2237-09-13 - Water Under The Bridge

Jacob and Cate try to sort through their complicated past and what it means for their future.

Date: 2237-09-13

Location: Caprica Boq

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 510

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Per usual in the off duty moments of the Timber Wolves' lives, the hour had begun to dip toward being late. In fact, the drunken shenanigans of many of the junior bachelor officers had already begun. Such was the noise coming from the hallway, anyway, with the sounds of hooting, hollering, and rather loud and irritating laughter. It may be loud enough, actually, to mask the sound of Jacob's key operating the door lock. The big Hibernian man slips in with an arched eyebrow aimed back out at the hallway. He stares for a moment, as if answering an unasked and silent question, before shutting the door behind him. Careful blue eyes search the room as he steps forward. He was wearing a pair of jeans tonight, with a dark black tank top that showed every inch of his diligent training. Those arms were more scarred than they had been in the past. The veins also stuck out more, indicating a sharpness to his stature that may separate him from other boxers. The man's natural inclination toward silence causes his lips to press together as he leaves the solace of the entryway and walks into the main room.

The room is empty at first blush. Actually, between Stone's extracurricular activities and Jacob and Cate avoiding the place, it's probably been mostly wasted. Cate keeps her stuff here, though, and comes by to use the private shower - such a luxury after the torturous public ones on the CF ships. Which is what's brought her here this evening after getting off duty. The water is already off, so there's nothing to alert Jacob to her presence until the bathroom door opens. She didn't hear stealthy Jacob's entry and figured she had the place to herself, so she emerges with just a towel wrapped around under her arms, her wet hair hanging down around her shoulders. Seeing Jacob there, she stops with a deer-in-headlights look. "Jake." It's a surprised, dumbstruck greeting.

Her voice has an effect on the big Hibernian. But it doesn't immediately turn him around. The muscles in his shoulders visibly tighten and he stands a little straighter. His head dips and he turns, just enough to see her, then all the way. If the folks in the doorway had earned an arched eyebrow, Cate's lucky Marx's remains on his head. He'd seen her in less, of course. But? That was a world away from now. "Catey. His eyes find the floor a few steps in front of her. The man's fingertips slide into his pockets and he steps slightly to the side, clearing a path for her to get to her bags. "Sorry. Just swinging by to get some clothes..."

Seeing him look her way, Cate shits awkwardly under that gaze. The apology gets a little headshake. "Don't have to apologize. It's your room too. I just came by to get a shower." Clutching the towel, she starts to move over to where she keeps her duffel bag. She slants him a look while she lifts it onto the bed and starts unzipping it one-handed. She offers a tiny smirk, her thoughts running along the same lines. "Besides, you've seen me in less." Though when he did, there weren't all these scars marring up the visible flesh on her shoulders, arms and legs. The girl wears the war like a badge.

"Another lifetime ago, yes. I think I actually studied you in a lot less." Jacob takes the opportunity to step back and go through his own bag. A couple changes of clothes, a book, and a rather old fashioned looking hip flask build a small pile next to where the man's knees join the floor. He doesn't even glance back at her. In fact, he seems rather content to take his time in the exploration of the bag and the selection of the pile. "Hard to get used to these private showers, huh? Out of everything I miss from being a civilian, it has to be the opportunity to be by yourself for a little while." He sighs, unscrewing the lid of the flask and raising it to his lips.

Cate's cheeks flush a bit at the first remark as she digs in the bag for a T-shirt and sweats and undies, her usual pajama substitute. "It's so nice. Seriously, if I ever find out whose idea it was to have everybody shower together with no curtains or anything, I may get brigged for decking them." She sets out the clean clothes on top of the bag, then muses about his original remark. "Does feel like another lifetime ago, doesn't it? Hard to believe it's only been..." Then she stops, stock still, as she does the mental math and realizes the date. Her voice has an oddly hushed quality when she says, "Four years." Almost four years to the day. She was so wrapped up in the anniversary of Triton falling, she didn't even make the connection.

