ArashiForYou (arashiforyou) wrote,

Play By Heart

Title: Play By Heart
By: arashiforyou
Genre: Romance/ Drama/ Angst/ AU/ Music
Rating: R
Pairing: Sakumiya (main)/ Jun x Kiko Mizuhara/ Aiba x Yuka/ Ohno x Minami Hinase (broken)
Summary: Nino is an autistic savant and a brilliant violinist. The only hard part for him and his sister, who takes care of him, is keeping a consistent and patient piano accompanist for Nino's performances. One day, Nino's sister finds Sakurai Sho, a man with a mysterious past but gifted in music. Together, the two musicians must learn to communicate with each other, live with each other, and possibly love each other.
Warnings: It's rated R for: sensual scenes (softporn), parenting struggles, sexual assault, divorce, character deaths, and mental disorders/illnesses.

Author Notes: Hi hi! i'm back with a new series! this has been on my mind for a long time, and i can finally share it with you all. just to keep in mind, this story will have quite a few different character POVs. but sakumiya is the main story. you'll see what i mean.
And seeing as this story is centered around music, i'll provide music videos for you to listen while reading. they will all be classical music, mostly violin and piano sonatas/concertos to set the mood. they are completely optional, but i hope you try to listen to them :3
for this chapter, here's the music reference: Mozart Violin Sonata No18 in G Major, K 301

Chapter 1 - Da Capo

Sachi sat in the balcony seats while her sweaty palms twisted the program brochure until it shredded like wet tissue paper. Her younger brother played elegantly on stage with his violin; the auditorium rang with sweet melodic music. Sachi saw Nino shut his eyes tight as his fingers frantically danced across the fingerboard, and his bow arm continued to swing with fierce velocity. But Sachi wasn't worried about her brother. He was perfect.

It was the piano accompaniment that made her sitting on the edge of her seat.

She watched the fat bald man sweating from his brow, and he gazed frequently back at Nino as if trying to telepathically tell the violinist to slow down. Sachi hoped the accompanist would keep up with Nino instead. For once the genius violinist started, there was no stopping him. So many pianists have tried to play along with Nino, but after only a month of practicing and performing, they would quit. It wasn't because of conflicting time schedules or money issues. It was because none had the patience to work with Nino and his autism.

At last, Nino played out the long final note on his violin until his bow lifted off the string. Sachi let out a shaky sigh of relief as the audience exploded with cheers and whistles. Nino had his eyes glued to his violin in a calm demeanor before he lowered his violin. The bald pianist, however, dabbed his forehead with a handkerchief before standing up to bow with Nino. Together, they walked off stage and the curtains closed. The concert was over.

Sachi quickly made her way backstage to find her brother sitting by himself with his head down and cleaning his instrument. Sachi sat next to him and smiled.

"You played beautifully, Nino," she complimented. "You were great."

Nino didn't reply back and kept wiping his strings with a red cloth, but Sachi knew her brother well enough. His lips perked up into a proudful smirk and faint wrinkles appeared at the corner of his eyes. He was happy as well.

"Sachi!" A voice boomed at her from across the room.

The older sister rolled her eyes before standing up. She left her brother to his violin and faced the beet-colored pianist alone.

"Dimitri," Sachi greeted.

"Can you explain to me why your brother decided to change tempo...IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PERFORMANCE?!" The man roared in English.

Sachi took a deep breath and kept her arms at her side. "You have practiced with Nino long enough to know how he behaves-"

"WE HAVE DRILLED FOR WEEKS!" The man continued to shout. A vein pulsated dangerously on his forehead. "THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME HE CHANGED THE PACE!"

"Dimitri, may I remind you that-"


And the fat bald man stormed out the backstage. Sachi couldn't have been more glad to get rid of the man. He had been nothing but a nuisance to her and made Nino extremely uncomfortable. She had only hired him because they needed a new pianist after the last one dropped out during the middle of Nino's Europe tour. But both pianists had no respect and no knowledge about Nino's needs. Only a few individuals understood Nino, and Sachi could count those people with only one hand. Ever since Nino started professionally performing and touring, not a single piano accompanist could communicate and collaborate effectively with him. How Sachi wished she could play the piano as good to save them the hassle, but she never had the musical gift as her brother.

