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Subject: Chapter 309 - Part 1 (16 and above)

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Date Posted: Monday, October 29, 07:23:15am
In reply to: KatherineG. 's message, "Chapter 307 - Part 1 (16 and above)" on Monday, October 22, 07:10:11am

Extra note: All speech in French will be given in English, both to avoid confusion and to not show up my appallingly bad French skills. :) Also, there are a few mild curse words in this part. I'll rate it 16 and above, just to be safe.

Dreams in the Dark (309/?)
by Katherine Gilbert

It was amazing how far a mile could be, what an eternity came with two of them. As it was, it took ten--each of them slow and agonizing, hobbled along in the sort of torment Michael had only previously realized existed on some sort of intellectual level--before they came to a small farmhouse he thought he had remembered seeing from the plane. Given as how they had been under attack about three seconds after he had spotted it, he hadn't been at all certain of the memory. It was only with a nearly weepy sense of relief that he realized he had been right.

Ackerman, predictably, did not have the same reaction, the pair barely speaking for hours now. Their plane had been shot down sometime around noon. Now, it was beyond dusk. And the darkness, for all the help it gave them, only added to the growing sense of doom.

Such fears shouldn't have been a surprise by this point. There had been many, terrible moments during those ten miles, many times both of them had been certain they would be caught. While they had paused, soon after starting, for Ackerman to go back and hide Kane's body, it was clear that the Nazis were onto their scent. More than once, they had heard the dogs barking somewhere behind them, never quite distant enough for comfort; their journey had sped up several times, despite the torment of Michael's wound. Still, the ex-actor hadn't complained, only hobbling as quickly as possible--giving in to leaning on his comrade ever more. Although such dependence annoyed Bill, he had said nothing--but Michael was only too aware that the man would dump him the first second it seemed prudent to do so.

It was because of all these unspoken tensions that he was so immensely overjoyed at seeing the farmhouse. Even as his logic told him not to assume--there was no reason to think its inhabitants would willingly help them, even if he did speak their language--he practically wanted to run toward it. Or he would have, if he had had a leg half-capable of supporting him for that long.

Still, there were too many unanswered questions to give up caution so easily. If the house contained twelve strapping young sons, even a gun might not help them. There could even be rifles with which to meet the intruders. Because of this, he and Ackerman spent part of the night under the cover of some nearby shrubs, just watching. All they could sanely do was what they had been trained to: observe.

This was what they did for the next three hours, occasionally seeing someone coming or going. As best as they could deduce, the house seemed to contain a young woman--no older than her early twenties, Michael thought--and an older man; the actor guessed that they were father and daughter, although, given the man's haggard appearance, it was possible that they were grandfather and granddaughter. At least there seemed to be no marital affection between them--but that could always be due to a young woman being married off to a much older man.

All of these analyses crept through his mind in the hours they sat there, the pain in his leg having turned into a constant sort of torment, one which he feared might mean that--without quick treatment--it would be too far gone for him to be able to keep it. Still, the thought of having only Ackerman for his doctor, and not even any liquor to numb the pain of an amputation, nearly made him pass out. It was only with the young woman's surprising return to the barn, quite late at night, that he remembered their one chance.

It was his companion who stated the obvious. "They should be in bed by now." All the animals were in their pens, the color long gone from the sky. But still a light burned in the house--and the girl moved outside. "Maybe they're waiting for her husband to return."

This was a rather disturbing thought, but Michael shook his head, hoping. "There's a truck there." It was an old one, certainly, rather banged up, but looked like it was still being tended to. "Do they look prosperous enough to have two cars?"

It was this, and the girl's currently isolated situation, which made them decide to move at last. However deadly the next few moments might prove, it was necessary. They couldn't stay in the bushes for much longer without knowing that they would be found.

It was a difficult task for Michael to even stand by this point, much less to make his way quietly toward the farm. He was a little worried that he might be suffering from blood poisoning from his untreated wound--some small part of him allowed to be terrified that he might never live to return to Nikita; his decided lack of medical training only made the fears that much worse. But none of this was allowed to matter--for now. All that did was that they make contact with the girl--and pray that she was friendly toward them, if only because they had a mutual enemy.

