When Everything Blows Up (for [livejournal.com profile] theprivate_ryan)

Nov. 8th, 2009 12:10 pm
seesonlysmoke: (bloody)
[personal profile] seesonlysmoke
The trip to America with Ryan, seeing Gettysburg and the Alamo, had been so eye opening for the young Kashmiri. Learning of the fights that those people had gone through had been interesting, but he had also come away very confused. The things that Ryan had said to him about how he was living his life, wanting to give his life over to jihad and revenge against his adopted father went against everything he had held onto for ten years, everything that he had been told in that time by Hilal. He tried to reason it by saying she didn't understand that Inayat Khan's death would bring an end to his nightmares, that Hilal's plans, Mission: Kashmir would bring independence and freedom to Kashmir at last.

It was in this way, he had returned to Srinagar for the last phase of their mission to be implemented. Ordered with the rest of his cell to wait in an outlying village, he found a way to call Sufi. Altaaf wanted to call her, knowing that he had betrayed her trust, but he had to try as he struggled to work through the things Ryan had said, but she just hung up on him. Needing someone, he called Nilu, his adopted mother and wife to his enemy. Slipping her husband's security, she visited wearing a burkha even though she was Hindu. They talked and much of what she said echoed that of Ryan, that putting his anger and hatred aside, he could move forward in his life.

But despite all that he was hearing, he still wasn't ready to let go of his hate.

And so, on the anniversary of his parent's and sister's deaths, he went forward with the plan to kill Khan. His briefcase was swapped with an identical one with a timed bomb inside. For once, Khan had taken an uncharacteristic lunch at home so he could beg Nilu's forgiveness for being so angry with for visiting Altaaf. The bomb detonated, and although Khan was injured, it had killed Nilu. When Altaaf heard, he screamed in grief, but the night after her funeral, when he sat vigil at her pyre, Khan raided his cell, killing them.

Hilal used both to assure and reinforce Altaaf's commitment. Saying that Nilu's death was God's Will and Khan must still pay for what he had done ten years ago and now for his brothers' deaths. Hilal called him 'my child', held him, knowing that giving him that connection motivated him. As such Altaaf was reassured and went through his plan to shoot down the Indian Prime Minister's helicopter as he visited Srinagar. One group would launch the attack with their rocket launcher, and Altaaf's group would do the same and kill Khan.

What Altaaf didn't know was that it was a rouse and he was the scapegoat. It would really be an attack on the mosque, with the blame pointed at the Indian security forces. Then there would be an attack on the Hindu temple. With both houses of worship destroyed, Kashmir would ignite. Chaos that Hilal's masters would take advantage of, and it would all end pointing to Altaaf.

Only one had discovered the truth, Inayat Khan, but Hilal had told him, and so Altaaf had gone down to kill the man of his nightmares once and for all. They fought, the son having the advantage over the father while the older man tried to get him to listen. Then, in an instant, Khan so a chance, and he threw Altaaf through the rotting wood walls, bringing a whole section down on him. Bloodied, Altaaf glared up as Khan, but something was happening in his brain...shifting, especially when Khan threw down a bloodied handkerchief, as he said, the only thing left of Nilu. He told Altaaf of Hilal's real plans, what Mission: Kashmir really was, and he didn't want to believe he could have been used like that, but he knew it was the truth.

When Hilal showed up and demanded Altaaf kill Khan, that battle waged inside him...the same conflicted thoughts that Ryan had prompted in him, and he shot the Pathan wounding him, seeing his lies for what they really were for the first time. The real fight was on, and while Altaaf grabbed his own rocket launcher, the other group was firing on him and his father. A bullet hit him in the side, but he managed to fire the missile. Then he was hit again, the force of the bullet sending him falling backwards into the lake below, and then there was the explosion as all the shells ignited.


***

"Ryan? Please, it's Altaaf. I need help." She was the only one he could think of to call any more. In his voice, it was clear he was frightened and hurt. Everyone else was dead or thought of him as dead or a terrorist. It was two days after the fight on the lake. He had managed to swim to safety despite his wounds. The bullet in his side had passed clean through, but he had also been hit in the shoulder, and it needed seeing to, but he couldn't risk going to a doctor. The little bit of news that he had heard, reported that not only had the jihadists been killed, but so had IG Inayat Khan. And Altaaf mourned twice, for his father who he had finally managed to forgive, and for the fact only Khan had known Altaaf was innocent of this plot, and who the news were broadcasting as being behind the plot. Even Sufi was reporting that.

He had found one medic, a nurse, who was willing to at least tend his wounds as best as possible outside of a hospital, and somehow just knew they wouldn't report him even though he would quickly wear out his welcome.

