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17 October 2006 @ 09:06 pm
Title: The Cell Mate
Author: Jacks
Rating: R
Pairing: None
Warning: Dark. Disturbing. And there is much French used.
Author's Note: A snip-it of Harry's life in the dungeon. An unusual one at that too.

Chapter 1

Harry knew he was dying. The thought had hovered on the edge of his consciousness for days. Not that he had been conscious much since they brought him back and dumped him in his cell.

The fever had quickly set in. If he had been able to think, it would have surprised Harry it took this long for one of his wounds to become infected, for him to get sick.

But Harry didn’t think. Couldn’t. He didn’t even scream anymore. He couldn’t focus, not even on the pain the constant, mind-dulling presence that escalated so brutally when he tried to move that he blacked out, unable to bear it.

He had tried to move, once, since they brought him here, once, to get to the bowl of water they left for him to lap. It had been two days since then. Harry was so thirsty he was hallucinating. Or maybe that was the fever.

He couldn’t know, fading in and out of consciousness, barely grasping the threads of awareness when he did manage to wake. Not able to focus enough to wait for, wish for, death.

The light above him was stretched, swirling, when the door clanged open. Someone was pushed in, tripped over his body. Harry didn’t react, save for a ragged exhale of breath through chapped and bleeding lips. Even staring at the light, his pupils were dilated so wide his eyes appeared black.

The light was fading. Harry felt a spike of dread through the haze of relief. Maybe this would be the last time…maybe this would be the last time…

Boots stepped over his body, fists pounded on the door and the man shouted at his captors laughing outside. Harry didn’t hear, his eyes half shut, sinking deep into unconsciousness.


Someone was lifting his head, pressing something against his lips. Harry was too weak to struggle, too weak to open his eyes, then he was sucking at the damp clothe placed against his tongue. There was moisture there. There was water there!

“Lentement, lentement, tu est malade, mon ami. Tu dois boire lentement.”

Harry’s lips parted further, almost panting with need. Needed more, needed more…

“English? You can understand?”

Harry frowned, he must have babbled something, he didn’t know he’d spoken. Maybe it had just been a guess.

“Calmez-vous…Be calm, mon ami.” The cloth brushed over Harry’s lips, leaving them wonderfully wet, and was left there again, dripping with moisture, for Harry to suck on. “Be slow. You will become more ill if you are too fast. Slow.”

Harry sucked at the cloth, getting every drop he could. He heard water, more water, and nearly moaned as it passed over his face and chest. Such a waste, such a waste!

“Ah, hush. You must have. The fever, it is very bad,” there was a sigh, long and drawn out. “Like the pain, I imagine. Some…it is…not feeling, anymore, no? This is bad, mon ami. Mais…the fever too, and the thirst, and the hunger, they may be part of this. We will see.”

Harry was propped up against this…man? Maybe. Maybe. But not hurting. Not hurting yet.

Harry frowned. He could feel…pain. Vaguely. Feel the…heat, sick feeling. The weariness, illness down to his marrow. But vaguely. It wasn’t…as real as the cloth against his lips. As the water.

He could hear the hum of the man talking. The deep, slow voice, the edge of rasp to the words. It settled over him, a word here and there becoming clear. The…man was repeating himself, over and over again, sometimes in English sometimes…not.

“…bâtards…keep hush, keep still…infection…pauvre bâtard désolé…hush, hush…slowly, slowly…”

The last was accompanied by the touch of cool metal to his lips, he almost panicked at the loss of the cloth, the loss of the moisture, but then he tasted it, the water…There was water in the cup! Harry tried to gulp it down greedily but the cup was tilted up, the water stopped, and he didn’t have the strength to follow it.

“Non, non,” the voice said. Harry must have whined, whimpered, something, because there was a sudden, gentle touch to his face by calloused fingers. “Slowly. It must go slowly. The fever…Not much, not fast, slowly, mon pauvre ami.”

Harry whimpered, and tried to suck down the water as fast as he could as soon as it touched his lips again. There was a long sigh, and the cup left his lips again, allowing him only a few sips. Harry whined but then the cup was back, allowing him only a small sip before leaving again.

