Genre: Romance/ Drama/ Angst/ AU/ Music
Pairings: 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 finding a consistent and patient piano accompanist for Nino's solo 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 other, live with each other, and possible love each other.
Warnings: It's rated R for: sensual scenes (softporn), parenting struggles, sexual assault, divorce, character deaths, and mental disorders/illnesses.
Author Note: the past chapters have been trending lightly. but now we're finally stepping into PG13 zone. eventually, the story will hit its rated R moments, but until then Enjoy!
Music reference (since it's rather short, consider having it on repeat): Beethoven "Sonata Pathétique" 2nd Movement, Adagio Cantabile
Chapter 5 - Adagio
"Number 25," the overhead speaker announced.
Jun set the magazine back on the shelf before heading for the pharmacy stand. After going through identification and paying the pharmacist, Jun left the store with Kiko's prescription. Kiko already went home because her headache got worse, thus Jun waited for the order.
He unlocked his front door and found the lights turned off. A bundle of blankets huddled on the couch, and it gently rose up and down as if it was alive. Jun eased himself on the floor next to the couch and carefully peeled back the layers. Kiko's face appeared under the sheets looking exhausted.
"I brought you the medicine," Jun whispered, pulling out the tablet bottle. "I'll get some water."
Kiko barely had the strength to nod or reply back, but Jun saw her slow blink and took that as a response. Jun quickly, and quietly, walked back to the kitchen to pour a glass of water. He returned to see Kiko trying to open the prescription bottle, but she couldn't hold a strong grip around the cap.
Jun set down the glass on the coffee table. "Here." He took the bottle off her hands and twisted it open. Carefully reading the label, he counted the right amount of pills and set them next to the glass of water. He pulled back the remaining blankets off his wife and helped her sit up straight.
"Jun...not so fast," Kiko moaned, holding her head. "I feel a little dizzy."
"I'm sorry," he knelt in front of her and slowly rubbed her temples. "Just lean back. I have the medicine ready."
Kiko made a contorted expression while wrapping her arm around her baby bump. Jun held the back of her head and eased her against the couch before scooping up the pills and dropping them into her palm. She popped the pills in her mouth, and Jun brought the glass of water to her lips until she pushed it away.
"I'm sorry I made you wait for so long," Jun sighed and sat next to her. "The pharmacist was taking too long."
Kiko started groaning even more and began leaning to the side. She used his lap as her pillow as she continued to clutch around her belly. "It hurts. These cramps hurt."
Jun brushed her hair away from her face and neck, hoping it'll help cool her down. "Just rest now. Everything...everything will be alright."
"Tell me a story," Kiko said. "A happy story. Something to get my mind off my high blood pressure."
Jun's eyes wandered around the dark living room. His mind raced to find a decent story to tell his wife until a memory flicked inside his brain. He started with a smile.
"Do you remember how I asked you out for our first date?"
Kiko managed to let out a low chuckle. "I remember. You were completely drenched in your suit, and yet the two Ninomiya concert tickets were crispy clean and dry."
"Yeah, well...I never told you how I got those tickets," Jun said. "When you first told me you were a fan of Nino, I'm going to be honest, I never knew who he was until you told me."
"Really?!" Kiko giggled. "So you lied to me that time when you said you admire his work?"
"Yeah, I lied," Jun nodded while petting her hair. "I only wanted to impress you."
"You fooled me then."
"But I wanted to show you how serious I was," Jun continued. "So I researched all that I could about Nino that night so I could continue the conversation the next day. I'm glad I stayed up until three in the morning for that." Jun's gaze drifted to the wall across from him, but his mind saw a distance and happy past. "My friends invited me to the summer festival even though I didn't want to go. But then I saw a wheel lottery for expensive prizes. One of them was the Nino tickets. When I saw them, I knew I had to get them."
"How did you win?"
"How do you think? By turning that blasted wheel all night!"
Kiko gasped. "You stayed all night?!"
