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The Reveal

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Akihito gnaws his lower lip as he watches the interviewer touch Asami’s pecs again, “What kinda interviewer is this handsy?” He seethes from where he’s sitting on the couch, the large flat screen T.V filled to the brim with a dressed-up Asami, smiling a very fake smile, one that was blinding and reserved specifically for the public, “Not that I can blame her, but still,” The woman conducting the interview has spent a majority of the time openly flirting with Asami, and when she barely got a reaction, moved on to physically touching. She started with a hand on his bicep, then occasionally squeezing the muscle there. Now, she has begun to place a well-manicured hand directly on top of Asami’s chest and laugh a very fake laugh at whatever Asami says, all while Asami beams a very indulgent smile at her.

Any other day, Akihito knows Asami wouldn’t be nearly as lenient as he has been so far, but he’s currently in the middle of promoting his latest movie. Kirishima, his manager/personal assistant, has been drilling it into Asami’s head for the past few weeks that he has to play nice, that he can’t get too snarky or walk out of interviews as he’s known to do, as a man who loathes them. Akihito would love nothing more than to see Asami just up and leave, but as it’s a live interview, he doesn’t have the luxury to put a pause on it, and thus, unfortunately, has to suck it up. Subsequently, Akihito was also forced to suffer from the interviewers’ actions as he watches her feel up his boyfriend of two years on live television. Though, of course, no one knows that tidbit of information. 

Honestly, she has barely asked any questions related to the movie, and when Asami tries to divert the topic back on track, she quickly changes the subject to be a little too personal. Akihito was surprised that Kirishima hadn't stepped in yet. Hell, Akihito’s stunned that she’s even qualified to be in that position as she has been anything but professional. Akihito has had his fair share of shitty interviews in his three years as a singer, so he can sympathize with Asami’s plight, but it doesn't stop Akihito from being extra annoyed on Asami’s behalf. As Asami has been in the limelight for nearly two decades now, he has been in far more unfavorable situations than Akihito can currently imagine. 

Akihito can’t help but wonder how Asami has managed this long and not murdered and or dismembered someone from the entertainment industry. Though, Asami does have more patience in that regard, unlike Akihito, who tends to easily show his irritation on his face. He knows it’s something he should work on, but this was why he was a singer-songwriter and not an actor.

As it was, Akihito was deeply considering dismemberment, of her hand specifically. 

The woman flips her bleached hair over her shoulder, probably to better show off the dress that was practically painted onto her figure, “We all have to wonder,” she says, with a nauseating flirtatious lilt in her voice that has Akihito fake gag to the absolutely no one that was in the room with him, “How the great Asami Ryuichi has not been snatched up yet.” 

He has!

Asami simply stares at her, with the same smile plastered on his face. He lets her stew in silence for several long seconds before he finally replies in a light-hearted tone, “I never said I wasn’t.” 

Akihito feels his mouth drop in surprise. For the two years they’ve been together, neither of them has admitted to being in a relationship. Well, to be fair, Akihito rarely gets those kinds of questions, but Asami typically avoids confirming or denying anything. It leaves everyone not in the know, among the handful that are, stuck without an answer, which also tends to get more interviewers asking the same question, in hopes they get an actual response. It would be huge news for any media outlet that was able to publish an article about Asami’s significant other. 

Hell, there’s a new rumor nearly every other month about Asami and his new secret “girlfriend”. Most of them involve a co-actress he had worked with, but a good few are random photos taken by paparazzi where Asami and a fellow actress or model just so happen to be standing next to each other at any sort of gathering or ceremony. It doesn’t help that Asami and his agency, Sion, never address any of them, to instead allow people to speculate until they turn blue in the face and eventually lose interest. 

So this has been the first real confirmation of Asami being in a relationship that he has ever made. Judging by the obvious shock written on the interviewer's face, she must realize how big of an admission that was. Though Akihito doubts she was expecting that answer either. Akihito himself wasn’t. And poor Kirishima must be horrified as that response was clearly not part of any of his plans, and Akihito would do anything to see his face right about now; once Akihito gets over his own stunned silence, that is.

