Fandom: Gensomaden Saiyuki
Inspiration: silly fan-art and swing music.
Summary: Gojyo breaks one too many hearts. The result? Well, it's both his dream come true, and the Ikko's worst nightmare, because his stint as a woman is quite permanent.
A/N: Oh, god. I'm so sorry for this. I've had this chapter done for AGES. But since the last time I posted, I've moved twice and there have been all sorts of issues, so I forgot to post (holds hand out for you to slap). I promise I won't do it again.
Inspirational Music: "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps", as performed by Doris Day., and for the dance between Gojyo and Kougaiji, "Epoca" by the Gotan Project (a tango)
Part V: Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
Sanzo breathed deeply, inhaling the hot, strange smell of sun, sand, and dust. The breeze created by the moving vehicle in which he sat did nothing to ease the heat. Hair was starting to stick to his forehead from sweat, his body losing water that it couldn't afford to with the dryness around them. He glanced into the side mirror of the Jeep for what had to be the hundredth time, catching a glimpse of the back seat. Goku was awake, watching the horizon eagerly for anything other than more sand, and Gojyo was curled up with her head in his lap, asleep. The monkey was running his fingers through her hair, and had a little smile on his face. Violet eyes followed the progress of those tanned digits as they slipped through blood red, raking paths through it again and again, causing a tiny, contented smile to form on the sleeping woman's lips. Sanzo felt the sudden urge to hit the boy.
That desire was quickly stifled. He chose instead to watch the lax features of the sleeping woman, and think about what she dreamt of, if anything. It had been a week and a half since he'd watched as she…his eyes closed at the memory, trying to push it away before he re-opened them. It was not something he wanted to remember. The shame of having found pleasure in that voyeuristic act burned hot in his chest, making him feel something that he almost never did: guilt.
Yes, it had been a week, regardless of what he was feeling now. And it had been a week since he'd slept. True to her word, the goddess was revealing her less than merciful side, coming to him in vocal form within his mind when he even thought of nodding off. So, he had developed dark circles under his eyes, and a tendency to stare at nothing at all in a rather dazed fashion. The quiet that had settled over the group was very strange. No one really spoke while they were driving. Hakkai, at least, had stopped looking at him as though he were going to murder him at any moment, but Goku just looked confused. Of course. The boy did not know what was going on, and Sanzo did not plan to enlighten him any time soon.
Gojyo did her best not to look at him, and she certainly did not speak to him. It was just as well. He supposed that any conversation they had would end in an argument that would spiral into violence and probably end with bloodshed. He was thankful that they were only half a day from a relatively large city. A city meant that even if Sanzo could not sleep, he could distract himself by reading the newspaper, or walking around giving everyone and everything a glare that kept them away from him with a berth of about three meters on all sides.
In spite of his original resolution to ignore this problem, he was finding it difficult to do any such thing. Adding to the voice of the goddess in his head—which was bad enough—he also had this annoying thing called a conscience, which he was fairly unacquainted with…and it was now being anything but quiet. The blasted thing was nagging him. He was starting to feel like he had multiple personality disorder.
According to Hakkai, he had really hurt Gojyo. That, he did not understand. Had he said anything that was untrue? Sha Gojyo had slept with over a hundred women. In Sanzo's mind, that made the kappa a pretty big slut. So was it really that big of a jump of intellect to assume now that Gojyo was a woman…she might like to have sex with Sanzo? No. It was not inconceivable. And Gojyo had as much as admitted to being a bitch herself. So where was the problem? It was enough to make him want to pull his hair out.
Women, he thought, were certainly created simply to give men Migraine headaches.
His head only ached worse when he thought of how long things would drag out unless he actually talked to Gojyo about it. Sanzo estimated that he could go about two more days without sleep before he began hallucinating. Before that happened, he needed to do something. He really didn't want to apologize. Maybe if he just tried to discuss it calmly? There had to be some kind of miscommunication. He didn't mean to really insult Gojyo. He'd merely worked off of things that were common knowledge, and followed his instincts. And his instinct at the time was that those red eyes were telling him that she liked the way he was touching her.
The priest's eyes closed against the glare from the sun, and he turned away from the image in the mirror. He concentrated, blocking out first the sound of the wind in his ears, then the roar of the engine. When he was alone, floating in a vast and silent emptiness, he found himself surrounded by a white light. In this place, he knew, he was neither asleep nor awake. He hovered between waking and dream, no voices in his head, no Goddess to tell him what he needed, no evil temptress in the back seat. Here, he was himself. Genjyo Sanzo.
The light surrounding him soothed his mind, but like all escapes, it was temporary. Little external influence could disturb him in this state. But though he could not be disrupted from without, he was more vulnerable to his own inner conflict here. The white light began to fade before him, becoming a dim, smoky little room with cracked plaster and creaky floor-boards. The place smelled of cigarettes and whiskey, and he saw himself, holding onto Gojyo's hand.
His eyes looked up at her, almost pleadingly. Pathetic, he thought. You're fucking pathetic, you know that? But all he could do was watch. His thoughts changed nothing in this scene. He couldn't change the way she walked away from him, or the way his face went from pained to angry in less than the time it took to bat an eyelash. Sanzo watched as his body moved, lashing out in anger. His hands connected with Gojyo's back, right between her shoulder blades, sending her to the floor, her arms windmilling until she barely caught herself.
