A/N: not beta'd. Written for mamakashi way back when.

The soft pluck of a note, the hesitant string of melody that followed — the thrum of a beating heart, the airy song of a breath; all with each measured touch of fingers to keys that somehow turned the room into a concert hall, if only for a moment.

How something so methodical produced something so vividly creative he would never understand. He could press key after key, copy the work of the other seated in front of the large piano, but the swooping melody gliding from wall to wall would lack the swirling complexity it displayed proudly currently. Akashi was a natural-born leader, but he was no musician.

He shaped people, not notes. He manipulated ambitions, not chords. He conducted practices, not orchestras. He has the ability to play if he wished, but he had nothing else to contribute to the void, to connect music and heart. He put his all into creating his team.

He was drawn to it like a moth to a searing flame, however. He did not have the time, nor the desire, to pour his all into music, but he had an appreciation for those who did. Movements slow, deliberate, he made his way to the glossy elm bench, fingers brushing the fabric of a clean, white uniform shirt to alert the pianist of his presence.

His smile was thin and sardonic when the music faltered like a bird faltering under a strong gust of wind. Shintarou must have been wholly engaged to not have noticed a second occupant of the room. Hetero-chromatic eyes honed in on long, bare digits that danced over cream and ebony keytops. He could trace each twitch of ligaments before they actually moved, track their path before they embarked on a slide across the board, but he could not devote the same heart, establish the same level of connection like the one seated could.

Gingerly so not to alarm his vice captain, Akashi placed his fingers over the longer pair, leaning against Shintarou's back with most of his weight. He followed the movements of the playing pair which had not stopped as if they were his own, lips twisted into a small, curious smile. For a moment he could pretend the song was his, created from his fingers instead of another's, if he so wished to.

The hands beneath him moved uncharacteristically and certainly without his permission, swapping their positions and pressing his fingers down until he felt the cool touch of the keys from below and the heat of palms from above. The song did not falter.

Akashi clicked his tongue, a quiet warning for Shintarou to keep his hands over the Teiko captain's as he played. The greenette frowned, but he continued to follow each movement as if they were his own. As long as Shintarou's hands were nearby, the music would remain full of emotion and life. If he moved away, the inspiration would diminish and the music would become flat, ordinary.

"You should have been a pianist," Akashi murmurs, breath hot against the other boy's ear just because he knows it'll make Midorima squirm. He can see the way his Adam's apple bobs when he swallows, can hear the tiny hitch in his breath —

"Perhaps," Shintarou allows, when his voice will surely not waver. Again his breath hitches when lips mold against his ear, when hands swap out with his and press flat against his chest through the cotton shirt. His melody increases, faster and faster when lips settle just below his jawline, right over a little spot that with enough coaxing could have him singing a song of a different kind.

And as the piano pieces reaches its end, a sinful mouth retracts and hands are soon to follow, leaving Midorima slightly dazed with the ending chords echoing in his ears. Akashi already has his back to him, and is already heading for the door.

"You'll be late for practice, Shintarou," the ginger warns, one foot out of the room. "Do hurry." And the door shuts — the concert is over, the coaxing is done.