Hey…so, I'm not even sure if there are any other 'Traveler' fics on this site…or if anyone will even read this…but you know when you just get this idea in your head and you have to write it down? Well, that's where this story came from. Just so you know, I'm a little vague on some of the details – wheres and whys, I guess you could say – but that's because we still really don't know what's going on in the show, and I don't want to make stuff up.
DISCLAIMER/WARNINGS – I do not own 'Traveler' or any of the characters. This story contains potential spoilers all the way up to the 6/20 episode, 'The Tells.' Rated for injury, blood and some language. I do not claim to have any sort of medical knowledge, so a few details may be a little fuzzy. This is unbetaed, so any mistakes are mine and mine alone.
"So I run, and hide and tear myself up
Start again with a brand new name."
"Capricorn" – 30 Seconds to Mars
He'd guessed that running would have pissed them off. Obviously he had actions to account for and all of that, but he still didn't think all those guns were necessary. But apparently he wasn't supposed to get out of there alive – not that it stopped him from trying.
So Will Traveler bolted into the dense woods surrounding the facility, away from the interrogations and directives and everything that had somehow become his life. And even as a bullet tore its way through his shoulder, and another burrowed into his side, he kept on. He brushed through bushes and bramble, dodging braches that whipped towards his face. The only sounds were the pounding of his feet and his own harsh breathing as the shouts and gunshots faded into the distance and darkness closed in around him.
Of all the people to run into in a clearing in the middle of a godforsaken forest he never thought it'd be them. He definitely didn't think they'd take the reunion so well.
"I said, what the hell is going on, Will?"
Will stared calmly into Tyler's eyes, and did his best to ignore the handgun aimed at his heart.
"Put the gun down, Tyler," Jay ordered – ever the middleman, the pacifier, the goddamn voice of reason.
"He's the one that set us up!" Tyler shouted, not tearing his eyes away from his target. "He framed us, and you're just going to let it all go?"
"Put the gun down," Jay repeated levelly.
"And just let him walk away?" Tyler demanded. He shook his head. "Not until we get some answers."
"You're right," Jay agreed, his voice placating. "So do you really think shooting him is going to help anything? Put the gun down."
"He's not our friend, Jay."
Will listened to the exchange carefully, and did his damndest not to collapse right then and there. He could feel the blood seeping from his body, leeching his strength and sucking his life away. It coated his throat – he could taste it in the back of his mouth.
"I--" he began, but paused. Black tendrils crept into the corners of his vision, and he shook his head to chase them away. "I'd known about the Drexler for two years," he said finally.
By now both Jay and Tyler had gone silent, watching him expectantly. The gun was still leveled at Will's chest, but he went on anyway.
"I'd asked for the assignment," he explained. "I knew what would happen. But then, two weeks before the attack, they told me that you two would take the fall for the bombing – that you were supposed to die in the blast."
Jay's eyes widened, and for the slightest second Will saw Tyler hesitate, his grip on the gun slackening. But a moment later he was back to as he was before, watching Will down the barrel of the gun.
"So, what, we're supposed to be grateful for that?" Tyler asked, taking a step forward. Will didn't move an inch. "You might have framed us for a terrorist attack, but you didn't kill us. Well, if you put it that way…" His finger tightened slightly on the trigger, but he still didn't pull it.
"I tried to disarm the bomb, but it didn't work," Will continued. He found himself swaying, and struggled to keep his balance. "All I could do was make sure you got out. If you'd died in there like they wanted you to they'd have pinned it on you just the same. At least this way you could fight it, fight them…" He trailed off, and the earth lurched sickeningly beneath his feet. He held his ground – he wasn't going down yet.
"Are you serious?" Tyler shook his head in disbelief. "That's your reasoning? That's what makes all of this okay?"
"I never said that," Will protested – he could hear the slur of his own words. "I never said what I did was right."
"Tyler, just put the gun down," Jay cut in once more.
For the first time, Tyler glanced over and caught Jay's gaze. "Why?" he demanded, glancing over to Will again, and then back to Jay.
