I'll be your dream...wish...fantasy...

Learning To Cope

A Watcher and a vampire. The ultimate forbidden love...or that's how Wesley would describe it. If he could. But no. Angel hasn't the faintest idea of the Watcher's feelings for him; his desire to be something more than friends and partners. And that's the way it should be. Why complicate things?

Wesley knows and understands the reasons why he and Angel could never really, truly, be together. Hell, it's not because they're both men; Angel was known to enjoy the company of males when he used to be Angelus. Spike is proof of that. Why, the blond vampire even dropped hint that he and Angel had been intimate in the past. Angel, meanwhile, only shrugged it off, but he never did outright deny it.

Angel will, forever and for always, carry a torch for Buffy Summers, the Slayer; his "forever love." Wesley, despite himself, felt a small part of him ache whenever the brunet vampire would bring her up. If only he were so lucky. Wesley wasn't surprised to discover that he was jealous of Buffy. He would love for Angel's face to brighten up at the mere mention of his name.

But alas, it was never meant to be, really. He could still admire and pine from afar. As long as he's a part of Angel's group, Wesley could deal with it. As long as Angel needed him, whether it be for research or backup, it was perfectly fine. Except that it was not.

He wanted more, but Angel didn't. And he was going to have to learn to cope with that fact...eventually.


'It hurts...this feeling. This ache.' Buffy clutched her chest in an attempt to control the pain. Being with Spike brought about the hurt that she longed to repress. When she thought she'd have it under wraps, Spike would touch her, kiss her, and it'd come back stronger than ever. She wished with all her might that it would just go away, this pain.

But no. It lingered, like a stain. A stain on her heart. When they were together, Buffy couldn't help but wonder. Is the mark visible? Can Spike see it?

The mark...Angel's mark.

Does he know?

Every Rose Has Its' Thorn

Gojyo heaved a sigh as the jeep pulled to a stop. They had been driving along for about half a day now, and the scenery had started out looking really pretty and calming, but a few hours in the green of the trees all kind of molded into one colossal cloud; it all appeared the same. Boring. The kappa stifled a yawn as he clicked open the door and stepped out, his muscles groaning with relief as he stretched them over his head in a desperate attempt to wake them up. Sitting in one position for so long does not do the body good.

"Well, this place looks rather quaint," Hakkai commented, shutting the door on his side. He walked over to the front of the inn and observed it up close.

"Yeah, yeah, the place is nice. Let's just go inside," Sanzo cut in, his voice sharp. Fishing through his robes, he pulled out a pack of cigarettes, took one in his mouth, lit it with his lighter, and returned the pack to its former hiding place. Without saying anything else, he began heading toward the building.

"Yay, food!" Goku yelled out, the sound of his exclamation echoing throughout the quiet streets. The golden-eyed youth sprinted after Sanzo, leaving the two others behind without a second thought.

"Leave some for us this time, monkey boy," Gojyo muttered under his breath. Before making his way inside, the redhead took a quick peek at the sky above and noted that it was cloudy, overcast, and gray; a storm was coming, no doubt. Just then, thunder rumbled in the distance, as if to answer his musings. 'Ergh,' He thought. 'Just what we need. Rain...'

"Hey, guys, looks like a storm's brewing," Gojyo announced, meeting up with the rest of the group at the receptionist's desk. He met Hakkai's eyes as their rooms were being paid for. The brunette nodded and then turned his attention to Sanzo and Goku. "Here, Sanzo," he said, dropping the key into the monk's hand.

"Hey! What's this, I'm rooming with Goku?"

A huge smile broke out on the youth's face and his eyes sparkled. "Yayyyy! Let's go get food, Sanzo!" He then began pulling the monk to the door. Sanzo turned toward Hakkai, an icy glare in his violet eyes. "Why?"

Hakkai was not fazed at all by the death glare. "You and Goku could use the bonding time," he answered calmly. "Have fun!" he called out as Goku dragged Sanzo to the nearest restaurant.

"Why doesn't Sanzo just admit that he cares for Goku?" Gojyo questioned, as he and Hakkai headed upstairs to their room.

"I honestly do not know," Hakkai sighed, fumbling the key into the lock. The door creaked open and the two men entered the room.Inside, there were two beds. Gojyo claimed one and Hakkai the other. The instant he sat down, Gojyo fished out his pack of cigarettes, lit one, and took a long drag. A few seconds into his smoke, he noticed the sudden silence and cast a glance at his roommate. Hakkai was sitting on his bed, hands folded together on his lap, a somber expression gracing his features. "'Kai?" Gojyo asked, concern filling his voice, "You okay?"

Nodding, Hakkai answered without even looking up. "Yes, I'm fine."

"Well, okay..."

Silence came between them. Gojyo sat on his bed, smoking and glancing every few seconds at his roomie. Hakkai sat on his bed, staring down at his hands and giving the ocassional look out the window. Seconds went by, minutes went by and soon, Gojyo couldn't take this anymore. He stood up, tossing his cancerstick into the wastebasket and stepped over to the door. "I'm going to go get a beer," he stated, looking back over his shoulder to the brunette. "You want anything?"

