Title: The Five – Part 5
Fandom: Space Cases
Theme: #21 [violence; pillage/plunder; extortion]
Notes: An expansion of drabble #7 in which the Casers are home and not coping all that well. Not Beta'd, I apologize for any mistakes! Sorry for lateness, RL and writer's block have been kicking my ass lately :(
Summary: Harlan and Radu are rescued by an old friend.
The Five – Part 5
The expose on the feed was worse than Radu had imagined it would be, not only was the picture of them in that alley the main story but someone had finally figured out that Harlan and Radu were the ones flashing the sign of the resistance all over the System. Someone had put together stills from the cameras and, in every one of them, one or both of them were highlighted in the background.
"Harlan Band Seen Fraternizing With Andromedan" the headlines read, or variations thereof.
It even went so far as to speculate that Radu had been his personal servant during those seven years they were gone and how personal he actually got and how much Harlan was paying for his "services".
Radu eventually threw down his comp with a frustrated sigh. The rush of that night had quickly faded into a general feeling of unease and worry about their imminent landing on Earth.
The event was to be taking place outside the capitol building of the Republic of North America and there was bound to be a large and easily riled crowd. The feeds discussing the upcoming gathering never explicitly stated it was anti-Andromedan but Radu was sure that would be the case. It wasn't the first time he was regretting his decision.
There was another part of him that wanted to be seen, though. He wanted to become a more helpful member of the resistance and not just a figurehead. That was the only thought that kept him from telling Harlan he had changed his mind and asking him to turn the ship around. He knew Harlan would do it if he asked.
They eventually landed at the hangar on the outskirts of the city that Goddard had suggested, one that was rather under the radar and unlikely to ask for names. Both of them were wearing jackets with deep hoods that would hopefully keep them from being easily recognized. Radu's hair was tied back especially so it wouldn't be seen.
They joined a public transport for the ride into the city center and sat near the back. Radu thought that his increasing jumpiness was plainly obvious to everyone but, being such a big city used to strangers, no one glanced in their direction.
The streets were crowded and some were even closed off so that the transport had to drop them off a few blocks away from the square, so they set off, dodging large groups and trying not to look nervous. It was all easy enough so far and that's what worried Radu.
As much as they had wanted to stay on the very edge of the crowded square, more people kept arriving and soon they were blocked in on all sides. Radu grasped at Harlan's sleeve so they wouldn't get separated, with his other hand he held the edge of his hood. One flailing arm or rough shove could push his hood aside and then there would be no hiding his features.
"It's too crowded here," Radu said to Harlan, eying the people around them warily. Most were facing a large view screen visible at the opposite end of the square but for now, no one was paying any attention to them. The closeness was making him uncomfortable.
Harlan nodded once and turned around attempting to create some space to slip through behind them with Radu still clutching his sleeve.
"Hey watch it!" one man yelled. Radu kept his head lowered and didn't look up. They kept moving, the crowd jostling around them as Radu tried not to bump into people. They made their way toward the back until their path was blocked by a long wall and any attempt to go around was met with resistance.
Radu was silently panicking and furious at himself for thinking this would be a good idea and now they were both trapped. Harlan was trying to shove past a few people just as a loud roar rose up from the crowd, people shouting and yelling in support of whatever was being broadcast over the view screen.
Before Radu even knew it had happened, someone's waving arm knocked back his hood and Radu found himself grabbing at it frantically, trying to hide.
The crowd in front of them seemed not to notice at first but then there was a shout from behind them of "it's one of them!" and Radu felt all eyes on him and wished he was only imagining the looks of disgust and contempt. Even fear.
Harlan was instantly at his side tugging his arm, trying to pull him through the crowd but someone else shouted "traitor! Grab them!" and Harlan was shoved harshly aside. Radu saw him wince as the person he was pushed into grabbed his arm and wrenched it roughly behind his back, holding him in place as Harlan struggled to get loose.
That's all Radu needed to see. Without thinking, he lunged up to the man restraining Harlan, pulled back and put all his strength behind a punch that completely knocked the man over. He quickly helped Harlan to his feet, ready to defend him again if he had to, until he realized that no one was advancing on them.
Radu was vaguely aware of a loud hum that seemed to surround them and muffle the angry shouting. He looked up and saw the crowd around them duck and try to scatter as a small, low flying transport flew down above their heads.
The side hatch opened and a familiar face appeared.
"Quick, get in!" Rosie shouted over the noise and another figure leaned down to help pull Harlan and Radu inside. The hatch locked shut behind them and Rosie turned to the front and said, "go, go!"
"Rosie, it is so good to see you," Harlan panted, gingerly cradling the arm that had been pulled. His face was drawn and he was breathing hard. Radu and Rosie knelt down beside him in an instant.
"Where does it hurt?" she asked.
"My shoulder," Harlan gasped out, "and I can't move my arm."
Harlan sucked in a breath as Rosie prodded him. "Your shoulder is dislocated," she told him. "Radu, hold him steady."
Harlan leaned back as Radu braced him.
Rosie pushed away with one hand and pulled with another, not giving any warning. Radu heard something pop as Harlan cursed.
"Are you alright?" Radu whispered, arms tightening reflexively. Harlan nodded in relief.
Rosie was searching around in a box and came back with a large bandage. "Try not to move it too much," she told him.
"Thanks Rosie," Harlan said, still trying to catch his breath, "I don't know how we've survived this long without you."
Radu immediately felt safer when Rosie smiled warmly at both of them. "Neither do I," she replied.
"How did you find us, anyway?" Radu asked, still supporting Harlan as Rosie fashioned a sling.
"We knew you were going to be out here today," Rosie explained with a reassuring grin, "wanted to make sure you had some backup, just in case."
"You're part of the resistance too?" Harlan asked, settling back and leaning his head on Radu's shoulder. Rosie nodded.
"I wouldn't miss it for anything," she told them. "That's Jorrel flying, by the way," Rosie said and nodded toward the human up front who gave them a backwards wave.
"And this is Arda, she's the one who recruited me," Rosie explained gesturing to the woman sitting in the back. It seemed she had been watching them silently. Radu noticed immediately that she was Andromedan too.
Arda leaned forward and greeted Radu in the traditional way saying, "it is an honor to finally meet you." Then, just as Tavo had, she placed her hands over her ears and gave him a small bow.
"That's the second time someone has done that for me," Radu said, surprised. "And I still don't know what I've done to deserve it."
Arda just gave him a thin smile and said simply, "that is why we do it."
There was a faint beeping noise just then and Rosie rummaged around in a bag until she found her comp.
"It's a message from Suzee," Rosie said, looking up in surprise.
"What does she say?" Radu said just as Harlan asked, "is she alright?"
"There's only text," Rosie said, "she says that she has gone to see the one who is always blue. Smart girl."
Radu agreed; anyone tracking her communications would think she'd gone to Neptune where the people there are known to have blue tinted skin when in reality she was hiding out with Bova on Uranus.
"We should go too," Harlan said, "lay low for a while. I think you shattered that man's jaw," Harlan turned to tell him and, if Radu wasn't mistaken, he could have sworn he heard pride in Harlan's voice.
"I didn't really want to..." Radu replied quickly, shaking his head, not wanting anyone to think he was suddenly violent. Harlan silenced him with a quick kiss.
"I know," Harlan said quietly, the hand from his uninjured arm resting lightly on Radu's neck, "but I still appreciate it."
"I'll go with you," Rosie added, "it's probably better if we all stay together right now anyway."
Harlan nodded in agreement, "we shouldn't take our shuttle, though," he said.
"We'll find you something," Arda said suddenly. "It's the least we can do for putting you in danger."