By the eighteenth time he sneezed, he had quite firmly sworn off kissing

Because I happen to be a very proud person, proud enough to do something stupid like this. Also because I know how hard it is to live with someone who is close to your exact opposite, and I think these two ought to be congratulated on it.

In lieu of that, I'll torture Gojyo.

Disclaimer: Me no own. Pre-series, implication of slash. Best not read this while eating something.

--

By the thirty-eighth time he sneezed, he had quite firmly sworn off kissing. Not sex; just kissing. Sex was a necessity to him, a deep-rooted need that was as basic to his survival as air and food. And cigarettes. And booze. And did he mention sex?

All right, so he was a walking addiction. Which one took dominance was truly hard to say, although he would sooner chew off his own dick than admit to needing any of them so badly. But a can of beer didn't care if he snotted all over it and a pack of cigarettes didn't get disgusted when he hacked up half a lung, so two needs were easily met. Unfortunately, the opportunistic cold bug had kept him from availing himself of the female sex and two out of three was just plain not good enough. If he didn't get some action soon he would probably snap. Wouldn't that be a sight to see: the mighty Sha Gojyo running around buck naked, cackling madly and humping anything that didn't move.

It was bad enough that he found himself casting a longing glance towards his roommate with alarmingly increasing frequency. The man was certainly attractive, as Gojyo had noticed many times during his disease-induced abstinence. He was alive, warm enough to get the job done, conveniently located- a big deal for Gojyo since he could only stagger about six steps before the normally well-behaved carpet attacked his face- and with those gorgeous eyes. His being male was only one point against him and something easily managed with a little creativity. That he would probably break Gojyo's arm for even trying was slightly less ignorable.

That Gojyo would be proving the insufferable bastard right was the true reason behind this exercise in restraint.

So Hakkai sat on the couch, moving only to turn the page in his book, and ignored Gojyo as the half-breed sneezed and snorted and hacked and wheezed. For his part Gojyo produced all the gag-inducing noises of the miserably congested and pretended not a thing was wrong if Hakkai glanced at him. He had been doing this ever since the previous day, when he had woken up to a dripping nose and a throat already sore and Hakkai had said those hateful, magical words.

"I told you that girl looked sick. You should try listening to me once in a while."

He had offered make soup and tea, tried to talk a weak Gojyo into staying in bed, and even volunteered to go to the store and get medicine. He had been the kind, considerate person he always pretended to be. Gojyo, however, knew better. He knew the real Hakkai was torn between amusement and exasperation, with strong leanings towards the latter. He knew that there was only one way to come out of this with his pride intact. So he had refused, claiming the girl he'd slept with hadn't been sick and he was fine. Hakkai had merely looked at him, one eyebrow rising slightly, before pasting on his fake smile and proceeding with his normal routine. He had paused only long enough to mildly point out that it would be very hard for Gojyo to pick up girls if his opening line was a sneeze.

Now Gojyo was sincerely regretting turning his offer down. At least Hakkai would look happy to help, and if he actually felt differently it would be easy enough to ignore it. But Gojyo had said no and no it would stay unless and until the dripping snot glued his chin to the table. At that point he was willing to allow Hakkai to go get him an ice pick.

The one highlight of this whole miserable experience was that neither Goku nor Sanzo were there to laugh at him.

Gojyo gave another hacking snort and leaned his forehead against the heel of his hand. He had considered making himself a big pot of tea, if only to inhale the vapors like others said to do, but the cold had left him rubber-legged and dizzy. Or maybe that was the continuous stream of beer he had been consuming. Either way, he wasn't going to make it to the kitchen and he certainly wasn't asking Hakkai. He hadn't said anything to his sanctimonious roomie ever since the cruel man had served last night's dinner in the kitchen/dining room- only twenty-five feet away, but in Gojyo's condition it may as well have been across a continent. Given Hakkai's quiet nature this wasn't having the impact Gojyo wanted, but he wasn't giving up on it. This whole cold thing had become a battle of wills and Hakkai already had enough of an advantage without Gojyo risking a slip of the tongue.

There was so little to do around here, Gojyo reflected sourly. So far his day had consisted of crawling to the bathroom about seven times and trying not to beg Hakkai for sex. Normally he would be at the bar now, tossing out vulgar lines to the one waitress he hadn't screwed yet and winning a few hands at poker. He spent so much time out there that he hadn't considered how immensely boring it must be to stay here all day. No wonder Hakkai had been so determined to get himself a job.

"Play a few hands?"

"Huh?" Gojyo's head snapped up and he stared at Hakkai. The other man had tucked his book away and was holding a deck of cards.

"Do you want to play? You looked bored."

The past day's habit of disagreeing was so ingrained that Gojyo tossed out his rather childish "no I'm not" before he could even think about it. He scowled at his own reaction. Now he not only would have to pretend to not be sick when Hakkai looked at him, but also appear entertained as well. He had no doubt he would look like a retard, smiling at the wall as though it were his best friend.

Busy as he was inwardly cursing himself, he missed Hakkai smiling at him. A real smile, with those cool eyes softening slightly. Gojyo was too predictable, Hakkai mused. He stood and maneuvered around the coffee table, dropping a box of tissue within Gojyo's reach and subtly pushing the last case of beer beyond it. He continued into the kitchen and picked up the tea kettle.

By the time Hakkai returned to the living room, Gojyo had made up his mind. He studied the tray Hakkai carried, which had tea and a big bowl of soup, patiently waiting until it was settled on the table between them before grinning lewdly at his roommate.

"How about strip Go Fish?"

Hakkai rested his chin on his hands and smiled at the half-breed. There was a clear challenge in his eyes.

"I don't play card games with sick men," he stated evenly. Gojyo smirked and pulled the last cigarette out of the pack.

"Good thing I'm not sick."

--

Goku tramped the last few steps up to Gojyo's house, kicking irritably at a stray rock. Sanzo was in one of his pissy moods and as Hakkai hadn't come by in several days, Goku had decided to go visit him. He scowled at the door for a long minute before slamming his heel against it. The scratch on his shoulder, where Sanzo had 'accidentally forgotten to miss', throbbed painfully.

The door swung open to Hakkai, who blinked at Goku in clear surprise. The favor was returned tenfold.

"Hello, Goku," the teacher offered in confusion. He couldn't remember Goku coming by here before without Sanzo.

"Why aren't you wearing a shirt?" Goku asked dumbly. Hakkai smiled at him and stepped aside.

"I think Gojyo needs it more than I do."

Gojyo was hard to find at first, lost as he was amidst several piles of trash. On one side were scattered beer cans and a few empty cigarette packs. On the other was a small mountain of tissues. In front of him were most of his clothes, and Hakkai's shirt was draped carefully across his lap. The kappa was currently sneering at his cards, as though hoping they would magically change into a better hand, and tugging at the only thing he still wore- a sock- in preparation of removing it.

For a few moments Goku's brain didn't know how to process the scene before him. He finally turned back to Hakkai and asked distantly, "What's wrong with him?"

"I'm not sick!" Gojyo bellowed. He then undermined his own statement by sneezing forcefully enough to scatter his cards across the room.

Hakkai turned back to their visitor and answered his question cheerfully.

"Nothing a little pride can't handle."