Rating: PG for some swearing
Word Count: 2307
Summary: Goku and Nataku meant to clean the ink off Konzen's walls but then they kind of got distracted.
Comments and constructive criticisms are welcome and highly encouraged!
Disclaimer: Saiyuki is property of Kazuya Minekura and other related parties. This is a non-profit fanwork. This is based on anime canon.
Upon seeing the “decorations” Goku had added to his office, Konzen said absolutely nothing for about a minute, grimacing, the two heretical boys staring up at him with their wide golden eyes. Goku held a look of great accomplishment and was clearly awaiting praise; Nataku was a little more worldly than his friend and his lips were pressed tightly to prevent him from giggling at Konzen’s expression. At last, Konzen put his face into his hands and muttered, “Why me? I can’t leave you alone for an hour. I thought for sure that if I weren’t here, you wouldn’t care about my office. But nooo...” he raised his head out of his palms and spread his arms wide to encompass the room, “you had to ‘decorate’!”
“Isn’t it pretty?” Goku asked.
“No! I do not want characters all over my walls!”
For that had been what was on the walls. Hundreds of characters, going only as high as Goku could reach, about midway up the walls, were inked on to every single wall of Konzen’s office. Most of them ran, making the characters indecipherable. Blots of ink stained periodically on the floor from Goku dripping wet ink as he moved along the surface. Goku himself had completely blackened hands and Nataku had ink all over his face, hair, and clothes.
“Okay, I can take a stab in the dark about why Goku has ink-covered hands but why is Prince Nataku a mess? Did you jump on him?” Konzen wondered aloud but, before Goku could answer, he held up his hand and added quickly, “Never mind. I don’t really care that much.”
Nataku breathed a sigh of relief as Goku looked sideways at his friend and shrugged.
“I want to make this clear, as I’ve made many other things clear,” Konzen said stiffly, “I liked my office as it was...”
“But it’s boring!” Goku complained.
Konzen glared at him. “I said, I liked my office as it was. I like it boring and white and dull. It makes me happy.”
Goku frowned. “You don’t like them?”
“Not at all?”
“Not at all.”
“Not even a little...?”
“NO!” Konzen shouted. “And now you’re going to wash it all off!”
Goku groaned as Konzen had dealt him a double blow: Not only was his work going to be removed, but he would be the one who will have to do the removing.
Nataku patted his friend on the shoulder and asked Konzen, “Can I help?” The god raised an eyebrow. “It’ll take Goku forever to do this all by himself. If there’s two of us, it’ll take half the time.”
Konzen crossed his arms and replied, “You just don’t want me to have an excuse to send you away so Li Touten can find you.” As Nataku opened his mouth to protest, Konzen added quickly, “Not that I care who you do or do not want to see.” He rolled his eyes. “If it’ll make you feel better, you can help Goku clean up.”
The two boys cheered in response.
“Don’t be so excited. I’m serious about wanting the walls clean. If Prince Nataku is going to help, he better help, not play around with you, Goku.”
Nataku scowled at the implication that he couldn’t help clean ink off the walls but said nothing because Konzen had been right: He didn’t want his father to have an opportunity to find him just yet.
Konzen led the boys to just outside the maids’ quarters. He knocked on the door and one of the senior maids opened the door.
“My most Honorable one, to what do I owe the pleasure?”
“I need two buckets of soapy water to clean ink off my walls,” Konzen answered, crossing his arms and tapping his foot. The maid took a glance at the boys and her eyes went wide. She then grinned.
“Your pet and our most noble war prince are quite rambunctious.”
“It was Goku’s fault. Lord Nataku is just along for the ride.”
“Of course, of course.” The maid bowed and opened the door further to let the group in. She called to one of the junior maids to gather the cleaning supplies while she washed Goku’s hands. When she had finished with Goku, she informed Nataku, “My lord, I can clean your face but your hair requires a bath and your robes need to be laundered.”
