"... some people don't know how to die." - Angelo, Without Reservations

He watched the sun come up through the window blinds. He'd been awake for hours, the throbbing in his side steady and uncomfortable. If it had actually been painful he would've called for one of the guys. He couldn't remember who was on 'watch' that night. Didn't really matter; whoever it was would have the intercom on.

It wasn't the ache that had woken him anyway. Another damn dream. Ridiculous. Watching the bullet float towards him, accelerating to light speed in that last couple feet, then that horrible burn, fanning out over his body...

He didn't think he'd ever forget that, dream or otherwise.

He wished he could just get up and go out on the patio for a while. Wishful thinking. He still couldn't get out of bed without help. Hannibal said it would be at least a month before he'd be able to go with the team again, and then only if the colonel decided there would be a 'safe position' for him. The consensus seemed to be another four to five months before they'd let him come back full bore.

He should count his blessings, of course. At least he was alive.

He shifted slightly, wincing at the jab of pain that resulted, and fought to keep his focus. He'd been doing too much drifting, mind-wise. Thinking about... things. Well, not much else to do. Murdock kept bringing him books - never the ones he asked for, of course. The ones Murdock thought he'd like better. He and BA spent a couple hours each day doing 'exercises' - which consisted mainly of his manipulating that damn walker around the house. And the less he had to deal with Frankie's incessant story-telling the better.

Hannibal... Another deep sigh. Hannibal really didn't know what to do with him. He'd started including him on Stockwell's briefings, but there really wasn't a lot he could contribute. Everybody knew the plans would change out in the field. So the colonel mainly watched football with him, got him something to drink or eat (the 'approved' menu taped to the fridge and cupboard), and otherwise uncomfortably made small talk.

Funny how little they had in common.

That was one of the things he thought about. A lot. His relationships with the guys. After all these years, he didn't think he knew them as well as he thought. Hell, he didn't think any of them knew each other as well as they thought they did.

So he thought about them. The things said, done. Things not said. Things taken for granted that shouldn't have been.

He thought about that speech they'd given Amy so long ago. "Accept death." Easy when you figured you still had opportunities to fight back.

Face had come too close to believe it now. It was time to make changes. Time to look at these men he'd spent over half his life with. To see what they really were, what they really wanted. To stop taking them for granted.

Time to accept life.

"The bullet had landed in a place the LSU surgeons nicknamed the "Soul Hole," because most people who catch a bullet there don't survive." -- "What It Really Feels Like to Get Shot" by by Deborah Cotton