This story runs in tandem with “Waiting: Lee’s Story and is told from Chip’s point of View.
If Lee doesn't get killed one day on one of the so-called piece of cake missions, I swear I'm going to choke the life out of him myself. I'm pretty sure there's a groove on the decking of my cabin where I pace each time I hear he's been assigned another mission. What kind of shape is he going to come back in this time? How many pieces will Jamie have to sew back on? What kind of drugs have they pumped him full of and how long till we can wean him off of them?
I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself, knowing I'd need every bit of self-control when he finally came around. Right now, Boy-Wonder was asleep, thanks to Doc's arsenal of syringes. I glanced up from the reports I was trying to concentrate on, watching Lee sleep. He looked peaceful and not at all like someone who we found staggering down a beach, twelve hours over due.
Twelve hours! How the hell does someone miss their pick-up time by twelve hours? Two or three I could understand, but twelve? A whole watch went by while Superman man here was AWOL with no way to contact him and no way to know if he was dead or alive. Somehow I knew he wasn't dead. How did I know? How did I know the sun was going to rise in the east? I just knew. I always know.
Jamie often accused us of having some kind of psychic link. Psychic. Yeah right. I see a talk dark stranger in your future. Well, Lee was dark, he was tall, and he could certainly be strange. Didn't say a lot for me, I'd follow him anywhere he asked me.
Why? I don't know. Since the day I meet him, I felt something, a kindred spirit maybe? I don't have any brothers, just a gaggle of sisters. Lee was the brother I never had, but had always wanted. We had the same sense of humor, the same outlook on life. We had the same sense of honor and duty but I think somehow that flame burned just a bit brighter and deeper in Lee than it did in me.
Not that I wasn't patriotic. I would lay my life down for my country and had very nearly done so more times than I could count. It was just that Lee would sacrifice himself without a thought. It was a trait I found downright scary at times. I was a planner, a thinker. Lee was a doer, an action-orientated kind of guy. Maybe that was what made us such a good team.
It was Lee's willingness to go that extra mile, to help just one more person that often got him in trouble. Take this time. I don't know what on earth happened to him but he was one giant scrape. Cuts and bruises covered him from head to toe nearly, and his back was this huge, raw, open wound. Not even Jamie was sure what Lee had tangled with.
In all fairness, I should say not all his missions end like this. Sometimes he's gone and comes back with hardly a scratch. He is good, one of the best, else ONI wouldn't continue to call him up. It's just he takes so many risks with himself, more often than not he comes back with extra holes or something broken. I'm scared to death one day we're going to be waiting for him at the pickup point and all we're going to find is a dead body.
Something made me glance up. I could see his eyes moving under closed lids. Then he got real still. His pattern of breathing had changed. Sleeping Beauty was awake. Faking it, hoping I'd go away, no doubt. Well, it ain't gonna happen, boy-o. You and I need to have a little chat.
I waited. He'd give himself away soon enough. A hitch in his breathing as he moved. His back reminding him it was missing about a pound of skin, probably.
"You can stop playing possum. I know you've been awake for about three minutes now," I said to him. In response I got one amber eye aimed at me.
Oh, yes, skipper, you and I are gonna have a long chat about your latest adventure.