Published: Sept. 3, 2013.
In a horrifyingly lucid moment, it occurs to Hinata just how ingrained the problem with Komaeda is in him.
(Hinata spends a lot of time trying not to think about it. It mostly makes it worse.)
this is weird and experimental ???? it's a thing.
Komaeda talks, falls easily into a prompted, if unsettling ramble once they have him cornered. And this is fine. If they want to live, they need Komaeda to talk, to confess. Get it wrong, and—bang, they're all fucking dead. It leaves Hinata swirling in a series of barely identifiable emotions, but it's fine. It's for the greater good. For life (whatever sad mimicry they might have under Monobear's thumb).
His face is a sliver from fury, a smidge from disbelief, and a fraction from he isn't fucking sure anymore. He reels like they all do—Tsumiki tearful and face hidden in her hands, Sonia a composed visage of shock, and so on and so on.
Contrary to his own wants, he finds it a denial of magnetism not to look at Komaeda. Only briefly does Hinata share such a look with him before he twitters away in ruthless inclusivity. Seconds tick by glacially. Hell has frozen over and this is it. This is eternity.
This is true despair.
They need it. They need his testimony, and, if it's true, they need him to die.
A conflicted surge of wanting to hear Komaeda and needing Komaeda to shut up heats up in Hinata. He burns cherry red, and he bends, which way he's unsure, but he contorts into some otherworldly shape and for a moment, Hinata thinks about how he wants to kiss Komaeda quiet.
It's almost unbidden and comes too fast for him to catch before he realizes. Even as he pointedly ignores and tucks it away in the back of his mind, it sits as a fully conceived entity, and for the rest of the trial, it is an unforgettable weight.
(It mostly makes him feel worse. But, as he votes Teruteru in as the culprit, it's a balm to a still-bleeding wound. It stings. It invokes a sigh of relief. A small, gratuitous, selfish portion of Hinata revels in momentary self-hate because there is a tiny victory in tragedy here as a maniacal bear bakes their classmate in lava.)
None of them says much. A wall of tension builds that could crumble from the slightest wrong utterance from any of them. So they keep shut in an uneasy truce. Not even parting at the ruins leads them to falter as they break away to go mull and grieve privately.
And, like everything else here, Monobear is an unfortunate addendum because there is only so much privacy on an island where the glint of camera is a perpetual note in your peripheral vision.
Leaden feet and leaden minded, Hinata sluggishly makes his way back to his cottage. He makes certain to lock the door before he slides down into a crouch against it, safe inside from all but the prying eyes of Big Brother. He breathes softly then rises to toe off his shoes and slip into bed.
He lays for hours in restless exhaustion, kept company by a relentless need not to dwell. He traces over a wrinkle in the bed sheet, flicks it, wraps a fist around it weakly. He counts the few stars he can make out from the window. His eyes ache and continue to hurt even as they flicker open and shut in a longing for sleep he will not yield to.
But, this is pure nonsense, he tells himself. Go to sleep. Please.
Reason triumphs eventually in a precious few hours of respite. The hammering beat of his heart tears through the peace and summons him back long past since dawn has spilt out along the horizon. He grasps at his face. Hinata flips over and collapses, face buried in the pillow like he can forcefully make it night again, reverse to a better time.
He lays for uncounted minutes more in restless exhaustion, kept company by a relentless barrage of memories and emotion. It pounds down on him like heavy rain, leaves him shivering and numb. He drifts off into the sea of uncontrolled thought, a timeless land fraught with peril for any human. The waves wash over him and he sinks down low, low, low.
(He remembers dreaming that night. He remembers impassioned violence.
He remembers the warmth of another's body heat and his hands winding around a head to curl in unruly hair. He says something here, a soft murmur, or maybe he wants to. The lens of his memory needs to readjust because the longer it continues the more he feels like a third party, an audience to his own narrative.
