Summary or description: Love. Just another way for life to screw you over. Kenren needs to take matters into his own hands.
Disclaimer: I don't have the Saiyuki boys stashed in a cupboard – all rights belong to Kazuya Minekura. What a lady.
Email: blaqkhearted [a] hotmail [.] co [.] uk
Authors note: I originally posted this on my fanfiction.net account but am not using the pick up system since FF.net messed with my story…but if you have read this before, it is mine and I didn't steal it. ^^ Oh, and I'm English – so no complaints about spelling if you're American. Please?
A thousand kisses. A hundred nights spent in each others arms. A million emotions, all unusual and confused within their minds. Yet, the bastard still hadn't said the three words that could reduce all the numbers to one little word.
Love. Just another way for life to screw you over.
As he stomped heavily through the corridors, Kenren fumed and cursed himself for ever falling in love. For the majority of his life he had always told himself never to fall into that little trap, what was the use? What did love really lead to in the end? Kisses? Well, he could get that from pretty much anyone if he put his mind to it. Sex? That wasn't difficult for Kenren either. Why would he want to tie himself down when he could get his kicks for free? Did love bring companionship, was that it? Buy a dog, save the effort. Kenren bit his lip to keep himself from yelling.
Why the hell had he done this to himself? Maybe he was as stupid as Konzen made him out to be. Even the blonde haired diva was wise enough to stay away from the love-thing but still. . . did no one else in the heavens have a heart?
Thinking this, Kenren slowed his pace a little and eventually came to a halt by a window. He rested his elbows on the sill and let his gaze fall on the tranquil scenery before him while his mind continued looking inward. He shouldn't be angry, he really shouldn't. Not at Tenpou. It was pretty much impossible to stay angry at him, especially when Kenren thought about how Tenpou had looked when he had left him last. He had been sitting on the floor since the chairs had all been lost under the clutter forever filling the office. When Kenren had announced he was leaving, he had been rewarded with a small smile from over the top of some heavy book and a slight nod of the head sending a few stray strands of dark hair falling in the way of those eyes. How could he possibly stay angry at that? Tenpou hadn't even realised Kenren was angry, he was so distant.
Not that he was always that distant. Kenren couldn't help but smirk to himself as he remembered the night before; the heat, the soft noises that neither of them could ever quite manage to smother, the softness of Tenpou's skin and the final moments of holding one another close as if there was nothing else in the world. It would have been perfect except for the silence. Slowly, the smirk faded to be replaced by nothing more than a small smile. Perhaps the final moments of the night before had been the most important after all.
That was when Kenren knew he had to do something about the whole issue. When he started to prefer cuddling to sex, something had to be seriously wrong.
"Whatcha looking at?"
Kenren jumped at the soft but unexpected voice beside him and turned to see Goku also staring out of the window with a small frown on his face.
"Goku!" Kenren said stupidly, fighting to pull his mind away from wallowing in its own misery. "What are you doing here?"
Goku shrugged, eyes still glued to the scenery. "I was trying to work out what you were looking at. It must have been real interesting 'cause you were looking out there for so long but I don't see anything."
Kenren smiled and ruffled Goku's hair gently before rolling his eyes at himself. Obvious sentimentality much?
"There's nothing out there Goku. I was thinking is all."
"What about?" Goku smiled up at him in honest curiosity and suddenly, Kenren couldn't think of a thing to say. Anyone else and he could have flat-out lied, made it interesting too. But to someone as open as Goku… to hell with it. The monkey probably wouldn't understand anyway.
With a sigh, Kenren turned his back to the window and sank down against the wall, knees drawn up in front of him. He patted the ground and waited for Goku to join him. Once they were both settled, he sighed again.
"Can I ask you something a little odd, Goku?"
Goku nodded, smile slipping from his lips. Even he could tell there was something wrong, something in the general's voice maybe. "What is it?"
"Do you know what the word 'love' means?"
