- Title: Summer Storm
- Author: Meicdon13
- Pairing(s): Kougaiji x Kouryuu, Kougaiji x Sanzo/Sanzo x Kougaiji
- Rating: PG-13
- Summary: One stormy night fourteen years ago, Sanzo and Kougaiji met for the first time...

- Website: http://meicdon13.livejournal.com/
- Warnings: ...shotacon? Nothing explicit happens.
- Notes: First place winner of the 2007 Aarin Boys of Summer Fiction Contest, Fanfic Category. I'm not completely happy with it--I realized after submitting it that there were certain aspects I could have improved--but hey, it still won :D Part of the Hello, Stranger series.

SUMMER STORM


Kouryuu ran through the dark forest. Thunder sounded and lighting flashed overhead but it hadn't started raining yet. The young monk hoped to reach Kinzan Temple before the downpour began. The sky slowly grew darker.

He leapt over a large fallen branch but landed awkwardly, his foot slipping on a moss-covered rock. He fell to the forest floor, grunting in pain when he felt his shoulder hit something hard. Kouryuu winced as he saw his blood begin to seep through his robes.

With a loud clap of thunder, it began to rain; heavy sheets of cold water drenching him and plastering his hair against his cheeks.

Mumbling under his breath about bald monks who were too lazy to buy supplies from the village even though it was their responsibility to do so, he picked up the bag of food that he dropped when he fell and made his way towards a small cave nearby. The blond decided that it would be better to wait out the sudden storm.

Reaching the mouth of the cave, Kouryuu was about to enter when a flash of lightning illuminated the cave. Kouryuu froze in fear, one foot inside while the rest of his body was pounded by the rain.

There was a youkai inside trying to build a fire. Since he was dry he probably entered the cave before the downpour began. Though the youkai had his back to the cave entrance, Kouryuu knew that he was aware of the blond's presence. The smell of his blood alone was enough to give him away.

I'm going to die, Kouryuu thought calmly. He'll turn around and grab me then he'll kill me for the food in the bag.

"Aren't you going to come in?"

The voice snapped Kouryuu out of his thoughts. The youkai had succeeded in lighting the fire and was now glancing over his shoulder at him.

"Aren't you going to come in?" the youkai repeated patiently. "It's raining and you're soaked, not to mention cold."

Still not moving in case he triggered some sort of hunting reflex, Kouryuu simply stared at the youkai. Then, realizing that he might anger him if he didn't answer, he spoke carefully. "Why should I trust you? You're probably going to kill me."

"If I wanted to kill you, you'd be dead by now." The youkai went back to tending the fire.

Kouryuu weighed his options. He could leave and try to find shelter somewhere else—probably getting even colder and wetter in the process—or he could stay in the cave where he could dry off and wait out the storm.

Even with his advanced spiritual powers, he couldn't detect any malicious intent from the youkai. Deciding that he would rather die after getting comfortable by a fire than die by catching pneumonia, Kouryuu entered the cave and sat down warily, never taking his eyes off the youkai in case he made any sudden moves.

The youkai had long maroon hair that cascaded down his back. His tanned skin seemed to glow in the light of the fire. But it was the youkai's eyes that grabbed Kouryuu's attention.

His eyes were a delicate lilac color, the pupils shaped like a cat's as they tried to drink in all available light. They seemed so intense, as if he were thinking of a heavy burden on his shoulders. They seemed infinitely sad.

"You should take care of your injury," the youkai said, once again interrupting Kouryuu's train of thought. "Not all youkai are like me and they might pick up the scent of your blood."

When the young monk didn't respond, the youkai continued. "Not to mention wild animals that might eat you if they caught your scent."

After a few more seconds with no reply from the blond, the youkai stood up and walked over towards Kouryuu, squatting down in front of him with a sigh.

After finally getting over the initial shock of having the youkai so close, Kouryuu managed to react when he felt hands opening his robes. "What are you doing?" he shouted, swatting away tanned hands.

The redhead frowned as he grabbed Kouryuu's wrists, holding them in a firm grip but not injuring the young monk.

"Look, I can't afford having some random youkai picking up your scent, following it here, and finding me. Now, it's either you bandage your injury, let me do it for you, or I throw you out of the cave." His lilac eyes locked onto Kouryuu's purple ones. "Do you understand?"

Kouryuu shot him a look of mixed fear and defiance but nodded. The youkai sighed—in relief?—and moved Kouryuu's robes off one shoulder. The blond felt exposed while the redhead tended to his wound. The youkai removed a piece of lilac cloth that was threaded through two silver hoops on the shoulders of his leather jacket and used it as a sort of makeshift bandage.

Kouryuu winced when the youkai tied a tight knot. He saw a flash of lilac when the redhead glanced up at him before checking the bandage one more time.

"Sorry," he said, walking back to his spot on the other side of the fire.

He paused before sitting down and took off his jacket, tossing it towards Kouryuu. "You'd better take off your wet clothes and let them dry by the fire." He gestured at the leather jacket. "You can wear that in the meantime."

