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The Calm Before the Storm (Part 2)
The sun was barely over the horizon before Aramis was up, and preparing for the day's upcoming events. He glanced out the restroom door to see Porthos, still sound asleep. The marksman laughed as he walked over to his bed, grabbing a pillow to throw at his unsuspecting victim.
"Porthos, get up! We have roll call in 20 minutes." Aramis laughed as he threw the pillow at his friend, hitting him in the head. Porthos let out a small growl as he turned to look at the clock muttering under his breath.
"Why didn't ya wake me earlier Mis?" The street fighter moaned.
"I thought you could use your beauty rest my friend, today is the big day you know" Aramis replied with a wink. Porthos growled as he stood up to stretch out his muscles, and walked towards the bathroom to shower.
"I 'ope ya didn't use all the hot water, ya know I hate cold showers," Porthos said glaring at Aramis over his shoulder before he closed the door.
"Don't worry Mon Ami, there should still be some left," Aramis replied, laughing as he heard Porthos's muffled curses through the bathroom door.
"Well, maybe not," He laughed.
Porthos shivered as he exited the restroom, and crossed the room to his bed. "Thanks for usin' all the hot water Mis," He huffed sarcastically, "I'm freezin!" Aramis laughed as he looked himself over in the mirror.
"What can I say, my friend; perfection takes time, and a considerable amount of hot water," the marksmen cooed, turning to wink at the larger man before turning back to admire his reflection with a sigh. "We must make one last visit to the Garrison tonight Porthos, we ship out tomorrow."
"Sounds good to me Mis," Porthos replied. "Ya think we'll be able to slip out?"
"Of course, my friend. We will have a marvelous time tonight, and maybe find ourselves some charming company," Aramis responded with a sly smile. "Now come, we don't want to be late for the new Lieutenant," he replied as he crossed the room to the door, with Porthos close behind.
They exited the barracks and went to get in line with the rest of the men. Aramis had the extreme misfortune of standing behind one of the taller men in the unit.
"Figures!" Aramis whispered to Porthos. "I can't see anything!" Porthos laughed under his breath and turned to answer his friend.
"Well if you had taken less time in the shower, we would have gotten here first," Porthos chuckled. The sound of their Captain hushed the quiet chatter of the men, his commanding voice echoing off the barracks walls.
"Good morning gentlemen, I trust you've all had a good night's rest. Today we will be briefing on our ship out, and area of encampment, I will let Lieutenant Athos fill you in." The Captain stood back, allowing his Lieutenant to step forward to address the men.
"Good day gentlemen," The Lieutenant began. "My name is Lieutenant Olivier De Athos, I will be replacing your former Lieutenant Rochefort. Tomorrow, we will be landing in Kandahar and shipping out to the closest military base, to aid in the humanitarian efforts and to gather intelligence on recent enemy movements in the area. We will also be aiding the civilians in need of medical care, and supplies."
At the sound of the Lieutenant's dry tone and articulate speech, Aramis's' heart jumped into his throat. He tried to peek around the tall man in front of him to see the identity of the familiar voice. The shocked look on the marksman's face did not slip by Porthos.
"Wha' is it Aramis? What's wrong?" The private asked placing a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder. Aramis turned to look at the street fighter, a look of shock still plastered on his face.
"That him!" The Medic hissed. "That's the man from last night!" Aramis took another look at the Lieutenant to see a pained look on his face, and his arms held protectively at his sides. "I told him to take it easy today." Aramis angrily muttered under his breath.
"Are ya sure Mis? Are ya sure it's 'im?"
"I'm positive, Porthos. My lord if he sees me, he could tell the captain I snuck out to the Garrison last night. I'll be doing KP for a month!" Porthos laughed under his breath and slapped Aramis on the shoulder.
"I wouldn't worry bout it Mis," Porthos replied. "He was probably too busy with those thugs and his injury to remember what you looked like." Aramis sighed and returned to his position, just as the Lieutenant finished his briefing and returned to stand next to the Captain.
"We have one day before ship out men, be ready to leave at 0700 tomorrow," The Captain ordered, turning to head back to his office. "Porthos, Aramis, My office now! The Captain yelled over his shoulder. Aramis and Porthos exchanged worried glances.
"Or maybe he did tell the Captain about our encounter, and I'm doomed to trash duty for the rest of my tour" Aramis moaned.
"Let's just go an' see what he wants then Mis" Porthos laughed.
Aramis and Porthos slowly made their way to the Captain's office. Pausing outside the door before entering. "What do you think this is about?" Aramis asked, looking to his friend with a nervous glance.
"He probably wanted to introduce us proper, seein as we were the ones askin' so many questions bout the new Lieutenant," Porthos replied with a grin.
