HEY GUYS. LOOK, I HAVE OFFICIALLY POSTED TWICE IN THE SAME FANDOM. EVERYONE GASP!
So this is the follow up story to Deathmarch, which I believe is rather cheesy-ly titled. And as I write this, I realize that I still have not come up with a title for this either.
Well onto warnings etc. This is a continuation. I have not checked to see if it makes any sort of sense on its own. If it doesn't, read and review Deathmarch to get the full experience. Ten other reviewers and five favourites have endorsed it. Trust your peers!
This is PART ONE OF TWO. Instead of rushing through to finish what is turning out to be a lot longer than I had intended, (Looks at Jensen's Petunia accusingly, but in a non angry sort of way), I have decided to post what I had ready. Once I have the rest is ready it will get posted, likely by Saturday.
So... Umm Title, title, title...
TITLE: Before and After Death (see I could do it: enigmatic, initially misleading, and descriptive. And now all my stories have started with the first four letters of the alphabet A B C D)
RATING: T, cause there is a distinct absence of flagrante delicto
CHARACTERS: Jensen centric. Team fic
Aisha shrugged the arm of her injured teammate around her shoulder. Her close hand grabbed the back of his belt. More than her share of the weight disappeared as Clay did the same on Jensen's other side. Aisha felt a line of Jensen's blood trickle down her back.
"Clay, we need to get him inside now." Aisha made eye contact with Clay. She looked to Jensen. His eyes were open, tiny slits. His pupils danced around beneath the lids, rolling around. As if on cue the man seemed to throw himself backward, pushing of his legs that were loosely supporting his weight.
"No shit." Clay groaned as he caught the tech. Aisha kept her own groan stifled. If Clay thought this was bad, he should try dragging the tech's ass up two hills. She had never thought of Jensen as big guy. In retrospect, he had Cougar beat by a lot. Even though Pooch was shorter, he was still a muscular guy. Jensen had the heavy weapons man outclassed too. It was just hard to reconfigure the image of nerdy computer guy with two hundred pounds of muscle and bone.
Jensen was an enigma that way. He played helpless, played it well, but he was ex-SF, just like the rest of the team. A wimp computer genius did not a black ops soldier make.
Clay and Aisha matched their steps, Jensen lolling between them. He tried to help, to keep his feet under him. His legs and footwork made Bambi look coordinated. He kept a decent grip on Aisha's shoulder, which was more than she expected. Jensen looked at her, an odd spark in his eye.
"What?" She asked. Jensen usually required little prompting, making her instantly suspicious. The only time she had to drag anything out of the man was when he milliseconds away from falling into a coma. Or when she told him about her ear collection.
"Just wondering if I'd cop a feel were I was feeling any better." Jensen coloured then.
She heard a grunt come from Clay. She missed whatever flash of a facial expression he might have had before his face returned to its stony visage.
Aisha glared at the man hanging off her shoulder. "Try it."
Jensen paled further. "Said that out loud again, didn't I. I need to stop doing that. Brain to mouth filter is malfunctioning. It's a symptom of hypothermia. Altered behaviour. Acting out of character."
Clay snorted. "The only thing out of character for you is getting caught."
Aisha bit back a grin. She personally thought it was the head injury that was making the hacker bolder. And truly, that was not the worst thing Jensen had said that evening. Not by far.
"Head injury. I'm fine Clay. Promise. Just need to go to sleep." Jensen sagged backwards then. Both of them swore.
"Jensen!" Clay snapped. "Eyes open!" Jensen only half listened. One eye peaked open, and turned to glare at Clay. That's the Losers for you.
They were nearing the door to midsized building with white metal siding. A large red cross was painted on the walls near the entry. The group stepped up to it. It swung open from the inside. Aisha was somewhat surprised to see a tall woman around thirty look the group up and down.
"Get me two stretchers now." She called over her shoulder. "Okay. Clay, sit in that chair until the nurse comes to get you." She slid herself under Jensen's arm taking Clay's spot.
A man wearing blue scrubs rolled up a stretcher behind Jensen. "We're going to take two steps back. One, two. And sit, there's a ledge." Jensen was efficiently loaded up on the stretcher. They tucked his long legs under a heavy blanket.
"You're name is Jensen right?" Blonde haired man started to nod. The women quickly put a hand on the top of his forehead, stopping the movement. "Just say yes or no."
"Yes. Uh. You're different than I thought." Jensen mumbled.
"How does your head feel, does it hurt?" She eyed him critically, a small flashlight waiting in her hand.
"Hurts, yeah." Jensen answered. She flashed the light across his eyes.
