Title: The First Dance
Word Count: ~3.4k words
Warnings/Spoilers of any form: None
Song Title: Love Somebody by Maroon 5
Summary: Sho falls in love with somebody he should not be with, and the more he tried to resist, the more he fails.
A/N: Written for the Yamaficcon 2! - Jukebox Roulette competition! My very first attempt at writing a fic inspired by a song!
The first time he saw the man, it was at a nightclub. He was dancing, hips swaying to the beat. He was mesmerising, and intoxicating. All eyes turned on the man, as more and more people noticed his dance. When the music finally stopped, the man was embarrassed to realise that everyone in the club was watching him. He ducked his head as if to bow, and quickly darted out of the club while a rousing applauded filled the club. Sho was mesmerised, he tried to follow the man out to get his name, a contact number perhaps, but the throngs of crowd meant that by the time Sho got out of the club, the man was already nowhere to be seen. After wandering in the vicinity for a good hour, Sho finally gave up and went home. Sho visited the club often after that, but he never saw the man dance there again.
Years passed, and between university examinations and finding a job to make a living, the man at the nightclub was long forgotten.
Sho straightened his tie for the umpteen time that morning. Finally satisfied with his dressing, he took a deep breath before stepping out of the house. His career has been successful thus far. He didn’t exactly love the job, even though he was sure many others would die for a job like his, but it was a decent job with decent money, and he was satisfied. Sho is a manager. Manger for idols and budding idol groups. His last assignment had been a group of 5 giggly girls that went by the name of Peach Clover. Even though he was supposed to be supportive as their manager, in truth Sho had no idea how that group had become so famous as to have the honour of performing in Kouhaku, the yearly new year party TV extravaganza. Appearing in the show used to be a great honour for artists, but looking at the groups that get to appear on the show these days, Sho could only lament the downfall of the Japan entertainment industry. He had always been more of a traditional man, artists and idols should have talent, not just pretty faces. His friends always teased Sho that he only hated Peach Clover because he was gay. He was glad that they had ‘graduated' to the talent agency’s main branch in Tokyo though. Whoever he’d be managing from now on can’t be any worst than a bunch of giggling high schoolers right?
When Sho’s new charge stepped into the room, Sho raised his eyebrows in surprise. It was a he. Thus far Sho had only been managing female talents.
“Ohno Satoshi desu.”
The man introduced himself, they shook hands before sitting down for a briefing with the management. Ohno, Sho learnt, had been scouted by the agency half a year ago and had just signed the contract with the agency last week. As a new talent, he’d be appearing on several shows and radio programs hosted by other talents in the agency. Of course, he would be appearing on various news programs and music shows to promote his debut single. Having seen 6 other idols/idol groups debut, Sho was more than familiar with his job scope. He’d have to ease the sleepy looking man into the entertainment industry by giving him appropriate advice and helping him in any possible way. Sho would do his best of course, he was confident of himself. All of the talents under him had been promoted to the main branch, a 100% success rate. Even with groups that he did not personally like, like Peach Clover for instance, he had managed to secure the right programs and publicity for the group that steered them towards the path to success. Sho was never one to let personal opinions get in the way of work.
The meeting ended and the company director left, leaving Sho alone with his charge. Ohno looked at Sho blankly, waiting for further instructions.
“Erm, I’ll give you a tour of the agency and introduce you to your dance and singing instructors ok?” Sho asked.
Ohno didn’t reply, but merely gave a slight nod before standing up, waiting for Sho to take the lead.
It was most strange for Sho, to say the least. All the previous talents he’d worked with were talkative, friendly, enthusiastic… cheerful… just… more suited for the entertainment industry. He’d been with Ohno for two weeks now and how this taciturn man could survive in the cutthroat entertainment industry still eluded Sho. Sho frowned as he pondered on how he could possible promote the man and sell him to the industry. He would hate to have his successful streak broken. Sho observed the man in the studio recording, and scrutinised his every move in the dance studio as he struggled to learn the steps. He sighed as he watched Ohno forget the steps for the 23rd time that night. At the rate Ohno was going, both of them would have to camp overnight at the agency. Finally the instructor gave up and decided to end the lesson. Sho swore that he could already remember every single step without the aid of the video. It was a fairly normal, generic dance, to a normal, generic pop song that would be Ohno’s debut song. If everything went well. The big question was IF, and right now nothing seemed to be working out. Sho scratched his hair in frustration as he tried to remember who was the one who scouted Ohno. 'Just what did the scout see in him?’ Sho wondered as he drove said man home in silence.