"Yesterday. Four years and a day, actually." Jacob still doesn't turn around. But his movements seem to have ceased save for a dark consideration of the mouth of that flask. It rises to meet his lips again. After a long pull, he lowers it and recaps, the slab of stainless steel wrapped in old leather. It's tossed departure from his hand lands it softly atop the stack of clothes. "So? I should probably commemorate the anniversary in the only way I know how." He picks up his clothes with one arm, holding them loosely to his chest. At long last, he glances in her direction, the lines of his face relaxed in a quiet, if grim, acceptance of something. "And... try not to get brigged? If I visit? It might lower the tone of the place."

While Jacob is staring at the flask, Cate recovers from the shock of realizing the date and sits down to get dressed. Her back's to him, and by the time he turns around she's got the bottoms on and is pulling the T-shirt over her head, the towel falling away. She pulls her wet hair out from the collar and stands up again, turning to face him. Her expression is sad, pensive. "Think they've had enough Wolves in the brig this week," she offers mildly. She chews her lip a bit, and her brow creases, before finally she works up the nerve to say. "Look, Jake... I'm sorry about the other night. I was a jerk. Why don't you stay. We can have a drink and... talk." Though she actually sounds a little almost... fearful about the second part of that.

A significant part of Jacob looks as though he wants to leave. He actually begins heading toward the door, in point of fact. But something about her words catches him. He turns, allowing curiosity to reel him toward Stone's bed. The marine looks as though he's going to place his clothes down on it, but he stops about halfway. Something is clearly considered. "How many shots would I need to get if I sat on this bunk?" Yes, he voices them aloud, inspecting the sheets with a signature arch of his brow. Without shifting his eyes, he tucks the bundle under his arm and leans against the wall next to the bed instead. "I think you and I have a running tally on apologies, Catey. So? Let's go ahead and call this one 'no problem'. Gods know I've been an ass, too." His blue eyes rise, studying her. The sweatpants? Draw a smile to his face. "You still wear those? And two questions. What are we drinking and what would you like to talk about?"

Cate's face falls when he starts to leave, but she doesn't protest. There's a flicker of relief when he turns back to the bed, then her lip quirks up in amusement. "I don't think it's actually been used since we got here so... you're probably safe. Guess none of the beds have, really. We got, like, the ghost room." She follows his gaze down to her sweatpants, smiling a little shyly. "Yeah, uh... never really was much of a pajamas girl." She starts rummaging in her duffel bag again. As she does so, the smile fades away and she says, "I apologized to Lind too. Saw her in sickbay yesterday. She's nice." The words are offered with a tentative neutrality. She finds what she's looking for in the bag and holds up a bottle of whiskey. Just a little is gone from the top. "This. And... I don't know. Stuff." That's lame, and she knows it.

A glance is offered back down at the bed. And, with a shake of his head, Jacob sets his clothes down and settles onto the edge. The bed bends in a bit more, supporting his larger frame with some protest, but it seems to settle out as he raises his feet up and leans against the head board. Stone, it would seem, would have to deal with Jacob having his shoes on her bed. She'd probably find a way to harass the staff sergeant about it later, honestly. A smile is offered at the whiskey, and her words about Tove bring out a single nod and a short, dark laugh. "She's something else. It's amazing. That girl can patch up anything." He crosses his arms lightly across his chest, leaning his head back so the top of it comes to rest against the head board. "Stuff. Every time we try to do that, one of us storms out, Catey. You notice that theme?"

Cate watches him sprawl out, then gets up to go fetch a pair of glasses from atop the mini fridge. They were meant for water, f course, but they'll do in a pinch. She comes back to the double bed and sits back down. A little nod is offered about Tove. "Well, she didn't seem to be too pissed at me, so... bonus." She sets the glasses down on the nightstand separating the two beds and pours them each a glass. His fuller than hers. "Yeah... I kinda noticed," she agrees with a sheepish shrug. "But I guess we can either keep trying or give up." She hands him the glass. Then a pensive frown takes hold. "That night... it was the anniversary of the toasters overrunning Triton. My head was in a bad place, and I had way too much to drink. Don't really do that much any more." Any more? She rarely did it at all back on Hibernia.

