Title: Longing 3: The Sunset Road - Chapter 7

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

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

Rating: T for language. Shounen-ai.

Summary: "All I have are the ashes… one small spark from your glow."

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Chapter 7

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"The heart is the only broken instrument that works." – T E Kalem

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XxXxX

Shit.

You think I blew my brains out?

Hah. I wish. If only I could have…

But I made a promise, dammit, and I'm keeping it if it kills me. I've kept it. I can do no less for him… him, who was all to me. He still is.

Nah… I fired overhead, straight up into the cerulean blue sky. I flipped my third finger to Tenkai, so to speak. FUCK YOU. Heh. Yeah… Damn all the gods anyway. All they do is watch.

I suppose it was another thing as well – a tribute from a soldier to his general, if I may say so.

O Captain, my Captain…

You know, more of that cornball bullshit, the pointless private ritual I carried out, and tried to comfort myself with that day that I surrendered my corrupt monk to the earth.

But I'm still here. Seventy years later. I'm still here, dammit all… damn bouzu must have set an army of guardian angels to watch over me and make sure I keep my promise.

Because, heck – I absolutely went wild for a while, after he was gone. I was a walking deathwish. I smoked like a chimney, I drank myself to the gutter, woke up, and drank some more. I picked fights in bars, relishing the brawls I always started… But somehow I just couldn't seem to die. Heh. It figures – court the Grim Reaper like an obsessed, passionate lover and he shuns you. Run away and He'll give chase like all hell.

Or maybe it really IS tough to kill a stupid cockroach… I dunno… what do you think?

In those early years, I barely kept my second promise to Sanzo, but I somehow managed to drag myself up the damn mountains to make sure the monkey hadn't gone ape-shit. Ironically… the bakazaru somehow ended up taking care of me when I showed up every few weeks – bruised, battered, and hungover like hell.

Let me tell you, it was a damn dark world for a while.

Eventually though… slowly… I got used to it. I learned not to expect the flash of cream-gold robes, the blinding dazzle of sunkissed hair and cool amethyst eyes waiting to greet me. I learned to live without his voice cursing me… without his eyes caressing me… without his soul reaching out to me from piercing purple depths.

I learned, somehow, to stop crying myself to sleep every night… with that voice… that voice beautiful enough to embrace… echoing in my head, in my heart, in my soul. Aishiteru…

I think maybe if he hadn't said it, if I hadn't said it, I would have gone mad. I would have ceased to breathe at the same moment. I would have died with him that day.

But I do have that… He gave me his declaration, and gave me permission to make my own, and I finally got to finish my sentence, after all. Hell – he finished it for me, didn't he? My Sanzo…

It's been seventy years like I've said, and the longing is still there, would you believe… But now I feed it with memories. I quench it with occasional drunken visits to 'our spot'. Can you blame me? I no longer have the bittersweet option of my tortured visits to Kinzan.

In fact I lost all heart to return to the blasted Temple, not five years after Sanzo passed away, promises or no promises. So I guess it was a gift from Heaven that I didn't need to, anymore, after a while.

Because by this time I had moved in with Hakkai, Sakura having died a year and a half after Sanzo. It was painful for Hakkai, as you might expect; and he declared, during one of our drinking sessions at my apartment, that he was never going to get married again. He'd had two loves in his life, and he'd been granted the chance to marry one of them and live his life with her and have children with her… It was enough for him.

Shortly after Hakkai left their family home to his youngest, I gave up my small bachelor pad, and we moved in together, just like the old times. Hakkai instead focused his life on his children and grandkids, and on his lifelong dream – and he established an orphanage. Goku moved in with us soon after.

Yes indeed – at first, after we had completed the Divine Mission, all four of us were scattered like leaves to the wind, as we each sought our own places in the sun. And yet, when the sun faded… when the captain of our ikkou passed away, we the remaining three gathered together, after all. It was like our foundation had been shattered… the force that kept us strong collapsed, and we sought each other in the end to somehow try to make sense of it… to somehow give each other the strength to survive, to go on… to find meaning again after that dazzling light that had been our anchor and our guide had faded away.

And so Hakkai had his orphanage, and Goku had his travels – it's a damn miracle how the gold card continues without conking out on its limit. And me… well.

You can probably guess there was one promise I just couldn't keep.

Not that I didn't try, mind you, after a while… when I felt somehow that I had gathered back enough of myself to try again. I mean – a man's got to have reason to go on living… a reason to get up in the morning, a reason for sleep and rest to be sweet at night.

