ArashiForYou (arashiforyou) wrote,
ArashiForYou
arashiforyou

Hard Shoes

Title: Hard Shoes
By: arashiforyou
Genre: AU/ Dancing/ Drama/ Romance
Rating: PG13
Pairing: Ohmiya
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 ball dancing. It's a story about trust, equality, and learning to walk in another person's hard shoes.

Author Notes: This is it! The final chapter! And it's long, so enjoy!


Chapter 10 - Coda

The day of the dance competition finally arrived, and Nino has never felt so nervous. The competition was held at a local gym where other sport events took place. But because of Nino's nervousness, the gym appeared to be the size of Japan's National Stadium. The polished wooden floor covered the entire floor of the gym like grass covering a soccer field. For one horrifying moment, Nino thought he had to dance across the entire floor. But he reminded himself they only had to stay within the basketball court lines. The audience watched from the bleachers surrounding the gym, and the judges' table stationed at the front to see everything.

Nino spotted Mitsu among the five judges. The other four weren't recognizable, but Ohno told him they were extreme big shots in the dancing community. There were cameras at every corner to record the dancers, and commentator tables surrounded the court as well. This was the biggest event of the season, and everyone will be watching.

He couldn't stop pacing back and forth in the waiting room. Ohno sat on the bench with his elbows on his knees and his fingers laced together. Nino could hear muffled music in the distance. Soon afterwards, a faint applause from the gym echoed in their ceramic tiled locker room. The butterflies wouldn't stop flapping around Nino's stomach, and his stress was only making him even more fidgety.

"Number eight," the staff attendant called into the room.

A couple dressed in flaming red and sparkling flakes of gold left the room. A few short minutes later, the previous couple returned looking sweaty and worn out but nonetheless looking satisfied. Nino glanced around the room and felt out of place despite himself being donned in black pants and a waistcoat with a pale yellow shirt. He had his hair gelled and curled, and his dance shoes shined just like everyone else's. Ohno also wore matching attire only his shirt was blue, and he styled his hair up and carefree-like. Everyone looked confident, but Nino still felt like a newbie.

The locker room was spacious for all the competitors to wait for their number call. Those who finished their performance were free to sit with the audience at the stadium and watch the remainder of the event. Gradually, the participants dwindled, and the fluttering sensation in Nino's stomach swelled. Their number just had to be the last one.

"Nino," Ohno called quietly and patted on the bench.

Nino sat down next to his instructor and glanced at him, but Ohno didn't say a word. Nino watched Ohno breathe slowly. In and out. Without even realizing, Nino started copying his breathing. The slow and steady breaths seemed to be working, and the hurricane of butterflies in his stomach became more tamed. They sat in silence.

They have come this far for this very moment. Even without exchanging any words, Nino was able to relax just by sitting next to him. And that was all he really needed...

"Number fifteen."

Nino exhaled, and they both rose together. The staff member led them through the maze of the building until they arrived at the gym. The audience seemed to triple in size since he last saw them. So many eyes watching. He just knew they'll spot their mistakes, and he dropped his gaze. The staff told them to wait and jogged back to the judges' table. People were chatting, and the noises seemed to increase by the second. Nino's palms were sweating, and he shut his eyes tight hoping he could drown the noise out.

Then, he felt Ohno gently hold his elbow. Nino's heartbeat relaxed, and he opened his eyes. Ohno leaned close and whispered into his ear. "Have fun."

Nino stared at Ohno who smiled peacefully at him. Nino smiled back and nodded. They've practice hard right up to the night before. There was nothing to fear. They were perfect in their routine, and Nino trusted Ohno completely.

"Next, we have Ohno Satoshi and Ninomiya Kazunari!" The announcer called.

Nino could hear murmurs among the audience. They were the only pair to appear as both males. The previous couples were male and female, but Nino didn't put much thought about it until now. The audience's mutterings seemed so loud. Many of the participants were at the dance event where Nino and Ohno embarrassed themselves. No doubt, some of the spectators remembered them.

Together, they walked to the center of the dance floor. Its open vastness made Nino feel even more isolated. The spotlights blared down on them. He couldn't even see the judges' table or beyond. It was as if the audience became a thick black fog and nothing more. He was alone in the world with only his dance shoes, the wooden floor, and Ohno at his side.

