And now for Pt. 3…. This is where things happen. *G*
Disclaimer in Pt. 1.
Part 3Sanzo felt… foggy. This was unusual enough to alarm him. His left hand reached automatically under his pillow for his gun… only he discovered that his hand felt limp and slow, and his pillow wasn’t there. More importantly, neither was his gun.
I’ve been drugged, because that was the only explanation for the grogginess and weakness, since he didn’t remember being sick or wounded, and moved from my room in the Temple. How? Who could get in there?
Silly question, he reflected a moment later. Anyone could break in here – there. The better question is why? Is someone after the sutra again? And who is it? Not to mention, where did they take me?
He opened his eyes to mere slits, and took a quick glance around.
Well, at least he was still in the Temple. He recognized this as one of the storerooms that hadn’t been touched in years until he’d had Gojyo and Goku clean it four years ago, as punishment for the incident at Keiun Temple that had stuck them with their weapons. And it probably hadn’t been touched since.
Until a few days ago, by the looks of it. He was lying in a cleared area on the floor, but a careful – and annoyingly slow; this drug was proving alarmingly effective – look around showed that he was surrounded by boxes on all sides. A cursory search wouldn’t find him, unless Goku was with them.
Of course, Goku would probably be with any searchers – or would search on his own. And the monkey could handle anyone – even someone who would drug him – with one hand tied behind his back. Dealing with Kougaiji’s people had finally taught Goku a certain amount of subtlety – and how to deal with the enemy being more subtle than you. Goku would turn the Temple upside down and inside out to find him.
And so will Hakkai, Sanzo’s mind pointed out.
He’d done his best to avoid thinking about the Hakkai situation over the past few days. He knew he wasn’t being entirely fair to the youkai, but he really couldn’t work out what he wanted to do. The thought of accepting what went along with Hakkai’s claim… if he was to be completely honest with himself – which he had to be in this case – it scared him. More than dealing with Gyumaoh ever had.
On the other hand, the idea of rejecting Hakkai… didn’t appeal in the slightest. Hakkai was… a friend, if Sanzo was willing to admit to having any friends. He… didn’t want to hurt Hakkai, not really. He never had. Much as he hated to admit it to himself – and he would never tell anyone else – when he’d given Hakkai the chance to leave their journey west to deal with his own ghosts, it hadn’t been only because a distracted Hakkai would be a burden rather than an asset. Which meant something, Sanzo was sure; he just didn’t know what.
And yes, if the monkey was idiotic enough to let Hakkai knew he was missing, the youkai would definitely join the search. Sanzo just hoped he would be smart about it, and not go to Hakkai.
Oh, who the hell am I kidding. Of course Goku will head straight for Hakkai.
In other words, I’m going to have to rescue myself, if I don’t want Hakkai murdering his way through the Temple. Same as usual.
Opening his eyes a bit more, Sanzo took another quick look around the area he found himself in, and relaxed slightly. There was no sign of anyone. Good.
Though… come to think of it, why hasn’t Goku found me already? Am I going to have to rescue myself anyway, because they simply can’t do it?
Wonderful. Well, best to get started….
The first thing he tried to do was sit up unassisted. Tried being the operative word – his muscles were all watery from whatever drugs had been used to knock him out, and he couldn’t get them to respond fast enough to get him moving. The same thing happened when he tried to use his arms to push himself up.
The only good thing was that trying to move around had told him he was still wearing his jeans, armour shirt and kote.
Fuck, I’m screwed, he thought grimly. He was having that thought quite frequently lately. Things seemed to be going to hell in a handbasket over the last several weeks. Was the hag playing games with his life again? He certainly wouldn’t put it past hir, not when half the issues of the journey west were apparently solely for hir amusement….
The sound of the storeroom door opening brought his mind to full alertness, and Sanzo closed his eyes back to slits, just in case this was his kidnapper.
Footsteps approached, closing the door behind them, and Sanzo saw monk’s sandals come around a corner of boxes. Given there was no surprised outcry at his presence, he was likely right about this being his kidnapper. But why would one of the monks want to drug and kidnap him? (Well, aside from his habit of continually terrifying them….) Unless it was simply someone disguised as a monk….
No, he was not too paranoid.
“Here’s your breakfast, Sanzo-sama!”
That’s it. I am so fucking screwed. It was Hong Chao.
“Damn it, that kid is too energetic way too fucking early in the morning,” Gojyo groused, downing a slug of coffee from the mug Hakkai had just placed in front of him.
“He’s hardly a ‘kid’ anymore, Gojyo,” Hakkai reproved mildly, returning to the stove to fetch their breakfast, and grabbing another plate for Goku along the way.
