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Fanfiction: The Letters Trilogy - Part I

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Series: Aftershocks
TAG to Episode: S7 Heroes Pt 1 and 2
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sam/Jack UST. Sam/Pete. Daniel/Janet UST. Janet/Team friendship.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

The Letters Trilogy

Part I: Delivered


Dear General Hammond,

If you're reading this letter than my lawyer has delivered the package that I have arranged in the event of my death. It seems weird to write this sitting here in my office at the SGC, but the recent attack on the Alpha site has proven that we can never know what will happen and I have realised that I need to make sure that things are said.

The letters to my family the lawyer will send, and truthfully I find that there isn't a lot to say to them. I know my mother, a woman who raised five children alone, knows that she was my role model in all things; that I love her and loved the memory of my father. I know my sisters understand that I wish we could have been closer but that I have love and affection for the years we spent growing up and getting into mischief together.

It's strange really to know that the letters I need to write are to the people I see every day; talk to every day. I'm sure the psychologists and psychiatrists on staff would have a field day with that.

You, sir, are the best commanding officer I have ever had the privilege of working with. I don't believe that we would have survived everything that we have faced if you hadn't been in charge at the SGC. I recall all those times we stood together waiting for our teams to return. There is nobody I trust more to deliver the rest of my letters. I leave them safely in your hands.

It has been an honour to serve with you.

Major Janet Fraiser, M.D

George Hammond gave a sigh and looked heavily at the door to Janet Fraiser's office. It had remained locked since her death two weeks previously and the person most appropriate to take care of the clear out – Samantha Carter – wasn't on base. SG1 had been placed on stand down due to the injuries Jack O'Neill had sustained in the same battle that had felled their CMO. All of them had taken the opportunity with Hammond's consent to spend time with Janet's daughter, Cassie.

Hammond felt his throat close up and he reached for his security card without thinking. He opened up the door and stepped inside. The coffee pot on the side was half-full; the stale bitter odour permeating the small space. Hammond made a note to get it removed. He wandered towards her desk and picked up the prominently displayed photo of Cassie. It wasn't recent; it didn't show the self-assured young woman who three days before had accepted the folded flag from Hammond's hands with dry angry eyes. Instead, the picture was of the young girl who had been rescued from Hanka; red-brown frizzy hair a cloud around her freckled face as she smiled shyly into the camera, her arms around her newly acquired dog.

'What are you doing…' The sharp tone dropped away immediately as Hammond turned to look at the woman in the doorway. He attempted to place her as she flushed brightly and raised a hand. 'Apologies, General, I thought you were an intruder.'

'No need to apologise.' Hammond said smoothly, replacing the picture and tapping the letter he carried, restlessly against his leg. 'It's Doctor Heightmeyer, isn't it?' The dove grey pant suit with the pretty lilac blouse and the shoulder length blonde hair worn down rather than up, gave away her civilian status.

She smiled warmly at him. 'I didn't expect you to remember me, General. And please, call me Kate.'

Hammond lifted a hand dismissively waving away her admiration. He made it a point to recognise everyone in his command – civilian or military.

'I'm sorry to disturb you,' Kate said softly, 'I'll leave you to it.'

'It's OK, Doctor,' Hammond gave a huff, 'I'm not sure what I'm doing here.'

'Remembering a friend.' Kate murmured, brushing her hair away from her eyes which gazed at him compassionately. 'We often seek out the places they inhabited most to saturate ourselves in what's left.'

She wandered up to the desk and picked up the photo Hammond had set down. Hammond resisted the urge to yank it away from her.

'When my father died I used to spend hours in his study curled up in his chair.' Kate confessed. 'The room reminded me so much of him.' She replaced the photo. 'I miss Janet already. I can't say we were friends beyond being colleagues but I respected her very much.' Her lips lifted in a rueful smile. 'She always fought fiercely for her patients.'

Hammond found himself smiling back. 'Yes, she did.' He sighed. 'I believe she would have taken on the Commander in Chief himself if he stood in her way regarding patient care.'

'You worked with her closely for a long time.'

It wasn't a question but Hammond nodded anyway. He looked away, pale blue eyes scanning over the battered chairs and worn furniture; the cold serviceable filing cabinets; all shadowed and dark in the dim lighting. 'Almost since the very beginning of the SGC.' But no longer. He struggled with the ache of loss that thought evoked.

'If you need to talk, General…' Kate offered, sympathetically.

