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 Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L

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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:37 am

"She learned at a young age." Riko assured, leaning back a little. "Nataku just had questions here and there, but everything else he figured out because his father is a bastard." She clicked her tongue angrily a few times before she changed the subject.

"We were talking about Heaven, and the different districts." Goku told Hakkai as they started driving. "Ri-chan said that her Heaven changes seasons and has thunderstorms and stuff. What kind of Heaven do you think of?"

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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:43 am

"That would be a wonderful Heaven, honestly." Hakkai hummed thoughtfully, "Change is good. To be static all the time is boring. Even when we get home, we will still have the seasons, and I expect us to still travel, but only to immediate areas that maybe take a day or week back and forth. Never this long."

"I agree to that." Sanzo answered simply with a puff of his cigarette and heard an 'OW' not too long after they'd started driving again. "Mai's already on him."
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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:32 pm

Riko cracked up, letting her head be thrown back. The wind caught her hair and it flew in her face as well as behind her. She sat back up and she rested her chin on Sanzo's seat. "Have you guys ever been to a hot spring on a mountain before?"

Goku didn't know what she was trying to do, but she didn't give her head off of Sanzo's seat, he might hit her with the fan. He didn't know if he should try to warn her or if she should learn for herself.

"We have, why do you ask? Do you want to go to one?" Sanzo shifted in his seat so he could look at her in the rear-view mirror instead of having to turn around and strain his neck.

"I'm sure they'll be plenty on our way." Hakkai said cheerfully, enjoying the thought of Mai putting Gojyou in his place.

Riko started snickering. "No I was thinking about my district, but if you know of a good place, I'm sure Mai wouldn't mind it." She had turned her attention to Hakkai to that one. "Who knew /you/ moved fast."

"Better than the kappa. At least he's trying." Goku offered making Riko laugh.

"We've all been alone too long, I'm not apposed to courting her. I've had plenty of time to come to grips with my past, my losses and pains. I'll tell them to her as we go, slowly but surely, as I am certain she will do with me." Hakkai answered simply.

Sanzo tapped his cigarette out over the edge, "If we pass a place with a hot spring hotel or something of the sort, we'll stay an extra day to enjoy it and relax. Places like those tend to be hot spots for travelers so there will be more attractions. You and Mai could have a pleasant date. Maybe Gojyou and Ran could find a bar to hit up. You, Nataku, and Kaede could enjoy the local food, Goku."

"Oh? making plans for us already?" Hakkai glanced at him.

"Just want you all out of my hair so I can have some peace and quiet and Gojyou can stop bugging me about getting laid." Sanzo snorted.

Goku stared at him as well as Riko and they both exchanged a look with each other. Well that was a blunt way of trying to get someone into bed. She raised an eyebrow and Goku immediately threw his hands up. "I mean if it's with you I guess I don't mind." Riko said after a moment making Goku choke.

Sanzo /actually/ choked on his smoke on his inhale and started coughing, thumping at his chest, "Why--you--" he gasped, "Why?! Why does---everyone want---that?!"

"You were the one that just said it." Riko and Goku said together at the same time.

"I did not!" Sanzo threw his hands up, "I said I want everyone to stop riding my ass about it!"

"So you made everyone plans but me." Riko couldn't help the smile on her face.

"I'm not going to tell you what to do!" Sanzo thumped his head on his seat and palmed his forehead.

Hakkai's hands were gripping the steering wheel so tight his knuckles were white, his mouth slightly sucked in to stay quiet but his shoulders were shaking.

"Oh so I misunderstood. Do I feel insulted or do I feel relieved." Riko couldn't help but to say out loud.

"I think everyone's hopin' for the relieved part." Goku told her.

Riko just snickered, "Alright." She patted the seat. "Sorry for misunderstanding. But you have to admit, the reaction was priceless."

"Indeed." Hakkai answered simply. Though he did wonder if he should hint that they should tone it down. Sanzo obviously would take his time with Riko, teasing would only go so far before it really got on his nerves and he'd be stubborn about it and not go very far at all.

She leaned backwards into her seat, shaking her head from side to side. "I'll let Gojyou know to stop." She assured. "It only gets annoying and not so fun if it's a constant worry. Though I think he's just concerned. People tend to do that, when the journey's about half way over and the future is starting to get closer and closer."

"I don't need to be worried about. I'll do things on my own time." Sanzo grumbled, but he seemed a little less mad than before. "Goku, I know your questions aren't over with."

"I lost track." Goku rubbed the back of his neck. "I have so many." Riko looked over at him curiously. "But I'm wondering if I should just wait and find out for myself. I mean...I know I'm forgetting a lot of important people. And apparently I knew you." Riko turned her attention to him. "But what about the others? There was one who looked...a lot..."

Riko clicked her tongue and she thought about it. Should she really tell him? It couldn't hurt, could it? They knew that the reincarnations and the incarnations were different and...she owed Goku this. "Tenpou Gensui was the best Field Marshal's I ever knew." She said after a moment. "When he was in Heaven, he was a pretty relaxed guy. He had a library that was filled with books he stole from both the Palace Library and Earth. He also liked to acquire artwork and priceless artifacts. Sometimes we thought he was a bit of a kelpto, one treasured things like that more than he could. He was also very interested in how Earth ran their military, and would use some of the same team-building tactics that made his army fierce. He had his ear to the ground and was level headed. He was a fierce swordsmaster too. He'd cut his enemies down with a nice, clean sweep." She made a swooshing sound. "Though I do admit that if anyone ever tells you baseball is a good team-building exercise you should tell them that it only works /outside/. I got hit in the head with a damn flyball. I nearly threw it back."

Goku had a snagging feeling that what she was saying was right. The name sounded familiar, but not the face. It was too much to hope for, probably to try to place someone in his memories. "...Ran was the one that threw it back wasn't she?"

"She made me." Riko sighed dramatically. "Considering I was fully blind and I couldn't see exactly /who/ it was that hit me."

That familiar. An inkpot...a throw...a loud laugh and a playful insult, but that was all he could touch on. Goku leaned forward. "Who was he to me? Do you know?"

"Oh. Who was he to you guys?" Goku couldn't help but to ask.

Hakkai and Sanzo were content to listen quietly to Riko, as while they didn't seek it out, they were interested to know about Before. Hakkai was beginning to understand why Mai thought that he was similar but different. He still enjoyed books, he could still be relaxed, and he did enjoy teaching.

"Well, he was my brother in law though that only lasted a day." Riko said after a moment. "I don't know who he was to Ran as we had just met her as well. Probably someone she respected since she and Kenren were a thing. Kind of."

"Eh?! He was married for a day before he died? That sucks!" Goku exclaimed.

"I shouldn't even say "married". He basically was just engaged, but...they both kind of treated it like a marriage so. We treated it like one then too. I think we just knew that everyone's time was coming to an end. Technicalities didn't matter."

"That explains so much." Hakkai finally piped up, "She did introduce herself to me as Gensui Mai. Then she said something about being a wife, but I haven't seen a ring on her. I feel as though past me would have given her one, our romance being short-lived or not."

"It's around her neck. She was afraid that if she wore it on her finger A) you'd immediately assume she was taken and wouldn't go after her and B) She's not really someone you should trust small things with." Riko explained.

Hakkai laughed softly at that, "Then maybe a half size down so it doesn't slip off..." he mused quietly.

"Oh dear god you are just like him." Riko looked up at the sky. "It's going to do it all over again. I gave you ideas. Fuck."

"Hakkai would make a good husband though." Goku pointed out to Riko. "And isn't that kinda what you were trying to go for anyway?"

All Riko could do was just sigh and slump further down her seat. "At least Kenren and Gojyou are opposites."

"Is that so?" Sanzo had long since finished his cigarette and he folded his arms inside his robe, "How is that?"

