Title: Insides
Author: PunkWolf
Pairings: Sanzo/Goku
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Written for fun, not profit. I own none of the rights to Minekura's Saiyuki EMPIRE!
Summary: Seiten Taisei-centric. He has a face. He has a name. But just who is the creature that consists of Seiten Taisei and Son Goku?

 

 

He wakes up and the first thing he sees is cage bars.

 

"Sanzo!!!"

 

He struggles against his bindings fruitlessly as the cold steel bites into his skin, striping the flesh from his ankles and wrists.

 

"Sanzo..."

 

His strength ebbs after hours of useless fighting and his vision fades as his weakened form meets the prison floor with a dull thud.

 

--

 

He heard the call within his mind as his own strength waned due to futile struggling. He, Gojyo and Hakkai are behind bars but he knows...

 

They've got Goku in chains.

 

He can hear it in Goku's voice as it fills his mind and he can't tell whose thoughts are whose anymore. Goku is terrified, being forever scarred by his past imprisonment. Sanzo is well aware of Goku's dread that he will be left alone again, forgotten by the world above and below.

 

He beats against the bars and walls with his bare fists, having already depleted his entire stock of bullets. Gojyo and Hakkai watch as their leader drives himself mad with his inability to end Goku's nightmare.

 

Sanzo had promised.

 

Sanzo had promised him he'd never be locked up again. That he'd never have to go back.

 

And yet Sanzo also knows, Goku thinks this is betrayal. Because the voice is dying out, and Goku is either too terrified to call any longer or... he's assuming Sanzo's done the unthinkable. That Sanzo's abandoned him.

 

And Sanzo cannot think of any force, mortal or heavenly, that could force him to rip Goku apart in such a way.

 

But Goku would never be too frightened to call for Sanzo. He's never been anything but the bravest of all creatures, tame and wild.

 

For he is the wisest mixture of both.

 

--

 

As one mind weakens in its despair, another wakens in the aftermath of his anguish and long-forgotten rage. Yang falls prey to Yin, one consciousness lost to another. For better or for worse, they are one, despite the contradictions they imply.

 

The light element's rage is the dark element's fury. Spite them and you challenge the earth itself.

 

Together, they embody destruction.

 

--

 

Through Seiten Taisei's eyes, Goku watched the beast tear at the walls in flurries of claws and fists, but to no avail. The mystical walls, plastered with seals in a language no monk can recall, hold fast against even the might of the gods who crafted them.

 

In a temporary cease fire, Seiten Taisei steps back from the impenetrable wall, panting in unnatural exhaustion. For the first time, his rage was not enough to conquer. His blind bloodlust was useless against this obstacle that knew no fear. Confusion settled in as he analyzed this barrier.

 

But it was for naught. Once his overpowering anger had dissipated, Goku's own emotions bled into his own, and the terror sank in.

 

They'd been locked away again. Cut off from the life giving freedom of both Earth and Heaven. And even Hell's too kind a sanctuary for the child born of rock.

 

There is nowhere to run. No destruction to wrought. No life to rend from flesh, no blood to spill upon this cold prison floor.

 

Seiten Taisei was never meant to be helpless.

 

With nothing left to do but await his captor's mercy, the heretic curls up upon the ground to sleep through his twisted segregation.

 

--

 

All three prisoners jumped with a start when the unnatural wail of their forth companion echoed down the corridor.

 

It wasn't as loud as Hakkai and Gojyo remembered it being, but they knew what it meant nonetheless. Sanzo, unfortunately, was all too aware of what Goku's cry meant.

 

But the sound could almost be considered faint. Goku must be far off.

 

Sanzo slid down the wall to sit next to Gojyo, cupping his face in his hands. He fucking ached for a cigarette.

 

Or death.

 

Even death would be preferable to knowing his perceived betrayal had triggered Goku's ultimate breakdown.

 

They listened as the Sage threw his tantrum for hours, awaiting the telltale crack of stone when the heretic managed to breach his prison walls, but it never came. The sounds and noises describing a horrific rage slowly died off, and the realization hit them- not even the Great Sage Equaling Heaven could break free.

 

Hakkai moved to sit next to Sanzo.

 

"It's not your fault." He whispered, placing a comforting hand upon Sanzo's shoulder. It was shrugged off as Sanzo shifted away from him.

