The shockwave sent Jane to her knees, her palms scrapping on the ground.
The brief pain was lost amidst the ringing in her ears from the explosion and the need for cover from the falling debris. She forced herself to her feet, gasping as her ribs protested the sudden movement. Training and experience had her shoving the pain down and away under the adrenalin as she took shelter in a doorway.
Over her com she could hear her team’s curt voices as the mission went to hell.
Jane glanced to the left to see the warehouse up in flames, as the Mossed team they’d encountered, scrambled for their own extraction points. Territorial fights were always a pain, made even worse when the other team refused to back down.
The end result was a mission screwed up and both teams out of the information as the terrorists got away.
“Everyone head to their emergency extraction points.” Ethan’s voice was tense over the com.
Jane sent her acknowledgment and pulled out her earwig, crushing it under her foot. She gasped for breath as she broke into a stumbling run. She had at least a couple of bruised ribs, possibly even a cracked one along with a variety of cuts and scrapes on her hands and back. She just gritted her teeth and kept moving.
The sound of glass crunching was her only warning that someone was behind her.
She spun around, dropping into a crouch as she reached for her back up gun. Will stood there, hands up. Jane breathed out in relief as she slid the safety back on. She looked him over, seeing his hair matted with dust and small cuts marring his face.
Will didn’t say anything as he did the same thing to her, before coming forward to slip an arm around her waist. Together they left the scene, looking like the other shell shocked couple caught up in the explosion. Jane leaned into Will’s body, grateful for the steady support of his arm around her.
Together they made their way to their designated safe house. It was a small house left empty by its owners and taken over by IMF.
Inside, Jane sank down on the couch, feeling the full force of her injuries as the adrenalin slowly faded away. Will reconnoiter the entire house, making sure it was secured before he disappeared into the bathroom. As Jane rested her head on the back of the couch, she listened to him moving around and the sound of running water.
Will came back out carrying a bowl of water, towels and a first aid kit. Jane could see he’d washed the grime from his face and hands. He knelt down on the floor beside the couch, setting his supplies down.
“I think I cracked a couple of ribs.” Jane said, watching as Will opened the kit. “It hurts to breath and feels the same way the last time I did this.”
Will nodded. He reached up to unbutton her shirt. Jane held still, trying to ignore the pain radiating through her. His hands were gentle and careful as he finished undoing her shirt but Jane still hissed as he eased it off her shoulders and down her arms.
Sweat beaded her skin by the time it was off, along with her bra. Jane gasped, trying to take a deep breath before she could remember that was a bad idea.
“Shallow breaths.” Will murmured.
Jane focused on his voice and the warmth of his hand resting on her shoulder as she struggled to breath without passing out.
Finally, she mastered her breathing, looking up at Will. Will nodded in return, before reaching for a roll of bandages. He helped her to her feet.
Jane stood still, one hand holding the edge of the bandage in place as Will began to wrap her ribs. He was quick and careful, not even taking a peek at her exposed breasts. She’d had other male team mates who would have leered and made a rude comment.
He was professional and courteous, something Jane had come to rely on. With him, she could afford to let down her barriers and trust that Will had her back just as Ethan and Benji did. It was a rare thing to have in such a team and the reason they worked so well together to become one of the top IMF teams.
Will tied off the ends of the bandages, stepping back to assess his work with that critical eye she’d come to know well. Jane inhaled, feeling how tightly her ribs had been bound and how the pain had eased with the support.
It would do until she could get to see a doctor.
Will steadied her as she sat back down on the couch. With the same care, he washed most of the dirt way, cleaned and bandaged the worst of her cuts and scrapes. He pulled a few slivers of glass from her back and arms lodged there from the explosion.
By the time he was done, Jane was panting softly from the pain, the edges of her vision starting to go gray. Will handed her several aspirin from the kit and rose to get her a glass of water.
After she’d taken the pills, she stretched out on the couch. Will draped a blanket over her. Jane reached for his hand, clenching it tightly, trying to convey her thanks. He smiled at her, that soft one he reserved for a select few.
Jane drifted off to sleep, listening to the sounds of Will putting the first aid kit away, and the sound of his feet as he check the windows and doors. She fell asleep to the knowledge that Will would stand guard over her until they were safely back home.