There was no response to his knock, but this didn’t surprise him, given the hour. He believed, however, that Saitou was inside and not likely to ignore him all night, so after a few moments he knocked again more loudly. Listening carefully and still hearing nothing from within, he raised his fist to pound a third time — but at that moment the door opened.
Sano’s hand unclenched to wave at the irritated man glaring from the darkness within. Saitou looked pretty damn hot in a yukata, though Sano wondered why he’d bothered to put it on when he must have known who waited at the door.
“What,” Saitou demanded.
“I gotta show you something,” Sano replied. “Get clothes and come on.”
Saitou’s eyes rolled and narrowed at the same time. “Tomorrow,” he said flatly, “or maybe never.” And he started to close the door.
“No, no, no,” Sano protested, stopping the door’s progress with a foot. “You gotta see it right now. It’s — how do you cops put it? — time-sensitive.”
For a moment Saitou stared at him, probably trying to decide whether it would be more trouble to get whatever Sano had planned over with or put up with Sano’s disappointed harassment for the rest of the night, and finally gave a half-audible sigh. “Fine.” And he disappeared into the dark house.
“What do you mean ‘What am I talking about?'” Sano was demanding, sounding truly startled.
Saitou barely glanced up from his paperwork. “What I meant by that was, ‘What are you talking about?’ It seems a logical question when you come in here talking about ‘last night’ when I didn’t see you at all yesterday.”
“But you did see me last night,” Sano insisted, his apparent confusion only growing at Saitou’s words. “You know, when I came to your house and woke you up?”
Now Saitou looked up more pointedly, fixing Sano with a skeptical expression. “If you had done that, you would know better than to be in here bothering me now.”
Sano stared, as if searching for some sign on Saitou’s face that this was a misunderstanding. Saitou shook his head and went back to the work at his desk.
Sano couldn’t be sure Saitou wouldn’t just return to bed, leaving him standing at the door waiting until whenever he finally caught on, but it was a chance he had to take; he’d known perfectly well what Saitou’s initial reaction was likely to be in this situation, and had proceeded anyway. And given that Saitou hadn’t threatened him with physical violence if he didn’t get lost, things were already going pretty well. Sano alternated between listening hard for whatever Saitou was doing inside and hopping from one foot to the other glancing impatiently over his shoulder into the sky.
To Sano’s great relief, Saitou eventually did reappear, clad predictably in blue police pants and one of those sexy black shirts. Sano had hoped he would wear something more interesting, but at least he’d left off the jacket. With an air of supreme annoyance Saitou locked his door and turned to glare at Sano, who had already advanced a few paces toward the street like an expectant dog anticipating a walk.
“So what is it you’re showing me?” Saitou wondered darkly as he stalked toward him.
Sano seized the cop’s hand and tried to urge him along faster, but Saitou resisted and eventually shook free. “What are you showing me?” he demanded again, more insistently.
“I can’t tell you,” Sano said doggedly. “You just gotta see it.”
“Ahou, if you’ve dragged me out of bed just to look at some drunken animal or something–”
“No, it’s nothing like that. Besides, you thought that was as funny as I did.”
“It wouldn’t have been nearly so entertaining in the middle of the night.”
“Well, this isn’t anything like that.”
Again Saitou sighed quietly, quickening his steps slightly, obviously sure that whatever Sano had to show him was little more worth his time than the aforementioned, but apparently having decided on the get-it-over-with method of dealing with it.
“But…” By now Sano was thoroughly baffled. “I knocked on your door until you woke up and came outside! How can you possibly not remember that?”
Saitou threw Sano another quizzical look, eyebrow even higher this time. “And I didn’t kill you?”
“No! We went on a walk!”
“Yes! ‘Cause the moon was really big and shit…”
“Yes, dammit. It was really… pretty.”
Their destination lay not far from Saitou’s house, though the distance took longer to cover than it had the other direction since Sano had run to fetch his reluctant lover to come see. When Sano left the street, however, for the space where a couple of trees grew and the ground sloped up to a hill that stood behind two properties, Saitou complained again. “I will arrest you before I’ll let you make it look like I’m party to your trespassing.”
Sano rolled his eyes jovially. “Well, if you hurry up, we’ll be past their houses before anyone even starts to wake up.”
They’d been walking mostly in shadow until they topped the rise, the houses of Saitou’s neighborhood having blocked the ascending moon. But as they emerged from the trees and looked out, there seemed to be a surplus of light. Even after coating the downward slope of the hill and the treetops and the roofs below, it made the very air feel heavy and sparkling, and the river appeared full of that rather than water.
“Well?” Saitou demanded when they’d stood still for almost a minute.
Sano gestured. “Isn’t it great?”
Although Saitou didn’t look too terribly impressed, at least he also didn’t look away as he asked, “This is what you woke me up to look at? A nice view?”
“Even you said it was a nice view.”
“And you expect me to believe I not only got up in the middle of the night at your request, but actually went somewhere with you? And still didn’t kill you even when it was just the moon you’d dragged me out to see?”
“Holy shit, Saitou, I can’t believe you don’t remember all this happening! Do you have amnesia or something?”
“Ahou, try to be logical about this. Why on earth would I do what you’re describing?”
Sano looked away and said in a petulant tone, “Because maybe you like me a little.”
“Whether or not I like you has nothing to do with it. If I had work the next morning, there’s no way I would be out in the middle of the night with you.”
“But I remember it all, even if you don’t!” The desperation of Sano’s confusion was beginning to calm, and doubt seemed ready to creep in. “How could I remember all that if it didn’t really happen?”
