He had hardly believed his luck when the president of the school paper mentioned - oh so casually - the secured interview with the renowned mangaka. A painstakingly crafted list of questions plus the latest copy of 'The*Kan' burnt steadily in Misaki's hand: would an autograph be too juvenile to ask for? A picture? No, too much...but even still... His train of thought shuddered to a halt, however, along with the carriage. The publishing offices were moments away; security cheerfully took his details, waving him on and all too soon Misaki stood on the third floor, mouth dry, head bowed as a whirlwind of activity swept around him, unimpeded. He looked around blankly, the place was a kinetic hive of energy: papers being whisked from one place to another, men and women with jutting jaws and sharp suits stalking the cubicles, more often than not with a scruffy, morose individual in tow. Yet, not a sign of his proposed interviewee. Misaki was just about to silently back into the elevator when he felt a firm hand grasp his shoulder. "Lost are we, Chibi-tan?" Misaki jerked round, coming inches from a black suit; a very well tailored black suit. As a boy condemned, he slowly looked up, coming face to face with a clean shaven man, not much older than himself, a portentious smirk riding his features. "Well? Who are you looking for? Of course if you want to.forget that and stay with Isaka, I'm sure anyone would.understand..." He dropped a sly wink, sending a shudder down Misaki's spine.
"No thank you!" He exclaimed louder than he.intended and Isaka took a step back, his smirk souring, eyeing the boy cautiously. "Um, sorry, I'm looking for Ijuuin-sensei? I'm from my university paper and-" He was cut off by an exasperated sigh.
"That golden boy, always getting the cute ones... Well, follow me Chibi-tan." Isaka turned sharply, strutting into the maze of cubicles. Misaki blinked absently before hurrying in pursuit.
"Here." Isaka stopped outside an anonymous wooden door and turned to face Misaki, struggling to keep up. "I'll give you as much time as you need, Chibi-tan." Misaki didn't miss the glint in those brown eyes, the slight widening of the smirk but as a large hand was placed in the small of his back, thrusting him into the room, his brain dropped rapidly into his shoes. "Yes?"
Misaki looked dumbly around the room, mouth slightly open before his gaze fell on a vast, leather chair facing away from him, hiding the speaker.
"Uh-um" Misaki licked his lips, suddenly struggling to form any sort of articulation. The cold, curt voice has put him off slightly; he'd always imagined Ijuuin to be somewhat more-
"What do you want?"
That voice again. Misaki took a deep breath and awkwardly addressed the back of the chair.
"Hello my name is Takahashi Misaki and I am from M-University and I came to interview-"
He was cut off again as an exasperated snarl came from the chair.
"No interviews! How many times do I have to tell these people? I come into the office for one day...Whatever, just go...and tell Aikawa to-"
But Misaki didn't hear what this, Aikawa person, should do. It seemed as though his senses had dulled. The deep, booming voice dulled to a hum as he clenched his fists, ears and cheeks pricking, growing distinctly warm. He would regret this.
"I mean what in the world-"
"I apologise for inconveniencing you sensei!" Misaki almost yelled, his voice escaping him, bypassing his brain as it did so. "I just thought since Ijuuin-sensei seems such an open person that I would have the honour of talking to you, but it seems as though I was mistaken. I'm very sorry for gaining the wrong impression." Misaki paused for breath, the sudden silence was almost tangible. "I just-" His voice weakened, struggling somewhere around the lump in his throat. "Ijuuin is my idol and I feel passionately that I will always follow you as a writer and...um..." A small sniff. "I'll go, sorry again."
He turned, face burning but as he reached for the doorknob-
The previously caustic voice sounded so baffled that Misaki turned around, despite himself. He wished he hadn't. The chair had turned and Ijuuin was facing him. Except, the photo on the 'The*Kan' dust jacket didn't show Ijuuin with glinting, silver hair. His eyes were most indefinitely blue, not a pale lilac. In fact, he looked a completely different person.
A completely different-
"Y-you aren't Ijuuin-sensei." Misaki could feel himself wincing, his teeth gritting together in a tight grimace as they always did when he horribly, horribly humiliated himself. The man shook his head, piercing eyes fixed on Misaki's own. He felt like he should say something...anything to attempt to claw back even a shred of self respect but as he opened his mouth the man stood ubruptly. The teen gulped. This guy was very tall, at least a foot above himself and as he crossed the room towards Misaki, conscious of his shoulder blades pressing against the door, those frosted eyes were making their leisurely way all over him. The distance between them closed rapidly but Misaki remained stock still. The tang of cigarette smoke clung to this man...plus something sweet and ambiguously familiar. With an abandon he would later berate himself for, Misaki couldn't help noticing that this man, barely a metre away now, was deeply handsome.
As if that thought jolted him back into life Misaki laughed quickly and loudly, hands frenetically scrambling for the door handle behind him. "Well, this has all been a big misunderstanding! I'm truly sorry, I'll get out of your hair now! Good bye!"
As soon as he arrived, he vanished. An empty space the faint testament to his being there at all. Usami Akihiko stood, fragmented in the middle of the room. He felt strangely...emotional. As if that daft little twerp had touched a nerve...only to have taken something away in return. Something vital, like a lung. He shook off his reverie, Lord, his time in this building with those infernal shojo writers was really taking it's toll. He rubbed his eyes for a moment, kneading the memory of that sweet face, oddly open...oddly cute and delicate for a boy.
But then, an idea. In one deft movement, the telephone was at Akihiko's ear: "Marukawa Publishing, Main Desk. Mizuki speaking!"
"It's Usami Akihiko. Listen, I need the details for a visitor, one Takahashi Misaki..."