Thank you for your patience! Here's the new chapter :)
Since the last chapter was pretty short, this one is longer. I hope you like it!
Chapter 4 – First impressions
The faint light of the sunset guided Misaki through the large manor house, making it just a little easier to find the front door. The lights were still off as it wasn't dark enough yet, but it wasn't exactly well illuminated inside. Realizing this, Misaki wondered if he was going to need a flashlight to search Akihiko in the forest. Unfortunately, he hadn't brought a flashlight to the Usami Estate, and looking for one is this huge place wasn't really an option either.
Shrugging, Misaki opened the door, once again amazed by the large and beautiful front yard. It looked even more beautiful in the soft sunlight. Still, despite this beauty, Misaki didn't feel at ease. It was just too lonely.
"Whatever, I just have to find Akihiko-senpai for now," the brunet said to himself, walking towards the forest surrounding the yard. Hesitantly pushing a few branches aside, he walked over the grass. The fact that there wasn't an actual path was not helping at all.
Misaki took slow steps, trying to discover where he was, but practically every tree in the forest looked exactly the same. How Akihiko managed to find his way, Misaki didn't know, but it must have been because Akihiko was already used to it. Still, Misaki refused to give up and turn back; he wanted to see what kind of person Akihiko really was. Maybe Haruhiko has just been saying bad things about him out of hatred. What if Akihiko was actually a very kind person?
'Wait, I should be paying attention to where I'm going or I'll get lost here.' It was then that Misaki found a clearing, revealing the dark orange-colored sky. As he studied the place more thoroughly, he noticed a young male, probably slightly older than him, resting against a tree with a notebook in his hands. The teen didn't seem to notice him, or he simply didn't care enough to even spare him a glance.
Carefully, Misaki moved closer to the stranger, studying his features. Short, silver bangs partially covered his eyes, the strands spiky and silky-looking. His jawline was strong, yet his face was youthful. Misaki felt himself get jealous as the other's shoulders were broader than his, and overall the silver-haired male had more masculine features than him.
As if having sensed Misaki's presence, the teen looked up and stared at him with lustrous, purple-shaded eyes. The look on his face obviously wasn't one to welcome the brunet, but rather to deter him. This caused Misaki to realize that he had been rudely staring at the other for quite some time, so he quickly attempted to greet the stranger by smiling at him.
"Hello there," he said in a quivering voice, "Uhm…are you Akihiko-senpai?"
"And you are?"
Misaki stiffened at the coldness in Akihiko's voice, but quickly composed himself. "My name is Takahashi Misaki. Your father was expecting you at the manor, but you didn't show up."
Uninterested, Akihiko averted his gaze and continued to write in his notebook. "What do you have to do with any of that?"
"Well, Usami-san wanted me to meet his sons, but you were nowhere to be seen. Haruhiko-san told me that you were most likely to be hiding in the forest, so I came here to look for you." Misaki slowly moved closer and sat down next to Akihiko, feeling the soft grass tickle the palms of his hands.
Akihiko still made no move to send Misaki away, yet he didn't look at him either. "I'm not hiding here," he corrected while grabbing his eraser, "What's the use of hiding if everyone already knows where you are? The only reason why I come here is because I hate that house."
Silence fell as the young brunet continued to study Akihiko's face, but there were no emotions reflected in his eyes. He was just as stoic as Haruhiko, which irritated Misaki beyond measure. What bothered him even more was that Akihiko clearly wasn't in the mood to talk, even though Misaki had come all the way to see him.
Banishing the thoughts he considered to be selfish, Misaki let his eyes wander off to the page of Akihiko's notebook. There were many words, sentences, but a large hand covered most of it, making it impossible for Misaki to figure out what Akihiko was writing.
"What are you writing?" Considering that Akihiko wasn't exactly talkative, Misaki was pretty certain that the other wouldn't answer his question, but at least he could try.
"Words," was the blunt reply he received.
"Yes, I can see that, but it's not what I meant." Misaki's voice was laced with irritation as he rolled his eyes at the cleverness of Akihiko's answer. "Are you writing a story, or is it a journal?"
