Morning light, bright and hazy through the half-closed shutters. It crept infinitesimally slow across the floor toward them, catching dancing dust motes in its brilliant glare. Gotou watched it drowsily, too comfortable to move. Masayoshi's breath was warm against the back of his neck, he slept curled around Gotou, arms wrapped around his chest protectively, legs tangled together and face tucked between neck and shoulder. He was completely surrounded by Masayoshi.
He had no idea what time it was. Masayoshi was a heavy sleeper, had to be nudged and encouraged out of bed, dragged out by Gotou putting coffee on – if he wanted to be effective he could play Ishihara's ringtone, but for all the resulting flail being hilarious, it was somewhat cruel. Gotou sighed, tugged on one of Masayoshi's hands and played with his fingers. Masayoshi murmured into his neck and sighed, but didn't wake.
Breakfast. His stomach rumbled a little. They should get up, there would be food and coffee, glorious, life-giving coffee....
Masayoshi sighed into his neck again, murmured some nonsense that ended in Hidenori, mm- and Gotou could stay here, just a little while longer at least.
Breakfast, another dip in the hot springs – they had no idea that they were being watched, Masayoshi arguing about something, gesticulating and – him, couldn't think that name, couldn't breathe in the bile – looking both amused and aggravated, arguing right back. They were dressed for outside, going to walk the city a bit. He had a cigarette in his mouth and a relaxed, affectionate expression on his face and – don't focus on that, don't let it break you, you have a job – they were holding hands.
It was going to be nearly impossible to separate them, and time was running out.
“Please,” Masayoshi said, for the third time. Gotou sighed, made that face like he was wondering when he got demoted to babysitter.
“We don't have the room for action figures,” Gotou pointed out. “The apartment is tiny, Yoshi.”
Masayoshi beamed at him. “Then we'll just move into a bigger one.”
There was a moment's hesitation, because Masayoshi was clearly serious. “I like where I live,” Gotou said slowly, thinking about this. “It's a good location.” But the apartment was too small for two people. It was a bachelor's apartment, not even a full kitchen to cook in, just a burner and a sink and an under-the-counter fridge – plenty for Gotou on his own, but Masayoshi's stuff had exploded everywhere once he moved himself in and there really wasn't room. Maybe they should look into moving, into a place that wasn't Gotou's with-added-Masayoshi, but a place that was theirs.
Masayoshi was watching him think, and poked him in the shoulder. “We can find a bigger place in the same area,” he said. He could tell when he was winning an argument that they hadn't even had yet. “Ishihara would help, she helped me find my apartment and that place was huge.”
“We don't need anything that big,” Gotou said automatically.
“I still want a new figurine,” Masayoshi said. He poked Gotou in the shoulder again. “You didn't get me a wedding present, buy me a figurine.”
Gotou turned red and swatted at him. “I didn't buy you a wedding present?” he said incredulously. His voice had raised just a little and a couple pedestrians glanced as they walked past, so Gotou ducked his head as Masayoshi laughed. “It's not like you got me one either,” he muttered.
Masayoshi took his hand, leaned in close as they walked. “I dunno, I'd say what I did last night was a pretty good present, don't you?”
What he did last night was obscene and Masayoshi should not be mentioning it let alone thinking about it in public. Gotou groaned, and Masayoshi laughed lightly and squeezed his hand. “I should have known that sex would turn you into a monster,” Gotou muttered, as Masayoshi pulled him into a store.
“Come on, I want a nice one, too!”
“Oi, idiot, I'm not buying you a figurine-!”
When they stopped for a snack later, at a little sidewalk cafe, sitting outside under umbrellas, Masayoshi had accumulated a handful of bags and a beatific expression. Gotou sighed, chin in his hand. “You know you make more money than I do,” he pointed out, as Masayoshi munched on a parfait.
“Yeah, but these were bought with love,” Masayoshi said. Gotou rolled his eyes as the waitress brought him more coffee. “Is it too early for alcohol?” he asked, mostly rhetorically, and Masayoshi nodded vigorously.
“If you start drinking now we won't have any fun tonight,” he said, spoon in his mouth.
The waitress looked between them, blushed, and excused herself. Gotou watched her go and looked back at Masayoshi. “You freaked out the waitress,” he said.
“You're the freak,” Masayoshi said, blissing out on sugar.
Gotou leaned over, took the spoon out of Masayoshi's hand, and ate the bite that had been headed for Masayoshi's mouth. Masayoshi stared at him, surprised, and Gotou put the spoon back in his hand. “Not bad,” Gotou said, and wiped whipped cream off of his mouth.
They were being followed.
