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 notes: so this week's music reference is pretty upbeat and yet the title looks like a total mismatch. but i love this piece, and this chapter has its reasons to be called as such. so enjoy!
Music reference: Bach - Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor
Chapter 13 - Flat
It only happened once, and now sex was part of their daily routine. Or at least to Sho, it seemed like the savant violinist schedule to have it every day. When Sho wakes up and heads for the shower, Nino would follow in after him. After meals, Nino would start nagging at him while doing the dishes until the violinist practically pulled him down to the kitchen floor. Even during practice hours, they resume to the same position.
And Sho didn't mind at all.
The old guilty feelings from his past seemed to be nonexistent, and Nino practically recovered from his loss of Sachi—he made an alter for her and prayed every morning with a soft smile. Now, nothing seemed better than the feel of each other's touch, and tonight they were in Nino's room. They laid under the bed covers, stark naked, after finishing their first round while basking in their afterglow. Sho had his arm draped over Nino's slim shoulders with his lips gently tracing over the outline of Nino's face. Nino's rounded nose brushed ever so slightly against Sho's cheek.
"Sho...?" Nino moaned.
Sho kept his eyes closed and continued pressing his lips against Nino's smooth pale skin. "Hmm?"
"I want to hear you play a piano piece."
Sho chuckled. "You did a thousand times." Sho pulled Nino in closer and breathed in the man's hair deeply before passing on more kisses below Nino's ear. Sho heard Nino sigh an octave higher than his normal voice. Sho pulled Nino's leg up to his hip and slid his hand along Nino's thigh and rear.
Nino brought his arms around Sho and held onto the pianist's sloped shoulders. "I want to hear it on stage..."
"You will," Sho moaned into Nino's neck, "during your concert."
"I want to hear you play a solo piece," Nino said seriously. "I'll sit with the audience and listen to you on stage. I...I want to know."
"Do you mean a recital?" Sho asked, slowly pulling away from their embrace so he could read Nino's expression. "Because I've already submitted your set list to the organizers. I think it's too late for me to add another piece."
"Play for me then," Nino pressed on. "I want to hear it."
Sho's eyebrows knitted slightly, but he smirked away the awkwardness. "There's no need for that. Nino, I can perform something at home. I don't need to be on the spotlight...now come here." Sho brought his lips back to Nino's neck. "I want to feel you again."
But Nino drew away and frowned back. "But...I have to know!"
Sho could see the pupils in Nino's eyes dart back and forth. The man was struggling to formulate his thoughts into words, and then Nino started groaning out of frustration. Nino retracted his arms away from Sho and stared up at the ceiling with a lethargic look.
Sho felt the first pang of rejection. "Nino? Nino, what's wrong? Tell me."
Instead, Nino rolled to his other side to hide his face from Sho. He brought his knees up and moaned. "I don't know how to say it. But I just need to know..."
Sho sat up, and the blanket slid down his shoulder. "Okay! I'll play, so please don't ignore me. I'll play right now."
"No!" Nino yelled. "I need to hear it on the stage! It's different!"
"But the papers already gone through!" Sho tried to reason with him. "Maybe not now, but sometime in the future I'll perform for you, okay? Just for you."
Nino sat up and glared at Sho. "It has to be now!"
"Why?!" Sho shouted back.
Nino set on fire. "Because I want to hear your music, Sho! I want to know! You have to play on stage and play the piano because I want to hear your music! Play the piano so that I can hear it. I want to hear it because I have to know-"
"Nino!" Sho held the man's shoulders. "You're not making any sense! You're just repeating yourself."
"Then you don't understand!"
Finally fed up, Nino pushed Sho's arms away and marched out of his own bedroom. Sho heard from the down the hall the bathroom door slammed shut. A few minutes later, the sounds of running water from the shower head reverberated through the walls, and Sho plopped his head back down on the pillow.
Nino has heard Sho play the piano plenty of times. He even taught Nino how to play the piano! Why now does he want to hear Sho perform on stage? He was certain he expressed himself enough to match with Nino's violin; Sho always tried to balance the same tension, rhythm, and emotions as Nino. But to perform by himself under the limelight seemed intimidating. It has been years since Sho last had a proper piano recital, but it wasn't Sho's main issue.
