┳┳┫┫┫┻┻┻╋ The Sly ┳┳┫┫┫┻┻┻╋
There was a lot of people that time. Many people in glittery dresses and fancy suits. And yet, he could clearly see him. Usami grunted and placed his glass down. Sure he hated parties, but the most thing that was annoying him was that approaching boy carrying a tray of glasses of drinks.
"Hi! Usami-san! Enjoying the party?" the green-eyed boy greeted as if they were the best of buddies.
"Don't 'hi' me. Why are you here?" Usami hissed.
"What 'why'? This is one of my part-time jobs," the younger one replied while having a proud grin. " And because you're here..." the brat added.
His name was Takahashi Misaki, as what the boy announced the first time they met some time ago. Since then, Usami Akihiko had the nagging feeling that everywhere he went, this boy would always appear out of nowhere. In a fancy restaurant, this boy was a waiter. In the bookstore he went, the boy was his cashier. In Marukawa, the boy was a cleaner. And at his condominium, the boy was the newspaper deliverer. It was as if the boy was tailing him or something.
Not just that. This boy who was ten years his junior confessed to him.
"Nonsense. Something must be wrong with his head," Usami mumbled as he was saving the story he just finished, remembering the green eyed boy. Usami swung both ways. But if he ever went out with the fellow sex, he made sure they were mature enough not to hope for stupid things called love and fufure life together. And kids were a total out of his league.
After pressing 'enter' in his laptop, Usami's home phone rang. Standing from his seat, he caught first the hint of the setting sun from the huge windows. He had totally lost track of time. Specially when he was writing, he would always drift to some other dimension.
He picked up the receiver, stiffling a yawn. "Yes?"
"Usami-sensei!" a voice of a woman screamed. "There was an unexpected meeting here in Marukawa so I couldn't come to pick up your manuscripts..."
Usami boredly listened. Actually he didn't care.
"But! Don't worry, I've sent a messenger to come pick it up. He'd be there soo-"
Even before the woman editor could finish, the doorbell to Usami's flat broke the silence. It rang through out the entire area annoying Usami for some reason.
"I think your messenger is already here. I'm hunging up."
The doorbell kept on ringing. Once, twice, thrice until Usami was already at the end of his patience.
The author with a deep frown, swung the door open. "Stop it will -"
Entering without being invited, the messenger slash with many other jobs named Takahashi Misaki smiled feeling at home. "I've come to pick up some manuscipts! Wow..." the boy removed the cap he was wearing and darted his gaze around the unneccesary huge space before him. "What a nice place...it must be nice to be rich..."
Usami narrowed his eyes as he watched the teen take in everything in his flat. He crossed his arms on his chest and rested his back against his steel door. The boy looked really awed by his place that he allowed him to gape like an idiot.
"You," Usami started. "Just how many jobs do you have?"
Turning his gaze a little to Usami, the boy smiled, his green eyes glinting with passion that Usami rarely even saw in other adult's eyes. "I have many sideline jobs here and there...I'm working really hard! I want to build a home for street children like me."
Usami walked from his door towards the low table before his cream-colored sofas. Because he had been seeing the boy's face for so many times now, he couldn't view him anymore as a stranger but an annoying child lingering around him. He sat and lit up a stick of cigarette.
"You...grew up in the streets?"
The boy grinned. "Don't feel sorry for me...I have already accepted the reality that my parents didn't want me. I knew they had their own reasons."
Blowing a puff of smoke, Usami chose to not press on the subject any deeper. The more he learned, the more he would be involved.
"Those are the manuscripts. Get it and get out."
"Ah!" the boy sat on the sofa across the author. "So cold!" he pouted while picking up the brown envelope. Usami didn't fail to notice the bruise on the teen's knuckles.
"What happened to you? Your knuckles are all blue and black."
Raising the back of his right hand to his face, Misaki's eyes widened for a bit. "Ah...there are some bullies in my apartment so I just had to beat them up."
"Hmpf. For a toothpick like you I'm surprised if you could even hit them," the silverhaired man replied, closing his eyes as the cigarette relaxed his body and mind.
The teen then stared at Usami, hiding half his face with the package."Usami-san...don't you remember me at all?"
One of Usami's closed eyes opened, looking at the brunette. After a couple of seconds, Usami grew tired of it. "What, have we met before?"
