Title: No Limits, No
Disclaimer: Ah, I don't own them. *thinks about what it would be like to own Seiten Taisei... rowrrr*
Summary: Goku likes being his real self - but does Sanzo like him that way?
Notes: Written for the sunandearth 393 fanwork community, my prompt was "Goku learns how to control his unlimitered self, and Sanzo doesn't know how to react." 3,800 words.
They stood amidst the smoking ruins of Hontou Castle.
Goku leaned on Nyoi-bo as he watched his companions. Hakkai and Yaone were tending to Gojyo's and Lirin's injuries, while Dokugakuji and Kougaiji hovered anxiously nearby. Goku's gaze then settled on Sanzo. The monk was carefully stowing the three remaining scriptures into a pack, and Goku grinned with satisfaction when he saw the Seiten and Maten scriptures fluttering together on Sanzo's shoulders.
They had done it. They had done it together. And even better, they had all made it out alive. His grin widened.
"Proud of yourself, are you, kiddo?" a strangely familiar voice purred next to his ear.
Goku whirled around, only to stare open-mouthed at the scantily-clad woman standing before him. He looked back at the others. "Hey, guys-"
"Don't bother, Goku. They can't see me." The woman smirked as she glanced over at them. "I'll be speaking with them all eventually, but I wanted to talk to you and Konzen first."
"How do you know-" Goku's eyes went wide. "You're her," he breathed. "Bosatsu."
"Smart boy." Kanzeon Bosatsu gave him a toothy grin. "I've been watching you for a long time, darling, and I must say that I'm very, very proud of you. You've done well, and a reward is in order."
Goku gave Her a wary look. "A reward? I dunno... I just wanna go home to the temple with Sanzo."
The Merciful Goddess rolled Her eyes. "Must you both be so boring? That's what Konzen wanted." She waved over at Sanzo. "Well, he really said 'Leave me the fuck alone and just let us go back to the temple, you old hag', but I would say that's the same thing, wouldn't you?" She sighed. "Come on, there must be something."
A small, wild hope flickered inside of Goku. Maybe...
Kanzeon noticed the change in his expression. "Ahh, there is something. Tell Auntie Kanzeon, dear."
"Well," Goku lowered his gaze and scuffed his boot on the dusty, broken concrete beneath his feet. "It would be nice ta not hafta wear this-" he tapped his limiter, "an' hafta worry about hurtin' anybody if it breaks or comes off. Can that be my reward?" A ring-laden hand landed on his head, and Goku shivered at the tremendous power that hummed beneath those manicured fingers. He looked up, and saw the Goddess smiling at him.
"You're such a good boy," She said, ruffling his hair, "always thinking of everyone else. I think you deserve to finally be your true self - you're strong enough now." She kissed the top of his head, and Goku felt a tingling wave of power pass through his body. "There."
Goku gaped at Her. "That's it?" He wasn't sure what he had expected, but he had thought there would at least be a flash of light or a poof or something.
Kanzeon laughed. "That's it. Go ahead, take it off."
Goku brought trembling hands up to his limiter. He pulled the golden band off his head and closed his eyes, waiting for the pain of transformation.
He opened his eyes. Kanzeon was still standing there, smirking at him. Goku looked at the limiter in his hands.
His clawed hands.
"Whoa." He looked back at the Goddess. "It didn't hurt!" Goku felt his ears - they were long and pointed, and then he patted the nape of his neck, where his fingers tangled in hair that wasn't there a minute ago.
It had really happened.
"Thanks! This is so cool!" He threw his arms around Kanzeon and hugged her. "Wait'll Sanzo sees! Sanzo! Sanzo! Look!" Goku called over to the monk and waved the limiter at him.
Goku laughed at the look of shock on Sanzo's face, not noticing that the Goddess had disappeared in a shimmer of light.
"W-what the fuck?" Sanzo sputtered. "Goku?!"
Goku laughed again. "Isn't it awesome? You won't hafta make a limiter for me any more!" He waved at the others, who were now staring in amazement. Sanzo had a funny look on his face, but Goku ignored it and ran over to him.
This is gonna be great!
* * * * *
This is great. Just great. Not.
