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Somewhere in between by Incomparable Uranian
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Author's Notes:

A/N: not strictly a reincarnation fic (although, now I think about it, Saiyuki itself is a reincarnation fic if Gaiden is taken into account); as the title

says, it’s somewhere in between Gaiden and Saiyuki. So it’s, what, an incarnation fic?

Somewhere in between

‘Do I know you?’

The green-eyed man looked up inquiringly from his book to see a tall man with black hair staring at him, leaning across the table separating them, hands planted on it in a confrontational manner. ‘I beg your pardon?’

‘Do I know you?’ the other man repeated.

He did look oddly familiar, come to think of it……but no.

‘Sorry, I don’t know you. I think I’d remember meeting you,’ he added, and was surprised to realise it was true. He would have remembered someone who looked so……different from everyone else in this town. And he rarely left the library these days; it wasn’t like he had any social life either.

The man was still staring at him sceptically, as if wondering whether he was perhaps lying, but he looked slightly sheepish as well. Nothing like making a fool of yourself for that, the librarian thought distractedly.

‘Are you new to this town?’ the librarian asked. ‘You haven’t been in here before.’

‘Nah, just passing through. Been here a week or so. Not that I’d have seen you anyway; libraries aren’t really my thing.’

He raised an eyebrow, noting where they were. The other man laughed. ‘I caught sight of you in the window.’

‘I’m sorry,’ he said again, feeling vaguely guilty — and oddly disappointed. For some reason, the emotion in those blue eyes (reined-in hope, he would have called it, if he had been forced) pulled an apologetic half-smile from him. He hadn’t smiled in so long.

‘Hey, it’s not your fault. You just looked like someone……’

‘Someone you know?’ Who, he wanted to ask, but that was too forward.

‘Not exactly.’ He scrubbed a frustrated hand through his short hair. ‘I just……well, to be honest, I don’t know why I barged in here or asked you that. I’m not even looking for anyone, just moving east, ya know? Oh, crap. I must seem an idiot. I just saw you and you looked like……’ again he trailed off, as if he didn’t know what the end to that sentence was either.

‘Oh. I see.’ And he thought he did, really. ‘Well.’ His fingers twitched uneasily, and he wished he hadn’t laid the book down; the

‘Yeahh,’ the traveller said, looking nearly as uncomfortable.

The librarian half expected him to leave then, but he didn’t. Instead, the dark-haired man paced the library, obviously furious at something, looking terribly out of place among silent wooden shelves and ancient literature. It troubled the part of him that loved to catalogue and dissect things, to understand them. This man, he didn’t fit here at all. Didn’t fit anywhere, he thought shrewdly. That was why he was travelling, probably.

Looking at him made the librarian wonder just when he’d given up on finding his own home. But that was history; he had his books and a good job and people left him alone and that was all he could ask for, wasn’t it?

With a sigh, he picked up the book again.

He read for a few minutes before he felt those blue eyes on him again. ‘Hey.’

‘Yes?’ he said politely.

‘You been here long?’

‘A few years. Why?’

‘Nah, nothing.’ He hesitated, then continued. ‘Hey.’


‘You ever feel lost? Like there’s something you want and you’d know if you found it? And I was just……I feel like that sometimes, ya know. And when I saw you, I thought you were like that too. Maybe that was why I came in here. Maybe……’

Some of his confusion must have shown — surely strangers didn’t talk like this — because the other man huffed, annoyed. ‘Don’t know why I said that. Sorry.’

Apparently, they’d made each other equally uncomfortable, because the traveller inched towards the door, looking oddly like a little boy who’d asked the wrong question. It made the librarian want to laugh. ‘I’ll be going, then.’

‘You’re staying here long?’ the librarian asked.

‘No.’ the man considered it, looked at him sideways, and then shook his head. ‘No. I’m leaving in the morning.’

‘I hope you find what you’re looking for,’ the librarian said sincerely.

‘Yeah. You too.’

‘I never said I was looking for anything.’

‘Aren’t you?’ the man said, tilting his head, curious.

‘I guess everyone is,’ he laughed, and felt grateful when the other didn’t pursue it.

‘Well, the road’s long, and everything’s gotta be on it sometime,’ the man said, and in the tone and look the librarian could read the tentative offer.

‘I suppose,’ he said. ‘But I don’t think it’s time to move on yet. Not for me.’

He felt a strange -jerk- when he said that, felt the truth and the tragedy of it at the same time. It was, he thought dazedly, a pity that they weren’t on the road together, but that wasn’t for now. Not yet.

‘Maybe,’ the man said, and was it only his imagination or did he look a little strange as well?

‘Well, so long. It was nice meeting you.’

The man nodded abstractedly, the door already open, fading sunlight from the west. ‘We’ll meet again.’

He thought it was strange that the man had put it that way, because he had to know there was no chance they would meet again (the world was such a large place after all, and so full of people), but before he could ask the door had clicked shut.


The next morning, the traveller realised it was now far too late to ask the librarian his name, but he didn’t think that names mattered much anyway, and he shrugged and checked out of the inn.

Maybe they wouldn’t meet again, he thought as he walked down the road, but he had a feeling that wouldn’t happen.

What the hell. He had time, right?

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