Title: Jungle Revelations 1/2
Author: Draig
Fandom: Soldier of Fortune
Email address: Draig@artos113.fsnet.co.uk
Rating: PG
Pairings: Matt/Nick (Soldier of Fortune: Special Ops Force)

Status: complete
Archive: yes
Author's website: www.slashgirl.freeserve.co.uk

Feedback gratefully received

Jungle Revelations

by Draig



Major Matt Shepherd looked across the clearing towards Nick
Delvecchio, a frown marring his handsome features. The man had been
wounded a couple of days ago but they were on a mission deep in the
Mexican jungle and were unable to get him to a hospital. The injury
had been a fluke accident: Nick had simply been in the wrong place at
the wrong time. Some of the druglord's henchmen who were guarding the
fields where the deadly crops were grown started firing their weapons
into the undergrowth out of boredom and Nick had been caught. While
it was only a deep flesh wound, the heat and dirt of the jungle had
worked to sap Delvecchio's strength and infection had set in.
The small man, as if sensing his look, glanced up and met his gaze.
Shepherd nodded his head and got a slight smile in return. Rising,
the Major moved over and offered the water canteen. The New Yorker
looked at it for a few seconds before he slowly took it in his good
hand and waited while Shepherd removed the lid, then drank greedily.
Matt caught his top lip between his teeth. The younger man had a
fever - obvious from his flushed face and overly bright eyes - yet
the injured man had not spoken one word of complaint as they had
struggled their way through the tangled jungle which seemed
determined to keep them from escaping.
"It's getting hotter," Nick commented, his voice sounding rough and
slightly breathless as he reached up and rubbed the sweat from his
face with his sleeve.
"Yeah," Matt agreed, looking over towards Margo, who was gathering
her own breath. Benny Ray had gone ahead to scout for a suitable
location to rest for the night. "How's the arm?"
Nick blinked then looked down at the injury in question. When he
answered Matt could clearly hear his strong accent. "Throbs a bit.
But I've had worse..." he finished with a slight grin, obviously
remembering his earlier injury in the same arm, which he insisted had
been the first time he had ever been shot.
"Let me look," Matt suddenly ordered, recapping the water bottle
before leaning over and holding out his hands, waiting for Nick to
allow him access. The other man blinked owlishly at the injury then
at the Major and slowly and very reluctantly, held up his arm
slightly.
Shepherd carefully untied the dirty, bloody bandage and as gently as
he could he began to unwind the material. Margo, catching on to what
Matt was doing, approached carrying their small first aid kit. She
dug into it and pulled out a new bandage and another packet of
sulphur. Nick winced when he saw it.
As the last of the bandage came off, the smell from the wound hit all
three and Nick screwed up his face and groaned, "Yuk that's
gross...." He was so intent on looking at the swollen, red raw wound
that he totally missed the worried look that passed between Margo and
Matt.
With great care Matt accepted the items that Margo passed and set
about cleaning and re-bandaging the wound. By the time he had
finished, Nick was gasping in pain and his eyes had taken on a glazed
look as he leant back against the tree.
"Matt?" Margo questioned, also taking in the half conscious state of
their companion.
"We still have about another two days walk until we are out of this
jungle, unless Beny Ray can find that old logging track," Shepherd
answered before closing his eyes and pushing his own fear for the
younger man back.
The mission had been successful; they had parachuted in and prevented
the local drug lord from harvesting his crops which he had been
growing in an extensive cleared area of the jungle. They had planted
the poison that would destroy the crop and make it look natural and
left without anyone being the wiser. Unfortunately they now had to
walk out of the jungle before pickup, otherwise what had appeared to
be an act of God would be shown up for what it was. Matt went back to
worrying at his lip.
"Hey.. man..." Nick gasped, reaching out and gently punching Matt on
the arm, dragging his attention back to the New Yorker, "I'm good to
go... just a bit tired..."