Gotou hadn't noticed it yet. Masayoshi pulled on his arm, stopping in front of another store display, this one full of the new model kits from some mecha anime he hadn't seen before. He knew he was confusing Gotou a bit, but every time they stopped it gave him a chance to check surreptitiously in the glass, see if he could get more than a glimpse of the dark-coated figure that had kept pace with them all afternoon.
He wasn't sure who it could be. Certainly, a lot of people recognized him, although with a ball cap and glasses he was at least afforded some measure of anonymity. They weren't press, then – maybe an enemy? But they were supposedly at peace, all the bad guys defeated and he could hang up the hero gig and go back to being an ordinary citizen. (As if he ever would, there would always be people in need of his help!) Maybe they were just a stalker – some over-eager fan who didn't want to approach, but … but that didn't feel right. He had a feeling about these things, and this entire situation just screamed 'trouble.'
Masayoshi grinned at Gotou, took his hat off and put it on Gotou's head. Gotou stared at him oddly. “Let's go back,” Masayoshi said. “I want to get into the springs again before dinner.”
Gotou stared at him for a long moment, and then nodded. Masayoshi could see the calculation behind his eyes – Masayoshi was acting strange, something was wrong – but he was a professional as well and wouldn't give the game away. “Sure,” he said, taking Masayoshi's hand and squeezing it. “My feet are killing me, anyway.”
They walked hand-in-hand back the way that they came, talking about nothing at all really – comments on the architecture, a low whine from Masayoshi when Gotou refused to stop and buy some themed instant curry with the new rotation of Ensemble! Rangers on it, Gotou muttering about how they were going to have to expand their diet because he liked curry but he also liked eating other food too, Yoshi – and Masayoshi caught the way that Gotou casually glanced around, intentionally looking like a tourist but scanning the pedestrians around them.
It was troubling him – but he didn't see the dark figure again, and they made it back to the room without incident. Safely inside, door locked behind them and Masayoshi set his bags in front of the closet where their things – and his costume – were stored, Gotou took off Masayoshi's ball cap and put it back on Masayoshi’s head. “What was that all about?” he asked, heading for the bathroom.
“We were being followed,” Masayoshi crouched over the bags, not really seeing them or their contents.
“I got that much,” Gotou yelled through the door. “Didn't see anyone, though.”
No, their pursuer must have realized he had been seen. Masayoshi straightened and took off the ball cap, holding it in his hands and staring at it. “Earlier,” he said. “I saw them – several times. I must have tipped them off.” He looked up when Gotou emerged, and Gotou pulled out the fresh pack of cigarettes he'd purchased and headed toward the balcony.
“Well, you're a superhero, not a super-spy,” Gotou said. His tone was light.
“You didn't see them following us,” Masayoshi looked back down at the hat, thought of Sawada. No one had believed him about that either, at first. But really, what did he have right now – just some glimpses of a dark-coated figure out of the corner of his eye? This was a big city – it could have been someone on the same route that they were, or even multiple people with a similar fashion sense – but every instinct in his body told him that no, no, this is something to pay attention to, and something was legitimately wrong.
Gotou leaned against the balcony railing outside, but he was facing in so he could still see Masayoshi. “I believe you,” he called, and Masayoshi walked to the balcony door. “I do,” he added, when he saw Masayoshi's face again. He took a long, thoughtful drag on his cigarette. “What do you want to do, you want to leave?”
Masayoshi knew that if he said yes, Gotou would help him pack their bags this instant. He rubbed his jaw, thought hard. It wasn't so much 'what would his Master' do anymore – he was his own hero now, had to trust his own instincts on these things.
What if it wasn't an enemy?
What if it was someone who needed help, and couldn't approach them?
“No,” Masayoshi said. “No, I don't think we should go, not yet.”
“All right then,” Gotou said, and clapped Masayoshi's shoulder. “So we'll stay, and we'll keep doing what we're doing, and maybe this will turn out to be a whole big bag of nothing.”
“Yeah,” Masayoshi murmured, but his heart wasn't in it. How often was it actually 'nothing?'
They weren't the only people in the hot springs today. There were several other men – Masayoshi stuck close to Gotou, although he wasn't perturbed so much as he was on his guard.
“Season five, episode sixteen,” he said, sunk in the water up to his chin. “Kappa. Harakiri Sunshine had to defeat a kappa who ran an onsen that brainwashed people.”
“You're a freak,” Gotou said without opening his eyes.
“You owe me a blowjob,” Masayoshi retorted.
That made Gotou open an eye, and Masayoshi sunk into the water up to his nose, realizing that conversation carried in the humid air. Fortunately a surreptitious glance at the other occupants of the bath told him that no one even looked their way. “Bet there aren't any others,” he said. “Name another one that's not an anime.”
Masayoshi burbled into the water, and then emerged. “There was a Red Axe episode.”
“There was not. You'd be able to tell me the episode number.”
