TITLE: The Sadism Waltz
RATING: PG-13 for Kenren's mouth
PAIRING: Tenpou/Kenren, some Konzen/Goku if you look for it.
SUMMARY: The waltz has never been taught this way before. Then again, its never been taught by Tenpou.
A/N: This was written for the Writer's Holiday Swap on y-gallery. I'm giving it a test run here (though I have to post it in two days….eep!). Hope my Secret Santa likes it!
DISCLAIMER: I own no part of Saiyuki and make no profit from this fanfic.
"Ten-chan, what're you listening to?"
Tenpou paused, looking up from the book he was reading. "Chopin. Why….you like it?"
Goku wrinkled his nose. "I dunno. It's…..weird."
Tenpou laughed. "I don't know what he would think of such a comment." He marked the page he was on and set his book aside, sliding from his seat on the desk.
"Where's it coming from, anyway?"
"..where's what coming from? The music?"
"Yea." Goku wandered the room. He peered around the desk, behind piles of books, nearly toppling several over, eliciting a loud protest from Kenren, who was attempting, yet again, to tidy up.
"Hey, watch it, kid!" Kenren almost tripped over Goku. "If I drop these I'm gonna make sure it's on your head."
Tenpou chuckled, moving across the room and patting a large black box. "Here, Goku. It's called a 'stereo'…it plays music off of 'cassette tapes'. These." He held up a spare cassette tape.
Goku took the tape out of Tenpou's hands, examining it. "…that's cool! So you mean you don't need to have anyone in the room with an instrument? There's no one here?" The boy glanced around once more, as if he'd suddenly find someone hiding in a corner.
Tenpou laughed again. "No, there's no one here. Just the tape."
"And this music…it's…..Show-pan?"
"….yes, Goku. Chopin. He was a famous composer. This playing right now is called a waltz. It's a very well-known dance."
"Yea?" Goku looked excited. "Can you show me?"
Tenpou paused, considering the idea. "…well, you would need a partner….." He smiled at his general. "Kenren, I don't suppose you'd be willing…?"
Kenren paused, book in hand. "…..what am I doing?"
"Dancing with Goku."
The dark haired man stared as though he didn't believe he had heard correctly. "…come again?"
"Goku wishes to learn how to waltz. He can't do so without a partner." Tenpou beckoned Kenren over. "Come. It'll be fun."
With a sigh, Kenren placed the book on its shelf and climbed off the chair he'd been standing on, setting the rest of the books he'd been holding down on Tenpou's already overflowing desk. "More fun than shelving your books and cleaning your apocalypse of a study?"
"Oh, I don't know…that job is certainly quite entertaining."
"Really? Then why don't you do it more often?"
"As I was saying, Kenren," Tenpou completely brushed the question aside, eliciting a sigh from Kenren, "we're going to be learning a waltz."
"Terrific. Sounds fascinating. What do I do."
"Well, for starters, you're going to place your arm around Goku's waist, hand on the small of his back."
Tenpou sighed. "Honestly, Kenren, you seem to be very hard of hearing today. Maybe I should give you an examination."
"That'd probably be more fun than this."
"It's just a waltz….stop being so uptight."
Goku was staring back and forth between the two of them as they talked. "…Ten-chan?"
"…are we actually gonna dance?"
"Yes, Goku. Kenren is just being difficult."
"Hey, do you see how short Goku is compared to me? I don't wanna bend in half just so my damn arm can go around his waist, especially not for the length of a whole dance. Why don't you do it?"
"Because I need to teach," Tenpou said simply, completely calm. "I can't dance with him and instruct him at the same time, surely you understand that."
There was a long moment's silence in which Kenren looked from one to the other, Tenpou regarding him with a serene smile, Goku looking up at him with wide, pleading eyes. Kenren growled in irritation. "Fine. I'll do it. But you owe me big time, Tenpou."
