Not all love stories are fairytales. You fall in love with the right person at the wrong time. Or you could fall in love at the right time but with the wrong circumstances. Or two people could fall madly in love, but there's no way to be together. It's like the Sun and the Moon. They're there. But they should never ever collide.
"...and so the prince came and kissed the sleeping princess...waking her up and...-"
"They lived happily ever after..." a young, bored voice mumbled. "Right, Nii-chan?"
Lying on his back, the futon warming his flesh against the cold floor, little Misaki darted his eyes at the window. The night beautiful. The moon specifically round and glowing as if it was a glitter of blue and gray.
"You've told me that a million times Nii-chan it doesn't entertain me anymore!" Misaki whined.
Takahiro, eighteen that time, removed his glasses and closed the story book gently. His smile understanding and patient.
"Eh...but Misaki...isn't it the whole point of story telling at night? To make you fall asleep?"
The boy still wide awake sighed, watching the slow movements of the thin white clouds against the midnight blue sky.
"Nii-chan..." young Misaki called, sounding suddenly more serious. "...doesn't Mister Moon...seem like he's crying?"
"Huh?" Takahiro gave a long look at his brother before looking at the moon. "It's the same as usual. Round and pretty I think."
The older brother ruffled Misaki's hair, resigning to his little brother's stubbornness. It might also be his fault too. He had to forget being a child to support the two of them after losing their parents and in the process, lost his ability to see things through innocent eyes.
"Look Nii-chan...don't you think that Mister Moon is running after something?" Misaki continued dreamily. "Hmmm...like he's running after Mister Sun?"
The little boy scrambled out of the futon and dashed to the window. "Nii-chan! What if like Sleeping Beauty...Mister Sun and Mister Moon have a story?"
Takahiro smiled an uncomfortable smile. "They're both Misters? Maybe you mean Mister Sun and Miss Moon?"
"Eh..." Misaki frowned before looking up once more. "It's Mister Moon! Mister Moon!"
"Hai...hai...Mister Moon it is."
"I think Mister Sun is avoiding Mister Moon Nii-chan, that's why Mister Moon is sad."
For a moment, the older brother who was taking his little brother's ramblings lightly turned serious. As if his own thoughts had been reeled to the younger one's story telling.
Takahiro slowly placed the story book on the floor and went to stand beside his little brother. "Why would Mister Sun avoid such a pretty and gentle Mister Moon? You're thinking too much Misaki. That's bad for your brain," he jokingly added which earned a scowl from the serious boy.
Misaki reached for the window pane and pushed the closed window open. The cold breeze brushing on both their cheeks, Misaki gazed at the shining gem up above the heavens.
"Datte...Nii-chan...Mister Sun is so strong, I couldn't even look at him in the morning...if Mister Moon reaches Mister Sun...he'd melt, disappear and be gone."
"Misaki...?" Takahiro whispered, surprised that from his younger brother's lips came a simple, yet painful conclusion as to why there was night and day.
"What if Mister Moon doesn't care about disappearing? But Mister Sun does for him?"
The dogs from their neighbors started barking as the cold breeze played with the trees. The rustling sound loud as if something would jump out of them.
"Nii-chan, Mister Sun doesn't want Mister Moon to get hurt...that's why he is trying to distance himself right?"
Takahiro patted young Misaki on the head gently.
"Mister Sun also wanted to play with Mister Moon, but they can't. Why are they born like that? Why weren't they born the same? Why can't the two of them just be together both nights and both days? Mister Sun should stop running since Mister Moon doesn't care if he gets hurt!"
The older brother didn't answer and instead just led the little boy back to the comforts of their warm futons. He wrapped his arms around his precious brother and hummed.
Takahiro couldn't answer such a simple question. Because in an adult's point of view, everything under the Sun and the Moon benefits from them not being together. If the Sun and the Moon collided, it would result into chaos.
Why did it feel like his little brother was telling him not a story, but a foreseen fate?
Takahiro buried his face against Misaki's sweet hair. "Misaki...even if your Mister Moon can't reach Mister Sun, just remember the stars surrounding Mister Moon. There are plenty right? So don't hate Mister Sun...because if you noticed...he's all alone up in the sky."
Ten Years Later...
Sweat drops sliding down from his face to his nape, his white shirt completely plastered on his body, Misaki gripped his sling bag tighter. His face annoyed as he stood before a barricade of people trying to squeeze themselves inside the already full trains.
"Please stay behind the yellow lines of the flatform. Thank you..."
"Huh?" Misaki grumbled. "There's no 'yellow line' anymore is there?!"
The eighteen year-old teen scratched the back of his head. "I'll just wait for the next train then...ah but at this condition, it's still going to be the same right?" he thought aloud, cursing rush hour. "Why did I ever run like crazy in the first place...waste of energy."
Misaki turned around, deciding to take a breather farther from the flatform. Just then, at the corner of his eyes, he caught something pass him by. He didn't know why, but his vision went on following him.
Dressed in a simple black v-neckshirt and dark jeans, he stood tall among the rest. What made Misaki look longer was because the black shirt just emphasized how fine the man's hair was. It was long, almost like snow at night, tied in a low ponytail. His hair in front almost covering his face.
"An actor?" Misaki mumbled before getting himself a milktea.
The two of them stood side by side as they waited for the next train in silence. The station almost empty. Misaki hurriedly was about to dash towards the train but noticed his shoelace undone. He tried tying it hurriedly as fast as he could while the next arriving train was about to take a halt. But the moment the teen turned to get in, a whole bunch of people appeared out of nowhere and went rushing in.
"WHERE DID THEY COME FROM!?" Misaki shrieked. "All of a sudden...I'm going to be late!"
In total defeat, Misaki sighed. "Okay...fine...the next train I'd definitely make it!"