When Nino thought of it like that, his butterflies nearly vanished.

"No matter what happens," Ohno whispered under his breath, "keep smiling. I'm here to support you."

"And I to you..."

The music started, a high violin note rang across the gym. Ohno and Nino glared at each other as if about to have a showdown. They circled around, their arms flared out giving each other the nasty eye. Suddenly, a vocalist entering the music with a scream, and Nino lunged for Ohno.

But Ohno held Nino's hands and lifted him high into the air. He could hear the audience gasp as he kicked his legs high and straight. He dropped down safely before Ohno tipped him low to the ground.

Nino's arms held onto Ohno tightly. Their noses were barely centimeters from each other while their feet did the magic. His mind was a ticking metronome, and his muscles seem to have memories of their own. On the exact cues, Nino and Ohno would step together, break off, and come back together. When the music climaxed, Ohno lifted Nino for another dastardly trick. Nino would arch his back and let his weight fall on Ohno's hands who supported his back. Not once did he collapsed. Each time they reunited, Nino didn't want to let go and Ohno showed the same manner. Almost like two lovers.

The music went to the next verse, and they break apart for a solo performance. Rather than dancing side by side, they faced each other. Nino stood still and watched Ohno danced by himself. Next, it was Nino's turn. They trade off back and forth, trying to outdo the other. It reminded Nino of the good old days when he challenged other street performers. This time, however, it was ballroom dancing and Ohno was his opponent.

Strong. Powerful. Aggressive.

This is a dance that can only be portrayed by two males, and they fed off each other.

Who is the alpha here?

I am.

No, I am!

After their exciting solo segment, they started dancing together again. Their steps were perfectly in harmony, and Nino started smiling. The music tension began rising, and so did their performance. They came back together in a closed position. Their legs tangled and twisted together, but neither of them fumbled or tripped. Nino's eyes locked with Ohno's, and their hands held tightly. Steady and secure.

Trick after trick, their landed their marks precisely. Nino could feel the sweat sliding down from his forehead but so did Ohno. And he looked beautiful. Memories of their first encounter came drifting back to Nino. They've sweated together, struggled together, and yelled at each other. The past two months had been an emotional roller coaster for Nino. He never imagined being involved in a dance style that was the completely opposite of his taste. And yet here he was dancing the tango with the one who opened the door for him.

"Even if this competition is rigged," Nino thought, "I'm glad I met him..."

At last, their finale came. They've practiced this moment for hours. Either they'll make it or they'll humiliated themselves all over again. Suddenly, the mental ticking in his head went quiet. Even the music seemed to dim down in his ears. Nino sucked in his breath and held it as he grasped tightly to Ohno's shoulder. He kicked his leg up, and Ohno helped push him off the ground. Nino's world went spinning. Round and round, he twirled across Ohno's back. When Nino came back to the front, Ohno supported him around his waist and tumbled him back up again for an even faster spin.

Nino landed flawlessly. They rejoined for a closed position, their foreheads barely touching. Nino couldn't stop smiling as well as Ohno. Together, they ended the routine with one final spin and tipping Nino low to the ground. He could feel Ohno's hot breath on his neck, but Nino didn't care. For a moment, the world seemed to stop and they were still trapped in their paradise.

Then, the audience screamed with delight. It was the loudest applause Nino has ever heard. The spotlights faded, and Nino stood upright. They had a standing ovation! The people cheered, whistled, and called out to them. He felt Ohno quickly grab his hand, raised their arms up, and they bowed to the audience. Nino could see faces now. Everyone smiled at them. He spotted a few teary eyes, and a few woman squealed and jumped with joy. He spotted his ex-boyfriend, Sho, and young teenagers among the people. Most likely his students. Sho was probably waving the hardest with a wide smile on his face. Nino waved back.

At the judges' table, they looked impressed as they scribbled down more notes. Mitsu was the only one not writing. Her eyes were big, and she didn't so much as blink. Was she impressed? Was she angry? Nino couldn't read her expression at all, but he didn't care. The crowd loved them

*****

Ohno splashed water over his face when they returned to the locker room. He reached inside his bag for a towel and wiped his sweat away. He braced his hands over the sink edge and glanced back at the mirror. Would they be able to convince the judges? Was their performance good enough to change their minds? Ohno wasn't sure, and he still hoped that Mitsu was lying.

