"Shizu-cha – eh? He's not here!"
"Ah, Shizuo-kun is on sick leave today, Orihara-kun."
"Ehhhh?! Shizu-chan is sick?! What happened to him?! Is he okay?!"
"He's in the hospital from injuries…" The violin teacher said, looking somewhat uncomfortable.
"What? Then I must go visit Shizu-chan! Which hospital is he in, sensei?!"
"I'm afraid I can't say, Orihara-kun. That's confidential information."
"Will he come back?"
"Of course, when he's well."
"Oh okay!" The black haired boy cheered up, eyes lighting up again. "Then, I will wait for him to come back! I'll learn a new song and play it for him when he's back!"
The man smiled kindly.
"I'm sure Shizuo-kun will be happy to hear it, Orihara-kun."
"….Shizu-chan's still not here?"
"I'm afraid not."
"But it's been weeks…."
"Yes it has."
"…You're hiding something."
"You're hiding something, sensei," the raven haired boy repeated, narrowing his eyes. "Tell me the truth. What happened to Shizuo?"
The man gave a sigh as if to say 'this kid's sharp', then spoke.
"Shizuo-kun gave up music lessons."
"Shizuo-kun is no longer enrolled here."
"Since two weeks ago."
"And you didn't tell me because?"
"Well Orihara-kun, you never asked."
"I never asked?" The black haired boy said. He smirked wryly. "'Shizu-chan's still not here?' Is that not a question?"
"'I'm afraid not' – is one possible reply but doesn't really tell me anything. The reply I was expecting and deserved to receive as Shizu-chan's friend was a reason, such as 'Shizuo-kun is no longer enrolled here' You know, the truth. 'You never asked' is merely an evasion to avoid the truth. So sensei, I'm very sure I asked and your logic is rendered invalid."
"O-Orihara-kun…." The man stared at the boy who suddenly seemed much older than his physical appearance suggested.
The child smiled sharply. "Could you pass me a violin, sensei?"
Speechless, the man could only obey. He watched as the small boy positioned the violin perfectly, lifted the bow, and began to play.
Smooth music with a melancholy touch filled the room for the next minute. The boy's eyes were stoic, and his music conveyed the emotions his eyes couldn't convey.
He drew out the last note, and silence filled the room.
"Ode to Joy by Ludwig van Beethoven," the boy said, "This is the song I wanted Shizu-chan to learn so we could do a duet."
"Yes I can play the violin, because Shizu-chan plays the violin, I was interested in it. Even though I prefer the piano, I was thinking of enrolling in violin lessons so I could spend more time with Shizu-chan. Of course, I would ask Shizu-chan to teach me, keep up my pretence of not knowing anything about the violin so he would guide me."
"Manipulative?" He smirked. "What does it matter? As long as I can have Shizu-chan's attention, as long as I can be with him, it doesn't matter how I do it."
"But since Shizu-chan is no longer here, there's no point." He stooped and placed the violin on the ground, then stood up again, giving a mock bow to the stunned man whom he was sure had never met a child like him.
"On behalf of Shizuo, thank you for your services, Sensei."
"Ah, Izaya-kun! You're late today."
"My apologies, sensei." He said with a smooth smile tinged with hidden secrets, "I was making preparations."
"That's right." He said to the surprised woman. "Thank you for teaching me, but I'm not enrolled here any longer. I came today to pass up the official documents."
To clarify his statement, he raised the papers up to his shocked teacher.
"This is the official form for declaration of departure which I got from the receptionist. Oh and this," a wad of bills accompanied the papers. "Is the payment for this month."
"But Izaya-kun…." the woman said as she carefully took the papers from the little boy. "For such a declaration, it has to be made by your parents."
"Their signatures are there."
"No I mean, if you want to leave, the one who enrolled you, which is your mother, has to hand this up personally."
"And he has."
"I enrolled myself." Izaya said. "I lied. My mother didn't enrol me. My mother and father are overseas."
"If you're concerned about parental consent, rest assured they've already given me permission when I contacted them through email. If you want, I could print out a copy of the email as proof."
