Misaki was crying. He was crying so hard Usami had never seen before.
The boy was in a tight ball, trembling. He was pushing himself in the corner of the room as if wanting to escape.
"Misaki?" Usami asked worriedly. "What's the matter?"
Green horrified eyes looked up. The boy's eyes were unfocused and screaming of terror.
"No...someone..." Misaki whispered, tears streaming down his pale face in panic. "Don't do this ..."
It wasn`t making any sense at all. That dark room. That ticking wallclock. That doorknob shaking like someone was forcing it open.
"Misaki I'm here!"
But Misaki started screaming. A scream that sent a chill run down Usami's every living nerve.
Usami glared at the door which was opening very slowly. Every creak it made echoed into the room, every menacing footsteps were like death coming.
By instincs to protect the reason he was even living, Usami lunged forward. Towards the fucking intruder.
To Usami's surprise, he didn't even have a body to do it. No hands, no feet, no flesh. It was like watching a scene in a movie from a black and white television.
The dark form from the door moved forward. He was a plain shadow. A shadow with a knife.
"Misaki run! Run!"
A huge black hand grabbed Misaki's thin neck. Fingers dug to his flesh deeply, Misaki's feet left the floor. His guttoral noises, his heartwrenching whimpers were too much to bear.
"S-stop..." Usami uttered in horror. "Stop..."
The knife was raised. It shone brightly and proudly.
Usami screamed a soundless scream. His mouth dry as a desert.
The knife went right through the boy's tender flesh. To his chest where his beating heart was. Over and over, the shadow dug into Misaki. The sound of the knife slicing through flesh, the sound of the knife hitting bones, the sound of the gasping breathing were all so clear.
Blood on the walls, blood on the floor, Misaki's crimson lips moved.
Usami didn't hear it. He was sure he would die too.
And then the alarm clock finally broke his agony.
Running after his breath, the white ceiling was what greeted Usami. His hair was plastered on his forehead. He could feel the dampness by his blanket sticking to his naked upper body. And the tightness in his throat where he could feel his thundering heartbeat made him teary eyed.
Everything was just a dream. He knew it was from the very start. But there would be no better proof that it had only been a sickening nightmare than this. For that he was grateful. A sigh of relief escaped his lips.
"Misaki..." Usami whisphered the sweetest name in the world, and just by the sound of it made him scramble to his feet.
The man ran from his room barefooted. To where the inviting aroma of tea and the happy sizzling of omelet rice was coming from.
Usami didn't make any sound. He just stood there watching the boy's delicate back prepare breakfast. Usami just stood there without noise but Misaki glanced behind him with a bright smile. Like the boy from a certain connection would know where his other half was.
"Ohayo Usagi-sa-" Misaki was left in the middle of his sentence looking ridiculous. "..W-why are you walking around half-naked?" The teen asked suddenly with a scowl. "Please go and put something on!"
Usami just stood there, as if in a museum appreciating a great piece of work. Marvelling how he could never get tired of Misaki's entirety.
"W-what are you staring at?!" The boy shrieked, facing the pan once more.
"Nothing...It's just that..." said Usami with a smile. "...I love you..."
Misaki flinched. "S-shut up!"
The sound of the older male's chuckle felt more of a tease. Usami turned around to fix himself, satisfied at the redness of Misaki's ears.
Just as Usami was ready reaching for the stairs, the man paused halfway.
"By the way Misaki..." Usami called in a much louder voice.
"I'll have additional locks for all the rooms here."
There were some weird sounds of something falling and crashing. Not long after that, Misaki emerged with one hand holding an empty cup, face in displeasure.
"Why all of a sudden? The security here is almost the same as a prison you know?" Misaki started, nagging like a mother. "Spending money again without thinking!"
"Misaki...the eggs're gonna burn..." Usami said in a voice that made Misaki's brows meet in a deep furrow.
"He's not listening...tsk...baka Usagi..."
Usami heard his unhappy lover's retort but continued climbing the steps anyway. Even if he ended up broke if it was for Misaki then there would be no more room for discussion.
Usami could make millions of yen whenever he wanted, but a human, his Misaki only got one life to live. He'd do anything to keep that life safe.
