There is a point in one’s life where you sit back and contemplate three things.
One, how the hell did you get here?
Two, why the hell are you here?
And three, and the most important one, how the hell are you going to get out of here?
These three things are going through Captain Watson’s mind right now. Like, literally. Right. Now. Why, you ask? Because he’s taking cover behind a crumbly wall in Lashkar Gah, gripping his rifle close to his chest, and he’s taking fire. Lots of fire. And he’s tired of it.
He lifts his helmeted head to the sky and shouts - no, screams - at the heavens.
“Will you people just stop. Shooting. At. ME! God damn it already! I get it, thank you, kindly fuck off out of here and leave me be!”
There is a pause where there isn’t as much flecks of building material floating down onto him, and then it starts up again, and Watson sighs in defeat.
“Oh, fine. Fine. Have your fun, run out of ammo, please. Have at it. But I’ll have you know that once you do, I’m popping up and picking you fuckers off one at a time. So have fun! Knock yourselves out, or do the whole world a favour and shoot yourselves in the face!”
A round cracks against the wall an inch from his head.
“Fuck! Alright! Damn it! NOT ME. Do not shoot ME in the face, shoot yourself in the face, you mangy ruddy cunt!” Watson contemplates just calling some air in, raining some hell on their heads, but immediately forgets the whole ordeal because, in a flurry of movement, a man slides into the little alcove next to him. Watson needed only a moment to see that the rather...large man is a friendly, but needed less time to have his weapon up and trained on the head of the newcomer. So the realisation that the new guy is a good guy is done at gunpoint, because when the rifle comes up, so does the other man’s. Watson sucks in a dusty breath.
“Hello.” His rifle does not go off target.
“Good afternoon.” Neither does the other man’s.
Watson takes measure of the man. Crouched as he was, he could be Watson’s height or better. Most likely better, looking at the length of the man’s legs. Non-descript desert camouflage, battle helmet, patterned scarf, dark hair, piercing eyes...British accent. Watson lowers the rifle, and so does the other man.
“Well. Um...so.” Watson looks for a last name, doesn’t find one, bloody fuck don’t tell him…”Come here often?”
The stranger barks a laugh. “Often enough. You?”
“Oh, just...hanging out until the locals forget I’m here -” Another bullet careens off the wall, and Watson flinches, just a little, as a bit of stone peppers his cheek. “Which doesn’t seem to be anytime soon.” He cranes his head around. “Will you people just stop with the shooting please? I’m trying to hold a civilised conversation here!”
Nothing for it. No one listens to him, at any rate. Watson sighs, and the stranger speaks up. “My name is John.”
Watson drops his head and giggles manically, which is the only way he could giggle out here in the dust. “Funny. So is mine.”
“Well, at least we won’t go forgetting each other’s name, now -” This time, it was the other John’s turn to duck and curse as more bullets fly in their direction. “Jesus Christ, how long has this been going on, mate?”
Watson checks his watch. “About ten minutes, on and off. Good cover, it’s just they know I’m here. And now you, too. You know -” Watson pauses as John stands, peers around the corner, and returns fire with quick pulls on the trigger of his rifle. “You know, you are entirely too fucking big. Tall bastard. You are a walking fucking target. May as well paint a bullseye on your bloody back.” Watson moves into the space between the wall and John’s legs, swings out, and let loose with his SA80 too. “What’s your last name, then, since we are doing names and you don’t have a patch on your chest?”
“Porter,” John grunts as he pulls the trigger again.
“Ah. Watson. John Watson. Captain John Watson.” He ducks back in, and Porter follows him.
“Perfect.” Porter nods at him. “You got a plan on getting us out of here?”
“What?” Watson ejects the magazine from his rifle just to doublecheck the count on his bullets. “No. Huh? I’d -” Watson sputters. “Wait, it’s my job to make a plan? You hop into my perfectly good cover out of nowhere and expect me to...ugh, nevermind.” He slammed it back into the receiver. “I’d planned on planting my happy arse right here and sitting until they ran out of ammo, unless I get a distress call. That’s it.”
