Disclaimer: I don't own Junjou Romantica nor am I affiliated with it.
Hiroki heard it every so often, but it was always so faint that it was difficult to tell where it was coming from and he could never be bothered with it. Recently, however, he had been hearing it more and more often and it made him curious.
It happened too frequently and the sound was too similar each time for it to be other people in the apartment complex making a racket or for it to be some kid outside listening to their music. "Could it seriously be coming from inside?" he wondered to himself.
He got up from the desk where he had been grading papers to explore his apartment. He went from room to room using the sound's volume as a guide. Eventually, he opened the door to the guest bedroom to find Nowaki softly strumming an acoustic guitar.
"Ah, hello, Hiro-san!" Nowaki greeted him, setting the tawny guitar on the side of the bed and standing up to give Hiroki a hug. "Are you done grading papers?" he asked as he embraced his lover. "Never mind that!" Hiroki answered quickly, stepping out of the hug and looking up at Nowaki.
"Was that you playing just now?" Hiroki immediately felt like an idiot for asking that question when the guitar sat right in front of him, but he just couldn't believe it. Nowaki had never mentioned playing an instrument before, and now that he thought about, he didn't recall ever seeing that guitar either.
"Yeah, I play in my spare time sometimes when you're busy," Nowaki explained. His blue eyes widened suddenly when a worrying thought came to mind: "I hope I didn't disturb you," he added, looking concerned.
"No, not really. It wasn't distracting. I was just more curious than anything," Hiroki assured Nowaki honestly as he looked down at his feet shyly. "Where did you get that thing anyway? I don't think I've ever seen it before," he continued, lifting his head to meet Nowaki's eyes again.
"Huh? It's always been in here, Hiro-san," Nowaki responded with a slightly confused tone. He glanced around at some of the piles of books in the room before adding, "I did have to look behind a couple of stacks of books to find it this time, however." He chuckled before turning back to face Hiroki.
Hiroki blushed slightly as he looked around the room. He had a tendency to become a little lax with his organization when he knew that the books would be safe no matter where he put them. Books were piled everywhere and although he himself could make sense of the stacks, he could see how it would look disorganized to somebody else, even if that person was Nowaki. Hiroki mused to himself about organizing the room sometime soon. He didn't really have time right now to organize the whole thing, but maybe he could at least make it so that most of the books would be in the bookcase as opposed to on the ground…
Nowaki interrupted Hiroki's thoughts about tidying up the place when he said, "Hiro-san, don't you play music too?" "Huh?" Hiroki blinked, snapping out of his reverie. "No, I-well. Not anymore. I did as a kid, if that's what you mean. But I haven't touched a piano in years," he answered, recalling his childhood.
"Did you like it when you did play?" Nowaki questioned, eager to learn more about his Hiro-san. "Uh...it was kind of a stressful time in my life, to be honest, because I was signed up for so many extracurriculars, but I guess I did enjoy the piano lessons themselves," Hiroki answered slowly, his hand on his chin as he tried to remember enough of the details to answer Nowaki's question.
Nowaki smiled brightly. "Hiro-san and I should make music together one day," he said, picking up his guitar again. "Huh? I-Idiot! There's no way I'm buying a piano! Even a keyboard is superfluous!" Hiroki huffed, closing his eyes and crossing his arms.
He then cracked an eye open, looking up at Nowaki. "Hey...where did you learn to play guitar anyway? I don't remember you ever saying anything about it," Hiroki wondered, both eyes open now and his expression softening with curiosity.
"I learned at the orphanage. One of the staff members gave me his old one when he thought that I was getting a little too old for toys. I taught myself and I used to play for the other kids," Nowaki replied, a small smile on his face as he recalled the memories.
Hiroki blushed a bit. He wasn't expecting such a story and found himself touched by it. "You used to play for the other kids, huh?" Hiroki repeated. Nowaki nodded. "That was pretty nice of you. Very in character," Hiroki said with a chuckle, looking up at Nowaki after his blush had subsided.
Hiroki gazed appreciatively at the man in front of him for a brief moment. Nowaki had always been Nowaki, apparently, looking out and caring for others.
"Yeah, sometimes I would sing too," Nowaki added, still smiling fondly. "Would you like for me to play a song for you, Hiro-san?" Nowaki suggested with a smile that was almost a smirk. "S-sure, if you want," Hiroki huffed, arms still crossed as he sat down on the bed. He looked around the room so that he didn't have to accept that Nowaki was beaming at him.
