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[personal profile] macymace
Title: Parrot
Author: macy
Pairing: Okamoto Keito x Inoo Shinju ([info]shinju) x Nakajima Yuto, other pairings shinju ships~
Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Romance, Friendship
AN:
-unbetaed
-sorry for the delay! >.<
-Long one, this one. Maybe because I haven't uploaded for so long. You know what? I originally planned for this to only be a two-shot. That's why I used 'part' instead of 'chapter' but it got away again! Lols. I'm thinking 9 parts. I hope it's really only 9 parts. Sometimes one part just becomes really long that I need to cut it. /shot

part 1part 2 | part 3 | part 4part 5 | part 6



Part 7
Shinju's POV

"This is my first time seeing you play. I've thought you do, though."

"Yuri…" I just said, still concentrating on playing.

"You're really good." He commented. "I only ever heard Nii-chan play. I was wondering if you can, too." He continued saying.

I stopped playing, and started laughing.

He was smiling, but he asked me, "Why did you stop?"

"I can't talk while playing." I told him, still laughing a little.

"Sorry." He said, and he really looked it.

I shook my head at him... "I guess it's one of my quirks. Nii-chan doesn't have that kind of problem. It was Nii-chan who taught me. Me and Umika, actually."

I noticed his face brighten when I mentioned Umika. I couldn't help but grin. I really think my little brother is developing strong feelings for a certain someone.

"When Umika plays, she has this poker face. You'd think she's in a trance or something." I told him.

He laughed. "I wanna see that."

"If you want, I can ask her to play for me on the 20th." I told him. 20th. I can't believe it's only a few days from today. Our wedding day.

"Ask her!" He said, grinning mischievously.

"Hai, hai." I said with a laugh.

"Can you play once more? While we're waiting for Yuto." He said.

I just nodded and started playing. Yuri sat beside me, watching.



"I know this song." He said after a while. "This is an old English song."

I nodded. "Nii-chan said his mom always sings this to him, before..." I trailed off.

"You can talk while playing!" He laughed.

I grinned and just nodded, concentrating once more to the piano.

Yuri quietly listened for a while.

"Nii-chan's mom really loved him." He said quietly, sounding wistful; even a little envious. I understood perfectly. Our mother must love us, but she never really try to show it to us.

And then suddenly, he started singing the song as I play.

"I'll bring fire in the winter.
You'll bring showers in the spring.
We'll fly through the falls and summers
With love in our hands..."

We continued the song; me playing the piano and Yuri singing. I didn't know my brother has such a beautiful voice. The music we made was very soothing to my ears. I want to repeat this again when Nii-chan is back. I know he'd be pleased.

As Yuri sang the last line and I play the last notes, I didn't really know how to describe what I felt. I guess we've deepen our bond somehow; making music together. Music our brother loves.

I was startled when there was a flash of light and applause.

Yuto grinned as he lowered his camera. Kanon was beaming at us while clapping her hands. I felt a little embarrassed. Neither Yuri nor I noticed that they had arrived.

"That was so beautiful, Nee-chan." Kanon told me. She had insisted to call me 'Nee-chan' since meeting me officially. It still makes me feel a little weird. Even Yuri rarely calls me that. But Kanon is someone you can't really say 'no' to nor is she someone who can possibly annoy anyone. She's just too… well, she seems really innocent. Yuto tells me that she can be mischievous and manipulative if she wants to, though. But I can't really imagine that.

"Thank you." I just said. I knew I was blushing. But I bet this is the natural reaction of anyone to Kanon.

"Sorry we were late." Yuto said. "Are you guys ready to go?"

"Yeah." Yuri said, standing up.

I closed the piano's lid and stood up as well.

----

We arrived at the place after half an hour of driving. It was a beautiful place, and I expected as much since it was Yuto who chose. He's very particular about details. So this is where our wedding reception will be held.

"What do you think?" He addressed me.

"I like it." I said honestly.

He grinned and placed an arm around my shoulders.