In his vision, Gojyo's eyes were wide with surprise when he grabbed her shoulders to flip her onto her back. His own expression was strange, even to him. It looked almost like anger mixed with satisfaction. Thinking back, he remembered feeling something like triumph as he looked down at those enraged red eyes. And as she shouted at him, pushing at his chest, there was a very small smile on his face. She didn't mean those things. She couldn't. Sanzo remembered how he could feel the heat of her skin through her clothes, and how his body needed more of that warmth. Would she have been so warm if she hadn't wanted him?
Before the scene became unbearable, it vanished, in favor of another. A clearing in a forest at the desert's edge, barely lit by the sun revealed a very confused Gojyo, who was staring at Sanzo as if he'd grown another head. Smoke swirled around his head as he pulled out his gun and pointed it at her. He couldn't hear any words, but he didn't need to. Gojyo's hair hung in a tangled mass around her head, leaving near-black patches of wetness over the shoulders of the dark blue shirt she wore. These mesmerized him for a moment. Her weapon appeared, and she attacked him after he put the gun away. Sanzo had thwarted all of her advances easily, leaving the woman angered.
But then, he had reached out to take hold of her hips. He'd forced himself to be rough with Gojyo, refusing to let his fingers linger on that soft flesh, and then had her attack him again. The pain in his shoulder was reminiscent of the last time Gojyo had him on the ground, a long time ago. But that time, when the redhead had been protecting Hakkai, there had been no innuendo. Sanzo watched that insinuation leave her mouth, and saw the way her lips curled into a smile, her head tilting slightly to the right as it used to when looking at a woman. If that was a joke, it was only half a joke.
Wondering at the way this always seemed to turn into a way to second-guess his own actions, Sanzo shoved the images away, only to come finally to one of himself standing at a door, peeking in at the small crack. His shoulder leaned into the frame, steadying his body. His chest heaved, and his eyes were filled with disbelief, but also with longing. It was this longing that left him shaking in his bed, trying to make sense of what he felt, with no success. Just what was it that he longed for? Touch? Heat? If that was all he needed, then why her?
Even the image of Gojyo's room at the inn faded away, leaving him in that endless void of white, alone with his questions, doubts, and that terrible, terrible longing.
Goku settled onto his bed in the inn. It was a nice place. They shared rooms, but it was just because the place was pretty booked. As usual, he shared with Gojyo. He ran a hand over the pillow on his bed. It was soft, and felt like it had been washed recently. "I like the beds here," he said offhandedly, trying to make conversation. There wasn't much of that to go around, and he was really starting to get nervous about that. Gojyo sat down on her own bed, and nodded.
"Beats the hell out of the last place, anyway." She started combing her fingers through her hair, which she had just washed. Frowning, Goku noted that she wasn't wearing her old t-shirt and boxer shorts. Instead, she was wearing a night-dress. It was blue, and had thin straps. It looked comfortable enough. He wondered absently what had happened to the old things she wore to bed, but didn't say anything about it.
Instead, he blurted, "Gojyo, when are you gonna tell me what happened? You haven't been talking much…and it's freaking me out." Her hands stopped where they were, tangled in long, thick, wet hair. She looked at him, her eyes wide, and her mouth opened, but shut again. "I know…I know it's none of my business. But I guess I'm worried, so could you please tell me?"
Sighing, she looked sideways at him. "You're not going to let this go, are you?" Goku shook his head stubbornly. "Stupid, hard-headed monkey…"
Sanzo's head was spinning. It might just pop right off at any moment, really. Something hard was pressing into his back…Oh, yeah, he thought in a strangely amiable way, that's the wall…His head lolled to the side, vision blurring. "Hello, wall…" Then something was hurting his head, like some kind of rock or... "Ouch…whaddayawant?" The priest's head turned too fast for his liking, and he looked dazedly at a pair of golden eyes, which were wide with concern. "Go…ku?" Yes. It was the monkey. One of Sanzo's arms moved, reaching up and patting the shorter young man's head. "Hello, monkey."
There was a scuffling sound, and he felt himself being shaken. Hard. "Hakkai! Stop that!" Goku's voice said, and Sanzo saw a greenish-brownish blur a bit further off, and backing away. "Fix him!" that same voice yelled, and Goku backed stiffly away, but not very far. The greenish-brownish blur was getting taller…or was he sliding down the wall? A minute later, two hands grabbed the sides of his head, and he saw a very bright bluish light.
When the light was gone, he blinked. "What…what just happened?" His mouth hung open when his senses returned. The room was a shambles: the table was flattened, splintered, to the floor, while the lighting fixture hung off-kilter and several other pieces of furniture were toppled. The teacher was glaring at him, those green eyes still filled with barely-contained anger. Rather than ask him what happened, he turned to his ward. "Goku, what just happened?"
Hakkai turned a now rather flat gaze on him, and answered before Goku could get a word out. "I lost my temper. Goku has informed me of something that you did. Something rather…distressing." It was strange how he didn't remember anything. Shouldn't he? He must have been hit on the head pretty hard, what with the way he'd been babbling like an idiot, first of all, but to lose short term memory was really freaky. Then it sank in as to exactly what Hakkai meant, and he almost beat his head against the wall.
Sanzo groaned, eyes closing as he lowered his face into his palm. His muffled voice said, "She didn't…"
Hakkai cleared his throat, flexing his hands. Nearby, Goku was tensed. It seemed that Hakkai was still a bit on edge. The monkey had always been able to sense these things. The dark-haired man grimaced, his eyes narrowing. "And why wouldn't Gojyo tell someone what you did?"
