Title: Wands (WIP)
Chapter: 9 - Nine of Wands

Author: Aeneus

Email: aeneus111 (a) hotmail (dot) com

Website: http://www.geocities.com/aeneusfiction
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Sanzo/Hakkai
Cho Gonou enters Sanzo's life, turning it upside down. Sanzo needs to cope with the aftermath.
A/N: Written for the 78_tarot LJ community.
Beta: car_jack <3.


Disclaimer: All of these characters belong to Kazuya Minekura. This is written purely for my own entertainment and hopefully that of others. Tarot cards can have complex meanings. I've picked the elements that best benefited the characters and storyline.




Nine of Wands


Sanzo thoughtfully dragged on his cigarette while Goku finished off the rest of his, Sanzo's, and Hakkai's breakfast while simultaneously chatting away. The dining hall was by now almost deserted, most monks having left for their morning duties. Sanzo looked at Hakkai through the haze of smoke. His body still felt the glow of waking up with Hakkai's body wrapped around him. It had felt protective. It had been a very long time since Sanzo had felt that way - not since the night he stopped being Kouryuu.


Necessity had taught him to fend for himself, and to trust only himself. He was used to living by his own rules. Even though Goku didn't need half the protection people assumed he did, Sanzo, in his own way, cared for the kid. Although his role as Goku's guardian wasn't always a comfortable one, Sanzo had learned, yet again, to adapt and set the rules.


Hakkai had thrown him for a loop. The psychical attraction, the sheer need he felt to be close to Hakkai, had pushed him into new territory. This is what his body wanted, and in the end, he had followed it. After all the confusion and doubt, he thought the intimacy with Hakkai would give him a handle to regain control. Despite his inexperience, he had hoped the satisfaction and release he found with Hakkai would let him settle in this new situation.


But looking at Hakkai politely listening to one of Goku's ramblings, Sanzo realized it had all turned out nothing like he thought it would be. Something was pulling him deeper, beyond the lengths he had already gone. And he wasn't sure if he could control it.


From the corner of his eyes Sanzo could see one of the senior monks hovering in a casual way that was obviously intended to draw his attention. Behind him he recognized a few of the monks who had bothered them this morning, whispering furiously in the senior monk's ear. Sanzo pulled himself from his reveries and let the finished butt of his cigarette fall to the floor and grounded it under his heel. He was satisfied to see the monks' disapproving faces.


Hakkai and Goku noticed his change in demeanor and stopped talking, looking up where Sanzo was looking.


The monks took this as their clue to approach. "Most honorable Sanzo," the senior monk began, "could we have a word?" His eyes kept darting towards Hakkai and Goku. "In private, perhaps?"


Sanzo was about to blow them off, but Hakkai's hand on his arm stopped him. "It's okay. I should go back," Hakkai said. "It's Tuesday and Gojyo will forget to put out the garbage."


Sanzo tsked. He didn't want Hakkai to go. He wanted to figure out what the hell was happening to him - to them. But Hakkai had already gotten up and was beckoning Goku to follow. "I'll come over later," Sanzo said before Hakkai could leave. As he said it, he was embarrassed by how needy it sounded. For a split second he hated who he had become and wished that none of this had ever happened. He didn't want to be subjected to these weakening emotions.


Hakkai smiled and nodded, looking oblivious to Sanzo's thoughts, then left him alone with the monks. Sanzo watched the monks watch Hakkai leave, their eyes full of distrust and contempt. Sanzo's frustrations over his own state of mind quickly turned to anger at the monks' presumptuousness. He might still be trying to figure Hakkai out, but if anyone was going to be making any judgments over the man, it would be his prerogative, not theirs.


"What is it?" Sanzo snapped irritated.


After a few halting starts, the senior monk began a long speech about the reputation of the temple, the sanctity of the Sanzo title, the example to be set to the pupils. Sanzo listened with half an ear. It was nothing he hadn't heard before.