Standing up, the teen bowed and smiled sadly at the author. He wore his cap back on and headed for the door. "I'm going now, Usami-san..."
For some reason, as Usami was watching the teen's small back from his seat, he felt a little guilty. Guilty for no reason the man stubbed his cigarette and called out.
"I have some cakes in the refrigerator I couldn't finish, do you want to eat some?"
Usami hated to admit it. But when the teen turned to look at him with a smile that even brightened up his gloomy flat, he found himself wanting to laugh at the childish happiness on the teen's face.
His dining area rarely used was now being invaded by the brunette who like a mushroom suddenly sprouted out of nowhere in his life. Usami was already having enough of the coffee he was drinking while the boy before him munched away plate after plate of the cake he just served.
"Usami-san, you haven't forgotten yet that I said I love you right?" the boy suddenly opened up before shoving a spoonfool of icing in his mouth.
The older man sighed and placed his coffee down on the table. "Look, I don't go out with brats and gluttons. Besides you look like you are still sucking milk from a bottle. Cut it out."
How could Usami Akihiko ever forget that tragic confession? He was in the bathroom of some hotel when this boy came up to him announcing for everyone to hear in there that he loved Usami.
"I am already twenty-one! Twenty-one okay?!" the boy pouted. "And I know when I say I love you!"
"You know kid...don't say 'love' so lightly. It's a heavy word which is hard to prove and carry."
The teen smiled at Usami. His green eyes somehow sad as if he was carrying a heavy burden. "I am even willing to die for you. Is it not enough of a proof?"
Flashes of camera distracted Usami Akihiko's mind. His mind kept on going back three days ago when Takahashi served as the messenger to get his manuscript. The last words the kid said the last time they saw each other bothered him. He was sure the kid was just saying it for play. But he couldn't forget Misaki's eyes as if the teen was about to cry that time. Instead the teen stuffed himself with the cakes before him and didn't say anything anymore.
"Usami-sensei, you're the guest of honor in this event," Aikawa whispered under her smiling face. "So could you smile a bit, they're taking pictures of you."
The author then forced his numb lips into a smile that to the fans and to the photographers looked so flawless no one would have guessed he was utterly annoyed at being in there. Just then, he saw a glimpse of the green eyes behind the flashing cameras. Takahashi Misaki was standing beside a photographer looking at him. However, the teen's usual smile wasn't there. Instead, he looked so serious and every once in a while the boy would look at his watch.
"Weird...he wasn't dressed as a waiter or something...what's he doing here?"
Takahashi Misaki, at that time wearing a dark polo and slacks, he looked strangely decent that evening compared to his ragged and goofy look. Usami could feel Misaki's stare but the kid wasn't smiling. The kid looked so serious it was funny.
"Everything is clear here..." said the teen in a small device attached to his collar. "I'll do my best. Don't move not according to the plan."
Misaki from afar watched the smiling face on the stage and he almost wanted to laugh. "He's so forcing it. It's written on his forehead..."
His heart stopping in his chest when the author once again looked at his direction, this time Misaki raised his right hand and waived. He waived happily. Because it might be the last night he'd probably see Usami Akihiko.
After the photo session, Usami went into the corner to answer a phone call. His phone had been vibrating nonstop all night. He had been busy facing other authors and fans that he just finally had the time to look into it.
"Who could it be? At a time like this..." he fished his phone and frowned at the name on the screen. It was his brother Usami Haruhiko. The author frowned. It has been ages since they last talked after he cut ties with the Usami family. He sighed and placed the phone against his ear.
"Akihiko..." said the voice on the line. "It's important so listen to me..."
With a deeper frown on his fine brows, Usami rested his back against the wall. "What is it? I am busy."
"There are people trying to kill you."
The sound of an impatient voice in the other line was very obvious. "I can't go on with the details but you have to get out of that building. Now."
Stepping away a foot from the wall, Usami looked at the flood of people before him. Women chatting, men exchanging business cards. Nothing seemed unusual. What his brother was telling him was more like a scene of an action themed novel he wrote he could almost laugh at the absurdity.
"Are you sure you're not sleep talking?"
"Listen...the body guard that we've sent to you..."
"Bodyguard?" this time Usami was starting not to get scared but pissed. "I have someone tailing me without me knowing?!"
"Akihiko, we didn't know they would take it this far...we needed to protect you!"
"Protect? If this includes my life then shouldn't be the first one to know about this shit?" Usami hissed through his phone.