 

"Oi! Priesty-Pants!" Gojyo interjected loudly. "Hakkai's trying to make you feel better! No need to be such a prick!"

 

"I never asked for his help." Sanzo muttered, refusing to look at either of them. Even his prangs of craving had been muted by his deep seeded worry for his charge.

 

"Goku would not want you to be..." Hakkai began.

"Goku thinks I've fucking betrayed him." Sanzo snapped, cutting the healer off instantly. "That stupid, fucking monkey thinks I've stabbed him in the back."

 

"But you haven't. When we get out, he'll understand..."

 

"The demon monkey couldn't even get free." Gojyo pointed out. "I think Sanzo's more likely to sing show tunes in his birthday suit than us managing to break outta here."

 

Sanzo grunted in agreement.

 

"We can't just give up." Hakkai urged. "Goku's counting on us. How many times has he come through for us in our times of weakness? It's our turn to be the friends Goku treasures us as."

 

"That was beautiful, Hakkai." Gojyo drawled. "But that still doesn't change the fact that we're trapped in this hellhole and we don't even know how we got here."

 

"Not to mention the fact that wherever Goku is, he's in psychotic demon mode." Sanzo reminded them. "Even if he's quieted down now, he can't exactly form a new limiter on his own."

 

Hakkai sighed. "In any case, we can't just give in."

 

"You're right, Hakkai. But what should we do?" Gojyo asked as he stood up and leaned against the wall.

 

Hakkai stood as well, leaving Sanzo alone on the grimy floor. He approached the cell bars and stared down the corridor wistfully. "I don't know."

 

--

 

Hakuryu cooed gently as he ghosted down the hallway. He'd woken up, still in Jeep form, lost in a strange new place, passenger-less, and behind bars.

 

Bars that he could easily pass through when in his natural form.

 

He now found himself searching the fortress for any sign of his driver and friends. Their scents lingered everywhere, and yet it was all too faint to form a proper trail.

 

He turned a corner, only to squeal in fright.

 

In the next cell he encountered, there lay his friendly, golden-eyed playmate, in his not-so-friendly appearance.

 

As he drew near the cage, he saw that the boy was alone in his prison and very much asleep. He noted that when complacent and unthreatening, the little monster wasn't so terrifying. He actually looked nearly identical to his sunnier counterpart.

 

The little dragon tried to slip silently through the bars keeping his friend trapped, only to be repelled by the force of what felt like a thousand seals.

 

He let out a distressed whine before continuing further down the hall. He'd lead the others back here when he found them. They'd know what to do.

 

--

 

A soft noise from outside their cell jolted all three seasoned fighters out of their slumber. As their eyes adjusted, Hakkai sprang up, first to identify their visitor.

 

"Hakuryu!" He cried, rushing toward the doors, reaching through to pet the floating dragon lovingly. "I was hoping you were alright."

 

"Jeep?" Gojyo mumbled as he, too, rose from the floor and approached the bars. He gave the dragon a light pat.

 

Sanzo glanced at the scene through one eye before closing it again and trying to return to sleep. His face scrunched as his companions continued mumbling, unable to block them out. He was about to snap at them to be quiet, when the creaking of a door met his ears. He glanced up hastily.

 

Hakkai smiled at him from the door. "Hakuryu seems to be adept at lock picking." The little dragon kyuu'd from his master's shoulder, brandishing a slightly bruised tail.

 

Gojyo snorted. "Really. What are the odds of that?"

 

Sanzo didn't glance toward either of them as he was up and out the door in seconds. As he turned to stalk swiftly down the corridor, Jeep's frantic squeaking prompted him to glance back.

 

Hakuryu was off Hakkai's shoulder and floating once more, gesturing wildly with his entire body. He flew a few feet in the other direction.

 

Sanzo's eyebrow quirked slightly as he caught the dragon's message and turned to follow the insistent creature.

 

--

 

For fifteen minutes, they followed Jeep, turning different corners every once in awhile, and all of them wondering just how far the dragon had flown to find them, and how big this base really was.

 

Suddenly, the walls shook, causing pieces of rock to fall loose of the ceiling.

 

They covered their heads and shrunk up against the walls to avoid the bigger chunks. Suddenly, both priest and healer's heads shot up and were striding down the hallway in the direction they'd been heading.

