Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between
Yeah, baby :P Thus it starts! My series of one-shots – like I promised. And, boy, am I excited!
First of all: THANK YOU to everybody who reviewed and/or favourited my debut-story 'The Sweetest Gift' :) I am so happy! It's you guys' fault that I now continue with 'HHEB' as I hereby dub it…
These stories will all have different genres, lengths and pairings. But romance will be an almost constant factor of whatever my brain decides to spew onto you, so… beware?
Title: The Lake, the Tree, and the Harpist
Title: The Lake, the Tree, and the Harpist
Pairing(s): Goh/Shin (!), Goh/Gai and Yuda/Shin (kind of)
Warnings: Non-betaed, Non-CANON pairing (omzg!), Non-consensual feelings, Angst
A/N: Sooo.. Let me explain the pairings, shall I? Well, the first Saint Beast I ever watched was the OVA (kind of stumbled over it on the internet) and, yeah, as I wrote to Neko-chan recently, the OVA might as well have been written into one giant orgy. EVERYBODY flirted with everybody :3 Heeh, and I watched the scene with Goh, Gai and Shin, and I was like: omg-so-cute-they'll-couple-up-soon… Heeh, you guys know who ends up with each other, and so do I now. But, hey, I'm still a die-hard Yuda/Shin-fangirl (love them), but I still adore Goh and Shin moments: BOTH romance and brother-moments. Come on, Goh's a little cute! Overprotective and all.
This one-shot can be considered to happen in the 'Sweetest Gift'-universe (is there such a thing?) but it's not necessary to read it first.
ENOUGH rambling - here we go… My brain won't give me any rest before I've posted it. Please try and enjoy x'D
There was a lake, a tree, and a harpist.
Goh was surprised to find that his and Gai's favourite swimming-place in a matter of seconds had transformed into a young musician's secret escape of inspiration and calm. The lakeside had always before been laughter and noise, Gai laughing and tackling him into the water. Now a serene silence had settled over the place, the beautiful angel relaxed with his newly-made instrument in hands.
"I've seen you before…"
Goh remembered striking blue hair and a slender body with a regal posture. Zeus' temple.
"I remember you too," a nice voice. Soft. "My name is Shin."
The smaller of the three, Gai, hadn't been thrilled about the interruption in his and Goh's plan to train and swim together. Goh remembered being a little angry at Gai for interrupting him when he tried to compliment the harpists' looks. Shin had been amused.
Goh arranged a meeting in his house. Originally Shin was the only one he wanted to come visit, but Gai insisted that he wanted to come too:
"Hey, I wanna hear this guy's music, too! Don't be so unfair, Goh!"
Goh didn't think he was being unfair. He only wanted to be alone with the musician for a while, talk a little with him about casualties, hopefully be allowed to look directly into those mesmerizing amber-coloured eyes in silence a little longer than was considered appropriate for friends.
In the end both Gai and Shin came, the latter with his finished harp wrapped securely in a silken cloth.
All had sat in silence, while nimble fingers had strummed at the strings of the wooden instrument. The music was just as wonderful as the angel that created it. Goh was overwhelmed with joy, pride, and a strong sense of want.
Shin invited them to dinner the next evening. Goh made sure he was well-dressed in one of his finer robes, one that he rarely wore. Gai mumbled to him with a dazed look, maybe a little hurt slipped in, too, that he looked good. Goh patted his blonde friend's shoulder and tugged him along.
Goh and Gai met Shin's childhood friend that evening. A pretty, lavender-haired angel named Rei, who was both a little bossy (mother-hen syndrome, Gai decided out-loud) and easily flustered. Gai could never resist teasing a person like Rei, to both Shin's and Goh's amusement.
Goh learned that day that Shin couldn't cook. Luckily the young musician was aware of this and merely laughed at the looks he got for his home-baked bread. Goh hadn't even been able to tell that it was bread.
