The Third Time


Author: lillypuff 


Characters From: Saiyuki

Pairing(s): Gojyo/Goku, Gojyo/Hakkai, and a tiny bit of Sanzo/Goku
Rating: R

Written For: springkink

Prompt: Gojyo/Goku: hurt/comfort - "monkey fixes the wounds"

Word Count: 3,379

Warnings: angst (this is not a happy fic), implied alcohol abuse, language, m/m err…comfort? (not sexuality), Gojyo actually using an ashtray.

Summary: It had only been a week and a half since Hakkai had shown up at the temple, suitcase in hand…
Sadly, Saiyuki does not belong to me.
A/N: My thanks to smillaraaq for the fantastic beta job!  BTW, she recommends you have tissues at the ready.  I touched this last so any remaining mistakes are my own.




Goku stood stock still at the threshold of Gojyo and Hakkai's house wondering if he should just call it Gojyo's house now, or Hakkai's ex-house.  Truthfully he didn't like the way either sounded.  It just didn't seem right if it wasn't Gojyo and Hakkai.  They'd picked it out together after returning from India and finding Gojyo's old house in a sorry state of disrepair.  It was their house, and yet only one of them currently occupied it.  And even that was up for debate.


Goku let his eyes roam over the disheveled front room.  Kitchen chairs lay on their sides; beer cans littered the table, counters and floors.  A couple of ashtrays sat on end tables, overflowing with more butts then Goku could ever recall seeing in once place.  He wasn't sure if it seemed odd because Hakkai hadn't been around to empty them, or because Gojyo was actually using them.  Either way, it wasn't right.


Goku took a few steps further into the house, looking around for signs that Gojyo was somewhere in the mess.  It had only been a week and a half since Hakkai had shown up at the temple, suitcase in hand; but by the looks of the house, Goku would have guessed he'd been gone longer. 


Goku suddenly felt bad.  If he'd shown up sooner, perhaps some of this could have been avoided, but he'd thought Hakkai was just visiting as he sometimes did.  It wasn't until a few days had passed and Gojyo hadn't shown up to hang out and spend time with Hakkai that Goku realized something was amiss.


"Gojyo?" Goku called into the house, not really expecting an answer.  When he got one, he was slightly surprised.


"Go'way monkey," Gojyo half yelled, half slurred.


Goku walked forward again, this time making a path through the cluttered living room to the door of the master bedroom.  Tentatively, Goku reached for the doorknob and turned it.


"Said go'way," Gojyo repeated, but Goku didn't listen.  He rarely did when Gojyo was involved, more out of playful spite then anything else; and if he ended up regretting it later then so be it.


Goku's eyes widening at the sight of Gojyo sitting cross-legged on the large bed, his clothes wrinkled, his boots partly untied but still on.  A cigarette dangled from his cracked lips and Gojyo's five o'clock shadow looked like it had started coming in days ago.  The room offered up a mixture of scents -- tobacco, beer, body odor -- and Goku tried his best to ignore them.  All the while, Gojyo simply stared back at him like a rag doll, his red eyes dull and blank. 


Gojyo tilted his head slightly and a sad smile played across his face, "He left."


Goku knew this, of course, but he hadn't been sure how else to start. His eyes never left Gojyo as he stepped across the threshold.  He didn't look like he was in any condition to make sudden movements, but over the past few years Goku had learned not to underestimate a wounded animal.  He didn't think he was in any real danger -- Gojyo was drunk, not berserk -- but as Hakkai might say: best to err on the side of caution.


"Hope he's alright," Gojyo slurred as Goku took slow, steady steps forward.


"He's at the temple," Goku replied, unsure if it was the wisest thing to say; but he thought Gojyo deserved at least the knowledge that Hakkai was safe.  Whether the healer was alright was still up for debate.


"Oh," Gojyo replied, as if the thought hadn't occurred to him that Hakkai would go to the place where the rest of his friends were, "'at's pro'ly for the best.  He can 'ave a better life there.  N'ver should'a left in the firs' place."


Goku cringed at what the words implied and hoped it was just the beer talking.


"Why did Hakkai leave?" Goku asked quietly as he took the last few steps necessary to bring him alongside the bed, Gojyo's head turning slowly to follow him with listless eyes.


"Said 'at he'd hoped we'd have 'settled down' by now," Gojyo replied softly.  "Told him I didn't know what its like to settle down.  Been wandering too long.  First as a kid, then the stupid journey.  It's not in my nature."


