He inhaled the summer breeze. His silky hair brushing on his eyes as he let the soft warm breeze gently brush on him. A look of faint longing and a glimmer of sadness obvious in his lavender eyes.
"I'm home..." he whispered softly, laying the bouqet of lilies before a gravestone.
It has been years since Usami Akihiko had set foot on Japan after living in a foreign country for too long. He could remember when he was eight years old the death of his grandfather. In the Usami family, that one man aside from the butler following him around was the only one who didn't ask him to do anything he didn't want.
Most of all, it was that old man who inspired him to be the writer that he was. Free, versatile, sweet and painful way of writing. At a young age, Usami Akihiko had been fond of his grandfather. Many even said that they had a lot in common; from looks, to tastes in food and to some personality extent.
When the old man died twenty years ago, young Akihiko fell into a depression wanting to leave everything behind. And off went to living to England for the past twenty years. He couldn't believe his eyes at the extent of the change of his home land that appeared in his eyes. Everything had changed, but not much about the family grave where his grandfather was that still looked exactly the same as if the funeral just happened yesterday.
"Usami..." Kamijou mumbled a little bored. "You said we're going to a cool place...this is practically the tenth time you came here this month, dragging me along with you." The brunette with chocolate eyes sighed as he turned around the quiet cemetery. "If I knew this would happen, I would have just buried myself in work. I am not as carefree as you are."
Knees, bended, Usami ignored the ranting of his childhood friend and continued picking up the dried ginko leaves that had gathered around the Haka, a family grave monument. His lavender eyes directing at their Family name thinking that he'd be under this monument at some point of his life, but that would be at the far future.
"I'll be waiting in the car," Kamijou started before turning on his heels. "I'll review my lecture while waiting there. Don't think though that I am hurrying you. Tak e your time."
The silverhaired man who was currently wearing just casual clothing, a total different style from his usual suit and tie get up grinned. Totally getting that Kamijou was saying the opposite.
Once left alone, Usami Akihiko stood and bowed his head as if in prayer.
"This is my way of catching up old man..." Usami whispered. "There are a lot of things I wanted to tell you, but maybe some other time. See Kamijou used to be all sweet with you too...I guess he's shy now."
Leaving from the spot where he was standing, Usami slowly took his steps. Strange that a cemetery could give him so much peace and calm. If he could, he'd camp out there and spend the whole day gazing up the summer sky. But, realistically speaking, it would be impractical.
There were rows of other family graves he passed. All names he wasn't familiar with. And so he just passed them by with out so much care.
Usami couldn't even think of a reason why his feet turned into a path turning left when he was supposed to go straight to reach where he had parked his car. Anyway, he didn't care much. A change of view would do no harm.
That was when something caught his attention. All polished marble monuments and crypts glimmered under the sun, a sign that everything was well kept. Everything except the one at the farthest corner of the row.
"Family neglect?" Usami thought, finding himself stopping on his tracks. Dust had already accumulated on the dark stone, vines of some plant circled their way around the monument and dried ginko leaves sitting at the crevices of the crypt. Being included in a row of well kept family graves, the view was somehow saddening.
The man stepped closer, trying to pull on the vines that was blocking the engraved name on the stone. To the writer's surprise, there wasn't anything written on it. Just a flawless stone with scratches of the years that passed greeted him.
"What's this..." he bended his back and picked up something on the side. Flowers that was blown by the wind fell on the side of the monument, and they were still fresh. "Leaving flowers but not cleaning the grave? What are they thinking..."
Standing up gracefully, Usami turned to his left for no reason and found himself looking at a teenager. Dressed in his Gakuran, the boy with his piercing emerald eyes stared at Usami with an expression that seemed like the boy just had seen a ghost. The wild flowers the boy was holding falling from his grasp, being sent away by the sudden strong wind that passed them.
Everything felt like it stopped. Time, motion and sound halted. Usami didn't know how long both of them stared at each other but finally, he found his tongue to utter a word.
"Is this your family grave?" he asked emotionless. "I just tried pulling on that vines , sorry for the intrusion."
The boy's eyes, wide from an unexplainable shock softened. Usami could even swear he saw a hint of tears from those huge eyes.
"It's okay," the boy mumbled with a frown Usami didn't know where to place. Frightened? Shy? Sad? Usami could just pass it as a teenager's hostile attitude. "It's been a while since someone even paid a glance to it anyway..."
Feeling that there was no need to stay any longer, Usami walked past the brunette, smelling a scent of flowers from the boy tickling his nose.
"Are you okay?" the boy asked exactly the moment the fabric of their clothes grazed. "Are you well?" however, the boy's eyes weren't looking at him.
With questioning eyes, Usami darted his gaze at the head who firmly stared ahead. The way the boy addressed his question was way beyond how a stranger should ask another stranger. The boy's words sounded like they both have known each other very well.
Am I well? What's that supposed to mean?
"Huh? Will you come here again?"
Usami pondered for the question a bit and decided not to answer. Teenager or not, harmless or not, the boy before him was a stranger as the drunken bastard who tried to rob him one night after just arriving from Japan. He didn't need to answer the boy anything.
"I...I am really sorry," the boy mumbled, his shoulders starting to shake.
Before Usami could even voice out his question, the boy had grabbed onto his arms and was only left staring as the face of the boy came closer to him. And unceremonously their lips met.
