Disclaimer: The characters and situations of the TV program "SPACE: Above and Beyond" are the creations of Glen Morgan and James Wong, Fox Broadcasting and Hard Eight Productions, and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended. Dylan Mackenzie belongs to me.

Rating: NC-17

Chapter 2.

After spending a week's leave with Dill and the children, McQueen was headed back to the Space Carrier USS Saratoga with his squad. His 'kids' were excited about their promotions, but McQueen himself was worried about the consequences. He knew that as a squadron they were unrivalled. But would the Corps keep a squad of higher ranked officers together? He was going to have to come up with some damn good reasons to do so. McQueen smiled to himself. Of course it helped having Commodore Glen Ross on his side. Not only was he Commodore of the Saratoga, but he was also McQueen's best friend.

McQueen sat on the transport, watching as the squad chatted excitedly, telling each other about their leave. He smiled as Hawkes engaged his whole body in telling West about how Vansen had taken him to the west coast with her, and introduced him to surfing. He caught Vansen's eye as she glanced around the transport.

"I take it he enjoyed himself?" McQueen asked, as Hawkes climbed onto his seat to demonstrate his moves.

"Well, let's just say that if Iona wants to spend his leaves with him, she's gonna have to learn to surf. He's a natural. Within a couple of hours he was up on his board. He's hooked," Vansen told him. "But what about you, sir? Did you have a good leave?"

"Yes," he smiled. "It was good seeing the children. Spending time with them. They've grown so much since I last saw them. I see them born, and then it seems next time I see them, they're walking and talking. No doubt next time I see Isobel she'll be walking too."

"She's such a sweetie, sir," Damphousse joined in. "And the boys are, too. Hamish is just adorable."

"He's not speaking as well as Cameron," he told them seriously. "Dill says that's normal, that he'll catch up. He's stronger than Cameron though, and much bigger."

The two women looked at each other and then at him, smiling indulgently.

"What?" he asked them.

"You, sir," Damphousse smiled. "Having a family has changed you. Dylan has been good for you, sir, and you make a great father. You're so good with those boys."

"Yes," Vansen agreed. "You've relaxed much more. You used to be so uptight all the time. Constantly on guard, and really prickly. But these days, since you met Dylan, you're much less so. Of course, you're still the hard-nosed CO we've come to know and love. And we wouldn't have you any other way, sir," she hastily added at his frown. "But you're a much more relaxed, hard-nosed CO."

"There's a compliment in there somewhere, sir," Damphousse laughed.

"I think maybe there is," he smiled. "Thank you, Vansen."

McQueen settled himself in his seat, watching Hawkes, still standing on his seat demonstrating his moves. The two women, realising he wanted a little private time, chatted quietly together, smiling when they saw that he'd fallen asleep.

Hearing him softly snoring, Vansen and Damphousse enlisted Hawkes' help in carefully moving their leader to a bunk, where he instantly settled himself more comfortably. For a moment the three stood and watched him, grins on their faces.

"He's tired," Damphousse smiled.

"Yeah. So would you be if you'd just spent a week with three kids and a wife who hasn't seen you in eight months!" West laughed from his seat further down the transport. "Who wants to bet that kid number four arrives in nine months?"

"Stop it," Vansen warned. "Come on - let's leave him in peace."


McQueen awoke as he was thrown against a bulkhead. He could hear swearing and cursing as he rolled over to pull himself out of the bunk.

"Strap in back there!" yelled the pilot. "We've landed in an asteroid field!"

"How the hell did we end up here?" called back Vansen, scrambling forward.

"No time!"

The ISSAPC jerked and rolled sharply to port as an asteroid caught it amidships near where McQueen stood. He headed forward to the seats to strap in.

A sudden snap to the starboard side flung McQueen against the bunks. An arm up to protect his head, he bounced off the bunks and grabbed out for anything that would keep him from being tossed around more. He latched onto a bunkbed upright, holding it with both hands. Forward of him, McQueen heard Hawkes swearing hard and saw him curl up into a ball before hitting the bulkhead.

"Kill the speed!" came a yell from the cockpit.

The transport was spun around as an asteroid hit its rear.

The ominous hiss of escaping air reached McQueen and he spotted papers headed for a small hole punched in the hull back by the cargo. Grabbing a metal clipboard, he ran to the rear and slammed it over the hole, holding it in place.

"Get me some duct tape!" he bellowed. "We're holed!"

West scrambled to his side, frantically pulling duct tape off a roll, tearing it with his teeth. "Dammit! I don't know how much of this the ship can take. She's not built to handle asteroids."

"I want to know how we ended up in an asteroid field in the first place." McQueen rubbed the tape that West put down along one side while continuing to hold the other side in place. As West ran tape around the other three sides, McQueen glanced around, seeing the cargo containers shifting in their straps. "Hurry up, West. I don't…."

Things happened fast. A resounding crash assaulted his ears and the transport pitched to the side, throwing him and West against the newly taped wall. The sound of metal stressed to it's breaking point filled the cargo area, followed immediately by a sharp twang as the metal cargo straps broke under the sudden increase in weight of the containers. Five large metal boxes slid across the deck.

"Colonel!" screamed Hawkes.

"Shit!" was all McQueen and West had time to think before the boxes slammed into them.


