In These Dying Hours

Chapter Twenty-Four

Goku cracked his eyes open early that morning as the light shining on the back of his eyelids pulled him from slumber. Attempting to roll over, Goku found himself wound tightly in a familiar embrace. Twisting his neck to the side, he found Sanzo blissfully asleep next to him, eyelids fluttering in a dream as his lips parted. Goku could not help but let a soft smile catch his lips as he took in the sleeping blond before him, but then his eyes trailed to the three long slashes on his cheek and his smile faltered.

After they had left the match last night, they had rented out a hotel room. With the money they won they'd have enough to last them a while. When they had arrived into the room, Goku had been hysterical with remorse, apologizing endlessly. Sanzo had repeatedly told him it was fine with an amount of patience that could only come from living with the monkey for years and years.

But Goku had not felt any better. Even after the pair had made love Goku had still felt low, because every time he saw the three slashes across Sanzo's face he thought of himself as a monster. He had been so wound up in killing the man with the hook that he hadn't even sensed Sanzo's presence until it was on him, and he attacked without thinking. Seeing the crimson run down Sanzo's pale cheek had almost been too much to bear. Goku though he could roll over and die right then, and when Sanzo had spoken in that soft tone, Goku could only think he did not deserve it.

For a moment, his thoughts had been clear, and he truly understood what a monster he had become.

But then only a second after the wash of shouts around him had driven the maddening thoughts back into his head, and he felt like screaming. His thoughts were so destructive and scattered that it was impossible to focus on them. Scrambling around his head like rats freed from the cellar. Only when they'd arrived back in the inn did his thoughts settle from a shrieking to a dull roar. But they had only grown even more turbulent from then on. The sex had been good to distract him, but afterwards he found he couldn't sleep. It wasn't like when Nuriko had stripped him from the ability to sleep; more like his thoughts were too troubled to allow his body to relax completely.

Who was he?

He wasn't even sure anymore. Was he Goku? Was he Seiten Taisei? Or should he be given a new name, all to himself. A name that would suit this new creature—this new monster—that had killed Goku and Seiten and taken over their body. Was he even that monster yet? Was this just the last shred of his consciousness left, as the new breed of demon waited to devour him completely? What would it do, as Goku? What would it do as a God? Would this new creature, born not of the earth but of the combined souls of Seiten and Goku, would it kill people? Would it harm those he loved? Would it harm Sanzo?

His golden eyes flickered down towards Sanzo's slumbering face. His breathing was even, and the brunet could only wonder what thoughts were going through the monk's head? Were they peaceful? Goku felt a spike of jealousy at the thought. Why did his thoughts have to be so turbulent when Sanzo's could be so peaceful? He suddenly wanted to steal the thoughts from Sanzo's head. As he began to mull over that thought, he shook his head, relaxing back down into the pillows. Steal his thoughts? Could a person steal his thoughts? Was it possible? Goku's brow furrowed as the confusing thoughts began to bounce through his head.

Sighing, he ran a hand through his hair. Was what he going to do? He could feel the demon stirring within him; their strange connection growing stronger with both of their incoming demises arriving. By blending them, they would both undoubtedly be devoured by the other, ending each other's lives. The Monkey-King and the Great Sage Equal to Heaven would cease to exist, and there would be nothing to replace it but some twisted form of them both.

Turning his concerned gaze to his lover again, he could only sigh softly through his nose. Was that the end then? Seiten Taisei and Goku would cease to exist, and Sanzo would probably be killed by either Nuriko or this new form who would become him? No, Goku thought darkly as his eyes shadowed to an almost amber color. He wouldn't let Sanzo die, because Sanzo belonged to him. Sanzo was his toy. Sanzo was his plaything. Sanzo was his freedom, his prison. Sanzo was insanity in its barest form, was joy in its purest sensation. Sanzo was his sun, his universe, his whole.

Sanzo was his.

And likewise, Goku belonged to the blond. As a pet, as a lover, as a slave, as a servant. Whatever Sanzo saw him as, Goku was glad to fill that role. Because he belonged to the man in every sense of the word. In that way, maybe their relationship was a twisted, mutual possession. Goku didn't think so.

As he suddenly understood exactly the conclusion he had come to, his expression hardened. Smiling devilishly, Goku could practically feel the demon within him coming to the same conclusion. They would have to keep each other apart, forcefully. It would take a hell of a lot of effort, but if they both worked on it, Goku had a feeling they might be able to handle it until a better solution could be found. But what about the parts of him that had already merged with the demon?