Sachi glanced over her shoulder and watched Nino packing away his violin as if nothing happened. His Europe tour was finally over, and Sachi shoulders relaxed now that they're finally going back home to Japan. She walked back to Nino and touched his shoulder. He's only comfortable around her, and he only allowed Sachi to touch him. No one else could understand him like his sister. It's been like this since their parents died.

Sachi smiled. "Let's go home, Nino."

Nino glanced up at his sister at last. "Okay."


Kiko sat on the toilet seat cover in her pink and white pajamas. She heard the front door open, indicating her husband was back from work at his restaurant. She heard him calling out to her, but Kiko's main concern was the plastic tube laying flat on the counter top. She kept twitching her leg up and down while waiting for the results to show up.

After three minutes—she precisely counted with her phone—she grabbed the thin plastic tube and stared down at the small screen with an eager grin. Kiko glanced back at the box it came with and carefully read the instructions.

"One blue strip means...not pregnant," Kiko slouched, her grin fading away.

She flung the stupid pregnancy test tube back into the box and threw the whole thing in the trash bin. She swung the door wide open and retreated to the couch in the living room with her lips pouted. Her husband was in the kitchen grabbing himself a bottled drink when he saw Kiko pulling her legs up to hug them.

Jun sighed and closed the refrigerator door before walking over to Kiko. He set his drink down on the coffee table before sitting down next to her and draping his arm around her. Reluctantly, she leaned her head against his shoulder. Lips still pouting.

"What's wrong?" Jun asked softly.

"You know what's wrong," Kiko moaned. "I've bought three different kinds of pregnancy tests and they all showed up negative." She sat up and gazed at Jun with doubt. "We've tried for six months and nothing is working."

Jun glanced away and rubbed his face slowly. There were bags under his eyes, and Kiko noticed his hair looked thinner. They were both stressed out. When Kiko and Jun got married, they didn't put much thought about the trouble of making kids. Kiko wanted them, but the road has been crueler than she thought. Originally, their first assumption was that they weren't doing it at the right time, so they would only do it when she was ovulating. Then, she thought it was because she was too skinny. Kiko had worked as a model until she retired to be a magazine editor. Her body was still fairly thin, so she tried eating more to increase her body fat for regular ovulation. But she still looked the same and not pregnant. Then, Kiko tried taking fertility pills. At yet, the pregnancy tests still turned up with only one blue strip.

"Kiko," Jun said quietly, "I think...we should do what the doctors suggested and-"

"No!" Kiko frowned. "No, please don't say that. I don't like the idea of having our child fertilized outside of my body. And I don't want you to think this is your fault."

"But what if it is?" Jun insisted. "I can't stand to see you depressed like this." He held her hand and lowered his head to be at the same eye-level. "I'm not ashamed to admit if this is my problem. We have tried everything, and I know how much you're against surrogacy."

Kiko swallowed down a tight lump in her throat, but it was still there. "But...what if something goes wrong?"

"It will still be our child," Jun said, his smile reaching his eyes. "Isn't that what we both want the most?"

Kiko glanced up at her loving husband. They have reached their wits' end with no other options open for them. But if there was a glimmer of hope, she'll grasp for it. Kiko let out a weak smile and nodded before Jun pulled her close for a tight hug and a kiss on the top of her head. They have lived a steady life with steady income and held a wonderful home, but it was lonely with just the two of them. Kiko wanted a family of her own more than anything, and she wanted to share it with the love of her life. If her husband is with her, Kiko can overcome. She'll always have his support.

"Tomorrow, we'll call the clinic and submit our IVF request," Jun patted her head.


