Status: Complete.

I Want You to Live

Chapter 5

"We’re late!” Rusty cracked an eye open to see Ty rushing around his room. He groaned and rolled over, pulling the pillow over his head to ward off the bedroom light. Suddenly, the covers were jerked off his body.

“I’m going to kill you!” he hollered at Ty’s retreating back. Rusty sat up and rubbed his eyes. The red block letters on his clock read 4:50.

Shit! They were going to be late! Oh man, Sarge was going to be all over them!

Rusty scrambled out of bed and scurried to his closet. He grabbed the closest uniform and wrestled into it as he hurried down the hallway. Ty was rushing around the living room, grabbing equipment off the floor and chairs. He was still clad in only his underwear.

“You’re not going to kill me. You’re going to thank me because I got your shit packed for you.” Sure enough there was Rusty’s stuff, packed up and laid by the door. "Fuck! We've got to get better organized."

“Put your damn uniform on and I’ll get the rest of your stuff together,” Rusty told him, rushing back down the hall to his friend’s room.

Ty followed him and grabbed his pants of a hanger in his closet. He hopped around, trying to get his foot in the hole. Rusty frantically grabbed for stuff, hoping he wasn’t leaving anything behind. They bolted out the door at five 'til. Ty was still buttoning his uniform top when they got in the truck. Rusty hit the accelerator, leaving two black marks in his tracks.

They reached the base with two minutes to go. That meant they had two minutes to get to their team. If they didn’t make it then it was going be push-ups for everybody, plus a pissed off Sarge. That would mean hell for both of them for the whole week. Rusty spotted the team ahead of them. He glanced at his watch. 30 seconds left. They were so close! They broke into a full blown sprint and stopped in front of Sarge with 10 seconds to spare. Rusty blew out a sigh of relief.

“Cutting it a little close today, aren’t we, ladies?” Both let out a breathless Hooah as they bent double, trying to catch their breaths. Sarge laughed before speaking to the rest of the team. “You men are lucky they made it on time! I’m not in the best mood this morning and I was sort of looking forward to you all doing push-ups, maybe even a few laps! As it is, they made it, so let’s load up and move out!”


The aircraft carrier rumbled as it carried the men to their destination. The spot they would be dropped was classified. All they knew was that it was in the desert and it would be a hard, rigorous week of training. Rusty closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the plane. Now that he had a minute to think, he wished he didn’t. Peyton was the only thing running through his mind. He was in love. The kiss last night proved it. Too bad it was their first and last. He groaned, banging his head a couple times out of frustration.

“You alright, Rust?” Ty leaned in so Rusty could hear him over the noise of the others.

Rusty opened one eye and looked at him. “Yea, I’m just peachy,” he grumbled before closing his eye back.

“Who pissed in your Cheerios?” Ty joked, giving his shoulder a shove.

“You did, now shut up and leave me alone," Rusty barked.

He scooted as far away from Ty as he could. It wasn’t far though, because he was now scrunched against the rear hatch of the plane. He tried to get comfortable, but there was no room to stretch his legs and his helmet was feeling more uncomfortable than usual. He adjusted the chin strap, trying to loosen it a bit.

“It’s Peyton, isn’t it?” Ty guessed.

Rusty had just maneuvered into a semi comfortable position, relieved that Ty was actually listening. He should've known that was too good to be true. “Fuck you."

“I knew it when you came in early last night. I’m not going to leave you alone so you might as well tell me what it is," Ty offered with a smirk.

“She said she didn’t want anything serious and that we shouldn’t see each other anymore.” Rusty looked away after telling his friend. He didn’t want to see the sympathy in his friends eyes.

Ty had been in the same situation before, only 10 times worse. His girlfriend of four years and fiancée of one had told him something similar after he came back from his first tour in Iraq. Talk about a bitch. It had really screwed him up. He hadn't had a real relationship since.

“That’s it? That’s all she said?” Rusty turned back to see his buddy trying to hold back a laugh. He didn’t find anything funny about it.

“What do you mean that’s it?! Yes, that’s it!” Rusty was fuming at how lightly his friend was taking this.

“And you believed her?” Ty asked.

Rusty was confused now. What was Ty talking about? Of course he hadn't believed her. Why wouldn’t he?

“Um, yea," he answered, slowly.

“Well, she was lying. Everything she might have told you was bullshit. She likes you. A lot.” Ty leaned back against the wall, his eyes closed. He had a smug look on his face.

Rusty rolled his eyes. “And you know this how?”

“It’s obvious, Rust. The way she looked at you said it all." Ty never opened his eyes, but offered a small shrug as if it was plain as day.

“I don’t know. You didn’t hear her. She sounded serious.”

“Of course she sounded serious. She’s scared. You said she acts like she’s been hurt before," Ty explained, opening his eyes and turning to face Rusty. "The reason she’s pushing you away is because she knows she could fall for you. She’s trying to protect herself. Trust me on this. I know women.”

“10 minutes to drop site!” Sarge shouted, ending everyone’s conversations.

