- Author: Gonou's Girl
- Pairing(s): GojyoxHakkai
- Rating: PG-13
- Summary or description: Hakkai may be leaving for good, so it's his last chance to confess to Gojyo. It's now or never
- Disclaimer: All characters owned by the magnificent Minekura-sama *bows down in reverence*
- Email: elphame_lives [at] msn [dot] com
Comments: For those who don't know, the title "Tegami"
is Japanese for letter, and is also the title of a cool HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR
song! Check them out if you feel like it :]
- Setting: It's about two years after Gojyo and Hakkai returned to their old house after completing their journey, which finished maybe one or two years after all the stuff with Hazel. The only real importance of that is that it means they've been together for seven years total (and seven is my favourite number, haha!). Anyways, so they're back at Gojyo's house, living in post-mission success peace. The story unfolds
"I've been offered a job, Gojyo," Hakkai said suddenly. "As a teacher."
They were sat at the kitchen table together; Hakkai square to the table with his hands wrapped around a steaming mug of tea and Gojyo with one foot resting on his other leg and smoking like a chimney. It was a cloudy day outside, slightly muggy as was usual in the summer months. The fridge was fully stocked, dishes washed, clothes drying on the line there was little else to do but while away the hours in each other's company.
"Hn. You'd be good at that," Gojyo responded. Hakkai's gaze was fixed on the table, but knowledge of Gojyo's habits told him that his housemate was probably looking at him out of the corner of his eye.
"Mm," Hakkai murmured noncommittally. Gojyo was right he would be a good teacher. After all, that had been his job before before all of this. And he'd spent many hours teaching Goku after that strange chain of events had brought the four of them together. He had something of a knack for placating troublesome children and for useless trivia. Feeling, however, that 'mm' was not really an adequate reply, he followed it up with a simple, "You're quite right."
Gojyo chuckled a little at that. "Good pay?"
"Oh, very good," Hakkai answered. "I may faint when I receive my first paycheque." He smiled warmly to himself and his tea; how many times had he fainted on their journey? And how many times had Gojyo caught him...?
It was hard to stop that smile from spreading right across his cheeks.
"... Sounds good," Gojyo commented. Hakkai didn't quite know what to say to that. Of course it sounded good a job that suited him, with good pay but it certainly wasn't perfect. In fact, it presented quite a dilemma.
His hands tightened slightly around his cup. If he took this job, it would change everything... "Indeed. The position starts in three weeks. They want my decision by Monday."
"... You don't sound very enthusiastic," noted Gojyo, picking up on Hakkai's lacklustre tone. "Considering it's the chance of a lifetime and all." Hakkai watched his friend's fingers stub a cigarette out in the ashtray beside him. "What's holding you back, anyway? You make it sound like you haven't decided yet."
"I haven't," Hakkai admitted, wanting to take a sip of tea but feeling really rather sick. He wanted to tell Gojyo; he wanted Gojyo to tell him to stay, but he knew Gojyo would never dream of interfering with his business in any way, let alone flat out stopping him.
"Where's the job?" Gojyo asked, oddly quiet.
"At a primary school"
"Hell, I gathered that much," Gojyo interrupted, and Hakkai could hear the grin in his voice. "Where's the school?"
Hakkai hesitated, wondering whether his voice would break if he said it out loud. Wondering whether his heart would break...
"In a town two day's journey away, if I take Jeep. It must be at least a week on foot."
He dragged his eyes up to finally look at Gojyo sexy, gorgeous, beautiful Gojyo his own green eyes heavy with sorrow and the insurmountable weight of dilemma. Gojyo must have raised his head very quickly to look at him because his hair was still swinging slightly. His deep red eyes pierced Hakkai's soul and a flicker of understanding or perhaps misunderstanding passed between them.
Gojyo let out a low admiring whistle and pulled his gaze back to the cigarette in his hand. "Guess that's what you'd call a bombshell, huh?" he murmured, his smirk lopsided on his face. "So if you take the job, you'll have to move?"
Hakkai felt his heart clench on hearing the words aloud. It somehow seemed far more real to hear Gojyo say it, so much more inescapable. He'd already delayed the decision over a week. He didn't want to leave Gojyo's side, but work had been slow of late and as Gojyo said, it was the chance of a lifetime. It was ridiculous to value a non-existent relationship with someone who was blissfully unaware of his feelings over the career opportunity he could never have hoped to get. Perhaps he needed Gojyo's agreement to accept it, though. Maybe he was hoping Gojyo would make the decision for him and tell him to go and take this chance.
