Chapter 2

Jack rushed into the main bathroom at the top of the stairs and was soon on the floor, heaving and shuddering. He'd never felt so terrified in his life. As soon as he'd realised what the letter was about, his head had been filled with all the connotations it carried. Separation, injury and worst of all, the chance of death. His heart would break if Ennis was killed out there; he felt as if his life would be over if that happened.

He finally finished and held onto the seat, gasping for breath and trying to clear his vision. He rested his head on his arm for a moment, and then when he was sure he was okay, he sat back against the door, his knees drawn up to his chest with his arms around them. His eyes filled with tears as he looked around the room, trying to make sense of all his thoughts.

He heard very familiar footsteps on the stairs and his tears spilled. How could he say goodbye to the love of his life?

There was a knock on the door. "Jack? You okay, bud?"

Jack wiped at his eyes. "What do you think?" he said, his voice breaking. Ennis sighed and Jack heard him sit on the other side of the door so that he too was resting against it.

"Darlin'...I dunno what to say...I never expected this..."

"I know. It ain't yer fault, Ennis. Just...came as a real shock. What are we gonna do?"

"I dunno, bud..." They fell into silence. They were both aware of what could happen and they knew they needed to talk about it, but it was a matter of having the guts.

Ennis bit his lip, thinking. "Jack...I don't hafta go."

Jack shook his head. "Yeah you do...you don't got a choice. It's the rules right now. You hafta go..."

"There's ways around it..." he started.

"Like?" Jack asked doubtfully.

"Well...some folks run off...like to Canada or somethin'. To get away from 'em."

Jack gave a shaky laugh. "Yer a real thinker there, Ennis. Canada? We can't do that, we got a life an' a business here...that ain't the answer."

"Jack...I'd do anythin' to avoid hurtin' you. You know that. I can tell yer scared an' don't want me to go..."

Beyond the door, Jack sniffed. "I am. I'm terrified, Ennis...you...you could get killed out there. You know that as well as I do. I'm scared of losin' you..."

"I know...so...if you don't want me to go...I won't. I'll do whatever it takes to get out of it. You...you mean more to me than anythin'."

Jack thought for a moment. "So...if I ask you to...you'll do whatever you gotta to stay here, with me?"

"Yeah, bud. Just say the word."

"They'll tear you apart...yer reputation...they'll find out..."

"I don't care 'bout that, Jack. You're the most important thing to me. I love you."

"I love you too, Ennis...you'd really do that, for me?" he asked hopefully.

"I would. I'd do anythin' fer you..." Ennis said, his heart aching for the man beyond the door.

Jack sighed and smiled slightly. "That's why I love you so much, Ennis. That, right there."

"Huh?" Ennis asked, confused. "What do ya mean, bud?"

"That you'd put me before everythin' else...even yer reputation. That you'd risk bein' called a coward an' havin' people say yer lettin' yer country down." He wiped at his eyes again.

"I'd do all that for you, Jack," Ennis promised.

Jack nodded to himself, his head sorted. "That's that, then. You gotta go."

"What?" he asked. What's he on about?

"Ennis...I been worried that you're gonna wanna go no matter what...you hear all the time 'bout guys who are drafted an' just pack up an' go, not listenin' to what their girls want, even if they're worried sick. I know I ain't a girl, but..." He trailed off.

"Jack...you know I listen to you...yer smarter than me."

"Don't start that, cowboy," Jack responded, shaking his head. "Thing is...what you just said...about puttin' me first...that told me everythin' I needed to know. Ennis...yer a good man. I know there's a part of you that wants to go 'cos that's the kind of guy you are. I just needed to know that you'd stay if I wanted you to. That you'd take me into account. I know it's kinda selfish, but..."

"It ain't selfish, Jack. You deserve to know that. Owe you that much. An' yeah, I gotta admit I feel like I hafta go...but if you don't want me to, I won't."

Jack sighed. "That's why you gotta go. I don't need you to prove anythin' to me now. Knowin' all that...I'm sure now. It's gonna hurt like hell to see you go, but...it's gonna be okay."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. I...I realise what could happen, but...we're soulmates, ain't we?"

"Sure are, bud. Have been fer over two years," Ennis said, smiling to himself.

"So...no matter what...we can't be parted. I told you before...I feel like...even if one of us gets...killed...we're always gonna be together. Whoever goes first, we'll wait for the other, right?"

