It was one of those days when Kise’s agent/manager was running him ragged, booking modeling gigs/photoshoots for him one after another, even when he already told her beforehand that Kaijo was having its school fair that same day and that his help was terribly needed. And that well, he, er, also sort of promised his captain he will be helping out with the props and the live show. But she couldn’t be swayed and told him, in no uncertain terms that she would only let him go AFTER he finished his last scheduled shoot for the day. And that was why he was currently running for his life to make it to the bus station that will take him to Kaijo. Kasamatsu-senpai’s last text did not augur well for him. What did I do to deserve such a bossy manager and such a demanding senpai? His handsome features marred by a pout at the thought.
Kasamatsu sighed and looked at the heavens for God knows how many times that day, as if the answer can be seen from the darkening sky. He did not ask to be the production manager for the live show but somehow he got forced into doing it as there was no one responsible and respected enough to be able to get the performers to follow their schedules and rehearse, even through the night, especially during the week before the fair. Right now, Kaijo’s female student population, also mostly Kise’s fans had been waiting for more than two hours for the blonde. And they were not happy.
“Where’s Kise-kun? We came to see Kise-kun! If he’s not coming, we want our money back!” and more of the same could be heard from some of the girls.
“Don’t worry, girls, he’s coming, who knows, right this minute he may be turning around the block”, the host tried to pacify the crowd, and then backed off unceremoniously towards the backstage.
All the other performers had done their routines-from songs to dance numbers to a magic cards routine, and even a comedy skit. Some even made encores just to entertain the audience who were waiting for Kise’s arrival. Until there were no more acts left, and those who performed earlier were needed in other parts of the grounds by their respective school organizations. It was already evening and star of the show was still a no-show.
Kasamatsu looked at Moriyama and Kobori, who were busy manning the street food and dessert stations, then at Nakamura and Hayakawa, who were helping the props team transfer some equipment, and the other members of the basketball team, all of whom were helping out in the rides and the games. He was so proud of his team for helping out. Except for one.
“You can think of something, Captain. You’re not our captain for nothing!” Moriyama yelled at him and winked, as he was giving a sophomore girl her takoyaki.
“Oh, shut up,” Kasamatsu blurted out, glaring at the shooting guard. He couldn’t stand the girls screaming for Kise anymore. He was going to scream himself if this went on any longer. He was desperate for silence, for sweet, sweet silence. He had to do something. But what?
Kasamatsu was a brave guy. There was no question about that. But did his bravery include standing in front of a crowd of teenage girls, screaming Kise’s name and telling them to stop? Nope, I don’t think so, he thought. Then a familiar shape caught the corner of his eye. One of the earlier bands left an acoustic guitar by the wall. He looked up, took a deep breath, murmured what seemed like a prayer (curse?), took the guitar and went onstage before he came to his senses and change his mind.
He gaped at the seemingly endless rows of girls, stage fright clawing its way into his heart and limbs. You need to relax, he told himself. Deep breaths, close your eyes and in your mind see yourself looking at the stars. It seemed to work as when his fingertips strummed the first note, he just couldn’t stop. He missed playing the guitar. With exams, basketball, other school org activities, and preparation for graduation taking up all his time, he had no time to relax and just play and sing for the pure pleasure of just doing it. And he couldn’t stop himself from humming and singing, too. His voice carried the hopes and dreams of youth, of falling down and getting back up, of hurting and doing the right thing, of love and laughter, of family and friends. And he didn’t even realize, his voice and the melody from the guitar were the only sounds that could be heard. Everything else seemed to stop. The audience was enthralled by his performance. Even Moriyama and the rest of the Kaijo basketball team were amazed. One more thing our awesome captain can do well, they seemed to be thinking.
And then, suddenly Kasamatsu closed his mouth and opened his eyes. What a sight- The girls who were seemingly paralyzed by what they just witnessed broke into applause and were crying and smiling and screaming his name. Yikes, he ran out of the stage, still cannot freaking believe he played in front of an audience, and freaking teenage girls at that.
“Hey, senpai! You were amazing! And I thought you couldn’t handle girls,” teased Kise, who finally arrived and heard the captain's song.
“You! This is all your fault! I didn’t have to do something so embarrassing if you came on time! Now go out there and pacify those girls! They’ve been screaming for you since I can’t remember when!” Kasamatsu yelled, pushing Kise towards the stage.
“Well, they’re not screaming for me now. I believe I hear “Kasamatsu-kun, one more song please” and “Kasamatsu-kun, please go out with me!” purred Kise, mimicking the girly voices of the the audience. He didn't need to use his Perfect Copy for that one.
Kasamatsu stopped “Oh my God”.
”Oh, no. No, no, no, hell no!”
Kise smiled and took to the stage. The audience stopped screaming.
“Hi, everyone, I’m sorry for being late. But I’m sure you’ve enjoyed all the performances that came ahead of me, especially Kasamatsu-senpai’s guitar solo with vocals. A star is born!” Kise clapped and continued,” Such a rare gem, our captain, don’t you think?”
“We want Kasamatsu-kun!”
Kise felt awkward but being the trooper that he was, “I promise Kasamatsu-kun will be performing one more song, after my song and dance number, is that ok?”
The girls beamed. Kise performed his song and dance routine with such energy and gusto that somehow the audience remembered who they came to see in the first place.
“We love you Kise-kun! And Kasamatsu-kun too!”
Kise waved to his fans and ran backstage. Kasamatsu was ready with a punch for him.
“Kasamatsu-senpai, it hurts!” It was a long “backbreaking” night for Kise, to say the least.