"They're already inside. Come on." He said, and started leading me inside the building.

It was very easy being his friend. It's funny how I wouldn't believe this just a few months ago. But I do now. I know him now. And I found out that what's really hard is remembering it was all pretend. The line between the lies and the truth is becoming more and more blurred.

Everything was already set up inside. They were just waiting for us. Yuto approached one of the women and handed her something. When he came back, I asked him what is was, out of curiosity.

"Memory card." He said. "Aside from the photos we'll be taking today, I asked them to include photos I took for the prenuptial video."

"So that's why you've been taking so many pictures lately." I commented.

He shrugged. "Not exactly." He told me mysteriously.

I didn't have the chance to ask him what he meant because the both of us were ushered by each of our make-up artist so they could start preparing us for the photo shoot.

We started with the shoot immediately after we changed into the clothes they prepared.

They lead us to the lobby. There was a grand piano there.

"They asked me about our hobbies. Where and with what things we looked natural with. It was the first time seeing you play earlier, but I suspected you play when I first saw your piano. I didn't really think about your brother." He told me sheepishly.

I didn't reply but just looked at the piano. And then I turned to look back at him.

"What am I supposed to do?" I asked, I realized, childishly. But I wasn't really comfortable with all these people around us. I don't like the feeling of being watched. I feel very conscious about the camera.

"Why don't you play for us?" He asked me.

"But the photo shoot--"

"You don't have to act or strike a pose. Photos are there to capture moments. That's what we should do. So just play, and I'll listen." He said and lightly pushed me to the seat. He sat down beside me and looked at me expectantly.

Nervously, I open the lid and pressed a few keys.

"W-what would you like to hear?" I asked him softly, aware of everyone's eyes.

"Hmm… Fur Elise?" He suddenly said.

I didn't know why but I laughed. "Are you sure?" I asked him, feeling a little more relaxed.

"I don't really know many piano pieces." He told me.

"What's your favorite song?" I asked him.

He was quiet for a while and then he said. "Do you know 'More Than You'll Ever Know'? By Michael Ruff…" He said.

I was surprised. "That's your favorite song?"

"My favorite song is by Coheed and Cambria. They're a rock band…" He trailed off. "I like More Than You'll Ever Know, though. Do you know how to play it?" He asked.

I smiled and nodded and then started playing.

He was grinning as I play. And simply with that, I was actually happy.

He started asking me about other songs I know. And then he asked me to teach him Fur Elise. I did, placing his fingers to the right keys. He has long fingers that he didn't have a hard time learning.

For a long while, I've forgotten we were alone. I was surprised when someone called us. The photographer. He said he'd taken enough with the piano and that we have to get ready for the next theme.

The second theme was still based from me. Books, library. In this theme we would be taking pictures with Yuri and Kanon as well. This time they prepared school uniforms for us.

Kanon picked up a recipe book and started rifling through it, never minding the cameras. Yuri walked towards the bookshelves and pretend looking through the books. He looked a little awkward. I guess we're the same in that aspect.

I picked up a book I've read before as well, and try to forget the cameras. But Yuto suddenly came carrying a big pile of books. He dropped it in front of me, grinning mischievously.

"What are you doing?" I asked. Both Yuri and Kanon were looking at us as well.

"I wanted to see pictures of bugs." He said with a pout. I raised a brow at him.

"I wanna teach you." He told me.

"I don't like bugs." I said.

His eyes widen and Kanon started laughing.

I didn't notice Yuri moved but suddenly he's behind Yuto and mockingly patting his back. He said something in English.

I didn't really understand. Yuto looking determined sat beside me and persuaded me to read one of the insect books. I just gave in, not really knowing what this was all about. And once again I forgot we weren't really in the library.

After one book of bugs, Yuto started asking me about books I read. And after a while he suddenly said,

"Maybe that's why you don't have many real people friends."

I blinked. For a second, I thought it was in Keito's voice that I hear that sentence. He'd said something similar to me before.