Three weeks passed since Sachi and Nino returned to Japan. Nino finally appeared more relaxed since their two-month summer Europe tour started back in June. But almost as soon as they returned home, Sachi received a request letter for Nino to hold another concert in Japan. Sachi almost ripped the envelope, but then she read through the letter. The collected money will be donated to the local hospital's pediatrics department, and it won't be held until next year. She pinched the bridge of her nose before she went to ask Nino.

But Nino always say yes to any concert, performance, or tour. So long as he gets to play his violin, Nino will be happy. The loud acoustics of a stadium never bothered him so long as he's the one playing the music. However, Nino doesn't like playing in an orchestra. They once tried to work with a symphony with Nino as the main soloist, but the rehearsals were a living nightmare. Nino got confused with so many instruments playing at once. He began to panic and tried to copy the other players with his violin instead of playing his part. In the end, Sachi only accepted (on behalf of her brother) solo concerts. But violins cannot professionally play by themselves. A piano accompaniment must be present as well. At least with a piano, Nino could play his violin in peace. But that still left them with one problem: they had no pianist.

But the fundraisers scheduled the concert until the fall of next year, so there was plenty of time until Sachi could hire a new pianist. However, calling the music college professors for requests almost always ended with short-lived partnerships. Most likely they'll recommend her another old piano player, and Sachi knew almost all of their tolerance levels. Low.

A loud banging came from the front door. Sachi walked towards the entrance and saw through the eyehole a stern-faced woman waiting outside. Sachi's lips curled grimly before they quickly retracted to kind smile, and she opened the door.

"Hello, Landlady," Sachi greeted. "How are you to-"

"Will you tell your brother to stop playing the violin?!" The stern woman fumed. "I have guests next door, and they're looking for a quiet place to live. Be quick about it!"

"...yes, Ma'am," Sachi mumbled and closed the door as kindly as she could.

Their other problem: they need to move out of their apartment.

Thanks to Nino's fame, they have more than enough money to buy a new house for themselves. Sachi has been saving and searching for a new home for a long time, but the only available slot for them was a new plot of land ready to be built on. It was the only option Sachi had that was in their price range and within close proximity to the city.

So Sachi bought the land and hired contractors more than four months ago, and it was finally near completion. Hopefully within the next few weeks, they can finally move out. Today happens to be the last overview she'll get to see until she moves in.

"Nino?" Sachi called out to her brother. "Nino, stop playing the violin."

She entered his bedroom just as Nino lowered his violin. He always looked attentive to her when she talks to him. He hardly does that with others. Socializing was never Nino's strong point, and neither was cleaning his room. Piles upon piles of books, music sheets, and CD cases filled almost every inch of the tiny room. Sachi barely had enough walking space, but she was used to it. Thank god they'll be moving to a bigger home.

"Today, I'm going to check our new house again. Do you want to come with me?"

Nino slowly packed his violin away before he replied. "Is it finished?"

"Not yet."

"I want to stay at home," Nino said, laying down on his bed. "I'll wait. It'll be too loud there with the construction workers."

Sachi nodded. "Alright then. I'll be back soon, but don't play your violin. The landlady will come back and yell again."

"...fine. I won't play the violin, or the landlady will yell again," Nino repeated, sounding a little saddened.

Sachi felt a tinge of guilt. "How about on Friday we can go to the park?" Sachi said, trying to cheer him up. "I'll buy you ice cream like I always do."

Nino sat up with his lips pursed to hide his smile. "Yeah, okay."

Sachi watched her younger brother pulled out his sticker collection and headed towards his special calendar on the wall. Colorful stickers marked important dates: concert day, new song day, favorite meal day, park day. With an ice cream sticker, he carefully placed it on the following Friday as a promise for a fun day. When Nino was little, Sachi would worry about leaving him alone at home. But the man was already in his thirties and preferred staying indoors. But she couldn't help but continue to dote on him as if he was still a six-year-old.