“He’ll always be a snot-nosed brat to me,” Gojyo muttered.
“Hakkai!” Goku yelled again, and they heard the front door slam open. A moment later, Goku appeared in the kitchen doorway, and Hakkai nearly dropped the plate as he felt a surge of alarm go through him. The younger youkai looked panicked.
“What is it, Goku?”
For the third time in a week, a red rage raced through Hakkai. He left his limiters on only by sheer force of will – he didn’t want to panic people. Yet. Still, he could feel both teeth and claws straining against the power of the limiters, aching to break free, even as the plate clattered to the floor and broke. But that wasn’t important.
“Where?” he growled, vaguely aware that Gojyo was staring at him, but not caring.
Goku seemed to understand him, at least. “From his room at the temple. I’m not sure where he was taken – there was something really strong-smelling in the hall outside Sanzo’s room, and it kinda overpowered the scents. And there’s the smell of some kind of drug from the food left in the room from dinner last night.”
Drugged. The thought seared through the rage, increasing its intensity, and Hakkai’s hands clenched into fists. Kidnapped. It was the only possible explanation for Sanzo being missing and drugged.
A challenge to my claim. It was the only conclusion he was able to come to in this state. A cowardly challenge.
“Connection?” he demanded, debating whether or not to call Hakuryu from where he was napping with the part of his mind that could still concentrate on the practicalities. But Hakuryu wouldn’t be able to get them to the temple any faster than they could run.
“I don’t know!” Goku wailed. “It says he’s still in the temple, somewhere, but I can’t figure out where! It’s not that precise!”
Hakkai snarled. “Take me there.” If Goku couldn’t scent Sanzo’s trail, and the connection between the two of them couldn’t ferret out where Sanzo had been taken, then there was only one other way he could think of to find what was his.
“Wait a minute – what’s going on?” Gojyo demanded.
“I told you, kappa – Sanzo’s been drugged and kidnapped!” Goku snapped, dancing impatiently. “C’mon, Hakkai!”
He just nodded, still fighting the urge to remove his limiters – that could wait until they got to the temple.
Being able to feel everything his vines did was a benefit at times.
“Sanzo-sama, it’s time to wake up,” Hong Chao caroled, shaking Sanzo’s shoulder.
Sanzo spent about a minute debating whether or not to reveal that he was awake, before Hong Chao shook his shoulder even harder, almost banging his head into one of the boxes. “‘M ‘wake,” he mumbled, opening his eyes fully, and scowled internally. Gods-damned drug. What the hell had the man used on him?
And why the hell didn’t I notice it?
Hong Chao frowned. “You don’t sound awake, Sanzo-sama.”
Not to mention, why the fuck is he still calling me that?! “‘S stupi’ dru’,” Sanzo slurred. And a fucking annoying one. How the hell am I going to deal with this moron if I can’t even speak properly? And why the hell aren’t Goku and Hakkai here already? Surely it’s been enough time that they’ve noticed I’m not there….
Why did the bastard smell like that strong-scented lemon cleaning product that the idiot monks here had used to clean the temple before he’d brought Goku back?
“It shouldn’t be affecting you this badly,” the other priest said, frowning.
The implications of that were… mildly horrifying, though they didn’t come as an entire surprise, considering his current situation. He’s done this before. Right. I really am fucking screwed. If this is your idea of a good time, hag, I may just tell Hakkai to go ahead and let loose…. It would serve hir right.
Especially if he did something that has kept Goku and Hakkai from finding me.
Sanzo felt almost like slapping his forehead at that. Maybe the drug was also affecting his thought processes? Like using a cleanser too strong for Goku’s nose to muddy the trail….
“Maybe he got the dosage wrong….”
And that… would make altogether too much sense, Sanzo thought, if Hong Chao had an ally in the Temple who had dosed his food – because it had to be his food that the drug had come through; he couldn’t think of any other way that would have managed to conceal it, and he’d been unusually hungry last night. Very few of the priests had any idea that he was, as Hakkai often put it in tones of careful concern, rather underweight. “Wh’ are y’ doin’ this?” he managed, with another internal grimace. At least it might make Hong Chao think that he was as dazed in mind as he sounded. He only hoped he wasn’t. “Rev’nge?”
Hong Chao laughed. That didn’t make Sanzo feel any better. “Revenge? For what, Sanzo-sama?”
Sanzo’s eyes darted to the sling encasing Hong Chao’s arm. “I sho’ y’,” he reminded the other priest. It might not be the smartest move he could make, but at least it would get him some answers….
