Achilles Heel

26. Astar - Doc's Orders

A lot of you wanted a visual on Astar’s back tattoo, this is what I envisioned! It’s been an original design that I’ve wanted to get personally but haven’t had the time to otherwise I’d insert a picture of my own tattoo! I made this on photoshop and it doesn’t look the best but you get the gist! :)

Anyways, I hope you enjoy this chapter! Much love to all of you <3

B. x

--

“Liam...”

Is the first thing that I hear when I gain consciousness. I decide not to open my eyes just yet, curious as to what they were speaking about.

“Liam,” The voice repeats, slow and steady as if they’re hesitating on what to say next. Calculating. “You need to talk to her. You’ve given her the cold shoulder since day one, mate.”

It’s Harry. I could recognise his voice anywhere. When he wakes up. The way he sounds when he’s about to fall asleep. When he tries to whisper, but really it isn’t close to a whisper. He sucks at the art of whispering, something that distorts this image of pure perfection that I have created of him in my head.

That and his inability to properly drive a getaway car, which resulted in not only me being shot, but Louis as well.

Louis.

Is he okay? Is he here? How long have I been unconscious? Apparently long enough that we’re back in London considering Harry is talking to Liam. Has it been just hours though or days? What excuse did Harry give Tony?

I nearly open my eyes when my name is mentioned, but I keep them shut, not wanting the two boys to know that I am in fact awake and eavesdropping on something I most likely shouldn’t be hearing.

“You did this with Niall. Closed yourself off with him and made him think you disliked him, now you’re doing the same with Astar,” Harry breathes out, his voice having a harsh edge to it as if he’s scolding Liam.

The room falls silent as I force myself to continue breathing slowly, not wanting either of them to know that I’m awake.

I can hear them moving around, but the door doesn’t shut or open. Either it’s open already or they’re standing around in the room.

“I’m just weary, H,” Liam breathes out, his voice being one of defeat. “You’re like my brother. I don’t want anything bad to happen to us. I just don’t trust her,”

“She isn’t even part of the gang. Besides, she’s signed a contract. We have her for a few more weeks and then she’ll be gone.”

A scoff can be heard along with a drawer shutting. “Considering what I heard from not only Niall but also Louis...I doubt she’ll be leaving anytime soon. You’ve gone--”

“No,” Harry’s voice drops, silencing Liam before he can even finish his sentence.

“Pack it in, Liam,” Harry speaks, going silent before his voice fills the empty room once more. “You were wrong about Niall in case you haven’t realised. I appreciate you looking out for me, but I can protect myself,” Harry breathes, a clap being heard and I can only assume that they have pulled each other in for a hug. “I love you, mate. You and the boys are my best friends. Family at this point. Just be kind. She got us out of there alive. That’s good enough for me,” And with that the door opens, shutting a few seconds later.

There’s still a set of footsteps in the room though, shuffling closer to me before a chair can be heard scooting across the floors, creating one of the ugliest noises I have ever heard.

“I know you’re awake,” The voice speaks up, coughing into their fist to clear their throat.

Liam.

“You can’t fake sleep around me,” A chuckle falls from his lips which is what makes my eyes pop open. This is a lot different compared to the looks Liam has given me in the past.

“Good evening, sleeping beauty,” Liam speaks once he notices my eyes open, scooting the floral coloured chair even closer before he moves to sit down in it. His hand comes up to start unwrapping the gauze on my shoulder which makes my eyebrows furrow in confusion.

“How long have I...?” I drown off, bringing one of my hands up to rub the sleep from my eyes.

Liam moves to bring his wrist up so that he can look at his watch, clicking the side so that it lights up before answering my question. “Nearly two days give or take. You lost a lot of blood,” There’s a small smile on his face. “I stitched you up while you were out of it and disinfected the wound. You should rest for the next few days. I have this sneaking suspicion that you have bruised ribs,” He continues, which makes me even more confused.

