Actions and Reactions

Summary: Part of the 'Future Perfect' universe. Uncle Gibbs warned Ensign Leigh McGee about old-fashioned CO's... Warning: references to the spanking of adults. Don't like? Don't read!

Disclaimer: Katie and Leigh are mine; the rest belong to other people.

A/N: this story contains references to the spanking of adults. If you have a problem with that, click on that 'back' button now. You've been warned.

This is darker than my other stories – I don't want to give more than that away, but if you're looking for something light and happy, this isn't it.

Leigh pulled a tin of chicken noodle soup out of the cupboard and reached for a can-opener. It was comfort food from her childhood, kept on hand mainly for when she had a cold. Tonight, despite her reddened eyes and the quiet sniffles that escaped her best efforts to suppress them, she wasn't sick. But she definitely needed comfort food.

She plopped the soup into a pot, added water, and set it on the stove to warm while she pulled out a bowl and spoon and rummaged around looking for the crackers that had to be hiding somewhere at the back of the pantry. It didn't take long for her meal to be ready, and it didn't take long for her to eat standing at the counter and to drop the dishes into the sink. She'd clean up later, she decided, pushing aside the habits she'd been forced to acquire during her plebe summer and returning to her natural disregard for tidiness and order. After all, she thought, glancing at the empty tin that lay on its side on the worktop, a thin trail of condensed broth and half a wayward noodle oozing slowly away from the jagged edge, she was indulging her inner ten-year-old tonight.

Still feeling sorry for herself, she reached for her phone. Her thumb hovering over the speed-dial, she hesitated. As much as she loved her parents, she really needed to talk to someone who knew what it was like to be in the military. And, she thought with a rueful smile, even though he was Navy and an officer, this wasn't a conversation she could have with Grandpa McGee. There was only one option for this phone call, she told herself, stabbing at the keypad and listening impatiently while it rang.