The Dark And Secret Places

At night it's warm and dark and Hakkai doesn't have to know the difference between his eyes. He's taken off his eyeglass to sleep by then, and so he can barely see on that side, half-blind, helpless; but in the darkness, in the closeness of their bodies, it isn't necessary. He might as well be blind for all it matters.

You can map another person's body in the darkness without them realising that your eyes are shut. Here. A scar. Here. Another scar. The cords of tendon and muscle, so tight, so desperately drawn, as the body beneath (or above).

Three marks were left on him. The scar on his stomach. The silver bands on his ear. His eye.

Sanzou is only rarely interested in touching, far less the movement of mouth on mouth, or mouth on body, or anything that is not quick and painful and soon over. He can smell Sanzou's hair in the darkness, his body; salt and sweat and cheap soap and sunlight, and behind it all, woven into the robes and into the monk who shrugs them off to leave his shoulders bare, the smell of incense and sandalwood.

For all the many times that Genjou Sanzou claims he wants nothing to do with temples or hierarchy or order or religion or gods, it's branded into him as deeply as the mark on his forehead. Something else that can be hidden in the dark, and that both men can ignore or try to forget about for as long as it lasts. But it goes through him, as though through the bone of the skull and in the tide of the blood; the word Sanzou is as much this man's name as anything else he has ever been given.

If the sutra is spiritual power given physical form, then what is a Sanzou?

Hakkai closes his eyes and turns his face away and feels the clasp of hands on his shoulders, and wonders for a moment if Sanzou has his eyes open. Wide eyes. Amethyst eyes. Cold eyes, a shade of blood that doesn't belong to anything human, cracked open to bleed while at the same time the knife is drawn and the voice says touch me and I'll kill you. The flesh heals well;

the body moves and for a moment thought goes away

scars scarcely show on it. He can feel the thin ripples and traces of old wounds on those nights when Sanzou wants to turn his face to the pillow and be the one below, when he is -- allowed? Yes, that's one word for it -- to take matters slowly, to be close to the other in the darkness, and certainly Sanzou has no interest in his eyes. Here, where the staff went in. Here, where fingers closed around the wrist so hard that something shifted, some muscle was displaced, or perhaps Sanzou's own flesh remembers and does not want to forget. Here, where the poison claws went in. Here, here, here.

It's just the two of them, together in the darkness, where here is the only place that there is, and the only place to be.

Hakkai gives Sanzou what Sanzou wants. It is necessary for one of them to bend to the other, and even if Sanzou sometimes lies beneath, both of them know who holds the balance.

And what's the other part of it? Oh yes. That. That inner knowledge that if he has control, if he's the one who insists that Sanzou shape himself to his desires, then it will happen again. He dreams of Kanan's voice saying, I bear the monster's child, and then he sees Sanzou taking up that knife with the same absolute refusal to let himself exist in the same world, that happy smile of escape.

Noises in the dark but no words.

Eight admonitions to cast the self aside.

When he looks at himself in the mirror without his eyeglass in, his vision is deformed, his face imperfect.

Do it for me, Chin Isou had said. Let me use you. Be my tool. Be my mirror. Be nothing and I will be everything to you.

Faster now. Heat. Blood. Sanzou's fingers will leave bruises in the morning. Sanzou's pretty poison that gets into his bloodstream. Hakkai's addicted to it. It makes him feel wanted. He has to be wanted. He needs someone to need him because otherwise the wind that blows from the edges pulls him away and he looks into the mirror and his imperfect vision sees an unrecognisable face and everything comes full circle and he wants to be blind and . . .


Hakkai shuts his eyes.


Hakkai lies under Gojou. Gojou has no interest in the other way, so Hakkai inclines himself to accept the other in his flesh, and really that is all that he cares to consider in the matter. He makes a cup of himself to hold the other in, as though such warmth could be held and restrained and somehow kept for himself. It doesn't work that way, of course, but for a little while he is warm.

Gojou's hair falls down over his shoulders and brushes against Hakkai's back in long sweaty lines as Gojou kisses his way down Hakkai's spine. Hakkai's hands dig into the pillow until he can feel his fingers against his palms through the cotton and the filling.

And sometimes, at moments like this, he wishes that his eyes did match, that he could look up at Gojou in the daylight and see the other man precisely and perfectly, every line of his body clear and strong, every changing expression that flashes across his face exactly as it is, every flex of muscle, everything, he wants it so badly that his body shakes with it.

But other things are better in the dark.

Some things go together. Blood and darkness. Sin and shame and the warmth of two bodies. Even in the dark he can always see the color of Gojou's hair, and is always . . . reminded. He can't let himself forget. It would be unwise.

Gojou wants him, therefore he wants Gojou, and together the two of them are warm for a while.

Gojou's mouth is warm and wet, Gojou's hands are knowing and strong, Gojou's body bends him like a willow, and Hakkai shuts his eyes and bends and sighs and his hands move and jerk like branches in the river.

Do it for me, Chin Isou says in his dreams, and Hakkai shapes himself to answer that desire.

Is this where all wheels come to? Up, down, up again . . . no, he will not lose again, he will not have these desires taken from him. Sheer panic uncurls in him at the thought, and once again he stifles it down, lets himself be taken instead by the body's tide, and knows that Gojou will think the moment's stifled breath to be merely another instant of passion.

He doesn't need to see with his eyes when he can see with his whole body, and when he can feel Gojou's presence behind and above and around him, burning so very brightly, as hot as fire, as warm as blood.

Gojou's body is covered with small scars, lesser things than the ones that mark his face. He can follow them when his fingers when the two of them are kissing, or face to face, or when his fingers are knotted in Gojou's shoulders, and the scars lead into each other like a labyrinth of knots, like a fingerprint's lines, like the veins which follow under his skin and show so blue and beautiful at his wrists.

You bandage them as if you know that I look at them.

If Sanzou is bright poison, then Gojou is hot wine. Gojou inside him now, the other's hands on his ribs, moving over his chest, touching him, touching him, and they're both together in the dark, skin against skin, flesh against flesh, and Gojou's voice says I want you and Gojou's hands say I want you and Gojou's hot intrusive tongue says I want you and it's all about wanting and he wants Gojou and his hands tear at the pillow as though he would rip it to pieces and


Hakkai closes his eyes.


Hakkai dreams.

Chin Isou's fingers brush against his eyelids and he closes his eyes and he lies there in the pool of his own blood and his body shifts and changes to match the other's desire.

My child, the other says. My enemy. My killer. My beloved.

Hakkai's body stretches as the muscles move and twist, and his fingernails claw against the floor, and his mouth is open to scream, but he has no air to scream, and the darkness is all around him as he is made anew, made over again into something else, and


Hakkai closes his eyes.


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