Kouryuu picked up the offered garment and looked up to check if the youkai was peeking. When he saw that the redhead still had his back to him, he quickly took off his wet robes and put on the jacket. It was almost up to mid-thigh and covered less of his legs than his robes but he decided to put up with it instead of getting sick.

"Thank you," he said softly. He felt like he owed it to the youkai to at least show appreciation for all the things he had done for him. The only person who had even shown him any kindness was Komyou Sanzo and now here was a total stranger who not only tended to his wounds but also kept him safe and dry from the storm. It was…strange.

He stared out at the raindrops falling outside the cave. The storm was still going strong and it didn't look like it was letting up any time soon. Kouryuu sighed and crossed his arms as he leaned against the wall of the cave.

Why is it even raining this hard? The thought popped into his head as he watched the drops of water falling to earth. It's summer, it's supposed to be hot, not wet.

As if he were reading Kouryuu's mind, the youkai spoke up from his spot. "It's a summer storm. It happens sometimes. Suddenly it'll rain and you'll be caught in the downpour."

"How long before it let's up?" Kouryuu asked softly.

"I don't know. It varies. It could last all night; it hasn't rained in this area for months and all the water that evaporated will come crashing down to earth."

Kouryuu's hand accidentally brushed against his paper bag. It was full of fruits and it reminded him that he was hungry. Deciding that one fruit wouldn't really matter when he got back to the temple, he took an apple from the bag and bit into it.

The youkai looked up from across the fire then bowed his head again. Blushing a little when he realized that he didn't offer the redhead any food, he took another apple from the bag and walked over to the youkai.

"Want one?" he asked. A simple 'thank you' seemed inadequate for the redhead's kindness and giving away the monks' food was another way to get back at them for making him go out in the first place.

The redhead looked up at Kouryuu and took the offered apple with a simple, "Thanks." He bit into it and started chewing, watching the flames, the fire reflected in his lilac eyes. He then looked back up at Kouryuu.

"Did you want something?" he asked curiously.

The blond realized that he was still standing and watching the youkai eat. "Nothing," he replied and quickly walked back to his side of the fire. He ate the rest of his apple in silence and pointedly looked anywhere but the youkai. What was wrong with him? He was about to throw the apple core outside but a hand caught his wrist and took it away from him.

"Another youkai might see it and come here," he said. "Didn't I tell you that I didn't want anyone to find me?" The youkai threw the core into the fire and added his own after he finished. Then he sat down beside Kouryuu, between the blond and the cave entrance.

A nervous thrill shot up Kouryuu's spine. Was the youkai going to kill him now? Did he sit there to prevent him from escaping? He was sitting so close that he could feel the redhead's body heat even through the jacket, could feel a few strands of the silky maroon hair brushing against his fingertips if he moved his hand a little.

"Don't move," the youkai said softly, barely above a whisper. "There's something out there." He placed a hand on the young monk's shoulder to emphasize his staying put.

Kouryuu almost stopped breathing. If the redhead was killed, then he would be a goner too. He pressed himself against the cave wall, trying to make himself as small as possible. He was barely ten-years-old, he highly doubted that he could face any youkai; he was pretty damn lucky that the one who was sitting beside him wasn't a killer.

After a few minutes of tense silence, the redhead removed his hand from Kouryuu's shoulder and sighed. "It's gone."

They spent the next few moments just sitting there, alternately watching the rain and the fire.

"So," the youkai said, breaking the silence. "What's a little human boy like you doing out here in the forest at night?"

"I'm a monk in training," Kouryuu replied. "And since I'm an orphan, the other monks usually pass on their jobs to me if they're feeling too lazy to do them. I don't really have any choice but to do what they say." He hugged his legs, trying to keep warm. If anything, the storm had grown stronger and the fire wasn't being much help since it was slowly dying and they had no wood to add to it.

"Why don't you just run away then?" the youkai asked.

"Because Sanzo-sama rescued me from the river when I was a baby and he's the only person I'll ever believe in." Kouryuu felt a bit foolish but kept talking, afraid that the youkai could tell if he lied to him. "And he's the closest thing to a father that I'll ever have."

Suddenly embarrassed, Kouryuu rested his chin on his knees and looked at the fire; away from the youkai. He felt a hand place itself on top of his head but didn't pull away. It was strange…strange the way this youkai could give off the same feeling of comfort that Sanzo-sama did. The way he could make him feel safe and special. It was strange…but not unwelcome.

"I never really knew my father," the youkai said, his hand still on top of Kouryuu's head. The blond didn't bother looking at the redhead, but listened closely instead. "When I was little, I spent all my time with my mother. She was…beautiful." The youkai's voice grew wistful, softer…sadder. "She was always there for me, always keeping me safe, always making me smile when I cried."

The hand on top of Kouryuu's head began to move; stroking the golden strands, nails gently scraping his scalp. It seemed as if the actions were done absentmindedly, as if thoughts of his mother brought out a gentler side in the redheaded youkai.

