Just a very odd fact: while I was writing this chapter, the song 'Living on a prayer' by Bon Jovi started playing on the radio. That's the same song I used for the title of this chapter. Creepy? Maybe a bit xD
Chapter 12 - Living on a prayer
The first thing that greeted Misaki was the pure white snow covering the streets. It had been clean and dry the entire afternoon, but the weather had changed drastically within half an hour. Shivering, the teen stepped through the thick blanket of snow, following the glow of the street lights. It was already dark outside, so the only way to find his way was to stay close to the few light sources he could find.
Misaki sighed as he dug his hands into his pockets. He had screwed up so much; not only had he run away from the person he loved, but he had also broken Ihara's heart. His boss never wanted to see him again, but what about Akihiko?
"He's probably pissed off at me," Misaki muttered to himself. Thanks to Ihara, all his optimistic thoughts had gone down the drain. All he wanted to do was sit down and rest.
Unfortunately, all the hotels in that part of Tokyo were very luxurious, meaning that they were way too expensive for a simple boy like Misaki. There was no way he was going to waste his money on that; he needed it for his tuition fees. On the other hand, he had nowhere to go. His brother hadn't seen him for weeks, so Misaki was sure that he would have to explain everything if he returned home so suddenly. After all that had happened the teen wasn't looking forward to that.
"Maybe Sumi-senpai could help me out." While Misaki usually hated to burden others, he didn't mind asking Sumi a favor this time. It wasn't like he had much of a choice anyway. Taking his cell phone in hand, Misaki dialed his friend's number and waited for Sumi to pick up his phone.
After nearly a minute of waiting, Misaki received the message that the number was temporarily unavailable. Feeling disappointment gnaw at him, he slipped the phone back and sighed, leaning against the brick wall of a closed store. Whoever was watching over him surely wasn't on his side. What was he supposed to do now?
More snow fell from the heavens, the wind carrying the small flakes of white. It had been a while since it had snowed that much. Despite the cold, Misaki admired the beauty of nature as the snow glistened in the glow of the street lights. He had loved snow ever since the day his brother taught him how to make snowmen.
Misaki smiled sweetly as he continued to gaze into nothingness. Takahiro had always looked out for him, even when Misaki did something he wasn't allowed to do. His brother had supported him and had taught him countless of things. That's why…he could not allow himself to give up. He had to work hard so he could realize Takahiro's dreams and make him proud.
The real question was how he was going to do this if he didn't even have a place to stay. Sumi was his only option, but the student didn't answer his call. Then there was Akihiko…
'No, I can't go to Usagi-san now,' Misaki thought, fearing that the man didn't want to see him. He mocked himself for being such an idiot. Sliding down the wall, Misaki pulled his hood over his head and curled into a ball to keep himself warm.
It was just like one of those scenes where a young person stays out in the cold, nearly freezing to death while other families are inside their cozy and warm homes.
"You're not making this any better," the brunet growled at himself, feeling a cold chill as the wind slipped underneath his coat. He curled up some more to protect himself and closed his eyes tiredly. A single car drove down the street, passing the boy who was oblivious to everything around him. Even when a slim figure approached him, Misaki failed to notice.
"Are you okay?" As Misaki opened his eyes and looked up, he was met with a pair of friendly blue eyes. "Ah, Misaki-kun!" It was Aikawa.
Standing up, Misaki brushed the snow off his clothes. "Aikawa-san, what are you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same question," the woman replied, studying him. As she gently touched Misaki's face, she gasped. "You're freezing! Come on, I'll take you to my place." She grasped Misaki's hand and led him to her car, quickly clearing the passenger seat so he could sit down. As she got into the car and shut the door, she gave the teen a questioning look.
"What were you doing out there in the cold?" Aikawa asked worriedly as she started the engine, "You shouldn't go out when it's snowing like this."
Misaki blushed mildly and looked away. "I was kicked out of the apartment, so I was looking for a place to stay."
Giving the other a confused look, Aikawa gripped the steering wheel. "Why were you kicked out?" she asked curiously. When Misaki didn't answer, she gave up. "It doesn't really matter, I suppose. Anyway, my house isn't far from here, so we should be there soon."
Another smile played on Misaki's lips as he leaned back, enjoying the comfortable warmth inside the car. He looked at Aikawa, who was driving with utmost concentration. "What were you doing out there, Aikawa-san?"
"I have just paid Usami-sensei a visit," she answered plainly without looking at him.
"Really? Is Usagi-san…doing okay?"
The car stopped in front of an apartment and Aikawa took off her seatbelt. "Sensei was very worried about you when I spoke to him. It seems that he really wants to talk to you."
The brunet got out and followed the redhead to the front door. "Is he not…angry with me?" he asked as Aikawa searched for her keys.
A giggle came from the editor. "I don't think he could ever be mad at you," she replied, unlocking the door, "Usami-sensei loves you too much."
Hearing these words caused Misaki to blush once more, but he was also happy. As they walked into the house, Aikawa shut the door and watched him take off the wet coat. He studied the apartment, which turned out to be rather messy, but it wasn't as bad as Akihiko's place.
Aikawa noticed how Misaki was staring and scratched the back of her head. "Sorry about the mess," she said with a short laugh, "I don't have a lot of time to clean because of work."
"It's fine; I've seen way worse than this. Besides, I understand you must be busy since you live alone here."
Blue eyes widened in surprise as Aikawa wondered how Misaki knew that she was living by herself, but she smiled as she witnessed how the brunet found himself a place to sit on the cream colored couch.
"You know, it would all be a lot easier if a certain someone handed in his manuscripts on time," she said, her voice laced with irritation.
Misaki laughed. "You're talking about Usagi-san, aren't you? Is he really that lazy?"
