Suikotsu, drowning in sorrow and sake, unexpectedly finds solace with a butterfly... Rating is for alcohol consumption and mild guy on guy action.
By VegaSailor & kira
Authors' note: "Uraganashii" means "sad, mournful, melancholy, sorrowful" in Japanese.
The lacey maples, which grew around Suikotsu's garden, had been dropping their leaves and various other flowers and plants in the garden had also died off or went dormant for the winter. The hydrangeas, that Jakotsu was so fond of, had finally withered as the massive shrubs prepared for their winter sleep. He smiled sadly, gently caressing the faded blooms, as he sadly remembered how much his beloved Sedako hated this time of year. And now he despised it as well for the painful memories it brought. The sound of the dried leaves beneath his feet brought to mind the soft rustling of her silk kimono and the claw-bearer felt as if all he had to do was turn around and he would see her. Yet when he did so, there was nothing there other than the autumnal remains of a once beautiful garden.
The claw-bearer sighed wearily. I miss you so much, Sedako-chan... He turned and headed back towards the main house, pausing briefly to watch a flock of sparrows fly away at his approach. Depression had him in its vice-like grip and he wanted nothing more than to lie in bed and not wake up. As that was not possible, he decided getting numb to his pain would have to suffice. Since he knew where Bankotsu was storing a large barrel of sake, it would be an easy matter to help himself to some. The fact that their leader would think his paramour was the one who had drunk it gave Suikotsu a twinge of guilt that was quickly banished. The claw-bearer reasoned the missing sake would be a fitting payback for taking his own lover away from him at a time when he needed him the most.
So that was how Jakotsu had found him, a couple of hours later, sitting on the low porch outside their sleeping quarters, singing lazily, and sipping sake. What the cross-dresser did not realize was that Suikotsu was rather inebriated, as he was good at hiding it. But then again, Suikotsu had been very adept at hiding his drunkenness until he had reached the point in his life of not caring any more. And when alcohol was no longer an option to deaden his pain his soul fractured and the resulting struggle to put things back together again was enough to take his mind off of his beloved Sedako for a while. Now that his life had a measure of normalcy to it, she once again haunted his troubled mind. With Renkotsu away on a mission with Bankotsu the claw-bearer felt lost and adrift with no one to turn to.
Jakotsu, pausing in front of him, giggled as Suikotsu slowly looked up at him. "Sui...?" he said impishly.
"Oh... hey, Jak... want to join me...?" Suikotsu drawled as he raised his cup to his lips and drank.
The cross-dresser nodded and sat down next to him. "Sure!" he replied as he looked around for an extra cup.
"There's one inside... on my desk."
Jakotsu stood up and went into the claw-bearer's room. He frowned at the mess on the low desk that sat in the far corner of the room. Bits of paper and bundles of dried herbs were strewn across its surface in perfect imitation of one of Renkotsu's creative frenzies, which was so unlike the normally meticulous claw-bearer. After carefully rummaging through the "debris," Jakotsu found what he had been looking for. The extra sake cup was lying on its side next to a powdered substance, under a piece of paper that was covered in Suikotsu's delicate handwriting. Glancing at the paper, Jakotsu lamented the fact he could not read it as he hoped it was not a warning to leave the cup alone. The last time he had grabbed what he thought was an appropriate vessel for drinking out of, he had spent the day terrorized by his strange waking dreams after nearly overdosing himself on the residue of the herbal remedy Suikotsu had been experimenting with. Eying the cup suspiciously, he took the tail end of his obi and wiped the inside of the cup with it. After carefully placing the paper back where he had found it, Jakotsu gave the mess on the table one last look, and left.
A few minutes later; he was back, holding the cup out for Suikotsu to fill.
The claw-bearer quickly drained his cup. Filling the cross-dresser's cup first, he held up a hand to stop Jakotsu from taking the jug to fill his own. "I don't mind pouring for the two of us..."
"You sure?" the cross-dresser lifted his cup.
"Yeah..." Suikotsu replied as he refilled his cup. Setting the jug down, he raised his cup and grinned.
"Kampai!" the two of them chorused, before taking a sip.
"So what are we celebrating?" Jakotsu asked. He took another sip, savoring the flavor, and swallowed. "Aahh..." he sighed as the delicious warmth hit his stomach.