Honestly, Akihito was against the idea of letting the media know when they first got together, however, the longer they went, and the more Akihito was forced to watch other women and men alike fawn over Asami, the more he discovered that there was a bit of a possessive streak within him. Unfortunately, as they weren’t out to the public, Akihito couldn’t necessarily say anything, or obviously stake claim in some way. Recently, Akihito didn’t think making their relationship public wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all, because maybe then, interviewers like the current one, would keep their grubby paws to themselves. 

And maybe that was also what pushed Asami into the strong hint he just gave, that he was, in fact, “snatched”. Akihito learned early on that Asami detests physical contact with most people. Which now, Akihito finds partially funny, as whenever Akihito was within reaching distance, Asami was always touching him in some way. Whether it be a hand on his lower back, thigh, or occasionally around his shoulders; there was always something. It has gotten to the point that Akihito barely registers it anymore. 

The interviewer stutters and stumbles over her words before she finally gets out, “Who’s the lucky gal that managed such a feat?” She finishes with a slightly awkward laugh as she fails to hide her disappointment. Instead of answering, Asami’s smile takes on a more dastardly tilt, a sight that Akihito was intimately familiar with, but to people that don’t know him, they will view it as something playful or even mischievous. Asami easily changes the topic back to the movie, and several minutes later, the interview concludes and cuts to a commercial. 

Immediately, Akihito mutes the T.V, whips out his phone, and pulls up a popular social media app. He swiftly finds a hashtag related to the interview, and sure enough, people were utterly freaking out. Several already managed to clip that specific segment to post with their own speculations. At this rate, Akihito wouldn’t be surprised if Asami gets a tag trending from that one sentence alone. 

Through his scrolling, he’s interrupted by an incoming call from the man himself, “I’m surprised Kirishima hasn’t murdered you yet,” he says in way of greeting, phone on speaker so he can continue his lurking. 

He hears a soft rush of air through the receiver, the equivalent of a laugh from Asami, “Well, he’s not thrilled.”

“Thought not,” Akihito says with a chuckle, “I hope someone managed to get his picture, ‘cause I would have loved to see his reaction.”

There’s silence on the other end, except for some distant mumbles in the background. Akihito pays it no mind as he refreshes the page to read new posts. After a few seconds, Asami speaks again, “According to Suoh, he got a shot. Not at the exact moment, but a little after.”

“I knew Suoh was my favorite for a reason!” Akihito barks out a laugh, already envisioning the face Kirishima had made, “You better send that to me.”

“I don’t know if I want to if I’m not your favorite,” Asami says with feigned hurt.

Akihito rolls his eyes as heat creeps up into his cheeks, “You know what I mean!” As he says this, Akihito stumbles across a gif that cycles through all the moments of the interviewer “coping a feel” and reignites Akihito’s previous annoyance, “And by the way! How could you let her touch you so casually? You hate that!” He doesn’t get a response right away, which wasn’t a problem as Akihito continues, “She was practically feeling you up on live television! Like, who even does that? And you just stood there and let it happen!”

Akihito huffs heavily, staring blankly at his phone where the gif was endlessly looping. He waits for some sort of response, but when none comes, Akihito grows suspicious, “You let her on purpose, didn’t you?”

“Did I?”

“Asami!”

Asami chuckles, deep and playful and it only serves to rile Akihito up more, “I’ll be home early tonight so wait for me.” Then he hangs up on him, leaving Akihito with zero resolution and just a tad bit horny. Honestly, he has half a mind to jump Asami as soon as he gets home; they can order in for dinner if they remember or even have the time. 



oOo

 

When Akihito first watched Asami’s newest movie, it was a week before its scheduled release date. It wasn’t unusual for Asami to keep some of the details from Akihito, but with this one, in particular, he was unexpectedly hushed about it. So when he brought home a copy, he sat Akihito down in front of the T.V, got the movie started, gave him a quick kiss, and immediately dipped out to attend to whatever shenanigans were going on in the underworld. 

That behavior in and of itself was odd, as any other time that Akihito watched the movies or series he starred in, Asami never made a spectacle out of it. He never sat down to watch it with Akihito, but he also didn’t have to instigate Akihito into watching them, either. 

