(Note: This is one episode in an apparently continuing series. From context, one knows that in the previous story Sanzou became very ill and was apparently looked after by Gojou. Now read on. Those familiar with Japanese will understand that this story runs off the double meaning of the word 'daku', which means 'hug' or 'hold', but which is also a euphemism for 'screw.' One does what one can with it in English, which isn't very much, unfortunately.)
Gojou sat slumped in the room's only chair, elbows on knees, cigarette between his fingers, staring at the floor. And sighing. It was the sighs that caught Hakkai's attention. "What's the matter?" he asked in concern. This wasn't like Gojou. Gojou sighed again, deeply, heavily. "Hakkai," he said. "Do you think- d'you ever think that- maybe- I might be--" "Mh?" "Bi?" "MH??!!" Gojou looked at him desperately. "The other day, right? when I had to share with Sanzou- when he was out from all that medication?- I was looking at him asleep and then- just a little, right?- just a veeery veeery little- I got this- turn-on..." Gojou rubbed his head in mortification. "*Me*, the ladykiller's ladykeiller..." "Ahh," Hakkai said. "So that's what all the sighing was about. You're in love." "Who's in love?!" Gojou howled. "You are. With Sanzou--" "Don't even say that!" Gojou jumped up and towered over Hakkai. Alarmed, Hakkai retreated a step. "HONestly," Gojou said. "I like beautiful *women*, but beautiful *guys*- enh." He took a violent pull on his cigarette. "I just had this liiitle liiittle reaction to him, that's all." "Or that's what you're telling yourself,' Hakkai thought, but prudently remained silent. "So, Hakkai--" Gojou said, looking straight into his eyes. "Mh-hm?" "Lemme do it to you?" "Go... jou..." Hakkai said whitely. "I- ahh- I think I have to be going--" and made it safely to the door. "OII!!" Gojou bellowed. "Whadda ya take me for? Some kinda pervert?" Hakkai paused in his flight. "Uhh- did I misunderstand?" "Of course! I just want to hold you! Give you a goddamned hug!" "Hug?" Hakkai said uncertainly. "Yeah! Cause you're a guy and if I hold you then I'll know for sure if I'm really like that or not." Hakkai digested this bit of logic. "What's the matter?" Gojou asked. "Nothing to be scared of. C'mon, Hakkai-chan, give me a hand. We're buddies." "Mmnnn." Hakkai's voice was dubious. "Fine," Gojou said in disgust. "Be like that, that's the kind of friend you are. Here I am so worked up and worried about this that my hair's falling out from the stress and I'm ready to die." He held up a red hair that glinted in the overhead light. "People don't die from falling hair," Hakkai told him. He sighed. "Alright. I understand. But you really are a nuisance at times, Gojou." "Oh yeah?" "But it's alright." He held out his arms. "Go ahead." "Huh? Oh-hh." Gojou dropped his cigarette and stepped on it. Took a deep breath. "OK. No holding back, now?" He stepped forward, threw both arms about Hakkai, and pulled him close. Hakkai waited, arms at his side. And waited. Gojou's body was warm and strong against his, and Gojou's chin was pressing down on his shoulder, and Gojou wasn't moving a muscle. A little trickle of sweat went down Hakkai's back. Unconsciously he brought a hand up between himself and Gojou. "How does that feel?" he asked neutrally. Gojou didn't answer. "Mh?" Hakkai pressed. "Big," Gojou said. "Hard. Not nice at all." "Well then," Hakkai said deliberately, and pushed Gojou away. "That's alright then. You won't die of premature baldness." "Huh? Oh hey, you're not mad, Hakkai-chan? Oh, sorry, sorry, really sorry." He patted Hakkai's shoulder desperately. "But hey, cause of you I know for sure I'm normal now. Sankyuu and all that." "Hmmm," Hakkai said contemplatively. "I hate to be the wetblanket, Gojou, when you're so happy, but--" "What?" "If you really want to know if you're that way or not, you have to hug Sanzou, right? You're not interested in me, so hugging me doesn't mean anything." Gojou looked pole-axed. "You're right," he said. "So- what do I do?" "What do you do...? Mh, well. I guess if I've helped you this far, I'll help you to the end. But you realize that hugging Sanzou is a very serious business? I mean, afterwards..." "Yeah," Gojou concurred. "He'll kill me. Probably." "OK?" Hakkai said. "You're prepared? Then let's do it." "Sanzou, can you spare me a minute? It's about tomorrow's course. Oh, where's Gokuu?" "Off in the bath or something." Sanzou barely glanced up from his paper. Gojou and Hakkai exchanged looks. 