Rating/Warning: PG-13, for a certain monk's mouth
Summary: Sanzo gets tired of the way Goku is always watching him, and decides to turn the tables on the monkey. But does it work?
Notes: Happy Birthday, Sanzo! 2,500 words.
It was early afternoon at the temple. Sanzo had finished dealing with two stacks of petitions and was halfway through the third when he felt a prickling along the back of his neck. The kind of prickle that meant the monkey was staring at him.
Sure enough, when Sanzo turned around he discovered a chestnut-haired head poking over the ledge of the open window in his office, flanked by two grubby hands. Luminous amber eyes studied him from beneath spiky bangs. "What the fuck are you doing, monkey?"
"Watchin' ya work."
Sanzo knew that the window was higher than Goku was tall, and when he crossed to the window and peered over, he saw that Goku was dangling a good foot and a half above the ground. "You're hanging from the window ledge."
Goku grinned sheepishly. "Well, ya said I wasn't allowed in your office-"
"Rightly so," Sanzo interrupted dryly, "since you are too noisy and I can't concentrate."
"Ummm... yeah. So I figured I'd watch ya here from the window. See? M'not in your office!"
"Tch." Sanzo rolled his eyes at this stunning display of monkey logic, and then he grabbed the back of Goku's collar and hauled him over the ledge into the office, letting him land in a heap on the floor.
"Thanks, Sanzo! Goku hopped up and straightened out his shirt. "Can I stay in here? Please? I really like stayin' here while ya work - I'll be real quiet."
A golden eyebrow lifted. "While I work, huh?"
"Do I look like I'm working now?"
Goku thought for a moment, then shook his head.
Sanzo leaned forward and got right in the monkey's face. "And why do you think that is?" he growled.
"Uhhh, cuz ya came over here ta get me outta the window?"
WHACK! Sanzo whipped out the harisen and smacked Goku on top of his head. "Idiot." He glanced at the clock on the wall. "Hakkai's going to be here later this afternoon for your lessons. Did you do your homework?"
"Uhhh..." The teen fidgeted and suddenly found the top of his shoes completely fascinating.
Sanzo snorted in amusement. "I'll take that as a 'no'." He returned to his desk and sat back down in his chair with a defeated sigh. "You may stay here if you can keep your goddamn mouth shut and do your homework."
Goku's smile was bright enough to power a small town. As the teen ran over to get paper and a pencil from a nearby shelf, Sanzo realized that he had given in to the monkey. Again. What was it about Goku's smile that made him want to keep it on the chimp's face? He was assed if he knew. Sanzo shook his head at his own stupidity and went back to working on Useless Stack of Shit Number Three.
To Sanzo's surprise, Goku did keep quiet. For several hours there were only the sounds of Goku's pencil, Sanzo's pen and stamp, and the rustling of paper. The bigger surprise was that Sanzo was actually getting more work done, and he didn't have his usual afternoon headache. It wasn't that he found the monkey's presence calming, he told himself as he got up and handed Useless Stacks One and Two to the clerk outside his office. And it wasn't that hearing Goku's steady breathing was in any way relaxing. It was only that he didn't have to worry about what the little shit was getting into.
Although right now he could feel that the little shit was staring at him again. He glanced over at Goku and found the teen sprawled on the floor, chin resting on his hands as he propped himself up on his elbows. "Monkey."
"What! M'bein' quiet."
He was being quiet, but that was beside the point. "You're staring. Again."
Goku's gaze dropped to the pile of paper in front of him. "M'sorry," he mumbled. "I just like watchin' ya work." He looked back up and grabbed some of his papers, flapping them at Sanzo. "I finished my homework!"
Sanzo grunted. "You've only had it for two goddamn days. Put it on the table and then go ask one of the acolytes to bring tea. Hakkai will be here soon, so go wait for him at the entrance."
"Okay!" Goku scrambled up and skipped out of the room.
Sanzo lit a cigarette and threw his feet up on the desk, determined to enjoy some headache-free solitude before the monkey came back with Hakkai.
* * * * *
"I see you completed all your homework, Goku," said an obviously pleased Hakkai. "Very good! Let's check over your answers and then we'll move on to the next subject."
