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Entry 7 (Fantasy and What's Real)

Getting distracted by non-October Writing projects. I doubt I'll be able to ever finish the table in time, but I do hope to at least squeeze one more in.

Title: Fantasy and What's Real
Entry Number: 07
Author: insaneladybug/Lucky_Ladybug
Fandom: The Rockford Files (specifically, The Queen of Peru episode)
Rating: K+/PG (shameless hurt/comfort and friendship squee)
Genre: Friendship
Spoiler Warnings: None.
Word Count: 2,265


By Lucky_Ladybug


Everything hurt.

He wasn’t even sure what had happened, or where he was, or who the people were who were trying to help him.

Actually . . .

Was he even sure who he was?

“Sir? Sir, can you hear me?”

“Huh?” He opened his eyes weakly, squinting at the person who had spoken.

Instead he could only see a light shining in his eyes, and beyond it, the outline of a man with shaggy, dark hair.

“Oh no. Mr. Trevino?”

“Who?”

The man exchanged a worried look with another man, silhouetted amid the flashing red lights. “Sir, don’t you remember who you are?”

“If you say my name is Trevino, I guess that must be it,” he mumbled. “I don’t remember you, though.”

“I . . . we’ve treated you several times. Your friend, too.”

“Friend?”

The other man finally spoke up. “Mr. Townsend,” he said. “Does that name mean anything to you?”

His eyes flickered. “Townsend. . . .”

“Ginger?” the first man tried.

“Ginger . . . who’s she?” But as soon as the injured man said it, he knew he was wrong. “No . . . Ginger’s . . . Ginger’s a guy.” He slumped deep into the seat. “A great guy.”

“Do you remember him?” the second man asked.

“Ginger . . .” He could feel himself slipping out of consciousness, but the name made him smile. It was comforting.

“Oh boy.” The first man looked to his partner. “It looks like he really got it this time.”

The second man seemed more at ease. “He remembers something about his friend, at least,” he said. “It could just be the injuries talking and he’ll be alright when he really wakes up.”

“And what about his friend?” The first man still looked worried. “He’s not anywhere around. Usually they’re together. Where is he?”

“Probably just at home. We’ll see that he’s contacted,” the second man said. “Now help me get him up.”

Together they lifted Lou, easing him out of the wreckage and onto the stretcher.

Lou never stirred.

But the smile was still on his face.
****

Ginger jumped a mile, slowly waking up on the cold wooden floor. “What’s . . . what the blazes am I doing here?” he mumbled. He pushed himself up, blinking the last remnants of sleep or unconsciousness or whatever it was out of his eyes.

Yes . . . company enemies had overpowered him. He remembered fighting and yelling and struggling against them before one of them had decided he was just too impossible and the only way to take him was to hurt him first.

He hissed in pain, reaching up to the bump on the back of his head. “Lou,” he whispered.

Where was Lou? They had mentioned wanting to grab him too, but that Ginger was the first of the two to be taken. If they had Lou now, wouldn’t he be here, with Ginger?

Maybe they would have decided to put Lou in another room, feeling that keeping the two together would be too dangerous for them.

Slowly Ginger got to his feet. What had woke him up so suddenly? It had sounded like a sickening crash, the kind that would come with a car accident. And there had been a familiar scream. . . .

Lou!

Ginger went to the window as swiftly as he could manage it. There was nothing out there to indicate a smash-up, but he knew he had heard it.

Couldn’t it have been a dream, though? Sometimes dreams awakened him.

Ginger turned away from the window. He knew he had an uneasy feeling about Lou’s safety, but that could just as easily be because Lou was a target and he could be lying hurt in this warehouse. It wouldn’t have to be that the dream had been some sort of premonition of what was happening to Lou right now.

He reached into his pocket. Of course, his cellphone was gone. He couldn’t try to call Lou and see if he was alright.

So, as he saw it, he had two possibilities: he could search the warehouse looking for Lou (and possibly get caught again), or he could go out the window and try to get back to town and see if there had been a car crash.