Matt forced a smiled as he agreed, "'Course you are... we all are...
now just try to get some rest..."
Nick licked at dry lips and nodded, unable to prevent his eyes from
slipping shut as exhaustion finally caught up with him.
"Keep an eye on him," Matt ordered Margo before he stood and moved
across the clearing, reaching for his radio as he did so. "Benny Ray,
any luck?" He asked, making sure that he kept his voice low.
"Not so far, Major..." Benny Ray answered. "I came across a river
about a klick back... we could camp there tonight... but no road...."
Matt sighed. They had been looking for the old logging road that was
said to be in the area as that would have at least given them
something flat and relatively tangle free to walk along as it headed
in the same general direction that they where going. It had also been
Matt's hope that they might come across an old logging clearing site
that they could use to call in Deke to get them air lifted out and
Nick to hospital. "Keep looking," he finally advised.
"How is he?" Benny Ray asked, unable to hide his own concern.
"He's resting at the moment but I don't like the look of the wound.
It's infected." He didn't need to say any more as the Texan knew what
that meant.
"Damn.... I reckon this map's miles out," Benny Ray snarled, his
frustration coming through clearly.
Matt closed his eyes and, lifting his hand, he wiped sweat from his
eyes before he answered, "Trout said this was the latest intel from
the satellite."
"Yeah... well that river was about two miles out... so I'm going to
give it another four, five miles before I turn back."
"Go with it," Matt said, knowing that Benny Ray would continue until
he found the road, or dropped from his own exhaustion. "We'll rest
here for a bit and then head towards the river... we'll camp there
tonight."
"Water looked fresh and it was fairly cold, so it must be coming from
the mountains pretty fast..." the Texan let his words hang as Matt
slipped in.
"I hear you Benny Ray." With that he signed off and turning made his
way back towards Nick and Margo. The small man was still sleeping.
Margo smiled weakly and asked, "any luck?"
"Not yet... but Benny Ray's going to give it a few more miles. He did
find a place to camp tonight, by a river, a few miles away."
Margo just nodded before she turned her attention back to Nick, Then
she stood, saying, "I'll scout to the river, clear the path a bit,
get the camp set up." Matt nodded, he didn't want to leave Nick but
knew what Margo was suggesting made sense.
Matt waited until Margo was out of sight, then he reached over and
carefully pushed a lock of hair from the other man's forehead. Nick
smiled gently and leant into the caress and before Matt realised he
had an armful of the New Yorker, who had toppled into his embrace.
Shepherd considered his options; they were safe from surprise attack,
having been so successful in their mission that no one even suspected
their presence in the country; Benny Ray and Margo were safely in
other areas - not that he thought they would object as their
lifestyle was such that it leant itself to broadmindedness. He had
even confessed to Benny Ray one night during a drinking bout his
feeling for the small man. The Texan had just sighed regrettably and
gently squeezed his shoulder, advising him to speak to Nick as he
might be surprised. He had not taken that advice.
He suddenly realised that Nick was still deeply asleep and might
awaken if he tried to lean him back against the uncomfortable tree,
so he carefully rearranged the man into a more comfortable position
laying partly across his lap. Holding Nick securely against his chest
Matt settled back to enjoy a rare moment of just holding the other
man. He would have been content if it were not for the heat that he
could feel seeping through the clothes Nick wore.
As Matt sat there holding the sleeping Nick he tried to figure out
his feelings for the smaller man. Since joining the team, Delvecchio
had somehow managed to clamber over the wall that Shepherd had built
about his heart and emotions. Matt knew that he had always been
attracted to other men but his choice of profession had prevented him
from acting on his desires and since leaving the army he had
discovered that he had spent so long hiding and shielding his
emotions that now he was free to act, he discovered that there was no-
one he wanted to act with. At least until now.
