A month had gone by.
Yumi had occasionally stopped by to check on Misaki.
Akihiko had been working from home, much to his editor's discontent.
At this point he cared not if he got fired. He had plenty of money saved to provide for both Misaki and himself and then some throughout their lifetime.
However long the two of them would be together.
Things had been going well, thus far.
Misaki seemed to recover from his PTSD smoothly. Akihiko made sure of it. Never let him frown. Nothing of that sort. Did everything in his power to keep him happy.
They hadn't gotten a chance to talk about more profound concerns that lied between them. They were both adjusting to this new life style. He also was adjusting to his healing gunshot wound. Despite running from the hospital, he healed.
Misaki still had no memory of Akihiko before the events of the slavehouse. He didn't talk about it.
He'd do it eventually.
He was being spoiled. Akihiko bought him everything. An entire new wardrobe and books and furniture and flowers and whatever else came out of Misaki's mouth, he obtained it. He was uncomfortable accepting all these things but the bunny constantly insisted. He saw no point in arguing.
The past 30 days had been mirthful. No point in ruining it.
"Good morning," Misaki turned to greet the man with that sweet, angelic smile of his when he saw the author exit the bedroom and waddle into the kitchen.
"What time is it?" Akihiko asked, rubbing the sleep out of his vivid violet eyes.
"I'm not sure."
Misaki woke up early, the man noticed.
Probably a servitude habit growing up.
"You need more sleep," the author replied, Suzuki hanging from his arm as he sat down at the table.
"Well, I like to have breakfast ready by the time you come down," the younger stated, pouring some batter into a pan. "Really. It's the least I could do."
"There's no point in arguing, is there?" Akihiko chuckled. Misaki spent a lot of his time in the kitchen. Cooking. Cooking breakfast. Lunch, dinner. Snacks. Desserts. Akihiko wasn't fond of sweets before. Until he met Misaki. Especially Misaki.
Misaki was sweet.
He was fond of Misaki.
"No," the teen smiled, walking over to the table with a pan in hand, slowly transitioning the fresh pancakes onto Akihiko's empty plate. He proceeded to pour a generous amount of syrup and whipped cream along with butter on the top. A bowl of sliced fruit on the side. A glass of milk waiting to be sipped. Akihiko blinked in astonishment.
"You never cease to amaze," he thought aloud, taking Misaki's hand and kissing it. Misaki simply smiled and walked over back to the stove.
The author let out a tired groan as he adjusted in his seat, opening up the morning paper.
His lips tingled. Misaki's skin always left him feeling that way.
Of course their physical relationship had not progressed. As much as Akihiko wanted. He couldn't bring himself to touch Misaki anymore than an affectionate kiss or a rub of his head or shoulders.
He couldn't read the teen's mind. Whether he would never want to be touched again (which was fine, of course, maybe), or if he needed more time or if he didn't care at all.
Akihiko had never harbored anyone before, let alone an ex-slave. It was unsettling in a way. Not knowing what to do about it. He thought he was going good, though. Misaki's smiling. He's always smiling.
The last thing Akihiko wanted was to turn it around.
"Hmm?" said man raised a brow when a particular article caught his eye in the newspaper.
"What's goin' on, Usagi?" The flower asked, looking up from his plate, curiously looking at the other male.
"Says here they found the guys who sold the slaves." Akihiko answered. He thought about keeping quiet, he wasn't sure if it was something Misaki wanted to hear.
Though he seemed interested.
"Really?" Misaki asked, wiping his mouth on his napkin.
"Yeah. All thrown in jail."
Akihiko rolled up the paper and focused on eating the fluffy pancakes his flower had made for him. "Pity though. I would've liked to thank the one who helped me."
Misaki's hand stopped. "What?"
Akihiko stilled. Did he just dig his own grave?
"One of the men from that so-called 'company,'" the older male answered, unable to see a way out of this conversation. It had been long overdue, anyway. "He gave me that bastard's licence plate. Which I gave to the police. May have never found you otherwise."
"Oh," the other blinked, looking down, understanding better now. Though it was still odd to him. Something was bothering him. Should he ask?
He didn't want to pass his bothers onto Akihiko.
But he should probably ask.
Napkin folded in Misaki's lap, he fiddled with it with his fingers. "How did you know I was. . . even there? Like. . . you know. . . being s-sold?" He hoped he was making sense. But wording it bluntly didn't feel like a moral option here.
And that was the big question.
One Akihiko wasn't willing to give the full answer to.
He could tell Misaki he went to high school with his brother. He could tell him he's known Misaki for many years. That he knew of Takahiro's actions and the way Misaki was being treated growing up. And that he hadn't done anything about it until now. He could tell Misaki this.
But, he didn't really want to.
Maybe eventually. Not now. Maybe not ever.
He didn't want to lie, either.
"I was. . . at the building that night." The author answered. Not thinking right. He was there. But parked outside the building. After event. He left this part out.
Misaki didn't seem satisfied with that answer. "There?"
His name is Misaki Takahashi, and he's a virgin.
His name is Misaki Takahashi. And he's a virgin. We'll start the bidding at fifty million.
His name is Misaki Takahashi.
Misaki Takahashi. Said male not understanding this situation very well. He frowned. Akihiko didn't like that.
Please, Misaki. Please don't.
W-Who are you? How do you know my name?
Those bastards used drugs.
My name is Akihiko Usami, and I think you should come home with me.
Please, Misaki. You can trust me.