"She doesn't know you. I don't know what she'd find to be pissed about. But she's kinda like me. I don't know that she has much excitement about anybody anymore." Jake shrugs his shoulders, watching her glass with much more interest than his. The brown liquid seems to remind him of something. Something that makes him shake his head a little. "I don't even remember you drinking much at the wedding." To excuse the thought, he takes his glass and raises it to his nose, smelling the heady aroma with a dull smile. "At least your taste doesn't suck. But? It strikes me that if you mourned every day something bad has happened around here, you'd be a functional alcoholic."

"Other than the fact that I was a complete bitch the first time she met me?" Cate arches her eyebrows challengingly at the idea that Tove wouldn't have any reason to be pissed. There's a sad frown when he mentions the wedding. But she nods to confirm his memory. "Yeah, the whole hangover thing lost its novelty in college. I didn't drink much till Triton. You know, the night of that last attack... one of my pilot buddies brought over a bottle to celebrate finding out his sister was alive..." She stops herself. "Wait. Did I tell you that story already? Anyway - yeah, can't obsess over every bad thing. But some days stick with you." She sips at her drink.

"Hangover lost it's- Catey. What Hibernia did you grow up on? Hair of the dog, girl. Seriously." Though he says it in an entirely level tone, there's a smile and a dangerous little glimmer in his eye. He raises the glass to his lips, taking a decent swallow of the warm whiskey and rolling his shoulders as it trails it's way down. "Some days... Well. Yeah. You couldn't pry them out of your mind if you wanted to." He looks down into the glass, experimenting with a sort of whiskey fueled crystal ball. "But I hear ya. Triton was a bad one if half of what you told me is true. Is it bad that I kind of wish I had been on the ground with you out there?"

Cate smirks at him, the hangover tease having lightened her mood a bit. "The one where I went to medical school and learned why that doesn't really work." She arches his eyebrow at that last question. "Yeah, I think that makes you pretty much certifiable. But, speaking as someone who volunteered to leave the clinic to get shot at? I'm not one to throw stones." She holds the glass down in her lap when she's not drinking, tracing her finger along the edge. She stares at it for a few seconds before offering. "Would've been nice to have you there, but I wouldn't wish that on anyone." She sighs, takes a drink, and then lifts her eyes back to him. "We both have a lot of days like that, I think. Ones you can't pry out. That day you left... that ranks pretty high up there."

"For both of us, I think." Jacob nods his head, still studying the amber colored glass. It rises back to his lips and another heavy swallow disappears from the hotel crystal into the big marine. When it is lowered again, it too finds it's way onto his lap. "I had always intended to come back, though. Debriefing... Well. It was a full two weeks before I was allowed to leave the installation on Virgon. I figured you wanted me dead like all the others. So? I never gathered up the balls to go AWOL." He laughs, amused. "I bet you never saw that coming, huh? Me and a soft spine?" He rolls on of his shoulders, looking up at her with that fierce blue gaze. "And it would've been nice to be there. That... well. I think that's what I'm made for nowadays."

A sad look creases her brow when he mentions coming back. "I don't know what I would've done if you had come back," she admits, then lets out a soft chuckle-snort. "Probably even odds of shooting you or kissing you and never letting go." And the shooting part is perhaps not hyperbole, since he knows she kept a pistol in her dresser. One of many violations he didn't report her for. After another healthy drink, Cate frowns a little. Perplexed. "I don't get it though. If you intended to come back - why did you leave me the letter?" Then, remembering their aborted line of conversation about that at the bar, she amends. "Or not a letter. The note. Whatever you want to call it."