"Is...this always like this?" a cool voice cut into Misaki's head. It made Misaki feel nervous for no particular reason at all.
"Huh?" Misaki looked to his left and made an eye to eye contact with the strange stranger. Strange, because it was as if the man was giving off strange air around him. "Hmmm...yeah...it is because it's the morning...you know students, office workers..." Misaki trailed off. His face making a conflicted expression.
"What's wrong?" the man asked. His deep lavender eyes curious.
Misaki hurriedly looked at the train with its doors closing already. "Ah-sorry. I was just wondering if...you have never ridden the trains..."
A low yet composed chuckle escaped the tall man's lips. "This is my first time."
"Eh? For real?!" "Ah could you have been raised outside the country and just came back?" Misaki asked. "The railway system here is very difficult to understand at first but once you get used to it, it's very convenient."
For a split second, the man looked like he was about to laugh. But instead he just gave a small smile before looking ahead for the next train.
"You could say that," the man replied as if it was both the truth and a lie.
When the next train arrived, finally the two with a few other passengers were able to get in. Misaki, despite the fact there was already space to sit on, remained standing at the side.
Misaki knitted his brows when the man who was already in front of a free space, walked over to him and stood beside him too, making Misaki a little annoyed with the height difference.
"You're going to go site-seeing?" Misaki asked, feeling he had to start a conversation or he'd suffocate from the awkwardness and the random unexplainable rise of his heartbeat.
"Yes. But I don't have any idea where to go," came the reply. "I don't mean to be rude...but...shouldn't you be at school? I mean you look like a high school student to me but you're not wearing a uniform."
Misaki laughed. Surprised that despite the awkwardness, he felt comfortable too. "I am skipping today. There's this supersale at a market in Shibuya. I've been waiting for that! Ah but it's quite late already..."
"Skipping school...for a supersale?" the man repeated sounding as if he couldn't believe it.
"A practical guy like myself should never miss a sale!" Misaki blurted a little heatedly.
His eyes smiling, the taller man exhaled as if he had come to a conclusion. "Can I tag along?"
"I don't know where to go anyway...so I might as well see this supersale."
Misaki looked up, not knowing whether to agree or not. However, getting a glimpse of the somehow sad yet gentle eyes looking back at him, Misaki's mouth went off on its own.
"Thanks, by the way...I'm..." the man paused for a few seconds like he forgot his own name. "Usami Akihiko," the man said, extending a hand.
"Takahashi Misaki," the brunette replied, bowing and extending a hand. "Yoroshiku onegai shimasu."
"Yoroshiku," Usami Akihiko replied.
Breaming with people mostly mothers with their little children whining for snacks or rest, Misaki and Usami mingled with the rest. A tiring and fun experience as the loud voices of excited moms over lowpriced goods filled the air.
Misaki was walking energetically, making his way to the home center to buy stuff for their kitchen. "I'm buying new kitchen knives..." he announced but when no one replied, the teen stopped.
Slowly, Misaki turned behind him and a flood of people overwhelmed him. "Eh...where is he?"
The boy whirled around, scanning the crowd. As if his eyes had built in censors, he spotted the man right away. But more than censors, it felt like his eyes would just follow the man everywhere.
Misaki exhaled as he walked slowly towards his new found friend. Every step he made closer to the man, the expression on Usami's face became much clearer and entrancing. Usami's smile looked distant and somehow full of regrets.
"Are those candies really that fascinating?" Misaki asked as he himself scanned the candies in jars in front of a candy store.
"Yeah..." Usami replied, still not removing his eyes from the colorful balls of candies. "Why are they all so cheap? I don't believe this."
Misaki had a conflicted smile on his face. "From what planet did you come from?"
"I...I'm going to buy all of them!" Usami announced, walking hurriedly past Misaki inside the store.
"WAH! Oi! Stop!"
Usami Akihiko raised a blue round candy wrapped in a clear packaging before him. He turned it over and over before throwing a glance at the brunette at a line before a counter, ordering food for them.
Sitting at a far away corner of some fast food restaurant, he watched the boy named Misaki from afar. The boy looked simple but lively. Pure and honest. Somehow, looking at the boy made him feel a little aching inside his chest.
"Misaki...huh..." he whispered, before looking at the pieces of candies he lined up on the table.
"You can't buy them all!" Usami remembered the teen shouting from behind him. Usami smiled to himself because the boy had an expression like what he was about to do was a crime.
The boy grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the store, scolding him like he was a little child.
'"'Why not?'! Look if you buy all of them...what about the others who wanted some too? Besides, you can't eat them all anyway! Instead of candies, buy more practical stuff like raddish or vegetables or meat!"
"Where I grew up, I can't have things like this...and I've never received any."
"Huh? What kind of childhood is that Usami-san?" the boy asked while frowning. "Yosh...wait here."
Usami unwrapped the candy and placed it inside his mouth. Slowly, he placed his elbows on top of the table. His hands clasped together, he rested his forehead on them. His long hair falling before him, he inhaled and exhaled slowly. An act he learned from childhood to stop himself from showing weakness.
"Here. For you, Usami-san," the boy came back to him with a grin. "Now you've received one. So don't do impulse buying, okay?! That's bad for the economy!"
His slightly trembling lips turned into a smile.
"Sweet..." the man exhaled not really pertaining to the candy.
The day was about to end with many people starting to go on their own homes to prepare dinner. Usami Akihiko and Misaki ended up not buying anything for they just went on compairing what was good and what was cheaper that when they realized it, the sun had already set.
Misaki was crying pitifully inside his head at what he missed, while Usami just walked in silence. Since many people were in a rush, a few had bumped into Misaki's shoulder.
