Chapter 25: Awkward Comforting
Jack stepped out of the house humming a tune quietly to see Amanda playing with Felicity and Hunter near the far fence. They didn’t appear to notice him as slid the glass door shut and made his way towards the glider while carrying a half empty container of sweat tea. The late morning air combined with the cold finished bringing him to his senses enough for him to get his bearing and head towards his destination. He didn’t think the kids would notice him as they appeared to be too heavily focused on their game of tag; if they did, they were having too much fun to interact with him. The way Jack felt that morning, a mix of tiredness, concern, and stress, he wasn’t in the mood to do much of anything beyond get his rear in his glider and swing back and forth while the kids played and Fara did . . . whatever it was she was currently up to.
“Hi Jack!” Jack heard Felicity shout as he was able to sit in the glider, causing him to turn and wave at him.
Jack looked up to see Felicity and Amanda standing near the edge of the fence smiling at him. They both waved and smiled happily at him with Hunter standing next to them, his tail wagging almost as fast as they were waving at him. He stared back at them confused for a moment as he had been distracted since the previous night. Seeing two girls happily wave and react to his presence caught him off guard, causing him to remain standing like a statute with his attention being on them. It took a moment for him to snap out of his trance and return their gesture.
“Good morning girls.” Jack shouted back and waved at them.
Felicity and Amanda excitedly waved back before resuming their play. The smiles on their faces brightened up his day, resulting in a smile forming on his face. Though it didn’t last long as Felicity and Amanda quickly became blurs again with Hunter close on their heels. Knowing it was late in the morning their energy level was still quite high so it would be a while before it’d be possible to catch a glimpse of them. But it was how Felicity and Amanda waved and said hello that caught him off guard that made it smile and caught him off guard. After his conversation with Fara last night the last thing he expected was for anyone to be welcoming to him.
At least there are some girls around here is still not angry at me. Jack thought as he observed Felicity and Amanda.
Jack kept Felicity and Amanda in the corner of his eyes as he made his way to the glider. Though he could only catch the occasional glimpses of them he wasn’t overly concerned as they knew their play boundaries. That knowledge allowed him to make it to the glider unconcerned and softly sit down in the glider and enjoy his tea. From the glider he had a perfect view to observe the kids and relax and was glad for the alone time.
Just as Jack was starting to get comfortable, he heard an all too familiar voice calls out to him from the sliding glass door. “So, Jack, you are doing better after last night?”
Though Jack knew who the voice belonged to he still jumped out of the glide and spun around to see Fara limping on her cane towards him. She was limping slightly slower than usual and didn’t appear to be in a rush. If anything, she appeared to be surprisingly calm, no visible anger that he could see, which didn’t make him feel less nervous. After the conversation last night, he was quite nervous to see her approaching him, especially with her cane. It made hm suspicious to have her anywhere near him and why he been avoiding her all day. In that moment, despite his nervousness, Jack remained as calm as he could on the outside, hoping she wasn’t hiding a bad mood with the intention to strike the moment he lowered his guard.
“Fara, you’re speaking to me?” Jack nervously replied as he sat back down into the glider. “Or are you to smack me upside the head with your cane the moment I stand up.”
Fara shook her head while hiding a smile as she took the seat next to him. “No, for once you do not have to worry about my cane slamming into your head. That is not my goal . . . for the time being.”
Jack smirked. “Yeah, knew the last bit was coming.” Jack suddenly stopped smirking when Fara gave him her infamous death glare. “Still, I’m glad to see that you are not angry, which after last night I thought was something I’d never see again.”
Fara just gave Jack a shrug as she leaned back into the glider’s seat beside him, appearing to be happy to get off her bad leg. “Nah, you are not getting rid of me that easily. You should know that by now.”
“Yeah, I just figured that after you found out of the role, I played in your life mate’s death that you would be giving me the silent treatment at the very least.”
Fara firmly shook her head. “Nope, I know what that statement means, and I am not going to doing that around you. And no, I am not going to be smacking you around either.”
“Well, that is a big relief.” Jack sarcastically replied, as he turned and looked at the kids. “At least the kids won’t be suspicious.”
“Yeah, I want them to be as happy as they can for our situation. Which is why I have not told Felicity what we talked about last night.”
“Yeah, I figured you wouldn’t, that’s something we need to avoid. She’s probably too young to understand such things.”
