Fanfic: What I Will Never Have
Pairings: 89, 39
Rating: I'm thinking NC-17
Warnings: angst, sex, (unrequited) love, character deaths, language
Disclaimer: Written for fun, not profit. I own none of the rights to Minekura's Saiyuki.
Summary: Hakkai never gets what he wants, in the end.

Notes: Thank yuus to my beta, EmpyrealFantasy, for putting up with the ebb and flow of my spasic writing patterns.

Email: mori_recalcitrant (at) hotmail (dot) com
Website: http://punkwolf39.livejournal.com



It had always been this way. Hakkai would watch, silent, from the sidelines as everything he would never admit to wanting was claimed before his eyes.

 

He had wanted Gojyo. He had wanted the redhead since their paths had crossed on that rainy night all those years ago. He understood that his want was largely attributed to Gojyo saving his life, but that didn't matter. All that did matter was the fact the Hakkai wanted the man, and couldn't have him.

 

Gojyo was not discrete in his exploits. Countless times Hakkai had politely excused himself from the house when his roommate stumbled home with another woman in tow. His facade never wavered, and his smile never faltered. Gojyo was happy with his life, and the last thing Hakkai wanted to do was mar the ease Gojyo had garnered for himself.

 

The one month faded into the next before another whirlwind blew into their lives unannounced.

 

Simplicity was disrupted by the arrival of two very remarkable young men. Sanzo and Goku burst into their lives with the grace and poise of a three-legged elephant. While their beginnings were rockier than most, not even Hakkai could attempt to explain the devious undercurrent that drew the four of them together. Soon, they'd see the pair twice a week, at least. Whether it was Hakkai and Gojyo who tramped up the path to Chang'An or Goku dragging Sanzo down for a hearty dinner, the result was the same. Whatever the case, it was undeniable that the four of them had become, albeit unwillingly, familiar with one another.

 

Goku, in himself, was another matter. The amount of sheer strength in that impossibly small package never ceased to amaze the healer. He had wondered at the impracticality of it all until Sanzo approached him while they watched Gojyo and Goku spar in one of the temple's many courtyards.

 

"You've been watching him." Came Sanzo's deep growl from beside him.

 

Hakkai jumped, partly at being so suddenly addressed, and partly at what he thought Sanzo was implying. Hakkai had always made sure to watch Gojyo discretely so as to never be caught in the act. Had he slipped up?

 

"I don't know what you mean." Hakkai answered, vowing not to confess until his backed into that most fearful corner.

 

Sanzo glanced out at the sparring duo. "Don't lie. I've seen you." He took a drag on his cigarette. "Doesn't matter though, it's understandable."

 

Hakkai was taken aback. "What do you mean?" Did Sanzo feel the same way for Gojyo that he did?

 

"He's not normal. I found that out when I dragged him here three years ago."

 

Three years ago? Oh!

 

"Goku, you mean?"

 

Sanzo gave Hakkai a strange look, but didn't comment. "Yeah."

 

"What makes him not normal? He seems like a perfectly healthy youkai boy to me."

 

"He's not a demon."

 

"A human then? But the diadem..."

 

"Have you ever heard of the Seiten Taisei?"

 

Hakkai looked thoughtful for a moment, looking back on the many books Gojyo had picked up for him while he was on bed rest so long ago. "Seiten Taisei? Isn't that the monster they say was born of the earth centuries ago?"

 

Sanzo nodded. "He was taken to Heaven after his true power was realized. Nothing more is known about him, except that he was sealed away for unknown crimes."

 

"What does that monster have to do with Goku?" Had this beast escaped? Had the boy's parents been killed by that horrible monster?

 

"Appearances can be deceiving, Hakkai. The Seiten Taisei was sealed away in a cave at the top of a mountain."

 

"Oh?"

 

"I found Goku at the top of Mt. Gogyo, chained inside a cave plastered with talismans."

 

Hakkai wasn't quick to respond. "... you don't mean..."

 

Sanzo nodded once again.

 

"But he's just a child! And the Seiten Taisei existed hundreds of years ago!" 'The Seiten Taisei is a monster!'

 

"500 years ago."

 

"That cannot be possible." Hakkai reasoned.

 

"I thought the same thing, until his limiter broke."

 

"What happened?" Hakkai's words were punctuated by Goku's distant battle cry.

 

Sanzo shook his head and bent his neck to cup his forehead in his hand. "Never let his limiter break, Hakkai. Never."

