This story is dedicated to SF, because I came up with Pretty Much the Whole Thing by reading her story, And Time Again. Which is super- awesome, by the way.
The river had been flowing for years. It flowed by, sparkling in the sunlight, as humans and demons together played on it's shores.
It flowed by, not heeding the blood in it's crystal waters as the demons turned on the humans and the humans turned back.
It was almost dry the year Gyumaoh returned to life, but it ran swollen with flood waters when his army swept over the countryside, burning and killing all in it's path.
It brought clean water both to the demons camped in what used to be human cities and to the humans themselves, hidden away in the forests and mountains, and underground.
And so, for thirty years, the river flowed, impassive, as power changed hands and war was waged for nothing more than the vague idea of honor.
It flowed as two humans, ordinary in every way, were born and raised. They played in it's water in the few times it was safe enough to leave the tunnels. It flowed by them as they sat on the shores, hidden from the skies and surrounding areas, watching the water move and expressing words of love.
The woman drunk from it's pure springs as her womb swelled with life, and it heard the baby's first cries, almost drowned out by the screams of her people as the demons stormed the caves, killing all in their way.
It watched the few survivors splash across it's width, to a deeper cave where they would be safe.
But still it could hear the child cry, loud enough to bring the attackers upon it's parents.
Impassivly, it heard the new mother's silent moans of sorrow as the father cast the screaming child into the river. It should have been enough to save them.
The river again ran red, blood, so much blood, mixing with the pure, clear water, rejoining it, so, miles downriver, the water ran pure once again.
It was in this pure water that more humans came across a blanket- wrapped infant, with eyes as purple as amethyst and hair like the shining sun.
Twenty years later
…give or take
"… too long, we have been repressed! Too long, we have lived in fear of the demons! And why? Because-"
Purple eyes regarded the speaker with a look just short of distain. Another hotshot trying to stir up trouble. Like anything would ever change. Humans, as far as he was concerned, had always lived underground, and probably always would. The demons were in charge for one reason: They were stronger.
But he might as well listen, it's not as if he had anything much better to do. It was either listen to this upstart try to rile up his friends in the main room, or go back to his own room and stare at a wall. In the dark.
Now this guy was saying something about a raid on the main castle. At night. What a joke. Demons couldn't see well at night, but humans couldn't see at all. So their element of surprise was gone either way.
Other men in the common room spoke up with concerns, complaints, but this guy seemed to have an answer to all of them.
By the time Kouryuu finally got sick of these idiots planning their own deaths, they had already picked a date, namely, that night. They were combing the crowd, looking for anyone who had a weapon or any kind of fighting skills. Kouryuu had both, and so made himself scarce.
Back in his room, he pulled the gun from it's hiding place inside the wall. He could keep it a secret because he had his own room. Why? Because he had gotten really sick of being around people and had dug one. Anyone who didn't like it was free to come and get his ass handed to him.
Back to the gun.
It wasn't exactly a good one. It was a hundred years old, by the looks of it. But his foster father had left it with him when he died, and it meant something to Kouryuu. Mostly because the old man was the only other human he could put up with for more then an hour without feeling some terribly violent urges.
There was a knock on his door, and he audibly clicked a round into place, his blond hair falling into his face as he turned to face the man who had disturbed him.
"You're Kouryuu, right?"
"Who wants to know?"
"What do you need?"
"I've heard it said that you can fight."
The man's green eyes looked very serious behind his dark hair.
"Have you heard of the raid that's happening tonight?"
"You mean the mass suicide? Yeah, I may have."
"I take it that means you're not coming."
"You'd be right. Any other stupid questions or will you be leaving now?"
"I'll go. But you really should come, you know. Not many of these others can fight at all."
"Great. Have them write that on the tombstones."
Kouryuu turned away, done with the conversation. But the other man stayed in the doorway.
"You don't like it down here, do you?"
"What was your first clue? I have no debt to these people and no need for glory."
"Well, it seems your mind's made up. But ask yourself, if dying -in possibly the only interesting event that will ever happen here- is worse than dying slowly down here, staring at blackness and hating your lot in life."
Kouryuu said nothing, focusing all his mental power on the slight weight of the gun in his hands. Behind him, the other man smiled a bit, and turned to leave.
"We're leaving just after sunset."
And I won't be there.
This… isn't how it was supposed to be.
A pair of golden eyes stared at the bare walls around them, for the second time in a life that was almost cruelly extended.
If the demons could have killed Gymaoh all along… why did we have to try?
