Gojyo played and Hakkai watched.
That's how it always seemed to go, with the exception of fighting demons. Gojyo played with fire, Hakkai read about it in one of his books, looking up now and then when curses streamed through the air.
Gojyo drank and Hakkai drank, but in the end it was Gojyo who swayed on his feet and became light-headedly blissful while Hakkai picked him up and staggered under his weight.
They played cards together, sure, but Gojyo was the gambler, the one ready to win or lose with Lady Luck. Because as good as he was, she was fickle at best. Hakkai played for a bed to sleep in at the inn, or an extra portion of food, and the result was always the same.
It was not so much a life as watching a life change, twist, flourish, and wither before his eyes. Not his own this time, which sometimes made him sad but most often made him guilty and grateful.
"I think you think that you've been there, done that, and gotten the tunic," Gojyo said as he had peered into his beer mug one night. He did his best thinking like that, or his only thinking if you believed what Sanzo said. "And you have, you know?"
"Ah," Hakkai did not agree or disagree. Sipped and put his cup on a makeshift coaster.
"So now you're wiser for it." Gojyo grinned, sharp-toothed and mostly harmless. "And you figure you're watching me do it this time around. Go there, do that, scrape my knees and learn from mistakes."
The brunette did think this sometimes, a lot of times, because it was easy to place Gojyo as someone so much younger than he was. And it was so easy to fall into different thoughts, of Kanon's child that was never born, who would have had red hair and red eyes and maybe her smile but not much else.
Gojyo grunted, trying to make sense of what he was trying say. It would come out wrong, he knew, because somehow half of what he said came out wrong. Probably the human half of him was to blame. "But you don't realize, I have done it. Okay, not everything, so don't give me that look, but you know what I mean." Flicked ashes from a burning cigarette onto the table and his grin widened at Hakkai's affronted look.
Hakkai frowned. "I don't believe that's true."
Gojyo scowled and pointed at his cheek. "Got two scars that say you should."
"That's not what I mean." He never stared at those scars, not anymore if he ever really did, because he didn't need to. He knew the story, more than most did at least. His friend was scarred from it in more ways than one whether the half-breed realized it or not, whether he wanted to pretend he'd moved on and forgotten the gory details.
Hakkai couldn't. He'd thought over all of those details, all the descriptions he'd talked out of Gojyo over the years. He'd been angry, of course, at that demon woman with too sharp claws and a broken mind. He'd pitied her as well, wondering how he would have felt, seeing the product of a person you loved and a person you hated every day because it was dropped into your lap and abandoned. He'd put himself in that part, different scenarios. What ifs multiplying in his brain, all of them focused on the ways his life could have played out.
Just as bad; just as tragic.
All his fault again.
Gojyo snorted but looked morose. "You keep thinking about her while you're with me and my ego is gonna start hurting," he chuckled, leaning back so he could tilt his head back and look down his nose at the other man.
"Sorry, Gojyo. I was just..."
But Gojyo waved his cigarette hand in a dismissive manner and the subject was closed. His eyes were wandering over the inn's tavern, jumping from woman to woman like a too-excited animal, unsure of which direction to run.
And this was another instance where Hakkai watched while Gojyo moved. They were normally dark-haired, the women Gojyo took, but some had auburn waves or sandy ringlets down their backs. Gojyo would smirk and nudge Hakkai's ribs, and Hakkai would smile and perhaps make a comment on his choice. The once-human thought his friend deserved more than one night stand women, often hated them for edging on Gojyo's need for attention of any kind, salt in a wound that never seemed to change. Not worse, not better.
Just there and stinging.
But lately Gojyo hadn't asked Hakkai's opinion. Hadn't singled out any women or made any moves. Flirted, smiled, but never accepted.
Hakkai watched red eyes make a pass over the room, pausing finally at the stairs and the rooms that were up there. Goku was probably passed out in the room he was sharing with Hakkai and Sanzo was-
The green-eyed demon froze. Oh. Oh, /no/.
But it made sense, in a way that he didn't want to admit. Their rooming arrangements of late had been monotonous. The fleeting glances, teasing smirks, vulgar curses flung between half-breed and monk. Foreplay twisted like gnarled limbs of a tree.
It was cruel and wrong and...
