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Watching from Above

By Mikari

Drama / Humor

Chapter 1

A collection of Saiyuki short stories. Mostly humor and Sanzo Goku father son fluff. Includes Saiyuki, Reload and Gaiden stories.

Watching from Above: Journey I

Destination 01: Happy Father's Day

All was quiet at the inn as Sanzo read the newspaper and drank his tea. Earlier, Gojyo had said something about him acting like an old geezer, which earned the redhead a dance with the lovely harisen. Now Goku was returning earlier than expected, while his other two traveling companions were still out.

Sanzo looked at the boy, raising his line of view just a little over the newspaper he held. It became apparent that Goku was alone. "Did you forget something? Go help Gojyo and Hakkai with the supplies."

Goku did not leave, instead he stood there with a wide smile as he held something behind his back. "You like crowns, right' I've seen you wear one."

Sanzo wanted to disregard the comment and return to his peaceful reading but something told him that Goku's observation was not just a random observation.

"Who doesn't like flowers, right'" Goku continued. "They smell really good. Not as good as food but they still smell nice."

By then Sanzo wondered where Goku was going with his ramblings and how was whatever point he was attempting to prove, related to whatever mysterious item he hid behind his back. Sanzo had a bad feeling about it.

"Happy father's day Sanzo!" Goku happily exclaimed as he placed a flowery crown upon Sanzo's golden haired head. "Cool, isn't it? The violets stand out on the gold. It's really shiny, like the sun."

Sanzo froze; time stood still and the newspaper slipped out of his hands, cascading to the floor in puddle of black, gray and white.

Goku extended his arms as if expecting Sanzo to give him a hug.

Then when time started to move again for Sanzo, he stood up and guided the harisen to collide firmly with the top of Goku's head. "I'm not your father you stupid monkey!" Sanzo yelled with a look of indignation.

Goku's golden eyes became shiny and watery. He pouted and frowned. "But I don't have anyone else to wish a happy father's day to. Who will I congratulate? I used to say it to a rock before but that was no fun. Besides, you always took care of me!"

Just as Sanzo was about to reach for the violets atop his head and throw the crown away, he paused. Was Goku in that much of a need for a parent that he would talk to a rock in the past? It was then that Sanzo knew he had suffered a great defeat; he never even stood a chance against the shiny chibi eyes of gold. Giving up, he left the crown of violets where it was on his head and hugged the boy.

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 02: Excuses

As Konzen walked down the hall with his golden eyed pet following him, they head a voice complaining. The voice was obviously female and sounded like she was in terrible pain.

Seconds later as they turned a corner they spotted the Merciful Goddess walking in their direction. She was using the wall for support with one hand, while she held the other over her stomach. "Ow! Oh!" She looked back to make sure she wasn't followed. Then when she was certain no one but her nephew and his pet were around, she stood straight and energetically walked by, as a smiled graced her face.

Footsteps were suddenly heard making her pause in front of her nephew. An attendant arrived and she resumed her act. "Oh, the pain! Konzen it feels like I'm dying! My dear nephew you must carry out my will after my death. Ow!" Of course there was no such a thing as death in that realm.

"Oh no! What happened? You were in pain, but then you were okay and now you're in pain again? Are you hurt?" Goku fell for her acting.

"I'm not injured, I'm just in pain!" Kanzeon bent over in pain, holding her stomach. The attendant slipped away quietly when he though he had seen enough. "Is he gone?" She whispered.

"Yeah," Konzen replied.

"Good," once again the Merciful Goddess regained her composure and continued her confident stroll. She paused and looked back at them. "What? I need a day off." Then she left, knowing that her nephew did not fall for her excuses, but would not say anything about it either way.

Konzen resumed his walking with Goku following close behind. "Hey Konzen, shouldn't we make sure she makes it to her room safely? She's your aunt right? What if she gets pains again'"

"She's fine," Konzen sounded annoyed.

"But she was in pain!" Goku insisted.

"She was only putting up an act to get out of a meeting. She does that all the time," Konzen tried to explain it in a simple way so that the chibi monkey would quit asking questions.

"Oh! So she wasn't hurt?" Goku asked.

"No, she wasn't hurt," Konzen savored the moment of silence that followed, but sadly it didn't last for too long.

"So what does she need a day off for? Is there going to be a party? Did she have to leave work to go make the preparations' Is there going to be food? Did she leave so she could start cooking?" Goku asked.

Konzen stopped walking suddenly, causing Goku to bump into him. "Don't ask, just don't ask."

Goku blinked, his golden eyes were shining with curiosity. "There is going to be food, right? Where will the party be? Is it always in the same place? Can we go? Are Ken nii-chan and Ten-chan going to be there too?"

"Shut up!" At times like this, Konzen wished he had something to hit the chibi saru on the head with.

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 03: Catching a Cold

Though Gojyo had joked before that the monkey was too stupid to catch a cold, Goku had proved him wrong.

"It seems you have a fever," Hakkai informed him after feeling the heat on his forehead, which proved a bit tricky with the golden power limiter that covered it.

Goku sniffled and pulled the covers close around himself. "I'm sick'" He was in disbelief.

"It looks like you are," Hakkai confirmed.

"I hope it doesn't spread, otherwise one of us will always have a cold to give the other and we'll never be rid of it," Gojyo voiced.

That was how it was with a close group of friends. If one caught a cold and another was destined to receive it and pass it along. By the time the first was cured, someone else would be ready to cause a re-infection.

"Sanzo recently recovered from a cold, so I don't think he'll catch another so soon after." Hakkai looked towards the golden haired traveler, who was occupied reading the newspaper.

"Right, so we'll leave it all to Sanzo," Gojyo agreed.

Sanzo looked up from his newspaper. "Just what do you mean'"

"Taking care of Goku, of course. Gojyo and I will take care of the preparation of supplies so we may leave early tomorrow," Hakkai informed.

"Yeah and we can get to know the town while we're at it," Gojyo grinned. Sanzo and Hakkai knew exactly what he meant.

While Sanzo debated if it was worth the effort to get up and walk to Gojyo to hit him with the harisen, Hakkai expressed his disagreement. "We shouldn't get too distracted or else we'll never make it to the west."

"Yeah, yeah, just a little fun won't hurt," Gojyo stood by his point. After a few more remarks, the two were gone, leaving the sickly Goku in the care of Sanzo.

"Sanzo, I'm cold and bored," Goku complained.

"That's because you're sick. Go to sleep" Sanzo did not take his eyes off the article he was currently reading.

"Can you read me a story?" The sudden request took Sanzo by surprise. Goku sometimes said unusual things, but that had to be the strangest thing he had said so far. "Please? There are books over there."

Sanzo followed his gaze towards the opposite wall of the room, occupied by a book shelf. A few books were placed there for the entertainment of the inn's guests. "Did that fever fry your brain? Just go to sleep chibi saru," Sanzo insisted.

Goku then gave him the saddest look, one that no one could resist. "My name is Goku!"

Without a word, Sanzo got up and walked towards the book shelf. The sense of deja vu he felt became stronger as he picked up a children's book and looked at the cover. The characters were little cartoon buns of different flavors. Surely Goku would like a story like that.

xoxox xox xoxox

"Then the Pork Bun flew up to the sky with the Curry Bun in his arms after rescuing her. They flew into the sunset and lived happily ever after, the end." Sanzo's tone while reading was very monotonous, but Goku loved the story, not only because it had buns as the main characters, but because Sanzo was actually reading to him. "Why are you still awake? You're supposed to fall asleep."

"I wanted to hear the ending of the story," Goku replied.

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 04: Party Time

"Yay, I knew there was going to be food!" Goku squealed with happiness. He noticed that the buns were specially made to look like the buns from that story book he liked so much.

While Kenren drank his sake and Tenpou smiled sheepishly, resembling his future incarnation, Konzen looked slightly more annoyed than usual. "What's this all about'"

"Do you remember that mix-up you told us about with Kanzeon?" Tenpou asked.

"Yes, what about that?" Konzen inquired in return.

"You said you were getting annoyed and didn't know how to explain to Goku about Kanzeon faking her stomachache to get out of a meeting. He was convinced that the purpose of her act was to gain more time to prepare some kind of festivity which included food," Tenpou elaborated.

"Then you and Kenren said you guys would explain everything," Konzen reminded. "Something tells me that you two didn't explain anything."

"Don't start complaining about us, it's not like you explained it to him either. You hardly even tried," Kenren retorted.

"I didn't volunteer to explain it!" Konzen argued.

Tenpou stepped in. "We did try! It's just that when there is food involved, it's hard to change Goku's mind."

"Here comes the super bun!" Goku moved the bun around as if it were flying, then made it land in his mouth.

Konzen watched as the chibi continued to play with his food and eat it. "Maybe it's best this way."

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 05: Shumi Interrupted

"Follow me," the young man said in a hushed whisper, as he took the young lady's hand.

"Kenyu, where are we going'" She asked in a voice as quiet as his had been.

"You'll see. Just wait until we get there," he replied.

Slightly unsure she followed him.

"No, don't go, he'll only break your heart," the Merciful Goddess looked into the pond in front of her. Reflected on the crystalline water between the lily pads, there was an image of something that was not taking place below but would in the future. A crystal ball floated in the center of the pond as if suspended in mid air by magic. She had borrowed the artifact to look into the future, though since it was not hers, she couldn't use its full power.

The stubborn glass sphere refused to show her the future of her nephew, the small animal he was taking care of, or her own future. Maybe it was still too uncertain to be predicted. She didn't know if she should take it as a bad sign or just ignore it. Either way, she had to put the crystal ball to good use before it was time to return it to its rightful owner. She connected it to her pond by magic and was able to watch things that were yet to happen. That man named Kenyu was yet to be born.

"I told you not to go with him." The Merciful Goddess liked to watch what the mortals did. Some claimed she had no respect for privacy, but what could she do' It was her shumi and she wouldn't give it up! This was like watching a novel unfold before her eyes, a very realistic novel. No wonder her shumi was considered inappropriate for her to tell others about it. She was about to say it without a second thought, but now she was glad she didn't get the chance reveal what her shumi was. Konzen would have been very upset under the mask of indifference.


"You changed your mind? I told you to leave but now you want to stay with him? Well of course, you can't hear me." Kanzeon felt odd talking to herself while addressing the images. Her behavior could be compared to that of a human speaking to that machine called 'television' that would be such an important part of the world below in a later future and even her world eventually. Still, she couldn't help it but to say the words and voice her thoughts as they came, even if no one heard.

"You're so beautiful, Ming Ling."

"You don't have to compliment her, she's already fallen for your act. This guy is a tricky one, and he doesn't even exist yet. Why do I have the feeling he'll be troublesome when he comes into the world below'" Kanzeon took a handful of popcorn and put it in her mouth, savoring the sweet and salty taste. Butter covered popcorn was good but caramel covered popcorn was even better, Konzen liked it best.

"I knew I smelled popcorn!" Goku pointed at the bowl of popcorn that sat on the Merciful Goddess' lap. "Can I have some, please?"

Kanzeon was quick to make the images disappear from the pond before Goku could see them. The boy was too young to watch such events of the world below. "Sure, you can have it all." She handed him the bowl in hopes that he would take it and leave her alone to her shumi. The crystal ball had to be returned soon and it would be a few years before those events actually took place. She didn't want to wait that long to know what would become of the relationship between Kenyu and Ming Ling. They wouldn't stay together, that much she could easily guess, but she was still curious.

Instead of leaving, Goku sat down next to Kanzeon at the edge of the lillypad filled pool, eating the popcorn while splashing the crystalline water with his feet.

"Chibi saru! I told you not to run off!" Konzen arrived.

"Look, Konzen! Auntie gave me caramel covered popcorn. I'll even share it with you!" Goku happily offered.

Surprisingly, Konzen sat down next to the boy and took a handful of popcorn. "Stop splashing water on me, chibi saru!" He got up and sat down at the other side, leaving his aunt in the middle. It was the only way to avoid getting wet because of the energetic splashing of the chibi.

"Using your own aunt as a shield? That's not very nice, is it Konzen?" The Merciful Goddess teased. Her shumi was interrupted, but sometimes those two could be even more amusing than all the creatures from the world below put together.

"It's your fault he's here," Konzen grumbled, though deep down he had gotten used to taking care of the chibi and was glad the his aunt had given him that 'pet'.

Goku finished his popcorn and handed the empty bowl back to Kanzeon, "thank you!"

"How polite, you're welcome. I'm guessing it wasn't Konzen who taught you that'" Kanzeon glanced at her nephew from the corner of her eyes.

"Ten-chan told me," Goku smiled.

"Just as I thought," Konzen shot an annoyed glare at his aunt, before deciding that it was best to ignore her. She was starting to think that the golden eyed chibi and the chibi taiyou's combined amusing cuteness were so much better than her shumi. Maybe it was time for a new shumi, watching those two play would be her shumi.

"Auntie, can I go for a swim? Hey Konzen let's swim in auntie's pool! Can we, please? Pretty please with sugar and strawberries and popcorn and cherries and meat buns?" Goku requested in that hyper energetic voice of his.

Konzen looked horrified and the merciful goddess smiled, while Goku continued to endlessly list the foods he liked to top the please. "Sure, have fun," Kanzeon agreed.

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 06: Sleeping Like a Baby

That morning Sanzo was the last to wake up because his traveling companions dared not disturb his slumber.

Hakkai woke up early, as he usually did. In their current room arrangements, he was Sanzo's roommate while Goku was with Gojyo. With a bright smile, ready to face a new day, the green eyed youkai quickly got up and got ready to continue with the usual morning tasks. Then he paused.

He wasn't surprised to find Sanzo still sleeping on the other bed next to his. Many times the blond had been the last to wake up, though he was usually the first to fall asleep. What caught Hakkai's attention was what Sanzo was doing in his sleep. His smile widened and he decided that this was too good not to share it with Goku and Gojyo, even if it was a death wish if they got caught.

Hakkai tiptoed out of the room and glanced back at the sleeping Sanzo one last time from the doorway. He wouldn't want to get Goku and Gojyo's hopes up for nothing. Suppressing a laugh, Hakkai quietly made his way to the next room.

Gojyo had recently woken up and was yet to gather the necessary energy to actually get up. Instead he stayed in bed with his arms crossed behind his head, staring at the ceiling. He glanced at Hakkai as he heard the door open. His expression was more cheerful than usual and that look in his eyes, without the need for words, told Gojyo that Hakkai had seen something quite interesting and amusing.

Goku was still in slumber land, hugging a pillow as he muttered something about a giant marshmallow. "My zzz... giant zzz... marshmallow zzz..."

"Goku, wake up Goku," Hakkai shook the boy gently until he half opened his golden eyes. "Wake up..."

"Hakkai'" Goku yawned. "Is breakfast ready'"

"You can eat breakfast soon, but first there is something you both must see," Hakkai's amused smile was ever present.

By then Gojyo had gotten out of bed and was filled with curiosity. "What is it'"

"Come this way and make sure to be very, very quiet, unless you want to be hunted down by Sanzo," Hakkai warned.

Goku and Gojyo looked at each other slightly confused, then at the amused Hakkai. They quietly followed him out of that room and into the one, where Sanzo was sleeping.

"Whatever you do, don't laugh," Hakkai warned.

As the three approached Sanzo they noticed Hakuryu was perched on the wooden header of the bed, staring down at Sanzo. When Goku and Gojyo caught sight of the sleeping man, they immediately covered their mouth with their hands and knew exactly why Hakkai had warned them not to laugh, it would be dangerous for Sanzo to wake up and find out about what they saw.

They exchanged 'aw how cute' looks. before deciding that it was best to leave the room and go downstairs for breakfast before Sanzo woke up and caught them staring at him. This was his secret and they would respect his decision to keep it a secret. If they didn't, they knew they would be dancing with bullets or at least the harisen.

xoxox xox xoxox

In a world high above, the Merciful Goddess, as always, was watching the events unfold. She too shared that same look that said 'aw how cute' accompanied by a sweet caring smile. "Stay like this forever, chibi taiyou."

Reflected on the mirror-like waters of the pond before her, was the image of Genjo Sanzo, peacefully sleeping while sucking his thumb.

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 07: Birds and Bees

When Goku cheerfully ran into his office announcing at the top of his lungs that he had a question, Konzen did not worry. "Konzen! Konzen! I need to ask you something!"

It was probably a question related to food or something simple. It was going to be just an innocent childish question with an easy answer. "I'm busy right now so make it quick," Konzen examined the paper he just stamped. The seal was perfectly aligned with the corners of the sheet. When he was satisfied with his inspection, he placed the document in the pile of papers that were already stamped and waited for Goku to ask his question before stamping another.

"I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I couldn't figure it out, so I thought you could tell me, because you're so smart and know lots of things!" Goku had a cute bright smile.

If not because smiling didn't suit him, Konzen would have smiled, but he refrained from doing so and simply looked at the chibi standing before him, his violet eyes said it all. "What is your question?"

"I wanted to ask about the birds and the bees. Could you explain it to me?" Goku's happy smile never once left his face and the golden glow of innocence in his eyes continued to be ever present.

That was when Konzen started to worry. His face became ghostly pale and his violet eyes opened wide in surprise. He retained his position as if frozen in time from the shock of the boy's words. "What did you say?" He asked, slowly pausing after every word, hoping and wishing with all his heart that he had misheard.

"About the birds and the bees, you know how that works, right Konzen?" Goku had abundant curiosity shining in his big golden eyes.

Konzen began to panic, he knew the answer, but he wasn't about to explain it. In his terror he didn't notice the Merciful Goddess standing at the door. "No, I don't know. I have no idea," Konzen blurted out desperately. "It's not something you need to know either."

"Really? I thought you would know," Goku was slightly disappointment.

Kanzeon suppressed a laugh and left the office unnoticed. Walking down the hall she couldn't suppress her laughter any longer and burst out in a fit of laughter and giggles as she passed Tenpou and Kenren who gave her puzzled looks.

"Share the joke!" Kenren requested.

"Chibi taiyou," Kanzeon paused between laughs, "Konzen..." With a few more giggles she managed to calm down enough to speak coherently. "Goku asked Konzen about the birds and the bees and Konzen said he didn't know."

Tenpou and Kenren looked at the Merciful Goddess then at each other and finally burst out laughing. If Konzen was telling the truth or not was irrelevant. To them it was funny if he didn't know and it was also funny if he knew but didn't have the guts to explain it.

xoxox xox xoxox

The next time Konzen and Goku were at Tenpou's house helping him tidy up his many books, Konzen noticed that the marshal and the general kept whispering and laughing quietly. Konzen had a feeling he was involved in that. Inevitably, Goku decided to seek the information he wanted once again, this time from Tenpou. "Ten-chan, you read a lot of books, right?"

Tenpou nodded. "Yes, that's right. I like to read a little of everything, especially history."

"Have you read about the birds and the bees?" Goku asked.

"Yes I have," Tenpou replied.

"And you took way too long to share. When you find written gold like this, you need to let me know," Kenren was immersed in reading a little orange book. On the cover of the book there was the silhouette of a man with a thinking bubble with a broken heart inside. On the back cover there was a circle with a diagonal line across it.

Konzen directed a deadly glare towards Tenpou and an ever deadlier glare towards Kenren.

"Can you tell me about the birds and the bees then?" Goku asked.

"Well, I think Konzen should be the one to tell you," Tenpou wisely replied.

"But Konzen said he didn't know," Goku pointed out and Konzen looked both upset and embarrassed as Kenren and Tenpou tried to hold their laughter. Konzen wasn't in the military, but they had a feeling that if he got angry, he would be as dangerous as the Seiten Taisen, if not more.

"Maybe you should wait until you're a little older. I'm certain that by then Konzen would have figured it out," Tenpou suggested.

"But I don't want to wait! If you know the answer why won't you tell me'" Goku made an adorable pouty face.

"I'm sorry but I can't," Tenpou sighed.

"What about you Ken-niisan? You said you read the book too, so you must know," Goku asked.

"Well of course I know. Out of all of us, I know better than anyone else." Kenren paused as he felt Konzen's glare burning into him. "Tenpou is right; you should wait until Konzen is ready to explain it to you, if he actually ever figures it out."

"Shut up!" Konzen growled at him.

"But Konzen said he didn't know. Can I borrow the book about the birds and the bees then? That way I can learn about them and explain it to Konzen. He taught me a lot of things, so I want to teach him something too!" Goku begged.

"How about this book?" Tenpou asked as he handed a book to Goku. It was a children's picture book about animals from the world below.

"Thank you Ten-chan! I'll study hard and explain about the birds and the bees to Konzen as soon as I learn about them!" With that goal in mind, Goku sat down to read.

xoxox xox xoxox

The afternoon passed by quietly as Kenren kept reading that little orange book and Tenpou and Konzen continued putting books away. An hour later, Goku was done studying the book which was mostly pictures anyway. "Konzen, I learned about the birds and the bees. Now I know the answer to my question. It was the bees!"

Konzen blinked, as did Tenpou and Kenren, their full attention focused on the golden eyed boy.

"I've been wondering which one makes the honey if the birds or the bees. This book says it's the bees," Goku explained.

"Is that what you wanted to know all along?" Konzen asked.

"Yes, now we both know bees make honey!" Goku felt very proud of himself because for all the things Konzen taught him, he was able to teach him something in return.

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 08: Plushie

As Sanzo woke up he felt that something was a little off. He turned on his stomach and buried his face in the pillow. It was just one of those days when he didn't feel like getting out of bed, but the need for hot coffee called him.

While he debated if he should get up or stay in bed for another five minutes, he realized that there was a bump on his pillow. It was still soft but uneven, he didn't notice that the previous night. He curiously lifted the pillow and under it he found a plushie.

The little white teddy bear was soft and fluffy. It had big brown eyes and a red nose to match the red heart it held in its tiny paws. The little bear had a happy smile plastered on its face, which gave Sanzo a foreboding feeling. He didn't know why, but he was about to find out.

"Hey old geezer, are you gonna stay in bed all day'" Without even bothering to knock, a certain red haired half youkai entered the room. He paused and stared at the item Sanzo held in his hands. The half smoked cigarette dangled from Gojyo's mouth, until it was sent flying into the air with the force of his laughter.

The kappa had entered without knocking and he had laughed at him, obviously jumping to conclusions about the bear. That was bad enough and it certainly didn't help that the cigarette had flown a mere inch away from Sanzo before exiting the room via the window and making a crash landing in the grocery basket of a woman who was passing by outside, blissfully unaware of the happenings of the inn.

Sanzo's first reaction was to throw the teddy bear at Gojyo, which hit him dead on. Of course since the plushie was soft, it didn't make any damage. His second reaction however was far more deadly, to reach for his revolver and start shooting at the water sprite.

Within seconds Gojyo, still choking on his laughter, was sent on a full retreat. Sanzo wasn't in the mood to chase after him so he simply closed the door and glared at the plushie that had bounced off Gojyo's head and currently sat on the floor. He picked up the item and examined it. Surely the kappa had placed it under his pillow as a joke. Or at least that's what he thought.