"Relax, friends," he smiled. "Rei's been cooking like crazy since I invited him and his food is very good, unlike mine; excellent even."
"Oh, Shin," Rei blushed. "Don't say that…"
"We'll get it from my kitchen. Just a minute." With that Shin and Rei went and retrieved some of the most delicious-tasting food Goh had ever tasted. During dinner Gai made sure that their goblets were continuously filled with sweet fruit-wine. The mood was pleasant and conversation was easy.
Unfortunately it was difficult to talk one-on-one with Shin, compliment him for a well-planned evening and the gorgeous music he had provided them with. It appeared that Rei had encountered a long-time crush that day and he was excitingly telling Shin every detail of their meeting again and again. Shin seemed very happy for him.
Goh only accomplished to embrace the blue-haired angel briefly before carrying his sleeping, cat-loving friend home. Gai snored drunkenly all the way.
Goh finally managed to meet with Shin alone. It happened at the market-place.
"Shin! Hey!" Goh waved as he approached the distracted angel. Shin was carrying a heavy-looking basket full of books.
"Oh, good-morning Goh," Shin smiled. "Have you been out training this early?"
"No, no. I discovered a group of kids near the Holy Forest by accident and I followed them home. They were about to sneak in," Goh shuddered lightly. "To think what could have happened to them in there…"
Goh trailed off while Shin smiled fondly at him. Goh liked that.
"That is so like you, my friend," he praised, a little snicker escaped him, as well. Goh nearly flushed in pleasure, wanted to embrace the other again. He settled for following Shin down the path by the river-bank.
"Your basket looks heavy," Goh remarked. "Do you want me to carry it for a while?"
"No need to coddle me, Goh," the other sighed but smiled. "I always buy more books than I can normally manage. I am used to it by now."
"I would never mind helping you carry your burdens, Shin," Goh sighed, his longing just about to sneak into his voice.
Shin slowed his pace and looked puzzled at his brown-haired companion, almost like he was suddenly trying to see into him, studying him so that he could understand the meaning of his friend's behaviour.
"Thank you, Goh," Shin smiled, still looking a little puzzled. But nothing more happened as the musician walked on. Even then he carried the books by himself.
Goh nearly sighed some unholy words, but calmed himself. He failed to see how the harpist couldn't see his intentions, could not hear them in every praise and compliment. It seemed that one had to be very direct when courting Shin.
Good thing that the annual Holy Lunar-Eclipse Festival was coming up next week.
The Holy Lunar-Eclipse Festival wasn't the most famous or extravagant gathering of angels in Heaven, but it was the only time a year that the wine barrels would run dry. No matter how grand the amounts of beverages they were provided with, it was all gone by sunrise.
Needless to say, the Holy Lunar-Eclipse Festival was the only event that could truly compare to what the humans would call a 'boozy night out'.
Goh sat with Gai, the blonde already talking incoherently about their youth.
"Y-you know, Gzoh… I r-really missh the o-old dayz… Justh you'n me, Gzoh…"
Goh nodded absent-mindedly, looking around for a glimpse of blue hair. He had already seen Rei, unsteady on his feet, leaning against a content-looking angel with long white hair and piercing eyes. The way they had clung to each other had been quite discreet for two drunken angels, but Goh was still mildly sober and noticed immediately. While it was sweet and Goh was happy for them, it also reminded him of his goal of the night. He drained his goblet and made to rise.
A hand suddenly clutched his sleeve, clawed clumsily at him; desperately. Goh looked at Gai in surprise.
"… p-please don'tc go to h-him t-tonight, Gzoh," the smaller angel pleaded, eyes shining. "… st-stay here withz m-me…"
Goh tried to think of something to say, but was saved the trouble when Gai's head hit the table. He was snoring. The hand that had held onto him so needily lay limply by his golden locks.