Finally the monk turned to the subject of Hakkai's presence in Sanzo's living quarters. "Of course, we wouldn't presume anything - inappropriate…"


Sanzo snorted, making the monk look queasy. Sanzo had no doubt exactly what it was the monks were presuming and they both knew it.


"He's a…he's a youkai," the monk stumbled with indignation. "Have you forgotten your Master?"


Sanzo's blood froze. He had put up with the lectures for years, but this was over the line. "Leave Koumyou Sanzo out of it," Sanzo growled dangerously.


The monk only hesitated for a moment, then, to Sanzo surprise, stepped closer and grabbed hold of his sleeve. "You have a responsibly to the temple, honorable Sanzo," he said, making the 'honorable' sound distasteful. "He's a youkai and a convicted criminal. I'm sure someone of your status understands how it appears when you associate with someone like that."


Sanzo shook off the monk's hand. "He's under my protection and he can go anywhere he damn well likes," he said slowly, "Understand?" The monk looked defiant, but didn't reply. They both knew the Three Aspects had put Sanzo in charge and he had the last word when it came to the running of the temple. No matter how much it dismayed the other monks.


They locked eyes until the monk finally looked away and made an infinitesimal small bow, showing his clearly reluctant acknowledgement of Sanzo's final word. Sanzo angrily got up and left the monks behind. He returned to his room, sat down by the window and furiously lit a cigarette, his mood thrown off-balance by the conversation.


Gojyo had warned him. The kappa knew first hand the taboo on mixed relationships. But this was different. Two men could not have children. Even so, Sanzo knew all about the mistrust between the humans and the youkai. He took an angry drag off his cigarette. If he had done what he did with Hakkai with one of the temple's pupils, he knew all the monks would have looked the other way. It was a common secret that things like that happened in every temple. The hypocrisy made Sanzo's fist clench. He had no illusions that humans were any better or worse than youkai. He had seen humans do plenty of despicable actions. After all, it had been Gonou, the man, who had killed over a thousand beings.


He hardly ever thought of Hakkai as youkai. He had never seen Hakkai without his limiters. Sanzo had to admit that even in his human form, Hakkai was powerful and extraordinary agile, hinting of his youkai nature underneath. But most of the time Sanzo chose to ignore it - just like Hakkai did.


Have you forgotten your Master?




Sanzo could picture him without hesitation, indulgently smiling down on him. He could see his murder every time he closed his eyes. Not for the first time, Sanzo wondered what Hakkai would look like in his youkai form. He tried to imagine the pointed ears, the narrowed pupils, the marks. Would he still feel the same about Hakkai then? Would he feel the same attraction?


Sanzo felt the beginning of a headache. He squeezed his eyes shut and massaged his temples. He got up and paced the room, trying to clear his head of the memories the monks had pushed on him.


The room felt empty without Hakkai. Sanzo lit another cigarette, letting the motion and then the nicotine calm him. He took a long drag and thought about what the other man might be doing right now. He would probably have reached the village. Sanzo pictured the brunet going grocery shopping before returning to Gojyo's house. Sanzo's blood stirred as his mind turned to Hakkai that morning, his naked body close to him, touching each other, the rush of orgasm.


Sanzo groaned and sat down on the bed. The release of sexual tension between them was so overwhelming, it overshadowed any rational thought. Just when Sanzo thought he could handle whatever Hakkai showed him, the man pushed him even further. It was all going so fast, Sanzo felt like he was being swept along.


Sanzo looked at his hand and remembered touching Hakkai inside. His belly clenched at the memory. He remembered the heat, the closeness, the tightness of Hakkai's body. Hakkai had obviously enjoyed it. Sanzo knew where this would lead. He had enough knowledge to know this was what men do to each other - what some men had wanted to do to him. He had never considered the possibility that men could do something like this to themselves.


Hakkai would want to do that to him. Wasn't that why Hakkai had showed him? Maybe this was something he had done with…


Sanzo didn't let himself finish that thought. He couldn't continue doubting himself and there was only one way to find out what it would be like. Resolved, Sanzo stripped off his clothes and lay down naked on the bed. Thinking of Hakkai jerking him off in the shower, Sanzo stroked himself quickly to hardness. He sucked his finger like Hakkai had done, then turned on his side and felt between his buttocks. If Hakkai could do this, he damn well could do the same.