There was only Ryan left to turn to.

Date: 2009-11-09 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
"Altaaf?"

Ryan sat up straighter, rising from her seat at the restaurant in the hotel, a luxurious one in Dubai. Jacks Enterprises were sponsoring a tennis match in the playground city, and since it was easier for Ryan to travel than Caro, with five kids, Ryan went to represent.

She walked out of the cafe, to a quiet corner of the lobby, straining to hear him. Ryan had been deeply worried about her serious and quiet friend, and frustrated that she couldn't seem to get him to think for himself and question his jihadist leaders.

"Are you alright? What do you need? What can I do?" She pulled out a notebook and pen, ready to jot down anything, fast. "Tell me where you are. I can help."

Date: 2009-11-09 05:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seesonlysmoke.livejournal.com
"I...I..." He wasn't sure where to begin, so much had happened for him to process yet. "I'm in Dalgate." His home village on the lake near the capital. "It all went...wrong. I got shot, and I need to get across the Line of Control."

He realized that that might not be enough for her, that he hadn't taken her advice and only himself to blame for the situation he now found himself. "They're dead. Abba, Ammi." He called Khan and Nilu father and mother. "Hilal...I killed him, I saw his lies, but it still went wrong. The police are searching for me."

Altaaf waited for Ryan's answer, hoping that she would and not turn away from him as Sufi had. "I had no one else to call."
Edited Date: 2009-11-09 05:44 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-11-09 03:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
Ryan barely suppressed a sigh, listening to what she feared would happen. This was certainly not the time for 'I told you so', so, instead, she jotted down the notes. "You called the right person. I am going to help you, and get you out of there. I have a house, in America, in the desert. It's safe. No one will bother you, and my Aunt can pull some strings over at the State Department to get you some papers. You will be safe with me, Altaaf, I swear it. I won't let you down."

"Can you get into the capital? No...never mind. I'll get a chopper or team into you." Thank GOD, Caro had insisted on sending Bane and Sergei as her bodyguards for a trip into the Middle East. While Dubai was relatively safe for wealthy Westerners, the Jacks organization never took chances. Bane came over to her, seeing her distress, and all it took was a scribbled note to get him calling and starting the wheels.

"I'm going to give you a password, okay? Whoever is coming to you, from me, will know this word and tell it to you. My line is secure, so trust me. The password is Rybka. I'm going to come to you, get you out of there. I'll bring a doctor. Just keep low. I'm going to help you. I swear it." Ryan could hear the grief, the pain and panic, and she wanted to hug him, to comfort him, but all she could do was use her money and family to get him out to safety.

"It's going to be okay. Just...tell me exactly how to find you."

Date: 2009-11-16 10:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seesonlysmoke.livejournal.com
That feeling he had earlier, just somehow knowing that Khan was truthful and Hilal was not, wasn't there, but he thought nothing of it. It wouldn't be until later that he would realize that this ability only worked in close proximity. But despite that, he trusted Ryan. He had to. She was the only person who would help him. The stuff about pulling strings and getting him into America barely registered yet, but he listened to her instructions.

"Rybka." He repeated the password carefully, committing it to memory. He felt like almost collapsing in relief that she would send help, send a proper doctor as well. "I'm in Dalgate. Just outside the village there are old shikaras moored. I'll be waiting there. No one goes there, and I can see for a distance." He paused a moment, calming down just a little now that he had some hope. "Shukran, Ryan."

Date: 2009-12-07 03:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
"You're welcome, Altaaf. Just keep hidden."

In a few hours, a private jet landed in an airstrip commonly used by drug cartels and other, less savory, types who wanted to avoid government intervention. Ryan, against Bane and Sergei's wishes, got off the plane with them to get into a Rover, and head towards the village. It wasn't hard to find the old shikaras, and she did stay in the vehicle, while Bane stepped out to search for the fugitive.

Both Bane and Sergei were armed to the teeth, as were the five men protecting the plane with a doctor on board. This had to be a fast pick up, or someone would notice the Americans in the village area. Ryan had been able to contact Caro, who used some grease on the diplomatic wheels and make them think that they were there to assist a child wounded by insurgents. That might buy them an hour, tops, before someone started asking questions.

Bane headed over by the boats, looking as casual as he could.

Date: 2009-12-24 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seesonlysmoke.livejournal.com
Altaaf stayed low in one of the old boats. His shoulder hurt so badly it seemed to be on fire, and he was shivering from the fever that was beginning to take hold of him. The medic he had found had dug the bullet out of his shoulder and did a rough job of sewing him up, but it was a fast job and he doubted the nurse had been fastidious about sterilization.