“Sake?” suggested Saitou mildly.
“Well,” admitted Sano, his gaze shifting back and forth between the silver view and Saitou’s face, “it was also a test.”
“A test?” Saitou still did not look at him; however much he did or didn’t appreciate the breathtaking scene, he certainly was observing it meticulously — that or lost in thoughts of his own, perhaps entirely unrelated to the situation.
“I heard somewhere that sometimes guys get turned into wolves under the full moon…” Sano cleared his throat. “I thought maybe it might work backwards too.” Even from this angle he could see Saitou’s raised eyebrow. “I mean, turn a wolf into a real guy. Who likes to spend time with his boyfriend sometimes. You know?”
“I wasn’t drunk!” Sano burst out, sounding insulted. “You think I can’t tell when I was drunk the night before? I know you think I’m an idiot, but even an idiot can tell the difference between waking up after a night of drinking and waking up after other shit.”
“And where did you wake up?”
“On the hill.”
“Like you’re ever there when I wake up.”
“Maybe it was a dream.”
“It…” Sano had obviously been about to discount this new theory just as immediately and energetically as the last, but apparently thought better of such a determined denial.
Finally, slowly, Saitou turned to face him, and Sano’s breath caught. A good percentage of the extra moonlight seemed to have pooled in the older man’s eyes, making them almost silver rather than gold, and they stared now into Sano’s with an intensity Saitou rarely wasted on him. “You…” Saitou reached out and took his hand. “…are a complete idiot…”
Sano’s spirits fell at the failure of his experiment, and thoughts flitted through his head of bitterly spending the remainder of the night in a bar somewhere cursing unromantic cops and their cynical ways — but this lasted only a moment before Saitou drew him close and kissed him, threading fingers leisurely through Sano’s hair and holding Sano’s body tight against his own with his other arm.
Given that he hadn’t really been prepared for his silly idea to work, this was something of a surprise. It was nothing, however, compared to how he felt when Saitou pulled back far enough to speak, still staring into Sano’s eyes, and finished his statement: “…and I love you more than anything in this world.”
“So what else did we supposedly do?” Saitou asked in a tone that could almost be called politely disinterested, “after I supposedly didn’t kill you for all this?”
“We were standing on top of the hill looking at the moon,” Sano explained, his voice sinking to a murmur as he continued. “You kissed me and said…” and he trailed off unintelligibly.
“I said what?” Saitou wondered.
“Something romantic,” Sano muttered, still almost inaudible.
Sano couldn’t help thinking the moonlight must actually have had some transformative effect, considering he’d never been able to wring even a standard ‘I love you’ out of the normal Saitou. This longer version of the phrase, the like of which he’d never expected to hear from his pragmatic lover, had sent his heart into a strange, quick, erratic pattern, and the night was suddenly hot. But he didn’t have a chance to comment on the wonder of it, rendered speechless as he was by an even greater wonder: Saitou released him and sank suddenly to his knees.
“And then?” prompted Saitou, still in the same relatively gentle tone as if humoring a lunatic or a small child.
“All right, fine, you’re right,” Sano admitted bitterly, “I probably was dreaming or something.” And he even seemed to be blushing slightly; Saitou hadn’t thought there was anything that could call up that reaction in Sano these days.
“It’s not a bad idea, though,” was the officer’s reflective concession as he returned yet again to his paperwork. He could almost hear Sano’s head snapping up to look at him hopefully. “Just the kind of romantic nonsense women like to read about. You should get your friend to put it in his newspaper. With different names, of course.”
As the recovering Sano attempted to remember how many times Saitou had ever done that before (something like maybe once), Saitou was encouraging him to give in to the demands of his trembling legs. And as soon as Sano lay in the grass without pants, it didn’t take long for Saitou to join him in a similar state.
Somewhat caustically, “At least the sex was good,” muttered Sano.
Saitou laughed and remarked softly, to no particular purpose other than derision, “Sex with you in a public place…” He shook his head. “Go home, ahou. I have work to do.”
After a long moment of silence during which Sano clearly didn’t leave, Saitou looked up again. The young man stood quite still, staring at him with wide, sad eyes, appearing so crestfallen and disappointed that Saitou really couldn’t stand it. “Why don’t you come by my house at some reasonable hour tonight?” he added, successfully making it almost sound like he’d meant to say it all along. “I doubt we can recreate your little fantasy, but I’m sure we can find something you’ll enjoy.”
This seemed to cheer Sano immensely, for the storm in his eyes cleared up and his demeanor brightened. “All right,” he said, though still a little morosely. “I’ll see you then.”
Saitou nodded and again returned his gaze to the papers in front of him as Sano finally left the room. Maybe now he’d be able to get something done. Then he should probably go home a little early; he needed to take a bath before Sano arrived, just to make absolutely certain the grass stains were gone from his knees.
You are a terrible person.
Love, this faery.
This story is for 30_kisses theme #27 “Overflow.”
It has been suggested that the italicization here should be reversed, and for the longest time I resisted that proposal without precisely knowing why, since the choice of italicizing what I did was one of those instinctual things I wasn’t at first able to define. Eventually I realized I’d done it because, although it’s more standard for the scenes taking place farther in the past to be italicized, I like it better this way because it emphasizes that some aspect of reality in each scene is in question. In the end it turns out that there is more truth in the non-italicized portion of the story than in the italicized part, which seems appropriate. I’m not sure if this explanation makes sense, but to me it feels right the way it is.
I’ve rated this story . What do you think of it?
This story is included in the Saitou/Sano Collection 1 ebook.