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Title: Cast-Offs
Author: opalmatrix
Warnings: borderline worksafe; swearing, mild m/m interactions, implied offstage sex
Pairing(s): Gojyo/Hakkai
Spoilers: a small bit of Gojyo's history
Notes: saiyuki_time challenge #8: Spring cleaning. Time given: 2 hours. Time taken: closer to 2.5 hours. It didn't want to wrap up, but Sanzo finally took charge and shut it down. (This is actually a long-after sequel to something I wrote last autumn.)
Summary: Hakkai wants Gojyo to get rid of some baggage, but Gojyo's not the only one who needs to let go.

"Hey, it's us!" said Gojyo, cheerfully, opening the door to their suite at the inn. Hakuryu chirrupped back at him, and Hakkai looked up from the piles of clothing he was sorting and smiled. The sitting room instantly felt a little smaller with Gojyo and Goku there, but it was a cozy feeling. Wafts of cool, damp air seemed to enter the room with them, and their faces were flushed and glowing. But Goku glanced at the closed door on the right and seemed to shrink a little.

"How's Sanzo?" he asked, anxiously, in a half-whisper. Hakkai nodded toward the door in question. "Better, I think. He drank some broth, and his fever is down. He should be asleep by now, I hope. Not to worry, Goku - he's really very strong, you know. But he needs quiet."

Goku's shoulders relaxed and he smiled faintly. "Ya don't have to worry about me making noise - the innkeeper and her husband and the cook said I could come play Mahjong with them and have tea and cakes. But Gojyo said I'm too wet to sit on the chairs and I should change."

"He's quite right. You have dry clothes right there on your bed. Put the wet ones in that basket. Gojyo ... yes, you're just as wet."

Gojyo looked up from the cigarette he was lighting and grinned. "Don't worry, I'm not sittin' down 'til I change. I just need a smoke - right now." Behind him, in the little alcove, Goku was stripping down and changing with amazing speed - clearly the almond cookies and bean-jam buns were calling loudly.

"Did you have a good workout?"

"Yeah - we got lucky." Gojyo blew out a thin stream of smoke. "The shit-pickers'd just finished cleaning up the field behind the marketplace - you know, where the farmers park their carts. The drainage is good, so it wasn't real muddy yet."

"I didn't think it was raining that hard - I can hardly hear it."

"Mostly it's not - just spittin' a little. But the wind's blowing it sideways, and it's pretty damn chilly for March. Good thing you convinced Sanzo-sama to stay put."

Goku, resplendent in dry, clean clothes but with his hair half on end, emerged again and gave Sanzo's door another glance. Hakkai frowned at him slightly and made shooing motions. Goku sighed. "OK. See ya later." He shut the door to the suite with exaggerated care and disappeared.

Gojyo, toasting his damp posterior at the ceramic stove built into the wall, gave Hakkai a leer and a wink. Hakkai sighed and gestured at what was spread out on the table before him, on the chairs, and on the floor nearby: almost everything they owned. Gojyo's face fell and he puffed in silence for a moment, watching his friend examine things and rearrange them into different stacks.

"So whatcha doing, anyway?"

"Well, as long as we're stuck here for a couple of days while Sanzo is ill, I thought I would go over everything, to see what needs mending and get rid of what's not worth fixing. This is a good-sized town: we can probably buy anything we really need in the way of replacements. Goku's worn out a lot of his clothes, and he's outgrowing some of them as well ... Gojyo, if you're finished, you should go change. Rub your hair, too."

"OK, OK, I'm on it." Gojyo sighed and retreated into their room. He came out a few moments later, barefoot, in dry jeans and unbuttoned shirt, a towel around his neck. He tossed his wet things in the laundry basket and went dutifully to rub his hair by the stove, his disinterested gaze flickering over the stacks of clothing, the bedding, the cooking gear - suddenly his eyes snapped back to one of the piles of clothes, the one with a plainly ragged shirt of Goku's on the top. He moaned like a soul in torment.

"Hakkai ... !"

Hakkai looked up, surprised. "What, Gojyo?"

Gojyo dove for the pile and pulled out something buried near to bottom. "Not these ... you're not throwing these out, are you?!"

Gojyo was clutching the hideously ugly baggy trousers he'd insisted on wearing for their earliest expeditions with Sanzo, and the expression on his face suggested a child faced with the disposal of his teddy bear. "Gojyo, you never wear them anymore," said Hakkai, exasperated.