"I hope you're right my friend," Aramis stated apprehensively as he turned the knob to enter Trevilles office.
"Ah, Porthos, Aramis. Come, sit down please," the Captain stated. The Captain was seated at his desk with the Lieutenant behind him, arms still held protectively at his sides. His pained expression not escaping the trained eyes of the Medic.
Aramis cast a wary glance at the Lieutenant; looking for any sign of recognition. Athos stared back at Aramis with an indiscernible look, leaving Aramis with an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.
"Well gentlemen," The Captain stated. "This is Athos, the man you were asking so many questions about. Do either of you have any questions for him before you both start your preparations for deployment?" Aramis and Porthos exchanged worried glances before answering the Captain.
"No sir Cap'n" Porthos replied. "
"What about you Aramis?" The Captain asked. "No questions?"
"No sir" Aramis stated. Taking another cautious glance at the Lieutenant, and returning to his feet. "If you will excuse me, Captain, I have much to prepare before we ship out." Aramis saluted the captain before turning on his heel to head for the door, Porthos close behind. Taking one last look at the Lieutenant before leaving.
"I'm almost positive he recognized me," Aramis whispered once they were safely outside. "I wonder why he didn't tell the Captain?"
"I would jus' be grateful he didn't tell 'im" Porthos laughed. "I'm gonna head over to the mess hall for breakfast 'fore I do anything. Come on Mis."
The duo entered the mess hall and sat down at their favorite table waving at their favorite cook before taking their seats.
"I have to work a few hours at the shop, 'fore I pack for the move-out," Porthos said, looking over Aramis to eye the old cook, mentally willing the old man to bring him his breakfast.
"I have nothing to do today for once," Aramis replied. "I'm gonna pack, and get ready for our fun tonight." "Hopefully, we will have one night without anyone getting hurt." Porthos rubbed his hands together in excitement as he spotted Serge bringing the two men their trays.
"All I know is, I'm gonna enjoy my breakfast and worry 'bout the rest o' the day later," Porthos replied. Digging into his morning meal with delight. Aramis laughed, slapping his friend on the back as he got up to leave.
"I'm afraid I've lost my appetite, my brother. I think I will go and spy on our new Lieutenant Athos. I'm worried he won't follow my advice and injure himself further," The medic replied.
"Fine by me," Porthos mumbled. "I hope he doesn't get annoyed with ya and tell the Captain about your visit to the bar last night."
"Even if he does, I will eventually think of a way to get out of it," Aramis replied with a laugh. "At any rate, I'm still worried about his injuries. He seems like the kind of man to downplay his wounds."
"You 'ave fun with that Mis, I'll see ya back at the barracks later," The street fighter replied in between bites of food. Aramis shook his head and laughed as he turned to leave the mess hall.
"Now, if I were new here, Aramis asked himself. "Where would I go first?" The marksman ran a hand through his hair, peering around the base. "Ah, I know!" He thought to himself. "He's probably in some pain from yesterday, I'll bet he's at the pharmacy." With that thought, the marksman took off across the compound towards the base pharmacy, intent on discovering the whereabouts of their mysterious new Lieutenant.
When he arrived, the pharmacy parking lot was almost empty. With no sign of the black Mustang, Aramis noticed the Lieutenant drive away in the night before. The Medic entered the small pharmacy anyway, determined to find out if Athos had been there or not.
Upon entering the drugstore, Aramis caught a glimpse of the elusive Lieutenant near the rear of the store, conversing with one of the stores' employees. Aramis ducked out of sight, hiding behind a shelf, near the store front; the female clerk at the register giving the marksman a confused glare. Athos, finding what he had come for, approached the register and placed his purchase on the counter. Not seeming to notice Aramis watching him from behind some well-placed merchandise.
"Will this be all for you today sir?" The clerk asked as she scanned the items and placed them in the bag.
"That will be all thank you," The Lieutenant curtly replied as he handed the clerk the money for his purchase. The Lieutenant grabbed his bag and left the building, seemingly not noticing Aramis crouching behind the aisle closest to the register. Aramis returns to his feet, quietly following Athos outside, turning to wink at the woman at the register before he left the store.
Athos slowly made his way across the parking lot, his arm again held protectively at his injured side. Slowly making his way back across the base towards the officers' quarters, looking around at his surroundings, not noticing Aramis following a few steps behind.
"Crazy fool," Aramis whispered to himself. "I told him to take it easy. Why is he walking everywhere?" He followed the Lieutenant for eight blocks before he saw the wounded man turn down the street leading to the officers' residence. Aramis quickened his pace, afraid he would lose his quarry. As he rounded the corner, a hand appeared and grabbed him by the collar and pushed him against the building wall. Aramis gave a small cry of surprise before he noticed who it was that was restraining him.
