Disclaimer: Saiyuki = not mine
Rating: PG-13 for violence and language
Warnings: Sort-of 39, violence, language
Author’s note: Based on something Sanzo says in volume one of Reload. *cough* I’m sick.
Goku had always been a constant. He never failed to be there, to be the same. At least, that was the way it had always been.
And then Goku had gotten sick. It was so sudden that no one had known how it happened. Just one day, he had gotten nauseous and passed out in bed.
Of course, everyone had been worried. Goku didn’t get sick. It was something unheard of, and it had everyone on edge. For once, there was no arguing, no threatening, no noise. There were only hushed voices and heavy breathing.
When Goku didn’t get better after 3 days, the party went into serious depression. It had been decided that, since Goku might be contagious, Sanzo was the only one who would get near to him. They really didn’t know if he was contagious or not, since they didn’t know what he had, but being safe never hurt anyone.
By the fifth day, Goku’s fever had not gone down, but he was finally conscious for decent periods of time. Gojyo and Hakkai barely saw Sanzo anymore. And, they supposed, for good reason.
Sanzo spent every hour of the day by Goku’s bedside. He couldn’t remember the last time he had eaten, and he never slept for more than 10 minutes at a time. He had begun counting the days according to the time Goku had been sick, and spent his time trying not to worry.
But for the few hours a day that Goku had been awake, both of them had been happy. They had exchanged a few words, but most of the time they were quiet. Contented that the other one cared, amazed that, for now, there were no masks. Those few hours had been near paradise.
But paradise was fleeting, because, by the seventh day, Goku was getting better again. The whole party was amazed when Sanzo announced it, and optimism seemed to be returning to Gojyo and Hakkai. But when Sanzo returned to Goku’s room, he seemed sad.
“What is it?” Sanzo asked, returning to his spot on the floor, his back resting against the bed.
“If I die,” Goku started, but Sanzo cut him off. “Don’t worry about that.”
Goku shook his head, though, and continued. “If I die, Sanzo, what’re you gonna do?”
Sanzo paused. “Mourn,” he finally responded after a few minutes.
Goku half-smiled. “I want you to…um…cream-ate me.”
Sanzo tried not to laugh. “You mean cremate.”
“Yeah,” Goku agreed, almost energetically. “And then I want you to scatter me in the wind.”
Sanzo nodded slightly, acknowledging the statement as Goku continued. “I don’t wanna be trapped anymore.”
“Understandable,” Sanzo muttered, and then silence returned.
After a few moments, Goku suddenly spoke up again. “Sanzo?”
“What?” Sanzo had replied more gruffly than he had intended.
“When I die…I want you to have my diadem.”
Sanzo blinked, then looked up at Goku. “You sure?” Goku had nodded, and Sanzo had shrugged. “Whatever. If that’s what you want.”
He had seen Goku smile before falling back to sleep with a “Thank you…Sanzo…” Sanzo had smiled to himself. “Whatever.”
However, Gojyo, Sanzo, and Hakkai had awoken on the eighth day to cries of pain from Goku’s room. They had rushed in, afraid for the worst.
Goku was curled up in a ball sitting in the bed, his hands clamped to his head. “Argh!”
“Goku! What’s wrong?” Hakkai asked, worry invading his tone.
“It’s –it’s taking –over--!” Goku managed through clenched teeth. Beads of sweat appeared on his forehead, and he shuddered.
“What?” Gojyo half-shouted.
“The m –m –mi --!” Goku inhaled sharply. “Ah!”
Sanzo was afraid to find out, but asked anyway. “The…minus wave?”
“Yeah—yeah--!” Goku confirmed. He seemed to be losing control. “Sanzo --you have t-to--!”
Sanzo froze as Gojyo and Hakkai looked over to him helplessly. “What?” he managed.
“Do it!” Goku shouted.
“There must be another way!” Hakkai proclaimed hopelessly, but Goku just quivered.
“I’m…going –to –to hurt someone! Sanzo, just –just shoot me!”
Sanzo’s hand moved numbly to his gun.
“Sanzo, you’re not really going to, are you?” Hakkai exclaimed, horrified.
“Do something, bastard!” Gojyo yelled at Sanzo. Sanzo, however, had deaf ears.
Goku quivered one last time before sneering and standing upright. Staring straight at Sanzo, he said, “I’ll kill you.”
Sanzo gritted his teeth, then raised his gun and pulled the trigger. “Goodbye, Goku.”
And then Goku was dead.
And so now the constant is no longer, and Sanzo stares into the fire that was once a stupid monkey. His stupid monkey. He runs his hand over the smooth surface of an all-too-familiar golden diadem, and sighs.
In a few hours, the fire dies down, and Hakkai and Gojyo help Sanzo gather the ashes, and, when the breeze picks up, let them go into freedom. And then Sanzo says a prayer, and the three remaining party members, feeling slightly better, climb into the jeep to depart forever.
The air feels overly still and quiet as Sanzo slips the golden crown into his bag so that he can never forget the second one he couldn’t protect.