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10 February 2011 @ 12:00 am
fic: keepsake, gojyo/hakkai  
Title: Keepsake
Author: Ellyrianna
Fandom: Saiyuki
Pairing(s): Gojyo/Hakkai
Summary: Memories connect across time. In China or Philadelphia or anywhere else, Gojyo will always feel the same.

Ken was trying to mess with his taxes again about a quarter to four in the afternoon, but he wasn’t having much success. He’d worked three different legitimate jobs this year along with a mess of under the table, out of the way odd-and-side jobs, so his records were a mess, none of them comprehensible to him or in alignment with the others. After five frustrating more minutes, he finally just swept the mess of W2s and bank statements off the table and onto a chair. He’d get Holden to sort it out later.

It would have to be later, because Holden was currently asleep on the couch, only the top of his head visible beneath the comforter he’d pulled off his bed. Last night as he walked back from campus to their 48th and Walnut apartment, he slipped on some of the ice caking the sidewalks and crashed down hard onto his knee.

He’d called Ken and explained the situation in his usual wry tone, throwing in casual caveats as he was wont to do. “Please hurry, if you don’t mind,” he’d said at one point, “there’s a man with one eye talking to himself hovering nearby. I think he’s waiting to see if I die so he can take my wallet.” Ken found him in short order, and then, after hauling Holden’s pitifully frozen ass into his car, they’d spent the night in the HUP emergency room surrounded by West Philly’s finest.

He’d proceeded to skip all of his classes today to lie in a Vicodin-induced stupor on the couch, a move that certainly begrudged Holden but that Ken wholeheartedly endorsed. If you couldn’t take a personal day after nearly being mugged or killed after rendering yourself completely immobile due to poor street cleaning, Ken argued, then when could you?

Ken stood from the table to grab leftover dinner from the night before out of the refrigerator. As he walked into the kitchenette, which was right by the door, he thought he smelled smoke. He checked the various ashtrays scattered around the room as a precaution and found all of the butts cold corpses inside them. A more detailed search of the rest of the apartment, his eyes keen for a dropped match or a smoldering cigarette fallen behind a piece of crappy Ikea furniture, failed to implicate him in the smell. It had to be the neighbors, then.

“Holden,” Ken called out as he made his way back to the kitchen. “You want reheated curry?”

There was a distinctive rustling sound from the couch. Ken smirked; it lived after all, and it was hungry.

“Sitar or New Delhi?” Holden asked after a minute of careful, painstaking rearrangement of himself and his braced leg.

Ken pulled open the fridge door and lounged in front of it the way Holden hated. Had he been his usual self, Holden would have chided him lightly for yet again wasting energy and contributing to the slow dissolution of the Earth. He checked the various take-out containers that lived on his half of the shelves, stark Styrofoam contrasts to the fresh vegetables and paper-wrapped meats that filled Holden’s half.

“Sitar,” he said, and didn’t wait for the confirmation before he pulled the boxes out. Holden died for Sitar.

“Perfect,” Holden said, and Ken smirked, couldn’t help it. They’d been living together two years now, so almost all of Holden’s reactions Ken was certain he could predict half a minute before they occurred. “Cover it with plastic wrap when you –“

“I know,” Ken cut him off, but he didn’t have to. Glancing back at Holden, he found him sitting up, his head cocked to one side. He met Ken’s eyes with a question: “Do you smell smoke?”

Closing the fridge door and getting his nose out of the stench of congealed curry, Ken had to admit that he did. It was stronger than it had been when he’d checked the place a few minutes ago. He left Holden on the couch and went to the door. He yanked it open and stuck his face out into a world of white smoke.

“Holy shit,” he muttered. Stepping back inside, he shoved his feet into his shoes and grabbed his leather jacket off of the peg on the back of the door. “Yo, we got fire,” he added to Holden, almost as if he’d forgotten what he’d seen a second earlier.

Holden sighed heavily and slid his glasses onto the bridge of his nose. “Of course we do,” he said, and took up the crutches lying on the floor beside the couch. He used them to struggle unsteadily to his feet, the foot of his busted leg hovering six inches off the ground and his knobby fingers white and uncertain around the crutches’ padded grips.

Ken came up behind him and tossed his wool pea coat over Holden’s shoulders. “You gonna be okay with that? I don’t think we can use the elevator in a fire.”

Holden maneuvered into one shoe and then followed Ken as he made his way out of the apartment, grabbing keys and a pack of cigarettes before he left. Holden rolled his eyes and Ken grinned, as he always did. Nearly as soon as they shut their door and locked it, the fire alarm sounded off.

