:: Elusive ::
Disclaimer: I don't own Gensomaden Saiyuki, which rightfully belongs to Minekura Kazuya.
Pairings: Goku/Sanzo (no, I'm fairly sure that's in the correct order)
Warnings: shounen ai, mild language, likely OOCness, spoilers for the manga, anime, and especially the movie, Requiem
Notes: Inspired by the Saiyuki movie. I loved that movie, every moment of it. While annoying and pathetic, Dougan is definitely one of the more interesting (and creepy) villains I've ever seen. Goku was both at his cutest and most admirable, which made me one very happy fangirl. I have every intention of writing a Gojyo+Houlan fic someday.
In case you skipped the warnings, there are SPOILERS in this fic. Some of the lines are ad-libbed a bit, and others are taken from my manga translations and movie subtitles. The characters are going to act OOC since I'm not fully comfortable writing them, but I'm doing my best. This is the first Saiyuki fic I've written without consulting Chrysan, so they're likely to be even more OOC than in my previous fics.
I have another massive one-shot in the works, and I'm taking a break from it to write this. Might as well work on something you're most inspired for. ^^; Dun worry, Chrysan, I haven't forgotten it...
Edit: Updated with the correct name of the villain's in Requiem. Thanks, AznSage. It actually was hard to tell the difference… I won't change the spelling of Chin Yisou, though, because that's how ADV spells it, and I usually tend to go with what they use. *shrug* I did it with Orphen, after all.
Feedback and criticism is muchly appreciated. Sankyuu.
But wasn't that what it was always like? High up on the mountain, all one would be able to feel was coldness. On the occasion the sun managed to break through the clouds and slip through the rocky bars of his prison, the boy would be able to have a taste of its warmth. But it seemed that just as he was beginning to relax, to embrace the warm rays, it would run away from him. The sun forever teased him, constantly drove him to the brink of tears... and yet he would never cry. His tears would be hot, and their sting would remind him just how could he really was. He didn't like that, and so he never cried.
The chains constantly bit into his wrists. Perhaps living this way would have been more bearable if he had been free of his restraints, but he was chained by his wrists, neck, and ankles to the merciless rock floor. He could barely move around the entire area, and his hands couldn't move more than a few inches past the earthy stone bars. If he tried, the stinging cold would only worsen. He couldn't break the rock bars. He'd tried, but it was as though they were made of the most solid of metals.
He was stuck there, cold and lonely. He hated being alone. It was the second worst thing in the world. The only thing that was worse was when the sun teased him, tormenting his cold body with its warmth by letting him graze his fingertips on it, then snatching it far beyond his reach. He hated the idea of the sun treating him so cruelly. It wasn't fair. The sun was supposed to offer warmth and strength.
But there was nothing he could do, nothing but wait and hope that perhaps someday the sun would stop being so cruel and decide to come out and save him. He was sure that day would come; someday... the only question was when.
He didn't like to wait. It made him feel abandoned.
He didn't like being abandoned...
Odd how he had awoken to the cold face of the moon rather than the warm embrace of the sun. Golden eyes blinked. One hand came up to stifle a yawn, while the other rubbed tiredly at his eyes. Why was he awake so late?
A suspiciously loud gurgling sound made him grimace. One thing that sucked about waking up so early was that he was always hungry right away. After a decent night's rest, he could wait half an hour at the most before he felt the need to inform others what his stomach told him, but he had not just gotten a decent night's rest.
"Damnit," he muttered, stretching to work out the soreness from his back. "I'm hungry."
His quiet complaints fell on deaf ears, which was just as well. Gojyo was asleep beside him, slumped against his side of the jeep, Hakkai was dozing up in front, and Sanzo was directly in front of Goku, also asleep.
Goku squirmed in his seat, hoping to find a comfortable position and fall asleep again, but his body didn't seem to want to relax. He scowled, propping his elbow on Hakuryuu's door and cradling his chin in his hand. Just great. Can't sleep, I'm probably going to starve to death, and if I make any more noise than necessary Sanzo'll kill me before malnutrition does. It was a perfectly annoying predicament. It seemed like anything that could go wrong did when it involved the four misfit young men traveling west. That included but was not limited to annoying demons and shikigami, getting randomly lost, being tormented by past mistakes, and obsessive stalkers.
