2236-11-10 - Understandings

Jacob and Cate have an actual conversation and maybe sort a few things out.

Date: 2236-11-10

Location: Enlisted Berthings

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 868

Jump to End

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Enlisted Berthing Deck 7

11/10/2016 ~ 11/10/2236


The enlisted crew quarters are cramped, each berthing area holding dozens of soldiers or sailors. The only real privacy aboard ship can be found in one's bunk, when the gray curtains are drawn. The bunkbeds are stacked three high, lined in rows along each wall and down the center of the room. Lockers occupy the space between the bunks, almost hidden behind smooth paneling.

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With a couple dozen people sharing a barracks - even with people on different duty shifts - the barracks is rarely completely empty. But there are times when it's more quiet than others. Right now, late enough that a lot of people have either gone to bed or headed off to the graveyard watch, it's pretty quiet. Cate is just returning to the berthings from someplace, looking tired, wearing her duty fatigues.

What else would Jacob be doing besides drinking when he's not working? His bunk is tucked away against one of the walls of the berthings, allowing him some semblance of privacy with people seeming to go about their own business. He's seated on his bunk, leaning forward out of the alcove, feet on the floor, a flask in on hand and staring blankly at a picture in the other. There's something of a ruminating look on his face, even as he tilts back his flask and looks at the picture for another long moment, turning it over and tucking it away into his alcove, out of sight. Most times, when he's by himself, he find himself starting, usually at nothing in particular. The floor the opposite wall, as if focusing on inner thoughts. And somewhere other than where he is presently.

Cate's forehead creases when she sees him sitting there, but she makes no acknowledgement or greeting. As usual, really, on those few occasions when they've passed each other in the berthings. She stops by her locker, which is a few bunks up the row from Jacob's. At least the fates weren't cruel enough to make them next-bunk-neighbors or anything. Only cruel enough to put them in the same platoon and the same barracks. She opens the locker and begins changing clothes. Out of the duty khakis and into the sweats and T-shirt that are her usual sleeping attire. A year in communal living with the marines has muted her self-consciousness. The tattoo Jacob gave her is still there, on her hip. And the war has left her with a few scars, notably a collection of small shrapnel marks on her left arm, side and leg.

It's very unlike Jacob to be this unobservant. Sean was much more aware of his surrondings. But times change, people get more withdrawn. And Jacob is nothing but something who's lose, or rather trapped in a prison of his own making. Another swig of from the flask. The isolation has never really gotten used to. Someone on the outside looking in. Or even, someone who doesn't even want to be inside anymore. The man seems to own little. Where there's adornments that marines have put in their little alcoves, stuff that makes them personalized or 'theirs', there's little of that with him. Usually, his bunk looks like it's never been slept in if one were to take a glance at it while he was out.

"Eh, is Marx drinking again?" say one marine to another in same area Cate is in, though far away to be out of Jacob's hearing.

"Do Cylons have one eye?" the other remarks lazily. A Virgon, from his tone of voice. "He's a Hibernian - what do you expect."

Cate listens to the exchange, frowning. She tries to tell herself that it's no concern of hers. That she doesn't care. She pulls on the fresh clothes, stuffing the others into her laundry bag. Shutting the locker, she sighs. "Frak." It's mumbled too softly for anyone else to hear. She rubs her face, a what-am-I-doing look written all over it.

"Think he's going to be in any shape to fight this weekend? I got cubits riding on him."

"Frak if I know. C'mon, there's cards going on in the rec room." The two head out, continuing in their chattering.

As for Jacob, he turning the flask over and over in his hands. It's dented and tarnished. The thumbs over the engraving on it, frowning a bit.

Cate glances at her own bunk. Like Jacob's, there's not much there at the moment to personalize it. Nor has the doctor-turned-medic gone out of her way to socialize with the others in the platoon. After a few more moments of hesitation, she walks down toward his bunk, stopping a short distance away. "Hey," she says in tentative greeting, well aware that they didn't exactly leave things in a good place.