"It was starting to rain too," Jun added. "My friends abandoned me, and my wallet was slowly depleting for trying so many times. The game host even felt sorry for me and begged me to stop. But I told him to let me spin the wheel again. No one was around since they all retreated for shelter. I stayed. Getting soaking wet and turning that wheel until finally," Jun leaned over to gaze lovingly down at his wife, "I won it."
Kiko's eyes looked softer than earlier, and a faint smile appeared on her lips.
"The game host was kind enough to put the tickets inside a plastic protection cover from the rain, and I raced back to your house," Jun sighed. "I didn't know what I was thinking. I should have waited until the next day when I was dry and at least more presentable. But I was just...so happy to finally win those tickets. I wanted to immediately give them to you. So I asked you out...in the heat of the moment."
Kiko slapped his knee, but her low strength was hardly effective on Jun. "You slugger. You've always been thinking of me."
"Naturally," Jun said smugly.
Kiko pushed herself off to stare back at her husband. "What would I do without you?"
Jun didn't reply back. Instead, he brought his lips to her forehead before he carried her to their bedroom. He laid her down on the bed and crawled in next to her. Kiko rolled to her side and lifted her oversize T-shirt to reveal her rounded belly. Jun ran his hand along her smooth skin, hoping he could feel some movement. Kiko quickly feel asleep, and Jun's calm expression slowly faded into a worried look. He draped his arm around her shoulder and scrunched his brow.
"Please..." Jun mouthed, "...please be okay..."
Sho listened intensely as Nino charade a difficult tune on his violin. Sho's brow furrowed as he hummed back the jingle; it sounded so familiar, yet Sho can't put a name to it.
"One more," Sho begged.
"One more," Nino repeated Sho's words.
The pianist took a deep breath and shut his eyes tight to remove any distractions. Nino fiddled across his violin even faster than before until the jingle stopped. When Sho opened his eyes, he stared back at an eager man with a lively smile on his face. Nino's cheeks were slightly red, but Sho was to blame for that since he bought a bottle of wine. But playing musical charades was fun, and a little alcohol helped lighten the mood as well.
"It's something to do with the weather," Sho mumbled, trying to egg out a clue from Nino.
The brilliant violinist didn't utter a word. However, Nino's eyes were wide with excitement. Sho could sense he was close.
"A weather announcement," Sho smiled wider when he saw Nino holding back his giggling. Sho repeated the tune again, waving around his hands in a slightly drunk manner, until his brain clicked. "A typhoon warning!"
Sho clapped his hands in amusement. "I was about to say tsunami too!"
"Your turn," Nino urged as he set his violin down and took another sip of his drink.
Sho noticed Nino swaying a bit more than usual, and his face turned a darker shade of red every ten minutes. "I think you should stop drinking now."
"But I like it," Nino answered. "I feel...I feel I can talk more. It's the New Years, so play the piano already. It's your turn."
"Okay, one last time," Sho nodded.
He swallowed another gulp of his wine before turning back to face the piano keys. The alcohol already slowed his fingers, but he could still play something. At this point, trumping Nino would give Sho great pleasure. But even slightly drunk, Nino was able to guess what song Sho played on the first try. The man's mental library was immense; Sho's knowledge was minuscule in comparison.
He plucked three notes.
"I win!" Nino cheered. "Because I know everything. I know all the sets and every melody. Therefore, I win!" Nino pumped his fist up in victory before sitting down next to Sho on the piano bench. "Sachi hardly lets me drink alcohol. I mean, I get drunk easily, but it's not like I'm going to get worse." Nino spun his legs around to face the piano. "Now, show me how to play a piece."
Sho couldn't hold back his smug pout. "As drunk as you are, you probably won't remember."
Nino narrowed his eyes at Sho but mimic the pianist's earlier pout. "Don't underestimate me when it comes to music." Nino tapped his temple. "It's all locked away in here. Besides, I'm not that drunk. Now show me."
Sho chuckled but set his hands down on the piano. "There's this one song I particularly like."
He exhaled a long quiet breathe before he began playing the main melody with his right hand. Nino listened quietly as Sho added in the harmony part. Even though his belly grew warmer and his body movements gradually became slower, Sho played through the song perfectly.