'Perfect.' "Well, it's about our route," Hakkai said, spreading his map out on the bedroom's one table. "I think if we take this road and go through here we'll reach this town in the shortest time." "I can't see a thing, Hakkai," Sanzou said from his chair. "I'm sorry," Hakkai apologized in his soft voice. "If you could just come over to the table here and have a look..." "Oh alright," Sanzou said, stifling impatience, and came to lean over the map. "This road here, yes?" Hakkai said. "Oi, Sanzou," Gojou interrupted from behind them. "You got any cigarettes? I've run out." "Huh?" Sanzou turned to look over his shoulder. "Should be over there." He waved off to his right. "Where?" Gojou asked, looking to the left. "There," Sanzou pointed irritably. "Where the hell are you looking, dumbass?" "Sanzou!!" Hakkai yelled. "There's a huge cockroach on your shoulder!" and gave him a violent push from the side so that he lost his balance and fell into Gojou's waiting arms-- striking his head hard against Gojou's chin so the two went down in a heap. "Owww," Gojou moaned, flat on his back. "Oww," Sanzou said, rubbing his ringing head. And looked up with murder in his eyes. "Hakkai," he said through clenched teeth, "just what the hell are you playing at???" "But there was this huuuge cockroach sitting right on your shoulder," Hakkai said with transparent sincerity. "So big it took both your hands to knock it off??" "Hey, what about this huuuge bump I got on my chin?" Gojou demanded, grabbing Sanzou and shaking him. "You think that doesn't hurt?" "Well, I'm sorry you were standing right behind me," Sanzou said crossly, "but it was Hakkai's fault in the first place." "Oh yes," Hakkai said, with his little smile and a dangerous light in his one eye. "We all know whose fault it was, don't we, Gojou?" "Ehhhh... yeah," Gojou said weakly. "Sorry I lost it there, Sanzou. Gomen huh? Uhh- You OK?" He patted him off desperately until Sanzou elbowed him away. "Uhh- better be going, huh, Hakkai?" The door closed quickly behind the two of them. 'What the hell was that about?' Sanzou wondered. A minute later the door opened again, but it was only Gokuu, boiled red and looking blissful. "Annnhh, that was good," he grinned. "You took your goddamned time," Sanzou growled. "Well yeah. Everyone says you should take nice long baths and--" "Gokuu," Sanzou cut him off. "Mh?" "I got something for you to do." "So," Hakkai said. "You find anything out?" "Nope. Right in the middle everything went black," Gojou said morosely. "Don't you think you should give this up before Sanzou figures out what's happening?" "No way," Gojou said flatly. "I refuse to die of falling hair. Whatever happens I'm going to hold Sanzou and find out for sure." "Alright," Hakkai sighed. Gokuu slipped away from the door. "So what did they say?" Sanzou asked. "Uh, well, Gojou said his hair is falling out and so he has to hold you," Gokuu repeated. "What the hell's that supposed to mean?!" Gokuu shrugged. "That's what he said." Sanzou frowned. Remembered Hakkai's shove. Remembered losing his balance. Remembered Gojou's arms oddly waiting for him as he fell against him. And rose up from his chair in wrath. The door of the next room crashed open. "What's this about you 'holding' me?" Sanzou said tightly. "Shit, honey, he found out," Gojou said. "Honey?" Hakkai asked, momentarily distracted, then pulled himself together. "Well, never mind. I'd already concocted a plan to deal with that eventuality." "I might have known," Gojou groaned. "Sanzou," Hakkai said, turning to him deliberately, "I have to assure you that there's a very good reason for all of this," and kicked Sanzou's ankle out from under him. Sanzou fell forwards towards Gojou. "Not again!" he snapped. He grabbed Gojou's arm, pivoted on his one foot to regain his balance, and with a mighty shove sent Gojou sprawling into Hakkai. The two went down like bowling pins. "Now then, Hakkai." Lightning seemed to dance above Sanzou's head as he towered above Hakkai. "Let's hear this very good reason of yours." "Uhh- ahh- well, Go--." "Go?" Sanzou crossed his arms in impatience. "Gokuu," Hakkai finished smoothly, "would you kindly push Sanzou down and sit on him a bit? I'll make my special dish for you if you do." "What the hell--" Sanzou began. And measured his length on the floor as Gokuu toppled him over. "Hakkai's cooking!!" Gokuu carolled, sitting astride Sanzou's torso. "Get the fuck off me, bakazaru!" Sanzou roared. "No dinner for you tonight!" "So what? Hakkai's making it for me instead!" Gokuu grinned joyfully. "Gokuu," Sanzou informed him, "if you don't get off me you'll get *my* special dish shoved right into your mouth." "Aarghh!" Gokuu leaped backward as though Sanzou were red-hot. 