title: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
pairing: Nakajima Kento/Sato Shori (Nakajima Kento/Jinguji Yuta in passing)
word count: 2, 472
author's note: After watching the Sexy Zone Japan Tour DVD and documentary, this happened~ This is a companion to 勝利また勝利, meant to be read second~
summary: And so, Shori thinks, maybe sometimes, being a little impatient and a little immature and a little adventurous pays off, after all.
Under normal circumstances, Shori loves concerts. He loves everything about them, from the planning meetings through the long rehearsals as a group to the teching at the venue to the shows themselves in front of thousands of screaming fans. He loves putting thought into what would make the show as magical as possible, loves putting in effort together with his group and the juniors and the staff to create a clean, well-executed performance, and he loves standing up on the stage in front of a sea of penlights and uchiwa and smiling faces and giving everything he has to give. Being onstage is a really wonderful feeling, the rush of adrenaline and the joy of coming together with his fans and the love he has for every other person on the stage and for Sexy Zone as a group all coming together in a high that, he thinks, must be better than any sort of drugs or alcohol could create, albeit he can't exactly speak from experience. Sexy Zone is still so new that they've only had two concerts and one run of Summary before, and so when their very first Japan tour is announced, Shori couldn't be happier.
But once the tour is under way, very quickly, Shori begins to notice a snag in his happiness. Certainly, everything is the same as usual; they plan, rehearse, tech, and perform at each venue, and Shori still loves everything about the process, and loves doing it together with his group. In fact, this time, he even gets his own solo, gets a say in the staging and the juniors who perform with him, and the staff even ask his opinion on the costumes, as well, something he'd hoped for since their debut. He loves being involved, and so, it seems everything should be perfect… But as the rehearsals progress into the first few locations, there's one thing that gets under even Shori, patient, thoughtful, understanding Shori's skin: Kento seems to be spending more attention and energy on Jinguji than on any member of Sexy Zone-- or, more importantly, than on Shori.
It shouldn't be a big deal, he tells himself at first. Jinguji is his best friend, after all, the person he's known the longest in Johnny's, from their very first day at their audition together. He'd known they were fated to be best friends when they'd discovered not only did they share a birthday, but that their birthday was that day, the day of their audition, the day they both joined the agency that would certainly change their lives forever, and they'd been inseparable since. And Kento flirts with everyone; this Shori knows, has always known, and he's never let it bother him before. Kyomoto-kun, Yasui-kun, Iwamoto-kun, even Reia and Genki and Amu… Shori knew that they were all just friends to Kento, friends who he found attractive and wanted to flirt with, because Kento liked flirting, was confident and charismatic and attractive, and those were all things Shori liked about him. But yet, somehow, when his attentions weren't spread between various boys around their age and seemed to be honing in on Shori's own best friend… well, it started out like an annoying ringing in his ears, but over time, it grew louder and louder into a full-blown symphony of distraction at every rehearsal, every performance, and it was too much for Shori to bear.
And so Shori, usually so thoughtful, usually so reserved, usually so placid and understanding and unperturbed by the general turbulence that is life in Johnny's, somehow finds himself at the end of his tether by the end of the concert tour. It's Golden Week and they have off from school despite that they're performing close to home, so really, things should be perfect; Shori can devote all his attention and emotions to work without having to worry about homework and other obligations. But instead, he's worrying about something else: Kento. It's unusual and almost upsetting to feel this way when, for the past year now, he's been so patient and assured, putting his effort in little by little, but even if Kento's attentions towards him have been growing slowly but surely, he's disturbed by how quickly Jinguji seems to have come onto Kento's radar and then escalated to the top spot for his attention. Shori knows that life is unpredictable and that one needs to be able to adjust and be flexible, but this… this is something that he doesn't know how to adjust to, and it doesn't sit well with him, despite how calm he tries to be about it.
And so for the Yokohama shows, he stews. It's not something that he usually does, it hasn't been since he was maybe three or four years old (because, after all, he had always been mature for his age, had always been introspective and thoughtful, even as a small child), but he doesn't know what he can do. Shori has never been one to jump to action without thinking it through first, Shori has never been one just to blurt out his feelings without planning his words, choosing carefully just how to express himself, but now, he doesn't know what planning he can do, when he's thought the situation through time and time again and there's just no clean way to deal with it. Somehow, Shori had always pictured Kento's feelings becoming clear over time, so that Shori could express his own without worry when the time came, but now everything seems so much blurrier than he'd imagined. The thought of confessing his feelings is a lot scarier when he doesn't know what Kento is thinking, what Kento is feeling, and so he hesitates and worries and stews on what the best way is to proceed from here.
But whether Shori is ready for it or not, time progresses, the Yokohama shows continue, and Kento's flirting with Jinguji escalates into a full-on assault. It makes Shori's heart twist in his chest every time he sees Kento ruffle Jinguji's hair, every time he sees Kento pull Jinguji closer during Bayside Elegy for a stage kiss, every time he watches Jinguji demonstrate his love Kenty chant for the audience with that look in his eyes, the one Shori knows, can recognize after a year of worshipping Kento now, is sure that means Kento is thinking about doing something with Jinguji that is distinctly not performing. It makes jealousy burn in the back of his throat and insecurity flip in his stomach, and it's so wrong in so many ways, because Shori doesn't get jealous and he doesn't get insecure, because he knows better than that, he is better than that. He's a thinker and a planner, he's someone who understands the way the world works and doesn't feel the same sort of rushed urgency, the same sort of jump to irrational decisions that other kids his age do. He understands that feelings grow with time, that love and lust are two separate things that can only blossom into something permanent when grown together, but yet, as he watches Kento with Jinguji as the tour goes on, despite all of that, despite how smart and mature and patient he's always been, it makes him want to cry.
