A/N: Written for 10 whores LiveJournal community challenge using the prompt the truth. Written back in June 2008; may have tense switch mid-sentence, though I tried to eradicate all mistakes. If you spot anything, please let me know.
Warnings: None. Worksafe.
Disclaimer: Kazuya Minekura owns all.
Sometimes Sanzo dreamed. They were not pleasant dreams, but neither were they nightmares. He knew no words that could describe them and even though he wished for them to stop, somehow he knew that they would not. He could never really remember what those dreams were about: in the end, they always ended up resembling his current life. Most of the time he was a mere onlooker and only when the scenes of the dream changed did he become an active participant.
Almost always the action revolved around a young long-haired man. Almost always he shared Sanzo's facial features, but on the few occasions when Sanzo found himself trapped inside this man's body and mind, he was aware of how different they looked. And his name... Sanzo could never remember. When the other people in his dreams called him by that name, he could respond, but in his waking hours that name fled his mind.
It was an almost perverse feeling – being in this stranger's body, feeling it and thinking of it as his own, and yet knowing that it belonged to someone else.
Sanzo wished for those dreams to end.
They did not.
Slowly, another man came into those dreams. In many ways he resembled Hakkai and yet was not him, right down to his name. Interacting with him was strange: he had many things to say and ask of this man, but each time they conversed they only used a set of little-mattering lines. It was a loop he – they could not escape.
Later, Goku appeared. Or – someone that looked like Goku in Sanzo's mind's eye. His appearance was far younger and he acted little like the one he currently knew. Again, the same interactions followed – meaningless words, meaningless things.
Gojyo appeared the last and somehow he seemed to be less obnoxious than the one he knew in this life. With him too the already familiar routine took over – meaningless words, names, sentences, names, words. Goku was the only one whose name did not change, even though his appearance had changed greatly. He resembled the child Sanzo had freed from the cave, even younger still.
Sometimes, in his waking hours, Sanzo pondered these dreams, their meaning, but otherwise paid as little attention to them as possible. These fragments seldom visited him and even then they were vague and fading – a subject meant to be forgotten. Yet two figures would not leave him – one being Goku and the other... The other was his mirror self; the one that was him and yet was not. The one whom Sanzo recognised, while that man himself remained oblivious to Sanzo's presence, just like any dream figure would. Sanzo called him "the Other".
Sometimes Sanzo only watched from the side, floating somewhere above the scene, how the Other acted, what he went through. But then he slowly merged with the Other's being, relocated himself in the Other's body, and this switch came about so naturally, so freely as though it was meant to be. He always felt such an eerie, perverse feeling of familiarity, of belonging in there. Still, no one ever called him Sanzo while he was in that body and sometimes he wondered if no one recognised him as a stranger because his words and actions were different from those of the Other.
But this was the way of dreams. Eventually, you merged with the person you were dreaming about and his or her face slowly turned into your own as the dream progressed. You became that person.
The dreams were always more akin to reality, too life-like to be just a figment of his mind. Somehow they seemed important. Foreboding, perhaps. But there was only the strange feeling that he had dreamed all of this before. Sanzo could never remember anything in great detail and all of those dreams seemed too alike to make a distinction between them. In was not quite haunting. He was not possessed. He was not seeing his companions with the faces of those from his dreams and the people in his dreams never took on the appearance of the members of his group. He could still look into the mirror without seeing the Other looking back at him.
Then there came other dreams – the ones forcing him to relive the night when Koumyou died, to relive those nights after that one, and the time when he first killed. If Sanzo could exorcise his dreams, he would. Yet some voice from the far back of his mind whispered that even then the Other would not leave him. That the Other would still be near him, above him, inside of him, always a part of him.
Sometimes, the Toua's 31st Genjo Sanzo dreamed. And when he woke up, he preferred to forget his dreams because living in them and living them out interfered with his direct mission. And dreams, as he had learned, could not be gotten rid of. Neither his banishing gun, nor his Maten sutra could aim him there.
Sometimes, Konzen Douji had dreamed. And when he woke up, he had chosen to forget his dreams because there was always a lot of paperwork to do. And dreams meant nothing to a god.
Sometimes repeating itself, the cycle continued.