What the fuck? Usami's hand went to his mouth, tracing the warmth the boy had left as he watched the brunette scurry away like a scared rabbit. Every bit of Usami AKihiko's mind went numb. Curious and intoxicated with the scent that wafted around him. Specially when the boy had kissed him. He couldn't even tell if they actually kissed. It only felt like the wind brushed on his lips.
Normally anyone would run after a person who did that, but Usami was left standing there, his eyes moving to the nameless gravestone near him as if he was in some sort of a silent trance.
"Usami, you sure did take your time," the menace in the voice was so obvious that it broke Usami's thoughts easily. "I think I told you I have a lecturing in the afternoon, and here you are standing dreamily alone? You're such a weirdo."
"Bastard," Usami replied, straightning himself and willing his mind to think that everything that had just happened was a funny, experience that will never happen again. At least something that he wouldn't allow to happen again.
Usami then noticed Kamijou crinkling his nose.
"Don't you smell that?" the brunette mumbled looking around him. "Smells of incense and candles...well whatever," Kamijou shrugged. "Let's get going, you owe me lunch for wasting my time Usami."
The silverhaired man stared at the back of Kamijou while the man started walking away. Usami was sure smelling something but it wasn't incense or candles. It was the flowery scent the boy had left after stealing a kiss and dashing away into hiding.
Panting and sweating like crazy, the high school boy crouched under a tree, calming his breathing and his burning cheeks.
"What the hell were you thinking?!" the boy spat into space.
Another teenage looking boy appeared, shyly looking at the brunette while scratching the back of his head. He had black hair and blue eyes and an uneasy both were wearing Gakurans, all black from head to foot and both have the same height if they stood side by side. The only difference was the blackhaired boy's feet wasn't touching the ground.
"Eh...he finally came...he finally came to see me..." the blackhaired boy mumbled. "So...I got excited and jumped on you..."
"You know you can't possess me, Miroku!" the brunette shouted.
"Ahaha...gomen...I forgot and slammed on your back instead."
The brunette sighed exasperatedly. "Yeah, thanks to that I just kissed a stranger," he then rubbed his lips with the back of his hand. "...not to mention a MAN!"
"I'm sorry, Misaki..."
The brunette slid down the tree and ended up lying above the dried leaves. He darted his emerald eyes at the fast moving clouds and enjoyed the gentle wind brushing on his face. Misaki was a child raised in the temple not far from the cemetery. Ever since he could remember, he could talk to spirits and the like. But this boy, who appeared to have died when he was the same age as him stuck to him like a leech.
Miroku, the spirit he met and came to be friends with was claiming to be waiting for someone. And Misaki though knew nothing about it, kept the spirit company whenever he could. However, because of this extraordinary ability, the brunette was deemed as a freak and other students from his school called him crazy.
So in the end, Misaki, a rather happy boy became alone with the occasional spirits passing by to the other world. It was only Miroku who seemed to be stuck in the living world.
"I guess...spirits like you have lost the ability to sense time..." Misaki thought. When he was younger, someone told him that spirits in waiting didn't have any sense of time. They wait as if they just started yesterday.
Almost screaming his head out when Miroku floated above him so close their faces almost touching, Misaki sat, pushing himself against the tree.
"Ne, ne, ne...Misaki-kun...I want to see him again...I need to talk to Akihiro..."
"Akihiro? The guy earlier?" Misaki asked, shaking his head in defeat that this spirit would always be the best at shocking him.
"Yeah...I need...to talk to him," Miroku leaned closer, touching Misaki's cheek pleading. "Talk to him for me...please?"
"Why should I do that?" Misaki asked mockingly.
Miroku floated and settled beside his human friend Misaki. "Akihiro...was a tutor of mine... and a lover..."
The brunette almost choked with his own breath. "LO-LOVER? That's a man you know?!"
The blackhaired boy smiled. His eyes hidden by his hair gently swaying with the breeze. "Usami Akihiro...the man I ever loved...he's angry with me you know...and never had the chance to apologize...he actually visited today..." Miroku buried his face on his knees. "Maybe he's ready to forgive me?"
Throwing a sideway glance at Miroku, Misaki then started picking up some dried leaves and inspected them with no particular reason. "Miroku...I don't know about that...your grave...I mean...it looks like you've been dead for a very long time now. The man you saw earlier..." Misaki drew a deep breath, hating to say it but he had to. "They might not be the same person...you might be mistaken..."
"I can't be wrong! He's Akihiro..." the spirit grumbled.
It was the first time even for Misaki to see Miroku so restless. It has been a year since he and Miroku became friends. Being bullied despite being a senior high school student, being called as a freak and a boy that carried misfortune, Misaki one day ran towards the cemetery to take refuge. And then he found a friend in a spirit stuck in the living realm. Somehow deep inside him, Misaki knew that Miroku should finally rest. But he didn't know what to do either.
"If this Akihiro...forgives you...do you think you could probably rest in peace?" Misaki whispered feeling a little stabbing pain. Miroku had grown to be a precious friend.
"Maybe...I've been waiting for this time to come...and honestly I am really tired..." the spirit raised his hand and somehow Misaki could see past through it like it was a hollogram.
"I am afraid that sooner, even you wouldn't be able to see me...then...I won't be able to ask forgiveness anymore."
The silence took over for a while and the two friends stared ahead having their own thoughts. Misaki abruptly stood and extended his hand towards the blackhaired being he could only see. Smiling, the brunette nodded for the other boy to take his hand. "Brooding doesn't suit you Miroku! I'll help you silly."