"Tea, please," Hakkai replied, his gaze still focused on something that Gojyo couldn't see.

"Okay." With that, the redhead left.

The moment the door closed, Hakkai let out a sigh. With a grunt, he then stood up and glided over to the window pane. He reached out and touched the wall of glass that seperated him from the outside world. Beyond the glass, the rain poured down in sheets, the sky was an eerie, menacing black, and thunder growled in the distance like an approaching beast. Hakkai thrust a hand into his pants' pocket and pulled out a watch. Kanan's watch.

With trembling fingertips, he caressed the top of it, feeling the coolness of the glass and the slight bump of the ragged crack that ran through the center. He brought it up to his lips and kissed it softly. "Kanan...I miss you so much..." he whispered, a single tear escaping his eyes. Overwhelmed with emotion, he dropped to his knees as a sob overcame him. "Kanan..." Her name came out as a whimper, full of ache and hurt and longing. The small pocket watch clutched in his hand, Hakkai crushed it to his chest, imagining for a moment that it was her pressed up against him, warm and soft, and not just her memory. "I miss you...Kanan..."

At that moment the door opened, signaling the return of Gojyo. "Here you go, Hakkai. I got your--" He cut off, noticing that his best friend was on the floor, hunched over, and seeming to be in pain. A noise then filled his ears, a noise that Gojyo could never stand, for as long as he could remember: crying. It was deep, heartwrenching, and agonising. Gojyo stood, unable to move, as his brain was screaming at him to do something, anything. Finally, he set the beverages on a nearby table and knelt down by the brunette's side. "Hakkai, what's wrong?" he asked, managing to speak.

Hakkai didn't answer. He just kept staring down at the watch held in his iron grip, his crying subsiding just a bit. Gojyo followed Hakkai's gaze and his eyes rested on the object his friend was so desperately clutching in between his fingers. The watch. 'Kanan's watch,' Gojyo realised sadly. The ill-fated device that was the only real piece of Hakkai's past that was left. 'Well, that and the scar,' Gojyo corrected himself. He then turned his crimson eyes to the window and silently cursed at the falling rain.

The rain. It was because of the damned rain that Hakkai was acting the way he is. Only the rain could make the seemingly calm youkai have a violent mood swing. One second, happy and aimable. The next, deathly quiet and depressed. And as long as the weather remained the same, Hakkai would be this way the entire night. Gojyo did not want that. He wanted to spend the evening with the Hakkai he knew; the laughing, smiling, carefree Hakkai. Not the brooding, gloomy, Gonou-esque side of Hakkai that only dared to come out when it stormed.Shaking his head, Gojyo decided to attempt to speak to the still-silent youkai. "Are you okay, Hakkai?" The brunette nodded. Gojyo stood up. "Well, then how about this. Let's get a nice hot cup of tea in you. Maybe you'll feel better."

Nodding again, Hakkai took the hand Gojyo offered and allowed himself to be led over to the bed he'd claimed as his own for the evening. Gojyo grabbed both the tea and beer and sat himself next to Hakkai. The brunette accepted the beverage and sipped it gratefully. The sweet tea filled his entire being with a soothing warmth. He could feel the tensions of his body slowly melting away. A slight sigh escaped his lips.

"So, you better?" Gojyo said, his cracked baritone ringing throughout the silent room. Crimson eyes fell upon the youkai, deep concern making him raise an eyebrow.

"I'm sorry you had to witness that," Hakkai stated firmly, ignoring the question. He brought the cup to his lips again, taking a deep gulp. "You shouldn't have to see me break down. I know how much you dislike tears."

Gojyo didn't know what to say to that, so he just took a swig of his beer and continued gazing at the youkai, questions in his eyes. "You better?" He repeated, concern softing his words.

A sigh was what he got in response.

"Gojyo," Hakkai finally said. "I appreciate your concern, but I'd rather not talk right now. I'm not quite feeling myself..."

"Damn straight."

The sudden harshness of that phrase made Hakkai turn his attention to the hanyou. "Gojyo?" He took in a breath as he realised that the redhead was staring at him, anger in his crimson eyes. "What...?"

"Listen, Hakkai," Gojyo said, his voice sharp. "I know that you hate the rain. I know that it makes you think of things that you'd rather forget...but, please, must this happen every single friggin' time?"

Now the brunette was confused. "What must happen?"

"This," Gojyo said, waving his arms in the air for emphasis. "This...attitude. This whole I-must-be-sad-and-depressed routine. I know you can't forget what happened a few years back because it was so traumatic, but could you please not think about it for just one night?"

Hakkai narrowed his eyes. "I think about it all the time, Gojyo," he said, voice crisp. "She never leaves my mind, not even for a moment."

Gojyo could hear the sharpness in the youkai's tone, but he decided to ignore it. Instead, he took another swig of beer. "Lucky girl," he muttered under his breath.

"What did you say?"

Gojyo turned and saw Hakkai looking at him with incredulity. "I said, 'Lucky girl,'" the hanyou repeated. "To have complete hold of your heart like that."

