There was not much for a god to do on a boring Saturday afternoon. Maybe it was not a Saturday. Maybe the days hadn't even been invented yet; maybe there was no such thing as Time, except for the rest of those celestial beings to know that it was flying, know that even they were not powerful enough to stop it from doing as it always had and always would, not powerful enough to regain what they had lost.
Tenpou sighed, buried among books and dust and old scrolls, a bit of ink on his cheek that he was scrubbing at -- indignant, stubborn ink ink, for it refused to rub off. For now, however, his mind was not on his work, or what he was supposed to be doing, as his mind tended to wander off to other places when he wasn't checking it. Now, it was on the cherry blossoms outside his window, and then it was on the soft feel of one spot behind his ear, and after that, it was on the idea of sex. Sex was where his mind tended to linger, as if he were some sort of experimental, libido driven adolescent pondering self-gratification right there in public, where anyone could see him. It was like spreading yourself out naked because some carnal urge inside you said it was absolutely necessary, no matter how embarrassing it would be.
Oh, he knew what sex was, he had even experienced the union of two bodies once or twice in his lifetime. And certainly he had read about it, read about what it was to be, perhaps, when it wasn't merely an experiment but a tangible thing put into the Ritual of Things. It was holy, he knew that; sex was a creation of holy things and he knew enough of it to know that it went beyond creation and beyond the gods and beyond the heavenly realms, into something not even the most powerful of them could control. Something that got under the skin and stuck there, even if you didn't need a body.
Granted, he shouldn't have been thinking about it.
But the point was, he was thinking about it, and it was making him feel rather uncomfortable, both mentally and physically. His brain was always fifteen steps or more ahead of his body, and sometimes it was tiring to him, making his head ache acutely right between the eyes. So it was merely natural that, intellectually, he craved more. What he wanted physically was another story. Already, he could feel the slight hard on he got between his legs whenever he thought of these things -- mental stimulation, as always, leading to physical for him. With a slight frown, he shifted, the arches of his feet propped up on the edges of his desk, socked toes wriggling a little as he stared with jadestone eyes out at nothing at all and everything at the same time. "Hunn," he sighed, but he didn't notice the sound. It wasn't nearly loud enough to snap him from his own daydreams, at least, and perhaps that was a good thing. Perhaps it was not.
At last, he decided there should have been something else to do, something other than sitting in a library and rotting away to nothing like this, to a skeleton all by himself. He needed company, perhaps, but he didn't know where to find company. There was, of course, Konzen, but the man made of gold and ivory was just as he looked; a lonely statue who had built a wall around himself, not in order to lure those who really wanted at him in, but to keep everyone else out. Konzen didn't take kindly to people barging in on him, didn't much care for it when idiots decided that they could be the one to burst past the hard shell he'd built around himself, and Tenpou, who was a fast learner, decided that maybe his smiles were not for Konzen. That didn't stop him from thinking about him, certainly. A statue was what Konzen was, without a doubt, and when one was lonely it didn't do to curl up around stone and expect the arms and the body to turn warm and hold you tight in return. You mostly just got poked by the especially pointy parts of it, and it wasn't satisfying in the least.
And then there was Kenren, perhaps his best friend, if gods had best friends; Kenren who was below him but, according to stinging tongues, above him, too, but that wasn't the point of it. Kenren was loud and Kenren was self-centered and Kenren was in no way as intelligent as Tenpou was, could never hope to be, even if he had a thousand libraries and a thousand years to put them to use. Kenren had the inane habit of doing a little victory dance after he knocked someone's lights out; god or no, Kenren was quite an irrepressible, incorrigible male. And what, he found himself wondering, was Kenren doing now? Perhaps he was off fighting a war, though Tenpou wasn't sure if there was a war going on; or perhaps he was killing someone, or something, as Kenren was apt to be doing on a Whatever Day It Was afternoon. Kenren fought and Kenren 'kicked some ass', as he put it in a rather amusing, rather plebeian way, and then Kenren drank a lot, and then Kenren slept. Hn. Kenren intrigued him in ways completely different from the ways Konzen did. Konzen was a true god, alabaster and precious gems, untouchable. And Kenren? Kenren was impossibly human.
