Title: Where The Heart Is 

Rating: PG

Pairing: Sanzo/Goku

Category: General

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Kazuya Minekura. No profit is being made and no harm is intended.

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Goku was running back to Sanzo's room.

I'm coming home, I'm coming home Sanzo

"Sanzo! I'm home!" Goku sang as he burst into Sanzo's room, just in time to hear him say, "Ch'. Why are you asking me? That bakasaru can do what he likes."

"Ano…"

"Sanzo?" The two men sitting at the table stopped talking and turned to look at Goku. He gazed back at the elderly stranger curiously. Who was he? Sanzo never invited people into his rooms. Upon seeing him enter, the stranger stood up, in a seeming hurry to put some distance between himself and the monk. His slightly embarrassed expression turned pleasant, and Goku relaxed at the sight of his friendly face. 

"Hello Goku." The man smiled at him. "Do you remember me?"

He did look familiar, Goku suddenly thought. Where had he seen him before? He squinted and bit his lip, at the same time hearing a loud "Hmph." from Sanzo.

Where where where….Goku thought extremely hard. Looking at the man's smile, images gradually came back to him. And then it clicked.

"You're the cook I met yesterday!"

"Yesterday?" Sanzo seethed at the stranger, who drew back a little. "Err…" The man's voice trailed off at the monk's cold glare. Sanzo's head snapped towards Goku. "You couldn't remember him after meeting him only yesterday?"

"I forgot, okay?" Goku protested, getting ready to shield himself from Sanzo's harisen, but Sanzo merely folded his arms and looked aside.

"Sanzo?"

"Hmph."

"Anyway, Goku," The man kept his smile on, but looked at Sanzo nervously from the corner of his eye. "I was telling your keeper… your…caretaker…I mean…" He struggled for a suitable term to use at the ominous sight of Sanzo's hand creeping inside his robes. "Ah! I was telling Sanzo-sama –" 

Sanzo's hand fell back onto his lap.

"- About your visit to my restaurant yesterday, and your interest in my cuisine." A look of relief settled on the man's face. "My name is Tomoda. I was very impressed with your quick learning when I showed you how to prepare some dishes." He looked at Goku warmly. "You're good at learning what you like."

"Sankyuu, Tomoda-san!" Goku said delightedly, recalling how kind Tomoda had been yesterday. He'd been very patient towards him, which was unlike how most adults reacted when Goku kept running after them with questions. Sanzo would certainly have hit him with his fan, and the monks at the monastery would have simply ignored him. "Eh? Did you come all the way here to tell me that?"

Tomoda laughed. Goku liked this man more and more. "Oh no. You see, I'm getting older and can't get around as easily as I used to. I've never had any helper more enthusiastic about food than you are. You're young and obviously learn fast, so…I though I would come by to see if you were interested in learning from me?"

"W-work for you? In a restaurant?" Goku had never entertained that idea before. Why hadn't he?

"Oi, saru, stop drooling on my floor!" Sanzo's voice dissolved the hazy bliss that was currently clouding Goku's mind.

As his eyesight came back into focus Goku noticed with a little jolt that Sanzo was still sitting down. He hadn't stood up to hit him once this entire time even though he'd had many opportunities to do so. He simply looked at him, an intense stare on his unsmiling face. As always, his stare radiated a deep meaning that eluded Goku, but somehow made him more cautious than any of Sanzo's physical warnings ever could.

His eyes on Sanzo's face, Goku said, "I…"

Judging by the tense silence which currently filled the room and the unbroken stare between the monk and the child, this issue was not going to be as simple as Tomoda thought it would. He smiled at Goku. "Of course, you don't have to decide tonight, Goku. Please think about it for as long as you need to. I'll take my leave now. Come and visit my restaurant again soon, okay?"

"Hai. I will." Goku said softly. He looked guilty. Tomoda wasn't sure who the guilt was for.

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The curtains billowed in the light breeze. Even though rays of moonlight cut across the room, Sanzo still could not see Goku's face, though he could tell he was sitting up with his arms around his raised legs. They hadn't spoken since that idiot Tomoda left.

