Saiyuki Fan Fiction / Gensomaden Saiyuki Fan Fiction / Saiyuki Reload Fan Fiction ❯ Catch-Up ❯ One-Shot
SPOILERS: Saiyuki Reload 6-10 and Saiyuki 8-9.
SUMMARY: Sanzo doesn’t know what to expect from the group anymore.
ARCHIVAL/DISTRIBUTION: Anywhere, as long as you ask me first.
FEEDBACK: can be sent to Viridian5@aol.com.
DISCLAIMERS: All things Saiyuki belong to Kazuya Minekura. No infringement intended.
NOTES: Sensei hasn’t shown it to us yet, so I’m taking a stab at it. Thanks to rosaleendhu for read-through.
I started this fic last year and forgot about it until I stumbled over it on my hard drive recently.
This hurt. It might not be the absolute worst pain he’d woken up with but it had a place in the top two. It would have ranked higher if Hakkai hadn’t done some healing on him. Every time he woke up he hurt somewhere, and if he hurt this badly this young after all the damage he’d taken over the years when he reached old age he’d be truly miserable.
Whatever. It’d be worth it. He didn’t want to give anyone the satisfaction of having taken him down... like how Ukoku had come so close to.
He felt his sutra lying on the nearby night table, within arm’s reach, before he saw it. Such a relief. He slid one hand under his pillow and touched his gun, another relief.
After so long traveling with Hazel and Gat, it felt weird to wake up to Goku, Hakkai, and Gojyo’s distinctive, hot chi signatures instead. He couldn’t help feeling warmer and more open near them, even if it hurt, while the chill of Hazel and Gat’s chi had made it easier to keep himself emotionally distant from them.
Hazel’s chi had always confused him. At least now he knew why.
Memories of recent events and revelations hit Sanzo like a landslide, overwhelming. Control. Breathe in, breathe out... sip... like smoking....
“Sanzo!” Obviously excited, Goku rushed to Sanzo’s bedside--which belatedly made Sanzo wonder when and how he’d gotten to a bed--and Sanzo felt him as much as heard him. Goku had looked whole and healthy when he showed up to throw Sanzo clear of Ukoku’s grip but taken injuries in the fight. He currently looked better than Sanzo felt, having resources Sanzo couldn’t tap.
Sanzo remembered Goku’s body jerking as it was shot to hell, chi draining out, as it fell face-first to the ground....
“How long... have I been out?” Sanzo asked, his voice coming out as a soft shadow of its usual self.
Sanzo didn’t know what to say to him. So much had happened and so much time passed. During- and after-battle camaraderie faded so long after the battle. Goku had seen him at his most pathetic, and although he’d said it didn’t matter to him it mattered to Sanzo.
“Hakkai told me what he was thinking about why you left,” Goku said.
“I’m almost afraid to ask. It’s probably wrong.”
“He said watching me get shot nearly to death made you want to track down and kill the person who ordered it, you thought Hazel might know something, and you wanted to go off before the trail went cold.”
“That’s actually close.” And more flattering to Sanzo than the whole truth would have been, his fear for Goku, his shock and the way it had made him freeze, his inability to deal with what had happened, his feeling of uselessness as he returned to find that Hakkai and Gojyo had saved Goku’s life and re-contained Seiten Taisei, at major personal risk, without any help from him, and how he’d left mostly to hunt Ukoku but partly because he’d been unable to deal with what had happened. After all those years, he was still weak and vulnerable, part of him still the same child who could only watch in paralyzed horror as his master, his father, died horribly in front of him.
Sanzo still didn’t know what Ukoku thought he was doing when he went into the spiel about Sanzo’s birth parents. With all the shit put on his pile throughout his life, his biological parents and his being a probable orphan had barely factored into anything. He didn’t care about two people he hadn’t met. He didn’t care that his birth “father” might still be alive; it’s not like the man had done jack shit to deserve the title.
What Ukoku had said about Koumyou... what it might mean if it were true....
Which it couldn’t be.
“You shouldn’t have done it,” Goku said. “You didn’t have to do it. We could have gone after him together!”
