"Seriously..." Gojyo scratched the irregular fuzziness left over from his once-flowing mane of red. "...There's nothing gay about two guys just sharing a bed."

"You shouldn't have to go through this, now, Gojyo," Hakkai forced an awkward smile. "I would be perfectly content to sleep on the floor. It's only right, after all the time I had the bed to myself. The last thing I want to be is--"

"A burden on me? Fuck that. Nobody's sleeping on the floor, all right? Damn, I used to have a couch...my old pal Banri put a foot through the seat, though; the cheap piece of shit snapped in half."

"So it seems now that we're living together, we'll be sharing this bed."

"Yyyyyeah."

Hakkai had attempted to ignore it before, but the skunky, slightly yellowed sheets were in desperate need of a laundering. He could tell that they used to be pale blue, but they were no longer. He was fairly confident that he had picked up at least three varieties of disease and/or parasite during the time he'd slept there. It wasn't his place to look a gift horse in the mouth, but...tentatively he picked up the pillow. It was limp and heavy. Great.

"Not your choice of sleeping quarters?"

"Has any woman ever...said anything about the state in which you keep this room?

Gojyo smirked. He'd been waiting for Hakkai to say something like that. "You'd be surprised."

"I'd just imagine that for one as, well, inclusive as you are, you'd make an effort to keep it a bit cleaner."

"It's a bachelor's life. I can't smell nothin'."

"I'll run these to the laundromat tomorrow, and I'll pick up some extra bedsets while I'm out. Not that I'm discontent, but I do wish to earn my keep."

"You would do that? Damn, having you around's gonna be well worth it." Gojyo unzipped his tight leather pants, sat down on the edge of the bed, and pulled them off, revealing a pair of novelty boxer shorts with two large bear footprints on them that admonished "PAWS OFF!" Ohhhhgods. The half-breed glanced up at Hakkai as he reached for a pair of grey sweatpants to put on. "You can wear a pair of my pants if those're uncomfortable."

"I'll pass. These will be just fine for just one night." Hakkai didn't want to imagine the state of Gojyo's sleepwear. Looking down at what he'd worn that day...he certainly wouldn't be able to wear that turtleneck to bed. Before he realized just what he was doing, Hakkai peeled off the top, unrolled it, and folded it neatly. It was only then that he noticed Gojyo's gaze: right at the wound on his belly.

"It hasn't hurt as much lately. The doctor says it's healing well." Hakkai peered down shyly at the ugly gash, wishing that Gojyo would look somewhere else. It was indeed healing well, though. It wasn't at all hot or discolored, and the tear was beginning to scar over. "I'm just...I really am a little glad now that I'll live to see the scar."

"Well, hey. Do me a favor and stay alive long enough to get these sheets washed, will ya?" Gojyo had already laid down and patted the mattress beside him, stretching his legs out under the covers. "Now, shut up and sleep with me before I change my mind."

"Ah...yes, yes." Hakkai had been meaning to pick a modest enough shirt from the meager stash of clothing he'd collected since he'd been released by the Sanbutsushin, but at Gojyo's insistence decided not to bother with it. He switched the ceiling light off, leaving a bit of moonlight coming into the room, and slid into bed carefully so as to minimize skin-on-skin contact with his new roommate. "If I make you uncomfortable at all, just say so and I'll move."

"I'm cool." Gojyo slid the pillow over so that Hakkai could use it. "First guy in my bed, and he's got such pretty eyes. Why'd ya hafta go and yank one out?"

"It was Gonou who did that, Gojyo." He looked over at him sideways as he settled himself down. "I can never erase the things I did, but I can at least make an effort to live a nice, normal life under my new name."

"If ya think you can really live normally, then all the more power to ya. 'Night, Hakkai."

"Goodnight, Gojyo."

--

That night, Gojyo dreamt of a big wardrobe with a lot of strangely dressed men and a chihuahua emerging from it and singing. He had absolutely no idea what was going on, but the music sure was catchy.

"Huhuhuhuhuhuhuhu..."

