The huge old house felt hollow, living there alone. He guessed he’d always lived there alone. His grandparents weren’t out of town. He’d never had grandparents. His false memories of them were fading, now that he knew. They felt like photographs in a stranger’s family album.
Everything that’s happened since you met me is real, Touya had said, his dark eyes pinning Yukito in place as if Yukito might yet disappear if he looked away.
Yukito knelt at the little table in his living room, a variety of convenience store breads laid out for dinner. Now that he wasn’t starving all the time, the packaged sandwiches and buns didn’t look as appetizing as they used to. Just a few blocks away, Touya and Sakura would be having dinner. Mr. Kinomoto was away on a dig, and it was Touya’s turn to cook. Was he making curry? Nabe? Yukito could picture him in his apron and slippers, sleeves rolled up his strong, tan forearms, taking a sip of broth from a ladle to test it. Maybe offering him a sip as well.
It was tempting to just…go over. To be in a warm house full of real memories, the air rich with the scent of cooking. To be caught between Touya and Sakura’s good-natured fighting. Touya teased Sakura more when Yukito was around, and she tried to rein in her temper for his benefit. It was a borrowed happiness when he was with the two of them, like having a family of his own.
But he couldn’t invite himself. He couldn’t presume to borrow any more than he already did. He’d taken so much from Touya. They had.
He was alone in his house, but he wasn’t alone in his head. Ever since he’d learned of Yue’s existence – or perhaps it would be more accurate to say since he’d learned the nature of his own transient existence as a mask for the moon – he heard Yue’s voice in his head sometimes. It was rare. Really it only happened when Yue was exasperated beyond his ability to remain silent. He wished Yue were better company.
He wished Yue would tell him to stop hesitating and just go over to the Kinomotos’.
“Itadakimasu,” he said, peeling the plastic off of a tonkatsu sandwich. His voice sounded small in the long, empty room. The shoji doors onto the veranda shone with the light of that night’s moon, the shadows of the garden’s camellia bushes stark on the paper as kirie cutouts. He couldn’t see the moon, but he could tell it was one night away from fullness. He felt that near completion in himself like a yearning. It had been the moon’s hunger he’d been trying to feed, all those months of gorging himself. It hadn’t worked. The only thing that could fill that hunger had been Touya. Touya’s power coursed through him even now, a sweet rush carried in his blood. Where before he’d always been tired, now he was full of restless energy. The power in his veins still felt like Touya. It was like the warmth that spread through his chest when Touya called his name in greeting every morning, or when he made a perfect pass to him in soccer practice, or when they walked side by side, shoulders brushing. How could he feel lonely with Touya so close he was under his own skin?
He was still hungry, but it wasn’t a hunger he could name. It wasn’t for this sandwich. He gave up. He might as well just go to bed. He pulled the cord on the lamp over the table, not bothering to turn on any other lights as he walked to the kitchen to put away the uneaten food, then to his room to lay out his futon. There was enough moonlight to see by. His skin glowed in it as he undressed. He could feel its cool caress even when he closed his eyes.
“Ne, Yue…” He’d never addressed his other self before. Yue always knew what he thought and experienced, but it didn’t work the other way around. Still, Yue felt somehow close to the surface tonight. “Is this your hunger I’m feeling? Is there something else you need?”
Images flickered across his mind like the shadows across the shoji, just impressions of things. Hair like a black river fanned across a lean, pale back. Eyes smiling behind wire-rim glasses. The warmth of a robed knee under his cheek as he pressed his face there.
“No.” The cool answer was at odds with what he’d just felt.
“Touya gave us his power, so why?”
He could hear the long sigh in his mind. It wasn’t just the wind in the bamboo grove beside the house. “Do you really think that’s all you want from Touya?”
“Of course not. He’s my friend. I want his company.” Yukito stood naked in the moonlight, hugging his shoulders. “I miss him all the time. Even when I’m with him. I was wondering if it’s because…” How could he feel intimidated asking this of a voice in his head? Yue already knew what he thought. But he said it aloud, “…because you miss Clow-san.”
“I miss him.” A quiet, raw admission. There was anger in it, chill enough to spread goosebumps over his skin. Yukito regretted speaking. But he couldn’t afford to hide from himself any longer. Whatever this was, it was driving him mad. “You aren’t the only one,” Yue muttered.
