Wash Up

Disclaimer: Saiyuki doesn't belong to me.

Spoilers: Episodes 1-20 of the anime, manga vol. 1-5.

Thanks to my betas, Siria Black and Singingweaver:)

            Wash up. It was the first thing he did once they let him go. The temple was no longer silent, its peace shattered by the aftermath. No one could have meditated through Oshou-sama's death. Or perhaps that was only wishful thinking on his part. He wanted Oshou-sama's death to affect them the way it had him. He wanted their world to be torn asunder, leaving them with a burden and a duty that already felt too heavy to bear.

            Be strong, Genjou Sanzo.

            Hmph. How dare Oshou-sama tell him that? He was always strong. When he heard them gossiping about him, saying his name like the curse they thought it was. When they snubbed him in lessons, or when they lay on the ground in agony after one of his kicks. He did not let them hurt him. He could not let them hurt him, because he didn't live for them.

            I live for myself.

            The words sounded hollow, echoing an affirmation he had told himself a hundred times. But that wasn't really true, was it? He had lived for one other person. One other person, whose blood was trickling gently beneath the collar of his robe.

            He picked up the pitcher on the nearby table, absently noting how clean his hand was compared to the rest of him. Oh, right. He had placed that hand on Oshou-sama's robes, where he had slumped in front of him.

Still warm. Ignoring the smell of blood. The sense of youki. The severed hand, many feet in front of the body. Pulling away as voices start yelling, and staring in guilt at the bloodied handprint that marred the clean cloth.

            Surely, his hand was not shaking as it poured the water into the large bowl. It was not his hand that had trouble finding the table top to put the pitcher down again. He didn't wince at the rattle it made as it settled unstably on the wood.

            The rain made the room darker than usual, but he could still see his reflection in the calm water. A solemn face and one that didn't show the horror it had seen. It never would. He refused to let it. The blood would have to go though.

We can't have the new Sanzo covered in blood. But the old one…

            I couldn't protect him.

            His hands clenched in fists, gripping hard. He wanted to hurt something and he didn't care if his victim was a human, youkai, or even a god. Somebody else had to feel this. Someone had to hurt as much as he did. It would make him feel better. Make everything better… But not yet.

            He forced his hands to relax, one muscle at a time, and opened the eyes he had shut when his fists closed. Tomorrow, he would face the others. Explanations would follow, and he would be free to follow after his master's murderers. Revenge would be his goal.

            The water was cool on his hands. Little lines of blood floating sinuously away. He ignored them, just as he was ignoring the relentless pounding of the rain outside. Would he have heard them if it hadn't been raining? He had more skills than monks of sixty could dream of. Could he have protected him somehow?

            He shrugged off his ruined robes, dropping them in a bloody pile near his feet. He should stop thinking about these things. It didn't matter if he could have protected him, it mattered that he hadn't. It mattered that he had been… weak.

            He splashed the water all over his body, rubbing angrily at the red patches that stained his skin. That was the problem. He had been weak. He had been the one who needed protecting. If he… no, he wouldn't think of what might have been.

            Koumyou Sanzo was dead. He had died protecting the newly raised Genjou Sanzo, and damn him for doing so! Damn him!

            His reflection in the water bowl wore a grim smile. It was just like Oshou-sama. For all that he was polite and soft-spoken, he had never really done exactly what others wanted him to do unless it suited his purpose. Smoking a pipe. Those paper airplanes of his, always orange.

            It's beautiful.

            He shook his head, and shivered as a sudden gust of cold wind and rain burst through the window. Stalking over, he slammed the offending window shut, then stood there for a moment, pleased that it muffled the sound of the rain. He should finish washing up, then rest. They would call him early.

            The bowl was nearly empty, so he poured the last of the water into it. Taking a deep breath, he plunged his face into the water. Pulled up again. He could still taste the dried tears. He ran his hands through his hair, wetting it down. The dried blood flaked onto the table as his nails hit a thick clump of it. Once again, he dunked his head into the water, coming up clean at last. He squeezed the water out of his hair, squirming a little as it trickled down his back. He could do this. He could be strong.

            One last look at his reflection, and he froze. A red dot. There in the centre of his forehead, made all the more prominent by his slicked back hair. The blood must have been hiding it before. He ran a wondering finger over it, feeling nothing, but knowing it must have appeared the moment he had been handed the Maten sutra. A sign of his new position. His new name. His new life without Oshou-sama.

            He was breathing too quickly, taking small gasping breaths. The tears were back. Pouring from him fast and hot, no matter how he tried to keep them inside. He squeezed his eyes shut. No more.

Be strong, Genjou Sanzo.

I live for myself.

I couldn't protect him.

It's beautiful.

Damn him.

It hurt. It hurt like nothing in the world and he didn't want to feel this. Never again. He didn't want to feel this… sharp, stinging pain in his forehead. His eyes snapped open and he regarded his reflection. He had been running his finger over and over the chakra. The flesh around it was raw and red.

He stared at himself, watching the last tears fall. Ashamed that he had tried to remove the last gift Oshou-sama had given him. It had been his path for only a few hours and already he was trying to escape. Was he that weak?

I live for myself.

Yes. He could do that now. There was no one else to live for. He would see this to the end. He would get revenge and obtain his property. The water washed away the tears.

He found new robes to wear, into which he tucked the Maten sutra. A strip of cloth was torn from his discarded robes. He tied it about his head, checking to make sure it hid the chakra, then got ready to go to bed. Before he did, he poured the last of the water out the window, refusing to acknowledge the relief he felt that the rain was beginning to abate.

He settled onto the futon, more tired than he had realized. There was a long path before him.

Be strong, Genjou Sanzo.

Perhaps he wasn't strong; but he could pretend anyway, until a time when he really was.


Oshou-sama: Master; what Sanzo/Kouryu calls Koumyou Sanzo

Youkai: demon

Youki: a youkai's energy or power

Maten sutra: the 'evil' sutra that Genjou inherited

Thanks for reading. Please review:)