Gojyo was looking in the bathroom mirror one second and the next he hissed from the pain of the nick on his chin. Hakkai’s entrance to put the clean towels away had startled him and the hand on the razor slipped. To be more precise, Hakkai’s unexpected reflection looming behind him had startled him. The man was as stealthy as a cat and sometimes as unnerving.
Hakkai paused on his way out the door. “What happened?” he asked in that soft voice of his and lifted a hand to his roommate’s neck.
“Nothing,” Gojyo said, more harshly than he intended, not willing to admit to being startled or hurt.
“It doesn’t look like nothing,” Hakkai observed, rubbing lightly at the wound.
Then he did something that alarmed and excited Gojyo at the same time. He brought the finger that had rubbed Gojyo’s wound to his lips and licked the blood off of it, the coppery smell and tang familiar to his senses.
It wasn’t until he had taken several swipes at it with his tongue that he became conscious of what he was doing. “Sorry,” he said. “That was rather…forward and disgusting of me. I thought I’d lost my taste for blood.”
Is he being literal, Gojyo thought, or is he just making a lame joke?
“I thought I’d be free of it when Sanzo and the Three Aspects granted me a new life,” he continued.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Gojyo said fiercely. To prove it, he dabbed at the wound himself and gave his finger a quick lick. He had to school himself not to make a face.
Hakkai’s eyes softened. He tentatively embraced his friend, holding him closer when he didn’t flinch. “Thank you,” he said, “for taking me in when you found me bathed in blood.” They both knew it wasn’t his own blood he was referring to.
Gojyo lifted his chin up, allowing Hakkai access if he wanted. Hakkai’s breath was warm against his jaw as he licked the cut with his tongue. Gojyo responded by licking Hakkai’s neck.
Each thought the other must hear his heartbeat when it pounded so loudly. Each felt the rush of blood to the groin that neither ever expected to feel for another man.
When it was over, Hakkai whispered, “Your hair and eyes don’t remind me of blood or sin any more. They remind me that while I may be damned, I’m still human.”