Sawamura picks up the CD case from where it had been placed on the table in front of him with careful hands, his own face gazing back at him from the cover. The carefully groomed Sawamura in the photo has his head cocked slightly to the side and expression expertly captured in the fleeting moment just after a smile, frozen in exactly the sort of wistful, melancholic look that he wouldn’t be able to pull off in real life. He glances down and spots the album title emblazoned just below his chest, in elegant gold script. He feels a swell of pride in his chest at the new album, lips pulling back over teeth in a satisfied grin as he turns the case over and over again in his hands, drinking in every detail of the freshly printed album. After opening the case and examining the disc itself for the fifth time, he swivels around in his seat, gripping it to his chest excitedly. He grins at his manager, who at the moment is standing beside him, arms crossed and foot tapping impatiently.
“Finally done, bakamura?” the man asks irritably. The singer’s eyes travel warily to crossed arms before clearing his throat all-importantly, signature grin plastered to his face.
“Why indeed I am, Kuramochi! In fact–” he is promptly cut off, the rest of his sentence diminishing to a strangled gurgle as his green-haired manager uncrosses his arms in favor of putting him in a chokehold. Sawamura struggles for air while simultaneously concentrating on not dropping his beloved CD.
“That’s Kuramochi-san for you, bakamura,” the other finishes with a glare before releasing him in a huff. The other coughs a little before continuing, completely disregarding the usual occurrence.
“Yeah well, Kuramochi–” Kuramochi face palms. “This album’s going on sale tomorrow, right? We need to check the real time charts and reviews! This one’s gonna outsell Furuya’s for sure!” The manager rolls his eyes at the mention of Furuya Satoru. The singer from Hokkaido had been in a chart topping battle with Sawamura from the year they’d both made their debut. Personally, he really couldn’t care less about their rivalry, but the fans ate it up like meat thrown to starved wolves, which was all that mattered to the agency. “With this, I’ll be one ahead of him! HAHAHAHA! Take that, Furuya!” Sawamura nods smugly, flinging his arm out to point his disc at an imaginary silhouette of his rival.
As expected, Sawamura Eijun’s new album tops all existing music charts on its first day of release, the pleased boy looking over his manager’s shoulder as the latter browses between real-time updates on his laptop. “And the music video?” Sawamura pesters, prodding Kuramochi’s shoulder twice before his hand is slapped away. The older grumbles, though his fingers move to type away speedily at the keyboard nonetheless. His search results in a steadily increasing seven-digit figure, which is shown to the beaming boy. Eyes positively sparkling, the younger proceeds to launch into an excited rant about how of course this new album is doing so well and how he’ll surely surpass that Furuya when he’s cut off by a sharp knock at the door. The singer and his manager exchange perplexed glances.
“Come in,” Kuramochi calls out. The door opens and the Head Boss’s assistant walks into the office, prim and proper, clutching a file to his chest. Piercing rose-coloured irises regard them coolly before the boy opens his mouth to address them.
“Kuramochi-san, Eijun-kun, big brother would like to see you in his office,” Kominato Haruichi begins in an amiable tone. Sawamura straightens animatedly.
“Haru-cchi! Is he going to praise me for how well my new album has done? Is that it?” He asks excitedly, heading over to follow Haruichi out the door. Kuramochi trails behind, suspicious. The pink-haired boy chuckles.
“It’s a movie offer, or so I’ve heard,” he says over his shoulder. Sawamura grins.
“Ah, another soundtrack! Sounds interesting!”
“Not quite, Eijun-kun.” Haruichi pauses before turning to glance at the singer’s now confused expression. A twinkle in his eye, he turns back and quickens his pace, walking briskly in the direction of the Boss’s office. “It’s a casting offer. You’ll be acting in it, Eijun-kun.”
Sawamura stops in his tracks.
“Acting?” Sawamura bursts through the door of the spacious office, arms flailing. “Big brother! I’m an idol! Not an actor, remember? I sing!” Concluding that a demonstration is needed to prove his point, he proceeds to belt out the chorus of the title track of his latest album. His voice is phenomenal as always, but also very powerful when he wants it to be, and Kuramochi values his eardrums. Behind the younger boy, the annoyed manager makes a mental note to apply for insurance and stuffs a finger into each of his ears in a fruitless attempt to muffle the noise.
The pair of them come to a stop in front of the Boss’s desk, where the vertically challenged yet intimidating head of the company simply gazes wordlessly at them, a pleasant smile on his face. His brother takes his position next to him, harboring an identical expression. Quite used to the singer’s unorthodox train of thought, everyone waits patiently for the singer to finish.
(After the chorus ends, Sawamura starts on the second verse, but stops after being whacked on the back of his head by Kuramochi.)
Kuramochi grabs the chance to speak. “Anyway, Ryo-san, tell me you’re not accepting it.” He casts a side-eye glance towards the idol. “This bakamura probably can’t act to save his life.” The singer scowls at him, but doesn’t refute the statement.
Kominato Ryousuke ignores them both as he leans forward on his elbows. “Sawamura,” There is a pregnant pause before his next line. “Congratulations on your new album. You’ve been doing increasingly well.” Sawamura stiffens, feeling a sense of foreboding looming over them at the rare compliment. He falls back into his default defense mechanism of formality and bows low, delivering a formal thanks to the company head. Inclining his own head in acknowledgement, the older Kominato continues. “For a while now, we have been looking into branching you out into the acting industry, and various top-notch acting coaches have been put on standby to groom you as such.” Kuramochi looks slightly pacified at that, if only by the promise of proper training for the idiot idol. Said idol, on the other hand, has his mouth downturned in a comical grimace. Harboring no interest in the profession whatsoever, he opens his mouth to protest, but the boss isn’t finished. “I do believe that this is the perfect opportunity, is it not? The director who sent us the offer is a very reputable one, and the fact that he wants to cast you is a stroke of good fortune.” His tone indicates that there is no space for argument.
