Title: Call My Name, For I Am Sin
Author: caeseria

Email: kappa5335 [at] gmail [.] com
Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Hakkai/Gojyo
Disclaimer: The pretty boys belong to Minekura Kazuya. I borrowed them and have put them back as I found them. Promise.
Summary: How far do you go to get revenge, and how many sins will you commit to be free at last?
Warnings: **NON-CON** Totally, utterly, non-con. Imprisonment, psychological mind-fucking, all of it.
Author's notes:
Written for sharpeslass. When I was in the process of writing The Watcher, this was originally part of that storyline, but ultimately, it became too crowded so this got sidelined. Suddenly, last week, my brain decided it was fed up of carrying this around and it wanted out. Beta-fu by the awesome jedishampoo.


Call My Name, For I Am Sin



A whirlpool of words spun the doll that is me
If I try, how far can I stretch my hand to go through you without breaking you or letting you run?



Gojyo's body feels tight, strung out. Each muscle strains, one against the other, his skin shivering slightly in the chill, damp air. The cellar is cool and it drains him of the will to fight back, makes his reactions slow and his mind fuzzy with fatigue.

Gojyo looks upward to where his wrists are bound, tangled in wire. He shifts his fingers, making sure he still has circulation, just in case… just in case an opportunity presents itself. His wrists are slightly swollen from the chafe of the wire; dried blood decorates his hands and arms, the odd smudge here and there, nothing life-threatening - yet. His keeper wants him whole and mostly unharmed, a situation which Gojyo supposes should be a god-send but instead leaves his insides feeling hollow and uneasy.

The darkness recedes slightly as the door to the cellar is pushed open. Gojyo grits his teeth as he hears the door stutter across the dirt flooring at the top of the stairs. This is a sound he can't get used to; it makes his blood pound through his body as his heart threatens to burst from his chest, it makes the adrenaline skyrocket until he almost feels high, and finally, it's what makes him struggle to free himself, twisting his wrists against the wire in a futile effort to put as much physical distance between him and his jailor as possible.

He knows his jailor. He is as familiar to Gojyo as any person dear to another can be, yet at the same time as alien as the surface of the moon.

Gojyo blinks back hot tears that threaten to spill across his face, making his vision blurry. He's been here for four days and no one has come to check on him or thought to see if he is, in fact, okay. For the first time true despair threatens Gojyo's sanity and he feels the desire to give in and surrender to hopelessness. Doesn't karma owe him one after all they've been through? Didn't he save Hakkai's life as he lay bleeding in the rain, his guts spilled across the sodden dirt? Where the hell is the Merciful Bitch now? he wonders. Where the hell are his friends, the ones who profess to care?

He'd never thought something like this could happen to them. Never.


*********


One Week Ago


"Which fucking idiot said the journey home was gonna be less violent?" Gojyo grumbled. He held up the torn remains of his (last) white shirt and then crumpled the stained fabric in his hands.

"Unfortunately, Gojyo, it was an assumption we all made. With the Minus Wave neutralized, there should have been less resistance, but I suppose old habits die hard. Sometimes even I make errors in judgment." Hakkai raised an eyebrow and Gojyo didn't miss the mischievous look in Hakkai's eyes.

"Well, fuck, Hakkai. The point is, I got no more shirts. They've all been destroyed or covered in gore or shit. I am not returning to Chang'an a shirtless hero."

Hakkai sipped his tea. "That must be a first, Gojyo. You, worried about being half-naked."

Gojyo threw the shirt in the bag by his bed and sat down across from Hakkai. He twirled his thumbs aimlessly for a few seconds and then fixed Hakkai with a curious look. "So… when we get home, what are you gonna do?"

"I hadn't thought that far ahead, to be honest."

"Bullshit, Hakkai." Gojyo grinned. "You've probably got a whole game plan worked out in your head. I can see you teaching, or doing something intelligent."

"Something intelligent?" Hakkai smiled over the top of his tea cup.

"Yeah, I dunno. I can't see you doing labour work."

"Are you saying I'm delicate, Gojyo?"

"What?" Gojyo sat up further in his chair. "No, I just – "

"Can I provide you with a shovel? You might wish to dig yourself a bigger hole."

Gojyo blinked a couple of times and then returned Hakkai's smile. "Ha-fucking-ha, Hakkai. I'm not playing with you anymore. You twist my words and that's cheating."

"I merely bend the rules to work for me, Gojyo, like you do at cards."

Gojyo laughed. "Touché. I guess we're both good at rule-bending. Hey, you got a shirt I can borrow?"

"I should have a spare, although I hope you are not going to be picky about the color?" Hakkai crossed to his bed and pulled out his bag, then carefully removed the top layers of clothing and placed them on the comforter in a neat pile.

"Not orange," Gojyo amended. "I don't do orange."

"I am aware of that, Gojyo." Hakkai glanced over his shoulder. "Do you honestly think I would own an orange shirt?"

Gojyo let out a surprised bark of laughter. "Nah, it's definitely not your color, Hakkai."

Hakkai held out a folded white t-shirt. "Ah, here we go. I'm afraid it's the only clean one I have left. It hasn't been worn for quite a while – shall I iron it for you?"

Gojyo took the shirt and raised an eyebrow. "Iron it? Shit, Hakkai, it's just a t-shirt. It's clean and that's all that matters. Thanks, man." Gojyo shook out the shirt and pulled it over his head, inhaling Hakkai's familiar scent that permeated the cloth. Something clattered on the floor and Gojyo looked down. "Oi, Hakkai? Is this yours?"

"Pardon me?"

Gojyo bent down, picking up the small tile and running his thumb over the warm ivory. "This must've fallen out of your bag. Are we missing a blank mahjong tile from our set?"

Hakkai looked confused. "No, I don't think so, but then I may be mistaken. I'll put it with the others." He caught the tile one-handed as Gojyo flipped it to him.

