Silence, Primal Fear

Of Fireflies and Silence

Rebecca sat staring into the dark on the edge of infinity. Today had been a good day. Yeah, a kid with no family was dead when he shouldn't have died. But his death, unlike so many others hadn't been a waste, and he wouldn't die forgotten. A 16 year old girl now has a new kidney. A young boy could now see. A young mother has a new lung. A gunnery sergeant received a new heart. His last wish was fulfilled. Now Private Flax's own Snow Brigade could live on in the body of others.

So today had ended with a glimmer of hope.

Right now, she just enjoyed the silence, at least what little silence could be had at the edge of Kandahar base. She craved the aloneness, since she was never alone. Unless she came as far as she could away from Role 3 and let the darkness envelope her.

She felt him before she heard him. And when she heard him, it was just the lazy shuffling walk she had learned to recognize. But he never said a word. He never even came close, or acknowledged her in any way. He just stood and watched. It surprised her. It seemed far from the selfish, arrogant, neurosurgeon with a great ass she had grown to… well, she wasn't quite sure how she would finish that thought.

The crunch of sand told her he was turning to go. "Simon?"

He stopped as the sound of his name brushed across his skin like a feather.

"Join me?"

His lanky form took a seat next to her, sitting several inches away, not crowding, not giving more than a cursory glance at the beautiful brunette he pined for. The woman he'd been told wasn't on 'his wine list', and he knew it. He appreciated a fine Bordeaux at its peak, and Rebecca was just that. Unfortunately, she knew he was all too willing to slurp the nearest white Zinfandel or cheapest Shiraz. She was simply not to be had. She was too good for him. It didn't mean he didn't just want to be near her. Just sometimes. Just tonight.

They sat in a comfortable silence. Neither in a hurry to break it. Neither having much to say.

"What's up with those calls?" Rebecca was the first to break it, her hushed whisper carrying across the dark sands.

Simon remained silent. Finally he shrugged. "It'll get solved. I'm handling it."

Smirking, he turned towards her. "Don't tell me you are actually worried about me, Rebecca." He said her name in that three-syllable punctuated way he always used.

She nodded her head. "You're narcissistic enough to be worried about yourself for both of us. And you don't seem to be worried."

"Ohhh, snap! Rebecca," he grinned.

The melancholy silence embraced them again, settling around them like a warm summer blanket, her mind on times past, his on times very present.

Her voice once again broke the stillness. "When I was a kid, we had fireflies in the summer. They twinkled from dusk until I suppose long after I fell asleep." Her voice was soft, dreamy, remembering days long past. A time when things were simpler and hope and happiness was a given.

"I remember chasing after them and catching one in my hand, peeking through the cracks in my fingers to watch it light up and then letting it fly away into the night."

He smiled softly as he watched what he was sure were her unconscious movements as she reenacted her motions as a small child.

"I miss fireflies," she whispered.

Simon felt her head rest gently against his shoulder, an exhausted sigh escaping her lips. There was no telling how long it had been she had slept. He couldn't remember when he had. They seemed to run on adrenaline, bad coffee and exhaustion. Food was a luxury, sleep even more so. Even when they had a few minutes to sleep, they were too wound up.

Rebecca brushed against the well-worn cotton of his t-shirt, wiping away a runaway tear. She breathed deeply to release her tear-choked throat, determined not to cry in front Simon. She was just so damn tired, sure she had never been so tired before.

Simon wouldn't have moved if a bomb dropped right in front of him. Maybe she would forget it was his shoulder she was leaning against…the 'selfish, arrogant neurosurgeon with the great ass' as she thought of him. He sure as hell didn't want her to move, to leave. He stayed silent, unmoving, matching his breathing to hers, until she fell asleep.

Simon looked down on her sleeping form, her hair sweeping along her shoulders and onto his shirt. She would wake up and hate that she had shown any vulnerability around him, likely avoid him completely. And their strange little dance would begin. Again.

He leaned over, his lips barely touching her head as he whispered into her clean soft hair, "I would give you fireflies, Rebecca." He hoped for just a few more moments of peace before she woke and ran from him, or until the infernal beepers tore through silence.

Days later, Simon knocked on the door to Rebecca's bunk. He knew she wasn't there but Pedersen was.

Leaning against the doorframe, blocking the entrance, or even a peek into the quarters, Pedersen greeted Simon.

"Yes?" Her eye brows arched.

"Can you give this to our lovely Rebecca?" The Lothario persona was in play, the man everyone expected, the man he was most comfortable playing, the man it was easy to hide behind.

Pedersen took the object from him, trying to figure out what it was.


"She'll understand."

Pedersen looked skeptical but agreed anyway. "I'll let her know you dropped by."

Simon just shrugged his shoulders carelessly as he turned to walk away.

It was almost midnight when Rebecca fell into bed only to find a new addition to her nightstand: a handmade small, light-weight paper and wood lamp with a small nightlight inside. The paper had tiny flying bugs carved from it. Her fingers slid along the cool plastic cord until she reached the knobby switch and flicked it on. Immediately, soft flickers of light surrounded her.

She slept that night, while summer fireflies guarded her dreams of times when things were simpler and hope and happiness was a given.


A/N: Characters of Combat Hospital are owned by the creators of the show. I just took them out to play because I wanted to see a little more Simon and Rebecca angst. The ficlet idea is mine. CavalierQueen.