Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Whumptober 2021: #7. Helplessness, #14. Crush Injuries, #20. Lost & Found, #21. Pressure, #31. Disaster Zone
Fandom: Batman, Batfam, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd
Word Count: 1822
“I don’t know, I thought it was pretty good.”
“Pretty good? That movie sucked! I am so sick of these endless reboots and pointless sequels. You told a good story. It’s over and done, move on and give us something new.”
You chuckled. “Yeah, this coming from ‘Robin 2: The Adventure Continues’.”
Jason glared at you, but Dick burst out laughing. “Oh, oh! How about ‘Robin 2: The Second One’.”
“‘Robin 2: Electric Boogaloo’!”
“‘Robin 2: The Rise of Jason Todd’!”
“And the gritty reboot ‘The Red Hood: Return of Jason Todd’.”
“Alright, alright, I get it. Very funny. Make fun of the dead guy.” Jason rolled his eyes as you and Dick high-fived each other. He jammed his hands in his pockets and began storming off.
“Formerly dead guy. You can’t keep playing that card forever.” You said teasingly, reaching out and linking your arm with Jason’s. You felt Dick link arms on your other side, so the three of you were all connected as you walked down the sidewalk.
Crime had been surprisingly low the last few days, so you had decided to enjoy yourselves and catch an afternoon movie. It wasn’t often the three oldest of Bruce Wayne’s wards managed to find time to hang out, and it felt like old times.
Jason had reluctantly dropped his scowl. He glanced over at the storefront on his right and stopped abruptly in amazement. He scoffed, “Oh my god! Did you guys see this?”
As you and Dick turned, you let out a small chuckle of surprise as you saw display after display of merchandise bearing a variety of bat symbols. All of you were represented in some form or another. Bruce’s Batman on a shower curtain, Dick’s Nightwing on a blanket, Jason’s Red Hood on a bathrobe, Tim’s Red Robin on a coffee mug, and Damian’s Robin on a coloring book. But the thing that really caught your eye was the hoodie that looked like a replica of your costume, complete with mask built into the hood and your signature Bat-Insignia across the front. Glancing at the sign, you chuckled again at the name. The Bat Cave.
“Did either of you know about this?” you asked.
Dick and Jason both shook their heads in disbelief. Then Jason snorted, “I think somebody owes us some royalties or something. Those things are trademarked.”
You laughed, but knew he was probably right. Suddenly, you realized something was missing. Cursing under your breath, you turned and hurried back towards the theatre. Both boys turned to watch you speed away.
“Where are you going?” Dick called after you.
You yelled back over your shoulder. “I forgot my sunglasses. I’ll be right back.”
Just as your hand reached the door to the theatre, you heard Jason yell, “Hey, dumbass!”
Glancing back, you saw Jason smirking as he pointed to the top of his head. Reaching up to your own head, you felt the sunglasses perched there. You blushed as you placed them on your face, sheepishly turning back to the boys. You shrugged dramatically and took a step in their direction. That’s when the theatre exploded.
Jason and Dick were thrown backward by the blast, landing in a heap about ten feet from where they had been standing. Groaning, both boys struggled to sit up and regain their bearings. People were screaming all around them and smoke curled out of the scant remains of what had just been the theatre.
All the blood rushed out of Jason’s face as he muttered, “Y/N.” He scrambled to his feet as Dick paled and frantically followed suit. They took off running towards the area they thought they had last seen you, but it was almost impossible to tell where anything had once been. When they thought they are in the approximate area, they began shifting desperately yet carefully through the rubble, screaming out your name. Jason couldn’t help but wonder if this was how Bruce had felt as he searched for Jason’s body years ago. Finally, Dick moved a hunk of cement and saw as a hand appeared from underneath of it. He instantly recognized the bracelet that he had given you for your birthday on the wrist.
“Jay, over here! I found her!”
Feverishly, the two boys moved pieces of rock and debris, slowly uncovering more and more of your broken form, until the only wreckage that remained was a large section of the theatre wall that was too heavy for them to move. It was still pining you to the ground from the waist down, but there wasn’t any more they could do at the moment, so they began assessing your injuries.
You were laying awkwardly, half on your side, half on your back. Every inch of you was covered in a thick layer of dust and grime. The left side of your face was skinned raw where you had skidded across the asphalt. Your sunglasses were destroyed, the remains of which dangled haphazardly from your face. Dick carefully removed what was left and noticed that they had been rammed against your nose with such force, they had shattered bones and blacked both of your eyes. The rest of your body was littered with bruises, burns, blood, and small cuts while your breathing was irregular and strained. Dick and Jason both crouched down next to you and tried to rouse you but at first you barely stirred. Finally, they watched as your eyes flickered open with a pained groan.
“Wha – what happened?” Your voice was hoarse and weak.
Dick and Jason exchanged a worried glance before Dick said, “We’re not sure. There was an explosion in the theatre. You were still at the door and it seems like you took a pretty bad hit. You were completely buried when we found you and we still can’t move that big piece off your legs. It is too heavy for just the two of us. Jay, you stay here and I’m going to go get help.”
“Sweetheart, we have to get you out from under that thing. You need medical attention immediately. Who knows what kind of internal bleeding you have or if there are any worse injuries this piece of wall is concealing.”
“You’re right, which is why it won’t matter. I can feel it. My leg…. Well, I’m pretty sure the pressure from this wall is the only thing keeping me from bleeding out immediately. As soon as you move it…. So, yeah, it’s too late to do anything.”
Jason sat back on his heels, horrorstruck, as Dick shook his head vehemently refusing to believe what you had just said. “We can at least try. As soon as the paramedics get here, they can help us. They’ll know what to do.”
You smiled hazily up at your brothers. “It’s okay, Dick. I’m not in much pain at the moment, it’s more numb than anything, but if you move that piece of wall, it’s going to be utter agony. And it still won’t matter. So, please, just let me go in peace.”
Jason hissed in fury, “We can’t just sit here and watch you die!”
“I don’t want you to. It might be too late for me but you two can go help the other people who were injured. You might still be able to save them.”
“We’re not leaving you.”
“It’s what we do. We’re heroes, Jay.”
“Not today we aren’t.” Dick said through a clenched jaw. You furrowed your brow in confusion. “Today we are just three siblings who wanted to spend the day together. Who just deserved a goddamn break for once in their lives. And instead, this happens. So, no. Today we aren’t heroes. There are enough other people walking around helping right now. We’re going to stay with you for as long as we can. I don’t care what that makes us.”
You grabbed Dick’s hand as tightly as you could manage as tears began to flow down his face. “It makes you a good brother.”
You smiled up at him and started to say something else, but a chest rattling cough cuts you off. Your brothers held you down, so you didn’t hurt yourself more as your body was racked with the intense hacking fit. Finally, when it subsided, you relaxed, blood dripping from your mouth. You looked up at Dick and weakly said, “I guess you were right on both accounts. Internal bleeding and a concealed wound. Huh, who knew?”
Before either boy could answer, you gave a dry chuckle and said, “You know, I always thought I would die in the suit. Going down swingin’ with my Bat Symbol proudly on my chest and my mask firmly on my face. Instead, it’s going to be flip flops and Jason’s old t-shirt.”
Jason thought for a minute, then stood up. “I’ll be right back. Dick, stay with her.” Dick just nodded numbly.
A few moments later, Jason came rushing back carrying the hoodie resembling your suit you had seen in the souvenir shop what seemed like a lifetime ago. For the first time since the explosion, tears filled your eyes.
“It’s not your suit, but it’s the best we’ve got at the moment.” As carefully as he could and with Dick’s help, Jason gingerly wrapped the oversized hoodie around you and zipped it up as much as he could. Then he pulled the hood down over your face, so the built-in mask framed your eyes.
You slowly lifted your fingers and traced the familiar emblem that rested over your heart. “Thank you, Jay. It’s perfect.”
“Least I could do.” Jason kissed you knuckles and smiled sadly down at you. Keeping ahold of your hand, he began rubbing his thumb lightly over the back of it, a constant reminder he was with you. Dick shifted so he was behind you and lifted your head so it was resting comfortably in his lap. You felt that the tension was so thick with all of the unspoken things between the three of you, that it was almost suffocating. Or maybe that was just your blood filling your lungs.
You felt your head starting to get fuzzy as your vision began to blacken around the edges, and you knew you didn’t have much time left. You nuzzled your cheek softly into Dick’s leg and gave Jason’s hand another squeeze. After taking a few deep breaths, you managed to croak out, “Hey…. I love you guys.”
“Back at you sis,” Jason tearfully bent down and kissed your forehead.
You smiled up at them as your world went black. Jason felt your hand go limp in his, and he frantically looked to Dick, hoping beyond hope his older brother would make this all betters. But Dick just gazed down at your empty, staring eyes, tears streaming down his face. All he could think in that moment was, “How the hell are we supposed to tell Bruce?”
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Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier
No. 14: CRUSH INJURIES
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Day 14: Under Pressure
crush injuries | beaten | force
Evan Buckley gets his leg crushed under a firetruck after it explodes
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For @whumptober2021 - crush injuries | beaten | force
CW: Aftermath of car accident, dead person, car crash injuries described, hypothermia, being hunted, pet whump references, BBU
The only reason they don’t find her and drag her back is because no one looks under the fucking van.
When the van went off the road, it kept going after the driver’s head bounced off the steering wheel, his foot jammed down on the gas. They drove headlong into the darkness, into the pile of snow already built up and the still-falling flakes around them.
The screams of the others still ring in her ears, although she can’t remember any longer the second the van hit the tree.
At least it stopped.
It stopped with a crunch, the scent of gasoline slowly starting to rise into the air as it leaked out of the busted front into the snow around them. She’d looked to the side and seen the driver of the van slumped in his seatbelt. The driver’s side door had been totally crumbled in and he was crushed on that side, head resting bloodied on the air bag that had belatedly deployed, turned slightly to the side.
He was looking at her, except of course that he wasn’t, because he was dead.
