Title: A Crack in the Mask, Chapter 2
Length: ~1400 words
Summary: Overcoming Doumeki's silence, and Watanuki's denial. The power of words, and of masks.
Link/s: Here at FF.net, or if you want to stick to LiveJournal, chapter 1 can be found here.
All falsehood is a mask; and however well made the mask may be, with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it from the true face.
[ A CRACK IN THE MASK | CHAPTER 2 ]
Watanuki had an evening to himself for once. He sighed, relaxed, and took another sip of his steaming tea. He crossed his legs, rested the teacup on his knee, and pondered the day.
Doumeki had been a little weird. Then again, Doumeki was always weird. Watanuki just didn’t understand how the moron’s brain worked. He’d been trying to decipher him recently – like an animal behaviour study at the zoo. But it was difficult – Doumeki’s impassive expression and deadpan delivery were nigh impenetrable. Like a fortress.
He thought he might have glimpsed something today, the brief glimmer of scales in a dark koi pond.
When he had handed Doumeki his bento at lunch that day, their hands had brushed briefly. Watanuki had opened his mouth to object to this when he’d noticed Doumeki go a bit blank behind the eyes, almost like his thoughts had gone somewhere else for the moment. But it was only for a moment, and calm, watchful Doumeki was back behind his eyes again by the time the bento was entirely in his hands.
And yet what kind of an observation was that, blank eyes in a blank face? It was so slight, so miniscule a change that Watanuki could very well have imagined it. He harrumphed, almost upsetting his tea. Watching for a change in Doumeki’s expression was like watching for an eddy in a gale. Impossible to make out from the background.
Watanuki twitched, suddenly having had an idea.
On his bookshelf was a book full of those Magic Eye pictures. The kind where, if you looked hard enough or squinted or turned your head at just the right angle, you could make out the shapes of people or animals or ships against the otherwise maelstrom of colour and geometric shapes. Himawari had given it to him for his birthday. To his great sadness, he had only been able to make out two of the thirty-five images in the book. He just didn’t have the knack.
But perhaps this was the kind of skill he needed to be able to decipher Doumeki.
Watanuki had had his nose stuck in the same book every lunchtime for the past two weeks.
“I’m so glad you like your present, Watanuki!” Himawari beamed.
“You have no idea how helpful this book has been to me recently, thank you Himawari, you’re so thoughtful~!” Watanuki said, smiling for a moment over the top of the book. “I’ve almost figured out every one.”
When he glanced back down, he suddenly had it.
“Ah! A clock tower, of course!” he cried ecstatically. Keeping his eyes locked in their unfocused position, he looked up at Doumeki, who until then had been munching contendedly on the contents of his bento.
“Doumeki!” he snapped. “What’s your favourite daydream?”
Dimly he saw Doumeki’s face, the entirely unexpected dropping of his jaw and the brief glazing-over of eyes.
But Doumeki merely said after a moment, “You’re all cross-eyed. You look like an idiot.”
Watanuki chopped the vegetables for dinner, a smug and satisfied grin stretched across his face. It had been a veritable victory, a definite reaction! He’d rethought the whole going cross-eyed thing though – if he’d been any more cross-eyed he’d have missed it. Upon further thought, his expression became sly, one Yuuko would have been proud of.
Perhaps he’d merely hit upon the right question.
Perhaps Doumeki had been having naughty daydreams – if that was true, it meant that the moron had a sense of shame after all, indicated by the brief shock and, dare he say it, embarrassment that had flashed across his features! Ha! Human after all!
It was hard to imagine Doumeki aroused by anything, though. It was a completely foreign concept. A niggling thought came to the surface – he’d better not be fantasizing about Himawari! The very thought made him grind his teeth in frustration. Her innocence must be protected!
“Watanuki! Where’s my dinner?” Yuuko yelled.
“And bring more sake!” Mokona added.
“Bring more sake, bring more sake!” Maru and Moro chimed.
“It’s coming, you ungrateful ingrates!” Watanuki shouted through the kitchen door.
And yet…another thought, even more impossible to imagine, gradually drifted into his mind. If the first anomaly he’d witnessed was in fact a real one, the circumstances indicated a different story.
When I handed over his bento, his eyes went blank for a moment. When we touched.
Had Doumeki been imagining what else he could have done with those hands?
No way. No way.
And yet…his mind supplied more examples and they started adding up. Doumeki followed him around everywhere, even when it was not strictly necessary or required by Yuuko. Doumeki insisted on always being there whenever he was with Himawari – jealousy? Doumeki had gone out of his way, far out of his way, to help him many times.
Doumeki had traded half the sight in his goddamned eye for him. There was no way that was normal.
Maybe Doumeki simply had a strong sense of duty. Maybe there was some other reason that Doumeki was always there whenever Himawari was around. But what reason could there possibly be for sacrificing his sight – which was especially important to his accuracy as an archer – when Watanuki had had another perfectly good eye left through which he could still see? When he’d known that Watanuki had preferred to let things be?
He had to admit – grudgingly, painfully – it seemed that Doumeki had strong feelings about him. Even if they weren’t sexual (but what about the hand touch, and his reaction to that question?), Doumeki had to at least have some very strong platonic feelings for him. Well, as far as Doumeki-type feelings went anyway. He sighed in frustration. Yuuko had indicated this to him before – that Doumeki cared about him, that he didn’t want him to disappear.
He didn’t want to believe it. The moron irritated him beyond belief. He didn’t want to accept that Doumeki had…feelings about him.
Surely there was some way by which he could prove himself wrong. If only he could see through Doumeki’s eye – he was sure that would have revealed something eventually. Perhaps him jerking off to the image of a woman in a magazine. That thought made him uncomfortable in ways he preferred not to contemplate.
But wait…he can see through mine.
There was a way. But the risk of personal embarrassment was huge, especially if he was wrong, which was his hope – wasn’t it? And yet…if Doumeki would trade half the sight in his right eye for him, surely he would keep a little secret. And it wasn’t impossible for him to dissemble afterwards, not really. He could make up any number of lies, if necessary.
And it couldn’t be helped, really. It was inevitable that he was going to masturbate eventually. It was equally inevitable that the strong emotion evoked by said masturbation would make the act visible to Doumeki through his eye, which was why Watanuki had been avoiding it for as long as possible. He’d been avoiding even looking at his morning erections in the shower. He’d suspected that if their positions had been reversed, Doumeki would have been completely shameless about such things. But maybe…maybe Doumeki wasn’t as shameless, as impervious to feeling, as he’d thought.
It was all up to him. He’d have to wait for the perfect moment.
On to chapter 3!