Disclaimer: This fanwork is based on characters and situations created and owned by Minekura kazuya. No copyright infringement intended or implied, no profit made.

Wasn't far now. Just a half-block, and he'd be there, and then this would all be over, and why the fuck was he so damned nervous?

He pulled the last drag from his smoke and dropped the butt to the ground, crushing it under his toe. Okay, Gojyo, just calm the fuck down. It's not some blind date, right? You've known each other for almost a year, and it's not like you don't know you like each other. So. Get your shit together and finish the walk, yeah? Yeah. With that little boost and completely undiminished butterflies in his stomach, Gojyo took the first step down the longest half-block of sidewalk ever laid.

It was a couple of hours earlier than he usually turned up, and though his shadow was long on the ground, it was still bright and warm. The light scent of flowers on the breeze bolstered Gojyo's spirits a little as he approached the little front yard of the little house he'd come to visit. Yeah...late-summer evening with a bit of perfume in the air...it was like even nature was on his side. He'd taken care to put himself together just right - new black jeans and a loose burgundy silk shirt that had gotten him a number from the salesgirl, long red hair pulled into a low ponytail - not leaving anything to chance.

Gojyo stopped to open the latch on the low gate that led into the yard, taking a long, deep breath to settle the fluttering in his gut as he closed it behind him. This was it, then. Just a few more seconds, and he'd be there, face-to-face with the most exciting and outright goddamned terrifying thing he'd ever done. Quick strides took him to the front step, and he paused for a moment to settle himself, checking the drape of his shirt and running careful hands over his hair before he raised his arm to knock.

No, really, Gojyo. Knock. Don't just stand there like an idiot with your arm in the air, fucking knock.

The sharp sound of his knuckles rapping against the wood seemed too loud, echoing in his ears with the thump of his heartbeat. In all his years of dealing with this shit, he'd never been so fucking nervous before. Okay, so they were still pretty short years, but he'd packed a lot into them, and nothing like this had ever happened to him. Which, he figured, was exactly the point.

It felt like forever before he heard steps on the other side of the door, and then the quiet schick-click of the deadbolt sliding back. His stomach flipped hard, and he sucked in a shaking breath to steady himself as the door swung open and time ran out.

Hakkai was smiling at him. No matter how many times he'd seen it, that smile glowed like a coal in Gojyo's belly, warming him from the inside out. The small flash of surprise and spark of appreciation in Hakkai's green eyes as he looked Gojyo over went a long way to soothing his nerves, and he felt his shoulders fall a little as some of his tension drained away. Maybe he really didn't have anything to worry about.

"Good evening, Gojyo," Hakkai greeted, stepping back a little and pulling the door open a bit more, "Come in, please."

Gojyo tried to grin as he stepped over the threshold, but he couldn't quite find it from where he stood, and it wound up being a much softer expression. He gave a mental shrug and went with it; this was Hakkai, after all, and he'd seen just about every side Gojyo had. "Hey," he returned, inwardly rolling his eyes at himself. Instead of moving to take his shoes off as usual, Gojyo turned to face Hakkai, shoving one hand in his pocket and clenching it hard to keep himself steady. "Um...you busy?"

Hakkai closed the door gently, tilting his head and giving Gojyo a puzzled look. "Oh...not really, no. I was just about to head for the shower...would you like me to fetch you some snacks first?"

Concentrated on his task, most of what Hakkai said sailed right past Gojyo, who nodded anyway. "Shower, right..." he mumbled, then hauled his brain together enough to focus on Hakkai again. "Have you eaten yet?" Fantastic. Witness the smooth that is Sha Gojyo, ladies and gentlemen. Fuck.

"I only got home a few minutes ago," Hakkai said with a small shake of his head, his brows drawing together. "Is something the matter, Gojyo?"

Gojyo heaved a sigh of relief at the answer, a bit more of his nervousness disappearing. Wouldn't have done him much good if he'd gotten there too late...which, he reminded himself, was why he'd come early. It was a good thing he'd planned all this shit out days ago, or he'd be making a total ass of himself by now. Also, he noticed, he was freaking Hakkai out. That was enough to settle him a bit, and this time when he called up his grin, it showed. "Nah," he answered with a half-shrug, "nothing wrong. I'm taking you out for dinner." His stomach tightened up again, lightning-fast, and it was all he could do to keep it from showing as he waited.

Hakkai froze visibly for a second, and Gojyo's breath tried to stop. "...Out to dinner?" Hakkai parroted, as if the words didn't make sense. Well, that wasn't a good fucking sign.

Nodding tightly, Gojyo ploughed on, "Yup. Out for dinner. You and me. With food that's not here." He watched Hakkai carefully, his confidence shaken. He'd figured Hakkai would be surprised, but this reaction seemed...odd.

"I-" Hakkai started, swallowed, and then took a breath. The smile he offered didn't make it anywhere near his eyes, and Gojyo stiffened. "I'm afraid I can't." The tone reached for light, but didn't quite get there, like the smile. "Perhaps we can order something in?"

Gojyo's eyes narrowed, Hakkai's tension obvious to him after all the time they'd spent together, and part of him bristled at the idea that Hakkai thought he wouldn't see it. "Nope, sorry. I'm taking you out, Hakkai." The next words caught in his throat briefly, before he managed to shove them out. "...Like a date." Hakkai's smile faded.

The swallow this time was audible, almost loud in the single second of silence that stretched Gojyo's nerves nearly to snapping before Hakkai spoke again. "I don't think that would be appropriate for tonight," he said softly, the minute catch in his voice borne out by the small smile as he stepped closer to Gojyo.

