([identity profile] wrote in [community profile] wl_fanfiction2015-06-01 11:00 pm

Ten Days (6/10)

Title: Ten Days (Day 6)
Rating: R overall (PG-13 for this chapter, I think)
Genre: Drama; friendship; angst
Characters: Colin; Ryan; Greg; Jeff; Wayne; Brad
Pairings: Ry/Col and Greg/Jeff
Summary: Surviving for ten days in the wilderness's just really hard, okay?
Disclaimer: I keep saying this, but someone should really revoke my fanfiction privileges until I learn to respect the players of Whose Line. I greatly admire these men and mean no harm to them.

One hour went by, and Ryan waited.
Two hours, and Jeff told him they had run out of clean drinking water.
Three, and Greg discovered that his wound had reopened during the previous evening's action with Jeff.
Four hours, and the sun rose. It hurt their eyes to look at after the heavy layers of clouds had dispersed. Ryan thought Colin looked even worse in the light, but maybe it was just his imagination.
Colin's fever hadn't broken. More cold compresses had done little to help. Ryan had never felt so helpless. Where the hell were Wayne and Brad, anyway?


"Whoa." Brad looked down at the sight below, astounded.

"Yeah. This is the best break we've had so far," Wayne agreed.
Thirty or so yards beyond Wayne's makeshift camp, he'd discovered a new possible tactic for finding the way home.
There was a cliff dropping sharply into a valley; a canyon, really. At the bottom, narrow and sparkling in the new sunlight, was a river.

"I can't believe we didn't find this before," Brad said, partially in frustration, partially in awe.

"I know, but at least we know it's here now."

Brad nodded. "So what's the plan? We're not fucking climbing down there."

Wayne smiled--it was the closest thing to laughing any of them had the energy to do. "Obviously not. But it's a river. Rivers always lead to people, right? Somebody's gonna come rock climbing or kayaking down there in the next two days, tops. I guarantee you."

"And what if nobody does?"

"Then we figure that out when we get to it. But look, someone has to. It's like a giant tourist trap," Wayne insisted, gesturing down the picturesque valley. He was right; especially with the sunrise, it was a nature lover's dream.

"We have to turn around right now, though," said Brad. "I told them we'd go back to the camp when it was light out."

"No, we need to stay here," corrected Wayne. "Waiting three miles away from here isn't going to help us any. We need to watch the river."

Brad frowned. "All right, you stay here, then."

Wayne shook his head. "No, dude, we need to both watch different parts. If somebody decides to go hiking two miles that way--" he waved his hand in the general east direction-- "we miss our chance by that much. It's really better if more of us could do it; we have to spread out. But this is what we have."

"I don't know. They're waiting for us, man," Brad said, uncertain. "Who knows what kind of shit's going on over there? And we have to bring back water, too, I bet."

"Trust me," Wayne insisted. "Two days at the very longest. Then it won't matter how pissed off they are at us. We'll be damn heroes." He grinned.

Brad sighed, out of arguments. Wayne was probably right, after all.
Whether he's right or not, a dark thought appeared suddenly, two days is more than enough time for a person to die.


"I'm so sorry."

"You have got to stop apologizing, Jeff."

"Okay. Sorry."
Jeff, after discovering the blood seeping through Greg's shirt, had been beating himself up for being stupid enough to aggravate a barely-healing injury. Never mind his own--his arm definitely needed a real splint. The one Colin had set it with had slipped off, and Ryan couldn't for the life of him figure out how to fix it. None of them were doctors, but Jeff knew that a broken bone could heal wrong and would have to be re-broken when (if) they ever got to a hospital. He didn't think he would be up for that.

"You need to quit blaming yourself. Whining isn't helping the situation." Greg was particularly snarky, snapping at Jeff every chance he gave him. He didn't know why. Maybe Jeff was simply an easy target, especially in the absence of Brad. Maybe Greg's rare self-pitying side was showing.
The reasons didn't matter. Everything hurt, and he was sick of it hurting.

"I'm gonna kill Brad when he gets back here," Ryan muttered, hurling a stone as far as he could. If it weren't for his leg, he'd be pacing around. Anxiety was getting a hold on him, making him feel more and more restless every minute. There was nothing to do except wait.

Colin stirred beside him, making Ryan look over in hopes that something had changed for the better. No, it was just feverish shaking, disturbing an already uncomfortable sleep. Ryan rubbed Colin's arm until the tremors stopped.