Jacob stares at the flask, before tilting tit back, taking another swig. "This used to be my dad's." he finally says after a moment. "Mom gave it to him as a wedding gift. One of those sentimental thing, wasn't supposed to be used. Kept in a box on the mantle. Always said it looked nicer than in his pocket. And figured that 'his fatass would eventually dent it' if he forgot it was there too many times. Dad always was the forgetful sort, though usually with little shit, like bread, flour, and toliet paper. Always toliet paper." Odd way to greet someone, just blurting that out, but he always could talk to her. About anything. He thumbs his hand over the engraving again. "Better times." There's a certain bitterness to those two words, even as subdued as his voice is. "Hey."

It is an odd greeting, but Cate's perplexed frown softens as she listens to the entire thing. She folds her arms, but not in a hostile manner. More of just an awkward one. She leans against the corner of his bunk, near the locker. She starts to say something, then stops. Then starts again. Third time's the charm, though, she she finally manages to ask, "What's that on it?" She means the engraving, which she can only barely see with his thumb running over it.

"I was just thinking about him, that's all. Wondering what he'd make of all this. The war. If he'd have anything insightful to say. He usually did. In that practical, blue-collar sense. Probably platitudes I've heard dozens times before, but I think it would just feel better hearing it from him." Jacob remarks. "'Daniel, if your heart were the stars, I would drink them in forever. Always in love, never apart. Claire.'" he reads off the inscription.

"That's sweet," Cate says, a little dully. It's not lost on her that his mother's name is the same that he told her. She lets out a soft sigh. "I don't even know if my dad's still alive." Her frown turns sad, and she just watches him quietly for a minute. Studying the features on that sad face. "What happened to your face?" she wonders idly. A medic's professional curiosity mingled with faint concern and a desperation to avoid talking about what brought her over here.

"That's mom. Always thought up these stupidly sweet things to say, even if they didn't need to be said. I guess that's just how she was." Jacob says that like he doesn't rightly know, but then again, he did say that she died when he was young. And it's getting harder to remember her. He touches at his face a moment. "Some was a from a Cylon. Jumped me in an alley while we were sweeping a block when the uprising first started. I don't recommend trying to punch them. Combat knife to their visual sensors works a lot better in close range. The rest. Matches. Won some, lost some. It starts to build up after time."

"Yeah," Cate offers a somber agreement to the comment about his mother. She nods about the injuries. "Hell, I wouldn't want to go toe to toe with one of them." She watches him quietly for another few moments, then lets out a soft sigh. Wordlessly, she goes to sit down on the bunk beside him. Assuming he doesn't, like, shove her away or anything.

"I've talked to some greenies who just joined up. From places where they hardly had any Cylons. They really don't get it." Jacob frowns deeply. "It's not like fighting a person. They don't feel pain, they don't feel anything. No remorse, no sympathy, no nothing. It's not a war of ideals or about land or anything political, philosophical or religious. They just want us dead. No compromise, no negotiation, and no compassion. I've tried to tell them that. Men, women, children, elderly. If it's human, they open fire. Seen too many gunned down in the street, then stepping over the bodies like they're debris." He leans his elbows on his knees, unbothered by her sitting next to him. "Some of the colonies don't rightly get it. Not completely. Virgon got a really bad wake up call. It was godsdamned trench warfare, fighting over a handful of city blocks at a time. And right now, it seems like we're worlds away but, there's a lot of people dying, right this minute. Sometimes, I think I can hear them. So yeah, it's terrifying, more terrifying than anything I've come across."

Cate presses her lips. "I don't know. Some of the things I've seen... I think there's more to it than just extermination. But whatever it is they want, you're right - they're frakking monsters." Her voice is tight. "Sometimes it's hard to imagine just how many they've killed." She also leans forward like he does, clasping her hands together in her lap.