 

Heeding Sanzo's warning, Hakkai never had. But from then on, he had been fascinated by Goku. A being 516 years old, walking, fighting, eating among them. Gojyo later relayed to Hakkai what Sanzo had told him back when they first met. About Goku's extensive hunger being attributed to his many years in the cave without food. Hakkai never chided Goku on his eating habits after that.

 

Goku grew, along with all of them, as they years wore on, and soon the days found them on their journey west. He may not have looked all of his speculated 18 years, but his growth was certainly evident. The rounded face become slightly more angular and gangly arms gained a hard-earned layer of sinewy muscle. And though he might not show it, he was growing mentally, too. Sanzo and Gojyo tended to overlook these changes, however, leaving Hakkai alone considering Goku's evolution.

 

It was about this time Hakkai began to look on at Goku with more than wonder, but awe. Goku's strength, when he put his mind to it, grew exponentially. He and Gojyo had stopped sparring when Gojyo found himself on the losing end of Nyoi-bo 10 times out of 10. Their brotherly spats still occurred, but Goku never fought in the previous manor with Gojyo ever again.

 

Hakkai began to notice the shift just after they battled the scorpion demon in the desert. Goku had, in so many ways, the same innocence that Kanan had when she had still been alive. But Goku was also her complete opposite. Goku could take care of himself and his love for life and all it contained, never wavered. The brilliance that Goku radiated blinded Hakkai. Goku was so much Kanan, that it almost hurt, yet so little of her that Hakkai began to accept that his want had expanded to include Sanzo's teenage charge. 

 

Sanzo's teenage charge. While Goku would technically be within his means to obtain, only one problem kept Hakkai from acting upon his wishes. Sanzo. While Sanzo didn't appear to be so, he was very protective of Goku, though in a platonic fashion. Hakkai did not want to imagine Sanzo's reaction to learning of the healer's feelings for the young heretic. So Hakkai accepted this hindrance and added another to his list of unattainable wants.

 

Then, Homura arrived in all his heavenly glory.

 

For the first time, Hakkai saw Goku experience a fascination beyond the challenge Kougaiji presented. Kougaiji was an obstacle he'd overcome soon enough, yet the power that challenged him now was that of a god.

 

Hakkai inwardly seethed at the blatant attention Goku received from Homura, but hid it all under his expert mask. Goku seemed enthralled with the god, yet entirely oblivious to the man's motives. Hakkai thought it just as well. If Goku had known of Homura's intentions, would he have accepted them?

 

It was a problem Hakkai did not take much time to consider. Not long after, the War Prince announced his desire to obtain Goku as well as the Maten Sutra.

 

And Hakkai had found himself with another problem.

 

Sanzo seemed to take more offense than expected to Homura's declaration. And it was on the night that Goku was kidnapped by the gods, Hakkai realized, Sanzo was realizing Goku's growth as well.

 

The Homura events came and went, and Goku was predictably troubled by his opponent's death. But while he grieved, one thing was assured, Goku had grown stronger than any of them had ever imagined. And Hakkai mourned the new gaze Sanzo adopted when the boy wasn't looking.

 

Homura may be dead, but Sanzo was a threat that was very, very real.

 

Sanzo did not act, however. He remained silent and slowly, a rift became apparent between Sanzo and his charge.

 

'Of course.' Hakkai thought. 'Feelings of attachment are what Sanzo has spent the last decade trying to avoid.' Hakkai's hopes began to climb as he thought of Sanzo moving away from this new fixation with Goku.

 

His hopes were for naught, he found, when an unknown attacker brought Goku to his knees. Sanzo's reaction had been all but that of a guardian.

 

It had been all Hakkai could do to refrain from slapping Sanzo more than once to rouse him from his stupor. Sanzo vanished into the night, leaving Gojyo and Hakkai to care for their fallen comrade alone.

 

In the minutes that followed, Hakkai found himself in his youkai form, about to face of with the Seiten Taisei.

 

And it was... thrilling.

 

To pit his stronger form against that of one of the most powerful creatures on earth was as exciting as it was terrifying.

 

Not that Hakkai was happy about having to remove his limiters, no. But this was a chance that wouldn't come along often. Hakkai had never really faced Seiten Taisei upon equal footing before.

 

But not long into the fight, Hakkai felt his control waver. He pounded upon Goku mercilessly until Gojyo had intervened, keeping him form making a horrible mistake. If it weren't for Gojyo, Hakkai would have killed one of the things he considered most precious. He was indebted to Gojyo once again.

 

It was different this time, Hakkai mused as he watched Goku doze in his post-transformation slumber. He couldn't pinpoint the moment when Gojyo had begun to slowly become overshadowed by the light that was Goku. He still owed Gojyo, from before, and for recent events... but Gojyo was no longer a want. No. Hakkai wanted Goku. And now that Sanzo was gone... he just might have him.

