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The Vine Thing

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The trouble, Gojyo decided as he slurped a noodle meditatively, was that they were assiduous. No, that wasn't right. Acidulous? Dammit, that wasn't right, either.

Deciduous? Maybe?

No. Insidious! That was it, they were insidious! There was something sensual in the way they curved and spread themselves around the contours of Hakkai's limbs and over the ridged planes of his stomach and back. They went … uh, went … well, everywhere, he was pretty sure. And now they were creeping into his thoughts, curling through his dreams and waking moments like that nutty wackjob illusionist's, um—illusions. Yeah.

Gojyo tugged at a noodle and nudged a curl of scallion next to it. Now it looked like a sinuous vine snaking up the side of his bowl.

"Whang're y'doin'?" said Goku, his cheeks stuffed with pot stickers and his eyebrows rising in the direction of his limiter.

Gojyo scraped the noodle down into the remaining broth with a flick of his chopsticks. The scallion floated next to it, curving in a brightly mocking, lopsided grin. He gave it the side-eye for a second, unimpressed by its silent, inanimate judgment of his troubles, then leaned forward to spear a pot sticker off Goku's plate.

"Nothin'. Stealing food from a pig-monkey."

The ensuing battle for gustatory supremacy, as Hakkai later described it, was one of their more spectacular ones. Sanzo's inevitable bullets had actually singed a lock of Gojyo's hair and put a hole in Goku's cape, and for a minute, it looked like not even the Gold Card would cover all the damage or smooth the innkeeper's ruffled feathers.

Okay. He just might, Gojyo conceded to himself, have a problem.


The first time he'd seen them was pretty much the only time they'd touched him. Hakkai had dropped the umbrellas by that point. Suddenly it was all vines and claws and an animal swiftness that was terrifying and awesome all at once, then a quick graze as a vine whipped past Gojyo's cheek to entangle the ankles of a fleeing thug. And that? Looking back on it, he was pretty sure that was the start of this particular and, um, insidiously emerging hell. Yeah. The vine was supple and cool, and it left an electric tingle in its wake. At first Gojyo thought that was from Hakkai's chi, but no: maybe it was just because it was Hakkai and the vine was part of him—a secret part, a wild part. A dangerous, exciting, primal part.

Thinking about it brought the tingle back, all over his scalp and down his spine. Hakkai didn’t even have to be in the room.

Anyhow, before Gojyo could figure it out for sure, they headed west, and he was busy thinking about too much other shit, like where he was going to find his next pack of smokes, dodging the asshole monk's bullets, liberating spring rolls from the horror of Goku's bottomless stomach, stuff like that. But now … well, now things had sort of settled down, and Hakkai had brought out the vines again a couple months back, and—uh, yeah. The realization had rolled over him in jarring, disjointed flashes of recognition, like a car filled with clowns that kept popping out one after another, each one more unsettling than the last. And now he just couldn't get away from it, no matter how hard he tried.

Which brought him to this pathetic state of affairs.

Gojyo reached into the bottom-most pocket inside his knapsack. A quick, sidelong glance showed him that he was unobserved. Nobody had bothered to follow him from the campsite. Hakkai was probably busy cooking, Goku was probably busy watching him cook and thinking about trying to sneak an early taste (but not actually going through with it because Hakkai was giving him I-Wouldn't-If-I-Were-You Look #12), Sanzo was probably sitting on some rock and smoking or reading an old newspaper, and Gojyo—well, okay. He wasn't proud of it or anything, hell no!—but Gojyo was sitting with his hand wrapped around the stupid thing he'd found in a trash heap three towns, one middling desert, and five pissant youkai skirmishes ago. He shook the knapsack, forcing it to open wider, and looked down.