That tiny little smile that softened Hakkai's mouth and showed the not-quite-dimple on his left cheek and invariably turned Gojyo's knees to jelly. He stiffened as Hakkai moved closer, willing himself not to be distracted by the smooth expanse of throat exposed by the inviting tilt of Hakkai's head, needing to keep his wits. Where the hell had this gone off the rails? He'd expected something...not this. Hakkai wasn't surprised, he was resisting, and shit,this wasn't going right at all, and what the fuck was that about, anyway? Clenching his jaw, Gojyo took a long, slow breath. "Yeah?" he returned quietly, "How come?"

Gojyo exhaled slowly, the familiar flutter of desire curling in his stomach already as Hakkai placed a soft kiss against his jaw. "Well, I did have other plans for us tonight," Hakkai purred, giving Gojyo a sidelong look from underneath his lashes. Damn him. As soft and precise as Hakkai's words were, Gojyo heard all the things they weren't quite saying, all the dirty little promises they didn't quite make, and fuck, he was weak enough to consider dropping the whole thing to drag Hakkai into the bedroom and fuck him senseless. And Hakkai knew it. There was a reason he was holding back, and Gojyo wanted - needed - to know what it was.

"Yeah, well," Gojyo ground out tightly, "I'm early, so I'm sure we can manage both."

"I could persuade you," Hakkai breathed, and Gojyo's eyes slipped shut, his lips parting slightly as Hakkai pressed another kiss to the corner of his mouth. And this was it, wasn't it, the whole reason he was here like this. After almost a year, Hakkai could still do this to him, the scent and feel and taste of him intoxicating, destroying Gojyo's defenses and taking him over. Even with comfort and long nights in front of the TV and stupid little arguments and touching the same body time after time after time, all it took was one little kiss, a look, that tone in Hakkai's voice to make him fucking crave.

Pulling back just quickly enough to get his point across, Gojyo shoved his body's reaction down and gagged the part of his mind that wheedled at him that this really wasn't all that necessary, and maybe he should just lighten the fuck up. Because it was necessary. He was tired of pretending that he didn't want what he wanted, tired of not being able to acknowledge what he was feeling, fucking exhausted with the innuendo and keeping up fucking appearances. "Yeah, you probably could," he murmured, "but I think I'd rather know what your problem is."

Hakkai's shoulders slumped a little, and he gave up, stepping back with a sigh. "Has our arrangement been inadequate Gojyo?" he asked, finally settling to the point, and for a second, Gojyo didn't know if he was relieved or disappointed.

Swallowing hard, Gojyo took a deeper breath as Hakkai moved away, clearing his head a little now that he had room. After a moment, he opened his eyes, catching and holding Hakkai's gaze steadily. "Not a bit," he said, his voice low but firm. "That's kind of the point."

Hakkai's eyes slid away from his. "I'm sorry, Gojyo, I..." The little muscle in his jaw jumped once, and he shook his head minutely. "I'm honoured by your offer, but I can't accept it."

The words, finally and completely clear, hit Gojyo like a blow, stealing his breath. He pressed his lips together, looking up and away, searching for something, anything to hold onto. Worst case, he'd told himself, worst case, he'll say no, and you're no worse off. Except that he was. In all the times he'd imagined this, in all the ways he'd tried to prepare himself, for all his expectations...he'd never thought it would hurt like this. Never known that it could. Inside his pocket, Gojyo's nails dug into his palm. "Sure," he nearly snapped, nodding tightly. "You uh...mind telling me why that is?"

In the corner of his eye, Gojyo caught the brief glance Hakkai gave him before he dropped his gaze to the floor. "I don't feel that it...would be right of me to involve you in any deeper association." His voice dropped, hesitant when he went on, "You deserve your freedom, and I...I'm not fit to..." Hakkai trailed off, and Gojyo's patience - slowly fraying with every polite, considerate word - broke.

"Right," he growled, fixing Hakkai with a hard look. "It's fine to have me here, to spend nearly all of your time with me, to fuck me regularly," Hakkai's met Gojyo's gaze for a second, his lips parting, but Gojyo didn't particularly feel like giving him the space to speak. "...As long as you don't leave the fucking house with me."

Hakkai winced, shrinking back almost imperceptibly. "That wasn't what I intended," he said, barely more than a whisper.

Gojyo snorted, a deep, hot anger sliding in to twine around the ache in his chest. "Then what the fuck did you mean, huh?"

Flinching slightly, Hakkai paused to take a breath, visibly shaken. "I'm not fit to...be in a relationship with anyone, Gojyo. It's not just you." Gojyo gaped. Was Hakkai really giving him the It's Not You, It's Me speech? After all this time, after all the meals and talks and cards and sex, was he seriously going to pull that bullshit routine? Holy fuck. Hakkai swallowed hard, dragging his eyes back up to meet Gojyo's again. "You deserve someone who can offer you more than a...than I can."

"What-" Gojyo shook his head in utter stunned disbelief, a deep frown creasing his brow. "The fuck else do you think there is, man? It's all good as long as we don't eat somewhere else and you don't wake up beside me? It's not important, as long as you don't give me a key?" Hakkai's eyes widened as he listened, something sparking there. Opened his mouth as if to speak, and Gojyo waited a moment, huffing quietly when he closed it again. "I don't know exactly what went down with you and Kanan, but... Who the fuck do you think you're protecting?"

Hakkai shook his head again. "You don't understand," he protested, "The things I've done...you'd be better off not getting further involved with me, Gojyo. You deserve far better than such as I."

