Disclaimer: Written with love, not for money.
Summary: Justin has a good look at himself. Takes place somewhere after 5.22
Justin looks at his reflection in the mirror. The uniform suits him well and he notices how, almost by instinct, he seems to stand up straighter, his shoulders become more firm and he gets a certain pride on his face. It’s a pride that perhaps shouldn’t be there, because re-enlisting, so long ago, had cost him more than he cared to acknowledge.
However, he still feels that the war had been the best thing that ever happened to him. The battlefield had been the place where he had belonged. There, he had grown up to be a man who could handle his responsibilities. Too bad that Rebecca had lost faith in him in the meantime.
He bites his lip. Sometimes he dares to think about what could have been, had he made a different decision. He watches his hands. Steady hands. How different had everything been right after the accident. He had been sure that somehow the fates of Robert and Holly had been mostly his fault.
He had never been closer to taking a drink, to getting drugs or anything else that would numb this unease, this restlessness, this feeling of pending doom in him. He sighs. Of course, re-enlisting hadn’t been the real answer. Rebecca divorced him anywat. He had seen death and destruction around him. His family had still been in turmoil when he returned.
However, this time he had been stronger. He had been able to deal with it. Sure, losing Rebecca had crushed him for a while, but he hadn’t reached the point where he needed booze or drugs again. He had taken it, dealt with it, lived through it and he had come out of stronger than ever…
The door opens and Tyler comes in.
“Wow. You look… handsome.” She says upon seeing him. She sounds really impressed and Justin smiles shyly.
“I’m glad you feel that way.”
“Are you ready?” She asks and he nods with a sad look. He returned from the war alive, others weren’t so fortunate. Today is the funeral of one of them.
“You don’t have to….” He starts to say, though Tyler looks amazing in her black dress.
“Yes. I do. I’ll be right by your side, wherever I can.” She replies without hesitation.
Justin takes a deep breath and looks at himself one last time before turning around. He follows Tyler outside, where the sun shines. As they walk to Tyler’s car, he walks close to her, searching for a little support. Tyler smiles at him and wraps an arm around his waist giving him just what he needs.