A soft plastic pony, posed with its head tilted at a coy angle, stared at him with impossibly wide, round eyes fringed by glittering lashes. The bright green irises seemed to be judging him, their blank stares accusatory—if in a saccharine, ultra-cute way. He rubbed his thumb over the pony's rump, over the slightly smudged vines he'd drawn there a couple weeks ago. He hadn't been able to help himself, dammit, the same way he couldn't help himself now. The compulsion to ask if he could see—no, touch, and … okay, so this was the important part, be touched by—Hakkai's vines had been growing for weeks, and now that Sanzo was back with them and recovered to his standard level of bitchiness, Gojyo didn't have anything to distract him anymore. No more broken bodies or burning sense of abandonment or sulking monkey or super-efficient, overly upbeat, thoroughly scary Hakkai. Just normal, uh … normalness.

Right. Awesome. Normalness, as he'd slowly and brilliantly determined, wasn't doing him any favors. At all. The recent experience with the ramen and now this damn squishy toy proved it. Because he was starting to sense an oppressive scrutiny from everywhere, including inanimate objects. And especially from himself. He couldn't even look himself in the eyes in a mirror anymore, and the day when Sha Gojyo couldn't appreciate the rugged handsomeness of his own face or the roguish twinkle in his own eyes, that was the day things were seriously fucked up.

And things? Yeah. They were really, truly fucked up.

Gojyo gazed at the stupid pony for a few minutes longer, tracing the swirling loops of greenery that ran down its hind legs with a gentle, almost loving touch. Then he forced himself to bury it beneath a soiled t-shirt and a pair of formerly sweaty, as-yet-unwashed socks. Maybe he'd think twice about busting it out and mooning over it if he had to burrow through dirty laundry.

But—aw, who was he kidding? Dirty, smelly laundry never stopped him. Not even Hakkai's Pointed-Neat-Freak Smile #9 or Disapproving-of-Dirty-Clothes Glare #4 did the trick all the time. He was thisclose to snatching the limiters right off Hakkai's ear and begging him to … to …

He was saved from the embarrassing need to let the fantasy play out and then have to jerk off right there, behind the bushes, by the sound of Goku thrashing around in the underbrush and hollering his name.

"Gojyo! Where are ya, ya stupid perv? Doin' something perverted? Hakkai said dinner was ready an' if you're not there in two minutes, I'm gettin' your share. So if you're gonna whack it, go ahead an' take your time!"

Oh, for fuck's sake. He hadn't even done anything yet—wasn't even halfway hard! Gojyo wrenched the knapsack closed, glaring at the place where his stupid, viney pony made a lump in the fabric, and sidled out from behind the bushes. He tried to straighten the guilty slouch of his spine and ooze casualness. Thankfully, Goku had his back to him, so Gojyo had a chance to brush off his knees and collect himself a little further before he was spotted.

"I'm right here, so quit shouting."

Goku turned around and looked at him. Looked at him with that look he was giving Gojyo more and more often: the one with the eyebrows climbing all the way up and the calculating gleam in the eyes. And this time, there were no pot stickers to steal to deflect his attention.

"So what'd he make tonight?" Gojyo settled the knapsack over his shoulder, then rummaged in his pocket for a cigarette and his lighter.

Goku lowered his eyebrows halfway, but the calculating gleam didn't dim in the slightest. "Some kinda stew with hunks of beef and some other stuff he made me help him dig outta the ground. It smells pretty good." He started walking back toward the campsite and Gojyo followed, fiddling with his lighter, until Goku paused and glanced over his shoulder. "Hey, you're not gonna be all weird and make those squiggly shapes with it, are ya? 'Cause that's a waste of good food, messin' it around until it gets all cold and gross."

Gojyo just about bit the filter off his cigarette, but he recovered—pretty handily, if he did say so himself; anybody could cough clouds of smoke whenever, even if they weren't taken by surprise, right?—and snapped the lighter shut. "What? Nah, I'm just not hungry lately. All the traveling and rationing my smokes and sleeping in the Jeep … it's gettin' to me."

