Act one: Dust.

The dust clogged the air behind them; the wake of Jeep was a living thing, grasping out to everything around it, and it drove them all nuts. It hadn't rained for weeks where they were, monsoon season was no where to be tasted. The dust made everything look the same, there wasn't even any scenery to pick out, just a hollow, dusty plain. Even the sky looked stained in yellow brown sand.

"Damn thiff dufft!" Gojyo shouted; his words came out muffled from the cloth he and his friends had wrapped around their mouths and noses. His long blood red locks were dampened in intensity due to the dust, leaving them murky. Goku found little solace on the floorboard of Jeep, the floor was dirty and caked with dirt.

"Not one mo' word." Sanzo warned from the front of the Jeep, his gun's safety clicked menacingly to unsafe. His violet eyes darted back to the seat and Hakkai pretended not to notice as he continued their track to the nearest city. If they didn't hurry, hakurryu would be too dust filled to move.

"Are we thur yet?!" Goku asked after a few minutes and a gunshot rang like a bell tolling. Goku and Gojyo both jumped from their spots and cowered in separate corners of Jeep. Sanzo busied himself with cleaning his sutra from dust, like nothing had happened. 'I had to do something; it was too dusty to smoke.' Sanzo thought. The sun hung at an irritating angle, right into the Holy man's eyes and he was on his last nerve, so was everyone. Who knew weather could do this.

Gojyo grumbled incoherently, the futility of avoiding the dust, the sun, and the mission West heavily set on his shoulders. The mission was getting more and more difficult each meter they drove, each assassin they killed, and the thought that kept ricocheting in his mind was he knew that the first to fall would most likely be him.

'Better me than the others….except for maybe that pain in the ass priest.' He looked at the muted blonde hair, whipping in the wind and dust like a treasure in the desert. Gojyo closed his eyes, the dust was getting to them, and he settled for finding solace in sleep, achieving only a fitful doze.

Goku, the mischievous youkai he was, would usually mess with Gojyo, but now he simply felt too hungry, and too dirty to care at this point. Sanzo was in a bad mood, and he felt no need to be shot, for once he knew when to let things slide.

"Ah, looks like we have a bit of company…" Hakkai announced after an hour or so. They were only a half an hour outside of the city, and now they had to deal with these stupid assassins. Sanzo, gun already ready, hopped out of jeep along with the others, itching to relieve their frustrations.

"AH! The sutra! Give it to us or face inevitable death! Mhaha!" The leader of the assassins, a dusty devilish one with a long scimitar charged foreword, only to be instantly tossed back by a blast of ki. The others were promptly cut, shot, and smacked down by the rest. The battle was unmemorable, but the feeling afterwards put them all instantly in a better mood. Thus was a normal day in the mission.

"We want 4 rooms." Sanzo stated, Goku was busy shaking dust off himself in the lobby of the Inn, Gojyo wacking him with his arm as he managed to fling more dirt on him.

"But sir…we have but 2…"Sanzo pointed the gun in the Innkeeper's face, but the Innkeeper didn't magically manage to procure any more rooms. The Sanzo party faced to have to bunk together. Normally, the arrangement would be Sanzo and Goku to one room, Hakkai and Gojyo to another, but Sanzo wanted peace, and since Gojyo usually went out on the town anyway, he decided to switch things up.

"Oi, Goku and Hakkai, get this room." He tossed the 2 keys to Hakkai, whose eyes were wide with Goku's.

"Hey now, you mean I have to room with the piss—"Gojyo was cut off by a death glare from Sanzo. He grinned reluctantly, trying to figure out the new arrangements, and trudged up the stairs, matching key in hand. Hakkai went to buy supplies while it was still daytime; Goku immediately chased after him.

The rooms were small, each had a small table, and two twin beds behind it. Chairs surrounded the small table underneath a ceiling fan. Lights from the ceiling fan provided the necessary light for the room. Gojyo flung his belongings on the creaky bed, and turned to go to the Spring.

"Ah, Sanzo, care to join me?" Gojyo smirked and winked causing a frozen violet glare to assault him. Sanzo's glare almost froze his blood; sanzo's face flushed with anger."I take that as a cowardly no." He scampered from the room, not caring to see the look or the weapon that Sanzo had. 'that was probably a stupid thing to do, but….'

'This could either be smart, or stupid on my part' Sanzo thought as he looked at the back of the kappa walking from the meager room to the spring at the back of the Inn. Sanzo, in the back of his mind, he couldn't wait for Gojyo to come back, clean and damp from the spring, his hair glittering red like it should. He then pushed that thought out; he reached for a cigarette and lit it, puffing eagerly. He already removed his robe, adorned only in the black leather top and his pants. The Manten Sutra was folded neatly on the table on the side of the room, clean.

'Attach to no thing, no one, no words.' Sanzo repeated, inhaling and exhaling smoke. After all, there was no point in attaching yourself to something that will never attach in return.

He settled for reading the complimentary newspaper he found. Sudoku puzzle was a difficult one today. Even though it was evening, he needed to occupy himself with something. He only had 5 more numbers to fill in when Gojyo came bursting back in, damp, smelling faintly of flowers. He almost smirked; he picked out the wrong bath oil.

"Ah, Sanzo, that bath was heavenly!" He examined himself in the mirror as he put his wet glistening red hair into a loose horsetail. His scarlet eyes turned to land on Sanzo, who left the uncompleted Sudoku on the table as he turned for the door. Sanzo, trying to just slip on by, left the room without a word.

"Heh, how boring." Gojyo sighed; he was almost ready to go out to the bar and get himself a nice blonde when he saw the missing five numbers on the sudoku puzzle.