He only had a little water left and no food. All he could hope for was that Ryan's men would find him soon and before the security forces did. How long he had been there, he wasn't sure but at some point, he heard a noise...footsteps, and they were approaching the shikaras. Altaaf pulled himself to the boat's edge where an old piece of material hung down from the tattered canopy, grimacing with pain he took a look out, making sure he was still hidden by the canopy piece.

There was a man, big and even from here, he could see well armed. And he was clearly not Indian. Altaaf grabbed, clumsily, for his pistol with his uninjured, but less dominant hand, and it felt unusually heavy. He stayed hidden as the man came closer to the boat, gun ready in case he wasn't sent by Ryan, waiting to see if he would say the codeword she had told him.

Date: 2009-12-24 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
Ryan had been using binoculars from the vehicle, and she saw a flutter of the canvas, near where Bane was headed. It was a gut feeling, an instinct, but she jumped out of the car to start walking in that direction. Sergei, seeing her, cursed in Russian, and headed that way, too.

Bane didn't notice his boss coming that way, or his partner. He just felt that someone was around. Quietly, he spoke, loud enough that a person hiding could hear, but not loud enough to raise attention.

"Hey...are you around? The name is Bane. Rybka...she's with me, man. If you're here, give me a sign. I'm here to help you."

Ryan hurried over to where Bane was, running towards the boats, feeling in her bones that her friend was needing her, and feeling that they had little time. "Altaaf! Are you here? Please...tell us where you are. We have a plane and a doctor. Altaaf..."

Bane turned and saw her, and grabbed her arm roughly to growl at her. "I told you to stay in the fucking car, Ryan. You want to get your ass shot? I don't think he's here. Maybe they already pinched him."

"I saw the canvas move a little, over that way..." She pointed towards a boat, just as Sergei reached them. Sergei heard noise, and pulled out his Glock, covering Bane as he moved toward the shikaras.

"Oh, God, guys...I hope he's here." The usually tough Ryan was frantic, even near tears, with worry. She just KNEW that her friend was in trouble. "Altaaf? Please...it's me."

Date: 2009-12-30 03:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seesonlysmoke.livejournal.com
Rybka.

That was the word, and Altaaf whispered a quick prayer of thanks before mustering up the strength to call out or give him a signal when he heard Ryan's voice. That gave him that last ounce of strength, but he heard other voices, too quiet to make out words. They seemed to be arguing, and he blinked hard, trying to think what to do through his fever.

He pulled at the canvas, just at the same time as Ryan called out again. He tried to call to her, but it wasn't loud. "Ryan!" His gun, still in his hand shook as he tried to decide if it was needed.

In the distance, across the lake, the noise of engines could be heard, and three police speed boats could just be seen coming into view.

Date: 2010-01-04 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
She heard him, turning her head and running to where he was. "Altaaf! Oh, God...oh my God. Bane!"

Bane grabbed her, and shook his head, barking out commands. There was no time for a reunion. Sergei hustled Ryan to the vehicle, and another man started it up. The boats were a good distance away, far enough that they could get the hell out of there, and have a good head start to the airstrip.

"Sorry, pal, but there's no time for gentleness. This is probably gonna hurt, so bear with me." Bane reached for the wounded man, and unceremoniously threw him over his shoulder, carrying his to the SUV and dumping him as gently as possible into the back that Sergei had lifted. "Weapons out! No time for diplomacy, and we can't let them catch us. If they find this guy with us, we're all going to prison...if we're lucky. All we can do is get to the plane and get our asses in the sky. Hold on, because this is going to be fast and bumpy."

Sergei hit the gas, hard, and Ryan was thrown back in her seat, even as she was turned, trying to reach out to the wounded Altaaf. "Hang on, Altaaf. Hang on for me. I've got a doctor on the plane." As they started moving, someone fired towards them. Bane just shook his head.

"Fuckers shooting without asking questions. This should be fun."

Date: 2010-01-09 05:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seesonlysmoke.livejournal.com
He heard the boats as well, knew what they were, and there was no time to wonder whether to trust the large man coming towards him as the other took Ryan back to their vehicle. It was when he got close and spoke that felt the same odd sensation as he had with Khan -- Abba! -- and he just knew, as he had then, that this man was honest with him and there to help.

He nodded and grunted hard as the man threw him over his shoulder. The gun dropped and was forgotten as Altaaf gripped the man's jacket, his face contorted in pain, but he said nothing. There was another loud grunt as he landed in the back of the SUV, and he struggled to get into a sitting position. For a second, he just sat there, eyes closed, recovering, but he was relieved and happy to hear Ryan's voice. Finally, he opened his eyes and looked at her, trying to smile but it was more of a grimace.

