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Title: Down from the Red Hills
Author: opalmatrix
Warnings: (for all parts, taken as a whole) violence, lots of blood, torture, swearing, explicit m/m sex, dubcon
Rating: Part 1 - R (violence etc. only) ; Parts 2 & 3 - NC-17 ; Part 4 - PG-13 (swearing, adult concepts)
Pairing(s): Hakkai/Gojyo
Spoilers: nothing much
Words: ~33,500
Notes: This started out as a simple hurt/comfort "bedtime story" for myself. Then smillaraaq "adopted" the idea (my notion to help me write longer fics), and I meant to finish it in time for her birthday at the end of August. More than two months later, it's grown into a blessed novelette. Thanks very much to smilla for her support, encouragement, and input along the way, and to her and sanada for beta! Thanks also to vom_marlowe and her Saiyuki Kink Meme and its participants, and to louiselux and emungere and all the good folk at saiyuki_time. All of you have really helped me feel brave enough to write something this huge.
New!   Now with illustrations by danny_sama in parts 2, 3, and 4!
Summary: When a limiter-less Hakkai chases some fleeing youkai into the hills and doesn't return, Gojyo goes after him. The journey back is much longer than he ever expected.

Part 1 | Part 2 |Part 3 | Part 4

VIII.    

Hakkai woke him at oh-dark-thirty in the morning. Gojyo would have protested, but before he could open his mouth, he remembered that Hakkai was taking him outside, and he also remembered how sick he was getting of the inside of the cave. It was chilly at that hour, in spite of the hot tea and rice and the heavy shirt Hakkai had dug up for him. The red rock formations outside stood stark and cold and almost black against the pale dawn light to the east. But he was soon panting and sweating as Hakkai led the way up out of their little valley and over a shoulder of the hill that held their cave.

After 20 minutes of climbing, he had to stop and rest. Hakkai fussed over him, taking his pulse and making him drink most of a bottle of water as he perched on a boulder.

"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all ... Gojyo, I should take you back."

"Hell, no. I just needed a breather." He flexed his ankles a little, stretching his calves. His battered shoes were stiff from having the blood washed out of them. "Hey, Hakkai."

"Hmm?"

"Why no shoes? Aren't your feet gettin' messed up?"

Hakkai looked down at his feet, like he had forgotten that he was barefoot. He flexed his toes, and the claws there extended. "Well ... no, my feet aren't damaged at all. And it's easier to walk quietly this way. It would also be a bit complicated to get the shoes back on, I think. And of course, the claws are useful."

No shit. Gojyo remembered vividly how he'd used them last.

"If you've rested enough, perhaps we should go on."

"Sure."

Hakkai watched, sharp-eyed, as he stood carefully and stretched. Not dizzy, though. That's an improvement. "I'm good now. Let's go."

About 10 minutes later, they came up to the top of the ridge. Another valley spread out below them, much wider and flatter than theirs. After a moment, Gojyo realized that it was probably just as deep: the width and shape made it look much more shallow. It had a lot more things growing in it, and the rock formations on the far side showed pale, horizontal stripes.

"Heh, lookit that. Looks almost like someone's been painting 'em."

Hakkai stared at the rocks, frowning. "Yes, I saw those ... yesterday. What ... ?"

Gojyo looked back at him. His friend's eyes were slightly unfocused, and he seemed to be thinking. After a moment, his face cleared. "Ah. Haha ... those are bands of sediment. Of course ! The rocks were once part of an ancient seafloor."

Typical Hakkai. But ... come to think of it, he hadn't heard much of it in the past couple of days. A little bit of doctor stuff, and the mini-lecture about the things you could eat around here. But that was all. "A long time ago, right?"

"Oh, eons ago ... millions of years." Hakkai gazed at the striped rocks, bemused, and after a moment, shook his head. "This isn't getting us anything for dinner. Come along.... ."

He led the way down. Quite soon, Gojyo saw water flashing among the small trees and thick shrubs: a stream a good bit larger than theirs, almost a small river. The sun was about to come up over the horizon. Hakkai held out a hand and stopped him. "This is a good spot. You wait here."

It was a shallow shelf of rock with a good view of a section of sandy, muddy river bank, with low, herby-looking plants growing in thick patches on it. The water beyond was shallow, with shoals of gravel visible through the surface. Hakkai handed him the small pack, which he'd loaded with some food and water, and stripped off his shirt. "Sit," he instructed. "Stay still. Be quiet."

Gojyo would not have thought that going shirtless in prickly bushes like that was a good idea, but a moment later, it was as though Hakkai had vanished from sight. His nondescript khaki trousers and vine-covered torso blended in perfectly with the dry ground and interlaced branches. And then nothing happened, for like, 10 minutes. Boring. At least he was outside. The sun came up, a huge, brilliant flare in the cloud-streaked sky, and Gojyo winced from the intense brightness. He wished he could smoke, but when someone with claws like that orders you to stay still, you do it.

Suddenly there was a burst of flapping noises over by the river. What looked like a flock of ducks had showed up and settled on the water. They started doing the duck thing, paddling around and turning butt-up to pick up junk to eat off the bottom. Hakkai was still patiently almost invisible in the shrubs, but somehow, he'd picked a spot only a couple of dozen yards from where the flock had come down. Eventually some of the ducks started to come ashore, poking around in the weeds and then settling down to rest.

Hakkai burst from the bushes like a rocket, grabbing a pair of ducks by their necks and giving them a sharp, spine-snapping shake, then dropping the limp bodies on the gravelly shore and going after some more. He managed to get another one before they all scattered, flapping noisily around him, and then regrouped in the air, flying off to find a resting-spot not occupied by such able predators. Then he gathered up his kill and started up the slope to where Gojyo waited.

He was smiling as he approached, a few bitty feathers sticking to his bare shoulders and chest, the bottoms of his pants legs damp with river water. Gojyo could not ever remember quite that expression on Hakkai's face before – excited and joyful at the same time. And proud, too, as he showed off the three dead ducks. Gojyo was reminded, suddenly, of a cat who'd shared a hay barn with him one winter, when he'd been 14 and too big to be cute and not big enough for anyone to pay him to do much more than general farm chores. The cat had liked him, and used to bring him dead mice and rats. What a weedy little loser I was, havin' a cat feel sorry for me ... .

Now Gojyo did his best to look pleased. "Did'ja bring a knife? I can clean 'em. It should be the same as a chicken, right?"

Hakkai rippled his fingers, making the claws flash in the light of the rising sun. "I can take care of that. But when we get back, you can help pluck them."

There was soon a messy little heap of guts on a rock a couple of yards away, and Hakkai had wrapped the ducks up in a clean rag soaked with cool river water. "It's a pity I can't take these livers back to feed you. But they won't keep."

