"Sonata No. 8"
Their first kiss was in the office, a quiet, stolen moment away from the rest of the Shokan department.
"Sorry," a hushed, tumbled apology.
A shake of head, a dismissal.
No, it's not, he wanted to say. But the words never left his throat. Two minutes later, he walked out of the office.
Their first embrace came much later, after both of them put so much effort into pretending their kiss never happened.
Tsuzuki had begged, whined, and cajoled until Hisoka caved in and promised to wear a yukata. There was no denying Tsuzuki once he went into the begging puppy mode, and Hisoka was particularly bad at dealing with it. In the end, the younger shinigami found himself in yukata, forced to enjoy Tanabata with the rest of the Shokan employees.
"What are you watching?"
There was silence again, save for the crickets. The fireflies flashed around them, in silent communication, in search for mates. The babble of the brook was quiet, soothing, and almost warm.
Just like his companion.
He stepped forward again, following a green flash just out of his reach.
"Don't step too close to the water."
His feet slipped just that moment, and when he barely felt the cool water brushing his feet, his companion was already hauling him out of the brook with an arm around his waist.
He should have said, "thank you." Instead, he probed deeper, not with his words but with his mind, his heart.
Something was quiet and painful and raw. It was also warm and clear and almost soothing in its solid reality, just like the arm around his waist. So Hisoka slipped his own arms around the older man.
"Sorry," a murmur, barely louder than the brook.
No dismissal came. Still encircled in the warm arm around his waist, Hisoka wondered whether his companion understood what he meant by his apology.
The question was completely unanticipated. The answer was honest and straightforward, though it might have been a tad brutal.
"I can't feel anything from you."
He wanted to ask 'why' himself. With the word still on the tip of his tongue, he kissed the older man. He wanted to ask why the other allowed this. He wanted to ask so much.
Questions he never dared.
Without answers, silence did not hurt. Silence was comfortably numb. Silence was familiar and reassuring, like the moon overhead. Familiar because he saw it in his dream every night without fail, reassuring because it was still silver, not red.
Their lips met again in a more heated kiss. Hesitant touches became bolder, much bolder, and then everything was a blur.
The monitor beeped. The computer played Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 quietly in a loop, nearly inaudible over the noise from the rest of the Enmacho employees.
"It's very sad," Hisoka observed.
"Like someone is dying."
"Is death sad?"
"It's sad because he can't cry," Hisoka answered without hesitation. Once, he might have wondered from where his sure-footed answer came. "He cannot mourn death."
"Aah," the syllable was more a breath than an answer, enunciated longer than usual.
Silence descended, just as it usually did when they were together. But this time, it was the older shinigami who broke the silence first.
"Are you sad?"
Hisoka's green eyes turned to the other, without inquisitive question or defensive hostility.
"Yes," came the answer, sincere and unhurried.
The other's sudden smile was as warm and real as the night of Tanabata. Hisoka did not quite understand, but he thought he might.
"Watari-san," the youngest shinigami acknowledged.
Watari arched a dark golden eyebrow, eyes sparkling mischievously. Then, the golden eyes became more somber, more sincere, deeper.
"Some people would see empathy as a curse. An empath, after all, is forced to feel other people's emotions."
Hisoka's brows were drawn in together, forming a slight frown as the young shinigami puzzled over what his colleague was telling him.
"But I think it could be a gift to some people. Because you see, bon…" Watari reached out to gently brush back Hisoka's bangs.
"…Some people need someone to feel for them."