- Title: Cross The Line
- Author: Sorryll
- Pairing(s): GojyoxHakkai
- Rating: PG-13
- Summary or description: Hakkai would hide the sort of passion that could only destroy and never, ever rebuild. But Gojyo was willing to stand against that passion. He wanted to bleed and scream and hurt along with Hakkai if it could bring that laughter back.
- Disclaimer: Saiyuki is the property of
Kazuya Minekura and her publishers. If it was mine,
the whole thing would be like this. Be thankful it belongs to her. XD
- Email: ave-end [at] hotmail [dot] com
- Website: http://fanfiction.net/~sorryll
- Notes: I was stuck at a train station yesterday and while cheering myself up with coffee, was assaulted by plotbunnies, shockingly not all for Cain Saga fics. This was one of them. Written because I do love some Saiyuki angst and character study, especially of the Gojyo and Hakkai flavour. I suppose this is essentially a hurt/comfort piece and is practically canon, if overly emotional. Read into it whatever you like. Shall be crossposted on FF.net under this username.
"Are you strong enough?"
Crimson eyes widened and regarded the broken man before them with surprise. The eyes staring back were deep and dark, displaying vulnerability far more effectively than the shaking hands that had clenched into fists or the lips that remained slightly parted as though wishing to reclaim the words from the ether. The moment stretched out, as sharp and delicate as a newborn icicle. The hissing of insects enjoying the summer warmth buzzed in the air like static, seeming to grow in volume and grate across Gojyo's raw nerves until he couldn't stand to watch that pain any longer and turned away.
He didn't know if he was strong enough. He had no fucking clue if he could stand firm against the tornado he knew would come raging at him if he crossed that line, the one that might as well be drawn on the damn floor it was so obvious. If he had known that it would scare him this much, he would never have stepped so close.
A deep sigh slipped past his lips and he walked forwards until his forehead touched the windowpane. The world outside was bathed in warm orange light, the sun unwilling to let the world go after having held it senseless in its grip all day. Maybe the heat had done this to him. Maybe the sun had fried his brain until he thought it was a good idea to do the one thing he had thought about for years and always written off as too fucking dangerous by far. And it was dangerous. And he was terrified. And now he had no idea what it was he was meant to do next.
He turned to see Hakkai standing in the middle of the room where Gojyo had left him. The redhead bit his lip hard enough to draw blood. The smile was back; the god damn plastic smile that Hakkai knew didn't fool anyone these days but kept using. Gojyo guessed he didn't know what else to do. The healer stood with his arms wrapped around his torso a little too tightly to be casual, and smiled that fucking smile before he had managed to veil the disappointment in his eyes.
"You don't need to answer."
The silence had been answer enough.
Gojyo retraced his footsteps, pausing just as his feet brushed up against the invisible line and found himself unable to smile this time. Of all the stupid, painful emotions in the world, guilt was the one he hated the most. It twisted up his insides until his heart had to struggle to beat and his lungs had no room to expand. He opened his mouth to say something, anything but the stupid 'yeah' that meant fuck all and would solve nothing. He had no words. After a few more moments, he went and threw himself on the narrow bed, face to the wall. He was being a dick and he knew it but at that moment he was close to falling off the boundary between an emotion that scared the shit out of him and hate. Things were gonna go on like they always did and this time, he would know it was his fault.
And that was it. The light slowly faded from the silent room. The insects fell asleep. Gojyo hated them for being so carefree.
The road was too damn dusty. As Gojyo rubbed his eyes clear for what felt like the thousandth time, he watched Hakkai cheerfully indulging Goku by answering pointless questions. He smiled gently and turned his eyes away to stare blankly at the scenery rushing past. Musical laughter rang in his ears and he rested his head back against the seat, eyes fluttering shut.