Gojyo really didn't feel like eating any more liver, but what Hakkai had been doing for him so far seemed to be working. "You've got your eyeglass. The sun is up. We could make a fire and cook 'em now."

Hakkai thought about that, then shook his head. "I don't want to make a plume of smoke here. Back at our cavern, the natural crevices over the firepit make the smoke dissipate and spread, so it hardly shows ... I could eat them, just as they are." He glanced over at Gojyo. "Would that disturb you?"

Gojyo stared at him for a second, then laughed. "If I can kiss you after what you had for lunch the day before yesterday ... they're just ducks."

"Very true."

But he turned his back before wolfing them down, for which Gojyo was grateful. Then he went down to the riverside to wash, and returned all clean and tidy and still wild-looking as all get-out. "If you've rested enough, we can go on. There seems to be lots of vegetation along this river. I might be able to find something interesting to go with the duck."

"OK. I'm fine."

They wandered slowly upstream along the banks of the river for a while. Hakkai was restless the whole time, but not like he was worried or bored. He kept noticing things all over the place, and sometimes showing them to Gojyo: minnows and frogs in the river, a hawk over the rocks to the north, a place where someone had made a fire several weeks ago. After the first few times, Gojyo realized that he was only pointing out maybe one out of every four or five things he noticed. He was completely hyper, except that he was also really calm and happy. It was weird but familiar, somehow. It's kind of like taking a walk with a well-behaved dog ... .

A little past where the river had dwindled to nothing much more than a generous stream, it curved around a little hill with some small trees on top that Hakkai said were a kind of wild plum. The fruit was puny, hardly bigger than cherries, but some of them were ripe. They were still really sour, but Hakkai thought they'd be good cooked, to make sauce for the ducks, so they picked a bunch of them. The sun was pretty high up by then, and Hakkai unpacked lunch – rice balls and the last of the goat. Gojyo was tired of walking, and after eating, he felt sleepy, and stretched out in the shade of one of the trees. Hakkai sat down next to him and played with the ends of his hair.

"You could take a nap," he said, softly.

Gojyo was half asleep already, even though the grass was long and tickly. "Yeah ... ."

But something was bothering him. After a moment, he realized that he could hear something drumming, through the ground. "Hakkai ... ."

His friend was already rolling up into a crouch, looking across the water and back downstream: "Hoofbeats." He threw himself flat on his belly, so that the long grass would hide him. Gojyo rolled over next to him and looked in the same direction.

Horses ... no, donkeys or something. They were sand-colored and had long ears, scruffy short manes, and dark stripes down the centerlines of their backs. There were maybe 20 of them. They came trotting up to the stream, on the other side, and had a drink, then started eating the grass and stuff. Gojyo suddenly realized that Hakkai was damn near vibrating with interest.

"Wild asses. Onagers. The wind is from them to us," he said, very quietly. Gojyo stared at him: "Heh ... ?"

Hakkai got up on hands and knees, then suddenly exploded from cover. Gojyo got up on his own knees and made a grab for him – far too late. Hakkai raced down the little slope, leaped over the stream, and was damn near on top of the nearest onager.

Shit, shit, shit, what the fuck is he doing!? We can't carry one of those damn things, even we wanted to eat it ... !

He'd been right to think of a dog. Hakkai slapped the creature on its rump, nimbly dodging its rearward kick, then went after another one. He was playing with the damn things. One of the bigger ones seemed to be the boss donkey – it noticed right away that something was going on and started rounding up the others and herding them away from Hakkai. Hakkai managed to tag three more of them before they were all back behind the leader. Hakkai stopped, his chest heaving and an idiotic grin on his face. Then the boss onager charged at him.

Hakkai stood his ground, went into a half-crouch, and snarled at it. Except that it was more than a snarl: he projected such a sense of menace that Gojyo threw himself flat again before he could think about it, instinctively hiding in the long grass. The onager pulled up at the last minute, rearing up on its hind legs, then did a half-turn and raced back the way it had come, calling out to the rest of the herd in a dreadful, hoarse voice. They all started running away from Hakkai. Once they were a hundred feet or so off, the leader turned back to stare at the menace. Hakkai, who had started laughing when they all ran, stopped, and Gojyo realized he was about to run at them again. He stood up and shouted. "Hakkai!"

Hakkai's head went up instantly, then turned to look at Gojyo. Gojyo waved at him to come back. Hakkai took another look at the herd leader, who was still glaring at him and shifting his feet indecisively, then reluctantly came loping back toward his friend. Behind him, the onager stallion turned and followed his herd out of sight among the rocks on the far slope. Gojyo felt limp with relief. He took another look around to make sure nothing else interesting was about to happen, then collapsed to sit in the grass again.

Hakkai arrived and hunkered down next to him, frowning, He reached out and gently touched the side of Gojyo's neck, feeling the pulse. "You're upset."

"Damn right I'm upset! Those things might not eat meat but they're still fucking dangerous! I saw a guy get killed by a crazy horse once. What the hell were you – . Shit. I know what you were doing. Fuck if you ever look that happy when I play with you ... ."

Hakkai had been looking angry and mutinous, like a kid who's been told to stop throwing rocks at a cat, but Gojyo's last accusation made him laugh. "Not true. I'm sure I've looked at least that happy in bed with you, but you were probably too busy to notice." He settled down next to Gojyo and put an arm around his shoulders. Goyo scowled and stared down at the ground. "I gotta have a cigarette."

Hakkai sighed, and withdrew his arm, only to rest one hand on Gojyo's knee. "I suppose you must. Be careful of the grass – it's pretty dry."

Gojyo's hands only shook a little as he lit up. After a few puffs, he rested his free hand on top of Hakkai's. "Damn. I dunno what I expected when you said you were going hunting, but it's weird as hell watching you do this crazy shit. Not to mention what a pussy I feel like, sittin' on my ass while you do it."

"You could certainly catch ducks that way, if you were 100 percent. Gojyo, really, when you're healthy, you're as fast and agile as I am now. I have more endurance and I'm stronger, and of course you have no claws. But I'm sure you could do just about anything I've done today."

"Huh. I've done it – well, it was chickens, not ducks. I guess wild ducks're probably faster."

"Why were you catching chickens?"

"I was 13, I had no money, and I was hungry."

Hakkai reached up and ran a strand of Gojyo's hair through his fingers. "You did what you had to do. That's all I'm doing now."

"Yeah? You had to do what you just did with those damn big donkeys?"

Hakkai stopped and just looked at him for a moment, his mouth half open. Then he flexed his claws and laughed uneasily. "I ... oh. Gojyo, I didn't even think. I suppose that's how a cat must feel, when you trail a string in front of it."

Gojyo crushed his cigarette out carefully, then turned to grab Hakkai's bare shoulders and look him straight in the eyes. "Well, kittycat, knock it off. I don't mind tellin' you, you scared the piss outta me! You're just fucking lucky the boss donkey had 'em so organized – if they'd just got scared and run all over the place, they could've knocked you flat and tromped you to death even though they were terrified of you!"

