Calling Kjelle a military brat was like calling a grand feast a midnight snack. Her parents were both active in the military and she never for a second doubted her ambitions to follow in their footsteps. She knew the risks and was more than willing to take them. For her, the pride of being able to protect the country she loved was more than enough payment for risking her life on the battlefield.
After many years in the military alongside her parents, their age caught up with them, which meant that Sully and her husband Frederick had to reluctantly retire, leaving their daughter to her own devices. Most of the questions they fielded whenever they shared the story was if they were worried about Kjelle's safety. The response was usually a confident, "hell no! She's just as strong as her good ol' mom—
A small, "and her father" was added sometimes.
"She can take care of herself."
Leaving Kjelle on her own wasn't the problem. What was a problem was having to deal with a constantly stir-crazy Sully in the midst of all their new found free time. As the years wore on, she finally started to settle, accepting the fact that her glory days were behind her. This by no means meant she lost her brash attitude, but it did mean she was the last to rise most mornings.
One such morning found Frederick tidying the house as was his usual fare when his chores were interrupted by a loud knocking on the door. He flinched at the loud noise, as he usually tried to keep his housekeeping silent to avoid the wrath of a rudely awakened Sully. After discarding the apron that Sully always made fun of him for, he unlocked the door and stepped back, opening it like a true steward would. His spirits fell upon seeing the well-dressed man standing before him, wearing military garb and holding a piece of paper in both hands. "Hello, may I speak to the man of the house?"
Frederick had to resist rolling his eyes in front of this man, as mistaking him for a butler was an all-too-common occurrence. Finally, he coughed and responded to his visitor. "This is him."
The man nodded. "My apologies. I read about your involvement in the military, so I assume you know my uniform."
Frederick nodded and saluted. "Yes sir. What brings you here, might I ask?" Inwardly, his thoughts were something like don't take off your hat, don't take off your hat, please don't take off your hat.
"Nothing good, I'm afraid," the man responded. He fiddled with the paper in his hands, shifting it to his left hand and slowly raising his right hand to his head, which caused Frederick's heart to drop. "I have...bad news for you."
Sully came down the stairs, her nightgown hastily draped over her muscular frame and one hand rubbing her eyes sleepily. Before she could greet Frederick, she heard a strange voice at the door, though she couldn't make out what it was saying. She reached the stairs just in time to hear Frederick respond with a shaky, "no thank you, sir. I'll tell her." After the two men exchanged farewells, he closed the door and turned to see a confused Sully. "Oh, good morning dear."
"Tell me what?" Sully immediately asked.
Frederick shook his head and put his hand on Sully's shoulder. "Never you mind. Eat your breakfast and wake up a bit. Afterwards we need to talk." His voice was wavering and unsure, but something told Sully it was pointless to try to beat an answer out of him. During breakfast, Sully asked who the hell was at the door. Frederick frowned at her way of asking, which involved a mouth full of food, but finally gave her a response. "How much of our conversation did you hear?"
Sully shrugged, swallowing her food so Frederick wouldn't bitch about her mouthful. "Just the part about telling me something."
"I see." Without another word, Frederick stood and left the kitchen, leaving a very confused Sully to narrow her eyes at him.
After the rest of the awkwardly silent breakfast, Sully ventured into the living room to find Frederick sitting on the couch, head in his hands while the TV played some morning news show in the background. She turned it off with a huff. "You obviously weren't watching that, so why was it even on?"
Sully sighed and rolled her eyes. "Alright then, time to tell me whatever the hell you were s'posed to," she said, taking a seat next to Frederick. "What seems to be the problem?" Frederick sighed, leaned back on the couch, sat her down and held her close before telling her the terrible news. "Whoa whoa, what's with the cuddles all of a sudden?"
Frederick gulped before speaking in a shaky voice. "The man at the door was from the military."
"And he had horrible news."
Sully became wary, squirming out of Frederick's grasp and looking at him with a cautious expression. "Wh-what do you mean?"
After the news was broken to her in a faltering voice, she shot to her feet, shooting an accusing glare at Frederick and insisting this wasn't funny. Frederick took a stand as well, offering Sully a hug. "I'm sorry."
Sully again pushed him back. "No, don't you 'I'm sorry' me! How dare you make me wait for something like this. I should have been the first damn person to know!" She stomped her foot on the ground, struggling to stop the tears welling up in her eyes. "Now tell me this is a damn joke so I can punch you in the face without feeling bad about it, dammit!"
When Frederick's response was wordlessly looking down and letting the tears flow, Sully did something she never thought she'd do.
She opened her mouth, blinked tears out of her eyes, and let loose a desperate, angry scream, causing her husband to draw back in fear. Sully stomped her foot again and turned, making a beeline for the stairs. "Don't fucking follow me," she snapped when she heard Frederick make a move to follow her.
Defeated, he simply slumped back onto the couch, letting himself cry for the first time in years.
Sully's first thought was to barge back into her room and go back to sleep, hoping it was all a dream and she would wake up to learn about the news being false. Instead, she had the realization that it wasn't going to happen, so she instead turned early and found herself in the room that used to belong to her only daughter. She slammed the door behind her before falling to her knees, unable to keep her composure.
She couldn't handle the sight of the room that would never be lived in again, but she knew she'd have to cry in it someday, and she figured she might as well get it over with as soon as possible.