Challenge: Papaya #16 - What Would I Do Without You? / FOTD - Yeuk
Word Count: 617
Summary: For most people, an itch on the back of the hand would just be an annoyance. For Simon, it's a whole new level of irritating...
Notes: It felt weird writing this, aware of the fact that the last proper RaTs story I wrote with Simon was pre-NaNoWriMo and I inflicted a whole world of nastiness on him in the inbetweentimes. I'm sure I'll figure out how to make it clear soon...
The back of my hand itches. For anyone else, this would be a minor irritation: they'd play that game of 'scratch-me-if-you-can' and that'd be the end of it.
Shame I'm not anyone else.
I move to scratch it and pause, fingernails poised above my skin, when another ripple shoots through it. I catch my breath; the ripple vanishes. So does the itch. But not a minute later it's back again. But this time I'm waiting for it-
"What are you doing?" Jonathan's voice almost makes me leap out my skin; I hadn't heard the front door. Too busy trying to stop my hand from doing, well, this.
Jonathan's staring through the kitchen door at the mass of flesh and polymetal that used to be my regular, plain old alfa hand. To his credit, he no longer looks like he's trying to cover up his shock or bemusement either, and I don't know whether to be relieved or worried it just means he's become used to seeing me as a freak... "It's, er..."
"If you're trying to shoot at flies, I don't need any more holes in the house." He drops his bag by the coat hook and ambles into the kitchen, raising one eyebrow as the itch abruptly vanishes again and my hand shifts back to normal.
I wish he wouldn't remind me about that, it's bad enough the sheer guilt I feel every time I walk down the hall and catch the shaft of light beaming through from the unused living room. "I've got a-" Agh, now it's come back and I try to pounce on it, but it's no good - the back of my hand is no longer the back of my hand again.
"Oh thanks," I grumble, glowering down at the table. "You know it's not like I can-"
"No, that's what you've got."
"...What?" He's completely lost me now. I wave the pseudolimb around aimlessly. "You've named it?"
There's that long-suffering look, the kind he usually gives me when he's got this sneaking suspicion I'm being dense on purpose. Unfortunately, I never am... "You've got a yeuk - you've got an itch - right?"
"That's the most ridiculous word I've ever-" I'm so taken aback that I don't even notice I'm suddenly waving four fingers around again until Jonathan's own hand flicks out and grabs me by the wrist, jerking it down to the table. His other does what I couldn't - his fingernails graze the surface of my skin and dear God it feels good...
"You look like a dog who's having his ears rubbed." His voice cuts through my sudden moment of bliss but all I can do is nod, eyes half closed. He's probably right too. He's just scratched the itch I've spent an hour trying and failing to catch.
When he's done and my hand is duly released from his grip, I can only stare at it and sulk. One little tickle and I'm bloody incapacitated. "Thanks..."
"You're welcome." He leans back in his chair and gives me a thoughtful look. I carry on staring at my hand instead, rather than meet his gaze. It still looks like a normal hand, with that faint red glow and warm feeling the only sign that for a while there it looked anything less than usual. "You know, Simon?"
He sounds so serious that my heart sinks as I slowly look up at him. "Hmm?" It's only a matter of time before he asks me, so recently a monstrosity, to leave - and how could I blame him?
From beneath his long blond lashes, Jonathan stares at me. "Fancy some fish and chips?"
I guess that day isn't today.