For years, Tsukimori Len had never enjoyed his birthday parties. However, for his upcoming 17th birthday, will there be a change now that Kahoko Hino is coming? What can happen and what can be his birthday present from our heroine?

"Len, dear, please do remember to invite the rest of your classmates to your 17th birthday party, alright? I have placed the invitation cards on your table already. Just issue them out will do." Tsukimori Len's mother, Misa Hamai, said as she looked at him over the dinner table where the whole family was seated down.

"Yes, Mother." Tsukimori replied, not looking at his mother as he stabbed a piece of fish with his fork.

Looking at their son, the Tsukimoris sighed, knowing what is going through their son's mind. Since young, he had never liked social events, and his birthday party is no exception to this. Though they threw a party for him every year, their one and only son is simply too cold and quiet to everyone that he comes into contact to.

Looking at his son over his glass of wine, Mr Tsukimori remarked "I suppose you will invite your fellow concurs participants? I heard from your school that there are two girls this year, with one playing the violin as well."

At his father's voice, Tsukimori stopped in his cutting of the fish as he looked up at his father "Yes, Father. Her name is Kahoko Hino, a general education student." Turning back to his fish, he continued to eat silently and neatly while Mr Tsukimori looked at his wife with eyebrows raised, as this is the first time that their son would mention about someone else within the household.

Smiling at her husband, Misa mouthed the words "Later" as she stood up to clear the plates away from the table. Feeling curious, Mr Tsukimori nodded as his wife left the dining area with the dirty dishes.



Back in their room, with Tsukimori in the reading room, Mr Tsukimori asked his wife "What is going on? Who is this Kahoko Hino? This is the first time that I heard Len bring up another person's name in our household! With that smile of yours earlier, I am sure you know something about this girl!"

"A little. All I know is that she is of the same age as Len and is a General Education student at school. However, mostly importantly, I realized that she is the one who caused some changes in Len's music and character." Misa replied, as she took a seat at her dressing table, while looking at her husband in the mirror.

"We are always busy with our respective careers and can only come home once in a while. However, I realized there is a change in Len since the last time I seen him. If you can remember, I returned back to Japan before the start of his competition. From then, there is a significant change in him as compared to now. It shows in his music. In addition, I had seen how he had behaved towards the girl in question before." Misa said.

"If that is the case, I hope to see her during the party then. Is our icy prince melting at last?" Mr Tsukimori said, as he grinned at his wife, who shook her head at him.

IN SCHOOL

"Mind your fingers, Kahoko! You will sprain it this way." Tsukimori said, as he reached out to correct Hino's posture in holding the violin.

"Ah….arigato, Tsukimori-kun!" Kahoko Hino said, as she tried to position herself correctly, in accordance to how Tsukimori taught her.

"Seriously…." Tsukimori muttered, as he continued to observe her. Finally satisfied with what he sees, he said "That's right. Just hold in that position when you play and it will reduce the discomfort with your neck muscles. Before this, you kept saying that you suffered from neck aches, correct?"

"Ano…..how did you know, Tsukimori-kun?" Hino asked, as she looked at him, blushing slightly.

"Never mind how I know. So long you hold the violin in that position, you will reduce the discomfort you caused to your neck earlier." The blue haired violinist said, as he looked away from her.

"Heehee, Tsukimori-kun is certainly very kind. How can I ever repay your kindness to me?" Hino asked, as she put down her violin, which she was practicing with earlier. She looked at Tsukimori, who is now shifting uncomfortably, "What's wrong, Tsukimori-kun?"

"This Sunday, are you free?" Tsukimori asked abruptly, as he turned to look at Hino straight in the eye. Taken slightly aback, Hino can only stammer a "yes" before an invitation card was held out in front of her. "I will see you there then." With that, Tsukimori walked off, before Hino can even see his facial expression.

"Huh?" Hino asked, as she looked at the retreating figure of Tsukimori-kun. Turning the invitation card over in hand, she realized that she is looking at the invitation to his birthday party. At this, a cheerful smile broke across her face as she said happily "So, it's Tsukimori-kun's birthday this Sunday! I do love birthdays!" So saying, she packed her things as she prepares to leave her favourite practice area, the rooftop, for classes. As she stepped through the doorway to the roof, she wondered aloud "What shall I get for Tsukimori-kun as a present?"

SUNDAY, AT THE TSUKIMORI'S MANSION

"Happy birthday, Tsukimori-kun! Ah, there is your mother, Misa Hamai! Kindly excuse me as I go and pay my respects to her." A guest bowed to Tsukimori as he took his leave hurriedly, so as to seek a chance to speak with the most famous pianist of Japan.



Sighing silently, Tsukimori turned, as the guest whom he was speaking a while earlier hurried away to where his parents are standing side by side at the grand staircase. Though it is his birthday, his parent's business partners and associates will normally turn up, so as to express their well wishes for the only son of the Tsukimoris. However, in reality, their real purpose is to speak to his parents. That is why Tsukimori had never looked forward to all his birthday parties all these years……..

Looking around the brightly lit ballroom, he scanned his surroundings as numerous guests made their way to the grand staircase, where his parents made their appearance together. Seeking her son's eyes above the crowd, Misa looked highly apologetic as she smiled at him. Nodding at her, Tsukimori spun around, so as to walk towards the corner where all his presents are all piled up on the table provided there.