Knock, knock, knock. "Excuse me?" The voice was female, possibly a maid. Sanzo opened the door. She probably wanted to ask about the noises and the holes, and he certainly wasn't in the mood to explain it. "Sir, I heard some loud noises, is everything okay?"

"Everything is fine, here take this thing." Sanzo handed her the plush bear. She was the maid, so it was her job to clean whatever trash was left in the rooms.

Of course she got the wrong idea. "Thank you! Do you need anything?"

Sanzo assumed that she thought the plushie was a tip. Either way he wasn't in the mood to analyze the situation further. "Today's newspaper and coffee," Sanzo just didn't feel like getting it himself and with those gunshots, Hakkai surely heard, he would most likely assume that Sanzo wasn't in a social mood, not that he ever was, and try to give him some space. Besides, this was the maid's job.

"Yes, right away!" The maid certainly sounded cheerful, but Sanzo paid no mind to it.

As the maid headed back to his room moments later with hot coffee and the newspaper, she saw one of her coworkers. "Guess what? The handsome blond from room seven gave me this bear!" She held the toy in one hand and the tray in the other, balancing it with ease.

"Really? But he didn't look too friendly. I thought he wouldn't be interested in girls."

"Who cares, he's hot!" The maid happily walked away, humming a cheerful tune. She would regret jumping to conclusions.

This time she entered without knocking and handed Sanzo his newspaper. He took the paper and started reading without saying a word. Instead of leaving, she started serving the coffee. There was nothing strange about that, it was part of her job. She poured two cups instead of one, placing them on the table and took a seat across from him.

That's when Sanzo realized that something was amiss. "What are you doing?"

"I thought we could have some coffee together and get to know each other," the maid answered as if it was the most obvious and natural thing.

Sanzo glared. "What makes you think such a thing is alright?"

"You gave me this gift. That means you like me." He stared at her as if she grew a second head.

Slowly and calmly Sanzo folded the newspaper and gently placed it on the table next to his steaming cup of coffee. He then pointed his revolver straight at the maid's face and addressed her with an icy glare. "You have ten seconds to get out of my sight or I will kill you."

Screaming at the top of her lungs, the maid dropped the plushie and ran for dear life. Out in the hall she bumped into her coworker from before. "That man... he... gun!"

"Wow, he works fast! Why did you run away though? I certainly wouldn't mind."

"No, you gutter head! I mean he pointed a gun at me the kind that has bullets inside and goes bang!"

Her coworker blinked, paused, looking thoughtful and finally spoke with a smile. "He's dressed like a foreign priest; I told you he's not interested in girls. You must have annoyed him." At least she wouldn't be the only single maid in the establishment.

xoxox xox xoxox

Back in his room, Sanzo was determined to get rid of the toy bear that started it all. He took the little bear and stood facing the open window. He took a deep breath, made a pitcher-like pose and threw the toy with all his might.

xoxox xox xoxox

Meanwhile, Hakkai was walking down the street on his way back to the inn with a bag full of groceries and supplies, when he saw something falling from the skies. The plushie landed inside the grocery bag and Hakkai curiously took it out. "Where did you come from little one?"

He looked around, searching for a child that could be the owner of the toy, but didn't see any children near by. Little did he know that Sanzo had a pretty good arm and had thrown the bear that far. "I guess I'll take you with me until I find your owner." The rest of the way Hakkai carried the bear, making sure it was easily visible in case someone claimed it, but no one did.

xoxox xox xoxox

When Hakkai arrived at the inn, Goku was turning Sanzo's room upside down searching for something, but refused to say what. Gojyo had mustered up the courage to return and sat in a corner quietly smoking his cigarette, while receiving an occasional icy glare from Sanzo when ever he paused his newspaper reading to turn a page.

"Look what I found, it fell from the sky," Hakkai cheerfully held up the bear.

"That thing!" Sanzo screamed, earning strange looks from the others.

"You found it!" Goku exclaimed and the strange looks shifted towards him. "Um... well," his face turned slightly red and he stared at the floor. "I bought it for Lirin. I wanted to give it to her the next time we saw her. It's just that I thought it looked cute and she might like it."

"Little Goku is growing up and taking an interest in girls?" Gojyo put Goku in a head lock and messed up his hair.

"What are you saying? It's just a gift, nothing special. This is why I didn't want to say anything," Goku, red like a tomato, tried to break free to no avail.

"But why did you throw it out?" Hakkai asked.

"I didn't throw it, I hid it under Sanzo's pillow," Goku replied.

The next day Goku gave Lirin the gift with a bump on his head, courtesy of harisen.

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Destination 09: Little Bird

"Sanzo, I'm cold," Goku moved closer to Sanzo. Hakkai Gojyo and Hakuryu were already fast asleep.

The journey to the west sometimes took them to face harsh roads, snowy mountains and storms. This time they were unable to reach the next town before night fell and a snow storm began. Their only choice was to take refuge in a cave and wait for a calm morning.

(Can you be that boy's sun?)

"Go to sleep," Sanzo spoke softly, so as to not wake up the others.

"This makes me sad," Sanzo gave him a puzzled look. "The storm," Goku explained in a whisper. "When I was trapped, one winter a little bird came. It didn't come too close to me but I was happy just seeing it because it was the first living thing I saw in a long time. But a there was suddenly a snow storm and the little bird couldn't fly home. The wind threw it to the ground really hard and it must have gotten hurt, it struggled to get to safety but couldn't. I wanted to pick it up and make sure it was alright. I thought that if I held it gently and kept it warm it would be okay but I was trapped. I was trapped and I couldn't help the little bird, I couldn't reach no matter how hard I tried. All I could do was watch it lay in the cold with no one to help."

(Can you be his source of light and warmth in a cold world?)

"You're not trapped anymore," Sanzo spoke in a much softer tone than usual.

"I know, because you saved me. Thanks for taking care of me; I'm really lucky to have someone that takes care of me." Goku leaned against Sanzo, who placed his arm around the chibi in a gentle hug. He couldn't help it but to care about the golden eyed boy. He would make sure he was always safe and never imprisoned ever again.

(Chibi Taiyou, you are his sun...)

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Destination 10: Quote

Goku stared at the writing before him. Something felt odd, as if he was missing a joke and the joke was on him.

They had taken a break from the road to the west to eat some lunch, because they knew that by the time they reached the next town they would either starve or be driven to insanity by Goku's complaints of hunger.

As usual, the boy with golden eyes and the big appetite exhausted the food supplies and wasn't quite satisfied. He wanted to reach the next town soon and have a bigger meal but certain writing caught his eye.

In the middle of the grassy field, adorned by wild flowers, there was a rock. The sky was a soft blue with a few fluffy white clouds, a gentle breeze caressed them and the sun shone delicately, making the light and temperature just right. In that rock in the middle of the spring paradise, there was something carved.

Not too far from that rock, Gojyo was resting under a tree. It looked like he had drifted off to sleep in the peaceful shade or perhaps he was just resting his eyes. Hakuryu was flying around playing with the butterflies and Hakkai lay on the soft grass watching the clouds. Even Sanzo was taking a break, sitting on the rock that intrigued Goku so much. It was a day to relax.

"Sanzo, did you see this?" Goku pointed at the carvings on the rock.

"Have you forgotten how to read?" Surprisingly, Sanzo didn't sound quite as irritated as he usually did. The peaceful atmosphere was even making him relax, if only just a little while.

"Of course I can read it. It says 'I am your father' but why would someone carve that into a rock?" Goku's expression turned from curious to worried. "Is this the tomb of someone's father? Sanzo you should get off!"

"It's not a tomb, it's just a quote from a movie," Sanzo replied.

"A movie? What movie?" Goku asked with curiosity.

Hakkai over heard the conversation and joined in. "The original Star Wars trilogy, you watched it long ago. They are old movies but good ones."

"Don't you remember you kept asking for more popcorn and wanted donuts too?" Sanzo asked.

A soft laugh came from Gojyo's direction. It seemed he wasn't sleeping after all. "You said princess Leah's hair looked like two donuts so it made you want to eat donuts along with the popcorn."

With those reminders, the movie returned to Goku's memories. "Oh yeah, I remember now! This quote is from Darth Vader, but to carve it on a rock, it doesn't feel quite right."

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Destination 11: Apology

It had been a long day filled with battle after battle against an endless avalanche of youkai that kept popping out of nowhere. It came to the point where Goku had even asked Sanzo to look under his bed at the inn before going to sleep, in case there were youkai hiding there waiting to ambush him, and there were.

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"For the youkai under the influence of the minus wave, every day is a 'kill the Sanzo party' day, but today seems to be their world wide celebration." Even the Merciful Goddess was surprised by the merciless attacks of the day, which started even before the sun woke up. Now the sun had disappeared behind the horizon and for once in a long time, the four travelers were truly exhausted. "They really need to sleep well tonight. May the Merciful Goddess grant them mercy, wait, I am the Merciful Goddess." She laughed, the day had been quite interesting like a real action movie, not one of those cheap ones with a few under-practiced no-name actors. "Sleep well, you've earned it."

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After the battle against the last few youkai had ended, Sanzo, Goku, Hakkai and Gojyo were just about ready to collapse. Goku would have complained about hunger, but he just didn't have the energy to do so. The room was spacious with four beds, two on each side. They thought it was best to stick together just in case.

Sanzo, without even taking the time to remove his robes or the sultra from his shoulders, collapsed into one of the beds, revolver still in hand. He had used more bullets in a single day than in the past month and it didn't help that Goku and Gojyo made him constantly put the Harisen to good use as well. He felt like his right arm was about to fall off. With his head buried in the pillow face first, he fell into a deep sleep instantly.

Goku fainted into the bed next to Sanzo's, in a mix of exhaustion and hunger. Gojyo and Hakkai occupied the two remaining beds, Hakkai facing Sanzo and Gojyo facing Goku. Hakuryu had already fallen asleep earlier, perched on Hakkai's head, and continued to sleep there. The battles had been so intense, even the little dragon had to do his fair share of scratching and biting in dragon form and ramming into youkai in jeep form, to help the others get through the day.

Gojyo was in fact so exhausted that he didn't even have the energy to flirt with the inn owner's attractive young daughter. She went back to her room alone and with broken pride because that red haired man wouldn't even spare her a glance no matter how hard she tried. They were exhausted, truly exhausted.

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Sometime during the night, Sanzo rolled on his side facing left. The light of the lamp that sat on the nightstand between his and Goku's bed glared at his eyes and woke him up. It seemed no one had the energy to turn it off the previous night. Half asleep he reached over and felt around for the switch. Finally he found it at the base of the lamp and turned it off with a quiet click.

Another click was heard and the light glared at him. Sanzo reached over to the lamp again and turned it off. A few minutes passed and that same soft click was heard again, the light had returned. Sanzo glared daggers at Goku from his sleep deprived eyes. Was the monkey afraid of the dark or something? Click, the lamp was off and it better stay off. Click, it was on again.

Sanzo considered hiding under the covers to avoid the light but the temperature wasn't appropriate for that. It was one of those nights when you simply don't want to be anywhere near a blanket. He had even managed to roll down his robe in his sleep and somehow remove the long gloves that covered his arms. Click, if that lamp didn't stay off this time, frustration would become grater than exhaustion and a certain fan would get more exercise than it did in the entire day.

Click, that was it! In absolute fury, Sanzo jumped out of bed and hit Goku on the head with his paper fan as hard as he could.

"Ow! Sanzo, why did you do that!" Goku yelped at the unpleasant awakening.

"Leave the lamp alone, I can't sleep with the light in my face!" Sanzo yelled. Of course rolling over to face the opposite direction wasn't a possibility, because he was used to sleeping on that side. That's how he felt comfortable and the monkey wasn't going to ruin it for him.

"I didn't touch it, I was sleeping!" Goku rubbed his head, that fan could really sting sometimes.

"Keep it down, I'm trying to sleep!" Gojyo covered his head with the pillow.

"Don't lie to me!" Click, the room was left in darkness. Click, once again there was light. Sanzo turned his head slowly towards the lamp and there he saw a mouse.

Hakkai stumbled out of bed with a zombie-like expression and Hakuryu still curled up on his head. "It's a mouse," he yawned, picked up the mouse and gently placed it on the floor outside their room, then he closed the door again. "Let's all go back to sleep, please?" Before receiving a reply, Hakkai had fallen back in his bed and gone to sleep.

"I told you it wasn't me," Goku pouted.

"Just go to sleep," Sanzo sighed.

"Aren't you going to say you're sorry for hitting me with your fan for no reason?" Goku asked.

"I didn't hit you that hard," Sanzo ruffled the boy's hair gently, "your tick skull can take it."

"Apology accepted!"

"Shut up."

The insomniac Merciful Goddess somehow thought the so called apology was sweet in its own way.

To be Continued

Chibi means small, saru means monkey and taiyou means sun. Destination 01 takes place during Saiyuki Reload, but it's based on Chapters 1 and 3 of Saiyuki Gaiden. Destination 02 is based on Chapter 5 of Saiyuki Gaiden. Destination 03 is based on Saiyuki Gaiden Chapters 6 and 8 and it takes place during Saiyuki Reload. Destination 04 is a sequel to Destination 02. Destination 05 takes place during Gaiden, Kanzeon's mysterious shumi was left as a secret in the manga. A shumi is like a pastime or hobby. Kenyu is young Nii and Ming Ling is a character from the novel he had during his training at a temple. Destination 06 is for Arysin, who wanted to see Sanzo sleeping. Destination 07, Icha Icha Paradise is from Naruto. Seiten Taisen is the legendary warrior, said to be the strongest. Destination 09 is based on the scene from Goku's flashback when Suika, the singing youkai, is trying to steal and seal away his memories; the quotes in (parenthesis) are spoken by Kanzeon. If you've read the Gaiden manga think about Goku's origins and you will understand the joke in Destination 10, which takes place during Saiyuki Reload, but is based on Chapter 1 of Saiyuki Gaiden.

Watching from Above: Journey II

Destination 12: Monster

Gravity wasn't helping him; it wasn't helping him at all. The laws of gravity, along with his personal rules were being broken, shattered and destroyed. "Let go!"

Currently Genjo Sanzo was standing over Goku's bed, bent over because the chibi hanging from his neck refused to let go. He was not carrying the boy, so the laws of gravity dictated that he had to fall, but the monkey refused to follow those laws and held on for dear life. Furthermore, Sanzo's personal rules established that he did not like being touched, he had made an exception to carry the sleeping chibi to his bed and he was regretting it.

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The previous night, little Goku had woken Sanzo with a kick. How the boy got to his room in the first place, Sanzo didn't know. He took the sleeping chibi back to his own room and left him on his bed. Goku liked his room because he could see the peach tree out the window. It was also convenient to have a hiding place near by after taking peaches from the tree. But it seemed that on that night Goku didn't want to be in his room.

It was only the beginning of Sanzo's sleepless night, because a little later, after he had gone back to sleep, he was woken up by a slap. Pissed off but quietly, Sanzo removed the small hand from his face and once again carried the sleeping boy to his room.

This time Sanzo made sure to lock his door but of course that didn't work because the chibi saru went through the trouble of escaping through the window so he could enter Sanzo's room by the window. Once again, Sanzo was woken up by a kick, this time more painful than the first.

Sanzo managed to control his temper and the sleeping Goku was returned to his room. It seemed the priest was more of a softie when no one could witness it. After returning Goku to his room, Sanzo locked his door and closed the windows.

The blond then tried to sleep but couldn't because he felt, not heard, but felt the boy with the golden eyes silently calling out to him. By then it was so close to sunrise that Sanzo decided to get up and right next to his door, sitting on the floor in uneasy slumber, he found Goku. He picked him up and placed him on the bed, at least someone would get some sleep.

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A little later Goku woke up and the day started as it usually did. "Why did you keep coming to my room last night, stupid monkey?" Sanzo sounded very annoyed during breakfast that day.

"I was scared," Goku admitted, staring into his cereal.

Sanzo's eye twitched, it was obvious he didn't get enough sleep and he was more irritated than usual because of it. In anger he said things that he shouldn't have said. "You spent many years locked up in a mountain all by yourself and nothing happened. Why are you so afraid to sleep by yourself if you're been alone for such a long time?"

That was Goku's sensitive spot. It didn't take more than a split second for the boy to grab his breakfast and run away crying.

Sanzo didn't know if he should run after him, since he had a pretty good idea where Goku was going. Or simply take note of the fact that even in his haste and highly emotional state, he still remembered to take the sugary chocolate O's with him.

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That day Goku went to visit Hakkai and Gojyo all day. There was something bothering him and both Hakkai and Gojyo noticed.

Later, at the end of the day, they walked Goku back home and while Gojyo kept him entertained playing rock paper scissors, Hakkai went to talk to Sanzo.

"Good afternoon, how was your day today?" Hakkai asked with smile.

Sanzo gave him a glare that almost made him stop smiling, almost but not quite. "If you're here with the monkey I don't want to talk about it."

"Today he didn't eat as much as he usually does," Hakkai continued as if he hadn't heard Sanzo.

"That's all he ever thinks about," Sanzo half growled. He knew that Hakkai wouldn't drop the subject.

"He looked worried, as if he was thinking about something, analyzing it over and over. Then he looked determined and said he was coming back. He didn't explain it but said something about proving he's brave so you wouldn't want him to go away," Hakkai explained.

"He woke me up many times last night even when I tried to lock him out of my room. Then when I finally locked him out, I found him at the door in the morning," Sanzo recalled the events.

"Did you ask him why?" Hakkai inquired, but Sanzo ignored him, hoping he would drop the subject. "He seemed really upset."

Maybe mentioning his past locked up in that mountain wasn't such a good idea. Maybe he had gone too far. Hakkai's cheerful stare was constant and insistent, awaiting Sanzo's answer. "I'll take care of it."

Hakkai's smile grew. "I trust that you will."

From that point on, things flowed normally, with Goku playing with his little paper sumos and Sanzo sitting by window while flipping pages of a different newspaper that mostly had the same articles as the one he read that morning worded differently.

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Eventually it was dinner time and Goku ate plenty. After dinner, he went back to playing with the paper sumos until he fell asleep. Sanzo picked him up from the floor and took him to his room. Just when he was about to place Goku on his bed, the boy woke up and refused to let go.

Gravity wasn't helping him; it wasn't helping him at all. The laws of gravity, along with his personal rules were being broken, shattered and destroyed. "Let go!"

After much effort, Sanzo managed to pry the boy off. The chibi sat there with the saddest expression. "I'm sorry."

"Are you still scared?" Sanzo asked.

"No! I'm not scared! I'm not scared!" Goku shook his head and denied it with all his might.

"Don't lie to me," Goku grew pale at Sanzo's words.

"I'm not lying because Hakkai told me that being brave means facing your fears and I'll face the monster so you won't want me to go away," Goku replied.

"What monster?" Sanzo asked.

"The one that I hear at night, I've never seen it, but I hear it and it's scary. That's why I didn't want to be alone," Goku revealed.

"There is no such thing," Sanzo was irritated, very irritated but deep down, though he would never admit it, he was sorry for what he said that morning.

"It's true, I hear it at night!" Goku insisted.

There was only one solution Sanzo could think about. "I'll stay here and listen to this monster to find out what it really is."

"No, it's okay, you don't have to, I'll be brave! I promise I won't be scared anymore, you don't need to lock me up again." Goku's big golden eyes showed fear, sorrow and desperation.

"I'm not going to lock you up. You're not in a cage anymore, I won't let anyone lock you up again," Sanzo's irritation seemed to disappear and his gaze became gentler to calm the chibi. Goku nodded and sat next to Sanzo waiting.

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Time passed slowly and in complete silence, until Goku fell asleep. Sanzo stayed as he said he would and soon a sound was heard. Goku's eyes shot open and he clung to Sanzo for dear life, in a way that not even the mighty harisen could get him off. "It's back! It's the monster!"

Annoyed, frustrated, irritated, exasperated and yet at the same time with a hint of amusement, Sanzo stood. "Let's go see your monster."

"Are you going to feed me to it?" Goku asked in fear.

"No one will eat you or lock you up," Sanzo assured and made sure to bring a flashlight along. Goku held his hand and looked scared but determined to face the monster if Sanzo was with him.

Once outside, the sound of the monster was heard again. "Hoot!"

Sanzo pointed the flashlight at the peach tree and the owl, aka the monster, closed its eyes tightly, looking very uncomfortable. Goku stared as the relatively large brown bird retreated deeper into the branches of the peach tree. "An owl, that's what you've been hearing."

"An owl," Goku was amazed, I thought all birds sounded chirp, chirp." The boy smiled brightly because he realized he had nothing to fear. "I won't be scared when I hear that owl anymore. I'll be happy instead, because I'll remember how brave you were to come out here and see what was making the sound."

"Didn't you have to go outside so you could come into my room from the window?" Sanzo asked.

"I did, I guess I wasn't thinking that the monster could get me. I just thought that if I was with you I'll be safe," Goku realized.

As they walked back inside, the dim light of the flashlight, with batteries that needed to be replaced, wasn't enough to reveal a light smile on Sanzo's face.

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Destination 13: Bug

The Merciful Goddess, still a teenager, strolled down the semi-deserted halls, seeing few signs of life, other than herself and her companion. It seemed that everyone was busy with their own things today. So was she, for the young goddess had been given the task to care for her nephew, Konzen, who currently followed her.

The boy looked bored, so bored it almost hurt. The young goddess stopped and so did he. It seemed that weather he walked or stood still it made no difference, either way he was bored.

She tried to think of what little boys liked to do. She had suggested a few games she liked when she was a small child, but her stubborn little nephew absolutely refused to play dolls or dress up. What was the young goddess to do?

She gave it some thought and tried to analyze the situation. Perhaps the games she had suggested were too girly for his liking. Maybe if she thought of some kind of game little boys liked he would play.

She smiled as a realization came. Of course, it was logical, little boys liked games that little girls didn't like. There was something that she used to particularly hate when she was a child and she still hated it. She hated when little boys played with bugs and she hated it even more when they showed her those bugs. Those poor boys certainly regretted crossing her path holding insects. She was sure that even if it had been years ago, they must still have the scars. Bugs were creepy, but since Konzen was a little boy, he would probably find them fun. Kanzeon was even willing to tolerate insects just to get the little guy out of his pitiful state of absolute boredom.

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Years later, in the realm of the mortals, the entire morning little Goku had been playing outside. Sanzo was in his office, Hakkai and Gojyo were running errands and the morning air was accompanied by a silent atmosphere. All in all, it was a calm and quiet day, until the chibi saru returned from his play time in the yard.

"Sanzo, look what I found!" Goku had a bright smile, his golden eyes shone happily and he held something in his little hands. The boy's hands were carefully cupped together as if to make sure the thing didn't fall nor get squished.

