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Margo Vincent was dreaming... at least that's what she thought at first. Matt Shepherd's heartbeat was a steady rhythm against her cheek and his work-roughened hands traced gentle patterns on her bare skin. A lazy smile curved her lips as she came fully awake and remembered that it wasn't a
dream - Matt was really here with her, as he had been for the last seven
weeks.

"'Morning," he murmured.

"Good morning," Margo replied, shifting her head slightly to see Matt's face.

"Were you dreaming?" he asked quietly. "You were smiling in your sleep."

"If I was dreaming, I don't recall... anyway, reality's much nicer."

"It is, isn't it?" Matt agreed with a grin.

"I ought to go check on Abraham," Margo said after a moment.

Matt pulled her close for one last kiss, then released her without protest,
knowing how seriously she took her responsibilities. He rolled over, smiling appreciatively at the view as Margo slid out of bed and dressed.

"Go back to sleep for a while," she urged, seeing him move to get up.

"Nah... it's not as much fun by myself."

Margo grinned as she pulled a brush through her hair. "Well, all right... but take it easy, OK?"

"Margo, I'm fine!" Matt snapped. He instantly regretted his sharp tone when he saw the raw hurt that flashed across her beautiful features. "I'm sorry," he apologized. It's just that I'm starting to go a little stir crazy. I wish you guys would start letting me earn my keep," he added with a crooked grin that he hoped would take the sting out of his words.

Margo came over to sit on the side of the bed. "I'm sorry, too. I know how
hard it must be for you to be out of the loop, but... I was so scared for so
long... is it really so selfish of me to want to keep you safe with me for just a little while longer?"

Matt pulled her close against his chest. "Terribly selfish," he agreed, kissing the top of her head, "and I love you for it. If I just knew for sure what had happened to the others, I'd want nothing more out of life than to spend it all alone with you."

"Then we'll just have to find them, won't we?" Margo leaned in and kissed
him.

Matt picked up the brush that had fallen, unnoticed, to the coverlet. "Turn
around," he suggested.

Margo smiled as she complied, loving the feel of the brush and Matt's fingers moving through her hair. A couple of weeks ago she'd grumbled that since Matt was so adept at undoing her hair, it would be nice if he learned how to fix it, too. He'd surprised her by swiftly learning to produce a braid and this had become a favorite part of their morning ritual.

******

Matt clung to the tree branch until sweat beaded his entire body and black
spots began to swim in his field of vision. Then he finally dropped to the
ground, mentally cursing himself, since he didn't have the breath to do it
aloud.

"Matt, are you all right?"

A strong pair of hands helped him to sit up.

"Not you too," Matt grumbled at Jonathan.

Unperturbed, the paratrooper passed him a canteen of water. "Well, you see, if I let you overexert yourself and get hurt, Meira - Margo, that is - will be very angry with me. She's very noisy when she's angry - have you noticed that? She knows more ways to call a man an idiot than anyone I know."

"That's because when she runs out of cuss words in English, she's got about a dozen other languages to fall back on."

"Exactly. And then there is the fact that if Margo is upset, my father will
automatically blame me." Jonathan grinned broadly. "So it is in both our best interests that you do just what she says."

"I know," Matt sighed, "I'm just feeling a little useless right now."

"Well, I have something you might be interested in," Jonathan told him. "Come on inside... Margo should hear this, too."

******

"I ran into a mutual friend in Tel Aviv," Jonathan began. "There are two
incidents which may or may not be related, and he thought you might be able to shed some light on them."

"OK," Margo replied neutrally.

"The first involves a man who has been frequenting the sort of establishments favored by mercenaries. He's been making inquiries - none too discreetly, I'm afraid - about Americans operating in this area. I thought perhaps you might be able to tell me if this man poses any real danger or if he's just the typical riffraff that passes through every so often."

"Got a picture?" Matt asked.

Jonathan passed it over and was surprised to see both Matt and Margo smile as they recognized the subject.