Overruling any hesitations, he pushed past the tight ring of muscles. It felt weird. It certainly didn't invoke the reaction he had witnessed in Hakkai. Sanzo tried to push deeper, but his body protested and withstood the invasion. Most of all, it felt uncomfortable, certainly not the way Hakkai had experienced it. After a few fruitless minutes, Sanzo's wrist was starting to cramp, his erection had dwindled and he gave up.


This wasn't going anywhere, Sanzo sighed. He rolled on his back and pulled the blanket over himself. He closed his eyes and tried not to feel how cold it was. He missed Hakkai. Damn him.  It was driving him mad and even though he wanted nothing more right now then to turn back the clock and wake up in Hakkai's arms, Sanzo cursed the man for dragging him into all this mess.  


But none of that did any good as he lay alone, letting his mind run in circles. He needed time to clear his thoughts. Sanzo breathed in deeply and dragged up his meditation technique to clear his mind. He lost himself in the familiar prayers until he was gradually overtaken by sleep.




He was drifting along a river in a hand-woven basket. The water was going faster and faster, frightening him. Then suddenly hands stopped him, pulling the basket out of the current and towards the shore. When he looked up, there was Koumyou's face looking down on him and he felt himself relax. Then Sanzo saw youkai standing behind him, one of them looking like Hakkai. A flood of fear overwhelmed him and when he tried to scream, he couldn't make a sound. A blade swept through the air and for a second his vision was filled with blood. Sanzo squeezed his eyes shut as he silently screamed. When he opened them again everybody was gone, except for Hakkai. Hakkai reached out his hand to pull him ashore, but Sanzo could still feel the fear in his throat and was too afraid to take it.




Sanzo woke up with a start. He had to take a moment to control his breathing and wipe the dried stains of tears from his cheeks. Already the dream was fading, but a sickly feeling of dread remained lodged in his stomach. He threw back the sweaty blanket and tried to stand on his shaking legs. He felt even more tired then when he had fallen asleep. He checked the clock and saw it was already well into the afternoon.


He took an ice cold shower and got dressed. He looked in the mirror and saw himself looking back: the same old image, even though he wasn't the same. His eyes looked haggard and Sanzo looked away.


He was glad to be out of the temple and into the fresh air. The walk to Gojyo's house wasn't all that long, but Sanzo was both eager and hesitant to get there. He added a small detour in the village to stock up on cigarettes, seeing as he was had been smoking quite a bit more than usual lately, and a good excuse to have some extra time to order his thoughts.


In the end, Sanzo found himself before the familiar door. Much to his dismay, Gojyo was there, informing him Hakkai was out to buy supplies for dinner. He certainly didn't want to go back to the temple, so he grudgingly accepted Gojyo's invitation to come inside to wait for Hakkai.


Gojyo left him in the living room while he went to get beers. Sanzo sat, folded his arms and glared. He waited until Gojyo sat down before taking the beer the redhead had put in front of him. Gojyo raised his beer in mock salute.


"Here's to the lovebirds," he grinned.


Sanzo put his bottle down hard. His temper was stretched too thin as it was. Gojyo raised his head to take a swig from his beer, time enough for Sanzo to take aim and shoot a bullet clear through the bottom of the bottle. The kappa jumped up cursing as he was drenched in beer. "Damn monk, I thought getting laid would help you lighten up."


"Perverted kappa," Sanzo swore under his breath as he slipped the gun back in his sleeve.


Still grumbling, Gojyo went back to the kitchen for towels and a new beer. He returned a few minutes later and sat back down, this time taking the first drink in silence and without taking his eyes of Sanzo. Sanzo glared.


"I take it you didn't get laid then," Gojyo mumbled.


"Is that all you ever think about?" Sanzo asked, exasperated. He was too tired to deal with Gojyo's apparent death wish.