“I’m sure your fans will be ecstatic at the news,” he adds as an afterthought, smiling serenely. Sawamura’s face scrunches up in conflict. He loved his fans, and making them happy was always number one on his priority list. But he didn’t want to invest his precious time and effort into something he had absolutely no desire to pursue. He’d rather spend all day in the recording studio making music, if Kuramochi would just stop dragging him out of there and forcing him to sleep at home.
Sensing his inner turmoil, Haruichi speaks up, voice perfectly calm. There is a glint in his eye as he speaks. “Rumor has it that they may be offering the role to Furuya Satoru if you don’t take it up.”
Sawamura’s head snaps up at that, golden eyes blazing aggressively. “Haru-cchi,” he begins dangerously. Kuramochi presses his fingers to his temple, expecting it. “Did you say FURUYA?!” The idol’s voice raises to a screech by the end of his question.
The pink haired boy nods, lips turning up in a knowing smile. Riled up, the idol slams his hand on the boss’s desk.
“I’M TAKING IT.”
“Why did I agree to this again,” the singer grumbles, slumping back in his seat as Kuramochi drives him home. His manager glowers at him in annoyance before turning his eyes back to the road.
“Because you don’t think before you act, bakamura!” He fumes, making a sharp left turn. The younger boy yelps and scrambles for a handhold. “Literally!”
Scowling, Sawamura juts his lower lip out in a pout. “Well, as long as Furuya doesn’t get the role,” he mutters. Kuramochi simply rolls his eyes.
“Yeah, moron, great going with that. But you already signed the contract, and even you should know what that means, bakamura. There’s no backing out now, so you’d better give your two hundred percent into this, you hear me? You better not mess this up because once you ruin your image, you won’t even have an image to repair anymore because I’m going to mangle you SO BADLY–”
“Yeah yeah,” the idol grumbles, already used to his manager’s threats. “Don’t worry, okay Kuramochi? I’ll do it properly. It’s just one movie–AH!” The car swerves dangerously as Kuramochi reaches over to land a karate chop on Sawamura’s head.
“BAKAMURA! DON’T INTERRUPT ME WHEN I’M TALKING! AND IT’S KURAMOCHI-SAN!”
Kuramochi decides that it’s too late to drive himself home and announces that he’ll be staying the night. He unceremoniously barges into Sawamura’s kitchen and raids the shelves, successfully procuring a bag of chips. Ripping it open, he heads towards the couch and flops down onto it, reaching for the remote. He spares a glance at Sawamura, who has resigned himself to lock the door but is glaring at him and the bag of chips in his hands.
“What? An idol shouldn’t even be eating these. I’m helping you out here, you should be grateful,” he shrugs, switching on the television. The channel is a music one, currently showing the top tracks of the week. At first place is Sawamura’s new title song, and the corresponding music video starts to play. The younger perks up at the familiar tune and turns away from Kuramochi, toward the screen.
“It’s me!” The idol yells excitedly, pointing to himself. He watches the Sawamura Eijun onscreen, singing lyrics about lost love and hope, the song that was given to him mere months before. He couldn’t really relate to the song and video, but he nods in satisfaction as he watches his close-up, seeing a single tear roll down his cheek as he looked into the camera. Huh, looks pretty convincing. It was fun to do music videos, to get lost in the lyrics and channel new emotions from the music. He grins. “Haruichi said that they’re even playing this on the big screen in Shinjuku now, right? That’s so awesome!”
Kuramochi stuffs a handful of chips into his mouth. “I don’t understand why you’re still so amazed by this sort of thing,” he says with his mouth full. “Every one of your title songs has been on there, moron.”
“It’s not the same!” Sawamura insists, falling onto the couch next to Kuramochi. His eyes sparkle as they watch himself on the television. “Every time a new song comes out, to me it’s always, will the fans like it? Will it be good enough for the Shinjuku board? Will more and more people hear it and listen to more of my music?” Kuramochi’s eyes travel to the boy next to him, taking in the hues of red and blue from the screen that are reflected in wide golden eyes, the sprinkling of faint freckles on naturally tanned skin, and at the wide, carefree grin, revealing two rows of perfect teeth. He allows himself half a fond smile at the moron before turning back to watch the rest of the music video.
“And of course,” Sawamura adds as the song ends, “I always aim for it to beat Furuya’s!” He cackles obnoxiously.
Smile disappearing, Kuramochi rolls his eyes. He should’ve known. In one motion, he wraps an arm around the idol’s neck in a wrestling move, the other hand reaching for the remote to change the channel. After he makes the idol beg for mercy before releasing him, the pair of them start watching what looks like an action movie that came up whilst flipping though channels. Halfway through, Sawamura points out the main character.
“Hey, he’s really good! Who is he?”
Kuramochi chokes on his chips, before coughing and finally managing to swallow them all. He looks over to Sawamura incredulously before starting to laugh. “Hyahaha! You’ve gotta be kidding me.” The golden-eyed teenager scowls at him. Kuramochi eats another chip before continuing. He jabs a finger at the screen.
“That’s Miyuki Kazuya, moron.” At the singer’s widening eyes, Kuramochi scoffs before turning back to the screen. “You really live up to your bakamura name.”