“Distress call?” Porter rolls his shoulder and winces. Watson makes a quick note of that.
“I’m…” Watson sighs and reaches into his breast pocket, pulling out the Red Cross patch that he rips off whenever there isn’t a major or higher flitting around making trouble. He really doesn't need a target plastered on his shoulder out here. “Medic. Sort of.”
Porter stares at him. “Medic, sort of?”
“You have way too many questions - “ Watson looks up and grunts. “Trouble, nine o’clock.”
Porter turns. “Yeah, I see him.” His grin is incinedary in the light of the hot Afghan sun. “Finally, that fucker shows up.”
Watson watches as the man he’d spotted ducks and returns fire with ease, then ducks behind his nearly useless cover again. “Where’s his bloody helmet? And you know him?”
Porter winces. “Now you are the one with all the questions.” Watson stares him down, and after a moment Porter nods. “Yeah, we...we’re doing something together, here, not like I actually like working with the lunatic. Don’t know where his helmet went, though. Idiot.”
Watson groans. “God damn it. Alright. Fuck.” He pulls off one of his gloves, sticks his dirty fingers into his mouth and whistles, sharp and loud. The man across the way cranks his head around, and Watson signals that he and Porter would cover his run. The man nods, and plants his feet, ready to run. “Alright, you madman. On three.”
Porter nods, short and sharp. “Three.”
They both jump out into the open and flick their rifles’ fire controls to three-round bursts, just providing a distraction as the other man runs behind them and hits his hip in a classic baseball slide into the alcove. Porter and Watson back into cover once more, and now they were rather...snug. Watson trips backwards over the new guy’s leg and falls on his arse, cursing just about everything and a god he doesn’t quite believe in anymore. The newcomer curses his luck, and Porter curses the new guy.
The enemy fire continues.
“Jesus Christ in a can, they’ve got to be running out soon.” Watson huffed, readjusting everything on his body armour and slapping his chest. “I give up. You two are mental. This is some sort of hush-hush thing that I’m not supposed to know about or you’ll kill me?”
So does the new guy.
“Fuck my life.” Watson groans. “Fine. Ok. Who the hell are you, then?”
“I swear to everloving fuck, if you say ‘Bond, James Bond’ one more time, I’ll break your damned neck,” Porter growls, and Watson laughs. Hard. Both men stare at him, their sharp blue eyes burrowing underneath his skin and doing things to his lizard brain. Jesus, he’s got to make a distraction before he gets any stupid fucking ideas, like asking either of them if they are free next Saturday for drinks at the OC. Or both of them. God, that’s a thought to keep him warm at night...Oh fuck, just...
“What, a bloke can’t have a good laugh out here?” John waves a gloved hand in the direction the bullets were coming from. “People are doing their damnedest to kill me, and then you two fucking - God, you’re a big one too!” Watson snorts and kicks at Bond’s boot. “Move over, you hulking bastard, before I get my head shot off!” He scoots further down the wall and looks at Porter and Bond in turn. “You two fuckers come in and do your...whatever you are doing here, and I’m entitled to have a small breakdown, alright?”
Bond looks at Porter, who scowls darkly, then turns back to Watson. “I’m sorry?” His apologetic look is barely believable.
“Ha! Like hell you are!” Watson gathers his feet back under him and pushes to a crouch. “What are you doing here, anyway? You don’t really look...well.” He flaps his hand again. “You don’t really look like you have been here a while, you know?”
Bond shakes his head with a knowing smile. “He’s a smart one.”
Porter rolls his eyes. “Oh, do us all a favour and shut up.” He peers over their cover again. “We’re looking for someone.”
“Oh? Anyone in particular, or someone on your playing card?” Watson busies himself with checking his carbine again, anything for something to do other than look at the tall cool drinks of water sitting so fucking close to him, and misses the pointed look the other two give each other. He does catch the slight change in the atmosphere of their happy little nook, and he looks back up into dangerous eyes. Shit. “What?”