"Nothin'..." Suikotsu murmured.
Jakotsu sipped his sake. Giggling happily, he said, "You look awfully happy to be celebrating nothing." He raised his cup and drained it. Holding it out to Suikotsu so he could refill it, he added, "Are you sure Aniki-chan and Ren aren't coming back early and that's why we're celebrating?"
Ignoring the question, Suikotsu said softly, "Just that alcohol makes you feel so much better..."
Jakotsu giggled. "I know!"
Suikotsu smiled drunkenly at him. "It makes all your problems go away..."
"It does...?" Jakotsu blinked in surprise.
The claw-bearer nodded. "It feels like it..." He sighed. "I'm not worry about them anymore." He drained his cup in one gulp, before refilling it.
"Who're you worried about?" Jakotsu asked, holding his cup out for a refill.
The claw-bearer refilled it. "Worrying about my worries..." he said cryptically.
"Oh..." Jakotsu took a sip of his sake, desperately trying to understand what Suikotsu was talking about, and failing miserably. Sighing softly, he asked, "So what are you worrying about that you're not worried about anymore...?" He finished his cup of sake in one gulp like Suikotsu had been doing.
Suikotsu remained silent for several minutes as he thought it over. He drained his cup again and refilled it along with Jakotsu's, before finally replying. "Hmmmm... I don't want to say." He looked Jakotsu in the eye and clarified, "Then I'll have to think about them..."
"Oh... But you can tell me, Sui, cuz then I'll worry about them for you." Jakotsu smiled and took another sip.
"I don't want to," Suikotsu said peevishly.
"Okay..." The cross-dresser sighed. "Ummm... you're not worried about Ren, are you? He's fine, cuz he's with Aniki-chan."
Jakotsu watched as Suikotsu silently knocked back another cup of sake.
"No!" the claw-bearer said sullenly, and softening his tone at Jakotsu's hurt look, he added, "I just don't want to talk about it."
"Okay..." Jakotsu drained his cup and set it down. Before the claw-bearer could grab it, he picked up the jug and refilled their cups, eliciting a low throaty chuckle from Suikotsu over the dainty way he poured. Smiling, he said, "So what do you want to talk about, Sui?" Jakotsu took another sip and peered impishly over his cup at the claw-bearer while he waited patiently for his reply.
"Nothing... I'd just rather not talk about anything..." Suikotsu trailed off softly.
Jakotsu shrugged and drained his cup. When it looked like Suikotsu was not going to refill it, he did it himself. After the silence had stretched between them for several long tense minutes, Jakotsu, disliking his friend's brooding, broke it. "Sui...?" he said softly. "Ummm... you don't look very happy now, is everything really okay?"
"I told you I don't want to talk about it."
The cross-dresser sighed, annoyed at his friend's taciturnity. Attempting to lighten the mood, he said, "Do you want to play a game?"
Suikotsu refilled their cups. Shrugging slightly, he surprised the cross-dresser by agreeing. "Sure."
"Okay! Let me see if I can come up with a good one..." Jakotsu said. He held his chin in his hand as he thought it over.
"Fine..." Suikotsu murmured, before taking a sip of his sake.
"Ummm..." Jakotsu mused.
"Why does life have to be so unfair, Jak?"
"Hunh?" Jakotsu, taken aback by the question, blinked. "Ummm... I don't know, Sui..." He frowned as the claw-bearer knocked back two more cups of sake in rapid succession.
"It really sucks," Suikotsu said bitterly.
"What sucks, Sui...?"
"But why does it suck, Sui?" Jakotsu sighed. "I don't understand..." he said softly, frowning.
"Because it's so unfair," Suikotsu replied as if that explained everything.
"But why is it unfair?" Jakotsu whined childishly, growing impatient with the claw-bearer's moroseness.
"Because it sucks."
Jakotsu rubbed his forehead. "You're confusing me, Sui..." he said petulantly. "Life isn't unfair, cuz if it was I wouldn't be here drinking with you cuz I'd still be working my ass off in that damned bathhouse."
The claw-bearer laughed in a weird sort of way as the truth of Jakotsu words hit him. "I guess you're right."
Jakotsu, not understanding him, laughed along with him anyway. "I am?" He blinked in surprise.