"Beethoven's Sonata Pathétique Adagio cantabile," Nino recited. He raised his eyebrow at Sho. "I could play the melody part on my violin with my eyes closed."
"You like Beethoven too?"
Nino gasped at him as if he said something absurd. "Like him? He was a genius like me! I know this because his music is different from the way the others play. He has a story in his music, and I can understand every note at the precise moment when he plays them."
Sho watched amusingly as Nino held his hands out as if to describe Beethoven's music physically.
"You cannot just listen to his music and feel nothing!" Nino continued his musical rant. "He's not some snobbish jerk like Mozart—though I do love playing Mozart—and he's not some demanding perfectionist like Bach—but I love playing Bach."
"So what makes Beethoven so different?" Sho asked, reaching for his glass.
"I can see his life," Nino uttered dramatically. "The man is not just composing music because it's his job. He's doing it to tell others his story. That's why when the audience doesn't pay attention to his piece, he would walk off stage in the middle of his performance, and I support that. The man is a storyteller. If no one is going to listen to him, why should he bother to continue playing for them? And every time I play the violin, I can make renditions of it as much as I want...because it's a story! Stories can be molded and shaped to the way you want it to be told. Music is the same."
Sho stared back at Nino over the rim of his glass. "So that's how you were able to understand me?"
Nino lowered his gaze. "In a way...yes. But you need to work on your story skills."
"You mean my playing skill," Sho snorted.
"Ah, so you finally realized it?"
Sho clicked his tongue, but Nino ducked away from Sho's playful incoming hand. "Do you want to know how to play the piano or not?"
"Wait," Nino stood up and wobbled a bit. "Let me get my cup."
Nino gulped down the last of his beverage before fumbled his way back towards Sho. Suddenly, Nino slumped almost all of his upper body onto Sho's shoulders.
"Whoa, Nino!" Sho quickly held onto the violinist. "You're really drunk now. I shouldn't have poured you that last glass."
"One more piano piece..."
"You know what, I think you've had enough. Come on. You should go to bed."
But Nino's eyes were already closed, and his arm draped across Sho's lap. His face pressed against Sho's shoulder until his cheek pulled up to reveal a small gaping mouth. Nino's next words were only grumbles and groans. Sho pulled Nino to his feet, but the man was practically deadweight on Sho.
"Let's go," the pianist sighed.
Sho placed Nino's arm around his neck and heaved the drunken man up. Nino made a protesting moan, but Sho proceeded and half-dragged Nino down the hall. Nino's breath was close to Sho's face, and Sho turned his head away from the wretched stench. Nino's legs were jelly, but Sho kept a firm hold around Nino's waist.
Finally, they arrived at Nino's bedroom. Not bothering to be gentle anymore, Sho hurled Nino onto the bed with a heavy huff. Nino didn't seem to care and immediately went to sleep. His left leg and arm were still dangling from the edge, and his neck would hurt in the morning if it stayed that bent. Sho grunted in the dark and helped set Nino's body in a more comfortable position.
When he readjusted Nino's head onto the pillow, Sho spotted something sticking out from under the pillowcase. Sho reached under and pulled out a magazine.
"What's this?" Sho mumbled to himself.
It was an ANAN magazine. Every other page was a male model in a stunning suit or a tight-fitting clothes. A couple of pages were pictures of cars, articles about men's health, or updates on new releases that came out years ago. But Sho noticed some pages were ticked. Especially the pages of half-naked men.
"Nino looks at this stuff?" Sho whispered to him in shock.
He glanced down at the sleeping violinist whose mouth was slightly open. Judging from the page wear, Nino had this magazine for a while. Did Sachi knew about this? It never occur to Sho what was Nino's sexual preference, and perhaps Sachi never touched on the subject either. Sho closed the magazine and placed it besides Nino's pillow where it wouldn't disturb his neck. If Nino hid it, then the man didn't want to mention it.