Yue’s memories swept over him again, not flickering shadows this time but bright reflections, punishing in their clarity. Warmth brushed the nape of his neck, lips and panted breath. Hair cascaded over his shoulders, mingled silver and black. Silver and black pooled and swirled on the sheets, filling his vision. Sheets where his hands fisted, trembling. Weight along his back, between his wings, bearing down. Not just weight, pressure too. And heat. On him. In him.
“Oh!” Yukito cried out, alarmed. Heat flooded him, not memory but visceral physical reaction. He hardened, just like that, cock swelling and lifting till it cast a shadow over his stomach. His cheeks burned. His knees were unsteady, and he slid down into an ungainly sprawl on his futon.
“I miss him,” Yue repeated. Yukito had the sense this was his revenge for being asked. “But that’s not what you feel.” And his presence faded from Yukito’s mind, the moon slipping behind clouds. He was left truly alone and shivering, shaken by that intimacy. He curled around his aching core, knees tucked and face hidden against them.
Was that what he wanted from Touya? Did he want Touya’s weight and strength covering him like that? His cock twitched where it was trapped between stomach and thighs, answer enough. His body thrummed like a plucked bowstring even as his mind tried to backpedal. He couldn’t think about Touya that way. If he started, he wouldn’t stop. It was difficult enough already.
Difficult? Being around Touya wasn’t difficult. He felt more content around Touya than anywhere else. And yet…he’d been hiding this from himself too, hadn’t he? This hunger that chased contentment as if they were the same substance. He hadn’t let himself pay attention to it, any more than he had let himself pay attention to how odd it was that his grandparents were never home.
It was difficult to ignore the ache he felt whenever he watched Touya at school, or at his myriad part-time jobs: Touya waiting tables in a trim black and white uniform; Touya’s perfect, strong wrists as he scooped ice cream and handed it, unsmiling, to children at the fair; Touya’s broad shoulders stretching his blue coverall as he hauled buckets of frozen fish at the aquarium; Touya toweling sweat from his face and neck after stepping out of one of those ridiculous, adorable mascot suits. And it was so easy to remember all those mundane-yet-riveting moments now, now that he let himself, now that he couldn’t stop himself. His memories of Touya – real memories, his memories – fed the ache until he could feel nothing else.
He uncurled, lying back across the thick blankets of his futon, still blushing furiously as he took himself in hand. He took care of himself this way sometimes, when the ache was too much, but he’d never let himself imagine anything (anyone) specific while he did it. It felt secret and daring, a bit shameful. What would Touya think? Was it wrong to borrow him like this? He couldn’t help it.
Touya stripping off his soccer jersey, the muscles in his back beautiful as wings. Touya humming to himself while he cooked. Touya lying on his stomach on his bed studying, frowning at some problem, those intense eyes bearable when they weren’t trained on him. And then they were trained on him. A hand braced beside his head and Touya leaned in, trapping him with the bulk of his body, with the need in his dark, searching gaze. The futon at his back became Touya’s narrow bed, the two of them crowded onto it, textbooks shoved aside to the floor. Touya’s lips caught his, swallowing the small sound of surprise he made. Yukito couldn’t swallow the small sounds he was actually making, imagining this. Touya’s breath clouding his glasses. Touya’s hand tight in his hair. Touya’s thigh between his, hips grinding against him. Shirts hastily rucked up, pants shoved down. Skin against skin. Weight and heat and friction. He was frantic now, rougher with himself than he could imagine Touya ever being. He braced his heel against the smooth tatami of the floor and arched back into the downy covers. He imagined Touya’s voice deep and desperate, face pressed into his neck. Yuki.
His answer was inarticulate, gasped as he shuddered. The arrow loosed. White spilled over his stomach, running ticklish across his ribs and into his navel. The strain that had held him taut for months gave way, and he was boneless, spent. He wondered at himself, panting. It had never been this intense before. He propped himself on his elbows, finally, looking down at the mess he’d made of himself, of the futon even. White on white on white.
Would Touya ever want to see him this way? Would he think him beautiful? Did he ever ache when he watched him?
I’m sure you’re Touya’s number one person, Sakura said, encouraging him even though he’d just broken her heart. Even though he wasn’t a person. Not really.
I don’t care that you’re not human, Touya said.
If he could dare to admit his want, could he dare to admit his hope?