Posted this awhile back on the Saiyuki-18 ML although to be honest, I wouldn't push this past a PG-13. My first ever fanfic. Hope you enjoy. C&C are always welcome.
All characters and such are owned by Minekura Kazuya, based on the manga Gensomaden Saiyuki. :o
The Space Between
Goku had been standing outside of Sanzo's door for over ten minutes now. First raising his hand to knock, pausing, lowering it to his side, sighing, and after another minute, raising it again, but still it had yet to make any contact with the door itself. He knew why he was afraid to knock. It wasn't Sanzo's hitting him or yelling at him that frightened him that much. He was used to that. He just didn't like the idea of walking into it.
They'd arrived at the village just as the sun dipped behind the dunes. The day had been very long and the intense heat added an extra sweaty, irritable layer to everyone's mood. When they finally reached the inn and had dinner, they realized they only had enough money for the next day's meals and two rooms for the night, and at that point, Sanzo made it very clear that he was sleeping alone. This left Hakkai, Gojou, and Goku in the other room, staring at one bed, a chair, and a window.
"So, saru," Gojou grinned, placing his arm around Goku's shoulder, "Rock, paper, scissors for the bed."
"No way, Gojou!" Goku twisted out from under the older youkai's grasp. "I never win."
"But, hey, it could be your lucky day." Gojou cracked his knuckles.
"You'd probably cheat anyway!"
"How the hell do you cheat at Rock-Paper-Scissors, bakazaru?"
"Don't call me that, ero-kappa!"
Hakkai just stared as the two youkai continued to trade insults. He sighed and listened to the other two fight it out while he took off his eyeglass and began using his handkerchief to clean it of the sand and dust from the road. Putting it back on, he sighed again. Seeing the room clearer now certainly didn't make it appear any better, or larger, or more furnished. He turned back only to find the two circling each other, fists raised.
"I don't think there will be any winners if everyone plays "rock"," he commented quietly, pulling Goku away from Gojou with one hand and patting the older youkai on the shoulder with the other. Hakkai then walked over to the window, undid the latch and opened it up, letting the night air breeze in. He turned and found the others now staring at their feet. The tension released as a cool wind traced the room. Gojou walked over and took the chair, turning it around so his arms could rest on the back as he sat.
"So, what should we do?" he asked, his mouth hidden in his folded arms.
"Make the best of it," Hakkai said, leaning against the windowsill.
"So, since boss monk is in a bad mood, we have to "make the best of it" while he gets room service."
"Sanzo's getting room service?" Goku perked up, eyes wide. "Can we order something too?"
"Baka, if we could order room service, would I be fighting over sleeping in a chair?" Gojou growled. The monk wasn't the only one in a bad mood that evening. He was tired and hot, and it looked like if he didn't play his cards right tonight, he might be sharing his bed with the monkey.
"Don't call me Baka, ero-kappa," Goku said, but this time more quietly as he slid against the wall onto the floor, folding his own arms around his knees.
"Sanzo is Sanzo." Hakkai spoke softly, looking at each of them. "And sometimes Sanzo needs to be Sanzo alone."
"Why does he think it's only him? What about Gojou alone, or Hakkai alone?" Gojou asked, eyes lost in thought, "or for gods' sake, saru alone."
"I don't wanna be alone," Goku said softly.
Hakkai sighed, and walked over to where the boy was sitting and bent down. "None of us does, especially Gojou," he said as he waved his hand towards the red-haired youkai. Gojou remained silent staring at the wall, his chin in his hand. Hakkai placed a hand on Goku's shoulder and gave him a reassuring squeeze. "C'mon, we'll make do. We always do." He turned to Gojou. "Maybe a game is a good idea."
Gojou raised his head, his face breaking into a slow grin, "yooshi."
. . . . .
"I can't believe the saru won the bed..." Gojou repeated as Goku somersaulted around the small room. They had been playing cards and Goku, by divine intervention, or blind luck, had won the first prize.
