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: this chapter is a little shorter, but something big is gonna happen just a heads up...enjoy!
Music reference: Beethoven Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61 - Larghetto
Chapter 7 - Caesura
Sho's respect for Nino sky rocketed after the last hospital trip. Rather than asking questions, Nino continued practicing his scales in the morning as if nothing had happened. However, Sho noticed the way Nino would play his violin with more grace and sympathetic feelings. The pieces he picked to play were soothing and pleasing to anyone's ears yet could easily move someone to tears. Nonetheless, it was nice not having to or be force to talk about Sho's runaway stunt. Only a day went by and Sho felt his heart lighten up.
He did worry that the memories might come back again and distract him from playing the piano, but Sho recovered surprisingly well each time after a few minutes of rehearsal with Nino. It was as if his presence melted away nearly all of Sho's previous doubts and anxieties. Any thoughts of him going to jail, being isolated, or being a father almost quickly vanished...almost...
Sho was busy washing the dishes after dinner while Nino sat in the living room and watching his favorite shows. After he put away the last plate and dried his hands, Sho brought back two cups of pudding, as well as spoons, and handed one to Nino.
"Good rehearsal today," Sho said warmly.
Wordlessly, Nino bowed his head and took the cup into his short palms. Sho sat down on the far side of the couch, his usual spot, and peeled back the lid. They sat in complete silence except for the television while eating their desert pudding. Sho was used to the quietness and lack of conversations—even though a tiny part of him still disliked it. But forcing himself to talk with Nino only made the sensation more awkward and unnecessary. If they ever have to talk about something they can, but their silence gradually became a comfort.
Sho turned his head and saw Nino staring back at him before the autistic violinist quickly veered his eyes back to the TV. It was only for an instant, but it was enough to get Sho's heart fluttering again. He blinked a few times to clear his head from any confusion and returned back to his pudding. For a few minutes, there were only the sounds of their spoons scrapping along the insides of their pudding cup, and the low chattering of the variety show. But even with the trivia quiz on the screen, Sho couldn't stop thinking about those pair of brown eyes staring at him with concern.
"Sachi will come back soon," Nino suddenly spoke up in a rather awkward and rushed voice.
Sho had his mouth filled with his spoon. "Hmm?"
"Sachi...she should be about done," Nino repeated but more calmly. "And once she's back, we can finally ride the Ferris wheel."
"Oh yeah, that's right. It's already been more than a month already," Sho nodded. "Time goes by so fast..."
"A month can't go fast," Nino argued, slightly perked up with annoyance. "A month is a month."
Sho chuckled. "You're right. Sorry."
Nino slumped back into the couch, his half-empty pudding cup balancing on his knee. "I've been thinking. When Sachi comes back, why don't you ride the Ferris wheel with us?"
The pianist turned his head to stare back at the violinist in slight bewilderment. "Really? You'll let me come along with you?"
"Yes," Nino nodded. "The three of us together."
"But it was a promise you and Sachi made together. I don't want to intrude. I mean, why do you want me-"
"Look, I don't want to explain myself. Just come along with us, okay?" Nino said with his brow slightly pinched, and he resumed back to eating his pudding rather heartily.
After a few seconds, Sho felt a soft smile on his lips. "...thanks. I'll look forward to it."
It was subtle, but Sho spotted the corner Nino's mouth turn up at his response. Sho's grin flashed out for a few seconds before pursing his lips together.
They turned their attention back towards the television and returned to their quiet atmosphere. Sho finished his pudding and set it on the coffee table. He rested his arm along the back of the couch with his legs crossed, but then he felt the cushion sink next to him. Nino moved to sit closer next to him and continued finished eating his pudding in his usual slow pace—which was the complete opposite of Sho's lurching heartbeat. Nino and Sachi must have sat closely next to each other because they trust each other. Nino must have trusted Sho enough to sit next to him now—theory by Sakurai Sho's mentality.
He glanced down at Nino's hands and watched the smaller man delicately scoop the dessert. Something about the way Nino opened his mouth made Sho mimic his actions. Nino slowly pulled away the spoon from his lips and swallowed. Sho gulped as well and quickly veered his eyes away. Nino's lips were glossy from the creamy pudding and saliva as he licked his lips. Sho's heart began to beat faster just thinking about them.
The close proximity made the butterflies flutter like crazy inside Sho's stomach. Nino's eyes were still fixed on the TV screen as he raised another spoonful of pudding. But his actions were too slow, and the pudding dripped onto his hand holding the plastic cup. Nino set the spoon and cup aside and gradually licked his thumb and along his index finger. For the first time, Sho saw Nino's tongue: small, pink, and articulate. It curled around his fingers, scooping, and leaving a thin wet trail.