Slowly, slowly, he finished what was left in the cup. It wasn’t much. It wasn’t enough. Harry felt maybe it would never be enough. Then…then at the end, the dregs came, the bitter taste of something, some kind of drug…

Harry tried to sputter, starting to fret when fingers went quickly to his throat, rubbing, gently, but forcing him to swallow. Harry could do nothing, couldn’t fight, couldn’t even spit it out. Tears leaked out of the corners of his closed eyes and a low gusty moan escaped him.

“Ah, non, mon pauvre ami. Non, non, je suis désolé. Je suis désolé. Non, non, c’est…ah…” fingers wiped at his tears. “Mon ami…c’est…It is…un antibiotique? Yes? To help. To help. Hush, hush.”

For a long time Harry heard nothing but the sound of his own sniveling, felt nothing but pain of his own tears, the spilling of that too precious liquid, against his skin.

Then, slowly, he felt the fingers that brushed away the tears as they fell passed his temple. Heard, slowly, the quiet rasp of voice, speaking around him.

“They want you alive, mon ami, I know not why. I know not. Mais…this is why they bring me here, I think. Why they pass things…antibiotique, through the…ah, the hole, the…passage, in the door. Les antibiotique et…water, more water, this is what you want, no? Soon, soon, mais…this fever, it must go, first. This infection. We must…ah, kill? Kill this infection, in you. The wounds, they… abscès? It will make you more ill. We must stop this, yes?”

Harry’s eyes were already closed; they had never opened, now, his breathing changed. It was too much, even the few tears, the short sadness. He didn’t have enough energy for it. He faded, near silently, into unconsciousness again.

“Ah. Bien. Tu dorms. C’est bien,” the man murmured, brushing back the filthy, sweaty hair that hung about Harry’s flushed face. “Rest. You must rest. Bien. There is healing, in such sleep. Bien.”


For days Harry was aware of little else but the pain, the sick, hot feeling that still invaded his body and touches that didn’t make sense, the gentleness that felt so alien to him now he couldn’t understand it anymore.

There were always touches now, whenever he was aware. Gentle, gentle fingers against his throat, encouraging him to swallow water and food, something thin and bland that made him want to vomit, sometimes did make him vomit, and bitter syrup that made him moan and sputter. The hands made him drink it, forced him to, but…but they didn’t hurt, didn’t hit him, punish him.

He didn’t understand it.

“Sommeil, mon pauvre ami. Sommeil. Ils ne viendront pas maintenant. Vous devez dormir. Ah, ami, pourquoi sont-ils si cruels? Pourquoi vous blessent-ils? Une telle cruauté. Repos, sommeil. Sommeil, mon pauvre ami.”

Harry didn’t know what to make of the words. He couldn’t understand them but…they didn’t scare him anymore. They had, at first. Not now. They weren’t the same as the ones shouted outside the cell door; the ones that woke him, that made him shake. No, it was close but not the same. Not the same. Maybe these wouldn’t hurt.

Maybe. Maybe.

“You are getting better, mon ami. Stronger. Slowly, yes, but it is so. Mais…this fever.” There was a long sigh, as the cold cloth wiped down Harry’s bare chest, making him shiver and fret despite the care of the arms propping him up against a strong chest so he wouldn’t choke. “C'est ton mort. Nous devons le tuer. Mais…We will, yes? We will.”

Harry muttered and sighed, trying to get away from the cold. He couldn’t move much, when he did the pain came, more than the constant, deep, mind-dulling ache, but he was freezing already. The touch of that wet cloth was painful on his skin.

Green eyes smiled as the ill man moved, even the so slight movements to fight, the trembles, the moans. These were good signs. Days ago the only reaction had been the stench of fear that hung around him. He had not moved, had barely breathed when les batards first shoved him into this pit.

He was gaining strength, son pauvre ami. Slowly, yes, but he was. Now this fucking fever…he sighed. Son ami, he shivered, but his skin burned yet. Fire raged in his body. If that broke, perhaps a chance.

He dipped the cloth into the water les batards had passed through the slot in the door, smiling bitterly as he wiped it over the flushed face of son ami, watched him flinch and moan.

Ah, but what was he saving him for?


Harry felt dizzy when he woke, and sick, and, god, thirsty. So thirsty. His mouth was so dry it felt like sandpaper, especially when he gasped in a breath. God, he hurt, he ached, his whole body, all over, ached deep down through his bones. He felt so weak he couldn’t even imagine moving.

But he did mange, slowly, to open his eyes and found himself staring up at the blaring bare bulb above him. He winced, the light, as glad as he was to see it, hurt his dry eyes.

