Chapter: 10 - Ten of Wands
Email: aeneus111 (a) hotmail (dot) com
Summary: 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.
When Sanzo woke up he was alone. For a confused moment he took in the surroundings and realized he was in Hakkai's bed. He sat up and looked around, but it was soon clear Hakkai was nowhere in the small room, meaning he had managed to get up and climb over Sanzo without him noticing. Sanzo was usually a light sleeper, but he must have been sleeping more soundly than he normally did. He also noticed it was surprisingly light behind the improvised curtains, showing that he had also slept later than was his habit.
He tried to remember if he had dreamt anything, but his mind was clear. In fact, he was feeling better than he had felt in a long time. He lay back down and took a moment to linger in the luxury. Involuntarily his arm reached out for the empty space next to him. He imagined Hakkai there, all for him to touch. The Gods indeed work in mysterious ways, Sanzo echoed Hakkai's thoughts. He had believed they had sent Gonou on his path as a curse, but here he was…wherever and whatever it was he had found himself, he knew he didn't want to leave.
The smell of coffee and toast made its way under the door, triggering Sanzo's stomach to rumble appreciatively. As Sanzo finally left the bed, he could hear two voices conversing in low tones beyond the door. Sanzo sighed; apparently he had also slept through Gojyo's return last night. He hesitated with his hand on the doorknob, remembering that all his clothes were still in the living room. He eyed the blanket on the bed. Oh what the Hell, Sanzo thought, Gojyo would just have to get used to it. He wasn't going to let the kappa stand in the way between him and the man he had shared a bed with all night. Taking a leaf from Hakkai's book, Sanzo stepped into the living room butt-naked and stonily passed Gojyo to pick up his robes from the floor.
The sound of the kappa choking on his coffee brought a grin to Sanzo's face, gone by the time he stood up and nodded a 'good morning' to Hakkai. Hakkai gave no overt reaction to Sanzo's state of undress, though Sanzo imagined he saw a fleeting copy of his own grin in the corner of Hakkai's mouth.
"How many slices of toast would you like?" Hakkai asked casually as he set some plates on the table.
"Five," Sanzo answered just as casual and made his way to the bathroom. Before he had closed the door, he heard Gojyo clear his throat and mumble something about perverts. By the time Sanzo had showered and dressed Gojyo was gone and five pieces of toast and a mug of coffee were waiting for him.
"Making a point?" Hakkai asked as he sat down to join Sanzo for breakfast.
Sanzo shrugged and lit his morning cigarette. "It beats flashing monks."
Hakkai smiled deviously at Sanzo's reference. Sanzo saw it and felt a warm shiver go through him; he liked the fact they we're having these memories between them.
"So does that mean I'm yours?" Hakkai asked, his eyes twinkling.
"Yes", Sanzo answered strongly and without a hesitation. This was the two of them. He wanted Hakkai and no one else, and he wanted Hakkai to want only him. His feelings had grown to include a possessiveness towards Hakkai that had become as much entwined in his psyche as the attraction and care he felt. They may both have their own past, filled with their own separate memories and traumas, but what they had between them now was conclusively and exclusively theirs.
Hakkai's cheeks flushed at Sanzo's determined reply. Then a smile broke and he pulled Sanzo into a quick deep kiss, leaving both men breathless.
"I like that," Hakkai said after he had released Sanzo.
Sanzo grumbled and started on his toast. This attachment might be a weakness and it was frightening, but Sanzo had never lived by the rules. He remembered the emptiness that had been Gonou and he remembered the shell that Hakkai had been at first. But the man had had the strength to move on and trust again, regardless of what others thought. That wasn't weakness.
"Are you going back to the temple?" Hakkai asked.
Sanzo chewed his toast. He had been neglecting his work and he didn't want the monks to get the impression he was hiding. It made sense to go back, so he nodded.
Hakkai nodded too. He looked down and stirred his tea. "I might go into the village to look for work."
Sanzo sipped some coffee to help the dry toast go down along with his disappointment. What had he expected? That Hakkai would stay by his side from now on? The man had his own life to live. Hakkai hadn't brought up the need for work since they had discussed it weeks before, but it was bound to happen sooner or later.
