Title: A Crack in the Mask, Chapter 3
Length: ~1000 words
Summary: Overcoming Doumeki's silence, and Watanuki's denial. The power of words, and of masks.
Link/s: FF.net | LJ - 1, 2
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
[ A CRACK IN THE MASK | CHAPTER 3 ]
Doumeki was concerned. Watanuki had been acting strange all week.
Strange meant that Doumeki wasn’t getting yelled at constantly, wasn’t having to plug his ears or be called a moron, meant that Watanuki had stopped complaining so much whenever Doumeki was around.
Doumeki didn’t know how he felt about this. Something was surely wrong. Had Watanuki done something he wanted to hide, like that time he had sacrificed his right eye? That was his suspicion. Of course Watanuki would want to hide stupid things like that.
Even now, they were walking side by side, companionably enough. That never happened. Whenever they went somewhere together, Watanuki usually stormed off in front, leaving Doumeki to trail behind.
What was going on, what could be – ?
Watanuki stiffened and his steps slowed.
“Doumeki,” he said. “Doumeki, stop.”
“It’s a spirit, isn’t it.”
Watanuki huffed. “Of course it’s a spirit. But this one’s huge, really nasty looking.” His eyes were focused on something on the distance. “I…don’t think it’s noticed me yet. Let’s go the long way around.”
Watanuki covered his nose and mouth, stepping slowly backwards. Then he froze. “Ah, shit.”
“It’s seen you.”
“We should run.”
“Ah – ”
Doumeki grabbed his arm and rushed him down a side way. “If this thing’s as scary looking as you say, we should go to the temple. You can stay at my place for a while, until it gives up on you and leaves.”
Doumeki’s eyes slid sideways and widened a fraction. He hadn’t expected Watanuki to acquiesce so easily.
But he didn’t ask questions.
They arrived at the temple just in time. Panting, Watanuki was hunched over with his hands on his knees.
“I’m so glad we avoided that one,” he said. “But ugh, I feel disgusting.”
“It’s a hot, sticky day. You just ran at full speed for over a kilometre. Of course you’re sweaty,” Doumeki pointed out.
“I need to use your shower,” he gasped.
“Gyoza,” Doumeki replied.
“I let you use my shower, you make me gyoza.”
“Oh. Well, alright. That’s an easy one.”
Doumeki hesitated. “Are you alright?” he asked.
Watanuki waved a hand, as if to wave away the question. “Yeah, I’m fine. I’m going to have my shower now.”
“Spare towels are in the bathroom.”
As Watanuki stepped into the shower, he worried.
I can do this now, he thought. All I have to do is…
God. He couldn’t even think it.
But he could do it.
He curled his fingers around his growing erection and stroked it to fullness. That part was easy. It had been a long time, after all.
This is a stupid and unnecessary experiment, his brain supplied.
And yet he continued. He’d decided on a course of action, and by one way or another, actually by this way that he’d decided on, he was going to get a reaction out of Doumeki, and finally get some insight into the numbskull’s actual feelings. Stopping now, he’d convinced himself, would be worse than continuing. In an intellectual sense.
He didn’t want to admit it really. But the idea that Doumeki had sexual feelings for him, for anyone at all really but especially for him, had him curious.
His eyelids had fluttered shut.
No, you have to open them.
So he opened them, and he looked. He imagined. Another hand, reaching to grip him just so. Rubbing the tip with his thumb.
Gasping, he saw the glass pane of the shower door, fogged with steam.
He felt one final twinge of embarrassment.
I don’t have to do this part.
Yes, I do, if I really want to know…
So slowly, painstakingly, he traced Doumeki’s name, his personal name, onto the fogged glass.
Oh, God, I did it.
And with that, all caution flew out the window.
In for a penny…
Invigorated and emboldened by his own daring, he leaned against the glass, partially smearing the name with his forearm, his name, and watched the movements of his hand bringing himself higher, winding himself tighter and tighter. Using his forearm to wipe at the condensation deliberately now, he looked through the glass at his own reflection in the bathroom mirror. He tossed back his head and gazed, almost deliriously, into the eyes of the person in the mirror.
What will he think of this? he thought, and, I wish those weren’t my own eyes.
But…one of them’s not.
On to the final chapter!