Work Header

Worlds in Collision

Work Text:

It was pretty fucking ironic, Gojyo thought, that he'd been the first one to notice it.

In retrospect, he was pretty sure things had been off well before any of them had taken notice, but their lives had been going to hell for such a long time that wading through shit had become almost commonplace. That, at least, is what Gojyo told himself when he realized he'd had to be all but whacked across his dumb head before he realized something was terribly, terribly wrong.


It all started late one night after they'd set up camp near a wide, rapidly flowing river. Gojyo was feeling restless, like there was something strange in the air. Instead of unpacking his bedroll and trying to ignore Goku's snores long enough to attempt to fall asleep, he decided to head down to the river bank for a smoke and a bit of quiet. It was the perfect night for a stroll, after all. The heat of the day had burned off the humidity from last night's rain, leaving behind a soft, balmy breeze that rustled the leaves of the plants and trees around them.

Gojyo had always found something comforting about the forest at night, its bright colors bled out by the darkness, replaced by shades of deep blue and black. Truth be told, he was glad to leave the others behind for a bit for some private time; he'd felt just the slightest bit off ever since Nepal and he really just wanted to be able to breathe for a minute.

Hakkai wasn't making things any better either, what with that weird watching-but-not-watching thing he did when he thought Gojyo wasn't looking. Gojyo hadn't decided whether to be freaked out or flattered by what he assumed was Hakkai's newfound appreciation of his rakish charms, and frankly he didn't really see the need to deal with that particular conundrum at this particular point in time. There was too much shit going down and not enough time or energy to go around.

There wasn't a damned thing he could do about much of anything at that exact moment in time, so Gojyo figured he should take the opportunity to enjoy a little peace and quiet. After all, a man was entitled to a moment to himself every now and again, wasn't he?

Only ...

As he turned a corner in the trail that led to the river, there – standing in a miniature cove – was Hakkai. If he had been thinking a little bit more clearly, Gojyo might have wondered how exactly Hakkai had gotten there so damned quickly. His missing this point, however, was due to the fact that his attention was more focused on the fact that Hakkai was standing thigh-deep in what smelled like an amazing pool of water. And that, even, was secondary to the fact that Hakkai was completely naked and apparently very, very happy to be right where he was.

"Took you long enough." Hakkai smiled softly, the white of his fangs seeming to glow in the moonlight.

Gojyo stood there with his mouth hanging open for longer than he would have cared to admit. And then, it took about three tries for him to actually find his voice.

"Uh, Hakkai?"


Gojyo could swear he heard the vines on Hakkai's skin rustle as Hakkai ran taloned fingers down his abdomen toward his cock. His very erect, very long, very attractive cock.

"Uh. You feelin' okay there, buddy?"

"Mmm... most definitely," Hakkai practically purred. "Although I believe I would be even better if you were naked and bent over this rock for me."

And as tempting as that thought was, Gojyo decided the best thing to do in this situation was to do a quick about-face and head right back to camp … where Hakkai was sitting, just as Gojyo'd left him: fully human, completely clothed, and most likely not sporting a vine-covered hard-on.

“Did you forget your lighter again, Gojyo?” Hakkai poked at the fire, the motion almost frighteningly commonplace after what Gojyo had just seen.

What. The fuck.

Gojyo decided he might be going just the slightest bit crazy.

Funny …it wasn’t as bad a thought as he would have expected. Hakkai, after all, had gone batshit insane a couple years back and he was doing just fine today. Besides, going nuts wasn’t the end of the world. Gojyo could deal with it if he had to. He’d put up with a lot worse over the years.


Eleven days later, Gojyo decided losing his marbles would have been the lesser evil.

They’d been having a rough-ass motherfucking time of it. The four of them had literally fought off hoards upon hoards of youkai and yesterday, Sanzo’d said something about how there’d been so many that they’d all begun to look alike. Gojyo would have brushed it off as one of Sanzo’s rare moments of humor, had it not been for The Hakkai Incident.

There was also the fact that he’d been thinking the exact same thing for two fucking days.

If Sanzo was noticing it too, that meant it wasn’t all in Gojyo’s mind … and he really wasn’t wanting to accept that as a possibility right now. He decided he'd think about that later, because – lucky for him – he'd found a distraction for the night in the form of his second-favorite pastime.