Somewhat annoyed by the boy's nosiness, Akihiko closed the notebook and laid it on his right side, preventing Misaki to lay a hand on it. His glare caused Misaki to shudder a little, but the brunet remained seated. Instead of simply getting the hint, his doe green eyes looked at Akihiko questioningly.
A long, loud sigh came from Akihiko's lips. Seeing that Misaki wasn't planning to leave, the older teen retrieved his belongings and rose. Without another word, he left the clearing and disappeared.
For an entire minute, Misaki didn't move, his eyes fixed on the spot where he had last seen Akihiko, right before he disappeared in the mess of branches. His mind couldn't comprehend what had happened. Did Akihiko just walk away from him? Had he really been bothering him that much?
Finally able to move again, Misaki got back on his feet and cleaned his jeans, wiping off the blades of grass. Pain struck him as he started walking back to the manor house. This really wasn't how he'd hoped their first meeting would go, but he understood that Akihiko came to the forest to enjoy the peace and quiet. Yet, Misaki had ruined everything by paying him a visit.
'Well, I screwed up. I wonder if I can make up to him somehow.' Thinking this, Misaki tried to remember the path he'd walked to get from the manor to the clearing, but it was much harder than he'd expected. The last sunrays had been engulfed by a dark sky, which made it harder for Misaki to see where he was going. He knew he should've brought a flashlight after all; this was just hopeless.
When Misaki noticed that he had reached a dead end, he began to panic. He had gotten lost in a dark and rather scary forest, all alone, and it was his own damn fault. What if there were actually wolves or bears there?
The rustling of branches behind the brunet caught his attention, making him tremble in fear. He clenched his eyes shut, hoping that whatever was there wouldn't notice him, but the sounds only got louder and louder.
Misaki waited for an impact, but the only thing he perceived was the sound of chirping. Daring himself to look again, the teen sighed in relief as he noticed that the creature hiding in the bushes had been nothing more than a small bird, who seemed to be even more scared.
"Phew, I got all worked up for nothing," Misaki said, laughing quietly.
"What are you doing?"
"Gah!" Misaki's body jerked and he looked to his left, seeing that Akihiko was standing a few feet away from him. The older teen had a skeptical look on his face as he pointed the flashlight at the brunet.
"No I'm not!" Misaki exclaimed, squeezing his eyes shut as he was blinded by the bright light.
"Of course you aren't. You're simply taking a detour, right?" Akihiko said mockingly as he turned around and slowly walked forward. "Just walk with me, unless you want to stay here by yourself."
'What the hell is up with him?' Misaki asked himself as he followed the other, not sure what to think of Akihiko's sudden 'rescue'. He picked up the pace until he was walking just behind Akihiko, making their way through the forest together.
There were so many questions popping up in Misaki's head, so many things he wanted to ask Akihiko. Why did he hate his brother so much? Why was he trying to stay away from home so much? Most importantly, what was Akihiko writing all the time? Although Misaki was desperate to know the answer, he knew that Akihiko would definitely not tell him, especially after their first meeting.
There were hardly any stars to be seen when the two got out of the forest, making the sky look almost pitch black. Somehow, it even made Misaki feel even worse. He was never the kind to be pessimistic, but right then he didn't have anything to be happy about. It also didn't help that Akihiko seemed to pay him absolutely no attention as they walked back.
Getting sick of the silence, Misaki decided to initiate conversation. "Usami-san hired me," he said softly, "He told me that you and Haruhiko-san don't get along."
Akihiko's gaze met the other's. "I don't understand what that has to do with why you're here."
"Well, Usami-san was hoping that I could get the two of you to like each other."
Instead of giving Misaki another blunt reply, Akihiko simply kept staring at him. It was giving Misaki the creeps, but he didn't have the strength to yell at him. Never before had he ever met anyone who was so hard to talk to—even Haruhiko said more than this guy. Really, the brunet would be happy to hear anything, simply anything come from those thin lips.
But still, Akihiko remained silent and looked in front of him, gazing into nothingness.
