Not Fade Away
The physician had warned them that the end could come at any moment. Despite the time they’d spent together, Goku wasn’t ready to let go just yet, but he wasn’t so cruel as to beg Sanzo to stay, either.
Silver strands outnumbered gold ones. It was as if Goku’s sun had turned into the moon overnight. Sanzo’s hands were gnarled and arthritic, barely able to hold onto a cigarette without dropping it and burning a hole in the sheets. His revolver was kept locked up for safety.
Even with his infirmities, he sat bolt upright, pillows stuffed behind him, dignity personified. After a sponge bath, Goku helped him don the Sanzo priest’s formal regalia, complete with gauzy veil and golden crown. Goku still objected to the reason for the formality, but Sanzo was obdurate: he was naming Goku his successor, like it or not.
After Sanzo pronounced the words and kissed Goku’s newly-minted chakra, they sat in silence, waiting for an uncertain future. All he knew, as Sanzo coughed and rasped and drew laborious breaths, was that his sun was determined to blaze as fiercely in the end as at the beginning. Sanzo wasn’t the type to just fade away.