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When Pigs Fly

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         There were none in the group that doubted Monkey’s love for Tripitaka. They wouldn’t dare question it, nor would they challenge such a thing. It’d be madness to do so—the last time dear Idiot had done so, he nearly got his head caved in with Monkey’s fist. It does, however, leave one of his brothers filled with jealousy. WuNeng, BaJie, or Idiot as WuKong so affectionately called him, was in near fits over such a thing.

         Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the pudgy disciple to start causing trouble where he could. It started with the missing rope or chains that held their luggage together. Then it continued with a stray group of bandits that attacked them—far from where WuKong had seen them last. And it finished with them nearly getting kicked out of the generous temple they were at last.

         “BaJie,” the voice is rough, raspy and familiar. WuKong was distinctive in everything he does. From the way he dresses, the way he speaks, even the near golden hue to his fur was something that stood out. He wasn’t meant to blend in. But he does seamlessly, startling poor Idiot badly. He looks to see that he was alone with his eldest brother.

         And, like the coward he was, he began to worry. Why did everyone else leave? He had a put in his stomach that made him ache as he acknowledges the male. Unlike himself and WuJing, Big Brother was born a demon. He was strong, stronger than him, stronger than most gods, and even strong enough to stand up to Buddha.

         “Do you know why these bandits attacked us?” The question was blunt, deceptively simple and posed with all the delicacy that WuKong usually held his staff. Which he didn’t. He held onto his staff for dear life. Dear Idiot was nearly having a panic attack. There was a silent threat in that question. And the roundabout way of questioning forces BaJie to use his brain.

         Like any good coward, he thinks fast. “When I was scouting, I found the group of bandits and saw how much gold they had. I knew we were running low, so I figured it was best to lure them back towards us. You’d turn them to dust, Master doesn’t worry over bloodshed, and we restock our supply. I couldn’t pass up on such an opportunity!”

         WuKong nods, and dear Idiot thinks he’s in the clear. But WuKong closes his golden eyes, and he’s able to count to five before they open again. “You’ve been quiet. Angry and withdrawn.” These are statements. They weren’t questions. And it wouldn’t be like the pig could answer anyways. Not with the sudden hand that wraps around his thick throat and hauls him upwards. Poor Idiot! He feels like he’s about to piss himself, so scared he was of the gleam in Monkey’s eyes.

         WuKong’s fingers squeeze, and Pigsy gags a bit, realizing that the monkey wasn’t planning on letting go just yet. The lie he’d told hadn’t placated his elder brother one bit. Instead, it incited his rage, and he was going to pay for it just like the fool he was. He wished he could answer his elder brother. He wished he had the time to explain himself.

         But he can’t find it in himself to even plead for his life. He’d trespassed on what WuKong was protecting so dearly. But even WuNeng was unsure of what would come out of his mouth should he be released from his elder brother’s hold. Was he jealous of his eldest brother, and that’s why he acted out? Who wouldn’t be jealous of the Great Sage, the hero, the General, the charming troublemaker? But no, he discards the thought as soon as it comes to him. Was he jealous of the love his brother had for Sanzang? That deep abiding loyalty, the kind that WuKong would rip himself apart and put himself back together for?

         Or…As black fuzzies begin crawling along the edges of his vision, was he jealous of Master? A quiet, low-key man who’d secured WuKong’s heart in the first place? Did he love the monkey in return? Or did he merely care for him so deeply because WuKong strived to do better to make him proud? He couldn’t tell. “It won’t happen again,” it’s all he can gurgle out. That much he could promise. He wouldn’t dare to trespass a second time.

         He’s dropped, falling directly on his bottom. And dearest Idiot gasps, greedily gulping down air as the black fuzzies drift out of sight. He felt dizzy. But he was alive. It’s then that Master and WuJing return, waterskins full and arms full of vegetation for them to eat. Master’s gaze trails between his eldest disciple and his second disciple sharply. WuNeng can feel the flush on his face, and knows there’s too much evidence to point to WuKong being a villain.

         “Is everything alright?” He asks this to BaJie, ignoring WuKong’s sudden scoff. Dear Pigsy! He knows that the monk would trust his words in a heartbeat over his eldest brothers, despite WuKong’s insistent advice or caution. He also knows that WuKong would be punished at the drop of a hat should he cry about his abuse. But even Pigsy realized that he’d done wrong.

         As he opens his mouth to speak, his heart gives a gentle ache as a reminder to the various times he’d had to help his elder brother from the tightening band. Sometimes, he’d lay perfectly still on the pig’s lap, his hands white knuckled in his fur as his head throbbed with pain. And, truthfully, the monkey had a bit of a soft spot for the pig. WuNeng knows he should’ve been killed at the very least for so many trespasses. “Master,” he says. “Elder Brother was merely expressing his concern over the bandits I had trouble with earlier. He was merely trying to get my head straightened out.”

         Master stares at him, his lips pursing for several moments before he accepts what BaJie says as truth. “If it’s as you say.” But he’s secretly concerned. The pig was always quick to punish Monkey. Giving his eldest disciple a look, he says nothing. BaJie watches them walk together, the sting of jealousy think on his tongue. It’s a familiar, bitter feeling. How pathetic, he thinks, that I’m in the same position as before.

         WuJing sidles close to him before speaking. “Are you sure you’re alright, Second Brother?” Poor Idiot. Even the demon of the river of sands took pity upon him. Pigsy controls his temper and even appears defeated as he finally answers.

         “I have much to reflect on.” He sighs. And wonders why he had so much on his plate as he pulls his robes tighter to himself, adjusting them properly before deciding he needed to get a grip on himself. Dear Idiot steps to the side and goes for a brief walk.