Title: finding my way through the dark
Author's note: kink meme: describe a relationship. Written to unblock my mind from its hazy detoxblock. Argh, allergies. The title is from KT Tunstall 'Though The Dark'. The mentioned political upheaval was referring to the recent resigning of Japan's prime minister.
He has been invited for an extended stay. Greece-san must've read of his political upheaval of recently, and even with problems of his own, it is Japan he thinks of first, not himself.
Usually, Japan would make polite excuses. His land needs him, he cannot trouble Greece now.
But it is not only that, he worries about Greece-san too. He is not sure what his closeness will avail, surely not economic recoveries or rebuilding, but he will do what he can.
Greece-san in his own oblique way brings it to mind. He has always known that they are well suited – as friends, only friends. He doesn't speak the memories aloud, but they are there. Dust on his eyelids, dreams broken into the morning haze.
He knows that he won't anger Greece-san, there is little worry in this. He knows of Greece-san's proclivities, and certainly that he wouldn't turn him away for a night. But this...Japan does not know how to deal with this.
He notices Greece-san's eyes follow the waitress. Unlike France's lascivious overtones, his is a lazy glance. Japan wonders to himself if he is planning to meet her after her shift. It is certainly a possibility. Greece-san doesn't hover. He leaves to do shopping by himself sometimes, and Japan wants to smell his shirt for traces of a woman's perfume.
But he has no right to ask for this.
He's seen all the monuments, Greece's mother's bones in stone, aged and worn away. Today it is merely a large marketplace, filled with shops. The scent of salt, of baked goods and fish, smoke and gas are evident in the air. Even the heat has a scent, with the way it has already begun to bake the road.
Greece-san grips his hand at the wrist. Japan looks up in surprise.
"It's busy this time of day. You might get lost in the crowd..." Greece-san says.
He feels a trickle of sweat down his arm. Soon enough it will be time for the noon siesta. No one stares at them as they walk, but Japan still feels self-conscious. And yet, a part of him is reveling – almost smug.
Here, he has Greece's attention, only taken away by a ripened fruit and a tabby cat rubbing up against his leg.
Japan admonishes himself for such foolishness, but that does not make it go away.
It's been raining for some time now. There was something he forgot, and thus Greece went by himself. Japan has been looking out the window, ignoring the book on his lap and idly stroking the cat curled up beside him. Its fur is as grey as the clouds outside. Droplets on the windows obscure the view. Maybe if he could connect these watery dots, he'll find what he's looking for. Maybe he'll make sense of this. He hopes the rain won't make the illness worse. He hopes Greece took refuge and didn't decide to come home. He hopes–
The door opens, the hinge squeaks. Greece-san comes in, spattered with rain. There's two plastic bags in his hands filled with fruit. His hair is damp, and clings to his head.
Japan sets aside the book and brings a fluffy white towel. It's been beside him, just in case for the past few hours. Japan steps on tiptoe to dry Greece's hair.
"It'll frizz..." Greece-san sighs. "I don't want you to see me like this..."
"I don't mind," Japan says.
Greece falls quiet and allows Japan to dry off the back of his neck as well. The rainfall has been unexpected. Greece didn't bring an umbrella. His clothes are damp. Japan touches them, and it isn't merely a pretext to feel the firm, elegant lines of Greece's muscles beneath them.
"You should change. With an illness like this, there's no telling what might make you take a turn for the worse."
"Mm. I will in a moment," Greece says.
"I'll go prepare a bath for you," Japan says. He moves to rise up, go elsewhere, but Greece takes him by the hand, and keeps him there.
"I have to confess..."
Japan feels his breath catch with pensiveness.
"I'm selfish. I wanted you here beside me as much as I was worried about you," Greece says.
Japan lets out a sigh of relief. "That's all? I don't mind. I would feel the same had I asked you to my house."
"Good..." Greece breaks off as one dry, raspy cough turns into a coughing fit. He drops the bags, the fruit falls, some of it rolling away. He crumples to the floor, spasming from each cough.
Japan joins him, a worry like nothing he's known beating in his breast, his throat. Wild and tense. Japan's hands flutter in worry, touching his cheek, his shoulder, his arm.
And he does not know when it begins, only that one moment he's touching Greece's forehead, checking for a fever, and the next their lips are meeting. Touching. Finding. When the kiss stops, Japan pulls back, his hand covering his throbbing lips.
"I...I was worried about you, it made me act impertinent—"
"No," Greece breathes. His eyes are still closed, as if he's savoring the feeling. "It was just what I wanted."
"Ah..." Japan says.
Greece's hand is resting on his thigh. Japan brings his hand up until he's touching the pulse point in Greece's neck. He wonders if it is the thrumming of a river he feels, or the taste of the sea there, deep inside Greece.
And something is offered there, more than a night to be denied in the morning. To the raspy sound of Greece breathing, Japan takes the offer. They kiss again and while slow, there is no hesitation.
The next day doesn't feel different. Japan is plagued by a nervousness that makes him nauseous inside. They wake up together. Greece's legs entwined with his own, already too hot in the rising heat.