“I was a medic during my time in the military,” He starts, carefully cleaning around the stitches with what I can only assume is antiseptic. It burns only slightly but it isn’t bad as when Harry poured alcohol on it.

I stay silent because Liams’ mouth opens to speak again, a soft sigh leaving them before he just shakes his head. “I know you heard Harry and I. I want to apologise for how much of a dick I have probably been. I think you deserve an explanation,” He doesn’t meet my eyes as he speaks.

“I was dishonourably discharged from the military, meaning I was stripped from any and all benefits. They didn’t give a shit about the PTSD I was given or anything of the sort. Just threw me to the streets and said good luck,” He chuckles, yet it’s one full of self-deprecation, my lips turning down at the side yet I don’t interrupt.

“Harry saved me in a way I guess you could say. He literally picked me up off of the streets, gave me a roof over my head and food to eat. My main job was a Marksman. I was one of the top Marksmen in the USMC. I had over two hundred kills under my belt, but one slip up and I was out. Nothing else mattered to them,”

He continues to speak about how he trained as a medic on the side when he wasn’t a sniper, which makes sense with how he is currently tending to the gunshot wound on my shoulder.

“A marksman, huh?” I laugh, tongue coming out to wet my lips. They’re so dry that I can feel the dead skin under my tongue. My immediate reaction is to take my lip between my teeth to bite off the dead skin, pulling a piece off of my tongue once I get it off.

“Kinda hot if I’m being honest. Did you ever miss a shot?” I question, seeing his lips twitch up at the sides a bit as he makes eye contact with me right as he replaces the gauze on my shoulder. He even wraps my ribs so that I don’t move as much.

He doesn’t remove my shirt to do so, just lifts it up and keeps me covered which makes me smile.

“Why? Want to go up against me?” He questions, “I’ve heard about your perfect shots. How far out do you think you can go with that perfect score though?”

“Honestly? Maybe a few metres.” I breathe out, pinching the ends of my shirt to carefully pull it back down with my good hand. The idea of moving the shoulder that is wounded makes my body have a visceral reaction.

“I’ve got you topped easily with that. Some of my sniper kills have been from over 3,490 metres away,” He admits which makes my jaw fall open, doing the calculations in my head.

Liam has confirmed kills from over two miles. My shots would look like utter shit compared to his if I were to handle a sniper rifle. Sure, I could manage to do it, but from that distance? That requires patience and a stable hand. Both of which I rarely ever have at the same time.

My eyes come to look at Liam’s hands as they work, watching them just to see if they shake or falter but they never do. They’re stable as ever.

Upon studying his hands, I notice one thing. There’s a pale part on his ring finger, in the shape of a wedding band and it throws me off guard.

Well, I suppose that answers why he’s the only one out of the boys that have yet to sleep with me. Is he still married? Or does he remove it when he’s working?

Does his significant other know what he does on the side? Or is he the type to lie and say that he does a nine to five?

There are so many questions swirling around my head, yet I don’t ask them. I feel like Liam’s relationship or ex-relationship is none of my business. It isn’t relevant to the mission anyways.

“Who knows,” I speak up, pushing myself up from the bed which pulls a groan from deep in my throat, the white-hot pain shooting from my shoulder down the length of my arm. My fist clenches tightly into a ball before I unclench it, spreading my fingers out over and over again to try and dissipate the feeling.

“I might just outsnipe you, Liam,” I smirk, deciding this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I can’t help but smile as Liam laughs, the lines on the sides of his eyes creating divots as he does so. “Alright. If you say so, rookie,” he snorts, pushing himself up from the floral seat to push it back into the corner of the room. “Make sure you drink a lot of electrolytes for the next few days and eat a lot of red meat. You’ll need it to get your blood count back up.” He sighs, tossing all of the old gauzes that is stained with brown blood into the trash can.