Ohno smirked.

He enjoyed every bit of Mitsu's shocked face. No doubt theirs was the best performance. Ohno never danced like that before. His heart raced. His senses increased ten-fold every time Nino touched him. He almost craved for it more and more. For a moment back there, Ohno thought Nino's movements reminded him of a woman's body. Slim, small, and sensual. It drove Ohno wild.

He heard footsteps behind him, and he turned around.

"Before we go back," Nino started, "I just want to say...thank you for everything."

"No," Ohno shook his head. "I should be thanking you. For so many years, I haven't had anyone trust me. Nor did I wanted to trust others. My students abandoned me, and I only had myself to blame. If anything, I have been arrogant and believed I'll never like pop dancing. You've helped me open up to others. You've helped me understand a student's feelings. I'll never forget that."

Nino made a small smile. "You've change me as well. If it wasn't for you, I'll still be stuck in that bistro restaurant. You've showed me a whole new experience, and I love it. I don't even care if we can't win."

At that instant, Ohno felt a short stab to his heart. "I'm so sorry," Ohno uttered quietly. "I couldn't help you reach your goals. I've led you to false hopes, and we're both at a dead end."

Ohno was about to cover his face in shame, but Nino quickly grabbed his hand and held Ohno's arm firmly. "Don't say that! I don't want to hear it. This was never your fault. I don't mind putting off my dream aside for a little longer. It can wait. If I'm with you, I don't mind at all." Nino squeezed Ohno's hand a little tighter. "Even if...even if you don't think of me the same way."

He felt his body heating up at Nino's words. Ohno didn't want to be rude or pull his hand away from Nino's grasp, so he looked away.

"We...we better back to the gym," Nino finally said, releasing his hand.

"Yeah..."

The judges were excused to a separate room to discuss the results. The gym was like a beehive with the audience buzzing and muttering to themselves. Ohno and Nino sat with the other participants as reporters and commentators came at them with cameras in their faces. Ohno answered the questions expertly while Nino just made shy nods and responded as best as he could. The cameras seemed to love them in particular. The interviewers came bombarding towards their direction. For a moment, Ohno thought he would go blind with all the flashes.

"Would the dancers please take center stage," the announcer reported.

They all lined up at the center of the court as the judges returned. The audience fell silent, and the announcer handed the microphone to a male judge with white hair and thick glasses. Everyone seemed to hold their breath.

"We want to congratulate to everyone for dancing this year's Winter Ballroom Dance Competition," the judge said. "Well done, everyone."

Everyone politely clapped.

"The winner for third place with a prize of 50 thousand yen goes to....number eight: Matsumoto Jun and Inoue Mao!"

Down his far right, Ohno watched a staff attendant handed a ceremonial envelope to the couple with the flaming red outfits and gold flakes. Even though the prize was small, the pair seemed happy enough to win third place.

"In second place with a prize of 100 thousand yen goes to....number twelve: Aiba Masaki and Tabe Mikako!"

Ohno couldn't help but smile as the man named Aiba lifted up his partner and whirled around in excitement. The staff gave their prize, and Aiba waved it in the air with joy. The audience cheered a little louder as well.

"And finally..." the judge said dramatically, "the winner of 500 thousand prize money goes to..."

Ohno had to close his eyes to calm his heart.

"Number three: Horiuchi Gen and Kuranaga Misa!"

At first there were a few polite claps, but the pregnant silence afterward was painfully awkward. As the staff presented the winning prize, the audience started to mutter rather than cheer.

"An excellent performance, yet again, by our exquisite winners," the judge praised them. "For their grace and beauty-"

The audience started to sound angry. Someone booed.

"-their performance has reached the highest marks," the judge tried to ignore them.

"Fifteen!" Someone shouted. "Fifteen! Fifteen! Fifteen!"

Ohno opened his eyes. The staff and the remaining participants looked confused as the audience started to chant in unison.

"Fifteen! Fifteen! Fifteen!"

"That's our number," Nino mumbled under his breath.

The other dancers stared at them and nodded with approval. Jun smiled at them, and Aiba gave them the thumbs up. The first place winners, however, looked a bit sour at the audience's reaction. He saw Sho and his students pumping their fists in the air while calling out to them. Even the commentators were chanting their number. The audience wanted them to win. They won the audience.