"Yeah...yer right, darlin'. If somethin' happens to me out there...I'm...I'm always gonna be with ya, Jack. I swear."

Jack's eyes filled with tears again and he let them fall. His throat ached with all the crying he'd done and he was unable to speak.

"Ennis...I..." he choked out. Ennis heard him sniffing and knew that he was crying - that was all he could take. He stood up, resting a hand on the door.

"Jack, open up. I know yer cryin' an' you know I can't take it. C'mon, darlin'." Jack relented and stood up on shaky legs. He opened the door to admit Ennis, whose heart sank when he saw Jack's red eyes and tear tracks down his cheeks.

"Oh Jack...c'mere..." he whispered, coming forward and pulling Jack into his arms. He held him tightly and let him sob into his shoulder. They stood there in the doorway of the bathroom, clutching each other tightly.


After a while of holding each other, Ennis helped Jack to clean up his face as best he could before they went back downstairs. Jack was distraught over his tear-stained face but Ennis assured him that Rose and Becky wouldn't care. After a few soft, slow kisses in the bathroom, Ennis led Jack by the hand back downstairs, where the women had moved to the kitchen preparing lunch. The hands were still on their Christmas vacation until after New Year's, so they were on their own for now. Just as well, for they all needed to talk about what was going on.

The girls turned when they heard them enter the kitchen. "Hey," said Becky cautiously, feeding Lily her baby food. "You guys okay?"

Ennis squeezed Jack's hand and led him over to the table, where Rose handed them both a bowl of tomato soup. "I guess. Just...came as a real shock," said Ennis. Jack clutched at his bowl and spoon, his hands still shaky and throat still sore.

"We talked about it...an'...I'm gonna go," Ennis started. Becky's eyes widened and Jack screwed his eyes shut.

"Oh...really? Ennis, that's...that's a real big risk..."

Ennis nodded. "I know, but...I ain't got much of a choice. I hafta go. So...might as well make the best of a bad situation, huh?"

"That's true...but...Ennis...I'm sure you know what could happen out there." Jack's eyes lowered and Ennis looked over at him.

"I know. But we've talked 'bout that, an'...it's gonna be okay. We...me an' Jack...we're soulmates...we can't never be parted, ya know?"

Becky smiled. "Ennis...you ain't never talked about that before. That so?"

"Uh-huh. We've talked 'bout that. An' we are. Nothin's torn us apart before, this won't either. I know it sounds weird, sayin' that we can't be parted, but..."

"I think it's kinda romantic," Becky replied, smiling. "An' yer right. Nothin's ever torn ya apart up to now, so...maybe this won't either." Both she and Rose could guess the kind of things he and Jack would have talked about, on their own when nobody else was around. A kind of strength did seem to radiate from the two of them when they were together, and it always gave Becky hope because they seemed so strong. What would happen once Ennis left? Would that feeling fade, give way to a sense of loss. How would Jack cope without him? They were joined at the hip, it seemed. Jack would cut a lonely figure out on the ranch by himself.

Rose came over to the table and sat down, looking at her son with a sadness in her eyes. She knew how it would break him to have Ennis torn away from him. He would be worried sick for his safety for however long he was gone. And what if Ennis was killed out there? What would become of Jack then?

"Jack, sweetheart," she said softly, brushing his hair back from his forehead. He looked up at her, his deep blue eyes full of sadness.

"Yeah, mama?" he asked, looking lost, just as he had when he was younger and he'd gone to her for comfort, usually after a beating from his father. He was an adult now with his own life full of love and success, but it was amazing how even the tiniest threat to that could make him look like that scared little boy again.

"It's gonna be okay. Ennis is a smart young man, despite what he says," she said, half-smiling at him. "He's gonna be okay out there. An' all the trainin' they go through, both here an' out there...they train their soldiers so well an' make sure they know how to look after themselves. I'm sure he's gonna be fine." Becky nodded her agreement.

"I guess..." said Jack, looking hopeful. Maybe it would be alright, he tried to reason with himself, but loving Ennis like he did, it would be hard to let go of that fear. Maybe he never would, but that was just the way it would have to be.

"Anyway," said Becky, picking Lily up out of her chair and into her arms to burp her. "What are we gonna do now? Don't ya need a physical exam? I heard that you hafta do that before you report."

"Yeah. I better call Rick," responded Ennis, rubbing at his forehead. "Get an appointment sorted. We better get callin' everyone an' let 'em know. All our friends. They gotta know sooner or later an' we only got two weeks." Jack's heart twanged at the thought. Just two weeks.