Presents of all shapes and sizes are all wrapped up, in their brightly coloured papers and ribbons. Looking at the heap on the table, Tsukimori sighed silently again, as he mused on how he is going to dispose of them later. He could guess the contents inside - it must be related to music in some way. Just because he is born to two famous musicians, people always take his talents for both the violin and piano for granted. Hence, all his presents all these years had always been something related to music - scores, history books on music and their composers, violin bows, tuning forks and such. Looking out of the window that is next to the table, a beautiful moon hung high up in the sky as stars twinkled merrily at him. Suddenly, his breath was caught as he caught sight of something on the terrace. Without a word, he spun around and ran out of the doors, towards the terrace. Standing at the top of the grand staircase, the Tsukimoris smiled at each other as they saw the scene.

Bursting through the opened French doors on the terrace, Tsukimori tried to control his breathing as he slowed down his footsteps. There, standing at the end of the terrace is none other than Kahoko Hino, dressed in a pale white dress, as she looked up at the beautiful night skies above her. Hearing footsteps, she turned around and smiled as she saw who it was. She waited till Tsukimori was in front of her before she said "Happy Birthday, Tsukimori-kun. Many happy returns of the day to you."

"Arigato" that was all Tsukimori can say, as he continued to take in the sight of the red-haired girl in front of him. Dressed in an off shoulder dress, Hino looked very beautiful, as her hair was done up in an elegant knot at the base of her neck. On the dress, scarlet roses of all sizes 

decorated the hem and were arranged in a flowing design, leading all the way up the side of the dress itself. She also wore glass heels, with ribbons at her ankles.

"You came." Tsukimori stated, after he realized that he had been staring at her for the past few minutes with no one saying anything at all. In reality, Hino was busy admiring Tsukimori as well, for he was in formal dining clothes. At his voice, Hino snapped back to reality as she replied "Ano..Hai. It's your birthday after all, Tsukimori-kun. And you were certainly kind enough to issue me an invitation." She smiled brilliantly at him.

"Indeed." Tsukimori replied, as he continued to glaze at the girl in front of him, who is now fidgeting slightly under his intensive glaze. Finally, unable to bear his scrutiny anymore, Hino trusted forward a present, wrapped in blue tissue, before blurting out "Here is your present! I hope you will like it. I had seen the presents in the ballroom earlier. As compared to them, I am sure it is nothing! But nonetheless, it is for you - " Her words were cut short as Tsukimori leaned in and grabbed her around the waist, bringing her closer to him before locking their lips together in a kiss.

At this, Hino's eyes opened wide, as she looked into the closed eyes and face of Tsukimori. However, after a while, Hino's eyes fluttered closed on their own as she leaned into the kiss as well. The blue coloured present that she was holding dropped to the ground, with no one paying any heed to it all. It rolled a little away from the couple, revealing the contents. Eventually, Tsukimori opened his eyes and two gold eyes looked at each other as they drew away from each other.

Blushing furiously, Hino stared at her shoes. Only then did she realize that the present that she had prepared for Tsukimori had fallen to the floor, with the contents spilled all over. With a gasp of dismay, she bent down, intending to pick them up. However, before she could do so, Tsukimori was already on his hands and knees, gathering the scattered pieces up. "No, Tsukimori-kun! Just leave it be! It had fallen on the floor and cannot be consumed anymore!" Hino cried, as she tried to push Tsukimori away from the fallen cookies on the floor.

With a tug from Tsukimori, Hino tumbled into his arms as Tsukimori held her tightly to him. For the second time that night, Hino was speechless as she can only open her eyes wide in shock. 

Whispering into her ear, Tsukimori said "How can I leave them to be, Kahoko? After all, they are my birthday present from you."

"But…they had fallen onto the floor and cannot be consumed anymore. Plus, I am sure you have eaten better cookies than those that I made. For someone like you that lacks nothing, it is hard to think of a present for your birthday." Hino finished off softly, as she looked over Tsukimori's shoulder, into the gardens of his home.

"And that is why these cookies are more important to me than any other present that I received over the years. For once, this present is meant for me and not because of the fact that I am a Tsukimori." Tsukimori continued to hug Hino as he found himself explaining all this to her. So saying, he popped a cookie that Hino made into his mouth as he drew away from her. "It's delicious, Kahoko." He remarked quietly.

Both teenagers looked at each other as Hino broke into a smile at last. "Arigato, Tsukimori-kun…." "No, thank you, Kahoko." Tsukimori gave a small smile as he stood up and extended a hand to help her to her feet. Gathering the wrapping papers and the remaining cookies back into the container, he started off where he came from, with Hino at his side, with her hand enclosed in his.

AUTHOR'S NOTES:

It had been a long while since I wrote anything new and this is my first La Corda d'Oro fanfiction. I sincerely hoped that you liked it and comments are always welcomed.

I had read the manga before but somehow, I can't seem to find any interesting theme to write about. However, I got inspiration today as it happened to be one of my friend's birthdays. Hence, I decided to do something on birthdays.

I realized that I had been doing quite a number of one shots for some time now. If I can, I will try to write multi-chapters! Wish me luck in getting good inspirations! )

Till the next story. Cheers.