"Well, he is dangerous -" Margo began.

"For a squid," Matt interjected.

"- but not to us," Margo chuckled. "His name is Darryl Drummer, and if he's asking about Americans, he just might be looking for us."

"All right," Jonathan nodded. "The second incident concerns a missing
person's report. A medic attached to an American Red Cross relief team has been reported missing. There doesn't appear to be any sign of - how do you say? Foul play? But nobody likes it when a U.S. citizen goes missing in
this part of the world."

"Name?" Margo inquired.

Jonathan checked his file. "Ricardo Vasquez."

Matt and Margo exchanged stunned glances.

"Rico and Drummer?" Margo mused.

"It's got to be a coincidence," Matt answered, "they don't even know one
another."

"So you know this gentleman as well?" Jonathan inquired.

"Yeah," Matt replied, "Rico is a Special Forces medic... we've worked
together before."

"So you think he signed on for this assignment in order to come over here to look for you?" Jonathan guessed.

"I wouldn't put it past him," Matt replied.

"All right then... assuming that nothing untoward has befallen Mister Vasquez and he did in fact leave of his own volition, what are his chances?"

"Rico is a former Navy SEAL," Margo answered. "He can hold his own in any given situation, plus the fact that he's a top-notch medic opens a lot of
doors for him."

"I think we'd all prefer it if your friends don't go blundering blindly into Libya, so why don't we go to Tel Aviv and round them up?" Jonathan suggested.

"Why don't we do that," Matt agreed, grinning broadly.

******

"Are you sure that your friend is up to this?" Abraham asked.

Margo adjusted the settings on one of the radios for a moment while she
considered the question. "We're only going to the city," she finally replied. "I think he'll be fine, and anyway, I'll be right there with him. He needs to feel like he's doing something or the guilt will eat him up inside."

"Guilt? For what?"

"For being alive, knowing that his friends are dead. For being free, knowing that Benny Ray isn't."

"None of that is his fault," Abraham reminded her gently.

"I know."

"He's been through some terrible things... no one would blame him - or you - if you just went off somewhere and lived like normal people, you know."

A slow, sad smile crossed Margo's face. "He'd blame himself... I'd blame
myself... we have to know, one way or another."

"Then you go and find out, child... and come home again safely."

Margo smiled fondly as she leaned in to kiss the old man's cheek. "We
will... I promise."

******

Matt stiffened slightly as the bedroom door opened, then relaxed again as he recognized Margo's soft footfalls. "Hey."

"Hey, yourself," she replied, perching on the edge of the bed to remove her
shoes.

"Thought you were spending the night down in the radio room?" Matt inquired.

"Abraham thought I'd get more rest in my own bed than on that cot," Margo explained.

"Oh, he did, did he?" Matt drawled suggestively as he wrapped his arms
around her. Matt's kiss silenced Margo's laughter and for a while there
were no more words.

Sometime later, Margo's voice whispered through the warm stillness of the
night. "Matt?"

"Hmm?"

"Matt, I need to ask you something."

"Margo -"

"I need to know if you're sure you can manage this," she insisted. "Jonathan-"

"- is afraid I'll endanger his men."

"And if you were in his place -"

"I'd be acting the same way," Matt said, finishing their mutual train of thought. "Damn!" he chuckled, "We're getting pretty good at this... are you sure we're not married?"

Margo refused to be distracted. "Positive. And if you don't give me a straight answer..." She paused, letting the threat hang in the air unspoken.

Matt sighed heavily, knowing that she wasn't teasing anymore. "I don't think I could handle a forced march in the desert just yet, but I'm fine for a ride into Tel Aviv," he assured her.

"OK," Margo sighed, relaxing against his chest again.

Matt's arms came around her once more and his fingers traced lazy patterns on her arms. He rested his chin on top of her head and reveled for a long
moment in a feeling of perfect contentment. "Margo?" he murmured softly.

"Yeah?"

"I was wondering... does your brother know where you are?"

