Title: A Little Sincerity
Warnings/Spoilers: spoilers through the end of the series
Word Count: ~1,950
Summary:Nezumi and Shion, navigating their feelings post-series.
Notes: So I guess I'm on a post-series kick. ^_~ This started off trying to be smut, and then turned into something else, as usual. There are also some references to the novels, up through Volume 4, but it should still make sense even if you haven't read them. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it! (And comments, of course, always greatly appreciated ^_^)
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
― Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist
Nezumi's movements are methodical as he runs his fingers over Shion's chest, like he's following the lines and curves of a map - a dip here, a slight indentation there. His fingers started off cold, but they're warming up quickly, and the rough pad of his thumb keeps catching, just a little, as it moves over Shion's left nipple. After the third pass Shion gasps, and then curses when Nezumi notices how much he's enjoying it and does it again.
"Such language," Nezumi chides. "You know you never used to react like this..."
He gives Shion's other nipple a full-fledged tweak, and Shion writhes against the sheets.
"Well, you never used to touch me like-oh-"
And just like that, whatever he was going to say is just wiped clean off the map (his skin, these fingers). Nezumi's hands are warm now and they're absolute magic against Shion's skin. He wants nothing more than to lose himself in it, in this. He wants Nezumi buried so far inside of him that he stops remembering just how many days he's been gone (four hundred and fifty-three) and stops wondering how many more he has until Nezumi might leave again (ten, fifty, a hundred, a thousand).
Whatever the number is, there's no way it could be nearly enough, because in Nezumi's absence, Shion has become downright insatiable.
Nezumi raises his eyebrows smugly.
"That good, huh?"
"Shut up," Shion says breathlessly. "Don't compliment yourself based on my physiological reactions. It's..." Shion pauses, his brain still a little sluggish, "immodest."
Nezumi gasps in mock-horror, and this sends a tingle of arousal coursing through Shion's body.
"Me, immodest? Anyway, it's not immodesty, it's insurance."
"Gotta make sure I keep you interested, right? They say if you don't have confidence in your own abilities..."
Shion takes this opportunity to reach over and smack Nezumi in the chest with his pillow. This results in a scuffle, naturally, which ends in a fairly impressive tangle of sheets and limbs, and Shion begging for his head to be released from under Nezumi's arm so that he can breathe again.
He's released, eventually, and lets out a long breath against Nezumi's chest.
"And you see, this is exactly what I'm talking about."
"What?" Shion asks as his fingers drift lazily over Nezumi's collarbone. Heat rises off of him; Shion catches it between his fingers and releases it. It reminds him of steam rising from a boiling pot.
"Begging like that can hardly be considered a physiological reaction."
"I was asking you to let me breathe, Nezumi."
"Oh, but before that~"
Nezumi sits up suddenly, forcing Shion to follow suit, and proceeds to perform a near-perfect auditory reenactment of Shion's orgasm. It's startlingly accurate.
"Now that's something new," Nezumi tells him, once he's finished (complete with an infuriating flourish).
Nezumi brings a hand to Shion's chin. The movement is graceful; he's smiling. He leans in, and his voice is smooth, sweet and slow, like honey. "You're blushing nearly as bright as your scar."
"I am not," Shion lies, feeling the heat spread to his neck.
"I can see right through you, your majesty."
"Don't call me that."
"And here I thought you liked my little pet name for you."
Shion holds his gaze for a moment. Nezumi's eyes are grey flint, cold and emotionless.
"You're mocking me," he says finally. "It's not funny."
"Someone's getting testy in their old age," Nezumi says breezily, but his shoulders are tense as he sits on the edge of the bed. He reaches for a pant leg in the darkness, his hands fumbling along the floor next to the bed.
"I don't think you have the right to do that anymore," Shion says. His voice is quiet, but steady. He hadn't meant to say this, but right now he feels provoked; he can feel it in every muscle, every nerve. Nezumi is picking a fight. Nezumi has been picking a fight for a while, maybe. Shion can feel his face getting hot again.
"I wasn't aware that was something I had to worry about. Not when you give me such an obvious opening, anyway."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You're an open book. An open invitation. It's disgraceful, really."
Shion watches him in the darkness. He remembers something. Not a pleasant memory – the opposite, in fact, the kind that makes his stomach churn and his head ache. And yet, this was his past; Nezumi's too.
"You told me once that you couldn't read me at all," he says, and the memory is so vivid, it's like he's there again - the smell of that cargo container, being transported like cattle, the weight of a dead man on his left, and Nezumi on his right. He'd have done anything to keep Nezumi by his side that day. It had been the most important thing. And in the end, it hadn't made a bit of difference at all, what was important to him. It had all faded away into that nightmare.
Nezumi is quiet. His movements halt, as if he's been frozen.
"Do you remember?"
"Of course I remember," Nezumi snaps. "What the hell kind of question is that?"
"Why did you say that? I've always wondered."