"Easy, Colonel. We've got you. Don't move," cautioned Damphousse as McQueen stirred.

A groan tore its way loose as his head began to pound. He tried to raise a hand to his head only to have someone hold it down.

"Just a moment, colonel. We need to check you out." Damphousse touched his cheek gently. "We just finished digging you out."

"How's West?" McQueen opened his eyes, wincing in the light, closing them when he realized he was seeing double.

"Hurt. Vansen's looking him over right now."

"What the hell happened? How did we end up in an asteroid field?" He wanted some answers. Pain started to radiate from his right leg.

Hawkes' voice spoke, getting closer, finally ending up right beside Damphousse's.

"Thompson says the computer glitched, dumped us out of the wormhole early. We barrelled into the field at top speed. Fortunately there's a watch station in the system. A transport's already on the way for us to transfer to, and they'll tow this one back. We completely lost one of the engines, and the other one is pretty banged up."

"Hawkes, would you go sit with Nathan?" asked Vansen.


"So, how's West?" McQueen felt a gentle hand rolling his head from side to side.

"Concussion, broken ribs, bruised arm, broken fingers, bruises up and down his body. Open your eyes one at a time, sir."

He obeyed, shutting them again afterwards.

"Does the light hurt?"

"Yes. And I'm seeing double."

"Concussion to go with the nasty bump and cut on your head. Can you wiggle your fingers? Good. Now for your ribs."

He hissed as she probed his right side.

"They're not broken. I think they're just badly bruised. Ok, how about your toes? Can you feel them?"

"The ones on the left. But the thigh aches."

Her hands moved down and felt around his left thigh. "Bruised, I think. Doesn't feel broken. How about the other leg?"

"Thigh feels as bad as the other one. The knee really hurts. But I'm getting some odd feedback from the artificial leg, as if the foot weren't there."

"Let's get the boot off then and see the damage." As the two women worked, Vansen continued. "Sir, your right lower leg was pinned down under a box. It took all of us to move it."

"Damn. That means there's damage to the circuits." He gritted his teeth as an inadvertent move shifted his knee. "Ok, upgrade the feeling in the knee to excruciating."

"Sorry, sir."

He heard one of the women inhale sharply. "Ok, how bad is it?"

Vansen's voice came softly. "Sir, the foot.... it's been sheared off."


"'Phousse, inform the pilot we need to arrange transportation back to Earth for the colonel."

"On my way."

"Sir," Vansen spoke quietly. "Think of it as a chance to see Dylan and the kids again."

"At least there's one bright spot. I'm definitely not looking forward to the surgery to replace the damn leg. Or the bloody rehab as I learn to use the new one with all of its little quirks. Hell."

"Try not to move too much, sir." Vansen left him alone.

He lay, rather surprised that what he felt wasn't the misery and desolation of the last time he'd lost his leg, but anger at the inconvenience of it. He was, he realised, quite happy at the prospect of heading back to Earth. This time he had his family to be there with him. It would be a totally different experience to the last time, and certainly a much pleasanter one, he was sure. Despite the surgery and rehab.


To his surprise, when he finally arrived back at Loxley, after a fair amount of being shuffled from one transport to another, he found himself being loaded onto a private ambulance with a nurse.

"What the hell's going on?" he asked as she checked his leg over thoroughly. "Where are we going?"

She smiled at him. "Relax Colonel McQueen. Are you in much pain?"

"Some," he admitted, wincing as her fingers probed his knee.

"Take these," she told him, handing him two pills. "They'll ease the pain. And don't worry - they're safe for invitros."

"You didn't answer my question," he told her after swallowing the pills dry.

"We're going to Mobile. Dr. Ashbourne is flying in to see you. He's a specialist in artificial limbs, and judging by the damage to yours, he'll be replacing your foot," she told him as she strapped him in securely for the journey.

"Dr Ashbourne? He's not the guy who fitted my leg. The name's not familiar." he replied.

"I seriously doubt it! " his nurse snorted. "The military wouldn't pay out for a doctor of his calibre. I'm sure they have good doctors, but he's top of his field. And you certainly won't get an Aerotech leg."

"So how come he's coming to see me?" he asked, puzzled.

"How am I supposed to know that? I'm a nurse, not a psychic!" she laughed. "But be glad that he is, and pray your bank balance is up to it. He doesn't come cheap."

McQueen lay back. The painkillers were making him sleepy, and he needed to think.


The next time he woke up, McQueen was in a bright sunny room and Dill sat in a chair next to the bed, reading a book.

"Hey, Dill," he whispered.

"Hey, handsome," she grinned. "What have you done to yourself? Couldn't get enough of me, eh? Had to find some way to spend some more time with me?"

Ty smiled at her. "Yeah. Losing my leg seemed like a good idea at the time."

"At least you're laughing about it," she said, kissing his forehead. "Want me to help you sit up?"

"Yes, please," he answered. As she helped him upright and adjusted the bed head for him, he asked, "So, where is here?"

"Here? A private clinic in Mobile. There's a very nice doctor who's going to sort your leg out for you," she told him, sitting herself on the bed next to him. "Are you okay, Ty? Really? Other than the leg, I mean."

Seeing the worry on her face made his heart leap. "Of course I am, Dill. A bit of a concussion, and I expect I'm purple under these…" he looked down at himself, " … pyjamas. Where the hell did these come from?" he asked, horror in his voice.