Nino suddenly groaned in his sleep and swung his arms over his head before he stopped moving. His T-shirt rode up to show his pale fleshy midriff. Sho inhaled sharply. Laying down, Nino's waist looked flatter. Sho could easily wrap his arms around it. The softness of Nino's skin came back to Sho's mind; he wondered if Nino's stomach was just as smooth...
Sho hurried out the door and made his way toward his bedroom. He didn't bother to wash up, and he collapsed on his bed. What is the matter with him? He promised Sachi he wouldn't do anything, and Sho didn't have any intentions to approach Nino sexually in the first place. He was here purely for work. As soon as Sachi returns from her business trip, Sho can go back to visiting Nino only for a few hours.
Sho rolled to his side, snugging the blanket close to his body, and closed his eyes.
Suddenly, he heard his door creaking open. The hallway light spilled into his room, but the light never reached his bed, so Sho pretend he was still asleep. He recognized Nino's footsteps across the hardwood floor until they stopped at the foot of his bed.
Sho lifted his head up, but his eyes gradually widen. His heart stopped. Nino stood completely naked and staring back at Sho. The pianist couldn't even utter a word; his jaw was stuck open. Nino's skin gave off a healthy glow against the hallway light, and his face was no longer drunk red. His body looked so clean, and Nino made a sly smile as he crawled into Sho's bed. His heart leaped to his throat, and he tried to back away from the naked man. But Nino kept advancing until he had Sho trapped under him. Sho never saw that expression before.
"Nino...wha-what are you..."
The violinist placed a finger on Sho's lips, and Nino traced along Sho's chin and down his neck. The roughness of Nino's callus was even to send shivers along Sho's skin and making his hair stand. Nino sat on Sho's lap and reached for Sho's hand. He guided it to touch along his bare thigh. As if his body was responding on its own, Sho placed his other hand on Nino's hip and caressed his way around to Nino's rear.
Nino rolled his head back as Sho hands traced along Nino's chest, across the nipples, over the collarbone, and down the arms. The heat rose in Sho's stomach, and his mouth was still partly open. Nino seemed caught up in the moment as well. Grinding against Sho's cotton pants, exposing his neck, and ruffling his hair in a seductive dance.
Sho wanted more...he wanted more...
Everything seemed like a blur. A fog. Sho was tasting him, and yet it didn't felt lasting. There was warmth, but it felt superficial. He saw Nino's naked body underneath him, but Sho wasn't really seeing anything. The tears in Nino's eyes looked so real and beautiful, their fingers locked tight and Sho's bare chest pressed close to Nino, but the sensation left him dissatisfied. Soon, Nino started fading. His gasps became an echo. Light hit Sho's eyelids, and he squinted them open. He was still fully clothed in bed, and his bedroom door was still closed.
Sho groaned into his hands. "It was just a dream."
Even though his eyelids still felt heavy, and his head still swimming, Sho could feel his heart thumped against his chest. It's been a long time since Sho had a sex dream...
The snow had finally let up. Even though the sky was still a little cloudy, stretching their legs and breathing in fresh air would be good for both of them at the park. Ever since he finally found a part-time job at the fishing auction warehouse, Ohno rarely gets time to spend with his son. He actually missed cooking meals for Kenta, changing Kenta's diapers, and even bathing with Kenta. He's truly grateful for his mother's help, but this time around Ohno wanted to play with Kenta in the snow.
"Kenta," Ohno said. "Let's play outside!"
The little two-year-old didn't reply back but continue to play with his toy cars. Ohno smirked anyway and opened the closet. Ohno became used to Kenta's lack of response; it never bothered him whenever Kenta gave him dead silence as his answer. He reached for a bag and began packing things he would need: extra clothes, tissues, bubble bottles and wands to play, and a small first aid kit.
"Ah, the diapers," Ohno mumbled to himself. He picked up Kenta from the floor and brought the boy's butt close to his nose. "Still clean...but just in case."
Ohno carefully set Kenta down before returning back to the closet for extra diapers. As he reached the baby powder, his hand knocked over a blank canvas and his old paintbrushes came rolling out. Ohno bent down to pick them up, but one of the brushes reached Kenta's leg.