Sanzo peeked at the thing in Goku's hands, the chibi was holding a bug. Immediately the blond's first reaction was to back away against his chair.

Goku leaned across the desk, bringing that freaky looking insect closer to Sanzo, who of course didn't like it at all. "Isn't it cool?" Goku's voice had a childish innocent tone, as if he had no idea how much Sanzo hated insects, especially freaky looking insects with their bright red color and black spots. Goku really didn't know.

With his violet eyes opened wide and an otherwise unreadable frozen expression, Sanzo reached for his paper fan and hit the chibi saru on the head. "Leave the bugs outside, baka!"

"Ow! I just wanted you to see it! Hakkai always explains stuff about the kinds of bugs I show him. Gojyo doesn't mind either and this is his favorite kind of bug." Goku honestly didn't know what he had done wrong.

"Don't compare me to them!" Sanzo waved the mighty harisen in the air and in fear of facing its wrath again, Goku hurried out of the office with a terrified little ladybug in his hands.

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After setting the tiny insect free in the garden, Goku returned to Sanzo's office determined to find out exactly what he had done wrong, so he could ascertain never to make the same mistake again. "Sanzo, how come you were mad at me?"

"I hate insects," Sanzo glared icily.

"But they're not scary, they're really tiny!" Goku argued.

"I didn't say I was scared, I said I hate them," Sanzo clarified.

"How come?" Goku's expression seemed to say 'I'm not leaving you alone until you tell me'.

Sanzo paused; he wasn't sure why he hated insects so much, he just did. But the chibi saru wouldn't accept that as an answer. "Leave the bugs outside, it's were they belong, just leave them alone."

"You mean they don't like it inside? Hakkai always tells me to put them back where I found them, I guess they really don't like it inside. Okay, I won't bring the bugs inside anymore, but can I still play tag with the butterflies outside?" Goku asked.

"Do whatever you want," Sanzo grunted. Minutes after the chibi left, Sanzo saw him out the window chasing after an orange and black butterfly that was stuck being his playmate.

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That time many years ago, "look, Konzen!" Though she felt quite uncomfortable holding it, the Merciful Goddess had captured a little red bug with black spots that wandered all the way up to Heaven from the world below.

Konzen's violet eyes grew wide, his expression was positively terrified and his scream echoed throughout all of Heaven as he ran away at an amazing speed.

The young goddess stood there wondering what in the world had just happened. Then she grinned mischievously. "Babysitting is going to be so much fun!"

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Destination 14: Sunflower

Goku was a very energetic child, he ate a lot and jumped around a lot, it seemed logical, but this boy was beyond what was usual. That is why Sanzo knew that letting him keep his energy bottled up was not a good idea. Eventually the chibi saru would have to release all that energy and he didn't want to be there when it happened. Then again, Goku would probably find him wherever he went and annoy him to no end. Sanzo was sure that if the golden eyed boy didn't let go of all that energy soon, his eventual outburst would be too much for even the mighty harisen to stop.

That is why Sanzo wondered why Goku was sitting on the ground outside his window staring at a flowerpot with no flowers, instead of running around playing, annoying the monks and trying to steal fruit from the peach tree. He hadn't moved in hours and Sanzo was beginning to get irritated. He wasn't sure if he was irritated because Goku was sitting there unmoving, which was not normal for him, or if the real reason for his irritation was acknowledging the fact that he had become so accustomed to having the chibi running around the temple causing a ruckus, that when he didn't do it, it felt like something was missing. If he was more irritated at Goku or at himself was irrelevant, Sanzo was just irritated, that was the point. Whatever the reason, the only way to get rid of that irritation or lower it back to its usual level, was to make Goku go back to being his energetic self.

Determined to solve his dilemma, Sanzo got up from his desk and headed outside. Goku was sitting on the ground as he had been doing all day and didn't even notice Sanzo's presence, or didn't react to it. "Chibi saru, what are you doing?"

"I'm waiting for the flower," Goku's eyes were glued to the flowerpot.

"Go play, I don't want you to destroy the temple when all the energy you have bottled up explodes," Sanzo urged.

Goku looked at him and blinked in surprise with slight worry. For a second he looked like he was in deep thought then looked relieved. "People don't really explode when they don't play, because you don't play enough and you haven't exploded," Goku concluded.

Sanzo was tempted to hit him with his infamous paper fan, but for the moment being he didn't. "What makes you think a flower will grow there just like that?"

"Hakkai gave me some sunflower seeds to eat. I ate them all except one. I planted it here and I'm waiting for it to grow. Then I'll put it on your desk." Sanzo opened his mouth to protest, but before any sound came out Goku continued. "Don't worry, I'll take good care of it. I'll water it and take it outside to get some sunlight and do all the things that need to be done to take care of a sunflower. I'll ask Hakkai what else it needs besides water and sunlight. You won't need to do anything and you'll have a nice flower in your office!"

A flower, in his office, on his desk, Sanzo got an odd feeling of deja vu that he couldn't explain. He had never put any flowers in his office, yet he could almost remember sitting at a desk doing paperwork with the scent of flowers in the air. But those were not sunflowers; it was a different type of flower. He paused, that never happened. He pushed the thoughts away.

Sanzo took a moment to study the chibi's expression, he looked happy and excited about the sunflower. Sanzo knew about the sunflower seeds Hakkai had given him because of the trail of seed peals Goku had left in his path for the very annoyed temple monks to clean. He was better off eating the seeds whole, but Hakkai insisted on correcting the action. Sanzo wanted to tell Goku that there was no way a sunflower seed that was dried, salted and prepared to be eaten, would grow into a flower, but somehow he couldn't. Somehow that strange feeling of deja vu wouldn't let him.

It had started with the thought of working at his desk with the scent of flowers in the air, though they were different flowers in his dream or whatever that was. Even if he tried to rid himself of that feeling, it only became stronger. Sunflower, the sun, bits and pieces of dreams floated in Sanzo's mind until he decided that it was best to return to his work and ignore the boy for now. He couldn't disappoint him after he tried so hard to grow that flower, somehow he just couldn't.

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Time passed and after dinner, Goku went off to give the sunflower seed its dinner, consisting of water. He was going to give it a soda, but remembered that about a week ago he had seen Hakkai watering and speaking to the plants that now surrounded Gojyo's house and asked about it. They had a conversation about gardening and one of the things he learned was that plants didn't like soda. When the sun went down, Goku brought the flowerpot inside. "The sun is gone now. You're a sunflower so you don't like the cold, right? It's okay, I'll bring you inside every night so you don't have to be out there with the cold night air. Don't worry, tomorrow morning the sun will be back and I'll take you outside again. Grow up big and strong!"

Sanzo blinked, he stared. "What are you doing?" He asked slowly, pausing after every word.

"Hakkai told me that talking to plants makes them happy," Goku replied.

Sanzo was seriously beginning to consider introducing Hakkai to a very dear friend of his named harisen.

"Want to stay in my room for tonight? It's nice and warm." Obviously the seed did not reply to Goku's inquiry.

The next day, right after breakfast, Goku took the flowerpot outside to get some sunlight and sat next to it waiting for the flower to grow. "Hakkai said not to give you too much water because then you'll drown in it. Was that enough breakfast? How come you won't come out? Are you shy? I promise not to eat you."

Since the chibi saru was right next to his window, Sanzo could hear the conversation clearly. Other than introducing Hakkai to harisen as soon as possible, he was starting to consider the possibility of introducing his head to the desk repeatedly. He couldn't take this anymore, so he went out of the office and found one of the monks to send in a very specific errand.

The young monk looked surprised that Sanzo-sama wanted him to go buy or find a sunflower. But it could not be any sunflower; it had to be a young one, just beginning to grow. Although the monk found the request to be very odd, he did not object nor question Sanzo.

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At the end of the day, after a long tiresome search, the exhausted young monk returned to the temple after accomplishing his mission. He proudly presented Sanzo-sama with a tiny sunflower sprout. The flower itself was only a little bud yet to open.

Sanzo had warned him not to speak of this errand to anyone and the monk had given his word. He still wondered what the purpose of the little sunflower was, but he dared not ask. He assumed that the purpose for it was something deep and mysterious he was supposed to realize during his search and he didn't want to admit that he was still in the dark. Oh, no he couldn't disappoint Sanzo-sama after he was chosen for such a special secret task! So the monk pretended that he understood whatever he was supposed to understand. He did his best to look enlightened.

Sanzo was rather pleased that the monk didn't ask any questions about why he needed a little sunflower that was yet to bloom. He did notice that strangely, the monk looked happy and even honored to be sent to do such a meaningless task. 'He must have been really bored,' Sanzo thought and the young monk was dismissed to do whatever else he usually did.

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Sanzo hid the little sunflower and waited for the right moment to put his plan into action. He didn't know why he was doing this. It was one of those mysteries that continued to elude him.

When Goku was already fast asleep, Sanzo planted the tiny sunflower in the flowerpot. The chibi was certainly happy to see it when he woke up. "Sanzo, look! The baby sunflower started to grow!"

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Destination 15: Nightmare

He tossed and turned in bed, his sleep was anything but peaceful, yet he didn't wake up. The memories were painful, perhaps too painful to turn away from them. Genjo Sanzo was anything but helpless when he was awake, but he had been completely defeated and captured by his nightmares. His eyes were tightly closed, his expression revealed pain and guilt and the nightmare of that night when his master was killed before his eyes replayed in his unconscious mind. The man who had saved him and raised him, a father to him "I couldn't protect him..." a soft pained slumbering whisper.

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The Merciful Goddess, being a goddess didn't exactly need sleep, but she liked to take a little nap every now and then anyway. She slept when it was night time in Shangri La and her favorite nephew had already gone to sleep. That way she would make sure not to miss anything amusing. This time she woke up suddenly and a rather unpleasant feeling settled in. She got up and hastily threw her robe her pajamas while she slipped her feet into her soft and fluffy white bunny slippers. It was a useless action really, because her peach colored silk pajamas though short, covered her more than her usual clothes did, but it was what a woman from the world below would do if she was to leave her room in the middle of the night. This was Heaven and she was a goddess, but the activity of sleeping was something required in the world below, so she might as well do it like they did.

With a look of worry, Kanzeon hastily made her way to the lilly-pad pond like a mother who knows she simply has to go check on her baby. Reflected in the waters at her will, there was a clear image of Genjo Sanzo, sleeping, having a nightmare. She could see it all very clearly despite the darkness of his room. "My poor little Konzen!"

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Coincidentally, Goku had woken up with a craving for a midnight snack. The need for food was irresistible, not that he tried to resist. He got up and made his way to the kitchen as quietly as he could and satisfied his stomach. After having a small snack, consisting of every edible thing he could find in the kitchen that didn't require cooking, Goku tiptoed back to his room, which happened to be next to Sanzo's.

"I couldn't... I couldn't protect him," in the quiet of the night, the chibi heard those whispered words filled with sadness. He gently opened the door and peeked into Sanzo's room. The soft moonlight came in by the window, providing just enough light for Goku to see that Sanzo's bed was a mess of tangled up sheets, his pillow had been tossed off the bed and he kept moving around unable to obtain a peaceful slumber. None the less Sanzo was asleep and Goku thought that he probably wouldn't want to be woken up.

The boy quietly entered the room and picked up Sanzo's pillow. Careful not to wake the blond, he lifted his head and placed it on the pillow. Sanzo suddenly turned facing the opposite direction. Goku was startled but calmed down when he realized that Sanzo had not woken up.

Quietly but quickly Goku returned to his room and retrieved a certain item from its hiding place under his bed. He then brought the soft brown item to Sanzo's room. By then Sanzo had turned again now facing the ceiling. Goku placed the brown toy on top of Sanzo and moved his arm to hug it. Satisfied with that, Goku observed him for a little while. He had to make sure the plushie was enough to keep all the bad dreams away, so he would stay with Sanzo for a little longer even if he was sleepy.

In Sanzo's dream world, the image of that tragic night stopped replaying. He was surrounded by a golden light and an insistent, almost annoying, yet caring voice wished him good dreams.

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The Merciful Goddess smiled up in Heaven, "sleep well my little ones."

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When Sanzo woke up the following morning, he was not amused to find that he was hugging a monkey plushie, a very deformed handmade monkey plushie.

That fuzzy brown stuffed animal was something Goku had sacrificed his fingers to make, since he was not very skilled with a needle and thread. The boy had been very insistent in making a plushie when he discovered a piece of fuzzy brown fabric while visiting Hakkai and Gojyo. Hakkai said he didn't even remember purchasing it and Gojyo claimed he had never seen it before in his life, so Goku claimed it as his own.

When the chibi returned with plenty of colorful bandaids covering his fingers, he refused to say how it happened or what was in the bag. He had only said "It's a surprise, for later."

The look in Hakkai's eyes simply screamed 'I did everything I could to stop him.' While Gojyo had an amused grin on his face that didn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

Now Sanzo finally made the connection. Surely Hakkai was more skilled than this in sewing and Gojyo wouldn't even try. The strange looking monkey had to be made by the monkey. He then noticed that there was a card attached to the end of the golden colored ribbon that was tied around the strange creature's neck. In truth it hardly looked like a monkey, but it was brown with a long tail, so Sanzo assumed it was meant to be a monkey.

"Hapi birt-day," Sanzo read, "Monkeys can't spell." The date written on the card was still a few days away. Goku was probably hiding the gift until then, but for some reason gave it to him early, but why?

As Sanzo got up he nearly tripped over the sleeping monkey on the floor next to his bed. Why was he there? Puzzled, he picked up the boy and placed him on the bed, he was already getting up anyway.

"Sanzo..." Goku was still half asleep, his golden eyes only half open. "Did your nightmare go away? I wanted to give you a birthday gift but I thought you needed it early."

Sanzo would never admit it, but he thought it was sweet. "A monkey to remind me of another monkey?"

Goku smiled and drifted off to sleep, this time he didn't mind being called a monkey.

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Destination 16: Sneeze


Sanzo took a deep breath.


He dropped the newspaper on the desk and tried desperately to suppress the sneeze that he felt coming. He had been sneezing all morning and it had to stop. There was no way a little cold was getting the best of Genjo Sanzo.

"Sanzo!" Goku entered the room looking as cheerful and energetic as ever. "Guess what Sanzo?"

That noisy monkey was breaking his concentration. He needed to focus if he was to repress that sneeze!

"Guess what! Guess what!"

He couldn't hold it in anymore! He turned his face away from the noisy monkey and prepared to let it but oh no! The monkey moved now standing to his right, instead of in front of the desk like a second ago. Stupid monkey! Sanzo pushed the boy away with one hand and covered his mouth with the other. "Achoo!"

"How come you pushed me?" Goku whined.

With a deadly glare Sanzo replied, "don't get in the way when I'm trying not to sneeze on you baka saru!"

Goku blinked, "sneeze?"

"Yes, sneeze, I don't need a monkey with a cold around here, sniff," Colds put Sanzo in a bad mood, a lot of things did.

"You're cold?" Goku was confused. It seemed that for the moment being he had forgotten about whatever he was going to tell Sanzo before. "Want me to bring you a blanket?"

"No, baka saru, I'm not cold, I have a cold. Stay away from me or you'll catch it." Colds put Sanzo in a very, very bad mood.

Goku still looked confused.

"I'm sick with a cold," Sanzo tried to explain.

At that Goku looked frightened. "Oh no you're sick! What's the cure? Where is it? There is a cure, right? Sanzo!" And he clung to Sanzo for dear life.

"Let go baka saru, it's not that serious!" Sanzo yelled, but the chibi wouldn't let go, not with harsh words and not even with the harisen. "Hey, Goku," Goku looked at him; at least he was listening now that Sanzo spoke in a softer tone. "A cold is not a serious illness. It'll go away by itself in a few days so you can let go now."

Looking relived, Goku finally let him go and the second he did Sanzo hit him with the harisen several times. "Ouch! Stop!"

All that exercise with his paper fan must have gotten to him, because Sanzo started feeling dizzy but refused to admit it until the world turned to darkness.

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When Sanzo woke up, the first thing he felt was an unbearable heat. As soon as his other senses started working, he realized that he was in his room, buried under who knows how many blankets.

"Are you still cold?" Goku asked when he realized Sanzo had woken up.

"You did this? Are these all the blankets in the temple?" Sanzo spoke with a hint of sarcasm and plenty of annoyance as he struggled to escape from the mountain of blankets that threatened to cook him alive.

Goku nodded, "yup, I brought you all the blankets I could find so you won't feel cold anymore. Are you feeling better now?"


"Oh no, you're still sick! You should stay in bed until you're all better!" Just what he needed, a monkey bossing him around.

Sanzo wanted to give the harisen another workout, but Goku was trying so hard to be helpful and looked like he was truly worried about him. "I'll be fine, go out and play. I told you I don't want you to catch this cold."

"I don't mind. If it'll make you feel better, I'll take it from you," Goku offered.

"It's not that simple."

"Why not?"

Sanzo shook his head. Explaining this to Goku wasn't a task he was up to doing when he could hardly stay focused on his train of thought. "I don't need this many blankets, just one is enough. Return the others to where you got them."

"Are you sure?" Goku asked.

"Yes, I'm sure," Sanzo tried to keep his temper in check. He was in a worse mood today because of the cold, so that proved a little more challenging then usual.

"Okay, I'll put the blankets back, but first you need to eat your soup!" Sitting on a nearby table, there was a bowl with a spoon beside it. Goku retrieved it and handed it to Sanzo along with the spoon. "Remember when we were visiting Hakkai and Gojyo and it started raining, and Hakkai made soup, and he said that soup made people feel better when they're not feeling well, and we ate it together, and it was really good?"

Sanzo was in a trance staring at the bowl's contents but he still faintly nodded.

"I couldn't get into the kitchen; the monks wouldn't let me use it, so instead I got some peaches from the peach tree and made peach soup!" Goku was certainly proud of his accomplishment. He made soup and didn't eat it; he was taking good care of Sanzo.

"Peach soup..." It looked like Goku had torn the peaches apart and squished him with his own hands. The liquid part was apparently water, mixed with the peaches' juice and he called that strange substance peach soup. "Goku, what were you going to tell me before?" If only he could distract the chibi long enough to get rid of the peach soup. Sanzo simply couldn't get himself to throw it away with Goku watching and he didn't know what was stopping him.

Goku blinked, "I guess I forgot; it probably wasn't anything too important." That didn't work.

In his extra sour mood, an unanswered curiosity was not what Sanzo needed. Furthermore, the chibi kept staring at him, but Genjo Sanzo was not afraid of some strange soup. With all the courage he could muster, Sanzo took a spoonful of the substance, carrying a small piece of peach and some watered down peach juice to his mouth.

Goku smiled brightly because Sanzo was eating the soup he made, he would have been disappointed otherwise.

Sanzo realized that he was inevitably going to end up eating all the soup. Because Genjo Sanzo would not be defeated by a bowl of peach soup, and most of all, because Genjo Sanzo was a bigger softie than he would ever admit.

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Destination 17: Laugh

Konzen blinked, Kenren stared, Tenpou shook his head and Goku looked adorably confused.

The golden haired young man's seemingly constant frown had disappeared. He was close to smiling, oh, so close. The general continued to stare at the sight before him, while the marshal shook his head slowly.

Lacking the dignity that a goddess should have and feeling like the world had no mercy for her, the Merciful Goddess struggled to get to her feet and failed miserably.

Goku was an adorable child indeed. He alone was quite funny and mischievous, an endearing disaster waiting to happen; but when the boy was with Konzen, Tenpou and Kenren, that was a dangerous combination.

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It had all started with a game of baseball. Kenren threw the ball as hard as he could. It zoomed past an unsuspecting Konzen, flew over his shoulder and made a hole in the newspaper that had captivated his attention and made him oblivious to the danger around him.

While the game took place, the Merciful Goddess sat in her usual chair in front of the lilypad pond, next to where the home base was located. She exploded in a fit of laughter at Konzen's expression when the round projectile pierced his precious newspaper.

Startled far worse than he cared to admit and pissed off beyond belief, Konzen stomped towards Kenren with ready fists and a murderous look. He failed to notice that Goku had been eating a banana before they decided to play baseball and that he didn't tidy up the peel. The blond's foot was caught in the slippery peal and inevitably he fell backwards into a sitting position.

The Merciful Goddess' laughter intensified. She hadn't recovered from the incident with the baseball and the newspaper, when another hilarious event was displayed before her.

"Konzen, are you okay?" Goku was worried about Konzen, but in his haste he too suffered the rage of the banana peal of doom and fell forward into Konzen's lap, tackling him in the process.

Kenren twitched from holing back laughter, unlike the Merciful Goddess who continued her breathless explosion of laughs. Finally, he gave up and let it out, while Tenpou, wearing a good natured yet at the same time mocking smile, approached his fallen comrades. "This is why I told you to pick up the banana peal," he casually reminded Goku.

That was the cherry on top of Sunday of humiliation. Konzen somehow managed to push the chibi off despite the weight, which was due more to the shackles than to the boy, and approached Tenpou. His violet eyes seemed to scream 'kill' with a piercing glare that made Tenpou completely certain that by one twist of fate or another, one day the golden haired man before him would become very trigger happy.

The Merciful Goddess was certainly enjoying the show. She clutched her stomach, kicked her legs in the air and let her laughter ring out loudly and vigorously all throughout the land of Heaven.

Seemingly unfazed, but with a pounding heartbeat that could be heard in the ten mile radius, Tenpou tried to keep a straight face as Konzen approached with the burning anger of a super nova. Then at the last second, the golden haired fury turned and in a quick movement, picked up and threw the offending banana peal, straight towards the laughing general.

The yellow projectile flew with the force of Konzen's vengeance and landed in Kenren's mouth. He coughed and nearly choked, but managed to spit it out.

That was when the Merciful Goddess had too much. She laughed so hard she fell right off her chair and into the pond. Her legs were swung over the edge of the pond, while her upper body was completely submerged and perched upon her head was a lilypad.

Konzen blinked, Kenren stared, Tenpou shook his head and Goku looked adorably confused.

"Kenren, don't you dare look up my skirt. Tenpou, stop shaking your head. Goku, I fell, isn't it obvious? Konzen come over here and give your dear aunt a hand getting up," Kanzeon ordered.

Grumbling because he was still upset that she had laughed on their account, mostly his, Konzen approached the helpless goddess. He wanted to leave her like that, but he knew he would never hear the end of it if he did. He took the hand she had extended to him but before he could pull her out, she pulled him in.

With a lilypad hat to match his aunt's and a glare that burned with the fire of a thousand suns, Konzen emerged from the pond, drenched from head to toe.

Goku slimed and with childish hyperness and happiness, jumped into the pond. "Pool party!"

The Merciful Goddess, who was not so helpless after all and even less merciful, smiled at her nephew as if she had planned this all along. Had it been her plan or a spontaneous act to make the best of the situation, no one knew, but one thing they had learned was that as much as the Merciful Goddess liked to laugh at them, she was also capable of laughing at herself.