 

He was disgusted at himself for these thoughts. Thinking of Goku as property was appalling, to the healer. No. Goku would be under enough stress upon waking. Hakkai would not add to that. And the fact that Sanzo had left them... how would Goku react?

 

When Goku finally awoke, the typical post-transformation argument ensued. Hakkai's heart was warmed by the genuine worry in Goku's voice at the sight of the healer's wounds.

 

Predictably, Goku moped for the first few days, but soon his inner light began to shine again, though Hakkai would often catch him staring off into space... and it was no mystery what the young man would be thinking about. He missed Sanzo terribly.

 

Things only got worse from there. In the youkai city, the sweltering sun did nothing to calm any of their nerves... and Goku's physical growth became all the more apparent. He was still lithe, but with an all-over layer of taut muscle underneath his bronzed skin. And Hakkai wasn't the only one noticing.

 

That wretched girl! She may have been nearly as abrasive as their absent monk, but she clearly had an affinity for their youngest member; an affinity that Goku seemed to be returning. They talked often and he seemed to really enjoy being in her company. Hakkai just couldn't win.

 

She'd kissed Goku. And Hakkai was fairly sure that it had been the saru's first kiss that she's stolen.

 

Not Homura.

Not Sanzo.

Not Hakkai.

 

A small town youkai girl who died in an explosion minutes later.

 

After all was said and done, Sanzo eventually returned to them, a fawning Hazel in tow. A Hazel who was remarkably amulet-less. Sanzo filled Hakkai in on Gato's rebellion and Hakkai decided it would be decent of him to fill Sanzo in as well.

 

"Ano... Sanzo..."

 

"Hmm?" Sanzo mumbled, reclining in his chair and drawing deeply upon the cigarette between his lips. He and Hakkai had retreated to the monk's room to talk, what with Hazel being a pest and clinging hopelessly to the blonde.

 

"You missed... quite a lot while you were gone."

 

"Really?" Sanzo humored, not sounding remotely interested.

 

"Ah. Much of which had to do with Goku, specifically."

 

This seemed to get Sanzo's attention, and Hakkai recognized the tell-tale signs of someone trying very hard to mask their curiosity.

 

"You see..." Hakkai began. "While we were staying in the youkai village... Goku met a girl."

 

"What?" Sanzo's tone was clipped and steely. Hakkai inwardly flinched.

 

"Yes. And... he took quite the liking to her, I'm afraid."

 

"Was she a little kid or something? Nine or ten?"

 

'Oh, Sanzo.' Hakkai thought to himself. 'I never thought I'd see you in this kind of denial.' "No. She looked about his age."

 

Sanzo growled, obviously guessing where this was going.

 

"It seems that, she kissed him at one point." Hakkai tensed, awaiting Sanzo's reaction.

 

Sanzo stiffened visibly. Hakkai braced himself for the outburst he was sure was coming, but instead Sanzo was up and out the door in seconds, stomping downstairs to where Gojyo and Goku were mingling with the lingering westerners.

 

"Oh dear." Hakkai whispered, quickly standing to follow in Sanzo's wake. He arrived in the doorway just after Sanzo. The monk was scanning the room for their companions. And Hakkai had no idea what he was going to do. It scared him.

 

He spotted their group before Sanzo and hurried over, registering the heavy footsteps behind him, signaling Sanzo's approach. Hakkai tried to catch Goku's attention to warn him about whatever fate was in store for him, but didn't get the chance.

 

Sanzo passed him and immediately stormed up to Goku's side.

 

Goku registered Sanzo presence quickly. "Huh? Oh! Hi, Sanzo!"

 

"Where is she?" Sanzo growled, looming over his seated charge. Goku looked over to Hakkai for answers. Hakkai returned the confused glance with a sad smile of his own. Goku seemed to catch on.

 

"Oh..." He dropped his gaze away from the violet one of his guardian's.

 

"Spit it out saru."

 

"She's dead." Sanzo looked surprised for a second before he masked it again.

 

"Dead?"

 

"Yeah. She killed herself to take down some of the humans..."

 

"Good." Goku looked scandalized by Sanzo's words, gaze snapping back to his sun's.

 

"Wha? How could you say that Sanzo?"

 

"Because I was going to kill her anyway." They had the attention of Hazel, Gato and Gojyo now.

 

"W-why?"

 

Sanzo hauled Goku to his feet and pulled him close. "She took what was mine." He hissed before soundly pressing his lips to Goku's. Hazel made a distressed sound in the background, but Hakkai didn't notice or care. All he could hear was the sound of his heart breaking.

