Date finished: 26 May 2004

Title: An Interrupted Incident

Pairing: 838

Category: General

Status: One-shot

Warning: PG-13 for the implied relationship.

A/N: Written for Sariyuki and Olivia Yuy-Maxwell's "38 Incidents Project". It has been ages since last I've written something for this pairing.

Standard disclaimers apply.

--italicized words indicate emphasis--

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"An Interrupted Incident"
by Fall

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"I'm back," Hakkai announced cheerfully from behind the grocery bags he was carrying. He carefully balanced them as he made to close the door with his elbow.

Sanzo did not remove his eyes away from the newspaper he was reading, but he made a sound to let Hakkai know that he was listening.

"Gojyo met a pretty blonde girl while we were out, and Goku had discovered a restaurant that sold meat buns," Hakkai continued, settling down the bags on the table. "They told me they would be out for the whole day. And here's the cigarette pack you requested."

The monk held out one hand to receive his pack. He made a curt nod to indicate that he was grateful.

"Any other interesting news?" He asked, throwing a half-finished stick into the ashtray.

Hakkai thought for a moment. "Well, there wasn't any news about mysterious youkai attacks, missing persons, or of strange activities."

" 'Ch. Good enough."

Hakkai smiled. He knew that Sanzo actually disliked being dragged into the personal problems of the village people. But unluckily for them, wherever they went, trouble always finds them. It was rare for them to come across a peaceful village and be able to mind their own selves for a full day or two.

He turned back to sorting out their grocery. Their supplies for personal hygiene need to be distributed accordingly. Gojyo uses too much soap, and he takes a bath more frequently than any of them, so Hakkai must make sure that their stock of soap would last until their next grocery. They were also running low on their supply of bandages and adhesive plasters. Someone was always bound to get hurt, and having a ready supply was essential. Hakkai bought an entire shelf's worth just to make sure.

Next on the list was their food supply. Knowing how much Goku loved to eat, Hakkai divided their supply into two bags. One is for immediate snacking, and the other, for emergency cases. He also bought a few packs of beer, which he divided accordingly. He did the same with the cigarette packs. Although Gojyo and Sanzo always made it known that they smoked different brands, the moment each of them has only a stick left, brands no longer matter.

Once Hakkai had finished with their grocery, he started to sort out their laundry. They were all men, but they changed clothes more often than women did. Then afterwards, he went around and arranged the bedcovers in the three other beds. Then he tidied up their room by picking up empty beer cans from the floor and emptying the ashtray. After that, he swept the floor, made sure Hakkuryu was comfortable on the pillow, and mended a pair of Goku's torn pants.

"Sanzo, what would you like for dinner?" Hakkai asked quietly, respecting the fact that his companion was still reading his newspaper. "This inn doesn't serve any meat in their meals, so I decided to do the cooking for us instead."

Sanzo adjusted his reading glasses. "You will not. You mentioned that Goku found a restaurant. Let's just go to that damn place tonight."

"But Sanzo, you are not fond of meat buns, and neither is Gojyo."

"You will not cook. End of discussion." And by the sound of the rustling of the page, Sanzo has indeed settled the matter.

The emerald-eyed youkai shrugged his shoulders and sat down on the chair beside Sanzo. His eye caught the paper he had abandoned the night before. He picked it up and examined it. Then he started to make little checks on it.

"And what are you doing this time?" Sanzo suddenly snapped.

"Marking down my list."

"I can see that. Don't you ever get tired of constantly doing everything you could lay your hands on? You've done nothing all day but to—" Sanzo suddenly stopped, noting that Hakkai's eyes sparkled with interest.

The monk glared. "Your constant movement made so much noise, it was impossible for me to finish reading this newspaper in peace."

Dark brown eyebrows went up. "Sumimasen. I didn't mean to distract you with my noise, Sanzo."

'Noise?' Sanzo thought, removing his reading glasses. He was not distracted by the noise Hakkai made—in fact, his companion did not make any noise at all. It was just that, he watched the youkai move around all day doing his daily duties. Sanzo would never admit it, but for some reason, the text in the newspaper did not make any sense. All he saw was a nimble figure dressed in green, having dark brown hair and emerald green eyes.

"Cho Hakkai," Sanzo started, folding up the newspaper. "You are always moving around. I have reason to believe that in this journey, you are a traveling companion, and not our personal servant."

Emerald green looked at him quietly, listening.

"Therefore, you don't have to do these everyday." Sanzo said, waving Hakkai's checklist of his daily duties.

"Did you by any chance read what I have written in that list?" Hakkai replied, in his customary pleasant manner.

"No."

"I suggest that you do it."