Goku put a hand on the dark-haired man's arm, clamping down with what had to be painful pressure. Hakkai didn't flinch. "Can you go and see what Gojyo's up to?" It was not a request. He looked pointedly at the demon-slayer, a hard set to his mouth, "I'm sure she'd like the company, and you can tell her about all the noise you made." When Hakkai had retreated from the room, Goku helped him to his feet. He really had slid down the wall into a crouched position. The aggression seemed to melt from Goku as soon as Hakkai was gone. "Sanzo…I…" The boy looked up at him with a wavering gaze, but then he saw determination harden in those golden eyes. "You can hit me if you want, Sanzo, but I was worried. You guys weren't talking to each other, and…It wasn't any of my business, but it felt like there was a time-bomb ticking…and I didn't know when it was gonna go off…"
Sanzo blinked at the young man, disbelieving. He wondered how he was going to deal with him. While he was a little angry at Goku for telling Hakkai what happened and nearly getting him killed, he also knew that it was only done out of concern. Not to mention that it would be terribly ungrateful of him to really hurt the little bastard after he'd been saved from getting his head bashed in. That didn't mean that his arm couldn't use a little exercise…
"Gojyo, do you really think that's such a good idea?" Hakkai was leaning against the wall just outside of the bathroom, his arms crossed over his chest as she was getting dressed to go out. He watched as a wad of bandages flew out of the door, landing on Gojyo's bed. Apparently, the bras they'd bought were itchy or chaffed—or at least that's what Gojyo had said—so she'd just started wrapping her chest. There was a rustling sound, like cloth being shaken out, before she answered him, her voice sounding exasperated with a bit of a desperate edge.
"I need to get out, Hakkai. If I'm even in the same building with him, I just know I'll snap." More cloth rustled, and then there was a sound like a zipper being pulled.
Snap…and do what, exactly? Hakkai wondered, pursing his lips. It had felt very satisfying to give Sanzo that concussion. Would she try to do the same? Hakkai had suspicions that had begun to surface about those two, and they didn't point toward more violence. If anything, there would be something much worse to deal with.
When Gojyo padded out of the bathroom, still shoving the hairpin he'd given her into the loose knot at the back of her head, something in his chest tried to tighten. Why had he let her buy the black dress? It wasn't that it was revealing. On the contrary. The hemline was just at her knees, and the neckline wasn't very low (only showing a little of her cleavage), but there was something in the way the straps sat on those slender shoulders…how the slinky fabric clung to her hips…
"How do I look?" she asked, turning in a circle.
Hakkai was speechless, except to say, "Beautiful." Gojyo's eyes widened in surprise at the compliment. Smiling as best he could, and afraid that it looked forced, Hakkai brushed away the one loose bit of hair that hung into her eyes. "You look beautiful." You always look beautiful, he didn't say, because it didn't need to be. Gojyo smiled nervously, looking away as a tiny blush dusted her cheeks. She was unused to being referred to in feminine terms, but there was no other way to say it. Gojyo was simply that: beautiful. But his friend had always been beautiful. Hakkai felt like he was losing something, something that he might never get back.
Did fathers feel that way when their daughters went out on dates? He supposed that they did, but it couldn't be quite the same thing. There was a swell of pride in his chest at seeing the way she moved so gracefully, how the handsome man she had been translated into exotic feminine beauty with a wild kind of allure. But maybe pride wasn't his to have? Or was it pride at all? Gojyo sat at the table, pulling on her boots and lacing them up. She didn't thank him. He didn't mind.
When she stood, Gojyo held out her arms. "Does the outfit say 'mean and unapproachable'?"
Hakkai laughed out loud. "If you're trying to keep people away, you'll have to wear a sign around your neck saying you've got a communicable disease."
An evil smile slid over Gojyo's face. In a display of shamelessness that only Sha Gojyo could achieve, she walked two fingers up his chest to hook a finger into his collar, pulling slightly so that his face lowered toward hers. There was a mischievous glint in her eyes, and Hakkai wasn't sure if he wanted to know what that was about. Her voice came out mocking and coy at the same time. "Why Cho Hakkai…if I didn't know any better, I'd say you were trying to flirt with me." Now it was his turn to blush, as he suddenly found the painting bolted to the wall to be rather interesting. Her hand let him go suddenly, and he could see her confusion from the corner of his eye. Understanding dawned in her surprised red eyes. "Oh, come on…you know I was just making fun." Hakkai nodded, but he couldn't bring himself to look at her. Such was awkwardness. "After all these years, I find something that embarrasses you, and it's me? Why didn't I think of that before?"
At that, he couldn't help looking back at a wide smile, and Hakkai found himself returning it. Every now and again, it felt like nothing had changed. Sometimes, if he looked at her in just the right light, he could still see the man inside the woman Gojyo now was. "What should I tell Goku?"
Tugging at the front of Hakkai's hair playfully, she said, "Tell that monkey I'll be back later, and that I promise not to bring in any strays. How's that?" Hakkai nodded, one of those nostalgic moments coming over him. If it hadn't been so surreal, seeing Gojyo wearing a dress, he'd think that it was the same old routine as always. That thought (along with all others) was shattered when she leaned over and brushed an awkward, impulsive kiss against his cheek. "Don't wait up, okay?" In his shock, all he could do was nod.
When she had left the room, he breathed, "Be careful," though he couldn't be sure if he was talking to the woman that just left, or himself.
