Disclaimer: The characters in this story are owned by ABC Television. I am not profiting from this story in any way. It is written strictly for pleasure. Copyright 1992, 1994 by Nancy Durgin. [ I started this "Survival" sequel back in 1992 and never did finish it. Here's one of my favorite scenes from that unfinished story. I just pulled it out of the unfinished story with no edits or polishing, but I think it should more-or-less stand alone, if you are familiar with the episode. ] Kirby visits Saunders in the hospital (A scene from an unfinished sequel to "Survival") By Nancy Durgin "Hey, Sarge!" It was Kirby's voice -- pitched low, almost a whisper. Saunders started out of his doze, reaching automatically for his Thompson. But the sharp pain in his hand as he clenched his fist made him realize where he was even before he'd opened his eyes to confirm it -- he was in a brightly lit hospital ward, not out on night patrol. Kirby was standing there grinning at him. "Hey, you weren't sleeping, were you?" Well, of course he'd been trying to do just that, but actually Saunders was glad for the distraction. Sleep should have been the best way to escape the pain that made being awake so miserable, but every time he managed to achieve that state, the blissful oblivion was invaded by weird fever-enhanced nightmares, and he found himself struggling back awake. At least then the pain in his hands served to reassure him that he *was* awake. Anyway, a visitor was a welcome relief. The grin was beginning to fade from Kirby's face as he realized that he *had* actually woken him up, so Saunders quickly managed a reassuring grin of his own. "No, it's okay," he croaked out hoarsely -- the exquisitely intense head cold was another little legacy from his recent mis-adventures. "Oh, here Sarge.... You want a drink?" Saunders nodded. Kirby found a glass on the small table next to Saunders' bed and filled it with water from the pitcher next to it. He glanced surreptitiously around the room before leaning over and helping Saunders sit up to drink. The water felt good in his dry cottony mouth, even if it did hurt to swallow it. His head and neck ached from the low-grade fever he was still running, and the effort of sitting up to drink drained him. He slumped back down when he was through. "I snuck in," Kirby explained with a triumphant grin and a conspiratorial tone as he took the glass away. He pulled up a chair and sat down next to the bed, facing Saunders. Snuck in? Saunders looked at him questioningly. He didn't have the mental energy for riddles. "They wouldn't let us in yesterday. That head nurse said you weren't ready for visitors." Kirby snorted. "She thinks she's a general or somethin'." Saunders grinned, wondering briefly which one was the head nurse. The fact was, he wouldn't have noticed if he'd had visitors yesterday or not. Up until his fever had broken last night, he didn't really remember much of anything very clearly. It was all a painful, nightmarish blur. But it didn't matter anyway -- he was happy just to let Kirby talk for now. Kirby laughed -- enjoying his own joke. "Anyway, I figured out how to get past her. I just came in as a patient!" he gestured meaningfully at his leg. More riddles. Kirby pushed on with his story without giving Saunders a chance to puzzle it out. "So, after one of the other nurses finished changing the bandage, I just snuck out the back door of the treatment room and came in here," Kirby finished triumphantly. "A piece o' cake!" The bandage. Saunders slowly put it together. Yeah, Kirby had been hit in the leg -- Hanley had sent him back with Doc and Anderson before the rest of them had been pinned down by the Krauts. It had been a minor wound, but the bandage would still need to be changed every day. Kirby took out a cigarette and offered it to Saunders, who nodded gratefully. Smoking was high on the growing list of simple tasks he couldn't manage by himself with his hands like this -- even for that simple pleasure he was dependent on one of the busy nurses finding the time to help him. Kirby probably hadn't considered all of that -- lighting a smoke for a wounded comrade was just second nature to the soldier. He lit the cigarette, took a puff, and then stuck it skillfully between Saunders' lips. Saunders took a deep drag and relaxed, listening as Kirby chattered about some girl he'd seen in a bar. "Of course she doesn't speak English. I tried to get Caje to introduce us, but he's been in one of his sulks." Kirby grinned. "It doesn't matter. I'll go back there and win her over tonight," he said confidently. "Or," Kirby said thoughtfully as he took the burning cigarette back from Saunders and tapped off the ashes. "Actually that nurse who changed my bandage wasn't half bad. I wonder if 'the General' ever lets her off duty." Saunders laughed, then immediately regretted it when it caught in his throat and turned into a painful cough. He croaked out his warning anyway: "She's an officer, Kirby. You'd better stick with the French girl." Kirby grinned and gave the cigarette back to Saunders. "Oh, she'll get over that!" He sobered and glanced around nervously again, then lowered his voice. "Hey Sarge, maybe you shouldn't try to talk. If you get laryngitis and they decide to court martial me for breaking in here, I won't stand a chance with her...." Before Saunders could respond, Kirby looked again towards the other end of the room, where the door was. "Oh, hell.... Now I'm doomed. Here comes the General!" Saunders' view of the room was blocked by a cloth screen that was set up between the head of his bed and the next one. He knew he was in one end of a fairly large ward-room, but there was no door in this end. So Kirby could probably see the nurse coming well in advance, but there was no way for him to escape a confrontation with her. Kirby opted for nonchalance. He turned back to Saunders and relieved him of the butt of his cigarette, stamping it out on the floor. "Okay, so it's the French girl. She's prettier anyway." Saunders grinned -- the French girl might have something to say about that.... He was still grinning when Kirby's nemesis appeared from the other side of the divider screen, carrying a cloth covered tray. Saunders had been prepared for a middle-aged matronly type -- he was surprised to see that "the General" was the same nurse who'd brought him breakfast earlier that morning. How could he not be favorably disposed towards the angel of mercy who'd taken away the uncomfortable IV, and then patiently spoon-fed him his first solid food in...well, he wasn't sure how many days? And if that wasn't enough, she was even kind of pretty. The nurse took in the scene at a glance and then marched over, put the tray down on the bedside table, and looked accusingly at Kirby. "What are you doing here, Private?" "Just keeping Sarge company, ma'am." Kirby was doing his best to look innocently unconcerned -- he was pretty good at it. "I thought I made it clear to you and your friends yesterday that the Sergeant wasn't ready for visitors." "Sure, but that was yesterday. I had to come in today to have a doctor check out this leg wound..." Kirby gestured towards his right leg, which was now stretched awkwardly in front of him as he sat on the chair. He used both hands and adjusted the leg with a grunt. "So I figured it would be okay to drop in and see how he was doing." The nurse looked Saunders over with a critical eye. "Well, what he *should* have been doing was sleeping," she said firmly. "He can't very well do that if you're here bothering him." Kirby looked ready to protest, but she cut him off. "Well, I guess there's no harm done. But you'll have to leave now, Private," she added firmly. "Yes, Ma'am," Kirby hopped obediently to his feet. "Hey Sarge, take it easy. I'll bring the other guys around later...that is if the Lieutenant here says it's alright, of course," he added quickly. "*Maybe* this evening," the nurse said firmly. "But check with me or one of other nurses first." "Yes, Ma'am," Kirby agreed. He flashed Saunders a triumphant grin and sauntered out of view. The nurse watched for a moment and then turned back to Saunders. She took a thermometer from the tray and popped it in his mouth. As she started to take his pulse with two fingers at the side of his neck, Saunders realized she was suppressing a laugh. "What's so funny?" he croaked around the thermometer. She smiled, shaking her head in amusement. "Sergeant, when you see your friend next time -- tell him he forgot to limp."