He clenched his teeth. Either way, he would potentially be leaving Lou behind. How could he choose which way would actually lead him to his best friend?

Finally he crossed the room to the door and listened. He couldn’t hear anything, but most likely there was at least one guard.

Going back to the window, he tried to open it and it began to groan and scrape. Aggravated, he left it alone, just as the door started to open.

“So, you’re awake,” the guard sneered.

Ginger stormed over to him. “Where’s Lou?” he demanded. “Do you have him yet?”

“They went to get him,” was the reply. “They’re not back yet.”

“How long have they been gone?” Ginger snarled.

“Over two hours.” The guard kept leering, enjoying Ginger’s reactions. “Something probably went wrong and he’s hurt bad.”

Ginger grabbed the man’s shirt. “You had better pray he isn’t,” he rumbled.

The smirking demeanor disappeared. “Watch it, Brit. I’m the one with the gun now.”

Ginger responded by reaching down and wrenching the gun barrel away from him. “Not for bloody long,” he said darkly.

Stunned, the guard tried to fight against Ginger and pull the gun back to his prisoner. It fired harmlessly into the wall.

With a vicious cry, Ginger pried the weapon completely out of the guard’s hand. In one motion he had clubbed the other man and left him in the room, which he swiftly locked after tearing the guard’s shirt to tie him up and gag him. Then Ginger was running down the hall, peering into every room for some sign of Lou in case he had been lied to. But it didn’t look likely. Lou was nowhere to be found.

I’ll have to find a way back to town, like I thought, he decided grimly. Lou must be there, or on his way here.

He tried to ignore the guard’s mocking words regarding Lou’s probable injuries. It had just been an attempt to anger him. Lou was alright.

But considering these strange and vicious enemies, Ginger knew he couldn’t count on that.

There weren’t any vehicles in sight when he finally exited the warehouse. And he hadn’t found his cellphone, either. Clenching his teeth in annoyance, he began to run up the wharf. He would have to find a phone or a car, whichever came first. Then he would return to the city and see what madness had been unleashed on Lou.

He prayed under his breath for Lou’s safety as he ran.
****

The phone was ringing by the time Ginger made it back home. He slammed the door behind him as he ran over and lifted the receiver. “Hello?”

“Mr. Townsend?”

His heart sank at the familiar voice of a nurse from Rampart Emergency Hospital. “Yes.”

“We’ve been trying to reach you for a couple of hours. Mr. Trevino has been hurt in a car crash.”

“How badly?” Ginger demanded.

“Some scratches and bruises,” was the reply. “The worst damage was a head injury. Right now we’re still not sure how serious that is. Oh, there aren’t any blood clots or other life-threatening injuries, but when the paramedics found him, he was suffering from memory loss.”

Ginger swore in his mind, feeling a cold chill begin to develop in his stomach. “Does he remember anything?”

A pause. “He hasn’t woke up since he was brought in. The paramedics said that he remembered your name and that you’re special to him. That was about it.”

“I’ll be down there within thirty minutes,” Ginger said, and hung up.

After locking the front door, he went through the garage door and was relieved to find the second car still there. He had not been driving when he had been assaulted. If he had, he might be hurt as badly or worse than Lou.

He would not wish that he had been, in Lou’s place. That wasn’t any logical solution. Then Lou would be agonizing over Ginger’s well-being. Ginger would simply wish that none of this had happened at all.
****

The path to the hospital, and the building itself, were familiar to Ginger by now. That was concerning, really. He and Lou had been there so many times, for their own injuries and occasionally for Michael’s.

Ginger parked near the door and got out, his coat billowing around him. “I’m here for Mr. Trevino,” he told the receptionist as he walked in.

She looked up. “Oh yes, they told me you’d be coming,” she said. “You’re his friend, right?”

“Yes.”

“Room 304.”

Ginger was rushing for the elevator in the next moment. It moved much too slowly to suit him, but finally it stopped and he dashed out, heading for Lou’s room.