The last one made him frown. Chin Yisou had been horrible, Homura had freaked him out beyond all reason, but Dougan had been the most foolish, pathetic, and obsessive of them all. Goku had no idea what he had done to hurt Hakkai and Gojyo, but what had happened to him... he tried not to think about it, and had refused to let Dougan know, but that prison had been an almost perfect replica of the one he had been trapped in for five hundred years. It had given him the chills, and he had felt fear and panic when the clamps had fastened around his throat and wrists. The coldness, the rocky earth, it had all been almost exactly the same.
And though the Sanzo had been fake, the words it had uttered had been exactly the ones that Goku never, ever wanted to hear pass the real Sanzo's lips.
"You are really annoying."
"I have no need for you anymore."
Even knowing that Sanzo had been a fake, Goku's blood had chilled. Despite what his brain told him, that there was no way such a weak doll could be Sanzo, the appearance had been uncannily similar, as had the voice. It had struck a chord whether Goku had wanted it to or not. The feeling had passed quickly, but he could still remember.
Goku rolled his head, working kinks from his neck. He heard a satisfying crack as he did so. Ever since that night, he had occasionally wondered if Sanzo ever truly thought about bringing him to Five-Fingered Mountain and leaving him there again. He knew that was ridiculous, but the sliver of doubt had been wedged into his trust. He hated it, but slivers were hard to remove once buried in deeply.
Damn, he thought, glaring into the darkness as though to blame it for bringing on such thoughts. "Damn it," he repeated aloud, shifting to move his leg. It tingled; it had fallen asleep. Great.
Cold metal encompassing his wrists, nipping at his skin, reminding him that he was alone and couldn't be warm...
"Basically... no need."
His head was beginning to hurt. Goku squirmed again, flexing his right leg to try to work more blood to the limb. The tingling had intensified to an annoying sensation of stinging needles.
He sighed heavily, his head falling back to rest on the back of his seat. His eyes closed, and an almost unconscious mutter of, "Damn, I'm hungry," could be heard.
That was about the time that the paper fan crashed down on his head. Goku jumped, a yelp of pain halfway formed in his throat before the clothed hand clamped over his mouth.
"Wake them up, and I swear I'll kill you."
Goku swallowed the cry, nodding quickly. The hand was removed, and he focused on the pair of violet eyes glaring at him.
"Did I wake you up? Sanzo?" he asked a bit too loudly. Sanzo scowled.
"With all your fidgeting and whining, I'm surprised everyone within a five mile radius isn't awake," the blonde said, turning back around in his seat.
To anyone else that would have signaled the end of the conversation, but Goku wasn't just anyone else. He was allowed to push past the boundary lines. He was never sure why, but he did understand that it had something to do with the fact he was the only person allowed to be on friendly terms with Sanzo. That is, if you could call Sanzo friendly...
"What is it?"
Goku leaned forward, lowering his voice as he remembered Sanzo's recent warning. "I was sort of wondering... why did you kill Dougan so easily?"
The blonde didn't look at him. Goku tilted his head to the side, and he could barely see that Sanzo's eyes were closed. He wasn't asleep, because he obviously heard the boy's question. "You should know."
"I think I do."
"You should." Sanzo opened his eyes, glancing sideways so that Goku could see amethyst. Sanzo's eyes usually seemed dead, but right now they were barely alive with something that surely would have burned if he were capable of showing more than just a scratch beneath the surface.
Goku was silent for a few moments. "I'm not Hakkai. I don't understand you well at all. But I know you. You did it because he annoyed you, and he wouldn't shut up."
The corner of Sanzo's mouth curled, forming a smirk. "That's right."
"It's such a superficial reason."
"That's an awfully big word for you, bakazaru."
Goku ignored the barb, hesitating briefly before forming the next question into words. "Didn't it bother you that Dougan was that obsessed?"
