ArashiForYou (arashiforyou) wrote,

Play By Heart

Title: Play By Heart
By: arashiforyou
Genre: Romance/ Drama/ Angst/ AU/ Music
Rating: R
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.

Music reference: Tchaikovsky - Violin Concerto in D major op.35

Chapter 11 - Prelude

Sweat build up on Sho's brow rather quickly, and he saw from the corner of his eye that Nino also looked flustered. The two musicians played their instruments with such energy that Sho could have sworn their eardrums would burst. But the music score indicated them to play extremely loud, but it's not enough to be "loud." Nino's deft fingers were a blur on the violin, and his arm swung hard and deep. Sho kept the harmony on the piano, but he made sure to stay under Nino's volume. Together, their vehement and upbeat music filled the practice room.

Then, Nino played a long note alone. Sho took this chance to catch his breath as well as to turn a page on the music score. For the next measures, Nino played by himself in a beautifully sweet solo. It was a complete contrast to what they played earlier. The calming after the storm. There was no hint of sorrow in Nino's music, nor did Sho sense regret in the violinist's playing. Instead, Nino's music sounded mellow and healing. A recovering sense. The corner of Sho's lips turned up before he resumed back to his piano.

Nino was getting better.

There were times when Nino would still look depressed, but it was less than before. At least Nino was back into playing his violin again. It seemed to be the perfect remedy for him, and Sho stopped giving Nino's medication from Aiba. Sho was glad the man was playing his violin with more emotions again besides sadness, remorse, or vengefulness.

And Nino kept his word on being more responsible. There were times when Sho found Nino vacuuming the living room or doing the laundry. Nino still had a hard time sorting through his paperwork, and Sho helped him there the most. But having Nino do more work than practicing his violin made all other house chores less burdensome. Sho could finally focus on his piano skills more often. In some sense, Sho gained back some of his old individuality and his role as a pianist instead of some house butler.

They both crescendo to their climatic ending. Sho turned his head in time to see Nino swerving his body with his bow arm, completely absorbed into the feel of their duet. Sho, too, snapped his head whenever he pressed down a series of chords. The music rose higher and higher; Sho could practically feel the tension and heat rising inside his whole body. At last, they finished their final note and the music echoed throughout the entire house until there was nothing left but silence. Only then did Sho took a breath.

"That was great," Sho smiled.

Nino nodded back. "That was great."

Sho chuckled at Nino's repeated words and stood up. "But that was only morning practice though. I hate to imagine what you'll put me through during the afternoon practice."

Nino made a little smug grin before turning around to hide his face. Sho set down the fallboard while Nino hummed the piece they've just play while cleaning his violin. Sho watched from behind as Nino tenderly care for his precious violin. The way Nino gently wiped the strings up and down made Sho swallow. Sho's eyes trailed to the back of Nino's neck were a little perspiration shined. Nino rolled his head to stretch his sore neck, exposing more skin, and Sho quickly looked away.

"Sho," Nino spoke up, "have you ever played the violin?"

"Only once," Sho admitted, crossing his arms and tilting his head in thought. "When I was a kid, my mom made me take violin lessons, but I quit after the first day."

Nino chuckled. "Why? The violin is a beautiful instrument. It's probably the best musical instrument out there. How could you quit after one time?"

"I guess I wasn't that much in love with it as you are," Sho smirked.

"Do you want to try playing it for a bit?" Nino offered. "You taught me how to play the piano. I'll show you how to play the violin."

Sho blinked a few times, astonished. He wondered if anyone was even allowed to touch Nino's beloved violin. The brilliant savant took such diligent care of his instrument, Sho assumed it was worth more than his own life. And yet Nino held out the violin to Sho as if offering a spare pencil.

Nino walked up to Sho. "Hold it by the violin's neck. Here. And let it sit under your chin."

With Nino's guide, Sho brought the dark wooden instrument on his shoulder and leaned his jaw against the chin rest. Sho suddenly went stiff from the awkward position. Nino's neck was shorter, so Sho had to lean down even farther to have the violin secure under his chin. Sensing Sho's discomfort, Nino giggled at the pianist goofy stance. Nino retreated back to his violin case to get the bow.

"You hold the bow at the frog. Your thumb goes down here," Nino mumbled as he positioned Sho's fingers. "Middle and ring finger over like that...lay your index finger like this...your pinkie curled..."

