Notes: This is just going to be a little series that I update whenever the desire strikes me. I've been wanting to write some Junjou fanfiction for a while, but I just never got around to it or I haven't been able to think of a plot for it. Writer's block has his rather hard lately, and I'm trying to survive—but it's hard. I'm hoping that these will help me release some of that pent-up creativity and get me back where I should belong—working on the chapter story that everyone's expecting to be updated.
Erm—addressing my use of Japanese in this story: I use Japanese where it is hard to translate into English. Japanese is, by nature, a very respectful sort of language, and something like 'ohayo gozaimasu!' cannot be well-translated into English. Yes, for the purposes of anime they translate it into 'good morning' but it's actually a lot more than that. Also, I will always use honorifics where they are applicable. This story may be in English, but it still takes place in Japan and honorifics still need to be used.
Also, you'll still see me using words like 'Nii-san' and 'Nee-san', but only when people are addressing each other. Once again, this is taking place in Japan and 'Nii-san' is not well translated into English, although some do choose to say 'big brother' in replacement of it.
However, I will never use Japanese in narration unless the object or concept I am speaking of has no English translation. For example, tatami or shoji would not he translatable, as they are types of Japanese-made furnishings.
Pairing: Romantica (Akihiko/Misaki)
Warnings: Shonen-ai, swearing, family fluff that'll rot your teeth
Disclaimer: I don't own Junjou Romantica. Akihiko, Misaki, and all other characters and concepts belong to Nakamura Shungiku and her associates. The only thing I, Katlynn888, own is the story below as you see it written.
Misaki has never been quite so hyperaware of how loud Tokyo is at night. For the first time in his life, he finds the honking and sirens and general cacophony of the city annoying rather than comforting. He grew up in the city; he learned to drown them out very early in life. But the precious bundle in his arms has not, and if the noises of the city are what cause the life under the pink blanket to stir, he'll be incredibly pissed off.
Next to him, Akihiko is quiet. He has been for a while. It isn't a bad kind of silence, though; it's an amazed silence. It's a silence that means that Akihiko, for once, simply cannot articulate words to describe how he feels, and is afraid that if he opens his mouth, he will try and make a fool of himself by doing so. Misaki has been talking for him a lot, because unlike Akihiko, Misaki isn't incredibly self-conscious about his ability (Or lack thereof) to express his words. He babbles constantly, so he isn't afraid of making a fool of himself.
When they reach the inside from the parking garage, Misaki doesn't think he's ever been so grateful for the kind of soundproofing that their extravagant apartment building provides. It blocks almost everything out the moment you get in the door, and once in the apartment it's almost impossible to hear noise unless a window is open. And, though Misaki does have a slight habit of sleeping with the windows open, that will stop for as long as Hisako is sleeping in their room with them.
Hisako. It isn't a name either of them had discussed. They were prepared to name the child Haruko (for a girl) or Harue (for a boy) because of the due-date set for April. Akihiko liked the idea of the names, both meaning 'spring child', because spring is the man's favorite season. Misaki had to admit, the names were pretty cute and he really hadn't minded, so he let Akihiko have his fun and agreed on those names. However, that was before Nashi, their surrogate, went into labor two months early.
That scared all three of them. Hisako was delivered via emergency C-section, and although Nashi didn't appear to have any obvious medical problems, they still kept her in the hospital for a few days. They never had figured out why she'd delivered at only twenty-nine weeks.
Misaki doesn't think he'll would ever forget her terrified screams as she went through a labor that she wasn't prepared for so soon. But even more so, he'll never forget the agonizing silence as Hisako did not cry. When she didn't cry for an entire minute, Misaki fell down to his knees and absolutely cried his heart out. The consolation the nurses tried to give him, and even Akihiko kneeling next to him and pulling him into his arms didn't make him stop.
The only thing that did was a weak cry from the table where the doctors were working on Hisako, trying to revive her.
"We've got her breathing!" a doctor called, and the nurses swarmed him as he asked for warm blankets, an incubator, and a suction bulb to clear the child's throat. Misaki swayed to his feet, staring at the small—oh so small, way too small—child the doctor held.