"Why are you following me?" The Lieutenant asked in a dry tone, stepping back and releasing the Medic from his grasp. Aramis straightened his shirt collar and turned to look at the injured man.
"I was worried for your safety after your little brawl last night. I must admit, I was surprised to see you," Aramis replied, taking a step closer towards the man. "Why didn't you tell the Captain about our little encounter last night?" Athos turned his back to the Medic and gave an annoyed sigh.
"If I had told him about our unfortunate meeting, he would have known I was injured and he would have sent me to the base hospital. I do not need, nor require the attention." The Lieutenant turned to look at the Medic, his intense glare causing Aramis to become nervous. "And you do not deserve the punishment that information would cost." Athos turned and started walking towards the officers' quarters, signaling the end of their conversation.
"Oh no, you don't!" Aramis yelled. Catching up with the Lieutenant and grabbing him by the shoulder. "If you're not going to the base hospital, at least let me look at your wound to see how it's doing, we don't want an infection do we?" Athos grumbled under his breath, turning back towards his quarters.
"Fine, but only this once and then the matter is closed, Understood?"
"Crystal clear," Aramis replied with a grin. He followed the Lieutenant up the steps of the small building, waiting for him to open the door.
Once inside he stole a glance at the dismal surroundings of the small home. There was only a small folding table in the corner of the room, with a single chair folded against the wall. A small stack of boxes was set in the corner, next to the fireplace, which looked like it hadn't been used in years. The air was thick with dust, the light coming through the dirty window, gleaming on the dust particles floating through the air.
"Charming place," Aramis laughed as went to grab the chair for the injured man. "Here sit down, let me look at that wound." Athos rolled his eyes as he sat down, removing his shirt so the medic could inspect the injury.
"I just moved in," the Lieutenant replied, hissing in pain as Aramis checked his ribs. "I haven't had a chance to clean up." Aramis cast a worried glance at the large purple bruise covering the Lieutenants side.
"No judgments here my friend," Aramis replied picking up the bag Athos had left by the door. "Is this all you bought? Pain medicine? You should have bought some fresh bandages to cover that stab wound, Aramis replied with an exasperated sigh. I'll run back to the store and grab some, you wait right here." Aramis replied, turning to head out the door.
Aramis ran back to the pharmacy, wishing he had brought his car instead of choosing to walk. He located the required items and quickly paid before leaving the store. Winking at the cashier as he left. When he returned the chair was empty and Athos nowhere to be found. Aramis angrily muttered under his breath before a sound from the kitchen caught his attention. Aramis entered the kitchen to see Athos standing at the window, holding a glass of water.
"I told you to stay still," The Medic huffed with no real heat behind his words.
"I needed a glass of water for the pain pills." The Lieutenant replied casually, turning back to look out the window.
"Well, let's go back and sit down so I can change the dressing," The medic requested turning around to head back to the sitting room. Athos returned to his seat, watching Aramis prepare the dressing.
"How does the side feel? Any change in the level of pain?" The Medic asked, looking up to view his patients face. Athos stared straight ahead, not looking at Aramis before he answered.
"The pain is manageable," He replied jumping in surprise as the Medic quickly removed the old bandage.
"Well, it looks like it's healing nicely. Just so long as you take it easy for a week or two, I don't see why it won't heal perfectly fine," Aramis replied. Sitting back on his heels to examine the large bruise. "I have some salve I can put on this, to help with the pain, I make it myself." Athos looked at the medic in surprise.
"Where do you get the ingredients to make it?" He asked. Aramis looked down at his hands sheepishly.
"I grow medicinal herbs in the woods behind our barracks," Aramis replied. "Modern medicine has come a long way, but there's still a thing or two they could learn from nature," He continued. Returning to his feet to complete his examination of the Lieutenant's shoulder. Aramis redressed the wound and grabbed the homemade salve from his coat pocket; gingerly rubbing some on the large bruise.
"Well, that should keep for a while, I would replace that bandage tonight before you go to sleep, make sure to keep it clean, "the Medic ordered. Athos returned to his feet and followed the Medic to the door to see him out. Aramis paused at the door, turning back to look at the Lieutenant with a questioning gaze.
"You knew who I was last night, didn't you?" He asked. "That's why you weren't surprised to see me today, am I right?" Athos looked at Aramis, quirking his eyebrow before he reached over to open the door to usher Aramis out.
"Of course, I did. I memorized the faces of every man in the unit. I like to know who I'm working with," Athos stated before closing the door. Aramis, paused on the doorstep, shocked by the revelation of knowledge from the Lieutenant. As he turned to leave, the door opened just enough for Aramis to see the Lieutenant's face.
"Thank you, Corporal, for your help," he quietly whispered before closing the door again. Aramis laughed in disbelief, turning slowly walk back to the barracks. Thinking about the day's events, and pondering the quiet generosity of the new Lieutenant.