Upon arriving in town, he'd charmed the inn owner's wife into telling him where the local gamblers hung out, then managed to talk his way into the action. It was good to be back in the game, but things weren't going nearly as well as he had hoped they would. He was barely ahead and was currently in the middle of a streak of damned bad luck.

"Hey buddy, you in or what?" The guy currently across the table cocked a scarred eyebrow in his direction.

Gojyo looked at his hand: a pair of fives and jack shit else. Still, he knew Scarface over there was bluffing and the other two weren't going to last another bet. There wasn't a lot of money on the line, but damned if he was going to give some two-bit backwoods hack the pleasure of watching Sha Gojyo fold.

"I'm in." He tossed one bronze coin into the pile, then another. "And I'll raise you another five."

Scarface opened his mouth, obviously to spout some kind of bullshit he thought would be intimidating, but he was interrupted by a shrill scream from one of the working ladies at the bar behind Gojyo

"Goddamn, Mei -- what the hell is your problem?"

Gojyo practically dropped his cards at the sound of that voice.

It had been almost two years, but Gojyo was never one to forget a voice. He was on his feet without realizing it, spinning around just in time to see the women bolting in terror at the sight of a youkai standing in the entryway.


"Well fuck me," Gojyo muttered under his breath. He was about to cross the room and attempt to knock Banri's head off his scrawny shoulders when noticed there was someone else standing in the shadows behind him -– a youkai almost tall enough to knock his head on the door frame. As the other guy entered the bar, sending the patrons into a state of sheer panic, Gojyo had one of those weird moments when everything around him seemed to move in slow motion while his brain moved at normal speed.

Because for a split second there, Gojyo thought it was Jien. He quickly realized, though, that that couldn’t be further from the truth; Jien's marking was on his forehead, not his cheek, and there was no way Jien would have been able to have grown his hair that long so quickly.

Not-Jien looked around, as if he were genuinely surprised by the chaos the appearance of two youkai had caused in the bar. "What the hell?" he said, almost to himself, scanning the room.

Gojyo felt a jolt of terrifying, electric recognition as their gazes met.

"Hey," Banri began, turning around to face the other youkai. His voice trailed off when he caught sight of his companion’s face and for a second the only sound in the bar was that of a heavy glass mug shattering on the floor and people running toward the back exit. "Dude, what the fuck is wrong with ya?" Banri started. "Ya look like that time we walked in on your brother fuckin' your mom."

He snorted and started laughing in that obscene way Gojyo had always hated.

Whatever Banri was going to say next was interrupted by the hollow explosion of gunfire and the subsequent explosion of the side of Banri’s head as a shotgun shell passed clean through and embedded itself in the wall immediately beside his companion.

The guy had just enough time to process what was happening, the shock clear on his blood-spattered face as what was left of Banri collapsed at his feet, before the shotgun went off again, this time blowing a chunk of plaster off the wall to his left.

“Run,” Gojyo mouthed as the guy looked back at him, panic in his eyes. Gojyo couldn’t do anything else – tensions were so high, any indication of cooperation would most likely result in a shotgun shell connecting with his own head. The guy fucking turned on a dime, darting back through the door and into the night as the shotgun went off one more time.

Looking behind him, Gojyo saw one of the working girls standing behind the bar, holding a shotgun that seemed like it should have been much too large for her to fire.

"Goddamned youkai," she spat.

One of the things no one knew about Gojyo was that he kept a mental list he'd titled, "Weird Shit I Never Thought I'd See, But Did." He didn't quite know how he felt about the fact that "my youkai self almost getting his head blown off" had just been added to that list.


It was strange, Gojyo thought, how quickly people – youkai, human, and half-breed alike – could come to accept the truly absurd as routine when faced with the necessity of doing so.

But here he was, twenty-eight days after stumbling across Youkai Hakkai jacking off in the river, and Gojyo now woke up every morning wondering what new and fucked-up iterations of themselves they'd run across that day. It was strange as hell but they all seemed to have gotten used to running into each other on a fairly frequent basis.

As if one Sanzo hell-bent on kicking his ass ten ways to Sunday wasn’t enough.

It had gotten to be such a frequent occurrence that one week ago Hakkai had actually sat them down and assigned each of them a codeword, so they’d be able to identify themselves as … well … themselves. They’d started using them the very same day, when things had gone from "Twilight Zone" to "The Outer Fucking Limits."