Goku frowned, "And that's why he left?" he asked as he sat down gently on the edge of the bed, careful not to knock over the nearly full ashtray that sat between them.


"Yes.  No.  I dunno." Gojyo replied, looking confused.  "I'd just come back from playin' poker, so I was a 'lil tipsy…" by now Goku knew enough 'Gojyo Speak' to know that 'a 'lil tipsy' meant drunk. "He has bad timing, always wants ta talk when I've been drinkin'."


"And from the looks of it you haven't let up since then…"


"Shut it, monkey," Gojyo barked, "M'not a fuckin' lush.  I only started drinkin' when I realized he wasn't comin' back."


"And this is the kind of mess you want him to come back to?" Goku asked with a shake of his head, "What would he say?"


"Pro'ly 'good riddance to bad rubbish' or somethin' else equally prissy," Gojyo replied with a drunken flick of the wrist.  A moment of silence passed before he spoke again. "You think he'll come back?"


"I don't know. Do you want him to?"


To that, Gojyo didn't reply but instead nodded his head vigorously before slumping over and resting his head on Goku's shoulder.  Goku began to contemplate whether or not he could talk Hakkai into coming back to at least talk to Gojyo when he was assaulted with a rather pungent aroma.  Goku twitched and nearly knocked over the ashtray.  With Gojyo so close, it was hard to ignore the stench of unwashed water sprite.


"Ugh.  Gojyo, you need a freakin' bath." Goku proclaimed as he pushed Gojyo's head from his shoulder, causing the red head to slump further down along the bed, hitting the ashtray on his way down.  Somehow none of its contents managed to spill out onto the bed.


"Aw, come on, it's not that bad," Gojyo whined back in defense, "is it?"


"Gods, how long's it been?  A week?" Goku replied as he stood up and stretched.


"Shut up," Gojyo grumbled before turning his head in Goku's direction.  "'Sides, it can't be worse 'en the time you and I went dumpster divin' after you threw away 'Kai's monocle?"


"Way worse," Goku replied.  "And I didn't throw it away, you did."




To Goku, it seemed like an eternity had passed before Gojyo finally stripped himself of all his clothing.  Between stumbling around, nearly falling over and barely being able to pull off his boots, Goku was surprised Gojyo had managed to undress before the bathtub had finished filling.


After turning off the faucet, Goku looked back the now naked man who stood leaning against the bathroom sink for support.  He'd been in enough bath houses with Gojyo not to be fazed by his state of undress.  "Well, get in," he directed having realized that Gojyo needed coaxing almost as much as he needed to sober up.


Mumbling something to the effect of 'pushy fuckin' monkey' Gojyo stumbled past Goku and stepped into the tub, nearly slipping on the smooth surface. Righting himself Gojyo plopped down gracelessly to sit inside the confines of the bath.


Goku held back a laugh at the sight of Gojyo sitting bunched in the tub -- one which was not well suited for someone of Gojyo's advanced height -- his bent legs and upper body well out of the steamy water.  He would have told Gojyo to take a shower, but after the recent display of Gojyo's agility, Goku was pretty sure that a shower would have resulted in an injury, if not outright death.


Goku sat down on the toilet seat for a moment watching Gojyo as he began to relax in the warm water.  He contemplated leaving Gojyo alone to do whatever he needed to do, but in the end he decided that Gojyo alone plus alcohol plus water plus emotional strain equaled a bad idea, even if he was purportedly part water demon.


Resigning himself to keep watch over the half breed, Goku sighed and eyed Gojyo, who merely continued to stew in the bath water, "Ya know, if you just sit there it doesn't do much."


"Feels good," Gojyo replied, his words more slurred then ever as his eyes began to flutter.  Goku thought it might be because weariness was finally catching up to him. "Don't wanna move."


Goku rolled his eyes -- much in the way Gojyo used to roll his eyes at him when they were still on the road -- as he reached out to grab a wash cloth off the nearby rack.  Leaving his seat, Goku moved to kneel at the tub.


"Lean forward," he directed coaxed and Gojyo did as he was told, resting his long upper body against his folded legs.  Goku dipped the cloth into the water, then began to rub it up and down Gojyo's spine, then along the firm muscles of his tanned body.  When Gojyo hmm'd, Goku smiled softly, pushed Gojyo's long strands of hair over his shoulders and reached for a bar of soap, repeating the process all over again, this time with a lathered cloth.  When Gojyo broke the uneasy silence around them, Goku nearly jumped from his skin.