Going into the movie, Akihito already had a general idea of its themes as he was hired to write and sing the main OST for it. Which was an experience on its own as Akihito typically leans towards pop or the occasional EDM; basically anything that people can get up and dance to as he himself loves to dance. But the OST they were looking for was very different from what he’s used to. The song he ended up with after a lot of trial and error, leaned heavy with the vocals more so than the instrumentals, which were rather minimal. 

Back in junior high and a little bit of high school, Akihito used to sing more ballads and really play with his vocals. He was always told by others that he had strong lungs, so there was a brief period of time he contemplated focusing more on vocal-heavy songs, however, his sudden passion for dance quickly changed that. Throughout the rest of high school, his sole focus was dance, but one thing that had stayed the same was Akihito’s desire to write his own songs. During high school and a few years after he graduated, Akihito posted self-written songs on the internet for free and built up a small following before he finally got a record deal. 

After that, Akihiko stuck with a fast-tempo style and that was how he made his name. So releasing a song so drastically different from what he was known for, was a little terrifying, because what if people didn’t like it? What if they only liked him when he made music that was perfect to dance to? Would people have any interest in slower songs from him? It was a risk he found he was willing to take.

With the end product, he was incredibly satisfied and proud of how it turned out, so much so, that he didn’t care whether or not the general public would like it, since he himself thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the outcome. Hell, Kirishima even praised him for the performance, and that was a rare occurrence as he typically wasn’t a fan of Akihito’s music style.

Thankfully, the song ended up being a huge hit with the general public. So much so, that his agency was planning to film an official music video for it.

The song he wrote was about loss, but not specific on whether or not it was of a lover, friend, or family member, as he wanted to leave it open-ended enough for more people to be able to resonate with it. So in theory, Akihito knew there was going to be a death scene in the movie, what he wasn’t expecting was for it to be Asami’s character.

So it was safe to say, Akihito bawled his eyes out. It sure didn’t help that they played his song over the scene. Logically, Akihito knew Asami was still alive and kicking, but as he had been away dealing with his second job, a job Akihito was well aware could be dangerous, had him staying up into the wee hours of the morning for Asami to come home so he could ease his mind before he was finally able to lay his head down to sleep.

After that first viewing, Akihito knew the movie was going to be a hit. It had a little bit of everything: action, romance, a splash of comedy, an interesting plot, great CG, and top-tier actors. Then they wrapped the story up in a neat bow with the tragic death of the male lead, aka Asami’s character. Ripping the hearts out of anyone who watches it, then promptly ending the movie. A big “F you” from the writers and directors, yet Akihito will watch it again. Maybe not right away, after the shock wears off, then he’ll sit down, and get cozy while it tears his heart out anew. 

Even though he and Asami have been together for a little over two years now, and Akihito is confident about where their relationship is; it was still a little weird and mildly off-putting to see Asami act in romantic scenes. In the very beginning, Akihito did consider breaking up, because it hurt to see Asami kiss someone other than him. Yet at the same time, he was fully aware it was strictly for the camera. It took Akihito to realize that the way Asami treated his “partners” in movies and dramas, was vastly different from how he was with Akihito. Hell, Akihito was one of very few that knew of Asami’s second job in the underworld; though to be fair, Akihito stumbled across that before they actually officially got together. Which was how they even met, though they had both at least heard of each other prior.

While Asami did have some romantic tendencies, such as; gift-giving, date planning, and being more passionate during sex. However; regardless of what it is, Asami tends to go above and beyond the norm. If they go out anywhere, Asami will rent out the entire building, leaving it empty except for workers, and Asami’s personal guards. While Asami is excellent at buying Akihito gifts he’ll actually enjoy, Asami does occasionally buy him something way too extravagant or is more of a gift for himself than Akihito. ie: lingerie, or other adult toys. 

After seeing what Asami is like in an actual relationship, Akihito can’t help but view any romance scenes portraying him as a serial romantic or a lover boy, as incredibly fake from his perspective. While to the untrained eye, Asami still convincingly plays the roles well, anyone who actually knows him will easily see through it. So once he came to that conclusion, it was more bearable to witness Asami act intimate with others. It also helps that a majority of the time, Asami will return home after a shoot, complaining away about whatever co-actress he was working with. 