Colin opened one eye, barely able to make out Ryan's face above his. The world was ice and his body was fire. Desperately, he groaned, alerting Ryan.

"Hey. Can you hear me?" the tall man said softly. "No, don't talk right now. Just rest, okay?"
He did.

"Fuck this!" Ryan burst out suddenly, startling Jeff and Greg.

"Ryan, it's gonna be okay--" Jeff tried to console. It only made Ryan angrier.

"No, fuck that, too. It's not okay; none of this is okay! We keep saying that and then something worse happens. We're good as fucking dead and we might as well face it."

"And what good will that do?" said Jeff with a touch of annoyance. "Abandoning hope? That won't fix shit."

"Better than deluding yourself into thinking we're getting rescued! If I could fucking walk, I'd either be out of these woods or dead by now. Either way, no one's coming for us and you're no help at all," was Ryan's bitter reply.

Jeff shot him an icy glare. "If you want to walk out of here, at this point, nobody'd stop you."

A serious chill shot through the air at the words. Jeff wasn't the type to lash out, but between the constant verbal abuse from Greg, the beginning stages of dehydration, and every horrible thing that had accumulated over the last several days, it was too much stress on him.

Ryan's eyes glittered dangerously, his stone-faced expression contorting into a humorless smile. It was a frightening sort of smile; one might see it on a sociopath on the verge of committing some sort of heinous crime.
"That's great to fucking know." He spoke with a very even tone, lifting himself with one leg and steadying himself with both arms. Tentatively, he placed weight on the sprained leg. It hurt, but what didn't these days? Maintaining eye contact with a rather surprised Jeff, he turned away and started to walk. He limped a good several yards without turning back before his friends began to call after him.

"Okay, you proved your point. Come back," called Greg.

"Look, I'm sorry. You know I didn't mean it," Jeff pleaded.

No response; nothing to indicate he was even listening. Ryan took a few more steps, started to bend down and rub his right leg, then changed his mind and straightened up again. Stiffly, he continued on.

"He's going to hurt himself more," Jeff said to Greg anxiously.

"Ryan, you're acting like a goddamn kid," Greg shouted impatiently. "You know it's not safe."

"Please, man. I'm sorry, okay?" added Jeff, the guilt piling on him like stones.

The sudden sound of footsteps crunched behind them. Brad emerged from behind a cluster of shrubs, smile falling flat at the sight in front of him.
"Where the hell is he going?" he inquired of Jeff and Greg. "And what's wrong with Colin?"

"Where the fuck have you been?" Greg snapped, relieved inside.

"I found Wayne. He found this cliff, it's over a canyon. He's still there, watching it, because there's a river. And people." He paused, slightly out of breath. "I mean, there might be people. He wanted me to stay and wait with him to make sure, but I thought you guys might need help."

"I don't understand half of what you just said, but yes, we're a little tied up here. Is that water? Give it," said Greg, reaching out one hand. Brad handed him the bottle which was full of water he'd boiled over Wayne's campfire.

"I said something stupid, Ryan got pissed, now he's using shitty judgement to prove a point," Jeff summarized to Brad. "Oh, and Colin's sick, too."

Brad sighed. "Welcome to my world. The Ryan part, I mean."

"Nice," Greg remarked. "So you want to talk to him, or what?"

"I can try," Brad said, uncertain. He approached Ryan, who was making slow but steady progress away from the group. "Hey, man."

Ryan looked over his shoulder at Brad. "You're back. Where's Wayne?"

"He's at his camp," Brad explained. "He's waiting because he found a cliff that looks over a river and he's hoping people will show up there."

Ryan raised his eyebrows. "Hoping?"

Brad shrugged. "I mean, you never know. Someone could be hiking down there, and next thing you know, we're out of here."

"But you don't think that'll happen." Ryan's words were a statement, not a question. They were met with a silence from Brad. "Yeah, see? You and I know that if a miracle was gonna happen, it would have happened by now. The only way we're getting home is on our own."

"Look," began Brad, trying to coax Ryan into listening to him for once, "maybe that's true. And no, I don't think waiting in one spot is the answer. But neither is straining yourself just 'cause you're fed up. I mean, I'm tired, too, Ryan. We all are. But you and I both know that we all have to stick together now."