"She's small, but her heart beat is strong," the doctor explained, as he handed her off to a nurse and she wrapped her. "If that keeps up overnight, I'm almost certain she'll survive."
The possibility that his child would not live through the night left Misaki with an unreasonable amount of terror, and the whole night they stayed in the NICU with her, holding her small hand through the incubator and watching her chest rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall…
At some point that night, he slumped onto Akihiko's shoulder, practically passing out still holding her hand. In the morning, the doctor came in and checked her vitals, and made the deduction that he was ninety percent certain that she would be fine.
"Have you decided on a name?" the doctor asked then. "I know it's been a rough few hours, but we can fill out the certificate now if you're ready."
"Uhm…" Misaki glanced at Akihiko. The name 'Haruko' was no longer appropriate; it was the middle of February. Thinking back to all the research on names that he'd done a few months ago, Misaki stared down at the little baby in the incubator. Her first few hours of life had been so rough…she deserved a name that reflected her struggle… "There was one that I always liked…and it's similar to the one we picked out."
"Hmm?" Akihiko asked, glancing between his daughter and husband.
"H-Hisako," Misaki murmured. "It means…'enduring child.' I was thinking…I mean, I was just I wondering if maybe we could use the kanji for 'longevity' for 'Hisa', instead of 'old story'. That is, if you like that name?"
Akihiko stared again at their small daughter. Then, he nodded. "I like it. Very much so."
The doctor wandered off to go find a nurse, and a blank certificate. As he stared down at their child—now named Hisako—Misaki felt himself begin to cry again. Strange; that had been happening a lot lately. He squeezed Hisako's hand, which he had just realized he was still holding. Whispered to Akihiko, "She's so beautiful. I love her so much." He never expected to feel this kind of instantaneous, unconditional love. But he'd proven himself wrong when Hisako had been born, and with it the realization that, if she died overnight he did not know how he would go on living.
He could not describe, with all the worlds in the Japanese and English dictionary, how the new life whose hand he was holding made him feel. He doubted Akihiko, whom was so much better with words, would be able to either.
Akihiko leaned over and kissed Misaki's temple. "Me too. She's…perfect."
Three weeks later, Hisako was finally cleared to come home. They've just driven the half an hour, after waiting around the whole day to see if she would actually be cleared. Misaki believes the time is inching up on midnight, but it's not like it matters. Hisako has been asleep since they left the hospital for the drive back home. She remained sleeping even as Misaki pulled her from her car seat and jostled her into his arms, carrying her into the building. He hopes that maybe, unlike when she was in the hospital, she will sleep a little better once they have her in her own crib, home.
It hits him, belatedly, that they are bringing their child home for the first time, and Misaki stops just short of the door. Akihiko goes around him and unlocks the door, but stops as well when he realizes that Misaki isn't moving. He frowns. "What's the matter?"
"Could you…take a picture?" Misaki murmurs, looking down at Hisako's peacefully sleeping face. She has her mother's jet black hair, but he wonders whether or not the eyes hidden behind those eyelids—which are, as usual for newborns, blue at the moment—will darken to the amethyst of his husband, or the chocolate brown of her biological mother. "Or…or get the video camera? Yeah, get the video camera? I want to record this."
As he kind of expected, Akihiko looks unendingly pleased with the suggestion. He tells Misaki to stay there and enters the dark apartment, turning on the lights and going hunting for the video camera. He comes back not three minutes later, camera in hand. Flips it on, and points it at Misaki. "Ready?"
A red light on the side of the camera goes on, and Misaki figures Akihiko must have pressed the 'record button'. Misaki questions, "That means it's on, right? That red light?"
"Okay. Uhm…what should I say? I mean, what kind of things will she want to hear me say when she's watching this when she's eleven years old or something? Uhm…" Misaki stares down at her again, suddenly camera shy. "…Maybe this wasn't such a good idea."
"Come on. Just think of something. Uh…who are you?"
Misaki rolls his eyes. "That's stupid; she'll know who I am! I'm her father."
"Just do it, Misaki."