Akihito has only met a handful of actors, as he tends to interact with fellow musicians more often, but through Asami, he has learned a lot about some of the biggest name actors in and out of Japan. Some of the information was eye-opening, and he’ll never be able to look at certain actors the same way again. 



oOo  



“Is this really necessary?” Akihito breathlessly asks, from where he’s standing in the unnecessarily large fitting room. Asami had dragged Akihito here first thing in the morning to try on their suits he had custom-made. Akihito is still unsure how exactly Asami obtained his measurements, as he can’t recall a time when Asami even took them, and at this point, Akihito is positive Asami refuses to tell him purely for his own amusement. 

“Yes,” is all Asami says. He’s sitting on a settee that curves along one corner of the room; in case anyone changing would like an audience, apparently. And of course, the bastard chooses to sit inside and watch as opposed to simply waiting outside like Kirishima and Suoh. The only other person in here was the tailor, who was also the cause of Akihito’s inability to breathe. 

Takashima stands behind Akihito as he pulls the laces of the weird, backward vest that acts as the masculine equivalent of a corset, “Can’t I just wear a normal suit?” Akihito asks once again, already knowing the answer. Takashima tugs roughly, forcing Akihito to plant his feet to prevent himself from falling backward. 

 

(for visual reference)

 

Asami languidly sips from a glass of whiskey that the store manager nearly brained himself on the door in his rush to serve, “You could, but we want to make a lasting impression, don’t we?” 

Akihito, bites his lip because he does. After Asami’s near confirmation of having a significant other, and especially after Akihito endured the horrendous, handsy interviewer, they have decided to attend an upcoming awards ceremony as each other’s plus-one. It was going to be the first time they will arrive at any formal event together. As Akihito gazes at himself in the full-length mirror, he can’t help but think the vest-corset would make a statement, especially with the things it was doing to his figure; however, Akihito could do without it being suffocating.

“You do realize, I’m performing at the ceremony and will end up changing halfway through, right?” 

“And? The red carpet is all it’ll take. Besides, then you can use that as an excuse to wear something more comfortable,” Is all he says, gaze heated as he stares at Akihito's body; slowly from head to toe. Akihito can’t help the way blood rushes to his cheeks, knowing by the end of this, he’ll find himself stripped completely bare for Asami’s viewing. 

Quickly, Akihito clears his throat and changes the topic, “My agency is throwing an afterparty that, I have been told, is mandatory,” He chances a glance over at Asami, and sure enough, his eyes have narrowed as he stares down into his glass, while he gently swirls the amber liquid. Takashima finishes tightening and tying the lace, then walks over to a side table to locate some expensive cufflinks. Akihito tests the range of his breathing capabilities; while it is constraining, his lungs still have room to expand. So as long as he doesn’t hyperventilate, he won’t risk passing out. 

“Once we’re out to the public, people are going to wonder why you aren’t in my agency,” Asami calmly replies; it was as close to a pout as he was capable of. 

Akihito quietly sighs, “We’ve been over this, I’m perfectly content in my current agency,” Takashima returns to put the cufflinks onto the sleeves of the dress shirt he dons underneath the constricting vest, “And it’ll look bad if I join after we go public. I don’t want people to think I got in out of nepotism,” Sion was Japan’s biggest entertainment agency after all, and it’s known as one of the hardest to get a contract with as their standards are through the roof. However, they’re also known for dropping their artists for the smallest of scandals. All except the CEO who also happens to be Asami. But the people who do make it under Sion, typically end up being some of the biggest celebrities, so despite everything, young talent still swarms for a chance to get signed.  

Takashima takes the chance to step back and fully observe his work, “It is complete,” he announces, voice full of pride, “However, you need to do something about–” he gestures toward Akihito’s hair with a look of disgust, “this.

“Hey!”

