Title: Insatiable (3/?)
Pairing(s): 39, 58
Spoilers: None, post series
Disclaimer: As if I could own something so utterly captivating.
Summary: Sanzo learns that Goku's insatiable hunger extends beyond food.
In his semi-conscious state, caught somewhere between sleep and awakening, Sanzo believed that the warm body pressed against his back was the boy, and a smile graced his face as the heat from the other radiated over his skin. He burrowed comfortably under the covers, only to be besieged by a sneezing fit.
"Dammit, Goku!" Sanzo roared, sitting bolt upright. The bored golden eyes that regarded him though, were not the monkey's, but rather, they were owned by the feral cat that the teen had taken upon himself to domesticate. Sanzo stormed out of his bed, sneezing a few times more for good measure. The cat, unperturbed by the monk's display, curled up in the warm spot that he'd vacated.
He leveled the Smith and Wesson at the offensive creature, who, suddenly, innately aware of the danger it was in, crouched defensively, its ears flattened against its head. Sanzo glared at the sullen cat, remembering the circumstances that had brought the animal under his roof.
All through the late summer and early fall the temple courtyard had been a veritable killing field; the paving stones strewn with various body parts and internal organs of house mice and barn rats. Sanzo suspected the phantom creature to be some kind of feline, and though he'd never had any use for the fat, indolent temple cats at Chang'an, this one quickly earned his begrudging respect long before he laid eyes on it. If there was anything he hated more than a lazy, good-for-nothing cat, it was the mice and rats that ran rampant through his pantry, and the feed stores in the barn, and he was pleased that their populations were being decimated with surprising efficiency, and through no effort on his, or Goku's, part.
At some point though, feathers and hollow bones began to join the ranks of tufts of fur and innards that Goku cleaned up religiously every morning. That was when the monkey got it into his head to begin to ~feed~ the little killing machine, and soon flashes of a brown- and black-striped fur apparition would dash through their fields of vision whenever they walked through the courtyard. As the temperatures plummeted, though, along with the rodent population, there was an exponential increase in avian carnage, which greatly disturbed Goku. Sanzo thought for sure the boy would stop feeding the cat, but instead, he ~increased~ the quantity and quality of the food he left out daily on the porch.
"What the hell are you doing?" the monk asked one day, as he watched perfectly good chicken and rice leftovers being heaped onto the mat the teen had laid out.
"Feeding the cat."
"I can see that. But, that ... that damned creature is eating better than we are." Sanzo sputtered angrily.
Golden eyes glanced up, sheepish. "If he gets fat enough, he won't be able to-"
Sanzo grabbed the boy by his collar and yanked him up to a standing position. "If it gets fat enough, it will be ~useless~," he hissed, his voice dangerously low.
"Ijustwanthimtostopkillingbirds!" Lids drew closed over gold, and Goku flinched as he waited for an expected swat of the harisen.
Sanzo sighed deeply and let go of the teen. He'd always known that Goku had some kind of affinity for birds, so he shouldn't have been surprised by the boy's actions. He glanced down and saw the feline timidly approaching the mat. It was a superb specimen of Asian wildcat, the lanky form beneath its winter coat indicating that it was an adolescent or young adult. It crouched warily at the meal Goku had left for it, ears and tail twitching alertly, and began to wolf it down.
"What am I going to do with you?" Sanzo asked, his voice defeated. "You can't feed that thing chicken if you want it to stop killing birds. And leaving that up," he added, pointing to the suet-filled birdfeeder hanging from a low branch of one of the shade trees that dotted the courtyard, "that's just inviting them to their own execution."
Later that same day, Sanzo noticed the absence of the bird feeder, and a few days after that, the cat entered the temple for the first time.
In the end, Sanzo told himself that it was the allergic reaction that had prevented him from putting a bullet in the damned creature's head. Instead, he carried the animal down the corridor that separated his sleeping quarters from Goku's at arm's length, and kicked the door to teen's room open with more force than necessary. Goku barely stirred in his sleep from the racket, and in a fit of pique, the monk threw the cat onto the boy's bed. Immediately, Goku was awake and vigilant, his nyoi-bou materializing in his hands.
Seeing the blond hovering in the portal, he called out "Sanzo?" in a puzzled voice and immediately dropped the weapon to the floor.
The priest stood frozen in the doorway, his eyes locked on Goku's naked, unmistakably un-boyish chest. The tanned skin was smooth and flawless, the dusky nipples were peaked erect from the cool temperature, and all Sanzo could think of was how good they would feel under his tongue, how his teeth would torment the pebble-hard nubs ...
A hand waved in his face. "Sanzo? Whatsamatter?"
Snapping out of his reverie and back to the present, he snarled between sneezes. "Keep. That. Damned. Cat-"
"I know, out of your room." Goku replied contritely, dropping back onto the bed, his chest rising and falling ... enticingly. Sanzo silently cursed his wayward thoughts and body, and focused on the matter at hand.
"This-sneeze-is-sneeze-the third time in as many nights! No more! It can sleep in the barn with the other animals."
