Author: Keruri1222 PM
AU, slight fluff shonen-ai, 85, 39, language, post-JK storyline, almost gen:: Peace, like charity, begins at home. Sanzou, Goku, Gojyo, and Hakkai remiscence and build a new life together.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Words: 2,500 - Reviews: 4 - Follows: 1 - Published: 11-16-04 - id: 2137910
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Standard Disclaimer Applies
That's what he was, Gojyo realized, while he watched Hakkai assisted Goku in buttoning up his coat before leaving. Not openly so, but fastidious enough to seem that way to him.
It hadn't been Fate exactly that caused Goku to ask Sanzou and Hakkai in shortly after the Chin Yii Sou incident was over to request lodging for the time being. Rather, it was less a matter of choice, and instead an involuntary choice, after all they had been through together. One year of acquaintance was enough for them to sort out some things. Others were better left explored, naturally; and Gojyo planned to keep it that way.
"Sankyuu, Hakkai!" The boy grinned, golden eyes flashing appreciatively. "Well, I'm gonna go now! See 'ya later, you guys! And tell Sanzou I made him up some coffee! It's on the table for him, but he'll know where 'ta find it!"
"Of course. Enjoy your visit at Lirin's now, Goku! Be careful!" Hakkai called to the already departing Goku.
The distant reply came, slowly but surely. "I know! Thanks again, Hakkai! Don't do anything stupid, Gojyo!"
"I'm the one who should be tellin' YOU that, SARU!" Gojyo retorted loudly, though the good-natured smirk shaping his lips belied a chagrined tone.
"SARU JA NAI YO!"
Hakkai chuckled, standing beside the redhead closely. "Goodness, he never grows out of that phrase, does he?"
"Well, that's why I say once a stupid monkey, always a stupid monkey." Taking his friend's hand, Gojyo tugged his own jacket from its hanger on the nearby rack. "You ready to go? I remember last night during dinner; you were talkin' about going to...y'know, her grave and shit like that..."
Suddenly seeming distracted, Hakkai nodded absently. "Aa. I had mentioned it...shall we go together, then? Since Sanzou obviously plans on sleeping in today, it seems."
Taking comfort in the brunette's somewhat humorous intonation with the last statement, Gojyo smiled. "Yeah, sure. S'long as you want to. I'm not goin' if you're not."
Hakkai said nothing, but reached out for his jersey quietly. This was an answer decent enough for Gojyo, who helped the smaller male into the green cardigan, and held the door open for him.
Pallid flakes of condensed water fluttered past Gojyo's vision, the snow nipping at his cheeks and invoking a restrained shiver. He certainly did not want to appear fragile or weak in front of Hakkai, let alone anyone else for that matter. Stubborn, some people might have called it, not that he really gave a damn. Then again, the slender man beside him did not seem to be faring much better with such cold temperatures, looking just as pathetic as he did.
An exasperated sigh whooshed from the male's lips, disappearing into the atmosphere in a puff of white. Resolute fondness came submerged him, and before the teenager even realized it, his coat was draped over Hakkai's shoulders.
"Gojyo...?" Emerald pools flickered with confusion. "What are you doing? Surely in this weather, you aren't actually warm, are you?"
"You're shivering. Baka. And I'm wearin' long sleeves anyway, so it doesn't matter." Crimson spheres shut, heat rushing unbidden to tanned cheeks. "Quit bein' such an idiot all the time and wear thicker clothing. Are you trying to catch the flu before Christmas or somethin'? "
Gojyo had not seen it because of closed eyes, but Hakkai was blushing, too. "Ahnn...sumimasen desu kedo. I'll take care of myself better, if you'd like..."
"Exactly. 'Cause I said so." Grinning puerilely, the Halfling grabbed his companion's hand tightly in his own. "Ready to keep walkin'? We've got a bit of a walk ahead of us, and I don't want you passin' out of me."
Hakkai laughed, putting the thicker coat over his other one. "Yes, of course! Let's go, then. And thank you very much for the jacket."
Their destination was in view before long, as the sky became even more overcast and the snow pelted harder against their clothes. Gojyo's shirt was nearly soaked by the time an underpass could be found, and Hakkai stopped walking for a moment to wait for him.
"It seems the roles are switched this time around, ne?" Hakkai's teasing smile purely heightened the amusement in his tenor.
"Shut it, you." Gojyo patted shaggy brown locks with a cold hand, causing Hakkai to yelp in slight shock. "Heh. Got 'ya that time, though. Serves you right for makin' fun of me!"