"Do I look like I don't exist?" Misaki grumbled while running his hand over his arm.
To the brunette's surprise, without a word his companion pushed him gently on the side, taking the danger side of the road they were taking towards the train station.
"Err..." Misaki wanted to say something, feeling as if he was a young girl being protected by her boyfriend or something. But Misaki found himself not saying anything, as the afternoon sun casted a hue of mysteriousness over the man walking beside him. Usami seemed like he really came from a different world.
"Eh...Misaki!" a young boy's voice called which made the teen and the silverhaired man look behind them.
What they saw was a blackhaired boy, about eight running towards them with a robot in one hand. From a few meters away from the kid was his mother, smiling an apologetic smile for her child's rudeness.
"It's Nii-chan to you brat..." Misaki grumbled. "Ah...Usami-san...this is Hiro-kun, a loud kid from our neighborhood. Hiro-kun, this is Usami-san, a friend."
The kid with his bright blue eyes eyed the taller man from head to foot with his brows twitching. "Misaki...I never knew you had a decent friend like him...Mister! Thank you for taking care of this kitchen freak!"
"HIRO!" Misaki yelled, giving the little boy a smack on the head.
With a hurt face, the little boy looked up. "How dare you do that to me! Me and the Prime Minister are related! You'll pay for this!"
Misaki scoffed. "Yeah? This story of yours again? Well I know the Crown Prince! How's that?"
Usami glanced at Misaki seriously suddenly.
"The Crown Prince?!" the boy repeated sarcastically. "You wish! Ah, it be more believable if Usami-san said he knows the Crown Prince! But you...unbelievable."
"Shut-up! You twerp! Go home!" Misaki embarrassedly poked the boy's cheeks. "I don't want that hearing from you!"
"I'll command Astroboy here to tell the Prime Minister to exile you!" the kid continued, raising his robot at Misaki's face then ran away. His mother saying a little sorry for what her son was blabbering.
Usami and Misaki watched then the mother flicked her son's forehead as they walked first, leaving the two behind.
"Ah that kid is seriously a pain..." Misaki mumbled. "Sorry about that Usami-san..."
Usami then had a distant expression.
"Ah...sorry. I was just thinking," The older man replied as the two started walking again. "You know the Crown Prince?"
"Heh...No...not at all," Misaki answered, waiving his hand in the air. "It's just my comeback to that Hiro. I think I've seen him a few times but I don't really remember the faces. I know it's bad but I don't think I care too much. The Royal stuff and all that hurts my head."
"True...it's complicated..." Usami replied softly.
They both stopped at an intersection in the Shibuya District where a huge electronic bulletin board was airing a news. Them together with the other people looked up at the device as a National concern was being discussed.
"His Royal Highness Emperor Tatsuhiko's condition, according to the Royal Physicians has worsened. They had announced to the public...to ready themselves for anything that might happen. It is with utter..."
Misaki sighed as he started scratching the back of his nape. "I don't understand why almost all Kings and Emperors of the world had to die from some illness. Then like the stories my brother used to tell me, the princess or the prince then would be put into a grave situation. Like he or she would be forced to take over the throne even if they don't like..."
The brunette looked up at the older man looking at him earnestly.
And then Usami opened his mouth. "It's like...they're not allowed to do many things, not allowed to say what's on their mind thinking for the others first...it's like...they're not allowed to have lives," the silverhaired man added. "Right?"
In an instant, it seemed like all the noises from cars, the distant voices of people, the noisy sound of rush hour, everything, just vanished. Standing before the intersections, they just stared at each other. Misaki didn't know why, but Usami was smiling at him for some reason.
"They're all true," said Usami, patting Misaki on the shoulder all of a sudden. "It's pitiful. That's why you're very lucky to have this freedom."
Misaki started patting Usami too on the man's arm as a joke. "You sound like you're a prisoner or something...let's go back?"
The teen started crossing, but the older man didn't move. Curiously, Misaki turned to look at the man.
"Eh? First name?!"
"Can we...meet again?"
Misake gazed at Usami's lavender eyes for a short while. Why do they look like he was running after something? Or as if the man was running out of time. And that gaze was just plainly telling Misaki that Usami just want to spend time together.
All those stuff Misaki thought was just his own interpretation for his convenience. After all, the moment he heard that this man he just met saying he wanted to meet again, sent his chest constricting suddenly he thought he'd choke.
Usami AKihiko looked so bright to Misaki even though he didn't know the man yet that much. And he was very much attracted to it. Strangely, Misaki felt happy.
After that meeting. They met again. They met again and again until their meetings became on a regular basis every afternoon of weekdays and almost every weekends. SOmetimes they'd just sit together on a park and watch little children play. Or sometimes they'd go walk where there was not much people, taking in the peace after a busy day.
What was so strange about it was the calming feeling of just being together felt so great. And each time each learned something new from another, was the feeling of a reason to look forward to the next meeting.
It was like they were already best friends. But Misaki couldn't use that word to describe his relationship with Usami AKihiko. Bestfriend just couldn't explain as a whole why he was starting to feel like he would totally feel miserable if one day, the man stopped seeing him.
"Usami-san...looks down today..." Misaki thought, glancing at the man sitting beside him secretly. "Usami-san...you seem out of it today...have a problem?"
The man looked up the blue sky and closed his eyes. "No...I was just thinking how sad I would be if one day, I couldn't meet with you anymore."
The brunette's mouth opened in a silent gasp. The sudden strong breeze sending dried leaves everywhere, and the sound of it didn't sound good in Misaki's ears.
"What are you talking about Usami-san?" Misaki forcibly laughed. "It's not like someone's stopping you. We can always spend time like this you know?"
Misaki thought his heart would flip out when the man turned to look at him.
"I'd love that..."