Miroku loved it when Misaki acted as if the brunette would be able to pull him out of the cemetery. Sadly, Miroku couldn't even step past the gates of the land where his grave was. For some reason, a mere ten meters was the farthest he could make from his gravestone.
Thursday morning, it was full of faint murmurings inside the gymnasium. Female and male students were huddled in their own groups. Excited voices and curious faces would glance up the stage every once in a while. Takahashi Misaki had asked some students what was going on. But failed.
"Aha...my question...my answer..." Misaki mumbled, scratching the back of his head as he stood near the entrance. Ever since people learned about his ability to see and talk to spirits in middle school, people had avoided him.
Of course, there were some who didn't believe but it was even harsher for many thought Misaki was just doing that to get attention and be popular. So at school, Takahashi Misaki was a loner.
"Yeah, we have a guest speaker today...I heard he's a successful writer..."
Misaki followed the girls with his gaze and shrugged. He couldn't care less about any writer. It has been a week since he told Miroku he'd help him get to talk apparently with his lover but chance didn't present itself. Where on Earth would he even look for that guy?
Out of the blue, the sound of a microphone being adjusted caught everyone's attention. Expectant faces darted towards the stage and everyone hushed. The principal with a balding head stood proudly before the students ad cleared his throat.
"Good morning students of N high school. Today, we're very fortunate to have such an honored guest be speaking before us," the principal continued, eyeing the students at the back who weren't listening. "He's stayed in a foreign country almost all his life and has come back to our beloved country to share his expertise."
"Share expertise huh?" Misaki thought uninterested. He just realized that the school's' literary week was about to start so no wonder the school was having discussions about how to make these modern brats, including himself look back to reading books and into writing.
"May I present to you the Japanese writer who had invaded the international and Japanese market...Usami Akihiko!"
While everyone was clapping eagerly specially the girls at the sight of a hunky before them, Misaki was there on his wall, totally offguard by the face that even though from afar wasn't very clear, still looked damned familiar.
"No way..." Misaki balled his fists. "Chance! This is it!"
Misaki sighed remembering Miroku's convited declaration that he couldn't be wrong about his lover's identity. The man wasn't Usami Akihiro but Usami Akihiko. The brunette could right away tell that at least Miroku's love and this man who was about to give a speech were connected.
The teen was already having high spirits about the sudden appearance of the man when Misaki had to blink at his own confusion. He clapped his hand over his mouth, feeling a little embarassed.
"Aww...damn it...I can't seem to focus on his face without remembering THAT!"
While the brunette was busy battling his own thoughts at the corner of the gymnasium, Usami Akihiko started talking before the student body, eyes suddenly wandering at the boy standing alone.
"Wait a minute..." Usami thought, being able to continue his memorized speech while having different thoughts. "That kid..."
Deep inside the writer, he was already entertaining the thoughts that the boy over there having his own monologue was some sort of a ghost. One, the boy was secluded from the entire student population. Two, no one was bothering him, even the teachers who were so into telling the students to stay put in their respective seats. Three, the incident at the cemetery.
"So I am very looking forward into sharing all that I have accumulated in the past years via the literary week. Let's all enjoy each other's company while learning. Thank you."
The entire gymnasium boomed with the clapping from the students. Usami just took his eyes off at the familiar brunette but then when he looked back at the corner of the gymnasium, the boy wasn't there anymore.
"Shit...Did I just attract a real ghost?" Usami uttered, a little embarrassed that at such an age he was still entertaining such ideas.
Little did Usami Akihiko know that the reason the 'ghost' at the corner disappeared was because Misaki dashed into the registration room to have his name enlisted with his 'first come first serve' seminar for a week.
It was a bright morning. The students who were fortunately able to take seats at his seminar consisting of 50 students both had expectant and funny faces. Usami examined the class and sighed. His coat, his board pointer, the board itself, starting to annoy him.
"If this school isn't that old man's alma matter, I would have never agreed with this ridiculous shit," Usami thought to himself, grimacing at the girls who were obviously interested in him and not in what he had to say.
"So...why do people write?" Usami started, tapping the pointer at the white board. Ignoring the empty seat at farthest side next to the open window to allow fresh breeze to come in.
To Usami's horror and surprise, he saw a student, literally crawling coming from the back door of the room. No one even paid attention to the brunette. And by the minute, the suspicion that the boy who he saw from the cemetery was indeed some spirit or a ghost who got unfathomly attatched to him got stronger.
"Shoot it..." Misaki hissed, crouching low not to get attention. He was thinking a lot about how to approach Usami Akihiko and tell him about Miroku that he ended up awake until early morning. Thus resulting into him oversleeping and being late.
Usami frowned. A ghost in broad daylight? Not to mention, he could see now a shadow from the boy. If he was a ghost, he shouldn't have any right?
The silverhaired man, cleared his throat. "I'd appreciate it if you people take this seminar more seriously. No mumblings while I am talking and specially..." Usami paused making it more dramatic. "NO LATE COMERS."
All heads darted towards the back of the room. The students' eyes fixed at the brunette with mixed hostility and annoyance that Usami didn't fail to notice.
"Sorry..." Misaki bowed in apology before taking his seat.
"HAHAHA...I just made a bad impression didn't I?" Misaki thought as he settled down on his seat. His eyes low yet feeling what the 'sensei' was doing in front. "Well, if he could remember me stealing a kiss...that sure isn't a pleasant impression even. He'd think I am a freak...like everybody else..."
The man standing graciously in the front narrowed his lavender eyes and drew a deep breath. "It is always said that you should not write to impress but to express. With that...the contents of what you write shouldn't just be about what could make people interested...but also what interests you..."
