Kyungsoo didn’t want to let Jongin go the next morning, bringing him back into his arms for another hug every time they broke apart. Rikuto waited by the front door of the apartment for ten minutes while they said their goodbyes, but Kyungsoo couldn’t even feel conscious of it. He just wanted Jongin in his arms for one more minute, for one more second. He didn’t even know what they were at this point, but it didn’t matter because Jongin was Jongin.
He didn’t cry when Jongin eventually left, to be taken to the train station and catch his airport-bound express. He didn’t, but he kind of wanted to. It was become a trend whenever Jongin was involved. It made him feel stuff.
But he didn’t have time for feeling stuff. Not now. August transitioned into September all too quickly, and with the falling leaves and crisp breeze came rehearsals. Proper rehearsals for Saint Rudolph and Yamabuki, at least, beginning their dialogue, where to stand, what to do. Something particularly taxing for them all was how they were supposed to act during scenes in which they were not the focus, sitting on the bleachers at the side of the ‘court’ and observing the action. There were few to no backstage breaks in this musical, no, with the boys having to remain in character and in view for almost two solid hours at a time. It came with time, a lot of work, and a lot of analysing everyone else’s scripts with his dictionary to hand so he could react appropriately to whatever was going on in the spotlight.
Seigaku weren’t there, save for ensemble song rehearsals once a week. They were far too busy - the season had just begun; the Seigaku vs Fudomine musical opening the first week of September.
They all went to watch it, of course, and Kyungsoo’s heart pounded in his chest when the curtains rose, when the first song began. It was a throwback from the second season, so he knew the words a little and couldn’t help but mouth along, eyes on the stage the whole time. It was incredible, he already knew what would happen, how the matches would end and who would win, but he still couldn’t look away and would applaud in earnest at the end of every song with the rest of the audience.
At the very end, everyone returned to the stage sans rackets, and ran through the audience giving high fives. Kikumaru searched for Kyungsoo in the crowd, running past him with a delighted laugh as their hands connected. Kyungsoo had to laugh, too. It was amazing, to be surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of other people (teenage girls or not) that loved this ridiculous series just as much as he did. He may have cried a tiny bit when the Golden Pair sang their eponymous song, but nobody seemed to notice. Good.
‘Jonginnie♥: it’s tomorrow, isn’t it?’
‘Kyungsoo: yeah...I’ve enjoyed being invisible in Japan for the past...forever, but I guess it couldn’t last. They’re announcing the Saint Rudolph and Yamabuki members at tomorrow’s fanclub event, and we’re showing them our team songs. I’m actually nervous?? What if they don’t like me??’
‘Jonginnie♥: Don’t worry, we’ve already delegated fan- and news site stalking duties around the group. We’ll be gauging the fan reaction to you as it happens. I bet they’ll love you though.’
‘Rich-E: I’M SO EXCITED THE FANS GET TO SEE US TOMORROW!!!!!!!’
‘DO.Soo: not nervous?’
‘Rich-E: Why would I be??? I’m Lucky Sengoku! Everything’s gonna go great!!’
Richie had a habit of posting the same laughing sticker, some villain from Yu-Gi-Oh! that Kyungsoo didn’t recognise, over and over again. He and Sora really needed to talk more.
☆Catholic School Boys Run Wild☆
‘Hibi-tan: HELL YEAH TOMORROWS THE DAY IM SO PUMPED’
‘Hibi-tan: TIME TO GET OUR RUDOLPH ON’
‘rUirUi: I’m gonna die that girl in my class is in the fanclub and she’s gonna be there!!! Oh my god????’
‘Har00: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA YOU GO ROMEO’
‘SkyHigh: THEY GROW UP SO FAST’
‘Hibi-tan: LET ME GIVE YOU AWAY @ THE WEDDING IM YOUR DAD AFTER ALL’
‘☆Hinata☆: That’s very sweet. You’ll surely catch her attention now. Just relax, you’ll be fine. That applies to all of you! Smile, be friendly, be confident, show off what you can do. It will be great.’