Kenta glanced down at the paintbrush and picked it up. There was still old paint on the wooden handle, but Kenta continued to roll the stick in his hands as if the brush was already a portrait. Ohno squatted down next to him, making sure the boy didn't put the brush near his mouth. Kenta saw the other brushes in Ohno's hand, and his tiny hand immediately reached out to them.
"You wanna paint?" Ohno asked. "We can paint in the park."
Kenta started squealing and babbling happily. Ohno took that as an exciting yes. He searched back inside his closet for a smaller canvas and instead found a drawing pad and some colored pencils. It'll have to do. Carrying a large canvas and paint would be too much.
After he put on Kenta's shoes, a thick jacket, and fixed his hat, Ohno carried the bag and the art supplies with both hands. "Kenta, you'll have to follow me, okay?"
Kenta made whoo-ing sounds like a police car, but the boy got up and followed Ohno out the door.
"He's behaving well today," Ohno thought.
When they finally reached the park, the sun started peeking through and other people were also out and about. Young teens were already having a snowball fights, and couples walked close to each other. Ohno brushed the snow off the bench and set down his bag and art supplies. He lifted Kenta onto the bench and sat down next to him. Ohno handed his son a blank drawing pad and pencils.
"What are you going to draw, Kenta?" Ohno asked, even though he knew Kenta wouldn't answer back.
The boy reached for a red pencil and started drawing. Ohno, too, picked up a blue pencil and began light sketching. He started out sketching a small toy car and showed it to Kenta. The boy made more "ooo"-ing sounds of excitement. Kenta recognized his toy car, and Ohno couldn't help but giggle as Kenta try to grab the car from the pages.
"How about I draw that pigeon over there?" Ohno said, pointing with his pencil.
Kenta replied with a gibberish word but pointed also at the bird.
"Pigeon, Kenta," Ohno repeated. "Pi-geo-n."
"Pijo!" Kenta squealed, and Ohno started laughing.
They started drawing the same bird, and thankfully the pigeon stayed put as if it knew it was being modeled. Ohno quickly became absorbed into his drawing. It's been awhile since he held a pencil in his hand. For the past five months, it's been Kenta 24-hours a day for seven days a week. Ohno found a job for Kenta. Ohno started cooking for Kenta. Ohno paid for autistic therapy for Kenta. Ohno cleaned the house quietly for Kenta. Everything was for Kenta. It has been so long since Ohno took the time to enjoy for himself.
But when he glanced down and saw Kenta attempting to replicate the same drawing as his own, Ohno felt something swell inside him. A sense of pride? Admiration? Ohno wasn't sure, but his expression slowly grew into a smug face.
His solitude days might as well have belong to a past life. He couldn't even remember what he would do during his spare time other than laying around drinking beer. Changing stinky diapers doesn't bother Ohno anymore. Planning for meals was still tiresome, but Ohno enjoyed seeing Kenta's cheeks looking so round compare to his tiny mouth. Without realizing it, Ohno began dotting on Kenta.
An hour flew by and pages upon pages of drawings covered their bench. Kenta kept ripping the pages rather than flipping it over the spiral bound. As the pile grew larger, the wind started to pick up. Soon, a couple of pages drifted away from a strong gust.
"Ah!" Ohno gasped. He stood up and made an attempt to catch the nearby pages, but a few fluttered farther away. Ohno glanced back and saw Kenta busy drawing a tree. "I'll come back real quickly," Ohno mumbled to himself.
Ohno chased after Kenta's drawings and counted. There should be two more. Ohno made a quick jog along the pathway and saw two white pages littered on the ground. Sighing with relief, Ohno picked up the remaining pages and dusted off the dirt. But when he glanced down at the drawings, Ohno couldn't make out the picture. Kenta used an orange and a blue colored pencil for this drawing. The lines were crooked, and Kenta shaded in too much.
But then, Ohno recognized his shirt.
