By Winnie

The Firm AU (Prior to the Team's Creation)

Rated R / Word Count 9794

ESCAPE FROM BEIRUT image created by Pywacket




Comments------This story is dedicated to Marti, my friend and beta because she is celebrating her birthday. I hope you enjoy this, Marti, because you deserve it. I would also like to dedicate it to Nin…our Digger, who we miss very much and hope and pray she will come back to us. Thanks to Antoinette for the wonderful Beta and Pamela for the pic to go with this fic.
















Buck Wilmington hated this job and was not a happy camper as he made his way threw the damaged streets of Beirut. He knew he was going to be late for the scheduled pick up, but there was no way in hell he was leaving without Chris Larabee. The blond had been on point and Buck had seen him go down hard. He’d been unable to catch the bastards before they’d grabbed the injured man and dragged him into a building that looked like it would fall down in a strong breeze.


Buck ducked behind an abandoned vehicle and took a few minutes to catch his breath before chancing a look over the trunk of the car. He could hear shouting from inside the structure, and shuddered when he heard what sounded like an ungodly scream. There was no doubt who the scream had come from, and Buck knew he needed to get inside the building.


Wilmington checked both sides of the building before crouching down and scurrying across an open expanse of scattered debris and macadam. He thought he heard a child’s cry, but could not take the time to check as he thought about the man who’d come to mean more than just a friend. Chris Larabee was the brother he’d never had and Buck was damned sure not going to lose him now.


Buck made it to the side of the building and flattened himself against the heated surface as an explosion sounded from the next street. The smell of the fires sickened him, but he could not stop to help these people, not when it would mean certain death for him and for Chris Larabee.


Wilmington kept his body pressed against the wall and moved toward a window that had been broken during one of the man skirmishes this city had seen. Buck chanced a glance inside, but saw nothing except broken furniture and other pieces of debris scattered across the floor.


Buck checked his weapon and made sure it had a full clip. He checked his pack and found several pieces of C4, not much, but it was like finding a treasure. Wilmington smiled at the thought of the damage he could do if given the chance to set things in motion. He grabbed the edge of the window and eased himself over the shards of broken glass. There were muffled sounds coming from another room and hr grimaced when he heard a cry of pain.


“Hold on, Stud, I’m coming,” he whispered before silently making his way toward the closed door.






Chris Larabee silently cursed himself for making such a stupid mistake, but he did not allow himself time for self pity. The wound in his right side burned as his brain suddenly realized what the rest of him already knew. He’d been shot and had no idea whether the bullet had gone through or not. Chris knew Buck was out there somewhere and probably already trying to find a way to help him escape.


The bastards that caught him had dragged him into the abandoned building and tied him to a chair. He stared at one of the two men and wondered whether they were actually part of the faction they’d been searching for or renegades out to make a name for themselves.


“I asked you a question, American Bastard!”


“You did….damn, guess I didn’t hear you!” Chris spat.


“Are you trying to be funny?”


“Believe me there’s nothing funny about this,” Larabee managed as the man grabbed his chin and forced his head up.


“Where is your friend?”


“I don’t ha…have any fri…friends,” the blond snarled through clenched teeth.


“Not here,” the man spat and drove his fist into the captive’s abdomen. “Where is the bastard who entered my country with you?”


“Probably getting a tan on some fucking beach!”


“He is a coward…”


“No…just smart…can’t stand the fucking stink in this room! You should invest in a bottle of soap and deodorant!” Larabee said with disgust.


“What were you doing here, American?”


“Taking a stroll…looking at the sites. You know there are a lot of fixer uppers here…could pick them up for a dime,” the blond said with a grin. His head was rocked back with the force of the blow from his captor’s fist.


“You really should learn to keep your mouth shut…”


“Hard to answer questions if I did, Stupid…”






‘Jesus, Chris, stop being a smart ass,’ Wilmington thought, but smiled in spite of his anger. He knew what he was about to do was stupid, but he needed to get Larabee out of there before the bastards killed him. He checked the device he had strapped to his chest and knew it was a foolhardy gesture, but something told him he was not dealing with hardcore Shaheed fanatics. If he was lucky he could kill them without having to resort to the bomb, but if there were too many he’d still have the upper hand…at least he hoped so.


Taking a deep breath and whispering a silent prayer, Buck reached for the door and shoved it open with a crash. In his right hand was the gun while the left held the detonation device that would hopefully look real enough. His mind registered the presence of three men and he fired at the one standing in front of Larabee, killing him instantly. Wilmington turned and fired at the man reaching for his weapon, ducking when a bullet whizzed by his head.


Buck could see the third man reaching an AK47 on a broken table, and fired off three successive shots, all of them hitting the man’s chest and tearing through his body. He checked the second man, and shot him one final time before moving to the chair where his friend sat.


“Jesus, Stud, if this is your idea of a first date…”


“You’re not my fucking type,” Larabee managed, gritting his teeth as Wilmington cut through the wire wrapped around his wrists and ankles.


“That’s not what I heard from the boys in your unit,” Buck said with a grin before looking around.


“Is that thing live?” the blond asked of the explosives strapped to the lean chest.


“It should be, but I kind of jury-rigged it in a hurry,” Wilmington answered and removed the wiring before reaching to help his friend to his feet. “You’re a mess…”


“No shit…could have gotten here a few minutes earlier,” Larabee managed as they staggered toward the back entrance.


“I could have left your sorry ass here,” Buck offered.


“No…that’s okay…let’s get the fuck out of Dodge.”


“Sorry, Pard, but this ain’t Dodge and there’s no OK Corral around either,” Wilmington quipped.


“You know you were supposed to…”


“Yeah, yeah…but you know I wouldn’t leave without you any more than you’d leave without me, now shut up and let’s get moving,” the rogue said.


“Thought we already were moving,” Larabee said. He tried to ignore the mounting pain and nausea as they stepped out of the building into the dwindling light of late evening. “Any idea how we get to the rendezvous?”


“Considering we’re already late?”


“Sorry…guess I zigged when I should have zagged,” Larabee managed as he leaned heavily against his friend.