He loved Hakkai's laugh, loved the way it would light up any room, even the wreck of a building he used to call a home. They would play cards until the sun started to rise and after a while, it didn't matter that he was losing all the time. His ego could go to hell if he could keep Hakkai smiling like that. It was an open, genuine smile that somehow fought its way out past the scar tissue and the raw memories. When Hakkai smiled like that, Gojyo found his own lips twitching up in sympathy without his having to order them to. As time passed, it became easier and easier for the redhead to show a genuine smile and laugh openly, in fact it became hard to stop which landed him in trouble more than once. He never realised how much this depended on Hakkai until his friend would crash and the world would suddenly seem colder.
Gojyo opened his eyes and stared at the vast canopy of the summer sky, the blue almost painful in its vibrancy. It was surprising, considering the rain of two days ago when this whole episode had started. With a girl. A young, dark haired beauty lying on the road with her insides hanging out. After the initial shock and upset faded, Gojyo was about ready to stand on a hilltop and yell until the gods listened and stopped the symbolic bullshit. It was good, too good to be coincidence. Or at least, that's what he told himself. It gave him someone to blame other than the poor dead girl who really could have died on another road, any other road than the one they had been driving down.
They had buried her, found the bastards nearby who had left her in their way and kicked the shit out of their youkai asses. Gojyo had felt better afterwards but one glance at Hakkai told him that this one was going to hit him the second they got to the inn like a ton of bricks and hit him hard. He was stuck with Goku that night and so made sure to spend it teasing the monkey until he could yell out all the tension and fight out all the pent up energy. He'd slept well, as had Goku. Sanzo was as moody as ever the next morning which meant he'd slept just fine. Hakkai had flashed Gojyo a smile and the redhead had known in an instant that the healer hadn't even closed his eyes.
The following day had been painful. Nothing but the world rushing by and the heavy silence of four people who knew something was up but didn't want to say anything. Sanzo probably didn't give a shit, Goku would take another few days before he finally cracked and yelled something insensitive and cruelly truthful like always and Gojyo himself just didn't know what to try. Each time this happened, he'd try a different approach. Talking about the journey didn't work. Cards didn't work. Taunting the fuck out of Goku and trying to get Hakkai to intervene didn't work. Hell, he'd even got drunk and tried to get the guy laid and that had worked the least of all. Each time, he'd watch as Hakkai drew into himself, as his eyes became dull and blank and his smile became too perfect. He'd watch as the laughter died. It'd pass in a few days and Hakkai would be okay – as okay as he ever was, anyway – and Gojyo would forgive himself for having done nothing to help and hope that that would be the last time he would have to witness it. But it would always happen again. Always.
He knew what would help. He liked to pretend it wouldn't work but deep down he knew. Sometimes, he thought he knew Hakkai better than Hakkai knew himself but that freaked him out a little and he'd try not to think about it. But he had the answer, even if he didn't want it. It wasn't Goku's approach of honest and open sympathy and confusion. It wasn't Sanzo's method of either ignoring it until it passed or countering it with his particular brand of aggressive care that showed neither sympathy nor empathy but a faith in Hakkai that things would work out. It certainly wasn't Hakkai's approach of pretending nothing was wrong and living in a world inside his head. These helped a little, sure, but they weren't the answer. The answer was stepping across that fucking line and asking Hakkai to explain exactly what it was that was hurting him so much, even if Gojyo already knew the reasons. The answer was not just being ready to be bombarded with all the pain and despair he kept bottled up behind those eyes but being willing to face it head on, wanting to drag it all out and stand bleeding from the wounds Hakkai would only turn on himself otherwise. No real blood would be shed, Gojyo knew that. The wounds would run much deeper.
The answer was not in understanding or sympathising with the pain but in feeling it too, in letting his heart and soul weep along with Hakkai's.
It was dangerous. It was fucking terrifying. Gojyo could only imagine the darkness of the words he could hear because one thing he had learnt about Hakkai was that he was unpredictable, even if you understood him perfectly. Unpredictable and heartbreakingly passionate. Passionate enough to slaughter his own village and a castle of demons on top. The sort of passion that could only destroy and never, ever rebuild. But Gojyo was willing to stand against that passion. He wanted to bleed and scream and hurt along with Hakkai if it could bring that laughter back.
