i totally enjoyed writing this one shot so i hope you give it a try and enjoy it too! thanks! reviews are always welcome.^^
As his strong muscles flexed and relaxed with him carrying a sack of cement on his shoulder, he started counting the money inside his savings account mentally.
"Twenty-million yen...I need fifteen million more..." he exhaled as drops of sweat ran down his neck despite the freezing cold of the winter midnight. "I need that fast...or else..."
"Oi, Sagi!" an old man called, tipping his yellow construction hat. "The guys will be treating us Ramen, leave that sack for later! Let's warm our stomachs first!"
A bunch of men in construction overalls passed before him with funny faces. Mutterings how their wives nag at them for not coming home anymore and all family problems this "Sagi" have no inkling about.
"I have to go home after this, maybe next time," his barritone voice replied which sounded more chilly than the night itself.
"Alright then!" the old man turned his back and scratched his head. "You must have some busty girl waiting for you! Leaving us a bunch of males in this winter...how sad..."
"What's sad is why are we fixing a water way in this freezing night instead of being on a bed warmed up by a babe like him!" a younger man with a beard chimed.
And laughter of men filled the area. He shrugged and went ahead to the tent, just having no intention of joining the bunch.
Usami Akihiko, alias 'Sagi', a fake name he used in his construction and many other jobs. A name which many syndicates and blackmarket groups knew about. A person who had all the information they need. A name they respected because 'Sagi' was once a member of them who peacefully got himself out. A name of a person who only cared about money. A name of a man who chose to be alone.
His work boots clicked sharply against the pavement. The low lightings illuminating the numerous sacks of premium cements and man-sized tubes. He threw the sack from his shoulder on top of another causing dust fly everywhere.
And then there was a coughing. It wasn't his.
The lavender eyes which were as blank as a stone grew sharp. His senses telling him that the intruder was behind the stack of sacks before him.
"You've got a nerve trying to go for a loot here..." the man half-smiled, half-frowned.
He placed his hand on the lowest sack and used it to jump over. His silver locks as if a white fox in that darkness.
Because of the shadows, it made a very good blanket of cover for the cornered rat. The shivering of the form very obvious.
"Oi, oi..." the man started almost laughing. "Is it your first time trying to rob? Scared enough to wet your pants?"
But the figure there just kept himself in a ball. And Sagi who never had a long patience started getting pissed.
"I could kick you to death and no one would know asshole," Usami exhaled seeing no other movement from the intruder.
His thin lips formed into a smile first, but as if a veil had been pulled off from his face, it was replaced by a picture of a man who have seen bloodshed and had been the cause of it. In one swift movement, he grabbed the figure by the hair, pulling the intruder's face close to his from the shadows.
"When I talk, I don't like it being igno-"
The moment he had pulled the intruder's face away from the shadows, Usami paused. Right there, he found himself staring at a tear-filled, fear-stricken huge emerald eyes. Busted lips, swollen cheeks and scratched up face make up for the intruder's face.
Usami stared for a moment. He was thinking if he beat up the intruder who looked like no more than a teenager more than what the kid had already received, the boy would really die. So like he instantly lost interest, he let the surprisingly soft hair slide off from his fingers.
"I don't care anymore, rob all you want," said Usami, turning around as he fished for his cigarette deep in his jeans. The boy looked so thin, there was no way for him to carry those sacks of cement or those tubes. The man just wished the boy good luck.
Usami went away, enjoying his tobacco and the chilly air brushing on his cheeks as he made his way home.
He had been walking for a while now. The whole neighborhood as if a ghost town under the spell of winter. Usami, who had been just ignoring it the whole time rolled his eyes before turning to look behind him.
"How long are you going to follow me?"
The intruder with green eyes just stared, shivering like an abandoned cat. This thin boy for some reason started following the silver fox after being discovered in the tent.
"Are you deaf?" Usami asked annoyed. He threw his almost dying cigarette butt on the pavement and stepped on it. "Do you want me to pull your tongue off, maybe that'll make you talk."
The teenager just stared.
Usami smiled with a pissed look. "Follow me and you're dead."
The man then once more took his leasurely walk enjoying the silence, but with every step he made, his brows twitched.
Usami turned around, dashed towards the boy who still kept on following him and grabbed the boy by the collar of his thin white polo. A clothing so not fit for the season.
"If you're a callboy, sorry, I love big breasts...," Usami hissed to the boy's face. The misty fog of warm breath lingering around. "...so stop following me like I'm your mother hen."
Pushing the boy hard the thin form fell on the pavement, the tall man finally went on with his walk, realizing that he was already before his rundown apartment. The two storey complex looked like it was about to collapse any minute, but under the winter sky, it looked like time stopped for it.
Inserting his keys hurriedly, Usami stepped into his room located at the first floor and slammed the door shut. When he peered into the hole from his door, he just snorted. The brown chicklet was in front of his door.
He was expecting the boy, who had chocolate hair as Usami realized from the lamp outside, knock and bang like mad to his door. But there was none. The boy just stood there exhaling and inhaling like any minute, he would turn into an iceman.
"Like I care..." the man whistled and headed to his tattered futon to sleep.
At first Usami thought he was awakened by the rythmic ticking of the clock. He opened his eye lids and stared at the low ceiling for a few seconds.
"Shit..." the man had just realized that it was the small window in his small bathroom doing the noise. It flaps like stupid from the wind when not closed so despite not wanting to move an inch from his futon, he dragged himself towards the bathroom and closed it.
"The wind is really strong huh? Will it snow tomorrow?" he mumbled as he scratched the side of his abdomen.
When his eyes darted to the closed door of his room, he remembered again that boy who stalked him. He had already erased the boy's presence in his mind but he just felt like peering into the hole once more. He was so sure that no one would be able to take this cold and would have to go somewhere else.
"Fuck this shit!"
With strong arms, he pulled the door open and grabbed the freezing body into his room.
"ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL YOURSELF? WHY DO IT IN FRONT OF MY ROOM?"
It annoyed the hell out of Usami as he watched the boy sniff and rub his watery eyes. Ears, nose, hands, cheeks, everything were bloody red as if they were about to fall off from the cold. He then darted his lavender eyes towards the small clock by his wall.
"Standing there for two hours...freaking out of his mind..."
Usami glared at the teen, his hands crossed over his broad chest. "Tell me, why are you following me? What's your deal?"