Today, though, after three days without so much as an abandoned hovel in sight, they rolled into the only inn in the only town around, damned happy to have a bath, a meal, and copious quantities of booze on offer.

It really was a shame of the most epic proportions that instead of the welcoming arms of a lovely, young, and single innkeeper, they were greeted by the most gut-wrenching, horrifying sight in the history of the universe.

As they walked into the inn, there, at the small bar just off from the entryway, sat Kanzeon Bosatsu. And next to hir was ...

Kanzeon Bosatsu.

"Hello, boys." The sound of those two husky voices in unison was enough to chill Gojyo to the core.

Sanzo had frozen in the doorway and was somehow even paler than usual. "What the fuck?"

Yeah, that’s pretty much what Gojyo was thinking.

The Bosatsu on the left rose, tossing back hir hair and gesturing to a nearby table. "Take a seat, gentlemen. We’ve got a bit of catching up to do."

Three beers and two tequila shots later, Gojyo wasn't any closer to knowing what the fuck was going on than before.

“I don’t get it.” Goku seemed puzzled, yet somehow unfazed as he shoveled another spring roll into his mouth.

“Idiot,” Sanzo mumbled under his breath while delivering a swift thwap to Goku’s head with the fan.

“Ow! What the hell, Sanzo? I’m just sayin’…”

“Hakkai, do us all a favor and put in terms even a simian brain can comprehend, will you?”

“Well Goku…” Hakkai began. “It seems there are countless numbers of universes—”

“Yeah, I get the multiverse thing.” Goku scowled and actually punched Sanzo on the shoulder in retaliation. “I’m not that dumb.”

Gojyo apparently was, because he had no idea what the fuck was going on, even after The Merciful Goddesses had explained it in some kind of crazy, long-winded, dead-boring dual monologue.

Sanzo looked pissed at Goku, but didn’t retaliate, and Gojyo noticed there was a visible undercurrent of concern in his expression.

Gojyo didn’t like the looks of that one bit.

“Look, what I don’t get,” Goku continued, “is why other us'es are showing up here. Shouldn’t we all just stay in our own universes?”

“ ‘Us'es’?” Gojyo couldn’t help cracking up. “That ain’t even a word, chimp.”

“Yeah, well – ‘ain’t’ ain’t either, dumbass,” Goku shot back.

“You boys should listen to the chibi more often,” said the Bosatsu across the table. Gojyo had mentally labeled hir Kanzeon 1. “He’s asking all the right questions.”

“Kiddo, I hate to break the news to you, but it’s not just us anymore.” The Bosatsu sitting next to Gojyo – Kanzeon 2 – frowned. “I sent Jiroushin out to do a bit of scouting earlier and he ran into a couple of mutual acquaintances.”

“These were minor gods who have no business being Down Below. And two of them didn’t even know who I was!” The frantic look in Jiroushin’s eyes was barely contained, but it was obvious the poor guy was trying desperately to keep his shit together in front of his Master.

Er … Mistress.


Shit, whatever.

Which actually reminded Gojyo—

“Hey. How come there’s one of you,” he said, pointing at Jiroushin, “but two of them?" He gestured at the Bosatsus. "Aren’t you and hir like some sort of set?" he continued. "You know, ‘where one goes, so does the other’ ?”

“It is strange, isn’t it." Kanzeon 1 laughed. "I actually first thought I’d fallen into one of Jiroushin’s secret fantasies. He can’t get enough of just one of me, after all …”

A sound resembling an elephant with the stomach flu emerged from Goku. Hakkai gave his most forced, uncomfortable laugh and Jiroushin somehow managed to looked both mortified and intensely turned on by the thought.

Gods above, just the thought of that was enough to make Gojyo’s dick shrivel to practically nothing. And considering the prodigious set of equipment he’d been blessed with, that was saying something.

“As it turns out,” Se continued, “dear Jiroushin has quite a different role in my counterpart’s universe.”

“Indeed.” Kanzeon 2 had what could only be described as a leer on hir face. “Although not one without its responsibilities. As third consort to the Jade Emperor, Jiroushin is an important woman in her own right.”

Gojyo didn’t know who looked more uncomfortable at this point – Goku or Jiroushin.

"You do make a very fetching man, Jiroushin, but I must admit to being very fond of my own pretty boy," Kanzeon 2 continued. "There’s something quite delicious about his penchant for insubordination. And despite the serial infidelity, he’s still quite enthusiastic.”