Nino stopped in mid-lick and side-glanced at Sho whose mouth was slightly gaped open. Their eyes met. Sho's face felt like it was burning, and Nino slowly retracted his hand away from his mouth. Sho felt like a trapped animal in those eyes.
The telephone started ringing.
"I'll get it!" Sho jumped up and hurried to the phone. "Hello! Ninomiya residence!"
"Sho?" Sachi's voice came through. "Why are you yelling?"
"A-ahh, sorry," Sho stuttered. "I, uh, well, I'm fine. How are you?"
"I'm calling just to check up on you," she said. "I'm on the highway right now. I should be there in about an hour, but I think this traffic might delay me."
"Oh really?" Sho said, tucking his hand under his armpit. His heart was still beating like crazy from earlier. "That's great. Nino was just saying he wants to ride the Ferris wheel."
Sachi laughed. "He never forgets."
"Sachi, I don't want to sound like a nagging mother, but you shouldn't be talking while driving."
"It's fine!" Sachi pestered at him. "It's practically bumper to bumper, so it's fine."
Sho let out a hum from his throat.
"By the way, the fake signature scandal I told you about has been resolved," Sachi chatted. "I had to leave behind some upset fans, and the whole ordeal was just one big mess. I could have had it finished sooner, but a new problem kept popping up. I don't know how many times I had to bow my head to them. I just hope they'll accept my apology and plan a concert in their hometown some other day...with my approval."
Sho smirked. "People really love his music, huh?"
"They love Nino," she corrected him. "Where is he? Can I talk to him?"
"Sure," Sho said and glanced over his shoulder. "Nino! It's your sister!"
Nino quickly stood up and took the phone with an admiringly smile. Sho went back to throw away the empty pudding cups. Sho glared down at the used spoons before setting them down in the sink. If the phone hadn't rang, Sho wouldn't know what would have happened next. He leaned against the countertop with his eyes shut tight, trying to erase any temptations that sprouted in the dark corners of his mind. When he returned to the couch, Nino hung up the phone.
"Finished already?" Sho said, his eyebrows slightly up. "That ended quickly."
"She had to hang up," Nino explained. "She said it was snowing. Snow distorts connection, and it was starting to sound fuzzy."
"Ah, I see," Sho moaned to himself.
"But finally! Sachi will be home soon," Nino returned to his seat on the couch, "and we'll ride the Ferris wheel together. I really want those waffles again."
Sho nodded slowly. "Yeah..."
He glanced out the window. It wasn't snowing yet, but the clouds were dark.
"Sir, that's enough for tonigh-"
"Another!" Ohno shouted at the young bartender. He slammed down the last of his money on the countertop, and the bartender reluctantly poured another glass.
His drinking buddy sighed next to him. "Maybe you should stop for the night, Ohno."
Ohno grumbled with annoyance. "What do you care? You've got a bright future ahead of you with a new kid...I've just lost mine." He took a swig before moaning out the rest of his rant. "Kenta just started liking that Ninomiya music, and his art pieces are still all over my apartment. I can't throw them away...but the kid...he might not even be my son. I've always suspected Minami cheating on me, and Kenta doesn't really look like me."
"...you know...you're not the only one going through a hard time," Jun mumbled darkly. "My wife just looks dead on her feet."
Ohno made a bitter face but didn't reply back a retort.
"It's been six months, and she's finally able to walk again," Jun said, his head bowed low and staring at his beer bottle. His hair wasn't as neat and prim as Ohno first saw him, and the bags under Jun's eyes were darker than before. "All she ever eats is cucumbers with lime and salt. It's the only thing that doesn't come back up, and her prescriptions always make her sleepy."
Jun ruffled through his hair in frustration. "I can barely concentrate at work. There's this pending worry over my head that something bad might happen while I'm gone, and I just..."
His words faded away before he could carry on. The two worried men sat side by side—Jun's briefcase still took up a seat between them—and drank away their sorrows. But for Ohno, the emptiness never went away with each gulp. A part of him wanted to be relieved that he didn't have to take care of Kenta anymore. But he never felt his spirit so broken to the point he couldn't even step inside his own home. Everywhere he looked, Ohno remembered Kenta.
He glanced over at Jun and saw how the man was also deep in his own distress. But Ohno couldn't even find the motivation to cheer up his drinking buddy. Now a new sense of uselessness settled into his heavy heart, and Ohno took another gulp of alcohol.
Suddenly, a dull beep went off in Jun's pocket. The worried husband reached for his phone and read his text message. Ohno could almost see the air turn cold around Jun because the man froze in his seat.
"What's wrong?" Ohno asked, slightly worried for the young man's fearful expression.
"I-I-It's Kiko," Jun uttered, his eyes wide and hand shaking. "She's in the hospital...she's going through labor..."
