BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

KISPEXI2

HOLDING ON: Ch 2 - Tangential
Thursday, May 3, 2007

Much to his annoyance, Sanzo's urgent quest to find Goku gets diverted. Meanwhile Mal meets someone from Inara's past. WARNING - slashy but not graphic


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1750    RATING: 8    SERIES: FIREFLY

Title: Part 2: Tangential. Series: HOLDING ON Fandom: A SAIYUKI/FIRELY crossover - all hail Kazuya Minekura and Joss Whedon Rating: PG-13 (for language) Pairings: Mal/Simon Sanzo/Goku

Many thanks to wedjateye for the beta.

The start of the story is here: Chapter One

Part 2: TANGENTIAL

“Here we are,” the girl Captain Reynolds had called Kaylee announced brightly. She slid open the door in front of them to reveal a small - some might say cramped - room. “Used to be Simon's. Nice, ain't it?”

Sanzo stepped inside and looked around. After the rough and readiness of Whitefall, Serenity offered ... more of the same. The room's wall panelling was exposed and unadorned, the narrow bed's cover faded and slightly frayed around the edges. There was a small chest of drawers and a couple of coat hooks affixed to one wall, nothing more. Not that any of that bothered Sanzo; he'd slept in far worse places since setting out on his quest. Besides, the Spartan furnishing and the shoji-style door gave the room a reassuringly familiar feel.

He dropped his backpack onto the bed and nodded.

“It's fine.”

Kaylee's smile blossomed into a full-on beam, as if Sanzo had paid her a personal compliment.

“Glad you like it.”

For a moment, Sanzo was hopeful that she might withdraw and allow him time to settle in, but she leant against the door frame and began twirling a lock of her unruly chestnut hair around a forefinger.

“You gonna be with us long?” she asked, looking up at him from under her lashes.

Sanzo had seen that look a thousand times before. It was a look that said 'You're pretty' and 'why don't we get to know each other better?' and usually preceded an uninvited hand snatching greedily at some part of his anatomy. Sanzo's standard response to it was to press the barrel of his gun to the wearer's forehead. However, Kaylee didn't seem the grabby sort - Sanzo reckoned she was more the hopeless romantic type, desperate for someone to woo her in grand fairy-tale style - so instead of brandishing his weapon, he favoured her with a discouragingly curt reply.

“Until St Albans.”

“St Albans?” Kaylee echoed with a frown. “You know it's awful cold, right? You got business there? Family?”

“Neither.”

Kaylee's frown deepened, inviting clarification. Sanzo withheld it.

“Right,” she said, smiling again, albeit a little uncertainly, “Well, you oughta be warm enough in here - Simon always was - but if'n you need extra blankets, they're in the store cupboard opposite the passenger washroom. Which is out of here, left down the corridor an' it's facin' you.”

Sanzo nodded. He wanted her gone. And soon.

“An' the dining room's up the stairs by the infirmary,” she went on. “Dinner's at nineteen hundred. If'n the Cap'n's apologized to Simon by then. If not, well, there's always ship's protein-”

That was three times she'd mentioned Simon in less than three minutes, Sanzo noticed.

“I'm not hungry,” he told her.

“Aw, you can't not eat!” she exclaimed. “An' you've gotta meet the others: River an' Jayne.”

Sanzo had no wish to meet either.

“Please,” Kaylee pressed.

She took a step closer and all of a sudden the amber light filtering in through the half-open door was reflected in her brown eyes, turning them golden. Sanzo caught his breath at the sharp tug deep in his chest and his ability to resist her wheedling melted away.

“Pfft,” he sighed, defeated. “Okay, fine. I'll eat dinner.”

* * * * *

Dinner was late. Sanzo presented himself in the dining room at the appointed hour, only to find Kaylee, her hair piled up in a rapidly collapsing bun, flustered and pink-faced as she furiously stirred the contents of a large, battered pan. Whatever she was cooking smelt of wet dust and sour milk. Never one with much of an appetite, Sanzo's heart sank. The impending meal was going to be even more of an ordeal than he'd anticipated.