As he returned to the barracks Porthos was just returning from his work at the garage.
"There 'e is!" Porthos said with an excited yell. "You ready for a night out on the town?" The street fighter asked with excitement. Aramis laughed at his friend's enthusiasm.
"My friend, I was born ready. Let's go, we can take your car today." Aramis smirked looking over at Porthos.
"I thought you didn't like my car Mis', Porthos laughed, grabbing his keys from the trunk by his bed.
"Well, I'm willing to risk the possibility of engine trouble for a night out with a good friend," Aramis smiled. "Besides, I just had my car washed and I don't want to get it dirty. I already have it stored in my garage." Porthos shakes his head and laughs.
"Whatever Mis, come on let's go." Porthos grabs his coat from the rack and heads out the door, heading to an old beaten up truck parked not far away from the barracks exit. He gets in the old truck and attempts to start the ancient engine. Turning the key a few times before the engine roars to life. Aramis climbs in beside Porthos and gives him a wary look.
"I hope we make it to town in this thing," the marksman moans. "We are 20 miles from everywhere, I don't feel like walking 20 miles tonight."
"Do ya want to take your car instead?" Porthos asked with an annoyed huff.
"No, no my friend. I trust your impeccable skills as a mechanic, let's go." Porthos growled under his breath, putting the truck in gear before he turned the truck towards the highway.
They got to town safely, to Aramis' surprise. When they arrived at the bar, it was much busier than the night before. Porthos cursed under his breath as he circled the parking lot searching for a place to park, finally locating one at the far end of the lot. Aramis exited the vehicle, checking his reflection in the mirror before closing the door. Porthos made sure to lock the doors before they took off across the lot towards the entrance.
"Looks busy," Porthos groaned. "I was hopin' it would be quiet."
"Don't worry my friend," Aramis replied. "Tonight, is a night free of stress and responsibility, just sit back and enjoy the night." Porthos laughed, shaking his head as he reached the door and entered the bar. The two friends located an empty table near the front, and sat down, waving at the closest waitress to come take their order.
The night passed without incident, the thugs from the night before, nowhere to be found. Aramis and Porthos stayed a few hours. Talking and playing pool with some of the locals. A few hours into their night, Aramis noticed a few police officers come in and start talking to the bartender. His curiosity got the better of him as he snuck closer to over hear what the officers were asking the bartender.
"Would you be able to identify the perps who assaulted your employee yesterday evening," The officer asked, turning to whisper something to his partner. The bartender scratched his head and looked towards the ceiling. Trying to recall the descriptions of the two men from the day before.
"I believe so officer," The bartender replied. "Do you have the men in custody? You know they also stabbed one of my customers yesterday, they really tore up my bar too." The officer nodded his head and turned back to face the bartender.
"Yes sir, he has already come in and made a statement. We just need one from you to wrap up the case," the officer replied. "Would you be able to come in and make a statement for the record? The officer asked. Aramis turned away, losing interest in the rest of the conversation.
"So, Athos has already come and made a statement to the authorities. Aramis thought. "At least those criminals are in jail." Aramis returned to the table and finished his drink, watching Porthos win yet again in a poker game against some of the bar's patrons.
"Having fun Mon Ami?" Aramis asked with a mischievous grin on his face. "I do believe we have to be going. If you remember we have to be ready to ship out by 0700 tomorrow." Porthos laughed as he collected his winnings.
"Whatever ya say, Mis," Porthos replied. "I made a killin tonight!" Aramis laughed as he returned to his feet, swiping a few bills from his friend's hand as he walked passed.
"Then you won't mind paying our tab for the night," Aramis replied with a laugh, ignoring the angry growl from Porthos. Aramis paid the tab, and gave a generous tip to the bartender before he turned to leave, smiling at one of the female patrons before he left the building. Porthos laughed and shook his head as he followed his friend out into the night.
"How many numbers ya get tonight Romeo?" Porthos asked with a laugh.
"Only a few, Aramis replied with a smirk. "Sadly, I won't have time to pursue where they might lead my friend. I don't even know how long we'll be gone," Aramis said with a sigh. Porthos laughed as he got into his truck, starting the old engine as Aramis hopped in beside him.
"Don't ya worry Miss," Porthos laughed. "I'm sure they'll still be here when we get back."
"I'm sure you're right my friend," Aramis laughed.