"Kenren Taisho." Riko grinned as she sat back up. "Is a General who was too high of status to even be considered into the military. In fact, if he had wanted to, with his high status he could've worked in the castle underneath another God if he had so chosen. But he wanted to do more with his life than politics. He has more than enough siblings for it, wasn't like they were going to miss out if he decided to take a different path. He was good. He was real good. Tenpou had a tendency to forget to do reports and such, so Kenren would be stuck doing them all, but he never really complained. He was too busy worrying about Tenpou collapsing. He didn't...really know how to take care of himself. Anyway. Kenren was the type of general who...let Tenpou hide in the shadows. He stirred up trouble, Tenpou found out secrets, and no one knew any better. A real tag-team."

Goku looked at her. "Was he a swords master too?"

"He was a sharpshooter and I never once saw him miss." Riko said with a grin on her face. "Of course, I was blind so I couldn't see him miss, but I knew he never did. Had too much of a steady hand, even when he was drinking." She looked at Goku. "He was always looking for the best wine, and he never would say no to a woman who'd give him a time of day. In fact that's why he got into Ten's army to begin with. He slept with the wife of the Marshal from the East."

"....So how exactly are they opposites?" Goku deadpanned.

"I was about to say." Sanzo snorted.

"Kenren was observant in a fight. But come romantic and women, he could be a little dense. You had to be straight up or at least show something that provided interest. He liked having the element of surprise on people, too, and he'd do and say /anything/ to that kind of shock. But he also tried to save Ran and he did it in a way that did more damage than good. In the end, I suppose there wasn't much he could have done. Ran was shy. She didn't know how to respond to someone that took a genuine interest in her, and Kenren who never really went for girlfriends, didn't know exactly what she was looking for either. They anchored each other, but what do you do when the line's cut? You float away unless you have something to hold on to. Kenren didn't give that. Though if he had...I wonder if that would've been a good thing or a terrible thing."

"I feel as though that's a much sadder story than my own." Hakkai frowned, "Mai was no less heartbroken, I could see it in how she danced around me and tried to make sure she wouldn't drive me away. Yet she's got a different mindset. Ran never really had friends before you, did she?"

"The stars are cruel." Riko said softly. "It's a mantra that she carries so deep in her heart, I can hear it even right now as we speak."

"That makes sense, in a way. The reality as science has brought about is that they're far apart, but to us, they're all clustered together." Hakkai sighed softly, "The lonely life of a Mercenary, isn't that right? Which is why you brought her into your fold."

"To be honest I thought she was going to go kill herself." Riko admitted, "So I forced her to come with me and then I made her into my bodyguard and it just went down hill from there." She laughed a little. "But a wanderer is a wanderer and I tended to forget that. But the way she spoke, made me a little fearful that was the way her life was headed. If not by her, then by someone else. Loneliness can kill even when your body's still alive."

"There were at least good memories before the fall." Sanzo said slowly, "I know...I think the three of us know, in a way, what it's like to be a wanderer, before this journey, I mean. Goku was alone for a long time. In /that/, all of us were. You make your own connections with the right people, and life feels more satisfactory."

"I tend to make those types of connections. Being a wanderer myself, I couldn't ever see myself as "lonely"." Riko said lightly as she leaned back a little. "Every person that I met whether they followed me or not, changed my life and I changed theirs. A unchanging person is boring."

Goku looked over at her curiously. That sounded...familiar. "You told us who was connected to who...and I know a bit about Kaede and Nataku since we talk sometimes. But what about you Ri-chan? Were you connected to anyone?"

"Sometimes I wonder." Riko said after a moment of thought, turning her body so that she would lean out a little of the jeep, letting the wind play with her hair before she got back in. "...we weren't like Mai and Ten or Kenren and Ran. To even begin to explain it, it's difficult. It could have been something, I suppose. If it had been longer. If our time wasn't so short. But we were worried about other things. We knew where we stood with that. But there's been times where I wonder, would if I said something. Would if I had missed a signal that I didn't realize. I suppose, if I was to sum this all up, I would say it was just an unspoken thing."

"A platonic relationship, where you understand each other without needing to say much." Sanzo nodded. "That sounds reasonable."

Goku looked at Riko. "Do ya miss him?"

Riko smiled softly, "Not a day goes by where I don't, but he wouldn't want me to mourn. His death left with me a lot of things to do, so I couldn't really have a proper time to grieve anyway. I failed in a lot of aspects. Not all of it my fault, and I know he'd understand, but...I have own kids and I know what it's like. I feel like I failed his from time to time. I try not to regret it though. He came out alright. You came out just fine." She smiled at Goku. "I can't tell you his name, unfortunately. That was the agreement. That's a bit of both of our punishments. I can tell you the stories. I just have to be really, really vague about it. Or...I could tell Sanzo and Sanzo tells you and no one would have to know." She shrugged. "I know loopholes when I see one....hear one."

"Names don't matter. It's the person." Sanzo shook his head, "Don't worry about it. The stories are plenty."

Hakkai smiled gently, "I have to agree. What matters is who we are now, Goku. Let's be grateful for that."

Goku nodded and sat back. It was probably the first time in a long time where he just sat down and just shut up for a good bit without sleeping. So many memories were vague. But he was thankful to at least one regretted what happened up there.

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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:41 pm

Hakkai was worried they'd all end up cramped up inside the girls' trailer as the clouds got darker and darker overhead. It'd been a week since this adventure had started, and to his surprise he had found out one day that the trailer was a creature just like Hakuryuu, but a pretty little green-blue phoenix named Chieko. The two had been seen in trees since then when they were able to transform. It made Hakkai happy that his dragon had a friend now, and the phoenix had taken a liking to Mai, so it was really just one more thing to bond over, being pet parents, openly joking with the rest that it was just one step away from real parents like Riko and Sanzo.

Still, it was taking quite a while to reach the town on the map. Would they reach it before the storm hit? Sanzo was fidgeting more and more, which meant it was going to get worse real fast.

"Aha!" Ran pointed as they passed the treeline. After Riko's time with them in the Jeep, there had most certainly been a rotation and Ran and Gojyou were with them in the back. "Finally! Just before the downpour, how lucky!"
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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:47 pm

"You think an inn would take us?" Gojyou said, a little relieved that they were going to find an inn. The thunder rolled and he could see a few flashes of lightening from his peripheral vision. "We might just get there just barely."

"Travelers in need of shelter from the storm. Why wouldn't an Inn take us?" Hakkai pressed a little harder on the gas, giving Hakuryuu a little pat in apology, "We'll find out soon enough."

Sanzo humphed a bit, but otherwise didn't say anything, his glare intense at anything and everything. They got to the front of a building that had a huge INN sign on the front as he felt a droplet hit his nose. Growling, he was up and out of the Jeep as quickly as possible, pulling out his gold card and storming inside.

"Wow. He really hates storms, doesn't he?" Ran arched a bow, a drop hitting her cheek and rolling down.

Gojyou took a breath in and out and he turned to Ran. "Want to see if we can't find a warm drink, or shall we stay indoors? Sanzo's just going to mope. We're probably going to be up all night anyway so we won't be doing much during the day."

"Um, we could try and find a bar before it comes down real hard? What we gunna do when we want to come back?" Ran furrowed her brows at him, "I mean, I don't mind water, but as I learned earlier this week when Goku dumped you in the river, you hate it. unless it's a bath house."

"A little rain isn't going to kill me, it's a river I can't stand." Gojyou explained. "Come on, before it really comes down hard." He opened the door of the Jeep and jumped out and started running, knowing that Ran would follow.

Hakkai shook his head and got out as well, going ahead and going inside. The others would come in soon enough. Sanzo had lost a little tension now he was inside, but was still plenty rigid. He wasn't surprised when a key was shoved in his face, the room number dangling off the one end. "Don't want any company?" He offered calmly. Sanzo moved his shoulders in a half-hearted shrug and headed for the stairs. With a sigh, he decided to just wait there in the lobby.

Nataku came in next ducked along with Kaede from the rain, but they were giggling to themselves and looking back to see Goku right behind them. Nataku grinned at the monkey, "Once we get a room, do you want to go play in it, Goku?" he asked excitedly, his dark violet eyes bright.

