Epilogue- The Song in My Soul
I do not own Saiyuki. This story is rated M. Slash warning!
Thanks to GhostHelwig for always being there for me. You're the greatest!
"You gonna be okay, Kou?" Doku asked, looking at his friend in concern.
"I finally found her. I'll be fine," Kou replied, his eyes fixed to what lay ahead, where his mother waited.
He knew exactly where she was. He'd fixed the information in his memory. His feet knew what path to take and they itched to be on their way.
"I'll wait here for you," Doku said softly, and Kou nodded.
Kou walked into the cemetery, letting his feet carry him down the path he'd committed to memory while he took in the peace and serenity that surrounded him. He'd never liked graveyards, but somehow this place was different, as if it held some strange, calming magic. He felt his tension melting away with each step he took.
And then he was there, standing before the simple stone marker of his mother's grave.
He knelt down before it in the warm grass and reached out with trembling fingers to trace her name.
"Mother," he whispered hoarsely, and suddenly he was crying. Tears flowed down his cheeks as sobs wracked his body, and he pressed his palm to the cold stone of the marker as he wept.
Salty droplets splashed onto his hand and the marker as the pain overwhelmed him. He had found her, yes, but she was also lost to him. He was years too late to actually know her- to hold her and feel her mother's warmth. All he would ever have of her was a fool's dream and this stone before him.
And it burned. His heart was breaking with her loss all over again. The pain choked him and all he could feel was the hollowness in his soul where his dream of her had been.
Slowly, his tears began to subside, leaving him sniffling and empty. He collapsed onto his side and lay there in the grass, fingers still spread across his mother's plain grave marker. He lay like that for the longest time, absorbing the warmth of the sun into his suddenly chilled body.
And gradually his pain began to fade, just a little at first but then more and more. The tranquility around him seeped into his bones, soothing the bleeding wound in his heart. A breeze touched him like a soft caress and he could feel love begin to heal the broken pieces of his soul.
He loved his mother and he knew she had loved him. She had never given up trying to see him, though she must have known her efforts would forever be in vain. She had loved him until the very end, until her end, and knowing that made him feel more whole. Even though he'd grown up not knowing her, they shared a bond of love.
It was what he'd been longing for, and he'd found it. He loved her, and even though death separated them, he would forever hold that feeling in his heart. He would never let go of her, so she would never truly be gone.
A smile spread slowly over his face and he rolled over onto his back, arms lying outstretched at his sides, and a sudden, unstoppable laughter escaped his throat.
He let it come, let the love and freedom fill him with joy, and he laughed out loud to the sky.
For the first time in his life, he was whole, and the sounds of his happiness burst forth to fill the peaceful air with the echoes of his healing.
'Mother,' his thoughts called out over the distance to wherever her soul was, 'I'm home.'
Hakkai walked next to Gojyo as they headed back to the hotel room they'd been provided by Goddess Records. They'd been given a week off to rest and then they'd be headed into the studio to record their first album.
Hakkai still couldn't believe all of this had really happened. It seemed almost too good to be true. He felt like he was dreaming and never wanted to wake up. It was all too perfect.
Soft voices stopped them, calling their names. Hakkai turned around, pulling Gojyo's arm to get his attention and direct it to the two young women gazing adoringly at them.
"Can I help you?" Hakkai asked politely, giving them a friendly smile. The girls giggled and one of them nodded, extending a small notepad to him.
"Um… can we have your autographs?" the girl who'd nodded asked. "We saw your band at that big contest in the park and we thought you were great!"
Hakkai was surprised but pleased. This was the first time anyone had ever asked for his autograph. He supposed maybe one day, if they ever got really rich and famous, he'd eventually stop caring so much, but right now he was flattered beyond belief.
"Sure," he told the girl, reaching for the notepad.
Gojyo took the opportunity to wink at the girls and give them his most charming grin.
"So where are your boyfriends?" he asked, raising his eyebrows in devilish humor, and the girls giggled again.
"We're not seeing anyone," the bolder of the two girls said, giving Gojyo a blatantly inviting look.
Hakkai passed the notepad to his lover, who scrawled his name on it and handed it back to the young woman.
"Here you go," Gojyo said, his eyes dipping down to the girl's cleavage.
Hakkai watched Gojyo flirt with this girl and felt a hot, burning jealousy flare up in his gut. It surprised him. He'd never felt such an intense possessiveness before, not even with Kanan.
But suddenly the girl's giggles grated on his nerves and he wanted nothing more than to push her away and take Gojyo somewhere else- somewhere more private, where they could 'discuss' things. And that was the rational side of his brain. The other half of him felt the need to take Gojyo, right here and now, and mark him for his own.
The compulsions warred within him until he couldn't take it any longer. He grabbed Gojyo's hand and pulled him, leading him away from the two young women who seemed so interested in the redhead.
"Excuse us," Hakkai said, not caring that the small smile he'd pasted on his face looked completely unconvincing.
"Hakkai! What the hell are you doing?" Gojyo asked, trying to regain his balance, but Hakkai kept pulling him along too quickly for him to do so.
