United We Stand
I felt dazed, my body aching all over. Continuous light thuds told me that there were still small bits of wreckage falling down from above, but it didn’t sound like much. I forced my eyes open, but there wasn’t much I could see. The rubble had reached new heights, and the dust was thicker than ever. I tried to move, but a sharp pain in my leg stopped me. Silently pleading that this wasn’t going to be bad, I braced myself and twisted my torso to look at what was causing the issue, rubble rolling off of my back as I moved, pain shooting down the left side of my ribs. My leg was trapped under numerous pieces of concrete and scaffolding, the dark red staining around the fabric of my clothes clarified that it had cut me, thankfully the amount of blood didn’t look to be much. As my body shook from the strain of the awkward angle, I collapsed back onto my front, breathing heavily.
“Guys?” I called, my voice breaking into a coughing fit at the dryness in my throat from the dust. “Guys!”
I heard some groaning to my left, followed by the sound of tumbling rocks, presumably from someone moving.
“Rebel?” Sam’s voice muttered nearby.
“I’m over here.” I sighed, relief washing over me at the sound of his voice. “Where are the others?”
Sam’s footsteps got closer, and I tried to roll my body enough to see him approach.
“I don’t know, I just came to.” He answered, stopping beside me, and cursing as he saw me pinned in place. “You alright?”
“Me? I’m just dandy, mate.” I replied sarcastically, “Just one little thing. You mind rolling that crap off my leg, it’s a little sore.”
With a small chuckle, Sam carefully walked around behind me, and began to uncover my legs.
“Ugh.” A voice grumbled somewhere to the right.
“Cain? Jax?” I called, trying to pull my leg free, and wincing as the rubble pressed deeper into my skin.
“Stay still, not there yet.” Sam warned me, lifting another pole from my leg.
“I’m over here.” Cain’s voice called out, weakly.
“You good?” I shouted, listening for more signs of movement.
More rocks ralling echoed, and groaning as Cain began to move, drawing nearer.
“Yeah I’m good.” He said as he closed in on our location.
Sam removed the last piece of concrete, freeing me. I swore under my breath as I pulled my leg away, rolling over, the pain from the cut, and across my ribs, all hitting me at once. He offered me his hand, helping me to my feet on the uneven terrain.
“Cheers.” I smiled, clapping him on the shoulder, just as Cain appeared, looking slightly battered, with a cut to his cheek and hand.
“Your leg,” He began, climbing over a number of poles, and gesturing at the blood on my clothes. “How bad is it?”
I shrugged it off, my main concern being for the still missing member of our team… Jax.
“It’s nothing, probably just a small scrape.”
“Scrapes don’t bleed that much, Bane.” He said firmly.
“First name terms huh? You going into serious mode now Hustler?” I smirked, attempting to lighten the mood, and divert his attention.
He scowled, and then nodded to Sam, who instantly dropped to his knees and tugged my trouser leg up to inspect the injury.
“Nasty cut, but it doesn’t look serious. Might need some stitches.” He explained, before covering it back up.
“Any other injuries?” Cain asked us both.
Sam shook his head, doing a quick check over himself. I could feel the pain in my ribs throbbing with every breath, but I didn’t care. We needed to find Jax and get him and the casualty out.
“Rebel?” Sam called out to me, snapping me from my daze.
I didn’t want to mention it, I knew that they would insist on checking the severity, or worse, attempt to send me out to the trucks. There was no way that I was leaving anyone behind. But we are a family, and that means that we trust each other. We don’t lie to each other.
“My ribs are a little banged up, but it’s nothing. Just a bit bruised.”
Before they could reply, I had turned away and begun to scramble over the fresh pile of debris, searching for Jax.
“Jax?” I called, climbing higher, hearing Sam and Cain following suit just behind me.
Looking up, it became clear that the entire site hadn’t fallen, merely a large portion, clearly the reason why we weren’t worse off. As we got out of the rut that we had been trapped in, the radios picked up a signal again, instantly crackling into life, followed by the sound of Alex’s frantic voice.