In that place, where the trees' branches were dancing, and the fallen leaves were flying, and that sad but gentle smile on that man's face, Usami Akihiko seemed suddenly like a prince. It caught Misaki's breath away.
"What's with you today?" Misaki asked, standing up to hide his heated face. "Uhm...do you want to eat at our house? Nii-chan will be coming home today too! I'd been dying to let the two of you meet!"
"You're house?" Usami repeated, his face brightening.
"Yeah...next time, show me yours okay?"
Usami stood too, his manner graceful. He nodded slightly, but there was something in his smile that said it might not be possible.
Usami stood by the kitchen door frame. He watched with a gentle expression the back of the teen's head while doing some chopping. The sound of the knife against the cutting board, the sound of the boiling broth in a caserole and Misaki's soft humming.
"So this is how it feels?" Usami thought. "Such a very warming house. It's small...but very warm."
It was the first time Usami saw someone else cooking, a boy at that, so watching how Misaki seemed to enjoy what he was doing from that distance was a pleasure in itself.
"If they knew what was going on inside my head..." Usami smiled a mocking smile. "They'd all have heart attacks."
"This is not normal...is it?" the man brushed his long hair to the side. "What is normal in my life anyway?"
Sensing someone watching him intensely, Misaki turned around with a spatula in one hand. His yellow apron with ducklings in front looked extremely adorable that Usami despite having serious thoughts started smiling.
"Usami-san? Why are you just standing there? Come here...I need a tester."
"Tester?" the older man stood beside Misaki, staring at the creamy soup boiling before him.
Misaki took a small plate and scooped a small amount on a spoon. Smoking hot, the teen had started blowing on it to cool it off.
The more Usami stared at what Misaki was doing so naturally, the more Usami found himself sinking deeper.
"Here, careful it's hot," Misaki offered, extending the spoon to the man like how an adult gives food to an infant.
"I'm not a baby you know?" Usami grinned. "But thanks for the service."
Leaning down, he sipped the creamy broth from the spoon Misaki was holding. He looked up as if rating the taste. And then he smiled happily. Really happy. Why can a simple house cooking taste all damned so better than skilled cooks?
"It's great! ...give me another one."
Misaki smiled back, looking embarassed. "Eh...I'm not that great...but thanks..."
The boy started getting another for Usami. And like the first, Misaki started blowing on it to cool the soup once again.
"Gods out there...I am in love with him."
"Here, careful, I might just shove the spoon down in your throat..." Misaki joked, but his face was really red.
"I love him...how can I love him this much?"
Misaki knitted his brows, the spoon still waiting. "Usami-san?"
"I shouldn't...But it just happened..."
Usami leaned down. Not to get a taste of the soup this time, but down on the boy's half-parted lips. The spoon with its contents fell on the floor with a clatter. And the kiss, suffocating the teen, held on to the kitchen counter for support.
Misaki's eyes were opened wide. His shock painted all over his face as the sensation of another warmth clash against his. Seeing Usami's closed eyes and those long lashes, Misaki relaxed. And without a care in the world or what was right or wrong, clumsily returned the kiss.
For how long? For how long they kept on exchanging those seals of expressions not all would understand, no one knew. It was just that after that, they were both running after their breaths, their foreheads pressed together.
"I'm sorry...I love you..." Usami whispered, circling his arms around the boy's body.
Teary, Misaki exhaled. "This...feels like it's supposed to happen, I think."
Misaki was there busy with preparing the table when the door bell rang. Usami was behind him, clinging like some child and wouldn't let go.
"U-sa-mi-san...really...!" Misaki hissed but obviously laughing. "That's probably Nii-chan! Let go now!"
"I'll take the door."
"Thank you!" Misaki replied while smiling, watching Usami's back disappear through the door.
When Usami opened the door, the big brother of the house was looking down, checking a scratch on his shoe.
"Misaki...sorry I'm late...it was just so busy with.." Takahiro looked up, for he smelled a cologne. And his younger brother never wore any.
The moment the two men's eyes met, Takahiro dropped his briefcase.
"Ah Nii-chan!" Misaki called. "Okaeri!...eh...what's wrong?"
Takahiro picked his case up hurriedly and bowed uncomfortably at the visitor. His eyes contorting into shock, confusion and bewilderment.
"Remember the special friend I met a few months ago? I invited him over!" Misaki walked towards the two men and introduced them.
"Nii-chan, this is Usami Akihiko...Usami-san...this is my Nii-chan, Takahashi Takahiro."
Usami extended a hand which Takahiro took hesitantly.
"Pleasure to meet you Takahashi-san," Usami greeted.
"P-pleasure to meet you..." Takahiro replied, looking at his brother after with a happy face.
The three males, sitting comfortably around the table and talking nonsense maintained this relaxed atmosphere. But deep inside Takahiro's suit, he was perspiring a lot from being tense.
"Ah...I'll get more soup..." Misaki said after noticing the almost empty bowl.
After the boy left the table, the two men looked at each other meaningfully.
Usami Akihiko placed his finger before his lips, telling Takahiro to not say anything.
"Misaki doesn't know anything," Usami said almost to a whisper. "I didn't know he's your brother. I thought you two only have the same last names."
"But...the Imperial Palace..."
Usami looked behind him and glanced at the still busy Misaki before eyeing Takahiro.
"This is my temporary freedom. You know the Emperor's health isn't getting any better. This is the proposal that the Grand Steward came up with, you must know because you're working in the Imperial Household Organization. I get a short freedom, before taking the throne..."
Takahiro had so much more to say, but when Misaki came back and the cold expression of the Crown Prince changed into a warm and welcoming one, his tongue rolled back.
Working in the Imperial Household Organization allowed Takahashi Takahiro to see the Royal Family. It was their job to solve problems or any issues between the Emperor and the Crown Prince since the two didn't really communicate with each other.
