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Pay Attention and Take Down Notes

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i. Define the problem

The video feed from his latest toy was perfectly clear. Nii’s eyes narrowed as he watched the Sanzo-ikkou making its way through the forest, idly berating himself for not thinking of a way to include audio capture to his mechanical insect's capabilities.

Nii was in the middle of debating whether to try to learn lip-reading or not when something interesting caught his eye.

Was Hakkai’s hand on the small of Goku’s back just a little bit proprietary, or was that just his extremely bored imagination working overtime?

Tapping a few keys on his laptop, he zoomed in on the scene. The four were walking along the forest path, Hakkai and Goku a little behind Gojyo and Sanzo. The shorter brunet was saying something, grinning widely, and Hakkai was smiling back at him while he talked.

The hand on Goku’s back could have been there for help—the path was a bit steep, after all—but helping hands don’t rub their thumbs over the material of one’s shirt. And there was a certain glint in Hakkai’s eye that Nii found extremely interesting. Also, Goku was the most athletic out of all of the them; if anything, it would have made more sense if he’d been ‘helping’ Hakkai.

Interesting. Nii propped up his chin on one fist, zooming in a bit more. Very interesting.

ii. Gather information and resources


Nii looked up from his position on the floor, where he was trying to untangle himself from black shiny ribbons of tape, tilted his head, and said, “Haa?”

Hwan looked like she wanted to hit him over the head with her clipboard. Repeatedly. Nii grinned at her just to aggravate her even more. Oh. From down here, the view of her impressive chest was quite stunning.

Obviously trying to control her temper, Hwan snarled, “Nii-hakase, what are you doing?”

“I’m looking for old tapes with footage of the Sanzo-ikkou on them,” Nii answered. Turning back to his search, he pulled an intact videotape from the mass of black and looked at the label. “Here’s one,” he muttered to himself.

He needed to see where the change happened. He was pretty sure that he’d have spotted whatever had precipitated the change in Hakkai’s and Goku’s relationship if he’d been the one monitoring the feeds when it happened. That meant that someone else had been on duty at that time or that they hadn’t caught in on tape.

Standing above him with her hands on her hips and looking ready to stomp on his face with her heels, Hwan raged on. “If you’d transferred all this footage to CDs like I’d told you, you wouldn’t be having problems right now,” she snapped.

Nii chose to ignore her and kept looking.

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iii. Form hypothesis

Maybe they were lovers.

That would explain a lot, Nii thought to himself. He doodled absentmindedly in his notebook, creating a scene where Hwan was kneeling at his feet and worshipping his greatness. It would fit if they were lovers.

If Hakkai and Goku were in some sort of relationship, maybe he could exploit that angle to his advantage. The two were, after all, arguably the strongest members of the ikkou. Finding a way to manipulate either one of them using their lover would be fun because messing with the minds of Kouryuu’s little rag-tag group was immensely enjoyable. And of course defeating the Sanzo-ikkou was Lady Gyokumen Koushou’s top priority.

But he needed—or maybe he just wanted—to be a hundred percent sure. And there was only one way to be completely sure about this.

iv. Perform experiment and gather data

Nii checked the wards set up around the room one more time before stepping away from the wall and settling down in his seat.

Usagi-chan was propped up on the table to his right, his coffee mug keeping it from falling over. His open notebook lay across his lap. Nii played with his pen as he waited for the show to begin, twiddling with it and spinning it around on the nearby tabletop. He crossed his legs, mindful of his notebook, and began swinging his right leg back and forth idly.

Through the large one-way glass panel on the wall in front of him, Nii watched as Hakkai in his demon form woke up.

The brunet’s hand twitched, and a few moments later, his eyes opened.

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v. Analyze data

Nii uncapped his pen as Hakkai sat up slowly. Bright fluorescent lights threw everything inside the room into sharp relief as the brunet pressed the heel of his clawed hand against his empty eye socket. Hakkai gritted his teeth and Nii took note of the fangs.

It had been quite interesting to find out that Hakkai’s right eye was false. Right now, the glass eye was floating in a jar beside Hakkai’s and Goku’s power limiters. Usagi-chan stood guard on the table beside them.

