On a beautiful spring morning, Hakkai drove his drowsing companions straight into a boulder.
"Oops," he said sunnily as they picked themselves out of the dust and started screaming at him. "Are you all right, Hakuryuu? Oh, good. Well. Lunchtime, everyone!"
Goku's mollified enthusiasm turned to betrayed outrage with the first bite, and he turned an unpleasant sallow color and started choking. "Goku!" Hakkai cried in distress as Gojyo started 'helpfully' whacking his back. "Are you all right?"
Goku could manage nothing but an unhappy whine. Sanzo sniffed the rice and turned a little green himself at it's not-quite-garlicky smell. "Mustard gas," he coughed, pulling his blistering nose quickly away from the pot to glare at Gojyo with streaming eyes.
"Don't look at me," Gojyo protested, raising his hands defensively. Gojyo was usually the first to sabotage the monkey food, but denial wasn't his thing. Boasting about it and starting a fight were, after all, so much more fun.
The protest being unusually reasonable, considering its source, Sanzo duly looked at Hakkai. Hakkai, in turn, looked perplexed. "Well?" Sanzo demanded, still coughing.
"Well," Hakkai frowned, laying glowing hands on Goku's back, "it's one of Yaone-san's bombs; I caught one without setting it off and thought it might be useful. But however did it get into the rice?"
"It wasn't that cheesecloth bundle you dumped in, was it?" Gojyo asked suspiciously.
"Oh, no, that was cumin," he said earnestly, so wide-eyed and sincere that even Goku looked at him suspiciously.
"Hell of a lot of cumin to put in," the kappa commented in a casual hey-so-uh-why-did-the-birds-all-suddenly-shut-up voice.
"The rice," Sanzo accused the cook who, despite his eyewear, was not actually blind, "is brown. Not yellow. Not green."
Hakkai frowned again, this time looking like he meant it. Irked, he said, "The package must have broken when we crashed."
"We?" Sanzo coughed in disbelief, and wiped burning eyes on his sleeve.
"Yeah, what was that?" Gojyo asked.
"Oh--the sun was in my eyes," he explained and, in that tone that meant he was saying something mainly because good manners said he had to, went on, "I really am sorry about that."
"We are heading," Sanzo direly informed him, "West. It isn't noon yet. The sun was not in your eyes."
"I assume in retrospect," Hakkai snapped, "that it was reflecting off the boulder. In any case, I couldn't see properly."
"Looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the Jeep," Gojyo noted with flying eyebrows. Hakuryuu, lifting his head from where he'd been nursing his sprained tail, nodded emphatically.
Hakkai looked irritable for a moment, and then he sighed, his face smoothing out. "You may be right. I've had a bit of a headache since I woke up this morning."
"You want me to drive for a while?" Gojyo offered sympathetically. Naturally the bar-hopping cockroach would coddle a headache, even someone else's. Sanzo would have said something nasty about the hangover-prone, but having someone else in the driver's seat right now struck him as a very good idea and hell if he was offering.
"That's very kind of you," Hakkai protested, "but there's no need, really."
"Stop being a damn martyr for two entire minutes, okay?" the kappa waved him off dismissively with a sickeningly fond grin. "Thirty seconds, even. I didn't really want to sit in the back with a puking monkey anyway."
"Ah," acknowledged Hakkai with a wince. "Yes, I suppose that is my responsibility. Speaking of which, Sanzo," he said meaningly, and lifted his hands off Goku's back in an invitation that didn't look optional even at first glance.
"Fine," Sanzo coughed, sitting still for the intrusion of being healed. His eyes were still watering. head injuries were a colossal pain in the ass: he could think of more interesting things to look at than Hakkai's palms, getting their faces fixed looked stupid on the other two, and then there was the fallout afterwards from having the youkai's O! So Emotionally Charged!Lifeline looked at. "Hurry up; we'll get moving after this."
"Yes, we can't trust the food anymore," Hakkai agreed. "I'm afraid you won't be able to smoke for a day or so, either. I meant you both, Gojyo," he said sharply as the kappa broke out in a malicious grin. "Second-hand smoke won't be any better for their lungs than first-hand."
Gojyo's face fell. "That bites," he grumbled. Sanzo smirked.
They had been rolling along without any major incidents for half an hour or so when Sanzo noticed what was bothering him: Gojyo was driving and Goku was out for the count, but someone in the backseat was still doing a hell of a lot of fidgeting. And it had nothing to do with the car's rattling tailpipe and bumper either; the timing was all off for that.
Only a few minutes later, Hakkai gasped, "Please stop, Gojyo," and vaulted over the side of the Jeep before the wheels had stopped turning.
They stared at him as he knelt a few feet away to be quietly sick, and then Gojyo ambled over, crouched down, and started rubbing loose circles on his back. "Since when do you get carsick?" he asked amiably, doing a half-decent job of pretending not to be worried.
Able to answer after another few unpleasant moments, Hakkai said unsteadily, "I suppose it's from sitting in the back seat. Studies show the jostling is worse from--"
He had to bend over again. Gojyo kept rubbing, and soothed, "Take it easy, man. Sanzo can take puking-monkey duty till you can drive again."
Sanzo snorted, but didn't object. Whatever got them West fastest.
"Feeling better?" asked Gojyo solicitously when they'd been driving a while.
"Oh, yes," said Hakkai from the passenger seat, almost brightly. "I can't smell Sanzo at all now I'm upwind."
"WHAT?!" Sanzo roared.
Gojyo laughed so hard they nearly crashed again.
"Um," chuckled an abashed Hakkai. "I, ah, I'm sorry, Sanzo, I had intended not to say that alou--um."
"I do not smell,"he snarled.
"Of course not," Hakkai soothed with guilty shoulders.
"I took a bath this morning."
"Yes, yes, we know. But, ah, it has been some time since we were able to dry-clean your leathers, Sanzo, you know."
By this time, Gojyo had stopped the car and was making helpless weeping noises into the steering wheel.
"What you're saying," Sanzo clarified in a voice that should have been lethal at thirty meters easy, "is that smelling my underwear is making you sick."
"AhahahaaiiiiiI think I'd better take the wheel again," was the wise decision of the coward in shotgun. Like Sanzo wouldn't shoot him if he were driving. After all this, even the Jeep wouldn't blame him.