Rising to his feet, Goku strode naked across the room, slowly, his feet almost sliding across the carpeted floor. It was warm, as the sun had been shining through the window down on it for hours now. He spared a look to his sleeping lover, before stepping into the bathroom.

Looking up at himself, Goku felt sick. His hair, which had stopped being cut some days ago, was now down to his waist again, and his fingernails, if they could be called that, were a few centimeters past his fingers. They were sharp, and told tales of the lives they stole. His normally athletic frame seemed even scrawnier. He'd lost some muscle mass during this curse, and it didn't quite fit the rest of him. He looked small—underfed almost. The rings around his eyes told tales of sleepless nights turning and twisting in the sheets as he fought of thoughts of pain. And his eyes…

Goku resisted the temptation to glare at his own reflection. His eyes belonged to a monster. The gold color had been darkened to an almost amber shade, and instead of normal, round pupils his were cat-like slits, as though he had run his own claw through molten gold, revealing an eye. They were so devilish, so… so…


He wasn't a demon. He wasn't even born of the earth. They could all say what they wanted but he was not a demon. He refused to be called a demon. He had to be something else. He would refuse to be a demon. To be this golden eyes teenager. He refused to be Goku. No. Goku was already dead and nothing was left but his lingering consciousness. A lingering consciousness that still clung to his body like a soul refusing to believe it was dead.

Son Goku is dead. I am something else.

Turning his smoldering gaze over his shoulder, the brunet caught sight of Sanzo still lying peacefully asleep on the bed. He had to save Sanzo before Goku's consciousness disappeared, and he killed the one this body loved. His gaze trailed back to the mirror and he smiled. This little problem could be rectified.

He placed a clawed hand over his own arm, racking him down his forearm and watched the blood drip out, pouring down his arm and splattering silently on the bathroom floor. The brunet's eyes widened slightly, as though in disbelief that he was actually bleeding. It actually worked? Snickering softly in pure joy, he began racking his claws all over his own body; his other arm, legs, mid-section, face. He left deep gashes that poured out blood, and he giggled happily at the sensation.

As he turned his attention back to the mirror, he decided it was time he stopped playing around. The monster had to die. Starting with its eyes. Reaching a clawed hand out, he hovered above him eye, before he pressed his claw to the eyeball. He paused a moment, before pushing inwards and his vision turned red.

His own hand was ripped from its position, unfortunately leaving his eye attached. The brunet snarled, looking up at Sanzo who glared down at him with a positively hateful expression. Goku felt himself shrink under that harsh glare. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" he bellowed, causing tears to collect in Goku's eyes and the brunet to flinch back. "Goku! Answer me! What kind of crap do you think you're pulling? I thought we talked about this! Are you even listening anymore? Goku! Goku, answer me!"

He really wasn't listening anymore. He continued hearing his own name echoing through his own ears, and he placed his hands over them, as though his own name was acid in his mind. "Stop it! Shut up!" Goku screamed, silencing Sanzo with his tone. "Stop calling me that! Don't call me by that name!"

Pulling back from the monk, the brunet wheezed heavily, as though the outburst took a lot out of him. Sanzo's eyes strayed momentarily to the slashes all along the boy's body, and he sighed, holding out his hand. "Goku, I—"

"NO!" the monkey screamed with sudden ferocity, backing up until his feet met the small bathtub. He squeezed his eyes shut, hands still clamped tightly over his ears. "I'm not Goku! I'm never Goku! Goku's not me! Goku dead! Goku gone! Bad Goku! I'm not Goku!" The brunet threw his head back and forth, vehemently trying to deny the fact that he was, indeed, this creature called Goku.

Sanzo sighed softly, attempting to find a way to speak to the boy without having him reply in screams. "Okay then," he said, calmly. "What should I call you?"

Goku opened his eyes and hissed at him in an animalistic fashion.

Sanzo sighed again, trying a different approach. "If you're not Goku, then what happened to him?"

The brunet paused, glaring up at him as though he knew the answers and was toying with him. "I'm not Goku," he repeated again, eyes narrowing as his lips drew into a fine line. "Goku's bad. I don't like Goku."