The faraway him pushes in, touches lips with the other. It's a bit like a distant memory. It starts chaste, but takes a sudden turn when he bites down and digs his nails in. He sweeps into the other's mouth, tongues tangling in a strange show of consensual hurt. Then he pushes and shoves and claws to—
Even wrapped in the haze of dreams, disgust creeps in after Hinata, and Komaeda plucks at his strings. In a horrifyingly lucid moment, it occurs to Hinata just how ingrained the problem with Komaeda is in him.)
They explore the newly opened island that day, all still jumpy and not entirely there, Hinata even less so. He drags himself around, and he tries, honestly, but he's so tired. Though less honed than usual, Saionji's barbs about how he looks like goddamn shit are hard to argue. He possesses neither the emotional or physical fortitude to contend.
Sonia, true to her position of de facto leader, pulls him aside partway through the afternoon. She asks how he is. He runs a hand through his hair, and he's okay. He didn't sleep much, so don't worry. She suggests in that impossible to deny way he go nap. They'll be fine without him. Be careful. Rest well. We need you, Hinata.
He whispers to himself a pitiful excuse: he's only human. That's right. Mediocrity and failure will catch him from behind and domesticate him. Better to prevent the fall first, then.
He whispers to himself a pitiful excuse: it's easier said than done.
He rolls over and shuts his eyes. The sun shines too bright for him to sleep until it dips deep in the sky and the day is wasted.
At a forgotten hour, in a godforsaken place, Hinata wakes up burning, sweat wet and itchy all over his body, breath churning out in low gasps. Sheer, obvious arousal forges politics and drowsiness into a thin, pliable sheet. He can't be bothered to think right now. In the morning, maybe, he'll look back on this with shame and disgust, but for now he reaches down into his boxers and starts to jerk himself off sloppily.
And, maybe, he thinks about someone else's hand as he does.
No, he thinks about Komaeda's hand in his own and wrapping them around his cock. His grip is sporadic, slow on the ascent but slick and fast from the leaking pre-come. His head lolls forward into the crook of Komaeda's neck. They're pressed together, close with knees bent at awkward, mostly uncomfortable angles. Hinata can't possibly care less, too grievously turned on from the proximity.
He guides their hands in a few pathetic strokes, urging Komaeda to do something. Komaeda's sitting there almost dumbfounded, and Hinata thinks that's correct. Yeah, he'd probably be lost too if their positions were reversed. Touching some other guy's junk is kind of weird and bewildering—probably. (Komaeda might be a dong expert. Hinata really shouldn't assume.) Come on, come on, he implores, and he spares his other hand to join. He gathers Komaeda's limp hand in his and renews his efforts.
He wonders if Komaeda would say anything. Maybe he'd stay lip-locked in bemused awe. Maybe he'd make little noises, muffled because he has his face buried in Hinata's shoulder, flushed and embarrassed. Maybe he'd want it equally bad, and this is a thought that makes him grind his hips up and steals a soft groan out of him.
Or maybe this is a gross mischaracterization. Komaeda is a liar. Komaeda is basically a murderer. Really, Hinata doesn't know much about Komaeda, has no idea if anything Komaeda said could be true. So, then, maybe this is okay. Maybe this could be Komaeda.
But Hinata can't imagine anymore since it ends here. It ends with him coming and biting down into his hand and to a stifled cry of Komaeda's name. It ends with a glazed stare down at his mess, and it doesn't feel warm or pleasant. Release feels like the slimy crawl of guilt.
His hand is sticky like the web of complications he has only further complicated.
He doesn't want to look. He doesn't want to think.
He's not so sure what he's afraid of.
That's a lie. Hinata knows exactly what he's scared of, and as he sits down across from Komaeda, a polite distance from the deserved, but cold stares directed at him, he plans to do something about it.
Komaeda smiles because it's Komaeda, but seems significantly brighter at Hinata's choice in seating. Hinata feels an awful, stomach-churning mixture of sweaty and anxious and furious and sort-of pleased. Komaeda remarks that he's up later than usual. Hinata manages a guttural affirmative. An awkward silence sets in, and—
He meets and holds Komaeda's gaze for a long moment.
"Komaeda," Hinata says, "do you want to spend the day together?"