In which some things are resolved, but the world continues on its way regardless. Reincarnation story, of sorts. Wild Adapter crossover.
Goku doesn't know what would have made him leave Kubota's small apartment happy. He's not really angry anymore, not even when he meets hazel brown eyes under a thick layer of glasses and bemusement. He wants to be indifferent, to move on. He wants his old teacher and friend to look at him and smile like Goku matters to him. Maybe the closest he'll ever get to that is Kubota's cool, calming fingers on his shoulder when he led him away from Shelly bleeding on the floor.
Instead of reassurance he gets the offer of coffee, which Kubota presses into his hand with a small smile and a formalistic, "I know it it's only instant, but please take it." Hakkai might have actually meant the words.
Tokitoh glares at them both, as if personally offended by ritual and politeness, and retreats to the couch and a playstation, muttering something under his breath. Goku wonders if he's ever disappointed in Kubota for being- whatever he is. But the idea of imagining him ever being disappointed, ever, is unfathomable. Maybe for this him this sharp, deadly, empty boy is exactly what he needs. Maybe.
"So, what brings you here?" Kubota asks cheerfully. "Is she well?"
Of course, because if Goku is here now it has to be about Shelly. Shelly doesn't seem to be disappointed in Kubota either. Maybe it's easier if you don't know what you're missing.
"She's doing better. They say she'll be stable enough for transport in a week or so." Mostly because Shelly was loudly interested in nothing so much as getting out of this 'antiseptic stinking pest hole, before I really get sick and croak'.
"She says sorry about the guy who got shot. And that if you get off your ass and work on it you'll find that WA shit you're looking for. And..." Goku pauses and bites his lower lip. And in the next life... What was that supposed to mean, anyway?
"And?" Kubota asks with a politely raised eyebrow. Definitely what? She'll beat him to death with a fan? She'll shoot him? She'll what? Goku wonders why people have to say things that don't make any sense.
"And that there's definitely something in the next life," Goku adds in a quick mutter, throwing a sideways glance at Tokitoh who's pretending to be too caught in the game to listen but keeps dying in game, messily and colorfully ever few seconds.
"Yeah?" Kubota's smile is soft and relaxed and suddenly he looks like a kid. One who just got- something good. Straight A's, or knowing Kubota, just broke someone's fingers for the very first time. "Okay. I'll try to remember that."
"Hey! Hey! What's that supposed to mean?" Tokitoh's voice calls from over by the couch. It's the only warning Goku got before one very annoyed looking boy vaults over into the room and directly into Kubota's personal space. "You don't just say things like that to people! It's weird," he adds. His fists were curled up by his sides.
Kubota tipped his head back and gave a bright, considering smile. His hands slid over Tokitoh's in a way that made Goku look away and tell himself he wasn't seeing anything, even though it was just hands.
"Well, possibly it doesn't mean anything," he murmurs.
Goku clears his throat before Tokitoh catches his breath to start shouting.
"So, that was it, really," he says quickly, standing up and looking sidelong at the door. "Shelly just wanted me to say goodbye for her."
Strangely, it's Tokitoh blue eyes that focus on him, suddenly very wide and surprised looking. "Wait, you're going with her and stuff, right?"
"Okay," Tokitoh says quickly, and then looks at Kubota who still has his hands, and then back at Goku. "But... is that- I mean, you'll come back, won't you?"
"I don't think Shelly's getting back into Japan anytime soon," Goku says, and tries not to wonder why Tokitoh suddenly cares.
"That's lame," Tokitoh mutters, lips twisted in disgust. "She didn't even do anything. Just almost got killed."
Goku shrugs and nods his agreement. It's pretty lame that they all met like this in the first place and nothing's going to happen. Lame, but better. Better than drifting through the rain and hearing an imaginary Sanzo yelling on his shoulder. Better to watch Kubota's hands intertwined with someone else's then see the combination of calm and empty rage that made Goku so mad and sick and exhausted to witness.
Kubota walks him to the door. On the threshold he leans a little too close and murmurs, "Maybe it means that she and Tokitoh have until the next life to learn to get along?"
There's a spark of placid mischief in his expression and the reflected light makes Kubota's eyes almost green.
"Hey," Goku whispers back. "I promise to get along with you too, if you promise to live to ripe old age."
Kubota outright grins and bows his head. "I'll think about it."
The door closes firmly and Goku doesn't look back once on the way to the hospital.
He does see Kubota, one more time about a week later. Sneaking down a dimly lit hospital corridor, in the suprisingly quiet way he can. Out of Shelly's room.
Goku thinks about stopping him, saying something, but doesn't.
It's dark in the apartment after Goku leaves, once Tokitoh turn off his video game. No point playing anyway, when you keep losing like that.
"So... you know, you don't have to help me with this, you know," Tokitoh mutters suddenly, staring off toward the window. "I mean... she didn't even do anything! And they shot her like that. She could have died."
"Hai, that's true," Kubota agrees placidly, as he settles down on the couch next to Tokitoh, letting his feet rest on Tokitoh's knees. "And you don't have to stay here. You could leave the country and then there probably wouldn't be anyone who wants to shoot you."
"They shot at you too. Just because they didn't hit you," Tokitoh continues obliviously. "I mean... they shot at you."
"Yes. That's going to happen."
"So, you don't have to help me. Just because I can't remember anything like an idiot, or whatever. You can just... I mean, I'm not sick anymore, I can live on my own."
Kubota smiles and presses the sole of his foot against Tokitoh's knee. "But, who will cook curry for you then?"
"Fuck off about the curry! I'm serious!"
"I understand. So am I."
Tokitoh seizes Kubota's hand, hard and sudden. "I don't want you to die."
"I'm not dead."
"I know that! Jeez! I've seen zombie movies and you don't look anything like that."
Kubota laughs. "You could leave the country, though. Seriously." You could, Tokitoh hears. You could. You.
"Fuck, Kubo-chan! Don't even say stupid shit like that," he hisses and lets the tips of claws dig into Kubota's flesh. Warm beads of blood stain the fingertips of his glove.
"So you'll stay here. And we'll keep looking for your answers." Kubota runs a single, stained finger over Tokitoh's lower lip. "If that's okay with you, of course."
"Don't say stupid shit like that," Tokitoh mumbles around the edge of that finger.
When their plane lands at JFK it's raining. Shelly has her nose pressed to the thick glass of the window and Goku is eating the last of her peanuts.
"It's nice," she said suddenly, as if they'd been in the middle of a long conversation.
"Spring rain. You know, I always liked the rain."
Goku stares at the back of her neck, the relaxed lines of her spine, which are probably half painkiller induced anyway. He smiles.
"No. I didn't know. But I'm glad."