"He always had a stone face...everytime I see him. He's never had any expression at all..." Takahiro thought to himself. "But he so smiles and acts so unguarded and acts like a normal human around my brother..."
"Ah...Usami-san...my brother works at the Imperial Household you know?!" Misaki beamed with pride. "He's really awesome."
Usami smiled. "You're lucky to have such a brother."
Takahiro could only watch in silence. As if he wasn't there and just watching a film from afar. Without any explanations, he could already tell. Without any words he could already feel, that the Crown Prince adores his brother so much. Just by thinking it, the protective brother couldn't muster an objection.
Even Takahiro could understand why his brother didn't recognize the Crown Prince. The Royal Family could be rarely seen, not to mention Misaki being not interested with Royal and imperial affairs.
The Crown Prince grew up away from his family. Raised and trained at an early age for the duties of the Emperor in line, the Crown Prince had no really chance of doing what the children his age were allowed of. He was like an open, blank paper where all the stuff and mind-set needed to be a great Emperor would be engraved.
In short...a lonely life at an early age. Though they were not allowed to show such negative feelings, Takahiro could already imagine what this 'Usami Akihiko' has been going through. He was the only child. It was inevitable for him to take on the throne. And eventually must produce an heir himself. Because blood lineage was a sacred thing.
Takahiro didn't know what to feel. So, out of pity to the man and concern to his brother, Takahiro decided, he'd just let the course of things unfold. Extending his understandings far enough to overlook that his only brother was with the Crown Prince.
That night, when the brothers were about to sleep in their own rooms, Takahiro knocked on Misaki's room. Slowly he entered and sat on Misaki's bed. The teen was by the window talking on the phone. Perhaps to Usami Akihiko.
The moment Misaki finished talking, he grinned at his brother and jumped on his bed.
"Nii-chan, what can you say about Usami-san?" Misaki asked eagerly. "I don't get him sometimes why he acts like a child...but he's a good person isn't he?"
Takahiro for no reason grabbed his brother into a tight hug. Looking up, he ran his hand up and down on Misaki's back.
Misaki smiled shyly. They never got to be this close since both of them were already grown up. The teen missed it, but he was also a little disturbed about it.
"Why so suddenly Nii-chan?" Misaki asked, his chin resting on his brother's shoulder.
"WHy, do I have to need a reason to hug my brother?" Takahiro grumbled, squeezing Misaki even harder.
"Ah...can't breath Nii-chan!" Misaki laughed.
"Misaki...whatever happens...You can always rely on me...Do you understand?" Takahiro said, almost wanting to cry. For the Sun and Moon story that his little brother came up with years ago seemed like it was about to begin.
One day, Misaki woke up to the news in the TV; His Royal Majesty Emperor Natsuhiko collapsed into a coma.
It was rare for his brother to look so anxious before leaving the house in a hurry. Well Misaki could undertand considering his job. And so, Misaki ate his toast absent mindedly in front of the television. Watching as if it was just any other news he saw everyday.
All day long, Misaki had his eyes focused at the screen of his phone. He had sent so many mails to only one person that day and yet, not a single reply came.
The teen then just passed the park they always had their afternoon chats after school and saw it empty. Usually it was Usami Akihiko always the one early too. Worried that something might have happened, Misaki went home, sending another message of concern.
But like the many other mails he sent, they all had not been given a single response.
That one day got repeated. Then thrice it happened. Another day was added, until Misaki could not count on his fingers anymore the days that he didn't hear anything from the man who confessed to him.
It was a Thursday. Another Supersale came where Misaki was hoping he could go with Usami like the first time they met. But even a glimpse of the silverhaired man wasn't there.
Misaki went on his own, walking in circles, worried to death and anxious what could have happened to the man. Not at all focused to the shopping he had to do.
"Why wouldn't he answer me..." Misaki was deep in thought, walking in the shopping center like a directionless paper plane. "Did I do something wrong?"
For the fifty-sixth time that day, Misaki placed his phone against his ear, listening to the never ending dial tone.
The lively shopping center filled with people all seemed to have halted at the huge flatscreen TV in one of the appliance section. Misaki was still absorbed into listening to the dial tone when finally he found it disturbing that all eyes were focused in one direction. So phone still on his ear, Misaki turned to where everyone was looking at.
In one moment the entire nation was hushed. The term Hougyo flying everywhere in the news filled Misaki's eyes and ears. A word that embodied the meaning that a mountain has fallen down. The Great Emperor Natsuhiko's death. But he couldn't care less with those things. What made Misaki's time stop was seeing a flash of a picture of a man in a double breasted suit, whose long hair was still tied in a low pony tail. Looking so serious. Looking so cold. Looking so much different. But he knew it was the same man he used to have fun with, used to kiss with, used to hug with.
Misaki's hand fell on his side as he stared at the screen. But all the words and noise were just a messy blurr before him. The Crown Prince Akihiko's reign would start soon.
In a flash, Misaki's weak legs, started taking a few shaky steps back. Slowly, cautiously as if he would get drowned by the concrete floor, he made his way farther away from the shopping center.
"What...huh? That can't be..."
His mind was stark white. His legs just went on walking towards the train station. Running the last blocks into their house and then after getting home, Takahashi Misaki locked himself inside his room for the first time.
Dark, almost no one was awake anymore, yet two shadows walked silently into the hallways of an apartment building. As if they were trained to walk like cats, there was almost no sound made.
Takahiro glanced at his back, his chest drumming crazy. His mouth feeling dry.
"If anybody learns about this...we're screwed..."
Almost clumsily, Takahiro inserted his keys into the slot. How it felt so hard to turn when he normally did that with ease. After a few minutes of opening the door, the opening finally gave way.