Why was he even letting that brat sleep in his room? Sanzo had no idea. He had looked at Goku as he posed the barely audible question to him, and simply found that he was no in mood to argue with the boy tonight. Not when the expression on his face was this quiet.

Sanzo lay back against the bedstead and lit another cigarette, feeling the warmth from his lighter. Well, if the saru didn't want to speak, he wouldn't speak either. But out of all the moments of silence that he'd constantly demanded of Goku these past two years, he wasn't sure if he would have settled for this one. He was surprised to hear Goku's voice as soon he clicked his lighter off.

"Sanzo? Don't sleep."

"Are you insinuating that I'm stupid enough to fall asleep with a lit cigarette in my mouth?" Sanzo sat up. Goku was a black shadow across the room. 

"Have you been waiting for me to talk?" Goku asked. Sanzo closed his eyes.

This voice…

"No." Sanzo couldn't see Goku but looked at him anyway. "You've been waiting for me to listen."

There was another extended pause. Sanzo took a long drag from his cigarette.

"Sanzo?"

Sanzo exhaled harshly and spoke, the smoke around his face thick and foul like his mood. "You can do as you like. I've never held you in my debt just because I -" saved you "- brought you here from that place, and I never will. Such absolute views are useless when things change so quickly."

"Do things have to change?" Goku's voice was small.

"Are you saying you haven't given a single thought to what Tomoda said?" Sanzo snapped. "Goku?"

Through the darkness, he saw Goku lie down. The ruffle of sheets was audible in the room.

"Everything changes." Sanzo said more quietly, lying against the pillows.  "If not now, then…someday."

He stubbed his cigarette out too violently.

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Are you the one who's been calling me all this time?

Calling you? I…I wasn't calling anyone.

Don't lie to me. I've been hearing you for a long time. Stop it. It's annoying.

Come. I'll take you with me.

Goku came out of his dream. His eyes blinked sleepily. Sanzo…He sat up. He could smell dawn approaching. He always knew when the sun would come.

You gave me a world much, much brighter than the sun…

Goku bit his lip in frustration. Like Sanzo said, everything changes. Everything had changed, and would continue to do so until the day they died, and then they would be reborn into a whole new series of changes. Nothing lasts forever.

He really would like to work in a restaurant…

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"Sanzo? I'm going out to see Tomoda." He was telling him, not asking him, and gods he hoped that Sanzo wasn't going to pull his harisen out now. He was relieved and disappointed when the monk continued to read his newspaper.

"Do as you like." It was a deep-voiced warning not to disturb him again if he wanted to live, and Sanzo didn't turn around to face him.

"Then…" Goku bit his lip. "Sayonara, Sanzo."

Sanzo sat there for a long time after the door had shut.

He listened to the sounds around the monastery.

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"I enjoyed seeing you today, Goku." Tomoda smiled at him.

"Me too!" Goku said. "See you soon, Tomoda-san!"

He set off running.

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Sanzo stared out of the window. Some younger monks were sweeping up fallen leaves. They always swept the leaves at sunset.

As Sanzo stood there smoking, he heard one of the monks ask, "Say, where is Sanzo's companion today?"

"Thankfully, I have no idea." Was the muffled reply. The sounds of sweeping continued. "He went out this morning and hasn't come back since. It's so much more peaceful without that child tugging on our sleeves every second."

"I agree."

So Goku hadn't come back.

Sanzo stubbed his cigarette out on the windowsill and paid no heed when it rolled onto the temple grounds below. This place could burn down for all he cared.

The sun was setting, and he heard no thumping of footsteps toward his room. 

"Ch'." He turned away from the window to reach for more cigarettes.

Sanzo

He froze.

Wait for me I'm coming home, I'm coming home Sanzo

I'll make this last

Sanzo wait for me I'm coming home

"Sanzo-sama, where are you going?" One of the monks asked, catching sight of him walking out of the temple.

Sanzo paused in his footsteps. The barest hint of a smile appeared. 

You gave me a world much, much brighter than the sun …

"I'm going to buy food."

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