Title: When We Remembered - The Dream
Author: Lok
Pairing: Gojyo/Sanzo (Kenren/Konzen)
Rating: R for excessive f-word-riddled banter in and out of sexually awkward situations

Summary or description: After a night at a cursed hot spring, Sanzo starts dreaming about certain previous incarnations engaging in some risky business.

Disclaimer: Saiyuki doesn't belong to me; I just play here.
Website: http://chained-lok.livejournal.com/
Note: This is only my second fanfic ever, and the first was aaaaages ago and shall never the light of day.  I may or may not continue this story eventually - depends on if I get sidetracked by other things.

 

 

 

When We Remembered

 

Chapter 1: The Dream

 

 

It all started because of a fucking dream.

No, that wasn't quite right.  It all started because they'd stopped at that fucking hot spring.

 

 

***

 

 

Sanzo's lips curled into a sneer as he watched the kappa smooth talk the girl behind the counter.  They'd finished off a pack of youkai just half an hour ago, but one whiff of a female and the cockroach was already back to thinking with his dick.  Hakkai had to put on that scary-polite smile of his until the kappa backed off enough to let him settle the room arrangements.

Goku tugged on his sleeve.  "Hey Sanzo, think this place has good food?"

Sanzo wacked him with his fan. "Since when do you care about quality over quantity?"

Gojyo strode back to them with a happy little sway in his hips.  "Guess what – Hakkai was right, this place has a hot spring out back. There's just one little catch."

Goku crossed his arms and pouted.  "I better not have to share a room with the cockroach."

"Actually," said Hakkai, "I was able to book us all separate rooms. Gojyo is merely trying to scare you with the silly story he—"

Gojyo stepped forward to loom over Goku, waggling his fingers.  In a deepened voice he rumbled, "The spring is cursed… cursed!"

Sanzo wiggled his pinkly finger in his ear and feigned disinterest.

Goku rolled his eyes. "Yeah right."

"Seriously, monkey," said Gojyo.  "You might wanna stay away from the water. That fine lady over there told me that the spring is supposed to reconnect people to their past lives."

"Eh, really?"

"Yup, so if you go in you might revert back to a real chimp and start flinging your turds at us."

"I'll show you a turd!" Goku launched himself at Gojyo and the two wrestled around on the floor in a rather sad display of horseplay that seemed to involve mainly pulling each other's hair.

Out came the fan.

"OW! That hurt, baldy!"

"Shut up, idiots."

 

***

 

Sanzo padded back to his room, rolling his shoulders with satisfaction.  His muscles felt more relaxed than they'd been in a long time.  The others had dispersed to seek their own evening activities, for once leaving him in peace to head to bed early.

Gojyo's claims about the cursed water crossed his mind briefly and he snorted with contempt.  It might have been a useful story if it had scared everyone off so he could soak by himself, but the cockroach had failed to be the least bit convincing.  As if he needed any more reminders of past lives.  He'd heard enough of that shit from Homura.  His life was now, the way he chose to live it, in spite of all the absurdities of this wretched journey.

He flopped onto the bed and turned his head to stare out the window into the calm and clear sky.  It held all the promise of being the kind of good night he'd had so few of since they'd started West.  No rain.  A room to himself.  No monkey snoring and mumbling about meat buns in his sleep.  A night away from Hakkai's false smiles and Gojyo's annoying invasions of his personal space.  And they wondered why he was always on edge.  A guy needed to be alone once and a while.  He had plenty of inner demons to keep him company.  What he wanted most now was a long, dreamless sleep.

 

***

 

 

His reflection gazed back at him from the mirror-smooth surface of a pond speckled with lotus flowers.  It was his face, but not his face.  Long bangs fringed his cheeks and a sinuous trail of hair hooked down over his shoulder to nearly touch the water.  His clothes felt unfamiliar, his body gauntly thin.  Images tickled the edges of his mind and seemed to disperse into the pond – memories he couldn't quite latch onto.

"Staring at yourself is kinda overrated, even for vain men.  I should know.  I'll admit you've got the face for it though."

He spun and his head jerked up to consider the lazy figure sprawled in the tree above him, soaking up the moonlight like some sleek nocturnal animal.  The man's arm hugged a jug of sake while his free hand combed through short, spiky hair.

Gojyo's face, but not Gojyo's face.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Sanzo heard himself say, and with a start realized he was only a voyeur here inside a play that had already been written.

"It means you need to get out of this place before it warps your mind, man."

"Tch. You wouldn't know anything about my mind, Kenren.  Or yours, for that matter.  Dare I ask what you're doing here?  Shouldn't you be out chasing women or bothering Tenpou?"

"Tenpou's busy and I'm not in the mood to get roped into cleaning out his library, thanks.  This is a night to be outside enjoying a beautiful view."

He even has the same leer as Gojyo, thought Sanzo.

"Whatever." The body Sanzo was trapped in tensed as though wanting to walk away, but leaned back against the trunk of the tree instead.  They stayed like that in quasi-amicable silence for a while, listening to the soft breath of the wind across the pond.