“This? Oh, this is nothing, Sanzo-sama,” Hong Chao stated. He was really starting to creep Sanzo out with his constant ‘Sanzo-sama’s. “No, I have no reason to try to take revenge on you.” Then he reached out, and ran his hand through Sanzo’s hair.
Despite his weakness, Sanzo felt a shiver of revulsion pass through his body. Hakkai’s hand in his hair had felt… nice. Pleasant. Something he’d be willing to repeat – and wasn’t that an interesting revelation? This… felt disgusting. It reminded him unpleasantly of that scorpion youkai, in the desert – the one who had killed another Sanzo and kept his sutra. The one that had set off that stupid Kougaiji-Seiten Taisei mess.
Yes, this bore a definite resemblance to that situation – Sanzo just hoped that Goku and Hakkai wouldn’t go through any retaining walls to get to him this time. The storeroom was fairly far from the temple entrance, after all. And that he’d be able to maintain enough control of his own anger to calmly shoot Hong Chao through the head when he got a chance. If Hakkai and Goku between them left enough of him to shoot.
“You’re very beautiful, you know, Sanzo-sama?” Hong Chao continued.
He’d been told that before. ‘Too beautiful for a man’ had also come up a few times. He usually just shot whatever idiot was saying it – or at the very least shot at them. But he’d already given Hong Chao a warning shot. The next one would definitely be to his head.
“And very wise. You must be, to be a Sanzo.”
Koumyou Sanzo had been wise. And kind. Genjyo Sanzo was neither.
“Not to mention powerful, to control one of the Tenchi Kaigen scriptures.”
Two. Not that most knew that. And that… well, I’ll give you that. It wasn’t something Sanzo thought about much, given it had been one more thing that the monks at Kinzan had resented him for, but he didn’t lie to himself. Much. Whoever his parents might have been – whether Ni Jianyi’s story was the truth or not – he was powerful. At least so said everyone, from Kanzeon Bosatsu on down. Goku had told him more than once that his personal scent was like power.
And if he could just get the mental and physical focus for reciting a sutra, Hong Chao might find out how powerful he was….
“All of which makes you eminently desirable,” came Hong Chao’s conclusion.
“Fu’ off,” Sanzo replied.
“Now, now, Sanzo-sama, you shouldn’t be using such language,” the man scolded. “What would the Sanbutsushin say to hear that?”
They’ve heard worse from me. Not often – some of the rare times he tended to show actual respect were in dealing with the Sanbutsushin (Master Koumyou had respected them, after all) – but they had heard him swear before. And they knew what he was like. He’d never made a secret of it. “Fu’ off,” he repeated.
“As for my own qualifications, I am intelligent,” Hong Chao went on, evidently deciding to ignore Sanzo’s commentary. That irritated him even further. “And ambitious – I will admit that. That is why I was sent here, to learn from you. When I first came here, I was expecting a pious, wrinkled old man. It was a pleasant surprise to find that you were the Sanzo priest I was to learn from instead.”
Sanzo did his best to scowl; and then did frown, as he felt something tickle his left hand. What the–
He looked down – carefully, in an effort not to attract Hong Chao’s notice – and saw a black, vine-like tendril twine up around his little finger and brush against his kote.
The relief he felt was surprising, and more than a little irritating, as the vine-tendril proceeded to curl around his wrist and squeeze just enough that he could feel it, then coil up around his arm. This was not the sort of position he really wanted to let Goku and Hakkai find him in – much less Gojyo – though they’d seen him in worse; but at the same time, Hong Chao’s attitude worried him a little. At least Hakkai’s obsession with him was a safe one – for him, that was. And he didn’t really give a damn about anyone who was attacking him.
“So you see, Sanzo-sama,” the waste of space was saying, drawing even nearer, “we really would make the perfect pair.”
Fucking moron. He’s even worse than Gojyo, pervert that the kappa is…. At least the hanyou knew how to take ‘no’ for an answer. To think just because some people happen to see him as intelligent that he would be attractive to everyone – that’s some of the worst sort of arrogance I’ve ever seen. The only thing worse was the ‘holier than thou’ idiots and the hypocrites.
Once again, the moron reached out to touch Sanzo’s hair. This time, Sanzo was able to shudder properly.
The drug’s starting to wear off– was all he had time to think, before the vine tightened reassuringly around his arm, and six others shot along the floor and up Hong Chao’s legs to bind him. They did a much better job on him than they had done on Goku at first after Ni Jianyi shot him, as they pulled the moron against one of the walls of boxes and held him there, spread-eagled.
“What the hell–” Hong Chao got out, before the vine-tendrils crossed his face and forcibly closed his mouth.