As it was, they didn't make it entirely into the barn where the girl was, the barking of a dog finding them first. Ackerman let go of Michael, taking out his gun to silence the animal, forcing the older man to act quickly, whispering--referring back to the argument which had gotten him this far with the man. "A Frenchman arrives, shoots your pet dog, and then asks you for help." Fortunately, it was enough to convince, Bill slowly putting the weapon away; the actor let out a sigh of relief. All they needed was a shot to be heard to give them away now. The dog was bad enough.

He moved toward the animal slowly, offering his hand, and--thankfully--it didn't prove to be a particularly effective watchdog. It sniffed his fingers, started panting happily up at him, and gladly offered its head to be scratched; Ackerman snorted, watching. Even the damn dogs seemed to like him.

It was this fact which had made him drag the man along--but it hadn't been fully tested yet. Somewhere inside that barn, there was a woman who would need persuading. And, if they didn't move soon, she would have spotted them and run away for help before they could even get close.

They made their way toward her quickly, with the dog trotting happily by Michael's heels, evidently adopting him as his new best friend. Michael gave a prayer of thanks for stupid dogs, as they reached the barn door. But that was when they saw that the woman they were moving toward was trying to make it out the other side unseen.

Apparently, the dog wasn't as dumb as it seemed, its bark alone alerting its mistress--and the fact that she was aware of them made things proceed badly. Ackerman let his companion go in an instant, almost making him fall over, as he raced toward the woman with his gun drawn. Michael cursed under his breath and followed, growling out a whisper for him to stop. But, once he had reached them, the other airman had the woman pinned against a door.

Michael was giving silent prayers, as he reached cautiously for Ackerman's shoulder, all the while trying to give a polite apology to the woman in French. "I'm sorry, miss. I'm sorry. We're in danger, and my companion is afraid." He didn't even know if she would understand him--wasn't certain whether they might be in a Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, all his efforts lost on her--as he tried to make Ackerman lower his gun. But all he could do was continue--and pray that there was some common language they could find.

All of these hopes seemed likely to be undone by his companion any second, however--Bill's fierce glare enough to make any innocent woman afraid. Finally, seeing it as the only alternative, the injured man moved painfully over to her other side, preventing her escape out the door--hoping that this would make the other escapee less fearsome; he still spoke as gently as possible, hiding nothing, the truth too obvious. "Our plane was shot down by the Nazis." Bill's eyes moved to him suspiciously, obviously having picked up that last word, at least. "If we don't get help, we'll be killed."

Part of his plan worked, thankfully. Once the girl was surrounded, Ackerman finally agreed to lower the gun, although it didn't leave his hand. The girl swallowed heavily, still terrified, and turned her eyes at last toward Michael. Apparently, it was the first time she had really taken him in. To both the men's surprise, there was a gasp, as her hand reached for his face, touching the now-stubbled cheek with a light caress--much like Nikita might have used; that thought alone made him *ache* to survive. "You're Michael Samuelle," she murmured, astonished, before she pulled herself back together slightly, retrieving her hand with embarrassment--as though she weren't entirely aware of how it had gotten there. Her next words were almost whispered to herself. "They said that the fugitives were important."

This confession could have been damning, but Michael was well-aware that the Nazis had been all over looking for them--failed to translate the whisper to his companion. Instead, there was a moment of silence, as the girl's eyes drifted away, a moment where they were left to wonder where the encounter might go. In the few seconds which passed, Michael's mind drifted strangely, happy that the girl spoke French but a little confused by some of her phrasing. It was one of the first times he had really thought about the fact that his Canadian French might be exceptionally different from that of its homeland--or its variations here. Still, this shouldn't have been too shocking. After all, British and American English were practically two separate languages--as the Brits were only too happy to constantly point out.

It was to his surprise--the vague cobwebs of thoughts brushed quickly away--that the girl's eyes returned to his own a moment later with an absolutely intense sort of light. "I'll help you," she said firmly. Her glance then moved sideways, toward Bill. "At least as long as you keep him on a leash."

Michael just managed not to laugh at this, knowing that he would have to translate for his companion. When he did, Ackerman glowered, but he did, only half-willingly, put his gun away at last.

It was probably the relief which did it, the standoff the last burden his tortured body could withstand. One minute, Michael was standing beside their new assistant; the next, he crumpled. He only stayed conscious long enough to hear the girl's astonished cry of, "He's hurt!" But then a blackness like none he had known before engulfed him entirely.

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Chapter 309 - Part 2 (16 and above (end of chapter 309)KatherineG.Monday, October 29, 07:25:50am

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