I don't own Saiyuki and the fable on which this fic was based.
I don't drink, that's why I had to do a little research… by reading wine labels, of course! XP
Sub- disclaimer: This fic is not intended to promote alcoholism. (sweat drops)
I churned this up as the second of my "Saiyuki Fables" (of whom the moral fibers are strangely warped and near twisted beyond recognition) and as a contribution for the 383 ML August 2004 Fanfiction & Fan Art Challenge. A thousand apologies for my indolence. (i.e. hitting two birds with one stone, ne?)
To Me-Nuriko: You guessed it right! 'Tis the Fox & The Green Grapes. Maybe I should come up with another version for the fox- faced Gyokumen Koushu? Eh- hehe?
To Sariyuki & Hakkai-san: I would be greatly honored if this will make you smile, as well. XD
A Fable of the Monk and the Cellarer
By: Nikoru Sanzo
"Aged twenty years? You gotta be kidding me!" Gojyo exclaimed as he read the label on a bottle of whisky.
Goku, who didn't care much for anything that didn't satisfy his hunger, merely turned up his nose. "Ew! You mean that thing's been sitting there for twenty years? Why would anyone wanna drink something that's already spoiled?"
"I'll let that stupid comment pass. Your gross ignorance for the finer things in life is understandable. What do monkeys know of something as profound and sublime as good liquor?" Gojyo hungrily eyed the bottle in his hands.
"Sublime? What is that? Is it gross like slime?" Goku asked. Not knowing a good thing unless it's edible, he pouted when Gojyo ignored him.
Hakkai, who sensed the greed that glinted in his friend' s eyes, gently took the bottle from him and placed it back in the shelf. He smiled at Gojyo' s protests.
"Please, don't compound our troubles."
"Look! I'm not the only one at fault here. Sure, the old man doesn't like it when someone hits on his only daughter. But Goku' s clearing out his pantry without permission and the corrupt monk' s shooting holes in his walls and roof must have taken the cake."
Hakkai brushed some of the ornate decanters with a feather duster. "Mr. Kuan refused when Sanzo offered to pay for the damages and the food with his credit card. He insisted that we redeem ourselves through labor. It is the least we can do to make up for abusing his hospitality."
"Shucks! I don't mind fixing the walls and the roof, but do I have to work with the horny water monster?" Goku complained.
Gojyo snorted in annoyance. "I'm the one punished with the extreme displeasure of working with you! Well, Hakkai' s got an amazing sense of self-control, that's why he's the old man's unofficial cellarer for the moment. Of course, the almighty Sanzo- Sama is too lazy to lift a finger even if the damages were his doing."
"I suggest you repair the holes in your head first." Sanzo pointed his gun at Gojyo.
The endangered water sprite grabbed the flask of whisky and used it shield his face. "Oi, Mr. Worldly Monk! You wouldn't dare inflict harm on this beautiful intoxicating creature that's been aged twenty years, would you?"
Sanzo aimed the gun lower and it prompted Gojyo to raise his hands in mock surrender.
"Okay! Okay! I'm going! C'mon, idiot monkey. We've got work to do." Gojyo muttered as he beckoned at Goku.
"I am not an idiot monkey!" Goku turned to the new cellarer. " Ne, Hakkai! Can we have something to eat when we're done?"
Gojyo punched him in the shoulder. "Moron! You've already stripped the pantry of everything! Be content with sawdust and nails! Now, let's get to work. All these wonderful liquor ain't enough to lessen the joy of hanging around with Sanzo."
Hakkai laughed at the sarcasm. He gave a polite cough. "Excuse me, Gojyo. The whisky, please?"
The pilferer let out a defeated sigh as he surrendered his trophy. Then, Gojyo pushed Goku towards the door. "Move it, monkey! I wanna get this over with!"
Goku pushed back. "Hah! No wine and no women! Too bad, the old man's in town with his daughter. Not that she would've wanted you anyway."
"And 'Hah!' to you, too! There' s nothing left in the kitchen so there's no food for you!" Gojyo retorted.
"Augh! Just stay away from me!" Goku yelled as he ran upstairs.
