Title: Carry Me Home
Disclaimer: Not mine. ITV and Impossible Pictures own them.
Word count: approx 1295
Summary: Ryan and Connor’s holiday doesn’t go entirely as planned.
AN: Written for raptor_moon for having completed drabbles for all of last year’s weekly challenges at primeval100. Based on the prompt, “It’s not broken, is it?”
“It’s not broken, is it?”
Ryan glanced up and gave Connor what he hoped was a reassuring smile. Then he went back to gently feeling Connor’s ankle.
“Sorry,” Ryan said. “And in answer to the question, no, I don’t think it’s broken. It is badly sprained, though. You’re not going to be walking anywhere on this for a while.”
Connor looked up and around at the windswept hills and countryside that stretched as far as the eye could see in every direction. Ryan kept his eyes fixed on Connor. He could see the young man starting to panic, even though the situation wasn’t actually particularly life-threatening. To be honest, Ryan reflected, they were usually in far more danger at work.
“What are we going to do? I don’t fancy staying out here all night.”
“Much as I like the Lake District, I have to agree with you on that. Especially not when there’s more of Mrs Cole’s steak pie on the menu when we get back.”
“But if I can’t walk we’re stuck here.” Connor’s face suddenly took on a panic stricken expression. “Oh my god! Are we going to have to call out a mountain rescue helicopter? I don’t like flying!”
Ryan shook his head, still smiling.
“Relax, Conn. And I don’t think we’ll need to call mountain rescue either. It’s no more than three or four miles back to the road from here, and I reckon I can carry you that far by myself. We can flag a car down from there to get back to the car park.”
Connor’s eyes grew even wider.
“If I can carry Cutter though the Permian desert I’m sure I can get you down a hill in the English countryside.”
“But what if you fall?”
“I won’t.” Ryan hoped he hadn’t just jinxed it.
He stood up and tightened the straps on his rucksack. Then he reached down and hauled Connor upright, and then, before the young man could protest, he threw Connor over his shoulder in a classic fireman’s lift.
Connor squawked and flailed his arms around.
“Comfy?” Ryan inquired, adjusting his grip a little.
Ryan rolled his eyes and waited for Connor’s wriggling to subside a little. Then he set off back down the hillside at a steady pace.
Ryan knew there was no point rushing; that would be asking for another accident, and if they both got hurt then the situation would actually become rather more serious. Still, he wasn’t overly concerned. It was only a sprained ankle, and they were in the Lake District on a relatively pleasant spring weekend. They had perfectly good mobile phone reception, and even if they did get stuck, the chances were they’d be found by other walkers within a few hours.
So it wasn’t exactly a crisis. Just unfortunate.
He’d been walking for half an hour, and the road was already in sight below them when Connor started to struggle again.
“Ryan, stop. Put me down!”
Ryan stopped and lifted Connor down, careful to set him down in such a way that he wouldn’t put too much weight on his ankle.
“What’s wrong?” Connor repeated, sounding both angry and incredulous. “For a start that’s not the most comfortable way to travel, and for another it’s bloody embarrassing!”
“Embarrassing?” Ryan was confused.
“Yes! Or at the very least it’s undignified.”
Ryan ran a hand through his short hair. “Well what do you want to do, then?”
“The road’s there. I can walk the rest of the way.”
Ryan’s expression must have given away his scepticism.
“Okay, I might need a bit of help,” Connor allowed, looking ever so slightly petulant now. “But I don’t want to be carried.”
“Fine,” Ryan sighed. “If you insist.”
He offered Connor a shoulder to lean on and Connor wrapped his arm around Ryan and they started walking again, this time a great deal more slowly than they had been before. Connor was limping badly, but Ryan had to admit it wasn’t anywhere near as serious as he had expected. Even so, he just wanted to get down off the hills and back to the guest house, before anything else went wrong.
So much for their quiet holiday away.
Connor glanced sideways at Ryan as they headed slowly down the hillside along the footpath. Ryan seemed to have gone quiet, more so than usual, and his mouth was set into a thin line that usually meant he wasn’t happy. Connor felt a tiny churn of guilt in his stomach.
“I didn’t do it on purpose,” Connor said, trying not to sound too sulky.
“Do what on purpose?” Ryan looked confused.
“Sprain my ankle. It wasn’t all some elaborate plan to avoid any more hiking. I mean, yeah, I’ll admit hiking in the countryside isn’t my favourite idea for a great holiday, but I wouldn’t do something like this to get out of it. I know you like it, and I wouldn’t do that to you.”
Ryan gave him a look that was part exasperated, part affectionate.
“Conn, I already know all that. And I do appreciate that you came with me even though you’re not a huge fan of walking and outdoors stuff.”
“Yeah, but I still managed to muck it all up. I wouldn’t blame you for being angry with me.”
Ryan stopped walking and turned to face Connor properly.
“Listen, you idiot,” he said with a smile. “I know you didn’t do it on purpose. Not even you are silly enough to sprain your ankle deliberately. And yes, maybe I am a little disappointed that we didn’t make it to the end of the walk, but it’s not the end of the world. I wanted us to come on holiday together so that I could spend time with you, Connor, not with the great British countryside.”
“Yes really.” Ryan slipped his arms around Connor and kissed him until Connor felt his pout melt away. He cuddled Ryan, leaning against him a little longer than was entirely necessary to take the weight off his ankle for a few moments.
“Okay. But I am sorry about the walk.”
“It’s okay, Conn. Now let’s get back, shall we?”
They set off again, and after a few minutes Connor felt himself smiling again. He glanced at Ryan and caught his eye.
“You know, maybe I don’t mind you carrying me so much. It’s kind of nice having a big strong boyfriend who can do that. Just not in public, eh?”
Ryan rolled his eyes.
“You are a strange man, Connor Temple.”
“You already knew that.”
Connor couldn’t help noticing the amused grin forming on Ryan’s face.
“I could carry you over the threshold to our room if you like?”
Connor felt his eyebrows hitching upwards. “I’m not sure I like the implication that I might be the female in this relationship.”
Ryan laughed out loud. “Well, if it offends your delicate sensibilities so much you could carry me over the threshold instead. But I have a feeling that might just end up with us both in an undignified heap in the corridor.”
Connor had to admit he had a point.
He tugged Ryan a little closer as they continued down the hillside, and snuggled against his leather jacket. Ryan paused for a moment and kissed Connor’s head. Connor smiled to himself, and as they walked he pondered what they could do once they got back to their room.
Delicate indeed! Connor wasn’t going to let him get away with that! Sprained ankle or not, as soon as they’d had dinner, he intended to spend the rest of the evening showing Ryan just how manly he really was.