Note: *Curls up in a ball and rocks back and forth*
WARNING: Character Death.
Thackery had come to a conclusion. Since he’d begun dating Mally he’d been inside more hospitals than in his entire life. The current hospital was smaller than most and smelled strongly of antiseptic cleaners. He mused over this fact as he sat in the waiting room, arms folded against his chest. Dorchadas had opted to vanish for the time being so that Thackery would be able to focus on what needed doing without having to strain his energy resources in attempting to let the spirit exist apart from him.
He’d already had to buy a candy bar and a soda (things he generally disliked) in an effort to get some boost from the sugar. It worked, but he knew that he was going to have to either eat something heavy later; or indulge in the only other method for restoring his energy.
The thought made him scrunch his nose up in distain. What it must be like to be one of those hares who were living perfectly normal lives. A mate who didn’t insist on getting himself into horrible situations; and a demon who didn’t act out all the time… must be nice. He rolled his eyes and glanced down at his cell phone, toying briefly with the idea of sending Chesshur a text message to let him know what had happened.
But if he did that, Chesshur would insist on coming down to the hospital and Emil would be left to care for all four kits – which would then put him into a terrible mood- and Emil in a terrible mood was a frightful thing indeed. He discarded the stray thought and slouched a little lower in the hard plastic chair.
Mally’s little brother could be such a pain sometimes.
Why weren’t hospital chairs more comfortable? Didn’t the hospitals realize that most people sitting in them were going to be there for the long haul? Something comfortable would be very much appreciated.
Thackery glanced up at the sound of his name. A young woman stood there, wearing the same colored scrubs as most of the other nurses and doctors had worn. Her dark brown eyes studied him for a long moment, a slight smile tugging at her lips as she stared at his ears; fingers twitching slightly. He stood up, tucking his hands into the pockets of his coat. “Is he alright?” he asked.
The woman shook herself. “Mr. Loir is going to be fine, banged up and bruised; but otherwise he’ll heal. It’s very luck he wore that helmet. Most of the kids who I see come in here after accidents like his… it’s not pretty.” She shook her head sadly. “We’ll get him his release papers and you two will be on your way.”
Thackery smiled, “Can I see him?” he asked hopefully.
Her lips twitched again. “Yes,”
Mally was tugging his shirt back on when Thackery came into the room. He glanced over his shoulder, wincing slightly. “My ankle’s busted.” He told the hare, pretending not to notice the way Thackery’s eyes widened. He knew that those sharp eyes would’ve picked up on the dark bruising and road burn that currently covered his back. He tugged his shirt into place and turned around on the bed, tucking his legs up a little. “But I’ll heal,” he added quickly. “Where did Dorchadas go?”
“He didn’t want to put anymore strain on me than what I’m already under.” Thackery said, not really paying attention to the words coming out of his mouth. He walked across the room, stopping beside the bed, and extended his hand; brushing his fingertips over the bruised cheekbone. “Stupid… you stupid…” his voice broke.
Mally looked down, “I know.” He answered. “I wasn’t paying attention… I should’ve been. It was partly my own fault. If I’d been paying attention I might have had time to swerve and avoid this whole disaster…”
Thackery shook his head. “I hated that bike… do you see why?” he questioned.
Mally glanced up, “Come on, I’m alive aren’t I?” he chided, rolling his pale eyes. “I didn’t die. I am an Underlander after all.” He tried for a smile, but it fell short when he noticed the look on Thackery’s face. “Thack… okay, okay…” he pressed his lips together and nodded his head. “No more motorcycles…”
Thackery swallowed. “Is it selfish that I want you safe?” he questioned. “That the thought of you dying… I don’t think I could live five minutes knowing that you’d gone somewhere where I could never see you again.” He bowed his head, forehead coming to rest against the dormouse’s shoulder.
Mally wrapped his arms around the hare, turning his face to press a kiss against one of the hare’s fluffy ears, “I promise… I won’t leave you. I’ll be here forever.” He murmured.
Thackery scoffed. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep… everyone dies.” He murmured.
Mally looked over the hare’s shoulder, noticing the clock on the wall; he could hear the tick of it. “Well… not for a while.” He said weakly.
Thackery nodded. “Forever and a day… right… my songbird?” he pulled back, looking uncertain.
Mally’s eyes widened slightly at the sound of the silly pet-name. He hadn’t heard it in forever… his throat suddenly felt hot, his eyes stinging. “Damn it,” he reached up and covered his face. “That’s cheating,” he complained.
Thackery smiled weakly. “Love you… selfish little prick,” he chuckled.
Mally managed a snort, “Yeah… confess your love for me and then follow it up with an insult… you’re worse than Dorchadas is.” He grinned to show he was only joking.
“No insulting him. You’re going to be spending the next week with him.” Thackery reminded him. “Sooner… maybe,” he reached out again and slid a hand to cup the back of the dormouse’s neck; leaning in to press a quick to kiss to his mouth. “That bastard really did use too much energy with his whole ‘let’s magically create a false form’ spell.”