"Teaching?" Sanzo asked, careful to keep his tone neutral.
Hakkai shrugged. "It's what I'm qualified for and I like it."
"You said before you weren't sure." Sanzo didn't really want to bring up the argument again, but he had to see for himself whether Hakkai was really ready to let go.
"It's different now. It won't be the same as before." Hakkai sighed into his tea cup. "I don't want to be…dependent."
The word dropped like a stone in Sanzo's stomach, gaining weight beyond a mere comment on Hakkai's financial position. Sanzo took a deep breath, feeling all the comfort draining out of his body and leaving him cold. Sanzo had always fiercely guarded his independence ever since he's been old enough to realize nothing in this world could be trusted to do it for you. But it had been ruthlessly shoved aside and Sanzo had been slowly coming to terms that he it might be okay to explore this new found territory with someone else. Now Hakkai's words had rocked him off his delicate mental footing.
Sanzo looked at the man, trying to see any intentions of deeper meaning. He must have been looking for a long time because Hakkai's eyes suddenly grew worried.
"What's the matter?" Hakkai asked, putting down his tea and staring back at Sanzo.
"It's nothing," Sanzo mumbled and fumbled for another cigarette. He was making too big a deal out of this. What did he know? Two men didn't make a relationship.
"No, it's not," Hakkai insisted. He stretched his hand across the table to take hold of Sanzo's arm. "Something's bothering you. Talk to me."
Sanzo swallowed. Talk? What was he suppose to say? Only a few moments ago everything had been fine. Hakkai was his and they were…together. Now his mind was suddenly not sure about anything anymore.
"Look, you don't need me, right?" Sanzo moved his arm, letting Hakkai's hand drop limply on the table.
Hakkai looked back hard, his careful smile gone. "What has gotten into you?"
Sanzo asked himself the same, but he didn't have the answer. He only knew that Hakkai's words had stirred up fear and hurt and anger and Sanzo did what he knew best and shut himself off.
Hakkai crossed his arms across his chest. "I'm yours, aren't I?"
"But -- you said you don't want to be dependent?"
Hakkai gave an exasperating sigh. "Is that was this is about? I can't have my own life? I have to be at your back and call?" Hakkai's voice had risen and was as close to angry as Sanzo had ever heard him.
Sanzo looked away in discomfort. "Of course not," Sanzo bit back, getting angry as well, but more so at himself for getting into this situation while they had just been enjoying breakfast. "That's not what I meant."
"Than what do you mean?" Hakkai asked, in a slightly more subdued, but still exasperating tone.
Sanzo scratched his head. He wasn't good at formulating his thoughts and his thoughts were too muddled up.
"I need you," he blurted out. It wasn't really what he had meant to say, but it was the first thing that popped out.
Hakkai looked as surprised as he was. "I need you too," he said carefully.
Sanzo looked Hakkai straight in the eyes. "I've never needed anyone," he said, not moving his gaze. He needed Hakkai to understand. He needed Hakkai to know the sacrifice he was making, and that he was trusting Hakkai with this.
Hakkai reached out and took Sanzo's arm again. This time Sanzo didn't resist. "It's worth it," he said somewhere between pleading, scared and self-deprecating. "I'll be here."
Sanzo's anger faded as quickly as it had appeared. He stood up, needing to move, and began pacing.
I'll be here. Hakkai's voice as much as the words promised a future. Sanzo had never before contemplated the future beyond finding his Master's Sutra. He always went through the motions and figured he would keep doing that until he died, or more likely, got killed. Even what he shared with Hakkai, as surprising as it had turned out, hadn't fixed in his mind yet as a possible permanent situation. In the back of his mind, it was still classified as 'as long as it will last'. Only now was it dawning on him that this wasn't just some extraordinary event that was superimposed on his ordinary life. This was his life.
"We don't need to hurry, Genjyo." Hakkai said, still waiting for Sanzo to respond.
Sanzo froze his pacing. No one ever called him by that name alone. But then, Hakkai had been the first in many things. He turned and looked at Hakkai, seeing the hesitant smile, the worried look. Hakkai hadn't feared committing himself to him. It was commitment on a level Sanzo was only now discovering. The only thing Sanzo still needed to do was commit himself to Hakkai.