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Destination 18: Mermaid

The journey to the west felt eternal, even more so since they had passed so many days on the road without any signs of a town near by. Hakkai checked and rechecked his map, but it made no sense what so ever. "We should have reached the next town by now." Goku looked desperate, Gojyo looked drained and Sanzo looked more murderous than ever. "I'm sure we'll get there soon." Hakkai's statement was met with a triple glare.

"I'm hungry! What if we run out of food before we reach the next town?" Goku complained.

"Is that all you ever think about?" Gojyo asked though he, as well as everyone else in the group, already knew the answer.

The harisen was quick to silence both of them, with a force far stronger than ever before in the past.

Hakkai sighed; his babysitting job became very challenging sometimes. "We'll have a small meal then continue."

Goku looked just about ready to die. "Small meal?" That had to be the most offensive thing he had ever heard. "But I'm hungry! Ow!" The harisen collided with his head again.

Sanzo did not speak; he simply glared in a way that would give his companions nightmares. Neither Hakkai, nor Gojyo, nor Goku, dared to look into Sanzo's eyes for more than a split second, as if the raging violet would steal their very souls.

Things proceeded quietly as Hakkai cooked their canned food, Sanzo reread an old newspaper for what felt like the billionth time, and Goku eyed Hakuryu suspiciously. The little dragon decided not to take his chances with the hungry monkey and perched himself in a high tree branch.

Finding water was not a problem, in the middle of the forest there was a vast lake filled with crystalline liquid. It would have been a beautiful view had their vision not been clouded with frustration and an irresistible need to reach civilization. In a way it was the opposite of cabin fever.

Gojyo sat near the lake, staring lifelessly into the water. He was so bored he contemplated jumping in just to pass the time. He was afraid that if they didn't reach the next town soon, he would forget what women looked like; then, when a woman walked near him, instead of flirting, he would simply stare at the unknown creature and wondered what in the world it could be. The seconds dragged on heavily and an atmosphere of tension settled in.

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The Merciful Goddess yawned, she was counting on those four to provide her with entertainment and lately they were doing a horrible job. The endless youkai battles where monotonous and repetitive. If something didn't happen soon, she would consider locating some other people to spy- watch over.

'Ding!' "The cookies are ready!" Kanzeon was so bored she had even started to learn to cook. She thought that since nothing interesting had happened lately, then nothing interesting would happen in the next few minutes. Without a second thought, she went off to get her cookies out of the oven and stopped watching the pond for a few minutes.

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Gojyo continued to sit by the lake, bored out of his mind, then he saw her, a woman was swimming in the lake. He rubbed his eyes and stared, never had he seen such radiant beauty. The woman had clear blue eyes and shining long silver hair. She jumped out of the water to reveal a silvery-blueish fish tail. After her graceful landing in the crystalline water, she smiled and winked at Gojyo.

The kappa stared open mouthed at the being before him. A mermaid, a real live mermaid and a beautiful one at that; one that apparently liked him.

"The food is ready!" Hakkai called, he was focused on serving the meal and didn't look up from his task as he made the announcement. Hakuryu was busy watching Goku while Goku watched Hakuryu. Sanzo was rereading the newspaper with a burning glare that threatened to set it aflame. None of them where looking towards Gojyo as he kept flailing his arms in excitement and surprise so fast that it looked like he was about to take flight.

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The Merciful Goddess took her usual seat again with a plate of freshly baked cookies in her hands. "What did I miss?" She expected no answer, have asked in the tone one would use when returning to the TV and realizing the commercials ended sooner than expected.

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The water sprite wondered why they have not commented on the presence of a mermaid in the lake. He managed to pry his eyes of her and turn his head for just a split second to see if they had simply been rendered speechless by her beauty. To his surprise they were going about their business normally, oblivious to the mermaid's existence. "Guys, did you see the mermaid? Did you see her?" Gojyo looked towards the lake again, but there was no one there.

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The Merciful Goddess looked at the lake reflected in her pond. She didn't see anything that looked like a mermaid there. "I guess he saw a mirage." She picked up a rock hard cookie and tried to bite into it. "Ow! What did I do wrong this time? How many times must a goddess bake cookies to get it right?" It had been over a dozen already.

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The harisen collided harshly with the kappa's head and Sanzo's frightening deadly glare was enough to inform him that he was not in the mood for jokes, not that he ever was.

"I'm not lying! I'm going to find her!" With that said, Gojyo jumped into the lake but he had no luck.

By the time he gave up on his fruitless search, the others had already finished their meal and were riding the jeep. The kappa's cue to get out of the water, were bullets that narrowly missed him. In Sanzo's state of ultimate rage, Gojyo knew it was best to simply hop on Hakuryu without complains, even if he was wet and hungry. That silent anger made Sanzo scarier than when he was yelling 'Shut up!'.

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When the travelers finally reached the next town, the atmosphere started to slowly calm down. Goku was cheerful and hyper again after a good meal. Sanzo was catching up on the latest news and Hakkai's smile didn't look like it would break any second. Gojyo also felt better as he walked down the streets of town, flirting with every young woman he saw. Maybe the mermaid had been a product of his imagination because he hadn't seen anything female for such a long time; perhaps there was no mermaid after all.

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After the four men had left on their jeep, a rock was pushed aside in the bottom of the lake and a silver haired woman with a fish tail came out of the hidden underwater cave. She smiled mischievously "oh, how I love to leave them hot and wet."

To be Continued

Baka means idiot. Destination 13 is based on Saiyuki chapter 20, where Sanzo says he hates freaks and insects. Some parts of the story with Sanzo and Goku take place before the journey, it's easy to tell which ones. Destination 15 has another sleeping Sanzo for Arysin. Destination 17 is for Sarah.

Watching from Above: Journey III

Destination 19: Acceptance

The Merciful Goddess, who was not one bit merciful if you ask her nephew, sat in the usual place in front of the lilypad pond. She was focused on the task of reading a newspaper, which Konzen was not very happy about. He was frustrated with a certain golden eyed monkey and blamed his aunt, since she was the one who assigned him to take care of said monkey in the first place. In his current mood he didn't want to have anything in common with his aunt, not even a liking for newspapers.

Not even the Merciful Goddess herself could stay oblivious to Konzen's burning glare. With the sweetest smile that smelled of sarcasm, she looked up from her newspaper and asked, "did you want to tell me something?"

"He's annoying," as Konzen pointed his accusing finger at the previously smiling boy, the chibi's face turned sad.

"Don't you think you're being a little harsh," Tenpou petted the boy's head gently, as if to reassure him that Konzen didn't mean what he said.

"I don't know who's more annoying, the two of you, or the chibi saru!" Konzen's entire life had been turned upside down with the arrival of that boy. One thing led to another and soon he found himself in the presence of the marshal and general nearly every day. His life had gone from absolute boredom, to ultimate chaos in a matter of days.

"Someone needs to lighten up," Kenren commented, which only served to further annoy Konzen.

"He's got a point. I'm sensing a lot of tension here." The goddess got up, leaving the newspaper in her chair. "I have an idea, let's all spend the afternoon together baking cookies!" She clapped her hands together and smiled sweetly.

Konzen knew right away that something would go wrong. "No! Absolutely not!"

But the golden haired man's protests were not enough to stop the eternally hungry monkey from getting excited about the cookies. "I want cookies! Konzen let's go make cookies!"

"Right, then it's decided," with those final words, the not so Merciful Goddess started walking towards her heavenly kitchen.

Tenpou and Kenren shrugged and followed, while Goku continued to drag Konzen along despite his protests.

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The kitchen was heavenly indeed, with endless peaceful white and the soft scent of peaches in the air. Gold adorned the cabinet and drawer handles, as well as any other metal found in the kitchen, including the utensils. Goku was in Heaven, both literally and metaphorically. "Auntie, can I?" He pointed at a bowl filled with peaches, large peaches that looked very delicious.

"Go ahead, but don't spoil your appetite too much," the Merciful Goddess replied.

"Don't worry I'll have plenty of room left for the cookies!" Goku didn't waste a second before starting on the first sweet peach.

Tenpou seemed cheerful and Kenren was in a pretty good mood as well. Konzen however, sat with his elbows on the counter and a sour expression, glaring at his aunt who appeared to be searching for the necessary utensils. "Let's see, where did I put that?" She opened a cabinet and an avalanche of cups and plates fell out. Tenpou and Kenren rushed to catch them and managed to save at least some of them, while most of the fine glass shattered on the floor.

"It seems appearances can be deceiving," Tenpou commented, as he and Kenren set their plates on the counter in front of the scowling Konzen.

"A goddess can cook, but putting things away, that's the real challenge," Kanzeon ignored the mess and continued her search.

"I caught more," Kenren victoriously announced.

"Yes, but I caught one cup and you didn't catch any, so I must get bonus points," Tenpou replied.

Konzen became more aggravated with each passing second. Tenpou and Kenren were cheerfully discussing how to score for the glass caught, while the Merciful Goddess shuffled around in the background inspecting drawers and cabinets, occasionally pulling out random supplies that didn't belong in a kitchen. They included a red tennis racket, an orange ball, a red umbrella with a yellow line around it and a sword like handle, a small mirror with strange words engraved on the cover, a strange red gem, a red and white ball and a headband with a piece of metal attached to it, among other things that one would not expect to find in a kitchen.

All the antics were certainly annoying for Konzen, but the thing that bothered him the most was not his aunt pulling random items out of her kitchen cabinets that didn't belong in a kitchen, it was not the way the Tenpou and Kenren continued to ignore the oddball of a goddess, and it was not their quiet chatter about plates, cups and points, as if it was a game. Those things were very annoying but never as annoying as the peach pressed against his face by a monkey who insisted on sharing. "Get that thing away from me!"

After giving Konzen a sad look, Goku handed Tenpou, Kenren and the Merciful Goddess some peaches, which were accepted and eaten, then resumed his task of trying to get Konzen to eat a peach by putting it in his mouth. "Try it, it's really good and I don't want any of my friends to miss out!"

After Goku spoke, Konzen was sure he heard an 'aw' gentle sound throughout the kitchen. His violet eyes met three pairs of eyes that seemed to say 'eat the peach for the chibi's sake or we'll make you eat it'. Konzen bravely stood firm on his decision not to eat the peach until he looked towards Goku. The boy had the saddest expression while holding out the peach for him, as if his very life depended on weather he took it or not.

Finally, Konzen took the peach and ate it, which restored Goku to his happy hyper self. Perhaps Konzen didn't find the boy to be so annoying after all.

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Destination 20: Merciful Cookies

While a certain chibi bounced around the kitchen, occasionally checking out the refrigerator, it seemed that the Merciful Goddess had finally gathered all the necessary ingredients and utensils. Konzen, Tenpou and Kenren looked at one of the utensils strangely, while Goku got a hold of some ice-cream and started to eat it and make a mess.

"What is this doing in a kitchen?" Kenren pointed at a rifle.

Konzen shook his head, while Kenren and Tenpou had been previously chatting about plates, cups and points, an argument that was finally settled as a draw, they had missed the Merciful Goddess pulling out all sorts of things from the cabinets that were in no way related to a kitchen, nor the activities expected to take place in one.

"Yesterday I was working on a recipe and the book said I needed to add a shot. I followed the instructions exactly as it said, but it didn't quite work out. I thought it was strange that I had to shoot the pot, but I'm not an expert chef, so who am I to argue?" Kanzeon shrugged as the three men stared in disbelief and the boy finished his ice-cream, then moved on to eating cake. Then the little round holes in the wall suddenly became very obvious to them, even if they had been there the entire time.

"This is too dangerous in your hands," Konzen took the rifle away and examined it. It obviously came from the world below. Taking a life was forbidden in Heaven, except for the War Prince. The riffle looked strangely interesting to Konzen, but he found its size uncomfortable. He would prefer something smaller, easy to handle, but powerful.

"Let's get cooking!" The Merciful Goddess cheered.

By the time the announcement was made, Goku had finished his frosting covered cake and left sticky handprints all over the previously spotless kitchen. He was now battling it out with a chocolate syrup bottle, trying to get it to open. The chibi didn't quite understand that he needed to remove the seal under the cap, not just open the cap. His reasoning was that the syrup was stuck so he shook and squeezed the bottle until the cap flew and hit Konzen on the forehead, something that Goku didn't see happening. The seal broke and the chocolate syrup went flying landing on the goddess's shirt.

Goku looked at the bottle with curiosity. He didn't understand what just happened. Konzen rubbed his forehead while yelling something about a "baka chibi saru!" which Goku didn't understand; Kenren and Tenpou just laughed.

"Oh, dear, this is a mess," the Merciful Goddess examined her delicate, previously white, now brown, silk shirt. Goku realized half of what he had done and stood frozen as the half empty bottle of syrup slipped out of his hands and fell on the floor. When she turned to face the chibi, the goddess noticed that not just her shirt, but her kitchen, was also a mess. "Children, what little hurricanes they are."

"I'm sorry auntie!" Goku ran to apologize to his dear aunt, the person who had introduced him to Konzen. Goku accidentally stepped on the syrup bottle and this time Konzen, Tenpou and Kenren were the victims.

The Merciful Goddess was taken by surprised when the chibi hugged her. She stood there for a few seconds before gaining a motherly smile and hugging the boy back. It's alright, accidents happen all the time in the kitchen. On the bright side, I remembered why people need to wear aprons. Everyone, aprons, now!"

It was a good thing the riffle didn't have any bullets left or Konzen would have shot his aunt when she tried to, and succeeded in, making him wear a pink apron. He vowed never to wear an apron again no matter what. Little did he know that he would break that promise in the next life.

After the awkwardness passed and the goddess settled for hiding her stained clothes under her golden apron, Tenpou and Kenren began to whisper to each other. They were clearly having too much fun discretely laughing at Konzen. They kept telling him that pink was a very manly color and that they were certain that somewhere someday a powerful warrior would go out in public wearing pink. This was not Konzen's day, not only did he end up with two red spots on his forehead instead of one, but also had to endure wearing pink.

It looked like the cookies would turn out more or less decent. The ingredients were of excellent quality and Tenpou took care of most things, so there was no reason why anything would go wrong except for the fact that a certain goddess insisted on adding pepper to the mix. Tenpou tried to explain that just because she liked pepper and liked cookies, it didn't mean that they would go well together, but she snuck the pepper in anyway.

While the cookies were in the oven Tenpou, Kenren and the Merciful Goddess discussed random occurrences of their lives, Goku bounced around impatiently and Konzen continuously complained about why he couldn't take off the apron yet. Then, when they least expected it, BOOM!

The kitchen was in ruins, there was rubble and cookie dough everywhere and the five had been thrown against a wall, with Konzen hugging Goku protectively. His reflexes had been fast when he thought he smelled something suspicious and saw sparks forming behind the oven's glass.

Though in pain and covered in cookie dough, except for Goku who was simply covered in cookie dough, they slowly stood up and looked around in confusion. Then the Merciful Goddess spoke, "I thought the pepper smelled a little like gun powder." The others looked at her horrified, except Goku who was just confused. To them this might have been a disaster, but to the Goddess of, and lack of, Mercy, it was fun.

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Destination 21: Zit

Konzen was confused, he was very confused. He was simply passing by, searching for a certain monkey, though he wouldn't admit that's what he was doing, when the Merciful Goddess burst out in a fit of laughter with a long manicured nail pointing in his direction.

"What?" Konzen asked in absolute annoyance.

With a big mocking smile, between laughs the goddess replied "your face," then she continued helplessly laughing until Konzen's deadly glare silenced her. She cleared her throat and smiled. "I'm sure it's nothing, it's all a natural part of growing up." She soon started laughing again.

For a moment Konzen thought he had fallen victim to Goku's finger paints again. He thought the monkey got the message the first time he told him never to do it again.

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That time Konzen had fallen asleep on Tenpou's couch after being kept awake late one night by a hyper monkey that wouldn't go to sleep. While Tenpou, Kenren and Goku sorted the many books that flooded Tenpou's home, and didn't stay organized for too long, Konzen had unintentionally dozed off.

By the time the golden haired young man woke up, it was too late, but he did not notice the situation right away. Goku was a mess of colors after playing with finger paints and Tenpou and Kenren kept smiling as if they caught a joke Konzen didn't. The reason was because unknown to Konzen, he was the joke.

Grumbling about how messy Goku was, Konzen left with the chibi and made it clear to him that the first thing he was to do when they arrived would be to take a bath.

The streets and halls were somewhat crowded that day, as if Heaven itself wanted to mock poor Konzen. Who knows how many people saw him with that smiling sun painted on his face? That explained why they kept smiling at him so much. The girls usually did and he ignored them, but that day everyone smiled at him like Tenpou and Kenren had. It came to the point where Konzen could no longer ignore it and started to wonder why it was happening.

Sadly it wasn't until Konzen was already home that he passed by a mirror and saw the childish art that adorned his face.

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Fearing that the situation was repeating itself, although he couldn't imagine when it happened since he had not fallen asleep near a finger painting monkey that day, Konzen looked at his reflection in the lilypad pond.

Horrified as if he had seen a terrible beast starring back at him, he jumped back in shock. He need a mirror, a real mirror, the pond had to be wrong.

In desperation, Konzen spotted the mirror his aunt wore around her neck and rushed to look at his reflection in it pushing the goddess back in the chair by the shoulders in the process. That effectively silenced her amused laughter as she was taken by surprise.

Konzen stared at his reflection in the mirror with disbelief, denial and lot of annoyance. He was not able to stop staring at his face, willing the red spot to disappear until suddenly his face collided with the mirror.

"Auntie loves you too!" The Merciful Goddess spoke in a sweet, yet mocking, voice as she hugged her shocked nephew.

Konzen desperately struggled and squirmed, but couldn't break free of his aunt's suffocating hug. Finally a few seconds later, which felt like an eternity to Konzen, she let him go.

By then Kenren, who was passing by, had stopped to witness the scene. "My turn," he said with a cocky smile and open arms. Konzen directed a deadly glare towards both of them, but what really caught Kenren's attention was not the glare, rather the huge zit on Konzen's face. Without a second to spare, Kenren proceeded to point and laugh.

"I'm gonna kill you!" At Konzen's threat, Kenren childishly ran away, laughing with every step. Konzen certainly wished he had something to throw at Kenren or maybe something to shoot him with, a gun would be very useful in that situation. Kenren suddenly reminded him of a laughing kappa like the one in a children's book Goku was reading the other day.

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Meanwhile, Tenpou and Goku were looking for Konzen. "Do you think he'll like it?" Goku was holding a drawing he made of Konzen as an apology for painting his face without permission the other day.

"I'm sure he'll like it very much" Tenpou assured him. That's when a laughing Kenren ran by at full speed, followed by an angry Konzen.

Seconds later, Kenren returned and jumped behind Tenpou, "help me oh mighty marshal!" As Konzen moved in circles trying to get around Tenpou, Kenren continued to make Tenpou move with him in circles as well.

"Konzen! Konzen!" Goku called while proudly holding up his art for Konzen to see.

"Stop hiding behind Tenpou!" Konzen yelled.

Kenren stuck his tongue out and didn't move from his position. "I'm not scared of you, the mighty marshal will protect me from the horrible zit monster!"

"Shut up!" Konzen yelled in absolute anger.

Tenpou's part in the argument was only a simple "oh, my."

"Konzen!" Goku called louder while tugging at his shirt.

"What?" Konzen yelled.

Goku looked sad, "don't you like it?"

Konzen blinked, a drawing of him? He took the art the chibi offered.

"I wanted to say sorry for decorating you without permission the other day," Goku apologized.

"Never mind, just don't do it again," Konzen tried to push the feeling away, but having Goku draw something for him made him feel special and he couldn't understand it.

"He forgot to draw mount zitzilla," Kenren peeked over Konzen's shoulder.

The blond stood perfectly still and when Kenren least expected it, he discretely lifted his foot and stomped on the general's foot with all his strength.

"That hurt!" Kenren hopped on one foot, holding the injured one.

Once again Tenpou exclaimed, "oh, my."

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Destination 22: Insurance

"Sanzo, please open the door. This gentleman has been waiting to speak with you for quite a long time." Regardless of the annoying atmosphere that reigned supreme at the inn thanks to an insurance company representative, Hakkai's smile remained intact.

"Go away, I'm busy, we're not leaving until tomorrow," Sanzo sounded angrier than usual. That day he refused to come out of his room and join the others for breakfast. The door and windows were closed and locked and no one knew exactly what was going on.

A tall skinny youkai in his early thirties looked rather annoyed. "I must insist sir, it is imperative that I speak with all the members of the Sanzo party immediately, especially Genjo Sanzo."

"I'm trying my best sir, but it seems that Sanzo is feeling a little shy today," Hakkai excused. "Sanzo please come out."

"Just kill the youkai, he'll go insane sooner or later anyway," Sanzo answered from inside the locked room.

Quite frankly the option was starting to feel very tempting for Hakkai. "Now, now, let's not jump to conclusions." Either Sanzo came out in the next five minutes or the youkai left, or Hakkai would kill him.

Sanzo ignored that last comment, leaving Hakkai with nothing but silence as a reply. That's when Goku returned from grocery shopping with a few half empty bags. He held some bread in his hand, eating it like it's nobody's business. "Gosh-jyo ish fishting wish theh gloshely stosh gilsh" the monkey spoke with his mouth full.

Hakkai was at the end of his patience, "please swallow your food before you speak." Though the statement was polite, the glare that accompanied it was deadly.

Goku froze and with his golden eyes revealing fear, he swallowed. "Gojyo is flirting with the grocery store girl," he repeated his previously incomprehensible sentence.

"I see you have consumed most of the groceries yourself," Hakkai disapprovingly eyed the bag, which carried more empty wrappers and containers than full ones. "Both of you have not been doing a very effective job."

"We'll do it over!" With that said, Goku rushed out of the inn. He didn't like it when Hakkai was in a bad mood, it rarely happened, but when it did, avoiding him was the wisest thing to do.

"Sir," the skinny youkai in a business suit started to speak, but Hakkai's glare silenced him. He gripped his suitcase's handle, as if his very life depended on it and tried to stop himself from shaking fearfully.

"Is it really necessary that Sanzo is present to hear what you must say?" Hakkai's question translated to 'do you want me to kill you?'

"It wouldn't be the Sanzo party without San-er I mean, no, of course not, I'll just give you the message." He quickly dug around his suitcase and pulled out several documents. "I'm from the Squee Elf insurance company. Dr. Nii Jianyi has placed a life insurance on each of the youkai sent to fight the Sanzo party. Under orderd from Lady Koushou, we are not allowed to deny Dr. Nii our insurance services. The result has been severe losses for our company due to the youkai's constant deaths. We tried to modify our policies to include coverage only for accidents and not murders, but at Dr. Nii's request, Lady Koushou forbade it. As you must imagine sir, this must come to an end."

