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Gojyo stood in the doorway and gaped. There was blood. Lots of blood. He didn't think much of it was Sanzo's. He hoped not. The priest had been walking and if he'd spilled that much blood he'd have been a puddle on the ground. There were smears of what looked like ground meat on the floor and the wall. He saw splinters of white bone in the mix - - bits of cloth and maybe teeth. The sliced up, bullet ridden form of the fat mayor of Ho-gah village lay at his feet, face down on the floor. As for the one youkai that wasn't ground into hamburger - - well, being pulverized as a whole almost seemed a happy way to go, opposed to having your pecker blown off. The gaping wound in the youkai's bare genitals was most certainly made by a gun. The youkai hadn't died right away, the drying blood on his hands as he'd tried to clutch at the wound attested to that. Why he had his pants half way down and his dick out to begin with was another matter.
Gojyo glanced back to the shadowed woods where Sanzo had stalked off, a set of handcuffs dangling from one wrist, a look in his eyes that just boded bad things for anyone suicidal enough to get within miles of his personal space. He narrowed his eyes, coming up with notions that he in no wise liked.
"Oh - - my." Hakkai came up at his back, taking in the contents of the cabin.
"My sentiments - - sorta." Gojyo agreed. "The monk didn't do all this."
"No. Most certainly - - no. Leaving one to wonder what did?"
"Yeah. Wouldn't want to run into it."
"Its dark." Hakkai whispered.
"Yeah, dawn's a few hours away."
"No. No. There was something here that was - - pitch - - black - - foul - -" Hakkai swallowed convulsively and backed away. A stumbling step backwards, a horrified look on his normally imperturbable face.
"What?" Gojyo followed him out, staring nervously about the woods. "What is it, damn it?"
Hakkai shook his head. "I don't know. We ought to go after Sanzo. He shouldn't be out there alone."
"You heard what he said." Goku said, shifting from foot to foot, clutching his bo. "He's gonna shoot the first person who bothers him. But, I'll go get him if you think - -"
"I'll do it." Gojyo cut him off. "He's already shot me twice - - maybe I've had my quota for this week."
Goku pouted - - focused and single-minded when it came to Sanzo and Sanzo's well-being, but smart enough and just wily enough to let Gojyo take the brunt of Sanzo's ire if he wanted to. The kid had no idea - - no earthly notion of what had gone on in that shack, other than the slaughter and the eerie feelings that Hakkai had complained of. He hoped he was wrong - - because as irritating as the monk was - - the notion of a pack of youkai putting hands or other things, on him was damned infuriating. He supposed when you fucked a man you got a little sensitive about such things. A little - - protective. And wouldn't Sanzo just put a bullet in his head if he got wind of that silly notion. Oh, absolutely he would.
"Just give me a few minutes." He suggested over his shoulder, taking the flashlight with him into the woods on Sanzo's trail. "If you hear gunshots, come and pick up the pieces."
Sanzo hadn't gone far. He wasn't that stupid, to put too much distance between himself and backup just in case something was out in the wood waiting for a victim. He was a shadow against the trees, staring silently out into the darkness, one hand wrapped about his ribs where a gash in the black cloth of his top bared pale flesh. The dangling silver of the cuff caught a stray glint of light. Sanzo had to know someone was there, waving the weak flashlight beam about. He didn't bother to turn, though Gojyo thought he saw his shoulders stiffen a little.
"Hey . . ." He identified himself with a meaningless greeting. Slid up within arms reach and stood there, quite bereft of action. "You . . okay?"
Nothing. No response. No anger. No ramifications of Gojyo's presence when Sanzo had distinctly asked to be left alone. Gojyo smelled blood. The faint acrid odor of it. His sense of smell wasn't up to Goku's standards, but it was sharper than a full blooded human's. Sharper than Sanzo's.
"Sanzo?" he reached out a hand, got his fingers within a hairbreadth of Sanzo's shoulder when the monk whirled, slashing out with the hand encircled by the cuff. The metal caught Gojyo across the cheek. He staggered back a step, blood of his own flowing.
"I told you to leave me the fuck alone!" Sanzo snarled. Oh, a feral sounding, wild eyed Sanzo, with blood on his face and blood trailing a line down the white strip of belly visible between jeans and shirt. One of his arms was held awkwardly, protectively close to his body.
Gojyo carefully touched the gash in his cheek. It was long, but shallow, following the sharp line of his cheekbone, crossing the twin scars that already decorated that side of his face.
"Leave me alone. I don't want your sympathy." Sanzo said again, a little calmer this time, a little less likely to commit murder on a whim. He turned his back, the cuffed arm going up to test the limits of the damaged shoulder.
It pissed Gojyo off. The casual infliction of pain. That dismissal of him when he'd come to help. When he'd been goddamned worried.
