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[personal profile] amine_eyes
Title: "If I could be a superhero"
Fandom: Horrible Histories
Characters: Rattus Rattus, Dave Lamb (principal), Charles II, Sotherby, Lady Posh, Alexander the Great, Hephaestion, Blenkinsop, Maltravers (secondary)
Genre: Adventure
Rating: PG
Beta: None
Summary: An accident in the time-sewers leads to people throughout history getting superpowers, and it's up to Dave Lamb and Rattus Rattus to get them back ...

Disclaimer: Don't own, never will own!

Part 4: Rattus Rattus and Dave Lamb cope with searing temperatures, the desert, and Alexander the Great's ego ...

"Dave?"

"Oh now you wake up Rattus."

Rattus clambered out the bag and perched on Dave's shoulder, poking him with his tail.

"I'm a delicate creature Dave!"

Dave rolled his eyes, looking at Rattus as he continued walking through the time-sewer.

"You, delicate? More like a fairy-elephant."

Rattus thought for a moment.

"Don't think you get fairy elephants Dave."

"What - oh never mind. Have you recovered from meeting your hero?"

Rattus bounced on Dave's shoulder as he replied.

"Oh DAVE, he was wonderful and military-like and amazing and he shook my paw Dave! MY PAW!!"

"I was there Rattus, if you remember," replied Dave, and Rattus made a dismissive gesture.

"Not the point. My Mum is going to be so jealous!"

Dave smiled, stepping to the side to avoid treading on a skull.

"Of course Rattus."

He walked on for a bit, Rattus quiet, the only sound being the drip of water and the occasional scream from someone unfortunate enough to venture in the time-sewer without training.

"There is something I want to ask though Dave."

Dave looked at him.

"What is it Rattus?"

"Why did you say you were the priest of Antib?"

Dave groaned as he replied.

"Because I was about to be killed, and I was running out of options."

Please don't ask who Antib is, Please don't ask who Antib is -

"Who's Antib?"

Dammit!

"Doesn't matter Rattus."

"Sounds a lot like Auntie B - Dave, did you say you were a priest of the BBC?" asked Rattus, eyes narrowed, and Dave pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Really doesn't matter Rattus - besides, we only have one more power to remove, and then we're done."

"Really? You mean I'll get to relax?" said Rattus apparently forgetting about the BBC thing. Dave breathed a sigh of relief.

"Yes Rattus –and then we can relax."

"I could have lunch!" said Rattus, and Dave grinned despite himself.

"Yes Rattus, you could have lunch. We're almost near the entrance to that period anyway - you were out for quite a while."

"So who are we removing powers from?" asked Rattus, leaning over Dave's shoulder in an attempt to see the (by now very bedraggled) list in his hand.

"A Mr Blenkinsop."

"Oh he sounds nice Dave - what period of history?" said Rattus, hopping down and running a little in front.

Dave sighed before he answered.

"The First World War. 1917 to be exact."

Rattus stood still.

He turned back, and looked at Dave.

"Dave - we - we don't have to go, do we?"

Dave sighed again, crouching down and looking at Rattus.

"I do - we need to stop the universe collapsing. But, you don't have to Rattus. I can manage without you. If you could come along, I'd like that, but you don't have to."

Rattus looked at his feet.

"I - I'm scared Dave," he said quietly.

Dave's shoulders slumped, and he patted Rattus on the shoulder.

"I am too Rattus."

Rattus looked up.

"If - If I go - will you tell the BBC that we're not playing the rat splatting game anymore?" he said, the confidence in his voice spoiled by the fact that his tail was curled all the way around him and his ears were folded.

"Yes Rattus I will - you don't have to come though if you don't want to", replied Dave, and Rattus shook his head, jumping onto Dave's shoulder, staring resolutely at the hatch a couple of metres in front of them.

"Yes I do - can't let you get all the credit for solving this can I," he said, looking at Dave, and Dave let it go, nodding as he carefully stood up.

"Of course not Rattus - come one, we'll get this done quickly."

With a deep breath, he hauled on the handle on the hatch. A tortured screech from un-oiled hinges, a blast of cold air, a waft of smoke and the smell of gunpowder, and Dave stepped through - Rattus still on his shoulder, his tail clutched between his paws.
 
