:: Den Den Daiko ::
Disclaimer: I don't own Gensomaden Saiyuki, which rightfully belongs to Minekura Kazuya.
Pairings: past Homura/Rinrei, hinted Homura+Goku/Goku+Homura
Warnings: language, hinted shounen ai, Homura-related Gaiden spoilers, mild angst
Notes: Set somewhere between episodes 35 and 39. After seeing the scene in episode 35 where Homura found that toy in Rinrei's old home I had this really strong urge to write something associated with it. Admittedly, I was hoping to work more blatant Homura/Goku into this, but it wouldn't work with me that way... and in a way, I like this better.
Has it really almost been nearly a month since I last updated any ficcage here? Geez... anyway, constructive criticism and feedback is always appreciated.
It was an unusually quiet night in this particular town, thought Homura as he sat perched on one of the higher rooftops. His gaze wasn't on much in particular, though his eyes did trail quite often to a certain inn only one building away from his position. He had no particular reason to be here this night; he wasn't intent on taking the scriptures or fighting Son Goku. In reality he admittedly had no idea why he was here.
Perhaps it was simply in attempt to get his mind off her again.
Homura wasn't one to let go of a precious memory, but this had been one he'd been locking up for about five hundred years. He'd promised himself he would let go of her memory once he'd found her resting place, but...
Rinrei, he thought, eyes dimming slightly. Nearly five centuries of mental and emotional anguish had been plaguing him. Though he wasn't able to forget her or ever stop loving her, even now long after her death, at least some of the pain was fading. In a way it was almost as though it were being siphoned out of him, bit by bit... and Homura had no illusions about who or what was causing that.
His mismatched eyes were drawn to the inn yet again. Homura found nothing in any of the windows pointing in his direction, which was only reasonable. Most people would be asleep, and any insomniacs or weirdoes would be down in the tavern eating, drinking, or gambling.
One of the lights flickered on, causing Homura to raise an eyebrow at the complete irony with that and his last thought. He didn't look away right away; after all, he wasn't doing anything wrong unless he kept on looking once he saw who it was. Otherwise he was simply taking a look around and just so happened to witness something.
Coincidentally, the person that entered the room was not only familiar to him, Homura knew his full name, age, and even one thing the person didn't: his past.
Son Goku, he thought to himself, a faint smirk playing on his lips. At this point he was watching long enough for it to be called spying but he found he didn't really care at the moment. It wasn't as though he expected to see much; Goku did just what he thought the boy would do, and that was walk over to his bed and sit down. Only part of his profile was visible to Homura, but the god could still tell Goku was looking at something he seemed to be holding in his hands.
The sudden faint but still audible clacking sound made Homura stiffen momentarily. The sound was very familiar, almost painfully so. If he could just place his finger on it...
Just as he thought that Goku turned sharply, golden eyes roaming over everything outside before he tilted his head up, catching sight of Homura. The boy blinked, seeming surprised, and Homura couldn't help but smirk despite the situation. So you're getting better at sensing me, are you?
Well, there was no point in pretending nothing had happened. Homura stood, phasing out from the roof and just into the boy's room, smirking when Goku whirled and gave a startled yelp of surprise. "Up late, aren't you?" Homura said calmly.
"You!" Goku set down whatever had been in his hand, getting to his feet defensively. "Here for another fight?" His voice gave away his tension, only amusing Homura.
Tilting his head, the man pretended to think a moment. "Actually, no. I was just taking a look around and happened to see you."
Golden eyes narrowed skeptically; not once did Goku drop his defensive stance. "You expect me to believe that?"
"Yes." It was
mostly true since Homura hadn't really expected to see the boy, especially
since it had been so quiet. A quiet town with the Sanzo party in it was most
unusual. There was normally, at best, a few gunshots and loud yelling from a
Goku still didn't seem
entirely convinced, but it was enough for him to lower his defenses just a bit to at least appear relaxed. "What do you want,
then?" he demanded. "The sutras? I don't
have them and I don't know where Sanzo is anyway!" The last part was a
blatant lie, they both knew it, but Goku just glared at him stubbornly.
