"What'er thinkin' about?" Tasuki stared down at the dark red eye below him.
"That's a lot of shi—stuff."
The man smiled, his scar creasing slightly by the movement. "I think about Miaka, I think about Suzaku, His Highness… you."
Tasuki leaned against his raised arm and grinned slyly. "Yeah? And what is it 'bout me that you think of?" He ran his hand down the front of the man's chest, slowly slipping it under the cotton shirt and pressed it against warm skin.
Another smile. "How much you care about the people, your gentleness and kindness, the way you fight for what is right even though you boast your bandit background."
Tasuki frowned. "That's the borin' stuff."
"Is it? It's my favorite part about you."
"Yer forgettin' my wicked sense of humor and my sexy smile and the way I memorized every little thing that gets ya excited." Tasuki leaned down, kissing right below the other's ear and slowly making his way down, sucking on his neck and eliciting a suppressed moan.
Tasuki glanced up while swinging his left leg over to straddle the man. "Don't silence yerself," he muttered, leaning back down to nip at the exposed skin. "You sound so beautiful when ya scream my name…"
"Genrou." Koji sighed heavily, moved in his desk chair and threw his ruler at his roommate. "Hey! Loverboy!"
Genrou sat up suddenly from his dorm room bed and turned, picking the ruler up and throwing it back. "What's yer problem?"
"I've said your name five times, Genrou, where the hell were ya?"
"I was thinkin', that's all."
Koji arched a brow. "About?"
Genrou immediately turned away, rubbing his face to try and keep it from blushing up. "None of yer business, that's what!"
Koji nodded before turning back to his homework. "Why don't ya go take care of that hard on and I'll pretend I didn't see it so you aren't embarrassed."
Genrou looked down, groaning inwardly at the condition in his pants. "Fuck, I can't stand this." He stood up, quickly running to the bathroom and slamming the door shut. He could hear Koji chuckling as he locked the door and slid down the wall, raising his knees up to rest his elbows on.
Genrou pulled his legs closer and dropped his head. If that rainstorm hadn't come on them while they had been driving that night as teenagers, they never would have been hurt. They never would have remembered their past lives and they never would have had to deal with the knowledge.
Genrou never would have had to cope with his broken heart for the past four years.
"Shit, this rain is gettin' worse," Genrou spoke, both hands gripping the steering wheel of his old car.
"Least the streets are empty this time of night," Koji said from his shotgun seat. "Damn," he muttered. "This is somethin' unnatural."
"We're almost back to my place," Genrou muttered, more to himself than to Koji, reassurance in his voice.
The rain beat down on the windshield, the wipers unable to keep up even at full speed. The roads were getting washed out and hail was starting to fall. Occasionally, the sky lit up with such anger that it was as if it were on fire.
"Shit, Genrou!" Koji screamed.
Genrou slammed down on the breaks as a truck came weaving between the two lanes, but the rain kept the tires speeding along and the two vehicles crashed, tearing one another apart.
Then Genrou fell asleep. He had dreamed.
There had been voices, lots of voices, none of them familiar. One belonged to a young boy, another deep and soothing. One slightly nasally, another androgynous and the next rich and elegant. The last had two tones. His was high pitched, friendly, then it dropped, quiet and serious.
I know you.
Blurred faces, blurred villages, towns, temples and castles, gardens, forests and him.
He dropped the kasa from his head and turned, blue hair tightly pulled back, the rest dropping over his forehead. A quirky sort of attire, with a robe strapped to one shoulder and a staff in the other hand.
I had forgotten you.
He smiled, reached up and removed his façade. The paper dropped away, his face was scarred and smiling. He reached a hand out and whispered.
I can't hear you, please speak louder.
There was a journey, a young woman, fighting, magic and war. There had been death and heart retching sadness.
Did I lose you?
The sadness felt of friends. He was different.
You are more to me.
He was a friend, a celestial brother, a teacher…
I can't remember your name, please tell me!
"Ri Houjun." His red eye twinkles and he looks so beautiful. "Chichiri."
Genrou was startled awake in a white hospital room, panting and crying out from the jolt that went through his body, awakening the pain in every limb. He dropped back against the pillow, turning his head slowly to his right. "K-Koji?"
Koji turned, laying in the bed across from him. "Finally awake, eh Genrou?"
"What… what happened?"
"A truck hit us." Koji frowned, waving his left hand a bit. "I'm so doped up on pain killers it ain't even funny..." He chuckled. "I feel so stupid." He eyed both of his legs in casts with curious contemplation.
"Heh, yeah. I woke up sometime yesterday, doctor said it was a miracle either of us came out."
"I had a strange dream."
"Me too!" Koji laughed dryly. "Musta been these drugs they gave me, cause it was way out there." He looked back at his friend. "I was like, a bandit and shit, in China, I swear. It was too cool. Oh, you were in it too, Genrou. We were buddies, naturally."