Silence reigned in the cave once again. It was the comfortable kind of silence; the kind between friends or lovers who don't feel the need to talk, their presence enough for the moment.

Kouryuu shivered, the cold finally getting to him as a particularly strong gust of wind blew into the cave, bringing cold water along with it and killing the fire.

The youkai cursed, throwing up his arm as a shield to protect his face from the spray and using his body to shield Kouryuu. When the wind died down, he shook his head, sending drops flying everywhere.

"Damn," he said in annoyance. "We'd better move farther into the cave."

They settled somewhere near the back of the cave, which wasn't really very far since the cave wasn't large to begin with. By this time, Kouryuu was shivering uncontrollably. He hugged himself tighter, wishing he could put on his robes beneath the leather jacket for added warmth but it was still wet.

"Here," the youkai said, placing an arm around him and pulling him close. Kouryuu's eyes widened at the sudden contact. The youkai shifted a little and Kouryuu found himself in a much more comfortable position; leaning against the redhead's side, head resting on the youkai's chest.

Though he was unused to such close contact with anyone, he found the warmth from the youkai's body comforting. Coupled with the tiring run he had in the forest earlier, the blond began relaxing into his cozy position. Kouryuu found himself slowly slipping into slumber, the steady rise and fall of the redhead's chest along with the strong heartbeat in his ears lulling him into sleep.

The next thing he felt were hands shaking him. A voice was speaking too. "Kouryuu! Wake up!"

I don't remember telling him my name… Kouryuu opened bleary purple eyes, expecting to see lilac ones staring back at him. Instead, he saw Shuei, one of the monks, looking at him with a worried expression on his face. He was lying on the ground in front of the Kinzan Temple and it was morning already.

"Sanzo-sama's been worried sick about you," Shuei said, helping the young monk to his feet. "Did you spend the night outside? In the rain?"

"I did," Kouryuu said. Something inside of him told him not to tell anyone what really happened last night. "When I got here, the temple gates were already locked for the night and the storm drowned out my shouts."

After they ate a hearty breakfast, Shuei told Kouryuu that the storm had stopped some time after midnight. The youkai must have carried the blond to the temple after the storm stopped and then left.

When the older monk went off to call Sanzo-sama, Kouryuu placed a hand beneath his robes and touched the lilac cloth around his shoulder. He felt himself blush when he realized that the youkai had taken off the jacket and put his robes back on him.

It had been a very strange night. And for some reason, it had also been a special night. And because it was both strange and special, Kouryuu decided that it would be much better if he simply…forgot all about it.

xxx


Another unbearably hot summer. Another day nearing an end. Another sudden summer storm.

Sanzo was standing in the rain, staring off into the distance. He was on top of a hill, the village where their group was staying in the valley below him. He had been thinking about the events of that day; the lilac-haired youkai assassin that had pretended to be a waitress and ambushed them, the way Hakkai had faced off with her, the assassin's suicide attempt, and the maroon-haired youkai that had stopped her.

Kougaiji-sama, she had called him.

And then Sanzo saw his eyes. They were…lilac.

When the rain had started, Sanzo cursed but decided that finding shelter would be pointless.

"It's a summer storm. It happens sometimes."

Sanzo shook his head, trying to get rid of the voice that suddenly spoke inside his head. Something else was bothering him as well, something that happened during another summer storm more than ten years ago.

"Good evening, Genjo Sanzo Houshi," a voice said from behind him.

Sanzo whirled around, shoureiju aimed at whoever spoke. He found himself looking at Kougaiji, the youkai prince.

The redhead smirked. "Didn't I tell you that you couldn't kill me with that?"

"Don't try me, youkai," Sanzo snapped. "What do you want?"

"I just wanted to enjoy the view." Kougaiji shrugged. "I didn't even know you were here until I was just behind that tree; the rain makes it difficult to pick up scents."

Like earlier that day, Sanzo couldn't sense any malicious intent from the redhead. Slowly lowering his gun, he turned his back on the youkai, looking out at the view again.

Kougaiji approached the monk and stood beside him. He folded his arms across his chest and tilted his head back, letting the raindrops hit his face. "I don't suppose you kept it?"

"Kept what?" Sanzo asked. "What are you talking about?"

"I didn't think you'd forget about it…but what was I supposed to expect?" Kougaiji turned around and began to walk away. He paused after a few steps. "I wasn't sure at first if it was really you, but when I caught your scent, I was." He began to walk again.

Sanzo's eyes widened as memories began flooding into his mind, as if they were waiting for this exact moment to happen.

Before he knew it, he had turned around and spoke to Kougaiji's retreating back. "Once, when I was cold, you put your arm around me and kept me warm." He saw the redhead stop, almost half-turning around. "It's cold, Kougaiji," he said, voice barely audible above the pounding rain.

Kougaiji smiled. It seemed…sad. "You're not a little boy anymore, Sanzo."

He walked away.

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