The rain fell mercilessly. Every single muscle in Sanzo's body was bunched up and tense, the silent stop stop stop an almost subconscious mantra in his mind with all the thunderous patter outside. He had turned off the lights as soon as he saw the first drops fall, never one to kid himself. If I live in the dark, I'll sit in the dark. He would not pretend his world was normal.

And If I look behind...Would he see Koumyo's body lying on the ground, his string of beads entwined in his lifeless fingers? The gods seemed devilish enough to try it. Sanzo's arms tightened painfully around his knees. He would not look around.

"Sanzo?" Goku's voice, as sharp as five people speaking no matter how hard he tried to keep it to a whisper, shocked Sanzo's heart into rapid beating. The only evidence of his reaction was a slight shift in his body, a spasm so slight that it would pass even Hakkai unnoticed. Sanzo had always excelled in reining his emotions in. But a coldness had spread through his body.

"Leave me alone." Sanzo gritted out, angry at himself for letting Goku surprise him like that. His was a selfish grief. The pain created a solitude of its own, a desire for isolation so great and possessive that anyone who came into its sphere made Sanzo feel…almost embarrassed. Shy. No one can see me like this. Don't you dare look at me.

Goku took a wary step back, oh you've learned a little I see, and his voice was smaller when he spoke. "I…I brought you canned peaches. And beer. And…" Sanzo could feel his hesitation. "Cigarettes."

Sanzo actually looked at him this time. Goku had surprised him again. This creature. Now a blood-thirsty monster, now a shrunken miserable toddler. Now pleading with him to quit smoking, now offering him cigarettes with a shaky hand. He would never need sex, never need a kiss, or even a hug. Only a pat on the head. That was all Goku asked for, that simple touch which said I care for you and don't concern yourself with it.  Just Sanzo's hand on his hair. Better than food. Better than nirvana. Better than life. And Goku loved life.

"I don't want them." Goku's face fell. Yes, nothing you do will please me. When are you going to stop trying? How long until you've had enough? Sanzo's curiousity was genuine, as was his wash of guilt and disgust. Who do I have to hold onto?

Sanzo decided to ignore him. He closed his eyes and willed the sound of the rain away. Immediately, images came to him unbidden. Autumn. Red leaves falling. A younger boy than he is now. And behind that tree a man…

Be strong, Genjyo Sanzo.

He didn't want to remember that.

Genjyo Sanzo…

"Sanzo?" That voice again. That irritating, childish voice of a boy who would never grow up. Who would never understand despite all his efforts to please. Why does he cling on to me like this?

"Sanzo," Shut up "Why…do you…don't you want the lights on?" Goku asked softly. Sanzo glared at him. Idiot. If he was so afraid, why was he still here? Why couldn't he just go away? The sun would rise tomorrow; couldn't he at least give him the privacy he knew he needed today? Didn't he even understand that much about him?

"You don't know me at all. Don't touch them. Get out of here." Sanzo's anger developed a tinge of desperation. Why did Goku keep on doing this? He would never learn. The boy was too stubborn to accept that forcing his way into Sanzo's life would only mean pushing him further away. He just wanted to be left alone. This was his and Koumyo's. This grief was not Goku's. It was autumn, it was night, he had placed his beads in Shuuei's hands and he was walking to his master's room and nightmare nightmare it was too late please... "Get out." Before I beg you or kill you, please get out.

Goku's quiet reply didn't register in Sanzo's mind at first. A few seconds went by before Sanzo carefully raised his head. "What did you say?" Goku's mouth parted in nervousness at his poisonous tone but he stood upright.

"I said no." Goku's fists were clenched. "I'm not letting you do this to me again." And of what you are doing to me? "I'm not leaving this room until –" His mouth set in a determined line.

Until I do something, anything that doesn't involve me forcing you to leave. I see. Sanzo's breaths were coming faster. If that is what you want…


In one vicious attack, Goku was pinned to the wall under Sanzo's weight. His wrists struggled to free themselves and every time they twisted in Sanzo's grip he would wrench them hard. He bloody wanted to pull them off. Teach you a lesson…He stamped on Goku's feet and pressed him into the wall, feeling a savage satisfaction at the look of pain on the boy's face. No complaints, not a sound.

"Open your eyes." Sanzo commanded him. Teary golden eyes immediately stared back at him. "Why don't you hit me?" Give me something!

Instead of answering, Goku tried to force him off of him and Sanzo slammed him back against the wall in response. "Answer me!"

"Sanzo…" Goku wouldn't even look at him anymore. Afraid or…He mumbled something inaudible.

"Speak. Louder." Sanzo hissed, letting go of Goku's right wrist to force his chin up until they were nose to nose.

I am closer to you now than I have ever been to anyone…I wouldn't touch anyone else.

"I said I don't mind." Goku said softly, his voice shrill with tears. He turned his face to the side. "I don't mind."

See. Now. Here. Goku.

Sanzo had taken Goku from his enclosed cell into the open. And now Goku pulled him from the past and brought him into the present. Now Goku here crying. Pushing himself back against the wall as if he was hoping he'd fall right through it. Sanzo's mind was suddenly full of Goku, he could think of nothing else. And when he looked, his eyes beheld, sought after only Goku. He was the only person in the world now, and Sanzo knew he had hurt him badly, and felt…

Warm. Spiky brown hair tickled his chin. Small fingers curled against his neck. Warmth from head to toe. Goku was hugging him. No. Goku was...resting. Sanzo could hear his ragged breaths, his quiet relieved gasps a whole other kind of sobbing. The boy's body was surprisingly heavy against his. They were both mentally exhausted. If Sanzo let go, they would both fall.

"It's okay. Sanzo? It's okay."

Is it? I'll believe you then. Sanzo closed his eyes. The warmth was gradually making Sanzo hot. He tolerated it for a moment more, let me rest for just awhile more, before releasing Goku. Cold.

The boy looked up into his eyes. He knew Sanzo regretted hurting him, knew that he would never do it again. Sanzo let touch speak for him. Goku's hair was soft under his fingers. He could tell Goku wanted to close his eyes, but the boy fought off his languor and continued to stare at him. This boy…if it weren't for him, Sanzo would never have to feel at all. He moved his face closer to Goku's as if leaning in for a kiss, but he wasn't intending to kiss him and his lips stopped just short of Goku's. Without you I would never feel…Sanzo opened his lips slightly, inhaled and released short, shallow breaths, their mouths almost touching but never doing so. Goku's breath a hot whisper against his lips. I feel and I am sorrier than I can ever say.

And Goku understood.