“I’m sorry,” She had whispered. She had reached out and swiped some of the blood from his forehead and painted her own forehead with it, then closed her eyes and slumped forward herself. Her neck and across her sternum, down to her ribcage on the other side all burned from the seatbelt catching her. The airbag felt like a pillow, almost.
She heard shouting, the sound of men calling behind her.
The woman had inhaled deeply, and told herself not to breathe.
The others in the van - just a handful, five or six - who weren’t too hurt to move - scattered, running into the night. It was a mistake, but she couldn’t call after them to stop them, could she? It would put her own one chance at this too much at risk.
She heard their shoes crunching in the snow and the louder sounds of the men who chased them down, one by one. The way their batons sounded when they made contact with skin.
Only one of the men stopped to look in, and she listened to him yell to the others that the driver and front-seat passenger were dead. She didn’t dare exhale, held her breath until her lungs were burning, until she heard the crunch of him moving past her, into the night to help the others hunt down those who tried to run.
It’s too cold for that. If you run into the wilderness here, you’ll just die slow in the snow instead of living to find another chance to run. She had to think this through, be logical, try to come up with a plan.
She had swallowed down her terror, the panicked race of her heart, and leaned slowly over, unclipping the seatbelt and easing it back into place without making a sound. The driver’s cell phone was in the footwell now, and she could barely get around his limp legs, foot still jammed onto the gas pedal, to dig it out.
Her fingers were already chilling as she fumbled to turn it on. He’d told them all the temporary PIN, just in case. She typed it in: 9-7-8-3-8.
The phone unlocked and the home screen appeared. She swiped until she found the emergency app someone designed and built just for this, and she sent car reckt chase us sum alive send help and then pressed SEND LOCATION. She had no idea who would receive it, or if anyone was even close enough to.
But it was a thin sliver of hope, and she needed all she could get.
The woman climbed slowly out of the van. In some kind of miracle, the door didn’t creak and didn't give her away. Don’t panic, she had whispered to herself, in a constant litany. Don’t panic, don’t be afraid, don’t hurry, don’t make a sound or they’ll hear you.
She could feel the cold of the metal exterior of the van as she carefully moved to crouch down, happy for the heavy gloves she’d accepted, for the fake-fur-lined hood she pulled up over her head, her braids spilling out the front. She took a breath, exhaled a cloud into the air in front of her. Her nose was already cold, her teeth ached from the chill.
She heard the joyful whoop of a successful recapture and closed her eyes at the responding scream of the runaway pet they’d drag back to their own big van, drug them, throw them into the back and drive them… not home.
To the Facility.
The sounds of the beating were so loud she felt deafened by them.
She carefully crawled under the van, feeling snow shift and move under her. The gasoline smell was stronger here, making her stomach twist and turn, nauseous. Bile rose but she forced it down. She kept crawling, using the van to hide herself, until she was staring out into the night. There were trees looming over her, bereft of leaves except for the evergreen, whose pine needles provided what canopy cover there was.
Out here, the night sky was full of a billion stars, the softer haze of the Milky Way itself vaguely visible arching overhead.
She curled up behind one tire into the smallest ball she could make of herself, told herself not to throw up from the fumes, and waited.
One by one, the others were captured, dragged back crying and screaming, or silent and tearless, one newly unconscious, bloodied, and trailing red through the snow that seemed black in the night air. One by one, she watched their feet as they moved past her, their hesitant scraping steps and the stronger, more confident steps of the hunters.
The Acquisition team, sent to take them back by any means necessary.
“Every number on the list is accounted for,” She heard one of them say to another. “They only had one lib motherfucker escorting them, and he’s dead as dead gets. What’s your command, Fer?”
“Shoot the driver in the head,” The one in charge said, voice flat and full of power and authority. The woman shivered, remembering that voice in her nightmares, or one like it. It was hard to tell them apart, in training. They had all been monsters. “Send a message.”
“Director Ferrick?” That was another one. She could see their heavy steel-toed handler boots standing just a dozen feet away. She breathed only in the shallowest pants, pulling just enough oxygen is to keep herself alive.
“Director, I could’ve sworn I saw another one in the front passenger seat when we came through. Figured another body, but it’s not there now.”
There was a pause, and her heart beat so loud she was sure they’d hear it and find her, drag her out, take her back.
When one of them fired a gun into the body of the pet lib volunteer who had driven them this far, she had to clap her hands over her mouth until her lips jam painfully into her teeth to keep herself from screaming. Her eyes closed tightly against the rush of hot tears that would only freeze to her cheeks, determined not to let them out.
“Did you use your flashlight when you looked?”
“Did you double-check?”
“... no, sir.”
“And everyone on our list is accounted for? Every runaway on the list is in our hands again?”
“Then it sounds like we did our fucking job, doesn’t it? If there’s another libber out there running around, the fucker will die soon enough. There’s no one around here for twenty miles or more.” The one speaking - Ferrick - called out into the trees at the top of his lungs. “Do you hear that, lib trash? You’re going to fucking die out here! Have fun with the paradoxical undressing from hypothermia! Just sad I’ll miss it!”
He had laughed. Then he barked another order, and all of them had tromped back to the road where their van was waiting.
The van pulled slowly to one side, backed up, and then went back the way it had come from, easing slowly along the road, in no hurry now that its runaway cargo was safely reloaded. The woman stayed right where she was, counting to one hundred, and then to one hundred again. And then a third time.
Finally, she climbed out from underneath the van. Only now that the immediate danger was gone did she realize how badly she hurt. Her right leg ached from thigh to ankle, and she found herself limping a little as she headed for the road. She’d looked one way, then the other, but she knew the Acquisition commander had been right.
The whole point of this road, Craig the pet lib guy had explained, was that no one drove it. It was a safe way to a hidden border with Canada, the safest escape. But it came with its own dangers.
The cold had been a known danger, but not… not being hunted like dogs through the forest.
The woman had sighed, headed back for the van, and pulled out everything she could while the engine continued to tick quietly. The foil-lined blankets came first, the snacks and water bottles, an extra coat that no one was going to need anymore, the little hot packs. Finally, she took Craig’s phone, and she trudged slowly away. Under an evergreen she found ground that had no snow, laid down a blanket, and then sat down and pulled the other three as tightly around her as she could, still wearing her coat as well.
She cracked the first of the hotpads to get it warming and set it down, using the bit of warmth off of it to keep her warm underneath her covers of blankets.
She might die here, but she would try not to until the bitter end.
She barely blinked when the van caught fire and burned, leaning slowly against the trunk of the tree, looking occasionally at the flames. The van burned slowly to a husk of itself, and she hoped that Craig would think of it like a Viking funeral, sent to sea in a burning boat.
“You did right by us,” She whispered, a kind of eulogy for a man whose last name she didn’t even know. “I’m sorry this was the result.”
She checked the phone. Three hours had passed. It was the middle of the night, now. She settled in to doze, wondering if the slowly increasing warmth in her came from the blankets reflecting her body heat and the cooling hot pack, or if the hypothermia was killing her kindly, gently easing her to sleep.
All of that is how she ended up where she is right now, a city girl slowly freezing to death in the northern Idaho woods.
She kind of sad she won’t get one last slice of pizza. She always liked pizza best.
There’s a sound.
At first, she thinks it’s is in her head - a droning buzz that grows slowly louder. Part of freezing to death, maybe. But it continues to grow, and then she realizes it’s two buzzes, two different things. Not even a buzz but a low roar, a rumble, the sound of… engines?
Are the Acquisition handlers coming back?
She shivers, unwilling to leave the faint safety of the foil blankets, hoping the branches of the evergreen will be enough to hide her.
Then two things that look like motorcycles, only with treads instead of wheels, come flying up from either side of her through the trees, coming to a stop before the van’s sad, still-smoking skeletal hulk. Two figures wearing heavy parkas not unlike her own stop and slide off, stepping around, looking it over.
One, much taller than the other, says in a deep voice, “What do you think?”
“I only see one body,” The other person replies, slightly higher-pitched but still, she thinks, sort of masculine sounding. “Maybe Donovan sent the location before he died? I don’t see the others.”
Craig’s phone. Donovan must be his last name.
These must be-... pet lib people, these must be the people from-
The woman’s throat nearly closes but she pushes herself to her feet, stumbling out of the tree, sending snow drifting from its needles to the ground. The two spin around to face her, their expressions hidden behind snow goggles and masks that cover their noses and mouths. “It’s me! It was me!” The woman calls out, voice ragged and cracking. “Please, please, it was me, I sent it! Please help me!”
“Shit,” The taller one says, muffled. He reaches up, pushing his hood back to reveal he wears a knitted heavy wool cap underneath, and takes off his goggles and pulls down the heavy cloth mask to reveal a grizzled, older male face. “You’re a runaway?”
“I, I am, Box Babe 988554, Designation Romantic-”
“That’s all right,” The man says, raising gloved hands to stop her. “We don’t need that. I’m Brock. Is anyone else alive?”
She swallows, shaking her head. The tears are getting harder to hold back. “No, they-... they took everyone else. I hid under the-... under the van, and I wasn’t on their list, s-so…”
“Okay.” The man slowly nods. He pulls what looks like a walkie-talkie from his belt and speaks into it in a low voice, code-words she doesn’t recognize and doesn’t even try to. “All right. We’re going to take you with us, all right? We’re from-... well, you were headed towards us.”
“I was?” She inhales sharply, the cold biting deep into her lungs.
God, they must have been so close to safety.
So, so close.
And she’s the only one to make it.
“Yes. Why don’t you hop on my friend’s snowmobile here and he’ll take you. I’ll look over the crash here and see if I can come up with anything else to bring back. You’ve had a rough time of it, but we can get you home to Hope.”
“Hope.” She breathes the word like a prayer. All the runaways have heard of Hope, if they choose to run for Canada. It’s the safest way across the border, and a town full of pets who have started over together. The smaller one helps her to sit on the snowmobile, their hands carefully supporting her when she hisses in pain moving her legs.
