pairings: Genki-centric; pairings if you squint
word count: 1,033
author's note: I've been having all sorts of feelings ever since I saw the various performances of the Gamushara! Sexy Natsu Matsuri, but this was what took shape. Genki did an amazing job despite everything. Good job, Genki ♥ For shiritori @ writetomyheart~
summary: When Genki does his backflip, it feels like hurdling downhill at a thousand miles per hour, in the most terrifying way.
Ready, Genki tells his reflection in the mirror as the seconds tick down before he needs to be onstage, You're ready for this. In the background, he can hear the VTR playing, the same VTR he's been hearing before going onstage every day for the past two weeks, and by now, it almost sounds like the ticking of a clock. Thirty seconds, twenty, ten, five… Genki takes one more deep breath before turning away from the mirror.
You're ready, he tells himself one more time before he walks out onto the stage. But even as he hears the roar of the crowd, he knows he's lying to himself. He'll never be ready.
When Genki does his backflip, it feels like hurdling downhill at a thousand miles per hour, in the most terrifying way. It feels like everything is out of his control, as if he's thrown himself into yet another situation that he can't handle, just like when he was eight years old and convinced his parents he was old enough to try to ride his bike to the convenience store, but instead crashed into a wall, ruined his bike, and bruised up his arms and legs to boot. For that matter, it's just like last year when he went ahead and took the Eiken exam without studying enough and just barely scraped by with a pass; the feeling is the same. He's lucky sometimes, like on the test and often on the back flip, but it doesn't change the feeling in his chest, the feeling like he's falling and there's nothing he can do to save himself.
Still, sometimes, there's a prickle of something else, too, in the few fractions of seconds before he lands, a leap in his heart just as his feet touch the ground, and despite the fact that he's coming back down to earth, Genki thinks that maybe, maybe that instant is what it feels like to fly.
Back in May, when they told Genki he was going lead a team for the Matsuri, he didn't feel like a leader. Now, more than two months and dozens of rehearsals and what feels like litres of tears later, he still doesn't feel like much of a leader. To be frank, as he faces failure time and time again, as the other Juniors vote against them, as their fans don't scream quite loud enough, he doesn't feel much of anything.
He cries off and on for the next hour, but he feels almost detached from what's going on. Maybe it's because he's faced failure so many times before that he doesn't have any hurt left in him. Or maybe it's because he's a failure at being upset, too.
After the show is done, he stands in the dressing room feeling directionless as the world turns around him. With all four teams there at once, the whole venue is crowded and bustling with activity, but Genki stands alone, feels apart from it. In the distance, he sees Fu comforting little Hayashi Ren, a few meters to his right, he sees Genta holding back his tears, trying valiantly to convince Sou and Matsuku that he's okay. His teammates are all hurting but Genki isn't there for them. He isn't even here for himself.
He finds himself in the bathroom. He doesn't feel sick, not like usual, but he feels so detached that he doesn't know what else to do. He doesn't have anything to say for himself, he doesn't have a big pep talk for his team… even just being in the same dressing room as them feels like a big lie. He's not their leader; it's all a sham.
He's not sure if it's years or only a few seconds before the sound of the door opening and closing makes him jump inside the sanctuary of his locked stall. There are footsteps, then a soft, high-pitched voice. Genki is expecting anger, or frustration, or even accusations, but instead what comes is, "Um… I'm sorry we couldn't win. You were really good, though."
Genki doesn't know what to say before Kaito leaves, but soon after comes another, Genta's signature lisp somehow comforting, lulling as he hesitates for a moment before saying, "It's… well… no matter what… you were the best leader."
After Genta comes Fu, with Hayashi in tow, and then after that Fukasawa and Iwamoto with compliments despite being the opposition, and then Morimoto Shintaro, Hokuto-kun, Kyomoto-kun, Tanaka-kun. It begins to feel a little ridiculous, senpai coming in ones and twos to talk to him through the bathroom stall door, but they keep coming nonetheless, with nothing but praise and kind words. He doesn't know why this is happening, but yet it keeps happening, until finally, what must be hours after the show has ended, Jinguji and Reia bring up the rear.
"You were amazing," Reia says into Genki's shoulder after Genki finally opens the door for them and Reia pulls him into a hug.
Genki doesn't feel amazing, but he puts a lot of faith in Reia's opinions.
Ready, Genki tells himself as he moves into his place for the MC of Shori's solo concert at the end of the Gamushara, You're ready for this. He knows that Shori will ask him to show off his back flip; he's been warned in advance, but for some reason, even as he builds himself up, he doesn't really feel nervous. Maybe it's because he's spent the day surrounded by his friends, by his (former) teammates, full of smiles, the stress of the previous day put behind them, or maybe it's because somehow, from this side of the competition, having learned to do a backflip in a few weeks seems pretty impressive, after all.
Whatever the reason, after a bunch of chitchat, the moment of truth comes. You're ready, Genki tells himself one more time as he takes a deep breath and bends his knees.
He anticipates the terrifying downward feeling, but in the moments before his feet leave the ground, he feels strangely calm. Strangely eager to maybe see what it's like to fly.
You're ready, he tells himself one last time as he pushes off with a smile, and he is.
I'll probably be MIA for the next two days, by the way, because of orientation. Wish me luck!