And made Gojyo's fingers curl over the edge of the table, already bracing himself for whatever was coming. Made him forget, sometimes, about the burning cylinder in his hand until it reached scarred fingers and earned a hiss.
Of course, it could be nothing at all. Just Gojyo being bored, attention span as short as it ever was despite the trying journey they've undertaken. Hakkai couldn't think that Sanzo would agree. The monk despised the taboo child for reasons Hakkai could only somewhat understand.
He suddenly wondered what he was worried about-/why/ he was worried, even, because they were grown men after all.
"You're doing it again," Gojyo sighed, amused. "I can leave you alone, ya know. Little private Hakkai time would probably do ya good."
"No, no. It's fine. I was just..." he winced slightly.
"Thinking? Yeah, yeah. You spend too much time up in that brain of yours. Can't be healthy." The redhead looked thoughtful, tipping his chair backwards until it balanced on two legs. "Course, Sanzo-hime up there," he made a vague gesture towards the stairs, "claims I don't spend any time thinkin', so I must be the healthiest bastard around." He paused. "Except maybe for Goku."
Hakkai chuckled. He started to say something, but the barmaid wandered by and stopped at their little table, curves and giggles at the corner of her mouth.
"Can I get you two anything else?" she asked, a tray resting against one cocked hip.
"Naw, we're all set. Wouldn't want to make more work for a lady such as yourself." Gojyo grinned and winked, letting a blushing girl bustle away.
But his eyes followed the movement of her hips and that was a good sign.
"She seemed nice."
Gojyo looked at him sharply and Hakkai had a moment to think 'wait, what am I doing?' before pressing on gamely. "And, um, interested in you."
One red eyebrow raised.
"A-and you haven't been, that is, going...out, like you usually do lately." Hakkai smiled and repeated, "She seemed nice."
The other eyebrow joined its companion before Gojyo barked out a laugh, pressing the palm of his hand to his forehead and hunching over slightly. "Man, Hakkai, if you want a chick you can get her yourself. Ya don't have to let me have first dibs."
"She was too soft, anyway. Not my type."
Which was nonsense because Gojyo's type was anything considered 'pretty'.
Some frantic voice seemed to be chanting wrong wrong wrong but as no one else seemed to hear it, Hakkai didn't voice his agreement.
"Weeell, I'm heading up. I'm beat." Gojyo stretched and stood. "Later, Hakkai," he said as he turned, lifting one hand in parting.
Hakkai made a move. "Ah, Gojyo, would you mind rooming with me? Goku has been rather restless at night."
Gojyo paused mid-step then turned again. "Sure. Let the ape deal with His Holiness for a night. Kid's probably having wet dreams about dumplings or something. I'll go kick him out."
When he was gone, Hakkai found himself sighing in relief for some reason.
Two days later, when they paused for a break in a convenient forest, he was choking on that same sigh when he almost stumbled over a kneeling Gojyo and a panting Sanzo, pale hands twisted into the half-breed's red mane.
"Sorry!" he nearly yelped and made a hasty retreat back to Jeep, but not before hearing Gojyo's howling laugh and the resounding smack that followed.
The green-eyed man's feet decided to stop, for some ungodly reason, and Hakkai found himself listening despite himself.
"Fuck, Sanzo, what was that for?!"
"What do you think, idiot?"
"It's just Hakkai."
"It's some one and that's bad enough."
"You weren't the one on his knees."
"No. But I'm the one with something to be ashamed of."
"Sanzo-hime? /Ashamed/?" And Hakkai could hear the smirk in Gojyo's voice, could imagine him tilting his head to the side with a gleam in his eyes. "Am I your dirty little secret?"
A hitched breath. "Pervert."
"Not hearing many complaints from you."
"Shut up. I'm sick of your voice."
Leaves rustled and grass shifted while Gojyo chuckled. "I could say 'no', you know, and then you'd be fucked. Without the actual 'fuck' part. Or any other part."
"You like it, asshole, so get on with it."
"Yeah, but I can handle not giving head a hell of a lot better than you can handle not getting it."
Another laugh, a /thud/, and then Hakkai was moving again, away from the sounds and back to the safety of their rest stop, trying to ignore the tight feeling in his chest or the way the tips of his ears left like they were on fire.