"Your Majesty...Please...hurry..." Takahiro softly mumbled, making a way for the Crown Prince who was completely dressed in black. As if he had turned into a bandit of the night.
"I really appreciate this, thank you."
Takahiro looked away. "I'll wait here as a guard..."
When the tall man finally heard the soft clicking sound the closing door made, Usami took his sunglasses off and left his shoes neatly at the genkan. He scanned the place. It was silent and dim and somehow, gloomy.
And then a brunette, looking so tired emerged suddenly from the kitchen.
For a few moments, the boy's green eyes just stared at him with a look that was so filled with animosity. In an instant, Usami Akihiko knew there has been an invisible thick layer of barrier standing between them.
Usami took a step closer.
Misaki stepped back.
"Look, M-Misaki...I came to talk," Usami breathed, sounding so unsure. If the Royal House saw him like that they'd be scandalized. For a prince should always be ready, graceful and perfect.
The teen averted his eyes towards the turned off television set. "Then start talking."
"I'm sorry...I'm sorry that I have made you worried...and, and..."
"Usami Akihiko..." Misaki cut off, a hint of mocking escaped his lips. "Even I know that the Royal Family Members don't have last names...so where did this 'Usami' come from? From the very start, you've been deceiving me."
"Misaki..." Akihiko went on closer. "I just wanted to be treated like a normal person. Even for just a short time."
The boy threw a sharp glance at the man. "Your Highness...should I be honored that the Crown Prince said he loves me? Or should I feel ashamed that I believed all this false fairytales?"
The Crown Prince sighed as he ran his long fingered hand over his face. "I never hid anything from you, okay? The only thing that I tried to keep as a secret is my being the next in line to the throne."
Misaki's hard expression he was so having a hard time keeping started vanishing. The teen's real feelings, the strong facade slowly revealing the reality underneath.
"What did you really come here for?" Misaki whispered, closing his fists in a ball his fingers dug harshly on his soft flesh. "To say that we're over?"
Usami stood silently before Misaki. His eyes searching the green eyes that for the first time in his life looked at him as a man, as a person and not the Crown Prince.
The man slowly reached out for Misaki's face. Cupping it gently, brushing his thumbs against the warm cheeks of the boy.
"I'm right, am I not? You're breaking up this freaking relationship..." Misaki mumbled in a shaky voice, sniffing as he stared hard at the floor. "You're choosing the throne over me."
"I'm sorry...Misaki...I'm really sorry."
The teen struggled to get away but getting tired he just stared up helplessly at the equally helpless eyes looking back at him.
"You shouldn't have made me fall in love with you this much!" the boy shouted accusingly. "...if from the very start, you have no intention of being together for a long time!"
With his small fists, Misaki started pounding against the man's chest. "I hate you...I really...really hate you."
Akihiko inhaled deeply, before pulling the boy to his chest. He didn't care that the boy was struggling to get away from him. He just buried his face of top of Misakis head, closing his eyes.
"All the time that I have been with you...were the only times I thought I am also a person with my own will. They were the happiest...the most cherished part of my existence."
Misaki gritted his teeth. He lost all his strenght. And after a long silence, the living room became filled with Misaki's soft, painful sobs. That each tone sent Akihiko's soul shredding into pieces.
"I don't want this!" Misaki hissed, angrily, sadly, to the point that Misaki couldn't understand anymore what he should feel at once. "Why can't you leave the throne to somebody else?!"
"I'm sorry love...you might still be very young to understand this decision I am making," Usami whispered. "Please I hope someday...you'll be able to understand."
Usami looked up, trying to stop the tears he weren't allowed to shed. But they still ran down from the corners of his eyes.
"Understand?!" Misaki shouted, abruptly jumping back. Getting off balanced, the teen fell on the floor.
When Usami tried to help, Misaki glared at him.
"I will never understand and I don't want to understand! Leave! Leave me forever and take that throne! I hate all of you!"
"Misaki..." Usami sighed, sadly. "I love you."
The older man watched the boy curl himself up in a fetal position. He was hurt too, but eventually, he slowly turned back. The sound of Akihiko's footsteps starting to get far away until they completely vanished. And that was the time Misaki started crying outloud.
The Crown Prince went out of the room with a face that cannot be painted. The proud and commanding demeanor he always had at Royal functions gone. That time he was just a poor man.
"Thank you," Akihiko softly whispered as he made his way out of the apartment.
Takahiro who had his head bowed lifted his gaze up and called for the man.
When Usami turned around, Takahiro striked the Crown Prince in the gut with his fist. It sent the Crown Prince staggering to the wall for support.
Akihiko was wincing in pain but he didn't say anything.
"Forgive me Your Highness, but right now...I'm just a brother."
The silverhaired man breathed in heavily and smiled weakly at Takahiro. "Thank you for not hitting me on the face."
Takahiro watched the down man disappear into the darkness of the hallways. When he closed his eyes, the sound of a car screeching hurriedly away from their complex filled his ears. And after that, he rushed to their flat.
The older brother exhaled as he made his way to his brother rocking himself back and forth in the middle of the living room, on the floor. Takahiro then knelt in front of Misaki, patting the boy on the head.
"I understand...I know what you're going through," Takahiro gently cooed. "It's natural to feel angry."
"Being an Emperor is far more important than being with me? I don't understand...when two people say they love each other...isn't it supposed to be a happy ending?"
"Misaki..." Takahiro squeezed Misaki's shoulder tightly. "That man, Usami AKihiko as what he called himself...very very much loves you. I can tell. It's not a matter of being two males, but he really does..."
"Then why not choose me?"
