Here I am again, this time with a Gojyo fluff fic. No S.L.Y. (Slash/Lemon/Yaoi-Yuri), although it may come across as a little—all right, a LOT OOC.

I don't see Hakkai walking into SMK Assunta to replace any of the teachers *drools longingly* so Saiyuki still isn't mine. The names of Gojyo's parents are NOT CANON.

The song playing at the start is Henry Mancini's A Time For Us, btw. That's what Gojyo's playing too. (Kouka, however, plays Tightrope: Medieval Version. *wink*)

A TIME FOR US
By UltraM2000
PART ONE
DESIRE
Yokubou

Mi do' ti mi mi so mi la… E C' B E E G E A

_What's that sound?_

La so fa so so fa mi re mi re do re mi… A G F G G F E D E D C D E

_I've heard it forever...this sad song..._

Mi do' ti mi mi so mi la re ti'… E C' B E E G E A D' B

_It was 'kaasan's favourite…until..._

Mi do' ti la so do' ti la so la… E C' B A G C' B A G A

_Until that day…the day kaasan tried to kill me…_

_Kaasan!_

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-Cho Hakkai-

Every member of the Sanzo-ikkou is an individual, each as different from the other as ice was from fire, as star was from stone. Hence, their reactions in given situations are, of course, unique.

Say the ice in the group, high monk Genjo Sanzo, keeper of the Hell's Plane Sutra (and rightfully the Heaven's Plane Sutra as well—but that's a long story) had a nightmare. He would awaken calmly, light a cigarette and smoke Marlboros until the sun's weak light rolled over the hills. The stars—Son Goku—would wake up screaming like a lunatic and try (mostly unsuccessfully) seeking solace in our Sanzo-sama's quarters. For myself, self-proclaimed rock, my lot was a silent awakening and a walk alone to calm my nerves.

Tonight, however, the group's flame, Sha Gojyo, was the one who had a nightmare and since I was the one sharing an inn room with him, I got a front-row seat—or is that bed?—to 'witness' his reaction. Imagine yourself peacefully sleeping when something large and soft and heavy lands on your head. I believe you'd panic, wouldn't you? Well, so did I, admittedly. It was only after twenty seconds of flailing my arms madly did I realise it was just Gojyo's thick woolen blanket. I blearily registered my companion's form, right leg still at a 90 degree angle to the rest of him, crimson hair plastered to his sweaty face and crimson eyes scared, to use the vernacular, shitless.

"Gojyo? Are you all right? Why is your blanket here?"

Slowly, the leg descended and fell with a thud as its owner seemed to 'come down' from a trance. He blinked, at first, as if he didn't remember when he was. It came back to him eventually, though...

"Eh? Oh. Iya, nothin' serious. Go back to sleep," he muttered gruffly, and got out of bed to take his blanket back. All the same, 'nothing serious' had drained all colour from his face and the spring from his step. His hair was plastered to his forehead with sweat and his voice shook. This I told him in polite but not uncertain terms. He snorted, sounding amused, and peeled his hair off his forehead. Try as he might, though, those errantly jaunty locks of hair refused to stand up straight.

"Look, are you sure you're all right?" I asked concernedly.

"Ee. Just a stupid nightmare." He sat down heavily on the side of my bed--and on my left foot as well. I wiggled my toes desperately but decided not to bother for the moment. "You got an aspirin?" I did. Gojyo accepted the Panadols and downed them in one go without even a drink of water. I offered him some, but he declined and mumbled something about taking them neat.

"Thanks, Hakkai. Goodnight."

"Wait just a second, Gojyo. Just one question."

"Hm?"

"What was that dream about, if you don't mind me asking?"

Gojyo gave me a long, hard look. "Sorry, Hakkai. I do mind you asking," he replied before turning over on his side and pulling the covers over his head.

And so, I did as Gojyo did. Pretended to go to sleep.

