A/N: The idea here is to write a single sentence for each prompt, relating to anything in the series of Saiyuki. I wound up confining myself to the ikkou, and I may have (ahem) bent the rules of how one defines a sentence slightly... but I hope you enjoy them anyway. Let me know your favorites!
1 (Move): Go west, they were told, and so they went, picking each other up off the battlefields and kicking each other out of warm beds and talking each other into going forward even when it was the last thing any of them wanted to do.
2 (Sleep): At first, Hakkai was always awake when Gojyo staggered home at two or three in the morning, even though he would rise with the sun to walk up to the temple each day; Gojyo saw the strain it was taking on his health and began to ask pointed questions about when exactly Hakkai slept, but Hakkai only smiled blithely and ignored him, far too close to the loss of everything he'd loved to be comfortable going to sleep before he knew Gojyo had come home safely.
3 (Inspire): Before a certain point in his life, Gojyo was convinced that it was really not possible to be inspire by someone else, or to try to do anything (let alone improve yourself) for anyone's sake but your own: then his life rearranged itself, and when he came out on the other side he found himself contemplating old, tired Buddhist philosophy that had been put into sharp and personal focus for him, cleaning up his behavior to provide a decent example to a kid who didn't have much of an example to go on, and living almost every moment mindful of what affect his words and actions might be having on the person who was suddenly there everywhere, everyday, whose every word and action were in turn impacting him.
4 (Sweat): Blood, sweat, and tears are prerequisites for the journey, a daily occurrence and a bone-weary nuisance; pranks, bets, laughter, mahjong, and companionable silence are the ways they soothe the weariness out, the antidotes they offer each other.
5 (Lovely): When Goku was freed from his cage, the entire world was new to him and so vibrant he could barely take it in; he was always inclined to find beauty in things the others might not have noticed, but no matter how much he saw he still knew what the most beautiful things in the world were: the sun, which gave the light that revealed every other lovely thing, and Sanzo, who would have shot Goku if he caught him so much as thinking words like beautiful about him, so Goku tried to be silent even in thought when he watched Sanzo chanting.
6 (Breathe): One night, in the course of one of Gojyo and Goku's long drawn-out battles about nothing whatsoever, Goku triumphantly announced that Gojyo couldn't hide from him or pretend it was someone else pulling pranks because Goku knew what each member of the ikkou's breathing sounded like; when the other three realized (with differing amounts of amusement and horror) that they could each claim the same, it was summarily decided that they had been traveling together for much too long.
7(Rough): Sometimes the horseplay in the backseat got a little too rough, and sometimes Sanzo's fan came down hard enough to bruise, but they all knew the limits of each other's bodies, and what might appear to outsiders as cold-blooded murder was really no more than children throwing sand at each other.
8 (Strike): Once, long before the journey to India, Sanzo grew extremely irritated with the way Hakkai was encouraging Goku's teasing and smacked both of them with the harisen; Hakkai's smile didn't even flicker, but he stiffened, and it was only a few days into what proved to be several harrowing weeks of subtle retributions before Sanzo swore fervently to himself that he would never, no matter what the circumstances or how richly it was deserved, strike Hakkai again.
9 (Help): Despite their independent natures, most of them knew how to ask for help when the situation called for it, but Sanzo never mastered the art; yet as time passed, Goku learned to respond to a certain tone of Sanzo's voice, and Hakkai found subtle half-invitations buried in Sanzo's words, and Gojyo (whom Sanzo could never forgive the indignity of having been pinned to the ground on their first meeting) didn't even receive either of those clues, yet somehow managed to be there at the right moments anyway.
10(Resist): When Hakkai and Gojyo first met, they knew it was borrowed time and so they felt they had nothing to hide from each other; after, which Hakkai was unexpectedly granted a new life, they still found themselves gravitating together, but the intimacy that had come easily before was forced, and turf wars were common as they each struggled to find a place for someone who was half a stranger and half an old friend.
11 (Meet): They have all met before; they know this to be true, not in the backs of their minds but in the bottoms of their souls, and while it occasionally comes up in conversation on a particularly late or drunken night, for the most part they just accept it for the paradox it is--a truth that can't be true, a belief that can't be shaken.
12(Taut): Sanzo and Hakkai were both capable of long icy snits, incapable of letting go of anything, and prone to turning any argument sustained for more than five minutes into a mental chess match; it was fortunate for everyone that they usually got along quite well, but on the rare occasions that they squared off against each other the front seat of the jeep could become intensely cold and quiet, while the backseat grew proportionally louder in their attempts to break the tension.