"Get out the way!"

Dave dived to the side as a soldier ran past, Rattus disappearing into the rucksack as Dave landed against the side of the trench wall.

"I need ammunition up here NOW!" yelled another, his cry taken up by more and more soldiers as battle raged.

Artillery shells sailed over the trench, the crump of the air as they landed making Dave's heart pound. Spotting a doorway, he ran for it, one hand holding the backpack, dodging a soldier frantically reloading as he dived inside the empty dugout.

A second later, an anguished scream rang out from just outside the entrance of the dugout, and Rattus whimpered, pushing his head out the bag.

"Dave I want to go back to the time-sewer!"

Dave rubbed the top of Rattus' head as he replied, trying to calm his breathing, jolting as a second shell landed with screams and a blast of air.

"Same here Rattus, same here Rattus."

Rattus looked round the empty dugout and clambered out the bag, scrunching himself into the small gap between Dave's ear and neck.

"My cousin came here once, we never saw him again," he mumbled, him and Dave jumping as another shell fell, "and my other cousin came here and left minus his left ear where a soldier had shot it off."

"That's not going to happen to you Rattus, we're getting out of here," Dave said firmly.

"Once the battle's stopped," he continued, "we'll go straight to the time-sewer entrance and get them at another point in history."

Rattus un-scrunched himself a little, looking at Dave.

"What if the time-sewer implodes and the zombies come back?" he asked.

Dave looked back.

"We can deal with that Rattus - as long as we're both alive."

"I thought you said I was an idiot who forgot his lines and shouldn't be allowed near people on account of being too unhygienic?"

Dave sighed.

"You are Rattus - trying to make children eat poo-fish is completely wrong, and you smell, and you often cause most of the problems with the time-sewers, but - despite this, you are my friend, and friends don't let friends die in trenches if they can help it."

Rattus smiled, elbowing him as he replied.

"Well, even though you spoil all my fun, laugh at the rat-splatting game, and tried to mail me to Siberia, you're my friend too."

"Thank you Rattus," Dave said with a smile.

"Though I still want an apology for you trying to mail me to Siberia," said Rattus after a moment.

Dave laughed, sitting down carefully on a camp-bed as he replied.

"I'll apologise when you stop causing Health and Safety to have a heart-attack."

Another shell landed, and they both jumped.

"How long will we have to wait Dave?" said Rattus.

Dave shrugged, leaning his head against the mud walls of the dug-out.

"Hopefully not too long."

"I hope so," replied Rattus, curling up on Dave's shoulder, his tail tucked round him.

"I hope so too Rattus" said Dave quietly.
 
-x-x-x-x-
 
An hour or so later, Dave and Rattus were still huddled up in the dug-out waiting for the fighting to finish. The crumps of shells landing weren't as frequent, nor were the anguished screams as someone was hit, but the rat-a-tat of machine gun fire, cracks of rifles and the smell of smoke still pervaded the air.

A shell landed particularly close, and the rumble woke Dave from his light doze. He blinked, looking at his shoulder where Rattus was snoring, and rubbed his eyes tiredly.

Only a short walk back to the time-sewers, find Blenkinsop  at some other point, fix the control room, and then I can go to bed and not get up for two days, he thought tiredly, yawning and feeling the ache of running and carrying the equipment and Rattus in his shoulders.

Rattus snuffled, and Dave hid a smile, looking at the entrance of the dug-out - the grey light drifting in being the only light in the room.

Abruptly, it was blocked by two soldiers clattering in, skidding to a halt as they noticed Dave sitting on a camp-bed.

"Sorry, didn't see you there Mr ..." said one of them, removing his helmet as he spoke and running a hand tiredly through his blonde hair.

Dave shook his head, starting to stand up and aborting it when he realised Rattus had woken up and dived behind him, clinging onto the back of his shirt and peeking over the top of it.

"No no no it's quite alright, I didn't realise this was your dug-out - I was just waiting for the fighting to stop."

The taller of the two snorted as he flopped down onto a bed, rubbing his eyes.