"WE HAVE NO TIME FOR THIS AKIHIKO. GET THE HELL OUT OF THAT BUILDING. THE BODYGUARD WE'VE SENT TO-"
The hall where the party was going on went pitch black. The women screamed. And the men though wanted to find out what was happening couldn't even make out their surroundings from the darkness that enveloped them.
"What's going on? Black out?"
"That's impossible...the company building has an emergency power outlet..."
Usami Akihiko narrowed his eyes trying to see despite the darkness, but it was to no avail. He couldn't see a thing. He moved away from the wall hoping not to bump into something or someone. Because of the worried voices inside the event hall, Usami couldn't very well hear his brother in the line. And then someone grabbed his hand. Sweaty and shaking hand laced into his fingers.
"Hey..." said Usami, shaking the hand off.
"Usami-san it's me...it's not safe here..." the familiar voice whispered cautiously. "Trust me and hold on to me like this..."
"Takahashi?" Usami asked unbelieving at what the teen was spouting. But he let the teen lead him to somewhere anyway.
"AKIHIKO?! ARE YOU LISTENING?"
"Usami-san, please lower your voice...we couldn't risk them getting to you..." the teen's voice whispered ever so softly. "You're the target here..."
Just then, Usami was sure he heard the sound of a door opening. He thought he'd be finally out of the blinding darkness, but realized that it wasn't just the hall that was dark but the entire new Marukawa building they were in.
"Turn off the phone...they'll be able to track you down with that..." Takahashi whispered, holding on to Usami's hand tightly.
Not sure why he was even believing this stupid set-up, Usami lowered his phone and turned it off. He couldn't hear anything on the other line anyway as the people's panicked voice took over.
"Usami-san...lower your head..."
The darkness was accompanied by a series of loud explosions. Gunshots firing everywhere, screams and running footsteps towards everywhere echoed into Usami's and Misaki's ears. It was like being in a maze without an end as the two groped their way into the darkness, trying to ignore the sounds of death around. Not long after, the red flames of a starting fire greeted them, leading Usami and the teen no choice but to go up.
"What are you..."
"I'm your bodyguard..." Misaki murmured in the dark as he pulled Usami towards the rooftop. "Stand-in bodyguard...So trust me Usami-san."
"AKIHIKO?" Haruhiko shouted to his phone. "Shit...he turned his phone off...why did we just find out tonight?! Fuck..."
The man removed his glasses off his face and sat on his chair weary and tired. He was hoping the police would make it. Everything was just messed up. They took extreme precautions but it all backfired. He could only stare at the screen of his computer and at the email sent to him.
'The bodyguard sent to tail Usami Akihiko has long been dead. Someone named Takahashi Misaki is the culprit. He's a member of the syndicate ordered to kill your brother,'
The wind lashed out at them when the last door was kicked open by Misaki. The moon above their heads their only source of light, the teen claiming to be his bodyguard kept on pulling the older man around. Usami stared at the brown hair billowing from the wind. The figure before him was small and frail and yet, the teen who he saw as nothing but a very happy kid was being too serious. As if it was the side of the vase that the light wasn't reaching. A whole new personality Usami didn't know.
Huffing, panting and heavy breathing came from both of their lips. Misaki's hair plastered on his forehead by his sweat kept on looking around. There was no place in there for them to hide. It was just a plain spacious roof top. Being direct to the point, it was a place the best for slaughter. Misaki gritted his teeth, gripping tightly something in his hands. It was the first time Usami saw the gun the teen was holding. That was the time that everything sinked in. Misaki was not joking.
From where they were they could hear distant gunshots and screams. And the thick, black smoke started creeping out of the building going up the night sky. Sirens of firetrucks and police cars sounded so faraway.
"Usami-san...stay behind my back..."
"What the fuck are you saying? Why do I have to? You're a fucking child for crying outloud...I should be the one pro-"
The next thing that Usami was planning to say was stuck in his throat as the teen flashed a dubious grin at him. It was the usual, happy smile the teen had always showed him. Though his green eyes were suspiciously teary despite the darkness. It was so clear.
A gunshot has been fired. So close as if it was just behind Usami's ears. The coming sound of footsteps made both the males' chest thump like crazy.
Usami tensed at the gun fired. However, his attention went into a different direction when the teen suddenly hugged him out of nowhere.
"What on Earth..."