Green eyes looked around as if searching, and then he threw a helpless glance at the man before him.
"Listen punk..." Usami stepped closer to the boy, his face in a total anger. "If you don't say something funny right now, I'm gonna slice uoi up and throw you out."
The boy opened his mouth, but it was just silent mouthing that Usami received.
The tears that Usami thought had gone frozen started dripping from the reddish eyes of the teen.
Usami exhaled, he was about to explode.
Standing before the door, the boy suddenly scrambled to the floor near Usami's futon and picked up something. A lipstick. Must have been something the woman who he fucked the night before left. Or perhaps the woman a week ago.
The boy uncapped it and with neat, hurried strokes wrote something on the old, dirty walls. Usami stared in disbelief. "Fuck...did you just write on my wall with the lipstick?!"
He grabbed the boy by the arm and was about to twist it out of its socket when his eyes caught what was written on the wall.
"I CAN'T TALK," said the handwriting.
Usami exasperatedly looked at the boy and at the wall alternatingly. "You've got to be kidding me...why the fuck did you follow me?!"
As if the boy was ready to write something once more against the wall, Usami snatched the lipstick off the boy's hand.
"WILL YOU FREAKING STOP WRITING ON THE WALL?! THIS ISN'T FUCKIN DAYCARE?!"
Glancing around his own room as if he was also a stranger in it, Usami darted his eyes at the drawer that he had long since opened. He stomped and pulled it open. There was an old notebook and a pen there like he thought and grabbed them.
He threw them on the boy's feet. "Write there..."
Still the sniffing mess, the boy sat on the floor and wrote hurriedly, sensing that if he pissed the man before him more, he'd really be dead meat tomorrow.
The older man who was currently sitting on his futon once more, his back resting against the wall where just a little above was the lipstick handwriting, Usami took again a cigarette. He didn't light it, he just let it rest in between his lips.
"Are you writing a damn novel?"
With shaking hands, the boy extended the notebook to the silverhaired man. Usami raised his brow at it while reading it aloud monotonously.
"I have nowhere else to go. Please let me stay here a couple of days. I'll go away soon. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please..." the man lifted his gaze from the notebook to the kneeling teenager before him. Wondering if he should laugh or get angry at the endless 'please' written on the notebook.
With a long stare, the man flicked his tongue, slid down on his mattress and buried himself under his futon after thowing the notebook back at the teen.
The owner of the room didn't say anything. He made himself comfortable under his thick blankets, leaving the boy on the floor staring at him until he started lightly snoring.
Picking up the notebook and the pen, the boy smiled a tearful smile before crawling before the heater. And like a stray cat, even without a bedding, even just on the floor, the brunette curled up into a ball, just below Usami's feet.
"Here I am, trying to save as much money as I could..." Usami said aloud as he and the uninvited guest sat across the low table eating instant noodles. "Seems like I have another mouth to feed all of a sudden."
The man clearly understood the boy could hear. Just for some reason he wouldn't talk. So not the least bit tactful, the older man just up and said whatever came to his mind.
"Oi, for how long will you be staying here?" Usami asked, slurping his noodles that even though looked messy, still looked good on him. Or perhaps it was just through the boy's eyes.
The boy with still the busted face shook his head slightly.
Usami sighed at the boy. Talking to him felt like talking to a damned wall. After finishing his noodles and now chewing at his toothpick, he roamed his lavender eyes at his room. That morning light made him realize how his room resembled much of that of a pig sty.
Clothes thrown around, dirty floor, unkept mattress, probably stinking bathroom. Perhaps everything in that room stunk. It was just that Usami had grown accustomed to it that he developed immunity.
"Listen to me you freeloader. That noodles you ate..." Usami pointed at it with his toothpick. "That hot water you drunk, this crumbling roof over your head, these aren't free."
The boy just looked at him intently. It was pissing Usami for some reason.
"You better give something in return to me...nothing's free in this world kid. And it only happens in dramas where you get saved by a stranger. No one in this world will give you something without expecting anything."
The green eyes looked down for a moment and then reached for his notebook. With eager writings, the boy then raised the notebook to Usami's face.
"Then make me your..." Usami had the most ridiculous face he ever pulled for so long while reading. "...SLAVE?"
He scratched the tip of his nose. "Do you have some loose screws? Do you know where you have left them so you could pick them up?"
But the boy looked so earnest.
For a long while, they just stared at each other's faces. Then the older man stood and picked up his thick jacket and headed for the door.
"Then when I come back, I want you to make this place into a palace. And do something about that wall," he ordered, pointing at the wall of his room where a writing in screaming red was very clear.
Before he finally went out, the owner stopped by the door and turned his head at the sitting boy on the floor.
"Call me 'Sagi'...ah but you don't talk. Anyway...who are you?"
The boy beamed so suddenly as if it wasn't often that he was asked something as trivial as that. With his index finger, he wrote his name in the air.
"As if I could understand that," said Usami before slamming the door shut behind him. Leaving the teen inside his dirty room to work.
"Misaki, huh?" Usami thought. "What's with the dramatic introduction..."
As the tall man made his way to his morning job in a town superstore in which he arranges stuff, he lifted his gaze at the huge house up the hill. He loved that house. A white baroque styled house so out of place from the traditional houses from the foot of that hill. It was as if trying to reach the sky.
That unoccupied house was why he was working his head off. To buy it.
Sagi, Usami Akihiko in real life, had sunk into the world of crimes since he was eighteen. Off he made dealings and acted notorious amongst the syndicates where he was respected. He continued living like that. A wind with no direction. A white fox wondering endlessly and aimlessly. Until when he laid eyes on that house ten years later, he decided for the first time he wanted that to be his.
So the 'Sagi' who was a popular information source amongts the blackmarket groups stopped living the life of a rat in the darkness and decided to aim for that house with clean money. He just liked the house for no reason worth of praise. Living in it all by himself looking down on all the people down the hill seemed really interesting. That was it.
"Fifteen million yen...how soon can I earn that?" the man frowned. "If some rich bastard eyes for it and bought it instantly..."
He didn't continue thinking. He really liked that house he'd kill for it.
Another day of hardwork and Usami had no any other thought aside from crawling under his futon and sleep like the dead. He passed by a small convenience store and caught the time.