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-Son Goku-

For some reason on that night I couldn't sleep. I know I wasn't too cold because I had a nice fluffy blanket. I wasn't too hot because I was sleeping right under the fan in a sleeping bag. I know I wasn't hungry because Sanzo had told me in very plain language if my stomach even made one small noise during the night, he'd kill me. He sounded serious, and his eyes were drooping quite a bit more than usual. Killing youkai sure takes a lot out of a man. He was snoring contentedly--yeah, you heard that right, contentedly--on the bed that he'd played jan-ken-pon with me to win. I wonder how he always knows what I'm going to put out. His stone crushed my scissors, AGAIN!

So anyway, I decided to go take a walk around and see if I could get sleepy. I left Sanzo alone and strolled out, fluffy pillow squashed under my arm (you never know--Sanzo just might think of taking it away). It was a beautiful moonlit night, and I skipped slightly as I trotted along, humming softly to myself. Ah, now Sanzo wasn't in earshot I could be as hungry as I wanted. A nice big nikuman and a glass of soda would be nice at the moment.

It was then I saw erogappa coming out of his room. The cigarette stuck between his lips glowed a soft orange at the tip as he walked down the stairs. Minutes later, someone else opened the door and sneaked out after him.

"Hakkai!" I chirped happily. "Are you hungry too--*mmph!*"

Hakkai hurriedly dragged me into the shadows just before Gojyo whirled round. I looked up at him questioningly, but he just shook his head, winked with his good left eye and put a finger to his lips. I soon heard Gojyo's heavy footsteps go down the stairs, and Hakkai released his hold.

"What was all THAT for?" I hissed.

"Sorry, Goku," Hakkai said with an apologetic smile. Aw, nuts, how could I be angry now? "You see, Gojyo had a nightmare and I'm just trying to make sure he doesn't do anything silly."

"But he always does silly things."

"Sillier than usual, I mean."

"Like when Sanzo is out-of-sorts?"

"Like when I'M out-of-sorts."

"Oo. OK. I gotcha. Let's go!"

We sneaked downstairs after him. I tried to be quiet and not giggle but didn't do too well. Hakkai had to keep on shushing me. Sorry, Hakkai, I couldn't help it! This was fun! Just as we thought, Gojyo walked straight into the bar. He must have wanted a drink to go back to sleep.

It was only about five minutes later that we heard the music. It was soft and pretty, and it made me tingle all over for some reason. Hakkai says good music does that to people sometimes. Slowly, softly, we pushed open the door and peeked inside.

Geez, I never expected THAT!

++++++++++

-Sha Gojyo-

Odd. I swear I heard a voice behind me.

I couldn't say this to any of the others, but I needed someone that night. No, not in a physical manner--just someone who could listen to the voice of one very messed-up hanyou. They don't know the depth of the greatest of my many sins--existence. Crimson eyes and crimson hair are a daily reminder that I am a half-breed, a hybrid, the love child of Sha Ren and Shuu Juko. Don't ask me how I learned my birth mother's name when she died during childbirth. I have my ways.

You gotta hand it to that freakish dream! It did something no youkai ever could; scared seven shades of shit and 10 litres of sweat outta me. Nice as Hakkai was to ask me if anything was up, I shooed him off for two reasons. One, he'd had a long day on his feet. Two, if I told him what I dreamt about, he'd die laughing before I finished.

I took another drag off my Hi-Lite and flicked the grey ash onto the floor as I clumped off down the stairs. Let's see whether that bar was still open. The liquor I'd tasted that night was the best in a long while, and I was raring for another taste. If only it was potent enough to knock me out! Never mind. One cask should do it. Or maybe two...

...Or maybe none. Nobody was staffing the place. A small snort escaped my lips as I looked around a bit. Eesh, still cluttered...but that was my fault. Wouldja believe some drunken wahoo mistook me for a girl and pinched my ass? That bit is off-limits to everybody except the chicks. I nailed him good and proper, that is until I kicked him out the door and Sanzo kicked ME up the stairs, cursing and swearing fit to turn the air blue. I get the feeling Goku's going to be asking Hakkai and me the meanings of certain 'interesting' words tomorrow.

