This story has not been beta-ed, but has been read over by LLD, who couldn't find anything wrong. So if you do, please tell me straight away.
Saiyuki in all its forms belongs solely to Kazuya Minekura. No monetary profit was made in the writing of this fiction.
The laughter of the innocent echoed throughout the heavenly vale. Its source, two golden-eyed aesetics, were climbing a pink cherry blossom tree.
"Hey, Goku, what d'you wanna do?" asked the older one, dark-haired and dressed in long grecian style robes. It was strange how he had moved so gracefully up the tree without being hindered by the loose clothing, without catching the material on something, or inadvertently stepping on his own sleeve. He sat casually on the topmost branch that could support his lithe body and extended a hand down to his friend to pull him up the last few centimetres.
"Dunno," the other replied, "Let's just sit here for a while,'kay?" Nataku shrugged in agreement, and they sat together, staring at the landscape before them. in the blossoms of the cherry tree, any prying eyes would not see them unless them made a noise. But few came this far out from the centre of heaven apart from the two children and gods seeking them. The young fighting god glanced at Goku and the chains encircling his thin limbs and neck, and the links that swung heavily from them. Once or twice, they had tried to prise the metal circlets from his body, but it just gave them sore fingers.
Goku peered down at a clear river, abundant with carp and koi instead of salmon and otter usual fish. "Let's catch some of them!" Nataku grinned wickedly and started to clamber down, pulling on Goku's ragged trousers to get him started.
They raced down to the bank edge - a whole five metres away from the oh-so-giant tree.
"Uh... Nataku... What do we catch them with?" Goku asked his friend, confident that he would come up with something.
Nataku scanned the landscape, and saw a bag at the bottom of the cherry blossom tree. An idea began to form in his head.
"Hey, Goku, Ten-chan packed us prawns, right?" The younger boy nodded, walking back to the tree roots and grasping one strap of the courderoy bag, and dragging it back to the riverside. "We can use sticks for the poles and... uh..." Nataku trailed off uncertainly.
Goku looked at his friend's hair and stifled a sudden giggle, "Maybe we should just tie them to your hair!" he suggested. Nataku laughed outright, warming to the strange suggestion. He took a prawn out of the container and tied a knot around it with his spiky hair.
Soon, three prawns dangled merrily from the innovative fishing rods, and Nataku carefully dipped his head downwards into the fish-filled water below. A fish took the bait almost immediately, latching onto the fighting gods hair. Nataku flipped his head backwards and the fish lay gasping on the grass, propelled there by Nataku's momentum. He yelled in triumph and dunked his head back in. Goku saw a golden opportunity and took the chance to give his friend a gentle nudge that sent him flying into the river.
The pre-teen came up spluttering, yelling good-natured threats at the monkey king. His robes floated around him, trying to drag him down another metre or so, but he swam expertly back to the river's edge.
"Good thinking," Nataku complimented the shorter brunet admiringly, as he clambered out from the cool stream, "You'll be thinking of expert tricks in no time!"
They tossed the gasping carp back to its home, having no utensils to cook it with, or the heart to somehow bludgeon the marine creature to death anyway. Nataku removed his wet clothes, wearing only a pair of faded blue trousers to preserve modesty. The soaked robes were discarded carelessly on the grass to dry, then straightened when Goku pointed out that they wouldn't dry in their current crumpled state. They sat next to one another, Goku hugging his scabbed knees, and Nataku resting on his palms, legs outstreched and he stared at the sky. Goku thought of something and scabbled through the bag that Tenpou had packed them.
"Here! Ten-chan packed towels!" he cried triumphantly, passing the white fluffy cloth to his bedraggled friend. Nataku made a cursory gesture of faith by sweeping it over his head once, and wiping his shoulders, then just left it there like it was a stylish scarf. Water still dripped off him, but neither of them noticed, or really cared. The sky was nearly dark by now, and both lay on their backs, peering up at the starry sky. It was never cloudy in Nirvanha.
"We could sleep out here, under the stars," Goku commented childishly "Ten-chan even gave us a blanket. There's only one though, I think we were supposed to picnic on it..."
"Toss it here, then," Nataku ordered lazily, waving a casual hand. Goku sat up and undid the belt buckles that held the thin roll of wool to the sturdy bay, and, flicking his hands, watched the duvet flatten smoothly.
"It's big enough for both of us," Nataku continued, clutching his allocated corner and pulling it over his still slightly damp torso. The towel he had dried himself off doubled as a towel, and Goku used its dry twin - miraculously produced from the magic bag. Tenpou really thought of everything. They snuggled up back to back for warmth (and opportunities to steal each other's part of the blanket).
Goku stared up at the stars. He had a theory that each one represented a god. Except Konzen, of course.
