He was moving his hips, fast slow fast slow fast, the whole world a red blur, red the color of his hair, blurred the way Hakkai's eyes fogged up when it rained, when the monocle was off and those myopic eyes were unfocused on absolutely nothing at all. All around was the blur and the sweat and the smell of her sweat and the feel of her blurred body beneath, her hips moving, her slicked legs tight tight and soft, woman, woman woman woman beneath him, engulfing him; he could feel her hair in his hands and her body on his, under his, all around his, arms sinewy and snake-like as they rose and then fell again, rose and then fell.

This was the way he liked it -- all a blur of nothing swirling beneath him, body blinded and slowed by sex, heart speeding and thumping and pounding in his chest, things too-slow or too-fast and nothing in between to leave him feeling as if the normalcy of himself. Sex in the senses and sex throbbing between his temples and between his legs and inside the woman who's name he forgot, so all he was thinking now was mama mama mama and why why why because when she had no name all he could think of was that crying woman standing before him, the first woman he'd ever seen, and of Hakkai's muddied eyes, the first eyes that saw him as he saw himself, all blood and nothing else behind that bluster.

And then there was that flash of white light and the pleasure he rode, the climax to everything, the ending to it and those few fierce raw moments where there was nothing else, nothing else but his body to obey, no mind and no thoughts and his brain screaming mama mama mama and Hakkai Hakkai Hakkai, taking turns with each until he didn't know what was up and what was down --

He was down. He had fallen to the sheets and there was silence, except he could hear his panting, feel her panting, feel round breasts against his cheek heaving with the heavy rushed rough breathing of that soft body, and his hands were cupping the sides of her waists until she fell asleep, and then he was gone, because he didn't even know her name. It was easy: he dressed in the dark and maybe he lost a sock or maybe he'd been careful, or the sex had cleared his mind from whatever he'd drunk the night before, and he picked his way out with the strange preciseness Hakkai picked his way through the mess Gojyo would leave behind in their house, face empty and revealing nothing too personal in the darkness amongst the lifeless clothing strewn about the floor.

The night was clear as he stepped outside into it, maybe a little too cold, at the coming of winter, which was said by many to be a harsh one filled with snow. He didn't mind snow because it didn't have the same effect as rain did, but it was looking up to rain the next day -- there was a little cloud ring around the moon and as Gojyo lit his cigarette he sighed, a little guilty and not wanting to be. He didn't like to leave the house when it was raining; he'd come back in and get the nice clean floors Hakkai had just mopped wet and muddy and he'd find Hakkai like a lifeless shell with his shoulder pressed up to the window and his myopic eyes staring out; he wouldn't have his glasses on and only one of those two eyes could even pretend to focus on what was beyond the glass, which meant Hakkai wasn't seeing anything at all, leastways, not what Gojyo could ever hope to see. Even to Gojyo it was obvious that he was always looking through what was really there and on into something else, something else that the redhead had no part in, something else that the redhead could never hope to see and it made a guy who was already lonely feel even more lonely. It was that look Hakkai got that said, it's raining, and I'm looking out into the rain, but it's not the rain I'm seeing, and it's not the rain that makes me lonely. It's nothing you can understand. It's nothing you can understand.

It was that same look that his mother had, I'm looking at you but it's not you I'm seeing, it's something else. It's your father fucking that woman. That woman and your father fucking. That woman and your father making you. I'm looking at you but it's not you I'm seeing, and I'm hating you but it's not you I'm hating, and you're small and you're here and I hate them and I see them in you, and I hate you most of all because you're here.

It was not the same look that Jien -- no, no, Doku now, or some shit like that -- got, when he saw it. That was the look that said, in his dark-eyes-too-small-for-his face, I'm seeing this happen and I don't want it. I'm seeing this happen and I don't want it and I gotta stop it. I'm seeing this happen, little brother. I'm seeing this happen. I'm seeing this happen. I gotta stop it. Jien's eyes never said more than they saw and they never saw more than was right in front of them.

It was not the same look that Sanzou had, whenever he stared out the window with a cigarette between two tobacco stained gunmetal fingers like some sort of comfort blanket, where his drooping eyes were all purpleblack. That was I'm not seeing what I'm seeing. I'm not feeling what I'm feeling. I do not feel and I will not see. I turn my eyes away but the image is still trapped in them. I do not feel. I will not feel. I cannot feel. I make it so. And then Sanzou was lonely and Gojyo could see beyond that, I want. I want. I need. I want. I will not have that. I will not allow it. My body is my body and it does what I wish, my gun is my body now and it shoots whom I wish, my heart is my heart and it will have nothing there, I say it so, I make it so. Get out. Get out of my room my life my head my heart get out.

