titled like a burst of flavor in your mouth
pair greece/japan + cameo of one sadiq
rated pg-15
warnings we play happy family until you tell us to stop. mostly AU with severely canonical methods of implicating sex. could be very OOC, based on your own interpretation. this is LOLmance.
summary just wait until the clouds fall out of the sky.
notes exactly 2100 words written for the sheer pleasure of it. i need a drink. or maybe five. D:

-/-

like a burst of flavor in your mouth

01

So you have your twists and your tumbles. You shed a piece of your tail halfway over the hedge next to his neighbour's yard, cough up a fur ball on his bookshelf near the Hemingway; Cuban fishermen dream about lions and you try to remember why you're not an expatriate. You stretch out your legs under the sun, bat at the breeze that ruffles the hairs on your back. You don't think about tomorrow because you don't remember yesterday, you break into your life breathing opportunity, incongruity, friction for an eternity. And it works like clockwork and chaos theory, shrouds itself in binding disagreements and the rudimentary logic of a stubborn school teacher. There is simultaneously disbelief spinning through your head and aspirin in his hand and a heavy gun dangling from his pocket, but you are unaffected

-unaffected, because you like being here, just here-

here, because you like the hand and the fingers that run against the fur across your shoulders. You like the way he tickles the back of your ears. Enjoy it too much to be healthy, even. You like the way he treats you to lactose-free milk, because he knows that Siamese cats have poor stomachs for the curdled cow shit. You like the way he cares about you, even though you've wandered across half the world in your lifetime and your faith in humanity is balancing on a seesaw wobblier than the thread that ties him to Turkey. You like how there's something stupidly satisfying about it, kind of like that time you found the last tin of three-week-old tuna in the bottom cupboard.

So they say that you're a fighter, a dreamer, a real piece of work.

And even if the logic is impossibly flawed, you don't deny it.

Everyone is waiting for your debut.

-/-

On Wednesday, Kiku begins to write a novel. It is a novel about samurai, or so he tells Greece, and he intends for it to describe the lives that the brave warriors led in the transitional period between shoguns and Americans. It will be the basis for a new drama that Kiku's boss wanted to air on prime-time NHK, a fancy combination of patriotic subliminal messages and garden romance, characters resplendent in off-white kimono and billowy hakama, the occasional Western attire for the revolutionaries (the very ones who had dragged Kiku out from his bedroom while he was half-asleep). Miyazaki Aoi was going to star in it with some male lead from an idol band, and everyone else enlisted into the cast and production crew were either one-hit-wonder celebutantes or casual acquaintances of the producer's mother.

"Is that where you were?" Heracles asks, pokes a worm in the grass and rolls around so that he's lying on the ground, flat on his belly while Kiku sits up straight over his corner of the picnic blanket. "At the time, is that where you were?"

"Where I was?"

"Where you were during the time of the story. In your room. All alone until they dragged you outside. Aren't you thankful for the revolutionaries of your nation for letting you see the world?"

"Well," Kiku pauses, sits up straighter. "I think. I think it was for the best."

"The best."

"I-I was very fortunate, I'd like to say. To meet you, too."

Greece blows at a dandelion next to his cheek. His next words are soft. "You can be honest with me."

"I am being very honest."

"You're not."

"I'm not?"

"No."

"Why would you ever think-"

"If you were being honest, you would tell me about how scared you were about entering industrialization and meeting uncharitable strangers. You would tell me about how angry you were, at your boss and at the revolutionaries who soaked up the government seats while you continued to play Japanese poster boy for the tourists. You would tell me about secretly wanting to do everything to sabotage America's scheme to take over the world. You would tell me about the regret you feel -the regret that you're feel right now- for not having stopped them in time. If you were being honest with me, you would tell me."

"That's not true," Kiku says quietly, draws in a small breath. He turns around and throws the plates on the blanket back into the basket, ignores the Siamese cat that paws at the scraps of orange peels at his feet. "You don't mean it. Y-You're just angry."

Greece huffs. "I am not."

(And to prove his point, he promptly falls asleep.)

-/-

Later, while he is researching materials and looking up the addresses of his old friends from the Tokugawa Shogunate, Kiku realizes that he is exceptionally bad at sulking. He wasn't very good at getting angry, in the first place, and while he knew Girishia-san didn't like to remind him that there was shampoo to pick up at the tomorrow's supermarket and food on the table during the meetings of the European Union, Kiku had no business keeping a grudge, especially not in the house of a nation who could keep so many cats happy and well-fed. And given the way he had been taught to interact with uncharitable strangers and salty-faced businessmen, drink tea and watch the petals fall from between branches, it was impossible for Kiku to dislike Greece.

It was really rather impossible.

He must have done a disservice to Girishia-san, he thinks. He would have to repay for the damage.

-\-

02

"That was fun," Heracles tells Japan, that was really fun and they should do it again some time, only next time he might want to watch from the bottom instead of from behind, and perhaps not in his mother's backyard. He reaches out and pats Japan on the top of his mussed hair, "Did you need to talk to me about something?"

Japan's voice is muffled and panicked between the blades of grass. "No, no, no, no, no."

It makes both of them freeze, and Heracles feels the weather dry up a little.