The eyebrows went up again, this time with a skeptical tilt. "Yeah, okay. If ya say so," Goku said. He shrugged and led the way back to the little clearing where a cookfire was crackling merrily and Sanzo was sitting on the only comfortable-looking rock, already poking at a steaming bowl of stew. Hakkai was standing a little way off, feeding Jeep tidbits of something or other. When he saw them arrive, Jeep craned his neck over Hakkai's shoulder and tipped his head to the side. Suspiciously, Gojyo thought. Accusingly. Judgmentally. Dammit! He dropped his knapsack and went over to the fire to get his own bowl of stew, feeling Jeep's bright red eyes on him the whole way.

With the weight of Jeep's gaze and Goku's warning on his mind, Gojyo was very, very careful to be very, very normal as they ate. He didn't do anything weird or make squiggly shapes or wrestle Hakkai to the ground and pry his limiters off with his teeth and start dry-humping his leg, or anything at all except eat. Spoon in bowl, stew in spoon, spoon in mouth, spoon in bowl again. Well, okay, he made a few appreciative noises and one or two attempts at stealing something from Goku, but overall, he kept a low profile by doing everything except what he itched to do. Hakkai sat across from him, watching him with a faintly exasperated expression—just like always!—and Sanzo ignored him completely except for one or two disgruntled tchs thrown in his direction, so he knew he'd played it real cool the whole time. Nobody suspected a thing.

They still didn't suspect a thing when they settled down a few hours later, sitting snugly under the open sky in the Jeep. One by one, he heard their breathing go soft and regular. Gojyo pretended to sleep in the hopes that he'd actually be able to fall asleep that way, but no dice. He just kept thinking about pliant coils of dark green rubbing against each other and over Hakkai's skin, and over his ... his … He shifted in his seat, which had suddenly started to feel kind of warm, and ended up staring at Goku. With his face turned to the side and the way the moonlight fell across it, Goku's profile looked sort of like Hakkai's. Gojyo squinted. A line of shadow flickered, and Gojyo's fingers twitched. Almost before he knew it, he was reaching for his knapsack to retrieve the permanent marker he'd used to scribble the vines over the stupid plastic pony's butt, and then the tip of the marker was poised to ink a delicate, leafy line just like Hakkai's across Goku's nose and cheeks …

… When Hakkai stirred in the front seat. Gojyo froze as Hakkai let out string of low, unnerving fu-fu-fus before turning in his seat, sighing, and settling back down. Holy crap, that'd been close! What the fuck was he thinking? Gojyo flushed, feeling himself go hot from hairline to groin with embarrassment and lu—embarrassment, dammit. He shoved the marker back into the knapsack and crossed his arms, eyes closing resolutely as he ignored the gentle throb in his groin.


Two days later, the situation hadn't improved. Okay, Gojyo hadn't scrawled trailing vines on any unsuspecting sleepers, but his fingers had gotten decidedly itchier. He'd started watching Hakkai more and more, and once or twice, he'd caught the flash of a shrewd green gaze in Jeep's rearview—Hakkai watching him back. On each occasion, Gojyo had been staring intently at the back of Hakkai's neck and tracing from memory the pattern of the vine that would curve pleasingly across the pale skin, riiiiight there, just beneath the glossy darkness of his hair. The touch of his finger on the expanse of his own sun-warmed, denim-clad thigh as he reproduced the vine's winding path had made him break out in goosebumps. Not even Goku snoring next to him in the afternoon sun had dampened the shivery tingle on his skin.

So thank Kanzeon, that merciful tart, they were finally rolling into a dinky little town. And not a moment too soon. This one even looked to have a decent inn and bathhouse, which was good because Gojyo had blood—from an idiot, inept youkai, not him—on all his shirts but the one he was wearing, and they were all starting to smell a little funky. Even Hakkai, so you knew it was pretty bad.