'Thank you, Doctor.' Hammond took a deep breath and collected himself again. 'But no.' He would deal with his grief in his own way. 'I'm sure recent events have given you a full schedule.'

Between the attack on the Alpha site, the loss of the alliance with the Tok'ra and the rebel Jaffa, and Janet's death, the SGC had been hit hard.

'Excuse me, but what…' Anna Brightman stopped her furious accusation mid-breath and pushed her hands into her white lab coat pocket. 'Sorry, General; Kate.'

'My fault,' Hammond drawled easily, 'I stepped in for a moment and Doctor Heightmeyer came to investigate the open door.' He cleared his throat. 'Actually, I was on my way to find you, Doctor Brightman.'

Anna frowned at him. She didn't have Janet's natural warmth but Hammond valued her cool composure and competence. She nodded briskly and he couldn't help but note the shadows under her eyes. He made a mental note to check in with more of the medical staff; he felt Janet's loss so keenly himself he was in danger of losing sight of the fact that her department had lost its formidable leader.

'I'll leave you to it.' Kate said diplomatically. She smiled and placed a comforting hand on Anna's arm as she passed.

'Perhaps we could take this to your office, Doctor Brightman?' Hammond suggested kindly.

Anna nodded, casting a haunted look around Janet's small domain. They stepped out, locking the door behind them, and she led the way further down the corridor to an office which was slightly smaller but no less crammed. Hammond closed the door.

'Would you like a seat or some coffee, sir?' Anna offered crisply. She hovered in front of her desk nervously, barely holding to a position of attention remembered from basic officer training.

'At ease, Doctor. And, no, thank you.' Hammond declined politely. He cleared his throat. 'Firstly, I'd like to inform you that the Pentagon has approved your selection as Chief Medical Officer.' He saw her flinch as though absorbing a blow; her composure slipping for an instant. 'You were Doctor Fraiser's deputy and her recommendation to succeed her.'

'I never thought…' She seemed to think better of what she was going to say and drew in a long breath. 'This isn't something I've wanted, General, especially like this. I always thought that Janet would be here forever.'

'Me too, Doctor.' Hammond admitted softly. He hesitated and made a decision. 'If you would rather not accept the assignment, I can consider other candidates but I would need you to continue in place until one is assigned permanently.'

Her fingers reached up and played with the stethoscope around her neck. 'I appreciate that, sir. Would it…' her breath caught, 'would it be possible to have a couple of days to think about it?'

'Of course.' Hammond demurred. 'I can hold off a formal announcement for a short while.'

She nodded gratefully and he was aware that tears hovered in her eyes on the brink of falling.

Hammond lifted the envelope in his hand and turned it over before handing it to the doctor. 'Doctor Fraiser left letters. This one was addressed to you.'

Anna's eyes widened. She took the letter and stroked her fingers over her name, written in Janet's neat handwriting. 'We were friends but I didn't expect a letter.'

'You knew she had written them?' Hammond asked interested to know the answer. The existence of the letters had taken him by surprise. It wasn't unusual for military personnel to leave letters behind but he hadn't considered Janet would do it.

'We talked about it a few days after the attack on the Alpha site, sir.' Anna said simply.

'Well, I'll leave you to it, Doctor.' Hammond replied diplomatically hearing the warning tone in her voice not to question it further. 'Let me know as soon as you've reached a decision about the position.'

'Of course, sir.' Anna agreed quickly.

Hammond left without ceremony, closing the door behind him to give her some privacy in which to read the letter. He couldn't deny he was curious about what Janet had written to others. The heartfelt sentiment of her words in the letter he had received had touched him deeply; soothed and inflamed the hurt of her death simultaneously.

The walk to his office seemed longer than normal. Everything seemed longer; tougher; harder. Hammond wandered through the conference room and stared out at the Stargate. He had lost count of the times that he had stood by the window keeping vigil waiting for teams to come home. He had lost count of the times he had stood with Janet…

'Sir.'

Hammond looked over his shoulder and found Jack behind him. 'Colonel.'

Jack walked up and stood beside him. 'Don't worry; I haven't walked out of my interview with Bregman.' He waved a hand behind him. 'We're taking a break while they play with the lighting. Or the sound. Something.'

Hammond shot him a look. He knew Jack had only taken part in the filming because he had asked the other man as a personal favour.

'He showed me the film.' Jack rocked back a little as he pushed his hands into his pants' pockets. 'It's good.'