After more than a year living together, Sho felt unsure about his future. No doubt he has grown attached to Nino and his music, but Sho had a feeling it would all end soon. Nino was becoming more and more independent. He finally grasped an understanding in managing his music career and personal life, and Sho found less and less things to do around the house. Nino was able to do them all (in a slow manner). Now that their connection has reached an even deeper level, Sho worried if he has grown too attached.
He began to wonder if being with Nino was really the best option for him...
Sho grumbled and rubbed his face. "What does he really want from me?"
A few minutes later, he heard the phone ringing. Nino was still in his "I'm-ignoring-you" shower, so Sho slipped on his cotton pants and answered the phone.
His eyebrows perked up and a smile spread across his face. "Mai! You called me back."
"I thought I tell you Mom's funeral day."
"I told Dad, but he didn't say anything," she said. "You can come, but please don't expect anything."
Sho's smile slowly dwindled away. "I understand."
They told him they'll have the results in two days, but it felt like two years. Ohno sat alone in his kitchen with beer and rice crackers, waiting for the blood test results to come in. Sho asked Ohno to not call him when the results come in, and Ohno respected his wishes. He felt bad for punching Sho as his first impression, but Ohno was surprised when the man didn't retaliate. Even on the way to the lab, Sho was polite around Ohno. He must have been a different man before.
But so was Ohno. The past year has changed him as well.
Suddenly, the phone rang and Ohno hastily stood up to answer. "Hello?"
"Hello, Ohno Satoshi?" A female replied back. "This is Platina DNA Lab Center. We've completed your DNA test of your son, Kenta."
Ohno's heart pounded so hard against his chest, he thought his whole body was vibrating. "I see. Thank you for calling."
"Based on the results, your DNA matches with Kenta. If you like, I'll have the lab results be mailed to your home address for your records. Would you like to have-"
But Ohno took his phone away from his ear and raised his fists up with victorious glee. He let out a silent shout of joy and uttered "Yes! Yes!" under his breath. His hands were shaking just out of sheer excitement. He was the father. He was the father! Kenta was his own!
"H-hi! Yes, umm, thank you for your hard work."
When he finished the conversation, the first thing Ohno did was call a lawyer. He researched the past two days with a sliver of hope that he was the father. And now that he can confirm that he is, Ohno can put up a case.
The next day, Ohno met with his new lawyer to cover the details. Thankfully, Ohno was also financial stable to take care of Kenta—Ohno never left the fishing auction warehouse, and it paid off. All that was left was to inform Minami about the case.
Ohno called her while in the office. "She's not picking up...Hello, Minami? It's me, Ohno. I'm speaking with a lawyer about custody over Kenta. I found out that I am his father, and I want him to live with me. Call me back, bye."
"Do you know where she lives?" His lawyer asked.
"I do," he nodded.
"We can make a house call."
Together, on a hot summer day, they headed for Minami's home. But when Ohno rang the doorbell, no one answered. Frowning slightly, Ohno glanced up at the house. There was no car on the driveway, and Minami wasn't picking up Ohno's calls.
"Perhaps they're out for the day," the lawyer sighed, fanning himself with a paper fan. "Want to get something to eat? I know a great soba restaurant."
But no matter how many times Ohno rang the doorbell, no one answered and it left an unsettling feeling in Ohno's stomach. A nagging intuition wouldn't stop poking at him. Something wasn't right. He pushed the iron gate, and it moved at his touch. The pending worry started to build up inside as Ohno pushed open the gate and walked into the premise.
"Ohno-san!" His lawyer called after. "What are you doing? We can't trespass."
But he didn't listen. He walked up to the front door and knocked. No answer. He started pounding even louder and harder, hoping someone will get annoyed with him and eventually answer the door. He has been apart from Kenta for more than half a year, and he'll be damned if the reason he couldn't get to Kenta soon was because no one was home.
Then, he heard a sound from inside.
"Ohno-san, let's call it a day," the lawyer moaned under the beating sun. "We'll come back when they-"
"Shh!" Ohno hissed. "Do you hear that?"
They both held their breath and strained their ears. Outside in the blazing sun, the chirping cicadas faded into the background. But deep inside the thick walls of the modern house, Ohno heard a boy crying.
Ohno tried peeking through the windows, but he couldn't see anything through the heavily dense curtains. Kenta sounded like he was in the back, so Ohno dashed around the house. A locked door resisted Ohno's urgent hand, but he could hear the crying more clearly. This wasn't a normal cry from Kenta. He sounded scared, and the strength of his voice seemed to be fading. No one was answering Ohno, which translated to him that Kenta was all alone in the house. The worst possible scenarios started filling in Ohno's head.
