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[KinKi AU] Butai verse, scene 9

As always, thanks and lots of love to jandeth for the beta.


Disclaimer: This is fictional.
Pairing: As-yet inconclusive KinKi, Tsuyoshi/Okada
Genre: AU, drama, angst
Rating: G so far, may be PG later

Summary: Tsuyoshi joined the musical directed by Kouichi, with questionable motivation and a defensively guarded past.

Continued from: First | Second | Third | Fourth | Fifth | Sixth | Seventh | Eighth


-- You'll Make It Worse --


Stage actors improvised, Tsuyoshi learned, just as all their peers on any type of live shows did. There never was a shortage of things that could go wrong at the actual moment: props failing, slips of tongue, minds going blank.

He was no stranger to these, though the more disastrous ones hadn't hit him until after Junichi's departure. He had performed solo, and he’d sometimes fall silent after a line, habitually waiting for a non-existent partner to follow up with the gag. He had tried pairing up with another comedian, and the other guy had fumbled, unable to keep up with the style of banter Junichi used to effortlessly carry out with him.

He'd had no problem with the musical script so far. He was used to memorizing whole skits with much less drilling than the rehearsals and repeated performances they had for the musical. They'd had unplanned variations from show to show over the past month, a few glitches even, but nothing major.

Until now, that was -- and he would never have expected this from the perfectionist that was the director himself.

"Yet I," Kouichi's character was saying, "who should have perished in your hands, live still."

"Don't say that!" Tsuyoshi's voice trembled, channeling the guilt of his character. "I didn't mean to..."

"O all you host of heaven! O earth!" Kouichi's voice rose along with his fists. "Lend me strength, that I would not forget--"

Tsuyoshi caught him wince, in a flash, then Kouichi worked his expression back to neutral, only to freeze after.

Whatever had distracted him had apparently derailed his whole train of thought.

Tsuyoshi watched, stunned. He'd had to help improvise for some of the other actors once or twice, but he'd never seen Kouichi in trouble. This man directed the musical. He knew everyone's lines by heart.

The theatre was dead silent.

The spotlight reflected on a bead of sweat on Kouichi's temple, and Tsuyoshi snapped back.

The right words floated in his mind, flowed to the tip of his tongue. He had this whole scene memorized, including Kouichi's lines.

"And how could I," he said gently, taking slow, measured steps to where Kouichi was. "So long as this maddening remembrance..."

He stopped, an arm's length away. Kouichi's eyes were fixed on him, expression frozen.

He reached out a hand towards Kouichi's face, let it hang without making contact. "...yet lives in my thoughts?"

He'd delivered those lines not with the fiery emotion that Kouichi normally put into them, but with a heartbroken whisper. This was no longer Kouichi's enraged accusation; this was Tsuyoshi's shattered illusion. He was coming to the realization that this Kouichi was a mere figment of his imagination, because he was the very reason that Kouichi could not possibly be here.

And Kouichi, thank goodness, seemed to catch his intention.

"Traitor," he matched the whisper, and let himself collapse onto the stage floor, dissolving the supposed-illusion. "The traitor must die."

There -- the cue words he needed to get the scene back on track.

Tsuyoshi dropped his hand, and turned to face the audience once more. "No," he pleaded, resuming his own lines. "It was an accident!"

As he reached the last of his lines, the mild panic resurfaced. He hadn't thought this through to the conclusion. This scene transitioned into an enactment of Hamlet. There was that well-known monologue that Kouichi should deliver after this, but Kouichi was now on the floor, and they couldn't just cut out those ten-odd lines, now could they?

His mind was racing as he choked out, "Forgive me! I'm begging you!"

...Even if they were to skip that, they still needed a setup to exit the stage and make way for the next scene. Perhaps he could signal the lighting crew to--

"To be or not to be," Kouichi's voice rang calmly, just in time after the echo of that line died out. He was still lying on the stage. "That is the question."

Tsuyoshi turned slowly, and watched Kouichi float up -- stand, of course, but Kouichi was making clever use of the spotlight -- while reciting the rest of the verse. He exhaled, disguising relief in resignation, and stared mournfully at the ghost in his mind.

"...My uncle, the treacherous villain," Kouichi concluded his monologue. "The traitor."