Call it paranoia that just that dream made him come up with this drastic measure. But the next day, all new locks had been installed. Making Usami's flat virtually impossible to infiltrate.
After the comforting and lively scent of Spring, came the unbelievable heat of the summer season.
The heat was too much. Every summer seem to be increasing a couple of centigrades people were starting to complain. The airconditioning of Usami's car wasn't helping too much. The heat, the humidity was getting in through the slightest and smallest opening making him irritable.
Add the nagging presence of his editor Aikawa, and Usami Akihiko had the complete recipe for one ruined day.
"Why do I have to drive with you?" Usami hissed, pressing on the accelarator harder, making his car fly into the humid road. Thank heavens there wasn't any traffic build up. "You have your own car."
"Ahaha...Usami-sensei...you'd be better off being a gentleman to me once in a while," the woman editor hissed back with a forced smile. She was on the passenger seat fanning herself with her hand "Who do you think it was who had to break her back apologizing and extending a deadline? Huh?"
The author chewed on his lips. He knew he'd been missing a lot of deadlines the past months. Even him couldn't concentrate at all. Thinking back, it probably was because of the nagging dream he had been having before Spring ended. That dream where Misaki was being slaughtered was enough to make him lose his appetite and lose his sleep.
"Ah...Usami-sensei...don't ever think of running away!" Aikawa threatened, narrowing her huge eyes. "You have to meet the actors and actresses playing your novel."
"I won't. How many times do I have to assure you?"
"Until you're already seated with me at the round table. Hmft."
Usami sighed and focused his eyes at the road. Good thing they were heading to Marukawa Publishing for that novel adaptation meeting. At least he would get to see his Misaki who was doing a part-time job for the company. That would only be at least his merit considering he'd rather build a cocoon inside his flat than drive and walk around meeting strangers in this dreadful summer heat.
After reaching the prominent building, Usami Akihiko excused himself for the men's room first. He really had to splash some water on his face or he'd dry to death. He tugged at his tie, making it loose. Weird that it was only him walking in that usual crazy hallway.
"..." the man glanced behind him. He was sure he heard a faint sound of shoes clicking just behind him. But there was none. And so he continued his walk towards his destination, brushing the eerie feeling of someone watching him from all angles.
At a crossing, two person's passed Usami. Both oblivious to the silverhaired man's presence.
"The latest installment was really great Sensei!"
"Ah really? Well...I can't disappoint fans like you, can I?"
And Misaki, together with Ijuuin Kyo laughed together. Their distance from each other like that of an old and long buddies.
It was all Usami could do to remain fixed on where he was standing. All of them were under the same company. It was only natural for them to meet each other on the way and exchange pleasantries. Still, it was pain lingering in his chest.
Usami's eyes followed the two until they disappeared from his vision. He could feel anger and envy rising up in his chest but he trusted Misaki. He knew Misaki wouldn't do anything. It was Ijuuin he didn't trust.
The novel adaptation meeting went well. Because Usami Akihiko was very accomodating he didn't raise any objections to some changes they'd do in his novel. Normally he'd have thrown a fit. He must have been just a little too considerate that he just nodded not understanding what Aikawa was saying.
The man looked up, blinking drowsiness away. "Huh?"
"Mou...sensei...I know I forced you to finish this one project too much so please go and rest. I feel guilty now looking at your pale face. I'll drive."
The rest was plain history. Before Usami knew it, he was already at the backseat of his own car, grunting in an unusual headache. A fever might be even coming. Really, idiots were the only ones to catch a cold and get sick during summer. He also had to prepare himself from a little brunette who'd nag at him again for not taking care of himself properly.
"Aikawa...don't drive so fast...I'd throw up."
"Eh..." Aikawa looked at Usami through the rear view mirror. "You must be really whacked up for you to complain about my driving...you were always...'faster!' like a tyrant...you must be dying already Usami-sensei!"
"Yeah...and you don't look the least bit worried."
Aikawa just laughed and slowed down her driving.
That night, Usami spent his hours rolling over his bed, checking on Misaki in his room and then checking all the locks. Everytime he closes his eyes, a bloody Misaki was what he sees. Each time getting more and more realistic that it was draining him.
