A/N: another ooooold fic I dusted off and edited a bit. Don't kill me if there are still big mistakes. I am just uploading all the old fics in my folder. I spent way too much time writing these and never have them posted.
I own nothing.
UA to S02E08.

Red Oak Tree

Names get carved in the red oak tree
of the ones who stay
and the ones who leaveā€¦

.:.

Scott stood at the door of the bus filled with the hostages. They were driving past some abandoned facilities. He was worried about Michael to say the least. They still hadn't heard anything about him yet and Damien feared the worst. Deep down in his heart he prayed for him. A steady mantra of pleads, begging Michael to be alive and all right.

.:.

Michael came back to consciousness with a start. Granted, he would have bolted when he heard the gunshots, but he simply could not move. He felt restraints pulling at his wrists and legs whenever he tried to budge. His hearing was muffled and the pain in his head was overwhelming. His vision wasn't better off. He could see too-bright fluorescent overhead lights and squinted, shifting uneasily. Where the hell was he? He could smell the antiseptic smell of hospital and sterility. But if he was in a hospital, why was he restrained and why was the smell of blood still too strong? Everything hurt.
He gasped as pain rippled through his head. This was wrong, something was definitely wrong. He wanted to get out. He pulled against the restraints when he heard a voice say something in Albanian.
Shit, he was in the hands of the enemy.

A person walked towards him, and when he tilted his head, he saw the blurry shape of a woman clad in green scrubs. A nurse of some sort fumbled with the restraints around his wrists when he saw the window of opportunity. With a flick of his wrist he got out of the strap and pushed her aside. He jumped upright, heedless of the pain that shot through his abdomen and started to remove the restraints around his legs. The nurse had pressed an alarm button. The wailing sound did nothing but aggravate the pain in his skull even more.

More people came running towards him but he was faster than them. He grabbed the scalpel he had ripped out of the nurse's hands and started slashing around, feeling satisfied when he hit a target. The man went straight to the ground and in the distraction he managed to cut himself loose. He jumped off the table he had been lying on, knees buckling, and headache increasing even more. But he managed to stay upright and limped the direction, which hopefully was the exit.

The door opened and the bright light blinded him. He clung onto the doorframe as his knees buckled again and he gasped at the pain accompanied with it. The fresh air rushed into his lungs and he couldn't see for his eyes weren't used to the daylight. Not to mention that he was confused as hell altogether considering he was covered in blood. He heard a heavy vehicle nearing of some sort but he was too blinded by the light and pain. He spun around, trying to figure out where the danger was coming from. The vehicle came to a halt and without vision Michael knew he was done for.

Then a blurry shape got out but the only thing Michael focussed at was the gun in the man's hands.
'Fuck.' He gritted, feebly trying to raise the scalpel he was holding. If he was going to go down, he would do so fighting. He owed Scott that much.

When he heard the all too familiar voice of the American calling out his name, a surge of relief rushed through him. Or maybe it was just the adrenaline leaving his body. He collapsed to the ground but felt himself being stopped by Scott. The man was saying something but he couldn't focus. Blood was rushing through his ears. Scott was here. He was all right. They'd be going home. He felt himself partly hoisted of a shoulder, partly being dragged towards the bus. He was dragged into the bus by a couple of weird hands and laid onto the ground. A face hung above him, the old lady, Joanna Heath. She was all right.
'Michael.' She said with a relieved smile.
Michael smiled broadly.
'Hi there.'

'Give him some space.' Scott said and gently pushed Joanna aside. He carefully propped a jacket behind Michael's head.
'How are you feeling, bud?' he asked as the bus started moving again. Michael looked at him.
Damien frowned, his friend looked downright horrible. One side of his face was covered in dried blood and grime and the same was for his torso.

Scott sat down and carefully pulled Michael's head in his lap. Michael groaned at the change of position.
'Ssh...I've got you. You are all right.'

