Genre: AU/ Dancing/ Drama/ Romance
Summary: Ohno is a professional ballroom dancer. He teaches at his own dance studio, but it's in danger of going out of business. The only way he can restore it is by winning at a dance competition, but his long-time partner bailed out on him. One day, Ohno comes across Nino, a street performer who has the making of becoming a great dancer. The only problem is that Ohno has to teach Nino how to do ballroom dance. It's a story about trust, equality, and learning to walk in another person's hard shoes.
Author Notes: Something BIG is about to be revealed in this chapter, and it's not how you'd imagine it to be...yeah. Enjoy!
Chapter 7 - Ballet d'action
"I have to go back," Nino mumbled to himself the next morning. "We have to continue rehearsal...but I can't face him!" He moaned and rolled on his bed like a shy middle school student. "Ugh, why did I kiss him?!"
For the past hour and a half since he woke up, Nino battled with himself whether to return to Ohno's studio or not. So far, the side that wanted to hide in the mountains to never see the light of day again was winning. Last night, he couldn't stop thinking about the way Ohno scrunched his face with displeasure and wiped the spit off his mouth. Nino certainly didn't imagined it; he knows when he sees a completely appalled gaze after being kissed. Nino groaned into his pillow and wished he would just forget about it.
"I'm already late," Nino continued to debate with himself. "And he hasn't called me...maybe he doesn't want to see me!" And he continued to wail about.
The competition was only two weeks away. They're so close to reaching their goals, but they were far from feeling confident with their dance. They haven't completed a full run-through of the routine. However, it's not as if Nino couldn't practice on his own. They've already covered and memorized at least 80% of the dance. But eventually, Nino will have to return to Ohno's studio to finish up the finale. It was now or later—which will only be more awkward.
"Maybe he won't mention it," Nino tried to convince himself as he got ready. "Yeah. Maybe things will go back to normal."
Thirty minutes later, Nino left for Ohno's studio. When he opened the door, Nino saw Ohno sitting in his office. Nino's heart immediately started pounding again. The fluttering in his stomach wouldn't stop as Nino slowly approached the office.
Ohno glanced up. "Ah, you finally came."
"Y-yeah. I'm sorry I'm late," Nino nodded.
"Well, then," Ohno set his pen down. "Let's get back to practice."
Ohno's not mentioning about what happened yesterday. Is he okay with it then? Or does he still hate Nino? He shook his head and tried to stop his thoughts from ruining his concentration. The competition was drawing close; this was not the time for romance!
Throughout practice, Ohno was completely the same. He helped Nino stretch, held Nino's body just like before, and instructed as if it was any other day. Nino tried to act normal as well and ignore the flutters churning him inside. He focused solely on his dancing, and after a while it worked. Nino couldn't think of anything else but getting the technique down. He made sure he placed his foot in the right position, and he counted rhythmically in his head. Nino had never been more perfect in his dancing. Not once did Ohno scold at him for messing up. Maybe Ohno will forgive him for the kiss if he continued to dance like this.
"Today will be a good day," Nino thought joyfully.
He completely zeroed in solely on his performance. All of his thoughts from yesterday and last night simply vanished. His troubles and delusional fantasies seemed to disappear so long as he followed Ohno as his lead and nothing else. So long as Nino stopped thinking about Ohno's gentle touches and strong grips, he could dance. So long as he stopped thinking about Ohno's body so close to him, Nino could focus...
"Stop, stop," Ohno shook his head and pulled away.
He turned off the music and pinched the bridge of his nose. Nino began panicking slightly. The silence seemed to drain away the air around them. Nino swore his heartbeat could be heard from next door. Did he made a mistake? Was his dancing flawed somehow? Nino was certain he got everything right.
Ohno placed his hands on his hips and looked absolutely exhausted. Despite Ohno's haughty glare, Nino still thought Ohno looked incredible handsome. The sweat from dancing had dampened the front and back of their shirts. Nino thought himself blessed to see Ohno in sweatpants, but it was the way Ohno held himself up that was attractive: strong, manly, and dignified. Nino never took note of it before but ever since his affection started growing, everything about his instructor looked stunning.
But Ohno's eyes showed anything but love.
"Is something wrong?" Nino asked, fiddling with his T-shirt seams.