Gojyo lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. "No," he answered as he let the smoke slip free from his lungs, "but often enough. Really, you should try it. It will do you some good." Gojyo leaned forward to flick some ash into the ashtray. "Cuz you look like shit."


"And a shit-face like you would know," Sanzo shot back.


Gojyo held up his hand. "Hey, don't go dissing the looks. I get a lotta action with this face." He took another swig from his beer before continuing. "I'm only saying, two blokes with the hots for each other…" Gojyo shrugged. "You can't blame a guy for assuming."


Assuming, it seemed that was all people around them did. "With your years of practice in stupidity, I'm not surprised," Sanzo sighed.


"Jeez, no need to get testy," Gojyo grumbled as he leaned back and took another drink from his beer. "But if your holiness will allow me one more stupid assumption, just let me say that whatever it was you and Hakkai got up to last night, it worked a lot better for him than it did for you, by the looks of it."


Sanzo stared at Gojyo. What the fuck was that suppose to mean? Gojyo was fingering his beer and steeling glances at Sanzo, in particular the sleeve where he'd seen Sanzo put his gun. But Sanzo didn't feel the need to waste another bullet.


"What are you on about?" he finally asked, when it was clear the kappa was not going to elaborate on his own.


Gojyo put down his beer and pulled on the last bit of his cigarette. "He looked happy," he said without looking at Sanzo. He looked almost embarrassed saying it. "And I don't mean his usual don't-mean-shit polite manner, either. Like, pissed-assed happy."


Sanzo continued staring, not knowing what to say.


"I've never seen him…" Gojyo stopped and shrugged again. "Don't tell him I said that, okay."


Sanzo nodded distractedly, only wanting to shut Gojyo up so he could think. So Hakkai was…happy. And not just that – he made Hakkai happy. Happy was not a word Sanzo usually applied to himself, more something he'd associate with Goku. Goku was happy a lot, often regardless of any given situation. But he wasn't like Goku at all.


He could be…content, under the right circumstances. Being with Hakkai certainly counted amongst those. And then there was the sheer exhilaration of kissing and touching and moments that lasted all too short, that had all opened up to him in the last few days. There had been so many new sensations to take in, Sanzo had difficulty separating them all. Maybe he was happy and he just hadn't really had the time to stop and realize it.


"So, what gives?" Gojyo asked, interrupting Sanzo's thinking.


"What?" Sanzo asked, irritated to be pulled from his thoughts.


Gojyo rolled his eyes and mumbled something about Sanzo shouldn't be the one calling him stupid. "Why's Hakkai walking around with a friggin spring in his step and humming musical soundtracks, while you're here looking like a miserable jackass?"


"None of your business," Sanzo grumbled quickly.


"Yeah, so you keep saying. Like I've said before, Hakkai is my business." Gojyo's eyes widened with sudden realization, then darkened threateningly. "Hey, you better not have come here to break up with him."


Sanzo gave Gojyo a look that he hoped expressed exactly the amount of pain he wanted to inflict on the kappa for even suggesting that. There was no way in Hell Sanzo wanted to let Hakkai go, that was for sure. He'd only kept getting sidetracked with other people budding in.


A noise from the door interrupted them and signaled Hakkai's return. The man entered with both arms full of grocery bags. His eyes lit up when he spotted Sanzo. "I didn't know when to expect you," Hakkai said cheerful. "I hope you're staying for dinner. I bought enough supplies."


Sanzo hummed his agreement. Seeing Hakkai made something deep inside his chest uncoil. The feelings that had been nagging him all day were momentarily overshadowed by the warmth he felt in Hakkai's presence. The influence the man had over him continued to surprise Sanzo. If anything, it was growing stronger the longer he was seeing him.


Hakkai took the grocery bags into the kitchen and came back with three more beers.


"I hope you didn't get into trouble this morning," Hakkai began.


Sanzo waved his hand. "Don't worry about it." He didn't want to go back to that episode. Hakkai gave him a look that seemed to say he didn't quite believe that, but was willing not to press the issue in present company and in favor of a pleasant dinner.