There was also another reason I was down here. I'd noticed it while we were having dinner (read: while saru was grabbing everybody's share of the chow). It looked beaten-up, warped and worn, and had definitely seen better days.

Still, it was rare to find any musical instrument these days, and a piano is a piano.

There was a cruddy old bar stool in front of the sorry instrument, so I sat down on that. It creaked threateningly, but held my weight. Silently, I opened the cover and gazed upon the yellowing ivories. It had been a long time since...those old and innocent days. I ran my fingers over the keyboard hesitantly, and what happened? A mouse, two rats and a centipede jumped out of the innards of the damn thing! I kicked the rats about two feet into the air, stepped on the tail of the mouse and squished the centipede with the heel of my boot. Disgusting creatures, these centipedes. But at last, it seemed, I was alone.

I laid my fingers on the keys and began to play. And as I did so, my heavy-heartedness melted slowly into the night.

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-Genjo Sanzo-

These idiots will never leave me in peace. So there I was, sleeping peacefully for once. No demon was trying to kill me. No little demonic bitch was trying to eat me. No long-haired pansy demon trying to snitch my sutras. No demigod freaking me out by continually calling me Konzen. No Goku tugging on my sleeve and whining "Ne Sanzo, hara hetta..."

Oh that stupid monkey.

It was in the middle of a particularly relaxing REM wave that I heard it. I tried to ignore it, desperately clutching at my fast-flying slumber, but it packed up and left, leaving Genjo Sanzo wide awake with piano music dancing through his ears.

It was quite good, but the fact remained that it was two o' clock in the morning and it was disturbing my sleep. I muttered to Goku to wake up and prepare for a fight. No such luck. The monkey was gone. His sleeping bag was all over the floor. Shedding my bedroom slippers for my normal straw sandals, I hitched up my robes and stomped downstairs. IfIfindoutwhodidthisI'mgoingtokillhimheroritinwayssopainfulthey'veneverevenbeenconsideredbeforebyGyuumaou...

Guess what I found downstairs. Hakkai and Goku were standing at the door of the inn bar, apparently watching something very sneakily. Goku was still clutching his freaking pillow, for crying out loud! What else could I do but whip out my harisen and bash the living daylights out of the monkey?

"You freakin' idiot, what are you doing out here? Where's that music coming from?!" I almost bellowed.

"Owwwww..." moaned Goku and pointed. Hakkai motioned for me to be quiet and nodded towards the door.

I knew the bar had an old piano, but I never expected to see Sha Gojyo, of all people, playing it. And I never thought a hanyou (half-demon) could be so beautiful. The fingers that I constantly saw wrapped round a shakujou, women's waists and Goku's throat were fingering the old keys with a delicate reverence, the tones issuing from them firm and sure. His eyes were closed in rapt concentration and his head swayed from side to side, following the music.

"Yang Ming," I muttered.

"Are?" Goku and Hakkai said at once.

"You remember Yang Ming, don't you? Mother of that little hanyou? The bee lady?"

"Yeah, the bee lady. What about her?"

"This is the stupidest smile I've seen on Gojyo's face since then!"

Truth be told, I had never before seen such a look of peace on Gojyo's face while he was sober. In his hands, the piano was a grand old instrument capable of an endless sonata to life, and across the keyboard, Gojyo was a crimson-haired angel.

I might have gone on thinking in this soppy manner had Hakkai's head not appeared over my shoulder right then and murmured "He's quite good, isn't he?"

I grudgingly agreed. But he was disturbing my sleep.

Harisen, don't fail me now.

++++++++++

-Sha Gojyo-

As the last notes faded and died, I leaned back from the keyboard and exhaled, sending a cloud of silver smoke into the air. The copper wires that made up the piano's throat still shimmered richly. I patted the instrument's side softly, pleased at the result. I hadn't quite lost it yet. Neither had this old chunk of junk.

