What Becomes of the Broken Hearted : Chapter One


There are two types of the broken-hearted in this world. There are those who learn to smile and smile and simply never stop smiling, their eyes and lips curving up and their faces growing hollow, empty, blank. They do what they must and they do it cheerfully, never faltering from their unending amiability. And then there are those that are dark, that never hide their shadows from their haunted eyes, that never hide the loss that lurks in the corners of their mouths, tugging them down.

The closed-off depths of Cho Hakkai's emerald eyes had been hollow and empty since Cho Gonou disappeared. Once, they had held a lingering sadness, a gnawing fear that he made them about nervously on rainy nights. Once Genjyo Sanzou took him away, once those chains had been locked around his wrists, things had happened to him.

Cho Gonou had been erased.

Sure, there was someone who looked a lot like Cho Gonou left behind. But then, there were the differences, the main one being the voids formed by those two jade eyes. And of course, there was always that smile, that smile that no one could escape from. It was kind. It was friendly. And it meant absolutely nothing.

He was quiet, and unassuming, despite the soft-voiced, highly amused jokes he often made at his friends' expenses. He was responsible and careful and he looked after everyone while never once getting in their ways. And so nothing he ever did caused Sanzou to lose his patience. They tended never to lay a finger on each other; mostly, the monk held a strange sort of respect for his ever-smiling companion, and Hakkai knew always when to keep out of danger's way.

Neither of them liked the rain. That was one thing, perhaps the only thing, they had in common.

Except perhaps for grief; but then again, all four of them shared that equally.

With his robes held up loosely around his waist and one knee drawn up to his chest, the monk known as Sanzou Houshi, renowned and famous throughout the world, sat as he always did on the window-sill of the inn room he had acquired. This was where he thought, where he brooded, where he leaned his head against the windowpane and watched his breath form little pools of condensation on the glass.

Outside, the rain poured down in sheets, and the whole world was turned an unappetizing, dank gray. The scent of rain filled his nostrils, something intensely cold filling his body, welling up like the blood that coursed throughout him. He could have watched the ground turn muddy and the trees droop and bend, wilting like flowers, for hours on end. Under the downpour, he noted, all the flowers had long since been pounded into the dirt.

"Saa," a familiar and almost relieving voice murmured behind him. Close behind him, too; when had Hakkai come in? When had he gotten so close, without Sanzou's noticing?

The pale brow with the little, all-too-meaningful mark in the center furrowed up; those shielded amber eyes that drooped towards the edges narrowed as Sanzou turned his head. Gazed upon the other man without really looking at him at all.

"Mou, what a dismal day," the brunette remarked softly. As always, his voice was gentle and lilting, like music. But there was no passion, no conviction, behind the docile and admittedly pleasant tones. After a moment he moved forward a little, though he knew enough to still keep his distance from the other. Sanzou was a moody and decidedly dangerous person, and though Hakkai did trust him, he knew that to push at the monk's wishes was to betray the other's trust of him.

Still, there was nothing keeping him from getting closer, and Sanzou's face had even decided to soften a bit as the converted-youkai padded closer.

"Mnh," the monk grunted after a moment, amethyst eyes lingering for a few seconds on his companion's face. He had removed the usual headband that kept the hair out of his eyes - or, tried, at least. The monocle still glinted over his right eye, obscuring the slight unfocus of the fuzzy emerald depth, the way it never really lingered on anything for a moment, always moving on to something else without grasping anything at all. As always, Hakkai looked pale in the darkened room. Like some sort of quiet, complacent ghost, always there by Sanzou's side when things began to crack and chip at the brittle shield he had constructed around himself. Sometimes, Genjyo Sanzou allowed himself to worry. Worry that Cho Hakkai knew him all too well for any sort of personal comfort, for any sort of privacy.

"Gojyou and Gokuu must be soaked by now. I wonder if they've gotten lost," Hakkai went on, turning his eyes toward the window, staring out. There was nothing wistful in his eyes. Just the faint, nagging knowledge that there really should be sadness, in those placid emerald eyes, and yet there was absolutely nothing.

"Mnh," Sanzou acknowledged again, voice softer. Hakkai would take care of them when they returned, soaked and complaining, bickering with each other. As always. As Hakkai always took care of all of them.

Hakkai fell silent after that, leaning his forehead gently against the wall, still staring calmly out into the wet night. It was at times like these that the smile faltered, that the smile disappeared. It was at times like these that Genjyo Sanzou found himself privileged enough to see the glimpses, those minute little flickers, of the grief that was hidden inside the depths of the one known as Cho Hakkai. It was at times like these when Genjyo Sanzou found himself not strong enough to bear the way those eyes looked.

