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We'll Always Be Able to Share the Moon

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“It stinks worse than regular cigarettes,” Jotaro says with a wrinkle in his nose, but he accepts it back anyways and takes another long drag as Noriaki struggles through a cough.  Jotaro looks out over the edge of the flat rooftop they’re sitting on and lets the smoke out through his nose, the wrinkle back across the bridge of it and making him look like an oni straight out of a woodblock print.  “I wonder if the old man will be mad,” he says like he’s not quite sure if he’s supposed to care or not.

“He knows Avdol gave it to us,” Noriaki says up at him - everything is always up at him, and it’s so refreshing - and Jotaro almost drops the cigarette.  “You didn’t know?” Noriaki blinks at him. “He’s probably the one who told him to, so we’d smoke here on the roof instead of going out in town where we could get caught up in something.”

Jotaro looks down at the cigarette as he rolls it slowly between his fingers, like he’s making sure the paper is sticking.

“He’s not as stupid as he pretends to be,” Noriaki says, gentler than the teasing he’d intended.

“I know.”

Noriaki leans back on his hands to look out over what little skyline there is so he won’t stare at Jotaro’s profile.  The sun is most of the way down, now, just the bare edges of red tracing across the tops of the buildings and sending long shadows stretching across the city.  Maybe this is where Magician’s Red gets its colours; the way the sun sets every one of these nowhere towns ablaze in the evening, the same way as Noriaki’s hometown on the coast is wet green all spring and Jotaro’s mother’s garden is overflowing with irises.  It makes him wonder what Paris is like, if it’s all hurrying, gleaming steel like Silver Chariot.

He turns to Jotaro to ask if he knows, but only half a sound makes it past his lips when Jotaro looks away from him too quickly to parse his expression.  Jotaro offers out the half-burned-down cigarette without looking at him, face turned away farther than usual to make up for the fact the collar of his jacket is attached to the rest of it: currently splayed across the rooftop under them with Noriaki’s, shed in favor of the heat but kept in knowing of how quickly the air cooled in the desert at night.  Noriaki takes the cigarette carefully, wondering if he can blame the cannabis for just how much he notices the way Jotaro’s calluses feel against his own soft fingertips.

Noriaki takes a longer drag this time, lets the bitter-strange smoke fill his mouth slow and careful, tasting the feeling of it flowing across his tongue and down to burn gently in his lungs.  He offers out the cigarette again as he lays back on his own jacket to look up at the first stars glimmering in the dark ends of the sunset. He lets his smoky breath out slowly, fogging the sky, and Jotaro’s fingers linger against his as he takes the cigarette back - or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.  Jotaro’s free hand does settle down near Noriaki’s own on the rucked fabric of their jackets, though; not close enough to touch, but close enough to feel the way its weight dips the cloth. Noriaki imagines he can feel the heat of it, the furnace of Jotaro’s body in the rapidly-cooling evening.

He picks up Jotaro's hand and plucks his fingers apart.  Jotaro's hand is warm, and just as huge silhouetted against the starry sky as it was when it was at his side.  It’s big enough Noriaki's fingertips barely brush Jotaro's smallest knuckles when he lines up the heels of their hands, big enough to cover Noriaki’s face from chin to hairline when he settles Jotaro's palm across his nose.  It still smells a little bit like burning things, but the smell isn’t so ugly when it’s on his skin.

It takes Noriaki a long moment before he realizes what he's done, but the wave of mortification at the impropriety and how much of a fool he must look like, never comes.  He feels like it should, like it would, but instead he just laughs through his teeth under Jotaro's slightly sweaty palm.

“For fuck's sake,” Jotaro mutters under his breath, but it sounds more amused than anything else.  He closes his fingers and thumb lightly around Noriaki's entire face and gently shakes him, which only makes Noriaki laugh more.  “You're such a lightweight.”

“You're the one touching my face,” Noriaki grinningly accuses him.   “Scandalous.”

The smile on Jotaro’s face melts off, and he must be more affected than he’s letting on because Noriaki manages to catch his wrist before he snatches his hand away.  Noriaki’s fingers close around the tense breadth of it when Jotaro’s fingertips are still on the edge of his lips, and Noriaki holds him there just long enough to meet Jotaro’s eyes for three pounding, terrified heartbeats.  He knows he wouldn’t, but Jotaro could crush him like a blade of grass.

He releases Jotaro’s wrist, and Jotaro’s rough fingers stay on Noriaki’s cheek.