Kaylee looked up.

“Hey,” she smiled. “Won't be long. Jus' gotta add the rosemary. Shepherd Book always used to say a man can live on packaged food 'til Judgement Day if'n he's got enough rosemary.”

“Rosemary's for remembrance.”

Sanzo jumped. His reflexes were unusually good. People were never able to creep up on him - and those who tried generally ended up pissing lead. He turned and saw a girl, pale-faced and barefoot, descending the three steps into the galley, the hem of her loose chiffon skirt fluttering about delicate ankles.

“Hey, River!” Kaylee greeted her. “This here's our new passenger - Mister Sanzo.”

River tipped her head to one side.

“Promises to keep,” she commented, a far-away look in her eyes. “Miles to go before I sleep.”

Sanzo felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise, but Kaylee gave an embarrassed little laugh and River's eyes cleared.

“Nice to meet you,” she said, extending a hand. Her voice had lost its earlier sing-song quality and was now firm and slightly bored.

It wasn't something he normally did - he had an aversion to touching - but Sanzo shook hands with her politely, then took a seat at the table. River immediately occupied the seat opposite, gazing intently at him, her eyes darting about his face as if they were having an animated conversation, despite the fact that Sanzo was remaining determinedly silent.

He took out a cigarette and felt for his lighter, just as an enormous man, with huge arms and huger thighs stomped into the room.

Approaching the table, he eyed Sanzo up and down, grinned and waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

“Want some hot stuff, mei nu ren?” he asked, sliding into the seat next to Sanzo.

A vast, meaty paw appeared in front of Sanzo's face. There was a click, then a flame.

A snort of laughter from the doorway stopped Sanzo from suggesting something much more painful the man might like to do with his lighter.

“Give it up, Jayne,” the Captain chuckled, striding across the room to pull out the chair at the head of the table. The Amazonian woman Sanzo had glimpsed earlier in the cargo bay sat down in the chair to his right.

“This here's Mister Sanzo,” the Captain continued, “an' he ain't interested in you.”

“Hunh?” Jayne grunted, looking from the Captain to Sanzo and back again. “You what?”

“Tell him, Zoe,” the Captain laughed, leaning back in his chair.

The Captain's right-hand woman rolled her eyes and leant forward to pat a gigantic forearm.

“Remember Badger's job, Jayne?” she asked, speaking each word very slowly and clearly. “Well, this is the client: Mister Sanzo.”

She gave Sanzo a nod of acknowledgement. Jayne blinked and scratched the back of his head.

“So, let me get this straight,” he recapped. “The job was to take on a passenger? An' this is ...” His head snapped round and he peered into Sanzo's face. “Hoetze de pigu! This here's a fella?!”

Sanzo's palm itched for a blunt instrument.

Wo de ma, Mal,” Jayne whined. “How many more pretty boys you gonna fill this boat with?”

Forget blunt instruments, Sanzo decided, feeling for his gun. What this giant moron needed was a bullet through his minuscule brain.

“Jayne.”

The Captain's voice was heavy with warning and his blue eyes had turned icy. Sanzo noted that the doctor - Simon? - was nowhere to be seen.

“Yeah?” Jayne demanded, chin jutting and shoulders squaring.

“Might not wanna call our guest pretty,” the Captain advised.

“Yeah?” Jayne repeated, although this time his tone was less defiant.

Yeah,” River confirmed, giving the big man a you-idiot look. “Doesn't like it. And he shoots better than you. Much better.”

“Dinner's served!” Kaylee announced, breaking the tension by plonking the saucepan down onto the table top.

With a growl, Jayne snatched up a serving spoon and turned his attention to eating.

* * * * *

If it hadn't been for the dreams, Sanzo might have had a good night. With its firm mattress and age-softened sheets, the passenger dorm bed was surprisingly comfortable and after a while, the hum of Serenity's engine had faded to a soothing murmur.