"Damn!" Ohno grunted.
He looked around and found a garden rack. Ohno quickly grabbed it just as the lawyer joined him in the backyard.
"Ohno! What are you-"
Using all his strength, Ohno smashed the window with the butt end of the rack. Ohno reached inside and unlocked the latch. The window was small, but Ohno was slim enough to fit inside. His lawyer, on the other hand, was too big and had to wait until Ohno unlocked the back door.
Inside, the house was sweltering hot and stifling. Not a single air conditioner or ventilation was on. Sweat already build up on Ohno's brow as he followed the sound of Kenta's cries. It didn't take long until he found Kenta lain on the living room floor and frighteningly still.
Ohno knelt next to his son and gently help him sit up. Kenta was burning to the touch. His little face was pink and sweaty. His clothes looked dirty, and the hot room intensify the smell of Kenta's dirty diaper.
"Oh god," he heard his lawyer behind him. "They left him alone in here?"
Ohno shouted over his shoulder. "Get some water! Call an ambulance!"
Kenta stopped crying, but he was barely conscious. Ohno started blowing to cool Kenta's hot face and wiping away the sweat from his forehead. He lifted him up and carried him to open a window to let some air in.
"They're on their way," the lawyer said. "It's a good thing you came to check, Ohno. That's some fatherly instinct!"
But Ohno ignored him and never left his eyes from his son. His whole world. "It's okay, Kenta," Ohno whispered. "I'm here."
Aiba smiled angelically as the children ran pass him down the hall. A timid nurse followed them with a worried face. Running was not allowed in the hallways, but physical activity wouldn't bring any harm to these children. Summer was always the liveliest time in the hospital, especially in the children's ward where they can finally go outside and play. But they were especially excited for the upcoming concert. More and more donations were coming in thanks to the promotion alone. Aiba was glad Nino battled through his depression in time for the concert.
When Aiba entered his office, he was surprised to see Nino waiting for him.
"N-nino!" Aiba gawked at him. "What brings you here?"
The autistic man looked bashful, but he sat up straight and eager to tell something. Aiba closed the door behind him and sat down in his chair.
"Where's Sho?" Aiba asked.
"Sho went to buy food," Nino mumbled.
Aiba's grin grew wider. "You came by yourself! This is fantastic, Nino! You're finally showing some independency. Sachi would be so proud."
Nino made a small smirk and snugged his short palms between his knees. "I came here because I want to say...you don't have to worry."
"Worry?" Aiba blinked. "About what?"
"You don't have to worry about me," Nino repeated. "And I found someone to play my music for. Sachi listens to my music, but not anymore. And because of that person, I'm able to move on with my life. I've always been dependent on Sachi. But now I can take care of myself. Maybe I was always able to do it, but I never ventured to try. But I have now."
Aiba raised his eyebrow at Nino. "Let me guess...is this person Sho perhaps?"
Nino's smile became brighter. "He doesn't know it, but he is the reason why I'll continue playing music. Before, I always play for Sachi. But his music skills changed me. That's why I wanted to tell you not to worry about me. I found someone."
The man has finally bonded with someone. A sense of pride swelled inside Aiba, and he couldn't help but clap his hand down on Nino's shoulder. No words were needed as they both knew what this meant. Nino would no longer need Aiba's assistance in building relationships. Nino was content with Sho now, and he was finally independent with his autism.
"You must tell me," Aiba leaned forward. "Have you confessed to Sho yet?"
Nino tilted his head at Aiba.
"Did you tell Sho you love him?" Aiba asked plainly.
"W-we care for each other," Nino stuttered.
But Aiba caught his hesitation. "Did Sho tell you he loved you?"
Nino's earlier smile seemed to grow weaker, and the man shrunk back to his old hunchback habit. "Sho will play his piano...and then I'll know."
Nino turned his gaze away, his brow slightly furrowed. "Don't say that."
"I'm sorry," Aiba quickly uttered. "But have you talked with Sho about your feelings?"
The violinist kept his eyes on the floor and shook his head.
"But you love each other?"
Nino ruffled through his hair. "Please, Aiba. I'm don't know how to say things like that."
"Okay. How about his response. What did Sho tell you? Did he say he loved you?"
"...I don't know."