‘♥Wings♥: I can’t believe I have to do this twice!! I’m already scared I’m gonna throw up, and then I have to do it AGAIN before the Rokkaku musical? I’m so not ready.’
‘DO.Soo: It gets better, trust me. The first time on a stage is always the scariest, but we’ll survive.’
‘Hibi-tan: THATS MY SOO YOURE NOT SCARED OF ANYTHING’
‘Hibi-tan: THE CHOSEN ONES!!!’
‘rUirUi: SAINT RUDOLPH’
‘Har00: SAINT RUDOLPH’
‘♥Wings♥: SAINT RUDOLPH’
‘DO.Soo: SAINT RUDOLPH’
‘Hibi-tan: WE NEED NO GOD WE NEED NO PRAYERS UNDER OUR OWN STRENGTH WE WILL KICK SO MUCH ASS’
‘☆Hinata☆: I don’t think the song is supposed to go like that.’
‘Hibi-tan: BITE ME’
Kyungsoo couldn’t breathe.
He couldn’t fidget, or play with his hair - he’d mess it up. He could smudge his eyeliner, he could get a mark on his tennis uniform. He waited in the wings with the rest of Saint Rudolph, Yamabuki on the other side of the stage, waiting for the announcer to introduce their teams. Not even the audience knew that they would be seeing the two teams today, and they had to keep as quiet as possible backstage to keep the surprise.
Hibiki, obviously fighting tears, held out a hand. The rest of the team, Kyungsoo included, placed their hands on top of his, sharing nervous, wobbly smiles.
“The chosen ones.” Hibiki whispered.
Everyone chorused, as quietly as they could. “Saint Rudolph!”
“We have a special surprise for all of you who made it here today, to celebrate the opening of TeniMyu’s third season with us. Introducing the fantastic teams of Saint Rudolph and Yamabuki!”
The audience cheered and applauded, and the two teams followed their captains onto the stage in a jog, waving to the waiting fans as they lined up. One by one, they introduced themselves and their characters, bowing or waving or giving thumbs ups to the audience after doing so. After a hearty pat on the back from Hibiki, Kyungsoo stood forward.
“My name is Do Kyungsoo, from Korea, and I will be playing Kaneda Ichirou.” He couldn’t stop himself from beaming. “I’m still learning Japanese. Please support me.”
Gasps, whispers, murmurs, perhaps there were more K-pop fans in the audience than Kyungsoo had expected. Oh no. Please ignore me. There are so many left to go.
On his other side, Haru nudged him, grinning, before stepping forward himself. He cleared his throat and announced himself in a clear, confident tone that commanded the attention of the entire room, and Kyungsoo gratefully stood back. When the music began and the members took their positions on the stage, Kyungsoo wasn’t even nervous, not anymore. This song, this feeling flowed through his veins now, it was a part of him, of all of them.
They were a team. The chosen ones. Saint Rudolph.
‘Jonginnie♥: hyung! The fansites are exploding! The official TeniMyu website has uploaded all your profiles, too - it’s being shared and translated all over!’
‘Kyungsoo: I thought I was going to die out there’
‘Jonginnie♥: people are SO excited! Saying the role was made for you, that it’s amazing you’re in a foreign musical, that you were destined to play in Musical The Prince of Tennis. You should really see this!’
‘Kyungsoo: It’s...not going to detract attention from you and Taemin’s album, is it?’
‘Jonginnie♥: who cares??? This is too awesome!’
☆Catholic School Boys Run Wild☆
‘rUirUi: She approached me after class today guys!! She totally saw me and recognised me and asked for my LINE address and wants to hang out this weekend!’
‘Hibi-tan: ALRIGHT YOU GO KIDDO’
‘Hibi-tan: THEY LOVE US’
‘♥Wings♥: I love us ♥’
The autumn came quickly, leaves suddenly reddening seemingly overnight and the summer breeze cooling by morning. It was jacket weather now, and rehearsals went on with even more outlandish sportswear than ever now that outerwear was involved too. The hideous neons had almost endeared themselves to Kyungsoo, seeing them every day the way he did. But he still wasn’t going to wear them himself, not ever.