“Ahh, so THAT’S Miyuki Kazuya!” Sawamura nods, humming. “I see, I see. So he’s an actor, huh! My mom likes him–OUCH! WHAT WAS THAT FOR?!”
The idol’s manager peers into his bag of chips to see if many were broken when he hit Sawamura with it. Many were, so he glares even harder at the boy.
“Is that seriously all you know about Miyuki Kazuya? And through your mom no less!” When all he gets is an innocent nod in response, he lets out a loud, exasperated sigh.
“Whatever.” He shifts on the couch, propping his elbow up on a pillow. “Since you’re such a moron, I guess all you need to know is that Miyuki Kazuya is a big deal. Wins a heap of awards each year.” He pops a few more chips in his mouth and chews loudly. “Pretty boy gets a ton of offers every season,” he adds, a few crumbs spilling onto the couch. Sawamura eyes them warily. “I’m guessing he’ll get an offer for the movie you’re in too, if he hasn’t already. He usually takes solo roles though, so I doubt he’ll do this one. Plus, you’re a rookie. He never acts alongside newbies.”
Sawamura’s eyes turn back to the screen, regarding the actor with excited eyes. “Miyuki Kazuya, huh…”
I’ll definitely make him acknowledge me!
“Your coaches have been telling me good things about your acting progress, Sawamura,” the boss remarks, his assistant standing by his side in his office. “I hope you continue as such. Don’t slack off.” Sawamura nods.
“Yes, Boss!” He yells, grinning. He’d really been giving his all into his training the past few weeks, pushing himself harder than he’d ever done in anything before. He sneaks a smug grin towards his manager, who simply rolls his eyes at him in response. The boss slides a booklet across the table to him, and, attention shifting to it, the idol picks it up. He realizes what it is the same moment the younger Kominato says it.
“Your script, Eijun-kun,” he confirms. “Casting has been finalized, so they’re issuing them out now. As you can see, it’s a detective movie. You will be playing a lead as the detective, but there will be another lead role as the criminal. Of course there are many others, but the two of you will be the main characters of the movie.”
“Uh huh,” Sawamura mutters distractedly, immersed in flipping through the script. There were more lines in here than he’d ever had to memorize before. “So… who’s playing the criminal?” He asks. A thought crosses his mind and he scowls. “It’s not Furuya right?”
If Sawamura had been looking up, he would have seen how the lips of both the Kominato brothers tilted up in identical smirks. Kuramochi did though, and he raised a suspicious eyebrow.
“It’s not Furuya Satoru, Sawamura,” Kominato Ryousuke laces his fingers together and rests his chin on top. “Your partner will be Miyuki Kazuya.”
Sawamura drops his script.
Their first day of filming is shot on location, and Sawamura arrives at the hotel, sunglasses and mask on his face, and Kuramochi by his side. He rips his disguise off as soon as he walks into the lift, and his manager promptly snatches them away, muttering about how you’ll lose them within five minutes, the moron that you are. Sawamura is too distracted to notice, rocking back and forth on his feet in anticipation. The lift door opens and he marches out, eyes shining. He’d worked extremely hard for this, and today he’d be meeting Miyuki Kazuya, the one he’d been determined to be acknowledged by. His lips curl upwards as he absentmindedly mutters his lines under his breath.
“Oi, bakamura, it’s this way.” He turns around without missing a beat and follows his manager to the filming location. When they arrive, some of the camera crew are already there, and the idol scurries over to yell out his usual greeting, his manager at his heels. The crew looks amused at his vigor, and as they leave to get prepared, Kuramochi kicks the younger’s leg. Sawamura yelps in pain and grabs his shin, hopping around on the other foot for balance. He looks up at his manager, who’s cracking his knuckles.
“I’ve already said this, but don’t you dare mess up, bakamura.” Kuramochi hisses. “The intactness of your face is at stake here, don’t forget that.”
“Yeah yeah, I got it, okay!” Sawamura complains, rubbing his throbbing shin. “And quit calling me that! What if Miyuki Kazuya hears you?” He glares up at Kuramochi, but his manager’s attention has shifted to something behind him. Something about the expression on the green haired boy’s face makes him whirl around, bringing himself face-to-face with a smirking Miyuki Kazuya.
“Bakamura, huh?” The actor asks, raising an eyebrow. Sawamura freezes as he takes in the person standing in front of him, the face that he’d seen in multiple movies and dramas he’d binged watched over the past months. He feels his ears redden. There is a suspended moment in which he gathers that he should probably do something and proceeds to break out into loud, awkward laughter. Kuramochi cringes.
“M-Miyuki Kazuya!” He bows low enough for his forehead to touch his knees. “Hello!” He screeches. “I am Sawamura Eijun! Please lend me your guidance! Even though I’m new at acting, I’ve been training really hard for this! I will do my best!”
Miyuki Kazuya merely cocks his head to the side, the smirk still on his face. He crosses his arms. “Hahaha! Just make sure you don’t drag me down, bakamura,” is all he says before turning on his heel and strolling away. Sawamura watches, face reddening and mouth hanging open, as the other cast and crew members bow to him as he walks past. Miyuki Kazuya bows back politely to each and every one of them before heading off to get ready. Snapping out of his stunned stupor, the idol blinks, clenching his fists. His mouth moves wordlessly before he manages to sputter out a few incoherent words. Kuramochi merely watches in amusement as the other flaps around, trying and failing to gain some semblance of composure.
“W-w-what a self-righteous bastard!”
He’s still miffed by the unexpectedly annoying demeanor of the older actor, but Sawamura hides it as professionally as he can during filming. The snarky comments and irritating smirks Miyuki Kazuya keep throwing his way only serve too aggravate him even further.
