fandom: Garasu no Kamen / Glass Mask
title: sweet pretenses.
pairing: Hayami + Maya
rating: pg-13

description – Can Hayami and Maya's dreams ever coincide?

Disclaimer – Glass no Kamen is not mine.

sweet pretenses.

By Miyamoto Y.

Before the empty seats, she stood in the middle of the stage and prayed to her goddess that things had gone well. She smiled as her eyes glanced over the expanse of the theatre.

She never imagined that she would be on this side with people lining up to see her.

Hours earlier, she was practicing in the park to touch the trees in Tokyo so that she could remember the plums in Izu when he had come to ask for her help. By now, because their time together came in smaller and smaller increments of stolen moments, she found herself easily saying yes.

It was the only way she could tell how much she appreciated him for all the years he'd given to her.

Now, in the middle of the stillness, she looked at her feet. "Now, I'm back to ordinary Maya."

The transformation was complete, just like a magic spell. She turned around to go out the employee entrance and wanted to go towards the park to practice for Kurenai Tennyo as she did everyday after being with everyone.

Stepping outside, she found that the scent of the ocean accompanied the clouds above. "It's going to rain soon, isn't it?"

But she was prepared because she had a small umbrella in her bag.

Sneezing, she realized she'd dressed lighter than she wanted. Here it was spring but it felt like winter. What was wrong with the world these days?

Still, it was all beautiful. The sea reminded her of her hometown.

When she walked out and stood in the intersection, he came out of his car and called to her. "Chibi-chan!"

Without meaning to, Maya pursed her lips together. "After all I did for you, and you still call me that?"

He ignored her comment and glanced down at the ground. Then, he covered his mouth to clear his throat. "It's late so I'll take you home."

"No thank you. I am used to it already."

When the light changed to green, she stepped forward.

"Thank you, Maya."

That certainly got her attention. When she turned around, she was taken aback to see him covering his mouth again and averting his eyes from looking into hers. With that, she closed her eyes and her lips were giving an amused smile.

"Okay, I'll go with you, Hayami-san. But just for today."

Of course, nothing with Hayami was ever so simple and clean.

They sat next to one another in the back of the car and Maya wished that her heart would stop beating so hard that it was making her face so blatantly red like a child had drawn on her face with a marker

What am I doing here? I knew I should have just crossed the street and ignored him. But I couldn't. There will come a time when this too will fade away.

Hayami was pretending to look out the window and stealing glimpses of her without trying to seem too obvious about it.

How could she be all these different people? And yet, I want them…

I want all of them.

But I don't know how to dream about things like that…

He closed his eyes temporarily. Sitting beside the real thing instead of imagining her as he always did made him even crazier.

"I have to practice at the park before I go home."

"But it's so late already." He started to laugh. "You really have nothing else in your head but completing your role, don't you?"

"If I don't, my special fan won't come to me." Her palm pressed against the leather seat as her eyes watched his dim reflection through the window.

"Is it worth for that one fan you always speak of?" He was falling in deeper into his own trap.

Maya couldn't breathe as her heartbeats suddenly stopped, squeezing itself dry.

"I am nothing without that person. "

"Stop here, please."

They abruptly stopped in front of a hotel in Shinjuku that was a few blocks from the Tokyo Metropolitan Office. Looking at her with his hand on the door handle, he tilted his head calmly. "I'll be right back."

The sweet expression on his face made her blush even more and before she could ask where he was disappearing off to, he'd already closed the door.

Fifteen minutes later, Hayami was still inside the hotel. Maya became worried. What was he thinking asking her to come with him only to leave her inside the car?

The girl asked the driver to stay where he was and so, she went inside nervously as everyone caught a glimpse of her and her inappropriate clothing. Despite the gilded princess costume she had just worn at the performance, all was left was a blue parker, a white skirt and a printed t-shirt from the transformation. Were they really going to take her seriously like that; but she had to right?

If I have one percent…

She went to the receptionist and asked her if Mr. Hayami had come in. His driver was waiting and she wanted to pick him up. The receptionist eyed her dismissingly through her thick eyeglasses after she'd repeated herself for the second time. She hassled her, intimidatingly scrolling her figure up and down before calling the room.

I don't like this world sometimes…

but it's the only one that will respect me when I act.

