Title: Wildflower (Part 6 of Torrent) - Chapter 9
Disclaimer: Not mine. Just another piece inspired by Kazuya Minekura's delicious boys.
Summary: "Bloom where you're planted." A long-overdue songfic of random ruminations by four souls bound by fate. Part 6 of the Torrent series.
iii. Heaven's Child
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
– Walt Emerson
"Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string." – Ralph Waldo Emerson
"I worshipped dead men for their strength, forgetting I was strong." – Vita Sackville-West
He calls me "angel". Me. This cold and cynical soul, this corrupt and disillusioned being. This hypocritical bastard on a "divine" mission to "save" the world, who in reality wants nothing more then simple, calculated revenge. I am a creature seeking blood in retribution for the anguish that tore me apart; I am a cold and ruthless animal who would rather bite any hand that seeks to comfort me than risk opening my heart ever again… I am this sick and twisted and ugly thing, and he calls me his angel.
…And the miracle of it is, that lying in his arms… cradled in his embrace, and with tender lips pressing worshipful kisses on my brow – I see myself through his eyes… and I am beautiful.
For the first time in my life, what I see in the mirror is how I feel inside. What an irony that it took him, the bane of my life, to set me free from the burden of my guilt, my despair, and my bitterness. And what amazes me the most, what overwhelms me, is that he accomplished it without seeking to change anything about me – it is in fact my arrogance and my fierce spirit and my pride that he cherishes above all. He embraces me fully, with open arms – my temper, my short patience, my foul moods and caustic tongue. He loves me – or so he says – not despite these faults, but because of them.
Hn. Typical perverse kappa. Silly fool. Idiot, in fact… or perhaps the slyest fox that ever existed, knowing exactly how to worm his way in: through sheer, stubborn, unconditional acceptance of the imperfect, flawed bastard that is Genjo Sanzo… and all the while telling me with those soulful, merry, tender red orbs, that in his eyes… I am flawless.
His hands tell me that, and strangely enough, I become it. Whole. The broken pieces of me gather themselves up, fit themselves together, seamlessly, flawlessly, at his command… enveloped with his fierce and pure and total worship, I am rendered complete, I become the perfect me – just me, nameless, neither river rat nor the last hope of Shangri-La or Tenkai or whoever or whatever the fuck it is I am duty-bound to serve… neither tragic Kouryu the abandoned child twice orphaned nor corrupt Sanzo the leader of a rag-tag team heading West on a one-way trip to save the world.
No… in his arms, I am simply me, his equal, his mate, his lover – the unconventional half that completes his half, that translates into the whole that we become together. ...In fact, you could say that Sha Gojyo is the nirvana that I achieve without meditation. Hn.
I can't say precisely when the disdain turned into fascination… In the early days he was nothing more than another goddamn pervert who seemed to have a freakish absorption with how I looked: just another man in a long line of men I had encountered who were drawn irresistibly to this damnable pretty face, this startling combination of pale skin and gold hair and purple eyes. Back then his teasing and innuendoes and flirting simply irritated the hell out of me, and thus my biting remarks and hostile attitude toward him. What I failed to realize was that his actions did not repel me, as the other men's leering did. I might have been annoyed, but it was not revulsion that I felt.
In fact, it was something else… something that made me all the more haughty and aloof toward him. He was starting to be compelling to me… it was a shock to discover that I was getting used to his teasing, and had even come to expect his flirting with me… and got inexplicably angry and excessively violent with him when he turned his charms on random pretty girls.
I started to crave all his attention for myself.
His boldness, his defiance, his strength spoke to me. His fierce, protective nature towards the weak and the humble belied his seeming arrogance and flippancy. His soft heart somehow shone through, as warm and pulsing red as the shocking color of his hair and eyes. Even early on, I saw how he valued friendship. He protected and cherished the ones he held dear, and back then it was Gonou, and back then his stubborn loyalty meant he was willing to be accomplice to a crime he didn't even know his roommate had committed. He even had a way with children that was… endearing. He and Goku might send me to an early grave with their constant petty quarrels, but Gojyo is the one who would offer his arm (literally) to protect Son Goku's life.
And above all… he respected me. Whatever sass came out of his mouth, no matter the dirty, disgruntled looks he shot at me, or the calculated insults designed to blow my blood-pressure sky-high: Sha Gojyo respected me. He respects me, the man that I am, in a way that nobody ever has.
People in the streets kowtow to my face when they see these robes and scriptures, and then whisper ill-conceived speculation and gossip behind my back. The monks in whatever temples I seek shelter in tremble with awe and veneration at my title, and then sneer amongst themselves, questioning Koumyou Sanzo's choice for his heir. Everywhere I go, it's the same. Bloody idiots blinded by highfaluting ideals, prostrating themselves at my feet, and all the while looking sideways at me and my unshaved head and my gun and my cigarettes and my piercing, direct stare that is anything but holy – or whatever their concept of holy must be.