Gojyo grinned at Hakkai and gave him and Sanzo a mocking bow. "And now I bid you guys farewell, for the meantime. Don't let Hakkai' s bothersome sense of self- discipline keep you from having fun!" He turned and went upstairs, shouting insults at Goku as he did so.
Hakkai blushed a little. "I'm sure he meant 'having fun drinking the wine'." He tried to ignore Sanzo' s puzzled expression.
"Now, let's get to work" Feather duster and the inventory list in hand, Hakkai began to peruse the shelves.
"Suit yourself. The old geezer didn't specifically dump any jobs on me." Sanzo crossed his arms as he proceeded to wander about in the spacious cellar that boasted of the biggest wine collection he had ever laid eyes upon.
Mr. Kuan may be a fussy old goat and all, but he sure knows how to live a good life.
Hakkai watched the other man disappear behind the cabinets. He sighed as he reminded himself that his duty, first and foremost for the moment, is to watch over the cellar and take care of whatever needs to be cleaned and organized. Surely, Sanzo is in no danger of stumbling into any kind of predicament unless, of course, he drinks himself out of his wits. And out of any form of self-restraint. Hakkai smiled. Now the thought itself should keep him occupied for days.
Sanzo paused in front of some ledges that had been built into the wall. He peered at the contents of the ledges and pulled out a bottle from one of them. He held it up to the light as he read from its label.
"Hmm. Red wine?" He found a corkscrew conveniently lying nearby. He looked around and found a clean goblet on a small table. He picked it up and wiped it with his sleeve, just to be sure.
Hakkai' s keen ears picked up the sound of a crime in progress. He quickly walked over to Sanzo and stopped the monk just in time.
"I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I don't think Mr. Kuan will be pleased if he finds out that you've made yourself free with his wine."
Sanzo put down the bottle and goblet as he shot Hakkai a dangerous look. The latter was unfazed. "Fine! I don't need a nosy conscience. I'm already putting it back, see?"
Somewhat satisfied, Hakkai gave him an approving smile although Sanzo' s carelessly shoving the bottle back to its ledge would've given Mr. Kuan himself a heart attack.
"That's good. I won't ask you to do anything else but leave the wine alone. Mr. Kuan claimed to have a very good memory and thus remembers how much there is in each bottle. I hope you have noticed that a considerable number of these haven't been opened yet. If you afford yourself even just a single drop, I'm afraid there will be consequences. Okay?" Hakkai grinned as he left him and went back to cleaning the cabinets.
As he began arranging the bottles in alphabetical order, (for stacking a Chardonnay before a Champagne bothered him greatly) Hakkai chuckled like an indulgent parent with a spoiled child.
I may have my hands full today because of Sanzo. I wish!
Sanzo' s gaze swept across the numerous shelves. He scratched his head in disbelief.
He's asking me to breathe in Gojyo' s cologne when there's air around!
The monk picked up the corkscrew and goblet again. He absently sauntered past some more shelves before something caught his eye. White wine? There must have been thirty- eight Bodhisattvas pulling at his leg. Sanzo gingerly removed the flask, careful not to make any sound that will alert the killjoy prowling nearby.
"What did I just tell you a while ago?" It seemed like a genuine query. The tone was polite and devoid of accusation.
Sanzo' s shoulders sagged with defeat. However, a tiny voice inside him screamed, "Don't be such a pushover!" And as much as Sanzo hated it when any kind of voice, inner or not, barked orders at him, he thought he'd listen just for once. He turned to face Hakkai.
"Either I forgot or I wasn't listening."
The slight exasperation in Hakkai' s face gave Sanzo a silent cause for joy. Perhaps, the fool would learn quickly to leave him alone.
"Please, Sanzo. If this keeps up, I will be forced to hit you." But before the startled monk could counter the threat, Hakkai hastily walked away.
Certainly, he didn't mean to say that he'd actually hit Sanzo. He'd give up sake and breathing first before he could ever bring himself to do anything that would mar the stunning monk's blessed features. And besides, not even chains and whips could knock anything into that stubborn skull of his. Speaking of chains and whips, weren't there some lying around in the stables at the back?