I dismiss Liam whenever he tries to help me up from the bed, knowing damn well that I can do it by myself.

“Do you know where Louis is,” I find myself asking, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror and it shocks me. I’ve never been paler before.

My hair is a mess, to say the least, looking as if it hasn’t been brushed since the wind ruined it. It’s still in the ponytail that it was in for the heist, having knots in it near the bobble that was holding my hair up.

My lips are pale, not the usual pink colour that they are. The makeup has since been removed from my face, leaving it bare to show just how pale I really am. It’s as if all colour has been drained from my face which makes me wonder just how much blood I lost.

They couldn’t have removed the knots from my hair when they removed my makeup? Men.

Apparently, I’ve stepped up from the bed a little too fast because my vision immediately turns spotty, black and white dots filling my vision as I move to place a hand down on the bedside table to regain my balance.

“Before I answer your question, I have one for you and I want you to be honest with me,” He starts, moving to grasp onto my arms so that I’m no longer swaying from side to side.

“Do you know if haemophilia runs in your family? It’s a condition where once you start bleeding, it’s nearly impossible to stop the blood. Given just how much blood you lost, it just makes me wonder if you have that.” He questions, genuine curiosity blanketing his face and I don’t know how to answer him.

“I...” I start out, opening my mouth to speak only to shut it a few seconds later right as Liam’s hands fall from my arms. “No,” I finally answer, deciding to just be upfront with him.

My family medical history is slim to none. I know next to nothing about my mother and my father, well. He’s six feet in the ground and I would rather walk on a path of legos that are set on fire than to look up his medical history. Then I think of my sister.

The way her blood-stained my hands. The cobblestone that lay underneath her. The clothes that I wore that day are shoved so far deep in my old closet that they’ve probably become a part of the closet.

“No,” I repeat, shaking my head just to solidify my answer. “Feel like I would know if I had a condition like that,” A smile grows on my face and Liam mirrors it, taking a step back so that I can make my way towards the bedroom door to leave.

“Alright, well. Louis is in the living room. I was able to remove the bullet in his neck,” His words don’t surprise me. As stable as his hands are, removing that bullet from Louis’ neck was probably like a walk in the park to him.

My brain is a bit fuzzy on the events that occurred before and after I got shot. Everything plays out in my head but it plays like a choppy old-time movie, one that plays on a movie reel and the film is damaged.

It skips, pieces are missing and some just don’t make sense and I want answers.

Will I get them though? Or will they alter it to fit their version of events?

Upon entering the living room, I’m met with not just Louis’ but also Harry who’s holding a perfectly rolled joint between his manicured fingers. He brings it up to his lips with ease, his chest moving as he inhales slowly, holding the smoke there and letting it curl around his lungs before he angles his lips off to the side a bit to exhale away from Louis.

Louis is the first to notice me, nodding his head as a smile grows on his lips. “Finally out of the woods are we?” He questions, raising his eyebrow as he speaks.

“Is that a Taylor Swift reference?” I ask after a few moments of silence, watching as Louis’ smile turns into a smile and he just shrugs his shoulders.

“What? I can’t be a swiftie?”

“Uh...you tried to play a version that isn’t owned by Taylor,” I point out, moving to take a seat on the couch. “Give me that,” I grumble under my breath, stealing the joint from between Harry’s fingers and placing it between my own, taking a long inhale from it before slowly exhaling.

“What even happened yesterday? Or the day before that? My memory is...” I give a shake of my head, watching as Harry and Louis’ share a look between each other.

Harry seems to relax further into the couch as if my words give him a sense of peace.

Neither of them speak up, instead, Harry just holds his hand out for the joint which I don’t give up just yet because I deserve an answer.

“No. You aren’t getting this back until you answer me,” I speak, making direct eye contact with Harry as I place it back between my lips to take a small hit this time, letting the smoke curl around my lungs and the heat coated the back of my throat.

