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2012-11-24 02:26 pm (UTC)
That was a long time ago, back before those dark days when recriminations and reprimands, consequences and conscience had shattered his life as he knew it. There'd been so much blame to go around in those days that he's almost expecting it to darken McGarrett's smile, but it doesn't.
Not everyone blamed Sheppard for what happened, but plenty of them had, either for going against his orders at all or for not doing it soon enough. He'd been caught between his comrades on one side and his commanders on the other, and seeing one clear smile is like a lifeline thrown out to pull him through the blame he still lays on himself, sometimes.
(There's a lot more of that to go around than he'd ever thought there would be when the fallout had finished, but starting a galactic war, even by mistake, will do that to a guy.)
He'd always kind of liked McGarrett, who had a hell of a record and a hell of a reputation and was still a good guy, still kept a sense of humor and a generosity, still valued loyalty and dedication and looking after his own like just about nobody else.
Looks like Sheppard still counts.
McGarrett's paddling over towards Sheppard as Sheppard heads for him, both of them looking occasionally into the waves at the other surfers so they're not in anybody's way. McGarrett moves on the board with confidence that matches the clear surfing ability Sheppard had been admiring earlier.
"You're right," Sheppard agrees, after a moment of squinting at the SEAL with a pretense of thoughtfulness, "it could use a little work."
Of all the people to find when he came here looking to get away from the present. The face from the past is a few years older, sure, but the smile that was always kinda rare is still just the same, still lightens the stern, serious, set of McGarrett's features.
"It's been a while. Good to see you, McGarrett."
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