The relative comfort didn't last long as the SUV began bouncing down the rough road, the sound of gunfire following them. "They don't bother with questions anyway." His eyes, full of pain, met Ryan's as he tried to brace himself for each bump. "Sorry...sorry." Despite the rough travel, he found himself feeling really sleepy.

Date: 2010-01-15 11:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
Ryan scrambled over the seat back, much to Bane's annoyance. "Stay down, Ryan!" He yelled at her, and she ignored him. Ryan pulled off her outer shirt, and folded it to put on Altaaf's wound.

"Hang on, Altaaf. I swear, I'm going to make sure you are safe. Hold on." Ryan put her arms around him to support him as well as comfort him. She crooned softly, as the sounds of gunfire echoed behind them. "You're safe with me. I'm going to protect you."

It was easier said than done, because when they reached the airstrip, Sergei pulled right next to the plane, and men jumped out to take position with automatic weapons. Diplomacy time was over, they had to get off the ground before the authorities managed to get any kind of toehold in the airstrip.

Bane jerked the back of the SUV open, and he pushed Ryan aside to grab Altaaf. "Get your fucking ass on the plane, Ryan. Right now!" He looked in Altaaf's eyes, grim. "He's going into shock. Sorry, pal, but there's no time for gentleness."

Bane got the wounded man in a fireman's hold, and carried him out, towards the plane, heading for the stairs. A man on the plane struggled to help get him in the door, and Ryan started to follow, when one of their men grunted, hit in the shoulder. She took his gun, and pushed him towards the stairs, before shooting alongside Sergei, taking one pursuer out, before Sergei shouted for her to head to the plane. The engine whined, as the all backed towards the stairs. It was a scramble, climbing the stairs even as the plane began to move.

Date: 2010-01-24 12:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seesonlysmoke.livejournal.com
Weak as he was, as tired as he was, Altaaf felt a contentment at Ryan's word. He grabbed onto her shirt, even as the fever shook his body, and he just knew that she would do all she could to protect him.

As to the events that were happening around him, he barely was aware. He felt the sharp pain as Bane picked him up and heard gunfire, but nothing seemed to make much more sense. Not even that he was mostly hanging upside down from Bane's shoulder. There was a different noise, engines, and then he felt softness. It took him a moment to realize it was a bed. Then they were moving again, so fast.

"Ryan." His voice was barely a whisper as he tried to call for her. "Ryan!"

Date: 2010-01-30 03:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
Once everyone was on the plane, it roared down the runway at breakneck speed, trying to get off the ground before the authorities could block it. The pilot shouted for everyone to get strapped in, but Ryan staggered to the back, to be at Altaaf's side and hold him to keep him calm. "I'm here. Don't worry...I'm here for you."

Bane waited until they were in the air, no small feat, and then he was unbuckled and up. The doctor they had brought came back to the small bedroom, and started pulling out equipment. "I need you to assist. Cut away his shirt, and get these gloves on. We need to clean that wound. I'll start an IV line. This man's lost a lot of blood."

"Transfuse him, with mine, if you need to."

"We can't match him. All I can do is get fluid and antibiotics into him, get the bullet out if it didn't go through, sew him up and hope for the best." The doctor was young, and he moved quickly to open a line in Altaaf's arm."

Ryan cut her friend's shirt away, murmuring soft words of reassurance. They had a long flight ahead, and she hoped that his wounds weren't too severe.

"Altaaf? Can you hear me? You're safe, now."

Date: 2010-02-04 03:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seesonlysmoke.livejournal.com
He heard Ryan's voice, reaching out his arm that was unhampered by wounds in her direction. His breathing was rapid and shallow, and his body was soaked in sweat, but he still remained conscious. He could hear other voices around him and sense people around, and he felt a little panic in not knowing what was happening.

His shirt was cut away, and Altaaf didn't even realize it was Ryan who was doing it. He stiffened as the material was pulled off of his shoulder. The doctor could see that while the gun wound on his side was clean, going right through, his shoulder was badly infected from where the so-called medic had dug around in his effort to pull out the bullet.

Things were getting confused as a jumble of events played in his mind: seeing his parents and sister killed, the gunfight with Hilal and his cell, and the escape from the police just now. "Ammi....ammi..." He called out for his adopted mother, killed by his own bomb, and his hand sought out Ryan's again, and as he said something in Kashmiri, it wasn't clear if he was aware who he was talking to.