Harry’s head tilts to the side just slightly, dragging his tongue along the inside of his cheek before he lets out a small chuckle, bringing his tongue over his teeth as he continues to shake his head. “So that’s how it’s going to be, huh?” He questions, hands coming to rest on the back of the couch behind Niall and I.

I just shrug my one good shoulder, keeping my eyes locked with his even though he’s no longer looking at me.

He doesn’t look at me when he opens his mouth to speak.

“We pulled off near the landing pad. I got you out of the car to clean your wound. You were bleeding too much to drive and I could tell you were getting weak. After I stopped the bleeding to the best of my abilities, we got onto the jet and left,” He mentions, leaning forward to pick up a glass of murky liquid. Judging by the shape of the glass, I can tell that it’s whiskey on ice. His pick of poison.

He has yet to meet my eyes. That’s how I know he’s lying--or just omitting the truth.

Louis’ is refusing to meet my gaze as well which is something new. I think back to what Liam was saying when I was pretending to be asleep. What did he learn from Louis and Niall?

All I can do is hope that once I feel better, the scattered movie reel that is my memories of that night fixes itself.

Instead of responding, I just change the conversation and make it about Louis.

“Anyways, Louis. How is your neck?” I question, moving to pass the joint over to Louis which means I have to lean over Harry to do so since Louis is on the other side of Harry.

Now I can feel Harry’s gaze on me.

“Pretty good actually. Liam is a master with his hands,” He sighs, going to wrap his lips around the joint but stops himself midway once he realises just how that sounds. I bring my hand up to cover my mouth, little giggles falling from my lips as I look away.

“Oh. Does he now?” I question, unable to stop the laughs that break up my sentence as I speak.

“Alright, Alright. Listen, what is it with you and Niall, huh? Both of you are so immature when it comes to stuff like that,” He scoffs which only makes me laugh harder to the point that it hurts.

My body is shaking with the intensity of my laughter, tears collecting at the sides of my eyes as I slowly but surely come to a stop. I lift my shirt up a bit to wipe at my eyes, sniffling some as I shake my head.

“Do you really want to go there, Louis? I can say one little nickname and have you hard. Don’t think you want to play with me,” I tease, watching as Louis passes the joint to Harry who is completely silent between us.

Louis’ eyes narrow as he looks at me, deciding not to reply. Instead, he places his hands on the edge of the couch and pushes himself up. “H, we have a drop to attend in less than two hours,” which pulls a guttural groan from Harry as he lays his head back on the couch.

My eyes linger on the span of his neck, watching as his adam’s apple bobs as he swallows. The way his lips wrap around the joint, inhaling slowly which makes his chest slowly rise. He holds it for a few seconds before his entire body relaxes back into the couch. His hair falls in a pretty way on his shoulders, curling in on itself.

The smoke form’s little circles as he blows it out, forcing one of the circles through another as he does so which makes my eyes widen.

I wonder just how many little tricks he knows how to do but my mind wanders off to just what else he can do with his mouth.

One of my legs crosses over the other, clearing my throat as I force myself to look away from him. The simple act of Harry smoking shouldn’t be something that turns me on.

Get yourself together, Astar. How fucking embarrassing.

My mind clocks onto what Louis has said a little too late though as I feel Harry get up off the couch.

“Wait, drop?” I question, brow furrowing in confusion as I try to catch up with the conversation. I remember that Harry and Liam both attended a drop before one of our meetings about the heist. It left them both with cut open knuckles, blood and bruises staining their hands. I never got an answer for that.

I never get an answer for anything. I’ve been here for over a month yet I know next to nothing about what they actually do.

When I scratch the surface, they all deflate and change the subject.

“Ever heard the saying: Curiosity killed the cat?” Harry questions, fixing the buttons on his shirt once he has stood up. “Just a routine drop. You need to rest per the doc’s orders,”

I stubbornly cross my arms over my chest, tilting my head to the side a bit. “Liam isn’t an actual doctor and I can do what I want. What if you need help?” I question as if it isn’t obvious.