"And whose fault is that? You said you liked me better in these jeans! You were lookin' at my ass when you said it ... ."

Well, yes. He had been. And he'd meant it quite honestly, as well as strategically. Those were an extremely hideous pair of pantaloons, and he'd promised himself that he'd never let Gojyo wear them again.

"I do like you better in jeans. And in fact, I wish I could get you some leather trousers."

Gojyo's stricken expression wavered for a moment, but then he gave Hakkai an unexpectedly sharp look. "Now you're just tryin' to distract me. Hakkai, no - I wanna keep these."

"Gojyo ... why?"

Gojyo set his chin and looked stubborn, but there was still something childish about his whole manner. Hakkai sighed. He moved the mending pile off one of the chairs and made it fit on the table. "Gojyo," he said, gently, "Please sit and tell me why I can't get rid of those old trousers."

Hakkai's lover gave him a mistrustful look, but he sat down, nursing the bundled pants in his lap. "Damn ... do I have to? Can't I just ... ?"

Hakkai shook his head firmly. "We need every inch of room in Jeep. You know that. Gojyo, I feel like I'm talking to Goku. What in the world is the trouble?"

Gojyo leaned one elbow on the table's edge and rubbed his face. "Fuck. This is going to sound so stupid ... ."

Hakkai waited, patiently. Hakuryu flitted down to land on his shoulder, and his master gentled the little dragon's head with one finger. After a moment, Gojyo began again. "When ... when I was a little kid, there was this movie serial I really, really liked. Jien - my brother Jien used to take me to see the show when he could get the money together. It was this crazy story about a guy travellin' through the jungle, having adventures. He'd fight bandits, find treasure, rescue pretty girls and old folks - that kinda crap. It was pretty lame, I guess, but I loved it." Gojyo patted the pocket of his unbuttoned shirt absentmindedly, and pulled out his cigarettes. "Anyway ... when Sanzo first asked us to go after those guys that were takin' the supplies for the charity school, I went to the surplus place to get some really tough pants .... and there they were. Just like my hero used to wear. These pants. And we were goin' on the same kind of expedition, so ... ."

Gojyo looked up at Hakkai, trying to smile wryly, but his eyes were sad. He stuck a cigarette between his lips and lit it, then shrugged. "Well, so that's it. It's pretty stupid."

He pocketed his lighter and exhaled a cloud of smoke, staring at the wall. His other hand was stroking the old trousers absent-mindedly, much as Hakkai was stroking Hakuryu.

"You're lucky, you know," said Hakkai, quietly, at last. "Most children have to let their dreams go when they grow up, and go tend the farm or run the store. You actually got to follow in your hero's footsteps."

He was rewarded by seeing Gojyo's expression lighten slightly. "Heh. I guess you're right. But I couldn't really be like that guy. He was all educated - knew everything. Never lost his cool, always polite ... ." Gojyo stopped, suddenly, then turned to look at Hakkai, searchingly. He started laughing. "Oh shit, that's too crazy .... !"

Hakkai raised his eyebrows above the rims of his spectacles. "Well ... can you tell me the joke so I can laugh, too?"

"Oh, man ... he had glasses. I thought it was stupid back then, this guy, so badass, takin' down all these bad guys, with glasses. And, like I said, he was real polite ... and ... ." Gojyo's chuckles trailed off uneasily, but at last Hakkai smiled back at him.

"Well. I guess we finally know why you picked me up all those years ago, don't we?"

Gojyo actually blushed, to Hakkai's secret delight. He looked away and took a long drag on his cigarette. "Hell. You weren't even wearing your glasses that night. Ahhh, I guess I don't need the pants. Shit. I've got somethin' a lot better to remember with, don't I? I mean, look at you - you didn't even laugh at me."

"I wasn't even tempted to laugh, really. We all have things we don't want to give up, Gojyo."

"Whatta you mean? You don't have anything like that, Hakkai."

"Yes, actually, I do. I just don't talk about those things very much."

"Eh? What the hell? Why not?"

"Gojyo ... you're ... you have such a good heart. I don't always want to be bothering you with all the dark things I sometimes feel I want to remember."

To his surprise, Gojyo looked angry. He ground out his cigarette with unnecessary force. "Well, I guess there is somethin' you can get rid of, after all."

"What do you ... ?"