Ohno felt like crying.

"Th-that concludes this event," the judge said, looking baffled. "Uh, well, congratulations everyone."

The crowd booed at him. The judges left the gym without another word, but Ohno saw Mitsu lingering at the door. Their eyes met for a few fleeting seconds. For once, he saw a hint of regret in Mitsu's eyes.

The minute she left, an interviewer nearly shoved a microphone into Ohno's mouth.

"How do you feel losing to a legend?"

"Uh," Ohno groaned, but before he could think of a response, more questions came flying at him and Nino.

"What will you do now that you've lost?"

"Whose idea was it to input a dance battle into the routine?"

"Will you ask the judges for a re-evaluation?"

"Are you two a gay couple?"

The staff came to their rescue and blocked the reporters from suffocating them. Ohno held onto Nino's hand and followed the staff towards the exit. The other winning couples were also mobbed by the interviewers, especially the first place winning team. The audience continued to call out their number, but it seemed like they caught on what their names were thanks to Sho.

"Ninomiya! Ohno! Ninomiya! Ohno!"

It continued to echo down the hall

*****

"In other news, the Winter Ballroom Dance Competition was held last week, and it is causing quite a stir on the internet. Fifteen couples danced for a chance to win 500 thousand yen. The first place winners were the renowned dancers Horiuchi Gen and Kuranaga Misa. Yet in the internet forums, fans claimed the competition was a scam. The winning team had already been decided for months by the judges who were paid a large sum of money to keep their silence. A judge named Mitsu Dan has confirmed the scam being true."

Ohno turned his radio louder.

"Mitsu reported to the local boards of the dancing community stating she was offered an estimate of 1.2 million yen to fake the winning results. The fans who attended the event were outraged and expressed favoritism for another group. The pair who won the hearts of many were two men: Ohno Satoshi and Ninomiya Kazunari. Their unique and captivating dance routine were favored among the audience and assumed they were the winning pair. However, one anonymous user commented: 'There was no way they would win. The judges accommodate to normal people only. Ninomiya is half Korean. They wouldn't let someone like him win so much money.' It is still unclear if this information about Ninomiya is true or not."

Ohno leaned back in his chair and flipped open the morning newspaper. On a small corner of the page, an article headline blared at him big and bold. "Blood on the Dance Floor: The Tango Duo Lost to Racist Judges."

"More slander comments flooded the dance forums, but the Board has yet to make a statement. No investigation is being taken place, leaving the fans in a frenzy. Horiuchi and Kuranaga has yet to make an appearance since the scandal broke out-"

Ohno turned off his radio, and he stretched his arms. He has no time listening to old news anymore. He has new student applications to sort through. Thanks to the competition, Ohno's popularity skyrocketed. The first to appear at his door were Sho and his young students. They were all eager to be taught the tango, and Ohno couldn't be more happy. After three days, some of his old students came back to him as well. They apologized for leaving, but Ohno didn't want to be bitter anymore. He got his studio back.

In the end, everything turned out alright for him.

Ohno heard someone walking into his studio. It was odd since he wasn't having any lessons until for another hour, and Nino was working at his new part-time job. Ohno leaned out his office.

He blinked. "Mitsu?"

She walked briskly towards his office before he could even stand up. She reached into her purse and pulled out a white envelope.

"Take it," she said bluntly.

"What is it-"

"Take it!"

His eyebrow twitched up at her, and he reached out for the envelope. It was thick and slightly heavy, but his heart nearly stopped when he pulled out the contents. There was enough cash inside that could estimate around a million yen.

Ohno quickly got up from his chair. "Mitsu, wha-"

She lightly pressed her finger against his lips, and he stiffened. "Just take it," she said. "You won, okay. You are the better teacher."

"This is the bribed money you took for faking the results," Ohno said. "I can't take this."

"It's not. This is my own money," she sulked. "Or rather...yours. The money I took for stealing your students."

He frowned slightly. "I don't understand. Why did you confess to the scandal? Why are you helping us?"

Mitsu turned around and walked across his studio. Ohno followed her. "A long time ago, someone told me that a single dance can win the hearts of many. And that trust was very important."

