Disclaimer: Written for fun, not profit. I own none of the rights to Minekura's Saiyuki.
Summary: Sanzo runs from the one enemy he hates to face more than any other.
The shadows fell around the priest as he slid through the maze of trees. Damn the dark. He couldn't see a thing. All he could do was listen for any signs of...
A twig snapped somewhere behind him and he whirled to face his slippery opponent.
"Damn you! Come out!" He bellowed when he saw no one.
He was answered by a silence deeper than any he'd ever recognized before now. He could practically feel the air rippling with the sheer force of his attacker's youkai energy as he moved through the night. It was a cripplingly powerful aura. A demonic aura like he'd never known before he'd met this creature.
He began creeping once again through the trees, trying to find an open space where he would stand a better chance against this predator.
An omnipresent growl echoed through the area, but fuck if Sanzo could tell where it came from.
The monster was angry, and he had every right to be. Sanzo'd shot it once in the leg after all. It had slipped into the shadows and for the first time in his life, Sanzo truly felt like prey. He was being hunted.
He could feel Goku calling for him in his mind once more, and hated that he was helpless to do jack shit about it. He was running for his life, Hakkai and Gojyo having already fallen prey to the beast's claws.
Another crack, but from above this time, like the breaking of a tree branch.
"Shit." Sanzo cursed as he quickened his pace. The atmosphere pulsed with the presence of his attacker, hidden by the darkness.
He could feel his heartbeat pounding against the wall of his chest. His tuned senses could feel every breath of wind around him, and every sensation from within. His nerves were wired and his adrenalin pumped. Jumping at shadows had a whole new meaning.
Sweat started to bead on his brow, and he spun so his back was against the closest tree. He panted into the foreboding silence, listening to Goku's troubled calls within his mind.
But despite Goku's persistent calling, the saru was not here. Sanzo was alone. Alone with this creature. This creature that wanted to kill him.
It had taken all of three hits to dispose of Hakkai and Gojyo, but luckily both had been breathing when Sanzo last checked. However, if those two practiced demon fighters hadn't managed to hold their ground against their latest opponent, how could Sanzo be expected to? He had limited experience in hand to hand combat, and a gun was useless within the dense forest, and that overpowering aura filled every nook and cranny, making him unable to pinpoint his assailant through sense alone.
Another growl, closer this time, to Sanzo's left. And the priest was off again, dashing through the underbrush, tripping every so often in his haste.
A malicious cackle thundered from behind him, breaking the daunting silence, but providing no relief. A brief glance back provided Sanzo with a glimpse of a shadow-cloaked figure tailing him through the trees.
How many times had Sanzo woken up in a cold sweat after being haunted by nightmares similar to this? How many times had Goku woken up as well, distressed by his lover's quickened breathing and distraught aura? He'd never told Goku of these dreams, pride preventing him from revealing any sign of fear, even to the person closest to him. He knew Goku hadn't believed a word of his excuses, but that did nothing to push him toward confiding in his saru.
Sanzo gasped as a solid root appeared out of nowhere and sent him tumbling to the earthen floor. With a muffled grunt, his body collided with the unforgiving ground. Lightening flashed, illuminating the silhouettes of treetops. Thunder sounded seconds later, and rain began to pour. Sanzo's heartbeat accelerated in fear as his eyes narrowed.
This was an unnatural rain.
A storm summoned by a creature of god-like strength.
Another flash of lightening, accompanied by vicious claws raking down Sanzo back.
"Gah!" Sanzo turned over quickly to see Seiten Taisei looming over him. Slitted golden eyes peered down at him through damp brown bangs, lips curved in a maniacal grin, showing off the Sage's gruesome fangs. Sanzo shuddered and his eyes widened in alarm. Goku's voice had been silenced.
The beast growled, leer fading gradually into a frown. Seiten Taisei crouched, sniffing Sanzo dubiously. A clawed hand grasped Sanzo's calf through his tattered robes as the creature examined his cornered prey. Broken thoughts raced through Seiten Taisei's mind: It had run. There was no need to kill it quickly; it put up no fight... except for the leg wound. Seiten Taisei growled. This human was dangerous when it chose to be. But right now, it was submitting nicely.
Despite Seiten Taisei's calmer attitude, Sanzo knew he wasn't in the clear yet. Not only was he lacking his gun, dropped after he'd shot the monster in the leg, but the priest was just too riled at the moment to remember the words he needed to replace Goku's limiter.
All he had was the sutra.
Mind made up, Sanzo took a breath to begin the chant, but as if reading his mind, Seiten Taisei's grip on his leg clamped down ruthlessly, claws piercing the skin they encountered. Concentration broken, Sanzo cried out.
And suddenly, Goku's voice returned full force.
Seiten Taisei's face screwed up in annoyance. Could he hear Goku's cries, too? A second later, the heretic had leapt back up into the trees.
Panting heavily, Sanzo rose shakily to his feet. Wherever Seiten Taisei had gone off to, Sanzo knew he'd be back. The blond began stumbling quickly back toward where they'd broken camp for the night, pain shooting up his leg with every step.
Someone had turned the sound back on. Wind howled violently through the trees and leaves rustled against each other in the heavy onslaught of rain. Each of Sanzo's steps echoed in the blustery weather. He grumbled as his drenched bangs fell constantly into his eyes, making it even harder to navigate the maze of forest. And now that life had returned to the landscape, he couldn't hear any sound signifying Seiten Taisei's approach. And that incredible aura still swallowed all attempts at pinpointing the source of his fear.