Then they slip their own goggles and mask off and she sees it’s a boy, maybe, with curly dark hair sticking out from under his own cap and a bright, contagious smile. “Don’t worry,” He says quietly, pulling off his hat to help her pull it down over her own head. Her ears press to her scalp, warming slowly, aching from how cold they’d been. “We’re going to get you warm, and we have a doctor. It’s okay now. It’s going to be okay.”
She nods, slowly, and lets him pull her hood back up over her head. He pulls an extra face mask out of his pocket and she pulls that on, too. Immediately her face feels better and she shivers a little.
She isn’t going to die here.
“Hold onto my waist, and just stick your face against my back. I don’t have any more goggles and I need them for the ride, sorry.” He climbs in front of her and she follows his advice easily. He’s so slight, under the layers of his coat and clothes. But he’s warm.
“What’s your name?” He asks, glancing over to the other guy to give him a thumbs-up. The guy responds in kind. He’s speaking into his walkie-talkie again.
It occurs to the woman that she never asked Craig if he had family, or siblings, or anything like that. She has no idea who will mourn the man who died trying to help runaways.
She decides that she will, even if no one else does, and that will be enough.
“I had a friend who called me Juliet,” She replies to the boy’s question. “I always liked that.” She speaks against the back of his coat, feeling her lips move against cloth that is so well-waterproofed it feels more like plastic. “You can call me Juliet.”
“Nice to meet you, Juliet.” He has a cheerful smile, but there is a deep sadness in his eyes that tells her that he was a pet, too, once.
He turns the snowmobile back on, and above the roar of its engine as he pulls slowly away into the trees, steering easily with his hands on the handles, she yells, “What’s your name, by the way?!” right against his ear.
He winds through the trees like he was born on a snowmobile just like this one.
Over his shoulder, he yells back, “I’m Esteban!”
“Nice to meet you, too, Esteban!”
She falls into silence as he takes her back through the woods, deeper and deeper, through small open meadows. There isn’t a soul but the two of them, and the sky is so vibrant she feels like she could fall up and land in it, rather than it simply being the vacuum of space.
She looks at the Milky Way and thinks, Made it, Romeo.
She hopes he made it to safety, too.
John Ferrick belongs to @what-a-whump. Juliet previously appeared in this piece and this one, while Esteban has his own story.
Tagging: @astrobly @finder-of-rings @burtlederp @doveotions @mylifeisonthebookshelf @what-a-whump @whump-tr0pes @boxboysandotherwhump @whumptywhumpdump @thefancydoughnut @raigash @outofangband @endless-whump @gonna-feel-that-tomorrow @orchidscript @sableflynn
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TW: Crushed, broken bones, left behind
"Is anyone down there?"
The villain's sidekick could hear Hero calling down. If they didn't make themself known, they knew they'd likely be left, but— oh— Villain was gonna be pissed.
"Anyone?" Hero's voice came again.
Sidekick drew in as deep a breath as they could. "H-help— 'm st-stuck." Sidekick winced, a feeling of panic starting to rise.
"Hang on! I'm coming down!"
Sidekick whimpered as their vision started to darken. "Please..."
"Sidekick?" Hero said, bewildered as they reached them. "What are you doing here? Villain left ages ago. You're stuck?"
Sidekick was trapped under a huge slab of rubble. "C-can’t breathe..." They pressed weakly against the stone with their free hand. Their other hand was trapped along with most of their body.
Hero gently stopped Sidekick from pushing on the slab. "Hey. Don’t do that. It's not stable. I just need to call a couple of the other heroes to help me move this off you."
"P-please don't... don't leave me here— 'm sc-scared..."
Hero knelt next to Sidekick. "You're gonna be fine. Just try and focus on breathing, okay?" Hero pressed a button on their costume. "This is Hero, requesting backup in the tunnels. I need at least two heroes with strength. Someone's trapped."
Sidekick allowed their eyes to drift closed.
"Hey. I need you to stay awake for me. Can you open your eyes?" Hero brushed their fingers gently through Sidekick’s hair. "Help is coming." Sidekick forced their eyes open again.
Two more sets of footsteps sounded. "We're here." Superhero said.
"Is that Sidekick?" Mentor asked.
"Let's get this slab off of them." Superhero stepped up to a side and Mentor mirrored them.
"I'll pull them out when you lift." Hero said their hands under Sidekick’s shoulders.
On the count of three, Superhero and Mentor lifted. Sidekick took in a sharp breath as they were pulled out. Superhero and Mentor put the slab back down.
Hero knelt next to Sidekick again as the other heroes left to alert the paramedics to come transport Sidekick out. "You okay? No— don't try to move. You need emergency medical attention."
"Don't worry about getting back to them in a hurry. Let them think you're dead for a bit, hmm? They left you. Let them feel bad about it. Besides, you're in no condition to move yourself anywhere— no, don't try and look. You need to be still. Superhero is sending a med team down here to move you safely."
Sidekick stopped trying to move. They had caught a glimpse of the damage before Hero stopped them. They felt sick. Sidekick could feel that the damage was bad, but looking somehow made it worse. Their costume was shredded and they were bleeding badly. Their limbs were at wrong angles— clearly broken.
"Are you having trouble breathing?" Hero asked, watching Sidekick’s chest rise and fall.
"Mhm..." Sidekick whimpered.
"Alright... are you feeling anything else wrong besides pain?"
"I feel s-sick..."
The med team arrived. Once they got Sidekick on a stretcher and an oxygen mask on them, Medic turned to Hero. "Where are we taking them? Hospital? With the civilians?"
"Take them to my base. I'll contact my med team and have them ready to meet you."
At this, Sidekick started to struggle weakly. They had been strapped down to keep their spine aligned. "N-no— no, I c-cant..."
"Hush." Medic said softly. "You're going to be fine. Hero won't hurt you. Go to sleep."
Sidekick hesitantly relaxed, giving in to the permission to sleep.
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Whumptober 2021 | No. 14: UNDER PRESSURE
crush injuries | beaten | force
Unstoppable (2010): When the train’s locking pin will not engage, Will kicks it into place, but his foot gets crushed in the process.
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Whumptober Day 14 - Crush Injuries
A New Leaf - Ep. 2
Angry Mom - Ep. 14
Basketball - Ep. 10
Black - Ep. 7
Blue Birthday - Ep. 11
Designated Survivor: 60 Days - Ep. 4
High & Low 3: Final Mission (2017)
See You Again - Ep. 42
The Legend Of Qin - Ep. 5
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Whumptober Prompt 14: Under Pressure
“Hey—be careful!” Douxie threw up a shield as rocks came tumbling down from the ceiling. “This tunnel is old and fragile.”
Steve rolled his eyes, walking backwards so he could look back at Douxie. “We were just here with the tentacle lady destroying stuff, I think it’ll hold up, magic man.”
Douxie grabbed the front of Steve’s armor, yanking him back from an open chasm. “That was nine hundred years ago, remember?”
“Oh, yeah.” Time travel. So weird. Steve edged closer to his friend. “You really think Merlin left anything behind?”
“I… don’t know. But this cave held Nimue for years—even if he didn’t leave any explicit instruction behind, there might be a clue as to how we can trap Bellroc and Skrael.” Douxie shuddered. “Let’s just… do this quickly. I don’t like being away from Nari this long, the Order might attack.”
“Uh, she has a dragon with her? I think she’ll be fine.”
Douxie rubbed his arms. “I hope so. Wow, there are a lot more twists and turns in here when you come through the right entrance.”
“Oh, hey, look at this… wall-picture!” Steve brushed a layer of dirt off of a painting. The painting started to glow, and the cavern rumbled. “Uh-oh.”
Douxie’s eyes widened, and he threw a spell that formed a glowing bubble around Steve
Rocks tumbled from the ceiling, batting the bubble around. Steve screamed, and the world blacked out.
When he woke up again, the magic bubble was gone, and so was Douxie. Steve scrambled to his feet, pulling out his phone and turning on the flashlight. “Magic man?” he whisper-called, “Hey—where’d you go?!”
He heard a raspy breathing, and he jumped, slowly turning to face it, expecting some horrible monster.
What he saw instead was worse. Much worse.
One of Douxie’s arms was extending from the pile of rocks, and Steve could just make out part of his head, a massive stone on top of it.
Steve skidded down on his knees next to his friend, gingerly shifting the rubble from his head. Blood pooled out from Douxie’s head, and the wizard heaved in another rattling breath.
“S-stuck,” Douxie rasped, blood dribbling from his mouth.
“I know—I know, I got it—” Steve quickly dialed Claire, going right to voice mail. “Nunez! Douxie’s hurt, I need you and your shadow voodoo yesterday!”
Douxie coughed, breaking off into a heart-wrenching splutter and a whine of pain.
Steve felt sick—my fault. He grabbed Douxie’s exposed hand. “Hey—stick with me, dumbledork. I’m going to get you help. Just hold on.” He tried Jim’s number. Voice mail. “Lake! Tell your girlfriend to pick up her phone!”
Douxie coughed again, heaving in shuddering-breaths. His hair was matted to his face with blood, and every single breath he took in seemed to hurt him. Steve gave his uninjured hand a squeeze.
“Don’t worry. I’m not going to let you die. Again. I’m protecting you this time.”
A whine of pain. Douxie’s eyes were starting to close, and Steve gently shook his shoulder, wincing as the wizard whimpered. “Hey, no passing out. Uhhhhhhhhh, hey, tell me, how’s New York?”
Steve shook Douxie again, hating himself for every gasp of pain. “Just fine? Come on, magic man, tell me more!”
Douxie coughed, spitting out blood. “H-hurts.”
“I know. Hey—I don’t think you’ll be coming back a second time, stay awake!”
Douxie’s fingers twitched weakly. “I can… magic…”
At his movement, the rubble shifted, and Douxie screamed. Steve screamed with him.
No. No, stay calm, keep it together, Palchuk.
“Hey—just—don’t move. Claire will be coming with her shadow magic, and we’ll get you out of here, okay? Just… hang on.”
Steve checked his phone, sending out a text this time. Douxie needs you.
