On a very specific anniversary in Hakkai's life, Gojyo deals with it as best he can. No pairings.
by: eternalsailorsolarwind AKA youkai_girl
Disclaimer: Saiyuki and all of its characters are owned by Kazuya Minekura, her Japanese publishers, and Tokyopop. I only play with them for fun and games.
A/N: Written for the self-imposed prompt of “worry,” I kind of surprised myself with this one. On a very specific anniversary in Hakkai's life, Gojyo deals with it as best he can. No pairing(!) this time, but just a friendship piece.
From his place behind Hakkai in the jeep, Gojyo watched the back of his friend's head with worried red eyes. Tiny changes in the healer's behavior had the hanyou wondering what was going on in that big brain of his. It wasn't anything really obvious; neither Sanzo nor Goku seemed to have noticed anything unusual. Though unless it was attacking him of made of F-O-O-D, the monkey was oblivious.
No, it was small things that were starting to grow. The plastic smile was more obviously fake, even to outsiders. Always quiet anyway, the converted youkai was starting to seem withdrawn from the group, lost in his own thoughts more often than usual. Most worrying, however, was the green-eyed man's preoccupation with his hands; washing them over and over.
At least it hadn't rained lately. Gojyo hated to think how his best friend would handle that right now.
Meanwhile, completely unaware of the red-head's anxious thoughts, Hakkai drove the jeep into a small town and stopped in front of the first inn they came across. The asshole monk got the usual two rooms, and they all split off. Gojyo made sure he roomed with Hakkai; returning Sanzo's glare in spades. Knowing he was in for a beating at dinner, the hanyou shoved the saru at the blond, and pulled his roommate into their own room. Shutting the door behind them, the red-head threw himself onto the nearest bed and looked up at the still-standing man.
“What's up, 'Kai,” he asked quietly.
Startled green eyes focused on him. “What are you talking about, Gojyo?”
Not surprised that the healer wasn't going to make this easy, the hanyou ran a hand through his long, red hair. “Come on, you know what I mean. Half the time your body's here, but the rest of you ain't. So I repeat, what's goin' on?”
Smiling in an unconvincing way, the converted youkai continued denying there was anything wrong. That Gojyo was just imagining things. But those bright green eyes kept sliding away to a spot over the redhead's shoulder. Turning to see what was so exciting, the hanyou saw only a calendar.
It was one of those Day by Day calendars, this one full of puppies, mounted on the wall next to an old, wavy mirror. While trying not to gag on the overly cute picture, Gojyo noticed the date. Suddenly, everything fell into place.
“I lost track of the days,” murmured the hanyou, looking back at the brunet. “It's today, isn't it?”
Hakkai swallowed hard, and merely nodded.
Today was the fifth anniversary of the day his sister died and he became a youkai. Probably the lowest part of his friend's life.
“Idiot,” muttered the redhead, returning to push the healer onto the bed. Sitting down next to him, Gojyo continued, “You should have reminded me.”
Looking away, the healer whispered, “It's been five years, Gojyo. I can't expect you ...”
Patience finally snapping, the hanyou growled, “So what if its been five years? If you need me in fifty, I'll still be here.”
A small, but real, smile crossed the converted youkai's face. “I don't know what I've done to deserve you, Gojyo. Thank you.”
“Shut up, yer embarrassin' me,” replied the flushing redhead with a lop-sided grin. “C'mere.”
On this day, the slightest touch from someone else set the other man off. There were no tears, no screams, no raging anger to show his grief. Instead, a bone-deep tremor wracked the brunet as green eyes stared sightlessly, reliving the horrors of that day.
Grimly, the hanyou held him, not speaking as his hand rubbed slow, comforting circles along his friend's back. Normally, these spells burned themselves out after about ten or fifteen minutes, leaving Hakkai looking like he'd just gotten over the flu. This one lasted a full hour, the healer exhausted enough to fall asleep right there, head on Gojyo's shoulder.
Brushing sweat-dampened dark hair out of the way, the redhead removed both the monocle and the headband. As the sleeping man didn't even twitch, the hanyou realized that his friend had bottled everything up – as usual – until he burst, this time passing out where he sat. “Damn it, Hakkai. Quit making me look bad. Tell me when you need me; I can't guess right all the time.”
Movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention, and he turned his head quickly to see what it was. Hakuryuu settled onto the ledge of the open window, eyes blinking at him accusingly.
“Don't look at me like that. I didn't see you saying anything either,” said Gojyo quietly. He didn't want to wake the converted youkai. When the dragon looked away, the redhead figured he'd scored on that one. “Hey, Parrot, get me an ashtray, will ya'?”
An outraged – but quiet – squawk was his answer.
“Keep it down! I need a smoke, but I don't want to wake him.”
Pausing for a moment, the dragon flew across the room, picked up the clean ashtray, and returned, neatly dropping it next to the hanyou. Murmuring his thanks, Gojyo carefully moved his sleeping friend's head to his lap and lit up.
Sighing in pleasure as he smoked his way through his first cigarette, the redhead carefully adjusted both he and Hakkai to make both comfortable while the healer slept. Settling in for the long haul, his fingers began to gently stroke through his friend's hair, hoping that the movement would keep the inevitable nightmares away, even if just for a little bit. But he'd be there for the brunet when they did come, no matter what.