With a deep, long sigh, Tenpou lit a cigarette -- this was, of course, after cigarettes had been around, because cigarettes had been around since the beginning of time -- and resigned himself to being bored out of his mind, out of his current body (which he happened to like very much) for the rest of eternity. He was sure that longing, this deep hollow fault line down the center of the inside of his chest, begging and whining to be filled, had never before been factored into the equation. His equation. Or, rather more precisely, the equation that had been written down into the Books long before he was around to read them, numbers and ideas and vague glimpses-of-concepts all strung together like some insanely complicated mathematics problem, equaling, eventually, him. He knew he wasn't the only one who felt this way. The reason he wanted to break down Konzen's walls was because he could see, beyond the ice of those violent violet eyes, that same longing that he felt. That holdmetouchmewantme longing that wasn't just about sex because sex never gave him hard ons like this, and sex wouldn't put that dull, hollow ache into Konzen's eyes.
Of all the things that Konzen was -- stubborn, cold as ice, closed off to the world -- he was not a petty man, and he was not a man who would let things as supposedly base as sex get to him. Certainly, that may be one of the factors, but only one of many. It was the longing that Tenpou knew, it was that longing that could not be written down into books or captured with the mind. This was why, Tenpou realized, that even with his knowledge, with the cogs and the wheels whirring constantly inside his brain, he was put on the same level as perhaps the lowest servant, when faced with this longing. There was something else to ponder. There was something else that made him shift uncomfortably in his seat.
"Oi," said a voice, but Tenpou didn't hear it, as it wasn't yet loud enough to break through his thoughts, which were strong and wrapped tight around his mind. Konzen was flashing like a golden pinpoint of light through his brain, like amethyst drops in a field of snow, chilling and perfect and frightening all at once. And with Konzen was Kenren, a flash of black and red and color, a jarring laugh and the smell of wine, a plain voice and the overlying presence of the blood he knew lay on those coarse, broad hands. Kenren, he realized, would have calluses on his hands, while Konzen's would be smooth and soft as a baby's calf.
"Oi~, Tenpou~?" But still he did not hear, as there were things in his mind that couldn't be broken into, things that made his head ache and his body light on fire trying to chase after. Konzen the statue and Kenren the man and himself, gathering dust in the grave that was his library, and Kanzeon Bosatsu who came in every once in a while to thrust her bared breasts at things and people too, and smile in that nasty sly way that wasn't nasty and sly at all. Kanzeon Bosatsu wasn't nasty; a bitch, yes, but not nasty. She was like a spoiled child and the world was like a gathering of toys she had been given as presents, and she knew that she could do anything she liked with them, even break them. Tenpou the living dead was a toy and Kenren the man was a toy and Konzen the statue was a toy.
"OIIIII! TENPOUUUU!?" Naturally, the third time was the charm; the bellowing of his name from those powerful lungs ultimately did the trick. Tenpou's head snapped around as he snapped out of his reverie and the chair snapped backwards and he fell to the ground with a crash. "Oh," that voice said, a spiky black head peering out over a stack of books, "there you are. Been lookin' for ya."
It was funny, Tenpou realized through the aching throb already beginning at the back of his head, that Kenren always spoke that way, with the rough, crude accent that announced his uncouth nature to the entire world within two seconds of his arrival. It was funny also, Tenpou noted, that Kenren, unless he was a complete idiot, knew the sort of reaction bellowing out Tenpou's name would cause, but he never attempted to do something different, for a change. Lying prone on the floor, stunned blue eyes uplifted and fixed upon the almost childish face that peered down at him, Tenpou Gensui could have sworn he saw laughter alight like a wicked crook in the curve of Kenren's lips.
"Good afternoon," he said to that face with his ever mild voice after a moment of stunned silence. His body had been jarred and his thoughts had been jarred, and now he was winded and in vague discomfort, as well as some amount of pain, lying prostrate on his back on the floor. The back of his chair was stabbing into his spine and the binding of some book or another was still digging into the base of his neck, where he had fallen on it. But he didn't move, because his mind was taking time to adjust to being back to normal as it was whenever someone came to distract him, back to normal just like that without any warning. Because of the way he tended to separate into two parts -- Tenpou thoughts and Tenpou body -- he took surprises harder than most people, and therefore he required a small amount of recuperation, afterwards.
"Yeah, yeah," came the grunting reply, and then the full body that came with the spiky black head swung around from where it had been obscured, behind the tall stack of books that Kenren most likely couldn't read, much less understand.
"Oh my," Tenpou murmured, in that way he had, "you brought all of you."
"Well, naturally," Kenren grinned, and, of course, it was natural that he would have brought all of him. Wherever Kenren went, all of him went, the great loud obnoxious presence, eternally adolescent in so many ways. The Taishou didn't hide himself, but bared his body -- all of it -- for everyone who wished to see. "Ne, Tenpou, I think you banged your head too hard."
"Ne, Taishou, I think you knocked me off my chair."