After speaking to three old men on the street, Gojyo discovered that there was an entire district in this city specially reserved for those vices of less than honorable intent. A short walk brought her to a long avenue that was filled with brothels, bars, and dance clubs. Outside each was a man, whose job it was to get customers to come inside. Like hawkers at a bazaar, they called out nightly drink specials, the fact that there was no cover charge to get into the bars, or that there were nearly (or fully) naked women dancing within. As Gojyo was walking past one establishment, a large man with bright blue eyes and yellow hair grinned at her. "Hey, girlie…" when she raised one eyebrow at him he leaned forward, lowering his voice. "What are you looking for?"
One look over the man's large shoulders told her she didn't want to go into the place. It was just another strip club. And though it would be nice to see the ladies, it was like waving a steak in front of a starving dog. Those women had no intention of giving anyone anything except a show. The blonde at the door looked as if he were going to ask her if she wanted a job. As if…But, if there was one thing she knew, it was how to work people. Putting on the innocent, yet 'I-just-want-to-be-alone' routine, she put all her weight on one leg, her hips tilting. His eyes watched that intently. "Just a quiet drink. No loud music…maybe someplace where I can relax." One of her hands rose, giving a little tug at the collar of his shirt. "You got any idea where I could find that, sugar?"
The blonde man shrugged halfheartedly, a dejected look entering his blue eyes. "Sorry, sweetheart, but if you wanna relax, this ain't the place. You might try The Red Lotus Room. It's usually pretty quiet. You sure you won't come in?" The hopeful sort of light in his eyes was almost funny. When Gojyo had been a man, it hadn't escaped his notice how other poor suckers looked so sad and pathetic when a woman left the bar on his arm instead of theirs. But it had never occurred to the kappa to feel sorry for those guys. Now, though, it was a bit different.
"Not tonight. Maybe next time." With a parting smile, she turned around and walked further down the street, keeping an eye out for the place the man suggested and giving a little wave of thanks.
It was not until ten minutes later, when she was coming to the more derelict buildings, that she spotted a painted sign bearing a lotus blossom in cracked and peeling red lacquer. If that wasn't The Red Lotus Room, then she didn't know what was. Crossing the street, Gojyo noticed that there was no hawker, which was probably a plus. It meant one of two things: either one was not necessary because no one went near the place anyway, or because it had a reputation. This was the kind of place she'd always liked. Quiet, with a set of regulars that usually kept to themselves. There was music, but it was not too loud, floating out of the door to her. "This'll do nice-like."
When she walked in, she figured from the look of the place, it was probably operated by organized crime. The Red Lotus Room might look like a shit-hole from the outside, but the interior was well kept. Tables were set up with candles in the center, a decent number of people sitting around and drinking anything from tea to tequila, or munching on snacks. Booths with black leather upholstery lined the back wall, conveniently darkened for shady business. The bar was lit up in white, while the small dance floor was cast in a soft blue by the hanging lanterns above it. A little stage in one corner had a band seated there; playing music that no one danced to, under similar lanterns in red. The overall effect made Gojyo comfortable. From the looks of the other customers, this was indeed a place where gangsters came to drink. No one started fights in this kind of place if they wanted to keep their heads.
Sanzo grunted in irritation. Why? That was a question he'd been asking himself a lot, of late. Why did Gojyo have to sleep with a gypsy and get turned into a chick? Why did he put up with all of these idiots? Why did he have to be sitting by the window earlier once he'd finished smacking Goku into submission, and just happen to see a flash of red hair walking south on the street? And the most important of the 'why' questions: why did he have to follow her?
Now dressed in street clothes snatched from his bag and hurriedly thrown on, Sanzo flitted from shadow to shadow, watching Gojyo from a distance of ten meters. She seemed to be looking for something since she talked to that bouncer a few minutes ago. The redhead moved slowly toward a building on the opposite side of the street, stopping briefly to take stock of the place before entering. Sanzo followed, keeping to the shadows and ending up standing with his back to the wall of the alley on the side of the bar. Stealthily, he peeked around the corner. Damn, does she have shitty taste in bars…The building looked like it was going to fall down.
Nevertheless, he proceeded deeper into the alley in search of a side door. There must be one in this kind of place. It was the type of establishment that people were dumped into the alley after being beaten senseless and robbed, he was sure. No more than twenty feet down the wall; he found what he was looking for. It was a metal door, dented and scratched, with several bullet holes in the upper left, but it obviously was still functioning. Now that he thought about it, this was probably a very bad idea. There was no telling what he would see once he got inside.
Whatever it was, he could handle it, he decided. Sanzo had come this far, and wouldn't turn back now. The handle of the door was a bit sticky, but he managed to turn it quietly enough, pulling it open and letting himself in. Once inside, he came to the very swift realization that no…it wasn't a great idea. The hallway was narrow and dark, and lined with doors. There were loud moaning noises coming from behind one of them, and he winced when they echoed off of the concrete floor. Was this a bar, or a brothel? Before he could discover the answer to that question, he moved quietly down the passage, and peeked around the adjoining corridor in both directions. One way led to more doors like the ones he'd just seen, while the other seemed to go toward the main area of the bar.
He took the left fork, and proceeded into the bar, coming out near the restrooms and then slipping out into a dark area where he moved to sit unnoticed in a black-upholstered booth. It didn't take long to locate Gojyo. Her hair seemed to glow in the lights from the bar back. Most of the other patrons seemed to be in their mid to late thirties, and wore cheap suits. One of his eyebrows twitched upward. Gangsters. Most of the men in the place seemed to be ignoring the redhead that was currently seated at the bar on a red stool. That was evidence enough that they were absorbed in something that was more important than womanizing.