Mally had to blink a couple times while he reminded how to breathe. Did Thackery really not realize how seductive he could be when he looked like that?
Thackery laughed quietly and eased back. “Sorry, hospital… public place… no seducing my dormouse.” He tucked his hands back into the pockets of his coat and turned on his heel, wandering over to the hard plastic chair. He brushed the toe of his boot against the metal support leg.
“Seduce me at home,” Mally agreed. “And after I’ve had a couple pain pills… Good lord, I never realized how bad a bruise could hurt,” he reached up and brushed a hand over his shoulder, wincing slightly. “Think Dorchadas will play nice with me?”
Thackery turned to face him. “Of course,” he frowned. “Mal, you don’t honestly think he’d purposely hurt you, do you?”
Mally held a hand up, “Chill, I didn’t mean it like that,” he soothed. “I meant that Dorchadas will have be very gentle with me or I’m going to be smarting more than I already am.” He explained.
Thackery’s shoulders slumped. “Sorry, I think… I think he’s inside my head and is insulted… pretty sure he’s insulted.” He laughed weakly. “Just when I think I’m making progress with all this… something like this happens and I can’t tell what’s my own thoughts and what are his.”
Mally’s lips twitched. “Well, it’s a learning process. For all of us.” He stopped talking when the door opened and the discharge nurse appeared. “Are we all set?” he asked hopefully.
The nurse nodded and handed Thackery back his credit card. “You’re set.” She gave him a smile before easing back out the door.
“Thackery, you paid?” Mally folded his arms against his chest, “You know I hate it when you do that.”
Thackery shrugged. “Don’t get run over again and I won’t pay another hospital bill, deal?” he winked.
Mally rolled his eyes and stood carefully, the wrap around his ankle prevented him from putting his boots on. “Can you…” he gave Thackery a look.
The hare moved quickly and hooked and arm around the dormouse, supporting him as they walked towards the door. “Sorry,” he murmured.
Mally smiled. “You’re here… that’s what matters.”
The first thing Thackery did when they got back to the house was get Mally situated on the couch and then go make some tea. He carried the mugs out to the living room and sat down on the floor beside the couch. He leaned his head back and, for the first time in a long while, let Mally reach out and toy with his ears; a sleepy smile on his lips. “This is nice.” He said.
Mally nodded, “Be nicer if we skip the tea and go to bed…” he smirked when Thackery tilted his head back a little more, a surprised look on his face. “What? When did I not think about sex with you?” he laughed.
Thackery snorted. “You know what… yeah… that sounds good.”
Mally’s eyes widened. “Wait, hold up… you just agreed to have sex with me. I didn’t have to argue with you or come up with a thousand and one reasons why we should… no contract signing… Thackery, are you okay?”
“Don’t push it!”
Chesshur pushed himself up onto his elbows, blinking rapidly, eyes watering as he reached up and wiped at the blood that poured from the gash in his forehead. He let out a couple pained breaths as he looked around; his eyes coming to rest on the figure lying only a few feet from him. “E-Emil?” he pushed himself onto his knees and crawled over to where the dormouse lay. “Emil… wake up.” His voice shook as he gathered the young man into his arms.
A small bit of blood trickled from the corner of the dormouse’s mouth, pale blue eyes were wide and unseeing; his skin already going cold. The hole in the center of his forehead was the only wound. Chesshur felt the tears beginning to pour down his cheeks, mixing with the blood. “Emil… come back… please… don’t be dead…” he bent his head, pulling Emil closer.
Chesshur could be sure how long he sat there clinging to the dormouse before he began to regain some sanity, he looked down at Emil and lightly brushed his fingertips over the cold cheek before he pressed a chaste kiss to his lips and laid the dormouse carefully back on the floor. “I’ll… be back.” He promised, getting to his feet. He was shaking badly as he grabbed the dishtowel off the stove and pressed it to the gash on his head, stumbling slightly as he stepped in the pool of cool blood. He swallowed hard and kept walking.
The silence was thick, the sound of his feet padding on the carpet sounding impossibly loud. His breath was coming in pained pants, his body aching. How had this happened? How had he allowed this to happen… he was supposed to be able to handle any situation after all. Mally and Thackery had trusted him… had trusted him with the most precious things in their lives.
The front door was open, a cool wind blew through it, making the papers and unopened letters flutter slightly; a few of them already on the floor. He walked through the living room and into the pack hallway. He knew before he opened the guest bedroom door that it would be empty. He’d known he was alone… he just had to see with his own eyes the truth.
He leaned back against the doorframe. The room was ransacked; the wooden letters that Emil had made to spell out the kits names were on the floor; the cribs overturned, and the kits… His knees gave out, he slid to the floor, small sobs beginning to shake him, and he buried his face against his arms. Everything… everything was gone.
He’d failed. He’d failed to protect the few things in this world that he loved. He’d failed Thackery and Mally by letting their children be taken. He’d failed Emil by not being able to protect him.
He was the one who should have died.