"Hakkai? What's wrong?" Gojyo watched as Hakkai simply stood there, staring at the tile like he'd been stunned into insensibility. "Hakkai?"

"Sin," Hakkai whispered, his eyes widening almost comically. It would have been funny, Gojyo thought, except for the thrill of fear he felt race down his spine at the words.

Hakkai dropped to his knees like he'd been gunned down. Gojyo didn't think twice: he simply moved, grabbing hold of Hakkai by the elbow, catching his unresisting body as he fell. Dead weight or not, Hakkai hit the ground hard, his eyes rolling up into his head, one hand clutched tightly over his stomach, groaning as if he was in agonizing pain.

"Hakkai?" Gojyo shouted, fear making his voice crack. "Shit." He searched around, trying to think when he'd last seen Sanzo or Goku. What the fuck do I do? He pulled Hakkai into his lap, cradling his head, feeling Hakkai's soft hair catch in his fingers. Hakkai was deathly pale, his skin clammy to the touch.

Gojyo did the only thing he could think of: he started shouting. "SANZO! GOKU! Shit, Hakkai, stay with me, wake up, dammit. Hakkai?" Gojyo knew he was babbling, panic destroying his reason and his ability to think, to react. "SANZO!"


*********


As the door closes, the weak evening light vanishes, plunging the cellar into darkness again. Gojyo stops struggling with the wire around his wrists and listens, his entire body paused as he strains for any sound, any indication of what is to come. It is unnaturally quiet and for a moment he allows himself the fantasy that his jailor has retreated for the evening, choosing not to torment him further.

As the moments tick by, Gojyo can feel the skin around his eyes tighten as his tears dry, his eyes feeling itchy and hot with further unshed tears. He blinks into the thick darkness in relief, letting out a breath he didn't know he was holding, allowing his body to slump back against the thin mattress placed on the floor. As he relaxes, all the aches and pains return to him in full force, reminding him of the last three nights spent shivering in the chill air, waiting for dawn. He lets out a shaky sigh, allowing himself to hope that perhaps tomorrow someone will come looking for him. He's almost eager for the normalcy of Sanzo's derisive comments and Goku's impish joy in life – hell; he'd almost give his last breath to see either of them at the moment.

It takes a minute for Gojyo to realize that his sigh has an echo - that someone is, in fact, still standing at the top of the stairs, their breathing quiet and calm, the silence almost curious. Gojyo feels every one of his muscles tense, the fine hair at the nape of his neck stand upright. Cold, prickly, sweat breaks out between his shoulder blades and a chill trickles down his spine, feeling like someone has poured ice water over his skin.

There is the snicking sound of a lighter being ignited and then a halo of light, which grows steadily as the flame ignites a wick. The lantern glows softly and spreads light across the stairwell, throwing a grotesque shadow down the steps until it almost touches Gojyo's supine body. Fear forces Gojyo to move and he scuttles back across the mattress and away from the lengthening shadow. He attempts to rise, to fight against the wire, but his muscles are tired and shaking and despite his will he has nowhere left to hide, the wall a solid, impersonal, presence against his bare back.

His jailor's steps are light on each stair, yet each one brings him closer to Gojyo. Something tells Gojyo that this time he is in serious trouble; his keeper has not come to exchange pleasantries, to use meaningless words as a weapon, to hide the truth in riddles and half-lies as he has done for the past three nights.

Gojyo has never shrunk from a fight: quite the opposite. Sometimes he will admit that in the past he's almost gotten off on a good brawl, watching his opponents go down after a clean knock-out. On the way west, they'd encountered many battles. Those battles had been fought in the open, with clear intent, with none of this insidious waiting, draining the spirit in an attempt to weaken an enemy with fear and distrust.

His jailor now stands at the bottom of the stairs, lantern held high, throwing the shadows into chaos across the walls and floor and monstrous images across the ceiling. His eyes take in Gojyo slowly, from bruised and bloody wrists, across his sweat-covered bare chest and down to his cold feet sticking out from his jeans. Gojyo wills his toes not to curl, to not react to what feels like an invasion of his soul. He stares into familiar green eyes and cannot help but look away. Those eyes hold too many memories, promises of what should have been and will never be.

"Don't…" Gojyo whispers, letting his broken voice speak for his heart, his soul. "Hakkai, don't…"


*********


Four Days Ago


"It's weird sitting in the front seat of Jeep, Hakkai." Gojyo stretched out his legs, an unfamiliar sensation when he was used to the cramped back seat and fighting for room with the chimp. It was really quite comfortable; no wonder Sanzo was always nodding off during their travels. "I really didn't think we'd make it back in one piece. Hell, I didn't think that we'd all make it back alive, to be honest."

Hakkai looked over at Gojyo, one hand resting loosely on the steering wheel. "We're very hard to kill, Gojyo. Surely you of all people realize that by now."

"Hah, yeah. Still, I kinda feel weird now that we've dropped Sanzo and Goku off at the temple. Like… like part of us is already missing, ya know? It's too quiet."

Hakkai smiled sympathetically at Gojyo and reached out and patted his knee. "I know, Gojyo. However, life goes on, regardless of how things change. Sanzo and Goku will always be there for you."

"And you, you're just as important, Hakkai." Gojyo frowned at Hakkai, who was now staring straight ahead at the road. The poorer suburbs of Chang'an passed them by and the forest surrounded them, the trees almost reaching the roadside. Not far to home now, a few miles at best. Gojyo almost wished a bunch of youkai would jump out and demand the sutra. That, at least, was familiar to Gojyo. Chang'an belonged in the past, a past from three years back, not the present. Gojyo felt strange, like his old life didn't fit any more.

"You okay, Hakkai?" Gojyo could feel unease settle heavily on his shoulders. Perhaps he was just spooked about finally returning home and dealing with the fact that their mission was finally over. It was going to be hard; the mission had taken up more than a couple of years of his life.