"Would you believe me if
I said I was just here to ask you one question?" Homura inquired.
The question seemed to
startle Goku, who blinked with a tiny frown on his lips. "I... don't
know," he admitted. "You're supposed to be my enemy--"
"Oh?" Homura raised
an eyebrow. "We're enemies? I wasn't aware there was mutual hate between
Goku flushed in anger.
"I never said I--" He broke off, biting his lip and looking sullen as
though he'd already said something regrettable. Normally Homura would take the
opportunity to tease him a bit more but this time his attention was drawn to
the object that had made the noise he'd heard earlier.
"What do you have
Goku looked down at the bed,
looking mildly surprised. "This?" He gave Homura an odd look before
moving over to pick the object up. It was a toy of sorts, a tiny little drum
attached to a stick with two strings hanging from either side of the 'drum' and
a bead tied on the dangling end of each string. Goku twirled it a bit, making a
noise between thrumming and clacking as the beads hit the drum's surface.
"Nothing?" Homura echoed, his eyes trailing more on the toy than
Goku for once.
Seeming to notice, Goku
stared at him a long moment before shrugging and sitting down. "Some kid
gave it to me." He made a bit of a face, twirling the toy again.
"It's kinda stupid, really... I mean, what would
I want with a toy?"
The god watched him twirl the
toy a moment longer before speaking. "It's called a den den daiko. Little children
are fond of playing it for the sounds."
Giving him a skeptical look,
Goku said, "Kinda weird, the
god of war knowing about that sort of thing."
Homura smirked. "Is it
really? Well, I suppose I do like to be well-rounded..." Goku just gave
him another strange look before twirling the toy again.
Though he didn't show it the
sound made an ache within Homura swell. After taking five hundred years to
discover Rinrei's home and resting place the first
and one of the only things he'd found inside was a den den
daiko. The toy itself wasn't what hurt, of
course; it was practically harmless to a mortal being, much less a god. It was
more of what the den den daiko
represented, what it meant: that there had been a child living in that house. Rinrei's child.
that obviously wasn't his.
"Don't tell me that's all you wanted to ask."
Goku's suspicion made him
smirk. "It was."
Golden eyes narrowed to the
point Homura could almost see Seiten Taisei in them. If the pupils had been
contracted just a bit more, pointed more like a cat's, then it would have been
Seiten Taisei without a doubt. "I don't understand," Goku finally
admitted, twirling the den den daiko
absently. "I don't understand you at all and that's annoying."
"You would like to
understand your enemy?" Homura inquired, arching an eyebrow.
Goku frowned. "You said
Homura smirked faintly. It
was a bit cruel, yes, but he always did enjoy baffling Goku. Making him
confused was simply entertaining to no end. He decided to blatantly ignore the
boy's last exclamation, nodding to the toy again. "So what did you do that
was so impressive a child decided to give up a toy for you?"
Goku looked uneasy at the
subject change, but he seemed to realize that any attempt at backtracking would
only result in more confusion. Smart boy, Homura decided as Goku
reluctantly spoke. "It wasn't anything special." He snorted, flopping
onto his back, still idly twirling the toy. Despite his act of thinking it was
a stupid toy he seemed rather entertained by it. "Some stupid bastards
were picking on a group of kids. All I did was kick a
face or two in."
That sounded just like him.
"Ah, so you basically saved some helpless children from big bad
bullies." Homura arched an eyebrow. "How noble of
Goku glared. "Don't make
fun of me!"
"All I'm saying is that the
child obviously found your actions impressive," Homura said calmly,
leaning comfortably against the wall. "That would deserve a reward,
especially if the children were particularly frightened."
"It wasn't impressive at
all," Goku said, his voice starting to slip into a whine. "It was
boring as hell. I hate fighting humans; they don't put up any fight
Homura's smirk broadened.
