k59 : inspired when i was visiting my one year old nephew.. he was sooo cute and just wouldn't stop smiling.. though the ending was just sort of popped out in my head.. hope you'll like this though.. i was kind of surprised it got to this long^^~
"Watching Over You"
"Tanaka-kun, do you mind if we go to your house today?"
The called teen looked up from the sudoku he was doing to stare at his classmate, aware of the motive behind their intention.
Five of them were standing around his desk. Their faces practically shone as they beamed at him, looking very enthusiastic, especially the three girls.
Last month, the teacher had grouped them together to do a project work. He had refused the idea when one of them asked to do it at his house, knowing that something was bound to happen if they went there. Yet, somehow, they ended up going to his house, though for one time only. But it was more than enough.
The rest was just exactly like what he had predicted.
They had been pestering him for another visit to his house ever since. He knew that was never a good idea from the very start. He sighed exasperatedly, ready to bang his head to his desk.
"You'll never leave me alone until I say yes, will you?"
He was answered with their grinning faces. Groaning in annoyance, the thirteen years old decided to comply with his excited friends. His friends immediately cheered and jumped in joy, ignoring the questioning looks the others were giving them.
Sighing again, Yumeto went back to his puzzle game. He could only hope that his friends would be able to not squealing too much this time.
Yumeto announced as he took off his shoes. His mother shouted out the reply and appeared only a second later. He raised his eyebrow when he saw that she was wearing rather formal clothes.
She welcomed his friends, who greeted her politely, and explained that she was expected to accompany his father in a sudden important gathering at the office. After telling him to be a good boy while she was away and gave him a quick hug, she went out.
But before the door was closed she poked her head back.
"Oh, and your brother is sleeping. Take a good care of him, okay?"
He was sure that his friends' ears perked up upon the mention of his baby brother. He dropped his head into his hand and released a deep sigh. His mother really did have a nice timing saying that. Gesturing to his friends to follow him, he got in motion to his first assignment.
Checking his brother.
His friends were whispering to each other enthusiastically. He was about to turned the door open, but then he turned back to his friend. He put a finger on his mouth and made a hissing sound. Silence was back to that place and he pushed the door open.
Yumeto was expecting to see his brother sleeping, so that he had a reason to send his friends off. So he was utterly shocked when he found his one year old brother was wide awake.
The little child was standing on the cradle. His small hands were gripping the wood rail that preventing him from falling off the small bed, supporting him to stand up. He let out a happy squeal when he saw his older brother at the door. He reached out his hands to him, causing his legs to give away. He fell back sitting onto the soft mattress.
"Ainosuke! What are you doing up?"
Yumeto was in front of his brother in a matter of seconds, quickly unlocking the door of the cradle. His brother's mouth stretched to a wide smile and laughed happily. He stared at his little brother exasperatedly.
"You have the worst timing ever to wake up now. Why can't you just sleep like a good boy?"
The laugh never left his brother lips all the while. The little child then started crawling towards him. Yumeto barely caught him in time just before his hands slipped off the edge. He held his little brother at arm length, his eyes were scrutinizing the small child. A little frown was decorating his forehead.
The object in his hands, on the other hand, was just staring at him innocently with his big brown eyes. Little hands were reaching out to him. His body was leaning forwards and his legs were kicking the air determinedly, wanting to be held closer. His mouth was making incoherent noises, somewhere between gurgle and laughter.
Sound of someone squealing made Yumeto turned around. For a while there, he forgot that his friends were still at the door, watching the whole exchange. Before he could do anything to make up for it, they were already at his either sides, cooing over his brother. The child in question himself was looking around in confuse, for he was suddenly surrounded by many people. But soon, the shock was gone and he laughed joyfully, making the others squealed again. Yumeto groaned instead.
"You are so not helping me here," he scowled at his brother.
The only answer he got was another laughter. He smiled against his will upon seeing that. Ainosuke really did affect him a lot, in a good way. He finally complied with his brother and held the little child close. Ainosuke immediately snuggled on him, making him smiled wider. He led his gang to the living room and put his brother down.
"I'll get you guys something to drink."
He walked away. But soon after, he heard his friends giggling behind. He ignored them and continued to walk, until one of them called out to him.
"I think Ai-chan wants to be with you, Yumeto-kun."
Yumeto turned around to frown at his friend. When he saw the others were nodding in affirmative, he looked down on his brother. The child was crawling towards him determinedly. He shook his head.
"No. He just wants to play. There are crayons and papers on that table in the corner. Could you grab them? Ainosuke likes to draw. He made Dad repaint my room once because he used my wall as a drawing paper when we're not watching."
His friends laughed as one of the girls picked his brother up and carried him back to the middle of living room. Another girl went to grab the crayons and paper. Yumeto sighed before walking out to get what he was about to do earlier done.
