Author: Keiran
Title: Inspiring Fear 1/1
Rating: PG
Genre: general.
Pairings/Characters: all four, focusing on Sanzo and Goku.
Warnings: same as for manga/anime.
Disclaimer: I don't own Saiyuki. The following is strictly for entertainment purposes.

Notes: Because I find the dynamics of Sanzo and Goku's canon relationship fascinating (and yeah, they're still my OTP. But that's beside the point). Also, demon!Goku is the best thing since chocolate truffles, I feel.

It had been one of Those Days. They happened every now and then, usually bringing about a serious twist to the already screwed-up journey, a revelation and, more often than not, Sanzo getting his stomach torn open. That's just the way it was. The party got used to it. Recently though, to general contentment, they managed to exclude the additional bonus of Goku trying to tear them into pieces. In most cases, anyway. A small improvement, but an important one, they thought.

There were times, nevertheless, when everybody could feel it was a very close call, and that sooner or later someone would have to deal with the Great Sage, most likely with Sanzo down for the count. No one was particularly keen on the idea. Goku inspired, on the whole, neither fear nor anxiety, unless the object in question was a culinary item. He could deal out death and destruction on par with the best, maybe with a tad less malevolence, but nothing about him instigated trepidation, from the tips of tousled brown hair, hiding the golden coronet, to wide, honey-coloured eyes.

Remove the coronet, however, and a wholly different story would begin.

The day would have been bright and cheerful, if it wasn't for the group of rather nasty demons in the middle of the road. It had taken little more than several smartass remarks on Gojyo's part before the scuffle broke out, one that took out a sizeable chunk of nearby foliage.

Overall, they got off pretty easily, with the exception of Sanzo. Either the demons were getting smarter, or the party was getting sloppy – they suspect it might have been them getting careless, because the demons rarely lived to report back the alleged faults and failures. Usually the lack of returning report was a pretty obvious indication that something in the plan was seriously amiss. Still, either member of the party could idly dispatch a demon or five, but they seemed to have picked up a hint. The attacks were better organised, more coordinated, relying on teamwork and a plan, rather than brute strength. It didn't help much, since the skills of a particular demon did not progress, but it was an improvement.

Deep inside they were all glad, even the grouchy monk. It made fighting more enjoyable, somehow.

The mess started with Sanzo having the dubious pleasure of figuring on the demon delicacies menu of the week, again. The monk in question was less than pleased about the fact. It tended to get him into trouble of the painful kind, more often than not. He was only human, he growled to himself as Gojyo carefully wrapped an arm around his back, hoisting him up. Yet another fact both were less than happy about, but it had been established early on that Goku lacked in the height department when it came to being Sanzo's crutch.

It was frightening, how well-practiced that routine was. Sanzo gets hurt, Gojyo drags him to a flat and dry surface, Hakkai heals, Goku fidgets. Or goes crazy, killing everything in sight.

Annoying, the monk would say.

"Try to pick me up, and I will kill you," Sanzo muttered in the red-head's direction.

"Wouldn't dream of it, your holiness."

It wasn't long before the four of them managed to make their way onto the remainder of the road, where the Jeep could be of service. To the relief of most passengers, Sanzo passed out before they reached the village, allowing himself to be carried upstairs. It was a rare treat, considering the situation.

Luckily, this time the wound was nowhere near life-threatening, so Hakkai managed to get it under control quickly. Somewhat, since the overall aftermath wasn't quite this easy to deal with.

"What the hell were you thinking, you stupid monkey," Sanzo growled, once his consciousness and breathing were under control again. Goku chose to watch the floor, already preparing to let the rant fly over his head. A ranting Sanzo was a healthy Sanzo. He could tolerate the tirade if only for that reminder.

"Yeah, I'm kinda curious myself," Gojyo's leaned against the door, a can of beer in his hand. "Not that I mind the not trying to kill us bit, but man, that shit you pulled – don't ever do that again!"

"Do what? I haven't done anything."

"Except going mental."

"Fuck off."

"Gojyo's right, Goku." Hakkai, as the local voice of reason, tended to make people's irony senses tingle. And throb. "For a moment there, you were not yourself. Even with your limiter on."

"Don't see your problem here. They were attacking, I killed them. Isn't that what we do?" Everything seemed to pause in that moment. Try and explain to Goku that, for a split second, Hakkai's hand had wandered towards his limiters. Try to explain that going berserk without any warning, such as a shattering limiter accompanied by tortured screams, was not what they did.

"Look, Sanzo had trouble standing. There was no time for anything, really."

The conclusion practically pointed itself out.

"You are a stupid ape," Sanzo growled. "So what, if I get killed you will go and massacre a thousand demons?"

The room went very quiet, very quickly. Goku looked up. Sanzo, against all reason, found himself immobilised. Phobias he had aplenty, usually of things he'd die before he admitted (like cats), but he had never, ever been afraid of the stupid monkey. Not even when the monkey was all craze and teeth, coming at him faster than the eye could follow. So when Goku leaned over him, the monk couldn't quite explain why his already straining heart was suddenly thumping like crazy.

"I'm not Hakkai, Sanzo," said Goku, slowly and deliberately. "If someone took you away," his voice dropped a notch, "I guarantee I will not stop at a thousand."

For an edge of a second, Sanzo was looking into twin circles of fire, slit through the middle by the voids of pupils. Then, equally fast, the boy was back in the chair, the eyes were wide and honey-coloured again.

"I'm hungry," Goku said, getting up and walking to the door.

They closed with a soft bang.