“That’ll be all, Takashima,” Asami easily dismisses as he sets his drink aside and rises to his feet. Takashima bows and makes a hasty retreat. Before the door even has a chance to close, Asami practically prowls toward Akihito, causing the instinctive fight or flight response to kick in, one that he knows will have zero effect against Asami. With nowhere to run, and without the strength, or will, to fight back.



oOo



Akihito was nervous. He knows he’s excessively fidgeting in the back of the limo and he already regrets the vest-corset, as it was dampening his ability to thoroughly and freely panic. Both he and Asami were in coordinated suits. While Asami’s was black and gold, Akihito dons white and gold. The color scheme feels suspiciously too close to wedding attire, and he suspects that was entirely the point to make it even more obvious that both were exclusively taken. Because Asami is incapable of subtlety, he even brought out the larger limo. The one that can barely turn corners properly, which was why they swapped to it about a block away from the red carpet.

While this wasn’t Akihito’s first rodeo with award ceremonies, this was the first he'll arrive with all the other A-list celebrities. Typically, talk-show hosts and comedians that either received invites or paid would walk the carpet first. Followed by minor celebrities and general famous people. Then the more moderate or current mainstream artists; this is the bracket Akihito usually falls under. Finally, and last but not least, the top-tier –the best of the best– wrap up the red carpet event; this was, obviously, Asami’s bracket, and has been for a decade.

It doesn’t stop Akihito from fretting over the reactions that this reveal will garner. Asami’s smirking side glances every now and then sure as hell wasn’t helping either, as he was evidently reaping joy from this whole scenario. 

All too soon, they pull up to their destination. Through the dark tinting of the windows, Akihito spies the crowds completely packed along both sides of the red carpet. Cameras flashed near endlessly from the paparazzi that were squeezed in the front. The limo itself was enough to mute a majority of the chatter and screams emanating from the fans. Suoh rounds the limo and knocks lightly against the glass; essentially asking if they are decent and ready. A precaution he has learned the hard way after opening a door too soon. Something Suoh has mentioned wasn’t a problem until Akihito appeared.

Asami peers a quick glance at Akihito and abruptly pulls him into a deep, lingering kiss; teeth gently tugging at Akihito's lower lip as they part. Dazed, Akihito barely notices as Asami knocks back, and seconds later, the door opens, and the full volume of the crowd pierces into the limo's interior. Without hesitation, Asami steps out but doesn’t move away from the door. Instead, he turns around to extend his hand out to Akihito. He feels his cheeks heat up and desperately hopes the foundation that was forced upon him will at least hide the majority of the redness. Heart in his throat, he grasps Asami’s hand, and together, they maneuver Akihito safely out of the vehicle; thankfully without incident. 

As soon as Akihito was in full view, the cheers taper off before suddenly exploding in volume, flashes practically blinding. Regardless, Akihito plasters on his best, winning smile as Asami’s hand naturally takes its place on the small of his back, the pressure firm, but not forcing him to move; simply allowing Akihito to take that first step. 

They walk the carpet as steady of a pace as possible. This was easier said than done, with the way the paparazzi was pushing against the barriers holding them back to shove mics in their direction, all while vomiting out questions that blended together amongst the others. Suoh and another guard do their best in blocking the more persistent reporters that hop the velvet rope. But it still slows them down whenever a particularly brave person gets in front of them, bombarding them with questions in a single breath, yet not leaving them time to respond, even if they wanted to. Whenever a reporter managed to get too close, Asami’s arm would wind around Akihito’s waist and pull him closer until a guard yanked the person away. 

All they have to do is make it into the venue, and they won’t have to worry about them anymore.

The venue staff opens the double doors for them when they finally approach, and Asami swiftly guides Akihito through first before following right behind. The doors close immediately after, muffling the chaos ensuing outside. Several of the celebrities that were staggered to arrive ahead of them, turn to inspect the cause; eyes darting between Asami and Akihito. They note the close proximity and matching attire; which earns them varying looks of shock, elation, disgust, and anger, 

The anger seems to mainly stem from the Chinese actor, Fei Long, who arrived two attendees ahead of Asami and Akihito. He was wearing a very flamboyant mix of a western suit and traditional Chinese clothing. Akihito is no expert on either –fashion in general– but the combo looks a little weird, even to him. Which was not a good sign. He can’t quite tell if Fei Long was upset that their appearance stole whatever spotlight he thought he had, or if he just didn’t like Akihito, as his glare seems to focus solely on him and not Asami. 