"You know Misaki...The Emperor symbolizes unity. He carries the sacred traditions, beliefs and holds the nation as a whole. He's the man who connects the past and the present. He can never really throw it that easily..." Takahiro explained patiently. "and to be honest, he's doing this for you."
"There are people who would always know your relationship no matter how hard you try to hiding it. If the nation finds out, it will cause civil unrest. They'd lose faith to the Royal Family and that would be very bad."
"There would be people who would want to harm you, people who would want to make you disappear for in their eyes, you're a nuissance. The Emperor must marry a fellow Royal and produce the next heir and maintain the holy presence as a representative of the gods...He knew, he couldn't protect you at all times."
The wall clock striked two and Misaki buried his face on his knees.
"If anything should happen, the person who would get hurt so bad in the end, would be him."
"Nii-chan...that is just so unfair," Misaki croaked on his knees.
"It's just the way it is. Akihiko-san was born at a time where the only thing he could do is to be selfless for the sake of maintaining harmony..." Takahiro patted Misaki on the back lightly. "And you Misaki...was born at a time where the only thing you could do is to be understanding."
"That's absurd. I don't want to be a martyr," Misaki half cried half, half-laughed.
"Misaki...do you remember...?" Takahiro made Misaki look at him. "...even if your Mister Moon can't reach Mister Sun, just remember the stars surrounding Mister Moon. There are plenty right? So don't hate Mister Sun...because if you noticed...he's all alone up in the sky."
"So I'm the moon...who will forever chase him and yet not reach him..."
"Misaki...I don't expect you to understand things fast. But I don't think now that the moon is running after the Sun. I think, the Moon is taking its own strides at a fixed distance from the Sun at the same time. They're still walking together but allows each other to shine..."
Misaki looked down at his feet, his eyes blurry. "Because if the Moon stood beside the Sun he will be over powered and the moon will lose its identity...?"
Takahiro stretched his legs on the floor and smiled. "I think, Akihiko-san is the saddest person on Earth even when becoming an emperor. He'd be very, very relieved if one day, you started supporting him."
It was just Takahiro's careful words of saying that though Misaki and the Crown Prince fell in love with one another, they weren't meant to be together.
Since that night, Takahashi Misaki started living his life as if the first love he had was nothing but a dream. Entered university as a wait-lister. Got himself a parttime job. But all that time, he could never manage to look at somebody else.
He would once in a while see a photo of a long, silver haired man released by the Imperial Household Organization, aiming only to release the desirable things and news about the Crown Prince.
Sometimes he would find himself crying in front of the TV or soaking the newspaper. It was like the small dot at the end of a very short story, was becoming bigger and was already occupying the entire paper. The end. But Misaki felt like there wasn't really any end. He shouted some painful words the very last time he saw Akihiko, the Prince Apparent.
Misaki stuffed his mouth full with Gyozas that night as he spent the night alone in their apartment. His brother was busy for the past year preparing for the enthronement of the Crown Prince.
"How many months has it been?" Misaki asked, not caring if some crumbs were falling from the corners of his mouth. His eyes fixed at the television set. "Twenty-two months...since I talked to him...and tomorrow the 'Sokui-Rei'..." Misaki swallowed all the food in his mouth and started coughing hard. At least having an excuse why his eyes were getting clouded with warm tears. "...he'd completely be out of my reach."
That night, not being able to sleep, Misaki went out. The night was very calming and the breeze outside was gentle that the brunette decided to just wait until the sun rises.
He walked in silence, eyes up at the Moon he always found pretty. Now that moon had a different meaning to him. For the reason that he had used the object to describe himself.
Not caring where his feet carried him, Misaki gasped when he realized where he was. As if he broke away from the silent trance, Misaki smiled to himself while scratching the back of his head.
"This park again...what am I? A sleepwalker..."
The boy hurriedly turned around to make his leave. Not anymore wanting to freshen up bitter-sweet memories with the man he knew by "Usami Akihiko".
When Misaki turned, the man, the prince that would be enthroned tomorrow was standing before him.
"Usami...san..." the young man didn't really realize that the name just came out of his lips. A soft voice that sounded very longing.
Akihiko on the other hand seemed like he was blessed with something he was hoping for. As he walked closer to the green-eyed boy with a bewildered face, the thin clouds hiding the moon floated away. And from it's light made everything glow.
They stood before each other. A few feet as their distance.
Misaki's eyes wandered from the tall man's face to the man's hair. The long locks weren't there anymore. It was a clean cut exposing how dignified, fine and authoritative the man's face was.
"Why is he here?! Why am I seeing him here?! Why..."
Trying to ignore his overflowing feelings that made his eyes started watering, Misaki grinned stupidly.
"You look like an emperor now," Misaki mumbled trying to be casual but his voice betrayed him.
"W-why are you here? Shouldn't you be resting...tomorrow's going to be your enthronement..."
"..." the older man just looked at him.
"Ahm...congratulations?" Misaki continued, looking to his side as his tears started shamelessly streaming down his face. "Ah, why these tears?...Sorry..."
Clumsily Misaki wiped his face with his sleeves. "The wind is kinda strong here...dust...they're getting in my eyes."
As the boy continued rubbing on his eyes, the man, Usami Akihiko as just a commoner and not the about to be official emperor extended his arms and in one swift motion, pulled the trembing boy before him into a tight embrace.
"I'm sorry...sorry...I really love you...but there are just things...that has to be prioritized for the sake of the many..."
Misaki inhaled deeply, inhaling the scent he might never get to smell once more.
"I've matured now you know...Even for just a little. I think...I think...you'd make a very, very great Emperor," Misaki replied, the tears he wished to stop just wouldn't listen.
Usami couldn't help himself but to bury his face even more into the teen's neck. Misaki bit his bottom lip as he felt the wet sensation on his skin.