"No," she whispered.

Matt winced at the pain in her voice and tilted his head slightly to kiss her forehead. "I thought John worked with displaced populations... couldn't he help you somehow?"

"John works with refugee children... they have a slightly different legal status than spies. Besides, I still don't know for sure that Trout actually died of natural causes... I couldn't take the chance of leading something bad to my brother's doorstep. And... I couldn't leave here without knowing what happened to you... to all of you," she amended, "but especially you. Something kept telling me... it sounds crazy, but... I knew in my heart that you were out there somewhere, waiting for me."

"Doesn't sound crazy to me at all," Matt replied thoughtfully. "At night... I'd close my eyes and I'd see you... hear your voice. I think your friend Abraham pegged it just right. What was that word he used? Be... besh...?"

"Besherit," Margo replied promptly. "Soulmates."

******************************************

"Are you sure about this?" Matt asked doubtfully as Jonathan pulled up in
front of a very raucous watering hole.

"This is the last place he was seen," Jonathan replied.

"It does look like Drummer's kind of place," Margo chuckled.

There was a sound of shattering glass and splintering wood from inside the
bar.

"It does, at that," Matt had to agree. "What's this place called?" he asked
curiously.

"The Bucket of Blood," Jonathan told him with more than a little disgust
evident in his voice.

"You're kidding me, right?" Matt wanted to know.

Jonathan shook his head negatively as Margo grinned.

"I think there's a cosmic law somewhere that says every major city has to have a bar called The Bucket of Blood," Margo mused.

"And they're all populated by the same type of people, the world over,"
Jonathan agreed. "Which reminds me. This is not the sort of establishment
frequented by ladies. I think perhaps you'd better wait here."

The temperature inside the car dropped a few degrees. "I don't think so,"
Margo informed him.

"Margo," Jonathan began patiently, "I know you can handle yourself, but
there's no sense looking for trouble the second we walk through the door.
Matt?" he appealed.

Matt raised his hands in a 'not me' gesture.

"Matt, surely you can't want Margo to go inside this place?" Jonathan
demanded heatedly. "It's... the only women who go in here are..."

"Jonathan," Matt explained slowly, "this is our friend. He knows us. I know you mean well, but Drummer doesn't and God only knows how he'd react."

"Then you and I will go in."

Both men turned sharply as Margo opened her door and stepped out of the car. "Coming, boys?"

******

Matt and Jonathan scrambled after Margo, ducking their way through an
all-out brawl. Margo moved confidently through the crowd right up to the two central combatants. Jonathan called her name, but she didn't hear him and wouldn't have stopped anyway. Grinning broadly, Matt laid a hand on Jonathan's arm when he moved to unholster his weapon.

Margo walked right up to Daryl Drummer and tapped him firmly on the
shoulder, ducking the roundhouse punch that he blindly swung in her direction. "Hey, sailor, new in town?"

The former Navy SEAL stopped dead in his tracks. "Margo!? What the hell are you doing here?"

Margo stepped in and caught Rico Vasquez's hand as he moved in to land
another blow. "Hold it big fella. He's with me."

"Margo!?" He looked from her to his former opponent. "You know this guy?"

"Oh, yeah," she drawled.

"She knows me too," Matt piped up.

"Major?" Rico gasped in disbelief.

Matt nodded slowly.

"Gentlemen and lady," Jonathan interrupted, "do you think we might continue this conversation out in the car?"

******

Drummer stopped dead in the middle of the sidewalk.

"In the car, if you please," Jonathan instructed.

"No," the former SEAL stated pugnaciously. "Not until somebody tells me
what the hell is going on around here."

"Drummer, get in the car. We'll explain as much as we know," Margo said
calmly.

"I am not going anywhere -"

"Drummer, you re coming with us," Margo told him. "You've been stirring up a lot of trouble around here. It's Jonathan's job to put a stop to it - one way or another."

"Meaning I get in that car myself or he puts me in?" Drummer sniggered.