"Of course I'm all right, Gojyo. What makes you think differently?"

Gojyo sighed. "I dunno. You've been quiet ever since… ever since you fainted a couple of days back."

"I'm quite well, Gojyo. Perhaps I'm just feeling displaced, like you. Perhaps it's the knowledge that once we reach home, things will be final. I find myself rather unprepared for what is to come."

Gojyo frowned at Hakkai, but Hakkai refused to meet his gaze. "Okay, if you're sure and all. Just checking."

"Please, Gojyo, I can tell you have something on your mind." Now Hakkai was looking over at him and Gojyo felt an odd thrill of fear slide down his spine. It had no context, the feeling belonged to nothing in particular, and yet he couldn't place what it was that felt so wrong.

Gojyo sighed. "Okay, just hear me out. When you fainted the other day, you said one word: 'Sin.' What did you mean?"

Hakkai's eyes snapped back to the road and his jaw tightened slightly. "I'm not sure what you're talking about, Gojyo. I don't remember saying anything of the sort."

"Fine, I guess I must have been mistaken." Gojyo ran his hands through his hair and watched the road. Obviously it was something Hakkai didn't want to talk about, so Gojyo wasn't going to push it – not now – but maybe later, when they'd settled in, when Hakkai didn't seem so…twitchy.

"Here we are." Gojyo's thoughts snapped back to the present at Hakkai's words. He waited until Hakkai had parked Jeep outside of the small house - Gojyo's house. It looked no different than when they'd left, apart from the glaring feeling of loneliness that was present. Gojyo had always thought that houses had personalities; they mirrored their inhabitant's thoughts and feelings. The windows of the house appeared blank, reflecting nothing back. It was creepy.

"Gojyo, are you coming in?" Hakkai had unpacked the bags from the back of Jeep while Gojyo's thoughts had been wandering. He was now standing on the steps, waiting for Gojyo patiently.

Gojyo slipped from the passenger seat and stretched his legs, all the while watching Hakkai. Hakkai's eyes were like the windows of the house just behind him, blank, absent of feelings. A sudden flurry of wings almost made Gojyo's heart leap out of his chest, until he realized that Hakuryuu had changed back into his dragon form. Instead of settling on Hakkai's shoulder like normal, Hakuryuu let out a keening cry and bolted into the air, circling for a moment before flying off, becoming a small black speck against the bright sky.


*********


A warm hand slides across Gojyo's jaw and fingers grip tightly on either side, turning his head. Gojyo has been staring at the ceiling, refusing to acknowledge his keeper, preferring instead to map the pattern of the ceiling while he can, while there is light to see by. Light is a luxury Gojyo doesn't have when Hakkai is not there, and it is a luxury he doesn't want now. He doesn't want to look into Hakkai's eyes and see the eyes of a monster, hidden beneath a veneer of civility and polite interest.

"Gojyo, look at me." Hakkai's voice is firm, brooking no argument. It's a voice Gojyo is used to hearing, to obeying. Before, there was warmth underneath the command; now there is only steel.

"Why, Hakkai? Why now?" Gojyo has to know. If he is going to disappear into this dark night, he needs to understand why.

Hakkai chuckles; it is a deep, dark sound. "Because I can, Gojyo. Because both you, and he, will never be stronger than I am. I will break you and I will use him as my catalyst to do so. And I will listen to him scream, for it is food for my soul." Hakkai tapped the side of his head and smiled, a captivating and charming smile reserved solely for Gojyo, the type of smile that used to grace Hakkai's face when they were alone.

What the fuck is Hakkai babbling about? Who is this 'he' Hakkai keeps mentioning? Gojyo can't quite make his mouth form the words necessary to ask. Hakkai's fingers dig into his jaw until Gojyo can feel the hard burn of his grip through his skull, sending the ache down his neck and into his shoulders. Instead, Gojyo shakes his head to try to loosen Hakkai's hold. Hakkai slides his hand down Gojyo's neck, fingers splayed, his palm warm and smooth down over his Adam's apple, until his hand rests at the base of Gojyo throat. The gesture should be comforting, but as Gojyo swallows, he can feel the weight and the threat behind that hand and his breathing stutters.

Gojyo is tired and hungry, a dull headache burning across his forehead. He hasn't eaten since they arrived back home and the hunger makes him weak, makes him want to curl in on himself, to sink deep down. Maybe it doesn't matter what Hakkai has become or what he might do. Gojyo heard a phrase once and it clatters around in his mind, loud and jarring but strangely soothing at the same time: Death itself does not hurt; the pain is all in the dying. Gojyo wonders if it will hurt, how long Hakkai can make him wait for that final moment, and what the manner of his death might be.

Hakkai leans down until his warm breath ghosts across Gojyo's ear, almost ticklish. "Oh, I'm not going to kill you, Gojyo, as much as you might wish for it in the end. There are many other ways to destroy a person, ones that will give me much more pleasure."

The hand at Gojyo's throat tightens slightly and Gojyo ceases to breathe for a second, panic flooding his system. He needs to move, not wait for something to be done to him. Lying here equals consent, he reminds himself. Consent to participate in your own destruction. Fuck hunger and weakness, it's an excuse. Wasn't Sanzo always going on about inner strength and shit?

Ignoring the pain in his wrists as the wire pulls tighter, Gojyo jerks away from Hakkai, twisting his body. Hakkai reacts quickly, jumping up from his crouch on the floor beside the mattress and grabbing Gojyo's ankle and pulling hard, dragging him back to where he lay before. All Gojyo has earned for his trouble is pain; it radiates hot and dull through his wrists and every pull on the wire cuts deeper into his lacerated skin.