Michael grabbed his wrist that he had draped around Michael's bare torso.
'Branko...he is dead...Someone shot him...' he managed to spit out. Scott scoffed. It's what he deserved, the American soldier bitterly thought.
'Joanna? Do we have like water or a rag and a blanket?' Scott asked, eyes never leaving Michael's face. When he had seen the man stumbling outside, covered in blood, barely functional, his heart had skipped a beat.

And when he had called out Michael's name and his friend hadn't reacted he had almost panicked.
But Michael had collapsed, energy all spent and Scott had caught him.
'It's a bit early for Halloween, champ.' He had joked, his defence-mechanism for fear or stress

Joanna handed him a handkerchief and a half-filled bottle of water. A jacket was draped over Michael's legs, which were trembling. She sat down on the seat next to Scott and Michael, keeping an eye on the both of them. Damien wet the handkerchief and carefully scrubbed at the dried blood that marred Michael's face. Michael groaned, clearly uncomfortable by all of the ministrations.
'Do we have any painkillers in this bus?' he called out. People shook their heads but then Kennedy handed him a blister-packet with only one pill left.

'Thanks.' Scott said, still a bit suspicious about the man. 'Hey, Michael, can you sit up a bit for me, please?'
The man tried to comply but he was downright exhausted. He gave Scott a weary look, indicating it was just too much right now. Scott gently but firmly hoisted the man upright so he was leaning with his back against Scott's chest, his head cradled in the crook of Scott's neck. He grunted and paled a bit at the change of altitude. He scrunched his eyes shut in order to keep his head from spinning.
'You with me, mate?'

Scott was worried; he could hear it in his friend's voice.
'Just give me a minute.' He ground out. As the spinning lessened he carefully peeled his eyes open.
Scott was looking at him with those damned baby blue eyes. Scott handed him the pill and helped him to drink from the bottle. He cringed when the liquid went down his parched throat. He leant against Scott, trying to get some body heat off of him. He was freezing. It hadn't been particularly warm inside the makeshift 'medical' facility. If someone else would see them together, and Michael hadn't been covered in blood, they'd say they were snuggling.

Scott pulled the coat higher up Michael's shoulders. The Brit was obviously done for. Scott wrapped his arms around Michael and rested his chin on top of the man's head, pulling him closer to his body.
He could stay like this forever. Having Michael close to him, just not worrying anymore about both of their lives. None of them hadn't admit to their true feelings yet. Scott wasn't even sure Michael was aware of him being gay. But how could he. For all he knew everyone was still under the impression that he was a real womanizer, banging every hot woman he crossed paths with.

What if that all was a facade? Because he felt embarrassed and maybe because he still couldn't admit to himself that he was homosexual. His father had been very anti-gay and when he had come out for it, he had left home for three weeks before his mother pleaded him to come back home.

So maybe he was banging girls because he wanted to prove otherwise and keep up that facade. And truth be told, he had never loved a man as much as he loved Michael. But Michael had never shown any signs of showing interest in him. They were just colleagues, brothers in arms. Maybe even friends. Michael was his only friend. The one he could depend on, the one he could trust. The one he loved more than anything else in the world but didn't have the courage to show it.

Michael shifted, feeling better by the second. He couldn't tell whether it was from the painkiller or from the proximity of Scott. He finally felt safe. He pressed his cheek against Scott's pulse point; feeling and hearing the steady drum of the man's heart. It was so soothing he fell asleep before he knew it.

.:.

It took another two hours before they reached the roadblock. Scott didn't actually want to get up but he had the lives of the hostages in his hands. And they had reclaimed Michael so he wasn't going to give him up too quickly. When he found out they were friends, he could sag in relief.
'My friend is badly injured. He needs to get to a medical post right away.' Scott said and carded a shaky hand through his hair.

The private nodded and motioned two other soldiers to follow him.
'Lead the way, Sergeant.'
Scott walked towards the bus and got in.
'Hey Michael, wake up for me please. We're going to get you cleaned up.' Scott said and lovingly stroked Michael's sweat matted hair, completely forgotten about the rest of the people, which were most likely all staring at him.

