"You did what?"
Hammond's bark could clearly be heard on the other side of his office door. Two airmen passing outside glanced at each other and by mutual, unspoken consent, melted away from the scene, doing their best to look inconspicuous. The General didn't often lose it, but when he did, it was usually smart to be elsewhere. And the broad Texan vowels were getting broader with every syllable - always a bad sign.
Inside the office, Colonel Jack O'Neill stood ramrod-straight in front of Hammond's desk and winced as he fixed his gaze six inches to the left of and behind Hammond's shoulder.
"I let him go, Sir."
Hammond shook his head. "You let him go. You had the chance to bring Colonel Maybourne back here to the proper authorities to finally account for himself and his actions over the last few years with no tricks, no cards up his sleeve - and you... let. Him. Go."
Hammond's eyes roamed round his office before finally coming to rest on the figure in front of him.
"It defies belief, Colonel. That man is Public Enemy Number One as far as this facility is concerned! He's caused as much chaos as any System Lord... he was very nearly single handedly responsible for this planet being shunned on a galactic scale through his misguided, ill-timed, megalomaniac notion that he somehow knew best - do I really have to remind you, of all people, of that?"
"No Sir," Jack said woodenly, switching his gaze to the General's face, "but I --"
"That was a rhetorical question, Colonel," Hammond thundered. Jack winced again and quickly moved his eyes back to that same fascinating spot on the wall.
"Not only that, but by your own admission he tried to kill you at least twice during the time you were marooned on that planet's moon, never mind the fact that it was all his fault that you were there in the first place. That man is a constant menace to the status quo as we understand it, and you gave him free access to a Stargate and carte blanche to go wherever he wanted, to cause who knows what further trouble? You had no authority to take the action you did. What the hell were you thinking?"
'Good question,' Jack thought. What the hell had he been thinking? Being a sentimental idiot, most likely. Harry knew very well what buttons to push. He hadn't always been as twisty as a corkscrew - well at least, not in a bad way. Sure, he'd always been twisty, but twenty-some odd years ago, it'd been fun - he'd been fun, constantly, slyly thumbing his nose at authority, bending the rules, making life interesting...
But that had been a rhetorical question too, apparently. The years dropped away as Hammond's harangue continued.
Colorado Springs, 1974.
One cocky, wet-behind-the-ears, newly minted First Lieutenant on the loose, on his first weekend pass and nowhere particular to go. He'd been in a bar the night they'd met, sinking a couple of beers, sizing up the available talent and considering whether or not to move on - well hell, he was in uniform, wasn't he? It was usually a good passport to getting some and he hadn't gotten laid in, like, forever - as well as the potential competition. Not seeing much of either here, he decided it was time to move on. Damn, but this bar was quiet: apart, that was, from a noisy group of enlisted men in one corner, apparently engaged in a drinking competition in between discussing loudly where to go next. He grinned into his glass when south Nevada was mentioned; from what he'd seen of most of them, there was not a chance in hell they'd be able to do anything other than pass out when, if, they got there. They certainly wouldn't be making the hookers any richer. Or anything else.
He was never entirely sure what started the trouble. One minute, all was comparatively calm, despite the rowdiness of the group in the corner, the next, all hell seemed to break loose, fists and furniture flying. Time to book. He didn't want to spend the rest of his leave in a cell somewhere and then have to face his CO.
He managed to insinuate himself through the press of bodies and round the edge of the fighting, reaching the cooler air outside just as he heard the squeal of tyres from around the corner. When his eyes followed his ears, he watched as the police cars screeched to a halt and the doors flew open to disgorge six of the biggest cops he'd ever seen in his life, real knuckle draggers with no discernible necks. Definitely time to book - but not that way, the odds were nowhere near good enough; he dived back into the bar again.
He had call to bless his training: it might have been a touch irksome at the time, going over and over the same thing again and again, but it had been effective. He never now entered a room without threat-assing it, finding the exits. There, behind the bar, was his passport to freedom. And it was the work of a moment to get there, shimmy out the door at the end of a short passageway, and get out into the blessedly fresh air again.
Except -- this was one thing they never told you about in the manuals. He was in a blank alleyway, no discernible exit. Trapped, damn it. And they were coming; he could hear their feet clumping down the passage he'd just walked down. He looked around a bit wildly: no, first impressions were right; he could see no way out.
"Psst! Down here! Shake your tail, asshole!"