It's the only talent I have.

One percent…

The receptionist's face changed on the phone, worriedly staring at the girl. Immediately, she changed her attitude towards her, even ushering her towards the appropriate elevator. The elevator operator brought her to the top floor and the two white doors opened like a music box, complete with a jingle.

"Please," the operator gestured.

Helen. Puck. Catherine. The Princess. Jane.

She stepped through the doors and found herself looking at frames of her own characters, frames lined up simply on a table like a welcoming committee. Each and everyone greeted her happily.

Somehow, it filled her with a warmth and honor that she had never known.

Around the room were decorations of the stars as if they were taken from the sky and placed into this room carefully and gently. In bewilderment, she couldn't move and wondered if it were a dream though she knew she was in the right place.

"Was this what I always wanted?"

He was standing at the sliding door that led to the balcony.

Sighing in relief that he was fine, she could now leave him, only to run away to capture him again when she became the goddess…

"Since you're safe, I can go now." Wanting to give him space, she bowed her head to leave but there he was staring out the terrace.

She pretended not to hear the desperation in his voice and though she was so close to what she wished for, it felt surreal. Everything was too perfect. She knew better by now to not expect so much from a single moment because it collapsed so easily.

She just stood there as if she didn't know anything and with his back still facing her, he walked out into the balcony. His eyes scanned all the lights and darkness, being itself, Tokyo was a mesh full of rises and falls where the skyline constantly remained uneven, never knowing if it wanted to be one way or another. Remaining silent, he held onto the railing and she stepped forward, a gravitational force pulled her towards him. Hadn't it always been that way anyway?

I wanted to reach out to you.

I know I should say something,

but years worth of words clashed together…

until nothing came out.

That was something she hated about herself. When it really counted, she knew how to fight, but when it came to defending herself, who she was, she was still the same person from years ago that he had met at in the living room of her teacher's house. Still, she'd counted on the seconds, hoping she was still on time to meet him somehow.

There had to be a place where they could be together…There just had to be.

It was a simple wish, but it seemed more and more impossible as the seconds passed between them.

It was strange to her that, in this world, this person could command for a hotel to grant his wish with just a word because of what he owned, a power acquired by money and yet, standing here they both knew it only opened doors they didn't want. To have that kind of power is so utterly useless if you had to stand looking at the top of the world wanting to go back into it.

You spend your whole life climbing and you don't tell yourself when you're supposed to stop and it is 'finished' only to find that when you're at the top, you know what it means to get there only to want

to be 'normal',

to want to come down from the

catalogued label of 'special',

wanting to discard all the things that

once meant everything,

especially status: A label by society you can no longer erase.

It was then that she laughed to herself in defeat, knowing she'd stay for his sake. As the swaying curtains separated them, her eyes focused on that steady back which had carried more than she cared to notice before.

"If you run away from that world, you mean nothing here. Let's go back."

He didn't say anything and looked up at the nearly rainy sky.

Yes, even here in Tokyo, where the glare can encapsulate all the different kinds of light to keep the fear of darkness from touching it, it too can let you see the stars

where the wind blows all the clouds

away and all that's left was

what was originally there in the first place.

"Why didn't you wait as you were supposed to?"

"Because I am still myself. That's a stupid question when you know the answer already."

She had wanted to walk back, but ended up moving forward, walking through the balcony doors, and stood next to him as the winds became a bit colder.

"I went back over there to the planetarium."

His lips remained perfectly still.

"The owner said you hadn't come since that time."

And she glanced up to his face, still feeling so far away.

I cannot understand how someone can live without passion. Without it, what's the point to living? Aren't you already dead?

This time, I wouldn't miss the chance. I'd been following and going from place to place with no confidence that I couldn't ever distinguish what was good for me or not. I'd spent my life giving to everyone…

everyone, except myself.

She reached out to squeeze his hand and he immediately, for the first time since he'd left her in the car, looked at her straight in the eye. For the first time, she had voluntarily gone there instead of running away.

Don't you enjoy this life?

When you have all the things you need,

is it easier to live

or is it harder because there is no straight goal?

Even with all that you had,

why couldn't you catch what you wanted?

"This isn't where you belong if you're always sad looking at what you've built."