Genrou turned suddenly and grunted again at the quick movement. "What did you say?" he asked around a pained pant.
"We were buddies."
"In— in where?"
"China, I think. It sure looked like China anyway. You were like, some guy who was good friends with the emperor, it was neat."
Koji laughed again. "I just said 'neat.'"
"I had a dream like that," Genrou muttered.
Genrou nodded. "Hotohori was the emperor."
Koji blinked. "Yeah, in mine too."
"I was friends with a group of guys, we were warriors and there was a girl— they called me Tasuki…"
"I remember yer buddy, Chichiri, he was always hangin' around you. You had some hopeless crush on—" Koji stopped, seeming to have suddenly sobered up quite quickly from the pain killers. He glanced back at Genrou. "This feels more intense than any dream I've ever had."
Genrou covered his eyes with his hand. "There was a Chichiri in my dream, too." His eyes welled with tears that began to run down his cheeks without warning. "He was everything to me…"
"Genrou, you okay?"
Genrou lowered his arm and gasp as he stared at a bright, burning red symbol on his skin. He studied it through his blurry vision and sniffed quietly.
Wing, he thought. One of the seven warriors of Suzaku. Wing and Well, we were always together. "Oh god what's going on?"
Koji knocked on the door. "Hello, who is it? Why it's Koji, who really needs to take a piss in the bathroom but Genrou has locked himself in for a marathon masturbation session. Ah well, please come in."
Genrou opened his eyes, rubbing his face and looking around to suddenly realize he fell asleep in their shared bathroom.
"Genrou, get the point? Hurry the fuck up!"
"Yeah, sorry, hold on." Genrou stood and unlocked the door. He moved aside. "I fell asleep," he stated stupidly.
"You have no stamina."
"I wasn't jerkin' off."
Genrou growled and hit Koji in the back of the head before his roommate shut the door. "I'm goin' out for a walk."
Grabbing his university sweatshirt, Genrou pulled it over his head quickly, grabbed his wallet and keys and left the room. He was suddenly feeling so claustrophobic that if he didn't get outside and breathe in some fresh air someone was going to pay for it. He took the side stairs and left the dormitory building, the cold night nipping right through his clothes as he shut the door behind him.
Streetlamps were on, a few students walking about, two smoking further to his left.
Inhaling the crisp air for a few minutes made the anxiety level in Genrou drop slowly and once he was feeling better, he walked away from the dorm. Genrou wandered across the college campus, weighing the choice of taking a full walk across the grounds and getting back late or only going halfway and coming back in time to finish his business assignment.
Chichiri… Genrou let the name dance through his thoughts. It slipped through his lips and caused him to smile as it left a tingling sensation. I'll get him back, like Koji said. Chiri never failed on a promise.
Without keeping his eyes on where he was walking and instead, gazing at the sky, surrounded by his thoughts, Genrou walked straight into a teacher coming out of one of the buildings. He startled backwards, catching himself on the wall while the professor crashed to the ground.
"Shit!" he cursed. "I'm sorry," he started, taking a step forward and holding a hand out. "Really sorry, I wasn't watchin'." He took the man's hand and hoisted him up.
"That's alright," Houjun replied, wiping his pants absently. "It's dark out." He glanced up and a quick hint of surprise flashed through his dark eyes. "Genrou," he stated.
"Chi—" Genrou bit his lip and shook his head. "Professor, shit, I really am sorry." He dropped down and picked up Houjun's folders and briefcase, holding them out haphazardly.
Houjun smiled innocently, taking his things. "Thank you, Genrou."
Genrou nodded, sticking his hands into the pockets of his sweatshirt.
"Ya need to talk with him," Koji had said once the two had settled into their dorm for the evening.
"Sure, that's easy, invitin' a teacher out for a night on the town!"
"I mean, casual. Who says no to coffee, eh?"
"Are you serious?"
Koji nodded adamantly. "You ain't gonna be able to win his heart if ya won't even talk to him. Ya never know, Chiri was a smart guy, maybe all it'll take for him to remember is something you say."
"Well, I'll see you next week, Genrou." Houjun bowed his head politely and turned away from the front door.
"Hey, uh, Professor," Genrou started, his heart leaping up to his throat, making him feel like he were about to vomit from nerves. He hurried to Houjun's side. "You busy?"
"Did you need to set up an appointment?"
"What? No, nothin' like that." Genrou shook his head at Houjun's professionalism. "I was wonderin' if you were— I mean, that I'm going out to get a cup of coffee…" He hesitated as Houjun eyed him like a wary animal who was unable to hide his curiosity at the same time. "My treat, if you'd like to come along."