Focus, focus, he tells himself, doing his best to ignore the other. It’s just like you’re filming a music video.
He makes it through the first day, internally praising himself for not getting affected by the annoying personality, and the even more annoyingly flawless acting of his co-star. He’s in the midst of glaring at the unsuspecting bastard when the director approaches him.
“Ah! Director-sama!” Sawamura hastily drops into a bow. “I am sorry for not noticing you earlier! I was occupied by my own thoughts!” The director shakes his head, holding up a hand.
“Not at all, Sawamura-kun.” The bespectacled man smiles up at him. “I just wanted to let you know that I was very impressed by your acting today. You don’t seem like a rookie at all.” Sawamura puffs his chest out at the compliment.
“Hahaha! Is that so, director-sama?” He vocalizes, eyes positively sparkling. He lets out a self-important hum. “As expected, this is the fruit of my very hard training these past few months! I was also told by my teachers that I have a natural flair for–ah!” The idol stops mid-sentence as he stumbles, the back of his knee having been hit by something. The director chuckles good-naturedly as Miyuki Kazuya comes into view, arms crossed as usual, glasses gleaming on his face.
“Now now, don’t get cocky, newbie,” he drawls. “You’re still leaps and bounds away from my level now, aren’t you?” Sawamura turns to glare at him, resenting the fact that it’s been less than a day, but he’s already used to the snark emanating off Miyuki Kazuya.
“Isn’t is great that you get to work with such an established actor for your film debut, Sawamura-kun?” The director beams. “Both of you, good work today! We’ll be on location here for a week to finish up all the scenes, and then we’ll move to film on set! Rest well!” They both bow to him before he walks off. As soon as the director is out of sight, Sawamura turns to confront the other.
“Miyuki Kazuya! Y–you–you AGHHH!” He ruffles his hair in frustration. The taller boy snickers.
“I….ahhh?” he parrots. The younger scowls before jabbing a finger at Miyuki’s chest.
“You’re so uncool!” He wails. “Miyuki Kazuya is supposed to be this really cool actor guy, right? Why are you such an annoying, distracting, self-righteous bastard? This doesn’t make sense!”
Looking at the singer’s serious expression, the older looks taken aback for a good two seconds before bursting out into laughter. The idol can tell that this laughter is genuine, and it sounds oddly pleasant to his ears, but as soon as he realizes that he’s thinking the thought, Sawamura violently pushes it out of his head. He ruffles Sawamura’s hair as the laughter dies down, and a smile remains. Not his usual smirk, but a smile. The singer feels his heart skip a beat.
“W-who does he think he is?” Sawamura sputters out, pacing the living room of his apartment. His arms flail in exaggerated gestures as he talks.
Kuramochi is munching on a burger this time. “Well, Miyuki Kazuya, obviously.”
“Yeah, but his personality sucks!” As an idol himself, Sawamura takes it as a personal offence. An entertainer should be nice to everyone, shouldn’t they? “Why the heck does that bastard have so many fans?”
Kuramochi scoffs. “Go find out for yourself, bakamura. I ain’t Wikipedia.”
So he does. He’d already watched pretty much every project Miyuki Kazuya starred in, so he opts to check out his profile. Pulling out his phone and accessing the page, his face morphs into one of disbelief as he scrolls down the seemingly endless list of film titles, some of which he hadn’t even heard of. Kuramochi scoots his way across the couch to look over his shoulder.
“Ah yeah,” He says, his mouth full of burger. “That guy started out pretty small, but no one really remembers those days, he’s such a huge star now.”
Sawamura takes in all the movie titles, all the drama series in which the actor had played ‘classmate B’, or ‘boy at the bookstore’, all the way up to the more recent ones, and felt a sliver of respect for the taller actor. He then scrolls up all the way to where his personal details are listed, and realizes that Miyuki Kazuya is only a year older than himself. His eyes drift to the profile headshot of the actor, of the smirk and the all-knowing glint in his eyes. Seeing that smirk, Sawamura wrinkles his nose and promptly exits the webpage, locking his phone and shoving it into his pocket. Crossing his arms, he grudgingly admits to himself that Okay, maybe Miyuki Kazuya is pretty cool.
He thinks back to how his day had went and scowls. Only a little bit, though.
“And cut! Alright, we’re done with this location, time to move on to the set! Good work everyone, rest well and I’ll see you in a week’s time!” They’d just wrapped up the first week of filming, and a beaming Sawamura was ready to go home and sleep the week away.
After the echo of the collective “GOOD WORK!” fades, the director waves Sawamura over.
“Good job today, Sawamura-kun!” He patiently waits for Sawamura to finish his usual rant of Thank yous and I’ve been working hards before continuing. “I’m not sure if you already know, but you’ve been assigned to do the OST for this movie.” The idol hadn’t known, and the surprise must have shown in his face because the director chuckles.
“Yes you have!” He confirms, nodding as if to seal the fact. “Your agency has already been informed, and I hear recording will be taking place over the next week as we prepare the set. I know you’re not new to this sort of thing, but I’d just like to say do your best!”
He gives Sawamura a pat on the shoulder before heading off to speak to other members of the staff, leaving the slightly bewildered idol in his wake. The golden-eyed boy blinks before shrugging, taking it into stride. He had been expecting something like this, anyway. He grins and looks around to ask Kuramochi if he had heard about the news before spotting Miyuki Kazuya a few feet to his right, arms resting on hips and gaze focused on him. Knowing full well that his behavior was downright childish, he sticks his tongue out at the actor before turning on his heel and speed walking away.
