A/N: The only other drabble from the original storyline to survive. This one actually features accents!
A broken piece of concrete was jutting up into her back, a sharp jab that roused the faewolf from an uncomfortable sleep.
A deep breath drew the burning scent of acrid smoke from her surroundings. It offended her sensitive nose to such a point that she coughed several times, a wet gurgling sound. It hurt to breathe and the first attempt to move proved fruitless; everything was still stiff and in the grog of coming to, she was not yet strong enough to twitch, much less move. She felt heavy and numb, which caused her to force herself to breathe. It was painful at first, but eventually eased.
Her eyes opened, blinking against the light of midday. She flinched a bit against the bright light of the sun filtering through a black smoke trail above her, directly in her eyes when its billows thinned. Her head turned to avoid its glare, her eyes adjusting to her surroundings. Some ways away, she saw the wreckage of the helicopter's cab, a trail of debris originating from her direction. She turned her head to look up … and gasped in mild surprise. The tail rotor had come within mere inches of her head. Literally; there were four inches from the rotor blades embedded in the ground to the top of her head from where she'd landed.
Finally, with some massive effort, she had managed to move one arm. This was a start. Determined to get up, she put all her will and physical force into rolling over on the opposite side she had moved. There was an unpleasant grinding crunching noise as she rolled over, emanating from her right arm. That would explain why it refused to move, despite her willing it to like a madwoman. A sharp stab of pain jolted up her arm, causing her to cry out a bit against it. As the throbbing started to subside into pleasant vibes, she whimpered from the shift of pain to pleasure, managing to work herself so that she was laying on her front. This was a much better position.
What had happened?
Better yet, where was Bishop?
She tried to think back to the event that had started this, receiving a headache for her efforts. A low groan escaped her at that and she put the task of remembering behind the more pressing matter at hand; survivors … and Bishop's whereabouts. She knew he was involved; his Mil Mi-24 Hind was the helicopter nearby and usually it was carrying the Russian commander.
Pointedly ignoring her own blood dripping lazily out of the sleeve of the broken arm, she became vaguely aware of something else; a steady buzz in her ears, three short skips, three long, and three short again. The call-sign for a SOS. The antennae embedded in the back of her inner skull had picked up something amiss (probably a single panicked brainwave and the prolonged unconsciousness that followed) and was doing what it did best in situations like this; it was calling for backup. She was certain the broken Hind nearby was doing the same. She did not know how far out both parties were, however.
What she did know after catching her breath was that she had to move. The smoke in the area would only hinder her ability to recover herself. Cradling her broken arm carefully to her mid-torso and out of the way, she tried to stand. After a moment of shaking and panicked regaining of balance, she came to her feet unsteadily. Walking was a different matter; the first time she took her weight off one leg, the supporting leg shuddered and gave out. It was starting to look like she would have to get out of that pocket of poisonous smoke the hard way.
Thankfully, she noted, her legs were not injured passed scrapes and bruises. Using her good arm and both spindly legs, she managed to pull herself out of the center of the swirling smoke generated by the burning wreck of the Hind's tail, pausing there to catch her breath again before continuing on.
Once she felt of clearer head, the faewolf concentrated on herself. Something rather pressing caught her attention almost immediately; there was a disturbing amount of blood splattered across her front. A fast inspection assured her that she was not, indeed, the one who was bleeding all over herself and her arm was not producing that vigorous amount in such a splatter pattern. So, if it was not her blood, then whose—
The roof of the containment facility was rumbling, and not in a good way. The core had destabilized while she was trying to get out of the building. The Hind was hovering just barely above the rooftop, the black-swathed figure that was Bishop striding with long purposeful steps toward her.
She was running for him, telling him to get back in the helicopter. Naturally, Bishop shouted back that it wasn't proper for a gentleman to not meet a lady at the door, as it were.
"Du ramble too much! Forget your damned manners for five seconds und get in ze Hind!"
She felt the concrete beneath her beginning to buckle and crumble. She wasn't going to make it, that feeling of dread welling up in her gut. Bishop was faster than the fragile structure, one gloved hand wrapping around her wrist and pulling her with him into a run for the helicopter.
She heard the whining first, a high-pitched ring in her ears that damned near paralyzed her. Bishop turned to see her falter from it, she saw his incandescent orange eyes blaze with a surge of emotion. His step changed, his body swiveling around.
Had she been in her right mind under different circumstances, she would have noticed there was a lot more emotion in her name than he usually put in, his face contorting into something she had never seen before and couldn't place. His hand wrapped around her wrist and pulled her behind him, she felt the roof beneath her give way, saw Bishop take a stance between her and the growing cracks.
There was a flash of light, she remembered the blood; it practically exploded out of him and across her. The light grew intense, blinding. There was searing white, she was aware of the concrete finally giving way. There was a brief sensation of floating, then she cracked her head on something particularly solid and the world went black.
There was a certain urgency now. Bishop was somewhere out here and he was injured … or worse. She tried to concentrate on him being injured. She would have known if he were dead and she didn't feel that sort of empty. Being outside the highest concentration of smoke had advantages. She could see farther, for one. It helped, in the long run.
