Listen to the Voices
Summary: Gojyo gets poisoned, and he's dying. Who's going to help him?
Warnings: Not much, a bit of blood.
Disclaimers: I don't own Saiyuki, will never own Saiyuki.
Dokugakuji remembered running this fast only twice before in this life. The adrenalin climbing higher and higher, giving him more and more power; he had only felt it twice before.
On that day Gojyo had almost died; that had been the only time before Dokugakuji had run like his life depended on it. And today, he was running like that once more, the way he hoped he never had to do ever again.
Gojyo screamed and Hakkai held him down. He and Goku ad returned without anything, no solution, nothing. There was no one who could help them in the village. The owner to the inn suggested a strong sleeping pill so the redheaded man could at least die in peace. Hakkai had almost torn him to pieces for that comment.
"Hakkai," Goku said. "Maybe…"
"Don't say it," the healer growled out. "Just don't…"
Gojyo suddenly calmed down. Both of his arms, his head and the upper part of his torso had turned almost white and he was burning up. The hanyou looked at his friend with tired eyes and Hakkai feared what Gojyo would say. Would he say to let go? Would he actually ask of Hakkai to let him go, now when the human turned youkai was too afraid to let go?
"Why… do you look… so scared… Hakkai?" Gojyo asked and smiled gently. "It's okay…"
"No, Gojyo. it's not okay," Hakkai said, his voice almost cracking.
"It's okay," the redheaded man said drowsily. "He's here…"
"Who is here?" Sanzo asked.
Gojyo stretched out a hand towards the door, his eyes turning to look there.
"Jien," he whispered. "Jien…"
The door opened with a bang. They whipped their heads towards the door.
Dokugakuji leaned onto the door frame, panting. He was soaked to the bone, and looked exhausted. The three stared at him while Gojyo's smile turned wider. The youkai got through the door and closed it, turning the rain out.
"Is there a place where you can buy herbs and other things here?" he asked the three as he approached the bed.
"Yeah, I thought I saw one further down the street," Goku said, eyes wide.
"Why are you here?" Sanzo interrupted. "Is it for the sutra?"
"No," Dokugakuji said. "Once, long ago, I told Gojyo if he ever needed me he just had to call my name. I never fucking thought he actually would do it. Never mind that; we got other things to do. The poison seems to have spread rather slow but maybe not in the best place."
They stared at the youkai. How the hell did he know it was a poison?
Dokugakuji went to the bed and kneeled down. Out of respect, Hakkai drew back. The youkai touched his brother's forehead and said:
"Was it the flower, Gojyo?"
Their breaths caught. How much did he know about this? Gojyo nodded.
"Jien," the hanyou whispered.
"It's okay," the older brother said with a smile. "That healer maybe is dead now, but she taught me it. And for some reason, I've always remembered it."
"What did you always remember?" Hakkai asked.
"An antidote," Dokugakuji said. "I need to make it now, or else he will die."
Goku came back inside with a bag.
"They gave me all funny looks when I read up the list!" he whined.
"Maybe because it was rare ingredients and they did not know what you would do with them," Hakkai said and took the bag from him.
"No, the things on the list are normal!" Goku said. "Things you can find just a bit outside town."
Hakkai looked at the list as he moved to where the youkai was. True, it was normal things… surely you could not make an antidote with this?
"Will this work?" the healer asked the youkai as he gave the bag to Dokugakuji.
"If the poison comes from Mother Nature, beat it back with what she has created for us," Dokugakuji said and pulled the things out. "That's the simplest art of making antidotes."
"Who taught you that?"
"A healer from the town we lived in before," the older of them said as he heated the cauldron up. He had borrowed it from an elderly woman a bit away, since there was none in the inn. "I don't know if she's still alive. I doubt it."
"Could she have been a youkai, and been killed because she went crazy due to the Minus Wave?" Hakkai asked.
"No," he replied. "I'm sure she was killed long before that."
"Why would they kill a healer?" the human turned youkai asked, surprised.
"Because she was a monster to them," Dokugakuji said bitterly. "She did witchcraft according to them and healed people with strange herbs and drinks. What humans don't understand, they kill. Simple as that."
Gojyo howled in pain and Dokugakuji patted the younger man's leg. Surprisingly, the touch calmed the hanyou down. The youkai turned back to the herbs and plants in front of him. The three watched him.
He could hear her voice, ever calm, in the room. The smell of her house, her dark eyes shining in the firelight. Her gentle hands as she checked Gojyo while he slept, the skin slowly turning back to normal. The bracelets' jingle echoed in his ears. As she spoke the first ingredients, his eyes turned sharper and he plucked a package without looking.
The three watched the youkai work, almost as if he was listening to someone telling him what to do. Hakkai suddenly smelled something.
"Can you smell that?" he asked the others. Goku sniffed and then said:
"This place is new," the priest muttered.
"Smoke," Hakkai continued. "Stronger than it should be."
"Mother Nature has a strange way telling us things, boy."
The woman's voice startled them. Dokugakuji was not faced. Her voice haunted him even to this day.
"As we never know that strange way, we fail to listen. Therefore we don't know anything about her. Sometimes I feel she's punishing us for not listening. Why else do we have this suffering? Why else does she trap death into beautiful creations as flowers? Why does she create a youkai who falls in love with a human, and makes a hanyou? She pushes that child into suffering, pain and hatred. Sometimes I feel… it would be better if those children died in their mother's wombs."
Dokugakuji had wondered why she had told him those things. Until he saw it. The roots of her hair was red. Blood red, like his brother. Her eyes, once he saw them in a better light, was so dark red so they could easily be passed as black in a bad light. She was like Gojyo; she was forbidden breed. She felt like Mother Nature was punishing her. Maybe that was why she always walked in the woods, listening to the earth; maybe she thought she would be forgiven then.