Konzen regarded Nataku with a neutral expression. If he wished to wash up, he had to abandon Goku. If he stayed, he’d have to wash up later. “You can wash my face then. I’ll fix the rest later.” Konzen shrugged as the maid scrubbed Nataku’s face. By the end, he had red splotches from where she had been forced to rub his skin repeatedly.
As the boys were washed as best they could, the junior maid returned with two buckets, full of hot soapy water, the sponges bobbing up and down as she walked. Konzen told the boys to take one each and carry it back to the office. Neither boy found a comfortable way to carry them. One-handed made them too heavy and wore out the arm; using both hands made it hard to walk quickly. But eventually, the group made it back and Konzen saw to it that the boys were actually going to clean. Once he was satisfied that work was actually getting done, he announced to them that he had to go visit Tenpou and Kenren and would be back soon, and left without waiting for acknowledgement.
Nataku very rarely got to do manual labor like this. He was sure that if he had to do this all the time, it would suck but getting to do something a little different was always fun. And from the progress he was making, he wasn’t half-bad at this.
“You’re going awful fast,” Goku muttered from across the room. Nataku turned around; Goku, in the same amount of time, had done about half of what he had accomplished.
“It’s just as clean as yours.”
“I didn’t say it wasn’t clean. I just said you were going fast.”
Nataku smirked at his friend. “Maybe that just means I’m better at this than you.”
Goku scowled. “It does not.” Nataku laughed and went back to work. “It just means you’ll get tired faster.”
Nataku turned around again, annoyed. “I will not get tired faster.”
“Then why do you havta sleep all the time?” Goku asked, his eyes issuing a challenge.
“‘Cause I’m not fully recovered yet, okay?” Nataku replied, defensively. “Not everyone can be a big ball of energy like you, Goku.”
“Maybe I’m just better at being energetic than you.”
Nataku didn’t have a good comeback to that so he just snorted and went back to cleaning the wall. There was silence after that, except Goku’s sorrowful sighs at having his work destroyed and Nataku’s occasional soft humming. After a few minutes, trying to be as quiet as possible, Goku crept over to Nataku’s side of the room and sprinkled some water on him from his fingertips. Nataku shrieked in surprise at the warm, tickling sensation on his neck and whirled around. “What was that for?”
“I didn’t do anything,” Goku replied, his hands behind his back. “Wow. Look how clean your wall is now.”
“You sprinkled water on me!”
“I’m just checking on how you’re doing.”
Nataku glared at him. “You can check on me from your side of the room.”
Heaving a melodramatic sigh, Goku turned around to go back to his side of the office. But the minute he sat down, he began chortling.
Nataku glared at the wall and then began to grin as he realized that now Goku was completely unguarded, just as he had been. Carefully, he cupped his hands under the surface of the dingy, gradually cooling water, and lifted some water out of the bucket. Slowly, he crept across the floor and sneaked up behind his friend. With one movement, he opened his hands so the entire amount of water went straight to his upper back area. At Goku’s squeak, Nataku ran back to his side of the room, laughing.
“I didn’t drip that much water on you! Jerk!” Goku groaned.
Still chuckling, Nataku knelt down again to resume washing the wall but before he had even lightened the shade of the ink, a long line of flying water collided with his back. Nataku jumped at the sensation and Goku muttered joyfully, “Got you again!”
Scowling at Goku’s back, Nataku plunged his sponge into the water. “I see you haven’t cleaned much more of your wall.” He slowly raised the sponge out of the bucket, letting the excess water drip out of sodden item. “Here, have my sponge,” he offered, hurling the wet lump at Goku. It hit his back with a loud splat and Goku squawked. “I’ll even wait for you to catch up!”
As Nataku laughed, Goku shoved both sponges into his bucket and ran over to his friend, saying, “Don’t worry! I’ll catch up!” Before Nataku could dodge, Goku squeezed the sponges on the war prince’s neck. He screamed as the lukewarm water ran down his spine and he clawed at Goku to shove him off.