Se then turned all of hir intense, frightening attention and focused it directly on Gojyo.

“You know, sweetheart … we should see if the multiverse will let me take you back with me.” Long fingernails traced the length of his thigh, before settling directly on his crotch. “Because the things I could with a matched pair…”

Gojyo paled.

No. fucking. way.

The other Kanzeon laughed. "As lovely a thought as that is ... boys, I'm afraid this all really can't continue much longer. The more the universes overlap, the more muddled things get."

"And by 'muddled,' " Kanzeon 2 added, "my dear counterpart means 'completely fucked.' "

"Exactly.” Kanzeon 1 nodded. “Look, we could run the calculations for you, but that would take the greater part of fifty years and we just don't have that kind of time. The 'how's' and 'why's' aren't terribly important at this point, anyway. What this boils down to simply this: the multiverse is out of whack and needs a teensy bit of recalibration. A re-tuning, if you will."

"And what are we supposed to do about that?" Sanzo asked blandly, lighting up a smoke as if he gave zero fucks.

"Oh, I'm sure one of you will figure it out soon enough."

"Indeed," Kanzeon 2 smiled as se stood up, moved behind hir chair and pushed it in neatly behind hir. "It's not as if it's anything as tedious as astrophysics."

Kanzeon 1 laughed. "No, no … this will be far more enjoyable."

"Just be sure you don't do anything I wouldn't do," Kanzeon 2 added with a smirk.

"Speaking of that," Kanzeon 1 began, standing up and smoothing the cloth over hir chest before looking straight at hir counterpart, "I've got half a mind to invite you upstairs to help me make Jiroushin's wildest fantasy come true."

"If it helps," Kanzeon 2 replied, "I think that's one of the best ideas I've heard this century. Although I hope dear Jiroushin won’t mind sharing the attention…"

For some insane reason, Kanzeon 1 caught Gojyo's eye and winked.


Another day, another forest of fuckery.

It had been six days since the brain-scarring encounter with the Merciful Horndogs and none of the ikkou were even remotely close to figuring out exactly what the fuck they were supposed to be doing. In fact, things had actually taken a turn for the worse.

Yesterday, they had met yet another Goku … only this time, Goku had been a woman just barely out of her teens. A smoking hot woman with long, chestnut hair and the most amazing rack Gojyo had ever seen on a live human being. For reasons that only she and probably Kanzeon Bosatsu knew, Goku-chan had propositioned Gojyo within five minutes of their first meeting, promising to “suck him dry.”

That would have been bad enough to begin with, but she’d done it with Sanzo standing right there.

Gojyo tried not to move his shoulder too much. Mostly healed or not, gunshot wounds fucking hurt. If they didn't find a way to put a stop to this, Gojyo was going to end up like the other dead versions of himself - all fifteen of them.

Gojyo got killed a lot for some reason.

“Meatbun! Meatbun!!” Their own Goku – thankfully minus any tempting tits – came barreling through the trees, shouting his codeword.

"Cucumber," Gojyo waved his cigarette in recognition. He hated his word, but Hakkai had shot down all of his other suggestions. Still, though - his wasn't nearly as bad as Sanzo's.

He cracked up just thinking about it.

"Omigod," Goku plopped down on the log beside him, a wild, spooked look in his eyes. "You are never, in a million, billion years, gonna guess what I just saw."

"God only knows." Gojyo took a long drag. "It can't be any worse than Kindergarten Chin Yisou from yesterday." He shuddered. "That little dude was creepy as fuck."

"No... god … nothing’s as bad as that. But you and Hakkai are fuckin' in the woods." There was something about the tone of Goku’s voice that made it seem like that wasn’t a completely bad thing.

Gojyo scoffed. "That ain't nothing new, kid."

If what he'd seen recently was any indication, he and Hakkai were fucking in a lot of the universes. And surprise of surprises, Gojyo had recently decided that he was pretty okay with that. More than okay, as a matter of fact. He'd fairly well decided that when this shit blew over, he was going to sit Hakkai down and they were going to have a chat about the possibility of them fucking in this universe too.

"No, no, no." Goku said. "This time's different - you're both youkai. And Sharak is there."

"Hold up. You're telling me that Hakkai and I are having a youkai threesome with Sharak?!"