Ryan's eyes were fixed on some point above Brad's head, dull and pained. "Colin's sick," he said in a low voice.

"Yeah. I know," Brad answered sympathetically.

"I don't know what to do," Ryan admitted, slumping down to the ground with a groan.

"You want to help him," Brad pointed out, sitting next to him.

"Yeah. Of course," said Ryan.

"So you know that leaving, or trying to leave, or fighting, or whatever--that's not going to help him."

Rubbing his throbbing leg with a grimace, Ryan nodded. "We all have our ways of giving up, I guess."

"But not yet," prompted Brad.

Ryan gave a resigned half-smile. "Nah. Not this time."

Brad gave his arm for support as Ryan stood up again, dragging the six-and-a-half foot man back to the others.
Ryan slid onto the dirt, using the strength in his arms to shift over next to Colin's side once again. He stretched one long and swollen leg, mottled with scratches and bruises, in front of him and lie on his back so he was at eye level with Colin.
He watched Colin's face, pale with dark circles under his eyes. Absently, he adjusted the (now lukewarm) wet cloth on Colin's neck, moving it to the burning forehead in hopes that it would help.

"I wasn't really going to leave," he murmured, trying to convince himself more than Colin, who was listlessly sleeping. "I was just pissed off. No way would I leave you here."

Jeff watched the two from his spot. "I wouldn't have thought you of all people'd be able to talk Ryan down," he admitted to Brad.

"Me neither," Brad said. "But all I had to do was mention Colin."

Greg, who was sitting up with his back against a tree, snorted. "No surprise there." He winced as Jeff pressed a rag that had once been a sling for his own arm to Greg's bleeding side. "Ow. Careful, precious."

"Sorry," Jeff mumbled quickly, adjusting the pressure.

"I told you to quit apologizing," Greg chided him with a little smile. His surliness had abated for the moment, leaving him exhausted but content with Jeff by his side.

Brad cleared his throat conspicuously, reminding the two that he was in fact still there. "So, we need to figure out what to do next."

"How do you mean?" asked Jeff.

"The river, the canyon, Wayne. If he's right, then one of us needs to go back with him."

"If he's right," Jeff noted the word choice.

Brad nodded. "Yeah. I hate to say it, but there's really not much of a chance that suddenly someone's going to be just walking around enjoying the scenery."

"Let him stay there, I'd say," Greg put in. "We know where he is. If somebody finds him, he'll signal to us with his fire or something. And if somebody finds us, we signal to him. Easy."

"Not exactly easy," Jeff said, "but you have a point. Better chance of getting found if we split up."

"Ryan doesn't think so," Brad pointed out, halting the discussion. "He seems convinced that nobody's coming out this way and we should just start building our own helicopter out of tree bark."

"So we get rescued and he gets proven wrong. Win-win," Greg quipped.

Brad shook his head. "No, that's not what I meant. I mean he might be right. If everybody was in peak condition here, it'd be another story and we could wait. But we've got four invalids, two of whom are in actual danger of dying."

"I'd like to think I'm beyond that point, but okay," Greg said in a mildly offended tone.

He was shushed by Jeff, who was starting to see Brad's implications. It worried him. "You're right. Time's important; we need to get out soon."

"Yes, and waiting around and talking won't do anything," Greg finished. "We've established that. Should we look for a conch shell, too? Go full-on Lord of the Flies and shit? Don't even fucking think about taking my glasses." He cracked himself up, snorting and coughing, and laughing even harder when Jeff told him to shut up because it wasn't that funny.

"It was fucking hilarious," contradicted Greg, choking with giggles.

"You're going to rupture a blood vessel and bleed out," Jeff told him, bitterly sarcastic.

"Best way to die, laughing," Greg retorted He was barely able to speak through his own euphoria.

"What the fuck is happening over there?" Ryan asked from his spot, hoisting himself into a sitting position. He scowled at Brad and Jeff, mildly disturbed by the scene taking place.

"Greg's having a breakdown caused by his own hilarious wit," Brad informed him.

Ryan picked up a small rock and threw it in their general direction, missing by a wide margin. "You're an idiot, Proops," he groaned.

"I am the smartest--" Greg began, choking off mid-sentence with hysteria. He grabbed Jeff's sleeve in an attempt to steady himself, but only succeeded in pulling Jeff down on top of him. He slumped over, laughter obstructed by a coughing fit.

