To Tame a Monkey-King
By VikkiDisclaimer: I don't own it. Please don't sue. Money doesn't make the world go 'round.
Flame policy: As I'm very cold right now, I'll just use flames to keep warm. Don't bother.
Notes: Again, don't talk to me about accuracy. When it comes to this fic, I just don't care enough to do anything about it. In this chapter there is a bit of OOCness on Goku's part – he eats slowly and actually shuts up a few times. The only way I know to explain it is that Goku is still adjusting to Sanzou. After all, he seems so familiar with the priest in the actual series, so he must be comfortable (and pleasantly oblivious) to talk to Sanzou so blithely.
Finally, I failed to follow up on my promises at the end of the first chapter. Sorry – I'll get around to those parts next time. I swear it.
* * *Chapter 2: Names
They spent the night on the mountain, as Sanzou was none-too-inclined to use those infernal stairs more than once in a day. As it turned out, it was just as well – the child youkai stumbled about as if he had not made use of his legs in a good long while. Not that it was a surprise. Movement may very well have caused the ofuda to burn him. In any case, the tottering child needed help simply stepping outside of his cage for the first time in 500 years. He had staggered around for a while that evening, taking in everything with his huge brown eyes, entirely mute to the best of Sanzou's knowledge.
//Hmph. Maybe the gods cut out his tongue.// Sanzou wasn't fond of the idea of dragging around a noisy little kid, but he didn't hold out much hope for a lasting silence.
The evening had worn on, and the weather this high up was pretty chilly, Sanzou was forced to admit. More or less from force of habit (when Sanzou was around other people, they were usually deferring to him anyway), Sanzou ordered the child to collect some firewood – if there was any to be found. And, much to Sanzou's amazement, the boy unquestioningly swayed to his feet and went looking for firewood. He returned not much later with an armful of dead brush. Sanzou had lit a fire in short order, and to make the weak fuel last longer, he blessed it with a Sutra. In his opinion, if the gods didn't like his use of the Sutra, then they gave it to the wrong person. Sanzou was not inclined to care overmuch what they thought of most anything.
After the fire was stoked and Sanzou, not particularly hungry and hearing no immediate complaints from the youkai, had lain down to sleep, the pleasant silence was finally broken.
"What's your name?"
Sanzou turned over in his blanket and looked at the boy. His brown eyes were focused intently on the priest, head cocked questioningly. He currently had his legs crossed and was gripping his ankles with those small hands. Sanzou took this in and asked diffidently, "Why do you ask?" He really wasn't in the mood for a question and answer session.
"Because …" The boy faltered as Sanzou had expected. His bewildered expression might have been endearing to someone else. To Sanzou it was merely an opening.
With a tiny self-satisfied smile the priest rolled back over and shut his eyes. "Don't ask me questions without a reason, got it?"
"Oh." A moment more of blessed silence. "Mr. Person Who Saved Me, I'm hungry. Can we eat?"
//Mr. Person Who Saved Me!?// It was worse than 'Sanzou-sama'! Sitting up irritably, Sanzou glared at the youth. "Don't call me that!" he snapped.
The youkai reared back and looked up at him with the same amazed, anxious look he had worn in the dungeon. Sanzou felt sour. Time to lay down a few ground rules. "My name is Genjou Sanzou. Call me Sanzou – not 'Sanzou-san', or 'Sanzou-sama', or I'll kill you. It looks like I've been unlucky enough to be saddled by the gods with a snotty-nosed kid, so you might as well call me something that's not annoying, since you'll probably be driving me crazy the rest of the time."
Judging from the youkai's face, most of what he had just said went right over the boy's head. That was just as well. Untouched, Sanzou moved on. "You want food? There's a bento box in that bag over there," Sanzou pointed. "You can eat what's in that. Eat anything else and die. That's our only food until we get down off this mountain, and if there's only food enough for one, it'll be because you already ate your own share.