"Nataku's never experienced the rain." Kaede explained and Nataku's cheeks tinted in embarrassment. "I have, Riko's and Mai's district has weather."

Goku blinked in surprise. "You're missing out then." He grinned. He had a feeling that he could show him so much besides the rain and how to play in it. "Come on. We have to go up to our room so we have warm clothes to get into after we're done. I dunno how gods work, but I'm thinking you guys can get sick too."

"Maybe a fever that'll last a day, but no, no sickness in Heaven." Kaede shook her head, but they went to the desk and Nataku paid for whoever Sanzo hadn't, which ended up being all of the girls and Nataku. That seemed to have suddenly become an unspoken agreement but Nataku didn't mind. They took their travel bangs up to his and Kaede's room, Goku just deciding to join them even though he usually slept in Sanzo's. The three of them laid out the clothes they'd change into on the two beds, but then Kaede squeaked as she turned around and saw Goku shirtless. "So what, we treating this like we're swimming?!" she asked, her hand on her chest, "You startled me, suddenly stripping down like that."

"Something like that. If you want to go all out. But if you don't feel comfortable you shouldn't do it. Also it's kinda hard to move around in wet clothes. If we get suddenly attacked, it'll be hard to attack back." Goku explained as he tossed his shirt, his cheeks flushed a little. "Sorry, I should've...went the other way or something."

"No, it's fine, just give a girl a warning." Kaede laughed, but she reached into her pack, "You two can get away with just being in shorts. I'll have to go change and meet you two out there."

"That sounds fine with me." Nataku agreed gently, untying his haori and putting it with Goku's shirt, "Sandals or no?"

Goku looked down at the sandals that he was talking about and made a face. "You'd be better off without them, but you should leave them out on the front porch. That way you won't slip and fall too badly when we come back in. Wood is really hard on the head if you fall down." He laughed a little. "It's been a long time since I actually got to do this."

"Well, then, what are we waiting for?" Nataku took Goku's hand, "Let's go!" he grinned and tugged him along, "Be quick, Kaede!" He called over his shoulder and he ran with Goku to the stairs, but let him go so they could go down them safely. Rain! "Weather and know, Goku, I haven't said this but I haven't seen so much green before in my life, either. Always pink trees, sunny skies."

/Always constant./ Riko told him about that. "Ri-chan told me that her district has those kinds of things. I thought that she was your mom?" He blinked a bit. "Why wouldn't she take you to her district?"

"Ah..." Nataku stopped by the door to take off his sandals like he told him to, "I haven't...been...awake, really, long enough to do much of anything. There were a lot of things that needed to be taken care of when I woke up. I didn't have the time to go to her district before they all became what they are. Kanzeon told me whenever I decide to go back, that she'll take me. For now, this is as good as anything."

"I think that it'd be awesome if we could see it together." Goku said as he pushed the door open and waited for him to come out. The rain was falling in a downpour, there were deep puddles already in front of the inn. There was loud flashes of lightening, and thunder rolled like a drum. "Wow. It's really coming down hard. This is going to be fun!"

Nataku took a moment to feel the rain on his skin. It was cold, felt sharp like pinpricks and needles, but it was coming down so hard that soon his body was covered with it, and the wind whipped his hair into his face. It stuck and he just...he felt so /alive/ and he looked at Goku with huge eyes, happier than ever. He jogged further out and turned in a circle, his arms out wide and a laugh left him, lost in the roar of the thunder and other sounds of the storm. Even the danger added to the adrenaline rushing through him.

Goku grinned as he watched his friend come alive. Being a god, it didn't matter. He jumped down from the porch and found himself a puddle that was near where Nataku was and jumped in it, splashing him with mud and water, laughing. There was goosebumps that were on his skin, and the noises of the storm was hard to talk in, but it was alright. He was just glad that there was light in his eyes, that he was moving, and he wasn't covered in blood.

It wasn't too long before Kaede came to join them, but she saw how they were dancing around each other, play-fighting in the water and covered in mud, and she decided she would just sit on the porch and watch them, rubbing her arms from the cold. She was always around them, they didn't get any time to themselves really. So she was content to just be here until one of them spotted her and dragged her in of their own accord. The predatory smirks on both their faces as they sized each other up was it's own sort of thrill, anyway.

Goku was the one that spotted her after a while and he waved at her with a big grin on his face, not realizing that Nataku was right behind him. He felt him jump on him and he didn't have time to steady himself before he fell flat on his face, mud going everywhere and he picked himself up a bit before smearing some on Nataku's face.

"You dropped your guard!" Nataku sputter-shouted and spat out some of the mud, shaking his head and he grabbed at Goku, but his hands slipped and slid in the mud. He managed to get Goku's hair covered in the mud next, before Goku successfully managed to grip his shoulders and roll them over into another puddle, "Ack!"

"Who said something about losing their guard?" Goku shouted over the thunder, wondering if his voice got lost in the noise. "Was it you? Cuz I think it was probably you."

"Just don't call Kaede over and make her pick sides, this is between us you jerk!" Nataku shouted back, getting a handful and smacking it in the side of Goku's face, feeling the grime get under his nails, "Take that!"

Kaede could only grip her sides and crack up as they started throwing throwing silly insults at each other and rolling and tackling, neither able to get on their feet long enough to get very far before they were dragged back down. She was sure one or both of them got their chins scraped up, but she watched as the fair and blond Nataku became very brown, his hair nearly matching Goku's normal hair color. She didn't know who to root for, it wouldn't be fair, so she just shouted, "Mud fight, mud fight!" through the howling wind. Whether or not they heard her didn't matter.

By the time they both fell over onto their backs, they were heaving for breath and spitting out more mud, but laughing hard and Nataku's grin split his face in two, "Aw damn, Goku. I don't think the Innkeeper is going to like us tracking mud everywhere. How we gunna get cleaned up?"

"Maybe you two should've thought of that." Kaede appeared standing over them, hands on her hips, the water slowly dampening her hair. "Mai and Hakkai have been watching from the window. If you wanna get cleaned up, Mai can help you out with that."

"She's just going to dump water on us isn't she?" Goku asked as he sat up and finally got himself steady and held his hand out to Nataku. "Truce? Don't push me into another pile of mud. I don't think I can handle that."

"Truce." Nataku agreed, taking his wrist for a more secure hold and got to his feet as well, "Go get Mai, then."

"Rodger." Kaede put her hand to her forehead in a solute and turned back around, hurrying back to the Inn. Her usual outfit she wore for cleaning off in the rivers they passed was what she had on, simple dark blue and yellow top and bottom. "They seem like they're finally done." she told Mai as she opened the Inn door.

"I guess I should splash them with water," Mai said as she turned to Hakkai. "Can you grab the towels and help me dry off the kids? I swear I think I'm the mother in this rather than Ri-chan."

"Seems like." Hakkai laughed and nodded, "I'll be right back, then. Whatever you miss they can take care of in the showers."

"I'd send them in there anyway." Mai laughed as she headed out, shivering the moment that she got in the doorway. Nataku and Goku were standing outside looking very pleased and dirty. She sighed and held her hands out in the rain and started working on making a good size oval of water. "You're lucky it's raining outside, otherwise I'd be struggling to do this right now. Okay, close your eyes!" It was her only warning before she caused a waterfall on top of their heads, mud going down their bodies swiftly. "There you go. Somewhat presentable."

"Thanks Mai." Goku said pushing his hair out of his face and gave her a smile.
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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:59 am

"Let's go take a shower now, then, to warm up." Nataku took Goku's hand again and smiled, leading him back towards the Inn. He thanked Hakkai for the towel, and after finding out where the baths were, dragged Goku there. Now, he wasn't really immodest, but there was something about this that made his breath quicken and his face heat. He was sure Goku just thought it was adrenaline, still chuckling behind him, and in a way it was, but it had been a week. A weeks worth of playing in the river, sleeping side-by-side, countless games together. It was like nothing had changed.