Hakkai straddles Gojyo's hips and leans over him, hands planted either side of Gojyo's shoulders. "Are you happy now, Gojyo?" Hakkai asks, cocking his head to one side. "Did that futile struggle make you feel better or perhaps more justified in your bondage, hmm?"

"Get the fuck off of me," Gojyo bites out, hating the sound of his own voice even as he's speaking. Panic floods his system. Not like yesterday, no, please God, not like yesterday…

Hakkai sits back until he's resting on Gojyo's hips. He reaches up and pulls off his shirt, throwing it to the side. "We're going to play a game now, Gojyo. A game of strategy, like 'go' or 'mahjong.' You know how to play those, don't you?" Hakkai's hand smoothes down Gojyo's chest and stops close to his heart. Hakkai's fingers swirl lazily over the skin, sliding over the scar of the bullet wound, made when Sanzo shot him that time in the forest. Around and around: Hakkai's touch becomes firmer, more irritating with every pass he makes, until Hakkai stops and spreads his hand over Gojyo's heart. Gojyo's skin shivers violently at that warm hand against his chill skin; it feels like hundreds of flies crawling over him.

"Come Gojyo, you have all the pieces of the puzzle, they're there before you. You know this situation is wrong, that something doesn't fit, yet you can't tell me, with your ability to gamble at will and win regardless of the odds, that you haven't figured it out?" Hakkai's hand slides down further, his fingers digging into the button on Gojyo's pants, popping the button open. "I find myself strangely disappointed in you, half-breed."

Gojyo thinks that now Hakkai has totally lost his mind, because his words make less sense than ever. But then again, Hakkai hasn't made sense since they've arrived home. Yet something tickles at the back of Gojyo's memory, it's hard to grasp and Gojyo can almost taste the answer, if he could just…

Gojyo bucks upward at Hakkai's rough and invasive touch. Hakkai is running his hand slowly and almost reverently over the front of Gojyo's jeans, over and over, his fingers squeezing, trying to get a reaction out of Gojyo.

"Fuck, Hakkai! Stop!" Gojyo flinches, hips twisting away in an effort to escape Hakkai's touch.

Hakkai's smiles; it's almost beatific, in fact. The smile just about reaches his eyes before he partly closes them, and the hard edge returns a second later. It's like watching an angel turn into a demon. Gojyo almost thinks that at that moment he would rather face Hakkai's youkai side than deal with this.

Hakkai stops his insidious stroking motions, choosing to fan his hands over Gojyo's hips, digging hard fingers into the fabric of his jeans. He grips the waistband of Gojyo's jeans and yanks violently, grazing the sensitive skin of Gojyo's hips as his jeans are tugged down. At the touch of cool air on his stomach and cock, Gojyo truly starts to panic. "Hakkai, you don't want to – "

"Don't I?" Hakkai leans down, inches away from Gojyo's face, and licks his lips. "Remember yesterday? Our little reward scheme? Consider this the same sort of deal. What was it I said so long ago? Oh, that's right… 'Everything up to this point was simply foreplay.' Now, Gojyo, I want to see your face twisted in pain and fear. Can you do that much for me, or will you disappoint me again?"


*********


Yesterday


Gojyo opened his eyes to find Hakkai standing over him, watching him intently. Gojyo felt like he was being studied, his reactions weighed and noted. Gojyo's muscles tensed up, anyway, and he felt that familiar trickle of anxiety wash through his body.

"Are you hungry, Gojyo, or thirsty?" Hakkai's voice sounded as normal as could be: polite, slightly curious. Gojyo almost wished Hakkai sounded different, so he could disassociate this new Hakkai from the older version, the one he had called friend in the past.

"Both," Gojyo said eventually. Hakkai was fully aware Gojyo hadn't eaten anything since they'd gotten back. Hakkai had changed: he seemed to revel in small cruelties, little gestures of spite designed to sap Gojyo's will and his strength. Gojyo shifted on the thin mattress and his eyes slid to the empty bowl placed on the floor.

"Do you want some water, Gojyo? All you have to do is ask." Hakkai raised an eyebrow as if concerned, but the look in his eyes was hard and unforgiving.

Gojyo could almost taste the water on his tongue and had begun to crave it. Would it be such a hardship to ask, to lay down his pride for this? He closed his eyes briefly, mentally preparing himself for the upcoming indignity. "Can I have some water?"

"Please, Hakkai."

"Can I have some water, please, Hakkai?" Another small blow against his humanity, then. So be it. After all, he only had half his humanity to lose in the first place, what with being a half-breed. Or so the thing that was now Hakkai liked to keep reminding him.

Hakkai laughed. "You'll have to beg much more prettily that that, Gojyo. Unless… unless you play nicely, then I shall reward your good behavior."

Okay, that was a new twist: a reward for good behavior? How the hell could he do anything but act like a fucking saint while he was bound to the cellar wall? Gojyo may have been hungry and thirsty but he found he still had a deep well of resentment to drink from. Unfortunately, metaphorical wells of resentment don't keep you alive.

Gojyo continued to stare at Hakkai, trying to keep the bitterness from showing on his face. He wasn't exactly sure how this new Hakkai would respond to such a thing: better to just lie quietly and wait him out. See what he really wanted from Gojyo.

He waited for a few moments, the unnatural quiet in the cellar breaking only when Hakkai knelt down next to him. That was the first time Hakkai had come that close – Gojyo had been unconscious when he had been brought down here – and since then, Hakkai had kept his distance, only coming near enough to fill his water bowl, like he was a dog, or a pet. All I need is a collar, Gojyo thought.

It seemed to Gojyo as if Hakkai was testing himself, flirting with his own reactions. Kind of like bullies did, poking at their victim to test a response and then using that information against their prey. Hakkai was gauging Gojyo's reaction to his nearness, poised as if expecting Gojyo to lash out. Maybe, Gojyo decided, he'd made an error in judgment. If he'd reacted more aggressively to Hakkai's proximity, would Hakkai have been wearing that sly look as he slid closer to him? Gojyo's internal warning bells rang loudly and he found his breath suddenly coming hard, his throat closing.