"C-collar?" She said to the man. He quickly handed her one out of a kit at their feet.
The women slid a C-spine collar around his neck. Aisha frowned. "I don't think he's neck is hurt."
The women did not look up at Aisha. She was patting the man down, doing a head to toe check. The other man in scrubs was getting vitals. The women spoke lowly, "Was this man thrown from the vehicle in the accident."
Clay stood up and started to walk over. "Yeah."
The women looked Clay in the eyes. "You can answer questions fine from the chair. Please remain there until your stretcher gets here to take you back to bed. That was your agreement?"
Aisha frowned. Clay sat down ruefully. "Sure doc."
The doctor was the women. Hum, and Clay's already following her orders.
"Okay let's get him back into the exam room." They started moving Jensen to a room just off the main waiting area.
A small, sturdy blonde woman came in with another stretcher and eyed Clay. "You're going to come easy this time?"
Clay hopped up onto the bed, and was whisked away down a hallway. Aisha heard him ask the nurse. "When can I check on my men?"
Aisha stood alone in the room wondering where to go. Panicked yelling from the exam room made her decision for her.
Aisha burst through the door, gun ready in hand. No one looked up at her entrance. The medical staff was far too busy with the man on the bed.
"Don't. Don't." Jensen bucked under the male nurse's hands. "Keep that thing away from. No. Don't. Don't. No."
His eyes were centered on the large syringe in the doctor's hands. It did not have a needle on it.
Aisha stepped forward and grabbed the offending object out of the doctor's hand. "What is this?"
The doctor rolled her eyes. "Saline to wash out the wound on his arm."
Aisha eyed it critically. "Really."
"If you want to help, keep Jensen calm. If not, there's the door. Get in my way I will get you thrown out." The doctor grabbed the syringe from Aisha's fingers.
Aisha just stared. Doc had some grit. Aisha slipped her unnoticed pistol into the waistband of her pants. She went and stood by Jensen's head. His eyes were roving around the room, his head locked in place by the collar. "Aisha."
"Doc's just trying to patch you up. Relax." She stared into his eyes. He sagged a little.
"Aisha. Don't let them. I don't like it." Jensen was mumbling again.
"Jensen. I'm here. I'm on watch." Aisha told him. She started to despise herself. Law of the Jungle. Yeah, sure.
The nurse stepped up with an IV starter kit. He grabbed Jensen's right arm. "There's going to be a prick."
Jensen's eyes swivelled around the room. "Max here?"
Two of the faces in the room went blank. Aisha bit her lip. "No, a needle."
"Oh. That's better." Jensen mumbled.
Aisha let out a slow breath. Jensen needed to keep it together. The last thing that the team needed was Jensen spilling out CIA secrets in front of civilians. Aisha was not sure what cover story had been fed to the people here, but she was certain that Jensen could blow it. "What's your favourite show?"
"Already asked me that one." Jensen answered. Aisha let the corner of her mouth perk up. She had never expected that particular answer.
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Jensen said. His voice was low and slurring softly. Aisha looked down to the top of his head, blonde hair matted with blood. She had pulled him halfway onto her body so that less of him was exposed to the frozen ground. It also left more of his back exposed to the heat from the nearby fire.
"Buffy." Aisha thought to herself. She was not American, but was well travelled and fairly well versed in pop culture. She had considered herself fluent in such references, but was currently stumped. Her knowledge had been greatly increased by spending time with the team when they were not on mission, but she still wondered if the geeky genius was confused. "Buffy was the name."
"Yeah. Lot better than calling her "Slutty" the vampire slayer." Jensen countered in a way that most likely made sense to him.
"Fair enough," Aisha placated.
"You?" Jensen asked. Aisha winced internally. The normal verbose ad nauseam man was reduced to asking one word questions. Her free hand traced the back of his shirt. He was still shivering lightly.
"Me, uh. Why did you like Buffy?" She let a laugh out. Jensen's body bounced on her chest.
"Bad ass chicks. Cools fights. And hot red headed lesbian sex scenes." Jensen said. "Shit."
Aisha sighed, which Jensen had to have noticed. "Sorry." He mumbled. "Keep saying things I don't mean to."
"Would you say them if I was Pooch or Cougar?" Aisha asked.
"Probably." Jensen huffed out a laugh. "But would never need to explain the marvels of Sarah Michelle Gellar."
His body shook a little and slumped, saying that much seemed to take more starch out of him.
"Jensen. Wake up." Aisha pinched his neck.
"Nots pleeping." The blonde man countered. He moaned softly. Aisha could feel his breath coming roughly in his chest. She was not sure if he had broken ribs, but they were hurting him. Breathing the frozen air did little to help either of them.