"Yes, you're right, it must come to an end," with those final words, Hakkai blew the insurance worker into oblivion with a powerful chi blast. "I guess you were right about your suggested solution after all Sanzo."

Of course Sanzo didn't waste a second and replied, "I told you so," it wasn't a very wise thing to say to Hakkai, but the chi user was in a much better mood after blasting that annoying insurance youkai, thus Sanzo didn't get into trouble for the remark.

"I will help Goku and Gojyo with the groceries now, I do hope you've gotten over your sudden case of stage fright by the time we return." Hakkai received an annoyed grunt as an answer, but that was enough. With a bright happy smile, he went off to find his companions and properly teach them how to shop for groceries.

Meanwhile, Sanzo looked at his reflection in the mirror, trying to stare his problem away. He never thought something like that would bother him until it actually happened. That zit better be gone by the time the others returned or he was not coming out.

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Meanwhile, up in Heaven, the Merciful Goddess was not having a very good day either, she too was pestered by an insurance company representative. "For the millionth time I don't want nor need life insurance. There is no death in Heaven, but there will be if you don't leave me alone!"

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Destination 23: Wallpaper

Goku's voice was heard calling once again, but this time the boy was actually standing next to Sanzo calling him more loudly than needed.

"What?" Sanzo accompanied his questing with a deadly glare.

"Can I use it?" Goku pointed at the computer sitting in a corner of the office.

"No," Sanzo replied.

"Why not? You let Hakkai use it!" Goku whined,

"You don't know how to use it; Hakkai was careful and figured it out." That machine was an advanced technological device recovered from the ruins of what was some kind of laboratory. It was suspected that illegal experiments were taking place there, maybe a sign of what was to come.

"I do too know how to use it, Hakkai was using it yesterday and he taught me!" Goku pouted.

"No," Sanzo repeated his reply, making it clear that it had not changed.

"But I want to play!" Those sad golden eyes were just too cute to resist.

"Fine, but only until I'm done reading the newspaper, because then I need to use it," Sanzo agreed.

Immediately after the word fine, Goku bolted towards the computer and turned it on. By the time Sanzo finished establishing the conditions for use of the rare machine, the chibi was already playing pin ball.

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Time passed and Sanzo was done reading the newspaper, "time's up chibi saru, I need to use it."

Though he was disappointed, Goku got up. "I drew something in Paint. I put it in the pictures folder in the documents. Look at it, okay?" After that, the boy went outside to play and maybe sneak away with a few peaches from the tree.

Peace and quiet once again invaded the office and Sanzo had endless news articles at his disposal. He didn't know where the wireless signal was coming from and quite frankly, he didn't care as long as he had plenty of interesting things to read.

After a while, Sanzo could no longer hold the curiosity to see Goku's drawing. He had told himself not to look and to simply go to that amusing site with the funny articles about youkais expected to go crazy and how a powerful being was going to be revived, as if that would ever happen.

Finally, Sanzo gave in and opened up the doodle made by the chibi in that program called 'Paint'. It was a little hard to see at first, but it seemed that the less than skillful lines made by moving that thing that looked like a mouse, were supposed to be Sanzo, the chibi saru, Hakkai and Gojyo.

Sanzo didn't say anything about the drawing and Goku was wondering if he even cared enough to look at it. That is until the next time he was allowed to play a few games and he saw the drawing as the computer's main background.

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Destination 24: Butterfly

"Sanzo!" Goku waited a little while and when he did not hear any footsteps approaching, he called again, "Sanzo!"

Sanzo hoped that if he kept quiet, the chibi would just spontaneously decide to follow his example and keep quiet as well, no such luck.

"Sanzo!" The chibi's voice was heard once again.

As hard as Sanzo tried to ignore him, he simply couldn't. As much as he tried to focus on his reading and block out all other sounds, he found it to be impossible.

"Sanzo!" The monkey clearly wasn't going to give up any time soon.

Sanzo folded his newspaper and placed it on the desk. Didn't the boy know he was working? Okay, so he wasn't working, he was reading the newspaper during his working hours, but that was not the point; the point was that he was occupied and didn't have time for the chibi saru's nonsense.


"What?" Maybe it was something small, something that could be answered from his desk. It made him wonder why Goku didn't just go over there instead of calling out to him.

"There's an animal in your room!" Goku's voice replied.

Sanzo bolted out of his chair. It better not be that stray dog that liked to visit the temple every now and then, or worse yet a cat. Then again the cat would probably be cleaner than that dog that liked to jump in mud puddles, except Sanzo was allergic. Whatever animal it was, Sanzo certainly didn't want it in his room. Why was the monkey there in the first place?

"San-ouch!" Goku calling was interrupted by a hit to the head from he mighty harisen.

"Baka saru! If there's an animal in my room instead of standing there calling me, get it out!" Sanzo looked around the room and found no signs of the animal. "Where is it?"

Goku rubbed his head. "Where is what?"

"The animal, baka saru, where is the animal you said was in my room?" Sanzo repeated his question impatiently.

"Oh, there it is!" Goku pointed at a little butterfly that was perched on Sanzo's lamp.

"That's not an animal, that's a bug," Sanzo was beyond annoyed.

Goku blinked and with an obvious look he replied, "bugs are animals." With that said, he proceeded to do the thing he came to do and exchanged the old flowers for new ones on the little base that was next to the lamp where the butterfly sat. The little orange butterfly then moved to stand on the fresh flowers Goku had brought. "I think the butterfly likes the flowers." There was a pause and then "ow! Why did you do that?" The harisen had unleashed its wrath again.

Sanzo walked off muttering something about a smarty pants baka saru and did not directly reply to Goku's question.

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Destination 25: Down the Drain

When Sanzo first heard the monks freaking out, because there was really no other term to better describe their reaction, he thought they were exaggerating. Yes, it was true that Goku could somehow manage to get himself into quite a lot of trouble and he often did, but it was also true that the temple monks were a bit sensitive sometimes. By the time Sanzo actually saw Goku covered in mud playing with a dog that was also covered in mud, he knew that this time the monks were not exaggerating about the mess the boy made.

A stream of colorful words and loud orders echoed throughout the temple, leaving several of the monks wide eyed and open mouthed, with their ears ringing. The stray dog squeaked like a mouse and ran away in fear of the great Sanzo-sama, while Goku proceeded to whine because his new pet was gone. Sanzo would have hit him with the almighty harisen, but he didn't want to dirty his precious paper fan. "Take a bath, now!"

At the mention of a bath, Goku got a look of pure fear reflected in his golden eyes and ran away as fast as he could, not in the direction of the bathroom, Sanzo noted. "Chibi saru!" He gave pursuit and followed the trail of muddy footprints to Goku's room. There, under the bed, the boy trembled in fear. "Chibi saru, go take a bath this instant!" If Gojyo saw him at that moment he would have made a comment about daddy Sanzo, which would have earned him a hit from the Harisen.

"I don't want to!" Goku replied from his place under the bed.

"You're dirty and you need to get cleaned up." It was a logical fact, but the boy apparently couldn't quite grasp it.

"I don't want to! I'm not going!" Goku stubbornly insisted.

"Fine," Sanzo left. Goku was quite surprised; Sanzo wasn't one to give up. But this time was no different, since he really didn't give up.

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Minutes later, Sanzo returned after having placed the sultra safely in his room, along with his white robes, he had also removed the sleeve-globe part of his clothes and wearing all black, he stood ready to capture Goku, even if he ended up covered in mud in the process. "This is your last chance to come out." Goku stayed hidden. He couldn't say he didn't get a warning.

Without further ado, Sanzo crawled under the bed to catch the chibi saru, who immediately crawled out and ran for dear life. The chase continued for several minutes and soon Sanzo realized that catching the chibi with speed alone was not possible. He had to outsmart him and he knew exactly how.

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After a while of running and hiding from Sanzo, Goku had lost track of him, but an appetizing scent reached him. He followed the scent of the delicious meat buns to a quiet spot under the peach tree. He hid behind the tree, not realizing that his shadow gave away his location, and observed Sanzo.

"M... these meat buns are very delicious," Sanzo began his act as soon as he saw the boy's shadow. Goku could be quite obvious sometimes. "There's so many of them, I don't think I can eat them all by myself. I wish that there was someone who wanted to sit here and eat with me."

"I'll be happy to join you Sanzo-sama," a monk who happened to be passing by spoke.

"Me too Sanzo-sama!" Another monk added. They wondered why the great Sanzo-sama was not wearing his full attire, but dared not question him.

"Get lost!" Sanzo growled and the two monks ran away.

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Gasping for breath and scared senseless at Sanzo's unexpected reaction, the two monks wondered what was going on. "I know!" One of them suddenly exclaimed in realization. "Sanzo-sama was testing us to see if we gave up into the temptation of wearing more comfortable clothing in this hot weather and sitting outside in the fresh air eating delicious food instead of doing our chores."

"You're right, it was a test to see if we were tempted and we failed. We must try harder for Sanzo-sama!"

"Yes, we must! He must have gone through the trouble of sitting at the peach tree eating just to teach us this lesson."

"We must show our appreciation and try harder to accomplish our duties." With renewed determination, the two monks continued working on their assigned daily tasks.

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A while after the monks were gone, Goku could not take it any longer and came out of hiding. "Goku, I've been wondering were you went. I wanted to tell you that if you really don't want to take a bath, you don't have to."

"Really Sanzo?" Goku smiled happily.

"Of course, would you like some meat buns? Just sit here and relax, have a nice snack." As soon as Goku let his guard down, Sanzo picked up the mud covered chibi and carried him off to the bathroom.

"Let go! Where are you taking me? I want to eat!" Goku complained.

"You're going to take a bath!" Sanzo firmly informed him.

"No!" Goku yelled, kicked, screamed, complained and made a big fuss, but Sanzo didn't let him go.

"Why are you so afraid of taking a bath? Last week you stayed in there for two hours, splashing around in the tub and making a mess," Sanzo didn't understand this.

"I don't want to go down the drain!" Goku complained, to which Sanzo blinked.

"You're afraid of going down the drain?" The blond asked and the chibi nodded. "You can't go down the drain; it's too small for you to fit in it."

"But the boy in the movie went down the drain and was trapped and starved in there!" Goku cried.

Sanzo shook his head. He didn't think too much about Goku watching those ancient scary movies, they were so old and obviously fake, that they weren't scary in the least. "It was just a movie. You're not going down the drain."

"But I saw it!" Goku insisted.

Sanzo plugged the tub and filled it with water. "I'll prove that you can't go down the drain, don't run away, just watch." Sanzo stepped into the tub, not even caring to roll up his pants since there were dirty with mud anyway.

"No! Don't do it!" Ignoring Goku’s warning, Sanzo pulled out the plug and the water began to be drained from the tub. "Sanzo! Quick give me your hand, I can still pull you out!"

Sanzo placed his foot on the drain and the water stopped. He didn’t go down the drain. "See? It's perfectly safe."

"But the movie, the boy, he went down the drain and was trapped down there and starved and... and… I saw!" Goku flailed.

"It was just a movie. It was fiction," Sanzo tried to explain. The chibi saru better get the point fast, because he was at the end of his patience, if he had any to begin with.

"What is fiction?" Goku asked.

"A story that isn't real. It's just for entertainment," Sanzo explained.

"I thought that movie was a warning. That wasn't entertaining, it was scary!" Goku complained.

"Are you going to take a bath now?" Sanzo asked.

"Are you sure it's safe?" Goku asked still a bit unsure.

"Chibi saru, it's safe, trust me," Sanzo assured.

Feeling much better, Goku nodded and smiled. "Okay!"

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"This brings back memories," the Merciful Goddess was watching as always. The entire situation reminded her of the days when Konzen was still a small child and she was often left with the task of taking care of him.

He too was afraid of going down the drain and refused to take a bath. Her solution was to surprise the golden haired chibi, drag him to the lilypad pond and throw him in so that he could at least have some form of bath.

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Destination 26: Rest in Peace

After a pleasant nap, Sanzo had woken up to the not so pleasant atmosphere of a panic. Monks were running around occasionally bumping into each other. Flowers were being collected, tears were being shed, and Goku was being criticized.

As Sanzo stepped out of his room, he overheard some monks talking. "Did you see that boy, bringing flowers with such happiness? He thinks this is all a game!"

"Terrible, horrible, that ingrate! After all Sanzo-sama did for him, the ungrateful brat can't even mourn his death."

Death? Who could they possibly be talking about? "What's going on?"

The monks slowly turned towards the sound of the voice. There they saw Sanzo. "Ghost!" Without giving Sanzo any explanation other than a scream of terror, they ran away.

Goku was happily running around outside, collecting flowers and putting them in a pile. "Sanzo! Why didn't you tell me you were having a funeral? This is fun; the monks are playing with me because it's your funeral! Hey Sanzo, what's a funeral?"

Eight words, eight little words caused a panic in the temple, eight words caused the monks to believe that Sanzo had died and returned as a ghost. Goku repeated things too literally and the monks did not take them literally enough.

While Goku innocently waited for his answer, and the monks prayed to help the 'ghost' pass on; Sanzo remembered his earlier words all too clearly. "Shut up and let me rest in peace."

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Destination 27: Howling Wind

"Sanzo! Sanzo! There's a wolf outside and it wants to get in and eat me!" The first time Sanzo heard Goku say this, he actually considered the possibility and cautiously went out to check it out. He did not find a wolf or any other animal that Goku could have mistaken for one.

The second time Sanzo heard Goku yelling about a wolf, he actually managed to control his temper and sit down to have a talk with the boy. "Don't lie, I already went outside and there was no wolf," and at the first sign of Goku about to whine, Sanzo told him a very briefly summarized version of a classic story. "Listen chibi saru; there was once a boy who lied about seeing a wolf trying to eat his sheep. Then, when there actually was a wolf trying to eat his sheep, no one believed him so the wolf ate all the sheep and-"

"But I don't have any sheep!" Goku interrupted.

"That's the point, if you keep lying the wolf will eat you instead," Sanzo finished.

Goku looked scared, "so there was a wolf and it does want to eat me!"

"That's not what I said," dealing with children was not Sanzo's specialty. "Forget about it, just get it into that empty little head that there are no wolves near the temple, now go to sleep."

Sanzo thought that would be the end of it, but he should have known better. "Sanzo! There's a dog outside and I think it's angry or in pain, I don't know!"

Sanzo had not seen any animals when he checked outside before, but dogs were certainly not as rare as a wolf would be, so there was a possibility that there could really be a dog. Once again, Sanzo ventured outside into the windy night, but did not find any animals near the temple, so he went back inside.

"Did you find it?" Goku innocently asked.

Sanzo did not look happy at all. He didn't most of the time, but now he looked truly angry. "I told you not to lie!"

"I'm not lying!" Goku's eyes watered because the one he admired the most didn't trust him even if he was sure to be telling the truth.

Seeing that the boy was about to cry, and that would prolong the time Sanzo had to stay awake trying to find silence, he tried to push down his temper and be patient with the child. "What exactly did you see outside? I didn't find any wolves or dogs out there."

"At first I thought it was a wolf, but then you said it wasn't so I thought it must have been a dog," Goku explained. "I didn't really see it, I only heard it." The wind chose that moment to blow with a loud howl, which surprised Goku and caused him to cling to Sanzo. "Did you hear it just now?"

Sanzo couldn't believe it, it had been the wind all along. "Baka saru, that's just the wind!"

Goku blinked, how could the wind be that noisy. "But it doesn't sound like the wind!"

"It is the wind, strong wind sometimes makes noises like that," Sanzo tried to make Goku understand.

"Are you sure?" Goku asked.

"Yes, I'm sure," Sanzo's patience was at its end.

Goku smiled, "Okay! I wouldn't believe the wind can be so noisy if anyone else told me, but I trust you!" It appeared that Goku's worries melted away, because if Sanzo said something, then it had to be true.

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Destination 28: Vegetables

Goku poked at the food with his fork, something was odd about the action. The boy was known for his active appetite, he ate anything that was placed before him on a plate, and had even sneaked into the kitchen in several occasions and eaten raw ingredients when he couldn't find something that did not require cooking.

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The Merciful Goddess, who made it her pastime to watch everything that went on with her nephew and his companions, observed Goku's actions and was reminded of a younger Konzen.

"Eat your vegetables Konzen, do it for aunty Mercy!" The goddess remembered all too clearly, that the golden haired boy did nothing more than throw the green food at her in response.

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"Is something wrong, Goku?" Hakkai asked in his characteristic gentle voice.

"I don't like vegetables," Goku frowned.

Hakkai stared into the distance in shock, but the smile never left his face. Gojyo pause mid chew, mouth half open, and stared. It was a huge shock to discover that there was food Goku didn't like.

Sanzo calmly put down his eating utensils, and took a long look at the vegetables in Goku's plate. Sanzo didn't like vegetables too much either, he sometimes ate them, thinking that a grown man shouldn't complain about eating his greens, but he still didn't like them. "You don't have to eat them if you don't want to."

"But I'm hungry!" Goku whined, and without wasting another moment he ate the vegetables, much to the amusement of his companions, and the eavesdropping goddess.

To be Continued

Destination 19 is for Sarah. The random item references were to Prince of Tennis (Ryoma's racket), Dragon Ball (orange ball), Samurai Pizza Cats (Guido's umbrella), Akko-chan's Secret (magic mirror), Tenchi Muyo (Ryoko's gem), Pokémon (pokéball) and Naruto (headband), none of which I own. Destination 20 is also for Sarah and it had a reference to Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta's pink shirt. Destination 22 is for Kenihiko. The name "Squee Elf" comes from what I said when I first saw Kougaiji. Destination 23 is in memory of my computer 'Chibi' who died of mother board failure, rest in peace. I named my new computer 'Zim', but that particular story was written on my old computer 'Aoshi' before Zim was finished. Destination 25 was partly based on a scene from Chapter 24 of Saiyuki.

Watching from Above: Journey IV

Destination 29: Water Sprite

Gojyo may have been called a water sprite in the past, but in that particular situation he was anything but. Cornered between a rapidly flowing wild river and more youkai than the links in the crescent blade's chain, Gojyo missed a step and fell in.

His companions had been busy with their own share of enemy youkai and it wasn't until they started to clear the battle field that they realized that one of their party members was missing.

Sanzo searched around for the missing kappa, yet the only trace of him found was a half smoked cigarette at the river's edge. "I thought I heard a splash," Hakkai commented.

Without another word, the little white flying dragon transformed into a jeep and carried the three passengers following the river. Hakuryu came to a screeching halt when they reached a waterfall. Fortunately it wasn't too tall so they managed to climb down the cliff.

The river continued to flow, extending into the distance after the small waterfall. There were a few rock formations there, but none were directly under the waterfall, so it wasn't likely that Gojyo hit them, but rather was carried towards them by the river, hence his current location stuck between two rocks.

No sooner had they spotted Gojyo, more youkai spotted them. They fought with haste and won, perhaps too much haste for the chi user. Seemingly out of breath from the battle, Hakkai sat at the river's edge looking towards Gojyo. It looked like he was holding on to the rocks but he wasn't moving. "Someone needs to save him." Though he said that, he was well aware that Gojyo didn't really need immediate rescuing and could get out of the river himself.

Goku looked back and forth between Sanzo and Hakkai for a few moments before it became obvious that neither was going to volunteer, "I'll go."

"Aren't you tired Goku? That fight really took it out of me." Hakkai emphasized his fatigue, which made it even more obvious that said fatigue had been faked from the beginning, Hakkai never got tired that easily.

Goku blinked in confusion but caught Hakkai's discrete nod. He shrugged and began his act with a yawn instead of panting. "I'm really tired, I need a break. I guess you'll have to save Gojyo." Goku wasn't sure why he was playing along, but Hakkai was the cook of their group and that gave him certain authority from Goku's perspective.

Grumbling something about "lazy bastards", Sanzo made his way towards Gojyo, hopping from one stone to another, not too gracefully. He shot a glare back at Hakkai and Goku as they both tried to look innocent and not laugh. Finally, Sanzo reached Gojyo and dragged him back to shore.

Once out of the river, Sanzo set Gojyo down on the ground and watched as his face twitched suppressing laughter. "Stupid water sprite, you could have gotten out of the river on your own!"

Gojyo sat up and grinned in amusement, "I just wanted to see if you'd save me."

Sanzo glared daggers at the other three, to Gojyo for his trick and to Hakkai and Goku for playing along. Then, wielding the fierce harisen, Sanzo vowed to make Gojyo wish he really did drown.

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 30: Paper Fan

"Come back here, Chibi Saru!" Konzen chased after the boy that had been entrusted to him all over the office.

"I'm sorry Konzen!" It felt like the golden eyed chibi was repeating those words for the millionth time since he got there.

Konzen's hair grew back rather quickly so he eventually forgave the boy for pulling some of it out by accident when they first met. Although he was still a bit sore from the incident that occurred when Goku tried to climb that tree, he also forgave him. The branch broke and although Konzen would never admit it, he was relieved that the child had fallen on him rather than on the ground. However, he certainly wished Tenpou and Kenren would stop congratulating him saying things like "nice catch, daddy!" That was just plain annoying.

However, one thing Konzen could not allow to pass was when Goku completely ignored what he was told. He had told the monkey time and again not to fold his important documents or draw pictures on the back. How was he supposed to stamp his seal and admire how the corners of the emblem were perfectly aligned with the corner of the paper if the paper was wrinkled? It was Konzen's shumi and the chibi saru better not ruin it!

Finally, Konzen cornered the boy and with his ever present 'sour look' he scolded, "I told you not to touch my documents!" He held a particularly important document that had been folded into a paper fan and used it to hit the boy on the head.

"I'm sorry Konzen!" Goku repeated.

"Don't do this again, ever!" Konzen said as angrily as he could yet, his little 'pet' always seemed to bring out his soft side no matter how much he tried to suppress it. Then there was the fact that after hitting him with the paper fan, he felt as if his stress was already stating to melt away.

"I won't do it again, I promise!" Goku gave a bright smile. The impact of the fan on his head wasn't too hard since the fan was quite small and Konzen appeared to be much calmer now than he looked before. Though Konzen's expression had hardly changed, Goku could tell the difference in just the smallest detail.

"Alright, go play or something, I'm busy working," Konzen stepped aside allowing the boy to leave the office.

"I'll bring you some nice flowers for your desk!" Goku dashed out. That was his plan to make it up to Konzen for the folded documents and thanking him for taking this a lot better than last time. He didn't know why things went that way. He was yet to make the connection between Konzen and the stress reliving powers of a paper fan and it would be along time before that connection was made.

Konzen returned to his desk and stretched out the document. He would have to get a paper fan to discipline the monkey when ever necessary. It was for his own good really, because he didn't want the boy to get into the kind of trouble that he couldn't get him out of. Besides, a paper fan wouldn't be too harsh and it helped relief stress. Little did he know that one event would lead to another and his plan to get the paper fan would be forgotten, or rather postponed for a long time.