"Sorry," Dill laughed. "Cameron chose them. I tried to tell him you wouldn't want bananas on your pyjamas, but…." she shrugged.

"Cameron knew what he wanted to buy," McQueen groaned. "They're awful, Dill. Really awful!"

"I know, my love. But don't tell Cameron that, will you? Wait till you see the ones Hamish chose!" she grinned. "Camels!"

Ty lay back against the pillows and closed his eyes. "Camels? God help me! Why did you take the boys with you? I'm glad Izzy's not old enough to choose - no doubt I'd be wearing flowers."

"What you have to understand, my darling, is that Cameron has been fixated on the fact that you don't have any pyjamas. So when I told them that you were poorly and had to spend time in hospital, he was worried about the pyjamas, and insisted that we buy you some." At his glare, she laughed. "Oh, come on, Ty. Bananas in Pyjamas. He loves the song - you know he does. I'm telling you, though, I've never had such a frantic shopping trip. I left Izzy with mother, and the boys and I went shopping. We only had a few hours to do it in, too."

"But camels and bananas? What the hell will people think?" he groaned.

"Well, tell them. Say your two-year-old sons chose them. Come on, Ty. Take it like a man!" she laughed.

"You don't have to be seen in them in public," Ty told her grumpily.

"Oh, stop behaving like a child!" she told him crossly. "The boys were so excited at what they'd chosen. Don't you dare spoil it for them. I'll buy you some plain ones, if you're that embarrassed!"

"It's okay. I guess I'm stuck with them," he grumbled. "Tell me, how's West? Do you know?"

"Yes, you're stuck with those pyjamas, my love, and no I don't know how Nathan is. I'll try and find out for you, okay?" Dill smiled, ruffling his hair, then laughed as he pulled his head away from her and gave her his best 'McQueen' glare. "Now, be a good boy and go back to sleep. The doctor will be around to see you later."

"I'm not tired. Tell me, who is this doctor? I've never heard of him." Ty asked her.

"He's a friend of mother's. Remember she said she'd been reading up on artificial limbs?" He nodded. "Well, mother's version of 'reading up on' means that for the past year she's been in contact with this chap. He's the top of the heap when it comes to artificial limbs. It turns out that they've been chatting away happily discussing legs, arms, feet and the like. So when we heard that you were coming back after an accident to your leg, she was on the phone in a flash. He's based in London, and he's flown out here as a favour to mother."

"The nurse said he's expensive," he told her warily, watching her face to see if she'd get cross with him.

"And I'd begrudge spending money on getting your leg fixed?" Dill glared at him. "Anyway, he's not charging a penny. He's been trying to get mother to work with him in his London clinic, and up until now she's always said no. It' a trade - he'll fix your leg and she'll work with him two days a week."

"She's doing that for me?" he asked quietly.

"Yes, she is. Despite herself, she likes you. And after all, you're father to the grandchildren she adores, not to mention the love of her daughter's life." Dill laughed, reaching to hug him. "Don't let her know that you know. She's still trying to pretend that she doesn't like you. You're part of her family now, Ty, and mother looks after her own."

"It would seem so," he smiled.

"Mind you," Dill frowned, "it does mean she'll be doing the cosmetic work on your leg. You don't mind, do you?"

The door opened and a tall, dark haired man in a pin stripe suit and small round glasses came in unnoticed by the two on the bed; this was the doctor they'd been waiting for.

"No, of course not. Though I'm not looking forward to a new leg. The rehab was a bitch last time." McQueen sighed.

The tall man stepped forward, "Colonel McQueen?" at Ty's nod he grinned "Henry Ashbourne. I'm not replacing the whole leg, just the foot from the ankle down. The rest of the leg appears undamaged, so why replace the whole thing? Of course, it won't be the same," he peered at McQueen over the top of his glasses. "It'll be much better. I'm not using that Aerotech rubbish, but a far superior design. Much easier for the nerves in your knee to deal with - less stress on them, more 'user friendly' I believe you Americans say." He smiled again. "We'll have you up and running in next to no time." The doctor frowned. "Well, not actually running per se. Not for at least six weeks. But certainly up, with crutches after a day or so, and no rehab. What a quaint word," he grinned. "You'll hardly need any. You already know how to walk, and I'm only connecting the foot to the existing leg. You'll be chasing those children of yours around before you know it. Sound okay?" he asked. "And, ah… nice pyjamas."

"Sounds fine," McQueen mumbled, damning the pyjamas. "Thank you."

"Oh, no thanks needed, I assure you. After all, what's a small favour for a friend? And I'm damned lucky to finally get Moira working with me. She'll make your leg look good. I've been trying to get her to work with me for months. Shame it took this to persuade her."

With that, he turned and left the room, leaving them staring after him.

"What an odd man," Dill finally said.

"He did seem a little...odd, yes," McQueen agreed. "I'm exhausted just listening to him."

"Right then, off to sleep for a bit, and I'll bring the children to see you later, okay?" she said, kissing his forehead.

"No, Dill," he told her, pulling her head down. "A proper kiss."

"For you, my love, anything. Anything at all." she laughed, kissing him thoroughly.

"Anything?" he asked, a twinkle in his eye.