"Oooooooohhhhhhhhh." Goku sighed as he smushed his face in the pillows, "sooooooo soooooooooft..."
Hakkai smiled as he watched the boy bounce happily on the bed. "That certainly lightened his spirits."
"His spirits?" Gojou snorted, "If I get depressed too, will you let me win next?"
"Gojou..." Hakkai gave him a warning look.
Goku hadn't heard though. He was already under the covers, but still bouncing. Gojou just looked at the jumping sheets in disbelief and turned to Hakkai, his head motioning to the chair, "Best two out of three?"
. . . . .
He couldn't sleep. Even going through everything that day and even winning the card game, (What luck! He never won anything!), his eyes wouldn't remain closed. He'd peek out from the covers and watch as Hakkai and Gojou continued playing. Gojou had gone down to the kitchen and "convinced" one of the maids to give up a bottle of wine, so the two of them were trading it between them. They had eventually abandoned the game and were now just talking. Goku listened for a bit, but didn't really understand. The words between the two other youkai were quiet but held a deepness that eluded him. After a while, he just gave up.
He turned to lie on his stomach, and looked out the window. "Is Sanzo asleep right now?" he wondered to himself. "Probably...I wonder if he's dreaming right now...I wonder what Sanzo dreams about?" He folded his arms on his pillow and rested his chin on top of them. He never remembered his dreams. Jumbled images that raced across his mind but none of it made sense, and with a flash of morning sun, they were gone. The few times that he was actually able to grasp a trace of what had raced by, it always left a heaviness that he could never explain. These few times the heaviness would slow him down, and the world seemed to go by while he just sat there, like the way it had been for so long. Until he met Sanzo...
Goku bit his lip. Thinking about all that time on the mountain, he shivered, even though he was underneath the blankets. That had been a nightmare whose heaviness still clung to him, even after the sun had dispersed it.
"I don't wanna be alone" he murmured into his pillow. The others didn't hear his soft plea nor did the pillow respond. He turned his face up to look out the window again. The sky was clear but there was no moon, no light at all across the dunes that bordered the village. "How long until dawn?" Goku wondered, "how long until it will be light again?" He turned on his side and hugged his knees. Even though the lamps were still lit, and he could still hear the others' soft laughter as they talked, the night's darkness and the thoughts of the past, both the real and the dreams, held him down, as if the chains were still there, as if he had never been released. He scrunched his face up as different thoughts flashed by in his mind. What if Sanzo had never come by? What if he had never climbed that mountain that day, or what if he had, but had turned around when he saw him, a dirty monkey, barely able to speak since he hadn't had to in so long, abandoned, punished, frozen in place as time went by. What if he was still there, still in the dark, still chained, lost among the rocks? What if... what if...he...never.... What if...Sanzo...never...no....no....no....
"NO!" Goku yelled, his legs thrashing, kicking off the blankets from the bed. He was awake, sitting up, but out of breath. He stared at the bed, then at the floor where the blankets now lay. What had just happened?
"Goku, are you alright?" Hakkai's voice finally reached though whatever trance held him, and he turned his head. Hakkai and Gojou were still sitting on the floor. The wine bottle was empty, and the cards were scattered. Both were still awake and both were now looking at him. Goku just looked at his hands.
"Did you have a bad dream?" Hakkai began to get up, but Goku shook his head.
"I knew that bed was too much for you to handle," Gojou nodded towards him. "Kid can't take the pressure. You should just give it up. You'll feel a lot better."
In response, Goku turned towards them, golden eyes downcast. He put both feet on the floor, got out of the bed and headed for the door.
"Oi, I was joking, saru!" Gojou called, his voice a little taken aback.
"It's okay," Goku said softly, "I'm going to the bathroom." And with that said, he opened the door and left, closing it softly on the way out.
The other two stared at the closed door for a moment. Then Gojou turned his head to Hakkai.
"Oi, did the saru just take the pillow to the bathroom?"