The fansites were going crazy, fans asking how to obtain tickets from outside Japan and Q&As with Japanese EXO fans familiar with the musicals and their protocol gaining hundreds of thousands of views from supporters around the world. SM, as well as several members of EXO with social media presence, reposted a list of vital etiquette for fans planning on attending the musicals. With Rikuto’s help, it was translated into Japanese as well as English, Mandarin and of course, Korean.
-Remain totally silent during the musical itself. Applaud whenever the rest of the audience does at the end of musical numbers, but you can’t call out to the actors, make fanchants, cheer, sing along, or even talk to your neighbours. This might seem odd but remember it is telling a story above all else. The cheering and singing rules are relaxed for the Dream Live concerts only. Don’t bring signs, or lightsticks. (Lightsticks may be brought to Dream Live concerts and are often sold at the venue.)
-Remember to turn your phone off! Silent mode doesn’t cut it here.
-Don’t buy out all the D.O. merchandise alone. Leave some for the new fans, fans of the character he plays rather than the actor himself, maybe buy some of the team items or whole-cast merchandise as well, to support everybody else. These actors are largely new to the industry and need your support. Many of them are close to D.O..
-Try not to take a superior attitude towards the existing Prince of Tennis fans who are only just learning who D.O. is. These new fans could become fans of EXO as a whole through D.O., so please encourage them and be friendly!
-The musical is entirely in Japanese. Try looking up the story arc that D.O.’s musical covers, or even read the comic itself to better understand what is happening. That way, everybody has a better musical tennis experience.
“Embarrassing.” Kyungsoo scrolled through Chanyeol’s instagram, reading the post for the third time that night and completely ignoring his food. “I mean, it’s important, but this is so embarrassing.”
Rikuto just grinned at him from across the table. “Eh, it’s for the best. Besides, you know what’s really embarrassing?”
“Don’t you da-”
“In the name of the moon!”
October came and went. Seigaku were starting to look worn down, but still determinedly kept smiles on their faces during rehearsals. Sometimes Tezuka would say his lines from vs Fudomine by accident, but nobody minded. He was doing his best - they all were. They were absent a lot as the musical toured to other parts of Japan. Kikumaru whined incessantly in the LINE chat about having to do homework as well as perform around the country. Oishi did half of it for him. Kyungsoo knew that if Rui had the same problem, the entire of Saint Rudolph would probably step in and help even though Kyungsoo hadn’t touched math and the like for several years.
Kyungsoo finished another book of crossword puzzles.
11 Across: a gentle feeling of fondness or liking.
Seigaku vs Fudomine came to a triumphant close in November, which necessitated celebratory cakes. November was turning out to be a month of cakes, what with the end of vs Fudomine and Tsubasa’s birthday and Richie dragging Kyungsoo out for sweets three days running ‘to build up energy for rehearsals’. Vitally important, apparently.
Of course, with vs Fudomine behind them, preparation for Seigaku vs Saint Rudolph and Yamabuki was in full swing by now. They were rehearsing almost every day, the Seigaku actors not even getting a break from their last musical before being thrown head-first into the next one. They spent a weekend posing for photos both in and out of costume, to be sold at the merchandise stands over the course of the show, and answering simple questions about their hobbies and skills, prior experience and other tidbits of interest for the pamphlet. Kyungsoo barely had time to think at all.
But when he did think, he thought about Jongin.
He thought about Jongin’s embrace.
He thought about Jongin’s heartbeat in time with his own.
He thought about Jongin’s kiss.
He kind of wanted to bang his head against a wall, but Hibiki would bodily haul him back to the middle of the room every time it looked like he was going to try. Almost everybody else was in the same boat, for their own reasons. It was a comforting kind of suffering.
‘JinJin: Hey, Hibi gave me your LINE address. I just wanted to say good luck, kiddo.’
‘DO.Soo: Thank you very much!’
‘Jonginnie♥: hyung, I’ve been thinking.’
‘Kyungsoo: about what?’
‘Jonginnie♥: actually, nothing. Forget what i said. I’m too busy with the album to think. Hahaha.’