Ohno stopped in his tracks at her words.

"I thought it was so stupid," Mitsu chuckled. "You can never win anyone's heart, and you can't trust anyone. I wanted to show him that and prove how stupid his words meant." Her back was still facing towards him. "But after watching that dance at the competition...I don't know, I just...I couldn't believe my eyes. It reminded of the days when I was a little girl. The girl who loved nothing but to dance. I remembered."

"Mitsu..."

"He was right," she sighed. "He showed me a dance that practically symbolized trust." She turned to face him, a definite line itched between her eyebrows. "The way he just fell without holding back...and you were there to catch him every time..."

Ohno couldn't respond back. He glanced away to allow Mitsu some privacy as she wiped away a few stray tears. She strolled towards the exit, but she stopped just before she walked out.

"Give the other half to Nino," Mitsu said. "I know I haven't been playing fair, but I do want Nino to realize his dream. He did thought of me as a friend once...I don't want to lose that."

Strange how Ohno always assumed Mitsu only looked out for herself. But the more he thought about it, Mitsu was also a teacher too. She also wants what's best for her students. He still hated her for spreading the HIV virus. But as she walked out the door, he thought less of her as a despicable ex-girlfriend and more of a colleague. He hoped one day her bitter revenge against the world will dwindle away.

He truly hoped for such a day...

*****

It has been a month since the competition. Deep down, Nino still felt depressed for losing. He was truly happy for Ohno to finally have students again, and Nino wished for Ohno a steady business thanks to Sho's students. But if he was honest with himself, Nino felt a little resentment.

However, everything changed when Ohno called him one day to meet at his studio. According to Ohno, he took the liberty to apply Nino to the best dancing college in America: the Juilliard School. When Ohno showed him the thick stash of cash, a paid plane ticket, and an acceptance letter, Nino went ecstatic. He whooped and jumped and hugged Ohno with joy. Afterwards, tears began flowing out nonstop. He was accepted! He was going to America! No matter how hard he tried, Nino couldn't stop crying. Ohno laughed for his happiness and hugged back as well.

Without a second thought, Nino started packing and preparing for the plane trip. Nino was in such good spirits, he even paid a visit to Sho's middle school. At first, Nino thought Sho would be mad at him again. It was both their dreams to dance in America. But when Nino showed up in his classroom and told him, Sho smiled and congratulated on his acceptance.

"Is it really alright with you?" Nino asked. "You always said you wanted to find your place there."

Sho gave a confident smile. "My place is here. We each found our own path. I realized these kids need me as much as I need them. They've helped me change just like how Ohno changed you."

"Yeah, I guess we did found our own way."

Then, Sho's expression softened. "Nino...I want to apologize."

"...Sho."

"I am sorry for all the pain I've caused!" Sho blurted out suddenly. "I'm sorry for hurting you and making you cry all those years ago. I realized I was the one who was wrong, but now I truly want you to find happiness. So go on and paint your dreams big. I'll be here and wishing you for your success!"

Nino felt a soft warm flutter his belly, and he smiled wholeheartedly. Sho was truly improving, and Nino hoped one day Sho will find new love.

At last, the day of departure came. Ohno wanted to see him off, but Nino told him not to come. Nino thought that if he saw Ohno one last time, his courage will fail him. He arrived at the airport two hours before his flight departed and made his way towards the terminal. There was not that many people at the airport since it was night time. His flight would arrive at New York in the afternoon, so he hoped to sleep through the entire trip.

He glanced down at his watch. The air flight attendant would be announcing their boarding soon.

Suddenly, he felt a strong urge to look over his shoulder—like a gravitational pull. Nino pursed his lips together and felt his heart thumping faster. If Nino turned around and saw him...

"Nino," he heard his voice.

"No! Please don't come here," Nino thought.

But his legs seemed to betray him, and he stood up. Nino turned around and saw Ohno approaching him. Immediately, his heart leaped to his throat. His palms started sweating again, and he tried to wipe them against his jeans. Ohno had the same calm smile that Nino grew to love.

"I told you not to come," Nino said.

Ohno cocked his head and grinned. "I only wanted to say goodbye to my student."

"Are you sure you should be ditching Sho's practice hour to see me?" Nino tried to calm his frantic butterflies. "Seems pretty irresponsible for a teacher."