But the dreams had come, just as they did every night.

He was injured, blood pumping from a deep stomach wound. Beside him, a green-eyed man was kneeling, his pale hands doming over the injury, his face taut with concentration. There was another man too, standing. His hands were stuffed deep into the pockets of his pants and he was hanging his head, apologizing over and over again - maybe to Sanzo, maybe to the man trying to help him. There was something between them, a history between the three of them lurking in the shadows ... but the air was growing sickly with the smell of blood and Sanzo couldn't remember. All he knew was that he was dying.

He began to struggle. Not here, not yet, not like this. A yell rang out, followed by a roar of visceral, untamed rage and the green-eyed man went flying as a slight figure with long tresses writhing like snakes dropped from the sky. Sanzo looked up, saw golden eyes and everything went black.

A shout woke him and he was sitting bolt upright in bed, clutching his stomach and drenched in sweat, before it dawned on him that the shout had been his own. He shook his head. It had felt so real; it always did. By contrast the room was unnaturally peaceful. Nothing to hear but the purring engine and behind it, faint but insistent, the sound of that voice, of that voice calling him.

“Priest Sanzo?”

Another voice. And a hesitant knock on the door. Damn.

Sanzo held his tongue, willing whoever it was to go the hell away.

“Are you all right?”

Sanzo faked a snore.

The door opened slowly, to reveal the doctor, a bit bleary around the eyes and clad in what was presumably his nightwear.

“I, uh, heard noises,” he explained. “Is everything all right?”

“Fine,” Sanzo grunted, fully awake now and annoyed with himself. “What time is it?”

Simon consulted his wristwatch.

“Just before six, ship's time.”

“Hmmph,” Sanzo snorted at the coincidence. “In exactly one week's time, we'll been landing on St Albans.”

“Ah.” Simon's hand fluttered up to his face and he chewed on the tip of his little finger. “I'm afraid there's been a change of plan ...”

Sanzo leapt out of bed.

“There's been a what?”

* * * * * *

Sanzo had smoked half a packet of cigarettes by the time Serenity's crew began drifting into the galley.

Jayne was the first to arrive. He shot Sanzo an accusing look, fixed himself a bowl of something blue-grey and a coffee, and stalked over to an armchair where he pointedly turned his back.

Kaylee appeared next, humming to herself. She gave Sanzo a warm smile and insisted on pouring him some fresh coffee. Given his mood, he accepted it with considerable good grace. Unsurprisingly, it was a disgusting brew.

Simon and River entered from the direction of the passenger dorm, the doctor carefully ushering the girl down the steps. Hmmph. Sanzo had been sure that if the doctor was sleeping with anyone, it was the Captain.

River caught his eye and giggled.

“Not what you think!”

But there was no time for Sanzo to ponder that, because at long last the Captain was stepping down into the galley. Zoe was right behind him.

Sanzo got to his feet.

“Mornin',” the Captain nodded. “Sleep well?”

Without replying, Sanzo marched over to him and shoved the mouth of his gun up into the soft flesh behind the Captain's jawline.

“Not as well as you will if you try to cheat me.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Sanzo saw Zoe unholster her shotgun and the sound of a click behind him told him Jayne had drawn a firearm too and slipped off the safety.

“No touching guns!” River screamed.

The Captain slowly raised his hands.

“Now, now,” he soothed. “No need for unpleasantness. Sure this is all a misunderstandin'. Zoe, Jayne - no shootin'. Dead men can't meet their financial obligations - an' I mean to get paid for this job.”

With undisguised reluctance, Zoe put her gun away. Jayne gave a frustrated grunt.

“So,” - the Captain flashed a bright smile at Sanzo - “Wanna tell me what this is about?”

Sanzo ached to pull the trigger and blast a hole through the Captain's smug skull.

“I hired you to take me to St Albans,” he reminded him, “Not Aberdeen.”

The Captain's smile slipped from his face and he turned to River, frowning.

