Title: Another starless night
Rating: PG (kissing)
Summary: (Post Journey) "What do you want? When we get back home, I mean."
We touched more, on the way back. I always liked to touch him, of course. But on the way home, he touched me back.
At first, it was just to make sure he was still there. I think the four of us each had to do something, to try and convince ourselves that we were all still around. I draped my arm across his shoulders as we walked. From the Jeep to the Inn. From the Inn to the store for supplies. He gently set my arm aside only when he needed to reach up for a box of powdered laundry soap. He met my eyes and smiled a tiny smile that was just for me as his fingers brushed my elbow. I'm still here. I gave him a wink and sidled closer, rubbing our shoulders together as we walked down the aisle. He didn't move away.
Eventually, we all got used to the idea that we were still alive. Goku's worried glances in Sanzo's direction became less frequent as we drove further and further away from the numbing void that had been Ukoku Sanzo's power. The lost, wild look in Hakkai's eyes lessened as he realized that he had been dragged, kicking and screaming, back from the brink of youkai madness.
I found him on the porch outside the tiny cabin we should be sharing for the night. He was sprawled on the wooden deck, his head thrown back, his eyes gazing toward the starless sky. I sat down next to him, the weathered planks groaning with the added weight. My shoulder was flush with his, our arms stretched out behind us. Crossing my ankles in front of me leisurely, I exhaled.
"Not much of a view."
"Mmm, actually I think it's quite nice."
I turned to look at him and found a small smile lighting up his face. His glasses were sitting on the railing above us, threatening to fall off of their perch on the cracked and peeling paint of the deck. He looked younger than I had ever seen him. His twinkling eyes held far more light than the doomed smile Cho Gonou's had worn so many years ago.
"You look happy."
"Mmm, do I?" When he turned to look at me, I found the tiny upturn of his cheeks had turned mischievous. I raised an eyebrow at him, but stayed silent. "Say, Gojyo?"
"What do you want? When we get back home, I mean." He scrutinized me as I thought about my answer, and I focused all my attention toward keeping the cheerful slant in those beautiful green eyes.
I plastered a thoughtful look on my face and puckered my lips. "Well, there was that ramen stand that I really liked – I wouldn't mind some of that. Let's see...and that guy Yin who works at the hardware shop still owes me some money. And I think I've still got a few phone numbers stashed away somewhere, I wouldn't mind calling some of the girls..."
"Gojyo." He still smiled, the indulgent smile I saw so often. I leaned in a little closer, bringing our faces and eyes together.
"Yeah?" My puff of breath moved a strand of hair in his face, and I reached out to move it aside.
"What do you want, when we get back home?" He looked at me, with those smiling, laughing eyes. The eyes that made me pick up a dying man for no good reason. Those eyes, that still laughed at me to this day. Those eyes, still here.
"I don't know," I said softly.
"Me neither," he whispered.
I kissed him. It was only a fraction of a movement, to bring us together. Our lips held each other gently, not moving, just feeling. I felt his eyelids flutter against my face as he closed his eyes.
As we drew apart, he held my gaze. I moved my hand to cover his, still palm-down on the worn wood underneath us.