Author: TJ Dragonblade
Fandom: Saiyuki Gaiden
Word Count: ~3700
Warnings: Yaoi. Inter-species relations and mild blood-kink.
Spoilers: Not really
Setting: Pre-Gaiden, pre-Kenren
Summary: Tenpou visits Goujun's office many years after calling a cautionary hiatus to their affair
Notes: Many thanks to Sorcha for the beta work, and
to Kiro for the discussions two or three years back over his own GouTen epic
that cemented in my head the seeds of various ideas expressed herein. ^_^
Ohne dich kann ich nicht sein
Mit dir bin ich auch allein
Ohne dich zähl ich die Stunden ohne dich
Mit dir stehen die Sekunden
Lohnen nicht ohne dich
- "Ohne Dich", Rammstein, Reise, Reise, 2004
"Sir? May I come in?"
A brief knock announced Tenpou's presence an instant before he peered around Goujun's office door.
"Yes, certainly." Goujun beckoned him in, a frown creasing his brow as he set aside the report he had been reviewing. It was highly unusual anymore for Tenpou to come to his office, not since the marshal had convinced Goujun of the wisdom in separating for a time several decades earlier. 'A political precaution', he had called it, and insisted that he be allowed to protect Goujun's name in this manner for however long it should prove necessary.
'I foresee the need to poke my nose about where it's not entirely welcome,' Tenpou had told him, rather ruefully, 'and will quite likely stir attention and gossip in my wake. Given the particularly formalized relations between your people and mine, Sir, I am certain you'll agree that it's imperative you be kept clear of all suspicion, held apart from any implication of wrongdoing.'
While Goujun was not inclined to be concerned for any repercussions to himself directly, he was all too aware of the weight of Dragonkind resting on his shoulders and his responsibility to act first as a representative of his people, however much it might cost him personally. Setting the relationship aside had naturally proved as difficult and taxing as Goujun had imagined, and being in one another's presence was more often than not a trial of resolve that left both of them raw.
If Tenpou had come to see him in person, then, it was likely quite important.
"I do apologize for the intrusion, Sir, but I felt it necessary to speak with you directly." Tenpou shut the door behind him.
"About...?" Goujun steepled his hands before him, elbows on the desk, centering his focus on remaining detached as a prickling awareness of his long-time lover filled the room and ghosted over his skin.
Tenpou sauntered further into the office, hands tucked casually in his labcoat pockets. "It has occurred to me, lately, that it could be quite useful to have someone directly under me assisting with the administrative functions of my position."
Tenpou laughed, a light, empty, agreeable sound that Goujun missed terribly despite its falseness. "Yes, naturally; I'm sure you've had cause to notice that I grow increasingly more tardy with written reports and follow-ups to verbal debriefings." He beamed. "I'm afraid there are just too many other things more pressing that seem to occupy my time!"
"Your studies, I presume." Specifically, your 'studies' in the workings of current politics, Goujun added silently, eyes narrowed thoughtfully.
Tenpou's laugh this time was appropriately sheepish but no more genuine. "Ahaha! Well. Yes, I suppose there's no use in denying it!" He was still beaming.
"You wish to bring in an assistant to unburden your time, the better to devote it to your books." Goujun kept his tone flat, neutral, perfectly in keeping with the conversation, betraying nothing of the fond affection that wanted to color his words.
"Yes, Sir," Tenpou answered, smile giving way to seriousness. "With the number of excursions Down Below that we find ourselves facing these days, I feel it prudent to remain sharp in the arts of combat and strategy. The more I am able to devote myself to such studies, the better I believe I can serve Heaven."
"Your reasoning is sound, though I suspect your motives are not so entirely noble as you would have me believe," Goujun offered after a moment. "I have no objections, regardless. Is there someone in particular whom you would see in such a role, Marshal?" The words came easily, but it was an effort to keep his focus restricted solely to this conversation. Tenpou's voice, face, scent, once again so near him--he was finding it difficult to disregard the soft swell of yearning in the pit of his stomach. It had been so terribly long...
"As a matter of fact, I've heard tell of an unruly general in the Eastern Army," Tenpou answered, interest bright in his tone, his face. "I like to think that I have something of a talent for reaching troubled youth; I'd like to arrange for his transfer to my command when next he gets out of hand." He smiled, the genuine smile that made Goujun's heart ache. "A fitting punishment for misbehaviours, don't you think, to be saddled with the backlog of my paperwork? Particularly while I instead bury myself in my texts?"
