Disclaimer: As you might have guessed, I don't own Saiyuki  -^-^-

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                                                                                                      ~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

                                                                                                      Men Don't Cry

                                                                                                      ~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

                                                                                                                by

                                                                                                            Konzen

She moved her body with a feline gracefulness as she danced, red skirt twirling madly as she twisted and turned. Her thick, black hair fell loosely round her face, and she smiled, cheeks flushed and eyes sparkling, acknowledging the catcalls and whistles of the men. He too, was mesmerized and his heart was beating wildly, for he knew that that night, she was dancing for him.

The music stopped, and she bowed to the tavern customers as she made her way towards his table, necklaces and ear rings jingling with each step. He could feel the envious stare of many men as she sat beside him and sat straighter, proud to be the one whom she had chosen.

"Any chance of a drink, love?" She smiled at him as she edged closer. He blushed violently, trying desperately to ignore the sneers and laughter he could hear. They were all experienced, unlike him; he was young, too young to be in there, but luckily, he looked older than he was. He called to the waitress and placed his order, in a voice which he barely recognised to be his, and then they were again alone.

He'd never felt that way before about a woman; not that he'd ever really spoken to one. He had been playing at cards and winning, when he'd seen her dance for the first time. Their eyes had met, and suddenly he had felt a jolt of electricity passing through his body. She'd smiled, that divine smile, so sweet and friendly that his heart seemed to stop. Then he knew. He was in love.

The red head put his hand round her shoulders as he had see others do. She snuggled closer and her small, delicate hand caressed his chest. He cursed his tongue, usually so glib and smooth, but now when he wanted to express his feelings, was so stiff.

The girl however did not seem to mind the lack of conversation and she pressed her lips to his. The thrill he experienced was something he'd never felt before; he glared at the waitress who'd brought the drinks, for the girl broke off the kiss to take her saké.

~.~.~

He knew that this was it… they would finally be united for ever. He followed her up the stairs, feeling his heart thumping wildly in his chest, almost sure that she could hear it. She took him into a room, bare except for a chair and bed, but to him as beautiful as the most richly adorned chamber in a king's palace. The girl closed the door softly behind her and smiled at him again, showing off her pearly white teeth.

"I longed for this," he said softly. "I love you so much that it hurts." She pressed her finger against his lips, silencing him and took his hand, leading him towards the bed.

"I love you too," she whispered as she started taking off her clothes one by one. His crimson eyes followed every movement. He had never seen anything so beautiful in his life or felt so happy. She laughed when she saw him so; her laughter reminded him of crystal bells tinkling, and he had a sudden, fierce longing to hold her close and never let her go.

He sighed with contentment. At last the girl was naked, her ivory skin contrasting with the dark hue of her hair, and she moved towards him and started undressing him. He closed his eyes, and allowed himself to be swept away by the current of their love.

~.~.~

She rolled away finally, and soon after he could hear her breathing deeply. His heart was singing for he knew that she was his soul mate, the one he had dreamed of so often. They had given themselves completely to each other body and soul. At last, he had found someone he would love for the rest of his life. He had told her so, and she answered with a long, passionate kiss. He smiled happily, for the companion he'd yearned for, for so long, was finally his.

~.~.~

He felt the warmth of the sun's rays on his face, and he opened his eyes slowly. There were few sounds, for it was still early, and he turned his face to feast his eyes on his love.

She was gone.

The youngster looked around the room, half expecting to see her standing in a corner, laughing at him for having thought that she'd left, but there was no one there. The red head shook his head, trying to dispel the fear which suddenly gripped his heart. He grinned shakily. She'd be downstairs, he was sure, waiting for him so they could leave together. Of course! That had to be it. He could have hit himself for being so foolish as to believe she'd abandoned him. She had promised him eternal love hadn't she? They were to be together for ever and ever.

He rose from the bed, and put on his clothes which had been strewn on the floor. He pulled up his trousers, and absentmindedly, he dug his hand in his pockets, for he needed money to pay for their stay at the inn. There was nothing. His hand s shook as he looked again with a sinking feeling. Nothing. All his winnings at the poker table had disappeared.

He felt his head spinning, and leaned heavily on the chair, suddenly pale. The truth hurt, but he had to face it. She had left, leaving an empty space in his pockets, and a cold place in his heart.

~.~.~

He walked like an old man, head bent down, and carrying his sorrow like a burden on his shoulders. He'd climbed down the tree next to his window, and left as fast as he could before someone realised that he'd made off without footing the bill. He knew now that she was nothing but a whore, a filthy bitch who'd broken his heart and taken his money.

The youth felt his chest tightening and felt sick when he realised how she'd used him. He'd trusted her completely, given her all he had, spilling his love on a worthless tart who couldn't care less if he lived or died.  He could feel the bile rising in his throat, and he rushed to the ditch, where he threw up.

~.~.~

The red-head was tired and thirsty, for he'd been walking for ages, trying to put as much distance as possible between him and that heartless bitch. He decided to stop by the river, and he kneeled down, scooping water into his mouth. Anger and bitterness had replaced the sorrow, and he cursed her and her kind. He knew now why men went from whore to whore, never staying too long with the same woman. That way, you got what you wanted, but didn't have to suffer. No one was stupid enough to believe that you could find love somewhere. And yet…

He dug his fists into the wet soil by the river bank. Two drops trickled down his cheeks as the youngster shook his head angrily and swore. Men didn't cry, and especially over love. But the tears still came pouring down, and he buried his face in his hands as he sobbed uncontrollably.

He cried for the last innocence he had lost and which would never return. He cried because he hated her, for he had wasted his heart, the most precious thing a man could offer a woman, on her. He cried, for his pride was hurt as he'd been fooled so easily… and yes, he even cried for the love of  her, for he loved her yet.

At last the tears ceased, and he rubbed his eyes, half ashamed, half relieved. Another scar had been added, not visible, but more painful than the ones on his face. His crimson eyes darkened as he swore to himself never to be fooled that way by another woman. Love was for idiots.  He was wiser now. And older.

For suddenly it hit him. It was the day of his sixteenth birthday. The red-head smiled bitterly as he watched the sun set. It had certainly been rather eventful. He was alone and penniless, hungry and cold. The half-breed pulled his legs close to his chest, trying to keep warm, as he listened to the sound of the river flowing. He closed his eyes, as though he was trying to block all the thoughts and memories which came flooding back to him, dragging him back to a past which he had tried so hard to forget.

 "Happy birthday, Sha Gojyo," he whispered.

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Thank you for reading! Any comments?

 "Frozen" will be continued soon, as I decided to make it into a three part fic with other 2 episodes from Cho Gonou's life, when he grows older. Thank you for your comments for they were much appreciated ^-^

Btw, to all of you who read "We are Actors (I & II)" and "The Date" … well they've been removed by ff.net administration. Thanks though, for your precious reviews, at least, I still have those :-)