"The traitor... is among us?" Tsuyoshi whipped his head around to the audience. When he turned back, Kouichi was making his exit, as per the original script. "Wait!"

On cue, dancers swarmed onto the stage, hampering his chase. Then the stage was plunged into darkness: end of scene.

As he hurried off backstage, he was startled by a breathless word near his ear.

"...Thanks," Kouichi said. He looked rather mortified.

"Uh, sure," Tsuyoshi gave him the first response that came to mind.

Kouichi nodded, in acknowledgement or perhaps in apology, then turned briskly to standby for his next scene.


--


He heard the laughter as he walked past Kouichi's dressing room on his way from the restroom.

"How did you manage to forget those lines after so many shows?" Yonehana's voice came through the door.

"My mind just went blank," he heard Kouichi say. "If it were one of those chatty dialogues I could just start a new topic, but this is the lead-up to 'Hamlet'..."

"Luckily Tsuyoshi-kun remembered your lines, too," Machida said.

Tsuyoshi tuned out the rest and hurried along to the dancers' dressing room. To continue listening in after the mention of his own name would be embarrassing.

He passed the room again when he was done packing up and about to leave the theatre. It had gone quiet, but he saw through the half-open door that Kouichi was still inside. The man was bent over on his chair, a hand on his foot.

A recollection of the earlier scene arose in Tsuyoshi's mind. He was almost sure Kouichi's expression had contorted just before he lost track of the script. It was as if he'd been... in pain.

Out of impulse, he knocked.

Kouichi straightened swiftly, and turned towards the door. "Yes?"

"Are you alright?" Tsuyoshi asked.

Kouichi looked surprised. "Of... course. Anything the matter?"

For an instant, Tsuyoshi hesitated. Had there been anything serious, surely MA would have fussed over him.

He glanced down. Kouichi had his left shoe off.

"Something wrong with your... ankle?"

Kouichi, in a telltale reaction of one who couldn't tell a lie to save his life, instantly turned his gaze to the body part in question.

"Just a sprain," he murmured. He started to put on his shoe, anxious to conceal the sight.

So he'd guessed right. Tsuyoshi took a step into the room. "Careful, you'll make it worse."

Kouichi paused. After some deliberation, he put down the shoe.

"Have you treated it?" Tsuyoshi asked. He would examine the injury, but if Kouichi was keeping this from even MA, the action might be a liberty that wasn't his to take.

"I...'m thinking I'll get home first," Kouichi said.

"You haven't-- all through the second half?" Tsuyoshi asked in bewilderment. 'Hamlet' was early in the second act.

"It didn't swell too badly. Anyway, there wasn't enough time between the scenes." Kouichi shot him an apologetic look. "Still, my bad. I hadn't expected it to act up during 'Hamlet'."

Act up? "When did you sprain it exactly?"

"...During 'Japanesque', probably," Kouichi answered reluctantly. For someone who hid a pain so well he was curiously bad at hiding a truth, Tsuyoshi thought, as long as you asked the right question. "I thought I twisted it at one point, but I didn't feel any pain then, so I thought nothing of it."

That was the battle scene at the end of the first act. Fifteen minutes of it, including the insane roll down the long flight of stairs. Plenty of opportunities to aggravate a simple sprain, the height of adrenaline rush notwithstanding.

"You didn't tell Yara-san or the others?" An injury would pose a risk to the show. His assistants should be told. And yet--

"It's nothing to worry them about. It'll heal soon enough."

--and yet, the answer didn't surprise Tsuyoshi.

Anyway, it wasn't for him to reproach someone for hiding his issues from others.

"You've left it too long," he said instead. "We'd better get some ice on it."

He headed out without waiting for the predictable argument. "Wait here."


--


"Isn't this a familiar scene, now," Kouichi muttered, as Tsuyoshi helped him to his car. The parking lot was almost deserted, nearly three hours after the show had ended.

Tsuyoshi chuckled. "Ah, with Akiyama-san?"

"Yeah," Kouichi said. He hid his surprise at seeing Tsuyoshi laugh at something he said. "Just your luck, always bumping into us in this sort of situation."

It occurred to him belatedly that Tsuyoshi had chosen to follow up. He could've ignored them even if he'd seen, and that would have better fitted the image of the man who'd been keeping his distance and hiding his past.