"Indeed," Goujun agreed, running it back through his head. Such a person would tend to draw attention; he wondered what his Tenpou might be up to but trusted that the Marshal had good reasons for such a request. "As I said, I have no objections. See to it that the necessary paperwork reaches my desk at the proper time." He rose with the intent of seeing Tenpou out. The scent of him was crawling softly under Goujun's skin, tugging insistently at his focus and wearing away at his self-discipline.
"Ah...if I may, Sir--" Tenpou tilted his head just so, the glint of light off his spectacles obscuring his eyes. "There was one other matter I wanted to discuss with you."
Goujun paused, something composed of equal parts foreboding and anticipation curling in his belly. "Go ahead, Marshal," he said shortly, drawing himself up to his full height.
Tenpou stepped closer, an air of personal concern in his demeanor. "How long has it been, Sir, since you were able to return home?"
Goujun's heart seized. He knew well where this line of questioning would lead.
Of course. Of course, his Tenpou would cut directly to this most intimate matter.
He drew a steadying breath. "Quite a very long time, as I am certain you already know."
"Surely, then, you must be more than weary of the constraints to your nature placed upon you while you're here."
"Tenpou--" He growled the name softly, a warning, though it sounded more of pleading than command. Do not make me turn you away. Do not force me to refuse your precious gift. "What you wish to propose is ill-advised, under present circumstances." Memory rose behind his eyes, memory of Tenpou warm in his arms, pliant and wanting beneath him--
"Yes, Sir, I do realize that, but I also believe it's vital to your personal health and well-being."
--Tenpou's scent all over his skin, soft and heavy in his bed--
"A dragon is a natural carnivore, after all, and your physiology is not designed to subsist on a strictly vegetarian diet for such extensive periods of time."
--Tenpou's breath hitching, trembling at his ear as his teeth took hold--
"It is of course unwise to flout the laws of Heaven entirely, as we've discussed before, but privately their bounds can still be pressed to your benefit, if you'll allow it."
--the taste of Tenpou's blood on his tongue, rich and warm and alive--
"After all, tasting blood is not at all the same thing as consuming flesh; it's a far cry still from fish or fowl, of course, but surely it's closer than bean paste and cabbage."
The reasoning was old and familiar and far too enticing; Goujun suppressed a shiver of longing. "Tenpou," he repeated, his tone stronger this time. "I appreciate your concern, Marshal, but I will survive until next I am able to hunt the waters of my home."
Tenpou moved closer. "I don't question your survival, Sir, but why suffer completely if a means exists to ease that suffering somewhat in the interim?"
His scent hung soft in Goujun's mouth, renewed with every breath; it made the dragon ache fiercely all down his spine and deep in the pit of his stomach. "Thank you, Marshal, but I must maintain my observance of Heaven's law and custom while I am in service here." He could taste desire, an urgent sense of want-need-mine in the back of his throat that was torture to disregard.
Tenpou took another step nearer. "Yes, Sir, but as I pointed out, what I offer does technically adhere to those laws and customs."
"Marshal--" He meant it to halt the other's arguments, to warn that his patience was wearing thin; even to his own ear, however, there was a note of rising hunger underneath.
"With respect, Sir--" Tenpou stepped closer still, deliberately into Goujun's personal space "--a man who fasts must take care not to fast too long, lest he find himself weakened and famished at the most inopportune moments."
There was a lilt of sadness in the tone that suggested Tenpou was speaking for his own behalf as much as his commander's, and Goujun's resolve suffered a blow to hear it. What Tenpou offered so insistently, what Tenpou sought--he wanted it, wanted to give it to him. It had been so long, so very long, and oh, how he wanted it--
"The aromas of the banquet hall are particularly torturous to the starving man who may not be allowed to sit down at the feast," he cautioned, but could not make himself step back from his erstwhile lover.
"That may be, Sir, but by the same token any morsel given him out of compassion will keep him from the grave that much longer," Tenpou returned, and neither of them was so dim as to believe they were truly speaking of diet anymore.
"It is better, perhaps, that he should refuse such scraps altogether, never to eat again, and thus shorten the length of his suffering." Goujun forced himself to say it, though the offer beneath the metaphor pained him more than he could speak.
"I'm afraid I disagree, Sir," Tenpou said, very quietly. "So long as he refuses to give up hope, he will always have opportunity to prevail in the end." His hand lit gently at Goujun's hip, the faintest of touches. He tilted his face up, completely open, so close now; the scent and the heat of him were overwhelming in their nearness and Goujun lost his battle.