"G'night," he called to the stars, hoping his guardian could hear him, and finally succumbed to his exaustion, a result of they day's antics.
"Where is that shit little chimp?" snarled Konzen. Last night, when Goku hadn't come to wish him goodnight he had suspected something, but when the monkey hadn't turned up to wish him good morning he had known something was amiss.
He stormed over to Tenpou's quarters, not even bothering to knock. As per usual, the army chief was reading - he never seemed to be doing work but it always got done somehow. He was sitting in a wooden chair, engrossed in a thick novel, hardly in sight behind the stacks of titles piled upon one another. The laboratory coat he continually wore was swept back to one side, and Tenpou was in the act of frowning, pushing his glasses futher up the bridge of his nose.
"Is Goku here?" Konzen demanded angrily. Tenpou looked surprised, then worried, Konzen's small charge was rarely away from his side.
"Is he not back? I packed him a picnic lunch but that was yesterday. Are you sure he's not in the compound?" the god questioned anxiously. Just about then, another man entered, covering a yawn with a hand, he had a goblet of wine in the other. He raised it in greeting to them, then abruptly lowered it when he saw Konzen looking angry, and Tenpou slightly worried.
"So early in the morning, Kenren-san?" Tenpou smiled at his 'boss', keeping the other discussion away from him.
"Goku's missing. Have you seen the little brat?" Konzen asked abruptly. The redheaded fighting god shook his head saying he hadn't seen him for several days. By mutual consent, they went out to look for him.
Konzen walked to the outskirts of heaven. He knew Goku's abundant curiosity would have led him in that area, especially if he was accompanied by that other boy - Nataku. He wasn't worried about the boy, of course, but for some reason, the conversation he had had the other day with his aunt, Kanzeon Bosatsu kept repeating itself over and over.
"Why am I the only one round here who never knows anything?" Konzen smashed his fist into the Bodhisattva's desk. Kanzeon had said something, striding round the table, then picked up some strands of his long blond hair, voicing a strange thought.
"How much longer can you be his sun, Konzen?" The hair drifted back to his side.
A woman stared out of her window, listening to two voices calling for something lost. She watched them pass by under her study window and Tenpou asked if she had seen the little boy, but Kenren simply walked past, calling Goku's name.
"Kanzeon Bosatsu-sama!" A war-like old man saluted. He had a dot surrounded by two lines on his forehead, indicating that he, too, was a god. He was wearing armour - Kanzeon wondered if he removed it even for bed- and not one hair was out of place in his two buns. The goddess preferred to let hers look wilder, and her wavy hair was only tied back in a loose ponytail, and even then it was so long that it reached her waist. Sometimes it caught on the wide belt she wore, and she reached back and tugged it out.
"More reports, Bosatsu-sama," he said, placing them on her worktable. She never really did much, and she was sitting on her throne looking through the window again. She was wearing those see-through clothes of hers, but Jiroshin had long got used to the goddess' sense of propiety in the first fifty years or so. He still preferred to keep his eyes averted, and he backed out of the room, bowing as one should to a superior.
Kanzeon continued to look out the window.
"So the monkey's run away?" she murmured to herself, "But who will find him? Will it be his sun?"
"-ku... Goku..." a voice called. He wasn't sure why, but that was someone he must answer. The voice came closer, then stopped as Goku struggled to open his eyes, sealed shut by sleep. Nataku snored on beside him.
"Goku." This time it was a command, and he managed to wrench his golden lids open. At first, the light blinded him, but a shadow protected him. He saw a the outline of a halo of blond hair, and that was all the sun he needed. Deep violet eyes glared at him, and Konzen's forehead held an unpromising crinkle. Still half asleep, Goku echoed what he had first done on entering heaven, and tugged on Konzen's hair. Amazingly, the crinkle became a look of puzzlement, and he wasn't hit on the head or anything.
"It's like the sun," the brunet said wonderingly, then unable to to resist the call of sleep anymore, started to close his eyes.
Konzen released the grip on his hair, and replaced Goku's hand above the blanket.
"Sleep," the god whispered, placing a hand on the small boy's brow, "Sleep, Goku."
Kanzeon was still watching from her office vantage point when she saw her purple-clad god striding past with a bag over his shoulder, and carrying Goku, who was sleeping, head against Konzen's collarbone. Nataku was bouncing alongside him, chattering, but getting only short, curt answers in reply.
The Bodhisattva tilted her head to one side, supported by her elbow.
"So you are still his sun, Konzen," she commented quietly, "but what of next time, hmm?"
So, what did you think, good, bad, mistakes, prawns? Please don't hesitate to tell me (i.e. review) ;)
Another thing is that the memory/flashback was supposed to be in italics, but I couldn't manage it without putting everything below it in italics as well. Does anyone know how I can rectify that?