"Finally, I'm trying to sleep. I don't know if you slept in that jail at all, kid, but I also don't really care. Sleep is important to me, so don't bother me when I'm sleeping, unless you're interested in being strangled before I even wake up. Any questions?"
The sharp speech had the desired effect. The youkai child, wide-eyed and more than a touch intimidated, simply nodded before obediently crossing to the bag containing the bento box, removing that food source and that food source only, and began to eat slowly as if savoring every bite.
Sanzou watched warily, then indifferently, and finally he muttered, "Go to sleep when you're done," before he promptly fell asleep himself.
The next morning Sanzou awoke to the bright morning sun and the sleeping form of the youkai, who had somehow managed to sprawl himself over an area apparent of six feet square. He had a childish smile pasted to his face and drooled a little; his brown hair was a sheet under his tiny form. Much to Sanzou's delight, the boy had apparently obeyed his food limitations; only one bento box was empty, and it was fastidiously cleaned, as if the boy had actually licked the box clean of any remaining rice.
Then again, given the savoring way he had consumed his food, it was entirely possible that the boy had licked the box clean.
As Sanzou packed quickly for the return trip, enjoying the lack of noise except for an occasional snore from the sleeping youkai, he considered the fact that he had given the boy three direct orders – to collect firewood, to eat the contents of only one bento box, and to go to sleep when he was done eating. The last one may have been an accident – the child may merely have collapsed in some sort of delirium after eating – but the first two orders were obviously carefully followed.
At this point Sanzou dropped the train of thought. He barely knew anything about the youkai, so he could derive only very little from these observations. At that point Sanzou realized that he didn't even know the youkai's name. Deciding that it could be very hard to get along without knowing the boy's name, he yanked the blanket the boy was lying on out from under him. "Oi, wake up!" he growled.
The youkai yelped, waking up even as he hit the ground, and immediately scrambled to his feet, rubbing his abused tailbone. "Itai …" he moaned.
Sanzou cut straight to the point. "What's your name?"
The boy looked earnestly at him for a moment and cradled his chin in his hand, frowning in obvious thought. Sanzou was tempted to groan – the boy didn't have a name and was going to make one up. It would probably be a ridiculous name that he would insist on being called, and Sanzou would have to pound him into the ground before he settled on some nickname –
"Son Goku." Sanzou, shaken from his wild and cynical daydream, looked up from the ground at the boy, who was now grinning madly. "My name is Son Goku, and I'm a monkey-demon."
Sanzou felt something deep inside him shift, somehow, at the imperious name. It was most certainly not made up. //Those gods again. Messing around with destiny behind my back, not telling me about it, and leaving me to pick up after them. They really* are* sadistic.// "Well, then, you stupid monkey-youkai, let's get cracking. We have a long downhill stairway ahead, and if you get on my nerves too much, I may be inclined to not let you live to the bottom."
The insults seemed to fly right over Goku's head, and the boy just grinned some more before abruptly sobering. "Sanzou-sa – I mean, Sanzou, I'm hungry! Can I have something to eat? That bento was good, but it wasn't very much food!"
//That was a huge bento box!// Exasperated, Sanzou answered bluntly, "No," and turned towards the stairway. "Come on."
"But I'm hunnnnnngryyyyyyyy!" the boy whined.
"Shush, or I'll kill you."
"No buts!" Sanzou gave him his best Don't Piss Me Off glare, and Goku squirmed. "Now, because you were so especially whiny, you get to carry the bag. Aren't you happy now?" Sanzou dumped the relatively heavy satchel on the boy's shoulder; Goku staggered under the sudden weight, but ended up shouldering it with relative ease and followed Sanzou like a loyal puppy, silent for the moment. Sanzou noted from his ease that the gold circlet on Goku's head had sealed not all of his youkai-strength. He also noted that Goku was already calling him 'Sanzou' – that brought the total of explicitly followed instructions to four.
And now there was that strange inner shift that he had felt at Goku's name. Frowning, and studiously ignoring the occasional grunts and mumblings from Goku's direction, Sanzou led the way down the steep steps of the Five-Fingered Mountain.