'That's what I thought.' Hammond sighed and rubbed a hand over his bald pate. 'I don't think I've ever felt so old as I do right now.'

'I hear that.' One of Jack's hands snuck to his side. He'd taken a hit on the field; stopped breathing; his heart had stopped beating. Sam had saved his life with CPR until he could be stabilised by medics. Jack had come away with deep bruising and a cracked rib but he'd lived.

Janet Fraiser had not.

Jack hummed. 'So, Walter said you wanted to see me, sir?'

'Come into the office, Colonel.' Hammond gestured and led the way into the small cosy room. He sank into his leather chair with relief while Jack closed the door and moved to stand in front of his desk.

'How are you all doing, Jack?' Hammond asked.

Jack's jaw tightened but he didn't evade the question. 'Cassie's angry. Carter's…devastated. Daniel isn't talking to any of us. I thank God for Teal'c because he's…' he cut himself off with a sharp hand wave. He took a breath and wet his lips. 'I might not be doing so well either.'

Hammond pointed at a chair. 'Have a seat, Jack.'

Jack collapsed into the seat more than sat. He rested his head against his clasped hands for a long moment; Hammond let him take it.

'I don't think any of us is doing so well.' Hammond admitted softly.

Jack raised his head and looked over at Hammond questioningly.

'I keep expecting to see her.' Hammond confessed in response to Jack's unasked query. 'She was such an integral part of my day here; of my command.'

'I know you don't need me to say it, sir, but this wasn't your fault.' Jack said. 'The reports indicate the Jaffa got off a freak shot. The inserts should have protected her.'

'It never hurts to hear it, Colonel.' He rubbed a thumb over his right temple. 'Woolsey has requested to see you again. I've informed him that you're still officially on medical leave.'

Jack grimaced. 'I can't believe that son of a bitch Kinsey won the election.'

'Hayes is OK.' Hammond thought out loud. 'But I'm sure we can expect trouble once they're sworn into office.' He shook his head and sat forward, reaching for the envelope. 'That's not the reason I asked to see you. Doctor Fraiser's lawyer contacted me today.'

'I thought the will was all sorted.' Jack said sharply.

'It is.' Hammond agreed, understanding Jack's concern was for Cassie. Janet had left everything but a few small bequests to her daughter. Cassie would want for nothing for the rest of her life, although most of it was held in trust until she was older. 'This was a recent addition to her last instructions.' He tipped the envelope and pulled out a stack of similar sealed letters to the one he had delivered to Brightman.

'I didn't realise she'd…' Jack eased back in the chair and motioned at the letters with a sigh.

'I gather from the letter she wrote to me that it was a recent decision.'

'Ah.' Jack sighed, his hand rubbing through his short grey hair. He stared at the stack with trepidation.

They'd both delivered too many of these letters in their careers, Hammond mused. He pressed his lips together and picked up the one that bore Jack's name. He reached across the desk and Jack took it with an expression that wouldn't have been out of place if it had been a live grenade.

Jack turned it over in his hands. 'Are they…'

'Mostly for SG1.' Hammond confirmed.

'Do you want me to…'

'No,' Hammond said quickly, 'but thank you for the offer. She asked me to deliver them and I want to honour that as much as I can. There's one for Jonas Quinn. I was hoping to ask Teal'c to deliver it.' He frowned. 'If I were to travel to Langara…'

'I understand, sir.' Jack waved away the explanation that Hammond would require an escort and it would be a big deal for the SGC base commander to go off world. 'Teal'c will appreciate the opportunity to see Jonas.'

'Are you all still at the Fraiser house?' Hammond asked.

Jack cleared his throat and gestured with the letter. 'I know all of us being there is unorthodox, sir, but…'

'You're Cassie's family.' Hammond stated firmly. 'There's no issue as far as I'm concerned, Jack.'

Jack nodded and got to his feet, gingerly placing a hand on his aching side. 'I should get back before Bregman sends out a search party.'

Hammond sighed and gently tapped the letter for Janet's daughter. 'I'll head over to deliver these letters in a few minutes.'

'Cassie's not going to take this well.' Jack murmured, fingering his own letter.

'It might bring her a measure of peace.' Hammond countered. He wasn't sure he believed it but he hoped it would.

Jack raised his scarred eyebrow in a move that telegraphed his silent thought of 'don't say I didn't warn you' before he cocked his head at the door.