Goku does not even count – the kid is consumed with adulation and is too guileless and honest to take into account. Hakkai started out as Gonou, beholden to me for his life; and besides – the man himself is the embodiment of respect and proper decorum. Hakkai would be respectful to anyone and everyone even if they were about to tear his head off.
Whereas he… Gojyo, a child of the streets, a half-breed who has suffered his own share of disrespect and disillusion and society-imposed shame… He who would be the most likely candidate to hold contempt for me – never has. His words and his manner might have suggested it, but contrary to how it appears to the outside world, it was just a man-to-man thing. He insulted my sharp tongue, he scoffed at my apathy, he sneered at my aloof nature – but never once made reference to my title, never once made it personal. It was just his goddamn smart mouth talking back to another male who was every bit as arrogant as him.
Nothing more, nothing less.
When it came to the things that really mattered, Sha Gojyo respected me. It was there in his eyes. In the way he opened his soul and his suffering to me. In the way he trusted me to save Gonou. In the way he took part in this mission, conceding to be led by "the piece of shit monk". In fact, it is precisely the way he says 'kuso bouzu' so casually and irreverently that tells me how he sees me and values me: as the man, and not as the 'priest'.
Sha Gojyo sees me.
Sha Gojyo has always seen me.
And those times when I caught him staring in earnest… those furtive glances that he secretly stole when he thought I wasn't paying attention… those were the times that stole my breath – because those eyes were filled not with flirting or teasing, or exaggerated lust… but with a tenderness that stung, sheer longing that pierced me to the core… and a deep, steady flame that engulfed me and captured my soul. Tell me, what else was I to do, but surrender? Surrender to him. Surrender to myself. Surrender to us.
He burns me to this day.
He is the fire to my ice, melting away all indifference and apathy and unfeeling… he releases some unknown part of me that is feral and savage in my obsession, ravenous in my hunger for him, wild and uninhibited, all-consuming and insatiable with longing and need and want of him. I feel so much, nowadays, with just a look into his eyes… just the merest brush of his skin, that it sometimes feels like dying inside – a slow, sweet death… la petite mort, in fact, that we share together – not unlike total, pure oblivion to everything else: in each other's arms, we and we alone exist.
Yes, he is the fire to my ice, the blunt edge to my sharp, the irreverent humor to my caustic wit. We just fit together, ironically enough. Because when you look beneath the surface "like poles" that outwardly repelled us away from each other… you find the perfect complements that fall into place so naturally that there can be no question of its rightness.
My discipline tames his impulsiveness. His playfulness tempers my seriousness. My self-control evens out his recklessness. His spontaneity mellows my obstinacy. My thoughtfulness quiets his restlessness; his light-hearted spirit brightens the dark corners of my soul.
In our own ways, we are each of us intense, spirited individuals – bold and arrogant and defiant – and yet what a mystery it is that we fit together so beautifully.
Not perfectly, no – the idiot is still too fundamentally annoying a creature for a seamless, smooth fit: he can still be so goddamn provoking, and irritating; testing the limits of my patience with his juvenile quibbling with Goku, his outrageous swagger and cocky attitude; driving me up the wall with his romantic notions of endearments and secret signs and inappropriate stolen touches; lighting the short end of my fuse with daring, open taunts and insults when he doesn't get his way, resorting to calling me "Sanzo-chan" when I snap his head off.
…And yet … Gojyo just would not be the delicious, wicked rogue that is my lover without that spice of naughtiness and irreverence that is part of his nature. And besides, when it comes down to it – the poor bastard has to put up with this sullen, foul-tempered, acid-tongued devil too. If he can embrace my faults and love me for it, I sure as hell can tolerate his… to a point. Hn. Otherwise the harisen will settle the matter, as it always effectively does.
He used to revenge himself – and occasionally still does, when he acts like a brat – by calling me "ice princess". But from the very beginning, Gojyo knew I was far from being "cold". If anything, I felt things to the extreme. In the early days it was his chief amusement to crack my carefully constructed façade with well-aimed taunts, almost always guaranteed to get a rise out of me and earn him a cutting remark in retaliation. Back then, I used to marvel at the asshole's sheer appetite for punishment, and put it down to a sadomasochistic streak in him, irritating pervert that he was in my eyes.
It is only now that it dawns fully on me, what he was really trying to do. He sensed my intensity, somehow, the shrewd bastard – and he honestly considered it more blessing than burden – and tried in his perverse, impulsive way to break down the barriers that held me so rigid… he wanted that intensity to break free, because it's when I internalize it that it turns into my curse.
Hmph. The wily imp now basks in that very intensity that he has unleashed, declaring himself blessed over and over to the only one who is privy to the rawness of my innermost emotions.
yet… how can I begrudge the little fool his gloating, when with him I feel so
very free for the first time in my life? Even back then, living with my
Master, I was bound by the rules of the monks, bound by my duties, bound by my
debt to the
Even this Journey West binds me to the sunset road, ever onward; through multiple goddamn distractions and hordes of idiots along the way.