“There is! There are a lot of Red Axe episodes.”
“There's something like six hundred Harakiri Sunshine episodes, and you know all of them,” Gotou had closed his eyes again. Masayoshi stuck his tongue out at Gotou, and when that was ignored he splashed him. “Oi!”
“You still owe me a blow job,” Masayoshi said sulkily. He slunk back out from where he was at and slid back onto the bench next to Gotou. Gotou watched his progression through half-closed eyes, ensuring that he wasn't going to get pinched again. Once Masayoshi was in range he reached out and tucked a hand around his waist and rubbed his side, fingers not quite going into dangerous territory.
“Soon enough,” Gotou murmured, and Masayoshi blushed furiously. “Now please stop talking about blow jobs where other people could hear us.”
Masayoshi huffed to himself but Gotou had already closed his eyes again. At least Gotou could relax … even if the water was soothing there was thing jangled edge to his nerves that he hadn't been able to let go of since they returned. The moment he had the thought it kept niggling at him – what if it was someone who needed help? Why lurk? Why follow discreetly?
He needed to find that person, whoever they were. He wouldn't settle until he knew what was going on. Gotou wouldn't be happy with him, but – it was important, it had to be.
“There was a Kamen Rider episode,” Gotou said suddenly, and Masayoshi jumped. “I was like, ten. I remember watching it.”
“I don't remember that!”
“Have you seen all the Kamen Rider episodes?” Gotou poked him in the side, and Masayoshi huffed indignantly.
“It's not like you remembered the title. It doesn't count.”
“I think it counts,” Gotou murmured, moving closer. Masayoshi pushed at his chest and Gotou started to get out of the water. “C'mon, I think it's time to go back to the room.”
Masayoshi had been stewing all afternoon, and Gotou was about done with it. He was a lot more difficult to distract than initially anticipated – thick-headed and stubborn, he was stuck on their mysterious stalker. Which, if Gotou found out it was someone sent by that insipid website to spy on them on their honeymoon he was going to have a line of people whose faces needed rearranging, starting with the stalker and ending with whats-his-face with the glasses who Masayoshi seemed to accept as a legitimate source of information. In fact, he had thought to check that stupid website as soon as they got back to the room, but nothing had been posted about them.
So that left him with the monumental task of distracting Masayoshi. Which was more fun to do when he could pin Masayoshi down to the floor, shift aside the yukata and give him that blow job he had been griping about for the past few hours. Masayoshi moaned into his hands, and hell, tugged at his yukata and gave him this look that told Gotou Masayoshi was about to get whatever he wanted from him right now.
And that was how he ended up on his side, head still between Masayoshi's legs but trying not to moan as Masayoshi sucked him at the same time. It was almost too much stimulation, Masayoshi's mouth felt a hundred times hotter than the bath, and he was having a hard time staying on task because of it.
Maybe the distraction worked a bit of both ways, because they ended up lying on the tatami mats together in a mess of half-worn yukata and sticky, panting at the ceiling. “Thank you for not gagging yourself this time,” Gotou managed when he could think about stringing multiple-syllable words together again.
Masayoshi made a noise that sounded like it could be assent, or just exhaling the air from his lungs. Either way Gotou took it as a good thing.
They lay on the floor tangled for a while, until the sweat began to cool on their skin and Gotou had moved on to dozing while Masayoshi stared quietly at the ceiling next to him. He was nudged back to wakefulness by Masayoshi, who dragged him to his feet and then shoved him ahead into the tiny bathroom that was set off the room. There was barely enough room for one of them in the stand-up shower, so he wasn't entirely sure how they both managed to squeeze in there but it was a mess of bodies and elbows and knees and Masayoshi kept laughing so Gotou could only laugh in response.
When it became apparent that there just wasn't enough room for shenanigans Gotou wormed himself out of the shower, patted his head dry and left Masayoshi to the remainder of it. “I'm not gonna wash off if we're just gonna have sex again,” Masayoshi yelled over the noise of the shower-head, but he already had shampoo in his hair.
When Gotou stepped out of the bathroom, with only a towel on his shoulders, he paused. The television set, angled toward the balcony, was on.
Masayoshi hadn't turned it on – had he? They'd been lying in companionable silence for a while, but he had dozed off … however, Masayoshi wasn't the sort to leave the television on behind him. Even if he'd put it on while Gotou dozed, he would have turned it off again before dragging him into the shower. Gotou shrugged on his soiled yukata, simply so he wasn't naked, and stepped into full view of the room, adrenaline buzzing through him. Maybe he should warn Masayoshi – but this may be as simple as the television having an alert time, that turned the television on at a certain time.
He walked to the television, picked the remote up off the floor, and turned it off.
“Hey,” an unfamiliar-familiar voice said from behind him. “Rude. I was watching that.”