Hammond dismissed him with a nod. He picked up his phone as soon as Jack was gone. 'I'm going out, Sergeant. Inform Colonel Dixon that he's in command until I return. I'll be back in a couple of hours.' He placed the phone back into the cradle and gathered the remaining letters. Janet had requested this of him and he had a duty to perform.

o-O-o

Dear Jack,

I know this is probably the last thing you want to read, Colonel, so I'm going to make it short and sweet.

I never did say thank you for recommending me for the position, did I? I'm not sure how you remembered me. It had to have been almost two years since our paths had crossed and I patched you up. But I'm so grateful that you did remember me because, no matter how my life has ended, I would not have missed this job or the past few years for the world.

I know I don't need to ask you to take care of Cassie; I know you'll be there for her so I'm going to leave you with one last piece of advice from your doctor: don't ever forget that you're a good man, Jack O'Neill, and that you deserve to be happy.

It has been an honour to serve with you.

Major Janet Fraiser, M.D

PS. I still don't forgive you for the dog.

'Just a few more questions, Colonel.'

Jack tried not to glare as Emmett Bregman smiled. Make nice, Jack told himself briskly. He had promised Hammond that he would cooperate fully and he would. And, after seeing the preliminary cut of the tape Bregman had made, he could even justify it to himself that it was a worthwhile endeavour.

'Let's talk about your team.' Bregman said, clutching the clipboard he held in one hand and raising the mug of coffee he had in the other to his lips.

Jack bristled defensively. 'What do you want to know?'

'You first met Daniel Jackson; that's correct, right?' Bregman's sharp brown eyes flashed with intelligence. 'On the first mission through the Stargate.'

'Yes.' Jack briefly argued internally with saying more before he gave a sigh of defeat. 'Actually, we'd met for the first time a few days before that when it took him less than five minutes to correct the translation on the cover stone.'

'Your first impression?' Bregman asked, looking genuinely interested.

'Geek.' Jack replied immediately, not even having to think about it. 'An intelligent smart ass geek.'

'Some would say that it's hard to believe that a military man such as yourself would be impressed by that.' Bregman commented.

Jack smiled dangerously, making Bregman aware that he knew he was being led. 'I wasn't, but then he saved my life.' He pointed at Bregman. 'That impressed me.'

Bregman nodded, evidently pleased at the answer. 'I'm curious as to why you agreed to leave him behind on Abydos.' He said. 'From everything I've heard you in particular have an ironclad policy against that.'

Jack smiled genuinely amused at the idea that he'd left Daniel. 'It was Daniel's decision to stay.'

'Because of his relationship with Sha're.' Bregman noted.

'You'd have to ask Daniel about his reasons.' Jack answered, annoyed at Bregman for bringing up Daniel's personal life, but he kept it out of his voice.

Bregman glanced at his clipboard. Jack assumed it was for effect, for the journalist to have a moment to gather his thoughts rather than any real need. He tried not to fidget under the gaze of the Airmen who were operating as Bregman's camera crew or the friendly support of the press liaison officer, Tom Rundall, standing at the back of the room.

'Let's move on to Teal'c.' Bregman said finally. 'Both Major Carter and Doctor Jackson credit you with convincing Teal'c to help save the people in the prison that day.'

Jack shrugged and winced when his ribs ached in protest.

'Many people would never have taken the risk of inviting an alien, the leader of your enemy's army, to return with you.' Bregman pressed.

Jack waved a hand. 'The guy helped us escape a man he thought was a God. It wasn't that much of a risk and he's more than proven that since.' He paused. 'He's a legend among his own people because he was the first to fight for their freedom. I think that says everything.'

Bregman nodded briskly. 'And what are your thoughts about Major Carter?'

He had to admire the guy, Jack mused disgruntled. Bregman had a way of getting his subjects off guard. 'What about her?' He said lightly.

'She was assigned to your team by General Hammond.' Bregman noted. 'You didn't choose her?'

'No, I didn't,' Jack acknowledged, 'but I've never regretted her assignment to my team. The Major is one of the most dedicated and honourable officers I've had the pleasure of working with. And smart; I mean, genius smart, a national treasure.' He shut up. God, he was babbling. He hoped to hell Carter never saw what he'd said.

'And beautiful.' Bregman smiled again. 'I have to admit I'm not sure I could work with her for so many years and not fall completely in love with her.'

'Well,' Jack hid his flinch behind a smirk, 'we have rules against that kind of thing in the military.'

