Disclaimer: I do not own Saiyuki or anything else that anybody in the known universe could sue me for. I own nothing.

AN: This is an idea that hit me out of nowhere. I've liked the idea of writing a SanzoxYaone since I read Enemies by our very own FFnet revolutionary Nimblnymph. Speaking of which, a big shoutout to Nimblnymph who has been so kind in regards to both encouragement in writing this fic, and pre-reading it. She's fantastic.

At the End of the Tunnel

There was darkness, that was all his eyes could see. He could feel rough hands dragging him by his elbows, putting strain on his bound wrists, his bare feet were already unfeeling from the cold floor. His breath was hot against the black sack thrown over his head. The sack itself smelled disgusting.

Genjyo Sanzo remained limp in the arms of his captors, he didn't have the energy to resist. The injuries he'd sustained during the battle were still hurting him. Though thankfully they'd settled down to a dull throbbing instead of the deep, sharp jabs to his nerves.

How long ago had it been since his capture? He'd spent so much time passed out. But he could have sworn some of the time had been spent thrown over (already hog-tied by that point) a flying dragon. Sanzo knew this due to the memory of the ice cold rain numbing his back...at very least that was when the pain subsided. Didn't know where he was either. Could guess though. The demons may have taken him back to Houtu Castle, which would save him a lot of time on the off chance he could: break his ropes, defeat five or six guards injured and with his bare hands, and escape the same way under the same circumstances.

Yeah...he could do that...if he could get his body to respond to him.

"Hey, man," One of his guards said, "Aren't you worried? This is Genjyo Sanzo, man!"

"Nah, we'll be getting our reward from Koushu long before this drug wares off."

So much for that particular suicidal plan.

Sanzo, despite the joking, knew there were very few ways he'd manage to get out of this alive. Most of those very few included different variations of them nicely letting him go with a slap on the wrist. He'd killed far too many people...he doubted whoever was in charge could retain good standing with their people without violently executing him. That's what you did with war prisoners: you amped up the confidence of your own soldiers by beheading the person who'd killed so many of them. Not only that, but his head in a box would destroy Goku, who was at the moment the worst threat to them.

There were a lot of reasons to kill him.

Then there were the reasons for keeping him alive: torture, public humiliation, more torture...all of which would still end up with them exterminating him anyway.

Things were looking pretty bleak.

This made itself even more apparent as someone jerked him up off the floor and onto a chair. Then someone ripped off the black bag. Bastard took some of his hair with it. He grunted as bright lights stabbed his eyes. Egh...it was worse than a hangover. "Ow..." he said, not as an expression of hurt, but as dry irritation.

A form in a white lab coat appeared as soon as his vision adjusted to the light. Glasses and an unshaven face. Hair as dark as Sanzo's was golden. Eyes somehow a shade darker than his hair. The hair was spiked. His eyes obscured by glasses. But Genjyo Sanzo would know his master's murderer anywhere. It was the strange presence he felt around the man, how he'd known he'd been there when Goku was injured, how he'd known the man was in the room when Koumyou Sanzo died. It was him...

Ukoku Sanzo.

"Hello, little Genjyo Sanzo..."

"Bite...me..." Sanzo rasped out. A weaker man might have let his head droop to the floor, but Sanzo held his head up. Despite the immense physical strain he would look this man in the eyes.

"Mmmm. Still a little spunky are we?" Nii said, before reaching out a hand towards Sanzo's neck and chin. "Well, we'll just have to work on that, won't we?"

Sanzo hated this man. This man who was responsible for all the pain in his life. For all the rainy days spent locked in one dark night. His memories always setting themselves on loop.

Sanzo hated this man. So he told him so. The only way he knew how.

"I am going to kill you, fucker."

Nii just smiled the same twisted smile, "Oh dear Genjyo Sanzo..." Nii slithered a hand around Sanzo's head, fingering his hair with the other. Calmly he whispered in the blond monk's ear; with a voice that slithered into his brain with the ease and vileness of a snake, "There are places, beyond the heavens. Celestial whirlpools that are so dark and so powerful that not even the light of a star can escape their grasp. Koumyou Sanzo could not escape me, what makes you think you can?"

"If I recall, a black hole is made when a star collapses in on itself," Sanzo said back, going with the analogy.

"...Yes. But it becomes more powerful then any star in the sky when it does," He laughed. "That's what happens when you sell your soul to darkness." Another laugh echoed through the air as he gently released Sanzo's hair. Striding over to a surgical stand not to far from the wooden chair Sanzo was tied to, he picked up a needle. Sanzo would bet good money that whatever was in there was going to be detrimental to his health...

Nii walked back over, the twisted grin still there at he squeezed the end of the syringe, sending a tiny arc of the clear fluid into the air. "I hope I don't need to tell you how much this is going to hurt. I'd lose myself going into such intricate details."

Sanzo had a feeling Nii wasn't just talking about the pin-prick, "Just get it over with, bastard."

"If you insist." And he jabbed the syringe deep into Sanzo's arm.


Yaone had just finished putting Lirin to bed, the girl managed to keep her busy all day. Now she wanted nothing more than to rest, but work needed to be done. Her headache was, at the moment, too great to work with gunpowder, so she supposed she'd get to work with organizing her herbs and medicinal equipment...Lirin got in there earlier and mucked it all up. Yaone chewed her out, warned her that if her remedies were in the wrong place at the wrong time then somebody could die. She left out about how that person could be Lord Kougaiji. How a girl Lirin's age didn't understand that on her own was beyond her. She groaned; her day had consisted of chasing Lirin while Kougaiji and Dokugakuji followed a rumor about the Kouten Scripture. As it stood she was utterly exhausted...There were times when Yaone wished Kougaiji would take her with him and let Doku care for Lirin. She immediately denounced the idea. Doku...was father material. But she didn't think he was ready to rumble with Lirin yet. The demonic child had far more energy than a four year old on caffeine. Besides, taking care of Lirin was just one more way she could serve her lord. And she had to admit that if she never got to do it she would miss little Lirin. All she wanted was a break every now and then.