"Konzen, look!" Goku had rushed back in and placed some flowers on the desk using an empty bottle of sake, which he probably obtained from Kenren, as a base. Konzen didn't mind as long as Kenren didn't let the chibi try the sake, but by the looks of it, Kenren was smart enough not to permit it. "It looks nice, right? Do you like them?"

"They're fine," Konzen replied. Why did the chibi saru had to be such a nice kid? "Go on and play now."

"Okay, see you later. Enjoy stamping papers!" Goku once again rushed out to play, as energetic as ever.

Konzen looked at the papers then at the door where Goku had just left. He got up and left the office. Maybe Kenren and Tenpou were right, relaxing once in a while and spending a little more time with the little guest would be a good idea. He delivered the unfinished documents to Kanzeon, some of them with lines that indicating they had been folded before. "I don't have time for this. Taking care of that monkey is too troublesome."

He tried to make it sound like the biggest drag, but the merciful goddess knew it was just his excuse to get out of work and go play with Goku, or at least sit under some tree and watch him jump around chasing the butterflies. "If you're that busy, I suppose someone else could do this. You're being a good dad." Konzen gave her a glare more piercing than his usual one, then left without saying a word, while Kanzeon only smiled with satisfaction.

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 31: White Weapon

Two youkai of unusual origins and a half youkai watched in amazement as a human chased after a group of youkai, beating them mercilessly with a paper fan. Of all the times Sanzo had been annoyed, this time was by far the scariest. This time he was truly angry. Goku shifted uncomfortably. "Hakkai," he spoke in a fearful whisper.

"It's alright, it'll all be alright." The man with emerald eyes tried to comfort him, but the golden eyed boy was frightened beyond belief. He was scared that Sanzo would never forgive him for his actions.

"Guys, I think we should keep our distance until he cools down," Gojyo suggested, though no creature in that world or in the world above, would be insane or masochistic enough to approach Sanzo in his current state of ultimate rage.

"Gojyo, are you afraid?" Hakkai asked with an almost amused tone, or as amused as one could sound with a mad man running around harshly beating youkai with a paper fan so close by.

"Don't be ridiculous. I'm not scared, but I'm not suicidal either," Gojyo clarified.

"It's my fault! It's my fault!" Goku cried.

While Hakkai tried to console the crying boy, Gojyo took a moment to become quite confused by the scene before him. "What do you mean it's your fault? What's going on?"

"It started this morning," Goku confessed.


It was early morning and everyone was awake except for Sanzo. No one had called him that morning, fearing that the foul mood he was in the previous night was still present. After eating a big breakfast, Hakkai decided that it was long overdue time to wake Sanzo, unless he was already up. "Goku, would you check if Sanzo is still sleeping?" Not wanting to disturb him, the three were eating in Gojyo's room, since it was the furthest from Sanzo's room at the inn.

"What if he gets mad at me?" Goku asked.

"Just check if he is awake and if he isn't, I'll come in and wake him up," Hakkai wouldn't risk Sanzo going all out with the harisen on Goku for waking him up, but if he happened to be awake already and sitting around reading a newspaper, Goku would be the best one to call him to breakfast. Though Sanzo hated interruptions from anyone, even if he might not show it, Goku interrupting him annoyed him the least. The chibi was adorable and sometimes not even Genjo Sanzo could overlook that fact.

"Right, I'll go have a look then," Goku made his way to Sanzo's room quietly, while taking small bites of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so it would last all the way there and back.

Goku quietly opened the door to Sanzo's room and found that he was still asleep. His gun had been left on the nightstand next to his bed. It was a rare sight, since Sanzo usually kept it hidden. Goku curiously peeked at Sanzo's sleeping form. As he leaned closer to try to hear what the blond was muttering in his sleep, the sticky peanut butter and jelly slipped out from between the two slices of bread and fell on the nightstand, or more precisely, on the gun that rested on top of it.

Sanzo slightly moved in his sleep, which made Goku jump back in surprise. He breathed relieved when he noticed that Sanzo was actually still sleeping. Then he saw it, the sticky peanut butter and jelly that had fallen on the gun. Surely Sanzo would be angry if he saw that. Goku knew he had to clean it up before Sanzo woke up or else he was in big trouble.

He swallowed his sandwich in one bite and grabbed Sanzo's gun. He quietly but quickly made his way back to Gojyo's, room where they had been eating breakfast, to request some advice in the best way of properly cleaning a revolver, so that it looked like it was never dirty in the first place. When Goku arrived Gojyo had already gone out, supposedly to take a walk and enjoy the fresh morning air. However, Hakkai knew he was out looking for women to flirt with.

"Hakkai, Hakkai, I need your help!" Goku looked like it was very important. He held out the sticky gun, while running on the same spot. "I got Sanzo's gun dirty by accident and he'll be mad if he sees it! I need to clean it before he wakes up! What do I do? What do I do?"

"Calm down, Goku. It's not so bad, I'm sure we can clean it," Hakkai's usual content smile didn't waver.

"Let's clean it quick!" Goku urged.

A few minutes later, the revolver was clean and shiny. Goku then had the mission to return it to Sanzo's room without waking him. However, he wasn't even halfway down the hall when he heard an angry voice yelling. "Where is it?" In the rush of the moment, Goku hid the gun in his clothes and stood there, still as a statue, as Sanzo walked over to him. "Have you seen my gun?" The boy could only shake his head 'no' in response. Sanzo looked very angry with a glare that could kill, perhaps even faster than the gun he lost.

End of Flashback

"Sanzo's been in a bad mood all day because of me. I've been trying to return the gun but every time he kept saying stuff like 'if I find out who took my gun I'll kill them' and I was scared," Goku explained.

"Stupid monkey, he's not going to kill you," Gojyo shook his head hopelessly, if only the revolver had been returned sooner, then he wouldn't have had to suffer the wrath of harisen more often than usual.

"Of course not," Hakkai agreed. "If you simply explain what happened and apologize, everything will be okay. So far I have been allowing you to take your time because I think that this is something you must face on your own free will. However, I must say that it is most imperative that you apologize right away and return the gun to Sanzo."

"Yeah, do it before he runs out of youkai and starts picking on us again," Gojyo urged.

"Mercy! Mercy!" As the cries were heard, the three turned their attention to the battle once again. The youkai were beaten and bloody and the harisen was stained in red, but Sanzo did not stop. The harisen had given a new meaning to the words 'paper cut'. Those over sized paper cuts caused and lengthened by the constant impact of the harisen certainly looked painful, as if they had been made by a large sword.

"I don't believe this, they're actually begging for mercy now!" Gojyo was in disbelief. The youkai were not experiencing the sudden and fast death that a bullet provided. They were experiencing true pain that felt like it would never end and brainwashed or not, it was too much.

"I almost feel sorry for them. Goku, please return the gun to Sanzo right way and allow him to put those poor creatures out of their misery," Hakkai urged.

Goku gulped and nodded. The more he waited, the worse it would get. He walked over to the infuriated Sanzo and stood behind him holding the gun for him to take. "Sanzo please stop." Though Sanzo did not stop nor turn to look at him, Goku continued speaking. "This morning when I was checking to see if you were awake, I spilled peanut butter and jelly on your gun, so I took it to clean it." Sanzo paused and Goku continued. "I was going to return it, but you woke up and you were so angry I was scared, so I waited. But then you just got angrier. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry I caused so much trouble for you Sanzo!"

Sanzo turned around and shook the harisen in the air. The blood from the youkai fell off the fan and sunk into the ground. The paper fan was left a pure white as if it hadn't been stained in the first place. Perhaps that fan was more special than Sanzo let on. Once the fan was clean, Sanzo hid it in his sleeve and took the gun from Goku's hands. He turned to point it at the youkai but realized they were gone. They didn't go too far, as Sanzo could see them dragging their pained bodies just up ahead and he could clearly hear they're morbid complains. 'Bang! Bang! Bang!' they were put out of their misery. Sanzo hid his gun in his other sleeve and directed a glare at Goku, who was staring at the ground.

Feeling Sanzo's glare on him, Goku looked up with teary eyes. "I'm sorry Sanzo!"

Perhaps Sanzo scared the chibi more than he intended to with his explosive temper. Maybe what really scared him was witnessing what the harisen could really do. Possibly, the little monkey was wondering if he would end up like those youkai the next time the harisen visited him.

"Stupid monkey, don't cry," Sanzo lifted his hand, Goku expected a hit on the head but Sanzo's hand landed gently on the boy's head and messed up his hair. "Don't do this again, ever."

Goku stared wide eyed then blinked twice. "Huh? You're not mad at me?"

"Of course I'm mad at you and if you do it again, I'll kill you," Sanzo growled, though his tone didn't sound as angry as Goku expected. In fact, it sounded calmer than usual. Gojyo, Hakkai and Goku were used to Sanzo's death threats by now. They all recognized the slight change in his tone. When he said such things to a youkai enemy, there was a certainty to it that was clearly absent when he said it to his traveling companions. "That was... a good stress reliever," Sanzo admitted in a nearly inaudible voice. Goku knew right away he had been forgiven and he couldn't help it but to hug Sanzo in thanks. "Stop that chibi saru! Let go!"

Hakkai smiled a genuine smile and Gojyo grinned in amusement. "He's more of a softie than he'll ever admit," the red haired water sprite commented.

"That's true, but to say that to his face would be suicide," Hakkai agreed.

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 32: Elegant Lady

'The lady had an aura of pure white around her. Her complexion was fair and somewhat pale, but beautiful. Always dressed in white, the lady was very elegant. Her hair was an endless field of snow, though she was of a young age. Not a single wrinkle or imperfection could be seen in the lady's flawless skin. The lady was always with her husband, a man of golden hair and eyes the color of rare amethysts. Hidden in his shadow, she only made her presence known when he called.'

'The lady's husband had two best friends and companions, who were like brothers to him. Today those two men were visiting and the lady was called greet them. She politely but shyly glanced at one of them, offering her quiet greeting while keeping her distance. The man with the emerald eyes, a true gentleman, greeted the lady politely as well, making no effort to approach her. The lady then gently ruffled the hair of her child, an energetic little boy with eyes that matched the color of his father's hair.'

'Her next action would have been surprising, had anyone seen it but the gentleman with the emerald eyes was speaking to the man with golden hair and the young boy whose eyes matched the color of his father's hair was distracted by the banquet that the mansion's servants were setting up at the adjacent dinning room.'

'Even if her beloved had seen it, he probably wouldn't have thought much of it, for he trusted his companions with his life. The lady had a look of longing in her eyes as she extended her hand and caressed the ruby haired man's face. He gently took her hand and placed a light kiss on it before letting her go. She was his forbidden love, a married woman who had a son and she was married to his comrade, no less.'

'Though it seemed that the gentleman with the emerald eyes was absorbed in the conversation and didn't notice, in truth he saw. He saw the way his comrade's lady looked at the ruby haired man. What would he do? To speak of it would be to betray one of his dear friends, but to remain silent would be to betray the other. He decided to speak to the lady himself and tell her that she should not toy with those two men's hearts. He was determined to save their friendship, honor, and her marriage.'

xoxox xox xoxox

"Stop making up crazy stories about my paper fan and take our order before the monkey eats the table cloth!" Sanzo half yelled, half growled in annoyance.

The waitress jumped in surprise as a red tint appeared on her face. "Sorry! I just got really inspired to write all of a sudden." She turned the pages in her little notebook, which had more stories than orders, until she found a blank page. "Sorry about the delay, I will take your order now."

"You're just jealous because lady Harisen likes me best," Gojyo teased.

"Then why don't you have an affair with her?" Sanzo whipped out his loyal paper fan and soon harisen's strength was once again experience by Gojyo.

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 33: Goldfish

"So you're saying that I can't catch enough fish to feed the chibi saru?" Gojyo was somewhat disappointed that Hakkai would doubt his fishing abilities.

"It's not that I don't believe you're a good fisherman, but rather that no one could catch enough fish to satisfy Goku's appetite. You should not say things like that to get his hopes up." Hakkai smiled politely as he always did, but he knew deep down that what his innocent advice triggered could not be stopped.

Fishing was one of Gojyo's favorite hobbies other than smoking, gambling and flirting. He remembered the first time he held a fishing rod when he was a kid. His brother had offered to teach him how to fish, but Gojyo didn't need a lot of help. "You're a natural at catching fish. It's almost as if you've been practicing for a lifetime." Little Gojyo had gotten a strong sense of deja vu when his brother told him that all those years ago.

Hakkai sighed, "you're still going to brag about how many fish you can catch, aren't you?"

"Of course, I'm taking the chibi saru fishing, he'll do nothing but speak of how cool I am afterwards and it'll annoy Sanzo to no end!" The half youkai smiled in amusement, picturing the image of a Sanzo who had to put up with a chibi saru constantly retelling the story of Gojyo, the greatest fisherman ever.

"That's a little mean, isn't it?" Hakkai responded.

"But a lot of fun," Gojyo's mind was made up; tomorrow he would take Goku fishing.

xoxox xox xoxox

The next day, when the kappa showed up at the temple, carrying fishing poles and supplies, Sanzo knew it was too good to be true that he had offered to take the monkey fishing for a day. Surely there was some sort of catch to it that would benefit the kappa one way or another, yet Sanzo couldn't figure out what it was. None the less, some peace and quiet would be very welcomed, so without a second thought, Sanzo told Goku he could go. Of course the chibi wanted him to come along as well, but Sanzo refused.

After plenty of walking, Gojyo and Goku arrived at a good fishing spot in a river. Gojyo began to set up the equipment and teach Goku how to use a fishing rod. The chibi was of course very eager to catch plenty of fish and roast them to have a feast, but that changed when he saw the bait. "Fish, little fish."

"Usually people use worms to fish with, but they didn't have any at the shop and I'm not about to go digging around looking for them, so these goldfish will have to do," Gojyo explained.

Goku stared at the little goldfish swimming around the bowl. They were so small and cute and they were golden, golden like the sun, golden like Sanzo's hair. "We can't hurt them!"

Gojyo stared at Goku, it seemed he had developed a soft stop for the bait, that couldn't be good. "Don't you want to watch me catch lots of big fish so we can roast them and eat them?"

"Not if the little golden fishies get eaten!" Before Gojyo could stop him, Goku grabbed the bowl and ran. "Go fishies, be free!"

"My bait!" It was too late for Gojyo, because Goku had already thrown the fishbowl into the river. The chibi probably wouldn't understand if he tried to explain that those tiny goldfish couldn't survive in the river anyway, but he couldn't bring himself to break Goku's heart like that. The kappa sighed in frustration and retrieved the almost empty fishbowl which had been carried into a shallow area of the river. "There's only one left."

Before Gojyo could say anything else, Goku snatched the bowl. "Don't hurt him!" He hugged the fishbowl so tightly, that it was a good thing it was plastic, because glass would have shattered.

"Fine, keep the fish, our fishing trip is cancelled, no more roasted fish banquet!" This had not gone how Gojyo wanted it to.

"If it's big fish I'll eat them, but the little golden ones are cute, I don't want to hurt them and this one looks like Sanzo!" Gold, that color had a special meaning, the color of the sun and the color of Sanzo's hair. It was also the color of his eyes, a color that caused so much so long ago. With the cutest sad monkey face, Goku then asked, "are you mad at me?"

"Forget it saru." Gojyo couldn't help it but to be amused when Goku said the fish looked like Sanzo. "Why don't you keep that fish as a pet, I think it looks like Sanzo too, maybe you should name him that." Certainly the golden haired priest would not be too happy with a fish that carried his name. It would seem that Gojyo achieved part of his goal after all. It wasn't that he particularly had anything against Sanzo, but rather that it was as fun to annoy him as it was dangerous, and it was very dangerous.

"Thank you Gojyo!" Goku happily exclaimed. "Hear that Sanzo? You're my new pet and I'll take good care of you!"

xoxox xox xoxox

When Gojyo and Goku arrived back at Gojyo's house, Hakkai knew something must have gone differently from Gojyo's plans because they were back so early. Goku was quick to tell the story and happily informed Hakkai that he had a new pet. "A pet goldfish, named Sanzo? That's sweet. You'll need some fish food for it and maybe getting a better bowl would be good too," Hakkai suggested.

"Can we go get it? Can we?" Goku bounced up and down; the chibi was as hyper as every day.

"Alright, I'll help you get some supplies for the fish. Meanwhile Gojyo can roast the fish I bought." Hakkai's smile seemed to say 'I told you so' as he was already prepared with store bought fish.

Gojyo stared, how in the world did he know something would go wrong? Hakkai was quite the mystery sometimes. "I guess we'll have fish after all."

xoxox xox xoxox

After getting plenty of supplies for the fish, Goku and Hakkai returned. Of course the chibi wanted Sanzo to be there too, so they could all eat together. Hakkai agreed and Gojyo wanted to see Sanzo's expression when he learned of the fish's name, so he agreed as well. Though he didn't say it, Hakkai was rather curious to Sanzo's his reaction as well.

Soon they arrived at the temple with their fish lunch. Sanzo hit Goku on the head with his paper fan for naming a goldfish after him and hit Gojyo harder for laughing, but other than that things went about normally. They enjoyed their lunch and later, Gojyo and Hakkai went back home, leaving Goku to talk to his fish which annoyed Sanzo to no end.

"But if I don't talk to him, he'll get bored swimming around in his fishbowl all the time." Sanzo knew that Goku probably wouldn't understand that goldfish have extremely short memories. By the time the fish got to know his environment, his memory would slip away and the bowl would always feel like a new place for it. Gojyo would pay for this.

xoxox xox xoxox

The days passed by slowly for Sanzo, as Goku continued talking to the fish every day. It would be no problem if he did it in his room, but the chibi insisted on going to his work office and bringing the fish along. He would then sit in a corner, start his childish chatter and he simply wouldn't shut up. However, for the monks that fish was a blessing that kept Goku busy and prevented him from getting into too much trouble.

Then a tragedy occurred. Those little goldfish, cute as they were, didn't live very long. That was a fact that most people knew, but Goku did not understand. "Sanzo! Sanzo! Something's wrong with Sanzo!" Even the monks heard Goku and started to panic because there was something wrong with Sanzo-sama, or so they thought.

The panicked monks nearly ran over Sanzo in a stampede towards his room to see what was going on. They soon realized who they had carelessly pushed out of the way in their moment of ultimate worry and rushed back to see if he was alright. "Sanzo-sama! Sanzo-sama!"

Sanzo's temper boiled. It was always like that, 'Sanzo-sama I have a problem', 'Sanzo-sama I need your help', 'Save us Sanzo-sama!' Sanzo-sama this, Sanzo-sama that, a day didn't pass in which no one whined at him. "Shut up!"

"But we're worried about your health!" One of the monks said.

"Yes, we heard that boy you brought saying there was something wrong!" Another monk added.

As if on cue, Goku's voice was heard again. "Sanzo! Come quick! There's something wrong with Sanzo!"

The monks did not look happy. "He was lying!"

"Continue with whatever you were doing, I'll handle this." With that said, Sanzo went to Goku's room while the monks discussed the recent happenings, instead of continuing with their duties as they should. Gossip was one of the few entertainments they had at the temple.

xoxox xox xoxox

As Sanzo approached, Goku rushed to the door without realizing Sanzo was at the other side. He didn't want to move the fishbowl in case fish-Sanzo's condition was too delicate and he didn't want to leave his side, but human-Sanzo had not yet arrived despite his constant calling. He would have to go get him, or at least try to call louder.

Goku opened the door at the worse time possible and hit Sanzo with it. With a hand on his face Sanzo stumbled backwards only to have Goku pop out of the room and scream at the top of his lugs. "SANZO!" The golden haired man's ears would be ringing for quite some time.

"Sanzo, you're here! Come quick, there's something wrong with Sanzo!" Before the human had time to recover, the chibi pulled him into the room and practically dragged him over to the table were the fishbowl was. "Look!" Goku pointed a worried finger at the unmoving goldfish. "He's not swimming around or anything, he's just floating there and smells like... like..." Goku paused, saying the last part in a whisper, "like he's dead."

Sanzo wanted to hit Goku with his paper fan until the chibi was reduced to dust, or both his arms fell off from all the exercise. He hit him with the door, though it was an accident, and yelled at him, though that was also unintentional, and Sanzo's temper was at a whole new level. Then he saw the boy's golden eyes began to water and he settled for hitting him with harisen only a few times, then running off with the fishbowl. "Stay there, I'll solve this."

"Sanzo, where are you taking Sanzo? To the fish hospital?" Goku asked. "Why can't I come?"

"Stay there!" Sanzo yelled.

xoxox xox xoxox

The temple monks had finally returned to their duties, but they all paused when they saw Sanzo-sama run out of the temple like a madman, carrying a bowl. It all happened so fast that they didn't even notice the dead fish, but they did caught a glimpse at what appeared to be water in the clear bowl. What did it mean?

"Did you see that?" One of the monks asked.

"Yes, what does it mean?" Another monk inquired.

All the temple monks decided to put their bald heads together and try to figure out what this was about. Finally one of them had an idea. "I think we should all fill bowls with water and run with them just like Sanzo-sama did, then maybe we'll be enlightened!" The other monks nodded in agreement and the plan was carried out.

While Goku paced around in his room in circles so much that by the time Sanzo returned he would leave marks on the floor in his path, the monks were very busy. They had filled bowls with water and started running with them. They realized that the faster they ran, the more water they spilled. Sanzo-sama however, had not spilled any water, even if he was running very fast. They thought about it, analyzing every detail. "We need to run fast without spilling the water," a monk said.

The others nodded in agreement and another added, "it takes great skill, maybe it's something to measure our level."

They thought about that statement. "Because Sanzo-sama is so skilled, he can run very fast without wasting a single drop of water." It made sense to them.

With renewed determination, the monks continued their training. As they ran around with the bowls of water, one paused and spoke, "I think I know what this is about!"

The others gasped and stared at their fellow monk. "What is it? What did you discover?"

"Running is an action, we must take action, but if we do not take action with enough care, act too hastily or attempt to take on more than we can handle, there will be a loss. That's the water, what we need to accomplish. The loss might be big or small but the goal is to improve until there is no loss, until we know how to handle the situations of life," the monk explained.

The others started talking among themselves for a few moments and then silence came, until one of them spoke to the one who had made the discovery. "I agree; it makes perfect sense. That must be what Sanzo-sama was trying to teach us. Before facing a situation, we must be prepared and when facing that situation, we must try our best and be careful."

The monks cheered happily because they had figured out Sanzo-sama's teachings. He was certainly a brilliant man.

xoxox xox xoxox

Meanwhile, Sanzo had run all the way to Gojyo and Hakkai's house and presented them with his dilemma. "We should, give him a proper burial at sea," Hakkai suggested.

"Right, let's go to the bathroom then," Gojyo agreed.

"Honestly Gojyo, you need to have more respect for the dead," Hakkai argued.