 

Something with a massive amount of deadly aura had just woken up. And it was grumpy.

 

Sanzo stormed forward, thinking he knew exactly whose aura that was.

 

He knew Seiten Taisei's aura nearly as well as he knew Goku's, and the aura of that monster was enormous. They were still a ways away from the source, judging by its strength at the moment.

 

The group ploughed ahead, further motivated by the fact that the tremor could very well have been their warning that someone knew they were gone, and wasn't happy about it.

 

Sanzo's insides twisted as they drew closer and closer to Goku's location.

 

But with each step they took, the more agitated the aura became. Seiten Taisei must be distressed again, his rest disrupted by the sudden quaking.

 

When quiet growling noises began filtering down the hall, Sanzo sped up, bypassing Hakkai in his haste to reach the source.

 

He turned a corner and strode down a long, straight corridor lined with cells similar to their own. He was about to turn once again, when loud growling noise to his right stopped him.

 

In a cell he'd been about to pass by, crouched Seiten Taisei, growling and snarling for all he was worth.

 

The creature didn't look particularly blood thirsty as it grumbled and festered with its cage. As a matter of fact, it looked more confused than anything else. As he stared at Sanzo through the bars, recognition flashed in his slitted golden eyes. Pointed ears quirked upwards as its growling ceased briefly. On all fours, he warily approached the bars to get a better look at the blond priest.

 

Sanzo watched back, equally as wary. Seiten Taisei may seem unthreatening now, but the priest was under no delusions. That beast could be crafty when it wanted to be. It wasn't only the strength of the Earth that hid within the creature's continence.

 

With a precursory sniff, Seiten Taisei deemed Sanzo neither dangerous nor helpful, despite the familiarity about him. This human was powerless against the seals that contained him.

 

The image of a sun flashed through Seiten Taisei's mind before it vanished just as quickly as the thought had come. He retreated to the rear of the cell as more weak creatures approached from down the hallway.

 

Hakkai and Gojyo doubled over as the reached Sanzo's side, desperately trying to catch their breath. Hakuryu kyuu'd happily as he floated near Sanzo's head.

 

The blond reached forward experimentally and wasn't at all surprised when his touch was repelled by a cosmic number of Heavenly seals. He grumbled to himself.

 

It figured the fucking Gods were behind this.

 

"Can you get through?" Hakkai asked once his breath had returned.

 

"No. These seals were made by gods." He paused. "Gods who knew exactly how to keep me out." He elaborated, recalling the disintegrating seals at Mt. Kaka.

 

"Gods?" Gojyo gaped. "Haven't we dealt with enough of those bastards to last us a lifetime?"

 

"We should only be so lucky." Sanzo snarled, silently cursing every heavenly deity he'd been trained to worship.

 

"At least we've found him." Hakkai pointed out optimistically.

 

"But now what? Somebody's in here looking for us, and I don't think they'll be as nice when they find us this time." Gojyo reminded them.

 

"There's only one of us here that has the power to break through these seals." Sanzo explained slowly, looking pointedly at Seiten Taisei within the cage, who was watching them curiously from his place curled upon the floor. "But I'm positive he doesn't know how."

 

"Why wouldn't he?" Gojyo asked.

 

"He may have the power of a god, but he doesn't have the alchemical knowledge that the gods have perfected." Sanzo reiterated. "He has the power, but doesn't really know how to use it. He wouldn't need to, with that much sheer force backing his primitive understanding of things."

 

"But he must be more knowledgeable than the gods in matters of the earth itself." Hakkai reasoned. "Perhaps like an archaic form of being 'street wise'."

 

Sanzo nodded. "If we can figure out how these seals work, we may be able to put together a way for him to break himself out."

 

"I'm afraid Gojyo and I won't be of any help there, Sanzo."

 

"I know. But any ideas would be welcome." Sanzo said as he turned to examine the seals coating the cage walls. He cursed to himself. When questioned by Hakkai he answered, "I can't read them."

 

"What do you mean?"

 

"I can't read the fucking seals. It's in a language I never learned. I've never even seen it before." He backed up against the stone wall across from Goku's cell.

 

Hakkai sighed before turning really look at Goku for the first time. Gojyo approached the bars to get a good look as well.

 

"Doesn't look particularly nasty right now, does he?" The redhead observed.