Louis is the one to laugh this time, taking his lower lip between his fingers before shoving his hand into the pocket of his slacks. “Darling, you are aware we’ve been doing this for years, yes? Before you came along?” He asks, his tone condescending as if I’m a clueless child.

“Are you implying that I won’t be able to handle it?” I question, narrowing my eyes at Louis’ as he goes to speak but Harry raises his hand up to silence the man.

Louis’ mouth shuts almost immediately, giving a nod of his head as he moves to get the keys that are hanging on the wall with the word ‘range rover’ over them.

“Are you always this fucking bratty? This inquisitive?” Harry questions instead of answering my question, just like he always does.

“Why don’t you find out?” I smirk, moving to prop my feet up on the coffee table. Harry reacts fast, reaching down to knock my feet off of the coffee table then leaning forward with his hands perched on my knees, face inches away from mine.

“You don’t want to play that game with me, lovely. Trust me,” His tone has changed completely. Before it was light, airy. Now it was dark, dripping at the edges with the unknown. It makes me uneasy in a way and reminds me that I don’t know Harry. Sure I know little things about his life, like his sister but what if that’s just a red herring?

Something to keep me content so I don’t keep digging?

“And what if I do?” I ask, pushing back instead of staying silent which I’m sure is what he wants me to do.

Harry’s eyes wander over my face, lingering on my lips for just the briefest of moments. If I would’ve blinked, I would’ve missed it.

Once his eyes meet mine again, he speaks. “You won’t get the chance to,” And with that he’s standing up once more, turning to look over at Louis. “Have fun here with Liam. Z is coming along with me. You’ll be staying here for a few days so we can keep an eye on your shoulder. Don’t worry. Tony knows.”

I don’t get a chance to answer because he’s turning to leave, the sound of the front door opening and shutting echoing throughout the large house which I’m left in with Liam.

Guess it’s time to pester him since he seems to be a little more open than the others. I look around the corners of Harry’s place, noticing that just like Niall’s place, Harry has cameras in nearly every room.

All I want to do is snoop, peel back the curtain that Harry keeps himself hidden behind but he’s making it damn near impossible. I only have a little over a month to find out as much as I possibly can about the five boys before the second heist. After that, my ‘contract’ with them is supposed to be over.

The longer I sit on the couch in silence, the more I want to walk right out the front door and make my way back to my studio apartment.

Right as I stand up though, Liam is making his way downstairs with Niall by his side. I wasn’t even aware that the boy was here.

“Wayhey! It’s the little devil. Very much alive and well,” Niall grins, moving over to pull me into a hug which makes me wince ever so slightly. His shoulder is digging into mine which he doesn’t even notice--until he pulls back of course. “Oh shit, I’m sorry,” He breathes out, the grin slipping off of his face as he turns to Liam with wide eyes. “Li! We don’t happen to have a bag of frozen peas do we?” Niall questions, his touch on my wrist being light as if he’s afraid to hurt me now.

I want to tell him that it’s okay, but I know the look of pain on my face will give me away. Niall gently places the bag of peas right over my shoulder, making sure it covers the area before he’s lowering me back down onto the couch. So much for my plan to leave.

Niall takes the seat beside me, grabbing the remote and turning the tv on just to see that it was left off on a Thousand Ways to Die. Doesn’t surprise me at all that this was what the boys were watching. That show alone has scarred me for life, some episodes being burned into my brain.

“What’s a drop?” I question once more, deciding these two will probably answer my question. After all, Harry isn’t here to silence them as he did to Louis.

“Weapons drop,” Niall speaks as if it’s the easiest question he’s ever answered in his life. “Ow. Liam,” He groans, bringing his hand up to rub at the back of his head where Liam hit him. “What the hell was that for, you asshat?” He questions, sending daggers Liam’s way before he shakes his head.