"Hey, Hakkai, where's Sanzo and Gojyo?" Goku piped up the minute he was in sight. "Can we eat without them, can we? I'm starving and they're slow."
He smiled. "Sure, Goku. I think that would be a great idea."
And as he picked at his food, he started planning, rehearsing made-up scenes for whatever might come next.
Later when the other two returned, he ignored the flush on Sanzo's skin, the smudge of grass and dirt on clothes, and the bruise already forming on Gojyo's smirking face.
He just planned more.
Hakkai was worrying over something and Gojyo knew it.
It didn't take a genius to figure out what he was worrying about, which was good since Gojyo would be the last person to call himself a genius. The brunette hadn't said anything yet about their unexpected meeting in the forest, just offered a couple cleaning tips for grass stains and went about his business.
While the advice was helpful, it seemed too easy. Easier than the situation probably called for.
In short, Gojyo figured Hakkai was biding his time. Probably made an outline of what he would say, complete with some sketchy diagrams and charts.
And he knew his friend would talk to /him/; Sanzo wouldn't be involved unless he did something to catch Hakkai's attention. Those two tolerated each other almost too well.
Which left Gojyo t puzzle out what to do.
"Maybe I should try and talk to him," he said one night as he attempted to mend a broken shoelace and failed again.
Sanzo, across the room and moodily staring out the Inn's window, snorted. "Why? It's none of his business. He's probably trying to erase the image completely from his mind. I can't blame him."
Gojyo looked around for something to throw at the other man, consequences be damned, but found nothing he was willing to part with. Instead, he flipped him off. "You're such a dick."
"And you're an asshole." This time Sanzo did look at him, with a smug smirk.
Point to the girly monk.
"And since when do you think?" Sanzo's voice always sounded like it was growling when he talked to the redhead. "Aren't you a self-declared man of action?" and his tone made it clear what his thoughts were on that subject.
But the blonde was right-for a change, in Gojyo's opinion-and he decided to wait it out, go with the flow, and try to keep afloat when the conversation finally happened.
He didn't have to wait very long.
Three days later they were camped out in a rocky clearing. Sanzo was apparently asleep in the passenger seat and Goku was sprawled out with a full stomach. Hakkai politely asked if his friend would help him clean up and Gojyo, of course, agreed because he didn't really have a choice in the matter, when you got down to it.
Ten minutes of scrubbing and Hakkai cleared his throat.
Uh-oh, Gojyo thought and braced himself.
"Do you know what hunters in India do sometimes, to catch prey?" Hakkai asked and Gojyo thought 'what the fuck?' and shook his head. "They'll take coconuts or other hard-shelled fruits and make a small hole in them, clearing them out. Then they fill them with seeds and berries, things that animals-monkeys in particular-like to eat."
"Sure. Then what?"
"They set them in trees. Then the hunters hide away and wait until a monkey shows up. The animal reaches into the coconut, grabbing a handful of food. That's when the hunters strike."
Gojyo thought that Hakkai may be a few coconuts short of a batch but wisely kept his thoughts to himself.
"The monkey tries to run, but his hand is stuck. You see, the hole is too small to take its hand out of when it's holding onto all those seeds and berries. But it doesn't know to let go when it's found something to eat so easily. It has to choose and normally it chooses wrong."
Gojyo stared at him blankly. "That's...great, Hakkai. Don't see why you told /me/, exactly, but I'll warn the ape about sticking his hand in strange holes."
Hakkai half-smiled and got that dopey look in his eyes, the one that made Gojyo realize what was going on. Because their was fondness in it, and exasperation, and pity. And the gaze flickered towards the yellowing bruise on his jaw, the one Gojyo thought made him look rugged and manly.
He sat back on his heels and rubbed the bruise thoughtfully, fingers occasionally hitting the scars on his face. "I gotcha."
Hakkai looked almost grateful, strangely enough.
But the pity was still there, dammit, and Gojyo hated that. Hakkai knew stuff, sure, stuff about the world and people and most of all Gojyo himself. He knew about Mom and Jien and axes. Knew Gojyo had wanted a lot of things in life and got screwed out of them, one way or another, but never stopped trying to get them.
But he didn't know the whole story, just chapters and verses plucked out of a history book. Gojyo never told him about flowers and screams of different kinds, of the cold love-hate he'd lived on for so long when there was nothing else to take in. The need, not just for affection, but for revenge of a certain kind.