It must still be that excruciating hot morning in the summer like it used to be, but with Misaki sitting at Usami's bed, somehow, everything was just refreshing. Talk about a brain filled with love that nothing could be impossible.
"Usagi-san...you're grunting in your sleep..." Misaki mumbled, his eyes mixed with worry and something Usami couldn't read. "Are you...alright?"
The man tried to sit but the boy pushed him down gently. "You don't have a fever but please just rest for today. I'll come home early."
Usami reached for the boy's cheek with his palm. It was soft to touch and made Usami calm. His lips slowly curled up.
"Misaki...I'm kind of getting turned on with that look on your face."
"B-baka!" the boy mumbled but he didn't move away either. "U-Usagi-san..."
Lavender eyes went from Misaki's face to the boy's neck down to Misaki's hand clutching the bed sheet. And Usami found something peculiar.
"Misaki...it's summer and you're wearing a longsleeved shirt?" Usami asked curiously, his hand from the boy's face tracing down the lenght of Misaki's arm. "It's so hot outside you might get a heatstroke."
Misaki smiled and stood, readying himself to school and his parttime job. "I'm alright. Please just stay on the bed. I got pudding in the fridge so eat that later."
Usami's eyes never left Misaki's form until the door hid Misaki from his sight. It must be just his imagination. Or it might just be him being over protective. But he was so sure Misaki's smile was not a smile of someone happy. It was a sad smile scratching into Usami's insides.
"Is someone harrassing him?" Usami asked himself, eyes fixed at the ceiling. He knew Misaki was the type to keep everything for himself if it meant not worrying Usami and the people around him. But at this rate, Usami was bothered just the same. "Some fans I have? At Marukawa? At school?"
Surprisingly, that afternoon, Usami was feeling a lot better. Deciding he'd just fetch Misaki from school and drive the kid to his part time job, he went out wearing cotton clothing to fight off heat. Just as he was about to leave the flat, his eyes darted to the farthest room in the narrow hallway.
It was a little ajar.
"I locked that last night...did Misaki...?"
Usami sighed and went to it. Holding the knob, feeling its chilly sensation in his palm, he closed it gently. Strange that he had all the keys in the first place.
He felt a little uneasy despite having new locks installed. Maybe he should get more but it would creep Misaki for sure. So he just kept it to himself that there were times Usami felt that someone was really out there waiting for Misaki. Not to mention the dreams. Those dreams as if warning Usami that something inevitable was coming.
Usami didn't call Misaki. The man didn't tell the kid he would be at the university waiting for him. Misaki was all hardworking with his job and studies the past days. So seeing Misaki sitting on a bench with a far away gaze, together with someone who shouldn't be there froze Usami on the ground.
"Ijuuin..." Usami unconsciously muttered.
The author was standing a few meters away from his lover and the dark-haired man. He had hidden himself well from view and still gave him a clear sight of what the two was doing. Somehow, Usami felt pathetic. He wasn't the type to hide himself. Under normal circumstances, he would be already barging with a frown. Telling the mangaka to fuck off. And yet, there he was, standing all alone in a spot hidden by the shadows, trying not to be noticed. Just like those old classics.
Usami clearly knew though why he couldn't bring himself to go near the two. That distant gaze Misaki had, towards the humid grounds of the school made Usami unable to move.
Ijuuin Kyo turned at Misaki with a smile. The man said something but Usami couldn't hear a thing. It was just that he could see the man's lips telling something that made Misaki look at the dark eyes in return.
Misaki shook his head.
Usami was bothered. He didn't like it at all that Misaki was being with Ijuuin. But he wanted Misaki to have as much freedom as he could give. Usami knew he was just being jealous. Could anyone blame him for that?
Usami was sure he stopped breathing for a while. Ijuuin Kyo the bastard in his and Misaki's life reached out his hand to touch Misaki on the face. And slowly, the same hand slithered down to Misaki's shirt collar.
Misaki did move the hand away, but all too weakly Usami had the impression that the kid didn't really abhor being touched by someone else.
Ijuuin smiled weakly and took Misaki's hand in his. The man said something again. And Misaki nodded.