“Maybe, but right now I’d say our best bet is to head for the beach. Maybe we can catch a ride on one of the fishing boats,” Wilmington offered. “Be quiet, Chris, someone’s coming.”


“You should leave me…”


“Not a chance.” Buck eased his burden to the ground and chanced a glance around the corner of the building. There were several children playing in the dangerous rubble left by heavy artillery, and he silently cursed Shaheed and the other terrorists who put kids in danger.


“What’s going on, Buck?” Larabee asked softly.


“Got a bunch of kids playing out there. Damn it why the fuck don’t their parents keep them home…”


“Parents are probably dead,” the blond observed.


“Yeah…they probably are,” Wilmington agreed and was somewhat relieved when the children left the area. He checked the rubble strewn courtyard, and spotted several men at the opposite end of one of the buildings. He moved back to his friend and placed a hand on his shoulder before speaking softly. “There’s at least six guys searching through the next building…we need to get moving before they decide to check here. Think you can move?”


“No, but I will anyway,” Larabee said, gritting his teeth before Wilmington pulled him to his feet. “Dunne’s going to be pissed.”


“When isn’t he?” Wilmington asked and began moving them along the wall toward the next street.


“Think he chewed both our asses out the last time we didn’t make pick up,” the blond managed.


“I know…I thought we’d both need tetanus shots after he was done…”


“Real funny, Buck…”


“Hey, no pun intended,” Wilmington said, taking most of Larabee’s weight across his shoulders. “Jesus, you put on a few pounds…”


“Muscle weight,” Larabee told him, gritting his teeth as he tried to ride out the wave of pain that slammed into him.


“Good…use some of that muscle right now and we might just make that rendezvous.”


“We missed it half an hour ago,” the blond grumbled.


“The primary one, but we both know Captain Dunne and there’s no way in hell he’d leave us behind especially knowing you’re the one with the key to finding the weapons cache. Jesus, you’re slower than…”


“Quit bitching and keep moving…you’d think you were the one with the hole in your side.”


“No, I’m the smart one who kept myself in one piece,” Wilmington teased as they continued to make their way through the darkening landscape.


“What time…is it?”


“Don’t know…lost my watch back there somewhere,” Buck answered.


“Then how the hell will we know when to meet Dunne…let alone where,” the blond spat.


“I figure we make it to the same damn point as the first one and go from there…Jesus you’re bleeding like a stuck pig…”


“Oink…oink,” Larabee whispered, fighting the darkness that seemed to be closing in on him.


“Jesus, getting shot turns you into a real comedian…”


“Yeah, well, I’m keeping my options open…maybe get me an act on…”


“You’d have the audience shit-baked with that glare,” Wilmington said and motioned for his friend to be quiet as he eased him to the ground. He made sure the blond understood they were no longer alone before moving to the edge of the building and checking the darkened alley between the buildings.


Buck spotted four men doing a sweep of the alley and knew they were probably searching for him and Chris. He watched them for several minutes, relieved when they seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. Wilmington understood they could just as easily change their search parameters.


“They gone?” Larabee asked tiredly.


“For now,” Wilmington answered and helped Larabee to his feet. “We need to get moving.”


“You’d move a lot faster without hauling my ass around.”


“Yeah…like your ass really weighs that much…”


“Thought you said I put on weight?”


“I did, but it sure as hell wasn’t on your scrawny ass.”


“I’ll have you know the ladies love my ass.”


“I know some guys that’d pay a few Bucks for it too, Stud,” the rogue said, worried about the amount of blood Larabee had lost and was still losing. He needed to find a place to hole up and check the man’s injury, but they needed to put some distance between themselves and the terrorists.






Daniel Dunne knew there was no point in arguing with the sub’s captain. The man was right in putting the boat and crew first, but there were two good men stranded in Beirut. He’d made the decision to send two of his best SEALs instead of a full unit because they would be less conspicuous. That decision just might have cost him the best recruits he’d seen in years.


“Look, Daniel, your guys could still be alive and we’ll go back as soon as those bastards leave the area.” Captain John Richter assured him.


“That could be too late,” Dunne said.


“You told me Wilmington and Larabee were the best SEALs you’ve seen since you took over the training exercises.”


“They are, but I sent them into hell without backup, John.”


“You’ve been in that situation yourself, Daniel, we both have. Sometimes we don’t have a choice…the mission always comes first. SEALs do the deed.”


“Do the deed just don’t cut it anymore,” Dunne told him.


“You’re getting soft.”


“No, I’ve just learned not to take good men for granted. What do you think my superiors would say if they knew Buck and Chris didn’t make the rendezvous?”


“Probably be pissed that they didn’t get the information they were hoping for.”


“My point exactly. They don’t give a damn about the men who give their lives for it,” Dunne said and slammed his fist on the desk.


“Easy, Daniel, don’t go giving up on them yet,” Richter advised.


“I’m not…it just pisses me off when they sign off on a man’s life just so they can gather INTEL that’s probably outdated before we get it,” the SEAL Captain spat.


“It’s the way of life we chose, Daniel, come on and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee,” Richter offered.


“Thanks…throw in a sandwich and you’re on.”


“I’ll see what Cookie can come up with,” Richter said and followed the other man out of his office.






Chris had no idea how far they’d walked or where they were anymore. The pain had reached a crescendo long ago and still he managed to get one foot in front of the other. Buck had called a halt twice now, once to tear off a piece of his shirt and wrap it around Chris’ abdomen and another just to take a breather.


“Chris, you still with me?”


“Think so…unless there’s a better party some….somewhere,” Larabee managed.


“Sorry, Pard, but it’s just you and me. Your dance steps leave a lot to be desired,” Wilmington teased. God help him, but he was exhausted, yet there was no way in hell he would stop until they reached the safety of the beach. All he could do was make sure Larabee remained conscious in spite of the relief sleep would bring him.


“Would you rather I sing?”


“No…God, no….anything b…but that…”


“What the hell’s wrong w….with my sing…singing?”


