In the end Fade persuades Mask that he sees him as a man in the dumbest way possible.
He tries to kiss him.
And Mask fucking panics, turns into the first thing he can think of (an anaconda for godssakes!) and if it had been anyone else but Fade mightuv taken his goddamned head off. Then again if it had been anyone else but Fade there’d have been a risk of it actually turning into a kiss-
As it is they sorta stagger through each other, Mask hissing and Fade-
Fade’s got that look on his face again like Mask just stabbed him through the heart. Mask’s getting a little sick of that look.
He changes back and looks at the floor a while. Rubs the back of his head.
Fade doesn’t say anything.
“Look I’m not-” Mask starts.
Yeah, he’d said that hadn’t he? Shit.
“I didn’t mean-” Mask begins. “It’s not- ARGH!”
The truth is Mask hasn’t kissed anyone. Because he didn’t want to be some guy’s bitch and he didn’t want to be ‘that dyke’ either. Because his fucking stupid body made everything wrong and now-
Now he can change his body but it hasn’t fixed anything.
“You surprised me is all.” Mask says eventually and Fade raises an eyebrow like it’s Mask being the weird one.
“Can you even-” Kiss, have sex, touch anyone for more than a second, Mask leaves the rest of his question hanging and Fade shrugs.
“I don’t know.” He says honestly.
And Mask winces because yeah that sucks, that really really sucks.
Fuck he’s actually thinking about it-
“You ever done…anything before?” He doesn’t look at Fade when he asks.
For a while they’re quiet. Somewhere below in the factory Wise and Third are having it out about some stupid shit. Fade starts to drift down through the floor.
“Hey!” Mask blurts and then keeps going before he can stop himself. “You know why I didn’t go out to that club with you guys?”
“Because you’re screwed up and you think you’ve got to blackmail me to keep me from outing you?” Fade suggests.
Mask laughs, only it doesn’t sound like he thinks it’s funny.
“I don’t have any fucking clothes. Everything I’ve got’s from after the Bang and most of that gets carved up cos you know what it’s like right?” He sighs. “My folks probably think I died there, I ain’t seen them since cos this-”
“Isn’t what they want.” Fade finishes.
And Mask smiles. “Yeah.”
Fade sighs. Like he’s a lost cause. He’s half sunk through the floor before he bothers saying goodbye.
“See yah Mask.”
Once Fade’s gone he grows claws, clenches his fists till the skin bursts in his palms. He thinks about flying away. About being a tiger, or a bear, or a dog, or any damn thing but what every one else seems to think he should be.
It’s easier for the rest of them in a way. They all got to hang together.
Mask looks out the window and knows he could just fly away and never come back. He could be an eagle, an owl, a hawk or a damn chickadee for the rest of his natural life and no one would even notice.
He could leave it all behind.
But not today.
He sighs, steels himself and goes down to see what the fuck Wise is getting so mouthy about now.