13 (Thirst): Goku never complained of thirst, which made the theory that his perpetual hunger was related to 500 years of consuming nothing a little suspect; and gradually, the others all independently came to the conlusion that what Goku was hungry for had very little to do with food.
14 (All): The phrase all for one and one for all would have struck them as so humorous they all could have been helplessly slaughter in the grip of their laughter--yet time and again, one of them would stand tall between the other three and death; time and again, three of them would pursue the fourth who had strayed, helping him accomplish what he needed to do or waiting in silence until he was ready to come back.
15 (Fog): "Man, Hakuryuu's headlights are crap," Gojyo said idly one night as the group made their way through a thick fog; he spent the rest of the night rolling his eyes and pretending he was interested in playing solitaire while Hakkai pointedly refused to join him in a few hands of poker and instead spent his time coddling Hakuryuu, who was oblivious to the cause of the tension but nonetheless appreciated the extra attention.
16 (Before): Before is obviously the time before they knew one another, but it has a different meaning for them all; to Gojyo, it is a time without love, before anyone cared enough to come back; to Hakkai, it is a time without truth, before a soul on earth could know who he really was and still look him in the eye; to Sanzo, it is a time without motion, everything inside his soul lying still and dormant; and to Goku, before is a time without, without, without, without…
17 (Hurt): Sometimes for no reason on earth an old, sad, hurt feeling would settle onto Goku and he would become quiet, trying to figure out what it was he felt bereft of--but he could never remember, and since it was a bad feeling he was always happy to let it slip away when Gojyo tackled him, providing the distraction of a fight, or Hakkai said something deep that ought to make sense but didn't and then laughed at himself and asked what Goku wanted him to cook, or Sanzo sat down silently next to him, both of them knowing that just his presense was enough to vanquish any ghost.
18 (Kind): Kindnesses were subtle, always undeclared and unacknowledged expect by the briefest of glances, but they were still there: the way Goku occasionally timed his pleas for food in accordance with disturbed or withdrawn expressions on Sanzo's face, the way Sanzo dumped responsibilities onto Hakkai not because he didn't feel like doing them, but because he knew Hakkai had to stay busy to avoid unpleasant thoughts, the way Hakkai would turn to Gojyo for support sometimes when it wasn't needed, because Gojyo had to believe that it was, and the way Gojyo would notice when Sanzo was ignoring Goku, and keep Goku too occupied to think about it much.
19 (Warm): Goku's first guess that Gojyo's hair would be as warm as fire was disappointed; but Goku's instincts were usually right, and as he got to know Gojyo and learned what it was like to have a fierce, affectionate big brother, he knew why warm had been his first reaction to Gojyo's presence.
20 (Pattern): As the weeks on the road became months, patterns became engrained and arguments could be held for 20 minutes without either party knowing what was being said; it was after Gojyo and Sanzo held one such argument, complete with gunshots, without either of them waking up that the group reached a mutual decision that something, anything, had to change.
21 (Cycle): Spring is Goku, bursting with energy and potential and enthusiasm for life; summer is Gojyo, lush and langorous and hanging all over everything; autumn is Hakkai, crisp and deceptively quiet and stockpiling supplies; winter is Sanzo, wrapped tightly against the cold, harsh and beautiful at once.
22 (Glow): There were days when all of them wondered why they put up with it, why Sanzo made all the rules and did none of the work and whether he was really going to shoot one of them someday; and then, without any indication he was aware of what he was doing, he would say something that would pierce them and remind them of the glow that had settled on them as they'd stood together the first time Sanzo chanted for them as a group, praying not for the dead but the living--and they would resolve to put up with him for a little longer.
23 (Zero): Goku had never received an unfettered word of affection from Sanzo, nor any gesture that could truly be counted as a sign of concern; in fact, Sanzo gave every impression that that he was only putting up with Goku because he hadn't found a good place to dump his body yet, and still Goku never doubted for an instant that Sanzo was his home--and the more observant around them noted that, while Sanzo never endorsed this, he never refuted it either.
24 (Wonder): They left a great many bewildered townspeople behind them, wondering how a group that seemed to possess such acrimony and disregard for each other could also resembled a well-oiled machine when (and only when) they felt like it.
25 (Scold): Hakkai was a relentless scold, pressuring or outright nagging the other three into picking up after themselves and maintaining at least some standards of hygiene, and although everyone knew that it was his way of taking care of them and that they would be in trouble fast without it, sometimes one of them snapped and threw an empty beer can or some dirty laundry at him and suffered his well-plotted revenge later.
