With his lavender eyes, Usami Akihiko darted his gaze from his cup of coffee to the untouched chiffon cake before him. He was waiting rather boredly for his editor to finish looking at his draft. Usami was even thinking that the woman named Aikawa chose the wrong place to meet up. He could practically feel all the curious glances people threw at him.
"Damn these people..." he mumbled. He knew he was good looking. He knew he was well-built. And he knew how pretentious people were. So although people kept on checking on him, the man just ignored all of them like they didn't even exist.
The woman smiled satisfied before putting the papers down the table. Her bright eyes and reddish hair complimented her white long-sleeves shirt. She looked pretty enough but Usami could only see the woman as a forceful tyrant of an editor.
"Sensei...I like the idea...I am so happy that you're finally out of writer's block..." the woman mumbled, being stomach-churning polite all of a sudden. Perhaps, Usami Akihiko's untimely vacation from writing made the woman very cautious.
The man that he was was a man who lived practically writing his heart and brains out. A profession his family opposed to. For some reason, he lost the will to write some months ago. And then off an idea came to him. Just like that, he wanted to write once more. Although maybe one person would get frustrated but that time, he didn't care. He just wanted to write.
"So Usami-sensei...your novel idea this time is about a high school boy..." she continued. "But wouldn't it be hard to pull on a character portraying a modern teenager? I mean, the high schoolers now are different from when we were..."
Usami picked up the fork and stabbed the cake lightly. "I have a model...well...I am observing."
Aikawa leaned closer, getting curious as her eyes narrowed into slits. "Oh, did the person agreed for you to use his life story?"
The flinch on the author's brows was so sudden and passed so fast the woman didn't even notice it. "He doesn't know anything about it. But...I'm doing him a favor so I don't think he'd complain."
"EH?!" Aikawa blurted looking so much surprised. "Sensei, that is really rude and you know it of all people. Why don't you just ask for permission first before basing this novel to that person to avoid troubles in the future?"
Drawing a deep breath, he exhaled slowly releasing the tension in his body. "Just as I've mentioned Aikawa, I am just observing. If he turned out to be an interesting subject then I might give it a go. This is not yet final. I might get bored of him and his life story in the middle. Just looking at the possibility since I have nothing to do and I still can't write properly."
The woman editor's face showed concern but she didn't utter a word. She'd just have to look out of the progress of the story and the come back of her star author Usami AKihiko.
The day passed so fast without Misaki even realizing it. He went to all his classes like a doll devoid of expressions and thinking. It was as if he had left his soul somewhere else. Students kept on looking at him every way possible, turning their faces and whispering softly. The renowed General's son had a bruise on his face too dark to ignore. Not just that but the couple-show Takahashi Misaki and some hot older man put on that early morning on the sidewalk that had spread faster than a wild fire was too shocking to pass.
Misaki didn't even care anymore. He had long lost interest in making friends at school and all he cared was just finish fucking high school and be on his own.
As he walked to his locker, students purposely made space for him like he had some incurable disease.
"Is this the height of bullying?" Misaki thought as he yanked his locker open. "In truth, they're doing me a favor...saving me from all the explanations and shit..."
Just then, a hand patted him on the shoulder and when he turned his gaze towards the owner, he felt his face ease up a little.
"Takahashi...you never cease to amaze me..." Takatsuki Shinobu mumbled,uncaring that he might also experience being shunned off from the rest just by talking to Misaki. "You've done it now...having a boyfriend."
The green-eyed boy had to blink a couple of times to process it. Boyfriend? Who? Him?
A rather genuine laugh escaped Misaki's lips. He had really forgotten about it and being reminded by it out of the blue made Misaki feel so unreal. For one, it felt somehow, ridiculously soothing to have someone think that Misaki do have someone willing to step out and protect him. That in itself made Misaki a little relieved if not totally happy.
"He and I are just pretending..." Misaki whispered, grinning, making him look like more stupid from his bruise on his face. The dark blonde already had an idea where his friend got it so he didn't ask about it anymore. Where else? From the iron fisted general for sure.
Shinobu's eyes grew wide as he watched the brunette throw his stuff inside his locker. He even took a step closer to Misaki just so they could talk being sure that no one could hear them.