That was the T-shirt Ohno always wore. The drawing showed only his shoulders, neck, and face. But it was him nonetheless. Ohno gazed at the other drawing and realized it was the kitchen. Kenta had drawn Ohno's back, legs, and feet in crooked rectangles, but Ohno could make out his short hair poking out to represent his head. It took seconds for Ohno to realize it was Kenta drawing him cooking. When he looked through the other drawings, Ohno noticed nearly all of them had some form of himself. He was either sitting in the distance waving or sitting close by, smiling in the drawing.
"Kenta," Ohno sighed admiringly.
He walked back the way he came while flipping through the pages. By the time he came around the bend of the pathway, Ohno saw the bench was empty. His heart made a sickening flip, and the sun disappeared behind a cloud. The cold air made Ohno's skin crawl, and he hurried to the bench. Kenta's drawing pad was also missing.
"Kenta?" Ohno called out. "Kenta!"
He started jogging in the other direction, his eyes scanning the scenery as far as he could for a little boy. Ohno clicked his tongue, annoyed with himself. He shouldn't have left Kenta alone! He only meant to chase after the scattered pages and come back. But he had to get caught up with Kenta's drawings and be emotional about it. Ohno's stomach churned with fear, and his heart pounded faster.
"KENTA!" Ohno shouted.
A goose honked back at his loud voice, and Ohno turned his head in its direction. Ohno raced down towards the pond and saw a family of geese swimming away. At the edge, Kenta sat down with the drawing pad on his lap. Ohno let out a long slow sigh and walked down the hill towards his son.
"Kenta," Ohno called out more calmly. His son glanced up at his name. "You scared me. I thought...I thought something happened to you. Why didn't you wait for me at the bench?"
"Pijo!" Kenta said, pointing at the goose.
Ohno squatted down next to him. "That's not a pigeon, Kenta. It's a goose."
Kenta seemed to like the new word and started repeating "guu" over and over again. But he looked happy, and seeing Kenta close by gave Ohno a great sense of relief. He'll never do that again. Kenta liked his goose drawing and held it up close to his face and muttering "guu." Ohno noticed the mud got all over Kenta's pants, so he picked up Kenta and carried him back to the bench. There should be a nearby restroom he could use to change Kenta's clothes.
Ohno just finished packing everything away in his bag when he heard his cell phone ringing. When he glanced down at the screen, Ohno's heart stop for a split second.
"You've got to be kidding me," Ohno frowned, but he pressed the answer button and held it up to his ear.
Sho went through the massive music collection on Nino's shelf. The CD albums took up the most space, but Sho easily found what he was looking for. It was another compilation of Beethoven's violin concertos and sonatas but played by another violinist. Sho's desire to study Beethoven's work increased since their last practice, and the track list showed a familiar title that Sho has been practicing: Beethoven's Sonata for Piano and Violin no5 in F Major "Spring Sonata".
One day, Nino plucked the music book from his shelf and placed it on the piano rack. It was the first time, in a long time, Sho was able to sight-read the music score with little mistakes. The tempo switches often from slow and soft to fast and lively. Still, he had no problem keeping up with Nino. The calming beginning helped Sho feel at ease to prepare himself for the faster notes. On that day, they ran through the full score exceptionally well that Sho felt proud of himself.
However, midway through the piece, Sho noticed Nino was slacking behind. As soon as he picked up Nino's change of pace, Sho matched with him. But it was unlike Nino to fall behind. He wondered if it was just another of Nino's way of performing, or if Sho read the piece wrong. Which was why Sho was looking through Nino's music collection.
He popped in the CD into the stereo and listened to the recording. This violinist played wonderfully, but Sho couldn't help but think Nino played it better.
Sho snorted. "I'm starting to think like him now."
But then Sho recognized the part when Nino fell behind. The off-beats with the piano were tricky to read at first, but Sho understood when he finished listening. He played the piano exactly how it should be, and Sho made sure he was with Nino with every measure. The piano wasn't the problem.
Nino fell behind on purpose. But why?
He glanced up and saw Nino peeking his head around the entrance of the practice room. "Ah, Nino. I was just listening to your CDs. You've got quite a collection."
Nino made a proud face and strolled into the room. "I've listened to every one of them. And I can play them all on my violin."