Goku cocked his head to one side and thought for a moment before shrugging. "I hear people talk about it a lot but I don't quite get it. It's important right? And it takes two people to make it work. And it's special. And it's something that everyone tries to get and when they do, they celebrate it. That's what marriages are right?"
Kenren laughed. "That's close enough, I guess. You're not too stupid for a monkey." Before Goku could protest, he carried on. "Now tell me something else. How does a guy know if someone loves him?"
Goku shrugged. "People tell each other, don't they? It normally involves things like candles and food. Right?"
Kenren couldn't help himself from laughing. "Where the hell did you learn that?"
"From one of the books Tenpii leant me! I didn't really understand any of it but I definitely remember love and candles being together!"
Still smiling, Kenren said, "It's a nice idea, Goku. But you see, it isn't that simple. Love doesn't have an on or off switch, whether you get candles in or not."
"Oh," Goku shrugged, not really put off at being wrong. "So, how do people know whether they're in love or not?"
They start worrying about every little thing, Kenren thought. Every frown becomes a tragedy. Every smile is something so beautiful it draws your heart to it and it feels like your chest is stretching with the effort of keeping it in. Physical things don't seem to matter much anymore and words become all too damn important. People know they're in love when they start wishing someone else would admit the same thing to them. The bastard.
"Kenren?" Goku asked gently, "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," he said vaguely, "I'll be fine. It's just…Goku, how long would you wait if…okay, let's say that you'd just picked another load of flowers for Konzen okay? You still do that, right?"
"Of course!" Goku beamed.
"Well, let's say you'd just got him some really nice rare ones, ones that took you an awful long time to find and you don't want anyone else to have them. So you go to give them to him but he doesn't open the door even after you've been knocking on it for ages. How long would you wait before giving up?"
"Give up?" Goku said incredulously, "Why would I give up? That's like giving up on making someone happy, what's the point?"
Kenren smiled softly. "What if you were tired of waiting? Someone else might want those flowers…"
"No," Goku said firmly, "If I had picked them for Konzen then no one else would be getting them. They probably wouldn't like them anyway. Besides Kenren, I wouldn't have to wait."
"Oh?" Kenren raised an eyebrow. "Why is that?"
"I'd just open the door!"
Kenren stared at him, open-mouthed. Only Goku would think of something like that, barging in because he didn't have the patience to wait. A nice idea, but how could he do that to Tenpou? It wasn't like he could open Tenpou's mind and force him to admit it. But….
"Thanks, Goku." Kenren said, standing up and brushing himself down. "I think you've just given me an idea but I don't know how it's going to pan out."
"Will you be okay?" Goku asked, looking a little confused.
"Oh, I'll be fine," Kenren said softly, "Don't you worry about me. I don't really have anything to lose."
With that, he turned and walked quickly back down the corridors he had rushed through before.
I can't wait any longer, Tenpou, he thought as he walked, and I would rather have you hate me than be stuck feeling like this forever.
Tenpou was still sitting quietly on the floor when the door flew open and his general strode into the room, slamming the door behind him. It felt very much as though a tall, dark haired tornado had entered the room. Tenpou looked up from his book slowly and frowned in confusion.
"Something wrong?" he asked simply. "You seemed a little angry when you left too. I hope you haven't been-"
"Oh, so you noticed that, did you?" Kenren's voice was calm despite his dramatic entrance which unnerved Tenpou slightly, not that he would ever admit to that. It wouldn't help matters at all.
"Of course I did," he said, gently placing the book aside but not standing up. "Want to tell me what-"
"Can I just talk for a second?" Kenren shut his eyes briefly and then opened them again. The look in his eyes was so intense that Tenpou had to fight the urge to look away. "What is this, Tenpou? Between you and me, I mean."
There was a brief silence before Kenren rolled his eyes. "You can answer me."
"I don't know what you're asking me," Tenpou replied simply.