…And even when the mission is complete my name and my title binds me to return to the temple and live out my life, as per the dictates of this holy office – with me the 31st Toa, the chosen of Buddha.
Not so with him. Never with him. That is the strangest thing of all… I am his, willingly – I belong completely to him by virtue of Gojyo making no claims on me, save for loving me so much, and asking only to be loved in return. His love comes at no price, no price at all – and it is this precisely which so humbles and overwhelms me… and makes me feel a contentment and peace that I have never known before.
Ironically – this daring, mischievous, arrogant and impetuous red-headed wild child is my tranquility. Go fucking figure… hn.
And believe it or not – he is my muichimotsu. By now, it shouldn't be that hard to fathom.
If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha.
If you meet your ancestors, kill your ancestors.
Free of everything, you are bound by nothing.
Live your life simply as it is.
Who in the world is more happy-go-lucky and carefree than Sha Gojyo? Koumyou Sanzo perhaps, when my Master was still alive. I used to be such a worried little thing, overly concerned with propriety, none-too-politely questioning my Master's habits of smoking a pipe, or "escaping" his teaching duties… or even questioning his wisdom in appointing me his successor.
And even when I had killed, taken my first life, and broken the holiest of commands not to harm the meanest living soul – I was still so bound by my own narrow visions of how the world should be. I scoffed at fellow monks who were sincere in their devotion, simply because they were untainted by the cruel reality of the outside world – when in fact I was the pompous ass, as always, looking down on their simple and honest faith and feeling somehow superior and unworthy of them, just because I had overcome trials beyond imagining, and fancied that my spirit was better than theirs because mine was purified by pain, not by empty prayers.
You see the depth of my arrogance? Even if it were true that my suffering meant I was on a different plane than my peers, did not make me any better than them; nor indeed worse, as my nightmares seemed to constantly mock me. I was… I am – just different.
No more, no less.
This was the great secret that Koumyou Sanzo carried inside him. The fact that all men are flawed, even monks, even Sanzo Priests. No one is infallible. In the end, all that my wisdom has taught me is that I know nothing. That is the moment of enlightenment.
And yet being a Sanzo Houshi, I am obliged to keep in place that mask of irrefutable knowledge, of indefatigable strength, of infinite mysterious wisdom. These are what give me authority, even if most of the time I just couldn't give a damn. In certain situations, however, the decorum is ideal, and facilitates matters more effectively and efficiently with it than without it. And so I oblige, no matter how wearying it is to body and spirit.
At such times I now fully understand my Master's parting words about the scriptures draped over my shoulders. Strange how such a light and fragile thing can be such a burden.
And even stranger still, how the weight of the world falls away in such blessed release… when all is quiet, and it is just me and him… and Gojyo carefully, reverently slips the sutras from my shoulders as we undress each other in the dark. Literally and figuratively, he strips me of my burden, draining away all madness and torment and trouble, until I am renewed, reborn, in his arms.
He carries me when I am too weary to carry myself.
In his arms, I am free of everything.
His love liberates me from all that binds – duties and promises, vows and responsibilities – all worries and care fade away.
Each night, for a few brief, precious hours… wrapped in his embrace… I live my life simply, as it is.
My taboo child of the flaming hair, and sunset eyes, and the proud scars on his cheek.
My wild gypsy with his ribald tongue, and cocky grin, and untamed passion, and unconquered strength… and the gentlest heart that ever beat, drumming steadily and soothingly beneath my ear.
My mate and my equal.
Fire to my ice.
Sha Gojyo, sunshine of my soul.
"Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place." – Zora Neale Hurston
"Love's greatest gift is its ability to make everything it touches sacred."
– Barbara de Angelis
-- owari. –
A/N: It took some time for me and the chibi-muses to wrangle this "confession" out of the stubborn Sanzo, but we managed it in the end. Heh. We hope it was worth the long wait. The song that was inspiration for this fic follows. Thanks for reading!
5 She's faced the hardest times you could imagine
And many times her eyes fought back the tears
And when her youthful world was about to fall in
Each time her slender shoulders
Bore the weight of all her fears
And the sorrow no one hears
Still rings in midnight silence in her ears 5
8 Let her cry, for she's a lady
Let her dream, for she's a child
Let the rain fall down upon her
She's a free and gentle flower
Growing wild 8
9 And if by chance I should hold her
Let me hold her for a time
And if allowed but one possession
I would pick her from the garden to be mine 9
3 Be careful how you touch her
For she'll awaken
And sleep's the only freedom that she knows
And when you walk into her eyes
You won't believe
The way she's always paying
For a debt she never owed
And the silent wind still blows
That only she can hear and so she goes… 3
Words by David Richardson, Copyright Edsel Music.
"Bloom where you're planted." - Mary Engelbert
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