Summary: Everyone wanted something– even Sanzo.
Spoilers and/or Warnings: Mention of attempted rape.
Title, Author and URL of original story: Candles by puddingcat.
A/N: Deep gratitude to my dear beta, midnitemaraud_r, for a wonderful job. *clings to her* Also, there is mention of a Hakkai/Gojyo relationship in this story, but it is not the aspect on which I focused.
Mindful Suffering (Karma's Not Always a Bitch Remix)
do not do harm to other beings
Kouryuu didn't remember the particulars of the dream that had caused him to wake up in the middle of the night, sticky and warm and mightily irritated. He knew what had happened– Master Koumyou had taken care of that particular conversation a couple of years earlier –but that didn't mean he liked knowing that he was now a victim of his own biology.
He stumbled to the bathroom, changed his sleep clothes, and stumbled right back to bed and to sleep, determined that the rest of his night would be dreamless. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. The following day ended with a near nightmare.
The priest in charge of laundry for the week, Luo, had never garnered much attention from Kouryuu. He was quiet and kept himself busy and scarce. Kouryuu actually strived for the same things in his life, needing only his master's company and tasks to keep boredom at bay. When Kouryuu found his cleaned night clothes on his bed that evening, however, it wasn't all he found.
The parchment was rolled neatly and tied with string and was set atop of Kouryuu's clothes. He regarded it with suspicion, but unrolled it anyway. Written neatly, precisely– beautifully – were the familiar words, "As the Buddha refrained from sexual misconduct until the end of his life, so I too will refrain from sexual misconduct until the end of my life."
His face reddening more from anger than embarrassment, Kouryuu crushed the parchment in his hands and let it drop to the floor. Sexual misconduct. He knew better! That's not what the Third Precept meant at all. Luo was nothing but a nosy idiot.
As Kouryuu's heart slowed to a normal pace and he found he could take a deep breath without shuddering, he put on his nightclothes, picked up the parchment, crumpled it into a ball, and tossed it into the wastebasket.
A nosy idiot, that's all. Still, Kouryuu took care of his own laundry from that point on.
do not take what is not yours to take
Kouryuu– no, Genjo Sanzo –was always tired. The bones and muscles in his body ached with each step of his journey to retrieve his master's sutra. His head and stomach both ached from hunger. At the end of every day, all he wanted was to sleep, and yet night after night he managed only a few measly hours. His thoughts were filled with Master Koumyou; with those final words imparted with such calm certainty, and with the devastating image of his death. No matter how hard he tried to think of his life instead, it was the blood and his own fear and despair that shined brightly in his memory, guaranteeing that sleep would remain illusive.
It was a warm enough night that Sanzo wasn't even tempted to light a fire. The breeze in the trees was almost relaxing, the sound of the leaves fighting against being swept off their branches was almost musical. The stars flickered hypnotically. If he could only soothe the images in his head, release the tension from his body, maybe he could rest. Maybe he could sleep for one full night.
Sanzo reached beneath his thin blanket, beneath his robes, never taking his eyes off the stars. He was compelled to close them, however, as he came in his own hand. It wasn't anything he'd ever conciously experienced before, but it definitely had the desired effect. His bones and muscles felt lax and his head and stomach quieted with the lingering sensations of pleasure. He didn't open his eyes for the rest of the night. He slept peacefully.
After the first men– after the first kill –Sanzo didn't touch himself anymore. That was what they had wanted from him, and more. Despite having avoided being raped, he wasn't stupid enough to consider himself safe from future attacks from other despicable men. Sanzo could, at least, make sure that he was safe from himself.
avoid sexual irresponsibility
Shuang attentively tended to Sanzo's injuries. They were minor, cuts and scrapes he'd received when her younger brother had barreled into him, chasing after his just as energetic puppy.
When their father had realized that the boy Changpu had mowed down was not justa boy– "A Sanzo priest!" he'd exclaimed, falling to his knees– well, Sanzo had been offered a meal and a bath and a bed for the night. Still reeling from the experience– and embarrassment –of being knocked on his ass by a five-year-old, he'd found it difficult to refuse, despite his feelings of discomfort at the man's groveling.
"Have you been traveling alone for a long time?" Shuang asked as she placed gauze over the most painful of Sanzo's scrapes, on the heel of his hand. She looked to be about his own age, pretty with dark eyes and short hair framing her face.
"Long enough and longer yet to come," he replied.
Shuang tilted her head, obviously confused by his answer. She seemed amused as well, if her laughter was anything to go by.
"How serious you are, Priest Sanzo. Understandably so, for someone with such an important position."
Sanzo didn't feel terribly important in dirty robes and with scrapes on his body, and he wasn't quite used to the way people treated him once they realized his "status." It was annoying, and yet... coming from Shuang, Sanzo found he didn't quite mind it so much. She was genuinely looking after him, and not simply because he was a Sanzo priest. That much he could tell, though he tried to ignore the blush on her cheeks and the feel of her fingers smoothing the tape onto his skin, holding the gauze in place. It surprised him a little, but he couldn't help but feel grateful for the care and attention he was receiving, after all his recent hardships.
"Still," Shuang continued, "it must be exciting, traveling across the country. So many places to see! People to meet! I never go anywhere except to the market on Saturdays." She smiled sadly at Sanzo, the longing for adventure shining in her eyes. Sanzo wished she would close them or at least look away. She had no idea.