Some ways away, she caught a flash of metal, covered partially in tattered black. She tried calling out for him, but could only get a coughing squeak. It didn't help that she felt her throat tighten at the sight that met her even from this distance. The shattered concrete under and around him was stained dark, the uneven splatter betraying it as a once-wet liquid, dried now and forever imprinted on the debris from the searing heat of the blast.
She pushed her breath behind the second attempt now, as much as she could.
It sounded weak to her and hoarse, but listening above creaking metal and crackling chemical fires gave her all the news she needed; her ears picked up gears whirring, some of them sticking and giving a screaming metal grind. His system would have shut down by now if he had suffered too much damage. Pulling herself to him and around his front, however, made her question just how much damage he had to sustain to reach that limit.
It was a mixture of horror and concern on her face to see him like such. Half of his skin and muscle on one side was just … gone, revealing the charred metal skeleton beneath. She could see through his middle to the fluttering black tatters behind it that remained of the military jacket. One eye was flickering. The other still burned as brilliantly as usual. However, there was no movement. She could hear something around the gaping hole in his torso trying to start up, but there was no heave of artificial breath and he made no move to show he was still alive or even partially functioning. It took a second for the gravity to hit; she had lost him. The threatening lump in her throat gave way to tears, bitter pained sobs.
She was trying to figure out what to tell Konrad, as the boy would most certainly begin to wonder when his father didn't return home when she heard something. Gears whirring flawlessly. Sapphire blues turned toward the wreckage that had been her commander, charge, and -above all- beloved. His remaining eyebrow above his single blazing eye had quirked upward at her obvious distress, a metallic rattling issuing from his throat before he finally formed words.
"I'm still here, you know."
Shock hit her first before she moved toward him. Metal or not, she kissed the place she knew his lips would have been. There was a strange rattling laugh and she was positive that had he the ability to do so, he would have gladly given her a grin for good measure. Hell, he was grinning now; he didn't need skin lips to show her that he was.
"I … I zought du v-vere…" she started, tears beginning anew as she laid herself alongside his remains. These, however, were tears of relief.
"Dead, Fetil? Technically, I'm already dead. And, as you should know, the dead cannot die." he assured her. "Besides! You're intimately aware of what happens when I'm… ah … absent of body."
He wasn't acting as cold as he usually did, instead warm. Comforting. At least, as comforting as he got. "Are you alright, Fetil?" There was a twitch of effort creasing his remaining brow, though his intact arm rose to try and rub the uninjured upper portion of her broken arm.
She flinched, though not on purpose. "I'm … fine."
The reply was blunt. That one working eye met hers with an almost steely apathetic glare. She met him with a particularly indignant look.
"Vell, compared to du, I am fine." There was an awkward pause, Bishop's head tilted just slightly and his one brow rose as though questioning her outburst. She grew sheepish, quiet and withdrawn for the moment. "It's … because of du I'm fine."
She had averted her eyes from his, ashamed now that she felt so ungrateful to his sacrifice. How in the hell could she be so damned selfish? Faewolf had lost herself so far in thought that she started when she felt his hand, eternally cold, rest against her exposed cheek. She looked back up to him seeing what she could only construe as an amused scowl, which was going a bit far when she had to take into account that most of the emotion-making portions of his face had been seared away by intense heat.
"Oh, don't give me those eyes, Mutt." he huffed. His uncovered throat held more of that trademark metallic rattle instead of the muffled rasp and for a moment, she concentrated on the sound of it. "Mind, that's the first time I've taken a bullet for you that wasn't entirely figurative."
"Zat vas a hell of a bullet." she replied, moving her uninjured arm to rest her hand on his.
"I cannot die, Fetil. You can." the cyborg stated matter-of-factly. "Take into account my psychokinetics, and you'll find I was ideally suited for the task. Plus, it was my choice." His voice grew quiet when he added to it, "… I don't want to see you in that infirmary again."
"I von't be ze vone zere. Not for long…"
Why did her voice suddenly sound so foreign to her? It was quiet, diminutive. She thought it was unheard, though she heard the rattle in his throat, a precursor to speech.
If he spoke within the next several seconds, she didn't hear it. He was drowned out by the roar of large engines and the chop of rotors. She knew the offbeat of one set of rotors; Cabren and his twin-rotor Bratukhin Omega had arrived, followed by all too familiar land transports. It wasn't long afterwards that the air was filled with mechanical noise and shouts, the sounds of heavy footfalls through the ground betraying the usual company of soldiers. She didn't have to look to see they were setting up a perimeter; that was always what they did first.
She was unsure entirely of what happened next. One moment, she remembered lying there, looking at Bishop, him staring back at her. The next, he was set upon by his usual crew of medics and engineers, that one orange eye still blazing, not leaving her until someone blocked it. She vaguely remembered losing herself to a state of mingled panic and anger at the intruders, which in turn reverted from her rational mind to a more violent process set to protect and be near he whom she served and whom she loved most of all.
"Dhis is for your own good, Herr Kommandant."
Apathetic feminine Russian voice seemed to come from nowhere in one ear. Before she had a chance to process the owner as even nearby, there was a sharp prick in the left side of her neck. It took less than a half a second for the sedative to take effect. The world spun, tilted violently before her eyes. There was that feeling of floating again, a black haze starting to creep from the corners of her vision.
The last thing she remembered was Bishop's one eye, back in contact with her as he was being carried away into one of his own choppers. Finally, blackness met her.