Ha stumbled as Hakkai stopped suddenly and pulled him into a deep, searing kiss. Their tongues met and tangled in a frenzy of passion, until Gojyo pulled away, breathless.
"What the hell, Hakkai?" he asked, gazing with concern into the deep green of his lover's eyes.
"I'm exercising my rights as your boyfriend," Hakkai said, sounding none too pleased.
And he wasn't. He was irritable with Gojyo for encouraging that girl's attentions, for flirting with her right in front of him. He wasn't aware he'd spoken his problems out loud until Gojyo responded to what he'd thought had been his private thoughts.
"Look, I'm sorry, okay? I didn't mean to upset you like this," Gojyo said softly, placing a gentle kiss on his lover's lips. "It meant nothing to me. It was just a little fun. I'm sorry."
Hakkai felt like a fool as his jealousy began to evaporate, leaving him without his righteous anger. He knew Gojyo was just flirting, knew it wouldn't lead to anything more serious. He knew that. He'd just been unprepared to deal with such an intense emotion.
"No, I'm the one who should be sorry. I don't know what's gotten into me," he said, trying to laugh it off.
Gojyo chuckled and kissed him again, this kiss a little more sweet and lingering than the last.
"It's okay," he said. "You're cute when you're jealous."
"Thanks, I think," Hakkai said, laughing. "Just do me a favor, will you? Don't call me cute."
Gojyo laughed and put his arm around Hakkai's shoulders. Hakkai was glad to feel that warm weight against him, and he leaned into that embrace.
"Okay. No more 'cute'. I swear… honey buns."
"Don't call me that either!" Hakkai said, trying not to laugh at the serious look on Gojyo's face as he contemplated other names to call his lover.
"Sweet cakes? Sugar pie? Dumpling?" Gojyo asked.
"You're starting to sound like Goku. Why is it always food references?" Hakkai asked, and Gojyo shrugged.
"Maybe it's just because you're so edible," he said, breaking out into a wide grin. "You make me wanna eat you up."
Hakkai smiled wickedly.
"I think I'll take you up on that offer," he said, and chuckled as Gojyo's eyes went wide in surprised delight.
"You're on," the redhead said, and they walked back to the hotel room hand in hand.
Petty jealousy had no place in his heart now. There was only the sweetness of his life… and Gojyo.
Sanzo folded his newspaper and took off his reading glasses, putting them both aside.
It was probably a bad thing to have allowed Goku to sleep this late, but the boy had been exhausted, so Sanzo had let him rest. It had given him a chance to catch up on his reading and relax in quiet for awhile, if he ignored Goku's snores.
But now he was looking for other entertainment. Goku looked far too enticing, lying there on that big bed all by himself. They hadn't had the chance to explore the more physical side of their relationship yet, and he was aching with the need to touch the boy. He didn't want to resist any longer. They'd been waiting for too long as it was.
He stripped off his shirt and climbed on the bed, resting on his hands and knees above Goku's slumbering form. The boy was oblivious, and Sanzo lowered his face to Goku's throat, nibbling lightly at the tender skin there.
Goku stirred but didn't wake up. He mumbled something in his sleep, but Sanzo couldn't make out the words. He moved a bit lower, trailing his tongue over Goku's collarbone and tasting the saltiness of his skin. Goku shifted and stretched, his eyes still closed.
He wasn't going to let Goku sleep any longer. He kissed the boy deeply, and slowly he began to feel Goku respond. When their lips finally parted, Goku's eyes were open and he was looking at Sanzo with eyes that reflected the burning heat of his desire.
Goku leaned up and plunged his tongue into Sanzo's mouth, placing a steadying hand on the back of the blonde's head. Sanzo grabbed the hem of the boy's shirt and pulled it up. Their lips parted only long enough to get the offending garment over Goku's head, then it was tossed to the floor as their mouths melded again.
Sanzo could feel the heat radiating from Goku's body, and he lost himself in it, letting passion rule his senses. He had no clear memory afterwards of taking off the rest of their clothes, yet somehow they both ended up naked. He couldn't remember what ad led to what. The images and sensations were jumbled in his mind, creating one concentrated canvas of pleasure in his head.
All he could recall with any clarity were short, vivid images- Goku's lips parting as he gasped, the muscles of the boy's stomach rippling as they moved together, Goku's eyes open wide and staring into his as they both exploded with pleasure so intense he saw stars.
He lay there afterwards, sticky and not caring in the slightest, holding Goku to him as he tried to catch his breath.
"I love you, Sanzo," Goku breathed, resting his head on the blonde's chest.
Sanzo knew Goku didn't expect an answer. He hadn't said those words to the boy yet. It was so hard for him to admit something so personal out loud.
But if he was to be truly strong, he had to admit it… he had to say those words. He had to be okay being vulnerable. It was the only way for him to grow. He knew this.
And, more importantly, Goku deserved to hear those words from him. It was the only gift Sanzo could give him. It was the only thing he had never before given to anyone.
"I love you," he whispered, his voice barely audible, but Goku heard him. He could feel the boy smile against his chest and hug him even more tightly.
And that was how they fell asleep- with words of love on their lips and the bright warmth of it in their hearts.