Gojyo vaulted out of the Jeep before Hakkai put it in park and snagged his knapsack, saying, "Gonna go find some cigarettes while you guys get a room, be back in a sec," as he hit the ground. He hurried off as fast as he could without running. Goku squawked something about his fair share in unloading, but Gojyo tuned it out. He had to get out of their line of sight and sneak the frigging pony out of his bag before Hakkai started doing laundry. If he saw the pony, Hakkai would … he'd know.

There was no telling what he'd do with that knowledge. Something good? Maybe. But probably—almost definitely—not. With Gojyo's shitty luck, something not good was a lot more likely. He could live with humiliation; he had before. But rejection? From Hakkai? That would—


So the frigging plastic toy had to get out of the bag and into, um, somewhere else. Yeah. Gojyo wanted to pitch it in the nearest trash bin, but somehow the damn thing ended up shoved in his jacket pocket with its soft, blunt nose nudging his hip with every step. He'd just have to play it off as an extra pack of Hi-Lites until he could stash it back in the bag. And, uh, resist the urge to keep pulling it out to look at it. Right.

The inn fronted one side of a small square, and Gojyo snuck around the back, looking for a convenience store or general store or dry goods store or any kind of fucking store that might stock his brand. Any brand. He wasn't as low on smokes as he'd let on, but he wasn't going to pass up a chance to lend credibility to his story or beef up his supply. They were probably going to cross another mammoth desert soon, seeing as they were just now penetrating—heh—the far eastern reaches of India.

Fortunately, he found a general store two streets behind the inn. The lone carton of Hi-Lites looked battered at the corners and had a dent on one edge, but he bought it anyway. Stale cigs would do if he got desperate, and since they were more about camouflage for the dumb pocket pony than anything else, he would've paid just for the whiff of validity. So the carton got opened and a pack got stuffed in his pocket, on top of the pony, and a couple more packs that had been against the dented edge were shoved in the knapsack under his filthy, stinky socks and filthier, bloody shirts. Alibi—or whatever it was called; plausible deniability? A blind? A mockup? Aw, who gave a crap—established.

He was feeling pretty good about his little trick when he rounded the inn's corner to head inside. Until he saw Sanzo standing there, leaning against the faded red façade right next to the door, smoking and lying in wait like some beautiful, sun-kissed god of epic assholery. Gojyo's good mood plummeted into wariness in an instant.

"So. Dumbass," Sanzo began on his next vaporous exhalation.

Gojyo wrapped his hand around the knapsack strap digging into his shoulder. His knuckles went white. "They didn't have Marlboros. And anyway, I didn't have enough cash for another carton. You can hike your holy butt two streets back and get 'em yourself."

"Shut up and listen," Sanzo continued, flicking ash from his cigarette and frowning so hard his chakra started to disappear. "Figure it out or get over it before we leave town. You have two days."

"I don't know what—"

"Two days. Or I shoot you and we leave your sorry carcass here. Now fuck off." Sanzo reached for his gun, all pissy nonchalance, his eyes never leaving Gojyo. Gojyo took the hint and went inside to look for Goku and Hakkai.

Great. He was thoroughly, awesomely fucked. He'd been trying to get over it for weeks now, and he was only getting worse. Hell, if Sanzo had noticed something wrong and called him on it, then it was a lot … uh, a lot wronger than he'd suspected. There was no telling what Hakkai thought about it. Because it was a foregone conclusion he knew something wasn't right.

Well, shit. As long as Hakkai didn't know what the problem really was, Gojyo had forty-eight hours to give himself a stern talking-to and knock it the hell off. He could do it. Yeah, he could totally do it.

He was for sure gonna do it.

Except … fate had other fuckery in mind. Hakkai stayed back at the inn to supervise their impressively foul laundry and sent Gojyo out with Goku to shop for supplies. On the one hand, Gojyo was grateful to be away from the source of his painfully and obviously obsessive, um, obsession. But on the other, he wasn't sure how helpful avoidance would be. Some asshole with a sutra and a gun had usurped Hakkai's usual check-in duties and scored himself a double with Goku, which left Gojyo sleeping with Hakkai. Ha! If only! The last few podunk inns they'd stayed at had had only one room to let, which they'd all shared. He could keep his crap together—mostly—if they were all in the same room. But now it seemed like the universe had aligned itself with the goddamn monk, and at his expense. Fan-fuckin'-tastic. Merciful Goddess, his sweet ass.