Gojyo's eyes narrowed, fury and pain snapping through him like lightning. "Oh, I understand plenty, Hakkai," he hissed, stepping in closer, pinning Hakkai with his gaze. Raised a hand to brush fingertips down Hakkai's cheek, trembling with emotion. "I understand that you're amazing," he murmured, "and gorgeous..." Gojyo stepped back and dropped his hand, his voice going flat, "...and fucking cold."

A spark of spiteful satisfaction rolled through Gojyo as Hakkai's jaw dropped, hurt flashing plainly in his eyes. He didn't wait for more, already feeling vaguely sick as he reached for the door. Yanked it open and strode out, before he lost control, or broke down, or both.

Gojyo took a long swig of his beer and pulled the last drag from his smoke, stabbing it out in the ashtray on the bar. The place was loud, crowded, exactly what he'd been looking for when he came, but it wasn't fucking working. He'd been up on the floor a few times, had a couple of interesting moments with bits of other people's bodies, but he kept coming back here, alone, to sit and let the rest of it fade out.

Fucking Hakkai. With his smile and his laugh and his cool touch...and his brittle words and razor tone and fucking scorching mouth. The guy was a fucking drug, and it was all Gojyo could do to manage to drink his way through the withdrawal. He signalled for another beer, catching another smoke between his lips as a new song started, the crunch of the guitar slamming through him as he lit it.

He'd never pushed Hakkai to tell him what had happened before he moved to the town where Gojyo lived; he'd figured if Hakkai wanted him to know, he'd tell him on his own. It wasn't like it mattered, for fuck's sake. Hakkai was Hakkai, and the idea that anything in his past was going to change that... Gojyo clenched his jaw at the thought, grabbing up the fresh bottle that had appeared in front of him and sucking back more than a third of the contents. Over the months, Gojyo had managed to pick up little bits and pieces of the story; Hakkai and his last lover, Kanan, had been somehow off-limits to each other - probably related or something, Gojyo figured - and something had happened to her. He'd speculated, but really all he knew was that Kanan was dead, it had been ugly, and Hakkai had taken revenge; the long, jagged scar on his belly gave Gojyo some idea just what kind.

And so fucking what? That was already in the past by the time he had run across Hakkai in the little bookstore where Gojyo had gone to order manuals for the garage where he worked. It was all in him when they met, and Gojyo still couldn't quite wrap his brain around how the hell it could suddenly make a difference, even if he knew all the gory details. Fact was - Gojyo ran a hand impatiently through his hair, the other tapping a cadence against the bar - fact was, Hakkai had acted like they were a couple. They both had. Meals and movies and long evenings spent making out on the couch like teenagers, and hell, half of the time Hakkai wouldn't let Gojyo go home without a packed lunch for work the next day. Right up until Gojyo wanted to admit it, of course. No matter what way he turned it, he just couldn't figure out how that wasn't exactly Hakkai said he couldn't do. It just didn't...fuck.

Gojyo ground the heel of his hand against his eye with a low growl of frustration. Swig of beer, drag of smoke, body moving automatically with the heavy thump of bass, and none of it did shit for him. He didn't even know why he was there, anymore.

Restless, the odd, familiar prickle of awareness of attention settling on him, Gojyo turned, scanning the crowd. He wasn't all that interested in dancing, even less in going with anyone for the night, but going home alone and still frustratingly sober (right now, conscious felt too sober) was the worst option by far. Besides, whoever was checking him out might just manage to change his mind, and he could lay off this bullshit loop of Hakkai in his head until morning.

Unless that was Hakkai, making his way through the throng and headed toward Gojyo with one hand raised in a hesitant wave.

Gojyo stopped dead, his breath caged in his chest as he looked again. Well holy shit. It was Hakkai, all right, and judging by the way he looked, it was no accident that he was there. Gojyo let his gaze roam slowly over Hakkai's form, taking in the tight jeans and little black leather vest he wore, well-muscled arms and shoulders uncharacteristically bared. Gorgeous green eyes caught his, framed only by long, dark lashes, without the usual addition of glasses. Fuck, he looked downright edible, and it took a force of pure will for Gojyo to stay still as he approached.

The stools on either side of Gojyo were occupied, so Hakkai stepped up beside him with a slightly uncertain little smile. Leaning in close enough to be heard without screaming, Hakkai spoke into Gojyo's ear, "I was hoping you'd be here."

Gojyo's hand tightened around his beer bottle, just managing to hold himself together as Hakkai's breath slid over his neck. "Yeah, well," he shrugged, his voice as tight as the movement, "...distraction."

Hakkai's smile faltered, his gaze flicking away for a second before he continued. "I wanted to see you again," he said, quietly enough that Gojyo saw, more than heard. Hakkai's reaction tugged at Gojyo, a barb in his chest, but he had no idea what to do with that. What the hell was Hakkai after? Three days without a single word, and here he was, showing up out of nowhere - looking like fucking dessert - and it was like swallowing razors even to look at him.

Gojyo turned back toward the bar, taking a long drag of his smoke, buying time to get himself level before he said anything else. "You're seeing me now," Gojyo returned, making an effort to sound less pissy. He turned back, looking Hakkai over again, but he had to stop. He was too close, and just too damn tempting. "So," Gojyo drawled, the edge creeping back into his voice despite his intentions, "what can I do for you, Hakkai?"

Something flickered in Hakkai's eyes, but he seemed to swallow it, that tiny inviting smile turning up again to kick Gojyo's resolve right in the teeth. "You could dance with me, if it...if you wish."