"The insane thing is that if I knew those were the odds, I would've done it without a second thought." Jacob, too, takes a healthy drink. But he's content to study his glass. That is, until she brings up, for the second time, something that seems to knit his brows together. "I didn't leave you a letter. Or a note." His icy blue eyes watch her, that glass of whiskey stopped mid swirl, but still held in position for such an action to continue. "You said something about this at the bar, too. Catey, what the hell are you talking about? I left without a trace. I always figured you thought I'd been killed."

His first response confounds her a bit, causing a probably-unhealthy swirl of conflicted emotions. The second comment, while equally confounding, is easier to deal with, so that's where she starts. She lifts her eyes to him, offering a perplexed frown. "What the hell am I talking about?" Her voice is incredulous but not unkind. "I think maybe you've had a few too many concussions, Jake." She takes another drink, using it to fuel her resolve, before she recites from memory the words that tore her world apart. "'Dear Catey - I'm sorry it had to turn out this way. I had no choice. Goodbye <<Celtan: my love>>. -- Sean' Jack told me what happened at the safe house. And I know you'd texted me the wrong address. Soon as I saw that note... I knew." The look she levels him is equal parts heartbroken and challenging, wondering if that's going to jog his memory.

"Yeah. I wanted you out of the line of gunfire. So I told you to go across town, knowing you wouldn't be able to make it to the real location until the whole thing went down." Jacob raises that drink again, but this time, there's a wariness to it. He swallows a good helping of that whiskey, not bothering to flinch of feign any sort of response to the bite of the liquid. "And that's if you figured out where the real address was. But Cate? I never sent you a note. Or left you a note. I never really told you anything because I had intended to be at the apartment to get you that night." He tilts his head and narrows his eyes. "But you're telling me that you found one? Something signed by me?"

Cate nods sadly. "Yeah. I figured. And when they didn't come knocking on my door later - I figured you covered for me. Didn't tell them about me." She drains the rest of her glass - which wasn't filled as high as his was in the first place - and then picks up the bottle. As she starts to refill her glass, she slants him a skeptical frown. "Yeah, that's what I said. So you're trying to tell me that somebody broke into our apartment to leave me a goodbye note in your handwriting?" Or close enough to fool her anyway. "Why the hell would anybody do that?"

"I'm trying to tell you that I didn't leave you a goodbye note. I think it may have killed me to write one, actually. Especially the way I was back then." Jacob holds his glass out to her, almost empty as well. There was only a thin line of brown liquid at the bottom of the cup, providing evidence that it had ever even contained the alcoholic beverage to begin with. "And yeah. I covered for you. Your part in that whole thing was... Not my problem. If I could do any good out of it at all, it was to keep the thing from coming down on your head. Frakked everything else up, but hey." He shrugs. "What did I think I'd get for trying?"

Cate seems poised to argue the point further, unable to reconcile the idea of a secret-note-leaver in her head. But then the fight seems to go out of her, and her shoulders slump a little. "Well. Guess it doesn't matter now who wrote it." She sighs. "You know, when I found it - my first thought was that they'd flipped you. That night they arrested us after Jana's wedding. Beat you, threatened you..." Another drink is taken there, her expression distant. "But I went to Jack and he told me they'd found out your whole cover story was bullshit... and Tommy must've known, since he vouched for you..." She shakes her head, the memory of pain too much for her to finish that thought. Then, more softly, "I think Jack was the only one who believed me that I wasn't in on it with you."

"That was the flaw in the plan. I could either protect you from your family or the government. Not both." Jacob shakes his head, leaning it back a bit more to examine the pop corning on the ceiling. It was an idle look, but one painted with a tone of mild confusion. "I figured your family may believe you. But the government was never going to forgive you. Kinda made my choice for me, really." As his whiskey glass rises again, his gaze returns to her, those shoulders losing a bit of tension as his eyes settle on her face. "That lock. Tommy installed it so it'd be difficult to pick. Who else had a key? I didn't give one to anybody..." He doesn't seem content to drop the issue. "And you said the handwriting looked like mine?"

