They trudged through icy slush to get to the nearest grocery store. Gojyo had his leather jacket on, but all Sanzo had to cover himself with was a blanket that Goku had knotted in the front so he could wear it like a cape. At least he had boots on his feet; they were far more practical than the sandals and tabi he’d worn earlier in their journey. As he held a half-smoked cigarette between his fingers, he grumbled, “Why the fuck am I here?”
Gojyo inhaled a hit off of his Hi-Lite. “Because twenty-four years ago, some woman gave birth to an old man disguised as a baby.”
“Huh,” Sanzo said with his usual eloquence.
“The Three Floating Heads sent you?” Gojyo suggested with a wink.
“I mean why am I slogging through the streets to go shopping with a moron like you. It’s like sending someone who’s never driven to get auto parts.”
“We have a list,” Gojyo said, crossly, “and I’ve shopped with Hakkai plenty of times. Since Hakkai and Goku can’t come, it’s only fair that you drag your lazy ass to the store for once.”
That shut Sanzo up for the remainder of their journey. Goku had been gouged in the leg during a battle earlier in the day, and a tire had gone flat on their way into town. Gojyo and Sanzo had taken turns carrying Goku, since Hakkai was carrying Hakuryu and was already worn down from healing Goku.
After all that, no one was in any mood to go shopping, but they’d had to ditch most of their supplies when Hakuryu broke down. Hakkai needed to stay at the inn, so Gojyo and Sanzo were chosen -- the list was too extensive for one person to carry everything.
When they got to the store, Sanzo yanked a cart free and they wandered up and down the aisles searching for the items on the list. Sanzo swore when they missed the soy sauce and had to double back to get it. Gojyo pointedly said, “Who’s that for?” when Sanzo reached for a jar of mayonnaise. Batteries, rice, ramen, oil – everything was dumped into the increasingly full cart.
The longer they shopped, the stormier the look on Sanzo’s face got and the more violently he shoved the cart around. “What a fucking waste” was mixed in amongst the grumbling.
“It’s not like we had a choice,” Gojyo said. “There’s no point in crying over spilled supplies.”
“Who’s crying, moron?”
Gojyo felt his stomach clench. “Fucking priest,” he said under his breath. He put a restraining hand out and said, “Look, man, you don’t have to like it, but the way I look at it, we’re lucky to even be here. When we finish shopping, we’re going back to a warm inn where Hakkai will make us a nice dinner. We have clean clothes, and you have a fancy credit card to pay for whatever we need. To someone like me, who lived on the streets and stole to support myself, that ain’t bad.”
Sanzo stood still for a minute. “I suppose it’s not so bad after having youkai and half the men in China after my ass.” Gojyo assumed he was talking about the time before he arrived in Chang’an, when he’d wandered China looking for his master’s missing sutra. Sanzo hardly ever said anything about it. Maybe now he knew why.
“I guess we have more in common than you think,” Gojyo said as Sanzo used the gold card to pay for their purchases.
“Here,” Sanzo said, handing Gojyo three bags to carry while holding onto two of them. Gojyo frowned at the disparity, but Sanzo ignored him. “So your teenage years were shit. You survived.”
Gojyo knew an admission when he heard it. “Same to you.”
“You’re still an idiot, though,” Sanzo said as he pushed open the door to the inn. Gojyo silently agreed.