"I would agree on that one," Kenren said with a slight little frown as he flopped himself down atop Tenpou's work table, crossing his arms over his chest. Still, he was called Taishou. It annoyed him somewhere, in a place he couldn't -quite- put a finger on; it made him just slightly edgy. After they had been friends for so many years, Tenpou could still call him Taishou and not merely Kenren; Tenpou could still be so distant even as Kenren tried with all he had to get closer. He never had even half of Tenpou's attention on the days where he thought he was really getting to him, this time. It seemed constantly as if he was fighting a losing battle. The only thing was, Kenren Taishou refused to give up.
Tenpou smoothed himself out in silence, a little ruffly still from the surprise as he sat up, running his fingers through his hair, over his wrinkled white jacket. It never lasted, though, Tenpou's attempts at giving someone the cold shoulder; he was always better at it when he wasn't trying, when he'd buried himself into some ancient scroll or another, and the impression a fellow got was that he could have died right in front of Tenpou's nose without the brunette ever noticing, or batting an eye. Kenren suspected that might be his best friend's reaction if someone gutted him right then and there, but he said nothing, simply frowning as much as he was grinning.
"Why are you here, Taishou?" Tenpou asked, unassuming, voice soft and light and lilting and oh-so-familiar. The general rolled his eyes, shoving his hands in his pockets. The question he'd been asking himself for years upon years now was, would Tenpou Gensui ever change? The answer, he knew by now, was a resounding no.
"I thought maybe y'might be thirsty or something." He shrugged, words vague, eyes roving around the mess of a library that Tenpou kept.
"I'm not." The other ran his fingers over the book he'd been half-absorbed in before Kenren disrupted him, like the caress a man would grace his lover as she slept in his arms, fingers curving slightly, knuckles brushing along binding as they might over skin. It made Kenren arch to the side in a slightly uncomfortable sort of way, made his cigarette-and-wine-breath puff out between his lips in a deep, almost aggravated sigh. Almost aggravated. There was something else there, and maybe Tenpou noticed it, and maybe he did not. "But I would not mind sharing a drink or two with you," he added after that, shutting the book carefully, tenderly.
"You don't haveta do anythin' out of pity."
"Or outta feelin' obliged t'me or somethin'."
"Again, I wouldn't dream of it."
"...I brought th'good stuff."
"By all means, let us sit and have a drink together." The general caved in as was expected, and Tenpou cleared the papers from his desk by unceremoniously dumping them to one side of it. The good stuff, as Kenren called it, was set down, and Tenpou's earlier thoughts could be banned from his mind, though they lurked deep in the back of it, where he stored the weightier questions of the world that plagued him week after week. Whenever he got good company -- and Kenren was good company, he had to admit, for no matter how different they were, they always had something to talk about, and it was no problem getting drunk together, passing out amidst the tumble of books thrown about the room -- he found those heavy ponderings cast from his mind. While he had wanted to continue along the path he had started, he knew it would give him a headache, as thinking of Konzen and Kenren always did. It was like he was torn between some great divide, on one side the being made of marble and ice, on the other, one made of earth and fire.
But he could never pass out cold against Konzen as he could against Kenren Taishou, would never wake to the feel of Konzen snoring beneath him with one warm strong arm flung about his shoulders. He had dreams of Konzen, dreams of coldness and emptiness, and he would wake to Kenren, which was -real-, where the chill wasn't felt in his hung over body.
Kenren the man and Konzen the statue. Kenren, whom he watched as he sipped at the strong, blood red liquid, Kenren, who tossed the stuff back as if it was nothing at all, as if it didn't burn his throat, which it most likely did. Kenren who was trying to prove something always, but he didn't know what it was. Kenren who was searching for something and he didn't know what that was, either.
A little smile played over Tenpou's lips and he swallowed down the rest of what was in his cup. Kenren and he were on the same level of things, and Kenren probably felt the longing too. And in Kenren he had a friend who could make the longing go away by knocking him out of his chair and never apologizing for it, except perhaps in a drunken little slur, hot breath in his ear. Kenren Taishou had no walls, no walls like Konzen, and Tenpou Gensui found himself suddenly more intrigued by what was laid out before him, naked to his half-blind eyes, than what was hidden behind high, spike-topped fences. He was intrigued by the lack of inhibition, and the lack of pretense. He was caught by how new it seemed, how simple, and how not.
And then the alcohol began to make his senses fuzzy, and he stopped thinking at all; he resigned himself to a loud afternoon and sleeping the liquor off in Kenren's arms, and waking to his heartbeat, thud thud thump, slow and musical against his ears.