Suikotsu nodded and laughed hollowly. "Life's been good to you."
The cross-dresser frowned. "And life hasn't been good to you, Sui...?" he asked softly. "Did you have a big fight with Ren before he left? And do you want me to knock some sense into him?"
Suikotsu choked back the laughter he had had at the thought of the wiry cross-dresser knocking some sense into anyone, let alone Renkotsu. Suddenly his expression grew sad and voice sounded weak as he replied, "No... it's not Ren... Ren makes life fair... but..."
Jakotsu felt his eyes stinging with sympathetic tears. Hastily wiping them, he smiled sadly and put a hand on his friend's shoulder. "It's okay, Sui. You don't have to tell me..."
The claw-bearer smiled a little. "You know, when Ren is not around, it's nice to have you here." He leaned towards Jakotsu and kissed him chastely on the cheek.
Jakotsu, surprised by the little show of affection as Suikotsu had never gone so far as to kiss him before, giggled nervously like a girl. "Yeah...?" He giggled again at the foolish grin Suikotsu had plastered on his face. "I love your company too, Sui..." Jakotsu smiled, and unsure if he should return the kiss or not, he decided it was better to let the claw-bearer take the lead.
Suikotsu grinned drunkenly at him and reaching up, he pulled the butterfly hairpin from the cross-dresser's hair. "That's better..." he murmured softly to himself as he pulled Jakotsu's hair from the dark coil that cascaded down his back. Closing his eyes, he leaned into the cross-dresser and sighed sadly.
Jakotsu hesitated briefly, before letting his arms gently snake around the claw-bearer. He was puzzled by Suikotsu's behavior, as normally the claw-bearer took on a parental role, while the cross-dresser played the child. And while Suikotsu occasionally flirted back when Jakotsu got out of hand with his own flirtations, both understood it to be a game they played and nothing serious. But now things were starting to take on a sexual overtone that went way beyond that, leaving Jakotsu to wonder just how far the claw-bearer would go.
Thinking Suikotsu had passed out, the cross-dresser sighed softly in relief. As he shifted slightly in an effort to let Suikotsu sleep it off on the porch, the claw-bearer misinterpreted his moves and pulled him into a tight embrace, completely taking Jakotsu by surprise.
Suikotsu, instead of answering, kissed the cross-dresser long and hard on the mouth. He moved to trail a line of kisses hungrily across Jakotsu's jaw line and down the soft planes of the side of his neck.
The cross-dresser closed his eyes, his breathing quickening as the claw-bearer worked his way across his collar bone to the hollow of his throat. Leaning his head back, Jakotsu silently urged the claw-bearer on, by exposing the soft white flesh of his throat. It was enough to lead Suikotsu back up the cross-dresser's neck and across his jaw line, where Jakotsu was able to capture Suikotsu's lips with his own. Deepening the kiss, he pulled Suikotsu down on top of himself as he leaned backwards towards the floor. Amid much giggling and kissing, Jakotsu somehow managed to free his legs out from under the claw-bearer. He moaned softly when Suikotsu ran a hand lightly up his thigh to caress his left buttock. Hooking his legs around Suikotsu, Jakotsu lay there, feeling as if dreams were about to come true as Suikotsu started pushing his kimono down off his shoulders. He could tell the claw-bearer was enjoying himself as much as he was, if not more so. But the more Suikotsu let his hands wandered over various parts of cross-dresser's anatomy, the more wrong it felt to Jakotsu.
Confused, he murmured, "Sui...?"
The claw-bearer acted as if he did not hear him, for he was busy planting little butterfly kisses on the cross-dresser's newly exposed shoulder.
Worming his hands between them, Jakotsu said, "Sui...please don't..." He closed his eyes as he tried to push the heavier claw-bearer off of himself. "Sui...?"
Finally it penetrated Suikotsu's head, through the alcohol and lust, what he was doing. He stopped abruptly and shivered for a moment, before lying limply on top of the cross-dresser, his head resting peacefully on Jakotsu's shoulder.
Even though Suikotsu remained silent about what had just happened, Jakotsu sighed softly in relief. "Are you okay...?"
Suikotsu nodded wordlessly, not trusting himself to speak.