It was not the same look that the Yaone chick had when she turned her eyes on the prince. That was the look of those deep dark sad eyes that said I love you. I love you I love you. There was the same look in Jien's eyes but it said my prince my prince I am serving you. And the prince had that look in his eyes, I am serving you too. Because I love you. Because I must. Because I must because I love you. Serving and love and love and serving. And Goku rendered them one and the same.

Because the monkey had another look in his eyes. They were big round eyes and they fixed on Sanzou with a hunger that was never satiated, like the hunger in his belly from hundreds of years of endless starvation. They were big round eyes and they prayed to him like a farmer prays to a god, bring me rain, my crops are dying. They said, bring me love I am dying for you. You came and you saved me. Hungry. I'm hungry, Sanzou. And he said it aloud, too, "I'm hungry. I'm hungry, Sanzou," and they were the same things, even though they were different. And maybe Sanzou knew the difference between the two, maybe Sanzou heard the question and saw what it meant in those gold flecked eyes, and maybe that was why he yelled and hurt him. But he couldn't make that question go away. It was there. It was Sanzou. Sanzou, I'm hungry, Sanzou. And he knew Hakkai could see it, because he could see the little sad smile form at his lips, that smile that he hated so much, that smile that said nothing. And he always turned to look at Sanzou when he'd done hitting Goku to see what his face said but his face had turned away, to the West. Away to the West and all he could see was the shimmering of the setting sun in his gold laced hair and he could say nothing, he lit up a cigarette and he smoked it and maybe he took a nap and tried not to think of it until the next time it happened.

And he fucked for the silence that it brought him, the silence from his thoughts and his memories and all he saw in everyone else's eyes and the nothingness, the unreachableness, the insurmountable shield of glassy void that covered up Hakkai's eyes. Hakkai's eyes. Hakkai's eyes -- he closed his eyes and he saw Hakkai's, looking up at him. He closed his eyes to get away from Hakkai's and still he saw them, even when he was fucking the girls beneath him, even when he was burying his face in their breasts and breathing in their sweaty sweet perfumed scent. This was because he knew that he was only thinking, what does Hakkai smell like. He squeezed his eyes shut because maybe his eyes were asking, what does Hakkai smell like. What does Hakkai smell like when I have him this way. The aching part of him knotted up in his stomach, making him want to retch, because he knew that when Hakkai looked at him he saw right through him and then turned away, because he knew that when he looked at Hakkai his eyes must have been saying, please, please, please, I want to know. And it didn't matter what Gojyo would want to know because Hakkai would be kind enough not to respond to his questions. Hakkai knew too much. Hakkai saw too much and too little all at once. Hakkai. Hakkai. Hakkai.

His feet tapped out that name, Hakkai Hakkai Hakkai, on the pavement; smoke curled up from between his lips into the air and he moved through it, and thought only of the smoky look in Hakkai's eyes, misty smoke, as he turned his face away to the window, which was glassy like that endless emerald, the same way Sanzou turned his face to the West. Yet another wall and Gojyo was too tired from climbing, from climbing everything set before him, too tired from another night with another woman, too afraid that once he climbed the wall there'd be an axe swinging at him fast and smooth and sharp, glinting metal in the sunlight that filtered into the room --

And he sits there terrified and he has red eyes red, red like the hate that he sees before him in his mother, red like her painted long nails, red like his hair and the angry scars on his cheek, there from his mother's redred nails. She stands over him like some great looming statue, her skin porcelain her dark eyes streaming tears and there because of him, she's crying because of him, she's crying because of him because of him, because he's sitting there with his red eyes wide and saying nothing and --

Mama's gonna kill me, mama's gonna kill me, mama's gonna kill me.

Mama wants to kill me.

And there ias no one there to help him, he's just looking up at her and her hair falling wildly, violently into her eyes, which are streaming those rivers of tears, the same way his cheek streamed that river of blood. She stands over him and maybe because mama wants to kill him, he will let her, and maybe mama can stop crying, crying crying crying over him.

And mama's crying for me, mama's gonna kill me, mama wants to kill me.

And he can see it in her eyes, that hate that isn't even real hate, that hate that wasn't even for him. Nothing was for him. Even if the hate had been real hate, his hate, he won't have been empty like this, hollowed out as if she scooped those long-nailed fingers into the very gut of him, emptying him of all that made him up inside. All he can see now in her eyes is the image of something else, something he can't make out, hate for something that isn't, can't be, his fault. Hate for something that wasn't to do with him, hate that isn't for him. Nothing is for him and he closes his eyes and he thinks,

Mama wants to kill me.