26 (Figure): Goku knew that, no matter how much Hakkai tried to improve his education, he would always be bad at figuring things out--it took him a lot of effort and his answers usually surprised Hakkai with their awfulness and Goku didn't see why he should try to improve when he could just rely on Hakkai to have the answer anyway; he didn't realize that the looks of astonishment that passed over Hakkai's face were often not despair, but wonder at the clean and elegant (if unconventional) solution that Goku had tumbled to, one that would have escaped Hakkai completely.
27 (Then): Then was forbidden; only now was acceptable, and though they dealt with the incursions of then when they had to--whether it was the presence of old enemies wielding shikigami or talismans, or the intrusions of gods who called them by names not their own--they squared their shoulders and dealt with it and then returned as quickly as possible to their shared skill of denying all past, living only in now.
28 (Lie): Goku rarely lied, and when he did he was bad at it; it put him at a distinct disadvantage against his companions, who were skilled not only at lying to others but to themselves, lies like I don't remember her/him or I don't need you, I don't even really like you or It doesn't hurt anymore or most especially I am attached to nothing.
29 (Hunt): Sanzo was used to running errands for the gods, and never got involved enough to care or remember what had happened a few weeks later; but the hunt for Cho Gonou took on a surreal edge, some quality in the man triggering a response he hadn't known was in him--something, too, about the other man, the crimson-eyed stranger who'd taken the murderer in--and Sanzo found himself putting forth an effort for them that he had never before put forth for anyone but himself, speaking with all the clarity he could summon and advocating before the gods, just because they deserved it.
30 (Mistake): At first Sanzo bitterly regretting bringing Goku down from the mountain, finding this new annoying presence to be worse than the constant calling and crying in the back of his mind; later, he had to grudgingly acknowledge that Goku had developed one or two redeeming qualities and could be counted on in a scrap, even if he was still a nuisance; and still later, Sanzo wondered if the mistake had not been opening the door for Goku to enter his life, but keeping certain other doors shut to him for so long.
31 (Birth): Accidents of birth had doomed Goku and Gojyo both, their crimes committed when they drew their first breaths; and so when the pair of them got a bit rowdy together, acting out the childhoods they hadn't had with a newly adopted sibling, Hakkai merely smiled and looked the other way and even Sanzo did not hit them quite as often as he felt like it.
32 (Cut): Hakkai knew how to cut, with words and weapons, ending lives and provoking doubt and halting growth; Gojyo, in contrast, knew how to grow under even the most extreme conditions, how to forgive endlessly and give the benefit of the doubt up to and including putting himself in peril--it was unsurprising, after meeting, that the pair learned quickly to take each other's advice, because apart they were hopelessly unbalanced but together their judgment was sound.
33 (Double): It was inevitable, when putting four strong personalities into painfully close quarters for long periods of time, that alliances would form and shift and break down as power struggles occurred, and that any two of them would be able at a moment's notice to ally themselves and attack the others: Gojyo and Goku raising unbearable amounts of noise while Sanzo and Hakkai fired back with cool, sharp words, or Sanzo and Gojyo drinking and smoking and growling while Hakkai and Goku nagged at them, or old loyalties reasserting themselves and Gojyo and Hakkai huddling together in the corner, playing cards and sharing a beer and speaking in the shorthand of people who have lived together for a long time, while Sanzo and Goku sat together in a separate corner, not needing to speak at all.
34 (Cover): Sanzo habitually clung tightly to bedcovers and (still asleep) would smack anyone else who tugged on them, Gojyo tossed around and kicked them helter-skelter, Goku mounded them up around and under himself like an animal making a nest, and Hakkai patiently and persistently transferred them to his side of the bed all night until they were in a puddle on the floor--and all things considered, they were all very grateful it wasn't often they wound up in a hotel so small they would have to share beds.
35 (Lick): When they arrived in a town covered in ice, Gojyo dared Goku to lick a frozen street pole; in the aftermath, Gojyo had a good laugh, Goku swore revenge, Sanzo ignored it all from behind his newspaper, and Hakkai wearily reflected on his transformation into a babysitter.
36 (Wheel): Someone else drove only when Hakkai was too injured to be behind the wheel; this was established law, not because Hakkai was the best driver (which he wasn't), but because Hakuryuu was attached to Hakkai and became skittish when someone else drove, often stalling or refusing to shift gears, and also because Hakkai had a tendency to breathe down the neck of anyone else who was driving his dragon.
