Let It Snow
By the time they’d unpacked everything and Hakuryuu had turned back into his dragon form, the two idiots were in danger of shattering Sanzo’s already frazzled nerves. They’d had to stop for the night because it wasn’t a good idea to drive through the mountains when it was snowing on top of being dark out, and all of them had really been hoping to reach a town tonight. That they were only two hours short from their goal made their already bad tempers even worse.
He wasn’t quite sure who had started the most recent fight – didn’t give a damn, to be honest – but Goku didn’t look ready to drop it any time soon. There was a rare scowl on his face as he stood in front of Gojyo, golden eyes bright with anger. "What gives you the right to eat the last meat bun, huh?"
"What, it’s perfectly fine if you scoff down all our food, but no one else gets a chance at it? Bullshit!" Gojyo was just about to flick some ash in the kid’s face, when the sound of Hakkai clearing his throat made him jerk his right hand back.
Ah, yet another senseless fight over food. Sanzo felt a tick start beneath his right eye and debated if it would be better to shoot the idiots or walk away. Considering that he was running a little short of bullets, he unfortunately took the latter option. Dammit, two more hours….
Leaving behind his quarreling companions, he went deeper into the forest, away from the barely worth the name of a road that they’d been following for the better part of a week. The moon and stars were obscured by clouds, but the falling snowflakes made the sky almost glow with their whiteness. He hugged the blanket he’d draped over his shoulders hours ago closer for some warmth, grateful that the snow dampened the noise of Goku and Gojyo’s ridiculous fight. Mindful of the ambush earlier in the day, he didn’t go far from the group, just enough for there to be blessed silence.
He found an outcrop of rock that required a minimum of effort to brush off the snow and sat down, shivering a little and hands shaking as he reached for his cigarettes. A minute later he had a lit cigarette in his mouth and felt oddly warmer; his temper slowly calmed down with each deep inhale of smoke.
The cigarette’s filter had just been flicked aside and he was debating on another smoke when Hakkai appeared. The man was too damn quiet for words, so Sanzo knew the crisp ‘snap’ of a broken branch had been deliberate, a warning of sorts to keep him from shooting whoever it was who mysteriously appeared to ruin his solitude. Yet the thing was… since it was Hakkai, that solitude really wasn’t ruined.
He grunted in greeting and got a warm smile and even warmer mug of coffee handed to him. "Here, I thought you might appreciate this." Hakkai had another mug in his right hand, a clear sign that he didn’t mean to just wander back to the idiots. However, being Hakkai, he waited until Sanzo grunted in acknowledgement and nodded curtly to the space on the rock beside him.
Humming a quiet tune, Hakkai sat down, hands cupped around the mug of coffee. "Dinner needs about half an hour; I left Gojyo in charge of stirring the stew while Goku looks for firewood." His voice was as soft as the snow falling around them, flakes of it glimmering in his dark hair like tiny stars. He had the audacity to not look cold at all, sitting there without gloves on his fine-boned hands and the leather coat left unzipped around his neck. That might be because Hakuryuu was curled around his shoulders, tail slipped beneath the warm coat and head almost buried in that thick, dark hair. How typically Hakkai to make something that should be surreal or unusual to appear perfectly normal.
Sanzo told himself that he was allowing this conversation because Hakkai’s warmth slowly seeped through the blanket and his clothes, the heat radiating through the rest of his body until his fingers slightly tingled. With the snow falling heavily around them, the forest still as if everything with a lick of common sense was huddled somewhere out of the cold, it was almost as if they were the last two people on the face of the earth. If ever a blessing should come to pass, at least the quiet man was someone he wouldn’t mind too much being stuck with for the rest of his life.
"You think Goku’s gonna leave the food alone once he gets back? Or Gojyo, for that matter?"
Hakkai chuckled, the sound quiet and amused. "They will since I told them the mushrooms I put into the stew need an adequate amount of time to cook or else would make anyone who ate them very sick." He had that slight smile on his face, the oh so polite one with the tiniest hint of malevolency to it that made you wonder if you were imagining it. When one took into account just what Hakkai could do when he put his mind to it….
"Is it true?" Sanzo asked, more out of a curiosity over if there were such mushrooms out there and most importantly, in Hakkai’s possession, than anything.
There was another chuckle as Hakkai adjusted his glasses. "Does it really matter, as long as they believe me?"
That was a very Hakkai thing to say – artfully dodging the issue and as polite as ever. Sanzo shook his head and lit another cigarette, more amused than annoyed at how easily his question had been deflected. Out of them all, Hakkai was the best at hiding his true emotions and thoughts, and one had to accept that or spend the rest of their life pissed off at the man. Which wasn’t the smartest course of action to take, not when the last thing anyone wanted was for Hakkai to be pissed off at them in return.
