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This fic was originally posted in 1998... and now you can read the conclusion in part 3..

Part 1

The sun was shining, as always, and Chance allowed himself to relax in his folding chair. A warm wind whipped past his face and he closed his eyes, leaning into it slightly. The letter he had been holding, the most recent one from the guys at the Silver Star, settled onto his lap as his mind drifted off. This place, it seemed, was as far from the forests of Panama as heaven itself. True, it wasn't like he actually remembered that particular mission. He had been unconscious for most of it and dead for a portion, too. Still, he had an overall feeling of that place, a shadowy hell of pain and approaching danger. Hawaii was as warm as Panama had been cold, as filled with light as the other had been a black vacuum of despair. Of course, Chance conceded, it wasn't as if he had gone about obsessing over the plane crash up until six months ago. Or had even consciously avoided thinking about it. It was simply another mission, distinctive only in that it had required a few weeks of recovery. Oh, and that his heart had been restarted by a crazy teammate with his aircraft's engine magneto. Still, it wasn't as if he went around thinking about it. Nonetheless, he had found himself, eight months ago, in the back of the plane that he had been piloting only a few minutes previously. Benny-Ray had patiently explained that he had "gone ballistic," had simply freaked out at the controls, forcing Matt to take the controls, led by ground control, and the rest of the team to tackle the martial-arts expert and sit on him until he regained sanity.

The rest of the mission had gone as planned, except that they had gone home by train. Since then, Chance had flat-out refused to fly, worried about another panic attack and not wanting to endanger his friends.

A month afterward, Matt had sent him on a vacation, a cruise to Hawaii, hoping a few weeks of R&R would help to heal a few of the psychological scars caused by that mission gone wrong. CJ had tagged along, more as a travelling companion than a guard against him wigging out again. Chance chuckled at the memory of the Englishman checking their cabins for "The demon they call Kathie Lee Gifford." It had been an uneventful trip, notable only in its' tranquility.

They had arrived on schedule and set out to relax for a month or so. A month or so that had developed into a so-called "retirement."

Chance was startled from his memories by loud snoring, and he looked up just in time to see CJ unthinkingly roll over and out of the inner tube he had been dozing in and into the Pacific. The resulting yelp echoed across the beach they occupied. Chance chuckled, and closed his eyes again.

Like Chance and Panama, CJ never chose to speak of Libya. Even so, it wasn't as if one walked away from a stint in a prison camp for God-knows-how-long without coming out a bit paranoid. However, the Hawaii sun shone just as brightly on CJ as it did on Chance, and the ex-SAS officer seemed to be finally reconciling with himself. Chance was under no delusions, of course. He realized that a year or so of rest was not going to heal all of the mental trauma his teammate and he had survived. Still, he smiled, hearing the beginnings of a beach party about a quarter of a mile away, knowing that he would soon be dragged into the fray, it can't hurt.

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

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