Dill shook her head. "Honestly, Ty, you have a one track mind! Later, if that's what you really want," she told him. "After I've put the children to bed, I'll come back and see you. If this door locks, maybe you can persuade me."

"Not now, then?" he asked hopefully.

"And you tell me I'm insatiable!" she laughed. "No, Ty, not now. Go to sleep. I think you'll be needing the rest."

"I'm not tired" he complained. "And I'm not a child either, so stop talking to me like you talk to the children."

"Then stop acting like one," she told him firmly. "At least try and get some sleep. I think once the new foot is attached, they'll have you up and walking about as soon as possible. Make the most of it now. Sleep."

"Ok, ok, I'll try," he grumbled. "But I'm telling you, Dill, I'm not tired at all." He settled himself against the pillows and closed his eyes.

She waited until she was sure he was asleep, which despite his protestations wasn't long, then adjusted his headboard to lay him flat. Then with a final kiss to his forehead, she left him to sleep.


When he awoke, the blinds had been drawn, keeping out the worst of the sun's late afternoon glare. This time it was Moira sitting with him.

"Awake at last," she smiled. "Dylan said you were complaining that you weren't tired. Well, you certainly slept long enough."

"Sorry," Ty grinned, sitting up. "I must have been more tired than I realised."

"I think so," she smiled. "So, how are you feeling?"

"Fine, though I could get bored very quickly. I'm glad Dill's bringing the children in to see me," Ty paused, not sure quite how to say what he wanted to say. "Thank you, Moira." He decided a full frontal approach was best. "Thank you for doing this for me. You really didn't have to."

"Yes, I did, TC. You're family. I do the best for my family, always. Anyway, I've been dying to get my hands on that knee of yours," Moira smiled. "You'll not notice the scars when I get finished. And of course Henry Ashbourne jumped at the chance to help. He's been desperate to get me working with him, so he's doing it as a favour."

"But all this," he indicated the room. "It's a private clinic. They don't come cheap."

"Think of it as a late wedding gift." At his frown, Moira continued. "I know we only recently came to understand each other, TC, but you are my son-in-law, and I didn't get you a wedding present, so this is it. And it's better than a toaster, even if it is late."

"It's too much, Moira," he said quietly.

"No, TC, it's not. It's not enough. I know that I made Dylan's life hell when she married you. I'm hoping that this will at least atone for some of that. Not all, but some."

"It's water under the bridge." Ty told her.

"Not to Dylan, it isn't," she said softly. "Dylan will hold it against me for a very long time."

"She won't. That's not her style," he smiled.

"Oh yes, it is, TC. You've still got a lot to learn about our Dylan. When she holds a grudge, boy does she hold one. And to make matters worse, I upset her over you. That'll take a long time for her to get over. She's very protective of you. You may not have noticed it, but she is. She'd defend you to the death, if necessary, and I'm not being dramatic here. She's always been like it, even as a child. Once she's given her friendship, made her allegiance, that's it. She'll stand by your side for life. Nothing short of deliberate betrayal will sway her. She loves you and that's it. She's yours, and you are hers. Understand that well. You are hers and no one else's, ever. She'll never leave you, betray you with another man, or deliberately do anything to hurt you. She'll fight for you." Moira frowned. "What's the phrase you use? She'll 'watch your six' always, and defend you against anyone who threatens you. You don't realise how lightly Amy got off when she hit you. For Dylan, when it comes to you and the children, there is no grey. There is only black and white. You are her family, and no one messes with her family and gets away with it." At his startled look, she laughed. "Are you seriously telling me you didn't know?"

"I never really thought about it," he admitted. "Oh, I know Dill loves me. I know she'd never play around with anyone else when I'm not around. And yes, I know I'm not around often enough. But I never looked at it from her point of view." He grinned. "Of course I feel the same way. If anyone touched Dill or the kids, I'd hunt them down."

Moira smiled. "You may laugh, TC, but I'm serious. She won't smother you, but you'll always know she's there, in the background. I believe she would have made a good soldier. She fights for what she believes in, without a second thought."

"That I know," he said more seriously. "She's had to fight me several times. Once, before she had the boys, she actually hit me. Knocked me right off my feet, she was so angry with me." At Moira's steady gaze, he blushed. "I doubted her love for me. That's what it came down to, and we were still dealing with it recently. She's fought me for four years, and she's won every time. She doesn't have to fight me anymore. I don't doubt her. Not at all. Not now. It took time, but I finally accepted she's mine for life," he grinned. "And I couldn't be happier."

"Good for you," Moira smiled. "Now then," she glanced at her watch, "Dylan will be here soon with the children. Can I get you anything? Some new pyjamas, perhaps?" she laughed.

"Not you, too!" he groaned. "Cameron chose them."

"I know. He's been worrying himself that you didn't have any. He worries a lot. Lord knows where he gets it from. He's very insecure." She stared at McQueen appraisingly. "You. He gets it from you," she sighed. "Well, let's just hope that it passes. Do you know he asked me if you went away because he'd been bad? Show him differently, TC. Hamish can handle being left out. Cameron can't."

"But I haven't left him out," he said, puzzled.

"To him you have," Moira said. "Before Izzy was born, you'd go and get him up in the mornings. This time it was Izzy you went to get."

"But Cameron got himself up. He came in with us in the mornings," Ty told her.