Not really focused at the ongoing lecture, Misaki's gaze drifted from the white board to the clear sky outside, wondering what his ghost friend Miroku was doing.
"Student at table 41!"
Misaki went on to day dreaming.
Popping a vein, Usami glared at the sitting arrangement that was given by the registration team and traced the name of the late comer, day dreaming, unfocused student, not to mention, a brat who just kissed him out of nowhere and found it. He wanted to forget that. But couldn't. Everytime his eyes caught the brunette's far away gaze, the cemetery scene just came flashing back to the point of irritation.
"Eh?" with a stupid expression, Misaki looked at the front. Just realizing that he was just making his chance of getting to be on good terms with the writer slimmer.
"Are you even really interested in this seminar?"
The bell signalling the first break shattered the thick atmosphere and before Usami could even reprimand the brunette, a bunch of students had already gathered around him.
"Ah...he's all surrounded now...maybe after the seminar..." Misaki thought before quietly leaving the seminar room.
When everyone was sure that Takahashi Misaki had already disappeared from view, the students eyed the author with bothered and possesive look.
"Sensei...we should just warn you not to associate yourself much with that Takahashi..."
Usami threw a glance at the group of girls and boys before sitting at the edge of his table. "What's the deal with him?"
"Yeah sensei...he's totally weird..."
"Weird? Yeah...I think I know that...even experienced it."
A girl tucked her hair behind her ear and smiled. "Sensei, Takahashi could bring misfortune to anyone who gets close to him. One time, a concerned student talked to him and fell from the stairs right after..."
"Yeah sensei...and when the physical education's teacher scolded him for being late, the next day he was hospitalized. Also sensei...many believe that he could see and talk to spirits. He's so creepy..."
Usami listened without so much as an expression. He wasn't that immature to believe such ridiculous high school rumors. In his point of view, what these students were saying was nothing but on the level of school verbal bullying.
After the first day of the seminar, Usami AKihiko readied himself to going home when he noticed someone circling around his sports car from afar. If at any other situtation, Usami would just let it pass since many people tend to stare at his foreign car for a while. However, it wasn't just anybody. It was the brunette who dared not pay attention to him during the day, circling his car like some thief.
"What business do you have with my car?" Usami announced, shocking the life out of the teen.
Misaki turned with a pale face. His chest obviously heaving hard and the boy rested his hand on the front side of the car.
"Wow, you nearly killed me!" Misaki accused, clutching his chest.
"Well, if you don't act as suspiciously like you're doing then maybe I could treat you normally."
They stared at each for a long while. The setting sun throwing a glint of orange at their surroundings. The faint cheerings and cries of the baseball team having their afterclass training filling the silence.
"Err...uhm..." Misaki stuttered, not knowing where to start. "Could...I have a favor to ask...sensei?"
Usami crossed his arms across his chest and eyes turning to slits, he just remained standing.
Misaki interpreting it as his cue for telling drew a deep breath and stepped closer. Gripping his bag ever so tightly.
"Could uhm...could you talk to my friend?" Misaki asked with hopeful green eyes.
"Don't give me that puppy look..." "Friend?" Usami repeated looking around. There was no one in the parking lot except him and the brunette. "Where is this friend?"
"Eh...you see..." Misaki scratched his neck despite it not itching. No matter how he say it, it will end up sounding so ridiculous. "He's...he's a spirit..."
The older man roled his eyes and walked past the brunette, opening his car door. "That's it. I talk to you properly but you give me crap."
Misaki ran after the man, his hair billowing behind him. "I am not kidding!"
Already inside the comforts of his car, Usami hurriedly turned the car on, with a shouting teen slamming at his car window.
"Usami-sensei! Just listen to me explain!" Misaki shouted, pounding on the window.
The older man, not in any mood to engage with the high school pranks of the boy started the car, lowering the car window to scowl at Misaki. He already let go of the kissing incident, what else did he want?
"Look for others to play with, okay?" he growled, facing ahead.
Usami Akihiko sped off. He was sure it was kind of harsh and cold on his part, but he had settled himself to make his one week stay as a lecturer in that school purely professional and not associate himself too much with the people there. He wouldn't deny that he was the type to get strongly attatched. Better be on guard.
"Usami-sensei!" Usami briefly looked at his rearview mirror, seeing the brunette still running after him. "My friend! He knows USAMI AKIHIRO!"
The teen disappeared from the silverhaired man's sight when he made a right-turn. His brows furrowing at the mention of his grandfather's name.
Dragging his feet in the middle of the cemetery at night, Misaki gazed up at the now fast darkening skies. He felt drained. Well he knew from the very start that convincing others to believe him would be difficult. But he atleast hoped Usami would lend an ear.
"Bastard...jerk..." Misaki looked down on his shoes. He got them as a donation from the temple and they were all dirty thanks to Usami who made him run after him for nothing.
His sunken feelings grew only deeper when not far from him, he could already see his friend, a full white glowing being in the dark, smiling at him hopefully.
"Misaki!" Miroku greeted, floating hurriedly at Misaki with an expectant face.
"Sorry Miroku..." Misaki started, deciding that it be best not to stall the revelation. It would lessen the disappointment or so he hope. "I tried to tell him about you but..."
Miroku's smile faded slowly as the spirit sat on top of his own gravestone. "He won't believe you? Akihiro...he must still hate me..."
The brunette stepped closer to the nameless stone monument and sighed. "About that, Miroku...it's not the Akihiro you know..."
