Standard disclaimers apply.
Last chapter of Divorce! Have I been busy this weekend! Finally done with this one, so can now move on to Akki-gure goodness! Love it!
And there is a slight spoiler in here, for those of you who have not read/seen scans for volume 7 of Saiyuki Reload. Very slight, but I just thought I would warn you. And speaking of volume 7, I just read volume SIX and it was torture! I mean, really! How could they leave us on such a cliffhanger! It's cruel and unusual punishment! I know what happens in volume 7, but I desperately want to read it in English, not Chinese! (cries) And the beauty of the Burial Arc...READ IT, all of you that haven't. It's well worth the time. Especially the chibi Goku-ness and youkai Hakkai-ness...
Enjoy, if you would, and please review! ESPECIALLY YOU! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!! (points finger)
Gojyo sat against the wall of the dungeon, tapping his fingers restlessly on his knees. He had cuts and bruises all over his body, and there were bags under his eyes from lack of sleep. The kappa glanced over to where the monkey was sitting in one corner of the barred cell. The kid had finally woken up, but hadn't spoken since. Gojyo swallowed. Was he really that mad? If the chibi even was. More likely he was just exhausted. They had had a "big day" yesterday…
How the hell had this happened? Automatically, he reached for a cigarette, only to have his fingers come up empty. He snarled into the darkness. Damn those fuckers! Why couldn't they have let him keep his lighter and cigarettes at least? It wasn't as if he was going to use them to escape, damn it! He just wanted a stupid smoke. Was that too much to ask?
Gojyo sighed and slid his legs out in front of them. Almost reluctantly, he glanced over at the monkey again, but Goku was still absorbed in his contemplation of the darkness ahead of him. Gojyo cursed angrily and curled one hand into a fist. This was really starting to get on his nerves. Why did he and the kid have to end up in trouble when they left the bastards? It wasn't as if they had done anything wrong! Why were the gods punishing them, the innocent ones, for something Hakkai and that damn monk did?!?
His teeth met and clenched together. Damn it. This was all their fault! He and Goku wouldn't be here if Hakkai and the bastard monk hadn't started fighting. If they hadn't fought, then they wouldn't have had to make plans, and they wouldn't have left. If they hadn't left, then they wouldn't have been captured by those damn youkai!
Gojyo snatched a pebble from the floor of the prison and hurled it into the darkness. Damn them! Why had they even gotten captured in the first place? It didn't make any kind of sense! He and Goku were great fighters, just as good as Hakkai and Sanzo! Well, okay, maybe he wasn't as good as Hakkai, but he sure as hell was better than the damn monk! After all, the bastard only had a gun and a sutra, not the shakujou! And he was always being protected by the stupid monkey, so how come they had gotten captured? If anyone should get captured, it was the idiot monk and Hakkai. They were missing two valuable members of their team.
He paused. But then again…maybe it did make sense for them to get captured. He glanced surreptitiously over at the monkey, hoping for some reaction, but the chibi just sat there staring ahead. Gojyo licked his lips nervously. The monkey couldn't be mad at him. It wasn't as if he had done anything to the kid! Well, okay, he had taken him away from the group while he was still asleep, without giving him time to say goodbye to Sanzo. But it wasn't like Goku should say goodbye to the bastard. Gojyo's jaw tightened at the memory of the kid crying. Goku wasn't supposed to cry. He never cried. But he had cried too many times since this whole mess started. He had cried when Sanzo and Hakkai had shown up at the tree, to prove they were back together. He had cried even harder when he had woken up from a nightmare outside town and Sanzo hadn't been there to snap him out of it.
But he wasn't crying anymore. Gojyo swallowed. In fact, when he had learned that Gojyo had taken him away from the group without telling them or asking for his permission, he had gone all quiet. Goku was never quiet, and the little bastard's silence was really freaking Gojyo out. He had had enough of that shit with Sanzo and Hakkai. Now the monkey was doing it too? It was too much, too damn much. He didn't have the patience to deal with this.