“Let’s just say horny tomcats run when they hear you,” Wilmington teased as they reached the corner of another building. He eased the injured blond to the ground and looked into his eyes before speaking softly. “Chris, I need to make sure no one’s out there. You stay put and I’ll come back for you.”


“Ain’t going no…nowhere,” Larabee vowed and closed his eyes.


Buck stood up and looked around. The streets and alleys were dark except where a few fires still burned and he chanced a glance at Larabee before moving along the side of the dilapidated structure. He listened for any sound, and heard a child crying nearby, but hardened his resolve to ignore everything except getting his injured friend to safety.


Buck bent at the waist and moved toward a pile of rubble at the end of the next alley and caught the scent of the ocean mingled with the acrid odor of smoke. He felt a pang of relief, and turned to go back the way he’d come, but found himself face to face with a man holding a rifle pointed at his chest. “Shit!”


Wilmington heard the man say something, but he didn’t understand the words. He took a deep breath before speaking softly and hoped the man was not a part of Shaheed’s terrorist cell.


“Do you speak English?” The man’s blank stare told him he didn’t understand a word he was saying and Buck wished he’d listened closer to the crash course they’d been given in the languages.




Buck saw a young boy who looked to be ten or eleven standing behind the older man and speaking quickly. What made him angry was that the kid was holding a rifle like the one clutched in his father’s hands. Buck heard the words, but could not understand what was being said as the boy moved closer to him.




“Yes, I am American,” Wilmington said.


“We do not agree with what is being done to our country…you will h…help us?” the boy asked in broken English.


“I wish I could, Kid, but I can barely help myself right now. My friend is hurt and we need to get to the beach,” Wilmington told him.


“Beach not safe…men with guns looking for someone…looking for you, yes?”


“Probably,” Wilmington answered and heard the boy speaking rapidly with his father. He glanced toward the edge of the building and shook his head when Larabee moved into the open.


“Papa said you can stay at our home until it is safe,” the boy offered and frowned when he turned to see the man staggering toward them. He lifted his gun, but Buck placed his hand on it and forced it downward.


“He’s with me,” Wilmington told them and hurried to Larabee. “Didn’t I tell you to stay put?”


“Thought you might n…need help,” Larabee stammered.


“Oh, and just what kind of help would you be able to give me, Stud? A soft breeze would knock you on your ass,” Buck said and caught his friend when his legs gave out.


“Your friend is hurt?” the boy asked.


“Yeah…he took a bullet,” Wilmington said and saw the boy frown. “He was shot.”


“Oh, papa says to follow us,” the boy said. “Mama is a nurse…she was a nurse before the soldiers came.”


“Thanks, Kid, lead the way,” the rogue said and lifted Larabee in a fireman’s carry.


“You strong?” the boy said.


“No…he just don’t weigh much,” Wilmington said as gunfire erupted from the beach.


“We go now!” the boy said when his father pointed toward the next street.


“You speak English very well,” Buck said when they stopped to wait for several soldiers to leave the area.


“My mama teach me…she learned in a school in your country,” the boy answered.


“Your mama lived in America?” Wilmington asked softly.


“For two years, but she came back and married papa. He says it is safe to move.” 


Buck followed the boy and his father through the streets and past several small dwelling before the older man pushed open a door and motioned for him to step inside. The interior was dark and smelled of stale smoke and Buck wondered how safe they would be here. A soft moan from Larabee told him he would have to trust these people or take to the unknown streets again.


“We are safe here,” the boy said and reached for a candle.


Buck blinked several times until his eyes adjusted to the light and glanced around the single room. Scattered remnants of furniture were spread across the floor, while boards had been put up to the windows. A large rat scurried across the floor and disappeared through a hole in one corner of the room. There were broken dishes and torn curtains lying around, and Buck had the feeling no one had lived in this room for months.


“Kid, where are we?” Wilmington asked as Larabee stirred and grumbled about being carried like a sack of potatoes. Buck lowered his friend to the floor and kept one arm around his waist as the blond fought to stay upright.


“Sh, we live in a hidden room…mama is expecting us,” the boy offered as the older man removed several pieces of debris that had been placed against what looked like a wall, but revealed an opening they would have to crawl through.


“Chris, think you can get through there?”


“Think so…where….where the hell are we?”


“Beirut…Dunne sent us here…”


“Remind me to tell him I hate this fucking idea,” Larabee grumbled and allowed his friend to lower him to the floor. He followed the young boy and crawled through the opening into a smaller room lit only by the candle the kid held.


“Keep moving, Stud, I’d rather not spend the rest of the night staring at your ass,” Wilmington said, relieved when they finally reached safety and the boy helped his father conceal the hole with debris.


“This way,” the kid said and led them to a set of stairs that led below ground.


“Chris, lean on me,” the Wilmington ordered and steadied the blond when they reached the top of the stairs. Buck leaned against the wall as he helped Larabee down the stairs, carefully avoiding the debris at the top. Once they reached the bottom he saw the boy motioning for them to follow him.


“Buck, don’t…don’t think I…you sh…should go,” the blond mumbled unintelligibly once they reached another door.


“Easy, Pard, there’s a lady in here somewhere and she’s going to fix you right up,” Wilmington said and hoped the woman really was a nurse.


“Aviv, your papa said you found two Americans.”


“Yes, Mama, the soldiers are searching for them,” Aviv answered as Wilmington stepped through the doorway.


Buck was surprised at the difference between the outer area and this room. It seemed impossible for the place to be so clean after the debris scattered throughout the upper level. There were four beds against one wall, a table and chairs set with mismatched dishes beside a small stove with piping that seemed to lead up and out through the roof. A pot was set on top of the stove and bubbled with something that smelled delicious to Buck.


“Your friend is hurt,” the woman said.


“Yes, Ma’am, he was shot…”


“Put him on the bed over there and I will take a look at him,” the woman ordered.


“Come on, Chris, just a couple of more steps,” Wilmington advised and heard the woman speaking to her husband before the man hurried out. 


“I am Hadasa, wife of Yinon…”


“Your son tells me you are a nurse?” Wilmington asked as helped Larabee sit on the edge of the bed.


