The Waiting Game


He desperately hoped when he opened his eyes he'd find himself in his own bed, cuddled up with his mate. He groaned as he was greeted by the faded linoleum tiles of the operating theatre's waiting room, proving that he was, indeed, still living the nightmare. 'Bloody hell,' he thought as he looked at his watch before returning to his study of the floor, 'It's been 4 1/2 hours -- what could be taking so long?' He crumpled back into the uncomfortable chair.

It had been a routine job, or as routine as one got in CI5 -- Britain's elite intelligence mob. They were after two mid-level gun runners said to have a direct line to one of the biggest gun rings on the continent - or so their boss, George Cowley, claimed. So Cowley, the Controller of CI5, sent in his top team to get the men. And it had been routine, until a third bloke popped out from behind a corner and threw a knife; a knife that missed him only because his partner tackled him before it found its intended target.

Swearing, none too softly, about mates with no more sense than god gave a hedgehog; he clambered to his feet after verifying that their backup had the third man in hand. A soft groan had drawn his attention downward. And he discovered that the knife was embedded at the base of his partner's back; the blood rapidly soaking the cream colored jumper.

Dropping to his knees, he yelled for an ambulance before putting his jacket carefully around the knife, hoping to slow the bleeding. Then he gently raised his partner to rest on his lap; one hand trying to slow the bleeding, the other on the soft hair. He talked softly, ignoring all activity around him, until Murphy appeared leading the ambulance men. His efforts to follow the stretcher were thwarted by the appearance of Cowley, who'd wanted an on-the-spot debrief -- making it perfectly clear it wasn't a request. He'd given it -- his attention on a spot just over the older man's shoulder.

He opened his eyes again to find the waiting area still empty, so he turned his thoughts to pondering which wall to use to knock some sense into his partner's head as soon as he was back on his feet. Deciding the thick stone that surrounded the Tower might just do, he sent his mind back to the early morning hours when he'd been awoken by the restless movement of his bedmate. He smiled softly as he recounted pulling the warm body close, and working his hand gently along the well muscled back. His actions had calmed the other man, who shifted closer and nuzzled his neck. He let that warm memory carry him for awhile.

The next time he opened his eyes, Cowley was standing in front of him with a doctor. He jumped to his feet, unable to read their expressions. Muscle damage, blood loss -- his partner would recover, according to the doctor. He felt his body sag as those words settled into his brain.

After another half hour wait -- during which he drank the weak tea the Controller brought him - they were shown into a ward room. The sight of his partner -- his face starkly pale against the pillow - stalled him for a moment as all his doubts flared up again. His forward movement was restored when he caught the hint of blue as tired eyes struggled open. He grabbed the hand not hooked to an IV and squeezed gently, and blue eyes found green. His smile was warm as he shook his head before berating the patient for his poor tackling form.

Cowley looked from one to the other before departing; leaving his top team to their reunion, now that he'd seen for himself they were both in one piece.

-- THE END --

January 2008

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