Chapter: Epilogue - Court of Wands
Author: Aeneus (aeneus111 (at) hotmail (.) com)
Summary: Cho Gonou enters Sanzo's life, turning it upside down. Sanzo needs to cope with the aftermath.
Disclaimer: All of these characters belong to Kazuya Minekura. This is written purely for my own entertainment and hopefully that of others.
A/N: The Court cards usual indicate people of importance/influence to the querant. But seeing as there are not enough people in Saiyuki to go around for all the Court cards, I also had to fall back on the general meanings associated with the Court cards. For the Wands, the Page is represented by Goku, the Knight is represented by a long, far-way trip, the Queen is represented by Kanzeon and the King is represented by Hazel.
Page of Wands
Goku didn't understand why all the monks seemed to dislike Hakkai. He thought Hakkai was great. Okay, so he was a murderer, but he didn't really look like one, or act like one. Hakkai was always kind and patient and taught him things he could show to Sanzo. As far as Goku was concerned, that was all that mattered.
Goku also didn't understand why Sanzo seemed to dislike Hakkai at first. He was always stiff and annoyed after Hakkai had been around - even more so than usual. Goku didn't understand it because Hakkai was always very attentive towards Sanzo and sometimes he caught Sanzo looking at Hakkai like he was the only other person in the room. It would make Goku's chest hurt, like he was feeling something very sad. It reminded him of when he was in cave, feeling lonely and waiting for someone, but being scared to wait in case no one ever came.
But Hakkai was right there, so Goku didn't understand why Sanzo wasn't happy. He knew how happy he'd been when Sanzo had come for him, but for some reason Sanzo was always distracted when he was with Hakkai.
And then there had been the big fight. Hakkai was upset and Sanzo was upset and even Gojyo had been upset, and no one would tell him anything about what was going on, which upset him too, but he didn't show it, because he wanted to help Sanzo. It had been scary to see Sanzo so sad. He had seen Sanzo sad before, like when it rained, but that was a different kind of sad. And at least the rain would always stop at some point and it would be all right. He wished he could tell Sanzo it was all going to be all right. Because he had seen the way Hakkai looked at Sanzo, too. And although he couldn't sense Hakkai's feelings like he did Sanzo, Goku knew that Hakkai would come back. Just as he would never leave Sanzo, neither would Hakkai.
Of course Hakkai did come back and things were better after that. Hakkai and Sanzo were spending a lot of time together, so surely they must be friends. Sanzo was more relaxed but Goku hardly got to spend any time with Hakkai anymore, because Sanzo always wanted to go to see Hakkai alone. It annoyed him a bit, because Hakkai was his friend, too, and he didn't like being alone in the temple.
The other monks and pupils at the temple would say Hakkai was a bad influence and that it was wrong for Sanzo to spend so much time with him. They used to say the same things about him and he didn't mind about that, because he'd gotten used to it. But it was different when they were talking about Hakkai behind his back. He would try to defend Hakkai, but the others would say he was too young to understand, that his master was a pervert and that he should better watch himself. But Goku knew Sanzo was happy, so Hakkai couldn't be bad for him. It made him like Hakkai even more and he wished he could come along with Sanzo when he went to visit him and Gojyo.
At his next lesson, Hakkai told him he was in love with Sanzo, just like he had been with Kanan. And that that was why they wanted to spend time alone together. He had told some other stuff too, that Goku wasn't sure he wanted to hear. All that mattered was that Hakkai said that Sanzo made him very happy and that he wanted to make Sanzo happy too. Goku told him he already did, and that made Hakkai smile, which made Goku very happy too.
Knight of Wands
Sanzo had a feeling this summons from the Three Aspects was different. Every once in while they would bother him with orders he would quickly pass on to others, but as soon as one of the monks had told him he had been called, he knew it had to be something related to the recent developments.
For months now the changes in the youkai population were becoming more and more widespread. Sanzo was most worried on how it was affecting Hakkai. In the three years Sanzo had known him, Hakkai had become somewhat at peace with his dual nature. But as more reports of Youkai violence reached the temple, he saw the unease growing in his lover.
Hakkai stroked his chest absently. "I can feel this side of me grow more violent. What if I can't contain it anymore? What if the limiters stop working? I couldn't face it." He lifted his head. "I wouldn't want to become someone capable of what …they did to her."
Sanzo heard what Hakkai was saying: he would rather die - or rather be killed. He looked at the man in his arms, waiting for a reply. But Sanzo couldn't. He couldn't give Hakkai that guarantee.
He could only hope the Three Aspects had found some way to stop it. He listened, hiding his shock at the revelation that his master's sutra was involved. The sutra for which his master had died, was now being used to take his lover away.
The Aspects didn't need to order him to take Hakkai and Goku with him. Neither of them would have willingly stayed behind. He reluctantly accepted the order to take Gojyo along as well, although the half-breed would probably have followed Hakkai anyway.
Over the last three years, Gojyo hadn't lost anything of his protective streak when it came to Hakkai. The fact that Hakkai had chosen to remain living with Gojyo instead of moving into the temple was partly for pure practical reasons, but also partly Hakkai's gesture of friendship and reassurance towards Gojyo. For his part, Sanzo had accepted Gojyo wasn't going to go away.