Lou was alone when Ginger walked in, looking asleep even though he wasn’t. Ginger frowned, realizing he had forgot to ask if Michael had been notified. Perhaps Michael wasn’t available at the moment. But Ginger hated to see Lou lying here without anyone to watch over him.

“Lou?” He walked over, reaching to lay a hand on Lou’s shoulder. “I’m here, Lou. I should have been here before. No . . . nothing should have happened to either of us in the first place so that we’d need to be here.” Bitterly he clenched a fist.

Lou stirred, weakly. “Ginger?”

Ginger perked up. “Lou? Do you remember?”

“Remember what?” Lou blinked, still half-asleep.

“Anything,” Ginger retorted. “Everything.”

“Of course I do,” Lou mumbled in surprise.

“You didn’t seem to when the paramedics found you,” Ginger said.

“Oh.” Lou frowned in confusion. “Well, I remember now, Buddy. You’re Ginger, I’m Lou, and we’re best friends. Are you okay?”

Ginger regarded him in disbelief. “You were in a bloody car crash and you ask if I’m okay.”

“I figured they wanted you too,” Lou said.

“They did,” Ginger admitted. “But I overpowered their guard and rang the police to arrest him. What about the blokes what came after you?”

“No idea,” Lou said. “Maybe they were hurt or even killed when they slammed their car into mine.”

“It would serve them right,” Ginger said angrily. “I rather hope they were at least injured for what they did.”

Lou managed a tired smirk. It was so like Ginger, to feel that way. But Lou had a hard time faulting him for it.

“So you’re really not hurt then,” Lou said.

“I’m not hurt.” Ginger sat down next to the bed. “And your memory is for certain completely intact.”

“Just fine.” Lou reached and gripped Ginger’s hand. “What about Mike? Is he okay?”

Ginger suddenly stiffened. He hadn’t thought Michael would be a target. “I don’t know why he wouldn’t be,” he said honestly. “These people seemed to specifically want us for company-related reasons.”

“That’s what they told you?” Lou asked.

“Yes.” Ginger turned to the phone on the nightstand. “But I can try to ring Michael now, if you want. I came here immediately the moment I received the news about you. In the back of my mind I assumed that they had probably been trying to contact Michael as well and hadn’t succeeded yet.”

“Then you just got here, I guess,” Lou said.

“That’s right. I half-expected Michael would be in the room with you. And you woke up before I could ask.”

Lou smiled. “You don’t have to explain yourself to me, Ginger. I’d never think you were ignoring Mike on purpose or even accidentally forgetting about him. Not now.”

Ginger regarded Lou with gratitude. “I wouldn’t,” he said.

Mike soon answered the phone, confused and worried and on the verge of panic. He had just come in, he explained, and had found a message from the hospital on the machine. He had been about to call them back when Ginger had called.

Ginger quickly explained about Lou and reassured Michael that Lou was alright. Still, Michael insisted he would be coming down anyway.

“Everything’s fine,” Ginger said as he hung up. “Of course, Michael is coming right down.”

“He would,” Lou said fondly.

Ginger leaned back. “You know, it’s odd,” he commented. “Those twits had to strike me to take me with them. I woke up hearing what sounded like a car crash. And I was miles away from where you were hurt. But once I was awake, I was able to get out of there within ten minutes.”

Lou blinked. “That is odd,” he said. “Maybe it was another supernatural experience that turned out good.”

“Perhaps,” Ginger nodded.

“I know we have them year-round, but they seem to come in big chunks all at once in October,” Lou said. “Too bad they can’t all be good ones.”

“Indeed. But at least if this was one, it was good.”

Lou was in full agreement. “Hey, I won’t have to stay here too long, will I?”

“Let’s hope not. Overnight at least, I suppose.” Ginger glanced to the other bed in the room. “Now it’s my turn to choose to stay here with you to keep you company.”

“You don’t have to do that, Ginger,” Lou said.

“I know,” Ginger said matter-of-factly. “But I will anyway.”

Lou smiled, reclining into the bed. “I know,” he echoed. “And I’m glad.”

“As I am,” said Ginger. “That you’re here to keep company with.”

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