"I used to like..." She sighed. Dare I admit this to the geek? "Bonanza."
"Bannaza?" Jensen said. "Really?"
Aisha could almost picture him grinning. "Yeah. Watched reruns when I was studying in America."
"Which was favourite."
"What, of the brothers? Adam I guess." She answered.
"No. Horses?" Jensen sighed somewhat theatrically.
"The paint, then." Aisha said. She felt Jensen inhale and waited.
"The paint was the same horse for the first five seasons. Cochise number one. Was trained to drink out of a coffee cup. Landon's favourite horse. Was put down when some psycho broke into stables and cut up all lot of the show's animals." Jensen paused to take a few deeper breaths.
Aisha's smile faded.
"Did you know horse was named after a chief that did not even exist yet in history?" Jensen slurred. Aisha knew it was not a real question, a question that required an answer.
"Did you like the show?" Aisha massaged the man's neck and back, trying to keep him warm and increase his circulation. She was surprised at the muscle definition she felt.
"Sort of." Jensen answered. "Plots were a bit contrite sometimes."
"Yeah, okay. Favourite sci fi show." Aisha countered.
"On now or cancelled."
"Cancelled." Aisha let out a huff. As long as it's not sensitive information.
"Firefly or maybe Next Generation, or Atlantis." Jensen spilled out in one breath.
"Got the IV started." The low voice of the nurse said to the doctor.
"All right, warmed saline-glucose for now." The doctor said. She was busy cleaning out Jensen's three bullet wounds. "Get me a suture kit next."
"Why three different shows?" Aisha asked.
"All had different strengths." Jensen said.
He picked up his right arm to stare at the tube feeding into it. "Firefly was funny. The characters were far from perfect. They had a misunderstood genius. And dinosaurs."
Aisha wondered how drunk she'd have to be to forget this conversation. "Dinosaurs."
"Plastic ones. I have a t-shirt."
He hissed, twitched miserably for a second. The doctor winced. "Sorry, I just gave him some local. I will warn you next time." She smiled softly at the man.
"Cougs never warns me." Jensen muttered. The doctor's head came up briefly from her stitches on his arm. Her face was clearly confused.
"The genius?" Aisha said.
Jensen licked his lips, "Yeah. Brilliant beyond brilliant. Psychic too. Government found out and locked her away. Did stupid experiments on her. Until the team got her out, helped her back into the world." He winced softly. He faked a smile. "Hot too. If a tad bit jailbaity."
"Next Generation?" Aisha urged him to continue.
"Patrick Stewart never got space herpes." Jensen stated. "Unlike Kirk. Unless they had eradicated all STI's. Which while possible, is unlikely. I mean they still have other diseases."
The male nurse snorted. He continued to wrap up the sutured wound along Jensen's hairline.
"And Troy, you know she was in Gargoyles. She was the bad guy for the first season. And Riker was there too. He was bad too. And then they slowly reformed. She made a hot gargoyle." Jensen trailed off. His eyes shut.
"Jensen." The doctor cut in. "Jensen. I need you to open your eyes." She grabbed his hand. "If you can hear me, squeeze my hand."
Jensen did not respond.
The doctor reached up his chest and rubbed his sternum. Blues eyes blearily popped open.
The doc finished on his arm and chest. She grabbed what Aisha dubbed the "super" scissors and made quick work the rest of his clothing.
"What hell is all this?" The doc breathed softly. "Bullet wounds, breaks, punctures, burns. Half rate medical attention. Jesus."
The woman seemed to pull herself together, and motioned at the nurse. "How bad is his back?"
"A graze. I don't think sutures will hold." Aisha answered.
The doc nodded. "You did the initial patch up?" She waited for the affirmative response. "Okay. X-rays before we move him."
"Jensen, what about Atlantis?" Aisha began again.
The two medics got him set up to be moved to their x-ray facility.
"They were a team." Jensen had a real smile on his face. He looked at Aisha watching him. The smile slowly faded. "A stupid team. It was fun to watch. It was like a how not to do it guide to exploring the universe."
"The CO was a good guy. I mean really good. He should have been a ball of PTSD. The strong man was totally underutilized. The genius scientist was out of shape. How on earth would I survive if I was out of shape. The guy forgot to use his gun half the time?" Jensen looked at Aisha, clearly not noticing her smile. Aisha looked belatedly up. The doctor was out of the room and the nurse was just walking back in. They had to have missed the last bit of Jensen's monologuing.
"And a hot alien chick. Lots of unresolved sexual tension." Jensen's hand came up and patted up at his bare chest covered by a blanket. "My stuff?" He looked around the best he could.