Leaves rattled and suddenly Kenren's booted feet thumped to the ground.  Sanzo could only watch as his body blinked once and then that stupid grinning face blocked his vision; trapping him with a hand planted solidly against the tree.

"So how 'bout it, Konzen?"

"Back off, idiot.  Your breath smells like you drowned in that filthy bottle."

Kenren unslung the jug from his shoulder and set it on the ground.  "Man, insult me all y'want, but don't insult the sake.  It's good stuff."

"What do you want?"

Kenren's eyes glittered.  "I don't think you're ready to hear that yet."

"I'm not in the mood for games." Konzen ducked under the arm and tried to make a quick escape but Kenren's hand shot out and caught his wrist.

"Sorry. Look, what I meant to say was how about I show you a good time, huh?"

Konzen spun back around and reclaimed his wrist with a jerk.  "Don't touch me."

"Careful or you'll burst a blood vessel, princess.  Where's the monkey?"

"Sleeping."

"Perfect.  Come on, you won't regret it.  This place is dullsville.  Let me show ya how to have a bit of fun for once."

"I am not going to be your drinking buddy.  Go home."

"You know, Tenpou once told me that I'd never understand you because I didn't know what it was like to be bored to death.  Aren't you tired of it?  The boredom?  Being stuck in this stifling place?"

"Tch. I don't need constant entertainment like a hyperactive child."

"Have you ever been to the field where the monkey picks his flowers?"

Konzen stiffened and Sanzo could feel him weakening.  Oi! Don't fall for a dumb line like that, stupid.  He's still got that silly grin on his face.  You better not go with him!

But the play had been written, and his objections had no weight here. 

"Come on," urged Kenren one more time with a wink, "I'll show you."  He hitched the jug of sake to his belt and backed away a few steps.

Konzen stuck his hands in his pockets and sighed.  His foot kicked the ground.  "Fine.  Just this once.  And I better not see you back here again."

They left together, and even their walk had the friction of polar opposites.

 

***

 

Sanzo sat up in bed, breathing heavily as though he'd just fought a battle.  His clothes stuck to his sweat-bathed skin and he felt distinctly sticky.

What the fuck?!

The dream began to slip away, but still assailed him with vivid fragments.  Lying in a field of flowers with the man who looked like Gojyo when he'd cut his hair that time.  Drinking rice wine.  The heavy scent of pollen and the arm that kept stealing around his shoulders.  The argument that turned into something else.  The giving in.  Their naked bodies in the moonlight, crushing petals as they rolled and bit and crashed into each other…

No fucking way.

Sanzo nearly fell from the bed as he struggled to free himself from the twisted sheets.  Standing at last on shaky legs, he looked down at himself, noting with some relief his usual sleepwear of black undergarments and faded jeans but fundamentally disturbed by the open fly and sticky track of evidence caked across his stomach.

My subconscious is making fun of me.  That's it.  Because of Gojyo's stupid curse talk.  No way that ever happened even in some shitty past life. Especially not with someone like him.

A loud knock on the door nearly made him choke on his tongue.  Hakkai's voice filtered through the wood, letting him know they'd be heading down for breakfast soon.  Cursing, Sanzo peeled off his shirt and tossed it into his pile of luggage to be dealt with later.  He needed a shower.  And a friggin' bucket of ice.

 

 

***

 

 

He sat stiffly at the breakfast table, hoping like hell the others didn't notice his lack of turtleneck and radiating fierce 'don't piss me off' vibes as he hid behind a newspaper.

"Hey Gojyo, I think you were right," exclaimed Goku between mouthfuls of food.

Sanzo peered cautiously over the top of his paper.  Gojyo sat diagonally across from him, slouched in his seat and staring away across the room.  Probably looking for that girl that started this whole mess.

Gojyo blinked as though waking from a stupor. "What's that, monkey?"

"I think you were right.  About the curse.  I had a weird dream last night."

"Lemme guess.  You were in a jungle eating lots of bananas."

"NO!  I was picking flowers in a field…"

Shit!

"…and Homura was there.  And we talked and stuff.  And there was this other kid that I wanted to play with, who was really strong.  But he was sad 'cause his dad kept making him fight."

Hakkai coughed nervously.  "Ahahaha, I must confess my dreams were also rather peculiar."

Sanzo held his breath, but Hakkai didn't elaborate.

"Really?" said Goku.  "That makes two of us!  What about you, Sanzo?"

Sanzo whipped out his fan.  "Don't talk with your mouth full, stupid."

Hakkai turned to Gojyo.  "Gojyo, did you…?"

Gojyo pushed away his plate and stood up.  "Uh, I've got something to do before we go, guys.  I'll meet ya outside, kay?" 

Sanzo caught sight of the aforementioned girl cleaning a table at the other end of the room.  He watched as Gojyo ambled toward her and followed her through one of the back service doors.  Figures.