"But Sanzo!" Goku protested.
"No-sneeze-buts!" Sanzo turned on his heel and fled the room.
Goku knew better than to argue the point.
A couple of weeks later, Goku burst into Sanzo's office, the inert form of the cat cradled in his arms. "He's dead!" Goku shouted, his eyes blazing with accusation, tears streaming down his face.
Sanzo looked up from the applications that he had been reading, schooled his expression carefully, and stiffly tried to comfort the distraught teen. "It lived a good life," he started blandly, staring at the animal's body. The head was misshapen, and the monk surmised that the cat must have gotten too close to one of the milking cows.
"Good? He hardly lived a life at all! It's not fair! He was ~my~ cat!" Goku bristled.
Gingerly, Sanzo removed the carcass from Goku's hands, laid it on his desk, and then pulled the teen's trembling body against him. With that action, the damn of emotions walled inside Goku broke, and he cried bitterly against the monk's shoulder.
"Goku, you no more owned that cat than you own the air that you breath. It lived with us of its own free will. You gave it a good life here, but it's moved on now," the monk soothed.
"But-but, I loved him!" The raw feelings of those words touched Sanzo, and he was reminded of the tears of outrage and loss that he had shed years ago, over his master's body. But this ... this ... display was over a cat.
"You couldn't have possibly loved that ... animal, it was just a cat. Muichi motsu, Goku." Abruptly, the teen stopped crying and he pulled out of the embrace, rubbing his eyes furiously. Then, wordlessly, he fled the office, leaving Sanzo behind with the dead cat, at a loss as to how to comfort his charge, and to dispose of the creature's body. He wished, not for the first time, that he could be more like Koumyou-he would have found just the right thing to say, or offered some words of wisdom, extend some kindness to his charge. But Sanzo thought that he was just a foul-minded, foul-tempered priest. It was a wonder that Goku, that anyone, had anything to do with him. He made a mental note that he should be less authoritarian with the boy.
He sat back down at his desk and lit a cigarette, thoughtfully eying the dead cat. After a few drags, he stubbed the butt in the ashtray, pulled on his winter boots and donned his heavy overcoat, intent on giving the animal a decent burial. The ground in the garden, however, refused to comply with the monk's wishes; it was frozen solid beneath a thin coating of snow, and after toiling away with a spade, and then a pickaxe, Sanzo had to admit defeat. He'd been half-inclined to order the boy to do the labor, but a vague sense of failing the teen still gnawed at him. He'd never imagined that Goku had become so attached to the creature; he should have been paying more attention to the matter.
There was only one other thing he could do, so in the failing light of the day, he built a small pyre in the courtyard and then retrieved the cat from his office. He lit the timbers, and when the flames began to consume the body, he chanted a sutra, his voice faltering when he heard footfalls behind him. He turned his head to see that Goku, bundled in an overcoat and scarf that he'd wrapped loosely over his head and throat, had joined him. He continued the rites as the pyre burned away to ash, the teen standing by stoically. When he was done, Sanzo watched the reflection of the flames luminesce the boy's golden eyes. The monk noticed that even in his distraught, distracted state, Goku was breathtaking to look at. He was disgusted by the stirring in his loins; Goku needed his guardian, not a monk beset by base thoughts.
The teen was now sitting on his heels, his knees drawn to his chest, his arms wrapped around them, staring intently into the fire. Sanzo squatted next to him, laying his arm across the boy's broad shoulders in an awkward embrace. He felt Goku pull away slightly, which caused in him a small pang of regret. Sanzo let go of his charge and sat down, cross-legged, on the dry pavement next to him. He thought about all the times, years ago, when Goku was younger, when he would crawl into his keeper's lap, seeking comfort. He wished the boy would do that now, that he would do something, anything other than sulk silently, his emotions walled off, and it wasn't because he longed to hold the other in his arms, to feel that body pressed against him. Or at least that's what Sanzo told himself.
"Sanzo, what's it like to be in love?" Golden eyes turned and met the monk's gaze.
He was momentarily stunned by the question. Then he thought about it for a while, and realized that he had no idea. "I'm not sure-"
"You've never loved someone, or something?"
The blond shook his head. He supposed that on some level he loved Goku, but not the way in which he suspected the teen was asking. He had loved his master too, but he didn't think it had been anything more than how a student felt towards a beloved teacher.
That is, until Koumyou had been so brutally taken from him. Sanzo shuddered at the memory, "Muichi motsu," he whispered to himself.
"What's it like to have sex?"
"Sex?" the monk sputtered. "You should ask Hakkai, or better yet, Gojyo about that!" If the love question was surprising, this one was ... downright disturbing. "Didn't Hakkai talk to you about the birds and the bees?" Sanzo could have sworn that he'd ordered the green-eyed youkai to instruct the teen in sex education, as a matter of fact, he was positive that he did.
Goku nodded his head, his eyes downcast. "Kinda ..."
"'Kinda'? Either he did, or he didn't."
"He did ... kinda. He just wasn't very clear."
