Maggots

by Bernice

It was the maggots Donovan remembered - more than anything else in those jungles.  More than the mud, more than the guns, more than the faces of the dead; their own or their enemies.  More than a year's worth of South African jungles and Asian communist strongholds that all blurred into one fevered quest for the journalistic truth.  More than anything else he remembered the maggots.

Fist with a stick, then with his fingers Tyler had picked them from the festering wound in Donovan's thigh, first with curt words of contempt at Donovan's attempts to 'out tough' Tyler by not mentioning the small wounds, then with gruff compassion through Donovan's sickness and horror.

Of course Tyler had rejected Donovan's attempts at thanks with a lift of an arrogant brow, and had done his best to turn Donovan's stomach by chewing up and spitting out some foul smelling native plant onto the wound.  But of course Tyler had been right – he always had been, then – and the wound had healed with barely a scar.  And of course, as soon as Donovan was up and about the arguments had started again.  Tyler was back to being a prick, Donovan was reacting to every insult and snipe and they were back at each other's throats. 

Yet, tagging through the jungles after the solid cynical tank that was Ham Tyler at War, Donovan remembered the maggots and the gentleness, warm brown eyes and a deep musical voice.  

He wondered if he was the only human being ever who had ever come to associate maggots with falling in love.