"I guess so…" I said after an awkward pause.

"I'm not saying it's a bad thing." He said hastily. "Well, I guess it is if you don't have any real friends. But you do. You have Umika-chan, and your brothers, and Kanon… and well, there's me. I guess that's enough of real people friends. And you have lots of book-friends." He told me. He's somewhat confusing, but I think I get what he means. I had to smile.

"I have lots of book-friends." I agreed.

"Bookworms like you must really love these book-people." He said in ponder. "You guys actually cry for them…"

"They are like real friends, somewhat." I said. "They share their stories with you. You'd know their happiness and their pain… just by reading their story; you're comforted with your own story, thinking they'd understand you." I said, softly. I've never really thought about it much, but as I said it, I knew it was true.

Yuto smiled. "What book would you recommend for me?"

It was the same with all the themes. Yuto would start distracting me, and I'll forget where we are, forget the other things, the other people and just focus on him. I don't know how he does it. I feel very relaxed with him. I'd never thought I'd ever be this at ease with him. I never thought I'd be at ease with anyone but Keito.

The next theme was Yuto's hobby. Horseback riding. I never really thought about it, but it really suits him. He looked so happy riding. He told me he felt free when he could race around and feel the wind against him.

"It's a lot like flying."

He spent most of our time teaching me, though, since I haven't really ridden a horse on my own before. The photographer also asked us to ride on one horse at one time and we do. Yuto, in the beginning, just instructed the horse to go slowly inside the fence, but eventually he started doubling pace until we were racing. At first, I was terrified. But then I felt what Yuto described. The wind against me, the excitement of being able to run. I was exhilarated.

I guess we're the same in that sense. My escape was my books. I feel like I'm in another word in each book I read, and I can forget about all my worries. His escape is this, horseback-riding, where all he could focus on is going forward; where there's an illusion of being free.

The last theme was done in the garden. They've set up a picnic for us. Once more, we pretend that we were alone and just do what we wanted to do. For a while, we ate the food they prepared and then Yuto started pulling me to the greeneries. I guess this theme is a combination of what Yuto and I like. Yuto was thrilled when he saw lots of different insects by the bushes. I was thrilled seeing all the colorful flowers around us. It was such a beautiful place.

After our mini-exploring, the photographer asked us some pose. The awkwardness I felt at the start of the shoot came back with vengeance. I thought we could get away with just enjoying the place. It was already sunset, and it would really be romantic so I guess the photographer couldn't resist. And I remembered the pictures was supposed to be our pre-nuptial photos so it was obvious we needed to look in love with each other.

I knew Yuto noticed my hesitation and once again he tried to help me.

"Just follow my lead. You'll be fine." He told me. I just nodded. It's funny how I completely trust him.

We did lots of romantic pose: from Yuto holding my hand, looking straight at my eyes, to actually hugging and kissing me on the forehead. I felt a little numb while doing them. It was the first time someone held me the way he did. It was the first time anyone touched me as intimately as he did, though I knew he was careful not to be too intimate. He was only trying for us to look like the couple we were supposed to be.

I'm surprised to find out I don't really mind. I knew it was for the both of us. I knew I wasn't being taken advantaged of or anything. And maybe because it is with Yuto. He'd really become someone precious to me.

The last thing we shoot was of the four of us wearing formal clothes. I guess since the two companies are merging, they wanted a photo of the heirs. The legitimate heirs, anyway. They didn’t include Nii-chan or Ryutaro.

It was a quick shoot. We didn't have to do anything but stand or sit in front of the camera and smile.

I was very relieved when the photographer said we were finished. I didn't know a photo shoot could be so exhausting.

I went back to my makeup artist and she had the clothes I was wearing when I came prepared for me. I started taking off the accessories they had me wear. It was something I was aching to do since they asked me to take off my pearl necklace. My makeup artist had that prepared, too. And she gave it to me as I handed her the accessories back.