Words playing in his mind. He didn't like them, he wished they'd stop. When he felt the sting of tears in his eyes, he pushed back his chair and stood up quietly. He didn't miss this burn. It had been becoming a foreign feeling to him. He really, really didn't miss it.
"I-I'm done eating," he said in his mouse-like voice, gathering his dishes and placing them in the sink.
"Hmm?" Akihiko responded. "You hardly ate three bites."
"Yeah, I guess I just wasn't in the mood for pancakes after all. Sorry."
"At least eat some fruit."
"I'll take some upstairs."
"Why are you going upstairs?"
"When you're done, you can just put the dishes in the sink. I'll wash them later," Misaki said. He was still talking quietly. He had barely been audible. He didn't look at the other man since he stood up. Akihiko didn't like that, either.
"Okay," he said, dumbfounded, before Misaki trotted up the stairs and disappeared into one of the rooms.
The man, left behind, blinked in bewilderment. He wasn't sure what had just happened. Clearly something he said had bothered Misaki. He sighed tiredly. He'd talk to him later. To make Misaki smile again.
He lit a cigarette and stuck it in his mouth. He didn't like smoking around Misaki. He could see the disapproval in the teen's eyes. But he never said anything. Probably because he felt he had no right to tell the man how to live. He was only concerned for his health. Akihiko would be fine, though. He'd be fine as long as he had Misaki.
He hadn't been thinking right before.
He finished eating once his cigarette had gotten low. He put his dishes in the sink. He washed them. Might as well. Take a load of Misaki's shoulders.
Only one broke. He cleaned it up quickly so his house mate wouldn't see. Surely it would get a laugh out of him, though. Akihiko would like to see that.
A knock on the door startled him. Peeking through, he opened the door to find Officer Friendly Yumi.
"Usami," she greeted him as usual.
He nodded back at her with a smile. "Officer."
"Just stopping by for my usual check up on the kid."
"He's fine, I think," Akihiko answered, putting a hand in his pocket, his eyes slightly averted in thought at the ceiling. Yumi had to check on Misaki occasionally. Akihiko had to report positive results to avoid social services being called. He hadn't had to lie, yet.
"We had a talk earlier. I think something I said bothered him. I'm not sure."
"I won't ask," Yumi said, recognizing this particular problem as somewhat personal. "Though I know you men can blurt things without thinking. You may want to have another chat with him."
"I plan on it," Akihiko replied, smiling at her. "You know me."
"I know," she said, adjusting her police cap on her head. "Anyway. Did you hear the good news?"
Akihiko nodded. "That you caught the slave traders?"
"Of course," he said, patting her shoulder. "Props to you. And your team."
"Since we caught them, we were also able to track slave owners and free the slaves," she said. "Must've been dozens of them. But they're being taken care of in a shelter. Some have been adopted already. Others are still recovering from the trauma."
"Misaki is doing well in that," Akihiko answered before she could ask. "He's always smiling."
"Good, you better keep it that way," she pointed a finger at him with a disapproving smile. "Apparently he was the top product."
Akihiko sighed. 'I know."
"With good reason, I suppose."
The author crinkled his nose at that. "I guess so."
"See you later, Usami."
The door closed. Akihiko stood still for a moment before humming and walking up the stairs. He wanted to talk to Misaki.
Misaki was currently making the bed. He was moving slower than usual. He hadn't completed any other chore since he came up. He fluffed the pillows and laid them neatly at the top. Set the bears up in an organized fashion. Cleared the wrinkles in the blanket.
He rubbed at his eyes furiously. They kept stinging. But he wouldn't cry. He didn't want to jump to conclusions.
But he couldn't help but think oddly of the situation.
He was there. The author confirmed it himself.
I was there, at the building that night.
There in the audience? Watching? Making bids? Misaki wasn't sure.
He wasn't thrilled at the thought.
At the same time, Akihiko had done nothing to make the flower skeptical of him.
Please, Misaki. You can trust me.
He had done nothing but held up to those words since they started living together.
What was he getting upset about then?
Part of him wanted to think Akihiko was just like the rest of them. Hanging out in places like that. Looking to buy a slave.
But he wasn't like them. Especially not like Takana. Were all slave owners as cruel as him?
Akihiko didn't seem like a slave owner. But it was his intention, wasn't it? If he was there.
I was there.
Misaki sighed. He decided it be best if he forgets this whole thing. His head turned to the mirror. He looked at his reflection. His skinny, petite body. In the clothes Akihiko had bought for him. A blue knit sweater. Gray stretch pants and socks to match. His hair was getting long. A blue ponytail held up the back part of his brown hair. Though a lot of it still hung down in the front. He could easily be mistaken for a female. He didn't mind, though.
He looked around the room. A slave owner wouldn't own a bunch of toys.
Not these kinds of toys, anyway.
There was no sign of any maltreatment equipment. Nothing suspicious whatsoever.
He pushed the negative thoughts down at the bottom of his mind. Setting them aside for now. Not sure if it would catch back up to him later. Probably, since he had run out on the author not too long ago.
He was sure they were going to have another talk. But he would attempt to blow it over.
He didn't want to ruin his happiness with the man. A month of happiness. It was the longest he'd ever gone while being happy that he could remember.
How much longer would they go?
Okay there's been a lot of reviews in the past... 9 months or so... so I don't have time to respond to all of them. But I'd like to thank everyone for the kind words! Well, except one, "Extremejunjoufan", while I don't appreciate your choice of words, I hope you can enjoy this chapter I'm posting now.