Disclaimer: Gensomaden Saiyuki © Kazuya Minekura, TV Tokyo.
Summary: A story of consequences and decisions made in the name of love. (Yaoi)
Spoilers: Post-series. Maybe tiny spoilers, but none I could see that could traumatize you.
Warning: Yaoi. Don't like it, don't read it. Also my OTPs, so if you're looking for HakkaixHomura, GojyoxKougaiji, SanzoxThe Tree, you won't find it here.
Rating: PG-13, as always. R/NC-17s are somewhere. ;)
Notes: The fic is back. Yes, I know, 99% of the readers lost interest in it, and the 1% is because someone kept e-mailing me, and I know it's crazy to keep faith in this fic. Thankfully, this is the last chapter, I've made promises I soon found out I can't keep, and I'm making up for it all in this chapter. This is the second part of the chapter and I'll be posting the middle, and finally the end of this chapter as the weeks go by because it's hard to listen to my plot bunnies when I'm still on vacation. ;; I'm gonna have to find a place to put my fics in because they removed the symbols, damnit, THE SYMBOLS ARE IMPORTANT!
Chapter Five (Draft)
A foot stepped forward, then another, stepping on the wooden panels. A sharp lift of the revolver, positioned with dead accuracy at its aim, angled directly parallel to the floor. A click of the revolver, the ear-deafening sounds of gunshots bouncing off the walls, pulling on the trigger with unrelenting insistence, with inert stillness. Shifting his view at the other end of the room, he aimed for his target, a fluttering piece of wilted paper with the taunting depiction of dark red, and pulled the trigger, its bullet whizzing through cleanly, just as he had done repetitively throughout the entire evening. The paper, fastened by only a string that hung from the coarse ceilings, hovered down with the gentleness of a flower petal. He stood motionless for a moment, before placing the gun away. The moon's radiance stole into the windows, glimmering and dancing with the dark shadows of the room.
"You're finally done, Sanzo." He rearranged his rumpled robes for another minute, then shifted his eyes towards the door. Gojyo shut the door, leaning against it, yawning," Do you wanna go to sleep now? It's already mid-night. You're gonna get it from the innkeeper, anyway. Whoever told you to use the cellar for practice?"
Sanzo was silent, making his way to the window instead, where the Heaven and Earth Sutra was carelessly tossed and caught by the rusted tack on the windowsill, its windows creaking in and out. "Why waste a perfect opportunity to expand one's skills?" he said. "The room is completely bare." The feeling of adrenaline still flowed in his veins, as it occasionally did after a particularly satisfying session: the intensity of concentration swallowing on him, every inch of instinct locked onto twisted jeopardy. Disconcerted, he swung the scrolls over his shoulders, smothering out the wrinkles evenly.
"If you're not sleeping," Gojyo returned sleepily. "Then I'll just take a nap right here. Hakkai and Goku won't mind. They're snoring in their rooms right now. I think they like this inn. We've been staying here for over a week." Raising his eyebrows, Sanzo looked at the man trudging to him.
"I think it'll be interesting," Gojyo said. Sanzo reached and shut the windows. The room was dimmed in darkness once more. "Spending the night here in this empty room. Watching you swinging that gun of yours everywhere."
"Hardly pleasant, I assure you." He pointed his gun at Gojyo.
Gojyo chuckled, holding his hands up. "I'm joking. Wouldn't want to spend any more time with you than necessary, not with that mood of yours."
"But you do look wonderful, posing like that."
Sanzo looked at Gojyo out of the corner of his eyes. Gojyo didn't look up from the ground as he continued," Sure, you practiced many times, but this is the first time I've seen you do it up close. It's amazing what you can do with a gun." Frowning, Sanzo moved his shoulders against the wall uncomfortably. He massaged his shoulder. He'd been staring intently on the ground and its jagged edges without really seeing them, his mind wandering in and out of drowsy oblivion. Beside him, Gojyo seemed to be doing the same thing, only the hesitant scrawl of his fingers to the wooden floor betraying the calmness Gojyo projected.