I dragged him away from the railing and past all my past faces and roles and into those beautiful ornate doors, down the elevator where at the bottom everyone bowed out of respect at what he owned…

But…

I realized all of it wasn't for 'him'. Only what my hand offered was sincere and not expecting a reward.

I pulled him to walk faster than before.

"Just for now, please forget what this all means because I know it's embarrassing. I'm not the person who should be walking with you here." She said this as they headed towards the car but she still couldn't let his hand go.

I am not suited for this place.

He let her lead the way and kept a firm hold on her hand.

If I could make a world where things were properly set, you would see that this place will never live up to your expectations. It may be arrogant to say, but you're too strong for this place. It makes everyone here feel uneasy.

I want to go to the place I love. It is a place that no matter what happens, it will accept me and I can calm down because this place is suffocating.

"I want to go to Inokashira Park."

The driver skillfully turned the car towards their destination and she was still in shock that she had done what she had. Her face didn't have any expression when she looked at her reflection on the tinted car window, in between the city lamps and light raindrops brushing on the glass.

Her heart was uncontrollable now.

I was frustrated that I was powerless to do anything but to pull him towards my world;

I was angry that I had never realized what he was trying to say without all those words that are used to convince others smoothly;

I was glad that I wouldn't ever back down or deny myself

the ability to feel something.

When they got to the park, she led him down a path where an old traditional bar had been for decades, and out onto the borders of the famous lake.

"Have you ever come here?"

"Twice."

"Only?"

"Nothing work related. I have no business here."

"Don't you at least take one moment to appreciate all you've built?"

She led them to a wooden bench and he sat on the other end, wanting to be far from her after gaining some of his sanity back. She ran to get two hot cans of coffee and threw one over to him. Awkwardly, he caught it and then juggled it in his hands. "It's hot."

How perfect his world must be that he doesn't have to worry about being burned.

"I come here to practice, to cry, to pray…It is a whole park that I can say is 'mine' because I give all of myself to it."

He opened the can of coffee and drank a sip, making a face at it being instant and not fresh.

"I don't have what you have or know, but it was easier to know I could only do one thing in this world. I never had to worry about excelling in something else. It is not that I ever saw myself as 'special'…

…but that's what you called me for this talent and I have to say…" Her eyes flashed in delight. She grinned with her dimples showing. From the bottom of her heart, she said, "Thank you."

"I had never once heard these words. I least expected them from you."

"That's why you chase me. I never do as you want me to do, right?"

It was then that she got up and took a step back.

"It's time to come out of this dream, Masami-san."

His eyes opened in shock as he heard her say his first name. The wall on his heart burst. He never thought that if she said his name that he'd be that moved…

I can't go back there. He said nothing of what his whole body wanted to say to her.

You must cross the bridge with me, Omae-sama.

"I'm not the type to tell people what to do. I don't have confidence like that." Maya began to cry and she became more upset that it was in front of him, for his sake.

He put his arm over her eyes. "No one should see you cry."

"I should be allowed to cry. It's my choice to show how I feel."

His arm wrapped around her shoulders. "That's why I'm jealous of the rest of this world."

"You can't control these things. You can't protect me from myself."

If you ever lost yourself to this world's cruelties or became absorbed with acting,

I wouldn't know where to find you. I can't compete against that.

"The person I love no longer lives here," he found himself saying.

Her tears drenched against his forearm.

"This is what I thought when I saw Tsukikage-sensei perform Kurenai Tennyo. They said for us to imagine what was Akoya's and the woodcutter's choices.

Thinking too much of the other,

sometimes, we lose focus of why we came together.

"The woodcutter cannot hold her against her nature nor can he go against where he is from. On the other hand, she cannot be herself in both places for she is only one soul: It goes inside her heart or sacrifices herself for all of humanity."

"As long as you are here, Masami-san, I will be here too."

She pushed his arm away and ran with her bag to cross the bridges in the middle of the lake.

She refused to look behind her and ended up going up to the closed gate of the red Benzaiten shrine. It was one of those places where she prayed to when there was something important on her mind.

After all, what better place to ask than the Goddess of the River herself?

Benzaiten, the goddess of victory to one lord,

I wonder what I've not prayed to you yet?

When my mother died, I came here.

When sensei left, I came here.

And now, there is nothing left right?