"Twelve-thirty huh? Quite early..." he exhaled, lighting probably the hundreth cigarette for the day. That was how heavy a smoker he was. Usami exhaled leaisurely, suddenly stopping on his tracks. "Twelve-thirty am...shit..."
Having spent his life living alone, he almost forgot that brown chicklet who followed him home. Would that toothpick still be there when he returned? But the way the boy appeared looked like he wouldn't be able to travel yet on his own. He kicked the small stone before him with force it flew far away.
After stepping inside the store and filling his basket with more instant ramens, he narrowed his eyes at the counter chiming the money flying out of his wallet.
"It's not like he'd die without lunch and dinner," he annoyedly thought.
Without care for the other neighbors living in that complex, Usami opened the door and slammed it shut, almost the whole place shaking. It even surprised him that the boy, or the rat, or the cat curled up before his old heater didn't even flinch.
"Hmmm..." Usami roamed his lavender eyes around. His room was still small and it didn't become a palace like what he ordered the boy earlier. But compared to how it used to look, it was cleaner and better. The red marks of the lipstick were still visible. And it smelled of strong detergent.
He ran his fingers on the kitchen sink and peered inside the small bathroom. It looked like the boy scrubbed the entire place spotless.
"Good thing you have a sense of not sleeping on my futon, twerp..." he mumbled as he watched the figure sleep on the floor just like night, wearing Usami's shirt that looked like a dress for the boy.
Usami bended his knees as he narrowed his eyes at the hands of the boy clasped together.
"Are you kidding me?" he lifted one hand and looked at it, pinched it even. "This is the hand that hasn't even lifted a finger for washing dishes..."
The small hand was chapped, peeling from the strong detergent perhaps and raw. After inspecting the hand, Usami let it fall on the floor with a disgusted look on his face, the boy still not waking up.
"Are you a rich woman's...no...a rich man's boytoy?" Usami asked to the air as he just noticed the rope bruises on the boy's wrist.
Usami stood and kicked on the boy's knee lightly. "Oi, wakeup. There's food there."
Still dazed, the boy opened his eyes and stared at the tall man before him for a few seconds before finally sitting up. With slow movements, he raised his notebook with a prewritten thing on it.
"Welcome home," Usami read silently. "Che." Feeling at home already, huh?
In that winter night, for the first time in a long while he realized that he had been eating alone. Feel the comforting feeling of someone before him eat the same food full of artificial flavors and preservatives. Though silently as if there was actually no one, and even if it was the same brand of instant Ramen he usually bought, somehow, it started to taste different for some reason. A taste no tastebud could identify.
"Sagi..." the head-man called as they started drilling a hole. The night as chilly as ever. "You go home very early lately..."
The silverhaired man wiped the sweat on his forehead with a white towel that again smelled of strong detergent. "I do? Haven't noticed."
Two other men measuring on the ground smirked. "Are you trying to settle down now? Uwah-somehow doesn't fit you bachelor..."
Leaving the men behind to get another sack of asphalt, he exhaled and looked up at the midnight-blue sky. Two weeks of having that kid in his house, seemed like it's been for so long already. The kid didn't seem to have a plan on leaving. What was more disturbing was he wasn't prying the boy about the matter.
They just eat silently, sleep silently, watch the tv if there was time silently.
"Maybe I have to start digging something about him," Usami thought. True he had stopped the life of an informant a year ago, but he still had loads of network that still feared and respected him. Knowing about some green-eyed boy in that little village would be as easy as pie.
He should have done that from the very beginning. He didn't want to pry into his old life perhaps that was why it took him time to decide.
That night, with hot steamed buns in a plastic bag, Usami went home. From a far, he noticed his room window open. And the brunette staring at the sky like having a wishful thinking.
"Close the window, the heat's getting out."
Smiling, the boy pulled his notebook once more to flash his 'welcome home' banner. It somehow made Usami got used to it.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever."
The faint sounds of a late news from the small second hand TV filled the small room. Usami having his never ending cigarette. And the boy at the corner of the room, eyes at the TV.
Trying to reach his back, Usami grunted. "That hurts...I guess I've carried too much earlier..." he mumbled.
He pulled his shirt off his body. Trying to inspect how swollen his shoulders were or his back but he couldn't do much about it but to just swallow everything until it goes away. That's when the boy from the corner who was like an invisible freeloader crawled up to him.
"What?" Usami asked. He never did call the boy in his name once. He just addressed the brunette as 'you', 'oi', 'hey' as if he was a thing.
Misaki pointed at himself and like a stupid mascot, wriggled his fingers in the air like he was neading something for bread.
"Massage?" the older man uttered with a skeptic face. With that thin fingers, he was doubting if there would be enough strenght for the boy to do a decent massage.
The brunette nodded and smiled confidently. Before Usami could say anything, the boy was already kneeling behind him. He wasn't sure what happened after that. It was just that it felt...heavenly.
Such soft hands and smooth fingers running over his warm skin. Usami was surprised where the boy got that skill. Misaki was hitting all pressure points with enough strenght that he almost groaned from the pleasure of it.
"Shit...that feels good. Do it on the nape..." he whispered stubbing his cigarette and closing his eyes.
Usami had to pull away all of sudden the moment Misaki placed his fingers on his nape. He shivered from the sensation. He stared at the boy's face inspecting it whether the boy was doing it on purpose.
"No, not the nape..." Usami hissed turning his back once more. A little surprised he had some stupid weak spot to touch on his body. "Continue with the back and shoulders..."
They continued like that. The boy massaging him, him watching the TV. Just like a freakin peaceful life of a married couple.
To Usami's surprise, the boy lifted his arm. When he turned to look what the boy was doing, the boy with a questioning look pointed at the slight bulge on his upper arm where a tattoo was. An angry rabbit. Or so to say, more like a crazy rabbit with angry eyes. It wasn't cute. It was scary.
"Scared?" he asked smirking.
Crawling away to get his notebook, the boy scribbled something and raised it to Usami.
"So it's 'Usagi-san' and not 'Sagi-san'?" Usami read aloud. Completely gotten used to reading it.
Scratching the back of his head, Usami sighed. "That's some cutesy name, doesn't fit me."
Misaki wrote more and hurriedly showed it to Usami. "I want one too."
The boy waived the notebook in the air, insistent.
"This is done by a professional tattoo artist, idiot."
Usami watched the boy stare at his tattoo. And like something good just came out of his mind, he pulled the boy closer and rolled the long sleeves of the oversized shirt up to the shoulders.