“She’s coming,” Steve promised, “Just… stick with me.”
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Crush injuries / beaten / force
They were only supposed to do one run. The Fight for Air Climb was a charity event for the American Lung Association, a mile(ish) run up and down one of the tallest buildings in LA. Buck had heard about it from a friend of his, a transplant recipient named Kyle who went to his gym and ran harder and faster than anyone Buck had ever seen. The event was a series of three races and Buck had bullied the rest of the 118 into signing up for the first responders’ climb, a race in full gear up to the top of the skyscraper and back down again. They’d trained for it for months, took donations from other shifts, even had special LAFD shirts made up with a pair of lungs drawn in flame on the back.
Buck and Albert were the only two dumb enough to shed their gear and turn around and go back up for the civilian’s run. Eddie had laughed at him when Buck tried to needle him into going.
“I’ll have the icy hot ready for you when you come back down,” he said, placating Buck with a quick kiss. “If you don’t collapse halfway.”
The warning shout had come when they were nearly three quarters of the way to the top and spread through the crowd as quickly and easily as fire through dry tinder. Buck tried to urge calm, tried to get the runners around him to move slowly, be careful, but he couldn’t reason with panic. All around him a steady marathon pace quickened into a frantic run, people who had previously been traveling up turned and traveled down, crashing into other runners who had no idea what was going on and it was only a matter of time before someone fell.
“I don’t smell smoke, do you?” Albert asked as the two of them jogged with the flow of the crowd, trying to keep pressed against the wall and out of the way of the dozens of people pushing past them.
“No,” Buck answered. “Who yelled?”
No one who ran by seemed to know who had been the first to yell “fire,” but they’d all heard it and they were all responding.
Bodies came thundering down the stairs, racing and shoving, alarm more palpable in the air than the imaginary smoke they were all running from. There were race aides stationed on various floors, people with vests and water and clipboards who maybe could have calmed the crowd, but they were at least five floors from the closest one.
“LAFD!” Buck tried to yell. “Everyone stay calm. We’ll get out faster if we all go slow and steady.”
The words didn’t make any difference and he didn’t dare put an arm out to grab anyone and risk a fall. More runners came down from behind them, pushing them forward into the backs of those ahead. Buck hadn’t even realized they were behind that many others when they were running. Obviously the first run had taken more out of him and Albert than they thought.
Rounding another landing, Buck crashed into the door, leaning hard on the bar to open it and hopefully give the runners behind them another path out. There’d be another set of stairs on the other side of the building.
The door was locked.
Buck threw himself against it just to make sure and shouted as he bounced off of it and Albert had to steady him.
“Come on,” he said, “We’ll try the next one.”
But the story was the same on the next landing as well. The door didn’t budge and the crowd of runners was morphing into a sweating, terrified mass of humanity that was barely budging either. As he looked down, Buck was starting to see the crowd mesh together in a tangled knot, the descending runners collided with the ones still climbing and panicked cries were rising like smoke.
“Go up,” Buck urged. “We’ve got to keep people from coming down here. We have to thin this crowd or-”
A high pitched shriek echoed in the stairwell and the group stumbled forward a half step and then stopped and Buck knew with a sinking terrible feeling what had just happened.
“Stephanie!” someone shrieked. “Get off of her. Get off! Get off! Steph!”
Without thinking, Buck hauled himself up onto the railing. His running shoes gripped the metal bar, one hand coming down to steady himself as he tried to see where the screaming was coming from. Around the next corner, he saw her, a dark-haired girl struggling to keep her own balance as she reached down to someone that Buck couldn’t see. She was braced hard against the throng behind her, but she couldn’t stay on her feet and keep reaching at the same time. Whoever was underneath was being crushed, would die if no one did anything.
It was a narrow stairwell and Buck could easily drop from his position down to the next railing so he did, ignoring the faint tug Albert gave his t-shirt. Once on the next level, Buck scooted further down the stairs, his heart slamming against his ribs with every jostle he got from the crowd.
Above him, Albert had started yelling, “Hey! Hey! LAFD. Stop shoving! There’s a girl trapped down there! Hey!”
Buck yelled too, trying to get the attention of the people he passed, trying to get them to stop, but as he caught the eyes of one terrified teenager, he realized they couldn’t anymore. The crowd was a living thing, moving of its own volition, headed inexorably forward toward disaster. He heard the sound of more people slamming into the doors on the landings, banging on them, screaming, finding each and every one locked. They shouldn’t be locked. One was an accident. But every floor…
Finally he reached the shouting girl. She had a white knuckle grip on the railing and she was still stretching her other arm forward, trying to reach her friend. Buck could see a flash of a yellow t-shirt on the ground, a wave of black hair. The girl was conscious, fighting, but she was trapped upside down on the stairs and she couldn’t get free. He had a half second to decide what to do, how to help.
“Hey,” he said to the one who was standing. “My name’s Buck; I’m with the LAFD. What’s your name?”
“Cherie,” she answered, her voice shaking with strain. “Please help her. Stephanie-”
“Cherie, I’m going to climb down in front of you and I’m gonna get Stephanie off the ground. Can you hold on or are you going to fall?”
It was an impossible ask on a staircase with a thousand pounds of force pushing on her from above and gravity pulling on her from below. But rising above the fear in her eyes there was a steely determination. “I can hold on,” she said. “Please help her.”
“Alright,” Buck said. “I’m coming down.”
He stepped over where her hand clutched the rail and lowered himself down. Cherie teetered and stumbled forward as the crowd pressed behind her, around her, but she held her ground. Taking a deep breath as if diving into a wave, Buck squatted low, letting go of the railing, risking his balance, risking his life, because he was only going to get one shot at this and he needed both hands.
Buck was straddling Stephanie’s legs, bent and bloody, and he couldn’t see if anyone was standing on her other limbs, but he had no way to move them if they were. Praying to god she didn’t have a spinal injury, he did the only thing he could do: He grabbed Stephanie tight around the waist and lifted. She fought to help him, her feet running forward, trying to find an edge on the stairs to push up on as Buck used every inch of the muscle he’d spent years building to rise, lifting them both and holding his balance.
“Oh my god,” Cherie said from behind him. “Is she-?”
And Stephanie groaned in his arms before saying, “I’m okay.”
It was all she managed to get out before Cherie crashed into Buck’s back, finally wrenched loose from her position on the stairs and all three of them slipped quickly down two steps. Buck didn’t even think Stephanie’s feet were touching the ground. She was wedged between his chest and the back of the man in front of her. He couldn’t see what her injuries were but his arms were covered in blood.
“Buck!” Albert yelled from up the stairs.
Buck wanted to yell back, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t lift his arm to say that he was okay. The wave lifted and shoved him forward until it broke on the landing and everyone stumbled in the spare few inches that they had available to move. Other people were climbing on the railings now, desperate souls following Buck’s example without Buck’s athleticism. Time seemed to stretch out, every moment swollen with desperation and lingering on and on, but it really couldn’t have been more than a few seconds before someone else fell. Then another.
The screams all blended together in a loud hum. Buck reached again for the railing, but he was well and truly part of the ocean now and he couldn’t stop long enough to get the leverage he needed to hoist himself up. He lost track of Stephanie as they turned a corner and he was jostled, thrown across the landing and nearly hitting the opposite wall, but Buck didn’t really start to get afraid until his feet lifted to descend the next stair and didn’t come down again.
He wouldn’t panic; he couldn’t. The only real difference between first responders and everybody else was that sense of purpose. Buck had a mission. Get everyone out. Get himself out. That focus let him run in when every survival instinct in his body should have been screaming at him to run out. He clawed for that purpose now but he couldn’t seem to reach it. His body was lifted in the air and his chest was crushed together with other desperate chests and Buck started struggling hard to get out get out get out get loose.
Every breath he took seemed shallower than the last as he was squeezed tighter and tighter. Buck didn’t think the crowd was moving anymore. Maybe they’d hit one final locked door at the bottom and there was nowhere else to go. Buck imagined himself being squelched like a watermelon in a hydraulic press. He imagined himself being scraped off the stairs by the teams of paramedics who were waiting just a few flights down, who had no idea any of this was happening. He thought of Eddie.
Oh god, Eddie. Eddie who had just started relaxing into the permanence of Buck’s love for him. Eddie who would force his way into the stairwell the second he heard something had happened. Eddie who would find him. Eddie who would be crushed just as thoroughly as Buck was about to be. The thought of it hurt, it hurt so much but also what else was Buck supposed to think about in the last moments of his life? Nothing but Eddie.
Drawing a breath into the last of the room in his lungs, Buck summoned all of the strength he had to fight, just to try and carve out a little bit of room for himself and as he shoved, he felt something give way in the horde around him.
There was just enough time for Buck to remember that he was still suspended before he wasn’t anymore. He crashed hard to the ground, his knees hitting first and then his outstretched hands before his chest slammed into one of the cement stairs, knocking all of the hard-won air from his lungs. Buck shouted as he scrambled, grasping at the stairs, trying to push himself up and then he felt the thud of a kick to his ribs. It wasn’t intentional--nothing anyone was doing was intentional anymore--but it bruised all the same. There was another thud and another as someone passed over him, stepping hard on his hip as they did and before he could cry out, another shoe crushed his fingers.
Buck was nudged, steamrolled, rammed, squeezed, tumbled down the stairs. He was like a stone at the bottom of the ocean, destined to be sanded down, rocked back and forth for eternity until he was filed down into nothing. And he had just enough time for the horror of that to overwhelm every one of his senses before another flailing foot connected with his jaw and everything went black.
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Okay, thought of a request for the bingo card! I'm going to with "Please Don't Leave Me". Hurt Keith, caretaker Allura.
Heyyy look at me, I came through with another BTHB fill and combined it with Whumptober! Surprise!