"Nino," Ohno sighed. "Why are you dancing like this?"
He blinked a couple of times. "What do you mean?"
"Why are you dancing like an emotionless doll?!" Ohno shouted.
Nino flinched. "But...I did everything you taught me-"
"I didn't tell you become a robot!" Ohno yelled. "What's the matter? What happened to the spark I saw when you were dancing in the street? What happened to that playfulness and that joy of dancing?"
"I thought I was!"
"You were being too technical, Nino," Ohno sighed. His voice calmed down a bit. "Yes, you followed my instructions perfectly. But not once did I felt your connection. You've been doing excellent these past few weeks, but now it's like...you've gone bone dry! There's no drive in you! I'm not feeling your passion through your dancing. You're completely stiff. That's not the way to dance if we are to win this competition."
The young street performer glanced down at his feet. He tried to control the tightness level in his throat before he could speak.
"Nino, talk to me."
"If...if I do that," Nino spoke at last, "if I danced with more feeling...I might lose myself."
"That's fine," Ohno said, opening his arms out. "Go ahead and lose yourself. It'll make a more beautiful dance-"
"No!" He snapped. "That's not what I meant. If I dance the way you want me to, it'll only make me want to have you more!"
Ohno was silent, and Nino glanced everywhere and around but at Ohno's eyes. He didn't want to see the same disgusted expression like he saw yesterday. Nino could only shift his weight onto his left leg while swinging his arms and flexing his fingers to keep himself distracted. There was no point in hiding anymore and no place to run. Nino hoped to ignore all the awkwardness from yesterday, but he couldn't pretend like nothing happened. He owed Ohno at least an explanation.
"I don't know when it happened," Nino continued, "but bit by bit, I...I began to like you. I know you've dated women before, and I must be an idiot for asking you this...but all I ask is one answer."
"What...what is it you're asking?" Ohno murmured.
At last, Nino glanced back. Ohno had a tiny frown in his brow, but it was less harsh than yesterday. He looked just like from Nino's dream. Mysterious. It was so hard to read Ohno's face or what he might be thinking. Nino might never know what was really going on in the man's head. It only made Nino even more nervous.
"Will you...will you go out with me?" Nino asked, feeling his face burning red.
Ohno's expression softened, but he looked slightly dazed at the request. He glanced away and there was a slight pink tone on his cheeks. Nino wondered how long he should wait for a reply. But then, Nino noticed the fixated look in Ohno's eyes as if he was truly contemplating about Nino's question. This perked up Nino a bit. His heartbeat thumped loudly in his ear, and he took a step forward.
"Maybe if I persuade him..." Nino thought.
Ohno didn't move an inch even as he sensed Nino slowly approaching him. When did this all started happening? Ohno never knew Nino was gay until Sho came to his studio. At first, Ohno didn't mind since their main focus was the competition. The whole purpose of their partnership was to help each other achieve their goals. Not once had Ohno thought of any romantic emotions. But then, Nino kissed him out of the blue that shocked Ohno. He never saw it coming and never realized Nino's feelings until now.
Nino stood only a few centimeters from him, but Ohno didn't push him away. He could finally have a good look at Nino as a person and not as his dance partner. Ohno was aware that Nino played the follower role for their dance routine that was usually done by women. But now, Ohno noticed how narrow Nino's shoulders were compare to his own, and Nino's chin was so delicately thin.
Ohno felt a finger trailing up his arm. Nino slid his hand up to his face and cupped his cheek. Still, Ohno didn't make eye contact. This scene was all too familiar to Ohno except it was with the opposite sex. When he was young, Ohno met Mitsu in the same scenario. He was naive and brash at the time, but things were different. Ohno considered himself straight. He never thought of men sexually, and he certainly didn't think so when he danced with Nino.
He does admit that their dance routine was intense and sensual. And with Nino's slightly smaller body frame, it reminded Ohno of the times when he held a woman in his arms. Ohno tried not to think much of it, but Nino's body felt right whenever Ohno lifted him or dipped him low.
Nino softly traced his thumb along the bottom outline of Ohno's lower lip. He felt a shivering sensation run down his spine, and Ohno opened his mouth slightly. He gazed down at Nino's mouth, and then his eyes trailed to Nino's chin and his exposed collar bones. He gulped. He could feel his heart beating hard against his chest. It has been so long since he slept with anyone...so long...