"An' K.E. an' Cecilia too," Jack reminded him. "They hafta know too."

"I know."

"You know...maybe we oughta talk to Bill an' Mary. Bill was in World War Two an' he might have some advice. You know, how to look after yerself out there," Rose mused. "An'..." She turned to Jack. "Maybe Mary might have some advice for Jack...about copin' with...havin' him gone."

Jack nodded. "Yeah, maybe. That'd be good. Need all the help I can get." Ennis took his hand again and rubbed his thumb over it. All he could do now was try and help Jack to cope with their impending separation. It would be hard for them to say goodbye, and it would bring back bad memories of the day in Signal, when they had thought that they were going their separate ways after that glorious summer. There would be no momentary reprieve this time and no second chance for them to stay together. This would be it for a long time and Ennis hoped that their connection would keep their lights burning during those long, lonely nights.

He brought Jack's hand to his lips and kissed it, holding it there. Rose and Becky looked at each other and left the room to give them some privacy. Ennis held Jack in his arms again, rubbing his back and neck, trying to pour into him some hope and belief that things would be okay.


That afternoon, Jack and Ennis were in the office, preparing to call Cecilia, K.E. and Adam and tell them what was going on. Ennis dialled the first number and held Jack's hand across the desk, their fingers interlacing.

"Hello?" came Cecilia's voice, sounding pleasant. Ennis realised with a pang that he wouldn't be around for the birth of her baby. He wouldn't be around for a lot of things.

"Hey, Cecilia, it's Ennis."

"Oh, hey sweetie. What's up? How is everyone?"

"We're good, thanks. How are you guys?" Ennis asked, playing with Jack's fingers absentmindedly.

"We're great. The kids are happy, an' the baby's doin' real well."

"Great. I, um...I got some news for ya."

"Oh? What is it?"

Ennis sighed. "I got a letter this mornin'...from the Selective Service System." He watched as Jack brought their clasped hands to his cheek, kissing Ennis's and looking into his eyes.

"Oh my...does that mean...?" she asked, sounding worried.

"It does. I'm sorry, sis...I dunno what to say. We're all kinda in shock."

"I bet. Oh, Ennis...this is terrible. When are you leavin'?"

"January 11th, two weeks away. Dunno how long I'll be out there," he admitted.

"Right...how's Jack takin' it?"

Ennis looked at Jack. "I ain't gonna lie to ya, sis...he's takin' it pretty hard. He's here with me right now, we're in the office."

"Oh...give him my best, okay? He must be so torn up..."

"I will. I'll call you again before I go, okay?"

"Alright. Ennis...be careful out there, yeah? It's real dangerous, I'm sure you know that."

"I know. You take care of yerself too, huh? Look after that little one."

"I sure will. Bye, Ennis. Give my best to everyone."

"Yep, bye sis." He hung up and waited a moment, looking into Jack's eyes. When he could tear his eyes away, he dialled K.E.'s number.

"Hey, K.E."

"Oh, hey Ennis. What's up? Everythin' okay?"

"Yeah, I guess. We're all fine. How are you guys?"

"Doin' real well. Keith's a handful but he's great. An' Sarah's fine."

"Great. I...I got some news this mornin'."

"Sounds bad. What is it?" K.E. asked, sounding concerned.

"I got a letter from the Selective Service System. Been recruited, probably goin' to Vietnam."

"Oh my God...that's real bad...how are the others takin' it?"

"Pretty bad. Jack's been hit hard," Ennis replied, as he was now caressing the back of Jack's head with his other hand.

"I bet. What happens now?"

"I gotta have a physical exam with my doctor, an' in two weeks I gotta report an' then go to a trainin' camp over in Fort Jackson."

"When do ya leave?"

"In two weeks, January 11th."

"Right...well...will ya call again, before ya go?"

"I sure will. Look, I better go. Take care, okay?"

"Yeah, you too. Bye, Ennis."

"Bye." Ennis hung up and rubbed his hands over his eyes. Jack sighed.

"You okay, cowboy?"

"I guess. Just..." He thought for a moment. "Just when things are really startin' to come together...this happens. Throws everythin' off."

Jack locked their fingers together again. "I know, I know...but...no matter what...things are gonna be okay. I love you, an'..." He looked up. "I'm gonna wait for ya, you know. When you go...I'm gonna be right here, waitin' until ya get back."

