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21 October 2008 @ 10:56 pm
58 again  
The second part~ Again, please read the warnings, I don't want anyone coming and yelling at me. Still, I hope everyone can enjoy~

Part: 2

Disclaimer: Minekura's, not ours

Rating: R

Warnings: Mention of rape, BL, angst, suicide attempt, language, bloodiness

Author's note: Poor Hakkai ;___; Still, sometimes he's a stupidface. XD

“Hakkaaaai!” Goku called, wondering why Sanzo seemed to think calling for him was pointless. Who knew? Maybe he’d already gotten away from that creep? Goku was confident that they’d run into him soon, and judging by Hakuryu’s anxious flapping at his shoulder, the little dragon was just as optimistic. Sanzo still seemed really on edge, though. Then again…it had been Sanzo that Hakkai’d attacked. Goku still didn’t get that. Hakkai would never hurt Sanzo, even if he was being mind-controlled, or something! Though…Goku thought pensively…maybe that was why Sanzo had gotten through with just a couple of bruises? Because Hakkai certainly could have… Either way, it was scary. But he hoped Sanzo wouldn’t be mad at Hakkai. Sanzo was all right, and if Hakkai was all right too, nothing else mattered.


“Goku!” Gojyo called loudly, having heard the monkey’s shout during Hakkai’s silence. He sniffed back his tears quickly, wiping his face to the best of his ability on his shoulder with Hakkai still in his arms, and smiled down at Hakkai weakly. “Looks like we can finally get out of here, ‘Kai.”


“Sanzo!” Goku said eagerly. “That was Gojyo! It sounded like he was just over there!” It wasn’t Hakkai, and hopefully finding Gojyo didn’t mean they’d circled around back to where they’d left him, but either way, Goku would feel much better once everyone got reunited and things went back to normal. Besides, if they had Gojyo with them, they could just take off right when they found Hakkai. The creepy guy with the corpse-smell scared the shit outta him, and he’d be happy just to turn tail and run. Just this one.

Goku hurried ahead in the direction he’d heard Gojyo’s voice and called back to him. They were close now, and could probably see each other if the fog wasn’t so stupidly-thick. Hakuryu seemed to sense his closeness, though, and flew ahead. Goku would have sped to keep up with him, but he kept having to stop and wait for Sanzo. He didn’t want to get separated. Then, up ahead, he saw a vague shape in the fog and grinned widely. “There ya’are ya gimpy-Kappa we—” Goku began, stopping midsentence when he saw Hakkai in Gojyo’s arms. “Hakkai! Sanzo, Gojyo found him!”

Sanzo sighed in relief, but covered the emotion with a roll of his eyes. "It's about time. I'm sick of being stuck in this shitty forest with brainless idiots." Looking up, he could make out Hakkai, now, in Gojyo's arms, through the fog, and was surprised to see Hakkai allowing himself to be carried. The creep must have really done something to him in order for him to allow any help at all, and Sanzo was beginning to wonder, because he looked fine, when he realized that Hakkai was without pants, and, on closer inspection, bleeding. Shit. It wouldn't have even occurred to Sanzo that that was what the fucking pervert was planning... but it all made sense, and he knew better than to ask. "Did you get rid of the freak?"

"Ahh-- My apologies, Sanzo," Hakkai greeted with a smile, doing his best to be perfectly normal, even in his current position. Gojyo might be angry with him, but there was no way he was letting the facade down now, not when he was most vulnerable. He couldn't let Sanzo and Goku see the monster that was hiding behind the smile, and so he continued, his voice pleasant. "I'm sorry to have kept everyone. We can be on our way now, I'd hate to hold everything up any longer. Gojyo did indeed take care of everything, so there's no reason we can't get back on the road." He smiled, wishing Gojyo would put him down already. Even if he could feel his limbs shaking when he tried to move, he was sure that, back in the Jeep, he'd be fine.

Sensing Hakkai’s condition, Hakuryu transformed almost immediately into his Jeep form and Gojyo gently set Hakkai down in the passenger’s seat. No matter what he said, Gojyo wasn’t going to let him drive. Gojyo ignored Sanzo’s comment about being forced to wait—the bastard better give them at least a few more minutes to make sure Hakkai was all right—the situation as serious, damn it, and Gojyo refused to be bossed around. Ignoring everyone but Hakkai, Gojyo hurried around to the back and began rummaging around for a towel and his spare pair of pants.

“Hakkai…” Goku began, furrowing his brow confusedly. “…what happened to your pants?” In addition to the strange absence of such a crucial article of clothing, Goku simply couldn’t figure out why Hakkai needed to be carried. There was blood all over his legs, but what was it from? Goku couldn’t see any cuts, or nothin’. “Did’ya get hurt, Hakkai?” Goku asked, leaning a little closer curiously. “You don’ look that bad to me.”

Before anyone could say anything, Sanzo's harisen landed on Goku's head with a resounding smack. He couldn't believe the monkey's idiocy sometimes... but he certainly didn't want to provoke Gojyo or make Hakkai any more messed up than Chin Yisou had already made him, and so he grabbed Goku by the collar, dragging him to the backseat. "Your stupidity never ceases to amaze me. If you can't sound vaguely intelligent, then don't speak at all!" Resigning himself, he climbed into the backseat next to Gojyo, grumbling but not voicing any complaint. He wasn't going to fight with Gojyo about Hakkai-- he knew that was the one subject on which the kappa would never back down. And besides, he personally would prefer to have Hakkai, his sole companion in sanity on this fucking trip, in full physical and mental health, and so he announced, "We're stopping in the next town we come to. After wandering around the fucking forest with these idiots, I can't take anymore. Got it?"

Despite how gingerly Gojyo had set him down, it hurt Hakkai to sit, and he winced slightly, but quickly covered it up with a smile. "Really, Gojyo, I can drive," he insisted, and tried to stand up, but though things had been seeming better, when he rose, the world began to sway again, and he was forced to clutch the side of the jeep to balance himself. Still, he swallowed, and, once he regained his balance, held on a moment, blinking, trying to recover from his seemingly-permanent vertigo. Smiling weakly to Sanzo, he replied, "I'm sure that's not a problem, Sanzo," before trying to open the door. Unfortunately, he lost his balance again and crumpled back into the seat, internally cursing himself. Maybe Gojyo really would have to drive...

Gojyo saw Hakkai try to get up out of the corner of his eye and hastened to dig out the spare pair of pants, hurrying around to the passenger side and pressing the clothing and a towel into Hakkai’s arms, lingering to try and catch his eyes. “You’re not driving.” Gojyo said with a shrug, almost casually. Goku’s naivety had really gotten to him, but he didn’t want to get distracted and he sure as hell wasn’t about to explain it. The monkey didn’t need to know, and Sanzo had already hit him. Hopefully he wouldn’t ask any questions. As Hakkai accepted the stack, Gojyo managed to brush his hand with his own and looked at Hakkai meaningfully. Somehow he’d have to help Hakkai pull through all of this. Gojyo couldn’t stand by and watch him internalize it all. Swallowing, he turned and made his way to the driver’s seat, plopping down and turning around to look at the monk and the monkey. “So, any bets as to which way is gonna get us out of here the fastest?”