Fandom: Voltron: Legendary Defender
BTHB Prompt: Please Don’t Leave Me
Whumptober Prompt: Crush Injuries
Warnings: tunnel collapse, mild lady whump, pinned down, mild blood, referenced internal bleeding, discussion of death
The collapse is both sudden and loud. One moment Allura and Keith are walking silently through the dark of the underground tunnel, watching for any signs of the glowing mineral that is supposed to be found there, and the next the ground is shaking and rocks are raining down on them. She tries to keep up with where Keith is in the chaos, but quickly loses sight of him. Small rocks pelt her helmet. Another, larger one hits her shoulder, and she cries out.
There’s a flash of blue light, and Keith’s shield is covering her from above. Swiveling her head, she locks eyes with him. “We gotta move, let’s go!” he shouts, his voice barely audible even this close to her ears. She can see his arm shaking with every stone that falls on top of them.
They’re too late to escape the tunnel, though. She’s skeptical that any path won’t be blocked, but they don’t even make it far enough to find out. There’s a horrendously loud cracking sound above them, and suddenly Keith disappears and she’s falling, tumbling across the rock-covered ground.
The rumbling finally stops. Allura squeezes her eyes shut and coughs out some of the dust in her lungs, only to inhale more with the next breath. It’s so thick in the air that she can’t see any better now than she could a few dobashes ago.
“Keith?” She coughs again and drags herself up to sit, wincing and clutching at her wounded shoulder. “Keith! Are...are you alright?”
There’s no answer. A growing feeling of dread begins to gnaw at her insides, and she forces herself to her feet, looking around her, trying to find any sign of red armor or black hair in the wasteland of brown rocks and dust. “Keith! Can you hear me?”
A groan answers her from somewhere nearby. It simultaneously fills her with relief and fear. Holding her arm against her side, she scrambles over the rubble in the direction it came from.
She almost steps on his arm.
“Keith!” she gasps, dropping down on her knees beside him, frantically looking over what little she can see of his body.
His eyes open to slits, tongue running over dust-coated lips. “‘Llura...you ‘kay?”
She sits back on her heels, surprised. “Am I…? I’m fine, Keith, it’s you that’s not okay!”
“Yeah.” The hand she’s kneeling beside, the only one of his hands she can see, clenches into a fist. “It...hurts.”
The admission softens her, makes her want to gather him up in a hug if only she actually could. She settles for resting her palm on his arm. “I know. I’m sure it must hurt quite badly.” Her eyes flicker over the pile of rocks that rest on top of him. “I should be able to move these.”
“Be careful,” he grunts as she rises, and while she’s more concerned about potentially making his situation worse, she has no doubt based on his tone that he’s only worried about her safety.
The pile, thankfully, is not so large that she has to climb on it to reach the top. The last thing Keith needs is more weight on top of him. She’s easily able to remove the first few, smaller rocks using only her good arm, tossing them away, but the biggest problem is obviously the huge boulder that’s sitting right on top of him.
Normally it wouldn’t be a problem for her, either. But right now…
She pushes her doubt aside and braces her arms underneath the stone. “I’m going to lift this. If you can possibly move back at all, do.”
Before he can protest, she bends her knees and lifts. And screams, in unison with her shoulder.
Stumbling backwards, she drops to the ground, clutching at her arm. “I’m...I’m alright. I...believe I may be more injured than I originally thought. I’m sorry, Keith.”
“‘S not your fault.” Sucking in a sharp breath, he closes his eyes in a grimace. “It’ll...it’ll be okay.”
But what if it isn’t? She has no way of knowing just what kind of shape he’s in underneath there. Human bodies are so...fragile. The other paladins are nearby, of course, and will know something is wrong soon, but what if it’s not soon enough?
Her attention is brought back to Keith when he begins to cough. It looks painful, curling his head and shoulders up off the ground. When it passes, he drops back down, trembling, and a thin stream of red trickles from the corner of his mouth.
Allura frowns, leaning in closer. “Keith, is your mouth injured as well?”
“Hm?” His hand comes up to his mouth, one pale finger poking through his ripped glove, and touches the blood. The look of barely contained panic in his eyes when he sees it sends a jolt of fear through her gut. “Oh. No, uh...that...that means that somethin’...inside of me is bleeding.”
She doesn’t have to know much about human anatomy to know that that’s not a good thing. Not at all.
“Alright. I’m...I’m going to go find help.”
His eyes go wide. “You...you can’t, it’s...too dangerous. Prob’ly...blocked.”
Allura manages a small smile. “Perhaps. But I must try. You’re gravely injured, the comms won’t pick up down here, and I cannot bear to just sit and wait for them to find us.”
She begins to stand, and Keith’s hand shoots out and latches onto her arm with a surprisingly strong grip for his state. Surprised, her gaze meets his, and the expression she finds there is somehow even more fearful than it had been at the sight of the blood.
“Please…” His words come out in a shaky whisper. “Please don’t leave me.”
This is nothing like the strong, stoic Keith she knows, and though she’s aware he’s in pain she finds herself aggravated that he can’t see this is the logical solution. “Keith, you must let me go.”
His hand squeezes her arm, then releases and drops back to the ground with a thud. He turns his head toward the ceiling, but not before she can see tears brimming in his eyes. “I don’...I don’ wanna die alone.”
She wants to reassure him that he won’t, he’ll be fine, but an image flashes through her mind of him lying down here, in excruciating pain, struggling through his last moments of life with no one there to comfort him, and she can’t. She can’t say it, and she can’t leave. Her knees hit the ground again, and she gathers his hand up in both of hers, holding it to her chest.
“It’s alright,” she murmurs. “I’m here. You’re right, I probably wouldn’t make it far, anyway.”
They sit together in relative silence, only interrupted for a while by Keith’s periodic coughs. She gently wipes the blood off his chin and tries not to let her fear for him show on her face. It only takes a few dobashes, though, before it’s obvious that he’s beginning to fade, and that’s when she starts to softly recall stories from her childhood, trying to keep him awake.
“‘Llura,” he says at last, not seeming to notice that he’s interrupting. “If...if I don’ make it...nee’ you t’...t’ tell Sh’ro…’m sorry.”
She bends her head down and presses his knuckles into her cheek, torn between responses. “Yes. Yes, I will.” A distant noise catches the attention of her sensitive ears, and she sits up straight, suddenly on full alert. “But I believe he’ll appreciate it more coming straight from you. Listen, Keith, I hear them! They’re coming!”
“We’re here!” she shouts. Folding over, she rests her helmet against his. “Hold on. Just a little longer. They’re almost here.”
“Th’nk you.” She can barely hear him anymore. She’s pretty sure, though, that she knows what he’s thanking her for.
“We’re all right here. You’re not alone, and you’re going to be just fine.”
Requests for BTHB are still open (instructions here, prompts not crossed off on the card above are still available)! Just be aware that filling the prompts is mostly on hiatus for now, until Whumptober is over.
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Whumptober 2021 No 14 - Crush Injuries
Baby (Dont @ me. She has feelings too!🤗)
Traditional art - black and red ink on watercolour paper
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“I’ve heard humans propose through the sharing of rings.
Shame you and your human won’t be able to do that
Not when you don’t have the fingers left for it.”
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Characters: Gordon, Scott
A high rise rescue with Virgil out of action was enough of a challenge without Alan being chased by flying bombs in space at the same time.
Day 14 of @whumptober-archive with the prompt crush injuries from “under pressure”, and I’m playing with something I’ve had my eye on for a little while - Scott and Gordon’s high rise rescue during 1.03 Space Race! Only, because it’s me, they’ve got their own problems to be worrying about...
As for why Virgil’s out of action, I’m running with @gumnut-logic’s explanation in her fic No-one Is Losing Their Dad Today because it suits my needs nicely.
Scott was distracted. Gordon knew why, and theoretically didn’t blame him at all – John’s update on Alan’s sudden rescue mission when he should have been just clearing harmless junk had filtered through his comm as well – but a distracted Scott was a bad thing.
What made Scott such a fantastic commander was his ability to compartmentalise and make snap decisions, a trait he’d always had and honed to a precision art during his Air Force days. When something needed doing, he didn’t get distracted. He couldn’t afford to – not when lives were depending on him.
On a rescue like this one, when they were already a man down thanks to Virgil’s internal bleeding stunt a week earlier, Scott’s attention being less than completely focused on their situation was a problem.
In Thunderbird Two, doing what was normally Virgil’s job of the heavy lifting as the big Thunderbird sliced and diced open a high rise that was toppling over with about twenty people stuck in the top floors, Gordon couldn’t do much about Scott. His brother was in the building, directing the trapped people to safe zones while Gordon cut them a way out and digging out anyone who’d got stuck by falling debris.
This wasn’t a two-person job, but Kayo was off chasing a lead on the Hood and Scott had decided it was too dangerous for Alan without Virgil around as back-up. Besides, he and Scott were perfectly competent, and Gordon did have Virgil on comms for tips and tricks regarding the big green bathtub.
If it wasn’t for his big brother’s advice, this rescue would probably have gone FUBAR some time ago. As it was, they were hanging in there, just about, with a risky but viable plan halfway implemented.
Until Alan’s little joyride in space went wrong.
Then their rescue went wrong, too.
Gordon felt a sudden rush of appreciation for John, stuck up in Thunderbird Five and unable to help when things went wrong. Being able to see the disaster in the making, with no way of stopping it, was not a position he normally found himself in. It was not a position he ever wanted to be in again.
Scott had just finished calling Alan for a check in, smother hen out in force. He shouldn’t have done it, although Gordon understood the desire to make sure their youngest brother was okay. But Scott really should have just trusted that John was performing the requisite big brother duties and worried about himself instead.
He was in an unstable building, after all.
One wandering mind, not entirely on the task at hand, combined with one loadbearing wall, combined to make disaster.
Thunderbird Two was working with another section, and Gordon could do nothing but yell as the wall gave way.
The crash reverberated through the air, audible even over the Thunderbird’s engines. Rescuees screamed, picked up by Scott’s open comm. What wasn’t picked up by Scott’s comm was his brother himself.
“Scott!” Stuck at the helm of Thunderbird Two, Gordon could do nothing but shout at the comm, heart in his mouth. “Scott, do you hear me? Scott!”