Porthos turned the ancient truck back towards the highway, shocks creaking as he went over the speed bump at the parking lot exit. They drove in content silence for a few miles, slowly making their way out of town and back towards the base. Porthos drove in silence, the soft hum of the engine and the quiet of the night lulling him into a stupor. He was pulled from his daze by the flashing of hazard lights on the side of the road. He slowed down to see a sleek black mustang parked on the side of the road, one side propped up by a jack. Tire missing, driver nowhere to be found. Porthos pulled up ahead of the Mustang and turned on his hazard lights as he exited his truck Aramis was out before the truck came to a stop, running to the driver side of the Mustang. Aramis quickly searched the inside of the vehicle, seeing no one he searched the area and looked back at Porthos.
"This is Athos's car. There are tools everywhere, but he's nowhere to be found. I didn't see him walking back to town either." The Medic replied, running his hands through his hair and looking once more around the area.
"Relax Mis," the street fighter replied. "I'm sure he just got a ride back to base or somethin'."
"No, no he wouldn't just have left his car here, something is wrong," Aramis replied, turning to face his friend with a worried look in his eyes. "I can feel it."
Porthos sighed and joined his friend in searching the area. "The tools are lying everywhere, and the spare is all the way down there in the ditch," Porthos stated. "Looks like there was a fight here Mis, either tha' or he was really mad bout changin a tire." Aramis sighed and started walking back to the truck.
"I'm going to grab a flashlight and look for him. He couldn't have gotten far on foot." Aramis replied. Porthos nodded his head in agreement as Aramis came back with the flashlight. The duo searched the area with the flashlight and saw footprint leading off into the woods.
"You see all these prints here?" Aramis pointed out, stopping to get a better look at the footprints. "It looks like at least three men were here, maybe more, and they were dragging something." He looked out into the forest and then back at Porthos. "I think if we follow these prints they will lead us to our missing Lieutenant."
Porthos growls and looks back at his truck, then wearily stares into the dark, foreboding forest. "Well, what're we waitin for then?" The big man replied. As he grabs the flashlight from his friend and heads into the trees.
The duo followed the tracks for a mile or two until a faint light, and distant laughter ahead caught their attention. The sound of raucous laughter grew louder as the two men got closer. They each hid behind a large tree, carefully peering in the clearing where the light and noise was coming from. Four large men were sitting around a fire laughing and drinking cheap beer. One of the men returned to his feet and walked to a large tree behind him. Aramis realized with horror that their missing friend was tied to the large tree, his head facing the ground, messy hair covering his eyes. The man approached the unconscious Athos and kicked him in the ribs.
"Wake up!" He growled. Wouldn't want you to miss all the fun." He punched the wounded man in the face and turned back to face his friends sitting at the fire. "Nobody messes with our friends and gets away with it. They're in jail because of you!" He screamed, turning back around to deliver another kick to the Lieutenant's ribs. Athos growled and raised his head to face his attacker.
"They are in jail because they were idiots," The Lieutenant replied, staring at his accuser with fire in his eyes "I'm actually quite surprised it took this long for them to be arrested." The large man howled in anger and punches his captive in the face again, eliciting a painful groan from the wounded man, before he went limp.
"We have to do something!" Aramis whispered to Porthos. Watching in horror at the scene unfolding before him.
"What do we do?" Porthos replied. "We don't have anything to use as a weapon." Aramis sighs and looks over at his friend.
"Then we will just have to take them by surprise, my friend. I'm afraid they will kill him before we can find a sufficient weapon." Aramis turns back to peer out into the clearing, then turns back to Porthos. "I'm gonna circle around and attack from behind. You wait for my signal, then attack from the front."
Porthos nods his head, mouthing "Be careful" to his friend before Aramis quietly sneaks off into the trees.
Five minutes pass with no sign from the marksman. Porthos grows worried and contemplates going to search for his friend before the distinct sound of an owl shatters the night. Porthos takes a deep breath before rushing into the clearing, taking the four men by surprise. Aramis suddenly appears from behind a tree, wielding a large branch. The marksmen quickly take's out one of the men sitting closest to him. Knocking him unconscious with the large branch.
Porthos quickly takes down his opponent with an uppercut to the jaw, sending him flying into the trees, landing in an unconscious heap on the forest floor. "two down, two to go" he growls, as he picked up another man and throws him into a large thorn bush. "One to go." The street fighter growled. Aramis laughs as he quickly overpowers his opponent, knocking the man lifeless with the branch. The Medic drops his weapon and quickly drops to his knees in front of their unconscious friend, leaving Porthos to round up the four thugs.
Aramis quickly unties the wounded man, carefully laying him back to lean against the tree. "Athos! Athos, can you hear me?
Athos slowly opens his eyes, Aramis's face slowly coming into focus. "Where did you come from?" the Lieutenant asked in a shaky voice.
"You were lucky Porthos and I were passing by my friend." Aramis replied as he returned to his feet. "those bandits would have killed you if we hadn't come along. Aramis took a seat next to Porthos by the fire. Porthos and I were on our way back to Paris when we saw your horse on the road.
