Title: One of the Princes

Author: Shannon/Raindrops on Roses

Rating: PG-13
Category: Drama, Missing Scene

Spoilers: "Hail and Farewell"

Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.

Author's Notes: Written for musesfool's Psalm Challenge on LiveJournal. My assigned psalm was number 82.

Summary: "But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes." Webbfic.


God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.

The man nodded to his bodyguard, who took his spot outside the tent, his gun at the ready. The man ducked into the darkness of the tent. He blinked, trying to let his eyes adjust to the dimness, and kept his back to the wind- and sand-worn canvas.

"It is nice to meet you again, my friend," a voice spoke in accented English. Outwardly, the man relaxed, but his green eyes remained sharp and alert.

"Do you have it?" he asked in clipped tones. The question seemed to amuse the other man.

"Of course. Did you think I would leave this to one of my assistants?" A match flared, and the man averted his gaze, trying to keep his night vision. The scent of a high-quality cigar reached his nostrils.

"Do you have the money?" Now the other man's voice was cold, businesslike.

"Do I look stupid?" the dark-haired man scoffed. He lifted the duffel bag he carried. He froze, but the look on his face did not change.

"Now, slowly, good friend. Place the bag on the table and back away. We wouldn't want to put a hole in your shoulder. Not this far from any medical treatment." The words were jovial, but the tone deadly serious.

He slowly, gently, lifted the bag and placed it on the folding table in the middle of the tent. He backed away carefully, trying not to bump into one of the very large men with the very large guns.

"Count it," came the order. A younger man stepped into the beam of sunlight allowed by the tent flap. He unzipped the duffel bag and inspected it for any tampering. He then counted the bundles of money. He said something in a language that the man still had not been able to grasp. By the smile he could sense spread across the trader's face, however, he took it to be a good thing.

"Wonderful, wonderful! You are a man of your word. And here is your package... how is it you Americans say? Signed, sealed, and delivered?"

"Yeah, that's about right." The man sidled up to the table and reached out. His hand was grasped in a firm handshake.

"Thank you for your business. Come again, eh?" The other man gave a hoarse laugh.

Clayton Webb picked up the small, priceless, brown-wrapped package delicately. "I plan on it." He left the tent and nodded to his partner.

Once out of hearing, the partner asked in a hushed voice, "You got it?"

"Yeah, Gunny, I got it. Now let's hope we can keep it safe until we get back to the ship."

Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

Webb yawned again. "Sir, we should stop for the night."

"Gunny, if we stop, we're likely to miss our ride. Now shut up and help me with this thing." He shifted the pack on his back.

Victor Galindez glared at the back of Webb's head. Time to bring out the big guns. "Mr. Webb, I highly doubt that Colonel MacKenzie would want you to collapse in exhaustion in the middle of a war zone."

The CIA officer stiffened. Victor knew he had scored a direct hit. "Fine. We'll stop. But only for a few hours."

They settled down and made camp. The sky was amazingly clear in the middle of the desert, and they stared up at the stars in silence.

"She told me she loved me, you know." Victor didn't reply. By this time, he had grown used to his partner's fits of melancholy mixed with long stretches of silence. "She told me she loved me, and all I could say was, 'I'm so relieved.'" Webb sighed. Out of the corner of his eye, Victor could see the other man's eyes close. "I'm such an idiot."

"Yes, sir." Victor smirked as Webb's eyes flew open. "But you're a lucky idiot. Sarah MacKenzie is an... amazing woman."

"Oh, I know that," Webb agreed. More softly, he repeated, "I know that." There was silence for a few more moments, then, "She'd never come right out and said that before. And I don't know if it was because she couldn't not say it anymore... or if it was because she didn't want me to leave her."

Victor shifted in his sleeping bag. "The colonel is a Marine, sir. She wouldn't say anything she didn't mean."

"Ah, but therein lies the quandary, Gunnery Sergeant. Sarah's not just a Marine... she's a woman, as well. A beautiful, insecure woman who's been burned too many times to count."

Victor couldn't think of anything to say to that.

They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

"What are you doing?" Victor heard a voice bark. He snapped out of sleep and into full awareness. He grabbed the pistol by his sleeping bag and leapt up.

Clayton Webb was holding his gun on a man who was trying to explain himself. Unfortunately, he was trying to explain himself in Arabic--a language that Webb had never mastered.

"Mr. Webb!" Victor exclaimed. "It's all right. He's not here for us--he's looking for food for his family."

Webb's hackles went down, but he kept his gun trained on the man. "Where's he from?" he asked tersely.

Victor turned to the terrified man--no more than a boy, really--and asked him. Webb nodded at the response and clicked the safety back on his weapon. He crouched by his pack. The boy started to scramble away. Webb held out his hands in a sign of peace. He opened the bag and pulled out a few of their food rations. "Here," he said gruffly, shoving the packages toward the boy.

Warily, the boy crept closer. When Webb didn't make any threatening movements toward him, he accepted the food, smiling and nodding.

When the boy had left, Victor turned to Webb. "He said--"

"--Thank you," Webb finished for him.

"Why did you give him...?"

Webb scowled and stood. He started to break camp. Victor joined him, waiting for an answer.

When they were finished, Webb spoke in a rough voice. "I may not know what it is to go without, Victor, but that doesn't mean I don't feel for those who do."

But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

Webb sputtered and gasped for air. He watched as the lights from the rescue party retreated in the face of the raging storm.

He had expected to die with a bullet through the back of his head... not with gallons of salt water in his lungs.

He coughed, took a breath, and yelled, "Victor!" The name was swept away on the winds whipping around the Zodiac. "Victor!"

He thought he heard an answering, "Webb?"

"Cut it loose!" He could only pray that the triggering device would be lost to the bottom of the ocean. If not... well, he wouldn't dare think about that.

He treaded water stubbornly, refusing to go down without a fight, even against such an indefatigable opponent. One thought reigned in his mind: to get home to Sarah.

He was a man of his word, after all.

End.