“So this is where you come from.” Hakkai leaned back in the chair by Sanzo’s bed, studying the hard, straight lines of lights and ceiling as he sipped what the locals called tea. It wasn’t bad, just… not quite right. Like the cloth of his borrowed shirt and jeans, faded blue that pulled at skin and muscle in unfamiliar ways. Like the faint scent of smoke that wafted around some of their guards; a bitter, nose-numbing scent that wasn’t at all like chi-soothing mononoke-ha. “Or is it? Not that you mind walls, especially when it’s raining. But somehow, this place doesn’t seem like you.”
:Gold hair in sunlight,: Hakuryuu imaged at him, curled under the fringe of it on the side of the pillow Sanzo’s protective curl left empty. :Blue sky. Silver hair, and gentle hands, folding orange paper into airplanes.:
Not again. Though he should have expected it, Hakkai supposed. Under the stress of strangers, Sanzo’s mind still sought Koumyou Sanzo – even though the man was over a year dead. The absence dredged up memories instead, and though this one wasn’t bad, it’d inevitably lead into nightmares… or worse, the all too real memory of Koumyou’s death.
:Wing under wing, soaring with an injured dragon to safe landing.:
“You know he hates meddling,” Hakkai murmured.
:Bleeding flockmate, delusional with spider venom, held down by claws and wings until the fever burns out,: Hakuryuu sniffed. :Worry, preening – forgiven.:
“Sometimes I wish he had claws to preen,” Hakkai chuckled. “Dragons are much more practical.”
But Hakuryuu had a point. When it came to soothing the rough edges of Sanzo’s soul, forgiveness was much easier to get than permission.
And it’s not just his rest at stake, Hakkai knew. What we did, to escape Hyakugan Maoh’s castle… what Sanzo did, to enter it, and then keep us all free…. I don’t know this planet, these people. But if they’re allies of the Tok’ra, I doubt they’d approve.
Something he doubted Gojyo had quite thought through, before leading them here. The man just wanted so badly to go home.
I can’t blame him. If I could go home to Kanan tomorrow – if I could make it so the past five years never happened….
“Kyuu?” White fur and horns rubbed against his hand, imaging :warm sun, sweet ice water, skilled fingers on itchy spots.:
Hakkai smiled, and scratched as bid. If Sanzo wanted to suffer alone, well… but he’s not alone. We’re here, and we need him.
And for that, he knew, Sanzo would forgive anything.
Resting fingertips under gold bangs, carefully avoiding the crimson chakra, Hakkai closed his eyes and let Hakuryuu and Sanzo’s own empathy draw him in….
:Rain. Blood. Gaping emptiness where a mentor’s mind should be, swallowing the world.:
:Sunlight,: Hakkai insisted with Hakuryuu. :Blue sky, streaked with high clouds. Sanzo’s hands folding paper, to throw for an astonished Goku.:
Emboldened by the fading rain, Hakkai built more details, conjuring memory. :Citrus-chewy taste of mochi, a bite blending with green tea. Mouth-watering scent of meat buns on a picnic plate, lying forgotten on cloth as Gojyo glared at the healer over a hand of cards-:
:Hakkai. Paper fan. Whack!:
The healer blinked. Even in his mind, Sanzo made that sting.