 

"I would think he's rather confused by this turn of events."

 

"He was locked in a mountain cage for five hundred years, you'd think he'd be familiar with this situation." Gojyo remarked dully. "And who knows what he was up to before that."

 

Hakkai didn't respond, taking on a contemplative look.

 

Sanzo growled. "Goku was locked up, not this thing." He gestured toward Seiten Taisei. "And Goku's memories aren't this one's memories."

 

"I don't know. You mentioned that the monkey was pretty freaked about being chained up, and this guy looks thoroughly spooked himself."

 

Sanzo glanced at Seiten Taisei. "What makes you say that?"

 

Gojyo watched his golden eyed friend sadly. "What can I say? I just know fear when I see it."

 

Sanzo sniffed but let that particular subject drop. "What are you saying?"

 

"I dunno. Maybe just that the monkey and the demon aren't as separate as we thought."

 

Sanzo gave him an odd look but wasn't given the chance to respond after Hakkai cut in suddenly.

 

"Do you have any idea what Goku did before being locked up, Sanzo?"

 

The priest shook his head. "All they told me was that he'd committed crimes in Heaven and being sealed away was his punishment."

 

"That would imply he'd spent some amount of time in Heaven, would it not?"

 

It was Hakkai's turn to receive Sanzo's questioning stare. "I suppose."

 

"Do you think it's possible… he learned to read while he was there?" Hakkai asked cautiously.

 

Sanzo did nothing but simply stare at Hakkai for a few beats before glancing sidelong at Seiten Taisei, as if weighing the burnet's theory.

 

"Do you really think it looks scared, kappa?" He asked at last.

 

Gojyo nodded solemnly.

 

Sanzo grunted. "If you're right, and Hakkai's right…"

 

Hakkai smiled softly. "Then Seiten Taisei will remember how to read Heaven's script."

 

"Unless the gods' seal on his memories extends to his little alter-ego as well." Sanzo reminded them.

 

"If Seiten Taisei doesn't remember anything of their past, then why would he be so angry when released?" Hakkai reasoned.

 

"That's another thing." Sanzo growled. "How can we be sure he'll even cooperate with us?"

 

"Well, look at him." Gojyo said as she gestured toward the disinterested form of their friend. "I think he burnt out whatever was making him so damn snippy."

 

"But we can 't be sure." Sanzo reiterated.

 

"What is there to lose?" Hakkai asked.

 

"Our lives?" Gojyo prompted quickly, as if Hakkai had completely forgotten this obvious fact.

 

"And if we just sit here waiting, whoever's looking for us will surely figure out where we are sooner or later."

 

Gojyo sighed. "Stop being right, dammit."

 

Hakkai smiled before turning to Sanzo. "Alright, how do you propose we do this?"

 

--

 

It had taken much longer than expected to prompt Seiten Taisei's interest in them. He'd spent the first half an hour ignoring them once their attention has redirected towards him.

 

"Coy little fucker." Gojyo growled as the heretic refused to look at them. "Rebellious little twit…"

 

"Gojyo," Hakkai admonished. "Animals understand your message through tone of voice, and you aren't sounding very encouraging."

 

Gojyo heaved a deep sigh of frustration. "Alright, Hakkai." He turned toward the cell once again and spoke in a sickly sweet voice. "C'mere little bastard. C'mon. C'mon! OW!" He yelped as a fan collided solidly with his skull.

 

"Stop being an idiot or I'll kill you." Sanzo growled, chambering his fan over his shoulder.

 

"Alright, alright, geez."

 

Sanzo turned back to Hakkai. "This isn't working."

 

"Maybe if we…" Hakkai began, but was interrupted.

 

"Hey, why don't we just undress Sanzo and- OW!! Dammit!" Gojyo fumed while cradling his abused head.

 

"Was your brain on vacation when I told you to stop being an idiot?"

 

"Now, now…" Hakkai placated. "We just need to think for a moment. We've already decided to assume that Goku and Seiten Taisei's memories are somewhat linked. So what's something that's always caught Goku's attention?"

 

"That's what I'm saying!" Gojyo exclaimed. "If Sanzo would just- OW OW!!! Dammit, you fucking corrupt excuse for a holy man!"

 

Sanzo didn't respond to the redhead's bemoaning. "Food." He growled.