"Maybe." the sergeant concedes. "But in the end, what does matter. Our survival depends on stopping them, not on understanding them." Jacob remarks. "This isn't exactly where I wanted to be, but, I guess it's better than the alternative." Eyes peek at her from the corner of his eyes, first time he's actually looked at her tonight. "Millions. Let that number roll around in your head. Millions. I still really can't exactly fathom it. I don't think that's a number you can even rationalize. Not really." Another tip back from his flask. "I guess it's a silver lining that my parents are gone. Not a world I'd want them to live in. And, well, I guess I don't have to be worried about them. Worried about Jena but, for all I know she could've been gone for years and I'd never know. And if she's gone, well, I hope her kid is alright. Never found out his name."

"Understanding the enemy can help stop them. Know what they want, anticipate what they might do." It's almost like she's having a regular old conversation with another grunt, except it isn't. The tension in Cate's shoulders and faint frown on her face make that clear enough. "Whole cities wiped out - it almost has to be tens of millions. It's incomprehensible. I feel bad for the people who don't know what happened to their families. There was a guy on the Argyll... he was deployed when the war started, and his wife and kids were in occupied territory. Had no idea if they were alive or dead. I couldn't imagine."

"I dunno. No debates. No intention. Just sudden, calculated warfare. Part of me wonders just how long this has been planned. And why wasn't it seem beforehand." Jacob waves a hand. "I'm no computer person, so maybe it doesn't matter. At least to me. The CDF offered me the chance, I took it. Better than staying on Virgon." Then a nod. "It was weird, walking through this huge city on Virgon and hardly anyone was there. Anyone living anyways. Cars with doors open in the middle of street, twenty story buildings that had toppled over. All this concrete and glass looking like knocked over toys. Surreal. At the beginning of the war, one of forward scouting points was an abandoned strip joint. The lights were still on when we first found it." As if it seems almost sympathetic, he nods. "Hope your friend found his family."

"Yeah, I mean, how do millions of robots start planning armageddon without anybody noticing?" Cate shakes her head dubiously. The description of Virgon gets a grim frown. "It's creepy as hell. It was like that on Picon too. And I hope he does too. He hadn't gotten any word by the time I shipped out to come here."

"I'm sure it's beyond me, but I'd have to think there was some kind...I don't know, IT or computer people that kept tabs on that kind of thing. One day just upped and decided killing everyone was a good idea. Can't be the simple. But then again, I can't say I ever grew up around a lot of them. Or around many of them. And you just seemed to ignore the ones that were. Didn't stick out, like a car or train." He shrugs it off. "And where did they get their ships from? Those things just seem to magically appear too. How did people not know they were off building them? Did the resources to build them just suddenly vanish and nobody noticed? Seem like a lot of questions nobody has answers to. Or I just haven't been asking the right people. Or maybe it just doesn't matter." His thumb runs over the inscription on the flask again, before taking another swig from it. "My job is shoot them, not to understand them. I'll leave that to people smarter than me with the training to do that."

"Well I don't know how it was on Virgon, but on Picon they took over the Navy ships. The flyboys called them 'Cypers' - Cylon Vipers. One of my friends... he found out about the uprising when his Cylon ECO put a fist through his helmet." Her brow creases, a sad look creeping into her face. "But yeah. Seems like somebody somewhere should've been able to clue in to what was up." Cate's eyes track the flask, the corners of her eyes creasing a little in concern. She doesn't want to give a shit. It's his life to drink away. But damn it, she just can't help herself.

"Kinda the same, only it was a military base I was at. And we had a firefight on our hands within the damn barracka. I was coming out of the gym in sweats when one of the military models attacks me in the doorway, mostly because I started to hearing gunshots and wondering what the hell was going on. Next thing I know, I'm beating a Cylons head in with a thirty pound dumbbell. Which works, by the way." Then again, anything that weighed thirty pounds and being used by him as a cudgel would cave anyone's skull in. "We were able to take the base back, there were more of us than them and set up some kind of defensive perimeter around it, realizing pretty quick we have to switch to using AP round exclusively. "Sorry about your friend.