"That whole attitude. What am I, huh? Some fragile flower? Yeah, in a fight I'm not as strong as you, but have you ever pitched me anything outta your private business that I couldn't handle? You know I'm tougher than that. I'm like a cockroach, remember? You can heap all the shit you want on me - I'm still gonna come up smiling."

Angry, and hurt.

Hakkai remembered Gojyo's face on that night, years ago, when he'd explained about Kanan: calm, wry, accepting. Yeah, some people ... go for that, I guess. And in their bed, for months now - or was it years, already? - Gojyo had always been willing, open, game to try anything he'd suggested. Hakkai stared down at his hands in his lap. "I'm sorry."

"I'll make ya a deal. You can get rid of my old adventure guy pants - but you gotta quit holding out on me with stuff that bothers you. Deal?"

He was holding out one hand for a handshake. Hakkai felt far more inclined to wrap his arms around him and bury his face in that tangled, damp crimson hair, but Gojyo was as serious as he'd ever seen him. Gravely, Hakkai clasped his friend's hand and shook it firmly. "You have a deal ... now, give me those terrible things."

Gojyo huffed at him, annoyed, but handed them over. Hakkai took them gently, folded them neatly, and then pressed them to his cheek, smiling. Gojyo stared a moment, and then grinned. Hakkai put the trousers carefully back in the give-away pile. Then he leaned forward, reaching out to trace circles around Gojyo's kneecap with one fingertip. "I imagine that Goku has only played a couple of hands of Mahjong at this point."

Gojyo captured the errant hand with his own, pulled it to his mouth, turned it over, kissed the palm. Hakkai could feel the tip of his tongue. "They had this huge stack of cookies and shit. Enough to keep him happy for a good long time ... " He stood, pulling Hakkai up as well, and Hakkai gently but firmly freed his hand and then laced all ten fingers into the cool damp tangles of Gojyo's hair.

"This is going to be horrible to comb out," he said, softly. Gojyo smiled between his lover's hands. "Well, then it won't matter if we make it worse, huh -" and planted his lips firmly on Hakkai's. Hakuryu hissed irritably, then gave up and flew off to sulk in the warmth by the stove.

An ominous cough came from behind the closed door across the room. The lovers froze, and then turned their heads in perfect synch as the invalid spoke hoarsely but distinctly from his sickbed.

"When I come out there in a minute, you two perverts better be in your room with the damn door closed."

Gojyo turned to Hakkai, an expression of sheer horror on his face. "How much do you think he heard?" he hissed.

"Oh Gojyo. I think he really was asleep. That's why he's so -"

"Thirty seconds!" said the voice from behind the door. "My gun's right here under my pillow."

There was a second of silence, followed by a brief tattoo of hasty footsteps toward the second bedroom. The door slammed. There was a faint jangle and creak of bedsprings, and then the suite was almost entirely quiet.

Sanzo emerged a moment later, clutching a blanket around his shoulders. He shuffled over to the stove and poured himself a cup of tea from the pot Hakkai had left warming there. Hakuryu watched him warily, clearly expecting a spill. Staggering a little, Sanzo headed for the easy chair, but was distracted by Hakkai's mountainous inventory project. The rejected trousers were easy to spot. Sanzo stared down his nose at them with red-rimmed eyes, then his lips quirked upward at the corners for a moment. "Adventure guy pants!" he mouthed, silently.

He made his way to the chair. His reading glasses and newspaper were there on the lamp table, where he'd forgotten them last night. He settled in as comfortably as he could to read and sip and wait for Goku, steadfastly ignoring the faint whispers and creaking and groans that occasionally emerged from behind the other door.



( 26 comments — leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
May. 16th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC)

Hee, so you read the other one!

Hakkai is indeed a mess, and he can't help being manipulative ... I'm glad that their interactions felt right to you.

Ahhh, yes, shit-pickers. In any agricultural society, and especially one like China, where a lot of food had to be squeezed out of any particular piece of land, manure was a valuable commodity. So a field full of the, er, products of oxen and horses that had been parked there would be pretty carefully picked over afterward, either by farmers who didn't have lots of animals and wanted it for their own fields, or people who'd sell the stuff afterward. When I was thinking "where would they find room for fighting practice close to the inn?", the "parking lot" seemed to be the answer ... .