The drive to the new house wasn't that long, but the winding road was a lot narrower than the main highway, slowing down Sachi's driving speed. Forest paths intercepted with the narrow road every so often for jogglers, but not many people lived in this neighborhood. The quietness was key; it will help Nino feel at peace. It was as if she entered a new fantasy land until the house greeted her around a bend of trees. It looked lovely already. The walls and roofings were in place as well as the windows, but the doors were still not attached. They saved that later so they could fit in the larger furniture and utilities.

When she pulled up to the driveway, she saw a truck with a music logo printed on the side parked at the curb.

"Oh, that's right," Sachi mumbled to herself. "They're moving in the piano."

Sachi made her way inside and spotted a few men busy at work. She wanted to see the practice room, but the head contractor approached her and started talking about their progress. The house looked good and was ahead of schedule. Outside, the house looked like a traditional Japanese house with clay roof tiles and the illusion of a second floor, but Sachi requested a single-floored Western interior design with a modern kitchen, partially carpeted and wooden floors, and open rooms except for the bedrooms and bathroom that had regular doorknobs.

If they keep up this pace with perfect weather, they could finish within a week. Sachi took the time to explore around her new home. It was cozy with everything they needed, and the high ceilings were perfect for acoustic soundings. Sachi also requested to have a third bedroom in case they ever have guests over. Even though Nino never liked guests...

"It's truly been an honor working for you, Ninomiya-san," the contractor said. "My daughters are in junior high, and they admire your brother's performances."

"Oh, thank you," Sachi bowed her head. "Do they play instruments as well?" But she immediately regretted asking.

"Yes!" The father grinned enthusiastically. "Ai plays the flute, and Mai plays the clarinet. I attended to all their concerts and bring my camera-"

A piano melody echoed down the hall. The contractor continued to chat, but Sachi's ears focused on the music coming from the practice room. It was soft and euphonic...but also sad. She had heard of that piece before. Nino played it the first time he picked up a violin after hearing it on TV. Sachi excused herself from the contractor (who continued chatting about his prized daughters to a nearby worker) and followed the sound.

She entered the practice room and saw her ordered studio piano placed against the wall. The man playing had his back towards her. He wore his construction helmet, jeans, and a dirty white T-shirt dabbled with drywall dust. He was alone in the room and completely absorbed into the piano; he didn't hear her enter. Soon, the sad melody changed to a cheerful tempo. His fingers moved deftly across the keys, and he shook his head with the music.

Sachi stood there and continued to watch, completely captivated. It was like watching Nino play. There was no sense of holding back, restriction, or forced concentration. The man played naturally as if he was one with the piano. The music seemed to flood the room. None of the workers that walked by didn't stop to pay attention, but Sachi caught them smiling in their direction. It wasn't the first time this man played while on the job, but no one complained about it. Sachi closed her eyes and pictured raindrops softly pattering on glass windows. There were dark clouds on the horizon, but occasionally a few streaks of sunlight with peek through. Even within a dark setting, there was still hope...

When the man stopped, Sachi applauded to him. The man jolted in his seat and turned around with wide eyes. He was young, or at least, he looked around Nino's age. Some dirt and grease covered his cheeks and forehead, and sweat matted down his thick hair. But he was handsome.

"That was beautiful," Sachi approached him. "What is your name?"

The man hastily stood up. "...Sakurai Sho."

She held out her hand. "I'm Ninomiya Sachi. Sister to the violinist Ninomiya Kazunari."

"Oh, of course," Sho shook hands with her. "The boss never stopped talking about how we're building for the great Ninomiya. It is a pleasure to meet you."

"Tell me, young man, where did you learn to play like that?"

"What...that?" Sho glanced back at the piano. "I, uh, used to be a part-time piano teacher. But I needed this job...and now I'm working as a construction worker."

Sachi shook her head, pouting, and her eyebrows turned up. "Such talent is wasted. Believe me, I know talent. Are you interested in resuming back to playing the piano?"

The man chuckled and bent over to pick up a large white cloth to cover it over the piano. "I can't go back to teaching. I'm situated where I am, and I'm fine with it." He left the practice room.