“Hold still, mon ami,” a voice rasped as a cloth descended over his eyes. Harry couched, shaking his head no and trying to move it away. Sure hands held him still. “Non, non, wait a moment.”

Harry muttered, trying to make himself move and failing, having to still as he panted for breath, as knives of pain sliced through his body. A hand caressed his forehead and he heard a low slow sigh.

“You wish to undo all my good work?” the voice scolded. “Eh? Lay still. Breathe out when I say, yes? Okay…”

The man’s hands positioned Harry carefully, aware of every hitch and sigh in his breathing. He put his arms under him carefully.

“Okay, breathe now, mon ami,” he warned, waiting for the exhale before he lifted Harry, very gently but any movement, ah, it was no good. But it must be made and now seemed the time. He lifted him until he as reclining against his body, face turned against his chest so he felt every shuddering breath and panted cry as he rubbed the fragile back.

Harry’s body screamed at him as he was moved. Consciousness swam, nearly slipped away from him, but then the movement stopped and he was left panting and trembling against a chest that felt impossibly broad because he had become so slight.

Fingers traced circles on his back, over the ridges of his spine, which stuck out due to severe malnutrition. His fingers curled of their own will in the man’s shirt as he waited for the world to stop being so wobbly.

“C’est bien, eh? Tu vive. Je n'ai pas pensé que vous, pour un temps. Mais, tu vive. C’est bien,” the slightly rough voice chuckled.

“Wh-what…” Harry murmured, and almost recoiled at the hoarse, horrible sound of his own voice. “Wha…t? What is th-that?”

Harsh coughs seized his body, leaving Harry huddling and gasping against the strange man with him. Hands supported him, rubbed his chest and keeping him upright when he would have collapsed back to the ground.

“Easy, easy, mon ami,” the voice instructed gently. “Slowly, oui? Breathe. That’s it, yes. C’est bien. Breathe, breathe. All things else may wait.”

Harry continued to cough but the great gasps slowly lessened. His face was flushed red and sweaty and his throat burned but he could breathe.

“No speech, eh? It can wait,” the voice told him, and a cool wet cloth wiped over his face. “Here.”

Harry felt his hand moved, his body shifted so his face wasn’t pressed against the man’s chest. He opened his eyes a slit as he felt his fingers curl around the cool metal cup. Water. Harry could have cried; he was too weak to lift the cup.

“Shhh,” the voice soothed as a hand closed around Harry’s, helping him steady the cup, raising it for him, but letting him hold it, tilt it against his own lips, even if he knew without the hand around his he would have dropped it.

“Slowly, slowly,” the voice cautioned as Harry gulped the water, trembling he was so eager for it. “You have been very ill for a long time. It may make you ill to drink so fast. Go slow. I will not take it away.”

Harry shuddered but obeyed, mostly because the man could take it away at anytime and he wouldn’t have the strength to resist. He let him drain it nearly to the bottom, though, and only stopped then only for a pause as Harry needed to breath.

“You must take these,” the voice said, and Harry forced his eyes to see two small pills held in front of his face.

Harry whined, shrinking back against the man, unable to move away, his hand almost dropping away from the water as he coughed and rasped out, “No…n-no, no…pl-pleas-se.”

“Hush, hush, mon ami. Mon pauvre ami. It is okay, yes? Hush, and breathe, eh? Calm. Calmez-vous, huh? Hush,” the voice soothed, waiting until the worst of the shaking had passed and Harry was listening again. “It is…une antibiotique, yes? To help. You must have these. Your wounds…they are infected, mon ami. You have had fever for a very long time. It is close, still. Les antibiotiques…They are to help. You must have them. You have for days now.”

The pills were pressed against Harry’s lips. “You must have. They will not harm you, mon ami. Je promets, il ne vous nuira pas. It is to help.”

“Hurts…” Harry gasped, nearly choking as the pills slipped onto his tongue.

The man pushed the cup to his lips again gently and shifted to rub Harry’s throat gently. Harry had no choice but to swallow or choke. Tears trickled down the side of his face and he tried, hard to get away from the man but he could do little more than stir in his hold.

“Hey, hey, mon ami,” the voice soothed as fingers drifted over his face, wiping away the tears. “Non, non. Je suis désolé. It is…good. I promise, eh? Look. Regarde-moi, mon ami. Look, please.”