"Misaki, aren't you hot wearing that?"
The boy who was currently setting up dinner plates stopped on what he was doing and looked at Usami in the eye with a dumb expression.
"I mean that shirt," Usami pointed as he took his seat by the table.
"Ah..." Misaki smiled sheepishly. "No...I kinda feel cold to be honest..."
Misaki resumed setting up the tablewares. All the while Usami just watched his lover come back and fort from the kitchen counter to the dining table. The boy's neck was hidden by the rather huge collar, the sleeves rolled out all the way to the boy's wrist.
Although Usami didn't want to be suspicious, Misaki was acting like he was hiding something. Maybe a mark? A hickey? Usami didn't know. And it hurts him not to know.
"Itadakimasu..." said Misaki before digging in.
Usami just stared at the green-eyed teen across him. The smell of the soup filling their table.
"Eh...Usagi-san..you're not eating?" Misaki asked, his chopsticks halting just before the boy's mouth.
"Misaki...where were you around two earlier?" Usami asked, pretending to dig in the cup of rice before him. "I was planning to go drive you to Marukawa. But because I couldn't find you...I just went with Aikawa to an event."
"Weren't you feeling bad earlier?!"
"Never mind that."
Misaki sunk at his seat and looked away. He chomped a huge tofu he almost choked. "I was at a lecture Usagi-san. The professor...took an overtime..."
"So he doesn't want me to know?" Usami looked lifelessly at the usual happy table. "Misaki...what are you doing with Ijuuin...?"
Just as the routine that Usami had made, he checked on the locks, and Misaki sleeping in his own room. He wandered in his flat, shooing away a very heavy feeling.
He knew he was dreaming again. But he couldn't do anything to wake himself up.
Misaki was there sleeping peacefully, under his sheets. His light breathing was so calm and relaxed. And yet in an instant, the boy's eyes shot wide open.
The shadow was there again. It climbed over the boy's bed and for some reason, started hitting the boy on the stomach. The shadow looked so strong. And Misaki's bloodshot eyes, screamed of pain but he couldn't even scream.
Misaki's green eyes, the only thing that had color in that nightmare, looked to Usami's direction. Pleading for help.
There was a loud crash.
"Argh..." Usami grunted. He just fell from the sofa with his head first.
Finally getting the slight nausea to go away, the man looked around. The living room was already filled with the morning light. Or to be exact, noon light. Beautiful rays like that of a painting.
"That dream again...damn it..." Usami slowly stood, feeling awkward. "Misaki?"
Running, Usami searched the entire flat. He searched only to find himself alone. Misaki wasn't there. And on the verge of panicking, he found a yellow sticky note with messy hand writing against the glimmering grey of their refrigerator.
"Usagi-san, please eat the food I prepared. I'm running late so I didn't wake you up anymore.-Misaki"
The author rested his hands on top of the smooth and cool marble kitchen top and stared at the exposed sharp and gleaming knives.
"They're too easy to be found..." Usami mumbled remembering his first ever nerve racking nightmare about Misaki being stabbed. Just the sight of those knives made the man cringe. "One would be enough around here...Better hide these..."
After hiding most of the things that posed harm in his household, Usami resumed looking dejected. Usami crumpled the yellow paper in his palms and looked at the lonesome kitchen. There was no doubt, he was feeling lonely.
"How long has it been...since we had a proper talk?" Usami sighed and tossed the paper in the bin near him. It was like they were starting to drift from one another slowly.
"Misaki..." Usami walked away to take a shower. He was blaming it all from the weird dreams he was having. He had gone too absorbed with it, neglecting his health, his time, his work thinking over and over about his dreams. He would be asleep when Misaki was awake, and Usami would be awake while Misaki was asleep. He himself made that stupid time difference.
Changing swiftly, Usami decided he'd abduct Misaki from the University like how he used to do before. Bring Misaki to some quiet place and have them discuss what has been going on with each other. Eat some good stuff, Misaki liked sweets so he'd bring him to a good pastry shop, then they could have their quiet in a park, or somewhere with lesser people.
"He'd be mad for sure..." Usami chuckled.
Within a matter of minutes, the author was already heading towards where Misaki should be.