Margo heaved a heavy sigh of exasperation.

Jonathan didn't bother - he just stepped in close and grabbed Drummer's arm,twisting it up behind his back at a painful angle. "Now, Mister Drummer... if you please?"

"Just get in the car," Rico urged.

"These two have been MIA for over two years, you and him I've never seen before and you think I'm just going to get in a car and -"

"Yeah, I do Drummer," Matt said quietly. "You came here to find us, didn't
you?"

"I came here to find out why my 'retirement' checks from Trout suddenly
stopped."

"Fair enough," Matt allowed, "but if you want some answers, get in the car.
Come with us and we'll all put our heads together and see if we can get a
complete picture of this whole mess." He nodded to Jonathan, who
reluctantly released Drummer.

The former SEAL glared, but got into the car without further protest. Rico
paused to clasp Matt's hand warmly and hug Margo before following.

******************************************

Abraham was waiting at the door when they pulled up. He limped out to meet them, grinning broadly. "So, child, these are your friends?"

Margo smiled fondly at the older man. "Yes, Abraham, this is Drummer and Rico."

"Pleased to meet you," Drummer muttered, eyeing the house and trying to
determine its exact function.

"Sir," Rico intoned politely.

"Come on inside, all of you," Abraham invited. "I think you young people
have a lot to talk about." He ushered them into the dining room and gestured to the table and chairs.

Rico held a chair for Margo and the others settled themselves.

"Margo, you seem to know the most complete version of the story...why don't you start us off?" Matt suggested, unconsciously falling back into his command role.

A shadow briefly darkened Jonathan's features, but he didn't comment.

Margo stared hard at the tabletop for a few moments, gathering her thoughts. Finally, she drew in a deep breath and began. "About two years ago, some terrorists got their hands on a cache of hand-held missiles, which they immediately used against a commercial airliner. This incident made the
headlines because several State Department employees who were returning home on leave were passengers on that flight. One of those casualties was Trout's daughter, Alison."

Drummer let out a low whistle. "I remember that."

"So that explains what you guys were doing over here," Rico muttered.

"Yeah," Margo acknowledged. "We were using different infiltration routes,
same as always, but before we could get set up over here, the terrorists struck again. Another passenger jet. We lost two members of our team. I couldn't contact the rest of the team, and then I discovered that I couldn't contact Trout, either. As near as I've been able to determine, he died."

"Right about then," Matt continued, "Benny Ray and I were arrested crossing the Libyan border."

"About two years ago is when my 'pension' from Trout stopped," Drummer
mused. "I didn't notice right at first, because the wire transfers came on a very irregular schedule - you know how he loved all that spooky crap. Well, anyway, when I hadn't received a payment in about nine months, I tried to trace his account, but it had been closed. I tried some acquaintances at the Pentagon, but they'd never heard of Trout. Neither had any of the Special Forces veterans' groups. That's when I decided to try and track you people down. Damn, but you're good! If you weren't, I might have gotten here sooner."

"If we weren't so good, we'd all be dead by now," Matt replied bitterly.

"Back up a minute," Rico interjected, "you said as near as you'd been able
to determine, Trout died?"

Margo nodded.

"How?" Drummer demanded. "Trout was a tough old bird."

"The official story is a heart attack," Margo informed him.

"It's not completely unreasonable," Rico considered, "I mean, he had a very high-stress job and he'd just lost his only daughter."

"I don't suppose we'll ever really know the whole truth of the matter," Margo said quietly.

"So, you've been here the whole time?" Drummer wanted to know.

Margo nodded. "I have contacts here. They offered me a chance to try and
find some answers while I helped their cause."

"What about you, Major?" Rico asked.

"Until about seven weeks ago, I was in a Libyan prison camp. This fellow
over here," he said, nodding towards Jonathan, "saved my life."

"How 'bout that jarhead buddy of yours?" Drummer demanded.

"About a year ago, someone tried to rescue us. The attempt... failed... and the next day, we were separated." Matt bowed his head in terrible, silent grief.