And to make matters worse, there's no one he can talk to about it, no one in whom he can confide. Jinguji is his best friend in the whole world, and naturally there's no way he can tell his best friend that he's ravaged with jealousy over the attention his best friend is getting from the boy Shori likes. After all, despite how much he makes faces over it, Jinguji must like Kento too, Jinguji's left work with Kento before, Shori knows, and so he says nothing. He knows that fights over the same boy are like suicide to friendships with kids their age, and while Shori knows better than to blame Jinguji, really, he also knows Jinguji is a year younger and more than a year's worth less mature, and the last thing he wants to do is ruin their friendship. But that leaves him with no one, because of course Sou and Marius are too young to understand, and of course Fuma and Hokuto have never approved of his feelings for Kento to begin with, and it's not exactly like he can consult Kento about the issue. And so he feels alone and awash in the situation, unsure of how to proceed when he knows his feelings are silly, but yet they're there all the same, and there's nothing he can do when there's no one he can consult and no way he can find out what Kento's feeling.
But silly and immature as the jealousy might be, as they near the last Yokohama show, Shori is beginning to realize that he can't go on this way. It's one thing to be pining after the boy he likes, the boy he's been admiring for over a year now, but it's quite another thing to have that admiration drive a wedge between him and his best friend, another thing to have his feelings keep him from doing his job properly, from enjoying one of the best and most important aspects of his career. And so, before the final Monday show, he decides: this has to be it. Knowing Kento's feelings or not, he has to be a grown-up and face his problems. Somehow, the decision has been hard to come to, hard to even consider over the past few months, but yet, once he's made it, he feels somehow at peace. He knows that Kento is mature and an adult, too, knows that once he's confessed his feelings, Kento won't let it get in the way of work, in the way of their bond as group members and as friends, and so it's with a muted sense of tranquility that he faces his last performance in his first ever Japan Tour. It's a little sad, he thinks; this is a monumental moment in his career, and yet he can't properly appreciate the meaning in it, because of this whole petty problem. But the problem will be over soon, whatever the outcome, and so it's with that assurance that he gives the Tour Documentary camera one last smile and heads for the stage.
The show goes as expected-- he earns himself a few smiles and the occasional touch from Kento, but it's nothing compared to the attention that Kento lavishes on Jinguji. But somehow, now, with his resolution to confess already determined, it bothers him less than it had just the day previous, makes him feel, if anything, only more resolved in his decision. Actually, it helps him forget about the whole thing altogether through significant parts of the concert, allows him to truly enjoy the moment for what it is, the fleeting beauty of this day as a milestone in his life. It's sort of amazing, he muses in one of his few moments of down time in the middle of the show, what this change in mindset has done to help him already, it's sort of amazing what the human mind is capable of, what determination and strength of will are capable of. He supposes that Kento really does bring out the best in him, even now… but despite himself, there's always the lingering worry, because he can't remain in this state forever, can't perpetually be about to confess his feelings. Everything in life is fleeting, he supposes, but that doesn't make the whole thing any less nerve-wracking.
But soon enough he's back onstage, back thinking about the show, and the whole thing goes easier this way, without peripheral thoughts and emotions clouding his mind, now that he's overcome the jealousy. They do three encores, and after that, they're immediately met by the Tour Documentary camera again backstage and asked to reflect on their accomplishment. Usually, Shori would be happy to reflect, but right now, he only has Kento on his mind, only has Kento on his heart, and so he remains quiet as the nervousness begins to come back even despite the adrenaline high still rushing through his veins. The interview, a few minutes at most, feels like years, but then suddenly everyone is congratulating one another on their hard work and scattering, and where he was antsy a moment ago, Shori feels as if the rug has been pulled out from beneath him and he's not ready.
But it's not or never, and so he takes a deep breath before tailing Kento, calling out his name and grabbing his sleeve from behind. This whole thing feels surreal, because this is something that happens in manga, this is something that happens in dramas, at the very most, this is something that happens to other people, not to Shori the planner, Shori the thinker, Shori the last person on earth to do something impulsive. But at the same time, he's thought this out, he's made his decision, and he knows he has to pull through.
And so, as Kento turns to look at him, an inquisitive look on his face but his costume and his sweat and his aura all sparkling all the same, Shori steels himself before practically shouting, "I like you! Please go out with me!"
It sounds so dumb and cliche, and Shori's voice cracks embarrassingly halfway through, but right now, Shori can barely think of any of it through the anxiety ringing shrilly in his ears, and he trembles as he watches Kento's face for a reaction, any reaction. Time seems to have stopped altogether as Kento blinks at him in slow motion, and Shori's pretty sure he's stopped breathing, too, as he waits, hands clenched in fists, mouth dry, throat tight. He can face a rejection, he thinks, he can face anything, but the uncertainty is killing him.
But then Kento's face cracks into a smile, and he turns fully to face Shori with a nod. "Okay," he says, just "okay," but somehow, despite all the poetry he's read and written, despite all the deep thoughts he thinks and the song lyrics he composes, it's the most beautiful word Shori's ever heard in his life.
"…Really?" he asks, his voice trembling and making him sound very much like the sixteen-year-old he is despite the fact that he's sure he usually presents himself as if he's much older. But right now, he doesn't care, he doesn't care about anything besides Kento's answer.
Only Kento doesn't answer, Kento, wonderful Kento, talented Kento, expressive, impulsive, emotive Kento simply grabs Shori by the shoulders and kisses him.
And so, Shori thinks, a few hours and a lot of kisses later, maybe sometimes, being a little impatient and a little immature and a little adventurous pays off, after all.