Cate nods slightly. There's a flicker of something on her face when he mentions being at a base. A stark reminder that he's been in the military since before this started. Since before she met him. "Least you had something to use as a weapon. I was watching a Pyramid game." But those memories are even more unpleasant than the first ones, and she's looking down at her hands with a sad expression. The condolences about her friend causes her to drag her eyes back up to him. "He was okay. Thick skull." A brief, wan smile touches her lips before the troubled frown returns.

"It was either that or break my arm at it." Jacob remarks off-handedly. "Nobody had it better or worse. Not going to claim my story is any less relevant to how it happened to someobody else. Just another story in millions, nothing really special or important about it." He hasn't been looking at her much. Fact is, his face seems more distracted, as if his mind has been elsewhere while still holding down conversation. "So." he starts, as if debating if the question isn't the best one to ask. "Why did you join? Because you're the last person I'd expect to wear the uniform. There's plenty of civilian aid stations scattered across different colonies that would've taken you in a heartbeat."

Cate shakes her head. "No, I didn't mean it that way. The whole thing sucked for everyone." She doesn't answer his question right away, her fingers fidgeting a little as she considers the response. "I was in Hyperion when the Cylons attacked. Six months under siege, fighting for our lives. After everything I'd seen... sitting on the sidelines wasn't an option." She doesn't look at him directly there, but he would probably recognize the sad, haunted look common to all too many war veterans.

Jacob just gives this non-committal 'mmm' sound, nodding. He's been handling it better than other. But then again, it's no secret that the man has a death wish these days. When you stop caring about yourself, stuff seems to stop bothering you. Or this is just something he's used to doing. "Well, whatever your reasons, it's not something everyone would choose. There's plenty of guerrilla groups scattered about various occupied colony worlds. Now for one in Virgon. Wish them all luck." Maybe there's a suggestion that he thought she would do better with one of those groups, but he doesn't say it. "Still, going to need more people who know the right thing to do when they see it. Though I'm pretty sure enlistment across all colonies has jumped up by leagues."

"That's what I did in Hyperion. Went out with the marines because they were short of medics. It was different once we got out of the city and regrouped with the fleet. They weren't too keen on random civilian doctors from another colony pitching in. And just wandering into occupied territory to join a guerrilla group isn't easy." Which might suggest that she tried. Cate lets out a soft sigh. "It wasn't easy, signing those papers. My dad would probably disown me if he knew." She fidgets with her watch, voice becoming softer. More awkward. "I wondered if I'd ever run into you."

"Random civilian doctors, while helpful, don't have the training that even military doctors get. Not saying they were trying to be a dick about it but, anyone without training in a wartime situation would be considered a liability." Jacob giving a sense of 'it's not you, it's a rule for everyone' kind of thing. "Can't say that was something that was on my mind. I had never planned setting foot on Hibernia again. Well, not unless I planned on getting shot. Though granted, if I manage to live through this war by some miracle, I may just go back for that reason. Be a good end to the story. Or at least an end period."

"I learned more about war in Hyperion than I did in basic," Cate says with a shrug. But then, she never was much for rules. His answer about Hibernia causes her to frown deeply. She says nothing at first, but eventually sighs again. "You know, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I'd do if I ever did." See him again, that is. "Imagined ways to make you suffer. Break a kneecap maybe, kick you in the balls a few times." She snorts at the thought. "But I think you've managed to torture yourself more than I ever could have." A grudging acknowledgement there.

"You still can, if you want." Jacob shrugs, which results in another pull from the flask. "It's called taking accountability. I'm sure another person would just say 'it was their job' and go about their life. Dad always told me to do what I thought was best, but own up to what you did, even when you thought you were doing the least amount of harm. Fact is, everything I did was about the best I could do. Anything else, would've wound up a lot worse. Even if anything else is what I might've wanted to do. So...all this?" he gestures at himself. "Should've just stayed in the mob. I might've even grown to like it after awhile."

