Some Things Stay the Same
Author : lillypuff
Email: lilly_puff22 (at) yahoo (dot) com
Pairing: Sha Gojyo x Cho Hakkai, and if you stand on your head and squint I'm sure you'll see Sanzo x Goku
Theme: (30Kisses) Kappa List (Water) - #12, Devastation
Completed: 7 of 30
Rating: Older Teen/PG-13
Warning(s): light sexuality, some angst
Summary: Near the end of the journey the Ikkou comes across a pillaged town. Hakkai thinks about his companions and what the future might hold.
Disclaimer: Sadly, Saiyuki does not belong to me. I wish it did =) Don't sue me, I don't have any money anyway.
Random Notes: I started this fic some time ago, but it was just never what I wanted it to be. I've finally accepted that I cannot tweak it anymore, so here it is, for better or for worse ;)
Hakkai stared past his companion towards the town that stood before them; if you could call the ruined mess of buildings a town. What remained of the buildings that once were homes and schools and stores were but charred leftovers now. Hakkai could picture children running about, men talking shop in front of general stores and bars, women giggling as they gossiped with their neighbors. He imagined what a perfect little town this would have been and how it would never be perfect again.
Hakkai closed his eyes against the thought, not that closing his eyes freed him of the sight of the ruined town. It was etched into his memories now. The few remaining bodies that littered the streets were even clearer in his mind behind his closed eyelids. He suddenly wished they had just driven past the town but Goku had been adamant in his wish for them to stop and look for survivors. Gojyo had been too, and Hakkai couldn't deny that he also wanted to stop; but now he knew it had been a mistake. When he saw sights like the one before him he sometimes thought this whole journey had been a mistake. Even if they accomplished their goal, places like this one would never be the same again.
Hakkai berated himself for what he was feeling, they had known this was coming; they all should have been prepared for the worst. He thought it kind of ironic now that he wished for the towns they had seen early in their journey; the villagers begging them for help, the almost pathetic youkai attacks. Any of that was better then the devastation they had been witnessing as of late. Over the last few weeks each town had been worse then the last, and this one was worse by far.
They spent most of the night looking for survivors. Hakkai watched with an aching in his heart as Goku kept on looking, kept on hoping, kept on trying to find someone, something, anything that still lived. Gojyo did what Gojyo did best, and that was to encourage the young man. But this time around, his encouragement was not along the lines of "I bet I can kill more youkai then you Monkey!" but instead "Oi, Goku, don't worry, we'll find someone, there has to be someone alive around here."
Even Sanzo, who could spot a lost cause a mile away, searched on through the night with them. He spoke little and smoked a lot, but that wasn't any different then usual. And yet, maybe it was. Sanzo made no huffs of annoyance, no bitter remarks about losing time, no callous gestures, no fan brandishing, no gun waving. He just searched silently through the night.
And perhaps that was what made the pain in the healer's heart ache even more; the things unsaid, the thoughts unspoken, the silent fears. He could see it in the eyes of his companions and he could feel it in the air - they were stalling. They were tasked with destroying a great evil, and there they were, trying to delay the inevitable.
And there he was, starting to think like Sanzo.
They all wanted to know what would happen to the world, to them. But even if they made it out of the final confrontation alive and the world went back to normal, Hakkai had to wonder if they would be able to do the same? The journey had changed them all and not in the most obvious ways.
Sure, Gojyo still smiled and laughed, Goku still bounded about and Sanzo still smoked like a chimney and read his newspaper; though where the monk was getting them these days, Hakkai had no idea. But through all this normalcy, Hakkai saw the difference. Gojyo's smile no longer reached from ear to ear and his hand traced nervous patterns through his fire red hair more often. Goku spent more time running about alone instead of goading Gojyo or trying to interact with Sanzo. As for Sanzo himself, well, he was still his moody self, but it seemed like a halfhearted attempt, as if he was tired of playing the part.