"Listen to me," Akihiko interrupted, startling Misaki with his unexpected speech, "I don't know if my father has lost his mind, but I'm afraid he has. There is no way Haruhiko and I will ever like each other, so you're wasting your time here." As they reached the now lit manor, Akihiko turned off his flashlight. "Your job is meaningless."
Okay, perhaps Misaki wasn't happy with everything Akihiko would say.
Misaki didn't understand…not at all. There was absolutely nothing he had done other than try to talk to Akihiko, and yet the male was talking to him so hatefully. Everything he said was just cold, almost heartless even.
The sudden urge to cry was all Misaki felt. He just wanted to get away from Akihiko so he could be alone. After all, that was what Akihiko had wanted as well; to not be disturbed. Yet, Misaki had still been so damn stubborn to go look for him. Everything was his own fault.
As soon as Akihiko had opened the front door, Misaki dashed up the stairs towards his own bedroom, not even looking back at Akihiko again. After slamming the door behind him, Misaki let himself fall onto his bed and buried his face into the pillow.
'This really sucks.'
There was the sound of footsteps echoing through the hall, followed by a knock on the door. Sitting up in his bed, Misaki turned around to look at the source of the sound.
"Who's there?" he asked, not really in the mood to talk to anyone.
Misaki felt some sort of relief that it wasn't Akihiko. "Come in." The door opened as soon as he said that, revealing the friendly butler with a rather concerned look on his face.
"Are you all right, Misaki-do—I mean Misaki-kun?"
As much as the brunet wanted to answer Tanaka's question positively, there was no way he could lie about how he was feeling. Besides, even if he tried to make Tanaka believe that he was okay, the man would see right through his lies. After all, Misaki had never been a good liar.
Approaching the other slowly, Tanaka flashed a small, sad smile. "I suppose that your meeting with Akihiko-sama didn't go too well, did it?" As Misaki shook his head, the butler emitted a soft sigh. "I know that Akihiko-sama isn't the friendliest person, but he isn't cruel either. He's simply not fond of people who disturb him, especially if he doesn't know them well."
Folding his arms, Misaki pouted a little. "That still is no reason for him to be so cold towards me," he muttered in irritation, feeling as though Tanaka was blaming him for that fact that Akihiko had been so mean.
Tanaka laughed softly at the teen's response, but then turned serious again. "I'm simply asking you to give Akihiko another chance. He's not an easy person to get along with, but I'm sure that you'll become friends."
'I don't mind giving senpai another chance, but what if he refuses to forgive me?' Misaki thought worriedly, averting his gaze.
Noticing the other's restlessness, Tanaka concluded that Misaki needed something to relax. "Why don't you go take a shower, Misaki-kun? I'm sure that you'll feel better after that."
Eyes darting up, Misaki could feel the smile on his face as he nodded. "Yes, that sounds good."
Checking the water's temperature, Misaki stood in the oversized douche cabin. Feeling that the water was warm enough, Misaki moved closer until he was standing right beneath the shower head, sighing contentedly as the warmth soothed his muscles.
Despite his earlier desperation, Misaki had to admit that taking a shower had been a great idea. It was a good way to freshen up and help him relax. For a moment, it could help him to temporarily push his worries aside. He hummed softly as the water warmed him up, looking at the many bottles of shampoo and body soap. The wide range of scents was rather surprising, not to mention impressing.
Taking two bottles in hand, the brunet debated which shampoo he should use. It was unusual for him to be able to choose, so it was hard to make a decision. In the end, he chose the one that smelled like vanilla as it didn't seem as overwhelming as the other aroma. He put the rejected bottle back in the rack, ready to start washing his hair, but froze when he felt a cold hand on his shoulder.
'Someone's in the shower…with me…' Consumed by fear, Misaki shuddered as he hesitantly turned around. He was taken by surprise to see Akihiko stand in front of him, staring at him with those mysterious eyes. Aware of his nakedness, the younger teen quickly stepped backwards, his face heating up rapidly.
They were in the shower, Akihiko and him…both naked. How did things turn out like this?