Shortly after this exchange, Hakkai's gaze slipped to the row of gravestones upon the solemn hill ahead. "We're almost there...should we go now, or do you still want to wait under here until the snow slows down a bit?"
"Nah, I'm alright." Gojyo assured. "Let's keep moving."
Traversing the sodden grass of the graveyard was somewhat awkward, even with both males wearing boots, but surely enough, Hakkai paused directly in front of a humble-looking tombstone. Keeping a fairly calm and smiling countenance was still difficult, even though it had been two years since her death; and Gojyo could see sadness reflected in bright green hues.
A protective, comforting arm wrapped around the man's shoulders, though Hakkai hardly seemed to take notice of it. Not openly, anyway. Somehow, the redhead knew that he appreciated it. All could be interpreted from the approving hand that touched Gojyo's own.
Pregnant silence took over the closest vicinity of where they stood; and from a passerby's perspective, they might have been likened to human statues amidst the snowflakes, (although, 'human,' was a rather crude term in relation to this pair, however oblivious a human might be to their ethnic roots). Gojyo had originally been almost positive the brunette surely wouldn't have taken so long, but the mental rumination seemed quite intense, judging from a faint glaze about verdant orbs. He knew better than to interrupt Hakkai in a moment like this. The redhead understood, somewhat at least, of the things his friend regretted and the things he reflected on each and every day. Their time together taught him that and much, much more.
It was not as though Gojyo regretted the period of his nineteenth year of existence meeting and growing close to Sanzou and Hakkai. Well, perhaps making the blonde's acquaintance was a bit undecided; but when it came to Cho Hakkai, Gojyo surely had no qualms about that. The youkai was his friend, the constant companion, almost inseparable in his eyes. Courteous, smiling, benevolent, soft-spoken, somewhat ditzy Hakkai. His Hakkai; not Cho Gonou, not Midori, nor Hakkai-san, nor Hakkai-kun, or any of the aliases in between. Just, "Hakkai." Familiarly; intimacy, even, in its purest form.
Gojyo decided that he was nearly obligated to use such titles, and that no one was allowed that same privilege. Except for maybe Goku, because he loved the kid enough to give him the say-so. Clearly, this proved that twenty years of life still didn't deteriorate a certain kappa's internal stubbornness as much as it should. At the very least, though, it mellowed the temper he once flaunted everywhere. But that was another story for another day.
Vividly, as though it had only been minutes since the encounter, the half-breed revisited that scene in the Jouryoku Café. Those bright, expressive green eyes, timidly considering him, back when he was only a first-time customer at the establishment; way back when he was nothing more than another resident of the Shinjuku Prefecture. That gentle, surprisingly real smile, flitting over a slender countenance, the tenor resonance of his amused chuckle when he corrected Hakkai for calling him, 'Gojyo-san.' Each day, slowly passing with Hakkai—only taking a short hiatus when the agent brought Yaone and Sanzou on a, 'business trip,' to Kyoto.
And finally, most poignantly, Gojyo recalled the moment he had almost lost Hakkai, to the shadows of his own sins; to the guilt thickly suffocating his heart; to the stained hands, covered in theoretical blood, crimson of penitence and admonishment; like the thick strands of ruby tendrils branding Gojyo a Halfling; scarlet eyes of the taboo child. That time was the final battle against Chin Yii Sou. Hakkai's final assassination since then.
But even though that mission has been accomplished and completed, the work still isn't done here. With Gojyo and Goku among the Special Forces defenses, no doubt existed in the redhead's mind that they would be soon called upon for another great undertaking. This time, Gojyo decided, he would not hesitate. This time, he would protect the people who mattered most to him.
Living only for myself to protect others. That's the way I choose to live.
"Gojyo?" Hakkai tugged on his friend's sleeve. "I'm done now. As long as you don't have any reason to stay here, we should probably get going. It's getting dark out now, and I would hate for us to be stranded out in the snow, unable to find our way home."
"You exaggerate way too much." Gojyo playfully countered. "Relax! The city lights'll lead us home. I was just waitin' on you, just like you wanted."
Slowly, surely, a fragile yet honest smile touched the ends of pink-tinged lips. "...Thank you, Gojyo. I really do appreciate it."
One year ago, Gojyo would have blushed over the kind look Hakkai sent him and muttered something hardly audible in reply. A year ago, he would have tried to hide this mortification with bravado, saying something even more embarrassing and causing him to appear even more conceited than he already once was.