Not only did Hiroki want to hear Nowaki play (for real this time, and not from behind a wall), but he could never say no when Nowaki had just told him that story about his childhood. Nowaki sat back down on the bed and grabbed his guitar again.
"Just don't make it too long!" Hiroki threw in quickly as watched Nowaki move the guitar in his lap into a comfortable position. "I have to get back to grading those papers, you know," he added, just to get himself into the clear. Nowaki just smiled at him and began to gently strum the guitar.
Nowaki played a soft, sweet melody that soothed Hiroki immediately. Hiroki's arms gradually fell from their crossed position as he relaxed, feeling mesmerized by the music. Nowaki played for about a minute or two and Hiroki watched as his big hands danced across the fretboard and the strings. Nowaki mostly just played the instrument in his arms, but sometimes he would hum along with the melody and throw in words like "perfect", "wonderful", "beautiful", and "Hiro-san" every once in a while, tossing a grin to Hiroki and watching him sputter and blush.
Hiroki had heard Nowaki hum every once in a while when he did chores, but he had never heard the man actually sing before and he had to admit to himself that liked it. Nowaki's singing voice was a lot like his speaking voice: deep, warm, and comforting.
The setting sun filtered through the windows and highlighted the two with a miraculous display of colors. The shadows of Nowaki's fingers upon the guitar moved mystically with every shift of his hands, forming all types of shapes and designs along the instrument's surface. Hiroki nearly gasped at the beauty and serenity of the scene: It was like something out of a book.
Finally, Nowaki set the guitar back down again and looked into Hiroki's eyes lovingly. "That was...nice," Hiroki said carefully, averting his eyes once he saw Nowaki's gaze. He was so calm that his own eyes were half-lidded and he had to make a specific effort not to slur his words.
"So you liked it, Hiro-san?" Nowaki queried eagerly, curious as to how he did and if Hiro-san liked his song. Hiroki decided he couldn't let his pride get in the way of this one: It was good. "Yeah. That was great, Nowaki, really," he said truthfully, looking down at his hands in his lap to try to avoid any embarrassing eye contact. "And you wrote it yourself?" he asked, briefly looking back up again. Nowaki nodded shyly.
Hiroki shook his head in amazement. "Wow," he breathed. "Even if you hadn't," he continued, looking at the guitar now instead of Nowaki's eyes, "I still would have been impressed with your playing." He finished his statement with a blush and quickly looked down yet again. Nowaki beamed. "You wrote it yourself..." Hiroki went on softly, almost to himself. He shook his head again.
"Ah, you could probably do something like this too, Hiro-san. You're amazing! You can do anything!" Nowaki exclaimed earnestly. "I'm sure that if you so much as touched a piano, all of it would come flooding back to you," he finished with a smile.
"Hah, thanks. You're ever the optimist," Hiroki said, looking up again with a wry smile and crossing his arms again.
"But, if you'd like," Nowaki offered, "I can be the one who writes the songs." He said this with a small chuckle, placating Hiroki. Hiroki gave a very small, genuine smile that made Nowaki's heart flip. "I'd like that," he said. His eyes contained a soft expression before quickly shifting to anything in the room that wasn't Nowaki.
Hiroki then cleared his throat suddenly, realizing that this situation had become way more intimate than he had originally planned for it to be. He announced that he had to go back to grading papers and began to walk out of the room. "Okay, Hiro-san," Nowaki responded, understanding their closeness just now had probably made Hiroki a little nervous.
"I think I'm going to play a bit more and then I'll go make dinner." Nowaki softly ran his hand across the strings as he said this, as though to emphasize his point. "What would you like?" he asked.
"Anything is good," Hiroki responded, nearly out the door and ready to turn the corner back to the living room. "Tempura?" Nowaki offered. "Sure," answered Hiroki, now completely out the door and still trying to shake off the intimacy. "Tempura it is, then, Hiro-san," Nowaki replied happily.
Nowaki could he hear Hiroki pull out his chair again and shuffle his papers. His lover's walls were back up again, but he didn't mind. He smiled to himself. These past little moments had made his day: He loved that his random little hobby had helped him get closer to Hiro-san. Maybe something similar would happen at dinner, too. He smiled again blissfully, strumming for a bit before going to make dinner for himself and his lover.
A/N: Hello everybody! I had this story on my mind for a while and finally got a chance to write it down ^^. I saw a guy who looked kind of like Nowaki playing a guitar and I got inspired. Nowaki seems kind of like a jack of all trades to me ^^. Anyway, sorry that it's been so long between stories! I'll try to speed it up a bit next time lol. Thank you for reading and I hope that you have a nice day!