 

 

***

 

 

It was getting worse.  The dream – that stupid, absolutely ridiculous dream – wouldn't leave him the fuck alone.  If it would just stay repressed like a proper nightmare then he could get on with this journey and forget that it had ever NOT happened.

But it wouldn't go away.  It kept reasserting itself while he slept, peeking out when he least expected it and then slipping away before he could wrestle it into submission.  Even his usual nightmares weren't free of its taint and it had begun to pop into his head even in daylight when his thoughts wandered.

Worse, no matter how much he fought against it mentally, his body betrayed him with another reaction.  He was tired of waking up hard or sticky and having to worry about embarrassing himself when they camped out or shared rooms.  It was difficult enough to try to sneak one by on Hakkai with the whole laundry situation.  He was sick of it and lately his only comfort was cleaning his gun while imagining sinking a bullet into various parts of Gojyo's anatomy.

The thing was, he should have seen it coming.  He'd known for a long time that his… tastes weren't entirely straight.  But growing into adulthood mainly in the company of bald old men hadn't exactly made him eager to explore that side of himself.  Sex and that whole issue of getting close to people was something he just didn't want to deal with.  It stirred up bad memories of some of the worst years of his life, after his master was killed, when men had taken his striking looks to mean they could treat him like a woman, forcibly.  Well he'd shot all those bastards who had tried to lay a hand on him, but that just made him realize it was too dangerous.  Much too dangerous to let anyone breach the walls he'd fortified himself within.

He wasn't sure if the others had noticed his slow descent into insanity yet.  It helped that he could pass his bad temper off on some of the rainy nights they'd been having lately. 

When Hakkai lingered in his room one evening after a rather tense game of cards, he thought the jig was up.  He began to frantically sort through the various cover stories he'd been preparing.  No matter how insightful Hakkai got, there was no way in hell he was telling him the truth.

"Sanzo, I want to ask you something."

Yeah, here it comes…

"What do you think is bothering Gojyo?"

Sanzo had to choke back the speech that was nearly on the tip of his tongue.  "What?"

The hell???

"Surely you've noticed how odd he's been behaving.  He's too quiet, he hasn't been eating as much, and he's been reckless in battle like he's trying to prove something.  Even Goku keeps asking me if he's sick."

"How should I know what that idiot is thinking?

Actually, Hakkai, I've been trying not to look at him at all because I dreamt about our alter-egos having sex and now just a glimpse of that stupid smirk of his makes me freakin' horny.

            "I was wondering if you two perhaps had an argument.  He's been giving you a wide berth lately, and—"

            "Why don't you just ask him?"

            "Ah, well I have, it's just…" Hakkai sighed.  "I suppose you're right.  He'll tell me when he's ready."

            "Is that all?"

            "Yes, yes.  My apologies.  I'll leave you to get some sleep."

            When Hakkai had shut the door firmly behind him, Sanzo sank down on the bed and lit a smoke.  Gojyo acting strangely?  He'd been occupied with his own problems the past few weeks, but now that he thought about it… Certainly the kappa hadn't been up to his usual tricks, a fact Sanzo was supremely grateful for.  But that could be caused by any number of things.  Maybe he'd just scared him off by playing with his gun so much lately.  Yeah, that had to be it.  After all, he'd been fine enough after the whole hot spring fiasco to go fuck that girl or whatever.

           

 

***

 

If he'd known that the Kappa would be at the bar, he would have foregone the drink he'd been craving.  But he'd walked through the door and the kappa had looked up and spotted him immediately, so it was useless to back away now.  Fuck it.  Maybe it was time he confronted the whole situation head on.  The stupid cockroach was nothing to be afraid of, and if worse came to worse he could shoot him right in his sexy ass and be done with it.

He expected Gojyo to make some smartass comment when he slid onto the stool beside him, but the kappa only acknowledged him with a small nod and then resumed staring at his glass as though examining it for impurities.

Well I'll be.  Hakkai was right.  He is acting weird.  He should be over at one of the tables playing cards with women draped over him.

Sanzo reached into his back pocket for his pack of Marlboros.  He'd put aside his robes for the night in favour of his favourite jeans and a collared black shirt.  He was in a mood for anonymity, but with Gojyo here to call him 'Sanzo' he supposed that was a useless hope.

Unless Gojyo planned to stare into his glass all night.  It was creeping him out.

"If you're gonna act all depressed, let me put a bullet in you and save you the trouble."

Gojyo shot him an icy glare.  "I'm not depressed."

"You're staring at that glass like you want to crawl into it."  Sanzo attempted to light his cigarette and frowned when his lighter failed to materialize a decent flame.

Gojyo snorted and dug into the pocket of his jacket for his Zippo.  "Here.  Your lighters always suck."

Soon they were both smoking, and Sanzo felt the edge of tension in his spine begin to melt away pleasantly.  He watched Gojyo out of the corner of his eye, fixated on the red hair that spilled over his shoulders to screen his face.  What would that hair feel like, running through his fingers? Shit, don't think about that now.  Think about something safe.  The taste of this cigarette.  No.  The story I was reading in the paper this morning.  Fuck, I can't remember.

