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Making an Entrance

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Making an Entrance (Tenimyu)

By Haruka (haruka@ymail.com)

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Aiba Hiroki was waiting off-stage for the cue to deliver his lines as Fuji Syuusuke. It was dress rehearsal for the Prince of Tennis Musical – The Imperial Match, and they had all been working very hard for months. The songs, dance steps, and lines were all memorized to where Aiba recalled joking that he might forget his own name for lack of enough storage space in his head.

“Psst, Aiba, your cue!” hissed Shiozawa Hidemasa, who played Mizuki, giving him a little urging push.

His cue already? How had he missed it? Aiba stepped out onstage feeling a little flustered at his close call, and made two horrible realizations. One, it wasn’t time for his cue after all, and two, in noticing that, he’d made a misstep and was pitching forward.

The landing knocked the breath from him and effectively stopped the scene onstage. His co-star playing Inui, Araki Hirofumi, adjusted his character’s glasses as he peered down at him.

“Do you usually make such a dramatic entrance, or was it just for my sake?”

Aiba was relieved that he could pull air into his lungs once more. It meant he could shakily get to his feet and go back the way he had come, brushing by Shiozawa on the way.

Behind him, he could hear a mixture of laughter at Araki’s clever one-liner and the director trying to regain control of the situation. Aiba felt a twinge of guilt – he was supposed to be ready to go onstage. However, he didn’t want any of the others to see ….

He closed the dressing room door and sat at the makeup table, folding his arms and burying his face in them. He felt the first hot tear slip down his cheek, then another.

This is silly, he scolded himself, you’re being silly and unprofessional. A mistake is nothing to cry about – everyone has made them!

So why WAS he crying?

An image of Araki’s handsome face floated to the forefront of his mind and he angrily pushed it aside. All right, so he was gorgeous and talented. Aiba had accepted the fact that he found Araki irresistibly attractive, and now he was nothing more than the butt of a joke to him.

Yes, he supposed that was a good enough reason for tears. He sat back in the chair and sighed. However, there were people waiting for him, and it would be too selfish to let his emotions get the best of him any longer.

“Hey, you all right?”

Aiba jumped in his seat, startled. He looked over at Araki, hovering in the doorway. Brusquely, he wiped his face. “I’m fine, just fine. I’ll be right out.”

But Araki didn’t leave. Aiba felt dismayed as the other young man approached, placing his hands on his shoulders from behind. They looked at each other in the mirror, and Aiba saw that Araki appeared saddened.

“I hurt your feelings, didn’t I?” he said. “I’m really sorry.”

“I’m the one who walked in early, then fell and totally messed up the rehearsal,” Aiba said softly, lowering his gaze. He felt the hands on his shoulders squeeze them reassuringly.

“No, _I’M_ the one who could have carried on with the scene while you got yourself together and entered again at the proper time. I feel terrible, and so does Shiozawa. He says he was just kidding, and didn’t really think you’d go out.”

“I shouldn’t have been daydreaming,” Aiba replied. Araki turned the swivel chair suddenly so that Aiba was facing him, then leaned forward and put both hands on the back of the chair, trapping him there.

“If you’ll forgive me, I promise I won’t do it again,” Araki said, then grinned. “And I’ll make anyone else who does do it drink Inui Juice.”

Aiba couldn’t suppress a laugh at that, and Araki looked relieved. “So you’re not mad at me anymore?”

“I never was,” Aiba told him. “I was mad at myself.” He tried to stand, but Araki didn’t move and he was forced to settle back into the chair. He smiled. “You know, NEITHER of us will be able to go back to rehearsal if you don’t stand aside.”

“I know,” Araki said, “but I just realized I may never have a chance like this again.” He bent down and kissed Aiba softly on the lips. Aiba was eternally grateful that he didn’t pull away in his surprise, but instead had the presence of mind to respond.

It was a few moments before Araki drew back, and Aiba searched his eyes.

“Is this the part where you say, ‘Just kidding’?” he asked breathlessly.

Araki raised an eyebrow. “Do you want me to say that?”

“No,” the other actor admitted. Araki smiled gently.

“Then come on.” He offered his hand. “Let’s go back before the entire cast comes looking for us with pitchforks and torches for keeping them waiting.”

Aiba nodded and accepted Araki’s hand. It was funny that things had turned out like this. In a way, he probably owed Shiozawa a debt of gratitude.

Or a punch in the arm. Whichever came to mind first when he saw him.

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(Prompt sentence - Do you usually make such a dramatic entrance, or was it just for my sake?)

(2005)

Prince of Tennis belongs to Konomi Takeshi.

This fic is not to be re-posted.