But Sho couldn't help but think how cute Nino's fingers looked as they played around with his own.

"Make sure you play only between the bridge and the end of the fingerboard," Nino indicated, and Sho brought the bow hair to the string.

Suddenly, Nino appeared at Sho's left hand and started talking fast. "On the D string, your first finger is about an inch from the very tip of the fingerboard. That's an E note. Your second finger plays the F note, but a whole step makes it F#. And then just a half-step after that is G. A half-step after that is a G# or an A-flat. If you stretch your pinkie...yeah, like that, it's a whole step again to A. But the third string is the open A string-"

"His babbling is so cute," Sho thought while trying not to smile.

The phone rang down the hall.

They both glanced at each other, Nino looking somewhat disappointed that they were interrupted. But Sho handed back the man's violin. "I'll get it," he said.

Sho left the room—he felt slightly cooler outside of the practice room—and answered the phone.


"Hello, is this Sakurai Sho?"

Sho frowned slightly. "Yes?"

"This is Doctor Seiji. I'm afraid I have-"

Nino skipped down the hall and chanted "milk buns, milk buns" over and over.

Sho called after him before he entered the kitchen. "Only two! Don't eat too much!" But Sho smirked when he saw Nino tripped slightly at Sho's words. Nino turned around, pouted at Sho, and started walking back towards him. Sho returned back to the phone. "I'm sorry, Doctor. What is it you called for?"

"Sakurai-san, there is no easier way to say this...but your mother has passed away."

Nino playfully poked at Sho. "I want more milk buns."

"She had a stroke this morning," Doctor Seiji continued. "We did everything we could...I am sorry."

"I'll get you one too if you let me have three milk buns. Sho?"

The doctor continued explaining the medical problems that happened, but his voice seemed to drain out from Sho's head, as well as Nino's nagging for a treat. Sho's eyes stared blankly at the wall with his hand still holding the phone.

For once in his life, Sho's mind was a complete blank.


Kiko looked up everything she could about cerebral palsy. She consulted with other doctors and professionals on the internet and in person. She took time off work just to look after Sachiko. She read numerous research articles and attended to many meetings about the disorder. Kiko's goal was to absorb as much information as she could about cerebral palsy just so she could provide the perfect care for her daughter. Jun, on the other hand, went back to his restaurant and came home rather late almost every other day. But they do take turns with night watches.

The first time Kiko witness a seizure scared her to bits. Her mind raced with possible solutions, but she could only sit and watch her baby shake rather abnormally. Sachiko's arms would lock into place, and then she would resume back to normal as if nothing happened. Every time it happened, Kiko felt the same lump stuck in her throat. But Kiko did not allow herself to cry in front of Sachiko.

The medications were confusing, but Kiko studied hard to make sure she administered the right amount at the right time. She barely noticed the bags under her eyes growing heavier, nor did she noticed Jun's worried gaze. All that matter was caring for Sachiko and suiting to her needs. There were times when Kiko woke up in the middle of the night just to make sure Sachiko was breathing, but the baby slept like an angel.

The only thing annoying her was Jun.

The man didn't seem to do anything. He would only play with her and watch television with her. Sachiko would smile back at the screen, but then her facial expression seemed to be stuck that way. Jun laughed hard and mimicked her face. Kiko held back her tongue, but watching her husband making fun of her daughter's stiff face made her blood boil. He wasn't doing anything to find the best treatment or understanding more about Sachiko's disability. Kiko was the only one doing all the hard work. Who does he think he is?!

One night, Kiko was cooking dinner when she finally heard the front door open.

"You're home late?" Kiko said bitterly in the kitchen when Jun returned.

Jun set down his briefcase and started removing his tie. "It was a long meeting with the restaurant managers. They're thinking of building another one, so we went out for drinks."

"Oh, you went drinking," Kiko said in a sour tone. She started chopping the vegetables in a more vicious manner. "So then you're not hungry."

"Umm,, but-"

"No, that's fine!" Kiko squeaked, tossing the vegetables into her pot. "It's not like I researched for hours online trying to find good meals that's best for Sachiko. It's a recipe that takes three hours to make, and I figured we all try to eat like Sachiko so she won't feel lonely as she grows up."