Date: 2010-02-04 09:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
"Altaaf, it's me...it's Ryan. We're taking you away from all that. No more fighting, no more killing. You're safe with me." Ryan was crying, which was odd for her, because she was tough and hard, in many ways. This man touched her heart, though, with all of his losses in the past, and his devotion to his religion and his country. The cynical girl admired the young jihadist, for both his strength and his honor. He was completely unlike any guy she had ever known, and she knew that if Frankie and Lexie could see her, like this, they would laugh their asses off.

Bane came in and Sergei followed. Both men had fought in their fair share of wars, and they set to work assisting the doctor in patching Altaaf up. Ryan went and got a basin of cool water, as well as a soft cloth, and she soaked it, then squeezed out the excess, before gently mopping his face, neck and chest with the cool cloth. Softly, she crooned a tune to him, as all the activity to save him swirled around them. To Ryan, it was as though they were alone, and she kept her eyes on his, singing quietly while she wiped him, to cool him, and then refreshed the cloth, and kept working.

If I needed you would you come to me,
Would you come to me, and ease my pain?
If you needed me
I would come to you
I'd swim the seas for to ease your pain...


Both Bane and Sergei looked at each other in surprise. Ryan had never, ever, shown a tender side like this, not even for Frankie Roberts. The IV line was injected with a painkiller, as well as powerful antibiotics. Softly, she whispered in his ear, telling him to rest, to hold on, to let her help him. She told him how proud his family would be, how his Ammi loved him, and then, surprising even herself, she gently kissed his lips, before rinsing the cloth again. The tears on her face showed her distress, and Sergei put his hand on her shoulder to comfort her.
Edited Date: 2010-02-04 09:19 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-03-05 04:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seesonlysmoke.livejournal.com
"Ryan? Ryan? You have cowboy boots." He smiled just slightly as that memory came floating in front of all the others crowding his mind. He winced painfully as the doctor began cleaning his wound, only vaguely aware of the crowd of people around him, helping him. Altaaf's eyes were still closed, and the next thing he was really aware of was a cool, dampness on his face. It felt so good against the fire raging in his body. Eyes flickered open and slowly focused on the face looking so gently back at him as she wiped his face. He flinched with pain once more and felt his eyes growing heavy once again, and he heard a soft tune and concentrated on that as if it anchored him to life.

After a short while, although Altaaf had no idea how much time was passing, the pain just seemed to fade away as the drugs flowing into him began to kick in. His head felt woozy, and it became a little more difficult to tell reality from dream, but he could hear Ryan telling him to hold on...and about his family to which he feeble tried to shake his head. "Sorry...I should have listened." He still felt a need to apologize to her. "And not...got...upset." Thanks to the painkillers, he was comfortable and nicely warm instead of burning with fever. It was almost like a dream and for the first time in a long time, he felt good.

He felt something brush his lips and smiled. So very nice. It must be a dream, and he turned to look, for a moment expecting to see Sufi, but instead it was Ryan, and whether it was a dream or not, he didn't mind at all.

Date: 2010-03-08 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theprivate-ryan.livejournal.com
"Yes, you should have listened. But I've been known to go off without listening...once or twice." Ryan smiled gently, though she heard Bane snort behind her. The doctor was working, checking and bandaging, and Ryan focused on making sure that he was comfortable and cleaned up.

Sergei and Bane cut all of Altaaf's clothes off of him, as they were dirty and could contaminate the sterile field. Ryan knew she shouldn't look, but she did, and she marveled at how truly beautiful her friend was, in both form and spirit. She took the cloth, with some tepid, mildly soapy, water and gave him a quick spongebath. The worst thing that could happen right now was that infection could set in, so she needed to get him clean and comfortable.

The flight to California would be a long one, so they settled in for a long haul. Once Ryan had Altaaf all clean, Bane and Sergei put some loose, clean, cotton jersey pajama pants on him, and they put him under the covers on the bed. She was glad that he was sedated and had painkillers, because they had to lift him, move the covers back, then settle him back in on the clean, cool sheets.

It would be about twenty six hours, before they would get to home, so Ryan gave Altaaf some cool apple juice, with Bane holding him up. Then she got a cold drink for herself, and got into the bed beside him, but on top of the covers, so that she could watch over him as he slept. Ryan couldn't sleep, so she put a movie into the DVD player, and watched it. Every so often, she would change the cool cloth on his forehead. Now and then, the doctor would come in to check on his vitals. Mostly, though, they tried to rest after the hectic rescue.

"Altaaf...I'm here. I'm not leaving you. You're not alone." Careful of his IV, Ryan held him as he slept, while she watched the movie that she didn't really follow, because she was worried about him.

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Altaaf Khan

November 2012

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