Come to think of it, the monkey had probably deliberately not been fighting that hard. Gojyo gritted his teeth, remembering when the band of two or three hundred youkai had burst from the trees and demanded the sutra. After a moment, the idiots had seen that Sanzo wasn't with them. Not that it stopped the fuckers. They just grinned and said that maybe they would have fresh dinner today. That had really pissed Gojyo off. He had started in with the shakujou, only to look back and see the monkey standing still and staring dumbly at the mob of youkai. Screaming at him to get his ass to work had prompted the brat to summon the nyoibou, but he hadn't really fought, just attacked half-heartedly. He had left his fucking guard open dozens of times, and Gojyo was honestly surprised that the kid hadn't gotten killed by some youkai with a sharp eye and sharper claws.
But he hadn't gotten killed. Gojyo ground his teeth. Instead, the idiot had just gotten himself captured. Captured, damn him! As if Goku didn't know better than to leave his guard down, he had let himself get captured too! The fucking idiot!
Of course then some youkai with half a brain had had the bright idea to hold Goku and demand that Gojyo put his weapon away or get the kid offed. Goku had just stayed in the youkai's pin, not even bothering to break out of it as Gojyo knew he could. Damn him.
Gojyo had had to put the shakujou down then. Goku wouldn't have resisted even if the youkai had cut his throat in two. The youkai had been delighted with this new turn of events. It was seldom that they got live prisoners, and from the looks of them, they intended to have fun with them before they ate them. They had beat the shit out of Gojyo, and then knocked around the monkey for good measure until he was unconscious. Gojyo cursed again. Stupid stupid stupid fucking monkey!
And DAMN Hakkai and Sanzo!
It was the monkey. Gojyo fought to keep his relief from showing in his voice.
"Yeah, what is it?"
"You think…we're gonna die?" The monkey's voice was soft. The kid wasn't afraid…didn't seem concerned at all. Damn it.
"Are you kidding?" Gojyo flashed a white smile in the darkness. "We aren't gonna die, you bakasaru!"
"I dunno." Goku said, his voice still soft and strangely childlike. Gojyo swallowed. Damn, the monkey hadn't even gotten bad for being called a bakasaru. And what was with the weird child's voice? That didn't make any kind of sense. The kid was young, but not that young, damn it! "I think maybe we will."
Gojyo went over and hit him on the head. "No, we won't!"
Goku didn't even react, just stared dully ahead. "I think we will." He looked up at Gojyo with weird eyes. "Cause, I think we're already dead."
"Already dead?" Gojyo repeated, staring dumbfounded at the monkey. "What the hell do you mean?"
Goku ran his fingers over the stones of the floor and looked at the bars, then back at Gojyo. "We're dead, Gojyo."
"What…why…" Gojyo floundered for words. "We're alive, you idiot! Or I wouldn't be talking to you!"
"No, we're dead." Goku shook his head solemnly, his eyes still weirdly old. "Or else we wouldn't be in hell."
"Hell…" Gojyo repeated, looking around. What the fuck did the kid mean? He looked down at him, worried. Apparently he had taken a harder hit to the head than he had first thought.
"Yeah, hell." Goku repeated wearily. "We're in a cage, aren't we?"
A cage…oh fuck…the little brat hated cages…he was the poster boy for claustrophobia…damn it to hell…with that bump on his head, he probably really though that he was dead and this was hell. Gojyo squatted beside him. How the fuck was he supposed to convince him this wasn't hell and they weren't dead?
"We're just in prison, Goku. We aren't dead."
"No, we aren't." Gojyo fought to control his temper. Now was not the time to get mad at the kid. He needed to think this through and realize that this wasn't hell. It was just…a prison. An ugly prison with bars, but a prison in life. They weren't in hell. He glanced over at the monkey again, but the stupid saru was just staring ahead again. Gojyo swallowed angrily. The idiot looked as if he had lost everything—as if he were back in that cage again—and from the look on his face, he was burying himself deep inside somewhere to keep from going crazy over that fact.
Gojyo glared at the youkai taunting him from behind the other side of the bars, torch in hand. "Shut up, you freak!" There were too many of these damn freaks in here. He and the monkey were behind fucking bars, for gods' sakes! It wasn't as if they were going to break out! But no, they just had to have twenty youkai crowded into the antechamber to watch them. Of those twenty youkai, they just had to have this stupid idiot taunting them. The rest of the youkai were sitting around arguing with each other or playing cards, completely ignoring the two prisoners. This youkai, however, seemed to enjoy being an asshole.
The youkai laughed. "I don't have to shut up! You're gonna have to, cause you're gonna die!"
