As he backed out of the driveway for the last time, he paused for a moment, hoping for the door of the house to open and for his love to come dashing out after him, before he drove off into the night and away from the place that had been his heaven and his hell for the last 5 years, but the door remained steadfastly closed and he knew that there was no reprieve, no change of heart, so with tears rolling down his cheeks he slowly drove off away from the one he loved and the life he had built.

Jasper Whitlock is not a big man, in fact he barely reached 5'7 and he had endured more than his share of teasing during his time in the Marines, but after proving himself time and time again to be a fearless and tough fighter, he was dubbed, "Little Texas" by his squad mates and developed the most unlikely of friendships with a veritable bear of Marine named Emmet McCarty. At over 6'6 and 290 lbs, Emmet looked like a grizzly about to devour a mouse standing next to Jasper, but the two men balanced each other as friends, Emmets raucous and ribald sense of humor often bringing Jasper out of his melancholy thoughts, and Jaspers calm and steady nature bringing the focus to Emmet that he needed to keep his head under fire in combat situations. The many months of combat in Iraq took a toll on the entire squad, and casualties mounted due to seemingly endless IED's and sniper attacks, the deprivations of inadequate sleep and food and resources and the constant stress wore on the men, but friendships forged under such conditions are enduring ones and the 'Mutt and Jeff" friendship of Emmet and Jasper was no different.

Emmet often spoke of his desire to get back home and find a good woman to marry and settle down with, he wanted to have a pack of kids and become a cop. Jasper hadn't given much thought to what he wanted to do after he got out, in fact he hadn't even really considered getting out because he really had no place to go. He was estranged from his family in Texas for reasons he never would elaborate on, he preferred to not talk about his personal life other than he had never really gotten out much. Emmet didn't pry, he suspected that Jasper might be hiding something that he didn't want the military to know, and be damned if he was going to be the one to pry it out of him. Emmet was a firm believer in the old saying, "Three can keep a secret if two are dead" and he didn't want to know any secrets that might be worth killing or dying over, but he cared about Jasper like a brother, the sad and haunted look in the mans green eyes brought to mind his cousin Rob. Emmet still felt the pain over Robs death, and he knew that by helping Jasper, he would be honoring Robs memory, so he set out to do just that.

When their unit returned stateside to Arizona, both Emmet and Jasper found themselves with less than 90 days left on their contracts. The surrounding community had several prospects for those interested in Law Enforcement and it was then that Emmet decided to give Jasper the big brother nudge in the right direction. He knew that the local community college sponsored a police academy in conjunction with several of the local agencies and due to the rapid expansion of the local population, there was a large demand for police officers, so he decided that he was going to apply for admission to the academy and then employment with the sheriffs department and he was taking Jasper with him.

Jasper was initially hesitant to apply for the sheriffs department. In fact, he was skeptical about the entire proposition, but he didn't have any other prospects and the thought of redeploying to Iraq for another extended tour wasn't particularly appealing, so he decided to give in and let Emmet play the big brother for awhile. Their separation packages from the Marines were being processed and soon they would need to find a place to live and jobs as well as figure out what they were going to do with themselves, so why not?