'Are you saying your relationship with Major Carter is the same as any other military relationship? You've worked together a long time.'

'That's true.' Jack resisted the urge to squirm under the penetrating gaze. 'I would say my relationship with the Major is closer than usual military relationships but it's the same for my relationship with Daniel or Teal'c.' He lifted his chin; a dare to question his relationships further. 'We're family.'

'Thank you, Colonel.' Bregman signalled the cameraman and the light went off. Filming was over.

Jack breathed out in relief, reaching for the mike even as the other Airman in the room darted to his side to help him.

'I really do appreciate your coming in.' Bregman said. 'I understand that you're on medical leave.'

Jack straightened up as the Airman moved away and saw Bregman hovering nervously. 'You should thank the General. I wouldn't be here otherwise.'

Bregman gave a huff of laughter.

'The documentary's good.' Jack said, giving in and telling the guy the truth. 'It's…good.'

'Not to smaltzy? Bregman asked, worriedly. 'At the end there…with Doctor Fraiser's memorial, I was concerned…'

'No.' Jack fought with his emotions for a moment. 'It puts her at the heart of it.'

'I got the impression that's where she was when she was alive.' Bregman said quietly. 'I didn't spend much time with her but what little I did, I got the impression she was a remarkable woman.'

Jack nodded, unable to speak about Janet to Bregman. He gestured at the door. 'We done?'

'Yes, yes, of course.' Bregman moved aside to let him out.

'Jack.' Tom said formally, although his eyes twinkled.

'Tom.' Jack replied. He walked out of the door and paused a moment in the corridor to take a breath as his ribs complained.

'I think he's nuts.' One of the young Airmen said.

Jack stiffened and was a hairsbreadth from turning around and dressing the kid down.

'I mean, why would you want to have dinner with Mary Steenburgen when there's Major Carter?'

OK, so the kid had a point. Jack grimaced and hurried away to the locker room. He was relieved to find it empty and he lowered himself to the bench with a groan. He felt old just like Hammond had said earlier. God, it had been two weeks and he still felt like he'd been hit by a truck. Everything ached right down to the bone.

He stared at his closed locker door. Hammond would have finished delivering the letters. God. It was going to be a disaster.

Cassie was going to throw a fit. She was angry. Angry at Janet for dying. Angry at Sam for being alive. Angry at him for taking Janet off world. Angry at Daniel for not being around even though he was sleeping in the den. The only person she wasn't angry with was Teal'c. Somehow the Jaffa defused her. Or maybe she knew she just couldn't get away with the crap she was throwing at the rest of them with Teal'c. She'd been angry enough to refuse to attend the memorial. Angry enough to declare in loud tones that she was never going near the fucking – her word not his – Stargate again ever. If it hadn't been for Teal'c he wasn't sure Cassie would have attended the funeral.

Carter was struggling. She was practically drowning in her own grief over losing her best friend. It was so close to how she'd been with Daniel that it made Jack's heart ache because there was no reprieve with Janet. No Ascension. No way for Janet to come back and visit them when they were scared or lonely. And there was a boatload of guilt Sam had stored up for saving him and not Janet despite the fact that they hadn't been close to Janet's position; had no way of knowing Janet had fallen; that it wouldn't have made a difference if Carter had been right beside Janet because the insert hadn't worked for her and she'd been blasted right through her vest.

Jack had no idea how to comfort Carter. She'd let him hug her, hold her. But he had no right to do that.

She hadn't called the cop. The cop hadn't called her as far as Jack could tell. Maybe she'd asked Shanahan for space while she concentrated on Cassie. Jack could believe that.

It was his own tiny reprieve from losing Carter.

She was happy with the cop, Jack reminded himself. Just because she was grateful that Jack hadn't died out on the battlefield, just because she was glad he was alive enough to tell him and seek out his comfort in flagrant disregard for the regulations for once…it didn't mean anything. Jack couldn't let it mean anything. They were still in the same team; still bound by the same regulations.

And there was the cop.

Jack pushed himself to his feet and started to undress. Daniel was taking Janet's death just as hard as Carter. Daniel was avoiding everyone, trying Jack assumed to deal with his own grief and guilt at being unable to save Janet. Daniel had managed to reach out to Simon Wells though, Jack mused with a pang of jealousy. He just wished Daniel would talk to him.

Clearly Hell had frozen over.