Lyrics in hand and demo track blasting through his earphones, the idol blindly follows his manager to the recording studio as he sings under his breath. Memorizing songs was usually a breeze for him, but with having to memorize lines and lines of script each day for the past couple of weeks, he felt like there was no more space in his head for more memory work. He groans as he feels a headache coming.
His head is still buried in his lyrics as he trails after Kuramochi into the studio, heading straight for the recording booth. Out of sheer muscle memory, he opens the door and steps in, removing his earphones as he does so. Kuramochi is saying something to him, something that he hadn’t heard because of the music he was listening to earlier, and he whirls around to get Kuramochi to repeat himself, already wincing at the nagging he was about to receive for not listening to the elder. The words die in his throat as he realizes that the one his manager is addressing isn’t him.
Sitting on the guest’s couch, a casually dressed Miyuki Kazuya raises a hand in greeting. “Yo, bakamura.”
Suspended in the doorframe, the idol’s golden eyes widen. “Miyuki Kazuya!” He shouts, raising an accusing finger at the other. His mouth opens and closes a few times before settling on a “What are you doing here?!”
The actor merely shrugs, lifting one leg to elegantly cross over the other. “I thought I’d see what a recording studio is like.”
Sawamura’s features scrunch up, uncomprehending. “Huh?” He asks. “But how did you even get in here? Who let you in?” Next to him, Kuramochi shrugs.
“He bugged me yesterday about it.” His disinterested look quickly morphs into a sneer as he moves to sit at the recording desk. “What, bakamura, you gonna get affected by one observer?”
But the idol doesn’t hear him, a scowl directed at the smirking face of the older celebrity. “I can’t concentrate with you here!” He squawks, placing his hands on his hips stubbornly. “Go away!”
To his credit, Miyuki Kazuya is completely unfazed by the outburst. “How unprofessional of you.” He comments without malice, eyebrows drifting up. As he makes it clear that he’s not going anywhere, Sawamura lets out a huff and stomps into the booth, muttering under his breath.
“Ugh!” As he takes his place in front of the microphone, Sawamura resists the urge to throw the fragile headphones at the actor. “You’re such a jerk!”
Miyuki Kazuya’s smirk only widens in response.
To his own satisfaction, he finds himself able to ignore the unwanted presence in the room, purely concentrating on his music and relishing in the familiar feel of the studio after a week of acting on set. He absolutely refuses to look in Miyuki Kazuya’s direction though, eyes cast down to his lyrics or closed completely, trying to distract himself with the music.
He makes it through the first verse and the chorus without a hitch, but he signals for Kuramochi to stop the music at the start of the second verse.
“I’m taking a break,” he mutters. “My throat hurts. Gonna go get some milk or something.” Because no way in hell was he admitting in front of Miyuki Kazuya that he, a singer, hadn’t completely memorized the melody line yet. Grabbing his lyrics and iPod, he moves to leave the recording booth, a glare thrown in the actor’s direction. Said actor is currently lounging lazily on the couch, smirk ever present and head tilted back to rest on top of the couch. Sawamura looks over at him, trying to ignore the fact that Miyuki Kazuya’s every move is effortlessly photoshoot-worthy. Damn him.
“So Miyuki Kazuya, you’ve seen the studio!” He says, crossing his arms, careful not to rip up his papers. “So you’d better not still be here when I get back!” He nods to seal his statement and marches out of the room.
He spends his time walking aimlessly around the floor, muttering under his breath until he feels somewhat confident about matching lyrics to the tune. He makes a hasty detour to the vending machine on his way back, remembering what he’d excused himself for. And sure enough, when he returns to the recording studio, lyrics in one hand and a carton of milk in the other, the couch is empty. Kuramochi is exactly where he was at the desk, idly looking through his phone, but there’s no sign that Miyuki was ever there.
Sawamura tries to smirk triumphantly, but it feels foreign on his face, more like a grimace, so he drops the act before Kuramochi can call him out on it. He tries to identify the strange feeling bubbling in his chest as he finishes up his milk and steps back into the booth. And as he sings, he tries to understand why he feels just the tiniest bit disappointed.
The next time he sees Miyuki Kazuya is when they report back for filming the next week, each barely given time to acknowledge the other before they are both dragged away by their respective stylists.
It’s a chasing scene. He’s seen it in the script, so Sawamura knows how this scene will play out. The detective will chase the criminal on the streets, but will ultimately lose him, running out of breath in the maze of roads in the district. No lines involved, so this will be simple enough.
Sawamura does his warm up stretches before the scene, feeling slightly ridiculous in his restricting office clothes. He looks down and scrunches his nose at the loafers on his feet – running around in them will definitely give him blisters.
As he comes out of a calf stretch, the other actor comes into view. Miyuki Kazuya is dressed in loose black clothing, pulling the hood of his sweater over his head as a stylist runs over to fix his hair and makeup. Miyuki Kazuya is also in sneakers, a fact that Sawamura pouts at. The pout doesn’t go unnoticed by the other, whose lips tilt upwards and whose eyes rake over the form of the stretching boy.
Sawamura feels his face go warm and looks away, focusing on his stretching. He has no idea what the presence of the older boy is doing to him, but he sure as hell isn’t going to let it affect his acting. He closes his eyes. “Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate,” He chants under his breath like a mantra. When he hears the director call his name, he nods, a muttered Oshi escaping his lips before he turns to where the director and an expectant Miyuki Kazuya stand, waiting.
