River Flows in You

The sun was shining brightly, making the leaves of the trees sparkle the morning dew. It was summer vacation and young Misaki and his brother would be spending their vacation at their grandparents'. The world in Misaki's innocent, pure eyes was dazzling. Colorful, fun and amazing. And he savoured the scent of the morning as he trolled the dirt road near their house. Listening to the music the ciaccadas were making.

"Misaki!" his brother called. "Don't go too far or you'll get eaten by a bear!"

Even from a distance Misaki could hear his brother shouting at him. So over protective. Who would believe that bears would eat good kids like him? "Tsk...Nii-chan you idiot. Even eight year olds like me know Kuma-san doesn't exist in this part of the country!" He yelled back.

With a frown on his young face, Misaki bounced his way deeper into the woods. His chocolate hair flying everywhere as he dashed into a clearing. "Uwah...How come I didn't see this last year?" He exclaimed, slowly indulging his eyes with the clear water that reflected the blueness of the sky.

He didn't care that the grass was almost to his knees, making his legs go itchy. He just stared at the waters and at the entirety of the place.

"Ah...this must be what they call heaven..." the young boy smiled. "Though I haven't been to heaven maybe this is how it would feel."

Misaki's huge eyes caught a glimpse of a Shrine near the small lake, in front of a very tall Sakaki tree. He took excited strides towards it to pay some respect. It was small but well kept, made Misaki all the more eager to pray. He grabbed the ropes in front of him and rang the bell. He then tossed his single coin in his pocket into the offering box and bowed deeply twice. He raised his head and clapped his small hands twice and bowed once more, praying for his brother, grandparents and for the place to stay like that forever.

"There...I am sure the Gods heard me."

Misaki turned his back at the Shrine to continue his escapade when he heard something.


"Huh? Who's there?" Afraid at the humming he was hearing but still curious, Misaki took small steps towards the back of the small Shrine. And the humming grew louder and clearer.


Misaki forgot all his fear when he found himself staring at a boy that seemed to be as old as his brother. He was sitting, his back againts the thick trunk of an old majestic tree, with papers and pen in hand. He had silver hair that sways with the slightest touch of the summer breeze. He had skin so pale he almost looked like snow. And what captivated Misaki more about the boy was how he seemed to be enjoying himself with his closed eyes, humming by himself.

The curious Misaki fell on his bottom when suddenly, the older boy opened his eyes, revealing lavender hues at him. "I am sorry. I didn't mean to disturb you."

A smile was the boy's reply, and he motioned for Misaki to come near him.

"You're having your summer vacation, are you?" the deep voice asked Misaki. Strangely, even the voice seemed to be a melody.

Sitting next to the boy, with his eyes looking at the papers with scribbles he couldn't understand, Misaki glanced back at the warm smile.

"Nii-san, what are you doing? Are you singing?"

Chuckling, the boy extended one of the papers he had in hand, a music sheet. "No, I am composing."

Misaki could only frown at the notes he saw. They had music lessons but he could in no way understand how they were being read.

"Composing? What is that?"

The lavender eyes looked deeply into Misaki's green ones and then scribbled a few more notes on the side of the already cramped music sheet. "Composing. It's writing a song."

Misaki lit up, all fascination directed at his new found, interesting friend. "You're like a writer that writes stories!"

"Yeah, you could say that. I write stories, but is accompanied by a melody and is expressed through a song."

"Nii-san, could you repeat the one you're humming before? I really like it!"

"You liked it? That's actually a favorite of mine. It's River flows in You by Yiruma*1."

Moving a little closer at the older boy, Misaki looked at him with eager eyes. "River flows in you..." and the young Misaki didn't realize that he was humming the same tune himself. When he finished, he looked shy and embarrassed he had to look away from the gaze the older boy gave him.

"Ah..sorry...I might have sounded so bad. I just really~~"

Misaki stopped mumbling when he felt a cold hand pat his hair like he was some protege. Whatever the older boy saw in him, Misaki didn't know and was still too young to understand.

"No, it's great. I loved it."

"Really? Really? Really?"

"Yeah, no kidding," the silver-haired boy looked at the music sheet and then back at Misaki. "You have good ears. And I am pretty sure, when you grow older, your voice would mature into something great."

Misaki stood blushing and eyes twinkling at the commendation which he seldom get even from his music teachers, he tapped his chest. "Then I will become a singer! I will become really popular and make everyone happy. Just like how happy I am to hear you hum that 'River Flows in You'!"