Goku could clearly recall certain moments in the makeshift rock prison. He remembered smugly informing his enemy that his fake Sanzo was nothing like the real Sanzo. Dougan had been furious, screaming for him to shut up while he delivered eight punches to the restrained boy's face. Ignoring the swelling pain, Goku had counted them and told Dougan he would remember the amount of times he'd been hit. He had intended to repay him and then some... and that was when Dougan shrieked for the fake Sanzo to kill him. Even though he had been strangled and it had been hard to see, hard to breathe, Goku had heard Dougan's words clearly.
"That way, you should know now. Sanzo-sama does not belong to you. He belongs to me."
He knew Sanzo had also heard those words. Part of him suspected Sanzo had overheard more than just that, and that he had been waiting to find out as much as he could. He had only stepped in when Goku's life had been at stake, after all.
It was strange how that worked. Both of them -- no, all four of them, including Gojyo and Hakkai -- were perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. None of them asked for outside assistance, but when one of their lives lay on the line, another would interfere whether they were wanted or not. It seemed as though Sanzo was always stepping in for Goku's sake.
Sanzo made a noise of dismissal, distracting Goku from his thoughts. "It only bothered me when he became too pathetic to stand."
"He was wrong." The blonde glanced sideways at him again, frowning but not speaking. Goku clarified. "You don't belong to me."
The older man's eyebrow twitched. "Idiot! I know that," he hissed.
"That's not what I meant!" Goku protested, tightening his grip on the back of Sanzo's seat. "Dougan said I thought you did. I don't. I never did!"
"Keep your voice down, you damned monkey." Sanzo's voice had become soft again. It shouldn't have sounded comforting, given that he usually spoke in an off-handed tone to make the other person feel as though they didn't matter. But it was familiar; it was his voice. It described him. In that sense, it was an enormous comfort for Goku to hear it. It was when Sanzo became even remotely friendly that Goku was uneasy. "And don't defend yourself against something I never accused you of. It makes you sound stupider than you already are."
Even the added insult was a familiar comfort. Goku relaxed, though still made a point to scowl at the monk's words.
"Now I have a question for you." Sanzo's tone was reaching that level of you're beginning to piss me off that even a stranger couldn't mistake. "Why are you bothering me?"
Goku grinned. "Because you let me."
"And," he added, "because I can't sleep."
"Bakazaru," the blonde muttered.
"I keep remembering the prison."
The silence that met his admission was unsettling in comparison to the insults. Goku waited tensely for his keeper's reaction. Part of him believed Sanzo would ignore it, but it was more likely he would tell Goku to shut up and go to sleep.
It came as a surprise when Sanzo got up, climbed out of the jeep, and began to walk off. "Sanzo?" Goku called, suddenly wondering if he had offended the monk without realizing it.
Sanzo half turned, glaring at him. "Come on."
Puzzled but trusting as ever, Goku clambered out of the jeep. He checked to make sure he hadn't woken either of their other companions. He started when Gojyo mumbled something and stirred, but the half-demon didn't awake. Hakkai was still breathing softly. It was hard to tell whether he was asleep or not, but either way it was clear he wasn't going to move anytime soon. Nodding once to himself, Goku turned and hurried to catch up with Sanzo.
The corrupted priest stopped a good few yards away. They were still in sight should either Hakkai or Gojyo wake up, but well out of immediate hearing range. He pulled out a cigarette, lit it, and inhaled. Goku made sure to stay a few feet back; he hated the smell of smoke.
Finally, Sanzo flicked the excess ashes from his cigarette, regarding Goku with carefully guarded curiosity. "Why?"
Goku frowned. Wasn't it obvious? "Because Dougan reminded me."
Sanzo scowled. "Do you really think I'd go out of my way to drop you off at that mountain, much less take any time to chain you up and leave you there?"
"No!" Goku denied it a bit too vehemently, and he knew it. He folded his arms across his chest, as though that would protect him from any verbal insult.
"Idiot." Sanzo took another drag from the still burning cigarette. "It's too much work. Too bothersome."
"You came up the mountain."
"That was to shut you up because you were so damned loud. Didn't I tell you that?"
At least he was slipping back into his "insufferable bastard" form. Goku bit back a sigh of relief, nodding. His muscles relaxed, and he realized that he had been tense ever since Sanzo had left the jeep. Sanzo was acting a bit strange tonight, and Goku hated that because it made him unpredictable.