"Oh, I'm certain I can think of a fit and proper way to repay you," Tenpou murmured, looking at Kenren through lowered lashes, and suddenly Kenren's throat was very dry, heat creeping up the back of his neck. He swallowed hard.
"Okay. Where do we start?"
"Hand around Goku's waist."
"Oh, right." Kenren bent forward, groaning at the height difference. "Geez, you're short, kid."
"Am not! You're just too darn tall!"
"You won't think that once you've grown to a proper height, midget."
"Please." Tenpou's voice brought the argument to a halt before it had even begun. "Now, Goku, you put your left hand on Kenren's right shoulder." Goku paused for a moment, staring at Kenren as if to gauge which side was which, and then did as told. "Good. Now, each of you raise your free arms and clasp hands."
Goku complied without objection, but Kenren heaved another sigh. "Man, this dance just keeps getting gayer and gayer."
"I wouldn't think that would be a problem."
Kenren glanced at Tenpou, a dark look in his eyes, but the marshal continued speaking so fluidly that it was almost as if his last comment hadn't been uttered at all.
"Now, a waltz consists of three basic steps." He positioned his own hands to match Goku's and Kenren's and demonstrated, counting off the steps. "One-two-three, one-two-three…"
"Hey, I thought you couldn't actually do the dance!" Kenren objected. "I thought that's why I had to dance with the twerp!"
"I'm not a twerp!"
"Kenren, please. I'm not actually going to be dancing; I am simply giving you both a brief demonstration so you can see the moves in action before attempting them yourselves. Now….would you like to give it a try?"
"Yea!" Goku answered enthusiastically, giving Tenpou a broad smile.
"No" Kenren said simultaneously.
Tenpou slowly smiled, one of those incredibly rare ones, showing his teeth. "….Kenren, behave. If you don't, I may very well change my mind about repaying you for these lessons."
Kenren's expression soured. "Fine. I'll beh-…" the sentence cut off as he realized that was an extremely difficult promise for him to make. "….I'll do my best."
The marshal smiled at him. "That's all I can really expect, isn't it? Now, let me see you try it."
Kenren tugged at Goku's hand. "You ready, kid?"
"I've been ready!"
He bit back a retort. "Well okay then. Let's go."
Tenpou smiled. "Start on 'three' then….I'll count it off. One…two…three."
It was a disaster from the get go. Goku's movements were fairly smooth, but the height difference really was too great for the dance to work fluidly. Kenren was stumbling on every step, and it quickly caught up with Goku and tripped him up as well.
"Me? You're the one who keeps stepping on me!"
"I can't help it! You're too damn short!"
"I'm not short!"
"Now now, children," Tenpou's voice was smooth, but his amusement was plain. "No fighting. Ken-niichan, you're the older one…..you should behave as such."
Kenren glared. "You know, you're really pushing it, Tenpou." Goku was giggling and Kenren turned his attention in the boy's direction and cuffed him on the head, grinning as he tousled Goku's hair. "Shut it, midget."
"Well then….shall we try it with music?"
Kenren stared at Tenpou. "…..you are joking, right? We barely managed it just now."
"Oh relax, Kenren. I'm sure you can handle it. It's not as if doing it with music is much different than doing it without….wouldn't you agree?" There was that innocent smile again. Kenren glowered. At the lack of response, Tenpou turned his smile in Goku's direction. "What about you, Goku, do you want to try it with the music?"
"Yea!" Goku looked pleadingly up at Kenren with those wide golden eyes of his. "Please, Ken-niichan?" And Kenren couldn't refuse that look. Sighing, he took Goku's hand again.
"Fine. We'll give it a shot."
"But you'd better not step on me again, kid."
"Then don't trip me!"
"Must we start fighting again?" Tenpou moved to the black box…."stereo", he'd said….and pressed a button. "Think we'll try a different piece." He kept hitting buttons, playing short bits of music as he searched for the right piece. "Ah….here we are." He stopped the tape. "Ready, then? On three."
