Project Title : And Time Again.
Begun : 30th March 2002
Disclaimer : I don't own Saiyuki. I'm just the 32767th in line for it.
AU Fic. 1350 years later, the Sanzo-ikkou are reincarnated once again.
Foreword / Warnings :
!!AU!! Alternate Universe!!
Having died and been reborn, the characters are necessarily different. They've retained their names (for simplicity's sake), but their personalities aren't exactly what they were. I've toned down some of the major hang-ups caused by traumatic experiences, and the net result is probably a cross between the Gaiden and Gensomaden characters. In two words : occasional OOC. I've tried to minimize this, but some things have changed. Age differences, for one, have been reduced - Sanzo, Hakkai and Gojyo are year mates (21), and Goku is a few years younger (18).
This is a more serious version of the Gakkou fic that I co-wrote with toes-chan, but stemmed from an *entirely* different source of inspiration and probably bears no semblence whatsoever to that earlier fic. At this point in time, I have a general idea of what's going to happen in the immediate future, but the ultimate destiny and conclusion of the fic is hidden from me. Which is good, because I can discover the story as I go along, and all suggestions are not just welcomed - they'll probably be written in if I can tie them in. Also, this is the first time *gasp* that I'm trying anything like this, so ... proceed at your own risk! ^^ Enjoy, and R/R!
Rating : PG
No intentional yaoi or shounen-ai. Rough language, minimal or no violence.
... the rating of the anime series is PG! So.. I can't possible do any worse, right? ^^
AND TIME AGAIN
Chapter 1 : Clouds in a Coffee Cup
There was a field, and there was a road through that field.
And on that road was a jeep.
It was racing westwards, always westwards, always chasing the setting sun.
Why a jeep?he wondered. It was always a jeep. The scenary changed, the time changed, everything changed, but a jeep was always there - the jeep was always there, heading westwards.
Why westwards?he wondered.
Then the dream was fading away, leaving behind only a vague sense of deja vu and a wistful sadness... the kind that emerges when you touch upon a lost but beloved memory.
He blinked, and the field disappeared entirely, and there was just darkness.
He sighed and rolled over, squinting to make out the numbers on the bedside clock. 6:15am. Still wayyyy too early to be up, even if he did have classes at 8:30am. But it was always this way with the jeep dreams... he'd wake up early - or in the middle of the night - with that vague, nagging discomfort. And take forever to get back to sleep. Counting sheep didn't help. Counting jeeps didn't help. It was fine, during examination season, if he ever needed insomnia to give him the extra time to study, but otherwise, it was just a royal pain in the ass.
Damn jeep, damn dream. It wasn't as if it was a decent nightmare or anything. He didn't have a phobia of jeeps. Nor was the jeep trying to eat him or something like that. If anything, he should have a phobia of buses, ever since his parents--
--shit. Too late, he squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block out the memories. Scenes came rushing back, all too readily -- a bus crashing straight into their car, the blood flying everywhere, glass shattering and metal twisting with a shriek to match his own...
He'd been in shock when they extricated him from the wreckage and rushed him to hospital. Who wouldn't be, if you'd just watched your parents crushed to death in horrifying real time...?
"Shit," he swore softly. The worst part about that dream was that it led him down the darker recesses of memory lane, into places where he didn't want to go. It was 6:18 in the morning and he already felt that he needed a drink. A strong one. Enough to chase the memories from his head and let him get some rest without having to worry about green four-wheelers.
Wistful thinking. There was that mathematics module test, first thing in the morning, and he needed his wits about him.
But coffee, on the other hand... now that could be arranged.
10 minutes later, he was in the kitchen, dumping 3 scoopfuls of ground coffee into one cup of water. And a few grains of sugar as an afterthought. Coffee, after all, should be made strong, or there is no point to it.
And strong coffee does not get stolen. Not twice, at least. A little smirk twitched at the corners of his mouth at the thought. Recalled how a particularly obnoxious housemate, back in the bad old days when he lived on campus, had swiped his coffee. One mouthful of that concentrated... no, saturated coffee, black, without sugar, had sent the guy through the roof. It had taken him the better part of ten minutes to wash the taste out of his mouth, and he'd been hopping around on a caffeine high for the better part of the hour. Not to mention that most of that energy was spent rushing to the nearest toilet. Coffee, after all, is a diuretic.
That memory always made his morning.
He stared out of the window as the water drained through the filter. Better the window than the other way, through the kitchen door and into the shadows of this oh so large and empty house. It was always depressing when it was dark, because light meant people, and people...
