To: LKK. If words were a form of interest, I would probably still owe you because of how long this took.
Word Count: 1808
Disclaimer: Makoto Tateno's beautiful creations. Not mine.
Spoilers: Extremely general spoilers for all volumes. Definite spoilers for the end of Vol. 2 (Kiss & Gin & Cigarette)
Summary: A bit of pre-series angst. It is clear from "Kiss & Gin & Cigarette" that Taki and Goh have performed this ritual many times.
Because of his line of work, Taki sometimes finds himself unable to sleep. Now, though, in a new apartment, with a new roommate, he isn't surprised that he feels more displaced than ever. He's never had a partner before, but he simply couldn't make any money off the pitiful jobs that he was able to complete by himself. Goh seems nice enough, if not a bit strange. Taki is sure that, in time, he will adjust to this new position. Repeating those reassurances though doesn't quite feel all that convincing.
Turning over in bed again, he finally gives up and leaves his dark unfamiliar room and heads for the living room. On the way he grabs a beer from the fridge and his lighter off the counter. He sits alone on the couch for a long time, drinking, smoking, wondering why he hasn't stopped doing these stupid jobs and instead, just do something normal for a living. Something that would make it more difficult to be found, to make it easier to sleep through the night.
Before he even knows it, it is suddenly six in the morning and Goh is coming out of his room, shirtless and yawning. When he sees Taki, he looks surprised and disapproving. Taki braces himself for a confrontation, because he certainly doesn't feel like listening to a lecture from someone he barely knows. However, Goh just laughs and tells him that next time he'd like to be invited to any all-nighters he has planned for the future.
Taki just smirks to himself. He didn't get drunk in the living room for hope of company. It's just that drinking alone in his room makes him feel like too much of an addict.
It is months later before Taki finds himself unable to fall asleep again. Their jobs have been time-consuming, life-threatening and a test of endurance and stamina—both mental and physical. When he isn't working on a job, he's eating or sleeping. Lately though, Taki hasn't felt like himself. Goh's lighthearted approach to everything is rubbing off on him a bit. It makes him feel weak and unaware. Something that Taki simply can't afford.
A six-pack and half of his stash of cigarettes later, Taki can't even remember why he'd felt the need to get plastered in the first place. Goh comes out of his room sometime in the middle of it all to use the restroom and then won't leave him alone after that. The guy seriously has no idea of what personal space is. Taki supposes that at least his roommate doesn't feel the need to fill the silence with inane conversation.
The rest of the night passes in a similar fashion, and Taki can't help but the feel the purpose of the night became pointless once Goh had emerged from his room. He really hopes they don't receive a mission tomorrow. His head is already starting to ache and his hangover hasn't even set in yet.
Living in a two bedroom apartment is bound to make anyone feel cramped once in a while. For the most part, Taki likes the fact that he can hear the movements of another person in his own space. It reminds him that he isn't alone anymore.
Tonight is a different story however. It is half past two in the morning and what wakes Taki up from actual real sleep? Moaning. Which means Goh has company. Loud company.
It's not like Taki doesn't know his roommate is a total slut for anything on two legs, as long it isn't female. For the most part though Goh takes his excursions elsewhere, or at least is quiet enough that Taki isn't disturbed this late.
Punching his pillow a few times does nothing to eliminate the sound or make it easier to fall back asleep. A peculiar mixture of aroused and pissed off, Taki decides to go have a drink in the living room. Tonight it isn't beer, it's gin. He doesn't feel like wasting time with formalities. He doesn't even bother turning on the lights, just lets the dull orange glow of his cigarette briefly illuminate the room.
Half an hour later, he can hear Goh and his boy toy at the door, parting ways. When Goh walks into the living room, his shirt is unbuttoned and his pants are zipped but the top button is left open. His hair is wet from the shower.
It isn't as though Taki wants to see Goh look embarrassed, but a bit repentant would help matters. Instead, he looks almost smug. Taki ignores the implication that has been bouncing around in his head for the past week and takes another sip of gin. He is still way too close to sober for this conversation.
Goh makes himself comfortable on the sofa next to him, much closer than usual. Taki can even smell the soap on his skin from the recent shower. It bothers him.
A moment of stilted silence passes. Goh eventually asks, "No beer tonight?"
Taki doesn't bother responding, just hands him the bottle. When Goh gives the label a funny glance and mutters "western liquor," Taki has to force himself not to smile. He's still angry. Goh's choking sound as he swallows helps alleviate a bit of his annoyance in a bizarre sort of retaliation.
