Ryan cursed softly when his shin grated against rock.
"Careful," Blade warned, amusement clear in his voice.
"Fuck you," Ryan retorted smoothly.
"Sure you don't want this?" Blade asked, referencing the piss poor head torch he currently wore, it barely provided enough light to see three feet in front of him, the batteries already failing.
"What? So I have to listen to you bitch about scraping yourself to buggery for the next month? I'll pass," Ryan said. It was a veiled lie – if there was anything coming, Blade stood a better chance if he could see. Besides, he was better with a knife and they'd lost their guns on the wrong side of an anomaly.
"I think we've hit a snag," Blade announced, coming to a stop in front of Ryan, the Captain bumping into his back.
"I don't want to know, do I?" Ryan asked.
"Pretty large gap in the cave floor, doesn't look that deep, I can make out the bottom, couple of metres maybe, but falling into it would still hurt, I reckon," Blade said.
"Narrow enough to jump?" Ryan asked.
"I can see the other side, might make it," Blade didn't sound especially convinced that he would. "Without being able to see, you haven't got a fucking chance."
Ryan sighed. "We double back then... try another route."
"Might be best," Blade agreed.
"Let's take ten first," Ryan said, using his hands to find a vaguely safe space to sit
Blade handed him a bottle of water, knocking it against his chest in the dark, causing Ryan to grunt softly. "At least we managed to hold onto this."
"I'd rather have some decent fucking light and my gun," Ryan said.
Blade murmured in agreement.
"Boss..." Blade was practically on top of him, close enough that Ryan could feel the heat from his body.
"Wha..." Ryan shook himself awake, he didn't remember falling asleep. Fuck, his chest hurt.
"It's getting cold, we should get moving," Blade said.
Ryan winced as he stood. "Lead the way."
"Just get bloody moving!" Ryan snapped. He didn't need to be able to see Blade's face to know the younger man wasn't happy, he was just glad he wasn't stuck like this with Ditzy.
They walked on for a while, Blade warning him about any dangers in his path, until Ryan really couldn't deny that he was in pain. His whole chest felt ready to cave in, he knew nothing was broken, he'd have fucking felt that, but deep tissue bruising wasn't out of the question.
"What?" Ryan snapped more than he intended too.
"You want to take another break? I think I've got some painkillers in my pack, if I can find them..." Blade offered.
Ryan grunted. "I'm fine."
"All due respect, Sir, you're grunting and groaning so much back there, if I didn't know you were in pain I'd think you were jerking off over my fine arse," Blade said.
Ryan snorted. "I can't see your fine arse, in case you forgot; it's fucking dark back here."
"Guess that just proves my point about you being in pain," Blade said.
Ryan sighed. "Fine, you've got ten minutes to find them or we move on, I want to get out of here before I go grey."
Blade chuckled and Ryan sat down on the cold rock floor, feeling his way with his hands as he listened to Blade rummage through his back. "Here we go," Blade pressed two tablets and a bottle of water into his hands just as Ryan was starting to drift off again.
Ryan swallowed them quickly. "I'll just give them a few minutes to start working," he said.
Blade woke him some time later. He'd have been pissed, but his chest felt much better and they were able to keep a decent pace up until they finally saw light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
"I fucking hate caves," Ryan announced, when they were safely ensconced back at the hotel with the rest of their teams.
Ditzy had looked disapproving while checking Ryan over, confirming that it was just bruising, handing him more painkillers with a pint. According to Lyle, they'd been gone about three days on this side of things, and Blade put enough food away at dinner to make it seem like he'd been gone three days.
Cutter had asked insistent questions about what they'd seen on the other side of the anomaly, until Blade pointed out they'd probably only been there for about six hours or so, before they found the anomaly leading into the caves. The bastard had the gall to look disappointed.
"I'm heading to bed, lads," Ryan said eventually, a few pints later. He was pleasantly mellow, pain reduced to a low murmur.
"Boss..." Blade jogged up behind him as he reached his room.
"What's up, Blade?" Ryan asked, allowing his subordinate in after him.
"Ditzy forgot to give you some more of these for the morning," Blade handed him the strip of pills.
"Thanks," Ryan threw them on the bedside table.
"Well... goodnight, Boss," Blade said.
"Blade..." Ryan stopped him before he reached the door.
"Yes, Boss?" Blade turned back.
"It is a pretty fine arse," Ryan said.
Blade smirked. "Yes, Boss."
Ryan shook his head, a smile gracing his own features. "G'night."