“Agreed, the fewer details she knows about that the better. Maybe in a few cycles I will tell her, or not.”
“Why not?” Jack asked.
“Because she looks up to you.”
Jack resisted the urge to gasp. “Really, she looks up to me?”
Fara gave Jack a mall smile as she nodded. “Yes, I know it is hard to believe but Felicity does. You did save us after all and have been nothing but nice to us, so of course she likes you.”
Jack chuckled. “Huh, that’s . . . pretty surprising.” Jack adjusted himself before continuing. “I guess I should do what I can to earn it.”
“Probably, though for her you already have. It is my respect you have to earn, and you are on your way of accomplishing that.” Fara stated as she let out a loud sigh before giving Jack a serious look and she blurted out. “That is why we need to talk about last night.”
Jack turned and faced Fara, giving her a stern look. “Really, you are just going to jump right into that with very little build up?”
Fara nodded without missing a beat. “Yep, we need to talk about it as it cannot be ignored.”
Jack sighed loudly. “Huh, we have to address the elephant in the room?”
Fara gave Jack a confused look. “What elephant, what is that, and we are outside?”
Jack smirked upon realizing he had just used a use a human phrase with an alien; of course, there would be confusion. “My bad, Fara, it basically means we need to address the obvious.”
“Ah, then you are spot on.” Fara replied as she gave Jack a serious look. “And do not worry about the kids, they are too distracted to overhear us.”
Jack let out a loud sigh, knowing he was being backed against the wall. “Huh, I think I know you well enough to understand I have no choice in the matter.”
Fara grinned and slowly nodded in the most sarcastic way possible. “Exactly, you are not going to get away from the conversation that easily.” Fara gripped her cane. “Try and you will see how quickly I can swing this cane.”
“Yep, I saw that coming.” Jack relented. “Not like it is something we can ignore anyway.”
“That was my thinking, the sooner we get it out of the way the better.” Fara replied with a shrug. “Thankfully, we can get this over with quickly with a simple statement.”
Fara’s comment made Jack nervous, causing him to tense up momentarily. “Alright, thank goodness you are a blunt individual.”
“It makes things much easier to just say things and get it over with . . . at least that usually had made things easier for me with the occasional backfire.” Fara stated as she leaned in a little towards Jack. “All I want to say is that I forgive you for the role you played in Daniel’s death.” Fara paused for a moment as a gasp escaped Jack’s mouth. “Well, it helps that there is nothing to forgive for you did not do anything. You actually tried to assist Daniel and I commend you for that.”
Jack leaned away from Fara as her statement caught him off guard, moving his lips but for several moments nothing came out till he was eventually able to speak. “Uh . . . Okay . . . I am at a loss for words.”
“I do not see why.” Fara responded. “As I said, you tried to assist my life mate in a situation where everyone wanted you to shoot him down. Because of that there is no reason for me to hold any grudge against you.” Fara placed a stern hand on Jack’s shoulder. “That is why you are starting to earn my respect.”
Jack stared blankly at Fara as his mind seemed to shut down from what he had just heard. He could do very little besides stare at the alien canine and she appeared to be awaiting his response. Never in a million years did he ever expect such a thing to come from Fara’s muzzle. To say he was caught off guard would be the understatement of the decade. His reaction was exactly what she expected for Fara barely flinched as he tried to mentally recover. He knew she wasn’t joking and that made it even more shocking. At least the kids were a good distance away, so they didn’t have to see him in that mental state.
After what felt like an eternity Jack was finally able to speak. “Uh, all I can think to say is thanks.”
“You are welcome.” Fara gave Jack a warm smile as she let go of his shoulder. “You do not need to say anything. All you need to do is be happy I am not angry at you, and we can put that whole incident behind us.”
Jack gave Fara a warm smile. “Very little would make me happier than to never bring this up again, and for you to not too angry with me.”
Fara bowed her head with a syndical grin. “Agreed, last night never happened. Now let’s just enjoy the moment. The kids do need to be watched closely,”
“That I can definitely agree with.” Jack stated as he got comfortable and turned his attention to the kids while Fara did the same.
Just as Jack closed his eyes, he heard Fara speak the last words he ever thought to hear from her. “Oh Jack, before I forget I want to thank you.”
