Joe forgot sometimes.
Tsutomu didn’t really expect him not to; everyone did, at some point. And Joe wasn’t doing it on purpose like some kids at school did. So when Joe turned his head away when he was talking, or covered his mouth so Tsutomu couldn’t read his lips, he didn’t hold it against him.
And Joe made up for it. In the dark of the theatre, with Joe holding his hands and rapidly signing into his palm so he could follow the movie’s dialogue – not something anyone else had ever thought to try before – Tsutomu felt a warmth in his chest that had nothing to do with the tentative romance playing out on the screen. Carefully, during a lull when Joe had stilled, he closed his hand for just a moment, catching Joe’s fingers and knowing that this was exactly what he wanted.