“Not any direction you’d pick, erro-kappa!” Goku exclaimed, grateful for the return to near-normalcy. It was odd to see Gojyo driving and to have Sanzo next to him…and he still didn’t get why Sanzo had hit him…it was a perfectly logical question, wasn’t it? He’d have to ask again later. Maybe once Hakkai had his pants back on.

“Oh yeah!?” Gojyo demanded, “I’m not the one that ran off the edge of a cliff! Doesn’t that make you a lemming, or something?” Ignoring Goku’s childishly-accusatory response, Gojyo turned around and started the engine. He could make light with Goku, but he couldn’t pretend things were right…not with the way Hakkai was still suffering internally.

In a sort of a daze, Hakkai wiped away the blood and dressed himself in Gojyo's pants, feeling nauseated again. Leaning against the side of the jeep, he looked pointedly away from the bloody towel, thinking hard about how difficult it was going to be to get that stain out instead of other things. Gojyo's pants felt tight and a little too long, and the fact that they were Gojyo's was a whole different story, and he just wanted to be sick, but he kept his smile up, because he wasn't going to be caught without a place to hide again. Even now especially now, back with everyone, he felt even more dirty, even more like a monster, and the will to curl up in a corner and die without anyone noticing was stronger than ever, but for now, all he could do was smile.

Meanwhile, Sanzo was sick of everything. Sick of the monkey's questioning and bickering, sick of the kappa's love-struck stupidity, sick of Hakkai's internalizing and fake smiles. He just wanted to ignore the whole issue, but he was getting that irritating lingering feeling that he wouldn't be able to. "Shut the fuck up!" he growled, wishing he were in the front seat with Hakkai again, and fired a warning shot to prove his point. "I swear, the next person to speak has a bullet in his head."

After this warning, the drive to town was generally uneventful, and when they pulled up to the inn, it was almost as if none of the things with Chin Yisou had ever happened. By the time everyone was unloading, Hakkai had finally regained a sense of balance, and his legs weren't so weak anymore that they couldn't hold his weight, and so he put up a good show of walking inside, smile plastered on his lips. "Shall I book rooms, then, Sanzo?" he asked cheerfully, hoping that, somehow, everything would go back to normal again. For now at least, if he had all the little tasks again, the chores he adored more than any other type of labour, he could take his mind off of everything, he could hide for a while. He knew, eventually, he would have to come to terms with himself, but for now, he didn't want anyone worrying, he didn't want any sympathies. He wanted the rest of the party to forget that it had even happened.

“After that can we eat? I’m starving! We haven’t eaten in forever!” Goku broke in excitedly, glad that the ban on speaking had been lifted. Or at least he hoped it had.

“Weren’t you eating during the drive?” Gojyo asked, lifting a brow. Seriously. He was mad at Hakkai for acting like everything was just fine, and what was he doing? Acting. It was for the monkey’s benefit, though, he reassured himself. Damn the stuff he did for that whiny little shit.

“That doesn’t count! I’m still hungry… Can we get Okonomiyaki, Sanzo?” Goku asked hopefully, looking up at Sanzo with all the charm and neediness he could muster to plead his case.

Gojyo turned, already knowing the outcome of Goku’s begging. He’d seen it a million times before. It’s like they were all acting on a script, or something because even Goku could tell things were a little off… Gojyo leaned over Hakkai’s shoulder, who stood, peering down at the list of available rooms at the front desk. “Damn. Just doubles left, huh?” He asked, mostly for the benefit of Sanzo and Goku, since Hakkai hadn’t yet said anything about the room situation. “I’ll stay with Hakkai tonight.” Gojyo said with a casual grin, as he shifted to lean against the counter. It wasn’t really a question of who was staying with who. This was another thing Gojyo was prepared to fight Sanzo over. Still, just in case, he added, “My heart’s weak enough as it is. I can’t deal with Goku’s sleep talking waking me up in the middle of the night, or something.” Lame, but oh well. He was fine—he didn’t even notice anything anymore—but his ego could take a hit or two if it gave him a reasonable excuse to stay with Hakkai.

"Really--" Hakkai interjected, having let this get out of his hands enough already, "I don't know if that's the best arrangement-- I mean--"

"I agree with the kappa," Sanzo cut in flatly. "I'm staying with the monkey tonight. No buts." And with that, in his 'my word is law' manner, he turned and headed towards the restaurant. "I'm getting food, and feeding the ravenous animal before I'm forced to shoot him. I don't care what you two do." He wasn't necessarily so thrilled with the idea of rooming with Goku, but when it came down to it, he really did like to be around his monkey, so long as he'd shut up once in a while, and there was no way he was getting between Gojyo and Hakkai. Both of them were, for all intents and purposes, ticking time bombs right now, and Sanzo wanted to do his best to avoid any detonations, if possible.

Hakkai was shocked when Sanzo voiced his preference, and shut his mouth quickly. He didn't have choice, but... shit, this was the worst possible scenario! He couldn't room with Gojyo... just being around Gojyo was almost too much for his conscience to bear after everything... but Sanzo didn't leave him with any choice, and so he simply nodded and smiled. "Whatever you say, Sanzo," he replied in his ever even, ever cheerful tone of voice, and simply followed, for lack of anything else to do. He didn't feel any desire to eat, in fact, he still felt rather sick, but he couldn't let any of the others catch on that he wasn't feeling well, and so he acted, just as he always did, as everyone sat down and began to order. He didn't know what he was going to do tonight, but he knew one thing: he would have to get away somehow. He couldn't stand to spend the night with Gojyo, not now, not ever again. Not being the sick, deranged monster that he was. He would have to find another way, some way out.


Gojyo stretched his arms over his head triumphantly, having won the last dumpling in a rather epic chopstick duel, and glanced over at Hakkai, who had eaten even less than usual. Gojyo knew better than to ask—he knew the response would just be the same smile and choice polite words—but he still wished Hakkai would open up… Gojyo knew that things between them had changed radically after the Chin Yisou event, and quite honestly, he was terrified that they wouldn’t go back, no matter how normally everyone was behaving.

“That one was totally mine, too, and you know it!” Goku whined, leaning forward over the table on his elbows. After a minute, he looked up at Gojyo, expecting a retaliation. But Gojyo seemed distracted…looking at Hakkai, or something. It really bothered Goku that no one seemed willing to explain to him what was going on. He hated when people kept secrets! It wasn’t like he had any, or nothin’ and he honestly didn’t understand what would need to be so bottled up. Wouldn’t everyone feel better if they worked it out? They wouldn’t, though. He’d have to ask Sanzo about it before bed. Which was another thing! He was rooming with Sanzo~ Even if everyone was acting all shitty, at least he had that to look forward to.