Gojyo spat at him. Damn, how stupid were these youkai? That had to be the lamest comeback ever! At least Kougaiji and crew could invent a decent one-liner. Idiots.
"Don't spit at me!" The youkai hissed, it's red eyes glowing furiously in the darkness. "I'll kill you!"
Gojyo glanced over at Goku to see if the monkey had a reaction, but the kid just sat there. Well, damn it then. He'd do something! "I'd like to see you try, freak!" Gojyo grinned devilishly at the youkai. "You and your entire fucking tribe couldn't kill me!"
"We captured you!" The youkai growled. "And we'll eat you too! Just see if you like that, freak!"
Gojyo sneered and said something unprintable about the youkai's parentage. The youkai snarled in rage.
"I'll kill you, you fucking…"
"Excuse me." Gojyo's head snapped up at the sound of that voice, and the noise in the antechamber died. The taunting youkai turned around, moving his torch to see the newest arrival. The rest of them all looked towards the door. Gojyo's breath caught in his throat. It couldn't be…it couldn't…
Another youkai stood there, dressed in torn green, his tangled black hair down to his shoulders. The one eye that was visible was slit gold.
The most remarkable thing about him was the green vine pattern that coiled over his bare skin. None of the youkai had ever seen such a marking before; ordinary markings were small in size, and few youkai had more than two. The fact that he had such a marking meant that he was someone of significance. Whether that significance boded well for them or not, it was well for them to be aware of it.
The youkai smiled, revealing white fangs. "I'm sorry, have I interrupted something?"
"Who the hell are you?" The taunting youkai managed, staring at the weirdly marked youkai.
The youkai smiled apologetically, a gesture that was somewhat undercut by the flash of his fangs in the torchlight. "No one of importance."
"Tell us, fucker!" Another youkai growled.
"Just kill him!" A third shouted. Other youkai yelled in agreement.
Gojyo wrapped his hands around the bars, watching this incredible scene. What the hell was going on? This was insane. There was no way in hell that…he felt a tug at his elbow and saw the monkey standing next to him, eyes wide.
Gojyo slammed a hand over the monkey's mouth. "Shut up, baka saru!"
The monkey's eyes widened more, but he didn't struggle against the kappa's grip. Instead, he turned his eyes to the youkai, fixing his eyes on the vine-patterned one. Gojyo felt something warm and wet trickle over his hand. Removing his hand from Goku's mouth, he placed it on the monkey's head, his fingers twisting the long strands of hair. A half-smile crossed his face, and his fingers tightened in their grasp on the monkey. Stupid little chibi…
The youkai moved in, weapons in hand, to face the gold-eyed youkai. The youkai smiled. Something about that smile caused Gojyo to shudder and step far back from the bars, pulling the monkey with him. More teeth glinted in the dim light, accompanied by a subtle flicker of claws.
What followed next haunted Gojyo's nightmares for weeks to come.
The mob of youkai moved forward with a shout, brandishing their weapons and screaming obscenities at the stranger in the door. One of them slashed his sword towards the newcomer's still form.
All hell broke loose.
The gold-eyed youkai leapt over the sword, slashing through the bearer with his claws. Before completing the motion, light gathered in his other hand and shot out at the right side of the mob, blasting through bone and tissue. They disintegrated just as blood from the first youkai splattered across the room. Screaming with rage, the other youkai attacked the stranger.
Gojyo heard a snarl and felt drops of hot moisture spray his face. Damn it, the monkey…he looked down and saw that the kid's eyes were still fixed on the strangely-marked youkai, apparently oblivious to the gore fest taking place in front of them. More blood splattered across their faces and bodies, more screams rent the air, and then it was all over.
The vine-patterned youkai stood in the center of the antechamber covered in blood. It dripped from his claws, mixing with the pools on the floor. Ignoring the mess, the youkai calmly wiped his claws off on his jeans, went over to one of the bodies, fished around, and removed a key. Standing, he went over to the barred cell.
Goku left Gojyo's hold then, rushing the bars as if his life depended on it and slamming himself up against them. "H-Hakkai?"
The youkai looked up from unlocking the door and smiled. "Goku."
"You came!" Goku pressed himself closer to the bars. "You came!"
The lock clicked and the door swung open. Hakkai stepped inside. "Of course we came."