And of course, he never showed such things.

Instead, he turned his head back to the window, as well, cheek pressed up against the cooling, soothing glass. He lit up a cigarette, brought it to his lips, and then just held it there, letting it burn without even taking a drag.

He needed to get drunk. On alcohol or something else, it didn't matter which.

What he needed was to forget for a while.

With a little snarl and no other warning, he reached out, the cigarette dropping to the floor as his slim, pale hands grasped at Hakkai's hair, fingers knotting in the soft, still-damp-from-the-shower locks. He wrenched the converted-youkai's face up, ignoring the startled, high pitched sound he made at that action.

His eyes, Hakkai realized, were burning. He had never seen anything so intense, so painful, so very frightening in all of his life.

And then his own eyes widened as teeth bit down savagely on his lower lip, as his body was dragged close to the one curled up in the window-sill. As Genjyo Sanzou released restraint and let out that savagery, that pure, raw emotion that had all turned into fierce anger because there was nothing else the man could have turned it into. Because there was no other pathway for Genjyo Sanzou to take.

"...san...zou..." he whimpered out against the man's lips, against his mouth, frozen in his spot with fear. With confusion. And then, with the knowledge that he had to let Sanzou do this; that for Sanzou's own well being there was nothing else he could do at this point, except let Sanzou touch him, and hurt him, in this way.

Hakkai had never seen their leader this way. It had always been Sanzou, with a flaming temper that resulted in really nothing; or Sanzou, drinking too much and getting into the occasional fight at a bar; or Sanzou, growing fed up with Gojyou and Gokuu's endless bickering and screaming at the both of them like a father with a headache. He had never seen the great Sanzou Houshi look or act so desperate.

But the great Sanzou Houshi was also a man, wasn't he.

And that was why Hakkai allowed himself to push past the pain in the broken skin of his lip, push past the taste of blood in his mouth, his own blood on his tongue, and allow Sanzou to continue. After all - he was only a man.

And a lonely one, at that.

Not that he would have ever admitted such a thing. But Gokuu and Gojyou and especially Hakkai - they all three knew how alone their Genjyo Sanzou was. Hakkai was prone, however, to watching that cold face out of the corner of his eye when Sanzou napped on longer trips in Jiipu. Hakkai was prone to study how even in sleep, the lines of the blonde's face never once softened. Hakkai was prone to think that the harsh lines of Sanzou's face were almost painfully exotic, certainly more wild and beautiful than most any other face he'd seen in his life. It was captivating. It became hard, on these occasions, to keep his eyes on the road, to keep them from roaming over and memorizing every line of Sanzou's face.

But the emptiness inside of the man kept him away. Made him want to keep away now. And yet, there was that duty, that pity, almost, for the man that could not have what all men needed. For the man who had blocked himself off from everything else. For the man who was in so many ways like Cho Hakkai himself.

Those slim fingers clenched against his skin, fingernails digging fiercely into his scalp. Hakkai knew the other man too well. Hakkai understood the need that drove Genjyo Sanzou to do the things he did; he had long since pushed down desire in himself, for desire led to wanting, and wanting led to pain, and to loss. But perhaps, every once in a while, a person needed to crack.

He found himself wondering where Gojyou was. He found himself wondering what Gojyou would have done, if he knew what was happening.

But Gojyou was with Gokuu, and they had taken Jiipu with them on a trip to procure more food. And so now the three of them were caught in the rain. Hakkai knew it was rather impossible that they would return by the time an hour was up. So why, then, did his mind drift to thoughts of Gojyou? As if, somehow, the half-youkai could come bursting in the door to save him from what was happening, from the strong, unwavering hands that grasped at his body and brought blood to his skin. The thought was enough to make Hakkai laugh; that soft, gentle little laugh that made his eyes sparkle artificially.

And Hakkai didn't dare laugh. Not now, of all times.

Somehow, Sanzou had slipped down from the window-sill and Hakkai went slightly limp, letting the blonde take him into his arms. Sanzou was golden and his eyes were burning, burnished jewels inside his pale face. And Sanzou was his friend, despite whatever the man might have said to the contrary, and this was what Sanzou truly needed. And so it was what Sanzou would have - after all, there was no one to stop it. No one to keep Hakkai's nature from allowing things that shouldn't have happened to him happen, because they were merely good for someone else.

