Gojyo never used to actively dislike storms, unless he was caught outside by one. He’d even occasionally enjoyed them; tasting that charged freshness in the air, listening to the crash and boom of heaven’s drums, watching the wild beauty and danger of the lightning. And ultimately, relishing the comfort of watching it all from inside a snug dry bedroom, preferably with some pretty girl to cling to him with little shrieks of fear that he could sooth away with whispered words and stroking hands and the heat and hardness of his body.
Since beginning the journey West however, he’d begun to dread storms. Especially those like tonight’s. Ones that started suddenly, stayed upon the gathering of lightning, thunder and driving drenching rain for a day or two, then departed trailing nature all wet and broken in their wake.
Downpours like this made Sanzo as pissy as a broad with PMS, or a dog with a broken leg. Though at least if he’d been the latter Gojyo could have put the bitch down, instead of having to endure all the psychotic barking and snarling.
Gojyo reckoned if the monk ever snapped, it would be on a rainy night.
In contrast to Sanzo, storms made Hakkai savage himself rather than others. He turned in upon his memories, animation and gentle humour washing from his face into a pool of stagnant remorses and regrets. Gojyo hated that. Hated it more than Sanzo’s sullenness and tantrums. Wanted to smack some sense into Hakkai, yell at him to snap out of it. Knew it would just make matters worse.
Gojyo hated how storms tasted like desperation to him now.
“Gojyo?” Hakkai’s voice was softly enquiring.
“Could you stop that kicking please?”
Gojyo realised he’d been punting the table leg idly with his foot for who-knew how long.
“Tch.” He stopped his kicking, looked over at Hakkai who was lying on his bed, eyes closed, hands folded over the book on his chest.
“Finished your book?” he asked him.
“You want a beer?”
“Thank you, but no,” Hakkai replied.
“Something to eat?”
“No. Dinner was quite filling.”
“Want to beat me at a hand of cards?”
“I’m fine where I am.”
Gojyo gritted his teeth at the expressionlessness of Hakkai’s tone, stymied to any other course of action. Silence fell between them again but it was filled with the sound of pouring rain and the low rumble of thunder in the distance. Gojyo sighed and lit another cigarette. Realised as he stubbed the butt out that he was kicking the table again. He stopped. Sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, rubbed his hands over his face. He glanced over at the bed again and found Hakkai watching him with a measuring gaze.
“The storm’ll be over soon,” he said, even though that was patently nonsense.
Hakkai smiled for the first time that day, as though Gojyo’d said something to be cherished.
“Of course it will,” there was that mild note which wavered between humour and self-mockery in Hakkai’s voice now. “Come to bed Gojyo.”
And relief was a flood of warmth in his chest, because he knew words and hands and heat could drive away the storm for Hakkai for tonight.