"Actually, Sho was the one who told me to come see you."

"Damn him."

"I know I've said this a bunch of times," Ohno said, "but I want to let you know how much I appreciate getting to know you."

Nino gulped.

"If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have saved my studio," Ohno continued. "Thank you for everything. And I wish you the very best as well. I know one day you will make it. You are a fantastic dancer, Nino. None like I've ever seen. If you ever need me, you know where to find me. All you have to do is ask."

"...you know what I'll ask for," Nino muttered, his eyes cast down.

"What was that?"

"How can you say that to me?" Nino said, slightly louder but still avoiding eye contact. "You know damn well how I feel, and yet you can still say those words to me?"

Ohno remained silent for a moment. "Nino...I only meant-"

"Would you really support me?" Nino asked, his hands balling into fists. "Would you really answer my request no matter what I ask?"

The silence was killing him. He glanced up and saw Ohno's eyes staring back at him with remorse and guilt. His mouth was slightly gaped open.

"Will you wait for me?" Nino asked.

Ohno gulped, but he didn't answer back. Nino could feel his eyes burning.

"Will you come with me?"

Still, no answer. Ohno started looking uncomfortable again.

Nino didn't even had to courage to look at him in the eye as his whisper was barely audible. "Will you love me?"

"Flight 403 is now boarding," the overheard speaker interrupted. "Flight 403 is now boarding."

Nino had to force himself to laugh in order to prevent his tears from forming. He always tried his hardest not to cry. Laughing, smiling, or pulling at his cheeks. Anything to stop from tearing up. But he knew his eyes must be pink after confessing yet again to Ohno. Without a word, Nino turned around and grabbed his carry-on bag.


Just keep walking.

Don't look back.

Your goal is right in front of you.


"Nino!"

Ohno came around Nino and stopped him in his tracks. It reminded Nino of the day when Ohno tried to convince him to join ballroom dancing. It felt like ages ago; it was deja vu. Ohno looked flustered, and his cheeks were slightly pink. The sight of him made Nino blush as well. All was quiet. Hardly anyone was around except for the few who were boarding Nino's flight.

At last, it seemed like they were alone. He took one last look at Ohno, the man he grew to respect and love. Ohno just stood in his path for long seconds, and Nino was about to walk around him.

Then, he felt soft warm hands holding his head tenderly. He stared back at Ohno whose eyes looked so gentle and sincere. Nino's heart pounded hard against his chest as Ohno leaned forward and plant a kiss on his forehead. Nino closed his eyes and enjoyed the lasting seconds of Ohno's warmth. His scent soothed Nino like a warm nostalgia feeling. Ohno pulled away and gently pressed his forehead against Nino's.

"A teacher always wait for his students' return," Ohno said. His voice was low and hoarse. "I will always be with you whenever you remember the lessons I've taught you. And I will always love you...as my precious student."

A tear slid down Nino's cheek.

"Don't hold anything back," Ohno said, giving him a light shake. "You will always have my respect and my support. I will always look out for you whenever you need me. I'll be there to guide you whenever you're lost, and don't think for a second that I don't care about you."

"I won't," Nino moaned.

"Last call for Flight 403. Now boarding Flight 403."

Ohno released Nino, and the absence of his warmth felt so cold against his cheeks. Nino was a mess while Ohno's eyes were barely glistening.

"Remember what I taught you!" Ohno shouted to him. "And teach them how to really dance!"

Nino could only nod and pumped his fist into the air. He slung the carry-on bag over his shoulder and walked towards the gate. He rubbed his wet eyes and nose against his sleeve. Even though he might not have Ohno's love the way he wanted to, Nino was still given the respect he always yearn to have. For so long, Nino wanted to find someone who sees him as an equal, as a person. Not by race or even sexuality.

Perhaps it was better this way. Love can be fickle. His relationship with Sho proved that. Even Ohno's history with Mitsu showed that love never last forever. Without even realizing it, Nino only wanted to feel needed as a human being. To be looked upon with value and that his efforts meant something. It didn't had to be love so long as he knew someone did care about him. Nino no longer felt like a burden to society and neither was Ohno a stigmatized contamination. At long last, Nino finally felt he was worth something. Ohno has given him that appreciation.