The three of them drank their beers, while Sanzo and Gojyo smoked and Hakkai kept up pleasant conversation. Hakkai moved on to prepare dinner, leaving Sanzo and Gojyo in the living room.


"You better appreciate what you're getting," Gojyo said quietly, watching Hakkai's back as he disappeared into the kitchen.


Sanzo followed Gojyo's gaze. "I do," he'd answered before he could stop himself. Damn, he should really stop making these confessions to Gojyo.


From the corner of his eyes he could see Gojyo looking at him, but Sanzo refused to meet his eyes. Neither of them spoke until Hakkai returned with dinner.


Sanzo hadn't eaten since breakfast and was quickly distracted by Hakkai's excellent cooking. He paid little attention to Gojyo's and Hakkai's banter and busied himself picking at the various dishes, shifting when a foot accidentally brushed against his leg. But the foot followed him and wiggled itself under the hem of his robes. Sanzo froze with his chopsticks midair. He looked at Hakkai but the man gave no indication of any wrongdoing, engaged as he was in listening to Gojyo tell a joke about a nun and an Irishman. Sanzo carefully resumed his eating only to drop his piece of chicken when the foot stoked upwards with definite intent. This time a tiny smile ghosted at the corner of Hakkai's lips.


Sanzo suddenly felt very warm. He picked up the dropped bit of food and mechanically continued eaten while all his attention was now drawn under the table. The foot wiggled and Sanzo automatically let his knees fall wider, giving it access to continue its move upwards. The denim of Sanzo's jeans lulled the sensation but Sanzo still choked on a mouthful of noodles when the foot pressed hard against his crotch at the exact moment he was about to swallow.


The coughing fit that followed drew both Gojyo's and Hakkai's attention. Hakkai looked at him with innocent concern, receiving a murderous glare from Sanzo, while Gojyo looked suspiciously at both of them. Sanzo mumbled his apologies while he composed himself. Gojyo shrugged and return to his joke. The foot had disappeared, probably back to his owner. Hakkai was still smirking, as if amused by Gojyo's joke. Sanzo discreetly straightened out his robes and tried to ignore the heat he felt in his cheeks for the rest of dinner.


After dinner, Gojyo volunteered to do the dishes while Hakkai made tea. Out of sight of Gojyo, Hakkai gave Sanzo a quick kiss on the cheek as he handed him a tea cup. "Sorry about that," he whispered in tone that was far from apologetic. "I just needed to stretch my legs."


Gojyo joined them before Sanzo could retort, leaving him to scowl at Hakkai who politely smiled back at him and sipped his tea. For the next hour Hakkai kept glancing Sanzo's way with an indefinable gleam in his eyes, making it impossible for the priest to focus on anything being said.


Finally, Gojyo excused himself to go out. "I'll leave you two lovebirds alone," Gojyo grinned as he pulled on his coat.


Sanzo ignored the wink and didn't say anything.


"Stay out of trouble," Hakkai said motherly. Gojyo smirked, "No fun in that." He gave a wave. "Don't wait up for me."


Sanzo was still watching the door when Hakkai launched at him and pulled him into a heated kiss. "I've been waiting to do that all day," Hakkai confessed when he came up for air. Sanzo grunted incoherently, reeling from the kiss. He pulled Hakkai back and picked up where the man had left off. Damn, that felt good.


At last they pulled apart and Hakkai settled against Sanzo. "How was your day?"


Sanzo sighed, thinking of the events at the temple. It felt like he was two different persons, whether he was with or away from Hakkai. He didn't know how to merge them. When he was with Hakkai, it felt so straightforward. But then, things got complicated without him. He could taste the sour aftereffects of his dream, even when he could not remember it. Sanzo shifted uncomfortably against Hakkai.


"Something did happen, didn't it? This morning," Hakkai said, gently pushing.


"I don't care about that bunch of shriveling idiot monks," Sanzo said. "They can screw themselves." He didn't doubt at least some of them did. The hypocrisy pissed him off all over again.