Only to see his Misaki again with Ijuuin walking down some street when the author decided to take a short cut.
Usami almost slammed into a brick wall. Barely making it in time to press the breaks and killing himself in a crash.
"Why call me? You have his contact info, don't you?"
Usami looked at the highrise condominium which was casting a shadow across the road, reaching where he had parked his car. It was the place where Misaki entered with Ijuuin having his hand on the boy's shoulder. The worst part was Misaki didn't look so bothered by it.
"I can't reach him...I'm just worried."
"Ah..." Aikawa chirped. "I heard he was asked to help Ijuuin-sensei with something."
"Is that so?"
"Yeah...I think Misaki should be heading back to Marukawa by now. Don't worry too much Sensei, Misaki is a responsible one."
Usami resisted the urge to go in the condo and drag Misaki back home. Because although he was seething in worry and uneasiness, if he did that, Misaki would think Usami wasn't trusting him at all. They'd drift even more. He could lenghten his usual short patience for Misaki. Just for Misaki he would keep himself in check.
Walking around the flat, Misaki slowly placed his bag on the white sofa and went for the kitchen to drink water. The heat even though it was already seven in the evening was still too much outside. It left him parched, inside out.
Misaki got no reply so he decided to look for the man. And they met in the hallways. Eye to eye, heavy and somehow suffocating. This air that weren't there before was heavily floating between them.
"What are you doing Usagi-san?" Misaki asked in a lively tone, scratching on his neck with one hand. To Usami's observing eyes, he could read the act as Misaki trying to hide something.
Usami smiled and patted Misaki on the head before continuing walking away. "I'm just checking the locks. Are you hungry? I brought your favorite cake when I went out this afternoon..."
"Eh? You went out?" Misaki asked, following the man around like a little kid. "You should have called me..."
"I was thinking you'd be busy, so I didn't want to bother you...anyway...you're really into long sleeves this past days huh? Aren't you uncomfortable what with all the heat?"
Misaki fell silent. Usami continued walking. However, when Usami halted, the boy slammed into Usami's broad back.
"Why did you suddenly stop? Mou..."
"Baka...look where you're going..." Usami whispered without turning to look at Misaki. "Anyway...how is your parttime going?"
"Ah? That? It's fun..." Misaki replied and hurriedly left Usami standing alone. "I'll go prepare dinner!"
"Misaki," Usami called. "I love you."
Misaki stopped on his tracks and glanced a little at the silver haired man with a look of confusion. "I...I know."
Usami looked down at his feet. It wasn't really the answer he was hoping for.
Usami AKihiko found himself again in this never ending dream. Him who could do nothing but just be an observer. The him who couldn't even lift a finger to change his own dreams in his sleep. What bothered him was it always revolved around Misaki.
Misaki being slapped. Misaki being hit. Misaki crying. The Misaki in his dreams was always in pain. And Usami couldn't do a thing to change it. If he couldn't save his Misaki in his dreams, how could he in reality?
"Wake up...I don't want to see this anymore..."
However, his dream just went on. This intruder who silently walked around their home. This intruder who always seemed to target a kid who couldn't defend himself even if he tried.
The shadow went to the kitchen. To Usami's surprise, Misaki was standing there, drinking water, back facing the intruder.
As if Misaki heard Usami's warning, the boy slowly looked behind. The glass of water slipping from his fingers. And Misaki just stood like a statue of disbelief.
"Misaki..." Usami even in his dreams could feel his thundering heartbeat. Why did he have to suffer this dream over and over? What could be this meaning? Why? Why? Why?
The kid in his blue pyjamas took scared steps backwards, his waist grazing the edge of the kitchen top. Clearly, from Usami's black and white dreams, Misaki's lips were trembling. Like he wanted to scream but lost the ability to do so.
"Misaki...get something!" Usami shouted. He shouted despite his voice not being heard. "Get a knife!"
Usami looked to where they kept their knives. Only to find the rack empty. The only knife he left there that afternoon was gone.
"No...I hid them in the cupboards..." Usami thought in horror, his skin prickling. He took one way for Misaki to defend himself.
Misaki tripped and fell on the floor. And the boy scrambled as fast as he could out the kitchen towards somewhere he could hide.