"Don't lie to me. I can tell, you know. Not many people can but I happen to be an expert." Kenren moved so that he was standing in front of the marshal and then dropped to a crouching position so that their eyes were level. "So please don't play games with me. What am I to you? Because I'm finding it pretty hard to work out all by myself. Am I just someone to hold you when you need it, is that it?"
Tenpou's emerald eyes widened in surprise. "No, of course not."
Kenren's voice began to rise in volume. "Okay then, maybe I was wrong. I'm just someone you use when you want a quick fuck. I have a reputation so I suppose I ask to be treated that way."
"Don't be ridiculous!" Tenpou retorted, voice finally cracking and displaying some emotion. "What's the matter, Kenren? Where did all this come from?"
Kenren closed his eyes and dropped from a crouch to being on his knees. Without opening his eyes, he scooted forward and kissed Tenpou gently who was too confused or shocked to respond. Leaning his forehead against Tenpou's, Kenren thought back to his conversation with Goku.
"If I had picked them for Konzen then no one else would be getting them. They probably wouldn't like them anyway"
That worked for him too, didn't it? Kenren realised that now he had finally given himself over to love, he didn't want to give it to anyone but the man before him. And who else would even want to be loved by someone like Kenren? This was his only chance and he wasn't going to wait any more.
"How long have we been…" he began but couldn't find the words. Tenpou finished for him, his voice quiet and his breath hot on Kenren's lips.
"Together? I don't know anymore. A long time I suppose."
"Then why have neither of us said it?" Kenren whispered, anger fading into something more like fear now the time had come. "You're perfectly happy with taking me to bed but you've never once told me how you feel."
Tenpou sighed and brought a hand up to rest gently at the back of Kenren's neck.
"Is that what this is all about?" he asked almost wearily. "I assumed you knew," Kenren opened his mouth to argue, "And before you say anything, Kenren, I am not 'perfectly happy taking you to bed'."
"You're not?" Kenren asked slowly.
"No. I'd be perfectly happy taking Goku to bed," Tenpou said pointedly, "Why would I just do that to you when we could be making love instead? Hm? Don't look at me like that, Kenren."
The general bit his lip and closed his eyes to stop from staring. Surely after all this hassle, after all his waiting, Tenpou wasn't going to say-
"I love you." Tenpou said matter-of -factly, "I assumed you knew that already." He leaned forward and kissed Kenren gently, smiling a little as they broke apart.
"Thanks for telling me before," Kenren said, but couldn't make himself sound angry as a great wave of relief washed over him. He had opened the door and found so much more than he was expecting. And he couldn't stay angry at this beautiful man who had never meant any harm at all. "You really are an airhead, aren't you?"
"And have you ever heard of a little thing called romance? I hear it has candles and stuff."
Tenpou laughed. "Stuff like that, yes. I never thought we needed it. We skipped those formal steps a long time ago."
Kenren shrugged. "Worth a try though. It might be fun. Are you free tomorrow night?"
"I am but that sort of thing takes an awful lot of time to set up…"
"That's your problem," Kenren said, standing up. "Just don't make me wait too long or the candles might become a safety hazard."
Almost bouncing as he walked, Kenren grabbed a book off a chair and turned to Tenpou who was still sitting on the floor looking somewhat bemused. "This is one of Goku's favourite books, right?"
"Can I borrow it?"
Kenren grinned and started to leave the room, book under his arm. "I just need to go and thank a little impatient monkey. I'll see you here tomorrow night so start clearing up, Tenpou. From now on, you're not making me wait for anything."
The door shut and left Tenpou staring at the Kenren-shaped hole before him. He touched his lips gently and smiled, feeling a little guilty. Kenren hadn't known how we felt had he? Tenpou had lied a little there; it wasn't just that he thought Kenren knew, it was also that he had no idea how to express it. And had been waiting for an opportunity like that to come up.
He smiled to himself and then set about tidying the room.
Perhaps they would get somewhere after all.