But the truth was Jack knew Daniel. He knew that his friend was suffering. He knew that Daniel's usual way of dealing with grief was to shut down, and the last time Daniel had done that, Daniel had pushed them all away and Ascended. Jack couldn't let that happen again – wouldn't let that happen again.

Thank God for Teal'c, Jack mused as he pulled on his jeans and reached for a clean t-shirt. He winced as he pulled it over his head, ignoring his multi-coloured torso.

The Jaffa was grieving – Jack had no doubt about that. It was written all over his features if someone knew what to look for but Teal'c had been an oasis of calm in what felt like chaos.

The locker door opened and Dave Dixon entered.

'Jack.' Dave greeted him wanly; his laconic humour missing in action.

'Dave.' Jack reached for his jacket and shrugged into it. 'You done for the day?'

'Yeah, Hammond got back ten minutes ago.' Dave grimaced as he stripped down efficiently. 'I don't know what he was doing off base but he looks like someone ran him over with a dump truck.'

'The doc left letters.' Jack told him quietly. 'He went to deliver them.'

Dave sucked in a breath as though Jack had punched him in the gut and his face lost all vestiges of colour. 'Crap.' His knees buckled and he sat heavily on the bench, naked except for his boxers, his BDU pants crumpling in his fisted hands. 'Crap.'

Jack's eyes raked over his fellow Colonel's face. Dave was a great strategist; a good guy; one of the best officers in the SGC. Jack sometimes thought his late friend Kawalsky would have ended up like Dave if he'd lived. He hadn't seen Dave since the memorial. Dixon had been as stoic as Jack; trussed up in the dress blues to honour a woman who had died on the battlefield where they had survived.

'It wasn't your fault, Dave.'

'It was my mission.' Dave argued.

'I was the senior officer on the field.' Jack countered.

'I had command.' Dave tossed back, his angry eyes shooting to Jack's.

'Are we really going to do this?' Jack asked bluntly.

Dave glared at him for a long moment and blew out a breath. He tossed his pants on the floor. 'I guess not.' He sighed. 'Shame because I could really do with hitting something right about now and you were looking good for it.'

'If it makes you feel any better I already have several hundred bruises.'

'Not really.' Dave snorted.

Jack sat down beside him and clasped his hands together loosely. 'You know she wouldn't want you blaming yourself. Or me blaming me. Or me blaming you blaming me. Variations thereof.'

Dave crumpled. Tears sprang into his eyes. 'She saved Wells. His kid will grow up knowing her Daddy because she saved him, Jack, and the only reason Wells was down was because I fucked up. I should have brought them home the minute that probe hit the ground.'

'You couldn't have known.' Jack said, knowing the words wouldn't ease Dave's guilt but saying them anyway. 'You had back-up. The ruins could have been important. It wasn't just your call. She died doing what she was there to do; saving someone's life.'

'Shit.' Dave swiped at his face angrily. Jack placed a hand on the back of Dave's neck; a silent show of support.

The locker room door opened and a young Marine barrelled into the room, and the sound of footsteps indicated the rest of his team weren't far behind him. The kid's young face was a picture of surprise as he took in the two senior officers.

'Out. Now.' Jack ordered briskly. 'And take your team somewhere else for the next ten minutes, Lieutenant.'

'Sir, yes, sir.' The baby Marine turned tail and slammed the door shut.

Dave gave a choked laugh. 'Sorry. Guess the gossip mill's going to have something new to discuss, huh?'

Jack shrugged, gave Dave's neck a friendly squeeze and dropped his hand. He doubted the kid would say anything. Ford had a good reputation for being a decent guy around the base. 'Why don't we go get a beer? You can get very drunk and I'll drive you home.'

'Helen will be pissed.' Dave murmured even as he stood and started dressing.

'Your wife will take it for the opportunity it is to blackmail me shamelessly into babysitting your hellions one night.' Jack stated. He ignored the rush of envy. Dave's wife was a great lady; his four kids hell on wheels.

'I'm not going to stop her.' Dave commented dryly as he dragged on a t-shirt. He grabbed his jacket and closed his locker. He paused and looked over at Jack. 'You get a letter?'

'Yeah.' Jack admitted, standing.

Dave looked at him curiously.

Jack pushed his hands into his pockets. 'She told me she wouldn't have missed it for the world.'

Dave's lips twisted as he registered the depth of Jack's own lingering guilt. 'The doc had class.' He clapped a hand on Jack's shoulder. 'Come on. Let's go get me very drunk.'

It sounded good to Jack.

Continued in Part II.

 

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