"No way...he didn't change at all! My Akihiro...no..."
Misaki dropped his bag to his side and smiled comfortingly. "Miroku...I know that you do realize that even though time stopped for you...the living world didn't. The guy's name is Usami Akihiko...he could be a son...or a grandson of your lover for all we know..."
"So you're saying he married and had children happily? Totally forgetting me?!" the spirit flashed an angry look. Something that even Misaki didn't want to see.
"I am just telling...I didn't mean to hurt you..."
"He wouldn't marry a woman! Let alone have children with one!"
The trees swaying suddenly, the leaves floating around them and the eerie silence enveloping the two just made the sorrow of the other more obvious.
"Akihiro said he loves me..." Miroku mumbled. "Son? Grandson...?" he laughed without humor.
"Aren't you being selfish Miroku?"
"I don't know how you died and why...but if you died first...wouldn't you want this lover of yours to find happiness?" Misaki rumbled, irritated, annoyed and most of all hurt that his friend was hurt. He knew that such news would be destructive to his friend who had been waiting nonstop. "I am sure that Usami Akihiro-san is already dead. I'm sorry to break it to you. But would you rather choose your Akihiro to die alone?"
"But Misaki..." Miroku gazed at Misaki with a tearstreaked face. A ghost crying because of a broken heart...how pitiful.
The brunette opened his arms wide, inviting his friend to cry on his shoulders. That was the only thing he could do. Misaki knew he couldn't ease the pain, but at least he could show his concern to his friend.
Instantly Miroku jumped from his stone, hugging Misaki tightly. To Misaki it felt something like a cold breeze circling him, but other than that he wasn't afraid. He was just sad.
Misaki after a couple of seconds started weeping.
Flashbacks, hallucination...whatever one would call it, he didn't care. Misaki just saw things that Miroku had been carrying on his shoulders all these years alone.
"It's going to be fine..." Misaki whispered. "I will still try convincing Usami Akihiko to talk to me...to you...maybe we could ask him something about your lover?"
"How am I going to know if Akihiro already forgave me?" the blackhaired boy mumbled, staring at nothing before him.
"We'll ask the guy at our school...maybe he has a clue..." Misaki replied assuringly. "I'd bind him to my waist if I had to!"
The spirit sighed and disappeared suddenly. Leaving Misaki surprised at being alone. It was only the faint "Idiot and thanks" that Misaki heard together with the rustling trees.
Knowing that Miroku wanted to be alone, Misaki left the cemetery and resigned himself that he wouldn't leave Usami Akihiko until he could get the man to tell something that would put his friend Miroku at rest.
"I still have plenty of days convincing! Four more days...four more days..." with this in mind, Misaki entered the seminar room early and prepared. He'd read all the materials needed. If that was the only way for him to get the man's attention, so be it.
To Usami's annoyance, the brunette who was as good as the dead the other day was so active he was practically raising his hands in every questions he threw. No one was intending to answer him other than Takahashi Misaki, he gruntingly ignored the teen still.
And when he did call Takahashi Misaki, the brunette's answer was incorrect.
"And to think you're even eager to answer?"
"Give me credits for my effort atleast!"
At the seminar, without caring what would others say, Misaki would always try to get Usami Akihiko's attention in whatever way possible. At breaks and lunch breaks, the brunette would just appeared beside, behind or in front of him out of nowhere.
"Usami-sensei...what would it take for you to believe me that my ghost friend wants to talk to you about Usami AKihiro?"
Annoyed, Usami slammed his chopsticks down his table and frowned at the teen. "Aren't you getting tired of this? How did you even know about my grandfather?"
Misaki looked up, as if saving the piece of information into his brain. "I see, it's your grandfather's name..."
Sensing that the older man had once again thrown him out of his vision, Misaki thought hard about what could make Usami really pay attention to him. And came up with one with no sweat.
"Sensei...you remember we kissed?" Misaki asked smiling however deep inside he was feeling goosebumps on his arms. "I can't believe I am opening this myself...! I am so desperate!"
Usami threw a death glare. "What of it?"
"If you don't meet my friend, I'll go round the campus announcing YOU kissed me."
For a moment, Usami just looked deep into the emerald eyes staring at him across his table. Then burst out laughing.
"HA? Are you out of your mind?"
Misaki sighed and threw his stupid grin and put on a serious face. "All you have to do is reassure my friend that your grandfather has forgiven him already...why is that so hard to do?"
Usami looked around. Students had been for a while already staring at them and murmuring. He didn't care the least but, he knew it would only be Takahashi catching the end of the rope so better stay away from him. But it's Takahashi running after him day after day.
"You expect me to smile and be happy to go along with your hallucinations? Are you on drugs?" Usami hissed, readying himself to leave and take a smoke.
Then Misaki grabbed on to his arm which not just caught him but the entire student body as well watching them in surprise.
The older man yanking his arm away, hating to see how stubborn the brunette was. The peaceful seminar he was hoping for going down the drain.
"Sensei...you're a writer right?" Misaki asked, really genuinely. "Why can't you at least entertain the possibility of what I am saying?"
Usami found himself a little speechless at that remark of the boy before all people, he wasn't expecting that from the boy labelled as a freak by the crowd.
This time, slowly pulling his arm away from the teen's grasp, the older man decided a challenge. "If you get the answer to my question later, I might THINK about it."
Misaki's green eyes brightened and it was as if the teen had developed imaginary wings behind his back.