"Paris? Horse? What are you talking about?" The Lieutenant groaned, squinting at the Medic to make sure he was being serious.
"You must have been hit harder than I thought," Aramis replied, stepping over to examine his friends' injuries. "Captain Treville sent you to deliver a message to the Comte De Bordeaux. When you never returned, Porthos and I grew worried and came to look for you." Athos leaned over to get a better look at the two men. Aramis was seated by the fire, with Porthos next to him. Both were wearing leather jackets, with leather pauldrons on their left shoulders. The light of the fire glinting off the decorative fleur de lis branded into the leather. Aramis was wearing a hat with a decorative feather embellishing the side. Athos closed his eyes and ran a hand through his hair, worried his mind was playing tricks on him.
"This feels familiar," He thought. He knew and remembered he had only met these two men recently. But his heart told him he had known them for a lifetime. Like a memory, just at the edge of his reach, but was unable to grab. "Am I hallucinating?" He asks. Looking at the Medic, suddenly becoming light headed. His vision grew fuzzy, and his ears rang. Blocking out the noises of the forest around him. As his vision darkened as he willingly gave in to the call of the beckoning darkness, falling unconscious into the arms of his worried comrade.
Aramis caught the unconscious Lieutenant as he suddenly went limp and slumped to the side. "Porthos, we need to get him back to the truck," the Medic stated worriedly. "Those swine broke his ribs and tore open his shoulder wound again. I believe he might also have a slight concussion, he asked me if he was hallucinating. Can you carry him back to the truck my friend?"
"Sure, thing Mis," the big man replied, as he carefully scooped the wounded man into his arms. Aramis removed his shirt and folded it, placing it over the bleeding shoulder wound.
"Try to keep him as straight as possible Mon Ami, I need to see how bad his ribs are." Aramis stated. "I don't want to add a punctured lung to his list of injuries.
When they got back to the truck, Porthos softly placed his charge into the bed of the truck, while Aramis went to grab the first aid kit from the cab. "I'm glad I always keep a well-stocked kit," Aramis thought. "Always pays to be prepared." Aramis returned with the kit and jumped in the back next to Athos, lifting his shirt to check his ribs.
"How bad is it Aramis?" The street fighter asked, stepping closer to get a better look.
"His ribs are almost definitely broken," the Medic answered. "We're going to have to be extremely careful on the drive back." He looked at his cell phone, hoping to call ahead and alert the base hospital of their situation. "Mierda," He muttered under his breath. "No service." "Do you have any service, my friend?" The marksmen asked, looking at Porthos with a hopeful gaze. Porthos shook his head in reply, prompting a hiss of annoyance from the Medic. "Great!" Aramis muttered. "What else could go wrong." Aramis removed the now bloody shirt from their comatose Lieutenant, noticing with relief the bleeding had slowed enough so he could re-stitch the wound.
After he was done, he spread some salve over the wound before covering it with a bandage. He then spread the remaining salve over his patient's injured ribs and lowered his shirt. "That should hold him steady for now. But we gotta get him back to base. Porthos, I'll stay back here with him, you drive us home."
"You go' it Mis," Porthos answered. Jumping in the truck, and inserting the key to start the engine. The old engine turned over once before smoke started pouring from the hood. Porthos hissed under his breath and jumped out to assess the damage.
"What's going on up there Porthos?" The Medic asked, peeking his head around the cab of the truck to get a better view of his friend.
"That's why ya never ask if it can get worse!" Porthos yelled. "I think we blew a gasket Mis, I can't fix this here, I don't have the right parts." Aramis ran a shaky hand through his hair.
"We're gonna have to walk Porthos, at least far enough to get a bar or two on our cells." A movement to his side caught his attention. He turned to see Athos trying to sit up, his breath coming out in short pained gasps with the small action.
"Help me out of here," he hissed. "I can make it back to base, my ribs are injured, not my legs." The Lieutenant slowly tried to inch his way to the edge of the truck, biting his lip to stifle a groan as he felt his ribs shift.
"Oh no you don't," Aramis responded, grabbing the shoulder of the wounded man to stop him from moving. "You're in no condition to be wandering off into the night."
"Well, we won't get anywhere if we just sit, here will we?" The Lieutenant hissed, turning to glare at the Medic. "I'm afraid we have no choice," he replied, inching the last few feet to the edge of the truck, and carefully returning to his feet with a groan. Aramis cursed under his breath and jumped out of the truck. Coming around the side to stand in front of the engine with his friend.
"Are you sure it can't be fixed?" The marksmen asked.
"I'm sure Mis," Porthos replied with a sigh. "I'm gonna have to have 'er towed when we get back to base." Aramis sighed and grabbed his bag and jacket from the cab.
