For a while, Gojyo tried to wash away the blood, and the guilt... Set sometime between the whole mess with Gojyo's mother and the arrival of Hakkai.
Gojyo licked his lips nervously as he hefted the bottle, staring at the tiny, faded label with its unintelligible script. The man he'd bought it from had given him a whole list of warnings and instructions, but he couldn't remember any of them. All he knew was that it would work. This time, it /would/.
It has to. Please, let it--
Leaning over the sink, Gojyo hesitated. He ran some water, making sure once again that there was a cup nearby for rinsing. He took a moment to go collect an extra towel from the cupboard. Then, unable to justify stalling any longer, he went back to the sink.
With hope forming a tight knot in his chest, he jerked the stopper out of the bottle, tipped his head, and poured.
It /burned/. But he gritted his teeth and kept pouring, turning and dipping his head until his hair was heavy with wetness and the bottle was empty. Then, he gripped the edges of the sink and hung on, white-knuckled, while his scalp itched and his eyes watered and the fumes from it all burned his throat.
Finally, when he couldn't stand it anymore, he fumbled frantically for the taps and nearly sobbed as he poured cool water over his head. It took a long time for him to wash himself clean, but eventually the fires died and he could breathe again.
Blinking irritated, watering eyes, he looked up. He wasn't sure what he expected to see in the mirror-- maybe a bleached-out straw yellow or maybe something burned a crispy black.
The last thing he expected-- the last thing he /wanted/-- was the bright blood-red that he found.
Gojyo stared into the mirror, water running unheeded down his back and soaking into his pants. Then-- he started to laugh. It was an ugly sound, even to his own ears, and it hurt his throat, but he couldn't seem to make himself stop. Not even when the tightness in his chest turned it into something more like sobbing-- not even when he took a step back, slipped in the puddle he'd made and fell backwards onto the floor.
Leaning against the wall, eyes squeezed tightly closed, Gojyo laughed until he simply didn't have the breath to anymore.
He was almost dry again by the time he pulled himself back to his feet. Standing at the sink, looking at his all-too-familiar reflection, he felt something hard and cold form in his gut. "Fine, then," he whispered, staring into his own bloody eyes. "Fine."
I guess I'm not allowed to forget.
He nodded once, then turned and deliberately cleaned up the spilled water, the dropped bottle, the used towels-- and threw it all in the garbage. When he left the room, his hair was spilling loose over his shoulders instead of pulled back into its usual tail. And when he went out that night, he didn't even look at the hat by the door, or the bandana on the table.
He tossed his head for the girls in the bar, grinned at the card players from within a halo of crimson-- he let them all see the blood on his hands, that nothing would ever wash away.