To finally fight back.
Because he couldn't then, not with Mom or the other children in the village, but when Sanzo got a good kick in he gave Gojyo an excuse to deliver one back. Let Gojyo walk that thin line between want and nothing; let him jump between the two because Sanzo would be bored if he didn't.
The monk hated demons and humans alike. The combination of the two was ideal for him. He could get his punches in to both of them, wrapped up in one red hued package.
In the end, they both chose the devil they knew.
Hakkai didn't understand that type of need, only kind that wiped out thousands for the life of one.
Personally, Gojyo thought Hakkai was a bit of a drama queen.
"I gotcha," he repeated, "but I've always been a slow learner."
Hakkai's frown looked hard on his face. "I'm a patient teacher."
Gojyo thought that sounded like a challenge.
He was not a genius, true, but he knew a thing or two nonetheless. Like when to pay attention. So he did. Caught green-eyes flickering between him and Sanzo, as if they were trying to catch them acting abnormally in broad daylight. Gojyo was tempted to explain to him that they didn't act abnormally in the middle of the night either. They were them plus fucking and that was all there was to it.
Sometimes the look was softer, wondering, shy.
Sometimes it was cold, business-like, and sent chills up Gojyo's spine as he was reminded of the demon snoozing beneath the limiters.
Best of all was when Sanzo snapped a comment or bullet in Gojyo's direction. There was anger and protectiveness that threatened to put a sappy smile on the half-demon's face.
Goku looked like he thought the whole group was losing it and wanted in on the ride. Poor kid didn't like to be left out of anything.
Gojyo had coughing fit on that thought.
"Idiot can't even swallow properly," Sanzo sneered.
Gojyo said "I can swallow just fine and you know it" and cackled as the monk's shoulders tensed.
Hakkai glared some more, protective and...jealous? Maybe. It was noted and would be studied later. Best to be sure.
Goku declared that he could swallow too and Jeep almost drove off a cliff.
Gojyo pulled at the bindings on his wrists. Nothing that he couldn't break out of, of course. Just strips of heavy fabric wrapped around and around then latched to the bedposts because in the end, he didn't trust Sanzo. Not really. But the material the monk had dug up was soft enough and he was tempted to call it comfortable.
"Too bad we don't have any handcuffs, eh?" he said anyways, for appearance sake if nothing else.
"You'd probably break them," Sanzo grudgingly admitted from where he was kneeling between the half-demon's outspread legs. "And I don't trust you, perverted kappa."
Heh. Mutual feelings were pleasant. Gojyo pulled forward slightly, so his hair swung over his shoulders and framed his face in licks of crimson. He thought they were probably a beautiful picture, bare tanned skin and naked porcelain, one stretched out like a lazy cat while the other looked ready to pounce in a second's notice.
Sanzo's lips curled into what might have been a smile on a shark. "You look good like that."
Gojyo's mouth struggled between gaping and snapping shut. Sanzo was just full of compliments today, wasn't he? "Don't get used to it, monk. Next time it'll be you."
"Should have gagged you too."
"Harr harr harr." Gojyo tried to get in a weak kick, but it was avoided and Sanzo's hand on his other thigh jolted him, his eyes watching it inch up towards his already hard member and the other man still had that shark-smile on his face and Gojyo thought 'Fuck' before one hand grabbed him hard more perfect and the other jammed a loaded gun under his chin.
His body seemed torn, hips pushing forward and shoulders pushing away, back into the headboard, making it thud and making the mattress creak, or at least he hoped it was the mattress. "What the fuck?" he snapped, snarling, as his hips tried to make some sort of rhythm out of Sanzo's strokes.
The blonde leaned forward, his own arousal sliding against Gojyo's too slow. "It's loaded." As if it wouldn't be. "And cocked." Of course. "But I can thumb back the hammer." Unless...
Gojyo leaned forward another inch, the gun following along, until he was nose to nose with the monk. "You want to /bargain/?" he snarled then moaned. Not that it was really a bargain. Especially when Sanzo's nicer hand stopped its sharp, steady motions.
Gojyo thought he was being ripped off.
The barrel trailed up, over his chin and across the line of his cheekbone, back down to rest against the corner of his mouth. Sanzo raised an eyebrow.
