A/N: Warning: I wrote this during ConneXions, including part of it during the Friday night vid show in the dark -- I'll be internet-deprived for the next week, so I have no time to clean this up. Anyway, when I got done I realized that I had 2 hurts and 2 comforts -- 3 hurts if you count the fact of the death of an original character... :-) Oh, and the lamest title on earth, because I thought about it for a good, oh, 20 seconds, which is all I can spare...
The news that John had died hit me kind of hard. Yeah, it had been years since we were... close, and he'd stayed career Army after I had left all that so we never really saw each other anymore, but we still e-mailed sometimes, and I had so many memories, most of them good.
So I took to the couch to think back over them -- melancholy, I guess you'd call it, but not traumatized or angry... I'd lost John years ago, really, this was just the final step. So I was just... sad.
I guess Sandburg isn't used to that from me -- I know he thinks I keep everything bottled up and tucked in, and I guess that's pretty true, but hey, I'm learning.
But it seems to have thrown him off somehow. It was obvious that he didn't know what to do with plain old sad. He kept trying to "fix" me, like he always does, and he didn't know how.
He brought me tea. He brought me a beer. He offered me the blanket. He started a hundred questions, then fled to his room. I was feeling sorry for him, really, though yeah, I was feeling more sorry for myself.
He popped out of his room again, muttering something about movies, and ran out the door. I just kept sitting here on the sofa, sometimes picking up the photo album and leafing through again, mostly just thinking about John and about that other life, back in the Army before Peru.
I can hear him now, banging a plastic bag into the door as he tries to get it open. I consider getting up and helping him, but he's in before I make up my mind.
"OK, well, I wasn't sure what --" he pauses slightly "-- we were in the mood for, so I got a variety," he tells me, spilling out about eight tapes onto the coffee table. He starts sorting through them -- sci-fi, comedy, drama, even a western.
"So, what are you up for? We've got all sorts of things here, whatever you want, how about this one -- or this, this is good, you probably haven't seen this one --"
His pulse is racing, his mouth is racing, he's going to hurt himself here.
He looks up at me, wide-eyed.
"Sit." I pat the space next to me, and he sits.
I "shh" him and put a finger to his lips. We just look at each other for a minute, though I don't really know what we're seeing. I pull him to me, and he holds on tight. See, Chief? We always know how to fix each other, eventually -- it's not really as complicated as you make it sometimes.
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