"Sui, you know we can't do this as much as I want to, and I think you want to too... But I don't want things to ever change between us like you said they would... Sui...?" Jakotsu called his name, an edge of panic tingeing his voice. "Sui... kotsu...?"
"I'm sorry, Jak..." Suikotsu said softly. "For a moment I thought..."
"No, it's okay..." Jakotsu hugged him and stroked the claw-bearer's hair the way Suikotsu would do to him whenever he was feeling upset and needed some wordless comforting.
"You and my Sedako-chan are so much alike..." Suikotsu said softly.
"Yes. You both are very sweet and beautiful."
"Thank you..." Jakotsu smiled as he gently stroked Suikotsu's cheek with the backs of his finger tips.
"You know she died today ..." Suikotsu said sadly.
"What...?" Jakotsu held his friend tightly. Poor Sui... "I'm so sorry, Sui..."
"She dies every year on this day..."
"Yes, her death plays over and over again in my mind on this day."
"Oh..." Jakotsu said softly. "I really wish I could be her for you, but I'm afraid it would change things too much, Sui, and I'd lose something very precious to me. I'm sorry to be so selfish..." Jakotsu whispered as he started to cry softly. "It hurts me so much to see you hurting like this..."
"I'm the one being selfish, using you in place of my loved one, I'm sorry, Jak..."
"No, you shouldn't be sorry; I should," Jakotsu gently countered. "I should have done it without a moment's thought, but I couldn't help remembering what you said about us nookying and how it would destroy what we have together..." He groaned softly. "You're hurting and I'm so selfish that I could only think of myself instead of you and what you needed to feel better. Sui... if it'll make you happy, then go ahead, I'll live with the consequences..." Jakotsu, taking Suikotsu's face in his hands, and pulling it gently towards him, kissed him.
Breaking the kiss, Suikotsu said softly, "I'm glad you remembered. I also don't want to destroy what we have between us. Thank you for stopping me." He smiled ruefully. "...and for waking me up in time."
Jakotsu smiled shyly. "I'm glad you find what we have precious too. And you're not mad at me...?"
"Not at all," the claw-bearer said tiredly.
The cross-dresser's smile broadened. "Good. I was worried there..."
"I'm sorry I scared you."
"It's okay, Sui, I wasn't scared." Jakotsu hugged the claw-bearer. "I just wasn't sure if this was a good idea or not and since you're so precious to me, I couldn't stand the thought of losing you."
Suikotsu carefully got up off of Jakotsu so as not to hurt him anymore. Whether that hurt was physical or emotional, the claw-bearer did not know. All he knew was the sake combined with his movements made his head spin as he sat up. "Damn..."
"What's wrong, Sui?" Jakotsu quickly sat up and reached out to steady his friend.
"Too much sake and too much sadness."
Jakotsu, looking upset to hear that, said, "Oh... I can't help the too much sake, but maybe I can help the too much sadness, no?"
Suikotsu, touched by the cross-dresser's concern, said sadly, "I don't think you can help me..."
"The wounds are too deep."
Jakotsu frowned. "The wounds may be deep, Sui, but they still need to heal, and if you don't let them, you'll never feel better."
"I've tried; believe me I've tried, but nothing helps them heal," Suikotsu said wearily.
Jakotsu smiled, and wagging his finger at Suikotsu, he said, "Ren is always grumbling about how doctors make the worst patients, so maybe you're not letting them heal, Sui." He reached out and brushed the hair from the claw-bearer's eyes. "Or maybe you're expecting them to heal very quickly and they need more time or something else to heal."
"Time...? Isn't five years time enough, Jak?"
"Ummm... Yeah, but... ummm..." Jakotsu daintily nibbled on a fingernail. "Uh, Sui...? Remember when I broke my arm in that one battle?"
The claw-bearer frowned. "What's your point?"
"Well, you told me it'd take at least two months for it to heal properly, right?"
"And stupid me felt better after a month and a half and I wound up breaking it again while fooling around with Aniki-chan?" Jakotsu giggled.
Suikotsu sighed as he remembered. "Against my direct orders."