Sanzo jerked his head away and stared up at the ceiling, where the ghosts of shadows seemed to move. Gojyo stared at his sneakers as he said," I want to see that again. Would you do it for me?" Scowling, Sanzo met Gojyo's eyes, gleaming unrepentantly.
"You didn't tremble. I don't think I can everdo that and not shoot myself in the process."
Sanzo waved dismissively and watch Gojyo fiddle with his sneakers' laces, the thin fibers entwining on Gojyo's slender hands. Those hands were stained - like Sanzo's. He already had the burden of filth before he entered his adolescent years, but he thought it was necessary, to clean away the dreamlike haziness born in every child's innocent mind. Blood should be blemished on the hands, the ultimate proof of invulnerability. He thought of his revolver, the simple angle between his aim and the quarry, the painstakingly crafted demeanors to master his prize – point, pull, shoot. Solid firearm, the lost limb of his own body, the deep correlation of their sins and their bloodshed.
Own, and not be owned.
"Who said we were ever alike? There're some things I can do that you can't do." Sanzo said. Outside, the branches of the cherry tree scraped against the windowpanes, the howls of the chilly wind swept through the hurricane of petals, adorning the cluttered lawn with pink. As Gojyo let the silence inaugurate, Sanzo clasped his fingers together and, shrugging off the last of his thoughts, he gently relaxed his muscles - and began to meditate. The gentle easing of the mind, washing away the troubles like an ocean wave, every inch of skin fixed in an insensate pattern, the very core of heart that tugged the mind, coveting unmitigated attentiveness.
"And there're also some things that I can do what you can't too."
There was peace.
There was mollification.
There was the world.
And then... there was the trouble.
"...may be more alike than you think." The words pierced right through the barriers of absorption with a stab, shattering the mirrors of the mind into a thousand pieces.
Sanzo's eyes flared open, and glanced at the man. Gojyo was still fiddling with his shoelaces, his face wearing the mask of downright sleepiness – yet, there was something... the telltale gleam in the red eyes, conveying a silent message, telling him something that had always been kept out of reach. It was a look that had been seen too many times, and he knew full well it had never been aimed at him before.
"More alike than I think?" Sanzo echoed, looking nonplussed.
Gojyo nodded, stretching his arms. "Yeah. But that's where it all ends."
"We... alike? There is a line between reality and delusion." He leaned forward. As his face neared, Gojyo's smile faded as he looked at him, his fingers ceasing its movements with the tangled laces, his mask nearly faltering. Sanzo stopped just a breath away. From this angle, it was like he could see every emotion, the very essence of the soul – but the glimmer was still there... He studied the chiseled-like face that had so managed to hold onto his stare, for a long minute.
"What do we have in common?"
Gojyo looked at Sanzo out of the corner of his eye. "Do you really want to know?"
Sanzo paused, and then nodded. His eyes took on a look of challenge. "Go ahead." He didn't like being compared. He shouldn't have been compared to anyone; he didn't like people having things common with him. He wanted to be unique, one of a kind, different from everyone, because it was then, that he could fully acknowledge himself. What was he, if not unique?
"We suffered, really, for a long time," Gojyo mumbled, tracing a line on the floor with his finger. "Denied our feelings, denied what we're supposed to be doing, and denied everything that's true. Realized that when I screwed you the other night. Yeah, it was physical, so I've no problems bringing it up. It's not like you're a godsend, so..." Gojyo shrugged at Sanzo's raised eyebrow, and continued. "I like Hakkai. Dreamt of screwing his brains out for heaven knows how long. The way he moves, the way he talks, I really should get commended, for not pouncing on him right there on the spot. Course, what held me back was what I had with him. You know, friendship. I want his pants down, yeah, but more than that, I want the friendship to last." Gojyo's eyes closed, unable to keep from smiling. "It's a special feeling. Didn't want to see something as special as that get ruined by a one-sided lay. No, I'll wait. For Hakkai. Hell, while I'm feeling sappy, I'll throw in friendship to the bargain too."
"You like Hakkai?" echoed Sanzo, closing his eyes to the darkness of the room.