"I said I will THINK about it. Now stop pestering me."
Usami walked hurriedly away from the boy. He didn't want to admit it, but from the very beginning, he had started to anticipate where and when the boy would appear like a mushroom sprouting where it wanted to.
"If one wanted to write, he or she should be a reader too. Get to dwell in other's world will give you a sense of what you really want to focus on. Not to mention, it widens your vocabulary and your imagination..." Usami explained, pacing the front of the room. All eyes fixed at him.
Many students started the seminar just because of watching him or getting closer to him, but in time, these students eventually took the seminar more seriously. Four days closing, and the students showed a huge deal of maturity high school students should portray.
The seminar went on and on and ended. With Usami having a bad feeling about something. Takahashi Misaki still didn't get the answer to his question but the boy for some reason stuck to him even longer and closer. The only thing left was for the brunette to also accompany him in the toilet.
"Sensei...do you really want to see me that bad all the time, if you just agreed this will be over..."
Usami turned to look at his back. "Try asking that question in reverse."
"But sensei...just please go meet me and my friend at friday night!"
"Just think of it as a date then! Miroku isn't scary!"
He didn't mean any ill intention to it. But Usami that time was tired, a litte hungry and annoyed that he just said it without thinking.
"Fine. I'll go. Happy?"
The next morning, Usami Akihiko found his table inside the faculty with a box. He looked to his left and right to make sure it was for him.
"Ah sensei, it's that Takahashi student that left that there..." a science teacher sitting near Usami muttered. "That student has sure taken a liking to you sensei...he's very distant not just to the students but to teachers as well, but he kept on following you. I am glad."
Forcing a smile, Usami sat on his seat glaring at the box that he realized contained home made cookies. With lazy movements, he picked one round cookie and took a bite.
He chewed on, the cookie melting in his mouth. The more he chewed, the more he frowned.
"It's tonight huh?" the man looked out the window sighing. "I did say I will go...but..."
That same day, Misaki didn't show up anymore in the seminar and instead left a yello sticky note on Usami's table with the day and time. Usami threw the note. He wasn't actually going. Not in a million years. He had started looking forward to the boy's sudden appearances and he knew that wasn't a good sign.
The cemetery was quiet as usual. Misaki sat under the nearest tree from Miroku's grave stone and happily hummed. Finally, that stuborn writer agreed and Miroku would finally learn something about what happened to his Usami Akihiro. Miroku beside sat quietly too.
"Miroku...you know I wonder why we have to wait at night for this? It's probably one of the gazillion reasons why he didn't like it at first. It's like I am plotting something bad..."
The blackhaired boy smiled, his eyes resting on his nameless grave.
"You remember he didn't see me the first time we saw him?" the spirit whispered. "For people with low sensitivity to the likes of us, it's difficult. Not to mention the sun is overpowering us that's why we appear invisible. It's during at night our form is at least easier to see..."
"Misaki...what do you think of that man? My lover's grandson?" Miroku asked, grinning a little. "God I can't believe I am that old..."
The brunette's brows furrowed at the question. He then started taking a bite of some of the cookies he baked and brought with him. "He's a jerk giving me a hard time," he replied. But then pondering that in reality no one would really believe and agree with him, maybe he should change the way he looked at the man. "He's a little good I guess...just a little."
The fast moving clouds that were taking different shapes served as the boys' past time for the said 'date'.
In that huge room covered with white fabrics to fend away dust, Usami sat at the edge of the covered sofa, him being busy talking in the phone. The view outside of the house that used to belong to his grandfather getting darker and darker by the minute.
"It's the last day of the seminar today but there's a closing ceremony on Monday...I'll be back in Tokyo by Tuesday I think."
The moment his conversation in the phone ended, Usami Akihiko stood from where he was sitting and moved towards the window. The sun has completely set. The silence a little defeaning. Before he'd come into this house to play with his grandfather. All now a distant memory.
A flash of the sticky note saying seven came back into him. The clock behind him striked seven. The silence broken by the clock's sound and the wooden bird moving out of his bird's house.
"Who is in their right mind would wait in a cemetery at this time?" he asked himself, starting to leave his grandfather's study room to go back to his own room.
Just as he was about to turn the knob of the door, Usami froze on where he was standing. His head slowly turning towards the huge, antique clock where the bird was going in and out as it announced the completion of an hour.
His lavender eyes narrowed at the wooden figure. God knows why he didn't notice it before, from almost the week he stayed in that house after coming back to Japan. But there was something at the beak of the bird. Something rolled and white contrasting with the reddish paint of the bird.
The soft hand holding on to the knob fell to his side as he walked towards the glass casing.
The glass casing almost didn't budge from the pull of the writer due to the long time that passed. And after being able to take the glass off, he carefully took the rolled piece of yellowish paper from the bird and stared at it hard.
Small letterings, about 7 in font greeted the man. When he flipped it over, he felt a little nervousness crawling in his chest...for one, it was his grandfather's hand writing, two, it was addressed to him; "To my grandson and bestfriend, Akihiko"
Usami walked over the corner of the room and there sat on the floor. He was hesitant. The letter was written and twenty years had passed. What could his grandfather be wanting to tell him?
The man drew a deep breath, and with firm hold, rolled the paper out.
His lavender eyes run from right to left, up and down at the writings on the paper. Answering the far away distant looks from his grandfather's eyes he saw every once in a while before. But was too young to understand.
