The read out was two minutes to o-five hundred when he spotted his assistant and the scout rounding the end of the mess hall.
Fane went to line up with the other men to await their orders. Today was their physical assessment test. Why they had a scout here from the Punjab was anyone’s know-how. The assistant handed Zephyr a clipboard for roll. In the rising sun, Fane’s eyes fell on the scout. Glowing platinum hair, back lit by streaks of red and purple, framed olive skin and dark brown eyes.
Fane’s throat went dry and his heart stuttered at an unnatural rhythm. A deafening roar like a train crashed through his ear drums. His chest constricted, and a clench of pain ran straight through his side. Suddenly, he was not so stable.
Zephyr, ever an eye on Fane, waited as his assistant began roll call. “Here, sir,” Fane saluted Zephyr, though the pain in his side zipped straight up into his shoulder when he finally got his hand up high enough for a proper greeting.
“Are you alright, Anson?” the assistant asked. Fane, maintaining his salute was cringing, wishing the assistant would finish roll call. “Yes, sir,” he gasped, failing to hide the pain anymore.
A lilting tenor Indian-British accent carried across the field to call him out, “Step out of line, Sergeant.” He flinched at the derisive tone in the Punjabi scout’s voice. He snapped his eyes to Zephyr, pulling in a struggling breath through gritted teeth. Zephyr cast a quick curious glance at the scout and nodded slightly to Fane. “Sir!” Fane eased himself out of his column and made his way to the front to stand behind Zephyr while the rest of roll was called. With roll call finished, Zephyr signaled the assistant to follow the men off to start their timed run.
Everyone had exited the field to start their run on the track. Zephyr turned to Fane and slapped his hand against his forehead. “Dude, you’re burning up!” Zephyr whispered fiercely at Fane. “I’m fine, Chief,” Fane placated, brushing Zephyr’s hand off his forehead.