Cate shrugs a little. "I thought it would make me feel better. But it doesn't." A hollow admission there. The last comment seems to sting a bit, but she tries to shake it off by forcing a shrug. "Maybe. Sean wouldn't have. But he wasn't real, was he." The rhetorical question is accompanied by a sigh. Another few seconds tick by, as she debates saying more. There's a glance up and down the bunk row to make sure nobody is in immediate earshot, and she lowers her voice further. "Why didn't you leave? After Jana's wedding? After you saw what they were really like? That anger on your face that day, the way you kicked that guard's ass... that couldn't have been an act." Or so she desperately wants to believe.

"Because Sean was me. The man you knew was the man I was. At least up until the day I left. Or a couple weeks later, once the gravity of everything really set in. There was...nothing to be happy or upbeat about. There was no point. You don't get over something like that. And maybe I didn't want to forget, because forgetting would mean you're okay with it." At least that sounds like something Sean would say. The question gets him to sigh. "Why do you think?" he gives a pointed look to her. She's the reason he stayed, clearly. "I could've been asked to of been pulled out that night. When my captain came in before the cops did. Could've told him I couldn’t handle. That I got too close. Fact is, I was mad enough at him to put my fist through his head. But there was no good choice. I didn't know how I felt. Did I agree more with your politics after the wedding? Yes, without a doubt. Was I disillusioned by my own military? Yes. Would I, at the time, gone rogue? If I thought I could've gotten away from it, maybe. Where I stood, I realized that neither side were innocent, and both sides had done horrible shit to each other, with innocent people getting caught in the middle. The train bombing, the wedding. Which is better? I had two choices and neither of which I was unsure how I felt anymore. I was stuck. On the one hand you had a group of people that believed they deserve autonomy, and they do, but went through questionable methods to do it. On the other hand a military that will clearly go to any lengths to keep what they have, innocent lives lost be damned. And all I could think about at the time was how to protect you the best that I could."

"You think if I told you, after the wedding who I really was, you'd want anything to do with me? That you wouldn't just turn me over to your uncle on the spot? I didn't honestly know, but I'd like to think you would...I dunno, come to terms with it. And besides, even if I did decide that going AWOL was my best choice, it wouldn't matter. Even if I said, I had all this information that'd be vital to the military and I'd be willing to hand it over, it'd be pointless. For a couple reason. A, you know as well I do, now anyways, that were something like that happened, all my accessed codes would've been changed. B, Any plans I knew, would've been altered. C, Tommy would've figured it out and reported back that I had gone off the reservation. And you know what would've happened then?" This, by the way he's explaining, sounds a lot like this is something he's spent a very long time thinking about.

"I would've been hunted down by the military for turning traitor. Not only would I have a 'shoot on sight' order put on me, anybody else that I was close with would've been guilty by association as well." Another look at her. "You would've been hunted down as well, because I think you would've ran with me. Or I like to think that. So not only would I have of put your life in danger, I would've ruined your medical career, I would've taken you away from your home and eventually, I think you would've started to resent me for it. And I didn't want you to have to live like your father did. Or your uncle. That's not what your grandfather would've wanted. What I did, in my mind, was the best solution to try limit whatever damage I would've done. And no, it wasn't the best choice. It was the best choice out of a list of bad choices." Another drink, which seems to finish the flask, before it's tossed behind him on bunk. "I'm sorry. It was best I could do. It wasn't enough, and it'll never be enough."

"The difference is that the train bombing was an accident. A frakked up bad decision, but still an accident. The wedding was cold-blooded murder." Cate keeps her voice low, looking around to make sure nobody is in earshot. His explanation causes her frown to deepen. "You really think I would've just handed you over to die?" She looks hurt by the suggestion. "You shouldn't have made that decision for me. It was my life too." But still, she doesn't sound angry about it now. Just sad. Hurt. Resigned.

"Not going to debate the politics of it. Both sides have a 'you're either with us or against us' mentality, and yes Cate, both sides do have that outlook, innocent people are caught in the middle, who don't want to get involved are going to die for someone else's cause. That doesn't make it right, and to be honest, I'm not condemning it, but that's the optics of it. You were the most compassionate one I knew. What happened at the train actually bothered you. I didn't see that from anyone else. And that bothered me. The military were already reducing people to numbers, but your people were on the same track to getting to that point as well. And when it reaches that, nobody is 'right' anymore. I dunno, maybe I had a different perspective because I found myself caught in the middle." That does give a particular viewpoint on it.