Gojyou was always the one who did that.

A high pitched sound was trapped in the back of his throat, just as Hakkai was trapped into this, into these touches, trapped between the wall and Sanzou's body. The monk lapped hungrily at the blood on his lips as his hands tugged hungrily at the ties on his shirt. Truly, it had been so long since another body had been close to his own - except for Gojyou, sharing his bed most nights, but that seemed different, almost a part of life - that Hakkai found himself reacting in strange ways, ways that made Sanzou laugh harshly as he bit savagely down on Hakkai's earlobe.

"Ahn!" He heard himself cry out, felt his fingers clench against Sanzou's shoulders, felt his whole body tense at the pain that racked through him. A hand that smelled of tobacco and metal and gunsmoke ran over his cheekbone, mapping out his face, as the matching hand grasped his hip, fingers digging into his flesh.

"Tell me to stop," Sanzou hissed against his ear as he jerked Hakkai closer, grinding up into him. He knew Hakkai wouldn't say a word and he knew that even if Hakkai did, he wouldn't stop. The feel of this body pressed up against his own was too much. There were many nights he spent with himself and his hand and oh God was climax good, but there was something different, something intoxicating, about having another body up close to his own. There was something yet more fascinating about having that body be Hakkai's, sweet and fresh smelling from the shower, with the little gasping whimpering helpless-helpless sounds he made; Hakkai's body with its fragile, delicate build and soft skin; Hakkai's pleasant face, with his full lips and long-lashed eyes; Hakkai's feminine voice making delicious sounds, better than the strongest, most expensive sake was, so easy to let him forget about the rain.

Everything of Hakkai's body was all his for now, at least until Gojyou and Gokuu returned, and even maybe after then, if he so pleased. Sanzou was drunk on the sight and smells and how it all felt, beneath his own tobacco stained fingers.

And then he pulled away.

With the back of that black leather sleeve he wiped Hakkai's blood from his kiss-moist lips. His amethyst eyes were like glowing embers inside his face, but there was still the shielded wall around their depths, locking everything in in order to keep everyone out. They roved over Hakkai's body: over the shirt he had half tugged off, over the bared over the bared expanse of marbled flesh, over the top of an old, old scar that had slashed over Cho Gonou's body and now remained upon Cho Hakkai's.

"Get on the bed," he said roughly. His hand didn't have to be on the gun hidden in his robes; he could taste Hakkai's acquiescence, knew that the brunette had resigned himself to this out of his self-hatred and his need to put other's needs about his own. And they both of them knew how easily it was to pull that gun from its hiding place and fire it, when the need arose.

Hakkai bowed his head, body tensed as he hid his face in shadow. After one moment, one moment of wavering and thinking and musing to himself, he turned and moved back towards the bed, sinking down against the edge of it. His hands were calm - they no longer trembled - as he lifted them, tugging off the monocle and setting it aside.

"Undress," Sanzou ordered, and once more, Hakkai obeyed. He undid the rest of the hooks on that forest-green shirt and slipped it off, folding it neatly beside his monocle, as if he was merely undressing to bathe. He stood again to slip out of his jeans and folded them as well, laying the neat little bundle atop his shirt and fluffing it just slightly. His boxers followed next, and then he had no clothing left to removed. He heard Sanzou grunt appreciatively, felt a sort of coy little blush spread over his pale cheeks.

That did it. The man had waited long enough; in two movements he had dropped his robes to the floor and slipped out of the rest, and mere moments later he was pinning the brunette back against the bed.

Rough hands all over, something strangely pleasing through the misery of it all, something vaguely wonderful even as pain and shame coursed through Hakkai's body. Someone was touching him. Someone wanted to touch him. It was Sanzou who was touching him, Sanzou, of all people, who wanted to touch him. It felt flattering; it felt good, to be wanted, no matter how that want manifested itself.

He didn't know how long they were that way.

Their bodies tangled in the sheets, Sanzou's above Hakkai's, always above Hakkai's, crushing him back hard against wall and bed, and there was silence except for Sanzou's heavy breathing and the soft mewling sounds Hakkai made in the back of his throat, like a lost kitten. There was a moment where all the pain paled in comparison to the intrusion of Sanzou, thrusting up hard into him, no preparation, no distraction, a fierce cry ripped from his throat. Hakkai would bleed, Sanzou's aim was to make him bleed, and they both knew it. There was nothing human in this joining, there was only the sweat and the screams and the blood and those hot fierce hungry desperate kisses and those hot fierce hungry desperate touches; there were only the two bodies that never became one because the one on top never wanted that, just wanted another body to own and control in the rocking sticky writhing dance they both created.