Maybe he was hoping Gojyo would make him stay.
It was too painful to confirm out loud that the job would indeed force him to leave, so instead Hakkai asked Gojyo for his much-desired and much-anticipated opinion. "What would you suggest?"
Gojyo looked at him wide-eyed, the cigarette dangling between his lips. "What, you mean whether or not to get the job? You're asking me?"
Unable to suppress a smile at Gojyo's surprise at being taken seriously, Hakkai felt another twinge at his heart. If he left, he wouldn't be able to make those smiles. "Is that so hard to believe?" he teased lightly, smiling warmly at Gojyo.
"Yes," Gojyo answered bluntly, but he was smiling too. "Hell, Hakkai, it's your decision, I can't make it for you..."
"I'm not asking you to," Hakkai answered gently. "I'm only asking for your opinion."
Gojyo lit a new cigarette, took a long, hard drag on it and stared into the middle-distance, his eyes unfocussed. He seemed to be trying to come to some sort of decision, and Hakkai wondered whether this dilemma might not be any easier for Gojyo to deal with. At last Gojyo let out a little snort of breath and whether on purpose or by accident hung his head so that his hair swung across, hiding his face like a crimson veil.
"You should take it."
Hakkai swallowed the lump in his throat that had risen from hearing those words. Gojyo wasn't going to make him stay... he should have known it; close as they were Gojyo would never dream of standing in Hakkai's way. And didn't he want to go and take this job anyway? He'd just wanted Gojyo to say it was okay to leave, and that was what Gojyo was doing... But he couldn't help it. Innocent and unintentional as it was, it hurt that Gojyo wasn't going to even try to persuade him to stay.
"Really?" Hakkai asked, looking once more at his tea. "I'm not so sure I'm convinced."
"What's there to be convinced about?" Gojyo asked, his usual happy-go-lucky smile pasted across his face as he leant across the table and clapped Hakkai warmly on the shoulder. "Hell, it's gotta be better than being stuck here! That grocery store pays you jack shit!"
"Aha ha, well it is still more than you earn from gambling," Hakkai replied, his own smile hiding the pain. He was sure that, even if Gojyo wasn't voicing it, he didn't really want Hakkai to leave either, and that made it even harder. But he couldn't back down now, not now that Gojyo had told him he should take the job. It would just make it too obvious to Gojyo why he was staying, and that wouldn't do at all.
"Ah, can it," Gojyo grinned, taking another drag on his cigarette. The sight of it warmed Hakkai's heart; it was just so beautifully normal. You won't get to see that if you go...
"But are you sure, Gojyo?" Hakkai asked, adopting his face of concern. Maybe if he pretended he wanted to stay for Gojyo's sake... "If I go, then you'll be on your own..."
"Oi, what are you implying?" Gojyo said in his mock-irritated voice before grinning again and getting to his feet, jabbing his thumb in the direction of his chest. "I'm a big boy; I can take care of myself."
"You won't forget garbage day?"
"You know I'll forget garbage day."
Hakkai smiled to himself, a warm yet bitter smile, and listened to Gojyo's footsteps make their way towards the door. He was probably going for a drink. Hakkai stared out the window, where the gathering clouds were darkening the world outside. It looked like rain.
"It's been a good few years, hasn't it?"
Gojyo's footsteps stopped abruptly. "Hn."
Hakkai blinked very hard and very fast, still looking out the window. "I will miss you very much, Gojyo."
He felt Gojyo move to stand behind him, sensing the immense presence. Gojyo put a hand gently on Hakkai's head and mussed his hair. "Me too," he said, one hand still holding that cigarette as though it was a lifeline. "Me too."
Hakkai's eyes widened at the unexpected physical contact from Gojyo. As a rule, even though Gojyo was a very tactile person, he tended to respect Hakkai's personal space. Not that Hakkai was complaining about this contact now; he'd needed it, and Gojyo as usual had seen this need before even Hakkai himself. He felt his face begin to crumble and he squeezed his eyes tight shut, glad that Gojyo, stood behind him, couldn't see his face through his fringe.
