Thicker Than Blood: Prologue
A/N: I'm back! I actually don't have much written of this story, but I couldn't resist the temptation to post something on my birthday :) As always, writing will be slow. And yes, since this is on Fictionpress, this is a Jeff and Kim story, not an NCIS story (even though I'm writing it in that format).
First Lieutenant Kelly Walker stopped near the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, looking up the marble stairs to the marble statue of the sixteenth president, taking a minute to just study the lines of his sculpted face and the way the light played on them. All around her, people were laughing and joking and having a good time, but she just couldn't get into whatever it was that they were feeling. Escape, from being on vacation to the nation's capital? Excitement, from seeing all the history and the monuments to the great men who made the country what it is? Joy, from being around people you care about? She couldn't feel any of those, not with everything else weighing on her mind.
The Marine communications officer sighed and stuck her hands deep in the light jacket she wore before turning and walking away. There was the Korean War memorial on her left, Vietnam on her right, and she really had no urging need to see either. She had seen them both, several times, on school trips growing up, at the Naval Academy, during breaks from OCS and TBS at Quantico. She had seen them at night and in the day, and didn't care if she saw them again now.
She turned to her right, but walked past the Vietnam wall, past the statues of the three soldiers, past the nurse's memorial, and continued walking. At this hour, on such a chilly spring evening, and on this part of the Mall, she had the path to herself, the celebratory voices now further away and getting quieter with each step.
Walker crossed a wooden bridge, to a small park that few knew about and hardly anyone visited at night, the area dedicated to the signers of the Declaration of Independence. She studied the stones, each with a signature in gold, her fingers trailing over the letters as she moved along the short wall and closer to the water. She tried to imagine what it would have been like, to be one of those men, knowing that what they were doing was tantamount to treason and would be punishable by death if they didn't succeed. Could she have done such a brave thing? She found herself doubting it.
She pulled her phone from her pocket and stared at the display of the time, trying to do the math and figure out what time it was on the other side of the world, only to find that she didn't care. What she needed to say needed to be said, and if it wasn't a convenient time to hear it, that was too bad. She had done the 'feeling sorry for herself' stage; now it was time to move on.
The number she was looking for was only a few down on the list of recent calls, and just like before, the sight of his name caused the now-familiar fluttering deep in her stomach, a combination of nerves and excitement and arousal and danger all at once. You should have known that's what he was, she scolded herself. Nothing but danger. Nothing but trouble.
She pressed on his name and brought the phone to her ear, hearing it ring once, twice, three times, four, and then the voicemail connected. This is Lieutenant Colonel Kanten Tomblin. I'm sorry I'm not available at the moment, but leave a message and I'll call you back. The message continued, the same words going by in Japanese, and now all she felt was anger. Anger at him, at herself, at the situation, at the celebrating people by the Lincoln Memorial, at anyone else and anything else she could think of to be angry at.
"Hey," she said when the phone beeped, surprised to hear her voice sound so quiet. She cleared her throat. "Uh, it's me. Obviously. Uh, we need to talk, about, well, about a lot." She hated herself for not knowing what to say or how to say it, for not being able to form the words that she had been rehearsing since she got off the Metro over two hours ago. "I know this isn't exactly the best way to say this, and if I had any choice, I would do it differently, but, well…" She again cleared her throat. "I'm pregnant, and before you get a chance to ask any stupid questions, yes, it's yours. I'm back in DC and I'm going to stay here. My CO at Quantico said I don't have to go back to Okinawa, so I'm not. Umm, I don't really know what to do. Give me a call back so we can talk about this." She swallowed the thickness she suddenly felt in her throat. "Bye, Kanten."
She hung up the phone and all but collapsed on the low stone bench, feeling the coolness of the seat through her jeans, and shivered. It really was cold that evening, much cooler than anything she had dealt with during her six months at Okinawa, and she knew it would be a couple of weeks before she was reacclimatized to DC weather, as strange and random as it could be. And she knew weather wasn't what she should have been thinking about at the moment.
She couldn't get over what her life had become, in just a few short months. She had gone to Okinawa, where she had been warned her blond hair and "fresh blood" aspect could be trouble, but she'd be lying if she tried to say that she didn't enjoy the attention. And then Kanten Tomblin came around, looking Japanese enough that she was surprised he wasn't—not really; he was as American as they came, despite the Japanese mother and years living in Japan—and she had been flattered by the attention, especially the attention coming from a combat helicopter pilot three ranks above her. It was the same story she used to roll her eyes when she was at Annapolis or in training, because they had all heard it so many times, but when she had been the one starring in it, she thought it was be different.
Right. Of course. Everyone thinks that they're different, and obviously, none of them are.
It had been going for three months when she thought he was playing hot and cold with her, affectionate as she left his apartment in the morning and then acting like he didn't know her at work. She tried telling herself that he was just being professional, that he was looking after both of their careers, but there was something that was just…not right whenever they interacted at work. Like he was a different person. A different person who wore a wedding band.
She gave a snort, sitting there on that park bench. Trust Kanten to not tell her that he had an identical twin brother, stationed on the same base and with the same job. She felt like an idiot after, but she had yelled and screamed at him, not understanding why he didn't tell her that he was married, not understanding what all of this was supposed to mean. He was so confused, no idea what she was talking about until she told him that he had been wearing his wedding band at work.
And then he laughed.
He apologized and said that it wasn't really funny, but it really was. A twin brother, he said, and the whole story sounded so made up that she just got angrier, until he showed her a picture of the two of them, and she realized that he really did have a twin brother.
It was less than a week after that that he said they shouldn't see each other anymore, and wouldn't give her a reason why, and less than a month of spending her free time sitting by herself in the Bachelor Officer Quarters later, she was back in DC, ready to get her life back.
As if that would happen now.
She rose to her feet and began pacing around the tiny park, walking by the stones with the signatures without seeing any of them, wondering why she didn't get out of the cold and head back to her hotel room.
She had just decided to do just that when she was spun around by the force of a bullet she hadn't heard. There was no one around to hear the splash of water as 1stLt Kelly Walker tumbled into the pond, a single gunshot in the side of the head.