That is no way to play such a beautiful song. I will teach you how, if you wish to learn.

Kaasan...Argh! Thinking of her dampened my spirits slightly. A slow pang rose through my gut and chest. I was going back to bed. The piano had served its purpose to me. Why was I playing it, anyway?

Oh wait, yes, that's right. I had a dream about the stupid thing. I turned to go back to my room. Hope I didn't wake anybody up.

Those hopes were dashed when a familiar paper fan landed on my head and I suddenly found myself staring down the barrel of a very familiar Smith and Wesson.

"You idiotic redhead, what in blue hell was you doing PLAYING A DAMN PIANO AT EXPLETIVE THREE IN THE MORNING?"

"Naa, Sanzo, don't scold him, it was nice music!" piped up Goku. He was unusually bright-eyed, considering the late hour. "Hey erogappa, play again!"

"Shut up!" I hissed.

"I don't care whether it was nice or not, we came here to SLEEP, not to listen to MUSIC! One more note and I'll splatter your perverted brains all over the wall, you hear me?!" Sanzo roared, unaware his decibel level was waking up some other people in rooms a floor above.

"Crystal clear, O Mighty Sanzo," I replied, voice dripping with sarcasm, and I sauntered off to bed. Somehow I felt tons better after insulting the bouzu. Very therapeutic, it was.

*swish* THWAPPPPPP!!!

"OWWWW! Watch where you throw your bloody harisen! That HURT!"

"That's the general idea," Sanzo replied, shoving it back into his robes.

"Now, now, everyone, let's not argue at three in the morning…"

"Mou, I wanna hear that music again, Sanzo…"

*click*

"Or maybe I don't…"

It took five minutes to fully restore peace, but after that I finally managed to get back to bed. Lying on my side to prevent more pain to the swollen lump on the back of my head, I closed my eyes. A little strain of piano music wafted through my memories and I smiled a bittersweet smile.

++++++++++

-Cho Hakkai-

Ice, fire, star and stone fell back into nocturnal silence.

++++++++++

-Son Goku-

The piano spoke no more.

++++++++++

-Genjo Sanzo-

But as Goku repeated ceaselessly for the rest of the night, the music stayed on.

I never thought of Gojyo as musical. The closest he gets is making the bedsprings creak at night.

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Sha Jien was a very confused young lad. He didn't know where his father had disappeared to for almost a year. He didn't know why he had returned suddenly, handed her a bundle, told her to take care of it and left. He REALLY didn't know why his mom was sitting at the kitchen table fuming as a babe's wailing rose from Sha Ren's empty bed.

Jien tugged his mom's sleeve tentatively. "Kaasan, Gojyo's crying." (That was his name. Go-jou, 'understanding purity'. Kouka had burst into mad laughter for some reason when it dawned on her.)

"Leave him be," came the cold reply.

"But kaasan...!"

"Leave him be, I said!" she snarled. "Don't you go near him! He's a hanyou, damn it, Sha Ren's dirty taboo hanyou son!" Kouka slammed the table hard with her fist and slumped down, crying up a storm.

Jien swallowed. He scuttled off into his parents' room, despite his mother's cautioning. The crying hadn't stopped. Jien picked him up and tried to soothe him best as he could. "Shh, shh, it's OK...there...cooin' at me now, are ya?" Jien laughed softly, rocking back and forth. "You don't LOOK taboo...you're kinda cute! Look at those lovely red eyes, just like poppies. Naa, don't cry, little bro. Even if kaasan leaves you alone, I never, EVER will."

It was then that Jien heard it--the slow strains that cut the silence. Kouka was sitting at her beloved old piano, playing an old melody with the tones dipped in metallic anger. It was as if she was pouring her soul out into that one piece, all her hatred and resentment and sorrow. Jien didn't know music could be so expressive. Jien also didn't know that the babe in his arms seemed to be listening to the music.

Almost appreciatively, at that...

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