Kyungsoo wondered if Jongin felt the same way, and whether or not he had anyone close by to drag him away from walls.
‘Asshole: everybody’s talking about your musical instead of mine!! Yours hasn’t even STARTED YET’
‘Kyungsoo: Because mine’s better than yours. Accept it.’
‘Kyungsoo: You are one, yes.’
‘Asshole: we all miss you. For some reason.’
‘Kyungsoo: The feeling is mutual. I miss you too, in some bizarre variation of Stockholm Syndrome.’
‘Hibi-tan: I LOVE DECEMBER DO YOU KNOW WHY’
‘Hibi-tan: MY BIRTHDAY AW YEAH’
‘Hibi-tan: AND KANEDAS BIRTHDAY’
‘Hibi-tan: WE SHOULD CELEBRATE TOGETHER HOW ABOUT CAKE’
‘DO.Soo: My agency will kill me.’
‘Hibi-tan: THATS NOT A NO’
December brought snow, though only a light sprinkling that didn’t settle. Kyungsoo stayed by the window all through that night, watching the flakes fall before fading away upon hitting the ground. He still hadn’t put the spare futon away. He probably wasn’t going to, either.
He closed the curtains with a sigh. Even the moonlight reminded him of it now.
December also brought dress rehearsals, the whole musical from start to finish on the actual stage that they would actually be using. (At least, in Tokyo.) They had to sync their movements not only to the instrumentals, but to the spotlight that would be used in place of a ball. They had to learn how to precisely time their swings so that the sound team had enough time to recognise which shot they were going to ‘use’ and activate the necessary sound effect to go with it on the effects board. There had been nothing like this on EXO’s last tour.
They tried to be relaxed about it, the teams hanging around Tokyo Dome City after rehearsals were over. They deliberately ignored the vs Saint Rudolph and Yamabuki posters, they ate in every restaurant, they explored every store, they walked around the outside of Tokyo Dome, Kyungsoo’s teammates asking him over and over again what it was like to perform inside. They rode the Thunder Dolphin rollercoaster more times than Kyungsoo could count, and he didn’t even like rollercoasters.
Sometimes, Kyungsoo looked in the mirror and saw Kaneda looking back at him, eyes wide and full of hope, but also anxiety. Worried about school? Worried about tennis? Worried about his feelings for someone so very close to him, tall and dark-skinned and-
Kyungsoo didn’t like looking in the mirror.
7 Down: an intense passion or admiration for someone or something.
‘Tuxedo Rick: Good luck today, champ! You’ll totally kill it.’
‘DO.Soo: i; going to di e’
‘Tuxedo Rick: You can do it!! The show I mean, not die. Don’t die.’
There were tears and hugs backstage as the cast waited in the wings. They could hear the audience filtering into the venue, taking their seats while the staff repeated their announcements over and over again for everybody to turn their phones off. Echizen smiled sheepishly at everybody else from next to a large microphone, script in hand ready to introduce the show as soon as he got the signal from the staff. Richie was trying not to cry. Hibiki had already failed in not crying. Kyungsoo was almost...numb. He couldn’t cry if he wanted to.
Actors were messaging their friends, family and other loved ones before they had to turn their phones off, but Kyungsoo wasn’t one of them. Jongin hadn’t responded to his messages all day, nor had anybody else in the EXO group chat. It was actually kind of...concerning. But he didn’t even have time to worry about it because of all the other things he was worried about. What if he forgot his lines? What if he accidentally spoke Korean? What if he tripped over, or his voice broke, or-
A loud buzzing noise, announcing to the audience that it was definitely time to turn off their phones now, rang through the hall. Pulled along by the wrist by an uncharacteristically bothered Hinata, Kyungsoo hurried to his place ready to take to the stage.
Ha. Ready. As if.
“The chosen ones.” Tsubasa whispered in the darkness.
The whole line of boys whispered back, just as the music began to play. “Saint Rudolph!”
It was amazing.