Gojyo suddenly sat up straight in his seat and cast a sidelong look at Sanzo that he couldn't read at all.  Then the kappa tapped his cigarette in the ashtray that stood between them and reached up a hand to wave the barmaid over.

A brunette with lips too large for her face sashayed over and shamelessly leaned over the counter as though presenting the cleavage popping from her low-cut blouse for scrutiny.  For the first time that night, Gojyo's lips curled into a familiar smirk and he raised himself up on his elbows to whisper into her ear.  Sanzo watched the lines of his jaw moving and clenched a fist.

The barmaid nodded.  "Sure thing, handsome," she drawled, and walked away with a wink over her shoulder.  Gojyo pulled back, his mouth now turned in a full-blown grin.  He took a drag from his cigarette and blew a cloud of smoke toward Sanzo's ear.

"Alright monk," he declared, "how 'bout we play a little game?"

Sanzo pretended to be fascinated by the bottles that lined the back of the bar.  "Not interested."

"You can't say no until you've heard the rules."

Is he out of his funk now or what? That didn't take long.  In spite of himself, Sanzo was curious.  "You've got until I finish this smoke.  Then I'm going to bed."

"You'll stay," countered Gojyo, "'cause I'm buyin' the drinks for once."  As if on cue, the barmaid materialized with a tray that she set down between them.  "You boys play nice, now."

Sanzo stared down at the two rows of shots – five for each of them, along with a salt shaker and a pile of cut lemons.  "What is this shit?"

"Tequila," said Gojyo.  "You'll like it, I promise.  Or is it too much for ya?"

"Tch.  Ask yourself that.  You're half-drunk already."

"The game is Tequila Truth or Dare.  The rules are simple," said Gojyo.  "I ask you a question.  You can either answer it truthfully, or pass and drink a shot.  Then you ask me a question and the same applies.  You can't ask the same question twice.  First person to drink all their shots loses."

"And what does the winner get?"

"The winner gets to dare the loser to do something, and the loser has to do it."

"And what if I dared you to run around town naked with your hair in pigtails?" Shit, why did I say that? Don't think about him naked. Bad. Think about… Goku stuffing his face with meat buns.

"You'd have to win first.  So how about it?"

Usually Gojyo's motives were pretty transparent.  Tonight he was acting cagey, and Sanzo didn't like it one bit.  "Are you trying to get me drunk, kappa?"

Gojyo waggled a finger at him.  "Na-ah.  No asking me questions unless you play the game."

"Fine.  Whatever."  He was going to regret this, but fuck if he was going to back down to the cockroach.

"Good. I get to go first because it was my idea. My question is: did you have a dream that night at the hot spring?"

Fuck.  Sanzo frowned and stared into Gojyo's eyes, trying to figure out where he was going with this.  There's no way he could know.  He's probably shooting in the dark, just trying to get a reaction.  Sanzo wiggled in his seat and felt the comforting coolness of his Smith & Wesson pressing into his lower back.  That's right, I can always shoot him.  And admitting I had a dream isn't really admitting anything.

"Yes," said Sanzo, careful to keep his voice monotone and emotionless.  "My turn. Why are we playing this stupid game?"

Gojyo's face relaxed into the easygoing façade he used when he played poker.  "To find out the truth.  My turn.  Were there flowers in your dream?"

Sanzo's hands twitched.  He wished his gun was in his hand instead of shoved down the back of his jeans.  He should just lie.  The kappa wouldn't know any different.  But curiosity still nibbled at him.  He wanted to know what cards the kappa was hiding.  "Yes.  My turn.  Since you're so interested in dreams, I assume you had one yourself that night.  What was it about?"

Gojyo dragged his tongue along his lower lip.  "Straight to the point, baldy.  I'm not telling you yet though.  As Sanzo watched, oddly fascinated, the kappa licked the back of his hand and shook a little salt onto it.  He licked the salt off slowly, holding Sanzo's eyes as he did so.  Then he sucked back a shot with a quick tip of his head.  Finally, he shoved a slice of lemon between his lips and grinned.  When he pulled the slice away, his lips smacked audibly.  "Yeah, that's good stuff.  You've really gotta try it, monk.  "Next question.  What was your name in your previous life?"

"Konzen," Sanzo answered without even thinking, his eyes still fixated on Gojyo's lips.  He froze, startled at himself, then quickly angry.  Shitty cockroach.  He wasn't falling for that again.  He fumbled for an appropriate revenge.  "Who are you really fucking when you take all those girls into your bed?  That bitch you had for a stepmother?"

Eyes flashing, Gojyo stared him down as he threw back another shot.  Despite himself, Sanzo felt a bolt of pure lust rocket to his groin at the heat in those eyes as that mouth licked and sucked.

"That was below the belt even for you, Sanzo-sama."

"You made up the rules, shithead.  And I'm winning, in case you didn't notice."

"You wanna get personal?  Fine.  Who do you jerk off to – chicks or dudes?"