The other end of the comm, back on Tracy Island, Virgil was equally panicked, but he could do even less than Gordon – absolutely nothing. Gordon, at least, could keep going with the rescue.
He’d much appreciate it if Scott would answer, though. Over the comm, he could hear voices as nearby rescuees tried to help – whatever help was required. From the sounds of it, Scott was buried under some rubble.
Gordon itched to be there, digging him out himself, but he still had his part of the rescue to do – finding them a way out.
A rescue that should have taken three of them was now down to one. Gordon grit his teeth against the lack of his brother’s voice promising he was okay and got back to the job at hand.
The groan that filtered through the comms a minute later, as he finally lasered off the top of the building and began to lift it clear, was very welcome.
“Urgh,” came the acknowledgement. Other voices clamoured in – terrified rescuees – and the next few words clearly weren’t aimed at him. “Alan?” however, was definitely not a question for their rescuees.
“John’s got that under control,” he promised, having no actual contact with Thunderbirds Five or Three and unable to say for certain, but trusting John with his little brother regardless. It wasn’t like he had a choice about that, after all. “The roof is clear; I’ll be lowering the seats from the module as soon as I’ve got this dumped. What’s your sitrep?”
The fact that Scott didn’t immediately answer told him that he was trying to decide how to word “I’m fine” convincingly.
“Are you able to move?” he said, before Scott could try and spin a half-truth on him. “Buried under anything?”
“I can move,” Scott told him, although the way his voice wheezed told Gordon another story. Still, there was nothing he could do until he got there, so he pushed Thunderbird Two just a little more until her load was deposited safely on the ground by the high rise and she was hovering over the exposed top.
It was at that point he decided to engage autopilot and get his hands dirty, so to speak. In his defence, he had no faith that Scott was in a condition to be helping anyone else onto the seats, and was fairly certain his brother would actually be one of the ones in need.
He was right.
Jumping off of the lowered seats and chivvying on the shaken but mostly unharmed rescuees in preparation of evacuation, he caught sight of his brother lurking. Scott was leaning against a pile of rubble, uniform streaked red with brick-dust, or what Gordon hoped was just brick-dust, face rather too pale behind his helmet visor. Next to him, some of the rescuees were fussing, and seemed undeterred by Scott’s attempts to shoo them off.
Gordon made a beeline for them.
Closer up, it was clear that his brother shouldn’t be standing at all, but Gordon knew which battles weren’t worth fighting – he wasn’t Virgil, and couldn’t out-stubborn Scott, especially not with witnesses around.
“I’ve got him,” he assured them, nudging them towards the seats. “You guys get loaded up. Anyone too hurt to get on?”
It transpired that Scott, typically, was the worst injury. Gordon kept a sharp eye on him as he checked everyone was strapped in before sending them up into the belly of Thunderbird Two.
It took two loads to get everyone on board, and then the seats lowered one last time to retrieve the brothers. With no-one to keep the façade up for, Gordon had no intention of letting Scott fake how badly he was hurt.
A medscan amid protests did not give a nice answer.
Cracked ribs, bruised muscles, and struggling lungs. Scott had been well and truly crushed by the debris, and Gordon was highly unimpressed; it could have been avoided if he’d just focused on his own rescue and not on Alan’s.
Not that he was going to let rip about it in his younger brother’s earshot. Alan would be mortified, even though it wasn’t his fault at all.
Outside of Alan’s earshot, however, he was free to let his displeasure known.
“You are an idiot,” he snapped as he helped his wheezing brother stagger over to the seats and secured him tightly. “Alan didn’t need your attention. You did.”
He threw himself onto the seat next to his brother and set them to rise, leaving the remains of the building behind. Scott didn’t attempt to defend himself, so Gordon hoped that meant he knew he was in the wrong.
There wasn’t time to push further, though. Thunderbird Two swallowed them up, and there were several rescuees who needed safely depositing on the ground before he could continue his scolding.
Scott was left where he was as Gordon slipped into the cockpit and directed the Thunderbird to the ground.
“How is he?” Virgil asked, hologram showing worried wide brown eyes. Gordon grimaced.
“Not great. Looks like he’s taken some crush damage. I’ll swing by Auckland on the way home and see what they think.”
“Scott won’t like that,” Virgil warned, and Gordon rolled his eyes.
“Well he shouldn’t have stopped paying attention in a danger zone,” he retorted. “Alan’s only going to be going on more rescues as he gets older; Scott can’t let that throw him off his game or we’ll have to bench him.”
He and Virgil both knew there was no chance Scott would agree to that.
Thunderbird Two touched down and Gordon left Virgil’s hovering hologram over the console as he returned to offload their passengers.
Predictably, Scott had released himself from the straps and was in the process of attempting to stand up when Gordon arrived in the module. He ignored his idiot of a big brother for the moment, instead ushering everyone else out onto tarmac far enough from the danger zone not to be caught in any more falling debris. Only once everyone was safely out and the module door rising again did he return his attention to his brother.
“You’re laying down,” he told him bluntly, slipping under his shoulder and helping him limp towards a hoverstretcher. “We need to get some ice on that before it swells too much.”
“I’m fine, Gordon,” came the predictable answer, Scott attempting to dig his heels in, but Gordon had enough strength in his shoulders to force him along anyway.
“Crush damage is not fine, Scott,” he corrected. “Now lay down.” He gave a – gentle, not near the chest – push and Scott collapsed onto the stretcher. “Perfect. Do me a favour and strip your flight suit.”
Scott sighed at him – or at least, made a sound that would’ve been a sigh if he’d been capable of that sort of sound – but acquiesced. It came with a fond eyeroll, as though Scott was only doing it to pander to his little brother, rather than because he thought he actually needed to, but Gordon would take it if it meant an obedient Scott.
Flight suit stripped to the waist, leaving him in just his navy blue undershirt, he tried to get up again. Gordon put a stop to it with ice, catching his brother mid-rise and lowering him back down to lay flat.
John flickered into view just as he finished packing ice onto Scott’s torso, to his brother’s visible – if not audible – relief.
“Alan’s adventure is over and he’s safely headed for home,” the ginger reported. “He’s absolutely fine.”
That was good news, and Gordon’s own big brother instincts unknotted inside his gut, but he had other things to say, starting with, “well that’s more than I can say for Scott.”
“John, you’ll need to pilot One home,” Gordon steamrollered, not looking at his eldest brother. “If you could give Auckland hospital a heads’ up about a crush injury to the chest, that’d be great.”
Turquoise eyes widened. “What happened?”
“Scott was an idiot.” Said idiot in question protested loudly at the accusation, and Gordon glowered at him. “He was paying more attention to Alan’s situation than his own and ended up with a load-bearing wall on his chest.”
Gordon could hear the distinctive engine of Thunderbird One reverberating from outside and assumed John had taken control.
“Got distracted by Alan’s fun,” he repeated. “He could easily have got out of the way if he was concentrating.”
Gordon placed a fresh ice pack on Scott’s chest, high enough for it to tickle his bare skin at the collar, and whatever Scott was about to say got swallowed by a hiss of surprise.
“Gordon’s right – you’re an idiot,” John told him. “Get moving, Gordon; I’ll update Auckland.”
Before he left his brother’s side, he retrieved some restraints and fastened Scott in place, much to his brother’s displeasure. The objections were frequent and vocal.
“No moving,” he told him sunnily, and ignored the protest that earned him. “I know this isn’t Thunderbird One, but Aotearoa is still only a short hop across the water. We’ll be there in no time.”
Scott’s reaction was not one of a mollified man. Gordon patted him on the shoulder condescendingly – yes he was still annoyed at him, and would continue to be so for the immediate future – and headed back to the cockpit.
One unplanned hospital trip coming up. And now IR was two men down.
More importantly, Gordon was now two big brothers down, and that was two too many.
He was also uncomfortably aware that he could have also been a little brother down, if Alan’s space adventure had gone slightly differently.
At least John was still in one piece.
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1. The Beginning
CW: medical, restraints, fear
It was the cool, fresh air against my face that first made me realise that I’d been caught. I was not in our underground base. They had got me. A wave of despair threatened to swallow me whole.
The woman leaning over me was obscured by a heavenly gloria of light. A moment later, I realised she was shining a small flashlight into my eyes. When she leaned back, I saw it on her pale blue shirt. The stylised logo of a person with radiant white wings. ‘The outstretched wings to shelter the whole of humanity’ or some bullshit like that. Yeah right, as if they were angels.
“Welcome to the land of the living”, the woman said. “We thought we’d lose you for a while, but you’re stable now.”
I was in a bed. A soft pillow underneath my head. Behind the woman a window stood ajar. It was dark outside, while the last I remembered was morning sunlight. Time had passed, no telling how long.
I couldn’t move. My right arm and leg were completely immobilised. A cast, I realised, looking down at myself. My left arm and leg were tied to the bed frame, my hand inside a sort of glove, making it impossible to move my fingers.
“Would you like some water?” The woman tucked back a curl of her blonde hair and held up a glass with a straw.
I shook my head, pressing my lips together. If they wanted to drug me, at least I would give them a fight.
“Look up to your right.” It was a man’s voice. I hadn’t noticed him, but he was sitting in a chair next to the bed. Older, but not old. Slight of build. Brown hair, startlingly green eyes. I did as he told me, and saw the upside down bottle of transparent liquid, the looping tube ending with a needle in my arm.
“You lost a lot of blood.” The woman said, her keen blue eyes meeting my own. “That will help your body recover. But we could give you whatever we want and there’s nothing you could do about it.” She waved the glass. “This is just water.”
Resigned, I opened my mouth for the straw. It tasted like water, cool and soothing. My throat was parched.
When she removed the glass I let myself lean back against the pillows and took stock of my situation. I was very securely tied down, not to mention the whole body in a cast-thing and the fact that two of them were in the room. I wasn’t going anywhere.
Apart from that, I felt unexpectedly good. Not a lot of pain. I felt relaxed. Even a bit cheerful.
Not exactly the expected response of someone tied down in a bed in enemy camp.