Nataku knew about sex and inappropriate things, mostly due to learning it on his own and not his father. That didn't mean these feelings weren't new to him. So when they got there, the door closing and locking behind him, he wasn't sure if what he was going to do was 'too fast' or 'wrong'. All he knew was he wanted to at least do this, so he caught Goku by the chin and tilted his head as he had seen other couples do, trying not to make it a clash of teeth but not any less intense. He let it linger in Goku's shock, then pulled away quickly. "Was that okay?" He asked, his tone pleading, hopeful. If he made this good day bad, he wouldn't know what to do.

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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:44 am

Goku wasn't certain what just happened. One minute the mood had been light and playful, but all of the sudden it turned intense. He wasn't upset about the kiss, the tingle still lingered on his lips. He licked them and tried to come up with a coherent answer. However, he was an animal at heart so, instinct told him that maybe words weren't the right thing right now.

He took that hope that Nataku had in his voice and decided to answer in kind with his own, bringing him back for a kiss of his own. He hoped he was doing it right, he hoped that Nataku knew what this was. When Nataku responded with enthusiasm he felt all burdens just go. But he did have one question that he needed to ask when they pulled away. "Is Kaede-chan apart of this too? I know she's bonded to you, I don't want to hurt her."
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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:08 am

"At first it was just you and me. We met when you were hiding after doing something you shouldn't, which was often, and I was hiding in the same place after drawing on the Jade Emperor's face." Nataku's hand found the back of Goku's neck and played with his wet hair, his forehead pressed to the diadem, breathing him in, "Then you brought Kaede to play after finding her with Riko. She right in with us. She's always known. Nothing ever happened. I haven't even kissed her anywhere but her cheek; we're still shy about it."

Nataku took a deep breath, "I just want to do things as they come. Naturally. If it happens, fantastic. If not, then it can happen later. Not forced, never forced. I'm glad what I did was okay."
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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:00 am

Goku could understand that, he didn't want anything to be rushed or forced either. Natural was a lot more fun, and adventurous too. "I'm glad you kissed me, I would've taken longer." It was nice, to be so close to someone who knew him from before and wasn't scared of him. He shivered slightly when he felt Nataku's hands on his neck. "We should really take a shower though, you're hands are like ice and I'm already cold enough." He didn't mind that Nataku was playing with his hair, but damn his fingers /were/ cold and they were giving him goosebumps, and not the pleasurable kind.
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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:36 am

Nataku immediately pulled away, "Ah! Right, yes, I'm so sorry. I got...carried away." His face and neck flushed, and he became aware of how cold he was as well. "If you'd like, after this, we can talk to Kaede. Just so you, you know, feel more comfortable about us doing anything else...besides kissing." The idea of the three of them kissing each other sounded...very pleasing, and he had to take a calming breath, going to figure out how to get the water warm and ready as well as the cleaning supplies.

"Don't be sorry and yeah I'll talk to Kaede." Goku said as he helped Nataku figure out the water. Every shower was different sometimes, and it never failed to always be something completely opposite or strange from the last place they visited.

At least they got blasted with warm water than freezing cold this time.

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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:28 am

Riko gently knocked on Sanzo's door. The storm was still on going with the rolling thunder and the streaks of lightening. It made her heart ache for home, to know that the thunder twins were having a blast doing their thing with their drums and their chanting and dancing. Mai would be right in the middle of that, pouring water, making it rain, splashing people...

At least the children had a lot of fun doing exactly that. It wasn't the same kind of storm that they would have up in Heaven however. This storm had a darker edge to it, a dangerous vibe. Hakkai had told her that Sanzo didn't like the storms, and had went to his room. She didn't know if that had been a invite to be his company or if it was a warning. She had left him to his privacy for a while, but she couldn't help but to feel like maybe she was needed somehow. Though, she could be awfully wrong.

"What do you want?" Sanzo opened the door and peered out at her through the small gap he had made. ""I swear, if Goku or Gojyou's done something, tell Hakkai to handle it."

"If that's the only reason why I'd come to your door, then that's a pity all on it's own." Riko said leaning against the bo. She only had one of her eyes covered by the bandana, so she technically didn't need the weapon. However, out of force of habit and nature, did she bring it with. "I thought some company wouldn't go amiss."

"Tch, the better question is why do /you/ want /my/ company?" Sanzo huffed, "I'm not particularly the best social person right now."

Riko shook her head from side to side. "I'm not asking for your social skills. Merely your presence and a drink." She showed him the sake bottle that she had hidden under her robes. "Staring in to the abyss isn't really as much fun as it is when you have someone staring at it with you."

"Are you suggesting a comfortable silence or conversation?" Sanzo opened the door wider, but still stood in front of it, eyeing her wearily, yet some of the hostility faded.

"Whichever you prefer. I'm flexible." Riko replied with a smile. "Which one will help drown out the noise of your thoughts?"

Sanzo shrugged, "We'll see." Was all he really said before letting her in completely and shutting it behind her. The room stayed just the way it came, just his bed was a bit rumpled from where he had been sitting, the other bed pristine, supposed to be Goku's, but the monkey was still with his friends. He had several cigarette butts already in the ash tray.

Riko went over to the bed that was across from him and close to the window. She looked out, seeing the streaks of rain coming down the pane of glass and watching the lightening flash for a moment. Silence, for now. She knew that if he wanted conversation he'd be the one to break it. She reached into the robe and took out the sake bottle and she reached into the robe's pocket to produce some of the cups that she found in the kitchen. She poured one and placed it on the bedside table before pouring herself one. A clash of thunder made her glance out the window and she saw an impressive streak of lightening. She let her lips curve into a smile. Showing off, probably because this was the first time she could actually see the performance. She sipped the sake calmly, waiting him out.

It took a while. He downed several cups and his face was starting to turn red before he finally looked away from the storm, "I usually drink beer. I haven't had something strong like this in a while."

Riko looked over at him and had to purse her lips together at the flush that he had going on for him. Oops. "I should've thought of that. I'm used to the sake. Almost everyone in my group has a tolerance for it."

"I wouldn't say I'm a lightweight, but this is potent." Sanzo put the empty cup on the table between them for good this time, leaning back against the wall, one leg propped, the other laying sideways on the bed. He did look more relaxed than he had, however. "You smile at the storm like it's personal."

Riko thought about it before she too put her cup away and looked over at him. "Back in our district, it used to be a thing Mai and the Thunder twins would do. Raiden was the God of Thunder and Suzaku the God of lightening. Sometimes, they got bored and they wanted to do something, so they'd make a storm. Mai and I would sometimes make it in a rain storm. I'd help her with the clouds, but she would make it pour. It was always a huge event. We'd egg them on to make flashier lightening strikes or make the thunder last longer. Sometimes Mai got begged to make it rain harder. I'd say it was one of the most common festivals we'd have, and it was always random. We'd never plan it out. It'd just happen, out of sheer boredom."

"Doesn't your district have a ton of things to do? How did you ever get bored?" Sanzo arched a brow at her, "Or is it just wanting to do something out of the ordinary?"

"I'd say so." Riko said after a moment, her head tilted. "Though I will say that even if we do have a lot of things that we can do, sometimes we are just hit with a bit of lethargy and we need something with a little more excitement. I wander, Mai does showers of different kinds, Kaede sometimes creates earthquakes, though rare. Suzaku and Raiden try to have a contest to see who makes the better performance or just does it for the hell of it."

"What else did you do for fun, when you weren't creating thunderstorms?" Sanzo shied away from the window as there was a louder boom and the rain had an added bonus of hail now.

"Well, snow storms were always fun when Yuki transitioned the district to winter, though sometimes the Season Siblings didn't always transition well. One time, Natsuko kept us in summer for so long, we nearly begged Akemi or even Yuki to step up and stop her from damaging the district too much with it. I loved listening to the transition ceremony. There were also people who liked to try gambling with their luck. We had a bunch of halls for that. Go, cards, darts. Aizen is the God of Taverns so basically he's the one that's always trying out new liquors. Every festival he'd have a new one and if we liked it, he'd tell someone from Earth, a whisper if you'd will, and it'd become a new fad. Though sometimes that doesn't always pan out so well. We have things humans here don't after all...and everyone's way of life is different and that includes ingredients."