Jack turned his head so quickly he heard it pop and felt intense pain, nearly causing him to yell out. He fought back the urge to grab his neck, showing Fara he was in pain though he was certain she knew because he winced in pain. She didn’t appear to notice, at the very least didn’t acknowledge his pain, instead she just looked at him with a blank expression as if she were observing him. Though he did see her give him a slight smirk from his reaction it was barely noticeable and disappear before he could be certain. As if she’d ever purposedly show him any sign of concern after their conversation regarding Daniel the previous night. If anything, Jack expected seeing him in pain would make her happy. Though, in that moment, she appeared to be as stoic as possible, not showing the slightest of emotion towards him. The sheer silence and unemotional display she presented quickly made the moment uncomfortable.
It took a moment for the pain to subside, a lot quicker than it usually would be due to the shock from Fara’s statement. Normally, it would take at least a minute for Jack to be relieved from that kind of pain, but his mind was barely focused on it, allowing him to try and comprehend what he had just heard escape from Fara’s muzzle. Though she had accepted that he played no role in her life mate’s death, he never expected to hear the words thank you from her, at least not genuinely. But looking right into her eyes Jack was able to see that she was being sincere. He was able to easily tell she really was thankfully, but that didn’t make it easy for him to believe it. Despite having spent barely a week together Jack had come to know the large Zordon female quite well; enough that he could act safely around her without too much of a risk of getting hit by her cane. Fara was a very stubborn individual, the only female he knew that could potentially be even more stubborn than her was his grandmother, make it hard for him to imagine hearing her say “thank you” for anything. Yet, there, they were, staring at each other, waiting for someone to speak.
“Uh, who are you and what have you done with Fara?” Jack exclaimed, getting a soft smirk from Fara.
Fara leaned back into the glider’s seat as she chuckled. “She is seated right here beside you; she just did ALOT of thinking, trying to decide if she should shove her cane up your rectum or not.”
“Yep, there’s the Fara I know.” Jack couldn’t help but smirk and reply in a slight sarcastic tone. “So, am I going to get a colonoscopy from you or not?”
Fara gave Jack a confused looked. “What is a colonoscopy?”
Jack resisted the urge to face palm, realizing that as an alien Fara wouldn’t have a clue as to what a colonoscopy was. “Uh, let’s just say it is a medical exam that involves the butt.” Jack glanced at Felicity, Amanda, and Hunter to make sure they were a good distance away. “It’s not something the kids should hear.”
“Ah, then I will not question any further . . . for now.” Fara replied with a smirk. “But no, I am not about to beat the crap out of you.”
“Well, that’s a relief off my chest.” Jack sighed softly. “But, why say thank you now, especially after last night’s conversation?”
Fara gave Jack a serious look. “Because you have earned it, I am pretty sure we have been over those numerous times already.” Fara let out a loud huff. “After everything you have done for me and Felicity, I owe you ALOT, and a good place to begin is by saying thank you.”
“Huh, you are welcome . . . I guess.” Jack nervously replied. “It’s kind of weird actually hearing that from someone, most people don’t even do that.”
“Really, must be a human thing?”
“Pretty much, humans are not the most thankful species.”
“Agreed, definitely seems to be the case from the typical experience we Zordons have with your kind.” Fara responded with a hint of anger and unsurprise. “At least it is good to know there are humans like you that are actually nice.”
“Yeah, it seems quite rare these days.” Jack said, giving Fara a suspicious look as he wasn’t used to hearing such speech from Fara. “You are being unusually nice today.”
“As I said, I have been doing a lot of thinking about . . . well, everything that has happened lately.” Fara answered while glaring at Jack. “Because of that I have realized how much I owe you.” Fara took a deep breath before continuing. “So, Jack, I promise I will find a way to repay you someday.”
Jack just shrugged while smiling. “I don’t need you to do that, I . . .”
“Jack, just shut up.” Fara blurted out, interrupting Jack, making him worried Felicity and Amanda had overheard it. “You are not in the position to refuse anything from us.”
Jack tilted his head in confusion. “Why do you have to be so blunt?”
“Because I am a blunt person, Jack. You should know that by now!” Fara loudly exclaimed, Jack seeing Felicity and Amanda temporarily stop play and look in their direction. “I swear you can be such an asteroid from time to time.”
Jack gave Fara a look of confusion. “What in the world are you talking about? I’m not a giant space rock.”
“An asteroid, how can you not . . .” Fara started speaking only to pause when a realization seemed to hit her. “Oh, I forgot you are a human, and asteroid is a Zordon insult. No wonder that insult warped past you.”