Well, people in general were mostly just an annoyance. Even on a good day. But people in specific...
...big empty houses felt subtly wrong when just inhabited by one person, even someone as anti-social as him. Strange paradox - needing solitude and company at the same time. But that was him all round - a paradox. He had a massive fortune and nothing to spend it on. A huge house and no one to share it with. Not that he wanted other people buzzing around and annoying the hell out of him when he was trying to work. Solitude was good. Yet sometimes, it wasn't. Confused the hell out of him, it did.
Bloody hell... can't keep off brooding, even for a moment. Start when I wake up and keep at it all the way until I drop off to sleep. Give it a break, man.He shook his head in annoyance at himself and concentrated on breakfast. Which he couldn't taste this early in the day, since his tastebuds, having a lot more sense, were still in bed.
Little wisps of steam rose from the coffee cup, and formed vapor patterns against the window. Outside, the sun began its long trek across the sky.
a = 1.219 (To 3 d.p.)
He scanned through his working again, then submitted his paper and walked out of the room.
What a waste of time. Something as mechanical and dead simple as that shouldn't be .. allowed.
But then again...
I'm surrounded by idiots.
He caught the strains of conversation as he strode towards the library, looking for a quiet place to kill time until the next class.
"Think you can top what he gets in this test?"
"What the hell? I can dream on. Mr-I'm-too-perfect-for-you-Sanzo doesn't make mistakes."
He paused, half-tempted to march over and punch the bastard... but it wouldn't help. If he did that, he would have to take out half of the faculty as well.
Damn... can't a guy be smart and not have everyone hating him for it?
Yes, his brain replied, If he isn't both smart *and* well-off.
That was the problem. He would always be The Sanzo, owner of huge investments and amounts of property, up to his eyeballs in money... and not a damned clue what to do with it.
And I'd trade all that for my loved ones back. Any day of the week.
He was so deep in thought that he didn't see the flash of brown until it collided straight into him.
Both of them went flying backwards (which shows that the theoretical application of the theory of conservation of momentum doesn't always work, especially in practical situations...). His file somehow came open in mid flight and all the papers spewed out, as he slipped on a patch of slippery floor and slammed into the ground.
"ITAIIIIII~~~!!" the afore-mentioned flash of brown groaned from somewhere in front of him.
"Fuck," he muttered.
"I'm sorry," the figure in front of him apologized hastily, collecting his scattered papers. Young guy in a dark red T-shirt and jeans, about 18-ish, with a shock of gravity-defying brown hair. He glanced up, and their eyes met...
...and for a moment, just a moment, he felt a massive surge of recognition.
Golden eyes, those golden eyes...
Then the feeling vanished.
No, I swear I haven't seen him before. I swear I've never seen him before...
The youth had paused, a puzzled frown on his face. Then he broke into a wide grin. "Hi," he said, handing him the fallen papers. "I'm Goku."
He stared, jolted by the icy chill of 'know that name, remember that voice...' but knowing equally well that they'd never met before. Never. With a capital N.
The silence stretched, and Goku's smile faltered a little. "I'm really sorry about bumping into you like that."
"It's.. it's okay," he managed, taking the proffered handful of papers, stamping down on that alien sense of familiarity and shoving it into the corner of his mind. Maybe he just looks like someone I know. Maybe he looks like someone I've seen before. Maybe I've seen him before. Get off it.. things like this happen all the time.
The grin broke out again, full force. "Say, what's your name?"
"Sangenjo? That sounds odd."
"That's because it's Genjo," he growled, resisting the urge to add "idiot" at the end of that sentence. He shoved the papers back into the file and stood. "Well, I'll be on my way." He started to turn away.
"Yes?" he turned back. And fended off that naggy feeling of discomfort that was nibbling at the back of his mind. It's just like that jeep dream, isn't it?
"You forgot this one." Goku held out one last sheet. And glanced at it. "Hey, coooool, what's this about?"
"Homework," he said, and reached for the paper.
"But we don't cover superconductors and solid-state physics at undergrad level," Goku chirped.
Is that guy eternally happy or something?"No."
"Then this can't be homework!" Goku said with conviction, flourishing the paper.
"Please. Give it back." His temper was fraying rapidly.
"What's it for? What's it for?"
"Just give it back, will you?" he snapped, aggravated.
"Aw... all right." Goku stopped waving the paper long enough for him to make an attempt at it.
And he nearly received paper cuts as it was whisked out of his fingers again. "Sayyy... you must be really good at Physics, right? Could you help me? Pleeeeease?"