He lifted a hand, slowly stroking through Tenpou's hair once, twice, the first they had truly touched in decades, and Tenpou went perfectly still, breath bated. Goujun gently gripped the back of Tenpou's neck to bow his kami's head forward and bowed his own in turn, lips settling at the crown of Tenpou's head. His breath caught as the full awareness of Tenpou flooded his senses in a rush, and his eyes closed. He remained unmoving for a very long moment, breathing in the scent of Tenpou's hair and of Tenpou himself, aching for the days long past when such touches and such moments could be commonplace between them. He fought down the urgency in his soul, fought the need to touch Tenpou, taste him, devour him, anything but simply stand so close without pulling him closer.
He moved at last, lifting his head slightly, lifting Tenpou's in turn to brush his cheek along the side of Tenpou's face and leave his own scent faint on his kami's skin. His lips came to rest at Tenpou's ear, parted to offer any of the thousands of sentiments he might have liked to voice; he closed them instead over the lobe and left the words unsaid.
There were simply too many of them.
He grazed down the side of Tenpou's neck, then, and felt Tenpou shiver; he gently lifted Tenpou's head farther back, raised his other hand to carefully grip Tenpou's shoulder, trailed his lips across Tenpou's throat.
He should not, he knew; he was breaking any number of the rules they had set in place more than a century ago. His strength of will, however, had never been so stalwart as it should have been where Tenpou was concerned and he let himself feel, if only for a moment, the ache that so many decades of separation had cultivated.
"Tenpou...my Tenpou," he breathed, soft yearning heat against Tenpou's throat, and his kami shivered again.
Tenpou's hand at Goujun's hip had not moved; the other had risen to lay lightly against the front of Goujun's shoulder and the dragon could feel it twitch, trembling with the need to clench in his garments and draw him closer.
It would be easy to let him, so easy; no effort at all to wind his own arms about Tenpou and crush him close in a fierce embrace, rend his clothing to shreds and reclaim him completely, take him right here atop the desk like a common animal.
Goujun was not in the habit of deceiving himself and so wasted no effort on pretending that he did not want to. The temptation was in fact very strong, but succumbing to that desire just once would make it all the easier to excuse such indulgence the next time, and the next, and the next.
And why not? a part of him demanded, frustrated and petulant and starving with need. Why should I not actively have him for my lover, whatever discretion is required of us, when his claim upon my soul is so very great?
Even as the voice of his own weakness clamored within, however, it was overshadowed by Tenpou's voice in his memory.
'I can no longer trust myself not to behave in a manner that would breed rumour,' Tenpou had confessed with due chagrin, 'unless you and I are truly on hiatus.'
That Tenpou, masterfully skilled in the practice of artful misdirection, of appearing less than he was, should doubt his continuing ability to behave toward Goujun as someone not his lover--the dragon had found the implication within the admission deeply affecting. Regretfully, he had agreed with the marshal--his marshal, his Tenpou, who knew him so completely, who understood him like no other--and had found the strength within himself to do as Tenpou asked, year upon year, for decades gone.
He could not cast it all aside now, for nothing had changed.
Yet still here he stood, hands gentle but firm where they held Tenpou motionless, Tenpou's pulse rapid and urgent beneath the faint brush of his lips, Tenpou's scent heady and powerful and swarming all around him. Tenpou was not precisely trembling against the narrow margin of space that separated them, but the tension in his slender body sang with the need to eliminate that void.
Goujun mourned, in his heart, that he would not oblige his Tenpou in this, even as his lips brushed once more against Tenpou's throat, even as he moved to delicately nose the open shirt collar aside. He was reacquainted with the taste of Tenpou's skin before he realized that his tongue had licked out; he let it snake a slow, languid swath from Tenpou's clavicle to his earlobe.
And another, and another, and another, Tenpou's breath hitching softly at his ear with each stroke. He could not help the purr that rose, quiet in the back of his throat, could not help the stirring in his blood as Tenpou's scent shifted, subtle and enticing, betraying his arousal.
This was right, and as it should be, and oh, how he missed this Belonging--
Goujun let the emotions tumble freely through him, his tongue still tracing invisible lines of possession up Tenpou's throat, until the temptation swiftly became too much to fight. He buried his face in the crook of Tenpou's neck and shoulder, inhaling the scent and the taste of him, and allowed himself to tear open a tiny mark in the yielding softness of his kami's skin.
Tenpou's breath caught, trembled out on what was almost a moan; his hands jerked at Goujun's shoulder and hip but remained light and passive in their touch.
Goujun's mind and body sang with need, thrumming tautly as Tenpou's blood--Tenpou's soul, Tenpou's life, Tenpou's Self--welled softly beneath his tongue; he lapped at it gently, reverently, as slowly as he dared.
It was not about diet. It had never been about diet.