“Yes, I am…or I was before the soldiers came,” Hadasa answered.


“My name’s Buck Wilmington and my friend is Chris Larabee. We’re here…”


“It does not matter why you are here…we will help you. Get his shirt off,” she ordered.


“Yes, Ma’am,” the rogue said and eased Larabee’s arms from his shirt before pulling it over his shoulders. He ignored the gasp of pain as he gently laid the blond back on the bed. 




“I’m right here, Pard.”


“Don’t want to…to en…danger these people,” Larabee said.


“It is our choice to help you, Chris. Aviv and Yinon brought you here and we will not turn you out,” Hadasa said and placed a basin of water on the floor next to the bed.  She reached out to remove the bandage and smiled when a dirt covered hand was placed on hers.


“Thank…thank you,” the blond managed and held his breath when she tried to pry the sullied cloth from the wound.


“Buck, would you hold him still?”


“I got him,” Wilmington said.


“Did the bullet go through?”


“Yes, Ma’am,” the rogue answered as Aviv brought over a supply of bandages and a bottle he hoped contained some kind of disinfectant.


“I am going to soak the cloth, Chris, it will make it easier for you,” Hadasa explained.


“O…okay,” Larabee moaned softly as the woman began soaking the material and easing it away from his side.


“Buck, Could you turn him on his left side so that I can see better what we are dealing with?”


Wilmington nodded and did as she asked, feeling Larabee grasp his right arm in a death grip. “Easy, Pard, I got you.”


“God, Buck…”


“I know…”


“Chris, I need to clean the wound. I am sorry…”


“Not your…your fault,” Larabee groaned and held tightly to his friend as the woman began cleaning his side.


“It appears he was beaten,” Hadasa observed.


“Yes, Ma’am, he was,” Wilmington told her. “Bastards did a good job on him…sorry.”


“Don’t be…they are what they are,” Hadasa continued to work on the injured man, cleaning away the dirt and dried blood from both the entrance and exit wounds. She felt the lean body tense up and wished she had something she could give him for pain, but there was nothing like that in her supplies.




“She’s almost done, Chris, just a few more minutes,” Wilmington said. He watched as the woman cleaned the wounds before she reached for the bandages her son brought to her.


“Lift him forward, Buck,” Hadasa ordered and had her son hold a piece of cloth to both wounds before she wrapped the strips of cloth around the injured man’s abdomen. “You can lie him back down.”


“Thank you,” Wilmington said, relieved that the injured blond had finally given into the exhaustion that plagued them both.


“You are hungry?” Aviv asked and placed a bowl of savory stew in Buck’s hand.


“Smells good,” the weary man told him and sipped at the broth.


“There is plenty,” Hadasa told him when the boy moved back to the stove.


“Won’t the soldiers see the smoke from the chimney?”


“No, Yinon was an engineer and he has fixed it so that the smoke does not show outside. He can explain it better than I can, but it has kept us safe now for many months,” Hadasa explained.


“Why don’t you leave this place?” Wilmington asked.


“We try…many times, but the soldiers find us and we have no choice, but to return to this,” the woman said in disgust.


“Maybe…maybe I can help,” Wilmington told her. “I need to get a message to my people and let them know that we’re alive and need a new meeting place.”


“I have no way of contacting your friends,” Hadasa explained.


“I know that, Ma’am, but if I can get to the beach I might be able to contact my people and maybe arrange a way to get us all out of here,” Buck explained.


“You would take us with you…to America?” Aviv asked softly.


“I’ll try, Kid,” Wilmington said as Hadasa covered the injured blond with a thin blanket. Her hands were scarred as if she’d been burned and Buck wondered what atrocities had befallen this family. It seemed they had a combined strength that surpassed anything he’d ever seen before and he knew he would do anything in his power to help them escape a life of poverty.


“Yinon will be back soon…he has gone to check the beach,” Hadasa said and touched the injured man’s forehead. “He has a fever…it is not too bad now, but it will get worse. He needs a hospital and antibiotics and something to ease his pain. He could also have broken ribs and internal injuries, but there is nothing more I can do for him.”


“You’ve done plenty, Ma’am, he’s sleeping now and that’s just what he needs,” Wilmington said and finished the stew. “I need…”


“You need to lie down and rest. Yinon will return when the beach is safe,” Hadasa explained.


“I can’t…”


“I will watch over your friend,” Hadasa said and led him to the next bed. “You sleep until my husband returns.”


“Guess I could close my eyes for a few minutes,” Wilmington said and closed his eyes, but not before taking another look at Larabee. His friend’s face was covered in sweat and spoke of the fever as Hadasa placed a cloth across the pale forehead. ‘Rest easy, Chris, I’ll get you home,’ he silently vowed.






God, it felt like he was burning up, and the fire originated in his side as he shifted on the unfamiliar bed. A soft moan escaped and he forced heavy lids to open as a soft female voice spoke next to him.


“You are safe, Chris, I am Hadasa.”


“Hadasa…you…you shouldn’t be help…helping me,” Larabee whispered and tried to sit up, but a hand on his chest forced him to rethink that move. He turned to the left and frowned when he saw the man lying there. “Buck…”


“He is all right, but he was exhausted and needed to sleep. I told him I would watch over you,” Hadasa explained.


“He’s not hu…hurt?”


“No, but you are and you should be sleeping,” Hadasa mock scolded.


“Can’t se…seem to get com…fortable,” the blond managed


“I know, but there is nothing I have that will ease the pain…”


“You have done more than you needed t…too…and I thank you,” Larabee said as she lifted his head and helped him drink some tepid water. “Thanks…”


“You are welcome,” Hadasa said as Aviv joined them.


“Thanks, Kid,” the blond said.


“You are welcome,” Aviv repeated his mother’s words, and turned as a sound came from outside the door. “Someone comes.”


“Do you have…”


“Be still, Chris!” Hadasa warned as her son moved to the door. She held her breath, just as she’d done on countless occasions over the last few months until Aviv opened the door and Yinon stepped inside.


Chris listened as the trio spoke in their own language and turned to find Buck watching them too. “You look like hell, Buck.”