When Aiba received the pager call, he didn't want to believe it. He immediately jolted out of his chair and raced down the hall. His heart pounded fast in his chest, and tight knots twisted inside his stomach. Aiba had been in the emergency department before, but every time he becomes involved in the ER, his worries and fears seemed to double over.
This time, it wasn't a case that needed his assistance. He only received word from a co-worker about the situation—it helps to have friends in different departments. When he arrived at the ER, he already felt his forehead breaking a sweat.
"Aiba," Doctor Seiji waved at him.
Aiba jogged towards him. "Seiji, I got your call...is it really...?"
Seiji only gave him a grave face and lowered his gaze. The knots in Aiba's stomach turned into stones of dread. With wide eyes and a doubtful heart, Aiba went to check the emergency wards for himself. There were still EMTs and nurses at the scene. No one paid much attention to him as they carried about doing their job. Aiba passed by bed after bed, looking for a familiar face.
There was one bed at the end of the ward with the white curtains pulled around. Aiba took a deep shaky breath and slowly pulled the curtains back...
Kiko couldn't remember after the sudden on waves of cramps. The pain was excruciating, and her back was killing her. Thankfully, she was at her mother's place, or Kiko would have contracted on the floor without anyone to help her. The voices of the paramedics and the flashing ambulance lights seemed distant but present in her memory. In her last ounce of strength, she texted to the one person she wanted to be with. But everything after that was a blur of noises and pain until she passed out.
When she woke up, the one she texted to was right by her side.
"Kiko!" Jun gasped. "Oh, thank heavens. You're awake."
She felt an oxygen mask strapped to her face, and she heard the faintest sound of a heart monitor beeping next to her bed. Her body felt so numb and drowsy, but she was able to clearly see her husband and her mother nearby. She felt Jun holding her hand tenderly.
Jun reached up and pushed a button to call a nurse before he went back to stroking her hair. "How are you feeling?"
"...tired," she moaned slowly.
She saw her mother let out a sigh of relief. "I'm so glad you're alive."
Jun immediately gazed up and bowed his head to his mother-in-law. "Thank you for taking her to the hospital. I should have been by her side."
But Kiko shook his hand to get his attention. "I'm fine, Jun. Everything is going to be...fine."
In no time at all, a nurse and a female doctor arrived in her room. The doctor greeted her with a smile. "Hello, Matsumoto. I'm Doctor Yamada of the obstetrics department. I performed your delivery through C-section."
Kiko wanted to bow her head, but she still felt tired. "Thank you...is my baby...is my baby's alright?"
Doctor Yamada nodded. "Your baby was delivered safely. Nurse Kana will bring your new baby girl."
Kiko's tiredness slowly seemed to diminish away and was replaced with excitement. Even through her body still felt slow, she wanted to see her first daughter. Doctor Yamada continued talking and assessing her to make sure she was fine, but Kiko couldn't stop grinning. Even through her premature labor, her baby made it out alive. She held onto Jun's hand tighter—there was some nervousness building up inside her as well.
Finally, the nurse wheeled in a hospital baby stroller with a tiny pink bundle inside the plastic tub. Kiko held her breath as the nurse gently lifted the baby and placed her in Kiko's arms. She was so tiny; Kiko didn't need to use both arms to hold her. Her head could fit in the palm of Jun's hand, but her cheeks were round and puffy. Her eyes were closed, but she breathed fast and steadily.
The tears came pouring out of Kiko, and she raised her hand to cover her eyes. She couldn't suppress her sobs any longer. Their baby was alive. Kiko was alive. They made it out okay!
"Thank you, Doctor," Kiko sobbed. "Thank you..."
She passed the baby to Jun. His eyes became watery the moment the tiny weight settled into his hands. The baby blinked her eyes open and gazed up at her father for a brief moment before closing her eyes again.
Jun smiled down at her and whispered. "Hi there..."
Her tiny fingers barely wrapped around Jun's index finger.
"Congradulations," Doctor Yamada spoke up. "I'm sorry to spoil this precious moment, but she is three months premature. I like to advise that serious ailments are possible."
Kiko swallowed nervously. "I understand."
"We will give you the best treatment that we have for your child," the doctor continued. "However, there is one method that has shown great progress for premature babies. Have you heard of the kangaroo care?"
Kiko and Jun exchanged a confused glanced. "We haven't."
"It's a very simple process," Doctor Yamada smiled. "A mother simply holds her child close to her chest and let the child listen her heartbeat. The skin ship will help your daughter. It'll be as if she was still inside the womb. Would you like to give it a try?"
"Jun, bring her here," Kiko uttered.