“You told him? Thought I told you I-”

“Not me.” She shook her head and, grimacing, indicated the doctor with a jerk of her thumb. “My brother.”

What had been a frown turned into a glare - the kind of glare a betrayed man might direct at a treacherous lover. From the safety of his armchair Jayne muttered “Mighta guessed.”

“He had a right to know, Mal!” Simon protested. “If you'd just explain your decisions every once in a while, you might find people a lot more understanding.”

“Not necessarily,” Sanzo disagreed and dug his gun deeper into the Captain's throat. “I don't want to go to Aberdeen. I'm paying a lot of money to go to St Albans.”

“Look-,” the Captain croaked. “Thing is, we got a distress call. From one of ours. Cou'n't just ignore it. Had a sayin' in the army: leave no man behind. Reckon you can understand that, what with you bein' so keen on findin' your friend an' all.”

Sanzo ground his teeth. Not many arguments held much sway with him, but loyalty was one that did.

“How long will it take?” he demanded.

“Well, Aberdeen's about six clicks from here, so - there an' back - might add a day onto the trip, no more.”

“Doesn't have to,” River declared, and all heads turned towards her. “Don't need to land. Could enter geostationary orbit. Wait for Inara's shuttle to dock, then use gravitational pull and hard burn to get Serenity back on course. Wind her up and let her go. Calculating the tangential angle the only problem. Get it right and we'll stay right on schedule.”

“What happens if we get it wrong?” Jayne asked the question that everyone else had to be thinking.

River gave him an indulgent smile.

“Won't get it wrong, silly.”

Mal lowered his hands, carefully pressing the barrel of Sanzo's gun away from his neck as he did so.

“Well, that's settled then,” he grinned, clapping Sanzo on the shoulder. “We go to Aberdeen, pick up Inara an' get back on our merry.”

Sanzo brought his gun back up to knock the Captain's hand away.

“Any more delays, Captain Reynolds,” he promised through gritted teeth, “And there will be nothing merry about it.”

* * * * *

A little over ten hours later, Sanzo was berating himself for not having simply shot the Captain and taken over flying the ship himself. He could hardly have made a worse job of it.

The gentle thunk of metal coming to rest against metal as the returning shuttle docked in the port bay had lulled him into thinking the worst was over. Then the contented purr of Serenity's engine rose in pitch, became a rumble, a yowl, a scream. Atop the chest of drawers, Sanzo's Smith and Wesson began to rattle ominously. He leant over to steady it just as Serenity decided to remind him that they were not on terra firma but hurtling through space. The ship lurched and Sanzo went sprawling, sliding helplessly across the passenger dorm floor to clunk his head painfully into the wall.

“Fucking shit!” he cursed, moments before being tossed back in the opposite direction. This time it was a drawer handle that halted his slide - by driving hard into the side of his ribcage.

“Uh, you might wanna hang onto something,” the Captain's disembodied voice suggested over the ship's comms, thirty seconds too late.

Sanzo glared at the speaker. Goddamn Captain. Goddamn space travel.

Goddamn Goku.

* * * * *

An hour later and Sanzo's stomach still hadn't properly settled, despite the fact that Serenity was once again flying smoothly, so it wasn't food he was heading up to the dining room in search of, but the Captain. The terms of their agreement needed reiterating. Forcefully.

Kaylee, Jayne and Zoe were gathered around the table. Their reckless, deal-breaking asshole of a Captain was nowhere to be seen.

“Where's Reynolds?” Sanzo demanded.

Zoe cast him a look but said nothing.

“Oh, the Cap'n'll be along soon enough,” Kaylee smiled. “Why don't ya come an' sit down here 'til then? I fixed us somethin' to eat. Reckoned nobody would want much after all that grav/antigrav stuff an' what it does to the innards, but look - 'Nara brought fresh fruit back with her! We got strawberries an' peaches an' cherries. We even got real cream too!”

The last thing Sanzo wanted to do was eat. On the other hand, he didn't much fancy a farcical game of Hunt-The-Captain around a ship he didn't know either, so he accepted the chair Kaylee pulled out for him.