With a feral cry Sanzou climaxed, hips bucking upwards, hands shoving Hakkai's face down into his pillow. The converted-youkai was on his forearms and knees, shoved down into the bed as if he were praying to some almighty god that wavered before him. He whimpered as the hand around his own erection squeezed with the spasms rocked throughout Sanzou's body, and he too found release and a burst of blinding white light filled his eyes.

It was so different, so different from Kanan.

His mouth opened, bruised lips parting slowly, a choked whisper catching in his raw throat. The word he spoke surprised even himself; whether Sanzou heard it or not, he said nothing, limp and satiated against Hakkai's back.

"...Go...jyou..."

The figure with the blood red hair and the startling slashes in his sun-browned cheek dashed from tree to tree to avoid the rain, messy-haired boy and little white dragon in tow. It seemed as if Gokuu was purposely splashing in every single muddy puddle on their pathway back. It seemed as if the dumbass ape was purposely splashing said muddy puddles directly at Gojyo's freshly washed pants.

"Oi!" He leaned back against a tree, shaking water from his hair in Gokuu's general direction as he flicked a cigarette butt to the muddy ground. "Watch where you're splashin', y'stupid ape! These pants've just been washed!!" He felt himself twitch a little as he heard, felt, Gokuu begin to protest, wishing, not for the first time,
that he could whip a fan out of thin air and squash the boy with it.

As it turned out, he didn't need to do so; at least, not at that moment.

Instead, a strange, high-pitched, keening sound startle the two of them, something like a beast wailing in despair. The very noise sent a strange jolt through Gojyou's heart; his vibrant red eyes widened in shock as he searched out the source of the sound and realized that it came from HakkuRyuu, the pearly scaled dragon of Hakkai's. It was frozen, its almost colorless pupils dilated, staring off into nothing at all; its wings stopped their delicate beating in the air, and the creature threatened to drop down into the mud. And then the little dragon shot forward like a streak of ghostly white in the heavy wet air.

Something like fear knotted inside of Gojyou's heart, even as Gokuu's questioning, plaintive "nan de...?" run out through his senses. He ignored it, ignored Gokuu entirely, breaking out into a run after the speeding creature, now barely able to see HakkuRyuu before him through the heavy rain and the laden green foliage of the drooping trees.

Green like the color of those endless eyes, rain like the pain and the loneliness inside them.

"Gojyou...?" Gokuu blinked, eyes wide and filled with confusion. "Naaa, Gojyou?" he whined after the half-youkai, torn between incomprehension and a vague sense of annoyance. With a little wail he broke into a quick trot after both Gojyou's and HakkuRyuu's fast receding forms. "Maa, Gojyou...! Matte...! If we're having a race you should have warned me...! It's not fair!!"

There was no response.

Gojyou was a streak of red and brown on unending green.

His boots pounded into the ground beneath and he was splattered with muc up to his knees now, but he saw no reason at all to care that he was. His hair fell into his eyes, plastered to his forehead; he couldn't see much but that didn't matter because he could see HakkuRyuu before him to follow, and that was all he needed to see.

There was a sort of bond between Hakkai's pet and the converted youkai himself and Gojyou knew, just knew, that something had to be wrong. A heavy lead weight had settled in the pit of his stomach, seeming to slow him down when all he wanted to do was go faster. He could hear the snapping and crashing behind him that signaled Gokuu's pursuit, and perhaps, that was a good thing, because he knew he didn't have to worry about the stupid ape getting lost if he left him behind.

Now all he had to worry about was moving faster, fast enough, perhaps, too keep up with the little dragon before him.

Now, all he had to worry about was what HakkuRyuu would lead him to.

Sanzou had fallen asleep.

Hakkai lay against his side for a long time, listening to that now all-too-familiar steady breathing, waiting for it to grow deeper, waiting to hear the soft, barely audible snores that signalled Sanzou's deepest sleep. He felt the even rise and fall of the priest's chest against his back like it was his own, felt the heaviness of that one slim arm thrown around his waist like a dead weight.

Still, he didn't dare move.

Perhaps, Gojyou and Gokuu would be back soon. Perhaps they would decide not to check up on him, not to check up on Sanzou. Perhaps he would just lie like that until morning came and Sanzou pulled away. He knew this would be forgotten, ignored, and that Sanzou would never mention it again.