Sanzo couldn’t help the dryly amused chuckle that escaped. “Shoul’ watch your lan’age,” he remarked, trying again to sit up. Despite the support of the vine coiled around his arm and the weakening effect of the drug, he still couldn’t.
The vine around his arm coiled tighter again for a second, and Sanzo could almost feel Hakkai’s panicked urgency. Then two more vines came racing around the corner of the boxes; one coiled around his right arm, the other around his stomach and chest, and together the three lifted him into a sitting postion and leaned him against the boxes opposite Hong Chao – who was staring, eyes wide in shock.
“Di’ you forge’?” Sanzo asked, amused despite the position he found himself in. “My people are youkai.”
It was clear from the look on the man’s face that in spite of seeing Goku every day, and having seen Gojyo a few times – not to mention having planned for Goku’s nose! – he had indeed forgotten that very relevant fact.
Moron. Can’t even plan his crimes right.
The door slammed open, and a moment later Hakkai, in youkai form with his expression one of pure and utter fury, came sliding around the corner, his feet bare and each controlling the vines in turn. Goku – and, oh gods, Gojyo… why did they have to drag the kappa along – came hurrying after him.
All three stopped to take in the situation – Sanzo was not pleased that Gojyo was seeing him relying on Hakkai’s vines to keep him in a sitting position – and then Hakkai started taking slow, deliberate steps forward. Hong Chao cringed back against the boxes he was being held against, but Sanzo noticed that aside from a quick glance to see who he’d caught, Hakkai hadn’t even looked in the moron’s direction. Instead, all of Hakkai’s attention was focused on him.
Gojyo started to follow Hakkai, and Goku grabbed him, pulling him back towards the space in between the boxes where the three of them – and Hong Chao – had entered from. Oh shit, this doesn’t look good…. The hanyou turned to glare at Goku, but before he could do anything, Hakkai had reached Sanzo and crouched down next to him.
“Sanzo?” The youkai’s voice held the same odd, abstracted note as it had the day Hong Chao had ambushed him in the hall, and even as Hakkai spoke, he was rubbing his hands around Sanzo’s wrists and arms.
“Some kin’ o’ dru’,” Sanzo explained.
He didn’t think Hakkai’s expression could get any angrier, but he was proven wrong – and the youkai began growling as well. Hong Chao squeaked – the vines must have tightened unpleasantly around him – and Hakkai raised one hand and rubbed it carefully against his throat, being careful to keep his claws away from Sanzo’s skin. “Mine.”
This time it was Gojyo who squeaked.
Fuck… he said it clearly…. The kappa was unlikely to forget about this, unfortunately.
Hong Chao grunted in obvious protest as he began struggling against the grasp of the vines. He was then pulled firmer against the boxes, and the vines holding Sanzo up tightened slightly, in a protective manner, as Hakkai’s expression went absolutely blank. Except for his eyes, which… were they actually red-tinged? Even the right eye?
Goku’s words from several days ago echoed in his memory, “Unless… well, unless they feel the need to be really blatant if they’re being challenged. Then they might do something in front of the challenger,” and Sanzo knew what the youkai was going to do.
Before he could do or say anything – like, ‘Goku, get Gojyo the hell out of here,’ – Hakkai had raised the hand rubbing his throat to his hair, and leaned forward to kiss him.
This time, Sanzo was more aware of the sensations as they were happening.
Hakkai’s lips were thin, and fever-warm where they pressed against his own.
Hakkai’s hand was running through his hair in soothing patterns, erasing the memory of Hong Chao’s touches.
Hakkai’s other hand had also moved up, to rub gently against his throat.
Hakkai was purring.
He felt warm, and oddly safe, in a way he hadn’t felt in years. Is this why people like kissing so much? Sanzo wondered, as his eyes slid closed and he relaxed into the touches.
Then Hakkai used the hand buried in Sanzo’s hair to pull his head to the side and back slightly, deepening the kiss, and without thinking, Sanzo found himself responding.
Sanzo’s lips moved against his, and Hakkai felt his purr deepen at the acceptance.
He was distantly aware of the other sounds in the place, and his captive’s struggle, but the majority of his attention was focused firmly on Sanzo. Sanzo, who tasted even more like power than before, and anger, and acceptance… and a heavy dose of a sedative.
Rage seared through him again at that, and he deliberately tightened the vines holding his captive so that the man would barely be able to breathe, let alone struggle. Let him feel what he had almost done to Sanzo with that dose, Hakkai thought grimly, deepening the kiss even more in an attempt to erase all signs of the sedative.