Jakotsu smiled sheepishly. "Well, maybe whatever causes the kind of sadness you're feeling takes a while to heal... And maybe you're rushing it and it keeps scabbing over like a wound cuz you're picking at it, but it never gets better cuz of that. Or maybe you need to let it go, and sure you'll have something to remind you of it, like my arm still hurts sometimes when it rains, but that's so you don't forget," Jakotsu rambled on. "Maybe that lil pain you feel is so you won't forget her... But I still think you should remember the happy times rather than the sad..." He sighed.
Suikotsu nodded. Looking back at Jakotsu, he frowned and said, "But it was so unfair, why do good people like her die, and horrible people like us keep on living?" The claw-bearer clutched the sides of his head. He felt another headache coming on and it was the kind that usually heralded his more violent side taking over. The wounds of his wife's death ran deep as her passing was the turning point in his life where things started spiraling out of control. But this time it was a simple headache that responded to the rubbing he gave his temples.
"Cuz the gods do strange things, Sui..." Jakotsu said softly. Lamenting the fact Renkotsu was not around, the cross-dresser tried to remember all the nonsense the former monk had told him one afternoon when he was feeling sick and Suikotsu was not around to look after him. "No one knows why they take away the good people and leave the bad..." He closed his eyes as he tried to remember more. "Ummm... uh, Ren says the gods only give us a burden heavy enough for us to carry, no more no less, and that even the happiest person knows the pain of sorrow-"
"You know what? That philosophical bullshit doesn't make me feel any better!" Suikotsu said vehemently.
"What kind of bullshit...?" Jakotsu blinked in confusion. "All I know is that one time you weren't around to look after me when I was sick and I was miserable cuz Aniki-chan was around either, and I had no one else to talk to except Ren. He told me a bunch of shit about the gods and everything else. And you know what, Sui? I was so interested in his stories that I forgot what I was upset about. So maybe they're not bullshit..."
"And that's all they are, Jak; just stories."
"Oh..." Jakotsu said sadly. "But they were such good stories too. Sui, he told me this really good one about a monk who went on a mission for the gods. And he traveled west on the mainland, past the land of the Chin and the gods sent with him the Monkey King, and a pig, and a kappa! And they had many adventures!" The cross-dresser smiled.
"Though I bet none of them had the problems we have."
Jakotsu laughed as he tried to lighten his friend's mood. "They had even worse problems, Sui. They had to find this sutra and they were always getting into fights with the local townspeople and various youkai, and people working together with youkai, cuz the youkai on the mainland are different from ours."
Suikotsu snorted angrily. "I doubt any of them had their innocent wife die in childbirth which sent them spiraling into madness, or got thrown out of a monastery and nearly starved to death for something they didn't do, or forced to prostitute themselves to pay off a debt that wasn't even theirs to begin with!"
Jakotsu shrank back from the force of Suikotsu's anger. "Yeah... but that's just it, Sui, Ren told me those stories so I would forget my troubles... and probably to stop pestering him too..." he said ruefully. "Seriously, you really should let go of your troubles. Let them be like the butterflies that visit your garden, here for a short time and then gone. So what if more come back next year? That's how life is..."
"Yeah? Well my butterflies seem to stick around summer, fall, winter, spring and then some," the claw-bearer said bitterly.
"I see..." Jakotsu said softly, growing quiet as he thought it over. "You miss her a lot, don't you? What if we go look for her and bring her back and make a shrine for her, then you won't miss her so much cuz she'll always be near you."
"Ren has already done that for me, it helped for awhile, but then it just made things a little worse."
"No, you're not listening to me. I said we should bring what's left of her back here and put her to rest in your garden in a little shrine, Sui... you know, like those little shrines you see every so often on the side of the road. We can put her near the hydrangeas and I swear on Aniki-chan's life I'll behave myself there, knowing it would disturb her if I didn't. I think she misses you too, Sui, and would be happy to come be here with us. Then she'd be close to you again..."
Suikotsu nodded. Smiling sadly, he said softly, "You know, I do try to think only of the happy things, but then it only reminds me of what I lost..."