"Hakkai…" he warned.

"Yes, Gojyo?" Hakkai paused again, both hands on the mattress, only inches away.

Hakkai looked disheveled. Gojyo's brain began to sidestep the issue glaring him in the face by taking note of inconsequential things: the fact that Hakkai was not wearing glasses or his monocle, the way his plain white shirt slipped over one shoulder like it was too big for him, the way Hakkai tensed just before he moved.

Gojyo did bolt then, as far as his bruised shoulders and bound hands would let him. He shoved both feet into the mattress and pushed, levering himself upward, panic giving him strength and energy.

The jerk on his wrists was excruciating as Hakkai's fingers dug into his shoulders and pulled him sharply back down. Gojyo grunted with the pain and tried to twist away, feeling Hakkai's hands on his bare skin, around his waist, dragging him backward. Hakkai got a grip around his neck and pushed up on his jaw until Gojyo's throat was exposed, his head thrown back and pressed into the mattress. It was one hell of an effective move, Gojyo thought. He really shouldn't have taught Hakkai to fight dirty on the way west.

Gojyo attempted to swallow, the pressure on his throat making his brain go wooly with lack of oxygen. Hakkai took the opportunity to straddle Gojyo's chest, pinning him down with his body weight. Gojyo had to crane his neck, with pressure pushing against his windpipe, just to get a glance at Hakkai's face. Unfortunately, that told him all he needed to know.

"Are you done, Gojyo?" Hakkai released his grip on Gojyo's throat, watching disinterestedly as Gojyo began to cough harshly. He waited until Gojyo had his breath back and began stroking his fingers through Gojyo's tangled hair, smoothing out the snarls. It would almost have been relaxing but for the fact Hakkai was perched like a death crow above Gojyo and looked just as menacing.

"Good," Hakkai continued as if Gojyo had actually spoken. "About that reward – you do something for me and I'll fill your bowl with water. Don't you think that's a fair trade?"

Oh, hell no. That almost sounded like Hakkai was asking for permission to do something, like he was trying to gain Gojyo's consent in a roundabout fashion. Gojyo risked a look downward. Not only could he smell Hakkai's arousal, but he could quite clearly see the evidence. His eyes snapped back up, trying to get a read on Hakkai's face again. That dull, shuttered look was back in Hakkai's eyes, only now there was a flash of excitement there too, if he knew where to look.

Gojyo curled his hands, his palms suddenly sweaty. All he had to do was say no, to make sure Hakkai was aware that this was not his choice. Somehow he didn't think that would turn Hakkai from the path he had chosen, but Gojyo's silence made it quite clear he was not a willing participant.

Hakkai's hand tightened in his hair, the soothing stroking motion changing until Hakkai was fisting the strands tightly. Gojyo winced and turned his head, trying to evade the grip. Hakkai's other hand was at his own belt; Gojyo could hear the jingle of the buckle as it loosened, the sound of Hakkai's zipper parting.

"Hakkai, no," Gojyo managed to say, trying not to let the panic show in his voice. He pulled on his wrists, feeling the bite of the wire against his bruised skin.

"Too late, Gojyo," Hakkai replied, shifting forward until he was almost level with Gojyo's shoulders. "You had your chance to cooperate."

Gojyo's head was jerked back roughly and he could feel a couple of strands of hair parting from his scalp, making him grimace in pain.

"Be a good boy, Gojyo and open your mouth. I'll give you something to put in it."


*********

 

Gojyo lets the thought flit through his head that this time, Hakkai is truly mad, perhaps beyond redemption. So far his brain has skirted the issue; he has found a hundred excuses for Hakkai's behavior, has believed up to this point that eventually Hakkai is going to sit back and laugh, tell Gojyo it's all a joke or a silly misunderstanding. But then various people have told Gojyo over the years that he has an amazing ability to trust, to believe good of everyone – pathetic, really, considering some of the situations he's found himself in.

Yet every time that trust and belief in his friends has always come through, so Gojyo knows he's always been justified in that belief – until now. This time he is wrong; he can feel it deep in his bones, his soul. This is not his Hakkai. His Hakkai would not be stripping him of his jeans, sliding between his thighs, enjoying the look of apprehension that no doubt clouds his face. This is not physical pain, oh no, this is something more soul-destroying, the pain of knowing he was mistaken and that his trust has finally been broken.

Hakkai slides his hands up Gojyo's thighs, meeting no resistance; Gojyo does not even flinch, not until Hakkai pinches the sensitive skin near the join of his leg and groin, enough to instantly bruise. Gojyo hisses, his brain returning to the present, rudely interrupting his pointless internal meandering.

"Stay with me, Gojyo," Hakkai says softly, a hint of command underlying the request. "I want you here with me, present for the next little while. Is that so difficult?"

Gojyo is about to throw an insult back into Hakkai's face, to say something inane – anything to break the tension he can feel curling in the air, making his skin tight and sweaty.

Hakkai's hand on his thigh is enough to spook Gojyo, to throw his body into action. Fuck the pain in his wrists and the blood he knows is flowing now with every bite of the twisted wire: he wants out. Gojyo lashes out with his foot, at the same time turning his body, trying to use his bound hands to pull his body up and away, to close his legs. Hakkai laughs, making little chills of dread skitter down Gojyo's spine, spreading hot, unwelcome, panicky heat through Gojyo's muscles, the adrenaline lending him a strength his starving body can ill afford.

He's gonna do it, Gojyo thinks. Another part of his brain tells him that after yesterday, yes, of course Hakkai is going to do it. What did you think, that it was all a joke?