Gojyo gave a contented sigh. The Scotch was good. She supposed that one good thing about taking all of Sanzo's money in cards was that she always drank well afterward. The old bartender swabbed the counter and asked if she would like another glass. With a nod, she indicated that she would, and watched the old man as he bustled around behind the bar. He was an old hand at this kind of thing, it was clear. But Gojyo was pretty sure that other than booze, there was probably a small arsenal behind that oak counter. No one ever expected it, but bartenders were the ones you really had to watch out for in a bar fight.
They could finish a fight very quickly, and get rid of any evidence that it had occurred faster than you could spit. But for the moment, the old guy was just pouring drinks, since no one was stupid enough to make any trouble. The small glass in her hand clinked when she shook it, and Gojyo watched the ice move when she turned it this way and that. It was pretty, the way the light from the bar back reflected in the facets of the glass, and then the ice, fracturing it into a hundred tiny shards of white and throwing it out like flawed diamonds.
A glass was set in front of her, the familiar amber liquid filling it in a double. She pulled her money from her boot to pay the man, but was surprised when he said that someone else had already purchased the drink. "Hm? Who?" The man's gnarled finger pointed over her shoulder, and Gojyo turned. Her red eyes immediately met purple. One eyebrow rose as she took in the rest of her alcoholic benefactor.
While she usually wasn't one to turn down a free drink, this time, it was tempting. Hair in a violent shade of scarlet was hanging in front of those violet eyes, and Gojyo didn't really know what to make of the fact that Kougaiji had just bought her a drink. He was just standing there behind her, arms folded with an expectant look on his face. Maybe she was in shock. Maybe. That could explain why she just made a grunting noise and turned back around in her seat to partake of the offered drink. Or, maybe she was just annoyed at being disturbed.
Apparently, the demon had some particular reasoning for intruding upon her solitude, because he slid onto the stool nearest her and leaned on the bar. Persistent bastard, isn't he? You would think that he'd know when he was being given the brush-off. That did not, however, appear to be the case. He simply sat there, looking at her, until Gojyo became annoyed and turned her head toward him. "What?" she snapped, turning the rest of her body toward him and waiting for an answer.
For some ungodly reason, Kougaiji looked amused. "And here I thought I could at least get a 'hello' before you got belligerent with me." Gojyo blinked at him. She couldn't figure this guy out. He usually just wanted to beat the snot out of any one of Gojyo's little group, but now…she smirked evilly around the rim of her glass. Kougaiji was hitting on her.
Oh, this is rich…just wait until the monkey hears this…
The seat gave a little squeak as she swiveled a bit, crossing her legs while making a show of straightening her skirt. Gojyo's voice came out in an oddly sweet tone. "I'm not generally in the habit of being civil with people who've tried to kill me repeatedly. Why should I start now?" Those purple eyes narrowed for an instant before the man smiled while turning fully toward her. Kougaiji's lips then stretched in an expression she had never thought him capable of: a smile. If Gojyo hadn't been in shock before, she certainly was now. It wasn't a cocky grin like some she'd seen him have when he was fighting with Goku. Somehow, his entire face was transformed.
The fact that he was easy on the eyes when he flashed his pearly whites did not mean that she was without the desire to slap him when he exhibited that familiar attitude of smugness. One corner of that smile tilted a bit higher than the other, and he said in a tone that could only be described as smooth, "I'm not trying to kill you now, am I?" Smart ass… Gojyo could have just beaten that smile off of his face.
It was too late, though, because her curiosity was piqued. What the Hell was he doing, if he wasn't trying to bait her into a fight? "Fine," she grumped, leaning back against the chrome of the stool's back and crossing her arms under her breasts. "I'll bite. What are you doing?"
That question seemed to be exactly what he'd wanted to hear. That same smile came over his face as he slid off of his stool, extending a hand to her just as the music from the band changed. "I'm asking you to dance."
What was the word that Hakkai liked to use in situations that were too weird to really be happening? Oh, yeah. Surreal. This was as surreal as it got. Kougaiji was holding out a hand and asking if she'd dance with him, as if they had never tried to murder one another. Was it the situation, or the Scotch that was making her head spin the way it did? "No." Her answer was simple, to the point, and should have gotten through. But it didn't. Kougaiji, being the relentless bastard that he was, took her free hand and slid her off of the barstool. Though she tried to pull away, his grip on her fingers held fast. "Are you deaf, you little mama's boy? I said no."
A smirk came over his lips. "Maybe you're scared to dance with me?" At such a suggestion, Gojyo immediately bristled.
"Scared? Why would I be scared of dancing with you?" She looked Kougiji up and down, sizing him up. Son of a bitch... Something about this situation screamed that she should walk away. But there was that old spark of competition blazing in her belly now, making her step closer, her voice dripping menace, "What would I have to be afraid of?"
The hand holding hers had still not let go, and he pulled hard, causing Gojyo to be pressed against him. She took a step back. Kougaiji let go of her, and then took two steps deeper into the dance floor, with a smirk that challenged her to come closer, if she dared. And who the hell was he to say that she was scared?
His smirk became so self-assured that she again wanted to just smash it off. "You never know. You might even like it." What a bastard…that's it. Well, there was only one way to show the son of a bitch that she wasn't scared.
