A/N: Has a companion fic "53".

Warnings: Character death mentioned.

Disclaimer: I know it, you know it, and Kazuya Minekura-sama knows it too.


35

It had been thirty-five days since they had reached their destination. Thirty-five days since it was all over and done. Thirty five days since they were back on the road, only this time the infamous Sanzo party was heading home.

They were still living the day, not concerned about what would come tomorrow, they were still killing youkai who got in their way still trying to assassinate them, following the orders of someone who was no longer able to issue any orders. They were the wayward kind, though – too far gone in their madness to be turned back once the source was destroyed.

The road back would not be any more easier than it had been on the way here, Hakkai had stated, and they had agreed. Mutely, but agreed. Sanzo did not feel like talking, not that he ever did, and Goku... Goku had changed in the final battle. In fact, they all had because it was as simple and inevitable as the dawning of a new day.

Yes, the Sanzo party was back on the road again, but they were heading East. And they were one man short.

As often as the other two, Sanzo found himself wandering back to the moment when he had lost control of the situation. He had not seen the moment Gojyo's awareness had slipped; he only had witnessed how it ended for the fiery hanyou. It took some time to comprehend that he was not going to crack one eye open, ready to laugh his ass off if someone from their group who wasn't Hakkai got caught being all concerned about him.

So much for "they wouldn't die even if you killed them"...

Sanzo snorted. He did not want to admit, but there was something missing in the jeep now that the redhead was gone. As hard as it was for him to admit, he almost missed the goddamn cockroach. At times he was surprised by the silence coming from the back seat, being all too used to shooting bullets or drawing fan on the unsuspecting fighters. Little habits died hard, right?

Only thirty-five days, and the world seemed to have changed a lot. One of them was gone. One place was empty. And yet, they had changed more than the world had.