He knew he'd have to say it eventually. "We never told you," Hakkai said, awkwardly, looking back at him. "When we were in the gourd...I took my limiters off," Hakkai said. "Again."
"Oh." Gojyo took a drink, watched him.
"Goku said he liked me better as my customary self." He tried to laugh, but it caught in his throat.
"I think...I think perhaps not," Hakkai said, hearing the shake in his voice. "What's frightened me is not so much that I did it...but that...it felt much easier this time, when I changed. Like...that was truly my shape, and I was just filling it again." He closed his eyes. "I suppose that's the truth, but...it's difficult. To come to terms with it. When we were in the middle of things, when I was worried about you...I didn't have to think about it then. But it's come back to me. It keeps coming back."
Gojyo ground his cigarette out in the dirt and shifted on the trunk of the tree he was sitting against. "Doesn't matter to me."
"Yes," Hakkai said. "I'm well aware."
Gojyo's eyes slitted. "Would it be easier for you if it did? If I hated my dad? If I wished you were still--"
"No," Hakkai said. "Nothing would make it easier, Gojyo. I don't mean... I don't mean to be short with you, or to burden you with this. I just...I feel so terribly lost, sometimes."
"I know," Gojyo said, looking down. "I wish--"
"I know," Hakkai said quickly. "It does help, Gojyo. It does. You...."
Gojyo moved like lightning when he wanted to, and his mouth was on Hakkai's before the sentence was finished.
And that was all right, because Hakkai could say all he wanted to this way, with Gojyo warm in his arms, and needing, needing him, youkai or human or whatever on earth he was now.
And Kanan had needed him, but it was nothing like this, her gentleness, her whispers nothing like Gojyo pushing him down on the grass, Gojyo stinking of cigarettes and beer and too many days on the road.
Red carpeted his face, blurred his vision, and then Gojyo's face was there in the middle of it, whispering, "you're so fucking beautiful, both ways," and maybe, Hakkai thought, maybe Gojyo was his penance, Gojyo who never knew when to leave him alone and used the beer cans for ashtrays just to piss him off and never knew when garbage day was; but maybe it was possible that Gojyo was something else, too, some kind of strange reward for living, still, for coming back, Gojyo with his red hair and red eyes and those wonderful strong hands on his shoulders and hips and waist.
Hakkai pulled Gojyo's face back down to meet his, and stopped thinking altogether.