Her mother helped untie the gown from the back for Kiko's chest to be expose. Jun gently eased down next to her and passed their newborn daughter. Kiko carefully placed her daughter against her chest—her head placed right over the heart—as Jun secured a blanket over them both. Kiko could feel her tiny hands spreading and feeling around on her skin. The contact was enough to make her vision blurry again, but she was able to feel Jun's kiss on her forehead.
They were alive...
Sho woke up to the sounds of Nino practicing his scales. He rolled out of bed before his eyes snapped wide awake. He hurried out the guest bedroom and found Nino alone in the practice room.
"Did Sachi come back?" Sho asked.
Nino didn't answer and continued playing his scales rather slowly and solemnly. That meant no. Sho sighed heavily and made his way to shower first. Sachi never came in the hour she promised last night, and both Sho and Nino got worried. Sho tried calling Sachi on her cell phone again, but he end up hearing the voicemail. Last night, Nino kept glancing out the window, hoping to see Sachi's car to pull up the driveway. In the end, Sho assumed Sachi stayed the night at a hotel somewhere to get out of the snow. Nino never said a word afterwards, but Sho could sense he was worried.
When Sho finished his shower, he could still hear Nino playing his scales, so he returned to the practice room.
"Nino," Sho uttered despite Nino's loud violin playing. "Do you...do you want any breakfast?"
The violinist lowered his instrument at last and shook his head.
Sho leaned against the wall. "How about stop playing for awhile? I'm feeling hungry, so do you wanna help me make breakfast?"
"You go eat. I don't want to," Nino said dejectedly. He placed the violin under his chin and carried on playing.
With a heavy heart, Sho left the room. He end up eating a granola bar, but even that he couldn't finish. Nino was worried sick; Sho could detect it in his voice. Sho was also nervous too. He went back to his room to check his cell phone. His eyes nearly popped out when he saw there was one missed voicemail.
It was from Sachi.
"Hi, Sho! Sorry for not answering your calls sooner. This snow is really pouring. It'll probably take longer than an hour. I'm calling because I got disconnect with Nino. Tell him I'm on my way soon and I love him. Okay? Bye!....To replay this message press-"
Sho ended his call. Hearing Sachi's voicemail didn't remove the impending worry in Sho's heart. The call came in late last night, and Sho was mentally hitting himself for not picking up then. And now it was the morning after and she still wasn't back! Even with the skies clear and the news reporting no traffic, she wasn't home yet.
He returned to kitchen and forced himself to make breakfast. He'll force Nino to eat if he had to. They had to get their stomachs full and hopefully food will calm their nerves. At least that's what Sho believed. He mindlessly cut vegetables until he noticed there was no more music playing.
Nino entered the living room. "I'm going to take a shower, let me know when Sachi comes back."
"U-uh, alright," Sho nodded. Nino had an awkward step as he left. After Sho heard the definite click of the bathroom door closing, Sho frowned to himself. "He's so tormented...where the hell are you, Sachi?"
Then, the doorbell rang. Nino was still in the shower, but Sho felt his whole body wash over with relief. He must have missed the sound of her car pulling up the driveway, but Sho assumed her hands were full with her luggage to open the door herself. He quickly wiped his hands on a towel and hurried to the front door.
A police officer greeted him. "Good morning, sir,"
Sho's heart sank like a boulder in water. "Good morning, officer...can I help you?"
The police officer had a serious face and didn't bat an eyelid. "Are you the caretaker of Ninomiya Kazunari?"
"C-currently, yes," Sho answered, feeling his palms sweating with nervousness.
The police officer took a deep breath before he spoke. "I regret to inform you that Ninomiya Sachi was involved in a fatal car accident last night and was reported dead at the hospital. Doctor Aiba Masaki confirmed her body and said that her only kin is her brother. Ninomiya Sachi has left her brother in your care, so we must ask you to bring him to the station so that we may proceed with necessary paperwork. Any assests that Ninomiya Sachi owned will now belong to her brother. I understand this may come as a shock, so feel free to come to the station at your dispense. Please tell Ninomiya I am very sorry for his loss. Take care, sir."
And the officer left.
Sho still had the door open even as the officer drove away.
Somehow, in the back of his mind, Sho knew. Ever since he listened to the voicemail, Sho had a feeling this would happened. But he wanted to push it out of his mind until it literally came at the doorstep where Sho remained. The entrance and the exit. It suddenly became a new turning point of Sho's life. He could leave right now and finally be free, or he could turn around and become a permanent caretaker. Sho glanced down at his hands, wondering what his next course of action as if his body has the answer rather than his thoughts.
"How will I tell Nino?"
end of chapter
To Chapter 8 - http://arashiforyou.livejournal.com/65140.html
i wonder if you guys have noticed the chapter titles. they're musical terminology. Caesura is like a pause, interruption, or a break in music scores...get it! a break! :DD