There were going to be a lot of people she missed. Sanzo took a deep breath and let it out slowly through his nose, then he went and for the first time in probably an hour, he pulled out a cigarette and flicked open his lighter. Once lit, he let the smoke drift up high, "Just because we've dealt with and accepted our pasts and the events that shaped us, doesn't mean we don't have nightmares."

"Everyone has scars." Riko agreed after a moment, looking over at him. She had a feeling that she knew what he was talking about. Whether or not she should brooch that topic remained unsteady and uncertain. "The storm brings you yours."

"It does." Sanzo let the cig hang between his fingers and his lips, watching her, how her features were lit up by the lightning. "My adopted father died during a storm. Right in front of me after he gave me my mark." he brushed the red dot on his forehead. "I avenged him, got his scroll back, but it is still hard to sleep."

Riko leaned back a little. She had so many things that she wanted to say that were on the tip of her tongue. But instead she decided to ask a question. "Is it common for humans to die so swiftly?"

"Yes. Not many live to see ninety, let alone a hundred. Plenty don't even live to seventy. I might not make it to fifty, being a Sanzo, although there have been a few who were strong enough to last." Sanzo answered her honestly.

Riko stared at him. A hundred? Ninety? That was...that was just a blink of an eye. That wasn't even /time/. No wonder humans did some of the most incredible things in the period they were given. Horrible, wonderful, they were all pressed for time. She thunked her head on the wall. She knew Sanzos had a short lifespan, how couldn't they with the burden she placed on their shoulders. But she never realized how much she had cut that short.

But that meant her own time was coming up.

Death never scared her before, even when she faced the possibility of it, but now that she was thinking about it, it was kind of terrifying. Humans could die form the littlest, tiniest of things. She heard about it.

And she was bonded to a Sanzo. A fifty year span would be a prayer.

"Stop." Sanzo took his cigarette from his mouth and draped his arm over his knee. "Whatever you're thinking. Stop."

She didn't realize that her breathing had picked up and that she had tensed up. She didn't even realize that she had almost went head first into a panic attack. She was shaking, only slightly, but it was enough to probably catch his attention. "Sorry." She said after taking a few deep breaths.

"I understand that the concept of time hasn't meant much to you, living all this time since my other self died. You haven't aged a day. Now you're mortal. You could die from sickness, from being injured. A lot of scenaios could go down. You know what? So can I." He tapped the ash on the tray, "It's new to you. You'll need time to adjust and get used to it. One of the first things you'll learn is that life really is too short to worry about crap like that. Whatever happens, will happen."

Which was why humans could do the things they could. Worry about it, do something about it. Riko shook her head from side to side. "And to think /that's/ what gets me in a tizzy." She face palmed herself. "At least we're not dying alone, so I guess that's a good start as any, being bonded and all."

"The /fuck/ was your crime?!" Sanzo sat up straighter, suddenly looking very pissed off, but not at her, "What in the /hell/ did you do to /possibly/ deserve not only being turned /human/, which I could shrug over, but to also be bound to an asshole like me who might not even have twenty-five more years to go?!"

"Bond and will die within twenty four hours of you." Riko corrected and she wondered how she would even tell this story. "I got you killed." It was the easiest thing to say. "I wasn't fast enough. I tried. Kanzeon already made up her mind, so I couldn't change it...and the Jade Emperor made up his and died. Died before I even got a chance and I got into the room just as it happened, too. So I was the scapegoat. It happens. If someone thinks you're too strong to let live, or too weak to be powerful, they ruin you. But I knew very well that it wasn't the Jade Emperor's death they were blaming me for. They blamed me for you. It'd make sense...who was the one trying to run around trying to get people to help? Surely I must have said a story or two, made you believe things you shouldn't. Though, who knows what they really thought it'd fix. I can't read minds, just intention. I just know they were very, very angry...and afraid of me. If only they had just listened wasn't a sentence they wanted to hear."

"I really hate people in charge a lot of the time." Sanzo was seething. She wasn't fast enough. Wrong place wrong time. Guilty by association. Knew too much, said too little. It pissed him off more than it should. "I can't tell you I'm going to change. That's not who I am. I really don't know how long I'm going to live for. I'm just sorry you're stuck with me. I'm the worst one out of the whole group lifespan-wise."

"That's the whole reason why I didn't want to tell you in the first place. I didn't want you to change the way you lived." Riko admitted, leaning back after a moment. "It's alright. But since you'll live the way you want to, I hope you don't begrudge me for doing the same. I mean, between the two of us, we're either going to live for a while or we're going to die in a really short amount of time. I tend to try to get myself involved when I think I need to. I know that you have to protect the sutras and you'll only get involved into things when you feel like you don't have a choice, or when you feel like it. I think we'll be alright."

"I guess that's just something we'll have to wait and see for." Sanzo huffed as thunder rumbled outside, and he drew on his cig. "If you won't be too reckless, then I won't, either."

"I'll keep you in mind." Riko promised, swearing inwardly that it wouldn't happen again. What happened in Heaven would /not/ happen here. She'd be faster, and more careful. "That's a promise."

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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:31 am

The rain had lasted a few days, but as soon as it was over, they were on the road again. The map they had was an updated one and he had also planned out each stop with a highlighter, avoiding places they had already been or deciding to re-visit some if they had had a good time there in the past. The one they were going to was one they hadn't seen before, but it was a quicker path through than the round-about way they had tried on their first run.

Hakkai was glad there were no storms on the way, but he did have a prickling sense of foreboding. The landscape and trees were gloomy, sickly, even if the sky was blue as blue could be. He kept his eyes peeled on the trees, and was glad for it, because he was poised and ready to hit the breaks as soon as he saw a flash of silver and pale skin. The trailer attached to Hakuryuu screeched and even Hakuryuu made some noises of protest. The man was about a foot away from the front of the car, his green-yellow eyes huge and chest heaving from panting. Goku had switched with Mai, but he heard their monkey shouting in the trailer. Gojyou and Sanzo were grunting as they shook their heads from the break-neck stop. Mai seemed fine, having been watching him in the mirror and saw him tense so she had braced herself.

Mai wasn't sure what caused Hakkai to tense, but she doubted it was the man that was looking more shocked to see a car than he was to see people. His grip was knuckle-white, and something was off. His smile was easy, but it didn't reach his eyes. If Goku was with her, or Riko, they'd probably tell her what the real concern was...but really. Why would someone be running so fast? And away from the town they were heading towards unless it was trouble?

"Wazna expectin' a car to come flyin' outta na where." The man said, his hands still on his knees as he caught his breath. "Dona wha' dis one waz expectin', but sure as hell ain't dat."

"Are you alright? What are you running from?" Hakkai got out of the car, going to his side, "Do you need help?"

"Why are you so concerned for?" Sanzo humphed, "Just let him be on his way."

Hakkai ignored Sanzo, watching the man closely.

"Nah, na help." The man said as he stood up looking behind him. "Ya couldna do any ding if ya wanted ta." He smiled a little. "Dank ya for askin' though. As for wha' dis one waz runnin' away from. Id's from dem." He jabbed his thumb back towards the village. "Dey're gettin' impatient. Na enough new blood ta spill. Dis one coulda been next, bu' dis one figured id out quick enough. Decided nah, fuck dat, and high-tailed it. Murder is one ding, bu' na when id'll fuel da fire."

"I'm going to be honest here and admit I don't know what he's saying..." Mai whispered to Gojyou softly.

"It's the drawl." Gojyou said back as he stood up and hopped out of the vehicle. "Basically he's saying that the village's fucked up and they're murdering people." He stretched. "Not enough new blood, I suppose that means not enough rebels. Those that have enough instinct either know to lay down or run away. If they can."