Margo reached over and covered his hand with her own. "One of the people who tried to get them out was C.J.," she added, "so we assume that Chance was involved as well."

"Assume?" Rico asked with horrified eyes.

Margo's voice was very low as she continued. "Abraham and I picked up some radio chatter about the rescue attempt. Jonathan and his men tried to give assistance, but it was too late. By the time they arrived, the chopper had gone down in flames and C.J. was badly wounded. He died on the way back here."

"They're all gone?" Rico exclaimed in a hollow whisper.

"Except for Benny Ray," Matt confirmed. "He's still out there, somewhere,
waiting for us. And we're going to bring him home." There was something in
his eyes then, and his voice... some hint of the flame that had burned so brightly in the Matt Shepherd that they all knew.

Margo saw it and smiled radiantly.

"What's this 'we' stuff?" Drummer demanded belligerently.

Rico shot the former SEAL a disgusted look. "I crossed half the world to find you, Major. I'm with you all the way."

"Thanks, Rico," Matt replied gratefully. "I'm sure some arrangement can be
made to get you back home, Drummer."

"Look, Shepherd, if anyone has a snowball's chance of getting in there, finding your boy and getting back out again, it sure in hell ain't you! Seven weeks is nowhere near long enough to undo two years of captivity. You try to lead this op and all you're gonna do is get us all killed."

"Drummer, that's enough!" Rico snapped.

Drummer ignored him. "Is that what you want, Shepherd? You wanna be a
martyr? Well that's just fine." He glanced at Margo, sitting beside Matt, still holding tight to his hand. "But do you wanna drag her along, too? Huh? You wanna get her killed?"

The room erupted in a cacophony of angry voices that rose until Jonathan
shouted them all down.

"You all seem to be forgetting something here. This is not your country - it's mine, and defending it's borders is my business. I'm not sure that it's in the best interest of my nation and it's security to have a band of mercenaries gathered on the border plotting incursions into enemy territory."

Matt fixed him with a level gaze. "You do what you have to, but I'm going
after Benny Ray if I have to walk out into the desert alone."

Margo squeezed his hand a bit tighter. "You're not alone Matt... not ever."

******

"Don't give me that look, Father," Jonathan warned.

Abraham winced; it was always a bad sign when his son resorted to calling
him 'Father' instead of 'Dad.'

"I know that you sympathize with Margo's friends, but we have got to be
reasonable! We can't afford to have a private army camped out here."

"An army of four?" Abraham asked mildly.

"Two former U.S. Navy SEALS, one former Green Beret, and an intelligence officer who's had access to our systems and operations for two years!" Jonathan protested.

"Margo was given that access by someone farther up the chain of command than you or I will ever be," Abraham reminded his son.

Jonathan gave his father a hard look. "I was willing to overlook Major
Shepherd. He's obviously in no condition to be mounting any excursions
anywhere, and besides." Jonathan paused a moment and his breath escaped in a heavy sigh. "He makes her happy." The businesslike glint returned to his eyes again. "But these two - especially that Drummer - have got to go. I'm
sorry, Father, but it's just too risky."

"You do what you think is right, son. Just be sure that you're doing it for the right reasons."

"And what is that supposed to mean?" Jonathan demanded angrily.

"What makes you so sure that they'll compromise our security if they go in
search of their friend? Margo and her friends are experienced operatives."

"Who haven't worked together as a team for over two years! Two years that their leader has spent in a forced labor camp! I can't just let four Americans blindly wander out into the desert on a personal vendetta."

"No.I don't suppose you can," Abraham said slowly, "but you could help them."

******

Rico squirmed around on his blankets, trying to find a more comfortable patch of floor. He succeeded only in attracting Drummer's attention. The old man, Abraham, had apologetically told them that there were no spare rooms and produced bedding to spread on the living room floor.

Drummer eyed Rico consideringly for a while. "What do you think Shepherd's going to do?" he finally asked.