Yeah right… The loneliness drove me back to my bachelor ways, all right. Make no mistake – Sha Gojyo has always been, and will always be, the heartbreaker. I could have had my pick of any number of "nice young women"… and some not-so-nice ones. Heh.

Only problem was, although I could offer them my body… lose myself in a pair of warm arms for a while… I just didn't have a heart left to give.

Pathetic, huh? But that's the way it is… My heart rests someplace in a woods, under the shade of a great tree. It's waiting for me.

And I'll tell you something else. It's almost time for me to go.

By human standards, I would be around fifty or so. As far as I know I'm supposed to have another seventy years, by the lifespan of a halfbreed. But lately it's been getting harder and harder to get up in the morning. It's been getting harder and harder to summon up the will to face another day. All I want to do is sleep.

Green Eyes has noticed, and is worrying his butt off, but I refuse to see a doctor. What would be the point in prolonging it? And it doesn't matter whatever the diagnosis is, anyway. Cancer? A strange half-breed disease? It doesn't matter. I don't want the extra year, or the few months. I've lived my life, the way I chose, and I was happy, for whatever it was worth. I'm happy.

Because my best friend has found fulfillment and meaning and joy beyond his wildest dreams… in stark contrast to the empty, bleeding, gutted shell I almost stumbled over, that rainy night that we met.

Because the bakazaru is enjoying himself with his never-ending travels, and has kept the Seiten Taisei in control, after all. Goku has kept his innocence intact, and his hope is so pure that I almost find myself hoping too…

Because I was part of the Divine Mission, the legendary "Journey To The West", and I take pride in the invaluable part I played in that drama, for what it now means to the world that I love.

I am happy because I have had wine, and women, and song… and cigarettes and sake with my hage bouzu… Hell, yeah – I'm happy.

I'm happy to have held my corrupt monk in my arms, to have made love to him, to have kissed those harsh cynical lips, to have stroked that golden, shimmering hair, to have caressed that milky white skin, to have gazed into those amazing violet eyes… and at the last to have heard that beautiful, beautiful voice telling me what I had waited sixty years, my whole lifetime to hear… Aishiteru.

You have to admit, I've been a blessed kappa…. one hell of a lucky sonuvademon, so to speak.

Did I ever talk to Hakkai? Nah. But then I don't think I ever needed to, anyway. That guy gets me. He always did. Sometimes I think he knows what I'm thinking even before I've thought it. I have no doubt about it, my best friend knows.

All that is left now is to tell him where to scatter my ashes to help the wildflowers grow… and where to bury the small urn and the miniature.

So what else is left to say? Just that all these years, seventy long, exhausting years, not a day went by that I didn't miss him. I miss him still. I long for him still. I ache for him with every breath I take. I dream of him almost every night.

It's true. Death had no power over it. The longing still consumes me, my yearning for him eats me up inside. I pine for him. Sanzo. God, how I still love him.

And soon… we will be together, side by side in the cold, dark earth. Together forever. I can't wait.

But before I go, let me tell you a secret… something that my corrupt monk told me long ago, when I was sobbing like a fool on his lap. He stroked my hair oh-so-gently, and he whispered: "Do not fear death. If we do not fear it, it casts its eye on us gently and guides us to infinity."

And that's enough for me.

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XxXxX

"We loved with a love that was more than love." – Edgar Allan Poe

XxXxX

 

Epilogue

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"True love stories never have endings." – Richard Bach

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XxXxX

I've missed you. God how I've missed you…

What the fuck took you so long?

Aishiteru, Beautiful… I love you so…

'Ch… I love you more.

XxXxX

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Across the years I will walk with you

In deep green forests, on shores of sand

And when our time on earth is through

In Heaven, too, you will have my hand.

Robert Sexton

XxXxX

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-owari-

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Japanese mini-glossary:

Aishiteru: I love you

Arigatou Gozaimasu: Thank you very much

Atooishinjuu: lover's suicide

Bouzu: monk

Bakazaru: stupid monkey

Baka: idiot, moron, stupid

Daijobou: Are you alright

Damare: Shut up/ Be quiet

Erogappa: Horny water imp

Hage bouzu: bald monk

Hai: Yes

Iie: No

Jamatane: see you soon

Kanzeon Bosatsu: Goddess of Mercy

K'so: Japanese swear word

Nani: What

Urusei: shut up

Sankyuu: "Thank you", literally

Sensei: teacher, master

Seiten Taisei: Great Sage Equal to Heaven (Goku's true form)

Sonna: (in this context): "No way!"

Sumimasen: I'm sorry/excuse me

Yamero: Stop it

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