"Alright." Misaki turned around and gave Usagi a hard stare.
"I want you to give a nice speech about your new book, be kind to the fans and then you're free. Think you can handle that much?"
Usagi stared frostily at his publisher for a moment before he replied. "Fine." He stalked off to the front porch of the hotel and began lighting a cigarette.
Misaki stood uncomfortably in a new tuxedo. "Um," he said hesitantly, "Not trying to sound rude, but why do I have to be along too?"
Aikawa, looking rather pretty in a light blue evening gown, turned to him with a gleam in her eye. "You're our hostage. Usagi cant run off if he knows we have you prisoner."
It was a warm summer evening and they were at a large hotel in the outskirts of the city. Isaki's publishing company was throwing a banquet to celebrate Usagi's new book, but the author mentioned was anything less than grateful. He made this clear by shooting glares at Misaki, who was too busy greeting guests to notice.
Misaki pulled at his collar and tried not to think too hard about what Aikawa said. Him as a hostage, huh? With Aikawa's quick temper and Usagi's stubbornness, that probably wouldn't end too well.
Since the party did start for another hour, Misaki began strolling the gardens out back of the hotel. It looked out over the city far below, with the coming dusk tiny pinpricks of light started coming on in the houses. The gardens themselves were breathtaking, with flowering trees hanging low over the waters of a small koi pond. The hotel itself was designed to look like an old fashioned house, and the party was to be held outside since it was so warm tonight. Misaki wandered the brick layered paths, stopping to admire the flowers and weathered stone statues that were coated in a fine spray of moss. Lights lined the edges of the paths, illuminating the towering trees overheard. He rounded a turn and came upon the back porch of the hotel. The door was open, exposing a sleek grand piano surrounded by antique couches and chairs. Misaki absentmindedly came to a halt beside it and reached out a finger to the ivory keys. He pressed a note, and it's pure sound reverberated throughout the still night.
Misaki jumped violently, and turned to the door, expecting to see the manager of the hotel. Instead, Usagi stood against the doorway, looking rather handsome in a finer suit than usual. He strode across the room, shoes squeaking slightly against the newly waxed hardwood floor, and ruffled Misaki's hair as he passed. Misaki blushed, as he always did when Usagi ran his hand through his hair like that, and watched as the older man sat down at the piano bench.
"You play?" misaki asked in surprise. Somehow, Usagi's image didn't portray him as a lover of music.
"A bit." the older man replied. He allowed his large hands to silently brush the ivory keys. "I took lessons when I was a kid, but its been a long time."
He pressed a note slightly higher than the one Misaki played earlier and turned his eyes to the teenager waiting beside him.
"Any requests?" Usagi asked. Although it was too dark to see the author's face, Misaki was sure he was secretly pleased to have someone to show off too.
"Don't you have a banquet to be at?" the younger man said skeptically.
Usagi looked down at his watch and held it up to the light streaming from outside. "I have another ten minutes."
Not hearing an answer from Misaki, Usagi turned back to the piano and played a few scales. "Since I don't hear a request, I'll think of something to play." he said, then paused. "Hope you like English church hymns."
He pressed down with his slender fingertips, hesitantly at first, then faster and fluidly as he gained more confidence. Misaki instantly recognized the piece as 'In the Garden'. Usagi's hands moved fluidly in the half light, the notes hanging in the still air. Misaki could feel the vibrations of every chord against his ears, and the melody was slow and even. Every so often, Usagi would pause to pick out the right note, and sometimes he hit a sour key and played it until he got the right one. Finally, the music drifted away on the breeze and faded out over the twilight gardens. Misaki was speechless for a moment as Usagi turned to him with a grin.
"How was it?" he asked.
"Great!" misaki replied. He was staring at the piano and the older man's hands with awe, impressed that two simple things could make such a beautiful sound. "I didn't know you were one for church music."
Usagi shrugged. "I learned in England, from a church pianist." he paused. "Want me to teach you a bit?"
Misaki's eyes lighted up and he said enthusiastically, "Do you think you can?"
The older man scooted over and patted the bench beside him. Misaki sat down hesitantly and accidently banged his elbow against the lower notes, causing a rather startling clang that sounded as if the piano itself was protesting. He quickly drew his arm away and sneaked a look at Usagi out of the corner of his eye. The older man looked rather bemused. Usagi then placed his hands on the upper notes, and Misaki tried copying him by placing his own over the lower. The older man huffed and reached his arm around Misaki's back. He took ahold of the younger man's hands and placed them on the right keys. Misaki tried to calm his pounding heart, but to no avail. With Usagi so close, the younger man couldn't help the blush beginning to tinge his cheeks. Usagi seemed to notice this, and he drew misaki closer until the younger man was sitting between his legs, chest nearly touching the piano.
"Much easier," Usagi breathed into the teenager's ear, and Misaki shivered slightly at his touch. He put his cool hands over Misaki's own and pointed out middle C.
He pressed his thumb down so Misaki's hand played the note, then drew their right hands to a higher E. He pressed his pinky, and an higher note sang out. Together they slowly played, Misaki getting more flustered with every key, until the teenager felt Usagi take his hands off and wrap them around his waist.
"Now try it by yourself." The older man said quietly. Misaki uncertainly picked out a note that looked like middle C and pressed it with more force than needed. It rang out alarmingly loud and Misaki quickly cut the sound short. He glanced at Usagi for assurance and after a pause played a higher note, E. Usagi nodded, pleased with the brunette's progress. Misaki continued through the simple piece and hit a roadblock halfway through. He kept hitting the wrong note, and finally usagi reached up and directed him to the right one. He played through the five notes twice more, then felt Usagi's hands leave his body and rest an octave higher than his own.
"Keep playing," the older man said, and Misaki obeyed, confused. Usagi matched his melody to the teenager's and, with a few wrong notes here and there, played another song that Misaki only vaguely knew as something by Mozart.
When they finished playing, Usagi turned slightly and gave Misaki a soft kiss on the lips. Surprised, the teenager didn't protest as Usagi pulled away slightly.
"Fur Elise," the older man breathed on his lips, and put his cool hand to the back of Misaki's neck as he leaned in for another kiss. Misaki drew back slightly, not wanting to be drawn in, and found himself staring into Usagi's eyes. The older man was so close Misaki could smell the acidic burn of his cologne, and the slight stench the cigarettes left. The teenager looked away with a blush and tried to push Usagi gently away, but the author simply smirked and remained stock still. Then suddenly the door burst open.
"USAMI-SENSEI!" aikawa shouted, hair slightly askew. Misaki quickly leapt up and tried to push his hair back into place as she strode angrily across the room. She gripped Usagi by the shoulders and brought her face close to his.
"Do you know what time it is?" she growled menacingly and the author looked to Misaki with a silent plea.
Not my fault, the teenager mouthed, inwardly terrified of Aikawa's rage and feeling sorry for Usagi.
"You were supposed to be at the banquet five minutes ago!" the editor hauled Usagi to his feet and began pulling him out the door. Upon reaching the doorway, she turned back to Misaki and said, "Don't think you're getting out of this. We told you two not to wander off." Usagi put up no resistance as he was forcibly hauled away. With a final bang of the door, Misaki was left alone with the piano. He sat down on the bench to calm himself down and to his surprise the seat was warm. He absentmindedly brushed the keys he had played earlier, E, E sharp, D, B, C...A slight breeze wafted through door to the gardens, bringing the scent of flowers and food cooking and the voices of the people who had come to the banquet. Catching a hint of cigarette, Misaki smiled to himself. The piano, he thought, sounded better when two were playing.