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A Tight Spot (Uncharted, m, allergies)

murphy dee

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I remember telling someone a very, very long time ago on this forum that I was in the process of writing an Uncharted fic and that I'd let them know when I finished... whoops, sorry!

Anyway, Charlie Cutter is my fave from Uncharted so he's the focus of the fic. He canonically has really bad claustrophobia, and as this fic takes place sometime before Uncharted 3 I figure he doesn't have his fear quite so in check yet. Add some terrible allergies and it's a perfect recipe for a miserable Charlie. :heart:

(Also just want to warn: if written descriptions of panic and panic attacks can trigger you, I suggest possibly avoiding this fic if you need to.)



“Y’know, mate, for a second there I actually thought this would be difficult.”

Nathan Drake and Charlie Cutter stood side by side in front of a hermetically-sealed glass case, staring in awe at what they had discovered. Within, illuminated by thin track lighting along the inside perimeter of the case, sat the long-lost Danish Jubilee Fabergé egg. Drake brought his face as close to the glass as he dared, taking in the ornate twists of gold and the pale blue detailing. “Well, don’t speak so soon,” he said to Charlie. “Who knows what kind of security system this thing has. Let’s look around.”

And so look they did, searching the old wine cellar for any signs of a power box or wires that might have been feeding electricity to the case. They rejoined back in the center of the cellar. Drake batted cobwebs from his short brown hair, and Charlie was fidgeting and eyeing the egg.

“What is it?” Drake asked. “Did you find something?”

“No.” Charlie ran a hand over the stubble on his scalp. “It’s probably safe, eh? Let’s just get the egg and get the fuck out of here.”

“Hold your horses. I want to be smart about this.” Kneeling down, Drake examined the wooden stand holding up the case. “I wonder…” He pulled a hammer and chisel from his pack and set to work on the wood. After a few carefully-chosen bangs, a chunk fell away, revealing an inner working of twisting multicolor wires.

“Would you look at that,” said Charlie, getting down on his knees beside him. “Which one do we cut?”

“Hey, don’t rush me. Russo doesn’t get back from Singapore until late tonight. We can figure this out.”

Drake packed his tools again and whipped out his journal. He kept a journal for each job, and periodically he would write notes to himself and sketch places and people along the way. With as haphazard as his mind tended to get, the journal proved a good way to keep his information in order.

“Does it say anything in there about which one to cut?” Charlie asked. Drake turned his head to shoot the other man an annoyed look, but stopped upon noticing the glistening in his eyes and the reddening of his eyelids.

“Charlie, seriously, what’s wrong?”

“Oh.” Charlie sniffed. “Just allergies, mate. No worries.”

“Allergies?” Drake’s brow lifted in concern. “What are you allergic to?”

“Dust. Molds. Usually it’s fine, but, well—” And Charlie motioned to the stuffy old wine cellar.

“Don’t you have something to take?”

“I did, but the pills were in my jacket.”

“Ah.” Drake smirked knowingly.  

Charlie grumbled and crossed his arms over his chest. “Don’t give me that look, mate. It was all your fault. You knew we didn’t have a way off that boat and you just had to run your mouth and get us shot at. And now my jacket’s at the bottom of the ocean and you know I can’t pull off a sweater by itself. My look’s all wrong. I’m completely off my game.”

“Quit your whining,” Drake said with a laugh. “You didn’t have the shoulders for that jacket anyway.”

“How dare you.”

Drake turned his attention back to his journal, flipping pages fruitlessly as he looked for something relating to the wires in front of him.  

“I got an idea,” said Charlie after a moment. “Look at the egg.”

“What about it?”

“The colors. Blue and white.”

There were two wires in the base that matched. Drake scratched his chin. It was as good a plan as any, and no other solution was presenting itself. He produced a pair of wire cutters and held them against the blue and the white, readying himself to cut.

Charlie crinkled his nose a little in an attempt to relieve himself of an itch. “Ahahh—” He hurriedly pressed a hand to his face, accidentally bumping Drake’s elbow at the exact wrong moment.

“NO!” Drake cried, staring in shock at the severed white and red wires. But nothing happened. No alarm sounded. The system was disarmed. He looked to Charlie with an amused and toothy grin. “Off your game, my ass. Thanks, pal.”

“No p-problehhahEH’KtsCHhh! Problem.” Charlie shook in his head in aggravation at himself as he wiped his damp hand on his pant leg. He sniffed and let out an irritated breath. “Bloody hell, it’s starting already. All right, let’s open that case, shall we?”

Drake rose to his feet. “Huh.”

“What now?”

