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Charlie's Day At the Beach

Chapter Text

 

A wave crashes over him.

He surfaces

A wave crashes over him.

It floods into his nose and mouth.

He surfaces

A wave? Beaches were the only places with waves. There's no beaches in Ballarat, not as far as he knows. He must be miles away. Maybe he's already dead.
The salt claws its way under his eyelids, stinging his eyes, he begins to cry but not because he is in pain, but because his body wants to flush the foreign water from it's vicinity. In fact, he can't feel anything at all. Well, he can't feel pain, per say, but he can feel the cold. It's so cold. Is it night? He's not quite sure because his eyelids will not peel back and allow light into his eyes.

A wave crashes over him.

It floods into his nose and mouth, it's salty, and full of grit.

He surfaces.

He must be at a beach. His hair has fanned out around his head, the curls soaked by the water, unable to retain their shape, have gone flat and float out around his head. The gel he used to keep it in place is long gone. He coughs some of the salty water back up, and some escapes the side of his mouth. He tastes copper. Must be internal damage. If the Doctor was coming, then he'd be able to fix it.

A wave crashes over him.

It floods into his nose and mouth. It's salty, and full of grit. He thinks he can hear someone calling for him. Someone far off.

He surfaces.

He tries to think back to the last time he saw the Doctor, and is distressed when he can. He remembers fighting with him. Telling him to please just let Munro be, please just let him be, that he can't always cover for him, and that he wants to help, he does, but he can't sacrifice his job as well. He needs to not only pay his own debts and bills, but his mother's as well. He's infuriated that the Doctor can't seem to take him seriously. He yells. He slams the door after him when he leaves. He wants to jog, clear his head.

A wave crashes over him.

It floods into his nose and mouth. It's salty, and full of grit. He thinks he can hear someone calling for him. Someone far off. He floats up, and drifts with the tide slightly out to the sea.

He surfaces.

He can remember Mattie chasing after him, telling to get back here and that he has to talk this though, not run away like he always does. Hindsight is in deed a bitch because he wants to tell his past self to listen to her, that she is right, go home, go back to the doctor. To make him listen. Because he is Charlie Davis. And he will not let anyone talk to him like that. But he doesn't. He keeps running. He pushes her away the same way he has always done. He has no friends. He doesn't need them, and he doesn't need her either. He is an idiot. He would have taken any help that they could have given him three days ago, two days ago, yesterday...

A wave crashes over him.

It floods into his nose and mouth. It's salty, and full of grit. He thinks he can hear someone calling for him. Someone far off. He floats up, and drifts with the tide slightly out to the sea. He can swear that it is the doctor calling for him, far away.

He surfaces.

He reflects that if the doctor was coming for him, then he would have found him days ago, when he screamed for him, when he pleaded and begged and called for the Doctor to come and save him. He didn't come. Perhaps he is still angry. Perhaps he will never forgive Charlie. Some of his hair floats onto his face, the strands cover his nose and lips. Perhaps it's best that the doctor doesn't see him in this state anyhow. He supposes that there is no point to try and save him now, even if some how, the Doctor did come and save him. He has been dying for years. It's a relief to know it will end soon.

A wave crashes over him.

It floods into his nose and mouth. It's salty, and full of grit. He thinks he can hear someone calling for him. Someone far off. He floats up, and drifts with the tide slightly out to the sea. He can swear that it is the doctor calling for him, far away. He tries to call back, but he cannot open his mouth, the sound of his heart beat pumps in his ears.

He surfaces.

He wants to scream at the sky for allowing this to happen to him, curse at the God he didn't know if he should believe in for punishing him like this, for what crime? He had done no wrong, surely? Who will look after his brothers, if he can't? Who will help his mother, if isn't coming home? Did she ask them to look for him? Did she call them, and ask them to find her child? He hopes that she did. The doctor will help her, he's helped so many people in Ballarat, what was one more family, he wonders. The stinging has gotten worse, filling all of his other wounds with the salt.

A wave crashes over him.

It floods into his nose and mouth. It's salty, and full of grit. He thinks he can hear someone calling for him. Someone far off. He floats up, and drifts with the tide slightly out to the sea. He can swear that it is the doctor calling for him, far away. He tries to call back, but he cannot open his mouth, the sound of his heart beat pumps in his ears. His arms float away from him and he has no control over them. One of them tries to anchor him into the sand, but it doesn't work.

He surfaces.

He remembers what they did to him, in their attempts to get to the doctor. He had a lot of enemies, the Doctor did. Box cutters, hammers, crow bars, cricket bats, nails and tacks, pins, chemicals he cannot name, the smell of burning skin, his skin, and he screams for the Doctor to save him. He never comes. He cries for him, all night. He never comes and he wonders why they chose him. Why not Mattie? He liked her more, would have saved her, no matter what the cost.