The debut went by without a hitch. Well it was without a hitch as far as the parts where Sho could control went at least. He arranged interviews, filming, and sent Ohno to the right place at the right time. Ohno’s performance on the other hand, was a disaster. He dance and sang alright, but apart from dancing and singing he seemed to fail at everything else. He barely spoke on variety shows, and when asked about his debut single he could barely say a word to promote his own CD. And that was despite Sho having rehearsed what to say with Ohno for 4 hours the night before. It frustrated Sho to no end that he’d have to deal with the fact that Ohno might never be able to make it in the entertainment industry.
That was until Sho came to pick Ohno up from the dance studio one day. He was late, not by his own doing, but because he had a meeting with the higher management on the future of Ohno Satoshi. The said man was blissfully unaware of the dark clouds hanging over his own future however, when Sho entered the dance studio. A strange song was playing from an old handphone (Ohno’s phone as Sho immediately recognised) strewn on the floor, and Ohno was dancing across the floor, jumping, twisting and turning gracefully with little effort. It took some time before Sho finally recognised the Westlife song, for it was being played at twice the usual speed. Sho could not believe what he was seeing. Ohno was a completely different man from the one he usually saw at dance practice. He was fluid, flexible, flowing... He moved minimally, and the style if dance was completely different from the usual 'idol pop' cookie cutter dance that the choreographers created for Ohno. Those were showy, loud, and truth to be told, less of a dance but more of a set of movement. Easy to follow and more importantly, easy to sell. But Ohno's dance was graceful and flowing like water.
The music stopped and Ohno finally turned around and noticed Sho's presence.
"Ah, you're here already" Ohno said, as he turned around and noticed Sho's presence, his face flushing red with embarrassment.
"That was... fantastic! Did you come up with the dance yourself?" Sho asked.
"Erm... yeah... I made it up myself." Ohno stammered.
"Made it up? You mean choreograph? Gosh that was totally amazing! You really should have choreographed you own debut single too!" As soon as those words left Sho's mouth, he knew what he had to do for Ohno.
Sho worked harder than ever over the next few weeks. He pursuaded the management to let Ohno have more say in the song making process, he convinced them to let Ohno choreograph his own dance, he worked hard to rebrand Ohno’s image. Everything was a first, the first singer choreographer in the agency, the first time a newly debuted singer gets such huge control over the whole single making process… while the management were not convinced that stray away from the usual pop idol style would bring success, especially for a new artist with barely any foothold in the industry, Sho was sold on Ohno’s talent, so much so that he was willing to put his career at sake for Ohno.
And Sho was right. Ohno was phenomenal. His singing, while was of average standard previously, seemed much improved when he was singing the new song. Above all, the dancing blew everyone’s breath away, and everyone forgot about his poor debut performance. Suddenly Sho was having to deal with arranging a million magazine and TV show appearances, Ohno’s schedule was even more packed than Peach Clover - his most successful talent to date. And Sho no longer had to worry about Ohno’ sleepy, quiet appearance on shows because, wait for it, fans and media alike loved it! The media hailed him as the shy genius, while fans were attracted by the huge gap between Ohno’s normal and performing self. In just two dance, Ohno had the women of Japan at his feet.
The day Sho dreaded finally came, when the agency announced that Ohno should move to the main branch in Tokyo. It made Sho almost bitter to realise that he’d have to let Ohno go. Even though they still hardly talked, for Ohno was a man of few words, the times they spent together had been most memorable. It was as if there was some kind of unspoken understanding between them. There was no need for words. So it was with those sad thoughts in mind that Sho dragged himself into the regional director’s office.