Cate rubs her face. "Well. They didn't put a bullet in my head then. They didn't when they found out I joined the marines. So. Guess you were right." Not that it's much consolation. The shoulders stay slumped even as she takes another drink. When he mentions the lock, she follows his train of thought. Tommy had a key. He knew about them. He knew that things would be coming to a head that day. He had some experience had a forger. It all makes sense, except for the one critical piece that makes Cate squint in confusion. "Why would Tommy leave me a fake goodbye note?" She gives a baffled little headshake.

"Tommy?" Jacob doesn't follow the train of thought for a few seconds. It's actually when his glass is halfway to his lips that it connects. He pauses, remaining frozen like that for a few seconds, mouth agape, eyes searching the dark liquor. "Tommy knew I wanted to run away with you. He..." Jacob raises his whiskey the rest of the way, taking a generous drink, draining the glass. He sets it with a loud thunk of the table between the bed he is on and the one Cate seems to favor. "He knew I wanted to- Holy frak. That's why he tried to talk me out of it."

Cate still looks confused, but hearing his words, more of the pieces fall into place and a sadness takes hold. "He never wanted me to get involved with you. I didn't understand at the time - I mean, you guys were supposed to be friends. I thought he was just being overprotective." Thinking of her favorite cousin now causes her to get a little misty. She sniffs suddenly and takes another drink.

"Bastard." Though Jacob loved Tommy like a brother, the word comes from his lips with little attempt at impedance. He rises from the bed just enough to reach next to Cate. His hand draws up the liquor bottle, negotiates the cap, and pours a generous helping into his glass. Generous helping means, of course, less than a finger's worth of space between the rim and the top of the dark liquid. He doesn't bother recapping it when he places it back down on that nightstand, blinking a few times and studying Cate. "I'm sorry, Catey. I... Gods damn it. I was going to run away with you. He didn't... He wanted me to consider what that kind of life would've looked like. Who else had a key? Could it only have been him?"

Cate doesn't look at him, her eyes fixed on the glass in her lap. Her shoulders lift at the question. "I never gave a key to anybody. But who else could it have been? Who knew about us and your operation? Who'd want to turn me against you?" It seems that Cate has already made her mind up. Finally she raises her eyes to look at him. "I don't think I would've run away with you Jake. Not then. Give up my family, medicine, my home, everything... for a guy who'd spent the last six months lying to me? You were probably right not to come back. Not to throw your life away too." Her eyes grow damp, but the tears don't fall. Her lips thin. "But now? I wish you had. And I wish four-years-ago-me would've picked you. Because that was the last time I can remember being happy."

Something in her words hits Jacob like a blow. It pulls his eyes from the whiskey glass they had wandered to, forcing him to study the look on her face as her lips offer him that reprieve. For a moment, he looks like the old Jacob. Sadness conquers his face, and he almost looks as though his weight shifts to go to her. Something, though, reverses the movement. It keeps him firmly rooted on the bed. It also dulls the twinkle in those bright blue eyes. "I was trying to throw my life away regardless. I... just haven't run into anything that was lucky enough to punch my number quite yet." He raises his glass and nearly drains it, downing all seven ounces in a succession of single swallows. It isn't until it comes back down that his lips part and his eyes fall a bit closed. "I wish you had. Because the four-years-ago-me? He died, Catey. I... forgot how to be him. I forgot how to be me. But? I'll be damned if you didn't make me happy."

Cate's expression changes when she sees that shift. A forlorn hope kindled then dashed again when reality sets in. Then a sad resignation settles onto her face. "That's a shame. 'Cause he was a pretty amazing guy." It's easier when she can talk about him like a third person. An absent friend. "But I guess we can't wish away the past." She can't down a glass of whiskey as fast as him, but she does take a big gulp of it that suggests she kind of wishes she could. After the burn settles, she says off-hand. "That Cate - she doesn't exist any more either. Too much water under the bridge." A wry snort escapes her nose. "Too many times the water knocked the damn bridge down, more like."