Gojyo blinked at him, opening his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. He thought about asking where the real Hakkai was, but that would be intentionally asshole, and it was obvious that Hakkai was making a pretty serious effort. Looked at him for a long moment, studying him, trying to find a clue to what the guy was thinking, but in true Hakkai style, he couldn't see a damn thing. All right, then. He nodded once, taking the last drag from his smoke before he crushed it out and slid off the stool. Still, he couldn't quite keep the edge from his voice as he answered, "Okay. What the fuck, right?" Grabbing his wrist, Gojyo headed for the dance floor, dragging Hakkai behind him. "Let's go."

He had to shake his head as a familiar 'thank you' reached his ears over the din of the music. Fucking Hakkai.

Intimately familiar with the way these things worked, Gojyo lead Hakkai to the centre of the floor. They would be closer to alone there than in any dark corner of the club, the people around them caught in their own little worlds and hardly even aware of the others they might brush against in the pound and press of music and bodies. The song was half over already, and after the first inevitable moment of awkwardness, Gojyo slipped into the rhythm, watching with some surprise as Hakkai did the same.

He'd never thought of Hakkai dancing, and even if he had, it sure as hell wouldn't have been like this. Funny how, after all the time they'd spent together, there were still things that tripped Gojyo up; he knew better than anyone that the quiet, harmless face Hakkai put on was just that - put on. Invented to keep people at a distance. The beautiful, cold countenance of an angel that made indifference feel like a blessing.

The song ended, sliding into a slower, more visceral beat with the next. Hakkai shifted with it, close but not touching, and it was all Gojyo could do not to just stop and watch him. Eyes nearly closed, the natural soft grace that Hakkai carried with him through everyday things concentrated here, his body moving in smooth, sinuous waves that called a million dirty things to Gojyo's mind. It was like this before, too, when Gojyo had discovered the difference between the sweet, soft-spoken bookstore clerk and the unabashedly sensuous creature beneath. Hakkai was ice around a molten core, a promise of paradise - if you could survive the burns.

Music and people, and Gojyo's body responding almost automatically to Hakkai's, shifting closer as the club seemed to fade out around them. The heat of flesh and the lights that strobed and tripped over the floor took their toll, and Gojyo could see the light sheen of sweat that broke out over Hakkai's skin. Minutes slipped by, unnoticed until the sound changed around them again. Closer, bodies brushing, then sliding, then pressing, and Hakkai's arm around Gojyo's neck, the scent of him mixed with warm leather, enticing as hell. Gojyo wound an arm about Hakkai's waist, pulling him in tight, held fast by impossibly green eyes as the music ceased to matter, and then just ceased. They should probably take a break, Gojyo thought distantly, but that would mean letting go, and damn it, he didn't want to.

He didn't have to, as it turned out. Hakkai shivered a little in the curve of his arm, his gaze steady if hesitant as he asked, "Gojyo...come home with me?"

Gojyo's gut twisted viciously at the request; what the fuck was he supposed to make of that? Swallowing hard against the breath that caught in his throat, he opened his mouth to ask just that, but in the end, he closed it again, nodding before he even knew he'd made a decision. This could turn out badly for him, he knew it, but he just couldn't let go, yet. "Okay," he agreed quietly, his voice lost in the swell of a new song.

Hakkai gave him a soft smile, and Gojyo had to clench his jaw against the flutter it tripped in his stomach. Stepping back a little, Hakkai tugged at him, and Gojyo, nearly undone already, followed him off the floor and out of the club.

The walk back home took much too long, even though the club wasn't too far away from Hakkai's little house. The night air was chill against his bare shoulders and arms after the oppressive heat of the club and the addictive warmth of Gojyo's skin against his, and Hakkai leaned into him a little more than was strictly necessary, his steps speeding despite his efforts to remain calm. Gojyo was (mercifully) silent beside him, although Hakkai could sense his nervousness nearly as strongly as he could feel his own.

If it had taken too long to reach his house, the lock on the front door seemed to take forever to unlock; when it did, Hakkai shepherded Gojyo in with almost unseemly haste.

Gojyo turned to look at him once they were inside. He looked almost painfully nervous, uncertain, and the wariness and resignation lurking in his eyes as he looked at Hakkai sent a pang of pain through him; that expression would have suited someone bracing for an amputation. "Hakkai," he said quietly, the word caught just short of a question. He would be fully within his rights to throw Hakkai's offer back in his face after his abominable reaction that night; perhaps that would even be the safer option for him, all things concerned. And yet the treacherously selfish part of him that had first sought Kanan's affections clamoured to accept Gojyo's, greed and the memory of the devastation in Gojyo's eyes at his rejection robbing him of the will to resist.

Hakkai swallowed hard, keeping his hands by his sides in a deliberate semblance of ease, although he knew Gojyo wouldn't be fooled. "I…I've been thinking, the last couple of days." His voice was quiet, and he addressed himself to Gojyo's eyebrow rather than risk meeting his gaze. "There are things you don't know about me...reasons I had for saying what I did, but I…" He put his hand up to stop Gojyo from speaking, certain his courage would fail if he did. "I acted out of fear - foolish fear, perhaps, but no less strong for that knowledge. I apologise for what I said to you, that night. And if you sti- if the offer is still open, I would like very much to accept it."

The eyebrow rose just a little as Gojyo's eyes widened, and Hakkai found the resolve to look at him at last, swallowing hard as he took in the hope rising in his eyes, in the shift of his posture as he consciously pushed it down. "Hakkai, are you sure? 'Cause if you're not fucking positive about this, I...I can't."