Okay. So the only thing he had to do was avoid Hakkai until he was asleep, then avoid him in the morning and all through the next day. And then do it again. Easy. Because by then, he would be cured. Or else.

Which meant for now, he just had to ignore the way the selection of leeks and kale in the tiny open-air market made him break out in a light sweat. Goku had, as usual, wandered off to look at something else, so he wasn't there to witness Gojyo's discomfort. Gojyo touched a springy green kale leaf. It was soft yet crisp and had a fresh, lively scent that reminded him vaguely of Hakkai in his youkai form. Gojyo inhaled deeply, the smell of greenness flooding his nose and going straight to his crotch. Where his pants were starting to feel a little uncomfortable. Kinda … ah, kinda chafey. Tight. And, um, too warm. Gojyo dropped the kale in the shopping bag, then covered it with some small potatoes, not really caring that the potatoes would crush the crisp, sexy leaves, and handed the stall's owner a few coppery coins. She clucked her tongue disapprovingly at his bagging skills, but Gojyo ignored her. Hakkai would probably cluck, too, and give him Inattention-to-Detail-Will-Be-Your-Demise Frown #8. But Gojyo planned to get out of it by making Goku carry the groceries inside while he made himself scarce and looked for a card game and some hotties to maybe take his mind off the delicious, sensual color and scent of the greenery in his grocery bag. Yes! Sha Gojyo was a genius! He could just say he was augmenting their petty cash fund while he had a chance. And the hotties would set him on the road to recovery, right?

Yeah. It was a foolproof plan. So it was bound to succeed—wildly.


Operation Avoidance and Recovery, Gojyo thought as he crept upstairs to his room, hadn't gone that well. His face stung from the slaps he'd been dealt by that hot girl and her twin, and their even hotter friend. He hadn't expected their place to have an herb garden, okay? And how was it his fault that he got distracted by the delicate, leafy tops of the carrots in their orderly rows or the tall, bushy stand of basil with its darkly shiny, fragrant leaves? They'd felt so good, brushing over his lips. He still couldn't figure out why they'd been so pissed about it. Thankfully, the ladies' nails hadn't drawn blood so he wouldn't have to explain anything in the morning, and cool water from the washroom had soothed his cheeks a little. They still stung more than his pride, though. He really hadn't given a shit about the girls or the card game at the bar or the beer or—or anything at all. He'd only cared about making sure he got back late enough that he'd be able to stare at Hakkai without getting caught, and then maybe get some sleep. If he slept hard enough, he'd be able to ignore Hakkai's disapproving Your-Laziness-Is-Offensive Glare #5 and loud, disapproving morning routine. And then day two of Operation A&R would start, hopefully with a better outcome than its initial launch.

Gojyo opened the door to the room quietly. The lights were out, the only illumination coming from the window. A fat yellow moon that washed out the stars and threw everything into stark relief hung outside, high in the inky sky. He found his knapsack right away, at the head of his bed, and transferred the little pony back into its proper place with no noise at all. Yeah, alright, like a freakin' ninja! He grinned. Tiptoeing over and changing into his freshly laundered shorts was easy in the pale moonlight, and he managed to toss his dirty stuff into a tidy pile in the corner with no trouble. He'd wash it himself in the morning since Hakkai seemed to have done the rest of it already.

And speaking of …

Hakkai lay curled on his left side on the edge of his bed, facing the one Gojyo'd be sleeping in. The gap between them wasn't much—just a couple of feet, if that. Gojyo crawled between the sheets as quietly as he could, pausing twice to listen to the steady shushhhh of Hakkai's breaths. And then he froze.