He followed the hand grabbing at his ankle, up the arm to a pale face through a grating at the bottom of the wall, took in the trapdoor rising up from the wall next to the grating. Without a further thought, he dropped to his stomach and rolled through. He stumbled a bit on landing, a rough hand to his shoulder pushed him back four square on his feet again and he dropped into a crouch.
"Yeah, nice move. You got smart, flyboy."
Jack peered up into the darkness. "Who're you calling an asshole, asshole?"
"Shh, they'll hear you."
The goons were poking around outside - and they were thorough goons, unfortunately. One of them had spotted the trap door and was starting to open it - now this was going to be embarrassing: not only busted, but busted cringing in a cellar. Not exactly a stellar start to his first weekend leave.
The sudden volley of deep-throated barks coming out of the darkness startled Jack beyond words and his heart hammered into his throat. It obviously took the cop off guard too, because he dropped the trap door with alacrity and took a step back, his boots filling the view through the grating for a moment before they turned and retreated.
The staticky squelch of a radio was followed by the cop's voice. "Nothing out here, Sir. Just a dog - a big one, by the sound of it. If anyone had come this way before us, we'd've heard it for sure."
Jack breathed a sigh of relief - that was one less thing to worry about. He was confident the dog wouldn't be too big a problem; he liked dogs, liked them a lot better than most people he met, and they liked him right back. And obviously, the guy who'd pulled him in here was a kindred spirit in that respect. He was curious - but he had the sense to wait until the boots had retreated fully before he went about satisfying that curiosity.
"How'd you get in here without the dog going crazy? And why didn't it start when I rolled in?"
He caught a flash of white in the scant light from the grating as his rescuer flashed a grin.
"Dog? There's a dog in here? Where? Shit, I hate dogs; they never seem to like me that much either."
Jack laughed out loud as the penny dropped. "That was you? Way to go!" He was still chuckling as he stuck out his hand. "Thanks, buddy, I owe you one. Jack O'Neill."
"Harry Maybourne. C'mon, let's blow this joint before the owner comes down to find out what his dog's up to. You can buy me a beer."
Jack tuned fully back into the present.
"We gave him another chance here - against my better judgement - and he threw it back in our faces yet again. He never had the slightest intention of keeping his word. And why on earth the President's advisers..."
Yep, Hammond was still going strong and looked to be set for a time. No need for any input from him yet: better, in fact, to let the tirade run its course before he started stating his case. He settled his weight more comfortably, as unobtrusively as he could, and drifted off again.
That had been the start of it. Harry never had explained exactly what he'd been doing in that cellar, or why he bailed Jack out of the situation he'd found himself in, and Jack had never really asked. He'd just gone along for the ride - and what a ride it'd been at times. Neither he nor Harry had been individually short on imagination when it came to getting into trouble and more importantly, getting out of it again; when their leaves coincided, the results were occasionally cataclysmic. They'd had some great laughs during that next year. Like the time they'd gotten shit-faced drunk on illicit hooch and Jack had loaded up home made potato launchers with a succession of baked potatoes purloined from the mess hall and they'd blasted away at the barrack blocks - how they'd ever gotten away with that one was a complete mystery to Jack. Harry'd managed to fix it, either through whom he'd known or more probably, what he'd known about them. Yet again, he'd never asked and Harry had never told - but even then, Harry'd been adept at finding stuff out and using it to his advantage and he was a smooth talker right from the get go.
Yeah, Harry'd always covered all the angles. Intelligence was his natural home by virtue of his nature and ability. He was one of the most self-contained people that Jack had ever known, which was saying something, and even then had had very few friends: lots of buddies, acquaintances by the dozen, but very few friends. Jack had been one of them though: he and Harry had been tight. But no matter how well you thought you knew Harry, he always turned round and surprised you. And that had been most of his appeal.
When Harry'd dropped his first bombshell, Jack hadn't reacted well. At first, he'd been convinced that Harry was yanking his chain, and had laughed in his face. When it became apparent that he was in fact serious, he'd lost his temper. He still wasn't entirely sure why, not even after ten days of solid thinking about it, replaying events over and over again in his mind. Just like he was doing now. The mix of emotions prompted by Harry's impulsive revelation was an uncomfortable one and had prompted some harsh words as fear for his friend had made him sharper with him than he'd meant to be.