"Why is Goku bad?" Sanzo asked with an amount of patience that would have made his master proud. Truly, he didn't understand what had gone wrong. Last night had been almost perfect. He hated that Goku's curse could flip his emotions so easily. It only made Sanzo want to speed things up. But Nuriko had to be coming to claim Goku again soon, right? He was, after all, on the last stage.

"Goku's bad," the brunet repeated, eyes clouding over as he hugged his arms to his bare chest, staring at some random point at a wall. "He thinks bad things. Bad things, Sanzo. He wants to steal you from me. He wants you all for himself, but I won't let him. I won't let him take you away from me, Sanzo. Because you're mine."

Goku was completely delirious, Sanzo thought with a snarl. This only made things even more difficult.

"Well, if you aren't Goku, then I'm afraid I don't belong to you," Sanzo said cockily, watching the horror dance in Goku's amber eyes. "I belong to Goku," the words were painful to say aloud, but he resisted the temptation to wince, "So if you're not him…"

Goku lunged out as Sanzo let his sentence hang, gripping his bare arm and shaking him with wide, wild eyes. "No Sanzo!" he cried, like a child trying to get their parent to believe there truly was a monster under the bed. "I'm Goku! I am! And Goku's not bad! Goku will be good, I promise! Don't leave me!"

Sanzo resisted the temptation to smirk at his victory, but the feeling faded when Goku suddenly let go of his arm to clutch his own. Goku's features screwed up in pain and Sanzo could see the blood dripping through his fingers. Goku let out a pained yell, and Sanzo grabbed him to make sure he didn't fall. "Ah! Sanzo! H-help! It… it hurts!"

Sanzo gently eased his charge onto the toilet seat, leaving him for only a moment to grab bandages. Not a lot of good they would do, but it was all he could really do. Heading back to his charge's side, he found the boy had slipped from the toilet onto the floor, where he was kicking uselessly at the tiles, spreading blood from where his knee and ankle bled. Sanzo attempted to keep the brunet still as he took the boy's right elbow from him, looking over Chi which was carved just as deeply as the other two. Goku whimpered and sobbed, shook and writhed where he lay, watching as Sanzo gently placed the bandages to the boy's elbow. This tore a scream from the boy and more tears that rolled down his cheeks.

"Sanzo!" he cried, his voice wavering. "It… burns!"

That was all Sanzo needed, and that was a good thing seeing as Goku could do little more then whimper, sob and scream. Hoisting the boy up, Sanzo dumped him gently into the shower, turning the water on cold and allowing it to pour down on the boy. Sanzo crawled in, clutching the boy to him as the freezing water slowly put out the fire buzzing through the boy's veins. Goku bit his lip to keep himself from screaming, and eventually he bit through it, causing blood to fill the inside of his mouth.

Sanzo wasn't sure how long they sat in the tub, Sanzo clutching the boy in his arms and Goku dazed, attempting to swim through the pain. The constant downpour of cold water had turned to an off buzzing in his ears, and his legs had long ago gone numb. Goku clutched him like a lifeline, eyes half-lidded as he stared off into some mixed dreamland. Sanzo would've found the entire scene arousing if it wasn't so disturbing.

"Sanzo…" Goku breathed against his skin, causing chills to run up his spine.

"What is it?" Sanzo asked calmly, brushing his fingers through the boy's hair.

"I was just wondering… do you ever think things can go back to how they were before? Before all this stuff happened. Back to the west? Back with Hakkai and Gojyo?" Goku asked in a slurred voice, eyes closing.

"I know they will," Sanzo said quietly, as he watched his charge begin to slip off into an exhausted sleep. "And all this will just… fade away…"

Goku let a small smile catch his lips. "Okay..." And then the boy slipped off into slumber.

Sanzo had taken a moment to wake up his legs before he stood, turning off the frigid waters and getting a better grip on the young brunet in his arms. He then picked the boy up with ease, and stepped out of the tub, crossing the room and placing him softly on the bed, not caring that he was soaking the bed sheets.

Taking one last look at his lover, Sanzo turned to grab some bandages.

A/N: Hey everybody. Sorry it took so long to update, but I've been getting really lazy lately. I'm saddened to say that In These Dying Hours has come to a standstill in my mind and the inspiration well has run dry. It seemed like when one of my stories hits two hundred reviews it dies. (laughs) But I will finish this; it'll just have to go on Hiatus for a little bit. So, sorry to leave you on the edge, but this is the last thing I was able to churn out.

C&C still appreciated.