A/N: Not much to say, except that writing porn is easier than writing legit stuff. Before you ask, that is to say that writing this was more difficult than writing the pornfest that is my fic The Bicycle Paths of Sotoba. But if you’re into reading about Muroi sleeping with half the cast… then that one’s for you.
Happy Endings Are All the Same:
When he awoke the next morning, Seishin was seized with a panic, one which only faded as his slumber fully dissolved and he remembered what had brought him to where he was. Of course. It had been Toshio who had dragged him into the bed from the floor, done so when he’d finally admitted how he’d been feeling for so long – that the world was empty. Or, at least, that his own world was.
Seishin looked at the sleeping doctor now, the other man snoring lightly in his sleep, one hand still loosely gripping Seishin’s arm. He could feel the corners of his mouth easing upwards, a slight smile forming, a real smile forming. He was accustomed to soft smiles in his daily life, but not to those that were true. Smiles had become a calculated art for him, and it felt strange to have one surface without him thinking about it first.
He carefully removed his wrist from Toshio’s hand, and eased out of the bed, trying to not disturb Toshio’s sleep. Once out of the bed, he quietly re-folded the futon and its blankets, then set them by the closet door. He re-dressed and folded the pajamas, too, placing them atop the futon pile. And then he quickly wrote a small note, and left.
An hour later, Toshio had a similar bit of panic when he first awoke, although it receded mostly when he found Seishin’s note. Yet he still had a lingering worry about him, regardless of the contents of the note. He had not seen Seishin smiling, after all. He called up the temple under false pretense, claiming that Seishin had forgotten something. Mrs. Muroi promised to pass along the message; Seishin was currently outside doing the morning chores.
They drank tea that night when Seishin appeared again, and it only seemed natural for Toshio to prevent him from rolling out the futon in favor of him sleeping in the bed once again. When he protested over the size, arguing that it was simply too small to be comfortable for two, Toshio took the abandoned futon, rolled it flat with a snap, and simply crawled in after Seishin had already settled. Seishin rolled over to argue, but Toshio grabbed his hand, and the words never made it out of his mouth.
And so they started this new routine, sometimes even going so far as to eat their supper together. Mrs. Ozaki frowned over it during the daytime hours, happy to indicate her displeasure with their frequent house guest. But Toshio ignored her, as he always tended to do, and Seishin was none the wiser.
But even as their friendship warmed up again, Toshio rarely brought up what had caused it all, and when he did at all it was only after the lights were safely off and the hour late enough to speak more freely. Even then, though, Seishin was generally unreceptive, a fact which gnawed at Toshio. He was his friend, but he was also his doctor, truly – he’d treated him, after all. To do nothing at all in his professional capacity seemed wrong.
And so it was that he found himself saying, with some effort, “Seishin… have you thought about maybe going to see someone at the hospital?”
They were lying in bed, the hour late, Toshio a tad tipsy from the sake he’d imbibed as they’d sat in the kitchen, discussing all manner of light things such as the doctor’s more difficult patients and how Seishin’s latest novel was coming along. They never discussed anything of any true weight in the kitchen. They couldn’t, not under those bright, bright lights. Not when they didn’t know where Mrs. Ozaki was. Not when they could see each other’s faces.
Toshio hadn’t taken his hand yet, so Seishin turned away easily, facing out to the wall instead of toward the doctor as he had been. It was probably the alcohol which made it possible for Toshio to reach out and hook an arm around the priest and force him closer. All Seishin knew was that he could definitely detect the hint of alcohol in his breath, his heart pounding suddenly from within his rib cage.
“Seishin…” He could feel Toshio swallow as he paused, “Seishin… you don’t… you won’t do that again, will you?”
The silence was excruciating, and he felt Toshio’s hold on him tighten as the seconds lengthened. He opened his mouth to speak, but closed it again. He’d found it so easy to gloss over the queries of “How are you?” from the villagers all the time, but he found that he could not do so to this question from Toshio, even though he knew that to answer otherwise would only hurt him. But he just couldn’t bring himself to lie.
“I’m… I’m trying.” He finally managed, Toshio’s forehead pressing hard against the back of his head, Toshio’s arm holding him so closely to him. And it was the truth – he was trying. He really was. Having to see Toshio after he found him had made him want to. Having his parents back in the house after their trip had made him want to. He still felt mostly miserable. He still felt like dying a lot. But he wanted to give it all a second try even if only for all of them.
“I’m trying.” He repeated it, attempting to assure both himself and Toshio that his efforts did mean something. He didn’t want to go talk it over with some stranger. It was hard enough to even think about it himself, to even just have these very short conversations with Toshio about it. Some unknown person in a well-lit room thirty-five kilometers away? Impossible.
“Seishin…” Toshio sighed it, and dropped his head slightly, resting it against the back of Seishin’s neck. Seishin could feel his eyelashes distinctly, and could also feel his face heat suddenly at the close contact. It was as if he’d just noticed how intimate the moment was, Toshio almost embracing him from behind, chest against back, groin against rear, legs tangled. And he it wasn’t just his skin that was heating up from it all.
Nervousness blossomed quickly, and he broke away from Toshio, rolling quickly out of the futon. He stood up, feeling somewhat dizzy, and made for the door. Toshio had sat up, and yelled after him, but he did not listen, bursting into the hall. Toshio swore under his breath and followed him into the hallway, “What are you doing?”
Seishin went down the hall, refusing to look back, Toshio following swiftly at his heels. In front of Mrs. Ozaki’s door, Toshio managed to get a fistful of pajamas, and hissed, “Wait!” But Seishin pulled loose, gave a pointed look to the door beside them, and continued on. He had to leave. He just had to.
In the downstairs hall, Toshio managed to catch him again, “Seishin, what are you doing?”
Seishin wheeled around sharply, “This means more to me than it does to you!”
“What?” The doctor’s confusion was clear, and Seishin’s face burned; he began to walk again, unhappiness bubbling up from within. He really didn’t want to have this conversation, and he was upset with himself for even saying what he’d already said.
But Toshio was like a dog with a bone, and he followed him outdoors, too. The air was still a bit warm, but the grass was damp and slippery beneath their bare feet, and Seishin felt his speed slow as he tried to avoid sliding on it.
He stopped, and whirled around, seizing the doctor by the lapels of his pajama shirt, and kissed him. He broke it off quickly, seeing the stunned look on Toshio’s face before he turned away and attempted to hurry off. But Toshio was faster, and he felt himself being snapped back around suddenly as Toshio grabbed his wrist. He collided with him, and as they fell Toshio kissed him.
He was too shocked at first to react. But when the kiss didn’t end as they hit the ground, he began to kiss him back. He wrapped his arms around the doctor, and opened his mouth to him, the kiss deepening. He felt as though he were being devoured.
The kiss subsided, both breathing hard, clinging closely to each other. The pressure was almost painful, and Seishin felt as is his bones were going to be crushed. Yet they remained like that, hearts thudding, breaths shaky, as the night went on and the morning mist began to dampen their clothes. The prospect of letting go was too frightening. To let go would be to return to reality. To let go would mean having to look each other in the face. So they simply stayed in the grass, the chirping of the crickets preventing a true silence. But they didn’t sleep at all.