Alive and Dead

by Icka! M. Chif

"Gokuu? Are you alright?" Hakkai asked from the driver's seat of Jiip, concerned.

"C'mon, Zaru. I have something I want to show you." Sanzo said, rising and walking off into the woods. Gokuu smiled and scampered after him.

Gokuu didn't respond. He hadn't said much all day, and had just stared out of the side of Jiip as though he was asleep with his eyes open. It was quite disconcerting.

"Where we going, Sanzo?" The smaller boy grinned. Sanzo didn't say anything, walking silently.

Hakkai exchanged a worried look with Gojyo. Even the Kappa's taunts hadn't done anything.

"Maybe I'll come too." Gojyo smirked. "Somebody's gotta keep an eye on the zaru's virtue."

"We're almost there." Hakkai announced, motioning to a monastery in the distance.

The clicking of a gun in his direction convinced him otherwise. Gojyo grinned and backed off. Gokuu just looked confused.

"About time." Gojyo grumbled, flicking some cigarette ashes out the side of the car.

They approached a clearing out of hearing distance of the other 2 members of the group. "Sit down." Sanzo said, a strange serious demeanour to him. Gokuu picked up on the mood and copied his mentor's movements.

Hakkai said nothing, silently keeping an eye on the smallest companion.

"Say it with me, you need to remember this." Sanzo instructed. Gokuu nodded, his eyes sparkling with curiosity, but he said nothing.

"Who's there?" A monk at the entry gate demanded.

And then the chant started.

"Companions of Genjo Sanzo." Hakkai politely, yet tiredly, replied back. "We seek burial rites for our friend."

They were the chant, and the chant was them. They were together, yet separate. It wove around them, through them and became them. It had a life, a presence, a power of it's own.

"Who?"

After a small eternity, it wound down, returning them to their bodies, normal and yet not the same.

Hakkai swallowed, attempting to discharge a lump in his throat before replying. "Sanzo."

Sanzo took the Infernal Land Sutra off his shoulders, rolled it up and placed them in front of Gokuu. "I'm placing these in your protection." He said formally. "Should anything happen to me, I pass them on to you. Do you understand?"

The monks let them in without further fuss. The oldest monk took one look into their eyes and forbade anyone from speaking ill of the 3 travellers.

Gokuu, his eyes looking closer to his real age of over 500 years rather than the rambunctious kid he normally acted, nodded.

They were all obviously suffering from the loss of their friend.

Sanzo gave him a bit of a lopsided smile. "Good. Now come on, we're wasting time."

The monastery was thrown into mourning, and funeral preparations set about for one of the most holy of monks in a frantic hurry.

And if Gokuu clung a little closer to Sanzo than normal on the way back, the monk didn't say anything.

Guards were also increased around the buildings. The odds of youkai attacking to attempt to eat the remains of Sanzo in hopes of increasing their abilities were pretty high.

Gojyo smirked quite a bit when Gokuu climbed into Jiip without complaint, then curled up and fell asleep without a word. Sanzo glared at him, but didn't say anything other than ordering the half kappa to let him sleep un-disturbed.

Everything was quiet, allowing the monks to do their work until close to around sunset. The Infernal Sutras that Sanzo usually wore around his shoulders was missing, and no one was sure where it was. Hakkai and Gojyo made plans to go back in the morning to look for it. Gokuu remained as he had been, abnormally quiet.

The attack came a few hours later, close to noon. An ambush by a large group of rouge youkai.

Youkai started attacking towards nightfall. The monks were very little match for their strength and numbers.

As they had countless times before, the 4 travellers set about defeating their opponents.

Hakkai and Gojyo set about defeating the youkai like they themselves were deamons possessed. They had lost a close friend that day and the chance to vent was much welcomed.

It's not all that hard or unusual to get separated in a large fight such as they were fighting, and that's precisely what happened.

Gokuu was listless, fighting as if he were half a sleep, even though no one was able to lay a hand on him. The strange dull look that had been in his eyes for the majority of the day only accentuated this.

Eventually, Hakkai and Gojyo fought their way next to each other, covering each other's backs. There was no sign of Gokuu or Sanzo as they fought. "Where's the Monk and his damn sutra when you need it?" Gojyo half joked, half grumbled.

"We're being overwhelmed!" A monk shouted as several youkai focused on breaking into the buildings instead of fighting.

"I haven't seen him for a while." Hakkai admitted, taking down another opponent with apparent ease. "Do you think we should worry?"

Gokuu interposed himself between the buildings where Sanzo's remains lay and the horde of youkai, Nyoibou disappearing from his hand.

A flash of light and the familiar snake like patterns of the sutra's heavenly purification lit up the area off to their side. Youkai started to retreat as their brethren began their trip to the afterlife. "Nevermind." Hakkai remarked. Gojyo smirked.

To everyone's surprise and amazement, he closed his eyes and began to chant, his hands moving in familiar gestures as a soft violet and gold glow flickering around him.

A keening cry, like the sound of someone's heart breaking echoed across the battlefield.

"MAKAITENJOU!!!!" Holy scriptures flew from around Gokuu's body, reaching for the attacking youkai and destroying them.

"Gokuu!" Gojyo and Hakkai turned and ran across the battlefield, afraid of what they might find.

The rush of power faded, leaving Gokuu standing alone in front of the doors to the temple. His eyes slowly opened, blinking luminescent gold eyes at the awed congregation in front of him.

They found Sanzo and Gokuu together, the bodies of numerous dead youkai around them. Gokuu was cradling Sanzo's body in his arms, silently sobbing as tears refused to flow from his eyes. He looked up at them, his gold eyes a dull bronze.

The diadem on his head had changed, the spiral ends leaving a small gap in the middle of his forehead to reveal the blood red dot that was the mark of the most holy of holy men.

"Sanzo is dead."

"Sanzo is alive."

Fin.

Makaitenjou = Sanzo's sutra attack.

Notes/reasons:

Gokuu is the new Sanzo... heh.

Gokuu was born from a rock, so he is neither human or youkai, even though he wears a Youryoku limiter. Think the term is 'itan'... so it makes sense (to me at least) that he would be able to use both holy energy as well youkai. He was in Heaven for a while after all. ^^;;

That much of a change in energy would probably effect him a bit, which is why he slept for a while. Give his body a chance to balance it out.

No idea why Gojyo ended up so pervert minded, just came out that way... #^^#

Added note: Been trying to get the formatting right, but FF.net doesn't seem to like it. Sorry if it's hard to read.