"Looks like we're walking then," he moaned. Running to catch up with their wounded friend, who had already started walking back to base ahead of them. "Hey, wait for us!" He yelled, catching up to the swordsman and grabbing his uninjured arm. "Now, if you start to feel light headed, or need to rest, let me know and we'll stop."
"Noted," the swordsman replied, looking back at the Medic with an annoyed glare.
"When we get back, you WILL be going to the base hospital, no exceptions," the Medic ordered. Athos cursed under his breath, nodding his head in acceptance. They only made it a few miles before the injured man needed to rest. Aramis found a level place not far from the road and lead his friend carefully off the highway and helped him sit down and lean against a large tree. They sat in silence before Aramis asked the question that had been nagging at him since his patient first regained consciousness. "Why did you ask if you were hallucinating?" He asked. "And furthermore, how did those men find you?" Athos sighed, closing his eyes and leaned his head back against the tree.
"I went to make a statement to the police about the events of last night," the Lieutenant answered. "On the way back, I got a flat tire. They happened upon me while I was changing it."
"It seems we're all on the wrong side of lady luck recently," Aramis laughs. What about the hallucination?" the Medic asks, looking at his friend with concern. Athos turns his head away, focusing his gaze on the horizon.
"Do you ever feel that you've known someone your whole life, but you just can't remember," Athos whispers. "The memory of them just beyond your grasp lost in the recesses of your mind. Like a dream, you cannot remember." Aramis leans over into the line of sight of the Lieutenant.
"Come again?" He asks, now worried for his friend's mental state.
"Nothing," Athos replies, as he carefully returns to his feet, wanting to continue their journey back to base. Aramis shakes his head in frustration, casting a worried glance to Porthos. Following behind the stubborn Lieutenant as they returned to the road.
They continued in silence, the events of the past few days finally taking their toll on the weary men. They reached their barracks just before dawn, exhausted from the journey. Aramis carefully lead Athos to his bunk while Porthos called a tow truck for his automobile.
"We ship out in a few hours my friend, I'm going to take you to the base hospital," the Medic states, taking out his cell to order a car for transport. Athos raises his hand and grabs the phone from the Medic, causing the Aramis to growl in annoyance.
"I will not be the reason for a delay in deployment," Athos huffs. "I will rest here until it is time to go, then we will board the carrier as per orders." Aramis curses under his breath at the Lieutenants unending stubbornness.
"You need to be seen by a physician my friend. There could be further damage we don't know about." The Medic stated as he walked over to sit on the edge of the bed.
"We have maybe two hours before we have to leave," Athos answered. "We simply have no time to waste at the hospital. They will just tell me what you are saying now, take it easy." With that last statement, the injured Lieutenant got up and tried heading for the door. Stopping short as Porthos blocked the exit.
"Where do ya think you're goin'?" Porthos growled. "Mis said you can't go anywhere." Athos looked at the big man with an annoyed glare.
"I have to pack my things before we leave," Athos dryly replied as he slipped past the streetfighter and opened the door. Aramis ran out after him and grabbed his uninjured arm.
"If you insist on being this bull headed, then I will go pack your things for you while you rest here. Do we have a deal?" Athos quirked an eyebrow and nodded, turning to head back to the barracks. Aramis quickly headed to the officers' quarters where Athos was staying. Taking the opportunity to snoop around his new friends' home, hoping to find any interesting info on the new Lieutenant. The room looked just as before, the light from the street lamps outside casting eerie shadows on the walls. Aramis searched the dark room for a lamp. Cursing under his breath when no lamp could be found, using his small cell phone for light. "There has to be a light switch around here somewhere," He whispered to himself.
Finally finding the desired switch, he smiled to himself as he switched it on, illuminating the small room with light. He searched a few boxes, looking for a suitcase, or bag to put Athos's belongings in, checking his watch to make sure he had enough time.
Finally finding a small overnight bag in the hall closet, he set out to grab everything he thought his injured friend might need. When he was done he took one last look around the area and looked through a few other boxes to make sure he didn't forget anything. In the bottom of the last box was an old picture of their mysterious new friend. He was wearing an expensive tuxedo and an uncharacteristic smile. He looked younger and free. To his left, was a woman wearing a beautiful white wedding dress. But her face was blacked out, obscuring her identity. "Strange," Aramis thought as he carefully put the picture back and closed the box.
When he returned, Porthos was sitting on his bed watching the injured man sleep. "Got everythin' Mis?" Porthos asked, grabbing his own bag and placing it by the door.
"I believe so. So, how is our patient hmm?" The Medic asks stepping closer to the bed to examine the sleeping man.
"The patient is fine," Athos states in an annoyed tone, moving his legs over the edge of the bed and attempting to stand. Pausing to catch his breath as his ribs shifted with the movement. Aramis looked at his friend with worry and helped him to his feet.