"Fine, let's get you a tattoo."
With a shocked expression, Misaki stared as the silver fox started scribbling something on his arm with the black marker he'd been using for writing. Once they were done, Misaki looked down at his skin with a frown and then stole the pen from Usami and wrote on his notebook.
"Your drawing sucks," Usami read.
Usami was about to get a little annoyed but the boy chuckled while looking down on his unproportioned tattoo rabbit on his left arm. Soft, cool...like a sound of water from a calm lake.
Usami put on a serious face while putting on his shirt once more. "You can laugh, but you don't talk. What's up with you?"
Misaki's face from a smiling one turned like a storm had just passed over him. He wrote something on his notebook and showed it to Usami.
"I just forgotten how..." Usami read aloud. "Forgotten how? Is that even possible?"
Usami flicked his tongue and motioned for the boy to come closer. If he would have to read a novel then so be it. It would be better to just look at it while being written down than have to wait until its finished.
"You really want to know?" Usami raised a brow. "Don't make it sound like I am dying to know it."
Misaki's green eyes watched Usami for a few seconds before sighing and off his hands glided down on the smooth paper. Telling a tale that perhaps, others didn't take seriously.
Usami's eyes went from one word to another, reading through his mind.
"My dad brought me to a huge house...introduced me to an auntie when I was still very young..." the first sentence said. "He said we're just there to visit. But when the night came, he left me. He walked into that pathway with his broad back facing me. I screamed and cried and yelled calling him. But he never once looked back."
For a few seconds, Usami darted his eyes at the brown hair almost just below his nose. Then looked back at the notebook.
"I don't know. But it scared me. His shadows growing bigger as I call on to him. After that night, the auntie said she'll be taking care of me. When I wanted to ask why...I realized I couldn't produce a sound. That's just how it is..."
With an unimpressed face, Usami exhaled loudly. "That's it? Your reason for not talking? That's...pretty shallow..."
The boy's profile looked hurt for a moment but then he smiled. It looked bitter though. He scribbled once more, the sound of a pen scratching on the paper sounded more loudly than the faint TV sounds.
"I guess, it's because it traumatized me that even though my throat hurt from calling out to him, he didn't look back. As if I couldn't reach him. The feeling was painful, it made the abandoning more real. Maybe I am just afraid to have that same experience?"
Without thinking, his huge hand just went on top of the boy's head shortly. "Don't ask me."
"Hmmm?" Usami noticed the boy writing once more. "Why are you working so hard, day and night?"
The older man slid down on his futon and exhaled uninterestedly. "None of your business," he replied closing his eyes. "Turn off the TV and the lights. I'm going to sleep now."
Without pressing for more, the boy stood up and did as he was told. Misaki readied himself before the heater on the hard floor with a thin blanket just below Usami's feet.
Through the moonlight coming in from the glass windows, Usami could see the boy trying to figure out how to get a comfortable spot near the heater without even touching Usami's mattress. With one eye open, Usami stirred from where he was lying which made the boy look at him.
"Crawl in. That is if you don't feel uncomfortable," Usami mumbled in the dark, pulling the thick blanket for invitation.
The air outside the apartment made a slight hissing sound. Together with hesitantly sounding movements, Usami felt the mattress for one be occupied by two. Misaki had crawled in, a slight sighing as if the mattress gave him so much happiness.
Usami closed his eyes. He didn't know what was the boy thinking at that time. But he didn't budge, he didn't threw a spiteful remark when the boy held on to his arm, snuggling closer to him than Usami was intending to offer.
And as the temperature rose, Usami opened his eyes lightly. His shabby room showered with silvery rays from the moon outside as if he was in a fairytale all of a sudden. Lavender eyes roaming the ceiling to the turned off tv to the brown hair under his chin, Usami inhaled.
Misaki and him were using the same soap. They were using the same shampoo. They were using the same water and living in the same shabby place. Why then did the boy smelled sweeter?
Closing his eyes as he pulled the blanket comfortably over them, Usami raised his free arm and pulled the boy closer to him, for the blanket wasn't really made for two people.
Usami thought even without the heater, he would be able to sleep like a log. That confortable warmth by another human being against him felt so natural.
He stroked the boy's hair a couple of times. "I must have gone crazy..."
During his lunchbreak at the construction sight, he was eating alone yet another instant ramen when he caught a familiar black car stop by before him. Usami instantly lost his appetite and stood from where he was sitting and walked away.
Reaching a deserted street, that was when Usami hopped inside the car. His face devoid of any expression.
"What brings you here?" Usami asked, eyes at the windshield.
A man dressed in a sleek black suit wearing darkglasses sighed and bowed at Usami.
"Sorry for interrupting your lunch, Sagi-san."
"You already know I stopped being an informant. So why did you have to come here?"
The man beside Usami took a photo and handed it to Usami with shaking fingers. Usami was still the highly esteemed informant who knew all the dirt of the people in the top of the black markets and even in the government. They wanted to kill him. But they also respected him. Besides, they already knew that if something happened to this silverfox, all their dirt would come flying to the media and that would be the end of them.
So off this man, unarmed, poker-faced and confident couldn't be brought down.
Usami didn't look at the photo first. He was just extremely annoyed.
"This...this kid...is kidnapped by our group for ransom. But he escaped and we had a tip that this place is where he took a hiding. We just thought you might have any information about him..."
"A kid escaping you? The underground group Satsu? Have you all gone soft the time I quit?"
The man sighed. "Forgive me Sir, but, my boss wants to make a deal with you."
Usami threw a sharp glance at the man. "I told you I already quit."
Fear flashing even behind his darkglasses, the man gulped. If he angered this "Sagi", he would be dead. But if he angered his boss, he'd might as well not have been born. Either way he was trudging on Death's string. What was there to lose?
"Sagi-san, my boss just wanted to have your little help. If by any chance you got any info about the kid, or if you could even turn him over to us, the boss is willing to pay you twenty million yen."
The silverfox's eyes narrowed. From where the black car was parked, he could clearly see the house he wanted so very clearly. Up on that hill, magestically standing and proud. "I only need fifteen more..."
Usami had no intention of accepting the offer. But the last time he checked the house, there was this business tycoon already eyeing the house. If he didn't hurry...
"He said twenty?" Usami asked, his eyes still at the white house on top of the hill.