Again he looked down at the sleeping man. What was it about
Delvecchio that pulled out these feelings in Shepherd? The man had a
mouth that was far too smart for someone his size and yet there was a
vulnerability that screamed out to Matt, the needed to protect. He
smiled and leant forward, breathing in the smell of the other man. He
knew that Nick would knock him on his arse - hard - if he ever
guessed Shepherd's thoughts but Matt was unable to prevent himself.
He had feelings for Delvecchio, strong feelings that were growing by
the day. He wondered how long he would be able to work with the other
man before it became obvious to the New Yorker - the way he always
hung back to check on Nick, the slight brushes of his hand across a
shoulder or back. Or how he always seemed to coincide his workouts
with Nick's and the precious moments he spent in the communal shower
in the basement, secretly watching the other man. He was turning into
quite a little perverted Delvecchio watcher, he thought with a grim
smile.
He frowned as he remembered the day before this mission, how Nick had
almost seemed to be taunting him, as he slowly washed the soap over
his body and stretched, first one way then the other, showing of his
lean buttocks and wiry, compact body. Matt licked his lips and
suppressed a shudder as he recalled that night when he had jerked off
to that memory, of walking over to Nick, forcibly spinning him about
to push him up against the tiled shower wall, as he leant in to
fiercely ravage the other man's tender lips with a soul searching
kiss. Who had then melted into his arms and returned the embrace with
a strength that gave Matt the permission to continue.
"Is that... a gun in your... pocket... or are you... glad... to see
me?" Delvecchio panted, his eyes still closed but a wide smile
playing about his lips.
Shepherd nearly tossed the other man from his lap in shock and it was
only his years of experience of dealing with surprise that save
Delvecchio from an unpleasant landing. Matt's surprise rose when the
other man carefully reached his uninjured arm about his waist and
snuggled in closer to the broad chest, settling more comfortably on
his human pillow, giving a contented sigh.
After a few seconds of shocked silence Matt carefully replaced his
arm about the other man and allowed the snuggle.
"This is... nice," Nick mumbled, his eyes still closed and Matt
wondered just how conscious he really was.
"Yes... yes it is." He answered without thinking and was reward with
a bright smile as Nick leant back slightly and questioned again.
"So... what is it?"
Matt looked confused. Seeing this Nick smiled widely and asked
again, "So is it a gun... or are you pleased to see me?"
Shepherd felt his world suddenly flip flop and smiled back weakly
before he offered in a quite honest tone, "well actually it's a bit
of both."
"Really?" Nick struggled up slightly and looked into Matt's eyes, as
if searching for something. He must have found whatever he was
looking for because he sighed deeply, contentedly and leaning forward
he gently rested his lips on Shepherd's. It was a soft, gentle touch
like the quivering of wings and the hesitancy about it melted Matt's
heart as he leaned into the kiss, deepening it. Slowly his arms
tightened about the other man and he sighed in desire as the mouth
under his opened in invitation and he delved in.
After several long moments they broke apart to breathe, their bodies
panting from more then the lack of oxygen. They rested forehead
against forehead and Nick demanded, his voice rough with desire, "How
long?"
"How long?" Matt questioned, unable to think straight with the man in
his arms.
"Yeah... how long have you wanted to do that?"
"Kiss you?" Shepherd clarified, then seeing the look this earned him,
he relented and continued with an embarrassed smile, "months."
Nick settled back, a self-satisfied expression on his face as he
smirked, "thought so."
"Thought so! You mean you suspected that I... I... lo..." Matt
stumbled to a stop realising that whatever he said was going to get
him into big emotional trouble. He had nearly blurted that he thought
he loved the small man and he knew that those words would drive Nick
away from his faster then any bullet to the heart ever could.
"Hey, every time I worked out... had a shower... come on, I am a
trained observer... and you were practically drooling there, man."
Nick frowned as he continued, "also, you found fault with every woman
I dated... you even barred Marcy from the Silver Star remember."
"I was not drooling and Marcy wasn't good enough for you... none of
them were..." Matt defended weakly, before he asked, "was I... er
really drooling?" He was now concerned that he might have pressured
the other man into kissing him.