Harry calmed enough to open his eyes a slit, looking up at the man for the first time. An angular face came into focus, just, a scruff of brown beard prominent and shaggy, slightly tangled hair. The man had been here a few days, and was too busy caring for Harry to try and tame hair that tangled in the heat under good conditions. There was a stern set to his mouth, as much as could be seen under the beard.

But the unkempt appearance fell away at his eyes; intense eyes, green and clear. They regarded Harry with a subtle tenderness, then changed, lightened, as a smile creased his face for a moment as he took and swallowed one of the pills he had for Harry, swallowing it dry.

“We can little afford to waste it,” he said, gentle, strong fingers stroking over Harry’s own matted hair. “Mais…you must stay calm, mon ami. You do not wish to undo all my hard work, yes?”

Harry stared, eyes going hazy with wonder and…relief. It was…he hadn’t realized, how good it would feel, to hear another person speaking to him, not shouting, not screaming, but just…talking to him. And understanding it…Tears began to trickle from Harry’s eyes again.

“Ah, mon ami,” the man said gently. “It has been too long a time for you, I will guess.”

He brushed away the tears, keeping his palm resting against Harry’s cheek. “Je m’appelle Roy. My name is Roy. Roy Dupuis. I am Québécois. French-canadien. Et tu?”

From a moment, just a moment, Harry couldn’t think, of his name, who he was, of anything…anything before…this. The panic that seized him must have shown on his face because Roy held him more tightly, and the hand on his cheek moved to stroke his hair soothingly.

“Hush…C’est bien, mon ami. It is okay…” Roy began.

“Harry,” Harry said, his voice weak and hoarse. He thought maybe he would rather remove his vocal cords entirely than try to speak again but he did. It was important. “My…my na-name is Harry. Sinclair.”

“From…From New…” he coughed, starting to gasp, “New Zea-zealand. I…”

“No more,” Roy said, putting a finger to Harry’s lips gently. He poured another half mug of water from a metal jug, grimacing as he did so, and let Harry’s sip at it slowly. He would not tell the man, but they had nearly run out of it, at least, this jug they had left him, which Roy knew to be clean water. The other they had brought…well…

“No more speaking,” he said again, as Harry sipped the water slowly, eyes closing in gratitude. “Later, we will be speaking more, Harry Sinclair. For now, you must rest. Gather strength and, to do so, eat.”

He produced a bowl of…well, cold, runny gruel, he supposed fit best. It was…horrible. Disgusting. But it was all they had and he had been able to coax very little into Harry Sinclair in the last days while he wandered in fever.

Harry grimaced, seeing it, his lips thinning into a tight pained frown. Roy chuckled, “Oui, mon ami. Je comprende. Mais…it is necessary. Come, eat, yes?”

Roy curled Harry’s fingers around the spoon. It was important, Roy thought, that Harry did this for himself…or felt he did. It was…independence. Yes, that was important. Even though Roy guided and supported every spoonful, Harry held the spoon. Yes. It was important.

Plus…it would tire the poor man out, Roy knew. And Harry needed the rest.

They managed a quarter of the bowl before Harry’s hand dropped away. The spoon was just too heavy for him to keep going. He frowned as Roy scooped a little more into it and raised it to his lips.

“More, mon ami. Just a little more, oui? Please,” Roy coaxed, smiling sadly as the spoon slid into Harry’s mouth. “Bien. C’est bien. A little more.”

Harry managed a third of what remained, head resting more heavily against Roy with each bite. His eyes closed, trusting in his exhaustion, until finally Roy heard his breathing change and put the spoon down.

“Ah, mon ami,” he murmured, stroking a hand over Harry’s dirty, matted hair. “Tu dors, bon. Tu dois dormir. Je ne sais pas combien d'heure ils nous donneront, mon pauvre ami. Repos, alors que vous pouvez.”


Harry opened his eyes to the ceiling and winced at the light. Knowing it was on made him relax, just a little, but…it hurt his eyes, too. Too bright.

Eyes half closed, he turned his head, sighing and, unconsciously, almost nuzzling against the soft cotton under his cheek. It took him another moment to realize he was lying against someone, cradled in arms that hadn’t yet been wasted by this place.

He looked up, frowning, at the man holding him, looked at his face., searching it as best he could with his mind still hazy with weariness and pain.

He was asleep. Roy. His name was Roy. This man who held Harry gently, securely. His name was Roy.