The brown-haired angel felt awful. Awful for making his childhood friend so anxious for… - Reasons he wasn't ready to face yet. He didn't want to explore the deeper feelings Gai held for him, didn't want to think of it, didn't want to.
But a familiar face in the crowd had Goh leaving his sleeping friend at their table. Later. He would confront Gai later. Right now he had to claim something he wanted.
Shin smiled at Goh, but indicated with a worried nod of his head at Gai that he had seen the blonde 'collapse'. Goh shook his head.
"Asleep. He's fine," he replied shortly to the wordless question, pulling the musician gently by the arm towards the wine barrels.
"Oh, if you're sure…" Shin's voice was a little breathless, the only thing that gave away that he had had a little to drink. Goh offered him more, a glass of sweet fruit-wine that he knew Shin preferred.
"Goh, oh, I can't," the musician smiled, shaking his head, laughing softly at Goh's insistent hands that tried to make him grab the goblet. "I have musical lessons tomorrow, it would be unwise."
"Of course you can," Goh nearly growled, words slurring. "Your music's wonderful no matter how much wine you consume. Think of it as inspiration."
Shin giggled, took the goblet from the rough, yet gentle hand and put it at the table. Goh protested.
"It's inspiration! You must drink it."
"My friend, inspiration comes from experiencing the people I know and the feelings I carry inside," Shin smiled, not realizing how Goh translated those words.
Now or never.
"Do I inspire you?" Goh asked, voice a little hoarse. Shin's amused expression faltered a little.
"I- of course, my friend, bu-"
"Do your feelings for me inspire you?" Goh pressed his hip lightly against Shin's, the innuendo of the body-contact unmistakable. The smaller of the two tried to pull away, shock evident in his beautiful face. "Can I make you create wonderful music? Can I be there to hear it, always?"
"Goh! I- wait, no, my friend, my brother, you've had too much to drin-"
"Shin, you're one of a kind," Goh grasped Shin's arm, pulled him closer. "By Zeus, I've never before felt-"
"My brother, shush, p-please be quiet." The amber-eyed angel all but begged him to stop confessing. Nobody was looking, fortunately; the noise of the chatting and cheering deafening the small scene between the two angels by the wine barrels.
"Won't you let me kiss you? Just once?" Goh tried, letting all his adoration shine through his voice and his eyes. The other stilled for a moment. Then his spirit soared as Shin heart-brokenly pulled him away from the festivities, away from any curious eyes that might be watching.
Hidden by the trees of the forest they faced each other. Goh didn't understand the sadness in Shin's eyes.
"Alright, Goh. You may kiss me," Shin whispered, while his cheekbones heated up a little. Goh rested his hands on Shin's waist, wanting but still hesitating. Shin wasn't supposed to be sad.
"But you may only kiss me like a brother."
Goh felt his world shatter. Sober and refused, hands frozen on Shin's lithe waist, he stared into the harpist's eyes, hoping that he could wake up from the nightmare he was standing in.
Every dream and fantasy of his future with the angel in his hands, shattered. No bitter feelings, just an overwhelming mist of sadness settled over them.
Goh leaned in, pressed his lips to Shin's for-head, waited for Shin to change his mind, prayed for Shin's heart to reconsider. Nothing. Shattered.
"My heart wants you like a friend," Shin whispered sadly. "I'm so sorry. I didn't know you-"
"It's okay," Goh said quietly, his voice surprisingly steady. "It's not your fault. I am… so horribly sorry for overwhelming you back at the party."
"Don't be, my frien-," Shin bit his lip, looking at the ground by their feet. "I understand if you wish of me to leave you alone now. I'll respect your request if you wish to make it."
No. The thought of Shin walking away now was horrible. Things would never be good between them again if the harpist left, of that Goh was certain.
"If I ask you to stay, as my friend, can you forgive me for my mistakes? Can you still look me in the eyes?" Goh felt Shin put his arms around his chest. A hug, what friends did.
"Of course, Goh, of course."
