Title: Tactical Maneuvers- Part three!
Notes: The third chapter in the story, i'm not sure how many chapter's there'll be but... oh well. :D
Summary: Octavius and Jedediah are trapped in the ventilation system at the Museum, out of reach of Larry's net and lost in the metal catacombs, they must find their way out before something else within the museum walls does. Jed/Oct. In which the stress of today gets too much for Jed.
Random: So, like, I was doing research on the original Jedediah, the guy was mauled by a BEAR! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedediah_Smith
Also, the various Cowboy phrases Jed uses are from a website I found, and the latin phrase Oct uses means- 'Screw you and the horse you rode in on.' And if you can't guess what 'Te amo' means, then...
Also, I am not pleased with the majority of this chapter. They feel forced, somehow, usually their personalities come pretty easy.
The first thing Jedediah noticed was that he wasn't in the Diorama anymore. That is, it was all exactly the same, except that when he looked towards where the Museum hallway was, all he could see was flat, dry land, and mountains in the distance.
His shirt stuck to his back in patches of sweat, and the sun hung in the air like a fat yellow disc. He blinked, peering around. There was no one else there, none of the workers were anywhere in sight. He turned in a circle, walking over the unfinished train-track tp peer out into the distance... there, a glint that was coming towards him at a quick pace, and when it came into full view he squinted against the midday sun.
"Heeey, Ockie! Where's everybody? What're you doin' here?" but Octavius didn't answer, merely continued his speedy pace towards Jedediah, who decided to meet him halfway. Octavius smiled broadly.
"Fear not, my friend, it is time to wake up."
"Wake up... Jedediah, Larry has found a net, he is going to get us out, wake up..."
Jedediah groaned, his head ached worse than it did after a night with a bottle of his favorite whiskey. He rolled away from the bizarre, soft cushioning beneath his head and sat up. "I am glad to see you well, Jedediah! I was very worried."
Jed rubbed his jaw. "Wha' happened?" Octavius pointed the shaft. "Our skeletal friend flung us across the room, and we fell into this tunnel. Larry found a net, because the storeroom had no rope." Jedediah peered at his Roman friend for a moment, attempting to soak in this knowledge. "Oh... You gonna tell me 'I told ya so', then?" Octavius blinked. "Why would I?"
"'Cause you told me not t'go too fast, and I ticked off Rexy enough inta slamming us into a wall!" Octavius blinked. "Yes, but you are injured as well as I am. It would be cruel to accuse a friend of causing this when he is wounded as well." Jedediah grinned. "Well then I'm sure glad you ain't gonna act all melodramatic about us getting stuck down here." he croaked. "Roman Melodrama..." Jed mumbled.
Octavius snorted, clearly pretending to have not heard it.
"Hey, you two? We're letting down the net now! Watch your heads!"
With Octavius' help in standing, the two moved towards the side of the metal tunnel, to watch for the net, which came down at a steady pace for a time, until it stopped, and stayed where it was.
"Uhm... Guys, it won't go down any farther."
"Well what th' HELL d'we do now?"
Larry shouted from above. "You guys will have to go through the vents and find another grate, or... Nick, are there any poles or anything in the storeroom?" "I don't know, want me to go look?" "Yeah, bring Teddy," Larry's face appeared above them. "There's only a couple of hours before sunrise, you guys. If we don't get you out soon, you'll be stuck down there all day until tomorrow night!"
"Aw for chrissakes, this is nuts." Octavius sighed heavily. "Well, at least we did not end up outside the museum." "Yeah, still we're in here all boogered up an'- you hear that?" "Hear what?" "Listen."
Octavius paused to listen, and there it was, faint but growing louder. It was a scratching, scrabbling sound on the metal of the ventilation duct. Louder it grew until Jedediah swore it just behind him, and then it stopped, Octavius nudged Jedediah and pointed towards the left tunnel duct. "Look."
Standing before them was a massive rat, it's fur was shiny and black, it's massive yellow teeth poking out from it's lip, and it's eyes were angry and yellow. For them it was monstrous, and after a beat, it screeched and scurried at them. Octavius grabbed Jed's shoulders and threw the both of them to the floor, just as the beast leapt at them, the creatures slid on the slick metal and Octavius pulled Jedediah back up.
They bolted down the tunnel the Rat had come from, and from behind them came the screeching hiss of the animal. Jed held onto his hat, and the two bolted down a second tunnel, in the distance, they heard Larry.