Hakkai shook his head slowly, obviously feeling the aftereffects of the drugs Nii had used to knock them out. One hand covering the gaping hole where his fake eye had been, Hakkai looked around the room, probably taking note of the four glass panels, one on each wall. Nii congratulated himself on installing the three fake one-way mirrors. After all, what was the point of a one-way mirror when it was obvious that it was a one-way mirror?

Hakkai’s reaction upon seeing Seiten Taisei’s prone form was noteworthy. A strangled outcry escaped him and he knelt beside the heretic, grabbing Seiten Taisei’s wrist. It looked like he was attempting to feel for a pulse.

Nii sat up straight and noted down the fact that Hakkai was apparently still in control of himself. Being this close to the source of the Minus Wave, one would think that Hakkai would be practically foaming at the mouth.

Nii watched as Hakkai slowly grew more and more panicky, attempting to wake up Seiten Taisei when he’d ascertained that the shorter brunet wasn’t dead. Maybe he shouldn’t have given Goku that much of the knock-out drugs, Nii mused. He wondered what Hakkai’s reaction would be if Goku slipped into a coma.

Finally, Seiten Taisei opened his eyes. It took less than a minute for the drug-induced haze to disappear, and with a shake of his head, Seiten Taisei was his usual sharp-eyed, feral self. He looked around the room and snarled, glaring at Nii through the one-way mirror. Nii wondered if they could smell him.

Suddenly, Seiten Taisei stiffened, slowly turning around to glare at Hakkai. He growled, a sound that made the hairs on the back of Nii’s neck stand up. Seiten Taisei pounced, pinning Hakkai to the floor and ripping his clothes to shreds, pressing his face against the taller brunet’s skin when he was completely naked.

It looked like Seiten Taisei was sniffing Hakkai. Could he smell Nii on him? He’d done a very … thorough examination of Hakkai’s demon form earlier, after all.

Seiten Taisei growled again, deeper and angrier this time, his hold on Hakkai’s arms tightening. Hakkai snarled back, showing his fangs. Interesting how he didn’t attempt to talk to Goku’s true form.

Baring his fangs as well, Seiten Taisei ripped at his own pants and entered Hakkai in one stroke. To Hakkai’s credit, he didn’t make any sound aside from a hiss, his green eye narrowed. Nii watched, fascinated, as dark green vines crawled across Hakkai’s skin to Seiten Taisei’s, wrapping around the shorter brunet.

Their coupling was fast and brutal, the sound of skin slapping against skin, growls, and snarls amplified to an almost obscene volume by the microphone. Nii adjusted his slacks so that his erection wasn’t pushing uncomfortably against his zipper and checked to make sure that the video recording was going smoothly.

vi. Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as starting point for new hypothesis

He had the original footage of when Hakkai and Goku had started sleeping with one another—he really should remember to thank Hwan for her help with that—and he had the numerous subsequent illicit trysts on video as well (really, who knew Goku of all people would be into that) plus the most recent data he’d gathered less than an hour ago.

Given such damning evidence, Nii couldn’t see any way that Hakkai and Goku were not lovers. Unless they were in it just for the sex, and he really couldn’t see Hakkai getting that involved with someone after the entire Hyakugen Maoh incident. Now that had been a very interesting topic—one he’d come across while doing background research on the members of the ikkou.

Nii sighed. It was really too bad that the ikkou had somehow managed to escape. He had so many things he’d wanted to test, not only with Hakkai and Goku, but also with Sanzo and Gojyo. Nii sighed despondently. Oh, well. Maybe there’d be a next time.

vii. Publish results

“Hwan-hakase,” Nii called out, his voice lilting. “Guess what I’ve uncovered!”

“What is it?” Hwan asked, approaching Nii’s workspace. “If it’s something useless like what you showed me last time, I’d rather get back to my data.”

Nii popped a CD into his laptop. “I assure you, it’s quite the discovery. I foresee numerous instances where we can utilize the data.”

As soon as the video played, Hwan whacked his head with her clipboard, shouting that she’d rather not see pornography of Hakkai and Goku and that she couldn’t see any way that it could help them obtain Genjo Sanzo’s sutra.

viii. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

“Hey, Sanzo. Don’t you think Hakkai and Goku’ve been acting weird lately?”