Author's Nots: This fic is light shounen ai Gojyo/Hakkai from 'Saiyuki'. Mainly because I just love Hakkai and I think he and Gojyo in the flashback episodes were just way too nice to pass up. It's set after Hakkai and Gojyo meet at the fruit stand in episode 16, but before they go see Goku and Sanzo. A little in-between piece.
Sha Gojyo had never lived with anyone before, not for a long time. He just wasnít the kind of person who could stand being around the same person day in, day out. Maybe if the person happened to be a damned sexy babe who didnít mind bed-games at night he could bear it . . . nah, he didnít think so. Chicks were cute and fun and all, but to live with one? Sheíd probably send him mad with sweeping and tidying up and all those other things that girls liked to do in a house. One-night stands were way much safer.
But his housemate wasnít a girl. It was a guy.
Gojyo stood in the shadows just beyond the door of his Ė their house. He flicked the remains of his cigarette into the night, back to the warm rectangle of light spilling out the doorway, then turned slightly. Inside, Hakkai was clearing the dinner things, Hakuryu the little white dragon hovering nearby. There was a certain grace to the young manís movements as he moved around the small kitchen that was enjoyable to watch.
Well, Gojyo may not be living with a girl, but Hakkai was certainly attractive like one, slim, with eyes on the greener side of emerald and longish dark hair. Pretty, in a different way to that gun-toting monk, but with a much nicer personality, and Hakkai was too damned clean and neat. While Gojyo didnít empty the ash-tray until it became so packed he couldnít snuff out his cigarettes anymore, Hakkai cleaned it out every night, even though he didnít smoke. Actually, more than that, since Gojyo was a rather heavy smoker. Hakkai took out the trash, prepared meals, did all the housework Ė hell, he did everything around the place like a housewife.
Except he wasnít a girl.
The half-breed lit another cigarette and inhaled the sharp smoke thoughtfully. It had only been a few days since the young man had returned from wherever Sanzo had hauled him off to, bearing the white shoulder-cloth of one who had taken a monkís half-vows, a little white dragon, and a new name to go with it all. And Hakkaiís smile was different to the one Gonou had worn; it was more genuine and contented. Recalling the bad-ass attitude of the monk, and also the monkís Ďpetí monkey, Gojyo scowled. How anyone could smile like that after spending time with those two, he didnít know. Then again, the smile was also enigmatic. Gojyo wasnít quite sure of what was going on in the mind behind it anymore.
But whatever had happened, at least Gonou Ė Hakkai, was back. He wasnít dead like the stinking monk had led Gojyo to believe.
Gojyo wasnít quite so certain why he was so glad about that.
All he knew was that he had gotten used to hearing the soft ĎOkaerií every time he came home during that one month, when he had spent practically every night on the cold floor because there was a nameless stranger with sad green eyes in his bed. And Gojyo kind of liked it. Gojyo also liked having some decent company to talk to, instead of listening to the endless chatter of the girls in the gambling dens, also liked hearing another voice in his house apart from his own, and liked having someone there to whom he was worth something, and understood him.
After all, who else would understand a human/youkai better than someone who was both human and youkai?
There was a distant rumble of thunder somewhere, and Gojyo looked up at the cloudy night sky. Belatedly he realised that his cigarette had burned down. Oh well, time to go back inside anyway.
"Looks like rain," the red-head said casually, thumbing over his shoulder at the night outside as he stepped over the threshold.
Hakkai looked up at his approach, good eye flicking to the dark sky. "Rain?" he repeated. For a moment the smile vanished to be replaced by a pained look, but it was gone as quickly as it came. "Good thing I didnít leave the laundry out overnight then."
Gojyo put his feet up on the table Hakkai had just cleaned, and blew a strand of red hair out of his face. His now-short hair was just at that annoying in-between stage and pissing him off big time.
"You know, if you really want, I can cut it properly for you," offered Hakkai, wiping his hands on a dishcloth.