"That doesn't matter, not to him. What he sees is you getting out of bed, leaving him, to go and get Izzy. You want Izzy, not him," she told him gently. "Or at least that's how he sees it. He's only just over two, remember."

McQueen slumped back into his pillows. "I never thought of it like that," he sighed. "I'm doing it again, aren't I? What is it with Cameron and me? First the whole separation thing, and now this. It's happening again!"

"I think it's because emotionally he's very like you. Even though they're twins, it's Cameron who looks and acts most like you. No doubt he's what you would have been like as a small child." Moira smiled at his glare. "I mean it, TC. You just admitted it's taken you this long to really believe Dylan loves you, and you're a grown man who should know better. How must it be for Cameron? Just as he's beginning to feel that you do love him after all, off you go again, for goodness knows how long, and he thinks it's his fault."

"It's too much Moira. I can't do it again," Ty whispered.

"Yes, you can, and you will," she told him firmly. "You have to. For his sake and for Dylan's."

Before she could say anything else, the door opened and in ran Cameron and Hamish, followed by Dill pushing Isobel, asleep in her buggy.

"Hey boys!" Ty smiled as Hamish clambered up onto the bed. "Need a hand, little guy?" he asked Cameron, who stood thumb in mouth, looking at him.

"Hello gorgeous," Dill grinned, parking the buggy and going to him for a kiss. "These monsters were desperate to see their daddy. I asked about Nathan for you. He's fine, Ty. They took him to the 'Toga's sickbay. He'll be up and about in a day or two."

"Thanks Dill. Coming up, Cameron?" he asked again after Dill had kissed him. "I need a kiss from you too."

Cameron nodded slowly and reached his arms up. McQueen reached over and lifted him onto the bed.

"Well, where's my kiss from my boy?" he asked. Cameron grinned and planted a soft, wet kiss on his cheek.

"Me!" Hamish exclaimed. "Kisses for daddy!"

"Come on then," he laughed, as Hamish gave him several wet sloppy kisses. "I'll get better in next to no time with all these lovely kisses."

McQueen was sitting in the bed with Cameron snuggled up close to one side of him and Hamish on the other, while Dill and Moira sat in chairs chuckling, when Dr Ashbourne opened the door and came in.

"Ah, I see the family have arrived," he smiled. "My, these boys are like you. Twins I assume. Well, come on then, let's have a look at this foot." He turned to Dill. "Perhaps you'd better take the children out for a moment. Oh my, another one asleep there in the buggy. A girl. My, she looks like her mother."

"The boys can stay," McQueen assured him. "They need to get used to the idea that I have an artificial leg. It's not gruesome, so let then see it."

Dr Ashbourne nodded. "Ah, I see. Well, let's look at it then." Lifting the covers, he stood and stared for so long that both boys scooted down the bed to see what he was looking at.

"Where's daddy's foot?" Cameron asked, puzzled.

"Gone," Hamish told him. He reached to touch what remained of the leg, now stripped of it's covering and very obviously metallic.

"Ah, no touching boys," Dr Ashbourne told them. "No touching till I've mended it. We don't want to hurt daddy, do we?"

"No," Cameron told him, his eyes wide at the thought of hurting his daddy.

"Daddy's foot?" Hamish asked.

"It's broken Hamish," McQueen told him. "I'm going to get a new one."

"New foot?" Hamish asked puzzled, looking at his own sun browned, sandaled foot.

"Ah, yes, a new foot," Dr Ashbourne told him. "Want to see it?"

"Yes!" Hamish yelled, standing on the bed. "Daddy's new foot!"

Cameron, thumb back in his mouth, simply nodded.

"Wait here, I'll go and get it." Ashbourne smiled.

"New foot?" Hamish asked McQueen as he clambered back up to him.

"Yes, Hamish. Daddy's going to get a new foot. I broke the other one, so I need a new one. Then I can walk again, and run, and carry you bad boys," Ty laughed.

"We're good boys!" Cameron told him.

"I know you are, Cameron. You're both lovely, good boys for mommy." He smiled.

"And you daddy. Good boys for you." Cameron said earnestly.

"Oh, definitely!" McQueen grinned. "Best boys in the entire world!"

"But that daddy," Dill laughed. "Oh, he's a bad boy. He's a very bad boy."

"Daddy, you jumped on the bed," Cameron said. "That's naughty."

"I know. I'm sorry, Cameron. I didn't do it again though, did I?" Ty said apologetically.

"Mummy says you're a bad boy," Cameron was confused. "Why are you a bad boy? Is it because you lost mummy's bajamas?"

McQueen looked stunned for a second or two, then laughed out loud. "Yep, that's it, Cameron. Because I lost her bajamas."

Dr. Ashbourne reappeared, carrying a large box. "Ah, who wants to see the shiny new foot?" he asked with a grin.

"Me! Me!" Hamish yelled, jumping up and down on the bed.

Cameron merely nodded and looked around for his doll. "Mummy, where's Cashus?" he asked.

"Here, darling. He's with Izzy in the buggy." Dill told him.

"Cashus wants to see daddy's new foot," he told her, reaching out for the doll.

"Here you go, darling. Don't let Cashus touch the foot though," she smiled, as she handed him the black clad doll.