Goku flung his duffel onto the floor and then he flopped onto his bed and stared at the ceiling, his brows drawn together in a frown. He was confused, hurt and mad. Mostly confused, though.
Sanzo was being weird. He was miserable, too - downright nasty, even - when he wasn't ignoring Goku altogether. For a week now they'd been heading back East (Goku was still having trouble wrapping his head around the idea of going East), and every day Sanzo became more and more withdrawn. Now he only spoke to Goku when necessary, and when he did speak to him Sanzo's eyes were shuttered and distant.
But why? Not having a limiter any more was supposed to be a good thing. He thought Sanzo would have been glad to not have to worry about him transforming and going berserk.
And... Goku had hoped that not needing the limiter would take away the last excuse Sanzo could use for why they shouldn't be lovers.
He ticked the excuses off on his fingers. Time had taken care of "You're too young". Time and experience had removed "You're dependent on me", as well as "I'm the only person you know that well". Hakkai had helped with getting rid of "You're an idiot" (Well, mostly. Sanzo still called him an idiot, but it seemed more a habit now than an actual insult.) He himself had pretty much killed "You're just grateful I freed you".
That left only "We have a Mission and can't afford distractions" and "I'm responsible for making sure you don't go nuts and destroy everything in sight if your head ornament comes off". Well, there was no more Mission, and the Merciful Goddess handled that last one a week ago.
Goku was very, very aware of the fact that in spite of every excuse, Sanzo had never said "I don't want to".
He rolled over and punched his pillow. So what the hell was wrong with Sanzo? For the life of him Goku couldn't think of anything he'd done wrong. All he'd done was help save the world, help Sanzo get his master's scripture back and help all of them stay alive. Was it so terrible to have asked the Goddess to be allowed to be his true self?
There was a tap at the door, followed closely by Hakkai poking his head into the room. "Goku? Could I trouble you to help me with dinner, please? The innkeeper was kind enough to allow us the use of his kitchen, and I thought I'd make one of our favorite dinners tonight. It's not quite the season for sukiyaki, but I think we deserve a treat."
Goku sat up. "Sukiyaki? Awesome!" He scrambled off the bed and followed Hakkai to the kitchen.
* * * * *
"Goku, that is the third carrot you've peeled into oblivion. You're not helping if you're not paying attention."
"Gah! Sorry, Hakkai." Goku grabbed another carrot and began to carefully peel it.
Hakkai stopped chopping vegetables for a moment and glanced at Goku. "What's troubling you, Goku? Or perhaps I should ask who?"
Goku frowned. There was no hiding anything from Hakkai. "Sanzo's bein' a real jerk an' I dunno why," he admitted. He handed the successfully peeled carrot to Hakkai and picked up a potato.
"He has been a bit tetchy towards you, hasn't he?" Hakkai accepted the vegetable. "Perhaps he is having difficulty adjusting to your... change."
"I dunno," Goku's shoulders slumped. He swung his feet back and forth from his perch on the stool. "Maybe it's that he doesn't like that I look like a youkai now," he said, flapping a hand at his transformed face. His feet stopped their motion, and Goku leaned forward on the stool. "But Hakkai, I like not wearin' the limiter - I like that m'stronger, an' that I don't ever hafta worry about hurtin' anybody, an'..." he paused, then continued softly, "I like bein' the real me."
"Oh, Goku." Hakkai stopped, and set his knife aside to reach over and rest his hand on Goku's shoulder. "You have every right to want to be yourself. Believe me, I know what a relief it is to not have to worry about limiters." He gave Goku's shoulder an encouraging squeeze and returned to his task.
Goku's gaze drifted to Hakkai's pointed, cuff-free ears and he scowled. "Yeah, but Gojyo likes the way ya look now, he thinks it's sexy." Goku privately agreed that Hakkai's vines were kind of sexy looking, even though he found it a little creepy when he watched Hakkai use them to help him cook.
He wished Sanzo thought he looked sexy this way.
"Ahaha." A faint blush bloomed on Hakkai's cheeks, and he suddenly found the vegetables completely fascinating. "Ahem, well, be that as it may, I don't think your youkai appearance is what's bothering Sanzo - although I must admit, over this last week there have been a few times we were startled when you'd come into a room - years of conditioned response, mind you."