Sanzo rose with a start, slamming his fist down on the table which resulted in an almost startlingly resounding loud noise. "I can't deal with this stupidity anymore. I'm going to bed." He turned to Hakkai, who handed him the keys with a smile, then turned and walked briskly from the room. He knew Goku would be along shortly, following with his happy-go-lucky gait like a devoted puppy, and it was for the better. He didn't want to be around when the sparks flew between Gojyo and Hakkai, and he knew it would be better if Goku wasn't in the crossfire, either. He would never admit it, but he really was a little (only a little!) worried about the two of them, and he didn't want to have to worry about Goku, too.

Hakkai rose almost before Sanzo had left the room, smiling all the more cheerfully. "I'm feeling tired... I think I'll turn in, too. Good night, Gojyo." After all, he couldn't be alone with Gojyo, he couldn't bear the thought, and so, leaving Gojyo and Goku each a key, he hurried to get back to the room, locking the door and stripping of his soiled clothes and hurrying into the shower, turning the water on to a painfully scalding temperature. The blood along the insides of his legs was dried now, and came off easily, but no matter how he cleaned himself, he still felt dirty, so disgusting and filthy and he knew that he couldn't change that, and so he hurriedly finished his shower and dried himself, dressing in his own spare clothes. Finding the pants Gojyo had lent him, he realized he had bled in them, and, ashamed, he washed them in the bathtub before ringing them out and drying them in a towel. Folding them neatly, he placed them on Gojyo's bed, then washed up and switched the lights off, crawling into his own and squeezing his eyes shut. He wouldn't sleep, he knew, but he wanted Gojyo to think he was. It was another place to hide, another barrier, just like his smile, but it was the easiest thing, and he knew that something had to be done, something to separate himself from Gojyo forever. He would think, but for the time being, he had to hide, too.


“What are you still sitting around for?” Gojyo teased the monkey halfheartedly, pushing back from the table. “Are gonna order more, or something, you little glutton?” He managed a laugh, and already halfway to the door, he extracted his pack of hi-lites and chose the first of the many he knew he was about to smoke. He had to calm down. He was thinking way too much and he knew that whatever he tried to say to Hakkai, if he tried to say it now, it would just sound like some kinda’ anxious overprotective hen, or something, and would do nothing to help the situation. Halfway out the door and for good measure, Gojyo turned and called, “Do us all a favor and try not to keep Baldy up too late, would ya?”

“Yeah, whatever.” Goku rolled his eyes, folding his arms and getting up to go upstairs as well. He was still a little hungry…Since Gojyo stole his freakin’ dumpling! But Goku knew better than to order anything extra. Sanzo would kill him if he did, and that was not how Goku wanted to start off the First Time Sanzo Wanted to Sleep in the Same Room as Him. It was a very important night. And so it was with determination that Goku started up the stairs. Hopefully Sanzo wouldn’t already be asleep, or sumthin’.


Gojyo dropped his spent cigarette and crushed it under his toe, stuffing the pack back into his pocket to cut himself off. He’d almost smoked the entire packet, and what with the way things were, he didn’t want to risk running out if Hakkai wasn’t up for shopping… Gojyo sighed and looked up distractedly, intending to wait a bit before he headed in so that he wouldn’t reek of all the smokes he’d had in such quick succession. What was he going to do? What could he say? He couldn’t exactly tell Hakkai how he felt. “Oh by the way, Hakkai,” Gojyo imagined, disgusted at himself for even picturing the scenario, “you may have just been fucked over by that creep, but I wanted to let you know that I really like you. A lot. And that I just sleep around to distract myself from you.” No, that would be the stupidest thing ever. The Hakkai would hate him even more and they’d get even more distant. Which Gojyo absolutely couldn’t take. There weren’t enough women in a whole town to replace Hakkai if he simply decided he didn’t want to see him anymore. There just weren’t.

Still, Gojyo would have to say something… By the time Gojyo reached the top of the stairs, though, he still had nothing, and even at the door, he had no idea what he could say that would make any difference at all. Maybe something would come to him. However, when he opened the door to a darkened room and found Hakkai already fast asleep, obviously, there was nothing he could say anyway. Fuck. He’d talk to him in the morning. Gojyo changed quickly, piling the clothing onto the floor and sank down onto his bed, onto something slightly damp. His pants. In typical Hakkai fashion, they were washed and folded and neatly laid out for him. Even in his current state…Hakkai still went to all that trouble…and Gojyo felt almost guilty.


Sanzo didn't like not having Hakkai around to take care of everything for him. Life was so much more difficult that way, when he had to make his own tea take care of his own things... after a working childhood, Sanzo was used to being taken care of, goddamnit. But now he had had his tea and smoked his evening cigarette and read his paper and it was time for bed. Emptying his sleeves of gun and harisen and rolling up his scriptures neatly, he set his things out on the nightstand and situated his robes on his hips. Shooting the monkey a sideward glance, he moved to turn out the lights. "Go to sleep. It's past your bedtime," he ordered before turning the lights out and climbing into bed. It was nice to be able to relax after such a fucking shitty day, and he just wanted to go to sleep, without having to worry about Hakkai or Gojyo or any of their idiocy and issues.

“But Sanzo—!” Goku protested, cutting himself off at the flip of the switch. Gojyo usually stayed up later…but he was such a jerk! Goku was more than happy to go to bed a little earlier if it meant staying with Sanzo. Goku fell back into his bed with a loud sigh of happy contentedness and wriggled around for a good minute or so until he was comfortably situated facing Sanzo, who slept with his back to him across the room. Way better than looking over and seeing Gojyo making weird faces at him, or sumthin’, cuz he’d been sleep talking or sumthin’. Yeah. Big improvement. No wonder Hakkai seemed upset when Gojyo wanted to room with him! Though…he never really figured out what happened with Hakkai… “Sanzo?” Goku asked the silence after a few moments of feeling decidedly not sleepy. With no answer, he asked again. “Hey Sanzo? Are you still awake?”

Sanzo twitched angrily. He had been on the verge of falling asleep--!! But, he told himself, Goku being obnoxious was better than Hakkai's angst and self-hatred or Gojyo's idiocy and obsession over his beloved Hakkai, and so he rolled over, glaring at Goku in the dark. "What the hell do you want, Monkey? This had better be good."

“Sorry!” Goku said quickly, “I didn’t think you’d already fallen asleep—” He swallowed, thinking how best to ask his question and how to ask it quickly so that Sanzo didn’t get up and hit him or something. “I—I just was wondering about Hakkai… You know what’s up, right?” Goku asked hopefully, gazing across the room. Hopefully Sanzo considered it a good enough question… “I still don’t get it…”

Sanzo ground his jaw, cursing internally. How could he explain that to Goku?! It was stupid, so stupid... why couldn't he figure it out himself?! He couldn't possibly be that dumb that he didn't know what rape was... But even if he was, it certainly wasn't something Sanzo wanted to explain to him! What the hell. But, he realized, he was going to have to, or else Goku would never shut up, and would pester Hakkai about it, and nothing good would come of that, Sanzo knew, knew, and so he had to grin and bear it. "Tch," he responded, buying time, trying to think of an explanation. "Stupid monkey." How to say this easily, how to say this so as not to inspire further questioning... "You can't possibly be dumb enough not to know what rape is, can you?" Somehow, his voice was a little softer than he had meant it to be--it was a touchy subject, in his defense!!--and he clucked again, "Tch."

