Under The Setting Sun
A/N Muwahahaha! That's all that needs to be said... No, not really. This is what really needs to be said: Events in this fic are strictly based off those in volume four of the Saiyuki manga (US version). If you have yet to read that volume, then that means that this will contain spoilers. Events will, of course, be altered to suit my needs. Read at your own will.
Disclaimer: I haven't done one of these in a long time (probably due to the fact that I haven't written anything new in a while). Okay, I do not own Saiyuki in the slightest. Those rights belong to the lovely Kazuya Minekura-sensei and company.
Hakkai: "Gojyo, behind you!"
Sanzo: "Hey, Hakkai! What happened?"
Gojyo: "S-Son of a... Something's moving in me!"
Puppet: "I planted a seed in his body... The seed is planted by his heart."
Hakkai: "Wait! The target's too small—you'll never hit it!"
Sanzo: "Hakkai. After I shoot, move in and heal him."
Gojyo: "You couldn't kill me if you tried."
Hakkai: "...I've closed the wound. He's unconscious, but alive."
Goku: "That was bad for my heart. Jeez!"
"How is he now?"
"Goku," Hakkai begun. "I doubt Gojyo's condition has changed since the last time you asked, which was—"
"—three minutes ago," Sanzo said irritability.
After their victory over Chin Yisou's evil puppet, the Sanzo ikkou had gone off to find a safe place to stay the night. They found a cheap hotel that wasn't much better than sleeping in Hakkai's jeep, but he thought it healthier to stay inside during the time it took for Gojyo to recover.
"But just in case, I think I might go in there to check in on him," Hakkai said, walking towards Gojyo's closed door.
Sanzo grunted. "Do whatever you want."
Upon entering, Hakkai noted the stuffiness of the room. He turned to the bed which was occupied by a certain water sprite; Gojyo had his back to the door. Hakkai dragged a chair from the other side of the room, situating himself beside his friend.
"Gojyo... Damn it, what have I done?"
"Nothing at all," came the gruff reply.
Hakkai stood up abruptly. Realizing the voice had come from Gojyo, he rushed to the kappa's side, only to be told to sit back down.
"I'm fine. Now sit."
"How can you possibly be all right?" Hakkai asked, his voice wavering. "Gojyo, you could have died!"
A grunt emitted from Gojyo as he said, "Damn straight. No thanks to that droopy-eyed priest..."
"No, I'm afraid that burden has been bestowed upon me... I take full responsibility for your injuries."
"Don't blame yourself. I was the one showing off."
There was a long moment of silence that followed; neither of them felt up to talking about the subject any further. Instead, Hakkai watched amusedly as Gojyo carefully fumbled with the sheets. He let out a yelp, for while he was stretching, his newly closed wound gave a painful throb.
"So, what's the plan then?"
"You're going to recover first. After that, I suppose we'll go after Chin Yisou."
"Is that right?" Gojyo asked absentmindedly.
Gojyo pulled the covers off him and sat up, planting his feet over the side of the bed. Sighing, he reached for his pack for Marlboro and his lighter. He clicked the lighter and watched as the flame danced with the gentle breeze from the open window. Slowly, Gojyo removed the cigarette from his mouth so to congregate it with the flame from his lighter.
"Gojyo, what is it?" Hakkai asked worriedly. He was afraid the wound in Gojyo's chest might have split open from the way he yelled.
"Nothin', I just burned myself is all."
"...What?" Gojyo said, looking up.
"You burned yourself because your hands are shaking. Look," Hakkai instructed.
Gojyo looked down at his hands; he was indeed shaking. He couldn't believe he hadn't noticed before. It was a wonder that he was still able to hold his lighter, he was shaking so bad.
"Are you sure—?"
"I'm fine," Gojyo snapped. "Look Hakkai, be a pal and go buy me another pack of Marlboro; I'm just about finished."
Hakkai smiled. "It'd be my pleasure."
"And take that stupid monkey with you. Buddha knows I won't get any rest with him around complain' about food."
The place was in shambles; chairs were knocked over, the far window was nearly broken, Sanzo's reading glasses were carelessly thrown on the floor, and sections of his newspaper were scattered all over the room.
"What in heaven's name happened here?" Hakkai thought aloud.
A cry emitted from Gojyo's room that caused the both of them to jump. The gunshot that followed could only have been from Sanzo's pistol. Cautiously, Hakkai opened the door and he and Goku entered Gojyo's room.
Both kappa and priest turned to their companions with a look of bewilderment on their faces. Sanzo regained his composure first.
"I'm glad you're back. Now make sure he stays away from me for at least the next 24 hours."
"Why? What's wrong with 'im?" Goku asked.
"Damn guy's sick. He's been trying to throw up on me since you left," Sanzo replied dully.
