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When Our Boots Hit the Ground

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Bob wakes up in the infirmary, and the first thing he sees is Major Lorne's face staring down at him with a look that Bob is growing accustomed to. It's part worried that Bob is injured, part impressed that Bob survived whatever happened, and part resigned that it'll probably happen again. "Welcome back, Captain Bryar." Lorne nods at him before turning and saying, "He's awake."

Dr. Beckett comes bustling over and starts checking Bob's vital signs while Bob asks, "Did we--" He stops to clear his throat and accept a drink of water from Beckett, then tries again, "Did we get our people? Casualties?"

"Yeah, we got 'em. No losses and no serious injuries." Lorne pauses and glances down at Bob's leg, which Bob can't actually feel through the haze of drugs and he suspects that he should be deeply grateful for that. "Well, besides you."

"You have a third degree burn on your leg from the explosion." Beckett checks the IV in the back of Bob's hand and then picks up his computer pad and makes a quick note as he reassures Bob, "But we're giving you antibiotics to stave off infection and it should heal up fine, with just a bit of scarring. You will have to stay off it for a few days. Take it easy except for coming around to have your bandages changed. But that's for tomorrow. Tonight, you're staying here for observation."

It is a measure of just how out of it he is that Bob doesn't even argue. He just sighs and closes his eyes. He can hear Lorne and Beckett talking quietly, but before he deciphers anything they're saying he sinks back into blissful unconsciousness.

 

The next time Bob wakes up, he's in so much pain he can barely catch his breath. He hurts so badly that he can't even pinpoint where it's coming from because it is everywhere, even floating out into the air around him. The infirmary is mostly dark except for the soft light glowing over his bed that allows him to see William Beckett checking the bandages on his leg. He glances up when Bob makes a noise and says, "Looks good. Do you need anything?"

Bob closes his eyes and swallows down the nausea, trying to shake his head, but William seems to realize how bad it is. He pulls the sheet back over Bob's legs and says, "I'll get you something for the pain."

After William leaves the room, Bob hears the faint scrape of chair legs on the floor and then Matt is leaning over him, taking the hand that doesn't have the IV in it and pressing his lips to Bob's forehead. "Hey, buddy," he whispers into Bob's hair before he pulls away. He looks down at Bob and his worried frown is completely different from Lorne's, personal and deeply felt, and it terrifies Bob in a way that Wraith and flying bullets and careless explosions never could.

"They brought you back on a stretcher," Matt says, and his voice is rough and quiet and solemn and sounds basically nothing like Matt at all. He swallows hard and tightens his grip on Bob's hand. "You were so still. I thought you were dead."

Bob opens his mouth to reassure Matt that he's fine but nothing comes out. He flinches when he hears William returning, but he's too weak and hurting too much to pull his hand away. "Shhh, it's okay," Matt says soothingly but Bob is not soothed.

"Sorry, it took so long, Captain Bryar, I had to double check something with Dr. Beckett." William injects the pain meds into Bob's line and says, "You should start feeling some relief soon. If you need anything, press the call button--it's right under your hand here. Or just have Dr. Skiba come find me."

"He-- he won't be staying," Bob finally manages with some effort. The morphine or whatever is starting to work, enough that he can think now and not just feel. And what he thinks is how fucked he is. This thing with Matt...it's been fun and it has definitely given Bob the naughty thrill of getting away with something, sneaking around behind everyone's back. But here they are holding hands in front of William and that is not getting away with it. No, that is tantamount to a signed confession and a trip back home. The only thing worse would be if Major Lorne or Colonel Sheppard were to come in and see, and Bob would not put it past either of them to drop by in the middle of the night. He pulls his hand out of Matt's slackened grip and folds his arm across his stomach, clenching the sheet in his fist so Matt doesn't try to hold it again. He closes his eyes and hopes Matt takes the hint.

The light gets dimmer behind his eyelids and he can hear William leaving again, but Bob doesn't open his eyes again until Matt sits on the edge of the bed and says, "Bob."

Matt leans down and presses his mouth to Bob's softly, like he's afraid Bob will break. His lips are soft and damp and Bob opens his mouth and kisses back, hungry and hurting and wishing so fucking hard that he were someone else, someone who could be what Matt wants, give Matt what he deserves. Matt pulls back the tiniest bit and murmurs brokenly against Bob's mouth, "You nearly--you could have--fuck, I can't even say it."

"Matt...stop," Bob manages to get out before turning his head away. "We can't. We're going to get caught. William--"

"William is cool," Matt says slowly, tilting his head so he can make Bob look him in the eye. "He's looking out for us. We won't get caught."

"Anyone could come in--"

"And William will catch them at the door, say you're resting and can't have visitors." Matt rubs both hands over his face and Bob realizes how exhausted he looks, all pale skin and dark circles under his eyes. "That was fucking terrifying seeing you coming through the Gate unconscious on that stretcher and I couldn't even say anything or go to you. That was the worst part. I wasn't even supposed to be in the Gateroom. I had stopped to talk to Chuck after I got back from the mainland and just happened to be there when the unscheduled activation alarms sounded."

"We shouldn't--" Bob starts, but Matt is already shaking his head.

"I swear if you try to break up with me right now in my current fragile state, I will kill you myself."

"Fuck you, you're not fragile." Bob snorts and maybe he loosens his grip on the sheet a little in case Matt reaches for his hand again. "You're one of the toughest guys I know. Non-military, of course."

"Of course." Matt rolls his eyes and takes Bob's hand in his. "I'm going to sit right here while you fall asleep and if you need anything I'll call William and when they release you to your quarters I'll make sure you're taking your meds and getting your bandages changed and--" Matt stops to take a breath and then fixes Bob with a fierce look. "Basically, I'm going to take care of you and if you don't like it...well, too damn bad. Get the fuck over it."

"Well, I guess you told me," Bob says and even though he's still worried about someone finding out about them, he feels a little calmer. He's not sure how far he trusts William to keep their secret, but it's too late now.

"Yeah, just..." Matt sighs and puts his hands on either side of Bob's face. "Don't get blown up again, okay?"

"Okay, I'll try not to."

"There is no try. Only do or do not. And in case I wasn't clear, your only choice is do not."

"Fine, Yoda, what the fuck ever." Bob yawns and clumsily pats Matt's arm. He's fading fast and barely has the energy to say, "Going back to sleep now. I did almost get blown up today."

The last thing he feels before the darkness engulfs him again is Matt's lips pressed to the corner of his mouth.

 

The end.