This is the third of five unconnected short stories crossing Supernatural with other fictional universes. The other stories in the series can be found here.

Betaed by Solo. Thank you again!


by Sylvia

Gojyo heard them from about a mile away. They'd parked their car by the side of the road, made a lot of noise rummaging around the trunk, and then set off through the woods, heading pretty much straight for the lake.

Huh. Gojyo's senses weren't usually quite this sharp. Must be something about the water.

He briefly considered getting out of the lake, but this was the first time in days he'd felt cool enough, and this was a pretty neat lake. Didn't really find all that many bodies of water around anymore that were this clean and, well, nice. Hakkai would probably smile at him in that way that made him feel really dumb (but weirdly cute), but the thing was, lakes just weren't all the same. Or rivers, either. They were like people. Some were moody bastards, some were boring, some were downright hostile, and some just somehow clicked with you. This one was calm and clear and cool – relaxed, kind of. Laid-back. Friendly.

Whatever. Anyway, the lake was big enough if these guys wanted to take a swim themselves. Nothing wrong with cooling off on a hot summer day. Gojyo even had swimming trunks on, all decent and everything.

"Huh," said the human one. "You sure this is the place?"

Gojyo turned his head lazily where he floated on his back, just in time to watch the other one nod tightly, eyes fixed on Gojyo.

Weird scent, that. Maybe some strange kind of youkai they hadn't run into before. Didn't look to be in a homicidal rage, at any rate, and that was good enough for Gojyo. Wasn't his business, was it?

He gave a languid wave, indicating they should just ignore him and feel free to take a dip in the water, or go ahead and do whatever else they'd wanted to be doing in the woods. They weren't hard on the eyes or anything, and yeah, so Gojyo was pretty much monogamous these days, but nothing wrong with looking.

The men on the shore looked at each other. Then, the human one waved back, trying a grin. "Hey. You, uh, been here long?"

Gojyo rolled around in the water to face them, brushing a strand of wet hair out of his eyes. "Couple hours. Why?"

The grin grew, accompanied by an exaggeratedly casual shrug. The guy had green eyes, Gojyo noticed. Not bad – but not as green as Hakkai's, of course. "Just wondering if you'd noticed anything. About the lake, I mean. You know. Anything... weird?"

Wow. He was worse at this casual questioning thing than Sanzo.

Gojyo stared at the odd couple for a long moment and then shrugged. "It's a lake." Weirdos.

"Yeah, but what I mean is..."

Green Eyes was interrupted by his youkai pal, who grabbed him by the arm and pulled him into a hasty, whispered conference.

Gojyo didn't bother to listen in until he heard the word "kappa".

"But isn't he kinda tall? And what's with the hair and the not being green and frog-like? And that depression thing for water on top of the head – well I guess it could be underneath all the hair, but Dad's journal says there should be a turtle shell –"

"Dean, I saw him, okay? It's him. Maybe it's a different strain of kappa, or something."

Oh, great. That old chestnut again.

The human – Dean – stared at the nameless youkai for a moment before nodding abruptly, and then they both turned back to Gojyo, standing shoulder to shoulder like bouncers, trying for the same kind of purposeful looming that they usually did when someone'd accused Gojyo of cheating. Too bad it didn't really work all that well if the guy you were trying to menace was about thirty meters away and treading water in the middle of a friendly lake.

They loomed anyway, and also took the opportunity to look him over carefully in a way that Gojyo might not have had anything against under different circumstances. It made him bristle now. What, were they expecting a turtle shell to suddenly pop into view? "Look, you jokers –"

"You have red eyes," the youkai interrupted, his voice carefully neutral.

"I'm also way better-looking than you," Gojyo spat. They'd better not try to offer him a cucumber. "Anyway, a bird has nested on your head, and I don't hold that against you, do I?"

Dean snorted and quickly – and unconvincingly – turned it into a cough when the youkai glared at him.

After a brief tense interval, the youkai tried on an unconvincing conciliatory face. It might have worked better if he hadn't smelled of dislike and violence. "We're just making sure nothing bad happens. Kids come out here sometimes, and you are a kappa."

And the only good kappa was a dead kappa, was that it?

Briefly, Gojyo considered grinning and picking his teeth, or rubbing his stomach, or something, just to see what they'd do.

In the end, though, he sighed. It was a nice day, and the lake was a really nice lake. And yeah, those guys were idiots that believed every stupid tale they were told, but –

Hey. If they did believe every stupid thing they'd heard about kappa, then he could work with that.

"Okay, listen. I promise not to drown anyone, ever, unless they try to kill me first. You have my solemn unbreakable kappa oath. Now go off and fuck or whatever and leave me alone."

They seemed a little annoyed, which was okay because so was Gojyo, but in the end they were forced to concede that a kappa who'd given his oath would have no choice but to abide by it. Gojyo wasn't in the mood to watch them fuck anymore, so he dove underneath the surface of the lake and swam out to the center.

Calm. Peace. Something like... an invitation?

Nah. Probably just his imagination.

Part of him wanted to just stay down here, but in spite of what his fucked-up halfbreed instincts were telling him, he knew he couldn't breathe underwater. He stayed under for as long as he could, though.

When he came up again, the pair of jokers was gone.

A ripple swept over the surface of the lake, splashing almost playfully at Gojyo.

This really was a nice lake. Gojyo didn't think Hakkai would mind staying around.



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