Rachel Goldstein stared up at the sky for the billionth time, feeling the agony rip down her side and taking her breath away. Lying at the bottom of a cliff was no fun she had decided only a few short minutes after the incident happened. Better yet, lying at the bottom of the cliff with only Frank Holloway for company was even less fun. Frank shifted beside her, drawing her attention back to their predicament, she was lying at the bottom of a cliff with a broken leg and a head injury, with Frank as her knight in shining armour. The only small problem was that they were in the middle of a National Park, and no-one would have noticed them missing yet. " So what'd ya do?" Frank asked for the zillionth time, trying to figure out how they ended up in such a situation. Goldie sighed and carefully shifted her weight to releive the pressure on her leg. " I TOLD you, we were just going along fine... then Chainsaw spooked at something.. well you saw that bit, and the Ranger was like MILES ahead so he wouldn't have noticed me missing yet.. or you for that matter. Then we kinda found the cliff... and I decided to fly. Then you came along" " Yeah I came along alright... and found you unconscious at the bottom of the cliff! Rach, you've been out for nearly 3 hours." Frank's voice held more than a touch of concern. They were ridding horses back from a grisly body discovery in a winding bend of the Hawkesbury River, a local Ranger had discovered them and had led a team of Police and other assorted detectives to the site to recover the remains of some poor bugger. Of course the only access was through using horses, and the Ranger had taken a strong liking to a young female Police constable on the brown pony, and hence was paying much more attention to her than to what was happening with the rest of the group. Rachel's horse Chainsaw had spooked at something, whether it was a passing kangaroo or a snake, Frank didn't really see, his full attention was on the dissapearing hide of Rachel's horse, with her clinging desperatly to the saddle. He'd taken off after her, plowing through the thick bush, trying to catch her runaway horse, instead finding the horse grazing near a cliff, with Rachel nowhere in sight. Pulling up his horse Frank threw himself out of the saddle, madly searching and screaming her name. Peering over the rocky cliff, he'd spotted her, lying in a crumpled heap, blood seeping from numerous parts of her body. He'd jumped as carefully but as fast as he possibly could down to where she lay, taking a moment to take stock of her injuries. He glanced over to Rachel again, making sure she hadn't fallen asleep yet. Her eyelids were heavy, he could tell from where he was sitting, but she was forcing them open, forcing herself to stay awake. For she knew in this environment, with her kind of injury, sleep could be deadly. Frank shifted closer to her, trying to cover her more with his jacket, what was left of it anyway, sleeves and pockets had been ripped off to try and staunch the blood flow. He tried to keep her talking, to keep her mind off what was going on around her. " Did I tell ya what I did in Brissie Rach?" Frank offered, seeing her eyes light up in welcome releif, he blundered on. " There was this sheila... and like she was... I dunno... twenty something..." Rachel interupted him with a moan, her eyes flickering for a minute before she started mumbling in Jewish. Frank only recognised a few words, mainly his name, Jack's, her father's and Davids. *Oh god* he thought *dont let her give up now* He reached over and gently touched her face, pulling back sharply when he realised how hot she was, sweat was cascading down her brow. " Aw shit Rach... RACH!!! Can ya hear me mate? RACHEL!" He shouted at her, gently shaking her shoulders. Rachel stopped mumbling for a minute, looking at him quite strangely. " Fwaaaankk? what are you doin here?" she slurred, idely wondering why the sky was turning pink and the trees were full of giraffes. His fuzzy face loomed over here, looking almost comical, unable to resist the urge, she started giggling. Frank just looked at Rachel. Here was his steady as a rock partner, critically injured, and now giggling for no apparant reason. He HAD to something to help her. *Maybe its the fever* he thought, but then again, he had nothing in which to treat it. Only a small water bottle that was attached to his saddle, which made two small water bottles if you added the one attached to Rachels' saddle as well. He glanced up the cliff again and caught a glimpse of his horses spotted backside. Frank turned back to Rachel once more. "Rach, I'm gonna go back up for a minute, I've gotta get some water for you, ya understand? I'll be right back I promise" He kissed her quickly before turning to climb up the cliff. A small voice stopped him. " Please don't go. Don't leave me alone" It was Rachel, pleading with him to stay with her. He jumped back down and was by her side in an instant. " I'm not going anywhere Rachie, I'm just gonna get a drink. I'm parched ya know! Its been a good 12 hours without a beer!" A small grin appeared on Rachel's face, even in her current condition, Frank could still make her laugh with his antics. " I gotta go and get that water now Rach, I wont be long, I promise" He squeezed her hand before bolting back up the cliff. Moments later, true to his word, two water bottles plonked down next to Rachel, shortly followed by their owner. He pulled the top off one of them, then eased up Rachel's head so she could drink. She tentativly sipped, then gulped down as much as she could before collapsing exhausted into Frank's arms. Surprised as he was Frank quietly set down the water bottle, wiping her brow with his sleeve. An idea popped into his mind. Pulling his shirt of he quickly tore both sleeves off, makins a makeshift washer for her face. Rachel's eyes were on him the whole time. " Sexy mate" she mumbled. Slightly embarrased Frank's cheeks turned a deeper shade of red, he hastily pulled his now sleeveless shirt back on. He avoided her gaze by soaking one of the sleeves and gently wiping her brow with it. She hissed as the cool cloth made contact with her boiling skin, trying to move away from its soothing touch. "Whoa mate.. where do ya thing you're goin?" He asked as he easily restrained her with one arm around her shoulders. "..s cold" she whispered, involunatarily shuddering. " Yeah mate, I know, but it might make a feel a bit better. Ya burning up with fever, this'll make ya feel better" He murmered, still wiping her brow with the cool cloth. After a while she seemed to stop fighting him, her strength totally depleted by her internal stuggle to survive. Rachel looked up at the fuzzy image of Frank, she had to tell him how she felt before this all ended. Somehow, dying out in the middle of nowhere in Frank's arms seemed right, he more she thought about it, the more she knew she had to tell him. Frank looked down at Rachel, her eyes seemed half closed and her mind was obviously elsewhere. She seemed to be drifting in and out of delusion, maybe even consiousness. He knew he was slowly lossing her, he HAD to tell her how he felt, it ws the least thing he could do for her.