Moonlight glinted. From Hakkai's half-open eyes. Shit!

But wait—he wasn't blinking, and his breathing hadn't changed. Holy crap, give a guy a heart attack! He was just doing that creepy thing where he slept with his eyes open. Gojyo was sure of it. He wriggled the rest of the way under the covers and inched over to the edge of his bed so he could be as close to Hakkai as possible. He wasn't gonna, like, do anything. He just wanted to be, y'know, close. Because after tonight, he wasn't going to think about Hakkai's vines anymore. Ever. Not even if he saw them again.

He wasn't going to think about their rich, deep color, greener than the bruised kale, greener than the lush valleys they'd traveled through on their way across China. Or how they were as green as Hakkai's eyes. Long and supple and electric, spreading and wrapping themselves over the sweetest, most intimate parts of …

Gojyo closed his eyes and ran his hand down his chest, fingers spread wide as he traced the path the vines would take if they were on his body instead of Hakkai's. His nails scraped gently over sensitive skin growing rough with goosebumps and faintly damp from a light sheen of sweat. It wasn't like he was doing anything. He wasn't even looking at Hakkai, okay? Or looking at the pony, which was, he could shamefacedly admit when his eyes were closed, a stand-in. So it didn’t count, what he was doing. Not even a little! He bit his lip and concentrated on the shivery flutter that was building low in his belly and drifting even lower, down to his cock, which was getting all warm and starting to swell. The sheets rustled as his hand followed the sensation down. Yeah, like that. God, did they really go everywhere, like he imagined? Like, tiny delicate ones just—

"Really, Gojyo, I think we've reached a point where we need to address your issues," sighed Hakkai.

Fuck. Gojyo's eyes flew open and his hand flew out from under the sheet. Hakkai's eyes were fully open, too, and he was sitting up. Before Gojyo could say anything, he was on Gojyo's bed, pushing him onto his back and straddling him.

"I've tried to be understanding and give you the space you need, but you're making Goku uneasy and have stretched Sanzo's very limited patience as far as it can go."

Gojyo licked his lips, tasting a ghostly hint of basil, and tried to figure out what to say. But all he could think about was Hakkai straddling his hips, the way the pale light glinted off his limiters, and the way he'd look if he took those limiters off. The bare chest in front of him would be wrapped in those vines, and … and …

It was really fuckin' dumb, okay, maybe even terminally stupid, but he just … he couldn't stop himself, alright? Weeks of trying and failing to pretend he didn’t want, hadn't fantasized, this exact thing happening steamrolled the one microscopic corner of his rational mind left. Not even the survival instinct from the lizard part of his brain kicked in fast enough.

Gojyo reached up with both hands, the right one going for the limiters, the left one drawing a line across Hakkai's chest, exactly where he knew a vine would appear. For the briefest instant, Hakkai was distracted—or maybe he didn’t think Gojyo was moron enough to go through with it? Huh. Showed how much he knew. Gojyo's fingers closed over Hakkai's ear and tugged. The change shimmered over Hakkai, thrilling and totally terrifying, and the apprehension of what Hakkai could do flowed over Gojyo in a press of breathless anticipation that hovered above every inch of his skin. It felt like a veil of static electricity, raising his hair and even his stupid dick, which should have had some sense of self-preservation left, even if Gojyo himself didn't.

"Oh, Gojyo," Hakkai chuckled. His voice was darker and richer somehow, sounding every bit primal and predatory, and a jolt of adrenaline zipped down Gojyo's spine. "That wasn't very intelligent."

Gojyo swallowed heavily. "Uh, well," he began, licking his lips again and staring at the vines running across Hakkai's chest. They were even more beautiful than he'd thought. What would he have to do to get Hakkai to unleash them and touch him with them, just this once?

"I know what you want," Hakkai murmured. Wait, what the hell? Could he read minds in his youkai form? Hakkai smiled, lips not quite closing over the points of his elongated teeth. "I'm sure you'll even enjoy it. But tell me," he continued, "is it me, or is it just these?" He gestured at a dark green vine sprawling across his ribs.