The man in the chair was watching me attentively, a warm look in the green eyes.
“Are you messing with my head?” I asked.
He smiled a little, only the slightest shift on the right side of his mouth. The corners of his eyes crinkling.
“Not that much, though. You don’t have to worry. Nothing to do with your thought processes. Quite the opposite, actually. You are feeling quite a lot of pain and stress, which is understandable but not all that helpful at the moment. I am just filtering that out. It should make you a bit more clear-headed.”
“Well, I would prefer it if you stopped doing that. Get out of my head.”
He lifted both hands in an appeasing gesture. “Okay. But I’ll do it again if you want me to.”
My breath turned fast and shallow. Pain overwhelmed my senses. I could tell that it was blunted by drugs that made my head feel light and woozy. There was dull, aching pain all through my body, accompanied by sharp piercing stabs from my left side.
Above it all I felt fear, a nearly paralysing fear. I had been captured. What would happen now? I remembered the screams of our prisoners, the glimpses of torture that I had seen in the hallways. Even if I myself stayed well away from that, I had seen enough to know what was waiting for me. Probably worse, these were the heroes, after all. Who knew what kind of life-saving knowledge they hoped to wring from my mangled body with whatever means possible? I struggled in vain against the restraints, not caring that it made fresh pain bloom from my arm and leg.
The pain and fear combined created iron bands around my chest, shrinking fast with every breath.
“Please…” I gasped, involuntarily. “Please make it stop.”
Immediately, my breathing eased, my heart slowed down, the pain faded away. It was still there, I was aware of a faint, dull ache in the back of my mind, but it was far from as oppressive as before. Without the fog of fear heavy around me, I could think again.
The man in the chair nodded a little, green eyes meeting my own. “That’s better, yes?”
I took a shivering breath. “Y-yes.” Grudgingly, I added. “Thank you.” After another breath I asked. “Did you make me feel that way?”
“I did not. My gifts can’t create physical pain. That is how you really feel. We don’t want to give you any more painkillers, a higher dose than you are getting now might be dangerous. That is why I am here.”
“What - what happened to me?”
It was the woman who answered.
“A house fell on you. Your right side is pretty much crushed. Broken arm and leg, broken ribs, some internal damage, we had to go for surgery. You are seriously lucky to be alive.”
I raised my left hand in the strange fabric glove as far as the straps would let me.
“What about this?”
“Oh. Your left hand is fine. Sorry about that. We just don’t want you to be able to use your powers.”
I felt a wave of indignation, but I guess I could see where they came from.
The man rose and stood by my bedside, looking down at me.
“I’m sorry, friend, I will, as you so succinctly put it, ‘mess with your head’ a bit more. You need your rest.”
Before I had time to react he reached out and rested the back of his cool hand lightly against my forehead. I fell. I plunged helplessly down into a black, dreamless sleep.
So, this is my take on Whumptober 2021. I don’t feel like trying to write 31 pieces this month (because that would be stressful for me), but I like the writing challenge, so I will try to cover all or most of the prompts, but combine them into fewer posts. I hope you’ll enjoy it! ❤️
Whumptober prompts: 1 bound, 7 helplessness, 10 hospital, 14 crush injuries, 18 doctor’s visit, 28 “Good, you’re finally awake”, 31 prisoner.
(I’m not automatically tagging the Lydia & Coriander crowd since this is so different, but if you would like to be tagged in this also, please let me know.)
Help! What powers does my main character have? (Suggestions please.)
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Whumptober 14: Under Pressure (crush injuries)
It hurts. Lloyd thought as he desperately tried to push the large chunk of debris off his chest. It hurts, it’s crushing my ribs.
“Where’s Lloyd?!” He could hear the others not far away.
I’m here! I’m here! Please! Please find me! It hurts to move and talk and-
“Well look what I found.” A voice chuckled from where Lloyd couldn’t see “I do say Old Chum, it has been a while.” Shit. Shit. Shit. He looked as far back as he could without it hurting too much more. “I dare say, you do seem to find yourself in the worst situations my friend.” Pythor grinned. “Let’s see if I can make it worse, shall we?”
Screw the pain, he just going to kill me. “Help!” The weight on his chest got heavier. It hurts to breathe. His vision was fading.
“Lloyd!” He spotted Red, Blue, White, and Black blurs as the world went dark.
Maybe I’ll get to see Nya. That’d be nice.
“Lloyd? Lloyd?! Guys! Guys he’s waking up!” It was bright when Lloyd woke up. A plain white hospital room, Kai was in a chair next to his bed, Wu and Misako were standing in the middle of the room, Cole and Jay were in chairs at the foot, and Zane was in the doorway with vending machine snacks. “Lloyd? Thank the First Spinjitzu Master!” Kai exclaimed as he gently hugged Lloyd.
“Hi Kai.” Lloyd whispered.
“Does it hurt to talk? Should we call a doctor?”
“Kai, calm… calm down man.” Lloyd smiled softly. “I’m okay.”
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Essek wasn’t sure how long he was unconscious. Surely with how much pain he was in, it couldn’t have been long. The weight of what must be all of Aeor pushed down on him from all sides. The dust had settled thickly around them when he opened his eyes, but he found he still couldn’t breathe.
His head and one shoulder were just barely free from the mountain of rubble that held him like a vice, with one arm pinned under him and the other at his side, deep beneath the pile of earth. He tried to move them, but found it nearly impossible. His entire body ached, from his chest to his feet, but the sensation was quickly lost to the sharp, stabbing agony that filled his torso. So this is what it felt like to be crushed.
“Caleb?” he called out weakly. His voice was raspy and quiet, despite his attempt to yell. He could barely breathe. It felt like dust had coated the inside of his throat, and he couldn’t help but cough. He immediately regretted it, as the movement sent sparks of pain down the length of his torso. The weight around him seemed to crowd in closer, as if his coughing had angered it.
“Caleb?!” he called out again, only marginally louder. He twisted his head, searching in the darkness for his friend. Then, his heart froze.
A single pale arm extended out of the rock about four feet to his side. The darkness that had fallen around them took away any semblance of color, but as Essek followed that arm to its source, he found he could see Caleb’s head as well.
He wasn’t moving.
Title: Hold You Tight
Set: Aeor Date
Tags: Whumptober2021, no.14, Crush Injuries, Force, Claustrophobia, blood, Cave In, Animal attacks,
Word Count: 2732
It happened so fast.
Essek often prided himself in his dexterity. He had to, since his strength was quite abysmal. Yet when he needed it the most, it failed him.
He wasn’t sure what caused the cave in. In fact, the speed at which rocks and metal rained down on them was suspicious enough that he couldn’t help but wonder later if it was actually a trap of some form. In the moment however, all he could think was that he needed to get to Caleb.
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Whumptober Day 14: Under Pressure
crush injuries | beaten | force
Synopsis: When pursuing the trolls in the Wild Wood, both Douxies get caught in the fray. Unlike with Jim, time doesn’t take pity on future Douxie when his younger self is gravely injured.
Word Count: 812
CWs: Major character death, neck trauma, gory descriptions of injury
✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩
The troll's hand tightens around the body in its grasp, and Douxie feels panic take physical form within him, lodging itself in his throat, as if the brute's fist were clenched around his own neck instead of his double's. His younger self kicks out, clawing desperately at the stone hand gripping him. Wild, panicked eyes meet Douxie's own, then—
Douxie tears his eyes away from himself at the sound of his master's voice. He watches as the rest of the raiding party rushes into the clearing, Arthur leading the fray with Merlin at his side. Their eyes fall upon the boy caught in the clutches of the Gumm-Gumm prince, his helpless kicks growing weaker as his eyes flutter dangerously, and Douxie finds a terror in the old wizard's eyes that churns as violent as his rage.
Bular spots them, too. His jaws open in rage-fueled roar at the sight of the king, and his chokehold on Hisirdoux tightens even more. Dazed, drooping eyes fly open in fear, and Hisirdoux's gaze surges frantically from Douxie to Merlin. Tears well at the sight of him, and he can only force his lips to mouth a soundless apology as Bular crushes his neck in ignorant anger.
Hisirdoux doesn't have enough air left in his lungs to scream before a sickening crack echoes across the clearing and the boy goes limp, hollow eyes bulging against pale and bluing skin. Bular tosses the boy aside without so much as a glance, charging towards Arthur. Hisirdoux's body collides hard with a nearby tree before dropping to the ground, rolling over, and lying motionless in the grass.
Douxie is running, already halfway to his own body, when pain unlike anything he's felt in nine hundred years erupts inside his limbs. It blooms small at first, starting as a bladepoint at the back of his neck before ricocheting into heavy, angry axes that swing hard against his spine. His knees hit the ground and he screams, agony making a home in every inch of him. It feels as if he's being torn in two, stone hands gripping him by his skull and tearing the flesh and bone apart, dissatisfied with anything except the meat of an living organ. Douxie chokes, breathlessly, and tastes blood on his tounge.
The pain is ceaseless, bearing down on him like an iron weight, and Douxie falls further forward onto his stomach. The cacophony of the forest blurs across every one of his senses; sounds running faintly from one ear to the other, light dancing formlessly in his vision, the ground hard and soft and cold and warm and moving and still, all at once. Douxie breathes raggedly and forces himself to lift his splitting head. His younger self stares back at him, dead-eyed and baby-faced, and it's all Douxie can do not to hurl at the sight. He doesn't think his body would let him, even if he wanted to.
With another pained cry, Douxie drags his weight across the grass and towards himself. A flash of green dances at the corner of his vision, and he forces himself not to think about what Merlin and the others were doing. Thinking hurt too much. Reason hurt too much.
Despite the sickness that churns in his gut at the sight of his own dead body, Douxie doesn't look away. It's the only thing that retains a sense of clarity around him, the woods now dipping in and out of vignette and smearing black like charcoal around the edges, a faded and burning film. A cough bubbles its way out of Douxie's throat and forces him to stop. The blood that coats his lips in the aftermath burns like a candle on skin, and drips down his chin like the wax.