Hakkai and Goku were settled at the table Sanzo had set aside in his office for Goku's lessons, and when Sanzo glanced over at them he realized he had the perfect opportunity to pay the monkey back in his own coin. So he leaned back in his chair, folded his arms in front of him and stared at Goku.
And stared some more.
The first few minutes yielded no perceptible results, other than Sanzo noticing that Goku's hair was in need of a trim and that his shirt was almost too small; he made a mental note to ask Hakkai to take care of both issues for him. A few more minutes went by, and just as Sanzo was about to write Goku off as being too thick-headed to be aware of anything, the monkey looked over his shoulder at him, puzzled.
Gotcha. Sanzo kept staring, his face impassive.
Hakkai asked Goku a question, and Goku returned his attention to his work. But his concentration was broken, and he began to fidget under Sanzo's scrutiny. Finally, after breaking the point on his pencil twice and asking Hakkai to repeat the question for the third time, the monkey finally lost it.
"Sanzo! Why're ya starin' at me?!"
Sanzo kept his gaze on Goku and replied, "Why not? You stared at me ALL. FUCKING. AFTERNOON."
Goku scowled at him. "S'not fair! You're starin' at me all grumpy, like you're mad. I don't look at ya that way, I know I don't."
Sanzo huffed and retorted, "No, you stare at me like an empty-headed bottomless pit of a monkeybrain." Like I'm your whole world. The thought rose in his mind unbidden, and Sanzo didn't like it one bit. He didn't want to be anyone's world, didn't want to mean that much to anyone, especially the monkey. And he definitely didn't ever want to feel that way about someone again. Especially the monkey. Sanzo shook off the unwanted thoughts and continued, "Don't like it, do you? Now you know what it feels like, you little shit."
"Why do you watch Sanzo so much, Goku?" Hakkai interrupted, giving Sanzo a How old are you? Twelve? look. "Is it because Sanzo is the one who rescued you, and was the first person you can remember seeing?"
"Nah," Goku replied promptly. "It's cuz he's pretty."
Sanzo sputtered, and Hakkai coughed as he choked on his tea. Goku jumped up and went around the table to pat Hakkai on the back.
Sanzo took advantage of the the distraction to go stand by the window so that neither one of them could see the flush he could feel rising in his cheeks. Pretty, he thought savagely as he dug in his sleeve for his pack of cigarettes. How many scumbags had called him that while they grabbed at him and tried to force themselves on him? He had killed more than a few, and threatened countless others. So why did it fluster him to hear a scrawny, idiotic sixteen-year-old call him pretty? He decided that it just felt strange to hear Goku say it, although it felt even stranger to know the monkey thought it, and was thinking it every time he looked at him with those big dopey eyes. Sanzo's musings were interrupted when he heard the other two speaking on the far side of the room.
"Are ya okay, Hakkai?"
"I'm fine now, thank you, Goku. Your answer was just a little... surprising."
"Why? Sanzo is pretty, 'specially his hair. That's not the only reason I look at him, though. I like watchin' him work, too - it's fun."
Sanzo listened to this exchange and smirked. Goku thought it was fun to watch him wrangle piles of stupid, useless paperwork? Idiot. His face didn't feel warm any more, so he decided it was safe to re-enter the conversation. "Monkey, if that's your idea of fun your brain is tinier than I thought," Sanzo said as he returned to his chair and sat back down. He lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply, relaxing as the nicotine worked its way through him.
Goku stuck his tongue out at him. Hakkai's gaze briefly drifted over Sanzo's cheeks, and although there was a speculative expression on his face he said nothing. Sanzo took another drag off his cigarette and eyed them both with disdain. "I thought there were supposed to be lessons going on...?
Green eyes slid his way again, this time focusing disapprovingly on his cigarette. "We were doing just fine until Goku was... distracted," Hakkai remarked. "Will we continue to have an 'audience'?"
"Tch, I've got better things to do with my time." Sanzo huffed and selected a petition from the top of Useless Stack Number Four. He pretended not to hear Hakkai's chuckle.
"All right, Goku, let's go over this problem again..."
