"The Chocolate Lesson"
Pairings: Gojyo/Hakkai, Sanzo/Goku
Description: Learning about love can be tough, for both children and adults.
Disclaimer: Saiyuki is owned by Kazuya Minekura-sensei and all the people that work for her and all those she works for.
Standing there, in his room where a glowing snow-colored crescent moon shone through his window, Goku saw a small, white-bowed box on his bed in Chang'An. It was not his birthday and he could not think of any holiday at the moment, so he thought backwards. About a month ago…
Goku flipped through some books, as Sanzo worked on paperwork, and spotted images of couples exchanging gifts covered in bright red or pink wrapping paper on a snowy day. They were smiling or blushing, always happy, and red hearts seemed to be a common theme.
"Hmm." Sanzo grunted, acknowledging Goku's interruption.
"How come they're giving each other red presents?" he pointed to a page.
"Hmm." Sanzo knew this day would come, "On Valentine's Day girls give the boy they like chocolate."
"Why?" Goku asked curiously, tilting his head a little.
"To express their feelings." Sanzo said, never looking up from his work.
"I see." There was a short pause, "Have you ever received a red box?"
There was a longer pause and more paper shuffling, but no response. Goku pondered and saw on a calendar that Valentine's Day was in a couple of days and thought of his friends. Gojyo and Hakkai have been acting strange lately, maybe because of the upcoming holiday. Gojyo seemed antsy and Hakkai smiled even more, if that was possible, as if he was hiding something from everyone else. On the other hand, maybe Goku was simply getting better at noticing things. Just then, the scraping of a chair on the floor was heard and Goku looked up to see Sanzo standing over him.
"Get up; we have to go to Hakkai and Gojyo's place to pick up an artifact."
Goku jumped up; "All right!" he said happily, he always liked it over there.
The whole walk there Goku hummed and swayed his arms in his winter jacket. It was filled with feathers and poofed whenever he hit it with both hands. He gnawed a little at his orange-knit scarf and exhaled through it to see his breath; all the while Sanzo kept walking and was getting a little annoyed at the antics of his charge.
Once they reached their friend's house Goku took a snuggly-gloved hand from his pocket, knocked exceptionally loud, and called out their names.
"Hakkai! Gojyo! Open up! It's Sanzo and me!"
"Me? Me who?" Gojyo teased from behind the door.
"Me! Goku!" He innocently called out.
"Goku, eh? I don't think I know anyone by that name. Try the other door down the street." Hakkai played along.
"Let us in!" Sanzo snarled.
"Not by the hair on our chinny-chin-chin!"
Sanzo kicked the door open and you could see an obviously baffled Gojyo and dumbfounded Hakkai on the other side. Sanzo strolled in and Goku ran after him, stepping on the door that was now on the floor.
"Hey, monk! Ya' gonna' fix that?!"
"That's not my problem."
"The hell it ain't!"
Gojyo followed Sanzo to the living room, spouting out cusses and insults, as Hakkai and Goku attempted to put the door back in place. It was an easy job for the two of them and had to pacify Gojyo before he had a heart attack.
"What'd'ya want, you stinkin' monk?"
"I came for work. Did you retrieve the relic?"
"Yes, we recovered it."
Hakkai went to the table and handed an indiscernible object gently to Sanzo.
"Will you stay for dinner, Sanzo?" he asked as he stood in front of him.
"No, thanks. We just came to pick up the artifact." Sanzo scrutinized the item and pocketed it.
"Aw, but it smells good, Sanzo!" Goku whined.
"Tch." Sanzo stood up to leave. "You coming, monkey?"
"But I don't wanna'." He retorted.
"Aw, what the heck? I'll walk him home." Gojyo volunteered.
"Gojyo?" Hakkai was a little surprised.
"Really? Really, Gojyo?" Goku piped earnestly.
"Sure. What kind of a big brother would I be if I never did anything for my younger sibling?" He smiled and put a hand in Goku's hair, tussling it.
"Do what you want." Sanzo solemnly said and walked out, closing the door behind him and almost breaking it again.
"I'll get dinner set." Hakkai said as he walked towards the kitchen.
The truth was that the awkwardness of the household was getting too much to handle and Hakkai and Gojyo needed a buffer between the two. Goku was the perfect safeguard, consistently talking or doing some sort of task to keep everyone on their toes. Yes, Goku was perfect. But little did they know that Goku also had a plan up his sleeve.
"How do you like it, Goku?"
"It's great, Hakkai!" He smiled with his chopsticks hanging in the air and then plunging them down in some steamed rice.