"You'll be waiting a while for that old bean," he said with a slight grin on his face, "besides, this isn't really our dug-out, it's - well, was - Brooke's and Raleigh's place."

Dave frowned.

"What happened?"

"The fighting happened - talking of fighting, I saw you getting hit in the arm Blenkinsop, so ..." said the smaller, sending a pointed look at Blenkinsop who rolled his eyes good-naturedly even as he started to shrug off his jacket.

"Never miss a thing, do you Maltravers," he said, and Dave blinked.

"Sorry, did you say, Blenkinsop?"

Blenkinsop paused in the act of removing his jacket, arms tangled in the sleeves and spoke - voice muffled due to his head still being inside the jacket.

"Yes sir, is that a problem?"

Maltravers rolled his eyes as he elbowed Blenkinsop in the side - a fond smile on his face.

"What Blenkinsop is trying to say sir, if he hadn't insisted on removing his jacket like a jumper instead of undoing it like everyone else, is that he is indeed Blenkinsop. Why do you want to know?" he said with a curious tone in his voice.

"I'm - I'm Dave Lamb, from the BBC," Dave replied, and Blenkinsop made a noise even as he finished removing the jacket.

"The BBC?"
 
"Is that a newspaper?" he and Maltravers asked at the same time.

"Errr ... yes, it is" Dave said, apparently satisfying Blenkinsop who now started rolling up his sleeve, and Maltravers who got a bandage and a bottle from a bag and went to wrap the wound on his arm.

He paused, looking at Blenkinsop who was staring at his arm in shock.

"Where the bloody hell is the wound?"
 
 
Dave felt a chill go up his spine.

" ... What?" he asked.

Blenkinsop ignored him, staring now at Maltravers who was gripping the bandage and bottle tightly.

"It was right here. Right here Maltravers - you saw the hit!" he said, his voice gaining a note of panic as he spoke.

"Gentlemen, I really think -" Dave tried to say, but Maltravers cut him off.

"Blenkinsop - you - how - I don't understand -"

"Don't you dare Dave, don't you dare remove his power, we don't need to,  he can keep it, you said we'd go and get it at a later time, Dave don't you dare!" hissed Rattus, his claws gripping tightly into Dave's shoulder as he spoke, his voice desperate.

Dave ran a hand through his hair as he hissed back.

"Rattus you know we need to!"

"No Dave we don't, not him, we don't -"

Rattus' desperate whispers were cut off by Blenkinsop and Maltravers swearing in unison.

Dave looked at them, his heart sinking as he saw a smile break onto their faces.

"Blenkinsop - you - old chap you can heal immediately!" said Maltravers, the smile on his face stretching from ear to ear.

"Old bean we might actually survive this!" he continued and Blenkinsop laughed, the joyous sound ringing around the dug-out.

Dave looked at the joyous scene in front of him, biting his lip. Rattus dug his claws in further, his whispers getting louder and more frantic as the two soldiers hugged each other in happiness.

"Dave, no, you promised, DAVE!"

Dave coughed, drawing the attention back to him. He looked at the beaming grins, the dishevelled hair from the impromptu hugs, the dirty uniforms and the overall feel of hope on their faces.

God forgive me, he thought, and leaned forward, the words sounding like a death-knell in the sudden silence.

"Blenkinsop - I'm sorry, but I have to take that power away."
 
"NO!"

Rattus jumped over Dave's shoulder and landed on the floor in front of him, the air still ringing with the force of his yell.

"Blenkinsop  - you don't have to say yes. We can't take it away if you don't say yes, so say no, and then everything will be fine!" he said frantically.

Blenkinsop and Maltravers looked at each other, and back at Rattus.

"I'm sorry - but, can you see a talking rat?" Maltravers eventually said to Dave.

Dave nodded.

"Right. So, we're not hallucinating" said Blenkinsop, and Rattus whipped his tail as he spoke again - his voice shaking.

"No, you're not! Just say no, and we'll leave and never come back, and you'll survive!"

"Rattus you know we can't promise that," Dave said, "they're -"

He faced the two soldiers, still sitting side by side, and ran a hand through his hair.