A soft noise of protest came from Sanzo, even as he continued to respond to the kiss, and Hakkai realized then that he’d also tightened the vines supporting the priest further – protectively, but he’d still tightened them. He didn’t want to loosen them – Sanzo was his, and his to protect – but he knew vaguely that if he didn’t, Sanzo would kick up a fuss about it later.
Loosening the vines around Sanzo – slightly, less than he’d tightened them this time – Hakkai focused his full attention back on what was his. It was only fair, after all. This wasn’t just a negation of that man’s challenge; it was an increase of his claim on Sanzo. Sanzo deserved to hold the full focus of his attention.
Sanzo’s hair was so soft – like sun-warmed threads of silk – as Hakkai ran his hand through it. His pulse was beating a bit faster than normal – Hakkai could feel it through the hand stroking Sanzo’s throat and through the vines twined around his wrists and chest, and it gave him a heady feeling to know that he could affect Sanzo to that degree. The scent of his power and his acceptance, blended with Hakkai’s own scent, created a delicious perfume that filled the air between them. Hakkai just wanted to stay like this forever.
Goku. Goku, who had a shared claim on Sanzo. Reluctantly, Hakkai pulled away from the kiss, though he left his hands where they were.
Sanzo opened his eyes and blinked dazedly as Hakkai met his gaze. Only this time, Sanzo wasn’t showing the lack of awareness he had last time – just the aftereffects of the kiss. Good. Mine, Hakkai thought in satisfaction, licking his lips. A faint flush crossed Sanzo’s face, and Hakkai’s purr deepened again at this further sign of how he was affecting the priest.
“Hakkai!” Goku repeated.
Hakkai blinked, regaining the full sense of himself at the call as he stopped purring, then turned to look at the other two, slowly pulling his left hand out of Sanzo’s hair. He didn’t move his right, though, except to resume rubbing it along Sanzo’s throat. He was going to make sure that Sanzo was covered in his scent. He wasn’t going to go through another challenge. Sanzo was his, damnit, and everyone would know it!
Goku was dancing from foot to foot, looking worried and impatient. Gojyo was… well, Gojyo was staring at him as though he’d never seen him before.
Hakkai winced internally at that, but judging by Goku’s actions and urgency, they didn’t have time to deal with Gojyo’s reactions just yet. “What is it, Goku?”
“The search party is coming,” the younger youkai replied hurriedly. “I kinda think Sanzo would be pissed if they found us here like this.”
With me kissing him, Hakkai completed silently. It was more than likely.
“No kiddin’,” Sanzo commented dryly. “Pro’lem, though – I can’t si’ u’, much less stan’. An’ he ha’ help – someone else pu’ the dru’ into my foo’.”
“And almost killed you,” Hakkai growled, brushing his thumb over Sanzo’s cheek. He almost wanted to purr again when the priest leaned slightly into the touch. “The way you’re still slurring your words….” He shot a fanged snarl in Hong Chao’s direction. “In a dose as high as you got, it could have stopped your breathing. And I can help you stand up.”
“Then do i’!” Sanzo snapped at him.
The sharpness didn’t upset him – Sanzo was no doubt feeling quite vulnerable at the moment, and that was the way he dealt with it. Hakkai merely nodded, and manipulated the vines holding Sanzo so that they stood him up.
He wasn’t very steady, of course, and even the addition of two more vines – one for each leg – didn’t help that much; so Hakkai moved a bit closer, and wrapped his arm around Sanzo’s shoulders to provide more support. Just because he needed it, of course. It had nothing to do with the fact that he wanted to make sure that no one else challenged his claim on Sanzo, or wanting to be close to the priest.
Sanzo turned his head to glare at him just as the sounds of more footsteps came into the room, and followed the single vine-tendril Hakkai had left as a guide to the search party – he’d at least been thinking straight enough for that.
Head Priest Wakaru in the lead, the search party that had been formed while Goku had fetched Hakkai came around the corner, and they all stopped short at the scene.
Trying to see it from their perspective, Hakkai felt himself wince for a second time.
He was standing there, full youkai without his limiters, as they’d never seen him – ears, claws and vine tattoos completely visible. The most revered (and feared) Genjyo Sanzo was leaning on him, dressed only in his jeans and undershirt, with visible vine-tendrils coiled around his legs. (The vines around his arms and chest being effectively invisible, since they were black against the black of his undershirt and kote.) Their honoured visitor, Hong Chao, was trussed up in more vine-tendrils. And Goku and Gojyo – Goku was almost vibrating and Gojyo was just staring at himself and Sanzo, looking as stunned as the priests themselves did.
“What happened?” Priest Wakaru demanded sharply.