"That's right, oh I also told another lie, my parents didn't transfer money over to your bank account because they were overseas. Well the fact that they are overseas isn't a lie, but I'm the one who's been transferring the payment over to your bank account, sensei. Because it's so troublesome to count money, electronic transactions are much more convenient. Ah but since this is the last time we're seeing each other, I decided to bring it to you in hard cash for once."
"Then, these signatures….."
"Are by me. Because my parents are overseas, I had no choice. I hope you can overlook this instance of forgery for once, sensei."
The woman stared, as she realized she was dealing with an unusually intelligent child who could possibly be a prodigy. She inhaled to control her emotions, then spoke.
"This is all very surprising, Izaya-kun. However, are you sure you do not want to continue? You are very talented with the piano, and you could grow up to be a great musician."
"I'm already a great musician."
"Well yes – you are a great musician, but you could be better."
"No." Izaya said bluntly. "I am a greater musician than what you think. I haven't been showing you my real skills."
"….Is there anything we could do to make you stay?"
"Direct and to the point, I like it." Izaya said. He smiled. "But sorry to disappoint, but my answer still remains the same. No. Unless you can bring Shizu-chan back to me, there is nothing you can do. I have already left."
The woman stared at the child who suddenly seemed like a different person, before she registered his words.
"Shizu-chan? Do you mean Shizuo-kun?" Izaya nodded. "Well, I can't bring him back to you, but I'm sure you can find another friend –"
"I don't want anyone else." Izaya hissed so dangerously the woman stopped talking. "I don't want anyone else! Don't try to convince me! I don't want anyone else! I only want Shizu-chan! I ONLY WANT SHIZU-CHAN!"
"We were supposed to do a duet of Ode to Joy! We were supposed to do a duet of Moonlight Sonata together someday! I was supposed to visit his house and see the brother he talked about! We were supposed to be best friends! We were supposed to be together forever! So why? Why did he leave me?! Why didn't he even say goodbye?!"
The woman said in sympathy to the boy who had tears running down his face. She reached out a hand, but he pushed it away roughly.
"Don't touch me."
She pulled her hand away, swallowing down her instincts to comfort the crying child. Because he was unlike any other child she had ever met, but deep inside, he was still a child.
A child who had lost his only friend.
Her heart went out to him, but his heart was clearly somewhere else. So she remained silent, gripping the papers in her hand tightly as she watched the little boy cry.
"Izaya-kun," she said to the little boy when she couldn't take his crying face anymore. "I understand that you're devastated, and I understand why you're leaving. Even though my words may not mean much, you're one of the most talented students I've ever had the pleasure of teaching, and I hope you will still continue to play the piano in the future. Please don't let this incident scar you from playing the piano again."
"Sensei," he said, "I'm sure you read shoujo manga. In shoujo manga, best friends are always childhood friends who grew up together. So why is reality different?"
"..Because reality is unkind, and contains circumstances we can't help, Izaya-kun. I'm sure Shizuo-kun had a good reason for leaving you."
"In shoujo manga," Izaya said, "The bad boy always gets the girl. The bad boy is always a lonely, misunderstood soul. Even though I'm not competing for a girl's heart here, is that how it works? Are bad boys more likely to get sympathy, especially if they're good looking? If I become a bad boy, will I meet Shizu-chan again in the future and will he cure my wounded heart?"
"I don't know, Izaya-kun," his teacher said honestly. "However, if you become bad, people will dislike you. You will be ostracized from society, and I'm sure you wouldn't want that."
"I already am."
"You would be ostracized even more, and I'm sure Shizuo-kun wouldn't want that for you." The woman said. She sighed, but gave a smile. "You're wise for your age, Izaya-kun. Even though you're hurt, please think things through carefully. Don't do anything you would regret in the future."
She inclined her head towards the silent child.
"It was a genuine pleasure to teach you, Izaya-kun. I hope you will meet Shizuo-kun again in the future."
Her high heels clicked in the silence that followed, and the door closed quietly behind her, leaving him alone in the room.
