XXIII

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The pain in Charlie's heart never settled. After seeing Frank that way and watching him fade from her reach, she felt weightless and weak at the same time. The moment when Frank went was beyond chaotic, Charlie was in a blur but Drake, Cobra, and Eagle were quick to save his life.

"We have to move him," Eagle said. "Pick him up, start carrying him upstairs. Gently!" he ordered, pulling out his phone and dialling one of the other members' numbers. "Did you locate the infirmary in this place?" he spoke over the phone while Charlie stared in horror at the bloody chair he once sat in. "Take him upstairs, down the hall, fourth door on the right, move!"

Eagle knelt down beside Charlie, wrapping his arms around her shoulders and lifting her to her feet. "Frank needs you more than ever right now. He needs you to be strong."

Charlie nodded, tears coming down her cheeks one after the other. They both followed as Drake and Cobra carefully carried Frank to the infirmary, moving fast but moving carefully, trying not to make his wounds any worse. 

"On the table," Eagle told them the minute they entered the infirmary. "Get a light on and cut his clothes off, carefully."

Drake and Cobra were both shaken, the knew the danger Frank was constantly put in but they never did witness the effect of it firsthand. They were scared. They feared, this time, he wouldn't be saved. They moved quickly, turning on the massive lights and working together to cut off his clothes and remove them.

Drake stared down at Frank's mangled body in horror. The mixture of tatted skin, blood, multiple knife wounds, burn marks, and gunshot wounds had churned his stomach and he frantically turned and threw up into the trash can.

"Back away," Eagle said, pulling out his stethoscope quickly and listening for his heartbeat. "God, he's alive." They let out a relieved breath. "Just barely, but he's alive. I have to work quick."

Eagle was quick to rush to the sink, washing his hands and putting on gloves, turning to Frank and wondering where the hell he should even start. He quickly start an IV drip on him, looking to the three terrified people who remained in the room. "I'm sorry," Eagle began. "I need you three to leave the room for this."

They were hesitate, and Drake had to drag Charlie out, but they exited and stood outside along with the rest of the members. 

"Is he alive?" one of them asked.

"He is."

They all let out the same breath they'd been holding and tried not to cheer too much. He may be alive now, but, with the way Charlie, Cobra, and Drake were looking, they knew that there was a chance they'd lose him. 

For hours and hours the entire building was dead silent, no one dare speak until Eagle walked out and it took a while. Charlie sat right outside the infirmary, fiddling with her thumbs, her tears stopping for she had simply run out of them.

Her heart pounded in her chest, the amount of anxiety and fear she felt in that moment was unlike anything she had ever experienced in her life. She felt sick to her stomach and so incredibly helpless. 

Hours and hours passed. Eagle still hadn't emerged from the infirmary and there was still no sounds and no noise. Drake came over to Charlie, kneeling down to place a hand on her shoulder, looking at her sadly.

"We're gonna be here for a while, you should try and get some rest," he said, trying to give her a small smile, but she looked at him, her face void of any emotion.

Just then, the door to the infirmary shot open and Charlie was on her feet in an instant, looking at Eagle, his clothes covered in Frank's blood and exhaustion written all over his face.

"I got all his wounds fixed up, all the bullets out. He's got a lot of internal damage and I managed to do a blood transfusion. He's asleep right now, it'll take him a while to heal from this."

Charlie was beyond relieved. Tears that had been holding themselves in came spilling out and she covered her mouth, Drake rubbing her back soothingly to try and calm her down.

"Only you can go in there right now, call if anything happens," Eagle said, smiling at her reassuringly.

Drake went with Eagle to show him to one of the rooms so he could rest from working countless hours on Frank and, most likely, saving his life. Charlie moved slowly, opening the door and entering, leaving the door open a little and standing still.

She could hear the gentle beep of the heart-monitor and his controlled breathing through the oxygen mask. She walked over to him and saw him from the other side of the curtain, smiling sadly down at him.

He was covered in virtually no blood, his wounds were all stitched and covered with bandages and his flesh no longer looked pale, but was looking more like his normal self. 

The necklace she had given him was not around his neck but, rather, clutched in his hand. She sat in the chair beside his bed, way beyond relieved at this point.

Her hand reached out and clutched his, slow and small tears running down her cheeks.

"You asshole," she whispered, laughing lightly. "You almost broke your promise."

His hand, involuntarily, gripped hers back and she smiled yet again, leaning forward to kiss his forehead. She sat back, holding his hand and watching him like a hawk.

He wasn't going to get away from her that easily. Not without her having a say.

One thing was for sure, though.

He was never going on a dangerous mission alone, ever. Not anymore.

Not again.

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