"What do you think?"
Sanzo looked over the edge of his newspaper at his father, a frown on his handsome face as he folded and set aside the day's Financial Times. He flipped open the manila file folder with a disparaging sigh while pressing his half burnt cigarette to his thin lips.
The older blond leaned over his shoulder, arms wrapped loosely around his foster son's sharp collarbones.
"Would you stop breathing in my ear, old man?" he snapped, although there was no real heat in the words and he made no attempt to brush the affectionate touch aside.
Closing the folder after a few minutes he pushed his reading glasses up higher and pinched the bridge of his nose; a frown furrowing his brow.
"I think he's going to explode," he breathed wearily.
"Hmmm…really? I'm not sure about that."
Sanzo flashed strong teeth and flipped the file open again. "Advanced degrees in chemistry, physics, topography, statistics, pre-med, criminal psychology, culinary arts degree; every known honor society under the sun; volunteers at the local hospital, library and food kitchen; works with orphans at the local church; adopted a stray cat. He's a fucking martyr. If he doesn't kill himself soon, some jealous boyfriend will. Oh wait, he's probably gay which just makes his life harder. I hate the guy already."
Sanzo paused in his diatribe long enough to suck in a lungful of poison smoke, the smell of crackling ozone heavy in the air before turning back to the front of the file and it's biological data with corresponding picture.
"What's his name again? Hakkai Cho…great, a fucking Commie at that. What the hell are you pulling, old man?" Sanzo glared at his father for a long moment over his shoulder before the older man unfurled himself from around his neck and took a seat across from him at the kitchen table. He drew a cast-iron tea cup across the slate tabletop, blowing softly over the hot liquid before smiling serenely, a sure sign he was up to something.
"I was thinking of assigning him to Gojyo."
Sanzo blinked twice before dropping his head to the cool table surface and sputter-laughing.
"Crazy…fucking…old man…" he choked out, tears shimmering in violet eyes, "perfect!" he chuckled evilly as he stamped the front of the application folder.
He'd write the letter up later, or better yet, have Goku do it; kid had too much energy anyways.
Hakkai glanced up at the thirty-two story monstrosity called Hontou Electric. It was a front of course. No electric company could afford such a huge glass and steel building in this economy and all those antennas and satellite dishes on the roof…what was the government thinking with such a blatant display? He sighed, glanced at the letter clutched pathetically in his left hand and shifted his briefcase strap higher onto his right shoulder. Taking a deep breath he pushed the rotating door open and stepped up to the security desk.
Black calla lilies and tiny green lily-of-the-valley adorned the large granite counter top. Their beauty marred only by the thick bullet proof glass and rack of semi-automatic weapons lining the wall behind the two men in black military uniforms, their stark red arm bands proclaiming 'security' in ludicrously large Arial Font.
One was a tank of a man with short cropped spiky black hair and a scar across his nose whose dress shirt and jacket seemed two sizes too small and about ready to burst their seems with every breath the man took. His cheek twitched as he tried not to laugh at his partner while lounging against an open doorway.
The other guard was several inches shorter, but long and lean-a runner's form rather than his body builder-esk partner's. He had finely boned features that were just a bit sharp and a scowl on his face. His long crimson hair was a thick braid down his back and swished slightly as he drummed his fingers on the desk in annoyance.
"Oh come on, Kou! You've known me for years! I always forget my id card; can't you just let me though without calling Aya?"
'Kou,' or 'Kougaiji' as the small brass name badge declared, wasn't in a generous mood it seemed, if the vindictive little half smile was any indication. A long finger rammed down on a button in front of him on a large, complicated looking phone board. The intercom buzzing loudly once before a deep, slightly gravely voice flowed out of the small black box on the counter followed immediately by a green holo-image the size of a pen. Hakkai heard the wheedling man cuss savagely under his breath before plastering on a sugary sweet smile, his bright green eyes pinched around the edges as a golden hand toyed with a honey blond lock of shoulder length wavy hair.
"Aya-sweetie! Sorry I'm late, you know how the subways are anymore…look um, I kinda forgot my id card again, would you mind buzzing me in?"
The image of the figure, whom Hakkai had decided was female from the name and slight frame, zoomed in until the breathtaking image of a young man, probably not much older than himself, filled the screen. Short, rough chopped dark hair fell to the nape of the man's neck in a graceful arch around his sharply pointed chin while two long strands of hair fell down to mid-chest, cupping the man's face like a lover's hand. Dark eyes narrowed to a razor's edge, flashing dangerously as he growled out, "Kudou".
Suddenly a hand flashed across the screen, splitting the image in two as the blond before it jerked back and hollered angrily. He rubbed the back of his head as if he'd actually been hit, "Dammit, Aya! Such a mean cat; what the hell'd you go and do that for?"
A long suffering sigh escaped the floating image as Aya turned to face Kougaiji and ignored the other man, "Authorization granted. You can let the idiot in."