“Now you know that just ain’t possible, Chris,” Wilmington returned with the usual roguish smile. “Now you look like something the cat dragged in.”


“We need to go before someone finds us here,” Larabee said.


“Buck, Papa says the soldiers have left the beach,” Aviv told them.


Buck and Hadasa moved at the same time and caught Larabee before he was able to get off the bed. “Easy there, Chris,” Wilmington said as Larabee’s face went two shades paler than he thought possible.


“We need to g…go,” the blond stammered, crying out when he tried to escape the hands holding him down.


“We will, Chris, but you need to stay here with Hadasa and her family until I get us some help,” Wilmington ordered.


“We go together…”


“Not this time, Pard, you got two holes in you…back and front…there’s no way you’re going anywhere yet,” the worried rogue told him. “You just rest easy ‘til I get back for you.”




“I’m not arguing with you, Chris,” Wilmington said and lifted his right arm. “Right now I’m stronger than you so don’t make me resort to a right cross again.”


“You w…would too!”


“Hell yes…hard fist for a hard head. Now rest easy until I get back,” Wilmington advised.


“Papa said he has a friend at the beach with a boat,” Aviv explained and listened to his father once more. “He has a radio that can contact your friends, but he will not use it until we are out past the break water.”


“You hear that, Chris, you just rest…”


“No, Papa says we need to leave now. All of us…or his friend will leave. He is leaving before the sun rises and will not be returning. He said he has family who will allow him to stay with them until he finds a new job in another country,” Aviv told them.


“Chris is in no shape…”


“I can move, Buck,” Larabee insisted.


“It could be your only chance at escaping,” Hadasa offered. 


“You can come with us,” Wilmington said.


“What about our things?” Aviv asked.


“They can be replaced, Aviv…you and your father cannot,” Hadasa explained. “We are ready to leave.”


“Buck, help me up!” Larabee ordered.


“Not yet,” Wilmington snapped. “Aviv, ask your papa if he can help me with Chris…”


“I can walk…”


“Like hell you can! Look, right now you need help, Chris, so you’re out of the equation until further notice...”


“Like hell I a…am,” Larabee moaned as Hadasa touched the wound in his side.


“Your friend is correct, Chris, and you must do as he says,” the woman warned.


“Hell…can’t fight all of you…”


“I don’t think you’d be able to take either one of us,” Wilmington said with an easy smile.


“Don’t push it, Buck!”


“Wish I could, Pard, but we don’t have a wheel chair, so it looks like you’re walking or I get to play fireman again.”


“I’ll walk,” Larabee insisted.


“With a whole lot of help,” Wilmington told them and looked at Hadasa. “Does Yinon know how to use that gun?”


“Yes, he has used it before,” Hadasa said and turned sad eyes on her son. “Aviv has also learned how to use his and that is why I want to leave my country and start fresh in America.”


“He’ll be able to trade that gun for a pencil,” Buck told her.


“I will go to a real school…yes?”


“Yes, you will, Kid,” Larabee answered.


“I will go watch the street while papa helps bring you out,” Aviv said and hurried away.


“All right, Chris, I guess we’re really doing this,” Wilmington said and helped the injured man to his feet as Hadasa and Yinon collected a couple of items to bring with them. He nodded when Yinon took Larabee’s left side while he took the right and headed for the escape route. 


Chris took shallow breaths as they began the slow trek up the stairs. Each step he took felt like someone was sticking a knife through his side, but he knew there was no other way. He lost track of time as his vision blurred and knew he was going to be sick as they reached the top.


“I got you, Chris,” Wilmington said and held tight to the trembling blond until there was nothing left, but dry heaves. “You okay…”


“I’m good…sure tasted better going down though,” Larabee managed.


“I bet it did,” the dark haired man agreed and knew this next part could set off another round of vomiting. “Chris, you need to crawl through here.”


“I know…just give me a second o…kay?” the blond gasped.


“Wish I could, but we need to get moving. Come on…suck it up and…”


“Do the fucking deed,” Larabee finished.


“That’s the spirit…I can almost hear Dunne riding your ass,” Wilmington teased as he helped Larabee to the floor. Hadasa and Yinon were already on the other side and would help get Larabee through.


Chris nearly blacked out before silently cursing his own weakness and forcing the darkness aside. He trembled as Hadasa’s hand touched his arm and Yinon helped him stand. He wasn’t sure if he’d managed to thank them, but didn’t really have time to think about it as Buck latched onto him again and they moved toward the door.


“There is no one,” Aviv told them when they joined him at the exit.


“How far to the beach?” Wilmington asked.


“Twenty…maybe thirty minutes…longer with your injured friend,” Aviv answered.


“That doesn’t leave us much time before it gets light so we need to get moving. All right, Pard, here we go,” the rogue ordered and was glad to have Hadasa change places with Yinon so the man could take point with his weapon.






Daniel Dunne silently cursed each second that ticked away on the clock above his head. He knew they could not wait much longer without putting the sub and its crew in danger. That didn’t make the waiting any easier, because it meant two good men were out there, waiting for a rescue that might not come.


Dunne knew Larabee and Wilmington could already be dead or captives of Shaheed’s terrorist cell, but somehow he didn’t think they were. The two men were amongst the youngest SEALs he’d ever trained and they were damned good, hell they were the best bar none. He wasn’t ready to close the door on them yet and would fight to keep Richter from abandoning them until there really was no other choice.


“Daniel, it’ll be daylight soon,” Richter said from behind his friend.


“Just give them a little longer.”


“We’ve given them a lot longer than is safe…we could be putting this sub in danger for two men who are already dead…”


“No, I don’t believe that, John. Larabee and Wilmington are alive …”


“Perhaps, but we can’t risk it all for them…not at the cost of this sub and her crew,” Richter said sadly.


“I’m not asking you too…just give them a little more time. They’ll be there,” Dunne said and heard a heavy sigh from his friend.


“One hour, Daniel, then we leave,” Richter advised.


“That’s all I ask, John,” Dunne told him.


