Missing scene episode tag to 1x06 The Sin Eater.
This episode was deliciously whumpy but, as ever, I need moar! :)
He's not sure how long he lay on the forest floor but when he comes to his senses his coat is damp and he is shivering from the cold. He wakes slowly, grimacing as returning consciousness brings with it awareness of the cold night air, of the sodden carpet of leaf mulch on which he lies, and of a growing litany of aches and pains.
His head is pounding and it takes him a long moment to gather his wits and to recall quite why he is lying here on the forest floor. Then memory floods back and his eyes snap open, his heart hammering in his chest as he looks around wildly. But he is alone in the woods. The Colonel... the thing that had worn the Colonel's face... is gone. He breathes raggedly, shaken to his core by the impossibility of what he had seen. But it had been real enough... that face... that thing. Real enough that what should have been a killing thrust had only angered it and it had batted him aside with a force that had flung him like a rag doll.
He'd been lucky to survive. He'd been certain that thing was going to kill him, just as it had killed... He swallows thickly, the knowledge of his failure a bitter weight around his heart. It had killed Bernard.
He had sacrificed everything, abandoned his country, his home, his family... all to save one man's life. All in vain.
He touches a shaking hand to the side of his face. His fingers come away red and sticky with half-dried blood. His shivering grows more pronounced and he grits his teeth to stop them chattering. He has to move from here, find safety, find warmth. But where will he go? He cannot go back. The British would see him hanged for treason, and that only if the creature with Tarleton's face didn't kill him first. No, with a single act he had forever cut himself off from everything that was familiar, from the life he had known, to throw in his lot with strangers. Strangers who spoke of demons and secret wars.
Katrina. He remembers Bernard's words. "Find Katrina. She will guide you to Commander Washington and, I suspect, much more."
What other choice does he have?
Moving stiffly, he tries to push himself upright, only to stop with a strangled cry as sharp pain rips through him. His arms tremble under his weight as he sucks in a shuddering breath, biting his lip as he holds himself still and waits for the pain to ebb.
The initial flare of pain settles into an angry throbbing ache and he lets out a breath he hadn't realised he was holding and carefully, slowly, eases himself to a sitting position. Each movement of his torso threatens a return of sharp, jagged pain and he finds himself breathing shallowly as he presses a careful hand to his right side. He hisses in a sharp breath – the lightest touch is painful and he suspects at least one broken rib.
It's a four mile walk to the Quaker hospital.
He struggles to his feet, biting his lip to prevent himself from crying out at the fresh surge of pain. Holding onto a tree for support, he breathes through the pain, shallow panting breaths that leave him starving for air, dark spots dancing before his eyes. He can't stop his teeth from chattering and he realises his coat is not just damp but wet through, the chill of the sodden fabric soaking through to his shirt and waistcoat, leeching any warmth from his skin. He can't help but be conscious of the symbolism as he painfully wriggles free of the heavy coat, trying to move his injured ribs as little as possible in the process, and discards it. Once a proud symbol of his allegiance, his faithfulness to his king and country, the brightly coloured garment is now but a heavy weight, dirty and cold, a threat to his survival. He must shed it in order to survive, to find the warmth and shelter he needs. It seems fitting.
He leaves the coat amidst the mud and mulch of the forest floor and sets off in the direction of Peabody Field.
He is accustomed to walking. He is a soldier after all and four miles is no great distance when compared to the days-long marches required of the soldier. Four miles to reach his salvation.
The fight has left him sorely shaken however. His head pounds with an angry throbbing and his every muscle aches, reminding him of his crashing, rolling impact with the ground. Each step he takes jars agonizingly at his bruised and broken ribs and before long he find himself hunching over as he walks, his arm wrapped around his midriff, trying his best to cradle his injuries.
Four miles begins to seem like a very long way.
Fatigue sets in quickly and he begins to stumble, his feet catching on the undergrowth. More than once he has to grab for a tree trunk or branch to stop himself falling and the pain from his ribs leaves him winded and gasping for breath. His legs tremble as he takes each staggering step. He focuses all his strength on that simple action, on taking step after step after step. By the time he reaches the hospital, it is only sheer willpower that keeps him on his feet.
She is waiting for him, as though she knew to expect him. He fights for breath, pain and exhaustion stealing the air from his lungs, and instinctively reaches for her, for support, for succour... for salvation. He can barely gasp out the words that Bernard told him, those three words that will bind his future to hers... "Ordo... ab... chao..."
His strength fails him and this time he cannot prevent himself from falling. But she is there to catch him, her arms around him as he sinks to his knees with a gasp. A bone-deep weariness washes over him and he allows himself to lean into her, shivering in the warmth of her embrace. The last thing he remembers is the feeling of her hand holding his.