December 12, 2010

Disclaimer: I really don't know what kind of cleaning agent you'd need. Written for MsCongeniality in yuletide 2010. Beta by elynross. Do not archive without permission.

everything here is yours

Konzen didn't sleepwalk to his office, precisely, but he rather thought he could have. There could be advantages to that, even. No need to ignore the people who tried to catch his eye. No need to look at the sameness of the whitewashed walls and smooth floors and the decorative carving just past the entrance to this hallway that was always hanging crooked.

He pushed his office door open and went in, and stopped to stare in some revulsion at the stack of paperwork waiting for him. It leaned precariously, as though someone who wasn't paying attention had bumped into it on turning away. His mouth tightened. This sloppiness was deplorable.

Sitting down, he took a moment to arrange the fine floating layers of silk that would be a crumpled mess about his legs by mid-afternoon. He yawned and stretched, pulled the topmost document in the pile towards himself, and reached out one hand for his seal...

Which wasn't there. Konzen straightened in his chair and stared at the empty place on his desk, betrayed. His seal was supposed to be right there, lined up with the edge of the desk, right next to the ink pad. Which wasn't there, either.

Konzen hissed between his teeth. He looked around the room, as if his seal would somehow be floating around in its empty spaces. He looked down on the floor to see if the same careless person who had unsettled the stack of paperwork had also pushed his seal down somehow. The floor was as bare and clean as it always was.

A hammering on the door made his head fly up, and then the door opened before he could even call out. Jiroushin, of all people, tumbled into the room. "Please come," he said. "Before the Bosatsu comes back!"

Konzen could only stare. On his forehead, neatly centered... Jiroushin was stamped with Konzen's seal. A horrible certainty blazed through Konzen's mind all at once. "That fucking monkey," he said.

"Please, you have to do something. The Bosatsu could come in at any moment!"

Konzen shook his head slowly. He stood up and took a step towards Jiroushin, who took a step back. "Do you want me to wash your face for you? Why don't you do something yourself?"

"My face?" Jiroushin lifted his hands and patted his cheeks uncertainly, and Konzen sighed.

He stalked to the door and flung it open. "Where is he?"

"The audience room," Jiroushin said behind him in muffled distress, still patting his face. Konzen reached back with one arm and dragged him out of the office. He strode off, his bare feet slapping against the floor as he stalked down the hallway. Then he stopped so abruptly that Jiroushin walked into his back.

One of the white walls now had a line of seal stamps, about waist high on Konzen. He extrapolated from that to the height of a certain troublesome monkey-child, and his teeth clicked together. "I'm going to--"

"Oh, no," Jiroushin moaned, seeing the wall. "That wasn't there before."

"That's not what you wanted to show me?"

Jiroushin shook his head and darted ahead until they were at Kanzeon Bosatsu's public audience room. He flung the doors open. "See!" he said in a tragic voice.

Konzen saw. His seal was stamped all over the walls, as high as a small monkey's short arms could reach -- in some places, a small monkey standing on the back of the Bosatsu's throne. The throne itself had stamps in some interesting places, some of them upside down. The floor was stamped in places, and so were the windows. In fact, it looked as though Konzen Douji had formally approved most of the things in the room that weren't out of the reach of a small monkey whirlwind.

"I swear," he hissed, "this time I'm really going to--!"

Konzen took a moment to turn Jiroushin towards a large gold-framed mirror hanging on the wall above a lacquered sideboard (stamped) with a horse statuette (not stamped) and a vase of flowers (incompletely stamped on one of the leaves).

"This is an outrage!" Jiroushin rubbed at his forehead, smearing the ink.

"Oh, so now it's an outrage? Were you asleep in here or what? Seems to me he did a lot of damage before you even noticed!"

"Yes," Jiroushin admitted. He looked around the room. "But what-- I mean, what am I going to do about this!"

"Call in the cleaning staff," Konzen said indifferently. "Painters. Get hold of some new furniture." There was a crash out in the hallway, and he made a tiger leap for the doors, closely followed by Jiroushin.

The monkey-child in question had climbed in through the window and torn down a wall hanging. When he heard them coming, he turned abruptly, and the chain around one of his wrists went flying and knocked a vase to the floor. "Oops."

Jiroushin stalked over. "You horrible, destructive little--" He cuffed the monkey on the back of the head. The monkey took no notice whatsoever, not even shifting a muscle, though he looked up at Jiroushin's face, with its smeared stamp, and started giggling.

Konzen stalked over, too. "What did you think you were doing!" He, too, cuffed the monkey on the back of the head, making him stagger a little. Konzen frowned suspiciously. "Are you just doing that because you think it will please me?"

The monkey-child looked up at him with wide eyes. "No!" He blinked slowly. "Maybe a little?" Then he held out the seal and ink pad in both hands, like a gift of appeasement.

Konzen snatched them away. "What did you think you were doing!"

"I just wanted to see what surfaces the ink would stick to." The earnest look made the monkey's golden eyes look even bigger. "And, and..."

"And," Konzen said ominously.

"You always look so happy when you stamp things," the monkey said, and dodged before Konzen had even raised his hand halfway. "I wanted to find out what that's like!"

"It's an outrage!" Jiroushin sputtered. "And in the Bosatsu's--!"

"I didn't think se'd mind," the monkey muttered at his toes. "Much."

"This child!" Jiroushin drew himself up. "I knew he would be trouble. He must be punished."

Konzen turned without thought. "Do you want to try it?" he asked sweetly, icily.

"N-no. No." Jiroushin didn't give much ground, though; he was used to Kanzeon, after all. "Something must be done!"

"I'll take care of that," Konzen said. He grabbed the monkey-child by the ear and began to drag him down the hallway. "Come on, brat. And you really should wash your face," he threw over his shoulder at Jiroushin.

When they came back to Konzen's office, Tenpou was standing outside the door, head cocked, apparently lost in admiration. He half-turned when he heard them coming. "My, how cheerful this looks."

"Ten-chan!" The monkey-child bounced in Konzen's grip.

Konzen noticed with a sinking heart that his seal was stamped all around the doorway, neatly at the bottom and progressively more untidy at greater heights. He glared down at his monkey. "How the fuck did you reach up there?!"

"Hehe." The monkey shuffled his feet. "I jumped."

Konzen turned to Tenpou. "Isn't there some kind of army punishment for brats like this?"

"I thought you didn't have any use for the army," Tenpou said, not managing nearly as good an innocent look as the monkey had.

"Do I have to do everything myself," Konzen muttered.

"Actually," Tenpou went on, "I came to ask for a little assistance. It seems my office has grown a little difficult to navigate."

Konzen knew what that meant. When Tenpou was left to his own devices for too long without sufficient outside distraction, he built a labyrinth of books and maps and old coffee mugs and overflowing ashtrays and more books. The only surprise here was that he hadn't trapped himself inside it.

"This monkey can help you," he said, thrusting the child at Tenpou, chains and all. "Since he clearly needs something to do."

"I thought I'd ask both of you," Tenpou said, catching the monkey-child easily enough. "Since you clearly need something to do while that's cleaned up," he went on, nodding at the ink seals around the door, preempting Konzen's protests.

Konzen scowled.

"Yes! Please, Konzen?" The monkey-child turned huge, pleading eyes on him, and above the monkey's head, Tenpou smiled sweetly.

Konzen scowled even more. "I must be getting soft in the head. All right."

The monkey-child threw his arms up. "Yay!" Tenpou had to dodge a flying chain link, but smiled more widely. Konzen sighed, but when they walked away, he went with them.

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