"Demons. The village hates demons." Hakkai's expression darkened, "They're scared of us, aren't they? Would it be best to turn back?" he asked, "What's your name? Maybe we could help you, anyway."

"Dis one's name is Jian." Jian said as he frowned. "Na safe ta talk. Open spaces. Make dings hard. If ya go in, stick close ta dat one." He gestured to Sanzo. "Dey ain't dumb enough ta argue width a priest yet."

"Oh. Joy." Gojyou said his voice laced with heavy sarcasm. "We're dealin' with one of /those/."

Sanzo made a disgusted face, "So I have to /babysit/."

"Dis one means if ya wan' ta. Ya can hand us ova ta da nearest hangin' station if ya wanna." Jian shrugged. "Make ya life easier sadly."

"No. I wouldn't." Sanzo rolled his eyes, "So, Hakkai. You seem invested in this. Are we helping?"

"We are. How would they react to the vehicles? Would they be in danger of vandalizing? We want to get home as fast as possible and this was one of the best ways. Shelter for one night." Hakkai explained to Jian.

"Ya may na wanna do dat." Jian said with a frown shaking his head. "Dey may take kindly ta a priest, bu' dat dona mean dat dey wouldna put fear of god inta ya. Walkin' betta." He glanced at Mai. "Bu' ya got a flower widith ya. Na fair to make her walk."

Gojyou's shoulders tensed. "You're a brothel worker?"

"Oi." Jian frowned deeply. "Watch da tongue. Dis one is na brothel worker. Dis one is a swordsman. Dis one /defends/ women. Na sell dem." He raised an eyebrow a little. "How da ya know bout dat anyway? The slan'. Ya from one yerself?"

"Oh /fuck/ no. I hang around bars often to know what they're called by the pimps." Gojyou shook his head from side to side, relaxing a little.

"You know a little translation would go a /mile/ right now." Mai offered weakly. "I don't have a fucking clue what's happening."

Hakkai chuckled, "They're discussing whether or not you should walk." He shortened and avoided, "Hakuryuu and Chieko need to be normal before we go into the village. Care to tell the others?"

"Yeah." Mai had a feeling there was something missing, but probably not for her to know. She jumped out of the car and went into the trailer. Jian watched her and turned to Hakkai. "Yer flower's a beaut. Betta hold on ta her."

"I plan on it." Hakkai nodded, but felt a shiver down his spine. "We only have two humans in our group, but four look normal enough they could pass for human. Gojyou's woman could get a pass as Sanzo's flower's bodyguard as well, she looks a bit wild."

"I plan on it." Hakkai nodded, but felt a shiver down his spine. "We only have two humans in our group, but four look normal enough they could pass for human. Gojyou's woman could get a pass as Sanzo's flower's bodyguard as well, she looks a bit wild."

Looks a bit wild was an extreme understatement. The girls came out and Jian watched them, not as a man with a good eye, but as a person who's been in too many fights to let his guard down an inch. There was a blind one, who had a bo, a girl that was smallish, a man with super blonde hair it wasn't even natural that could probably take him down in a sword fight -he kinda wanted to see that- and a happy-go lucky looking kind of...monkey. Then there was the girl that looked a bit wild and his mouth dropped open.

"Dat is na flower. Dat's a tumbleweed. Wha' da hell have dey done to ya sweet heart?! Yer a mess and na a good one!" Jian stared at her in horror.

"Oh my god!" Mai shouted as she fell backwards as she had slipped down the trailer and Chieko had transformed.

Gojyou was also dying against Hakuryuu. "Holy shit that's the best thing I heard all day."

"A tumbleweed. Well. I've been called /worse/." Ran sucked her lips in but her body was shaking in amusement. She went over and helped Mai get back up, the blue-green phoenix landing on Mai's shoulder when she was able. "I went insane and the only time it gets cut is when it gets in the way of my sword, or when Mai trims it."

"Kind of why I wear my hair in a ponytail..." Nataku shook his head at them. "How far is the village?"

Sanzo waited until Gojyou was done laughing his ass off before climbing out of the Jeep next and Hakuryuu transformed, going to fly and land on Hakkai's shoulder.

"Na far. Dis one only ran a few miles give na take." Jian said, staring at Ran a little longer before sighing loudly. "Dis one haz na choice now. Gotta take ya ta da village. A mess. A horrifying /mess/. Ya need a decent cut, ya need shelta and worse of all ya need someone dat can get ya up to speed 'bout wha's goin' on."

"You sound like our man, then." Ran shrugged, but after they started walking with Hakkai and Jian in the lead, she looked at Mai, "Do you think it...really would be best if I cut it short again?" she whispered.

"I think Jian has his heart in the right place." Mai said softly back to her. "I think you should. You're hair is getting ruined from the rough cuts you've been giving it and even my trimming's not going to be able to save it from the damage. Though spiritually? I think if you do, you'll feel a lot better."

"Do you think Gojyou would like it?" Ran picked at a strand near her face, frowning at it, "I haven't cared in a long time."

"Hey Gojyou do you think girls with long hair or short hair is hotter?" Riko asked randomly.

"Riko!" Ran gaped at her and ducked behind Mai, which didn't work very well since she was taller than the black haired woman.

"You know, that's a good question." Hakkai glanced over his shoulder at the redhead, "You've brought home women of many kinds I kind of figured you didn't have a type or preference."

Jian actually looked thoughtful. "Dis one woulda thought ya be a short-hair kinda man."

"I don't have a preference about hair." Gojyou wrinkled his nose. "That just takes away all the fun. Though I have noticed that women with shorter hair tend to be a little more wild. Those with longer a little more reserved."

"Oh so you judge hair by personality in bed." Riko nodded her head a few times. "Why am I not surprised?"

"Okay what about /you/?" Gojyou demanded.

"I wouldn't know. I'm blind." Riko said cheerfully causing Jian to crack up.

Gojyou wanted to smack himself, well...duh. Also, she probably only got laid with one person.

Hakkai laughed just a little, "Her type would be judged by the content of their character rather than looks. Which honestly is very nice. There's a lot of people /besides/ you who don't care about the person behind the pretty face. If this is the random topic of the day, however, I think my type is sweet with a lithe frame." He tensed just briefly, thinking of Kanaan, before he shook his head and shrugged. "Medium to long hair is nice as well."

Ran picked at her hair again, thoughtful. She did remember what it was like when she had short hair. She was a wild person at heart and Kenren had enjoyed that. Maybe it would be good, as Mai said, to go back to the way she used to be, not this shadow. "Next time we ride, after things are taken care of in the village. I think it'd still be useful and help me play a part."

"Hm." Mai looked thoughtful for a moment as she patted Ran's shoulder to let her know that she heard, but her mind was going elsewhere. "You know if Riko's the type to judge people by their character then what character would she be attracted to? Looks aren't everything, but character is. And that you /have/ to have a type for."

"I feel like you two are setting me up." Riko knew Mai was doing that because she asked Gojyou about the hair. Just like Riko, Mai also knew when to play underhanded. "Hm type of character..."

"Quiet and smart." Sanzo answered after being quiet for a long time, his arms folded inside his robe.

"Oh? Is that your type, Sanzo-sama?" Hakkai smiled at him and it went wider as Sanzo glared his way.

"So that leaves Mai and Riko in the running." Gojyou said casually.

"So that leaves Mai and Riko in the running." Gojyou said casually.

"Someone that has really good aim." Riko deadpanned after a moment, making Goku snicker in the background since he wasn't taking part of this, hell no. "But seriously, I'd go for...a good listener, says what he means, and courageous. I'd go for the word unafraid, but I think courageous is a better word. Unless it's not?"

"Dey mean da same ding donna worry." Jian said kindly to Riko. "Though dis one thinks all flowers wan' a man widith good aim."

Gojyou started snickering horribly.

Hakkai and Ran also started chuckling to themselves, Hakkai with his hand over his mouth, "Oh my. Well. Yes, I would think so, too." He cleared his throat. "This is certainly an enlightening conversation."

"I think carefree and fun-loving is mine." Kaede said confidently.