"You been part timin' at a bath house or somethin' monkey?" Gojyo asked with slightly less of a slur then before.  "Or is this one of your special talents?"


"I do this for Sanzo sometimes," Goku replied, immediately regretting having said anything.  The last thing he needed to do was give Gojyo ammo.  When the red head merely snorted, Goku sighed with relief. "It's hard for him, at the temple sometimes.  Helps him relax."


"I bet it does," Gojyo replied with a familiar teasing edge to his voice.


Chuckling, Goku splashed away the last remaining soap bubbles from Gojyo's back and dropped the wash cloth on Gojyo's head.


"I think you can do the rest yourself," Goku said with a smile. "I'll go clean off your bed."




By the time Gojyo stumbled into the bedroom wrapped only in a towel, Goku had managed to clear the bed of the few empty beer cans, all of which somehow managed to remain free of cigarette ash, and the dangerously full ashtray, which of course had not.  Goku crinkled his nose at the thought of how dirty the bed sheets were, but he finally concluded that if Gojyo could deal with it for a week or more then he could deal with it a little while longer.


From the looks of things, Gojyo seemed to be well on the path to recovering from his drinking binge; he was less wobbly on his feet, his eyes were starting to clear up and on the whole he smelled a hell of a lot better.  If only clearing up his mental traumas could be as easy.


When Gojyo fell gracelessly into the bed, Goku moved to pull the blankets over his lanky frame, but Gojyo had other things in mind.  He was slightly startled when he found himself being pulled into the bed along side the red head.  Goku made no protest, but he still felt uneasy as he settled on a more comfortable half sitting position.  He'd heard the stories of what Gojyo was capable of while drunk and in the vicinity of a bed.  Or a floor.  Or a table, for that matter.


Once he was settled, Gojyo move about restlessly, finally settling himself with his head in Goku's lap.  Goku could feel the dampness in Gojyo's hair as it seeped through his pant leg.  Goku sighed and lifted his hand, laying it to rest on Gojyo's head; he wondered what he should do next, or if he should do anything at all.  Sanzo would probably roll his eyes and say something about keeping out of other people's business, but Goku was finding it hard to do exactly that when the other people happened to be his friends.


He also didn't want Hakkai to think that he was taking sides; surely that would cause a mess.  He hoped the healer would understand that anything he did was to help both of them, not just Gojyo, even if the red head seemed to need more help then Hakkai.  Of course, it could simply be that Gojyo wore his emotions on his sleeve, and Hakkai didn't.  He honestly didn't have a clue though, because Gojyo hadn't really been that emotional in the time he'd known him, or at least not that he'd been privy to…


A small snore from Gojyo roused Goku from his thoughts and for the first time he noticed that he'd been dragging his fingers through Gojyo's wet hair like a makeshift comb.  He continued to do so for a few minutes longer, until the leg that Gojyo's head rested on began to tingle from a lack of blood flow.  Smiling at the finally peaceful look on Gojyo's face, Goku carefully slipped out from under Gojyo, replacing his leg with an actual pillow.


Stepping lightly, Goku made his way across the room and pushed open the door which made the tiniest of squeaks.  Almost immediately, Gojyo stirred and grumbled and Goku mentally kicked himself.  So much for getting away quietly.


"You leavin' me?" Gojyo asked as he lifted his head from the pillow beneath it.  There was a sad sort of childishness that crept around the edge of Gojyo's words and it made Goku cringe.  He knew very little about Gojyo's past, but he could recognize abandonment issues when he saw them.


"I'll be back Gojyo," Goku replied softly, "go back to sleep."




"I promise."




"You have to go see him," Goku practically yelled at Hakkai, who was doing a fairly good impersonation of a deer caught in Hakuryu's headlights.  Upon returning to the temple, Goku had immediately sought out Hakkai, finding the healer sitting quietly in his room.


"He made his choice," Hakkai replied and for a second Goku thought he could see his way behind the calm voice and the emotionless mask that Hakkai was trying so very hard to keep in place; but just as quickly as it slipped away, it seemed to click back into place.


Goku sighed, frustrated.  "How can you be so callous?  I thought he meant something to you."


"Goku…I…" Hakkai stumbled over his own words and Goku knew that was a very un-Hakkai thing to do.  If there was a better time to push, Goku had no idea when that would be.


"If you ask me, you're worse then Sanzo."


"What?" The look of shock on Hakkai's face was genuine; the mask faltered again, then quickly righted itself.


"You heard me," he continued, "You're stubborn, jus' like Sanzo.  So stubborn you can't see when someone needs you; but even Sanzo figured it out, eventually."  It had taken him awhile, but yes, Sanzo had figured it out.