Mouth over skin-armed metal, tasting powder and oil and ash, waiting for the bang to echo in his skull even though he knew it wouldn't. Too messy. He twisted his tongue around it, ran it over the barrel and watched Sanzo's breathing speed up, chest rising and falling faster and faster. Sucked his cheeks in just so and pulled-
Sanzo groaned and thumbed the safety on, tossing the gun onto the bedside table and grabbing a vial of oil at the same time. His other hand was pushing Gojyo's legs open-further, wider-frantic to get in, /get in/, and Gojyo heard double gasps. One from him and one from...
Then groaned when two fingers curled inside of him.
"What are you grinning about, kappa?"
"Hakka-AH," Gojyo yelped, threw his head back, and possibly sprained his neck in the process.
Sanzo raised an eyebrow as he wiped his hand on the blanket. Bastard. "Hakkai?"
"What's the matter, Sanzo-hime? /Jealous/?"
"Pitying." A pause. "What about him?"
The blonde shifted, pushed closer and past that tight ring of muscles, making them both hiss. Gojyo was struck by the sudden need to touch something-/any/thing-and pulled his wrists against their restraints. But not too hard.
The stopped, adjusted, and Gojyo said, "He thinks you're nuts."
The hands on his hips tightened. Sanzo snorted.
"I mean seeds..or maybe hunters. Fuck, I don't know. Doesn't trust you though." He leered. "I don't think he likes me being alone with you."
Sanzo scowled, noted the way crimson eyes looked past him, and followed their gaze towards the door. "Is that so?" He thrust forward with his hips, making the half-breed mewl. "Not a good enough excuse to listen through cheap wood doors."
The door emanated a loud, guilty silence.
"That's your cue, buddy," Gojyo tried to call out but his breath kept hitching itself as Sanzo decided to ignore the interruption and continue about his business. He thought he made his point, especially when the door slowly crept open, trying to be silent but noticed nonetheless.
Hakkai was flushed, or as flushed as Gojyo had ever seen him, partly from guilt, partly for embarrassment, mostly from that bulge Gojyo could see in those increasingly tight pants of his. The demon's hand was clutching the doorknob like a safety line, unsure of what to expect.
"Close the door," Sanzo grunted, "not everyone is a voyeur."
Gojyo wanted to laugh, because Sanzo was being Sanzo even as he fucked Gojyo with Hakkai standing there, looking ready to run and come at the same time. It was bizarre, surreal, hilarious, and-and-and
He really needed to stop trying to think when Sanzo was doing that to him. Only so much blood in the body and none of it was in the vicinity of his brain.
Sanzo was panting now, head bent forward so fine gold hair covered his eyes, fingers leaving black points on his hips, mapping a way to heaven or hell.
And Gojyo watched Hakkai watch them, watched white teeth bite an already bitten lip, watched one of those perfect healer hands hover. Not sure, not trusting its self. Certainly not trusting the rutting couple on the bed, not when they were together like that, wrapped up tight and sharp like knives.
Red eyes snapped closed as the pressure built, heat pooling in his gut, so when Sanzo finally touched him again it was enough to send him spinning, muscles clenching even as he felt his body ready itself for boneless-ness. Heard an 'Ah' sound, fingers like pinpricks, then Sanzo climaxed and the half-demon could only wait for the world to shut down.
It did when Sanzo landed on him, uncaring, and sore arm muscles protested.
Hakkai looked like he needed something to lean on.
"You should sit down, man. Or..uh...maybe not." Gojyo started to grin but someone jabbed him in the ribs.
"Thank you. Ah. I think I'll...go...for now." The brunette backed up towards the door, taking the 'fleeing' approach to the awkward situation.
This time Gojyo did grin. "Hey, Hakkai!"
Green eyes looked at him. "Yes?"
"Next time we'll play student-teacher, right?"
There was a snort from the vicinity of his neck and Gojyo decided he'd had a very trying day.
Hakkai cleared his throat. "This was...is...still-"
"Wrong?" Sanzo asked, pushing himself onto his elbows to peer at the man-turned-demon. "Who cares? Since when are we anything but?"
A very trying day or a very good one.
Crossing wrong or disturbingly right.
There was a very thin line.
Gojyo liked walking it.
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