Hakkai shook his head as he tried to clear his mind and force back the blood that was rising to his cheeks. He clenched the inventory list tightly as he tried to distract himself.
"I'm a little teapot / Short and stout… Ah! Much better, albeit less satisfying. "Hakkai took a deep breath and hummed cheerfully as he resumed his task.
Sanzo returned the bottle, disgusted over how his day was turning out. He strolled past more shelves when something yanked his eyes in the most pleasant way possible. Nestled in the corner of a ledge was a rare Sauvignon Blanc. Gods! Were the letters on the label winking at him?
As he struggled to shake away the eighty- three Bodhisattvas pulling at his leg, Sanzo took the decanter of the much sought after grape varietal. He ran his finger over the label and made sure that it's a Sauvignon Blanc and not rat poison.
"My… precious…" Sanzo purred, unaware of the approaching villain who sought to part him and his prized find.
"I do not wish to sound like I'm infringing on your right to breathe."
"Har- har. But you put it rather accurately." Came Sanzo' icy reply. He looked up at Hakkai and in an act of sheer defiance, began to open the decanter.
"Sanzo, I am warning you. Please put it down or else…" Hakkai tried to reason with the blonde brick wall before him.
Sanzo sneered. "Or else what? You're going to hit me? Bluffing like a wimp doesn't suit you."
"Forgive me, but you leave me with no choice." Hakkai apologized as he charged at the monk.
Sanzo attempted to sidestep but the unexpected swipe at his face, courtesy of the feather duster distracted him.
"What the hell-!" Sanzo half- coughed, half- sneezed at the offending feathers that had attacked him in the face. He promptly lost his balance and almost crashed into one of the shelves.
Not one to waste an opportunity, Hakkai grabbed the monk by his shoulders, spun him around and knocked him against the wall. Sanzo found himself pinned between a warm body and cold stone.
"Let me go." He growled at his tormentor.
Hakkai leaned closer and savored the sight of Sanzo squirming at the feel of his hot breath upon the monk's face. He blew softly into Sanzo' s ear and nearly lost it when he felt the other shiver violently.
"No. You've been naughty enough. You ought to be punished for your misbehavior." Hakkai whispered threateningly.
Sanzo refused to back down. "You are an exercise in futility, you know that? I want to see you try and knock it out of me!"
Hakkai narrowed his eyes as he smiled. "With pleasure."
And before Sanzo could respond, Hakkai had claimed his lips and his ability to comprehend the difference between a youkai and a rock.
Fighting to stay in control of his wits, Sanzo tried to struggle. But in the sweetest of ironies, it was an exercise in futility for Hakkai, with frightening strength, had jerked Sanzo' s arms upward and pinned them above his head. He tightened the grip on Sanzo' s wrists and silently thanked the arm warmers that would hide the bruises.
Hakkai stopped and hissed, "Don't resist. Or I will cease this." He was amply rewarded with heartbreaking and uncharacteristic groans of protest.
He let go of Sanzo' s wrists and cupped the latter' s face with his hands. As their lips locked together once more, Hakkai was pleasantly surprised when he felt Sanzo' s hands move of their own accord until they had timidly settled on the former' s waist.
Sanzo broke off and put a hand on his forehead. He was panting and his lips seemed a bit puffy. At least, they were no longer scowling.
Hakkai smiled as he ran his hands through Sanzo' s hair. He took a few steps back and watched Sanzo struggle to look offended as he brushed the invisible dust from his sleeves.
"And wipe that blushing off your cheeks. For someone who has run out of air, you're awfully rosy." Hakkai couldn't help but interject with a wicked grin.
Sanzo glared at him and walked away. The dazed monk stumbled a bit and held on to the cabinets. Sanzo climbed the stairs and he fumbled, in the most charming way possible, as he struggled to take out his cigarette and lighter from where they were tucked in his sash.
As soon as Sanzo was out of sight, Hakkai gave forth a satisfied chuckle. He looked around and found the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that had sat there for a while, abandoned and forgotten. He picked it up and sighed with a smile.
This calls for a celebration, yes?
Moral Of The Fable:
"If words suffice not, blows must follow."
(Is that snickering I hear back there?)