Sanzo nearly swallowed his smoke.  As it was, he inhaled too fast and had to choke back a cough.  Leave it to the kappa to make both choices sound vulgar.  He battled with himself for a moment, fighting the flush that threatened to rise in his cheeks.  At last he croaked out, "I am not dignifying that with a response."

Gojyo shrugged.  "You started it.  Drink it is, then.  Make sure you do it like I did."

Sanzo was tempted to just swallow the shot straight, without the annoying ritual, but it occurred to him that perhaps it was time to give the kappa some of his own medicine.  He copied Gojyo's actions, liking the salt off his hand with one long swipe of his tongue.  He swallowed the bitter liquid and traded the shot glass for a lemon slice.  He let the pleasantly acidic juice run down the back of his throat and watched Gojyo from under the shadow of his bangs.

He was pleased to note that the kappa seemed slightly shaken.  The half-breed licked his lips, then seemed to catch himself and turned the look into a glare.

"Next question," said Sanzo.  "Are those fancy things on your head just for show?"

Gojyo's eyebrow twitched.  "You should have to drink for asking such a shitty question."

"Does that mean you're chickening out?"

"It means how the fuck am I supposed to answer that?  Stop insulting my hair, you arrogant prick."

"Just drink the shot, moron."

"Only if you drink one too."

"It's a simple question, dickface."

Gojyo sighed.  "Ass."  He picked up a shot glass.

Sanzo reached over and took one of his own.  At Gojyo's questioning look, he shrugged.  "I'm thirsty."

They down their shots simultaneously, and brushed fingers while reaching for lemons.  Sanzo couldn't quite suppress the shudder than flickered across his skin.

"My turn," said Gojyo, a hint of hoarseness in his voice.  "Was a guy named Kenren in your dream?"

Shit.  This was getting dangerous.  Sanzo opened his mouth, then shut it again.  No, he couldn't give the kappa that kind of ammunition.  He should just open his mouth and say no.

"And don't even think about lying," said Gojyo.  "I used to read bluffs for a living, remember?  The only one who can poker-face me is Hakkai."

"Tch." Sanzo reached for the salt.  Maybe it gave him away, but the kappa couldn't prove squat.

Gojyo smirked as Sanzo set his third empty shot glass back down on the tray.  "Looks like we're even now."

A bit of a buzz began to cuddle Sanzo's brain.  At this point he just wanted to get drunk and forget the whole conversation.  Frankly, he couldn't believe he had exchanged so many words in one sitting with the kappa.  "Did you fuck that girl back at the hot spring?" he asked suddenly.  "The one who told you about the curse?"

A wave of surprise crossed Gojyo's features.  "No," he said softly.  "I was kinda distracted.  I just wanted to ask her a question."  He rearranged his face into that easy grin as though pulling on a coat.  "Not that she didn't want me.  What a little hottie.  If we'd stayed another day she woulda been all over me."

Sanzo ground his teeth.  "You're delusional."

"And you need to get laid, cherry-chan." 

Sanzo sneered and half-rose off his stool to fire back an insult, only to be caught off guard by Gojyo's expression.  The kappa looked as though he wanted to swallow his tongue, and a red flush was creeping up his kneck.  Holy fuck, is he blushing?

Sanzo collapsed back on his stool, wondering idly if he'd just witnessed some sort of minor miracle.

"Next question," growled Gojyo, obviously trying to distract him.  "Was anyone else we know in your dream? Goku? Hakkai?"

No was a safe enough answer, but Sanzo hesitated.  Perhaps it would be better to throw the kappa off track.  Letting some of his unease show, he downed his fourth shot without a word.  Before Gojyo could comment, he threw back, "What question did you ask the girl?"

Gojyo met his eyes, still looking oddly embarrassed.  His voice sounded unnervingly serious when he answered.  "I asked her if people who dreamed about their past lives just dreamt any old shit or if the curse showed them something for a reason."

"And?  What did she say?"

"That's another question, monk.  Mine first."  Gojyo leaned closer and almost whispered, "That dream, does it keep coming back, night after night, after night?"

Sanzo swallowed, and glanced sidelong at the last remaining shot on his side of the tray.  Fuck, he hated losing.  "If I drink, do I still get to ask one more question?"

Gojyo gave him a searching look.  Then, as Sanzo watched in surprise, he finished his last two shots.  "There.  Now I have to answer.  Now drink up."

The last shot went down hard.  Dammit, he should have walked away from this when he had a chance.  But he wanted to know.  "What did she say?"

Gojyo folded his arms on the counter and rested his chin on his arms.  "She told me that the legend says you dream what you miss most – something you had then that you don't got now.  And she said if two people dream the same thing, then it comes true."

Sanzo stood up, head spinning a little, willing himself to stay stiff, upright, unemotional.  In the coldest tones he could manage, he said, "I'm going to bed."

Gojyo said nothing, just nodded and looked away.

 

 

***

 

 

Why couldn't a pack of youkai show up when he wanted them to?  He really needed to hit something right now.

