Konzen wakes in the middle of the night. In this room where he has never heard any sounds but his own, he hears quiet breathing from the bed beside his bed. In this room where there has never been anyone but himself, he knows there's a small warm body close by. The night is the night and the dark is the dark, a state caused by the absence of light and not something one could ever have any feelings about. But now the dark night feels obscurely different from before. Friendly, somehow. Konzen almost smiles at the thought before sleep takes him again.


Gojou wakes in the middle of the night. There's sounds beside him, harsh breathing, sharp little whimpers. He turns over. The guy's having a nightmare. Gojou watches him a minute, how his fingers grab the blankets and his face twists. He reaches out an arm, hesitates a second, puts his arm down across the guy's chest. Wriggles a little closer to him in the bed so their heads are side by side. Puts his arm around the guy's shoulder and holds him and prays the guy doesn't wake up to ask what he's doing. He doesn't. Under his arm the guy's chest stops going up and down with those panicky breaths. His breathing slows. Gojou's eyes start to close and he tells himself remember to let go before he's all the way asleep, but he never knows whether he did or not.


Kenren wakes in the middle of the night. Reaches out unthinkingly for the woman beside him and feels skinny ribs and muscle instead. Blinks, fully awake, and remembers who he's sleeping with. Can't believe it. Kenren Taishou, have I ever told you you're out of your tiny celestial mind? He starts to smile, and it's a good thing he can't see himself doing it cause his smile is so smug it'd make him hit himself if he did. Yeah, he thinks, I must be, and falls back asleep.


Hakkai wakes in the middle of the night. Rain is falling heavily on the roof, gurgling unpleasantly in the gutters. He lies in bed sweating, fighting the odd half-panic and the sense of impending disaster. He won't get up, he won't light the lamp, he won't wake Sanzou, it's only the rain and the rain will be over eventually and the night will be over eventually, he has only to endure a little longer, just a little longer... There's a step by the bed. "Move," Sanzou says. Hakkai shifts closer to the wall. Sanzou lies down in the space beside him, on his side with his back to Hakkai, and pulls the cover up. Hakkai turns on his side with his back to Sanzou and pulls the cover across him. Sanzou is warm and solid against his back, a wall against the flood. He is warm and solid against Sanzou's back, a wall against the flood. They go to sleep again.


Tenpou wakes in the middle of the night. An anomaly. Something very wrong. He lies still. In the corner a little light glows, red and gone, red and gone. Smell of cigarettes, not his brand. His new general's. His new... persuasive general's. In the dark Tenpou feels the blood mounting to his face, in spite of himself. And nothing ever happens in Heaven, they say. In the dark he feels his mouth turning up in a smile, in spite of himself. Ah well, he thinks muzzily, what's that they say Down There about 'interesting times'? He can't remember. I'll look it up tomorrow... when I'm awake... And then he isn't any more.


Gokuu wakes in the middle of the night. It's dark and cold and he can see the vague shapes of the bars across the cave. I thought I was out. I dreamed I was out. Misery closes over his heart. The bars are thick, very thick, and spaced... funny. Gokuu blinks and they turn into trees around a clearing. He's outside. In the woods. And at his back there's someone breathing, asleep. Someone with hair like the sun, and warm as the sun here in the cold night. Gokuu smiles, and his yellow eyes are like two suns coming up in the morning, but he doesn't know that. Then the suns blink out, because Gokuu is asleep again.



Dec '02