"Now Sanzo, that's not nice," Gojyo whined. "I wasn't trying to puke on you. You just neglected to move when I told you I was sick, that's all."
With a grunt and a very inappropriate gesture of the hand, Sanzo turned on his heel, exiting the room. Hakkai left soon afterward, claiming that he had better help the priest tidy up the place.
"Why're you still here?" Gojyo asked the monkey king, curiously.
"Sanzo suggested we take turns watching you while you recover, and since he's already fed up with you, I figured I'd take his shift."
"What for? I'm a grown man and can certainly take care of myself. Hell, I was doing it even before I met you three."
"Well, I dunno. That's just what they told me," Goku said exasperatedly.
Neither of them spoke after that. One might have found it odd, because it was highly unusual for either of them to have nothing to say or complain about. Instead, Gojyo sat on his cot, staring out through the sunlit window, while Goku sat against the wall playing with a bug; occasionally, he could be seen rubbing his tummy.
What was also strange was that the usual perverse water sprite thought only of what was to come: he knew Hakkai was going to go out looking for Chin Yisou, but would he really go out now? Hakkai would think to fight him now since Gojyo was injured and the best way to kill him would be to kill him as fast as they could. But Chin Yisou liked a challenge and might wait until Gojyo recovered just for the sheer enjoyment of it. Yep, there were no women or booze in this kappa's mind.
"Gojyo, how come this place looked like demons had overrun it whenever me n' Hakkai had gotten back from shopping?" Goku asked, now staring up at his friend.
"Huh? Oh...haha. Sanzo and I played a little game of Keep Away...from the gun."
"See, I wasn't feelin' all too great after you guys left; guess that's what I get for getting injured like that... Anyway, my stomach hurt like a mother and I decided to complain about it to Sanzo—lemme tell yah, not the smartest idea I've had. He got tired of it real fast, and well, let's just say I wasn't just gonna stand around and get used for target practice."
Goku gave a somewhat confused, somewhat amused face that made Gojyo begin to laugh.
"I still don't know how we broke the window," he added with a chuckle.
"Gojyo, what is it?" Goku asked.
Gojyo said nothing, only shook his head as he began to cough. The cough sounded more like he was choking; it was deep, like a smoker's cough. It became more refined and now he was beginning to struggle for air.
Goku jumped up from where he was sitting and ran to his friend's aid. Gojyo didn't even try to push him away, he just continued coughing. He grabbed Goku's shirt, almost in an attempt to get his attention.
"I can't...breathe...," Gojyo managed to get out between gasps and coughs.
Goku had a frightened look on his face. He wrenched himself free from Gojyo's grasp and ran towards the exit to find the others. Gojyo began to panic; he hadn't wanted to be left alone during his moment of crisis. He was beginning to cough less, but he was still having trouble catching his wind.
When the three of his friends reentered the room, Gojyo had stopped coughing altogether. He was now lying face up on his bed, just trying to catch his breath.
"What's going on?" Sanzo asked.
"Gojyo, are you all right?" Hakkai said.
"Choking...couldn't breathe," Gojyo managed between gasps.
Blearily, Gojyo opened his eyes, rubbing the sleep out of them. He put his hand to his chest; he still had a tightness there and now he was sore from being so tense. He could barely remember last night—he had been so tired after all of it. Hakkai, being the doctorly one of the group, had ordered for Gojyo to get as much rest as possible, and he had greatly taken up that opportunity.
"You have a fever."
Gojyo snapped his head up, quickly regretting doing so. He put his hand to his neck as it gave a painful throb. It was Hakkai who had spoken to him from across the room.
"Yeah? How can you tell?"
"You're face is all red and peaky. Plus, you're sweating."
"I'm just hot, that's all."
"Exactly, you have a fever," Hakkai answered with a smile.
"Whatever," Gojyo said, beginning to fan himself. "Damn it, what's wrong with me?"
"That's what we're going to find out today."
"Didn't you hear us?" Hakkai asked. "You must have really passed out. Anyway, Sanzo and I agreed to take you to a pharmacist to check on your condition. What happened to you last night couldn't have been any good, and with that seed so close to your heart... Well, I'm sure you can imagine it. And we don't want to take any chances."
"...I had asthma as a child. Guess it's just finally getting the better of me," Gojyo lied. At Hakkai's sympathetic look, he added, "Don't worry about it. If I take things just a little easier, then I'll be fine."
"Just listen to what he tells you," came the cold voice of Sanzo. "I don't care if you had herpes or AIDS as a child, you're going to go get checked."
"Good morning to you too, Mister Excessive," Gojyo said turning to face the opposite corner of the room, where Sanzo was stooped over the floor.
Gojyo lay back down, placing his head on his pillow. He knew he had lied about the asthma and he should go get checked out, but for some reason a sudden fear rose within him that told him that seeing a doctor was something he shouldn't do. He also knew Hakkai was right about his fever.