Kougaiji smiled at the figure and inclined his head slightly, waving the still muttering blond through the turnstiles.
Hakkai watched as the blond slumped past him, a small smirk on his face in contrast to the dark thoughts he was still muttering under his breath, "Damn cat, gonna de-claw him one of these days. If he even thinks of stashing my coffee after this he's so gonna regret it."
A polite cough dragged Hakkai's eyes away from the man rubbing a hand across the back of his neck sheepishly as the elevator doors chimed shut.
"Can I help you?"
Hakkai moved forward swiftly, the coil of nervous tension he'd felt in his belly all morning making itself known once more. He bowed slightly and extended the letter and his id through the small slot on the counter's surface.
"Hakkai Cho. I believe Mr. Koumyou Sanzo is expecting me at nine am."
"Cho…Cho…oh yeah. heh Here you are; new guy up in U division. They're expecting you up on the thirteenth floor. Good luck, buddy." He was waved through the turnstile without a second glance by the burly guard, Dokugakuji, barely hearing the muttered "You're gonna need it" as the doors dinged shut.
Hakkai wasn't sure what he expected to find when he walked out of the elevator. More glass and steel probably or some high-tech science lab or something. Anything but what appeared to be the moldy confines of the oldest library on the planet. He started sneezing the moment he left the elevator. With his eyes watering and his nose itching he double checked the floor number etched in black on a mostly smudged grey-green brass placard next to the elevator doors. His sneezing fit caught the attention of at least one person as he managed to dab at his eyes with his sleeve, rubbing the lingering dust out from underneath his sparkling clean glasses.
Gojyo watched surreptitiously from the second floor loft. Leaning heavily on the old worn banister he chewed the end of a pen and ran a dusty hand through his long hair. It wasn't quite as long as Kou's, but he had let it grow out just past his shoulders, and he liked leaving the fiery lengths free to flow around his face, especially when he was at work; made him look like he was doing something useful, instead of napping like he was wont to do. Well, most days anyways. It wasn't often the brass decided to give him a partner, especially after the last one failed so miserably and almost cost him his life, but this new guy...
"Excuse me? Is any one around?" Gojyo arched a brow at the soft, polite voice. The guy looked like a school teacher, all dressed up in dark forest green with a light suede jacket flung over a satchel briefcase of deep mahogany. His black slacks pressed and wrinkle free. Gojyo wondered how he managed that, and then grinned as the guy frowned in disdain, his hands leaving a grey fuzzy streak across the pristine surface as he brushed long, elegant fingers unconsciously across his hip.
A slight whimper escaped Gojyo's lips as the other man carefully placed his bag on the floor and lifted the edge of his knit shirt to brush away the dust, exposing a sliver of pale skin and the edge of a jagged scar. The red head frowned at that, wondering what had caused the vicious looking injury. He was just about to say something when a small avalanche stared in the back of the room. He groaned as he pushed himself off the banister and headed for the stairs. The walking disaster that was Goku had apparently decided to make an entrance and if the kid was here, his keeper wasn't far away. God he needed a smoke or twelve before putting up with that asshole this early in the morning.
The room was a disaster. Hakkai spared a look at the various mounds of texts laying in small hills across the floor, of more piled onto the shelves lining the walls, around the windows and even laying in cluttered masses on the window sills. He thought there were four desks pushed into a large rectangle in the center of the room, but with the heaps of books and take-out containers he couldn't be sure.
There were four windows to his left, low, heavy things that seemed to bow slightly under the weight of the books around them. The other walls were covered in shelves full of even more books and odd trinkets, except for a small doorway directly across the room from him with a raunchy poster of a swimsuit model splayed out across the hood of a car taped to it. He assumed it must be the restroom. Another door was open to his right; fluorescent lighting glinted off a coffee pot and what he hoped was the stove it was sitting on. He couldn't be absolutely certain though, as the object was covered in oil stained pizza boxes.
Placing his bag gingerly on what appeared to be the least grimy part of the carpet he tried vainly to brush off the dust clinging to his pants, it didn't help. He was just sighing heavily when a crash resounded off to his left under the loft towards the windows. He squinted into the morning sun and braced himself for whatever fate was going to throw at him next.
Gojyo snickered as Goku almost collided with the man. His exuberance making him literally bounce around the pale man like a rabbit. The brunette appeared startled for a moment before a soft smile stole over his face catching Gojyo's breath. He stopped half way down the stairs as the other reached out a friendly hand, clasping Goku's shoulder in what must have been a crushing grip if even the indestructible monkey winced and stopped suddenly, golden eyes wide as saucers and a look of 'oh neat!' spreading across his face.
"Good morning, and who might you be?" Came the pleasant voice again, although this time Gojyo noticed the slight underlying iron in the man's voice.