Gojyo looked at him. Offering to cut his hair when before he couldnít even look at Gojyo without being reminded of blood . . . "For a guy, you sure know how to do a lot of stuff," he commented instead. There were some red apples and a pack of cards lying on the table; Gojyo thought about getting Hakkai into a game, but then thought the better of it. Professional gambler he may be, for some reason Gojyo could never win against Gonou Ė Hakkai.
He looked at his housemate. Watching Hakkai moving easily, compared to when he couldnít even get out of bed, doing everything around the house when before it had been Gojyo who had had to do all the work, he wondered just what had happened to change Gonou into Hakkai.
But Gojyo wasnít the type of guy who asked questions. Not that questions particularly mattered to him in the first place. Well . . . it depended what that place was.
A flash of light outside the window made them both look up. It was quickly followed by loud clap of thunder then first raindrops struck the glass, fat and heavy. Hakuryu looked up from where it was curled on Hakkaiís pillow, wings folded neatly about its slender body, and gave a thin pii.
"Gonna be a hell of a shower," yawned Gojyo, reaching into his pocket for another cigarette. Hakkai didnít answer. "Getting kinda cold too," he continued. "Times like this a guy could do with someone to keep him warm at night."
Still no response. Idly, Gojyo looked over towards his housemate.
Hakkai stood with his back to him, staring out the little window above the sink. His back was unnaturally stiff, and, Gojyo noticed, the fine hands were gripping the edge of the bench so tightly the knuckles were white.
"Something wrong?" queried Gojyo. "Oi, Hakkai."
Abruptly, the young man jerked slightly, the movement as quick as a ring of crystal. "I-itís nothing," Hakkai said, averting his gaze back to the few remaining dishes in front of him. "Iíll just dry these and put them away."
Gojyoís red eyes narrowed. "You trying to change the subject or something? Címon, tell me, whatís up."
Hakkai turned to face him, smile back in place as he wiped his hands with the dishcloth. "Itís nothing important."
The red-head snorted. "Yeah, and Goku knows how to do the twelve times table. What happened to the guy who admitted to my face that he was a wanted criminal?"
At the word Ďcriminalí, Hakkai flinched slightly. "You werenít so keen on asking questions last time," he said, evading the question. The dishcloth was turning into a tight twist in his hands. Gojyo put his lighter down and got up.
"Give me that." He whipped the cloth out of Hakkaiís hands and pushed the young man to a chair as he tossed the dishcloth negligently over his shoulder. Hakkai winced as it fell onto the floor, which he hadnít swept yet.
"Leave it," said Gojyo, sitting on the table and using the other chair as a footrest. Hakkai was looking at him, smile no longer visible as another crack of lightning made itself known outside. Perhaps sensing his masterís unease, Hakuryu flitted from its Ďbedí to Hakkaiís lap. Hakkai stroked the white dragonís feathery neck absently, his earring seal glinting in the light.
Gojyo noted his companionís tension as the rain intensified. "Look, the reason why I didnít ask so many questions first time you were here was because I had no right to," he said. He brushed his annoying hair out of his face again in exasperation. "But youíre my pal now, and I can ask whatís wrong."
Hakkai looked at him, green eyes dark. "Why?"
The half-breed looked straight back. "Cause I worry, idiot. I didnít spend an entire month looking after you just cause I was bored."
"Oh." The smile came back a little. Hakuryu nuzzled its head into Hakkaiís palm. The percussion of rain against the roof didnít let up, though. For a long moment, Hakkai was silent. Gojyo waited.
Finally his friend spoke.
"I donít like the rain," said Hakkai quietly. He stared down at Hakuryu in his lap. "Too many bad things happen on rainy days."
Gojyo considered that. "Itís just rain."
"Not to me."
"Huh. You sound like me with the hair thing."
Hakkai looked up. "Excuse me?"
Gojyo ran his hand through his short red hair. "My hairís red. Blood colour, like you said. I couldnít look in the mirror without being reminded of blood. But you know what?" He smiled humorlessly at his friend. "Blood aint the only thing in this world thatís red."
Hakkai smiled a bit more. "You sound like Sanzo-san."