"She was my first love, Gojyo!" Hakkai exclaimed. "Kanan was my first love and always will be!"

Gojyo drew in a breath. "I know," he said. "Every time it rains, you remind me."

Hakkai raised an eyebrow. "Really? I don't even remember talking to you about her ever since you took me in all those years ago."

"Oh, believe me, I know," Gojyo said bitterly, finishing off the last of his bottle. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand before speaking. "It's the way you act: quiet, moody, sulking..." He paused and let out a sigh. "When she's on your mind, you become a different person."

"She's always on my mind," Hakkai pressed.

"Sure, but when it rains...you become Gonou."

Silence fell between them as that sentence hung in the air. Hakkai averted his gaze to the cup in his hands, unable to face the redhead next to him. "So," he finally said moments later, "What are you exactly trying to say?"

"I don't know," Gojyo replied, shrugging. He leaned forward and put his head in his hands. "It's just...to me, it seems that Kanan is controlling your life. I know you loved her, you still love her, but...maybe you could finally let her go?"

Hakkai gasped. "I could never do that."

Gojyo laughed, a sad smile forming on his face. "I knew you'd say that."

"Well, what did you expect?"

"Nothing, nothing."


"Listen, just forget this, okay?" Gojyo said. "It's obvious that you're never going to be able to forget Kanan. I shouldn't of asked you to do that. It was...rude of me." He then stood up and tossed the bottle in the trash.


"Just forget it, okay?" He repeated, voice raising. He stepped over to the door and twisted the knob. "I'm going out for a smoke."

Before Hakkai could say anything, the door shut loudly, the sound of it vibrating throughout the room. Gojyo strode down the stairs, not caring that people were staring at him curiously. "What are you looking at?" He questioned angrily to the receptionist; she yelped before shaking her head vigorously. "N-Nothing, sir," She stammered."I thought so," Gojyo mumbled as he continued on his way.

Outside it was still pouring. 'Huh, so much for that smoke,' he thought angrily. Leaning against the brick wall of the inn, the hanyou brushed wet strands of hair out of his face, the conversation with Hakkai still running through his mind, causing his mood to darken even more. "But...maybe you could finally let her go?"

"I could never do that."

"No...I don't suppose you could," Gojyo muttered, letting a sigh escape his lips. "You love her too much." He grimaced as he felt something fall onto his cheek; something wet and warm that wasn't rain. 'Still...I just couldn't help wondering...if you can't be with the one you love...would you be willing to love the one you're with?'


It was raining. God, how he hated the rain. It made him feel uneasy. Thunder rumbled in the distance and lightning flashed across the night sky, filling the small room with a bright, glowing light every few minutes. Sighing, he brushed the hair away from his eyes and fell back against his pillow. Curling the blanket up to him, he turned on his side and closed his eyes and tried to go back to sleep.

He couldn't. After tossing and turning a few times, he gave up. This just didn't feel right. The bed felt so empty with just him in it. So empty and so...cold. Pulling his knees up to his chest, he gave another sigh. This time, it was a sigh of longing; the longing for the one person who had ever given him comfort, protection, trust...and love.

A sudden sharp pain brought him out of his thoughts. Wincing, he wrapped his arm around his stomach, clutching the jagged scar that ran across his belly. He glanced up and stared out the window. Rain poured down in buckets, the wind howled, and the scraping of branches against the glass of the window sounded like sharp nails against a chalkboard.

This was why he didn't like the rain. It brought back too many painful memories. Memories that constantly haunted him, turning his dreams into nightmares that made him always wake up in a cold sweat. Propping his head up with his hands, he let his gaze stray to the empty space next to him. Instantly, in his mind's eye, a figure materialized. Tan skin, long blood-red hair falling over broad shoulders delicately, ruby eyes smiling up at him gleefully, lanky arms reaching out to pull him close; to hold him, comfort him, and to take his worries away with a gentle kiss.

A knock at the door brought him out of his reverie. Reluctantly, he got up off the bed, stretched his limbs, and made his way down the hall to the door. He twisted the knob and the door swung open. He peeked his head out and the pounding of the rain echoed in his ears. Suddenly, his eyes widened as a figure moved out of the shadows and came into view. He drew in a breath and grasped onto the door so hard his knuckles turned white. He shook his head and took in the sight of the person again, to make sure that he wasn't hallucinating. Tan, golden skin, lanky slightly muscular build soaked from the storm, blood red hair plastered to his head and face, ruby eyes looking at him with a subtle tenderness, a slow grin ruefully making its way across his face as he stepped into the doorway.

The surprised man stood there in shock for a few moments longer before finally regaining his composure and running into the redhead's arms. He buried his face into the wet fabric of his clothes, his nose tingling at the musky, familiar scent that was filling his entire being. His arms wrapped around the redhead's body, savoring the feel of their bodies pressing together.

A low laugh escaped the redhead's lips as he accepted the contact. He embraced him back before pulling away and meeting the other man's gaze. Ruby met emerald as they shared a smile.

"Hey, there, Hakkai," Gojyo said softly. "Ya miss me?"

Saiyuki - Groupshot