When…when Murasaki no hito…

stops…

She stopped praying and stood to one side of the light while rubbing her palms on her eyes. Though her bag jiggled around her shoulder, she didn't have the strength to reach in for a tissue.

The time for the dream to end had come too quickly.

Not caring about the passersby, she stood there with her shoulders shaking and her back towards everyone. But no sound came from her lips. She was used to weeping where Rei couldn't see her in their apartment.

Then, the world became black and all she felt was warmth around her shoulders again. Pushing herself away, she turned around and looked up, ready to fight again until she saw his eyes. There was an expression of tenderness and uncertainty she had never seen before.

Putting her hands into fists, she hit him on the chest and closed her eyes tightly as the rain dropped faster and faster onto her fingers, which stuck to his blouse.

"You. When will you ever stop chasing me as if you care? Why do you still come even when you tell me not to go to you?"

"That world became emptier once you stepped into it. That's why."

It was the most honest thing he'd ever said. There was no longer a way out after all these years. She couldn't believe it that the time had come.

"You talk in circles." Her fingers pushed strongly against his chest as she clenched them until her knuckles turned white.

He put his hand over her head, but couldn't say, "I'm sorry."

"No." Taking off the jacket, his hand slid off gently. He watched her fold it and hand it to him.

"I don't want to be the kid you met after all. I don't need you to always protect me. I am so grateful for everything but I want you to see me as myself and as your equal. I don't want your favors or your pity." Under the jacket, she clenched onto him as she quivered.

I want you to need me.

I want you to not look anywhere else as you have…

Her heart pinched within itself.

I really want to tell myself I don't need you, but as Murasaki no Hito,

I always feared when you'd leave because I'd depended on you so much!

"You already gave me all the strength I needed, Masami-san." In a bittersweet smile, she gave him the finishing slash. "Wasn't I just an investment anyway? Haven't I paid back everything yet? What else do you want from me?"

I must or else I'll fall apart when I put on the mask when the newspapers finally tell me about you two.

"Please trust me to deal with things on my own from now on."

Her quivering fingers finally let go, but his jacket fell to the mud when he tried to catch her wrists.

She shook her head as the tears fell faster than ever.

"No matter what you think, I will always watch you."

He touched the back of her hair and smoothed it out. Leaning down, he kissed the top of her head and finally released his hand from hers.

From the beginning until now,

I'd figured it out a long time ago:

I gave you all that my status could give,

Everything but myself.

Even now, why must I protect myself from you? Why am I so scared of your rejection? Isn't it because I always envied what I couldn't ever hope to be?

When you stripped me of all I owned, I have absolutely nothing.

She tippy-toed and touched his cheeks in between her hands. Maya smiled at him with red eyes. "No matter what you think, even now, you make me happy, Masami-san."

Slowly and gracefully, she walked away.

Picking up the jacket, he patted some of the mud off and called his driver that he'd walk a bit.

He'd decided to wash the suit but never wear the outfit again.

He smirked to himself.

All my life, I was so angry why he let my mother die for that damned kimono.

And here I am, many years later, doing the exact same thing.

This seals all of my hypocrisy.

"Now, the rain and the scent of her hair will always go together…"

Without knowing, he stopped walking and in the darkness, as pointless as it was, his eyes searched for something to focus on.

When he went onto the main street, he looked up to see a billboard for Kurenai Tennyo with her hands delicately raised to hold a veil. Her lips mysteriously showed a loving smile.

On the other side of Kichijouji station, Maya could only think of Mizuki-san's instructions at the time she took the photograph, "Don't worry about how it will come out. Just think of why you are here."

I can't escape her.

I must make him follow me.

I don't ever want to.

I don't want to say goodbye.

And yet, I don't think I can ever let go of you

even if I'm forced to.

But if I let go of my mask,

Will you ever believe 'me'?

Owari./The End.

Author's note: Years ago, I'd always wanted to make a fic for Glass no Kamen, but my old computer died and with it, half a fic. Two years later, as I kept up with the Japanese volumes and watched the latest anime for it, something inside of me kept on aching and I knew I had to make another attempt. Glass no Kamen is special to me because whenever I need encouragement, it pops out into my life at crucial times.

I can't believe it took me nearly a month to write this…

I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you for reading.

Love always,

Yui

3/28/2011 3:11:09 AM