"Fine. You'll get none from me, you prick. I'm glad you got your sorry ass kicked." He took a step closer, daring in his exasperation. "I'm glad you got to see a youkai gangbang up close and personal - - you give as good as you got?"
Sanzo's head jerked up. The one fist clenched.
"Maybe not from the looks of you." Gojyo sneered. "Looks like they fucked you up right good - - or just fucked you - - huh?"
That did it. Oh absolutely that did it. Sanzo spun, the gun quite suddenly in hand, face as pale as Gojyo had ever seen it, eyes as killing wild. But he didn't pull the trigger. Not yet.
"Shut up!" Sanzo hissed. "Shut the fuck up."
"Why? What difference does it make?" He stood his ground, the muzzle of the gun level with his chest, Sanzo's finger twitching on the trigger. Oh, a dangerous place to be. A very dangerous one. A smart man would have backed down. Would have slunk back into the woods with his tail between his legs. Gojyo had never been that smart. "You don't want anybody to give a fuck, anyway. So, I don't give a fuck. That make you happy?"
There was something in Sanzo's eyes that wavered then - - a little surprise - - quickly covered - - a lot of weariness. He was on his feet by the grace of stubborn pride alone. That was clear in the way his arm shook, trying to keep the weight of flesh and bone and metal perpendicular to his body. Whatever else had happened, he'd taken a lot of abuse tonight. More than he was capable of easily coping with from the look of him. At least not now, in the direct aftermath when he probably ought to be sleeping it off somewhere.
Gojyo took a step forward, towards that gun. Expressionless, steadfast, because to show hesitation would have set Sanzo off. He lifted a hand, smooth as silk and brushed the gun aside and Sanzo just stood there in shock over that bit of ballsiness and let Gojyo put hands on him. Let Gojyo pull him close, all lean, hard body under shredded skin tight shirt, hair sweat dampened silk against Gojyo's forearm. Not returning anything, just standing there, mute and frozen in Gojyo's embrace.
It didn't last. Of course it didn't last. He hadn't even let Gojyo wrap his arms around him in the aftermath of sex - - much less here when pride and ego and pretending that he wasn't walking wounded was an issue. The gun came up between them, shoving Gojyo back. Hard. He didn't stumble near as much as Sanzo in that distancing. He felt his stomach lurch though, from the look on Sanzo's face.
Disdain. Utter contempt. "Get your hands off me. Do you think, just because I let you fuck me that I want anything else from you? It wasn't even that good a lay, you moron. You talk so big and can't even last - - what? A minute? If that. You think I need you or anybody to help me - - with - - anything? You're wrong. Now get the fuck out of my face."
It hurt. It was embarrassing and cruel and - - god, probably true. At least the part about lasting a minute - - and it made him want to smash Sanzo's teeth in. Complete turnabout in the span of one mouthful of nasty words - - he'd gone from wanting to help that damned cold-hearted monk to wanting to beat him senseless.
"Stay here, then. We're leaving. And I hope the damned youkai come back and finish what they started - - or whatever it was that shredded the two in the cabin. It would serve you fucking right - - goddamned antisocial monk!"
ha. Not that good a lay. Like Sanzo was a qualified judge of good lays. Like Sanzo had the track record that Gojyo did. Ha. As if the monk had ever let anybody close enough to get between his long white thighs that hadn't had to knock him out to do it, or get him drunk enough or guilty enough - - - Aw fuck. Not a good lay. That hurt.
Just calm down. He had to repeat that to himself. Had to stop and take several deep breaths to urge the return of rational thought. He halted in his head long retreat and put his back to a tree. Waiting in the darkness for Sanzo to either follow on his trail now or get over whatever it was he had to get over out there by himself and come back on his own. After a few minutes he heard the quiet shuffle of footsteps. Gojyo stepped out from the shadows, not wanting to startle an already rattled monk and get a bullet for the trouble. Sanzo didn't even give him a look. Just passed on by, the gun tucked back in his waste band. So Gojyo followed, having little other choice and padded into the clearing around the shack in Sanzo's wake.
Goku scurried forward, face all bright and happy to see Sanzo back and in one piece. He started babbling questions, but Hakkai cut him off, worried and skittish and wanting away from this place.
"We need to go. Now." Hakkai wasn't waiting for debate. Hakkai was striding off, with the flutter of white dragon wings over his shoulder.
What happened, Sanzo?" Goku wanted to know. "That was a mess back there. You didn't do that, did you? They ambush you? You want your robes back? We found your robes and your sutra and - -"
"Shut the fuck up." Sanzo growled.
"Why? What's the matter?" Goku whined, oblivious. "You're bleeding. Your shoulder okay? You're holding it funny."
"Leave him alone, nagging little ape. You heard what he said." Gojyo was no more in the mood for Goku's persistent questions than he was for Sanzo's inevitable replies.