"Are you surprised to see this addressed to you? I had a strong feeling that it would be you who'll discover this. Besides, there's one thing I want to tell you but was too afraid to start it. Looking back now, I don't want you to experience the knawing sense of guilt and loss that I had to endure.
Akihiko, a promise can kill.
You asked me how much I loved your grandmother before. I couldn't ask answer you straight in the eyes. Because I have someonebody else in my heart. But before we could even start a life together, he died. Akanishi Miroku died, because of me. And as you can tell, Miroku was a male. An eighteen year old high school student I tutored for he sucked at math.
He was sweet and funny and always pestered me. Like a child wanting attention. But I pushed him away. I pushed him away because I was furious at him. Miroku stole the 'tear of genji'.
Usami Akihiko whistled. The 'tear of genji' was an Usami heirloom lost forever. A blue diamond said to fend of misfortune and bring prosperity.
Miroku apologized after the incident and promised he'll return the tear to me. He promised and begged me but I was too hard on him.
Miroku asked for me to meet him one day. I hid the reality to the family that it was Miroku who stole the heirloom, but that was the last bit of kindness I showed him. Maybe because of the betrayal and annoyance I agreed meeting him without thinking.
Miroku waited and waited for me. But I never showed. The next day came the news that my Miroku is dead. He got robbed, the tear of genji stolen from him. They weren't contented and stabbed the boy to death.
Akihiko, if I only showed there and did not let him stay alone behind the temple, he wouldn't have died that way. I've always thought that. He wanted to apologize to me...but it should me needing to apologize.
But he's dead and there's no way to reverse it. If only there's a way for me to tell him that I love him and I've long forgotten the stealing, I'd give anything to be able to do that. But everything's too late.
Why I am telling you this? I just didn't want you to repeat the same mistakes I did. I loved your grandmother, and I am forever grateful that you came to my lif e. But a chunk of my heart will be forever in grief. My love Miroku and the future I've dreamed for the both of us not being realized.
I've learned my lesson the hard way my dear. One day, someone will come to your life you'd want to distance your self from. Maybe because of status, education, age or sexuality. What could we do? We couldn't predict who our hearts will get attatched. It's just that...never agree to something when your mind is not clear. Don't promise something without really meaning it. You never know when the guilt of it will haunt you the rest of your life.
Akihiko. Do not let history repeat itself.
I love you,
Usami stared at the paper he was holding. From where he was sitting, the fullmoon in view from his window sent a rather eerie feeling. He just stared at it confused and somewhat numb.
He lost his grip of time as he stared at the moon and the contrasting velvet blue in the background. But his inner thoughts were shattered by loud wailing of police cars passing by in front of his house. Usami without thought inserted the paper inside his pocket and dashed out of the house.
Many other people from the neighborhood standing with nervouse faces at the convoy of police cars running before their eyes as if in a hurry.
The man looked to his right and approached an old woman who was mumbling a prayer.
"Excuse me...what's all the commotion?" Usami asked, his eyes following the police cars that still followed the previous ones.
"I just heard it...there were people who escaped the prison downtown and said they headed to the direction of the cemetery. It's bad you know...the news showed there's firing going on..."
Usami stared at the old woman. Face going pale.
"Excuse me? The cemetery? You mean the cemetery up the hill?" Usami asked, feeling a constricting in his throat.
The old woman gazed at Usami with a concerned look. "Yes dear...why?"
Amidst the dark road only illuminated by the occasional lamp posts, a car that looked burning red dashed, as if flying towards the end of the world. Usami drove without thinking. His body was just all driving and nothing else. And his mind flashing frightening scenarios he couldn't fend off.
What if that stupid student was still waiting and got caught in the middle of the firing?
What if that stupid brunette took the escapers for friends and got himself as a hostage instead?
What if Takahashi was there shivering in fear, asking why he didn't show up?
What if Misaki was already dead?
What would he do?
Usami AKihiko didn't even know what must be the kind of funny face he was making when he hopped out of his car. Panting, the tall man looked around. Barricades and yellow tapes blocking him from entering the entrance of the cemetery. And number of police cars took over his vision.
The man tried to go under the yellow tape only for a police officer stopping him.
"Sir?" the man in uniform called sternly. "What do you think you're doing? We have a situation here."
With an exasperated sigh, Usami looked at the police officer shorter than he was and at the entrance of the cemetery.
"Look, there's a student inside...it's...he's kind of waiting for me..." Usami even surprised himself at how begging his voice came out.
The other man looked at him suspiciously. "Sorry sir but you cannot go inside. We'll radio the men inside and look for that 'student'...stay put sir."
How long was it that Usami had been staring at the entrance long enough for him to burn a hole at the metal gates. There was silence, like a calm before a storm that Usami sure didn't want to happen.
He had never focused his attention to his breathing before, how he blinked and such trivial matters. But waiting there outside knowing there could be something serious already going on inside made even these trivial matters a chore.
"Isn't that letter a little perfect in time?" Usami hissed, sure he had circled around the world if his pacing would be laid in a straight line. "Perfect timing...perfect timing for making me feel miserable...old man..."
"Alpha Red, situation under control. Situation under control!"
Ears perked up, Usami turned his head at the police in blue one by one stepping out of the gates. The tint of the bluish orange sunrays making everything seem like a dream. Not long after, men in orange with their hands handcuffed behind their backs emerged.
Usami ran to them, looking for any sign of a boy or a body. But there was none.
Not caring anymore about the fucking police's protocol, the writer dashed past the flow of people going to the different direction. His feet only in his house slippers, Usami Akihiko ran towards that grave. That nameless grave.
