Title: even a whisper
Author's note: kink meme: Japan confesses to Greece while he's sleeping.
Greece looks so peaceful when he sleeps. He always has an air of calm about him – at least, unless Turkey is around. He can fall asleep anywhere. Japan has amusedly spied him asleep in the back of his chair while just across the table, France and England or England and America – or even all three are at each other's throats again. Sometimes he will slump to the table, even as things escalate on the Baltic and Slavic side of the table, and if he wakes at all, his only comment will be something concerning the works of Homer as it relates to cats.
He sleeps on raised stones in ruins he is excavating, without anything to pad him.
That is how Japan finds him today, his hands full of groceries. He makes a traditional Japanese meal for Greece whenever he comes, knowing Greece enjoys his food, and especially any sweets he brings, or sends over when he cannot visit.
Greece's hair is matted to his face with sweat. His hat has fallen off, and a grey cat now lies curled up in it, also fast asleep. There are two cats on his chest, one black and white, while the other is a kitten with faded calico with orange and black and white mottled over its body, as if it rolled in paint.
Japan kneels beside him, and sets the groceries aside. Another cat peeks in, but he gently pushes it away. He doesn't want cat hair getting on his Negi, even if he has a sinking feeling that Greece would not mind. The schedule is to be rigid, as Japan prefers all things. He has planned each meal he will cook for months in advance, and has all the necessary supplies with him. Today it will be Chanko Nabe, as he described it when he was explaining Sumo Wrestlers to Greece. After that has finished, he will begin boiling the Oden in soya sauce for tomorrow's dinner, and then a selection of others he has picked based on Greece's preferences, which seem to be anything you make me, I will love.
Greece does not let him make every meal, but instead will take him out to eat every other day or so to enjoy Grecian food. Greece can make some food – the Souvalaki Chicken he made last time was especially good – but his habit of forgetting he was cooking or nodding off makes it so that eating out is preferable – certainly preferable to having the house almost burn down.
In truth, Japan enjoys this role, almost a housewife when he dons his traditional housewife's attire and puts his hands into soapy water and Greece sleepily dries the plates beside him. It is an unspoken thanks, a way to show his gratitude without the messiness of words or expressed feelings.
But even these soft, domestic moments are not enough. They have been standing at the edge of something, a chasm for a long time now, and Japan has wearied of almosts.
And yet, to his face, Japan cannot say the words. It is not a fear that Greece will reject him, for he is sure – at least, almost sure – that he won't.
"America-san says I should practice in a mirror, but it was unnerving and did not help..." Japan begins softly. Greece's chest rises and falls. He doesn't stir, so Japan continues on.
"Writing letters or poems lacked a certain...intimacy...there are several half finished ones hidden in a box in my storage. I bring them out, but they do not do the feelings justice...I suppose what I'm trying to say – even though you'll not hear it – is that I...love you."
He almost stumbles on the last words, for he is unpracticed in definites, unpracticed in anything beyond the unsaid and the polite restrained ways he is used to. He dares one fluttering touch against Greece's forehead to brush back sticky strands of hair.
"I have for a long time...it's a very hard thing to say in my culture. That does not excuse my denials but...I was dealing with it. I suppose I was embarrassed by how much I liked you."
He traces over the rest of Greece's face. He's known every inch of his body, despite claims otherwise, and he misses it – and him. He feels fond towards Greece even when Greece is clueless, oblivious or fallen asleep in the middle of something. In truth, even when annoyed, he feels that same fondness, more of a quiet sigh to the habits of almost lovers than any true irritation.
He reasons that Greece is a heavy sleeper, and will doze through whatever he does. He's seen him sleep right through chaotic meetings, where nations screamed and turned to fistcuffs.
He starts with a light touch over Greece's chest. It's been a long time since he's felt the raw power of Greece. He could bruise Japan, easily, but each touch had been gentle. Wisps of kisses, light nibbles, tiny marks that faded in the morning, the purple melting away into skin like ice.
He misses his body, misses him but cannot bring himself to say this, for it would be admitting and passing the walls of denial he has built. But with sleep, he can open these feelings to the wind, even if Greece never hears them, even in his deepest dreaming.
He thinks about straddling Greece, pressing kisses to his mouth, his neck and downwards. He flushes at the thought, one which becomes more and more tempting.
He somehow thinks Greece wouldn't mind.
He allows himself a kiss. One kiss of a sleeping love. He leans back, pushing aside thoughts of reversals of fairytales and princesses kissing sleeping princes awake. He presses his lips softly against Greece's leaning over him, and only faintly touching him. Like any kiss, it is warm and gentle. He notices, however, a difference, a hitch in the plan: Greece is kissing him back. He lingers only a stunned moment, to draw back. Greece's eyes are open. He's smiling in such a tender way. Japan's heart beats tight within him. He feels like a fool.
"How...How long have you been awake?" Japan says.
"Long enough," Greece replies. "I'm a light sleeper."
"But you sleep right through the meetings," Japan protests feebly. "I've always thought you'd sleep through and earthquake or tsunami – I've always tried to watch you closely if you were visiting during those times...lest you get hurt..." Japan falls silent, realizing that he has revealed too much again.
Greece shrugs. "Long flights, besides, they've been having the same fights for the past hundreds of years. I've gotten used to it."
"I spoke much more softly than any of the Baltics or Slavics have," Japan says.
"If one of my cats meow for food or to be brushed, I'll wake up right away. If it's important and not just pointless fights...You're the same. You could whisper across the board meeting even beyond their screaming and I'd hear you."
Japan flushes. His lips still tingle from the feel of Greece's lips.
Greece reaches out for his hand, and Japan takes it. "I feel the same."
He realizes that Greece knows him, that he will take this as slow as Japan needs. He traces his thumb across Greece's palm very slowly. He feels the thundering of his heart, from surprise turn to that steady beat, that flutter. The love he knows so well, and has nursed for hundreds of years.
"I'm glad you heard, I suppose," Japan murmurs. "Otherwise It'd have probably taken another hundred years.."
"I'd have waited," Greece says.
"Even hundreds of years?" Japan says, almost teasing.
"Thousands, if need be, if we were still alive then..."
His gaze turns solemn, and Japan knows it is memories of loss. Steeling himself, he brings Greece's hand slowly to his mouth to a faint kiss.
"I hope you will please be patient with me...and ah, the food will spoil if we don't hurry."
Japan rises, and picks up the bag. He isn't so far that he doesn't hear Greece's murmured reply of always. He doesn't respond, and they walk back together, cats following after Greece like he's bathed in milk.
Tonight he will cook for Greece, and tonight little will change except more will slowly come to the surface. The unsaid and said merging together in small things, small steps taken towards each other.
Perhaps tonight while Greece sleeps through the nightly news, he will rest his head on his shoulder, or perhaps he will even try to say the words of love he finds so elusive.
Or he will simply allow his body to say the words for him, in the dark through gasps and unfettered sighs.
Whichever way, Greece will know deep down, perhaps what he has always known, or hoped.
To Japan, even saying something like I hope you enjoy the Chanko Nabe is in itself, a little I love you, a love note hidden behind rigid politeness and oceans and cultural barriers that span between them. Japan knows now that on the other side Greece patiently waits beyond, reading between the lines of him and accepting each small gift as if it were the world offered with gilded ribbons.