"Ah yes!" the underling of the Satsu group replied.
"Give me the photo and I'll give you a call."
Usami AKihiko watched the black car screech out of sight. Exhaling as he couldn't believe he'd have to do his previous job just to be in time buying the house, he pulled the photo from his jeans.
His pokerface turned in a grim expression. And the numbers in his phone he hadn't used for a long while became busy.
When he went home that night, Usami had some cheap coffee beans a co-worker gave to him. As usual, the brunette with his notebook flashed his "welcome home" banner while smiling. Usami turned his gaze away and coldly told the boy to boil water and make coffee.
Usami lifted his black coat off and sat on his mattress, watching the back of the boy bob here and there as he prepared the mugs, the hot water and all that. Also the biscuits Usami bought for the boy before. The room was just simply a room, everything was just a step away from everything.
"Crazy isn't it?" Usami thought. "I never brought anyone anything and yet I bought this brat expensive cookies."
The boy, wearing again one of Usami's tattered shirt placed the steaming hot coffee and the cookies on the low table.
"Go ahead," Usami mumbled, still lazy to move from where he was sitting.
Misaki, eyes glowing at the cute cookies cut into different shapes took one and bit it, then faced the tv that he just turned on.
Meanwhile, Usami just stared at that soft, chocolate hair, thinking about the calls he just made.
"Oh, Sagi-san...I never thought you'd be calling me again, thought you'd already quit?"
"I just want to look at something."
"Oooh, just like the old days. Well, I am at your service. Anything and everything."
"Tell me anything you know about Takahashi Misaki."
There was a long pause in the line. And as Usami waited for the reply, he stared at the photo of an expressionless brunette with lifeless green eyes.
Usami had just contacted one of his wide networks. People who owe him their lives or their business eager to give back to him in anyway possible.
"Sagi-san?" the voice excitedly called. "Since you mentioned 'Takahashi', I looked over the records , and this G Group of Companies popped in. I couldn't point the connection so I called on another of our men in Sapporo where the Aigawa family resides. Looks like anyone who'd want to get their hands on the kid will be able to juice out large sums of money."
"What do you mean?"
"Misaki is the son of the company's CEO to a meer cleaning lady there. So not to cause any disgrace for the family, they took the boy and left him in the care of an old lady who used to be a maid in one of their houses. Looks like they hid the boy's identity from the public since you know the motto of the company?"
"Yeah," Usami replied icyly. "Wholesome Family makes up a steady Japanese future..."
"Yup, since they're a company which is a family oriented one to earn the public trust and patronage, they couldn't risk having a bastard in the family. So the CEO left the boy and caged him in a huge house. Some people who worked for the boy said he was really wanting to escape that house since the beginning. Some rich dad probably thought that pampering the boy with expensive everything's enough."
"And then the boy also stopped talking long ago. And what's more...he's missing."
"A tip came in that some syndicate kidnapped the boy. If the company wouldn't listen to their demands, they'd ruin the company's clean face as a threat," the voice seemed to be shuffling something."Ah...but seems like the syndicate stopped moving for some reason. My men couldn't get anymore information why they haven't made a move yet...Hmm Sagi-san...given that these people are hotblooded, what if they have killed the boy by accident...can't they just bluff that they still have the boy?
Usami closed his eyes, crumpling the photo in one hand. "The syndicate is dealing with a businessman. Given that, for sure he'd be as shrewd as the syndicate and will demand to see the alive face of his son. If the syndicate couldn't show him that, he could just brush off the demand. What's there to fuss about a dead kid even if the truth about the son outside of marriage comes out?"
"Yeah...I get that now...but still...why do you think did they stopped from moving?"
Misaki almost choked from his coffee and coughed there while wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, pulling the man back to reality.
Usami just stared at that small back.
"That's natural..." Usami thought. "The kid's in my house."
As Usami was pondering some things, he noticed the teen just stand before him as if waiting for something. From where he was laying, through the windows, he could see from behind Misaki the white house he wanted. As if everywhere he turned, the house was always there to remind him of what his goals were.
"You want to sleep here again?" the older man asked. And when the brunette nodded, he nonchalantly moved a little to the side to give way.
Both of them lying there, Usami kept on thinking but he couldn't come up with anything at all. Misaki turned to his side, looking up at Usami with shining eyes. Usami wondered what was wrong.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
The brunette just shook his head and snuggled closer to Usami. A habit the silverfox had noticed the boy liked doing.
With totally wide awake senses, Usami's eyes despite the darkness darted to the shirt the teen was wearing. It was his alright, that was why it kept on falling on the boy's shoulders, exposing uncalled for skin.
"Tomorrow, I'll buy you a decent clothing," Usami whispered before closing his eyes. "Want to come?"
Misaki looked up and unceremonously rested his lips on Usami's just like that. Usami was too caught off guard to even blink. After what seemed like just a fraction of a millisecond, the brunette buried his face on the pillow, rigid as a stone.
"What the hell was that?" Usami propped his head on one of his hands and stared at the darkness and the sihouette of the teen's profile. For some reason, his body was hot. As hot as if he had been pushed into a stoak of fire. And his lips were tingling and numb. "Fuck was that?"
Deciding not to pry even deeper for he didn't want anymore headache, Usami turned his back and as he did so, he felt the boy's arm on his arm once more. As if clinging to him or like afraid tomorrow he wasn't there anymore.
Usami exhaled. The boy must have gone crazy as well.
The afternoon was chilly yet bright enough to garner positive vibes from everyone in that small village. Usami who had asked for a leave was walking side by side the brunette who was wearing an oversized coat, nevertheless, the boy never complained.
Many people were on shopping time as well. Walking on his own pace, Usami realized that the boy was already running after him. Sighing exasperatedly, he slowed on his pace, allowing the brunette to walk beside him.
"Go look for whatever you like," Usami ordered. He wasn't really the type to indulge into such matters. Just thinking of picking up clothes and looking at the quality and all that makes him drowsy. So sitting on one of the benches of the department store, he just watched Misaki look around excitedly.
"I have no obligation for this...the more he stays with me...the more messed up my goals become. The more headaches he'd get if the syndicate realized it.
Seeing Misaki browse through the rows of shirts on one rack, Usami discreetly dialled a confidential number.
"Sagi-san! Good afternoon..."