“About fucking time,” Ken shouted, offering his middle finger to the smoke-shrouded ceiling. Above and around them they heard their fellow tenants’ reactions, which were, unsurprisingly, along a similar vein as Ken’s. Together they made their way down the hall to the stairwell.

Ken held the door for Holden and then went down to the first landing, which turned out to be a mistake: Holden could barely manage himself regularly on the crutches, and with the stairs factored into the equation he was at practically a standstill, shifting first his foot forward and then his arm and then retreating entirely back onto the landing.

“I think it isn’t too bad,” Holden said haltingly after another painful minute of oscillation. Two of their neighbors rushed down the stairs, brushing angrily past them as they stood blocking the way. “Maybe I can just stay up here?”

Ken sighed and ran back up the short flight to where Holden stood. “I tend to prefer my Holden not charbroiled,” he said, and in short order pried Holden’s fingers from the crutches and hoisted him up in his arms. Holden’s arms tightened around his neck with surprising speed, and Ken grinned at him. “Knew you’d enjoy this.”

Holden’s face immediately reddened, and as an afterthought he struggled feebly. “I’m sure there has to be an easier solution to a problem like this,” he said, trying for his usual logical, wry tone and somehow missing it entirely, even though he knew it so well.

“Don’t worry, babe.” Ken adjusted the arm he had slung beneath Holden’s knees, brace and knobby apiece, and started down the steps half-sideways so he could watch where he was going. If he tripped and dropped his valuable burden, the whole stunt really would be for nothing. “I took care of you back then, and I’ve got you now.”

“I wish you wouldn’t bring that up,” Holden murmured, clinging tighter to Ken the faster he moved. The smoke was funneling down the stairwell now, thick and cloudy. Holden tried to suppress a cough into Ken’s chest and Ken pretended like it didn’t thrill him to hold Holden so close to him and feel his breath so warm through the thin cotton of his T-shirt.

“Saved your life, didn’t I?” he asked coolly instead, jogging down flight after flight, keeping his grip tight and wondering when it would start to give out. He worked out, but not enough to hold a grown man for very long, especially one as tall as Holden, no matter how lanky. “Man, I will never understand how you come waltzing out to 50th wearing a Polo and a gold watch at two in the morning. That’s like wearing a sign on your back that says ‘Please, God, just fucking mug me already.’”

“It was my first week in Philadelphia! What did I know?” Holden returned, but only mildly. It took true perseverance to get him really worked up, and you had to know exactly what to say, too. Ken only knew because of Sam. That asshole knew just how to cut you to the bone, like he could see inside your head and pick out what would piss you off the most.

“You were twenty-three.” Ken used his shoulder to push open the door at the bottom of the stairwell that opened out onto the first floor, and as he carried Holden through the lobby with the other tenants streaming from their upstairs apartments, he said, “You’d thought you’d have enough sense at twenty-three not to do stupid shit like that.”

“I’m from the suburbs,” Holden answered, as he usually did. “I was…ignorant. And in the end, it didn’t matter, because luckily you were there to wrap me up before I bled out and drive me down the street to the hospital. Our relationship hasn’t really changed much since then, has it?” He smiled up at Ken, the setting sun glinting gold off the frames of his glasses.

Ken’s arms were getting tired as he walked slowly toward the middle of the street where their neighbors were standing. He hefted Holden, marking that they’d left the crutches behind but thinking he could stand him up on the street next to him and put an arm around his waist to keep him upright. He could lean on him. Ken adjusted his grip, and as he did his cold fingers slid beneath Holden’s shirt, pressing against the warm skin of his back.


And there they were, standing in the middle of the forest, with snow drifting down around them. Gojyo was holding Hakkai, holding him in his arms because Hakkai’d gotten stabbed, stabbed by something. His blood was dripping down over Gojyo’s fingers and dripping onto the forest floor. They were standing in the snow and they were both bleeding, Hakkai worse off, Hakkai passed out, curled up against Gojyo’s chest.

Sanzo and Goku were somewhere, still fighting the youkai, this next trial set out for them on their interminable journey west. They were always heading toward the sunset, but when you couldn’t see it for all the trees in the forest, were you still on its path? Could the sun still touch you if you couldn’t feel its warmth?

Gojyo felt warmth – the warmth of Hakkai’s blood running down his hands. He shifted Hakkai in his arms and heard him moan. He was pretty sure they wouldn’t die this time – they hadn’t yet, right? The pattern suggested that if they hadn’t yet, to far worse and more monstrous things, then this time wouldn’t be different. So they weren’t go to die, but things were still unpleasant. Sanzo and Goku were still off chasing it, the thing, whatever it was. They were still heading west. Hakkai was still bleeding all over Gojyo’s hands.