Jack lay back on his bunk with his forearm over his eyes as he considered for the umpteenth time the events of that night. They'd both been more than a little buzzed, that was for sure, otherwise what else could explain Harry's sudden need to confide in him or his own off-kilter reactions?
"I like guys."
"Yeah, me too. Some of my best friends are guys. So?"
"No, you're not getting it. C'mon, Jack, you're not usually this dense. I like guys."
Jack's jaw dropped for a moment before he snorted into his beer. "Yeah, right. I've seen you in operation with the chicks, don't forget. You're real smooth. Nice one, Harry. Ya nearly had me going there."
Harry said nothing and Jack looked closely at him in the lengthening silence. "Jeee-sus, Harry! You're not kidding, are ya? You're queer?"
At the hardening look in Harry's eyes, he could have bitten his tongue out.
"That's one word for it." Harry's voice became almost whimsical, a sure sign that he was hurting. "Queer, pansy, bent, ass-bandit, straight as a three dollar bill --"
"Will you knock it off? I get the picture."
"Me too, buddy, me too. No need to spell it out that it's a problem. I can see that it is."
"Damn straight it's a problem! You shouldn't be telling anybody this shit - if this ever gets out, you're headed for a Court Martial and I sure as hell don't want to have to be there!"
"Worried I'll take you down with me?" Harry's eyes were flinty.
Jack stared at him. That'd hurt, and his temper finally snapped. "You asshole! How the fuck you can say that..." He scraped his chair back violently as he banged his fist on the table and surged to his feet, disgusted. "Jesus! I've had enough of this shit. I'm outta here." And he'd turned on his heel and stalked out of the bar, ignoring Harry's final, jeering comment - the words had been swallowed by the noise in there anyway and there was no way he'd wanted to hear exactly what it was.
Jack sighed. No, he hadn't handled it at all well. He'd come off like a raging homophobe. But it had come out of nowhere, taken him by surprise, that had to be it.
Not for the first time, he wished that he could rewind the last ten days and start again, avoid the whole damn mess somehow. It wasn't as if it even made a difference, now that he'd had time to think it over. Harry was still Harry, still his buddy - and as for what he got up to on a personal level - well, he just wasn't going there. It was totally outside his personal experience, and while he and Harry had shamelessly compared notes about their various conquests in the past, he wasn't sure he wanted to know what Harry got up to with another guy.
And that was an out and out lie. In a rare moment of clarity, he admitted that to himself. He did want to know, he was itching to know, and his mind wouldn't leave it alone. He wondered what it would feel like to have another guy's dick in his hand, another guy's hand on his dick rather than a girl's. And hell, there were constant speculations going around about 'stress relief' - and constant sniggering about it too - so it wasn't as if he was alone in his curiosity. Not that he was ever going to get the chance to find out, no sir - he was never going to proposition a guy rather than a chick. He quite liked the way his face was arranged, thank you, and he'd rather keep it like that. And besides, he wasn't queer. No way. He was just idly curious, like any red-blooded male would be.
Yeah, right. That piece of youthful self-deception still had the power to make him laugh at himself, as did his then refusal to consider the underlying reasons for his determination to get back on Harry's right side again. He'd expended a lot of energy on trying to figure that one out, and made up a lot of excuses for his need to do it. None of which amounted to a hill of beans, when you came right down to it. Looking back on it, with the perspective granted by all the intervening years, it didn't seem at all weird that he'd just dived into the whole fuck buddy situation. He was young then, more open to possibilities he supposed, certainly more inclined to flout the regs, and that had made the difference, maybe - and he'd always been a hedonist, deep down. Always been bi deep down too, much as he'd tried to ignore it, and perhaps Harry'd gotten to know him well enough to sense this.
In the end, it turned out to be laughably simple: a chance encounter on his next weekend pass, uncanny echo of their first ever meeting. Another bar, certainly. A different one this time, one that he'd never been to before, and wouldn't have been to that night if he hadn't been at a loose end.
He spotted Harry just as the bartender handed him his beer, sitting on his own and hunched over his drink in a booth near the back. He didn't go over right away, but sat and finished his first one to make sure that Harry was alone. What they needed to talk through didn't require an audience. When his second beer arrived and there was still no sign that Harry had any company for the evening, he got to his feet and went over, sliding into the seat opposite Harry with a tentative, "Hey."
"Hey." Harry didn't look up. But he didn't tell Jack to fuck off either, so that had to be an encouraging sign.
"Haven't seen you around much. How've ya been?"
