Set in Stone

Author – cornerofmadness

Disclaimer – not mine. All rights belong to Kazuya Minekura et al, no profit made, just a little fun

Fandom – Saiyuki gaiden

Rating – pg-13, work safe.

Prompt/claim- insane, Gaiden era Goku

Pairing – none, Goku centric gen fic

Timeline – definitely spoilers for Gaiden #15 and speculation on the gaiden's ending

Notes – thanks to evillittledog for the beta, written for the ficvariations insane challenge

He shuddered, wanting Konzen to hold him again. Goku felt like he was coming undone. The boy just didn't understand any of it and so much of what had just happened seemed to be gone from his mind. Goku trembled as the memories bubbled up, making him look at them one more time.

Fear and confusion whirling around him, the vicious anger of the crowd was something Goku couldn't wrap his young mind around. People had actually wanted him dead. Huddling up, Goku wished he had his little bunny to comfort him. How could someone he didn't even know hate him so much they wanted him to die?

Even with all the confusion whipping around him, Goku hadn't quite believed that his death could be so close, not even when Nataku's blade was at his throat. Goku couldn't quite comprehend the danger. How could that very angry man, leading the crowd, be Nataku's father? All Goku could think of at the time was to not be afraid. Angry words would only have made it worse so instead he had smiled. If everyone would just smile, no one would be angry with him, that's what he thought. Instead of his fists, Goku shared the gift he had so desperately wanted to share with Nataku: his name.

Only it hadn't gone like the boy thought it would. He watched Nataku crumble like old porcelain. His friend looked as broken as Goku felt now.

Goku squeezed his eyes shut, trembling hard as the visual of Nataku driving his own sword into his body surfaced again in his memory. He clamped a hand over his mouth and nose as if to shield himself from the coppery scent of Nataku's blood, even though that odor only existed now in his mind. Even more frightening than the memory of what Nataku had done was the enormous hole in Goku's memory, which threatened to swallow him whole.

Curling up, Goku tried not to hear Konzen, Kenren and Tenbou whispering. They were angry and afraid. Their anger at the people who had brought them to this awful place simmered through the room. Goku could understand that. What left him confused and terrified was that they were frightened by whatever it was he couldn't remember. From their hushed conversation, whatever it was that had them so afraid, was something Goku had done. The boy couldn't imagine what it was. He wished they would just tell him but he knew they wouldn't. He could sense it from the sheer tension humming through them. He curled up even tighter and tried not to cry.

X X X

"I hate this," Kannon said softly. "Everything that happened…." She shook her head. "He's just a child. He didn't deserve this insanity."

"He's a heretic," her companion replied in a tone that said, 'He's a beast, who cares?'

Kannon spared him a harsh look. "I'll still watch over him. He won't remember heaven but heaven won't forget him."

Goku was unable to hear the goddess and wouldn't recognize her if he saw her. As far as the boy knew, the world was his little cave and he never had been beyond the stone bars. Goku wondered if he was alone in the world but…if that were true where had his shackles come from? Who had put the heavy ball around his ankle?

He had screamed for someone to come and take it off until his voice stripped and his throat ached. Goku sat by the bars, looking out. Slices of yellow sunlight slipped through the bars like so many lemons slivers. He could see nothing but a wide expanse of blue dotted with fluffy whiteness. He could catch a hint of trees – pine, or so his nose suggested. The roar of the wind would occasionally die down and he'd catch a glimmer of birdsong, the one thing that suggested he wasn't the only living thing in the world.

Had he always been in this cave? Somehow that seemed wrong. Pacing a bit, Goku flung himself at the stone columns that barred his path. Thrashing, twisting and screaming, he pulled on them. He pushed, trying to get through. In the end, Goku collapsed on the stone, panting as tears trickled down his face. How could it be life was this unfair? When the boy got his wind back, he tried another futile escape attempt. Finally, he curled up on the hard rock at the back of the cave, cushioning his head on his arms and trying to get some sleep. Drowsily, he lifted his head. Goku thought he had seen a crying woman watching him. She had been so pretty. Deciding it had to be a dream, he settled back into slumber, letting the dreams carry him from his prison.