Goku buried his face in the youkai's ripped green tunic, oblivious of the amount of blood that he was getting on his face. "You're not mad."
Hakkai knelt down and held the child, cradling the small body to his own bloody one. "I would never be mad at you, Goku." He held the child at arm's length and looked into his eyes. "Never. Do you understand?"
Tears ran down Goku's face, mixing with the blood from Hakkai and staining the bruises of his beating. "Y-yeah."
"Never." Hakkai pulled Goku to him and held him tighter, burying his face in the child's hair. "I'm sorry, Goku. I didn't mean to make you so upset."
"I-it's okay." Goku cried. "It's okay."
Gojyo felt something wet in the corner of his eyes. Damn, did he have to get blood in his fucking eyes too? He brushed it away angrily. That was just stupid.
"You done yet?" Another voice came from the door. Gojyo looked up to see Sanzo standing in the door, gun in hand. Goku looked up immediately and a huge grin came over his face.
"Sanzo? Sanzo!" He leapt from Hakkai and wrapped himself onto Sanzo. "Sanzo, you're here!"
Growling, Sanzo pushed the monkey away. "Yes, I'm here, you fucking idiot! What the hell did you expect?"
Goku blinked, more tears falling. "I thought you and Hakkai were mad."
"We're not." Sanzo said flatly. "Not at you, anyway." A very slight smile crossed his face. Encouraged, Goku ran forward again and buried his face in the monk's robes.
"You really aren't mad at each other anymore?"
"Yes, we aren't mad at each other." Hakkai said, his voice warm. He went over to the monkey and placed his hand on the child's head. "We're sorry if we hurt you, Goku."
"It's okay!" Goku clung tighter to the monk's robes. Awkwardly, almost hesitantly, the monk reached out an arm and wrapped it around the monkey's shoulders. He looked up and glared at Gojyo. Something about the glare made Gojyo smile nervously.
"No, we aren't mad at you, Goku." Hakkai said, his voice as calm as ever. His eyes, locked on Gojyo, showed something other than warmth, despite the fact that he still had a hand on the brat's head. Gojyo stepped back a pace, feeling a trickle of sweat run down his cheek. Oh, damn.
With equal calm, Hakkai retrieved his limiters from his pocket, replaced them on his ear one by one, and returned to his normal form. He glanced at Sanzo. The monk removed the monkey from his embrace and then looked at Gojyo. "Let's go."
Goku grabbed the monk's hand and skipped off down the hall with him.
"Damn it, stop skipping!" The fan came out then, whipping the monkey over the head.
"Ow! What'dcha do that for!"
"Because you need it, baka saru!" Sanzo growled. Goku began to whine as they disappeared down the dark corridor. Gojyo started down after them, hoping to high heaven that Hakkai was not really mad. Maybe it was just an aftereffect of the limiter-removal. Hey, it was sometimes hard to read youkai expressions!
"Gojyo." The cold voice stopped him in his tracks. He shivered. The dank chill of the dungeon was nothing compared to the ice in that voice.
Hakkai stood beside him. "Don't do that again."
"Eh, hai hai, sensei!" Gojyo scurried down the hall after the monk and the monkey. They were too glad about the rescue to punish him now, but he'd sure as hell catch it later. A slight smile crossed his lips. Well…even if he caught it…at least they were back together…
A gunshot rang past his head. Gojyo ducked and cursed, feeling the powder burn.
"What the hell was that for!?!"
"No reason." The bastard replied, still walking forward with the monkey bouncing by his side. Gojyo glared at his back, muttering curses.
"Oh, and Gojyo?" A soft voice said from behind him. Gojyo resisted the urge to whirl. Instead, he bit down harder on his cigarette. Damn, those bastards were creepy…
Long fingers pulled his cigarette from his lips and removed his pack and lighter. "No smoking."
"Wha…why the fuck can't I smoke?"
There was a white flash of smile in the darkness. "It's not a good example." Hakkai walked past him. Fuck him. He was definitely not imagining the chuckle.
Gojyo ground his teeth. "Since when do I have to set an example?"
A light voice answered him. "Since you decided to take up child-rearing."
Ergh…Gojyo pulled back. Fuck that bastard. A strangled growl was all that he replied. Its response was the same amused chuckle.
Damn those bastards!