"Nah, she's human. And she ain't doin' nothin' but tellin' you guys what to do." Goku paused for what passed as a moment of deep thought. "It's not a threesome if she's just watchin' and bossin' you guys around... right?"

Woah. Now that was something Gojyo had to see.

He was on his feet and headed into the woods before Goku could ask any more questions. Gojyo had damned fine stamina when it came to the bedroom, but he didn't know how long his other self had been at it with Hakkai. And if Sharak really was there calling the shots, well … Gojyo was man enough to admit it's possible that one of them could get overexcited and fire the boys off faster than normal.

Damn, he sure as hell didn't want show up to this performance too late.

Retracing Goku's steps was easy – the monkey generally left a swath of destruction behind him when making his way through the forest – and it wasn't long before Gojyo saw what appeared to be the edge of a small cliff. He wasn't surprised to hear the clear, commanding tone of Sharak's voice in the ravine below. What did surprise him was that he wasn't alone on the cliff.

Yet another version of his youkai self sat on rock near the edge, apparently taking in the show for himself. At the sound of Gojyo's footsteps, he turned his head quickly and stared at him for a long moment before breaking into a wide grin. He looked almost exactly like all the other youkai versions of himself – long black hair, pale skin, deep blue eyes, perfectly sloped ears, and broad, powerful shoulders that would put even Jien to shame. His youkai mark was one of the only things that differentiated him from the others - two dark lines across his cheek, in exactly the same place Gojyo's own scars were. Looking at him, Gojyo felt a strange sort of electricity, a tug in his gut he couldn't quite name.

"You're new," his counterpart whispered, obviously trying to avoid detection by the threesome down in the ravine

"Hey buddy, you're in my universe - you're the new one."

His other self laughed softly. "Yeah, well … what I mean is all the others’ve been either youkai or human."

"Yeah, that's what you all say." Since meeting other versions of himself had become a regular thing, Gojyo'd been hearing that again and again. None of them had met a half-breed version of themselves. In fact, Gojyo hadn't met one either. In his experience, and the experience of everyone he'd met, he was the only one.

He didn't quite know what to make of that.

"What happened?" The guy didn't have to elaborate for Gojyo to know exactly what he was getting at.

"I got dealt a shit card."

Thankfully, his other self being … well, him … there was no need to explain any further.

Gojyo crossed over to the edge of the cliff and was rewarded with a view of Sharak sitting on a flat boulder. Next to her was another youkai version of himself, riding Hakkai's cock like they were all mere seconds from Armageddon.

It was a mighty fucking hot sight.

Just like Goku had said, Sharak wasn't participating. Hell, she was still fully clothed in her Sanzo gear, but was watching them with a sharp, intense focus. The only indication she was witnessing anything out of the ordinary was the flush high on her cheeks and the rapid rise and fall of her chest. It was one of the hottest things Gojyo had ever seen, and that was saying a whole hell of a lot.

"Why am I always the one taking it up the ass?" Gojyo muttered.

"Because it feels damned good?"

Gojyo shrugged, a sort of agreement. The guy had a point.

He watched Hakkai's cock as it slid in and out of his other self's ass. It had been a long time since he'd had the pleasure of having something that long and hard filling him and the show, combined with the thought of what that would be like was getting him damned worked up.

Hell, it had been a long time since he'd had anything other than the company of his own hand, and Gojyo was suddenly damned jealous of the action everyone but him seemed to be getting these days. The Gojyo in the ravine took his own cock in hand and began to pump it in time with the rocking of his pelvis and the thrusts of Hakkai's hips.

"Stop that," Sharak barked. "I'm not nearly done with you."

Despite the forceful tone of her voice, the youkai kept up his rhythm, his breathing beginning to go ragged.

"Hakkai, stop him," she commanded.

Gojyo watched as Hakkai's vines whipped out and wrapped themselves around his other self's wrists, pulling his arms tightly behind him. A smaller vine wrapped itself around the base of his cock, wrenching a low moan from him.

"Daaamn." The other Gojyo had stood up and moved to stand directly behind him. He whistled softly as Hakkai resumed his thrusts. "I don't know if I should run away in terror or run down there and ask her if I can join..."

Funny, Gojyo was thinking the same thing. He'd admit to having entertaining fantasies about Sharak but this was a million times better than anything he'd thought up yet. His dick was throbbing in his pants and he wondered if it would be bad form to whip it out and seek a little relief.