"What? Where did you find a guy to act as your fling?" the teen whispered carefully, not being able to hide the curiosity of this sudden development. First his friend befriended a girl who was known as a guy-hater at school. Second, his friend deliberately acted all so effiminate and lustful around his father's circle and everybody just to piss the general, and now, rumors had been going around that his very same friend has a dead-gorgeous boyfriend and crazy rich on top of that. It was like his friend Takahashi was openly asking to be killed by his father.
Takahashi frowned a little before slamming the door shut. "I don't know how it happened, it just ended up that way...it's not going to be for long though...so...I just have to strum on my father's bad side soon and have him accept that I don't want to follow him."
The darkblond rolled his eyes, smacking the brunette hard on the back. "You be careful, I have read plenty about this pretending-scheme only for the other one to fall with the other."
Misaki laughed as they started walking out the lockers area out into the afternoon sun. Students were busy chatting or readying themselves for their club activities. Everything was just lively, a proof that no matter what happened to Misaki's life, the boy thought that the world would still go round.
"What on Earth are you saying?" Misaki smacked back. "Like I will? It's just an act. An act okay?"
Grey eyes watched Misaki as if examining the other's every pore and raised a brow. "I am just warning you...you know...the first to fall in love is always at the disadvantage..."
"You talk as if I have really turned to the other side of the team you idiot!" Misaki grumbled, forgetting the dreaded family meeting he so hated. "I will not turn into a fairy out of the blue!"
"Well, honestly Takahashi, I wouldn't be surprised if you developed something. Maidens develop feelings for their saviors when they're in a pinch. Watch your back, it's not a matter whether you're a guy or a girl."
"You're starting to piss me off Takatsuki, maiden? Who's the maiden here?" Misaki lowered his voice. "I am not gay...alright? Everything is just for my father to stop dragging me to the military academy...okay?"
The blonde just hooted annoying the brunette even more. But despite that, Misaki couldn't possibly totally be mad at the guy walking beside him. Takatsuki always just said whatever was in his mind and Misaki was glad for it. Not having someone with sugar coated words to try to comfort him.
Having his spirits almost coming back to its originality, Misaki walked with his head up high once more despite the occasional glances at his face. The two friends were already talking about some nonsense thing, a habit they had both created from years of being tossed with each other since elementary. However, Misaki's peace didn't last long. He had practically stopped walking and breathing the moment he caught the familiar tint of a bluish, black SUV with the military sticker shining as if warning him.
"Takahashi, what's wrong?" the blonde followed Misaki's gaze and the boy instantly knew why. The general, the forceful father had personally come to pick up his only, remaining son. Even him could feel the strange terror that surrounded the car even from a distance.
As if the huge, overbearing man was actually glaring at the school gates in wait for his son, the moment he saw the teen, he hopped off the car in his slick military uniform and everyone just had to pause with whatever thing they were busy with. It did not help that the fierce afternoon sun was accentuating every hollow and firm, serious muscles on the man's face. He walked towards the frozen brunette with such elegance accumulated from years of strict way of living.
"Takahashi..." Shinobu whispered not being able to move his gaze away from his friend's father. He could see that the man was royally pissed. "...will you be alright?"
"Who knows..." Misaki replied, his body trembling. He knew his father meant business, seeing that he was wearing his proud uniform with such a dark face. Perhaps, him having a boyfriend had already reached his father's intelligence.
"We're gonna have a looooooooooong talk, my son. So move it!"
Misaki gulped. His feet suddenly weighing a ton when he dragged them towards his father. Right after he was in front of the man, Misaki felt the entire world shake. A slap so piercing that felt worth a year met his already bruised face that he eventually fell to the ground with a pathetic thud. Instantly his face felt like burning. He was even too stunned to realize that he was already crying. The pain in his body couldn't keep up with his delayed reactions with his emotions anymore. Students on their way home gasped, even feeling a little pity for the brunette. They couldn't possibly imagine their own parents doing that to them. And despite them having a good laugh and chat about the gay that Misaki was, they felt bad and scared for the teen.
Takatsuki ran towards Misaki's side, trying to help the green-eyed boy stand up.
"Boyfriend? Where is this fucking homo and I'd kill that prick!"
"None...none of your business..." Misaki hoarsely mumbled, digging his own grave.
The next thing Shinobu saw was Misaki being dragged by the hair towards the general's car. How could such a father treat his child so harshly in the public? Everyone could perhaps understand how a father would feel if his son turned to be not the complete man he wanted his son to be, but to use that kind of violence was just so wrong.