Hakkai was very still for a moment. Then he laid his hands on Gojyo's thighs, claws prickling slightly right through the fabric, and kissed him hard. After a moment, Gojyo let his mouth soften and slid one hand up into Hakkai's hair, thicker and longer than it had been. You sexy bastard. What the hell would I do if you got yourself killed ... ?

When they broke off to breathe, Hakkai bent to rest his head on Gojyo's shoulder. "No more running after large animals for fun. No more playing tag with wild donkeys. I promise. I think I'd prefer to chase you around, anyway."

Gojyo knotted his fingers in Hakkai's hair and pulled his head up so he could look at him. "Heh. You'd rather play with my wild ass than chase wild asses?"

Hakkai smiled. "Exactly."

"Don't tell me you hadn't already though of that joke before I even opened my mouth, Mr. Wiseguy."

"Of course I had, but sometimes it's more fun to let you say the punch lines."

They grinned at each other, and when Hakkai put his arm around Gojyo's shoulders again, Gojyo relaxed against him. Then he yawned, because his eyelids suddenly felt as heavy as lead. Hakkai kissed his temple.

"You should take that nap now. I'll wake you in a couple of hours – then we'll head back."

Gojyo nodded and lay down again. Hakkai pulled his discarded shirt out of the pack and tucked it under Gojyo's head so that the grass wasn't so annoying. Gojyo fell asleep with the wind blowing across his face and Hakkai's claws stroking gently through his hair.

IX.    

By the end of dinner, the loudest sound in the place was the noise of Hakkai's very sharp teeth breaking open the duck bones for the marrow.

It should have been as cheerful a meal as they'd had last night. Sure, Gojyo had been dragging big time when they finally reached their own little valley, but Hakkai had still been in good spirits. They'd plucked the ducks, had a quick splash in the stream to get the feathers and the worst of the dust off, and then gone back to the cavern, which was invitingly cool in the warm afternoon. Gojyo had been sent back to bed – bitching because he wasn't sleepy, just leg-weary – and Hakkai had started working on dinner. And that's when things started to go downhill.

And Gojyo still wasn't sure why, or even how. Hakkai had started off the way he usually did with a big cooking project, busy and happy, whistling tunelessly to himself as he made frameworks of split green branches for stretching the split ducks flat, and improvising a chamber of flat rocks fetched in from the stream in which to try hot-smoking the extra one. But by the time he'd settled down to picking the messy bits out of the watercress they'd found on the way back, he was answering questions with one or two words at most. And once they were eating, he'd stopped talking completely. His face was like a mask again.

By the time Hakkai was gathering up the dishes to wipe-wash, Gojyo couldn't stand it any longer. He was sweating with nerves – the warm night had little to do with it.

"Hakkai, gimme those. I can do what you've been doin' with 'em."

A silence, and then finally, "Thank you."

And then he just sat there, staring at Gojyo the whole time he was dealing with the bowls and pots and chopsticks. But it wasn't like he was seeing anything.

After the stuff was as clean as it was going to get, and stacked up, Gojyo came over and knelt down behind Hakkai so he could put his arms around his bare shoulders. Hakkai crossed his arms over Gojyo's, his claws pricking slightly. Gojyo rocked them both, gently, and Hakkai rubbed his cheek over Gojyo's forearm. But then he let go and shrugged Gojyo off. "Please sit over there where I can see you."

Gojyo did. Hakkai looked down at the sandy red rock floor between them for a moment, and then lifted his head to meet Gojyo's eyes with his own. "Today ... I think you saw what a different person I'm becoming. In fact, how different I am already. I was not born this way, of course, but I think that this is the sort of life that a creature like myself is meant to live."

"Hakkai – we have a job we're supposed to be doing."

"Gojyo, you're not listening. Who would have thought that I – I! – would be out there slaughtering living things with my bare hands and eating bits of them raw, happily. I'm no longer –"

"Yeah, you were havin' some fun out there. And you're good at hunting stuff to eat. But you know what? Sanzo and Goku are waiting for us."

"Gojyo. I'm not going back."

Some part of him had known that this was what was happening. "Hakkai, that's complete bullshit. What are you going to do when the rice runs out? And the lamp oil? And the spices, and salt, and cooking oil? Are you gonna give up cooking, too? Just tear up animals and eat the pieces raw? The hell with that! You love cooking, and reading, and all that kind of stuff!"

"You saw what happened when I saw those onagers, Gojyo! I can't trust myself around livestock, and maybe not around people. And before you ask – I don't want to put the limiters back on. It would be like losing my eye again, only for all my senses!"

"Hakkai –"

"Gojyo, I've always been terrified of myself like this, I've hated the idea of what I was. But now, I've found that in the right environment, it's actually very pleasant, and peaceful. I don't want to go back to what I was before, living in fear that I might at any moment become an uncontrolled monster. This is a suitable place for me."

"Sanzo needs us. And we owe him big time – both of us. And Goku ... Goku said to me "Bring him back.'"

Hakkai closed his eyes as though he were in pain. "I can't. You can't imagine what this is like. I'm finally at peace ... I don't need much, really. All of that – reading, cuisine, household niceties – none of it is necessary."

Damn, this isn't working.That's why he was so quiet before. He was thinking up all the arguments. He drew a deep, deep breath, because he was knew he was going to need everything he had to stay calm during the next few minutes.

"Hakkai. Tomorrow morning, I am gonna get up, and eat somethin' and take my pack and some water, and walk outta here. I'm going to find the other two. Because if you're not comin' back, they need me even more."

Hakkai stared at him for a minute, as though he couldn't understand what Gojyo had said. Then he surged to his feet, and Gojyo was not at all surprised to find vines – thick ones – flowing across the floor and rapidly winding themselves up around his legs, waist, chest ... . Hakkai's face was twisted into a real demon mask, like a false face from an old play. He was growling. Gojyo let his eyes go unfocused so he couldn't see Hakkai properly and concentrated on keeping his breathing even.

"I told you, Gojyo – I am never going to let you go!"

The vines dragged him to his feet, pulling him close to Hakkai. He tried to brace his feet against the ground, with little success.

"You're mine."

Hakkai's voice was an almost unrecognizable snarl. Gojyo felt his pulse ratcheting up. It was hard to keep his voice from wobbling.

"Yeah? So what're you gonna do – break my legs? That's what it's gonna take, Hakkai."

The growling died out and was replaced by harsh breathing. "Gojyo – stop it."

"Or you could hamstring me. That would work even better. More permanent."

Even the tense breathing stopped for a moment, and then at last Hakkai inhaled unevenly: "Gojyo ... !"

