Home. It's in the very air they breathe.
In the end, they had succeeded. In the end, they had all survived. New scars cut jagged white lines across their bodies and their eyes would never quite be rid of shifting shadows but that was such a small price. At least, that was what Hakkai told himself whenever he glanced at his companions, years after they had first been tied together by the world's tricks and plans.
They had all made it through, despite the odds. Now they were back to the beginning; the world set right.
The world, for all outward appearances, was a shoddy four walls with a chipped tile roof, weeds creeping out of the corners and crevices.
"Home sweet home," Gojyo said beside him, taking in a deep breath. "Was starting to think we'd never see this shithole again."
Yes...home, Hakkai thought, ignoring the latter part of the statement, and relished it for a moment. He was already planning to spend a week reading and relearning and enjoying his friend's company while demon kings weren't threatening to wake up from a long nap. It would be wonderful and he dared think they had all earned the reprieve.
Yes. A sigh, free air, a new day...
Another sniff, more cautious than the last. Perhaps a bit wary.
"I'm telling you, man, it's good to be..." Gojyo suddenly coughed and sputtered, good feeling gone as he used a handful of red hair as a makeshift mouth-cover. "What the fuck is /that/?"
Green eyes narrowed, glance sliding from the house to the halfbreed. "Gojyo...would you agree that the current...odor...resembles that of garbage?"
"Plah," Gojyo spit, as if it would somehow take the smell with it. "What? Yeah, I guess. More like food gone bad if you ask me."
A lightbulb flashed on, dim but struggling to gain strength. Gojyo took a hasty step away, hands raised in defense. "Now look, Hakkai, it could be coming from anywhere."
"Really?" Pale hands pushed dark sleeves up, the contrast sharp.
"And..uh...hey, what are you doing?" The redhead asked rather nervously.
Hakkai smiled. "Nothing, nothing. Continue, please, Gojyo."
Gojyo paused when he thought he heard knuckles crack.
The smile stayed in place.
"See...we were kind of in a rush, before we left, and a couple things /might/--MIGHT--have slipped my mind and I might have forgotten to throw ou-...Hakkai? Hey, why are you counting? Hakkai?"
Years of dodging bullets and crazy women and deranged creatures kicked in, and the kappa made a run for it, kicking up dirt as he dashed through still familiar streets. He didn't even bother to look back at the certain doom that was likely on his heels.
Don't look the beast in the eye. It only pissed it off more. Gojyo remembered thinking that very thing once a day whenever Sanzo pulled his daily hissy fit.
At least, Gojyo reflected as he felt something singe his hair, the tradition was being kept alive.