"Well, yeah, like. If I said love, you wouldn't take it seriously, would you?" Sanzo made a suspicious sound, but Gojyo chose not to comment on that. "And you're in the same position as me too." Sanzo's eyes sharply flew open at that. "That's all I have to say to that. I'll let you figure it out on your own, since it's something you really should do yourself." Gojyo pushed himself to feet, welcoming the cracking sounds of the neck he made. "Gods, I sound so much like Hakkai it's frightening." He looked down at Sanzo. "Well, g'night, 'cause I'm retiring for the night and I think I said as much."
"...And the difference between us?" Sanzo's voice was soft, dangerous. He didn't look up.
Gojyo paused in the doorway. "Thought I mentioned it already."
"Well, you didn't."
Gojyo shook his head, looking bemused. "I said it three seconds ago. Didn't you notice?" He looked away. "The... like I feel for the man. I can acknowledge it." Gojyo looked behind his shoulder at Sanzo, perfectly and grandly silhouetted in the moon's glimmering light.
"That may be what set both of us apart."
Gojyo mellifluously shut the door behind him.
"I hope it goes through him," Hakkai said, leaning against the walls and crossing his arms. He didn't look at Gojyo – or rather, tried not to look at Gojyo – but Gojyo knew. Hakkai had heard every word.
"I hope so too," Gojyo replied, fighting back a yawn. The hour was late, everyone in the inn was fast asleep, and he should probably get to bed too. He'd deal with everything in the morning.
"Sanzo does have the ability to affect everyone..."
Gojyo stifled a smile. "Tell me something I don't know."
"I wonder if we could finally move on tomorrow." Hakkai's tone was low.
"Most probably. Then again, this is Sanzo we're dealing with." Gojyo frowned. "Definitely not a person to be swayed by so few words, but then again, miracles do happen... well, good night."
"Wait," Hakkai said, just as Gojyo began walking away. The man stopped, his smile fading, but he didn't turn around. Couldn't Hakkai just spare him the trouble and wait until they're in a more convenient area? Though, for Hakkai, Gojyo supposed this couldn't be more appropriate. "I know it's hardly the time, but... what is the real purpose in drawing me out here to listen?"
Gojyo sighed inwardly and rolled his eyes. In all his years in knowing the man, he could safely say Hakkai couldn't be that clueless. "I told you, Hakkai, I had some stuff to let out of my closet, to the both of you." Gojyo closed his eyes and yawned hugely. "Now if you'll excuse me, I'd like to have my emotional breakdown in private."
"Why yes. I've admitted I like seeing you naked. I've even kiss-" Gojyo quickly recovered, face flaming. "I've admitted everything about me – hell, do you want to know whether I sleep naked or not too? A man never reveals his dirty little secrets, and there I go, breaking every code there is. So yeah, if I'm lucky, it'll be over in a few minutes."
"You... don't need to have one," Hakkai's tone sounded force. Gojyo couldn't help but laugh; it was Hakkai the mother hen to the rescue all the way.
"Sorry, but it's inevitable. See, I really got to go, so I'll see you in the morning."
"I just don't understand it," Hakkai sounded amazed. "I really don't..."
At that, Gojyo quickly whirled around. Was Hakkai being opinionated about the whole thing? "Hey, if you have a problem with me-"
"It's a strange feeling," Hakkai murmured, not even looking at Gojyo. "I'd be lying if I said I'm not startled, but I'm not even sure how to respond. There're too many complications-"
"Then we'd work through it, won't we?" For the first time, Gojyo's voice took on an animated – hopeful - tone. "Whatever obstacles there are, we'd be sure to leap over it, won't we? Think of everything we'd managed to pass before. What makes this any different? It'll be just like exterminating the monsters out there-"
Hakkai's look was priceless. "You're comparing your feelings to monsters?"
"No, no," Gojyo waved his hand impatiently. "I was making a point there." He saw the slightest hint of curve in Hakkai's lips. "Like I said, we'd work through it. Issues or not, we'd work out how to solve it. I'm not blind; I know we both have issues to deal with, but how I feel isn't like some piece of paper that could be easily thrown away, and damned if I would deny them."
