Hi, new to the comm, know it's been quiet here, so I figured I would post my mediocre fic here. Hope nobody is offended by my not fact-checking as to how long they stayed after the movie events, but I figured since screenwriters can fudge facts, I can too.
Rating: PG-13 for language and blood?
Disclaimer: Don't own them.
Summary: Definitely maybe too soon to go back. Hoot gets made. Rescuing happens.
Hoot hardly turns his head as he tracks today’s target to the street before he stands and collects his bike. Following at a slower pace and not losing the target is easy, old hat, but something feels off today. Like- Hoot has already begun veering off to a side road when he sees a man looking directly at him. Then the man smiles, vicious and triumphant and caught you
. “Been made,” Hoot mutters into his microphone, getting on his bike and curving low over the frame as he breaks free of the crowds. A commotion behind him signals pursuit and fuck it was a bad idea to come back even if it had been weeks.
“It’s going to take some time to get to you,” the general answers and Hoot can hear in the background the noise of people scrambling, getting a team together, a helicopter. “Think you can lay low ‘til then?”
“Think I don’t got a choice.”
Shots ring out. Hoot pedals for his life.
“Hey. Hey, Hoot, can you hear me?”
Hoot knocks away the hand on his shoulder, going for his sidearm and wincing at the tearing pain in his side. He opens his eyes and finds Matt Eversmann crouched in front of him in full gear. The sun’s down now, with only the full moon for light. They’re in the alley Hoot had hidden in when he could run no further. Eversmann touches the bloody mess of makeshift bandages low on Hoot’s right side. Hoot remembers using his overshirt for it, remembers crouching low between piles of garbage and broken furniture. It had still been bright out at the time, still early afternoon. Hoot’s lucky he hadn’t bled to death when he’d been out of it. “Should’ve brought Schmid with me,” the Ranger mutters. “He’d be able to tell-”
“Should have or would have,” Hoot cuts him off, repeating what he’d told Eversmann less than a month ago. “It’s not even bleeding as bad now. Just get me to my feet and I’ll be fine. Who else came?”
“Most of your guys,” Eversmann says and hauls Hoot upright, apologizing profusely when Hoot’s legs almost don’t hold him. He must’ve lost more blood than he thought. He breathes through the pain, leaning on Eversmann a little more heavily than he’d like. “Shit, sorry-”
“Why’d you come along?” Hoot interrupts because Eversmann is a champion at taking on guilt that’s not his. Most of the times they’ve talked were to get his head around the fact that Smith’s death wasn’t his fault. Hoot thinks Eversmann is starting to accept that sometimes you do all you can and it’s still not enough. Thinks it’s somehow a relief that Eversmann is still kind despite what he’s seen.
“My chalk came,” Eversmann admits as he peers around the corner before helping Hoot cross the street. With a wry chuckle, he adds, “Captain Steele’s not too thrilled with me right now, since I insisted on coming. I know your guys are good, some of the best, but I didn’t want to sit back and wait, and Sanderson told me in Grimesy’s office, so he wanted in, too-”
“The coffee-maker?” Jeff’d mentioned Grimes before, with something like approval in his tone. Given the fact that Grimes had had no less than four RPGs shot at him and still managed to good-naturedly make coffee while they were trapped in the Mog, Hoot gets it.
Eversmann stops and gives Hoot a hard frown. “He’s a Ranger,” he corrects, tone bordering on frosty. Hoot silently applauds him.
“You’ve been missing since yesterday,” Eversmann says when they take a break a half-mile later. Delta or no Delta, Hoot has a pretty impressive hole in his side, and Hoot figures he’s in no position to argue. It’s more impossible to stop Eversmann when he decides he’s going to go mama bear on someone than when he’s having a guilt trip. Hoot can usually brush him off. Right now, he figures Eversmann would hit him in his injured side to make his point. “Almost eleven hours now. We got in a half-hour after you stopped answering your radio. What happened to your microphone?”
“Wire got shot when I did,” Hoot says and readjusts the wrappings. He’s starting to see red bleeding through it, but there’s nothing can be done right now. “Had to ditch my bike when I couldn’t balance on it anymore. How’d you get separated from the others with no radio?”