“I’m not sure how to…” Drake’s sentence faded as he pressed fingertips against the glass, uncertain of how he was going to be getting inside. Surely he had a tool in his pack for just such a situation. He went to look, but Charlie was already thinking ahead of him and also had a brick. “Waitwaitwait!” In one sharp move, the brick crashed against the case and broke the glass in a frenzied spiderweb pattern. Drake watched, horrified, as Charlie popped the fragments out with the point of his elbow, leaving more than enough space to remove the Fabergé egg.

“See? I know what I’m doing, mate.”

“You could’ve damaged it,” Drake said crossly.

“But I didn’t, did I?”

Drake was already wrapping the egg in the lengths of bubblewrap and muslin he brought. He tied it up with some twine and placed it gently into his pack. “For next time, though, how about we try being slightly more subtle?”

“Aw,” Charlie scoffed. “Come on then, darling, get your purse together and let’s be off.”

“Uh, guys?” came a crackling voice over the walkie-talkie at Drake’s belt.  

“What is it, Sully?” Drake asked.

“How well did you know your contact in Naples?”


“Because a car just pulled up in front of the villa and Russo got out.”

Drake and Charlie shared anxious glances. “Thanks, Sully. Stay out of sight, and we’ll be out in a minute.”

“Be safe, kid.”

“Out in a minute?” Charlie asked. “And how, exactly, do you propose we do that, eh? If we leave this cellar, he’s bound to see us. We’re stuck down there.” There was an underlying tremor in his tone, and he sniffed again and dragged his woolen sweater sleeve across his nose to quell the itch.

Footsteps sounded just beyond the oak door at the far end of the room. Russo must have been coming down the steps on the other side. Drake muttered curses under his breath and shoved Charlie towards the back. “In here,” he said. “There’s a place in the wall to wedge ourselves in. We can hide until he goes.”

But Charlie planted his heels firm on the floor and wouldn’t be moved. The narrow passage in the stone was deep and dark and used for god-knows-what. The ending of it could not even be seen.  “No,” he pleaded. “Anywhere else. Not in there.”

“We don’t have time.” Drake pushed on him again, and again Charlie resisted. He put his hands on either side of the gap and strained to keep from entering like a cat fighting a bath. “Charlie, seriously, get in there!”


“Why not?”


Drake stopped pushing and just sighed. “Really?”

Charlie could only nod. He’d gone frighteningly pale.

“Look, it’s all right.” Drake’s voice was much gentler now and he rested a hand on Charlie’s back. “It’ll only be for a couple minutes. But we have to go in, okay?”

“Okay.” The word came automatically, but it took Charlie another few seconds to gather up the courage to slide into the crevice. Drake followed after him, shimmying carefully. It was a startlingly tight fit; there was maybe a foot of space in front of him, and even less for Charlie as his build was a little larger.

“How you doin’, buddy?”

If Charlie had tried to say something, all that squeezed out was a gasping whimper.

“Don’t worry. Just a bit further, then he won’t be able to see us.”

When they were far enough in, Drake reached over and took Charlie’s wrist in his hand. “Take a deep breath,” he whispered, and just as he finished, the heavy door swung open with a deafening bang. Charlie jolted as if he were electrocuted and took a quick breath in through his nose. Drake could feel his friend’s pulse driving like mad beneath his skin. “Calm down, Charlie. We’re fine.”

Russo walked briskly across the floor and approached the shattered glass case with nothing short of pure hate in his eyes. Drake leaned out of their hiding spot and hazarded a brief peek at the man. He was expecting a much older fellow, but this guy was perhaps fifty at the most, his black hair slicked back at his graying temples.

Russo stared at the spot where the egg used to sit, and then he addressed the cellar. “Drake,” he said in a thick Italian accent, “I know you are still here. If you value your life, you will return the Danish Jubilee to me at once. Only under those conditions will I allow you to leave here alive.”

“Sure you will,” Drake murmured. A quiet sniff drew his attention back to Charlie, who currently held his nose between his thumb and the crook of his forefinger. “No no no, don’t you dare.”

Ahh…” Charlie shivered as the immediate need to sneeze snaked up his spine. His eyes burned and his nose crawled with dust and whatever else they’d kicked up. Sniffling only worsened the awful itch and worked it deeper into his sinuses. He’d never experienced such a sudden flare-up of symptoms, and the enclosed space wasn’t helping matters. “Ahhahh…”

Just as Charlie feared he might lose what little control he had left, Russo took a pistol from his suit jacket and fired. A nearby bottle of wine on a large rack exploded into green shards and dark, blood-colored merlot. “Show yourself to me, Nathan Drake!”

“Shit,” said Drake under his breath. “I don’t think he’s going away.”