37 (Slight): They were all well accustomed to each other's quirks, and in constant proximity to each other on the road were forced to deal with those little tics and warning signals more frequently; a subtle difference in the way Sanzo held his gun would make them all vacate the premises, a certain edge to Gojyo's tone would have the rest of them silently deciding out whose turn it was to pick a fight to dispell his tension, a slight change in Hakkai's smile could quell the other three instantly, and a particular plaintive tone of Goku's would cause the others to place any existing resentments on hold and sit down at the mahjong table together, knowing that if their youngest/oldest member's boredom continued a moment longer they would all live to regret it.
38 (Fling): Gojyo's romantic relationships rarely lasted long enough to be considered a fling, and his friendships lasted only as long as fair weather; then he suddenly found himself best friends with a man who frequently clung to things past the point they ceased to exist, his life altering course from the interventions of a monk in possession of the scriptures used to create the world who was accompanied by a kid more resilient than gum stuck to your shoe and had a phobia of losing people--and Gojyo adapted to the change, finding himself thinking far from being temporary, this situation between the four of them had been before, had always been, and would always be.
39 (Sorry): Goku said sorry twenty times a day, sometimes when he meant it and sometimes when he didn't and plenty of times when he didn't even know what he was supposed to be sorry for; Sanzo never said it, not once, but there would be other things--a sudden change of subject, a purchase of food, an absence of the harisen, a change of expression--that would let Goku know when Sanzo felt sorry for something.
40 (Call): Sanzo had an unerring ability to find Goku, whether it was at the close of a difficult battle or after Goku had wandered off into a town's market looking for sweets, and when one of the others finally inquired into it Sanzo only muttered that the damned brat was just as loud and persistant as when he had been caged, and Sanzo had give up trying to figure out what would silence him.
41 (Jewel): The limiters on Hakkai's ears passed for jewelry with most people, and many of the local girls thought it added to his appearance; only those close to him knew how desperately Hakkai depended on those three metal bands, simultaneously loathing their necessity and clinging to their ability to suppress the monster--only those close to him knew that his first action every morning and last action every night was to run his fingers over them, reassuring himself that they were secure.
42 (Fruit): Forbidden fruit always tastes the sweetest; whenever Gojyo heard that common phrase uttered, he couldn't help the flash of memory that accompanied it--the man he'd been mourning for standing in the middle of the market, holding out an apple the color Gojyo had hated his entire life, his presence evoking almost every kind of desire that Gojyo labeled forbidden.
43 (House): It wasn't much of a house--more of a shack, really, complete with what might have been decades of ground-in dirt and grime from parties, and Gojyo could only watch in fascionation as Hakkai (once he had been confirmed as a permanent resident there) grimly rolled up his sleeves and proceeded to transform the shack into a neat and comfortable little home.
44 (Swim): At first Hakkai was self-conscious about his scar, and refused to let anyone see it; but in summer, Gojyo wandered around in nothing but shorts and complained that Hakkai was overdressed, and dragged him out skinny-dipping, and gradually Hakkai got to a point where he didn't notice anymore--but Gojyo noticed Hakkai not noticing, and kept his smugness to himself.
45 (Family): They were every kind of dysfunctional, argumentative and angry and controlling and codependent and brutal in the ways they showed their love, but it was the way they so thoroughly disowned the level of their attachment to each other that made the most compelling case for their having become a family.
46 (Interest): A thoughtful, "Interesting…" followed by contemplative silence was always Gojyo's clue that he had fucked up royally this time and Hakkai was going to give him exactly one more chance to start backpedaling before murdering him.
47 (Record): They never edited themselves or pretended to be anything other than what they were, and by the time they realized their task was epic in scale and they were going to be talked about long after their deaths, they laughed to wonder if history would get the record straight or clean them up a little.
48 (Glass): Glass is something whole and clear, made from gritty sand put through fire to make it at once more beautiful and more breakable; Sanzo sometimes thought of this but said nothing as he watched Hakkai fingering his monocle, glinting light off it to create a mask, using it as a small but necessary distinction between who he was and who he had been.
49 (Shape): There were, inevitably, days of disorientation: days when Gojyo expected Hakkai to smoke with him and looked for the little frog ashtray, days when Hakkai was inclined to be messy and distracted, when Goku was startled by Sanzo's short hair and Sanzo wondered where all the paperwork had gone; days when the shape and shade of things didn't seem quite right, and they stumbled a little in a fog of déjà vu that they couldn't quite shake off.
50 (Live): To live was the stated goal of each of them, their own freedom and their own survival the only thing they ascribed hope to; but beneath that seemingly simplistic and selfish creed lay the fact that each of them had lived such a life as to make remembering that to live was the simplist and truest of desires, that they were supposed to want this above all other things, took all of their effort.