"Yeah, you could just keep me here, in this cave, and fuck me whenever you felt like it. You're a helluva lot stronger than I am. Shit, after the first couple of months, I'd probably stop fighting you. I'd be so fucking squirrelly from being stuck here, I'd want it."

Hakkai groaned. The vines stopped wrapping themselves around him and abruptly went limp, leaving Gojyo staggering for a moment. Then they started to withdraw. Gojyo grabbed several of them, winding them around his hand and closing it into a fist. "Nuh uh. Come back. We're still talkin'."

Hakkai was grey under the markings on his face. His mouth was working like he wanted to throw up. "No! I wouldn't do that to you! I said that too, didn't I? That I would never hurt you."

"Yeah, well that ain't what it looked like you were thinkin' a minute ago."

"I ... this is so hard."

His face was shining with sweat. Gojyo sighed. It was hard. He hated that he was making Hakkai look like that. For a moment, he actually missed Sanzo. The priest was so much better at this kind of shit. "No one ever promised us easy. And I don't know exactly what deal Sanzo cut you with th' Three Aspects, but I bet easy wasn't part of it."

"But ... why would you want to leave me? You said ... ."

"Fuck, Hakkai! What I want ain't got one thing to do with it! Not one single thing! I want t' be back in our little shack near Chang'an, with you, in our bed. But that ain't gonna happen any time soon, so screw it, there's no point in worryin' about it. We signed on for this mess, and we gotta see it through! And I can't make you do one damn thing, but hell if I'm gonna let those two idiots try to do this on their own."

Silence. Hakkai's head was bowed, his shaggy hair shadowing his face. But the vines around Gojyo's hand were now clinging to him, clutching a little bit from time to time, like a desperate handclasp. Gojyo leaned his cheek against them, gently. Shit, I could kill for a cigarette,

"You know ... I'm already kinda used to you like this. I bet Sanzo and Goku'd get used to it pretty quick too."

Hakkai breathed deeply, then shuddered. "Yes ... it would be alright, when we were on the road. But whenever we'd go into a town ... I've already seen people notice my limiters sometimes, and I can tell they're wondering. Now they wouldn't wonder, they'd know. They'd all be able to see, they'd know what a cursed, unnatural monster I am ... ."

This time, it was Gojyo's turn to stare in disbelief. After a moment of silence, Hakkai raised his head and looked at him. Then he took a staggering step toward Gojyo, a look of utter horror on his face. The vines around Gojyo's hand went limp again. "Oh! Gojyo ... I didn't mean ... oh, how could I ... ?"

Gojyo stared at him a moment longer, but really, it was almost funny, except it was so damn sad, too. He smiled and deliberately ran the fingers of his free hand through his own tangled red hair, then flipped it and shook it out, like a pretty girl showing off for her boyfriend. "Yeah, sometimes it really sucks. I ain't gonna lie to you about that. But you're a smart guy, Hakkai. If I can deal with it ... ."

Hakkai dropped to his knees in front of him, head bowed, his soft, wild dark hair almost touching Gojyo's toes. "But you're a much better person than I am. So much more patient. I would lose my temper, and ... I really am a monster."

"Shit. Hakkai, stop it. You ain't. You just need t' work on it a little. You're still not used to ... feelin' how you feel."

"But that's what I was trying to tell you, Gojyo – I can't control –"

"Yeah, you told me. I just don't believe you. Sorry."

He reached down and pulled Hakkai up to stand within the circle of his arms. Hakkai's hands drifted up to rest on his waist; he buried his face against Gojyo's neck, and a couple of vines wrapped gently around their shoulders. "I don't want you to go," Hakkai whispered.

Gojyo turned his head and nuzzled the elegantly pointed ear near his face, then ran his tongue gently along it. "If I could, I'd make you come with me. But you're the only one who can do that."

For a couple of minutes, neither of them said anything. They just stood there, gradually melting against each other, sweaty and holding on tight. Hakkai's mouth was wet against Gojyo's neck, and Gojyo could feel the tip of his tongue. Then Hakkai shifted his hips so that their legs were intertwined, and Gojyo's brain suddenly figured out what his cock had already realized: that each of them was hungry to bury all the anger and sadness and uncertainty of the disagreement in the other's body. He knotted his fingers in Hakkai's hair and tugged gently until he got their faces together so they could kiss, mouths open, half biting at each other's lips, Hakkai's fangs scraping until Gojyo could taste his own blood, faintly. Hakkai sucked at the tiny wound and then broke off, abruptly.

"Gojyo, why did you say that you owed Sanzo something, too?"

Gojyo wrapped the fingers of one hand around the side of Hakkai's head, stroking his thumb along the beautiful curve of the cheekbone, near the green-gold eye with its slit pupil open wide in the soft lamplight. "Well ... when he got you off th' hook with the Three Aspects, he gave me my best friend back."

Hakkai's arms and vines tightened around him, and he kissed Gojyo again, tongue stroking the insides of his lips, and then moved to kiss the corner of his mouth, his jaw, his throat. Gojyo smoothed one hand down the damp skin of his back, feeling the hard curves of the lean muscles wrapping around the ribs to bury themselves in the valley over Hakkai's spine, the firm swell of his ass, covered lightly by the threadbare pair of boxers that were the only thing he was wearing at the moment. Hakkai sighed against his throat, breath warm. Gojyo found himself wondering why they were still standing here in the middle of the cavern. "Bed?"

His voice was a husky whisper, but Hakkai could always hear even the smallest sounds he made. He chuckled warmly and leaned his hot mouth for a moment at the juncture of Gojyo's neck and shoulder, sucking hard. Then he shifted his hips, taking a staggering step toward the bed of wild grasses, dragging Gojyo with him. Gojyo laughed too, breathlessly, and took the next step himself. They moved across the uneven floor of red rock in a drunken, erratic, urgent dance, kissing, biting, thrusting against each other as they went. Gojyo felt the warm roughness of the blankets and the tickling of the grass against his bare feet, and rocked both of them off their footing to tumble down onto the pallet. Hakkai twisted hard as they fell, so that he ended up taking most of the impact and Gojyo landed on top of him.

"Oooof ... ! Gojyo, that was stupid ... you could have injured yourself again."

"Hahhhh ... shit, I'm sorry! Are you OK?"

"I'll recover ... really, the beds in this establishment are appalling. I know a soft mattress is bad for the back, but this is taking things a little too far."

"Damn straight – and the pillows are like fuckin' rocks, too."

"Funny that you should mention fucking ... ." Hakkai rolled, reversing their positions. Then he opened his legs across Gojyo's lap and pushed himself upright, kneeling on either side of Gojyo's hips, the palms of his clawed hands on Gojyo's chest, and his ass resting along Gojyo's erection, pressing its length into Gojyo's belly. He smiled down at his friend, all wild black hair, glittering mismatched eyes, wreathing vines, and gleaming fangs. He was just about the hottest thing Gojyo had ever seen. He rocked his hips slowly, rubbing himself along Gojyo's length. "Did you want to fuck me?"