But this was the new Gojyo, the responsible adult —which is a debatable issue even now, nevertheless—who decided on his own that Hakkai meant a lot more to him now than just another immature, schoolboy crush. Hakkai was...different. Special, if you will call it such. Either way, how he replied now was important, Gojyo realized. Every second was important.
And so, he smiled back very softly, though the naturally boyish visage made the expression solely Gojyo's own.
"Anytime, man. Anytime."
"Sanzou? Hakkai? Gojyo? You guys home?"
Tiptoeing carefully through the unnaturally quiet house, Goku slid the door closed, patiently rubbing the snow off his boots. The boy wrinkled his nose at the peeled-off winter coat, of which a cotton material outside was damp with snow and wet leaves. Internally deciding to never challenge Lirin to a snowball fight again, he hung up the jacket, quickly followed a source of light originating from the living room, and peeked within to find two prone forms curled in a blanket on the floor, adjacent to the fireplace.
Goku resisted the urge to chuckle as he got a better look of who was sleeping on the uncomfortable floor boards. It was none other than Hakkai and Gojyo, looking quite contented, entangled in each others arms and tangled in the laid-out sheets. For a moment, he wondered if they had set up everything themselves—but a stern clearing of the throat made the youngling start, and caused him to turn around in the direction of their living room couch.
"W-Wha...? Sanzou, jeez, you scared the crap outta me!" Goku hissed anxiously. "What're you doin' out here in the living room like this?!"
The blonde seemed unusually calm and at ease, turning the page of a dark, hardcover-bound novel in his hands. "Reading, obviously. And don't worry about those morons. They collapsed shortly after dinner. Bunch of punkass kids, if you ask me. That includes Hakkai, too, the little twit. It was probably because they ate too much and got drowsy, but...it's still so goddamn annoying to look after them."
Goku almost snorted in slight amusement over the clearly Sanzou-like reply. Sometimes, living with a person you knew well could get very predictable. "Okay...can I sit next to you, though?"
"As long as you don't bug me like that overzealous, inebriated, completely smashed kappa did. Pulled the sake out from the stash we had in the basement." Sanzou showed as close of a face to disgust as he was capable of, though it came out like his customary scowl upon those thin lips, only less prominent. "Damn Halfling tried to hit on me. Thought I was a fucking woman. Can you believe that?"
Over this comment, Goku couldn't contain his laughter any longer; and persisted until Sanzou whacked the boy on the head with his book a few times. Gojyo stirred in his spot on the ground, though it turned out that he only was shifting closer to the body warmth beside him. Calmed down considerably and sitting beside Sanzou, Goku grinned when Hakkai leaned against the redhead's chest, and shook his head after observing how impossibly attached to each other they were. He watched this for a moment longer, until the brown-haired teen became bored.
Leaning against the blonde's shoulder, Goku was mildly surprised when Sanzou didn't push him away. Not that he would have protested very much. It had been a long day, and the little monkey was quite tired. "Ne, Sanzou...it's kinda cute how Hakkai and Gojyo're always bein' all mushy and stuff, but they aren't really boyfriends or anythin'...don'tcha think that's kinda weird...?"
"Hnn." Making a obligatory grunt of affirmation—which Goku recognized from an extended study of Sanzou's habits—the adult shifted the boy's weight to his lap, subconsciously placing a hand on the boy's soft hair and lowering the book a bit.
"And, it's like...we're not really boyfriends either, but everyone thinks so...why'ddya think they say that, Sanzou...?"
"...Who knows?" His voice dropped to a near-whisper, and the reading material in his left hand was hesitantly put on the cushion beside them.
"So, y'know...Sanzou...you sorta do look like a woman...c'see why Gojyo thought that...nyaa...getting kinda tired...think you can maybe...?"
Trailing off with a heavy snore, Goku slumped fully into his caretaker's side while clinging to the blonde's arm for dear life. The faint ghost of a smirk—nearly a smile, even; on Genjou Sanzou's face, really—trailed along his pale visage, hovering like the slight affection in his veins, temperate and carefree, much akin to the strangely relaxed feeling in his heart. A handsome statue resurrected by the earth's touch.
The sun shines most brightly in the sky.
"Stupid Goku. If you weren't such a stupid monkey...I swear, I'd throw you out of the house."
Peace, like charity, begins at home. - Franklin D. Roosevelt