Aiba let out a low sigh and leaned back into his chair. So that's the problem. Neither of these two musicians confessed to each other. Aiba could sense Nino was greatly disturbed by this dilemma. Possibly because the man has never encountered such emotions. Aiba wished he could document this very moment for his study, but that would be too insensitive on his part.
Then, Aiba spoke slow and steady. "Nino, I want you to tell me as best as you can how Sho makes you feel."
Nino lowered his hand but kept his eyes on the wall. "The music notes used to be perfect. They made sense to me, and everything was as it should." Nino sucked in his lips. "When Sachi died, they were scrambled and disorganized until they just...vanished. I hated it. I couldn't do anything because nothing made sense. But Sho...he fixed it. The music notes are in order now, but they're different."
"How different?" Aiba asked.
"They're more colorful," Nino answered. "The music notes are more beautiful. Playing the violin feels so much better with Sho. They are in order, and yet they're more alive. This is something I can see because of Sho."
Aiba slowly nodded his head. "And you want to hear Sho play the piano on stage so you can know if he feels the same way, am I right?"
"I should have known," Aiba smiled brightly again. "Music is the only way you communicate best after all."
"Aiba, please tell Sho to play the piano for me," Nino said, his eyebrows raised and pinched. "I don't care if I'm the only one in the audience, I have to know. I need to know. It's the only way for me to understand. Please."
The doctor, Nino's best friend, nodded. "I'll see what I can do. But Nino, you also have to tell him how you feel. At some point, I think Sho wants to hear you say it in words. For his sake."
Nino swallowed nervously but nodded. He stood up from his seat before slightly bowing his head. "Thank you."
After Nino left, Aiba began pondering about Nino's words. Seeing Nino coming to his office alone was a big leap towards Nino's independency, but now Aiba couldn't help but feel a little lonely knowing Nino will no longer be his regular patient. Aiba reached into his drawers and pulled out the concert pamphlet. It was a picture of Nino holding his violin majestically with an unmanned piano behind him.
The concert was for the children, but those who are close to Nino would want to know how he's doing. Inviting them with concert tickets should bring them to hear Sho's music for Nino. Sachi would definitely approve it. Aiba turned on his computer and sorted through his database for two addresses: Ohno's and Jun's.
Nino waited patiently for Sho to return. It was their final night before the concert tomorrow, and Sho left to buy some food out as a pre-party celebration for two. Nino bickered to Sho that he didn't want to go out for dinner, so Sho agreed to order out and pick it up for them. During his wait, Nino sat at the kitchen table feeling bored until his eyes wandered to the mail Sho left behind.
Most of them were bills and ads, but there was one letter for Nino with an return address from America.
The music notes started to jiggle in Nino's mind with curiosity, and he opened the envelope. Nino slowly read the letter and tried to absorb the information. It took him a good five minutes to finally finish a single paged letter, but he understood what it meant.
"A new tour," Nino mumbled to himself.
A new tour meant another tiresome travelling, but it also meant playing his violin for a new audience. Even though Nino didn't like to travel, he loved showing his music skills. It's one thing for him to play his music in the comforts of his home, but it was another when an audience listens to him. People will hear what he has the say through his violin, and giving out tours was the best way to express himself. This tour was for the major cities in America, and Nino couldn't wait to tell Sho that he'll accept. He was happily humming a tune until a new thought occured to him.
What if he performed a tour on his own?
It would be Nino's ultimate test to see the limits and strengths of his independence. He has been to so many countries in Europe already. One trip to America should be a breeze. The music notes played joyful in Nino's head. It sounded like such a good idea!
Finally, he heard the front door open. The music notes rhythmically played across his mind with joy, and Nino greeted Sho at the door. Sho carried the bag of food with one hand as he closed the door behind him.
"Welcome back," Nino said with a playful smile.
Sho was about to reply back, but Nino quickly step forth and stole a kiss. Sho's eyes widened, but then he smirked and brought his free arm around Nino to pull him closer. Sho pressed his lips so hard against Nino's mouth, his nose squished against Nino's face. Their lips parted with a loud suction noise, but Sho gave one last peck to Nino's lips again and smiled.
"You don't normally greet me at the door. What's this all about?"
"Sho, I'm going on a tour!" Nino immediately said gleefully.
The pianist glanced up suddenly, his eyes wide and startled. "What?"
Nino held out the letter. "I'm going to America."