"I'm busy," he growled, and made another grab at the paper. And missed. Bloody ape.
Wait.. where did that come from? He's not an ape, nevermind how he acts..
"Then I won't give this back. After all, it's not homework, so you don't need it, right?" Goku replied, a wicked sparkle in his eyes.
"Give. It. Back."
"If you help me with this problem."
Why the hell is he so persistent?He was oh so tempted to slam the guy against the wall, wrench the paper out of his hand, and be on his way. Bloody waste of time..
But why not help him?another side of his brain said crazily. After all, it's just one problem, and you have 2 hours to kill...
He snatched at the paper and missed again. Goku danced out of range. "Hey, pleeeassse... I need to hand in this assignment today, and I really can't do it."
Could always tell him that I have a class now. He'd give it back. Or I'd just flatten him. He's half my height, after all.
"Oh, very well," he said, his mouth forming the words before his brain registered them. And snapped his mouth shut. What the .. did I.. oh shitttt, I did.
Goku was grinning. "Thanks a bunch. I knew you'd agree."
He found himself wondering why he'd agreed to do this all over again as they went over Goku's assignments in the canteen. It wasn't that the kid was stupid, but his concentration... the way it wandered made him want to smack his forehead in frustration. And whack Goku's, just for good measure. Can't keep his mind on the problem for more than 3 lines. No wonder he can't figure out anything that requires patience. But he's bright. He's.. very bright. Catches on really fast..
"Gotcha," Goku said, scribbling madly. "I add this to this, minus the component of weight and ta-da.. that's the answer. Right? Right?" he looked up hopefully.
"Correct." Sharp. That's the word.
"Yay! Let's eat!" Goku cheered, and, grabbing his sandwich, began to munch in earnest.
That's what.. his third? Fourth? At 10 in the morning?
"Aren't you hungry?" Goku asked around a mouthful.
"No, not really. Any more questions?"
"Yep! This one!" Goku shoved another piece of paper across the table.
This is starting to get out of hand.One question becomes two, two becomes three, and three branches off into four...
He took another mouthful of coffee as he reviewed the question. A little voice tapped him on the shoulder. Work to do. Lots of work to do.
But it can wait, can't it? another voice, the same one, he suspected, that had usurped his vocal chords and agreed to this, countered. The first voice sighed quietly and conceded defeat.
Because, despite, himself, he was actually.. well.. it was the first time in a very long time that he'd done lunch (if he could call this lunch) with anyone. Or breakfast. Or dinner. Or any meal, for that matter. Books did not make good conversationalists. Neither did coffee.
"You forgot to account for air resistence," he pointed out.
"I knew I'd forgotten something!"
There was something refreshing about the kid. His general chirpiness.. which, in someone else, might be plain annoying... suited him to the T.
And there's something else, isn't there?
"You sure you're not hungry? Want a sandwich?" Goku indicated the pile that he'd brought. There had to be a dozen there, discounting the ones that he'd already eaten.
"Quite sure." His eyes flicked over the equations, but his mind wasn't really on them.
It was the way that Goku treated him. Like an equal. None of that.. Hey Sanzo, let's be friends so that I can sponge off you, or .. the words of the morning came back to him ... "Mr-Too-Perfect-For-You-Sanzo"... If he hadn't had a meal with anyone in a long time, it'd been even longer since someone had treated him like this. Like... a friend.
Great. The next I know, we'll be exchanging telephone numbers and email addresses.
He looked up. "Yes?"
"Could I have your number?"
Mmm hmmm hmmm... chapter 1 done! Reviews would be nice.. ^_~.
Sorry toes, I just *had* to put in the comment about gravity-defying brown hair... *grins*.
Sanzo : Say... do you believe in karma?
Sf : Karma.. as in?
Sanzo : As in, authors who write bad fan-fic have it coming to them.
Sf : Eh... nope. Don't believe in karma. Never did. *innocent grin*
Sanzo : I thought not.
Aii.. I'm sorry about the angst, but I wanted a few similarities with the Gensomaden series, and angsty pasts is one of them. However, since I *don't* write angst as a rule (unless I'm really depressed, in which case I don't write at all), and I don't want this to turn into an angst fic, I'll be keeping it to a minimum. Promise! ^^
I confess to a *lot* of nail biting regarding this fic. Is it good? Bad? Ugly? Should I just scrap the whole thing and throw it in the bin and go back to working on Borderline?
Sf's muse : *wails* But this fic is so *nice* to write!
Sf : ;_; I know...
Please help a worried author and R/R..