Goku laughed at that. "Yeah, I guess I look a lot different."
Hakkai looked at him for a moment. "Not really, besides the obvious - although you're different enough to make us look twice." He cocked his head. "I wonder... " His voice drifted off, and Goku saw a speculative look on Hakkai's face before Hakkai returned his attention to the cutting board.
"You wonder what?"
"Oh, ah, nothing." He chuckled at Goku's pout. "Very well, I was thinking perhaps Gojyo is not the only one who finds our change very... attractive."
"Gojyo thinks I look sexy? Ewwww." Goku blinked. "Wait." He processed Hakkai's entire sentence. "Ohhhhhh. Ya think-"
"It's possible. And I would venture to say that excuses are easier to make when someone's appeal is disguised by familiarity." A green gaze slid knowingly toward Goku.
Goku worked through that one, his forehead scrunched in thought. "Sooo... we were too same-old, same-old?"
"An excellent way to put it, Goku." Hakkai finished chopping and dumped the vegetables into the bubbling stew pot. "Now we are new and improved. And ever-so-slightly dangerous." A conspiratorial smile flashed Goku's way.
Goku kind of liked the sound of that.
* * * * *
It was amazing how a talk with a friend, a nap and a shower could improve your mood, Goku thought as he toweled his hair dry. Hakkai was so awesome! He clipped his hair back and pulled on a clean pair of jeans, then rummaged in his duffel for a shirt.
Goku jumped when there was a loud banging at his door. "Oi! Squirt!" Gojyo pushed the door open and peeked in. "Hakkai said dinner's ready. Sukiyaki, baby! You can go fetch the princess." Gojyo jerked his head in the direction of Sanzo's room, grinned, and then disappeared down the hallway. "Better hurry before I eat your share!" the kappa called.
"'Better hurry', he says," Goku sneered at the door, "Let the stinkin' kappa try an' steal my food. M' way quicker than him now. M' new an' improved." Still, it was better not to take any chances, especially with Hakkai's sukiyaki.
He slipped on his shirt and walked out into the hallway, stopping at the room next to his. He knocked on the door. "Sanzo? It's time for dinner." Goku's stomach gave a tiny growl, he shushed it and started to button his shirt.
"Sanzo?" Goku knew he was in there, he could smell him. Smelled the sandalwood soap, cigarette smoke and Sanzo, all of which combined into a scent that was burned into his senses. A scent that both calmed him and excited him.
Goku stopped buttoning his shirt and leaned his head against the door frame. "Aw, Sanzo, don't be like that. We're supposed ta be celebratin', an' that means all of us."
Goku grit his teeth. "Hakkai'll be mad if you don't go down. He made sukiyaki."
There was a huff. "It's the wrong season for sukiyaki. Idiots."
"Sanzo. C'mon, please? Please."
"Oh, for fuck's sake." The door was yanked open, and suddenly Sanzo was there, glaring at him. "All right, already. Buddha's tits, you nag worse than Hakkai." He was dressed in jeans and a white shirt, and Goku found his gaze wandering over the pale skin that was revealed by the open collar.
"Are you just going to stand there? You're the one who wants to go downstairs."
"Oh! Uh, sorry." Goku stepped aside and pulled his gaze away from Sanzo's throat. He looked up at Sanzo, and was surprised to see that Sanzo was looking at him. He was staring at the tattoo on Goku's belly, and Goku saw a strange, intense expression on Sanzo's face before it quickly disappeared behind a neutral mask.
"Tch. Let's get this over with." Sanzo pushed past him and headed down the hallway.
Goku started to follow him, but stopped in his tracks as a new scent wafted toward him. It was musky and sharp, and Goku knew what it was - he couldn't spend almost three years around Gojyo and not know that scent, even when his sense of smell had been muted by his limiter. It was arousal.
But it was coming from Sanzo. And it hadn't been there a few minutes ago, which could only mean one thing.
Goku's heart began to pound.
That scent, that arousal, was for him.
"Are you coming?" Sanzo snapped, not looking back. "And finish buttoning your goddamn shirt."