The worst was because he was a general, no one dared to question how he 'disciplined' his son.
Shinobu watched the car send off angry smoke as it screetched away from sight. He felt a presence beside him and raised a brow realizing it was the guy-hater Kaoruko.
"I never imagined that it was this severe..." the soft voice sounding so sweet just made the darkblond imagine terrible spanking from the old man.
"It's always like this, he always hit Takahashi but before it was just on parts that couldn't be seen," Shinobu mumbled, tasting bitterness for his friend's situation. "But as the graduation is nearing, Takahashi was desperately trying to avoid the military academy and Uncle, started hitting him anywhere, everywhere."
Surprised at the hurried typing Kaoruko made on her phone, Shinobu cocked his head to the side. Kaoruko had heard from her own uncle the funny deal. She was a little irritated about it since she was still hurt by Misaki's lying. But the scene just a while ago convinced her that perhaps, Misaki just really need someone to take and save him from his house.
"Well, I guess, the lover should save the one in distress..." the girl mumbled with a crease on her fine brows.
"Huh?" Shinobu asked perplexed.
"Fake or real, they had a deal..." the girl added, rendering Shinobu out of idea what the girl was saying since he didn't know that the fake boyfriend was her uncle and a celebrated writer no less. "...there...sent!"
"Stop it dear! My god you're going to kill our son!"
Tears, gasps and sobs filled the Takahashi house. And no matter how much the woman wanted to make herself a shield to his son, she knew there was nothing she could actually do. She just watched his son fall on the cold floor numerous times with blood trickling down from his raw lips.
They hardly even set foot away from the entrance when the old man started making a punching bag of his son right after they arrived.
"HOW DARE YOU GET INVOLVED WITH A FUCKING HOMO? DID I RAISE YOU LIKE THIS YOU PIECE OF SHIT?!" the man screamed, almost breaking Misaki's eardrums. He was limp and only relied on his father's grip on his collar to remain standing. Otherwise he knew he'd fall on the floor.
"OUT OF ALL THE SHIT YOU MADE TO EMBARASS ME, THIS IS THE WORST. DO YOU HONESTLY THINK I'D LET MY ONLY SON BECOME A SICKLY HOMO? I'D SPANK YOU SHITLESS UNTIL YOU GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!"
The green eyed boy couldn't help but grin. His father must have hit him too much already that he had become accustomed to it or his brain must have been shaken bad he had gone completely insane to be grinning while being bashed like that. He just went numb from the pain. It was a relief though.
"I'm still not going to the Military academy..." Misaki whispered, his breathing making a wheezing sound. "Kill me...I don't care. You...and your fucking man's pride..."
For Misaki, that felt so good. To actually call his father names and say things he knew would greatly anger his father felt an instant heaven in him. If not for his mother, Misaki would have already ran from home and deep in his heart he had this longing that his father would come back to normal. But that day seemed never to be coming to light.
"Dare. Tell. Me. That. Again."
The only thing that Misaki could grasp was the anguish in his father's breathing and his mother's pained sobs. Towards his body he could just feel nothing. perhaps he was dying. His father really had an iron fist and he certainly didn't know his own strenght well enough to restrain it.
Misaki lay on his stomach on the floor crawling, wriggling towards the door. He knew he looked so pathetic. The general's hard breathing as sign that he had grown tired as well from hitting and hurting Misaki, both parents looked at Misaki.
"Misaki, you really don't have to suffer this if you're just going to be obedient, why are you so stubborn?" the father asked, his voice surprisingly pained as well. Or perhaps it was just Misaki's hallucination.
The family of three hadn't noticed the presence of an uninvited guest standing by their door.
To Usami Akihiko's horror, what he saw on the floor had him numb for a moment. He didn't expect he would see such cruelty against such a small and thin body like that. He even thought that probably the boy was already dead.
He was just driving aimlessly after his meeting with his editor when his phone rang. A mail from his niece surprised him since Kaoruko never used her phone unless it was important. The girl said that his fake lover was in trouble and a freaking vague address he had to make a couple of rounds before finding his destination. But never had he imagined what he saw. The boy was practically crawling on the floor so looking weak, and pathetic. It was beyond trouble. It gravely hurt him. Nothing sort of intimate feelings, it hurt him as a human being. And he pitied Misaki's predicament with his father.