They had sprinted onto the stage for the big ensemble opener, standing back to back with their Seigaku opponents to sing together before leaving the stage to let Yamabuki do the same thing. Actors who had never really spoken before, even in rehearsals, excitedly high fived and hugged each other in the wings before hurrying back out for the next scene. So much went wrong, but it didn’t even matter. It was almost like the audience was expecting it, waiting for it as these (mostly) industry newbies took to the stage for (mostly) the first time. Rui’s voice cracked during his solo line in Saint Rudolph’s song, but nobody minded, they were too focused on their own lines, and nobody in the audience so much as laughed. Hinata fluffed his very first line of dialogue, quietly clearing his throat and starting the speech again from the beginning with admirable composure. Tsubasa’s hair ribbon fell off in the middle of his match, which he played as deliberate, re-tying it with an aggressive sort of determination across his face that was jarring to see. Haru forgot the punchline to one of his jokes and played it for laughs, drawing up the hmmmms and ahhhhs until it came back to him. Sora spaced out on the bench for a moment, quickly snapping back into it and miming apologetically to Hinata for doing so, looking totally in-character.
Kyungsoo and Hibiki’s match against the Golden Pair arrived, and despite going through so many rehearsals doing the exact same thing, Hibiki’s - no, Akazawa’s - cold demeanour still felt strange to him. Perhaps it helped him act more naturally, though, as when Hibiki stumbled after returning a shot, he shrugged off Kyungsoo’s - Kaneda’s - concern, Kyungsoo withdrawing his hand from his partner’s shoulder with an irrepressible expression of shock.
Kyungsoo’s solo. He’d been waiting for this. He’d been dreading it. He could hear his pronunciation slip a couple of lines in, accent showing through, but he pushed the thought down and kept singing, trying to reach out to Hibiki desperately while the other dodged him over and over again. Apparently it was a metaphor. Hibiki had just called it really gay and Kyungsoo had to take a moment when he got to face away from the audience to crack a smile.
“Captain,” he whispered softly as the instrumental to his solo faded out, “can I say something?”
“Whatever.” Was Hibiki’s gruff reply, not even looking at Kyungsoo as he did so.
And then it happened, the moment everyone was waiting for. The spotlight on him, Kyungsoo took a deep breath.
And then he screamed.
“STOP BEING AN IDIOT FOR JUST THIRTY SECONDS! THIS IS DOUBLES, NOT SINGLES. WE. ARE. LOSING! AND WE ARE GOING TO LOSE IF YOU KEEP ACTING LIKE THIS IS A SINGLES MATCH. LISTEN TO ME! STOP BEING SO BULLHEADED AND LET. ME. HELP YOU!”
Both Oishi and Hibiki, unscripted, had dropped their rackets during the outburst.
A few audience members clapped tentatively.
“Ah...Captain, I’m so sorry, I-”
“N-no.” Hibiki was turned towards him now, though still looking away. He messed with his collar awkwardly. “Hit me with your ideas, Kaneda. We need to win this. Together!”
The rest of the match was an instrumental section, with benched members of both Seigaku and Saint Rudolph commentating on the action from both doubles matches. Kikumaru performed flips, Tsubasa’s movements were precise and controlled, Kaidoh’s mimed shots grew increasingly erratic and vicious, and gradually, over the course of the song, Kyungsoo and Hibiki’s movements became more in sync, artistic interpretation of falling into time, into a real strategy trumping any dialogue they could have been given.
The Golden Pair fell, and even though they had gone through the script hundreds of times before, it was still a beautiful moment when the first doubles game went to Saint Rudolph. Hibiki high-fived him with a brilliant grin, and despite all the mistakes they had made and the fact the script demanded that, as the enemy team of the week, they would not win overall, it still felt like a victory.
The musical went on from there. Rui’s voice cracked again in his solo (the perils of casting teenage boys!) and even the main character, Echizen made a misstep during their match. Hinata made an astounding 180 as his character had...basically a full-on meltdown while Fuji Syuusuke wiped the floor with him, and the whole of Saint Rudolph came together at the end of the first half, commiserating in their loss and praising the efforts of the team as a whole. Except for Hinata, but he was a maniacally laughing wreck on the side of the stage at that point, so he was still kind of included.