“Landed on it trying not to get shot.” Eversmann points to the mess of wires and broken plastic casing hanging onto his gear. “We rendezvous at dawn anyway, close to the stadium. You were sure on a roundabout route; it’s gonna take most of the night.”
“They’d’ve expected me to head straight for safe territory.” Hoot straightens carefully and gestures for Eversmann to take point. He has the armor and more ammo. “Rangers lead the way.”
“Until yesterday, I didn’t know your first name is Norman. No one ever uses it.”
“I’m gonna show up at the rendezvous alone and you’ll be in a ditch somewhere.”
Eversmann grins at him despite that, and Hoot grins back. He thinks they’re something like friends.
“Why’d Jeff tell you?” They’ve stopped again. A couple blocks ago, they were almost caught by some of Aidid’s men. Hoot had been ready to take them on with his sidearm alone, but Eversmann reminded him that shooting would bring the city down on their heads –again
, neither said- and so they’d held their breaths while the truck rumbled past. If he were to be honest with himself, Hoot has been pretty dizzy since before then, and he’s started bleeding again. The bandages are soaked through now. Eversmann hasn’t said a word about taking more of Hoot’s weight, just does.
Eversmann hesitates, looking down briefly. He looks back to Hoot and says simply, “He knows I worry.”
There’s something worryingly warming about that. “Told you not to.”
“Yeah, you’re better on your own. So you say, but I’m gonna tell Sanderson you can’t go anywhere alone. After this, I don’t think he’ll need all that much in the way of convincing.”
“So, why’d Grimes wanna come?” Eversmann has experience, has been out in the field before. Grimes, on the other hand… he’s competent, and he’s gutsy, but he’s not exactly Hoot’s first pick for a rescue mission. Besides the fact that it gave strength to Eversmann’s own argument to come, Hoot can’t think of a reason for Grimes to have been allowed. Being as his primary skills are typing, coffee-making, and avoiding RPGs and all.
“He and Sanderson are pretty friendly, and he knows that you and Sanderson are good friends. ‘Sides, if Grimesy hadn’t said he was coming, Sanderson had been about to hijack a bird and come after you alone.” Eversmann smiles faintly. “We slowed him down enough for the rest of your team to get ready.”
Given how fast a Delta operative can get his gear together, they hadn’t slowed Jeff down that much at all. And Jeff would’ve hijacked a chopper, no doubts there. “Thanks, I guess.”
“It’s our job. We don’t leave people behind. Even if they’re Delta.” This said with a slight squeeze of Evermann’s arm that feels suspiciously like a hug. Hoot’ll call him on it. Later.
“Not to worry you,” Hoot mutters, trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but it’s hard when now his shirt and the leg of his pants are dark with blood, “but you’re gonna have to go on without me.”
“No. No- Hoot, listen to me, man, keep moving. We’re almost there. Don’t you give up on me, you Deltas are supposed to be tough.” Eversmann practically drags Hoot now, babbling a litany of curses and encouragement and “it’s almost dawn, just hang on, everyone’ll be there.”
Finally Eversmann leans him against a wall. “Keep pressure on it,” he says, putting Hoot’s hands over the wound. The call to prayer fills the air. “They’re close, I can hear them. Just hang on, Hoot.”
“Hanging,” Hoot grits out and slides down the wall as Eversmann disappears around the corner.
Not a minute later, Hoot hears the scuffle of quiet, hurried footsteps, and tightens his grip on his gun. He might not get to die standing, but he’s going down fighting- “Holy shit, Hoot
Suddenly Jeff is there, putting more pressure on the wound and hissing for Grimes to get Schmid and someone radio base, tell them we found him
. “Hoot, c’mon, say something.”
“Ow,” Hoot manages and Jeff chuckles, relieved, as he smoothes Hoot’s not-quite-regulation hair off his forehead. “Took you so long?”
“C’mon, Hoot,” Jeff says as he gets out of Schmid’s way. “You’re the best at hide and go seek.”
Hoot looks around. He spots Grimes hovering behind Jeff’s shoulder, a couple D-boys slipping in and out of the shadows. Everything’s gone blurry, but not so much yet that he can’t tell the person he’s looking for isn’t here. “Where’s-”
“We gotta move or he’s gonna die,” Schmid interrupts. “Where’s that humvee when you need it?”