He woke, as Harry watched him, still silent as he yawned and his green eyes opened slowly. He yawned so wide his jaw popped and he rubbed a quick hand over his face before his hand fell to Harry’s forehead, stroking the hair off his forehead, and he realized his patient was awake.

“Bonjour,” Roy said, giving Harry a small, soft smile. “How do you feel, this morning, mon ami?”

Harry licked his lips, his mouth and throat still painfully dry. He managed a hoarse, weary, “Hurts.”

“Ah, oui,” Roy smiled sadly. “Je suis desole, mon ami. There is little I may do, for that. They give me…little, that may help.”

His hand rested on Harry’s head, his thumb stroking softly across Harry’s forehead. “Just enough to keep you alive. No more than that.”

Harry frowned, but before he could think enough to respond, Roy was guiding him to sit. Harry leaned heavily against him, moaning as he was moved. One arm screamed in pain and Harry realized that it was being immobilized by a shirt and wrapped in…he blinked in disbelief, clean white bandages.

“I had dressed in layers, c’est bon,” Roy chuckled. “The wounds on your arm et…the…scratches. They had become…absces. Infection, yes? This is where the fever came. So maintenant, nous devons faire attention et les batards…they know, aussi.”

“Si pas, tu meurs et je n'aimez pas l'idée de toi mourant,” Roy smiled, filling the cup for Harry and pressing it into the hand that was not immobilized. “Mais…Regarde, we have water. It is good, aussi. I checked et…no drugging, yes? This we need and it is given to us for now. So…drink, mon ami. I know you have bad thirst.”

Roy’s hand was warm around Harry’s as he raised the cup to his lips. Harry…hated that. Not…not the touch, not the feel of that steadying hand just…just that he needed it. He knew that without it his hand would be shaking so much he would’ve spilled the water.

God, the thought of spilling the water, this clean water, he knew, as it spilled over his tongue and he shivered just from the joy of tasting it, spilling it…the thought made such fear clench in Harry’s gut he nearly choked.

“Slowly, mon ami, oui?” Roy cautioned.

Harry pressed his lips closed against the edge of the cup so that Roy let him draw it back a little. He looked up at the man, focused on his face. “Yes…I kn-know.”

Harry coughed then, harshly, Roy’s hand tightening around the cup even as his other hand steadied Harry and helped him sit up a little more, until the coughing began to ease. Harry panted for a moment, listening to the blurred murmur of Roy speaking, half-English and half-not.

Roy waited until Harry’s breathing eased before helping him raise the glass again. Harry drank…gratefully. God…just, the feel of the cool water sliding down his throat made tears threaten. It was…overwhelming. It had been so long, since there wasn’t the taint of drugs to sully every drop he lapped at.

“Ah, mon pauvre ami… Je pense que tu brisera mon coeur, mon ami. Je pense que... je déteste ce que je dois faire à tu,” Roy murmured.

Harry swallowed the last gulps of precious water, sighing as his grip on the cup loosened and fell away. He relaxed back against Roy, eyes closing, trying to ignore the strength-sucking pain overwhelming his body. He felt the hand shift and brush against his hair again, heard the murmur of foreign words.

Harry opened his eyes, peering up at the man holding him and frowning. “R-Roy?”

A smile made Roy’s face less haggard beneath the scraggly beard for a few moments. “Oui. Harry Sinclair.”

Harry try to smile back at him, even unsurely, but it ended up more of a grimace. “Wha…Wh-who are you?”

Roy chuckled, “I should ask the same of you mais…Your throat…Do not speak much, eh? You need time et rest to heal.”

Harry coughed and said hoarsely, “Never…never had…more than this.”

Roy’s face darkened and the arms around Harry tightened protectively. “We do have much of to speak when you may more. Mais maintenant…I will tell you something of myself, oui?”

“Please,” Harry murmured, frowning as he sorted out Roy’s words.

“Et as I speak…” Roy smiled sadly. “I must change your bandages, mon ami, et…the wounds must be cleaned. It will not be…good. It will hurt you mais…it must be done. Les absces…It should make you very ill again.”

Harry shuddered. “Can-Can’t hurt worse…th-than what they do.”

“Non, mais,” Roy said frowning, laying a gentle hand against Harry’s cheek until the hesitant, frightened eyes met sure, sincere ones. “I have no wish to hurt you, mon pauvre ami. I wish for no harm for you.”