Usami's eyes were fixed at Misaki as he started talking on the phone. "After the money, you intend on giving the boy back to his family unscathed, correct?"
"Of course, Sagi-san...that's always how we worked even before. You know that."
"Let's meet at pier 12 tonight at seven and ready my fifty million," said the silverhaired man before hanging up the phone.
The teen waived using the sleeves of a blue jacket towards Usami. Then once more looked at the clothes. It must be the first time the boy actually got to visit a real department store and choose his own clothes.
"I only wanted the house...nothing else."
The sun was about to set and in the boy's gaze, fiery orange played in his eyes. The taxi ride had been quiet and calm. He would once in a while glance at the older man beside him who had his eyes ahead. He'd been silent the entire time.
Misaki looked at his reflection through the glass panes. He'd been wearing what Usami chose for him since he was too embarassed to choose for himself when it wasn't him paying. The boy smiled happily to himself. To a sheltered boy who didn't have any inkling what attraction and attatchment and relying was, Usami was the one he really wanted to follow to everywhere.
Scribbling to the receipt of what they've bought he had been carrying the entire time, he poked Usami on the shoulders.
"It's almost night time, where are we going?" Usami read.
"Visiting some friends..." Usami sighed, looking away.
Misaki watched the cab drive away. To his left side was the sea and the chilly wind lashing at his face. To his right were huge warehouses Misaki never liked. He didn't like those cold and haunted looking warehouses.
Usami stepped towards one of the warehouses. Misaki looked behind him worriedly, nervous why they were in such an unfamiliar place.
Usami's brows flinched when he felt the boy hold on to his sleeves like a lost child. But Usami just went ahead never stopping.
The old, rustic gate creaked loudly when Usami pushed it open. Misaki's grip on Usami's sleeves tightened. The men looked damn familiar the boy suddenly wanted to puke.
"Sagi-san...you're quite early."
The men in black bowed slightly at Usami. While Misaki tried desperately to hide himself behind the siverhaired man.
"Ah, that brat did gave us a lot of headache, the boss was always mad because of him missing..." one of the guys mumbled.
They were sitting on some dismantelled and rustic car. Other than that, the warehouse was shaking empty. Smelled of old age, rust and salty air.
"I could tell," Usami replied icily.
The silverhaired man turned around and held Misaki's wrist surprisingly gently. The boy's eyes stared at the huge hand holding his wrist. His face contorting in disbelief as this same hand whom he trusted led him to the hand of the same man who beat him up before.
Misaki shook his head violently, his eyes screaming.
"Go with them," Usami hissed. "After the negotiation, you go back to your family and we'll part forever and we'll save each other headaches."
Getting tired at the boy clinging so strongly from his arms, he pushed the boy into the men's hands, them grabbing the boy's hands and pinning them behind him.
"Here..." one of the men cut in, extending a black case towards Usami. "It's twenty mil, no more no less, Sagi-san. Thanks for the cooperation. The boss will be glad."
Usami held on to the case and with one hand in his jeans he threw one final glance at the brunette who stayed at his place for almost a month.
"Ah, don't move too much kiddo!"
Through Usami's eyes, the reflection of the boy's face started searing into the depths on his brains. Those men's hands on the boy's shoulders, those tears of fright and betrayal. But it should be that way even from the start. He couldn't even fathom why he had to be involved.
Usami smirked, not because he wanted but a habit hard to stop despite him not wanting to. His footsteps echoed into the huge warehouse. He walked slow, feeling and smelling the presence of money within his grasp.
"Let's go then? The boss would be glad..."
From behind him, he could hear the men's grasp as they tried to pull Misaki away. But Usami shunned them. What a convenient captive it was to have someone who couldn't talk.
Usami found himself frozen.
A desperate voice called. It sounded so new. Sounded so fragile. Sounded so pathetic.
"Ah shit, did he just shouted?" a deep voice grumbled. "I thought this couldn't speak? Hey put something on his mouth."
Still not looking, his eyes glued at the floor, Usami gripped the case tighter.
"Usagi-san! Do-don't leave! Don't leave me here!"
The begging was shrilly. It was hauntingly strong and desperate. Never did Usami heard such a voice calling him.
"Don't give me to them! Usag-" Misaki started coughing. Choking from his own tears and sobs.
"...even though my throat hurt from calling out to him, he didn't look back."
Usami had the urge to look back.
"As if I couldn't reach him."
But he couldn't.
"The feeling was painful, it made the abandoning more real. Maybe I am just afraid to have that same experience?"
Usami walked briskly out of the warehouse, ignoring the teen's shout. Being the second one to cause the same pain the boy experienced when he was young.
"You're sure so unlucky to be put around heartless men," Usami whispered, his face hidden by the shadows of the night.
That night, Usami went home at an empty room. Tossing the case full of money on the low table, Usami sat on his mattress. Did his room felt so empty and lifeless as this? He didn't notice these things before that punk messed up his pace.
He ran his hand over his face, feeling suddenly tired.
For a long time, Usami just stared at the turned off tv. His eyes wandered to the closed window where the house he was aiming could be seen. It looked distant and so far away somehow.
Every sound his movements made as he searched for his smoke filled his silent room. Feeling for his lighter under his low table, his hand felt something under his lighter. When he pulled it out, Usami supressed a laugh. He didn't know why. He just found it funny.
Flipping through the pages, he was greeted with the "Welcome Home" banner. With nonsense doodlings. With Misaki's failed attempt of drawing something. An oblong face with hair like a pineapple's.
"This is worse than a preschooler's drawing..." Usami commented, his eyes reading the side comments. "This is Usagi-san. He always is frowning but he's really a good person."
"Good person?" Usami whispered. "Brat I just sold you out."
He flipped and flipped when he found a box drawn. He suddenly felt something inside his throat.
"This is our house..." Usami read. "Ahaha..shit..." he whispered as he found he couldn't almost read on. Curse the liquid in his eyes that came out for some reason.
" It's so much like a matchbox compared to my house. But this box here is my home."
For the first time in his miserable and money-centered life, he felt this thing called loneliness. And he started laughing.
Usami closed the notebook and placed it down. He didn't like headaches and be drawn to the world he had turned his back from. But instead, he didn't got a headache. More like, he caused himself heartache. He realized it late. And that was so plainly stupid.
He couldn't sleep. His eyes were fixed at the low ceiling, feeling restless all of a sudden. He turned to his left and turned to his right, still no use. That was when he sat and annoyedly scratched his hair.