Nick, as if realising this, reached up and turned the worried face
towards him saying, "hey, drooling's nice, very er...
complementary... if you know what I mean...." He stumbled to a stop
and he bit his lip as his own insecurities came to the fore.
Matt seeing this smiled warmly and gently kissed the other man again
before saying, "I know what you mean... and you're very droolable
over."
Delvecchio attempted to snuggle closer again but winced as his
injured arm protested the movement. "Ah hell." He mumbled, suddenly
feeling the weight of the fever and his injury.
"How's it feel?"
"Hurts... and I'm hot." Nick answered honestly, "I hate being shot,"
he added for good measure.
"I know..." Matt looked about the small clearing. He knew that if
they were going to make the river by nightfall they would have to
leave soon. "Benny Ray found a river a couple of miles that way." He
gestured in the direction that Margo had gone. " We can camp there
tonight. Margo's gone on ahead to make the pathway easier and to set
up camp."
"Any luck with the logging road?" Nick's tone was quiet and Matt
looked at him in surprise. He hadn't thought that Nick was listening
when they had discussed the alternative route for Delvecchio.
"No, not yet," he answered truthfully and, looking into Nick's face,
he realised that the New Yorker knew exactly what his chances were
with his injury in the jungle. "Nick," he stated firmly, "we will get
you out of here."
"Hope so," the other man retorted with a shaky smiled. "Not much call
for one-armed mercenaries."
"Nick," Matt said firmly, sitting up and taking the other man's good
arm in his tight grip. "We are going to get out of here... but you
just need to trust us a little longer."
"I trust you, Matt." The major had to swallow at the sincerity of the
other man's voice.
"And," Shepherd stated with determination, "we will continue this,"
he motioned to their bodies closely meshed positions, "er discussion
when you are feeling better and," he lifted up and removed a largish
stone from under his backside, "in a more comfortable place." He
leant forward to taste the lips that opened under his own once again.
When they parted Nick allowed Matt to help him up and make sure that
the shift sling was firmly in place. Then they started to move
towards the river and their camp for the night but now there was a
spring in Shepherd's walk that had not been there before.
**
The trip to the river was long, hot and hard and Nick was leaning
heavily on Matt by the time they reached it. Seeing this, Margo moved
to help them but Matt waved her off, offering her the gear instead,
which she took, then he swung a semi-conscious protesting Nick up
into his arms. The other man again attempted to protest but it died
on his lips as the strain became too much and he lapsed into
unconsciousness.
"Any news from Benny Ray?" Margo asked as she moved beside the other
men, her glances becoming more and more concerned as she realised
that Nick was now unconscious and sweating profusely, mumbling under
his breath.
"No," Matt said as he stumbled over the rough vegetation with his
precious cargo.
"Over here, I made a bed for him." She showed the way and with great
care Matt laid Nick down on the cocoon of blankets that she had set
up. As Matt set him down Margo rested her hand on Nick's forehead and
hissed; his temperature was high, much higher then she liked. "We
need to cool him down," she advised as she reached for the water
canteen. She carefully held it to Nick's lips but he was too deeply
unconscious to swallow.
"The river," Matt said, suddenly remembering Benny Ray's comments
about how cold the water was, "Let's get him undressed and into the
river, it will help bring his fever down." Nick continued to mumble
under his breath and Matt heard his name mentioned several times. He
reached out and rested his hand on his friend's forehead. "I'm
here... Nick... I'm here and you're safe, babe, you're safe," he
reassured softly. Looking up he caught Margo's tolerant
smile. "What?" he asked defensively.
She just smiled wider. "It's about time. You two have been dancing
about each other for months now." Then she turned serious again and
between them they managed to get Nick stripped down to his underwear
and soon Matt was supporting him as they waded into the cool water.
They stayed in the water until Nick started to shiver, then they
carefully dried him before they wrapped him tightly into the
blankets. Matt managed to get some water and pain killers into him.