“Rape?” Goku questioned. The word sounded odd. He didn’t think he’d ever said it before. Of course he knew what it was, though! But what did… Did that mean that Hakkai had been…raped? But how did that even work? Goku was still confused…but that explained why Hakkai didn’t have pants…but then… Well, he didn’t really want to be thinking about it. But he was still so confused! He had to think about it and get it, because obviously everyone else knew perfectly well what had happened… But rape!? Terrible. Goku knew that much. Poor Hakkai… Still…how? “So he was…So that corpse-smelling guy…? But why? And why was Hakkai bleeding?” He vaguely recalled hearing one of Gojyo’s nasty conquest stories about a girl bleeding…but that was a girl! And Hakkai wasn’t. Couldn’t only girls get raped? It was all very new territory, and it made Goku a little uncomfortable. “I don’t get it, Sanzo…”

What. The. Fuck. How had he ended up in this situation?! Sanzo didn't want to be answering Goku's questions about rape and sodomy and the gods only knew what else, but yet, now he had to, and it was really very unfortunate. Shifting uncomfortably, he wished, all of a sudden, that he had a cigarette. "What do you mean why, you shit for brains monkey! To fuck with Hakkai's head, why else?" he replied scathingly, trying to put off the harder questions. Still, may as well get it over with... "And, obviously, Hakkai was bleeding because the creep was trying to hurt Hakkai! How would you feel if someone just shoved something up your ass? Think things through, will you, stupid ape?" He was blushing now, he could feel it, but luckily, it was dark, so Goku wouldn't see... "Now will you go the fuck to sleep?"

Goku stared, in dumb-open mouthed shock. Up your…ass? That was just…eew… Poor Hakkai! Holy shit, that was terrible! He’d have to be extra nice and not whine, or anything… Jeez! Poor Hakkai! Goku blinked, swallowing. He was glad Sanzo explained it to him, even if Sanzo sounded really pissed about it… But as far as thinking it all though…he got it now, at least. Yeah. He understood… “Umm…y-yeah…Sorry… G’night, Sanzo.”


Slowly but deliberately, Hakkai slid out of bed. He padded carefully, in his bare feet, to the bags, rummaging in the dark, doing his best to be as silent as possible. After all, he couldn't wake Gojyo... not now. Not after what he had decided to do. He had already written a note taking care of things, telling Sanzo to look after Hakuryu, leaving a clear path marked out on the map, clear instructions on how to prepare the canned food. Always prepared, he made coffee for the morning for Sanzo and left the room keys beside the cups, in clear
view. Everything was neat and orderly, so that once he was gone, there would be no issues.

It only took him a moment to find what he was searching for: a small but sharp knife he kept for when they had to camp out. Taking it out of its protective case and gripping the handle with a steady resolve, he stepped into his shoes and opened the door to the room and slid out into the hallway, hurrying towards the door to the outside. After all, he didn't want to make a mess inside that someone would have to clean up later. It was much more considerate to take care of things outside, in the alley. Then maybe no one would even notice him.

Outside, it was cold and dark, but that hardly mattered to Hakkai... even better, in fact, to be uncomfortable. He deserved it, for being the filthy, disgusting monster that he was. Between the inn and the next business over, there was a small alleyway, dark and unused, and, concealed there in the shadows, Hakkai knelt, setting the knife momentarily beside him. This was it, he knew, this was the end, and he was glad. This, he had decided, was the best way. After everything that he had done... he couldn't bear to be around the people he cared for anymore. He was disgusting, a sinner, a monster, dirty, filthy... there was nothing good about him, and what was more, now, after all the terrible, shameful things he had done... there was no way he could look Gojyo in the eye again, not to mention be with him, live with him, touch him. What was worse, since they had been reunited, Hakkai had felt the sense he had so easily tucked away before even more keenly, a caring, a desire towards Gojyo, but it had only made him feel more ashamed, and he knew even more now than ever before that it was impossible, that those feeling had to be stopped immediately. But it hardly mattered now, he supposed. He could want Gojyo if he wanted, because in a few minutes, he was going to be
dead.

Carefully, purposefully, Hakkai lifted a hand to his ear and, one by one, removed his limiters, allowing himself to experience once more that nauseating and yet somehow liberating feeling of transformation. After all, when someone found his body whenever they did, he wanted them to see the monster that he truly was, no longer human, not really youkai, either. He was an abomination, a disgusting creature, and he wanted the world to know, to see what he really was. Smiling wryly to himself, he clutched the knife once more in his clawed hands, and, sitting neatly in seiza position, placed the blade against his abdomen. He only hesitated a moment, and before he had a chance to worry, to back out, he pushed, plunging the blade into his belly.

The pain was searing, disgustingly reminiscent of four years ago, and he doubled over, fell to the ground. He wouldn't die immediately, he knew, he would bleed out in a drawn out, painful death, and that was exactly how he wanted it. He deserved it. He deserved to die here, alone, silently suffering until the very end.


Gojyo heard flapping around his head and could vaguely make out the sound of Hakuryu’s squeals, but it was the middle of the fucking night! So he rolled over and waved his hand around his head a few times to shoo the little dragon away, hoping to get at least a little more sleep. “Jus’ let yourself out, or something…” Gojyo mumbled into his pillow. However, when there was a panicked scratching at his head and more tiny dragon bleats, Gojyo forced himself to sit up and looked around the room angrily. “What!?” He demanded, locating Hakuryu flying in desperate circles around Hakkai’s bed. Hadn’t Hakkai been woken up, too?

“Shit!” Gojyo proclaimed loudly, throwing back the sheets and shaking himself awake as soon as he realized what was wrong. Hakkai was gone. “Did you see him leave?” Gojyo demanded, dropping to the cold floor and running to get his shoes, already on his way out the door. Hakuryu made no affirmative noise to show that he had, and instead followed Gojyo out into the hall, apparently equally confused and concerned.

Gojyo cast about anxiously for any trace of Hakkai, and, finding none, rushed down stairs. He glanced around the lobby, too, before running out into the night air. With a shiver and a plunging feeling in his gut, Gojyo chose an arbitrary direction. He knew what the feeling was—he’d felt it before on the very first night he’d met Sanzo and Goku, back when Hakkai’d left to take care of the last of his unfinished business. He’d dismissed it then, the feeling he’d gotten, but he knew what it was now. It meant Hakkai was in trouble.