The snow stung his face with cold. Gojyo looked up at the grey sky above him, the arching points of the forest’s fingers, and the swirl of snow. He looked back down at Hakkai’s face, nestled against his shoulder, warm and welcome. Not in this way, not really. Gojyo would always take him injured, would always bandage and tape his wounds, but he wished it didn’t have to be that way. He wished there were other ways to touch him except for fixing.

“You can put me down,” Hakkai mumbled into Gojyo’s neck.

He looked down at him. His arms were cold and frozen but not yet tired. He would carry Hakkai however far he needed him. If nothing else, Gojyo knew he would always carry Hakkai.

“You can put me down,” he said, a little louder, and blinked up at Gojyo through the falling snow. His eyes were tired but the set of his jaw, very familiar, was determined. “I can stand.”


“You can put me down,” Holden said, and now he really was struggling in Ken’s grip.

Fire trucks had arrived, and the mayor was there. Their apartment burning had become a spectacle, and Ken had missed the whole thing, lost in some thought that was not his own, and yet at the same time he was very aware of how much it was his own. Dazedly Ken pulled out the arm he held beneath Holden’s legs and used the one around his back to guide him down onto his one good foot. His bad knee he crooked back, and Holden leaned against Ken’s arm for support and stabilization.

“See?” He smiled warmly at Ken. “I can stand.”

Ken couldn’t think of what to say. He looked at Holden and then back at their apartment building, smoking so badly the entire neighborhood seemed to be in a fog. It was drifting down 48th Street, and the progression of the setting sun lent an eerie quality to the whole thing, Philadelphia filled with a smoky twilight.

Out of the corner of his eye Ken watched Holden. He was also staring avidly at their burning home, transfixed by the surrealism of the evening and probably considering the potential problems if their things burnt up. He looked like the other man, there was no doubt about it. His hair was brown and shaggy, in need of a cut, and his face was nearly the same, so very similar. Most striking of all were his eyes. They both had the same bright green eyes.

Was Ken anything like the other one, the one with the long red hair that had tickled his shoulders? Was he Gojyo? Ken had black hair, black and short. But he felt like Gojyo. In the patterns of his thoughts and in his life philosophy. In his feelings for Holden.

“Are you all right?” Holden asked him after he continued to say nothing for several minutes. “I’m sure it will be fine in the end. In the worst case scenario my laptop burns and I lose all of my notes and papers, but I’m hoping that won’t happen.”

“My taxes,” Ken said absently. “My tax shit is all going to go up in smoke. I’m fucked.”

Holden shook his head, optimistic, placating as usual. “I’m sure that’s not so. You can contact your old employers. They’ll have copies of your W2s. You can reprint your banking statements from online.”

Ken glanced over at him. “And what about you? What if your computer does get ruined?”

He shrugged. “I can get the notes from my classmates. I haven’t done substantial work on any of my upcoming assignments yet, so I won’t have lost anything irreplaceable or, at the very least, anything I’ve put too much effort into. I’ll have to buy a new machine, but that isn’t the worst thing in the world.”

He willed the vision, the dream, the smoke-induced hallucination, out of his mind. Whatever it was, it had nothing to do with them. Holden was getting his doctorate in English at Penn to be a professor and Ken was between jobs, perpetually so. They lived in Philadelphia in the twenty-first century and he didn’t even know what the fuck a youkai was.

The smoke stung his eyes, and Ken blinked. For a split second he thought he felt Hakkai’s blood running over his hands again. Violently he rubbed his arm over his eyes and forced it all away.

“Yeah, that’s not the worst thing,” he conceded.


“Hey,” Sanzo called tiredly from the trees. He was bloodstained and battle weary, but he seemed satisfied. Another trial defeated. Another obstacle overcome. Time to journey again. “Either of you dead yet?”

“Gettin’ close,” Gojyo said, half laughing, half not. “You’re slowing down, old man. We’ve been waiting.”

“Shut up or die,” Sanzo casually replied. From somewhere they could not see, Goku called out that he and Jeep were ready for everyone. Together Sanzo and Gojyo, still holding Hakkai, walked slowly together through the snow, following the sound of Goku’s voice. Sanzo was good at doing that. They kept silent until they reached Goku on the path with the car, Hakkai’s transformed pet, ever loyal.

Sanzo crawled into the front seat and Goku settled into the passenger beside him. Gojyo laid out Hakkai in the back, stripped off the white cloth he wore on shoulder, and used it to stanch the bleeding. He wrapped it round the stab wound in Hakkai’s side, pulled it tight as a tourniquet and tied it off with his teeth. Sanzo started to drive even as Gojyo knelt over Hakkai, searching him over for any other wounds.