Sanzo sat down and took Hakkai's hand, watching the man's smile grow a little more confident. He lifted Hakkai's hand and kissed the knuckles, feeling himself do it. He let himself feel the freedom he had to do this simple act, the way it made Hakkai's eyes light up ever so slightly and the fact that he could choose to have this for as long as the Gods willed it.
That knowledge made him damn happy and he felt himself smile. In fact, he felt himself laugh. It felt silly and liberating and Sanzo couldn't remember the last time he'd laughed. He grabbed Hakkai's head and kissed him awkwardly across the table. He thought about all the things he had lost in his life. Now he looked into the face of something he could gain. "I damn well love you, Cho Hakkai," he whispered against Hakkai's mouth. He could feel Hakkai's breath flowing across his skin; Hakkai's fingers treading through his hair and there was no place Sanzo would rather be. They sat frozen like that and slowly Hakkai began to laugh and then to kiss him.
In an attempt to get closer, they ended up on the floor, simply lying in each other's arms. Hakkai was nibbling the last piece of toast he had managed to rescue from the table, Sanzo stroking Hakkai's chest underneath his shirt; both of them too lazy to move.
"Oh, for Gods' sake!"
Sanzo closed his eyes and grunted against Hakkai's shoulder.
"Hello, Gojyo," Hakkai said deadpan, finishing his toast and not making a move to get up. Sanzo looked sideways and saw the redhead looking down on them, a bag of groceries under one arm.
Gojyo sat down at the empty table. "On the damn kitchen floor!" he shook his head. "I should have guessed it from you, Hakkai. You were always obsessed with the kitchen."
Knowing their time was up, Sanzo rose to his feet, taking his time brushing the breadcrumbs from his robes. Next to him, Hakkai had gotten up too and joined Gojyo at the table where he immediately started inspecting the contents of the bag. The kappa was still sneering, but it was half-heartedly.
"I'd better get back to the temple."
Hakkai looked up from his scrutiny. "Shall I come by tomorrow, Genjyo?"
Sanzo didn't miss Gojyo's eye-roll at the use of his name. But Sanzo decided he liked hearing it come from Hakkai. Gojyo could hang around and comment as much he liked. "Sure," Sanzo said and leaned in to kiss Hakkai firmly on the mouth right in front of Gojyo. "Good luck with the job hunt."
"Thank you," Hakkai said as Sanzo turned around to leave.
"What? Don't I get a goodbye kiss? -- Ouch!"
Sanzo tucked the fan back into his sleeve. Damn, that felt good.
Sanzo looked up from his desk to find Goku standing on the other side with a big basket of peaches.
"I picked some peaches," Goku said unnecessarily, lifting the basket. "Do you want one?"
Sanzo grunted, not ungrateful for an excuse to take a break. He shoved his paperwork aside and took one of the peaches. Goku saw this as permission to plumb down on the floor next to Sanzo's desk and start in on the rest of them.
"I was looking for you this morning," Goku said with his mouth full. "You didn't come to breakfast, so I figured you must be hungry."
Sanzo rolled the peach between his hands before taking a careful bite. Goku's big eyes looked up at him in non-judgmental curiosity.
"I was staying with Hakkai," Sanzo said, seeing no reason to lie about it.
"Oh." Goku licked some spilled juice from his fingers, looking thoughtful. "Is Hakkai mad at me?"
"Of course not, stupid monkey."
"But he's always with you and he doesn't come to see me and you won't let me come with you."
Sanzo's mood mellowed as it inevitably did under Goku's attention. He tended to forget that underneath Goku's exuberance and innocent joy, there was an almost bottomless fear and insecurity that made Sanzo shiver whenever he glimpsed it. He might also have felt just the tiniest bit guilty that he had used Goku as an excuse to secure Hakkai's visits and then ignored the attachment that Goku had made.
"I'll make sure you see Hakkai tomorrow," Sanzo said resolutely and took another peach before Goku finished them all.