May. 14th, 2008 12:49 pm (UTC)
Beautiful and funny! I had a very bad day, but you just managed to make it better!
May. 16th, 2008 11:07 am (UTC)

I'm so glad it helped! Yes, a little 585 usually makes my day better, too!

May. 14th, 2008 01:48 pm (UTC)
Hehe! I love the adventure guy pants. And I also like that Sanzo is both somewhat charmed and amused by the story -- I often think that while Sanzo mostly doesn't find Gojyo particularly chamring, he does like him as much as he likes anyone, and I think there really isn't much exploration of that (there's a lot of hate sex though).

But I mostly like the way you depicted the fact that in this story Hakkai and Gojyo are at a point in their relationship where they can both can sit down and thrash out their problems and work on a mutually satisfying (in all ways, apparently ;) ) solution. Just liked real married people in actual stable marital relationships do.

So basically, it really worked for me... sweet without being particularly fluffy.
May. 16th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC)

Hmmm, I hadn't thought about it that way, but yes, Sanzo is probably capable of admitting to himself that Gojyo has some positive aspects. He also may have given a bit of thought to the fact that Gojyo's childhood was much more of a mess than his own. I think he's also becoming aware of group dynamics to the point where he knows it wouldn't do to mock Gojyo to his face (and with Hakkai there) about something Gojyo took seriously. But I do think there's a certain amount of amusement at Gojyo's expense there - Gojyo's always being the tough ladies' man, and look what's behind it all. The other factor is that Sanzo's feeling ill and isn't really in the mood for a confrontation, no matter how much he growls and threatens.

Well, I love the fact that Gojyo and Hakkai are so married and yet anything but staid ... there's so little acknowledgment in most pop culture that sex with a partner who really knows you can be completely mind-blowing. And yes, Minekura hasn't really said that they're doing it, but certainly, there's solid relationship of some kind there, that's also still lively and satisfying. Hakkai is very "talky" - he likes explanations - so I figured he wouldn't be able to let this lie. And Gojyo can be quite eloquent when the spirit moves him - I'm thinking of the time after Goku had to take off his limiter to save Sanzo in the desert, and Gojyo's talking to him and setting him straight after that.

I think I've got to get un-sweet, maybe, for a story or two. My heart's tugging at me with more 585 fluff for this next prompt and my mind's going "You're doing this whole saiyuki_time thing to improved your writing. Do something different!"

May. 16th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, please write the fluff as well as the "something different", if the fluffy-prompt-idea is already forming it's a shame to let it go to waste! And it can be so *nice* to have some good fluff to unwind in if your mind's prone to wandering in dark places.
May. 16th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)

Awww ... well, we'll see. I have to see if I can keep it on track with the "magic" aspect of stuff. Something a little naughtier might be better too, but nothing's tugging me in that direction with this prompt.

May. 14th, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC)
That was very cute, and sweet, and Sanzo was priceless. As was Jeep going off to sulk. :) You might get a kick out of this: I actually discussed your story with my roommate, who's not an anime fan but who's been watching Saiyuki with me, and who, when we switched from Gensomaden to Saiyuki, lamented the change in Gojyo's voice but cheered the change in pants. I said they were "adventuring pants" and told of your theory. Nice job-- thanks for sharing more! :)
May. 16th, 2008 11:28 am (UTC)

Yeah, Sanzo's feeling cruddy enough (I think he has the flu) that he's not up to doing much more than making sure he doesn't have to watch them! And I like writing Jeep, but I don't always think of him in a story.

Those adventuring pants! When I was first reading Saiyuki Reload and noticed the change in wardrobe, I went back to Saiyuki and noticed that Gojyo doesn't seem to wear them in flashbacks showing him in town, like the night when he finds Gonou lying by the road. I mentioned this to sanada, and we agreed that this fact made the idea of the baggy pants even worse, because it meant that he was putting them on a-purpose for the trip West ... and thus "special adventuring pants." I'm glad it made sense to you and your roommate too!

(Deleted comment)
May. 16th, 2008 11:31 am (UTC)

Yes, Hakkai's definitely got the best fashion sense in this bunch! smillaraaq and I were thinking that he probably buys Goku's clothes nowadays, too (although I think Goku must have picked out the jacket with the fang-things on the shoulders himself).

I'm glad it was fun for you!

May. 14th, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
LOL This was awesome. I love'd the fic that came before this and I love this one too, although I think I liked Sanzo's reaction to all this the best. Great job!
May. 16th, 2008 11:41 am (UTC)

I'm glad you liked it (and its sibling)! It's frighteningly easy to go into annoyed-Sanzo mode sometimes.

