Rewind, replay

Saiyuki/Wild Adapter crossover. Because Tokito and Kubota are clones of Gojyo and Hakkai (and Tenpou and Kenren), and two lifetimes is not enough to pair those two up in.

'I never thanked you,' Hakkai said quietly. 'For saving me, that day.'

Gojyo laughed, harsh and disbelieving. 'You've told me that before,' he said. 'It's been eight years, you've thanked me enough times.'

'It's taken me eight years to mean it,' he replied, and saw Gojyo stumble over the next words.

'You're welcome,' he said finally. 'Hey, 'Kai. What's got you all worked up about this all of a sudden?'

It was a very ordinary morning. Like all the mornings in Kubota's life. It began with waking up, and would presumably end with his going to sleep, on a semi-permanent basis if he had his way, and permanently if he didn't.

He had a feeling it was going to rain.

'It's just that I feel like I've never repaid that debt,' Hakkai sighed.

Gojyo's arms wound around him from behind, and he could feel the rumbling of the redhead's chest when he spoke, reverberating through his spine, low voice in his ear. 'That's ridiculous. You've saved my life a dozen times. More, if you count all the times you patched me up. We're more than even.'

'That's not what I mean,' Hakkai insisted, twisting out of the hug to face him. 'I've saved your life since then, and you've saved mine too, but–'

There was something odd about this day. It was dull and not memorable in any way, but there was a flicker of premonition in him of something to come. He couldn't quite recognise the feeling, and this was not surprising.

It was the first time he'd ever felt expectation.

But the morning wore on, and afternoon, and nothing really happened. That tiny spark died at some point, unmourned.

He needed to go shopping, and so he went out, got himself food and cigarettes at a store.

'-it isn't the same,' he concluded. 'What you did……it was pure kindness. You had no reason to do it, none. You could have just walked on and left me there and nobody would ever have known or thought less of you. I can't say that I've ever done anything for you that doesn't, in some manner, reflect on that. I've never been that unselfish.'

To his surprise, Gojyo laughed, and looked on the edge of tears at the same time – Gojyo, who never ever cried. 'That what you think?' He laughed again. 'You couldn't be more wrong, Hakkai.'

'What?'

A woman walked past him, bowed. He stared blankly at her as she moved on without saying a word. Did he know her?

Did he know anyone, up to and including himself?

Not really, he was forced to conclude, and he walked on. Would have kept walking, if something hadn't caught his eye, some flicker of movement in an alley.

There was a man – a boy, really – in the alley, slumped against a dumpster, unconscious.

'You know, if anyone was saved that day, it wasn't you,' Gojyo muttered. 'You'll think I'm crazy, but……I was……wasn't really alive until then. And I looked at you, and I thought hey, you were just like me, except you were bleeding on the outside, and I was bleeding on the outside. I talked to you when you were out cold, ya know.'

Hakkai blinked at the change of topic. 'Excuse me?'

'Talked to you. All the time. Told you a lot of shit nobody else knows, stuff even I didn't remember until it all kinda spilled out. It was nice. I talked and talked – must have talked your ear off – and I thought to myself, when he wakes up, I'll just tell him again. Never thought about what happened if you didn't. I kind of thought you were something……me……I dunno. Like if I could make you wake up, I'd know I was alive myself. That I'd done something worth being alive for, ya know?'

There was a surreal quality to the entire situation. The boy looked tired and hungry and lost – Kubota could recognise the lost, even when they were asleep, that instinctive response to his own kind was something instinctive – and he just stood and stared at him, a little lost himself, because he had walked past stranger and more harrowing sights without batting an eyelid.

The thought that it was supposed to be raining flashed through him again, and he idly wondered why.

And there was something very off about the boy's hand.

'Gojyo, you are worth something. A lot. And not just because you brought me home.'

'I know. Now,' he corrected himself. 'But it's not that you have to thank me or anything, 'Kai. We're even.'

'Maybe,' Hakkai said in the tone of one who was less than convinced.

Gojyo sighed and gave up. 'Hey, 'Kai.'

'Yes, Gojyo?'

'You're a kind man. A good man, an honourable one. I know you are.'

He didn't quite know how long he stood there just looking at him. And when he moved, it was going to be towards the mouth of the alley, back to life and the rest of the world and away from this little corner of unreality, but just then the boy made a hoarse little rasp as he inhaled – a feral and desperate sound, filled with raw determination and equally raw pain.

There was nothing special about that sound, nothing at all, but it stopped him dead in his tracks, and he went back to the dumpster and squatted down, staring at the slack body. The furry, inhuman hand, clasped protectively to his chest. The sharp, angry face, all angles and youth and somehow familiar. Something different. Something very alive, for all that it was currently on the verge of being dead. Dead man though Kubota was, in more ways than one, something in him caught at the sight, a pull, a silence, a recognition.

And when he could think, the first thing he thought was well, why not?

There was a hard line to Hakkai's mouth when he replied. 'Really? Gojyo, you of all people should know that mercy is not one of my strong points, and neither is compassion.'

'You? You're the nicest guy I've ever met.'

'I'm not always nice.'

'No,' Gojyo admitted candidly. 'Hakkai. Would you do the same for me?'

And that was the question, really. Hakkai swallowed.

'Yes.'

The boy was heavy. And warm despite the chill in the air, and his hair fell coarse and sleek over Kubota's shoulder, tickling his ears whenever he lost his balance a little. Kubota rarely thought about things much unless he had to, because it was simpler that way, and so, as he hauled the unconscious form awkwardly back to his apartment, that was really all he thought.

'See? That's all.'

'But I'll never know,' Hakkai said. 'If I would have. Not for sure. Not in a situation where there was no past between us.'

Gojyo huffed. 'I know you would, all right? You would, because it's me, just like I did, because it was you. Now stop thinking and come over here. I want to sleep.'

'Of course,' Hakkai said demurely, with a smile, and Gojyo returned it as he took Hakkai's hands and hauled him to his feet.

Somehow, he really couldn't shake the feeling that it should have been raining.