But then, a kiss. Lips to cheek at the hottest part of the day. Dozing against him when it cools, his foot leaning against Japan's leg. Japan is still getting used to such things.
It's later in the day that he asks what has been plaguing him all along.
"Are we really that different, Greece-san?" Japan asks. His head is bowed. Greece is looking up at the ceiling. His fever is hotter than the noonday sun that drives everyone inside for their siesta.
"Only in the ways that count..."
Greece covers Japan's hand with his own. It's rougher, and larger than his own. If Japan's hands are silk, then Greece's has the consistency of suntanned leather. It imbues each touch of his with a coarse quality, like a cat's tongue.
Japan does not let this thought cloud his mind again.
When the heat lessens, Japan puts his arms about Greece. He lays on him like a cat, with his arms out and his forehead to Greece's chest. Greece is always touching him, even in oblique ways. Japan does not like being touched, and never has. He spent years avoiding the embraces of Korea, Italy, and even China when he was younger.
But now, it feels as if this is a deluge of affection which Greece has been holding back. As if Greece can't bring himself not to be near him.
He voices this question in bed. Greece is nestled against him, the sheets pool and wrinkle about them, like a tidal pool.
"How many years have you been holding back?" Japan asks.
"A hundred," Greece says.
"But you've already touched me," Japan says.
"You're admitting?" Greece says, with a playfully raised brow.
"It would be pointless to do so when you've already reenacted that night several times," Japan says, a bit primly.
"Yes, but I couldn't do this..." A kiss to his neck, his ear, whatever part of him is nearest.
"Or this..." A nuzzle.
"Or even this..."
And soon, Greece's lips are on him, pushing him down, taking him, claiming him.
Japan thinks that he doesn't really mind this sort of thing. He could grow used to Greece touching him.
"We should tell everyone," Greece says. "Call a press conference and everything..."
"No– it isn't right."
"What isn't right? Love?" Greece asks. He sounds perplexed. His brows are furrowing, trying to solve this conundrum just as he has tried to solve the meaning of the universe with his philosphy.
"These sorts of things...are best kept hidden away from the public eye," Japan says carefully.
"But we exchange the poetry of our eras...you had shudo, my mother had pederasty," Greece says, seemingly perplexed. "You even showed me Chrysanthemum poetry. You aren't ashamed of yourself, are you?"
"It doesn't work like this. You cannot be so naive to think that declarations of affection will change anything. If anything it will lead to war and other unpleasantness. No, it's better to keep it hidden away," Japan says.
Greece goes quiet, and the quiet lasts a long time.
Some people yell when they get angry. Greece certainly does at Turkey-san when he is angry, but he does not raise his voice. He's distant and quiet. Moody. They walk through the house, Japan wondering if he has become a stranger in Greece's land.
He notices Greece gathering his things. His hat, a little water.
"Where are you going?" Japan says. It's the first thing he's said since then.
"Out. I don't want to raise my voice to you," Greece says. He doesn't look at Japan as he goes. The door shutting behind him is such a loud sound. Made even moreso by the silence left behind. It is a very heavy silence that weighs down on Japan.
The cats grow restless as the day wears on. Japan feeds them, and wonders if they miss Greece, or if they are simply disturbed by his own restlessness. As the hours pass, Japan becomes more and more agitated. He wishes to search for Greece, but he knows Greece wants to be left alone.
Besides, he does not know Greece's land entirely. Even after one hundred years, he has not perfected the language, and would likely get lost. He does not know who to call, and does not know if Greece might collapse somewhere as his land falls apart.
So he drinks tea. Cup after cup until he's jerky with caffeine and his heart races not just from worry, but from the overload as well. Little else calms him here. Poetry would remind him, and he isn't fluent enough to watch television without Greece explaining for him. Besides, most of the stations contain news about Greece's sinking into financial ruin. He does not need to have these numbers beat into him, to worry more.
Cats curl up beside him, as if sensing his unrest. He strokes them idly as he drinks. It's quite late when the silence is broken, and the cats look up, and then bound for the doorway.
"I worried..." Japan says, breaking the silence as the door opens and several indignant yowls greet Greece.
"I fell asleep," Greece says. "I went to see her."
"Her..." Japan says. Japan wonders if it's the waitress he saw that day, or another girl kept away. Certainly Greece didn't get listed as the country who had the most sex for nothing. He must have plenty of them hidden away. Sex friends, girls he just met. Men too, of course.
"My mother," Greece says.
To the bones of his mother. It's always where he goes when he is discontent, or angry. He talks to her, and even if she doesn't respond back, he must find some answer, some comfort there. He excavates for clues in the dust that comes from the crumbling stones. Japan should've known. He silently admonishes himself for his jealousy.
His hand trembles at the teacup, but he isn't sure if it's the caffeine or the unquiet inside him. Worry, sadness, jealousy have all swirled into a sickening concoction at the pit of his stomach. He feels vaguely nauseous. He sets the teacup down before he drops it and there's more unpleasantness and takes a breath.
Greece is nearer now. He does not look as stormy as he did earlier. Japan wets his lips with his tongue.