Harry nodded; lips pressed tight and thin together. Roy’s hand caressed his cheek in comfort then eased Harry’s arm out of the make shift sling and began to unwind the bandage from around his arm as he spoke.

“Je suis francais. I am French. French-Canadien. I was born not in la belle province, Quebec, mais…this is where I live now. I was born en Ontario. The towns in the north, some are French. Ma ma et mon pere, they moved my sisters et I quand I was un petite homme.”

“Don’t under…stand…half the things…you’re saying,” Harry muttered, his head lolling against Roy’s shoulder as he tried not to watch what he was doing.

Roy chuckled, handling Harry’s arm gently as he lifted away the bandages. Harry’s arm, from his elbow to just above his wrist, was scrapped raw, in some places deeply, from where he had pried his arm free of his restraints. The arm was deeply bruised and an angry ugly red, though now it had begun to scab.

The infection had, thankfully, been limited, though in some of the smaller cuts that looked self-inflicted had been very bad. If the arm had become as badly infected…Roy did not believe Harry would have survived it.

As it was, he had to be very careful. There could easily be nerve damage, or worse. At the least, there would be scarring.

“Maybe you will pick up French, no?” Roy said lightly. He moved Harry’s arm gently, pausing as he heard his breath hitch. He looked down at the arm he held, then up, at Harry’s face, into dulled blue eyes.

“Are you left or right handed, Harry Sinclair?” he asked quietly.

“L-left…” Harry exhaled sharply, opening his eyes up to look at Roy’s face, gone blank and smooth in his concern. “Left handed…”

He swallowed, “Is…it th-that bad?”

Harry’s eyes flickered from Roy’s face to his arm. He flinched. Oh. It looked…looked bad. He didn’t even remember doing it…he thought, just…pieces, of his time in that room, the time after they turned the lights out. He thought…

Distantly, he heard himself screaming and the shrieks of the rats, as they were ripped into pieces still alive. He felt the pain and the cold, and the sudden agony of being able to move his arm.

“Harry, Harry Sinclair, mon ami, you must stay with me now, huh?” Roy said as Harry’s eyes unfocused and he started trembling badly. He balanced Harry’s body with his knees, slapping his face lightly until, with a horrible, hopeless moan the blue eyes refocused on him.

“Good, mon ami. Bien. Now…I can not tell you the damage yet, yes? It is early still mais…Tu est vivre. All things start from this. C’est bien,” Roy told him, voice low and soothing. He unscrewed the cap of a brown glass bottle with his teeth and looked at it in open disgust and frustration.

“This will hurt, mon ami. Je suis desole mais…it will hurt,” Roy said quietly. “It is…rubbing alcohol mais…they gave me nothing else. I must clean it, mon ami.”

Harry swallowed, wincing at the dryness. “O-okay.”

“C’est difficile mais…” Roy sighed. “That this hurts…it is a good thing because you can feel it.”

Roy knew they should spare the cloth but the pain caused by pouring the liquid over the wound could send Harry into shock and the man, he had enough pain already, Roy thought. It would be cruel to cause any more than was necessary.

He ripped a piece off the fresh bandages he had wrapped carefully in the sleeve of the shirt Harry was using as a sling and ripped a piece off. They weren’t good quality but he worked with what he had. He wet it liberally with the rubbing alcohol, holding Harry’s arm still with his other hand and his body.

“One day I should like to hear how this happened,” Roy said quietly as he pressed the cloth as gently as was still effective against Harry’s arm.

Harry shook his head weakly, paling until his lips were bloodless and his eyelids seemed transparent. “No. You d-don’t.”

“Mon ami, when they put me in here your shoulder was dislocated et your arm…” Roy shook his head, wincing a little in sympathy as Harry flinched against him. “Je pense que…I must know what I am up against.”

Harry shuddered, and shook his head again as he started to tremble. “Can’t. Pl-please.”

Roy was quiet for a moment, then he sighed, trying to stay gentle while he continued to clean the wound. Harry was reacting to the bite of the rubbing alcohol. It was a painful thing to watch but at least it meant he could feel it. Roy was worried the wounds and infection could have caused nerve damage.

“Je comprende, mon ami,” he said quietly as he tore off another small piece of cloth.