Misaki wrapped his arms around the older man's neck. He gazed up the night sky smiling. "Remember I told you I am willing to die for you...Usami-san...?"
A heavy pounding came into Usami's chest. It was so strong it hurt. He was a very receptive man but his mind went blank at that time. The boy felt like he knew something was coming,
"Trust me...please..." Misaki begged. "I have been always on your side...always..."
Another gunshot filled the air and an angry laugh followed after. "Takahashi you traitor! Your job is to kill Usami Akihiko and you end up protecting him?! What a laugh you are!"
The teen released his arms from Usami and looked at the confused eyes of the man before him. "I'm sorry Usami-san...I..."
"Killing the bodyguard to erase suspicion from you. How cunning!"
Before Usami and Misaki was a man grinnng deviously at them. He was huge. And the glint in his eyes was enough to give Usami the thought that this man was blood thirsty. Misaki instantly took a step forward. He was so small and yet with just the small pistol in his hand he was willing to stake his life for him? Fuck that.
Usami was about to run towards the crazy man before them, but Misaki faced him abruptly. The teen had the gun pointed at Usami Akihiko.
"If you so much move one step from there...Usami-san I'll shoot you..."
"Call me Misaki..." the brunette smiled, pleading. "Please?"
"Like hell I would!? Why are you acting like some hero!?"
Misaki's trained ears heard the faint sound of a trigger about to be pulled. He pushed Usami so hard on the chest the man fell on the cold floor. And an ear-shattering sound of two consecutive gunshots cut into the older man's ears and resonated into the night sky. Lying face flat, Usami lifted his gaze.
There, Misaki on his knees huffing. And the devious man standing with his gun pointed at Misaki's head.
Shivers ran down Usami's spine as he was sitting up.
"Takahashi you sick homo..." the man grumbled, blood suddenly oozing out of his mouth before he fell on the floor with a violent thud.
Misaki stood from where he was. "I am always faster than you when it comes to close range firing, Sanada-san..."
The teen sighed, a sigh that showed a heaviness. Slowly, Misaki faced Usami, his back facing the door they came from.
"You didn't call me in my name, what if I died there?" the teen thought to himself as he walked the short distance towards Usami. "Let me help you up..."
Usami was still shocked at what he just saw. Misaki firing a gun faster than a lightening. A dead man before him. It was more than he could imagine ever seeing with his eyes. Despite that, he chose to set aside his shock and confusion and reached out to the small hand reaching out to him.
His lavender eyes grew wide. Men in police uniforms came running out of the door they came from.
Misaki turned to look.
"The suspect! The suspect is at close range with the victim! Hold your fire!"
The teen felt scared from the view of police circling him. He trembled on the spot. He was never good with the police. Misaki might have known how to kill at a young age. He might have known how to protect others. But he was still a kid at heart. He didn't know what to do or how to protect his own self. His mind just went blank.
And he was sure no matter what kind of explanation he give them, they wouldn't listen. After all, he did kill the bodyguard for him to be able to tail Usami Akihiko closer and Sanada was there not far from there, dead.
Green eyes paid one last glance at Usami before making a huge step backwards. Misaki was planning on escaping.
"Don't run idiot!" Usami shouted. "They'd interpret it the wrong way!"
Too late. Misaki did.
It was as if everything had been into slow motion in Usami's eyes. Misaki's back running away from him was so small. And the police raising their guns at the brunette running. In all angles, Misaki would look a culprit running away, escaping the hands of the police.
Usami stood in horror. Shouting he did. But his voice was drowned by the series of gunshots from the people in uniform.
"DON'T SHOOT HIM! DON'T!" Usami ran towards the police. "STOP! STOP!"
It was like seeing fireworks up close. But instead of it going upwards, they all went into a horizontal direction. Towards the direction of one young man. Towards Misaki.
The man in rage grabbed one of the police by the collar. "I SAID STOP! HE'S JUST A KID! HE JUST SAVED MY LIFE YOU ALL FUCKING USELESS BASTARDS!"
By the time the firing stopped, what Usami could see from a distance was a motionless body on the floor. It didn't even lasted for more than a minute, how could a life be so fleeting?
One step at a time, Usami Akihiko made his way towards the boy who was just a while ago helping him to get up while grinning stupidly.
"...why isn't he moving?"
His knees were soon giving out. His usual composed look nowhere to be seen.