* * * * *
Hakkai had left, and it was time for Sanzo's Late Afternoon Paper Push. He didn't really need to have Useless Stacks Three and Four done today, but there was a certain enjoyment to be had by giving the piles to the clerk at the very end of the day - and then insisting that they be logged and distributed right away. Sanzo allowed himself a moderately evil grin and reached for his seal.
It wasn't there.
Sanzo looked in the drawer where he normally kept it. It wasn't there either.
"Dammit, where the fuck did I put my seal?" Sanzo rifled through the stacks of parchment on his desk, opened and shut desk drawers and practically tossed the desk in search of the jade stamp, but to no avail. "Fuck."
Goku looked at the spectacular mess on Sanzo's desk with wide-eyed wonder. "Seal? You're lookin' for your stompy thing? The jade thingy that ya hit the papers with?"
Sanzo turned a baleful gaze on the monkey. "Yes," he ground out between clenched teeth. "The 'stompy thing'. That 'thingy' is my seal of office. I can sign shit all I want but if they don't have that stamp they're meaningless."
Goku bounced over to a small table near the door and picked up a small, ornately sculpted block of jade, which had been obscured by the tea tray. "Is this it?" He brought it back to Sanzo and handed it to him.
Sanzo was open-mouthed while he took the seal from Goku. "How did you know where this was?"
"I saw ya put it there when ya gave a bunch of papers to Wu Fei." Goku rubbed the back of his neck and grinned proudly.
Sanzo's eyebrows scrunched together in thought as he turned the jade seal over in his hand. He never would have expected Goku to notice such a small detail, and he definitely wouldn't have thought that the monkey was capable of remembering that same detail hours later. He wondered how long Goku might remember seeing something like that. "Do you think you could remember where I put something a few days ago?"
Goku nodded vigorously. "I think so! I wanna try!" He was practically humming with excitement.
Sanzo picked up a scroll tube from the wreck that was his desk. "I'm looking for a scroll case like this, except the outside is polished wood instead of silk." He had been looking for that damn scroll for two days, and really didn't want to have to tell the clerk that he had lost it.
"Did it have a red stringy thing on the end of it?" Goku asked.
"Yes." Sanzo then watched in amazement as Goku walked over and opened one of the cabinets that held his supplies. The teen opened a drawer that was beneath a shelf of parchment and pulled out a polished wood scroll case, and it had a deep red tassel dangling from one end.
"Here ya go," Goku said when he handed the tube to Sanzo. "Ya put this on the shelf when you were gettin' ink out of the drawer, an' then Li Tsu came in an' needed ya ta sign somethin'. When ya weren't lookin' it rolled off the shelf an' fell in the drawer." He beamed at the monk. "I helped, didn't I? I helped cuz I was watchin' ya work!"
"You weren't entirely useless," Sanzo grudgingly admitted, and he let his free hand land on top of Goku's head to ruffle his soft, unruly mop of hair. Maybe this staring thing could come in handy, he thought. He did have a tendency to misplace things when he was interrupted - and the monks were interrupting him all the time for stupid shit.
"So..." Goku scuffed a shoe on the floor, "Does this mean I can stay here in the afternoons? I'll be quiet, I promise. I can read the books Hakkai gave me, an' work on my homework an' stuff. Aaaand, I can keep watchin', 'specially when people bother ya." He looked hopefully at Sanzo.
"You can stay," Sanzo said, "as long as you behave yourself. And knock it off with the 'pretty' shit - it's annoying." He dropped his hand away from Goku's hair, went to his desk and put his seal away. As he set the scroll tube down on the edge of his desk, he could feel Goku's gaze on him. "What?" he asked, turning to face the monkey.
Goku was smiling. "Okay," he said. His smile said I'll just think it, then.
There were far worse things in the world than having an idiot monkey think he was pretty, Sanzo decided, so he told himself he would let it go - for now, anyway. He watched as the teen sprawled contentedly on the floor next to his desk and began reading his storybook. It was a small concession to let him stay there, really, and Goku had proved - twice - that his presence was actually useful.
Sanzo returned to his chair, but before he started straightening up the mess he'd made he first wrote a note requesting that a woven rug be brought to his office - one large enough to cover the floor beneath his desk... and a few feet off to the side.