"That necklace…" Someone suddenly said from my back. I almost jumped, but it was only Yuto.

"Sorry." He said hastily. "You always wear that necklace." He commented.

"It's a gift." I just say.

"Don't get mad, okay." He suddenly said. "But I don't think it really suits you."

I didn't know why, but his words really hurt me.

"It's because my name is 'Shinju'." I told him.

"I've thought it was because of that." He said. "But your name doesn't define you. And I guess it's because my mom wear pearl accessories that I have an image of pearl symbolizing someone like my mom. You're nothing like her."

I don't really like what he's telling me. But I didn't want to argue, so instead I just say. "I have to go change."

He looked surprised at the coldness of my voice. And then confused. I left him like that.

When I return, I was surprised to see most of the people gone. But Yuto was there waiting for me.

"Ready?" He asked.

"Where's Yuri and Kanon?" I asked him.

"They went first." He just said.

Why? I wanted to ask. And how? The four of us came in Yuto's car--but I didn't feel like talking to him more so I just nodded. I know it's silly but what he told me was still running in my mind.

We went to his car and he opened the door to the front seat for me. I kept quiet as I got in. That didn't seem to bother Yuto though, and I was a little annoyed.

We drove silently for a while. I was planning on keeping quiet till we reach home but he suddenly took a wrong turn.

I looked at him in question but he ignored me. I didn't have any choice. "Where are we going?" I asked him.

"To the mall. Lil's birthday is coming up. I wanted you to help me pick something up." He said simply.

I immediately felt guilty. I completely forgot about Yuri's birthday, with all the marriage stuffs.

I just nodded at Yuto, not really knowing what to say.

We arrived at the mall soon enough. It was getting darker even though it's still early, but I guess that's to be expected since winter is on its way.

I only followed Yuto; it seems he already have something in his mind for Yuri, so why did he need me? I guess I should be thankful nevertheless; I could also pick something for Yuri.

Yuto stopped and I realized we were in front of an accessory store.

"Here?" I had to ask.

"You haven’t noticed?" He asked back. "Lil likes to wear accessories. He particularly likes crosses and skulls."

I did notice. He seems to wear different necklaces and bracelets each time I saw him. But I didn’t think about it much.

"Come on." He said, and entered the shop.

There were many things to choose from. I don't really think Yuto needs any help. He probably knew I forgot so he made me come with him.

Yuto started looking at the back of the store and I took my time looking at the first display case.

My eyes linger on one thing. I immediately knew I want to give it to Yuri. I don't think it's a very good birthday gift, but I hope he'll like it.

It was far from what Yuto said Yuri liked. And it wasn't only for Yuri. It was a set of three cell phone straps. It was the three little pigs, only one is a girl. It somehow fit my brothers and me.

Smiling to myself, I picked it up and started for the cashier. I was surprised to see that Yuto was already there. I made my way to him.

"What did you buy?" I asked.

He jumped, startled.

"I'm sorry!" I said. He just smiled and shook his head, taking his purchase from the cashier.

"Just a skull necklace." He said in answer to my question.

I nodded and quietly pass the my own purchase to the cashier.

"What did you get?" Yuto asked curiously.

"I don't know if he'll like it. It's just a cell phone strap." I told him as I gave a bill to the lady cashier.

"He'll like it." Yuto said confidently. "It's from you."

I looked at him, a little surprised.

"He really likes you." Yuto said. "He likes having a sister. I think he'd always been envious of me having Kanon."

I couldn't help but smile, touched.

"I like having Yuri as well. It's a bit different from having Nii-chan. But it makes me happy the same way." I said.

--

After that, Yuto pulled me in one of the fast food chains in the mall, saying he was already hungry. We ate an early dinner there and talked for a while. He told me about stuffs I never knew about him, Yuri and another friend of them named 'Zack': how they met during middle school, how they got detention during their first day in high school, what Yuri said when he first mentioned me. I told him a little about Umika and Nii-chan and about what I remember of Yuri before he went to America.