“And you did it again.” Jack’s confused look intensified. “I take it ‘warped past you’ is a similar expression to ‘flew over your head,’ right?”
“I think so, they sound pretty similar to me.” Fara shrugged. “But asteroid is a Zordon phrase for someone who is stubborn and unwilling to change their path.”
Jack paused and thought for a moment before replying. “So, it means someone who is stupid and stubborn, who doesn’t see or admit their mistakes or circumstances?”
“Yeah, that is basically what it means.” Fara responded as she patted on the shoulder. “And yes, you definitely are one after your previous comment.”
“Hm, I imagine you have seen me as an asteroid quite a bit.” Jack casually replied.
“Oh certainly, you make it too easy.” Fara stated before quickly switching to a serious expression. “But you cannot seriously think that you do not need our help, well at least our thanks.”
Jack resumed his confused expression, eventually he hesitantly stated. “Uh, I am kind of afraid to answer.”
“Do not be for you do not need to.” Fara quickly replied. “A quick look around at your current life makes it perfectly clear.” Fara waved her arm around to illustrate her point. “Not to insult you but the life you are currently living is one not suited for you . . . and certainly not for Amanda.”
Jack glared at Fara at the mention. “Why did you bring up Amanda?”
“Not to be me a, or to sound like a threat, but she is a part of this too and you need to think about her well-being.” Fara softly retorted. “She is not living a happy life with that bitch of an ex-wife, and you are not in the best condition living on your own.” Fara gave Jack a very serious glare. “You both deserve better than what you are getting.”
Jack stared back at Fara. “And you can give it to us?”
“More or less, I can give you the opportunity to make things better for you and Amanda.”
Jack’s expression quickly changed from confusion to disbelief and curiosity. “Okay, don’t take this rudely but just how do you plan on doing that?”
“Well, I’ve been thinking about that a lot for the past couple days, and there is really not much I can do for you and Felicity that I can think of . . .” Fara paused before awkwardly stating. “At least, not when you two are on Earth.”
“Uh, what is that supposed to mean?” Jack blurted out louder than he expected, causing Fara to softly growl. “I mean, where are you getting at?”
Fara nervously rubbed the back of her head, the action surprising Jack a little. “How do I put this in an appropriate manner?” Fara seemed to be deep in thought for a moment before she eventually, and bluntly, responded to Jack. “You know what, Galaxy it, I will just state it, might as well get it out in the open.”
Jack shifted in his seat and readied himself for Fara’s statement. “Okay, this should be good.”
Fara didn’t retort, instead she just blurted out. “While I cannot do much of anything for you and Amanda while you remain on earth, I can do quite a bit if you two . . .” Fara took a deep breath before continuing. “Come with me and Felicity when the rescue team arrives.”
Jack’s jaw dropped so low it could have hit the ground before he quickly recovered, he shook the shock out of his head, and loudly exclaimed. “You’re serious, you really are suggesting Amanda and I come with you, to the Zordon fleet?”
Fara confidently nodded. “Yes, I would not suggest it if I was not serious.”
Jack eyed Fara for several moments as she stared back at him, seeing that she indeed genuine with her proposition. “Okay, that came out of nowhere, I’m not really sure how to address it.”
“Yeah, that is my bad, people skills are not my forte.” Fara replied, taking the time to relax. “But I wanted to get that proposition out there, so I decided to be blunt with it.”
“As you always are.” Jack added, getting a soft giggle from Fara. “You do understand that is a lot to take in so suddenly? I got so many questions that the rescue team could probably arrive before I’ve asked half of them.”
Fara nodded. “I do, it is a big choice, and though I believe it is the right one you should decide for yourself and Amanda.” Fara sat up before she continued. “But, with the fleet Admiral being my father I can promise you and Amanda would be well taken care of. You will definitely have a better life with us than you do here.”
Jack opened his mouth to offer a retort but quickly shut it upon realizing Fara was correct and that he would never get anywhere with her, causing him to just shrug and accept the situation. “Alright, I will take it into consideration.”
Fara let out a defeated sigh. “At least that is something, not ideal but it is a start.”
“Well, I need time to think things over. What you are suggesting is a substantial change, life-altering for not just me but also Amanda.”
“One that would be for the better, you cannot deny that.” Fara quickly responded. “It would be hard for things to be worse than they are for you now.”