"You sure know how to plan a date," Hakkai said as they watched Goku pick flowers in the temple's garden. They sat on a blanket on the grass, cups of tea and leftover food plates scattered around them. Several monks had been hovering nearby, mumbling disapproval of Goku's destruction of the flower garden, Sanzo's littering of the grass with cigarette buds and Hakkai's presence in general. After an hour of being ignored they had finally given up and left them to themselves. Goku had made both of them a string of daisies. Hakkai was wearing his around his neck; Sanzo's was tossed next to the blanket. The picnic had been his concession to Goku, but Sanzo drew the line at decorating himself with vegetation. Goku had seemed pleased enough by the act of giving it to him, so Sanzo didn't feel the need to feel guilty.
"We're still dating?" Sanzo asked, eyes squinting in the retreating sunlight. The day had gone by without a hitch and Sanzo felt relaxed enough to tease.
"Hmm, I guess not." Hakkai thought for a moment. "Going steady?" he offered.
Sanzo snorted. Hakkai cocked his eyebrow in mock-seriousness. "Boyfriends then?"
Sanzo shook his head.
Hakkai leaned in closer. "Lovers?" he whispered in Sanzo's ear, making the priest blush. "Ah, I see we have a winner."
Sanzo pushed Hakkai away, embarrassed to be caught so easily. He straightened his face. "You do know you'll have to ask the Three Aspects for permission if we want to go any further," he said in the most serious tone he could still manage.
Hakkai's eyes grew wider for just a second as he eyed Sanzo suspiciously. "Really?"
The image of Hakkai kneeling before the Tree Aspects, formally requesting to, in Hakkai's words, 'go steady' with him was too much to retain a straight face.
"You're evil," Hakkai grumbled.
Sanzo poured some of the last remaining tea and took a sip. Together they watched Goku for a while until Sanzo set down his cup and cleared his throat. "How did the job hunt go?"
"I've asked at the local school, but there were no vacancies. I might be able to find a few more private pupils, though. I've left notices in all the local shops."
Sanzo nodded. "Good."
"Of course I will continue tutoring Goku," Hakkai added. His hand moved to lie across Sanzo's. "I think getting back to work will be good for me. Are you still bothered about yesterday?"
"No," Sanzo sighed. "I'm sorry, I didn't know what I was thinking."
Hakkai shrugged apologetically as if it was all his fault. "I didn't know how to react." He looked at Sanzo for a long time. "You're different."
Sanzo didn't quite know why that admission made him feel better, but it did. He let his fingers intertwine with Hakkai's and together they watched Goku for a while.
Hakkai stayed for dinner and after saying a final goodnight to Goku and reminding him to do his homework for tomorrow, Hakkai followed Sanzo to his room. After a few beers, it didn't take them long to end up in bed together. Hakkai's hand had climbed up Sanzo's jeans and was massaging his calf. Sanzo had taken Hakkai's other hand, kissing it absentmindedly as he let himself be drawn into Hakkai's relaxing touch.
After a moment Sanzo noticed that Hakkai had stopped. Sanzo looked up to see what was wrong and found Hakkai's eyes were focused on the place where Sanzo had been kissing his fingers. He looked troubled and far-away. Sanzo carefully released Hakkai's hand.
"After I became this, I thought I would have to pay for the rest of my life," Hakkai spoke dreamingly. "Sometimes I still see the blood."
Hakkai shook his head as if clearing a bad dream way.
Sanzo pulled Hakkai closer and the man nuzzled next to him. "I'm not here to forgive you," he said gently. "That's up to the Gods." He took Hakkai's hand again and kissed one of the fingers.
"The past can not be undone…" Sanzo had to mentally shake off his own memories for a second before continuing. "But we all carry our own karma." He kissed another finger and then sucked it slowly into his mouth. Hakkai's breath hitched ever so slightly. Encouraged by the sound, Sanzo pulled Hakkai up and kissed him properly.
Hakkai responded eagerly, climbing closer to Sanzo.
"And we can only save ourselves," Sanzo panted against Hakkai's cheek.
Hakkai held Sanzo's head steady. "And each other?"
Sanzo grinned and went back to kissing Hakkai. Soon they were pulling off clothing and throwing off the blankets for more space. Sanzo had pulled off Hakkai's trousers and was already making Hakkai whimper by stroking the man's hardening cock. He wanted to make sure Hakkai forgot all about their little argument yesterday morning and his dark memories from even longer back. Now he had the opportunity to show just how much Hakkai was his, and only his.