"Don't call me that and you can't tell me what to do, stupid ero-kappa."
Gojyo had to retort to that. Just had to. And Goku screeched something back loud enough to make the crickets pause in their song.
Smack. The inside of Sanzo's palm connected to the closest flesh possible, the side of Goku's head. It had to hurt one or the other of them from the sound of it. Goku stood there, with a hand to his face, blinking in surprise and Sanzo shook out his hand, growling - - literally growling in his frustration. "Will you both - - shut - - the - - fuck - - up!"
Sanzo let Hakkai touch him - - eventually - - once they had reached the road and had piled into Hakuruu's vehicular form. He just sat back with his lips pressed tight and his eyes distant and sealed tight from emotion while Hakkai focused his chi and shared his healing force.
"Should we just - - leave?" Hakkai wanted to know. A hesitant question, but one he needed answered if they weren't to sit there all night at the edge of the forest. Hakkai was spooked. Hakkai kept casting glances back at the forest as if he expected something to lunge out at them. Gojyo wished something would. He needed something to beat the crap out of. He needed to make something bleed.
"Not until I put a bullet in that son of a bitch's head." Sanzo said softly. Dead cold and dead serious.
"Which son of a bitch?" Goku wanted to know, leaning over the seat a helluva lot closer to Sanzo that good sense warranted. Sanzo half canted his head towards the boy, lips pulled back in a hint of a snarl. Personal space a definite sore subject at the moment. More so than usual.
Sanzo didn't answer right away.
"The mayor's dead." Hakkai said tentatively. "His son is . . ."
"The youkai working for them." Sanzo finally hissed.
"Oh. The one that got away in the woods?" Goku surmised. "He wasn't all that much - - I'd have gone after him if you'd asked."
"You should have in the first place." Gojyo said, "Now we're going to have to track all over the damned county looking for him."
"You shut up! I was worried about Sanzo - - he didn't look so good."
No argument there. Sanzo had seen better days. He smelled of sweat and blood and youkai. He didn't smell of sex - - didn't smell of youkai ejaculation - - even though the evidence that at least one youkai had been attempting it had been lying there for all to see, gunshot on the shack's floor.
"Back to Ho-Goh village." Sanzo said flatly.
"That such a good idea, when they set us up to begin with?" Gojyo asked. "At least not tonight when a safe place to lick our wounds would be nice."
"He's right." Hakkai said, when Sanzo's silence spoke eloquently enough of how set he was on that course. "You and Gojyo are both injured. It only makes good sense to rest for the remainder of the night and go back to the village when its daylight. We could go back to the inn. There are no other patrons left alive - - so I imagine the innkeep will be happy to have us." He finished dryly.
Sanzo lifted a brow. "What happened at the inn?"
"Youkai came after Gojyo." Goku said. "Woulda got him too, if we hadn't come back. Couldn't even fend off a few clumsy youkai."
Gojyo opened his mouth to reply in turn to that.
"Don't even start." Sanzo beat him to the punch, lifting a hand without bothering to turn. "I swear to God that I will shoot the both of you if I have to hear you bickering all night."
It was back to the inn, then. Mostly because Hakkai wanted it and Hakkai was driving and Sanzo wasn't being vocal enough to argue the point. Sanzo wanted silence and he got it, slouched in his seat savoring it.
A half hour's bumpy ride down the dirt track that served as a road in these parts and they reached the little road house. There were bodies piled out front. What was left of the youkai and the one poor traveler that had fallen victim to them. The inn keep and his girls had the door locked down tight and it took a great deal of pounding and promises to get them to open it.
"Have the priest bless this place." One of the girls gibbered, white around the eyes and still terrified. "There's evil here now with all the dead and what not. Have him banish it."
"There's no stain here." Hakkai said kindly, when Sanzo turned his back on the frightened girls and proceeded upstairs. "Just misfortune. But mostly misfortune for the youkai who attacked you." He smiled, trying to ease her mood.
"Not for that one poor man." The other girl said.
"No. That was too bad. But the three of you came away with your lives, no?"
They couldn't argue much with that.
Goku wanted to know what was edible in the kitchen. The girls looked vaguely sick at the thought of food with all the blood staining the walls and the floor. Gojyo wasn't much in the mood himself, though a beer or a shot of whisky would have been nice. He glanced at the ceiling and wondered if he dared go upstairs and see how the priest was. It wasn't a thing he usually found himself guilty of - - being concerned for Sanzo's state of mind. He generally went out of his way to avoid that care. He supposed fucking a guy sort of effected you that way. Made little things like being beaten and raped a matter of concern, even though the monk in question had clearly stated he wanted none of Gojyo's pity.
"I'm gonna go upstairs - - make sure - - umm - - everything's okay up there. No youkai hiding in the shadows and all."