“... come in please.”
Just as I went to reach for my radio to respond, I saw a small piece of a reflective strip. Jax.
“Jax!” I yelled, moving nearer and dropping to my knees, ignoring the pain as I frantically began digging him out, silently praying that he was alright.
“Firefighter Shaw to control, receiving Sub.” Cain radioed in, whilst Sam came to help me.
“What happened in there? Status report.”
“Another collapse, myself, and firefighters Tate and Knight are accounted for. Firefighter Jackson is located, status unknown, along with the casualty.”
We’d uncovered most of Jax’s torso, and I felt relieved as I saw his chest rising and falling slowly.
“He’s alive.” I called over my shoulder.
“Any injuries?” Alex asked.
“Minor cuts and bruises mostly. Rebel’s nursing a cut leg, and some bruising, unknown extent. We’ve located Jax, he’s alive, injuries unknown. We need paramedics on standby, over.”
As we removed the final pieces that were covering him, I caught a glimpse of something else beneath him. Leaning in, I rubbed at the thick dust, a shine of luminescent green becoming visible, and I realised that it was the injured worker. Jax had been the closest as we worked to free him before the collapse. It was clear that he’d used his own body to shield his as it caved in.
“Come on Jax, wake your ass up now.” I said firmly, checking him over, and helping Cain and Sam to move him.
There was a weak grumble as we rolled him onto his back, uncovering the other man, then pulling him free too. Jax’s eyes drifted open and he began to cough, turning on his side to regain some composure.
“You had us worried there, man.” Sam smiled, patting him on the shoulder affectionately.
“Can’t imagine why.” Jax choked.
There was another creak from above, and we exchanged quick glances, helping each other to our feet.
“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m thinking we should get the hell out of here.” I muttered.
The others nodded, and together, we dragged Jax and the injured, now unconscious, man, up from the ground, secured a grip on each other, and slowly and carefully scrambled over the rubble. United as a team, we shared our strength, and took one step at a time towards the way out, only just making it to the other side of the clearing as the rumbling began again, and what sounded like the last of the site, fell in on where we’d been standing just moments before. The dust cloud spread, flowing out over us as we made our way towards the street.
Through the heavy dust, I could just about see the appliances up ahead, the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles brightly cutting through the haze. But as the cloud began to clear, the best sight began to emerge, and just like that, every fibre of my being relaxed and I was overcome with relief and happiness as my eyes locked on to the approaching figures of Dodger, Will, Pixie and Alex, all being lead by the most beautiful woman that I’d ever laid eyes on. The woman that, today, I feared I may never see again... Lacey. They all stopped in front of us, and her eyes locked onto mine. Her chest rose and fell rapidly, and I fought to keep myself from dragging her into my embrace.
“Let’s get you guys to the paramedics.” Alex sighed with relief.
Will and Pixie hooked the man under the arms and took him to the ambulance, Sam and Cain following after them.
Dodger took hold of Jax’s other side, and with Alex’s help, took his weight off of me, helping him stagger after the others.
“And I want you to get checked out too Bane. That leg looks like it’s bleeding again.” Alex ordered, calling over his shoulder.
“You heard the man.” Lacey smirked.
Still she made no attempt to move. Both of us stood rooted to the spot, her silvery eyes shone with unshed tears, and before I could speak, she launched at me, wrapping her arms around me and burying her head into the crook of my neck. The warmth of her body was the best type of comfort that I could ever have. I felt like I could breathe again for the first time since before we left the Station. My ribs burned with pain from her grip, but I didn’t care, I clutched her tighter and closed my eyes, breathing in her sweet scent.
“I thought I lost you.” She whispered in my ear, her voice cracking with emotion.
“I thought the same thing.” I said softly.
She pulled away and blinked back tears. It was close today, for both of us, and all I could think about, was that I wanted to make the most of every second with her. I wasn’t sure how she would react, but I knew that I had to try, and just like that, the words sprung from my lips:
“Go on a date with me?”