Heather & Air-Lift Thoughts

Hospital - ER Nurse Information Desk

Heather hated working the emergency room department, that's why she had transferred to the surgery department long ago. But Nancy had begged her to cover the last half of her shift tonight so she could see her daughter's ballet performance. She had reluctantly agreed to do it this one time.

It was not the blood and gore of emergency she hated. In fact, if she was the nurse working on the patient it was good, she was helping. What she hated was being assigned as the ER waiting room nurse, the one everyone came to for status on patients.

Seeing the anguish of those waiting for word on their loved ones when she was unable to do anything to help. It was that sense of helplessness she hated. It tore her heart watching them wait and crumbled upon hearing bad news. As her luck, bad luck, would have it, that's what Nancy's shift had been assigned to for today.

She was wallowing in her own little pity party when Clare, another nurse, approached and asked if she had seen the news yet. Heather shook her head no. She'd been too busy dealing with a group of firefighters waiting for word on their buddy. Luckily, he was not badly hurt, a simple fracture to his leg, minor concussion and some first degree burns; he would make a full recovery.

They had just left with smiles on their faces, thank goodness. The hour or so they waited was hard on her. Heather had a soft spot for firefighters and constables. She felt an affinity with them, they all were about saving and protecting life. The difference though is that they put their lives on the line every day to do it.

Heather was always amazed at how the teams would rally around when one of their members got hurt. Most teams seemed like concerned friends or professional buddies. But a few, a very rare few were more like chosen families. In those rare teams, she saw bonds that were stronger, ran deeper and rivaled any biological family bond because they had chosen each other; it wasn't just some accident of birth. It was so very hard to watch these types of teams deal with the painful realization that they couldn't protect one of their own.

Clare pointed to the TV and said. "I can't believe that something like that could happen here. A full scale gang war in Rouge Park. The news said that almost every SRU constable was involved. They had to track down more than a dozen armed gang members. Took them hours and hours but they got them all …"

Heather was no longer listening to Clare. Her attention had been grabbed by TV news footage of the command area repeating a loop showing a group of SRU officers going off the wall. Definitely not something you see every day. SRU officers were the best of the best and could be counted on to be calm and in control even in the worst situation.

She saw things thrown and the officers yelling unmistakably in distress while another group behind them stood watching tensely. Something bad had happened. Then she recognized the officers. They were the ones that saved everyone the day Phoebe's dad demanded the heart go to her instead of an older patient. Then she caught the tail end of what Clare was saying, "… heard the injured one is coming to us."

"Sorry Clare, I wasn't listening, what did you say?" Heather inquired.

"Well, if you'd get the cotton outta your ears, I was saying, the injured officer is being air-lifted to us. I overheard dispatch tell the ER doctor to prepare for gunshot wound, head trauma and internal bleeding. Hope the constable makes it, they already lost one guy today, I'd hate for them to lose two officers because of stupid thugs" Clare said.

Heather sat down heavily at her desk and placed her head in her hands and sighed deeply. Which one was it she wondered. Who was missing from the news footage? Didn't see the female officer, Jules they called her. Hope it's not her, that one has courage and heart.

Who else was missing? Oh the cute blonde guy that just wanted to shoot to solve the issue. They shut him down she remembered laughing a bit, sent him on a coffee run. 'Went all coffee shop on his ass' is what Jules had said and everyone had smiled. They didn't seem to like him too much, so with reactions she saw on the news it had to be Jules.

Wait Clare had said they lost one guy; guy, not girl. That team was the only one going berserk so they must have been from that team only. The blonde was dead, that's sad he was so young. He may have been a bit of a jerk but he lost his life protecting others and that was sad, very sad.

So the injured one, it had to be the female officer Jules. This was going to be hard. Heather wished that her shift was already over. She could tell by the reactions she was going to be dealing with one of those rare teams that had formed deep unbreakable bonds.

Army CH-146 Griffon Helicopter - Inflight

As the helicopter left the scene and headed towards the hospital Blaze spoke to his pilot and second in charge. "Hal, Winds and I are staying with Blondie. We cannot leave him right now. If the Commander wants a reason, just make something up. Tell them we are staying to retrieve our supplies, ya know the backboard and shit. We will return when we … when … when we can."

"Roger that" Hal responded. Their unit was fairly new, a month or so, formed just after Blaze was promoted, but Winds and Blaze had been together for years. They often shared exploits of missions past when the unit was just hanging out getting to know one another. Blondie was in many of the tales they told. Many involved how the kid did crazy shit to save their asses when things went south. He understood Blaze and Winds need to be there now and would make sure the excuse for their absence, no matter how long, was plausible.

No one spoke for the remainder of the flight, all in their own private thoughts.

Blaze was staring at Blondie. Why was it so hard to finish that last statement? Probably had to do with the fact that Blondie's face was covered in blood, his chest exposed covered in the god awful bruises, and that he was unconscious. Yes, that was part, but not really 'it'. Why?

It clicked, because of the terrible fear he had read in Patch. Patch was never afraid of Blondie's physical wounds. Those he could handle well, always did. That kid was alive today because of some of the magic Patch worked in the field and because the kid was just to stubborn to die. He always knew what to do for the 'how long'. It was the other that scared the shit out of Patch.

He tried to help but it was Matt and himself that dealt with the 'how bad'. Blondie needed him. He wasn't sure he could do it alone. He had failed him last time. Too caught up in his own grief over Matt's loss he'd failed Blondie when he needed him the most. They'd screwed up and lost him. He vowed he would not fail again!

Winds was just speechless when he saw that the SRU officer that needed help was Blondie. He was never at a loss for words. It knocked the wind right out of him when Patch said 'found Blondie, it's bad'. That was something he never, ever had wanted to hear again in this lifetime.

He remembered the day that kid joined the unit. The seasoned unit was down two so they got two newbies just out of Special Ops training. Winds thought someone was playing a joke on the unit when this blonde headed kid, yes kid, hopped out of the jeep and gave the guy with him a lopsided smile. He didn't look much older than 20; too young to be Special Forces.

It was no joke though. He was only 22, the youngest ever. With the name Braddock he figured that the General had pulled some strings to get him in early. He had been worried that they might have been stuck with just a pretty boy just playing at soldier to impress the girls.

The next day the unit was sent out on a mission. He was the unit's long-range marksman and the other new guy Matt was his spotter. The mission went to hell in a heartbeat. We all would have been dead, several times over, that day if Blondie hadn't been there covering our asses.

Blondie took out twelve targets with perfect kill shots, some in rapid succession. He was fast, damned fast on the trigger. He proved himself that day, he had their backs and they vowed to have his. He actually proved himself over and over to the point that Blaze wanted to turn him over his knee and tan his backside for the personal risks he took to keep the unit safe.

Ed was closely watching both Sam/Blondie and the guys named Blain/Blaze, Winds and Jim/Patch. He chuckled slightly at all the damned nicknames. They knew Sam well, very well. He could not miss the protectiveness that exuded from them.

They had to be buddies from his JTF2 unit. Maybe the ones that Dale had referred to earlier. Jim, err Patch, the damned medic, had used the same phrase 'found Blondie' Dale had used. That phrase sent the Captain into immediate action mode. Damn they were fast at extraction.

That made Ed happy. He'd been angry and worried when the air-evac had said ETA was two hours. He had been afraid they would lose Sam. The team needed him; he was an integral part of the family now. They'd smoothed off some of the soldier edges and he was proving every day he was perfect for SRU.

Today Sam nailed negotiating, he'd truly connected. As painful as that must have been for Sam, he did it to save others who were in pain. He saved John and Marty. Too bad about Tom, we can't save everyone some are just too far gone and Tom was one. He saved Sara today too. There was way more to that one, maybe Sam would share one day.

Ed seriously wondered about the four shots. What order did they occur? Was he in a position to help Aaron? He could tell by the angles that Sam was the one to neutralize both subjects. He knew with absolute certainty that Sam had done everything within his power to protect Aaron; though Sam would likely see some fault on his part and beat himself up over it. He'd have to set him straight about that when he wakes up. He'd remind him that sometimes we do everything right and it still turns out bad. That is one of the cruelties of life.

Spike did not like, absolutely hated seeing Samtastic like this, it physically hurt. He wanted, no he needed, this guy to be up and about and joking and flashing those smiles that sent girls swooning. Today had been profoundly unique. Did he jinx them with that omen crap this morning? No that's stupid.

Just as stupid as the name Blondie, he smirked, where did that thought come from? He had to admit though, Samtastic was better, way better than Blondie. His thoughts turned serious again. That blank stare on his face just before he closed his eyes really troubled him.