Douxie's shoulders shake as he tries to push forward again, to no avail. It feels as though the world itself has been stitched into his skin, an impossible weight to carry any further. He pulls against the strings, tearing his hand loose with a cry and reaching out desperately to grip the wrist of his younger self. Fingers curl around the cold, thin metal of his once-smaller vambrace, and Douxie feels tears join the blood in the melting of his skin. His lips tremble. "I'm sorry," he whispers, a terrible and ragged sound. Hollow eyes stare past him, and he knows it means nothing.
Pain pins him to the ground, driving spears and swords and scythes into every limb and bone within. Douxie's fingers twitch in tiny spasms as they move from the bracelet to his own hand He squeezes with as much energy as he can muster, twin scars side by side.
I’m so, so sorry. I couldn't fix it.
What's left of his breath catches in Douxie's throat. He blinks with leaden eyelids, and sinks with them like a stone into darkness.
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Eric and his dad were the only survivors in that freak bus accident, weren’t they?
No. 14 - UNDER PRESSURE
crush injuries | beaten | force
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whumptober day 14: crush injuries
Dust swirls in the air, still unable to settle after the building’s collapse. Obi-Wan watches it twirl and snake through the hot air before landing on him and all the rubble that traps him here. The building encases them like a crude sarcophagus.
He hears Anakin’s wet rasping and knows that his Padawan doesn’t have much time.
“Master,” Anakin chokes. Obi-Wan imagines blood bubbling in the corners of his mouth. “Are you still there?”
“I’m still here,” Obi-Wan says hoarsely. He doesn’t have much time either.
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Cause in your warmth I forget how cold it can be
@whumptober2021 Days 13/14: “This is gonna suck”/Crush Wounds
This is a Witcher fanfic teheheh its my first and im very proud of it and its almost 2k words ~(’v’)~
tags: crushed under rubble, concussion, head injury, confusion, Jaskier is an idiot, Geralt is worried about said idiot
The contract was supposed to be simple, easy even. A young graveir that had wandered too close for comfort to a village they were traveling through, a village thankfully willing to pay a fair bit for the beast taken off their hands. It hadn’t attacked the living so far, but the bodies disappearing from graveyards in disturbing trails of blood were getting, understandably, a little too close for comfort. Geralt had let him tag along, and Jaskier had followed happily with flighty promises to stay out of the way of harm, for both of their sakes.
Jaskier had, mind you, stayed out of the way for the most part, having no desire to get near the thing. He could write a perfectly good epic from right here thank you very much, tucked inside the abandoned barn they’d found the graveir hiding out in. Roach was a good distance away with moft of their things, but Geralt had left him with a small leather bag, filled with bottles he recognized from experience as necrophage oil, black blood and white honey. All told with extremely gruff seriousness he was not to lose.
Jaskier had snatched the satchel, making some witty comment he couldn’t quite recall about how Geralt would simply have to perish if it came down between saving the potions or his lute, which he’d insisted on bringing along. He wasn’t going to leave it in the middle of the woods on a horse where it could very easily be stolen, heaven forbid (no offence to Roach of course, she was a darling).
The jest seemed all too morbid, now, as Jaskier sprinted with both thrown over his shoulder. The building, now shuddering concerningly above him, was all the signal he needed that it was time to get out. His feet thudded on the ground as he ran, almost too frantic to keep his balance.
Things were going terribly wrong, and apparently an extremely old, unstable building wasn’t a smart place to hide while the big scary witcher with a knack for knocking things down fought something even bigger and even scarier.
Almost at the door, Jaskier’s mind blanked when something slammed into his side, sending him careening to the dirt. The way his head slammed against the ground was enough to make his vision white out for a moment, limbs going boneless as the buzz of pain and adrenaline rushed through him.
I’m a goner, he thought frantically, ears ringing as he struggled to get to his feet. A large hand grabbed him by the arm, hauling him upright. It took a moment to register the gruff voice in his ear.
“-get out, Jaskier, get out!”
Thrust forward, he was stumbling off again, lute bundled in his arms. There was a roar behind him that made him flinch, feet moving faster and faster until his leg felt like they’d give out on him. He’d get to Roach, stay out of the way and pray he’d be allowed to keep coming on contracts without giving Geralt a heart attack.
Lute..lute..something wasn’t right here.
The bag. The extremely important bag of potions.
Jaskier almost fell flat on his face again as he screeched to a halt, almost running right into Geralt himself, who had apparently been right on his heels. He didn’t even pause to hear the angry exclamation from him, dropping his lute in a hasty motion he’d probably hate himself for later as he made a clumsy sprint for the leather bag, still laying where he’d just fell a moment ago.
He barely heard the angry scream behind him when he threw himself at the bag, grabbing it and shielding it with his body. He never got a chance to even take off in retreat, though, before a slamming weight sent him crashing to the ground in a whirlwind of pain and momentary weightlessness before everything went dark.
Awareness came in painful waves, panic flooding his body in short spurts before he was forced back down underneath a crushing numbness that seemed to weigh down his whole body. Jaskiers chest felt tight, crushed against whatever was pinning him down by his back, lungs seizing at the dust he choked on with each breath. He was on his side, pinned down by something with enough weight to make it hard to breathe, but the least he could do was be grateful he wasn’t flat on his face.
A shift above him sent red hot pain through his spine, a choked scream tearing from him. It grated his ribs like a forest fire, dancing through every bone until he was sure he’d suffocate on just the sheer panic of it. The shifting halted at his cry, and there was some shuffling before light pierced his tightly shut eyelids.
The voice was so distinctly Geralts; angry and demanding, but it held a barely contained panic and fear that Jaskier had never heard from him before. It came from just above him, where the beams of the building bore down upon him like an abrupt grave.
Right, the building. Jaskier’s position made a lot more sense now.
He couldn’t bring himself to move, but he did allow himself to open his eyes, blinking at the dust filling the air around him.
Bad idea. The visibility of just how fucked he was came crashing down on him in a million incomprehensible waves, the first being the blood. It pooled beneath his head with enough volume to concern him and explain the trembling, bone deep numbness through his entire body, and the ringing that never seemed to leave his ears. He couldn’t bear the weight of his own head to lift it off the ground without fire racing down his neck and back.
The next thing to notice was the rubble, which had fallen completely over his torso. It was big enough that Jaskier couldn’t see his legs, and with a concerned jolt he realized he couldn’t feel them either. It took dark spots dancing in his vision to remember to breathe.
“-going to murder you if you don’t answer me, bard.”
It was then that he realized Geralt was still trying to talk to him. Responding was probably a good idea.
“Ger-” Jaskier choked, throat and chest seizing in pain at the effort it took to make his voice work again. The effort to even stay awake right now was dizzying. “Ger’t, m’ok.”
There was silence for a moment, filled with an uncertainty that left Jaskier feeling sick until he heard the witcher’s voice again.
“Yea, yea you’re ok, Jask. Did it hurt when I started to move the rubble?”
Jaskier nodded, shivering at the way the blood pooled beneath him was turning cool under his skin. His head was starting to hurt more, body shivering as adrenaline was replaced with pure exhaustion.
“Answer me, Jaskier.”
Right. Geralt couldn’t see him nodding. Jaskier almost chuckled, holding himself back when the movement made him wince.
“H’rts, Geralt. Can’t...can’t move.”
There was another beat of silence before there was more shifting, relief flooding him when he wasn’t met with more pain.
“Was that ok?”
He should probably thank the witcher hearing for Geralt even being able to make out his broken, mumbled responses from beneath the rock. He let his eyes close again while the rubble was moved above him, burying his face in his arm. He could fall asleep like this, tired as he was. Everything hurt, and he just wanted to leave it for a while.
The dried blood itched against Jaskier’s skin, mixing with the still-warm that seemed to stain the rock and wood below him, an annoying combination to say the least. The doublet was likely unsalvageable, he thought dimly. Not that he wore an important one on a contract, but it would still be a loss.
What was more annoying, and a little startling, was when a warm hand settled on his shoulder, jolting him from his daze.
Geralt sounded urgent, so he forced himself to open his heavy eyelids. It was so cold now, entire body shivering with enough force to ache as his muscles tensed. He’d never been happier to see a pair of golden eyes.
“This is gonna suck, but I need to move the beam that's on your leg before it hurts you, Jask.”
There was a forced calm in Geralt’s voice that Jaskier didn’t like; it made him feel like something was terribly, terribly wrong. The Jask was new, and he wasn’t sure he liked it. Not with the implication that Geralt was worried. If it were any other time he would’ve been amused.
“Graveir?” Jaskier managed, focusing on the warmth of the hand still settled on his arm.
“Taken care of.”
“Tried....didn’t mean to lose the potions,” Jaskier coughed, the feeling rough on his throat. “Didn’t mean to.”
“Damn the potions, Jaskier you could’ve- damnit.”
He sounded angry now, annoyed. Jaskier cringed at the change of tone. The hand moved lower, less comforting now and more inspecting as it traveled down his side, prodding carefully at his back before finally reaching his legs.
“Can you feel them?”
His voice was back to being gentle. Jaskier shook his head, knowing Geralt could see him this time. All he got in response was a hum, as if Geralt was considering.
“This is going to hurt, but we can’t waste time trying to figure out how to do this carefully before you go into shock.”
It was all the warning he got before his world exploded in pain. The only sound reverberating in his head was his own scream, legs jerking as blood flow returned with a violence that left him whirling and wishing the darkness would overtake him entirely. It did, but the pain didn’t leave with it. It came to clutch him close with ripples of sound and heat and a helplessness that made him want to cry, limbs going limp with the inability to move even as the feeling returned to him with fervency. He just wanted it to stop. He begged it to.
They were words Jaskier was sure existed only in his own head as the thread of struggle in his mind was suddenly snipped, dropping him down with a terrifying weightlessness before he was blanketed with an unusual calm, sinking him with enough heaviness in his mind to be alarming but somehow it wasn’t.
He can taste the iron on his lips now, feel the way his body jerked in shock, but it was far, far away from him now.
He was content for it to be, for now.
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