"Please remember, I may be living for the nation starting tomorrow...but my heart is beating for you...always?"
Misaki smiled inspite of himself. "Baka...that would hurt your future Empress..."
In truth, it made Misaki feel a little happy, proud even. Accepting their circumstance completely would never be possible. But that time, Misaki felt strangely overwhelmed that he could only cling to the man like he never wanted to let go.
"Misaki...thank you. Thank you...for everything."
Misaki looked up with his messy face. "You don't have to thank me. It should be me thanking you...Usami-san..." the teen lowered his voice. "I love you."
Usami's reply was a deep long kiss, whispering 'aishiteru' in between. Misaki just stood there, relishing every moment, every second that this man before him was just his. Even for the last time.
The moment the older man left to get back to his quarters...was the time Misaki finally let the painful sobs out of his mouth. At least he was able to wave goodbye at his Prince with a proud and happy face. Not the face that was having all kinds of sadness on it.
"It's just really sad, that I can't even be the one who'd step two steps behind you..."
It was bright and sunny. All the faces around Misaki had this excited glow on them. They were almost squeezed with one another it was even very hard to move. But Misaki remained standing there. Standing a few meters away from the road where the Parade would take place.
Misaki felt a little proud that out of the many people there, he got to see the childish and sweet side of the Emperor.
"You'll be a very great Emperor...And I'll study hard..."
Misaki sniffed into his handkerchief, remembering how he'd asked his brother how the Enthronement takes place. He wasn't interested in it until this time.
He stood there and waited. He stood there and when the people from the very end of the long line along the road started clapping, Misaki stood on tiptoes.
"Usami-san..." Misaki couldn't help it. He started crying once again as the slow parade took place. As it slowly went nearer to where he was standing. Perhaps, in that crowd, Misaki was the only one not clapping.
Black cars, black motorbikes and a very formal parade passed before Misaki's eyes. It was like he went back in time. And even from afar, Misaki could already see the Rolls Royce Corniche convertible where the Emperor was riding.
People beside Misaki started screaming 'Banzai! Banzai!'. Waiving flags of the country and welcoming the man. But Misaki couldn't speak or move when from a few meters away from him, finally he saw not the Emperor but his Usami-san.
For a few seconds, Misaki knew he had started breathing. He knew he was once again smitten. By that dignified person representing the whole of Japan.
Misaki whimpered. His toes hurt but he went on standing there. As he cried there, Misaki still tried to chuckle.
"Usami-san...that smile...looks weird on you..."
The silverhaired man, surrounded by securities on mobil at a respectful distance was smiling a smile that seemed calculated. Waiving his hand slowly as if entrancing the many. Misaki was so happy he was able to get to see the man's smiles coming from the heart.
"Why...the music the band is playing is very joyous..." Misaki mumbled, but his eyes wouldn't listen to him. That time, it only listened to his chest.
People beside Misaki couldn't help patting him on the shoulders thinking he was just very overwhelmed.
Amidst the people clapping their hands in welcome of the Emperor Akihiko together with the rest of important people following his car, Misaki remained motionless.
"Who would have thought...that the me who never paid attention to this family...would be here right now?"
Misaki inhaled and exhaled. "It suits you...being an Emperor..."
"This is the responsibility I chose over my own happiness..."
Akihiko waived slowly. He would occasionally bow his head at the people rejoicing over his enthronement. And though he was happy. It hurt as well.
His slow parade, organized and could make one shiver from the solemness of it went on.
And then he saw him. He saw Misaki, awkwardly trying to stand higher.
No one saw it, even the cameras following the Emperor wasn't able to capture it. That single tear Usami shed as he and Misaki miraculously met gazes. Out of the hundreds of people they still saw each other. Like they knew where their other half was.
Everything turned slow motion. Just the two of them.
Misaki smiled inspite of his messy crying face. Usami smiled back.
It all happened so fast that before Misaki and Usami could gather their senses back, their distance from each other was already wide.
The car had already passed Misaki's spot.
They were on that moment, where they would be in two different directions.
They could never be together but thinking both were under the same sky, looking after each other from afar seemed like the greatest assurance they could cling to.
Like that childish story of the Sun and the Moon. Both would shine on their own and yet when they turn back they would know that the other one would always be there.
The parade went on. And as the car where Usami was grew its distance from Misaki. And as Usami's view became more distant in Misaki's eyes, they both saw that clear line of separation.
The Emperor smiled, whispering 'Aishiteru'.
And Misaki there in the sea of people pulled himself together.
***Sokui-Rei- is the second part of the Three Enthronement rituals that a few parts could be seen by the public.
***FYI; the Royal family members don't have Last Names.
***the Empress usually walks two steps behind respectfully from the Emperor.
***the Emperor doesn't have a crown. But Three regalias; a sword, a mirror and a jewel.
***I changed the name of where Takahiro is working for, for respect.
***The events here are purely fictional and any similarities to a person or an event is unintended.
***i don't want to be detailed with the enthronement...it's very complicated.
***interesting fact: the last Enthronement happened in 1990 for the current Heisei Emperor.
***who knows? maybe Usami and Misaki would meet again! hahahaha
CHAPTER END NOTES:
Thank you for reading this story. Hai Hai..be mad at me for not making them together. But I feel like it. Hahaha...gomen.
THANKS FOR READING AND I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS STORY. PLEASE TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS. I'd love to hear from you guys.
Thanks for those who've been always supporting my oneshots..they mean a lot to me. I could never thank you enough. The encouragement and all. LoL..(I sound as if I won an award) (Sorry...i just found myself sad as well...hahaha what did I do?!)
also...I made a cover art for this story and i really like how it turned out! so please check it out at mainichiyaoi or yaoinessfics-shuusetsu in tumb L R.