Title: With you at my side I will be a winner
Pairing: Domoto Koichi/Machida Shingo, Uchi Hiroki/Matsuzaki Yusuke
Genre: romance, angst, friendship
Disclaimer: I don't own them or anything else JE-related, but the story is mine of course^^
Summary: Machida is used to being number 2... He doesn't even care that much about it... Just... what if Koichi is interested in someone else? Or is Machida's biggest fear just a blind alley?
Dedicated to : yoru_no_hikaru That's a little Easter-gift for you^^ I hope you like it! And I hope others enjoy it too^^
Machida was used to being Number 2… the second place.
It had always been like that.
When they had a track and field competition in school, he was brilliant, just that someone else was even more brilliant. Second place.
When he fell in love for the first time, the person he liked nearly chose him, but decided on someone else last minute. Second place.
Machida was pretty. At home his older brother was even more gorgeous… beautiful. Second place.
He was smart. But his little brother was a little genius. Second place.
And then he almost had been chosen to have a main-role, but…
Koichi sighed a bit, considering his possibilities. But he was too professional to take something else than the best choice. “I’ll choose Yara-kun for the role of my opponent.” he finally decided.
Second place, again. Machida sighed, not really in frustration though. Maybe he was too nice to feel offended by that. Yara was the better singer after all… it was important if you wanted to play a main character in Shock. Singing was a huge part here. And Machida was happy with being one of the main-dancers. He loved that too!
“Morning” Koichi came to their rehearsing room, smiling a bit absent-mindedly. He put the little bag he was carrying around with him on the floor, helping his little dog out of it. Koichi smiled a bit, before leaving the room for a moment.
Pan looked around shyly, almost lost first, before she stuck her nose into the air and rushed towards Matsuzaki. The young guy laughed at that, patting the little dog’s head happily. Pan let him stroke her fur for a moment, generously holding still, before she barked shortly and sprinted towards Machida. “Hey princess…” he grinned happily as she jumped up and down around him. It didn’t matter that much that he was just second place… at least he had a place!
Other people would have called it simple-minded or dumb, but Machida was neither dumb nor simple… he just knew his strong and weak points. And he was well-aware of the fact that no one on earth was the best at something. There was nothing like a Number 1. And in the little world he was living in, he was totally okay to have his place. A great place by the way!
Koichi came back, looking a bit fresher now. He grinned cheekily when he eyed Matsuzaki, immediately recognizing the younger one’s tired face. Partying too long? Or did he play video games throughout the whole night.
Koichi chuckled. “Matsuzaki-kun…” he chirped teasingly. “Stay sober!”
“Always.” Matsuzaki grinned at that.
Then Koichi shifted his attention towards a tall, young guy who was sitting in the corner of the room, looking rather lost. “Uchi-kun!” he smiled, clapping his hands a bit. “How is my favourite new-comer?”
Uchi blushed a bit at that. “Fine…” he stuttered.
Machida frowned deeply at that. He was okay with being second… really. Totally okay! But no way would he accept a THIRD PLACE!! Not when it was about Koichi!
Machida sighed a bit when he walked through the corridor, his thoughts going their own way. Koichi’s smile… the one he showed Uchi. It was so warm and unusually gentle.
Uchi and Koichi?
He rubbed over his head in utter confusion before a light yell escaped his lips as he felt someone bumping into him. Machida sighed grumpily, looking around in surprise to see who just knocked him over. When he eyed Uchi he knitted his eyebrows dangerously. But right at the moment when he wanted to say something mean, he caught Uchi’s sheepish expression. A look into the younger one’s eyes made him shut up immediately.
How old was Uchi?
Still quite young…
It had to be difficult to join a team of guys who were already working together since years. Guys who knew every step of this show. Who had no problems at all to do the dance steps and the choreography. Who had already their constant jokes running between them. Who were messing around sometimes. Who didn’t feel unsure at all.
Machida bit his lips a bit before he smiled at Uchi encouragingly. To be honest, it was even too difficult for him to go against someone he didn’t like, but even more difficult it was to go against someone he liked.
“You don’t need to look that bothered.” he told Uchi firmly, helping him up from the floor. “You are doing a good job here.”
Uchi beamed happily at him, glad that someone finally tried to give him some confidence. The wall around Machida’s heart melted away immediately by the thankful look Uchi shot him. His smile grew a bit when he patted Uchi’s arm and invited him for lunch. Okay, so he was good-hearted… and? Any problems with that? So…maybe he was the type who liked to make others feel comfortable. Just slightly Machida wondered. Was that a good point of his character or a bad one?
