“Captain Sha.” Hammond gave him a serious look. “I should have done this before, crises or not… you did it, son. You’re home.” He held out a hand, ready to grip.
I can’t. “I lost them, General,” the han’you said painfully. “I couldn’t get to the rest of my people in time, I couldn’t save them-“
“I know.” The hand was still waiting.
Shaking, Sha took it.
Hammond shook his hand, firmly, eyes shadowed with compassion. “I know it doesn’t make the nightmares any easier to bear. But given what we now know… you fought against incredible odds, Captain. All of you. If it were up to me, you’d be up for commendations.”
“I hear a but,” Sha muttered, as they let go.
“The fine nuances of the situation on the ground on Shangri-La may be lost on some at the more rarified levels of those cleared to know about the SGC,” Hammond admitted dryly. “We’ve had to deal with two zatarcs here, permanently. Even so, the full extent of the threat, and the lack of options presented to anyone dealing with it without an entire army behind them… well.”
Sha winced. “I’m in trouble, sir?”
“Unjust as it is, yes, you would be,” Hammond allowed. “If you remained under my command.” The general eyed him. “I’m allowed a certain leeway in assigning personnel permanently offworld. It was originally intended to cover those joining the Tok’ra, but there’s no reason I can’t extend the same courtesies to a liaison to an allied world.”
Sha blinked. “…You want to stick Sanzo with me.”
“Is he not someone you’d choose to work with, long-term?” the general said bluntly. “I understand you would have had limited options before-”
“No!” Sha said; too quickly, he knew it, but god. Stay with Sanzo? Officially? And still help out Earth, god, let it be true…. “I know he’s an asshole sometimes, but he’s trying to do the right thing. Usually. And he’s a damn good shot. And stubborn; god, that’s like calling the ocean a little wet, the guy just will not die, and….”
He wasn’t going to break down and bawl like a baby. Not in front of the general. Even if finally having duty and clan pulling the same way was a relief so sharp, it cut like diamond.
“We’ll get the paperwork started, then.” Hammond leaned back in his chair. “Kanzeon?”
“Thinking, sir.” The han’you stopped himself from reaching for his pack of cards; no monkey to tease with a shuffle, right now. Instead, he concentrated on what he’d seen, what he’d felt, and what his gut said about the situation besides you’re all nuts. “If you really want to do this, we’ve got to head to Chang’an. We could get in contact with her at one of the other temples – well, Sanzo could, anyway – but if you want to do this with all the bells and whistles, they ought to go through the Sanbutsushin.”
“That wasn’t what I asked.”
“Yeah, just give me a minute.” Sha closed his eyes, picturing Kanzeon’s grin as Goku went limp in his arms, shiny new limiter in place, while Hakkai worked frantically on Sanzo’s injuries. It wasn’t a safe grin. It was, in fact, kind of like a certain roadrunner’s beaky smile, before a very unlucky coyote stepped right into his own carefully-laid trap.
But there was no malice in it.
“I think they’d be safe,” Sha stated, looking at the general. “Well, from Kanzeon; Shangri-La’s not safe. But if she wanted to do mean, nasty things to people just because they were from Earth, she’s had plenty of chances already.”