"He doesn't need me," Hakkai replied stubbornly, "he said so himself."


"He was drunk," Goku retorted in Gojyo's defense, even if he didn't think it was a completely excusable thing to say, drunk or not.


"And that makes it ok?" Hakkai asked as if reading Goku's thoughts.


"No, it doesn't," Goku responded hastily, "but you can't just give up 'n' walk away because of something that dumb kappa said while he was drunk."


"It's not so simple, Goku," Hakkai replied, whisper quiet.


"What's not?" Goku asked.


"Everything…the bars, the poker, the drinking.  I thought he would have changed by now."


"Does it matter that much?" Goku asked, honestly curious.  "He comes home to you every night, doesn't he?"




"Then what's the big deal?"


From Hakkai, there was no response.  Goku rolled his eyes and sighed.  He was starting to wonder if he'd been the only one to grow up since they'd left for, and returned from, India.


"Look," Goku began, feeling sleepy and worn, "I need to find Sanzo, he's probably wondering where I've been all day.  I told Gojyo I'd be back and I'll do as I promised in the morning; I'm not going to disappoint him..."


Hakkai only stared back at Goku, eyebrows creased as me bit ever so slightly at his bottom lip.


"…and I sure as hell don't wanna walk all the way there and back again by myself."




"Oh my," Hakkai said with a gasp as he walked over the threshold of the small house.


"See, I told ya," Goku replied wearily, opting to stand only a couple feet inside the doorway while Hakkai ventured further into the house.


"Yes, you did," Hakkai replied, "but all that this proves is that he needs a housekeep..."




Startled, both Goku and Hakkai quickly turned to face Gojyo, who half-stumbled out of the bedroom clad only in jeans.  Goku could just picture Gojyo stumbling around, trying to put them on when he heard them enter.  The red head leaned against the doorframe; his hair disheveled and poofy from having gone to sleep before it dried, but it still managed to fall gracefully around his features like a fiery river.  Goku could see hangover written all over his face.


"Yes, Gojyo, it's me," Hakkai replied, eyes slightly wide as he took a few tentative steps forward.  To Goku, Gojyo looked far better then he had the day before, but in the long run, the half breed still looked like hell.


"Why you here?" Gojyo asked and Goku had to hold back a wince.  Gojyo's voice was harsh and laced with sadness, not to mention evidence of his recent debauchery.


"Goku said I should come back and see you."


At first Gojyo made no response and for a second Goku thought the red head might be mad at him; but instead of saying anything Gojyo dropped his head to stare at his uncovered feet.  Goku had to fight the urge to say something, anything until an almost-whimper escaped Gojyo's lips and all words died on his tongue.


"You back for good?" Gojyo asked quietly, his expression tired and worn behind his curtain of hair.


"I don't know, Gojyo," Hakkai replied, quiet and uncertain.


"I only ask 'cuz that's three times now that you've left me," Goku cringed when Gojyo paused.  He'd been around -- more or less -- for the previous two times Hakkai had 'left' and no matter how many times Hakkai told him it hadn't been his fault, he still sometimes felt responsible for the healer's second leave of absence. "I dunno if I can take a fourth."


"Perhaps we should stick to the old baseball adage then…" Hakkai replied somberly not finishing the phrase that everyone present surely knew.


Gojyo shrugged, still not looking up, though Goku thought he might have seen the faintest hint of a smile between Gojyo's long strands of hair.  "I've always been a fan of 'third times a charm' m'self."


Hakkai chuckled quietly, so quietly that Goku wasn't sure he actually had.  Without making a sound, Goku took a few steps back before turning towards the front door.  It seemed like an appropriate time to make himself disappear.  They needed to talk and he didn't think they'd do it with him hanging around in the background.


Walking out onto the porch and into the warm daylight -- a startling contrast to the dim, smoky house -- Goku closed the front door behind him.  When he spotted Hakuryu curled up on the lawn, he walked to where the white dragon was resting.


Hakuryu looked up at Goku as he sat down in the grass.


"You think they'll be ok?" Goku asked as he patted the dragon between his neatly folded wings.


"Kyuuu…" the dragon replied, his body and wings moving as if to shrug.


Goku closed his eyes, "Yeah, I don't know either."


For a moment the two sat in the grass, Goku's hand making little swirling motions against the dragon's scales.  When Goku opened his eyes again, he looked back at the house and sighed.


"I hope they'll be ok."

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