This was the seventh day straight of unheard of rains pouring down. Thunder cracked and lightning streaked in the ominous sky and showed no signs of letting up. One lone figure sat in the window of an inn, looking out into the down pour. Every so often, the lightening would throw his pale features into stark relief, catching on green eyes, before going out. There was another person in the room, this one lying on the bed with an arm covered in leather thrown over his face, the only thing visible being his blonde hair which had an eerie sunshine-gold quality to it, even in the darkness outside. No one else was there. The other two had left them to their silent brooding.
Hakkai turned away from the glass when the soft chink of a lighter caught his attention. Neither said a word. Sanzo lit his cigarette, now sitting up with his back pressed to the headboard.
After a couple of long drags, he turned dull purple eyes to his companion. "Want to end this?"
Smiling at the thought, Hakkai uncurled himself from the window ledge and sat opposite Sanzo on the bed. "Yes. Do you?"
"I'm sick of this." He pulled a gun from the bedside table, emptying the six-shooter of all but one bullet before spinning the chamber, losing it in the jumble. They'd discussed this on the first day of rain. If it lasted for seven, they would do this. Taking a deep breath and letting it out, he handed the gun to Hakkai. "You first."
Hakkai settled the gun in his lap peacefully. "Fair enough. Go ahead."
Sanzo let out a stream of smoke and asked, "Do you truly blame yourself for her death?"
"Everyday I draw breath."
"Why? Because you weren't there? Last I checked, pyschic ability wasn't one of your specialties."
He looked down at the gun, the smile turning sad. "Because deep down I knew she never intended to live, not even for me. For her, it was more of an embarassment to carry a bastard child. She knew I wouldn't care. It was selfish of her and it was selfish of me to try and save her from it." He paused and looked up. "Anything else?"
Hakkai put the gun to his mouth and pulled the trigger. Nothing. Just the click of an empty chamber. He smiled and handed the gun to Sanzo. "Your turn."
Sanzo put the cigarette out and waited for Hakkai to ask his question.
"Why did you agree to this mission? Weren't you on a quest to find the missing sutra anyway?"
"Yes. And, to be honest, that's all I'm in this for. Why do you think the sanbutsshen said to bring the three of you along? I have no intention of stopping Gyumaoh. I hope the bastard drags this place to hell in a hand basket."
"But is it truly worth it?"
Sanzo gave a faint smile, something no one but Hakkai ever saw when they had these talks. "You were an orphan. If someone took you in as a son, with no questions asked, gave you everything they had an more, wouldn't you want to reclaim the only piece of him left for you?"
"I suppose that makes sense. I can't say for certain, since it never happened."
There was a silence. "No further questions?"
Hakkai blinked and looked up. "Oh, no. Please, go ahead."
Sanzo leveled the barrel just under his chin, aiming back. He pulled the trigger. Click. Nothing. He passed the gun back to Hakkai. "Why didn't you just kill yourself before?"
Hakkai let out a long sigh. "I'm afraid to. Suicide is a mortal sin. Granted, I'm already going to hell, but I don't want to add that sin to my list as well. But now...I'm beginning to believe you were right. That the gods or God don't really care one way or the other about our lives. So maybe killing myself now won't really matter stacked against my other sins."
Sanzo made a small sound. "I forgot you were a Christian. I'm done."
He again returned the gun to his mouth and pulled the trigger. Click. Nothing. He passed the gun back. "Why are you doing this?"
Sanzo pulled out another cigarette, lit it and frowned, blowing out a stream of smoke. "Doing what? This here?"
"Yes. You want revenge and you want to reclaim the sutra. But you're risking it all in this game."
He didn't answer for a while. Finally, after much thought and without meeting Hakkai's eyes, he answered, "Because I'm sick and tired of it all. I never wanted this title. I never wanted this responsibility. Besides, I don't believe in hell, so what do I have to lose?"
Hakkai actually laughed. "Well, that's certainly true. I'm finished."
Sanzo put the gun under his chin again and pulled the trigger. Click. Nothing. He passed it to Hakkai.
"Do you honestly think if you die, no one will care?"
Hakkai blinked a little and smiled. "I'd like to think that. In reality, all I have are you three. Goku will cry, and cry hysterically, but his personality is the kind that gets over sorrow quickly. You I know would miss me, but you'd also hate me for going before you."
"Got that straight, asshole."
"And Gojyo...I think he might genuinely be upset. And it will change him, I think. We've been friends for so long now. And then he'd call me a selfish prick because he worked so hard to save my life, who the hell was I to end it like that?"
Sanzo gave a short laugh at his dead-on impression of the redhead. He made a vague motion with his hand as he took a hit from his cigarette. Hakkai placed the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Click. Nothing.
They both realized in the same instant that the last chamber there had the bullet. And that it was Sanzo's turn. "This is it," he said softly.
"Yes," Hakkai answered.
He took the gun and waited for Hakkai to ask his question.
"And you, do you think no one will mourn you?"
Sanzo smiled at that. "Not enough to stop me."
Hakkai smiled and sighed. "Then that's it."
Both stared at each other for a long time. Sanzo slowly placed the gun at an angle under his chin and slowly pulled the trigger, his finger inching forward...
And he stopped, unable to finish it. "Damn it," he muttered.
"What?" Hakkai asked gently.
"Goku would be a mess. He's my reason to stay. I fucking hate that stupid monkey!"
Hakkai laughed and pulled the gun from him, setting it on the nightstand. He glanced out the window and saw the clouds breaking and the rain die down. "It looks like we survived another storm. And it's all thanks to Goku."
Sanzo grumbled something and lay back down, closing his eyes.
And Hakkai closed his hand around the gun barrel, gently pulling it away. "I can't let you do that, Sanzo."
"Why the hell not?" Sanzo asked, eyes going cold and deadly.
Hakkai smiled patiently. "Because I'm an asshole. And there's no way I'm going to let you beat me into hell."
Sanzo stared a little in surprise before taking his finger away from the trigger. "You are an asshole," he confirmed, laying down with the gun on the table and closing his eyes. "Get off my bed, prick."
He stood up and went over to his own, lying down and closing his eyes. They had survived yet another night of rain.
"Hey, Sanzo, guess what? They've got a panda downstairs and it's dancing and-hey, what's going on?" Goku blinked at the two sitting on the bed, the gun quickly set in Sanzo's lap when the youngster burst through the door, eyes glowing with excitement.
Sanzo got up, leaving the gun on the bed where the kid couldn't see it. Then, he smacked Goku in the head with his fan. "You damned stupid monkey! How many times do I have to beat it into your thick skull to knock before entering!"
"OW! Ya didn't have ta hit me so hard!"
"The harder the better, chimp!"
Goku turned big eyes to Hakkai. "Hakkai! Aren'tcha gonna say something?"
Hakkai stood up, smiling. "How about you show us this panda, Goku?"
Goku, beaming happily, said, "Okay! C'mon, follow me!"
As they were leaving the room, Sanzo shook his head. "Every damn time," he muttered,
"Everytime I come close to it, that stupid brat's voice pops up and I have to hit him to get him to shut up!"