Sanzo took some comfort in the fact that he didn’t seem to be grouped in that list right now, and considering how he was being treated to a mug of coffee and Hakkai’s presence, that probably couldn’t be said for their other two traveling companions. Things were quiet for a few minutes while he finished his second cigarette and both of them their coffee, then he broke the comfortable silence. "It’s going to be a bitch, camping out tonight." Two fucking hours, he thought with growing bitterness. Just that short amount of time and they’d have real beds, more cigarettes and some beer. Yet Hakuryuu had refused to drive any further, not after nearly running into a ditch because of the weather.
Hakkai leaned ever so slightly against Sanzo’s left side, the sense of warmth growing at the contact. "Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I also left Gojyo in charge of putting up the tents." There was no doubt of that malevolency in his smile now, and Sanzo expected to go back to the campsite to find a very contrite Gojyo and Goku.
All he did was grunt in response, deciding that was the wisest course of action, and Hakkai continued. "Since it is so cold, I told him to only put up two." He turned a little more to face Sanzo. "If you don’t mind, I thought we could share." That polite smile was the slightest bit hesitant, and his right hand took to stroking Hakuryuu’s neck, a habit he did sometimes when he was uncertain.
Warmth that had nothing to do with body heat, coffee or cigarettes infused Sanzo, even as he scowled in response and flicked away the second cigarette butt. "I guess so. Those two idiots better be quiet while sharing a tent or they can fucking walk to town tonight."
For once, Hakkai’s smile was true and full, his brilliant green eyes shining behind lenses that were a bit fogged and dotted with melted snowflakes. "Oh, I believe they’ll be better behaved than they’ve been all day." The happiness and pleasure were momentarily replaced by true wickedness, just the quickest of flashes that threatened to drive one mad trying to figure out if it had really been there or not. Since Sanzo knew Hakkai pretty damn well, he was certain of it and wore a wicked little smile of his own.
"If I’d had a full box of bullets, they would have been dead four hours ago," he grumbled. Goku and Gojyo hadn’t even stopped squabbling with each other during the fight with the youkai, about everything from who was hogging up all the space in the back, to how hungry they were – in Gojyo’s place, horny and desperate for a drink as well – and finally the weather. Sanzo thought it very fitting that they’d spend the cold night huddled in a tent together.
Meanwhile, he’d be with Hakkai, something he hadn’t managed in well over a week because the lack of suitable sleeping arrangements, and suddenly he didn’t mind the unplanned stop anymore. The increasingly heavy snowfall should discourage anyone following them, as well as make for a peaceful night.
They continued to sit together for a little longer, both seeming to enjoy the quiet and the falling snow. There was none of the pained camaraderie that they shared when it rained; snow didn’t seem to provoke any painful memories on either of their parts, and Hakkai could usually be enticed into a snowball fight if asked nicely enough. Of course, he excelled at that as he did pretty much everything he put his mind to, which meant that he wasn’t invited to join in very often, but Sanzo enjoyed sitting back and having a smoke or some coffee while Gojyo and Goku got their asses kicked by someone who constantly apologized for nailing them with snowballs. Maybe they’d be past whatever fear of death and torture Hakkai put into them tonight to start a fight tomorrow.
Sanzo started when he felt Hakkai move away from him, murmuring an apology as he stood to his feet. "I should check on the stew." He held out his hand, motioning toward the empty cup in Sanzo’s. "Would you like more coffee?"
Emboldened by the quiet around them and the promise of what would happen later, Sanzo snatched his lover’s hand and pulled him forward for a kiss. Hakkai’s lips were cold and he tasted like coffee, yet the fingers that gently touched the side of his face were warm. Sanzo felt a return of that intoxicating heat wherever their bodies came in contact, the kiss unhurried yet containing a hint of banked passion. Now wasn’t the time or place, but there was nothing wrong with a bit of anticipation.
"I better come with you and make sure that Gojyo puts up the tents right," he said when the kiss ended, both of them a little out of breath. Not to mention that he wanted to ensure that the tents weren’t too close together, something Gojyo might try to pull off since he’d be stuck with Goku tonight.
"Hmm, I left very clear instructions of where he was to set them up, but it’ll save me a trip if you come along now." Hakkai’s smile was very smug as he pulled off his glasses and used the end of his scarf to dry them off, and Sanzo wondered what he’d lost out on by coming all the way out here to cool down his temper. Ah well, it wasn’t like there wouldn’t be another chance to see Hakkai politely tear into the two idiots while on this road trip.
They walked back to the camp, shoulders brushing together and warmth shared as the snow fell about them.
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