Hakkai nodded and slowly began to get up again, "Maybe we should check on him, see if he's alright."
Gojou nodded at what Hakkai was saying, but found his hand shooting up anyway, holding on to the other youkai's sleeve.
"Gojou..." Hakkai looked questioning down at him.
"Oi, do you know what it means if Goku is sleeping in the bathroom tonight?" Gojou raised an eyebrow.
"No, what does it mean?"
Gojou began picking up the cards and nodded his head towards the now empty (and pillowless) bed. "Best two out of three?"
. . . . . .
Goku was still standing outside of Sanzo's room. One hand gripped his pillow while the other wavered inches from the door. "Sanzo will probably yell at me," he thought, "and hit me with the harisen, and call me a bakazaru, and tell me to shut up and go away and..." He bowed his head as he thought of all the things the monk would do if Goku woke him up right now, the middle of the night.
But the dream flashed across his mind again...what if...Sanzo...never...
Alone...I don't wanna be alone...
He could feel it, the resolve to move forward, to finally make the leap, and even if he got yelled at...even if Sanzo threw him out....
He closed his eyes, and raised his fist, and brought it down.
And it made a soft thump as flesh met covered flesh.
Opening his eyes, Goku found himself staring at his hand which was still balled into a fist as it lay where it had hit, right on Sanzo's chest. He glanced up, eyes wide as the monk stood over him, half-lidded eyes staring down, standing in the now open doorway.
"Sanzo..." he stammered, and looking at his hand where he had just hit the monk, "ahhhh...wari..." He brought his hand to his head apologetically.
Sanzo just kept looking at him, one hand still on the open door, "How long were you planning on standing out here? It's been really annoying listening to you."
Goku just looked down at his feet. Now he had made Sanzo angry and he hadn't even asked him yet. This was working out even worse then he thought.
Sanzo looked down at Goku, who instead of answering his question, had become lost in thought, which, for Sanzo, was almost as strange as finding the monkey standing outside his room for a half-hour. The monk sighed, opened the door wider and then turned around and walked back into the room. Goku looked up surprised to see Sanzo heading back to bed. The boy looked down again and shook his head. Why had he come here? He was just being annoying. He should've just gone to the bathroom after all...
"Oi, are you coming in or not?" Sanzo's voiced called dryly. "Or do you really plan on standing out there all night."
Shocked at first, Goku didn't wait to be told again. Still carrying the pillow, he stepped into the room.
"Close the door, otherwise every idiot in this place might decide to drop by tonight."
Goku closed the door and turned around, facing the monk who was now sitting on the bed. Feeling nervous, Goku held the pillow to his chest, a makeshift shield of cotton and down.
"I don't need that."
"Huh?" Goku wasn't following.
"I have one already." Sanzo motioned towards the pillow on his bed, "I was using it, up until you started pacing outside. That better not be why you're here."
"It's not." Words just left him. Why did he come here? "I just..."
"Did Gojou send you here on some stupid errand?" Sanzo was looking at him hard. The monk was tired and annoyed, and not in the mood to guess right now, "If that's it, tell him he knows where to stick it."
"No," Goku shook his head, speaking quickly now, "they think I'm in the bathroom. I didn't tell them I was coming here, so..." he paused, "so don't be mad at them. They're probably asleep now anyways."
Sanzo just narrowed his eyes. "That's exactly what you should be doing right now too. What I should be doing right now." Sanzo turned away from Goku and the door. "If there's nothing else, then go back to bed." Goku didn't move. He looked down at the pillow, at his feet that appeared to be sticking out of the end of it. He swallowed, and spoke softly.
"I don't wanna...."
"What are you mumbling?" Sanzo growled, already lying down. "Go back to bed and make sure to close the door."
Goku swallowed and closed his eyes. His grip on the pillow tightened, and this time, his voice was very clear.
"I don't wanna be alone."
With his eyes closed, he didn't see Sanzo's body stiffen.
He waited for the curses, for the fan that he never knew where it came from, but was always there. He didn't expect what actually came next.