Jakotsu sighed wearily as he felt he was not getting anywhere near lifting his friend's spirits. "Sui, I used to do the same thing when I was little too... I lost my family, what lil there was of it and while it wasn't the best of families, it was the only one I had and I was sad for a long time after my mother and sister left." He smiled sadly. "But then I opened my heart and I let Sparrow in. She was only there for a short time, but she showed me a happiness the other bitches in that hellhole couldn't be bothered with, and it was a happiness I had all but forgotten and then she died, Sui... She died stupidly too, because no one would help her. I was sad and miserable after her death until one day some cocky lil bastard walked in and probably pissed off the owner to my good fortune! And you know what? I opened my heart again and now I have so much happiness there because of him that whatever sorrow I had was very little in comparison..." Jakotsu smiled briefly, and growing serious, he said, "Just don't be afraid to open your heart, Sui, and let the happiness in." Jakotsu smiled again. "Cuz when there's a lot of happiness in your heart, there's no room for sorrow." He leaned over and gave his friend a little kiss on the cheek.
Suikotsu shook his head at Jakotsu's childish logic, a tiny smile tugging at his lips. "Then which heart should I open? I have three of them," he said half-teasingly.
Jakotsu giggled. "Open them all! Think of all the happiness you'll have when you do!!"
Suikotsu shook his head sadly. "Ren is my happiness, my drug, and he takes the pain away, but the wounds still won't heal."
"Then maybe you need to stop worrying about them healing and just focus on Ren and who he is and not who you're missing while you're with him."
The claw-bearer heaved a heavy sigh. "I do... But that's the problem, like any drug I become more and more dependant on him. So when he's gone, the pain comes back ten-fold."
"Maybe you should open your heart to the rest of us; so that we can bring you happiness when Ren's not here. I think you were looking for that before and had I known that, I wouldn't have stopped you..."
"But it would have been wrong, Jak..."
"Would it have been? You were hurting, Sui, and I would have been comforting you the only I know how. Maybe your heart knew that."
"But I would have been betraying Ren." Suikotsu laughed hollowly. "And I can't afford to lose my best drug."
Jakotsu reached over and cupped Suikotsu's cheek. "I think Ren would understand, Sui. And he's a person, not a drug. A person who loves you very much and people forgive things, Sui, drugs don't. They just dull the pain for a little while or make you feel better when you're sick. People can do that too if you let them, and when you do, you find that you don't need the drugs anymore. Well, sometimes you do..." Jakotsu rambled on. "You know, I used to drink a lot when I first met Aniki-chan and he took me away cuz everything was so new to me and different, but mostly because I was afraid he'd leave me and I'd be left with nothing." He looked away. "But when I told him honestly how I felt, he understood and while I still get anxious about it, Aniki-chan says it's only cuz I love him... and I do." Jakotsu smiled. "But I still think you haven't honestly opened up to Ren and I really think you should. Once you tell him what's wrong and how you're afraid he'll go away and leave you..." he trailed off helplessly as he looked back over at the claw-bearer.
"I don't fear Ren leaving; really. I fear the gods and fate taking him away from me the way they took my Sedako-chan away from me."
Jakotsu sighed. "Leaving is leaving, Sui, whether a person up and walks away from you or they die on you. The ending is the same. One minute they're there and life is very happy and the next, they're gone and the darkness and the sadness take over..."
Suikotsu grabbed Jakotsu's hand and removed it from his face. "You don't have to tell me something I already know," he said peevishly.
Jakotsu, hurt by his tone, looked away sadly. "I'm sorry. It's just that it hurts me to see you hurting like this, Sui, but I'm not very smart and I don't know everything aside from the stuff people tell me about..." he turned back towards the claw-bearer. "I've tried, Sui... Kami-sama knows I've tried... but..." Jakotsu sighed in frustration, upset that no matter what he said or did, nothing seemed to lift Suikotsu's spirits. What he did not realize was that Suikotsu had fallen into a deep depression and that nothing but time was going to help.
Suikotsu groaned loudly as he stretched, startling the brooding cross-dresser. "I'm going to go to sleep."
"I'm coming with you," Jakotsu said impulsively.
"I'm coming with you." Jakotsu eyed him narrowly. "I just want to make sure you're going to be alright. You're drunk off your ass, Sui, something I've never seen you get before and I'm very worried about you. What if something happened and I wasn't there? I really don't want to have to explain things to Ren when he gets back. It's bad enough I'm going to take the blame for your hangover. You know, they're supposed to come home tomorrow, and I know Ren'll forgive me if I'm taking care of you and so will Aniki-chan." The cross-dresser folded his arms across his chest and did his best to glare at his friend.