After a briefing of the street route, they go to their respective positions. Miyuki is a few metres ahead, but he knows that he’ll lose sight of the other soon enough as he rounds the corner just up ahead. He’ll just follow the planned route, though, his eyes darting about as he pictures it in his mind’s eye.
He takes off running, Miyuki Kazuya ahead of him. He watches as Miyuki swiftly rounds the corner, expecting it but feeling a sense of panic nonetheless at losing his target. Good, he thinks. I’m getting into character.
But as he rounds the next corner, and the next, and the next, looking around frantically, he feels his chest tightening with a dread that he’s pretty sure isn’t related to his character.
Where are you, Miyuki Kazuya?
It’s a ridiculous feeling, and he knows it. His heart clenches in his chest as he runs, an irrational desperation clawing its way up his throat as he chases and chases.
But then he rounds what feels like the fiftieth corner and he sees him, finally, running and running, but getting further and further away, and Sawamura forgets everything because he sees him and every fiber of his body screams at him to catch up, to get to where Miyuki Kazuya is. Sawamura grits his teeth and wills his burning legs to go faster.
“Okay, now Sawamura, start to slow down!” The director calls out. He hears him, but strangely, Sawamura doesn’t want to listen. He wants to keep running, wants to keep chasing Miyuki Kazuya. He’s just a few yards ahead, and he reaches his hand out, tries to grasp the escaping form of the older boy in his hand. But his lungs are on fire, and he gasps against his will, staggering to a stop. His legs are trembling. He pants, hands on his knees and breaths haggard as he tries to comprehend what the heck that was.
“And cut! That was perfect, Sawamura-kun! Take a breather and we’ll move on to the next scene!”
But Sawamura isn’t listening. Hands on his knees, breathing heavily, he looks down at the gravel road with wide eyes.
“What the hell were you doing, bakamura? I tried calling you seven times! If you don’t haul your sorry ass out of that apartment RIGHT NOW we’re gonna be late for filming!”
“Oh sorry, I’ll be down in five. I was just out for my morning run.”
“Huh? You don’t go on morning runs.”
“Yeah well, now I do.”
It must be the stress getting to him. The idol admits that he’s been so caught up in recent events that he’s never really had time to just catch some down time and immerse himself in a good shoujo manga.
So that’s exactly what he does.
Lean limbs splaying across the couch that had been occupied by Kuramochi way too often, he’s halfway through the second volume of a manga that had been put aside for way too long when realization slowly settles over him like morning dew over grass, cold and gradual and unnecessary. Feeling a shiver run down his spine, he bolts upright, hastily wedging a finger in between the pages as a makeshift bookmark and flipping through the rest of the comic, eyes scanning picture after picture of meticulously drawn expressions and familiar gestures as he grabs the first book and does the same.
He recognizes them, he thinks, as he rereads the text in the clouds above the protagonist’s head as her face colors in front of her male classmate. The hasty looking away, the complete denial, but also the quiet admiration and the slight disappointment when he leaves. He feels the puzzle pieces fall into place, completing a picture that Sawamura wasn’t even aware existed.
Oh no freaking way.
He recognizes them, all right. On himself.
He groans at the unwanted realisation, running a hand through his hair and down his face, feeling his cheeks burn at the thought of an annoyingly attractive smirk and an all-too-familiar voice calling his name.
It doesn’t make much sense to him, how he could ever like the dumb bastard, even after hours of silent contemplation spent pacing endlessly round his house. But then again, Sawamura Eijun was never the brightest crayon in the box, so while mulling around in his confused internal state, externally he tries his very best to hide it. He refuses it to interfere with work, so he acts, more than he ever had to before.
His very best is, fortunately, pretty damn well. Throughout the entire rest of the filming process, he is the perfect actor. On camera, he delivers his lines perfectly, showing every subtle emotion and gesture with pinpoint accuracy. Off camera, he has no script. But the act never falls away, merely morphing its form to one closer to home, a childish, annoyed idol, everything he knows he should be around the other. Because he is an actor too now, after all.
Flashes of light everywhere. So many cameras, the idol doesn’t know where to look. Dozens, maybe even a hundred reporters, gathered in the room, lanyards round their necks and hungry expressions on their faces as they listen eagerly to his director, the latter speaking about their latest film. It’s his first ever press conference, but Sawamura is used to reporters and provides a bright smile in their general direction before looking down to where a microphone glares back up at him from the table. He gulps internally. Just be natural. You can do this.
Miyuki Kazuya, seated next to him as a co-star, has been asked a question by one of the reporters, and he’s currently speaking into his mic, cool and confident, his free hand gesturing gracefully as his mouth moves, a spectacle that Sawamura is unwillingly entranced by. Aware of their current situation, the idol opts to stare at his lap instead, inhaling deeply.
“Sawamura-kun,” His head snaps up at the mention of his name. Inwardly cursing, he chides himself for spacing out. Miyuki Kazuya smirks in his peripheral vision, Forcefully shoving the older actor out of his mind, he instead focuses on the reporter who’d addressed him. “You’re well known as one of the top idols in the business. Will you be continuing down this route as an actor and how will this affect your singing career?”
Picking up the microphone, Sawamura rattles off the textbook answer that Kuramochi had drilled into him in the car on the way here.
“Nothing’s been confirmed as of yet,” he says without hesitating. “But I can assure everyone that my activities as an idol will not be sacrificed for acting. I hope to be doing both, and I’d definitely like to try out different acting roles in the future. Whatever I’ll be doing, I’ll give my all, so please look forward to it!” He throws the reporters another bright smile and tries not to tear up at the barrage of light flashes that follow. When they subside, he relaxes back into his seat, but jerks slightly when his name is called once more.