Aisha pointed to the corner. "Grab valuables?" She asked.
"Yeah. Clay's gun, Pooch's pooch. Cougar's rifle." She nodded. She through it all into an empty garbage bag and plopped it on Jensen's feet. He smiled again. His face ached with weariness.
"You need these?" Aisha held out his glasses to them.
"Huh. Thought I lost them." He scrubbed his face with his right hand. "Couldn't remember what happened to them."
"They were in a case," Aisha prompted, "in your jacket pocket."
Clay lay in the bed. He lay on top of the white sheets and the yellow blanket. It was his subtle form of protest. Sure his head spun like he'd been drinking with Aisha if he moved to fast, but his discomfort was hardly debilitating. And the ibuprofen, Tylenol cocktail he had ingested had obliterated his headache. In short he was alone, he was bored, and he was worried. He did not have Pooch to talk to as he was in another room keeping an eye on Cougar with the fiery blond nurse.
The ceiling tiles had been counted. The tiny holes in the ceiling tiles had been estimated. Clay was chaffing at not knowing the current status of his team. He eyed the door and considered the problems.
Cougar was stable, and nothing anomalous had shown up on the x-ray indicating unwanted bullet shards. It was a good thing the dead asshole that shot him was using a small calibre weapon from a distance. Clay wondered how the incident had even happened. Cougar was pretty quick to correct that kind of a situation. No one who aimed at him usually got to draw another breath. It was a principle that every successful, to say alive, sniper lived by, "If you can see a target, the target can see you." Clay made a mental note to ask them man, when he was once again coherent.
Clay had been in another room when Cougar had been anesthetised for the surgery. But, Clay had heard the doctor speaking through paper thin walls. The bullet had penetrated beside the abdominal muscles on Cougar's right side. It had cut through the abdominal wall bringing serious risk of infection, but had come to rest in Cougar's gut between to loops of his large intestine. It had caused only minor internal bleeding in the support tissue of the colon, but the doctor had seen to it. Cougar was doped up, on morphine and antibiotics, but as long as no major infection set in, he would live relatively not worse for wear.
Clay counted his team's luck that a younger doctor, sooner out of medical school and her surgery rotation had seen to the injury, and not an old coot that had been treating colds and ear infections for most of his career.
Pooch was miserably keeping watch beside the sniper. His right arm was strapped to his chest, and his knee and lower left leg was in a temporary cast. The arm was sprained, likely from Pooch trying to brace himself in the crash. His left knee cap was had a hairline fracture and apparently hurt like a bitch.
The large arm's man refused good drugs, as he wanted to stay awake until the whole team got back. Clay wondered if he felt guilty for sending Jensen out. But none of his men could have guessed how bad Jensen's head wound was. The slow presentation of symptoms had eluded them all.
"Clay." Clay jerked his head towards Aisha as she entered the room. His vision swam as he jerked his head towards her. He swallowed. Clay forced his eyes to focus on the woman. He could he hear his inner voice warning him against letting her walk around unsupervised. She had come a long way since she had joined up with the Losers. But her instance at being alone in her jungle made her a constant low level threat. She looked him up and down. Clay felt a tad bit nervous.
"I am going to find somewhere to lie low. I am not staying here." Aisha told him, a gleam in her dark eyes. "Call me when we can be transported. I think I am the only one capable of driving."
"Aisha. About Jensen-" Clay started.
"He's waiting for x-rays." Aisha interrupted. "Apparently they are checking the storage room for film."
"He awake?" Clay asked.
"Yes." Aisha answered.
"No that male nurse is with him. Clay, I think someone should be with him until he gets a hold of himself." Aisha looked at Clay with what could have been real concern in her eyes. Clay risked an affectionate smirk. Aisha immediately hardened up, "He could blow our entire operation. A head injury has not slowed down his mouth."
Clay wanted to nod sarcastically, but he knew better. "Go sit with him." Clay did not order her around. She was far too volatile for that, but it was not a request. She turned a cool gaze on him.
"Clay. I have been looking after your techie for hours. I need make a few calls if you ever expect us to leave Nowhere, Alaska." She turned around and waved, "I'll come find you guys tomorrow."
"Shit." Clay grumbled. He looked at the band around his wrist. The white loop around his wrist filled with fraudulent information felt more like a pair of hand cuffs. "Fuck."
He rolled out of bed, and found his balance. He walked next to wall - not that he had to, but because he was never took unnecessary risks. Except with women...
Clay wandered towards x-ray. He was surprised to find Jensen lying on the bed in the room by himself.