 

Things were different after that. Sanzo demanded a lot more alone time with Goku, and Goku seemed only too willing to comply. Hazel balked at the new relationship for the first couple of days, where Sanzo and Goku were practically inseparable, but eventually the bishop and his companion left the company of the Ikkou. They hit the road once again.

 

Later on, Hakkai found his friends' new relationship being thrown in his face at every turn.

 

The first time the extent of what Sanzo and Goku had going really hit Hakkai was a night three weeks later. Sanzo and Goku had retired as soon as Goku had finished eating. Hakkai and Gojyo remained downstairs a little while longer playing cards before Gojyo went off to find company for the night. Hakkai ambled upstairs, passing Goku and Sanzo's room.

 

It was quiet behind the slightly cracked door, so Hakkai supposed that Sanzo had gone out for a smoke before retiring. The healer gently pushed open the door hoping to find Goku beyond it.

 

He did. But the heretic was not alone.

 

In the dim light of the room, Hakkai could make out the two shapes moving upon the bed in a silent rhythm. He watched in morbid fascination, his eyes growing accustomed to the darkness, as two smallish hands reach up and clasped desperately at pale shoulders. Light panting reached Hakkai's ears.

 

"Sanzo..." Goku hissed from underneath the blonde.

 

"Hmm?"

 

"H-harder..."

 

Sanzo didn't respond, save his increase in pace. His hips bucked and thrust beneath the sheets. The impression of his back beneath the thin coverings looked odd, and Hakkai supposed that Goku had his legs wrapped around Sanzo's midsection.

 

Heat pooled in Hakkai's groin. Goku gasped softly and arched up into his lover, and Sanzo groaned in response. Hakkai's blood felt like venom as it pulsed through his veins, heated by the impossibly erotic scene before him. Goku writhed and wriggled under Sanzo's attentions, moans growing more and more wanton by the second.

 

"S-Sanzo..." The monk's thrusting picked up again.

 

"Go... ku..." He bent forward and captured Goku's lips with his own in a desperate kiss.

 

It was here that Hakkai left them, heartbeat pounding against the walls of his chest. The scene, as intimate and passionate as it had been, had been so inexplicably tender, it made Hakkai ache for what could have been, had everything been different. He hurried down the corridor to his own room, and a cold shower.

 

Hakkai became an unwilling witness again four months later.

 

The inn's common room was silent and dark, lit only by the white light of the moon shining through the window. Hakkai, who had softly entered for a glass of water, came upon a most unexpected sight.

 

Curled upon the couch, sat Sanzo and Goku, the younger partially upon the priest's lap. Sanzo's slender hands held Goku firmly against him while Goku's head rested upon Sanzo's shoulder. The brunette of the two seemed to be nearly asleep, content within his keeper's arms. Hakkai watched from the staircase as the two basked in each other's presence, the ache returning.

 

"Sanzo..." Goku whispered.

 

"What is it saru?" Sanzo murmured, voice as soft as Goku's.

 

"We're getting pretty far west, huh?"

 

"Yeah, but not nearly fast enough." Sanzo griped, voice still soft.

 

"Why do ya say that, Sanzo?"

 

"I wanna get back to the temple. Or wherever we go after this. This stupid mission's taking to damn long."

 

"I guess it'd be nice to be able to relax for once." Goku mumbled, sleep tingeing his voice, slurring it slightly. Sanzo's arms coiled around Goku, pulling the heretic closer.

 

"Damn right it would be." Sanzo huffed. When he spoke next his voice was significantly quieter. "Besides, I'd like to know what being with you would be like outside of this fucking quest. No more inns or days of traveling in Jeep."

 

"Yeah. It'll be nice. I mean, I really like bein' with ya now, Sanzo, but... being able to spend, like, days alone with you..."

 

"Idiot, you've done it before." Hakkai noted how only Sanzo could make an insult endearing.

 

"S'not the same."

 

"I know, monkey."

 

"Sanzo?"

 

"Hmm?"

 

"I love you."

 

Sanzo laughed softly. "You too, monkey."

 

Hakkai regretted all the less than honorable thoughts he had harbored for Sanzo since the instigation of his relationship with Goku. How could he feel negative toward the man when they sounded so happy out there together? He'd never felt Goku's aura glow brighter than it did while he was wrapped within Sanzo's arms. He would not ruin this for Goku. Not when the young man had found such happiness.

 

Hakkai retreated upstairs without looking back. Goku was, once again, unobtainable.