"Per...perhaps we can make a compromise. I need time to accumulate to this–"
Greece hushes Japan with a touch to his lips. He smiles.
"I'm not angry anymore."
"I'm glad," Japan says.
Greece shifts on the couch and rubs at his neck to ease out tension.
"It doesn't have to come out if you don't want to. I can handle being your secret.."
"If we do, Turkey-san might cause another war," Japan says, his voice very quiet. "In your weakened state, you might not be able to fend for yourself..."
Greece twitches, his hand ball to fists. Japan wonders if he has gravely offended Greece again.
But he relaxes, and Japan knows all is well. They have weathered the first storm, their first fight. Nothing has changed through it all. The fight has brought nothing except a truce. However, Japan realizes he is more attached than he had let himself believe.
Greece makes dinner special that night. Japan can't help but think that it is an unsaid apology. He makes Souvlaki chicken, stuffed with sage, and a salad consisting of some kind of potatoes and even apples covered in some kind of yogurt. He makes a concoction – Spoonfuls of Bliss, he calls it. Japan tastes fruit and milk, perhaps a hint of vanilla as Greece spoon feeds it to him.
They sit on the floor because it's cooler there. Greece pushes a cat away from his dish, but is too late when another one leaps in and steals it away.
Without a word, Japan cuts his in half, and puts it on Greece's plate.
"You know...there's nothing to apologize for," Japan assures him. "We merely had a difference of opinion."
Greece tilts his head,, questioning.
"But isn't this an apology? This..meal."
"Maybe a little. Mostly, I wanted you to have the best of Greek food while you're here..."
Greece kisses him then, and his mouth tastes sweet, of the bliss both confectionary and intangible kind.
On the way to his bed – their bed, Greece stumbles as if he is drunk. Japan knows he isn't, however. He isn't strong enough to catch him, isn't strong enough to break the fall, but he reaches and tries.
"Are you hurt?"
It's a stupid question and Japan knows it. But panic does not bring out elegant phrases. Greece looks up at him, half-lidded eyes.
"Ah...you know how it is," Greece says. He tries to smile, but winces instead. Perhaps somewhere there is a riot, a bank failure, Fires, unrest. He shudders under some unseen weight.
"I"m starting to feel like Sisyphus," Greece says. "Pushing a rock up a hill...only to have it fall again..."
"Can you get up?"
"I think so..."
Japan tries to be a crutch, and anchor. They rise together, shaky, ready to collapse again at any moment. Greece is leaning on his shoulder, Japan's arm is tightly wound against Greece's back.
They limp and stumble towards the bed, and almost trip over a cat in the process. He moves a calico and a black cat off the bed, who grumpily stalk away with their tails twitching.
"Do you need anything? A drink of water, perhaps?"
He holds at Japan's wrists with both his hands, and strokes his palms. He smiles. The pain seems to recede, or he just feels comforted by being here in his bed, here with Japan. And Japan knows what it is he wants, knows what comfort is to Greece.
He lowers himself on top of Greece. Greece's hand seeks his as his yukata is undone. Greece always likes him to keep his native clothes on, even here. He claims it helps Japan not feel homesick for his own land, but Japan suspects he just likes seeing him in it.
But enough it is off and only skin and skin, and the heat between their bodies. Greece tastes like salt, like the sea and sun and heat and olives. He tastes in ways that Japan cannot conventionally describe as taste: peace and happiness, calm and contentment. These are what he associates with Greece, and has for many years. It is only now that he finds a concrete aspect to pin them to – taste, touch, breath.
It is only now that the contentment has reformed itself into love.
One would think that being ill would imply that Greece would loose stamina. Far be from it. Japan shifts for comfort, and thinks that he will be limping for days. Ah, to be young and have that much energy.
Japan is a voyeur. His tastes range to the hardcore. His pornographic habits are doubled edged. Even with his imaginative, eclectic ways, it's still censored. He himself is not far from this. The actual sexual act has always been a stilted, overly formal for him. Greece takes him without even showering, and with Greece pressing him down, he can't wipe up the come that splatters across them at the apex.
They're two opposites in this. Greece is as vanilla as they come, and Japan knows to keep his erotic tastes to himself. But Greece is gentle, and Greece does not mind compromises.
Japan thinks he might be able to share some of the more softcore parts of his collection. He supposes he shouldn't keep big secrets from Greece. Otherwise it might turn to a chasm, or start another fight when Greece realizes that he wasn't trusted with this.
Greece might even let them try some of the methods. Japan admits to himself that he's most turned on when he's as separated from the act as possible. (And, he thinks to himself, Greece would look very good in leather bonds.)
Greece snorts in his sleep, and curls a bit closer. Japan hopes that if he is dreaming, they are good dreams.
There has never been a question to Japan if they suited each other. Even when he was keeping back the words, biting back the memories, sensual and skin deep, he knew.
It's a new day. Greece's fever has broken. He knows that time is running out for his trip, and soon he will have to return to his homeland, but he is sure they will return to see each other soon.
It is only a matter of time.