The curtain went down for the first half, and Hibiki immediately swept Kyungsoo into a crushing hug. “We did it!” He hissed. “We get to just observe now, it’s the home stretch!”
“I screwed up so bad.” Was Kyungsoo’s mumbled reply, but the whole team shushed him.
“We all did. And everybody else will, too.” Hinata, out of breath after throwing what amounted to a huge screeching tantrum for the past half an hour, called in a sing-song voice. “That’s probably the hardest lesson you’ll have in this musical, Kyungsoo - that here, you’re not expected to be perfect. In fact, aside from the final performance that they film for the DVD, you’re entirely expected to make mistakes. If anything it gives everyone reason to come back and watch multiple times. Wouldn’t it be boring, if it were flawless every time? Half of Seigaku are running out of breath over there. Isn’t the sense of achievement they will feel months from now, when they belt out their solos with aplomb, rewarding enough for the mistakes of the now?”
Tsubasa patted his shoulder. “Mistakes make us human. This isn’t K-pop - we’re allowed to be human. Embrace it.”
“You weren’t saying that earlier when your headband-”
“Can you guys hear something? It sounds almost like Haru, ah, but he isn’t here, so it must be my imagination…”
“Come on, guys!” Tezuka, beaming in an entirely out of character manner, waved at them from the next room. “Last chance to sit down and have a proper drink before we go back out there!”
Laughing, they ran. The hard part was over.
The rest of the show went on in a similar fashion. Richie managed to hurl his racket sideways across the stage during his own solo, a flash of panic on the faces of everybody on stage as it flew. Luckily it landed on the stage, and not in the audience, and Dan - Tsubasa’s brother - danced over to pick it up again as though it were entirely choreographed. Kikumaru was even more obviously out of breath during his second doubles match of the day, and Akutsu plain forgot to go on stage at one point. (His only role in that scene was to walk through the dancers like he didn’t care, so the fact he was fashionably late in doing so didn’t change much save the sheer embarrassment across his face.) Kyungsoo took to the stage again by Hibiki’s side to comment on the doubles matches, but otherwise got to rest outside of the ensemble parts.
Until it was over.
The curtain call was long, with Kyungsoo and Hibiki running out together to bow and thank the audience before giving way to the next pair. The applause reached its peak when Kyungsoo bowed, which was...embarrassing...until he noticed Hibiki clapping his hands right next to him, and the rest of the Saint Rudolph members applauding wildly in the wings. He could have cried. But he didn’t. He kept his cool all the way until the end of the curtain call, when the whole cast joined hands and took a final bow. Kaidoh was crying, Kikumaru was crying, Tsubasa, Hinata and Hibiki were all crying, Richie was crying, Dan was crying, there was so much crying.
And then the encore. They returned to the stage without their rackets and performed one last song, calling for the audience to sing and dance along with them. Receiving the signal from a plant staff member in the sound team box, groups of them left the stage and ran into the audience, Kyungsoo included. The lights went up just as he got into the arena seats, and then his heart froze.
Clapping along to the beat were nine familiar faces, one of them absolutely beautifully so. Next to a tearful (proud?) Rikuto were the members, every one of them, grinning widely and attempting to follow the cheesy dance moves the cast were demonstrating on stage. Kyungsoo hurried his steps, high fiving several girls in aisle seats before his hand connected with the one he had wanted to touch the most, hold onto and never let go.
It was all too short, but the winning smile on Jongin’s face as their hands touched was everything.
“We did it!!” Somebody, everybody? chorused when they got backstage again. They couldn’t rest yet - assigned to each exit of the hall in groups of three or four, they were to wave goodbye to the audience as they left. “Awesome job everybody! We did it!”
A few girls, and a couple of boys, gasped when they saw Kyungsoo at their exit, but only a few. More of them squealed and waved at Fuji, who was next to him, and Richie, who despite it being his first appearance had clearly won a lot of people over. (The fact his character was a lot more popular probably helped.) Kawamura, on the end, had a couple of fans too, and whenever one showed their face, Kyungsoo would copy their delighted expression in Kawamura’s direction. They were all equal today. Every one of them.