After a few verses, Gojyo realized that one of the drag queens was giggling. Not just regular giggling; evil giggling.

"HuhuHUhuhuhuhu..."

He looked up, and all of a sudden, it wasn't a drag queen at all...it was HAKKAI!!

"HUhuHUHUHU...!!"

Gojyo was already sitting up before he awoke. He tried to shake off the weirdness of the dream, but it was no use...he could still hear that laughter...

"Hu...hu...huuuuu..."

Then it hit him. He looked down to his left. His bedmate was laughing in his sleep. What a creepy laugh.

"Huhuhuhu."

After several minutes awake listening to this, Gojyo gave Hakkai a poke.

"Huhu...mm? What is it, Gojyo?" Hakkai covered his mouth as he yawned.

"You're giggling in your sleep, man."

"Oh, please excuse me! I'll try to stop."

"'Night, Hakkai."

"Goodnight."

Gojyo rolled over to face the wall and, after a little while, he fell back to sleep.

--

In Gojyo's next dream, he was taking a walk on the beach barefoot. It was a nice day to do so. He sunk his toes into the surf-wettened sand, breathing in the ocean scent and--

HOLY SHIT GIANT CRAB!!

It wasn't just any giant crab, either! This one was purple, and it had little brown loafers on its foot-analogues. Gojyo was well aware that crabs like this didn't actually exist and were quite unlikely to be wearing loafers, but it wasn't like he could just stand there. He spun around and ran from the crab, down the endless sand, the hideously gigantic crustacean in hot pursuit. Its legs clicked louder and louder behind him, and he could even hear a...giggling?

"UUUUUhuhuhu-huhuhuuuu..."

The kappa tripped over a rock, and the shock jarred him out of the dream.

"Damn, Hakkai, you're doing it--AAAAGH!"

He'd rolled back over to rouse Hakkai again and, to his horror, Hakkai was not only giggling this time, but in the moonlight Gojyo could see that Hakkai's eyes were open and out of focus. It was one of the weirdest, most startling things he'd ever seen.

Gojyo's yelp awoke his bedmate, who blinked and ceased his laughter. "Gojyo, are you all right?!"

"Just the...umm...the giggling again." Gojyo had broken into a nervous sweat. "...and a giant crab. Bigfuckincrab. He was chasing me and wearing loafers."

"My, you have some interesting dreams."

"Eh-heh."

"Well, I'll try sleeping on my front this time. Perhaps that will alleviate the laughter. I'm so sorry that I've been keeping you awake." Hakkai rolled over onto his front, resting his head on his folded arms.

"Ehhh, don't worry about it. It was the crab more than anything else."

"Goodnight, Gojyo."

"'Night."

"HuuuuuuuuuuUhuhuhuuu."

It was going to be a very, very long night for Gojyo.

--

"It's time to wake up, Gojyo-Gojyo. I made breakfast, I hope you don't mind."

Gojyo's eyes opened, looking up at Hakkai. Hakkai was already dressed, hair combed, with a ridiculously huge smile on his face.

The poor kappa hadn't been able to sleep until a little over two hours ago sleep finally claimed him. Before that, it was pretty much all "Uuhuuhuu" and looking up to see Hakkai staring at him, bug-eyed and still fast asleep. Gojyo was just about glued to the bed with his own sweat, and his body was too heavy to move.

"Aww, you went and fixed me breakfast? You're spoiling me, Hakkai."

Hakkai laughed a little -- a nice, normal laugh. What the hell? "I woke with so much energy this morning! I feel just wonderful, and slept right through the night. It really is comfy next to you. I scrambled up some eggs with cheese and peppers, and the toast is about to pop up. How would you like your coffee?"

Gojyo stretched his arms, still too much of a mess to sit up. "Just...black, thanks."

"Black it is!" Hakkai swanned off to the kitchen.

Gojyo was pretty sure it had all been a dream...until the next evening, of course, when he came home late from a few successful hands of cards to hear that damned unearthly giggling again.

After a while, he got used to it.

THE END