Hello all. I don't really write fanfiction that much anymore, but this pairing is just freaking awesome, and I noticed that there were NO English fanfictions for this series, so... yeah. This is just a drabble-I want to write something longer with these two, but I need to get their characters down better first. Yoshino in particular is kind of OOC in this, but for now, I don't care too much (since it's focused on Mahiro).

Anyway, enjoy.

I don't own Zetsuen no Tempest or anything in it.


Tantalus

Mahiro tries not to think about anything at night. He hates the feeling of isolation and helplessness that comes when he's staring up at the ceiling, because at night, he can tell himself that he'll do anything. At night, he can do anything. It's when morning comes that he's filled with that doubt again, that sense of imperfection, vulgarity. No matter how tough of a face he puts on, the mask is made of glass, and glass, more easily than anything, can be broken. Yoshino is best at it, and that's why the mask is useless. What's the point if he's the one Mahiro's trying to hide from?

At night, he doesn't let himself wonder, or dream, or contemplate 'what if's. What if he was to make a move? What if he'd made one a year ago, three? What if Aika had never entered the picture? What if she'd never opened his eyes? They're just questions, questions, questions he doesn't want to answer, because damn, it's such a hassle…

This is what he tells himself, that it's too much of a hassle. Lying to himself is better than admitting the truth.

He's such a coward, and he knows it.

-o-o-o-o-o-

It's Yoshino's fault, he thinks, as they walk side-by-side down the sidewalk. It's Yoshino's fault for being the most thick-headed idiot on the face of the planet. Mahiro doesn't get it, how someone can be so smart and so inherently stupid. It bothers him because he worries the other is up to something; he knows, and for whatever reason, he's holding back. Mahiro thinks that this would be worst, for Yoshino to know and never say anything, because then he'd be like a bone held on a string above a dog, or the water in that story of the man banished to the underworld; Tantalus.

Mahiro's always hated that story. He refuses to turn into a Tantalus. So today, he decides to make a move. The sun is shining, and he allows himself to think, to consider 'what if's.

He stops, in the middle of the sidewalk, as they're passing by the ocean.

Yoshino, of course, stops as well, gray-green eyes sliding over to look at him. It really is as Aika has said; Yoshino is a follower. When Mahiro stops, he stops. When Mahiro runs, he runs. When Mahiro kisses him, will he kiss back?

Mahiro is afraid of the answer, but he's already made up his mind.

In silence, without properly brushing his hair out of his eyes or even daring to make eye-contact, he closes the sacred eight inches between them.

Yoshino's lips are soft and unresisting against his own, parted slightly in an expression of surprise. Like all of Yoshino's expressions, though, the look is muted. He can keep his cool, even at a time like this, Mahiro realizes, and he hates it, because it's not fair that only his face is heating up. Yoshino doesn't move, and for a while, there's only them and the cicadas, Mahiro's hand clasped lightly around the other's upper arm. Skin on skin, breath on breath.

When he pulls away, the silence continues, and they don't meet each other's eyes. Mahiro turns, trying very hard to keep a neutral expression, and continues down the hillside. He's only moderately successful; he can feel the flush spread across high cheekbones.

Yoshino is slower to react, and for a moment, Mahiro's afraid he's not going to hear those footsteps behind him. He's afraid that he's broken something, some sacred rule, and that whatever god there is is going to smite him. Perhaps, he thinks, it will be a slower, more torturous death. Perhaps the deity will target Yoshino, because it knows Mahiro won't be able to handle it. Or perhaps, things will continue as they are. Life will go on. The sun will still rise and set, like clockwork.

But he knows this isn't true, as Yoshino slowly starts to follow him again. He knows nothing will be the same.

-o-o-o-o-o-

"What was that, back there?"

Mahiro has had enough time to recover during their silent trek back to town, so when they stop at the intersection where they part ways, he's able to turn and face the other. "Nothing, really," he lies, through his teeth.

Yoshino just gazes at him, in that dark, questioning way that makes Mahiro feel like a butterfly pinned for observation. Mahiro thinks he might see a spark of anger in his eyes, or of contempt, disgust. "You don't just kiss someone because you want to kiss someone."

Just as you don't just get a girlfriend because you want a girlfriend.

Mahiro has heard this line far too many times before. Yoshino is not a 'someone'.

"I kissed you because I wanted to kiss you," he says, and finally, he gets to see Yoshino lose some of his composure, cheeks heating up to a healthy, rose glow. Mahiro is in control, and he loves it. He gives one of his typical smiles, all teeth and stretched lips, because he plays the hunter role the best. "Isn't that reason enough?"

To this, Yoshino doesn't know what to say. He opens his mouth, shuts it, and then tries again; "We… We should talk about this later."

Mahiro nods, but they both know that there's nothing to talk about. They might drop hints with their bodies, avoid eye contact, stand four or five inches apart, instead of eight, but they will never talk about the kiss. They won't, because they've already said everything there is to say to each other. They already understand, so now is the time to accept.

Mahiro wonders if he has already become a Tantalus, and if the water is about to recede.


Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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