Rating/Warnings: PG for what Ryo does to the stylist.
Summary: The tour season starts to get to all of them sooner or later.
AN: for 26 Birthday Kisses, Kiss Eleven: Meltykiss. If you've never had a meltykiss, you are surely missing out, but they are only sold in winter because purportedly the delicate chocolate can't withstand even mild temperatures, much less Japanese summers.
First Kiss | Good Luck Kiss | Drunk Kiss | Kiss and Make It Better | On-Screen Kiss | Morning After Kiss | True Love's Kiss | Goodbye Kiss | Good Morning Kiss | Surprise Kiss | Meltykiss | Goodnight Kiss | French Kiss | Congratulations Kiss | Sealed With a Kiss | Hello Kiss | Kiss Under the Mistletoe | I Forgive You Kiss | Birthday Kiss | Blown Kiss | Kiss on the Forehead | Kiss on the Hand | Kiss on the Cheek | I'm Sorry Kiss | New Year's Kiss | Welcome Home Kiss
Kiss Eleven: Until I Get To Kiss You Again
Being on tour is stressful for everybody after awhile. After the novelty wears off of the new choreography and new staging and huge crowds and traveling, it wears you down, the huge spikes of adrenaline followed by an exhausted crash, the contancy of everyone being in everyone else's personal space, the hours on the Shinakensen. The oppressive heat of the big cities in the summer doesn't help, nor does the fact that invariably they all get sick, one after another, bodies stretched far past their breaking points.
Even for NEWS, there's a limit. They've all learned to cope and to support each other in their own ways, for the good of the tour.
Koyama is usually the first to start worrying. It begins with small things, the rings under Ryo's eyes and the way Yamapi gets quiet and looks far away sometimes. His solution is to bring food from home, fresh ramen rather than the questionable Shinkansen bentos or whatever snacks somebody remembers to throw in their pockets on the way out the door or buys in the station.
It makes everyone smile a bit wider, at least for a little, everyone feeling relaxed and well-fed after being so long without their familiar routine, and after they are full most of them can even nap a little on the train, Masuda and Yamapi in particular squishing in on either side of Koyama to lay their heads on his shoulders and show him that he's loved.
After a while longer, Shige, who is so terrible at telling when he himself needs a break, is a genius at seeing who is doing too much, who is doing more than their share. Shige does small things, like hanging up costumes or gathering up the headsets, trying to smooth out the little annoyances that could otherwise end up being somebody's last straw.
It'll take a few concerts for Yamapi to realize what Koyama and Shige are doing, at which point he'll remind himself that as Leader, it's his job to take care of all the members and work hardest of all. He makes sure to check in with each person for a few minutes every day to make sure they can hang in there, even if it means spending all of his water break or staying up late or using up all the minutes on his phone. He figures he can always buy more minutes or an energy drink, but bandmates aren't something you can pick up at the combini.
Ryo becomes fiercely protective as he gets progressively more and more sleep deprived, laying into any staff person who is careless with equipment, or any security personnel that isn't on one-hundred-percent alert. One day when Tegoshi is curled up in an exhausted heap with his head on Ryo's lap, a stylist shows up to ask him about his hair. She no sooner reaches to shake Tegoshi's shoulder than Ryo unleashes a barrage of verbal abuse so vehement that nobody sees the stylist for two hours afterwards. Tegoshi sleeps through the whole thing, face serene.
Tegoshi doesn't exactly seem to do anything, but things often simply fall into place where they have no business expecting it to. When Shige tears the arm of his costume jacket clean off in a bizarre and irreparable manner, that afternoon the director decides they all look better without the jackets anyway. When Masuda's iPod dies a mysterious death, Tegoshi inspects it for a long moment, and then hands it back to Masuda in perfect working condition with a tired smile and the platitude that it just needed a restart. When Yamapi and Ryo sleep through the alarm and rush to the station five minutes too late for their train, the train has a mysterious mechanical failure and is running five minutes behind.
Even Tegoshi's magic runs out eventually, though, and when Ryo's Macbook charger sparks and catches fire as Tegoshi is typing an email, Masuda knows it's time to go for the secret stash. In the very bottom of his suitcase, he always keeps a shoebox with six smaller boxes inside, for just such a time of crisis.
Masuda knows that Meltykiss supposedly is no good in the heat and humidity of a Japanese summer, but the other members won't mind, he knows. It's the reminder that's important, being able to bite down and close your eyes and think of cold snowflakes and communal shabu shabu and curling up under a kotatsu next to people you love.
Sneaking into the dressing rooms while the others are at the stylists and costumers, Masuda puts the boxes in places where the others will be sure to find them throughout the day. He sticks the box of dark chocolate flavor in Yamapi's coat pocket, and the almond ones on top of Shige's books. Rasperry goes in Koyama's bag, and green tea goes in Ryo's sneakers.
He pockets the other two boxes and sets off to find Tegoshi, because Tegoshi definitely needs them worst of all, and needs them as soon as possible.
Masuda finds Tegoshi on the edge of the stage, staring out over the sea of empty seats, swinging his feet. Tegoshi is the picture of casual waiting, but Masuda long ago learned to read the slope of his shoulders, and when he sits down next to Tegoshi, the smile Tegoshi turns towards him is gentle but wan.
His eyes light up though when Masuda holds out the two remaining boxes, milk or milk chocolate flavored, and tells him to pick.
"Maa," Tegoshi pouts, "but I like them both!"
"We'll open them both, then," Masuda says, handing over the milk ones, and digs his thumb into his own box to pop the tab out. Tegoshi gives a little cheer and tears into the other box.
The Meltykisses don't taste exactly right, Masuda will admit, but he doesn't care at all as he tears open the little wrapper and pops the first cube in his mouth, closing his eyes at the dusting of cocoa over the outside of the treat.
"They're all squishy," Tegoshi says through his own mouthful, but he reaches for one of Masuda's anyway, and Masuda takes a couple of Tegoshi's in return, and for a few minutes it's quiet except for the crinkling of wrappers.
When both of their boxes are half-empty, Tegoshi pushes his shut with a flourish and drops it next to him on the stage.
"Uwaa," he sighs, leaning heavily against Masuda's side and resting his head on Masuda's shoulder. "We might be sick during dance practice."
Masuda is okay with that, because when he pushes his own box aside and slides his hand over Tegoshi's cheek, Tegoshi lifts his head to kiss Masuda thank you, and milk and milk-chocolate go together pretty well, Masuda always thinks.
"HEY!" Ryo yells just then, leaning out of the wings to catch their attention, making them break the kiss to turn towards the sound. "They just canceled dance practice this afternoon!"
"That's just like Tesshi," Masuda chuckles, and when Tegoshi tilts his head with a puzzled smile, Masuda leans forward for another taste of it.