Characters: Koumyou and Ukoku
Spoilers: Very minor for Ukoku's Burial arc
Time: 30 minutes
Summary: Some opponents are easier to play with than others.
Koumyou didn't play mind games. In fact, he acted like such things didn't exist at all. Ukoku would spend hours setting up the mental board, putting everything in place, and Koumyou would sit down next to him and act like the pieces weren't even there.
Koumyou was a puzzle impossible to solve, a riddle about fish whose answer was 'blue.' Goudai, the old bastard, used to tell him he overthought, and Ukoku supposed that was true, but how else was he supposed to act? Just stop thinking was like asking him to stop breathing.
Still, he envied Koumyou his ease in the world. There was a beauty to him that Ukoku couldn't quite wrap his mind around; the way he spoke, the way he moved. It wasn't purely physical attraction, though there was a disconcerting edge of that as well. Koumyou was too old, too strange, too instinctive for Ukoku's tastes; and yet, there he was, watching Koumyou like a starving man faced with a feast.
"You look tired," Koumyou said, finally acknowledging his presence through the small cloud of pipe smoke.
"Hn," Ukoku said, and shoved his bangs out of his face. "It's a long walk." The temple, famously, stood at the top of five hundred stairs. Koumyou was sitting on, by Ukoku's guess, step four hundred and ninety-two.
"Koryuu told me we should just skip this place," Koumyou said with a grin. "I'm inclined to agree with him."
Ukoku winced in sympathy. "That bad?"
"Formality is quite important to them," he answered brightly. "The welcoming ceremony took an hour and a half."
Ukoku sighed and sat down next to Koumyou. "So I should tell them I'm merely a traveling priest?"
"I'd recommend it. Koryuu's soaking his feet."
"Poor kid," Ukoku said, almost meaning it. "What about you?"
"I wanted some fresh air," he said, waving his pipe in the spring breeze. "I'm sure they'll find me and ask me to bless something soon enough."
It was a nice day, nice to be outside. Maybe he should just turn back around. Still, Koumyou was here. That was something.
Perhaps, for a little while, he could just sit.
There was still plenty of time to plot his next move.