The First of Many

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Chapter 16

Upon waking up, Hannah's first sight was a tanned, defined face, with dark features and clear blue eyes.

Stranger.

She flinched away immediately, moving to the other side of the bed and preparing herself to run if need be.

“Woah there,” the man said, lifting his hands in surrender. “Relax. It's me, Aedan. From the op, remember?”

“What do you want?” she asked, not moving. His accent was strange; she hadn't heard such an intense southern accent in a long time.

“Can't a guy check up on the woman that saved his life?” he asked.

“What do you want,” she repeated.

He sighed. “Nothing,” he said. “I was just checking on you. That was a pretty insane move you pulled with that tank,” he said, then sighed. “I also wanted to thank you,” he said, quieter. “What you did back there... it took a lot of guts. I haven't seen someone risk that much in a while. You nearly died from that shrapnel; you passed out before we got back to the base. It was a close one. The explosion alone should have killed you, and the shrapnel definitely should have.” he sighed. “Just... thanks. Without you...” he shrugged.

Hannah looked away. “Don't thank me,” she said. “Anybody would have done it.”

“Not everybody,” Aedan answered. “If that were true, you wouldn't have had to do it yourself. If you hadn't come around, we wouldn't have made it.”

She shrugged. “I know,” she said. “That's why I did it.” she frowned. “You have folks to go home to?”

“And you don't?” Aedan answered.

“It's complicated,” she said.

“Complicated is good,” he said. “What is it?”

Hannah shook her head. “I can't talk about it,” she said. “If I’m lucky, I’ll never see my family again.”

“Look, to me and to your team, you are appreciated, and don't you dare think otherwise.” he chuckled. “You know, when I first saw you on top of that tank, with that fire behind you and all, I thought 'that's it, I'm dead, and now there's an Angel to take me away'.”

Hannah chuckled dryly. “Hardly an angel,” she said. “Demon, maybe, but I doubt you're too keen on being dragged down to Hell.”

Aedan grinned. “I'd rather avoid it. Speaking of Hell, how are you feeling? You took quite the beatdown.”

Hannah frowned. “Did I?”

“Minor concussion, a nasty hole in your side, burns on your hands and arms, and some pretty bad contusions. You must feel like shit,” he said conversationally.

“Yeah,” she said, noticing for the first time that her hands were bandaged as well, “How long was I out?”

“They kept you down a bit longer, it's been two days.”

“Did they say when I'm cleared for duty again?” she asked.

“They'll keep you for a few weeks, until your side heals up. About a month, give or take a week.”

Hannah cursed under her breath. “I hate being stuck here,” she muttered.

Aedan chuckled, standing and making his way to the door. “Well, I'll be leaving now,” he said. “Got to get back to my team. It was a pleasure meeting you, Rosie.”

Hannah grinned at the new name, and stuck her tongue out at him. “Sure,” she said. “Abandon the fragile lady to the tender mercies of a medic. Very chivalrous.”

Aedan smirked at her from the doorway. “Fragile?” he asked. “I don't think so. You can't fool me so easily, Rosie.” He chuckled. “Try harder next time.”


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