"We're all alone." Sanzo hadn't moved, but his words were clear.
Goku looked up, surprised at the morose response he was getting.
"We're all alone," Sanzo repeated. "It's not about want or not want. It's just what is."
Goku didn't know how to respond to this. Everything that had pushed him to coming here had slipped away. Now he felt just stupid for coming, and confused by Sanzo's behavior.
"Go back to bed." It was more of an order now.
Goku bit his lip. He was about to turn around. He almost left, to go back to Gojou and Hakkai, and the one bed and the one chair, and the window and the night. But he didn't.
"Can I sleep here tonight?"
Sanzo was silent.
"That way..." Goku searched for the words, but nothing seemed to fit, "...that way...even if we are all alone....it won't feel that way....and that would be okay....right?"
Goku's mouth fell open.
"Get out. Now." Sanzo's voice was low but steady.
Goku looked at Sanzo whose lying form was facing the window. Sanzo didn't want him here. His insides hurt, but not like when he was hungry. He didn't know what to do. Sanzo wanted him to leave, but...he didn't want to go.
Goku walked over to where Sanzo lay, and dropped to the floor by the bed. Sitting there, he leaned his back against the frame, and hugged his knees to his chest.
"What are you doing?" the bed growled behind him, "I told you to get out."
Goku stared at the closed door. "I'm not doing nothing."
"Baka," he heard the bed creak and he knew that Sanzo had turned over and was looking at him now, but he just went on looking at the door, "Go back to your room." And then, more softly, "Go back to bed."
"S'okay," he shook his head, "Here is okay." He felt the floor with one hand, the wood cool to the touch. "Here is good enough for me."
"You're just going to sit there all night."
Sanzo was silent for a moment, and then the bed creaked again as he turned back around. "Do as you like."
Goku turned at this, but Sanzo was already under the blankets, facing the other direction.
He sighed, and set his chin on his knees. This was alright. This was good enough for him.
Because...here, just being near Sanzo, he didn't feel like he was alone. And that was okay...right?
. . . . . .
He needed a cigarette, but he had smoked the last one at dinner. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Why did they have to go through the fucking desert where there were no fucking ATMs and that fucking credit card was only good in the cities.
Why is the monkey still sitting there? It's been over an hour and he hasn't moved
I don't wanna be alone.
We're all alone...it's just what is...
Here is good enough for me.
A cool breeze swept the room and he shivered beneath the blankets. The desert air had cooled considerably once the sun had gone down. It was almost chilly, but he didn't feel like getting up to close the window. The monkey was only wearing a T-shirt and shorts, but he didn't want to think about him, sitting there, silent on the floor.
Why didn't he kick him out?
I don't wanna be alone.
We're all alone.
Even if we are all alone...it won't feel that way....
And that would be okay
Why did he put up with this shit? Hadn't today been hard enough, listening to the two idiots fight it out in the back as Hakkai just drove over dune after dune, the heat never letting up. Then getting here and having no money, and no cigarettes and now the monkey was here and was just sitting there, for fuck's sake.
Why did he bother?
On bad days, which seemed like almost every day, he thought about this. Why did he bother with any of this? The west, the sutras, the journey, the youkai, the monkey, the mountain, the voices, the monks...Sanzo-sama, Sanzo-sama, fuckin' A.
He didn't ask for any of this, so why was he now grand marshal of the Westward ho! parade?
...it's not about want or not want. It's just what is...
Fuck. No wonder no one ever listened to him. He couldn't even shut himself up.
And the monkey is just sitting there.
Sanzo gritted his teeth. The anger that had been building was about to be released and since the monkey wouldn't leave, he might at well feel it too. Harisen in hand, he turned over to face Goku, whose back was to him.
The monkey was sitting, his shoulders hunched over, his head down, but he wasn't asleep. Sanzo could see his hands silently tracing the floor, drawing pictures only he could see.
I don't wanna be alone.