He remembered how exquisite Hakkai looked when Sanzo had made him come and he longed to see it again. He kissed the head of Hakkai's cock, still getting used to the taste. Hakkai squirmed and gasped. Knowing the next step he could take, Sanzo reached up and pushed his finger lightly against Hakkai's bottom lip. After a beat, Hakkai took the hint and opened his mouth and sucked the offered digit inside.
After a good while, Sanzo pulled his finger back and Hakkai wordlessly raised his knees. If the two of them had a future together, he might as well get used to this, Sanzo figured. He didn't want an opportunity go by to give Hakkai the pleasure he knew he was capable off.
Hakkai winched at Sanzo's initial intrusion, but didn't say stop. His hips rocked forward, letting Sanzo know to continue and Sanzo slowly worked his finger in deeper. Hakkai's face was sweating, looking torn between pushing his cock into Sanzo's hand and pushing down on Sanzo's finger. Sanzo held still, trying to remember exactly what he had done the last time. Hakkai moaned directions and Sanzo was rewarded with a shocked cry of pleasure.
"Stop, stop." Hakkai groaned after a few strokes of Sanzo's finger deep inside him.
Hakkai held himself still, gaining his breath in labored gasps. Sanzo wasn't sure what he had done wrong. Up until that point Hakkai had seemed to enjoy it.
"I want more," Hakkai said breathlessly. "I want you inside me."
Sanzo knew what Hakkai meant. "Are you sure?" he asked, tentatively letting go of Hakkai.
"Yes," Hakkai nodded. "Please."
"You've never…?" Hakkai had already told him he had never been with a man, but Sanzo needed to ask nevertheless, if only to remind Hakkai of his own inexperience in this.
Hakkai sat up a little straighter, his face serious. "I want to," he said. "I've brought…stuff." He suddenly looked shy and quickly reached over the bed to his trousers and pulled out a tube labeled 'lubricant jelly'.
Hakkai blushed as Sanzo took the tube from him. "We're in this together, right? I thought I'd better be prepared for whatever happened." He smiled hesitantly.
Sanzo held the tube in his hand, looking at Hakkai. He hadn't missed the shift in Hakkai's tone and Sanzo took a moment longer to let it sink in. Behind the assurances and practical flippancy, Hakkai was hesitant. Hakkai's eyes weren't meeting his and his smile was shaky. It hit Sanzo that Hakkai was at a loss. He had no more of an idea what to do as Sanzo had. Sanzo moved away as he processed this new information. He wasn't sure he was ready to take that responsibility.
"I don't know what to do," Sanzo said, now from his side of the bed.
"Neither do I." Hakkai hadn't moved, leaving an empty space between them.
Sanzo knew Hakkai was giving him the space to refuse. "How do you know if you'll like it?"
"Only one way to find out."
Sanzo couldn't really argue with that. So far Hakkai had led him through a week's worth of discoveries, now he could lead Hakkai into this one – a chance to give back.
While Sanzo had been debating with himself, Hakkai had moved closer. "Please, I want you to try," he said quietly, gently pulling Sanzo over so he could kiss him.
"Okay," Sanzo agreed once Hakkai released his lips. Hakkai looked both relieved and fearful. Now that Sanzo had made up his mind, he wasn't going to back down from this. He kissed Hakkai thoroughly to make him forget his worries and maneuvered him back into the position they had been in before.
"You have to put some of that in me first," Hakkai said, indicating the tube. Sanzo wondered briefly if this was another thing Hakkai had looked up beforehand.
Sanzo coated his fingers, rubbing them together to warm up the cold gel a bit. Sanzo had never used it before, but in light of what they were about to do, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out how it was meant to be used. Sanzo returned to his earlier ministrations, taking his time and appreciating the added ease of the lubricant over mere saliva. Finally Hakkai growled at him to get on with it or he wasn't going to last.
Sanzo withdrew his fingers and squirted some more lube out of the tube and coated himself. The cool lube helped to ease the strain of his erection somewhat; he wanted to be sure he could last long enough to give Hakkai what he wanted.
He had to hold himself steady to guide himself in, trying not to fumble and get it wrong. At the first slow penetration Hakkai hissed loudly and Sanzo froze. He felt a flash of panic rise up. This wasn't going to work. He couldn't do this.