Kenren leaned down once more, still grumbling about the severe difference in height, and rested his hand on Goku's back. Goku placed his hand on Kenren's shoulder, they clasped hands. "Ready," both answered in unison, and Goku laughed at the coincidence. Kenren grinned at him.
"Okay. One….two…" Tenpou pressed the button to start the tape. "….three." The music roared to life and the other two jumped in surprise. The music was at least twice as fast as the waltz Tenpou had played earlier….probably even faster.
"Do you like it?" The marshal was smiling. "It's Chopin's 'Minute Waltz'. One of my personal favorites."
Kenren simply stared at him. "You've been planning this, haven't you."
"Oh no…..only since Goku asked me to teach him to waltz. It hasn't been festering in my mind. Just a spur of the moment thought….though I must say a fun one." The room fell silent. "Oh dear, it ended."
"What? It's that short?"
"Well, it is called the 'Minute Waltz', Kenren." Tenpou said this as though Kenren was being incredibly daft. "Oh well. We'll just have to start over."
"Hey, wait a minute…" Kenren tried to protest, but Goku was already tugging at his hands, trying to get him back into dance position.
"Ken-niichan, come on! We've gotta be ready this time!"
Kenren turned to look at Tenpou, who was standing waiting by the stereo, watching them both with a tiny smile on his face. "…you're a sadistic bastard, Tenpou."
"Such language." He placed his finger on the button. "…..ready? On three again, yes?"
Kenren sighed. "Yea, sure." He finally allowed Goku to pull him back into position.
"One….two….three." The music blared to life again and Goku yanked at Kenren, Kenren tugged at Goku, and the two were moving at top speed about the room in a waltz….if it could be called that. It was obvious to any observer that the two were attempting a dance, but the speed of the music was so fast that both were tripping over their own feet, not to mention each other's. Tenpou's smile widened as he watched until he was almost grinning.
"Ken-niiiiichaaaan! Slow down!"
"I can't, dammit! That's how fast the music goes!"
"But I can't keep up!" Goku's voice was plaintive and the boy tripped again. Kenren glanced at Tenpou and saw that smile. He decided he was through playing this game, and scooped Goku into the air with immense difficulty, the chains so heavy he could barely manage it. He pulled the boy into his arms, whirling him into the dance. "Ken-niichan!"
"That's not how the dance goes!" Goku struggled in Kenren's arms, but he didn't look all that upset. In fact, he was suppressing a smile with some difficulty.
"Yea? Too bad. I'm changing it." Kenren began over-exaggerating the steps, lifting his knees high as he waltzed Goku in circles. The boy began giggling in earnest and Kenren couldn't help but laugh as well. Tenpou smiled to watch them.
"What the hell is going on in here?"
The dance stopped abruptly, Kenren whirling towards the sound of the voice, Goku still in his arms. Konzen stood in the doorway, staring at the sight before him, looking perturbed and irritated.
Goku's face lit up. "Konzen!" He began scrambling in Kenren's arms and the general let the boy slip to the floor, where he immediately ran to Konzen, throwing his arms around the tall blonde man. He got a smack on the head in return for his affections.
"What are you three idiots doing?"
"Ten-chan was teaching us to waltz!"
Konzen looked up, his glance traveling past Kenren to settle on Tenpou, who smiled at him. "….waltz." he said, voice very slow.
"Yes, Konzen…..waltz. It's a type of dance." The song had ended and a new one had begun. Tenpou pressed another button on the stereo and the music stopped.
Konzen's gaze returned to Kenren. "….dance. Is that what you call that revolting thing you were just doing?"
Kenren bristled. "As if you could do any better."
A strange glint came into Tenpou's eye. Kenren recognized that look immediately. It was that 'I have an idea that no one but me will enjoy because I'm a crazy fucker' look. "Yes, Konzen, why don't you give it a try? I'm certain Goku could use some more practice."