“I just hope it isn’t too much to ask,” Richter said and knew how Dunne felt about his missing men. Hell, he’d do the same damn thing if it were his people missing.






Buck looked at the covered boats moored at the long wharf that jutted out into the sea and didn’t think any of them looked strong enough to hold them all. He felt Chris weakening with each step they took and knew there was really no choice, but to take whatever they were offered. 


“Papa says his friend owns the last one tied to the wharf,” Aviv told them and stepped out onto the rickety boarding that passed as a dock.


“They don’t look very strong,” Wilmington mumbled.


“We d…don’t have mu…much choice.,” Larabee whispered, shocked at how much energy it took just to speak those few words.


“Hurry…the soldiers will be back,” Hadasa warned. She had seem what the soldiers would do to people who thought to escape, and did not want that for her son. She wanted him to have a life of freedom, to taste what it meant to choose how you lived your life.


Wilmington nodded and renewed his efforts to move along the wharf. Yinon had released his hold on Larabee and gone ahead to speak with his friend. Buck could hear them and thought they were arguing over their presence and wished he had something he could offer as payment for their passage.


“My wa…watch,” Larabee stammered as if reading his friend’s mind.


“Chris, your dad gave you that…”


“My dad t…told me mat…terial things can be re…placed,” the blond said.


“Hadasa, tell Yinon he can have this watch in payment for taking us with him,” Wilmington said and took the watch from around Larabee’s wrist. He knew how hard this was for his friend, but if it meant the difference between staying here or escaping Beirut…they would choose the latter. 


Chris could hear the voices, but could not understand what was being said as he leaned heavily on Wilmington. The man had to be exhausted, but he would never admit it until he was sure they were safely onboard the submarine. He felt his legs buckling, but fought to stay on his feet as nausea churned through his gut. God, he felt like crap and hurt all over as if he and Buck had been on a week long binder and he was paying for it for both of them.


“Almost there, Pard,” Wilmington said, cursing when he heard shouts from behind them. “We gotta go now!”


Chris grunted as his friend dragged him toward the boat moored at the end of the dock and cried out when he was lifted over the side and dropped on the deck.


“Get us out of here now!” Wilmington ordered, relieved when Yinon and Aviv untied the lines and the owner of the craft started the engine. Buck looked back along the dock as several more shots were fired, striking the boat and tearing through the wood. “Aviv, get down!”


“I can shoot them!” Aviv told him.


“Not when we’re moving! Just stay down and give me your gun!” the rogue ordered and took the weapon from the boy’s hands.


“Buck, be care…ful,” Larabee managed as Hadasa helped him sit up and lean against one of the seats.


“You know me, Stud, careful is my middle name…”


“Thought your middle name was shit head,” Larabee told him with a weak grin as Wilmington fired at the men who ran along the wharf. Chris closed his eyes and silently prayed no one on the boat would be hit as the engines revved and the boat surged through the heavy waves. His eyes shot open and he looked at Hadasa as she checked his side.


“You are bleeding again…”


“It’ll keep. Where is the ra…dio?” Larabee managed.


“It is near the front,” the woman answered.


“Get me over there…I need to send a message to the ship,” the blond told her.


“You should not move around so much,” Hadasa scolded, but helped him toward the front of the boat where Yinon’s friend was steering them toward open water.


Chris held his breath as she helped him into the seat and heard Wilmington’s sharp expletive from behind him. He didn’t take the time to check on the rogue as he lifted the outdated communication device. He knew the call signs for the sub and prayed they would hear the call.






“Sir, you need to hear this!”


“What is it, Caldwell?” Richter asked of the communication’s officer.


“Sir, I’m picking up chatter…”


“That’s not unusual out here.”


“I know it isn’t, Sir, but this one’s using an old code…”


“What’s it saying?”


“If I’m right, Sir, it could be Captain Dunne’s missing man,” Adam Caldwell answered and passed the headset to his commanding officer.


“Do we have a fix on them?”


“Not yet, Sir,” came the answer.


“Get me a fix on it now!” Richter ordered as Daniel Dunne entered.


“Tell me you have something?” Dunne asked hopefully.


“We’re picking up a signal…pretty sure it’s one of your men since they’re using our call sign,” Richter answered.


“Have you got a fix on their position?” Dunne asked.


“I’ve got them, Sir,” Donaldson said. “Here’s the coordinates.”


“Thank God,” Dunne whispered.


“Sir, they’re taking enemy fire,” Caldwell said and knew they’d have to move fast if they were to save the men.






“Chris, tell me you got through?” Wilmington shouted and sat on the deck as shots continued behind them, but he knew they were out of range for now.


“I don’t know…this things s…so damn o…old…”


“Chris, I need to see to your wound,” Hadasa said worriedly.


“It’ll keep,” Larabee repeated his earlier words as their benefactor headed the boat toward open water.


“Chris, let her take a look…nothing more we can do now but wait,” Wilmington said.


Chris eased himself out of the chair and sat down next to his friend as Hadasa lifted his shirt and checked the bandage covering his wound. He knew the material was soaked through with his blood, but there was nothing they could do about that for the moment. He smiled thinly at the look on her face and wished he could ease her worries, but like every nurse he’d ever met, it was written in the lines of her face.


“There is nothing I can do until your people find us,” Hadasa said as Yinon moved to stand beside his friend near the steering wheel.


“You’ve done more than you know,” Larabee said weakly and allowed his eyes to close. He had no idea how long he sat there listening to the sound of the boat moving through the water. He shifted slightly, his breath catching in his throat when it felt like a dagger had been thrust through his side.


“Chris…help’ll be here in a minute,” Wilmington said and watched as Larabee forced his eyes open. Buck smiled and pointed to something in the distance. “Isn’t that a beautiful sight?”




“Looks like it,” Wilmington answered.


“How long?” Larabee asked.


“We’ve been out here about thirty minutes. The sub just broke the water a few minutes ago. Looks like Dunne didn’t want to lose his best operatives,” the rogue said. “Won’t be long now and you’ll be getting the good stuff…”


“Hate that shit…makes my head spin,” Larabee said as the sub lowered a craft into the water. He watched as it quickly tore through the waves and settled next to the boat.