Two glossy eyes opened and meandered around before settling on Scott's face.
'W're h'me?' he muttered.
Scott smiled and carefully lifted him a bit more upright.
'Yeah buddy, we are almost home. We need you to get up now so they can fix that pretty face of yours.' He said and looped an arm over his shoulder, dragging Michael with him. Michael tilted to one side as soon as he had to put weight on his legs. His face blanched too and for a moment Scott feared he would topple over. He placed a hand against Michael's chest, keeping him steady and motioned with a nod of his head for the privates to come over and give him a hand.

Together with the help of the two men they got him into a SUV. Scott followed suit, sitting on the seat closest to Michael, eyeing the privates with suspicion. The whole ride to the hospital, Scott held Michael's hand.

.:.

'Follow you down to the red oak tree,
as the air moves thick through the hollow reeds
I will wait for you there until someone comes
To carry me, carry me down...
'

First thing he heard when he came to was not the incessant beeping of the monitors which read out his heart rate and blood pressure, but the soft voice singing. Michael kept his eyes closed, listening to the words.

'See, I have not, I have not grown cold.
I have stole from men, who have stole from those
With their arms so thin and their skin so old,
but you are young, you are young...
You are young
.'

Michael opened one eye and saw Scott sitting on the windowsill, looking outside at the city of Vienna. At this point he had started humming and by the distracted look on his face he probably wasn't quite aware that he was singing. There was a deep sigh and Scott stopped humming when a nurse came in, checking on Michael's vitals. Scott looked at her with his sharp eyes. He stepped closer to the bed when she opened the curtains.

Michael opened his eyes and looked at the both of them.
'Thanks.' Scott said as the nurse left.
Michael looked at Scott. The man huffed and looked at his friend, lying in the bed, all bruised and battered.
'Hey buddy.' He greeted, glad to see Michael finally awake.
Michael looked around.
'Is everyone saved?'
Scott nodded, grabbed a chair and sat on it, looking at Michael with sincerity.
'Yeah buddy, they are all saved and back home.' Scott said.

Michael nodded and asked:
'Do you have any new conspiracy theories for me?'

Scott smiled broadly and shook his head. There was a comfortable silence in which Michael took stock of his injuries. It seemed Scott caught on to it, for he said:
'Large laceration on your head, mild concussion, laceration on your clavicle and a bullet graze on your arm and shoulder. Oh, and a broken rib.'

There was a weary sigh coming from Michael.
'That's okay.' He muttered, toying with the wires and catheters, which were attached to his hand.
Scott narrowed his eyes and scoffed.
'How is that okay?'
Michael raised his eyebrows but immediately regretted it. Not a good idea.

Scott was staring at the wall opposite of him and Michael could tell he was brooding. From their time together in action Michael had learnt that when something had gone wrong, Scott would retreat and start brooding. Mulling over the past events over and over again. Michael still wondered how it was possible that the man hadn't gone insane yet.
'You are doing it again.' Michael remarked, absent-mindedly scratching at the blood pressure cuff wrapped around his arm.
Scott looked up.
'Doing what again? Saving your ass?'

If it wasn't for the pain in his head whenever he did so, he would have raised his eyebrows again.
'Never mind.' Scott muttered. 'You should get some rest, anyways.'
Michael dropped the subject. In any other circumstance he would have discussed the situation with Scott but he was tired. Sleep would be welcome.

.:.

When Michael woke up again he nearly panicked when his wrist was restrained again. His heart thudded in his chest as he looked down in alarm. He exhaled deeply when he saw Scott asleep.
His head was resting on Michael's hip and a hand was wrapped around Michael's wrist, fingers conspicuously placed on the pulse point as if to reassure that Michael was still alive.

It was a whole lot darker in the room that the first time he had woken up. There was a small light on and the curtains were closed. One glance at the clock mounted on the wall proved that it was almost nine PM and therefore long past visiting hours. Seemed like Scott managed to manipulate the hospital staff. Maybe he had used his charm. He would have blinked at a hot nurse and she would have swooned into letting him stay for the night.