Rough, strong hands encircle Gojyo around his waist and pull him violently toward Hakkai. One simple movement and Gojyo's leverage is suddenly gone. Sharp, hot pain jabs through Gojyo's wrists and he grunts in pain, the noise escaping his throat by accident. Hakkai looks triumphant, as if that sound is what he was waiting for, an acknowledgment of what he is doing. Before Gojyo can even think about regrouping, Hakkai spits into his hand, a vulgar gesture quite unlike anything Gojyo has ever seen Hakkai do. Hakkai's other hand pushes Gojyo's thigh back and up, exposing him fully. Gojyo closes his eyes and takes a shuddery breath, not wanting to see the expression on Hakkai's face. Without sight, every movement Hakkai makes is amplified, as if Gojyo's body has become hyper-aware of his own violation.

At the first press of blunt, hot flesh invading his body, Gojyo arches his back, his body instinctively still trying to escape the touch, even if his brain knows he has nowhere left to go. With a grunt, Hakkai pushes forward once more. This time Gojyo does cry out, feeling a renewal of hot tears at the corners of his eyes. He blinks to try to clear his eyes but all he succeeds in doing is spreading those tears, inviting more to well to the surface. He feels Hakkai shift position, to lean forward, then a hot tongue swipes through the moisture on his face. "Blood and tears, Gojyo, that's what I want," Hakkai whispers, before he angles his hips and presses forward again.

Hakkai's invasion of Gojyo's body is relentless and unforgiving, giving Gojyo no pause to adjust, but then Gojyo did not expect such leniency, anyway. This is not his Hakkai, the healer, his friend. This is something else in his place, something that feeds off despair and pain. Gojyo arches again as he feels Hakkai's hips meet his ass and now he can hear panting breath, echoing around the cellar. When Gojyo realizes it is his voice making that ragged noise he bites his lip, tries to prevent the sounds from escaping. In response, Hakkai pulls back and shoves forward again, then harder a second time when he gets no verbal response.

Gojyo flinches when he feels Hakkai's fingers against his wrists, smoothing down his arms, sliding in wetness, in his blood. "Open your eyes, Gojyo," Hakkai commands, following up with a bruising snap of his hips.

Despite his intentions, Gojyo's eyes flutter open and he can see Hakkai's fingers, covered with the blood from his wrists. He watches in disgust and horror as Hakkai reaches down and coats his own dick with Gojyo's blood, and then grabs Gojyo's hip. This time the invasive slide into Gojyo's body is easier, the way made slicker by his own blood. "Don't close your eyes, Gojyo," Hakkai warns. "You will watch me. I can make this hurt so much more if I choose to."

Hakkai's hand slides on Gojyo's hip, the blood making Gojyo's skin sticky. Then that hand, those fingers, touch his cock, and Gojyo recoils as if his brain has decided that is the worst of all sins – the invasion of his body doesn't count, but allowing this monster to make him feel pleasure would be the final straw. Hakkai has stopped moving, his hard cock in Gojyo's body just a solid reminder of what is inevitably to come. Instead Hakkai concentrates on getting Gojyo hard, making his body respond. Guilt crashes through Gojyo as he feels the first sinuous tendrils of desire curl through his stomach. He can feel his traitorous dick harden, lengthen in those elegant fingers as they squeeze and cajole, persuade his body to react.

"Don't, Hakkai, please." Gojyo's throat is dry and the words are hard to reach for. If begging will make him stop, Gojyo knows that at this point he will gladly do all the begging Hakkai requires of him.

Apparently satisfied, Hakkai begins to move again, hard, deep strokes into Gojyo's body. Gojyo can hear Hakkai's panting breaths, see the way he licks his lips, how his eyes glaze over, half-lidded with pleasure. Once, Gojyo would have liked to see Hakkai like this, had even at one point contemplated pursuing his friend in just such a way. Dull pain begins to radiate outward with every stroke now as Hakkai bottoms out, his balls hitting Gojyo's ass with a slick slapping noise. Hakkai leans back on his knees, changing the angle, rolling his hips. Gojyo bites his lip in earnest, determined not to make a sound, to endure this. Then Hakkai wraps his hand around Gojyo's cock once more and begins to jerk him off with rough strokes.

It's as if Hakkai knows this is the one thing that will make Gojyo panic: he knows that Gojyo is, above all other things, a hedonistic bastard. By forcing Gojyo's body to react, Hakkai is well aware he is taking away the one thing Gojyo has left: pleasure, enjoyment in himself and his body, the joy in bringing another person ecstasy. Destroying the one thing Gojyo feels is his alone to give to another person.

Gojyo can hear the constant stream of begging escaping from between his lips. He's not pleading for the pain to end – Gojyo knows that will stop when Hakkai deems the time is right. Instead, he's begging for Hakkai to stop the pleasure he can feel building. Hakkai's other hand steadies himself with a hard grip on Gojyo's waist and he angles his thrusts just once, hitting that spot inside Gojyo. Gojyo comes hard with a strangled cry of denial, semen splashing across his chest and then his stomach as Hakkai continues to jerk him off, pulling him through his orgasm.

Gojyo shuts down at that point and Hakkai doesn't try to keep him in the present, allows him perhaps the small mercy of letting his mind wander. Perhaps it's not a mercy after all, because it allows Gojyo to feel the full force of the guilt he now carries. Vaguely he can hear Hakkai's breath change, feel his hips stutter before Hakkai pulls out suddenly. The pain of that brings Gojyo slamming back to full consciousness, just in time to witness Hakkai leaning over him, fisting his erection.

It's almost beautiful, Gojyo's brain thinks, watching Hakkai's slender and lean body arch as his orgasm races through him. Gojyo watches as Hakkai's body shudders, his hand clenches around his cock, and then Hakkai's come splatters onto Gojyo's stomach, mixing with his own. Hakkai seems to fold into himself, panting harshly as his hand clenches on Gojyo's hip. Then Gojyo feels something else, something hot on his stomach, and he realizes it is Hakkai's tears.