 

 

This was it. The climax to months of travel had finally arrived.

 

Blood. So much blood.

 

"SANZO!!!"

 

 

 

That anguished cry haunted Hakkai for weeks after their final battle in Houtou Castle. They'd won, of course. There'd never really been any doubt that they would.

 

And he hadn't seen Goku in three weeks.

 

Because Sanzo hadn't survived the battle.

 

Goku's limiter had broken after the monk died in Goku's quaking arms. The castle's defenses were taken care of easily, and without looking back, Seiten Taisei had stormed out of the castle howling in the most painful voice Hakkai'd ever heard.

 

He and Gojyo had gathered the Sutras and began their long trek home, minus two of their friends.

 

Gojyo smoked and brooded constantly, dismayed at how so much had gone wrong. It wasn't supposed to be this way, they both knew. Sanzo was supposed to alive, loving Goku. Goku was supposed to be here with them, not rampaging about India like a rabid monkey.

 

Both were surprised by the lack of rumors concerning Seiten Taisei's freedom. After all, there was no Sanzo to bring Goku back from the depths of Seiten Taisei's insanity.

 

Hakkai sorely missed Goku.

 

It was while Hakkai was trying to fall asleep one night that he heard someone open the door to his room. There was no accompanying scent of Hi-Lites, so it couldn't have been Gojyo at this late hour. Hakkai bolted upright, charging a crackling blast of chi, only to find haunted golden eyes staring back at him. He allowed the blast to dissipate.  

 

"Goku?"

 

Yes. It was very much Goku inhabiting the body they had previously associated with Seiten Taisei. Long, unruly hair cascaded down the boy's back, pointed ears peeking through. Clawed hands hung limp at his sides, and distinctly round pupils trained hazily upon the healer.

 

"Hakkai."

 

"Are you alright?"

 

"Yes."

 

"... are you sure? We haven't seen you since..."

 

"I know."

 

"How..."

 

"No idea."

 

Hakkai was uneasy with Goku's clipped answers.

 

"Sanzo told me something, a few days before..." Goku hinted, trailing off.

 

"Oh?"

 

"It was about you."

 

This confused Hakkai. What would Sanzo have to say to Goku concerning him?

 

"He said..." Goku shook his head, brown locks fanning about him. He approached Hakkai's bed and sat down on the edge. "Will you fuck me, Hakkai?"

 

Hakkai wanted to vomit and croon at the same time. Though he didn't understand. Why would Goku ask that of him? "What are you talking about, Goku?"

 

"I want you to fuck me. Please." Goku's voice hinted desperation as a golden gaze met emerald, unwavering, but not strong. No. Goku was dying inside.

 

"I can't do that Goku."

 

"Yes you can! Please, Hakkai!"

 

"Why?"

 

"I miss him... more than anything. Everything hurts, Hakkai. Make me forget."

 

Hakkai sighed. "What did Sanzo say to you, Goku?"

 

"He told me... that you watched me."

 

"Oh?"

 

"That you'd been watching, since before even Homura watched me." Hakkai was taken aback.

 

"Goku, you..."

 

"I thought you knew that I wasn't an idiot, Hakkai? 'm not stupid. I understood what Homura wanted. Didn't mean I was going to give it to him." Goku's gaze narrowed slightly and he leaned in toward a very flustered Hakkai. "So? Are you going to fuck me or what?"

 

"Please don't use such language, Goku." Hakkai chided as he tried to stall for time.

 

Goku snorted before closing the space between them, kissing Hakkai with every ounce of strength he contained.

 

Sanzo had trained Goku well. The teenager was an excellent kisser, and Hakkai found himself drowning in an essence he had only dreamt of before now.

 

Hakkai deftly flipped them over so Goku was pinned beneath him, never breaking the kiss. He continued to pillage Goku's yielding mouth, until Goku broke the contact, throwing his head back and gasping for air. The sight was like an aphrodisiac to the older brunette and he felt his long turgid length begin to harden. He grasped Goku sides firmly and pulled the teen close as he began to ravish the boy's lean neck, feeling the tendons shift under his attentions. Latching on to Goku's pulse, he allowed his hand to trail down Goku's stomach, seeking out the arousal he felt growing against his navel.

 

They moved as one upon the bed, twisting and turning, writhing and arching until Goku began to beg for what Hakkai had never given another man.

 

"Hakkai, please... I need you... inside me..." Hakkai didn't know what to make of this. Sure, he knew how sex with another man worked, and he'd seen Sanzo and Goku together on a few occasions, but nothing could have prepared him for the chance to actually be the one making love to Goku. "Hakkai?"