Gojyo sat in the living room for an after dinner smoke, though he had about three during dinner smokes, and watched television. Goku saw this as the opportune moment.
"Yes, Goku?" He placidly answered.
"Do you and Gojyo… umm… have anything special? Like, things only you two know?"
Hakkai was taken aback and unsure of what Goku meant, "What do you mean, Goku?"
"Like a secret hide-out or something? Maybe a secret handshake?"
Hakkai sighed, "Well, there's one place."
"Uh-huh?" Goku asked anxiously.
"But it wouldn't be a secret if I told you." He grinned and started to clear the table.
"Aw, that's not fair." He protested.
"Well, between you me and Gojyo, I consider a certain area outside of town our secret place."
"Huh? How come?"
"Because, Goku", he paused, "that's where Gojyo found me."
"Oh…" he exhaled and turned around in his chair, "So - where is that, exactly?"
"My, you're curious tonight, aren't you?" Hakkai thought for a moment, "Well, there will be a landmark of a large boulder in the shape of… a turtle shell I suppose. What's with all the questions tonight, Goku?"
"No reason." He sat upright and started to put his belongings on.
"You ready to leave?" Hakkai asked.
"Yeah. I shouldn't make Sanzo wait any longer or else he'll get upset." He said and hopped off the chair. "Thanks for dinner!" He grinned and waited for Gojyo.
Gojyo grabbed his coat off a hanger, put it on in a zip, and put a hand on Goku's shoulder, commencing the "ready to go" steps.
"Bye-bye, Hakkai!" Goku called out.
"I won't be long." Gojyo said and closed the door.
As Gojyo walked Goku home, the quiet seemed unnatural for the little monkey and Goku felt the need to start his questioning once more.
"Gojyo, do you have a special place", a knowing glance of bars and women flashed in Gojyo's eyes so Goku quickly added, "with Hakkai?"
"Uh, yeah. Sure." He laughed.
"Is it by a rock?"
"Hmm?" Gojyo made an inquisitive face, "How'd you know?"
"A guess. There are a lot of rocks around here, Gojyo." He stuck his tongue out but then asked, "Will you show me?"
"It's kinda' far kiddo."
"I don't mind."
A long walk took them out of town, but not so far off that sheer darkness engulfed them.
"See?" Gojyo pointed, "You can tell it's here `cause'a that huge rock."
"Oh…" Goku mused.
Gojyo made another face at Goku, confused by his curiosity. He excused this as a kid thing that he would not understand. They walked home and played their usual antics of name-calling and uncontrollable laughter. Goku made a plan for his friends and would follow through no matter what. Their happiness was his happiness and that is all that mattered.
"Thanks, Gojyo! G'night!"
Goku ran inside the main building of the monastery and quickly found his room. Shutting his door on all intrusions, he changed into his nightclothes and laid down in his bed, putting all the events together. First, he needs provisions and they should be easily obtained. Next, he has to learn how to cook, but the simplicity of a chocolate mold should not be that hard. And then make Hakkai and Gojyo happy again! He crawled under his blankets and closed his eyes, he knew this would work!
The next morning, when sunlight draped over his face, he yawned and shot up in bed. All his morning customs were finished quickly and he hopped into the kitchen. Knowing Sanzo had work to do, as usual, and the monks would ignore him as long as he did not make a mess, he could do his work uninterrupted.
"So, I obviously need chocolate. Then a mold. Where would I find that?"
He took into consideration that the monks he saw rarely ate sweets and had no idea if they would have heart shape candy molds. He had to do this and whatever was in the kitchen was now fair game for his secret design. Clanking noises and little screams were heard throughout the day, which meant "stay away" to the others. The sun sank slowly under the horizon and all day Goku slaved in the kitchen.
"Yatta! I hope this works!"
He hopped from a stool and bounced to clean himself off. He ran through the halls with an oddly shaped bundle in his arms. He tossed his dirty clothes to the floor and a small little package on his bed with the other bundle then put on a new outfit fitting for the weather he was going to brave in a few minutes. He scribbled on two pieces of paper, smirked and planned the next step in his head. He knew Sanzo did not like when he was out past dark, but he had no intention of bothering him right now. He snuck out, hit the ground with a light tap from his shoes, and dashed to Hakkai and Gojyo's house.
When he got there, he peeked inside the window first and saw red hair coming towards the door and quickly ducked down and hid under the windowsill.
"A rock… I'm a rock… just a rock…" Goku whispered to himself with his eyes squeezed shut.
"Yo, Hakkai. I'm going out for a bit." Gojyo called inside.
