Somewhere I Belong
A Saiyuki fan fiction by Iapetus
Disclaimer: I do not own Saiyuki.
Beta Readers: Truth to Madness and Orenda
Rating: PG13 for now, but it WILL be pushed to R later due to the reason stated in the warning.
Couples: Goku/Sanzo/Goku, Kougaiji/Yaone and Gojyo/Hakkai.
WARNING: First off, this story is a darkfic. It also contains material that may be considered offensive to some readers. Among these are: blood, violence, swearing, a corrupt government, supernatural creatures, nudity, lime (for both m/m and m/f) and yaoi. This means that there will be male/male sexual activity. If any of this bothers you, please turn away. I will raise the rating to R once the first bit of lime appears.
Diet (with a capital D)- A national or local legislative assembly in certain countries
Prologue: A Dark Rebirth
Everyday, he would put on a mask.
Masks were common in a normal human society. They protected a person's soul from the utmost scrutiny of a world that didn't mind if your feelings and ambitions were crushed.
If he had been normal, he would have a mask like everyone else. Not that big, but not that small. Unlike the others, he never seemed to wear a mask at all. His feelings and thoughts had been made known to the world, and it didn't matter what others thought. He could never be like that again. It was too dangerous.
Some believed that the truth could set you free. He would smile bitterly whenever he heard the "prophets of doom" try their best to expose the lies of the Diet, or when the various religious factions tried to hold large rallies that talked about a Way Out.
There was no Way Out. Truth did not set a person free, not in this city. Most who discovered the truth died moments afterwards. Those that had escaped had had to pay a terrible price.
The people who knew the Truth were fighting the losing side of an endless war that threatened to devour the capital. They faced death every day now, but this time they were able to take it instead of just receiving it.
In the crumbling records of the Forgotten Religion, only a single warning had been able to be deciphered: "Those that knowingly bring death to another shall forever be damned to live it. Those that see death and escape shall forever be the ones to take it."
The Diet had attempted to eliminate all memory of this ancient saying, stating that THEY were the ones who told the people that they should not kill. Their efforts, while not completely successful, were also not entirely useless. No one seemed to remember the second half of the saying.
That was actually for the better. It made his job that much easier.
It was time for him to get going to class. Son Goku had a reputation to keep – complete with mask – after all.
The young man cried out in pain as he fell to the ground and against a brick wall. It had been the fifth time he had fallen after setting out to his destination, and his confidence on being able to make it was quickly fading. He knew that if he did not get out of sight soon, more of the vile creatures would come to prey on him.
Using his right hand to push against the wall, he slowly was able to stand again. He winced at the trail of blood he was leaving. Shuuei's going to have a hell of a time cleaning this up, he thought to himself. I wouldn't be surprised if he wouldn't want to kill me himself for it… The thought of the laid-back Shrine Abbot make him smile, but the action caused his body to spasm in pain. More blood oozed out of his wound on the side of stomach. He had to get out of sight immediately, but he did not want to draw his enemies' attention to any of the innocents. His last wish was for others to get caught up in his private fight.
It wasn't as if he could prevent that, no matter how hard he tried. Innocents were dying every day, and he could do nothing to stop it. He hated seeing those he knew fall into the conflict – the secret conflict that held his city in fear with an iron grip – either by death or becoming a Hunter like himself. If that wasn't enough, his luck had decided to run out.
Clutching his right side with his left hand, the Hunter continued on his way, trying his best to ascertain if anyone had been following him. Looking up at the street signs, he realized that he had been stumbling though Gojyo's district. The man smirked at the thought. While he could personally not stand the man 85% of the time (his perverseness bothered him), only a fool would try to encroach on Gojyo's territory. He was one of the most powerful beings in the town, and one of the only ones the Hunter could trust.
He sighed as he continued along his way. Even if he could trust Gojyo, there was no way he could confront him as he was. The only time he ever met with him was when it could be done in secret, and especially not when it was the prime time of the night. The young man was sure that Gojyo would be probably taking the money of idiots who thought they could beat him at poker. It was either that or seducing some young woman before he had his meal for the night.
He had continued on, seemingly unnoticed by the people of his city. The people did not see what they did not want to see, and they especially did not want to see the bloodstained body of one of their most beloved authors seem to stumble towards his death.