The menacing shadow seemed not at all in a hurry. As if it was enjoying the torture it was causing Usami. As if enjoying the terror in his victim's eyes.
"Someone! Usagi-san!" the boy started screaming, slamming at the doors of every room. Misaki was pulling at every knob. But they resisted effortlessly at Misaki's hold.
"I locked all the doors..." Usami thought, his chest constricting as his shapeless form watched Misaki ran towards the stairs for shield. "I locked them and the keys are in my room..."
"Usagi-san!" the kid screamed. "Usagi-san!"
"Misaki...OH MY GOD WAKE ME UP!"
The prayer was left unanswered. Even if it was just a dream, seeing Misaki like that was enough to break Usami. It was painful. It was scary. He'd rather have himself die a thousand times in his dreams than see Misaki like this. But the more he wished for it to end, his dream seemed to just drag on.
The shadow who had followed Misaki was still walking so slowly. And when Usami narrowed his eyes, he saw the shadow holding a knife. The only knife he left for use in the kitchen was being held by the devil in his nightmare.
Misaki, terrified by the realization that all his escape were locked, the kid ran towards the stairs once more. He ran, almost not caring about what would happen and he sprinted. Tripping on one foot, Misaki slammed to the steps and rolling down he finished his steps and slumped on the cold floor.
The kid whimpered like a helpless child. He crawled. He tried to crawl away but his feet just wouldn't listen. He probably broke a bone or two.
Usami could only watch. His breathing rising, his temparature soaring as if his head would explode. He didn't want to see this dream. He didn't want to.
"Help me..." Misaki mumbled in between choking sobs and whimpers of pain.
Like a ragged doll, the shadow picked Misaki up by the collar and dragged the kid away. He dragged the boy and slammed him against the wall. Just like Usami's first dream.
"STOP THIS STOP!" Usami pleaded.
"Don't do this..." Misaki hoarsely begged, holding out his hands to the bigger hand on his neck. "Help me..."
The glimmer of the knife being raised pierced Usami's head. All the while Misaki's terrified, green orbs just reflected the nearing death coming right at him.
Usami hated that this seemed so real. And yet he couldn't do anything to save his Misaki. He could do nothing as he watched the sharp object menacingly wait for the proper time to thrust into the boy's flesh.
"Usagi-san..." Misaki whimpered, calling the name of his lover. It broke Usami's soul. "Usagi-san..."
Usami closed his eyes, but they remained open. It gave him the clear view of Misaki drawing a deep breath, shouting. "USAGI-SAN DON'T DO THIS TO ME! DON'T DO THIS...DON'T DO THIS...DON'T!"
Usami paused. He couldn't understand what Misaki was saying. Misaki was begging him to stop? Stop what?
"Usagi-san...wake up..." Misaki whispered, choking from his own collar. "...I'm begging you..."
Usami blinked. His vision flickered. Usami tried to test his hand, and felt the knife in his hand.
The knife fell on the floor with a clatter. And Usami, washed by fright looked at his other arm. The hand where he was mercilessly pushing Misaki against the wall, almost choking him. As if the veil of black and white was removed, everything turned into full color.
Misaki's bruised face. Misaki's awkward looking legs. Misaki's trembling mouth. Misaki's terrified look. And the man attacking Misaki was reflected on the boy's eyes. It was a reflection of a silverhaired man, lavender eyes and confused expression. It was him.
Usami let go of his hold and carefully, as if afraid, rolled Misaki's shirt up. He carefully looked at Misaki's collar. He carefully tugged at the sleeves. All the skin underneath, everything was covered with bruise. New and old ones.
It was no dream.
"For how long?" Usami asked silently. The only reply he got was Misaki's painful sob.
And the realization that dawned on him was so strong that terrified, Usami stepped back, rushed out, mind blank.
Takahiro stood dumbfounded when before he was able to press the bell, coming from a business meeting that took late and deciding to crash at his bestfriend's place, Usami's distorted appearance and Misaki on the floor was what greeted him.