At first, it was more a prelude to a fight than a dance. The music had a rough, almost aggressive beat. Gojyo stepped forward, two of her shorter strides, glaring up into eyes that looked almost black under the blue light and walked around Kougaiji slowly, while he turned in place, watching her. It was as if they were gauging each other for the coming battle. Then he stepped forward, causing her to step back, now toward the middle of the dance floor. Gojyo then stepped directly up to the crimson-haired demon, getting as close as she dared while glaring at him suspiciously. She could feel his breath on her face, but she didn't touch him.
A hand snaked around her waist, pressing into the middle of her back. It pulled at her, and Gojyo found herself pressed to a well-muscled chest. To say the least, she was surprised by how different this felt from the way it had when she was a man. The feeling of being held—not being the one doing the holding—was strange, and felt slightly wrong. Kougiaji stepped forward, forcing her back, his free hand grasping hers, and then moving them to the side. Gojyo gripped at the arm that held her to keep her balance. "Bastard," she growled.
There was a tiny tick at the corners of his mouth, the barest hint of a smile. His grip changed, and her arm was suddenly crossing over her body as he turned her, trapping her back against his chest. His breath tickled at the skin of her cheek, and then she felt lips on her neck as he spoke. "I like you when you're angry, Gojyo."
Suddenly, she could feel laughter bubbling up in her chest, which she quickly stifled. When he turned her again, spinning her out before pulling her close once more, her lips curled into a devilish grin. This was utterly ridiculous. Apparently, Kougaiji didn't know much at all about Gojyo, because if he did, he would know that it was useless to try to play her. After all…you can't play a player. The way she saw it, she had one of two options at this point. The first of which would be to let him know that he was very much out of his depth, while the second was to show him. Now, that sounded fun. Hell, if it was for her entertainment, she could work him up pretty well and then just leave. Internally having a laugh at Kougaiji's expense, she said, "You'd like me better when I'm not," her voice came out in something close to a purr as she slid both hands up his arms. Gojyo's lips curled into an enticing smile, "so why don't you try to get on my good side?"
Sanzo's eyes narrowed. What in the name of the Buddha was that woman doing? He watched as her hands slid over the shoulders of Kougaiji's worn white shirt, red eyes fixing on the demon's face in a way that made him grip the table's edge. Gojyo was smiling. Was she enjoying herself that much?
As Kougaiji led her around the floor gracefully—but still aggressively—Gojyo made every possible attempt at ensuring his discomfort, and consequently her own enjoyment. He turned her again, pulling her in until her back was against his chest, and she made sure to lean back against him, her head falling back against his shoulder. They swayed, and Gojyo felt one of his hands release hers, only to travel up her arm to the back of her neck. Nearly snorting at this action, she smirked and stepped away while turning in his grip. One arm looped over his neck, and her right foot hooked behind his left before she slid her leg up his.
This was like a competition, but also a kind of taunting. It reminded her a little of the way she behaved with Sanzo. But thinking of the monk at the moment might prove to be disastrous. Aggressive the dance was, but it wasn't personal. Not for her. That might change if she started thinking about recent events. Because if she really thought about it, and wanted to really burst the bubble of denial she'd been in, that smoking, drinking, son-of-a-bitching monk had gotten under her skin like a parasite, digging in and worming his way down deep. So deep, she feared, that he was wedged in where Gojyo wouldn't be able to pry him out again. Dangerous thoughts, honey. Keep your brain in the here and now.
Both feet now firmly on the floor, they moved in the blue light of the dance floor again, their motions remaining forceful, teasing. "How does a man get on your good side?" the demon asked as they neared the rear of the dance floor. His face was very close, and all she could really see was a set of purple eyes that seemed to be daring her to do something. Hook, line, and sinker, baby…she thought when they came to the first of the darkened booths and her fingers closed on the necklace he wore, pulling slightly in amusement.
Their feet stopped moving. Gojyo could feel it coming. His breath was too close for it to not happen. And to be completely honest, Gojyo had kissed enough girls to know that feeling of expectation just before two sets of lips connected. It was like a tight, almost-warm sensation in the middle of your gut, and it didn't release until your tongue was down someone else's throat. Kougaiji's lips came within a hair's breadth of hers before she answered him. How does a man get on my good side, Kougaiji? "Depends on the man," Her hands planted themselves in the middle of his chest, pushing hard. "You're not there yet."
Kougaiji took a step toward her, and she backed away, seeing the determined look on his face. His eyes narrowed to thin slits and he began to frown. "Tease," he accused.
Gojyo's smile was malicious. "It's just a dance. I'll be seeing you, Kougaiji." She gave him a cocky little salute, and then walked gracefully back to the bar, where she seated herself and took a sip of her drink. From the corner of her eye, she saw him standing there, staring at her for a long moment before he started leaving the bar. His tense posture told her everything she needed to know. Kougaiji was not used to being rejected. Well, he'd just have to get used to it. Stupid mama's boy…
There were murmurs circulating throughout the bar now, probably from the men sitting around and staring at her. They were probably thinking that she was a huge tease, but it didn't bother Gojyo in the least. Really, that assertion was pretty true, since she'd done all that on purpose. The old bar tender approached, leaning on the polished wood of the bar. "You sure you know what you're doing, messing with a man's head like that, missy?"