Sho raised his brow. "I know. I've listened to some over a hundred times already." He took the CD out from the stereo and placed it back in its case before placing it back to its original place. "What shall we practice today? The same as before? I was listening to it just now because...well, I thought you were falling behind, but maybe I was wrong-"
"No, you're right," Nino answered surprisingly quickly. "I was slow yesterday."
Sho blinked. "It's not like you. Is your wrist still bothering you? Is that why?"
Nino shook his head and stared down at the floor. "I was...listening."
"Listening to what? The piano?"
Sho huffed a bit as if Nino made a joke. "I'm glad, but that's my job. I'm supposed to keep up with you. If you slow down, then I slow down."
"I couldn't help myself but listen to your part more," Nino said, moving towards his violin case. "You were really echoing me. On my trill notes, I heard yours copying back. It was really good, and for that moment I...I kinda liked it. So I slowed down because I wanted to hear it better." He glanced over his shoulder. "Sorry if I made you confused. I'll try not to do it again."
Sho's hidden pride seem to reappear again, and a small sense of fulfillment wallowed over him. He cleared his throat. "Do you want to try?"
This time, Nino fully turned around with his hand still winding his bow. "Me? Play the piano? I've only been able to play with my right hand. I don't think I can-"
"I'll teach you," Sho said almost eagerly. "I mean, not this piece of course. Maybe something more simple."
Nino set his bow down and seemed more anticipated than usual. "How about the one you played a few nights ago? Beethoven's Sonata Pathétique Adagio cantabile."
Sho smirked. "You really do like that piece."
Nino glanced back with smiling eyes. "It's one of my favorites."
Sho gulped. It's been only three days since Sho had his sex dream, and he was thankful he hasn't had one since. Yet it was still lingering in his mind during the waking hours. Sho tried not to think about it, but his eyes would wander to where Nino would be. Sitting, eating, watching TV, practice alone. It was the subtle movements that intrigued Sho.
Nino was absolutely captivating to watch.
Sho gazed down at the piano keys. "I'll play the first few measures."
He started off as softly and as gently as he could. The piece was meant to be played with grace and elegance. The minute the melody rang throughout the practice room, Sho's nerves seemed to calm down as if the magic of Beethoven's work soothed Sho's tensed shoulders.
But before he continued, he stopped and faced Nino.
"Now you try," Sho said.
Nino's brow pitched with concentration as he stared down at the numerous black and white keys. "W-where do I start?"
"Here...this is the scale. B flat, E flat, A flat, and D flat," Sho pointed. "This is the first chord."
Nino nodded to himself. "I see..."
Then, Nino tried to play the rest of the melody, but he misplaced his fingers. Nino groaned with annoyance at the off sounding tune.
"No, no. Like this."
Sho moved to touch Nino's fingers, but the violinist withdrew his hand away from Sho's reach. They shared an awkward gaze before glancing back at the keys. Sho felt his neck growing hot, but he swallowed his saliva, hoping his voice wouldn't crack.
"Copy what I do," Sho said evenly.
He placed his right hand on an octave lower and played out the first nine notes of the melody. Nino copied just as easily, and then Sho carried out playing the next nine notes. Sure enough, Nino was familiar with the beginning half of the piece.
But Nino placed his hand back on his lap looking dissatisfied.
"That was a lot easier than I thought," Nino said, his brow still furrowed. "I know the second hand won't be."
"But you play the violin with your left hand," Sho pointed out.
Nino rolled his eyes at him. "Tell me what I don't know." He sighed and stared back down at the piano. "I know I can play a lot faster with my left hand, but that's the problem. The music is in my head, I know it. But..." Nino rubbed his hair with frustration, "I need a little help with this."
Sho gazed back at Nino's profile, wondering what he could do to help. He watched Nino play the melody part again, perfectly, and try an attempt to play the harmony part. His connection with using two hands gave him the most trouble, and Nino started moaning. It was his persistence in music that seemed to tug Sho's chest. The man would not give up on the chance to play a beautiful piece.
"I have an idea," Sho uttered. "Place your left hand over mine."