Tsuyoshi didn't seem to think much of that comment. "Well, let's hope you won't need his crutches," he responded simply, as he released Kouichi onto the driver's seat. Then he looked at the pedals. "Are you sure you can drive? Maybe we should get a taxi."

"After we're already here?" Kouichi made a face. "Nah."

"Should've thought of it earlier," Tsuyoshi sighed. "Alright then, take care."

He put a hand on the door, ready to close it as soon as Kouichi pulled his legs in.

"I can give you a ride," Kouichi offered.

Tsuyoshi looked amused. "With your condition? No thanks. Just you quickly get home and put on some proper bandage."

He closed the door.

Kouichi opened it again. A reiteration of thank-you was on the tip of his tongue, but something else occurred to him. "Do you drive?"

Tsuyoshi looked at him. "You want me to drive for you?"

"If you don't mind."

After a long consideration, Tsuyoshi asked, "Where to?"

Kouichi shrugged. "The station nearest to your place? Wherever is convenient."

Tsuyoshi's eyes narrowed. "This is not necessary."

"It's not," Kouichi agreed. "It's a compromise."

There was that appraising gaze again, but this time Tsuyoshi averted it first.

"Well then," he said, "could you move over?"


---


Author Notes:

[*] The musical scene was based on Endless SHOCK 2007 (the only one I have a full Chinese-subtitled fancam of ^_^0). There the dialogue was abridged from Shakespeare's Hamlet, and here I abridge it even more in my translation. =P Tsuyoshi took over Akiyama's role, but I assumed he was allowed a slightly different characterization here because Akiyama's hysterics in the original scene didn't seem to suit Tsuyoshi's acting style.

[*] I tried to make this scene understandable without requiring anyone to know the original plot of SHOCK, but in case I didn't succeed, here's an excerpt of the relevant bits (contains SPOILERS): Kouichi was the lead actor in a small theatre owned by Akiyama. They later joined Broadway. In the battle scene of their last play, Kouichi was severely injured due to his rival's action, but which Akiyama thought was his fault. Kouichi was hospitalized, while Akiyama left Broadway and returned to his theatre. In a play of 'Hamlet' that he produced, he imagined Kouichi in the role of Hamlet, blaming him for the onstage accident. (Watch it for the rest of the story... =D)


---

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Comments

( 9 sketches — Chalk a line )
faiee
Nov. 19th, 2012 08:10 am (UTC)
yayy butai verse. tsuyoshi saving the day! koichi being his usual self, unable to take good care of himself. i'm hoping they have a PROPER conversation on their way home ^_^
kireira
Nov. 20th, 2012 12:34 pm (UTC)
Ha... I... totally skipped the conversation. *hides* Or maybe I'd imagine them already exhausting things to say to each other and keeping it to driving directions. =D;;
faiee
Nov. 21st, 2012 01:55 pm (UTC)
does this mean you already have a new chapter ready? /waits patiently
kireira
Nov. 21st, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
It's still some considerable distance from ready, but there's a sort of plan that follows up from this, yeah. =D
faiee
Nov. 21st, 2012 02:44 pm (UTC)
/bounces. can't wait can't wait <3 so in love with this verse.
primea
Nov. 19th, 2012 08:32 pm (UTC)
oh godness, so many questions, so many things that could happen now. I don't think I said it before, but I'm completely in love with Shock and now, with no decent fancams and few months before new season starts, damn- this fic is stealing my heart<3 Kou is perfectly in character, with all the awkwardness, stubborn and pro and so charming, and of course can't win with Tsuyoshi. I love too many things about this fic *commentfail*

also it's somehow cute how there's no special title for this other than butai verse, it's so simple and normal, I'm sold
kireira
Nov. 20th, 2012 12:44 pm (UTC)
Aww thanks! I'm being exploratory with this series and between the character growth I want and the background stories, I'm afraid their characterizations have not been very consistent throughout the series. =X Well, hope I can justify them later.

Ahaha, I started with Butai verse, then I started considering a specific title but decided to keep it on hold until the series had a better-defined direction, but by now I can think of this as nothing other than "Butai verse". =P
jandeth
Nov. 20th, 2012 11:53 am (UTC)
<3
kireira
Nov. 20th, 2012 12:45 pm (UTC)
<33
( 9 sketches — Chalk a line )