"This comes from the boy always beaten down by a human priest?"
Goku immediately sat up.
"That's different," he protested. "Sanzo's--" He cut
himself off quickly, looking at the door edgily as though he expected Sanzo to
be hovering outside. Goku chewed on his lip thoughtfully for a few moments
before turning back to Homura, looking sullen. "It's just different,"
he said flatly. "Don't you have to go?"
"So eager to get rid of me, and all I'm doing is having a pleasant conversation with
you," the god mused, biting back a snicker at the expression on Goku's
"Look," Goku said
tensely, setting the toy aside. "If you really want to fight just come out
and say so!"
"What impression have I
made in you so that my very appearance means I want to fight you?"
"The first time you
came," Goku answered promptly, causing Homura to look at him quizzically.
"You attacked us right off--"
vehement interruption inwardly startled him. Normally he would let someone
finish making their accusation before he corrected it, but it bothered him that
Goku saw him as a vicious enemy and nothing more. He didn't view Goku like that
at all and, though he had no intention of telling the boy that, he didn't want
Goku to see him as he already did because Homura held a sort of respect for the
boy. There was his power as Seiten Taisei, yes, but it was also more than that.
Goku had power even without help from his heretical side, power that was
steadily growing the more challenging his targets became. Homura enjoyed
seeing that power grow.
Son Goku held more power than
he'd ever seen in any person his age, excluding his five hundred years of imprisonment.
And yet, unlike the gods in heaven that held status power, Goku didn't even
think about abusing his. After being used by the heavens as an unclean being to
do their dirty work for so long, Homura could appreciate and respect that about
repeated after he managed to calm himself down. Goku was staring at him, just
as startled by his earlier outburst as he had been. "Zenon and Shien did
nothing to harm you; they simply had their own fight with the demons around you.
I did not attack you right away, I introduced myself
and asked for the scriptures. Konzen did not cooperate, and only then did I
attack after warning him." He had finally relaxed enough for his familiar
smirk to touch his lips again. "You, Son Goku, simply assumed that since I
am in your way on your journey that I am your enemy."
"Sanzo says anyone in
our way has to die," Goku said flatly.
"I would have gladly let
him and your companions continue west if he had only given me the
scriptures," Homura explained patiently.
and my... wait!" Goku's
fingers tightened on the covers he was still sitting on. "What do you need
Insightful when one least
expects it, powerful, and capable of reading between the lines. Those
three traits alone were enough to please Homura. If Son Goku hadn't been so
adamant about staying with Konzen's reincarnation
Homura had no doubts that he would have very much enjoyed the boy's company.
Well, he still had one more
chance to try to persuade him, but Homura was going to leave that for another
day. He'd said that all he intended to do this night was converse with the boy
and he wasn't going to use that particular loophole. It wouldn't improve Goku's
view on him at all.
Rather than answer Goku's
question, Homura steered somewhat back on track. "I really wish you
wouldn't have such a harsh opinion of me," he said. "I'm no different
from you four; my objective is simply very different."
Goku hesitated a moment, as
though thinking or remembering something. "You said... that you wanted to
overthrow the heavens," he said slowly. "Why? What'd they ever do to
Homura's expression darkened
momentarily. "Considering what they did to you, Son Goku, I really
don't think my reason can compare."
"But I can't remember
what they did aside from imprison me!"
Homura grew quiet. It was
definitely best that Goku didn't remember; that was one of the reasons his
memories had been locked away in the first place. That had been the work of
Kanzeon Bosatsu, one of the few gods Homura neither
liked nor disliked. Without that decision it was likely Goku would have gone
insane with the memories, especially while being locked away knowing his loved
ones were out there somewhere.
Before he consciously
realized what he was doing, Homura spoke. "Perhaps I ought to tell you a
bedtime story, Son Goku."
Golden eyes narrowed.
"Don't patronize me!"
