Pairing: Yabu Kota/Okamoto Keito
Summary: Even from so far away, he can hear the talent in those long, clear notes. Each note is carefully caressed before crescendoing to a height that strikes Keito through the heart. Each note warms him down to his toes and sets his body ablaze the longer he listens, whispering words into his ear he understand but can’t begin to comprehend.
Notes: Written for the lovely ariprix on twitter~ I forget exactly how the conversation started but she wanted to read a YabuTo fic, and I've wanted to write them so here we are? The prompt was interesting, and I hope it's everything you wanted it to be!
It’s quiet, a breeze fluttering through the air that cuts through his body like a knife, sending shivers down his spine that never seem to end. Keito should have listened. He should have brought a coat with him when he left that morning for work, but he had been stubborn and believed the warm weather would last through the entire day. The freezing temperatures struck hard, making the city feel more like winter with every passing minute.
All of it would be easily fixable if he got off this little park bench he claimed and dragged himself to a nearby bar. It would be far warmer, and a drink or two would do him a little good. Being around people might even get his mind off of the cycle he had forced himself into.
Everything was work related. He had spent year after year combing through textbooks, studying and perfecting his test scores for what? A diploma and a meeting with his teacher to discuss what he wanted to do with his life? All of those years of education should have pushed him to decide what he wanted to pursue as a career once he graduated from college.
Keito loved music. Loved it with a passion that his teachers could hardly understand. He saw beauty in the world that very few could comprehend every time he strummed his guitar, weaving chords together that even famed musicians would be jealous over. It was one of the few things that pushed him to continue when even the roughest school days threatened to end him.
But that path had long closed itself to him. After seeing how such a beautiful thing as music had brought his parents together yet torn them apart, he wouldn’t wish that fate on himself. He wanted to stay sane throughout his many years of life, and the struggle of staying popular and relevant would be too difficult on his own.
He picked the liberal arts, going for a degree in literature to pass the time until he could decide on a career. He remembered how happy his father was, seeing his results posted to the website of a prestigious university in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo. Keito couldn’t let him down. Couldn’t let himself back out now that he had picked something to pursue.
Everything felt so out of control. He’d watch his classmates celebrate after getting a difficult internship or a full time position with an elite company. Always on the sidelines, picking through the texts to answer his homework, waiting on his future to come to him. Any minute it would come, and, like a second wind coming through him, he would know which direction to take.
But life wasn’t like the fairytales. A fairy wouldn’t descend from the heavens to clear his mind of all of the confusion and break down the walls that surrounded him. No matter where he looked his path remained hidden, so he took the side streets, hoping that the golden brick road laid beyond the next corner he took.
He worked. Took the first job that accepted him and started working. Day in and day out, the same routine over and over again. He felt like a robot completing a task only for the next to fall on his desk, ready to be worked on.
Keito wanted to yell, to scream. To try and let some sort of frustration out, but with every question, every inquisition to how he was doing, he would smile and say he was fine. Never letting himself speak more than was necessary. He could feel the prying eyes of his father, the questions held back on his tongue if he was truly all right. Keito would only smile bigger assure him he was okay once more.
The only time he could release his mask was when he was alone. His heart would open and release the butterflies he kept locked away, letting himself feel something other than the fear and anxiety that occupied his every thought. He wanted it all to end. He wanted his happiness back.
The breeze of that cold November night, cutting into him with every passing moment, was a welcome change. He deserved every second of it.
A voice breaks through the quiet night, the melodies so familiar Keito can recognize the words even if the voice sounds so far away. It’s a popular song from the radio, one that’s been played over and over without rest for the past couple of weeks.
Even from so far away, he can hear the talent in those long, clear notes. Each note is carefully caressed before crescendoing to a height that strikes Keito through the heart. Each note warms him down to his toes and sets his body ablaze the longer he listens, whispering words into his ear he understand but can’t begin to comprehend.
The voice pulls him forward, leading him through twisted paths through the pitch black park. He wants to hear more. To clearly hear the syllables of every word, to see how expressive the singer’s face is. Keito can feel it in his heart with every passing beat. He can’t go on without knowing who this person is.
The singer can’t be much older than his, blond hair brushing over his eyebrows, trying to hide his closed eyes as he sings. The bridge is full of passion, notes continuing to soar up into the heavens and Keito can only stand their, holding his breath and letting every word washed over him with a new conviction.
It’s over before he’s ready, the last notes echoing through the clear night sky, and all is quiet just as it once was. Before Keito can walk away, act as if he was never listening, the singer’s eyes are open, blinking several times before he speaks.
“Oh,” he says, simply. His voice just like when he was singing, magical with even just a single syllable being uttered by those lips.
“Sorry,” Keito stutters. “I didn’t meant to intrude, but I heard you and I couldn’t help but come up and listen.” His fingers intertwine themselves together as he speaks, giving himself something to focus on. “I hope you don’t mind. I just…I needed to hear you better.”