He saw Nino leaning forward. When Ohno closed his eyes, he felt a pair of soft lips tenderly pressed against his own. His brow furrowed even deeper. His insides were screaming at him that this was not what he likes, but his mouth was betraying him. Nino sucked down on Ohno's upper lip before passing his tongue over. Ohno inhaled sharply and took Nino's bottom lip. He reached up and held Nino's shoulders firmly. Ohno had never realized how much he hungered for this feeling. Soft, lush, heat. He heard Nino moan in his mouth.
A hand slid down from Ohno's chest, and a finger tugged at his waistband.
Suddenly, Ohno's instincts kicked into overdrive. "No!"
He hadn't realized until now that he held his breath. Ohno panted as if he ran a race; he placed his hand over his chest as if trying to calm his heartbeat. Nino looked surprised at Ohno's sudden outburst, but his expression gradually changed to a more dejected gaze.
Ohno immediately felt guilty. "I'm...I'm sorry, Nino. I just...I can't do this..."
There was no tears coming from Nino or any rapid swallowing motions. He looked rather calm and poised, but Ohno could tell Nino was still hurt inside.
"I...I understand," Nino muttered. "I'm sorry for bring it up."
Nino made his way toward his bag and packed away his things. Ohno could only stand there and watch until Nino was at the door.
"Wait," Ohno called out, "we still have practice."
Nino glanced over his shoulder. His eyes were slightly red. "I just need some time alone. I'll come back...I promise."
And Nino hurried out the door before he shed a tear. But Ohno saw it.
Ohno sat alone in his office and tapped his pen on his desk. Hours went by and Nino never came back to the studio. Oddly enough, neither did Sho who had requested evening practice. He only had Nino's and Sho's paperwork to keep him company. Nino was the only one who wasn't paying for his teachings. Sho, on the other hand, was his only real paying student. Ohno had only taught Sho for one night, but Sho had already paid for three months in advance. It boggled Ohno why anyone would pay for his service but not show up for practice unless the person wanted to quit. Ohno wondered what Sho was doing.
Of course, the answer was too easy to figure out.
Ohno let his pen roll across the desk, and he rubbed his face. It's obvious they're together now. Nino must have sought out for his ex-boyfriend. Ohno felt surprised when Sho came to his studio. Ohno was even more surprised when he realized how much Sho already knew about ball dancing. It made Ohno wonder how the two ever met in the first place and how they broke up. Ohno never asked though because it wasn't his place to ask questions.
He leaned back on his chair and rocked back and forth. During their first practice, Ohno concluded that Sho was a nice fellow. The man talked greatly of his work being a school teacher. Sho even insisted of bringing his students to Ohno's studio. Sho's dancing, however, was a bit splotchy and stiff, but Ohno was able to analyze his better points. Just like Nino, Sho had a good sense of strength and support. They would make an excellent pair if they ever decided to dance a duet.
But Nino was his partner...
Ohno stopped his chair from squeaking; his eyes glued to the ceiling. What was this? When did he suddenly became possessive over Nino? Sure, they were to enter the competition together, but Ohno had never put much thought about what will happen to them afterward. He was so caught up in teaching Nino the tango. After he pays off his debt, what will become of them later on? Ohno suspected Nino will board the next plane trip to America, but then Ohno's studio will be quiet again...
Nino brought life back to his studio. His playful teasing and silly jokes were annoying once, but Ohno started laughing as well. There were even times when Nino corrected Ohno's mistakes. Only a few times, but it left an impression. They have come so far now, and they've grown to work great together. No matter what, Nino was still his partner.
Ohno sighed heavily and stood up. There was no point in staying in his studio and waiting for Nino. Ohno will find him on his own. He grabbed his bag and shut off the lights before locking the door behind him. The moon was bright tonight, and Ohno decided to make a shortcut through the park. He passed a playground and came to the park's open field. At first he thought the park was empty, but in the distance he saw two people up ahead on a street walkway bridge. He realized they were arguing, and he immediately wanted to avoid going down their path.
But then he looked closer. It only took him an instant to realize who they were, or rather, Ohno knew the smaller man's figure all too well.