"Who the hell are you?!" the master of the house spat at the man in a suit having an obvious disbelief on his face as he crouched down to pull the boy up.
"Misaki?" Usami called, tapping the bloody, swollen face of the boy. This time, if Usami hadn't recognized that green glint behind those half closed eyes, he was sure there would be no way for him to recognize Misaki.
The father was rather scandalized at hearing another man, call his son in his first name. His fist in tight balls, he took a step forward, glaring at the silverhaired man craddling his son.
"You're the fucking homo who brainwashed my son, didn't you?"
Usami for the first time in a long while wanted to puke right on the spot. How could this man call the brunette his son the way he just treated him. It was so stupid that Usami was angered by it.
"I'm taking Misaki with me," Usami announced unfaltering while glaring back at the General.
Both Misaki's parents were struck dumbfounded. The weight of really meeting the gay lover of their son securing them in their place.
"I'D KILL YOU BEFORE YOU COULD EVEN STEP OUT OF THIS HOUSE!"
To Misaki's mother's surprise, the general out of nowhere pointed a caliber .35 at the stranger without so much thought. He looked like he really meant it. But Usami Akihiko was not fazed by it at all that he gathered the beaten up boy in his arms and stood magnificently cocky. The thing that annoyed the old man was even the haughty way the lavender eyes glared at him.
"Go ahead and do so," Usami replied with such coldness. "You're an asshole for a father."
The urge to look down at the broken mess in his arms was so strong that Usami just wanted to go and drive the kid to the hospital. But Misaki kept on moving his bleeding mouth. Begging.
"Please...don't fight with my father..."
Sternly, Usami eyed the teen and just got even surprised, a little delayed at how light the boy was.
"You'll stay with me now love, okay?"
Misaki's fading consciousness took on that word 'love' with every bit of confusion in his body.
Usami ignored the man of the house and instead faced the shocked woman who had gone quiet by the walls. "Madam, I'll be taking care of your son in the meantime. I don't think I could leave my lover, " Usami rolled his tongue ever so slowly at the word to emphasize he wasn't joking. The funny thing was he was expecting at least a discomfort for calling the boy like that. But he didn't feel anything. He just threw the matter off as being caught up with the situation and nothing else. "...in this house with his own father. I'll contact you as soon as possible."
The woman summoned every bit of her courage and blocked her husband. "Please...don't hurt Misaki anymore...you're too much!"
Every once in a while Usami Akihiko would steal a glance at the limp figure on his passenger seat. Had he not secured him firmly with the seat belt, he was ure the teen would slid down right off the bat. He could tell the boy was awake. By the shaking in the boy's hands desperately clinging with the seatbelt and the raspy breathing coming from the boy. Most of all, the silent tears and the painful, choked sobs the boy was trying so much to stop from escaping his mouth.
"Does it hurt that badly? We're headed to the hospital so hold on..." he assured. Then making a left turn towards a short-cut he knew, he was careful minding his driving so as not to make the teen feel any more pain that he already was feeling. "You could really sue your father for doing this, you know? You don't have to endure this kind of beating."
Misaki just chuckled like he had gone out of his mind. "It's okay. I don't want that to happen..." he answered hoarsely. "T-thank you for taking me away..."
"Don't worry about it."
"It's just that..." Misaki to Usami's surprise started sobbing violently he didn;t know what to do. "It's just that no one had tried to reach out helping me despite the neighbors hearing us everytime this happens...I am...so glad..." the boy sniffed, wiping his eyes with the back of his bruised hand.
The man driving threw a glance at Misaki shortly and sighed. When he looked at his dashboard it said it was already almost six. And they had only agreed for the pretense of being loves until three pm. This time Usami just decided to let it pass.
"We'll we're a gay couple so the lover should come running to save the other, I only did my role and you better thank Kaoruko because it was her who told me where you are."
"Can we not go to the hospital?"
By the question Usami almost slammed on the breaks. What would the damned brat do with his injuries then? "Are you out your mind?"
"If we go to the hospital, they'd ask me how I got these...and it's not going to be believable if I say I tripped and fell from the stairs..."
"You could die for all we know there must be internal bleeding!" Usami grumbled, growing annoyed at his companion.