"I'm going for a walk," he said, standing up and heading for the door.
"Fine, but be back by noon—we've already set you an appointment for then," Sanzo said as Gojyo closed the door behind him.
Before he even realized where he was headed, Gojyo found himself in the middle of a vast meadow. It disgusted him to see a majority of the flowers to be the same ugly color red as his hair and eyes. It made him want to vomit to think about that one time he had picked the same kind of flowers for that woman he once called mother.
If it hadn't been for...
"What're you doing alone out here?" Dokugakuji asked as he ran up to reach his brother.
"I could ask you the same thing, but that would just be a waste of my time. And it's more of a waste to tell you that I'm taking a walk. I'm 22 years old and very capable of taking care of myself," Gojyo said putting his hands on his hips.
"I never said you weren't capable," Dokugakuji said, smiling.
"You haven't. Anyway, where are your two and a half goons?"
"Two and a half?"
"Yeah, well, Lirin isn't tall enough to be fully goon-ish yet."
"I've never seen you like this before. Are you high?"
"Jee, thanks a lot pal. For your information, I'm—eh, why bother wasting breath telling you that I'm sick; you don't care," Gojyo said.
"Do you remember when you picked these for Mom?" Dokugakuji asked, scooping up a handful of red flowers and showing them to Gojyo.
"Did you have to bring that up now?" he asked.
"Why? Are bad memories comin' back to you, little bro?" Dokugakuji asked mockingly.
"That too," Gojyo said. "But what I was really going to say was...I feel lightheaded."
"Damn it, he's been out for hours," Goku said.
"See, this is what he gets for lying... I knew he never had asthma," Sanzo replied.
Gojyo was awake now, but he kept his eyes closed and listened to the conversation. He heard five other voices around him; he knew his friends and Dokugakuji, but the last voice he didn't recognize at all.
"A youkai planted a seed by his heart, you say?"
"That's right." That was Hakkai. "Is something wrong?"
"Well, he's got a mild cold."
Gojyo breathed. A cold, that's all that was wrong with him. He had started to think that something seriously was not right.
"But the seed is growing..."
Say what? Gojyo thought.
"...and it's beginning to suffocate his lungs."
"What!" Gojyo cried as he sat bolt upright, surprising those around him. He then began to cough.
"Calm down, sonny. You'll be all right."
"I can hardly breathe!" Gojyo exclaimed, gasping.
The man in front of him must have been some sort of doctor. He had beautiful but tired-looking hazel eyes and tawny brown hair; he seemed to be human. Gojyo guessed him to be in his fifties, but nowadays, even a 30-year-old could look older than he really was.
"Just try and stay calm. You'll be fine in a second."
Doing just that, Gojyo realized that, within a moment, he was feeling better and he could breathe easier. "I can't do this anymore," he said tiredly.
"That's why Doctor...er, Acco...was just telling us about a cure he knew that would help you with that seed," Hakkai said uneasily.
Hakkai made Gojyo feel stupid; he sounded like he was talking to a child, and Gojyo was waiting to be coaxed with candy.
"I don't trust him," Gojyo said once they had left the office.
Dokugakuji had asked for a word, and while the others waited in the jeep, Gojyo shared a private word with his brother.
"There's this weirdo chasing after Hakkai, and feels that the best way to hurt him is to hurt his friends. That's how this whole thing started."
"I mean, I can't even smoke anymore because it could 'upset the seed'. Oh God, we don't wanna upset the seed," Gojyo said sarcastically, waving his arms in the air.
"I should just kill myself. It'd be better for everyone."
"...Hey, don't say that!" Dokugakuji said, finally getting into the conversation.
"Easy man, I was just kidding," Gojyo said defensively. "Wasn't there something you wanted to tell me?"
"Nah, not really," Dokugakuji laughed.
Dokugakuji grabbed Gojyo by the shirt collar and pinned him against the nearest tree. He was smirking and he had a sort of eerie glint in his eyes.
"I never answered your question, little brother," he said. "I too, was taking a quite walk in the woods, but I never told you why: Kougaiji told me to go out looking for you. He's tired of you and your ikkou always ruining our plans..."
Gojyo could feel something trickling down from the corners of his mouth, but he was afraid to look and acknowledge that what he thought it was to be true. The taste of it rising up in his throat was like copper; it made him want to gag.
Which he did. Blood exploded from his throat and mouth, landing gracefully on Dokugakuji's face and arms.
He was shaking violently, but he knew not why. He wasn't cold nor did he feel any other reason for his tremors. He could still feel the coppery taste and the trickling from the corners of his mouth.
"Damn it, Gojyo! Wake up!"
It was Sanzo, he knew it. But he was tired; he didn't care what the priest was trying to get him to do, he just wanted to sleep. Sleep all day and never wake up...