Gojyo was startled by the electric jolt that accompanied the feel of his youkai self's hand on his shoulder. A second later, the other hand snaked around his waist and moved downward to cup the bulge in his pants. He obviously wasn't the only one pursuing this particular line of thought.

"Want me to help you with that?" he murmured directly into Gojyo's ear.

As strange as Gojyo probably should have felt about A.) having his own moves used on him and B.) having them used on him by himself, he was one hundred percent behind that idea. In fact—

"You ever fucked a half-breed?" Gojyo turned around and pressed his lower body against his other self's larger form, leaning back and tilting his head just-so, giving him a good view of his hair, eyes, and exposed throat. It'd been a long time since he'd had reason to employ this particular skill set, but Gojyo'd always had a talent for knowing just how to leverage his unique assets to hit all a youkai's buttons.

Gojyo soon lost himself in a haze of hands and open-mouthed kisses, that strange electric feeling building with each bite and scratch. It was raw and increasingly uncontrolled, and even though they were still fully clothed, there was something about it that was already sending this experience to very top of Gojyo's list of many, many amorous encounters.

By the time they got themselves undressed, the feeling multiplied a thousand fold with the feel of his youkai self pressing him to the ground, bare skin to bare skin as fingers, slick with lube the guy had produced from god knows where, pressed into Gojyo's body.

Gods and goddesses above - it had been way too fucking long and Gojyo couldn't help pressing back against those fingers, practically fucking himself on them. He was greedy for more, for him to do it harder, to go deeper and longer. He didn't realize his was saying all those things out loud until the rough, electric burn of his other self's cock being thrust into him stole his breath away and he couldn't do anything but let whatever it was growing between them build and build until it coalesced into something strange and overpowering, bursting outward in a blinding wave of something Gojyo couldn't even begin to name. It wasn't even the smallest of fractions complete before Gojyo was swept away in the overwhelming pleasure that wiped out all semblance of awareness.


Gojyo lay on the ground, face down, for an indeterminable period of time, listening to the slow trickle of water in the ravine and the wind in the thick foliage overhead. He knew he should get up, but he couldn't quite muster the energy to do anything but breathe in and breathe out.

He could feel the bite marks and the ache deep inside his ass that reminded him of how well and truly he'd been fucked. If he were inside and in bed, Gojyo would probably be happier than he'd been in a damned long time. But as it was, the sun was setting and his left leg seemed to be smack-dab in the middle of an ant highway. He could only thank the Merciful Bitch that they didn't seem to be the biting kind. As good as it had been, he'd been bitten enough for one day.

"I could always ask them to start biting," a voice from above said. "That might be the impetus you need to get moving."


Gojyo managed to prop himself up, slowly, enough to see Kanzeon Bosatsu sitting in the very same location his youkai self had been sitting when Gojyo'd walked into ... whatever the fuck this had been.

"I have to say, cupcake -- while I knew you'd figure it out eventually, I never expected you to take to it that easily." Se clapped hir hands together in slow, deliberate applause.

"That was it?" Gojyo managed to croak out, suddenly intensely aware of his lack of clothing. “They’re gone?”

"Yep, everyone's back -- all nice and tidy in their own universes." Kanzeon offered Gojyo hir hand and helped him to his feet before handing him his pants. "I thought that Jiroushin would take it the hardest, but by the looks of you, I might have to revise my opinion. It seems like you had one heck of a good time getting everything sorted out."

"Look," Gojyo began, "I got just one question." He flinched at the ache in his ass as he grabbed his pants and pulled them on, making sure everything was neatly in place before zipping up.

"Be my guest."

"What the fuck kind of problem with the multiverse is solved by me getting fucked by myself?"

"Oh darling, what a wonderful question.” Kanzeon laughed, the sound light and terrifying. "I'm afraid it would take much more than fifty short years to explain it to you at this point. For now, I can only say this: what is out there is much stranger and more bizarre than any of you know."

Gojyo snorted. "Typical."

"I'm sorry, but that's all you're capable of understanding right now, cookie. C'est la vie." Se shrugged. "I can't explain, but I will make you a promise. When all of this is finished and you're ready to understand, I'll tell you everything.

"I can also say that you did truly did exceptionally well." Se rose and leaned over to him, patting him on the cheek. "Exceeded expectations in every possible way."

And with that, se disappeared, as if se'd never been there in the first place.