It remained unsaid that Sanzo had needed their help after all. “He had you attacked to provoke me. If I stayed with you, he might have taken it to a higher level.”
Goku set his hand over Sanzo’s, a warm weight, a connection Sanzo didn’t want--embrace nothing, he needed no one--but also did. Long ingrained instinct made him want to shake it off, but he couldn’t help remembering how it felt when Ukoku had come close to erasing him. Without the others he didn’t entirely exist, a bitter lesson. If a tree falls in the forest, but no one hears it....
“There’s a way. There’s always a way,” Goku answered, resolute, clear-eyed. “You missed so much. There’s a lot of stuff I have to tell you about, some people--” He stopped suddenly, obviously remembering something painful, his mental presence tinged with grief and regret, and Sanzo realized with a sharp pang that Goku had been growing up. Growing up the whole time but possibly doing it even faster in his absence, whatever that meant.
Yeah, he’d missed a lot of things.
Taking a lighter tone, Goku said, “Since you had the gold card, we had to work to make money.”
“I didn’t think about that.”
Sanzo had sudden mental images of Hakkai dressing them in funny costumes and forcing them to perform as street entertainers. He wouldn’t put it past him. Although he felt tempted to snark about what jobs they’d failed at and say that he liked knowing that they’d only tracked him down for his gold card, he swallowed the words back because Goku might have a major emotional reaction to them, which would get on his nerves.
He hated having everything feel so awkward and having to consider his words so thoroughly but had to admit that he’d brought it on himself. Still, this was somewhat easier than he’d expected it to be. Goku had made it so.
“Gojyo was especially ticked off over you leaving,” Goku said.
After Gojyo had abandoned them to go after Kami-sama alone? “He’s a hypocrite.”
“...true. He might think we should give you a beatdown like we gave him one.”
“Between Ukoku breaking me apart and you throwing me around, I think I’ve had my ass kicked in front of all of you enough already.”
“Maybe we can wait until you’ve healed up more? I’m kidding, Sanzo.”
“Better be. I might not survive it.”
That put a serious look on Goku’s face, one that he lightened as he answered, “I’m not worried. You said you’d outlive all of us.”
“Doesn’t mean we need to really need to test it. Just keep that in mind if Hakkai decides he needs to break my arm or something as payback.”
Would any of them respect him or any of his gestures of authority after all this? After Kami-sama had beaten them all so badly that first time they’d all fled... at least Gojyo had picked up their broken bodies and drove them away. After that, they’d nearly given up on it, individually and almost as a group. They would have, if not for Goku. But this time Sanzo had run away and stayed away alone, unable to deal with what had happened, leaving them to pick up the pieces.
Hakkai and Gojyo had saved Goku’s life and contained Seitan Taisei on their own; Sanzo knew he could trust them to take care of Goku without him. Still, all of his reasons and justifications couldn’t entirely erase his feeling of cowardice, so the three of them had to think that of him too.
He didn’t care what they thought.
Except that he also did.
Gojyo feeling angry and superior would be a giant, loud nuisance, while Hakkai’s brand of passive-aggression could be sadistic and very dangerous. Nothing more to it. Right.
“Sanzo, I came to a kind of decision while you were gone. Before, I was just riding along with you west because you had to do it. But I’ve seen things that.... Now I’m going to stop the revival because I want to. I think Hakkai and Gojyo feel the same way, though they never said it out plain and straight.”
He really had missed a lot while he was away. Regret warred with the possibility that Goku might not have come to this and matured so much with him still around. He had the sudden horrible thought that Goku held himself back because he thought Sanzo preferred him that way, still close to the child he’d been when they’d first met, and wouldn’t let him stay if he became closer to an adult.
It had to be Ukoku’s recent mental and physical assault leaving him feeling so battered, so mortal, wrong. Tomorrow Sanzo would probably be back to doing the impossible, like he had most of his life, full of piss and vinegar, but today....
“That’s good,” Sanzo answered softly. “That’s the best reason to do something.”
Goku shot him an almost worried look, but a knocking at the door before it opened distracted him. Hakkai said, “I knew I heard voices,” with Gojyo saying, “The walls are fuckin’ thin,” right after. It cheered Sanzo a bit that they looked beat up too.