It was the biggest case of that year. An acclaimed novelist was accused of attempted murder. No less than by his bestfriend, the brother of the victim. And because of the popularity of the involved, the talk about the man trying to murder his lover for cheating had become a hot topic for the media and the talk of the many. Not just because it was the attempt of killing another human, but because it also involved homosexual angles.
It was hard to accept. Both parties damaged. Both relationships tarnished.
"No...I suggest we lay a 'not guilty plea by reason of insanity'..." a lawyer hired by the Usami family suggested, flipping into the folders and writing notes.
Another lawyer tapped his pen on his own folders and looked at the man in blue suit. "We have to look carefully at what the other party would likely say...we cannot just use that."
These voices were the only things that reminded Usami that he was still actually sane. Being confined in a room with nothing to do with, where every second felt eternity was more draining his soul.
But more than that, the look of Takahiro and the unconscious love of his life etched their way into his brains that even if he was closing his eyes, sleeping or looking into a mirror, they were what he saw.
"Usami-san," the first lawyer called, seeing their client had gone into his usual dazed off state. "Could you tell us again, what happened? If we don't get all details it would be hard to prove you not guilty..."
Usami barely looked at the young lawyer. He just remained staring at the laptop presented to him where photos of him looking like a madman running aimlessly at the streets and some photos of ambulance from his flat were in a slide show.
"I thought I was having dreams..." Usami whispered. "I didn't mean to harm him at all...my body wouldn't listen..."
Seeing their client weep silently before the laptop, they grew silent for a while. As the day of the hearing was nearing, the two lawyers did their best to look into every thread where they could defend their client. It was a tight battle. Because the man accused seemed not at all bothered how he would end up.
The moment, Usami entered the courtroom, hushed murmurings, like restless bees filled the hall. Buzz that were indistinc yet clear. Usami could hear them clearly so much that it surprised him it didn't hurt him at all.
"What a filthy man...abusing a minor..."
"They're in a relationship? If I know, he probably was just forcing the poor kid...I pity the brother..."
Usami lifted his gaze after being seated to his place. He looked for Misaki. He wanted to say sorry. He really do. But Misaki wasn't there. It was only Takahiro glaring at him with his own lawyers. Probably because Misaki hated him so much. Why wouldn't he? Usami promised he'd protect Misaki at all cost. Only to end up being the one to cause so much harm.
The hearing started with Usami's mind floating. He could understand them but was too tired to react.
"Did you or did you not get locks on purpose of sealing your entire flat?"
Usami smiled faintly. He had a degree in law too. He knew where this was going. The reason for him getting locks was not important to those in the court. It was just either yes or no. And by his words, they'd be the nails sealing his coffin.
"I got additional locks...yes..."
The courtroom was filled with gasps and disgusted glares.
"At some photos of your home used as evidence, the kitchen side of your home had more than four knives in one rack. On the day of the assault, there was only one. Leaving the victim less of an option to protect himself. Did you or did you not hide the knives?"
"I hid them...because I was...because..." but no one cared anymore what he was about to say so he just pursed his lips.
Usami wondered himself. Consciously he did all those things to make their place safe. Maybe unconsciously he was really plotting killing Misaki for all the lying Misaki did in meeting with Ijuuin. Those locks his inner evil used to make a closed box for Misaki with no escape. Maybe he unconsciously planned it all along.
Usami looked at the empty seat where Misaki should be and bowed his head. No matter what, he did something wrong. He was mentally unstable, insane, crazy perhaps. Someone like him shouldn't be around roaming free.
Despite the defense doing their best, Usami Akihiko, age 27, was given 16 years in prison for attempted murder of a minor, Takahashi Misaki.
It had been a month since Usami was transferred to a prison in Yamaguchi. His family visited him, saying they'd appeal in courts and everything. To Usami it didn't matter anymore.
Before he was transferred to where he was, he heard that Takahashi Misaki had a serious bone fracture resulting from falling from the stairs. Usami figured as much as he hadn't seen Misaki in any hearing and probably Takahiro wouldn't allow it in the first place.
Usami couldn't blame Takahiro. He plainly understood the situation.
So when the guard called for Usami that he had a visitor, he was thinking it would be another of their family friend saying false support and sugar coated words. Instead, it was Misaki on the other side, them separated by a wall and its half covered in a clear type of bullet proof glass.
