You know something, Hakkai concluded. Oh dear. But he let that realization slide over his reactions like glass. Whatever they might know, they didn’t – couldn’t – know what a Sanzo really was. Most of Shangri-La didn’t know; not even the highest priests. “I don’t think Ni believes in control groups. Dr. Genjyo wasn’t experimented on-” by Ni, at least “-because he wasn’t there.” Hakkai leaned back in his chair, apparently perfectly at ease. “Gojyo thinks SG-6 was trying to retreat across a bridge when someone finally got the heavy artillery aimed that direction. Sanzo doesn’t talk about it, but he remembers hitting the water, dropping his pack, and trying to stay under as long as possible. But the river’s very fast there. I’m told it’s called Five Gorges, or River-spirit’s Revenge….”
Dark. And… cold. Hurts.
I can hear water. The river?
Not English. A shadow. And light.
“Hmm. Just now… I thought I heard a voice.”
Hands clasped his, and time spun away.
…And settled again, to soft sheets, the billow of curtains, and a firm, gentle hand on his shoulder. “Don’t try to get up yet.” Silver hair, but a young face; white robes, and a crimson dot on his forehead that almost glowed, even in the room’s shadows. “I’m Koumyou Sanzo. You were in the river, badly hurt; we brought you to the temple. This is the first time you’ve really been conscious in weeks. Treat yourself kindly.”
“Kouryuu,” he answered the unspoken question. “You were there. I heard you. But the words sounded different.” Like his own, shimmering and burning in his mind. “I’m Kouryuu-” He couldn’t reach it.
“Shh.” The hand moved to his forehead, silver ring and leather warm as skin. “Don’t try to remember. Not yet.”
“Amnesia,” Kouryuu snorted, letting himself be soothed. “Never thought I’d get hit with something so lame.”
:“It’s not exactly amnesia, young one.”:
Violet eyes shot open. He tried to scrabble away-
:Trust: wrapped him like cool fog, smothering fear. He should be running, he should be….
:“Run, and you will die, Kouryuu. And those waiting for your help will wait in vain.”:
Koumyou’s hands were on him again, easing him back to sit on the bed. And – he didn’t want to fight. “I don’t understand.” What are you, what’s happening to me, why do I feel so-?
Safe. He felt safe. Like a child, cradled in his mother’s arms.
:“You’re a bit old for an apprentice. I had to turn the clock back, for a time. Don’t worry, you’ll grow out of it.”: Amusement tickled him. :“Which almost seems a shame. You’re adorable when you’re asleep.”:
Kouryuu reddened. “Apprentice?”
:“Try not to talk too much, yet. You had a very stubborn accent; we need at least another day to have you speaking properly. The temple’s already swamped with rumors because I took in an injured stranger. If Gyokumen Koushu’s forces realized they’d missed a target… well.”:
Gyokumen Koushu. Consort of Gyumaoh, who’d been sealed away by the gods. Youkai, and Goa’uld Queen.
How do I know that?
:“It would seem very strange if a priest in training didn’t know tales of the gods, don’t you think?”: Koumyou winked at him.
He had to smile back. Even if part of him was still vaguely convinced he should be running for the hills. “You said… someone needs me.” He drew a breath. :“How do I find them?”: