nakajima kento/kawashima umika,
wherein kento and umika are both music majors.
plot is based on nakajima's solo of the same title ww
“HEY!” umika greets, nearly toppling kento over from his seat.
she laughs as he sits back up, settling beside him. he clears his throat and inches away slowly when she puts her bag on the seat beside her. she grabs her phone from her coat pocket before taking it off. he watches as she drapes it behind her, smiling at him before unlocking her phone, replying to her boyfriend, okamoto. he frowns before looking away, suddenly finding the vandalism on his desk interesting.
“nee, nakajima-kun?” she starts, putting down her phone on the desk. she angles her body towards him.
kento pushes up his glasses, “y-yes?”
umika puts her hand on his knee, earning a sharp intake of breath.
“do you have a copy of the piece sensei wanted us to memorize?”
his eyes are darting from her hand, to her face, to her hand, to her face. he’s struggling, but manages to reply a quiet “u-uh.. yeah..” before nearly running out of breath. “really?!” she chirps, withdrawing that hand and now taking both of his hands into hers. kento prays she doesn’t notice how clammy his palms are.
“would you mind if i borrowed them? i forgot to print them out this morning..” she drifts off. kento isn’t even thinking clearly when he answers a barely audible “sure”, fearing his voice might break. umika lets out a cheer before hugging him lightly, thanking him. he freezes. he’s taken aback, only realizing what happened when she’s pulled away.
he is left staring after her. she's smiling at her phone again. he is happy, but empty at the same time.
- - -
on the way home after his last class, kento passes by the practice rooms.
he looks into the third one, and spots umika concentrating on the piece he lent her earlier. she's serious, with hardly any expression on her face. he watches as her hands dart on the keyboard, feet rest on the pedal and eyes move with her fingers. the umika he's seeing before him is completely different.
while he's in awe with admiration, kento starts feeling the wall in between them get higher and higher. she's on top of the class, very beautiful and already has someone else.. kento wonders where that leaves him, or if he deserves a place in her life in the first place. he musters a sad smile before walking off.
- - -
umika doesn't come to class the following week.
kento worries, but reminds himself that he's not in the position to check up on her. still, he pauses for a few seconds in front of the third practice room, expecting to see her when he looks inside. she's isn't. he still worries. he can't help it. he composes a message on line, 'kawashima, are you okay? i'm always here if you need anyone to talk to..' his finger hovers on the send button. he's thinking of a million things on why not to send it, but he ends up sending it anyway.
he exhales deeply, looking back at the practice room before walking away. he isn't really expecting a reply, so he's surprised when his phone rings not even a minute after he's sent the message. he scrambles to see the screen. it's kawashima. she's calling.
when he answers, she's sobbing.
"come get me?" it comes off as a question, but kento already knows.
- - -
it takes two trains, a bus ride and a ten minute walk to get to her.
umika is sitting alone on the swings of a park near a block of apartment complexes. kento rushes to her. she looks up when she notices his shadow, she's crying. his face drops, falling to his knees in front of her. "what's wrong?" he asks, cupping her face into his hands, brushing her tears away. she shuts her eyes and restrains a sob.
"okamoto-kun.. broke up with me!!"
kento sighs. she starts to bawl. he's never seen her like this before. it's not her best version, but he can't bring himself to dislike her. even when she's barefaced, red from crying and in pajamas. he finds it weird that he can't feel anything but fondness for her-- a desire to protect her, to take her into his arms- to keep her away from people who keep harming her again and again..
"th-this is-- the third time-- h-h-he's done this!!" she says in between sobs. he gets up, taking her hand into his. she stands up with him, still sobbing. he lets himself gently embrace her, rubbing her back with a reassuring "shhh.." he keeps doing this until her sobs disappear. it's just the two of them now, at this time of the evening. she looks up at him, eyes slightly swollen and nose red from all the crying. he pats her head while keeping her close. his lips part to say something.. but he restrains himself. instead, he looks up at the moon, tracing the molds of its craters from where he was. he thinks of her, despite just being in his arms- she still seems so far.
umika pulls on his coat. he loosens his embrace and pulls away, noting how soaked his shirt now feels. she sits back down on the swings, motioning for him to sit next to her. he hesitates, but sits down willingly. she starts talking and he listens. he learns how her parents divorced, how she barely finished high school and how okamoto was the first person who cared when she moved to tokyo. watching her eyes sparkle in the moonlight, she looks so proud. kento ignores the persisting, hopeful wish he has for her to look only at him.
"playing the piano was the only thing that kept me happy.." she drifts off. "i could spend hours just playing, and not caring about the world," she glances at him and he nods on in encouragement. "i always thought, 'if it's playing the piano, then this is the one thing that can never leave me'.. and it turned out to be true.." she sighs. a moment passes before she faces him. she holds on to the handles for balance, before opening her mouth to continue.
"nakajima-kun, thank you."
kento feels his heart soften. he shakes his head and mentions it isn't a big deal. umika gets up slowly and stands up in front of him. he looks up at her, waiting for her next move. the leaves sway overhead with the wind breezing through. her hair covers her face. kento reaches up to brush the strands away. when he does, she lowers her face. he doesn't move this time. no sharp intake of breaths, nor clammy palms. he's looking straight at her.
"you're cute up close, nakajima-kun."
when she kisses him, it feels like a goodbye.
- - -
the sun is barely peeking out when kento finally stumbles into his apartment.
taking off his coat and shoes, he keeps looking at his keyboard propped up on the kitchen table. he pauses for a second, before pulling out sheet music from his clear file and a pen from his front pocket. he starts with a simple tune, scribbling on his sheet music every now and then. he hums it over and over, so that he doesn't forget. he writes down the words to accompany it, crossing out what doesn't sound right and underlining what sounds true.
it is noon by the time he finishes. he makes himself coffee and sits down on his sofa bed.
- - -
the following week in class, umika sits three rows away from kento. on the same day, he overhears two girls talk about how she's back together with okamoto again. after school, he makes his way to the third practice room and finds her, as expected. he reaches in his bag and pulls out the sheet music, neatly rewritten with the lyrics he wrote. he slides it inside the room, gets up, and leaves.
- - -