Footsteps sounded as he walked to the piano. He sat down on the familiar chair, raised his hands, and began to play.
It was hard to describe the music that engulfed the room. The song was sad and played smoothly, but with a vigorous touch, as if beholding the frustration and hurt the pianist was feeling. His fingers moved gracefully across the keys, in contrast to his trembling body. They sketched out the song as if they had created it themselves, with a quiet intensity which reflected the raging emotions in tearful crimson eyes.
There was silence in the room save for the beautiful music. Even if he had not been the only one there, the room would still be silent save for the music from the piano, as it was played in such a way that it would bring awe and stun to any visitor's eyes.
But there was no one save for him in the big room. His teacher had left to give him some privacy. His only friend was not there.
He was alone.
It was indeed a pity that there was no one but him to listen to his beautiful music. But the boy didn't care about that. He knew he was good. He knew he was better than good. He had always known.
All he cared about was that his reason for staying was gone, and that his dreams were shattered, and the bond he had childishly thought would last forever was broken. All he cared about was that that something new, that ray of hope in his darkness of loneliness had faded away before he even knew.
The music abruptly stopped, because the player couldn't finish the song.
It was the sound of discord from the piano keys being slammed down all at once by trembling fingers.
The fingers moved again, this time playing a different song, a song with no restraint, fast and vicious and furious. A song which was composed from the raging melody in his heart.
"What did I do wrong?"
"Why did you leave me?!"
"You were supposed to stay –"
BANG BANG BANG
"YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO LEAVE ME ALONE!"
Sudden silence, as fingers slipped off the abused keys.
"I don't want...this...!"
But he was a child too smart and aware for his age, and he knew he was in a situation with no way to get out.
The boy clutched at his shirt, over his hurting heart.
Tears slipped down his pale cheeks, his eyes filled with contempt as he remembered the one who had betrayed him and broken his trust.
"Even you…even you left."
He watched as the piano cover slowly lowered, a broken smile on his lips.
"I hate you."
He rested his elbows on the piano cover, a choked sob involuntarily leaving his throat –
As he stared forward at his own image reflected in glossy black with eyes that had lost their light.
"So that this heart won't break –"
His fingernails dug into the fabric covering his heart beating wildly against his ribcage.
"I'll hate you the most…..Shizu-chan."
"Aren't you….afraid of me?"
It was evening, and the sun was setting in the orange sky. Two brown haired boys sat on the structure in the isolated park.
The boy's sombre gaze did not change, but his shoulders relaxed slightly. He had his elbows resting on his knees and his gaze lowered as he spoke.
The other brown haired boy shrugged, his expression as emotionless as ever.
"There's no reason to be."
The first boy leaned backward, hesitantly raising his gaze to the sun which set over the melancholic scene.
"That woman…..I hurt her."
"You didn't mean to."
"But I still did."
Kasuka said nothing, merely raising his gaze to look at his brother with emotionless black eyes.
"If you could control your strength, you wouldn't have hurt her. Isn't that what's important?"
A peaceful silence settled over the two boys as they immersed themselves in their own individual thoughts.
"What is it?"
"There's….someone I left behind."
"Are they important?"
"Then you shouldn't have left them behind."
"I know. But, I met them before I gained this strength….I was afraid."
The brown haired boy spoke slowly, as if he was trying to comprehend his own emotions.
"It makes me a coward….but I was really afraid. And I still am. I….liked that person. That's why….I left. They're probably hurt….but it's better. It's better than if I hurt them with my strength like I will if I meet them. Because if I hurt that person…..I really don't know what I'll do. I…..wouldn't be able to forgive myself."
His brother remained silent, so he continued.
"That person's strong….so even if they cry, they'll probably get right back up, stronger than before. So…..it's fine. It's better if they don't know, so they won't be afraid….of me."
He paused, then smiled bitterly, burying his face in his knees.
"I'm….really weak, aren't I?"
The boy with emotionless eyes looked towards his brother, his words as devoid of emotion as his eyes were even though he spoke them from his heart.
"You're not weak, brother. You're just kind."