By the time the last fan had left the building, everybody was exhausted. They had auditioned almost a year ago and finally, it had all come together. They were sweaty, they were gross, but countless hugs were given out before and after the teams had retreated to their changing rooms to un-tennis themselves. It was strange, seeing Do Kyungsoo in the mirror again, but it was pretty awesome, too.
“I love you guys.” Hibiki sniffled, having pretty much cried most of his makeup off. “Let’s kill it again tomorrow. You were all amazing.”
Hinata almost choked on the cough sweet he was eating in his attempt to thank everybody before they left, and Tsubasa burst into a fresh wave of tears again when Kyungsoo announced he was going home. “You were awesome.” He hiccupped. “I know today was only the first day, but I’m so amazed I’m getting to stand on stage with you.”
“Same to you.” Kyungsoo smiled back, ruffling Tsubasa’s hair now that he had permission to. “You were awesome, you are awesome, and you will continue to be awesome. See you tomorrow, guys.”
“Don’t stay up too late!”
“Stay safe on the way home, we need you!”
‘Kyungsoo: WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOU WERE GOING TO BE HERE’
‘Asshole: BC IT WOULD HAVE RUINED THE SURPRISE’
‘Minseok: Rikuto’s showing us the way to your apartment, so we’ll see you there? Don’t worry, we’re not all staying - just Jongin.’
‘Jonginnie♥: You were amazing, hyung.’
‘Kyungsoo: Thank you ♥’
‘DO.Soo: when were you planning on telling me then???’
‘Tuxedo Rick: about ten past never. Your face when you saw everybody!! Congrats, tiger, you were awesome.’
‘DO.Soo: don’t you change the subject. How did you even get everybody here???’
‘Tuxedo Rick: dork. I’m in the TeniMyu supporters club. I went to the fanclub event and you didn’t even see me! I managed to bag the arena seats through early fanclub access ;D’
‘DO.Soo: I!! Hate you.’
‘Tuxedo Rick: love you too’
The EXO members didn’t stay for long - long enough to eat a small dinner together, congratulate Kyungsoo on his musical and shower him with hugs and praise (clearly the novelty of seeing him again after so many months was too much for them) before heading back out. Only Jongin remained, collecting up the dishes and cups with a shy smile as Kyungsoo waved off the last few members at the front door.
“They said you might like to have a friend stay over tonight.” He began, putting some water and detergent into each cup and bowl and standing them in the sink. “And everyone volunteered me, for some reason.”
“Well, the fact you’re not Baekhyun is a good start.” Kyungsoo went to sit on the futon, right next to the guest one as it had been for months now. Dishes in the sink, Jongin moved to join him.
The silence settled in quickly, Kyungsoo’s heart beginning to race at the prospect of being alone with Jongin like this after what happened last time.
Jongin didn’t listen, instead suddenly leaning in to capture Kyungsoo’s lips with his own. Oh. Maybe Kyungsoo hadn’t been the only one thinking about this for the past several months. Maybe between lyric writing, recording sessions and promotional photoshoots, Jongin had been thinking about him too, the way Kyungsoo had been thinking about him. Confidence suddenly boosted, Kyungsoo took Jongin’s face in his hands and tilted his head to one side, just a little, to kiss him again. Every single sappy ballad EXO had sung across the years finally made total sense. Just being close to Jongin was enough to make his heart race, but being close like this, being able to touch him and hold him and kiss him and have him really be there in front of him, holding him too, feeling like this for him too, was everything. He felt like he could die in that moment, and be perfectly content. He’d never felt this amount of emotion at once outside of standing onstage while an audience roared at him.
He felt that same feeling, full and light and overwhelming, every time their lips touched.
They stayed like that for a little while, just because they could. Holding each other, touching, kissing. Alone at last with nobody to find them, to break the spell.
But of course, the magic couldn’t last, and Kyungsoo eventually broke the kiss to press his forehead to Jongin’s, breathing hard, heart pounding. “Jongin...this is going to make things difficult.”