She started moving about the kitchen in a hasty manner. Kiko stirred the pot with a wooden spoon, turning on the water faucet to clean the spoon before slamming it down in the sink, and then proceed to slamming more things.

"It's fine that you're not hungry!" Kiko said louder, not once glancing up at her husband. "I wasn't hungry myself either. I've been focusing too much on caring for Sachiko, but that's just me. I know you're busy with your work. Heck, I left for two months, so it's only fair that now I'm taking care of her. But all this cooking is really nothing! None of it! You know, I might as well throw it away and you-"

Jun rushed into the kitchen and hugged her tightly from behind. Kiko paused for a moment, but she quickly wiggled herself away from his arms and walked away from the kitchen and down the hall to their bedroom.

"Kiko!" She heard him calling after her. "Kiko...Kiko, wait-"

Jun was right behind her as she whirled around to face him.

"Why aren't you doing anything?!" She screamed at him. His eyes widen while Kiko's stung with angry tears. "I feel like I'm the only one doing all this work to make sure Sachiko is getting the right care. I've stayed up late at night to know all I could about cerebral palsy, and check up on her to make sure she's alive! I'm the only one cooking her meals and give her the medicine!"

Sachiko started whining since she was also in the same room. It was the only time Kiko decided to ignore her as she continued to glare up at Jun's regretful face.

"Why would you go drinking with your colleagues at a time like this?!" Kiko wailed out, her hot tears finally spilling out. She fiercely whipped them away, but her voice started to fail her. "Do you care m-more about your restaurant t-than Sachiko?! Why a-aren't you trying to c-care for her?!"

Sachiko started crying now, but it wasn't so loud that she needed immediate attention. Jun also didn't go to retrieve their crying baby. He focused on Kiko and didn't break eye contact. Kiko wasn't sure why Jun looked so sorry; she assumed she was finally able to make Jun feel guilty.

Then, Sachiko let out a really loud wail. Jun looked away from Kiko at last and turned to pick up Sachiko from her crib. Their daughter's cries subsided as Jun calmly rocked her.

With his back still facing her, he uttered softly. "Kiko...who do you see? Someone with cerebral palsy, or a girl named Sachiko?"

Kiko sniffed back her tears and croaked. "What?"

Jun turned around, still patting Sachiko's tiny back. "You're doing a lot for Sachiko, I know. But what about what she likes?"

Kiko stared blankly at Jun.

"Did you know that Sachiko laughs at Bananaman?" Jun continued. "She loves the stupid faces Himura makes on TV. Or what about her favorite song? She can't say it, but she smiles while listening to my aiko CD." Jun walked up to Kiko who couldn't stop the tears sliding down her face. "Why are you looking at our daughter like a thing with a disorder and not like an actual person?"

Something broke inside her, and she closed her eyes and covered her face. He was right. She never once played with Sachiko. It all felt like work to Kiko: looking for nutritional meals, measuring the medications, timing Sachiko's seizures. Kiko was so focused on cerebral palsy, she forgot to be a mother.

When she lowered her hands, she saw Sachiko gazing up at her with round eyes. Kiko took her from Jun's arms and held her close to her chest. Her sobs came out in shaking breaths. Kiko's main priority was to make sure Sachiko received the best care, but she stressed herself to the point of near exhaustion. After all the research Kiko did, Jun was the one who knew more about Sachiko.

"I'm so sorry..." Kiko moaned, "...I'm so sorry."

"No, I'm sorry," Jun sighed, pulled her and Sachiko into his arms. Sachiko was safe between them, and Kiko rested her forehead against Jun's wide shoulder. "You're right. I should try to care more about Sachiko's medical needs. But Kiko..."

She gazed up with her tear-stained face and red eyes. Jun, however, smiled back at her sweetly.

"Please don't think I'm not doing my part as a parent too," he whispered.

Kiko shook her head. "I won't. I promise I won't ever doubt you." She laid her head back on his shoulder as he rocked them both. "From now on, I know you are doing everything that is best for Sachiko...and I will too."

She felt Jun kiss the top of her head. In her chest, she heard Sachiko cooing and twitching her good leg. In the arms of her husband, and with her baby in her own, Kiko wondered if this is just the first test of their small family. No doubt there will be more complications down the road, but Kiko knew they can overcome them.