"A-Akihiko-senpai, w-what are you doing here?" Stuttering nervously, Misaki took a few steps back until his back touched the cold tiles on the wall. He couldn't understand why this guy was in the shower with him. Was Akihiko some sort of peeping tom?
Slowly, Akihiko moved closer to Misaki, claiming his place under the shower head. The water made his hair heavier, causing it to fall in front of his face and cover his eyes partially. Without Misaki noticing, he looked at the bottle in the other's hand.
"Let me wash your hair for you," Akihiko ordered in a less cold voice than before. It still didn't sound friendly, but at least he wasn't as mean as before.
Misaki, narrowing his eyes, gazed at the other in confusion and even suspicion. "I can do that myself," he replied, not sure what Akihiko's true intentions were.
"I want to do it."
'God, why is he so persistent?!' Realizing that Akihiko wasn't going to take 'no' for an answer, Misaki hesitantly handed the shampoo to the older male. He watched Akihiko open the cap and take a few steps back.
Obediently, Misaki stepped closer until he was on the other side of the water spray with Akihiko, squeezing his eyes shut when large hands moved to his hair. Feeling the fingers combing through his hair, caressing his scalp, the brunet relaxed again.
There was a comfortable silence between the two as Akihiko continued to massage the foamy whiteness through Misaki's darkened chocolate locks. The digits worked somewhat roughly, yet not enough to cause Misaki any pain. Combing some small tangles out of the other's hair, Akihiko felt a tiny smile play on his lips as he studied Misaki's facial expressions.
Misaki had to suppress a moan that threatened to escape when Akihiko's left hand ran over a sensitive part on the back of his head. It was still cold; the feeling of those palms on his heated skin, but it was far from unpleasant. Honestly, Misaki almost felt disappointed when Akihiko retracted his hands.
'What the hell am I thinking?' the young teen thought, trying to shake those strange thoughts off. Why did he feel so happy? Was it because Akihiko was actually showing him some kindness?
Gently, Akihiko guided Misaki backwards until he was under the spray of water. "Keep still and don't open your eyes," Akihiko instructed as he started to rinse the shampoo out of the other's hair. He unconsciously moved a little closer to Misaki, entranced by how delicate the boy looked.
Even with his eyes closed, Misaki could sense Akihiko checking him out in a casual way. Surprisingly, it didn't make him feel uncomfortable this time, even though he was buck naked and defenseless against anything the older one could do to him. The point was that he knew Akihiko wouldn't do anything. It was obvious, even to him, that Akihiko did this because he wanted to apologize to Misaki in some way.
It appeared that Akihiko's tactic was working.
Once Misaki felt the absence of the hands in his hair, he slowly opened his eyes to look at Akihiko, who was already taking another bottle from the rack. The brunet cocked his head in confusion, but felt his face lit up when the other took some body wash.
"Ah, I-I can wash my body m-myself!" Misaki stuttered in embarrassment, quickly taking the bottle from Akihiko's hands. He could allow another guy to wash his hair, but to let someone touch his body was definitely wrong.
Akihiko stared at the teen momentarily before a smirk decorated his face. There was a glint of mischief in his eyes, but instead of doing anything Akihiko simply climbed out of the shower and grabbed a towel to dry himself with.
In the meantime, Misaki washed his own body and tried to completely ignore Akihiko's presence, feeling just the slightest bit uneasy because of the look Akihiko had given him. There was something strangely intimidating about it. Therefore, he was kind of relieved when Akihiko finally left the bathroom, being dressed in what seemed like a short-sleeved button-up shirt and dark blue pants. After taking in those little details, Misaki got out of the shower and found himself a towel.
'That was…pretty weird,' the brunet concluded as he toweled his body, eyes darting to the clean clothes that were neatly folded and lying right next to the sink. Still, Misaki was happy despite the unexpected change of events. He had a little more faith him himself thanks to Akihiko's 'visit'.
Dressing himself, Misaki left the towel on the floor like Tanaka had instructed and returned to his bedroom. Everything had just gotten better in less than half an hour, in the weirdest way imaginable.
You thought that something was going to happen in the shower, didn't you? It's too soon for that :P
Thanks for reading and please review ^^