Edited at 2008-05-16 11:42 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
May. 16th, 2008 11:44 am (UTC)

Awww, thank you for that! Yeah, they're my shmushy/sexy comfort zone, those two.

May. 15th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
My best friend cosplays Gojyo and has a hell of a time with those pants :D I think she loves to hate them. 'Adventure-guy' :) Such a cute idea! This was a really sweet story, thanks for sharing!
May. 16th, 2008 11:51 am (UTC)

They are really fugly pants! I think they're meant to be sort of like jodhpurs, but they're baggier than that. I'm glad you liked the story!

May. 15th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)
It's so true...men, and the clothing they become so attached to! (I *don't* understand the need to hold on to a ratty shirt with holes in it that's twenty years old.) It seems very logical that Gojyo would likewise have clothing he doesn't want to get rid of. ^_^

I liked the explanation for the pants (which certainly are odd enough to need explaining) and what you did with the backstory made lots of sense. The interaction between the characters here was also nicely done, handled with a delicate touch that fits the canon nicely. Well done!
May. 16th, 2008 11:55 am (UTC)

Yes, that's what got me thinking that even though by the time of Reload, Hakkai's got him wearing something more flattering, I doubt he's actually given up the special pants! Because he seems to have got them just for the trip - when you see flashbacks, like when he found Gonou, he's not wearing them. (Did you see the original story about the pants, BTW?)

May. 16th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
AWWWWWWWWW. I was wondering if Gojyo was ever going to work out the non-reincarnation reason Hakkai might have seemed so familiar and appealing... XD

Other than the sweet 585 interaction, I really love how all four of the guys are really trying to take care of each other here -- Goku worrying over Sanzo, Gojyo being so fierce at the idea of Hakkai suffering in silence, Hakkai taking care of everything and everyone at once, even Sanzo in his own cantankerous way shooing the boys out to have his little laugh at Gojyo in private.

And conniving!Hakkai is always love, of course, even when Gojyo's clearly started to wise up to some of his tricks.

But now I can't help wondering if Gojyo ever had a teddy bear, of course...
May. 16th, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I didn't have that at first, but then I was getting into why he would feel that he could give up that memento of his best times with Jien, and it came to me that he actually had another souvenir ... .

Gojyo's clever enough on the human interaction level that Hakkai's going to have to work to stay ahead of him in that area ... it's definitely a case of "fooled me once, shame on you; fooled me twice, shame on me."

You know if Gojyo-chan did have a teddy bear, Mommy Dearest probably did something rotten with it. (Darn you, you're plot bunnying me again ... .)

May. 20th, 2008 04:04 am (UTC)
I'm glad someone could explain those pants. I really enjoyed this, Gojyo is the sweetest thing, isn't he?
Jun. 2nd, 2008 11:38 am (UTC)

(Ack - sorry I missed this. I need to start keeping the e-mails from these in a separate file, since these don't go into an account in-box.)

Yes, he is! I've had a couple of interesting conversations with my teenaged daughter, about how the fact that he has a smutty mouth and is a little too free and easy sexually isn't at all incompatible with his generosity and innate childish sweetness.

(Did you see the original adventuring pants story, that I wrote last fall? It's Jien's POV - an afternoon at the movies for the brothers.)

Jun. 25th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
Eeee! I wondered when Jungle Jiji was going to make another cameo! The comparison to Hakkai was hugely funny, and there were so many sweet moments in there to balance out all the angst and levity. Great job!
Nov. 29th, 2009 12:18 am (UTC)
Special Adventuring Pants ot. II ...

Yikes, Ice, I never answered you here!!

I'm so glad you like this ... 17 months ago!

Dec. 2nd, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Special Adventuring Pants ot. II ...
Hahaha, no probs! In fact, now you've replied, I really must read it again! ;)
Apr. 8th, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
So adorable. I love me some sweet 585 first thing in the a.m. I suspect I've read this a long, long time ago... or maybe not, as it was written right around the time I found the fandom. Loved it, either way. Point me to the prequel please!!
Apr. 9th, 2011 03:11 am (UTC)

Aww, thanks!

Here you go: A Real Adventurer. It was on of my very first pieces of fanfiction.

( 26 comments — leave a comment )


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