:: Nightmare ::


Disclaimer: I do not own Saiyuki or the characters. This is being written for entertainment purposes only. The author (aka me) does not seek to and will not profit off this.

Rating: T

Warnings: strong language

Notes: Dedicated to Mitti. It was she who inspired this piece. Apologies for the shortness, but this really is all there is to it.

It began, as many stories do, in the middle of the night. The sky was quiet but for the occasional chirp of an insomniac bird, or the leaves shifting as small rodents scurried about in their natural habitats. Perhaps the stone fire circle (the embers long put out) and makeshift tents were out of place, but the unusual residents did their part in keeping to themselves. A faint scent of smoked fish still lingered about from dinner long past, though to the intruders' credit, not a bit of food was left lying about.

At first, the disturbance was quiet. The smallest of the campers was quick to wake, his breathing ragged. Sweat dampened his brow. In the engulfing darkness, his eyes took on an almost golden brown color, though it was even more difficult to see than normal, for his pupils were so large they almost completely swallowed what color there was. The boy choked then began to gasp raggedly.

And then he cried out.

Perhaps he was not normally the type to let out such frightened sounds. Perhaps it was guardian instincts that caused his companions to startle awake and rush to his side.

"Keep it down you fucking stupid monkey!"

Correction—it was most definitely not guardian instinct.

"Oi," a redhead muttered in agreement. "I thought you were over your nightmare stage, Teeny."

"Now, now," a third voice said, his far more soothing and maternal than the first two. He knelt beside the shaking boy, resting a hand upon his back. "Goku, do you need a glass of water?"

"Quit babyin' him, Hakkai."

"Gojyo," Hakkai returned sternly. He didn't have to say any more; the redhead shut up.

In response to the offer, the boy wordlessly shook his head. He did not acknowledge either of the latter two men otherwise; instead, his gaze was desperately fixated on the cranky blond furthest from the tent flap.


"What," the blond snapped.

Goku shoved his blankets aside, abandoning Hakkai's comforting side to grasp at Sanzo's robes. The priest gave him a dirty look, but made no attempt to shake him off.

"Please," Goku whispered hoarsely. "Please tell me it's not true. You wouldn't. . . ."

The air grew thick and palpable, the boy's anxiety roiling off his body as though it were the sweat trickling down his face. He and Sanzo locked eyes in an almost curious understanding; Goku's terrified, Sanzo's stern and unyielding. Only Hakkai and Gojyo could look on and see there was a sort of communication there, only they could see Sanzo's silent permission for Goku to continue to vocalize his thoughts, and only they were wise enough to keep silent in such a tense situation.

Goku licked his lips again, and said weakly, "Sanzo, I . . . I can understand some things. Like th' mayo an' ramen." He began to shake the priest's arm. "But ice cream and teriyaki sauce? How could you do this to me?"

Murderous silence. Sanzo's eyes were no longer visible, now thrown into shadow as he bowed his head and began to twitch.

"Smoke break," Gojyo decided, heading for the exact opposite end of the tent.

"Allow me to keep you company," said Hakkai, following suit.

Goku seemed close to tears now. "Sanzo, I know you like weird stuff, but I mean, that's just wrong. We gotta get you help—"

Sanzo punched him upside the head.