Sho sat on the couch since the phone call. Lunch passed and dinner time passed. The house was quiet even during Nino's normal one o'clock practice time, but Sho didn't hear anything. Or rather, he wasn't paying attention to the music. He didn't even respond to Nino's moans and complains next to him. His eyes seemed deadlocked on the floor, but his mental vision focused on something far away.

His mother is dead. The one person Sho always called to whenever he was feeling down. Ever since Sho's arrest, all of his friends abandoned him. His former co-workers never called him. Even his own family seemed to ignore him. They all saw him for what he was back then. A criminal. A sex offender.

Only his mother was there for him. Teasing him, nurturing him, and helping him when he felt down. And now she was gone. Was this how Nino felt when Sachi died? Was there this vast emptiness inside him that he didn't know what to do? Sho didn't have the energy to do anything. He wasn't crying; his dry eyes surprised him. But he wasn't surprised with the lack of motivation he had left in him. Sho just wanted to sit here... and do nothing.

"Sho," Nino mumbled next to him for the tenth time that day. "Sho...let's make dinner already. I ate the last milk bun."


Nino started shaking Sho's shoulders. "Sho!"


Nino went away again, but after ten minutes he returned with more energy. "Sho! Come with me!"

The violinist started pulling Sho to his feet. Nino held Sho's hand and led him back to the practice room. Why did Nino drag him here? Even though he didn't have any energy to do anything, practicing or listening to music was the last thing on Sho's mind. He turned around to walk away, but Nino pulled him back inside. Sho didn't bother to protest, and he allowed Nino to sit him down in front of the piano. But there was no way Sho was going to play the piano now. He didn't want to. He didn't have the heart to.

But Nino didn't pick up his violin. Instead, he sat down next to Sho on the piano bench. "Play along with me," Nino instructed as he placed his own hand on the piano keys.

Sho only gazed down at the black and white keys rather lifelessly; his hands remained still on his lap. However, Nino was grinning and plucking the notes playfully. At first, Sho's mind was blank and zeroed out of everything. But then he listened closely to the melody Nino was playing.

It was the TV jingle Sho played when they first met.

Sho watched Nino play the notes with his right hand over and over again. Then, Nino seemed to be lost in his own music playing. The man nodded his head to the music with his ear slightly turned towards the keys as if he could understand the sound better. The concentration showed on Nino's brow, and soon he drew his hand away with a smile.

"Play!" Nino nodded to Sho.

But Sho only blinked back in awe at Nino's energy. How can this man play so happily on the piano at a time like this? How can this man assume that music can fix everything?

As if annoyed by Sho's lackluster response—which was rich considering how much Sho had to put up with Nino's dead repsonses—, Nino reached for Sho's left hand. Sho watched Nino slid his short hand underneath Sho's and touched the keys. Sho's hand overlapped Nino's, but Sho didn't budge as Nino began playing Beethoven's Pathetique Adagio cantabile.

Sho sat there in silence, staring down at his dull motionless fingers shadowing Nino's. The savant violinist still couldn't grasp the notes for the left, and Sho lifted his hand away from Nino's to play on his own. Nino started smiling wider when Sho finally played the correct harmony, and Nino carried on playing the right hand which he knew best. Sho frowned slightly at Nino's overly happy reaction, but he continued to play the piece.

There was something about the piece that seemed to drown out everything else from Sho's mind. Its soft and slow melody took away almost everything negative inside him. Soon, his face relaxed and focused solely on playing the piano. With Nino next to him, everything seemed to wash away. They were once again lost in the music. Then out of habit, Sho lifted his right hand and carried on playing the piece on his own.

"That's it, Sho," Nino muttered next to him softly.

Sho's lips parted as he watched his own hands danced across the keys. The music grew louder at his fingertips the harder he pressed down the keys. Then, he lightly tapped the keys to play softer. There was a tiny twitch of his lips, but Sho continued to play. Nino joined in on a higher octave and echoed Sho's piano playing. Nino learned to play the piano rather quickly, and soon they played an echoing game.

Sho would play a part of the sonata, and then Nino would play it back but in a different style. It didn't distort the tone of the piece, rather it was as if the music expanded their world. Then, Nino made the game more challenging by adding new variations to the song. Completely original. His brilliant mind kicked up a notch, and suddenly Sho couldn't focus on anything else but Nino's playing. Sho put his listening skills to the test and copied as best as he could to mimic Nino's melody. They continued this, one after another, hoping to one up the other from playing. Sho didn't realize he was smiling.

