A/N: My gods, more angst? -.- This time, we can blame a weird combination of Howie Day and the Scarlet Pimpernel soundtrack. I think I need to start listening to something more upbeat…

Set post-Gonou, pre-Hakkai. Just some of Gojyo's musings on just what made his housemate tick. Gojyo's POV, 58 undertones. Of course. It wouldn't be my fanfic if it didn't have some type of Gojyo / Hakkai. Heh.

.o.

I want a lover I don't have to love…I want a girl who's too sad to give a fuck…

.o.

I never sought to be understood.

Oh, people have tried, of course. There's always been a woman willing to pout her lips, bat her eyes, coo sweet nothings into my ears, all to…understand me better. A few quick fucks, and she thinks she's your mother, when the one you got in the first place was…less than great, to say the least. The next thing you know, she's cooking you an omelet in the morning and fussing over the state of your apartment. A guy's gotta keep on his guard for those types. One kiss, and they think they've got you on a fricking leash.

The odd dame would even resort to running her nails through my hair. If anything could make a self-respecting man bolt quicker, it's that. Frankly, I don't wanna feel some lady's spikes on my scalp. Especially when it's my red-as-death hair. But maybe that's just me.

I don't want a mother. I don't want a friend. I don't even want breakfast in the morning. If anything, all I want is a good meal and a good fuck, in that order. No strings attached, no "I'll see you later"s, no in-depth, soul-skewering conversation while watching the dawn streak over the horizon.

The best feeling in this world isn't love. You've gotta be kidding. Sure, that feeling deep in your stomach when you look into that lucky girl's endless eyes, that's fantastic. Wanting to kiss her and only her every waking moment, hey, it's a little time-consuming, but it's still fine. Knowing her smell, knowing her face, knowing her grin, knowing her laugh, that's great.

Let me tell you something: that's not love. If that was love, we'd never have this empty feeling lurking like a snake deep in our gut. We'd never push people away because we found no alternative. Men would never cheat on their wives. Mothers wouldn't slaughter and be slaughtered by their sons.

Dirty saps like me, well, we wouldn't exist.

Love's just suspicion and tears, emptiness and lust, wrapped up in a cute little package with a pretty name. You want motherly affection, I'll show you a boy afraid to come home with his wilting bouquet. You want a man and woman in love, hey, I'm sacking a different girl in the sheets every night. You're welcome to come join us.

No, the best feeling in this world isn't love. It's that early-morning uncertainty out in the woods after a sleepless night with a lady who only wanted the same things you did. That quivering, thin possibility that maybe, maybe, today will be different. Today will be better. Today, today, today will be the day that you break out of the rut that you've been stuck in for the last three years.

Because when the morning's frosty and even the trees are holding their breath, even a fucked-up sod like me can hope.

I guess he was the one who taught me that.

After keeping so many clawing harpies at arm's length, I guess it was second nature to do the same with him. And the strangest thing was, he let me. I'd make a big show of shrinking into myself, of not baring even the tiniest peek of my soul to him, and he'd just look at me with those big green eyes and grin that lovely, lopsided grin.

I'm a predictable asshole, I guess. Because when he'd cock one of those eyebrows at my carefully impassive poker face, my whole masquerade would just shatter to pieces. It'd take every ounce of my will not to tell the guy everything: my thoughts, my dreams, my fears, my feelings.

And he knew it, too! That's what really gets me, even now. He knew that just one smile would make me wanna have a fucking heart-to-heart over a game of cards I was undoubtedly losing. It was one of the few things I could see in those bottomless green eyes: the fact that every time I was poised to tell him, straining against it with everything I had, he was amused as hell.

That's probably what first clued me into the fact that maybe my new housemate wasn't entirely the innocent, mild-mannered guy I'd first pegged him for. Well, I'm not completely stupid. I'd gathered he'd had a screwed-up past (the intestines soaking the forest floor on our meeting was my first clue), but only that wicked glint at the edge of his eyes ever made me think that there was a lot more to this Gonou guy than my first impression had revealed. Needless to say, I was intrigued.

Gods, it sounds pathetic to admit it, but for the first time I could ever remember, I was the one stretching to connect. And he was the one who always danced in that damned graceful way of his on the edge of my vision, just barely out of my reach. Always with that taunting, entrancing spark in his gaze that made me secretly ache to know all of his terrifying secrets.

I still don't know anything about him, really.

For all our mind games, our deceptively open conversations, the only things I ever learned about him were the tidbits that he deigned to reveal to me. I lived with the guy for three months, and all I could gather was his name and the occasional glimmer of his past.

I guess it just goes to show you that you can try all you'd like to get to know someone. You can make the big eyes, whisper the enticing taunts, toss the half-hidden glances in the dusk, all to trap them in their own games. But if they're like this guy was, all your so-called clever efforts'll come back and sock you in the gut. You'll learn shit. And it'll make you feel the worse for trying.

He's gone now, of course. No real surprise there. And, of course, I know nothing more now than I did back then.

I never sought to be fucking understood.

And yet with no effort at all, Cho Gonou took one look at me with those pretty green eyes and…understood me.

I just wish I could've done the same for him.

.o.

Review, please.