"Sorry!" Goku hurried after him, his fingers fumbling with the remaining buttons.
They walked down the stairs without speaking. Which, for once, was fine with Goku - he was still distracted by the faint scent that still clung to Sanzo, and he was trying desperately to keep a grin off his face.
Hakkai was right.
* * * * *
Another amazing thing was how once something gets brought to your attention, you can't believe you didn't see it before.
Everyone was enjoying the sukiyaki - Sanzo too, even though he bitched about it being the wrong season. Sanzo was still trying to ignore him, but Goku realized that he was trying. Usually when Sanzo ignored someone, it just happened - no trying.
And as far as trying went, it wasn't working very well. Periodically peeking through the fringe of his now-longer bangs, Goku noticed that Sanzo watched him a lot. The monk's gaze followed him when he went to the refrigerator for more milk, although it quickly dropped away when Goku turned around to return to the table.
Gojyo yanked at his ponytail when Goku passed him. "Hey, 'Kai, I think Sanzo's pet needs to be groomed. Look at all this fur!" he laughed, and gave another tug.
"Stinkin' kappa, m'not a dog," Goku growled, trying to tug his hair out of Gojyo's hand.
WHACK! The fan landed on top of Gojyo's head. "Knock it off," Sanzo hissed. "Hakkai's got better things to do with his time than cutting the monkey's hair." Violet eyes lingered on the long chestnut strands before Sanzo hmmphed and returned to his meal.
Hakkai raised an eyebrow at Goku, his eyes twinkling. Goku bit his lip to stifle a laugh. Guess Sanzo likes my hair long.
Goku sat back down and continued eating, and he made a mental note to do something really nice for Hakkai. He was soon down to his broth, so he added a generous helping of soba noodles to his bowl to soak up the delicious liquid. As Goku was eating his noodles, a few strands slipped off his chopsticks and dangled from his mouth. Without thinking he darted his tongue out to capture the wayward noodles, and suddenly Sanzo slammed his chopsticks down and got up from the table.
"I'm done," Sanzo said to no one in particular, and left the room. The door slammed behind him.
Goku, Hakkai and Gojyo stared at each other while they listened to Sanzo stomping up the stairs, and then they all burst into laughter.
"Awww, man, that was priceless!" Gojyo giggled. "Did you see his face when the monkey's tongue was working those noodles? Da-amn, kid, you were giving me ideas - I can't imagine what Cherry-chan was thinking! No, wait - yes, yes I can." The kappa smirked and leaned back in his chair.
Goku's cheeks flamed.
"What? He's got it bad, man." Gojyo jerked his thumb toward the kitchen door. "He's probably up there giving himself a helping hand, if ya know what I mean." He winked at Goku, who just blushed harder.
"Now, that's enough, Gojyo. You're embarrassing poor Goku." Hakkai got up and started clearing the dishes. He stopped when he reached for Sanzo's bowl. "Oh my, he was in a hurry," he said, and held up Sanzo's lighter.
They erupted into laughter again.
"Let's clean up and we'll have dessert," Hakkai suggested. He handed the lighter to Goku. "Then you can take this up to him."
"Come on baby, light my fi-re..." Gojyo warbled as he gathered dishes, bumping Goku with his hip as he passed by.
"Shut up, kappa," Goku retorted, and he pocketed the lighter.
* * * * *
Goku's heart was thumping painfully as he fidgeted outside of Sanzo's door. It was one thing to laugh about stuff downstairs with Hakkai and Gojyo, but now, here, he was alone. He took a deep breath, pulled the lighter out of his pocket, and knocked on the door.
"Don't bother coming in here unless you've got my lighter." Sanzo's voice was gruff.
Goku pushed the door open and stepped inside. "I got it. I brought ya dessert, too." He held up a bowl of rasbari.
Sanzo was sitting at the table, and the newspaper wall was firmly in place. On the table, an unlit cigarette rested on an empty ashtray.
Goku set the lighter and dessert on the table in front of the monk. "Here ya go." He fidgeted some more, then blurted out, "So, Sanzo... would ya rather I put my limiter back on?"
