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06 June 2007 @ 11:37 pm
Title: By Any Other Name

Disclaimer: Saiyuki isn't mine.

Rating: PG-13 for language

Warnings: Language, yaoi, story-deviation...

Author's Note: This stemmed from a conversation V and I had over whether or not this was possible fo Gojyo...I thought it was an interesting idea, so I wrote a fic about it :D

It happened to Gojyo before Sanzo, surprisingly, and no one quite understood why, though it was anyone's guess. Hakkai was of the theory that, because Gojyo was already half-demon, it affected him more easily, but it hardly mattered, really, and he never mentioned it.

He remembered when it had happened well; he knew from experience that it was much less romantic than the stories made it out to be; after all, he had experienced it before. Luckily, for Gojyo, it waited until the onslaught of demons was drawing to a close; Gojyo was doing the honours of offing the last of them, and that was it. Hakkai hadn't even been sure that the demon was dead when suddenly, Gojyo cried out in pain and clutched his head. Hakkai had to look away once he realized what was happening; he knew how painful it was, and he couldn't bear to see Gojyo hurting the way he had. When he looked back, he could hardly believe it was Gojyo. On top of the claws and the ears and the dilated pupils, no longer present were the red hair and eyes, the features Gojyo had so hated for so many years, the features that Hakkai had found so handsome. Selfishly, as Gojyo stood, staring at his hands in shock, the first thought that struck Hakkai was that he didn't like the black hair and brown eyes nearly so much.

Sanzo and Goku had been so in shock that no one had moved nor said anything for a good five minutes before finally, Goku managed to state the obvious. "You look funny now." Gojyo seemed unaware of the changes in his appearance beyond the obvious species-related alterations, and so Hakkai had carefully taken his hand and led him over to the jeep's rear-view mirrors. Gojyo stared for quite a while, seemingly unable to quite comprehend all the differences. After a few minutes, he looked over to Hakkai, his expression uncertain. "Fuck, Hakkai," he had finally said, "I don't know what to say."

The first matter of business, understandably, had been getting a limiter for him. Luckily, the next town had had a proficient metalworks shop, and Hakkai had gone with him while Goku and Sanzo went on to book rooms (after all, he was the one with experience in the matter). Gojyo had seemed hesitant towards most of the pieces: this was too girly, that was too gaudy, until finally, he found something he considered satisfactory. It was a a ring, thick and gold, which fit perfectly around his middle finger, and Gojyo even managed to comment on how rings were in these days. Hakkai smiled softly, a real smile; Gojyo was dealing well. He paid for the ring before carefully handing it to Gojyo, suggesting he put it on.

Even Hakkai couldn't hide his surprise at the change when he did; as soon as the ring was snugly around his finger, Gojyo was suddenly his old self again. The crimson hair and eyes were suddenly just as vivid as they had been, and as Gojyo grinned, Hakkai couldn't help but break down. He hadn't even known what he was doing until he had thrown his arms around Gojyo and told him that it was perfect.

After that, everyone seemed uncomfortable talking about it; Gojyo was as normal as he had been before, at least on the surface, and no one seemed to want to confront the change. Dinner went relatively normally, besides the fact that, once it was over, Gojyo announced that he would be turning in early. It wasn't, however, abnormal enough for Sanzo or Goku to make any move, and so Hakkai rose and followed Gojyo, room key in hand.

Gojyo didn't speak once they entered the room, and so neither did Hakkai, going about his normal chores in getting ready for the next day. He didn't look, but he saw, out of the corners of his eyes, Gojyo fingering and fiddling with the ring which now sat by necessity on his middle finger. It wasn't until Hakkai had settled down to relax for a little while before bed, however, that Gojyo mentioned it.

"Hey, 'Kai...what am I?"

Hakkai looked up from his book. "Pardon...?"

Gojyo looked down at his hands, sliding the ring up and back a few inches, just little enough not to trigger a transformation. "I...I always hated being what I was...a half-breed, a taboo-child...whatever you want to call it. But now...now I'm not myself anymore. This hair...these eyes..." he fingered his hair, "They aren't real anymore. They're just a disguise...a facade of what I used to be...but...'Kai..." He looked up at Hakkai, his eyes imploring. "What am I now?"

Hakkai set his book aside, rising and making his way over to the bed, sitting down beside Gojyo. Slowly, softly, he lifted his hand to Gojyo's cheek, softly caressing the scared skin. "Gojyo...It doesn't matter what colour, or shape, or species you are..." He proffered a soft smile, the type he reserved for Gojyo. "You'll always be you, and I will always love you." Taking Gojyo's hand in his, he placed a soft kiss to his hand, just below the ring. "All right...?"

Gojyo looked at Hakkai a moment, the broke into a small grin. "Yeah....maybe you're right, 'Kai. Thanks." But, as he turned away and began to get ready for bed, he smiled to himself. He knew Hakkai was right.
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