Pre-Journey and Pre-Hakkai, Cho Gonou contemplates the difference between his nightmares and his waking-moments.
O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams."
After the arrival of the half-dead man he'd found in the rain, Gojyo had begun a habit of telling that unconscious figure where he was going whenever he left. Now that the man was awake, Gojyo felt slightly less foolish for doing so, but still had taken to prefacing his announcement with "Hey, man" as opposed to "Hey, Sleeping Beauty."
So with his announcement, Gojyo would go into town for several hours every so often and make as much money as he could at the card tables. The daytime gambling wasn't as lucrative as it was at night and the players who chose to spend their days in a dank bar weren't playing for fun or friends. Those gamblers always left Gojyo feeling just a little dirty for even having sat down at the table with them, let alone for taking their money, and he made an effort to make as much as he could as quickly as he could. If he had any faith in higher powers or protective spirits, he would have joined the card tables at night like he was used to, but he preferred to leave his housemate alone only when taking a step outside the house meant the sun kissing and licking at your skin - as if death or disappearance could be warded off with warmth and daylight.
With the home owner gone, the newly acquired housemate would spend the day reading whatever Gojyo had found for him earlier in the week. Or he'd tidy what he could until the fact he was still recovering from not-dying overtook him and he had to give in to sleep and its feverless fever dreams.
During the time he had been in a near-coma, Cho Gonou's mind had been beautifully silent. Now that his unconsciousness came because of sleep instead of what should have been death, his mind seemed intent on torturing him. If he wasn't dreaming of life with Kanan, he was dreaming of her death. He watched himself fail her over and over again, and when his brain grew tired of that particular vision, he dreamt of the now-faceless youkai who had gutted him. His mind seemed to revel in replaying the worst of his emotional and physical pain from that particular night.
More than once, Gojyo had come home to find the man on his bed trapped in a particularly nasty nightmare. Each time he'd crouch by the bed and lightly stoke the top of the sleeping man's hand, softly calling to him "/hey. Hey, man. C'mon Sleepin' Beauty/," until Sleeping Beauty gradually awoke.
The first time Gojyo had woken him, it took the man a moment to remember where he was and when he'd turned slightly wild eyes on Gojyo, Gojyo had felt something twist inside him. At times like that, Gojyo was almost glad that Green Eyes probably already had plans about not sticking around - with time and those eyes, he'd probably be able to get Gojyo to do nearly anything for him.
The third time he was woken, he'd told Gojyo "you're quite good at this. Thank you." And Gojyo had given his housemate one of his most charming false smiles and explained that his mother had often had bad dreams.
"I figured out that this was the best way to wake her up, if you were me," he'd said. His guest had been slightly confused and probably intrigued by that, but hadn't asked him to explain. It was one of the things Gojyo really liked about him, and at these times he'd find himself wishing that the guy would stick around.
As for Gonou, he had no desires one way or the other about staying with Gojyo. Part of him could appreciate what the half-youkai had done, but it changed nothing. Gonou's subconscious however, had apparently decided that Gojyo's kindness in waking him from nightmares had earned him an important enough place to at least be given a role in Gonou's daily mental flagellations.
In his dreams Goyjo could be found ignoring him that night in the rain and simply walking on past (or sometimes helping his intestines the rest of the way out of his stomach before continuing on). Though to be honest, Gonou wasn't sure if those dreams could be classified as true nightmares or not.
The dreams where Gojyo took the place of that faceless youkai, certainly qualified however. And the few he'd had where he was left to watch helplessly as Gojyo easily glided between the bars of Kanan's cell and slit her throat for her, were the worst of the lot. As painful as that particular dream was, Gonou was still thankful that Gojyo had not been around to wake him from it. He had a feeling doing so would possibly have been dangerous for the other man.
Cho Gonou had never been the type of child or man to confuse his dreams with the waking world. In fact, he'd not even had many real daydreams or fantasy-hopes - certainly none he'd admit to if pressed. But now, when his mind allowed him to dream of Kanan; smiling, breathing, no knives to be seen, the weak parts of him would try to stir his hopes. That perhaps he'd wake to find that it was the red-haired kappa that had been the dream. Hyakugan Maoh's castle the nightmare. He'd hear someone calling to him, /hey Sleeping Beauty, wake up/, and he'd know it was Kanan - it was just up to him to figure out how to wake up to her.
"Hey, Green-eyes - you awake?" came from the space next to his head.
Those green eyes opened to focus on a grinning young man, "I suppose so."