The soft question sent a jolt from Gojyo's brain into his cock, and he had to close his eyes for a minute and remember to breathe. "Gods ... no. No, I want you to do me. I wanna feel you all over, inside, out – everywhere, Hakkai ... ."

Silence.

Gojyo opened his eyes and found Hakkai staring down at him, very serious now. Gojyo could see a sheen of sweat on his bare chest. "You're certain that's a good idea?"

"Fuck. I thought we had this all out yesterday." Gojyo reached out between Hakkai's arms and stroked the back of his hand down the bulge in the front of his boxers. Hakkai's eyes rolled up for a second and he shivered. "Yes. I'll do it. But you have to do exactly as I say."

Gojyo grinned. "You got it."

Hakkai slid off on one side. "Roll over. And stay there."

Gojyo complied, settling contentedly onto his stomach with his head pillowed on his folded arms. Hakkai got to his feet and went over to the kitchen rock pile, where he messed around for a couple of minutes and then came back with a small bowl. Kneeling down next to Gojyo's hips, he frowned at the bowl for a moment and then at his claws. "You might have to use this on yourself."

"Huh? Whatzat?"

"Oil."

"Oh." No, he didn't want those claws anywhere near his ass. He thought for a few seconds, and then reached out to trace one of the vines that trailed over Hakkai's bare thigh. "Hey – what about these?"

Hakkai stared at him for a second. "Hmm ... . Well. Maybe."

He set the bowl of oil off to one side and then swung one leg over Gojyo, straddling his ass and bending down to lick hotly at his neck where the hair was parted. He started to work his way down Gojyo's back, licking, sucking, tracing lightly with the tips of his claws. Gojyo was soon writhing with the pleasure and almost-pain, but Hakkai pressed his palm down hard between Gojyo's shoulderblades. "Listen to me. Stay still."

"Shit. Why?"

No answer, but Hakkai didn't resume his attentions.

"OK, OK, I get it."

"Good."

Actually, he didn't get it. But it didn't matter – this was Hakkai, and he got a little weird sometimes.

OK, lately it's more than a little.

Hakkai moved backward toward Gojyo's feet, parting his thighs firmly with one knee. He began to massage Gojyo's ass with the palms of his hands, and bent his head to run his tongue beneath the edge of the waistband of Gojyo's boxers. Gojyo breathed deeply, trying to keep still as Hakkai tugged the shorts farther down, exposing the top of his crack, licking there and sliding one hand up the boxer leg to let the tips of his claws skitter lightly across one cheek. But as Hakkai's tongue probed farther, Gojyo couldn't help squirming and trying to push back against the caress. Hakkai stopped again, and Gojyo could hear his harsh breathing. "I warned you," he said at last, grimly.

There was a faint whispery, slithery sound, and then Hakkai and the vines were everywhere.

"Hey! Crap ... what ...?!"

After a moment's futile struggling, Gojyo found himself once more on his face, trussed up thoroughly from shoulder to hip, his arms wrapped across his belly. Hakkai was holding his legs down and open, and suddenly there was a ripping sound and a mixture of hot breath and cooler air against Gojyo's ass and privates. "Holy shit!" He'd used his teeth ... ?

Hakkai grabbed the rags of the boxers and pulled them away, tossing them negligently to one side, and began rubbing his face and mouth against Gojyo's ass, kissing, licking down toward his hole. Gojyo gasped and tried to lift his hips to meet that moist, muscular stroke. Hakkai pushed the bedding up under his crotch to help him, then pinned him against the impromptu cushion with one hand firmly on the base of his spine. "Hold still, Gojyo!' he growled.

A little worm of unease wriggled into Gojyo's mind, but it was almost immediately displaced by pure sensation: Hakkai's hair brushing his ass cheeks; his tongue again, hot and powerful and spearing into him; and along with it, something – some things probing into him, stroking and pushing and opening him up. Gojyo's breath went out of him in a rush. Vines, it's gotta be ... . Yes, and now he could feel the oil around his entrance – Hakkai seemed to be using his tongue as well. Gotta hand it to Hakkai, never squeamish about sex ... thank fuck! It was so good and so weird at the same time. And being tied up like this, just having to take whatever happened ... he squeezed his eyes shut tight to concentrate on it.

"Ahhh, shit ... you're ... that's, that's ... so –"

"Shut up!"

Gojyo was shocked. Hakkai was never rude like that. But he didn't have much time to think about it, because now, right there it was what he'd been waiting for, craving: Hakkai's big, beautiful dick pushing into him, slow, steady, hard pushes – not being real careful, but not trying to do it all at once either. Gojyo could take that – was more than happy to take it. In fact, he wanted to push back into it, help Hakkai along, but he was still pinned: Hakkai had one hand still pushing down on his back, and the other gripping his hip. Gojyo breathed deeply, making himself relax – and damn, he wished his arms weren't wrapped across his gut like this: it was hard to take a really deep breath. But now – now – there. Hakkai was all the way in, filling him up ... so good: Gojyo's head felt all woozy.

Hakkai shifted his hands a little – shoulder and hip, now that his weight was pinning Gojyo, He started to move: long, powerful strokes, smacking up against Gojyo's ass each time he sank in, hitting just the right spot right inside when he did it. It was so good, in fact, that it took Gojyo a minute to realize that a couple of things were wrong. First off, Hakkai wasn't giving him anything to fuck against. And second, Hakkai wasn't making a sound except for his breathing. That was weird. He was never as mouthy as Gojyo liked to be during sex, but he usually hummed happily from time to time, moaned a little, and sometimes made admiring remarks about what Gojyo looked like. But now – nothing. Not a sound. But he seemed to be sweating like a pig: hot drops struck Gojyo's back every once in a while.

Gojyo would've been weirded out, but even with nothing to rub against but the big wad of blanket-covered grass, Hakkai's machinelike strokes were having their effect. Almost ... almost there ... . "Hakkai ... gettin' there ... gonna ... ."

And then something did wrap around his cock, right at the base, and Hakkai snarled "No!"

Gojyo felt the tingling wash of Hakkai's chi roll through his crotch, stopping him right at the edge, The breath went out of him, and he felt ill. He'd never imagined that Hakkai would do something like that to him. And then Hakkai started talking, at last, low and fierce, and still pounding into Gojyo as he talked.

"How long have I had, Gojyo? Ten minutes? Fifteen? Tomorrow, you're going to leave me. This is the last chance I'll have to do this. Do you think it's been long enough? I think not ... I could fuck you all night, and it would hardly be long enough, Gojyo ... ."