"They'd start to question me and I don't want this reach the media...please..." Misaki begged, barely even able to mutter the words clearly.
Exasperated, Usami frowned deeply. The kid was a fucking saint it was annoying the hell out of him. The man sighed a defeated one and maneuvered the car for his flat's direction instead.
Usami couldn't even believe what he was doing. Carrying the boy like a princess from the parking lot all the way to his flat at the top most floor of the building, being careful so as not to cause more pain, he went in slow strides. When the two entered, the house was still dim, a sign that Kaoruko hasn't come home yet.
The older man gently placed the teen on the bed in the guest room the boy had used just earlier. He didn't even thought that he'd end up taking the boy in that soon. Their relationship for show was developing rather into something unpredicatable.
"I called a friend of mine who's a doctor. He could at least check on you. For now, let's tend to the bleeding wounds..."
With even an excruciating pain just by trying to turn his head towards Usami Akihiko, Misaki tried to read the man's thoughts but failed. Deep in his heart's recesses was the gratefulness of letting him feel the joy of someone protecting him. Though he was bothered, if Usami was just being nice because of the pretense of their relationship or the man really meant it.
Truthfully, despite aching all over, Misaki suddenly wondered why the man even offered to be his fake lover, not to mention he despised was in it for the man to go all the trouble of pretending to be a gay man for that matter?
"Could you remove your shirt?" Usami asked nonchalantly. "Or don't tell me you'd prefer me take it off for you, don't push your luck kid."
Misaki had to frown, probably wanting to take back the good feeling he was starting to harbor.
"I can do it myself," the teen replied, not able to mask a little of his annoyance despite his aching body.
Misaki sat on the bed as Usami went out the guest room to take the first aid kid. When he went back, he sighed that the boy hadn't made any progress.
"Sorry...I can't lift my arms...can't remove my blazer..."
The older man sighed and walked towards the bed. "Just try to be still and I'll pull it over your head. Is that alright?"
The boy nodded. It still hurt to raise his arms but it was better than tugging his blazer off from his head. After they were done, Usami eyed Misaki. "You could at least unbotton your own shirt right?" he asked with a raise brow. The thought of removing and unbuttonng somebody else's clothes was unnerving Usami shuddered at the thought. And Misaki was as hell as certain he didn't want that too.
Without waiting for Misaki's response, Usami turned his back to check on his phone and read a mail from his friend doctor on the way.
Right after Usami turned to look back at his beaten up guest who had successfully unbottoned everything. Usami heard himself curse under his breath.
"Shit..." the tall man walked over the bed, not being able to remove his gaze from the patches of blue and black on the teen's abdomen and sides. Misaki shyly averted his eyes away, uncomfortable from the hard stare the other was giving him.
"Those...are old ones right?" Usami whispered, trying to reach at Misaki's side to with his fingers only to stop before reaching the skin. He cleared his throat shooing the sudden awkwardness of having two men in one room. "Those are serious you know, how come you have to endure all these, you're practically a beaten up rag doll like that..."
Misaki looked down at his own abdomen and winced at the sight. It looked disgusting and he was surprised to actually see them like that for the first time. To have his bruises pointed at him for him to see, made the ugly marks fiercer and painful somewhat. However, the most perplexing thing was the genuine sound of concern from Usami Akihiko's voice.
"Ha, why this overwhelming feeling?" Misaki thought. "Anyone would be completely moved and shocked to see something like this...it's normal..."
Usami heard the doorbell to his flat ring and he stood from the bed slowly. "Lay on your back, the doctor is here already."
Before the man could leave the room completely, Misaki voiced a small thanks which the man didn't anymore answer to.
Misaki was plain happy to have to not stay in their house for the second time. The gay hater uncle of Kaoruko didn't even appear as bad as he initially thought he would be. He was even relieved. He was sure they could be good friends seeing that the man could symphatize with his problem. Misaki would always be grateful for the concern he received from someone he didn't know all too well. And so, hearing slight murmurings from the ajar door, the boy closed his eyes dwelling into the little happiness he was feeling. Misaki drifted to sleep in the comforts of the warm bed even before the doctor could check on him. Still unaware that he was just a subject Usami was observing for his novel.
chapter end notes:
whoa..it's been forever! FOREVER! HAHA
THANK YOU FOR THE KINDNESS AND SUPPORT!