A/N This was inspired by mention of Mike's having been in the Marines on different episodes, as well as family who have served in different wars throughout history. Some that served talk of their time in the military. while others are more reluctant to talk of it at all. This is in honor of all that served, both past and present. I know it's just a short piece, but without first hand knowledge of the military it's hard to write in more detail. It was also inspired by a discussion that was had about so many of our childhood heroes dying.

May is military appreciation month.

Thanks to Shergar for checking this story over for me and her encouragement.!

Disclaimer: I do not profit from the characters of "The Streets Of San Francisco. I am not the creator of the series, that is Quinn Martin.

A Bond That Never Ends

When Mike received the invitation he tossed it in the desk drawer. Out of sight out of mind was Mike's thought at this action. As the days passed working a heavy caseload, he actually managed to almost forget. That is until he and Steve came in to find his daughter waiting for him one day.

"Mike, I found this invitation when I was looking for an address book. Aren't you going to the reunion?" Jeannie questioned, her eyes locked on her father.

"I doubt it and who told you that it had become all right to read my mail?" Mike snapped

"I didn't read your mail, Mike!" Jeannie snapped back.

"Then how did you know what it was?!" Mike barked

"It's written on the back of the envelope. It states plain as day "Hope you won't turn down this invitation, Mike. Your Marine buddies missed you at the last three reunions. There aren't too many of us left, please come." Mike, they really want you there. Won't you at least think about it?" Jeannie pleaded.

"Yeah, Mike you ought to at least consider it. I mean they sound like they really miss you," Steve appealed, only to find the Stone glare focused on him.

"What do you know about it, hotshot?! You hippie war protester! You never had to be in that situation!" Mike snapped. "Free love. War protests. That's all you know. You never had to hold a buddy that was..."

Mike fled upstairs before he finished. He knew he was about to open up things that he'd kept buried for years. That scared him. Steve started toward the door after he and Jeannie exchanged a glance. As he was about to head out the door he decided on a different tactic. Jeannie realized what Steve was thinking as he headed to the stairs.

"Steve..." Jeannie started.

"It'll be alright, Jeannie. Don't worry, I'm just going to talk to him." Steve cupped her face in his hand and gave her a reassuring smile. He was at Mike's door in no time. "Mike? Mike, I'm coming in."

Steve opened the door cautiously. He wasn't worried that Mike would hurt him, but he thought he might throw something. As he entered Mike's bedroom he saw Mike sitting with his back against the headboard. Mike felt almost ashamed of his outburst and couldn't look at Steve.

"Sorry, buddy boy. I didn't mean to bite your head off that way." Mike's tone was solemn and embarrassed. "I think I'm a little afraid to go to this get together. You know how you feel when a childhood hero dies?"

"Yeah, I've had that experience once or twice. It's hard but if you've got the right support you're bound to be okay." Steve hoped his message was clear to Mike.

"Well with you kids I've got the best support anyone could want." Mike managed a smile and Steve mirrored it.

"We'll leave when you're ready," Steve offered. "You could visit with some alone but we'd stay close by."

"You've talked me into things I was reluctant about. How?" Mike wondered.

"I had a good teacher," Steve grinned.

When Mike attended the reunion of his outfit two days later, Jeannie and Steve were with him. Once Mike talked with some of his old friends he began to enjoy himself. He introduced his daughter and son proudly to almost all there. While Mike visited, Steve and Jeannie received a history lesson of World War Two they'd never have gotten from books. Steve was captivated by the tales he heard. These men had actually lived through some things he never could imagine. He and Jeannie both were amazed that some of the men's childhood heroes served as well and some paid with their lives. Later, as the evening had started to wind down, Steve and Jeannie sat together. Both had a smile at how animated Mike seemed at times. At other times he and the others seemed extremely somber.

"You know the day I talked to Mike he'd mentioned about childhood heroes. I guess some people do affect you so strong that when they die you grieve," Steve mentioned casually to Jeannie.

"Yes when they talked earlier I recalled how I felt about childhood heroes when they died in the same month. I remember Mike went on a tangent about how they died. It was like he thought I was going to end up like them. Mom hadn't been diagnosed with cancer yet. She tried hard to staunch his lectures because she knew I wasn't into drugs. Later when we found out about her illness it seemed like nothing was that important as I had thought," Jeannie recalled with a sadness in her voice.

"Yeah when you're faced with what you and your mom and dad were faced with it puts things into perspective fast." Steve hugged Jeannie in a comforting way.

They heard several men singing and broke into smiles. Both knew that the men were doing an imitation of a Marine Sergeant that could imitate Carmen Miranda. They'd both heard Mike do that same imitation several times. A few moments later everyone left the reunion with Mike promised to be in attendance the next year.

That night Steve stayed the night at Mike and Jeannie's. He wanted to be close by in case there were any ill effects for Mike from reliving some of the memories. All were relieved that there were none for the most part. From that day forward Mike found it easier to talk about some of his experiences during that time. His revelations gave his daughter more of an in depth insight into her father.

There would still be boisterous but friendly arguments between the three that concerned the rights and wrongs of war. In time Mike even came to accept that the Vietnam war protestors, such as Steve, raised some valid points. In turn the younger generation admitted some admirations of the men of Mike's generation.