Nino side-glanced at him with a confused gaze. "Why?"
"Rather than memorizing which notes to play next..." Sho gulped before he continued, "why not memorize through movement?"
Nino's expression softened, and Sho felt his face growing warm.
"Just...let my hand guide you," Sho said. "Memorize where I placed my fingers, and maybe you can have a better understanding. It'll be like memorizing the fingers on your violin."
Sho placed his left hand on the piano and waited. Nino seemed hesitated at first; his eyes would dart back at the piano, on his lap, and back to Sho's hand. Finally, Nino reached out placed his short hand over Sho's elongated hand. Nino's palm was warm, and his touch made Sho's heart flutter. Suddenly, images of his sex dream flickered across his mind; the way Nino's hands laced with his own and his chest pressed against Sho's back...
Sho shut his eyes immediately to shake off the image. He snapped his eyes open and focused on the piano. "Ready?"
Nino nodded and played the first melody note. Sho pressed down the harmony notes with Nino's hand laying still on top. Nino focused on playing the melody while Sho listened to Nino's tempo. Whenever Sho spaced out his fingers, Nino shadowed. When they finished the beginning segment, Nino began grinning.
"I think I got it," he mumbled.
Sho rolled his head to stretch his neck. "That's good. Want to keep going?"
"I know the rest of the melody to the ending," Nino said confidently. "Let's finish it to the end."
But Sho's neck and shoulders grew sore from the awkward position. He swung one leg over the piano bench, and he scooched closer to Nino. Noticing the change of position, Nino glanced back at Sho with a startled frown.
"I just need to get closer so we can play better," Sho explained himself quickly, but he still felt his stomach growing warm with nervousness. "Don't mind me. J-just focus on the music."
Gradually, Nino's shoulders relaxed as he glanced down at the piano. He placed his hand over Sho's again, and they played the first set of measures. Sho leaned in closer to make sure Nino's right hand played correctly. Realizing his closeness, Sho backed away and carried on playing the harmony part. But his palms grew sweaty, and his heart pounded faster in his chest. The off rhythm in his chest nearly made him miss his harmony cue. Then, the sex dream memory came back.
Sho's brow knitted tight as he tried to focus on the music. But then his thoughts became filled with his time spent with Nino in the practice room. Despite their earlier frustration, they worked things out. Playing with Nino became a joy and rather exciting. Sho accepted each challenge thrown at him and did his utter best to keep up with Nino.
Then, Sho's hands moved slower to match the melody. His surroundings slowed down and all that mattered was the calm and benign moment within the practice room. There was warmth radiating from Nino's body, and Sho found it soothing. There was no other thoughts running through his head now. It was just them and their music; even with them sitting so close didn't seem a bother but rather comforting. His troubled past seemed so far away now, and his life was finally coming into order again. Being with Nino, and playing the piano once again, he was truly grateful.
Together, they plucked the last note, but their hands still stayed together. The dead silence didn't seem as awkward; the music still resonated inside their heads. Nino turned his head and gazed into Sho's eyes. And in that instant, the atmosphere seemed to change. They both held their breaths, searching into each other's gaze. Sho's heartbeat thumped harder against his ears, and his eyes darted down at Nino's bottom lip...
Suddenly, they heard Sho's cell phone ringing from down the hallway. The tension released between them, and Nino quickly stood up. Sho rubbed his face and sighed heavily. Sho got up and left the practice room. Most likely it was Sachi to check up on them.
Sho answered it. "Hello?"
"Hello, is this Sakurai Sho?" A male voice spoke on the other end.
Sho frowned slightly. "Yes. Who is this?"
"I'm Doctor Seiji from the National Medical Center. I'm calling because your mother is in the hospital."
end of chapter !
To Chapter 6 - http://arashiforyou.livejournal.com/64623.html
was that a weak cliffhanger? XDD
well actually quite a lot of cliffhangers in this chapter. jun and his worry for kiko. ohno getting a call from his ex wife. and now sho getting call about his mom! plus sex dream :3
next chapter might be
will be intense.