It was when Machida became eye-witness of a weird scene that he started to feel that things were different… or not how he had expected them to be.
It was on a week-day. Already quite late.
Machida blinked in surprise when he passed one of the smaller rehearsing rooms. Almost everyone else had already left, just Koichi was still around somewhere, preparing some things for the next day. Machida himself had helped him till now and was just on his way home…
Was there noise coming from the rehearsing room? He sneaked a bit closer, peeking into the room. It was almost dark, just silhouettes could be seen. And in the middle of the room he could see a tall guy’s frame, apparently dancing. Machida shook his head in surprise, sighing a bit as he felt a wave of sympathy towards Uchi rushing over him. He immediately recognized what Uchi was practising here. Some of the dance steps which were so difficult for him to dance. He was a singer after all, not a dancer.
Machida bit his lips a bit, wondering what he should do. The young guy’s expression was looking so troubled. He should help him… But before he could step into the room a dark shadow in one of the room’s corners moved.
Machida drew back a bit, not wanting to interrupt anything, his eyes still curiously scanning the scene. Uchi jumped at the noise behind him, almost dropping to the ground. He looked around in utter confusion, apparently feeling a bit embarrassed.
“Sorry…” Matsuzaki smiled almost softly. “I didn’t want to scare you like that…”
Machida frowned at that. Since when was this guy so friendly? Not that Matsuzaki was impolite or didn’t help others, but staying around for so many hours, though it was already so late, just to help another one. That was something new, definitely. Machida gulped suddenly as the realisation hit him. Since when was he himself feeling protective over Uchi?
Honestly… this guy was a grown-up man… but one still felt like protecting him from anything dark in the world. It had to be part of Uchi’s very own charm that he was sometimes looking so helpless… almost a cry-baby. And it definitely awakened Machida’s brotherly instincts. Just…Why was it that Koichi could deal with that? He wasn’t that patient normally…
He shook his head in confusion, shifting his attention back to the two boys.
“No problem…” Uchi stuttered, blushing a bit.
Matsuzaki bit his lips a bit, trying to hide his own embarrassment. “You are still practising?”
“I…” Uchi blushed even deeper. “I don’t wanna disappoint anyone…” he explained, his voice breaking a bit over the last words.
Matsuzaki watched the other in interest as he turned his head away to hide…whatever, Machida couldn’t see it. Tears? Embarrassment? Fear?
“Alright.” Matsuzaki stated firmly. “You won’t!” he promised. “I’ll help you.”
“Eh?” Uchi stuttered in surprise. “Really?”
“Yep.” The young MAD guy grinned, making a dismissive gesture with his hand when Uchi wanted to intervene. “I won’t accept any buts.” he told him, already grabbing Uchi’s arm and pulling him in front of the huge mirror attached to one side of the wall. Then he left the other one to turn on the light. When he returned he grinned a bit. “But don’t complain! I’m a strict teacher…” he joked.
“That’s okay.” Uchi nodded firmly, apparently missing the playful tune in Matsuzaki’s voice, making the latter blush a bit.
Machida shook his head a bit when he walked away. But then he shrugged it off. So Matsuzaki’s caring attitude awakened when being with Uchi… And? There were always people we get along better with… and those we can’t deal with that well. For Matsuzki Uchi was a person he liked to help and got along with well.
Machida didn’t wonder much. But the next day when he passed the same rehearsing room again, at the same time, he blinked in surprise. Matsuzaki was just practising a difficult choreography with Uchi, standing behind the latter, his hands on Uchi’s hips to lead him a bit. It should have looked innocent… but somehow it didn’t.
Machida frowned a bit. Where these two seemingly dangerous first and second places in the end no danger at all for him? Didn’t Matsuzaki actually have a crush on Koichi?
Koichi grinned when he chewed down his pizza. “You are looking bothered Macchin…”
“Oh.” Machida blinked, smiling brightly. “I’m okay…” He shook his head when Koichi offered him another piece of his pizza.
“What?” Koichi blinked, feeling slightly suspicious. “We ordered it together. Don’t tell me you are already full?”
“Sorry.” Machida stuttered, trying to hide his flushed cheeks behind a bright grin. Truth was that he did feel hungry of course, really hungry. But Koichi had already lost some weight again… so he rather preferred it to make the other eat a bit more… even if that meant that he himself stayed hungry.