“I understand that you are born in Tokyo?” The director asked. Sho nodded, unsure of what to expect.
“Well Ohno’s from Tokyo too, I think it would be nice for both of you to return to your hometown?” Sho cocked his head, waiting for the director to speak.
“As you know Ohno will be transferred to the main agency starting next month, he would like you to continue as his manager there.”
While Sho was glad to get to stay with Ohno, he was also afraid of the task ahead of him. He had spent his past ten years managing talents in Kyoto, and nearly all his contacts were from the Kyushu region. Moving to Tokyo, he would be a newbie, having to start everything from scratch all over again. While he was excited to return to his hometown, the amount of work ahead of him was terrifying. Sho immediately threw himself into research, finding out as much as he could about the various reporters and staff from the TV stations.
Sho was not the only one who worked hard. Ohno too, put in a lot of effort in his dance and singing. He was spending entire days in the studio, dancing, recording himself, watching video footage, and dancing even more. Sho found him videos of dancers with similar style to Ohno and he would spend his time trying to perform those moves and improve his skill.
Initially Sho had more time to watch Ohno dance, but he soon became too busy to spend much time with Ohno. Although in a sense they were always together, their interaction with each other actually decreased. Sho would be arranging Ohno’s schedule while Ohno is having a guest appearance on a variety show, or he would be called off to meetings with the management about Ohno’s upcoming concert. Ohno too was having trouble trying to remember lyrics, and come up with new choreography. When Sho drove Ohno around, the man would almost certainly be asleep in the backseat, drooling all over his shirt.
Their hard work paid off when his first concert held in Tokyo Dome was a sold out success. It was yet another first, no artist had started off with a first concert in Tokyo Dome before. Being a new artist, Ohno had few songs of his own and sang mostly old songs, as well as songs from other artists in the agency. But the crowd did not seem to mind, in fact they loved it when Ohno sang ‘Open Arms’ with his poor English.
The last day of the concert ended and Sho was driving Ohno back to his apartment. As they passed by Sho’s university district, Ohno suddenly jumped up and asked Sho to stop the car. Curious, he followed Ohno out as he walked to an old building by the road.
“This, was the first place I danced in public…” Ohno said, pointing to the top floor of the building. Realisation dawned upon Sho as he recognised the nightclub he used to frequent. Memories of a young man blowing the crowd away with his dance resurfaced from the dusty corner of his brain. So he was the man. The one he returned to the club every week to find, but never found. He drew a deep breath as he looked at Ohno, debating whether if he should say something. However Ohno broke the silence.
“I guess I can’t exactly go there anymore huh?” He said with a sigh as he walked back to the car. “Let’s go home.”
The days after the concert were less busy for Ohno and Sho, but Sho seemed more tired than ever everyday at work. His mind was tortured with images of Ohno dancing, hips swaying seductively… of dances that Ohno danced and did not dance. It was as if the revelation lifted a block on his mind and Sho was going crazy. He had never had a problem with falling in love with his charges before, but that was because he was gay and his charges had always been girls. But now, this was different. And yet Sho knew, he knew in his heart that such a love between manager and idol was forbidden. It was clearly stated in his contract, and his pride and professionalism would not allow him to let his emotions run wild. He could not afford to fall in love with Ohno. Their relationship would be ruined forever, Sho was sure of that.
