Disclaimer: Usually, I like to come up with a clever way of denying my ownership of any characters and or settings used in my fanfics, but I'm just not feeling witty enough to rehash the same old disclaimer this time around.

Author's Note: A short one-shot, Sanzo-centric.


By Nekomegamichan

Genjo Sanzo sat on the wide porch that wrapped around his wing of the monastery, his back up against the building. A silver ashtray was perched on a sandalwood tea tray near his left elbow, a tiny graveyard of crumpled filters; along with a half empty pack of Marlboros, and a steaming cup of oolong tea. A scroll on the life and teachings of a centuries-dead Sanzo lay on his lap, open to a section on elemental spirits.

Sanzo slid his wire-rim reading glasses off his face, one hand deftly folding the earpieces into place over the lenses. It was a cold afternoon in January and the sky above the porch overhang was a clear, pale blue. His private gardens were blanketed in thick white snow, now crisscrossed with the careless footprints of a frolicking monkey who was currently playing at the feet of the of the ancient evergreens and the bare fruit trees.

Goku looked up from where he was packing snow into a low 'fortress' wall, grinning wildly when he noticed Sanzo watching him. Goku waved and Sanzo inclined his head slightly in acknowledgement, a minimal gesture that kept Goku from coming over.

He'd had the monkey for a little over a year now. It surprised him how the energetic boy's company had so unexpectedly, and so easily, become such a significant part of his daily routine. Goku annoyed the hell out of him, what with not knocking, and all the whining, and pissing off the other monks – which was actually fine by Sanzo so long as he didn't have to hear about it – Sanzo was internally humiliated to know that his life had been more bearable since Goku had come along.

For all that he upheld the virtues of detachment; preached on it when forced to fulfill his teaching duties as a Sanzo, he knew that he was a damn poor example of his own philosophy. Attachment had always been his weakness. First there had been Komyou Sanzo, master and father; then Shuuei, friend and teacher; now Goku… Komyou had been brutally murdered before his very eyes; Shuuei had disappeared while Sanzo had been away, searching for his master's killers and the stolen sutra. What would happen to Goku? If Fate knew, she wouldn't tell him unless it was in the best interests of the gods to do so. Sanzo scoffed at that thought and rubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray with an angry twist, though that anger was not directed at Heaven, but at himself for even caring at all.

Goku jogged up to him then, face flushed from the icy air and exertion. "Sanzo! Nee, Sanzo, come see what I made!"

Cursing himself for a hypocrite, Sanzo rolled up the scroll and set it aside, then rose to follow a beaming Goku back to his lopsided snow fort. "This had better not take long," Sanzo grumbled, more to keep face than out of any genuine annoyance. "I don't want my tea to go cold."