Homura ignored that, his
voice amazingly neutral. "There was once a goddess who had a child with a
human man. Crossbreed children between a god and human was and is still
considered just as taboo as the crossbreeding between a demon and a
human." As he spoke his eyes were not on Goku, but just to his right, on
the den den daiko.
"As though that wasn't bad enough, this child showed the most remarkable
trait of a heretic: a gold eye." His eyes flickered to Goku briefly, just
long enough to take in the surprisingly rapt, startled expression.
Diverting his eyes, Homura
continued. "The child was locked up since the moment he could feed himself
with his own hands. He saw no one his entire life. He was locked up so early
that even the image of his mother was erased from his memory. He couldn't even
remember the sound of her voice, her touch, or even her smile.
"The day he was finally
set free from his seemingly everlasting prison, he ran into a young
woman." Quite literally, Homura remembered as he tried not to smile.
"He was very fortunate that despite his heritage she did not view him as
an unclean being. Their first talk was of death."
He paused momentarily,
starting to feel uncomfortable with the story. Goku's quiet voice filled in the
silence. "And they were in love." He glanced up, not showing his
surprise, but Goku must have guessed because he shrugged and said, "It
sounds like fairy tales I used to hear when Sanzo'd
take me into town."
"Well, it won't end like
your fairy tale," Homura said wryly, smirking. "Because she was an
immortal being, and interacting with him was a sin though they rarely touched,
she was punished by being reborn on earth, living a full human life, and then
Goku seemed to contemplate
this, his childish features unusually solemn. It seemed Homura was going to
witness one of his insightful moments. "So you're saying what happened to
me... was worse than losing a loved one?"
"Yes." And it was,
because while Homura's whole being had relied on solely Rinrei for his
existence, despite knowing he would grow old and die because of his mixed
blood, Goku's world had revolved around his sun and everything that came with
Of course, he didn't need to
"So that's why you want
to overthrow the heavens," Goku finally said. Homura nodded, watching the
boy draw into himself as he thought.
He smirked faintly.
"Knowing this, will you join me for my cause?"
The answer was abrupt but not
rude; Goku had given it without conscious thought. Homura nodded, saying
mildly, "Very well. It was out of turn for me to ask, anyway." He was
about to just phase out right there, deciding he'd had enough soul-searching
for one night, but Goku seemed to sense he was leaving.
"Hey, you're leaving?
Hold on..." Homura raised an eyebrow at the words, then both eyebrows when
Goku pushed something into his hand. Homura didn't have to look to know what it
was, but he looked anyway, part of him not believing. He twirled the den den daiko twice, and then
Seeming embarrassed, Goku
shrugged and glanced out the window, muttering, "You seemed so interested
in it. You keep it. I don't need some toy..."
Homura chuckled softly,
amused. "Until next time, then."
agreed, his eyes sparking with the unspoken challenge. "No matter what, I
won't be the one to die first."
In a way it was ironic that
the boy would say that. Barring the possibilities of accidents and
assassination, Goku would be the one to outlive Homura no matter what. In
truth, Homura wasn't even sure when he would die, just that it could happen at
That was why his mission
became more important with each day, just as Goku's did. But again, it was
something Goku could do without knowing. Homura didn't want the boy to pity
him; if Goku did eventually come to his side, he
wanted it to be simply because Goku wanted to, not because he felt sorry for
Only acknowledging Goku's
declaration with a nod, Homura phased out.
Somehow the entire
confrontation left Goku even more exhausted than he had ever felt after
fighting Homura. He collapsed against the bed again as soon as Homura left,
rubbing his eyes. The covers, though rumpled because of his constant moving,
felt cool to his skin.
Too much, he decided ruefully. That jerk really is too
much... Especially since he had given him quite a bit to
He began to drift off quickly
after that, despite the lamp still burning at the bedside table. He felt calm
as sleep began to embrace him, calmer than he'd really felt all day.
Just before Goku gave him to his dreams entirely, he heard the gentle clacking of a small drum.