"Fine. Hi, I'm Usami Misaki. And this here," he holds up Hisako slightly, "Is Usami Hisako. She's just come home from the hospital, so she's pretty tired. Uhm…this is the first time we're bringing her home, so…We're trying to…Akihiko, I can't do this! I'm sorry I made you get the camera out for nothing."
"Misaki, you don't have to perform—just go about your business. That's what family videos are for."
The younger man sighs and shifts Hisako in his arms. "Fine; she'll watch this when she's older and it'll reaffirm how much of an idiot I am. Surely she'll realize that at some point in her life before then, this video will just prove it to her…"
"Oh, stop." Akihiko gestures to the apartment with the hand that isn't holding the camera. "I do think we've been standing in the hallway for long enough though, don't you? Come on, Misaki. Inside you go. Be careful on the stairs."
"I know, I know." Misaki steps into the apartment, not bothering to take off his shoes while Hisako is still in his arms—it would be a precarious act of balance that he isn't willing to risk, and he can come back down and take them off once Hisako is safely in her bassinette upstairs. As he heads into the apartment, he realizes that Akihiko only turned the hall light on as he came through here before, and a lamp next to the sofa. It's barely enough room to see in front of him, let alone climb the stairs. He glances behind him at Akihiko. "Turn on the lights."
Before Akihiko does so, he pulls Hisako's blanket over her, and she whines. "Oh no…Go back to sleep…come on, Hisako…sleep…" Despite his cooing, Hisako begins to fuss in earnest, and Misaki feels his hope that he'll get some sleep tonight plummet. "Come on, baby…shh, shh, no…"
When Akihiko turns on the lights, it perturbs her into a loud cry. Misaki sighs. "Oh, darn it Akihiko…" Still aware of the camera pointed at him, he tries not to swear. "Help…"
"I am, that doesn't seem to be helping." As he speaks, Misaki drifts over to the couch and sits down with her. He rocks her, coos at her, and tries everything he's ever seen Takahiro and Manami do with their child, but she doesn't seem to want to stop. It's fifteen minutes before he grinds his teeth together and looks up at Akihiko. "I can't get her to stop!"
Akihiko considers for a second, before he murmurs, "You haven't tried singing to her."
"…Excuse me?" Misaki looks scandalized at the idea. "You know I don't sing."
"Not even a lullaby to your baby?"
"I…Aki—oh, why…" Misaki looks frustrated, and he stubbornly says, "I don't know any lullabies."
"Oh, come on. You must know one or two. I've heard Takahiro and Manami sing them to Ichiro all the time."
Misaki blushes and looks down. He does know a few lullabies; Takahiro sings to his son what he once sung to Misaki, and Misaki doesn't think he'd be able to forget them for all the world. But he hates singing more than anything else, and never does it if at all possible. He especially hates singing with an audience; he thinks the last time he did it was in third year of middle school, when he had to take a mandatory musical appreciation course, and he failed it thanks to his lax participation.
But, looking down at Hisako's crying little face, he mutters, "…Do you really think it'll help put her back to sleep?" Hisako is obviously overtired; it's the only reason he can think of, aside from being wet and being hungry (And they fed her just before they left the hospital) that a child could wake up from sleep and cry for so long.
"Yes. Your voice will soothe her."
"Akihiko, I don't know if you're aware, but my voice sounds just about as lovely as two cats trying to mate—"
"It doesn't matter. You're her father. She'll find your voice soothing no matter what."
"Then why don't you do it?"
Akihiko glanced at him over the camera, in that infuriating 'I am Lord Usami Akihiko, and the question you just asked displeases me greatly' way that he had. "Because I'm behind the camera."
Misaki sighs. Akihiko annoys him as much as ever, and he doesn't think this will be their last argument like this—far from it, actually. But Akihiko has a point; it would be a production trying to switch hands with both the camera and Hisako. It's better that Misaki just continue holding the baby, and Akihiko continue filming. A little disgruntled that Akihiko is going to actually film him doing this, Misaki looks down at Hisako and begins to sing, quietly:
"Nighttime has come
Gone is the sun
Dream sky is spun,
Stars one by one…"
Hisako quiets slightly, curious, and turns her big blue eyes onto Misaki. She's still whimpering and fretting, but she's definitely calming, and her eyes are no longer squinted shut. For a moment, Misaki thinks he can see the barest hint of lavender in them, and he smiles as he continues to sing.