He whirled around, the sun rising fast, casting shadows everywhere. His chest, drumming violently the nearer he came.
As if there was no commotion that happened, the birds hummed their morning hymn. And instead of filling revitalized, Usami felt sinking.
Yeah, I am worried as an adult. That idiot wouldn't be waiting if I didn't sprout something so immature," he tried justifying himself.
However, when he noticed a hem of a black gakuran hiding behind the nameless grave, Usami felt he had sighed one good deal of a relief that might have lasted a lifetime.
"Yeah...I might be a little worried. And a little concerned..."
He yanked Misaki's arm with no warning, causing the boy to yelp in surprise.
"Usami-san?" Misaki blurted, as if he just saw an apparition.
The older man didn't know what has gotten to him. His hand went into the air, ready to slap the cold cheek if the teen. He was worried alright but more than that he was furious. Really furious.
Emerald eyes looked at the raised hand and at Usami's face alternatingly.
"You little idiot..." Usami hissed, his grip on Misaki's arm getting tighter, his raised hand getting stiffer.
"YOU COULD HAVE DIED?!"
"But I didn't..." Misaki replied, still a little confused at the sudden change of the older man's treatment of him. "We hid here..."
Usami's closed his eyes, calming himself. He didn't even know he could be as furious as that and relieved at the same time.
To Misaki's surprise, he found himself, his face buried on Usami's chest. Feeling the hard beating of the man's heart.
"What's gotten into you?" Misaki whispered.
"Shut up," Usami hissed, inhaling the morning due that got stuck on Misaki's hair. "Don't say a word. I am really mad right now."
They remained like that for a while when Usami finally caught a figure watching them. He buried Misaki's face deeper on him while he stared at the blue-eyed boy smiling sadly at him. The boy didn't move his lips or anything but Usami was sure he hear something.
"You really look like him..."
For a moment, the writer just stared hard at the foggy form of the boy, only the face more clear than the rest.
That was the regret of his grandfather and realizing that, his grip on Misaki just grew tighter, making the struggling boy squirm.
One hand on Misaki's head, his other hand went into his pocket. Without thinking, Usami extended the letter of his grandfather towards the boy, who's sillouette became paler as the sun got fiercer.
Miroku floated off his grave stone and stood before Usami's extended hand. The boy didn't touch the paper. He just merely looked at it. And cried.
At the voice, Misaki pulled away abruptly, staring hard at the transparent form of his friend.
"Miroku?" Misaki called confused. "What's going on?"
"Thank you for everything, Misaki..."
"I feel like I could rest now..."
The smoke floated and floated away, the scent of flowers filling their noses. Misaki reached out to the form but was pulled back into place by Usami. The older man though thought it impossible, felt like that spirit could take Misaki with him if he wanted.
"Stop it..." Usami mumbled. "Let him go."
"But he wanted to talk with you!" Misaki spat.
"He...already got the answer he was wanting for..." Usami whispered, grabbing Misaki closer. "He has endured it well..."
Misaki stared at the fading smoke. Was that it? Just easily as that, his friend jus disappeared? There was still so many things he wanted to ask and tell Miroku. Why so fast?
The boy pondered for it for some seconds. Thinking that it was also the time he was looking forward for his friend. It just that it was a sudden parting.
"Why are you now so clingy?" Misaki yanked his arm off from Usami. "What's all this change you're creeping me out!"
To Misaki's surprise, he wasn't just the stubborn male there but Usami as well. Grabbing Misaki's arm, Usami slid down to Misaki's hand, lacing his long fingers into the teen's.
"You clung to me the past days, brace yourself for I will be clinging to you. And I am hard to fend off."
"Hai?" Misaki blurted, surprised at the ridiculous things the older man was saying.
"You don't know yet the meaning of having Usami-sensei fall for you..."
The teen kept on pulling his hand off the older man's but Usami held on firmly, not letting go anytime soon. They did that like children as they started walking towards the gate of the cemetery, leaving the the nameless grave behind.
Panning away from Usami and Misaki, the world looked flat and glorious in the morning light. Miroku freely floating, ready to go to the place he should have been in from the very beginning.
"At least...our history didn't repeat on them..." he smiled. "You'll experience more problems along the way as you deepen your relationship...have a happy life and grow old together...something I never had the chance to experience with..."
Miroku watched his human friend scowl and hiss at Usami. To his surprise, he heard a chuckle. A chuckle so familiar he felt scared. When he looked behind him, he knew if he still had a beating heart, it would right away stop.
"Misaki...sure is like you..."
"Piece of junk..." Miroku mumbled, getting teary.
The silverhaired man opened his arms while smiling.
And Miroku, his dream of being together with his loved one flew into the open arms and instantly, the two disappeared. They disappared from the Earth's atmosphere and the living world's realm. Both swirling into the place one would call heaven.
Usami gripped Misaki's hand tightly, getting an annoyed yet blushing reaction from the teen.
"Yeah...there's no way to predict it..." Usami whispered.
"What are you mumbling about?"
"Nothing..." Usami replied while smiling.
"Hey, you kissed me before right?" Usami suddenly opened up. "Want to continue?"
"In your dreams!" Misaki shouted, running away.
Usami just watched the boy running energetically. Not just long ago he could have lost the brunette. He felt so relieved he could feel warmth in his eyes.
"I guess, anywhere your special person is...is heaven...old man..."
chapter end notes:
just a looooooooooon shot. hahaha. thanks for reading. share your thoughts pleas.e^^