Goh's hoarse voice sounds surprised, "That stuff is awful. You should have warned me."
"You're not supposed to gulp it down like that. Slow sips," Taki informs him.
A few moments later, Goh asks for one of his cigarettes, claiming that he's out. Taki responds that he's out too, despite the fact that his are clearly on the table, and the pack is definitely not empty. Goh's hurt look makes him feel like an ass, but he's still angry at Goh and a little mad at himself too.
Despite his dislike of the drink, Goh continues occasionally taking the bottle from Taki for a drink. And, despite his warning, still chokes back more in one swallow than suggested. It's no surprise that by morning, Goh is completely shit-faced and nearly passed out on the couch. His head is almost resting on Taki's shoulders and his hand is beginning to creep along the arm of the couch and into Taki's hair.
Goh's voice comes as though from a distance. "I wanted to make you jealous."
Taki isn't surprised by this confession; it only serves to confirm his recent suspicions.
"I think I'm falling in love with you," Goh suddenly blurts, as though he hadn't meant to say it, but wasn't exactly regretful either.
Taki's head spins with the consequences of that statement, but again, it isn't as though he wasn't expecting this. He forces a light laugh anyways. "I thought I wasn't your type."
Goh shakes his head, but it obviously isn't a good idea with as much alcohol as he has drank. "I thought so too."
Taki isn't really sure what answer he is supposed to give, so instead he tells him, "You can't make me jealous."
Goh's glassy eyes focus on Taki's face with a determined glint. "I have other tactics," he tells him and then promptly kisses him hard on the mouth. Taki actually feels confused for a moment, the movement so sudden, so jarring, that he isn't even sure what's happening. The few seconds that pass help him to gain his equilibrium, but Goh has taken those seconds as a sign of acceptance and groans with relief into the kiss. The hot rush of air throws Taki even more off balance and before he even knows what he's doing, he is pressing his gun into Goh's throat, the only lifeline between sanity and falling off the edge.
Goh however seems unaffected and breathes a short laugh against his cheek. "Kinky. I can work with that."
To make his point clear, Taki pushes his knee between them and shoves Goh onto the floor. "I'm not into men," he tells Goh, each word carefully enunciated and clear.
Goh looks hurt, but responds with passion despite the rejection. "I didn't ask what gender you prefer to fuck. I said I'm in love with you."
Taki's pleasant buzz is all but gone, and he knows sleep will be even harder to come by now. As he stalks off to this room, he belatedly tells his roommate, "It's the same thing."
As he shuts the door on Goh's exasperated sigh, he realizes that the closed door doesn't give him nearly as much distance as he needs right then. Goh's voice comes from very close on the other side of the door. "Don't think it's that easy, Taki. I won't give up."
Taki laughs bitterly to himself. That's why he's concerned.
It's not as though Taki likes to sit around completely saturated in alcohol. Despite the fact that it's occurring with alarming frequency these days.
Weirdly enough, he's grown accustomed to Goh's passionate outbursts and surprise attacks at seduction. Through the months the bond of trust they've forged has become a guiding force in his life. Through the secrecy they are forced to share, those close touches with death, their relationship has been cemented in ways he doesn't know how to break. He can no longer remember what it was like living without Goh as his roommate and partner. The thought is frightening, but going back to the days of before seems even more terrifying.
He keeps it to himself, but he is sure that Goh must sense something. His attempts at breaking Taki down have become more frequent and confident, despite the continued rejections.
He can't remember anymore why he couldn't sleep tonight. Now he only knows that he's spent too long contemplating Goh and feels strangely conflicted. When Goh comes out to join him for a drink, and how he knows when Taki begins one of these episodes he'll never know, Taki feels a disgusting mixture of relief and confusion.
Goh looks relieved that he's drinking beer and settles down next to him without a word. This scene has played out too often between them lately, but for some reason it seems as though they can only share these moments surrounded by their vices. Still, Taki can't help but feeling like shit when he remembers that morning so long ago, when Goh bared himself and Taki did nothing but retreat even further. Even though it's much too late for repentance he feels the need to make amends. To give go Goh something. Anything.
When he asks Goh for a cigarette, he hopes it isn't painfully obvious what his intentions are.
He knows that Goh is aware he has a full pack of cigarettes on the counter, but he gives it to him without any fuss, any comments, any of the usual implications.
He understands Taki too well.
He takes the cigarette and nothing else.