Rating: PG / K+
Characters: Judeau, Corkus.
Word Count: 1,169
Disclaimer: I don't own Berserk, or any of the places or characters mentioned in that series and this piece of fanfiction. No profit is being made, I write for free.
Notes: Very mild Judeau/Corkus; this was done for a friend's birthday. Um, it's been a while since I've written/posted anything, so I'm extremely rusty. As always, any feedback is appreciated, particularly constructive criticism.
It was a full moon. He noticed it through a haze of fatigue and sleeplessness; the heat of summer had meant that he'd left the flaps of his tent open, and the moonlight was filtering in. Nights like these were always the worst – it was one of those nights after a day of successful fighting, when the men who had pulled through the battle unscathed would gather around the fires and celebrate, drinking warm liquor from the bottle and laughing about how many of the enemy they had killed. It was always fine until just after the sun had set, but by then they'd all be drunk and full of aches and tiredness; they'd slowly drift to bed, one by one, and there was always that unspoken guilt they all felt hanging in the trees just out of reach, clawing from beneath the bushes.
How many men had died and left them alive? How many men had died in the name of this new victory? Judeau could never quite stop himself from wondering; he could only imagine how Griffith felt.
Pushing his blankets aside and getting to his feet, Judeau slipped out of his tent. Once outside, he stretched his arms above his head, yawning and feeling a satisfying pop from one shoulder. He was only wearing light clothes, not having bothered to get undressed earlier, and the air was cooler out here than in his tent; it wasn't much, but he felt himself sober up a little.
The fires were still smouldering – they didn't have much need of one in the summer, except for cooking and as a source of light in the dark, but rekindling a half-dead fire in the morning was easier than starting one fresh, so they rarely extinguished it completely. The light it cast was dim and made the shadows seem to curl and grow, confusing in the dark, but Judeau could still make out the shape of a tent nearby; the man inside was grunting and turning in his sleep.
Judeau recognised the noise, and smiled as he made his way over to the tent. He wouldn't appreciate being woken, especially not with the new injury he'd picked up in yesterday's battle, but it sounded like he was having a nightmare. Besides, Judeau had learned how to deal with his temper a long time back.
"Corkus," Judeau whispered as he entered the tent, leaving the flaps open. Crouching down next to where the other man lay, he grabbed him by the shoulder and shook him lightly. "Wake up."
It took a few seconds of shaking, but suddenly Corkus jerked awake, eyes wide as one of his hands reached out to grip Judeau's arm. "What--" he hissed, looking confused. "Judeau?" He sat up a little, letting go of Judeau's arm and rubbing his eyes with the heels of his hands. "What the hell-- why did you have to wake me up, you bastard?"
Collapsing back against the ground, he gave Judeau a withering look, then grimaced as the pain from his injury began to filter back through the haze of sleep.
"You were having a nightmare," Judeau replied, shrugging. Normally their positions were reversed, with Corkus barging into his tent in the middle of the night for some reason -- usually something to do with being drunk -- but he knew that there was no point in bringing that up now, not unless he wanted to start an argument. He didn't, particularly. "How's your arm?"
The noise Corkus had made when he'd been stabbed had been about enough to wake the dead; Judeau had been nearby when it had happened, but he hadn't had a chance to see it then, or to see his friend since.
Corkus snorted. "Lucky it didn't get amputated."
He'd always had a bad habit of exaggerating, and Judeau had gotten used to it a long time ago; smiling in the dark, he shifted his position on the ground, shuffling a little closer. "Let me see."
Reluctantly -- Judeau could tell by the way his face screwed up into a frown -- Corkus held out his bandaged left arm, flopping it into the other man's lap. Judeau picked it up; carefully, he examined it, leaning down to peer through the darkness and noticing the way the blood had begun to seep through, dark red against white, though it looked closer to black in the moonlight.
Laying his arm back down again, Judeau got to his feet. "Hold on," he murmured, ignoring Corkus' look of confusion. "Your bandage needs changing."
Turning and leaving the tent, Judeau slowly made his way over to where the Hawks always kept their supplies -- he grabbed a fresh bandage, then made his way back, pushing inside Corkus' tent again and sitting back down next to where he lay. He hadn't moved his arm, probably due to the pain; Judeau gently lifted it again, finding the edge of the bandage and slowly unravelling it.
Corkus looked nervous. It wasn't the first time Judeau had done this -- he'd had plenty of practice -- but it was the first time he'd helped out Corkus, who could be difficult at the best of times. "Relax," he said, laughing quietly. "It won't fall off."
The old bandage came away easily, and Judeau made sure to keep his expression neutral as he examined the wound. It didn't look too bad: the advantage of being struck by a sword was that the marks left were always neat, and whoever had cleaned it up had done a good job. As long as Corkus didn't do anything too stupid, it should heal without infection.
Slowly unravelling the new bandage with one hand, Judeau held Corkus' arm steady with the other. "It doesn't look too gangrenous..." he muttered; at Corkus' look of horror, he started to laugh.
He finished wrapping the bandage, tying up the ends and admiring his handiwork. Not as neat as the one before, but it was just the right pressure, so it should last until morning. Judeau's fingers lingered on Corkus' arm for a few seconds before he let go, taking care so as not to cause any extra pain.
After a few seconds of silence, Corkus spoke. "Are you going to let me sleep again now?" he asked, sounding irritable. Maybe if he had been somebody less patient, Judeau would have been affronted by that tone and lack of gratitude; but he had never really minded.
He pushed himself to his feet. "Alright." Just before he stepped outside, he turned around and looked at Corkus' frowning face in the dark; it looked like he was sulking. He was probably pissed because he'd missed out on the celebrations.
Judeau made sure to leave the flaps open to let in some air, and didn't miss Corkus' muttered thanks as he made his way back to his own tent, and sleep.