"Very... interesting... metaphor," Hakkai didn't look at Gojyo. "You're very confident..."
Gojyo's smile was tantalizing. "Course. Since when am I not?" he drawled. "Hey, I'm willing to bet three mugs of beer that we'd be able to solve whatever problems there are. Loser does one hundred push-ups, take it or leave it."
Hakkai's smile was uncertain, but it was there. Gojyo thought it was astounding. "Perhaps we could," he agreed slowly. Then Hakkai smiled a full-fledged smile, a familiar smile that Gojyo had grown accustomed to a long time ago. Gojyo felt the urge to laugh; he hadn't quite felt this giddy in such a long time.
Granted, Hakkai didn't exactly respond... but neither did he reject either. Gojyo didn't want to push his friend – like he said, friendship will always take priority – but at least he did let his feelings be known. Rejected or not, it sure as hell beat coping with these feelings for so long... Hakkai could take as much time as he wanted, and Gojyo wouldn't mind. Whatever Hakkai felt was right.
But Gojyo's secret will always stay with him. Perhaps, in time, he could casually reveal to Hakkai what he did to him, and perhaps they would even laugh about it.
Gojyo's eyes rounded, the memory of Goku's stunned face hitting him like a slap in the face.
He left as soon as morning came. In the restaurant at the core of the town, rain poured down and the twigs of the trees scraped against the windows, the winds howling deep into the earth. In the back of the room where louder chatters and conversations carried on as usual, a great number of exotic dishes filled the small table at the right corner of the room, from one end to the other. Different varieties, locals and imported, every portion of the menu was spreaded out. It drew curious glances, but not so much as to warrant a great interest. He was loaded, they had decided, and how right they were, as a gleaming gold card laid tauntingly at the side of the table.
Goku held the plate of food in front of him and gobbled down the contents in one gulp. Closing his eyes, he savored the moment as the sweet taste of dumplings began to spread in his mouth, making his head slightly giddy. Swallowing them, he opened his eyes once more and lifted another plate. This time, he quickly reached for his drink and gulped it down, the dumplings and the spicy hot curry leaving a rather sour taste in his mouth. He stared at the great quantity of remaining food with an unreadable look, his stomach rumbling once more despite wiping out half the menu in an amazing record. Disturbing thoughts started to creep into his mind, slowly, and he pushed it away with great ease, imagining a great soft blanket of white and grey with the ease of an expertise. He was searching for that moment, the peace closing his eyes and his heart like a fist...
... for the ache to wash away as the sea would to the grains of sand.
Outside, people were frantically rushing for shelter, some hopping on the paveway and showering under the raindrops. Newspapers from nearby trash bins were dug out and used for cover. Some pushed others away as they ran to nearby buildings for shelter. One woman pushed a little boy away in hopes to purchase the last remaining umbrella. Thunder struck in the skies, and the rain poured on town heavier.
Goku downed his last glass of water, the cool liquid soothing the burns of his throat. The empty plates piled on one another in neat stacks, and there were several of them in rows. And then, he just sat there, studying others with the quizical and innocent look of a child. Radiance, ease, gaiety, everything that he had taken for granted was now so alien to him, and he knew he longed to be engulfed in those warmth of emotions once more. They were what made him, and he was nothing without them. With the darkness that he knew crept into his heart and latched onto it like a leech to the sweet taste of blood, he would have to search for that light. He just didn't know if he was ready yet.
Unconsciously, he signaled for the waitress.
Sanzo's gold card gleamed under the light.
I could see you... here... now
You're right in front of me...
But why can't I touch you?
Why won't you let yourself be touched?
Goku's shoulders shook, startled and glanced down at his hands. He was clasping his hands so tightly that his knuckles turned white. An untouched box of candy rested on the table. He could see himself in the mirror just on the other side of the room, and the almost pathetic slump of his frame momentarily filled his face with color. He started to reach for the box that he had bought this morning before, then decided against it, his stomach protesting in pain. Instead, he let his head slump against the table, wanting to calm the raging force of his headache.