Gojyo shrugged, "he'll get to the sea eventually."

"That's not the point!" Sanzo insisted. "This is the chibi saru's fish and he won't shut up about it. It's your fault for giving him something so fragile in the first place!" Something so fragile and delicate, something that could so easily slip away from the world of the living, something that needed protection, yet couldn't be protected. Goku had devoted himself to that fish, but even then, the fish inevitably died.

"I didn't give him the fish, I was going to use it as bait!" Gojyo argued, though Sanzo's deadly glare told him not to dispute any further and the harisen reaffirmed that point.

"I suppose we should invite Goku to the funeral, since it was his fish," Hakkai pointed out.

"I have a feeling that if we do, that he'll plug up the bathroom throwing flowers in it," Gojyo warned.

"I'll just bring him over here and you two will explain this, that way you'll be the ones to deal with his reaction," Sanzo decided. Hakkai and Gojyo looked at him a bit surprised.

"Such a softie," Gojyo commented, he was walking on dangerous grounds.

"What do you mean by that?" Without giving the water sprite a chance to reply, Sanzo hit him with the harisen again.

"Ow! I haven't even told you what I meant!" Gojyo complained.

"It seems that informing Goku about this is not an easy task," Hakkai stated, in the most neutral way possible. "Even so, it must be done. Very well then, bring Goku here and we'll tell him together. Don't worry, he'll be alright."

"I'm not worried," Sanzo snapped. "It's just that... You'll see for yourselves." Leaving an air of uncertainty and a dead fish at Gojyo's house, Sanzo returned to the temple.

xoxox xox xoxox

On the way to the temple, Sanzo got an idea and took a stop at a certain shop. He was avoiding the problem and that made him angry at himself. He had bought a new goldfish for Goku and now carried it in an identical fishbowl to the last. Eventually he, or rather Hakkai and Gojyo, would have to face the problem, but for now if, he could keep switching the fish when they died... No, that was running away from the problem and Genjo Sanzo did not run away from anything or anyone! Well, just this once since he already bought the fish...

When Sanzo arrived at the temple, he saw the monks running around with bowls of water. It didn't look like they were trying to transport the water anywhere, they were just running with it. When they saw him they stopped and surrounded him. "Sanzo-sama! Share your infinite wisdom with us, Sanzo-sama!" Sanzo backed away slowly and the monks approached. "Sanzo-sama! Sanzo-sama!" Honestly, sometimes they were like fan girls, bald male fan girls.

"Shut up!" Sanzo yelled.

The monks looked thoughtful, then their faces brightened. "Yes, Sanzo-sama!" The monks sat on the ground meditating, assuming that 'shut up' meant 'quietly reflect on what you have learned'. They were certainly happy that they were beginning to understand Sanzo-sama better. The fact that he didn't say those things directly was part of his greatness and their training. To become wise like Sanzo-sama they had to learn to interpret his words.

Sanzo didn't know what was going on with the monks, but he took the opportunity to get away. He found Goku pacing around his room and noticed the marks on the floor. "Sanzo! Where's Sanzo?" The chibi practically tackled him and pulled the harisen out of his sleeve in search of his precious goldfish.

"Baka saru!" Sanzo snatched harisen back and hit him with it. "What makes you think I would hide a fish in my robe?"

"Well you're not carrying him and you keep your paper fan in there," Goku pointed out.

"Here," Sanzo handed Goku the fish bowl. How could the chibi miss it? "There's your fish, how you managed to not see it, I'll never know."

"I saw this fish, but this isn't Sanzo," Goku replied.

Sanzo blinked, it was a goldfish like any other, how in the world was Goku able to tell the difference? "It's your fish," Sanzo insisted.

Goku shook his head. "This isn't Sanzo! Where's Sanzo? I want my Sanzo!" His eyes started to water again. How could he tell that wasn't the same fish?

"What makes you so sure that's not San-your fish?" Sanzo mentally kicked himself for almost calling the fish by his name.

"This one is a little smaller, younger, looks less annoyed, swims slower, and smells different," Goku listed all the differences.

Sanzo didn't expect him to be that specific. "Let's go," it was inevitable, he would have to hear the truth.

"Are we going to get Sanzo?" Goku looked hopeful. Maybe it was all just a mistake, maybe Sanzo was safely back at the fish hospital. He had to be alright!

"Yes, we're going to get your fish," Sanzo replied to keep the boy quiet along the way to Gojyo's house.

xoxox xox xoxox

When Sanzo and Goku arrived in front of Gojyo's house, the first thing Goku did was ask, "how come we're not in the fish hospital?" The second was to notice a certain scent, "that smells good! Let's eat after we pick Sanzo up from the hospital!"

This was it, no more stalling, "There is no such a thing as a fish hospital," Sanzo confessed.

"Then were did you take Sanzo?" Goku sounded more worried.

"Let's go inside and Hakkai and Gojyo will explain everything," Sanzo went in and followed.

"Sanzo, Goku, don't you guys knock anymore?" Gojyo had a cheerful smile, obviously forced.

"Where's Sanzo?" Goku asked.

At first Gojyo was confused. "Isn't that Sanzo standing right next to you?"

"I mean fish Sanzo," Goku clarified.

Gojyo noticed that the boy with the golden eyes was holding a fishbowl containing a fish, which was very much alive. "Oh, right you mean Sanzo the fish. He's right there in the fishbowl."

"This isn't Sanzo! I don't know who this is, but he's not Sanzo!" Goku yelled. He was tired of people telling him that stranger was Sanzo. He wanted his goldfish back.

"Are you hungry, Goku? Want some food?" Gojyo tried to change the subject, but the chibi's reaction was not what he was hoping for.

"First I want to find Sanzo, then I'll eat. Sanzo must be feeling lonely and scared. He must think I abandoned him. Please tell me where he is." Goku's eyes were watering again. To see that gold drowned in tears was simply heart breaking.

"Hakkai went to pick him up," Gojyo couldn't break the news to Goku. When Sanzo first came with the problem, he thought he would be able to tell the boy the truth, even if Sanzo couldn't, but he was wrong, he too cared for Goku and didn't want the chibi to be sad.

Goku smiled relieved. "He'll be back soon, right? Let's eat while we wait for him!" Goku looked at the fish who wasn't Sanzo. "What about this fish?"

Gojyo looked at Sanzo. If he couldn't convince Goku that fish was his original goldfish, maybe it was no use that Hakkai went to get a new fish. "You can keep it, that one doesn't have anyone else to take care of it," Sanzo regretted his reply, he would eventually have another dead fish to deal with.

"Really? Now I have two fish friends!" Goku smiled brightly, it was really a pity that he would soon have to face the bad news about Sanzo the fish. "Hey little guy, sorry I wasn't very nice to you at first. I have another fish named Sanzo and he got sick, I was really worried. He had to be taken to the fish hospital, but Hakkai is bringing him back. I'm sure you two will be good friends. This human is called Sanzo too, he has golden hair and Sanzo the fish is golden too, just like you!"

"I'm back!" Hakkai's voice was heard. Goku bolted from his seat, regardless of the fact that Gojyo was serving the food, and ran towards Hakkai. "Did you bring Sanzo back?" He looked at the fishbowl Hakkai held. There were three goldfish swimming in it.

Goku looked so hopeful. Telling him what happened would not be easy. "Yes, he's right here," Hakkai gave him the fishbowl and pointed at one of the fish.

"That's not Sanzo," Goku replied.

"Oh, you're right, it's this one," Hakkai pointed at another fish.

"That's not Sanzo either," Goku's eyes began to water again.

"This one?" Hakkai pointed at the last fish.

"That one is a girl," Goku spoke as if it was the most obvious thing.

"Let's put the fish over here." Hakkai placed the bowl next to the smaller one containing the fish Sanzo had bought. "Sit down, we need to talk about this."

Goku had a bad feeling about Hakkai's sad tone. "Hakkai, please tell me, where's Sanzo?"

Hakkai opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came out. Goku looked so sad it broke his heart. Green eyes searched for support around the room, but it looked like Gojyo and the human Sanzo were also at a loss for words.

"What is it?" Goku urged.

The room was filled with silence and the food started to get cold. Who knows what in the world that dish was supposed to be, after all, Gojyo's idea of cooking was throwing a bunch of random edible things into a pot and that's it, but they didn't always remain edible at the end of the process.

After a long moment of silence, Goku continued. "He's dead isn't he? He was already dead when I saw him. He died..." After being so close to crying so many times before, this time he couldn't stop the tears. This time he knew for sure that what he feared was true. "I'm terrible with animals; I couldn't save Sanzo! I couldn't protect him, I couldn't-"

"Shut up!" Sanzo hit him on the head with his paper fan. The 'I couldn't protect him' angst was his and it was not to be said directed towards a fish. "Sanzo died because he was old," it was the first time the blond addressed the fish by his name, rather than calling it 'your fish'. "In goldfish years, he was very old. He lived a long and happy life, then died peacefully, it's not your fault. Sanzo died a happy fish, so don't be sad." The human couldn't believe he was saying this, it was just a fish for crying out loud, yet to Goku, it was a friend.

Goku sniffled and remained quiet for a moment then asked. "What happened to the body?"

Hakkai gave Gojyo a nod and he understood. Seconds later he returned with the dead fish.

"Sanzo, may you rest in peace... I guess we should bury him," Goku concluded. There were no jokes about a burial at sea this time, as a solemn atmosphere settled in and the untouched food continued to get colder.

xoxox xox xoxox

The burial took place in Gojyo's backyard. The kappa was also assigned with the task of digging the hole, which thankfully didn't need to be too big. Hakkai practically turned the house upside down searching for an appropriate little box to put the fish in and Goku had given Sanzo the task of finding some flowers, while he prepared the grave. They each did their part.

Goku put the dead fish in the box and gently placed it in the hole on the ground. A stone had been place in front of it with 'RIP Sanzo' written on it in gold marker, that was the work of Goku. The tomb stone was also decorated with golden glitter, a rather elegant grave compared to what one would expect for a fish.

Gojyo covered the hole and set aside the shovel to join the others in their moment of silence. Then they each placed a flower on the grave and said a few words for the fish. After much nagging from Goku, Sanzo finally agreed to recite some mantras, but he specified just like before, that he did not pray for the dead.

xoxox xox xoxox

After the burial ended, they all went inside the house, reheated the food and ate, with Goku of course being the one who ate the most.

When the meal was over, it was time for Goku to pick names for the new fish. "I'll name this one Sanzo Jr., that one is Hakkai, that one is Gojyo and the girl is..." Goku pointed at each fish as he named them. The others didn't understand how he could tell them apart so easily. Goku didn't know any girls to name the female fish after, so he concentrated and tried hard to think of a name, then a name just came to him. "Her name is Kanzeon!" He wasn't sure where the name came from, but he thought it was a good name.

xoxox xox xoxox

High above, the Merciful Goddess, Kanzeon Bosatsu, was watching. "Aw how sweet, he named one after me! These guys make me laugh, cry, and always surprise me. This is a lot better than those boring soap operas I used to watch. They're still protective of the boy, just like in the past. I guess that no matter what happens, there are some things you can always count on."

To be Continued

Watching from Above: Journey V

Destination 34: An Afternoon at Heaven's Pool

"What the..." Konzen looked horrified. He had a bad feeling about this. There was a large pile of lily pads blocking his path and that was not a good sign. In fact, the entire atmosphere reeked of foreboding. The aquatic flowers looked as if they had been recently moved from their usual place in the Merciful Goddess' pool. They were still dripping the crystalline liquid that could reflect the events from the world below. To say the least, Konzen was confused.

He rounded the pile of lily pads without stepping on any of them and got a clear view of the pool where they once floated not too long ago. The previous day, Goku had asked the Merciful Goddess for permission to swim in her pool, which she granted looking quite amused. The chibi jumped in fully clothed and attempted to convince Konzen to join him, but the blond did not give in. Today, Goku had apparently gotten swim shorts similar to the ones worn by Kenren and Tenpou, who were also in the pool.


"Goku, why are you all wet?" Tenpou asked.

"I was swimming! Auntie let me swim in her flower pool but Konzen wouldn't come swim with me." This was spoken by Goku with the most adorable pouty face.

"In those clothes?" Tenpou stated more than asked, as it was rather obvious.

"What's wrong with that, Ten-chan?" Goku's golden eyes were shining with curiosity.

Kenren arrived at that very moment to find the wet chibi talking to the marshal and asking questions. The topic of the beach soon came up and Kenren went into a long speech about the ocean of the world below. That was not a good idea, the chibi got curious and the only way to stop him from attempting to visit the beach below, was to distract him so he would forget about it. Food, of course, was the obvious choice. However, after the boy ate his meal, more questions came.

"You know what? A pool is even more fun than the beach," Tenpou felt bad for half lying, but it would all depend really. Besides, they had a pool in the vicinity, a lot closer than the nearest beach and it was all said for his own good. If the Merciful Goddess had allowed the boy to swim in her pool before, then maybe she wouldn't mind if he did it again.

"I could use a little refreshing myself," Kenren agreed.

That triggered Goku to suggest that they all went swimming together. One thing led to another and the next thing they knew, they were digging around Tenpou's apartment, attempting to find his missing swimming trunks.

"I can't believe we're doing this," Kenren paused and corrected himself, "I can't believe I'm doing this."

While Kenren and Tenpou turned the already messy apartment upside down in their search, Goku was enchanted by the wonderful world of popsicles. He had discovered the icy treats while searching in Tenpou's refrigerator. He didn't find any clothes in there but he did find a shoe that had been misplaced who knows how long ago.

"Can't you just buy something new to wear?" Kenren asked.

Tenpou gave the suggestion some thought. "That does sound like the best solution, doesn't it?"

Kenren slapped his forehead, all that work and they could have gone to the store in the first place. The trip to the store let them to buy, not only proper pool wear, but also a floating chair that Tenpou insisted on purchasing and a gigantic beach ball Goku wanted.

The highlight of their trip to the store was picking something for Konzen to wear. Goku had concluded that maybe the reason why he didn't join the fun and jump in the pool was because he knew that people were not supposed to swim in their normal clothes, as Ten-chan explained, but didn't have anything to wear that was appropriate for the activity of swimming.

"How about this?" Tenpou asked holding out a simple article of the swim suit variety.

"Nah, how's this?" Kenren picked another much smaller one.

"Konzen would never wear that," Tenpou accurately stated.

"Not for him, for me" Kenren clarified. Tenpou's insistent shaking of the head was answer enough and the general placed the tiny article of clothing back in its place.

"That!" Goku suddenly exclaimed as he pointed at a very peculiar pair of shorts. "It's perfect! Konzen will love it! He'll wear it for sure!"

The boy was certainly hyper and looking forward to their day at the pool together, they couldn't crush his hopes. The two men could only nod their heads in agreement and suppress their laughter. After all, out of all of them Goku, spent the most time with Konzen so logically, he knew him best. Who were they to question the boy's choice?

End Flashback

"What is this, a public pool?" Konzen held an air of foreign indignation. Tenpou floated around in an inflated chair, reading a book while relaxing in the pool. Goku was too energetic to simply relax, so he was currently splashing around and tossing an oversized beach ball at Kenren who caught it and tossed it back every time.

"Get out of there before Kanzeon sees you!" Konzen was sure that if the Merciful Goddess saw what they did to her precious lily pads she would not be merciful anymore. Yet, his warning was ignored.

In front of the pool there was a tower constructed with Tenpou's many books. The books were arranged as stairs, turning the tower into a very convenient improvised high dive. "What was it called again?"

The familiar female voice caught Konzen's attention and he followed the other's gazes to the top of the book tower. There stood the Merciful Goddess in a bikini. "Cannon ball!" Goku replied.

"Right, cannon ball!" As soon as the words left her mouth, it was a mad swim to get out of the way for Goku, Kenren and Tenpou. Luckily she paused and waited for them to clear the area before jumping in with a splash worthy of a Goddess.

Konzen jumped and backed away in alarm as the splash drenched him from head to toe. "You did that on purpose! No normal splash is that big!"

The Merciful Goddess emerged from under the crystalline water. "Well, since you're already wet, you might as well get in the pool." Kanzeon swam to the edge of the pool with the grace of the title she held and sat there holding her hair in her hands and squeezing the water out of it, which was silly, because she would be back in the pool soon anyway.

The previous activities in the pool were resumed and Konzen fumed. Tenpou's book was wet but he didn't seem to mind as he continued reading it normally. Goku decided that perhaps auntie's plan of getting Konzen refreshed wasn't enough and maybe he needed a little extra motivation. The chibi wanted to show him how much fun playing in the pool could be. "Catch!"

Before he had time to react, the oversized blue and yellow spotted beach ball collided with him, sending him crashing into the pile of lily pads behind. With a lily pad on his head and a raging temper to compliment it, Konzen let out his war cry and the beach ball became his weapon.

The Merciful Goddess grinned, seemingly satisfied with the way things progressed. Now Konzen was in the pool. It was true that his only reason to be there was because he was attempting to hit the others with the huge beach ball. Though it wasn't working, at least he was in the pool.

Goku snuck up on Konzen and took the beach ball. He made a pass to Kenren who passed it to the distracted Tenpou. His book went flying out of his hands and fell in the water as the ball occupied its place. He caught on quick and passed the ball to Goku before Konzen could recover it. It kept going like that until Konzen started ignoring the ball and simply attempting to drown Kenren. Seeing it as a game, Goku jumped on Konzen and pushed him below the water as well. Tenpou took the distraction as a chance to fish around for his book, but instead of resuming his reading he set the book on the edge of the pool and joined the Konzen torture.

"Let go of me!" Totally wet and pissed off beyond belief, Konzen made his way out of the pool and glared daggers at the others, while he attempted to squeeze the water out of his hair and clothes.

"The Merciful Goddess is giving you permission to swim in her pool, be grateful and accept." Kanzeon's tone was humorous and soft yet commanding all at once.

Konzen looked absolutely horrified. The golden haired young man glanced at Goku, Tenpou and Kenren.

Kenren snapped into attention when he caught sight of Konzen's murderous look, knowing that Konzen probably disliked him the most. The general couldn't help it but to imagine those same violet eyes in another situation with Konzen blasting enemies away with a gun in the world below. He shook his head and pushed the images away, this was Konzen, he wasn't involved in the military, so he wouldn't fit into that situation... would he? The deadly glare did not stop.

Konzen shifted his glare towards his aunt, as if blaming her for everything. It had to be her fault, this was his aunt after all, his meddlesome and annoying aunt who condemned him to a terrible fate when she gave him that gift, the small animal from the world below. "Konzen!" The same small animal was currently following him as he stomped away furiously, heading towards the tower of books.

"You're not thinking about throwing my books into the water, are you?" Tenpou sounded slightly worried.

"No, I'm thinking about throwing them at your heads," Konzen growled.

He was about to reach for a book to throw, when he felt a tug on his ponytail. "Hey, I told you to get in the pool and that's an order. It's for your own good chibi taiyou, because even the sun needs to be refreshed a little every now and then." The Merciful Goddess, who appeared to be anything but merciful, had his hair and that stopped him in his tracks.

"Let go of-" Before Konzen could finish, a wet monkey hugged him tightly.

"I'm sorry! I was the one who asked auntie to help me get you in the pool. Are you mad at me, Konzen?" There was that chibi look again. His golden eyes were so sad and shiny, he would have to be heartless to stay mad.

"Forget it," Konzen stepped away from the book tower, for which Tenpou looked relieved.

"So are you going to join us or are you going to keep acting like an old geezer and miss out on the fun?" Kenren inquired.

Konzen would get him later, one day... The blond pictured himself hitting Kenren over the head repeatedly as he mentally counted to ten. He would make that image true eventually. "I don't want to."

"But Konzen, we even bought this really cool bathing suit for you!" Goku ran off to find the supposedly 'cool' article of clothing and came back with a pair of shorts, decorated in the most ridiculous way with pictures of fruits, baked treats and golden glitters all over.

Konzen looked even more horrified than before, because he knew and feared that somehow they would make him wear that monstrosity, like it or not, and he certainly didn't like it. Nevertheless they would get their way, he could see it in their eyes. "No!"

Before Konzen could finish his complaints, he was shoved inside a little shack made out of popsicle sticks. Leave it to Goku to eat enough popsicles to be able to construct a structure capable of housing one person comfortably or two if they squeezed in. It's a miracle the chibi saru didn't eat the sticks too.

"Let me out of here!" The popsicle stick structure shook when Konzen's pounding fists collided with it's door, but it didn't fall apart. It was unnaturally strong, held together by magic or crazy glue, or both. "You planned this all along, didn't you? To trap me here, thinking that if you kept me in here I would give in and wear that ridiculous-"

"Let him out," the Merciful Goddess spoke in a perfectly faked defeated voice.

The popsicle stick door was opened and Konzen strolled out, feeling surprised but somewhat victorious. That feeling was short lived, he felt odd, then he noticed that somehow his clothes had been replaced by the ridiculous shorts Goku had chosen for him. "What the h-"

"Language, language," the Merciful Goddess warned, they were in Heaven after all. "It's just a little spell. Your clothes are right there," she pointed at the pile that was in the floor of the popsicle stick shack.

Konzen picked them up knowing that he couldn't change in there if there was magic involved. Goku smiled from ear to ear because Konzen was wearing the gift and that could only mean that he liked it. Kenren and Tenpou were laughing so hard that they lost their balance and fell back into the pool. Konzen took the opportunity. He tossed his clothes back into the popsicle stick shack and jumped into the pool after them, to attempt to drown them while Goku splashed around happily. It seemed that the Merciful Goddess had won yet again.

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 35: Reading the Newspaper

Sanzo walked around the inn room, searching for a very important item. It wasn't like him to misplace such a thing, but somehow he had. With his precious newspaper in hand, Sanzo was on a quest to find his reading glasses. Finally, when he was about to give up hope, he spotted the glasses innocently sitting on a table, as if mocking him because he didn't find them sooner. He walked towards the aforementioned table, pulled over a chair, sat down and placed the newspaper on the table's smooth surface. He picked up his glasses and before he could put them on, chaos broke loose in the form of a kitten.

Goku had entered the room with the fluffy chaotic creature in his arms. The ginger ball of fur squirmed and jumped out of his arms, making a bee line for the table. Sanzo immediately pushed his chair back as he felt something soft and furry rub his leg under the table. "Why did you bring that thing in here?"

"Because it's cute," Goku spoke as if cuteness was the answer to everything and in many ways it was. Yet it wasn't a good enough excuse to bring a cat in, at least from Sanzo's perspective.

The kitten must have been feeling brave, for he leapt into Sanzo's lap and stood on his back legs placing his two front paws on Sanzo's chest for support. Then looking up at the annoyed blond he meowed happily.

Sanzo yelped and dropped his glasses. He remained immobile for a few seconds before he picked up the kitten with both hands and attempting to put some distance between himself and the feline. That activity proved difficult, the kitten held on to his shirt with his little claws and refused to let go.