Sho and Nino had their voices raised, and Ohno immediately made his way towards them. He hurried up the stairs and made his way across the bridge. As he drew closer, he could hear their conversation.
"-going to go together!" Sho yelled. "That was our dream!"
"It was until you ruined it!" Nino shouted. "You never trusted me, and you still don't!"
"Now, I have a reason not to trust you!" Sho barked back. "You would have waltzed over there just so you can spread your Korean ass out to America!"
"At least I'm not some drunkard pretending to be a teacher!"
"I am better, healthier, and more educated than you ever will be! Why can't you see that you are at fault here?"
"You are the one calling me out with racist slurs! You haven't changed a bit!"
Ohno finally arrived. "What is going on here?!"
The two ex-lovers both whirled around. Nino gasped when he saw Ohno. Sho, however, still looked heated from the argument and glared viciously at Ohno.
"I'm sorry, Ohno, but please leave us," Sho glowered, suddenly a changed man from what Ohno presumed him to be. "This is a private matter."
"No, I won't leave," Ohno said, stepping in front of Nino. "What has gotten into you, Sho?"
He felt a warm hand on his shoulder. Nino mumbled behind him. "It's alright, Ohno. Don't worry about me."
"Listen to him," Sho pointed with his chin. "Like I said, this is a private matter."
"First, apologize to Nino," Ohno glared at Sho. "I won't let you insult my student."
Sho rolled his eyes. "I don't have time for this! Come on, Nino. We're leaving."
He saw Sho swerve his way around to grab Nino's wrist, but Ohno stepped in his way. He never thought Sho was the aggressive type, but Ohno was determined not to let Sho touch Nino. Ohno tried shoving him away, but Sho pushed back. Instantly, Ohno knew he was dealing with another alpha male. They came at each other and grabbed a fist full of each other's shirts.
"Stop it!" Nino wailed out.
It was a struggling mess. Ohno tried to push Sho away, but Sho refused to let go while Nino tried to pry them off. They spun in clumsy circles, and Ohno couldn't tell where they were going. Sho was too strong and pushed Ohno farther back. Then, Nino wedged between them and gave a great big push to separate them all.
Suddenly, Ohno felt his foot slid out from underneath him, and he lost his balance. He saw Sho and Nino stare at him with wide eyes as he fell backwards. His bag slipped off his arm and before he knew it, he turned around to see stairs coming towards his face...
The sight was sickening to witness. It must have been thirty or forty steps until Ohno finally stopped rolling at the bottom of the stairs. Even Sho was speechless. Ohno's bag spilled everywhere at the base where he laid, but Nino was more concern about the small trickle of blood leaking away from his head. Nino raced down the stairs and dropped to his knees.
"Ohno!" Nino cried. "Please wake up! Please be okay!"
"I-I-I'll call the ambulance," Sho managed to speak.
Nino leaned in close, and by some miracle, he could heard Ohno was still wheezing. Nino choked on a sob of relief, but he was still panicky. There were so many cuts and abrasions all over Ohno's face. His lip and nose bled profusely, but thankfully there were no twisted limbs. However, the head injury worried Nino the most.
"They're on their way," Sho said.
Nino held Ohno's hand, praying even though he has never prayed before. He couldn't stand to look at the amount of blood and turned his head away. Ohno's bag laid flat on the ground with papers, CDs, keys, and other contents spilled. But what was really odd was the amount of white bottles that fell out. It wasn't just one or two bottles but at least ten or twelve.
Nino couldn't read the labels from his distance. He glanced up at Sho who was still on the phone and looking anywhere but Ohno's body. Nino reached out and grabbed one of the bottles. As he read the labels, his eyes widen with disbelief. The world went completely still and silent all at once. His eardrums must have popped, and the only sound in the world was the constant ringing in his ears.
These were HIV prescription drugs.
To Chapter 8 >> http://arashiforyou.livejournal.com/56666.html
before you attack me, okay, you're probably wondering "how the hell does nino know what HIV drugs are?!"
well, it was either i wrote out a certain drug, with no hint as to what it was, and then you'd have to look it up yourself to find out what it was and be shocked there...or i just write that last line to save you the trouble :3
ya'll probably like "don't fucking :3 at this, you bastard!"