Goku's eyes lit up; arms still wrapped tightly about Konzen, he looked up at the man, face aglow, but Konzen immediately came back with just the response Kenren had known would come, that Tenpou had expected. "No way." Though there was a flush on the back of his neck that Kenren couldn't figure out….a flush that wasn't anger. Only Tenpou seemed to understand, smiling that knowing smile of his.
"Kooonnnzennnn! Why not?" Goku whined. His face had fallen as soon as Konzen had uttered that refusal.
"Shut up, saru."
"Well, Goku," Tenpou interjected, as Goku opened his mouth to protest, "why don't I loan you the stereo? That way you can practice tonight if you want."
"I said I'm not going to…" Konzen began, but he didn't get far before he was interrupted.
"No one said you had to help him practice, Konzen." Tenpou pointed out, voice mild. "He can practice on his own if he likes." The marshal moved to the stereo. "Here…..if you press this button….it'll bring the tape back to the beginning of the song. That way you can practice as often as you want." He lifted the black box off the shelf and handed it to Goku. "I just replaced the batteries, so it shouldn't die on you."
Goku's eyes went impossibly round and wide. "….it can DIE?"
Tenpou laughed. "No, it can't. It's just an expression. It means it won't run out of power."
"Oh." Goku stared at the box in his arms, contemplating it. "….are you sure there're no people inside it with instruments?"
"Yes I'm sure," Tenpou smiled. "And please…don't take it apart to check. It would be terribly inconvenient to have to find a new stereo."
"Okay, I won't." He was still staring at the box though, as though he didn't quite believe Tenpou's answer.
Tenpou gently tousled Goku's hair, smiling at Konzen. "Take good care of him….and my stereo, please."
Konzen scowled. "I can't believe you're doing this to me."
"Why Konzen, I haven't the faintest idea what you mean." Tenpou's face was innocence itself.
"Sure you don't. Come on, Goku." Konzen turned away, opening the door.
Goku finally looked up from the stereo, smiling. "Thanks, Ten-chan….Ken-niichan."
"No problem, midget."
"I'm not a midget!"
"Goku! Now." Konzen didn't sound at all pleased, and Goku scurried out the door after him, turning to face the men.
"Bye!" Goku waved, nearly dropping the stereo in the process and causing Tenpou's heart to pound a few beats faster.
"Stupid kid! Don't drop that!" Kenren hollered, but he was grinning at Tenpou's obvious panic. The jerk deserves a scare or two after his behavior today.
"I'm not stupid!"
"Goku, don't make me say it again."
It was never a good idea to ignore an order from Konzen, let alone three. Goku turned around, stereo held tightly in his arms, and scampered after Konzen, out of sight.
"One two three, one two three…" Goku chanted the count under his breath, dancing in circles. Konzen glanced up from the papers he was studying.
"….must you do that?"
Goku missed a step and frowned. "Konzen! You made me mess up." He moved back to the exact spot on the floor he'd begun at. Konzen arched an eyebrow at that. Apparently he can't dance unless he has consistency. "….why aren't you practicing with the music?"
At the first sound of Konzen's voice, Goku stumbled again. "Konzen! You did it again!" And once more, Goku returned to that spot on the floor, which amused Konzen to no end. I was right…any little change and he screws up.
This time, he spoke up before Goku could resume dancing. "You didn't answer me."
"I didn't hear you."
"Don't lie. You messed up because I spoke."
"I know. I meant I didn't hear what you said."
"Should pay attention, stupid saru."
"I'm not a saru!" Goku's attention was completely diverted from his dance now; he'd turned to face Konzen, hands tightened into angry fists. "Just tell me what you said so I can keep practicing."
Konzen propped his chin in his hand, watching Goku. "I was wondering why you aren't practicing with music."
"…..oh." Goku turned to look at the stereo. "Well, its really fast….."
"You're going to tell me that Tenpou loaned you this…thing….and you aren't even going to use it?"
"I didn't say that!" Goku fell silent. "It's just that…..well, it was hard enough using the music with two of us dancing…..think it'd be harder trying to dance to it alone."
