Title: Longing 1: The Road Less Traveled - Chapter 2

Author: Befanini
Website: http://www.fanfiction.net/~befanini

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no rights whatsoever. For bittersweet daydreaming purposes only. XD

Rating: T/M for language. Shounen-ai.

Summary: "Love at first sight is easy to understand. It's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle."

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Chapter 2

Ten years ago…

Gojyo jogged down the inn's stairs, whistling. He was raring to go – the mission was over, they were halfway on the return leg of their journey, and just last night they had been excitedly discussing the huge party they planned to hold at his and Hakkai's apartment. Courtesy of the gold card, of course. Hehehe…

The kappa entered the inn's dining room to join the ikkou for lunch before they departed. He found Hakkai and Goku already at the table. Gojyo snagged a chair, turned it around, straddled it, and drummed his fingers impatiently on the chair back, snatching a piece of dumpling off Goku's plate, just to keep the monkey on his toes.

But Goku didn't stir. Didn't even look up. Come to think of it, the whole noonday spread was untouched. And Hakkai's face was devoid of a smile. In fact his best friend would hardly meet his eyes at all.

"Oi, oi!" Gojyo drawled. "Did somebody die? Why the glum faces, you guys?"

No answer. Goku turned his face away. Hakkai sat unmoving.

"C'mon! It can't be that bad, so early in the day!" Gojyo scowled, his happy mood shot. "Don't tell me that fucking Ni Jenyi has a hidden clone and is now busy plotting his revenge…" he joked lamely. Silence. "OI! Say something, you two!" Gojyo frowned. "Which reminds me, by the way, where's the hage bouzu? He's usually the first one ready and itching to go…"

Goku gave a strangled sob and pushed his chair back hastily, running wildly for the door. His footsteps pounded up the stairs, and they heard a bang as he rushed back to his room.

"Goku! OI!" Gojyo yelled, standing up. He turned to Hakkai. "Will you please tell me what's going on!" he demanded, trying to control the horror that was rising up in him, threatening to choke him. He knew, at once. He knew. That goddamn bastard…

Hakkai wordlessly handed him a note, written in the familiar graceful hand. Gojyo took it with icy fingers. No, his mind denied fiercely. Sanzo, NO! He read, dread and a wild sense of urgency exploding inside him.

"Gojyo, Hakkai: Take Goku back to Kinzan Temple. The mission is complete, with no small thanks to all of you, despite what this cold bastard has said time and again. But I have one more thing I need to do, and it's something I need to do alone. I'm counting on you – no, I'm beseeching you, to see Goku safely back to Chang An. The monks there will take care of him. Hell, they owe me that much for recovering the sutras. Please deliver the damn sutras as well, and surrender them to the Elders, with the enclosed note. They will understand.

I'm leaving the AnEx card with you as well, so you won't say that the bastard cheated you out of your victory party… Drink a shot of sake for me, while you're at it.

Ja –

Sanzo."

"FUCK!" Gojyo grabbed Hakkai, shaking his friend frantically. "When? When did he leave!"

"I don't know exactly," Hakkai finally spoke, grabbing firm hold of the frantic, trembling hands on his shoulders. "I just found the damn note slipped under my door when I woke up this morning," Hakkai continued, willing Gojyo to calm down.

"Shit, shit, SHIT!" Gojyo cursed, looking around wildly.

"Calm down, Gojyo, please!" Hakkai begged, gripping Gojyo's hands painfully. "You might be overreacting…" Gojyo shook him off.

"You stay here," Gojyo ordered. "Don't let the bakazaru out of your sight. I'm taking Hakuryu."

"But where are you going!" Hakkai called in alarm, as Gojyo jogged swiftly to the door.

"I'm bringing that goddamn bastard back!"

"Demo, I don't think he'll appreciate you sticking your nose in his affairs…"

"HAH!"

"Do you even know where you're going!" Hakkai cried, as Gojyo dashed out the doors. "OI! Gojyo!"

Gojyo didn't wait to hear any more. He vaulted over to the driver's seat and gunned the jeep, reversing swiftly, and headed back west.

"Goddamn you, Sanzo. I'll be DAMNED if I let you do this! You're NOT doing this to me!"

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