Jensen was speaking aloud. "I think it looks more like a puma?" He took a breath, his voice trailing to a rough southern accent. "What in sam hell is a puma?" His voice got whinier. "Uh... You mean like the shoe company?" Normal Jensen voice: "No, like a puma. It's a big cat. Like a lion." Rougher, "You're making that up." Jensen said "No, I'm telling you, it's a real animal!" He panted for a second before his voice lowered. "Simmons, I want you to poison Griff's next meal." His voice raised an octave. "Yes, sir!"
Clay had gone from utterly confused, to amused, to worried. "Jensen!" The man in question jerked. Clay kicked himself when he realized that Jensen was still strapped to the bed, so that he could not move. "At ease. Just checking on you."
Clay walked around to face Jensen. He let a grin cover his face when he realized that Jensen was still staring at him with a touch of embarrassment coloring his pale cheeks. "What in Sam hell were you doing?" Clay bravely asked.
"Nurse guy said I had to keep talking. Said I had to keep myself occupied while he got some equipment ready." Jensen looked as if he wanted to shrug. Clay examined the man closely. There were spots of color on his cheeks, but his ashen face blended well with the stark white gauze that was taped to his forehead. Clay shuffled forward to check under it. Jensen twitched when his CO's hand passed in front of his eyes.
Clay noted the neat stitches and mentally thanked the young doctor that was here. They were lucky to find someone with expertise to treat them. And someone who believed more in the Hippocratic Oath than poking holes in a lame cover up story. Cougar got shot in a hunting accident, and then the vehicle was rolled while trying to rush back to town for treatment. Jensen's wounds were the product of firearms going off during the crash.
The doctor had stared straight into Pooch's eyes when explained the situation when the group had first arrived at the clinic. Her mouth depressed into an angry line. But her hands remained gentle when she assessed and treated the men.
"What were you saying?" Clay asked again. Jensen had fallen silent during Clay's introspection. If Jensen was supposed to be talking, Clay would keep him talking. Jensen was staring at the ceiling, his eyes narrow and unfocused. It was an expression Clay had seen before. The blonde man was centering himself.
"Red Versus Blue." Jensen said simply. "Web series from the Halo developers."
Clay nodded. He had to kick his team of their X box before to get them ready for missions. That game was one he remembered as being one of the worst for distracting the Losers.
"What was going on?"
"Red team got a new vehicle. Sarge wanted to call it the Warthog, but Griff thought it looked like the mythical animal the Puma. Simmons was sucking up to Sarge."
Clay nodded again, bewildered. "Pumas are real animals."
"That's what Church and Tucker said."
Jensen fell silent again. Clay felt a pang of annoyance. Since when did he have to keep the communications guy from shutting the hell up?
"So... Is Sarge like me?" Clay asked, wondering what he was getting himself into. Clay pulled up a chair.
"No." Jensen coughed. "No one on red team is like you."
Jensen reached with his hand down his leg. "Your gun." He gestured with his hand. "Down there. Want to give it back."
Clay looked down to the end of the bed. His grin returned. "Doc's not going to let you keep these when they irradiate you."
"Hold them for me?" Jensen asked pitifully.
"Sure." Clay wrapped the sniper rifle up in a blanket and laid it across his lap. His own gun, he tucked in the back of his scrub pants. Pooch's dash ornament was put in his pocket.
"Thanks." Jensen said.
"Letting me borrow her." Jensen answered. "I think I lost mine."
"Yeah, probably. Aisha's contacts will search and wipe it down." Clay told him.
His eyes glazed over. "Got that gun from the Honduran general."
Clay nodded again. A wave of tiredness swept him. "Yeah."
"Mr. Clay." A sharp female voice sounded from behind him. "What are you doing out of bed?" Doctor Marie put one hand on his shoulder.
"Keeping Jensen company. He shouldn't be alone." Clay countered.
The doctor did not respond right away. "Come behind the glass, to the imaging room. Unless you never want to have children?"
Clay chuckled. "Be back in a few, idiot."
"Yeah, Church. Sure."
Clay could not resist asking, even if he was slightly worried that Jensen was delusional. "Who does that make you?"
"Probably Simmons." He sighed. "Not cool."
There, part one of two is finished.
Let me know what you thought. If you have anything you would like to see in part two, let me know and I may accommodate. If your request has anything to with hamsters and elderberry bushes, I reserve the right to ignore you.
This is unbeta'ed. If there are many typos that you find annoying, PLEASE Let me know. I don't consider that flaming. I consider that helpful. I have read it through many times for the sole purpose of looking for such things, but shit gets missed.
Please let me know if you guys liked this. It is a bit lighter in places that my last fic. Did it work, or did it fall flat.