"All right." Hakkai replied, nonchalantly. No emotion attached to his words.
The door shut and Goku could feel all the pieces fall into place. He would follow Gojyo to wherever he was going, then back to his house, and join his friends! It was perfect!
Goku hid behind walls or trashcans to go unnoticed and followed Gojyo to a bar. A bar on Valentine's Day? He looked inside through a window and saw Gojyo sitting by the bar and completely ignoring any advances made by other women. With a flick of his hand they walked away, offended by his rudeness. Gojyo got up and walked to the bathroom and Goku took his chances. He ran inside and propped himself up on a stool.
"Hey, can you give this to the red-haired man when he comes back?" he put a note on the bar and looked at the man.
"Sure, kid." The kind bartender replied, "But you better get out of here."
"That's what I was planning on doing." He ran towards the door, "Thanks!"
He disappeared outside and watched from a distance again. Gojyo walked out, saw the bartender call him over, and was handed a piece of paper.
Meet me you-know-where.
Gojyo mouthed words Goku translated as, "What the-?" and saw him coming for the doors and so he took off back to the house where Hakkai now resided. He knocked on the door and placed a second note that read exactly like the first but with a different signature, on the doorstep and dashed out of town. To where Gojyo took him the night before. This plan would work! When Goku reached the area, he placed his well-made concoction on the turtle-rock and took his hiding place up in a large oak tree.
He waited in the cold and the wind of night whipped at his face. Goku buried his face in his scarf and hands in his pockets, trying to steady himself in the tree. Finally, footsteps were heard from two different directions. He anticipated a warm reunion of hugs and happiness.
"Hakkai? What is all this?"
"I should ask you that same exact question."
Hakkai reached into his pocket and brought out the message and Gojyo showed him his. They looked at each other and laughed. This was not the reaction Goku expected, he shivered and decided to initiate the outcome he wanted. He picked an acorn from the tree and tossed it towards the large stone. Hakkai motioned up for Gojyo to look up slyly and saw the outline of Goku hidden in branches.
"Ah, what's this?" Hakkai picked up the awkward package and opened it.
A large, misshapen mass was wrapped up with ambiguous things hanging out of it. Gojyo and Hakkai were baffled and stared at it for a long minute and Gojyo even poked it. Written on it was "Gojyo and Hakkai".
"Aw, Gojyo. You shouldn't have." Hakkai teased.
"For you, Hakkai? Anything."
"Let's go home, Gojyo." Hakkai smiled and whispered, "I think our little Cupid still resides in the tree."
"Yeah. He really wants to stay hidden."
They started to walk away and they heard a rustling in the tree and saw Goku had hopped down.
"That's not how it was s'posed to end!" He exclaimed.
"Hmm? Goku, what were you expecting?" Hakkai inquired.
"Well, you an' Gojyo seemed unhappy and I thought that maybe I could… you know? Do something to make you guys cheery like before." He looked down at his feet and shuffled them, those books were liars.
"Goku, we're not sad. We are content with life the way it is."
"But it's Valentine's Day! And you should spend it with someone you love!" he shot a glance at Gojyo and back to the at trouble-free Hakkai.
"Goku, there are plenty of ways to express your love for someone, whether you're with them or not." Hakkai put a hand on his shoulder and grinned.
"Hakkai gives me my freedom, but I still know he cares about me." Gojyo stated, "When he let's me leave it's not like letting me go, just a mutual unspoken agreement. I'll always come back to Hakkai."
"Does this make any sense to you, Goku?"
"Well… not really."
"Part of loving is letting go. Goku, is there anyone you love?"
"Well, I love meat buns and ramen and you guys and-" He started.
"What Hakkai meant is that", now Gojyo put a hand on Goku's free shoulder, "is there anyone you want to hold onto, but at the same time you know that person needs their space?"
Goku pondered and said, "Sanzo."
"Exactly. I bet Sanzo is worried about you right now. Wondering where you are."
Goku looked up to the sky; the moon was completely covered by pale clouds and felt something hit his nose. Snow. It started to come down lightly and he knew he should leave or else getting back in his room would be hectic.
"Aw man! Gojyo, Hakkai, I gotta' go!"
"We understand, Goku."
"By the way - what the heck is this thing?!" Gojyo lifted the concoction in the air.
As Goku started to run he answered, "We had no chocolate so I used whatever I found in the kitchen that looked tasty!"
Goku disappeared into town and Gojyo poked at it again.
"Whatever looked tasty? Is there a chicken leg in this?"
"It's the thought, right?" Hakkai chuckled.
