Tomb Raider: Forgotten Savior

By: The Odd Little Turtle Named Froggie

Disclaimer: Tomb Raider, Lara Croft, Kurtis Trent, Winston, Alister & Zip, and a few others used in this story belong to EIDOS. The original story belongs to me as well as a few characters that are made by me, such as Ahmed Istathir and Arba. Warsaw Clinic was featured in TR: The Lost Cult; Lara basically destroyed it whilst trying to escape mercenaries.

A/N: Flashbacks are in ITALICS, little dashes delineate change of scene. . . Special thankies to MadameLeRouge for the proofread, but I'm blaming ff for the funky punctuation... oy...

Chapter Seven: Ramblin' Man

Last Time: Lara comes home to find an injured Kurtis, raving like a lunatic to her friends. Relating what really happened to her in Paris to her friends, she wonders if the strangely-acting Lux Veritatis warrior is really a Nephilim in disguise. Meanwhile, a confused Kurtis awakens to find a busty, gun-toting brunette pinning him to a bed and he has no idea how he got there.

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Kurtis's blue eyes widened a fraction. "Lara?" he inquired, felt an unexpected, unwelcome twisting in his heart. "What are you doing?"

"Insurance," she said, giving Kurtis's forehead a slight tap with the pistol barrel. Triumph flooded her when he winced. "Nothing more."

He waited, challenging her to go through with it. She'd almost shot before hadn't she? In the Sanitarium? Kurtis couldn't make heads or tails of anything. Feeling a crushing weight on him that he knew was definitely not the woman on his chest (though she was beginning to restrict the air and blood flow to, well everything), he fumbled with his slippery thoughts as they evaporated, leaving him but a husk of his former self.

Suffocated by a busty brunette in bed? Kurtis found himself thinking. With a mental roll of his eyes, he added, sure, why not? Always knew women were nothing but trouble.

"Can't breathe," he finally managed.

Lara wasn't having any of it. "Too bad. When you've finally managed to tell me what the bloody hell is going on, then I'll let you up. Not a moment before. Are we clear?"

"Seriously, Lara." Panic vaguely touched his senses, and he began to struggle. "No air."

"Oh, for heaven sakes." Lara rolled her eyes and lifted slightly, her pelvis much closer to him now. Kurtis sucked in as much air as possible, careful to look anywhere but there.

"Seems he was being truthful, dear," Winston spoke up gently from where he stood at the door. She looked at her beloved butler and then back down at the man wedged between her and the bed, her brows drawing together as she studied him. He hadn't changed since she'd seen him last in the inner depths of the Strahov. There was still an inherent strength in his face, rugged and boldly handsome. The deeper shadow of his beard gave him an even more manly aura. His eyes were just as blue and just as compelling, magnetic even, as they had been when he'd first disarmed her in the Louvre.

"Look, as much as I'm enjoying the view," Kurtis said, with a grin, "would you let me up? I'm awake already."

Lara squinted down at him, snapping her mouth shut, stunned by his bluntness. Across her tanned and beautiful face, a dim flush raced like a fever as she fought to control her embarrassment. She refrained from further injuring him by dismounting his chest as though he were a horse, letting him up without so much a snarky comment. He only stared, complete surprise on his face.

He sat up on his elbows, took in the room and Lara's associates, looked at the black man wrapped around his legs. "Kurtis Trent," he offered.

"I know who you are, man," the other said, releasing his legs and stepping back and behind Lara. Kurtis thought it rather amusing, but, after all, Lara was the one who was armed.

"Yeah, but you are--?" he pressed, only knowing Lara.

All present in the room looked at him as though he had grown fangs and sprouted wings. The mental image of Boaz floated briefly at the back of his mind and Kurtis shrugged off the uneasy feeling.

"You don't know Zip?" Lara asked. He stiffened at the question. "You met him and Alister earlier, ranting though you were."

Ranting? He never ranted. Unless it involves alcohol. Which reminded him he really needed a drink. Panic surged through Kurtis. He hadn't been out drinking with these people had he? Massaging his temples, he glanced at the skinny, brainy looking one, a stray thought betting he could drink that one under the table easily.

"Uh," was all he could utter, shaking his head slightly, trying to clear the irrational thoughts. "Look, I'm not sure of anything at the moment. I can't seem to remember much. And what I do remember is incredibly fuzzy. I remember Boaz. Going to Turkey for some reason. Talking with Gunderson."

Lara arched an eyebrow, raised both guns to his skull. "Gunderson?"

"Gunderson got me out of the Strahov," he said, wondering if it were true or not. "I think. Stuck me in a hospital."

"I looked for you for days," she told him, not sure if she were more irked that he didn't appear phased by her weapons or that he could possibly be lying to her. "In all the hospitals in the area."

"In Poland?"

"Poland?" Alister asked. "Why on earth—"

"Gunderson brought you to the Warsaw clinic?" Lara interrupted, her weapons wavering as she thought it over. It made sense. She wouldn't have thought to look that far away. But she supposed if they needed to patch him up without making a fuss, then that would be the best place to take him. Vaguely, she wondered how Gunderson got him across the borders without causing a commotion. Of course, he was the head of the Agency. It was his specialty to get to places quietly. She regretted shooting up the clinic trying to get away from mercenaries.

Trent nodded, eyed the woman before him, the guns in her hands. "I think so. They didn't ask any questions, his belly doing a curious flip." Then he remembered a detail that had escaped him, latching onto it as though his life depended on it. "You visited me. Told me to contact you."

"Never happened."

Kurtis was more confused than ever. "Then I don't know if I was there or if I was elsewhere.

"Were you with me in Turkey?"

Lara shook her head in the negative, wondering what the hell he was talking about. "I've not been to Turkey in a very long time," she told him, looked thoughtful a moment. "Wait. Alister, Zip, one of you fetch my field notebook from the car."

Alister was ready to escape the confusion. "I'll go," he said and all but ran from the room.

"You have Istathir's notebook?" Kurtis asked, the haze slowly lifting, his memories clearing only slightly. The smoky tendrils were slowly fading away.

"Istathir?" Zip asked. "You mean Professor Ahmed Istathir? The curator dude that never showed up to meet Lara?"

Uh, oh.

"Raiders got to him in Cappadocia," Kurtis told them, saying the words tentatively as if testing the idea. "If it wasn't Lara who was with me, it may have been Gunderson."

Lara stared at him, bewilderment etched across her face. Finally she clucked her tongue and said, "Well, that's different." She holstered her weapons but was ready to draw them again if she had to.

"What is?" Zip asked, took a seat, noting Lara's tenseness.

"I've been compared to a goddess, but never a hulking brutish bulldog of a man." She dropped her lashes quickly to hide the disappointment she felt at the comparison. Zip repressed a laugh.

"Vain, Croft?" Kurtis asked, one brow raised, a smirk forming on his lips.

She swallowed hard, tried not to reveal her anger. Ignoring his jibe, she asked, "What was Istathir doing in Turkey?"

He hesitated, measuring her for a moment. "I was just there to get the artifact."

"The artifact?" Her face paled. "The Man-Eater? You're the bloody bastard who stole it?" Her face twisted in anger, and she drew her Black Demons again.

Kurtis threw up his hands, blue eyes wide, his strong face a tableau of alarm. A wave of apprehension swept through him as he cried, "Hey, he stole it first!" He regretted the words instantly.

"He most definitely did not," she answered, her tone as cold as bucket of ice water. "He was bringing it to Germany, to his museum, to me!"

The Demon Hunter frowned, his azure eyes level under drawn brows. Oh, naturally.

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Up next?Chapter 8, of course.