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This is how it goes, sometimes.

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For the record, he did exactly as he had been trained to do. He acted on pure gut impulse and skill, thoughts taking a backseat to action.

He didn't fully realize just what had occurred until it was all over. He was slumped on the ground, a dead man next to him, and the weapon in his hand still sending up fine tendrils of smoke.

It took him a full minute to realize that most of the blood was his own, flowing like mad from some numb portion of his chest.

It looks so different from this angle, doesn't it?

~~~~~

There's a dull aching in the center of her chest, almost like she's been punched, and is doesn't feel like it's letting up. None of the pills she's taken have done anything for it, either.

She's learned quite a bit in the past two days. Like how bitter hospital coffee is, the fact that all the televisions show the same old game shows, and that bloodstains never fully wash out of leather pants, no matter how hard you scrub them.

She's also come to the realization that she really was in love with him, and now it's far too late.

~~~~~

Somehow, over the past few days, he became The One In Charge.

So far, he hates it. There's too much paperwork, not enough fieldwork, and if he hears one more sympathetic voice, or sees one more flower arrangement, he's apt to punch someone. And with his luck, it'd be the Director. He is trying, though, and that should count for something, right?

"You should get a haircut before Tuesday," Kate tells him. Normally, he'd make a witty remark, but now he only nods and picks up the phone.

She's right, after all.

Hey, maybe she'd like to be In Charge?

~~~~~

She has to be dressed and ready in an hour.

She's in only her underwear, facing her closet. A little voice in her head is telling her that she should leave the leather and steel at home, because this certainly isn't the appropriate time.

After all, her inner Miss Manners informs her, a lady never wears a spiked collar to a military funeral.

"Fuck you," she says to her reflection, and pulls out her good leather skirt. She bought it in Italy last month, and she hasn't had the chance to wear it.

He would've appreciated this, she tells herself.

~~~~~

The Director had taken him aside, and asked if he was up to this task.

"Of course. I'll have no trouble."

He had arrived early to work that morning, and busied himself with preparing his tools. Gerald stayed quiet, and the boy's headphones stayed in his locker.

He hesitated before unzipping the heavy rubber. He had known this day would come, but never this soon. This was not the way he had envisioned the team breaking up.

"I'm so sorry, Jethro. I'll take care of them as best I can."

He did not speak for the remainder of the day.