"I told you so," Jeff commented with disdain as he untangled himself from Greg. "Have some water."

Greg responded by coughing a spray of blood into his own hand.

"Holy shit!" cried Jeff and Brad almost simultaneously, jumping back.

Jeff immediately leaned forward again, unsure of what was going on. "What happened?"

"Fuck--" sputtered Greg in between coughs. He hunched over, trying to catch his breath.
Jeff handed him the water, flustered and terrified. This was a new development in the recent string of catastrophes, and it wasn't something he had prepared for.

"I'll--uh--" Brad stood up rapidly, desperately looking around for something he could do to help.

"Go find Wayne," Jeff ordered. "Bring him back here. I don't care about the damn river. I just need everybody at the same time. It'll help me think."

Brad nodded, stepping back. "I'll try." With a brief glance at the disaster-fest in front of him, he turned and ran away.

"It's okay," Jeff said to Greg, who had stopped coughing but was still fighting for breath, clutching Jeff's arm. "Don't worry, you're fine."

Ryan was sitting up and staring at the two, feeling utterly powerless and alone. Tears stung at his eyes, but he ignored them defiantly. "Col," he said quietly. He didn't really expect him to answer.
To Ryan, it seemed unfair. Jeff and Greg had each other. He and Colin should, too. This wasn't the same, but he knew he couldn't do anything about it until Colin was at least awake.

Jeff was holding Greg, whose breathless spasms had stopped for the time being. He rubbed one hand across his back, trying to stay calm himself as much as he was trying to keep Greg calm.

"Drink this," he told him, once again handing over the water with shaking hands. This time, Greg took it. He tentatively took a few sips.
"Just rest," Jeff told him, mostly because that was the only thing he knew wouldn't make it worse.
Greg was already listing into sleep, head across Jeff's legs.
"God dammit," Jeff whispered to whatever would listen--the trees, the sky, the Grim Reaper that was probably floating around. He didn't care either way. Once again, it seemed to be his fault for something awful happening. It seemed as if the event had been the words he'd spoken, practically verbatim.

As if reading his mind, Ryan called to him, barely loud enough to hear. "It's not your fault."

"Right," Jeff said, unconvinced.

"Seriously. I can tell you're blaming yourself for God knows what reason, but you can't."

Angrily, Jeff answered him. "Why not? Somebody has to be the scapegoat. Just like in Lord of the fucking Flies, right?"

"No," said Ryan simply. "I didn't read the book, and you're no more to blame than I am."
Oddly, that was just enough to give Jeff a little reassurance.


Wayne and Brad returned within the next few hours.

"Damn, you weren't kidding," Wayne remarked, taking in the sight of his four friends. Each rested in varying states of battered and bruised.

"I know. No wonder Ryan hates me lately," said Brad. "Now we're not only the best-looking, but all our limbs and organs are functional." He knocked jokingly on the closest tree three times. "Not to jinx us, of course."

Ryan, overhearing the comment, just laughed. "Sure, whatever makes you feel good about yourself."

"Yeah, our ears still work," added Jeff irritably. "When's the last time we had food, by the way?"

"I'll go refill the supply," Brad volunteered. He grabbed the bag he'd been using to collect the meager amount of food.

"I told you, I want everyone to stay together right now," Jeff reminded him.

"For what?"

"To figure stuff out!"

"You were the one who just complained about the food," pointed out Wayne.

Jeff rolled his eyes. "I didn't mean anyone should go right now."

Brad and Wayne shared a look, shrugged, and sat on the ground.
"So how's Greg?" asked Wayne.

Jeff avoided looking at anyone, especially Greg, whom he couldn't determine whether he was actually asleep or just faking sleep in an attempt to block everyone out. "I don't fucking know, man," he answered with a drained sigh. "I don't know about any of this. We need to find help fast."

"I know," Wayne said, calm and collected as ever. "If we had a way of knowing for sure what would help, we'd do it."

"What are the options so far?" Ryan asked the group. "We could split up. That's one."

"We're not splitting up," Jeff and Brad said at the same time.

"That's an option," said Wayne, assuming the role of moderator. "Two, we could wait here and try to signal somebody with the fire."

"God, why didn't we think of that before?" Ryan burst out. "The fire. Fuck! Obviously."