As Sho grew more and more distracted, he realised that he had to make a decision or risk his sanity. He considered his options. It would be unlikely that the management would let him switch artists, and even if it was approved, he would still be too close to Ohno for comfort. Career wise, he hated having to leave halfway like this. Together with Ohno’s success, his own salary had been increased as well. On top of that, he was recognised as having single handedly promoted Ohno to fame, and Sho hated having to give up on that. No doubt his abrupt departure would also rise many questions. No just from his future employer, but possibly also from the media as well, should they get wind of his departure - and Sho was certain they would. That would not bode well for the new idol for sure. Half the media would blame him, while the other half would blame Ohno. And if they get wind of his contribution towards Ohno’s success, Ohno would bear the blunt of the media attacks for sure. Sho groaned as he flipped over in bed. He was stuck, between hell and high water, with no where to move. It was then he realised how much he actually loved Ohno. Unknowingly, he had already fallen head over heals for the idol. He knew every little quirk of Ohno, from the way he twitches his nose when nervous or lying, to all his favourite foods and tastes. Sho marvelled at how much he knew about Ohno. While blocking out his emotions his mind had seemingly picked out all the bits and pieces of information about the love he refused to admit, stored and filed, ready for later use. Again, he had never been so attentive to any of his other idols. Surrendering, he realised that the only thing he could do was to keep his distance form Ohno. ‘He’s a top idol, I’m just a manger’ ‘I’m doing this for his sake too, he’s just starting on his career and I can’t jeopardise it with a scandal’ and finally, ‘I don’t even know if he’s gay!’ Sho chided himself with these thoughts.
Unfortunately for Sho, he was still Ohno’s manager and the amount of distance he could put between them was limited. He tried to stop making small talk to Ohno, but in the end Ohno was so worried about his health that Sho decided to stop. He tried to ignore Ohno and forced himself to do something else during Ohno’s show recordings. But each time the crowd laughed at something, Sho’s heart ached with pain. He tried to stop himself from looking, but his brain unconsciously picked up each and every action of Ohno’s. And the more he tried to avoid Ohno, the more Ohno tried to involve him. As Ohno asked him for the 10th time that day if he was alright, Sho sighed as he realised it was almost as if Ohno had become his manager, or worst still, mother. He was trapped. Trapped in love.
Sho was driving back to the agency. Ohno had called him saying he finished his dance practice with the instructors already. It seems that Ohno was doing well in everything, now that the dance instructors knew Ohno’s style, they were better equipped to help him improve, and come up with choreography suited for the idol. Ohno was dancing, at normal speed, when Sho entered the studio. He was dancing to a tune, one of those test tunes composed for his up and coming new single. It has been a while since Sho saw Ohno dance like this. Even during the concert, Sho was in the backstage, and too busy keeping track of a thousand and one things to watch Ohno dance. And recently he has been both too busy with work and trying to distract and distance himself from Ohno to watch him dance in the studio. For a moment, Sho forgot how to breath as he stared at Ohno’s dancing form. It was too late for him to turn back and leave the studio now. His feet was glued to the floor and his eyes were taking in every movement, imprinting it into his mind like a video recorder.
Then, Ohno noticed his presence. Turning around to face his manager, Ohno danced closer and closer towards Sho. When the music finally stopped, they were a mere inches apart. As Ohno moved in closer and gave Sho a sleepy smile, Sho finally seemed to have regained his senses.
“Stop, please stop” He whispered. Ohno ignored him as he drew in closer, until their lips touched, and he gave Sho a firm kiss. Sho stumbled back, shocked.
“Ohno-san… please don’t… don’t make me… I won’t be able to stop…” Sho pleaded, his resistance crumbling.
“Its ok, I don’t want you to stop.” Ohno whispered.
“But but…” Sho stumbling, the million and one reasons that a manager should not be making out with their idol rushing through his head. Ohno seemed to have read his mind though, as he replied,
“Its ok, I don’t care. It won’t change a thing between us, we just… have to be careful not to make out in public… it doesn’t matter if they see us together anyway, you’re my manager, you are supposed to be by my side.” Ohno whispered as he hugged Sho.
Sho took a deep breath, smelling in the sweat and scent of Ohno.
“Are you sure?” He asked, voice trembling.
“Unn, I fell in love with you the first time we met.” Ohno confided. “Me too,” Sho admitted.
“Remember you said the first time you danced in public in the nightclub?” Ohno didn’t reply but merely cock his head.
“I fell in love with you there and then.” Sho said, as he moved forward to give Ohno a kiss. Ohno kissed him back, firm but gently. When they finally broke apart, it was Sho who broke the silence first.
“I want you Satoshi, I need you…” Ohno gave Sho a gentle smile. “Shall we go to my apartment tonight?”
Tonight. Sho would like Ohno take him all the way.
Arashi-related one shot fanfics.
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