Author's Note: First, a big thank you to all of the reviewers. I know I don't update often, but I really appreciate knowing what you all think, so please, continue reviewing. I am sorry that this took so long. Almost two weeks ago, I had finished this chapter, but my computer crashed before I could save it. Stupid mistake. Sorry again. Enjoy the chapter, though it is a bit short.
The doors to hospital flew open. Everyone inside, doctor and patient alike, turned to gawk at the men spilling in, all calling for a "Chris". They were dressed like American soldiers and did not appear to be wounded, but they were looking around the hospital frantically. Fortunately, Sarah had been near the door and moved in front of the group to prevent them from entering the hospital further. She had a feeling that she knew who they were and what havoc they might wreck searching for Chris. "How may I help you boys?" she asked, arms folded across her chest.
Tab, who happened to be closest to her answered. "We're looking for someone. Our nurse . . . Her name is Chris and she is-"
"I know who she and if you all are looking for her, then you men must be from Easy Company." Sarah smiled at the look of shock on Tab's face when he finally turned to look at her. 'He is kind of handsome,' she thought to herself.
"How'd you know?" he asked before quickly resuming his scan of the hospital. Even though none of the men were able to move past Sarah, they were still looking for their nurse. Admittedly, there weren't too many places she could be, so if they hadn't spotted her yet, then probably she wasn't there.
Sarah continued smiling as she replied. "She wouldn't stop talking about you boys. Chris told me so much that I was able to recognize you on sight. I'm sorry, but you just missed her. She left here maybe ten minutes ago."
Now everyone turned to look at Sarah. "Left? What do you mean left? She was supposed to be here recovering and then waiting for us to come get her!"
Tab, finally looking at the woman whom he had been talking to, realized she was quite pretty. It was only recently that the men had the chance to be around women, all at the bars right off of base, but there were a lot more men than women around. Maybe he would come back later, after finding their wayward nurse, and ask her to go out drinking with him later. Judging by the way she was looking at him, he had a strong feeling that she wouldn't turn him down.
Too many people were talking for Sarah to actually understand what they were saying but she got the general idea. "Sorry boys, but she must have missed the memo and decided to find her own way home. Now will you kindly leave us the hell alone? You are disturbing the patients and preventing me from working."
The men did leave, but it was only because Chris wasn't there. They most definitely did not leave because they were ordered to by some nurse that they didn't even know. The only nurse they took orders from was their nurse, Chris, who happened to be MIA.
"Where the fuck do we go now?" Christenson asked out loud. Now they had no idea where Chris would be if she wasn't in the hospital.
It was decided that they would head back to the barracks and wait for Chris to come to them. There wasn't anything else to do unless they wanted to wander around, looking for her.
"Why the hell didn't we see her on our way here?" Perconte grumbled. The men had been so excited to see there nurse that the disappointment of not finding her dragged their moods down considerably.
"We could of just missed her," Babe suggested in response. They were so focused on getting to the hospital, it was quite possible they didn't see her.
Perconte snorted. "Are you kidding? There's almost twenty of us. No way did she manage to walk past us without someone noticing her."
Babe managed to keep his natural red-headed temper in check and not snap at his short friend when he replied but he was sorely tempted to. He took a calming breath before saying, "Maybe she took another route. She could have left from the back of the hospital and walked back to the barracks a whole different way than the one we used to get there, making it totally possible for us to not see her."
"Whatever," Perconte muttered.
The men walked in disappointed silence back to the barracks. Just a little ways in front of the barracks, they could make out a single person just standing in the middle of the road. No one thought anything of this strange behavior until they got closer and found that it was Chris. A collective "Chris!" was shouted before the men took off running to their newly returned nurse. But just when they were a few feet from her, they stopped, unsure of how to proceed. It didn't help that Chris stood there and didn't say anything. But by looking at her face, the boys were able to see that she was excited to see them, nervous because she didn't know what they thought of her, fearful that they might reject her and hopeful that they would welcome her back like nothing happened.
Nix, watching from beside a building with Winters, chuckled to himself at the awkwardness of the scene. 'If there isn't any outside intervention, they would be stuck staring at each other all day,' he thought to himself. Being the kind person that he is, he decided to help them out. "Ok, everyone," he called out, moving towards Chris, "if you all get in a single file line, you can each have a turn welcoming our nurse back. One line, please, no pushing, shoving, biting or spitting. Everyone will get a turn." Who says he couldn't have a little fun while doing it?