“I don’t mind,” the other man says. “No one’s ever stopped before, so it was a little bit of a shock. I didn’t think I was worth listening to.” His smile is warm, warmer than his voice. “I’m Yabu, by the way. And you are?”
“Keito.” He bows slightly.
“And what are you doing out at eleven at night?” Yabu asks. He leans back onto the bench. “Shouldn’t you be back at home?”
He wants to say something, anything, but the words won’t come to him. How can he cram an entire lifetime into a few sentences so Yabu can understand? How his heart hurts and beats in a rhythm he can never hope to control. He hasn’t been able to find the words before, and a single meeting will never change that.
“It’s okay,” Yabu crossed the small distance between them and pulled Keito into a hug. “You don’t have to tell me, if you don’t want to.” He pulls away, and looks Keito in the eyes. “But you’re freezing. Let’s go back to my place, and I’ll make you something to warm you up a little."
The walk to Yabu’s isn’t far, the older boy lending him his jacket. It’s a small, but cozy apartment just big enough for one person to live comfortably. Not too many decorations are scattered on the walls, just enough to make it appear as if someone inhabits the dwelling. Yabu has him sit on his bed while he’s off to his little kitchen to heat up water for their tea.
A guitar claims the far corner of the room, standing tall and proud amongst the stacks of novels and CD cases. Keito’s fingers itch to pick it up and play it, but he knows better than to touch another person’s instrument without permission.
“Do you write music?” he asks.
“Hm? Oh, yeah,” Yabu’s voice floats from the kitchen. “My friend and I are trying to start a band, but we’re lacking another guitarist and a drummer.” He hums. “We already have a keyboardist, so that’s good.”
“That’s cool,” Keito says. “I’m kind of jealous that you guys have such a good relationship.”
“I don’t know about that.” His laugh is clear over the whistle of the kettle. “My best friend likes to consider himself some kind of musical genius. He always writes our lyrics too quickly.”
The more he looks, the more he sees signs of life in Yabu’s place. Photographs hanging from the wall depict five friends together, but there’s one that appears more than the others, brown hair mixing with Yabu’s blond in many of the memories.
“Will you…sing again?” he asks.
Yabu doesn’t respond, and Keito can feel himself start to panic. He shouldn’t have asked, but he wants to burn the memory of Yabu’s voice into his brain. He wants to hear what it would be like to listen to him live, to hear how his friends mesh together to create a beautiful sound.
“Sorry, it was a ridiculous request,” he says. “I’ve already intruded too much already-”
Yabu is singing once more, his voice surrounding Keito all at once, and he can barely breathe. He hadn’t expected it, to hear so much passion coming at once. His heart jolts, and the same warmth from earlier floods his body, nearly overtaking him.
Where did this will to live come from? Even though Yabu is singing the silly words of some pop song his voice tells another story. How everything will be okay, how the future is never ending and he will find his place amongst the stars. How dreams and passions are fine to have, and, one day, they won’t stay locked within his mind, being unable to share themselves with the people around him.
He’s been too hard on himself. He’s spent far too long comparing himself to his classmates and their grand accomplishments back in school. His might be smaller, but it doesn’t make them not worth celebrating. The words Yabu sings, that melodious voice, puts his soul at ease.
Everything will be okay. Give it time.
A hand is on his face, wiping away the tears he didn’t know were falling. Yabu’s voice is gone, when it stopped singing, Keito isn’t sure. He can only see Yabu’s face through watery eyes as it inches closer.
A pair of lips are on his, coaxing his open, and Keito finds himself easing into the kiss. Being around Yabu brings him so much warmth even in the little time they’ve known each other. He can feel his soul open, releasing every emotion he’s held near for the night to swallow.
Little steps. It’s all he needs to take, and the softness of Yabu’s lips, the gentle caress of his hands as he wraps his hands around Keito’s face, are all he needs in this very moment. Time heals everything, and this is a step towards his golden road.
And the golden light surrounding him is over before he knows it.
“I don’t know your story,” Yabu whispers, his thumbs wiping away the remaining tears, “and I don’t need to know it, but everything will be okay. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day everything will be over, and you’ll be able to smile.”
Simple words, but their meaning strikes deep, and Keito has to fight to keep a smile from spreading across his face.
“I know this is weird,” he says, choosing his words carefully, “but can I stay here tonight? I’m not ready to go home just yet.”
“Stay as long as you like,” Yabu says, pulling him to a brief hug before releasing him. “I keep an extra futon for guests. I’ll make us breakfast in the morning.” He intertwined his fingers with Keito’s. “I’ll be here for you.”
In the morning, he’ll explain to his father where he went. He’ll explain how his year really has been going, and how he plans on changing it. It will take time, everything does, but in this one moment, he wants to remain happy.