“Got it.” Jeff picks him up carefully, but it still hurts. In deference to his wound and the fact that Hoot is the bulkier of the two, Hoot is in his arms rather than a proper fireman’s carry. “You can complain about looking like a girl later.”
“Where’d Eversmann go?” Hoot forces the question out. He’s tired and bleeding all over his friend and prayer time will be over soon. When the praying stops, the shooting starts. When the shooting starts, there won’t be time to ask anything.
“Right here.” Eversmann appears to Jeff’s right. “Had to make sure my chalk was okay.”
“As if you’re not the one playing Rambo,” Kurth says good-naturedly somewhere behind Eversmann. “You’re the one who got shot and insisted on staying out here anyway.”
The blur where Eversmann was jogging laughs, sheepish. “It wasn’t that bad.”
Gunfire fills the air and Jeff starts running. Hoot feels justified in passing out.
Hoot wakes back in base and drugged to the gills. Jeff’s sitting next to the bed, rumpled as though he’d slept in that chair. He probably did. “Bullet missed all the important stuff,” Jeff greets him, resting his elbows on his knees. He looks exhausted and relieved. The coffee cup in his hands is probably courtesy of Grimes; the coffee smells stronger than anything from the mess. “Medic says you’ll live.”
“Good,” Hoot answers hoarsely. Jeff gives him some water, which makes him Hoot’s favorite person. “Hate to start my day with news that I wouldn’t.”
Jeff grins. “Eversmann makes some pretty good arguments as to why you’re never leaving the base again.”
Hoot groans. “I bet he did.”
“It didn’t help when we pointed out we were surprised you hadn’t been shot sooner.”
Of course not. Because when Eversmann isn’t being a promising young staff sergeant, he’s a worrying, fretful girl
. And of course the good drugs mean that Hoot just said that out loud. “You’re welcome,” Eversmann says from the next bed. He’s sitting up, legs dangling over the side, and letting Schmid rewrap his shoulder. He grins at Hoot, wide and boyish. “To be fair, Sanderson’s been telling me all the different ways you haven’t died.”
“Shouldn’t that be more reason for you to stop worrying?” The list of a Delta operative’s near-death experiences is sometimes long and varied. Hoot’s just happens to be a little longer and a little more varied.
“Can I call you Norm?” Jeff chokes on a laugh next to him. Hoot gives him a longsuffering look, but it only serves to make Jeff laugh again and harder.
“No.” Hoot’s been Hoot since junior high; the only people who call him by any derivative of his given name are his parents.
“Well, there we go.” This is a nice change from Eversmann thinking this is in some way his fault. It would be better if he wasn’t arguing for Hoot to never leave the base again. Sure, Eversmann won’t really tell their commanding officers Hoot shouldn’t leave the base- it wouldn’t work if he tried, anyway- but Eversmann’s going to hover. Hoot has seen Eversmann hover, and he can do without that kind of worry directed at him.
“Drugging both of you and putting you in the same place was a bad idea,” Schmid announces. The other medic, a new one whose name Hoot hasn’t caught yet, looks like he agrees. Schmid taps Eversmann’s good shoulder. “Get some rest. Soon’s the drugs stop making you loopy, I’m throwing you out.”
Hoot looks back to Jeff as Eversmann carefully lies down. Jeff gestures to his own shoulder. “It only hit muscle. He’ll be fine, just won’t be picking up anything heavy for a while.”
Hoot snorts. “He practically picked me
up, those last few blocks.”
Jeff claps Hoot on the shoulder and stands. “I’ll let you both get some rest,” he says with a chuckle and nods to Eversmann. “Good work, kid.”
Eversmann nods back. “Same to you.”
The room is quiet once the medics follow Sanderson out. “Captain Steele still not happy with you?”
“He’s not thrilled, but the fact that we got you back and nobody died makes up for it some.” Eversmann smiles faintly. “Hey, Hoot?”
“Yeah?” Hoot thinks he might go back to sleep. It’s not often he’s not sleeping in a room full of other guys, half of whom can’t sleep easily and most of whom are prone to nightmares at some point or other, so he figures he’ll make the most of this. Soon as Eversmann says what he wants to say.
“I’m glad we got you back.”
Hoot turns his head, but Eversmann is out already, a small, peaceful smile on his face. Hoot exhales quietly. “I’m glad you got me back, too.”