And he had tried. The night after the buried the girl, Sanzo had put them in a room together, out of understanding or selfishness Gojyo didn't know. He hadn't even been drunk, although he had wanted to be. While Hakkai stood in the centre of the room with arms hanging limply at his sides and expression listless, Gojyo had decided that to hell with it, he had no other option left and before his mind had time to talk him out of it he had crossed the room and wrapped his arms around the healer with surprising tenderness. He had dropped his head to rest on Hakkai's shoulder, crimson hair spilling across the man's chest. Hakkai hadn't moved, probably too surprised to drag himself back into the present and react.
"Tell me," Gojyo had whispered, wishing his voice was stronger. "Just tell me."
"Tell you what?" had been the quiet response. Hakkai stood in the embrace as lifeless as a statue.
"Everything that you never say. Exactly what you thought when we found that girl yesterday. The things you used to mumble in your sleep on rainy nights. The shit you think is none of my business. I want to hear everything 'Kai."
The answer had been simple.
Are you strong enough?
And Gojyo had withdrawn. He hadn't solved anything and he hadn't crossed the line. He realised that simply wanting to step into the abyss wasn't good enough.
The jeep pulled to a stop before another inn and Gojyo sat up with a start. He had been so busy thinking that the day had vanished without his realising. It was dark tonight, much darker than the evening before as clouds smothered the sky, threatening rain. He went through the motions in a daze, thoughts racing ahead of his body which felt sluggish and heavy.
Was he strong enough? He could berate Hakkai as much as he liked but Gojyo knew that he himself rarely opened up to anyone. If he was too weak to face up to his own skeletons then how the hell could he think he was ready to handle Hakkai's?
Without taking notice of what was happening, he found himself in another narrow room with two more worn beds. The room was bathed in shadows and the air was heavy with silence. The door clicked shut behind him and he turned to see Hakkai walking in, just as he had the day before. Emerald eyes caught his own and Gojyo fought the urge to flinch. He knew that this man could read the turmoil in his own gaze as easily as he could return the favour.
Just the name, nothing else. No inane comment to ease the tension, no withdrawal of the question and nothing to indicate a desire to hear an answer. Just a name. And that was enough. It scared him, how easily he could read the man before him but it also gave him the stupidest fucking urge to stand there and cry. This was something important. Something that Sanzo and Goku could never be a part of, something that was theirs and theirs alone.
And then it hit him like a ton of bricks, and hit him hard.
He dropped the cigarette he had been idly smoking and crushed it under a boot before stepping forwards. He almost laughed. Hakkai's question was stupid. It didn't matter. It changed nothing. He stepped forwards and there must have been something different in his eyes as Hakkai stepped forward to meet him and practically fell into his arms, tears threatening but still fighting the fall. They crossed the line and knew that from this, there was no turning back.
"I'm ready," Gojyo said, lips against Hakkai's cheek and voice loud in the silence. "You need this 'Kai. I need this."
"It's not about strength," Gojyo said quickly, not giving Hakkai a chance to take refuge behind words as he always did. "It doesn't have a damn thing to do with strength. It's not about weakness, either. This is about you and me and whether we can make it through this fucking journey if I keep sitting back and letting you do this. "
And that was it. Arms wrapped tightly around Gojyo's chest and Hakkai began to talk. By the time their legs grew weak and they sat on the floor together, Gojyo heard his own voice raised in reply. And they hurt. They wept. They unleashed the darkness and bled to a symphony of words too long left unsaid.
The inn fell silent and all lights in the other windows were extinguished. The world fell asleep. By morning, Hakkai was able to faintly smile and realised that Gojyo had been right; it wasn't about strength or weakness, it was about survival. And no one, no matter how perfect their smile, can survive alone.
A/N: Thanks for reading! I know the ending is a little wishy-washy but for me, the action of opening up was more important than the process or details. I hope you enjoyed, and please leave a review whether you did or not. I promise to reply to everyone who takes the time to tell me their thoughts. ^^
Maybe more Saiyuki oneshots on the way...definitely more Cain Saga ones...and possibly a Durarara!! one. Watch this space!