They pitched their tent early in the morning hours, when their eyes were tired from searching in the darkness and their hearts were heavy with grief. Hakkai offered to make food, but no one was in the mood to eat, and even Goku merely picked at some of the dried fruit Hakkai had purchased in the last town that still had living souls in it.
When he and Gojyo lay down to try and sleep, Hakkai buried his face in the red head's chest, arms wrapped around the lean, muscular frame of his love. Gojyo soothed him with whispered words and gentle caresses until the red head himself drifted off, still mumbling to the healer who soon followed after into slumber.
Hakkai awoke suddenly, a few hours later, sunlight pouring into the tent. Had it been a few weeks earlier, they would have been long gone by then, but no one in the tent was stirring. Sanzo was still asleep; Goku curled in a tight ball beside the monk like a beloved pet. Gojyo was snoring lightly though the sound was far out done by the noises coming from Goku's mouth.
He had been dreaming, Hakkai knew that much, but he couldn't remember what the dreams had been about; although he was sure he could hazard a guess. His dreams hadn't changed much in the last few years but he was starting to remember them less and less upon waking as time wore on.
Quietly and carefully the healer rolled out from under Gojyo's loving hold. He stretched for a moment, then got up and walked out of the tent into the already warm morning. It was eerily quiet, no birds sang, no insects chirped; only the light breeze, and Goku's snores, could be heard. The healer tried not to look around, tried not to stare at the decrepit buildings of the empty town, but he couldn't help indulge his masochistic side as he walked to the nearby river to wash away the grim that had collected during their fruitless search.
When he reached the river he stood at its shore, water lapping at the tip of his boots. He watched as the gentle waves traveled downstream and he wondered what it would be like to be a part of the river; to flow along with no destination, no cares, and no acknowledgement of the world around you.
Still watching the flow of the water before him, Hakkai unpinned his tunic and began to pull it over his head. He removed the rest of his clothing with careful speed, then waded into the cool water until he was waste deep.
Hakkai let the water move around his body for a moment before squatting down so that only his head remained above it. He closed his eyes and let the gentle flow of the river turn him where he stood, hoping that as the river washed away some of the dirt it too would wash away the worry.
"Taking a bath without me, I see," came Gojyo's voice in a playfully hurt tone a few minutes later.
Hakkai opened his eyes and turned slightly to address his lover in a teasing voice, "It would appear that I can't go anywhere without you, Gojyo." The healer let out a mock sigh as he watched the red head remove his jacket and shirt.
"Why on earth would you want to?" Gojyo asked as he began to remove his boots and pants.
Hakkai let out a small laugh at that, one he reserved only for his companion. "Will you be joining me for a swim then?"
"A swim? No. But I'll give you a bath," the half breed replied, grinning. "I'm exceptionally good at cleaning those hard to reach places."
Hakkai rolled his eyes playfully, before closing them, focusing once again on the flow of the river. When he felt Gojyo's arms embrace him, he leaned back against his companion letting the water and his lover be his support.
As Gojyo's strong hands moved along Hakkai's body the healer couldn't help but think about what the future had in store for them. So many scenarios had played in his mind in recent weeks, some so mind numbingly fluffy that even the most diehard romantic would laugh at them and some so painfully heartbreaking that they could have only come from the healer's own often skewed view of life.
He wanted so badly to return to that little house with Gojyo, to fix it up, to make it really theirs. He'd even be happy with razing the thing to the ground and starting over, having something built there that they could truly call their own.
He didn't want a fairy tale ending; he just wanted the right ending; one that encompassed a safe return to the east with his friends and the one he loved.
When Hakkai and Gojyo returned to the campsite after their leisurely, but more importantly, uninterrupted, time alone, the two found that the campsite was cleaned up, the Jeep packed and Sanzo and Goku seemed to be in the middle of a mild argument.
"I'm not going to do it, Goku."
"But why not Sanzo? What if they can't find their way?"