Doubt and subdued desperation, the taste of the thinly veiled hope that Gojyo carried with him like an open wound over his heart, raw and needing. Someday, he would find a way to destroy those that had torn Gojyo open, be they living or dead, but in the meantime, all he could do was heal the injury he himself had inflicted. The thought steadied him, let him hold his gaze. "I am. I want this, Gojyo." He caught himself a moment before his hand would have rested on Gojyo's cheek, not daring to touch, acutely aware that it was far, far more than he deserved. "If you still do," he added, carefully allowing him the way out that he would surely–

The tentative grin that curled Gojyo's mouth was beautiful, his shrug displaying that deliberate bravado with which he confronted everything that overwhelmed him. "I'm here, aren't I?" he said, his tone just short of light.

Hakkai gave him a small, helpless smile, touching his cheek lightly, just below the scars that sliced across them, utterly undone by the wonder of his presence and the way his eyes slid closed at the caress, how trustingly he leaned into it. "Yes, you are," he murmured, still reeling from the pure relief of that. "Gojyo…"

Gojyo leaned closer, curling his arm lightly around Hakkai's waist; the reassurance of the touch made his eyes flutter closed, his smile widen. "Hmm?" Gojyo murmured, leaning in close, the warmth of his skin irresistible as a magnet. Hakkai opened his mouth to speak before he changed his mind, kissing Gojyo instead, melting gratefully against him. Gojyo's arms around him were a blessing he couldn't have deserved, but he moved into them, ceding control of the kiss completely with a tiny whimper when Gojyo deepened it.

The sound of Gojyo's soft growl was loud in the hush of the room as he broke the kiss, tugging Hakkai's head back gently to mouth at his jaw and throat, licking a slow line up to his ear, sending shivers of sensation through his body. "God, Hakkai…I need you," and Hakkai closed his eyes, the truth in Gojyo's whisper drowning the doubts twisting through him, making him shudder with relief. He murmured Gojyo's name, unable to say anything else, his hands tangling in two handfuls of his shirt as Gojyo shivered helplessly, his breath catching audibly. A soft chuckle against his skin sent a thrill of delight down Hakkai's spine. "You want me to carry you to the bedroom, or what?"

Hakkai smiled helplessly, feeling almost weak with the contentment settling onto his skin; nuzzled idly at his neck, enjoying the scent and warmth of him. "I didn't know you were into that." He pulled back and away, just enough that he could start tugging Gojyo back towards his bedroom, consciously letting his affection show in his smile.

Gojyo returned it with an impish grin, pulling him close as he walked him carefully backwards to the bedroom. "If I get to manhandle you, fuck, yeah."

Hakkai smiled as Gojyo kissed him, letting go of his neck with one arm to tug at Gojyo's belt with practiced dexterity, letting it fall carelessly to the floor of his bedroom as they stepped inside – he spared a moment to remember to pick it up later, since Gojyo certainly wouldn't, but then Gojyo's hand was cupping his jaw, breaking the kiss as he leaned his forehead against Hakkai's. "Missed you," Gojyo murmured, and the tightening of his other arm around Hakkai's waist was purely possessive and entirely desired.

Hakkai pressed closer, skin-warmed fabric brushing his bare shoulder, the scent of Gojyo buried under cigarette smoke and alcohol, the softness of his hair when he tangled reverent fingers into it. He hadn't dared to expect this, or even hope with any fervour, and the weight of dread falling from his shoulders left him blissfully light with relief. It would be easy to remain silent in the face of that admission, smile and take while Gojyo gave and gave and gave, as he had every day since they'd met; and that, in the end, was why he chose to speak. "And I missed you," he whispered, clutching at Gojyo's shirt. "I want you." And perhaps his surrender would always be deliberate, but Gojyo would know that that did not detract from its sincerity. "Gojyo, please…"

Gojyo shivered, pulling back a little to look at him, and Hakkai exhaled a soft sound at the look in his eyes. "You've got it, babe," he whispered, and his mouth muffled any reply Hakkai might have made, stealing it from first his lips and then his mind.

His arm was tight around Hakkai's waist as he lowered him to the bed, and Hakkai let himself be moved, slid fully onto the bed, tugging impatiently at his handful of Gojyo's T-shirt, wanting it off him. Gojyo crawled up onto the bed after him, moving with the easy confidence that had first caught Hakkai's eye in the store and that still took his breath away at times, nudging him to part his legs. He straightened to pull the T-shirt off, and Hakkai's breath caught at the sight of his skin, mouth dry with need. Gojyo was studying him as well, openly hungry; Hakkai smiled, curling up from the bed, propping himself on one hand as he wrapped the other around the back of Gojyo's neck, tugging him into a slow kiss, postponing for a moment what he'd planned – and perhaps allowed himself to hope for, when he had.

The kerchief was in the pocket of his jeans, meticulously folded, and Hakkai pulled it out, nudging at Gojyo's hand where it was curling into his hair. Gojyo made a small inquiring sound into the kiss, reluctant to break it; when he did, he barely pulled away enough to look at him, humming a wordless question.

Hakkai swallowed hard, a flutter of anxiety low in his stomach. Deliberate, yes, and he would never again know how not to be; any impulsiveness in his nature had been cauterised from him, even his revenge a thing of calculated, freezing fury. But if anyone knew to look past that, it would be Gojyo, and if part of him railed against bestowing that trust, that was all the more reason to do so. "Gojyo…" he heard the tremor in his own voice, was helpless to conceal it. "Blindfold me?"

Gojyo blinked at him, taken aback. He took the kerchief from Hakkai's hand, but the tiny frown creasing his brow spoke of Questions. "…if you want," he said, gently. Carefully, as if Hakkai were the fragile one. "But, why?"

The question was easier, and his voice was steady when he replied. "I want to show you that our association wasn't less important because I dictated its terms." He let his voice grow softer, hoping Gojyo would hear the plea in it that he didn't dare voice even to himself. "I want to show you I'm yours."