Huge, pale hand was extended to Misaki. The young boy looked at it curiously and then at the smiling lavender eyes.

"I'll become a great composer someday...and I want you to sing a song I composed. Okay? Deal?"

Beaming with delight, Misaki grabbed the hand with both of his still small hands and shook them hard. Waved it up and down while smiling proudly. "Deal!"

"Oi, Takahashi-kun, what are you spacing out for?! I've been callingfor you for god knows how many times already!" a chubby man snapped at Takahashi Misaki.

Misaki was still a little confused he had to look at his surroundings to get what was going on. People with headsets and mics passed before him. They're running all around, and he could hear a distant voice of a woman.

"I am sorry for the delay, we are just having technical issues, Io is already on standby so fans, just a little patience!"

It was followed by a loud cheering of girly voices, screaming "Io! Io! Io!" it hurt Misaki's ears.

"What the fuck are you still sitting there! We're going live! The CD won't read! You hear me!?" the chubby man again spat, his saliva showering Misaki's face.


"Ah jeez...why am I remembering something that happened ten years ago...? Of all times?!"

"Riki-san! Io, is already on the stage, just waiting for the cue!" a thin woman whispered, but Misaki could hear them alright.

"Roger that," the chubby man named Riki pulled Misaki by the arm and led him into a small booth. "Okay young man, you know what to do...at my cue..."

Misaki placed huge earphones on his ears and held the microphone tightly. This rarely happened to be singing on a live stage so he was a little nervous but very excited as well. From the booth, Misaki could see Riki-san signalling his cue to their sounds technician. And with only the fingers doing the countdown, Misaki counted in his head as well.


"Kanashii hodo hikari dashita 哀しいほど 光りだした
Shiroi yami kirisaku Tsubasa ninare" 白い闇切り裂く翼になれ

Misaki's cold voice filled the entire studio and the crazy fangirls screamed wildly. He was singing True Light and it was a song he also loved. And his love for the song and the lyrics clearly reflected with the way he sang it.

The fans, the hosts, and the sponsors were captivated by the voice that they could only marvel at the cold yet warm voice touching their hearts. Only praises and cheers could be heard within the studio. Only that the cheers were not for Misaki but for the new idol named Io, lypsynching on the stage.

After the performance, Io ran to the back of the stage with a huge crease in his fine eyebrows. But even with the most sour expressions, Io was in no doubt an "Ikemen". He was not tall but not too very short. His long, black, shiny hair gathered a lot of shampoo endorsers. His lips were thin, and even without makeup, they were interestingly always reddish. His clear, huge, round, green eyes, the only thing both Misaki and Io seemed to have a similarity of have the ability to suck anyone in a different world. Only that Io's eyes were more sparkly due to the glittering effects. And he had fair, smooth silky skin even the girl fans envy.

Io was such an idol package that when he debuted, he became an instant hit among the young fans and even the older ones. Because he was always polite and humble and always had the kindest smile on his pretty face. But in truth, Io lacked two things important for a singer and an artist. A voice, and good personality.
That was where Misaki came in to fill the gaps. Using Misaki's voice, Io ascended into stardom while treating Misaki a star in the shadows.

"What took you so long? I look like some stupid grinning like that while waiting!" Io hissed.

Riki-san only sighed and patted his star on the shoulders. "Sorry about that, well we had a hard tme setting Misaki up..."

"Misaki? Misaki again?" a brow was raised towards Misaki who was currently picking up the pieces of clothes Io just threw when he was changing. "Oi, next time, get your act faster okay? I hate it when I wait!"

"Yeah. Sorry...won't happen again," Misaki replied, but deep inside he was laughing his head out. "Hah-that's some sort of revenge for taking the jacket I bought, you little thief. You have more money than I have, and yet you take what's not yours...tsk tsk..."

Two days after the performance, Misaki finally had the go from Io's manager that he could visit his sick brother in the hospital. Their parents and grandparents were no longer on alive. And as if these were not enough hardships for the two, Takahiro came down with a fever, losing his sight and not being able to walk. On the brink of hopelessness, by fate, Misaki found an audition for a backdoor singer. He didn't have much hope being selected but he got the job. Although there were times Io's team treat Misaki harshly like he was just some kind of a tool, Misaki couldn't give up. Because it was Io's agency paying for his brother's hospitalization.