Hakkai cleared his throat carefully. "When I lived with Kanan, people talked all the time." He waited so Sanzo could interrupt, but Sanzo stayed silent. "At times, it was very hard," Hakkai stared at his hands, studying them intently as if he were seeing them for the first time. "A lot of people looked down on us, but…it was okay…because we loved each other."


Sanzo breathed deeply, inhaling Hakkai's words. There was always a sad, painful longing in Hakkai's voice when he spoke of Kanan. It used to make him uncomfortable, it had been an emotion he didn't understand or know how to deal with. But listening to Hakkai's voice, Sanzo suddenly realized he did understand. He knew he would feel the same way if he lost Hakkai.


"Are you having doubts?" Hakkai asked.


"No", Sanzo said immediately. "It's just…" Harder than he thought it would be. Sanzo felt raw from all the layers that Hakkai stripped away from him.


Hakkai leaned back, giving Sanzo some distance. Sanzo shivered involuntarily. "I can't promise this will be easy," Hakkai said, looking at Sanzo seriously.


"I don't care," Sanzo said convinced. At the beginning Hakkai had promised that they would see this through together and Sanzo knew he trusted Hakkai.


"Good. Because I do care - about you," Hakkai said, his voice both longing and hesitant.


Care. Sanzo tasted the word. This was different than the way he cared for Goku, different than the way he cared for Koumyou's memory. This went even beyond the desire he felt every time Hakkai touched him. This was about missing Hakkai when he was not there, this was about waking up in Hakkai's arms and feeling safe there.


"I -- care too," Sanzo finally said.


Hakkai's smile glowed. Sanzo knew this was what Gojyo meant when he said Hakkai looked happy. Sanzo smiled despite himself. He guessed he looked the same right now and he fully realized he was happy too. The awareness made Sanzo want the man even more than he did before. He leaned over and kissed Hakkai. The man fell back with a pleasured moan, pulling Sanzo with him. Feeling Hakkai over the whole length of his body with his tongue deep inside Hakkai's mouth, made Sanzo instantly hard. As Hakkai grinded against him and Sanzo noticed he wasn't the only one.


Sanzo wanted nothing less then to feel every inch of Hakkai's body with his own. The rush of adrenalin and anticipation coursed through him and he impatiently pulled off the layers of his robes. Hakkai soon followed suit and divulged himself of his own clothing. With every inch of extra skin revealed, Sanzo felt more aroused. The urgency was killing him. He pushed Hakkai back onto the couch and straddled his legs. His body trembled with a mix of relief, joy and pure desire. He didn't want Hakkai just now, he wanted Hakkai for the rest of his life.


Sanzo bent down and took Hakkai's erection into his mouth and began sucking. Hakkai gasped and bucked up. Sanzo pulled back a little and licked along Hakkai's flesh, letting himself enjoy the intimacy of the act. Hakkai moaned impatiently, his hands ghosting over Sanzo's head before settling lightly on his shoulders. Sanzo knew Hakkai was trying to contain himself and the thought turned him on even more. His hands pressed down on Hakkai's belly, feeling the heat of Hakkai's skin and the trembling of his muscles as Sanzo sucked hard and slow. Sanzo let his hand drift up and experimentally graze Hakkai's nipple. Hakkai groaned deep in his throat. The sound made Sanzo's own erection throb painfully. Sanzo squeezed the hard bud between his fingers while he continued sucking, making Hakkai buck so hard he almost threw Sanzo off.


Hakkai's moans hitched and Sanzo could tell he was close. Sanzo wasn't ready to relive the mess he'd made last time when he had tried to swallow, so he leaned up and stroked Hakkai roughly and quickly to the last moments of completion. Sanzo's other hand pinched Hakkai's nipple again and Hakkai was lost. Sanzo looked on in awe as Hakkai's back arched, his eyes cast upwards, his lips open in a silent cry as the orgasm traveled through him. The image burned itself in Sanzo's mind. It only took one touch of his hand on his own cock and his seed joined with Hakkai's on the man's belly.