Wayne held up a hand. "Chill out, it's okay. The first two or three days didn't matter anyway, right? Nobody would have been looking here. And then I had my fire going yesterday and today. So we really only missed a day where anyone could have seen us."

"Well, do whatever you did with yours! Just do it now." Ryan was insistent, filled with energy at the sudden slap-in-the-face realization.

"I'll do it," Brad said, moving over to the fire pit, which was burning dangerously low.

"Don't use dry wood," cautioned Jeff. "Use green wood. It gives off more smoke. Dry stuff burns too fast."

"I know that, Jeff," Brad said with an eye roll.

"I didn't," supplied Ryan. "That's why I'm not in charge."

"Yeah, never trust Ryan to handle your wood," said Wayne, keeping a straight face.

Perfectly in sync, Brad and Ryan added, "If you know what I mean."

"We are not playing that," Jeff said with a warning tone. "I'll play Questions if I have to, but I draw the line at that one."

"That game was way before your time," mocked Ryan. "There's a reason we didn't play it on the show with you. You'd barely finished puberty back then."

"Harsh," Wayne commented, smothering a grin. "I'll play Questions, though. If you were serious, Jeff."

Jeff shrugged. "Sure, why the hell not?"

"Are you kidding me?" Ryan grumbled, walking into the Questions trap without even noticing.

"Do you realize you just started the game?" asked Brad.

"Can I opt out?"

"You got anything better to do?" retorted Wayne.

"Why are all four of us playing at once?"

"Why not?"

"Ever heard of rules?"

"Why should rules apply here?"

"The rules don't matter!"
Jeff's enthusiastic contribution earned him obnoxious buzzing noises from the other three, and he sat down with a faux puppy dog face.

"What's the scene we're doing?"

"Would you believe we' a forest?"

"Well, aren't you original?"

"Can you guess the color of my thong?" Ryan blurted, resorting to his default topic.

"What'll I win?" questioned Wayne.

"Can you--fuck." Ryan gave up, leaving Brad and Wayne in a duel of the wits.

"Can you fuck?" Brad urgently asked Wayne.

"What's your pleasure?"

"Have you seen a whip and some chocolate syrup around here?"

Wayne didn't bother trying to respond with a question. "Nope."

That was that. Halfhearted applause spurted from the three losers.



Ryan grunted, all but sound asleep when he heard his name. He shook it off, but seconds later, he heard it again.


He opened his eyes, blinking to adjust them to the dark. "Hmm?" he muttered, quite aggravated. His back hurt worse than it had since the beginning of this endeavor, and all he needed was to sleep.
When he realized who was talking to him, he snapped back awake immediately. "Colin!"

"No shit," Colin answered with a weak smile. "Why are you way over there?"

The extremely relieved man rolled over in the dirt until his side was pressed up against Colin's. "Better?"

"Much better," Colin replied, nestling his head into Ryan's shoulder.

"So you're feeling better?" Ryan asked hopefully. He wrapped one arm around his friend, needing to protect him from harm, internal and external.

"I feel like crap," was his blunt answer. "But I guess I must be better than I was earlier, huh?"

Ryan nodded. "You feel cooler now, at least." A pause. "You fucking had me scared, you know."

"Sorry," Colin answered with sincerity. "But you should know better. I wouldn't leave you here with them. That would leave Greg in charge, and you'd be touring with Brad, and then where would we be?"

Ryan's smile vanished as quickly as a candle extinguished. "About Greg..."

Colin frowned, startled. "Is he okay?"

"I don't know. You were out, and then something weird set him off and he started coughing. A lot. There was blood, Col. It was like he was choking on his own insides." Remembering this, Ryan involuntarily shivered. "He's fine now. Or maybe not. How would I know, anyway? Jeff was really shook up by it."

Colin was silent for several moments. Ryan could see him squeezing his eyes shut. He didn't let go of him for an instant.
"Is Brad back?" Colin asked.

Ryan nodded. "Wayne's here, too. We're all here. Now we just need to know what to do next."

"I want to sleep next," Colin told him. "That's all I want to do. I'm cold, and my head is killing me, and I can barely talk without wanting to die. So just sleep with me, okay?"

They burrowed in each others' warmth, occasionally trembling with aches or trepidation. But eventually they slept, dreamless but comforted.
Nothing disturbed them until sunrise, when they were shocked awake by screams.

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