Will could clearly see that this wasn't going anywhere, and his tenuous hold on consciousness was slipping away. If they didn't get out of here soon, there'd be no escaping from the teams at the facility – Will was surprised they hadn't already shown up.
"Listen, Tyler," Will spoke up, recapturing Tyler's attention. "I know that you really hate me right now, but I've already been shot twice today, and I'd rather not do that again."
Now Jay looked over, critically scanning Will in the gathering darkness. No doubt he could see the bloodstains creeping across and his clothes, and leaking down into the dirt. Jay carefully stepped forward, positioning himself between Will and the gun. "Put it down, Tyler," he said one last time.
With a harsh growl Tyler loosened his grip and let his arm fall to his side. An instant later Jay crossed the rest of the clearing to Will, and gripped his uninjured shoulder tightly.
"Hey. You alright?" he asked. Will tried to nod, but somehow the sky and the ground switched places, so he gave up.
Tyler was shouting again, and Will could swear he saw the glint of the gun in the moonlight. He opened his mouth to speak, but instead a set of vicious coughs assailed his lungs. His free hand instinctively flew to cover his mouth, and when he pulled it away blood coated his palm.
Jay caught Will's gaze again, concern obvious in his blue orbs. They both glanced over to Tyler, and Jay frowned.
"He's hurt," he pointed out – rather unnecessarily, Will thought. But fury smoldered in Tyler's eyes, and he held his ground. With a resigned sigh he turned back to Will, his grip on his shoulder tightening slightly.
Jay said something else, but Will couldn't make it out over the buzzing in his ears. A moment later the ground rushed up to meet him and everything went black.
Jay felt the tension leave Will an instant before his eyes rolled up in his head and his knees buckled. He lurched forward to catch him as he fell, and lowered him down the rest of the way, propping him up against the trunk of a tree.
"Do you seriously believe all that shit?" Tyler called from behind him.
Jay didn't look up, and searched for a pulse on Will's neck. "I do," he answered a moment later. He was relieved to feel Will's heartbeat beneath his fingertips – it was faltering, he was too pale, blood coated his lips, and his breath was uneven and ragged, but he was alive.
Twigs snapped and leaves shuffled as Tyler crossed the clearing to stand behind Jay, the gun hanging loosely in his grip. "What are you doing? We need to get out of here."
"We can't – dammit, Tyler put that thing away!" Jay turned his attention back to Will as Tyler slid the gun into his waistband. "We can't just leave him," Jay countered – he scanned Will's right shoulder and left side. Blood caked his clothing, and there were two obvious bullet wounds. Thankfully both had made clean passes, so they wouldn't have to worry about digging any bullets out.
Tyler released a frustrated sigh. "I thought we agreed – this guy is not our friend."
"What if we're wrong, Ty?" Jay asked, glancing up to meet Tyler's gaze. "You heard what he said."
"Yeah, and I didn't believe any of it – you shouldn't either," Tyler shot back. "Look, if we don't get out of here, they'll pin this on us, too."
"Which is why we have to bring him with us," Jay responded, preparing to rise. He carefully draped Will's uninjured arm across his own shoulder and hauled him to his feet. Apparently Will wasn't entirely unconscious – he let out a soft groan and struggled to find his own footing – Jay shifted to take most of Will's weight.
"What the hell?" Tyler growled. "Jay, no. We're not taking him."
"He can tell us what we're up against," Jay pointed out. "We need information."
"We need to get out of here before cops show up."
Jay shook his head. "If you want to leave, then go. But I'm bringing him with me, whether you're coming or not." With that Jay turned, heading back the way they'd come, half-dragging Will across the uneven terrain and doing his level best not to stumble.
A moment later footsteps sounded behind him, and Tyler wordlessly matched pace on Will's other side, slipping the unconscious man's free arm across his shoulders.
And the trio slowly made their way back to the road, their car, and the closest thing to safety they had left.
