Genjyo Sanzo has many faces....
There is one he wears most often, like a mask over all the others-- so firmly in place that it might seem it was all that existed. Gojyo knows that face well. He sees it every time he opens his mouth with another pointed comment, every time he grins in just that way. It is scowling, callous, angry-- it is the face that means the paper fan is closing in fast, and the gun might not be far behind.
But Gojyo never worries about it-- if Sanzo ever truly wanted to kill him, then quest or no, necessity or no, his shots would not miss. And thus Gojyo knows that the face is only a mask.
There is another face that appears in the night, one that claws its way out from behind the mask. Hakkai sometimes wonders if he is the only one who has seen it-- wide-eyed and desperate, twisted with equal parts anger, madness and fear. It is the face that appears after dreams bring Sanzo awake with a gasp, that stays through those long moments when the mind tries to discern reality from memory, and that disappears again just as soon as it can be sealed away.
But through Hakkai wonders, he knows that all those with bloodstains in their past carry a similar face within them-- he has seen his own enough times in the mirror. And so he keeps his silence, when morning comes.
There is a face that Goku often thinks he only imagines-- it is not tender or smiling, but it is soft in a way that he can't fully define. He sees it sometimes out of the corner of his eye, when Sanzo thinks he isn't paying attention, or in the morning if he opens his eyes just at the right time to catch Sanzo watching him sleep. It is a quiet face, wiped clean of scowls and clenched lips, and is usually gone as soon as it is noticed.
And though Goku sometimes wishes for more, for a smile or a warm glance, most of the time he is content-- from Sanzo, that moment of unguarded softness is better than a smile, and more honest. And so Goku simply watches out of the corners of his eyes, and waits.
There is a face that no one sees for long, that usually accompanies the deafening burst of the gun and the smell of blood. It is the face that the mask is modeled after, with all the flaws of humanity removed-- cold, pitiless, free of conscience and regret. The enemy youkai see it, and often disregard it-- they still see only a human, lacking claws and fangs, with no means of defense but six tiny bullets.
But still, some part of them is troubled, and even if only for a moment, they doubt-- for the one thing the face never contains is fear. And as their doubts are realized and their vision fades to black, the face is all they can see.
There is yet another face that no one sees at all, with dull eyes that reflect the grey haze of clouds. This face is what shows through when the mask cracks. It is haunted and weary, and tired in a way that goes bone-deep. When Sanzo wears this face, it is always in solitude, with the smoke of a neglected cigarette curling through the air and the hiss of water against glass filling the silence.
The reflection in the window has the eyes of a child who has seen too much. And Sanzo holds his cigarette, stares into the night, and wears his face with only the rain to bear witness.