in the lead
by cimorene

Nino and Ohno have gotten married many times, starting when Nino was only seventeen and Ohno was given a toy plastic ring and turned around and put it on Nino's finger, and Sho performed the ceremony in a clearing on the set of the video they were filming. It was only a few weeks after that before they thought they should do it again, without any joking, and made Sho read them the vows a second time. Now they talk about it a lot, though they've only had a ceremony fifteen or twenty times, counting that time at the Elvis chapel when they were on vacation in Las Vegas. One or the other of them makes a marriage proposal almost every day.

Nino is humming to himself and practising dance steps in his dress shirt and boxers in the middle of Ohno's living room one morning when Ohno says, "Oh, you know, I think I propose to you more than you do to me."

Nino thought Ohno was completely absorbed in his watercolours and it would be pointless to talk to him for half an hour at least. "Huh?"

Ohno is looking at him with his head tilted just slightly to the side, an introspective look on his face. He says patiently, "I propose more - I ask you to marry me, more than you ask me. To marry you, I mean."

(It is just like Ohno to stop and rephrase himself in the middle of saying something bizarre and outrageous and obviously false like this, when it is perfectly clear what he meant.)

Nino has stopped dancing to stare. He says, "You're counting?"

Ohno glances back down at his painting. "Well, not really," he says. "But it just seems like - on the beach last week - and before breakfast when you burned those blueberry pancakes," ("They weren't burnt," says Nino,) "and during our last Mago together, and on the phone when I called you from the grocery store..."

It's true these are all examples of times Ohno has proposed lately, but it's not like Nino hasn't been proposing all along in between them. Nino puts his hands on his hips. "In bed last night," he reminds Ohno. (It was late but he's sure Ohno wasn't asleep; they had a whole conversation about the traditional Shinto wedding ceremony after that.)

Ohno seems struck by the justice of Nino's point. "That's true!" he says. "You propose a lot in bed."

In -! Nino flops onto the floor across the coffee table from Ohno. "I - hey, you don't have to make it sound like -"

"Huh? Oh! No, no, I wasn't saying that," says Ohno hastily. He's genuinely surprised, to Nino's relief, half-smiling goofily at Nino in apology, "it's probably just because you like to talk in bed."

The watercolour Ohno's been working on all morning is really of the living room in its messy state, but most of the scene has been painted now, Nino sees, in careful soft-edged detail. Now Ohno is adding a dancing figure in the middle, in dark bold lines that stand out from the rest. Nino props his elbows on the table and decides to be amused. "And Ohchan likes to propose in public or when there's no time to answer," he teases. "What, are you afraid I'm going to say no?"

It's a ridiculous question, to Nino - sometimes Ohno acts a little worried about his answer, and it's true when he was angry or moody he has said no a few times, but he always marries Ohno in the end; he's said yes hundreds. But Ohno has to think about it. "Do you think so?" he says.

Actually Nino thinks it's cute - because he's pretty sure Ohno actually does it because he's Ohno, because he almost always asks Nino whenever the idea occurs to him, and if it occurs to him four seconds before they walk onstage at Utaban, then he'll touch Nino's hand and whisper it in Nino's ear right then. Sometimes Ohno has thought about it in advance, of course, because he's proposed with speeches and flowers and pictures that he's drawn especially for Nino; but this is the exception and not the rule. "What does Ohchan think?" Nino says, smiling at the way Ohno is frowning to himself.

"I think - maybe," Ohno murmurs, "you know, just - sometimes when Nino is angry," and Nino feels a little sliver of mortification: maybe he shouldn't refuse anymore, maybe he shouldn't have at all.

He doesn't know what to say about that, though - telling Ohno he doesn't mean 'no' would be silly because Ohno knows that, and besides, if you're counting technically Nino actually proposed three - no, four times last night (but one of the times really was like that). "I proposed to you first," Nino finally points out.

"I - no, didn't I?" says Ohno, putting down his paintbrush. Nino takes this as an invitation to come look at the picture more carefully. He crawls up behind Ohno and peers over his shoulder, and Ohno holds still so as not to disturb the view.

"You didn't, I did," Nino tells him. The figure of Nino Ohno's painted in the middle of the picture is hard-edged with black lines and stylised, even more than Ohno usually draws like a caricature; the figure is small but you can tell its eyes are closed in concentration, and it is graceful, which is not exactly how Nino thinks of his dancing even though he knows he's good (one of its shoulders sticks up uncomfortably, though, its arm is at a funny angle; Nino wonders if he really does that).

"I did," Ohno insists.

"I told you to get on one knee and -"

"You asked me to propose, but I did it," says Ohno.

"Asking someone to propose to you is the same as proposing," Nino tells him. (I couldn't get on one knee and ask!, he's thinking. You're the one who gave me the ring!)

"Yeah, but you didn't expect me to be so serious about it," says Ohno, who's turned sideways where he's sitting to look at Nino's face, and is unexpectedly serious again.

"We weren't serious," says Nino, "We got married in a field with a plastic ring between takes."

Ohno is unblinking. "I was serious," he says, and Nino's heart trips. He always thinks Ohno shouldn't be able to do that to him anymore, and Ohno always can.

"All right," Nino smiles. "How many times would I have to propose today to make up the difference?"

"Hmm, that's okay," says Ohno. "I think I don't mind staying in the lead."


this belongs to the "Shotgun Wedding" crack AU which belongs at least 50% to the lovely elfie, and there exists about the same probability that this particular ficlet was her idea too, but i can't actually remember for sure. ♥