It rained, it rains, and it will rain again. The rain will pass. Everything will change, eventually.
night-blooming flowers (the vegetable empire remix)
Outside, the clouds hang low and grey against the dark sky. Rain falls. The hour is late, the streets quiet. Most townsfolk are safe in their homes, and no one is concerned about the slippery cobblestones or getting rained on. Even the stray animals have found shelter for the night.
It's kinda funny, Gojyo thinks, that he would be out in the streets like this, after dark, standing in the doubtful shelter of a tree that keeps dripping cold water on his head or down his neck at the most inopportune moments, and kissing a man for the first time.
There are so many things he could have said had it been anyone else in this situation, but it's him, and he can't be in the house right now, because it's raining, because when it rains he thinks a careless thought might break something, or someone, and him with it.
No one will come to call when it rains. Not Sister Constance, who alternately feels Gonou is too soft on the children and worries he pushes them too hard, or Mrs Ma from down the road, who knows which stall in the market has the freshest vegetables and that Rinrin and Shaohua from the feuding Chang and Suu families have been seen chatting beneath the blossoming peach trees.
Gonou will lie in bed with Ssuma Chien's Records open before him while Kanan runs about taking in the laundry and cursing him because she did help him when it was his turn, even if it was only after the rain had stopped and he had come home because she had forgotten about the clothes hanging outside.
Afterwards, Kanan will come in and lightly run her fingers along the edge of the page he isn't reading because he has been listening and waiting for her, and he will capture and kiss her fingers. Then she will laugh and bend down as he turns up his face, and their lips will meet halfway. Kanan will climb in with him; they will pull the covers over their heads and block out all the world outside.
Water patters on the windows and the roof, runs down the gutter and drips from a wet spot in the ceiling Gojyo would prefer to patch himself, okay? Hakkai doesn't have to do so much, and Gojyo's not saying Hakkai's not welcome, but Gojyo's not entirely useless, he'll get to it eventually.
But Gojyo isn't here, and the trees whisper something different to the rain as the night stretches on. Few people make good company for themselves; Hakkai is no exception to this.
Everything is different when you are waiting for no one, alone, at night, as the rain falls.
By any logic or right of long acquaintance or just bone-headed high spirits, it really should have been Banri Gojyo's doing this with, years ago when they were young and stupid enough to be experimenting with such things.
Well, they're still young and stupid, but it's a different sort of stupid, doing things they already know to be bad ideas rather than trying all new bad ideas out for the first time.
Banri should have been a natural partner to resort to, while he was around and they were fooling about together with just about everything else, rather than some stranger Gojyo picked up in a bar. The truth is, it had never occurred to him before. Experimenting with men, for heaven's sake, when there were gorgeous women tall and short, thin and plump and blonde and brunette all perfectly willing to let him experiment with them.
Fortunate, because Gojyo can imagine how it would go if he ever tried to consider Banri in a sexual light: he would probably have laughed himself sick at Banri's (lack of) eyebrows, then punched Banri out when Banri made fun of his red hair. They would never have got anything done.
Thinking that a new name changes anything is foolish; relying on someone else to remember who you are supposed to be is dangerous.
Hakkai relies on Gojyo too much and knows it; he has to learn to be Hakkai-not-Gonou, even when the rain pours down and all he can remember is the feeling of warm wetness mingling with cold, leaching away the remains of his futile anger, leaving him nothing.
But it's hard, having gone out seeking death, only to find himself alive still, trapped in an empty house like the one he'd tried to leave in the first place.
Gojyo laughs, thinking of Banri and the other reason he is out here. The other man is surprised, possibly a little offended. Something funny? he demands sharply, and Gojyo shakes his head, waving a hand to show no offence was meant. The gesture is somehow revealing, and the man asks again, incredulous, you haven't done this before, have you?
That is also funny, but Gojyo tightens his grip and moves his hand /just so/, and asks, does it matter? and the man gasps, no, and returns the favour, so he can't think of anything but now, and it's fine, great.
The night will pass. Day will come, the sun will rise, and perhaps the clouds will clear. More days will come and go, putting more distance between past and present. It will rain again, and each time it rains Gojyo will go out and look for something that he knows isn't out there, and Hakkai will think about Kanan and Gonou and being Hakkai without Gojyo to remind him that blood is not the only thing that is red.
At some point in the future, Gojyo will come home while it is still raining. Hakkai will pour a cup of tea and say he's already had dinner, but he can cook some noodles if Gojyo is hungry, and Gojyo will say he'll just have tinned soup, thanks, but where's the beer? You finished the last can yesterday, remember? Hakkai will remark agreeably, and Gojyo will shrug and drink the tea.