Why couldn't his brain listen to his heart?
His anxiety caused him to push his chair back with a loud screech. There, he began to walk around, glancing up at ceilings and looking out the window of his hotel room. No, calm down, his heart begged. Sanzo wasn't here yet. He was more than a little shocked to find that his room was empty when he returned from the trip to town, and his resolve nearly faltered again. It had taken him a long time to get himself together - barely - and he figured the length of time they were to be together would be enough before he cracked as easily as a candy bar. Sanzo was late - very late. Inhaling deeply, he peered out the window for the umpteenth time, his cold breath misting the window. He watched the rain fall, the view unexpectly bringing a little harmony to his soul and he even let a little smile grace his face. To think Sanzo would hate something as soothing as this - the man was a walking mystery on his own. Goku walked away from the window and sat cross-legged on the floor, not really knowing what to think. He had cornered Goku yesterday, demanding him to meet here in a certain time, causing him to pour all his emotions out in food, ran back here with more fire than he would've thought imaginable in this situation...
...and the man was nowhere to be found.
The shadows danced in his room, everywhere. He didn't dare to step out of his room - as though he was like the maiden that was kept in the highest tower, like the story he had heard about. The door was there, but to him, he felt that he would be crossing forbidden territory. The room was filled with ghosts, taunting him for his simple mind, laughing at him for his foolishness and his terrible, terrible mark: his innocence. He tried to black out the scene, but then, they intruded his mind, coaxing him like a mother with her baby, then admonishing him for the shameful naivety that drove everyone away from him. Holding back the frustration, he now wished Sanzo would keep his word and come - anything to sooth the growing anxiety and banish the demons in his heart. The images taunt him with Sanzo and his cruel eyes, the unsmiling mouth that he had kissed many times, so forcefully that he was rendered uncertain of the difference between the images his mind mocked him with, and the cold reality of the man himself. Holding a hand to his forehead, he walked back to the window once more, this time, staring hard at the glass with large, dazed eyes, wondering if he should blame his lack of knowledge of the real world for the situation that tangled everyone in a web. Against his will, slowly like a sly spider to its prey, his memory fleeted to that terrible night: the cold hard feel of the doorknob as he placed his fingers around them, slowly opening it and never imagining that his greatest nightmare had become reality, and something had died in him, a light that he had taken for granted flickered out like a flame, the raw anguish he had never experienced before. When he finally realized what he was doing, he reached up and touched his face that had suddenly become hot. His fingertips felt wetness, but he had found it unnervingly easy to turn the waterworks off.
But it was too late, the sudden rush of unwanted memories hit him like a ton of bricks, from the days of surpressing that night for that raw wound to heal. He knew it could never be healed, for Sanzo was the glimmering light to his darkness, but to foolishly think that he could always have that light was a slap in the face. He didn't know it was a.. a casual 'thing', which partially caused the pain. What he and Sanzo shared, he thought it was special, and he wouldn't have allowed himself to fall so deeply if he had known that 'bond' he thought he had with Sanzo could be formed with any other person. It was stupidity at its peak, and Goku was not spared that reason. Gojyo, of all people, intensified that pain more than he thought possible. Letting himself be vulnerable so openly was what hurt the most. It made him weak. He was anything but weak. At least, that was what he believed.
The door creaked, and Goku turned away from the window, obviously and visibly startled, his sleeve slightly damp from rubbing his eyes. The door fully opened, and Sanzo was standing at the doorway, his hair and clothes soaked, his eyes resting on Goku. In his hand, held a full packet of cigarettes - he must've taken a stroll in town. Sanzo's eyes gleamed a sharpness unlike scavenger's eyes. Then the man walked in, shut the door behind him as he tossed the packet onto the table, and Sanzo was already walking towards Goku, who unconsciously took several steps back in alarm. He stopped three feet away, his stare intense and sharp as an arrow. Goku's mind was a whirlwind, and he desperately attempted to sort out the mess. He thanked the heavens that his face didn't reveal much of his emotions: but this was Sanzo, the man who was able to peer into his soul no matter how much resistance he put up.