"Oyasumi, hush my love
Oyasumi, hush my love
Oyasumi, hush my love
Hush, hush, hush."
Akihiko finds it in himself, through his complete infatuation, to press the 'zoom' button. Misaki has never looked more beautiful than he does right now; rocking their child back and forth as she slowly drops back into slumber from the comfort of his voice. And though Misaki doesn't have a perfect voice by any means—he sings out of his nose and his voice cracks every so often—it's still beautiful in its own way. And soothing, to both Akihiko and their daughter.
"Oyasumi, close your eyes.
Oyasumi, close your eyes.
Oyasumi, close your eyes.
Sleep, sleep, sleep."
Slowly, her eyes do begin to drift shut during the humming refrain. Misaki lifts her up, tucks her head up under his chin, and stands up to begin carrying her into the bedroom. If he puts her to sleep and then tries to carry her up, she may just wake right back up. But maybe if he sings to her while he's carrying her, she'll sleep more easily.
"Oyasumi, dream of me.
Oyasumi, dream of me.
Oyasumi, dream of me.
Dream, dream, dream."
The sound of the song is quiet and echoes oddly in their large apartment. But it sounds kind of ethereal, Akihiko fathoms, so that's alright. For some unfathomable reason, their bedroom has to be the farthest from the stairs (Probably, he admits to himself, so he has warning with Aikawa is rampaging down the hall, headed for him) and the song is almost over when Misaki finally reaches the bedroom door and carefully opens it. They've moved some stuff in the room around; most notably, a lot of Akihiko's paraphernalia was forced into storage, or downstairs, or into the nursery that Misaki isn't comfortable enough to let Hisako sleep in right away.
He thought he'd be okay with her sleeping in it, but then everything happened with her being born premature, with slightly underdeveloped lungs. She can't cry very loudly yet, and until she can Misaki is terrified of the idea of her sleeping down the hall, even one room away, where he won't have as much a chance of hearing her. So they set up the travel basinet in their room, and she'll probably be in there for a few weeks until Misaki deems her ready for her own room.
This room has a dimmer on the lights, so Akihiko turns it up just enough for Misaki to be able to see his way through the room and to the bassinette. They've placed it against the farthest wall from the window, both to avoid the chill that comes through at night, and because of Misaki's paranoia. Even the fact that they live on the twentieth floor doesn't seem to convince him that their baby would be perfectly safe sleeping under the window. But, as first-time parents are wont to do, they've both got their insecurities and worries.
Misaki, though it may sound self-righteous, is almost certain he will be a good father. It's not anything he's ever worried about very much—he has everyone, from his husband to his brother to his friends telling him that he's a natural caregiver, and that makes for a good parent. And he has to agree. So, what Misaki is mostly worried about is safety. Their apartment has childproofing slapped on all the doors, cupboards and windows, there's a gate at the top and bottom of the stairs, he made sure that none of the bedclothes in her crib could trigger an allergy or asthma attack, both of which she'll probably have thanks to being born with weak lungs.
Akihiko, on the other hand, is worried about how good of a father he'll be. He can barely take care of himself, much less a child. Whenever he mentions this to Misaki, however, the younger man reminds him that parenting isn't all cooking and cleaning. More than half of parenting is simply being there for your child, loving and caring about him or her. And even though Akihiko has been cold in the past (And still is to so many people) he knows that the man is physically incapable of being anything but loving towards his own daughter.
Misaki is now humming nonsensically, the song having ended sometime en route, as he settles her into the bassinette. She's sleeping again, he's pretty sure, but even so he holds his breath and settles her into the bassinette. Once she's fully inside, Misaki slowly backs away as his humming trails off. He glances at Akihiko, and points downwards. Akihiko nods, and they walk out of the room and back downstairs.
"You're good at that," Akihiko says as they walk back towards the genkan and take off their shoes.
Misaki snorts. "What, singing? I think not."
"No, calming her down. You're good at it."