“Captain Dunne sends his regrets for taking so long,” Barry Atwater said as Wilmington shook the man’s hand.


“We’re damned glad you’re here,” Buck assured him. “These people need our help…they can’t go back to Beirut.”


“It’s highly unusual, but not my call to make. Let’s just get you all back to the boat,” Atwater ordered.


“Hadasa, it’s time to go,” Wilmington said as he helped Larabee stand and moved him toward the motorized craft.


“Come, Aviv, we must hurry,” Hadasa said and watched as her husband bid his friend goodbye before moving to the other boat. She quickly joined them and helped ease Larabee onto the floor of the craft so that he was leaning against Wilmington’s chest.


“How bad?” Atwater asked.


“He took a bullet in the side…it went through. Hadasa did what she could with what we had, but he’s going to need the ship’s doc,” Wilmington said, feeling the heat from his friend as the water sprayed across them.


“Doc’ll take good care of him,” Atwater said as they reached the sub and a stokes was lowered toward them. “Let’s get him onboard.”


“Come on, Ol’ Son, won’t be long now,” Wilmington said and reluctantly released his hold on Chris Larabee.






Daniel Dunne watched from the sub as the stokes was lifted onto the deck. He could see a very pale Chris Larabee just before Doctor Charles Abrams moved to help carry the injured man below decks. He couldn’t help, but smile as Wilmington came aboard and shook the man’s hand.


“Thanks for coming back for us, Captain,” Wilmington said tiredly.


“It wouldn’t do to leave a country at the mercy of you two,” Dunne said with a soft chuckle.


“Chris got the information we came for, Sir,” the weary rogue explained as the others were helped into the sub.


“We’ll worry about that after Doc checks him over. You look like you could use some downtime too,” Dunne offered.


“Just a little tired, Sir,” Wilmington said and nodded to the trio who were being escorted below deck. “They saved our lives, Captain…we couldn’t leave them there with Shaheed’s terrorists closing in.”


“They’ll need to go through channels, Buck, but I’ll do everything I can to see that they get their chance.”


“Thank you, Sir,” Wilmington said.


“Come on, Son, let’s go down to sickbay and check on Chris,” Dunne offered.






Chris felt several pairs of hands shifting him from the stokes to the bed and held his breath until he was settled back against a pillow. He opened his eyes and knew where he was as a bright light overhead flickered to life and he blinked several times in an effort to bring everything into focus.


“Easy, Son, just be still and we’ll get you something for pain,” Abrams said and placed a calming hand on the injured man’s right shoulder. “What’s your name?”


“Chris Larabee,” the blond answered as his shirt was cut from his body.


“Well, Chris, I’m Doc Abrams and I’m going to make you comfortable and check that wound,” the ship’s physician explained. He nodded to his corpsman who set up an IV line and expertly inserted it.


Chris listened to the man as he gave orders and soon felt the lessening of pain when someone took pity on him and injected morphine or some other strong medication into his arm. His mouth felt dry and sleep beckoned to him, but he didn’t give into it as Abrams gently removed the bandages covering his wounds.


“This doesn’t look too bad, but I need to clean it up and make sure we treat the infection,” Abrams said and ordered a course of IV antibiotics. “Chris, there’s no reason for you to be awake for this so I’m going to put you out. When you wake up you’ll be a lot more comfortable.”


“Thanks, Doc,” Larabee stammered and watched as the doctor injected something into his IV. He sighed tiredly and surrendered to the drug induced sleep as the doctor touched the wound.






Buck sat in the uncomfortable chair and leaned wearily against his hands. Over an hour had passed since Abrams had come out to tell them he had put Larabee out and was going to check his injuries and clean up the wound to his side. Wilmington felt exhausted, but there was no way he would give into it until he knew Larabee was going to be all right.


“Buck, you should try to sleep,” Dunne offered.


“I will…once doc tells us how Chris is,” Wilmington said and rubbed at his burning eyes.


“Chris will be fine, Buck, you got him here…”


“Almost didn’t,” the tired rogue said, standing as Abrams exited the sickbay and moved toward them.


“Sit down before you fall down, Wilmington!” Abrams ordered.


“Doc, how is he?”


“He’s beat up…got a couple of busted ribs to go with the hole in his side,” Abrams told them once Wilmington sat down. “Look, he’s got a fever and an infection in his side, but it shouldn’t take long for the antibiotics to kick in. What he needs now is rest and I’m going to make sure he gets that.”


“Can I see him?” Wilmington asked.


“For a minute, but he’s pretty groggy because of the medications,” Abrams said.


“Thanks, Doc…”


“Hold on and let me finish, Wilmington,” the ship’s doctor ordered. “I said you could see him, but there are conditions.”


“What conditions?”


“You need some rack time of your own and if you don’t get it I’ll damn well make it an order and I have just the thing that’ll put you down for 24 hours. Do I make myself clear?”


“Perfectly,” Wilmington reluctantly agreed. He stood up, and grabbed the wall as the boat seemed to roll with the waves, yet he knew that wasn’t possible because they were running below the surface. He entered the sickbay and moved to the only occupied bed, relieved to see none of the heavy equipment surrounding his friend. There were a few pieces that spoke of the wound and subsequent blood loss, but Chris didn’t look as bad as he had during their escape from Beirut.


“Well, Ol’ Son, we made it,” Wilmington said and watched as his friend fought to open his eyes.


“Buck?” Larabee whispered, licking at dry lips.


“Right here, Pard, you go ahead and sleep…I got your back,” the weary rogue said, relieved when the eyes closed and his friend slept once more.


“Now, Wilmington, you saw him and I figure you’ll both sleep easier if you tae that bunk over there,” Abrams said and watched as the dark haired man slowly made his way to the second bunk.


“He’s going to be all right isn’t he, Doc?”


“He’ll be fine,” Abrams assured the tired man as he watched him sit on the edge of the bed and lie back. “Eight hours of rack time is just what the doctor ordered.”


“What the hell was that?” Wilmington cursed and rubbed at his shoulder.