Gojyo sucked in a sharp breath, hand closing tight around the kerchief in his palm. "Okay," he said quietly, his voice steady, but he was trembling faintly when he pressed a gentle, brief kiss to Hakkai's mouth. Hakkai curled his hand in his hair in silent reassurance, revelling in the care in Gojyo's caresses as he shifted closer to him, content to let him take the lead.

Gojyo pressed back into Hakkai's hand as he settled back on his heels, deftly folding the cloth into a blindfold, watching it carefully as he spoke. "You know...you never asked me about anything before we met. I always felt like it didn't matter how bad I might have been... 'cause the past is the past." He glanced up at Hakkai for a moment, tentative, before his gaze dropped again. "Right?"

As if whatever Gojyo had done could be as evil as Hakkai's actions. "Yes, but…"

Gojyo shook his head, pressing his lips together. "No." The certainty in his voice was stunning, cutting through Hakkai's objections easily. He lifted the blindfold to Hakkai's eyes, and Hakkai closed them, let Gojyo tie the cloth into a knot, ignoring the shiver that raced down his spine. "No buts, Hakkai. If I get a second chance…" warm, callused hands stroking the curves of his neck and shoulders, Gojyo's lips pressing against his own in the softest caress, taking his breath away with their devastating tenderness. "Then so do you."

A soft moan that Hakkai vaguely realised was his own, and he wrapped his arms tightly around Gojyo, anchoring himself with the familiar feel of his skin as he kissed him again, harder, pulling Gojyo back down with him to the mattress.

Gojyo made a soft sound of relief, following him down, and Hakkai closed his eyes tighter behind the blindfold as he strained towards him, whimpering softly into the kiss. Gojyo's hands slid over his collarbone, unfastening his vest with skilled fingers as he pressed kisses and nips along Hakkai's jaw and throat, tiny alluring caresses that made him shiver and squirm. The flick of Gojyo's tongue against the base of his throat tugged a tiny whimper from him, and he wound his hand into thick hair, the other pressing against the sweat-damp back of his neck, not to guide, as he so often had, but merely to savour the feel of him, the attentions he lavished on him. The slide of his hand over the newly-bared skin of Hakkai's chest, his mouth on Hakkai's throat, the delicious friction as their hips ground together, Gojyo's finger dragging lightly against his nipple before his tongue followed… "Gojyo," he murmured, hoping his voice could convey a tenth of the need welling up in him. "Please, hurry." He added a little incentive, then - just a little - writhing under him in the way he knew Gojyo liked, rewarded by a low moan.

He knew from his hand in his hair that Gojyo was shifting, but the slow, wet lick to his nipple was as welcome as the kiss he pressed to it. "I don't think so." Teeth on his side, and Hakkai hissed, wriggling away instinctively. "After all, you're mine, right?"

Hakkai exhaled a soft agreement, tugging at his hair; he wanted that mouth back where it belonged, licking and nipping at his own. "Mmhm," Gojyo purred, licking at his navel, exactly as if he understood and didn't want to, and oh, he was opening Hakkai's jeans with his teeth, now. "And that means I get to do whatever I want with you, doesn't it?"

The words sent a strange little shiver through him, something like fear edged with pleasure. "Yes," he whispered.

Gojyo hummed approval as he slid Hakkai's zipper open, nudging denim aside to kiss him just below the waistline, where he knew it would make Hakkai shiver. "And what I want, Hakkai, is to make you moan…" shift of cloth over skin, Gojyo's mouth on first one hip and then the other as he spoke, "and squirm...and beg." Silky hair whispered over his skin in the most delicious tease imaginable and Hakkai made a soft sound of need, straining up against him. "I want to make you mine."

"I am," Hakkai whispered, his hand tightening in Gojyo's hair. He shifted obligingly as Gojyo pulled his pants down his thighs and slid away to strip him fully.

"And you're gonna know it." Gojyo's voice was utterly sure and just a little evil; Hakkai let out a shuddering breath, squeezing his eyes tighter shut behind the blindfold, missing the warmth of Gojyo's skin already. He could hear the soft rustling of clothes hitting the floor, and then Gojyo's fingers were on his ankles, trailing up over knees, thighs, brushing teasingly close to his sex, drawing his focus and what felt like every nerve in his body to them. He pressed into Gojyo's touch with a muffled moan, squirming a little.

Gojyo leaned over him, kissing him slow and deep, their bodies barely brushing, and Hakkai wrapped himself around him, returning his kiss eagerly as he caressed Gojyo's stomach and chest, letting himself relearn the texture of his skin in this new way. Gojyo shivered and rolled his hips against him, a groan pressed to Hakkai's jaw as his mouth wandered up to his ear.

"Gojyo," Hakkai whispered, shifting to cradle Gojyo between his legs, openly pleading. Gojyo licked at the skin just behind his ear, making him shudder ticklishly, and then he was gone again; scrabbling sounds near the nightstand to Hakkai's left indicated his purpose. Hakkai's lips curled in a tiny smile, and he wriggled deliberately against Gojyo, enjoying his soft hum of pleasure.

Gojyo slid his hands up Hakkai's arms, pushing up and out in a gentle demand that Hakkai obeyed, brushing Gojyo's cheek with one hand before he raised them over his head, smiling at the weight of Gojyo's gaze on him. "Fuck, you're beautiful," Gojyo breathed reverently, and his mouth was back on Hakkai's, his fingers curling around his wrists, tugging across and down until they were crossed tightly behind Hakkai's head. It left him bound, and feeling strangely vulnerable. Strange, because he knew it would take only a thought to break out of it, and yet he couldn't – wouldn't. It arched his back, bared his body and left him hopelessly exposed to Gojyo's sight. Not being able to return the regard only made it worse, made him squirm, made him wish for a way to cover himself from chill air and hot gaze while knowing perfectly well there was, and he wouldn't.