 

"I was thinking the same thing." Hakkai smiled, also choosing to ignore his half-breed friend. "Only, we don't have any food with us."

 

"Stop smiling." Sanzo grumbled. "This is hopeless. We're gonna get caught any minute."

 

"HEY MONKEY!!!" Both Sanzo and Hakkai jumped at Gojyo thunderous outburst. "CHIBI BAKAZARU!!!!!"

 

Sanzo and Hakkai watched the still form within the cage, and caught the twitch in the heretic's temple at Gojyo's words.

 

"WAKE UP MIDGIT!!!" Gojyo roared. The twitching grew more pronounced. "QUIT IGNORING ME, YOU LITTLE BRAT, OR I'M GONNA KICK YOUR ASS INTO NEXT YEAR!!"

 

Seiten Taisei began growling from deep in his throat. The sound was so deep and resonating, it was almost catlike in its throaty quality. Golden eyes flicked in Gojyo's direction.

 

"ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME, SARU!?! I SAID STOP BEING- eep!" He cut himself off when Seiten Taisei threw himself at the bars in a rage. Fists and claws collided with the mystical barrier at such high speeds, only Hakkai was able to truly follow the movement.

 

Hakkai and Sanzo glanced briefly back at Gojyo who was panting and cowering against the opposite wall. Sanzo raised an eyebrow.

 

"What?" Gojyo asked, tone slightly higher than normal. "He scarred the shit outta me!"

 

Hakkai chuckled before turning to Goku once again. He stared for a moment, as Seiten Taisei glared back at him, giving up his war against the bars. "Sanzo... what do you supposed we should call him?"

 

"What?"

 

"Do you think he goes by Goku? Or Seiten Taisei? Or perhaps something completely different?"

 

"Howa 'bout 'Monkey'?" Gojyo offered. Seiten Taisei growled.

 

"I don't think so, Gojyo."

 

"I don't know, Hakkai." Sanzo sighed. "Just try things until he responds."

 

"Hmm." Hakkai murmured curiously. "Goku?" The beast didn't even blink. "Seiten Taisei?" Still nothing.

 

Sanzo huffed in annoyance. "Figures. Damn monster probably doesn't even have a name. What do labels matter to it, anyway? All it does it break shit."

 

"You're right, Sanzo. 'Seiten Taisei' is merely a term the Gods have coined to brand him as a destructive force. And Goku... isn't the same person as the Seiten Taisei."

 

"Excellent deduction, Field Marshal. I should have expected such insight from you." The three of them spun around, searching for the source of this new voice. Seiten Taisei merely growled in what could be interpreted as displeasure. The new voice laughed airily. "Quite the situation you four have found yourselves in, dear Konzen."

 

Sanzo gave a start when a manicured hand landed lightly upon his shoulder. Attached to it...

 

"Great, just what we need. A hag." He growled.

 

Hakkai's eyes widened a fraction when he caught sight of their guest. "Merciful Goddess."

 

Gojyo backed up a few feet. "Everyone's conscious, right? She... it... doesn't gotta kiss me again, does she?"

 

Kanzeon laughed. "No, Kenren, I'm not here to steal another kiss. I'm here to help you poor, unfortunate souls."

 

"Why would we want your help?" Sanzo snapped. "It's your fault were in this mess to begin with."

 

The goddess looked taken aback. "Excuse me? This may have been the work of a god, but that does not mean all of Heaven was in on their scheming. Your encounter with War Prince Homura should have made that clear."

 

Sanzo grumbled.

 

"Does that mean you'll be willing to tell us what the seals read, Kannon-sama?" Hakkai asked hopefully.

 

"I'm sorry, Tenpou, but I'm still bound to interfere as little as possible, and reading those seals for you would make your mission all too easy."

 

"But easy's how we like it." Gojyo insisted.

 

"Tough luck." The Merciful Goddess smiled. "But how else would you like me to help?"

 

"Giving him his memories back would be helpful." Sanzo sneered, gesturing to the heretic within the cage, who was glowering sullenly at the new arrival.

 

She looked over at Goku. "Aw, he remembers me." She leaned closer. "I think."

 

"Remembers you?" Hakkai asked as she leant in even more. She snapped backward when he gnashed his teeth viciously and hissed.

