A/N: Written for a LiveJournal 10 whores community challenge using prompt number 05 - scissors.

Warnings: None. Worksafe. Maybe some minor spoilers for those who haven't read/watched all of Saiyuki. But it's nothing big.

Disclaimer: Kazuya Minekura owns all, I'm just borrowing her characters for entertainment purposes.

Unwilling Partnership

Kougaiji was like running around with scissors – dangerous and unpredictable, and chances of tripping bigger than anything else. And despite all that, they had worked together once, teaming up against a demonic entity that had proven to be too strong to beat on their own. For a moment, they had been on the same side, fighting one enemy despite being enemies themselves. Sanzo really wished for it to not become a habit.

Maybe they were all just pawns in a bigger game and maybe they were all just a bunch of misguided fools, but he liked to believe in some sort of consistency in their otherwise unstable lives. Everything could end any other day, any hour. They knew the risk, and they still took their chances. All except Kougaiji.

Sometimes Sanzo got the feeling the demon prince did not have a choice. As if he was not permitted the chance of making his own decisions; the emptiness in his actions seemed to betray him sometimes. The monk did not know what it was and did not even care to find out, though sometimes he could not help himself but wonder.

If his enemy was a killing tool, pressured by someone third and attacking them not of his own will, he was only worthy of getting a bullet or two and a one-way trip into demon afterlife. But if there was a different reason behind his attacks, Sanzo could call him a fool and dispatch of him with the same ease he had been displaying for years.

Tied down by nothing – that was his philosophy, the line he lived his life by. And unintentionally, unnoticeably he had become tied down to life by those very few words. And along with himself, he had tied down the three who followed him.

But Kougaiji was different. He was somewhere in the middle of it all, somewhere outside of it all. Moreover, he had found a sparring partner in Goku and the monk was fairly sure their constant battles would not cease until the monkey won. He was getting stronger not by the day, but by hours.

There was no denying that Sanzo would have gladly put a few bullets into the demon prince and been done with it, but Kougaiji was not one to stand around waiting to be hit. As much as he hated to admit it, he was too strong for the monk to take on alone.

The next time their paths crossed and Goku jumped forth, readily charging at Kougaiji, Sanzo didn't try to stop him. Instead, he stood to the side, considerably out of the fighting zone, and searched his robes for his smokes. Ignoring Gojyo's flailing and yelling, he calmly lit one up and took a drag.

There was no need to bother. The fight would be over soon as it always was when both parties met. Had he really wanted, Sanzo could have counted down the seconds until another one of those practically unbeatable monsters showed up and they had to unite to dispose of it. Things like those liked to happen quite often, as he had noticed lately. Hence it was better to enjoy the smoke before any of that hit; otherwise the monk did not think he could peacefully handle another teaming up with Kougaiji and his bunch.