Nodding, Cameron climbed down to the end of the bed, looking at the box.

"Ready?" Ashbourne asked, his eyes shining with delight.

At both the boys' and McQueen's nods, he lifted the lid, revealing a shiny metallic foot.

"This is made from a very strong steel alloy. I'll attach it easily to the remains of the Aerotech leg, and you'll actually be able to feel the foot. The microprocessors are so sensitive that once it's attached you'll be able to feel it straightaway, and it's easy to use. We spent a long time getting it right. Of course, if I was going to replace the whole leg, it would be even better. But there's no need to do that, though I might have a fiddle with the connections between your leg and the artificial one. See if I can't get the leg to perform better. You'll get much more feel to it, almost as good as a real one." He looked up at McQueen. "I'm afraid I'm rather proud of my limbs. It took us a long time to get them exactly as I wanted them, but they're perfect now. Sadly, we lost the contract to the military. They just couldn't afford us. Otherwise you'd be sporting my leg now. I'm surprised you've done as well as you have with it. Has it ever given you any problems?"

"No, not that I've noticed. It's been fine." McQueen told him.

"You'll notice the difference with this foot. It's damn flexible, too!" Ashbourne grinned. "Ah, who's this I see peeping at my foot?" he asked Cameron, who'd held his doll close to the foot to look at it.

"Cashus," Cameron told him.

"Ah, Cashus, nice name," Ashbourne told him. "What's yours?"


"Well, Cameron, I'm Henry. It's nice to meet you and Cashus." Ashbourne smiled, holding out a hand.

Cameron stared at him, and at the outstretched hand. He slowly took it to shake.

"How do you do, Cameron," Ashbourne chuckled, as Cameron extended Cashus' hand to him. "And how do you do, Cashus," he said seriously. "I must say Cameron, Cashus looks like you."

"No, Cashus looks like daddy. He has daddy's patches," Cameron told him. "And look, daddy's navel." He turned the doll to show the navel on the back of its neck.

"Ah, I see - a daddy doll. How exciting. What a lucky chap you are." he told Cameron.

"Hamish hasn't got one," Cameron told him. "He has a blankie."

"Ah, a good old blankie," Ashbourne smiled at Hamish. "Had one myself when I was young."

"It's my blankie," Hamish told him sternly, checking to make sure it was still tucked firmly into his shorts.

"Oh, I'm sure it is, young man. Mine's at home." Ashbourne laughed. "Now then, colonel, any questions about the foot?"

"How long before I can get back to active duty?"

"Typical!" Dill exclaimed. "That's all he cares about, getting back to the Saratoga!"

"I should say about two to three months," Ashbourne told him. "After the surgery, which is, by the way scheduled for tomorrow. It's three day's bed rest, and then up, on crutches to start with, walking around. You can go home after a week, and then six weeks on the crutches, even if you think you don't need them. Trust me, you do. Then maybe a couple of weeks after that if everything is fine. You won't need much in the way of rehabilitation. That we can do while you're here. Mainly it's just using it. But without too much excitement." He smiled. "You'll do fine."

"Three months! Hell, the war could be over by then!" McQueen wailed.

"Then you'll miss it, won't you?" Ashbourne said smoothly. "Of course, I could always arrange for you to be pensioned off, if you'd prefer."

"Hell no!" McQueen cried.

"Anyone would think he couldn't wait to get away from his family," Dill chuckled. "It's a good job I know different."

"Sorry, Dill," McQueen said contritely. "I didn't mean it to sound like that."

"I know, it's ok," she smiled. "Ok boys, time to go. Grandma's going to take you home and give you dinner. Behave for her and go to bed nicely."

"Mummy?" Hamish asked her. "Why you not coming?"

"Because, my lover, I'm going to stay with daddy for a while, so he won't get lonely."

"Daddy, do you want Cashus?" Cameron offered.

"Thanks, Cameron, but I think he needs you." McQueen smiled.

"Well, I'm off," Ashbourne said, smiling at the little family. "I'll see you bright and early, Colonel. Nine am sharp." He disappeared out of the door.

"Burgers, Gamma?" Hamish asked.

"Oh, my sweetheart, you'll look like a burger soon!" Moira laughed. "No, my love. How about some fishes?"

"Ooh yes, grandma, fishes!" Cameron cried. "Those little ones?"

"Yes, darling, those little ones," Moira laughed.

"The fishy place, Gamma?" Hamish asked.

"Yes, darling, I'll take you to the fishy place," Moira smiled. "Izzy likes those fishes too. Come on now, kiss daddy goodnight. We'll see him tomorrow, with his lovely new foot."

She rounded up the boys and took them and Izzy, still asleep in the buggy, off to the fish restaurant they liked so much.


For a minute Ty stared at Dill. "Well?" he finally asked.


"Does the door lock?" he smirked.

"Oh, for goodness sake, Ty!" she laughed. "You're not serious?"

"Damn straight, I am," he told her. "Go on and see if it locks."

"No," she said, shaking her head. "You're in hospital. Don't be silly."

"Excuse me? Who was it who had me locking the door after the boys were born?"

"That was different," she said, a blush rising to her face.

"How was that?" he smiled, loving the way she blushed so easily.

"It just was. I mean, I only helped you out a little there," she mumbled softly.

