The fic prompts at 31_days this month come from Issa's haiku. Today's is an obvious one for Gaiden.
Title: Half remembered names and faces
Day/Theme: October 3- There are no strangers under cherry blossoms
Series: Saiyuuki Gaiden
Character/Pairing: Goujun and acquaintance
A white blossom fluttered onto the page and stuck in the wet stroke of the last character. The cherry trees were blooming again.
New flowers to cover the pitiful bare branches of Heaven's ever-blooming sakura; a new regime to replace that of the murdered Tentei; new life and new order that would, maybe, fade the memory of the impossible violence that had disrupted the unchanging ways of Heaven. Goujun rubbed his tired eyes, the left as well as the right. Habit. Some things don't fade.
He dipped his brush again and wrote the afterword:
'This is a true record of the recent uprising in Heaven, from the hand of Goujun, dragon king of the Western Ocean and supreme commander of the Heavenly Army of the West, who witnessed it with his own eyes: a chronicle of bloody and unnatural acts, of long-meditated revenges and unthinking slaughter, of how the deeds of violent men led in the end to their own destruction. My purpose in writing was neither to praise nor to blame, only to transmit the truth to the unknowing generations to come--' His hand paused, then wrote in bold characters- 'and to keep alive the memory of such courageous and gallant men as were the Marshal and his friends.'
He laid down his brush and sighed. Three more petals drifted into the room. 'To bloom and go on blooming, proudly, until the moment you scatter and fall.' He touched his manuscript with one talon, absently. Here are my blossoms, General, the best I could put forth. A puff of air stirred his hair, bringing warmth with it; a warmth not so much physical as-- a vague emotion, a sense, something half-noted in passing long ago, like the new sun in spring or an endless summer afternoon.
He leaned back in his chair, hand going to rub at his broken and unfeeling legs. They didn't hurt but he felt somehow that they ought to hurt, and so he kept trying to ease the non-existent pain away. Voices drifted up from below his window, high-pitched and chattering-- the kami out admiring their returned cherry blossoms in pleasure and relief. The wind in the branches made a noise like waves. He drowsed, listening to that homesick sound, and to the far-off voices.
"Oi, you're not going to give *him* sake!?" someone said, outraged and adolescent.
"But of course," came the mild rejoinder. Goujun knit his brows. He knew whose voice that was, of course he did. Someone infinitely close to him, known all his life, but no one he could place. "The White Dragon deserves a share after all he does for us." Smell of sake in his nostrils. He bent his neck, noting with small pleasure that he was back in dragon form, and lipped at the clear liquid. A cherry petal drifted down to join the others scattered on the ground.
"Hey, he's purring!" a shrill voice said above him.
"Fool. Dragons don't purr."
"But he is! Listen to him-- no, c'mon, *listen*--"
"Now, now." That was his friend, the peace-maker, the one who looked after them all. Licking the last of the sake from his lips, Goujun flew up to the green-clad shoulder-- ah, my legs are working again-- and draped himself around the warm neck. A maddeningly familiar hand scratched deliciously at his ears. Goujun snaked his head about to look from the front. No, it wasn't anyone he knew after all, except that he knew him completely. He gave up the puzzle and composed himself for sleep. I'm drunk, probably, a little. He yawned. It's good to be home again.
The servant coming with Goujun's dinner found him slumped back in his wheelchair, his one red eye filmed and empty, and seemingly fixed on a wisp of white cloud high in the blue sky.