Characters: Hakkai and Gojyo
Beta: mysocalledhell Thanks!!
Spoils: Chapter 35 on for Gensomaden Saiyuki
Rating: PG for a boy-kiss and language I guess.
Summary: Hakkai finds Gojyo again after his judgment by the Three Aspects.
Word Count: 1,268
A/N: For ginnyvos's birthday. *grin* Dunno if I'll do this a lot, but she'd given me the prompt and I rather wanted to write this.
Cho Hakkai slipped quietly through the crowded market place. The scents of grilled meats, the heavy perfume of ripe fruit, and the noise of so many people finding or giving sustenance to each other always soothed him. A familiar feeling and comfort in this new life of his with his new name.
He found Gojyo standing before a display of red apples. That the red-head had cut his hair shocked him. Shyness about suddenly reappearing in what seemed to be a changed Gojyo's life overwhelmed him. Instead, for a while, he simply watched him. Gojyo moved a little differently now, looked different now that he wasn't hiding behind that mass of hair. His shoulders looked more hunched over than Hakkai remembered, and it matched the fact that his scars were laid bare and the bare back of his neck seemed all the more vulnerable.
"Miss, one of these," Gojyo said, and Hakkai smiled at the familiar sound of that voice.
Without thinking any more about it, Hakkai stepped forward and picked up an apple. He felt more than saw Gojyo react to his presence as he said, "These are such a beautiful red, aren't they?"
Then Hakkai looked up from the display, and had to catch his breath at the sheer shock in those widened, red eyes, at the suddenly straightened stance. The naked surprise he saw blew away his own shyness, all the questions he'd had in his own head when he had slipped through the crowd. As the moment stretched long, Hakkai said, "Gojyo."
And the humor, the pride all suddenly slid back into place. Gojyo's stance now liquid and sure instead of hunched or still. The smile reached those red eyes as he said, "... guess you could say that."
And Hakkai had to smile back, especially when the old Gojyo's voice said, "Hey, missy. On second thought I'll take four."
As they wandered through the market together, it felt oddly familiar. More familiar than just the weeks while he'd been healing up could allow for, having this man at his side, watching his back, felt impossibly comforting and solid. Hakkai frowned just a little at his thoughts and feelings, and the fact that, once again, Gojyo wasn't questioning him about his reappearance or about what had happened.
The silent companionship continued as they wandered the stalls, until they came across some beautiful, sweet smelling scallops that made Hakkai smile.
"You want to get those for dinner?" Gojyo asked, head cocked.
"Certainly," Hakkai said, and he haggled the price down just until the fishmonger was about to give up and then cheerfully relented. He also bought some garlic and bread and greens to slow cook, and Gojyo's purse wasn't too badly depleted.
The walk to Gojyo's bare apartment was familiar as well. And, oddly enough, as the very back of his head started ticking off the vulnerabilities and weak points of every human being they met on the way back, it didn't actually bother him because Gojyo was beside him. When they stepped into the smoky, dingy, cracked-paint rooms, Hakkai felt a remarkable sense of coming home.
He took off and hung up his coat, walked over to the kitchen with their food, put things into the ice box, and started running the water to clean off the greens. They'd be best in a pot by noon to get them good and tender by dinner.
An apple appeared by his face, Hakkai blinked, and with his hands busy he just shrugged and bit into the red skin, biting off a sweet crisp mouthful for chewing. It would hold them for lunch. They ate the apples together, bite by bite. And just as Hakkai finished getting the greens washed and into the pot, warm hands slid under his black turtleneck and pulled up to reveal the scar along his belly, just as those strong hands had done so many times to minister to his wounds.
He simply stood still, his hands out of the way, as Gojyo eyed the white, pink, and puckered skin of the new scar. Then those red eyes looked up at him in inquiry.
He just nodded. "It is entirely healed now."
Gojyo's hands slid along the tender skin of the scar and Hakkai closed his eyes.
"Sensitive. Hm?" Gojyo asked.
"A little, yes." Hakkai opened his eyes to answer steadily.
Gojyo frowned. "Gonou..."
Hakkai put his finger to Gojyo's lips and shook his head. "Cho Gonou died. He wanted to, needed to, even. I’m Cho Hakkai, pleased to make your acquaintance."
Gojyo laughed at the formal introduction. "Named after the Eight Precepts of Buddhism? Oh, that babe of a priest really got to you, huh? You a convert?"
Hakkai smiled and just shook his head. "I understand them, is all. And it is soothing to be named so, a reminder every time I'm called by something that is, essentially, an ideal." He cocked his head to the side and asked, "Were you going to ask me something?"
Gojyo nodded and frowned a little. "Why did you come back? You knew I thought you were dead."
Hakkai gathered his thoughts, examined them and then shrugged. "I have no idea why. Other than it felt right to find you as soon as I could." He frowned, and then reached forward. When Gojyo didn't pull away, he lightly touched the scars on Gojyo's face. "For some reason I don't want to leave you... again."
Gojyo looked haunted for a moment, and then schooled his features into a frown, "Again?" He shook his head and answered his own question, "Well, yeah, you leaving with that bitchy monk was one time too many for me."
This time Hakkai was the one that blinked. "Really? Why? I've only been a burden to you." This time he frowned himself. Gojyo had paid all the bills, all the doctors, and for all their food and rent.
Gojyo shook his own head, "Nah, you couldn't be that. Besides you cleaned up and got the garbage out and cooked and did all kinds of things once you were up. And..." he trailed off, sounding suddenly uncertain.
"You don't want to stay here again, do you?"
Hakkai laughed. "Don't sound so convincing, Gojyo."
Gojyo rubbed the back of his neck and looked around his apartment. "It's a dump... Hakkai. I could visit at the temple if you stayed there."
Hakkai shook his head and then said simply, "I'm not leaving you."
Gojyo's eyes closed. When they opened again Hakkai saw something hungry behind those red eyes. Hakkai stepped in close then, and slid his fingers up against the silky bristled nap of that short fire-red hair. "I wondered what it felt like, now."
Gojyo's nostrils flared, but he leaned into the light touch.
Hakkai gave a rueful smile, "I know that you said it was the first and last time you'd bring a dude into your bed, but can I convince you to reconsider?"
Gojyo grinned, "I always hate losing a hottie like you."
That grin suddenly gave Hakkai the confidence he could have found no other way. He moved in closer, sighing as Gojyo's arms came around him, tight. His fingers slid into the cool silk of Gojyo's short hair, causing the flower-petal lashed ruby eyes to half-slit closed. And against Gojyo's smoky lips Hakkai whispered, "Then please take me back. I've missed the color of your life."
Gojyo's eyebrow lifted and he kissed Hakkai's lips, fast and hard; but broke the kiss to say, "Only if you promise to take the garbage out on time."