Series: Engine Sentai Go-onger
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Engine Sentai Go-onger. I did not make any profit from producing this fan fiction.
This story includes horribly written, poorly summarized, unfathomably clichéd romance between two males. As if I have anything else to do at 2:00am. You've been warned.
I enjoyed watching an early episode of Go-onger that featured Gunpei trying to show the others how to fight. Naturally, one and one equal two, and therefore, this story was born.
To his own surprise, Hant realized immediately that his breathing had quickened. His palms had become rather sweaty, even dramatically so. He wondered, distantly, if this was even a good idea. After all, he wasn't exactly the most experienced fighter. Even more intimidating was the fact that the other Go-onger had been a detective once in his lifetime. He gulped, wondered if Gunpei could sense just how nervous he was. Hant certainly couldn't know; the other man stared at him, expressionless. He said, "Alright. Remember what we discussed?"
Hant nodded. Gunpei had been generous enough to give him a series of tips beforehand. Apparently, he wasn't very confident in Hant's abilities, but Hant couldn't necessarily blame him for thinking so. Compared to Gunpei, he had a lot to learn. Hence, this training exercise that he had begrudgingly agreed to participate in.
"Come at me, then." Gunpei opened his arms, as if expecting some sort of embrace.
Oh well, Hant thought. Might as well get this over with now. He dug his foot into the ground, grasped his knees. Then, he began at a run. After a moment, he quickened his pace, and could see that Gunpei was remaining very still, almost as though he were waiting for Hant to run directly into him. As he gathered more speed, he closed his eyes. He jumped.
What happened next took only a fraction of a second. Moving slightly to the left, Gunpei merely reached over and, with steady hands, grabbed hold of the back of the smaller boy's jacket collar, holding him firmly in place, unable to touch the ground. After finally opening his eyes again, Hant sighed. "See?" he said, hanging rather lifelessly from Gunpei's grip. "I'm not as good at this as Sosuke-tachi."
Hant squirmed, trying to get down, but Gunpei did not falter. Protesting, the smaller Go-onger said, "You can let me down now, Gunpei."
The taller man shook his head. "No." He pulled the boy closer to him; their noses grazed only for a moment, and Hant swore he could even smell the familiarity of Gunpei's jacket, its stark black color. "You're trying too hard." At Hant's incessant moving about, he only gripped tighter. "I only had to move away to stop your attack."
Hant gaped defiantly. "What attack? I just jumped, then you grabbed me." He clasped hold of Gunpei's fisted grip, still trying desperately to get free, but unfortunately to no avail. His resistance weakening, he said, "I told you this wasn't a good idea, Gunpei. Maybe we should try a different kind of training. I'm not good at this, anyway." He sighed, more heavily than before, and sulked his head lazily. "I guess I'm just hopeless at this, that's all."
Gunpei watched the boy's eyes, the way they changed. Suddenly, he felt sympathetic. He pulled the boy closer to him, and, carefully, proceeded to hold him as a mother might hold a child. Hant looked at Gunpei skeptically.
"Gunpei, what are you-"
"Just this." The man craned his head forward, allowed it to rest upon the crevice of the boy's neck. A certain warmth still lingered there. "I don't like it when you speak about yourself like that. You don't give yourself enough credit."
Hant remained quiet. Then, still rather confused, muttered, "But, didn't you just say that-"
"I caught you because I wanted to show you that you still have time to grow. We all do. It's a part of being a Go-onger – a crucial part. It's impossible for you to become stronger until you've experienced weakness as a result of failure."
"You're just saying that."
"I'm not." Gunpei lowered his voice. "Don't be so defiant, Hant. Just listen to me."
"But what if I can't grow, because I'm just not good at this kind of thing?" Hant was startled to hear his voice rising. "I mean, you used to work for the police, right? So this sort of training is no big deal for you. But I'm not as big as you. I can't do all the great things you can do." He waited a moment. He said, "I'm not as strong as you, Gunpei."
He wondered how his friend would respond now, or if he would even respond at all, for that matter. He hadn't meant to sound stern, or even stubborn, but he couldn't see any other way to explain himself. He felt small, insignificant, like a bug wandering through the forest, waiting for its moment to be squashed or eaten, or even blown away in a demonstration of its own weaknesses. He felt helpless.
The sound of Gunpei's voice, both intimidating and docile, surprised him so that his eyes widened and he cocked his head slightly. He noticed that Gunpei still remained comfortably hidden, relaxed upon his shoulder.
"No, you are strong," Gunpei continued. "You are. You're stronger than you could ever realize." He lifted his head up slightly. His eyes appeared hopeful, full of life. "Okay, Hant?"
Hant felt something then, something different. Had he come across such a feeling before? Perhaps so; although now, it felt more alive, as though it resembled something he truly recognized. He thought about it all at once, and, suddenly, it made sense to him. Even Gunpei – strong, fearless, Gunpei – had his own weaknesses. Hant was one of those weaknesses. The older man saw him as something unique, a singular point not mimicked by anything or anyone else, something essential. But even so, Hant wondered if that had to be a bad thing at all. Surely something that felt like this, so intriguing and numb, couldn't be all bad, right? And maybe this way, they could grow together, just as Gunpei would want.
"Okay," he said. "Okay, Gunpei."
Slowly, Gunpei began to walk back home, back to their RV. Hant imagined he must look quite silly being carried like this, like an infant. But he felt comfortable. He felt safe.
"And for the record, Sosuke went down faster."
Hant gripped the back of Gunpei's jacket tightly. He smiled.