His senses were called into focus when his phone rang. It was always him who made the call so receiving one was something new.
"What is it?" he grumpily asked as if he was drunk.
"Sorry, did I disturb your sleep?"
"No...not at all," Usami replied, grimacing at the time. 3 am.
"Remember you asked me about this Takahashi Misaki? I received a tip that the syndicate who took the boy already made their move. They'd be exchanging at 5 under the bridge near here."
Pang of guilt? Pang of what? Usami was too dazed by his own stupidy that he just nodded. "They sure don't waste time. Safe victim, money for the syndicate."
"Eh, that isn't why I called you Sagi-san..." the voice on the other line somehow became softer. "It's just a rumor okay? But it seems like there's another group who had a grudge with Satsu group who's planning to sabotage the deal. If that's true, I'm sure, there'd be blood everywhere."
For a moment, Usami just heard a buzzing inside his skull. What was that again?
"Does Satsu group already knows about this?!" Usami suddenly yelled. "Why are they continuing the deal if..."
"No Sagi-san. This is highly confidential. I just want you to know about this information since it seems like you have something with this deal with the Satsu group. I am just warning you. They're planning on not leaving anyone alive, innocent or not."
Usami looked to his left and to his right. He stood but ended up sitting. His head was just a mess.
"It depends on you how you play this information Sagi-san. Well, that's all my job then. Thanks for your help before, just call me anytime you need something."
He didn't know how many times he dialled the phone number of the boss of Satsu. Even the useless underlings he talked to, he dialled their numbers but no one, not one was picking up.
Usami's heaving chest felt like it was about to explode any minute. The sound of the ticking clock sounded like a bomb in waiting. His eyes slowly trailing the messy mattress towards the closed notebook.
"If...if by any chance...that kid was killed..." Usami thought, eyes dilating, grip on the phone tightening. "Isn't it like...I was the one who actually...killed him?"
The man dashed out of his room not even caring to lock it up. The motorbike of his neighbor who used it for delivering milk suddenly had a different use. Picking up the lock, messing with the engine's mechanic, the vehicle roared to life, causing a loud roaring sound.
It woke Usami's neighbors. But before anyone could yell 'stop', he was already running at the speed of light towards where the exchange would be.
The man's numerous phones he thought he'd never use anymore came handy. As he dashed into the night like the wind itself, he pulled one and screamed at it.
Just like Usami thought, the Satsu group was already there. Eager to close the dealings with the privately owned company's CEO. From afar, Usami ducked, eyeing the four vans tinted black. When he looked at his wrist watch, it said four-thirty. And it seemed like the men from the CEO's side weren't there yet. Seemed like he made it in time.
Usami moved his eyes from the bridge where he was and focused his eyes towards the vans. There were four of them. And working with the Satsu group before had taught him that many rescue teams, even rival teams think that the kidnapped victims' van would always be the one at the back. Protected and guarded. But in reality, the baggage was always at the front line.
Crazy logic by the Satsu group.
Still covered in the darkness, Usami was just waiting for his cue. A gun fire.
He hadn't even had the chance to look back at his watch when it happened. A gun shot slicing through the night. Surprised looks and faces from the Satsu group's men. And then wailings of police cars coming into the scene.
For a change, Usami almost grinned that finally, police men didn't come in late when all the action was already done. Such were the classic movies where just one man saves the day. It doesn't happen that way.
During his motorbike ride, he'd been calling almost all police stations around the area, with the pretense of a concerned citizen realizing a gang war. Hiding the reality that it was huge name syndicates fighting like children.
And when everyone was all busy fighting each other, beating up each other and killing each other for senseless things, Usami jumped in. The sly silver fox about to take his loot while everyone was occupied.
Usami almost even had to stop breathing. The white mist he exhaled could even catch up attention. So he, who left this life a year ago crawled his way to the front van. Carefully hiding himself and also looking inside.
There was Misaki crouched down shaking. Hands on both ears. For a moment, Usami felt sad for the boy. To have experienced something as this would cause another trauma. But he didn't waste any more seconds. He opened the van by force but the boy didn't look at him. He just remained crouching low.
"Good kid..." Usami whispered before grabbing Misaki's hair forcefully. It hurt for Usami to do it but he had to. He had to act rough.
With swift movements, he blindfolded the boy. He tied the boy's hands and the bullet vest he was wearing, he threw it over the boy's body.
"Who-who are you?!" Misaki screamed as Usami started gathering him in his arms.
Usami just smiled. "I swear I'll get you out of here, and your family secret intact."
Call it self redemption. Self justification, but Usami didn't wish to make himself look good and wash the betrayal he did. Just correcting something gravely done. That was it. He'd prefer the boy hating him for the betrayal he did all his life, than drag the boy into his life with no bright future.
His life, he realized, would always come back haunting him. And that would just hurt anyone he'd let in.
Long fingers swiftly placed duct tape over the teen's mouth. The teen started trashing but then stopped midway probably getting exausted. And so, under all the ruckus, Usami carried the surprisingly light bundle away from the danger zone.
It wasn't easy. He almost broke his back from all the crouching and bending he had to do to avoid getting shot and to avoid getting seen. But he forced his way out of sight towards the motorbike he left a couple of meters away.
It was a very long night. The longest Usami could remember. And as he neared a group of cars waiting not far from him near a cemetery, Usami planted a kiss on the boy's nape.
His 'borrowed' motorbike made an angry hissing sound as he slowed down. The people in crisp black clothing went alert at his arrival.
Just then, an old man hopped out of the car. Looking distraught at his son's condition. The boy, though blindfolded and everything clearly had lost consciousness.
Usami, who was having hard feelings all of a sudden pushed the boy over to the old man's hands.
"You better be nicer to your kid Mr. CEO."
Morning rays of the mighty sun started showering them. The helmet Usami was wearing only showed his lavender eyes as he tried to put his motorbike back to life once more.
"Wait..." the old man called. "Thank you for...keeping our family situation...from the police."
"I didn't do it for you. Your son doesn't want to cause trouble. That's just it."
"Uhm, for saving my son and for the call you gave us that there would be a sabotage, we prepared fifty million as a reward..."
A woman in stunning white suit stepped up and extended a check to which Usami saw the amount.