“N-Nate,” Charlie said faintly, “I can’t k-keep…ahhahh…” He stuffed his hands over his face and tried to concentrate on the air entering and leaving his lungs. With each inhale, however, he could feel his stomach brush the stone wall in front of him, reminding him just how wedged he really was. Darkness and cobwebs spread out to his left, and Drake blocked the exit to his right. Real panic began to set in. His chest constricted as though someone were tightening cables around his ribs, and he started to struggle and hyperventilate.

Drake gave Charlie’s shin a kick. In his own special way, he was trying to help by giving the man something else to focus on, but it wasn’t working. Charlie’s condition quickly deteriorated. Frantic half-choked sobs burst from his lips, and he pushed at the stone in front of him. Thankfully, Russo was spitting orders into a walkie-talkie and didn’t hear him. But this was too close for Drake’s liking.

“Keep it together, Charlie,” he said, working hard to keep his tone kind.

“No, no, I-I g-gotta get out of here. G-Get me out. N-Nate—ahh—get me out, please. Oh god, p-please, get me out.” The babbling grew worse and his breath began to hitch between his words. He sputtered, coughed, sniffled, drew in a sudden expansive breath, and then—“AhhhhhHH’etgKSCHH!” He’d tried to muffle the sneeze, but in the confines of the tiny stone cellar it was simply impossible.

Drake pressed his lips together and Charlie froze in terror. Russo had gone silent now, but the sound of his approaching footsteps grew closer. He readied his pistol with a menacing click. “You can’t hide from me, Drake.”

Suddenly, there was light to Charlie’s left. Blessed daylight streamed into the long crevice, and a man-shaped silhouette stood in the newly-revealed doorway. “This way,” Sully called out to them in the loudest whisper he could muster.

Drake elbowed Charlie to start moving.  “Gogogo!”

Charlie shimmied sideways as fast as he could towards Sully, and he emerged into the crisp afternoon air panting and scrambling and drenched in cold sweat. Sully caught him before he collapsed into the grass. “Woah woah there, big fella. I gotcha.” He looked to Drake. “What the hell happened in there, kid?”

Drake shut the small door behind him and pulled the locking latch down. “Russo nearly found us,” he said, brushing decades of dust and debris from his shoulders. “Also Charlie’s claustrophobic.”

Charlie held onto Sully’s jacket with two trembling white-knuckled fists. Sully rubbed the poor man’s back and frowned. “You all right?”

Charlie just nodded.

“You sure? Your breathing’s all over the place.”

“Y-Yeah, just…g-gimme a secahh—!” Charlie’s chest strained as he heaved in a shuddering gasp, and he twisted away from Sully just in time to smother a desperate sneeze into his hands. “EH’kgtCHOO!”

Drake turned to Sully. “Y’think there’s a pharmacy around anywhere?”

“In the middle of the Italian countryside?”

Charlie sniffled and straightened up. His color hadn’t started to return yet but his shaking had lessened. “I-I’ll be fine once we’re out of here,” he said, taking a rough swipe at his nose with the back of his hand. “Oi, Nate, you got the egg. Let’s make a bloody run for the car already.”

Drake grinned. “There’s our Charlie. Yeah, c’mon, we’ve got a contact in Naples we need to have words with.”

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I don't even know what I'm reading, but I am so into it. Allergies?! Vulnerability?? HIDING FROM AN ENEMY?? All of the best things rolled up into one fic *w*! I adore Charlie, and the deterioration of his condition was written so beautifully. I really did believe he was afraid. Your descriptions are fantastic. Also, the dialogue gave such life to the characters. I was eating up that very brief h/c bit with all three of them at the end~

Really lovely work, Murphy! :heart: Thanks so much for sharing this x3

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Oh wow, thank you, BlackScatter!!  :D  I'm so happy you were digging it even though you're not familiar with Uncharted. Thanks for giving it a chance and leaving such a sweet comment! I'm super appreciative! (I like the h/c bit at the end, too...Sully's such a papa bear.)

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Don't be mad at me but I have NO idea what Uncharted is 😅 

But the way you wrote the fic caught definitely my attention! I imagined the scenario so easily and this because it was so beautifully written! 

I loved it!! 💜 Thanks so much for sharing! 

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I don't know the characters, I don't even know what "Uncharted"' is, but I enjoyed reading your fic! The situation was really interesting and well-described, as well as the growing desperation in Charlie's voice and breath. Thank you!

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Coffee Mug & Aliena H. - Thanks so much the both of you!! Hahah it's so cool that y'all gave my story a chance even though you didn't know anything about the source material. :D  I'm glad y'all liked it!

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