“I know.” Jongin sighed. “I’ve thought about it for so long, about everything that could possibly go wrong, but...I still wanted it anyway. I wanted you anyway.”
Jongin putting it into real actual words like that made Kyungsoo shiver a little. I’m weak. “Me too...remember Jin? Do you know how terrified I was hearing about the troubles he’d had, the stress he was under, just because he was like me and somebody found out? And yet...I still wanted this.”
“Because he was like us.” Jongin corrected him quietly. “And the wrongpeople found out. We can be careful, can’t we? And surely not everybody would hate us if-”
“There’s always a risk.” It made his heart ache to say it. “It’s so risky, but I’m willing to chance this if you are. Nobody can know, not to start, anyway, but it’s a dangerous journey I’m willing to take if you’ll take it with me.”
Jongin chuckled softly. It made Kyungsoo want to kiss him again. “You think I’d pine for you for all this time, realise you feel the same way and...just let you go? I’m not that crazy. It’ll be difficult, but I want to try.”
A tiny peck, barely chaste. “I’ll support you through this, if you do the same for me.”
“Hyung…” Jongin’s hands on top of Kyungsoo’s. His voice dropped to a low whisper.
“Play doubles with me. Be my partner.”
Kyungsoo couldn’t help but laugh. Their combination would be awkward, with a lot of hurdles to jump along the way, but with another kiss, Kyungsoo accepted.
☆Catholic School Boys Run Wild☆
‘Hibi-tan: OKAY TEAM WHOS READY FOR VS HYOUTEI’
‘♥Wings♥: NOT ME’
‘rUirUi: rehearsing for two musicals at once is kicking my ass. How do Seigaku do it??? Why are we doing Dream Live stuff when it isn’t for months????’
‘Hibi-tan: BC DREAM LIVE IS GOING TO BE THE BEST DAMN THING EVER AND WE HAVE TO BE READY’
‘Hibi-tan: ALSO YOUR GIRLFRIEND WILL BE THERE SO YOU GOTTA IMPRESS’
‘rUirUi: she isn’t my girlfriend!!! Yet!!!!’
‘Har00: Yo Kyungsoo I just got a fanletter today. This chick said she went to watch vs Saint Rudolph because of YOU but ended up with ME as her fave. Thanks?’
‘DO.Soo: You’re welcome?’
‘♥Wings♥: Kyungsoo is still my favourite. Sorry Haru.’
‘☆Hinata☆: Are we still on for dinner tomorrow? It’s been too long since we went somewhere as a team. Also, we NEED to decide on a date to watch the cherry blossoms when they come out. Should we wear yukata again?’
‘♥Wings♥: By the way, Kyungsoo? Atobe’s been feeling really down and worried recently about going on stage in case everybody hates his portrayal of Atobe or something. Should I give him your LINE? You’re better at this pep-talk stuff than me.’
‘Hibi-tan: TELL HIM HELL KICK ASS GIVE ME HIS LINE ILL TELL HIM HE WILL’
‘SkyHigh: this chat is a mess we’re all a mess’
‘DO.Soo: you’re all my favourite mess.’
‘♥Jonginnie♥: How are rehearsals going, hyung? I miss you.’
‘Kyungsoo: I miss you so bad. Rehearsals are alright. They’ve got me crying on Hibiki and telling him I love him in Dream Live, though, so you’re going to have to grin and bear it while I cry all over a tall dark handsome man that isn’t you.’
‘♥Jonginnie♥: thanks for the heads up :C’
‘Kyungsoo: I won’t have to kiss him. The musicals haven’t gone that far. Yet. At least it’d be the Golden or Silver pairs before anybody else, if it did happen. I’m all yours.’
‘♥Jonginnie♥: I have to rap about a Hot Girl who I am Totally In Love With for the collab album. It’s okay. We’ll survive somehow.’
‘Kyungsoo: and you’re still coming over for vs Hyoutei?’
‘♥Jonginnie♥: Nothing could keep me away!’
‘♥Jonginnie♥: I love you so much, hyung.’
‘Kyungsoo: I love you too. X’