Once his knee was bandaged satisfactorily, Shuang's hand lingered for a moment. She was kneeling on the futon beside Sanzo, close enough that he could smell what had to be her shampoo. Then she leaned in closer, with a look that was tender and sweet and–
Sanzo pushed her away, hard enough that she landed on her backside, just as he had done when her brother had knocked him over. Except Sanzo was sure that the look of pain on her face was less physical and more emotional. Sanzo almost felt badly for her, almost wanted to apologize, but....
Tender and sweet and lustful. That had been the look in her eyes when she'd tried to kiss him. Sanzo knew what lust drove people to do, what it had driven those bastards in the mountains to try to do to him. He wanted no part of any of it.
"I'm... sorry, Sanzo-sama. Please forgive me," Shuang said matter-of-factly as she stood quickly, bowed, and left the room her family had given Sanzo for the night.
He didn't answer, just watched her go, grateful for the privacy. Grateful, yet not exactly content. She'd been nice, a good conversationalist, and he hadn't had decent company in so long. The fact that she hadn't looked him in the eyes as she'd spoken her apologetic farewell had not gone unnoticed either.
Sanzo lay down on the futon, contemplating the fact that perhaps women were even more dangerous than men, with their seemingly- yes, seemingly -weaker bodies and gentler ways. Perhaps there was no such thing in the world as decent company, now that he no longer had Master Koumyou. Everyone wanted something, after all, even Sanzo. He wanted to find his master's sutra and be left alone.
refrain from lying, gossiping, slander, and spreading false rumors
Goku was annoying, loud, destructive, loud, demanding, loud, and extremely loud. He was everything Sanzo was not.
Goku was also sitting in Sanzo's office, head down, with his hands clutching at his knees so hard he was likely to wear holes into his pants if he kept at it. He was also quiet, for a change.
Sanzo lit a cigarette and blew the smoke directly toward the top of Goku's head. "Do you know why you're here?"
Goku nodded, but didn't say anything.
"Are you sure?" Sanzo asked.
Goku clutched his knees even harder but still didn't make a sound. Sanzo decided then and there that he was going to thoroughly beat, mutilate, and dismember that bastard novice priest, Kong. He'd been at Chang'an long enough to know that any issues involving Goku were to be directly brought to Sanzo's attention– not Goku's. And this... this, of all things. Fuck.
Sanzo stubbed out what was left of his cigarette, stood up and walked around his desk. He thumped Goku on the top of his head. "Come on."
"I said, come on."
"Okay, okay, I'm comin'!"
Sanzo walked briskly down the halls, Goku at his heels– still too quiet, damn it --until they reached the laundry room. Sanzo shoved the door open hard enough that it slammed against the wall, startling the two monks who'd been busy folding towels. Between the abrupt entrance and the look on Sanzo's face, he didn't need to say a word to send them scurrying out the door amid bows and mumbled apologies.
"Sanzo," Goku finally spoke when they were alone in the laundry room. "Why are we–"
"If you're old enough to make a mess then you're old enough to clean it up."
Goku's head shot up, his eyes wide with a mixture of worry and fear– but at least he was actually looking at Sanzo now –and he opened his mouth as if to speak. Before he could either apologize for whatever he thought he'd done wrong, however, Sanzo chucked a box of detergent at his face. Goku caught it, of course, and shut his mouth.
Worry turned to confusion. "Sanzo?"
"Well, what am I supposed to do with this?" he asked, turning the box over and over in his hands, examining it as if it had fallen to the ground from another planet.
Sanzo took a deep breath and shut his eyes, wishing he'd brought his cigarettes with him so he could blow more smoke into Goku's face.
"You're laundry, Goku. From now on, you do your own damn laundry."
Goku stopped turning the box over and over in his hands and stared up at Sanzo. A smile tugged at one corner of his mouth.
"Really? That's it?"
"Che, yes, Goku. That's it. Just..."
Goku's face had broken out into one of those ridiculously huge, innocent grins that Sanzo never quite knew how to react to. Goku was annoying, loud, destructive, demanding, and... everything that Sanzo was not. Sanzo intended to keep it that way.
"Just what, Sanzo?"
"Don't mix the darks with the whites."
refrain from intoxicants that cloud the mind
Sanzo certainly hadn't meant to eavesdrop, to stumble upon– spy upon –Gojyo and Hakkai. He'd just wanted a smoke, and Goku had wanted to talk, which had made it impossible for Sanzo to enjoy his cigarette.
It was the damn candle light that had attracted his attention– the way it had flickered in the breeze and reflected on the pane of the partially open window. If they'd kept the damn windows closed, but who could expect that from a couple of deviant idiots?
They were deviant. Deviant, disgusting, and destructive behavior was on display right in front of Sanzo, and yet....
Somehow, they didn't disgust Sanzo as much as the memory of the sheets he'd soiled as a youth. They weren't deviant like the men who had been so eager to rape a child. Neither were they destructive, not in the way the young girl who'd tried to seduce a Sanzo priest had been, simply because she'd wanted a way out of her drab existence.
Each breath, each moan, each rise and fall of Gojyo and Hakkai's bodies were in perfect synchronization. Even the damn fluttering curtains seemed to fall in line with the bodies on the bed. Sanzo couldn't bring himself to look away despite the desire softening his resolve and hardening other parts. It wasn't something he could ever truly have for himself, after all. It was too late for him. But for Gojyo and Hakkai– for Goku, even –they could have it. They could.
Sanzo nearly broke his watchful silence as his hand unconsciously rubbed his erection through his jeans. He pulled his hand away, but let his eyes linger. This was his choice, his existence, standing outside the window. But he wouldn't deny Gojyo and Hakkai their own choices, their own existence.
Sanzo continued watching Gojyo and Hakkai, let his hand drift back down to press against his own desire, and let their release substitute for his own.