 

"Yes, Goku?" Hakkai breathed.

 

"Have you ever done this before?"

 

"Goku, you forget my years with..."

 

"I mean with another guy. Have you ever had sex with another guy before?"

 

"... no."

 

Goku didn't seem to be keen on topping, even though Hakkai knew for a fact the heretic had taken Sanzo on more than one occasion. So Goku walked him through what he had to do. He slowly stretched Goku's entrance, scissoring his two then three fingers as Goku instructed. When Goku's body was prepared, Hakkai took the lube Goku had brought with him and coated his own erection with the cool solution.

 

Hakkai positioned himself to slowly enter Goku, but was halted when Goku brought himself crashing down roughly upon Hakkai's member. Both gasped at the sudden intrusion, and Hakkai immediately worried that he'd hurt Goku, but Goku was already moving once again to slam back down upon Hakkai.

 

Lost in his daze, Hakkai happened to glance down at where their bodies were joined. He gasped at the thrilling sight of seeing Goku so intimately impaled upon his length. Never had Hakkai imagined it would come to this.

 

"Hakkai..." Goku groaned. "...please... move...!"

 

The healer didn't need to be told twice. He began to pound Goku like both their lives depended on it. His eyes were scrunched shut as he let the overwhelming pleasure course through his veins like fire. He leaned down so that his sweat soaked chest was pressed against Goku's, feeling the teen's erection sandwiched between them.

 

"Goku..." Hakkai groaned, immediately envying all the times Sanzo'd had the chance to experience Goku in such a way. He let his forehead rest against Goku's, and threaded his hands through long chocolate hair, all the while not pausing once in his frantic thrusts. He felt clawed hands clutch at his forearms, careful enough not to gouge bloody tracts in them.

 

Hakkai opened his eyes to take in Goku's face as them moved in sync with one another. He was dismayed to find two steady trails of tears leaking from Goku's closed eyes, even through the mask of pleasure that was fixed upon the boy's face.

 

Hakkai, no matter how badly he wanted to, didn't move to wipe away Goku's tears. Because he knew, it was not what Goku wanted of him. Goku would be forever mourning the loss of Sanzo, no matter what Hakkai did. Goku had not come here seeking comfort, he had come seeking a distraction, a way to forget about the hole left in his heart when Sanzo stopped breathing.

 

So even as Hakkai felt Goku's release splatter against his midsection... even as Hakkai himself came, pouring his seed deep inside of Goku's body... Hakkai knew, Goku would never be his. The heretic would always belong to Sanzo, not matter how long the man'd been dead. Even after the air around them had cooled and Hakkai had rolled of the sleeping brunette, he knew, he still didn't have what he wanted. And he never would.

 

Hakkai lay there for hours, staring off into the dark of the room, listening to the sounds of Goku's even breath next to him. Sometime around three in the morning, something began to glow near the edges of Hakkai's vision. Glancing over, he gasped.

 

There, like a ghostly apparition, stood an ethereal image of Sanzo. But before Hakkai's very eyes, the vision shifted and in Sanzo's place stood an equally tall man with a face much like Sanzo's but had long hair that was tied back, reaching down to his waist. Before long the image shifted once again, back to Sanzo.

 

Slowly, the figure leaned down, reaching out toward the heretic dozing upon the bed. He cupped the boy's cheek in a softly glowing hand. He mouthed something that Hakkai could barely make out, even when reading the apparition's lips.

 

"I'll wait for you."

 

Goku groaned in his sleep and pressed his face toward the hand, but to Hakkai's surprise, the hand passed straight through the boy. Sanzo's face took on a sad look, watching his own body pass through without feeling.

 

"San..." Goku whispered in his sleep... and before Hakkai knew what to think, the teen's breathing began to slow.

 

"No..." Hakkai whispered, panic seizing his heart like a vice. "No, Goku!" He made to reach forward and shake the boy awake, but a firm hand upon his shoulder forced him to do otherwise.

 

"Just a minute there, Tenpou." A satiny voice murmured. He recognized it from just after Goku's first transformation of their journey. The Goddess of Mercy.

 

"He's dying. You can't expect me to..."

 

"Yes I can, dear Tenpou. And I do. Konzen's soul has been waiting for Goku so they can pass on together. I know you know that boy loves Konzen, so why deny him that happiness?"

 

"But... I love..."

 

"I know, Tenpou. I know... But what you feel for Son Goku is nothing compared to the bond they share. I'm sorry it had to end this way for you." Goku's breathing was almost non-existent. Sanzo, in the moments before Goku's last breaths, had kneeled upon the floor and rested his head upon folded arms next to Goku on the bed. He watched Goku steadily, waiting.