At the reminder of the monk, Gojyo snorted. "Canít say sounding like Droopy-eyes is a compliment, but it should be no surprise since heís the one that told me that."
"Yeah. When we were looking for you." Gojyo picked up one of the apples on the table and bit into it. "Redís a pretty nice colour actually. You said so yourself. This appleís nice. And the girls like my hair. When itís long again, the chicks will go crazy over me."
"Iím sure they will." Scratching Hakuryu under the chin, Hakkai stared out the small window at the dark rain outside. "But red is a colour. It can belong to many things. Rain is just that Ė rain."
Gojyo took another bite of the apple. "You met me when it was pouring down. That a bad thing?"
Hakkai looked startled, with the embarrassment of one who has unintentionally sounded insulting. "Iím sorry, Gojyo-san."
"Whereíd that Ďsaní come from? You trying to be funny with me?"
Hakkai didnít answer. Gojyo threw a three-pointer apple core into the trash and sighed in exasperation. "You donít need to give me that ĎGojyo-saní shit anymore. Weíre friends."
His friend smiled slightly but didnít answer to that, and there was another lengthy silence. It was a silence of conversation, not life. The rain still fell outside, occasionally punctuated by the bass roll of thunder. Hakuryu would chirp every time the wind rattled the windows, and if Gojyo strained his ears, he could even hear the sound of breathing. His breathing, and Hakkaiís.
The emerald eyes turned to him and smiled.
Gojyo looked surprised at the thanks, then grinned. "Thatís better." Impulsively, he hopped off the table and draped an arm around Hakkaiís slim shoulders, startling Hakuryu and making it fly off to find another perch. "Yíknow, depression doesnít do much for those pretty eyes of yours," said Gojyo to Hakkaiís startled face. "Maybe we should go into town and find some cute girl to distract you with. What díyou say?"
Hakkai laughed. "I think Iíll pass, thank you."
"Oh?" Gojyoís grin grew suggestive. "What about a guy then?"
With a laugh and a squeeze of his friendís shoulders, Gojyo moved away and went to get the lighter he had left on the other end of the table. "Nah, I think weíve got enough company right here at home." He scooped up another apple and threw it to Hakkai Ė his friend caught it easily. "Tell you what. Letís head out and go pay Sanzo and the brainless ape a visit tomorrow or something. I need to get Droopy-eyes back for telling me you were dead."
Hakkai blinked. "Sanzo-san told you what?"
Gojyo twirled the cigarette in his fingers. "He told me Cho Gonou was dead. Damn it that monk knows how to give a guy a shock."
"Oh." Hakkai smiled. "Well, he wasnít exactly lying."
The half-breed lit another cigarette and took a drag, expelling smoke that hovered in the air diffusing the light. The rain was quieter now. "I suppose. Still threw me for a spin until you turned up again, Hakkai."
Hakkai smiled, but didnít answer. Gojyo exhaled another lung-full of smoke, fixing his eyes on the cheap ceiling light. His red eyes werenít really seeing it though.
Gojyo had cheered someone up tonight. Done something good, something useful, instead of hanging around the bar or gambling dens wasting the night away. He may not have won any money or hooked up with a pretty girl, but it was infinitely more worthwhile than any of those things. And the fact that it was Hakkai made it even better.
Hakuryu had returned to his master, and Hakkai was feeding it pieces of apple. Watching them, Gojyo smiled. He was glad that his friendís self-destructiveness had gone, undoubtedly as a result of whatever Sanzo and his Three Aspect-whatevers had done to him. Hakkai, it seemed, had found the reasons to fight and go on living that Gonou had lost, and wasnít leaving him anytime soon.
But still, it was nice to know that behind the smile, there was still some trace of the stranger with the sad green eyes that had touched Gojyo so strangely.
He glanced at his friend. Hakkai was staring out the window again as the rain let up. The haunted look of before had disappeared somewhat, much to Gojyoís relief.
"So was this rainy night a bad night?" asked Gojyo.
Hakkai looked back at him. He smiled.
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