'Wonder what his special dish is?' Hakkai mused. But no time to lose. He leaped astride Sanzou in Gokuu's place and pushed him back down onto the floor. "I'm sorry, Sanzou," he said reasonably. "Just put up with this for a little bit, alright? It'll soon be over." "You're so right." Hakkai found himself looking down the barrel of Sanzou's gun. "It'll be over in a flash. Literally." "Oh now," Hakkai protested, patting the muzzle placatingly. "You aren't going to kill me." "You think not?" Sanzou cocked the trigger. "Uhh- yes," Hakkai said. He reached in his pocket and displayed half a dozen bullets. "I already took them out." Sanzou closed his eyes in disgust. "Hnph." The gun fell limply from his hand. "Now Gojou, here's your chance- Gojou!?" Gojou lay on his back, out cold where Gokuu's backwards flight had knocked him unconscious. 'Ohh!' Hakkai thought, stricken. 'After all I did for him...' "Hakkai." Sanzou's voice, gentle and dulcet, spoke from beneath him. Hakkai turned back in surprise. Sanzou's hands reached lovingly to touch his face. Sanzou raised his head a little from the ground and gazed deeply into Hakkai's eyes. "Hn?!" Sanzou's fingers clasped Hakkai's shoulders passionately as Sanzou's knee jabbed sharply into Hakkai's solar plexus. Hakkai choked in agony, lungs screaming for air. He saw Sanzou's furious snarl one minute before Sanzou's fist smashed into his face and sent him flying... ...to land on Gojou, who grunted and came awake. "What the heyy--" Gojou said in surprise. "Oww," Hakkai moaned, holding his bloody mouth. "Honestly, Gojou, you took your time coming round." Both simultaneously became aware of the thick and menacing silence from the other side of the room. Sanzou stood there black as a thundercloud, both fists clenched and shaking with anger. "Ahhh... K-kinda pissed, I'd say, our Sanzou-sama..." Gojou ventured. Hakkai laughed nervously. "Maybe we overdid it a bit?" he suggested. "I hope," Sanzou said through clenched teeth, "you're both at peace with your Maker? Because you'll be seeing Him very very shortly." "Hakkai," Gojou quavered as he rose hastily to his feet, "let's forget about this, huh? Good idea, right, quit while we're ahead?" "I don't think you've thought about what you're saying." Hakkai got up beside him, fingering his split lip, with the light of battle in his eye. "We've gone too far to draw back now. In for a penny, in for a pound. You remember what our plan was?" "Ahh- ahhh..." Hakkai took a deliberate step towards Sanzou. Sanzou squared himself and faced him directly. Their eyes locked. Hakkai took another step. And another. And another. Gojou, following nervously behind Hakkai, could almost hear the theme music from High Noon. Hakkai came within striking range of Sanzou's fists. Green eyes and lavender glared at each other. "Sanzou," Hakkai said distinctly and threateningly. "*What*?" Sanzou spat the word out, lip curling up over his teeth. "AAAAHHK!! " Hakkai shrieked, face twisting. "What's THAT??" and pointed to the right with a trembling finger. Sanzou and Gokuu whipped about, to be faced with a perfectly innocent chest of drawers standing against the wall. Gojou leapt forward, threw both his arms around Sanzou's shoulders and held him in an iron embrace. Sanzou closed his eyes. His body shook. Sweat ran down his face. His mouth curved downwards. And then the thunder spoke. BOOM. A little later Hakkai, covered in bandaids, was applying mercurochrome to Gojou's many bruises and abrasions while Gojou moaned in pain. "I'm sorry, Hakkai," he said. "Getting you involved like that." "It's alright," Hakkai assured him. "At least now you know you're normal." "Umh," Gojou said, only mildly consoled. "Thank god I'm not attracted to him. It was like fighting a wild animal." "But you know," Hakkai said, "when you hugged him he went beet red. What do you think that was all about?" "Hn? Oh that?" Gojou grinned painfully with his bruised lip. "That's just Sanzou-sama being pissed that he fell for the oldest trick in the book. Gokuu won't be letting him forget it. Or us either, I bet. We'll be hearing 'AAKKK Sanzou what's THAT!!???' for the next month." "Oh." Hakkai considered the prospect gloomily. Well, if you will do good deeds, he thought, you have to pay for them.