He’s learned that tone from Sanzo, Hakkai thought dryly. “It seems, Head Priest, that Hong Chao attempted to kidnap Sanzo.”
Hong Chao mumbled something against the vines keeping his mouth closed, and Hakkai tightened the vines around the rest of his body for a moment (again). “You shut up,” he snarled – he was having a hard time not actually killing the man, but the fact that Sanzo had accepted his claim was letting him maintain control. Then he shot a sharp look at the group of monks behind Wakaru. “You almost killed Sanzo with that drug,” he added deliberately.
One of the monks at the back of the group went pale and abruptly turned to flee. This time Hakkai let Goku handle the situation; he had handled Hong Chao, after all, and Goku had been just as stressed as he was, so it was only fair.
Goku rose admirably to the occasion, calling Nyoi-bo and slamming it on top of the monk’s head before he got more than two steps away, knocking him out quite firmly.
“What was that for?” Wakaru snapped.
“Hong Chao di’n’t pu’ the dru’ in my foo’,” Sanzo slurred out, sending another spurt of protective anger through Hakkai. It had come so close – the slurring and inability to stand were evidence enough of that…. “He ha’ someone else do i’.”
The entire group of (conscious) monks looked horrified at the statement, and at how badly Sanzo was still slurring his words. Wakaru took a step forward, and looked pointedly between the unconscious monk on the floor and Hong Chao. “Such a crime is quite a serious thing. If you will surrender custody of Hong Chao to us, Cho Hakkai, we will take care of him.”
Hakkai hesitated. He wanted to kill Hong Chao himself, and undoubtedly Sanzo felt the same. Yet… that would be murder, and he had sworn to Sanzo that he wouldn’t do that. If it had been done in the heat of the moment, when they’d first found Sanzo, it would be different – but if he did it right now, it would be done in cold blood. And while he knew he was capable of such a thing – it had taken him two months to find the Hyakugan Maoh’s stronghold and get in, after all – he had made the choice, when he had first surrendered to Sanzo after that, not to do it. All the same….
“What will you do with them?” Hakkai demanded, pulling Sanzo a little closer to him, protectively. He could feel, from the way that Sanzo tried to tense up, that he objected – but the priest couldn’t even stand unaided, much less struggle against him. And this might be the only time Hakkai got to hold him like this.
“They will be placed in the disciplinary cells, and the Sanbutsushin advised of the situation,” Wakaru replied firmly.
He didn’t want to let the monks take care of Hong Chao and his accomplice. But…. “Sanzo?”
“Lea’ them t’ the Sanbutsushin,” Sanzo said, as firmly as he could.
“All right,” Hakkai agreed reluctantly. But before he pulled his vines away from Hong Chao, he had them slam the man into the boxes they were holding him against, knocking him unconscious as well. He then removed the vines from the man, and pulled all of them – except those helping support Sanzo – back to him, and offered Wakaru a mild smile. “That should make him easier to handle.”
“Sto’ scarin’ them,” Sanzo muttered in his ear. “Tha’s my jo’.”
Hakkai ignored the comment. Sanzo wouldn’t be able to scare them in his current condition – not to the full extent possible – and since he was turning Hong Chao over to them, Hakkai wanted to make sure they understood the potential consequences of failing to hold and punish him. “We will be taking Sanzo back to our house with us,” he continued, still in his firm, mild tone. “He needs somewhere safe to recover from the drug used on him.” And he was starting to wish that he had woken Hakuryu up, since getting Sanzo back to their place was going to be awkward with him in this state.
Wakaru drew himself up. “That will not be necessary, Cho Hakkai. Genjyo Sanzo will be perfectly safe here.”
Raising a sceptical eyebrow, Hakkai looked pointedly at the two prisoners, who were being gathered up by some of the other monks. “Oh, yes, very safe,” he declared sardonically. He wanted Sanzo on his territory, damn it!
Goku stepped forward, catching Hakkai’s attention, and whispered youkai-soft, “We can guard him in his room, maybe?”
That… was a point, Hakkai had to admit. And the temple was also Sanzo’s territory. But he hated to back down in front of the monks….
Sanzo’s muscles tried to tense again. “No’ gettin’ dragg’ through half o’ Chang’an,” the priest said vehemently.
Well. That made Hakkai’s decision a bit easier. “Very well,” he said, though he gave Wakaru a look that made it clear he was agreeing only because Sanzo was insisting on it. “We will escort Sanzo to his quarters and remain there with him, to guard.”
“Do as you wish,” the head priest stated with a sigh, waving one hand in dismissal before turning back to the group of monks. “Some of you lift them up and bear them to the disciplinary cells. Do not put them in ones next to each other. I will notify the Sanbutsushin of the situation.”