Harry spoke directly to his drink - beer this time, Jack noticed. "Oh, you know, same old."
The ensuing silence was awkward and Jack took a long pull at his glass for the sake of something to do as he wracked his brains for something to fill it. He was still coming up empty when Harry said abruptly, again to his beer, "I've kinda missed having you around."
"Yeah, me too." Another long silence as Jack considered how to broach the topic that was uppermost in his mind. He drained his glass. "You want another?"
"Yeah. I got it." Harry signalled to the server.
"Thanks." It was starting to get ridiculous, the two of them sitting there in uncomfortable non-conversation and Jack was starting to get impatient with it. He swallowed his irritation down as he scrubbed one hand through his hair and decided to take the bull by the horns as their drinks were brought to them.
"Harry, I think we need to talk."
"I suppose we probably do. You start." Although Harry didn't sound any more enthusiastic about the prospect than he himself felt.
Jack took a deep breath and cut straight to the chase. "You're queer."
Harry smiled a small, closed mouthed, secretive smile, but his eyes were wary when he lifted them briefly to Jack's. "Not strictly the case. I'm flexible."
Jack sat back on his chair, his face very carefully expressionless. "What does that mean?"
"Flexible? Adaptable. Amenable to change. Situationally responsive."
Jack rolled his eyes. "I know what the word means, Harry - I just don't know what it means when applied to you in this context."
"Y'know, I'm not that sure either."
Jack sighed loudly. Harry could be infuriating when he was being deliberately obscure.
"Let's take this from the top, shall we? Are you, or are you not, queer?"
Harry sat back and met Jack's eyes squarely for the first time. "Not 'queer', per se, unless the situation warrants it. Not entirely straight either. Somewhere in between. Is that really a problem?"
Jack considered this for a moment or two before he answered. "Nope, not to me. I've had some time to think about it. But why did you tell me? Has being 'somewhere in between' gotten you into a 'situation'?" Jack invested the last word with heavy irony. The air quotes were very nearly visible.
" So, what? What situation?"
Harry looked hangdog. And that really should have been his first clue. "A personal situation. A slightly awkward personal situation."
Jack's eyes narrowed as he considered this. 'Slightly awkward' was very often Harryspeak for 'go grab a shovel, the shit's about to hit the fan, big time'.
"Anything I can help with?"
Harry shook his head fractionally, eyes closing for a moment. "I doubt it."
He got no reply, just a sideways look as Harry got to his feet. "It's way too noisy in here. C'mon, let's hit the bricks." Harry didn't wait for an answer, just threw a couple of bills down on the table and headed rapidly out the door. Jack watched, open mouthed, for a moment or two before he scrambled to his feet and started after him.
"Harry, you can't just leave it like that."
"I can, and I will." Harry continued walking without a backward glance. Jack grabbed him by the shoulder, frustrated, and spun him round to face him. "Harry? You gonna answer me? Why can't I at least try and help you out? You'd do it for me. I wanna help if I can. That's what friends do."
Just for a moment, there was a strange look in Harry's eyes as they met Jack's, before he shrugged his hand off and turned away to carry on walking again. "Not this time, Jack."
Jack took a couple of rapid steps to catch him up again. "Look, Harry - I know last time didn't go that well --"
"No, really? What makes you think that?" Harry sounded bitter and didn't stop moving.
"What can I say? I was an asshole and I'm sorry. You took me by surprise. But I've had a chance to think about it this last week and I was wrong. It doesn't make any difference. We can still be friends."
"Well that's good of you. Thanks so much for that."
Okay, he'd deserved that one. Jack tried yet again. "C'mon, Harry, work with me here. At least tell me what's up. Apart from me being an asshole."
Harry stopped abruptly and Jack ran right into him, but instead of moving away, he turned and moved further into Jack's personal space, crowding him. Jack held his ground though, refused to move back. He'd had enough alcohol to make him very slightly belligerent, particularly in view of Harry's reticence, unwilling to back off now he was being pushed, and he could see that Harry had too.
"You just won't give up, will you, O'Neill?"
"No can do, Harry. You're in trouble. We're buddies. There has to be something I can do."
"Jesus," Harry said explosively, "Can't you just drop it?"
Jack felt hurt at that, belligerence collapsing into resignation, and didn't bother to hide it. He gave Harry a long, assessing look, shrugged and turned away. "Sure, Harry. Whatever you say."