He’d never claimed to be a nice person. “You’re next door?” he asked, already knowing the answer but figuring conversation might continue to smooth things over a little.
“We found your gold card,” Hakkai replied. With one of his evil smiles, he continued, “You wouldn’t believe what job these two wanted me to take while they sat back, lazy.”
“Oi!” Gojyo answered. “Stop putting words in our mouths. Nobody suggested it until you brought it up!”
“We worked!” Goku said.
It almost seemed normal.
“Hakkai, can you give me the card?” Goku asked. “I’m gonna get Sanzo something to eat. I’m gonna make sure he eats it too.”
“I’m not--” Sanzo started.
“After two days, you need some whether you want it or not! You’re never gonna heal quickly otherwise.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Hakkai said as he handed the card over.
As soon as Goku closed the door behind him, Hakkai said, “He was devastated and blamed himself when he found out you were gone.”
He knew this was coming. “Yeah. I’m sure you told him otherwise.”
“We shouldn’t have to, you asshole,” Gojyo said, the tip of his lit cigarette flaring from his angry breath. Sanzo wanted a smoke himself, but no one had left his cigarettes in sight.
“You don’t just have yourself to think of,” Hakkai said.
“Yeah. You’re right,” Sanzo replied.
That set them both back, which felt good. Gojyo said, “It’s weird when you just agree with us.”
“How do we know you won’t wander off alone again on some fool’s errand?” Hakkai asked.
Anger made a welcome change from the sad emptiness of a few minutes ago. “I had good reasons. You even told them to Goku. Yeah, you were fairly accurate. Conditions have changed since then. Also, the closer we get, the harder the challenges will be, so going off alone wouldn’t be a good idea for any of us.”
“You also learned that the only way to make a dent against that Sanzo is to team up against him. You got your ass kicked by yourself,” Gojyo said.
“Says the man who also got his ass kicked badly, and that was you taking him on with company,” Sanzo snapped back.
“Speaking of kicked asses,” Hakkai said, “we’re not going back out on the road until we’ve healed more.”
“Now you’re just messing with our heads!” Gojyo said.
If they wanted some return to status quo, Sanzo would happily give it to them if it served his ends. It was a relief getting an idea of what they expected from him. Like he’d said, the journey would get harder, and it would be harder still if they were seriously squabbling with each other.
Which was different from the status quo of bickering they had.
Hakkai set his hand on Sanzo’s shoulder to direct healing energy into him. “Don’t argue about this,” Hakkai said. “You received more of his tender attentions than we did and need this more than we do, and I’m well enough to give it. It’ll get us back on the journey faster.”
“...yeah.” Sanzo saw no point in arguing with logic.
“Seriously, man,” Gojyo said. “It weirds me out.”
Amusing. “I can disagree with all of you more if it makes you feel more comfortable.”
“Don’t put yourself out, Sanzo-sama.”
Hakkai smiled. “Ignore Gojyo and feel free to be as agreeable as you’d like.”
“I’ll ignore him anyway,” Sanzo answered.
“Oi!” Gojyo protested.
Holding a steaming plate full of food, Goku opened the door and said, “I got a bit of everything here.”
“You can’t expect me to eat all that,” Sanzo answered.
“I’ll take whatever you won’t,” Goku replied cheerfully.
Sanzo couldn’t see inter-team relations remaining this easy for long. Their stories of what they’d seen and done while separated would get traded, and resentments would come up. The others would remind him of how he’d freaked out and run off to score points against him. He’d have to reestablish his position within the group.
He’d deal with it, because he had a job to do and they were part of it.
***********************THE END********************** More Viridian5 stories can be found in The Green Room version 3.0 at http://viridian.shriftweb.org/ No-frames but no-frills access available at http://viridian.shriftweb.org/index2.htm Fandoms represented: Weiß Kreuz, Saiyuki, GetBackers, Trinity Blood, Andromeda, due South, Hard Core Logo, Twitch City, X-Files, Once a Thief, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, Angel, Two Guys and a Girl (was Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place), X-Men, Smallville, Doctor Who, Fight Club, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine