๐™๐™ƒ๐™„๐™๐™๐™”-๐™Ž๐™„๐™“

"Dagger One is hit! I repeat, Dagger One is hit!"

No one quite seemed able to register the words that Phoenix cried out. The room was completely silent as they hit them.

Suddenly, it was broken, like a calm water when the first drop of rain hits it. "No," Maverick said, no begged. "No, no, no."

He threw a chair and it clattered to the floor beside Cyclone.

"Hurricane is down." A sob from the other end of the comms. "She's gone."

Again, silence lapped the blue room. No one even dared to breathe.

"Dagger One, status." Bradley said, his voice far too calm. A deadly calm. "Goddamn it! Status!"

"Anyone see her? Does anyone see her?" Payback asked, frantic. His eyes bounced along the white snowy mountain, praying to see a parachute.

"Dagger One, come in!" Bradley said, the pitch of his voice rising. The calm was slowly slipping away.

"I didn't see a parachute."

"We have to circle back." Bradley said, his voice firm. "She could still be alive, it only took out her engines!"

"Comanche. Bandits inbound. Single group, hot. Recommend Dagger flow south. One minute to intercept."

The lady's calm voice echoed in Bradley's brain as he continued to search.

Maverick glanced at Cyclone. Sweat dripped down his face, or it might've been tears. He was staring at the ground, his eyes wide.

"Get 'em back to the carrier now." he ordered, and met eyes with Maverick. There was something strange in his eyes.

The lady beside him relaid the information, but there was a hesitance in her voice as she spoke, "All Daggers flow to ECP. You have Bandits headed for you."

"What about Hurricane?" Bradley screamed, his breathing coming out much harder than it should be. His heart was beating too fast, his brain moving too slowly. The world was a blur.

He could see Phoenix. Tears were streaming down her face, but she wasn't sobbing. She appeared numb, like nothing was ever going to be okay again. Bob was repeatedly murmuring silent phrases to keep her flying.

She wasn't dead

She couldn't be.

Just minutes before she'd been joking, playing and whirling around the missiles like they were nothing. She had been laughing, just seconds before she'd jumped in front of him.

She jumped in front of him.

His plan had failed him.

Now, she was gone. Gone because she was too goddamn loyal, loved him too much. And for every bit he loved her for it, he hated her twice as much.

He hated her for being the hero, for having to save his life. He was supposed to save her life, she was supposed to go home to Jamie, back to her grandmother. She was supposed to get married, have kids. Lilah had a whole life to live.

"Tell him there's nothing he can do for Hurricane, not in a goddamn F-18." Cyclone spit out in a thick voice, his eyes never leaving Maverick's.

Hangman gulped down the lump in his throat. "Dagger Spare requesting permission to launch and fly air cover."

A shake of the head.

No.

Maverick lunged at Cyclone. Before anyone could stop him, he had his tan shirt bunched in his fists.

"You son of a bitch! She is out there, possibly alive and you are leaving her to die! She is 27 years old, she has a family! A family who wants her to come home." Maverick growled as Hondo and Warlock yanked him off of Cyclone. They managed to get him pinned up against the wall.

Hangman closed his eyes as the words he prayed wouldn't come through rang out of the comms like death itself.

He threw down his speakers, smashing his hand into the dashboard. "Motherfucker!"

Warlock spun around. "Launch search and rescue."

"Negative," Cyclone snapped back. "Not with bandits in the air."

"But, sir," Hondo argued from where he kept his hand on Maverick's shoulder. "Hurricane - Lilah, is still out there."

"We are not losing anyone else today!" Cyclone roared, banging his hand against the ledge in front of him. Hondo opened his mouth, but all words seemed to fail him. "Get my goddamn pilot's home, now!"

Bradley's was zoned out, circling the same section of land over and over again. No smoke appeared in the crash anywhere. Payback was behind him, and Bradley was sure that if he could see, desperation would be printed across his face.

"Dagger, you are not to engage." The words were a shot to the heart. He gripped his chest. "Repeat, do not engage. Return to carrier."

Bradley closed his eyes. He could hear Phoenix's sobs, and Bob's sharp intakes of breath. Payback was as quiet as death, and Fanboy kept cursing.

None of them seemed to comprehend the danger that was less than a minute away; that they were never going to make it out if they kept sitting.

"Dagger Two, return to carrier. Acknowledge."

"Rooster," Phoenix mumbled, softly; comforting. Bradley wanted to scream at her for treating him like he was a child. "Those bandits are closing. She didn't sacrifice herself just for us not to make it home. We - we can't go back, she wouldn't want to, Lilah would want us to go home."

The words seem to physically pain her. She wasn't ordering him, or even suggesting, she was begging him, begging him not to let her sacrifice go to waste.

"Rooster, she's gone." Bob eased carefully, as they soared along the canyon. "Hurricane's gone, Lilah's gone."

Bradley had felt pain before.

His father had died when he was two; his mother at 15.

He'd lost Maverick at 17.

He'd watched Lilah lose the only person who ever truly believed in her; watched her crumble to the ground in front of his grave.

And now he'd lost her.

He'd lost her before of course, two years ago, but nothing would ever compare to the pain that was coursing through his chest. It felt like someone had taken his heart, ripped it from his chest and was squeezing it so tightly that he would never beat again.

"We don't know that she's dead." Even Bradley surprised himself as the words came out. His voice was different, hoarse and dull. There was no life in it. "She's Lilah, and she's survived everything. And she sure as hell wouldn't go down saving me."

"Brad -" Phoenix tried mumbling, but he cut her off.

"Don't stop flying, Tasha, don't look back. Go home. I'll see you on the other side."

He flipped off his comms to cut off everyone's orders and protests. Phoenix was screaming bloody murder, he could see it in her face as he nodded to Payback, saluted to Bob.

"I'll bring her home," he swore, maybe to himself. Maybe to the four friends flying away. Maybe to Maverick. Maybe to his dad, or her grandfather. "Dead or alive, she's coming home."





lil short, but next one will be better. hope y'all enjoy!

love y'all - madsย 

List Chapter

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๐™ข๐™š๐™š๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™˜๐™–๐™จ๐™ฉ + ๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™ค

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