All For Something (2)

Jack spent the walk to the comissionary staring at his shoes mulling over his conversation with his wife. The more he thought about the angrier he got. She had given him an ultimatum; either quit Black Ops or lose his family. She'd basically threatened him with a divorce. If he was honest with himself that thought didn't hurt as much as it would have a few years back. He and Sara just weren't as close as they used to be. When they'd first gotten married his Black Ops missions had been fairly short and simple. But after the Gulf things had changed, himself included. Sara had spent more than a month dealing with emotional pain, believing he was dead after hearing his plane had been shot down. He had spent most, if not all of that time in physical pain. He didn't care to remember that period of time. When he'd gotten back, he had to spend months in rehabilitation and physical therapy. Sara had tried to support him but he had refused to be coddled, insisting he could do everything himself. He'd needed to prove to everyone (but mostly to himself) that he was capable, however it left her feeling at a loss, not knowing how to help. Eventually when he'd been fit to return to active duty, his missions became longer and harsher, some still caused him nightmares. Again he wouldn't let Sara help. 'No wonder she wants a divorce,' he thought to himself 'I've been pushing her away for the last five years'.

As he entered the comissionary he was still looking at his feet, causing him to walk straight into a cup of scalding coffee and the person holding said cup.

"Dammit, would you watch where you're going!" He growled, now wearing the coffee down his front.

"S-sorry Colonel, I'm so sorry, I should have been watching where I was going!"

"Damn right!" He replied, finally looking up at the person responsible for making his day even worse, to find Dr Carter looking quite distraught.

"Can I get you anything? A towel? I can go to the laundry and get you a clean shirt. I'm so sorry, I-" he cut her off.

"It's ok, not your fault," he conceded, the anger he felt only moments before evaporating. "I wasn't exactly watching where I was going either."

"Are you sure I can't get you a clean shirt?" she still looked rather worried, fearful even. He wasn't that scary was he? Well, maybe when he was angry, and he had been angry when he yelled at her, but surely she knew he wouldn't hurt her or anything.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. You okay?"

"Hmm, oh, uh, yeah, uh, I think you ended up wearing most of it," she wasn't looking so scared anymore.

'That's good.' He thought. "Yeah, I think I should head back and change."

"Can I get you anything while your gone? You obviously came here for something."

"Just coffee, I can get it later."

"No, please let me. It's the least I can do after running into you like that."

"Like I said wasn't your fault."

"Black, white? Sugar? " she persisted.

"Fine, have it your way, strong black with two sugars, I'll be back in five."

"I'll save you a seat!" she called after him.

Five minutes later Jack was back in the comissionary, in a clean shirt, sipping a nice hot cup of coffee.

"Thanks for the coffee," He decided to go for a bit of small talk. "It's good."

"It's the least I could do."

"So, working on anything interesting in your lab?"

"Yeah, but it's classified. What are you guys doing in training?

"Uh, that's classified too." A brief silence fell upon them. "Oh, what about your fiancée? How'd his 'business trip' go?"

"Classified." They shared a chuckle.

"Ah, so much for small talk!"

"I need more coffee!" Sam groaned as she lowered her head to rest on the table.

"Long night?"

"Oh yeah," she stifled a yawn. "It took me all day just to...oh, never mind"

"Classified." He stated with a wry smile.

"Yeah."

"So what type of doctor are you exactly?"

"Astrophysicist."

"Then I guess it's a good thing your work is classified, cause there's no way I'd understand if you told me what you were doing anyway." He said, earning him a smile from her. 'Man she could knock a guy out with that smile!'

"I don't think very many people understand half of what I say most of the time, even when I'm not talking physics, so don't worry about it."

"I bet it's a lot of fun confusing the brass." Another smile.

"You wouldn't believe! When I write reports I have to attach a glossary that's usually just as long." He smiled back.

"Wouldn't it just be easier to use simpler terms?"

"Yeah, but it makes them think I'm more valuable if I use the big ones." She giggled

"What, you're not afraid of losing your job are you?"

"Not really, but I can't imagine working anywhere else."

"If you weren't able to be a scientist anymore what would you do?"

"I really have no idea," she thought for a moment. "Maybe a horticulturist?"

"Ah, another profession with big long words, I think I understand your motivation now." Yet another smile.

"What about you? What would you do if you weren't military?"

"I wish I knew," he sighed, his good mood dissipating.

"You sound like you're gonna be kicked out or something!"

"Or something."

"What's happened?" she sounded concerned.

"Never mind, you don't need to hear about it."

"You didn't get really get kicked out did you? I was only joking when I said it."

"No, not kicked out, more like dragged." He hoped she would leave it at that, but he doubted she would.

"By who?"

"My wife." 'Please don't ask anymore questions' he begged her silently. She seemed to take the hint.

"Oh."

"She got a job offer in Denver." 'Why am I still talking?' he was a little confused as to why he was telling this to her. "She told me that she's taking the job and my son with her. Apparently she thinks that if I want to be a part of their lives then I have to quit Black Ops." He scrubbed his face with the palms of his hands.

"So when are you moving to Denver?" Was it just him or did she sound a little disappointed?

"That's just it, I don't know if I am." He confided. "I mean, I don't wanna lose my son, but I doubt my marriage is worth saving."

"Couldn't you get joint custody?"

"I don't know, I mean, missions are sporadic at best, I never know when I'm gonna get sent off or to where. I don't see how a judge is gonna give me custody without some kind of stability." He said and as an afterthought; 'Huh, I guess that's what Sara was getting at.'

"You'd still have rights though, visitation at least."

"I just wish things hadn't gotten so out of hand."

"If it was just you, you'd stay?"

"Of course, but..."

"Your son"

"Yeah," he sighed, then snorted, "I wish I could talk to my wife as easily as I talk to you."

"It's always easier to talk to someone who's removed from the situation."

"I guess, let's talk about something else though, now."

"Sure"

An hour late they were still sitting at their table chatting about everything an nothing. He'd found out she liked classic cars, motorbikes and that science was actually fun to her and not just a job, that her mother had died when she was a teenager and that she hadn't spoken to either her father or her brother in a long time. In turn he told her about his love of Hockey, "The Simpsons" and his son Charlie. He also told her that he'd not spoken to his parents very much since joining the military.

"Hey Jack, you gonna sit there all day, or are you coming to training?" Kawalsky interrupted their conversation. Jack looked at his watch.

"Man, I didn't realise the time." Sam looked at her watch too.

"Oh, I better get to work, um, it was nice talking to you Colonel."

"Yeah you too, bye."

"Bye!" She left with a smile.

"So, you gonna tell me what you two were talking about or do I have to guess?" the Major jibed.

"Huh, oh just stuff." He replied, his eyes still on the door Dr Carter had left through.

"I thought you said you were married."

"I am."

"So what's going on with the Doc?"

"Nothing, we were just talking."

"Yeah, sure. Anyway we gotta get to training. I want the truth later!" And with that they too left the comissionary.

To Be Continued...

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