Setting the glass down, she said with a frown, "Better than you know, pops." Gojyo tapped the rim of her glass. "I'll do this again." The old man hobbled away to fetch the requested drink, and Gojyo swallowed the now watered down remainder of the Scotch in her glass. She sat for a few moments staring at the light in the ice cubes, thinking about all of the shit that had been going on since that fucking gypsy had gone all hocus-pocus and given Gojyo breasts and a few other problems that hadn't been there before. In the past few days, she'd had to come to grips with some rather uncomfortable truths.
It seemed, for instance, that her tenure as the resident girl would be of some duration; Gojyo had resigned herself to that. Another of these annoying facts was that her attraction to that blonde asshole was getting worse, rather than going away since the Bourbon incident. Shit, she'd actually touched herself. Not that Sha Gojyo was any stranger to the masturbatory arts…but she had held off the exploration of her new body. It just didn't seem real. But when she'd done that, there was only one thing she could think of. For fuck's sake, it was so hard to make him stop… Her head gave a little shake to try clearing her thoughts, not that it actually worked. This was why she had to get out of the inn.
If she were even in the same building with him, as she'd told Hakkai earlier, Gojyo would snap. She'd walk right into his room, beat him to a pulp, and then maybe see if he was still pretty enough to hold her interest. Or something like that. Or, she thought, you could have shooed anyone else out of the room and fought dirty again…That train of thought almost drew a smile, but was cut off very quickly, as the word 'dirty' had taken on a completely different connotation. Right now, she was just glad that Kougaiji was gone. It had been a little dangerous there, for a minute. Damn those eyes. They were much like Sanzo's, except for those creepy slit pupils. The way they looked at her was different, too, though. While Gojyo wasn't sure what to make of the expression in the monk's eyes when he looked at her, it was all too easy to read the red-haired man's gaze. Those purple eyes said one thing, loud and clear: want.
Kougaiji wanted Gojyo. Fuck that. If there was one thing she didn't need, it was a meaningless fling with that mother-fucker. He was always trying to kill them, sending his flunkies, or just coming on his own. The bastard had tempted fate too many times by fighting with Goku, even in his non-limited state (crazy fucker…). She growled to herself a bit as she took her new drink and paid the man. Kougaiji was more of an annoyance now than he was before! Well, she could hope that they didn't run into each other again alone. Maybe next time, her brother would be there? He was going to get a kick out of her new look. Or, he could possibly be freaked out by it. Gojyo wouldn't blame him if he were. Cross that bridge when I come to it…
Deep in thought, Gojyo stirred her drink with a slender finger. The liquor was chilled, and burned her tongue pleasantly when she put that digit into her mouth. Suddenly, she felt very alone. Maybe she should have asked Hakkai to come along? It probably would have kept Kougaiji away if he had been with her, which would have been helpful. Leaning on her hand, she sighed while a guitar was being plucked delicately in the far corner. Or maybe it was a mandolin? The music was soft, kind of floating, making Gojyo sink a bit deeper into the funk that settled over her mind.
A halting melody filled the air, taunting her. It was the kind of song that lovers danced to. The Scotch took on a taste that resembled Bourbon, and Gojyo's eyes drooped close to shutting. Phantom tickles of sensation traveled up her neck, like a physical memory. Her lips parted, letting out a breath when she imagined a hand on her shoulder. It was a gentle weight, hesitant and warm. Oh, this was bad. Gojyo knew her imagination was running away with her. It was just like what happened in the bathtub the other day.
Just the memory of the way blonde hair had tickled at her cheek, how lips had trailed over her skin, it made her forget the fact that there was a certain amount of shame involved in relinquishing control. The thought of how it had felt was interrupted when the imagined hand on her shoulder slid lower, grasping her upper arm to turn her on her stool. And that was when she realized. It wasn't her imagination. When her eyes opened wide in surprise, the light from the bar back caught a pair of dark amethyst-colored eyes. For half an instant, Gojyo thought that perhaps Kougaiji had returned.
Then she saw the pale skin of this interloper's face, the small, circular red tattoo that was almost hidden by ash blonde hair… "Sanzo?" Something close to panic rose up in Gojyo's stomach. Hadn't she gone out to get away from him? His hand, still on her arm, slid further still, until he held her fingers in his. The priest's face held an odd expression, and he did not answer. He only pulled gently, and Gojyo slid easily from the stool. It was strange, how she didn't really mind that gentle pressure against her fingers. And it was no less strange when he pulled her toward his body, one hand lying gently at her waist while the other held her hand.
The reality of the situation hit her with the force of a heavy blow. Her hand gripped at the soft black cloth of Sanzo's sleeve, as if to stop him from running away. His eyes rested on her heavily, that odd light in them that she still couldn't identify. Gojyo's mouth was dry. Why was he here? He moved smoothly backward, maneuvering them into the middle of the floor. "What—" her voice halted after a second, those burning violet eyes silencing her.
Why couldn't she just talk? Damn his eyes.
"You left without saying anything," Sanzo said quietly, looking away and turning them slightly while stepping forward, Gojyo following his lead effortlessly. That wasn't true.
"I told Hakkai." Gojyo's voice seemed so small in her ears. The priest's jaw tightened, and she realized what he meant. And it made her angry. "Do I have to tell you everything, Sanzo?" Her voice hissed out, and she watched his head snap back, their eyes locking. What right did he have to order her around? Gojyo was and always had been the master (mistress, now) of her own fate, and was no one's property or servant. She wasn't going to allow herself to be ordered around. And then she realized that there was something suspicious about his presence in the first place. "You followed me." It was not a question.