She rose from her own seat and went over to the counter, where she doled out a large helping of prepared fruit into a bowl and spooned thick, white cream over the top.

“Eat up!” she urged, setting it down on the table in front of Sanzo. “Don't get fruit out in the Black often - gotta enjoy it while ya can!”

From the hallway came the sound of footsteps. Sanzo looked up.

“Ain't so sure I wanna take on more crew,” the Captain was saying.

“It wouldn't be for long, Mal,” a woman's voice promised. “And it wouldn't be taking on crew - it would be more like having another tenant. I'll cover any additional expenses.”

They entered the dining room, still debating. The woman was dark and slender, her clothes made from the finest materials and well-cut. Everything about her declared the fact that she was Core-bred and a member of the Alliance elite. Her slightly nasal vowels suggested she'd spent a lot of time on Sanzo's home planet.

“Not so sure I want any more passengers either,” the Captain commented and the woman's eyes followed his gaze towards Sanzo. “Inara - let me introduce you to Mister Sanzo; Mister Sanzo, Inara.”

She approached the table, but didn't offer her hand.

“Priest Sanzo,” she greeted him, bowing her head and dipping into a half-curtsey.

Sanzo was about to reply when a shudder went through the ship.

Zoe's eyes widened and a look passed between her and the Captain.

“Photon cannon?”

“Seems like,” he agreed, grim-faced. “Question is - why?”

Inara cleared her throat.

“I'm afraid there's more, Mal. I need to find a safe place, somewhere my-”

“Holy frickin' shit!” a deep voice exclaimed, as Serenity trembled again. “I thought we'd lost 'em!”

Jayne took one look at the newcomer and rounded angrily on the captain.

“Mal!” he exploded. “You got another one!”

Sanzo could see his point. The young man entering the room was ostentatiously attractive, long and lean, with narrow hips and dark red hair. He was dressed from head to toe in figure-hugging shiny black leather.

Sanzo blinked. He knew this man. From before. From long ago.

Inara took a step closer to the Captain.

“Mal - this is my brother: Gojyo.”

Merciful Buddha, yes! Gojyo.

Kaylee squealed and clapped both hands to her mouth to a chorus of “Hunh?” from the Captain and Jayne. Zoe didn't utter a word, but her expression said plenty.

Gojyo grinned at the assembled company and gave a theatrical bow.

That was just like him, Sanzo remembered, lip curling in disgust.

“Wonderful,” he remarked acidly, “You're a whore in this life too.”

Gojyo smoothed a sensuous hand down the thigh of his pants and sauntered across to the table. Looking Sanzo directly in the eye, he leaned in to pluck a cherry from the bowl in front of him.

“Actually,” he smiled, licking the fruit clean of cream with a swirl of his tongue, “the term is Companion.”

* * * * *

COMMENTS

Monday, May 7, 2007 5:56 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Much as I can't really comment about the behavioural pattersn for Sanzo and Gojyo (never seen nor read whatever anime they are from), I gotta say reading this was utterly hilarious! Between Sanzo's observations of Kaylee to the contretemps between Mal and Sanzo, I was highly entertained;)

BEB

Monday, May 14, 2007 4:53 AM

GUILDSISTER


So much in this is delightfully good and delicious to read. Right from the start, "After the rough and readiness of Whitefall, Serenity offered ... more of the same," is just a lovely, concise description.

The inner mind workings of Sanzo make an interesting series of contrasts. He's being bad-ass and wicked then Kaylee's eyes melt him. Very nice bit of character complexity there. I can't say I like Sanzo--he's not a likeable guy--but he's an intriguing character that works in this setting. I like his observations and thoughts on the crew.

And Jayne... what can one say about Jayne? You write him so perfectly I can hear every intonation in his gruff voice and see the bland, yet insightful, looks on his face. His comments were grand, especially about the pretty boys.

The ending with Inara and her brother worked very well. I gather he is an already established character from the show you're crossing over with, yes?


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