"Blenkinsop - you - your ability to heal straight away was given to you by the time-sewers. It's a superpower, and -"

He paused, trying to think of a way to say the next bit without sounding like the devil in human form.

Blenkinsop got there first.

"I'm not meant to have it, am I."

Rattus and Maltravers' cry of "Yes you are!!" were simultaneous, but as they faded, as Maltravers gripped Blenkinsop's elbow tightly, as Rattus stood poised to jump and beat a "yes" out of Blenkinsop's lips, Dave looked at Blenkinsop's face, and sighed.

"No, you're not. You - you don't need it."

"What do you mean he doesn't need it?" blurted out Maltravers, and Blenkinsop went to speak but Maltravers cut him off.

"What do you mean he doesn't need it, have you seen where we are?" he said, his voice growing angrier, "we're in the middle of a war that's been raging for three years with no winner, we're stuck in mud, we've not eaten properly for weeks, we haven't been warm for months, every hour there's a report of another injury, another death, and you sit there and tell us that he doesn't need the ability to heal immediately?"

As he stopped talking, a gun-shot rang out from outside the trench.

Dave felt every one of his fifty-odd years as he spoke again, his voice weary, his shoulders slumped.

"I'm sorry, but I am."

Silence fell again in the dug-out.

"What happens if I say no?"

"Then we leave. We don't remove it; you get to keep the ability."

"But," he continued, shutting his eyes for a moment before speaking, "if you do say that, then the time-sewers will collapse, which will lead to the collapse of history itself."

"But we can fix that!" Rattus interjected, and Dave held up a hand to halt his protest.

"We can't Rattus. If we could, we've have left everyone with their powers - Shakespeare, Charles II, Alexander the Great, Lady Posh, Squadron Leader Higgins, everyone would have been left with them, and historians would have had to write about things like Alexander the Great conquering the Persians with a literal wave of his hand."

"We can't," he said, tiredness in his voice, seeping through his bones, and all he wanted to do was sleep and hope that this was all a horribly inventive dream.

He rubbed his eyes, trying to become more alert, and looked back at Blenkinsop and Maltravers.

"Look, we'll go. If we're lucky, than we may only lose the next hundred years if we shut off the entrances to the rest of history. Come on Rattus."

He stood up, hauling the rucksack on his shoulders and walking slowly to the entrance of the dug-out.

"Yes."
 
He paused mid-step.
 
Swung back round.
 
 Looked at Blenkinsop - a determined look on his face.

"Yes," he said again, his voice gaining more confidence as he spoke, "take the power."

"No!"

"Maltravers - he said the removal of history. Everything we've done here will be for nothing. Everything."

Blenkinsop took Maltravers hand, squeezing it tightly and Dave looked away to give them some privacy.

"He said I don't need it. That means that we get out of here. We survive this old chap."

"Well, you do -"

"I'm not leaving this if you don't. So we both do."

A hush fell on the dug-out for a long moment, and then Blenkinsop spoke again.

"Mr Lamb?"

Dave turned back to look at the two of them, determined looks on their faces, and hands still entangled.

"Do it."

Rattus slumped on the floor, his voice choked.

"No Dave ..." he said quietly.

Dave lowered the bag on the floor, pulling out the de-powerifier and switching it on.

"It won't hurt - I promise," he said, pointing it at Blenkinsop.

The green light flowed round the de-powerifier, the whirr and whizz sounding louder than before in the quiet of the dug-out, and the light disappeared with a bang.

"Well, that's it gone," Dave eventually said, tucking it back in the rucksack, standing as tall as he could with the low ceiling.

"Be careful, won't you?" he said as he stood, and Blenkinsop nodded.

"I will Mr Lamb. I - think you'd better leave before any more fighting starts."

Dave nodded, turning to the doorway.

"Come on Rattus - it's a long walk."

Rattus looked at him, and Dave felt his heart break slightly from the reproachful gaze. Rattus looked back at the two friends, and spoke quietly - still choked.

"Be careful!" he said, and before they could answer, he ran out of the dug-out and on ahead.

Dave followed him back to the entrance, every muscle aching, and his shoulders slumped.
 
-x-x-x-x-

Part 6: Rattus and Dave go back to the time-sewer console room ...
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