"That's all I'm asking you to do now," he pleaded. "Come on, Dill, please?"

Reluctantly she got up and checked the door. Locking it, she sat on the edge of the bed. Ty looked at her. "What's the matter, Dill? ,You're not normally reluctant to play around a little. What's up?" He reached out and took her hand. "Is it because of my foot?"

"No, Ty. No!" she cried. "It's not that, not at all!" She stopped. "It's just that… well…." Again, she stopped.

"So what is it then?" he pushed, squeezing her hand and pulling her to him. "Tell me, what's the matter?"

Dill snuggled into his arms and he pulled her onto his lap. She could feel his arousal pressing against her and for once she felt no response.

"I'm sorry, Ty. I just, well, I think maybe…oh, I just don't know!" she cried, clinging to him, tears rolling down her face. "I'm sorry," she sobbed, pressing her face to his chest as he wrapped an arm around her.

"It's okay," he soothed, using his free hand to gently stroke her hair. He was confused; this was not the strong capable Dill he was used to. As she sobbed in his arms he thought about what she'd gone through in the past few days. His leaving, and the pain and upset that caused. And then hearing that he was on his way home injured, not knowing though how badly and still having to deal with the children and her mother. He smiled to himself; in his arms he was holding one seriously stressed and scared Dill. For once he got to be the strong supportive, protective husband, and he liked it. He frowned. Maybe he'd just gotten used to the idea that Dill could cope with anything, and it never occurred to him that even she needed to let go sometimes. He stroked her hair and her back, gently soothing her, as his mind raced over their life together. A lot of it seemed to have been Dill soothing him, or them arguing, he realised. The few times Dill had been reduced to tears had generally followed an argument, when she was upset. He smiled. Except, of course, when she'd gone into early labour with the boys. Then he'd had to do exactly what he was doing now, holding her and telling her it would all be okay. A part of him wanted to be able to do it more often… wanted her to be a soft, helpless woman. But he knew he'd never be happy with a woman who needed looking after. That had been another nail in the coffin of his marriage to Amy. He loved Dill because although she looked so small and delicate, she was in fact a very determined woman. Strong and capable, not afraid of a challenge, and very much in love with him, despite the fact that he'd certainly presented her with a challenge or two over the past few years.

His mind otherwise occupied, he barely registered her moving in his arms. Her body slid down his as she let go her hold on him, and pushing the bedding and his pyjamas aside, she bent her head to take his cock in her mouth. He gasped as she sucked hard on him, his hands pressing her head down to take his whole length in her mouth as his hips mindlessly began to thrust of their own accord.

"Oh Christ, Dill!" he groaned as she drew her mouth up his length to slowly lick the tip. Flicking her tongue gently across the top, she swirled her tongue round and around, all the way to the base, before once again engulfing him in the hot moist depths of her throat.

He lay back and revelled in the sensations. His hands left her head and clutched at the sheets as she sucked on him long and hard, before again licking up his length to his sensitive tip, repeating the swirling with her tongue. He bucked as he felt her finger pressing against his tight opening, and groaned with pleasure as she found his prostate and began massaging it.

Before long he was groaning and mumbling, making enough noise to attract the nurses, he knew, but he couldn't help himself. As he felt his orgasm approaching he grabbed a pillow, knowing he was going to make even more noise. When he came his face was buried deep into the pillow as he screamed his release, and only after did he throw it aside as he gasped for air, his chest heaving.

Dill sat up, licking her lips. "So, feeling more comfortable now?" she grinned wickedly.

"How can you ask that?" he moaned. "You know the answer. But what about you? Are you feeling any better?"

"Oh my, yes. I enjoyed that. I love listening to you, knowing it's me making you make those noises," she giggled. "And to think you used to be so quiet when we first met."

"Well, you made enough noise for both of us." he told her, smiling.

"I like to hear you enjoying it," she grinned. "It turns me on."

"Turns you on, eh?" he sniggered. "So my guess is you're pretty turned on right about now."

"Oh, yes," she agreed.

"Then I guess I'd better do something about that," he chuckled. "Come on up here."

She kissed her way up to his face and thrust her tongue into his mouth. He eagerly sucked it in, and kissed her back until she could barely breathe. Releasing her, he flipped her onto her back and had undone her jeans before she realised what he was doing.

"Ty, no!" she gasped.

"Oh, yes," he whispered, pulling her jeans down her thighs, his fingers catching her panties and pulling them too. He positioned himself with his cock pushing at her hot, wet centre and slid into her slowly, watching her face as he did so. Her eyes flew open and she gasped.

"Oh, Ty," she moaned. "You are so bad. You really are."

"That's not what you usually say," he whispered into her ear, as he began to move inside her, slowly at first, but building up to a faster rhythm as she began to squirm underneath him.

"You want it faster?" he asked.

"Oh god, yes!" she groaned. "And harder."

"My pleasure," he whispered, speeding up and pumping harder. "Better?"

"Oh, yes," she chuckled. "That's much better, flyboy. Do it. Go on, you know you can… do it properly."

"Yes, ma'am," he smiled, hoping he could without his foot to give him the grip he needed. He reached around to hold her shoulders and began to pump harder and faster, until he was no longer holding back, but fucking her with all his strength and she was bucking up to meet each thrust. He prayed he could hold out until she came. Finally, just as he thought he could hold on no longer, he felt her body tighten around his cock, her muscles clenching as her whole body went rigid and she screamed into his neck, her hands gripping his shoulders for dear life. His own orgasm swiftly followed and he collapsed on top of her, his chest once again heaving with the effort to breathe.