When he came back carrying a tray of drinks, a small circle was formed in the middle of the room. At the centre of it, as he had expected, was his brother. He chuckled softly as he strolled towards them, putting the tray on the table. He stood behind his brother to watch.
A small frown yet again appeared on his face. None of his friends seemed to take a notice of what he did. He kept his attention on his brother for a little while and his frown grew deeper and deeper when the same thing happened again and again.
Why hadn't he noticed this before?
Ainosuke kept missing in grabbing the crayons.
A couple of husband and wife stepped into the house. It was in the early evening and they were both tired from the gathering they had to attend. The thought of sinking onto the soft mattress and just slept away was very inviting.
They took off their shoes. The wife finished first as she didn't need to take off socks as well. She was about to walk inside when she saw her oldest son stood at the hallway, holding his sleeping brother close to his chest, as if afraid that the little child would disappear if he didn't.
"Yu-chan? What's wrong?"
Her husband looked up at the worried tone she was using. He frowned in a similar way as his son when he saw the scene in front of him. Usually, Ainosuke would be playing and Yumeto was studying whenever he came home. But apparently, it was not the case tonight.
His younger son was sleeping peacefully. That's a good start. The kid was snuggling at his brother, little fists clutching the T-shirt Yumeto was wearing. His mouth let out a soundless snore, his chest rose and fell in rhythm. He would have thought that everything was all right if not for the expression Yumeto had on his face.
The thirteen years old's lips were pressed together tightly and he appeared to be biting his lips as well. His eyebrows were furrowed together, making worry lines on his forehead.
"Yumeto? Did something happen?"
The teen shook his head obediently. He glanced at his brother before looking back at his parents. He gulped nervously, contemplating whether to tell them his suspicion or not. Maybe it was normal for a year old. Maybe there's nothing to worry about. Maybe there's nothing wrong with his brother. But…
What if something was wrong…?
His grip around his brother tightened its hold, bringing the child closer to his own body. He prayed in his heart, that what he thought of was incorrect. That his brother would be fine.
But to make sure that he was, he needed to tell their parents what he discovered earlier today. He had gotten this far. There was just no way he was going to retreat back. It was just the kind of person he was.
He took a deep, calming breath.
"I noticed something today."
Yumeto curled up on his father's laps, leaning into the embrace. A pair of arms was wrapped around him. His eyes, just like anybody else in the room, was watching the doctor intently, waiting for what he had to say. At the corner of his eyes, he could see his mother. His little brother was on her laps, probably the only one in that room who could still laughed so cheerfully.
"You have a very observant son."
Yumeto blinked at that statement, knowing very well that the doctor was addressing him. He felt his father put a hand on top of his head. He could feel a distant feeling of pride blossomed in him. But the dread of the coming news negated that. He saw the doctor smiled at him, though a bit grimly.
"And you were right. Ainosuke-kun is half blind. To be more accurate, his left eye is unable to function properly and he can hardly see through it. Thus, it's rather hard for him to measure the distance of things from him with just one good eye."
Yumeto watched quietly as his mother tightened her arms around his brother. The little child was oblivious as to why she did that and struggled to break free. Ainosuke started to make incoherent noises and his hands were once again reaching out to him. Yumeto stared at his brother confusedly. The one year old seemed to do that often these days.
"Yu-chan, why don't you take Ai-chan around the hospital? Your father and I have something to discuss with the doctor."
He looked at his mother for a while then back at his brother. Diverting his gaze, he looked at his father and received a stiff nod and a small smile. He nodded to his mother and hopped off his father's laps. Ainosuke let out a joyful laugh when he took him out of their mother's hands, finally free. He left the room almost immediately.
Headed for nowhere in particular, he let his feet took him wherever they wanted to. His mind was too occupied with something far more important. For him anyway.
He halted in his steps.
Since when did he start to be fond of his brother anyway? Yes, he loved the little child, there was no doubt about it. But to think that he was this anxious over him.
He glanced down to his exactly-12-years-old-younger brother and blinked at him in surprise. As if noticing his brother's anxiety, Ainosuke had his eyes locked on him. Now that he realized it, the small child had not been making any noises like he usually did but kept silent. The kid then started his cute baby talk and Yumeto swore that he could hear a hint of worry etched to it.
He chuckled to himself and resumed walking.
He was thinking too much. There was just no way his one year old brother was capable of doing that. He arrived at the waiting room and spotted a rather comfortable looking sofa. Deciding that it would be a perfect place to wait, he strolled over and plopped down onto the sofa, his grip around his brother weakening.
This whole thing was too much for him to handle. And too sudden as well! He was only thirteen years old for goodness sake! And to think that his parents thought he was clueless to this whole ordeal. He was very much aware of the seriousness of the situation, if not better than his parents. He was a very smart teen after all.