“How was the transition to acting for you and how is it different from being an idol?”
“Uh…” He blinks. Kuramochi hadn’t given him an answer to this, so Sawamura’s eyes wander the room, contemplating the question. His eyes land on Miyuki once, but he catches the other’s mildly curious expression before tearing his eyes elsewhere. After forming his thoughts, he brings the microphone to his lips in a practiced motion, something he has done countless times before.
“Well…” He begins slowly. He furrows his eyebrows thoughtfully before he continues.
“When you’re an idol and you’re up on stage, all the attention is on you. You can hear the screams of your fans, supporting you, cheering you on… It gives you energy. You can focus on nothing but the music, can lose yourself in the adrenaline.” He nods, thinking hard about how to phrase the next part. “But acting, it’s different. You don’t perform in front of hordes of screaming fans. The spotlight may not be on you all the time, but if you don’t do your role well, the entire production can fall apart.” He snaps his fingers to emphasize his point, slightly relieved that the sound can be heard above the clicking of the camera shutters. “Just like that. Your fellow actors, the director, the crew, every single person there has an important role to play. You need to think about how you can support them.”
“It’s really tough, but it’s been so rewarding. I’m honored to have been given this opportunity!” He finishes with a memorized line. From the back of the room, he spots Kuramochi give him a satisfied nod. Exhaling through his teeth, he grins, pleased that it had ended without him messing up.
As the reporters file out and they stand to head to the movie premiere, Sawamura thinks back to what he’d said. A few months ago, that last line would have been an utter lie. But as he said it just then… he’d really, truly meant it. He lets out a small disbelieving chuckle at himself.
“Something funny, bakamura?” He feels a weight around his shoulders as he twists his face into a defensive scowl.
“Nothing!” He says too quickly, face averted from the other. He can sense his co-star’s confusion as he shakes off the arm, but he tries to play it off as jittery excitement as he rushes into the cinema.
He’s already known it, but as he watches the movie unfold in front of him, all the disparate scenes that they’d shot edited and put together seamlessly, he can’t help but peer out the corner of his eye at the man next to him. In the darkness of the cinema, he allows himself a tiny helpless smile.
Miyuki Kazuya really is a brilliant actor.
After the premiere ends and one too many pats on the back, Kuramochi leaves to get the car and Sawamura finds himself drained. He turns to make a swift escape when he feels a hand on his shoulder, stopping him. Miyuki Kazuya steps into view, and Sawamura is too tired to react.
“You did well.” The older actor says, and Sawamura hears him clearly, even through the noise. “For a rookie, that is.”
The idol scrunches his nose weakly. “Wasn’t expecting anything else from you, Miyuki Kazuya.”
The older snickers, before his face morphs into something more solemn, something foreign to the younger actor. “Now that everything’s done, I guess I won’t be seeing you anymore, huh.”
There is a silence between them in which Sawamura lets this sink in. He blinks as the reality of it washes over him, jerking him fully awake. He snaps his head up, gold eyes taking in brown ones that are a little hesitant, a little expectant framed by an expression that is a little unsure. He starts because that isn’t an expression that belongs on that face.
But he must have imagined it, because in the next moment it’s gone, and a smile has taken its place. A smile that was as rare as his eyes were gold, a genuine one that reminded him just what exactly about Miyuki Kazuya was worth falling for.
He registers a warm hand on his head, ruffling his hair, and he instinctively reaches up to arrange it as Miyuki Kazuya begins to speak.
“It was nice working with you, partner.”
He opens his mouth, but no words are uttered as he watches the unsettlingly familiar image of the retreating back of Miyuki Kazuya, eaten up by the crowd. Feet glued to the carpeted floor, Sawamura feels his heart twist in his chest.
“Boss,” Kominato Ryousuke looks up in mild surprise as the idol barges into his office, eyes blazing. “I’m going to write a song.” Without waiting for a reply, he bows and leaves, nodding affirmatively to himself.
That night, he grabs his guitar and runs past the elevator, up thirty flights of stairs to the rooftop of his apartment complex. He arrives panting, arms outstretched, before sitting down, legs crossed and shirt soaked through.
The melody that he produces is a languid one, ebbing and flowing and drifting away with the wind that blows through his hair.
He starts singing, plucking words from the air and stringing them into a song, a song about stupid boys chasing silhouettes and morning dew and smiles that make his heartbeat quicken. And he doesn't stop, not even when his voice goes hoarse and the sun peeps out from over the horizon or when the early birds start chirping and looking for their worms.
He finishes it in one night.
It’s so different from his usual sound that the moment Kominato Ryousuke listens to it, his eyes almost open and his lips turn up in a knowing smile.
Sawamura Eijun’s self-composed new single plays in Shinjuku, and stays number one on the charts for weeks.
Sawamura has never seen the beach, so due to his hard work and overwhelming success, he is given a week off to stay in a beachside cabin in a rare present from the company president. He takes his guitar with him, and he would have lugged his keyboard along too had Kuramochi not wrenched it out of his hands and whacked him upside the head because this was a retreat from work, bakamura, don’t put Ryo-san’s gift to waste or I will personally come over to incapacitate you and then you won’t be able to play anything.
It had been a great and much needed change from his busy schedule, but Sawamura thrived on his work and needed something for his mind to focus on. So on the night of the third day, when he finds himself unable to sleep, he sits on his balcony, absently strumming his guitar. The sea is alive, whispering to him as the salty breeze caresses his bare arms and face, plays in his hair. Without thinking, the notes turn into the opening melody of his self-composed song, so he sings it, a guerilla concert to the ocean.