"Misaki...it's you isn't it?"

Smiling, Misaki sat on Takahiro's bed and squeezed his brother's hand. "Yes, Nii-chan..."

Takahiro squeezed back. "I heard your preformance last time. It was awesome. If not for my situation, you could have taken the praise and not the Io..."

"Ah Nii-chan!" Misaki exclaimed, nervously looking at the door he left open. "Don't say that, if someone hears it I am dead meat for sure. Riki-san will throw his weight on me, crushing me to my death!"

"Sorry...still...the praises and the admiration should have been for you...Misaki."

Scratching the tip of his nose and pulling his hood on his head, hiding his face, as if Takahiro could see his glistening face, Misaki looked lovingly at his brother. "Aww ..don;t make me laugh. Io is such a good looking person he is almost impossible. I wouldn't be able to compare. I am sure I won't ever be able to take even one step up the ladder with how I am."

"You look so lowly at yourself when you have the talent. Besides, my brother has his own charm..."

"Shush...you doting Nii-chan...do you think I will believe you? Hahaha..."

The brothers were enjoying their fresh mikan's when Misaki heard his phone ring its emergency tone.

"Aww..what is it this time...it's my off for crying out louuuuuud..." Misaki whined as he wiped his sticky hand on Takahiro's sleeves.

"Oi...Misaki..what the~~"

"Hahaha..peace Nii-chan...sorry I'll just take this call. It's Riki-san."

Jumping off the bed, Misaki went towards the window and answered the phone call.


"So slow!"


"Come to the studio right this moment!"

Misaki frowned. "But it's my day off today..."

"Listen punk, you know Usami Akihiko?"

There was a sudden violent thumping in Misaki's chest.

"Of course! He's a famous composer, isn't he?" he answered, trying his best not to sound too damn excited.

"Well, his assistant called and said that the great composer saw Io's performance, and heard his voice...I mean your voice, and is interested at teaming up with us! And is also on his way to our office! So just in case, you have to be here!"

Oh my God...the composer I am looking up to...How could I ever allow to miss the opportunity to be in the same building as him?!

"Hai! I'm on my way!"

Screaming his sorries to his brother, Misaki flew to the Zone Management eager to finally see in person the great composer who hides his face in public. He already composed a number of songs sang by celebrities that became hit after hit after hit. That being offered by the composer himself to have a team-up was considered an honor in itself.

Usami Akihiko was like a living legend.

Panting like crazy, his tongue almost sticking out of his mouth, Misaki ran to the room Riki-san texted where they'd be having a short meeting with the famous composer and song writer.

"Oh...my god...finally..." he muttered, not caring about his sweaty face and messy head as he looked at the closed door, peeking shyly at the glass pane to see what was going on inside.

He roamed his eyes as fast as he could and saw Io already sitting mightily on one of the chairs of the huge round table. Riki-san, the other important persons in Zone Management as well. And then there, Misaki saw him. In a black suit, standing by the end of the table, with a very calming smile, he exuded an aura of a genius.

Misaki could only drool at the sight of his beloved composer. Most of his favorite songs were composed by this heavenly being. He had white hair due to age perhaps? Well he looked like he was in his fifties already. But nevertheless, the old man was emitting a professional aura as he wave some papers in front of the Zone people.

"Ah...are they the song he wants Io to sing?" Misaki's eyes grew wide. "Oh so then I will get to touch the music sheet he used himself! God...I am so excited..." Misaki giggled still peeking at the small glass window that allowed him to see everything inside.

"Excuse me."

"Ah...can't you see there's a meeting on going inside?" Misaki brushed the voice off, still snickering in his own world.

"You're on my way. Move it."

"Why are you so rude~~" Misaki turned abruptly to glance at the irritating deep voice that was ordering him. But when he saw the person. He could only move aside silently. The tall man wearing a vest and a tie glared at him. He had such a demanding presence that left Misaki speechless.

The man turned the knob open with his long fingers and was about to enter the room when he threw a glance at the blown away Misaki. "Why don't you come inside if you're that interested?"

"Ah...are you Akihiko-sama's assistant?"

"Just get in or stay there forever."


Misaki stood at the corner of the room, together with the errand girls. He bowed his head in apology when Io, Riki-san and some higher-ups of the Zone Management threw a disapproving look at him.

