconds, because sometimes when he was patient, Taiga would say something honest in the end.

“And it isn’t like we put up my name, just Yasui’s, so.” Taiga narrowed his eyes like Juri had tricked him somehow. “What’s the matter, you don’t want me along or something?”

“Of course I do. Six would be better, but four is still pretty good.”

Hokuto and Jesse had work and couldn’t come along on the Kyoto adventure this time, plus Jesse’s name was already up at the shrine anyway. They’d told the other four to go as their good will ambassadors and make a wish for all of them.

“Hm.” Taiga turned back to the window, but didn’t put his earbud back in. “If we get our posts at the same time, they should put us up together.”

“Good.” Juri leaned into Taiga a little more, mildly surprised when Taiga didn’t try to shake him off. “Although I guess we’ll be stuck with these guys too, then.” As if on cue, Genki gave a shriek and Fukazawa started laughing, not quite Kawai-level but still a little embarrassing this early on a train. “Are we gonna write ‘the world’ on ours? Like Yasui’s. Seems ambitious.”

“Well.” Taiga paused. “Seems silly to aim any lower than that guy, I guess.”

Juri burst into laughter, most of muffled by Taiga’s shoulder, but it was enough to make Kouchi stir across from them.

“Awww,” Kouchi cooed. He shouldered at Shintarou’s face to wake him up too. “Look, quick, or you’ll miss it. They’re bonding.”

“Finally.” Shintarou grinned at Taiga and Juri sleepily, eyes scrunched up. He rubbed his cheek lazily against Kouchi’s shoulder. “Only a few more Taiga combis and I’ll have member-ai bingo blackout.”

“I’m about to give you a member-ai bingo black eye,” Taiga grumbled, shrugging Juri back. “This is why I know better than to fall asleep on trains with you assholes.”

“Kyomocchan says we should put ‘the world’ on our name boards,” Juri returned to the subject at hand. “Or else we’ll lose to Yasui.”

“Ehh,” Kouchi waved a hand vaguely. “There’s never any hope of going somewhere that guy hasn’t been anyway.”

“Senga-kun put his group name,” Shintarou spoke up. “But…” Shintarou pulled away from Kouchi, leaning across the aisle to whack Fukazawa in the shoulder. “Are you gonna put ‘Snow Man’ or anything?”

Fukazawa shook his head. “I feel weird if I’m the only one. Plus, maybe it’s better not to stand out too much? They move those things around and take them down sometimes. I want mine to blend in. Plus, you know. Dangerous.”

The four SixTONES members nodded, glancing at each other. So much had happened already, and their name was probably too new to even think about that sort of thing. Juri had barely stopped wondering if they were actually going to get to keep their name after being scolded for announcing it themselves.

“Hey,” Fukazawa leaned across the aisle as if to whisper, but at a volume clearly everyone could hear. “I’m gonna offer the monk an extra couple thousand to put ‘Genki loves Jinguji’ on his, you in?”

“MEEANNN,” Genki said, folding his arms and pouting. “Why’s everybody being mean to me today?!”

“Because you’re totally easy?” Daigo said, making Genki scowl even harder. “Speaking of places Yasui has already been.”

“HEY!”

“Okay okay, children,” Fukazawa soothed, turning back to his seat group to shush them before they got kicked off the train or something. “Do you guys need me to bring snacks or coloring books next time or something? Seriously.”

The weather was pretty pleasant when they got off the train, cooler than Tokyo despite it being early summer already. Juri looked up at the cloudless blue sky, the morning haze burned off, and thought that it would probably be pretty warm by the afternoon. The group grabbed some lunch around the station before setting off to find Taiga’s cute purple romance car.

“I hope no fans pick today to find this thing,” Taiga said, almost under his breath, as he looked around the car. “It’s not like there’s anywhere to hide on this thing.”

“We’ll protect you from train perverts, Tai-chan~,” Juri offered, sliding in tight against Taiga’s side on the seat. Taiga’s mouth bunched into an even tighter line when Shintarou did the same from the other side, and Kouchi snapped a picture of them from where he was standing in front of them.

“Nice, nice,” Kouchi praised, shifting back deftly when Taiga shot out a hand to try and balltap him. “I’ll send it to you guys in case any of you need a new lock screen.”

After a few stops and some looks from the shopping obaasans across the aisle, the scuffling juniors settled down and started watching the scenery instead, nudging each other and pointing once in a while. Even though all of them knew sudden music would at some point start to play, all of them burst into surprised laughter when it did anyway.

As advertised, the shrine was just at the edge of the tram platform. Juri looked around while the others snapped a few pictures, pleased by how peaceful it seemed. Small and out of the way and somehow perfect. Maybe it didn’t seem very flashy for a shrine that idols preferred, but Juri saw that as being exactly the appeal of this shrine in particular. Like maybe it was quiet enough that your wish would be heard, even if it was one that was too hard to voice out loud.

Business of requesting their name boards taken care of and paid for, they went to actually make their prayers while their names were being painted. Juri, Taiga, Kouchi, and Shintarou sent the others up first while they sorted out their own prayer.

“It should be all the same, right?” Kouchi asked. “So we should agree on it first.”

“Just to stay together,” Shintarou said, still the one most worried about that, or at least the most vocal about it. “Now that we’re six, whatever’s okay, we can do it.”

“We already have that, though, and a name too,” Kouchi pointed out. “If we came all this way to wish, we should wish for what we really want. Debut?”

“Not yet,” Juri shook his head. “I want that, but right now…there’s so much other stuff to do first…mn, this is hard to put into words.” He could see that the others felt the same, thinking hard. They did all want the same things, Juri knew, but somehow the feeling of wanting to ask for exactly the right thing made it difficult.

“To keep seeing the next step in front of us,” Taiga said, and the other three all let out the breath they’d been holding, because that was it, exactly. “To not miss any more of them. We had too many chances already, so we have to be ready for every single one from now on. Right?”

“That’s it, yeah,” Juri agreed, Kouchi and Shintarou nodding. The others were coming back already, and Shintarou trotted down the short path to meet them, Kouchi following him. Juri paused, shaking his head at Taiga. “You always say the right thing, in the end. Why is that?”

Taiga ducked his head, looking away like Juri’s praise was faintly embarrassing. “Maybe it’s because I think before opening my mouth like you idiots?”

“Thank you for thinking about us always,” Juri said. It was entirely honest, making Taiga whine a little mouuuu under his breath. “Out of all of us, you try to look like you care the least, when really you are thinking about us the most.”

“Shut up right now or I’m going to waste my prayer wishing for you to drop dead,” Taiga told him, shouldering past Juri to chase after the others. “Let’s hurry up and get this over with.”

But when they were all standing shoulder to shoulder, and had clapped and bowed in unison, for just a second after he dropped his hand, so fast Juri would have thought he imagined it if he didn’t know better, he felt Taiga’s hand slip into his and squeeze.

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