Harry groaned quietly. Every touch to his arm burned, hurt, and it made him more around of his other wounds. Sweat broke out on his forehead and he pressed his face against Roy’s side, trying to muffle the whines and whimpers he could not stop as the trembles became more violent.

“Je suis desole, mon ami. I know it hurts. I know,” Roy murmured. He took his time, vaguely concerned that might be worse, for Harry, but sure he could not take the pain hast would cause.

Roy paused to stroke Harry’s hair as he discarded a cloth covered in blood and dirt. He could feel the wetness of tears and sweat against his side and the fine tremors that shook the wasted body lying pliant in his arms. It took energy Harry could not afford to lose. Roy knew the only reason he had not been pushed away was that Harry did not have the strength for it.

“Je suis un docteur,” Roy told Harry as he began to clean the wound again. He needed to keep Harry awake, aware, for a little longer. If he went into shock…all could be lost so easily. “Eh? Alors, you have have rien to fear…I do know what it is I am doing.”

“H-how d-did you g-get h-here?” Harry muttered, looking at the man with bleary, red-rimmed eyes.

Roy chuckled, “I am with Red Cross, you would know it as, yes? I was to be working avec nous pour quarter…ah, months? ici. I have been been here…two weeks, not, je pense mais les temps…it is hard to know here.”

Roy watched as Harry flinched and shuddered against him as he began, slowly, to bandage his arm again. “Et tu? How did you come to be here, Harry Sinclair?”

“D-don’t r-re-remember,” Harry murmured, his face twisted and glistening. “D-don’t…don’t know…I…”

He swallowed. He didn’t think he wanted Roy to know what he could do. What he had done. Even…even if he believed him, he didn’t know, couldn’t trust he wouldn’t…hate him, hurt him for it.

“D-don’t r-remember,” Harry repeated as the shivers worsened. “W-was…I w-was in the…S-states and th-then I wa-was here and…”

“Eh, hush, mon ami. Ce n’est pas importante,” Roy soothed, trying to keep Harry calm as he bound his arm back in the make-shift sling.

Harry closed his eyes and whined, shivering as sweat trickled down the side of his face. Roy winced, wetting his sleeve to mop it off.

“Ah, mon ami,” Roy sighed. “Hush. Calm, mon ami. Here, easy…”

Harry felt himself lifted and the touch of the mug against his lips. He opened his eyes, looking up at Roy as he sipped the water slowly. The man’s face was focussed intently on Harry but when he saw him peering at him he smiled and shook his head.

“Drink, then you must sleep, eh? You are tired, yes?” Roy’s voice was low, soothing. “I know that this…this healing is tiring, oui? Et mon pauvre ami, tu est malade toujours.”

“Going…Going to…w-wake up…” Harry murmured as Roy took the water away. He tried to focus on the man’s face but it was hard. He could only manage it for a few moments. “Going to…wake up a-and…this’ll…be gone.”

“Non, non, mon ami,” Roy sighed, smiling sadly at Harry and stroking the sweaty hair away from his face. “I do not think that they should take me away so soon quand they went to such troubles to bring me here. Tu est malade toujours. They wish you to be alive alors…they must give you et me time, yes?”

“W-won’t,” Harry coughed, starting to shiver even as he struggled to keep his drooping eyes open. “W-won’t. Never…never d-do. N-never w-w-will. I…”

“Hush, hush, mon ami, hush,” Roy soothed, beginning to rock Harry slowly. He could not say much to this poor man. He would not offer false hope. Not here. It seemed to great a lie, and one that he feared could hurt too greatly when it proved to be untrue.

“You must sleep, you must rest,” he murmured, was Harry whimpered and pressed his face against his side. “Oui, mon ami. Tu dormi. C’est bien pour toi. C’est bien. J’ai regarderai toi.”

“I…” Harry licked his lips, swallowing. His eyes fluttered shut. “I…don’t…don’t want to h-hurt anymore…wish…wish…”

Harry turned his face, pressing it against Roy’s side and his murmuring grew too low for Roy to make out. Roy stared down at him for a few long moments. He wondered, not for the first time, if he had done more harm to this man in his arms by healing him.

It might have been kinder just to let him die. It would have ended his suffering, at least. Roy somehow doubted he would be free of it while he was here.

“Je suis desole, mon ami,” Roy murmured. “Je ne sais pas quoi faire.”

rsharpe on October 18th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
This is wonderfully agonizing to read. Poor Harry. I've missed all our "boys".