Hakkai made a soft sound of satisfaction, twisting to press closer to Gojyo, nibbling happily at Gojyo's jaw before Gojyo ducked his head to nip at his throat, drag his mouth down it. He knew every last one of Hakkai's weak spots by now and he exploited the knowledge shamelessly, the maddening friction of their arousals rubbing together adding to the pleasure, quickening his breath. Down over Hakkai's chest, long hair and warm breath sliding over his skin, and then that wonderful, wicked mouth on his nipple, sucking and licking; Hakkai arched into it with a soft cry, his head falling back.

Gojyo squeezed Hakkai's wrists in a reminder not to move, before skating his fingers down his arms, drawing helpless shivers from Hakkai as they moved from arms to ribs to sides, over his hip, the curve of his ass, leaving his skin hyperaware and tingling in their wake, exactly as Gojyo wanted. Pulled Hakkai's leg in, tight against himself, mouth wandering down Hakkai's body again despite his protesting whimper.

The light press of lips to the sensitive skin of his scar was a shock – Gojyo had always known to avoid it before, without even requiring Hakkai to warn him about it – and Hakkai froze, waiting for the memories to begin clawing at him as they did whenever his own hand brushed over it, the cold and ugly filth that festered in his flesh and stained his soul. Nothing happened; there was a brief stab of pain, as if Gojyo had kissed a half-healed wound, and then he could exhale again, relax as Gojyo moved down to his hip, whispering his name in pure relief.

The sound of the lubricant's cap popping open was loud in the hush of the room; Hakkai hummed softly in pleasure, letting himself go again, satisfied that – for now, at least – he was safe from everything not Gojyo. Who was currently licking and kissing the juncture of his leg, where he knew it would make Hakkai squirm and work not to move into his mouth, or guide him where he was hard and aching for him. His sound of protest turned into a plea as it left his throat, Gojyo's name broken with a moan, the fingers that pressed delicately, deliberately carefully to his entrance far from enough to satisfy while stoking his need for more.

Then the tip of Gojyo's tongue was sliding up his length, flicking over the head, drawing a wave of pure pleasure in its wake – Hakkai cried out, back arching as he tried to rise into the touch through the shivers that raced through him. "Please," he breathed, feeling more of the self-control he'd clung to slip through his fingers.

Gojyo shuddered against him, the tremor clear where his body was touching Hakkai's leg. "Hmm?"

Those fingers pressed harder to Hakkai's entrance, not quite enough to penetrate, and he couldn't help rocking back, or the whimper that escaped him when he did. He swallowed hard, his voice barely audible. "I need you." Gojyo exhaled shakily, still trembling, and it required a supreme effort of will not to reach for him, to soothe and press and ground himself against Gojyo's solid warmth.

Gojyo ducked his head again, sheathing Hakkai's length in his mouth in one swift movement, pushing the tips of his fingers into him at the same time, and whatever coherence Hakkai had managed to retain so far fled, leaving him moaning and shaking with the effort of not thrusting into his mouth, utterly undone by the warring sensations. He knew he was writhing, could feel Gojyo's mouth move on him in a slow rhythm, but it felt distant for a moment, almost as if he was dizzy, or falling backwards. Gojyo groaned around his cock, thrusting gently into him with the full length of both fingers, the other hand skating over Hakkai's body to tease a peaked nipple. Hakkai could barely hear his own moans over his gasping breaths and the roar of his pulse in his ears, the sensation edging towards too much.

Then Gojyo pulled that wonderful, wonderful mouth off him, and Hakkai changed his mind abruptly, deciding that it was, in fact, not enough, registering his displeasure with an emphatic moan. He could feel Gojyo's weight shift and strained up against him, writhing under his touch, the brief sting and slow stretch of another finger in him making his breath catch hard. He tilted his head back invitingly and Gojyo bit at his throat, the dull pain of his teeth in skin accentuated by the vibration of Hakkai's moan.

Kisses up his jaw and cheek, quick flicks of tongue between them. "Tell me what you want, Hakkai." Right above his mouth, Gojyo was right there; Hakkai didn't know how he managed not to simply press up into his mouth as every fibre of his body cried out to. He wanted closer, wanted more, harder, deeper, until Gojyo had torn every word from him that Hakkai could never have said.

"I want you," he whispered, had to swallow before he continued. "In me. Please, Gojyo…"

Gojyo kissed him then, soft helpless sounds caught between their mouths. Stroked his prostate, and the burst of sensation from that left Hakkai reeling, crying out desperately for Gojyo, senses clouded with pleasure. Then the feeling of cold air on his skin, Gojyo moving away, and Hakkai was left adrift, unbearably exposed without his touch; he rocked against him, ears straining to catch the faintest sound. The sounds of the cap being popped, of Gojyo stroking himself… it was all strangely clear to him, even through the haze of lust that surrounded him.

Gojyo's fingers slid out of him, and Hakkai hissed, squirming against him. "Ready?" Gojyo breathed, the desire in his voice palpable.

Hakkai exhaled shakily, lifting his feet off the mattress in a gesture that combined plea with demand. "Please…"

Pressure, heat, the sheer satisfaction of Gojyo inside at last. Hakkai groaned, the sound echoed by Gojyo, the deep moan he knew so well. It hurt not to reach for him; Hakkai whined low in his throat, arching against him, pressing skin to skin in an effort to still his tremors. Gojyo kissed him again, sweet relief, rolling his hips in a deep, deliberate thrust that hit the spot just right, and it was too much, all of it, too pleasurable and too intense to bear. Hakkai slumped back onto the bed, almost shaking with relief, giving over control of the kiss entirely as he rocked gently back against him with a pleading whimper.