"You have 15 minutes," the guard said before living the two alone.
The green-eyed boy nodded silently and turned to face the other man across.
Usami looked back. Strange that he had thought of so many things to say if Misaki ever appeared before him. But when the opportunity was already there presenting itself, he couldn't utter a single thing.
The boy, expressionless wandered his eyes from Usami's face to the man's shoulders. He could tell, Usami had lost so much weight. The hallows on the man's cheeks were so visible. And even his mightly aura was nowhere to be found. And yet, Misaki just stared back too. Not saying anything.
From the corners of Usami's eyes, he could see the huge clock behind Misaki. It said that they had already used up seven minutes.
Maybe it was just Usami's imagination. But the clock's ticking seemed to have increased a tad louder. Looking at each other's eyes without saying anything, Usami didn't know how heavy it was. He couldn't for the first time in his life, read what was Misaki thinking.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
"Hey...aren't those two not talking at all, they used to be, lovers right?" a guard who peeped into the door commented.
"Well...I guess the kid was really mad. Maybe silently laughing that man got what he deserved..."
"Jeez...gays or not...too much love is dangerous..."
Tick. Tick. Tick.
There was only four minutes left. Usami remained looking at Misaki's face. So much things to say and yet he didn't know where to start. He wanted to cry. But he didn't want to. He was on the wrong. And he didn't have the right to ask for anything.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Two minutes. Just mere 120 seconds left.
Misaki stood. Usami unconsciously stood himself.
Usami looked like he was going to really break. As if his tongue had gone numb. As if a thick chain was binding him. He couldn't do a thing. He couldn't even apologize. This probably would be the end of their relationship. The final chapter of a novel which didn't even had the chance to develop further.
"Sixteen years?" Misaki suddenly started, making Usami lift his gaze that had gone towards the table. "It will pass by in a flash."
Misaki smiled. The kid glanced to his left, trying to wipe something without being too obvious. "I'm saying I'll wait for you..."
"Huh?" Aren't you mad? Aren't you scared?
"I couldn't stop Nii-chan and I'm still a minor...but I'm telling you...I'll wait..."
Usami gripped the table. These were one of those situations that his rare eyes could be seen as glistening, and his lips trembling.
"Why? I almost killed you...I don't deserve...I'm sorry...I just love you much I didn't know what I was doing...I'm sorry...I'm sorry...I just love you..."
"Takahashi Misaki, the time alloted is up!"
The boy broke into tears. He did when Usami could no longer hold his.
The door closed, taking Misaki away. Usami slumped on his chair and crying he did. Like a child who had received the gift he thought would never come at all. The kind of sobbing he had never done in his life that tears just wouldn't stop.
It was because what Misaki said at the end for that very first visit was really Usami Akihiko's salvation.
"Usagi-san...I understand. I really do...really love you too..."
chapter end notes:
yahooooooooooo! im not a lawyer nor i know much about it but i still wanted Usami to experience the consequences of such a crime despite this being just a fiction. i dont want him getting away with a mere sorry...hahahaha...
some years ago, i remember coming across an article in the net about a man who thought he was dreaming. in his dreams, he was stabbing his wife and children with some sort of a sword. he woke up in the act. it must be devastating seeing blood everywhere... but...they say dreams mirror your hidden desires right? uwah...brain waves are really a mystery...
besides...i have this feeling that Usami is actually capable of doing such a thing unconsiously, when provoked. he mostly keeps his problems to himself anyway not wanting misaki to worry and stuff and he's possessive. i wouldn't be surprised if he becomes a scary yandere. hohohohohohoho...(i think i;d like to see that!)
thanks everyone for your support and please share your thoughts!
the plea of not guilty by insanity is very interesting. like a compromise that crimes should be punished, but people who are ill (mentally) shouldn't be held responsible and should be instead put into a facility to cure them.(I think it borders between the implementation of the law and the society's values...) but according to what i have read, very little cases win by this and its very complicated.
ps2: i've been quite busy really the past days but i'll be sure replying on my big day! have a great weekend! this applies to my tumblr, here in ff and in my mail! till then! Ja~~~!