Nezumi is sliding his pants on over his legs, and Shion can't help but admire them. Everything about Nezumi is beautiful – his perfectly proportioned limbs, his eyes, his hair, his skin. His silhouette glows in the thin darkness of the room, lit by the moonlight coming in through the window.
There's a long moment of silence. Finally Nezumi moves. He shifts back and moves his feet onto the bed. Then he leans back against the wall, and lets out a breath.
"I always wondered if that meant that my words had never reached you."
"That's wasn't it."
"It surprised me, to hear you say that."
Nezumi lets out a small laugh. "I didn't know anything back then. I was talking about myself, maybe," he says quietly. "I don't know."
Shion watches him. He meets his gaze. Then Nezumi touches a hand to the base of his neck. He holds it there like there's some invisible injury he's hiding.
"I didn't know what kind of person you were, what kind of person you'd become. How much power you could hold over me."
"I didn't know any of those things either," Shion says. "I always felt like I couldn't understand you." He pauses. "It's frustrating."
"Yeah," Nezumi agrees, drawing his knees to his chest. "And you're right. I don't have the right to say anything to you anymore."
It's unnerving, seeing Nezumi like this. He's changed, and Shion knows it's to be expected - it's been a long time since they've spent time together like this, but it doesn't make it any easier.
It had been like this with his mother, too – they'd had to reacquaint themselves with so many things. All the things he'd taken for granted, knowing how a person will react, how their voice sounds when they're angry, or sad, or happy. They had to do this all over again. He stares at Nezumi. He's still the same person – it's the same face, the same eyes, the same curl of hair tucked behind his ear.
"I didn't mean that. You can say anything you want to me," Shion says. "Well, I'd prefer it if you didn't say some things, but I'm not picky. I just want you to talk to me. …What?" Nezumi is staring at him with a strange expression on his face. He can't tell whether he's going to laugh, or if his face is about to twist into contempt at his words.
"You really haven't changed," Nezumi says.
Shion shakes his head. "I have. So have you."
"Maybe in some ways," Nezumi concedes. He reaches forward to pinch the skin at Shion's waist. "Here," he says, "for example. You've gained weight here."
Shion blinks. He leans back to take in Nezumi's frame. His gaze moves over his shoulders, his chest.
"You too," Shion says, reaching over to tug at the waistband of Nezumi's pants.
"Not having to worry about starving to death on a daily basis suits us, wouldn't you say?"
"Your smile, too," Shion says, and then he moves from the edge of the bed, closer to Nezumi, so that he's sitting next to him, his bare legs pressed against Nezumi's pants, his shoulder against Nezumi's still slightly broader one. "Your smile is different now."
"Easier," Shion says. "More honest."
Shion draws his knees to his chest to match Nezumi. He glances over, and the moonlight plays over Nezumi's features, lighting up his cheekbones, his nose. Shion rests his head against Nezumi's shoulder, and shivers when Nezumi's hand comes to rest on his head. Nezumi's fingers move up from the base of his neck to thread through his hair slowly, and then they stop, holding him in place tightly.
"Your words always reach me," he says. "I can't escape them."
"Do you want to escape them?"
"No. I want to understand them."
"So do I," Shion says quickly. He sits up straighter, and turns his head around so that he can look into Nezumi's eyes, so that he can see his face. "I want you to tell me things too. I want to know what you're thinking, what you're feeling. I want to understand everything about you."
Nezumi laughs. "Getting a bit ahead of yourself, wouldn't you say?"
"Yeah, maybe, but it's important to me."
Nezumi watches him for a moment. "'A little sincerity is a dangerous thing', Shion."
"Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist."
"I'm impressed, you've been practicing."
"I've been reading through your collection. Well, what I saved of your collection."
The air in Shion's bedroom feels strange, unfamiliar. It's so late it's become early. He can't remember the last time he'd stayed up so late. His mind is tired, but that doesn't change the memories that keep flitting up to the surface in tiny flashes. He remembers Nezumi's body, pinning him to the floor, muscles lean but strong, remembers not being able to move, remembers the sharp flash of pain from the blade of his knife.
"Nezumi, I mean it," he says after a moment. "It's important to me. I can't just let it go."
"I'm not asking you to let it go."
Shion pauses. "You're not going to put a knife to my throat this time, are you?"
He watches Nezumi's lips curl up into a slight smile.
"That was a long time ago."
"That was kind of the point, Shion."
Then Nezumi leans over and presses his lips to Shion's neck. He traces a line along his throat with his tongue. Shion swallows.
"Yeah, I guess so," he says softly, and when Nezumi pauses, Shion wraps his arms around his waist, and hooks his legs around Nezumi's calves. "Don't stop," he says, "please."
A shiver runs down his spine as Nezumi's tongue presses hard against his neck, hard enough to leave a mark, probably. He can feel Nezumi's teeth, too, against his skin, and a noise he doesn't quite recognize escapes from his lips, a low moan that starts from somewhere deep inside of him.
"Now that," Nezumi murmurs against Shion's lips, "that was a compliment. You can't deny me that one."
"No," Shion concedes, just before he closes his eyes. "I can't."