"They need someone to guide them…"
The two men watched their companions, not wanting to nose their way in. Hakkai knew what this was about and he assumed Gojyo did to; after all, Gojyo had had a similar conversation with Sanzo years ago. Goku wanted Sanzo to chant a sutra knowing full well the monk's position on the matter.
"Goku, you know I do not chant them for the dead..."
"Then chant one for us," Goku replied, the look on his face serious and honest, hoping to appeal to whatever strange bond the two shared; and to Hakkai's utter amazement the tactic seemed to be working.
Without another word, but with an odd look of acceptance on his face, Sanzo turned from their youngest traveling companion and walked closer to the nearest buildings of the town. When he stopped, he began to lower himself to the ground as he pulled out his golden crown and placed it a top his head.
When Sanzo's words began to echo across the silent town, Hakkai couldn't help but think of the last time he had heard the comforting chant. There had be complete destruction and heartache then too, heartache that still pulled at his strings from time to time. That day had been the end for a part of him, but it had also been a beginning. He couldn't help but wonder if it would be like that this time too.
When the last of Sanzo's words were carried away by the breeze, Hakkai noticed a strange thing…the area was no longer silent; the birds had begun to sing again. He thought about mentioning it to the monk, but decided against it, knowing that Sanzo would dismiss it for pure coincidence. That Sanzo believed so little in the faith for which he represented would always amuse and, quite frankly, confuse the healer.
Hakkai watched as Sanzo slowly rose from his sitting position, storing his golden crown among the folds of his robes. The healer could almost picture it tucked away somewhere next to the monk's gun, the dreaded fan and a pack of cigarettes; all the telltale signs that their monk was like no other. He watched as Sanzo took one last look at the wasted town before turning around and walking back in their direction. Goku was smiling and Gojyo had leaned in close, resting his arm gently on the healer's shoulder.
When the monk was a couple feet from them, he spoke out in a low but determined voice, "Are we ready to leave?"
"Yes, I believe we are," Hakkai stated in an equally low voice. He was anxious to be gone and not wanting to leave all at once.
"Then let's get the hell out of here," Sanzo replied, making his way to the Jeep. Hakkai watched as the monk slid into his usual front passenger seat, followed shortly after by Gojyo and Goku who both jumped into the back and immediately started "fighting" for their personal space.
Hakkai allowed a sigh to escape his lips as he too glanced back once more at the ruined town before making his way to the Jeep and his traditional driver's seat.
"Damn it water sprite, I barely have any room, MOVE OVER!" Goku cried as he flailed about, causing the Jeep to shake and emit an exasperated "cheep". Hakkai gave the steering wheel a loving pat as he started the ignition.
"Monkey, you've got three feet of space on the other side of you, why don't you move over!" Gojyo shouted, and from the way the Jeep once again shuddered, Hakkai knew Gojyo had pushed Goku over as far as he could. He didn't even have to look in the rear view mirror any more to know what they were up to.
"Don't touch me you pervy cockroach!"
"Then don't get so close, stupid monkey!"
And yes, they'd be like this all day, unless…
"Listen you two," Sanzo burst in, right on cue, gun drawn for emphasis "I have had it up to here with your idiotic fights. Shut the hell up or you'll both have a few extra holes in your heads!"
"But Saan-zo, he started it…"
"I did not…"
"Just shut up…"
Starting to tune out the antics of his passengers, as he always did, Hakkai put the Jeep into gear and began to put space between them and the desolate town. When a gun shot rang out from beside him, Hakkai barely even flinched and he knew with out a doubt the shot had not hit its intended target.
A light smile upon his face, Hakkai sighed, though not in frustration, more in relief. Perhaps, when all things were said and done, there was hope for them yet. Yes, some things about them had changed; but as he listened to Gojyo's lewd remarks, Goku's pleas for more space and Sanzo's mumbled curses, Hakkai began to realize that some things, without a doubt, would always stay the same.
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