Suikotsu shrugged and stood up. "Fine. Do what you want."
Jakotsu nodded, and having won the argument, he let out a heavy sigh as he stood up to follow.
Without a single word of acknowledgment, Suikotsu pushed past the cross-dresser and lurched towards his room. Once inside, he staggered over to his futon and sat on it, only to flop over onto his back. Laying an arm across his eyes, he silently willed the room to stop spinning with no success.
Jakotsu had also come in, after retrieving his hairpin from the porch floor. He made himself comfortable next to the prone claw-bearer and sat quietly watching over him while he fixed his hair.
"Damn it... even when I close my eyes, my head's still spinning."
"Welcome to fun of getting drunk off your ass..." Jakotsu chuckled. "Your head's going to be spinning for awhile. You know, you might feel better if you drag yourself outside and get sick."
Suikotsu groaned. "My hangover's going to be hell."
"Oh yeah..." Jakotsu giggled. "And tomorrow when you wake up and Ren tiptoes in here, it's going to feel like Kyo's stomping on your head."
"I know what hangover feels like, Jak, I've had plenty of them."
"You have...?" Jakotsu's eyebrows shot up his forehead in surprise. "But I've never seen you drunk before, Sui, so when did you get them? While you were away on a mission without me?"
"No, I had a lot of them before I joined up."
"The reason I had drank too much before, to the point where I couldn't function unless I had a couple of drinks first, was because the pain was too much to bear."
"Oh... like smoking too much opium, hunh?" Jakotsu said. "Once you start, it's hard to stop."
"But why, Sui?"
"Well, each of my personalities had their own ways of dealing with our problems."
"Scary Sui killed people, the good doctor Sui sat in a corner and cried, and I drank like a fish."
"Oh..." the cross-dresser said softly.
"But you stopped drinking cuz I've never seen you drink anything until now, so why start again?"
"Oh, I always drink like this on this particular day, Jak."
"Really...? Then I guess you always drank with Ren and Aniki-chan must have kept me busy too..." Jakotsu looked over at his friend. "Ummm, Sui, would Sedako-dono have liked it if you drank yourself sick?"
"Then why do you do it?"
"Because she's not here to stop me."
"But that's not a reason to do it, Sui. I don't go whoring because Aniki-chan's not here to stop me."
"So why are you doing something that would hurt and upset Sedako-dono? Just because she's not here to stop you isn't an excuse to go ahead and do it."
"It's because I can't stop myself."
"Well, if I'm like her, like you say I am, then I'm asking you to stop, Maybe that's why we became friends, so I can help her by being here for you..."
"That would be nice..." Suikotsu said as Jakotsu smiled. "I need someone to watch over me."
"Yeah...? Well, I want to be that person who watches over you." Jakotsu frowned. "I can still do that and be with Aniki-chan, right?"
"Of course. Watching over someone is something a friend or family member would do."
The cross-dresser smiled. "I'm your friend."
"Nah, you're more like family."
Jakotsu giggled. He was happy to hear a smile finally returning to the claw-bearer's voice. "Oh yeah! You're my Chichi-ue!" he teased.
Suikotsu chuckled. "Heh. A fine 'chichi-ue' I am, drinking myself silly in front of my child..."
The cross-dresser giggled.
Sighing, the claw-bearer said, "I think the best thing I can do is sleep this off."
"Yeah..." Jakotsu quietly got up and headed over to the pile of bedding Suikotsu had pushed out of the way when he woke up instead of putting away. Picking up a quilt, he held it up. "This yours or Ren's? It's dark green with dragonflies on it."
"It's Ren's but I don't think he'd mind."
"I don't he would either." Jakotsu giggled as he brought it over. "I bet it'll be like sleeping with him."
For the first time that day, Suikotsu genuinely smiled. "Yeah..."
After covering the claw-bearer with the quilt, and tucking him in, Jakotsu said softly, "'night, Sui..."
Suikotsu yawned. "Good night..."
Jakotsu, stifling a yawn, sat down on the floor next to Suikotsu and made himself comfortable. "Sleep well, Chichi-ue..." he giggled softly as Suikotsu drifted off to sleep.