Misaki hums as he sets his shoes down and slides on his slippers. "Whatever…we should visit Nashi tomorrow and see how she's doing. She'll want to see Hisako, as well." Nashi, their surrogate, had gotten out of the hospital a few days after Hisako was born, and continued to visit when she could. Misaki asked her, once while they were all sitting in the hospital together, how she felt giving up her baby. She claimed that knowing that Hisako was going to two good people made it easier, and that she'd never really wanted children—which was why she was working through a surrogate organization in the first place. She also said that, since Hisako had never been hers from the beginning, she'd never really connected with her. She always saw her as someone else's child.
It was a hard concept for Misaki to understand, but in the end it did make sense.
"Akihiko, why are you hovering?" Misaki looks up, and scowls. "Are you still filming me? You were supposed to stop when we got Hisako into the bedroom."
"You never said that."
Misaki turns red, and in a throwback to the early days of their relationship he cries, "Bastard Usagi-san! Turn the camera off!"
"Oh, so it's bastard Usagi-san again, huh?" he chuckles. Misaki only calls him that now when he's truly angry. As is customary, Misaki dropped honorifics when they got married. He stopped calling Akihiko 'sensei' when in the company of the people his husband did business with, and stopped referring to him as 'Usgai-san' as well. Besides that, people just did not get why he would be calling his husband the seemingly childish nickname of 'Mr. Bunny.' It was okay for people like Takahiro; the two had been friends since a relatively young age, and Takahiro was the very proper kind of Japanese man that used honorifics even for close friends. But for Misaki, it would be odd.
"Yes, turn off the camera."
"Oh fine. You're no fun." Akihiko turned off the camera, proceeding to flip it closed and, once his shoes were off, walk into the living room and set it down on the coffee table. Sat down on the cushion closest to the arm of the sofa, and held his arm out for Misaki to cuddle up next to him.
If this had been five years ago, Misaki would have picked up Suzuki-san and tossed him at Akihiko before sitting down on the other end of the couch. Now, however, Misaki flops onto the couch without hesitation and rests his weary head on Akihiko's chest.
Akihiko hums. "Tired, darling?"
"Shall we see if we can get into our room without waking the baby?"
Misaki sighs and says, "I was gonna give her a few more minutes to get really deep into sleep, but I might just fall asleep out here if we do that. So, yeah. Let's."
They walk upstairs and get quietly undressed, so as not to wake Hisako. Then they gratefully crawl under the blankets, Misaki getting in first (His 'side' has always been the side closest to the wall, anyway, which is perfect for him because he doubts Akihiko would be more willing than he to get up with Hisako in the middle of the night) and flopping onto his side, facing the bassinette. Akihiko climbs in behind him, and pulls him against him. Even after all this time, their bodies fit together like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
"Goodnight," Misaki whispers. Akihiko leans over his shoulder, and he graces his husband with a short peck on the lips.
A/N: There are a couple of things worth explaining. First of all, I do not own that lullaby; it's a song called 'Oyasumi, (Goodnight)' by Aiko Shimada.
Secondly about the honorifics; usually, a husband and wife do not use honorifics to refer to each other except in very formal settings, and usually in third person talking to someone whom is not in the family circle. Also, in the anime I noticed Misaki started calling Akihiko 'sensei' (Which is the proper honorific to use when referring to an artist or, in Akihiko's case, a novelist) when they were in more public areas. One notable occurrence is in the date scene in the restaurant. Misaki would certainly not call Akihiko 'sensei' after they were married.
I know gay marriage is not legal in Japan. But that doesn't stop two people from referring to each other as husbands, does it now?
Also, I my fangirlish mind likes the idea of Akihiko calling Misaki 'darling.' It's something I imagined he'd have picked up from growing up in England.
I really hope you enjoyed this! There will be more to come, for sure. If you didn't like it, for whatever reason, I'm sorry it wasn't your cup of tea! If you did, I'm glad!
Also, this is my first Junjou fanfiction, so please know that if the characters are OOC. I tried the best I could, but usually it does take me a few stories before I really have the personalities of certain characters downpat. Akihiko is a hard one for me, so I probably did him rather wrong…
Well, once again I hope you enjoyed!