Okay, that was a totally fair question, and Gojyo knew the answer without thinking: it was him—it was Hakkai, of course. The vines weren't, um, weren't that important. Not … not really. Not by much. They were more like a bonus. Yeah! That was right! A sexy, kinky bonus. The sexiest, kinkiest bonus possible, yeah, but still—

"They're a bonus," Gojyo mumbled nervously. He bit his lip. What if that was the wrong answer? Oh, shit, what if—what if it was the wrongest answer?

Hakkai looked at him closely for a moment. And thank all the merciful deities in their merciful, merciful heavens, that was I-Am-Not-Displeased-For-I-Sense-Truth Look #7. Hakkai smiled his pointy youkai smile again. It looked a lot like I'm-Going-to-Enjoy-This-Immensely Smile #10, only it was … uh, pointier.

"Well. You'll have to prepare yourself, then, won't you?" Hakkai ran his claws over Gojyo's pecs, catching his nipples, and Gojyo drew in a sharp breath, suddenly dizzy as all the blood rushed down to his cock. "I trust you're familiar—"

"I—fuck. Yeah, I'm … but," Gojyo stumbled over the words, "aren't I supposed to be the one who—I mean, I'm taller!" This was so undignified and, okay, totally beside the point, but he couldn't help himself.

"Really?" Hakkai sounded amused. "I was in a committed sexual relationship with my sister. Obviously, conventions aren't important to me."

Okay, that was true. And a good point. And—

All the air left Gojyo's lungs as Hakkai leaned over him, reaching down toward the head of the bed and rummaging around in the knapsack there. He sat back up, holding two objects. The first was the goddamn pony. Hakkai arched an eyebrow—the one over his yellow youkai eye—then tossed it over his shoulder. Gojyo felt a momentary pang of loss until Hakkai slid further down his legs and the vines pressed into his flesh began to writhe. They peeled away from Hakkai's arms and crept across Gojyo's belly, under the waistband of his shorts. He gasped as the tips of the leaves pricked him, like tiny blunt needles walking across his stomach and thighs, and then let out an involuntary groan as they ripped through his shorts and cool air teased the damp head of his cock. Hakkai leaned down and gave it a slow, wet lick. His tongue was like liquid fire and freakishly flexible, coiling around the head in mimicry of the motion of the vines still moving over Gojyo's thighs.

Holy shit, if he did that again, Gojyo was going to come in two second flat and disgrace himself forever. But thank Kanzeon, that buxom creature, it didn't come to that. Hakkai swung himself off the bed momentarily to grasp Gojyo's legs with the vines, which—oh, fuck, they felt so good, buzzing with energy and touching him everywhere at once—pulled them apart and bent them at the knee so he was open and exposed. Hakkai popped the cap on the lube.

Gojyo's hands shook a little as he poured the slick over his fingers, but they got steadier as he pressed them inside his own ass. He'd done it before, once or twice: letting himself imagine Hakkai was the one opening him with slick, probing fingers, the one holding his legs apart with strong, supple vines, just like now. The thought of it had made him come hard and fast. The idea was still awesome—better now, in some ways—but the reality of this Hakkai, a little feral and a lot scary, was kinda … kinda, um—yeah. Kinda terrifying. But so awesome and so, so hot.

Hakkai watched, the hungry light in his eyes growing brighter, more urgent with each awkward thrust of Gojyo's fingers: I'm-Going-to-Fuck-You-So-Hard Intense Stare #1, thought Gojyo fleetingly. He was burning all over, his skin and dick and everything inside him soaring upward to inferno temperatures—except where the night air made the lube cool before it disappeared inside him. He shivered, and Hakkai pushed against the insides of his knees, spreading his legs almost as wide as they could go and exposing him fully.