 

"How is Sanzo...?"

 

"He chose not to move on until Goku was ready to do so as well. It was him to tamed Seiten Taisei out in the woods, though Goku surely doesn't remember it."

 

"Where will they go?" Goku's chest rose and fell once.

 

"Oh, we have special plans for them." Twice. "Same for you and Kenren." Three times.

 

"I see." It didn't rise again. Hakkai felt hot trails of tears escape his eyes. Goku was really gone.

 

Sanzo lifted his head off his arms and looked expectantly at Goku's prone body. Soon, something that looked like it was under Goku's very skin began to stir. A glow similar to Sanzo's began to radiate off the boy's body, but while Sanzo's was almost a teal color, this one was a warm orange, and noticeably brighter that his guardian's.

 

The glowing figure fused with Goku's form sat up, lifting a clawed hand to his coronet-less head. His mouth opened, but Hakkai heard nothing of what looked like a moan. The specter's eyes opened, and caught sight of Sanzo leaning on the bed and a bright smile bloomed upon Goku's ethereal face.

 

"Notice how Konzen's soul doesn't glow as bright as Goku's." Konzeon whispered.

 

"Because Goku's soul is stronger than Sanzo's." Hakkai reasoned.

 

"At one point, you may have been right, Tenpou, but no. When Konzen died, his soul glowed equal to Goku's."

 

"Then why?"

 

"Because Sanzo sacrificed a piece of himself to strengthen Goku's control. It gave the boy a way to overpower his other half, and take full control." She answered, but whispered afterwards, "I wish I'd thought of that."

 

In a moment, Goku had tackled the vision of Sanzo and they both lay sprawled upon the floor. Sanzo's form shifted once again to that with the long hair, and Hakkai supposed that facet was Konzen.

 

Konzen/Sanzo smiled softly down at the teen pressed against them, whose mouth was moving fast, yet there was only silence.

 

"How am I able to see this?" Hakkai asked in disbelief of the scene before him. Goku's corpse still lay in bed next to him, yet he paid it no mind. The real Goku was on the floor a few feet away, latched tightly onto Sanzo, whose body had been lost amid the carnage that was once Houtou Castle, in the wake of Seiten Taisei's destruction.

 

"You're seeing it through my eyes, Tenpou. For the devotion with which you loved Konzen's charge, you deserved to see him happy once again."

 

"And why can't I hear them?"

 

"Ah ah ah, Tenpou. What they say to each other during this reunion is no business of yours, I'm afraid."

 

Hakkai watched as Sanzo responded to whatever Goku had told him, and Goku curled against the monk's chest. One pale, glowing hand raised to rest upon Goku's back and Sanzo smiled warmly down at the boy he loved.

 

"Alright you two lovebirds." Konzeon sang out, catching the attention of the pair. "We have business to attend to so get your butts in gear!"

 

Goku looked puzzled, having never been in the presence of the Merciful Goddess before, but Sanzo just scowled. He barked something at the tall figure before them, but the Goddess just laughed.

 

"Always the sociable one, aren't you, Konzen?"

 

Sanzo rolled his eyes, and both of them rose from the floor. It was then they noticed Hakkai, who was blatantly staring at them. Sanzo glared mildly at the man but didn't act. Goku left Sanzo's side to approach the living brunette. Konzeon snapped her fingers somewhere behind them.

 

"Sankyuu, Hakkai." The ghost Goku said softly.

 

"For what, Goku?"

 

"For looking out for me. For always sticking up for me, even when those bastards were being assholes." Behind him, Sanzo snorted.

 

"I can hear you, idiot." The former-blonde sneered.

 

Goku ignored him, as did Hakkai.

 

The heretic smiled gently. "And I meant what I said way back. I wouldn't mind dying with you; you were always so nice to me." He paused briefly. "But I'd rather die with Sanzo."

 

"I understand. And it was nothing, Goku, really."

 

The heretic sighed. "Yeah, maybe." He leaned down toward Hakkai. "But thanks anyway." He placed an unfelt kiss upon Hakkai's frozen lips, but to the healer, Goku might as well have been solid before him. The action was quick and chaste, and Goku was soon to pull away.

 

In the background, Sanzo grumbled, but said nothing.

 

"I guess we gotta go now, Hakkai. Tell Gojyo I said goodbye, alright?"

 

"Of course, Goku."

 

"And Hakkai?" It was Sanzo who addressed the healer this time.

 

"Yes, Sanzo?"

 

"I'm willing to forget that...," He inclined his head toward the bed Hakkai still sat upon, "...ever happened, if you promise to do one thing for me."

