Juno Steel doesn't look people in the eye. He never has. He looks at foreheads, cheeks, noses, temples, mouths. Never eyes. He knows there's a reason for it, and he knows that that reason would be uncovered in a single visit to a therapist, but he's not about to spend money to have some bastard list to him all the things Juno already knows are wrong with him. So he doesn't look into it.
Sometimes, it's easier to just not look at faces at all. He watches hands - tells people who notice that he likes to make sure he isn't about to be pickpocketed. Means he's payed a lot of attention to a lot of hands in his life, means he notices things about people from them immediately.
The first thing he noticed about Rex Glass from his hands was that he bites his nails. He can see the jagged edges under a sheen of fresh varnish. The next few things he couldn't put into an order, couldn't say which he realised first. He saw that Rex clearly wore rings when not on the job, rings that left indents and tan lines on his skin. Rex clearly wrote a lot, if the bump on his second fingers (both of them, huh) were any indication. And, something that he probably should have noticed earlier: Rex's fingers were long . Long and thin, bumpy knuckles and pointed tips, fingers that could reach deep inside places or wrap fully around things without needing to squeeze.
When those hands grab at the collar of his coat he feels rather than sees how strong they are, and when he feels the one slip into his pocket he understands just how deft they are.
Evidently, Rex Glass' hands are not Peter Nureyev's - nor are they Duke Rose's.
In the brief interlude where Juno meets Nureyev without a facade, he sees the jewelry he wears on his fingers, how this version of him - this true version - still bites his nails, lets the bright colours he paints them with chip. And then that interlude is over, and the hands belong to Duke Rose.
Duke doesn't do anything with his nails, and while he does wear jewellery it's far more garish than what Nureyev was wearing while they traveled down. His fingers are constantly moving, which is - which is distracting, to say the least. He raps his knuckles on the table quietly and taps indecipherable morse into his lap as Juno watches. He twirls pens and cards and it makes Juno want to grab those hands and hold on.
And when he's back to Nureyev, in the bathroom of the casino, dealing with Juno with exasperation, his hands are expressing the same things as his words. He uses them excessively and expressively, and Juno thinks he sees a little universal sign in his movements. Which is interesting, and strange, and makes him want to be able to watch those movements for hours. Except he doesn't have hours because some bastard is trying to cheat them in a game to the death.
And then Miasma. And Juno sees more of Nureyev, a deeper layer to him. He sees how his nails bite into his palms as he takes the pain dealt him by the assistants. He sees more sign when the exhaustion starts getting to him and his words fail, watches him speak with his hands before he does with his mouth. He taps against the walls of the tomb until his hands fall tired and pink knuckled into his lap. And he smooths his fingers over Juno's hair without being asked to do so. At night (or what they think must be night), he keeps his hands squashed between the two of them on the bedroll. He runs cold, and Juno runs hot. Juno feels cold digits wind and fist into his shirt to warm up. He says nothing about it, just wraps his arms around his bedfellow and seeps away his cold.
Nureyev in a hotel room in Hyperion is something else. He's careful with Juno, back to the carefully platonic touches he was giving out at the beginning of their time in Miasma's care . Juno doesn't like that. It's not until he shares an idea, until Juno makes it clear that he reciprocates the feelings involved, that his hands are normal again.
Nureyev is hungry with his touching of Juno's body. He pushes away towel and robe until those cool hands meet the heat of his skin. He flattens his palms against him like he wants to absorb the feeling forever, presses in like he thinks that will help. He explores every inch of him as they kiss and Juno is dizzy from the contact. Hands on his shoulders, down his throat to his chest. Fingers around his nipples, tugging and squeezing and experimenting. He doesn't keep them anywhere for long until he reaches between Juno's legs and shows Juno exactly what those hands are capable of. Those hands that can be so many things and so many people, those long, thin fingers made to take him apart. He takes Juno with his hands and pushes noises from him that Juno didn't know he could make. He touches and keeps touching and at one point Juno realises that his fingers are shaking as their hands are entwined and he kisses his fingers as Nureyev cries. He takes them into his mouth as their bodies roll and work and fit together like a puzzle. They slip away from his tongue, that hand cups his cheek, the other grasps at his back, digs nails in and scratches as Nureyev loses his mind and comes apart with Juno in his arms.
When Juno looks behind him before shutting the door on Peter Nureyev his arms are outstretched on the sheets, hands open and reaching for him. Juno wants to hold them one last time.
But he doesn't.
The next time he holds Peter Nureyev's hand is as he invites him aboard a ship destined for the future.
And Peter Nureyev wears gloves.