A wave crashes over him.

It floods into his nose and mouth. It's salty, and full of grit. He thinks he can hear someone calling for him. Someone far off. He floats up, and drifts with the tide slightly out to the sea. He can swear that it is the doctor calling for him, far away. He tries to call back, but he cannot open his mouth, the sound of his heart beat pumps in his ears. His arms float away from him and he has no control over them. One of them tries to anchor him into the sand, but it doesn't work. His lungs ache as the salt and the sand fill his mouth. He wants to be free.

He surfaces.

He comforts himself by knowing that at least without him, they will look more like a family. The way they had been, before he came here. Like he was never here. He tries to tell himself that he is happy for them, happy that his death will not hurt them too much. He believes that the Doctor will look after his mother. That his brothers will be fine without their overbearing older brother caring for them. It would be like he was never there at all.

A wave crashes over him.

It floods into his nose and mouth. It's salty, and full of grit. He thinks he can hear someone calling for him. Someone far off. He floats up, and drifts with the tide slightly out to the sea. He can swear that it is the doctor calling for him, far away. He tries to call back, but he cannot open his mouth, the sound of his heart beat pumps in his ears. His arms float away from him and he has no control over them. One of them tries to anchor him into the sand, but it doesn't work. His lungs ache as the salt and the sand fill his mouth. He wants to be free.

He wants to be free.

His fathers old car was just that. Old. And slow. Which wasn't useful when he knew he was going against a clock. It was a bitterly cold night, slowly turning to a bitterly cold morning, and if Charlie was going to have any hope of living, then he would have to get to him very quickly. The fact was that they were too slow, and he had a fear right in the pit of his stomach that he wasn't going to be on time.

Lawson navigates for him, telling him where to turn and where to go. The map that had arrived to them was of little help, but Lawson could make enough sense of it to find out where they had to go. They left Ballarat far behind them, with Charlie their destination.

He has no idea what he should really expect, he'd been sent pictures, of the damage they'd inflicted on the Sergeant, but only a few, nothing that he could really use to find him. He's not even sure who did it, anyway. But it doesn't matter, they were just hired thugs, they could be anyone. No, what mattered was who paid them to hurt Charlie. And that was a question he had no answer too. But that didn't matter at the moment. He had the rest of his life to figure out who it was, but he only had maybe an hour before Charlie was lost to them forever.

“Are we close?” He asks, as he turns a corner.
“Yes.” Lawson said, “We should be pulling up there soon.” And that's the first words they've said since they started driving. Also the last they share before they arrive.
The sand kicks up around his shoes, he's cold, he can hardly see, even if the sun was slowly starting to cast light on them. Lawson runs after him, his coat long abandoned on the sand as they reach the edge. The ocean laps at the sand, washing it away and giving it back. It would be so easy to get lost in it, he thinks, and he looks out to see, not even sure what he's looking for.

The wood connects with his face, sending him sprawling onto the sand. Someone above him laughs, they sound like Munro more then anything else, but he's started to doubt his hearing capability. He doubts his sanity. He identifies the weapon. Cricket bat. He has long since lost any desire to fight back. He lost all sensation in his legs a while ago now. What life will there be for him without his legs? Never to run or bare his weight again. The sand is salty against his bare skin, stinging the open cuts that litter his chest. He cries out when they hit him on the back, he wants to scream at them 'You've already crippled me what more do you want?” But he doesn't because he screamed himself much past the point of talking days ago. The small part of him that still has feeling left tells him that the Doctor won't let him die.
He doesn't believe it.

One of them has a bottle of something, and he feels it stinging his skin, his face, his hands, it aches. He realizes perhaps a little to late that they are getting rid of the evidence. He watches the hands of one, and he finds his eyes drawn to a huge signet ring. He wishes that it wasn't the last thing he ever saw.

Warm.
That's the first thought he has, as he is plucked from the water. Who or whatever has deemed him worth saving is yelling something but he has no idea what. Yelling at someone? Had they lied to him, tricked him into thinking that it was over when it wasn't? Would they save him only to hurt him more? Why? Why bother? He cannot open his eyes enough to see, to know. He can hear a heart beat close to his head. His heart is beating much faster. He can hear that as well, pumping blood in his ears so hard that he thinks that the vessels may as well just pop.

“Charlie?” It's close to him, he must really be on his way out now because it feels so real. So lifelike. He can't talk back so he just lets whoever is holding him to move him out of the ocean.


“Matthew! I've got him!” Blake shouts, and Lawson, who was a good fifty meters away from him starts moving back towards the sand. “Shine the light here!” Blake said, having abandoned his own torch in the water when he'd grabbed Charlie into his arms. Charlie was largely unresponsive to his voice, and for a second he thought he might be too late. He lay the other gently on the sand and took a good look at him. His face paled.
“He needs a hospital.” Lawson states.
“He does.” Blake agreed, picking Charlie up again.

