Special thanks to my betas who are also my supporters and friends: Doc,
Mel and Snowy.
***I'm dedicating this one to Mel - for helping to make me so much a
part of Notes and because I know you love Myron. ***
The night's darkness had settled in around the camp. Outside, the rain
continued to pour down. Myron sat heavily on his cot, shedding some of his
gear and piling it off to the side to deal with later. He had already set
the M-16 down at the foot of the bed. He quietly finished getting the
harness and ammo pouches off, before finally stripping off the holster and
The rain drummed against the fabric of the tent. It made everything
feel damp and close. Myron hated the feeling, the almost suffocating
thickness of the air and the soggy tent and the darkness of the night.
Isolating him. Leaving him alone with his thoughts. He wasn't sure he was
ready to deal with those just yet. Or the feelings that went with them.
He pulled a couple of c-rat cans out of his pockets and tossed them
across the tent to a makeshift table. They rattled noisily, one landing on
its rounded edge and then rolling lazily to the side of the table. Myron
watched it fall.
He was all edges and angles from the debriefing in the CP bunker. Still
struggling to sort himself out from Wallace's genuine concern. Still
struggling with Anderson's sorrow and regret- with his uncharacteristic
The young Lieutenant pushed himself off the bed and went over to his
footlocker. After a few moments of digging around, he came up with a full
bottle of whiskey. Detouring a few steps, he picked up the fallen c-rat
and dumped it on the table before grabbing a plastic coffee mug. He folded
himself back onto the cot; one leg tucked underneath the other that was
bent at the knee. He rested one arm across that knee, holding the mug into
which he now poured the whiskey.
He set the bottle aside with a clink, picking up a pack of cigarettes
and shaking one out. A moment later, the smoke rose lazily in the damp
thick air. He listened to the rain as it continued to come down. There
were some voices in the distance, a light laughter and splash of boots in
pooled water. Myron raised his head, listening. It took him a few moments,
but he finally managed to attach the fading voices to Percell, Ruiz and
Baker. Their easy good natures touched at the edges of his awareness
before the sound of the rain swallowed up their banter.
Myron ducked his head and pulled a little more into himself.
He felt caught between two worlds.
He came to Ladybird, to Nam, with something to prove. To himself, to
his father- he was no longer sure now. He never expected to come up
against Anderson. This man with mischief in his eyes and wit and wry humor
never figured into his plans. They didn't warn him about a lifer like Zeke
Anderson in OCS. About a man who might see past all your anger and
defenses and snotty words and still see something else.
Something worth taking a look at.
Something worth exploring.
Something his father had never taken the time to realize was there.
Myron mentally shied away from that thought and took another sip of the
Being the officer, the Lieutenant, the platoon leader only added to the
isolation. He was willing to accept that when he came here. Was prepared
for it. He'd been alone for so long now, this wasn't going to be such a
reach. He had plenty of practice keeping his emotions on a tight leash.
Who the hell was Anderson to try and change that?
When did this all change to begin with? When did he suddenly realize he
wanted it too?
The camaraderie, the closeness of friends and friendships, the laughter
and ease his men shared so openly with Anderson.
Myron took another gulp of the whiskey, closing his eyes. He was an
officer. It was expected of him to... to what? He shook his head. To lead
but not be a part? A part of what? The friendship, the closeness, the
feeling of almost family?
Did he want that? And the pain that came with that? These kids got
killed, almost daily. This despite Anderson's best efforts. There was a
voice in him that warned him off, told him to not touch or be touched. That
he could be burned.
And what had Anderson seen behind his carefully tended defenses?
Defenses shored up with anger and defiance. His fear? His loneliness? His
need to be a part of something that held warmth and friendship and loyalty
Myron reached over, tapped off the ashes to his cigarette before he
resettled himself on the cot.
He realized he was still frightened. Frightened even more than before.
He had allowed himself to realize that friendship and trust and loyalty
being extended to him. Had allowed Anderson to ease him into it with not
just himself, but the guys in Third Squad. Had
allowed Zeke to find the man that was just Myron, and not Lt. Goldman, or
L-T or Sir, or General Goldman's son.
Back at Chu-lai, Myron had taken another step in that building
relationship. He had allowed himself to let his fragile trust in Anderson
make the decision for him. To believe in Zeke, and to believe that Zeke
knew what he was doing in regards to Decker.
It had come crashing down around him with the report of a single rifle
Horn on the ground, panting and struggling to stay conscious, trembling
under Myron's hands when he knelt by him. He could feel Roger's
frantic thoughts and his panic and pain. All of it washed over Myron and
left in its wake a feeling of despair.
Myron had allowed himself to get close to Roger, to trust in Zeke's
faith in Decker, to let these men trust him that this wouldn't happen to
He had to step away. Had to move from everyone in order to sort himself
out from Horn, and from the rest of Third Squad's concerns and despair.
Had to try and understand what had just happened.
How he had let it happen.
Even with his back to him, Myron had sensed Anderson's uneasy approach.
Myron, desperate to salvage himself from what was going on around him,
started to reach for the one thing he knew he could hold on to. And when
Zeke started to defend Decker, despite everything that had happened, Myron
pushed the despair aside and let the anger take over.
"Oh God, what do you owe this man?!"
"I owe the man friendship- I owe the man loyalty. You know what
"Yeah, I know what it is. It's something like trust, isn't it?
Like when I trusted you to take on Decker. And just like Horn trusts me
and all these other men trust me to make decisions! Well I screwed up and
made the wrong one and now Horn's gonna pay for it!"
Anderson had looked away from him in that moment, unable to face Myron.
Unable to face the hurt and fury in Myron's eyes.
The mug was empty. Myron stared at the bottom of it, trying not to
Everything. All of it gone. He had to become the Lieutenant, the
officer, had to make Horn wait, had to try and salvage the mission.
Had to pretend he was not being torn into little pieces over Horn and the
fact that the man could die.
It was more than that though. Myron knew in that open moment of his
fury and pain, Anderson had seen what had really been the problem. What
had caused him to look away from Myron in shame and regret. It was no
longer just a matter of the trust being damaged or destroyed between them.
But of the trust that Myron had led himself to believe he could have with
It felt like such an empty betrayal.
The rain was starting to taper off and Myron found himself looking out
the entrance of his quarters at the empty blackness of the night. There
was a part of him he so wanted to retreat to, to accept what had happened
and to shut Anderson out completely. To just be the officer and pretend he
didn't want to care. And it would be so easy to do that, because he had
done it so much of his life already.
But Anderson's very real regret and sorrow burned at the edges of his
awareness. Whispered against the back of his thoughts. And Myron found
himself listening to it, and wondering.
Wondering if it was such a bad thing to realize that Zeke Anderson