They made a strange little group that defied most people's assumptions and prejudices. A journey like this would test the bounds they had made between them. Sanzo lit a cigarette as he exited the holy chamber and inhaled deeply. He wasn't looking forward to it, but he also knew the Minus Wave had to be stopped. If not for the sake of his Master's sutra, than for the sanity of the man he loved.
Queen of Wands
Dear, dear Konzen, she whispered as she let her fingers trail through the water of her viewing pond. She had watched her nephew through many incarnations, as she had done with all of them, but never before had she witnessed Konzen and Tenpou finding love with each other. She had always had a weak spot for Tenpou; he had been one of the few kami to challenge her wit during his time in Heaven. But she also knew the depths of his emotions and had felt the anguish of his sorrows as Gonou.
Konzen was a different story. Forever bound to Goku, he had always been burdened by his sense of responsibility. Whilst Konzen was capable of strong devotion and could invoke the same emotion in others, he rarely loved, or was loved, on a level of equal reciprocation. Until now.
Kanzeon smiled, watching the two of them naked and tangled, grunting and moaning - burning off the frustrations of their endless journey. She turned her eyes away to give them some privacy. Not that she hadn't seen it all before - over the years the two of them had gotten over all possible inhibitions. She wouldn't have expected her reserved nephew to ever give himself over so completely to someone else. But it would seem Tenpou had opened up a whole new world of sensitivity.
The two of them suited each other, she thought contently. Konzen deserved all the happiness Tenpou could give him. The journey was testing all four of them, and she was glad her nephew had Tenpou to support him through what was to come.
She suddenly laughed out loud, making Jiroshin raise his eyes from the papers he'd been reading. Not even the Jade Emperor could have expected things to turn out quite like this. She had half a mind to go down below and visit them once more, if only to steal another kiss from Kenren in his delicious current incarnation. Perhaps it would make him remember the many times she'd had him here in Heaven…
She shook her head. She knew she shouldn't interfere; they had their own lives to play out. She snuck another peek at Tenpou and Konzen, now lying sated in each other arms. Okay, so she might have interfered a little bit - just a few nudges here and there and a few quiet words with the Aspects to steer things in the right direction. As she watched Konzen and Tenpou drift off the sleep, she knew she'd done the right thing.
King of Wands
Hazel raked his eyes leisurely over Sanzo's body. He indulged himself in the pleasure of studying the alluring physique, covered in the tempting attire of the man's position. Hazel wetted his lips, feeling his body stir under his robes.
He followed the easy movements of the priest as he smoked a cigarette whilst reading a newspaper. At first Hazel had thought Sanzo was purposefully ignoring him. After all, the man had made his dismay at finding Hazel and Gat staying at the same inn blatantly apparent. Hazel didn't mind the snide remarks Sanzo sent his way. He liked to think of it as evidence of the impact he was having on the man.
But now Hazel was getting the annoying impression Sanzo had simply forgotten he was there. He cleared his throat and put down his glass hard enough to attract the barman's attention. Hazel motioned him for a refill.
Sanzo took another drag of his cigarette and turned a page.
Hazel sighed as he took a sip of his wine and let the warmth of the alcohol mix with his simmering arousal. The sullen restrain of the other priest had fed his infatuation - he could only imagine the passion that would be unleashed once freed of such tight control. Hazel was sure he could find a way inside the man's shield, if only he could get the priest away from the influence of his demon companions - then Sanzo would surely see what a perfect team they would make.
He took another gulp from his glass to steady himself and prepared to move towards Sanzo when a hand on his shoulder stopped him. Annoyed, Hazel turned, expecting to see one of the locals wanting his attention. Instead he found himself fixed by the cold green eye of Sanzo's healer companion.
"Don't," Hakkai said calmly, his voice making Hazel's hairs stand up.
He wanted to shrug off Hakkai's hand and retort the demon's assumptions, but found himself unable to move, his instinct telling him in no uncertain terms it would be wise to keep still and his mouth shut. Hakkai let him go and Hazel watched silently as he moved over to Sanzo. He saw the demon's hand touch the priest's shoulder lightly, the move of Sanzo's head and the flash of warmth in the man's eyes.
Hazel felt his chest tighten as he witnessed the fleeting touch of Sanzo's fingers over Hakkai's hand – the gesture almost too quick to notice but glaring in Hazel's eyes. Hakkai ordered a drink from the bar and Sanzo seemingly returned to his earlier preoccupation of reading and smoking. But Hazel was observant enough to see the difference, the slightly more relaxed posture as Hakkai settled next to him and drank his tea, both men now apparently oblivious to his presence.
Hazel finished the rest of his wine, the liquid tasting bitter in his mouth. It would seem the priest had been corrupted by the demon way beyond Hazel had initially imagined. The thought of that demon's hand touching Sanzo's flesh made Hazel's stomach turn. He left his seat and returned to his room, unable to witness the sight in front of him. It was obvious more drastic and immediate measures were needed to separate Sanzo from the influence of the demons he traveled with. Someone needed to save the priest from such a vulgar debasement, Hazel thought nobly to himself, a smile returning to his lips as he formed his plans; he was just the man to show Sanzo the right way.