Gojyo started walking. He didn’t know what he was looking for, but he surprised himself by turning at the first chance, down into a little alley. It was pitch black, but somehow, Gojyo had the distinct feeling that he knew what was going to happen, and almost braced himself for the weight that he knew his foot would connect with. When it did, he immediately dropped to his knees and met Hakkai’s eyes—the same stunning green with a nearly identical expression as the one that had so enraptured him the first time he saw it. Gojyo saw the blood, too, and felt the pit of his stomach drop. “Fuck…” Gojyo gasped, swallowing hard and trying to keep his composure as he pulled Hakkai into his arms. “I’m not going to let you die. Sorry.” He was too much of an ass to let Hakkai go just like that. He was too attached. He’d fallen for him too hard the first time. He was too much in love with him now.

Hakkai was on the edge of consciousness when he looked up and suddenly saw Gojyo looking back at him, a horrified expression on his face. Shit... he'd been discovered. But... the wound was bad enough... surely he wouldn't make it. Still, he wished he had the strength to struggle as Gojyo took him into his arms... but he was so warm, and his embrace was so strong, and the pain was so bad that Hakkai just wanted it to be over that he just gave in to the blood-loss-driven feeling of sleepiness tugging at his eyelids and let go, drifting off easily into unconsciousness and feeling distinctly weak for letting it be this way.

Gojyo shifted Hakkai’s limp weight in his arms and his arm brushed against something protruding from Hakkai’s stomach. A knife. Shit. Suicide…? He should have known—he should have been able to tell that something was terribly wrong, that Hakkai… He shouldn’t have slept. He should have stayed up to watch over him. Gojyo girt his teeth and struggled to his feet, Hakkai still in his arms and Hakuryu flying above his head going absolutely crazy, screaming and flapping madly in desperation. Gojyo couldn’t keep the tears at bay, and when he finally burst back into the hall lobby, he let out a loud yell and slammed his fist on the bell to summon someone, anyone. “Somebody get the hell out here!” He bellowed to the still-empty space. “I need a fucking doctor!” Gojyo chocked back a sob and hit the bell again frantically. Hakuryu had soared up the steps already, no doubt to alert Sanzo and Goku that something was wrong. That Hakkai was…that Hakkai had…

He’d done it once before, he could do it again. Hakkai would make it. He’d gotten there in time. Gojyo tried hard to rationalize as he set Hakkai down onto a sofa in the lobby, then slipped out of his tank top. Granted, the first time he’d shoved all of Hakkai’s guts back into an open gash, he hadn’t been balling his eyes out…but he had to, damn it, because even if Hakkai wanted death enough to try and take his own life, there was just no way in hell Gojyo was going to let him go. Not now, not ever.

Carefully applying pressure to the area around the knife, Gojyo held his breath for a split second to extract blade and then quickly cup his hand over the wound keeping the pressure to minimize further blood loss. Then, one handed, he warped the shirt around Hakkai’s torso tightly, shivering in sheer panic as the white cloth soon became soaked in crimson.

It was then that the hotel manager finally appeared. Gojyo knew, even before he started shouting at the man to get a doctor, that one look at Hakkai’s pointed ears and long nails was all the manager needed to make up his bigoted mind. He didn’t see a bleeding man in desperate need of help—he saw merely a youkai, one that, as far as he was concerned, had gotten what all youkai deserved. Gojyo was almost hoarse from shouting when he turned away from the man, back to Hakkai. Fuck him. Fuck that racist. Gojyo would get the fucking doctor himself when he thought Hakkai was stable enough.


Sanzo awoke to the sounds of an animal screeching and a loud scratching sound coming from the door. It took him a moment to figure out what was going on, but as he opened his eyes, he realized that it had to be Hakuryu. And if Hakuryu was in that much of a panic, something had to be desperately wrong with Hakkai.

Hurrying to his feet, Sanzo turned on the lights and threw a pillow at Goku to rouse him. "Wake the fuck up, monkey!" he barked, taking only the time to pull his robes up and place his sutra over his shoulders--force of habit, he had to keep them with him at all times. Once dressed, however, he kicked Goku, who was still not fully awake, forcibly in the head and finally opened the door, letting the screaming dragon inside. "We're coming," he replied, feeling as if he ought to for some reason, then yelled at Goku one last time, "Get your ass up! Let's go!" before turning and following Hakuryu out into the hall and down the stairs.

Arriving in the lobby, Sanzo immediately spotted Gojyo hunched over a sofa, and made his way briskly to his side. "What's going on?" he asked sharply, but as soon as he looked over Gojyo's shoulder, the question answered itself. Laying on the couch was Hakkai, unconscious, without limiters, and bleeding profusely. Sanzo felt himself inhale sharply, he had been sure something bad was going to happen, but not something of this degree... Turning to Gojyo, he realized that he was a wreck, his body shaking as he sobbed over Hakkai's body. Useless, fucking useless-- Even if he was fucking in love with Hakkai, crying wasn't going to do anything about it! Clenching his jaw, Sanzo drew back an arm and slapped Gojyo, hard, across the face. "Get a fucking hold of yourself! What the hell happened? Why the fuck haven't you gotten a fucking doctor?!"

“What the hell!” Gojyo tried to shout back, though his voice was a whole lot weaker than he’d expected. He wiped at his face quickly and tried to stop crying; his face stung from the hit. “I’ve been shouting and you only just got your ass down here!? I wasn’t going to leave him alone!” Gojyo was trembling and he knew it—to hell if Sanzo saw it, he’d already seen him crying. What the hell did it matter? Not as fucking much as taking care of Hakkai. “I’m still trying to stop the bleeding, and if you want to lend a fucking honorable hand and help me, by all means! Otherwise, you go get the fucking doctor!” Gojyo turned away and the tears immediately started streaming once again. Fuck. He sat back at Hakkai’s side and continued rewrapping and tightening the makeshift bandage though it was already near useless soaked through with blood.

“Sanzo…?” Goku asked sleepily as he stumbled down the last few stairs. “Whas’goin’ on? Breakfast? Why’re ya’ shoutin’?” Goku rubbed his eyes sleepily and dragged his feet over to where Sanzo stood, looking around through his lashes. “Why’re ya’ all standin’ around? Who’s that guy?” Goku asked, pointing to the hotel manager, who hadn’t moved from his place in the corner.

Sanzo followed Goku's gaze, noticing the man eyeing Hakkai suspiciously from the corner. Turning away from Gojyo's idiotic blathering and ignoring Goku completely, he walked deliberately over to the man, a don't-mess-with-me look in his eyes. Grabbing the man by the collar, he asked roughly, "Do you know who I am?"

The man cowered slightly, shaking his head, trying to worm out of Sanzo's grasp. It was clear that he was uncomfortable with any friend of a youkai, a point which irritated Sanzo all the more. Fucking ignorant slob.