Then, Sho's finger slipped on the wrong key, and he groaned out loud.

"Yes! I win!" Nino cheered, and Sho let out a chuckle.

So that was it. Nino was trying to cheer him up. Sho blinked as he stared at Nino's profile, smiling and laughing at Sho's mistake. Nino was able to sense Sho's distress, and rather than talking to him, Nino made Sho smile again. He was never good with words, but if it was with music, Nino could express anything. He wanted Sho to be happy again...

Sho leaned forward and gently kissed Nino's grinning lips. Sho kept his eyes closed, hoping he could savor the moment, but he could feel Nino's smile slowly retracting away. Nino didn't move, and Sho's heart came to a halt for a millisecond. Sho's brow furrowed slightly, hoping Nino would react eventually. But the violinist didn't. Sho moved his jaw and pulled Nino's bottom lip into his mouth, drawing it in tenderly.

His hand was itching to feel Nino's smooth face again, but he never got to feel the subtle touch. Nino suddenly pulled away from the kiss and quickly ran away. Sho listened to Nino's slamming his bedroom door, and Sho sighed out loud.

"What was I thinking?" He mumbled, burying his face into his hands.

Sho glanced down at his watch and remembered he had not feed Nino once. Feeling even more guilty, Sho quickly headed for the kitchen and made a quick meal. To show how sorry he was, Sho made Nino's favorite meal: hamburger steak. He placed the plate on a tray, along with Nino's favorite tea drink, and carried it to Nino's room.

He knocked on the door. "Nino...I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...I mean, I did but I just...well, I made you dinner. It's your favorite."

There was no response.

Sho opened the door and saw the room was dark. He spotted Nino hiding under the covers with his toes barely sticking out, but Sho didn't advance forward.

"I'm going to leave it here," Sho said, softly. He placed the tray at the foot of Nino's door.

He closed the door and walked back to the living room. He plopped himself down on the couch; the groove quickly molded to Sho's body from the hours of sitting all day. The memory started replaying back in Sho's head, and his heart started beating again. The heat quickly rose to his cheeks, and Sho slouched in his seat with his hands covering his face with embarrassment.

There was no denying it. Sho was attracted to Nino, but Sho didn't know to what extent. Those sex dreams only made Sho feel more nervous than aroused. He feared his former habits would resurface if he sees Nino naked again. Since his incarceration, Sho has tried to burn out the memories of his crime, his shame, his guilt. He vowed to himself to never do something like that again.

But when he saw Nino smiling and playing the piano to cheer him up, Sho suddenly wanted to kiss him, hold him, and touch him. Nino has become such a precious part of Sho's life, he wanted to keep Nino close in a tight embrace. The warm feeling swelled inside Sho until he couldn't suppress it any longer—he reached for a couch pillow and squeezed it close to his chest. The bubbles haven't died down, and Sho began to wonder what Nino really thinks of him.

But then he remembered the kiss, and his face went back to a deep shade of red.

Sho groaned again and buried his face into the pillow. "Why did I do that...?"

end of chapter
To Chapter 12 >>

sorry if it seemed short, but NOW i can begin explaining some inspirations i got for this story
as i said to some of you in the comments, i started working on this fic since summer last year after taking a certain summer course. that course was a psychology class: Death, Dying, and Grieving
(yeah it was fun!)
my professor told us true stories (with anonymous names) of different death scenarios, the process of their grieving, levels of stresses etc. these lectures inspired me to start writing this fic because just hearing my professor talk, it showed me how raw our emotions can get during a time of death or someone dying. and i really wanted to capture that in my writing. so essentially, this sakumiya fic was born because of that death class XDD

all deaths that happened in this fic was based on a true story (except aiba, i kinda tweeked his story a bit. the doctor irl didn't kill his daughter in secret. they did it legally). but all the details in this fic are fictional (in rl: the sex offender didn't live with the autistic man, the autistic man's brother took care of him after the sister died, the single father's son didn't have autism but down syndrome, the struggling couple originally had two miscarriages). so yeah, i changed a lot of things.
so there you go!
i'll update the next chapter soon. see you then!

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