Hakkai pushed his head back gently into Gojyo's hand. Gojyo paused for a moment perhaps he had misread the movement as a sign that Hakkai did not want that contact but then Hakkai's head continued until it gently came to rest on the side of Gojyo's hip. Hakkai kept on staring out of the window, hoping he hadn't pushed their intimacy too far, but he didn't have to worry for much longer; Gojyo may have stopped for a moment, but now his fingers gently stroked Hakkai's hair, soothingly, slowly, calmly. Hakkai closed his eyes in bliss. He wished that they could stay like this forever. How could he even think of leaving? His place was here, with that man who smoked like a chimney and forgot garbage day. With the man whose fingers so lovingly caressed his hair. With the man he cared for most in the world...
... But if, as the case surely was, Gojyo did not feel the same he didn't have a place here after all.
Gojyo stroked his thumb against Hakkai's scalp a few more times before patting him lightly on the head and heading at last out of the house. The sound of the door shutting echoed painfully in Hakkai's ears.
It started to rain.
"Hakkai, I'm going out, alright? See you later."
"Ah, Gojyo, wait a minute!"
Hakkai came hurrying out of his room. Gojyo paused with his hand on the door handle and looked at his friend, cigarette hanging from his mouth as usual, blank expression on his face.
"Oh, well, I just thought I should let you know. I'll be gone by the time you get back," Hakkai said quietly, his eyes flickering.
"And also..." Hakkai smiled warmly up at his companion. "I wanted to thank you for letting me stay here all this time. Before and after our, ah, little journey."
"Heheh." Gojyo smiled back, scratching the back of his head as he so often did. "No worries. Was kinda nice having you around, after all."
That brought a broad smile to Hakkai's face. "Is that so?" he responded playfully. You could always trust Gojyo to say something special when it counted. "Well, I'm sure we'll bump into each other sometime," he said, although secretly he rather doubted and part of him rather hoped that they'd ever lay eyes on each other again.
Maybe Gojyo was thinking the same thing at any rate he flinched at the words. "Yeah, sure," he said, attention fixed on his cigarette. His fingers shook as he took it away from his mouth for a moment. "Listen, you take care of yourself, alright?" he said, opening the door and staring out into the street. "I don't want to hear about you taking any shit from those punk kids."
"Of course not," Hakkai smiled. "And I hope you too will look after yourself, Gojyo." He extended a hand to Gojyo. "It's been a pleasure."
Gojyo stared down at Hakkai's hand with wide eyes. He looked distinctly dissatisfied with the idea of a handshake, but he smiled and took the offer anyway, grasping Hakkai's hand warmly but gently. Hakkai felt his insides flare up again why on earth was he leaving? but he restrained himself. Even so, he let his fingers linger a little longer against Gojyo's.
Gojyo smiled, turned and walked out the door, raising his hand above his shoulder in farewell.
"Don't forget it's garbage day tomorrow," Hakkai called out, before he could stop himself.
Gojyo paused and tilted his head as if about to look back at Hakkai. His hair still masked his face so Hakkai couldn't see Gojyo's expression. He nodded curtly in thanks and then simply continued on his way.
Hakkai closed the door gently, imagining that he was watching Gojyo walk away. The way his scarlet hair had shone in the sunlight, drifting slightly on the breeze. The way his shoulders were curled in slightly as he slouched along. The way that tell-tale column of smoke rose up into the air as he walked along. He cherished everything about him.
He put the palms of his hands against the door and pushed them up to head height, leaning his forehead against the wood. His throat felt dry and he could feel tears welling up underneath his eyelids. That was the last time he would ever see Gojyo; the last time he would ever hear that wonderful earthy voice; the last time he would smell that familiar smell of Hi-Lite.
He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and pushed himself away from the door. He had to pull himself together. He wanted to be out of the house before Gojyo got back it was just anti-climactic to say goodbye twice and he had a plan to initiate in the meantime. He set about packing the remainder of his things as though in a daze, entirely focussed on his plan. Hakuryuu sat patiently by his suitcase, seeming to realise that Hakkai didn't want companionship right now. Hakkai paused and patted Hakuryuu on the head to show that he appreciated it. Hakuryuu let out a very sad, "Cheep."