The sound of a gunshot reverberated throughout his body, startling him back into consciousness.
Gojyo's eyes snapped open, then he stared, transfixed at the four around him.
"Sonny, wipe your mouth."
It was that accursed doctor again. He stood in front of Gojyo, a syringe in one hand and what looked like a cookbook in the other. It was then, that Gojyo realized he was no longer at the pharmacist's office, but back at the motel he was staying at before.
"What happened?" Gojyo asked, wiping the fresh blood from his mouth with the back of his hand.
"On our way back, you passed out," Hakkai began. "You started saying you were going to kill yourself...," Hakkai frowned, "and then, you started vomiting blood."
Gojyo frowned. He definitely had something wrong with him other than a cold, and he was determined to find out what. But before he got the chance to ask, another thought struck him.
"Where's Dokugakuji?" he asked, almost frantically.
The question was directed at Hakkai, but instead, Dr. Acco answered it. "Obviously he does not remember. Your brother left soon after you did. Or do you not remember leaving either?"
Gojyo shook his head. He truly didn't remember any of that. The doc, the diagnosis; it was all fuzzy, but at least he could recall them. It was like he was having blackouts and there were empty spaces in his memory where there shouldn't have been. It didn't even occur to him how Dr. Acco knew of Dokugakuji being his brother...
"Hmm, I see... I believe I have another diagnosis to give," began Acco. "But I'm afraid the patient shouldn't hear this."
"What do you mean I can't hear it? This is me, my body we're talking about! I should have every damn right to hear what you've got to say!" Gojyo cried.
"Yes, while I know you have the right, I'm afraid, that this could do you more harm than it does you good. Now please, follow me."
Frustrated, Gojyo got up to walk out of the room, in order to leave the others their privacy.
"Wait, Gojyo!" Hakkai called. "You stay here and rest. We'll go outside with Dr. Acco."
Hakkai's face looked stricken. But why? Did he have an idea of what Acco was going to diagnosis him with?
Sanzo got up and accompanied the other three out of the room. As soon as he had closed the door, Gojyo jumped up and tiptoed to the door. He kneeled beside it, placing his ear against the wooden frame.
All that he could mange to hear were muffed or mumbled noises; none of them seemed to make actual sentences. Determined, Gojyo bent lower, peeking through the crack under the door and straining his ears.
"...it's serious now."
"Wasn't it always?"
"Yes, but never like this. I never figured it would go this far. You see, Chin Yisou's..."
So, Chin Yisou was behind it!
"...Chin Yisou hired me for the job."
"But I couldn't do it!"
He was lying.
"I'm just a doctor! Chin Yisou promised to make my death quick and painless if I did it, but I couldn't! I'm only human, and I don't want to die."
"He's going to kill you for failing," Goku said.
"It doesn't matter," replied Sanzo.
"Is there anything we can do for Gojyo?" Hakkai asked.
"I-If I tell you...you have to...you have to promise to k-kill me. I don't want t-to be t-tortured by Chin Y-Yisou."
"You'll be taken care of." It was Sanzo.
"T-Thank you, kind s-sirs."
"Tell us about Gojyo."
"There is nothing you can do for him. He will die within the week."
Gojyo heard a swift moment that sounded like the ruffling of clothes, followed by a gunshot. The human formally known as Acco was finally dead.
Gojyo had not died the way they had wanted; not that one should wish death upon anyone. But he had died suffering. As Dr. Acco had said, Gojyo died four days later.
His condition seemed to have improved. His cold was almost gone, but his breathing problems came regularly. Gojyo ate once or twice that week, but always felt cramps afterwards, which resulted in him vomiting, that also contributed to tightness in his chest.
The night before his death, Gojyo played cards with his friends. Once he became too tired to play anymore, he told them he was playing his final hand before going to bed. No one had taken his statement literally until he wouldn't wake up in the morning.
His death was avenged, of course. Chin Yisou died with a hole in the chest; just as Gojyo had been after he was shot. But the loss of a friend would never ease in their hearts, no matter how many demons they killed or how many times he was avenged.
But the memories of Sha Gojyo and his glory days will always be there to comfort us.
May he rest in peace...
A/N Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I need a hankie; that was sad! Well, I can't actually say it was sad cuz I wrote it, but I'll say this: it was touching.
Anyway, this was just one of those fics, you know. The kind where the plot bunnies won't leave you alone until you WRITE MORE? Yeah, this was one of those. This so-called one-shot ended up being 12 pages long! Now, that's not terribly long for some of you brilliant people out there, but as far as I'm concerned, all my previous one-shots haven't been longer than 8 pages.
Oh, and you know the drill. Yah like it, you review. You hate it, you flame and I use that to roast my marshmallows. It's your call. :)