The medical center in the little beach town where Charlie had been dropped was lacking at best. Blake did what he could, but it was decided that Charlie needed a better hospital. Once he seemed stable enough, he was moved back to Ballarat. It was good to have him somewhere closer to home, Blake decides as he oversees the ambulance boys place Charlie on the bed.
“He's messed up.” One comments, as he turns to look at Charlie's swollen face and ruined legs.
“He is.” Blake agrees, sitting next to the poor boy and taking his heads. “He is indeed.”

“What have they done to him?” Munro asks, looking even slightly put off by Charlie's appearance. The doctor gives a small and bitter chuckle.
“A better question, William, may be what didn't they do to him?” He murmurs, as Charlie remains still and unresponsive. Munro sighs and leans on the door frame.
“Talk.”
“Most prominent injury...Would be his spine, or, his legs. They damaged it enough for him to lose all feeling in his legs.”
“How do you know this?”
“It's more like wishful thinking. If he did have feeling in his legs then I can't imagine how he would have felt.”
“Cut to the chase, doctor.”
“They took one of his feet off.”
“Dear lord.”
“And rather crudely as well. It's probably just from dumb luck that that alone didn't kill him.”
“Other injuries?” Blake held up one of Charlie's hands.
“You can see for yourself. Look here, broken fingers.”
“That's...”
“Not even the worst of it.” The Doctor deadpanned.
“What can be worse then all of this?” Munro asked, looking Charlie over with sad eyes.
“His eye.” Blake said, pointing to the eye that had a gauze pad secured over it. “His bottom eyelid has been burnt onto his eye. There was nothing I could do.”
“His has one eye.”
“With debatable sight.” Munro actually looks slightly green in the face.
“That's awful.”
“Yes it is.” Blake agrees, as Munro turns halfway to leave. “I suppose you come out on top, in all of this.”
“What?”
“Come out on top. I'll need to resign from the station.”
“Why?”
“He's going to need a carer.” Munro blinks.
“What?”
“What state do you think he's going to be in, when he wakes up?” Blake asks, taking Charlie's hand tightly into his own.
“I hadn't considered it.”
“No. You hadn't.” Blake said, and Munro waits for him to say something else, but he doesn't. So he turns, and he leaves.

Lawson has been a constant presence these few days. Charlie's mother had been unable to come and see her son (and if he was honest, Lawson's not sure he would want her to. He wouldn't want to see his child like that.) so Blake had filled in for her, and he stood guard outside the room, making sure that everyone who went in was okay. (Hence why Munro had to stand by the door. Munro might have been his 'boss' but he didn't trust him as far as he could throw him, and he had a bad feeling about what might happen if Charlie woke up and found Munro leering over him. Enough for anyone to need hospitalization) He couldn't stand guard all the time, however. That would be unwise, so he would swap with Ned every so often. Mostly because if there was someone else at the station he trusted, it was probably Ned. Hobart was untrustworthy just on the premise that he was Hobart, Barbara gave him the creeps, Simmons was incompetent on a good day, Parks was still in Melbourne, so Ned it was. Ned, for what it was worth, seemed happy to help out. After swapping, he stepped into the room to see how he was.

Blake gave him a tired look, and gave a meaningful glance at the chair next to him. Lawson nodded, and took a seat. “Any changes?” Blake shakes his head no. Lawson sighs. Blake offers him Charlie's hand but Lawson shakes his head no.
“Any leads?”
“Not that I know of.” Lawson replied, sitting back in the chair. “Munro's been hanging around all day.”
“Has he?”
“I just keep telling him that you say no visitors.”
“Good work.” He said. Since the previous day, Blake had decided that Munro was not going to be allowed back in.
“His mother calls every few hours to ask how he is.”
“What do you say?”
“No change.”
“It's the truth.”
“Do you think he'll recover from this?”
“I've seen men recover from worse.”
“He's hardly a man. He's a boy, at best.”
“He's almost thirty.”
“He's twenty six. That's hardly almost thirty. Is he going to get better?”
“Better, yes. Full recovery?” Blake pauses, before shaking his head no. “I don't think so.” Lawson nods, and stands again.
“I'm going home. I need a shower, and a sleep. You do the same.” he offers, turning, and heading back outside. Blake considers it for a moment, but after a moment, decides to stay just a little while longer.

Charlie feels like he's still floating. He's lighter then air, he drifts away, far away from Ballarat, goodbye, Doctor Blake and your gentle hands, Mattie O'Brian and your sharp wit, Jean Beazley and your kind eyes, Matthew Lawson and your heavy foot steps, William Munro and your cool demeanor, Bill Hobart and your fighting, good bye Australia, with your unbearable summers and bitter winters, good bye world, and your cruel intentions.

Good bye.