With all his things packed, Hakkai carried his suitcase out to the front of the house, Hakuryuu floating obediently by his shoulder. Once outside, Jeep transformed and Hakkai hoisted his suitcase and a few extra boxes and bags into the back seat, his touch lingering on the back seat, where Gojyo had so often sat. Where Gojyo would never sit again.
"There's just one more thing I have to do, Jeep," he said kindly, patting the bonnet of the car, which let out another, "Cheep."
Hakkai went back inside that little house, taking out a pen and some paper from a drawer in the kitchen. He sat down at the table and stared at the paper, wondering for a moment what to say. Then he slowly lowered the pen to the paper and began to write, his eyelids flickering at first. He was surprised to find that he didn't cry; in fact the more he wrote the better he felt, as all the great weight of his feelings flooded out onto the paper. His eyes filled with a staggering resolve. After all, it was now or never. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Once he had poured his soul into the letter, he folded it up and slipped it inside an envelope, sealing it firmly shut. He scrawled Gojyo's name on it and underlined it with a flourish. He set the letter in the middle of the table, facing the door and hastily returned the pen to its drawer.
On his way out, he paused at the door to Gojyo's room, entertaining the idea of walking in there and lying on Gojyo's bed, the same bed that he'd woken up in to find Gojyo leaning over him. He smiled at the memory; he had expected to wake up in hell, but the reality had been quite the opposite. He took a step into Gojyo's room before stepping back and slamming the door in his own face. If he was to go in there and lie on Gojyo's bed, with Gojyo's scent, he would never be able to leave, and Gojyo would come home and find him lying there, and that would take some explaining. So he wrenched himself away. With his heart on the table, he walked out of their or rather, Gojyo's house.
I know it is cowardly of me to say this in a letter and not face to face, and hope you will forgive me. There is something I feel I must tell you, even though it may be selfish to do so.
You have saved my life in more ways than one and the debt of gratitude I owe you simply cannot be fully expressed in a letter. And yet I suppose my confession is a sentiment that can be expressed in just three simple words. The fact is that I love you, Gojyo. Truly and utterly. I love everything about you, your devil-may-care attitude, the way you catch me when I fall, even the way you use empty cans for your ashtrays. I love the way you never listen when I nag you, and the way you always seemed to materialise by my side whenever I needed you there. Leaving you is the hardest decision I have ever had to make. Even now, I am not sure that I have made the right choice.
I feel truly blessed to have known you and I am proud to be able to call myself your friend. I have been in love with you almost since the very beginning, and I fear I always will be. I realise that this must be quite a shock to you, and of course I am not expecting anything from you, but I hope you will not think any less of me. The reason I have not said anything before now is that it was enough just to be with you and to stay by your side. Now, I suppose, there is nothing to lose, except the memory of the years we have spent together, and I can finally be honest. And it feels wonderful, Gojyo, to be able to write, knowing that you will see it: I love you. I love you so much.
I hope that you can accept my feelings even if you cannot return them. I know that I have almost no chance to hope, and certainly no right to do so, but should you feel the same, I will be waiting at the stile in the cornfield until nightfall.
Thank you for everything you have done for me, Gojyo. You are, and always will remain, my very dear friend.
Gojyo had been reading the letter with wide eyes, his hand over his mouth, an unlit cigarette abandoned on the floor where it had tumbled from his mouth. As he read further and further down the page, he bowed his head, his hair falling over his face and shading his expression. When he eventually finished, he put the letter back on the table with trembling hands and stood up, moving towards the window. He stared out into the sunshine with the back of his fingers pressed firmly against his lips, his scarlet hair and eyes shimmering in the sunlight.
I will be waiting...
Hakkai stood on the grassy verge on the edge of the cornfield, holding his face tilted up to the cloudless blue sky, eyes half-shut against the glare of the sun. It was a beautiful day, summer at its most enjoyable the light from the sun was intense and warm, and a cool, firm breeze was playing at his hair, cooling his neck. All around him the trees and the ears of corn hissed and whispered, swaying back and forth gently like waves of the sea. Every now and then a ripple shook the whole field. It was extremely peaceful and calming; Hakkai thought he would quite enjoy it even if Gojyo never came.
Which was really quite useful, as Hakkai did not think it seemed very likely that Gojyo would return his affections. And if he didn't return his affections, there would be no reason to turn up at all.
