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Worth It? by Ashtari
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I wake up this morning the same way I have woken every morning that I shared a room with my lover, Hakkai. Agony rips through my strained muscles as I slip from the bed. Already new bruises and marks make themselves known as skin and fabric accidentally brush against the sensitive wounds. He was crueler and far more through last night than he usually was, I noted as I inspected my battered body in the mirror. He drew blood again, several times, my now expert eye noticed. He mercifully avoided my face so at least our traveling companions won’t be asking questions. I sighed as I realized that I brought this upon myself. He was always worse the night after a storm. And the last storm was one of the worst I had seen since I started this journey. It had taken me a little while to figure out why the night and removing a single limiter from Hakkai’s ear would cause such a violent change in the normally gentle and caring man. It was a night almost like the one I had just endured when it struck me that it felt like Hakkai was punishing me. That’s when the pieces fell together. Hakkai wasn’t punishing me...Gonou was.

He was punishing me for what I am and who I am not. Of course lately I occasionally antagonize Hakkai, I guess if I must be punished it should be for something I’ve done. I’m sure most people would ask why I bother staying with him but I suppose that somehow I believe that if I let Gonou punish me enough that he’ll let me have Hakkai for one night. It’s a silly hope, I know. With all of his limiters in place Hakkai can’t reach completion much less become aroused. And without a limiter...he becomes Gonou again. Still, I imagine Hakkai would be a gentle lover. I can almost see it, his gentle eyes staring into my own, and not a single hint of cruelty hidden in them. I can almost feel his hands ghosting over my skin, treating me as if I had been made of fine porcelain, a treasure to be protected and loved. I imagine that’s how Gonou must have made love to Kanan. I sigh again mainly at the uselessness of that dream. I had finally finished cleaning and bandaging the latest additions to the side effects of sharing a room with Hakkai and slipped into the clothing I normally wear to sleep in. It’s comfortable against my sore skin and covers the bandages nicely. I glance over at Hakkai, thankful he’s still asleep. Seeing me with these marks only upsets him so I learned to wake up earlier than him just so I can hide the wounds from his sight.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth all the pain, on nights like these I don...a stirring from the bed interrupted my train of thought as a slender hand slid out from under the sheet as Hakkai fumbled for his limiter. He clipped it back into place before looking over at me.

“Good morning, you’re up early.” He said with a gentle smile, then he beckoned with his hand, “Come back to bed, Sanzo won’t be up for a little while so we can still get some sleep.” He laughed softly, “He’d be pretty angry if we weren’t well rested.”

I nodded slowly as a soft smile graced my features. I stared at him for a moment, entranced by the way the early morning light made his hair shine with the hidden red highlights. He looked at me as if I was the only person to ever reside in his heart.

He looked at me as concern drifted into his eyes at my odd behavior, “Is something wrong?” Hakkai asked, his voice deepening slightly with worry.

I shook my head, “Nothing’s wrong, Hakkai.” I reassured him as I slid into the bed next to him, snuggling in close as his arms wrapped around me, holding me gently. His hand brushed one of the bites he had given me the night before. I ignored the pain and wouldn’t allow myself to flinch. A moment like this is too precious for it to be ruined over something so slight. The memory of this moment will get me through another night with Gonou. As I drifted back into the arms of sleep I felt Hakkai’s lips press against mine in a chaste kiss and I realized then that it was worth it...

Author’s note: This story was inspired by the seemingly split personality Hakkai suffers from thanks to his limiters. That and I was in a somewhat dark mood thanks to work.

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