Sanzo snorted. What the hell had he been thinking? Sure, Hakkai was a teacher, but that didn't mean he'd be any good at talking about sexual arousal and intercourse, especially given his sad history. At the time, however, Sanzo had believed with certainty that he wasn't qualified to tutor the teen in the desires of the flesh, and he would never have allowed the pervy kappa to, at least not face-to-face. And Hakkai hadn't seemed uncomfortable with what Sanzo had asked of him. Not that Hakkai would have openly balked. In retrospect, Sanzo realized, he hadn't thought that one out completely, and at the moment there was no one else for him to turn to, now it was up to him.
It was his turn to grill the boy, to find out the depth of his carnal knowledge, so that he could begin to fill in the gaps. He'd been very explicit in his directions to Hakkai, so he still held hope that Goku knew more than he was letting on.
"Have you been having wet dreams?"
"Whaddya mean by that?" Goku asked defensively.
Sanzo took a deep breath. He couldn't believe that he was actually going to have this conversation. "Nightly discharge. Do you wake up sometimes, wet, down there ... ?"
"Down? ... Oh! Um, yes ... sometimes." Goku nodded and turned his head away, and Sanzo could see that his usually proud shoulders had slumped.
"That's perfectly normal, Goku," Sanzo reassured the teen.
"It is?" the boy asked, incredulous.
Sanzo nodded his head. "Hakkai didn't talk to you about this?"
Goku shrugged his shoulders and grunted noncommittally.
"Yes, it is." He took an uncomfortable breath before continuing. "Do you ever ... do you ever touch yourself?"
The teen's eyes became impossibly wide. "NO! That's wrong! Besides it hurts!"
"Who told you that? Was it Hakkai?" Sanzo asked, fuming. Someone was going to pay dearly for filling the monkey's head with such thoughts. Goku shook his head vigorously, but refused to meet Sanzo's glare. "Whoever it was, they were wrong. Masturbation is completely natural. And it shouldn't hurt; you must not be doing it right. "
The flames had died to embers, and Sanzo picked up the spade and began to pulverize the remains into fragments of bone and ash. Sparks flew up skyward, and the bitter cold, which had been held at bay by the fire, settled upon him. Still, he carefully shoveled the ashes into a plastic-bag-lined carton.
"Do you want to spread these in the garden in the spring?" Goku nodded. Sanzo knotted the bag and folded up the corrugated flaps, alternating them to seal the box. From the safety of his task, he asked, "Do you want to tell me how it is that it hurts?"
"C'n we just not talk about this? Forget I even asked?" Goku fidgeted nervously.
He would have liked nothing better. "It's a little late for that. You can't put the genie back in the bottle."
Sanzo handed the box to the teen and gathered up the tools. "Come on," he motioned, walking toward the storage shed. As he put the tools away, and then carefully placed the box on a high shelf where it would be left undisturbed, he decided on a different approach.
"Goku, who told you it was wrong to ... touch yourself?"
"Some smelly old monk at Chang'an!"
Sanzo snorted. He knew immediately exactly whom the boy meant, that dirty-minded old man, he seethed.
"Didn't Hakkai tell you anything different?" Sanzo turned on his heel and headed for the temple, Goku in tow.
"He did, but that ... incident ... kinda stuck in my mind. It scared me."
"That bastard hated you."
"Is that why he was so mean?"
"No, he was fucking mean to everyone, but he hated you for some godforsaken reason. He only said those things to make you feel bad."
Goku shrugged his shoulders again, and Sanzo felt the anger rising to a boiling point. He put his hand on Goku's shoulder. "No one had the right to say those things to you. I wish that you had confided in me. I would have set that prick straight," with a bullet, he added to himself.
"I didn't want to bother you." Sanzo felt his heart sink a little. He didn't like to think that he was ... unapproachable. Even if he knew that he could be intimidating, that had never stopped Goku from making his needs or opinions known.
As they walked back to the temple, Sanzo realized something. "You mean, he caught you ... ?" The monkey was masturbating back then? Why hadn't he been aware of this?
"Sanzo, please? Can we stop now?"
"Only if you tell me what you do." He could see the whites of Goku's eyes now, the utter look of horror on the boy's face. "Maybe ... I can set you straight. It shouldn't hurt," he reiterated. "What exactly are you doing?"
Gradually, while they prepared and ate their meal, and with some coaxing and cajoling, Sanzo, was able to get the gist of the monkey's self-loving technique. It didn't seem very pleasant at all.
"You need to slow down," he said finally, lighting up a smoke and putting a period on the conversation. The dishes had been washed and put away, and at that point, both males were having a hard time meeting each other's eyes. The discomfort over the topic of conversation was tangible.
"'Kay, I'll try that," Goku agreed hurriedly, "I'm gonna hit the hay now. G'night!" Sanzo glanced at the time, perplexed, it was a bit early for the boy to be turning in. He sat on the couch, spending the bulk of the evening convincing himself that he didn't miss the boy's steadfast presence, and wondering if Goku had gone off to attempt his instruction.
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