"Where did they go? Is that a RAT!? There are rats in the...."
And his voice faded out, leaving only the scrabbling of the rat and their pounding footsteps on the floor. The rat was gaining on them, and Jedediah took a breath to look behind them; it was there, it's naked tail whipping behind it, merely a foot or so from them.
"We're rodent chow, partner!" Jedediah called, but Octavius put on his best 'defiant' face and yelled; "NO! We will NEVER perish at the hands of such a foul beast! Romans are never defeated by such pitiful creatures!" Jed let out a strangled grunt. "I ain't no Roman!"
This was true, and Octavius glanced around the tunnel, sear
And Octavius grabbed Jedediah around the waist, flinging the both of them through a turn, and down another chute.
The two fell deeper, into the bowels of the museum.
They landed roughly on top of one another in the duct, but it was not as hard as the metal, it was softer, more pliable and plasticky. Octavius lifted himself up on his palms, hand falling upon a rather tender area for Jedediah.
"Sakes alive, Octavius that ain't no floor!" the cowboy shoved him off, doubling over to clutch his crotch. "Sorry!" Octavius scrambled to his feet. "Dammit... Let's just sit here 'n wait for Larry to find us... Sick o' you acting all stupid today..." Jed rolled over and stood, looking irritated.
"I am not stupid, Jedediah, we Romans were taught by the greatest of Greek Scholars!"
"Then why're you always acting like a dunderhead?"
"Take that back!"
And Octavius leapt at Jedediah, a flurry of punching, kicking and rolling around on the odd floor of the tunnel they were in, it was very dark, and not much could be seen save for the occasional glint of their eyes. Insults flew at the two of them, a bizarre shouting match of Latin cursing and cowboy slang. Hats were tossed off, both ten-gallon and bronze helm, and anyone who was possibly standing beneath the the Air Conditioning vent they were currently duking it out in would have been largely confused to hear what was being said.
"Te futueo et caballum tuum!"
"Bite me, y'saddle bum!"
Truly, it would have been an interesting fight to hear. But finally, it ended with Octavius pinning Jedediah, the cowboy's hands firmly planted at his sides.
"What is wrong with you today? Not even today, but all month! Every since we returned from Washington you have been distant, acting out and causing strife! If something is the matter, Jedediah, tell me!"
They panted for breath, faces flushed and angry. For a long, tense moment, nothing was said.
"Well?! I am waiting, Jedediah."
Jedediah turned his head, scowling. "Why'd you do that!? I been tryin' t'figure it out for two damn years now! That night in my tent, when Larry first showed up, what was that all ABOUT? I don't get you, first y'hate my guts, then you get all sweet on me! I don't get it! And then last month when we got back from Washington an' I almost... in the sand, I don't get it!"
Octavius looked highly flustered. "Well... then it... then it meant nothing, you see..." Jed slammed his eyes shut, then opened them to glare. "But now... I cannot say it means nothing to me. I did not know you, then, Jedediah. I thought you were a barbarian. I know better, now. Far better."
Octavius looked down at him, eyes wide and lucid. "You told me never to speak of it again, and so I did not. A Roman keeps his word." Jed's eyes flickered all across Octavius' face. "That kinda stuff's okay for you Romans, then, is it?" Octavius nodded.
"So what is it now, then, togaboy?"
Octavius was far too close now, Jedediah could feel their chests very near each other, faces growing ever closer, their noses bumped lightly, and Octavius let go of Jedediah's arms. It was strange, because Octavius knew what he wanted to do, he could feel it at the core of his being, and yet he was intensely afraid, of what his dear friend would do. And maybe Jedediah wanted to do it too, but he was afraid, this was not what he had been taught, this was entirely different to what he knew and understood. So who would take the initiative?
Their faces were a hair's breadth apart, and it was impossible to tell who closed the gap, but when it did, fireworks exploded within the tunnel they lay in. Muscled, bronzed hands cupped Jedediah's jaw, subconciously stroking the scruff and light scarring across the chin, lips met and stayed together, hands roamed and bodies were clutched together almost desperately, torn between one thinking; 'This is wrong, this is wrong, but ohsweetGeogiaBrownIdon'tdamnwellcare.' and the other half singing to himself inside; 'Te amo! Te amo!'
And then, the sun rose.