“What? She can’t know about a weapons drop? She’s going to find out sooner or later, mate. Might as well just tell her. Quit being so broody.” He huffs, changing the channel to something else but he stops on golf. I’m quick to grab the remote from Niall’s hands, changing the channel once more because there’s no way I’m going to sit here and watch golf. Hole in one? No thanks. I don’t want to hear Niall make jokes about that either.

“You aren’t wrong, but I’m just following what Harry says,” Liam speaks, chuckling softly as I turn it onto a Disney movie because what else do I watch?

“Well, that rule went out the door the second she saved our asses in Monaco. Mate, you should’ve seen it. She drove backwards while shooting,”

My eyes roll as I hear Niall speak, setting the remote down on the coffee table. “Be careful, titty boy. Some might think you’re getting a little too excited over that,” I smirk, yet I realise that they’ve just done the same thing Harry does. Change the conversation with ease that I just barely noticed it.

I’m not even sure if Niall noticed it if I’m being honest. He’s still rambling on and on about what happened in Monaco and I sit up a bit once he gets closer to the part where I get shot.

Yet, his story is the exact same as Harry’s. I can swear they’re leaving something out, it’s on the tip of my tongue and my brain is itching at just the idea of not knowing what it is.

-

The boys don’t come back until late. I know this because I’m standing on my tippy toes. I’m five-foot-seven and standing on my tippy toes because for some reason Harry has put all of his mugs on the top shelf.

The sound of the three boys entering the house is what makes me lower myself back onto the ground, my shoulder thanking me for that since stretching hurts like a bitch.

“Be fucking quiet,” I hear one of them bite out, the sound of something dragging across the floor being heard before a door opens before shutting nearly a minute later. I count to forty-nine in my head. Something I did when I was a little girl to time how long my dad would close and open doors, or how long he was walking so I would know if he was coming to my room or not.

Once the room falls eerily quiet again, a little too quiet if I’m being honest--I turn back around to try and retrieve one of the mugs that sit pretty on the top shelf. There’s one in particular that I want. The handle is a C and it spells the word CUNT on the mug. I’ll be taking it back home with me just like the carebear panties. I’m only borrowing them.

Hands grasp my waist, causing a breath to fall from my lips. I can see someone reach up out of my peripheral vision, grabbing the cup that I was aiming for and placing it down on the counter. I recognise who it is by the cross tattoo on their hand.

“You look good in my clothes,” Harry compliments, taking a step back from me after he shuts the cabinet.

I slowly turn around to take Harry in, taking note of how he has since changed. He’s not wearing his usual attire. There’s no three-piece suit or some see-through shirt.

He’s just wearing a black shirt with a pair of shorts on, the tattoo of a tiger peeking out from underneath them. The inseam has to be at least five inches or shorter. They hug his bum perfectly from what I can see and I have to resist the sudden urge I have to pinch it.

“Did you have fun at your weapons drop?” I question, tilting my head to the side a bit as I hold onto the CUNT cup, grinning down at it.

Harry’s silent as I walk over to the fridge, filling the mug up with water to drink before returning over to Harry. His eyes are hot on me like they usually are. A part of me has missed that.

“Who told you?” He questions, and I’m not a snitch--well.

In a way, my job is to be a snitch, but I’m not going to throw Niall under the bus like this.

“I can’t just be clever?”

“Sure, you can be clever, but I highly doubt you would’ve come to that conclusion,” He scoffs, which makes my eyes narrow. I draw my attention elsewhere, focusing on his hands and take notice that we no longer have matching nails.

His hands lack rings and his nails lack nail polish. They look naked, to say the least.

His hair is pulled up into a tight bun, no stray pieces hanging out like he usually has and that’s when I notice that he slightly smells of bleach yet I can’t for the life of me figure out why.

What I do know is that if we don’t sleep in the same room, I’m following him wherever he goes next.

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