But as she opened up the first of the leather bags and the smell of catnip washed over her she realized that this was the best it was going to get for a while. So she sat there, re-organizing her herbs and her other medical equipment. She didn't have Chi Gong to her advantage like Hakkai did. So she made due with things like bandages, tourniquets, and other things she would need for surgery in the field.

She couldn't contain the sudden yawn. Oh how she just wanted to go to bed! But her equipment needed to be efficient again as soon as possible. It far too dangerous to just let it stay as it was. In the very likely occurrence that Kougaiji or Doku needed her help precious moments spent fumbling around could mean the difference between life and death. Besides, if she didn't organize it again that would just make her a hypocrite for what she told Lirin. How could she go into such intricate detail about how dangerous it was if she just let it stay like that?

"Hey, Yaone!" Doku's voice echoed through her workshop.

Yaone spun around in her chair, snapped awake by her friend's voice. The first thing that crossed her mind was that something was wrong. Damnit. She wasn't ready! "Doku? What is it? Is someone hurt?"

"You could say that, Genjyo Sanzo's been captured by Koushu's men," He said gravely.

"What?" Yaone asked.

" 'What'? That's all this gets is a 'what'?"

"I'm sorry, it just took a moment to sink in..." As a matter of fact it was still in the "sinking" process. Sanzo? Captured? The violent monk who mowed down hordes of her kinsmen without much more than his own physical capabilities and a snub-nosed revolver? That wasn't even counting the Maten Scripture. Speaking of which, "Well...do they have the Maten Scripture?"

Doku had crossed his arms, and was making himself comfortable leaning on one of the counters in her lab. "Nope, from what I can gather they separated him from his weapons as soon as possible. They decided to transport them separately..."

Yaone caught on, "But Goku and the others caught the soldiers that held the scripture." She couldn't hold the sad tone from her voice. The more she thought about it, the more she realized what was going to become of the monk. Koushu was notoriously cruel to her own people. She tortured and killed her servants for not much more than painting her nails unevenly. It made Yaone tremble to think about all the horrible things they would probably do to him. She wondered if the brain washing techniques Dr. Nii used on Kougaiji would be used on Sanzo. No. Kougaiji snapped out of it too easily, Sanzo was too dangerous to risk escape. Much less keep alive for very long. "So...What are they going to do to him?" Though she already knew.

Doku ran a hand through is pepper dark hair and sighed, "Gods know. They took him to the prison outpost."

"The prison outpost?" Yaone said, in a little under a gasp. She knew that place. When she first began to work for Kougaiji he wanted her to understand the history of Houtu Castle and the conquests behind it. He gave her a book, she read it. Gyumaoh used the Outpost when he was still in control. It was almost as notorious as the war mongerer himself. Far northeast of Houtu castle, it had imprisoned Gyumaoh's personal and political rivals. As for what went on in there, it is said you can still hear the echoing screams.

"Nii and Huang have temporarily transferred there," Doku added grimly.

Yaone bit her lip at that news. Nii was a despicable man. "Mad scientist" never had a better use. It made her physically ill to imagine what Nii would do to the priest. She never knew Sanzo particularly well. And it was true he may not have been the best of men. But he had an unwavering sense of pride, very much like Lord Kougaiji, and he was probably the greatest human warrior she'd ever met...he didn't deserve what was coming his way. "What are we going to do?"

Doku shrugged, "Damned if I know what's going through Koshu's mind."

Yaone knew what Doku meant. Koushu wouldn't do anything unless it was for her own personal gain. Yaone knew what she wanted to do. They were officially enemies, but she couldn't help wanting to take the nearest flying dragon to Sanzo's friends. Tell them where he was in the hope they wouldn't be too late. But she wouldn't do that. Koushu and Kougaiji both had operatives watching the others like hawks. The risk was far too great. If she was caught it could easily come back around on Kougaiji. If that was what he wanted then she would do it without hesitation; she wouldn't, however, risk their lives without his consent.

Suddenly the door burst open, slamming against the wall hard enough to rattle the bottles and tools on her counters. Kougaiji stormed in, and said between gritted teeth "Yaone, is Lirin around?"

"No. Lord Kougaiji-"

"That whore!" Clearly speaking of Koushu, he no longer bothered to restrain himself, in anger his fist slammed down on her counter; again the bottles rattled. Yaone even had to reach up a hand to steady a jar of Blue Poppy seeds. "She's disgusting. She lives with no sense of honor."

"You forgot slimy, slinky, manipulative bitch," Doku quipped dryly. Yaone couldn't help but notice how much like his brother he sounded, and she certainly didn't disagree.

Kougaiji ran a hand through his hair, "I hate her..."

Yaone rose from her seat, "Yes, Lord Kougaiji. But what's going to happen to Sanzo?"

Doku gave a quick smile, "Don't you mean 'what are we going to do about it?'"

The demon prince sighed, "I spent an hour in the same room haggling with her. And for the effort I expect to be put in his goddamn will. Yaone?"

"Yes, Lord Kougaiji?"

"You will be flying to the Outpost every day to care for Sanzo's injuries. From this day until he is deemed...no longer useful. Anything more would include risks I'm not willing to take."

Yaone nodded, it was the least he deserved. "Yes, Lord Kougaiji."

Well, she'd asked for a break from Lirin...

VVVVV Chapter end