Nataku gave her a soft look and slid his arm around her waist, "I would hope so."

Mai actually had to think about this one. Her men were different in so many different ways. "Kind-hearted but ruthless." She decided after a moment.

Goku was actually taken aback. He had just been about to answer when Mai was the one that took it. Ruthless? Even Gojyou whistled. That was...not the answer anyone was expecting really, matched Hakkai pretty damn well.

Jian cracked up. "Ya need ta be if ya gonna survive all dis." He agreed. "Though dat's a...a...contradictor if dis one ever heard one."

"Ah, but Jian, sometimes the most sweet people can be terrifying when provoked. I think that's a pretty good way of putting it." Hakkai looked at Mai and smiled tenderly at her, holding his hand out, offering her to come to his side.

Mai grinned as she moved so that she could take his offer, taking his hand in hers. Riko let a smile warm her lips as she knew that what she said made Hakkai very pleased that Mai chose those specific words. "What about you Goku? What kind of people do you like?"

Of course she'd know that he liked two. Goku was kind of thankful that Riko didn't say love, she was probably trying to let him do it on his own terms. "Um. What Kaede said, fun, sweet. I like adventure and I like people who aren't afraid of it. Always want to try something new."

"And people who can cook." Sanzo snorted, "You're always hungry, so if they can keep up with you, kudos to them."

Kaede knew that was true, and felt a bit nervous. She didn't really cook all that often. She looked up at Nataku spoke up, however.

"Good thing I learned how to make things on a spitfire when I would be sent out for weeks doing something or another." Nataku looked at Goku with an arched bow, "A little charred on the edges, but always juicy."

"I'd like to try it sometime." Goku grinned, "That sounds like it could be a lot of fun."

Mai would have to remember to give Kaede and Riko cooking lessons or see if she couldn't ask Hakkai to help her give them. Otherwise, they'd be worse for wear.

"You know we didn't get what kind of girl you'd go after Jian." Gojyou said, taking out a cigarette and lighting it.

Jian blinked. "Dis one widith a flower? Nah, na flower woulda wan' ta be seen widith dis one! Dis one is ta invested in other dings. Swords example. Na ding ta give. Na ding ta show. Dis one is a stupid one. Na flower wants a dumb man. Id woulda be a special someone."

"So someone that can understand you." Gojyou translated, making Jian frown. "Hey if I can understand you just fine, so can a woman. You just got to hang out with the right people."

"I'm sure you could show him." Hakkai smiled, "You lived that life once."

Gojyou grinned, "Yeah all it'll take is a trip to a good bar, not this one. If people hate demons here, you're not getting any luck, but next town over? Hell yeah. You're getting laid that night."

"Dis one is suddenly terrified for dis one's life." Jian deadpanned.

"Dignity maybe." Mai giggled.

"Dat too." Jian agreed. "Dis one dinks yer na ding bu' trouble."

"Aw, don't be like that. I'm not too much trouble." Gojyou said just as Riko responded.

"You hit the nail on the head with that." Riko retorted easily.

Gojyou glared over at Riko. "Whose side are you on?"

"Just mine and my mouth on occasion." Riko said smoothly before she let the good humor die. She could feel it. How the fear felt like a sticky substance on the skin. It was like a soft breeze that had a chill. She looked past the group to see the beginnings of the village. "I'm turning myself off." She said as she tugged the bandanna down. "I think I'm more needed this way than I am needed to see."

Ran stepped up closer to Riko as she did. First appearances meant a lot in a place like this. Even Hakkai let Mai go to send her back with them, stepping closer to Sanzo himself. Goku and Gojyou did the same, Nataku and Kaede sticking to the back.
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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:03 am

Jian, who had been currently trying to run away from the village had to stop. "This one is gonna find another way." He told them before he went east. Riko couldn't blame him, they're going to meet up at the hotel...if they were lucky.

The energy of the town was stagnant and fearful. There was a breeze against Riko's skin that reminded her of the sticky substance of blood. She was quite surprised that she wasn't stepping in puddles of it. She could hear the villagers murmur, since they were close and were watching their every move. Not a single person went up to them to say that they were grateful about what happened. Not a single person came up to Sanzo to ask for a miracle of some sort, like they sometimes did.

Hakkai's energy was...fluctuating. Not noticeably. But Riko could feel the unease that was coming off of him in waves. Something about this town was familiar to him. Mai made a soft sound, and Riko knew that she could feel it too, but couldn't offer comfort.

This town would tear them apart. Riko could feel that without needing to have her eyes closed. They reached the inn without a problem, Jian no where to be found yet.
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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:10 pm

Sanzo was keenly aware of Hakkai's tense mood, and how he didn't even have a ghost of a smile. Gojyou was also watching him closely. He also heard murmurs but couldn't make out the words. Not that it mattered. He blocked them out anyway, knowing by this time tomorrow they'd be gone and this place would be just another memory to be forgotten.

"I'm sure you want my riff-raff contained, so give me the biggest room you have available." Sanzo handed the Innkeeper his card once they got inside.

"I better not see them out and about. You lot don't belong here." He grunted, ringing the Sanzo up and giving it back along with a key, "It should fit the four of you just fine."

"Considering we've slept in sheds before, I'm certain it will." Hakkai responded, his tone clipped, and he stroked Hakuryuu's mane as he headed for the stairs, turning on his heel and gripping his bags in a white-knuckle grip.

"What about you bunch? I got one more room that's family-sized." The Innkeeper narrowed his eyes at the women and Nataku.

Nataku held Kaede's waist a little tighter and he wished he'd done this earlier. Some of the whispers had been debates. 'Is he a Sanzo? His hair is blond like the other one...' 'Preposterous. The mark on his forehead is all wrong. He has to be a demon.' 'Disgusting! That means that poor human girl is infatuating with the wrong kind!' 'They're going to have hanyous just like that one, for sure.'

He hated this place. It made him sick.

Nataku went up to Riko and tapped her hand, placing the gold card similar to Sanzo's in her hand, "Here. I doubt he'd take it from me."
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PostSubject: Re: Homeward Bound - Saiyuki V/L   Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:53 am

"I got it, ma'am." The Innkeeper was just doing his job, as Sanzo could see. There were usually at least two places were there was a neutral atmosphere; Inns and Bars. It wasn't always the case, but it seemed like this man wasn't about to be an ass to a blind woman, demon or human. Taking her hand in a gentle hold, he plucked the card away and after swiping it, he placed it back in her palm that had stayed outstretched.

As Ran took Riko's arm to guide her from the desk when she was also given the key, they all headed upstairs after Hakkai. He had left the door open so they could find it, as the key had the room number on it. "Even if he's bitter towards demons, he seems to have enough of a head on him to know there's no merit in being rude to the disabled." Sanzo commented his earlier thoughts aloud.

"Nice to Riko, but hella rude to you." Mai fumed. "If he had snatched that card out of Riko's hand or embarrassed or anything-"

"You would bite your cheek." Riko tilted her head firmly towards Mai in a way that symbolized a glare. "You would let him be rude to me and let me deal with whatever happens. Besides, he doesn't have proof of who or what I am. Why be fearful of someone who can't see? If I was a demon, we'd be talking another story...we'd be praying that he knows what the word "mercy" is."

"I'm suspected of being a demon because of my forehead mark, it seems." Nataku agreed, "They think Kaede's human, so she has that."

"We're infamous, so everyone knows what they are." Sanzo grunted, "Best we just stay put for the morning unless you're going to completely ignore me, Gojyou, for some alcohol?"

"Tempting fate." Gojyou grinned and then looked over at Riko. "You gonna tempt it too Ri-chan?"

"As long as you keep your word, I don't give a damn what you do." Sanzo glanced over his shoulder at Riko.

"Making promises to be the one and only?" Gojyou couldn't help but to let that one slip.

"To not get her head in hot water." Sanzo rolled his eyes.

"Well, Riko must've told him something about the stunts she can pull so maybe, maybe not?" Ran snickered.

