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SUMMARY: Sho turns into a puppy. Yeah, I don't understand it either.
CHARACTER(S): All of Arashi!
PAIRING(S): Implied Ohmiya, barely!there Sakumiya
Inspired by this picture. Tell me that little puppykin doesn't have "Sho" written all over its precious little face?
In the world of Arashi, things that would otherwise seem strange took on an air of… Well, you couldn't really say normality. There was nothing normal, for example, about Aiba running headlong into a volcanic crater full of sulfurous gas screaming, "Wheeee, it's poisonous gas! Hurry, it's poisonous gas!" No, it wasn't normal. But it wasn't unexpected. In fact, if Aiba was ever faced by a steaming valley of corrosive fumes and DIDN'T go belting headlong into their midst, the rest of the group would be worried.
Nino figured it was this familiarity with the abnormal that helped him keep calm when he woke up one sunny Saturday morning to discover that his best friend, Sho Sakurai, had transformed into a small black-and-tan puppy overnight. There didn't seem to be any particular reason for Sho to have turned into a puppy; he hadn't expressed any puppy-like proclivities the night before, and Nino was fairly certain that Aiba hadn't force-fed his sempai any strange concoctions derived from equal parts fruit juice and Purina Puppy Chow. Nope, Sho had simply gone to bed as himself and woken up as a small, unassuming, fairly adorable, and generally well-behaved puppy. In fact Nino only knew it was Sho and not some hapless stray because he'd watched the puppy struggle with a ballpoint pen and a scrap of paper that morning until it could scratch out the simple message, "I AM SHO SAKURAI DON'T LAUGH I'LL PEE ON YOU."
When a dewy-eyed puppy that happens to be blessed with the brain of a Keio graduate has just threatened you -- before breakfast no less -- nothing else really phases you. This includes the task of calling your band mates to say, "Hi, (insert name here), Sho's turned into a puppy, please bring a bottle of shochu and a flea collar."
"I can't believe this," Jun grumbled later that morning once the group had gathered in Nino's living room. Nino's family was away on vacation for a couple of weeks, which was why Sho had been sleeping over in the first place; it was too quiet in the house when Nino was there by himself. "The only other sane member of this group, after me, and he turns into a dog."
They were all staring at the coffee table watching Sho!puppy, who in turn was attempting to ignore a brightly colored rubber ball that Ohno had brought along to entertain him. Every now and then the puppy-side would overwhelm the human-side of Sho's personality and he'd spend a few minutes eagerly gnawing on the toy, then spring away, skitter to the far side of the table, and try his best to pretend he hadn't done what everyone just saw him doing.
"He's very cute, ne?" Aiba observed, scratching behind Sho!puppy's ears. The puppy's stub of a tail thumped happily on the table for a few seconds before he scampered away and fixed Aiba with a disapproving puppy stare.
"He's saying 'Don't pet your sempai without permission,'" Nino translated.
"But Nino-kun does it all the time with Riida," Aiba whined.
"He has permission to pet me," Ohno said, and Nino gave him an approving pat on the head.
"I think we're all missing the point here," Jun said, trying to bring the conversation back to something approaching common sense. "Sho Sakurai has turned into a DOG."
"Puppy," Ohno corrected.
"Puppy. Whatever. The point I'm trying to make here is our band mate is no longer a human being. Do you understand what I'm saying?"
"Mmm," Ohno hummed in response. "Who's going to do the rapping now?"
"It'll be hell on the choreography," Nino agreed. "I mean, what if one of us steps on him during 'Love So Sweet?'"
"Do you think if we put him in one of those bungee slings during 'Fight Song,' could we shoot him into the audience like a slingshot?" Aiba pondered aloud.
Sho!puppy growled. Nino reached out and smacked Aiba across the back of the head. "He's saying that's animal cruelty, and you're not allowed to slingshot him anywhere."
"Not even onto a bed of fluffy pillows?"
"What about a pile of marshmallows?"
"EVERYONE SHUT UP!" Jun snapped. "THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DISCUSS HERE! NAMELY, SHO IS A DOG!"
"Puppy," Ohno corrected again.
"SHUT UP! EVERYONE SHUT UP!"
A small yip made them all look up. Sho!puppy was sitting on the end of the table in the middle of a spreading puddle, looking embarrassed.
"Awww, Jun-kun scared him," Aiba said. "It's okay, Sho!puppy-chan. We'll get you some newspapers. You like newspapers, ne? Then you can read AND use the bathroom at the same time, just like humans do!"
Jun buried his face in his hands. "I give up."
Despite Aiba's protests that Sho!puppy should stay with him, it was mutually decided that he'd be better served by staying with Nino for the time being, since Nino was the only one who seemed able to translate his actions into words. Ohno agreed to stay, too, to help out, while Aiba proclaimed that he was going to do some research on transfiguration and did anyone have a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince he could borrow?
Once he'd come to terms with the situation, Jun set about trying to normalize the absurdity in typical DoS fashion. Like most things Jun did, this involved a combination of hair care, fashion critiques, and sharp-tongued bitching about the idiocy of the world in general. When MatsuJun got in that kind of mood it was generally best to stay out of his way until he'd gotten it out of his system or else risk severe damage to your pride, dignity, self-esteem, and will to live.
