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Author's Notes:
A/N: response to EoS’ prompt of serenity, mirror and tree. A rather pointless 39 fluff, but hey, take it up with the muse. EoS, in this case.

When he came back to consciousness, Goku realised that he was lying on a bed of some sort. He could smell food – mmm, food – in the room somewhere, but he had a sneaking feeling that if he sat up anytime in the next few minutes he’d be falling over again from dizziness.

Oh, right. He’d fallen off that tree. Who knew the branches were slippery-smooth, even if the fruits were?

His eyes wouldn’t open. Oh well. He didn’t need to see to eat. His eyes were probably just crusted over with sleep.

Smell of people. Familiar people. Hakkai had been here; Goku could feel the slight residue of his presence, and the cool flow of energy in his body was not entirely his. The only one here now was Sanzo; ink and sun and gunmetal, acrid fire beneath it all.

He felt strangely calm, at peace. Not his peace, he realised. Peace trickling slowly into him from the fingers tangled in his hair; long, thin, gunpowder-stained fingers. There was a faint rustling sound, a skritch-skritch-skritch of pencil on paper; Sanzo was probably doing the crossword with his right hand. The advantage of being ambidextrous.

Those fingers were smoothing his hair down, trailing through it, ruffling gently, smoothing, over and over in a calming pattern. The Sanzo-presence in his mind was clear and calm as a lake, quiet in the absence of danger or emotion. Goku struggled not to move, breathe differently, purr, or otherwise reveal that he was awake. This was too nice and too rare an opportunity.

Slowly, cautiously, he opened one eye just a little. It was faced with the curve of Sanzo’s hip, the line of his waist; he was lying on his side, and his face was only a few inches away from the other man’s side. Sanzo was sitting – slouching – against the wall the bed was pulled up against, one long jean-clad leg stretched out next to Goku’s while the other was bent, supporting the paper. He was doing the crossword, as Goku had thought; and if he closed his eyes he could see his face clearly; the faint traces of expression crossing his face as he struggled with confusing clues and troublesome tangles.

Times like this, he didn’t even have to see Sanzo to know what he was thinking, what he was feeling. Right now, he wasn’t thinking much of anything, except for "3 Down: Mass rampage of wild animals (8)" and feeling slightly amused – and he was thinking of Goku for some reason.
If he could have risked it, Goku would have pouted.

But this was nice, knowing that what Sanzo was thinking, what Sanzo wanted to be thinking and what Sanzo wanted others to believe he was thinking were the same for once.

It had puzzled him immensely, the first few months he spent with Sanzo, when what he said and what he said in Goku’s head were so different. It was like when Sanzo had first shown him a mirror; he’d known exactly what it was like – it was like Sanzo. There was a pattern to the lies, just like Sanzo, and just like Sanzo, once he got used to it it became normal to see things in the mirror and know how they really were.

He’d begun to tell Sanzo that once, but the priest had just barked at him to shut up.

He could always hear both what Sanzo said and what he thought; sometimes the contradictions troubled him, but most of the time he could ignore what Sanzo was saying. He hadn’t been able to before, but in the last few years he’d done his own share of growing up, and it was easy to read him now. Not that he ever reacted to what Sanzo was thinking; Goku was a fighter, he had strong self-preservation instincts, and doing that would be roughly on par with standing on a lone mountaintop in a thunderstorm with one leg in a basin of water, wearing brass rings and screaming that the Holy Kannon was a he-bitch with no fashion sense.

His eyes were closing again under the pleasant feel of Sanzo’s fingers. He sighed softly and burrowed into the sheets, the movement almost unnoticeable.

‘I know you’re awake,’ Sanzo said in that flat voice of his. Those fingers had tightened in his hair until it hovered just on the side of harsh.


Goku tried the innocent blink. It didn’t work.

With how nastily he acted around Goku, it was easy to forget that Sanzo was nearly as sensitised to him as Goku was to Sanzo.

‘Only you,’ Sanzo droned, not even looking up from his crossword, ‘would be so utterly moronic as to fall off a tree and knock your empty head even sillier than it normally is.’

‘I lost my footing,’ he protested, and pushed slightly with his head to get Sanzo to caress his scalp better. Contrary, perverse man that he was, he withdrew his hand.

‘I suppose it’s good for you that your fighting is marginally better than your climbing.’


Sanzo bulldozed past his exclamation with the ease of long practice. ‘You’re so stupid, I don’t even know why you’ve lived so long. Probably just to be a huge pain in my ass.’ He filled in another column and pushed his glasses up his thin nose.

Silence fell. Goku stared at the white of the pillow and the black of Sanzo’s top next to it, the clean lines of his torso. The hand that had fallen slack to his side flexed ever so slightly, a curling, caressing motion, and Goku was really having trouble restraining the smirk that was–

‘Shut up,’ Sanzo snapped.


‘You’re being loud again.’


He shut his eyes, and nothing happened for a few seconds. Then Sanzo slipped his fingers back through his hair, and Goku relaxed.


This was nice, and he was falling asleep again, before Sanzo had the chance hit him on the head. And Sanzo’s touch was sliding over his neck now, and the edge of his face, his temples, just a brush of fingertips, light and calm, and while Goku didn’t quite know what had caused it that was fine, just fine, because he could get used to this, it was very…



When he woke up a few hours later, not dizzy and definitely hungry, it was dark in the room despite the open windows. Sanzo’s hand was still on him, his fingertips slipping just inside the collar of his shirt while the palm lay warm against the back of his neck. At some point, he’d fallen asleep as well, slumped over perpendicular to his legs, at an uncomfortable angle, from trying not to shift Goku; his leg was still stretched out, and Goku had apparently been hugging it in his sleep.

With a sigh, he pulled carefully at Sanzo’s legs and body until he was lying straight and on his back next to Goku. Sanzo huffed and rolled over almost on top of him, which was going to be very hard to explain in the morning because there was no way Sanzo would admit to doing such a thing even in his sleep, and somehow it would all turn out to be Goku’s fault; but Goku could take such things in his stride, and he shrugged philosophically as Sanzo found a comfortable position and fell back into deep slumber.

He wasn’t quite so hungry any more.

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