There was a long, pregnant silence, meaningful as could be. Konzen knew exactly what Goku wanted. He also knew that the kid didn't want to have to ask for it…..he wanted Konzen to want to dance with him. And while that wasn't really how Konzen felt, he also didn't not want to dance with Goku….
….and that's how he found himself rising from the bed, moving quietly on bare feet towards the small boy. "Come on, Goku. I'll help you."
"Really?" Goku spun to face Konzen, his entire face lit up like a beacon.
"Yes, really. Now start the damn music before I change my mind."
"Well I've gotta show you what to do first." Goku stepped in close, reaching for Konzen's hand and tugging at it. "Okay, so you put this hand around my waist…"
"…..you're too short."
"I'm really tired of hearing that today."
"Okay, arm around the waist, got it."
"Now you just hold my hand and we dance. Oh wait, I gotta hit play." Still holding Konzen's hand, Goku reached for the stereo, stretching as far as he could, until he pressed the button to start the music.
"I can't believe I'm doing this," Konzen grumbled, but the look Goku gave him, a smile beaming up at him, made the whole uncomfortable endeavor seem worthwhile.
The sound of Chopin, practically inaudible, still managed to reach carefully listening ears. Tenpou smiled as he absentmindedly stroked Kenren's hair.
"Daaammmn, my arms hurt."
"Well, it was silly of you to lift him…you know how much those chains weigh."
"Shut up. I was having fun." As soon as the words were out, he regretted them.
Tenpou turned a huge grin in his direction. "….oh really? Fun, you say?"
Kenren glared. "…okay, fine. Some of it was a little fun. Sorta."
"I thought so." Tenpou smiled, continuing to stroke Kenren's hair, running the flat of his palm over the spiky tips of the dark locks, loving the tickling sensation it provoked. Kenren sighed happily, eyes shutting to enjoy the pleasure of the touch, of Tenpou's warmth next to him. After a moment, he stirred, brow furrowing, eyes reopening.
"…hey, do you hear…"
"It's been said before that when a man loses one of his five senses, his other senses become stronger," Tenpou interrupted, almost dreamily.
"Uh…" Kenren stared at him. He was used to Tenpou by now, but still, it was impossible to be fully prepared for these weird little moments of his. "…that's….very interesting, Tenpou, but what the hell has that got to do with anything?"
Tenpou turned his smile in Kenren's direction. "…I assumed you were about to inquire whether or not I could hear Konzen and Goku?"
"Well, yea, I…" Kenren paused as Tenpou's words fully sank in. "Oh. Oh. I got it. Yea, I was gonna ask that." He stared at Tenpou. "….how long've you been hearing them?"
"Oh, for about fifteen minutes," Tenpou answered mildly.
"What?" Kenren fell silent, straining again for the soft sounds of the two voices, the quiet music. There….he heard the sound of Konzen cursing, and then Goku was complaining that Konzen wasn't following instructions. "…..how the hell did you hear that?"
"Because I was listening." Tenpou smiled. "I wanted to see what happened with my little experiment."
Kenren couldn't help but smile, shaking his head at Tenpou. "You are one sadistic bastard, you know that, right?"
"Oh, yes." Tenpou's answer was so matter of fact that Kenren had to laugh, lying down beside his marshal again.
"How'd you know Konzen was gonna dance with him?"
"Oh, Konzen is far more soft-hearted than you think." The comment elicited a snort.
"Konzen? Soft-hearted? Okay, sure."
Tenpou rolled over on top of Kenren, pushing him hard into the soft-mattress, pinning a wrist with each hand. "Do you really want to talk about Goku and Konzen? Or were you still interested in claiming your reward for such good behavior this afternoon?"
Kenren's lips curved into a smirk. "Oh no, the reward definitely sounds far more interesting."
"Good. That's what I thought."
The music of Chopin carried faintly on the night breeze, mixing with the sound of soft kisses, and at that moment, everything seemed perfect: lovely, silent, serene.
"Dammit, saru! You stepped on my foot!"