Blood Red Dawn
Birth, and along with it, death.
Too much blood, Goku thinks, as it flows onto sterile hospital sheets, streaks pale thighs and defies the efforts of all the doctors and nurses hovering about like would-be angels of mercy.
She does not believe in angels, this woman who bleeds upon the unforgiving earth. She who is both sinner and saint, and was once a god, fell from Heaven only to become a monk, and all too mortal. A High Priest, no less, one that killed and lived and finally... died, with golden hair that shone like the sun in all its brilliance until the very, very end.
Her hair is still just as golden, only longer now, streaming out in shimmering waves upon the white pillow, dampened with the sweat of labour, effort and pain. Her lips may be softer, but the words that pass them by can be just as harsh. She still loves guns and cigarettes and old faded jeans, only now Goku knows the touch of those nicotine stained fingers in ways he never knew he dreamed of, until time passed, things changed, and that man was no longer a man, and not quite so cold.
Oh, she still gets angry and her deceptively delicate hands are not as innocent as they appear to be. Long gone are the paper fan, the bullets and the Sutra, all wielded along with the burden of priestly robes and the broken faith that never quite was.
She is Sanzo, in every way that counts, this dangerously, impossibly beautiful woman who shines every bit like the sun that set so long ago.
To Goku, she's perfect, just as she is and always was.
Sanzo had said, all those centuries past, that he would not die for another, that he would hold nothing... and live free.
However, she had taken that law and broken it for him, crushed it beneath her feet like a wasted cigarette, or a sentimental regret that was never meant to be.
For the past months, she who once was Sanzo had held a life deep inside herself, watched and felt it grow, and soon will die having brought it into the world. She harbours no pity in those impossibly deep, forever-violet eyes, and little sorrow, because she knows...
She just knows.
She isn't cut out for motherhood, anyway, and this is just the way things are.
Goku understands. He is as much a part of this as she.
Death may separate them, for a while, but through this creation, this newborn soul, they will share a link to one another. Goku will keep something of her to hold close to his heart.
So, when Goku looks into her dying eyes with raw grief pooling in a sea of ancient - though still far too young - gold, she smiles a little, and squeezes his hand, and tells the creature who will always be hers, since the day she found him long ago, to stop being such an idiot, and just let her go.
For one day, they will find each other again.
Yes, they will, and inevitably, even through the grip of her hand in his, her soul slips through Goku's fingers, falling far out of his reach... falling five hundred years away.
Although bereft, Goku will not grieve. For he is left holding the child in his arms - their child - a child with crimson hair and crimson eyes, the forgotten mark of an ancient taboo.
Perhaps Gojyo and Hakkai had been right, about this perfect red. It is the colour of blood. Perhaps, Goku thinks, as he smiles softly down at the tiny infant wrapped in his protective embrace, perhaps that's okay.
Because blood, after all, is the river of life itself.
It will never stop flowing, even when it reaches the sea, for the Heavens will take it in again and return it to its source.
Hush now, little one, for your mother is at rest, and as long as you are here, I will not wait alone.
Goku will still be here, always, waiting for the dawn.
- end -