"I believe that's enough," Hakkai said, his voice as hungry as his eyes. He climbed back on the bed and knelt between Gojyo's knees. Gojyo could feel the heat coming off him and smell the electric green scent of his sweat. He let his fingers slip free of his ass, wrist straightening with an uncomfortable twinge, and swallowed hard.

"Yeah, okay."

Hakkai leaned forward and scraped his claws lightly down the insides of Gojyo's thighs. Gojyo bit his lip and went cross-eyed trying to hold back a moan, but he couldn't keep his stupid legs from opening a fraction wider or his even stupider cock from getting harder. Hakkai smiled scarily—Gojyo briefly registered it as You-Asked-for-It-So-Don't-Act-So-Surprised Expression #3—and ran his claws down Gojyo's thighs again, and Gojyo realized he was so, so screwed. Or, uh, about to be.

With Hakkai's first push to get inside, everything clamped down—fucking ow—for just a second before Gojyo forced himself to relax. He couldn't help it! But Hakkai wouldn't hurt him. Not, uh—not much. Not really.

The vines wrapped around Gojyo's legs squeezed gently, and other vines spread their way across his chest and over his hands, now bunched into tight fists that gripped the hell out of the bedsheets.

"Don't worry; it won't be uncomfortable for long," Hakkai said, and yeah, Gojyo knew that, but he wasn't as reassured as he wanted to be. It didn't matter, though, because Hakkai moved his hips forward and Gojyo breathed out, and the vines undulated over his skin in time with Hakkai's thrusts, the leaves gripping and pricking and scratching him softly until he felt like he was … he was … oh, god, he was going to be torn apart by leafy green bliss.

Gojyo lost himself in the blaze of friction inside and out. The moonlight-gilded shadows gave everything crazy angles, like something out of a dream, and Hakkai looked unearthly, his lips curled in a snarl, his eyes gleaming, as he moved over and inside Gojyo. Holy shit, that must be The-Best-Fuck-Ever Face. How the hell could he have been so into that stupid pony, even as a substitute? Gojyo pulled at the sheets to adjust his hips, moving in time with Hakkai's thrusts, and felt him penetrate even deeper. Hakkai gasped, and something warm and urgent unfurled low in Gojyo's stomach and spread through his chest.

"Y-yeah, c'mon," he moaned. He clenched around Hakkai's cock as a slender vine with prickling leaves wrapped around his balls, tickling him, and tightened. Hakkai began to move faster, and Gojyo groaned as a lance of heat throbbed outward from his groin. This wasn't easy, but it didn't suck. Not even a little. It was—ah, fuck!—kind of amazing, honestly.

"What was that, Gojyo?" Hakkai's mild tone was marred by the predatory roughness of his voice as he gripped Gojyo's hips harder and thrust more vigorously. The little vines coiled around his cock constricted rhythmically in time with Hakkai's movements, and Gojyo's eyes rolled back as light and sensation exploded through him. He felt a guttural half-shout, half-moan erupt from his throat, and then he was riding a hazy, cresting wave of complete awesomeness as the best orgasm of his fucking life wrung him dry.

He was dimly aware of the vines—oh, god, they were better than he'd ever imagined—pulling his legs higher as Hakkai fucked him harder and faster. Gojyo went limp, just letting Hakkai use him and feeling the aftershocks twitch through him until Hakkai came, vines and claws tightening all around Gojyo, his skin zinging with a hundred pinpricks of tiny, thrilling pain.

Hakkai began to pull away a little while later, the vines loosening and retreating slowly, trailing over Gojyo's reddened, sensitive skin with delicate pressure. Gojyo grabbed the closest one and looped it loosely around his fingers. He wouldn't be ready again for over half an hour, maybe less if Hakkai helped with his chi. And it couldn't hurt—not much, anyway, and not in … um, not in a bad way—to ask. Because if this was what he got for not asking, being up-front had to be better, right?

"So," he said in a voice that was wobbly and kind of faint, "do these things do, uh, knots?"


The end