There were several bows from the monks as four of them – two for each – picked up the prisoners by the simple expedient of grabbing their shoulders, and dragged them out of the storeroom. They’ve also been learning from Sanzo…. Wakaru and the rest of the monks quickly followed.
As soon as they were out of human earshot, Goku hurried over to Sanzo’s right side. “Are you all right, Sanzo?”
“Asi’e fro’ the dru’, yes,” Sanzo replied. Then he wavered, despite Hakkai’s grip on him, and Hakkai tightened his hold, both arm and vines.
“We need to get you lying down,” he said, concerned, letting a few more vines twine around Sanzo’s legs. Hopefully they would help keep him steady until they could get him to his rooms. “Goku, can you support him on that side?”
“Sure,” the younger youkai replied eagerly, before Sanzo could say anything. He took Sanzo’s right arm and draped it over his shoulders. “There!”
“Thank you, Goku,” Hakkai stated. “Gojyo, can you please lead the way?”
Gojyo started, blinked at them a few times – out of the corner of his eye Hakkai saw Sanzo scowl at him – and then shook his head as though coming back to himself. “Right. Okay, let’s go.”
By the time they reached Sanzo’s rooms – luckily not running into any other inhabitants of the temple on the way – Sanzo was about a breath away from collapse from the combination of the sedative and the exertion. He didn’t fight Hakkai’s insistence that he lie down in his bed, which had Hakkai almost more worried than the kidnapping itself. Sanzo did nothing that was for his own health without protest (unless it was his idea – or Hakkai could manage to make him think it was his idea).
Then again… he might simply be too exhausted to protest at the moment. They’d find out when he got back up.
Sanzo closed his eyes as soon as he lay down, and a minute later Hakkai heard his breathing deepen in sleep. The rhythm was familiar, well-known, and Hakkai relaxed into it, sitting down on the side of Sanzo’s bed and brushing his hand through Sanzo’s hair again. Hong Chao had touched his hair – Hakkai had been able to scent that during the kiss – and he wanted to make absolutely certain that all memory of that was erased from Sanzo’s mind.
“Hakkai…” Gojyo said, his tone pointed.
I suppose I do owe him something of an explanation….
Reluctantly pulling his vines away from Sanzo – it felt good to feel his breathing and pulse resonating through them, but Gojyo had a thing about the vines – Hakkai reached carefully into his pocket and pulled out his limiters. Clipping them on to his ears, he felt his form flux back into his human seeming, then looked up at Gojyo. “Yes?”
“You’re doing that damn oblivious thing again,” the hanyou grumbled. “You know what I’m asking about. What the hell was all… that?”
Hakkai took a deep breath, and let it out slowly as he resumed stroking Sanzo’s hair. How do I explain it… especially when I don’t understand half of it myself?
“It’s youkai instinct, idiot kappa!” Goku snapped.
Gojyo blinked. “Youkai instinct made you kiss the monk?!”
“Sanzo is mine,” Hakkai snarled, feeling a growl start to rise in his throat. “Hong Chao had no right to try to take him, and needed to be shown that.”
There was a long pause, then Gojyo shook his head and held up his hands in a gesture of surrender. “You know what? I really don’t want to know. Do whatever you want with him – just don’t tell me about it!”
“Stupid pervy kappa! Claiming isn’t like that!” Goku protested immediately.
“Then what exactly is it like, you dumb ape?”
“Don’t call me an ape, kappa!”
“Then don’t call me–”
“Out!” Hakkai snapped sharply.
Both of them turned to look at him in surprise. After all, he never interrupted their arguments – at least, not without being obviously polite about it. Sanzo was the one who snapped at them.
“Get out,” he repeated. “Sanzo is sleeping, and needs to sleep. I will not have him woken up by the two of you arguing so loudly. Go stand outside the door and argue if you must, but be quiet about it.”
They stared at him.
Hakkai growled. “Get. Out.”
That got them moving, and a minute later the door was closed behind Goku. Hakkai could still hear them through the door, but they were muffled enough now that Sanzo’s hearing wouldn’t be able to pick them out.
Relieved, Hakkai let his breath out in a gust of air. Then he turned back to Sanzo, and called up his chi to examine him. He really was worried about what damage the sedative might have done. It could so easily have stopped his breathing….
His tension eased further as the chi-healing examination showed that there had been no permanent damage done; the drug was being expunged from Sanzo’s system, slowly but surely. It might take a few hours, but Sanzo would be just fine.
And Hong Chao was being taken care of. His challenge was lost, and he was going to be punished. And Sanzo had accepted his increased claim.