"Don't stop," Hakkai panted through clenched teeth.
Sanzo took a deep breath and composed himself. The time for insecurity was over. He pushed further, releasing his breath in time with Hakkai until he could go no deeper and they were joined as closely as possible.
The feeling was exhilarating and Sanzo had to take a moment to let the reality settle in. Hakkai was panting underneath him, looking both blissful and vulnerable. Slowly Sanzo began to move and Hakkai's accompanying moan was the most erotic sound Sanzo had heard in his life. Hakkai's voice was filled with unrestrained yearning, urging Sanzo to go on.
All that power, youkai and human, was squirming underneath him, responding to his every move. Sanzo doubted he could give himself over to another human being the way Hakkai had right now. The feeling was intoxicating, knowing he could bring this out in the otherwise so composed man. Hakkai's legs had wrapped around him, holding him close and guiding him on. Hakkai's moans grew louder, empowering Sanzo with every slow thrust.
Looking at Hakkai and feeling himself slide inside him, it suddenly hit Sanzo that he wanted to know what Hakkai was feeling; he wanted to be where Hakkai was, he wanted to give himself and let Hakkai know what it was like to feel this trust put in you. The realization made his balls clench and Sanzo almost came right then.
Sanzo's hand found Hakkai's neck, pulling him up and kissing him with renewed passion. Hakkai strained in silence, frozen in a moment Sanzo recognized as Hakkai's cock exploded white liquid between them. The impact was too great and the friction too tight; Sanzo didn't last long. He felt himself stiffen inside Hakkai, coming in long drawn-out seconds. He slid out of Hakkai and to the side on the bed, his whole body trembling with strain and emotion. Next to him Hakkai was shivering.
Sanzo couldn't move, not even when Hakkai's hand lazily patted his hair. His head was still reeling from what he had done and what he had felt. Slowly Sanzo let himself be drawn back to earth and the man next to him.
Hakkai looked as worn out as he was.
"Did I hurt you?" Sanzo asked, finding his voice again.
"It hurts a bit." Hakkai had turned on his side, facing Sanzo. His finger traced over Sanzo's face. "I liked you doing it."
Sanzo took Hakkai's hand and kissed every finger slowly and deliberately. "I liked doing it." Sanzo hesitated for a second. "I think I'd like you to do it next time."
Hakkai grinned widely. "I think I would like to try that too."
He yawned. "But now, let's sleep."
They stayed in bed together until it was time for Hakkai to get up and go to Goku's lesson. Sanzo dozed a bit longer, appreciating his new found habit of sleeping-in. In the end, he had to get up to get some work done. He was well behind by now.
Once at his desk, Sanzo looked despondingly at his inbox. He sighed deeply, took his seal and started stamping the more innocent looking requests and proposals. Lost in the repetitive action, Sanzo lost track of time and was caught of guard when the knock on the door came. Sanzo looked quickly at the clock, confirming Goku's lesson had come to an end.
As usual Goku had already come in before Sanzo had a chance to call enter, Hakkai trailing in his wake. Goku shoved another piece of homework under Sanzo's eyes, but the priest was more interested in Hakkai's extra wide grin and gave the piece of paper only a cursorily glace. But his eyes were quickly drawn back as he noticed the piece of paper was in fact a not too bad drawing of himself and Hakkai – holding hands.
Sanzo looked up and met Hakkai's eyes.
I explained, Hakkai mouthed, pointing at Goku.
"You like it?" Goku asked eagerly.
"Stupid Monkey," Sanzo grumbled, then ruffled Goku's hair.
"Lunch?" Hakkai proposed, changing the subject. "My treat."
This got Goku's immediate attention. The youngster was already half way out the door before Sanzo had gotten up from behind his desk. Hakkai rolled his eyes and followed Goku. In the moment of privacy Sanzo quickly took the drawing and slipped it in his desk drawer.
"Sanzo!" Goku called from the hallway.
"Coming," Sanzo shouted back and made his was out of his office. He joined them, taking Hakkai's hand for a moment to squeeze it. Hakkai looked at him and winked.
A/N Ten of Wands - completion, delegation, familiarity