"I don't mean teaching," Sachi persisted after Sho. "Clearly, you are skilled in music. How would you like to meet my brother? He is looking for a new piano accompanist, and I'm sure he would love to have you as his-"

"I know about your brother," Sho said, not making eye contact and turning away from her whenever she tried to step in front of him. "He's a genius violin player with autism and has done tours since he was sixteen. I think a professional like him should have a professional pianist. I actually haven't played in nearly three years." Sachi was hot on his tail until he finally turned to face her. "I'm sorry, but I'll pass." And he walked out the front door.

Sachi shadowed him. "How about I invite you over for dinner?"


"When our house is finished, come meet my brother. I know you two will talk the same language. Music. You don't have to be his accompanist, but just...hear him play."

"I don't think-"

Sachi cut right in front of him again and glared hard. "I make a mean pot stew."

As if food was a deciding factor, Sho folded his arms and frowned deeply. He had his eyes closed while groaning and humming to himself for long seconds until he relaxed his shoulders. His expression softened, and he focused back on the older woman in front of him.

"One dinner," he held up his index finger.

She reached for his hands and shook them vigorously. "Thank you, Sakurai! You won't regret it!"


There was a loud banging at Ohno's door that stirred him out of his sleep. His sleepy eyes gazed at the clock and read five minutes after five in the morning. Ohno thought he might have heard things, so his head planted back into his sunken couch pillow.

Someone was now hammering at his door.

Grumbling and cursing under his breath, Ohno forced himself to get up to see who would disturb his sleep. He almost tripped on the paintbrushes littered on the tatami floor, but he regained himself with a blank canvas board. He rubbed his eyes and yawned. When he was about to open the door, he heard a baby crying outside.

Ohno became more awake, and his heart sank as his brain started jogging what that noise meant.

He flung the door open and saw no one outside but a small boy crying inside a large shopping bag.

"No..." Ohno sighed, leaning over to see if he could spot someone exiting down the metal staircase. ""

The boy started crying even louder when his eyes met Ohno's. The child looked to be around two years of age, but his cries still sounded like a baby to the struggling artist. There was no way Ohno could leave him outside or the child will wake up the neighbors. Ohno quickly scooped up the boy into his arms and lifted the shopping bag as well. Ohno closed the door behind him with his foot and carefully made his way into the living room. The child screamed at his ear with eyes rosy red and snot dripping from the nose. Ohno laid the child down on his couch/bed and tried to calm the boy down. But the boy only rolled onto his belly and soaked the cushions with his tears.

"Shhh!" Ohno hushed. "Shhh! Don't cry! Don't cry...please."

"Mama!" The child wailed. "Mama! MAMAAAA!"

Ohno searched through the shopping bag and saw a small amount of baby supplies, but his eyes drew towards a single Post-it note on a bottle. Ohno brought the note close to his face to read it despite the lack of light in the room.

"Take care of your son.
- Minami."

"Shit!" Ohno hissed and crushed the note in his palm.

The boy's crying sounded painful to Ohno's ears as if he cried over a broken heart. Ohno frantically dug through the bag. There was one toy car, and Ohno brought it out. He made a tired smile at the child and waved the toy car, but the boy knocked the plastic toy out of Ohno's hands and continued to scream.

"Please don't cry," Ohno begged, rubbing the child's back. "Please! Stop crying..."

After an hour, the boy calmed down thanks to Ohno's back rubs, or possibly because he exhausted himself from crying too much. When Ohno was sure the boy cried himself to sleep, Ohno stood up and called his ex-wife.

"We're sorry. The number you have dialed is unavailable-"

"What?" Ohno frowned and punched in the numbers again.

"We're sorry. The number you have dialed-"

"Why not?!" Ohno murmured angrily.

She had truly abandoned her son to him. Ohno had never met the boy. He left his wife while she was still into her pregnancy. A friend told him she took care of the child even after the incident. Ohno's only knowledge about raising a child was feeding it when it's hungry. But he didn't know what's the right foods for them, how much they eat, how to change diapers, or what to do with them during the rest of their waking hours. Why now did she decided to dump him at Ohno's doorstep?