Will woke to find himself sprawled out on the scratchy sheets of a motel bed. Clean, white gauze encircled his torso from his abdomen up to his right shoulder, under a shirt he thought might be Jay's – undoubtedly his own clothes were bloodstained beyond repair. The pain that had once struck with an acute clarity had now settled to a dull throb, and the world had stopped spinning.
That left him with only one obstacle, which he discovered when he tried to rise and found that his left wrist was handcuffed to the night-stand.
Without thinking, Will latched onto this thumb with the opposite hand and wrenched it from its socket with an audible crack, swallowing the grunt of pain that threatened to escape. Carefully he slid the cuff off, wincing as it jostled his now useless thumb, which was tilted at an unnatural angle. Gritting his teeth he forced it back into place, ignoring the firebrand of pain that lanced all the way up his arm.
He spotted a roll of bandages mirroring the ones he already sported lying on the bed across from his – he quickly wrapped up his hand to stabilize his thumb. Finally he rose, and was relieved when the ground didn't tilt beneath him. His first few steps were shaky, but the worst was over and he kept his footing.
Slowly he crept to the door, which he assumed let out into the main area of the motel room, and pressed his ear to the wood. He made out two whispering voices, which he knew to be Jay and Tyler's. Will let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding – until that moment, he hadn't been sure if they'd all been captured some time after Will had passed out. Then again, if that had been the case, Will doubted he would have woken again at all.
Will turned the knob and the door creaked open. Jay and Tyler's heads swiveled as Will stepped into their view. Jay watched Will in confusion for a moment, but then his gaze fell to the gauze wrapped tightly around Will's hand, and he understood. He frowned, and Will has the sudden suspicion that handcuffing him to a table hadn't been Jay's idea.
Tyler's expression was as furious as it had been the last time Will had seen him – but at least this time he didn't have a gun, and Will was grateful for that.
Silence reigned for a few more minutes, until Will decided to break it.
"How long have I been out?"
"Three days," Jay told him, eyeing him carefully.
"Thanks for…" Will trailed off, as the message was obvious.
"It's no problem," Jay answered. Tyler rolled his eyes, and Will cast a quick glance in his direction, but then that same look was back again.
"Well, where do you want me to start?" Will asked finally, crossing the room and pulling out a chair from the kitchen table.
"The beginning," Jay replied, almost automatically.
"Tell us everything," Tyler added.
They sat down in chairs across from Will and he began his tale. He told them everything – from his initial recruitment, to his training, to the assignments and the secrets and all of it. He wasn't even sure if they believed half the things he told them, but it didn't matter. If they were going to be in this fight, then they were much better off if informed.
Because if it wasn't a fight before, it was now. Judging by the bullets wounds that still throbbed beneath his bandages Joseph and the others wanted him dead – and after what they'd done to Maya, they'd pay. They all would pay.
The night slipped by silently, but Will lied awake. Tyler snored softly in the bed across the room, and Jay was camping on the pull-out couch. Swiftly and silently Will rose, quickly gathering his belongings and the gun he'd seen in the night-stand drawer when Tyler had not-so-discreetly checked on it before going to bed. He crept into the living room, where Jay was fast asleep as well, the flickering light of the television casting strange glows across his face.
The conversation that afternoon had dragged on for hours, but by the end of it Will was sure he had Jay completely on his side. Tyler was still seethingly furious, and rightfully so, but Will felt that even he'd been swayed a little, and that he'd begun to accept Will's words as the truth.
Despite everything else, Will was sure that both of them would do just about anything to bring all of this to the light and prove their own innocence. In fact, he'd learned that the night they'd found him in the woods they'd been searching for the same facility that Will had escaped from. They'd keep fighting, and Will truly wished them the best of luck.
But whatever trust Will had regained was thrown away as he slipped out of the motel room and into the night. Maybe Jay and Tyler would get their lives back one day, and maybe they wouldn't. Will really wasn't sure.
The one thing he did know what that he was going to hunt down every last person responsible for all of this, and he was going to kill them all.
Each and every one.
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Child of a Pineapple