They held each other. The party could still be heard from not that far away, happily chatting angels and merry music. Laughter.
"You may go back to your friend, Rei, if you wish?" Goh offered, though he'd rather Shin stayed. "Things will still be the same in the morning. We'll be okay."
"I want to stay here a little longer," Shin said quietly. "I feel safe."
"I'll always be here to protect you, Shin," Goh mumbled into Shin's hair, his heart clenching and aching numbly. Shin returned the embrace and kissed Goh's hand softly, friendly.
"I know you will", he sighed, tried to comfort. "You are an extraordinary person, and I am the luckiest angel in Heaven to know you. It's an even greater honour to call you my friend."
"Brother…" Goh sighed, pulling away to look Shin in the eyes.
"I want… no, I need to be your brother," Goh kissed Shin's for-head again, before resting their heads against each other. "If I'm your brother I am still closest to you above all others. And you may rely in me with everything, even when you find the angel you're destined to love."
"I love you, my brother," Shin sighed, silently praying for Goh's pain to ease.
Goh thought to himself that he loved Shin, too.
A week passed by, slowly. Goh made sure that he was constantly busy. While he had confronted Shin, sort of, and settled things between them that cursed night after consuming much too much wine, he still hadn't seen Gai.
Someday, he promised himself and Gai in his heart, someday he would tell Gai everything that had happened. And he would also hear his friend out, let Gai confess if he wanted to. Maybe Gai didn't want to tell him anything after all, since he hadn't tried to search Goh out yet.
Time went by, and Goh waited. Even if he hadn't met his destined love yet, and, oh, did it hurt that this angel wouldn't be Shin, he would be patient.
It was probably just too soon, still.
Goh reminded himself on a daily basis that he still had friends. He even had a brother now. It helped to know that he wouldn't spend the millennia it might take to find his soul-mate alone. He was still loved.
No angel was created to be alone. He wasn't alone.
Shin's voice startled him out of his dazed state of thought. He realized he was sitting under the tree by the river, the place that belonged to Gai, him and Shin.
"Goh, Gai's been asking for you all day," Shin smiled gently, sitting by his side. "He went by your house to talk, it seems, but you weren't home. He wants you to find him 'when you're ready', he said."
Goh nodded and fell quiet. Shin stayed, his body radiating of warm, brotherly love and… something more.
That was when Goh noticed a white, silken ribbon in Shin's aqua-coloured hair; the hair that had always been kept loose and free, now claimed by an innocent, handmade ribbon of magical morning dew.
The musician's eyes shone with excitement and delight.
"Goh, my beloved brother, I have the most splendid secret to share with you!"
~ ~ ~ FIN ~ ~ ~
And thus Goh learns about the awesomeness of Yuda and Shin, whilst also accepting being his former love-interest's 'big-brother'…
What the heck, brain?
Ugh, sorry about the horrible things I put Goh (and Gai!) through… I really love them, I swear! Next time I write them it'll be kisses and gifts and wine – oh, wait… I already used that theme… Dayum!
No, but seriously. I promise my next one-shot will at least contain a CANON pairing x'D
How about some more YudaxShin? I have a bunny-idea running loose in my head – but it will be a wee bit angsty *sigh* Sorry, my brain likes to think out those kind of stories, apparently. But the plot of it should be alright :S
So are ya game, dear readers?
Or would you rather see some funny and fluffy stuff?
Eventually I'll also make it up to Goh and Gai, and they'll have a tiny story of their own – maybe like a sequel to this. Meh, time will tell :3
Requests are always neat and funny to read! Even if it's simply a pairing or an idea that's gotten stuck in your head. Feel free to write :)
Now I'm off, back to bed, fighting off 'Zeh Hang-Over from Hellz'! The week-long, Danish 'Roskilde Festival' will do that to you (Oh, but it was worth it). Wish my head luck!
Please Review, darlings. And take care 'till next time!