Like hell I'm going to die! He cursed at no one in particular. I still have to pay them back for what they did, and I can't just leave the others…
Two had gotten away. Hunters did not tolerate halfway-completed jobs. If the enemy could identify them, they might as well just surrender the capital that night. The only weapon they truly had was that of surprise. If no one knew that they were coming, they could always have at least a small advantage. He would have to go out and kill them as soon as he could move again. Shuuei might even go out after them that night to finish the job he started, to help protect them all. The Shrine Abbot didn't hunt that often, but he had done so in emergency situations. Shuuei's predecessor, Koumyou-sensei, had been the same way.
An expression of relief formed on his face as his blurry vision caught site of his destination at last. Shuuei knew he was making a kill tonight, but he should have checked in long ago. Of course, he had also not counted on the fact that he had been ambushed by a dozen Keikans instead of drawing out a few Weaklings like his informant had told him. In fact, hadn't Gojyo been his main informant for this mission? Had he had more energy, he would have probably cursed his informant into oblivion, but he had to concentrate on getting into the Shrine first.
Shuuei went through the compound a third time, trying to relieve his boredom of waiting in a productive manner. Only one Hunter told him that they were going to be making a kill that night, but it was always possible that one of the others could have a run-in. He was especially worried about the two new Hunters – they were still in mourning over the death of their best friend. The seriousness of the situation had helped them focus a bit more, but no Hunter truly got over the death of the person that had unintentionally caused their rebirth as a killer, not even himself.
Still, it was not like any of the Hunters to be late for their cleansing. A Hunter was required to purify their body with Holy Water once a week, or after every kill they made. While blood would always stain their souls, a purified body would be perfect bait to the enemy. They could not reek of the enemy's own scent – it would make them a target instead of bait.
As the abbot made his fourth pass across the threshold of the secret entrance, he saw the bloodied body of a familiar figure lying in the street. Eyes widening, he quickly scanned his surroundings to make sure that the ancient wards held in place. After verifying that they kept their hold, he quietly ran into the middle of the street to where the man lay.
As he approached the figure, his senses were suddenly overwhelmed with the close proximity of a Keikan. Shit… Had he really been that careless? Shuuei had been prone to falling for hypnotism in the past, but with Gojyo's help he had overcome the obstacle. Was he facing a Keikan so powerful that it could even overwhelm his training? Drawing a thin foot-long spike from his robes, he approached the body with caution.
The man was indeed the Hunter he had been waiting for. Listening closely, he could hear the man breathing as he went to assess his other injuries. Fear grew in his body when he realized that the powerful aura he had felt was radiating from his friend on the ground. If he was really emitting that kind of aura… Oh god, please don't let it be true…
Shuuei moved to inspect the body of the young man quickly. He needed to get him out of sight if he was to be treated, especially if he was suffering from such severe blood loss. The abbot eyed the shredded cloth on his right side, and gasped as the sight.
The shirt has been ripped to tatters, and blood turned the brown shirt to a sickeningly and shiny shade of black. Some blood had even mingled with the man's deep red hair, keeping his long strands from blowing out into the gentle wind that swept through the street. Shuuei watched with horror as he saw the ugly wound that had been carved into the Hunter's side seemingly pulled together on it's own accord and mend itself. The skin was completely healed and healthy looking, despite being still sleek with blood. It appeared as if there had never been an injury at all in the center of the mess.
Suddenly, a spasm wracked the young man's body, and he grasped his lower neck with his left hand, clenching his teeth against a scream. His eyes flew open, and Shuuei could see the terror in the deep lavender-colored irises as he realized what was happening to him.
Shuuei could do nothing as he watched Kougaiji's eyes become a deep shade of garnet. His hand fell from his neck as he returned the abbot's gaze. Neither of them could speak for a moment.
"C'mon," Shuuei finally whispered, "We need to get you out of sight." He offered his hand to help him off the ground, but it was simply pushed away.
"I refuse to defile the shrine," Kougaiji objected vehemently.
Shuuei laughed darkly at this. "How could you? You are one of the greatest Hunters this town has ever seen."
"That doesn't matter anymore."
Shuuei already knew what he was talking about before he spoke the words.
"Don't even say it! Even if I was a Hunter I can never be one again." His tongue slipped out of his mouth to lick the blood off his lips subconsciously, but he spit it out immediately when he realized what he had done.
"A vampire can never be a Hunter."
There will not be any romance for a while, I'm just warning you now.
This prologue serves two purposes: to act as, well, the prologue, and to be a bit of a teaser. If you'd like to know when this story is going to be updated, please let me know.
Comments and criticisms appreciated!