The hand on his shoulder surprised him. "Jack..."
He didn't turn round. Harry continued in a low voice, "Okay, you're so sure you want to know, guess I'll have to tell you. Just remember... you asked."
Jack did turn back to face Harry then, and realised what was about to happen a split second before it did. Harry's bottom lip was deliciously soft as it ghosted against his, and the sudden flutter in his gut was unexpected. It took him a moment or two to work past what he was feeling and realise that Harry was coldly furious, which struck him as odd, because if anyone had a right to be angry here, it should have been him. And he wasn't, at all.
"Okay, asshole, you happy now? Now you know. You've got it all." Harry stared into Jack's face for a moment before he turned away abruptly, his mouth twisting in a grimace as his shoulders slumped.
Jack chewed his bottom lip for a moment or two as he considered his options. His imagination had been running riot since Harry had 'fessed up to having a problem and he'd more or less settled on him being blackmailed over his sexuality. Of all things to be biting Harry, this was one he hadn't considered. But now his imagination was running in an entirely different direction. The kiss had felt okay, if brief, had felt... promising. Felt good, actually - more than good; his dick was showing definite signs of interest. Time slowed down as he tried to consider his reactions. He stared wordlessly at Harry, really looking at him for the first time. Despite his earlier acknowledged curiosity, it was still a surprise to find that he could deal with another guy coming on to him and not be repelled. Quite the reverse in fact, which was possibly the biggest surprise of all: he was standing here out in the street considering his best buddy as a potential bed partner and the idea was more than appealing. He suddenly realised that he hadn't reacted quick enough. Time to put that right.
When he reached out and grabbed Harry's arm, Harry whirled round with his fists balled and ready.
"This is where you try and deck me, right?"
Jack raised his open hands to fend him off, even though he hadn't moved any closer. "Don't be a horse's ass, Harry, I'm not gonna deck ya."
Harry looked suspicious. "You're not?"
"No. C'mon, let's walk. I need to think some more about this." Jack stuffed his hands into his pockets and walked off. Harry fell into step beside him and they walked in silence for a while. When they finally broke their silence, they did so at the same time.
They both broke off, and eyed each other, embarrassed, before they tried again.
"You were saying?"
"Aw, fer cryin' out loud," Jack muttered. "Let's just agree to take turns, okay?" He put up a hand as Harry took a breath to speak. "Ah! I go first. How long?"
"What?" Harry blinked in surprise, then recovered with a sly, sideways grin. "Oh, the usual. About seven inches. Maybe a little more."
Jack's jaw sagged in surprise before he started to laugh. As a tension breaker, it was perfect. And an encouraging sign that they were still good, no matter what. "No, asshole, that's not what I was asking and you know it. But seven inches is good."
Harry started to chuckle too. "You know it. So, what were you asking?"
"Doesn't matter." Jack shook his head, smiling ruefully. He paused for a heartbeat, then took a deep breath and, not for the first time, simply plunged in. He said abruptly, "Yeah. Okay. Let's do it."
It was the wrong thing to say. Harry's eyes narrowed and the laughter faded from his face. "A pity fuck? No thanks."
"No! Not that, Harry. I'm not real big on doing things I don't wanna do, unless I have to do them." He stretched out his hand and cupped it against Harry's face. It felt strange, but not unpleasant. No way unpleasant. "I don't have to do this, I want to do this. I want to try it, anyway."
Harry's eyes were closed and he had a pained expression on his face, even while he unconsciously nuzzled briefly into Jack's warm palm. "So, not pity. What, then? Curiosity?"
Jack smiled. "Yeah, a little. Some other stuff too. Does it matter?"
Harry looked straight at him then and when he spoke, Jack had the distinct impression he was about to say something other than what he did, that he was reading the situation wrong somehow. But he dismissed it as Harry gave a little twist of his lips that died before it could become a complete facial expression, coupled with a small shrug. "No, I guess not. You okay with this?"
"I'm okay. Okay?"
With that same strange little twist of his lips, Harry replied, "Okay. Just..."
"Just what?" When no answer was forthcoming, Jack repeated, "Harry? Just what?"
"I'm surprised, is all. I didn't think you'd go for it." Harry smiled suddenly, a smile of surprising sweetness for such a natural born cynic. A side of Harry that Jack knew nobody else got to see, that he'd rarely seen before either. And that was a boost, too.