Ennis smiled. "Thanks, bud. I'll be thinkin' of ya, all the time." Jack grinned slightly.

"Me too." He kissed their clasped hands and they sat staring at each other for a few minutes. After a while, Ennis picked up the phone again, dialling Adam over in Ohio. He picked up after a few rings.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Adam, it's Ennis. Cecilia's brother, down in Georgia."

"Oh, hey. How are things goin' down there?"

"Pretty good. How are you guys?"

"Great. The bar's doin' real well, an' we're okay."

"Good. I, uh...I got some news."

"Oh? What's up?"

Ennis took a breath. "I got a letter this mornin'...from the Selective Service System. I'm bein' drafted. Gotta go in two weeks to Fort Jackson."

"Oh my God...Fort Jackson, South Carolina?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Ennis...I got a letter from 'em too..."

Ennis's eyes widened. "You did? You got one too?" Jack raised his eyebrows.

"Yeah. I gotta go on the tenth. I'll get there the day before you, right?"

"Yeah, guess you will. We'll probably get sent to Vietnam together, huh?"

"Probably. Be good to have a friendly face there. Family, right?"

"Right. How's Pete takin' it?"

Adam sighed. "It really hit him hard. He got upset an' he was throwin' up...only just managin' to calm him down some, you know?"

"Jack was the same, took it hard," Ennis said, holding Jack's hand. "But you know...we made our promises an'...it'll be okay. Gonna hurt like hell to say goodbye to him, but...just somethin' I gotta do."

"I hear you. Me an' Pete were up half the night talkin'. I think he's feelin' a bit better about it all. They'll train us real well, I heard, so we might be okay. An' hey...whatever else, we'll have someone to talk about our better halves with, yeah?"

Ennis smiled. "We sure will. If we was on our own we couldn't do that. But we still gotta be careful in case someone over there's into eavesdroppin'."

"I know. We get found out, it ain't gonna be pretty. They're real nasty 'bout guys like us."

"Yeah. So...I better go. Got a lot of work to do today an' we done hardly any. Gettin' that letter messed everythin' up."

"Yep. Talk to ya soon, okay?"

"Yeah. Did you talk to Tom?"

"I was gonna do it later. I'll do it. See ya, Ennis."

"Bye, Adam."

Ennis hung up, relieved that he had gotten through it. He looked up to see Jack, who was now resting his head in one of his hands and looking down at the desk. Ennis got up and went around to his side, leaning over him and crossing his arms around Jack's neck, feeling Jack lean back into the embrace.

"Gonna be okay, Jack," he murmured.

"I sure hope so, cowboy."


That night, after a quiet evening in front of the TV, they finally went upstairs to rest. It had been a long and taxing day for all of them and they were ready to collapse into bed. Tomorrow would be a new day and they could start to prepare for what was heading their way. It would be the hardest thing for them to part, but they had to make the best of this bad situation.

Ennis and Jack wearily made their way to their bedroom, hand in hand. They were walking slowly and they were drained. They went into their room in silence and Jack turned to Ennis.

"Hard day, huh?" he said quietly, arms folded. Ennis shut the door and walked up to him.

"Yeah. Gonna get worse too, I reckon. But...we just gotta keep goin', rodeo. I guess...if you can't fix it, you gotta stand it."

Jack shifted. "For how long?"

Ennis sighed, placing his hands on Jack's shoulders. "For as long as we can ride it, darlin'. Ain't a lot we can do."

"I know..." Jack placed his hands on Ennis's arms. "I'm gonna miss you somethin' fierce. Can't deny that. Can't keep nothin' from you."

"Oh, darlin'...come here." Ennis leaned in and kissed Jack softly, feeling his lips part to accept his tongue. Ennis held Jack's face in both of his hands and Jack's hands came up to his shoulders. One of Ennis's hand then came down to the small of Jack's back, pulling him closer.

Jack moaned softly into his mouth and squeezed his shoulders. They pulled apart and Jack looked up at Ennis, his eyes full of need.

"Ennis...I...I..."

Ennis brought his hands to the back of Jack's head. "I know, darlin'. I know. Come on." He then took Jack's hand and led him around the bed to his side, crawling on and leading Jack with him. Jack stretched out on his back and Ennis leaned over him, tracing a finger along his cheek.

"I love you, Jack," he said softly. "More than anythin'."