"I don't know. I'd like to think you wouldn't, but you were so...fanatically belonging to the cause. Not with good reason, I should point out. But to be honest, apart of me did think your loyalty to your uncle, to the cause, outweighed whatever you felt towards me. And maybe that too was mistake. Granted, that made you a better person than me. At least you were loyal. That's not a claim I can make anymore. And, no, maybe not, but it kept you safe. I told myself, weeks after, that I could live with the fact that you could hate me for it. You could hate me, but you'd also be alive and free to do so. That's what mattered. That's the only thing that ever mattered. I didn't want you to end up like your father in prison. Or your uncle, constantly in hiding. I wanted you to be a doctor, I wanted you to have your own life and have the choice to do what you wanted to do. You couldn't have that if you were dead or imprisoned. So maybe I maybe I made the choice for both of us. I don't regret it, because I know the alternatives would've been worse for both of us."

"So you were willing to risk your career and your freedom and your happiness to protect me, but you didn't think I'd do the same for you?" That stings, no lie, and Cate looks away from him, staring across the bunkroom. But then she admits quietly. "But I suppose I gave you reason enough to think that." All those times she kept her feelings close to the vest. Even now, not really able to put words to them.

"I didn't do it because I was trying to be some martyr. And I didn't do without taking your feelings into account. I just...couldn't think of any better way. The less you knew about who I was, I thought the safer you'd be. And...that worked, didn't it? The military never looked twice at you, you weren't thrown in jail, and you were free. Whatever else you might've thought about me, I didn't do what I did just to spite you. Or that I didn't trust you. And as much as I wanted you to trust me, you didn't. You trusted Sean. You trusted a man I wished I could've been. Despite how much of me there was in him." Reaching behind him, he picks up the picture he was looking at. "There were days it tore at me. That you deserved to know. That I couldn't keep treating you like that. But at that time, neither of us would've been willing turning on the people we were associated with. I didn't stay with the military because out of loyalty. I did it for a couple reasons."

The picture, shockingly enough, is of them. Better times. For all that hates himself, he still think about her. "I hated my superiors for what I was being told to do, but not other guys just like me. Who joined because it was a way out of a bad life. Just regular men and women who treated the uniform like another job. At the same time, I believed in you. In what you were doing." He trails off. "There's no...explaining it away. Being drawn in two directions. Seeing things from two sides, understanding it and only going along with your orders because you think you save more lives if you do. Maybe I was wrong, I don't even know anymore. As much as I would like to do it all over again, I can't. Can't take it back."

Cate pulls her eyes back to him when he reaches for the picture. The fact that it's of them takes her aback, and only adds to the sad pall on her face. "You don't know what I would've been willing to do," she points out softly. "You never gave me the chance. I don't know if I could've gotten past it. But I would've protected you. Even when I was the angriest, I never wanted you dead." She lifts her gaze from the picture to his face. "I don't like seeing you like this. Giving up. Wanting to die."

"It was a wuss's way out." Jacob replies. "Sure it kept you safe, but it also meant I didn't have to be there when the truth came out. I know that. I couldn't of just told you. Couldn't of just come clean. No, you had to find out some other way. No, I didn't know, I think I was too scared to know. Couldn't stand the idea of seeing you look at me like I just stabbed you in the back. Doing what I did thought was the best out of a bad situation, but I won't lie that it didn't give me a way to cope. Because it did. Couldn't live with myself. Hell, still can't." A non-committal grunt rumbles out of his chest at her admittance. "There's no helping me, Cate. There's nothing to save. You got the best part of me, parts I could be proud of. I can't take back what I did. I can't bring back Tommy, I can't bring back the others. Free them. I can't have you back. All I got are memories, of the better man I used to be." If the rings around his eyes could be any darker, they'd be painted on, and it's like the shadows around him grow even longer. Then, as if it was almost an afterthought. "Is Herman alright?" Can't deny he still loves that cat to pieces, never mind they did bond over him.