“Just a little something to make sure you don’t go against your doctor’s orders,” Abrams said.


“Sneaky bastard…”


“That I am, Son, that I am,” Abrams said and lifted the blanket up over the now sleeping man. “That should keep him down for a while.”


“Are you always so sneaky?” Dunne asked with a grin.


“Only when it involves stubborn men and I get a feeling he’s as stubborn as they come.”


“That he is…they both are,” the captain explained. “I’ll check back on them in a couple of hours.”


“Sounds to me like you need some rack time as well.”


“I’m okay…perhaps you’re right,” Dunne said when he realized he sounded just like Larabee and Wilmington. “You’ll send for me if they need me?”


“Of course…sleep well, Captain Dunne,” Abrams said, checking his patient before making his way to his desk. He needed to fill out the paperwork and make speak with Richter about sending Larabee and Wilmington home as soon as the injured blond could handle the transfer.






Chris wasn’t sure what was worse, the nausea churning through his gut or the feeling left by heavy drugs. He heard voices nearby and turned to see Buck speaking with Daniel Dunne. Larabee tried to remember where he was, but his mind refused to clear as he tried to sit up.


“Now don’t you go undoing all my hard work,” Abrams scolded and checked the IV line as the blond turned toward him.


“Where am I?”


Abrams quickly told him where he was as Wilmington and Dunne joined them. “We’re going to secure the IV and get you ready for transport home,” the physician explained.


“How long?”


“They picked us up yesterday,” Wilmington explained.


“Hadasa and her family?” Larabee asked of their saviors.


“They’re fine. Captain Richter and Captain Dunne have been in contact with the State department and it looks like there won’t be a problem with them making a new home for themselves,” Wilmington answered.


“Good,” Larabee said and turned to Dunne. “Captain, I have the coordinates for that weapons’ cache.”


“All right, Son,” Dunne said and quickly copied down the information before allowing Abrams access to his patient.






The trip home was a blur to Chris Larabee and he woke up in a hospital bed with monitors bleeping and medical staff checking his wounds. The only saving grace was that Wilmington had made the return trip with him and now, a week after returning to the States they were back home in Billings, Montana. 


Chris had been released from the naval hospital with explicit instructions to rest and take it easy. The wound in his side was healing, but his ribs made it a little uncomfortable to do much of anything, yet here he was at Wilmington’s apartment looking out over the city he called home.


“Chris, brain grenade?” Wilmington asked and tossed the man a cold beer.


“Thanks,” Larabee said and popped the tab before taking a long drink.


“Any time,” the rogue told him. “I heard from Captain Dunne while you were sleeping.”


“What did he have to say?”


“It seems that weapon’s cache was destroyed by an unknown explosion soon after we escaped from that cheerful city,” Wilmington said.


“Are they sure they got them all?”


“SEAL team five took it out. Some hotshot named Curran led the team in and detonated it right under Shaheed’s nose,” the rogue said with a grin.


“Glad to hear it,” Larabee said. “What about Hadasa and her family?”


“They’re safe…Dunne said they shouldn’t have any trouble settling in now that the bureaucratic red tape has been cut,” Wilmington asked. “Aviv should be able to start school come September.”


“That is good news,” the blond said.


“That it is. Hadasa wants to enroll in a nursing program and Yinon knows a thing or two about engineering. Dunne put in a good word for them and they’ll both have an opportunity to follow through on a career that will not only benefit them, but us too.”


“That’s great…we owe them our lives, Buck.”


“That we do, Ol’ Son, and maybe someday we’ll get to return the favor…just not in a life or death situation,” Wilmington said, frowning when he heard a knock on the door. “Be right back.”


Larabee nodded and drank the rest of his beer, smiling when he saw the trio who entered Wilmington’s apartment. He moved inside and hugged the woman before shaking hands with Yinon and Aviv.


“I must say you look much better than the last time I saw you, Chris,” Hadasa told him.


“Thanks to you and your family,” Larabee said.


“We only did what was right,” Hadasa told him. “We are leaving today…”


“Leaving…where are you going?” Wilmington asked, passing Yinon a can of beer.


“We are enrolled in school in Boston and need to check into apartments there. Yinon was able to bring some of our jewels and has sold them…we are not rich, but we will be able to survive until we both finish school. Aviv will learn in an American school and he will enjoy the freedom we were once denied.”


“I am happy for all of you, Hadasa. You deserve it,” Larabee told her.


“You are not overdoing things are you, Chris?”


“I don’t have the strength to overdo things right now, Hadasa,” the blond answered truthfully.


“Good, you should rest. Yinon has something for you.”


“For me? Why?”


“Back in the old country you gave something that was meant to stay with you. Aviv overheard what you said to Buck and spoke of it to his father,” Hadasa said as Yinon took out a box and handed it to Larabee.


“A father’s gift should stay with his son,” Yinon managed in broken English as Larabee opened the box.


“My watch…but we used it to pay your friend?”


“No, Yinon convinced his friend that the gift you gave all of us was priceless and so taking the watch would belittle what you have done. It is yours as it was meant to be,” Hadasa explained.


“I don’t know what to say,” Larabee whispered.


“Then just say thanks, Chris,” Wilmington offered.


“Thank you…not just for the watch, but for giving me my life back. I think I would have died over there if you and your family didn’t help us escape,” the blond said.


“You can thank us by getting well and doing what you do. You have no idea how many lives you and your teams save…I know SEALs don’t exist, but for me I will thank God every day for sending you to us,” Hadasa told him.


“When I hear that from you it makes me proud of the TEAMs, Hadasa…that is if they existed it would,” Larabee said and smiled as she hugged him.


“Be safe, Chris Larabee…and you as well, Buck Wilmington…for there are Angels waiting to meet you and they will know how special you are,” Hadasa said before gathering her husband and son and leaving the two men alone. She’d sensed something dark in their future, but it was not for her to know when or were their path would cross with the evil that sometimes walked the earth. She let a single tear escape as the door closed and prayed the two men would always be friends.



The End





Authors Appreciate Feedback. Email Winnie.



© Winnie 2010