“I think Kanzeon may have picked Genjyo for a Sanzo on purpose.” Daniel was nibbling his lip, as if chewing over an odd thought. “Besides the whole… Konzen’s soul thing. The way she saved his life – Koumyou would legitimately consider Genjyo Sanzo an appropriately liminal person to have as an apprentice, because he’s not Tau’ri or Shangri-La. He’s someone caught between. And if Kanzeon gave him the child to raise….” He looked up. “Jack, I can’t say what really happened. But if you want my guess, Koumyou was sincere. Genjyo was his apprentice, he was always meant to have the sutra, and as far as everyone on Shangri-La is concerned, the Sanzo we know is legitimately Genjyo Sanzo.”
Sutras, plural, if Jack had heard Jikaku right. Seiten and Maten – and if Kanzeon was on the level, then Sanzo had the sutra last held by a youkai. Maybe that was why he got along with them so well….
And Kanzeon had apparently been willing to let Sanzo walk off with not one, but two of her five Weapons of Zombie Destruction. Something spooky about that.
Though Daniel actually had gotten at part of what he was worried about. “Not faking it,” Jack said, just to be clear. “Not bluffing. If he says he can do something, he’s legitimately got the power to back it up.”
“Which I guess is what really matters, to the SGC,” Daniel reflected. “But to you, Jack….”
“Religion… isn’t about myths. Not really,” Daniel reflected. “Religion is about why. Why do we have pain? Why do innocent people suffer? How should you live a good life, be a good person? How do you even answer those questions?”
Good question. Not like Jack had the answers, not after-
“These people care about you,” came that remembered snarl. “You can wallow in your guilt and your pride forever, and pull them down to drown in your blood… or you can accept that sometimes, no matter how good you think you are, the universe is going to slap you with a really bad day.”
A bad day. Like it was just that simple, when Sanzo had never lost-
He never lost a son, Jack admitted to himself. He lost plenty of other things. His planet. His past. His… damn. His foster father.
Sanzo was surrounded by broken people. Sha and Hakkai had lost their selves and part of their sanity; Goku had lost parents and foster parent. But Sanzo wasn’t letting them sink into the dark. He poked them, he snarled at them, he dragged them over hill and dale and gave them problems they could fix. Or not. But at least they were trying.
Sanzo helps people, Jack realized. Maybe it’s not pretty, maybe it’s not nice – but when you’re on the battlefield you don’t want a namby-pamby surgeon worried about leaving a few scars. You want the meatball who can improvise, who can patch you up and keep you alive until you can get back behind the lines and safe.
Sanzo had gone after him with a sneer and a snarl, opening up the poison to let it drain. It hurt; god, it hurt. But it was the kind of hurt he knew from Janet picking up a scalpel. I don’t care if you hate me, the doc would say. You’re walking out of here alive.
“You know,” Jack said, half to himself, “that guy’s not half bad at the priest thing.”
Teal’c nodded. Daniel looked between them like he couldn’t believe his ears. “He’s not? But he- you-”
“Oh, sure, comes to shepherds, he’s the guy that picks the little lamb up and throws it across the river,” Jack acknowledged. “While he’s punching the big bad wolf in the teeth. These people are in a war. They don’t need a good Father who tells them to be quiet and turn the other cheek. They need somebody who’s been there. Who knows what it’s like to walk out alive, and… feel like maybe you shouldn’t have.”
“Jack,” Daniel said softly, glasses glinting with worry.
“I’m – not okay,” Jack allowed. “But I’ve been worse. A lot worse.” He smirked. “Like I said. Not half bad at the priest thing.”
“Sanzo… may not just be a priest thing,” Daniel admitted. “Unless you buy into the Indiana Jones-style interpretations of the Old Testament priests of Israel; the keepers of the power of God. Or the nutjobs who think the Ark of the Covenant was an alien super-weapon.”