Turning back a few times, he'd seen his pursuer tailing him a good fifty meters behind, leaping from tree branch to tree branch in pursuit of his prey, for prey was all Sanzo knew he was to this creature.
His true lover was screaming bloody murder inside his head, and though it was slightly comforting to hear Goku's voice, it was giving his keeper a splitting headache.
After banging his shoulders against numerous tree trunks, Sanzo burst into the clearing where Hakkai and Gojyo still lay unconscious. Hakuryu kyu'd from where he'd been left parked.
Venturing farther into the space, Sanzo was aware that he didn't have long until Seiten Taisei entered the scene. Quickly, Sanzo piled Gojyo and Hakkai's bodies in Jeep's back seat. A low growl emanated from the brush next to the clearing. Sanzo hopped swiftly into Hakuryu's driver seat.
"Get us outta here!" He roared at the dragon. Immediately, Jeep's tires were squealing for purchase on the wet ground. A second later, they were launched into motion, flying down the dirt road.
The transformed dragon squeaked crossly at his impromptu driver, knowing exactly who they were leaving behind.
"Shut up, you stupid car! You don't really think we'll be able to lose him, do...?" Sanzo was cut off by a thud as something heavy landed upon Jeep's hood, prompting a terrified shriek from the vehicle itself.
Glancing up, Sanzo found himself gazing straight into his lover's eyes. No. Seiten Taisei's eyes. Golden eyes glared down at him, and the screaming within his head became deafening. Sanzo could no longer fight the urge to cover his ears.
Seiten Taisei paused, eyes widening slightly, but the voice was not dimmed. The monster growled, and Goku's screaming finally began to die down. But Sanzo was not relieved.
"What are you doing to him, you piece of shit?!" The blond shouted above the storm's ruckus.
Seiten Taisei growled again, golden eyes narrowing menacingly. The voice was almost gone now. And Sanzo began to panic, in fear of losing his charge altogether.
"Damn you!" He roared before launching forward and tackling the berserker.
A deep yelp from Seiten Taisei was all the monster offered in reaction to Sanzo's attack. The priest was straddling the beast's hips, watching his foe with guarded eyes, distraught at the voice that wavered within his mind; softer and quiet one minute, fervent and thunderous the next. The fluctuation was making him nauseous.
Meanwhile, Seiten Taisei lay sprawled beneath his keeper, upper body propped upon wiry forearms. His eyes were slightly glazed and his face alternated between frustrated and menacing expressions almost faster than the eye could see. Then it dawned on Sanzo.
There was a full-fledged war going on inside the saru's head.
Dammit, why him?
Why had he had to fall in love with a damn demon whatever-the-hell-Goku-was? Why? Why'd he take the obviously harder route when accepting the boy's affections, after turning away so many others vying for the same thing? Why had his master selected him of all people to teach those damn lessons to. Muichimotsu? Fuck, he didn't even know what the concept meant anymore, and he was beginning to wonder if he ever had.
But something very loud and annoying inside Sanzo's head had been telling him a long time, that this was just the way things were. That he hadn't had a choice from the start. His master was doomed to dying before his pupil's eyes. The pupil was cursed to walked the earth alone until a voice began calling from nowhere. The voice was always meant to be found. It had been fated since the gods sealed that power away. And Sanzo was destined to be forever glued to a bottomless pit of a monkey whose heretical eyes he both loved and hated.
Loved for their vibrancy and life that never failed to lighten Sanzo's mood in even the smallest way.
Hated for what they signified. For what they hid inside his lover.
A heretic who was both never meant to be born, and destined to walk the earth by Sanzo's side.
The war waged on within the creature's mind, as two very different, yet forever the same, entities battled for control. One wanting to rip out the sun's throat, one wanting to curl into the sun's chest and sob for all his heart was worth, mourning the plague that was forever trying to make mince-meat out of his friends.
Suddenly, golden eyes cleared, and snapped up to meet Sanzo's. Distinctly round pupils gazed back at him, and for a second, Sanzo ceased breathing.
But in a flash, the clarity was gone, and Seiten Taisei's bloodlust was restored. However, the demon still looked rather dazed and preoccupied, locking Goku away within the recesses of their mind once again. The voice began to fade out...
Like a wave breaking upon the rough rocks of a shore, the words returned to Sanzo, his own blink of clarity startling him into action.
In an almost violent motion, Sanzo's hand snapped up to Seiten Taisei's forehead, sure to leave a bruise when everything was said and done. The words poured from his lips purely upon reflex, and the ease at which they came to him now aggravated Sanzo. As always, a lifetime too late.
As expected, Goku's form hovered in wide-eyed shock for no more than a few moments before the heretic collapsed, unconscious, upon Sanzo's own worn form. But while Goku began to doze atop his savior, Sanzo's heart still raced, charged with leftover adrenalin.
Fear still flooded his veins like a drug, making his nerves unable to ease-off and his muscles remain taut with apprehension.
Sanzo's mind understood that, for now, it was over.
But his body was a little late picking up on the fact.
He lay back upon the cold, hard, earth, breathing coming easier to him by the second. As his back attempted to relax upon the stable ground, he felt his spine groan in protest, each and every kink crying out, so that it took him a whole five minutes before his muscles gave into his will. It still felt like an elephant was sitting upon his heaving chest, but he didn't care.
He was alive once again.
But he wasn't alone as he feared he would have been; as he always fears will become of him. For it isn't Seiten Taisei's claws he fears. No. It's the uncertainty and pain of his and Goku's future that has him breaking down inside.
For this may be the end of the battle, but the war is far from over.
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