" 'Ch." Sanzo grunted. Carelessly, he scanned the whole thing, until he came to the section where the heading said "Sanzo". Amethyst eyes narrowed slightly, as their owner read carefully from number one, all the way to number thirty-eight. [1]

"As you can see, my list runs down to eighty-three tasks, nineteen of them specifically for Goku, and eighteen for Gojyo. That leaves eight tasks for myself and Hakkuryu, and, your share. Now, are you still wondering why I've been like your personal servant everyday?"

Sanzo glared at the list he was holding. What did he plan to say anyway even if Hakkai had not told him to look at it?

"Nobody told you to do all these things."

"Ah, but if I didn't, your clothes wouldn't be washed, you wouldn't have enough cigarettes, we wouldn't be able to eat a normal meal, and you wouldn't be able to sit comfortably in the passenger seat while I drive."

"This discussion is going nowhere!" Sanzo snapped. He glared at Hakkai, waiting for his customary smile that said he was yielding to Sanzo's way.

Instead, Hakkai's slender brows went up again. "Are you willing to let Gojyo or Goku cook our dinner for us tonight?"

Sanzo frowned. "I'd rather be ripped apart alive by some youkai."

"Do you want to cook?"

"That is out of the question."

"Then that leaves only me."

"You will not do anything tonight."

"Will you eat soggy vegetables for dinner?"

"No—"

"Then I will cook." Hakkai said firmly. "Sanzo, before you suggest a change of duties for our group, please be sure to offer a working plan first."

"There is a working plan. We can go and eat elsewhere."

"But we only know of that place with meat buns, and you're not fond of those."

"Food is a trivial matter."

"Then why are you so keen on stopping me cook?"

They were talking in circles, and Sanzo did not like that. Hakkai might look harmless, but he can be quite unrelenting when he wanted. Especially when he had made up his mind to do something.

"Don't twist my words. I only said you were overworking yourself."

"Thank you." Hakkai suddenly said.

"For what, may I ask?" Sanzo asked, his confusion evident in his tone.

"For what you said. I had no idea you were keeping an eye on me. Thank you." Hakkai murmured, gazing intently into the amethyst orbs beside him. He held the gaze for quite some time, until Sanzo broke the stillness.

"Don't think much of it. It was only for the sake of keeping this journey on track that I keep an eye out for you three."

The emerald-eyed youkai merely smiled at him.

"Hakkai, for once, stop pulling that smile on me."

Hakkai enjoyed the way Sanzo was reacting. "I will, if you will stop being defensive."

Sanzo started to open his mouth in response, but decided not to. He glared at Hakkai, but something in his companion's eyes made him stop. Sanzo sat there thinking of how Hakkai looked different today, and the self-imposed rule he made about being not attached to anyone.

"Sanzo?"

"Just shut the hell up!" Sanzo hissed. He wanted to clear his head and think, but how the hell was he going to do that if Hakkai kept on smiling at him like that?

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of voices outside their door.

"Saa! That was really wonderful!" Goku declared, walking into the room. Gojyo, who looked pleased about something, entered after him.

"Did the two of you miss us?" Gojyo asked, walking toward the table. "I was supposed to—" He stopped upon seeing a murderous glint in Sanzo's eyes. Then his crimson eyes rested on Hakkai's exceedingly innocent expression. Something in the atmosphere of the room gave the impression that his and Goku's presence were totally unwelcome.

Gojyo started to snicker.

"Ne, Gojyo, what's so funny?" Goku asked.

"You're too dense, bakazaru. I believe we've just walked in on a would-be affair."

"We did? But there's only Sanzo and Hakkai in here! Not unless—"

"Goku, what would you like for dinner?" Hakkai cut in rather sharply.

"Fried noodles! Steamed dumplings! Sweet and sour pork!" Goku said happily.

"Sanzo?"

"Edible food."

"Gojyo?"

"Same with your Sanzo-sama."

Hakkai overlooked the "your" in Gojyo's words. "Dinner will be served after an hour." And he walked out of the room, wearing his customary look that Goku had dubbed as the "Hakkai's-planning-something-wicked" smile.

A nerve ticked dangerously in Sanzo's forehead.

"Let's go Goku, or you'll suffer the wrath of the interrupted Sanzo- sama!" And Gojyo swiftly snatched Goku by the collar and dragged him out of the room. His parting words about offering Sanzo his own expertise in matters like this was cut short with three gunshots.

In the inn's kitchen, Hakkai wore a satisfied smile.

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End

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[1] Yes, it was really intended as 38, 83, 8, and 3 (the gunshots). Don't ask me what exactly was written in that extremely long list XD

Review comments and constructive criticisms are welcome.