It was time to get ready for the jump. Any more talk about Peyton would have to wait. The whole team got busy checking their chutes and equipment. Rusty had made so many jumps, he could do this in his sleep, but one mistake could mean his life or the lives of others. He pushed his relationship problems from mind and thoroughly went over everything.

“Five minutes to drop site!” Sarge paced down the narrow aisle, watching the men scurry to get their stuff together.

Rusty’s adrenaline started pumping. Jumping was his favorite thing about being a Ranger, aside from saving lives. He secured his chute around his waist and over his shoulders. Lincoln Sobens, the rookie of the team, sat across from Rusty. He was struggling with getting his chute fastened. Rusty got up and knelt in front of him. It was obvious the man was terrified. He had to be the youngest one there, too.

“You’ve got to take it through here, like this.” Lincoln watched as Rusty finished putting the chute on him. “See how I did it?”

“Y-y-yea,” he stuttered out, looking Rusty in the eyes. Rusty smiled back, trying to reassure him. He remembered what it felt like to just be starting. Add in the fact that you’re the new guy and your nerves are tore up.

“You’re going to do great!” Rusty yelled over the wind blowing in through the open hatch. They were getting ready to start jumping. The rest of the team was already lining up. “You’re a Ranger! You can’t be anything less than great!”

“Balkins! Get into line!” Rusty looked up to see Sarge standing a few feet away. He gave Rusty a small nod of approval, then made his way to the back of the line. He would be the last one out of the plane. Rusty would be the first. He got into formation next to Ty. Ty gave him a grin. This was the kind of thing Ty lived for. He was an adrenaline junkie if there ever was one. “Start us off, Balkins!”

That was the cue Rusty was waiting for. He turned back and gave a wink to Lincoln, then slid his goggles in place. He gave out a loud Hooah and leapt from the plane.

The sky was lit up with the colors of a rising sun. This was his favorite time to jump. He closed his eyes as the sounds of the aircraft faded away and silence enveloped him. There was no peace and quiet like this. He was too far above the hustle and bustle of life for the mundane sounds to penetrate it. Rusty spun freely and let Peyton invade his brain again. This was exactly what falling in love with her felt like. The only difference being, his parachute didn't save him from the pain of that fall.


"So, what have you decided to do?"

Rusty shielded his eyes against the angry glare of the sun. Ty was standing over him, shirtless and holding his rifle. He plopped down in the sand beside him and Rusty continued cleaning his gun. Sweat rolled in beads down Rusty's back, but he didn't dare remove his shirt. Ty was the only guy he knew that would never burn, even under the hottest of suns.

They were three days into their week. The days were passing quickly, thankfully. Every second of the day, up until dinner, was filled with something. Today, they had ran maneuvers on infiltrating buildings, and practiced firing at targets.

"About what?" Rusty asked, squinting and peering down the chamber of his gun.


"I already told you. She doesn't want anything to do with me." Rusty stopped what he was doing when he was answered with nothing, but silence. Ty was watching him with an indecipherable look. It pissed him off. "What?"

"So that's it? You're just going to let her walk away?" Ty questioned, holding his arms out to his sides. Rusty just blinked and began reassembling his rifle. "You're such a fucking dumbass."

Rusty dropped his gun in his lap at his friend's scoff. "What the hell is your problem? Huh? Why does it even matter to you?" Rusty struggled to rein his voice in. The last thing he wanted to do was cause a scene in front of their whole company. "What is it you've said since Liz left? Love is just for fools that don't believe in themselves? They need someone else to do it for them?"

Ty grew quiet and dropped his gaze. Rusty immediately felt bad for bringing her up. He just knew how to get under his skin sometimes. Maybe that's why he had always felt more like a brother than a friend.

Rusty was getting ready to apologize when Ty began speaking. His voice was soft, and accent thick. "Yea, I'm cynical about love. Just for me, though." Ty started wiping down the parts to his rifle. "Love passed me by, but you've still got a chance. Fight for it, or you'll regret it every single day."


The rest of the week, Ty's words rang in Rusty's head. He was torn between fighting for what he really wanted, and respecting her wishes. Peyton was an incredible woman, unlike any he had ever met. That alone was enough to fight for. He was afraid, though.

He finally approached Ty on their last evening in the field. They hadn't spoken since their disagreement a few days prior. "What if she rejects me again?"

Ty looked up, a grin on his face and twinkle in his eye. "You pick yourself up and put one foot in front of the other. You pretend like everything is okay, and then one day, it is."

Rusty studied the face of the best, best friend he'd ever had. He had never met Liz, but Ty had broke down about her one night in a drunken stupor. He hadn't spilled the whole story. There were still some things that Ty wouldn't ever tell, but continued to haunt him ten years later. Occasionally, when he would get extremely drunk and pass out on the couch, Rusty could hear him calling for her.

Ty gave him a sad smile, seeming to know what Rusty was thinking. "Don't end up like me, Rust."
♠ ♠ ♠
This is pretty much a filler chapter, but it helped you get to know Ty a little bit more. =)