Four drabbles on the same theme. Part 1: Sanzo

Sanzo hides behind strength.

Choosing emptiness and the dark, he is outwardly at least a true Buddhist. Within, he is the one most trapped by his past; afraid to his bones of losing what he loves. Meanwhile, he steels himself in preparation for the next thunderbolt, the next death, the next loss, training with an artist's dedication and the creativity of a masochist. Every day he twists his heart a little tighter. Secretly, he dreads and longs for that day when it will twist tight enough and become dry, hard, forever preserved, invulnerable. Be strong, he chants to himself.

Next instalment: Goku