"You better roll off, flyboy, so I can get up and make myself presentable before the nurses appear to see what all the noise was about." Dill giggled when she'd recovered.

"Damn! And I was so comfy, too," he moaned, moving off of her.

"Well, there's an image I won't forget in a hurry," she chuckled as she sat up and hopped off the bed, pulling her clothes back up.

"What?" he asked, puzzled.

"You laying there in your banana pyjamas, flashing yourself at me." she laughed, pointing.

Ty looked down, and blushing, tucked himself back in his pyjamas. "That's not fair," he said. "You have me at a distinct disadvantage."

"I know, my love," she giggled, kissing him. "You never wear pj's normally, so you're always hanging out."

"What a charming turn of phrase you have, Dill," he murmured. "Hanging out!"

"What can I say?" she smirked, walking to unlock the door. "I'd have thought you'd got used to my strange Scots' ways by now.

"Scots ways? Oh no, Dill. You are in a class of your own. Hell, a world of your own!" he chuckled.

"Be grateful, flyboy, that I've not made you eat haggis!" she grinned.

"Talking of eating, I'm starved," he groaned. As if to agree, his stomach growled loudly. "Do you think they ever intend to feed me in this place?"

Dill shook her head at him, smiling. "Typical marine, always thinking about your stomach. Would you like me to go and see?"

"Yes, please," he smiled. "And what's typical about being hungry? Can I help it if you made me work up an appetite?"

"Me?" she chuckled. "It was your idea!"

"Well, hell, Dill. It's been ages since I last saw you. Can I help it if you turn me on?"

"It's been two days!" she exclaimed.

"Two damn days too long," he grinned, as his stomach growled again. "Go see where my food is."

Laughing, she disappeared through the door, leaving him laying there rubbing his stomach. She wasn't gone long, returning with a tray for him.

"Here you go, flyboy. They were just coming round with food for you. I wonder if it's any better than regular hospital food, or what they serve in the officers' mess?" she said, placing the tray on the stand next to his bed.

"Well, let's see." He lifted the cover. "It looks okay, I guess."

"Ugh! You can't eat that! It looks awful," she grimaced. "Leave it; I'll go get you something. I noticed a restaurant on my way here. It's just across the street. Fancy Chinese?"

Ty smiled at her. "And you wonder why I love you. It's okay, I can eat this. There's no need to go get me anything."

She shook her head. "No, my love, you don't have to eat it."

"Dill, I'm starved. Hell, I'd even eat those worms you once joked about." he told her, picking up his fork and starting to eat. "Well, it tastes better than it looks."

"When I get you home, I'm going to make sure you eat some real food," she smiled. "Haggis?"

"Hell, no!" he laughed.

Dill sat in a chair by his bedside watching him eat. She smiled at the sight of him. His slender body was encased in the navy pyjamas, lavishly decorated with bright yellow bananas with smiley faces. Her smile widened into a broad grin as he looked up at her, his blue eyes questioning her look.

"God, I love you, Tyrus McQueen. Every inch of you, from your lovely silver hair to your artificial toes," she smiled. "And you look so cute in those pj's. I hope you'll carry on wearing them when I get you home."

He snorted and carried on eating, trying to pretend he was annoyed. But Dill knew him better than that. "I can't wait to see you in the camel ones. They're bright red, and say 'I've lived my life like a camel in the wind'!" she teased.

"Red?" he asked, his eyes wide in horror.

"Oh yes," she chuckled. "I really need to take some pictures of you like this." At his grumpy glare, she carried on. "For your kids Ty, the 58th. To let then know you're okay."

"You are not taking pictures of me in these pyjamas, and certainly not to send to the 58th, or to Glen, for that matter!" he told her sternly.

"But, Ty, you look so gorgeous in them!" she laughed.

"I'm not talking to you any more," he teased. "You're mean and evil to me. What did you do with the Dill I know and love? You're an impostor."

"If I'm an impostor, then you just cheated on your wife. She'll never forgive you," she teased him back.

Before he could reply, a nurse appeared in the doorway. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave now, Mrs McQueen. The colonel has an early start tomorrow. We need him to get plenty of rest."

Dill nodded. "Ok." She turned to McQueen. "Well, my love, I guess it's time for me to go. I'll be back in the morning, ready for when they take you in."

"You don't need to be here for that, Dill," he told her.

She looked at him carefully. "I think, my love, that I will be here early. I need to be here. If not for you, then for me. Maybe I need to hold your hand until they take you in."

"I can't think of a better way to start the day," Ty smiled at her.

"Oh, I can," she grinned. "But I'm not sure that's a good idea."

"Well, I'd be relaxed, at the very least." he chuckled.

Dill bent to kiss him. "Goodnight, my lover, sleep well." She settled him in the bed and tucked him in firmly, grinning as he laughed.

"Jeez, Dill, you'll make someone a wonderful mother one of these days!"

"Oh, be quiet and go to sleep!" she laughed, giving him one last kiss before leaving him to sleep.

Previous : Part One
Next : Part Three

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