Finally the major settled back to rest beside the sleeping man.
Silence swept over the clearing until the radio burst into life and
Benny Ray's excited voice could clearly be heard. "Major... I found
the road, followed it for about a mile... and there is a wide
clearing... wide enough for a helicopter to land... it's about six
miles from the river, going north."
"Good work Benny Ray." Shepherd's tone was coloured with relief as he
glanced down at the sleeping man. "Will you make it back to camp
tonight, or do you want us to meet up with you tomorrow?"
"How's Nick?" Benny Ray asked, his excitement replaced with
apprehension.
Matt frowned and gently rested a hand on the injured man's forehead,
feeling the heat building again. "Not too good. We cooled him in the
river for a while but his fever's climbing again... it's pretty high."
"If he's unconscious I'd better come back, you might need my help to
carry him."
"That might be a good idea, although we can bury the equipment that
we don't need to take with us and I'll make arrangements with Deke,
so he can be there waiting for us... Margo, get the map so that we
can pin point the clearing." Margo did as asked and after a few
moments they had the clearing precisely placed.
Benny Ray signed off, "Ok... see you in about three hours, are you
camped by the river?"
"Yes." Margo interrupted, "I found your sign by the edge of the
river... where it slopes down, I set up camp there."
"Great." Benny Ray answered. "I'll see you soon."
After Benny Ray had signed off, Matt contacted Deke, who acknowledged
that he had been keeping track of the radio transmission and would
have the helicopter waiting for them mid-morning the next day at the
logging clearing.
Once that was settled Matt felt a lot happier. They would not be able
to get Nick out of the jungle any faster, so they had to wait the
night out and then make their way to the clearing. It would be
dangerous to bring the helicopter into a foreign country, as they
obviously couldn't submit a flight plan and they had planned on
walking out but Nick's injury needed urgent medical attention.
"Matt," Nick gasped, eyes snapping open, looking feverishly about for
the other man. He tried to struggle up but the blankets were tightly
wrapped about him and prevented him from moving too far.
"Hey... Hey, Nick, I'm right here," Matt said, moving over to rest
his hand on top of Nick's.
"I had..." Delvecchio began panting, his eyes open wide in confusion
as he tried to explain, "I had a dream... a strange dream..."
Matt sat back and felt his stomach tighten with fear, his mouth
drying and he asked nervously, "was it a... a bad dream?"
Nick's face suddenly slipped into a smile, it was slightly goofy and
definitely dreamy as he replied, "No... it was... it was a... great
dream."
Matt suddenly relaxed and leaning forward he gently kissed the other
man, who gaped at him with a sweet look of total surprise that grew
into a wide smile as he confirmed with a shaking voice, "it... it...
wasn't a dream... was it?"
Shepherd grinned in reply and stated firmly, "No Nick, it wasn't a
dream."
"Nah..." Nick settled back, satisfied with what he had been told,
then he closed his eyes as weariness washed over him.
"Here." Matt held out the open canteen and helped Nick lean up while
he clutched single handed at the water bottle. "Benny Ray has found
an old logging camp... well it's more of a clearing really, anyway,
we can get Deke in tomorrow to pick us up.
"Isn't that... dangerous?" Nick questioned as he was assisted to lay
back down.
Matt shrugged. "It's a damn sight better then walking out of this
jungle and it was always an option if we managed to get in and out
without drawing any attention." Matt carefully replaced the top
blanket over Delvecchio, making sure that it was firmly in place.
Nick smiled tenderly up at him and Matt almost leant down and kissed
the other man again but he resisted and smiled instead, gently
sweeping his hand over the forehead and pushing back the stray lock
of hair as he watched with satisfaction Nick's eyes slid shut and he
drifted off into sleep.