"I wouldn't expect a lowlife like you to know, but maybe you've heard of the 31st of China, Genjyo Sanzo." He glowered at the man, feeling pleased with himself at the glimmer of recognition in the man's eye. "Yes? Good. Then if you don't want to be reincarnated as a slug, I suggest you get your ass out there and bring me a doctor. Now." The man nodded hurriedly, and, when Sanzo released him, stumbled away, running towards the door. Wiping his hands off on his robes, Sanzo made his way back over to Gojyo's side. Gojyo, it appeared, was still being rather unproductive, and Goku was a lost cause.

Sanzo ignored the both of them for a moment, taking a minute to examine Hakkai. With his limiters gone, he was fully in youkai form, and Sanzo wondered under what circumstances he would possibly have resorted to such desperate measures. He was bleeding profusely from an abdominal wound, but Sanzo couldn't get a good look at it for Gojyo's constant fussing, and, having assessed the situation to the best of his abilities, Sanzo stepped back once more. "Goku. Go find his limiters." Turning back to Gojyo, he looking him in the eye, warning him silently to get a grip. "Where did you find him? What the fuck happened?"

Gojyo forced himself to stop, to sit back away from Hakkai. He wasn’t doing any good any more—he had to get a hold of himself! He took a shaky breath and looked down at Hakkai, at all the blood. “Check the ally next to the hotel…” He said shakily, realizing that Goku had approached the sofa to find out exactly what had happened.

“Holy shit! Hakkai! Did he get attacked? What happened?” Goku asked, suddenly awake and ready to go into action. Whoever attacked Hakkai…they must have been really strong for him to take off his limiters! “Are they gone? What can I do?”

“Go get the fucking limiters!” Gojyo shouted again, not even turning to look at Goku. Goku didn’t need to know what was going on.

“Alright, jeez! The ally?” Goku asked to double check, hurring towards the door. Hakuryu sped after him and Goku smiled at him slightly. “You’ll help me find them, right?” The dragon flapped his wings a little harder and Goku nodded, stepping outside. “Don’t worry,” he said to himself as much as to Hakuryu, “Sanzo and Gojyo’ll take care of him. He’ll be alright.”


With Goku gone, Gojyo looked up at Sanzo and sniffed loudly. What a dick. He hated crying in front of Sanzo. Swallowing hard, he took another breath and pointed at the bloody knife sitting on the table by the couch. Sanzo could figure it out. It was their knife, after all, the one Hakkai…the one Hakkai used to cook for them. Fuck. Gojyo started crying again and turned back to Hakkai. “Where the hell is that doctor?” He asked weakly through gritted teeth. “The monkey better find those fucking limiters before they get here.”

Catching sight of the knife, Sanzo stiffened. He knew Hakkai had his issues, but... suicide? He had definitely thought Hakkai wasn't that stupid. But then again, after what had happened... he had been especially closed off, and Sanzo silently cursed himself for not realizing, for being stupid. Of course, he wasn't being half as stupid as Gojyo. It was really getting ridiculous, and he decided, as much as he hated to talk about touchy-feely issues, that it needed to be addressed.

"Listen up," he growled, keeping his voice low but serious, getting Gojyo's attention once more. "I know you're all head over fucking heels about Hakkai, but this isn't the fucking time. I don't care what you choose to do about it, but losing grip completely isn't going to help Hakkai any right now. So pull yourself the fuck together and deal with your personal issues later. Got it?"

Gojyo looked stunned, but Sanzo didn't wait for a response. Moving to the door, he looked out, searching for any sign of a doctor or of Goku. "Monkey! Get a move on!" he called, unable to see Goku but sure that he could hear him. Gojyo was right, he had had enough trouble with the manager, he didn't want to have to threaten the doctor with afterlives of pain, too.

Sanzo knew? For how long? How did he find out? Gojyo’s mind reeled once again, and he struggled to force the issue out of his mind. Was it honestly that obvious? Aside from…aside from right now, of course… Did Hakkai know? Shit. Gojyo had only to look back down at Hakkai and watch his labored breathing and see how much he was still breathing to be completely sobered. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered but taking care of Hakkai. And…that meant Sanzo was right. What good would he be just sitting there balling like a fucking baby?

“Jeez! It was all dark, you know!” Goku whined, running up to meet Sanzo. “But I got’em!” He followed Hakuryu back into the room and over to Hakkai’s side, handing the limiters to Gojyo. “Wow, you look like shit.” He commented, squinting at Gojyo as he quickly replaced the limiters on Hakkai’s ear.

It seemed that only minutes after Hakkai returned to his human form, the door opened once more. The hotel manager had returned at last and behind him was undoubtedly the doctor. Finally. Gojyo stood up quickly to make room for the man at Hakkai’s side, moving away uncomfortably. “I found him…outside…stabbed.” Gojyo stammered quickly. Fuck, Sanzo better explain anything else, because while he’d managed to stop fucking crying, Gojyo knew he wouldn’t be good for much of anything until he was certain Hakkai was going to be all right…physically, anyway…

Sanzo stood off to the side, overseeing things in Gojyo's stead as the man began to take care of Hakkai. Gojyo, after all, had been everything but entirely useless, and Sanzo didn't want anything else to happen to his precious Hakkai, lest he lose it completely. The doctor, however, seemed to be either unaware of Hakkai's race or apathetic to the point in general, because he immediately set to work, and, Sanzo was relieved, he seemed to know what he was doing. Worry knotted in his stomach as he looked on, but for now, he had done all that he could do. Now all he could do was wait, and hope he didn't lose yet another person in whom he was emotionally invested.


Hakkai was in pain. Something in the area of his abdomen ached, and when he tried to move, even slightly, the pain became sharper. He couldn't exactly remember where he was, or what had happened to him, but he got the feeling like he shouldn't be in any normal place, like he ought to be... dead? Yes, that was right... he had killed himself. The memories were coming back to him slowly, now, like boats drifting through a thick fog. But that was right, now he remembered. He had been kidnapped... raped by Chin Yisou, he had done such disgraceful things that he couldn't stand to live, to be around Gojyo anymore. Now, laying in a painful, semiconscious haze, it all seemed clearer to him than it had been when he was wrapped up in the urgency of it all. He was in love with Gojyo, of that he was sure. But he was a sinner, a disgusting monster, and he could never let Gojyo know of his feelings... he could never go near Gojyo again, after all the shameful things he had done. But if he was dead... then he wouldn't ever have to see Gojyo, burden Gojyo with his presence again... right?

Slowly, with great effort, he forced his eyes open. It felt as if he hadn't opened them in decades, and the world was out of focus with his poor eyesight and artificial eye. But it looked very much like an inn room, a familiar inn room, and slowly, Hakkai realized, his effort to die must have been foiled again. His stomach clenched in a slow but gripping feeling of defeat, but he masked it for whatever audience he might have with a pained smile. "I get the feeling I haven't been reincarnated."

