Standard Disclaimer: Yami no Matsuei © Matsuhita Youko, Central Park Media, et al.
Rating: PG-13 (Implied m/m sex, mature themes)
Summary: Hisoka attempts to answer Tsuzuki's confession.
By Dorian Gray (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tell love it is but lust;
Tell time it meets but motion;
Tell flesh it is but dust.
And wish them not reply,
For thou must give the lie.
-- "The Lie," Sir Walter Ralegh
I suppose for my part it was a lie. And I never said anything.
It started with lunch the day before -- a little outdoor cafe with a large dessert cart. His favorite place for lunch on Fridays. It was half past three -- the sun kept shining in my eyes -- and the other tables were empty. We ate. He talked and I listened.
He said that, by the way, he liked me. He was nervous -- his hands kept fiddling with things, his napkin, his fork, the buttons of his shirt, his collar. No -- he gave a thin, high pitched laugh -- no, what he meant was that he loved me, or rather that he was in love with me. He kept pushing his bangs around. He started to babble -- I didn't have to say anything. Nothing had to change, if I didn't want -- and if it was a problem I could get a new partner. But things could just stay the same, if I wanted. Just forget it -- no, think it over. He'd go back and ... um ... he'd go back and I could just think it over.
He paid. And left. I didn't say anything. I just sat there. I finished my coffee. At quarter to six I faded out of sight. No one saw me leave.
I went back to my apartment. I sat at my tiny kitchen table. I stared into my tea. Then an empty teacup. Tea. Empty cup. Tea. Empty cup.
At five minutes to midnight I ended up at his front door. Everything was dark. It was ten past the hour when I knocked. He opened the door too quickly. He asked if I would come in, if I would sit down, if I wanted coffee, tea, pastry ... anything at all ...
His forearms rested on his knees and he couldn't take his eyes off the floor. He was all hunched over. His bangs hung down in front of his eyes. He was quiet. I was quiet. Everything was still. "By the way, I like you," he had said at half past three at an open-air cafe.
It was sometime between midnight and one I found myself standing next to him. I pushed back his bangs. I touched him. I let him take me upstairs. I let him hug me. I let him kiss me. I let him take off my shirt. I let him take off his shirt. I let him. I let him. I let him.
He said he loved me. I let him.
He fell asleep. It was four forty-seven when I zipped up my fly. Four forty-eight when I tucked in my shirt. The door shut behind me before five.
I walked home. I went upstairs. I took off my clothes. I washed myself. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. My skin became red. He hadn't left any marks.
I made a new pot of tea. I stared. Tea. Empty cup. Tea. Empty cup. Ceiling. Ceiling. Ceiling. I did my laundry. I washed the one dirty cup. I listened to the phone not ring. I listened to the dial tone. I listened to myself slam the receiver down. I watched myself pull the phone line from the jack in the wall. I might even have heard myself cry.
It was Sunday, right around sunset, I heard the knock on my door. I answered it too slowly. He asked if he could come in, if he could sit down, if I was all right, why had I left ...
His elbows rested on his knees and he watched me from under his bangs. He curled around himself. Everything was still. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
The clouds were lit with a pink alpenglow when I tried to touch him again. He got angry. This -- this wasn't right. Why? What did it mean to me? What did I feel? Say something. Say anything. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
"I need you." That wasn't enough. He was watching me. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
"I meant what I said in Kyoto." That was underhanded. It wasn't enough.
"I needed you not to leave me." Not enough.
"I was trying to keep you from leaving." Not enough.
"I -- I care about -- I'm no good at this." Not enough.
"I'm not enough for you." He finally let me touch him.
It was dark when he asked why I thought I wasn't enough. I couldn't see him beyond the contrast between his hair and the bedding. I was already touching him. His chest rose up and down. I didn't move. I kept my breathing slow and even. I think I was trying to pretend to be asleep. He changed the question. Why did I keep offering him sex? His chest went up and down. Up and down.
I mumbled I didn't want him to leave. There was an irregularity in his breathing. He stopped talking. I fell asleep.
The next week was strained. He'd talk too much. Then too little. He pretended to do his paperwork. A case came up. We solved it. Someone died. He felt guilty and drank too much. He didn't remember anything the next morning. I had already showered and dressed -- long sleeves over curse marks and rubbed-red skin -- I stood at the window. I watched his reflection. There was a pause that never really unstuck when he realized what his being naked meant. He reached for his clothes. The next two days were quiet.
I spent a lot of time outdoors. I tried to read. We both pretended to do paperwork. Time passed.
Three weeks after that Friday confession, he found me on one of the benches under the sakura trees. He sat down next to me, shuffled for a few minutes -- took off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves -- and opened his mouth to speak only to shut it again. He wiggled, pulled at his tie, opened his mouth, paused ...
and said that this wasn't enough -- it wasn't that I wasn't enough. It was just ...
His head dropped back and he ran his hands over his face. The four o'clock sun cut around the wrinkled material pushed up to his elbows. A hermit thrush bobbed and ducked on the branch above us.
It -- he sighed -- it was just that I didn't let myself be more. Yeah, he wanted to sleep with me, but he didn't want just sex -- because if it was just sex, then he was using me. And he didn't want that -- he explained it all very clearly -- what he wanted, no, what he needed to know was, if I didn't want him to leave, what exactly did I want?
The hermit thrush watched the sky first with one eye then the other. Cheep, tchup-tchup, cheep.
Had I ever thought about that? At all? Tchup-tchup, cheep, tchup-tchup.
I guess I hadn't. I said as much.
He crossed his arms -- almost hugging himself -- and stared at the ground. He was pensive -- a slight frown, vacant eyes. The thrush's head kept turning and swiveling back and forth. Cheep, tchup-tchup.
Suddenly he sat forward in his seat, uncrossing his arms in an expansive gesture.
Wait. I wasn't going anywhere, right? -- I nodded. -- And he wasn't going anywhere. -- He waited for me to nod again.
Then it was easy -- his eyes and his smile were both warm --
"when you figure out what you really want, I'll still be here."
It was simple and generous. It was like him. I couldn't say anything -- only nod. And that was like me. I don't think I've ever hated myself more.
He hooked his elbows over the back of the bench and leaned against it. His head fell back as he stared into the sky. He didn't seem in a hurry to leave, so we sat in silence, two bodies a couple of feet apart. Finally the shadow of a cloud passed over the hermit thrush and it flew away.
Someday I'd manage to thank him for everything.