There was more than physical pain in play here. He was absolutely sure of that. Sam was complex, he hid emotions too well when he wanted to. He could be open and fun too. He'd seen a lot more of that guy in the past few months since they'd gotten their heads on straight.

After seeing into Sam's soul at the bank today, he was also absolutely determined to hold on tight, not let go. To figure it out and to be that person to … what was it that Sam had said, that's right, … 'pull you back to the beauty of life'. This was a vow he had to keep, one he would keep no matter how long it might take and no matter how many corny jokes it took. He would get Sam to laugh again and see that mischief light shine in his eyes. Samtastic was his brother by choice; he'd always be there for him.

Jules mind kept wandering to the feel of Sam's hair between her fingers. Why she couldn't let that go? She wasn't sure. This guy with the WOW smile was worming himself into places she didn't know existed within her.

She had stroked his hair three times today. Twice in front of the other guys. Jules bet that didn't go unnoticed. She hoped they saw it as her simply offering comfort to a teammate. That is what she would claim if they said anything. But would she ever do that to any of the other guys; yes she thought. Then a little voice in her head said – be honest Jules. Well to be honest, no she wouldn't do that to Sarge, Ed, Wordy, Lou or Spike. Didn't mean she cared more or less for any of them. They all were family.

Why was Sam different? Why did he evoke these unconscious actions? She remembered the very first time she saw him. He'd said lady snipers were sexy and she'd pulled a gun on him because she thought he was reaching for one from his jacket. In fact all the guys with the exception of Sarge and Ed, who were already gone with SIU, had their guns pointed at him. He didn't even flinch. Commander Holleran had to tell them to put their weapons down. Sam had sauntered away telling them 'nice post incident reflexes'.

She wasn't sure when it happened but this man had carved his own special niche in her heart. She would walk through hell to save him. By the expression on his face, actually the lack thereof, a few minutes ago, it looked like she just might have to do just that. He needed saving. He deserved saving.

Patch was mulling over everything since rappelling. God he was afraid for Blondie, not physically, though that was bad enough in itself. He'd been shocked and totally relieved when he saw Blaze and Winds. There had to be a guardian angel watching over Blondie, maybe it was Matt. If so, he'd sent the one guy Patch knew would be able to help. He hadn't put together that Captain Blain was Lieutenant Blain, common enough name. Man, Blaze got the promotion he so deserved.

Upon seeing him he said the only thing that came to mind, the four words that would communicate everything to Blaze. Blaze would make it all right again, he and Matt always did. A little thought started to niggle at the back of his brain, maybe Blaze wasn't the only one that could help anymore. He'd seen and heard Blondie's new teammate reactions.

There was that look of protectiveness Ed gave him. The concern he'd shown through words and actions. His gentle pat on the leg and strict words on not taking risks. Was the kid still doing that? Then there was Jules, the look of worry and her words showed her heart. The caress of his hair was very telling.

Finally the guy they called Spike, funny nickname. He reminded him of Matt. Not physically in anyway, more in temperament and his zest for life that showed in his use of humor. Blondie needed to laugh. Matt could always make him laugh. Laughter was important. Matt always said that 'laughter healed the soul". And boy did Blondie's soul need healing.

Hospital - Air-Evac Pad

Everyone was jarred from their thoughts not realizing they had landed at the hospital until the doors slid open. They all jumped out and quickly assisted in getting Sam transferred to the gurney. Then Sam was whisked away from them to the ER.

Heather watched them unload the patient. She was surprised to see Jules among those helping. Relief but confusion sweep through her. Then she saw the blonde head and lost her breathe at the sight of him and his condition.

God she wanted to be the one to help, to fix him, but that was not her job today. So she turned to the group of three SRU officers, one paramedic, and two Army officers. All of whom had expressions of distress and anxiety clearly displayed for all to see.

She approached the group but directed here query to Jules "My name is Heather. I'll be your contact in the ER. Can you tell me the name of the injured officer for my records?"

She was taken aback when six people gave her four answers simultaneously "Sam", "Blondie", "Braddock" and "Samtastic."

Oh god, this was gonna be painful to watch them wait. This man had forged bonds so deep and strong with those in front of her. She hoped he made it. She feared for them if he didn't.
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