 

"Oop. Yep, he remembers." She turned to Hakkai. "I gave him a disciplining during one of his temper tantrums up in Heaven way back." She smiled serenely.

 

Hakkai smiled back. "I see. But more importantly, would you happen to have any ideas on how you could help us? I'm worried how this whole incident is affecting Goku." Hakkai and Sanzo eyed the broken remains of chains littering the cell floor.

 

She thought for a moment. "Perhaps I could convince him to cooperate with you?"

 

Hakkai looked to Sanzo. He nodded. "That sounds like a good plan." He smiled.

 

"Outstanding." She grinned, clapping her hands together. "Now how do you propose I go about doing that?"

 

Gojyo gaped. "You mean you don't know how to do... whatever?"

 

She shook her head. "Not in the slightest. This little bugger's been quite the thorn in Heaven's side since he was conceived. If we knew how to handle him, the past would be quite different, now wouldn't it?"

 

"Whatever." Sanzo groaned. "Just do something."

 

"Lesse. You want him to read those seals right? Honestly, there are so many flaws in that plan..."

 

"We don't have much else to work with!" Gojyo barked angrily.

 

"Listen to me for a moment, Kenren. Even if you do manage to somehow manipulate him into deciphering them, how is he going to convey their words to you? Sign language?"

 

Sanzo walked over to the wall and let his forehead fall against it. "This... is hopeless."

 

Kanzeon cast him a sad glance. "Don't think like that, Konzen. There's always hope."

 

He gave he a one eyed glare in return. "What makes you so sure?"

 

"Why, you, of course."

 

"Hmph." Sanzo grumbled.

 

"You've never let him down before, Konzen, and I have no reason to believe this time will be any different." She turned away from them and marched over to the bars, where inside, Seiten Taisei was sniffing around the bottom edge of the walls. "Oi! Brat! Front n' center."

 

"With all due respect, Kannon-sama..." Hakkai tried, but he trailed off when Seiten Taisei slunk dejectedly towards where the Goddess was standing.

 

She smiled happily. "Glad to see I've still got him cowed. I honestly don't know if I'd really stand a chance against him at this point. He was so little before..." She trailed off wistfully.

 

Sanzo coughed expectantly.

 

"Ah. Right." She resumed her business. "Goku, I know Tenpou taught you to read while you were with us." She stated unhurriedly. Seiten Taisei looked like he was paying attention. "Now, do you have any idea why you can't break out of this cell?" She spoke at a leisurely pace and wit A LOT of hand gestures.

 

To all of their surprise, the creature nodded his head slowly.

 

"Good." She cooed. "Now, be a good boy, and listen to what Konzen tells you to do. He's trying to help you. He's always been trying to help you. For as long as I can remember."

 

Golden eyes flickered briefly in Sanzo's direction before returning their gaze to the womanly looking deity in front of them.

 

She turned with a flourish back to the other three. "He shouldn't give you much trouble from here on out. Just give him the proper guidance and he'll surprise you."

 

Gojyo snorted. "He's a fucking psychopath! How are we gonna..."

 

"There's a little bit of humanity in all creatures, Kenren. Just as there's a little bit of youkai in all of them, too. It just takes special circumstance for us to see it, is all." She glanced meaningfully at Hakkai.

 

Gojyo stared at her helplessly. "I really hope your right, lady."

 

Kanzeon laughed. "Good luck. Though if I were you, I'd be sure Konzen's the one who does the negotiating. For health reasons."

 

"Konzen... that's Sanzo right?" Gojyo asked.

 

She nodded.

 

"I won't argue that point! Have fun, Sanzo-sama!"

 

Sanzo ignored the jibe in favor of watching the Merciful Goddess fade from view. "If you're wrong and he gets hurt again, I will find a way to Heaven and kill you."

 

"I'm almost sorry you won't feel the need to make good on that promise, Konzen. Heaven's been so dull since you all went away." She winked before she was completely out of sight.

 

Hakkai turned to the other two. "Well, lets get working."

 

--

 

But even whilst two sides will conflict, without Yang there can be no Yin and with out light, to what do we compare the dark?

 

One cannot exist without the other, and yet they weren't meant to exist at all.

 

But all life has a purpose waiting to be discovered, no matter how sacrilegious that life is.