Porter grunts, and Bond’s the first to say something. “You know how that works?”
“Fuck, of course I do!” Watson snorts again. “I’m Para, after all. Tales are told, tall and short.”
Another flurry of bullets fly into their cover, and Porter drops to his knees quickly to avoid them. Watson slaps him on the side. “Keep your head down, you berk!”
“You said you’re a medic.” Porter flashes him a smile. “I’m not worried.”
“Oh, shit. I can only do so much for a fucking bullet in the brainpan, idiot!” Watson drops his head back against the stone behind him and counts to ten beneath his breath. Bond chuckles.
“He’s not all that concerned about his safety, if you haven’t noticed -”
The radio on Watson’s shoulder crackled suddenly, and a voice floated through the connection.
“Hello, all callsigns, this is Juliet Two-Three Bravo, we need a medic at the southernmost compound, left side. Squad has come under heavy fire, have two walking wounded and one critical. Anyone able to assist, over.”
Watson presses the tab on his com link, all business now. “Juliet Two-Three Bravo, this is Bravo Three-Niner, I copy. Will assist, give me five minutes. Out.” He shifts into a better position to scramble out of his cover and pulls up a map of the compound. “Alright.” He mutters under his breath, planning out a path to the compound in question. He knows he’s the closest thing to a medic in the area, because he had just been to that very compound. Besides, he doesn't carry around a fully stocked medical kit around with him for giggles. With his route memorised, he pushes to his feet and adjusts his carbine. He does a quick pat-check of his equipment to make sure he still has everything with him, then rolls his shoulders beneath his armour.
“Where are you going?” Porter’s voice reminds Watson of a teacher he had in Uni, the one that made him question everything he knew about his sexuality, only a bit deeper and dustier. He turned to the dark haired bastard.
“Remember when I was talking about distress calls?” He sticks a gloved finger into the air. “That was one. I’m going to help them.” He waves a hand at them. “You two can stay here and play house or whatever the fuck you super secret agents do on off days. I’ve got a job to do.” He pinpoints the spot of wreckage he wants to get to - it’s only fifty yards away at a diagonal, he’d have to run hard, yes, people were still shooting at him but what the fuck does he care? - and then there’s a hand on his shoulder. He turns back to stare at both men, who have stood and are ready to move. “What are you doing?”
“We’re coming with you.” Bond said this succinctly, with no room for argument. Watson gives him one anyway.
“Oh, like hell. Stay. Here.” He puts as much command into his voice as possible. Bond doesn’t back off. Not that Watson is expecting him to. Porter is just behind Bond, and even he is shaking his head, mouthing ‘stubborn fuck’. Watson rolls his eyes. “Seriously.”
“Sorry, but I outrank you, Captain. We are coming with you, and that’s final.”
Watson narrows his eyes. “Who are you with?” Bond opens his mouth to say something, but Watson shakes his head. “Doesn’t matter. What matters is that you aren’t military anymore." Now Porter's mouthing 'God, he is as smart one', and Watson grins wolfishly. "So you actually have no say in this. Stay the fuck here and let me do my job. If you feel you have some sort of duty to me, cover my run then. But don’t follow. Understand?”
Bond blinks. “Understood.”
Watson shifts his eyes to Porter, who crooks an eyebrow up. “Fuck off. We’re following you.”
“I’m not fucking arguing about this here!” Watson turns and reads the situation. The fire has died down again, probably waiting for them to make a move. Either that, or they have somehow cracked the coms and know that he has to move and are waiting for him to come out of cover. “Damn it. Alright, I’m going on three.” He pins Porter with a stare. “MY three.”
Porter grunts in response, and both men ready their weapons. Watson gets ready to run.
Distant explosions thump through the ground; a bombing run in the city proper. Watson’s blood runs hot and wild in his veins, and adrenaline pumps through his brain and muscles. God help him, he fucking loved this part.