I couldn't sleep, those first nights; my quiet little room at Chang An was too cold, too unfamiliar. I missed you, the stench of your cigarettes-- funny, how they all used to smell alike, but now Sanzo's smelled completely different from yours.
I remembered how warm your body was when you lay next to me, when I was shaking from a nightmare, when there wasn't enough money to waste it heating a house that was just chilly, not truly cold.
I let you touch me, once. I think you were too drunk to remember. You never spoke of it.
I let you pass out on the bed and left the house, shaking, vomited into the ditch by the side of the road, hating myself, hating what I had become. Hating what I'd just let you do, hating that I'd wanted it so much.
Your hands...they were nothing like hers, nothing like mine. Rough and callused, though I'd never seen you do anything more strenuous than play poker, back then. The way you felt....
Do you see why I could never tell you my name? I had given so much of myself to you already, things she would never know, never see. The one hidden part of me she did see....
She turned away from that.
But until you asked for my name....
I thought it was because you were drunk that night, which was true, or because you were a slob, which was true as well. I thought...I thought you needed someone, anyone. Someone to cook and clean up after you and remind you to wash your blood-red hair.
But you...somewhere along the line, you'd decided you needed me.
And that's when I realized I could never go back to you.
Tomorrow, in the morning, I will ask Sanzo to go to you, to tell you Cho Gonou is dead. It will not be a lie.
I know...I know how difficult this will be for you.
But I am not ready to be loved again. I am not sure I'll ever be.
I shouldn't want to remember you. I shouldn't miss your hands so much.
But I will let you go. For my own sanity, and for your sake.
I am so terribly sorry, Gojyo.
I've never been deliberately cruel before. Maybe that's why I didn't take the monkey with me. He would never have let me....
But I did tell him the truth.
For you, Cho Hakkai, liar, murderer. Schoolteacher. I did exactly what you asked.
Goku thinks you are dead too, or he would be at your heels constantly. But you need silence now. I'll tell him. Eventually.
He took to you instantly; though he's friendly-- beyond friendly-- he doesn't do that with everyone. Hardly anyone, really, though I can't blame him for not liking the morons here. They drive me mad.
Gojyo would've killed me, you know, if he could have, if he thought it would have made any difference.
I think he loved you.
You don't let yourself see it. Denial seems an especially strong trait of yours. Even before the Three Aspects...
I wonder if they've ever seen anyone present himself before them in quite that way. At least not for a very long time.
But you were humble enough, and honest enough, and as I've said, we don't kill people.
Well, I do. But they don't.
And so Cho Gonou died and Cho Hakkai lives yet, raking the courtyard every morning, taking to his room every night.
I wonder if you dream of her. Or do you dream of Sha Gojyo, that red hair that you only saw as blood until you walked away from it?
Do you forgive yourself for it, when you do?
I thought maybe if I'd asked for his name I could get him to stay.
Yeah. I know. Stupid.
But see, he took me on the surface. He didn't look beneath. He didn't....
He didn't strip me bare the way you do. Even your eyes call me on my bullshit.
You piss me off, monk. Damn, you piss me off. Come back here and tell me he's dead.
I ain't gonna cry over him. I didn't cry when Mom died and Jien took off, I'm sure as hell not gonna cry over this.
Just because he bled all over my house doesn't mean...
I don't know if I want to beat the shit out of you or--
At least you told me, I guess. I don't have to spend the rest of my life wondering what happened to the guy.
Not the guy anymore. Cho Hakkai.
You're the one who told me his name, too. Huh.
House still smells like your stupid cigarettes. It pisses me off.
Didn't even tell me where he's buried. If you buried him. You wouldn't. Non-attachment, right? Fuck that, monk. I've been living non-attachment my whole fucking life.
I'm sick of pretty faces turning me down.
Maybe I'll go out tonight.