"Water's never knocked away the bridge, Cate. I don't know any sort of storm that could." The disappointment evident in her face is another of those things that hits Jacob pretty hard. The mirroring look of resigned sadness in his eyes communicates that he, in fact, wasn't happy about the current state of events either. "I've watched you take some hits. And you kept getting up. By the look of you, that's been the theme of the past four years. A girl who keeps getting punched but won't stop getting up.." The 'nearly' in regards to the whiskey is remedied. Jake shakes his head, raises the glass, and polishes it off, sighing as the desired effects start to overtake his tired body. "There's something damned admirable in that. An amazing girl who managed to make a dog from the street look like he belonged by her side."

Cate lets out a soft 'heh'. "Yeah, that's my superpower apparently. To get kicked in the teeth and then get back up. Like one of those stupid kids toys that just keeps bouncing back to get punched again." Apparently Cate doesn't see it as quite the positive that he does. She drinks some more, then the sarcastic bluster drops to reveal the vulnerable side that really did appreciate his words. That needed to hear them, on some level. "But thanks," she says softly. "You did belong there, you know." she tells him. "Sean and the old Cate? They belonged together. You and me? I wish we did. 'Cause.." Whatever it was she was about to say, it dies on her lips with a little shake of her head. Thinking better of it.

That empty glass remains in his hands, turning slowly between the scarred and battered fingers. "You and me don't, Catey. Not the way we are. How many conversations have we managed in the last month that haven't made us want to murder one another? Two? Three, maybe?" He shakes his head, raising the glass in a silent gesture of thanks before setting it down on that middle table. "I think we both need somebody. Maybe someone to keep us grounded, or, rather, lift us up when we do everything we can to sink into the ground. But? I don't think we're it for one another. Not now." Jacob swings his legs off of the bed, moving to stand. "As much as I want us to be."

Cate drains the rest of her glass. "I never wanted to murder you, Jake," she feels obliged to point out. "I was more upset than angry." She reaches for the bottle to refill her glass, a defeated look in her eyes that may call into question his assertion that nothing could knock down her bridge. "Anyway. That hasn't worked out so great for me, but maybe you'll have better luck. I saw the way your eyes lit up when Lind showed up." And although there's no hiding the hint of green around her edges there, she doesn't sound overly upset about that either. She lifts the glass to her lips briefly and offers. "I really do want you to be happy, Jake. I hope you know that."

"And I want the same for you, Catey." Jacob rises rather carefully to his feet, allowing himself time to balance in an expertly Hibernian and drunken way. "Happiness is fairly hard to find around here, though. So? As your friend? Don't run away from it if it comes to your door. And I don't mean 'friend' in an insulting or degrading way. I know. It doesn't come close to what we were. But it may be what we are." Clearly, he remembers her reaction to the last time he said the word 'friends' in her presence. The bundle he had come to retrieve is pulled closer to the edge of his bed and a hard sigh comes from his body. "Lind... Is something, Cate. She's a rock in the storm for me. She has been since the Athena. She tried to transfer here because she wanted an opportunity to be something more than that. She wants to be a harbor. And I'm going to let her."

Whatever her reaction to the word before, this time there's nothing but that same resigned sadness when he uses the label. Cate just bobs her head in a tiny nod of acknowledgement. As for Lind... it's nothing she didn't already suspect, but hearing him say it is another blow. But like the bouncing child's toy she alluded to earlier, she recovers enough to offer him a pained half-smile. "Then she's lucky," she says, with as much dignity as she can muster. "Good luck, Jake." It sounds sincere enough, albeit painful.

"And the best of luck to you, Cate." Jacob gathers his things and watches her for another bare moment. Her sadness is mirrored on his face, but in a slightly different way. He was upset to disappoint her, rather than at the situation itself. As he turns to leave, he doesn't seem to have a trace of intoxication anywhere in his steps. But the line of those shoulders was, very simply, uncharacteristic of him. As he reaches the door and turns the handle, he doesn't stop and he doesn't turn. He simply continues, unwilling to chance a look back. It isn't until the door shuts behind him that he lets out a battered sigh, looking up and down the hallway before going on his way.


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