So Nino knew he was taking his life in his hands when he went in search of Sho!puppy a couple of hours later and found MatsuJun in one of the guest bedrooms, trying to tempt their transformed friend out from under the bed. Sho!puppy, for his part, was crouched back against the wall as far away from MatsuJun as he could possibly get, so that all Nino could see of the small dog was a pair of glittering eyes in the shadows.
Nino frowned. "Jun-kun, what did you do to Sho-chan?"
"Nothing," Jun harrumphed, abandoning his undignified position on the floor and dusting himself off. "I just put some decent clothes on him."
Nino wasn't even going to ask where MatsuJun had gotten puppy-sized clothes. The man had untold talents with a needle. "But... he's a puppy, MatsuJun. He doesn't need clothes."
"He's still a member of Arashi. He's just a little sick right now."
"So why's he hiding under the bed and refusing to come out?"
"Because he doesn't understand fashion AT ALL."
"Is he wearing a SUIT?" Now that Jun was out of the way, a little more light was able to cut through the shadows under the bed.
"Is there something wrong with that?" Jun sniffed. "He's a newscaster. He should dress the part."
"He's a PUPPY."
"So? He can bark the news, ne? One bark means good news, two means bad. I don't see the problem."
That afternoon, Ohno volunteered to take Sho!puppy for a walk.
"Are you sure you're okay with this?" Nino asked as Ohno pulled on his shoes.
"I've walked dogs before," Ohno told him. "And I've played with Jam-chan when Toma-kun's busy filming."
Nino allowed himself a moment to wonder what Ohno's Maou co-star would think of this whole situation, then pulled himself back to the present. "Yeah, but unless there's something Toma-kun's not telling us, Jam-chan doesn't have a degree in economics and a weekly gig on a national news broadcast. Sho!puppy is no ordinary puppy, Ohchan."
Ohno grinned and crouched down in front of Sho!puppy to scratch behind his ears. Nino had helped Sho get rid of Jun's three-piece puppy suit – it even had a tiny handkerchief in the pocket! – in favor of a spiked dog collar that had met with a yip of approval from the puppy in question.
"I know he's not just any puppy," Ohno said, stroking a fingertip down Sho's muzzle. "He's an Arashi puppy. Puppy!Arashi. It sounds like a manga."
Nino sighed and looked directly into Sho!puppy's dark eyes. "Make sure he doesn't go home with any strangers," he said. "And be back in an hour."
Sho yipped in acknowledgment.
It was understandable that everyone would be exhausted after such a busy day, so it didn't surprise Nino when he wandered into his bedroom that night to find Aiba curled up on his bed, fast asleep. Ohno was crashed out beside him, dead to the world and drooling a little. Even Jun had fallen asleep in Nino's cushy papasan chair by the window.
He felt a soft bump at his ankle and looked down to find Sho!puppy looking up at him with dark, tired eyes. "I don't know if there's room for me, Sho-chan," Nino sighed, scooping up his puppified friend, "but I'm sure we can find somewhere for you, ne? Come on."
In the end Nino managed to snuggle himself down between Aiba and Ohno. Sho!puppy turned three sleepy circles before settling down on the pillow between Aiba and Nino's heads. His warm, fluffy fur tickled Nino's forehead and made Aiba shift in his sleep.
"Mmm… Night, Nino-kun," Aiba yawned, slinging an arm over Nino's waist and snuggling his face into his friend's throat. "Night, Sho!puppy-chan."
"Night, Aiba-chan," Nino replied, patting Aiba's back. Sho!puppy rumbled something quietly, but Aiba was already asleep again.
"This has been a very weird day," Nino observed to the room at large. Sho!puppy snuffled and thumped his tail a couple of times against Nino's head. "Okay, weird for anyone who isn't in Arashi. But that's a few billion people, Sho-chan. We've got to think globally." His transfigured friend yawned and tucked his face under one of his paws, clearly putting an end to the conversation.
Nino chuckled and reached up to scratch behind Sho!puppy's ears. "Night, Sho-chan."
Sho!puppy lifted his paw just long enough to lick Nino's wrist, then disappeared again.
Nino smiled and closed his eyes, snuggling down into the pillow. Aiba was warm and cuddled up against his front while Ohno slumbered blissfully behind him. Matsujun was huffing rhythmically in his chair by the window, and Sho!puppy was snoring in soft, yipping puppy breaths.
Nino fell asleep, knowing all was right with the universe. Or at least their tiny part of it.
In the world of Arashi, things that would otherwise seem strange became normal. Nino figured it was this familiarity with the abnormal that helped him keep calm when he woke up Sunday morning to discover that his best friend, Sho Sakurai, had transformed from a puppy back into a human overnight. Normally this would be cause for celebration, but that was a secondary concern for Nino, whose primary concerns were thus:
1) Sho!puppy's sleeping position on the pillow the night before meant that Sho!human was still on the pillow this morning.
2) Sho!human was exponentially bigger than Sho!puppy, and took up a lot more space
3) At least a portion of that space was otherwise reserved for Nino's head
4) This meant that Sho!human's torso was, not to put too fine a point on it, crushing Nino's face
5) Except for the remnants of the spiked dog collar, Sho wasn't wearing a stitch of clothing, and he smelled faintly of Kibble.
Just another day in Arashi, Nino thought as he vigorously poked Sho in the stomach to wake him up, setting off a chain reaction of yelps, squeaks, and surprised exclamations from the rest of his band mates that culminated in Jun's bellow of outrage at being woken up by a naked newscaster diving over his head to hide behind his chair. I wonder if Tomo-chan ever has this much trouble with NEWS?