We came back to the car after that. I was feeling a little sleepy already.

I went to the front seat and plopped down. Yuto looked at me, grinning. I felt a little disconcerted, but I turned to him in question.

"Seat belt." He just said.

I felt embarrassed, but before I could move to pull the seat belt. Yuto already leaned forward to do it himself. I felt myself blushing. This was a lot like how he hugged me earlier during the photo shoot. But it's different because this isn't required. He didn't need to do this.

He lingered even when he finished strapping me up, and then he placed his arm around my neck, though not really touching me.

When he pulled away, I realized he had placed a necklace around my neck.

It was a simple necklace with a flower pendant; a lily.

"I think it suits you better." He told me as he leaned back to the driver's seat.

"No offense." He added quickly. "I know that pearl necklace is important to you, and I'm not saying to wear this necklace instead. I'm sorry about earlier."


I was surprised at what he said that the only thing I thought to say was, "It's not my birthday."

"I know." He said easily. "But I did miss your birthday."

"You didn't. You were there. You were my escort. You even gave me a gift then." I said.

"I didn't even know it was your birthday until it was. And my father was the one who had the gift prepared. It wasn't really from me." He said.

"But you really didn't have to give me anything." I said.

"Are you accepting it or not?" He asked, suddenly sounding annoyed.

I laughed. It was just silly. After a beat, he joined me. When I was calm enough, I said, "Thank you."

He just grinned at me.

"You know..." I started saying without thinking. I didn't know why I'm doing this, but it suddenly felt like the right thing to do. I continued, "Sometimes you remind me of my friend..."

"Umika?" He asked. I had the urge to laugh. He must think I really had only Umika as a friend. Well, he is a bit right, besides Keito, Umika is the only one who I can confidently call my friend.

"No." I said. "Someone else. You don't know him."
“How do I remind you of him?” He asked.


I’m not sure but I think he emphasized on the word ‘him.’

I grinned, thinking of my next words. “I never thought I’d say this, but you’re very kind. The two of you are.”

There was a pause. He just looked at me for a while and then asked, "How come I don't know him?"

“He left.” I said simply.

There was another pause and then he said, “He’s the one who gave you that necklace.”

I realized I’ve started touching the pearl necklace again.

“Yes.” I answered him.

He looked at me, and there was understanding in his eyes. How much he understood, I didn’t know but I am sure he realized what Keito is to me.

“Are you okay?” He asked me.

I had to smile. “I think I am now.” I told him honestly. “I feel much lighter, somehow. Thank you.” For listening, for being my friend, for being here…

He just nodded.

“Why do you think this suits me better?” I asked him, touching the necklace he gave me. I was curious.

He shrugged, starting the car’s engine.

“I told you the pearl reminds me of my mom. It’s something my mom usually wears. And you’re nothing like her.” He started saying. I ignored the throb I started feeling at my chest, listening to Yuto. “You’re… well, you. You’re free-spirited. You won’t let anyone tame you. You know what you want. You’re… warm.” He said the word as if in wonder. “My mom isn’t anything of those.” He told me.

I couldn’t find any word to say. Everything seems inappropriate. But he continued talking.

“Lil told me it was your mom who gave you your names…” He trailed off.

I was thankful with the change of subject.

“Yes.” I said. “Shinju and Yuri; A pearl ring and a bouquet of white lilies. It was the two gifts my father gave my mother. The only thing that really came from him.” I explained. They were like Yuto’s gift to me. Not from my grandfather, but really from my father.

“You said they also had an arranged marriage.” He said.

I nodded.

“I think your mom did love your dad, though…” He continued saying.

“I think so, too. And my dad treasured her, as well. But he only considered her his friend. He loved only one woman: Nii-chan’s mom.” I said. I find it easy talking to Yuto about these things.

“I don’t think my parents know how to love.” He suddenly said. “They also had a political marriage. And they’ve known about it even before learning how to write. They never had the chance to fall in love. Maybe love did came for them, but they didn’t—wouldn’t recognize it. They could only see their duty for their family.” He said, sounding like he’s thinking hard.