In one unguarded moment, Hakkai meets Gojyo's eyes and he can see Hakkai for the first time in the last four days – the real Hakkai. Like a shutter coming down, Hakkai slams the guards back into place and he is like a living statue, a reproduction of the real person.

A shikigami encased within a human body.

Like an epiphany, it hits Gojyo. It knocks the pain and aches in his body away, they become secondary to the sudden flash of insight that is screaming through Gojyo's head. A flood of hope rushes through Gojyo at the thought that this may not, after all, be his Hakkai but someone else, someone he had hoped to never have to encounter again; someone who is supposed to be dead by Hakkai's hand – not once, but twice.

The son of a dead centipede youkai, known as rapist, murderer.

The bubble of hope stays with Gojyo right up until the moment Hakkai reaches into his discarded clothing and pulls out a knife, slashing at his own stomach.





Gojyo doesn't have time to think clearly about who exactly it is he's trying to protect – he simply kicks out with one leg, catching Hakkai around the head on his blind side, sending him and the knife flying. He hears the knife skitter across the floor, the metallic jingle as it comes to rest against something on the floor. Of course now he's fucked, Gojyo thinks. He's still bound by the wire to the wall, unable to move and Hakkai is only slightly out of it, trying to sit up and shaking his head to clear it. Hakkai's blood seeps in a thin line across the scar on his stomach, starting to spill over slowly, to lazily trace patterns across his belly and dip below the waistband of his pants.

Panting, Gojyo lets his head flop down onto the mattress, glad to notice he's deflected Hakkai's hand enough that the cut is not too deep, not deep enough to… disembowel.

Hakkai groans softly and reaches out to touch the wound, his hand coming away covered in blood. "You should have let me finish it," he begins, staring wide-eyed at Gojyo. "It was the only way to… to distract him."

Gojyo watches Hakkai summon a ball of chi energy in his bloody hand and press it to his stomach. He is expecting the wound to heal, to watch it knit together, leaving Hakkai whole again. Instead, Hakkai presses the chi ball through the wound, gasping as he does so, pain etched across his features.

"Hakkai?" Now Gojyo is truly panicking, and not only that, he is in pain and not thinking clearly, and although Hakkai seems a little more normal than he did before, something is still very fucking wrong about the whole situation. Gojyo shifts, trying to ignore the myriad small wounds across and inside his body, trying to remain aware and on his guard.

With a final cry, Hakkai pulls his hand away from his body, holds his shaking palm upward as if to show something to Gojyo. Gojyo, however, is more concerned with the free-flowing blood from Hakkai's wound and it takes him a moment to shift his vision from that to what is in Hakkai's hand.

On it rests the blank mahjong tile.

Hakkai starts to laugh, a maniacal, scary-as-fucking-hell laugh. Gojyo drags himself upright, twisting his hands until they are alongside his body, and he shifts until his back is in the corner, up against the wall. His body is shaking, skin shivering. He is bloody and bruised, and he has never been so fucking terrified in his entire life. Gojyo knows what that tile represents; after all, he's seen one before, one just like it. Except last time, so Hakkai has told him, it was carved with the word Sinner.

Hakkai lets the tile fall to the floor and backs up across the floor, slowly. His laughter has subsided until he is hiccupping, the odd insane giggle escaping from his lips. He is shaking as much as Gojyo is. "I'm so sorry, Gojyo. Doing this to you was the only way… " he is babbling over and over, repeating it until Gojyo thinks he is going to finally snap, to go mad if he hears it one more time. "…only way to distract him… so sorry, forgive me. Please Gojyo, forgive me … "

The words rather than the cadence start to seep into Gojyo's mind, to form thoughts, to break through Gojyo's carefully constructed fantasy. Gojyo has wanted to believe that this was not Hakkai who had taken his will away and used his body as he chose. Hakkai's babbling confession tells a different story: that he let it happen, was willing to do this to cause a distraction to achieve his goals. That Hakkai had weighed his options and decided that Gojyo's health and well-being was less important to him than flushing out the enemy in these final moments.

Gojyo allows a mocking laugh to finally escape. He leans his head back against the wall and allows his tears to fall unimpeded; pride does not matter since he has nothing left. "Congratulations, Hakkai. He wanted tears and blood, he got it. You got it."

The mahjong tile begins to glow, blue light racing across its surface, creating tiny cracks in the ivory. The light starts to grow, to swirl and to coalesce, forming into the shape of a man – a very familiar one, at that. If Chin Yisou is expecting a welcome full of fury and shock, of denial, he's going to be sadly disappointed, Gojyo thinks.

Yisou surveys the carnage he has wrought and simply smiles at Gojyo like he's a side-effect not worth bothering about, a means to an end. Which ultimately he is, Gojyo knows that now. Yisou spins around and drops down beside Hakkai, and then pats him gently on the face. "What was it Sanzo said before, Cho Hakkai? 'I know you won't betray me,' that was it. It seems like you kept your promise to Sanzo, but not to your other friend, hmm?"

Yisou looks back toward Gojyo and Gojyo has never felt the desire to kill someone as badly enough as he does now. He can almost taste it on his tongue, sweeter than water, more important than life itself. Like a chained animal, he doesn't want to fight the urge to rip his wrists to shreds if it means he will ultimately get the opportunity to tear this bastard into pieces.

"Always have a backup plan, Cho Hakkai," Chin Yisou says smugly, staring down at Hakkai. "Even if there's the possibility it may take years to come to fruition, the end is still worth the means. I could not destroy Cho Gonou, but destroying Cho Hakkai was more than worth the wait. Turning you into a shadow of yourself, a shikigami intent on my bidding. Who knew it would play out so perfectly, that I could push you far enough to violate your own moral code, to willingly destroy your friend?"

"Enough. How many fucking times do we need to kill you?"