"Oi, If the priest can do it, I can!" Gojyo fiddled for a few minutes before scribbling in the answers. 7…6,4,…3…4. He examined his script against Sanzos for a minute. Sanzo's was heavy and thick, precise. Gojyos was light, interpretive and messy. He frowned; knowing that not even their scripts were even close to matching, he went out the door, heading for a bar. And hopefully picking up a chick or two.

' Now, the sparce room seemed too big. Why was he going back on his decision now? 'che, I wanted to be alone, I should be thankful that stupid water sprite left.' Sanzo returned, the room was predictably empty. He originally chosen the room arrangements because he wanted to be alone, knowing the kappa would probably flirting with some broad right now. That last thought made his teeth clench a bit and he sat down at his Sudoku puzzle he left unfinished. He snarled; the kappa scribbled in the answers!

'He just had to go and ruin everything didn't he?' a part of him was pissed, another part of him was curious of why Gojyo would even do such a thing, and get the answers right! Sanzo just about had it; he threw on his robes and his sutra and a well placed scowl and trudged over to the nearest bar he could find, hopefully not the one the perverted kappa inhabited. He didn't feel like a game of cards with Hakkai or Goku tonight. He found a small bar and trudged inside, it looked promising: it had liquor and the Kappa wasn't in it. He sunk into one of the barstools.

"Scotch, straight up." He cut at the bartender, who simply gave him a familiar incredulous glance: a Monk drinking?! He slid the drink down and Sanzo half-heartedly began to drink its strong contents. He ordered another, and then a third. The people in the bar seemed to leave him alone for the most part, except one girl.

"Say, you are either too cute to be a Monk, or too Holy to be cute." She cooed; He didn't even glance up to see that she was already blitzed and not in the condition to be hitting on men. Her pickup line didn't even make sense! She was pretty enough, long dark brown hair and honey eyes, but he wasn't the perverted kappa.

"Save it. Not interested." He spat out and took a long swig of his drink. He grew tired of her swaying gaze; he hated it when people stared at him. He looked up to cut her a glare but she had already turned away, tears glistening in her eyes. 'Great, exactly what I need, a crying woman. Could things get any worse!' And at that moment, Gojyo and a petite blonde with blue eyes came barging into the bar; merry and already a little buzzed.

"Hey, Sanzo-chan! It's not nice to make women cry!" Gojyo chorused, the girl giggled from his light embrace, his arm curled around her back and cupped her waist. Sanzo stared at that hand, and looked in his eyes, and then saw the whole picture: Gojyo, happy as can be, girl, happy as can be, Sanzo, pissed off as can be.

'As long as he takes the bimbo back to her place and screw; I don't care. I don't care at all.' Sanzo balled his hand into a fist and almost, almost swung it at Gojyo's jaw. But he refrained. He had control; especially in public and especially when it came to people in his group. He avoided looking in Gojyos mirthful scarlet eyes as he placed some cash on the bar and quickly barged out of the bar, jolting Gojyo out of the doorway while doing so. However, Gojyo's eyes weren't all that mirthful.

"Whoa, what got into him?!" Gojyo accidentally voiced his thoughts aloud and the girl attached to him smiled.

"Oh, who cares Gojyo-san; he is just some grumpy old monk! Probably jealous he doesn't have the charm that you do!" She laughed and playfully poked his side. His stomach coiled in a tiny knot seeing how ticked off the monk was

. 'Not much I can do about it now, he doesn't want to see me anyway'. Gojyo quickly assured himself, and he and his arm-caddy named...blonde chick, closed in quickly on an unsuspecting poker table.

Sanzo got what he wanted, a room to himself, no one but him resided in it. The buzz he got from the scotch still lingered strongly and he sat back in the chair gazing out the small window at the stars, smoking his second cigarette. It was late, he didn't know where the time went, and he didn't know why he was still up. Sanzo's eyelids were heavy, and his eyes still stung a little from the dust. He struggled up from the chair and took off his clothes, everything but his pants and curled in the creaky, yet soft bed. He couldn't glance at the clock, he already knew that Gojyo would not be coming in for hours. 'damn what am I, some parent checkin in on curfew? Or some girl? This is stupid, it must be the booze. At least, it's very silent in here, no talking from Goku or snoring from Hakkai'.

"Che!" Gojyo cursed out quietly as his shin struck a chair. The stars were still brilliant, and the moon was still relatively high in the sky. He didn't spend that much time at the girl's place, he felt a bit guilty about upsetting the monk to the point of silence. 'What was he doing in a bar in the first place?!' Gojyo moved to his own bed and watched the rhythmic movement of Sanzo's pale sculpted chest.

Up and down, up and down, the ivory skin rose and fell like waves on the ocean. The moonlight made his chest look like the pale blue of a sea, and his hair was flung about his momentarily peaceful features like feathers from a bird. Gojyo's jaw hung slack, he never saw Sanzo sleep like this. 'Sanzo looks so…content, so innocent. If I didn't know better I'd say he is a monk!' It almost made him snort. 'Sanzo is always a pain in the ass when awake, but when asleep he looks like he landed on fricken cloud nine'. Sanzo could not be any of those things awake, but asleep was a completely different story. He felt something within him tug a bit, his fingers itched a bit to touch Sanzo's skin, to see if he actually was as smooth as he looked, but his joints were simply not into staying sitting up. He plopped down on the bed, still watching Sanzo as he too found a little sleep before daybreak.

Hey, LOH here, this is my first saiyuki story so bear with me as I play a bit with the character's personalities and such. :P please review, I want to know if I should continue this or not!!