"No." Travis bit his tongue, hard, on the manic laughter trying to escape his throat. His glance swept the carnage, earth churned with blood and bones, lit by the red glow of the fire. Surreal. How was this happening?
"Shut up," he murmured pulling Max closer to his chest. Max sprawled against him, legs splayed, blood oozing between their fingers tight on his abdomen. He ducked instinctively at a sudden heavy thumping in the air. Sky patrol. But whose? Oh God, when had they begun to target civilians? They were the damned Peace Core, for heaven's sake! Searching for survivors in this idiotic war.
This was supposed to have been a training exercise, a week in the field. The war had caught them all by surprise and he was being schooled the old fashioned, hands on way. And now Max…
The man coughed, blood on his lips. "Please, Travis…"
"Hush baby." Travis let out a breath. He eased Max into a more comfortable position. Max's body warmed him, a familiar weight. He thought of their years together, days of laughter, nights twined in passionate joy.
He bent his head, nuzzled against Max's neck, heard his wet breathing. "I love you," he whispered, hoarse with grief.
"Afraid," Max panted.
"I'm here. I've got you. Go to sleep, baby. I won't leave."
He felt rather than heard Max's sob and tears stung his eyes. "Hurry," he urged the patrol, whoever they were. Heavy boots crunched the upturned soil, coming closer.
"Travis?" a voice hailed.
Relief left him weak. Theirs, then. "We're going home," he said fiercely to Max as the medic knelt beside them.
Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, and anything else that comes to mind. Oh, and a floral designer, which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.