Several hours later, Matt, who had relived Margo on watch, heard a
noise and he lifted his weapon, only to lower it when he heard the
coded signal and shortly after he saw Benny Ray. The other man raised
his hand in silent salute and then made his way back to camp. Matt
followed him, the jungle was quiet and they had set up perimeter
alarms so he felt secure enough to hear Benny Ray's report in person.
The Texan headed straight over to where Nick was sleeping. Margo was
sitting beside him, her hand resting on his. "How is he?" Benny Ray
asked, his face creasing with concern. Most of the time it was not
obvious that the Texan actually liked the New Yorker but he did -
Nick was a team-mate and that fact alone made him an important person
to Benny Ray. While he might insult Nick on occasion, he would rip
the arms off anyone else who did so.
"We had to cool him down in the river but since then he's been
resting," Margo told him and then added, "There's coffee on the fire
and food it you want it."
"Coffee?" Benny Ray said, his stance straightening as he turned
towards the fire. Margo and Matt exchanged a smile as the other man
headed towards the fire.
The camp settled down for the night and Matt returned to watch. When
Margo relieved him in the early hours of the morning, he made his way
to Nick's side and spent the rest of the night sleeping with his arm
resting gently over the other man, so that he would awaken at once if
Nick became restless.
**
Dawn broke across the jungle and light filtered down through the
trees. Nick was awake and lying quietly savouring the moment, Matt
rested close beside him, his arm reaching across the smaller man's
body. Delvecchio liked the secure feeling that the arm gave him. He
liked waking to see Matt's head resting beside his, almost tucked
into his side, as he lay curled on his side.
"Nick," Matt mumbled as he snuggled closer, then his eyes snapped one
and he rose up on his elbow, blinking as he looked about the quiet
camp.
"Hi." Delvecchio said grinning widely at the other man.
"Hi," Matt echoed with his own smile, then it fell from his face as
he continued, "How do you feel?"
The New Yorker considered the question before he answered
honestly, "Like hell... but at least we are getting out of here
today." There was such a hopeful note in the tone that Matt laughed
outright.
"That's right... we are getting out of here today," Shepherd said.
Standing up and brushing the dirt off his clothes, he headed towards
the fire. Squatting down he checked the coffee pot and, finding that
it was hot, knew that Margo had already been up and refreshed the
pot. He poured out two cups and headed back to Nick.
"Here," he said, sitting down and helping the other man sit up so
that he could sip at the drink. Matt took the opportunity to slip
Nick a couple of painkillers, which the other man swallowed
gratefully. When Nick had finished and was settled back again, he
drank his own coffee. Matt didn't bother to mention that while he had
supported Nick, he had still been able to feel the burning fever that
ate at his body. The man was still flushed and while he was putting
on a good front, Matt could easily see that even sitting up to drink
had drained him of energy.
"Major?"
Matt looked up and saw both Margo and Benny Ray standing there,
unable to hide their concern for the injured member of their team.
Standing Shepherd tossed the rest of his coffee away and said, "Let's
eat, then get going, the sooner we get to that clearing the sooner we
get out of this damn jungle." He didn't need to add that the sooner
they got Nick to a hospital the better.
"Sounds like a plan to me, boss," the Texan said with a smile. Benny
Ray was always happier on a mission when he was actually doing
something.
Twenty minutes later the team had eaten. Nick had barely touched his
food but none of the others pushed him on it, as they prepared to
leave. The small New Yorker struggled to his feet but then slumped
against the tree behind him. Matt and Benny Ray were there to support
him. He tried to push them both way but was totally unable to do so.
Seeing that he was not going to be able to fight them off, nor was he
strong enough to make it to the pick-up site without assistance, he
gave in to their hold.
"We could rig a stretcher..." Margo began but Nick interrupted her,
his tone angry.
"No.... No, I can walk... I just..." he looked at the three people
who stood about him, slumping he continued, "I just... need a
shoulder... to lean on.... That's all."
Matt shot a look towards Benny Ray and Margo and seeing their looks
of agreement, he knew that they would feel the same way if it was
them, so he offered warmly, "and that's exactly what you'll get."