“Really?” Koichi eyed his friend warily, shaking his head a bit.
Machida smiled. “Really…” he reassured him. “It’s…I’m quite nervous. The show will start soon. And…” he made a pause as a sudden thought hit him. “I’m thinking about several things.”
Koichi blinked for a moment. “What kind of things?”
“I’m wondering about Matsu and Uchi-kun.” Machida grinned, knowing that Koichi would immediately buy his excuse.
And really, Koichi’s eyes went wide. “What?” he blinked in utter surprise. “Matsuzaki… and Uchi!!!??” he sounded so surprised that Machida couldn’t hide a laughter. “What are you laughing about?” Koich grumbled.
“It’s just…” Machida giggled. “That you are the only one who didn’t realise it yet… Everyone else is already wondering a bit…and suggesting things.”
Koichi pouted at that. “Really…” he grumbled. “I can’t recognize everything… I’m bothered with other things. I have no time to see all the romance stuff that’s going on.” He looked down at his pizza grumpily, though he was actually feeling really interested in what was going on with the two younger boys. But there was no way he would admit that…
Machida smiled a bit, knowing what Koichi really wanted to know. “Ah…but we are not sure if it’s really something romantic between them…” he explained like he was talking to himself. “Maybe they just get along well.”
Koichi grinned a bit. “Yeah…sure.” A sudden thought crossed his mind and he smiled brightly as he got up. His eyes shining seductively. Machida’s eyes grew wide at that, wondering what Koichi was up to now…
“You know…” Koichi bent down a bit, whispering into Machida’s ear. “I’ve not much time for romance…and I don’t care much.” He smirked. “But a bit of it would do no harm…” With that his lips started to nibble at Machida’s earlobe, slowly moving over his cheek and wandering downwards to his friend’s lips, kissing him lightly.
Machida froze in surprise. He couldn’t do anything else but kiss Koichi back. His mind going totally dizzy by what was happening here.
What was happening?
Was it just for fun?
“Was that good? And now?” Uchi asked, fully concentrated. He had already made huge improvements and he felt motivated like never before in his life. All thanks to Matsuzaki of course.
Matsuzaki nodded earnestly. “Perfect” he smiled. “And now…” he mock-mused, an almost invisible smirk curling around his lips. “Turn around.”
“Sure.” Uchi nodded his head firmly, turning around to face Matsuzaki, wondering what kind of dance step the other wanted to show him. A shiver ran through his body when Matsuzaki put his hands on his hips, almost softly, pulling the other closer.
“I want you to close your eyes.” Matsuzaki explained. “It’s more effective like that…”
Uchi wondered a bit, but not much. They had done something similar before. Uchi stumbling around with closed eyes while Matsuzaki had tried to teach him to just listen to the music and not follow simple mechanic orders of his mind. It had led him to an emotional break-down with Matsu patting his head and reassuring him that everything would be alright and how sorry he was to let him do such a difficult exercise. Then some bruises all over his body as he bumped into almost everything that was standing in the room. And another emotional breakdown as he felt totally useless…again with Matsuzaki comforting him, even hugging him to tell him how great he was and that soon he would be able to do everything just as good as the rest of them.
So Uchi closed his eyes as Matsuzaki had requested it and waited expectantly for Matsuzaki to voice his next order or exercise. One part of him was feeling afraid that the latter would let him jump around with closed eyes again…though it did work quite well the last time they did it. Still…it pushed Uchi to his limits. He wasn’t dancing since years like Matsuzaki or many of the other guys here… And he already went farer than he would have ever expected it. Matsuzaki had a soft way of pushing him forward and forcing him to do difficult things without actually overstraining him.
So Uchi smiled a bit, hoping that his new friend would also help him through this new exercise. But instead of Matsuzaki letting him do some dance steps or giving him any other orders, he could suddenly feel hands roaming over his shoulders, touching his face softly. He didn’t even dare to blink or open his eyes, too surprised by Matsuzaki’s sudden move. He bit his lips nervously when he felt the other’s fingers on his neck, before they touched his chest almost teasingly, a flat hand brushing over his upper body. Not seeing anything actually increased the sensations Matsuzaki’s touches were doing to him. Uchi sighed a bit when he could feel Matsu’s fingers on his lips, brushing over them lightly. Before he could even realise what was happening the other had grabbed his hips again, pulling him close with one rough tug, so that he suddenly felt the other’s lips on his.