"I believe I found everything you will need for the journey," Aramis sighs. "You don't have much."
"I like to travel light," the weary man replies. "It's easier that way." Aramis shakes his head and helps the injured man out the door, Porthos close behind. When they finally made it to the carrier, Athos was sagging against Aramis, breaths coming out in short pained gasps. Aramis ground his teeth in frustration, and helped his friends onto the plane and into his seat. Taking the seat directly across from the wounded man to keep an eye on him.
As the plane takes off, Athos bites his lip to keep from crying out in pain, gripping the arms of his seat until his knuckles turn white. Porthos leans over to whisper in the ear of the worried Medic.
"What're we gonna do when we get there Mis?" Porthos whispers. "He's in no condition to do anythin',"
"He WILL take it easy until he heals properly, or so help me, I will tie him down myself…stubborn fool!" Porthos leans back into his seat, laughing under his breath.
After a few hours, Athos seemed to be settling in for the ride, being very careful not to inadvertently aggravate his injured ribs, suddenly the voice of the pilot over the intercom broke the men from their quiet contemplation.
"Sorry to bother y'all. This is captain Travis speakin." His southern drawl showing clearly through the intercom. "It looks like we're gonna hit a bit of a rough patch of air up ahead. Y'all better hold on to your hats." The click of the intercom signaled the end of the communication. Aramis looks worriedly over at the Lieutenant and appraised the state of his stubborn patient. Athos was staring back at the Medic, quirking an eyebrow and looking down to check his restraints.
As Aramis started to relax, believing the pilot had somehow managed to avoid the turbulence, the plane suddenly pitched forward. Sending anything that wasn't tied down towards the front of the large plane. Athos cried out in pain as the restraints dug into his side, stealing the air from his lungs. The turbulence lasted for what felt like a lifetime, throwing the plane around like it was a leaf in the wind.
Finally, the aircraft leveled out, the atmosphere of the plain growing quiet, a collective sigh of relief was heard from the men in the aircraft, everyone happy their ordeal was nearly over. Aramis looked worriedly over at his injured friend to see that he had passed out. The Medic cursed under his breath and released his restraints, hurrying across the aisle check on the swordsman.
His breaths were coming out in short gasps and a trickle of blood was dripping from the side of his mouth. "Mierda," Aramis growled. The Medic walked over to the intercom, looking back at his patient in frustration. "I need help back here now!" The door to the cockpit opens and the Pilot stick his head out.
"What going on back there?" Y'all ok?
"No, we're not ok!" Aramis yells. "I need a backboard and a well-stocked medical kit now!" The pilot emerges from the cockpit and kneels beside Aramis.
"What happened?" The pilot asked, quickly grabbing the required items from a nearby storage bin. "Is ol' Athos gonna be ok? Aramis looked at the pilot in surprise, wondering how this pilot knew his injured new friend. Making a mental note to find out later.
"I believe he might have a punctured lung. Without the proper equipment, it's impossible to know for sure. We need to get him to a hospital. How far are we from base?" The Medic asked, looking back down at the Lieutenant in concern.
"Bout an hour," Travis replied. "I'll radio ahead and get a medical team ready." Travis quickly returned to the cockpit and closed the door behind him. Porthos came to sit beside the frustrated marksmen, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Don't ya worry Mis. Athos is gonna be ok, he seems like the stubborn sort, he'll make it." Aramis gave a small halfhearted smile, turning to look at his friend.
"I hope you're right Mon Ami," he replied turning back to look at the injured Lieutenant. "Do you remember what he said last night? When we stopped to rest."
"Yeah, I think so." Porthos replied. "He said somethin like." Do you ever feel that you've known someone your whole life, but you just can't remember?" "I thought he was just mumbling or somthin'. But ya know whats weird, I kinda know what he's talkin about. Like when I met you, I felt like we were old friends. Like I knew you, but couldn't remember where from. The sound of his patient stirring broke their quiet conversation.
"What happened? Where..are...we?" Athos asked, biting his lip in pain.
"Relax my friend. You seem to have punctured your lung. Aramis smiled sadly, brushing the sweaty hair from his friend's face. "You should have listened to me." Athos quirks a small smile, and laughs.
"I'll try to remember…for next time," He whispers, closing his eyes and giving in to the darkness lurking at the edge of his vision.
"Hold on Athos," the Medic whispers. Listening as the planes landing gear could be heard moving into position and the voice of the pilot booming over the radio, announcing they would soon be landing. "Just hold on."
Sorry for the cliffhanger my friends. This story is considerably longer than my last chapter, it kind of got away from me. As per usual, please like and follow. If you would like to see anything, or have any ideas feel free to let me know. Hope you enjoyed!