Sho reached out and quickly scanned through the letter. Nino was fascinated how fast Sho's eyes darted across the page. The music notes became a little red with jealously, but Nino quickly reformed the melody into a calmer setting.
Sho made slow nods. "I suppose it fits your schedule. We can go together."
"Actually, I want go to America by myself," Nino continued. "I want to be fully independent by going on this trip."
Sho's brow pitched slightly, and he slowly walked down the hall. The music paused awkwardly, and Nino was unsure and confused about Sho's expression. Sho placed the food on the table but kept his eyes on the letter in his hand. Sho's silence made the music in Nino's head sound anxious and nervous. Nino started twitching the fingers on his left hand, his violin hand, hoping the music will drown out and fix itself to a normal harmony.
The pianist lowered his hand, his eyes looking dejected and guilty. "Nino...I just...I can't-"
The music grew rapidly and faster, almost agitated. "What's wrong?"
Sho gripped onto the back of the chair and closed his eyes. Nino's music began sounding tense and worried. The order would occasionally skew from time to time, but Nino suppressed the awkward melody he was reading and wondering if kissing Sho would relieve any doubt.
"You can go touring," Sho finally answered.
Nino grinned happily and held Sho's arm. "Yes!"
"But I'll no longer be your pianist," Sho finished. "I'll end my contract."
The music went dead silent. Nino couldn't even move. His gaze never left Sho's sorry face. His face warped into a fixated discomfort, but his grip on Sho's arm was still tight. The only sound Nino could hear was the beating of his own heart against his ear drums.
"The truth of the matter is...you don't need me anymore," Sho continued, looking crestfallen. "You've been through so much, and you're finally back on your own two feet again. You've improved a lot since Sachi died. But..." Sho shook his head and made an even more guilty face, "...you don't need a permanent pianist. You should be free, travelling, and sharing your music for all the world to hear. Anyone can be your accompaniment now. I'll only hold you back."
Everything was blurry. Nothing made sense. Nino slowly release his grip on Sho and took a step back. His eyes searched everywhere, hoping to find some order. But his mind was slowly become a jumbled mess. Not as bad as when he first learned that Sachi died or when Sho disappeared, but it was still making Nino uncomfortable.
"P-please," Nino uttered, "don't say that. Just...just wait for me. Stay here and-"
"And then what?!" Sho said, suddenly raising his voice. "Be shut in the house and only come out to buy food?! Nino, I've been doing everything for you because I thought you needed me. And you did. Believe me, it was a great feeling. Someone finally wanted me. I was suddenly an important person in society again...but I've invested so much into this. In us! I've given you my all, and now I'm wondering if you'll ever say..."
Nino glanced up and saw Sho's frustrated face. The music was back, but it was sober and quiet.
"I'm truly happy you've become more independent," Sho continued, his voice lower and calmer. "I'm sure it's something Sachi dreamed of, and I'm glad too. I will support your American tour all the way. But if you plan to leave, then just tell me...please...the one thing I want to hear you say to me."
Sho's final words made the music in Nino's head in total disarray again. He wondered if this was how Sachi felt when she was in great distress. So many sonatas and concertos floated through Nino's mind, reconfiguring and reconstructing on how he could resolve this situation. But he could only think of Aiba's advice, and he gazed back at Sho.
"I-I'm...I..." Nino stuttered.
Sho's lips parted slightly, a glimmer of hope lingering in his eyes. But the awkward melody continued to resound. Nino felt his palms becoming sweaty and his face blushing. Nothing came to his tongue, and he stood there unable to utter a word. Why is this so frustrating?! It makes so much more sense with his violin. Why can't he say it in words?! Sho gave him a pitied look, and Nino's heart sank.
"Nino," Sho sighed. "Did you cared about me...or my music skills?"
The violinist's mouth was stuck open; not a single sound could escape. Nino knew the answer, but he had a hard time sorting through his mental music order first to make sense of his words. He knew what he felt! They were right there on the tip of his tongue, but Nino's frustration build up inside him. Why can't the music in his head just go into order again?! If only there was a way he could properly tell Sho what was going through his head, but the stress kept piling up on top of each other.
There was nothing he could do.
Nino turned tail and ran back to his room.
end of chapter
To Chapter 14 >> http://arashiforyou.livejournal.com/66598.html
these two are so stubborn! (well nino has a unique excuse)
so yeah, just because they had sex don't mean they're happily ever after yet!
2 more chapters left!
see you in the next update!