Title: Broken Trust

Disclaimer: All standard disclaimers apply. No money has been made. Please don't sue. You won't get anything but a temperamental bird that will bite and a senile cat that'll meow you to death.

Notes: Was working on another Strong Medicine fic, then the muses wanted to add this and that and… you get the picture. Rather than totally revamp what should be a short fic, we decided to write a ficlet with it. Then the computer died when the power flickered and it disappeared and by that point it was stuck in our head so we had to restart it.

This is just like the two previous (or next) posts in the Tremors category. It was on a flash drive, completed, and I lost it. I'm just posting an old old old story.

As always: spelling-and-grammar checked but is unbeta'd. Any mistakes are mine and mine alone. Hopefully there aren't too many; I have enough already.

Summary: A missing scene set the night Les hit Andy.

..

Doctor Andy Campbell was quiet as she sat curled up in one of the overstuffed chairs in the living room of the home she shared with her husband and daughters in Philadelphia. Her normally tidy brown hair was a rumpled testament to fingers running through the strands multiple times. Her face was completely make-up free and blotchy from crying, dried tear-tracks faintly visible in the dimmed light from a single lamp.

One hand was at her throat, fingers curled around and stroking the delicate gold cross that her parents had given her when she'd been accepted into the military, half of the answer of a lifelong dream. It had been her constant companion throughout the years and she always held it briefly during times of stress. It had been a reminder of those who had come before and those who would follow. More importantly, it was a comfort, a stalwart crutch she could lean on when things got too hard for the woman inside the medical professional cum soldier façade that she showed to the world.

It was a comfort desperately needed tonight.

One side of her face was slightly more pronounced than the other side, red and swelling as minutes passed without her holding the ice pack she had gotten from the freezer earlier.

It didn't matter that she had taken far harder hits in her military training, never mind the years of her career. You couldn't be working on soldiers in pain without having any backlash. This one tonight… it hurt more than any other she'd ever received.

She still couldn't believe that Les had struck her.

Yes, they had been arguing lately. What married couple didn't from time to time? And the whole family had been stressed for the past year, what with her retirement and the family moving to Philadelphia. The girls had been transferred to new schools, she'd started a new job, and Les had become the stay-at-home dad that dealt with everything going on in the household. Their roles had all changed some drastically and others only in the details, but the Campbell family wasn't one that dealt with changes well.

But she hadn't expected this.

She would have a bruise by morning, she knew.

What on Earth was she going to say to the girls? How was she going to explain her being just fine, if stressed and arguing with their father, when they went to bed and then having a black eye when they woke up the next morning?

Assuming, of course, she had her head wrapped around it herself.

Les had struck her.

Her husband, one of the kindest and gentlest men she knew… The man who had defused an argument in high school with his humor and good nature had raised his hand against her in anger.

No, on second thought, the girls weren't going to be the only hard part of this. What was she going to tell the people at work?

She just couldn't believe it. She couldn't believe that it had happened.

Had it been a dream?

No, not a dream - a nightmare.

There wasn't any other explanation, was there? She was sure that if she just went upstairs and lay down in bed, she'd wake up in the morning next to a smiling husband, her face bruise-free and her marriage 100% intact with no cracks.

Right?

Wrong.

She was lying to herself, telling herself the same things that countless other battered wives had told themselves through the years to justify what their husbands had done to them. But she wasn't like all of those women, was she? Les was completely different from those husbands! This was the first time he'd ever raised a hand to her, and he was under a lot of stress.

Stress that she had caused; stress that she hadn't helped alleviate. What kind of wife was she, to let her husband get that upset?

He wouldn't do it again.

He couldn't do it again. Not and be the man she'd pledged to share her life with. The man she'd had children with and shared fears and dreams.

And he was that man.

She could still remember their wedding, Les wearing a suit and Andy in scrubs at a military hospital, the altar a rolling cart of surgical instruments draped with sterile white cloth and a bouquet of flowers. They'd had another ceremony after that, but it was there that they became husband and wife. She'd been stressed over all the changes their mothers had been making, her father's arguments that she should only be married wearing her dress whites… Les had surprised her there, going in on it with Security and the hospital Chaplain to clear everything.

He hadn't changed that much in the 18 years they were married. She would have seen it if he had.

All of this? They could clear it up. They just had to sit down and talk about it.

That point firmed in her mind, she stood up and took a single step towards the stairs before hesitating, her feet never leaving the relative warmth of the area rug.

Even if it wasn't completely Les's fault…she couldn't face lying down next to him right now. Not when she knew what had happened and they hadn't talked about it, gotten anything resolved.

It would be better to sleep down here. Ready with an excuse that she had once again fallen asleep with a medical journal, she pulled the throw over her as she lay down on the sofa and took a deep breath. She forced her mind to go blank; using a trick learned long ago, and drifted off into a dreamless sleep.

(End)

Reviews are welcome!

Shannon: sorry I didn't use your ending idea. This one just seemed to fit!