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Archive for November 10th, 2013

6

“Cooper, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go anywhere right now.” said Lise, her eyes burning holes in Rick’s head.

Major, I appreciate the kindness that you have shown, but I hope you can appreciate the reasons why I really am not inclined to trust you right now.” replied Cooper, barely concealing his irritation.

“We aren’t ready to move you yet, Coop,” said Rick, who seemed amused by the altered dynamic between Cooper and Lise, “we’re still working out the logistics.  But we need to be ready.”

“You seem to presume a lot, Colonel.” said Lise.  “But I know you have Mr. Wilson’s best interests at heart, which is why you’re still here.  Maybe we should at least finish breakfast.  We have fresh eggs, and even bacon.”

“You ever hear the phrase “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.”?”  Rick leaned in closer to Lise’s angry features.  “I assure you, ma’am.  I am NOT braggin’.”  He paused for a moment, and then stood back up, turned to Cooper, his face changing to a smile, and then said “But hell, I’ve never turned down bacon.  Too bad we don’t have any biscuits and gravy, right?” he asked as he winked at Cooper.

Cooper dished up the eggs and bacon, and sat at the table with Lise and Rick.  For a few moments, they ate in silence.  Finally, Rick asked Cooper “How’s he doing?”  He didn’t need to say Jake’s name.  Cooper knew that was who he was talking about.  Cooper finished chewing the piece of bacon in his mouth, and then answered in a low voice “Better than I would have expected. ”

Rick put his fork down, and asked “Does he ever ask about them?”

Cooper closed his eyes and inhaled slowly.  He remembered the night terrors that would wake Jake up screaming for two or three years after they had escaped into Canada.  He didn’t say their names.  He didn’t have to.  Cooper knew what was caused it, and hated himself for the thanks he said mentally that Jake woke up screaming first, so that he didn’t increase the boy’s anxiety.  Cooper remembered the utter despair of those nocturnal moments, as he felt his own heart shredded anew with the pain of memory, and then felt it multiplied by thousands as the shaking boy’s eyes met his own, and he saw them die anew in Jake’s eyes.  “No.” Cooper replied, his voice catching in his throat.  “No, he doesn’t.  But I’d be lying if I said that I thought it wouldn’t bother him to see you again.  I know that it’s dredging up a lot for me.  Not that I’m not happy to see you, Old Man.  It’s just shocking to see someone I was sure died before my eyes years ago walking in on my breakfast.”

Cooper opened his eyes, screwed on a smile, and turned to Rick.

Rick looked up at Cooper sideways, and a grin spread across his face.  “Imagine my surprise when I didn’t wake up dead, hoss.”

Cooper chuckled. “I wasn’t saying I was disappointed.  I’m just surprised, Old Man.”

Lise had silently observed the exchange over the empty orange juice glass in front of her.  Both of the men sitting across from her were strong, in their own way, and had the easy way about them of men who have been friends a long time.  She had considered Cooper, as he kept himself collected while reliving tragedy in front of her.  The profile she was tasked to compile on him just got more complicated, and more…personal.  She was joking with him earlier about sleeping with him, but there was something about the man that she was starting to feel attracted to.  She looked up to face Agent Smith as he walked into the room, looked to her, and nodded almost imperceptibly. She straightened her posture slightly, and said “Mr. Wilson…Cooper… I’m afraid that the Crown really isn’t done entertaining you as a guest yet. ”

The two men stopped talking and turned to face her.  “What?” Cooper asked.

“I said that I’m afraid you’re going to have to be a guest of the Crown a while longer, Cooper.” she said firmly, trying to act more confident than she felt.  Rick shifted uncomfortably and said “What part of “Your security is for shit” did you have problems understanding?”  Lise turned to Rick, and let the mask slip. “You do not know as much as you think you do, Colonel.  When we became the seat of the Crown, we also became the base of the Crown’s intelligence services and its special forces.  We know all of the US personnel in the Dominion.  We know all of them in Ottawa…including ones who the Republic of Texas haven’t yet identified.  We can account for all of them, and right now, none of them is unaccounted for, or moving to act against Cooper or Jake. ”  She turned to face Cooper, her expression softening.  “Cooper, we knew you were here in the Dominion the moment you crossed the border.  We’ve known where you’ve been.  We didn’t scoop the two of you up until we learned that the US received intelligence about you being in Canada.  We know you aren’t a threat to us.  We picked you up to protect the two of you.   And no matter how belligerent the US might be, they will not be in too great a hurry to open up yet another front in their never-ending war against those who oppose them. ”

Cooper listened, realizing that Lise had just let far more slip than she intended to.  For a moment, he wondered if she was actually British Intelligence, and then realized that it didn’t matter, because even if she wasn’t, she was working with them, and that they had their own plans for him.  He became so lost in his own thoughts that he soon lost track of the conversation between Lise and Rick, but judging from the body language, he guessed that Rick was hearing things that he didn’t want to hear.  Cooper wondered if it would be worth the trouble to try to leave, as he considered Lise’s words, and how they not only took him in to custody with apparent ease, but the care that they had taken to not harm him or Jake.  He decided that he’d stick with it, and see where this was going.   Cooper’s train of thought came to an abrupt halt when he realized that Lise and Rick had stopped talking and were looking toward the doorway behind him.  Cooper turned to see Jake standing in the doorway, looking at Rick with obvious confusion.

Rick swallowed, and said “Hiya, Jake.  It’s been a while.  You grew up.”

Jake’s face clouded, and he moved to Cooper’s side.  “Dad…” he said to Cooper, who took his hand and squeezed it.  “I know son.  I was surprised, too.”  And then Jake sprung forward, and surprising everyone, threw his arms around Rick’s neck, and hugged him.  Rick looked as if he wasn’t certain how to react, and then seeing the look on Cooper’s face, raised his arms, and embraced the young man, reluctantly at first, and then tightly as he heard the young man’s quiet, gentle sobs.

Lise watched in silence, surprised how moved she was by what she was witnessing.  Agent Roy walked in to the room, looked at Lise, and said “It’s time.”  Cooper turned to Lise, the question plain on his face.  “Gentlemen, we’re going to take a little trip.  Someone wants to meet you, Cooper, and you, Jake.”, she said as he let go of Rick and turned to face her.  She looked at Rick and said “You can come too, Colonel.  Your exploits are not unknown to who we’re going to see.”  “Who is it who wants to meet us?” asked Cooper.

Lise smiled.  “His Royal Majesty, King Charles.”

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