“Nope. You’re still here.” Gojyo said plainly, leaning over Hakkai for a moment before dropping back down into the chair that he’d occupied for just about three days. Gojyo sighed and leaned back in his seat, closing his eyes. He basically hadn’t slept for worry, and now… Hakkai was awake… But still, whether or not he would be all right remained to be seen. Leaning back further to get at his pockets, Gojyo opened his eyes and gazed at Hakkai as he withdrew a pack of cigarettes. “Now that you’re awake, I’m gonna smoke.” He announced, lighting up. “Sorry… I assume you’re pissed that you’re still alive…”

"Ah, I'm sorry, of course," Hakkai blinked, tilting his head to look at Gojyo. "I'm sorry for the inconvenience." Watching as Gojyo lit up, he sighed, and even the breath hurt his abdomen, but he tried to ignore the feeling, fighting to keep up his smile through the pain. "And yes... well... I can't say I'm not disappointed..." Looking away to the best of his ability, he swallowed, trying to find the right words. What was he going to do? He had been caught, his escape had failed, and now he was forced to remain in Gojyo's presence. It was terrible, really, and he felt ashamed all over again for all the horrible things he had done, for his so-unwanted feelings. But now his cowardly methods had failed... and he would have to face Gojyo for real, in words.

He opened his mouth to speak, but suddenly, his lips felt very dry, and he licked them. "Gojyo... I want you and Sanzo and Goku to go on without me. I'm a monster and a sinner, and I don't want to continue with you. For your own good, especially for you. Tell Sanzo for me, please. I'll take my things and be out of your hair." There. He had said it, somehow. His heart was pounding now, he was almost surprised to find, and it hurt. He knew he couldn't be around Gojyo anymore, he knew it was what he had to do, but all of a sudden, he was realizing that he didn't want to leave, that he wanted to be with Gojyo. Just to be in his presence, even. But, he told himself, that couldn't be allowed, and so he looked back over to Gojyo and smiled, to show his resolve.

“No can do.” Gojyo took the cigarette from his mouth and held it between his thumb and forefinger, pausing as he looked Hakkai over and furrowed his brow. Jeez… For all his efforts to keep things between them the same…it was just inevitable that something would happen to force it all to change. But fuck, he wasn’t going to let it all fall apart, too. Still…Gojyo sure as hell didn’t want to make it worse. “Hakkai…” he gulped, flicking the ashes from the cigarette and looking away. “I can’t let you go…That’s why I forced you to live.” He laughed pathetically and looked back into Hakkai’s eyes, determined to hold his gaze. Fuck it, he decided. Hakkai…Hakkai should know, and then make of it what he pleased. Maybe he’d just want to get the hell away all the sooner… Gojyo didn’t expect it to make a difference, but maybe if Hakkai knew, he wouldn’t hate him for dragging him back from the brink of death a fucking second time. “I’m a selfish bastard—I couldn’t let you die… Hakkai, I… Fuck. Hakkai. I love you.”

Hakkai's eyes widened, and, very slowly, he sat up to look at Gojyo, all masks forgotten, a look of pure surprise painted across his features. Gojyo... loved him? That didn't make any sense! Why would Gojyo love him? There was nothing about him to love--he was disgusting, a monster! And Gojyo... Gojyo liked women, Gojyo was straight, there was no way, just no way... he had never even considered once that his feelings might be reciprocated! Before the incident with Chin Yisou, if he had known, he might have even... but no, it was no use to think about that, because now, there was no question. He couldn't let Gojyo touch him. He was a filthy sinner and he wouldn't dirty Gojyo with the association, there was no way.

...But did that mean he had to lie? After all, Gojyo had put everything out in the open for him, and Hakkai, could tell, he was suffering. He hated to make Gojyo suffer... he did what he had to to protect Gojyo from his own filth, however, perhaps he could ease the pain, even slightly...? But, Hakkai argued with himself, lies were always safer, lies and masks were what always protected him from everything...

--But Gojyo, the other part of his mind countered. He had always been honest with Gojyo from the moment he met him, and when had Gojyo ever hurt him? Only by getting hurt himself, but it had been made very clear that, whether Hakkai loved him or not, Gojyo was going to do stupid things to protect Hakkai. What harm could possibly come from telling him? It would make up, that same part of Hakkai's mind argued, for all the pain he had put Gojyo through. And Gojyo was always telling him to be honest...

In this moment of weakness of will, Hakkai opened his mouth, and before he could stop himself, he was speaking. "I don't understand why, Gojyo... It seems to be a lapse in judgment, for you to want to be with the likes of me..." He was looking down at his hands, a half smile tugging at his lips, and paused a moment before looking up to Gojyo and saying perfectly plainly, "And as much as I've tried not to... it seems I'm in love with you, too, Gojyo." A moment's pause, a breath, and then: "But-- but I still can't let you touch me. I apologize, and I know it must seem very unkind of me... but I don't want to be touched. I don't want to dirty you, too, especially not you, Gojyo. So if you could respect that, I'd..." He trailed, realizing that the last part had really come as more of an emotional response than he would have liked. Still, it was the truth. No matter of any feelings, he wouldn't let himself dirty Gojyo, too. "...I'm sorry," he apologized, almost automatically, "I know it all seems very cruel of me. If this changes how you feel at all, really, I understand entirely."

“Wh-what?” Gojyo asked quickly, his eyes widening in surprise. His cigarette fell from his mouth and he jerked to his feet as the hot ash touched his arm. Gojyo shook it to the floor, but he was far too distracted and disbelieving to care about the loss of one of his last lights. “You mean you—!” He was grinning, even in spite of Hakkai’s stipulation—even if he couldn’t touch him…the fact that Hakkai wasn’t freaked out, didn’t hate him for it, in fact even returned the feeling it was—it was such a relief! ...But then… “But why…?” Gojyo choked, as the reality of the situation hit him. Dirty? Hell…Gojyo didn’t want to seem insensitive but if Hakkai was dirty for something Chin Yisou had done to him, then damn, Gojyo was certainly just as dirty, if not even more so—after all, he’d slept with countless random women off of the streets… “Hakkai…I mean, you’re not…you’re not dirty! I’d—I’d never think that of you and…” He bit his lip and swallowed, moving a little closer. “I wanna respect whatever you need me to, but Hakkai—I’d…” Gojyo lowered himself onto Hakkai’s bed and reached out hesitantly. “I can’t even—? Nothing?”

"Gojyo, please--" Hakkai replied sharply, flinching away from Gojyo's hand. Gojyo, he could tell, was not pleased with this turn of events, and Hakkai knew in an instant that he'd made the wrong decision. Now it was going to be even worse for Gojyo, perhaps Gojyo would even resent him-- he was stupid for having told the truth, lies were always safer, he should have known. "I'm sorry, Gojyo..." he voiced softly, looking down at his lap, away from Gojyo again, feeling guilty for everything, "I should never have said anything... I know this is hard for you... and I certainly wouldn't be insulted if you continued your current practices with women..." Though, all of a sudden, he was hit with a hot pang of jealousy... he really was stupid, and to act on that would be purely selfish. "...I just... I don't want to be touched, not now. Not after what I've done..." He swallowed, wishing, for the first time, that he wasn't the sinner, the monster that he was. He had always been accepting of his penances, but now... "I'm sorry, Gojyo. If I could change the way I feel, I would... I know it would be much easier for you not to be burdened with the affections of a sinner like myself... I really do apologize..."