“Maybe it’s better that way.” I said softly.

He looked at me, surprised. “Do you really think so?”

I shrugged. “I think it would be a lot easier that way.” And a lot less painful.

“I think we’re fortunate that we can recognize love.” He told me and started putting the car in reverse.

Again, he puzzles me. What does he mean? Is he implying that he had someone he loves? Besides his family?

“Is it okay to go to one more place?” He asked me.

“Where?” I asked back.

“I want to introduce you to a special someone.” He told me with a fond smile.

I immediately wanted to say no. I wanted to say it was already late. My mind was fiercely rejecting the idea of meeting Yuto’s ‘special someone.’

But why should I feel that way? In a way, I introduced him to Keito. And now he wants to introduce me to his own special someone. He just wants me to ‘listen’ as he’d listen to me earlier. It’s what a friend would do. It’s what I should do.

“Sure.” I said, relieved that my voice didn’t crack.

---

I was confused when I realized we were at a sports complex. We’re meeting her here? This late at night?

Yuto parked the car close to the entrance. He got out and so I followed him. He went to back and took a bag from the trunk and strap it in one shoulder. Then, he took my hand.

“Come, I bet she’s been waiting.” He told me.

I let him pull me inside, all the while conscious of his hand in mine. He didn’t have to hold it, I would have followed him anyway. But when I tried to tug it away, he held tighter.

I didn’t know where we were going, but I just let him lead me. Finally we stopped by a big door and he unlocked it with his key.

I realized then how silly I was.

He started pulling me again, until we were in the right cubicle.

“Here she is.” He told me proudly. “Kuromi.”

True to her name, she was really a beauty.

Slowly, I moved towards her, awed. Kuromi is like something someone pulled out of a painting. She was such a majestic mare.

“She’s yours?” I asked Yuto.

“My first love.” He said the words inflected with feelings, even holding his hand to his chest. He looked silly. “I’ve had her since I was five. We were still living here in Japan then. When I was eleven, we moved to US, but I still come back every now and then to visit her.” He told me.

“She’s beautiful.” I breathed.

“You should touch her. She’s taken a liking to you. Look.” He pointed.

I followed him and saw that Kuromi was wagging her tail.

“Does that mean the same thing as it is with dogs??” I asked, laughter bubbling from my mouth.

“For Kuromi, it is.” Yuto said, chuckling as well. “When she was still a pony, we kept her with Kanon’s dogs. We think she’s convinced she’s also a dog.”

I let out another laugh and cautiously extend my hand to her. She reached her head to my hand before I could.

I giggled. “She’s adorable.” I told Yuto.

“Ride her.” He suddenly said.

“Eh?”

“I taught you how, earlier.” He said. “She’d liked it.” He added.

“Okay…” I said, a little hesitantly.

I went around Kuromi and tried to reach her back. I was a little startled when I felt Yuto’s hand on my waist. Carefully, he helped me up, and I was able to secure myself on the saddle.

I was distracted of what happened. Of his touched.

“Yuto…” I called, softly, not sure how to say what I want to say. “I’m confused…”

I didn’t know if he was listening but I continued talking nevertheless.

“Where does the pretend end and where does the truth start?” I asked him, in a louder voice.

He was quiet so I thought he didn’t here, but before I could call his name he started talking.

"When I told you to start pretending, and you agreed, I could finally stop lying to myself. I've stopped pretending ever since then."

What does he mean? Before I could ask though, I realized Yuto had moved back, a few feet away from us. He placed the bag on the ground and opened it. He took something out: his camera.

“What are you doing?” I asked, feeling embarrassed.

He raised the camera to his face.

“I want to have a picture of you two.” He just say. “My first and second love.”


TBC

---

AN:
-if Yuto confessed to me like that, I would have fallen off the horse. So congratulations, Shinju. :))))



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