Gojyo stuck his head out the side of the jeep until the wind whipped back his hair with enough bite to be almost painful.  If there had ever been any appeal to this journey, it had been shot to shit.  He hadn't asked for this, dammit.  The way things were before hadn't exactly been ideal, but it had been better than this.

The dreams hadn't stopped.  Instead, they were getting more detailed, even branching out into new scenes.  Was this some sort of revenge for all the teasing?  It wasn't like he'd meant it.  The uptight monk was fun to poke was all.  Banri used to do it to him all the time.  If some god was getting his rocks off by filling his nights with explicit displays of man-sex… that was so not cool.  Gojyo liked the ladies, dammit!  And while some of these dreams were…educational, they were seriously interfering with his playboy routines, not to mention male pride.

But the worst part was the way Sanzo was handling it.  If they'd decided to agree to forget it, pretend all this crazy past life stuff meant nothing, well then that would have been something.  But the monk had pulled inside a cocoon of bitchiness and was barely speaking to him.  Gojyo was getting permanent welts on his skin from that fan, and the monk had taken to waving his gun to order him around.

He'd seriously had enough of this shit.

 

That night they camped out in the jeep.  Not trusting his dreams, Gojyo stayed awake, listening to Goku's light snoring.  His hunch was rewarded when he heard a soft creak.  He lifted his head just enough to watch the monk slip out of his seat and into the woods.  He let a few tense minutes roll by, then extricated himself from the back seat as silently as he could and followed.

A nice bright moon lit the sky, and even in the dark shadows of the forest, the monk wasn't too hard to find for a half-breed with at least a little in the way of youkai senses.  Sanzo faced away from him, leaning against a tree, one of his arms shoved into his robe.

"It's hard, ain't it?" said Gojyo.  "This whole fucking situation, I mean."

Sanzo whirled around, quickly trying to adjust his robes.  In the dim moonlight, he shot Gojyo a look of pure venom.  "What the hell do you want?"

Gojyo took a few steps toward him.  "This is driving me crazy, monk.  If I sleep, I dream about that.  If I don't sleep, I start thinking about it.  I know it's bothering you too."

"You don't know shit.  Leave me alone."

"There's gotta be something we can do to make it stop.  I don't like it either, so why don't we just bite the bullet and figure this thing out?"

Watching carefully for any sign of the notorious gun, Gojyo edged closer until he could use his height to its full advantage and stare the monk down.  Sanzo didn't give an inch.  His long bangs shadowed his eyes, making them difficult to read.

He might kill me for this, but at this point I'm willing to take the risk.  It's now or never.

Taking a deep breath, he grabbed Sanzo by the shoulders and dove his head down to crush their lips together.

Immediately, he felt Sanzo go rigid.  It was his first real kiss with a guy and it pretty much sucked (not his fault mind you, but he couldn't do much with Sanzo stiff as a board).  He held it for as long as he dared, then pulled back cautiously.

Not cautiously enough.  Sanzo's fist slammed into his jaw with enough force to send him reeling backward.  He stumbled and caught himself before he fell on his ass, throwing his arms up in a gesture of surrender as he caught sight of the muzzle of the Smith & Wesson pointed right at his skull.

"What the hell was that?" demanded Sanzo, practically shaking with fury.

"Woah, woah, don't shoot!  I just thought it might break the curse, okay?  Isn't that how they cure this stuff in the legends?"

Sanzo raised an eyebrow and looked at him as though he'd sprouted a second head.  "You really are a moron."

"Well I won't get any smarter if you shoot me."

With an exasperated sigh, Sanzo shoved the gun back into his robes.  Gojyo sagged with relief and looked away.  "Man, your past self was a lot cuter."

Suddenly, without exactly knowing how it happened, he was on his back, arms braced above him, trying to stave off the flurry of blows Sanzo rained down on him.  He bent his legs and managed to roll and take Sanzo with him, landing a good punch to the gut in the process.  They twisted in the grass, trading hits until their knuckles were bloody.  Finally Gojyo managed to scramble his way on top and used his greater weight to pin Sanzo down.  The monk kicked and struggled anyway until Gojyo got a good grip on his wrists and locked his knees around his thighs.  For a moment they were both still, the sound of their hard breathing harsh in the air between them.

Shitty monk.  If he'd rather be beaten senseless I should just give him what he wants.

Blood dribbled down Sanzo's chin from a split lip.  Gojyo felt a bizarre urge to lick it clean.  He shook his head to clear it.  Okay, kissing the monk had been a dumb idea, but at least he was being proactive.  If Sanzo had his way, they'd be squabbling like this until the monk finally snapped and shot him.

A part of him wanted to yell and scream but he couldn't seem to get his breathing under control.  Below him, Sanzo stopped wiggling and turned his face to the side, eyes squeezed shut.  Gojyo shifted his grip and sat back a little.  His eyes widened.  Either that was the monk's gun poking him, or…

Crap.  Releasing Sanzo all at once, he rolled off quickly and turned away.  He sat with his knees pulled up, head buried in his arms, willing the pounding of his heart to slow. 