“But Hakkai, you—! You didn’t do anything! It was that bastard—you’re not dirty!” Gojyo sat back on his heels and let his arm fall back to his side. He didn’t want to do anything Hakkai had specifically asked him not to but…he longed to hold Hakkai, and some stupid part of himself kept suggesting that maybe it would even help Hakkai…that maybe if Gojyo could just…just show him what it was supposed to be… If Hakkai…if all Hakkai could think about was what he’d done with Chin Yisou than…would they just never…? Hakkai had said he could continue to pursue women, but ever since meeting Hakkai, they’d all just been a substitute anyway and now that he’d told Hakkai—now that he knew Hakkai felt the same—Gojyo knew women would do absolutely nothing for him. “It’s not a burden, Hakkai. I would never want you to change for me.” He looked down. It was still hard for him to believe his good fortune…and it was equally difficult to imagine how he would even begin to get along without any physical contact. But hell, for Hakkai, he could do it. “And besides, I’ve loved you for so damn long it wouldn’t change how I feel at all if you…if you didn’t feel the same. And I’ll wait.” He gulped and looked back up at Hakkai, knowing he probably wouldn’t believe him. “All I want is you, so I don’t mind.” He had a hand, after all, and it had worked in the past when he’d been too hung up on Hakkai to even look at a woman. “Look, even if I can’t touch you, it means a lot to know you feel the same.”

Hakkai was almost surprised at how adamant Gojyo's response was. He had never imagined that Gojyo might feel this way for him, not to mention this strongly, and the prospect of Gojyo not womanizing just for him was outlandish, foreign. But he did know Gojyo, and he knew Gojyo wasn't complex enough, wasn't enough of an actor to display this kind of emotion if he didn't feel it. Which meant that Gojyo felt strongly enough about him to give up any kind of physical contact for him.

As this became suddenly apparent, Hakkai was so surprised that he couldn't find words for a moment, and groped for them blindly, opening his mouth and closing it again. The concept that someone could possible care about him, love him that much... it was completely out of any range of thought he might ever have had. It was unbelievable. It didn't make sense. But yet, Gojyo was absolutely positive, Hakkai was sure, and it gave him a strange, warm feeling in his stomach and a different heat in his face that might have been like crying, and he realized he must be blushing, even imperceptibly. After everything he had done in his life, after everything Chin Yisou had said, had made him do... he had been certain no one could ever love him. But here Gojyo was, proving him wrong again, as Gojyo always did. And even after all Hakkai had talked himself out of, after all of Hakkai's willpower and facades built up over all the years, even after everything, here he was, feeling almost happy, feeling almost content, feeling love. Gojyo, it seemed, never lost the power he had always had, the power to change Hakkai's life for the better.

But now, swearing by possibly the least eloquent and most touching words Hakkai had ever heard, he looked so conflicted, but so dedicated and caring and loving that Hakkai couldn't bear to see him unhappy. It was true that he didn't want Gojyo to touch him, not after the terrible things that he had done... but... perhaps... a small exception could be made...? After all, Gojyo was willing to do so much for love, he could do something, too, if something small. Thus determined, Hakkai smiled softly, a real smile that reflected the warm feeling inside better than words ever could, and looked into Gojyo's eyes. "Thank you, Gojyo... I do love you very much." Looking down, his smile twitched a little, almost a grin for a split second. "And I suppose... perhaps... a small exception might be made..." Carefully, lightly, he placed a hand overtop of Gojyo's, and was happy to find that it didn't feel bad. In fact, Gojyo's warm hand was almost comforting to him, and his smile grew a tiny bit. It didn't change the fact that he didn't want Gojyo to touch his body at all, but hands... they might be all right. As he looked down at the touch, he wondered why people had always thought his hands were pretty. It was Gojyo's hands, large, strong, dependable, that Hakkai had always thought of as attractive.

Gojyo watched Hakkai’s smile in near-disbelief. As crazy as it sounded, even to himself, he didn’t think he’d ever seen a more beautiful thing than Hakkai’s Real Smile. It was just…the way his eyes lit up more than the usual expression and the way his lips seemed to so perfectly form the most perfect smile ever… Gojyo felt like he was going crazy—knew that he probably was—but it was worth it, and he squeezed Hakkai’s hand back, grateful for the anchor to reality it provided and the spark of hope it ignited. There was a chance. If Hakkai was willing to hold hands now, then maybe, maybe soon he’d be willing to allow even more contact. There was hope, and just holding hands now would help Gojyo to wait as long as he needed to for whatever else Hakkai could open up to. “Damn,” Gojyo breathed, shifting just a tiny bit closer to Hakkai in spite of himself, “you should smile like that more often.”

Hakkai couldn't help it, even though it hurt, he laughed slightly, allowing Gojyo to squeeze his hand, reveling in how nice it felt. "I'm sure you'll give me plenty of occasions to, Gojyo," he replied softly, smiling back at Gojyo. In this strange new world of being loved, Hakkai felt unusually content, especially taking into consideration that he had wanted to be dead only a little while ago. But now... now there was something to live for, now he was in a good place. It was a strange feeling, being contented with the way things were almost entirely, being almost happy. But still, he liked the feeling, he liked the feeling of love, he liked the feeling of being loved more than he remembered, imagined, would have anticipated.

With that settled, however, he realized what a mess his incapacitation must have caused for the rest of the ikkou, and smiled back up at Gojyo self-consciously. "I suppose I'm on doctor's orders not to get out of bed, hm? I'd like to do the laundry and sort things out with the map... but I suppose that's out of the question?" He sighed, and winced slightly at the sharp pain in his abdomen that it caused but tried to cover it with a smile. "I don't suppose you could bend the rules for me?"

“Nope.” Gojyo said plainly, grinning slightly. “Keep your ass under those covers. I’ll do the laundry, or something. I’ll bring you the map and you can tell me what to do with it, okay?” He gave Hakkai’s hand another squeeze and looked at him gently. “Just get better, okay?”

Hakkai sighed again and slid back under the covers, lying down but not withdrawing his hand from Gojyo's. "If you insist... I suppose I'll just have to rest up so that I can be well sooner and clean up after all of you again." Now that he was laying again, he was feeling somewhat fatigued; he had, he assumed, lost a lot of blood, and his body was trying to make up for it. Stifling a yawn, he half-laughed at himself. "It seems like resting will be easier than I thought..." The thought of Gojyo leaving him, however, was an unhappy one, and, for the first time, he squeezed Gojyo's hand back. "If it's not too much of an inconvenience... Gojyo... would you mind staying for a while?" He was really beginning to drift off to sleep now, he had probably been given medications, too, painkillers or something, and he was fighting a losing battle to stay awake. Still, as the one positive anchor after all the terrible things that had happened, that he had done... he didn't want Gojyo to go just yet.
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