"I guess so." Gojyo sighed.
The snow fell around them and Gojyo turned to Hakkai. The brunette looked into his crimson eyes and shuddered.
Gojyo wrapped his arms around his companion, waited a second before placing a chaste kiss on his lips, and smiled.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Hakkai."
"Happy Valentine's Day, Gojyo." They stood in the unspoiled snow, "I hope Goku is happy."
"Don't worry. I have a feeling he'll be just fine."
Goku rushed back into his room and threw his clothes in a corner to get ready for bed. Did Sanzo not notice that he was missing this whole time? He flopped on his bed and landed on a small box and picked it up.
"Oh yeah…" he muttered.
Goku looked at his clock and saw that it was late and Sanzo liked to go to bed early. He huffed and decided he would try to see if Sanzo was awake.
Words from down the hall were heard but Goku could barely manage to make them out.
"…checked… their house… no one…"
"I… where… not like him…"
Goku crept up to Sanzo's office door and was startled when a man walked out and didn't even notice the boy. Goku pushed the door open little by little and saw that Sanzo had his hands rubbing the sides of his head with his eyes closed, like he had a headache.
He looked up and his eyes had genuine emotion in them. He stood up, but stayed behind his desk.
"Goku. Where were you?" he asked sternly, scaring him a little.
"I was with Gojyo ad Hakkai. Don't be mad Sanzo!"
Sanzo sighed, "I'm not mad. Just a little frustrated."
Goku groaned, "That's even worse."
"Don't complain. You snuck out and then lied."
"I really was with Gojyo and Hakkai! I swear!"
"They weren't at their home, Goku. No one was there. Where were you then?"
"I was tryin' to make them happy! And I came here just to give you this!"
He tossed the small parcel to Sanzo, who caught it in time to see Goku race off. There was no point in following him since he would be in his room anyway later, so he unwrapped the package and found an oddly warped heart, made out of - he wasn't exactly sure of.
He walked down to Goku's room and knew he wouldn't be allowed in right now but tried the door anyway. It opened, to his amazement, and he looked in to see a sleeping Goku. Tuckered out from the whole entire day's ordeals and slightly snoring. He smiled and whispered a "thank you" and left.
For a whole month, Sanzo wasn't around and Goku played by himself or found Gojyo and Hakkai to hang around, but the solace of home worried Goku and he wondered if Sanzo would ever start talking to him again. He expected his love to never be returned but the rest of his life was Sanzo going to ignore him? That was so much worse! Goku wanted this spring to be fun and filled with picnics and games.
He hid out mostly in his room and entertained himself, but today a surprise awaited him.
Goku finally broke his trance. He unwrapped the small package, saw a bar of white chocolate, and discovered a note hidden in the tissue paper.
On March 14, one month after Valentine's Day, it is tradition for the receiver of a Valentine's Day gift to return the favor.
Goku smiled sweetly to himself, whispered an inaudible "Sanzo", and took a bite out of his chocolate bar.
A tap on his door woke him from a fleeting reverie that scarcely started. When he turned, there was Sanzo, draped in his usual robes, smirking, and leaning against the doorframe.
"How do you like it, Goku?"
He swallowed, "It tastes different from the other chocolate."
"That's because it has no cocoa in it. It's mainly a confectioner treat."
"Ah…" was Goku's only response, still chewing on an edge of the sweet.
Sanzo walked towards a solemn Goku, who could only look up at his sun and stop chewing when a hand rested atop his head. Sanzo breathed in and took in the moment, an apologetic look swept over his face.
"Goku, did you know that the monks believe that love is a passionate, caring, and fundamental desire?" he shrunk down to his level, "But love can transform into selfishness or selflessness."
Goku was confused and could not quite grasp the intensity of Sanzo's words, but the tone of his voice was intertwined with sincerity and so he stayed quiet until someone else broke the hush. The deep gaze of Sanzo's plum eyes sent a secret message to Goku's golden eyes, and he leaned over to kiss Goku's charming lips. Electricity sparked on his lips and he gave out a slight moan. Sanzo broke from the chaste kiss to stare into Goku's eyes again. The young boy blushed and conclusively put his hand to his lips.
"I'm sorry, Goku. I haven't been around much."
"It's ok Sanzo, as long as you're not mad at me."
He beamed at him and felt Sanzo enclose him with his arms.
"Ne, Sanzo, guess what?"
"I love you."
That was his finishing lesson on love and chocolate for the time being and for all he learned, chocolate may be a sugary reward but Sanzo's kiss was so much sweeter.