Diet was merely the excuse Tenpou had crafted to counter Goujun's chagrin after the first accidental occurrence in the heat of passion, to encourage the indulgence when Goujun was hesitant to repeat it. Tenpou's blood was an offering he gave, a vow and a pledge that he would always belong to Goujun, a symbolic gifting of his very life to the dragon, and Goujun had never taken it lightly.
Usually the exchange had been naked and heated and highly charged--a prelude to sex when it wasn't a frenzied instinct at the height of climax, Goujun's teeth sunk in Tenpou's throat, Tenpou's release spattering hotly between them. The fact that both of them were fully clothed this time made it no less intimate, nor any less precious.
For this moment, at least, Tenpou was truly Goujun's once again, open and needing and belonging completely to him; despite the scent of Tenpou's desire and the answering need in his own body, there was nothing he wanted more than to make this moment last an eternity.
All too soon, however, the trickle of Tenpou's blood slowed, ceased, and Goujun forced himself to lift his head, release his hold on the back of Tenpou's neck.
The look on Tenpou's face, equal parts rapture and sorrow, was almost enough to break him.
"My Tenpou," he murmured, a heartfelt assertion as he leaned in to brush his lips over Tenpou's cheek, over the faintness there of his own scent.
Tenpou turned his head, very slightly, as if to meet Goujun's mouth with his own, but drew back instead, a haunting rawness in his eyes.
Goujun was grateful that Tenpou could show such restraint, even as he ached to drive that sad resignation from his kami's face.
For he could not. The old familiar intimacy of taking Tenpou's blood had left his control hanging by tatters. If he were to kiss Tenpou now, to taste of his mouth after so long without they would be lost, and Tenpou knew it.
Tenpou had always known, known exactly how far he could push with Goujun in any arena, had always known precisely where the lines were drawn between 'enough' and 'too much'.
His hand withdrew from Goujun's shoulder, lifted to touch the damp trace of his own blood in the corner of Goujun's mouth and smooth it away.
Goujun moved to catch his hand without thought, tongue flicking out to lick the faint stain of red from the pad of that one finger and Tenpou's eyes closed, lips parting on a shakily-indrawn breath. His hand on Goujun's hip twitched, withdrew abruptly, as though he could no longer trust himself to let it remain there passively.
Goujun gave one final delicate lick and, reluctantly, let Tenpou's hand fall.
The marshal lowered his head. "I miss you," he said then, very quietly, clearly losing the struggle to keep the words back. It was almost a plea.
"...And I, you," Goujun managed, once he could breathe past the sudden constriction of his throat. He splayed both hands on either side of Tenpou's bowed head, fingers curving to fit its shape, thumbs resting precisely where Tenpou's horns would emerge were he Dragon. His lips once again came to rest against Tenpou's hair in the softest sort of kiss.
"You are still mine," he murmured, the words a fervent promise against the loneliness hovering in wait on the fringes of the moment.
"Always," Tenpou breathed in return, barely more than a whisper. His eyes turned up when Goujun let him go, soft and bright behind his spectacles and full of things that words could not convey.
Goujun brushed gentle knuckles along Tenpou's cheek, then forced himself to stay where he stood as Tenpou blinked and somehow closed, stepped away.
Silence fell briefly while both gathered their composure about them once more.
When Tenpou raised his head, the charmingly absent-minded smile curved his mouth again as he cleared his throat. "Ah. Well then. I do appreciate your consideration in the matter of my hiring an assistant, Sir," he offered blandly, hands laced behind him as he rocked back slightly on his heels.
Goujun inclined his head the smallest bit, forcing the necessary distance back into his voice. "As I said. See to it that I receive all necessary paperwork when this transfer occurs."
"Yes, Sir. Of course."
"I would advise you to make certain you are not taking on more trouble than assistance," Goujun added, tempering his concern with administrative pragmatism, willing his hands not to reach for Tenpou again. "If this general is beyond reform..." He shook his head. "I would not have you burden either yourself or the Western Army with problems that have no solutions."
"Of course not, Sir." Tenpou beamed. "My research will be both thorough and extensive before I make my decision final." He unclasped his hands and straightened up. "If there's nothing else, then...?"
Goujun drew a soft breath, one last taste of his Tenpou's scent blending with the flavor of Tenpou's blood that lingered on his tongue. "You are dismissed, Marshal."
"Thank you, Sir." His smile flashed briefly, achingly genuine before returning to its usual empty brightness, and Goujun knew he did not mean for the transfer.
Slouching into his customary careless posture, Tenpou turned on his heel and left the office swiftly.
Goujun watched him go, heart heavy in his chest, and said nothing.
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