"Aw, he likes you," Goku chirped, "he's giving you a hug!"

Sanzo continued trying to pull the kitten away despite his meows of complaint. "I don't like him," why anyone would like that ball of fur was beyond Sanzo. Finally, the kitten gave up and let him go. "Go bother Goku," Sanzo placed the kitten on the floor. Goku extended his arms and the little feline jumped into them.

"Can we keep him?" Goku gave Sanzo his best sad kitten look to match that of the actual kitten.

"Absolutely not," Sanzo decided and Goku knew there would be no changing his mind. He ran off to play with the kitten while he still could.

After Goku was gone, Sanzo prepared to read his newspaper, but he found that once again he was missing his glasses. He remembered he dropped them when the kitten jumped on him and saw them on the floor, luckily unharmed. He got up from his chair and took a step forward in the direction of the glasses to pick them up, but before he was even close, Gojyo entered the room.

"Hey Sanzo, you're not going to believe what just happened!" The red haired water sprite approached and crush!

"No!" Sanzo yelled.

Gojyo appeared happy over Sanzo's apparent excitement to hear his tale. "Let me tell you-"

"I'm going to kill you!" Sanzo yelled.

Seeing the genuinely murderous look on Sanzo's face Gojyo backed away. "What's wrong? What are you yelling at me for?"

"Shut up cockroach, you stepped on my glasses, you idiot!" He readied his revolver.

Gojyo lifted his foot to find a mass of smashed metal and glass. "Sorry about that." Clearly sorry wasn't good enough, soon the sound of gun shots echoed and bullets flew, piercing the walls. Gojyo dropped a book he was holding and concentrated on survival.

xoxox xox xoxox

Today Hakkai was having one of his 'spoil Hakuryu' days. It was one of those days when he couldn't help it but to marvel at the ultimate cuteness of his little dragon. Instead of being perched on his shoulders, today Hakuryu was cuddled in Hakkai's arms while Hakkai petted the little dragon and continuously reminded him of how cute he is. All was cuteness and fluff in their world, until they reached their inn room and heard the gun shots. "Oh dear, it seems something made Sanzo rather upset, I wonder what it was?"

The gunshots stopped as Hakkai entered the room to find that Sanzo had Gojyo pinned against a wall with his hands firmly wrapped around his throat. Gojyo was futilely trying to pry Sanzo's hands off and feed some much needed oxygen to his starving lungs.

"I'm sure whatever it is, it can be solved without killing each other." With a smile on his face, Hakkai placed Hakuryu on his shoulders and attempted to free Gojyo from Sanzo's deadly grip. "What happened?"

Finally, the water sprite was released. He gasped for air as Sanzo glared daggers at him. "The cockroach stepped on my glasses and now I can't read the newspaper!"

"That is a problem, but I'm sure it can be solved." Hakkai spotted the mess of metal and glass on the floor. "I'll clean this up, I'm sure you can get a new pair. I saw an eye doctor's office not too far from here." Hakkai quickly placed the pieces of the broken glasses in a plastic bag which Sanzo immediately snatched.

The very annoyed blond looked sadly at the contents of the bag, before sending one last deadly glare in Gojyo's direction and finally leaving with Hakkai to visit the eye doctor.

xoxox xox xoxox

Once at they arrived at the eye doctor's office, Sanzo dropped the plastic bag on the counter. "I need these fixed right now."

The doctor's secretary looked at the shattered contents of the bag. "I'm sorry sir, I don't think we can fix them. You'll have to get a new pair of glasses made and for that you'll need to retake the eye exam." She ranted on and on about their offers. It was a speech that Sanzo did not want to hear. She appeared to ignore his irritated expression and she continued fully devoted to her speech. She didn't shut up until she noticed there was a revolver pointed directly at her face.

"I don't have time to waste," Sanzo insisted.

The secretary nodded so quickly you'd think her head was going to fall off her shoulders. "Yes, sir, go right in, the doctor is waiting for his next patient."

With no other choice than to get another eye exam, Sanzo entered the examination room and sat down in front of a strange contraption that looked like many binoculars put together.

"Okay, you just sit right there and I'll ask you a few questions for the exam as we go along!" The overly cheerful doctor greeted. "Let's begin, which one is better, this or this?" He switched between two different lenses in the binocular machine.

"I have no time for this!" Sanzo switched around until he saw something familiar; that was how the world used to look behind his glasses, so that was what he needed. "There, that's the one. I want my glasses ready in ten minutes."

"I'm afraid that's not possible sir. The glasses will take three days to be ready." The doctor was stepping into dangerously deadly territory, daring to 'argue' with Sanzo.

xoxox xox xoxox

Hakkai was in the waiting room. "Did you break your glasses too?" The secretary noticed that he appeared to be wearing only half his glasses.

"Oh, no I'm fine. I just came to make sure Sanzo doesn't kill anyone," Hakkai politely answered.

"But your glasses are broken. You should get a new pair; we just got this catalog with lots of designs." She handed him the glasses catalog.

Hakkai flipped through the catalog. He found glasses that looked identical to the pair Sanzo used to have. Maybe if he got a pair that looked the same he would forget about this incident faster. "For Sanzo, I believe he would agree to get these," Hakkai pointed at the design in the catalog.

"I'll make sure to remember that." The secretary circled the glasses with a red pen, as if her life depended on it and for all she knew, it did. Then gun shots were heard.

xoxox xox xoxox

Hakkai rushed to see what was going on but it looked like it ended as quickly as it started. "Sanzo?"

"We came to an agreement. The glasses will be ready this afternoon at two and not a moment later. It's still a long wait." He glanced at the terrified doctor. "Think of yourself as lucky, I'm feeling merciful." Sanzo exited the examination room office. "Let's go back Hakkai," Hakkai nodded and soon they were heading back to the inn on jeep-Hakuryu.

xoxox xox xoxox

Once at the inn, Sanzo had no intentions of waiting until that afternoon to read his newspaper. Of course it was impossible to read normally without his glasses, but he realized something, his problem was reading up close, so maybe he could read the paper from a distance. Goku was all too happy to assist him. "You're still too close, go further back," Sanzo instructed.

Goku nodded and backed away while holding up the newspaper. "How is it now?"

"No that's still too close," Sanzo replied.

Goku backed up against the wall. "I don't think I can go further back than this."

"The stupid inn room is too small, let's go outside." Out on the street it looked like they had all the space they needed. Goku stood a considerable distance away from Sanzo holding up the newspaper. From that distance, Sanzo could read just fine. But their troubles didn't end there, people started to walk between them blocking Sanzo's view. "Get out of my way! Can't you see I'm trying to read?"

"Sanzo my arms are getting tired and I'm hungry," Goku complained after a few minutes.

"Don't complain and turn the page," Sanzo ordered.

As Goku tried to turn the page, the wind blew and stole the newspaper. It was amusing to see Goku and Sanzo running after it, trying to collect all the pages.

xoxox xox xoxox

Hakkai looked out the window and saw the commotion. "I think it's best if Sanzo comes back inside before he becomes annoyed enough to go on a killing spree."

Gojyo agreed, "right, I'll go get him."

xoxox xox xoxox

It took a lot of guts and even more insults to persuade Sanzo into returning to the inn, but Gojyo finally did it. Currently, Goku sat in a corner eating, Hakkai cradled a sleeping Hakuryu in his arms and Sanzo and Gojyo sat on the couch. You could cut the tension with a knife.

Unexpectedly, Gojyo got up and picked up the book he dropped when Sanzo started shooting at him before, which Hakkai had placed on a table.

Hakkai got up for no apparent reason. "Goku, I think I saw a pizza place on the way back from the eye doctor. Why don't we bring back a lot of pizza for lunch?" Goku happily bounced out of the inn room with his bag of chips in hand. Hakkai glanced back at Gojyo who blinked in confusion, then gave a small nod as if he understood.

After Hakkai and Goku had left, Gojyo sat down on the couch again next to Sanzo, holding the book. "This is what I was trying to tell you about before you tried to kill me." He handed the book to Sanzo and waited for his reply.

Sanzo examined the book. The cover was leathery black with golden letters. The letters looked a bit blurry to him without his glasses, but they were big enough to read. "The Best of the Newspapers, collector's edition?" He opened the book and found that he could not read the print inside. Without his glasses they were all a bunch of illegible blurry black lines on white paper.

"I saw it in the glass display of a book store when I was out this morning and thought you might want to read it, since you like newspapers and all. The guy from the book store said it was a compilation of the best newspaper articles from the past ten years. It even has a few articles related to our group. He mentioned that it got pretty good reviews. Now do you believe me that stepping on your glasses was an accident? I wouldn't buy a book for you, then step on your reading glasses," Gojyo explained.

Sanzo stared at the book. It looked like it was of very good quality and truly worthy of being called a collector's edition. He had heard of the newspaper compilations that were sold every ten years, but had never actually found one. Unlike the sheets of paper used for newspapers, the book was of much higher quality and it certainly wouldn't turn his fingers black with ink. He was surprised that Gojyo would see something like this and actually buy it for him. It seemed that Hakkai knew all along. There was a long pause followed by an almost inaudible "thanks..."

By the time Hakkai and Goku returned with the pizzas, the tension in the atmosphere had dissipated. They found Gojyo reading an interesting article and Sanzo listening.

xoxox xox xoxox

Destination 36: Surprise

It had all started that morning when Goku woke up without Sanzo telling him to get up. It wasn't really early, it was in fact almost mid-day. The boy's stomach grumbled and for once, Goku wished that the mighty Harisen had visited him that morning. At least he would have some food in his stomach by then. Well he wasn't going to skip breakfast simply because it was almost lunch time. He would eat both meals together but never skip either.

With that thought in mind, Goku rushed to the kitchen to get his breakfast and lunch. He paused when he saw the monk that usually did the cooking sitting outside reading some scrolls. "Shouldn't you be in the kitchen finishing making lunch by now? Are you done already? Are you sure you cooked enough for everyone?"

The monk looked up from his reading and paused, looking nervous. He didn't want to lie, but Sanzo-sama had specifically instructed him not to reveal any information, especially not to Goku. Torn between the hard choices the monk simply froze.

"What's wrong?" Goku certainly hoped there was nothing wrong with the cook. Did he quit his job? Who would cook then?

Before Goku even had time to start panicking, the sound of a pot hitting the floor was heard from the kitchen, followed by a stream of colorful curses and accusations. "You did that on purpose!" That sounded like Gojyo. He was visiting at the temple?

"Must have slipped," apparently the one who dropped the pot was Sanzo.

"Liar! Why do they have to make the pots so big and heavy? My poor foot!" That was Gojyo again.

Looking surprised and curious, Goku approached the kitchen.

Now it was the cook's turn to panic. Sanzo-sama would be upset if he allowed Goku in the kitchen. "Goku wait, please come here for a moment!"

Goku stopped and turned to face the monk. It would be impolite to refuse to answer to someone, especially a cook. "What is it?" He smiled brightly, perhaps it was good news, like more food or a special dish.

"I... ah... Goku!" The cook monk had called him again even though the boy with golden eyes was standing right in front of him.

"I'm here, what is it?" Goku asked again. What was wrong with the cook today? Maybe Sanzo didn't wake him up because he didn't want to tell him the bad news, the cooking monk didn't cook and there would be no food today. They couldn't do that to him! Besides, couldn't they go to a restaurant or something? Where they all closed today for some reason? Maybe Hakkai and Gojyo had food; maybe that's why they came over, to cook. It would certainly explain the sounds coming from the kitchen.

Just as the monk was about to call Goku's name again to alert Sanzo-sama and his visitors, the door to the kitchen burst open and there stood Hakkai with a tray containing several dishes. "Goku, there you are! Let's go to the dinning area and I'll give you your lunch."

Of course that was all Goku needed to forget the cook's strange behavior. "Breakfast too right? Because I haven't had any yet."

"Of course, I'll bring you lots of food," Hakkai assured.

Goku was smiling from ear to ear as he bounced after Hakkai towards the dinning room. The cook sighed in relief that he didn't have to choose between a lie and disobeying Sanzo-sama. Who said the life of a monk was peaceful? That poor cook suffered the pressure to prepare enough food for that boy everyday. If he failed to do so, then Goku would start eating peaches from the Merciful Goddess' peach tree. The duty of ensuring the safety of a goddess' peaches was just too much pressure for him.

Then when he thought he could take a break, he found himself torn between a lie and disobeying a direct order from Sanzo-sama. He paused, maybe that was it. It must be some kind of test to see if he could handle the situation without lying and without breaking his word to Sanzo-sama. After all that, the cook monk felt happy because he managed to survive it all without having to make a choice he didn't like. Calling the boy to alert Sanzo-sama's visitors was the right choice overall. Feeling a lot better now, the monk continued his reading peacefully.

xoxox xox xoxox

Goku had quite an appetite and although Hakkai tried to keep him busy with plenty of food, the boy ate faster than he could cook. It came to a point where he started to get impatient when Hakkai didn't arrive with the next dish. Although he was feeling rather satisfied, Goku always had room for more food, so he happily skipped to the kitchen to see what was keeping Hakkai. That is when he overheard a certain conversation.

"This is a disaster," that was Hakkai's voice.

"It's Sanzo's fault. He was the one who brought the monkey," that was Gojyo's voice. What was going on? Why were they talking about him? Goku was very confused and this didn't sound good.

"Shut up cockroach, it's all your fault!" Sanzo argued.

"Please do not argue, don't forget that, we must keep our plans a secret from Goku." What plans? What was Hakkai talking about?

"Poison..." Poison? Did Gojyo poison the food Hakkai made? No, he wouldn't do that, he wouldn't!

"It seems the monkey has met a terrible fate." Why did Hakkai sound so calm? Was the food truly poisoned? Were Gojyo and Hakkai both in this? Surely Sanzo would do something. Sanzo would find a cure for the poison, Sanzo would save him.

"We'll just throw the monkey in the trash, it was stupid anyway," that was Sanzo's voice, but Goku didn't want to believe what he heard.

With tears in his big golden eyes, Goku ran to his room and locked himself in. He pressed his back against a wall in a corner, feeling as if his body was already starting to give up. He slid down to the floor and sat there awaiting his inevitable fate. If this is what Hakkai, Gojyo and even Sanzo wished, then he wouldn't fight it. If they really wanted him gone that badly, enough to poison him and throw him out, if they hated him that much, then he couldn't go on.

xoxox xox xoxox

"Aw, you poor boy, don't you know it was all a misunderstanding? I should know, I was watching the entire time." The Merciful Goddess continued to watch as she always did. She had seen it all from the beginning of their plans. "It's probably better this way since he might have eaten the toy monkey because it was on the cake."

"This is a disaster," Hakkai saw the cake mixed with a mass of melted plastic.

"It's Sanzo's fault. He was the one who brought the monkey." As Gojyo had pointed out, Sanzo did in fact bring the plastic monkey shaped cake decoration.

"Shut up cockroach, it's all your fault!" Sanzo had placed it near the ingredients which Hakkai had already measured and classified. While he kept busy making food to keep Goku distracted, he gave the others instructions on how to cook. For some reason Gojyo assumed it was okay to put the decoration in the middle of the batter, assuming that it would be sitting on top of the cake when it sponged up in the oven.

"Please do not argue, don't forget that we must keep our plans secret from Goku," Hakkai reminded them. Too much noise could attract the curious chibi, then Goku's surprise birthday party would no longer be a surprise.

"Poison..." Gojyo shook his head at the thing that couldn't really be called a cake anymore.

"It seems the monkey has met a terrible fate," Hakkai observed.

"We'll just throw the monkey in the trash, it was stupid anyway." Not just the monkey, but also the failed attempt at a cake, since they were now permanently fused with each other. At this point, Goku had run to his room.

"Let's not give up so quickly. We'll just bake another cake," Hakkai encouraged.

xoxox xox xoxox

Though it was rare, this wouldn't be the first, nor the last time the Merciful Goddess visited the world below. She quietly snuck into Sanzo's office and placed a box on his desk then left.

A little later when Sanzo needed a break from the cake baking activities with Hakkai and Gojyo, he went to his office for some peace and quiet and found the box. He wondered who had left it there. No one said anything about a package. He opened it and inside he found all sorts of party supplies and decorations. Assuming either Hakkai or Gojyo, probably Hakkai, brought them, he picked up the box and went off to decorate the party room. Anything to avoid having to go back to the kitchen and have Hakkai nag at him about wearing an apron and Gojyo point and laugh in the most suicidal way when he was wearing said apron.

xoxox xox xoxox

"Oh how nice," Hakkai entered the party room some time later. The room was covered in colors. Ribbons with little monkeys hanging from them were all around the room. Balloons in many bright colors floating tied to the chairs. Several bags of confetti were ready for them to throw at Goku when he came. The place was certainly looking livelier than ever before.

"You really went out of your way for this, didn't you Sanzo? What a softie." Apparently Gojyo really was feeling suicidal today.

"Shut up water sprite, I just put up the decorations Hakkai brought," Sanzo replied.

"I didn't bring them," Hakkai truthfully clarified.

"Then who did?" Sanzo knew they were the only ones in on the entire surprise birthday plan. Hakkai was a master of persuasion but truth be told, neither Sanzo nor Gojyo presented too much resistance when it came to agreeing to celebrate Goku's birthday. Sanzo especially had agreed a lot faster than Hakkai expected.

"It's okay, you don't have to pretend you didn't get all this yourself." Gojyo was walking on dangerous territory, very dangerous.

"You wanna die?" Sanzo asked.

At that the kappa was silenced and Hakkai intervened. "Should we start to set the table?"

Gojyo, Hakkai and Sanzo noticed that there was an extra gift, wrapped in golden paper. They exchanged confused glances and each assumed one of the others place it there at the last moment. High above, the Merciful Goddess continued to watch with a smile on her face.

xoxox xox xoxox

A little later they were done setting up a banquet that Goku would love and arranging their gifts in a pile. They had agreed not to go out of their ways to get anything big but in the end they each decided to get a 'little something' and one 'little something' led to another. After everything was ready, Sanzo went to get the guest of honor. Strangely they haven't heard from him in the entire afternoon. Usually Goku was loud and hyper, but today it had been as if he wasn't even there.

Though it would be rare for Goku to be in his room and not outside playing, stealing peaches and annoying the monks at that time of the day, Sanzo went to check anyway but he found the door was locked. "Goku, you are you in there?"

"Go away!" Goku's reply was unexpected. He sounded sad, was he crying?

Maybe he thought no one had remembered his birthday and was sad because of that, though Sanzo suspected that not even he knew when his birthday was. It had been a strange coincidence that someone sent him a notice. He didn't know why but he decided to believe in the mysterious letter written in golden ink, scented with peach. "Open the door."

"I don't want to!" What was wrong with the chibi saru? Whatever it was, he sounded very sad, almost desperate.

Everything was quiet for a few minutes. Was Sanzo gone? Well he wasn't at the door anymore, but he certainly wasn't going to stop trying. "You forgot to close the window baka saru." Goku looked up to find Sanzo entering his room via the window. "What's wrong?"

With the saddest expression and a face full of tears, Goku asked "how come you want me to go away? I heard that you Hakkai and Gojyo poisoned the food and were going to throw me in the trash after I died of poisoning."

Sanzo blinked, he couldn't help it but to take a moment and stare at the chibi in surprised confusion. "Where would you get an idea like that?"

"I heard about your secret plans," Goku revealed.

"Baka, no one is trying to hurt you," Goku somehow believed Sanzo and he felt better right away. "Let's go, I'll show you what our real plan was." Sanzo extended his hand like he did that time long ago when he freed Goku.

"Then you were planning something?" Goku was curious, "something good?"

"I think you'll like it," Sanzo replied. They were off to the birthday party.

xoxox xox xoxox

"Surprise!" Hakkai and Gojyo threw confetti at Goku as he arrived; confetti which a random unfortunate monk would have to clean the next day.

"Wow! Look at all that food and decorations and food and there are even presents! What's going on?" Goku didn't know what was happening, but he liked it.

"You don't remember your own birthday?" Sanzo asked.

"My birthday?" Goku didn't know it was his birthday today. In fact, he didn't know when his birthday was, so if they said it was today, then he might as well go with that. Besides, that cake looked too delicious to pass up.

"Sanzo told us it was your birthday so we decided to celebrate." It was an innocent comment really. Sanzo didn't know it would cause Hakkai to suggest such a celebration, but he didn't oppose it.

"Now you know what was going on chibi saru," Sanzo voiced.

"Are we going to eat soon?" Goku just had to ask.

"Yes, we have a banquet here and there's cake for dessert after you blow the candles," Hakkai smiled.

"Just a dozen candles because we didn't want to risk burning down the temple with five hundred," Gojyo joked.

"It's fine by me, as long as there's cake," Goku cheered.

"Just don't eat the candles," Sanzo reminded.

"Before we eat, we need to wear our party hats," Hakkai reminded them. Sanzo thought he hid those when he finished putting up the decorations from the mysterious box, but apparently he didn't hide them well enough.

Gojyo took one of the hats, it had a picture of a yellow monkey-like animal with black spots and a very long tail. The yellow monkey was happily sitting on a tree branch, wearing a polka dot party hat and eating a cake with bananas on top, just like Goku's cake. "A monkey hat for the monkey."

Goku picked another hat and gave it to Gojyo. In that hat there was a picture of a red haired mermaid with a green fishtail. "Mermaids and water sprites both like water and you were looking at this hat anyway so here you go!"

"Why thank you, she is a cute mermaid," Gojyo happily accepted it and thought he heard Sanzo say something about perverted kappas but decided to ignore it.

"For Hakkai, the smiling one!" The hat Goku picked for Hakkai had a big pink smiling face on it.

"It's a very cheerful and cute hat, I like it," Hakkai was truly having fun with this little birthday party. They all were, though Sanzo and Gojyo probably wouldn't admit it as easily.

Goku searched for another party hat. "For Sanzo..."

"I'm not wearing a ridiculous cardboard hat," Sanzo pouted.

"Aw c'mon they're cool!" Goku had that oh so adorable pleading expression that anyone would have to be heartless to refuse.

"Fine, just for a little while," Sanzo agreed.

"This one! It's golden and shiny and it matches your hair!" The hat Goku had chosen for Sanzo had glittery golden zigzag electric lines that came from a yellow creature with red cheeks that looked like a cross between a mouse and a rabbit.

The entire time the Merciful Goddess continued to watch, she even joined in the happy birthday singing when it was time to blow out the candles, which caused a few passer bys in Heaven to look at her strangely. She too was wearing a party hat, one with a picture of a princess in a pink dress since she thought 'princess' was fitting for her. "Happy Birthday Goku!"

To be Continued

Chibi means small, taiyou means sun and saru means monkey. Destination 34 was requested by Sarah, who wanted see Konzen in a pool. The characters on the hats on Destination 36 were Marsupilami, Ariel, Kirby, Pikachu and Peach.

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