 

--

 

Sanzo watched warily as Seiten Taisei studied the seals, yet he couldn't shake the feeling that this whole ordeal was fucking pointless. Goku himself would never stand a chance figuring out complex mystic properties- how the hell was this monster going to fare any better?

 

And yet Seiten Taisei's calculating eyes spoke so differently.

 

When gold finally tore away from the seals, they looked straight into Sanzo's own stare. Unflinchingly, Seiten Taisei met Sanzo's gaze and nodded once, and pinning him with an expectant look.

 

"What does that mean?" Gojyo asked grumpily. He'd just smoked his last Hi-Lite, and Sanzo wouldn't spare a Marlboro for his cause.

 

"I think he's got something." Sanzo told him. "But he can't speak to us, so I don't know what he expects me to do- read his mind..." Shit. Who knew Seiten Taisei was aware of that stupid bond anyway? "Fuck. Hold on."

 

Focusing inward, he tried to listen for Goku's voice resonating somewhere, anywhere, within his mind, but there was nothing.

 

After a few moments, Seiten Taisei rolled his eyes and snarled before back up slightly and returning his attention to the bars and the seals plastered to them.

 

Sanzo bristled. It was stupid, he knew, but he couldn't help feeling like he'd just failed some test. "Listen you rotten little..."

 

"Sanzo." Hakkai admonished. "Don't provoke him. Please?"

 

They watched in silence as Seiten Taisei analyzed until he suddenly turned away, raising his hand palm up.

 

Hakkai and Gojyo sucked in a breath as balls of light came dancing up from the stone floor to rest in the palm of Seiten Taisei's outstretched hand.

 

"What the hell is he doing?" Sanzo grunted, when it became obvious his sidekicks knew what was going on, and he didn't.

 

"It's... the Earth's aura, Sanzo. H-He used it before, to heal himself after... that incident." Hakkai informed him shakily. The memories of that time were still so fresh, and Goku's power had been so... raw.

 

And yet the Sage was controlling it now. The energy seeped from the air into Goku's very skin, causing it to glow slightly as if there were fireflies under his skin.

 

He flexed the hand a few times before turning back to the others. He watched Sanzo imploringly, as if willing the priest to understand something.

 

"What does he want you to do?" Hakkai asked urgently.

 

"I don't know!" The blond hissed back, and was kicking himself inside for being unable to help in any way.

 

Seiten Taisei's continence darkened as he looked away and reached his glowing hand towards the bars.

 

With baited breath, they watched... and jumped back when the cosmic aura of the seal reacted violently to the concentrated youkai energy.

 

The beast pulled his hand back as if he'd been burned, but didn't look as all surprised. He watched Sanzo again.

 

With that shrewd gaze centered upon him, Sanzo found it hard to think. What did that little punk expect him to understand? So the seals burnt him when he utilized the Earth's aura. What of it? There wasn't much he could do with his own energy being repelled...

 

Heaven and Earth.

 

Maybe...

 

Crouching, Sanzo adopted a meditative pose upon the floor. Seiten Taisei grunted and retreated back against the far wall, slide down to hunch over on the ground.

 

A few moments of chanting later, the Scriptures erupted off his shoulders, and careening towards the protected bars.

 

Only to be repelled just as Seiten Taisei's aura had been.

 

"Alright." Sanzo breathed. "I get it, monkey. Now what do you expect me to do?"

 

"What's Sanzo talking about?" Gojyo whispered, only to be shushed by Hakkai.

 

Seiten Taisei raised his golden eyes to meet Sanzo's once more.

 

--

 

Only together can the dark and the light coexist. Apart, weakness is free to consume them, but together, they can tear down any obstacle.

 

Each was made to compliment the other. To be the better half. Out of this conflict, creation is born. And it is only while their differences threaten to rip them apart can they truly obtain synergy.

 

That's how it was meant to be.

 

--

 

One on each side of the bars, Seiten Taisei raised his face to stare up and through the ceiling, as if trying to see what lay upon the other side.

 

Sanzo, on the other hand, looked down toward his hands, folded just so in front of his breast plate, awaiting a signal.

 

The building shook, and Seiten Taisei's attention wavered.

 

"Focus, monkey!" Sanzo snapped.

 

A moment later, the room shook again, but in an altogether different fashion.

 

The air was now charged with electricity, thrumming through their senses and making hair stand on end. Gold eyes snapped to violet.

