Disclaimer: The only thing I own which even remotely resembles anything to do with the Journey West is this pendant with my Chinese astrological sign on it. Personally, I don't think Goku looks much like a lemur in a tree (it's a very cute lemur), and I'd rather have Hakkai anyway.

Notes: This, gentles and others, represents my only Saiyuki OTP--not the one I like the best, but the one I most believe in. More than that, I will not say on the subject, since to elaborate would spoil the fic. I apologize for the style my Hakkai-muse seems to think in; I know it's a little wordy and breathless, but bear with me, okay? The title is pronounced "Long Sheen". It means 'Heart of Dragon' and references, NOT Wufei's gundam misspelled, but a story called Gonou by the always impressive MJJ, which can be found here (without the spaces) http:// home. eol.ca/~basara/saiyuuki/gonou .htm. Review responses to Muscles Used at bottom. Reviews to this one will be responded to with equal enthusiasm!


Long Xin

by Nightfall


Perhaps my favorite world is the one in which Gojyo loves me. This is a world of predestination, and in it everything is raw and comfortable and perfect. My lover affects to be baffled by me, and I look on him curiously in return, and we know one another to the bottoms of our souls. He throws his vest over chairs and grinds cigarettes into the naked wood of tables and walls and tracks mud in with his large boots in order to watch me having the soul-satisfying pleasure of tidying up after him because he is mine to keep things perfect for, and because I have a faint, odd sense of owing him this somehow. He flirts and charms with the ladies to provoke me into pretending he hasn't brought out the green in my eyes, and I let my eyes linger on Miss Yaone when we fight to watch him splutter, and all the time my chest is full and warm, because I know that those fingers and those hips worked so hard for all those years to train themselves just for me.

There is another world, and quite a different world, and it finds me loving Goku, quick and clean and solid as earth itself. Nothing can be simpler for a man who has already shattered enough taboos to write the sky in blood. When his stomach is full, he comes to me to fill the rest of him; climbs into my bed or crowds next to me at whatever table or desk we can find and I help him to read stories of a god with his name, who made such havoc of heaven that he was steamed in a mountainous kiln for five hundred years until his eyes turned to gold. And when he can't read one more character, Hakkai, really he can't, he sleeps on me and dreams on me, and for a moment I am bright and warm to him, and I help him dream. And sometimes he wakes and I can see myself in the golden mirror of his eyes as we comfort one another, eyes that see emptiness, and sometimes the dream is stronger than I am, and he cries another name into my mouth.

There is also a world where he and Gojyo are playmates, and we can hear them through the walls. They are very loud, and if Sanzo is in a bad mood he snores almost louder so that no one will think he is listening, and if he is in a worse mood he tries to make me scream so that everyone will know he doesn't care.

But that isn't an important world, because there is a better one where we love each other, Sanzo and I. This is a quiet world, full of easy silence and knowing glances and brief words that speak forever. There are comfortable interludes with books and newspapers in this world, and long nights of the rainy torment that is owed our ghosts; a torment eased in knowing company, with masks so transparent they barely exist at all. Sometimes there is sake to warm the dank and haunted caverns of our small, cold hearts, but sometimes it isn't necessary. It is a still and intimate world, understanding and supportive, and there is a surprising sense of relief in having permission to be the playful one. This world writes perfect in a new character, lazy strokes in a clear ink on rough, soft, russet-colored paper. It sometimes seems to me, travelling with the three of them constantly tearing at one another in the most tolerant possible way, that maturity is underrated. This, too, is my best beloved life.

It is certainly a much better world than the one where Sanzo and Gojyo screw each other blind and numb and I curl up around my savaged belly and listen to my brain chew itself to bitter dust and howl in abandoned desperation, and rise the next morning to drive with a calm smile plastered across my bearing. Or the one where we all pile together like animals and forget who we are in the determined attempt to pleasantly forget that we are almost certainly doomed.

I live in the real world, and the world is ashes and despair. One wall is almost quiet, the muffled noises of Goku and Sanzo coming together in what they fondly imagine to be furtive silence. High-pitched moans and squeals come through the other as Gojyo entertains his flavor of the town, and I drive my nails through the muscles of my palms and writhe with memory's hooks and barbed whips. On one side, the feel of her in my arms and around me, her dizzying scent and hot wet mouths. On the other, the memory of her in my heart, all grass and dew and wounded enthusiasm, claiming me back with equal innocence, equal ferocity. Her eyes, her face the vision of my own, two mirroring hearts reflecting back on one another a thousand thousand times into eternity, a match so perfect as to be almost a whole, and I will never be worthy of that again.

I live in this world. I will live in it again, and again, and again, until the death we court overtakes us. It is inescapable: it returns and returns. I will never be free of it. And this is as it should be, for even as I am a new man, I have the memories and almost the mind of one who has earned punishment beyond justice.

But tomorrow will be a new inn, or a new camping-ground, and until then it will be Sanzo alone in the passenger seat with me beside him. He is better- natured when he can smell himself on Goku, when the boy is too worn from the night to bounce and whine him into a headache. It will be no difficult matter to convince him to choose for us all, when next we find ourselves choosing between walls, an arrangement which is no part of my penance. How matters will arrange themselves, I cannot say. Who can tell, with Sanzo is driving, what world he will bring us to when we reach the sunset?



Regarding Muscles Used

First off, bonus points to A Random Person, who correctly ID'd one of the best lines in the best musical ever.

Secondly, thirdly, and in general, thank you all so, so much. This must have been a successful fic, because a lot of you pinned what I meant dead to rights These are some of the best, most detailed, and most thoughtful reviews I've gotten, and I appreciate every word of them so much they made me--go off and work on my Slayers fics, mostly. Eheh. Well, got me out of my block a little, anyway. Clearly I'm going to have be cruel more often! ^_^

Veszelyite, the meaning behind whose name I get more curious about every time I read it, glad you liked the smile definitions. Krimson, I completely agree with you. They need mediation badly. Sorcha, I wasn't sure when you said 'it made sense' whether you meant you understood it after a second or it felt right but you didn't quite catch it. Probably the former, but in case not, I was thinking of mules. TK--I made somebody think! (bounces) Aki4, you may not believe me, since this piece is first person as well, but I'm leery of it as well. It's *damn* hard to do without being annoying, and I'm glad you thought it came out all right that time. Regarding the episode--whee, Hakkai in a dress and veil and oh the SM overtones and I'm going to go away somewhere quietly now. X-parrot, drat you, even your reviews are well written and overwhelming and without wasted words, 'please sir' right back atcha. I know I'm not alone in checking every couple of days to see if you've updated 'Remembering to Breathe.' Or if you need a break, you could write us something else...