Gojyo moaned softly, pressing lightly against Hakkai's body with the length of his own, hands cupping his arms just above his elbows, trapping him again as he settled into a deep steady rhythm. The helplessness of the position struck home again, making him tremble once more and struggle to get closer. Gojyo was nipping at his jaw now, and Hakkai murmured his name, a whispered plea trailing off into a sigh at the naked affection in Gojyo's every touch.

A low moan gasped against his throat, hips rolling smoothly against him, tongue on his ear and Gojyo's arms holding him down tighter as he tried instinctively to break free and reach for him…the sensations blurred together in a blissful haze, and he writhed against Gojyo demandingly, letting his sounds of pleasure grow louder. It would take less than a thought to break away, stroke himself for the little while it would take to climax – Hakkai was far stronger than Gojyo and they were both well aware of it – but the pleasure and freedom of being controlled like this was strangely addictive to him, letting him sink into it and love the drowning.

Gojyo exhaled a shuddering breath against the collarbone he'd been nibbling at and pulled away to give the corner of Hakkai's mouth an almost playful lick, making his smile widen. Lifted himself, letting go of Hakkai's arm with one hand to grip his hip instead. Hakkai squirmed under him, the tease of Gojyo's hand so close to his arousal far too cruel. "Gojyo, please…" he was begging now, unashamedly, and it felt good. "Touch me…"

Gojyo shuddered roughly against him, a helpless sound of need cut off halfway when he kissed Hakkai; then his hand was curling around Hakkai's cock, stroking him in a gradually increasing rhythm. Hakkai bucked wantonly into his hand, moaning into his mouth, showing Gojyo how much he needed, anything that would keep him from teasing him more. Nipped at that lovely, generous mouth as he rocked back against Gojyo, rewarded with faster, harder thrusts, exactly the way he wanted, the slick slide of Gojyo's hand on his length quickening, driving him towards the edge. "Hakkai…" Gojyo's voice shook, the need in it razing Hakkai, making his breath stutter. "You belong with me."

Hakkai nodded a little, his lips parting as he took an unsteady breath. "Yes," he whispered, freed and bound at once by the admission, his desire to hold the position Gojyo wanted swept away under the building pleasure. Gojyo licked and nipped at his mouth, humming approval when Hakkai curled a hand around the back of his neck. Hakkai's moan was a sound of pure relief as he moved against him demandingly, matching Gojyo's quickening thrusts with his own, the press of Gojyo's hand to his jaw reassuring, grounding, while his other devoted itself to driving Hakkai completely insane.

Hakkai whimpered desperately into Gojyo's mouth, the frantic edge to their movements tugging at him, driving him relentlessly forward. He was shaking now, utterly beyond words, all the need and want and love he wanted to say caught in his throat, and he poured it all into the kiss, hoping desperately that Gojyo would understand.

Gojyo broke the kiss with a moan, rocking hard and deep into Hakkai's body as he pressed their foreheads together, sweat-damp skin catching on smooth fabric; the press reminded him, teased him, drove him quivering to the edge. "Hakkai…show me…" The words were almost a gasp, a tremor racing through both of them, the edge of command sharpening Gojyo's voice as surely as the need to push them both over. "Come for me."

The command raced through his nerves like fire, and Hakkai cried out, Gojyo's gaze on him palpable, the weight of it pushing him over the edge as hard as the desperation in his voice. It hit him almost as a shock; he bucked desperately against Gojyo as he came over his hand, pushing his head back into the mattress to anchor himself through the waves of pleasure that wracked his body, made his breath catch in his throat. Gojyo's thrusts into him deepened the sensations, drawing them out, and helpless sounds escaped Hakkai as he rocked through his climax.

A low, choked-off groan, and Gojyo buried his face in Hakkai's neck with a whimper, driving into him hard as he came, biting down on Hakkai's throat; the pain edged the final shocks of Hakkai's own climax, making him shudder and moan against him. He wrapped his arms and legs tightly around Gojyo, cradling him close, rocking back eagerly against him, a vicious surge of satisfaction racing through him. The blindfold only took a second to slip up and off, and then he could return his arm to Gojyo's back, drinking in his expression, the openness in his eyes.

Gojyo melted gratefully into his embrace as his pleasure ebbed, still breathing hard, making the skin on Hakkai's neck tingle. He stroked soothing lines down his spine, feeling Gojyo shiver under it, enjoying the smooth, strong muscles there, the way Gojyo's mouth trailed up his jaw to his mouth, letting his eyes flutter closed again.

Gojyo kissed him slow and tender, carving so deep into him it almost hurt all over again. The moment felt as fragile as he did, but the soft, uncertain smile on Gojyo's face needed reassurance even if he wouldn't be bold enough to demand it. Hakkai brushed Gojyo's hair back from his face, and left his hand there, petting his hair gently. Whatever door Gojyo had nudged open with hopeful eyes and talented hands had slipped almost closed again, sealing Hakkai's throat with the knowledge of all the things he couldn't be sure of and didn't dare say, but he could do this much at least. "I made you a key," he said softly.

Gojyo blinked at him for a moment, and then his smile widened into an entirely pleased grin, his body relaxing palpably. Strong arms wrapped around Hakkai, gathering him close, and he found with some surprise that the vague ache that had accompanied Gojyo's hugs in the past had melted, just a little. "I'll take it," Gojyo said, voice low and easy, warm as the sun rising, and Hakkai smiled into the kiss that followed.