Usami's mind flashed the white baroque-styled house on top of the hill. And his small, shabby room where he had surprisingly had the most enjoyable times he had. Though it was only for a month.
The man's thin lips curled into a contented smile.
"I don't need that anymore..." Usami whispered, turning his back and dashing away from the Aigawa CEO, from the men in black, from Misaki forever.
One month and two weeks later...
"Yeah? I heard they're all wiped out," said Usami to the phone against his ear as he made his way back to his shabby apartment.
For a short while, Usami had to smile at the night sky. It seemed like it was the same sky where some brown chicklet with a busted face followed him earnestly despite all his warnings.
"Yeah, confirmed. Two syndicates erased in the underground market in just one night. What did you do Sagi-san?" the voice asked.
The tall man chuckled as he fixed his eyes at the white house on top of the hill which was bought by a foreigner a week ago.
"Nothing. I called the police on them. Have them bite it off as just a simple gang war and not a kidnapping sabotage.. Snuck the star back to his dad's arms while keeping the family secret still a secret. And now, living a totally boring life of a construction worker..."
"Sagi-san? Hey answer me..."
Usami laughed. "Nothing. I did something and I must be hated to the depths of the Earth."
"Uwah...did you cheat or something?"
When the silverhaired man stood in front of his door. He frowned. There was something wrong with it. He had taped the "Welcome Home" banner made by Misaki by the door. And now it was missing.
Usami looked around. The winter wind couldn't have been that strong to remove the paper he taped ten times to secure it.
The man felt like he just lost something important. But what could he do? The paper must have already flown so far away with no way of retrieving it.
He hurriedly opened the door to get out of the cold. And what he saw standing in the middle numb his mind.
If Usami wasn't holding on the knob, he must have fallen out of his room once more. His blank expression turned into a grim one as he passed by the standing Misaki, throwing his instant cup noodles on the small kitchen counter.
"Why are you here?" Usami asked, his back turned as he stared at the spotless sink. Hands by the edge of it.
"To...to see you...is it bad?" that voice was still foreign to Usami. He got goosebumps hearing it.
"See me? Are you out of your mind?" Usami hissed. "Have you forgotten I sold you out?"
The room seemed to have started circling around them. Silence, the soft winter winds hitting the now curtained window, the ticking of the clock, their breathing. It all boiled down to the feeling of longing if they will just both be honest with it.
"But you...risked your life saving me...for me that's more important..."
"Shit," Usami hissed. "I like you better when you don't talk you know that? Because it seems like you only know how to sprout nonsense things. Who saved you? I was happily sleepi-"
"DON'T TRY TO HIDE IT FROM ME!" the boy shouted. Usami had to turn to look at the brunette. This teen who wasn't talking before had just shouted at him.
"That night, it was you! I am sure of it! You blind folded me, you carried me, you SAVED ME!"
Usami laughed. It almost sounded demented. "Saved you? Where'd you got that?"
"I just know! Because when you feel the person you love so close to you, you feel your heart aching so bad as if it wants to break free from your chest. I felt that! And I wasn't afraid!"
He removed his eyes from the brunette and stared at the wall still with the marks of the crazy writings Misaki wrote in his first night in his room.
"I really like you better when you not talk. You piss me off," Usami whispered. "How can you still love a person, who sold you away for money? Am I looking at a living saint?"
The boy stepped a little closer. Usami realizing that it was the clothes he chose for Misaki before.
"Then what do you want me to do?" Misaki asked, slowly reaching for the older man's hand. "You want me to hate you? But I can't do that..."
"You're an unlucky person, loving a man like me..." Usami murmured, still looking at the wall. In truth he was so happy he could die to see Misaki's face so full of the glow of life. Felt the relief rushing over his body that the boy looked well. All that was fine. Why did Misaki had to say he liked him? Nonsense.
Misaki touched the calloused hand lightly and started weeping there all of a sudden. "I love the Usagi-san who draws badly. The Usagi-san who always scowls. The Usagi-san who hugged me to keep me warm. The Usagi-san who's bossy. Even the Usagi-san who loved money. Usagi-san..." Misaki begged as he tried to lace their fingers together. "I didn't like you because you're perfect. All the imperfections you had, I love them all. Because you accepted mine right?"
Lavender eyes moved from the wall to the searching green eyes before him. "Idiot."
"You could kill me now," Misaki mumbled. "And I'd still forgive you."
Usami's shaking hands reached out to the boy's arms. Usami's face hidden by his hair, he rested his forehead on the boy's shoulder. "You're an idiot...a big idiot..."
His hands from the boy's arms crawled higher. Towards the shoulder to the neck until he was cupping the brunette's face closer to his.
Usami had no more time to even be embarrased. As the both of them stared at each other's teary eyes, Usami remembered he asked this question with an angry face before. Now he was asking the same question with a smiling face it looked really idiotic somehow, he almost laughed behind his tears.
"For how long are you planning on following me?"
Misaki smiled, bursting into more tears for he could remember that question and he just shook his head. Not having any idea before that he'd come to fall for this man so hard.
"Forever," Misaki replied.
For a very long time, they just had their foreheads pressed against each others. Feeling the pulse beating inside their systems so strong it was stronger than a quake itself.
"Misaki..." for the first time Usami called. "I...love you too."
Their lips met softly. As if sensing the warmth, the softness, the soul in it. And sure they were both crazy, craving and longing for each other, the simple innocent kiss went deeper. As if they were searching each other's souls through their mouths. Sucking the life out of them. Killing each other with a kiss so sweet it was intoxicating and fatal.
Panting hard, they just remained like that. Standing by the kitchen counter, the least romantic place to confess their feelings. But at that moment, a castle wouldn't even do. That place was where they developed feelings under normal circumstances wouldn't have grown.
Essences of the passionate kiss dripping down Misaki's lips, Usami wiped them with his thumb.
"Does this mean that we're both gays?" Usami laughingly asked.
"I guess?" Misaki replied giggling. "Are you bothered?"
The older man opened his arms and pulled the boy against him. "I love you. You love me. Is there a rule that says whom to fall for?"
Misaki just smiled and closed his eyes as he snuggled against the warmth Usami provided.
There was no rule whom to fall for. Just rules people made. And though rules are there not to be broken...There is no law that could be higher than love itself.
chapter end notes:
uwah...LoL..thanks for the time...i just went on typing away and before i realized it..this is this long! hahaha