He was ready to face the world.


*****

~Epilogue~ Four Years Later


"Five, six, seven, eight!" Ohno counted repeatedly.

The children behind him followed his steps. Some were a bit sloppy, but Ohno let it slide for the meantime. He'll point out to them later. The army of hard shoes clicked hard and loud throughout the studio, but they were in unison. For a moment, Ohno thought their stomping was going to make the newly posted pictures fall from his office. The music continued, but Ohno waved his arms to make them stop.

"Very good, everyone," Ohno smiled at them. "Chinen, watch your footfall. You tend to go on the offbeat."

Someone raised his hand. "Teacher!"

"Yes?"

"Will you be at the school recital?"

Ohno grinned. "Of course I'll be there. Sakurai personally invited me to watch you all." The children looked excited at his words. "Well, that's all for today. I'll see you next week."

The kids headed for their bags and changed their shoes. A few students approached Ohno for extra questions, and he did his best to answer them. He saw one photo did fell from their hard stomping, and he quickly pick it up and tacked it back on the board with the other pictures. All of them were his new students. Most of them were children, but Ohno wouldn't have it any other way. Children had a great thirst for knowledge, and their mothers seemed happy.

One by one, the students left when their parents arrived until Ohno was alone in his studio. He rotated his head to relax his tense neck muscles, and he stretched his arms out. He glanced at his watch and figured he still had time to buy a new suit. Sho's wedding was still a week from now, but it didn't hurt to find a new formal jacket.

Just as he slipped his hard shoes off, he heard a knock on the door.

"Come in."

Ohno turned around and gasped when he saw his guest.

"Nino!"

"I'm back."

Ohno cross his studio in three strides and pulled Nino into a tight hug. "I haven't seen you in ages!"

"Four years to be exact," Nino laughed, "but we practically talked every other week."

"We should celebrate," Ohno nodded. "We can go out for dinner. My treat. I want to know everything."

"Sure," Nino said, shrugging off his bag and slipped his sneakers off. "But before we do, why not spend a little time here. Just for old time sake."

A wide smile spread across Ohno's face. "No shoes?"

Nino smirked back. "So we can see eye to eye."

Ohno tried his hardest not to laugh. He playful bowed to Nino and offered his hand.

"Shall we dance?"


The End



-------------

it's over! T_T

(going to be a bit formal here. PLEASE READ!!)
In the end, Ohno remained heterosexual because on the real side, one can't simply change their sexuality just because some hot guy kissed him (let's ignore brokeback mountain and all yaoi mangas for a sec). It's just not that simple. That kiss scene and the dance competition only messed with Ohno because he kept comparing Nino to a woman. I made Ohno not romantically in love with Nino.

But that doesn't mean he loves Nino. At least, not in the sexual way. Ohno and Nino both love/respect each other. Although I guess you can say Nino does have feelings for him, but Nino respects Ohno for being heterosexual and Ohno doesn't push Nino away for being gay. Ohno cherish Nino like a close friend.
But more than anything, Nino got what he really wanted which was not love but appreciation and acceptance. You can be in all the relationships you want, but if you're not appreciated, then what good is it? You read that Sho and Nino's relationship flopped and so did Ohno and Mitsu. That is my message :3
(end formal speech)

So if any of you guys feel cheated of the romance tag...*shrugs* i'm sorry? XD

also, here is the video that inspired me to make ohno and nino dance the tango. some of you on tumblr might be familiar with it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6-6kN79oIA
the dance battle part was my idea, so i have no video of that to share. it's not even a traditionally tango style either, so... XD

in other notes...uh, yay for jun and aiba for somehow getting into this fic? (so minor! they didn't even had any lines) XD
also, i figured not to put too much spotlight on what happened to mitsu since she was the villain throughout the story (and everyone was expressing hate towards her, which i understand haha!). and she should be trialed or sent to prison. i bet in japan there are sentences like that, but in some trials, some criminals can get away. it does happen...
and for those who are curious, the couple that supposedly "won" are real dancers and professionals. just a little cameo cookie. speaking of cookies, did anyone spot the sho rap? haha! (it was kinda cheesy-ily put in there, but...)
as to who married sho, that's just a little extra happy ending. in the end, everyone is happy!

i hope you all enjoyed it!
See you next time!


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