Ohno slowly walked back to the couch and slumped down on the floor, gazing at the sleeping child. The boy didn't had any resemblance to him, and Ohno had his doubts...


The house was absolutely perfect. They finally had more space, and with their furniture in place, Sachi felt really cozy. Nino didn't show much expression, but she saw how much Nino was enjoying himself as well. He would spend longer minutes in their new shower, and he played his violin even longer in the new practice room. He even took precious time to organize all of his music collection on his new bookshelf. No landlady was there to yell at him to stop, and Sachi didn't have to deal with annoying fans stalking them at night.

But Nino never touched their new piano.

A week passed since they settled in, and Sachi made the call to Sho to invite him for dinner. She told Nino they'll be having a guest over, but her younger brother didn't reply. She hoped it wouldn't be an awkward night. Nino doesn't mind eating out with famous composers, musicians, or other pianists from around the world. And he would maintain conversation when he needed to, but Nino complained to Sachi how he doesn't want to do it again. He generally behaves like a proper gentleman around others. But when visitors come to their home, things could get ugly.

The last time Sachi invited a friend over for dinner, Nino threw a fit and ran to his room. He can not stand new people coming into his space. He hates change to the most minuscule things. Every day, Nino starts his practice at one in the afternoon. Whatever it may be, he'll drop what he's doing and find his violin. His internal clock screams to him to play at precisely one o'clock. One time when they were shopping, Sachi forgot his one o'clock schedule, and he moaned and begged and whined all day like a spoiled child until they got back home.

Sachi prayed that Nino grew out of his fits and will behave tonight.

The doorbell rang.

When Sachi opened the door, her eyebrows jumped up at the sight of a freshly dressed Sho. The image of him dirty and in construction clothes had burned into her mind. Now seeing him in a clean pair of jeans, a polo shirt, combed hair, and boat shoes made him appear like a new person. Sachi could have mistaken him for a scholarly man instead of a construction worker.

"Hello, Sakurai! Come on in," Sachi greeted.

"It's perfectly fine to call me Sho," the man bowed his way in.

"Then you may call me Sachi," she replied. "Let me introduce you to my brother. He's in the living room."

Nino slouched in his seat while watching the television. He didn't look up even as they entered the room. Sachi held her breath for a few seconds until he cleared her throat loudly.

"Nino, our guest is here," Sachi said.

Her brother finally glanced up, but his eyes quickly veered away when he saw Sho. After a while, the young man stood up and approached them with his gaze looking away from Sho.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ninomiya," Sho greeted and held out his hand. "My name is Sakurai Sho."

"...I am Nino."

Sachi nearly gasped as she watched her brother reached out and shook hands. She had never seen her brother shake hands with anyone on their first meet...

No one said a word for a long time. The only sounds came from the TV and game show that continuously played a jingle. Sachi glanced back and forth between Sho and Nino, wondering what was on either of the minds. She spotted Sho glancing at the television for a brief second before he puffed up his chest.

"So," Sho spoke up at last and rubbing his hands, "where's that mean pot stew you mentioned?"

Throughout dinner, Nino never spoke a word. He would nibble at his rice, occasionally look off to the side and be fixated at the pepper shaker, then resume back to eating. Sho, on the other hand, spoke softly and never raised his voice. It must be why Nino didn't seem as jittery as before whenever Sachi brought over a guest. When they had dinner with Dimitri for the first time, he was loud and obnoxious. Nino frowned throughout that time. But now, Nino looked calm and comfortable but bored. Sho would even try to bring Nino into the conversation.

"I'm glad the house turned out the way you wanted it," Sho smiled. "I took a certain liking to the practice room. How has it been doing for you, Nino?"

Nino didn't make eye contact as he answered bluntly. "It's fine."

"I see," Sho nodded, not looking offended at all.

"How gentle," Sachi thought.