Hakkai’s hand fell over his, and Gojyo met his eyes, only half-open and filled with sleep. “Your hands are cold,” he murmured. Gojyo clasped Hakkai’s fingers tightly in his palm. They rattled over the open road in the Jeep, the snow stinging their faces as the wind rushed past them, and Gojyo held Hakkai’s hand as best he could, because that was when he could. When they were fixing each other, they could touch. When they were healing, they could touch.

When they met the sunset at last, maybe then they could finally do more.
listening to: Keepsake -- State Radio
indelicate ink: saiyuki - gojyo&hakkaiindelicateink on February 10th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
Really liked this. :) Thanks for sharing!
Elly: (film) closer; your last chance to danceellyrianna on February 10th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading!
nyghtrainnyghtrain on February 10th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's lovely. I really enjoyed this.
Elly: (er) luka/abby; i am nothing without youellyrianna on February 10th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
laurose8: reflectionlaurose8 on February 10th, 2011 06:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks for a good fic. You do good dialogue, and fit in the flashbacks very well.

I like the choice of the name Ken, so you bring in Gaiden as well.
Elly: (lost) shannon/sayid; into the lightellyrianna on February 10th, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, thanks very much!

The names are the hardest part...I've been wanting to write a modern-day AU for a long time and have been totally stuck for names.
laurose8: reflectionlaurose8 on February 10th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
Holden's a good name too; and I should have complimented you before on the last line.
Elly: (gossip girl) chuck/blair; cheeryellyrianna on February 11th, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
You're so sweet -- thank you so so much!
akiras_shadow: tenchanakiras_shadow on February 10th, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC)
Oh my that was lovely! Thank you for sharing.
Elly: (films) pocahontas; i see the sunellyrianna on February 11th, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading!!
Tinatara_bella on February 11th, 2011 01:37 am (UTC)
Oh. Thank you for this. I want more. I would love to see how things progress as Ken realizes who they are, and were. Reincarnation stories are always best when people remember. So, if you're inclined...
Elly: (saiyuki) kenren/tenpou; if not nowellyrianna on February 11th, 2011 03:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading! I didn't really think about continuing it but now you've planted the seed, so if I have time this semester I will try and come up with a sequel :)
Sunspotsunspot67 on February 11th, 2011 03:05 am (UTC)
Very nice intersection of the two timelines in particular. And I love that Hakkai is named for Holden Caulfield. This took me back to the days when I lived in West Philly (er, about 20 years back). Thanks for posting!
Elly: (films) garden state; so amazing hereellyrianna on February 11th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Hakkai's not as angsty as Holden Caufield, but in a pinch for names I thought the two worked well together. I love being in West Philly, so I'm glad I could give you a little bit of it again!
pfmoi on February 11th, 2011 03:34 am (UTC)
Elly: (skins) effy; this modern love breaks meellyrianna on February 11th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!
lauand: Gojyo - Fuck uplauand on February 12th, 2011 12:03 am (UTC)
I liked the idea of them only touching when they had an excuse. Nice mixing of Universes.
Elly: (saiyuki) kenren/tenpou; if not nowellyrianna on February 12th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
Thank you!!
Pipcandika on February 12th, 2011 04:03 am (UTC)
Absolutely lovely!
Elly: (saiyuki) kenren/tenpou; fateellyrianna on February 12th, 2011 05:46 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
purpleiciclespurpleicicles on February 13th, 2011 02:35 pm (UTC)
Eeeee! Very surreal and pretty :)
Elly: (saiyuki) kenren/tenpou; if not nowellyrianna on February 13th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!
Mostly Harmless: Saiyuki Hakkai/Gojyomeobnal on February 19th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
I loved the idea of this ♥ It's always comforting to know that it doesn't matter if or when they die, they will all find each other again :)
Elly: (harry potter) h/hr; lift up your voiceellyrianna on February 19th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! That's part of what I love about their story -- that they're so meant to be :)
♥: tenpou/kenrenaerialled on December 14th, 2012 03:02 am (UTC)
this comment is a year+ late, but i had to, cause i go to penn, and this fic makes me so so happy. i live only a few blocks away from where ken and holden live, and this pleases me so much omg

(though i have to say i prefer new delhi. they have better naan. :3)

this was wonderful, thank you ♥
Elly: (saiyuki) kenren/tenpou; if not nowellyrianna on December 18th, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
Ahh I'm glad you liked it! Thank you! I'm in my senior year at Penn and I'm so sad to be leaving soon :/ I just went to Sitar the other day and had two giant plates from the buffet :3

I'm glad you enjoyed the story!