And oh, oh, did he hurt all over. His scalp, where fingernails had bit into the soft skin, his hips, where finger-and-hand-print bruises were scattered, his throat raw and hoarse from screaming, his lip swollen and cut and bruised from too-rough kisses. And then there was all inside of him, where everything tangible and intangible was torn up to shreds. He felt blood and stickiness between his legs, trapped between his thighs. He could still feel the touches raked over his body, could still hear Sanzou's soft grunts and hisses of pleasure.

He still wanted to leave. But where would he go? The truth was, what he wanted to escape from had nothing to do with Sanzou, or the bed made sticky with their mingled sweat and their mingled semen, or the room that was still echoing with the sounds of their sex.

"Mmn..." The sleeping man shifted and turned, pulling away from Hakkai's smaller body. The converted youkai went rigid, and then relaxed, waiting for those soft little snores to start up again. Now, there was no arm holding him back, no touch that kept him frozen to the bed. Slowly, ever so slowly, so the creaking of the bedframe and the shifting of the mattress would not wake his bedmate, he sat and slipped off, bared feet twinging at the chill of the cold floor. He heard Sanzou's breath hitch; as a result, so did his own. When the snores returned to their normal rhythm, a rhythm he had by then memorized, Hakkai allowed himself to creep on.

For a moment, he paused in the doorway, head tilted to the side as he looked back over his shoulder at the sleeping man in the messy bed.

Sanzou was as closed as he ever was: his face was perhaps a little more relaxed, and his body a little more weary-slumped, but there was still the tense rigidity lacing his muscles and his face and closing him off. Hakkai wasn't sure if there was any more he could do to bring that cold hard man from his cold hard shell. Certainly it was foolish to try any more.

And he was nothing more than a coward, and all he wanted to do now was run.

He closed the door silently behind him, slinking naked through the hall and back to his own room, hugging himself weakly. Never once had Sanzou held him, not throughout the entire time of their lovemaking. He had never been more cold, and never more alone except--

And there was hair the color of blood and there was a stare the color of blood above him, wavering in the rain.

And all there had been before that was mud and his own blood filling his mouth and nose and eyes, choking him to death.

But this was blood, someone else's blood, wavering in the thick wet air.

And there was someone nudging at him with the toe of a boot like he was a dead man, and maybe he was a dead man, except dead men cannot see and he could see, could see the wavering image of dark, warm blood before his eyes.

So he was alive.

"So you are alive." There was a little thoughtful snort and then the blood took a shape, took the shape of a face and a person and it leaned closer and closer.

And he didn't smell like blood, he smelled like women and cigarette smoke and beer and warmth and rain, like worn clothes and the lingering scent of perfume and some sort of cheap, supermarket brand soap.

And so it didn't smell like mud and blood anymore, he couldn't smell the insides of him that were pouring out into the dirt, he couldn't feel the pain, because all he could smell were things like home, wonderful wonderful things like home, and he took in a deep breath, and he smiled.

--Only it wasn't like that. Because then he had woken up warm.

Here, he had woken up just as cold, and he thought that if he moved the wrong way, he might crack into a thousand pieces and break apart.

He sank down into his bed gingerly, wincing as pain shot through his thighs and up his spine. It ached to think, it ached to move, it ached to breathe -- it ached to simply be. He buried his face in his hands and realized he'd have to go back into that room to get his clothes, to get his monocle again. With a deep, empty, weary sigh he brought his knees up to his chest, resting his forehead lightly against them.

Slam. Crash.

"Oi! Hakkai!?" Hakkai felt his body go rigid as the familiar voice cried out his name, as the sound of the door slamming open and bashing into the wall rang out through the air.

Gojyou was back.

Gojyou was going to wake Sanzou.

Gojyou was going to find him like this.

"Hakkai?!" That voice rang out again, closer this time. He was going to wake Sanzou, he was going to come closer, he was going to find him, like this, and--

--and the door to his own room slammed open and Gojyou just froze there. Hakkai squeezed his eyes shut and tensed, even as his aching body screamed out in protest against the tightening of his muscles.

"...Ha...kkai..." The kappa whispered, standing in the doorway. Even though his eyes were closed, the brunette turned his face away. In shame. In fear.

In defeat.

"...gomen nasai," he said, after a moment, painfully aware of the hollow, empty ringing to the tone of his voice. He could feel his lips curve up into that smile -- and it was then that he heard the door slam shut, could feel the vibration crash through his defiled body.

So Gojyou hated him, and Hakkai would allow it. Would welcome it. Because of how he hated himself.