“...Oh,” the sound matches Jotaro’s just barely too-wide eyes and the pale longing that’s suddenly woven through every centimeter of his expression.  “I--” Jotaro breaks off again, and his tongue flicks out over his lips and Noriaki has never wanted anything as badly as he wants to kiss him right now.  Jotaro takes a deep breath through his nose, and holds it and just keeps looking at him - it’s almost physically painful to be laying down looking up at him, barely touching, and all Noriaki has to do is lean up and kiss him, that’s it.  But he’s terrified that if he moves, the moment will burn out like a shooting star and never return.

“...Shit, I’m high as fuck,” Jotaro finally breathes out, finally looks away, finally takes his hand off Noriaki’s cheek and runs it through his own hair.  Noriaki can finally breathe again, but he still feels like he’s lost something. A chance, maybe.

“I think that’s the point,” Noriaki says, and his laugh sounds mostly real.  “Want to roll another one?”

“Nah,” Jotaro flicks the stub out over the side of the building, and Noriaki curls one of Hierophant’s tendrils around Jotaro’s middle to steady him as he leans out to watch it fall.  He doesn’t even think Jotaro notices, but when Jotaro leans back again to lay down next to him on the pebbly rooftop he absentmindedly pets one broad hand across Hierophant’s tendril before Noriaki can withdraw it.  Noriaki feels the warm pressure of it all up his arm.

He should say something, anything , but he has no idea what.

“Is that,” Jotaro starts, and Noriaki sees he’s paused with his hand half-raised to point above them.  “Oiron?” he says uncertainly, and Noriaki blinks up at the sky.

“Orion,” Noriaki gently corrects him as he picks out the three stars.  “His belt is the only one I can ever find.”

“I guess I thought the stars would be different out here,” Jotaro says as his hand drops back down to his own chest again, first finger tapping a few times over his heart.  Then he shifts a little bit closer, so Noriaki can feel it in his shoulder when he raises his hand again. “Big Dog, Little Dog, and the Unicorn in between them,” he traces out shapes in the sky.  “Twins, Driver, Ox. The Latin names are stupid.” Noriaki laughs, and Jotaro elbows him. “I’m trying to teach you something, asshole.”

“No, no, I’m listening.  Go on. You’re a good teacher.”  Noriaki beams at him and Jotaro turns his annoyed look back up to the sky.

“The Fish, the Whale.  Eridanus,” Noriaki watches Jotaro’s face smooth out as he traces shapes and fumbles through another attempt at Latin.

“You know a lot of them,” Noriaki says when Jotaro pauses, and Jotaro’s hand comes down to rest on his own chest again.  He taps his finger a few more times, still looking up at the sky.

“My dad calls home every night when he’s off touring,” he says quietly.  “Even if he’s tired as hell. And he sends stuff, too, souvenirs and postcards and stuff, so we know he’s thinking of us.  Some of it is really cool,” Jotaro’s lips flick out in a smile, but then he goes silent and the smile slowly fades off his face.  “But when I was little I just missed him a lot.” His finger taps a few times, and Noriaki isn’t quite sure if he can see a pattern in the rhythm of it.

Jotaro huffs a breath.  “So one day he told me to take the phone outside and look up.  And he said, ‘you see the moon right there?’ ” he pointed at the tilted crescent moon in the sky above them now, his voice curved into something a little smoother and more formal than usual.  “ ‘I’m looking at it too. No matter how far away I am, we’ll always be able to share the moon.’ “ He went quiet again and pushed his hand up into his hair, hiding his face behind his arm as his voice dropped into a mumble.  “I dunno, it was just nice. So we started naming constellations and stuff to each other when the moon wasn’t out.”

Noriaki looks up at the sky and tries to imagine missing someone like that, but it seems too far away to even believe in.

Then he thinks about going home, going back to his old school, not baking in a cramped car all day and not falling asleep next to Jotaro’s snoring, and the breath goes out of him with the sudden, hollow ache in his chest.

Jotaro's voice comes up out of the night.  “We should go back in before it gets too cold,” he says, and before Noriaki can gather the words for anything Jotaro has pushed himself up and stood.  He’s a dark silhouette against the starry sky, a huge, empty space in the world that Noriaki wants to fall into, and Noriaki isn’t sure how long they stare at each other for.  Long enough for impropriety. Long enough to be dizzy with it.

“Yeah,” he finally agrees, and braces his hands against the roof and pushes himself to his feet.  He gathers up their jackets and Jotaro’s hat and wonders if he could meet Jotaro’s eyes if he could even find them in the dark.