The winter seemed like it had gone on vacation and the sun shone bright into the offices that were home to UCOS. Sandra was always so much happier when the sun was out and it felt warm outside. She came into the office full of the joys; it was Friday too which was always a bonus! Sandra was expecting a short day, the case they had been working on was almost closed, they were just waiting on forensics to confirm what they already knew and then it was paperwork time...for Brian anyway!
Walking into the office, Sandra thought she was earlier than usual; she could hear a pin drop it was that silent. Where was everyone? The lights weren't even on, but the sun lit up the room enough for her to be able to see Brian sat on the sofa in the corner with his head in his hands. It was very possible that he was doing a weird Brian- thinking- type- thing, but worried all the same she asked,
"Brian, you alright?"
"Oh...Sandra...didn't hear you come in" he jumped, having not heard his boss entering the office, trying desperately to avoid the conversation.
"What's up? Have you been crying?" She asked, more worried. Brian crying was a sight she had never seen before.
"I'm fine, something in my eye" he lied.
"Brian Lane...I have been a copper for far too long and I know when someone is lying"
"Ohh but I promised I wouldn't" Brian sighed, now not knowing what to do for the best. He didn't want to betray his best friend's confidence, but at the same time he couldn't carry this alone and he knew Sandra would get it out of him eventually but Sandra was his friend too; he didn't want to see her hurt, telling her the truth would hurt her. So many conflicting emotions tore him in opposite directions.
"Promised who? What?" She asked puzzled.
"What about Jack? Is it about him leaving? What's he told you? Is he okay? Brian!" Sandra bombarded him with questions.
"What is this? The Spanish flaming inquisition?!" Brian shot at her, getting frustrated by his emotions. Sandra shot him a look that he knew too well. "Alright, alright" he surrendered, holding his hands up.
"Elizabeth Green" he began. "She wasn't a girlfriend"
"So who was she?" Sandra butted in impatiently.
"Elizabeth Green is the name of the care home that is providing Jack with his medication"
"What sort of care home?" she asked, not wanting to know, already fearing the worst.
"Palliative" he spoke quickly, before the tears fell.
"Pall..." Sandra broke off, her brain working out what that meant. "What's wrong with him?"
"Cancer. It's terminal. He's gone out to France to die alone, in peace, with Mary"
"Jack" said a voice from behind them, making Sandra jump. Gerry stood there, looking like a ghost, unable to speak. Steve followed in moments later.
"Hey, Gerry, you do know it's not Halloween yet don't you?!" He's Scottish accent joked, winding Brian up more than usual. He didn't like him, never had and vowed he never would. "You look like you've all seen ghosts! Have you been crying?" he looked at Sandra and Brian.
"Jack, he has gone out to live in France for the rest of his days. He's gone out there to die, die of cancer!" Sandra snapped and walked into her office, slamming the door behind her so as she could cry in private.
Jack was the closest thing she had to a dad since she started in the force. He gave her a job, he gave her advice, support, encouragement, he gave her a shoulder to cry on when she found out James Larson had been having her on, both times. He helped out with her mother, Grace, and he was a friend, more than anything else. He was to everyone. She missed him more than words could say, but thinking he was alive and well and living it up in France was much easier to deal with. She couldn't let him die alone, she had to be with him.