It was just too weird.  For a moment reality had crossed with the dream and he could almost see Sanzo underneath him with long hair fanning across the grass like a river of sunlight.  Gojyo took a deep, shaky breath.  He was so screwed.

 

***

 

It was a new scenario this time.  Somehow he had managed to lure the blond back to his bedroom.  No preamble necessary, their eyes spoke what their mouths did not as they stood a little apart from each other, shedding clothes purposefully.

A pale, delicate hand reached out to touch him first, tracing a hot line down his chest.  Kenren hooked the other man around the waist and tugged him close.  They both gasped a little at the contact.  Kozen reached up and pulled down his head into a rough kiss.

They fell onto the bed together.  Kenren pulled back to take a gasp of air, then ducked his head back down to capture the blond's earlobe with his teeth.  Thin hands roamed his body and that hair, that bright golden hair, spilled across and between them in tickling, twisted rivulets.

Flowers were good.  Women were good.  A glass of warm sake even better.  But dammit, what this infuriating, bitter-tongued man could do to him when he let himself go…

 

His hearth thumped.  His chest struggled against the pressure constricting it, forcing breath in and out.  His throat burned.  A cold, intense pain dug into his temple.

"I should just kill you and get it over with."

Gojyo's eyes flew open.  He jerked, trying to sit up, but the heavy weight on his chest refused to budge.  The gun pressed harder against his forehead and he followed the line of the arm holding it back to intense, violet eyes.

"Sanzo?"  He croaked.  "What the hell?"  Shit, he looks like he's really lost it this time.  I knew it; I knew this was gonna fucking happen.  "Get the hell off me, you psycho."

Sanzo dragged the gun down his cheek and under his chin, pressing upward until Gojyo's jaw clicked shut.  Gojyo swallowed nervously, trying to read Sanzo's intentions in his face.  Sanzo leaned forward a bit and was lit by some of the soft light filtering through the window from the lantern outside.  His robes were puddled loosely around his waist, revealing the black top and arm warmers.  Gojyo noticed for the first time how tired the monk looked.  Those magnetic, droopy eyes had dark circles under them and his skin seemed even paler than usual.

Sanzo braced his left hand beside Gojyo's head and leaned down even further.  "You were wrong," he whispered.  "It didn't go away."

"Sanzo, I…"

He didn't have time to finish.  The gun pulled back and just as quickly, Sanzo closed the distance between them and caught his lips in a demanding kiss.

Gojyo's eyes widened and he clutched at the sheets with his hands.  At first he didn't know what to do.  Was this some sort of test?  Was he supposed to kiss back?  Then his instincts took over and he opened his mouth.  Sanzo's lips attacked him – wet, sloppy, and inexperienced but also deliciously eager.  He could really taste him this time – the strong flavour of cigarettes twisted with beer and coffee and something else uniquely Sanzo. 

When the monk pulled back for air, Gojyo lay still, panting slightly, his mind reeling.  Maybe he was still dreaming.  Sanzo sneaking into his room at night and ambushing him with a kiss did not conform to any reality he was familiar with.  What the hell?

A draft slipped in from the window and made him shiver.  No, this was real.  He was lying here in his shorts and tanktop with the bedsheet slipping down his calves and a Sanzo monk straddling his stomach.  The monk bent down his head again for another go.  This time Gojyo was a little more ready.  His right hand rose up to cup the back of Sanzo's head and he caught the monk's tongue and entangled it with his own.  Sanzo moaned into his mouth and flattened out his body until their hips were nearly flush.

The sudden feel of all that hard, muscular flesh grinding into him brought Gojyo crashing down to earth.  He wasn't making out with some chick he'd picked up in a bar.  This was a man, pressing very noticeable man-parts into his stomach.  This was friggin' Sanzo.

Gojyo broke the kiss and pushed his hand against Sanzo's chest, forcing him to a safer distance. 

"Look," he mumbled, "I don't do guys, okay?"

Sanzo snorted with disbelief.  "You started it back in the woods, pervert."

"I know, I know.  But it didn't work, so why…?"

"Do you talk this much when you're with one of your whores?"

Gojyo gritted his teeth.  The monk was not going to make this easy.  "My ladyfriends don't usually sneak up and jump me in the middle of the night."

Sanzo swiped away the hand on his chest and forced it back down to the bed.  "Listen, you," he hissed, "This is a one time offer, got it?  If you're gonna play dumb, I'm out of here."

Okay, so a part of him was curious.  It was Sanzo, after all.  A chance to see him drop some of that high and mighty arrogance and indulgence in a little passion for once… well who wouldn't?  Take away the bitchy attitude, and the guy was hot.

Shit, I just called Sanzo hot.  Well, so what?  I can appreciate a pretty face when I see it.  Even when his eyebrows are furrowed like that.  Heh, with his lips still wet and glistening from that kiss, it's almost hard to believe the filth comes out of them.  I bet once you got him warmed up, he would be the type to dark dirty.

