The Chandrasekhar limit
Safety off, aim, fire. Bang. Dead.
They say that one’s choice of weapon, however accidental, offers deep insight into one’s personality. Ironic that Gojyo would use chains – chains that bind, chains that strangle – fitting that Goku fights with his hands and feet as readily as with his staff, fights with the same vigour and enthusiasm that he throws into life; perfect, also, that Hakkai throws his very life away, such a meaningless thing it is to him, but a destructive blaze in his hands can only echo what once was – and may still be – within his heart.
Sanzo accepts this. It is true for him as well.
The other three take fighting very personally; they are, in the end, attached as he never is. A bolt of chi might be a long-range attack but Hakkai is essentially throwing himself at his enemies, and that is different; that is not Sanzo.
The gun is detachment, the gun is distance, the gun is impersonal destruction. It is all these things and one more, one that he will never reveal: the gun is decision. Safety off, aim, fire. Bang. Dead. There is no time for second chances, no time for hesitation. No matter where it may be pointing. It makes no distinctions between enemy and friend; it hates calmly, deliberately and rationally.
As Sanzo does.
In the end, a gun will point where the hand dictates, even if it is to his own temple; and on that day it will allow him no time to consider, to care, to wonder or speculate or fear or cringe. Safety off, aim, fire. Dead. No time even to hear the bang, if Sanzo’s estimates are correct. Not even time to feel pain, if he aims it right. No need to worry about consequences.
It is ironic that three powerful fighters have been charged with preserving his life when the one who possesses it doubts its value.
It will take very little if it comes, Sanzo has no doubt of that. Avalanches need one unwary step; suicides need one thoughtless word. It is not the trigger that kills the man – it is the careful build-up of hate within the one who holds the gun. It is the accumulated pain, the jealously hoarded hate that will spill over, inevitable. The crushing mass of his history that will pull the trigger.
But life is balanced. At this moment, journeying west with the closest thing he has ever had to home since his master died, killing and shouting and tentatively living, life is balanced. Precisely and with pinpoint accuracy. He is poised on the razor’s edge, between two destinies. One leads to old age, an existence where he is at peace with himself even if the world around him is not; it bears the promise of life, family, love and shared laughter.
The other ends in the punch of a bullet into flesh.
It is a dangerous balance.
But life is balanced.
For now, it will do.