One minute it's chowtime with their fellow COGs, and Dom's laughing with the rest of them. Jokes about Locusts exploding everywhere, scarcity of women Gears, accidentally jamming your gun in the middle of a fire fight when you fuck up the quick reload trick.
And then in the distance some other soldier randomly mentions his family while talking to a comrade. Something offhand, something about the guy's family hiding with the Stranded in some nearby shit-hole, and how the guy wishes he could give them proper food and shelter. Wishes he could be there, how he prays every goddamn day nothing happens to his wife and children.
Marcus hears the conversation, knowing that the guy talking doesn't know what Dom's been through. He's about to tell the guy to shut his hole, but before he can change the conversation, Dom hears it. His ears pick up the remarks and sudden as a Lancer shot, the man has shut himself up tight. Tight-lipped. Eyes narrow and moist. Head low. Expression dark.
The strong hands Marcus once knew intimately one night a few months ago, shaking.
"Excuse me, guys…." Dom mumbles as he's getting up from the table they're sharing in the make-shift chow hall.
Marcus doesn't look at him to see which direction he goes. He doesn't know what to do with him, except that he needs time alone to figure things out, time to sort through tangled hurts and confusion. There is nothing for Marcus to say, nothing he can do to ease his best friend's anguish.
Except be there for him when he returns.
In silence, Marcus continues eating his unidentifiable slop.
And the night goes on without Dom.