Title: Stars in Your Eyes
Disclaimer: Don't own anything.
Genre and/or Pairing: Souji/Rise
Notes: For Paulie the stinky Frenchman B(
It had been a decision born of impulse, sheer recklessness, but backed with experience and knowledge that he had not even realised might be useful until the plan sprung to mind. It was - as much as he knew Uncle Dojima would frown and disapprove, had he known - one of those sudden moments of inspiration that only came in this very situation: sitting up at 1am on a Saturday night, a half-empty bottle of beer in front of him (and several more neatly stacked into the bin), and a note from his parents on the fridge telling him they'd be back 'soon'. Soon, of course, meaning anywhere between the next morning and March. Souji was alone, he felt alone, and it was far too late to call any of his friends.
His thoughts turned, as they inevitably did, back to Rise. Souji took a long draught of the beer, leaning back onto the couch and letting the gentle orchestral music fill the large apartment he 'shared' with his parents; she had been one of the most special people he had ever met. Sweet, sharp as a tack, incredibly beautiful, and utterly forward in her interest in him...there had been a spark there from the very first moment, and Souji had never been gladder that he had rebuffed Chie and Yukiko's advances. They'd gotten together about as quickly as the Social Links would allow, and despite their pressing circumstances, had shared some of the most wonderful months of Souji's life. Not only did he have friends, a place to belong, a driving purpose, but he had someone who truly, deeply cared about him. Rise loved him, and he loved her. It really was that simple. But then the end of his time in Inaba had come, and they'd said tearful goodbyes. Souji went back to his parents, Rise stayed a little longer before going back to her career, and they'd reduced it to texts and calls on a bi-nightly basis.
(Unless she was too tired from her schedule, or he was too busy with studies, or they just plain forgot about it in the rush of doing everything all at once. Souji didn't like admitting it, but it happened: they just didn't have enough time for each other.)
Then, the idea had happened. All of his classes with Yumi - then without, then sitting there thinking about how he was going to afford the next set of greaves for Chie while Yumi stared crossly at the opposite wall of the hospital - came rushing back; he'd been offered a few 'modelling' jobs, a few 'acting' jobs, people recognising his skills...so why not? It'd put him in the same business, they could spin a collaboration, he could skip all that dreary future of business and success and be with the one person he had truly let himself love and had love him in return.
Fuck it. He could do this for himself. He could become an actor, go big, and be with her properly.
The beer thunked down on the table with a loud sound and Souji got to his feet, stepping unsteadily over to the table where his books had been spread out. A furious scribbling commenced as he began drawing out large, grand plans in a strange, drunken shorthand. This, he realised, would be bigger than Izanami. More important than Adachi.
This was his life and - like everything else - Souji intended to win.
Auditions went surprisingly easily, flying in the face of everything he'd unearthed on Google- he supposed having Risette's connections did help along there, even if there were some...rather questionable work in the beginning. Work was work, as Rise had said - and god, hadn't she squealed when he'd let slip he was going to try his hand at showbiz - and displaying stuff on the shopping channel wasn't so bad, but Tanaka had a disturbing tendency to stand very, very close while speaking. And fix his lapels. And comment on his 'firm, muscular body'...Souji pushed that to the back of his mind, right in front of Mystery Food X, and soldiered on. His goal was growing closer with each passing day.
Slowly, with the ease that to anyone else would look like fate but was really the result of a lot of calm, calculated, and very long periods of hard work and tactics, job after job began to roll in. The tabloids had jumped on Risette and her rising star boyfriend with a ferocity he couldn't bring himself to be surprised about, and the stream of supportive texts from his friends back in Inaba only bolstered himself forward. Souji found himself happy for the first time in he-couldn't-remember-how-long; he had a purpose again, something that had lacked since the investigations, and this time it wasn't the dark, determined teeth-gritting intent to find a killer and bring him to justice. This was all for him, all for Rise. This was for love. It fulfiled him and made him happy to be able to flawlessly pull off role after role, no matter how minor, to really do something with his life that didn't involve sitting in front of a desk day after day. The bowlcut even made a few tentative steps into fashion but was quickly squelched. No-one else could really pull it off quite like he could.
Then there was the moment: his Big Break. Souji got the call late one day, an excited squeal resounding down the phone for a long time before Haruka-san, Rise's agent, could be heard attempting to calm the excitable idol.
"Hello, Haruka-san," Souji said, calmly. "Rise."
"Hello, Souji-san," returned the woman. He'd always admired how utterly unruffled Noriko Haruka was, no matter what life threw at him. He found himself sitting straight out of automatic habit, remembering the frightening glares she could level whenever he almost slouched. "I have your agent on the phone here as well. We have a proposition for you."
"Oh?" murmured Souji. Kinjikawa-san wasn't nearly in the same league as Haruka-san, but he was still very effective when it came to the actual job. Now if only he didn't insist on being called 'KT, Manager Extraordinaire and Star-Maker'. He really did have to have that talk with him about hubris. "And what's that?"
"A job offer, Seta," intercepted KT. Souji could almost see him adjusting those ridiculous sunglasses, fixing his attempt at a pompadour back into place. "How'd you like to do a movie with your cute little girlfriend here?"
Scuffling sounds came across the line before he could answer, Rise's voice cutting in; she was having an argument with her agent in the background before the conference button was finally stabbed, the idol giving an exaggerated sigh. It didn't last long before her enthusiasm bled through again, however, barely able to contain herself.
"They want us to do a movie together, senpai!" Rise said, the smile clear in her voice. "An action-romance, with us two as the stars!"
"That's right, Souji-san," added Haruka, making a quietly amused noise. "You've shown great promise, and the fans have been postulating about the possibility of you two acting off one another for some time. A romance film starring two lovers is the next logical step. And considering the physical adeptness you've shown in your other roles...well, it made 'Tides of Love: The Capsizing' a simple choice for KT and myself."
"It'll seriously raise your image, Seta," KT grinned, a scuffle of boots signalling his feet being swung up onto the desk. "Your first major picture, aside an idol, with all that underground following you've made coupled with Rise's fanbase...there's no way it could go wrong! You can't say no to an opportunity like this, so c'mon! Say yes already!"
"Allow him to speak for himself, KT," Haruka remprimanded. "It is his decision?"
"Well, senpai?" Rise interjected. Souji frowned; she sounded uncertain, for just a moment. "Do...do you think it's something we should do?"
Souji paused. This felt, more than anything, like when he and the team had stood in front of the giant, imposing form of Izanami. This was a precipice in his life, a turning point: after this, nothing would be the same. This was what he'd worked for...a chance to be the same as Rise, to be with Rise. A chance to realise the first true love he'd ever felt in his life.
"Yes," he said, simply. "I'll do it."
The rest, as they say, is history.