It’s been a good few months since filming had ended, but once in a way, Sawamura’s mind still drifts back to it. And with so much free time on his hands, the memories return more vividly than before. As he sings, fingers plucking strings unhurriedly, he laments. Would things have been different, if only he hadn’t so adamantly avoided the other, if only he’d tried to learn more, if only, if only…
He trails off halfway in the middle of the song, fingers slowing to a stop. He closes his eyes.
“Miyuki Kazuya,” he breathes, tasting the syllables on his tongue.
Sawamura jerks out of his chair and almost drops his guitar.
Because Miyuki Kazuya is somehow there, casually leaning over the wooden parapet that separates their balconies, hair disheveled and glasses askew, but eyes bright and smirk wide.
Completely off guard, Sawamura feels his blush spread to the base of his neck as he sputters, bewildered. Scenes from every shoujo manga he’s ever read flash like a show reel before his eyes.
“Is this fate?” He blurts out before his brain manages to catch up to what he’s saying. When it does though, he flails and shakes his head, wielding his guitar like a sword. “N-no-no!” He points the guitar straight at the other, eyes wide. His mouth opens and closes a few times before settling on a convenient “this is a dream! I’m dreaming!” He nods, trying to convince himself of the lie. “I’ll just be off now, and I’ll wake up and be alright tomorrow…” He starts to stumble back inside when Miyuki Kazuya deftly hoists himself over the parapet and stands in his path. He watches as the taller crosses his arms in front of him, expression halfway between a smirk and a smile. It’s not a bad expression on him.
“You really are such a bakamura,” is all he says, and Sawamura knows he’s lost. He pinches himself just in case though. After somewhat gathering himself, he gapes at the other boy.
“What are you even doing here?” He manages, glad for the absence of a stutter. Miyuki Kazuya’s glasses gleam as he tilts his head.
“Let’s just say this trip was a thank you gift from a friend.”
“Oh.” Sawamura realizes that he doesn’t know any of the older actor’s friends. “Okay.” He allows his hands to rest awkwardly by his sides, and the other eyes the guitar.
“You were just singing, weren’t you? That song that you wrote.”
Sawamura feels his face flare up again. Thank goodness for the time of day. “Yeah.”
“You should finish it, you know.” His smirk widens by the tiniest fraction. “You can’t just leave your audience hanging like that.”
Sawamura feels himself bristle. “There was no audience!”
“There was me.”
“It doesn’t count if I didn’t know you were there!”
The older actor moves to grasp the guitar. “Well, now you know.” He places it back into the singer’s arms. “I’m listening, so you should finish it.” He moves to sit in one of the two chairs on Sawamura’s balcony. Upon seeing the singer still rooted to his spot, the actor speaks up. “Come on, bakamura,” he says. “What you want to say to me, say to my face.” After the briefest hesitation, his smirk returns in full force, though the younger has his back turned. “Or sing, in your case.”
This snaps the younger out of his trance. “What?” He yelps. How does he know? “You-you’re such an arrogant bastard! How could you just assume that the song was about you?”
Miyuki Kazuya raises an eyebrow. “Ah, so it wasn’t?”
But it was, so Sawamura huffs and looks away, face burning. “I never said that.” He mutters under his breath.
He can practically feel the smirk emanating off the other. “I thought so.”
He starts from the beginning, hesitant at first, red faced and mumbling some parts of the song. But he doesn’t stop the whole time, because Sawamura Eijun is not one to back out of a performance, and Miyuki Kazuya is a surprisingly good one-man audience.
He also doesn’t stop because he knows that this is probably what he should have done way back then when he still had the chance, when he was seeing the other almost every day but avoided him as much as possible. And if the merciful gods up there are giving him a second chance, he’ll take it, no matter how unprepared.
When he finishes, he looks Miyuki Kazuya straight in the eyes, defiant gold shining against steady brown in the darkness. And he nods his head in a jerky bow, because he doesn’t really know what else to say after that song. A little disappointed, but a little relieved at the same time, the singer rises from his chair.
But the other boy moves swift as the waxing waves on the shore, and there is a cool hand on his wrist, gentle fingers prying the guitar out of his hands. And then he’s all the singer can see and he’s got that stupid smirk on his face again but there’s something in his eyes, something Sawamura can’t quite put his finger on as he registers the other getting closer, a hand snaking round his waist.
Sawamura’s erratically beating heart catches in his throat.
Miyuki Kazuya tastes like salt, and home.
“Oh yeah,” the idol pipes up one day. He’d dragged the other out of bed that morning for a walk along the beach, and apparently too lazy to walk the entire shoreline, the actor promptly plopped down on the warm sand, pulling the idol down with him, neatly into his lap. The taller boy nuzzles his face into Sawamura’s neck, arms wrapping around him as he hums in response.
“I was always wondering,” Sawamura says curiously. “Why’d you take up that role? The one as my co-star. Kuramochi said you don’t work with rookies.” He tries to crane his neck to see the older boy’s face, but Miyuki Kazuya isn’t having any of it. He smirks into the singer’s neck.
“I saw the cast list.” He side-eyes the younger, waiting for him to catch on.
It takes Sawamura about five seconds for it to register. He whirls around to face the other, eyes wide and mouth agape.
“Eh? You mean you took it up because of m–“ he is effectively cut off by the familiar press of lips on his own. When they part, the older actor is still smirking.
“Took you long enough, bakamura.”
Expression disbelieving, he feels himself practically glowing as he laughs.
Well whad’ya know, he thinks as he head butts the older’s chest for revenge before leaning into it, content. I wasn’t the only one.