"You don't have to take it back. We all have things we have to live with that we'd rather not. Doesn't mean we need to throw our lives away. Tommy..." Cate's throat bobs when she says his name, something she hasn't done in a long time. "He couldn't live with what he'd done." She lowers her voice even more, barely a whisper. "He was the one who set up the gear that hit the train. And I think, what he did after… it was his version of suicide by cop. I loved him, but the only person to blame for his death is himself." She sighs, then, and looks away, sadly, until he asks about Herman. Then she actually manages a tiny smile. "Yeah. I left him with one of my other cousins when I went to Picon for the Fair. When I didn't come back, they figured I was dead and pretty much adopted him. He's happy there. They've got two little girls, love him to pieces."

"What do I have left to live for, Cate? Give me a reason?" Jacob looks at her, it's not angry, maybe frustrated more than anything else. "No family, no friends, no home. Nothing. The only reason I can stand the CDF is because it's not the Virgon military. Couldn't believe how fast I changed uniforms once I got transferred. Tell my old Captain to get frakked if I ever crossed paths with him again." His heated tone dwindles once he learns the truth about Tommy. "He...never said. All he told me, on anything, was to make you happy for as long as I could, as best as I could. He asked it almost like it was some kind of final request, I never really understood. Maybe not until now. I'm sorry, he was a friend. I cared about him." Hearing about Herman, well, there's a small, albeit, bitter smile on his face. "I'm...glad. I miss him. But. I'm glad. Gods, I miss him. I miss that apartment. I miss..." he sighs, rubbing at his face. Eyes specifically. "I'm sorry."

"I have a picture of him and the girls on my email someplace." Cate listens to the revelation about Tommy, a sad crease to her brow. And it only gets worse at his last remark. "I miss him too." There's a moment's hesitation, and she admits, softly. "And I miss Sean." She swallows hard. "The other day you wanted to know what the hell I wanted?" There's a raw emotion in her face, a vulnerability she rarely allows to be seen. "I wanted to know if any part of him was real. Or if I was just the biggest, most gullible frakking idiot in all of the Twelve Colonies." Now it's her turn to rub at her eyes.

"You want to know something? I'm a shitty undercover agent." Jacob muses darkly. "I had this whole persona figured out. Where Sean had come from, what he did for a living. Names of friends and family, all of that. But the moment I met you, that whole thing just flew out the window. And I couldn't help but just be...me, around you. All of him was me. What you met was the man I used to be. No filter, no lies about my past. Eventually, I just went with it, realizing that it was easier to be me and just have a fake name. So no, you're not some idiot. Everything I told you was the truth. Who I was, was the truth." He looks at the picture in his hand. "Why do you think I kept this? The last piece of my life back when it was life worth having."

Cate looks at him, gauging his sincerity. He could be bullshitting her again. He did it for six months, after all, why not now? But to some extent she wants to believe. She needs to believe. "I believe you," she whispers, obviously affected by the words. "It doesn't excuse what you did. But... I understand some now. Why." She won't go so far as to say she forgives him. She's not ready for that. But he seems to at least have chipped away at the anger and resentment. "I don't want to see Sean die. So I guess that means I don't want to see you die either." She shrugs. "Maybe that doesn't mean shit to you. But if it does... then live for that." She smooths out the top of her pants leg and seems like she's getting ready to stand up.

Jacob just nods, not sure what else to say. He's quiet, staring at the photo before setting it aside. "They aren't two different people. Maybe one day, you'll see that." He's not going to stop her from leaving, because he has no idea how digest what she told him. It's a lot ot take in. Especially about the idea of not just throwing his life away.

Cate rises, but stops to look back at him. "I was trying to say that I do," she says, voice still soft. "See that, I mean." But she doesn't know how to feel about that either. So she turns to go.


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