I saw Dani's parachute go up before I crashed feet first into the trees and had to cut myself out. I scanned the skies with worry as I tried to spot where she was headed, with extra weight that was going to be a tough landing! Damn Foster why do you have to be so stubborn and self sacrificing and so.... so like you. A voice in my head told me and I shrugged it off angrily. Foster was a friend, granted a friend old enough to possibly be my father but still... he was a friend, not a role model.
I cut the last strap and dropped to the soft grass, landing in a crouch. "Crow." I saw Beth up ahead helping Jagan out of his chute. I signalled to her to put in her earpiece and then turned and set off in the direction I'd seen Dani headed.
After a while I saw her, dragging him along by the arms, talking to him even though he was completely out cold. "Dani." I said as I scrambled towards her. She was totally oblivious to me and kept talking to Foster about how heavy he was. "Dani!" I called again standing behind her. She gasped and stumbled backwards as she tried to turn and draw her gun and not drop Foster all at the same time. I caught her and she half collapsed against me. "I'm so happy to see you Crow, I'm so tired and..." I cut her off "Dani you can't give into tiredness just yet." I murmured gently. "Cos I can't carry you and him." I indicated Foster lying prostrate on the ground and she nodded and rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand. I looked down at my tshirt and felt uncomfortable... she'd been crying????
We didn't really speak then as I changed the oxygen tank for mine, checked Foster to make sure nothing was broken and then hoisted him up onto my back. "You're not bailing on me yet old man." I puffed. Dani kept silent. I was surprised that she didn't complain about the hike back, she must have been exhausted.
We walked in silence until I found Beth and Jagan again. They were close together with their heads bent over a map and Beth was explaining something but I don't think Jagan was listening as he stared at her dreamily. Dude you look like such a sap! I thought as I laughed to myself.
I decided to give them some warning by sparking up conversation with Dani. "I saw what you did up there, it was really brave, I don't even know many soldiers who would be able to do something like that." I said casually, she glanced at me sideways and blushed a little. Beth's head snapped up and her and Jagan moved a little further apart without realising it.
I put Foster down on the ground gently and he groaned. Jagan immediately was at his side checking his pulse and eyes..everything. I left him to it and walked over to Dani. "He should be fine, stop worrying, it's just lack of oxygen that's all, he'll be right as rain in no time. Now let's find some wood to start a fire and keep him warm... and you too, you look like you're freezing."
I turned to walk towards the trees and thought I heard her say something. It sounded like 'Thank you.'
I walked back and put my arm around her shoulders. "Chin up D, we'll make a fire and then I'll give you a massage yeah? Your muscles must be screaming from carrying him after that parachute jump."
I realised what I'd said sounded like I was half coming onto her and I got a little embarrassed and quickly took my arm from around her shoulders. "I mean eh... you don't want your aim to be affected by muscle cramping if you need to use your gun..." I walked towards the trees and shook my head a little trying to clear it.
God dammit Crow, you were never any good at communicating with pretty women. Look what happened with Marissa...that was communication breakdown...
More like break up! I thought bitterly.
I bit my lip and pushed the thought of it all out of my mind. The President's daughter had been kidnapped... I had a job to do!