Chapter One- Endings Are Beginnings Too
I do not own Saiyuki. This story is rated M (for later chapters). Slash Warning!
AU- Sanzo & Co. take on Kougaiji in a battle of the bands, and along the way old wounds are reopened and lives are changed forever.
Extra Special Thanks to GhostHelwig for helping me with the plot for this whopper of a story. I couldn't have done it without you! Thanks for listening to me whine.
A/N- At its core, this is a love story, but I wanted to incorporate a lot of different plotlines and stories from the show and the manga. I had to change a few things, of course, to make the storyline work but I'd like to think I've stayed true to the characters themselves.
I know there are some key plot points from their stories that I may have omitted, but I fit in everything I could that would still be relevant to this story. I'm sorry if I left anything important out, but I did what I could.
There ARE quite a few points that will come up which are open to debate, but I hope that won't diminish your enjoyment of the story.
So, please, with an open heart and an open mind, come on in. Sanzo is waiting.
………………………………………………………………………………………………"I'm moving on"
"What are you talking about?" Gojyo asked, taking a drag off his cigarette and eyeing Kougaiji with little patience. Long crimson hair and a cloud of smoke obscured his face, making it difficult for Kou to judge his true reaction to the news.
"You heard me," Kou said. "I'm leaving the band." He was irritated now, unhappy about this entire turn of events. He wasn't supposed to be saying this. They were supposed to be rehearsing their new songs for the big contest in a few months. This was supposed to be their big chance to make a name for themselves. Breaking up the band at this crucial point wasn't supposed to happen!
But he knew it was his own fault. He'd let his stepmother pressure him into this, and now it was too late to turn back. The wheels of the great machine surrounding him had already been set in motion. He could feel the slow, inevitable grinding of their teeth as they devoured his old, worn out dreams.
He looked at Sanzo, who didn't meet his gaze. He would find no comfort there, nothing to assuage his guilt at leaving his friends in the lurch like this. He had something to move on to. He had a band waiting for him. They would be forced to start over from scratch- building a working relationship with another guitarist who would struggle to learn their songs- all in four short months. He was destroying their chances to win and he knew it, and Sanzo knew it too.
"If I may ask, why now?" Hakkai said, sounding polite as usual, but also… disappointed. Nothing of his feelings showed on his face, though, and Kou found it distinctly uncomfortable to meet the man's calm, unnervingly blank gaze. He forced himself to do so, his pride making him incapable of any less.
"My stepmother thinks this is the best thing for my career," he said, and Gojyo snorted. Anger and embarrassment burned twin flames in Kou's heart as Gojyo glared at him in open contempt.
"I happen to agree with her!" Kou spat, arrogance appearing to shelter his wounded pride.
"You do, do you?" Sanzo asked, finally raising his eyes to Kou's. "Then why are you still here?"
The cold, dismissive, almost mocking tone of Sanzo's voice infuriated Kou. The blond obviously couldn't care less if Kou stayed or went, as long as he just did it.
Kou was hurt by the way his band mates were reacting. Didn't they understand that he was a victim here too? That the only good choice he could make for himself was to do as his stepmother wanted and begin his career in earnest? If he wanted to make her happy, and please his father as well perhaps, he had to do this! These three- his supposed friends- couldn't they even try to understand where he was coming from? He had obligations. Responsibilities.
"None of you would understand," he said, snorting in derision. "I have a family, people who care about me, people who are looking out for my best interests. I want to make them happy. I want to do what's best for them. And maybe my stepmother is right! I'll go further without you three aimless losers hanging around my neck dragging me down!" He was trembling with rage, violet eyes flashing in righteous anger.
Hakkai sat at his drum set, saying nothing, but Gojyo set his bass aside and took a threatening step towards Kougaiji, hands balled into tight, white-knuckled fists.
"Get out of here, scumbag, before I really get angry and break every bone in that too-perfect-for-us body of yours."
Kou stared Gojyo down for a moment, unafraid but aware of how serious the other man's threat was. Then he turned and left without another word, slamming the door as he went.
The three remaining band members were silent for a long while, until Sanzo finally spoke. His voice was loud in the thick silence that surrounded them.
"Well," he said, flicking the butt of his cigarette to the floor with casual grace, his face unconcerned. "That's that."
Hakkai looked at him, eyebrows raised.
"What do we do now?" he asked.
Gojyo turned to Sanzo as well, curious. Sanzo just shrugged and lit another cigarette. He took a long drag and moved toward the door.
"We find a new guitarist," he said, swinging the door open and walking out.
Hakkai's gaze met Gojyo's, both of them wondering what the hell they were going to do.