Fallen Hero

Title: Fallen Hero
Rating: PG
Category: Drama
Summary: A journalist mourns a fallen soldier.

Kelly clutched the cap tightly as she walked through camp, tears streaming down her face. For the first time since arriving in Iraq, she did not hear the constant sounds of bombs exploding and gunfire. Her mind was too wrapped up in emotions to notice what was going on around her.

When she arrived back at camp, she was surrounded by her fellow reporters who offered condolences. She was touched by their sympathy. They were all big shot international journalists and she was just a reporter from a small Dallas newspaper, sent over after their local reserve troop was called up. She had been so excited about the opportunity but so nervous about being in the middle of a war zone. Jake was one of the first people who made her feel comfortable.

She finally managed to break away from the group and spend some time alone. She lay on her bed, tears still silently streaking her cheeks as she stared at Jakeís cap.

Her mind drifted back to the first time she met him. It was her first week in Iraq and the noises of the war and the fear of kidnapping made it difficult for her to sleep. Dawn was barely breaking when Kelly made her way to the mess tent for an infusion of caffeine. The tent was empty when she arrived, but she managed to locate the supplies she needed to brew a pot of coffee. Intent on her task, she didnít hear anyone enter the tent until a male voice spoke next to her left ear.

After cleaning up the spilled coffee and apologizing for startling her, she and Jake realized that they were from the same small town in Texas. Over the weeks they had developed a close friendship based on their shared roots. Kelly had spent a lot of time interviewing Jake and his buddies on tape. She had sent several short stories home and planned a long profile piece for when she got back to the states.

It was her last week in Iraq and she felt comfortable enough to join the guys in the field for a few hours. The opposition had been pretty quiet in their area and everyone figured it would be safe.

They were wrong.

Jake died protecting her. A few rebel troops recognized that she was a reporter and tried to take her hostage. Jake stepped in and threatened to kill them all if they didnít leave her alone. They shot him and ran.

She held his hand while he died. She told him that she would do him proud by writing a piece declaring him a hero. His dying request had been for her to return his cap to his mother as a remembrance. Kelly fully intended to grant that wish when she arrived back home.