Fei Long’s plus-one appears to be a child, dressed similarly, but less bright in color. Akihito has no idea what that’s all about. He’s heard a few things about Fei Long via Asami, so even though Akihito has never met him, he knows everything he’s seen about him in the news or on T.V was a lie; an act, if you will. 

Which wasn’t uncommon by any means, as Asami does the same. 

Asami steers him through the laid-out path. Which was specifically for entertainment news outlets more so than the guests. Speckled along the unnecessary winding path, were different news stations evenly spaced to force everyone walking the carpet to pause at each one for mini interviews. Akihito always detested these, since most of the time they ask the same, or similar questions. 

The first station, Akihito is pleased to notice, was the same handsy interviewer that essentially started all this. As they come to a halt in front of her and her cameraman, Akihito feels his smile form more into a smirk as he weaves his arm around Asami’s, pressing their bodies close. Akihtio watches with overwhelming glee as her smile falters slightly. 

She takes a second to school her expression back into a perfect little smile, “Asami!” She greets in a tone as if she and Asami were long-time friends that haven’t seen each other in years. Her gaze slides briefly to Akihito with a fleeting look of contempt, “And who’s this?” Her eyes sweep up and down Akihito’s body, clearly judging him. 

Akihito wants to laugh, and if he wasn’t currently on camera, he definitely would have with how obvious her jealousy was. Instead, he takes a second to size her up. She’s wearing another form-fitting dress with heels that hurt Akihito’s feet just from looking at, and according to the press-pass hanging around her neck, she goes by Matsuda Yumi.

“My apologies, I’m Takaba Akihito,” Akihito says with cheer, then tries for his best, feigned expression of bewilderment, “Though, I’m surprised you haven’t been informed, considering I'll be performing tonight,” The Japan Academy Film Prize was the biggest award ceremony in Japan, even being invited to perform was an honor, let alone being nominated. All nominees were shown a lot of respect even if they didn't win. So her playing dumb out of spite, does not reflect well on her career for not knowing who all was attending.  

There’s an awkward pause before Mastuda bursts out her fake laugh, “That’s right! Silly me, how could I forget?” They share a hearty chuckle together at her “forgetfulness”. It shortly trails off and Matsuda promptly focuses her attention purely on Asami. From here on, all of her questions are directed and formed at and around Asami. Though Asami brushes a lot of them off, by turning the questions to Akihito for him to respond, all expect the brand of their wardrobe, as Akihito wasn’t even going to attempt to pronounce it. Hell, he doesn’t even want to think about how much Asami spent on them. Even though he himself was a celebrity, the numbers he saw on the clothes hanging up in the store hurt his wallet, let alone the price of custom-ordered pieces. 

They trade pleasantries before Asami begins to walk away, subsequently taking Akihito along with, as he continues to hang onto his arm. Out of his peripherals, Akihito sees Asami shoot a very amused glance down at him.

Shut up,” Akihito hisses through his smile, aware of all the cameras on them. 

Asami chuckles, facing forward once more, “I haven’t said a word.” 

“I know that look, you were about to,” Akihito feels his smile waver as he begins to grow heated. Quickly, Akihito adjusts his face, but at this point, he’s not sure if it's convincing. Even to him, it feels forced. 

The next interviewer was way too bubbly. However, Akihito was just glad it wasn’t another Asami stan. Though the full velvet, maroon suit paired with neon green cravat was painful to look at. The mohawk was a nice touch, if out of place. He kept the questions professional after the first, asking about their relationship. Akihito was a little surprised with how quickly Asami responded, officially announcing Akihito as his “partner”. He couldn’t help the butterflies that formed in his stomach at hearing the word coming out of his mouth, even though it’s not even the first time. Maybe it’s because it was finally going public, that everyone will know Asami is off the market as the number-one bachelor in Japan.  

Or that Akihito was the one to snatch said bachelor in the first place. 