And then he was silent again, but his hips kept moving, on and on. Every once in a while, he'd mutter "Not long enough. Not nearly ... ." After a while, Gojyo's ass was burning, and his lungs, too, with his panting. His mouth and eyes were dry, and his vision kept trying to grey out. Everything else was just one big ache, and he could barely feel his arms. He lost track of time completely, and finally, he started to black out, a little bit at a time. That was just as well. He didn't want to have to think. If Hakkai was willing to do something like that to him ... .

"Gojyo! Come back, now! Pay attention – I'm not through with you."

His voice sounded thick and unnatural. Gojyo didn't want to come back. He heard himself make a whining noise, and he shook his head.

Hakkai snarled, right in his ear, and sank his teeth deep into Gojyo's shoulder.

It hurt like shit, even though he was only half there. He heard someone cry out – maybe it was him.

Everything stopped.

He felt Hakkai's lips on the wound on his shoulder, and then his tongue. He seemed to be tasting the blood. Something warm and wet splashed near Gojyo's ear. And then Hakkai's voice again, choked and congested-sounding: "And I said I would never hurt you. See how I keep my promises. Oh, Gojyo ... I really am a monster."

The vines around him were loosening, and Hakkai seemed to be sitting up – Gojyo wasn't pinned anymore. The blood rushing into his arms hurt like shit, but at least his arms seemed to belong to him again. He managed to twist around so that he could look at Hakkai's face. It was a distorted mask again, but a different one: tears running down and his nose running, too. And he had one hand up, the tips of claws cutting into his forehead, like he was about to rip his own face off. Gojyo twisted farther and grabbed, managing to snag Hakkai's hand by the wrist. "You're just fuckin' feelin' sorry for yourself, Hakkai."

There was a blank silence. Hakkai was staring at him, mouth open, his face relaxing into something more like himself. Then he shut his mouth with a snap Gojyo could hear and sniffed, wiping his cheek with the palm of his other hand. "Well, you're correct, of course. On both counts. I'm fucking you, and I'm feeling very sorry for myself. Oh, Gojyo ... ."

He sighed, and Gojyo felt him starting to pull out, carefully. He tugged sharply on Hakkai's wrist. "Wait. Where do you think you're goin'?"

Hakkai looked totally confused. "I've hurt you – I need to heal you up. It was especially reprehensible of me because you have miles to go tomorrow."

"Yeah – well. I thought that's why you were doin' it. So I couldn't."

"... oh. Maybe ... maybe I was. How could I have done that –"

"Shut up, Hakkai. Get back here. We're not finished. Neither of us got where he wanted to go."

"But, Gojyo – !"

"Yeah, you need to fix me up. Just fucking do it. An' then make us both happy, damn it."

Hakkai blinked. He was still crying. It was horrible seeing someone that tough-looking cry. Finally he grabbed one of the raggy pieces of Gojyo's boxers and wiped his face and blew his nose. And then passed his hands gently over Gojyo, closing the shoulder wound, easing the aches, and making his ass feel like something real again. Finally, he sat back on his heels, staring at Gojyo and shaking his head. But Gojyo had had enough. He rolled over onto his back and grabbed Hakkai, pulling him over to rest his head on Gojyo's chest.

"Hakkai, listen. Look, we could both be dead any minute of any day. Right? Who knows what could happen? The gods're always playin' dice with us. There could be an earthquake, and this whole fuckin' mountain could fall on us, squash us flat like bugs right here in this damn hole. So we gotta make some happiness while we can, always, whenever we can. So I said I'm leavin' tomorrow and you don't know what you're gonna do yet. Who the hell cares right now? Let's make both of us happy. Whatever happens tomorrow, we're still here – together – tonight."

He ran his hands down Hakkai's back as he nuzzled into his friend's cheek, seeking and finding his mouth, claiming a kiss that tasted of Hakkai and salt. Hakkai's lips were soft, willing, waking again slowly as Gojyo nipped gently and stroked the tip of his tongue just inside Hakkai's mouth. Hakkai took a long, shaky breath and then raised his head from Gojyo's chest and bent over him, kissing harder, slipping his tongue into Gojyo's mouth, weaving the fingers of one clawed hand into his tangled, sweat-damp hair. He pulled his fingers gently through the knotted strands to Gojyo's shoulder, throwing one leg over him and then rolling them together to reverse their positions, Gojyo now on top. Gojyo arched his back with pleasure as Hakkai traced the tips of his claws down Gojyo's back to his ass. Hakkai pulled at him and Gojyo followed his cues, arranging himself with his groin against Hakkai's, his legs opened across his lap, kneeling with his knees snugged into Hakkai's waist.

Tiny vine tendrils crept tentatively across Gojyo's legs. Hakkai was watching his face carefully. Gojyo stroked the soft leaves and stems with his fingertips and and bent to nuzzle against Hakkai's throat, smiling. Hakkai sighed, a long, soft sigh that ended in a contented murmur. Gojyo felt the vines twining around his legs and climbing onto his ass, butterfly-soft with their little rootlets, and then one tip probing gently at his pucker. "Still slick, even after all that," Hakkai whispered. Gojyo bit gently at his neck. "You think too much, baby."

"Yes," murmured Hakkai. "I do." He cupped Gojyo's ass with both hands, spreading him gently, pressing his own erection up into the warm space between his friend's legs. Gojyo leaned one palm on Hakkai's chest and reached down with the other hand to position the head of the thick shaft against his own asshole. "Gojyo, wait ... a little more oil, I think."

"Nag, nag, nag ... ."

He dabbled his fingertips in the bowl of oil and painted it down the sides of Hakkai's cock. Hakkai shivered and thrust up with his hips. "Guess you kinda roughed yourself up too," muttered Gojyo, kneeling up a little higher and working over Hakkai gently with both hands, skating his oily fingers carefully over the head and around the crown. Hakkai was hard as stone and burning hot. Gojyo positioned himself again, willing his ass to relax, and sank down slowly onto Hakkai's dick.

Hakkai moaned and clutched at Gojyo, one hand on his ass, the other on his thigh. Gojyo chuckled. "Yeah, that's right, watch me, gorgeous. I like an audience." He smoothed his oily palms down his own chest, rubbing over his own nipples to make them stand out, then dropped one hand to stroke his own hard shaft and the other to smooth circles around one of Hakkai's nipples with his slick thumb. All the while he was rocking slowly, sinuously, pushing Hakkai deeper and deeper into his own heat. "Mmmm, that's what I've been thinking about, right there – fuck, yeah ... ."

When Gojyo had taken the whole thing, when he could feel Hakkai's pubes cushioning his balls, he had to stop a minute and close his own eyes. He felt Hakkai stroking gently down his thighs with the tips of his claws, then back up. "Gojyo," he said, softly, his voice catching a little. "May I try something? I think you'll like it." He was warmly flushed behind his tawny-ivory skin: so pretty, and his eyes were hot and gentle at the same time. "Yeah," Gojyo said, softly; "Go ahead."