And he thinks,

Let mama kill me --

That was when this hollowness began to nag him so. When instead of him, his mother died, when he had resigned himself to die, when he was ready to die, when he was even happy to die. Because then she would kill him, and his death would be his, and she would have given it willingly to him. Willingly, willingly to him -- something of his own, whether he was alive or not to enjoy it.

She gave him those scars and he hid them because they were his own secret, they were all his own.

And then he showed them to the world, pulled long hair back out of his face so the world could see what his mother gave him. After all she scooped out of his belly, she slashed blood-red marks over his cheek and he wore them like a trophy, like a triumph, like my mother never loved me but she gave me one thing, see, see what my mother gave me. Mama. Mama...

He dropped his cigarette and he lingered outside the door of Home for a while in the chilled air, letting it cool his still slightly overheated body. He imagined Sanzou as a porcelain vase, all hardness on the outside, pale and smooth and perfectly crafted, but emptiness inside, filling up slowly from Goku and Hakkai and maybe even himself. Sanzou would crack himself open to let it all out, break himself rather than grow attached to anyone, but he saw all Sanzou was doing was fooling himself, and he thought maybe Sanzou saw that, too. All he knew was that Sanzou was putting up all those walls around himself and all those 'keep out' signs on it because he was just as hungry as Goku inside. He imagined Goku as nothing but Goku because Goku needed no imagining. He was not man and he was not monkey, he was Goku, he was the kid hundreds and hundreds of years older than Gojyo himself but a kid anyways, he was hungry always for more than just food. Oh, it was food he was hungry for, but it was something else, too. All he could hear was Goku's voice, "Sanzou, I'm hungry Sanzou" and he allowed himself a Hakkai-smile, sad and so small the sadness could barely be seen beneath it. He imagined Hakkai as at the very top of a glass wall, like from that fairytale he knew once, where princes came from all around to try and climb up the slipperyslick substance to the princess, but none of them ever made it more than a few steps -- or a few crawls, even -- before sliding back down. In the glare of glass, he knew himself to be forever trying to scale that wall, forever slipping back down, forever trying again to get back up and each time moving a centimeter more before he plummeted back downwards to start all over again. The only problem he found was that he didn't know how high this glass wall was going to be, because he couldn't even see to the top, yet.

What he knew was, Hakkai was at the top. Hakkai was silent and unsmiling at the top and goddammit, he would get there if it killed him, or if it took him hundreds and hundreds of years of trying, as it took Goku hundreds and hundreds of years of waiting.

He lit another cigarette and he watched it burn between his fingers. Hakkai wouldn't like it if he smoked in the house, it made the nice clean smell stink of cigarettes, and Gojyo didn't like that either, deep down. He could pretend that it was because of Hakkai, not because he was still trying to figure out what part of that scent meant Hakkai's here in this house your house your home. The cigarette burned out slow in his fingers as he hid from the Hakkai-ness of the house, a little too tired, a little too warn out from before in that creaky bed, to begin to climb again. Hakkai, a princess at the top. He laughed a little, eyes fixed on the burning of the cigarette, moving slowly and slowly down into ash and nothingness between his fingers.

Unlike Sanzou, Gojyo was stuck, trapped with someone, but he'd put himself in that position. He'd gone headfirst and willing and he could have pulled himself out, anytime he wanted. He just didn't want to --

He found himself standing before a man, what looked like a dead man, body sprawled out soaking and silent in the grave of a puddle. And then he thought he saw the pale bloodied hand move a little, clenching into the moist, rainwet earth. He lifted his foot and nudged at the things shoulder and he heard a low, deep groan, not of pain. It was like the howl a wolf gives to the moon, loneliness, emptiness, hollowness, as the creature lifts its face to a love it can never have.

He startled back a little as deep green eyes lifted to his own. They saw him. They saw him, straight at him, into him, and not through him. They saw his eyes, red, and his hair, red, and the scars, red, all through the grayness of the rain. He saw wide, bloodstained lips curve into a smile.

This man had fallen into the puddle, spilling his insides all out into the wetness, as if someone had scooped inside of him and ripped everything out and this was where he'd stumbled, collapsing, ready to die.

And Gojyo put his arms around him and brought him back to his house.

Gojyo flicked the butt of the cigarette, in a spiral of ash and the last little bright flickers of what would soon burn out, into the dirt. He wiped his boots clean and he fumbled around for the key to the door for a moment, and as he finally pushed it open, he smelled the scent of the tea Hakkai always made steeping in the pot, and his eyes said --