Jack smiled sadly. "I know. I love you too." He ran a hand over his eyes, sighing wearily. Ennis kissed his forehead.

"Jack...it's alright..."

"Mmm..." Jack's eyes opened. "Come an' make me feel better for a bit, take my mind off it."

Ennis kissed the tip of his nose, making him smile. "You got it darlin'. I'll try." He leaned over Jack again, kissing his lips this time and feeling Jack trying to pull him closer. He brought one leg up and over to straddle Jack, pressing down onto him and holding him in his arms. They slowly undressed each other and threw their clothes to the floor, getting under the warm sheets as their bodies tangled together.

After a few minutes of kissing, Ennis pulled away. "Jack..."

"Ennis..." Their mouths met again and the night melted away into a cloud of passion and love, time standing still and the earth moving as they finished, Ennis collapsing onto Jack and breathing into his neck.

"Gonna miss this when yer gone," Jack gasped, staring up at the ceiling. Ennis kissed his neck.

"Me too, baby," he whispered. Jack's heart soared to hear that endearment.

"Ennis...I love you so damn much..." His breath hitched as he filled up with emotion, and Ennis heard it. He rose up and looked down at Jack.

"Darlin'...it's okay. Come on, open yer eyes." Jack did so and Ennis was struck by how deep they were; a deep blue to pierce his heart and soul. Jack swallowed and Ennis's heart was bursting with a need to make him feel better. He leaned down so that their noses touched.

"Jack...tell me how to make ya feel better. Anythin' ya want. Just tell me." Jack's breathing was rocking him up and down as he lay on his chest.

"I dunno, cowboy...dunno if ya can. It...it really hurts knowin' that yer gonna be leavin' me behind in just two weeks..."

"I know...gonna be real hard leavin' you an' the girls. You know I love yer mama an' Becky, an' Lily too...but...I'm gonna miss you most, darlin'." His throat worked and he ran his fingers through Jack's hair.

Jack's lip trembled. "Ennis...I'm gonna miss you so much." Ennis leaned down and nuzzled their faces together.

"Shh...shh...it's alright, Jack. I'll be able to call ya from the base camp, you know. An' I'll write ya letters as often as I can."

"You gotta be real careful, though. There's gonna be loads of guys around an' you won't be able to talk about me...what about when they all start talkin' about their girls an' ask you about yers? What are ya gonna do?"

"I'll think of somethin'. I sure don't wanna lie about us, Jack. Swore to myself a long time ago I was gonna be honest 'bout what you mean to me."

"You hafta lie, cowboy. You can't tell the truth; they'll throw you out an' it won't be pretty."

Ennis thought for a moment. "But...Adam'll be there. I can talk to him 'bout you an' he can talk 'bout Pete to me. We won't be totally alone."

"Yeah...I'm real glad you'll have someone there that you can trust, but...God...some part of me wishes that I was gonna be there too, just to be with ya."

"That wouldn't work, fer two reasons. One, I'll wanna sleep with ya an' stuff an' they won't like that. An' two...I'd be worryin' about ya whenever you ain't around. At least with you stayin' here, I'll know yer safe. It'll make it a little bit easier, I reckon, knowin' that yer here an' not in no danger."

"Cowboy...I gotta say...that made me feel a little better. I wish I could be sure about yer safety out there."

Ennis held him closer. "Sorry...that's the one thing I can't make no promises about, even though I wanna. Sorry, bud."

Jack sighed and kissed the side of his head. "It's alright, cowboy. I'll just hafta have a little faith an' hope for the best. Won't be easy, but...just somethin' I gotta do."

"Yeah."


After a few more kisses and caresses in the darkness, Jack spooned up into Ennis to try and get some sleep, if he could. He wasn't sure if he could, as scared and as worried as he was, but he had to at least try. Ennis held him close with one arm around his stomach, hoping that Jack would be able to sleep tonight. Jack snuggled backwards into him and closed his eyes, letting Ennis's scent wash over him.

He was busy washing the dishes after breakfast, thinking of his man and wondering what he was doing, when there was a knock at the door. He went to open it, seeing that their visitor was an unfamiliar soldier, in full uniform. Jack's heart skipped a beat.

"Can I help ya?" he asked warily, having some idea of what this might be about.

"Jack Twist?" the man asked. He nodded. He was handed a telegram.

"This is for you. My deepest condolences," he said, nodding politely at him. Jack stood there, holding the telegram and fearing what it might say.

