Title: Next Time
Disclaimer: Don't own them, wish I did. *sigh*
Summary: Time marches on, but Goku doesn't - and he's not happy about it.
Notes: Written for the sunandearth 393 fanwork community, my prompt was "Immortality - See you next time." Thanks to charliesmum for her beta-fu! 1,500 words.
Goku leaned back against the trunk of the sakura tree in the east temple garden and watched the spring breeze liberate a flurry of blossoms, holding out his hand to see how many would land in his palm.
"I thought I would find you here." There was the sharp tap of Sanzo's walking stick as the priest slowly made his way down the flagstone path toward Goku. "Can't we have your fucking birthday around here anymore without you moping?" When Sanzo came to stand next to where Goku was sitting he whacked him with the stick. "Move your ass over." There were a few muffled curses as Sanzo sat down heavily next to Goku, who quickly scooted over to make room.
Goku drew his knees to his chest and stared mutinously ahead. "I don't see the point when it's obvious I'm not gettin' any older. I mean, I just turned seventy, for Buddha's sake - an' look at me!" He waved a hand at himself, his golden-tan skin smooth and unblemished.
A thin hand landed in Goku's chestnut hair, which still had the same color and shine as it had fifty years ago. "I am looking at you, idiot," Sanzo growled softly, ruffling the spiky locks. "And you're beautiful. We're the ones who should be bothered by birthdays, not you. Look at the fuss the kappa made a couple of years ago when he got his first gray hair." Sanzo withdrew his hand and fished his cigarette pack out of his sleeve. He tapped out a cigarette and lit it, exhaling a pale cloud off to the side.
Goku chuckled in spite of himself. "Yeah, he wasn't happy." He curled up next to Sanzo, slipping his arms around a thin waist. "M'sorry, Sanzo." Goku frowned and looked up at the elderly monk. "But it doesn't bother you? That you've aged an' I haven't? That I'm a freak who won't die? Not demon, not human?"
A nicotine-stained finger jabbed into his chest. "Don't you ever call yourself that. We might not know just what the fuck you are, but you're not a freak. Everything ages, Goku. You do too, just a lot slower than the rest of us." Sanzo took a long drag off of his cigarette. "Does it bother me that I've aged? Only with what I can't do anymore. My aim's for shit now, so I have almost no hope of ever shooting the kappa, and fucking you into the mattress has turned into a special occasion."
Goku reached up and caressed a parchment-smooth cheek. "Who cares how we do stuff as long as it feels good? Besides, after almost fifty years it's only fair that it's my turn." Goku leaned his head back and grinned at Sanzo. In his opinion, Sanzo had lost none of his beauty over the years. His golden hair was now completely white, but it was all there in spite of Gojyo's nickname of "Baldy". His skin was smooth and unlined - well, almost, Goku corrected himself - there were still the same old scowl lines that Sanzo'd had when he was in his twenties. And those violet eyes were still as sharp and piercing as ever, even if they didn't see as well.
Looking at him still took Goku's breath away.
His grin faded. "Sanzo?" he asked hesitantly. "What am I gonna do when you... die?" There. He'd asked it. The question he'd been avoiding for a number of years now.
"You'll keep living, Goku."
Goku scowled at him. "C'mon, m'bein' serious!"
"So am I," the monk calmly replied. "I want you to keep living."
Goku burrowed into Sanzo's robes. "But I won't have you," he said softly.
"Yes you will, you'll just have to wait a little while." Sanzo stubbed out his cigarette and lit another.
Goku looked up in confusion. "I will? I'll hafta wait? I don't understand."
"Tch," Sanzo huffed. "You've been living in a goddamn Buddhist temple for how many years? Reincarnation, moron." He inhaled, then blew smoke off to the side. "I'm pretty sure that the Powers That Be are going to keep my soul tied to your unholy ass for a long time."
Goku sat up and gaped at Sanzo. "I never really paid attention ta that stuff. So you'll be back? We can be together again?"
Sanzo held up a finger. "My soul will return, and be reborn. I won't be 'Sanzo', but that reincarnation will have my soul, which you've now known for two lifetimes, if we listen to the Merciful Pain in the Ass. And if I heard your voice before, I can hear it again."
Goku returned to curling up against Sanzo's side, his forehead scrunched in thought. "But you won't know me, will you?"
"I won't remember you, but my soul will. I'll be drawn to you, especially if I hear you calling me." Sanzo threaded his fingers through soft brown locks. "Look at it this way, monkey - we get to start all over again. And next time, there won't be a goddamn six year journey, or youkai trying to kill us, or all the other bullshit we had to deal with."
"Hunh," Goku mused. "Maybe you won't be such a grumpypants next time. Ow!" He rubbed his head as the fan landed with a vicious thwack. "Well, it's true! You had all kinda bad stuff happen to ya when you were young... maybe in your next life ya won't an' you'll be nice." Goku considered the thought, then shook his head and laughed. "Nah, you wouldn't be my Sanzo if you were nice!"
"Fuck you." The words were harsh, but there was a tiny curve on one side of Sanzo's mouth.
Goku chuckled again and nuzzled against the pebbled silk of Sanzo's robe. This talk wasn't nearly as scary as he thought it would be - and the thought of being able to fall in love with Sanzo all over again was both comforting and appealing. "So, what'll I do while I wait? Cuz I figure I'd at least need ta wait until ya grew up. It'd be creepy otherwise." He grinned up at the monk.
There was genuine amusement in Sanzo's eyes, and Goku could tell that their strange conversation was easing his mind as well. "Well, you'll always have a home here. You are my heir, so you will be the next Sanzo." He held up a hand when Goku began to protest. "That's not up for discussion. You won't have to run the place, you can always have the abbott take care of the temple. Status as a Sanzo is the best security I can give you - and besides, the Maten scripture has traditionally gone to a youkai."
Sanzo waved a hand toward the hillside past the temple wall. "You should take that time to travel, Goku. See the world, learn things." He took a final drag from his cigarette and stubbed it out. "Just make sure you get your ass back here to find me before I end up married with six screaming kids."
The thought of Sanzo A) with a woman and B) with kids sent Goku into a fit of laughter. "I-I'll make sure, I promise." He wiped his eyes with a corner of his shirt, and then he stared at Sanzo as a thought occurred to him. "Hey Sanzo, what if you come back as a girl? That'd be weird."
WHACK! Sanzo brought the fan down on top of Goku's head. "Don't even joke about that, monkey. We don't want Her getting any ideas." He looked up at the sky and shuddered.
Goku smiled, thinking that Sanzo would be a very, very scary girl. But he wouldn't mind; guy, girl, they would still be Sanzo, who had been Konzen, and they would still be the soul that has been tied to his for half a millennium.
He got up and helped Sanzo to his feet, and for a moment they stood next to each other, fingers twined together. The peaceful moment was broken when a sudden gust of wind sent a shower of sakura petals scattering over them. Goku laughed and picked the pink blossoms out of Sanzo's hair while the monk scowled. "Thanks, Sanzo," Goku said as he plucked the last stubborn petal, "I feel a lot better about everything. Thinkin' about it this way makes it not so sad or scary, cuz it won't be really 'goodbye' but more like... 'see ya next time'."
"Not if I see you first." Sanzo bent his head and brushed his lips against Goku's, lightly at first and then suddenly he claimed Goku's mouth with a passion that left Goku breathless. "Come on, monkey," Sanzo's voice was husky as he tugged Goku back up the path. "The last time I checked, a birthday was a special occasion."