Digging around in old stuff can be fun. Digging around in old Jack & Gareth stuff invariably sets off the Muse and leads to new words, wherever I’m currently stuck in the two men’s journey. This particular Throwback Thursday snippet is something I wrote long before the first draft of Job Hunt, when I needed to know why Jack had quit his army career when he’d always considered it the best thing that had ever happened to him.
It turned out to be a typical Jack event. Something, somewhere goes wrong, Gareth is shot, and of course it’s all Jack’s fault. So much so, that he leaves the army, thinking himself a liability to those he cares about. So much so, he still feels guilty about it eight years later. Not that Gareth has ever thought Jack was at fault, but then…. you probably know that.
There was more blood than he’d ever seen. It seeped into the sand, and the size of the spreading dark pool threatened Jack’s focus. He kept looking, checking, measuring while he mentally computed how much blood Gareth must have lost. How much the man could still afford to lose. He didn’t like any of the answers he came up with.
His knees grew damp as the patch spread, the pressure he was putting on the wound inadequate to stem the bleeding. He needed something better.
He freed his belt with a clank and a hiss and wound the strip around Gareth’s upper arm.
“Too tight,” Gareth gasped.
“It’s a fucking tourniquet, sir,” Jack shot back. His hand were slippery with Gareth’s blood and sand rubbed his palms raw as he tightened the bandage and makeshift tourniquet further. “Try and relax, will you? If your heart rate’s too fast the bleeding won’t stop.”
“Any more wisecracks and I’ll kick your arse, brat.”
Gareth Flynn tried to sound as if nothing much was the matter, but his skin was turning grey under the deep tan. More blood darkened the sand and Jack knew that the tourniquet was next to useless where it was. He leaned on the pressure point, but – stretched out over Gareth and shielding him with his body – he couldn’t get the right angle.
“Fuck it!” Jack got his feet under him and rose to his full height. He planted his boot in Gareth’s shoulder, relieved when the red torrent slowed to a trickle.
“Jack! Get the fuck down!”
Jack ignored the words, even if he couldn’t ignore the man he was crouched over. He’d never been able to ignore Gareth Flynn and he wasn’t fucking starting now. Everybody else on their team was safe. Jack had called for backup, and he’d keep the stubborn sod alive until that backup got here.