"I'm almost curious." Gojyou turned his attention to Ran. "I thought you and I were the rag-team of bad decisions."

"And heart attacks and minor strokes." Riko added helpfully.

"I do reckless things without being completely aware. Riko's /fully/ aware when she makes bad decisions and does them anyway." Ran explained.

Riko let out a low sigh. "And of course, now that's out on in the universe, I'm definitely going to be making a well-adjusted bad decision and all of you are going to be watching and I'm going to hear Mai have a full blown panic attack."

"Ri-chan your bad decisions come from opening your mouth half the time." Mai winced.

"Let me amend the promise, don't do anything that gets you killed or requires me to kill anyone for you. Clean up your own messes." Sanzo grunted.

"No blood on your hands." Riko promised, "and no blood on mine."

Mai was a little amused by the promise and was about to turn to say something to Hakkai, but remembered that he had left. She tapped Riko's shoulder twice as she walked away, leaving the four out to communicate and tease and do whatever. Hakkai's aura had been dark throughout the venture through the village. It worried her a little, especially since he had left so briskly. She gently knocked on the door frame before gently walking in. Hakkai was still sour. His aura was dark and his good humor and light was faded. It reminded her of times when Tenpou would tie his hair back, getting ready for a war in his mind and on the outside.

Hakkai had unpacked some things from his bag already, Hakuryuu on the end of the bed and kyuu-ing at Mai when he saw her. Chieko made kee-ing sounds in greeting and flew from Mai over to join him. Hakkai looked up and frowned, "The others splitting up between the rooms, then? I'm sure Gojyou's going to disregard the hostility and find the bar." The Inn wasn't that big, and they'd get company fairly soon.

"We were mainly teasing that both Gojyou and Ri-chan have a tendency to disregard safety." Mai said as she walked over and sat down on the bed with Hakuryuu and started petting the dragon as the little tiny thing was happy to nuzzle and greet Cheiko. "I was worried about you."

"Memories of a past best left in the past. Of a time when I was a different person." Hakkai answered as honestly as he could without giving too much away, "They reek of fear. The blood in the soil decays everything around, which is why everything looks so dark and dreary even a mile out on a bright and sunny day."

Mai nodded, understanding that it was hard to talk about, and clearly something that he went through personally. She stood up and gently offered her hands to him, not minding if he took them or not. "I'm still by your side. No one's going to hurt you this time around or me. And if they do, we'll get them back."

Hakkai watched her for a long moment, "You sound so sure." He took her hands only to make her sit down again, putting her in his lap and putting his arms around her waist. "I'm not so worried about myself. I've been through a lot of things in four-five years. I did see you fight, and I know that was only a glimpse, but put my mind at ease and stay with me until we leave? Let Ran protect Riko and Sanzo will be keeping the younger ones close, too. Gojyou likes making his own Fate, so I won't worry about him, either."

"Gojyou and Kenren always had that in common, causing a scene no matter what they do or where they go." Mai said as she leaned into his hold. "If you want me to stay with you until we leave, then I'll stay with you. Ri-chan will understand."

"Awwww dis one almost feels bad for breakin' da scene." Said a voice right behind them, making Mai fall out of Hakkai's lap barely having time to cover her mouth to hide her scream. "Oh no dis one's sorry! Da window was open, so dis one assumed dis one coulda come in."

"I knew leaving the window open would be a good signal for you." Hakkai chuckled, not too surprised and he helped Mai back up to sit beside him once again, Hakuryuu and Chieko making noises at Jian for startling them as well. "The rest will be in shortly. I think they were just giving us some privacy. You didn't have any trouble getting through the town, did you?"

"Na. Na yet." Jian said as he smiled at them and sat down on one of the beds. "Though dis one heard more whispers 'bout ya. Na many people are happy Sanzo has a followin'. Dis one thinks dat ya'll have a hard time goin' out an' 'bout. Too many demons. Na enough humans. Dey're na sure wha' ta think 'bout for the blind flower...and the young flower. Da young flower's corrupted...bu' wha' can ya say 'bout a blind flower widith outta bein' rude? Na much. Though a lot of dem pity her. Think she dona know who she's hangin' widith. Same widith da young flower. Na ta happy she might have a hanyou if dey're together like dat. Like dey care."

"Nataku isn't a demon though unless they're talking about Goku?" Mai was puzzled. "Why the hell...I'm not sure I understand humans. I thought they /hate/ hanyous."

"What Jian said." Hakkai gestured helplessly, "To these people, Gojyou might have an okay time going to and from the bar as long as he doesn't stray. He knows how to watch his drink, too, so he won't get poisoned. No one here will bed him, so he might just be drinking to listen. He has his own way of helping where and when he can." He ruffled through his bag and pulled out some clothes, "You and I seem about the same size. Consider it a gift." The tatters bothered Hakkai, and these were simple clothes, just a black undershirt and a pair of pants. If he was going to be their companion for a time, he was going to be taken care of. "I'm sure if you can sneak through the town you could find the showers as well."

Jian stared at the clothes for a long time and he looked back up at Hakkai. He smile was so bright, Mai almost felt her heart break. How long had it been since someone was actually /kind/ it made her so angry and so helpless. "Dis one owes ya." He said as he gently took the clothes and held them like they were a gift. Something to cherish. "Na a joke. Ya need somethin' ya ask. It's all ya gotta do."

"I'll keep that in mind. For now, once you finish cleaning up and changing, we can discuss the village a bit more." Hakkai motioned for him to go and once he did he looked at Mai, "As for Nataku and Kaede, they weren't talking about Goku since he wasn't near her. Nataku looks strange with his blond hair and all demons have a mark somewhere. Demon limiters hide the ears, but not always the marking." He fingered his ear clips on human-like ears, but if he took them off they became pointed. "I bet you haven't experimented and don't even know what your own powers are like without the limiter. What /is/ your limiter?"

"It's this." Mai bent down and pulled up her skirt just a bit so that he could see the silver anklet that was on her ankle. Underneath it was a marking of waves. "But you're right, I haven't...even tried yet. I wonder what they'd say if they find out Nataku's an actual /god/. Maybe I shouldn't get my hopes up."

"Revealing something like that could be costly in different ways. Nataku wouldn't want to be worshiped by people like this, and any reformation wouldn't be true. They could do as he says, but the hatred would still be in their hearts." Hakkai sighed, "I don't usually like taking my limiters off. I only do it in dire situations. but on our journey, we could find safe places far away from the group, caves or rivers, to train. It'd do no good if you only knew what half your strength was. What if you had to take it off? You wouldn't know how to handle the influx of power, either."

"That's true. I'd love it if you'd train me but...don't do it if it hurts you. You're already hurting so much right now." Mai said biting her lip and she bowed her head. "I won't press. I won't demand answers. The past belongs to the past and that's exactly where it should stay. I just wish I could do something to ease it. We're both healers, and yet this is a type of healing neither one of us is capable of doing. Ri-chan's real good at solving conflicts and giving a face to hate. She's been in more dangerous places than this. But that's what terrifies me. She was a Goddess then. She's a human now. We're both demons here, and that makes me feel helpless. I wish I could give you some comfort, Hakkai. Something."

"Later, perhaps. For now, this is enough." He rubbed her back soothingly, "I can train you, I just need to be mentally prepared for it. The more we train, the more relaxed I'll be, even if I'll never be completely comfortable. Time and practice, that's all." He kissed her temple sweetly, "Something tells me, since we've been alone so long, that Sanzo took the kids to the room that was booked for you girls. He knows when privacy is needed, which is why he and I get along so well."

"Gojyou and Riko and Ran probably already went their own way then." Mai closed her eyes at the innocent kiss and let the comfort soothe her. She opened her eyes and looked at him with a smile. "Thank you."

"Of course, Mai. Thank you, as well, for trying to comfort me and be there for me. I'm not going to be the best until we leave, so just bare with me, and I won't be so prickly once I can breathe right again." He put his hand at her shoulder and held her close, his head on hers and he closed his eyes, just letting them be for a while.

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