Surprisingly, the men actually got in a single file line to address their nurse. Luz was in the front of the line and hesitantly put his arms around Chris. "Glad you found your way back, Chris," he told her.
Chris could only nod. She was so overcome with emotion she was afraid if she opened her mouth to reply she would start crying.
Luz grabbed her hand to place it on his cheek. Before she could wonder what he was doing, he said, "See, Chris? We even shaved."
Chris finally did laugh and she rubbed his cheek. Only Luz would remember her stating her preference for clean-shaven men. "I missed you," she finally managed to say.
"Missed you too." He gave her one last squeeze then moved out of the way so that the next person could see her.
The men greeted their nurse, one by one. Gene waited, his impatience showing in his constant fidgeting. He was second to last in line, only in front of Joe. He forced Joe to wait at the back of the line because he had a feeling that Joe wouldn't let Chris go once he got a hold of her, so he wanted to give everyone else a chance to say hello before she was monopolized.
After much waiting, after agonizing minutes of watching other men hug Chris, it was finally Joe's turn. Disregarding the past few minutes and instead remembering Chris' reaction to him the last time he had seen her, he went up to her and stopped about a foot away from her. "Hey, Chris."
"Hello, Joe." The greeting was oddly reminiscent of when she saw him after meeting the rest of Easy Company, back in Bastogne. "I-" she started to get choked up. "I really missed you, Joe. I'm sorry I was gone so long. I just-"
Joe couldn't stand it any longer. He roughly pulled her to him. "It's ok. You're back. That's all the matters. I won't ever let anything happen to you. I swear it," he whispered harshly.
Their cheeks were pressed together, which is the only way that Joe had known she had started crying. He gently pulled back enough to bring a thumb to her face to wipe away the tears running down her face. "Hey, now. Knock it off," he ordered, smiling gently. "You know that I, that we, can't stand it when you cry."
She smiled as she rubbed her eyes, tears now gone. Joe released her, but kept one arm slung around her shoulder as they walked over to where the rest of the men were waiting. With Chris, and Joe by default, roughly in the center of the group, they started to head back to the barracks, happy that their family was as complete as it could be without their fallen brothers.
Winters was walking a ways behind the men when he heard Nix softly exclaim, "Oh shit."
He looked over at his alarmed companion. "What?" he questioned.
"Shit," Winters said in agreement. They had forgotten to tell the temperamental captain of their nurse's return. Now they just needed to go find him before he hears that she is back from someone else and realizes he wasn't immediately informed. He should probably be-Damn it. Right in front of them.
Speirs had been doing some paperwork when he went to ask Major Winters a question. Finding his office empty, Speirs decided to see if he was talking to Nix. Upon finding Nix's also empty office, he decided to ask the men if they had seen either one of the other officers. He was heading over to the barracks when he saw some of the men walking in a large group. As he made his way to them, he noticed long, dark blonde hair and froze in shock. Chris was back.
As if she noticed him now staring at her, Chris turned and found herself looking at a shocked (well, as shocked as Speirs could look) Speirs. "Ron?" Chris ducked out from under Joe's arm to quickly walk over to the last person she needed to say hello to.
When she got closer, Speirs stood up straight and put on a mask of indifference. "Nurse. It's good to see you."
"It's good to be back, sir," she said, grinning. Chris wasn't at all put off by his lack of enthusiasm and hugged him. Speirs was torn. He wanted nothing more than to let her know he was glad that she was back. But he didn't want any of his men to see him go soft.
There wasn't really any need to make a decision. Chris, knowing that while he might have difficulty saying something sentimental, knew how he felt. "I missed you too, Ron," she mumbled into his chest.
Speirs immediately softened and hugged her tightly, and smiled. The men watching wanted to start laughing at the big, bad, scary-no-terrifying officer hugging their sweet little nurse. But they could only smile because laughter would mean imminent death if said officer heard them.
Speirs allowed himself a moment of happiness before he pulled away, glared at the men, whom he rightly guessed her laughing at him, and walked off. Only twenty paces later did he remember the reason he was out in the first place. He paused, then decided to continue going back to his office. His question could wait a few minutes.
Joe was not happy while this touching reunion was going on. When Chris slid his arm off her shoulder, his first instinct was to put it back. When she walked away, he wanted to stop her and never let her leave him. And when she hugged Speirs, he was the tiniest bit jealous. But he couldn't have been more happy when she walked back and went straight to his side, right where she belonged.