Of all the things I hated about traveling by jeep, the time it gave me to think had to be the thing I hated most of all. Goku and Gojyo slept, played cards, ate, or fought each other, and Hakkai drove, but I thought about what we'd done and what we would do.
At the moment I thought about To Ngai, giving him more thought now than I ever had when he'd been my servant. Why would I have paid much attention to him then? The monks constantly foisted students, servants, and sycophants on me, hoping to create a chain, link by human link, that would bind me to their idea of what a Sanzo should be. I treated all of them like shit, yet they kept returning for more. I hadn't noticed him while he was there, nor had I noticed when he left in what turned out to be a quest to prove himself worthy of me.
A fool might think that maybe things would have turned out differently if he'd paid more attention to To Ngai, more consideration, or if he'd seen the signs of obsession and jealousy and worked to stop them from growing. A fool might wonder if he'd somehow led him on at some point, despite copious evidence to the contrary. A fool would take all responsibility for the monster To Ngai had become. I was no fool. What To Ngai had become, he'd made himself.
A fool would also let himself wonder what other uses To Ngai had put that doppelganger of me to.
How could someone who claimed to be so obsessed with and impressed by me never actually listen to anything I'd said? I wanted no followers. People should find their own fucking wisdom. I had always been very vocal on those points. He was an object lesson in the dangers of looking for affirmation from outside of yourself. The people he'd been so jealous of weren't my followers; they walked by my side and whined in my ears. I didn't choose them. In fact, they stayed with me no matter how hard I tried to brush them off.
To Ngai had thought to replace people I hadn't wanted to have with me in the first place. How stupid.
Still, he must have known me a little. How else could I explain the creation of a paranoiac's paradise just for me? Literally nothing was as it seemed to be, anyone could be false and homicidal, and I had indisputable proof of it all. I'd never felt so... justified in my life.
Then again, he'd showed his devotion to me by kidnapping us into a den of illusions full of doppelgangers, by endangering my life so he could "save" me, and by trying to kill my... associates. He had me kill the image of the person I'd loved most and twisted a reminder of that person into a weapon.
To Ngai had asked to keep one of the paper airplanes I'd made one rainy day, and since it had been one of many and he barely existed to me, I told him to do as he pleased with it. I had no way of knowing that years later he would use it as the foundation of his dark power. Whenever I saw a paper airplane from now on, my thoughts of my master would have the shadow taint of To Ngai using it.
Thus, To Ngai forced me to remember him.
After trying to kill us all, To Ngai had dared to ask me to save him from his mistakes, and he hadn't meant by my chosen method of a bullet to the brain.
He couldn't even be helpful by slaughtering 1,000 pillaging, murderous youkai in his endeavor to take Hakkai's place in my group. It wouldn't have taken any effort to find 1,000 youkai who deserved death. Instead, he targeted an isolated group that bothered no one, a group so peaceful that butchering them must have been as easy as harvesting a field.
He'd wasted years of his life to prove himself worthy to a Genjo Sanzo that only existed in his twisted mind, while blighting the lives of countless others in the process. And he asked how anyone else could possibly be as perfect a specimen to follow me as he was.
Some would say that a psychopath would be a perfect disciple for me.
His "love" for me had given him all the excuses he felt he needed for his crimes. His personal knowledge of us had given him the ammunition to torment us before attempting to kill us.
It didn't surprise me. What people called love was so often need, dependency, weakness, possessiveness, lust. Love, actual and illusionary, led to loss, destruction, and jealousy. Letting other people close to you just led to them knowing the best places to stick the knife in.
I never wanted to hear myself being addressed as "Sanzo-sama" again.
Gojyo leaned over my shoulder from behind, breathing on my neck. I'd noticed how unusually quiet it had gotten back there. "Oi, Sanzo, I was thinking." I couldn't see his face with his bright red hair swinging in the way.
"Don't hurt yourself."
"I got stabbed, Hakkai was choked and nearly buried alive, then we had to fight psychopath monk boy and the legion of the undead, and for what? It all could have been prevented so easily."
Last night I'd felt something wrong as the trap started to close around us, but not in time to escape it. I never had my feelings in time for them to be anything other than annoyances. In any case, too many of the traps set for me could only be escaped by going through them. I couldn't have prevented what had happened.
I wouldn't give Gojyo the line he needed to continue on, but Goku asked, "Yeah? How?" Stupid monkey.
Gojyo leaned in closer to my head, just about breathing into my ear. "If he'd just told us that he wanted your body, we would have given it to him and walked away. It's not like we're using it for anything."
Hakkai hid a laugh under a cough. Goku yelled, "You cockroach! We would have given you to him, but he didn't want you!"
"Yeah, yeah. But, Sanzo, are all monks insane or just the ones who meet you?" He could so blithely drag Shuei into this.
In the end, all I could do for Shuei was kill him.
Gojyo stopped talking when I put the business end of my gun barrel under his chin and squeezed the trigger just enough to make a loud sound. Shooting that fake Gojyo last night had been very satisfying. "All monks are insane," I answered.
He swallowed and looked a little nervous, but he didn't back down, not even when I pressed my gun harder up. I didn't have any followers, just people who wouldn't stop walking next to me. I didn't want any.
"Think of the mess it would leave if you shot him," Hakkai said. "I don't think you'd ever be able to wash all the blood out of your robes."
"Hakkai!" Gojyo yelled.
"You have to know how to appeal to Sanzo."
It always entertained me to have a former mass murderer asking me not to kill. Hakkai had a healthy sense of irony. I put the gun away.
Gojyo rubbed under his chin but didn't move away. "I have a big hole in my gut because some freak lusted after you, and this is the thanks I get. It's just not right."
"I killed him but spared you," I answered. "Be thankful."
"Yes, Sanzo-sama," he replied in a mocking, singsong tone.
It made me ill. "Don't call me that."
More Viridian5 stories can be found in The Green Room version 2.0 at http://viridian.mrks.org/
No-frames but no-frills access available at http://viridian.shriftweb.org
Fandoms represented: Saiyuki, Weis Kreuz, Andromeda, due South, Hard Core Logo, Twitch City, X-Files, Once a Thief, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, Angel, Two Guys and a Girl (was Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place), X-Men, Smallville, Doctor Who, Fight Club, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
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Fandom: Other (Saiyuki)
Title: No Blue Sky
Author: Viridian5 [email]
Details: Standalone | PG-13 | *slash* | 7k | 04/17/04
Summary: Sanzo refuses to be responsible for recent events.
Notes: "Requiem" gives us canonical (if sick) lust, so I just couldn't resist.
Spoilers: "Unnatural Talismanic Monk," "A Twilight Farewell," and "Requiem."
Rating: PG-13; mentions of To Ngai's feelings for Sanzo. If m/m interaction bothers you, pass this by.
Disclaimer/Other: All things _Saiyuki_ belong to Kazuya Minekura/Epix, Saiyuki Project, TV Tokyo, and A.D. Vision, Inc. No infringement intended.
Archival/distribution: Anywhere, as long as you ask me first.
Feedback: can be sent to Viridian5@aol.com
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