Gojyo had after the poisoning been in the woods a lot with that woman. As he came home he told Dokugakuji stories the woman hanyou had told the child. Once he had come home, scared and worried. Once Dokugakuji had asked him what happened, Gojyo had told him he heard voices… coming from the trees, from the ground and from the flowers.
Being so close to death, suffering what no one should suffer… it seemed like Gojyo had been forgiven. But now. He had lived a unhealthy life for a long time, ignoring the nature for years.
Maybe it was Mother Nature's way of reminding Gojyo how cruel she actually could, and would be when he did not listen to her.
The three were confused of the voice. It had quietened a little while ago, after the comment that hanyou children should die before they were born. Hakkai was shaking a bit; the woman had suggested Gojyo should never have been born. How dare she?!
"She didn't mean it that way," Dokugakuji said and looked up at Hakkai. The healer froze. "She meant it would mean less suffering for those children."
"But to even suggest it!" Hakkai said. "She was the one who saved Gojyo, wasn't it?!"
"I didn't see it at first," the youkai said as he let the antidote simmer for a little while. It was soon finished. Soon Gojyo would be at ease. "But when I looked closer, I saw it."
"Saw what?" Sanzo asked around his cigarette. He could not deny that this history interested him.
"Her eyes, I thought they were black at first," the oldest one of them said. "But then she stepped out in the sunlight with me. They were dark red. At first I thought she had black hair, but then I saw the roots. She had dyed it. Her hair was as red as Gojyo's. She was a hanyou, and knows what hanyous had to endure. That was why she said it would have been better if she had died before she was born. She was simply tired of the suffering."
He dropped in some leaves of some sort into the cauldron, waving the smoke away and continued:
"She tried to help Gojyo. She took him out while I was gone, made sure he was safe. He was so happy back then, when she was there. Then mother… never mind, that's long ago. After that, I ran away. I don't think Gojyo stayed very long."
"She told me… to go north."
The voice startled them all and they turned to Gojyo. His tired eyes sought out Dokugakuji.
"North?" the older asked quietly. Gojyo nodded. "Why?"
"In the north… people didn't care as much… if you were hanyou or not…"
"Why didn't she go there?"
"She was about to… when you came with me," Gojyo said, his breathing laboured. Dokugakuji had not the heart to ask him to stop, as it seemed Gojyo wanted this off his chest. "When she saw me… she changed her mind."
"Why didn't she go with you?" Dokugakuji asked and turned away from the antidote; it had to simmer for ten minutes before it was finished.
"The villagers… that year had been bad," the hanyou said. "For the crops… nothing had survived. They blamed hanyous… us two. She told me to run… and not look back."
"Gojyo?" Hakkai said as tears began to roll down from Gojyo's eyes.
"I looked back," Gojyo whispered, his pain increasing and the poison trying to make its way into his lungs. He was running out of time. "Just in time… to see them… kill her. They slaughtered her, like she was… nothing but an animal… and all she did… was to smile at me. She was right... she was always right... Hanyous are better off dead… right?"
The redheaded man smiled weakly before his eyes closed.
"It's not your time yet, child. Go home. They are waiting for you."
Gojyo opened his eyes. Hakkai's worried face stared down at him.
"Yo," Gojyo said weakly.
The redhead sat up slowly, squinting at the strong sunlight.
"Do you remember what happened?" Hakkai asked.
"A bit," Gojyo said. "I was pretty out of it when I said that about hanyous are better off dead… or so I think."
Hakkai looked at the man for a long time. Then he gently embraced him. Gojyo was a bit surprised at first but then relaxed and said:
"Sorry. I got you worried this time, didn't I?"
"You scared me half to death," Hakkai whispered. "Don't ever do that again!"
The healer laughed at that, and Gojyo could not help but chuckle.
"Dokugakuji was leaving soon he said," Hakkai said as he pulled back. "I'll send him in."
"Where are you guys?"
"Outside. Sanzo insisted of seeing the sun after, quoting, 'all the goddam rain'."
"Sounds like Sanzo alright."
Hakkai left and soon the youkai entered. Gojyo watched him as he sat down on the bed.
"What you said about her," Dokugakuji said carefully. "Was it true?"
"She's dead," Gojyo said. "Her corpse was displayed at the center of town."
"How do you know?"
"I saw it," Gojyo replied and looked away. "And on the night, don't ask me how I did it, I cut her down. I managed to drag it out of town but I wasn't strong enough to dig her a grave. So I burned her."
"Gojyo… I'm sorry."
"Don't say you're sorry," the redhead said as he looked at the sky outside. "It won't take back the years or undo any actions. It won't bring her back to life, or mom. They are both dead, and they're gonna stay dead. I tried to forget her, and everything she taught me. I got myself a nice reminder to never mess with Mother Nature."
"I guess so."
"I can hear them, you know," Gojyo said. "The voices. Even from inside this house, they whisper to me."
"What do they say?" Dokugakuji asked.
"Oh, this and that," Gojyo said. "It was them I heard, and maybe her, when I called on you. They told me to just shout your name. They would carry my voice to you. Did you hear me?"
The youkai looked at his little brother for a long time. Then he ruffled the red hair and said:
"Of course. How I'm supposed to be able to ignore my cute brother's call?"
"Don't call me that!"
Dokugakuji laughed. Somewhere, maybe in his own head he heard:
"You did a good job, boy. You will make a superb healer one day, just as long as you listen to what Mother Nature tells you."
He did not need to be able to hear Mother Nature; he could just listen to them. To the healer and to his brother. They knew what Mother Nature said, and maybe, just maybe, it was because of the fact that they were hanyous.
Hope you enjoyed it!
Until another time,