He remembered the voice, the one that never stopped calling him, until he finally found the monkey, chained to a rock, barred from the world...
A breeze blew in through the window, brushing past him, and as it did, he thought he heard....
No...it can't be...
I don't wanna be alone...
We're all alone.
Even if we are all alone....
it won't feel that way....
and that would be okay....
Goku stopped his tracing and crossed his arms, rubbing his shoulders. Sanzo turned around, putting the harisen away.
"...eh?" Goku sounded sleepy.
"I'm only saying this once. Say anything and you die. Snore and you die. Move and you die. Fart and you die. Do ANYTHING to wake me up before the sun reaches there," his hand pointed to a part on the night sky, "and you die, and we leave you here to rot. Do you understand?"
"Sanzo, what do you..." Goku had turned, only to find that Sanzo had moved to the far side of the bed, leaving the side where Goku had been leaning against empty. He didn't do anything for a moment, but then Sanzo felt the bed lower and Goku climbing into it.
"URUSEI!" Sanzo tossed a blanket over, "Any more noise and you're out the window."
Goku blinked, taking the blanket and with a small smile, punched his pillow, and lay down.
He didn't kick Goku out though, even when the monkey started snoring five minutes after he got into the bed. He silently considered the exchange that would follow if he woke the youkai up. ("You're snoring!" "Eh? I didn't hear anything.") Nor did Sanzo throw him out when he scratched, or twisted, or kicked; nor even when, at one point, Sanzo had to turn around to hold him down as the boy started running in place. Goku quieted down though, balling himself up next to Sanzo's side. Resting his head on the monk's chest, he murmured softly, "Sanzo...wait..."
"I'm not going anywhere." He placed his hand on top of Goku's head. "I gave up getting away from you years ago. You'll probably chase me into my next life."
He sighed. Who was the one who didn't want to be alone?
He really wanted a cigarette, but instead he just closed his eyes, and slept.
. . . . .
It was an hour after dawn when Sanzo finally threw Goku out of the room.
"Oi, Sanzo, that hurt!" Goku rubbed his head where the fan had just come down.
"Get out!" the monk was yelling now, not caring how early it was or that others might be sleeping. He just cared that he wasn't. "Go back to your room, so I can have five minutes without hearing you or your stomach!"
"Geez, you're cranky. What did I do?"
"You snored all night!"
"Eh, really?" Goku looked up at him in blank wonder. "I didn't hear anything."
"OUT!" he shoved the youkai out the door, "And take this with you!" He tossed Goku his pillow. The boy caught it with one hand, and a smile was wide across his face.
"I'll save you some coffee!" he called happily back, but his promise was met with a slammed door.
Sanzo lay back down. Five minutes of silence. Was that asking for the world?
He cringed as he heard Goku bound down the hall, reaching the end where Gojou and Hakkai's room was, and opening the door.
"Oi, Hakkai, Gojou, Moooorni--ACK! WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY BED?"
Sanzo slapped his forehead...that idiot...
"Uruseina, saru...oi, leggo!"
"WHAT DID YOU DO TO THE BED? I'M NOT CLEANING THIS UP! WAIT TILL SANZO SEES THIS!"
"If Sanzo-sama has a problem with the bed, then he can come talk to ME, and I'll give him a mess to clean up!"
"Gojou...don't start this now. Yesterday was hard enough."
"Oi, Hakkai, whose side are you on?"
"LOOK AT THAT! WHAT WERE YOU DOING LAST NIGHT?"
"WHAT THE HELL? DO YOU THINK IT WAS GOING TO BE SAVED FOR YOU WHILE YOU SPENT FIVE HOURS IN THE JOHN!"
Sanzo rose slowly from the bed, picked up his gun in one hand, and made for the door.
He opened the door and started down the hall.
...even if we are all alone....
He reached the end of the hall. The fighting was even more audible as something hard hit the wall.
it won't feel that way....
His hand reached the doorknob and turned,
and that would be okay....