Jack reluctantly sighed, knowing Fara was correct. “Yeah, unfortunately you are right, but what you are suggesting is still not an easy choice and will require time to consider.”
Fara leaned forward, resting her hands on her knees. “I know, but with the rescue team close your time to decide is quite limited.”
“Indeed, so don’t worry, I will make my decision quickly.” Jack gazed towards the children as Hunter chased them. “For both me AND Amanda.”
Fara, turned her head and softly spoke. “That is how I know you will make the right choice.”
Jack slightly turned his head to see that Fara was indeed serious. “Thanks for having faith in me.”
Far smiled as she turned her attention to their children. “You are welcome, after everything you have done of course I am going to have faith in you, and respect.”
Jack smiled in his head as he thought. Huh, are we finally getting along?
Jack leaned back in the glider and let out a loud sigh of relief as he went back to watching the kids. Fara did the same but made no sound as she followed his lead. Neither said a word as they closely watched Felicity and Amanda play with Hunter. At least, Fara appeared to be able to as Jack found it difficult feeling her brushing against him. Much to his surprise she was seated so close to him that her warm, soft fur against his arms. It wasn’t the first time they’d touched but, in that manner, it felt unusual to Jack. He could also feel her tail wagging as it swung against his leg, telling him that she was strangely happy. Her tail was wagging so fast, and it was so tough that he would have been surprised if did it didn’t leave a small bruise on his shin.
Jack didn’t say a word about it and Fara didn’t acknowledge either, instead she kept her attention on the kids. He was certain she knew how she was touching him, especially her tail, but was confused not just by her actions but also because she seemed to not care. Since Zordons were similar to canines, he knew she was happy for some strange reason that illuded him. The urge to speak up and ask, not to stop, was intense but he resisted. As much as he found it weird, he strangely enjoyed having her so close to him. Though their time together had been short, a little more than week, he had grown more than accustomed to her and Felicity’s presence and did some reason didn’t want it to end. That feeling alone was almost enough to get him to agree to accepting whatever thanks Fara offered for his assistance.
Jack turned his head slightly and thought. Hm, maybe the Zordons’ thanks would be a promising idea, not just for me but also Amanda
Suddenly, just as Jack was about to ask a question when he saw Fara quickly sit straight up in his peripheral. Her ears perked up so quickly that he was surprised they stayed on her head. It reminded Jack of when Hunter detected a rabbit or squirrel during their many hunting trips. But the main difference between Fara and Hunter was that she was not excited in the slightest over what she had detected. If anything, she appeared to be scared as he assumed by whatever it was coming from the direction her ears were directed in, which happened to be the road. The expression on her face was one of concern, or at least appeared to be as to what was coming. However, it didn’t take much for Jack to see it was more than that, she appeared to actually be afraid; an expression he hadn’t seen on her face since the first time they met.
Jack quickly turned his attention to Felicity and Amanda who were a short distance away still playing with Hunter nearby. Much to his surprise he could clearly see Felicity freeze in her tracks and her ears perk up just like her mother’s. She quickly turned and looked up the road, just like Fara, with her full attention being focused on whatever unseen threat was coming their way. He could make out Hunter doing the same and that allowed Amanda to catch on as well. She curiously approached Felicity and began speaking to her but due to the distance between them Jack couldn’t make out what she was saying. All three canine individuals, two being aliens, looking in the same direction, on high alert, was enough to get to start being nervous. For once he wasn’t curious, it as concern that got him to address the situation seriously, even though it could just be a random vehicle; though Fara’s expression and alertness told him that was not the case.
“What is it, Fara?” Jack nervously asked while keeping his attention on the road.
Fara slowly stood up and kept her attention focused on the road as if she were ignoring him. Jack turned his head in the direction Fara was looking in and there was nothing he could see. The road was blocked by an outline of trees that made it quite difficult to see anything coming at a distance. Though he couldn’t see anything coming at the moment he trusted Fara’s instinct and her sense of hearing; given her senses were far greater than his. If she sensed there was something out of place he believed her, especially since she appeared to be serious. If anything, Fara appeared to be afraid as he could see her shaking despite her trying to hide it and that made him nervous as well. She didn’t scare easy so seeing her in that manner did not make him comfortable and made him concerned as to what was heading their way.
“Jack, the PDF is coming!” Fara loudly exclaimed.