And yet, there was that feeling...
Hakkai turned slightly, glancing down the sweeping slope to where the stile was and saw someone there who made his breath catch and his heart pound and his stomach flip over all at once. Even from this distance, that scarlet hair, that faint trace of Hi-Lite in the air...
Gojyo made his way up the slope, looking at the ground just before his feet as he walked. Hakkai stared at him, blinking repeatedly in equal parts disbelief and desire to not cry. Gojyo was here... but there was no way, no way... surely...
When he was just a few metres away, Gojyo stopped and dropped his cigarette, crushing it underfoot. He looked up into Hakkai's face. His eyes were blinking more than normal as well, but Hakkai was far too busy being distracted by the way Gojyo's hair was caught so beautifully by the wind to really notice.
"I didn't think you were ready," he said simply.
"What are you doing here?" Hakkai asked stupidly, without really listening to what Gojyo had said.
"Shit, you invited me, dumbass," Gojyo suddenly grinned. Hakkai felt himself smiling too; it had been one of his more ridiculous questions. "You know, in that pretty little letter you wrote me?"
Hakkai blushed most uncharacteristically and, equally uncharacteristically, failed to find words.
"... Which I really appreciated, by the way," Gojyo continued in a low, quiet voice that earthy voice that Hakkai so dearly loved. "No one's ever said such nice things about me. It it means a lot to me, you know?"
Hakkai felt his heart begin to sink. Had Gojyo only come out here to say 'thanks but no thanks'?
"I'm glad," he smiled. "It's good to know I was able to make you happy in some small way."
"Some small way," echoed Gojyo with a chuckle. "You're such a fucking idiot sometimes." He stared out at the swaying fields for a moment, and then glanced back at Hakkai from the corner of his gorgeous youkai eyes.
"What about Kanan, though?"
Hakkai only just managed to stop himself from blurting out, "Who?" Kanan was so far from his mind right now, and had been for so long that he could not believe that Gojyo thought she was in any way relevant. "Ah, that," he said quietly, adopting a more serious tone. "Well, you see Kanan was Cho Gonou's love. Cho Hakkai has always been in love with Sha Gojyo." He gazed longingly into Gojyo's eyes. "I have always been in love with you."
In three long strides Gojyo closed the gap between them.
"Gimme those lips."
Before Hakkai had time to respond, Gojyo's hands were either side of his face, pulling him towards him. And Gojyo kissed him deeply, his lips gently but firmly pressing against Hakkai's. His thumbs softly stroked Hakkai's cheeks. Hakkai closed his eyes and returned the kiss, his fingers tentatively holding the waist of Gojyo's shirt.
It took him a little while to really realise what was going on. This wasn't just any old kiss. This was Gojyo kissing him. This was the man he loved, who he never seriously thought could feel the same, kissing him. It was a dream come true, and it was as if his brain couldn't handle it, couldn't process it. Not least because this was never how he would have imagined Gojyo might kiss him. This was different to that seductive, sultry kiss he'd seen Gojyo give to innumerable waitresses and barmaids over the years. This kiss was passionate, affectionate, giving this kiss was love...
And suddenly Hakkai's brain managed to come to terms with it. Gojyo was kissing him out of love.
He broke away for a second to look into Gojyo's beautiful scarlet eyes, and then he returned to the kiss with renewed vigour. His stomach flipped as Gojyo met him, their tongues gently slipping into each other's mouths. All the sound seemed to have been silenced, and all he could hear was Gojyo's loving kiss. He wrapped his arms around Gojyo and pulled him closer so that he could feel the heat of Gojyo's body through his shirt, and feel the pounding of his heart alongside his own. His fingers found themselves in Gojyo's hair, twisting in and out of the silky scarlet waterfall. Gojyo himself slipped one of his hands round to the base of Hakkai's neck, pulling him even deeper into the kiss, and his other hand moved ceaselessly around Hakkai's body, stroking up his arms and chest, as though it would be his last chance.
Eventually Gojyo broke away, kissing Hakkai a few brief times on the lips reassuringly. He rested his forehead against Hakkai's, one hand stroking Hakkai's hair as he had done before. "Ah, fuck," he whispered, running his other hand up Hakkai's chest and sending a shiver down Hakkai's spine. "That was worth the wait."