Nick gave Matt a suspicious look then relaxed when he saw that Matt's
words were sincere. "Okay," he agreed, pushing away from the tree
with a wince. "Let's get this show on the road," he said determinedly.
Shepherd held out his hand and Delvecchio slowly placed his good hand
in it, then allowed the other man to lean in and offer his shoulder
as support. Benny Ray and Margo took what was left of their kits -
the unnecessary stuff had been buried earlier that morning - and
slowly made their way away from the river, all sign of their camp
totally erased.
It was slow going and it was routed so that Nick changed partners
every two hours, until they finally came across the logging road,
which made the going easier and their speed increased.
Matt contacted Deke and was pleased to hear that a helicopter had
been secured and he was standing by to fly in to pluck them out of
the jungle as soon as they reached the clearing.
Suddenly Nick stopped; he was panting hard and without a word he
wilted towards the ground, his strength finally giving out. Luckily
Matt was supporting him and was able to guide his slide to the ground.
"What happened?" Margo was by his side in a flash.
Matt shook his head, now was not the time to question, they had been
expecting Nick's collapse for some time and it was a testament to the
small man that he had lasted this long. Carefully Matt lifted the
unconscious Nick up and put him over his shoulder in a fireman's
carry. He waved aside any further questions by moving past her and
following in the pathway that Benny Ray had taken ahead of them.
Margo watched him for several seconds before she closed her eyes
sighing. Nick did not look good. Then with a determined step she
followed him.
As they approached the clearing they heard the sound of the
helicopter - as usual Deke had timed his arrival to perfection. The
wind from the blades tossed the air about the clearing and Matt
looked up to see Benny Ray stowing their equipment, then he span
about and raced toward them. He reached out and helped take Nick from
Matt's shoulder and between them they managed to manhandle Nick into
the craft and clambered in after him. Margo slipped into the front of
the helicopter, Deke taking off almost before she had closed the door.
Nick lay shivering in the back, his head resting on Matt's lap, his
legs and feet across Benny Ray who held him securely. Shepherd chewed
his bottom lip in worry and gently brushed the hair from the
unconscious man's forehead, his thoughts in turmoil. Had he just
discovered this man only to lose him? The helicopter whooshed up into
the air and soon the jungle was speeding into the distance.
"I contacted Trout and he's arranged for us to land at the nearest
naval base, it's just across the boarder."
"How long?" Matt demanded, unable to take his eyes off the man who
lay across him. Nick has started to mumble under his breath as his
fever climbed still higher and Shepherd swore that he heard his name
again.
"About an hour." Came back the short reply over the headset, then the
cabin fell silent. Everyone's thoughts were turned to their injured
companion.
**
Matt paced the length of the room again. It was a small, plain
waiting room with chairs that were purposefully designed to keep
anyone waiting on their feet. Or so Matt thought - although for some
reason Margo and Benny Ray seemed able to sit in the chairs. And they
had been siting quite for the last few hours, since they had arrived
at the small hospital unit on the naval base. Deke had disappeared to
return the helicopter but had promised to meet them back at the
Silver Star as soon as they returned.
"What's taking them so long?" Matt demanded again. This time he
walked back towards the other two members of his team, unable to
understand why they were so calm.
"Nick's fever was pretty high and that wound had got quite nasty,"
Benny Ray stated as if that would explain the length of time they had
been waiting.
Matt was just about to slam back an answer when he caught both Margo
and Benny Ray sitting up straighter and, spinning about, he saw a
white-coated doctor standing by the doorway. The man was a little
uneasy as he looked at the people dressed in dirty commando gear who
stood before him.
"You're came in with the injured man?" he queried, slowly looking
them up and down, his disdain clear. He shied back as Matt advanced
on him, his expression informing the doctor that he was not a person
to be messed with.
"Yes... how is he, Doctor..." Shepherd looked at the nametag on the
man's coat and finished, "Dr. Lawson?"