They both stayed like this, looking at each other, gradually coming down from the high. Hakkai grabbed Sanzo and pulled him close, unmindful of the sticky mess that was trapped between them, and kissed Sanzo deep and hungry. They lay tangled together, panting in tandem until Hakkai started to laugh. "God work in mysterious ways," he said between giggles. Sanzo looked at him, curious about the statement. Hakkai snorted a last few giggles, then pushed him off and said he needed to shower.


Sanzo groaned as he was forced to move. Hakkai wiggled out from underneath him and began collecting his clothes from the floor. Sanzo slouched on the couch and watched him, using the afterglow as a perfect excuse to ogle unabashedly. Hakkai stood with his arms full of clothing and raised his eyebrow. Sanzo tsked, got up and followed Hakkai to the bathroom.


The shower was long and lazy and lasted until the water was cold. Sanzo watched Hakkai dry off, his eyes fixed on the movement of the towel over the curves of Hakkai's body.


"You're staying the night, right?" Hakkai asked while he slipped into his pajamas. He grinned, his tone clearly rhetorical. He didn't even wait for Sanzo's answer. Sanzo grunted and followed him into Hakkai's bedroom. It was small and looked like it had previously been used for storage. Hakkai's bed was neatly made and even though there were hardly any personal affects, the impression was clearly Hakkai's. Sanzo took a moment to appreciate being in Hakkai's personal space. Hakkai usually cultivated an impersonal and practical air. Sanzo hadn't expected being inside his room to feel so intimate.


Hakkai climbed into bed, scooting over to the wall to leave space for Sanzo. Sanzo crawled next to him and settled spooned against his back. It was warm and comfortable under the blankets and curled up against Hakkai. Sanzo's arm lay lazily over Hakkai's shoulder, his fingers tracing lines over the man's skin.


Hakkai's slow breaths punctuated Sanzo's movements; his hand moved over Hakkai's neck, along his cheek to the shell of his ear. The metal was unexpectedly warm under Sanzo's touch. Hakkai stopped breathing and in the ensuing silence, Sanzo realized he'd stopped breathing too.  His fingers traced the contours of each metal clasp.


"Sanzo?" Hakkai asked, his voice sounding loud in the small space.


Sanzo didn't answer, his hand frozen in place. He wondered if Hakkai would stop him if he tried to take them off. He tugged lightly on the top one. Hakkai stifled a cry and his hand shot up. But Sanzo had already let go and Hakkai's hand stopped short of grabbing Sanzo's wrist. The clip hadn't moved. Slowly Hakkai put his arm down. Sanzo's fingers returned to Hakkai's ear, but he didn't try to move any of the clips.


"Do you want to?" Hakkai asked. His whole body was tense against Sanzo's. Sanzo thought about it. It was getting dark, so he would barely be able to see the transformation. But it would still be there, he would be able to feel it. A part of him wanted to know, wanted to see. He wanted to know if he could handle it. Hakkai would let him, Sanzo was sure. He tugged lightly again on one of the clasps and this time Hakkai stayed still.


Hakkai was trembling against him. The anxiety coming off Hakkai was rising painfully, but he still hadn't moved. Sanzo could only guess at the conflict he was feeling. Sanzo remembered the state Hakkai had been in after the incident with Banri's gang, the only time as far as Sanzo knew that Hakkai had taken off his limiters. The justice might have been poetic, but right now Sanzo cursed the Gods for putting this fate on Hakkai.


His hand let go and returned to Hakkai's shoulder. He slowly kissed the back of Hakkai's neck.


"I would have let you," Hakkai said softly after a moment.


There was a trace of almost-regret in Hakkai's voice, which made Sanzo wonder if Hakkai would have considered it, or even invited it, as some kind of penance if he had.


"I know," Sanzo answered, kissing Hakkai again. Maybe he could protect Hakkai from himself in this case. "Go to sleep."


It took a while for Hakkai to relax, but Sanzo made sure the man was asleep before drifting off himself.




A/N Nine of Wands - tiredness, final push

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