Openly puzzled, Hakkai peered at slick pages, and turned the bound magazine sideways. It didn’t help. The image remained as exotic and incomprehensible as before: an endless moment of a spray of water, a multicolored ball, and a tanned blonde wearing too many bits of cloth to be comfortable in the river she was poised to slip into and far too few to be proper anywhere else. Even Kanzeon wore more, though not as – ah – opaque….
“Oh, for the love of- it’s the swimsuit issue, Hakkai.” Gojyo waved a hand at Sanzo. “Explain it to him, will you?”
The priest calmly sipped a cup of juice, modestly spiked with Gojyo’s flask. “That would require that I understand it in the first place.”
Hakkai smiled worriedly, even as the kappa sputtered. Even spiked, the sugar in the juice would only go so far. What Sanzo needed was a beer, or three, or preferably an entire bottle of spirits. The stronger a monk’s abilities with nin – what bits of Gonou’s memories tentatively identified as projected psychic energy – the higher their alcohol tolerance. Most of those skilled in “holy magic” got by with a daily glass of spirits. Sanzo could, and had, drunk an entire bar of full-blooded youkai under the table.
A fortress whose military doesn’t drink. Officially. There is something very wrong with this place.
The SGC didn’t drink, and they didn’t smoke – at least, not in any of the levels their party currently had access to. Which meant he and Goku were stuck with a han’you and a priest still cranky from energy-manipulation headaches, with no treatment beyond little tabs Dr. Fraiser called aspirin.
Hakkai had tasted a little of the bitter powder himself, tracing its effect on his own chi. While it might be a nice painkiller, and quite good at thinning blood, it had no effects on the nerves even close to mononoke-ha.
We are so, so doomed.
And neither Gojyo nor Sanzo seemed inclined to ask their hosts to bend their rules. Or tell him why, beyond Sanzo’s not-very-informative mutter of “they wouldn’t believe I’m not an alcoholic”.
I suppose we can let it rest, for now, Hakkai reflected. Sanzo didn’t use the sutra for very long, and I think he’s only been listening since we got here. If we can keep enough sugar in him…he’ll be irritable, yes, but he won’t be in actual danger.
That would be the tricky part. Between the man’s picky stomach and his tendency to just curl into a ball of sarcastic misery when it rained too long…. Sanzo tried, Hakkai had seen the man fight himself too hard not to know that. But stress – and for Sanzo, “you can’t shoot the idiots” definitely counted as stress – always, always made Sanzo stop eating.
I’ll just have to nag him, Hakkai decided. Quietly. Like always.
“-I don’t care if you do keep a friggin’ vow of chastity!” Gojyo was grumbling, hands flung up to implore the ceiling. “Just because you’re on a diet, doesn’t mean you can’t explain the menu!”
Sanzo sipped. Set his cup down. Eyed Gojyo. “I only love them for their minds.”