Jack caught his lower lip between his teeth and grinned, his eyebrows rising. "It's a surprise to me too, I gotta tell ya." He caught Harry's hand and guided it down for a quick feel of the growing bulge in his pants and grinned more broadly as Harry's eyes widened. "Guess that makes me 'flexible' too."
And that had been that. A done deal. Simple, straightforward, uncomplicated, at least to start with, although at the time it had felt a tad strange to find out that he wasn't quite so solidly heterosexual as he'd always assumed before he'd been forced to think about it. But that first time, when Harry'd dropped to his knees in front of him and wrapped his mouth so enthusiastically around his dick, humming like a swarm of bees as he encouraged Jack to thrust - he'd known right then that a whole raft of dangerously delicious possibilities had presented themselves to him. And he'd cheerfully sampled them all. Enjoyed pretty well all of them, too.
But the strangest thing was, it had, improbably, worked. It had worked well enough for him anyway, and he guessed now with the benefit of hindsight somewhat better for Harry, until they were split apart by different postings and Jack eventually met and fell for Sara. They'd had some great times, in bed and out of it.
What he hadn't realised at the time, had only come to realise long after the events, was that Harry had been in way, way deeper than him: when all was said and done, he'd been fond enough of Harry back then, and he'd really enjoyed the sex; it was easy, it was effortless and it had felt damned good: more than a casual fuck, less than a lifetime commitment. But somewhere along the line, Harry had apparently fallen in love. Unless that was all bullshit too - but here Jack mentally shook himself. Nah, Harry couldn't possibly have foreseen this scenario all those years ago; there was no way he could've intended to buy himself a get out of jail free card by those means. No way either that he could've been sure it would've counted for something when the chips were down.
Because one thing Jack did know for a stone cold certainty: later on, in Iraq, he'd had ample reason to be very grateful to Harry and he still was, no matter what shit had gone down between them since. Repeated rape had been revolting, invasive, damn near unbearable - although god knows he'd had the luck there too; he'd never been penetrated with anything worse than a dick - but it would have broken him completely were it not for Harry's careful tutelage all those years before. And it was more than having the knowledge and wherewithal to limit the physical damage. The simple fact of his relationship with Harry, Harry's care for, and respect for, his body had helped him turn the whole experience round in his head. Had helped him deal with what was actually happening to him, allowing him to limit the mental harm, to blank off the sexual element and see the act for what it was, exploitive violence just like all the rest of the shit that had happened to him; nothing more than terror tactics designed to wear him down. And for that gift he would be forever thankful. Difficult as the transition had been from abused prisoner to 'normal' life, the fact that he and Harry had fucked, and fucked as often and as creatively as they could, had made the difference and gotten him back onto an even keel a lot quicker. And now all dues had finally been paid.
Not that he could put that in his report, no sir. That'd be no kind of a reason as far as the brass were concerned. And he'd certainly never said that to Harry, not when he was conscious at least. Far too 'Oprah', really not his style. And besides, Harry'd always been way too cocky as it was, no way was he going to give him this kind of handle on him. But he'd think of something, something suitably creative --
"Are you listening to me, Colonel?"
He switched his gaze back to Hammond, who was looking distinctly suspicious and obviously waiting for some concrete evidence to back up his affirmation. "You just told me you were looking forward to reading my report, Sir."
Hammond gave him a hard look, probably, Jack thought, being more than familiar with the technique of listening with only half an ear himself.
"And?" Oh, so George really thought that was just a lucky guess?
"And you expect said report on your desk by ten hundred tomorrow, Sir."
Hammond's eyes narrowed slightly as he continued to stare assessingly at the leader of his flagship team and Jack felt himself automatically tense under his gaze. Damn, one 'sir' too many. And this guy was a winner in the intimidation stakes, which probably went a long way towards explaining the stars. Jack really didn't want him going off on one again. Once in any given week was enough. He willed himself to look sincere and breathed an internal sigh of relief when Hammond started to look a little mollified.
"And you'll have it, Sir. Ten hundred, sharp."
"It should certainly make for some interesting reading. And Colonel? You might care to bear in mind when writing this report that you can't shit a shitter - at least, not for long. Dismissed."
"Sir. Yes Sir."
Jack saluted smartly before he turned sharply on his heel and left the room. When he got outside, he breathed out another deep sigh of relief, puffing out his cheeks. Okay, that was the initial report over and done with, and the resultant dressing down could have been a lot worse. Now he just had to write the damn thing.
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