Whatever he had done, it had worked and he was here now, lying in a rather uncomfortable position, which assured him to have awful back cramps if he stayed like that the entire night.

A hand ruffled Scott's hair and Scott's hand clenched a bit at the contact.
'Hey Scott, wake up.' Michael called out softly.
Scott stirred and mumbled something unintelligible.
'F've m're minut's, ma...'
Michael chuckled and lovingly squeezed Scott's neck, which had already tensed up.

'Scott, wake up.'
Scott sure knew how to wake up in a dramatic way.
He startled and jumped upright, only to crumple into the chair as his back seized up.
'Yeah, okay, so sleeping in a chair wasn't a great idea.' He groaned, rubbing his back.
He opened slightly waterish eyes and saw Michael softly laughing.
'Just make fun of a man's pain, will ya?' he grumbled, but the anger was just an act. He was glad Michael was looking better than he had before.
'What time is it?' he asked, too tired to check the clock. His eyes were sleep-blurred anyways so he wouldn't have noticed the difference between two of the arms on the clock.

'Almost 9.30. How'd you manage to stay here?'
Scott flashed his trademark grin.
'Persuasion is my gift, mate. I thought you had noticed by now.'
Michael chuckled.
'Hop in.' He said and patted on the bed.
Scott frowned and studied Michael's face.

'Michael...I don't think-'

Michael raised his hand and silenced Scott.
'Scott, we are both tired and we both know that you won't leave. So you either get in the bed or out of the room. I don't need to hear your whining about you having a back cramps because you didn't want to listen.' Michael huffed.

Scott mulled over that thought. But this was just so weird. This was Michael asking him to get in bed. Michael who wasn't aware that he was gay and how odd and tough this was for him. But he gave in. He untied his shoes and waited until Michael had scooted over. The bed wasn't exactly big enough for two grown-up men, but somehow when Scott got in they were both comfortable. They both lied on their backs, staring awkwardly at the ceiling, sides pressed painfully into the bedrails.

Oh God, this was awkward.
It took Michael 5 minutes before he spoke.
'Mate, I think it's best if we lie on our sides. My side...It hurts.' He whispered.
Scott immediately made more place, turning on his side.
'Oh my God, Michael, I am so sorry. Are you okay?'
Michael carefully turned onto his side too, eyes closed and nodded. He was regaining his composure and when it finally felt as if his side wasn't being stabbed over and over again, he opened his eyes and looked at Scott.

The man had a blush on his cheeks and tried to look at anything but Michael. Michael just managed to keep in his sigh. Silly fool, Michael knew Scott was gay. It takes one to know one.
He moved his hand and grabbed Scott's, who's eyes immediately shot to watch Michael.
'Michael.' He whispered. This was so wrong.
Their fingers intertwined and Michael shook his head.
'Relax Scott. It's okay. I know.'
Scott looked at him and decided to push his luck. The worst that could happen was rejection, right? And then he'd have to transfer because he wouldn't be able to deal with all that had happened.

Fuck me, he thought and closed the gap. He pressed his lips onto Michael's, immediately expecting to get clobbered in the face. But nothing like that happened. Instead, he felt Michael smile and press his lips closer to Scott's.

It was a soft kiss. Filled with emotions and promises. Michael was the first to end the kiss but he did not move away, instead he pressed his forehead against Scott's, nuzzling and pressing closer to the American.
'I love you.' He whispered.

Scott exhaled deeply and wrapped his arm around Michael's waist, pressing their bodies closer and sharing the warmth, both craving for each other's presence.
'I love you too.' Scott whispered.
They both fell asleep like that. Hands intertwined and close to each other.

And when the nurse found them like that the next morning, she didn't say anything but instead smiled and let them have their time together as long as possible.

.:.

Then somebody laughs like it's all just for hell
As though we could not be saved from the depth of the well
But the cloth that I made, is that cloth you can sell
To pay for the Gossamer seed...

Follow me, follow me down.