The familiar face brought a flash of a less familiar face, blonde hair, deep purple eyes… he could barely remember Sanzo any better than he had remembered Konzen. Just the sparkle of gold, purple… the last time he had come to the conclusion that the face he remembered had been the sun. What would he think now?
After five hundred years here, would Sanzo be nothing but a weak yearning?
Maybe this time he would fall in love with the incandescent lightbulb buzzing annoyingly just beyond the bars.
God, what a fate that would be.
Sounds echoed down the dim hallway outside, something that might have been an alarm.
Another uprising, maybe. Demon power switched hands as fast as notebooks in a schoolyard game of keep-away.
Two demons walked leisurely down the hall toward him, laughing at some private joke. He knew better than to ask them to stop. They wouldn't, except to maybe throw something at him or laugh at the trapped monkey.
It was exceedingly cruel, the way Gyokumen had had him trapped. Actually, the cell itself was probably Nii Jiyani's design, but it was undoubtedly Gyokumen's idea, and for that reason he gave her all the credit.
The way out was simple, put a number into a keypad. Goku even knew what the number was. 28076002275947.
The only problem was that the keypad was a good fifteen feet away. In the fifty years he'd been here, the boy had tried everything possible to get the number in. Fifty years is a long time, and he'd had a lot of oppurtunites. Maybe if he still had nyoibo, he could have done something, but he didn't.
He didn't have anything anymore.
"Why are you here?"
"Oh, come on, big brother! You didn't think I was gonna let you have all the fun?"
"This is not fun! What were you thinking?"
The twelve year old grinned up at his older brother, with the carefree smile he had no doubt learned from the latter. His light brown hair was in his eyes, as usual, making him look older than he was.
"Won't you let me come, Oniisan?"
"No! Come on, I'm taking you back-"
"Oh, come on! You never let me do anything fun-"
The boy's protests were cut off by the sound of a yell.
Hakkai turned to see two demons directly in front of where their group was walking.
This was going to be so bad…
One demon turned, running back down the corridor. At first he thought it was running away from a fight, until an alarm sounded, accompanied by red flashing lights. And then there were demons behind them too.
It seemed they were going to kill some demons. That was what the humans had come for, after all. But now, armed with swords and knives of various lengths, they seemed grossly unprepared for the legions of youkai in that castle. But this wasn't a good time to bring that up.
And now he had a kid to look after, too, one that obviously didn't know what sort of danger he was in.
"Stay behind me."
Now that he had actually seen a demon, his brother nodded silently and slipped into place.
Hakkai just hoped he would be enough to protect his brother. And he sincerely doubted it.
"This is super- freaky."
"I dunno, something about this place is just… freaky."
"You think we should go back?"
"Why bother? At this point-"
"Hush! You're gonna get us caught!"
The red- headed man shut his mouth, but his mind kept buzzing at him. What was that thing? That feeling you could only say in French?
Déjà vu. That's it. He was feeling déjà vu. He'd been here before… and that's just stupid, because there's no way he could have been inside the demon's castle before. I mean, come on. He still had all his limbs, which is proof enough.
But still, that feeling… It was worse than déjà vu. He had a horrible creeping feeling, like…
I died here.
The thought occurred to him at the same second bright red lights began to flash. Demons rushed into the rather large room the humans had been in the middle of sneaking through, and the sounds of an alarm were drowned out by screams. Gojyo grinned, summoning his weapon.
Maybe I'll die here again.
Fifty years earlier
…give or take
"This is it?"
"Not very original, as far as bases of operations go."
"Quit bitching. It makes less work for us."
"Yeah! We just go in there, mess some shit up, kill whoever's behind this, and then we go get some food. Right Sanzo?"
"Um… somehow I don't think it will be that simple, Goku."
"Why not?" A sudden thought occurred to the monkey. "I'm not gonna get done like Homura's deal again, right? Cuz that really really sucked."
"I'm not putting that damn limiter on you again. Break it this time and I'm just gonna shoot you."
Goku was quiet then, not because he was actually afraid for his life, just because…
After this, he promised himself. We take care of Gyumaoh, and then I'll ask him.
"What's wrong with you, monkey?"
"Don't call me monkey, ya cockroach!"
And in this festive and hopeful manner, the four heroes entered Houtou castle.
None of them would leave.
And, I give you all the first chapter! And, um, did I mention that there might be shounen- ai in this? I dunno if there will be or not. (Anybody wanna put in their opinions? I cater to reviewing fans, always have…)