"Goku, it's very nice to meet you. My name is Hakkai. Do you happen to know where I might find Mr. Sanzo, Goku? I had an appointment with him about five minutes ago."
Goku nodded furiously and turned on his heel, grabbing the man's hand as he spun about and tried to run off back towards the windows. He was shocked when he didn't go anywhere, despite the strain he was under trying to get his feet to move.
"I highly doubt running in here would be the best idea, Goku." The man admonished lightly, hand clasped knuckle white in the boy's own brown one.
"Oh! Oh, yeah. But Sanzo won't mind, really!"
"You bet your ass I will! What the hell are you doing out here anyways? Don't you have homework to finish or something?" Hakkai glanced up to see a lean, almost too thin, man a bit older than himself walking towards them. Goku dropped Hakkai's hand like a rock and raced to the man's side. Sanzo, Hakkai assumed that was the man's name considering the boy was rambling it in between comments like 'he's so strong' and 'can we keep him' and 'do we really have to give him to the pervy water sprite?', just grunted and looked over his cigarette at Hakkai appraisingly.
Hakkai arched a brow at that last one, unsure how to take the 'pervy water sprite' comment but wanting to set a good first impression, he bowed low to the man, noticing how his light blond hair fell into lilac colored eyes and the disdainful twist to his mouth, he wondered if he'd done something wrong.
Sanzo put a restraining hand on Goku's head and pushed down slightly, making the teenager hmph at the impact. "Shut up and go get us some coffee. Buzz the old man and that idiot kappa too."
"Watch it asshole, I've not had enough nicotine to deal with your tight ass this early and the old man stepped out about forty minutes ago with the Professor saying something about donuts." Gojyo growled warningly as he came the rest of the way down the stairs.
Hakkai glanced worriedly between the three men, noticing Sanzo's narrowed eyes and Goku's flashing ones. The newest addition must be the um…kappa, Sanzo had mentioned. He wondered if this was someone he'd have to work with or not. The man was an inch or two taller than himself and looked to be about the same age as he was.
His blood red hair flashed in the sunlight and spilled over his shoulders in a silken curtain to mid shoulder blade. His eyes were the same unusual color and were slightly notched around the edges giving him an exotic quality. Hakkai noticed he slouched a lot, but carried himself with an easy grace that belied the humble position. Currently he was hurling insults at the younger boy, whom Hakkai had assumed was in his early teens due to his height, but the longer the fight dragged on the older the boy appeared.
He was starting to get a headache from all the yelling. From the dark cloud of smoke Sanzo was expelling at a rapid rate he wasn't far behind him. Deciding job or no job he refused to deal with any more immature name calling, he clapped his hands together smartly and beamed at the two startled men.
"Now then, if you are quite done, I would very much like to know if I am on the right floor or not. My name is Hakkai Cho and I am supposed to meet with Mr. Koumyou Sanzo. Are any of you him?" He looked pointedly at Sanzo who just smirked at him, while the other two pretended to be carp and gaped open mouthed.
"The old man's out, I'm Genjo Sanzo, his son. Call me 'Genjo' and you will find yourself unemployed before you can blink. The kid's Goku, my ward and personal terror. The leech over there is Gojyo Sha, your partner. Good luck." With that he turned and left the room, the elevator chiming shut before he could get a word in.
Goku bounced over to him and slapped him on the back a few times, hard, before disappearing somewhere into the stacks of books. That just left him and Gojyo who was leaning back against one of the tables and eyeing him up and down. He felt his face heat up under the scrutiny and glanced away.
"Well then, guess you aren't too bad. At least they didn't send me another creep like that last guy, freak had purple hair and wore this hideous sleeveless vinyl trench." He shuddered dramatically and stood up. Walking over to Hakkai, he lifted the pale chin with a long tan finger and smirked, "No, not bad at all…for a school teacher."
The room dropped several degrees as Hakkai raised an elegantly arched eyebrow at the man, his lips twisting into a sardonic smile that was so brittle around the edges he half expected Gojyo's fingers to bleed as they gripped his chin tightly. He watched Gojyo swallow hard a few times and then step back suddenly.
"So sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Sha. I'd endeavor to be more like you," an elegant hand swept over Gojyo's tight ripped jeans and wife-beater dismissively, his glasses glinting dangerously in the light, "but I'm afraid I don't have anything that screams 'ostentatious prick' at the moment. Perhaps next time, eh?"
Gojyo stared at the soft spoken man for a long moment before doubling over laughing. Hakkai just blinked confused.
"Oh man, that was great! Keep that up and we're going to get along just fine. Come on, let me show you around." Gojyo flung a friendly arm around Hakkai's shoulder and grabbed his bag, leading him back towards the kitchen. It took a moment before Hakkai realized the other man had been testing him, and that apparently, he'd just passed with flying colors. He smiled and shook his head minutely. Things would definitely be interesting in this new job of his.