Uchi opened his eyes in surprise, Matsuzaki’s face directly in front of him now. He smiled a bit into the kiss, putting his arms around the other’s neck and closed the last few centimetres between their bodies with that.
Their kiss seemed to last forever…or just a few seconds. Uchi wasn’t too sure about that, it had to be long since he was almost gasping for air, but it felt just like a short moment. He sighed reluctantly when Matsuzaki suddenly let go of him again, smiling lovingly when he kissed Uchi’s nose. Then he grinned. “Alright.” He clapped his hands. “Now let’s do your beloved closed-eyes exercise!”
“No…” Uchi whined a bit, eyeing Matsuzaki grumpily. “You really know how to change the mood.”
Matsuzaki twinkled a bit. “I will reward you later.” pe promised, smiling impishly.
Uchi stared at the other in surprise, before he blushed deeply. “Okay…” he mumbled, grabbing the blindfold Matsu was handing him over and put it around his eyes. “You really are a strict teacher…” he grumbled.
“Told’ya so!” Matsuzaki grinned.
Stupid kids. Machida was smiling a bit. Matsuzaki was really something… Seducing little, innocent Uchi like that. Well…of course they were the same age…but still… sometimes Uchi seemed to be so much younger.
He opened the door to Koichi’s dressing room fiercely. “You won’t believe what I saw.” he chirped when he jumped into the room. Then his eyes grew wide in utter shock. “Koichi-kun…?”
Koichi didn’t even raise his head, his eyes were looking down at the ground, not even recognizing what they were seeing there…
Machida bit his lips a bit. Koichi didn’t even realise that he came into the room. He considered his possibilites a bit, knowing that Koichi hated it when someone saw him in his weak moments. But still, Machida just couldn’t leave. He approached the other carefully, his hand stroking over Koichi’s shoulder when he sat down next to him. He kept stroking Koichi’s back soothingly, not saying anything.
After a few moments Koichi looked up a bit, his eyes twitching nervously. He wanted to push Machida away for seeing him like that and throw him out of his dressing room. But he simply couldn’t. The urge to feel someone close to him right now was bigger than his pride.
Machida still stayed quiet. He didn’t want to force himself on Koichi. He should approach his problems in his pace, there was no use in pushing into him.
“You know…” Koichi suddenly started. “Did you ever have the feeling that you put the level so high… that you won’t be able to surpass it anymore…”
Machida blinked at that. “You mean surpassing ourselves?”
“Shock is gorgeous, right?” Koichi continued. “But it slowly reaches its limit. It can’t become that much better anymore…”
Machida smiled weakly. “And…that’s bad?”
Koichi blinked at that. “But people expect from us to make it more spectacular or better every year.”
Machida’s heart made a joyful jump when Koichi used the word us. He shook his head lightly. “People don’t expect anything from us… they take what we give them.” He paused. “In the end it’s just about us… We are the ones who don’t want to accept that we are just Humans. That we can’t win every time. That we have our limits.” Machida smiled a bit. “That we can’t be first place every time…”
Koichi sighed, leaning back against Machida. “Out of your mouth it sounds so easy.” He teased.
Machida grinned, glad that Koichi went back to teasing. That was much better than him being crushed. “Well, it is easy…” he mused. “Somehow. We just have to accept it ourselves. You are just afraid to fail, but why do you think you would? You are far beyond to be a fail… Even when you do something wrong on stage, it will make people adore you even more. Besides that you have a gorgeous team.” He paused. “Since Uchi and Matsu are kinda together now they will fly to new heights… And then you have one of the most gorgeous background dancers ever…”
Koichi blinked. “Who?”
“Me.” Machida grinned.
“So, so…” Koichi chuckled, wondering how Machida was able to calm him down every time he felt crushed. He sighed a bit, his hand wandering over Machida’s knee and resting on his leg. “Can we stay like that a bit longer?”
“Sure.” Machida smiled happily. No matter what place he was… in such a situation he would always be Number 1.
“So, Matsuzaki and Uchi are together?” Koichi suddenly wanted to know.
“I saw them kissing…” Machida explained. “So I guess…they are.”
“That’s good.” Koichi mused.
“It is.” The other agreed.
“Kissing is nice.”
“We can do it too…”
“I want some ramen!”