The doctor frowned as the reason for his being there came back to
him. "We had a bit of a fight on our hands at first... his fever was
dangerously high and he was badly dehydrated but we're controlling
that via an IV. The actual wound itself was a flesh wound and not
serious but the infection had spread pretty quickly... the
antibiotics should take care of that and the fever should start to
come down once they kick in." He paused and then swallowed, it was
pretty intense to have the total attention of these particular people
turned solely on him. "He will be alright as long as he rests up and
does as he's told."
Matt relaxed and finally felt the tension that had been his constant
companion since Nick had been injured flow away. It left him feeling
weak and giddy. Margo, seeing this, rested a hand on his arm. It was
only for support but it was enough to bring him back to himself and
he asked, "when can we see him?"
The doctor looked slightly startled as if that was not a question he
expected to be asked. He gathered his wits. "Well... he's resting at
the moment but you could just pop in for a few seconds... before you
er... refresh yourselves." He ran his eyes up and down their
dishevelled state. Seeing the frowns this earned him he hurried
on, "Please come this way." He lead them down the corridor and into a
small spartan room with only one bed.
Nick was indeed sleeping in the bed, looking as pale as the sheets
that covered him but the quiet hum of machines informed them all that
he was still breathing. Matt ignored the doctor and the others and
moved forward, pulling up a chair to the bed. He reached out and
clasped the hand that rested on top of the covers. The doctor said
nothing but quietly closed the door after him.
"So this is what it takes to shut him up," Benny Ray joked as
indicted the sleeping man.
"Don't be so harsh," Margo scolded, then she smiled, "Why is it I
never have a vid-cam when I need one?"
"Yeah, he's never going to believe that he was ever this quiet," came
back the smiling reply from the Texan as he moved to stand beside
Margo, who now stood by the bed, looking down at the smaller man.
Silence reigned for several minutes before Benny Ray started to move
uneasily. Seeing this Matt said, "why don't you two go and get
cleaned up, grab some food and sleep..."
"What about you?" Margo asked, a frown marring her pretty face.
Matt looked back at the sleeping Nick and stated quietly, "I'll just
sit here for a while."
Margo looked as if she was going to argue but Benny Ray rested his
hand gently on her shoulder and with a sigh she nodded. She
understood that Mat needed this time alone with Nick and standing she
followed the Texan from the room, giving the other two men another
lingering look.
Once he was alone in the room with Nick, Matt reached over and pushed
the stray lock of hair from the other man's forehead. It was still
hot too the touch but not as warm as it had been.
"Thought... they were... never gonna leave..." A creaky voice spoke
up from the bed.
Matt leant back surprised, then smiled into Delvecchio's bleary
eyes. "Why aren't you sleeping?"
"Sleeping?" Nick questioned weakly, as he shifted slightly, wincing
at the pain this caused, "Nah... much rather... look at you." He
spoke the words with a certain shyness and hesitation that warmed a
deep spot in Matt's body.
"I know what you mean," Matt replied before he continued, his tone
turning serious, "I'm glad that you're alright..." Matt lifted the
hand he still held and gently kissed the palm. "You gave me quite a
scare, Nicky."
Nick watched the man he could now admit that he loved kiss his palm
and offered in his defence, "While I hate getting shot... I have to
admit that it did serve a purpose."
Looking down at their joined hands Matt sighed and admitted, "I can't
argue with that...." He gently lifted the hand again and laid more
kisses on it, this time moving slowly up the arm, before he
reluctantly stopped and stated firmly, "We will continue this as soon
as you're feeling better... that's a promise."
Nick flushed slightly with anticipation before he swallowed hard and
agreed, "and you always keep your promises... don't you, major."
"Always." The fire of passion flared in Major Matt Shepherd's eyes
and with this knowledge warming his heart Nick Delvecchio slipped
back into a restful healing sleep.


End... January 01


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