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Can't trust the fall

Chapter Text

The events that transpired the fight are blurry at best, Arthur doesn't really know, one minute he and Dutch are racing towards camp, next thing they're running away from camp trying to lead the O'driscolls away.

It was a flurry of bullets and shouts, whether they have been from Dutch, himself or the O'driscolls Arthur can hardly distinguish. They ended up at Dewberry creek, crouched behind rocks and trading bullets under the darkening sky. The O'driscolls seem to multiply, like a hydra, once one falls, two take their place. Arthur can barely shoot without having a storm of bullets his way, trying to take the heat off of Dutch, enough that they can move towards a safer area, at least somewhere where they can have a better cover, but there was enough O'driscolls to take on their entire gang, non working members included.

Dutch yelps, falling onto his back as Arthur hastily ducks to get near him, "Dutch?" Arthur calls, Dutch waves him off, picking up his fallen pistol and wasting no time to continue shooting. Arthur passes a worried glance every few seconds, closing his eyes as a bullet whizzes close to his ear. He ducks, slipping onto the rocks and pulling open his satchel. He has a few dynamite sticks, courtesy of Bill, he raises one, clear into Dutch's view and Dutch nods his agreement.

Arthur digs through the pocket of his satchel for a match, striking it against his boot and igniting the dynamite. Dutch takes a few steps back as Arthur throws it, Arthur sinking behind the rock again as the O'driscolls shout their warnings. It blows and Arthur peaks to see the damage, letting out a surprised yelp as a bullet flies his way, it catches above his elbow and he stumbles back. Gritting his teeth, Arthur clasps a hand over the wound, wincing as pain spikes. It's minimal, doesn't really affect his movement, he'll feel the recoil of his gun for sure but nothing more.

Arthur reloads quickly, blinking as a familiar hissing sound echos beside him. Dutch calls his name, Arthur short circuits as he watches the sparking wire dissapate, closing his eyes as he takes a step to the side, having enough instinct to raise a hand to cover his face as the dynamite blows. For a moment, Arthur can't hear anything except a high pitched whine, a whistling sound then his own coughs as the pain falls on him. He can feel his legs leave the ground, fire engulfing his arm as he tries to find his footing again, fruitless against gravity as it pulls him down hard towards the rocky ground.

Arthur opens his eyes slowly, blinking against the blurry sky above him, now fully dark and decorated with stars. He tries to sit up, pain radiating through his body as he searches around, the world is quiet, too quiet. Arthur tries to pull a hand towards his ears, grunting when it wouldn't move, feeling like an extra weight had been added. He can loll his head to the side, watching as Dutch collects himself, the explosion having blown him off his feet too.

Sound returns slowly, Arthur grasping more and more, the shouts, the still ringing bullets. Dutch shouts something, face scrunched in worry as hands come into Arthur's view.

Confused and pained, Arthur tries and fails to push away the intrusive hands, distantly, he figures the people pulling him away from Dutch must be O'driscolls. He fights his own body, trying to at least give a fight he's bound to lose, anything but let them take him so easily. Dutch raises his pistol, uneven as he stumbles to his feet, he can see the spark of a bullet being fired, the sound of someone screaming in pain, can feel himself fall, didn't even know they elevated his head.

He gasps, pain pulling at his sides as he uses what little strength he can gather to crawl away. He rolls onto his stomach, gritting his teeth as he catches sight of his arm, bleeding heavily from where the explosion had burned him. He blinks, catching sight of a gun, strewn across the rocks, must have fallen from an O'driscoll. He pushes himself feebly, leg slipping and knee colliding against the rocks. He pulls himself feeling sluggish and pained as the gunshots continue above him, stretching a hand to grasp the gun, doing his best to reach it. As soon as he feels the cool metal under his fingers, a foot stomps on his hand harshly, pulling back as Arthur cries out, hand falling limp against the gun, the foot comes back down on his hand, kicking it off then a hand grabs the gun. There goes that, Arthur thinks. 

Arthur groans, pulling his arm back, blinking heavily against his twisted fingers, broken for sure, but the pain mixes with everything else, getting lost as his brain scrambles to tell him where he's wounded. His arms, his sides, his head, his hands, everywhere hurts.

Hopelessly, or maybe hopeful, Arthur turns to where Dutch was, squinting as he watches Dutch fight off two men, shooting them in the stomach before training his gun above Arthur.

"Arthur?" Dutch says, his voice muffled to Arthur's ear, but he can distinguish his own name.

He tries to speak but he can't, mouth too heavy, tongue laying paralyzed, his head feels too heavy as he sags. It's not safe, he should probably help, should gather himself but he can't, too tired, too pained. Dutch says something, but his eyes stay above Arthur, undoubtedly at an O'driscoll. Arthur groans as pressure comes down his side, he closes his eyes, knowing it might be dangerous, he's already tired, he can't risk passing out. What if more come? He can't leave Dutch alone.

He forces his eyes to open again, blinking as feet come to his peripheral, Dutch lowers his gun, raising his arms beside his head. Arthur would frown if he can, Dutch his speaking but Arthur can only concentrate on the ringing in his ear, he blinks rapidly against his darkening vision. Not now, he internally groans, but no luck. His vision blurs for a second before the pull of his eyelids is too much, and he succumbs to the tiredness pulling at his bones.