Eventually, he managed to free himself and his sponge. He dunked the sponge under the water and grabbing Goku’s wrist, held him down as he pushed the sponge onto the earth-child’s head. The water saturated the brown hair and dripped down his face. Growling, Goku lunged for the bucket and gathered two handfuls of water, throwing the liquid at Nataku’s face. “Take that!”
Nataku threw a sodden sponge at him but Goku dodged and it splattered on the floor. Nataku groaned at the miss while Goku gave a brief, barking laugh. Realizing that both were unarmed, they noticed Goku’s abandoned sponge, which had been accidentally knocked to the other side of the room. Like two dogs, they ran toward the sponge. Unfortunately, Goku lost his footing in a puddle of water and as he steadied himself, his foot landed on the wet sponge that Nataku had thrown. With a yelp, he slipped and fell flat on his back on the floor. With the boy down, Nataku had an opportunity to grab the sponge. He placed the sponge in the water and, in order to not to lose any water, he cupped his hands underneath it. Grinning wildly with glee, he shoved the sponge down onto Goku’s stomach.
Standing before him, his hands on his hips, Nataku laughed triumphantly. “Got ya! I so totally got you! Ha!” He turned away from the boy who was struggling to get up. “And my wall is still cleaner than yours!”
That’s when Goku upended his water bucket over Nataku’s head. Nataku screamed as the amount of water that had filled up half the bucket soaked his head and trickled all the way his body. Goku threw down the empty bucket like a demon lord might throw down the head of the enemy general at the defeated people’s feet. Goku stared at Nataku right in the face, completely unapologetic, his chin held high smugly. Nataku angrily moved his sopping wet tendrils out of his eyes and hissed, “You are dead.”
“Yeah, but I still nailed you right there. So, ha!” Pleased with himself, Goku began to laugh hysterically as Nataku shouted insults at him. Slowly, Goku stumbled his way around the room until he was in front of the open doorway. Nataku spotted his half-full water bucket just a few steps behind him. Before Goku could react, he lunged for the water bucket and lifted it up, ready to strike.
Still laughing, Goku sputtered out, “You can’t dump water on my head like that, Nataku! And I’m not going to stand still either!”
Nataku roared an inappropriately huge battle cry, reared his arms back and launched the water at Goku.
“What is going on in — ?!” a male voice shouted but it was too late. The water was already in flight. Goku dunked to avoid being splashed and the water hit whoever was standing in the doorway.
There was total silence as Nataku and Goku stared in horrified shock at the now-dripping Konzen, flanked by a highly amused Kenren and Tenpou. Nataku’s numb fingers dropped the bucket, which hit the puddle-riddled floor with a loud thunk.
Goku made the first statement. “Hi, Konzen,” he said in a tiny voice, still crouched from ducking.
Konzen’s eyes drifted over the two boys, to the walls, to the puddles, to the empty buckets, and the moist sponges, and then back to the boys. Finally, he pointed his face downwards and clenched and unclenched his fists, trembling slightly.
“You better run while you still can, kids,” Kenren recommended.
The heretical beings looked at each other and nodded in unison. When Tenpou and Kenren moved out of the doorway, the two boys darted forward, dashing off into separate directions: Goku toward Tenpou’s library and Nataku toward... well, anywhere that wasn’t there.
“COME BACK HERE, YOU DAMN BRATS!” Konzen finally exploded out.
“Not if I can help it,” Nataku muttered as he ran, his wet sleeves flapping loudly as he sprinted away. He managed to get outside when he nearly collided with the other war prince, Homura.
“Prince Nataku, what are you — ?” Homura began to ask but Nataku, still attempting to run, pushed him to get him to turn around.
“Just run! Konzen’s on the war path! And you never saw me, okay?!”
“Why is he mad at you? And why are you wet and covered in ink?”
Nataku sprinted off, yelling, “All I was doing was helping Goku clean Konzen’s office!”