Running his fingers through Sanzo’s hair again, Hakkai felt another purr building, and this time didn’t try to resist it. This, this, was Heaven. Sanzo safe, with him…. He shifted, lying down on the bed next to Sanzo, and resumed his scent-marking.
Slowly, without his realizing it, his eyes slid closed, and he fell asleep.
This time, when Sanzo woke up, he came to full alertness immediately, though he could feel a lingering weakness in his muscles that suggested that the drug hadn’t worn off completely yet.
He was in his room – he could feel the lump under his pillow that was his gun. But he could also feel a familiar hand in his hair – and since when had Hakkai’s hand in his hair become familiar? – and an arm draped around his waist, and hear a purring sound in his ear….
What the fucking hell? What does Hakkai think–
So much for making an actual, conscious choice about things, Sanzo realized, groaning silently as his memory of what had happened returned. He’d responded to Hakkai’s kiss, which meant he’d responded to – accepted – Hakkai’s ‘increased claim’.
Next to that, the fact that Gojyo had seen them kissing was minor.
Opening his eyes, he stared at his wall for a moment, debating what to do. Hakkai had been half out of it during most of that period in the storeroom – even after the kiss, from what he’d been able to sense. The youkai had sounded all right, and perfectly sane – or at least as sane as he ever got; but Sanzo had felt the way Hakkai had been gripping on to him. It had not been simply to help him stay standing. It had been possessive.
Which raises the issue – was that the youkai claiming, or was it him?
He could tolerate it if it was the youkai claim. He knew what to expect from that – at least in general. Hell, he’d been dealing with that for the last five weeks, from both Hakkai and Goku! And it should calm down, now that Hong Chao was being taken care of.
If it was a matter of Hakkai’s own emotions, on the other hand… Sanzo wasn’t too sure that he could handle that. A youkai’s claim was at least somewhat predictable. Hakkai was not. Only a fool – or the Sanbutsushin – would think that he was. The appearance of predictability was just as much a mask of the youkai’s as the politeness was.
When Hakkai let loose with that unpredictable part of his nature… Sanzo tended to lose all control of the situation. The which he did not appreciate.
And any time Hakkai’s emotions got involved, he became unpredictable.
Not to mention… I never figured out what I feel about Hakkai’s feelings.
It had become doubly important now that he figure that out quickly. And honestly. Because he had the exceedingly unpleasant feeling that Hakkai’s emotions were involved, and strongly. And he’d already decided that he didn’t really want to hurt Hakkai.
So… what did he think of Hakkai?
Loyal. Resourceful. Able to protect himself. Useful. A minor annoyance.
And feel for him?
Gods, I want a cigarette. And a beer. Or five.
He hated dealing with emotions. They were messy, and complicated – and, as Hakkai had mentioned, they responded to neither practicality nor logic. Not to mention that if he wanted to know exactly what he felt, he had to meditate to get at that information. It was the only way to be sure that he was getting to the truth.
All right. Ignore the feel of Hakkai’s hand in his hair. Ignore the sound of purring from behind him. Concentrate on the flow of air, in and out of his lungs. Concentrate on the sense of tension as he breathed in, and relaxation as he breathed out.
Question: What do I feel about Hakkai?
Warmth. Safety. Friendship. Trust. Affection.
If he wants… everything, can I give that to him, and stay true to myself?
Concentrate. Breathe in, breathe out.
Maybe. It’s who I am that he loves, for whatever reason.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Sanzo opened his eyes slowly, re-focusing his attention to the outside world.
And blinked in confusion when he saw not his wall, but the green fabric of Hakkai’s usual shirt.
His face was pressed up against Hakkai’s shoulder, Sanzo realized a moment later. Somehow he must have turned around while in trance.
How fucking wonderful… he thought sourly, trying his best to ignore the way he could feel Hakkai’s purring thrumming against his forehead and chest, from how he was lying against the youkai. The way Hakkai’s fingers moved idly in his hair, almost massaging his scalp, despite the fact that the youkai was also asleep. The way Hakkai’s arm was draped protectively over his waist.
Warmth. Safety. Trust. The emotions he’d felt about Hakkai while in trance resonated through him, and despite his determination, Sanzo felt himself actually relaxing – truly relaxing, not just in-trance relaxation – for the first time in a long while.
Hakkai would never hurt him. And Hakkai was strong enough to defend himself – he’d never need Sanzo to defend him.
The combination of Hakkai’s purring and the scalp massage had his eyes slowly closing, and before long, Sanzo fell back to sleep.
As always, comments and constructive criticism are welcome. Flames will be handed over to the furious monk who is currently shooting at me….