Hakkai tugged at the hand Gojyo was using to stroke himself until he let go. Then a slender tendril unwound itself from Hakkai's wrist and extended to wrap gently and neatly around Gojyo's cock, from root to tip, completely covering it. It was squeezing him almost perfectly snugly, like a hand but better – more even, as warm as a hand, and with an even softer surface against his skin.

"Hey, wow –"

"Mmmm ... I'm not finished." Hakkai's eyes were half closed, as if he were concentrating. A minute passed, and then Gojyo felt the most amazing sensation, as the cozy, fleshy sheath that encased him rippled, squeezing firmly from root to tip.

"Ahhh ... fuck! Holy ... can you do that again?"

Hakkai laughed softly, a breathy little sound. "Yes, and again and again. But if you start moving, I imagine I'll become too distracted to keep it going ... here, put your hand over it as well. There ... oh, Gojyo, you look so lovely like this."

Fuck. Only Hakkai could make him blush. Gojyo did as ordered, and felt Hakkai do his new trick again – and again, as he'd promised. Gojyo couldn't do anything but close his eyes and breathe, resting his free hand lightly on Hakkai's chest, trying not to dig his fingers in as they tried to curl. "Whoa ... gods, slow down ... ."

Hakkai relaxed the little vine a bit. Gojyo sighed and opened his eyes. "My turn now."

He started rocking, smoothly and evenly, working himself on Hakkai's thick shaft, feeling the sweet pressure and almost-burn inside, the near-perfect stroke outside. As Hakkai had predicted, the delicious ripple effect faded out as he started to lose himself in what Gojyo was doing, but it hardly mattered – it still felt like the world's most perfect hand on Gojyo's dick. And it was all just too, too good. "Hakkai ... "

Hakkai's eyes were almost shut but he looked up at that, smiling and breathing hard. "You can ... anytime, Gojyo ... ." He pumped his hips up to meet Goyo's incoming ass, and managed to work his little trick again, and Gojyo simply lost it, spattering out from within the warm coils that embraced and caressed him. He tried to keep moving through his climax for Hakkai's sake, but Hakkai grabbed his hips hard, holding him still, and bucked up into him three, four, five times before he tensed and gave a shivery moan. Gojyo let himself go limp, sliding his hands under Hakkai's shoulders to hold him, letting his ear rest on Hakkai's chest to hear his thudding heart, feeling himself twitch within Hakkai's grasp, feeling Hakkai twitch within him.

"Damn, that was hot."

"Mmm-hmm ... ." Hakkai was stroking the tips of his claws through Gojyo's sweat-sticky hair. Gojyo blew at a strand that had fallen over his own nose and was tickling. It was still dusty from their hike, too. Yuck.

"Shit, Hakkai, I dunno how you can stand to touch it right now."

"I love your hair. In fact, I'm quite fond of all your parts, even when they're dirty."

Hakkai said some pretty crazy things sometimes. "Yeah, well, my dirty parts really need a shower right now. I stink."

"I wish I had a hot shower to give you, but ... well, we're just lucky that it's still quite warm out."

"Crap. We're gonna go out ... damn. Right. And it's not even like we have bathrobes or somethin' to wear on the way."

"It's not as though anyone is likely to be out there, Gojyo."

"You mean, anyone human."

"Well, I don't imagine any animals or youkai will want to attack two such fearsome predators, either."

"Heh. Guess not."

A few minutes later, Gojyo was carefully following in Hakkai's footsteps, barefoot, as they walked over the rocks and sand and dead leaves to the stream. He had the soap and towels, and Hakkai had their clean boxers – including what was now Gojyo's one and only pair – and some rags.

He felt sticky and grubby and very, very naked. But Hakkai was right – it really was warm enough out, still, to do this. The slim crescent of the moon was setting behind the red rocks, which were faded by the night to a dark, nondescript gray, but his hanyou eyes adjusted to the starlight in the first few seconds. Hakkai seemed to be having no trouble at all avoiding sharp rocks and thorns, and following him, Gojyo began to feel happily naughty, like a little kid going skinny-dipping on the sly. Which was kind of silly, because bathing outdoors had been a fairly regular part of their lives during the past year.

Not usually at night, though.

When they got to the little pool, Hakkai set down their shorts and plunged right in. Gojyo tossed him the soap and then perched himself on the rock slab above the pool. He pulled out his lighter and cigarettes from where he'd stashed them between the towels and settled down for a well-deserved smoke.

He felt, well, thinky. What had just happened was really important – he wasn't so fucking stupid that he couldn't see that. Things had almost got totally broken – smashed to little, sharp bits – between him and Hakkai. And then they'd made it better again. Even if nothing had really been decided, that mattered. And he felt so calm about tomorrow that it was totally weird. But there was nothing he could do about it: either it was their last night together, or it wasn't, and there was shit-all he could do about it. Right now – just was. He felt frustrated for a moment that he couldn't put what he was thinking into words right, even for himself.

And watching him really isn't helping, either.

Hakkai's slightly darker skin was still pale enough to stand out against the water, which looked black in the starlight from the deep color of the rock beneath. The vine markings stood out clearly, and Gojyo could see the gleam of the water pouring off as Hakkai splashed himself, rinsing off the suds. His wet hair clung in black strands to his pretty, pretty face, and the faint light gleamed off his wiry muscles and the ridges of bone – collarbones, pecs, ribs, abs, all so beautiful that it made Gojyo's mouth water. He wanted to run his hands over that flashily marked skin, feel the structure beneath, the heat of Hakkai's body under the coolness of the water, kiss and stroke the ridges and whorls of the ghastly scar on his belly, and explore what was currently hidden just under the surface of the pool. His dick was already showing signs that it thought this was a wonderful plan.

Merciful Goddess, you'd wouldn't think I'd just had my ass pounded into hamburger twice ...!

Hakkai was coming toward him now, smiling. Gojyo stubbed out the cigarette and hugged his knees, feeling any resistance he had left blowing away like smoke on the night breeze. Hakkai reached up to grab his ankle and tug, but gently. "Come in, Gojyo – the water's lovely. I'll scrub your back for you."

Gojyo swallowed and slid off the rock into the water. It was fucking cold at first, and then it was really kind of nice. He dunked himself all the way, holding his nose, and came up spluttering a little. "Turn around," mumured Hakkai. "I'll wash your hair, too."

He folded his arms up against the rock and leaned his forehead against them as Hakkai rubbed soap into his hair, looking down at his own body, skin all gleaming wet and half-hidden by the water. If he really popped a boner, the head would poke right out above the surface. He grinned to himself, and then grunted as Hakkai began scrubbing his head in earnest. He must be using his knuckles ... . "Ow!"

"Well, as you pointed out, your hair is filthy ... there. Lie back –" All business, Hakkai eased him down into the water and cradled him there while Gojyo ran his fingers through the tangles until it felt like the soap was gone. "That should do. Now your back ... ."