 

He aimed to make his voice clearer that it had ever been, but the intention was lost in the charged air of the room, and his mantra barely reached his ears.

 

In perfect synchronicity, his sutra surged forth at the same moment Seiten Taisei brought his power crashing to earth in the form of a devastating bolt of lightning.

 

To overload the system.

 

The outsiders watched as the lightning tore through neutral ceiling to reach the bars and Sanzo's Maten Scriptures power forward like a bullet.

 

They didn't see the collision.

 

--

 

Because it is a force greater than any god.

 

--

 

White light engulfed the audience.

 

--

 

It is life and it is death.

 

It is north and it is south.

 

--

 

Suddenly, his mind was filled with voices... or was it just one... shouting and yelling and screaming and cheering and crying...

 

--

 

They are chaos and they are creation.

 

Where one is strong, the other is weak.

 

Heaven and Earth.

 

--

 

"Goku...?"

 

--

 

Two halves of a whole. The ingredients that make up the perfect machine.

 

--

 

When the light receded, the bars were crumbling before them. Worn and withered, as if the result of a thousand years' rust.

 

Seiten Taisei's eyes weren't even attempting to mask his furious and terrifying glee.

 

But then they heard it.

 

The sound of marching feet, running feet, pounding towards them.

 

The defense force came pour around the corner the second before Seiten Taisei vanished into thin air.

 

One by one, the soldiers began falling.

 

--

 

They were meant to rule over creation together, destined by a higher power than even the gods can imagine. And yet, they can never do so, because they were created as perfect opposites. Destined to enhance the other's flaws in addition to their strengths.

 

--

 

"We have to stop him!" Hakkai urged as they watched footmen fall one after another to Seiten Taisei's wrath.

 

"How?! I've never seen the little shit this pissed before!" Gojyo hollered back over the commotion.

 

"He's just scared!" Hakkai reasoned. "He's reacting to the threat of his captors, but Goku wouldn't want it to be like this!"

 

"Hakkai's right." Sanzo agreed. "This is Seiten Taisei's way of handling the situation, but it's Goku who's going to have to live with the consequences when this is all over."

 

Gojyo sighed. "Well, then what's the plan, oh great Sanzo-sama?"

 

"If I can just get a shot at him with the Scriptures, I can detain him long enough to conjure a new limiter, but I'll need a diversion and possibly cover while I'm performing the mantra."

 

"Gojyo, you keep Seiten Taisei's attention away from Sanzo and I while Sanzo prepares and I'll make sure no stray soldiers or threats get in his way."

 

"Right. Don't let us down, Priesty-Pants!" Gojyo shouted as he dove into the melee.

 

Hakkai glanced at Sanzo. "Ready?"

 

"When am I not? I always have to be ready to fix one of their fuck ups."

 

"Just start chanting, Sanzo. Please?"

 

--

 

They are the balance of everything.

 

--

 

The moon was full.

 

They'd been imprisoned for four days. Half of the time they'd been unconscious.

 

Unless you were Goku.

 

In which case you've been unconscious for nearly the entire time and three days afterward.

 

Standing by a window, Sanzo smoked his cigarette leisurely, but never let his eyes leave Goku's form, still prone upon the bed.

 

He'd never admit it to anyone, but Goku'd scarred the hell out of him.

 

He never wanted to feel that way again.

 

But more than that, he never wanted Goku to feel that way again.

 

He'll never understand why, but Goku is something, someone, he wants, to protect. He took on that responsibility years ago when he didn't leave Goku alone in the forest surrounding Mt. Kaka. Now, he may not need to protect his charge from most things, but because of his decision to take that brat in he'd damned both of their lives.

 

Goku will all ways need him to keep the darkness at bay, and he just might need Goku for the same reason.

 

But wherever there is Goku, he'll also be weak. This... attachment will prove to be his downfall one day, of this, Sanzo is sure.

 

And when that day comes, Sanzo's ruin will only lead to Goku's undoing.

 

In that way, they are each other's vulnerability as well.

 

--

 

Doomed to forever be each other's weakness and strength. This is the heart of the colors and the Yin-Yang.

 

Not perfect, and yet never imperfect.

 

--

 

And despite it all, Sanzo couldn't bring himself to regret any of it.

_____________
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