As he came nearer, his horror grew wider and darker than the dark sky.
"...who said he could sleep there?"
Usami looked down. His hair swaying with the wind. His body was so cold he felt the chill pass even through his bones. Everywhere he looked around the teen there was blood.
He didn't know how to touch the boy before him. His hands remained an inch from Misaki's body. He didn't know how to stop the blood spilling from the boy's chest. There were so many wounds on that small chest, where would he place his hand to block the flow of blood from leaving the boy's body?
"Call me Misaki...Please...?" he remembered.
Usami wanted to scream, but only a whimper escaped his lips when he touched the boy's sleeping face. "Misaki...Misaki...Misaki..."
There was nothing for him to do. There was nothing he could do. Usami grabbed the frail shoulders and pulled the boy up. Hugging him, waking him, calling him in his first name like what the boy wanted.
But no matter how tight he held the body, Misaki stayed still and limp in his arms.
"God...Misaki..." he choked, burying his face on the blood soaked neck. "Idiot...why did you run away? You're such a fool...idiot...I would have defended you..."
It must have been Usami's imagination. It might have been Usami losing his mind at realizing that he did feel something for the boy but it was all too late. It might have been Usami hallucinating. But the warm breath against his ear was real.
He slowly looked at the pale face. And saw the lips that were once lively and so noisy now a sickening blue, move.
He didn't want to hear it. But Usami knew it was the last chance. Carrying the body in his arms he lowered his ear on Misaki's mouth. And as he listened, the tears that for so long he never shed, came running down his cheeks, falling on Misaki's body.
"You finally called my name..." it was so soft. Usami could barely hear it. "...so happy...so happy I could die..."
"What are you saying idiot?" Usami mumbled as he tried to keep himself in check. If he didn't do that, he would go insane. "What are you saying you're DYING..."
"You're even hugging me so tightly...pervert..." the teen whispered weakly.
"Yes..." Usami leaned closer. "I'm a big pervert..." he said before closing the gap between them with a kiss. Misaki was still alive, why did his lips felt so cold already? "Misaki...don't...stay with me...please..." Usami knew he was asking the impossible.
Misaki's eyes slowly gave in to the heaviness. He savoured the sweet and warm feeling on his lips. The scent of the man hugging him. He only heard it before that when one was dying, the first sense that disappears was the sense of vision. Misaki's tears flowed down the corners of his eyes. He knew his eyes were wide open, but he couldn't see a damn thing.
You probably don't remember...
Misaki wanted to talk. But the only thing he could do was think. Hoping that what he had in his heart and mind would reach the man through their lips sealed together.
When I came to my senses I was already a thief, I was already doing stuff kids my age didn't even have an idea about. I was earning so much money for the syndicate who picked me up. But I could never buy what I wanted. So I decided to shoplift the manga 'Za Kan'. The day I met you was the day you grabbed the manga from inside my shirt. You pulled my arm and dragged me with you.
I knew you would take me to the store manager. But I didn't care. Maybe being sent to the police was better. Either way, being outside or inside, I don't have what you call freedom. I am a prisoner of both sides.
But you pulled me to the counter instead. And paid for my manga.
It was the first time a stranger did show me kindness without asking who I was. Just like that I fell in love. Just like that I promised myself I will do anything to be useful to you.
The last sense that will fade was the sense of touch. Misaki could feel the cold droplets of something on his neck. He could only guess what and from whom it was coming from.
So when our syndicate got this job...I offered myself in. I could never break the gang but I could mess them up. If I was able to do one thing...saving you was the best achievement I ever did with my pathetic life.
So don't cry...don't cry...
When they parted, the last thing Usami could remember was a weak smile before Misaki breathed out.
The boy never breathed in once more.
Usami Akihiko didn't care that the syndicate was caught and would be serving lifetimes in prison. He didn't care that the rival company behind the plot of killing him was found out and exposed to the public. All he cared was the structure being built before him.
He would be establishing a foundation for street children under Misaki's name. Saving them, and nurturing these homeless kids as his goal in life. If he could do that to save another Misaki from growing on the streets and experiencing the same hardships the brunette had experience, Usami was sure the boy would be happy wherever he was.
"Hey...Misaki..." Usami whispered, touching the pendant on his neck with Misaki's ashes. "Can you see it? I am building your dream for you..."
chapter end notes:
thank you for reading.^^ share your thoughts! onegai...