"Frank" "Rachel" They looked at each other, unspoken emotions pouring from their eyes. "Frank..... I love you... always have..." she murmered, gazing through his eyes and into his soul. " You know Rach, I was just about to say that very same thing" He smiled down at her, grinning even more when he saw her weak, but still dimpled smile in return. He still wished he hadn't cracked such a corney joke, but he felt the need to lighten the situation. He leaned down and gently kissed her, and was pleasantly surprised to feel her kissing him back. Moments later they broke apart, Frank shifting his weight to ease the numb spot developing in his bum. He must have joustled Rachel's leg in the process. " OWW!!! Shit Frank!!" Rachel screamed in mortal agony, leaning forward and gripping her broken leg. She started swearing at him, startling him with her extended vocabulary, abusing him for being careless.. before realising she had alot more to curse at him about, Rachel launched into full scale screaming hysteria about him leaving her, leaving her with Jack, then coming back as if nothing had happened. Meanwhile Frank just stared at her. *so THIS is what its all about* he thought. The stares in the office, the times he had caught her mulling over things in her mind, all those preoccupied looks she had had on her face during work. She was pissed at him for leaving her. Rather than face the ever angry Rachel just yet, Frank decided to let her cool down a bit and went off to find something to splint her leg with. Re-emerging from the underbrush with a few sturdy branches, he found her asleep. Knowing it was probably useless to try and rouse her from unconsciousness, he quickly spinted her leg and rearranged the jacket so she wouldn't catch a chill. Looking up at the sky he saw it was nearly dark, hell it was going to be freezing any minute. He jumped up again to find some more wood to start a fire. An hour later the darkness was almost complete and Frank STILL hadn't started a fire. Cursing he grabbed some more kindling and twisted the sticks faster, willing a spiral of smoke to emerge from the stack. Almost on command a spark emerged, lighting the rest of the twigs. Frank quickly built up a roaring fire, shifting the now unconsious Rachel closer, hearing her mumble things incoherantly about David and Jack, and desperatly trying to keep her warm despite the burning fever that was devouring her. He hated not being able to do anything for her, hated seeing her totally defensless and helpless. He moved over to wear she lay, scooping her up till she lay in his arms. He murmered sweet nothings in her ear, even is she couldn't hear them. he needed to get them off his chest. "Rach, I love ya mate, I loved ya when I first saw ya... and god be damned if I dont love ya now. God Rach, you can't leave me now... not after I came back for ya. Yeah, okay, so I stuffed up leaving ya, but I came back! aww Rach, dont do this, think of David, and Jack, and everyone...Aww shit Rach.. I love ya" Tears were streaming down Frank's face, splashing innocently on Rachel's forehead. The fire light up her deathly pale features, casting delicate shadows across her face, she looked so innocent, so peaceful, as if nothing could hurt her. A short time later Frank heard voices " COOOOOOOOOO IEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HELLO!!!!! Anybody out there!?!?!?!?!?!" the voice repeated its call, moving closer to their position. " HELP!!!!! Somebody!!! I Need HELP down here!" Moments later a flashlight beam appeared over the ledge, followed by a pair of faces. " Mate.... glad we found ya... how is she?" The face asked, he then noticed the streaks marking Frank's face. " oh god" the voice muttered before disappearing and then reappearing at the base of the cliff in the form of the Ranger that had lost them earlier. He knelt beside Rachel, pressing his fingers into the side of her neck. Looking into Frank's tearful eyes, he knew what he had to say. " Mate.. I'm sorry" The rest of the night passed in a blur for Frank. They had taken Rachel's body away, lead him back up the cliff, and taken him to hospital. Curled up in the stark white hospital bed, a silent tear traced the path of so many before it down the weary lines of a heartbroken man's face.