Gensoumaden Saiyuki / Star Wars Crossover. Hints of slash. No spoilers, no rating.


by Sylvia


Living Force swirled around the gambler. Hadrian could almost see it, the power stroking against his senses like liquid velvet – and Hadrian had always been woefully imperceptive when it came to this particular manifestation of the Force. If even he felt it to this extent…

"Remarkable, is it not?" his old Master said conversationally, pensively lifting a small confection from the plate of snacks that had arrived at their table soon after they'd sat down. He inspected the bite-sized pastry for a moment and nibbled delicately at one end. His gaze drifted across the room casually, passing over the gambler and his small coterie of enthralled fans, snared by the lure of something they had no hope of understanding. "It's entirely subconscious," he added at length, pausing to finish the pastry before going on. "Instinctive, you might say."

"With all due respect, Master, that's nonsense. Someone taught him." Someone had to have taught him.

Goran smiled. "No, I'm afraid not. I checked very carefully, my boy, and you're not getting off that lightly."

"Surely you're not serious. He's too old." And he was – far too old, in his early twenties, if he was human. Whether he was human or not, he was certainly old enough to be entirely open to the sexual aspects of the Living Force; it curled around him like a lover, saturating him in a way that, for no immediately obvious reason, Hadrian found slightly unnerving.

"Too old to learn the basics, certainly." Goran's lifted eyebrow told Hadrian that he'd yet again failed to come up with a valid argument. "Fortuitious, then, that he doesn't have to. It's evident he already knows them."

Better than some full-fledged Jedi, was the voiceless addendum, made without reproach and received without resentment. It was true, and it was not a flaw. Nobody was strong in every aspect of the Force.

The fact that this was not one of Hadrian's strengths did, however, make it even more peculiar that his old Master had gotten it into his head to persuade him to take this entirely unsuitable man as his padawan learner.

"Then he doesn't need to be taught." His voice was serene and even, just as it should be, but even so, Hadrian couldn't help but remember Goran's oft-voiced complaint that Hadrian was stubborn as a nerf. Well… at least in this instance, he had good reason to be.

A thoughtfully tilted head and half a shrug were the only answers he received, and his Master turned his attention to his cup.

Hadrian took a sip of his own tsha, savoring the aromatic burn of spices and alcohol on his tongue.

He'd never taken a padawan, and he wasn't about to do so now merely to humor Goran. Who knew what the man had gotten into his head now… he'd come across this apparently natural virtuoso of the Living Force on one of his rambles through the backwaters of the universe, and now nothing would do but that Hadrian take him as a padawan.

Never mind that the man was full-grown and – judging from his provocative attire, his brash and somewhat braying laugh, and his altogether appallingly indecorous demeanor – highly unlikely to fit in at the temple. Never mind that if Hadrian had met him under different circumstances, he would be buying him a drink at this very moment and hoping to persuade him into bed.

Never mind that the Living Force limned the man's shape with life-scented power, flowing around him in smooth intensity, doing all but curling up in his lap and purring. If this man ever lost at cards, it would be either a miracle or a desperate attempt to escape being branded a cheater.

The only thing like it that Hadrian had ever seen was Councillor Sadta – though the resemblance was less than perfect, considering she was two milleniae old, tiny, wizened and green. Also, the Force around her retained enough dignity not to purr.

"Ah," Hadrian's Master said, sounding pleased. Hadrian followed his gaze to a woman who had just entered the room and was making her way to the bar.

The gambler's back was to the door – he hadn't seen her come in. But the patterns around him changed, re-oriented, and he fidgeted and turned, a restless gaze sweeping through the room.

It didn't come as easily to Hadrian as most other things did, but he strained to attune himself to the currents of the Living Force, striving to feel what the gambler had felt. When he finally did, the gambler had already tossed down his cards, collected his winnings, and ambled over to the new arrival.

Despair and pain hung over the woman like a pall; the Living Force around her was jagged and raw, heavy with suffering.

Hadrian and his Master watched as the gambler began a crude flirtation. His approach was swaggering and unsubtle; if he had any charm, it was lost in his gracelessly forward manner. But even as he leaned too close and leered too openly, the glow of pain around the woman lightened.

Hadrian squinted, and to his embarrassment, his Master chose that moment to look back to him, catching him in the act.

Goran was kind enough not to laugh, but his mouth twitched, and when he spoke, amusement was clear in his voice. "You still do that, even now?"

Hadrian ignored that. "What's he doing?"

The question pleased Goran. Hadrian had been meant to ask; for some reason, this was something Goran wanted him to see. "He's responding to the suffering he feels in the Living Force. He's drawing it into himself."

Hadrian frowned. "How can you say he hasn't had a teacher? That's an advanced technique. He couldn't have picked that up instinctively – even healers –"

But Goran was shaking his head, and Hadrian broke off.

"That part is actually quite simple – almost automatic, to someone who is attuned to the Living Force on such a level," Goran said. They watched the woman allow the gambler to lay an over-friendly hand on her shoulder and lean into her personal space; Force flowed between them soothingly. "It's the dispersion of the negative energy that's difficult."

Hadrian stared at the tableau in front of them. "You're not serious." There was no sign of darkness to the gambler's aura, no indication of pain or suffering in his demeanor – but that didn't necessarily mean there was none, and if he didn't know how to disperse the Force he drew into himself from this woman and others like her…

"This is the second time you've said that," his Master said mildly. "There must be something very mischievous about me today."

Hadrian didn't think it was possible for someone so attuned to the Living Force to fall to the Dark, but that didn't mean the gambler wasn't courting catastrophe – for himself if not for others. If he'd been doing this for a year, two years…

The gambler was stroking back the woman's hair now, whispering into her ear. She giggled, weakly, and stopped abruptly, looking surprised at herself. Then she giggled again, the Force around her lightening further.

"I'll speak to him tomorrow," Hadrian said, and stood up.

A padawan… a padawan like that.

"Don't think I won't get you for this, you manipulative old sod."


Goku smiled and lifted one hand in a wave as Hadrian stalked out, stoic patience written in every line of his body. Being extremely put upon didn't prevent him from regally turning in the door to cast one more look at Kenren, of course.

Now they were all together again. Goku couldn't wait to see what Sadta would think of this version of Kenren.



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