Becky came up behind him. "What's wrong?" He looked at her, holding out the telegram, and her eyes widened. Jack opened it up and as he read what it contained, he felt his knees buckling and he collapsed to the porch, still staring at it. Becky's arms came around him and held him tightly.

"Jack, I'm sorry...so sorry..." she said, letting her own tears fall.

"He's...he's gone...it's all over..."

"It's alright..."

Jack screwed his eyes shut. "He's gone..."

The dream changed. Now he was standing in a thick jungle-like area, tall trees all around and a thick undergrowth at his feet. He looked around him: where was Ennis?

He turned around, and finally saw him. A soldier in full uniform, but he recognised the curly blonde hair. He felt fear overcoming him, that he had to get to Ennis or something bad would happen.

He set off, heading off to where Ennis was stood some distance away. He sped up, trying to call Ennis's name, but no sound was coming out. And no matter how fast he moved, he couldn't get any closer. He started to panic, and Ennis still couldn't hear him.

There was suddenly a rush of sound, and there was an explosion. Jack stopped in his tracks, his mouth open with shock as Ennis was thrown to the ground. He could finally move and ran as fast as he could towards his other half.

He turned Ennis over onto his back, and his breath caught in his throat when he saw Ennis's face. One side was covered in burns and blisters and his eyes were shut. Jack reached out a trembling hand to touch Ennis's face, and when he touched the unburned side, Ennis's deep brown eyes opened a sliver. He tried to smile, and Jack knew that Ennis could see him, knew that he was there.

"Darlin'..." he croaked. Jack let the tears spill from his eyes. He linked his fingers from his other hand with Ennis's, squeezing tight.

"Ennis...please...don't leave me..." he whispered, stroking Ennis's cheek. Ennis smiled sadly.

"Love you..."

"I love you too, baby," Jack sobbed, his tears falling onto Ennis's chest. His lover's eyes slowly fell shut and Jack's heart felt like it was being ripped open. He lay himself over Ennis's body and buried his face in Ennis's neck, hoping that another bomb was about to hit and take him too, so that he could follow Ennis and have them stay together.

Jack jerked awake, and he lay there, trembling. This was just like the nightmare he'd had some time ago, just after their night-time escape from Lightning Flat, but this was much worse, since the threat was imminent.

Ennis awoke and felt him shaking in his arms. He leaned over Jack and saw his face screwed up in pain. His heart sank to see Jack like this, and he knew what had caused this.

"Jack? Are you okay?"

Jack's eyes opened and Ennis could tell that he was still distressed. "I...I..."

Ennis pulled Jack over onto his back and then onto his other side, into his arms. He held him close and rubbed his back.

"It's okay...shh..."

"Ennis..." Jack held onto him for dear life and cried into his chest.

"Nightmare, huh?" he asked, stroking his hair. Jack nodded against him. "What about?"

"The first one was me here...an' a soldier came...had a telegram..."

Ennis cringed. "Shit...I'm sorry, darlin'...was there another?"

"Uh-huh. I was in this jungle, an'...you know that nightmare you had of me in a field, an' you tried to run to me, but you couldn't get no closer?"

"Yeah..."

"It was like that...but...instead of there bein' guys there...a bomb went off. Got to ya...you had burns on yer face, an'...you told me you love me, an' then you..." He couldn't go on, and he dissolved into more sobs instead. Ennis held him closer.

"It's alright...it's alright, darlin'...let it out...I'm here..."

Jack trembled and Ennis felt his chest grow wetter with Jack's tears, and his heart ached for the man in his arms. He ran his hand up and down Jack's back, trying to comfort him. After a while, Ennis felt Jack calming down, and his breathing returned to normal.

"I'm so scared, Ennis," Jack whispered, holding tightly onto him. Ennis kissed his forehead.

"I know, I know...but...it'll be alright. I can't change the fact that it'll be dangerous out there, an' that I might get hurt, but...I dunno what I can do to make ya feel better. I hate to see ya like this, darlin'."

Jack sniffed. "Ennis...I'm gonna be worryin' about you all the time yer gone. I know I won't be able to stop you from goin'...but I'm gonna be so scared..."

"Shh...don't think on it. We've got time yet to get our heads sorted. It'll be alright, baby," he said softly, nuzzling Jack's cheek. Jack sniffed again and Ennis felt him trying to get to sleep again. He let him, rubbing his back gently and rocking him into sleep.