Her eyes continued to flick back and forth between the two. In all her years caring for her brother, she had never seen Nino looked so relaxed since meeting a new stranger in their home. Usually after five minutes, Nino would rush to his room and drown them out with his violin. Or if they were at a public gathering, Nino would start frowning deeply. But this time he stayed at the dinner table as if the change didn't bother him at all.

"So...N-nino," Sho spoke again, "...uh, it is really alright if I call you Nino?"


"Okay...Nino...may I ask what made you to decide to play the violin?"

Nino chewed his piece of meat slowly before answering. "I like string music. I can play any set."


Sachi interrupted. "He means the music pieces. Like the combination of notes. Nino is left-handed. So he's able to move his fingers faster on the violin."

The former piano player nodded. "Oh."

"He was six when he first played the violin," Sachi continued, her stomach now fluttering with pride. "He listened to one of my Beethoven CDs once, and he already memorized it."


"I was so shocked when I found out he could do that," Sachi grinned. "Since then, I've been managing all of his performances."

"You two are especially close, huh?" Sho said, turning his gaze back at Nino. "If you don't mind, I would like to see Nino's gift in action."

"Ah, sure! Why not?" Sachi said, standing up. "I'll take your plates away."

Nino immediately stood up as well and walked down the hall towards the practice room. Sachi quickly placed the dirty dishes in the sink before following them. Nino already had his violin out as if he couldn't wait to start playing. Sachi leaned against the wall and watched her brother carefully wipe down his instrument. Sho sat down on the piano bench and watched; his brows slightly raised with fascination. Nino placed the violin on his shoulder and began fine tuning as part of his routine.

Finally, Nino started playing. It was a cheerful and carefree tone, light and airy. That's when Sachi recognized it as the jingle from the television. Sho's eyes widen and his mouth was slightly slack-jawed in awe. Nino continued to play the same tune over and over until it changed. Nino started adding new notes into the jingle. The song became more complicated and tricky, yet it still maintained its cheerful melody. There were no hiccups, no fumbling of his fingers, and not once was it practiced prior. Nino created his own rendition of the jingle right before their very eyes.

When Nino stopped, and Sachi was about to applaud when she heard a note rang from the piano. Sho turned to face the studio piano and played with his right hand. Sho echoed the jingle in its simplest form. Nino lowered his violin and watched Sho. Sachi was sure she saw dog ears pricked up on her brother's head; she covered her mouth to hide her amusement. The pianist continued to play the same melody with his right hand. He also had the gift of playing by ear, but the jingle was so simple, even Sachi was sure she could get it after a few tries.

Then, Nino approached Sho and sat down next to him on the bench. Sachi's heart pounded against her chest as she watched her brother lean close to watch Sho's hand. The older man didn't seem to mind Nino's closeness, but he pointed at Nino to place his hand on the piano as well.

"Watch how my fingers move," Sho said gently.

Sho plucked the same notes, and Nino watched intensely. For years, Nino had never touched any instrument other than the violin. Even though Nino collected music books of other instruments, he was completely bias to his violin. Sachi bought the new piano so she could hire a pianist to visit them instead of having to commute Nino frequently to a studio. Her brother had always made a fuss about not wanting to leave the house to meet with his accompanist. And no doubt, the trouble to travel back and forth everyday gave Sachi headaches.

She could see this was a good investment. Nino instantly taken an interest in Sho's playing. With his right hand, Nino copied Sho's movements until he played faster and faster. Nino leaned down so close to the keys, Sachi worried he'll have back and neck pains the next morning. Then, Sho lifted his left hand and played a new set of notes. Nino immediately stopped and watched Sho play with both hands. It wasn't as intricate as Nino's solo creation, but the simple harmony chord worked just as well to the main melody.

Nino shook his head and grabbed his hair, groaning. Playing music notes with two hands was something he never done before. With his violin, his left hand controlled the notes. His bow arm was only a means of articulation and amplification to resonate his music. For Nino, it wasn't the same. Sho backed his hands away from the piano when he sensed Nino's distress.

"I'm sorry," Sho said. "Do you want me to play slower?"