As Gojyo watched, the corners of those lips started to twitch upward.  Mesmerized, he couldn't look away.  It wasn't quite a smile, but it was about as close he'd ever seen on the monk's face.  And it looked hungry.

"Don't tell me you're scared, Gojyo?"

The combined shock of that half-smile and his name spoken in such a sultry tone fractured the last bit of sense that had been keeping him afloat.  He tightened his abdomen muscles and arched his torso off the bed, chasing after those offending lips.  When they had been duly captured, he used the distraction and momentum to free his right hand and flip their positions.  If the monk thought he could challenge him, well the sexy and log-legged Sha Gojyo would just have to show him how it was done.   

 

 

***

 

 

Sanzo closed his eyes and tried to keep breathing.  Gojyo had a hand up his shirt and his teeth teased the skin of his neck.  He'd thought he could handle this.  Just a one time thing and then maybe he could fucking sleep at night.  So why did it already feel like he was drowning?

Every patch of skin the kappa touched tingled like burning ice.  He wanted… he wanted so badly, but to lose control here… fuck.  He wrenched his eyes open

Tugged off in haste, his shirt crumpled into a dark puddle on the floor.  A tongue traced his collar bone, then licked a wet line downward.  Lips brushed his right nipple, darted away, came back, sucked.

Sanzo dug his fingers into the read hair tickling his chest and pulled.  Hard.  "What the hell are you doing?!"

Amused red eyes regarded him.  "Sexin' you up?"

"They aren't breasts!"

"I fucking know that!  It felt good, didn't it?"

It felt too good.  "Tch.  Do you even know what you're doing?"

"Hey!  Which one of us is the prissy, tight-assed virgin?  Cause it ain't me!"

"I thought you said you didn't do men."

"I didn't mean… fuck you!  In fact, since you seem to be itching for the main event…" In two quick motions, Gojyo had Sanzo's jeans unzipped and jerked halfway down his thighs.  The sudden gush of cool air hit Sanzo's senses like a brick.  He bit his lip and glared at the kappa, trying desperately not to show the fear and hesitation threatening to freeze his joints.  Gojyo's eyes, wide and dusky like sunset, held his and seemed surprised at his own actions. 

"Not all th—" Sanzo started, then clamped his jaw shut.

"Okay," said Gojyo, and kissed him.  The pervert's tongue invaded his mouth slyly but didn't attack.  Sanzo let out a little breath and tried to reign in his freewheeling emotions as his lower lip was nibbled and small kisses travelled from the corner of his mouth down along his jaw.

"Like this."  Gojyo whispered in his ear.  "I think we can both handle it like this."

The kappa's hand brushed his erection and Sanzo 's hips jerked of their own accord.  Gojyo's mouth moved back to cover his, stealing the small sounds that escaped.  He heard the rustling of cloth as the kappa freed himself from his shorts.  That long, lean body descended to press against him.  Gojyo rocked his hips and Sanzo's arms snapped up to clutch the kappa's shoulders.  Between them, Gojyo's hand curled and slid to grip them together.

"Like this… okay?" Gojyo murmured against Sanzo's lips. 

"Okay," said Sanzo.  "Just don't freakin' stop."

The kappa chuckled.  "Say it with passion, Sanzo-chan.  Don't fuckin' stop sounds a lot better."  Then his hand began to stroke and finally there was no more talking.

 

 

***

 

 

When it was over, they twisted apart and lay for a while just breathing.  Gojyo turned his head toward the window and smelled the moist scent of dew in the ribbon of night air breezing through a crack somewhere.  He reached down to tug a corner of the sheet up around his waist and reached for his smokes on the nightstand.  The flame lit on the first stroke of his lighter, making him smile.  He took a long, deep, satisfying drag and wondered idly why he wasn't more freaked out about what had just happened.  Whatever.  There'd be time enough for regrets in the morning.  He started to tap out another stick, then thought better of it and turned to offer the monk the lit cigarette in his fingers.

He paused.

Sanzo had curled himself in the bedsheets, fast asleep.  He looked remarkably peaceful for once.  The golden strands of his hair framed his head in an unruly halo and he breathed steadily through slightly parted lips.

Yeah, so not cute.

Gojyo was wondering if he could sneak out without waking up sleeping beauty when he remembered that this was his room, and if anyone was leaving it should be the arrogant monk who had seen fit to take over his bed and steal most of his sheets.  Well screw that.  Gojyo stubbed out his cigarette and lay back down.  If the monk was still here in the morning, that was his problem.

 

That night, the dream did not return.  Nor did it appear the next night, or the night after that.  Oddly enough, Gojyo found himself almost wishing he could have seen a little more, or at least found out how the story ended.  But maybe that was the point – that it had never really ended, just sat around waiting all those years for the next chapter. 

He couldn't say he wasn't still confused.  The monk still pissed him off most of the time.  But the regret he kept waiting for never manifested.  Instead, somehow the whole mess felt right.  Like something he'd been missing for a long time, so long that he'd forgotten what it looked like, had finally been returned.

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