"Go after Benny Ray," Rico replied instantly.

Drummer shook his head in disbelief. "And you?"

"I'm going with him," the medic replied in the same dead certain tone.

"Just like that?"

"Yeah. Just like that. It's called personal loyalty. It's also called an absolute certainty that if I was the one stuck out there in some Libyan hell hole, Matt Shepherd is the one guy who wouldn't stop searching until he found me."

"You think so?"

"I know so," Rico answered firmly.

******

"Haven't you been listening to anything I've said, Father?" Jonathan
demanded. "How can you suggest such a thing?"

"I suggest it because it's the right thing to do. How many times have you
flown into enemy territory to recover prisoners on the basis of even less
information than an eyewitness account? How many times?"

"That's different. That's risking the lives of well trained soldiers who know exactly what kind of odds they face."

"I think Major Shepherd is very much aware of the dangers. I'll tell you
something else - I did some checking on the Major. Obviously, everything
Margo told us about him checked out, but there was one story that she'd
never mentioned. Do you know how he came to leave the United States Army?"

Jonathan shook his head 'no.'

"He disobeyed a direct order to cease combat and quit the field. You see; one of his men was wounded. Matt refused to leave without him, even though it cost him his career. He will go back for his friend, and Margo will go with him. That young medic, too, I think. And I think they'll stand a much better chance if you go with them."

Jonathan stared silently at his father for the space of several heartbeats."Why don't you go on upstairs and get some sleep?" he finally suggested. "I'll keep an eye on the radios," he added quickly to forestall any argument. "I need to think about some things," he added with a crooked smile.

"All right then," Abraham replied, gripping his son's shoulder firmly.
"Goodnight, son."

"Goodnight.Dad."

******

Matt Shepherd stood at the window of the room he'd shared with Margo for the last seven weeks. Had it only been weeks? Looking around the sparse, but comfortable room, and it's other occupant, it seemed like a lifetime. He often caught himself staring at her, or reaching out to touch her, as if to reassure himself that she really was there with him.

Not that he'd ever really needed an excuse to stare at Margo, he thought with a silent chuckle that rippled through his tall frame. Right now, for instance, when the room was bathed in silvered moonlight which created deep pools of shadow and light. He could just make out the pale oval of her face, relaxed in peaceful slumber. As he watched, Margo sighed and stirred in her sleep, reaching out to the space he normally occupied. Finding it empty, she drifted into wakefulness, blinking her luminous eyes.

"Matt?" she murmured.

"Shh... go back to sleep," he whispered.

Margo sat up, her dark hair spilling across her shoulders. "What is it? What's wrong?"

"Nothing... really," he added with a reassuring smile.

"Then come back to bed."

Grinning, Matt complied, sitting up against the headboard. Margo moved up beside him and he slid his arm around her.

Margo rested her head against his shoulder and sighed contentedly. "Now,
tell me what's bothering you," she prompted.

Matt laughed softly, knowing he could never really hide anything from her.
Then he sighed. "I guess... I got to thinking about what your friend Jonathan
said... about having us all deported. I guess I forgot how alone we really are now. I meant what I said, about going back for Benny Ray."

"I know you did."

"I just... it's one thing to risk my own life, but..."

"But nothing! I'm going with you, Matt. He's my friend too!"

Matt's fingers dug painfully into her shoulders as he dragged her around to
face him. "Margo, listen to me. There is no one looking out for us. No one. If something goes wrong over there, there will be no rescue op. There's no one left."

She stared up at him defiantly. "Then we'll just have to make sure that nothing goes wrong, won't we?"

He stared back into Margo's crystalline green eyes and knew that she'd never give in. It was one of the reasons he loved her so very much. Matt gradually relaxed, wrapping both arms around her and pulling her close. "God, I love you," he whispered into her hair.

"I love you, too," Margo murmured, tipping her head up to brush a light kiss against his jaw.

Still holding her, Matt finally fell into a dreamless slumber.