"Yes, play slower."

Sho lowered his left hand and played the harmony part. Nino spend a longer time watching and listening to the harmony than the melody. Sachi was absolutely fascinated with Sho's patience and sensitivity. He never touched Nino, only pointed where Nino should place his fingers on the keys. He never raised his voice when Nino struggled to play three notes at a time for the harmony. Sachi saw a wonderful piano instructor.

"Why did he quit?"

After a couple of tries, Nino finally played with two hands. But he still played the melody hand a lot faster than his harmony hand. Nino groaned even louder as soon as he heard the music beginning to sound mismatched.

"I can't play this," Nino dropped his hands to his lap. "I hear it, but why can't I play it?"

"You're focusing too much on your violin part," Sho spoke at last. "Your right hand is like your violin. The left hand is me...the piano part."

Nino made eye contact with Sho for the first time. "You're playing the piano part?"

"Think of it like your concerts," Sho explained. "Your piano accompanist is your harmony. If you don't listen to the harmony, the melody will sound distorted." Sho placed his hands on the keys again. "The right hand is the melody. The violin part. The left hand is the harmony or the piano part." Sho played the jingle one last time and smiled at Nino. "Only when they work together, do they sound right."

"I...I understand," Nino nodded to himself. "I mean, I know because I play the violin. It makes sense to me, and I do understand the importance of harmony. But I'm more focused on my violin that I don't always listen to the piano. That's why I couldn't do it...will you help me?"

Sho blinked a few times, and his smile slowly faded. "Help you play the piano?"

"Help me understand the harmony better," Nino said. "I need to know these sets."

"Yes, please," Sachi approached them. "Please be Nino's piano accompanist." And she bowed.

Sho stood up, shaking his head and hands at them. "I'm sorry, I-I can't. I mean, uh, it's just-"

"I'm willing to pay more than your construction job," Sachi raised her head. "If you want, I'll even cook for you to come and spend more time with Nino."

The man still didn't look convinced. "No, I-I'm sorry."

Sho hurried his way out the practice room, but Sachi went after him. Nino remained behind and staring down at the piano. Sho was already outside, but Sachi called out to him at the front door.

"Wait! Please reconsider. Nino has never been open to strangers but you! He's not bothered by you, and neither am I. Will you think about it at least?"

The man's shoulders seemed more droopy than usual. Sho sighed heavily and turned to face her. There was such sadness in his eyes, Sachi could almost feel his pain.

"I can't go back to teaching," Sho murmured. "I shouldn't be playing the piano again."

"Sho? What do you mean?"

"I wouldn't want me around if you knew about me."

"Why?" Sachi narrowed her eyes. "Have you...commit some crime? Are you a robber?"


"Did you killed someone?"

"Of course, not!"

Sachi placed her hands on her hips. "Sho, when I said I'm willing to pay you more than your construction job, I meant it. I am serious about this. I want you to work with Nino. I am hiring you, so at least tell me the reason why won't you accept my offer?"

Sho sighed, dropping his gaze and twiddling with his wristwatch. "I...I'm a sex offender."

end of chapter!

To Chapter 2 >>

well, so much for mysterious past XD

so you see what i mean when i said that sakumiya is the main story even though there a multiple stories happening. for now, it may seem like the other characters are having their own separate stories. but later on, they will all mingle and come together more or less. i got inspired by the game of thrones books and how the author character hops each chapter. (though i won't do as many characters as martin does XD). aiba will make his appearance in the next update

also, you might have figured it out, but ninomiya sachi is my own fictional character. since i know next to nothing to nino's real sister, i'm making up my own. she's a good 10 years older than nino. (instead of rl sister. i think she's 2 years older). also, why is sachi, a ninomiya, calling her brother nino? i read somewhere that nino said even his family calls him nino? frankly it's easier to write this way XD

so about nino. i made him a savant with autism. and because autism has such a broad range of behaviors, i'm not really going to specify his abilities and limits here. i'll let the story unfold all that :3

so i hope you'll enjoy it!


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