"...No?"

"You sh-no, you must take responsibility for me!" Kiku says, all previous motives and desire to seek forgiveness forgotten and mistaken for perishable thought; see here, if this wasn't the rudimentary judgment then there was no logic. If that was how he had wanted it from Girishia-san, then there was no meaning to this, none at all. He tugs Greece's jacket tighter around his bare shoulders. "For you. What we just did. You must...take responsibility."

Greece only smiles. "I refuse."

Kiku's eyes widen. "But y-you can't. You aren't allowed to refuse."

"Mmph. Invalid argument," Heracles yawns, rests the back of his head against the stone bench and extends his bare legs against the ground, his bare skin for the world to see (it makes Kiku wince). Eyes glaze over and the grass is blurring and turning against the Parthenon, the Earth is turning around the Sun, his heart is beating fast over a horizon barely within sight.

-\-

03

"I shall accept any responsibility when I plan to let you go," he hears Girishia-san declare to the clouds in the sky. "And I have no intention of letting you go, not ever."

Kiku feels his mouth dry. His words come out crackled and stiff, taste weird inside his mouth.

"Not ever?"

Greece's eyes are still closed. "Not before the clouds fall out of the sky."

(The last time he had kissed Greece, felt his heart beat against his lungs and the different pieces of hair against his eyes, closed his mouth over a wish and a single sign of defeat, he had stepped against the ground and felt no firmer against it than another cloud. He could use this material in his novel, he had thought. He could introduce the plot device in this way; the protagonist had had problems with a childhood romance and it could explain any conflict within future sexual encounters, by way of an irrational fear and a Freud and maybe some other inconclusive Western applications. It could be an experiment. He could test the waters with the tip of his toes, brush an eyelash against the surface of the glass. He could question the reality.

And the minute he realizes all the possibilities, he thinks it simply might be easier to give it up and let it go.)

-/-

"J-Japan! What are you doing with him?"

"I found him sitting inside a café with a cigarette," Turkey retorts, "What the hell did you do to him?"

So Kiku asks, "What about when it rains?"

-\-

04

What about when it rains?

When it rains, the clouds fall from the sky. They gather into little droplets and soak against the cobblestones in the streets, melt into the fur on your back and wash the little nicks under your pelt. The rain stops itches and heals sores. When it rains, sometimes you can hear a crazy American in the streets grumbling about cats and dogs, and you wonder what they're talking about but you're too polite to ask. When it rains, the children stay indoors and watch television with bad resolution. When it rains, he always snuggles up next to you under the blankets, tucks a hand behind your ears and strokes your fur, smiles a little smile that barely registers on a scale of smiles. He looks the other way, and while you bat your paws against the pillowcase, you pretend you don't hear the little sniffles and sobs that rack against his body, you pretend in the same way he pretends that he isn't thinking about Japan sitting in the sunshine, writing a novel on the other side of the world.

In another minute, he's done with it, the blankets are a little sticky in the places where he felt vulnerable and you meow and he smiles back and then both of you fall asleep under the rhythm of the raindrops.

When it rains, no one is lonely except for him.

-\-

05

As it turns out, the historical drama is a great success. The viewership ratings skyrocketed on several markets, and the moving speech that the leading male had given at the end of the press conference was enough to last them a decade. It had been a classic to end all classics; his boss will ignore him for another century and the lens on the paparazzi cameras will flash over another celebrity's bathtub. Winter will pass by in a small flurry of snowflakes, and in the spring there will be a new historical drama about the Sengoku period to replace the English actors they had hired as Americans. And at the end of the day, Kiku will drink his tea and remember why he had done it.

After the last interview, there are still a few journalists from women magazine's. One of them manages to catch Kiku by the sleeve before he can step into the elevator. Pushes glasses high up against his nose and fires questions at the speed of three-hundred-bullets-per-hour, Date-of-Birth-Type-of-Girl-Blood-Sign-Horoscope?, favorite cuisine favorite writing atmosphere, political ideology and celebrity on the American silverscreen; Ladies and Gentlemen, the unadulterated taste of our enamoured author, the country's Hero of the Day. (Hero? Hero of what? Had he slayed the Minotaur in his sleep? Hero of what?)

"And for your next novel, Honda-san, where do you plan to go?"

So he wonders if there are people around the world who can watch this variety show. He wonders if this can count as the debut of a star; wonders if the prizes in literature really don't matter when you capture what's in their hearts, if you can remember their smiles and their laughs and the way they stretched out their bare legs against the grass and under the sun, their discreet and quiet affection, intrinsic breath between the cities and seascape, words that will live on for years and years and years.

Takes a deep breath and wonders if he should pray to Apollo,

"I plan to visit Athens in the summer."

-/-

"Your cat," Kiku starts.

"Which cat?" he has to ask, "this cat?"

"No, this cat."

"This cat?"

"This cat."

"What's wrong with her?"

"She reminds me of me."

-END-

Three bits:
+ Apollo, god of prophecy.
+ I love love love Miyazaki Aoi. Most of the drama-aspect alludes to Atsu-hime, that NHK year-long who hit us in 2008. Eita (and even Maki) was in it, too. And that sort of, well. Made my life complete?
+ I love feedback. =D