Gojyo looks up, searching for the sound of the familiar voice, not believing that only now, after four days, has Sanzo bothered to stop by.

"I told ya Hakkai smelled wrong, Sanzo. I told ya and ya didn't believe me!"

There is a blur of orange as Goku bounds down the steps, almost too fast to see, nyoi-boi raised over his shoulder, perhaps intending to strike at Yisou. It's hard to strike at a phantom, something conjured, even if that spirit is the conjurer himself, a ghost of a ghost. It's like trying to strike down smoke: it only regroups somewhere else. Gojyo can hear Sanzo's soft chanting from the stairwell and he closes his eyes, allows his body to relax a fraction, to let back in the aches and pains, to acknowledge the fact his heart still beats within his chest. Gojyo sees the holy light burn across the insides of his eyelids as Sanzo releases the Makai Tenjou; he hears a final shout of denial from Chin Yisou and waits until the darkness is all-encompassing.

Darkness is safe, he thinks; it brings an end to the hurt and pain and the worry. He can let go now and fade away.


*********


"What the fuck do you mean he's dead, you shitty excuse for a priest?" Gojyo stares angrily down at Sanzo, who's landed on his holy ass next to his desk. The bastard is glaring back up at Gojyo, the bruise from Gojyo's right hook already starting to bloom on his jaw.

"You heard me," Sanzo growls.

Gojyo laughs but it is totally devoid of humor. "Buddhist law states you cannot kill, so where the fuck is Hakkai?"

Sanzo stands back up and pulls his Malboros toward him. He watches Gojyo as he lights a cigarette, perhaps trying to decide how much Gojyo needs to know. "I had no choice, Gojyo. The minute I stepped into that cellar I was involved. He was my responsibility; the Sanbutsushin gave me dominion over his well-being."

"But they didn't give you the right to be his jailor!" The irony of that strikes Gojyo hard like a blow to the stomach and he tries to fight down the bile threatening to make him sick.

"Oh yes, Gojyo, that and more." Sanzo takes a step toward Gojyo, obviously not intimidated by Gojyo's earlier punch. "Why do you care so much after what he did to you? You were half-dead, Gojyo. That was all his doing, Chin Yisou was only partly responsible; Hakkai raped you. Or have you decided to put all that in the past?" Sanzo sneers, his eyes narrowing.

"Fuck you, Sanzo."

"I told you, Cho Hakkai is dead." Sanzo stares at Gojyo again, slowly expelling a stream of smoke while he waits.

Gojyo has not come this far to give up. He has weighed what happened two weeks ago while he watched the bruises fade from his skin, while the cuts closed on his wrists and scabbed over. Gojyo has come to an inescapable conclusion: that no matter what Hakkai has done, it was done for a reason. Maybe he is deluded, but Gojyo has always stood by his friends, especially his best friend. He cannot abandon Hakkai now, no matter what has come between them.

Sanzo may be an asshole, but he is an asshole who is trying to get a message through Gojyo's thick skull. Gojyo realizes he needs to release his anger because the only person with a clue to Hakkai's whereabouts is the one person he's currently pissing off.

Gojyo takes a deep breath and gambles; after all, he's good at gambling, isn't he? "Then where is the person that was Cho Hakkai, Sanzo-sama?"

Sanzo turns around to face the window, but not before Gojyo catches the ghost of a smile on his face. It's not a humorous smile by any means, but it tells Gojyo he is on the right track. "That person has been banished. As you say, Buddhist law forbids killing."

"And if I was looking for that person?" Gojyo presses, sensing victory.

"You are better off leaving things as they are, Gojyo. That person wishes to die. That person might well hold you responsible for not allowing him to kill himself honorably."

Gojyo can still see that flash of the knife, the way Hakkai held it in his hand, the tears on his face. "It's worth a try," Gojyo says. "He is my friend, Sanzo."

"Then you are an idiot." Sanzo stubs out his cigarette in the ashtray, his back still to Gojyo. "I gave that person his name and I took it away. He is nothing, can never be anything but what he is now. If you go to him, you will be shunned as well, not welcome in Chang'an. Is that what you want?"

"It's not what I want, Sanzo, you fuck." Gojyo can feel his blunt nails digging into the palms of his hands, making his healing wrists ache. "But he is what I need." Gojyo's admission is barely heard in the room, the ceiling fan all but drowning out his words.

Sanzo seems to weigh Gojyo's words, which is an altogether new experience for Gojyo. "That person left two days ago. If he is not already dead, you may still catch up to him on the
North Road."

Gojyo nods, knowing that Sanzo doesn't want and won't accept his thanks. He turns to go, but Sanzo's words stop him. "Tell – tell that person that his friends wish him well, despite what happened."

Sanzo has not moved, is still staring out the window. One hand rests loosely against the desktop and Gojyo watches Sanzo's hand curl into a fist. "Tell that person that he is not forgotten."

"I will." Gojyo's voice sounds rough to his own ears. He knows that even if he wished to say more, he physically cannot speak. His throat has almost completely closed; his tongue aches and his eyes itch with unshed tears. He retraces his steps across Sanzo's office, and has one hand on the door before Sanzo speaks again.

"Gojyo?"

When Gojyo turns, Sanzo is watching him, his robes limned with light from the window beyond. "Yeah?" Gojyo manages finally.

"Laws are laws, Gojyo. But you might be welcome here and have a place to return to should you need it."

Gojyo nods and opens the door. As it closes behind him, he now has hope that one day this door will open for him again. And perhaps he's deluded, but maybe one day that person will be standing at his side when it does.

*********

 

It is my desire that I may hear Thy sweet voice, even on the north wind,
that my limbs may be rejuvenated with life through love of Thee.
Give me Thy hands, holding Thy spirit,
that I may receive it and may live by it.
Call Thou upon my name unto eternity, and it shall never fail.





The end.

_____________
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