Hakkai lifted a brow. "I really don't think there are, Gojyo. I think I'd have sensed it - - or Sanzo, certainly."
Gojyo shrugged, having no more excuses on the tip of his tongue. "Yeah, well, I'm gonna check anyways."
He shoved his hands in his pockets and clomped up the narrow stairs. Sanzo was in the room they'd shared last night, standing by the basin on the sideboard, his tattered shirt and arm warmers discarded. The monk was scrubbing diligently at the blood and grim staining his torso. He was taking little care for the none too shallow gashes in his skin. New blood was trickling down pale flesh from his efforts.
"What the fuck are you trying to do?" It wasn't his most political opening.
Sanzo turned narrowed eyes his way, bloody rag poised over his shoulder. The look plainly enough said, go the fuck away. The monk didn't bother backing it up vocally.
The gun was close on hand on the sideboard to back him up physically if need be.
"You're making the wounds worse." Gojyo tried to be reasonable. "Why not have Hakkai come up and take a look - -"
"I don't need Hakkai to take a look. Leave me alone."
"Uh - - looks like they fucked you up right bad." Gojyo fumbled for words and cursed himself for that particular choice. God, he felt like he was fifteen and trying to impress a woman way out of his league. Look what one decent fuck did to his head.
Sanzo glared at him narrowly, lips thin and white. Oh, not happy with the world at the moment, not happy at all. A smart man would have backed the fuck up and retreated to safer climes. Half of Gojyo stood there out of sheer perverseness - - the need not to let the monk think he was intimidated by that stare and the radiating hostility - - the other half - - the sentimental one - - just couldn't let go the desire to make things right.
"Listen - - ummm - -I didn't mean what I said - - back there in the woods - - you know, about - -" Not giving a fuck. No couldn't say that. Couldn't let that weakness out in the open. " - - all that stuff."
Sanzo's stare didn't waver. The hand on the rag tightened, then he carefully put it back down into the red tinged water of the basin.
"I did." He said. "I meant what I said - - so get the fuck out, Gojyo. You want someone to alleviate guilt with - - go talk to Hakkai."
Oh, that just figured. A man tried to be decent - - tried to have a rational conversation and damned if the monk didn't twist it and make it bitter and nasty. So he turned on his heel and walked away. Went back downstairs where Goku had scrounged up some food and Hakkai sat stroking Hakuruu and folks in general didn't freeze a man's blood with looks or words.
"So - -" Goku finally broke the silence, licking the last crumbs off his fingers, looking only marginally sated from the kitchen leftovers. "What do we do now?"
"Get drunk, if there's any more booze in this place. Go to sleep." Gojyo suggested sourly.
"Go to sleep at least." Hakkai said. "Getting drunk might not be the best idea. And we ought not all sleep at once. We don't know if there are more youkai on the prowl."
"But - - the mayor's dead and they were working for him, right?" Goku pointed out.
"True." Hakkai conceded, fingers steady on the dozing dragon's long neck. "But not all of the youkai he hired might know that." He smiled softly. "I don't think I could sleep anyway, so I'll sit down here and keep watch."
"Is Sanzo okay?" Goku directed that question to Gojyo, too much damned concern on his face for a man that wouldn't appreciate it.
"He's a fucking prick." Gojyo muttered and got a frown from Goku. "Why don't you go and see for yourself? He's in a prime mood."
The frown deepened, Goku obviously debating just that course of action. Hakkai, not wishing more bloodshed tonight, intervened.
"Why don't we just let him gather his wits by himself tonight. He'll be in a better mood tomorrow."
Gojyo snorted, but the assurance from Hakkai seemed to alleviate Goku's fears. "Okay, but still - - what are we gonna do next. After we sleep and Sanzo's speaking to us again?"
Hakkai exchanged a look with Gojyo, the frownline between his brows growing a little deeper, but that was the only sign of unease he let slip.
"I don't know. I suppose that depends on what Sanzo wants to do."
"He's going after the youkai that got away." Gojyo said. "He's got a grudge to work out and you know how he is with grudges."
"He hurt Sanzo - - this youkai?" Goku spoke more to himself than them, gnawing on his lip, brown eyes narrowed.
"Yeah, he probably did." Gojyo said.
"Then I've got a grudge, too."
Hakkai sighed, obviously wishing otherwise. Gojyo shrugged, no commenting, though in his gut he wanted more than a little taste of vengeance himself. The monk might be a major pain in the ass, but it didn't mean he was fair game for all and sundry.
Reckonings were due. It was just a matter of how much grief they'd have to go through to get them.
An excerpt of Cruel Intentions now available in doujinshi form. The doujinshi follows the original plot of how things were supposed to happen with Sanzo and the youkai in the shack. I went with the gentler, kinder version in the fiction.
Check out the samples on the commissions page.
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