"Oh well," Houjun paused, gripping his folders a bit tightly. He tried to ignore the leaping aura around Genrou, the dance of nervousness it played before him. "I really shouldn't—"
"You got plans then?"
"No, it's just—"
Genrou barred his wicked grin, hoping it would work on Houjun the way it used to. "One cup, on me, for droppin' you to the ground. It's good coffee too, promise."
Houjun could sense a hopefulness in the student amongst the anxious excitement. Perhaps if he could speak with him for a short time, know more about him than his name and that he is apparently prone to being late for class, Houjun would have a chance to find out what it is exactly that has made it difficult for him to get an accurate reading on the fiery boy.
"I— I suppose I have time for a quick cup."
Genrou's smile grew. "Yeah? Great!"
The two were seated by a middle aged waitress who came straight back to the table before they could remove their coats and poured two cups of coffee for them.
Houjun pulled his mug close and reached for the small jar of cream the waitress had left. He began to mix his beverage silently.
Genrou stared at the older man happily. He looked so beautiful, the same as in his memories. He still retained that air of noble yet humble intelligence, the aura heavy with the patience and gentleness of a saint and his long time beloved, perfect with one eye, had been given the chance this lifetime to have both.
Houjun looked up and wrapped his hands around his cup. "You can call me Houjun, Genrou."
Houjun bit the inside of his cheek. What did you say? "Only, I mean, since we're not in a classroom setting." He quickly took a sip of the hot drink, ignoring the burn.
"Houjun," Genrou said quietly, a smile growing at a steady pace across his face. "How long have you been teaching?"
"Not long," Houjun replied, setting the mug down. He pointed to it. "That is good coffee."
Houjun smiled politely and continued speaking. "I just began teaching my second year."
"How ya like it?"
"It's pleasant," Houjun answered. "Sometimes a bit… overwhelming, however, I do enjoy teaching."
Genrou nodded, enraptured by the casual conversation, ignoring his brew completely. "I can't believe I attended school an entire year without knowin' you were here."
Houjun's gaze shifted slightly, a sense of confusion fluttering past his face. "What do you mean?"
Genrou sat back suddenly, getting in the deep end too quickly. "Nothin' only that— you know, you're a good teacher, I liked today's class. My other… teachers are not as…" Genrou struggled to be honest and lie at the same time. "Versed."
Houjun chuckled quietly. "Oh, I see. Well, thank you, I'm glad to know someone enjoys my courses."
"How'd ya get into ancient studies?" Genrou asked, slowly easing forward once more.
Houjun took another sip of his coffee before saying, "I don't remember a time when I wasn't intrigued by the history of long ago empires. It's simply fascinating."
Genrou nodded and he remarked quietly as he reached for a sugar packet. "I like Chinese history, myself."
"Really?" Houjun sounded impressed. "I do as well. You know, I teach a course on just China, if you are interested."
Genrou looked up through his thick hair. "Sounds wonderful." He grinned widely.
Light talk, mostly about school but Genrou left the café with a heart as light as a feather and a smile that he just couldn't wipe off his face. Houjun, while remaining reserved, had shown in his aura that he was much more relaxed around Genrou than in class and he seemed to have enjoyed himself.
Every little step counts, Genrou thought.
"Thank you, Genrou, for the invitation. I've never been in this café before." Houjun bowed his head. "Have a good evening."
"You too, Houjun." Genrou watched Houjun step across the street and for the first few seconds, he was content to simply watch the older man leave, then without warning, he was running after him, his brain leaps behind his body in the chase to recover himself. "Houjun!"
Houjun stopped suddenly and turned. "What is it?"
"I ain't gonna lie to ya anymore, Chiri. I ain't gonna wait a minute longer to say this!"
"I love you!" Tasuki grabbed the front of Chichiri's shirt, tugging him forward in the middle of the empty stretch of road. "Please, say somethin'. Please, tell me ya love me, too."
"Genrou? Are you alright?"
"Want to go out again sometime?" Genrou heard it come out too late to stop himself.
Houjun blinked, a bit startled and held his belongings a little tighter. "I— Genrou, I don't think that is such a wise idea."
"Why not?" I need you so badly. You're so close that it's breaking my soul.
Houjun shook his head. "I'm sorry, Genrou but I—"
"I know ya like men," Genrou exclaimed, pointing. "You have to!"
"What!?" Houjun's voice rose and he fought to keep a level head at the sudden turn of events.
"Don't ya even try to squirm yer way outta that shit again!"
"What on Earth is wrong with you, Genrou!?"
Genrou moved closer, his stomach plummeting as he watched Houjun back away. "It's just because, yer a teacher, right? Ya don't want any drama."
"We are not having this conversation, Genrou." Houjun turned and began to walk away briskly, vanishing into the night.
Genrou stood on the edge of the sidewalk, hating himself. Ya always lose your cool.
To Be Continued