Disclaimer: Roses are red, violets are blue, I no own, so you no sue.
"Rory, we have incoming!"
The nurse whipped her head around and ran to the entrance of the tiny field hospital, ready and willing to lend a hand wherever she could. "Dr. Hamilton? Where do you need me?"
"Hold on," he told her as he turned his attention to the influx of wounded soldiers. "Emily, Beatrice! Get your asses over here now!"
One of the soldiers stumbled forward and Rory rushed to catch him before he fell. "Here," she gasped as she tossed his arm around her shoulder. "Can you walk?"
"Barely," the soldier rasped in reply. She helped him straighten a little and led him to the nearest empty bed.
As she helped him onto the clean white sheets, she assessed the damage. There was a bullet lodged in the back of his right knee and several other wounds and gashes on his body, undoubtedly caused by one of the numerous explosions she heard resounding through the night.
The first thing she had to do was to see if the bullet did a lot of damage. Luckily it was a shallow wound, so she could get it out without having to amputate the limb. "Here," she told the soldier as she handed him a wad of cloth. "Stick this in your mouth."
"Why?" he asked.
"Because it's going to hurt when I take the bullet out and I don't want you biting your tongue off," she told him.
The soldier took the wad of cloth she handed to him and shoved it in his mouth, bracing himself for the promised pain. Rory took a pair of forceps and extracted the bullet out of the wound as gently as she could. The soldier let out a scream of pain, but Rory ignored it. As soon as the bullet was out, she grabbed a wad of gauze and pressed it firmly against the wound. When the bleeding slowed down to a trickle, she cleaned the wound and stitched it closed. Then she turned her attention to the rest of him.
When the soldier realized that he was through the worst of it, he slowly extracted his gag. "God, that hurt."
"Well if you didn't get shot, I wouldn't have had to take the bullet out," Rory murmured as she cleaned the cut on his arm.
The soldier rolled his eyes. "It's a little difficult to not get shot when you're caught in crossfire."
"And it's a little difficult to clean this wound when you keep moving your arm," Rory chided as she wiped the disinfectant across the gash. "So please shut up."
"You're a mean nurse," he whined. "The nurses in London weren't this mean."
"Yes, well the nurses in London don't know their ass from their esophagus," retorted Rory with a quick eye roll.
"Hey, I survived their care, didn't I?"
"And I still can't believe it."
"You're a snarky one, aren't you?"
"Only when provoked."
"Am I provoking you?"
"How about now?"
"Are you trying to make yourself a nuisance on purpose?"
"How about now?"
Rory let out a huff of breath. "May I remind you, sir, that I am the one with the surgical tools and the needles. I can make this a lot more painful than necessary. Is that really what you want?"
"Jess," he replied.
Rory looked up in surprise. "What?"
"Jess," the soldier repeated. "My name is Jess."
"Well then, Jess, shut up and let me stitch this wound closed."
Jess pouted. "Like I said. Snarky."
Rory looked up and glared at him. "I can get a lot snarkier. And I have a needle."
"You're not allowed to cause pain," he said. "You know, Hippocratic Oath and all that."
"I'm not a doctor," she replied simply as she sterilized the needle.
Later that night, as the rest of the soldiers were snoozing peacefully, Jess was still wide awake and completely bored. He glanced over at one of the other beds and saw the nurse that took care of him earlier sitting by the entrance of the hospital, reading a book by the dim lamplight.
"Hey," he called to her in a stage whisper, "whatcha reading?"
Rory glanced up. "Jess," she hissed as she rushed to his bedside. "You are supposed to be asleep."
"I can't sleep," he said simply. "I'm bored. Why don't you entertain me?"
"No," she hissed. She checked the dressing on his wounds and saw that they didn't need to be changed yet. Then she glared at him. "Go to sleep."
"You know, for a soldier, you sure do whine a lot."
He grimaced. "I do not whine."
"Go to sleep."
"You didn't answer my question."
"You didn't answer my question. What are you reading?"
She rolled her beautiful blue eyes for the millionth time that day. Jess got the distinct feeling that he was the only one that could evoke this kind of reaction from her. Or at least, he was the only one that did. "I'm reading Wuthering Heights. Now will you go to sleep?"
"Are you now? I happen to love that book."
Rory was a little surprised. "You do?"
He smiled and shook his head. "Nah. Never read it, never got the chance. However, if you lent it to me…"
"But I'm reading it," she pointed out.
"So we can't both read it."
"How about you read it to me?"
"I said, 'how about you read it to me'. I'm assuming you know how to read, I saw you doing it earlier."
"I know how to read," she snapped.
"Good. Reading out loud is the same basic concept, except you say the words instead of just acknowledging their meaning in your head."
"I find it strangely ironic that you're insulting my intelligence when you were the one that got shot."
"Hey, intelligence has nothing to do with getting shot on a battlefield in the middle of a war," he scoffed. "Like I said, there wasn't much I could do to avoid it."
Rory sighed. "If I read it to you, will you go to sleep?"
"Fine." She turned around to retrieve her book and her lamp. When she returned, she adjusted the chair sitting at the side of his bed so that it was facing him.
"Start from the beginning."
Rory's mouth dropped open. "What? I'm right in the middle of the story, I can't start over again!"
"But if you read from where you left off, then I won't understand what's going on."
"I'm not starting it from the beginning!"
"Then I'm not going to sleep. I'm gonna stay awake all night. And I just might be bored enough to want to wake some of my fellow soldiers for entertainment."
"You are impossible."
Jess grinned widely and Rory begrudgingly admitted to herself that he was a handsome soldier. Annoying, but handsome nonetheless. "Fine. One chapter and you are going to bed."
Rory turned to the first page and began to read aloud.
"Aw come on, you have to read slower than that."
"Jess," she said exasperatedly, "you don't get to pick the reading speed."
"But I can't understand a word you're saying."
"That's your problem. You need to pay attention."
"I am paying attention!"
Rory was starting to see that this conversation wasn't getting them anywhere, so she let out an impatient breath and slowed down so that he could understand. When the first chapter ended, she closed the book and set it in her lap. "Okay. Now you have to go to sleep."
He pouted. "One more chapter?"
"No," she said firmly as she got up and pulled the covers tightly around him. "I have to be getting to sleep pretty soon myself, and I can't sleep if you don't."
Jess cocked his head to the side in curiosity. "You mean you're not supposed to stay up?"
She shook her head.
"Then why do you?"
"Some of the soldiers get nightmares," she replied simply.
Jess didn't say anything. He knew the nightmares as well as any of the men in this room. He'd been living with them for three years.
"So now would you do me the favor of going to sleep?"
"What if I get nightmares?"
Rory sighed. "I'll stay up for a little while, just until you fall asleep."
"Wait. I never got your name."
"I told you my name. You never told me yours."
She raised her eyebrows. "What are you going to do with my name?"
Jess rolled his eyes. "Use it."
She shook her head. "My name is Rory. Not that it matters, but it's short for Lorelai. Now enough questions. Your body is not going to get better if you don't go to sleep."
"Rory," he mused aloud, turning over the strange name in his mind. "Rory…it suits you."
She looked up and made the mistake of looking him in his chocolate brown eyes. Something unspoken, but powerful passed between the two of them when blue met brown.
A/N - Reviews are greatly appreciated!