His grip on her waist tightened and he glared at her. "It's a good thing that I did, too."
Gojyo fixed him with a wry look. "Do you think I can't handle myself in social situations? Pardon me for saying so, but of the two of us, you're the social retard." Color rose in those pale cheeks, though it was not a blush, but a flush of anger. Sanzo shouldn't get angry at the simple truth being stated. When it came down to it, the monk had the tact of a brick, the patience of a stick of dynamite (with a half-inch fuse), and the finesse of a cow. And he didn't realize this how?
"So…" the blonde man moved them around the floor, still talking. They hadn't stopped moving yet, she realized. "So you're saying that I should mind my own business?" Gojyo watched his eyes carefully. His tone was dangerous. What she said next could result in a gun being aimed at her. And she was so not dressed for a fight.
She didn't want to fight. Not right now. It had been so nice for a minute there… "Sanzo, can we just not talk?" Gojyo asked, feeling her body tensing. Sanzo gave a small, jerky nod, his hand sliding up to the center of her back and pressing her closer. Hair tickled her cheek, and she could smell spent tobacco and gun oil over a warmer, earthy scent that made her breathe in deeply. Sanzo's fingers touched the skin of her back just above where her dress stopped, and Gojyo's breath stopped. That familiar haze was settling over her now, clouding her mind and taking all reason away.
Her hand moved up to Sanzo's shoulder, feeling the firmness of the muscle beneath. It was different. Different from a few minutes earlier, when Kougaiji had dragged her out onto the floor. That had been a challenge—one she should have walked away from—and it had been wrong on so many levels. This didn't feel wrong. She smiled a little and shifted closer.
Sanzo made an inquisitive noise near her ear. She said quietly, "This feels nice."
"It does." Sanzo's elegant fingers stroked at the skin of her back. God, that feels good… "Gojyo," his voice was low and serious. When she pulled away from him just enough to look into his face again, he said, "About the other night—" Oh, hell no…She wasn't going to let him ruin the moment by bringing up the Bourbon incident. That had ended as a fiasco, and this would be the same way if he didn't shut that pouting mouth of his.
"Shut it." He blinked down at her after she said that. A half-smile spread over her lips. "You wanna make it up to me?" Sanzo looked at her dumbly. "Don't talk, stupid." When was he going to realize that even if he was socially retarded, she didn't care? He might be arrogant, and make assumptions that were utterly uncalled for, resulting in her beating his ass, but that was just Sanzo. And apparently, he was pretty thick at the moment. At least he wasn't talking. But he looked like he might. His mouth opened, confirming her suspicions. Exasperated, she growled, "Not a word about it. You were gloriously pissed out of your mind, and I was pissed at you. Fuck, I'm still pissed at you. But…"
Sure, she'd been really mad. He'd called her a bitch and a whore, and even then, there was enough estrogen raging through Gojyo's system to give her the proper female response to that treatment. And afterward, it had been so awkward even to be in the same room as Sanzo…but after a while, she did realize that he'd been drunker than she'd ever seen him before, and he probably didn't have the best judgment. Purple eyes were looking down into hers expectantly, waiting for the rest of what she was saying. "Ah, what the fuck…" her voice came out exasperated, "…just fucking kiss me already, you moron."
What? What had she just said? Sanzo suddenly couldn't really seem to breathe properly. He was pretty sure that she had demanded that he kiss her. Was that even possible? He wanted to. But if he did, what would happen? Would things progress, becoming something that might lead to a serious kind of attachment? God, I don't think I could handle that…Or would it be just a kiss?
His rapid-fire thought processes were interrupted by Gojyo again. "Wow…deaf and stupid." Sanzo's eyes narrowed, and he opened his mouth to let an insult fly. Nothing came out, because he found her mouth pressed against his. His body reacted immediately, stopping the movement of his feet, and letting go of Gojyo's hand so that he could have both arms around her. The kiss was nowhere near chaste, or gentle. It was too desperate for either sentiment. Sanzo could feel his heart beginning to race, and Gojyo's breathing picking up speed. His tongue probed indelicately at every surface it could, while Gojyo's did the same. Neither of them seemed to want to stop, even when air was becoming a rare commodity.
Finally, Gojyo took two handfuls of his hair and pulled, breaking their mouths forcefully apart. She panted, "I'll give you an 'A' for effort, monk, but you should work on your technique. You busted my lip." Indeed, there was a bead of crimson liquid forming on Gojyo's lower lip. Strangely, Sanzo couldn't remember tasting blood. Smirking lightly, Sanzo leaned forward and licked at the fresh wound, the coppery taste of blood coating his tongue. Almost unaware of what he did, the priest gently lapped up every trace of blood before delving into Gojyo's mouth once again in a more thoughtful, lingering way.
When he pulled back, Gojyo was grinning. Sanzo gave a snort at the dopey expression. "Was that better?" He teased, watching the way one slender red eyebrow rose, irritation evident on Gojyo's face. Her hands tugged at his hair.
"Don't get cocky, sutra-boy." Short nails bit into the skin of his neck before releasing. "I don't want to have to kick your ass. It ain't lady-like." That statement amused Sanzo. He gave a short laugh. When had Gojyo learned what a lady was supposed to act like? The women that had been interested in the kappa were not ladies by any stretch of the imagination. Gojyo growled, "You're asking for it, Sanzo."
A/N: (does her very best Oliver Twist voice) Please sir/ma'am, may I have a review?