Disclaimer: I don't own the characters and I don't make any money off of them.
A/N: Thanks to my beta, ritt. This story is for Em – I hope you like it.
Q is for Questions
Colby Granger stared at the envelope in his hand. An old Army buddy had given him a heads up that it was coming, but Colby had still been stunned to find the letter waiting for him in the mailbox. It was a simple envelope really – plain white color with fine, black letters spelling out his name and address. The return address was also printed in formal, black lettering, the name of the sender slightly more elaborate in its large, bold print: United States Army.
"Are you okay?"
Colby looked up and saw his pretty, young neighbor from down the hallway studying him with a concerned look on her face. I wonder how long I've been standing here? "I'm fine, Cassy." He gave her his best smile. "Another day, another bill – you know how it is."
"Yeah." She smiled but he could tell she didn't really buy his excuse. "Well, if you need anything you know where to find me."
He thanked her and watched as she walked away before returning his gaze to the sealed envelope in his hand. Ex-Army turned FBI agents do not stand in the hallway while they space out over the mail. Get a grip, Granger! He shoved the letter into his grocery bag- out of sight, out of mind – and hurried up the stairs to his apartment.
Once he was safely inside, his door locked behind him, Colby made his way to the small kitchen and set the paper bag on the counter. He opened the refrigerator door and kept it propped open with his foot while he unloaded his groceries: six pack of beer, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean ground beef, and a nice t-bone steak. The agent chuckled to himself as he imagined the looks on his colleagues' faces if they ever found out just how good of a chef he was.
Colby finished transferring the items into the fridge and let the door swing shut. He glared at the grocery bag, now empty save for his mail. Trying to postpone the inevitable, he opened the refrigerator again and grabbed the last beer in the six-pack he'd been nursing since last night. He popped the cap and took a couple of deep swallows while continuing to eye the paper bag. Got to get it over with sometime.
He reached into the bag, removed the envelope and carried both it and his beer with him to sit on the couch. Colby took another swallow before setting the bottle onto the coffee table. Leaning back on the couch, he held the letter up as he read the front of it for the hundredth time. Like it's going to change if I keep reading it. Sighing in frustration, Colby placed his index finger under the corner of the flap and started to break the seal. He suddenly paused and closed his eyes. Do I really have to look at this?
He set the letter on his lap and let his mind drift on its own. He flashed back to the failed ambush in Qandahar. They had managed to capture the Taliban forces, but two British soldiers had lost their lives in the confusion. The 'friendly fire' incident had been investigated, but no conclusion was ever reached as to whose gun the bullets had originated from. He remembered telling David about the incident, and that he had learned to live with not knowing. That had been true at the time, but now he realized that he'd been lying.
He opened his eyes and picked up the envelope again, studying its perfectly folded edges and crisp appearance. His buddy had told him that some kind of new evidence had come to light that had enabled the Army to complete the investigation, and that they were mailing all the soldiers who had been involved the results of the investigation – just for their own, personal knowledge. Did he want to know? Could he live with himself if he'd been the man responsible for innocent deaths?
Colby slowly rose from the couch and wandered into the kitchen, his eyes never leaving the envelope. He reached his destination and took a deep breath, dropping the unopened letter in the trash and closing the lid.
Some questions were better left unanswered.