It's Just a Sunset

Jack knew that she knew. She would have seen it coming as he arrived on his own, sombrely carrying his hat under his arm where the elbow bent. It wouldn't be as hard with her as it was with Nicole, walking up and having to tell her, seeing the smile fade away from her face as it clouded into sadness and then into pure outrage.

He had gotten everything he expected; a slap in the face, a hard shove to the chest as she beat him around a little, and he had let her, just like he had let her burst into tears and cry into his chest; his strong, harsh older sister crying her eyes out in his arms then telling him to go to Marie as Daniel arrived home. No this wouldn't be as hard as telling Nicole, this would be worse, he could feel it.

"How?" she asked as she walked through the threshold of the doorway and out onto the front steps of their make-shift porch, a gift made by a few of Jacks crew on their last visit for Marie's exemplary doctoring skills, "how?"

"Fell asleep," Jack almost whispered as she took a seat on the step next to him, brushing a lock of her black curly hair from her face as she pulled her knees to her chest, usual blue dress fanning out over her feet, "he…he fell asleep."

"Want to come in for some tea? Or rum I suppose?" she said in her usual manner, soft smile gracing her lips and the fabric of her dress making a swishing sound as she turned to face Jack with some excitement now in her tone, "maybe we could go to a tavern, we could drink and dance and stuff."

"Let's watch the sunset," Jack said as quietly as he had before, soft tone and sad face as he played with his hat in his hands and watched the sun falling lower and lower into the sky.

"You can do that tomorrow, take me to a tavern Jack," her small smile faded into nothing and her excitement washed out as he stubbornly looked on at the setting orange orb as the sky flared red near the bottom, listening as she turned to look as well, her voice now matching his own, "it's just a sunset, Jack."

"It's not just…" Jack's voice trailed away as she cut him off, shaking her head and making her hair swish back and forwards over her shoulders, closing her eyes and pursing her lips a little.

"It's just a sunset Jack. Its just like every other day," she took in a shaky breath and then turned to look at him, he meeting her gaze and looking on as she told her story, tears almost falling but only one making its way down her cheek, "you and dad were out sailing and came back. He'll be at a tavern and now you have me and we'll join them later. I made stew and tea and I had toast for breakfast. It's just a normal day. It's just a sunset."

Jack nodded as he scooted a little closer and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, resting his chin on her head as she burst into her own tears with her head resting against his chest and facing the final phases of the setting sun, he nodded again as he rubbed her shoulder and whispered to her, "it's just a sunset."

As the sun vanished from view Jack waited and held his breath, watching the horizon as Marie wiped her eyes with the hand that wasn't wrapped around his waist, the movement causing her to shift against his chest.

A bright green flash set the sky alight a few seconds later and Jack exhaled, hugging Marie closer as she began to cry again, kissing the top of her head as she gripped the front of his shirt and let out shaky breaths. This is what he would do for the man he considered a father; he would stay as long as his 'sisters' needed him and he would check on them regularly, provide for them if it was necessary.

The light was fading from the edges of the sky as Marie's shaking breaths became slower and he found she had fallen asleep. He carefully removed her arm from around his waist and then picked her up in his own, resting his hat on her stomach so he could open the door as she rolled her head onto his shoulder. He turned back to the stars as he stepped over the threshold, watching the final green fade away from the edges, "I'll watch for you on the horizon."

A/N: I thought of the line 'it's just a sunset' and this is what was produced. In case you didn't understand, this was Jack coming home and telling Marie and Nicole that Gibbs had died. If you don't understand who Marie and Nicole are then you obviously didn't read my first one shot 'Life is Good'. Although this is part of the series, they aren't in chronological order, just the order I wrote them in, so there is more to come featuring Gibbs and everyone else. I hope you enjoyed this and will read the next in the series. Thanks, Ange.