 

Hakkai had the sneaking suspicion that that 'thing' would be to cut of his own privates, but he did feel slightly bad about taking Goku, when Goku still obviously belonged to Sanzo. "Hai, Sanzo, whatever you need."

 

"Take his body...," He nodded toward Goku. "...to a mountain in the east, called Mt. Kaka."

 

"Why there, Sanzo?" Hakkai asked softly.

 

Sanzo glanced over at Goku who was watching them nervously. "It's where he was born. His body will be returned to the earth." Goku's eyes trained on Sanzo and he smiled sadly.

 

"Do you know what's going to happen to you two?"

 

Sanzo shook his head. "No, but I bet this old hag does." He looked over at the Goddess who smiling warmly at them, the mischievous glint never leaving her eye.

 

"Good luck to you then." Hakkai offered.

 

"Same to you." Sanzo replied. "And tell the kappa... he wasn't such a waste of skin."

 

"Bye Hakkai." Goku murmured softly as Sanzo walked over to him and wrapped the young man in his arms.

 

"Time to go, boys." The Merciful Goddess cooed. The three of them began to fade out. Sanzo suddenly snapped to attention.

 

"Hakkai, remember that acolyte we ran into about a month into the journey?"

 

"Hai. Yo, wasn't it?"

 

"Yeah. Tell him, that Genjyo Sanzo has chosen him to be the next Sanzo priest. He should have his chakra when you get there. Some holy ordinance or something."

 

"Sanzo?"

 

"He will carry the Seiten and Maten scriptures, and I leave it in his hands to find bearers for the other three."

 

Hakkai was slightly confused, but his friends had almost completely disappeared. "It will be done, Sanzo."

 

And they were gone.

 

 

When Gojyo stumbled into Hakkai's room the next morning, he found his friend sitting on the windowsill watching the early stages of the sunrise.

 

Before he could address the brunette, however, something on the bed caught his eye.

 

"Holy Shit! What the hell Hakkai? When did Goku get back?"

 

"Last night." Hakkai said quietly.

 

"How long you think he'll be out for?"

 

Hakkai turned and looked sadly at Gojyo. "Take a closer look, Gojyo."

 

Gojyo looked at Hakkai quizzically before doing as he was told. He approached the bed and looked closely at the monkey. First thing he noticed was that he was in rabid monkey form. The second thing, was that the chimp wasn't breathing.

 

"He's... he's..."

 

"Dead, Gojyo. He died a few hours ago."

 

"Wh-what the hell?! I didn't think the monkey could die!"

 

"He probably couldn't... under normal circumstances."

 

"Those gotta be some pretty damn scary circumstances to take Goku out!"

 

Hakkai shook his head. "Not scary to you or I, but..."

 

"Would you just spit it out, Hakkai?"

 

"I know how this may sound, Gojyo, but Goku died of heartbreak."

 

"That's the stupidest thing I ever heard!"

 

"Before last night, I'd have thought the same thing." Hakkai murmured sadly.

 

Gojyo walked over to Hakkai, and looked directly into the man's green eyes. "Hakkai, what happened?"

 

Hakkai wanted more than anything to break down in tears right them, but steadfastly retained his composure. "Goku told me to tell you goodbye, Gojyo." A sniff escaped. "And Sanzo said... for me to tell you..."

 

"What the fuck?! Hakkai, hate to break it to you, but Sanzo's dead! Dead, man, DEAD!"

 

"And he was very much dead last night as well... when he came for Goku."

 

Gojyo relaxed a bit. "You know... I think I've seen just enough crazy shit on this trip to believe that story."

 

"I sure hope so, Gojyo... because I might need help myself."

 

Gojyo sighed and wrapped Hakkai in a one armed hug. "C'mon. Let's get back east already."

 

They walked out of the inn in the later stages of the sunrise, Goku's lifeless form draped over Gojyo back, long hair hanging as limp as his limbs.

 

"Hey, shouldn't he have gone stiff or something by now? And won't he rot on the way back?"

 

"You know, Gojyo, I don't think we'll have to worry about him rotting. The earth is still alive beneath out feet, is it not?"

 

Hakuryu kyuu'd a little ways ahead of them, swinging his fringed head wildly about and bucking it toward the sky.

 

Hakkai and Gojyo looked up.

 

Gojyo chuckled. "Well, if that isn't the cheesiest thing I've ever seen."

 

Hakkai smiled softly at the pattern of muted violet and gold that danced across the sky. "Yes," He agreed, unable to hide the grief in his voice. "It is."

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