Sanzo lowered his newspaper and stared at Goku. "What the fuck are you talking about?" He grabbed the lighter and lit his cigarette, inhaling deeply.
Goku pulled out the other chair and plopped into it. "I dunno, I was thinkin' maybe you don't like that I look like this now. You've been weird ever since I was able ta take my limiter off."
Sanzo exhaled, and violet eyes narrowed behind a pale cloud of smoke. "Don't be an idiot. I don't care what the hell you look like. Do you want to put it back on?"
Goku grinned. "Nah. It gives me a headache." He looked squarely at Sanzo. Here goes. "Y'know what I really think?"
"You think? When did that start happening? Go away." Sanzo raised the newspaper again.
Goku deployed his new (and improved) faster reflexes and deposited himself on Sanzo's lap. Within seconds he had the newspaper whisked out of Sanzo's hands, and he removed Sanzo's reading glasses and set them on the table. "I think ya like the way I look now," Goku opined while Sanzo goggled at him, and he took Sanzo's cigarette and set it in the ashtray. "I think ya like it a lot, and I think maybe ya don't wanna give me excuses any more."
Two very pissed off violet eyes glared back at him. "Get the fuck off me, and go away."
"Nope," Goku declared, and then he did what he'd been wanting to do for several years - he leaned forward, cupped Sanzo's face in his hands and kissed him, lips brushing against the frowning mouth beneath his. Sanzo froze, and Goku slowly broke off the kiss. He heard Sanzo's shallow breathing, felt Sanzo's pulse racing madly beneath his fingers.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Sanzo managed in a tight voice. His hands come up to brutally grip Goku's arms, and Goku noticed that while it was painful, Sanzo was not in fact pushing him away.
"Kissin' ya," Goku replied calmly. "I've wanted to kiss ya for such a long time." He placed soft kisses at the corners of Sanzo's mouth, noting with satisfaction that Sanzo's breath hitched at each touch of his lips. "I don't understand why we can't have this, why ya keep makin' excuses," he whispered against Sanzo's mouth. "I want ya, Sanzo, an' I know ya want me too. An' I think you're outta excuses." Goku leaned back and laid a hand gently on Sanzo's chest, where Sanzo's heartbeat pounded under his fingertips.
"I'm out, am I?" Sanzo's glittering gaze met his, then flicked up to Goku's ears. "Pointy ears. You could hurt somebody with those. Someone could lose an eye."
Goku snickered. So this is how it's going to go, is it? "Puhleeze. You can do better than that." He wriggled on Sanzo's lap, and was pleased to see Sanzo's pupils go wide and dark. He was pleased even more when the intoxicating scent of Sanzo's arousal reached his newly-sensitive nose.
Sanzo's chin jutted stubbornly. "Claws, then. Accidental disembowelment is not sexy."
Goku held up a hand, turning it to show off short, rounded talons. "No claws. They were a pain in the ass when I tried ta use Nyoi-bo, so Hakkai showed me how ta trim 'em." He slid his hand into the hair at the nape of Sanzo's neck and leaned forward to kiss Sanzo again. This time Sanzo's lips parted when Goku's tongue teased against them, and Goku slipped his tongue into Sanzo's mouth to taste and explore. When Sanzo's mouth opened wider under his Goku groaned and delved deeper, rolling and thrusting his tongue against Sanzo's.
Sanzo's tongue suddenly pushed past his to glide over his teeth, and a muffled "ngh" escaped Goku's throat when Sanzo's tongue flicked over his canines, at which point Sanzo pulled back and raised a triumphant finger. "Fangs. You've got fangs, for fuck's sake."
Goku smiled. Widely. Toothily. "Yeah. Yeah, I do." He slowly licked along Sanzo's jaw, and then let his teeth lightly graze against Sanzo's throat. He was rewarded with a shudder, a strangled groan and a growing hardness that pressed against his own aching erection. "I won't bite ya too hard, though," he whispered into Sanzo's ear.
"You cheeky little shit," Sanzo growled, and he snaked his fingers into Goku's hair and pulled Goku's eager mouth to his for a long, bruising kiss.
Sanzo's hands began to pull at his clothes. Oh yeah, Goku thought, this is gonna be great.