Thankfully all the rest of the interviews go off without a hitch, and they finally make it into the large auditorium where the official event will take place. With their status as celebrities, they enter through a side door that leads them to the round tables dotted orderly in front of the stage, while the majority of the audience fill the cushioned stands toward the back. They easily find their table marked with their name plates as well as two others that Akihito vaguely recognizes. Asami takes one of the center seats next to another actor sharing their table, leaving the only empty spot along the side, and closest to the stage. Akihito was pleased to note it gives him an unobstructed view with the added bonus of not having to sit next to someone other than Asami. Which will also make it easier for him to sneak out to get ready for his performance. 

Not long after they get settled, a waiter hastily arrives, inquiring if they would like anything to eat or drink. While normally, Akihito would take this opportunity to gorge himself on free, expensive food, he still has to perform later, so regretfully, he settles on water and an appetizer. Even though he was only performing his newest OST, which has no choreography, nerves still get the best of him sometimes. 

Asami only orders a glass of whiskey; no surprise there. 

By the time the show begins, Akihito has finished his appetizer and is staring hungrily at a plate of food across from him. Which was good timing, before Akihito starts visibly salivating as it effectively distracts him. He thoroughly enjoys it; at first. Akihito is scheduled to perform right before the major award of the night, Actor of the Year, that Asami was nominated for. So he has some time until he has to leave and prepare. Every time, Akihito forgets how boring these shows can be until he’s attending one. All the performers do amazing jobs, but in between, there’s not much to keep his attention. 

The same can go for Asami, as his current form of entertainment was to slowly inch his hand up Akihito’s thigh, and whenever it gets too close to his dick, Akihito will relocate the appendage down to his knee, since removing it had no effect. Like a magnet, Asami's hand will find his knee and begin again. Already, the actor on Asami’s left was giving them odd looks after he noticed what was happening, but Asami wasn’t going to be deterred from anything. Especially not when he was bored. 

Fortunately, Akihito gets to dip out and prepare for the performance, which will be more enjoyable than the hosts attempting awkward jokes with the punchline being the category they were about to announce. Without thinking, he ducks down to plant a quick kiss on Asami’s lips in parting, and it was only after he hears squee’s from the VIP section that he remembers where he’s at. Face aflame, he speed-walks out of the auditorium in search of his dressing room. 

He may have gotten lost amongst the winding hall that all look the same, but when he finally locates it, his manager and longtime friend, Kou was already lounging on the couch, the ceremony muted on the wall-mounted T.V. Whatever he was doing on his phone, was apparently much more important. If Akihito has to guess, it was a girl. The stylist and makeup artist were already waiting for him, and as soon as he steps foot in the door, they drag him off to get him dressed and “presentable”. Which, rude, because while the suit he was wearing was incredibly uncomfortable, he did look good in it, if he does say so himself. But then, he has been told by others that he did, so it must be true. 

Either way, they strip him out of the suit and into the outfit prepared for his performance, and if Akihito remembers correctly, it’s a rental so he can’t damage it. In comparison, the new outfit was a lot tamer after wearing the damn vest-corset. Still white, oddly enough, and more comfortable. 

It was nice to be able to breathe deeply again. 

After he’s changed, they force him into a chair where they touch up his makeup and floof his hair. And as he stares at himself in the mirror, he feels the nerves begin to twist in his stomach. Kou, thankfully, realizes and walks him through some breathing exercises in between his vocal warmups.  

All too soon, Kou shepherds Akihito out and towards the stage. Where, immediately, a stagehand passes Akihito his earpieces before rushing off to hastily attended to another task. Continuing the breathing exercises, Akihito barely gets the earpieces shoved into his ears when someone escorts him towards to sole bar stool and microphone stand located in the center of the dark stage.

This isn’t his first performance, not in a long shot, but it is the first that he has done in a while where he was the only one on stage. Normally, he has backup dancers accompany him. This performance will leave Akihito the only person on stage for people to focus on, and it will be him sitting stationary while he sings his heart out. 

Akihito has a fleeting moment to remind himself to remember how the rehearsals went just the other day. When abruptly, a single spotlight directly above him flicks on in the otherwise completely dark auditorium. Akihito can’t see any faces nor hear if anyone was cheering with the noise canalization of the ear pieces, but this isn’t new to him. The scale, however, is. 

He’s allotted one more calming breath in before the music starts, he grasps the mic, and sings.