Gojyo resumed his previous stance, but now there was so much water running into his eyes that he couldn't really keep them open. He closed them, smelling the water and their wet hair and the soap, hearing the water splashing and behind it, the sound of the bugs chirping, feeling the rock beneath his arms, and Hakkai's palms and the soapy rag working over his shoulders and back, down his ribs and spine, to his ass ... . Now he really was getting hard. He couldn't stop himself from humming and pushing back a little as Hakkai washed carefully between his cheeks, and Hakkai laughed, very softy, and turned Gojyo to face him.

The rag rubbed carefully over his throat, his chest, his belly, his hips ... he thrust blindly toward it, but Hakkai easily evaded him. "You're such a fucking tease, Hakkai –"

"Yes, of course. Are you in a hurry for some reason, Gojyo?"

He blinked enough of the water out of his eyes to see Hakkai's smug smile. "You sly bastard." He managed to grab Hakkai's wrist and pull it down toward his groin. Hakkai broke his grip easily and backed off to apply some more soap to the rag before tucking the bar into a niche in the rocks. "No need to be rough, Gojyo. I was just getting there ... ."

Gojyo grabbed him by the shoulders and kissed him, hungry all over again. Hakkai opened his lips and sucked at Gojyo's tongue, sliding one arm around his waist, then walked him over to the other end of the pool without ever breaking the kiss.

The water was not as deep here – only up to the middle of their thighs. Hakkai started to rub the soapy rag down Gojyo's belly again, this time continuing with his pubes, then slipping around the root of his cock and over his balls and then up along the shaft. Gojyo groaned into Hakkai's mouth and thrust into the sudsy cloth. He could feel Hakkai's hardness against his hip, and he reached down to take him in hand. Hakkai pulled his head back sharply and gasped so hard that it was almost a sob. Gojyo pressed his face into Hakkai's neck, and moved his hips so their stroking hands bumped knuckles. "Both of 'em, together," he whispered: "Come on ... ."

Hakkai let go of Gojyo's cock. "This close – my claws ... ." Oh yeah. So Gojyo wrapped his hand around both of them first, all wet and soapy, and then Hakkai very carefully covered Gojyo's hand with his, and adjusted the angle of their bodies just so. And then Gojyo started stroking them both, slow, nice and slow – so good. He sucked Hakkai's neck, tasting him, and thought he could probably do this for a really long time.

Hakkai had his head tilted back against the rocks, his face toward the dark sky, sighing and whimpering softly in time with Gojyo's strokes. At first, when he called Gojyo's name, Gojyo thought it was just more sexy sound effects, but then something about the tone made him look up. And up, to where Hakkai was looking.

Illustration of this scene, by danny_sama

The sky was a deep, silky black now that the moon had set, spiked with brilliant white stars – and suddenly, a bright silver streak showed. And as Gojyo watched, there was another. And another.

"Ahhh – shooting stars," whispered Hakkai. "Meteorites –"

"Awesome." He leaned his head against Hakkai's shoulder, still working them both, and watched the silent, sparkling trails form and fade. Some of them looked more gold than silver, and one was almost blue. He hadn't known they came in different colors.

"Sometimes ... the ancients thought – that shooting stars were omens of disaster. Ohhh ... that's so nice."

"Heh. Did they really?"

"Hmmm ... ahh, hah – yes, it meant the gods were angry."

"Shit, why does it have t' mean somethin' bad?" He had to close his eyes for just a moment. Fuck ... .   "I mean – maybe it is the gods ... but – they're applauding. Or lightin' sparklers ... mmm ... somethin' good – like that."

Hakkai sighed, but it wasn't a sad sound. He turned to kiss Gojyo's wet hair. "I think you could be right, Gojyo. What would I do ... without you to contradict me?"

When he came, a few moments later, his face was was buried against Gojyo's shoulder. Gojyo came with his eyes on the skies, feeling Hakkai warm against him, and watching the silent sparks burst into joyous existence and streak across the sky to fade and die.

 

 

Part 1 | Part 2 |Part 3 | Part 4

 

 

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
geri
Nov. 16th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)
Wow what can i say this story is just getting better and better evey chapter i go.

I just love everything about this story words just can't describe how reading this story is just making my mouth water for more. Not many writers can keep me riveted to my chair much as this story is and that's saying alot.^____^

Now on to the last chapter.
sharpeslass
Nov. 16th, 2008 09:40 am (UTC)
Wow. There was so much there that I don't know where to start. I'm accepting the primitive, wild Hakkai more easily than I thought I would be able too. I'm still seeing him even when he is acting so out of what we have come to see as his character. The non-con scene was extremely intense and the end of this chapter was visual and lovely. Tired now but will definitely be reading more tomorrow. Epic good fic-ness. Really good job and I can't wait to read the rest!!
(Deleted comment)
opalmatrix
Dec. 10th, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC)

I'm glad this is making sense to you! You're marvelous at providing a sanity check for fic.

The dubcon portions were a shock to me as well. They were supposed to go straight to hot make-up sex as a way of confirming that whatever happened the next morning, they still cared about (and for) each other. But when I started writing the scene, Hakkai let me know, in no uncertain terms, that he was absolutely not ready to let the matter rest!

smillaraaq
Dec. 10th, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
Heee! And yes, overthinking is pretty much Hakkai's middle name, eh? Even when it's to his own detriment. The dubcon scene also works powerfully because it demonstrates the contrast in their attitudes -- it's just so very, very Gojyo that he's so ready to make excuses and forgive a loved one who's hurt him, while Hakkai is just adding it all to his massive burden of guilt and self-loathing. The kappa honestly seems to me like he's already forgiven him even before Hakkai's finished healing the damage he inflicted...but judging by the conversation at the end of the story, a day later Hakkai still hasn't forgiven himself for what he's done.

And yep, this portion of the vine!kink crowd was definitely a very, very happy camper indeed...although much as I utterly adored the actual kink bits, some of the most memorable scenes for me were the many non-sexual (or foreplay, at most) situations where Hakkai is using the vines seemingly unconsciously as extra appendages to touch and hold with. (Rather like that lovely scene in one of your fics where the boys are dancing together and Hakkai seems his usual cool-calm-collected self...except for all the vines spilling out of his sleeves to wrap around Gojyo's hands.) That sort of thing just makes me melt -- aside from the lovely visual image of it all, I think it's just the contrast it demonstrates in all the emotion and vulnerability and possessiveness that's laid bare when Hakkai's usual controlled facade is stripped away: the man who normally is rarely seen touching others in anything but the most necessary, clinical ways is now touching and holding constantly, without even seeming to think about it, and using the vines because two human arms just aren't *enough* to touch and hold as much as he needs to.

Now I'm very, very curious to see whatever fic you've been working on! *rubs hands gleefully*
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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