"You were right about one thing," Sanzo said in a low tone, advancing on the boy. Goku watched him wearily, waiting for the man to pull out his infamous fan from only-the-gods-knew-where and deliver a few good whacks. "I don't need your protection."
"Sanzo basically never needed my protection because he's just as fierce as I am!"
Dougan had been stupid to think that Sanzo, of all people, needed protection. He had claimed to know Sanzo the best, but he had known nothing. He couldn't even make a good replica. Goku felt a little pity for him, but it had been Dougan's own fault for allowing himself to be so emotionally weak toward somebody who didn't care whether he lived or died. That had been made crystal clear the moment Sanzo had first shot at him.
Sanzo dropped his cigarette to the ground, though it had only been smoked halfway down. He crushed it beneath his priest's sandals. His eyes never left Goku's. "Why, then, did you insist on being an idiot and following me when I clearly didn't need someone like you around?"
Goku didn't miss the use of past tense. He struggled not to smile as he said quietly, "Because I am an idiot."
To anyone that didn't know either man personally, it would have seemed bizarre for Goku to make the first move. However, Sanzo was the one that was careful about how he acted, and Goku was definitely more impulsive-- and, as he had just admitted, an idiot. Sanzo was now close enough so that all he had to do was grasp a handful of the priest's robes before pushing himself up to kiss him. The contact was brief but comfortable... and it was likely that both were going to act as though it had never happened in a few minutes.
"You really want to die, don't you?" Sanzo asked quietly once Goku had stepped back. His voice held no threat, no bite... it rarely seemed to when he was addressing Goku, no matter what. There were exceptions, and there were going to be exceptions for a long time to come, but it was all right. What they had was comfortable. There was a sort of bond holding them together, one that Goku could sense but not explain, and he liked it. Instead of voicing any of these thoughts, he just grinned. "Tch," Sanzo muttered, turning and stalking back toward the jeep.
I probably did, if I wanted to pull a stunt like that, Goku mused. He shrugged it off, knowing that it had just been a moment in time that he and Sanzo were going to deny had ever happened. That was also all right. It was just the way things worked between them.
He waited a couple minutes, staring into space, not really thinking about anything, before he heading back to the jeep as well.
The sun was trying to elude his grasp again. Tears stained his cheeks; he couldn't bear to look at the dead bird anymore. It hurt; his chest hurt every time he breathed. He was exhausted, and his voice was hoarse from his anguished screams.
"Gods... please... just kill me..." he whispered.
He didn't mean it, but in this state, he almost could. He hated it; the isolation, the loneliness, never being able to get a firm hold of the sun's rays...
He looked up and started. For a moment he thought he was going to be blinded; the setting sun was framing a semi-tall figure before him, throwing the face into shadow. After his eyes adjusted, he could see that the figure was a young man. He was glaring down at the boy from beneath golden bangs.
"You," the man stated coldly, "are annoying. Cut it out."
He was unable to do anything more than stare, entranced by this strange creature that, despite his cold exterior, radiated warmth and brightness that rivaled the sun in the sky.
"You're the one that's been calling me, right?" the young man demanded, annoyance lacing his words. "Cut it out."
The boy's voice was hoarse, buts till audible. "I... I haven't been calling anyone. Who are you?"
"Don't lie to me. I've heard you calling for a while now."
He wasn't lying, but the boy couldn't summon the words to deny it.
Finally, the young man shook his head, stepping forward and extending his hand. "Come on," he said, sounding reluctant. "I'll just have to take you with me. I don't see any other way."
It was silly; futile. He knew there was no way to break free. But it was the first time he could remember anyone extending a hand to him, and as though in instinct he reached out to grasp it. He was afraid the young man would disappear, just like the sun...
But the chains snapped off, and he was able to grasp the extended fingers. The real, solid, warm fingers. This guy was real. He wasn't an illusion.
My sun, he realized, his lips slowly forming a smile. This had been exactly what he had been waiting for. This was the warmth that was going to wash away the coldness that had sank into him so long ago. To prevent that warmth from leaving him again, he would always, always stay at this man's side... whether he was wanted or not. Now that he had a hold of the sun, he was never going to let go of it.