"Yes," Aikawa replied, "He is an amazing author with superb writing skills, but he doesn't give a damn about his work. Always missing his deadlines, that man. As his editor, it's very frustrating to work with him sometimes." The lady walked to the kitchen and grabbed two mugs from a cupboard. "Come to think of it, there's something I'd like to ask you."
"Okay, what is it?"
Handing the young male a mug of tea, Aikawa sat down beside him. "Usami-sensei has won an award for one of his novels and is expected to go to a party, but he doesn't like going to such events. I was wondering if you could come with us to the party; I'm sure sensei wouldn't mind going if you were there."
As the teen took a sip from his tea, he shook his head lightly. "If that would help you out, I wouldn't mind going, but I've never been to such a party before. To be honest, I'm not sure if I have any proper clothing to wear for that occasion."
Aikawa smiled charmingly. "Don't worry about that," she told him, "I would gladly go shopping with you to get you a nice suit."
"Are you sure about that? Well, I guess there's no reason not to go then."
"Thank you so much Misaki-kun! You're a lifesaver." Aikawa was happy to see a content look on Misaki's face and she giggled when the brunet yawned in a very adorable way.
"Sorry," Misaki apologized wearily, "For some reason I'm pretty tired."
"It must be because of the cold. Would you like to sleep in my room?"
Misaki shook his head. "No, it's fine. I'll sleep here on the couch."
Aikawa wanted to protest, but she couldn't say 'no' to that sweet smiling face. "All right, I'll get you blanket." She rose swiftly and ran to another room, returning with a thick red blanket. As Misaki lay down, she tucked him in as best she could. "Is it comfortable?"
The teen nodded and uttered some sort words of gratitude before closing his eyes. It wasn't long before soft snores filled the room. Seeing that angelic face, Aikawa had to resist squealing and left the room, heading towards her own. Once the door was closed, she fished her cell phone out of her handbag and dialed Akihiko's number. She could hardly wait to tell him the good news.
The phone rang a few times before a certain annoyed author answered it. "What is it?" he growled, "I thought we had already discussed everything regarding that stupid party."
"It's not about that, sensei. It's about Misaki-kun."
Akihiko started to sound a lot more interested. "What about him? Do you know where he is?"
The brightest smile crossed the redhead's features. "Actually, I have Misaki-kun with me right now."
"…Can I talk to him?"
"Not right now; he's already asleep. You should see his face, sensei. Misaki-kun is so adorable!"
"I know," Akihiko replied with a chuckle.
As Aikawa left the room to check on the young brunet, she could hear rustling on the other side of the line. "Sensei, what are you doing over there?" she asked, lowering her voice to a whisper.
"I'm coming over to pick Misaki up."
For a moment, Aikawa hesitated, wondering if it was a good idea to let Akihiko take Misaki home. She wasn't sure what the boy's reaction would be if he suddenly woke up at the author's place. On the other hand, it would most certainly be good for the two to talk about what had happened between them.
In the end, the woman chose to give in. "All right," she spoke softly, "I'll see you in a few minutes then."
"See you soon." Before Akihiko ended the call, Aikawa could hear the sound of an engine starting. It appeared that Akihiko wasted no time and was already on his way.
A soft moan came from the couch as Misaki stirred, drawing the editor's attention to his sleeping form. She gently stroked the teen's hair as she put her cell phone on the table, watching the corners of those pink lips curve upward. Misaki looked so sweet and peaceful that a warm feeling welled up inside of her. That rare, unmistakable innocence brought out her motherly side.
Four more minutes passed before a soft knock on the door brought Aikawa back to reality. She sneaked through the room and opened the door slowly and silently. The sight of a familiar man greeted her.
"Where is he?" Akihiko whispered as he entered the apartment, and his editor pointed a finger at the plush couch. They both walked to where Misaki was sleeping and Akihiko kneeled down. He examined his angel closely, enthralled by his innocence just like Aikawa. He then turned to the lady. "Where did you find him?"
"Outside, in the freezing cold. Apparently his landlord kicked him out of the house for whatever reason."
Akihiko nodded. "I'll ask Misaki tomorrow," he replied before carefully taking his beloved in his arms. As he rose, he pressed Misaki's body against his chest, and the brunet instantly sought his warmth. Akihiko smiled warmly and planted a tender kiss on his forehead.
As Aikawa watched the two lovebirds, she realized how Akihiko and Misaki were made for one another. She smiled as the novelist carried his lover to his car and prayed that they would make up and find happiness together. Right then, that was her only wish.
Reaching his red sports car, Akihiko unlocked the car with a click on the button and gently placed the sleeping boy on the passenger seat, covering him with his coat and ruffling his hair. He then walked to the other side and got in.
As he started the vehicle, the man turned on the radio and turned the volume down. The song played quietly as the car drove down the empty streets.
"There is no life - no life without its hunger.
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly.
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity."
Misaki mumbled something unintelligible in his sleep, and Akihiko could've sworn it sounded as though he was trying to sing along with the music. He shook his head and chuckled at his own silly thoughts.
"I am strong, when I am on your shoulders.
You raise me up, to more than I can be."
A small hand landed on Akihiko's thigh, surprising the author. When he looked over to Misaki, the boy was still lost in his peaceful dreams, smiling happily. Akihiko's gaze softened.
"Don't worry Misaki," he whispered to the unconscious teen, "You're with me now…and I'm not letting you go again."
The song used in this chapter is 'You Raise Me Up' and this version was by Josh Groban. It's a bit different from Westlife's version.
I must announce that, sadly, this story is coming to an end soon. There will still be a few chapters and I'll probably write an epilogue. That also means that Misaki will have to dedicate his song soon ;)
Thanks for reading! Again, please share your thoughts about this chapter.