"Ah...I can take everything today...coz my wonderful idol is here before ~~"

"Sorry for making you wait. I just had a sudden business coming but all is well now...so shall we begin the meeting?" the man who just ordered Misaki to move out of his way started.

"Ha? Why is Usami-sama giving way for that rude guy?"

Sitting on the chair the old man had pulled like royalty, the silver-haired man looked at Io for a long while and smiled. Misaki was again thrown out of his orbit.

That smile...it's really familiar...

"I am Usami Akihiko, nice to meet you Io."

Misaki's jaw almost dropped to the floor and he almost choke on where he was standing. Coughing and his eyes getting teary, he gulped huge amount of air to fill his surprised lungs and heart. And also avoiding the death glares Riki-san was throwing at him discreetly.

"I just talked...did talk to the Usami Akihiko? Argh..but dang I was so impolite..." Misaki observed the man who was kindly looking at Io but somehow had a reserved look when he looks at everybody else, including him. "Fine...Io is always the special one...I can understand that...but look at him, he looks so young! Maybe about the same age as my brother?"

"I can't believe my hero is in front of me...I am not dreaming..."

"So I have composed a song and I want Io to be the one to sing it. But I want to supervise him with the piece."

Getting worked up, Riki-san looked at Io worriedly and at Usami Akihiko. "Ah-about that Usami-san, Io had a traumatic experience before," he lied as he tapped Io on the shoulder and Io started acting out. "So he could only practice with me supervising him. So if it would be okay, just leave the piece to me, and I'll supervise Io. He's just not really that great with people he just first met."

The composer looked at the somehow delicate face of Io, staring at the green eyes of the youth and sighed. "I guess that can't be helped. But I want you to send me recordings of Io's progress..."

After the meeting that didn't last long, Misaki ran after Usami Akihiko. The tall man just looked at him with complete uninterest as he waited for Misaki to catch up on his breath.

"Usami-sama...I am sorry for how I acted earlier. It was impolite of me..."

The composer turned his back to get into his car but Misaki called out again.

"What is it this time?"

Misaki shyly extended a small notebook and a pen towards the composer. "If you don't mind, can I have your authograph?"


About to enter the car, there was another voice that called out to the composer. It was Io.

Smiling at Io, Usami Akihiko even walked towards the eighteen year old guy. "What is it?"

Misaki frowned at the sight. "I didn't expect my hero to be not approachable. Uwah~rude people looked so good together...huh?"

Io bowed first and then smiled back at the taller man. "I just wanted to thank you for choosing me Usami-sama."

"No...it is an honor for a composer like me to have someone with great talent sing my song. You deserve it."

"Usami-sama...thank you." Io blushed on the spot which made Misaki want to cringe.

"Just Akihiko is fine."

"Huh? But~"

"I want to be as close as possible to the people singing my songs. It's a shame you still have some trouble working with people you just met, but in this business, you have to learn to do it sooner."

Staggeringly, Io looked at Misaki then at Usami. "I'll remember that...A-Akihiko-san."

When the night came, Misaki rolled all over his bed thinking how the great Usami Akihiko rejected him when he asked for an autograph.

"He gave me the cold shoulder but he was all so fine with Io. Birds of the same feather...will really drown together!"

He lay on his stomach, looking at the small notebook where he writes lyrics when something pops inside his head. And in reality, he was so hurt by being rejected by the person he was looking up to. He wanted to hate the composer, but he was a great composer so he couldn't do that. He still have great respect for the man's craft.

Sighing, Misaki set his alarm clock at 4 am for his morning run. He does that to improve his breathing when singing. And although Usami Akihiko was nice to Io and not to him, still Misaki felt a little happy that the composer wanted to use his voice. That was more than dream come true for poor Misaki who didn't know at that time that a lot of hardship would come his way.

"Holding you...Holding you...It's in you River flows in youuuuu..." he sang and with that, Misaki fell to his dreamless sleep.

Chapter End Notes:
1* River Flows in you by Yiruma is such a wonderful song. It's melody is addicting.
2* True Light by Shunichi Miyamoto .This literally has one of the greatest voices ever! I could marry his voice!hahaha...Just imagine this voice serenading you...*dies*


Io is pronounced as Ee-yo.^^

Sakaki Trees are considered sacred trees in Japan

Ikemen are good looking guys , pretty boys like a bishie