******************************************

It was dawn, and Matt was taking advantage of the relative coolness of the
morning to get in some heavy exercise. His training partner was Rico, who
observed Matt's progress with a keen medic's eye even as he moved easily
through his own work out. The younger man's guts twisted in sympathy when he saw the scars of several old and obviously untreated injures that were clearly visible on Matt's torso.

Margo saw too, and her eyes stung with tears, as they always did when she was reminded of the pain he'd suffered - old pain that she could never
ameliorate.

"Damn, he's something," Drummer muttered with more than a touch of
admiration in his voice.

"Damn straight," Margo replied, eyeing him coolly. "I'm a little surprised that you're still here," she couldn't help adding.

Drummer cleared his throat awkwardly. "OK. I guess I deserved that."

"Why did you come, anyway?" Margo asked curiously.

"To find out what happened to your people. To help if I could."

"It sure didn't sound like it last night."

Drummer had the grace to look slightly ashamed as he answered her. "I know people say I got no ideals. And maybe they're right. And maybe that's why I've never had a fine woman look at me the way you look at him. But Shepherd - he's got too damn many ideals, and one of these days, they're gonna get him killed - him and everyone else with him. He's got to realize that he's got no safety net anymore; Trout is dead - gone - whatever, and being on the side of angels isn't going to keep any of you alive in hostile
territory. If he can get his head on straight and come up with a decent plan, then yeah, I'm with you, but I won't go off half cocked on some damn
fool crusade."

Margo's eyes were hard as agates as she stared up at him, but that was the
way she always looked at him and Drummer didn't let it faze him. "Talk some sense into him," Drummer added in as gentle a tone as his rusty voice could muster, "he'll listen to you."

"You two slackers gonna join us sometime today?" Matt called cheerfully. He accepted a canteen from Rico and drank greedily. He felt Margo's steady gaze on him and knew that she was noting exactly how much he was sweating and how hard he was breathing. He also saw her draw in a breath as if to say something, then press her lips together firmly, and he knew that she was fighting back her instinct to try to protect him and tell him not to push so hard. He was sure he'd catch hell for it later, but she'd never undermine him in front of the others.

Jonathan came out of the house and the group fell silent. It was Matt who
stepped forward first. "Jonathan, our discussion last night got a bit out of hand. I apologize."

"Not necessary... if it was my best friend over there, nothing and no one would stop me from going after him. But you have to understand - I will not risk my men on a mission with no chance of success."

"I understand," Matt agreed.

"I'll be going this morning - I've some business to attend to elsewhere - but I'll be back in three or four weeks. If you can devise a plausible plan for rescuing your friend, I'll give you all the help that I can."

"Thank you," Matt said gratefully. He held out his hand and Jonathan clasped it firmly.

"I hope we find your friend." There was terrible bleakness in Matt's eyes for a moment and Jonathan wondered uneasily what would be left of this man's soul if they didn't find their lost comrade.

"So do I," Matt answered slowly.

Margo saw the fleeting hollow expression as well, and just for that instant, she wished that Matt could be content just to live, to be with her, but she knew that something inside of him would die if he didn't at least try to discover Benny Ray's fate. And the truth was, not knowing would haunt her, too.

*************************************

"Someday out of the blue
Maybe years from now or tomorrow night
I'll turn and I'll see you
As if we always knew
Someday we would live again someday soon"

"Someday Out of the Blue"
~Elton John

Finis.

 

COPYRIGHT © 2000 KATHLEEN KLATTE
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

****************************

Miss Kathleen A. Klatte
kat@gsidigital.com
kawklatte@aol.com
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Labyrinth/9155

Kathleen A. Klatte
kat@gsidigital.com
Kath725@xoommail.com

Feedback and commentary are most welcome.

Disclaimer: SOF is the property of Rysher, et al; this is a recreational
endeavor, no profit is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.
Thank you to: Grace & Ellen, and the folks on the SOF list for help with
the chopper.

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