He had done his own research this morning at school, just in case his prediction was true. And it seemed that he had shot a bull's-eye. If he ever wanted his brother to have a perfect eye sight, Ainosuke had to go through a cornea transplant surgery. Who knows how much will that cost them. Not to mention that they still need a donor who was willing to be half blind for the rest of his or her life. There was an option to get it from a dead people, but not many families liked the idea of taking their relative's cornea. Unless…
He reached up a hand to cover his own eye.
A tug on his sleeve wrenched him out of his own little world. He jerked his hand away from his eye and looked up, thinking that his parents had already finished their discussion. Frowning as he found no one near him, he lowered his head and turned to face his side. He almost broke out in a fit of laughter at what he saw. But he being him, he managed to restrain himself and let out a chuckle instead. His brother was just too cute.
Ainosuke had stood up with the help of the sofa and was currently clinging to his brother. The child was literally beaming to his older brother, looking very proud for being able to do it by himself and even startling his brother in the process. His usual bright laugh echoing one that was Yumeto's.
Gently, he eased the grip on his sleeve and moved his hands to pick his brother up. He held Ainosuke around his waist and let him put his feet on his laps.
"It was kind of unbelievable that you could still laugh with your situation. But then, if you aren't, I guess it won't be you, now will it?"
Ainosuke started his baby talk again and Yumeto couldn't help but smile himself. He bounced his brother up and down, making the one year old laughed joyfully.
Suddenly yawning, the child started to rub his eyes. Their parents had told him that his little brother didn't get his afternoon nap like usual so Yumeto was not in the slightest bit surprised. He chuckled at his brother's cute behavior and set him down on his laps.
He cradled his little brother gently in his arms, rocking them both back and forth as his brother's eyes started to close. Call it a brother's instinct, Yumeto started humming a lullaby he knew their mother had often sung for them. He wasn't even that fond of singing in the first place.
Smiling to himself, he continued the song as he felt his brother's weight on him getting heavier a little bit. He knew that Ainosuke had fallen asleep by then and he was free to muse over his thought again. To contemplate what was he going to do about this.
He bit his lips as the answer appeared in his mind. He could do nothing about this. Not until he was old enough, that's for sure. The thought almost brought him to tears.
He hugged his brother closer and planted a soft kiss on his forehead.
Until the time come where I could grant you a perfect sight, I'll be watching over you. I promise, I'll take care of you no matter what happened.
Yumeto silently opened the door to his brother's apartment, making sure he made absolutely no sound. His brother was not a light sleeper but there's no harm one in being extra careful. Especially now that he could not afford to get caught. He was thankful that he had remembered to make a copy of the key. It was really useful in this situation.
He chuckled when he found his brother sprawled on the floor. Swiftly, as if he had done that so many times before, he scooped his brother up and laid him down on the futon near him. It seemed like Ainosuke had been planning on sleeping but was too caught up with his drawing. Typical Ainosuke.
A soft smile tugged at his lips as he watched his little brother sleep. He reached down and – just like how he had done every so often – planted a kiss on his brother's forehead. Ainosuke stirred but showed no indication of waking up still.
Yumeto smiled, but his eyes showed his emotion better. They reflected nothing but sadness and sorrow. He reached for his brother's hand, holding it close to his heart. He sat there in silence, watching Ainosuke's sleeping figure with such fondness that no one could match. He exhaled softly.
He had done it. He had finally given Ainosuke a perfect sight. But, seemed like protecting Ainosuke had become a habit of his that couldn't be erased. That was the reason he faked his own death, to protect him. With the event that kidnapping 8 years ago had made him to, he doubted that Ainosuke would be safe with him. So this was for the best.
"I'm so sorry Ainosuke. I know it hurts you to learn about my death. It hurts me too. But this was necessary. Please forgive me."
He moved to caress his brother's cheek but frowned when he found a light bruise there. Had Ainosuke gotten himself in trouble? And to think that he had managed to do so only a few days after his so called death. His decision to visit his brother after his 'funeral' had been right after all.
He sighed exasperatedly as he stared at the sleeping figure of his brother. Really, could Ainosuke just please stop making him worry for one day? Guess the answer would be a huge no.
He ruffled his brother's hair and kissed his brother on his forehead one last time before standing up. He felt a tug on his sleeve and turned back to see Ainosuke was clutching it in his slumber. Feeling a déjà vu like all those years ago, he chuckled lightly. He gently eased his brother grip and, muttering a soft apology, tucked his brother back in.
The crime planner then turned to leave, letting his brother to rest. At the door however, he turned around to watch his brother sleeping for a while longer. A sad smile broke onto his face before a muttered something softly and slipped out of the room. A click that meant the door was once again locked was heard a little moment after.
In the silent of the room, a broken whisper echoed. But no one heard them as the only occupant of the room was fast asleep. But still, it lingered there, as if wanting to be there as long as it was allowed. The message repeated again and again, getting softer by each second that passed. Only to finally vanish into the darkness.
I love you.