It’s all at HQ. No Noahs + captured Exorcists, sorrieh. And, I just realized, I haven’t been here all that long and this is already my second clean-up after a huge fight. (That’s good. This is the kind of stuff I like writing.)
The three youngest members of the North American Order moved in an almost dreamlike state, administering pills and reaffixing bandages. The attack seemed to have drained them all, not only physically- Tabby couldn’t bear to think of Lione never walking again and it was hard to see Zeren lying still- but emotionally- Rinvack was distant, Eny was hysterical, and Tabby herself could barely find the will to respond to the Finders’ pleasant attempts to start a conversation.
Sighing, Tabby slipped over to Rinvak’s bed, counting out the amount of pills Ying had told her to give. The elder girl sat up, her wings flapping idly. Tabby smiled cheerfully. “Hey, Rin! You’re awake, huh?” Rinvak nodded slowly. Tabby’s smile faded a bit. Sheesh… She’d never seen Rinvak so down.
“I’m not sad, you know.”
“Hmm?” Tabby looked up from the pills she was counting. Rinvak was looking down, twisting the ring on her finger, but her gaze drifted to look Tabby in the eye for the first time in the last two days.
“Don’t think I haven’t noticed. Not one of you has mentioned… what happened around me. Not even Eny- I suppose you’ve had a little chat with her on being considerate-!” Tabby smiled sheepishly. That was true. “-but I’m fine, okay?” Her voice broke a little on her last sentence, destroying the finality in her words. Tabby frowned, sinking on to the edge on Rinvak’s bed.
“We won’t think any less of you if you’re sad, Rinvak,” She said carefully, allowing the pills she’d been counting to tumble onto Rinvak’s beside table. She shot a bright smile Rinvak’s way. Rinvak returned to twisting the ring. Tabby’s eyes went to the band. “What are you going to do with that?”
Rinvak seemed to think over the question. It had been a gift from Amiti. It hurt in an almost physical sense to look at it, but… “I’m going to keep it,” She said finally. “It was a gift, right? Why shouldn’t I keep it?” Tabby smiled.
“Okay. Now, take your pills!” She said cheerily, picking them off the table. “Open wide!” She stated in a sing-song voice.
“I can take my own damn pills!” Rinvak protested loudly as Tabby attempted to force-feed the elder Exorcist her medication. Tabby grinned inwardly, giving a half-hearted retort, not letting up. Now that was the Rinvak she knew.
“Hmm?” The branch leader stirred. At the end of his bed, Ying stood leaning on the metal frame. “Oh. What is it?” A shadow of trouble passed over Ying’s face… but he blinked and once again her expression was blank. “Ying?”
She was silent. He frowned. “Ying, what is it?” Lione demanded, struggling to sit upright. His arms couldn’t take his weight, and he collapsed back onto the white pillow. Still silent, Ying helped him sit up, propping another pillow on the bed so he didn’t need her support. “Ying?”
“I am not quite sure how to put this,” Ying confessed finally, allowing him to slowly fall onto the pillows she’d just fixed. “Your recovery is going quite well, if you take the circumstances into account. If not for your Innocence, there is not doubt you would’ve died. But, I’m afraid your life comes at a cost.”
When she didn’t continue, Lione prompted her. “Ying?”
“We’ve tried everything we can, Lione,” She said finally. “But… I’m afraid you’ve lost all mobility from the legs down. You’re paralyzed.”
This news was met with a shocked silence from the branch leader. Ying waited. Finally, he sighed. “I…” He stopped again, a quiet, small smile of acceptance dawning on his face. “I suppose I’m alive, aren’t I? There’s… nothing else we can do, correct?”
“Yessir,” Ying answered dutifully, “Eny has already begun work on a chair to fit your needs.” Lione smiled sadly, forlornly patting his forever immobilized legs.
Eny parted the curtain that separated Zeren’s bed from the rest. As she had expected, his little girlfriend - who had arrived two days ago in a panic, spouting frenzied words about Noah and demanding to see Zeren – sat quietly in a chair beside his bed, staring blankly at his empty face. Eny coughed lightly- a cough that meant “Hello? Notice me!” Riena turned, raising an eyebrow.
“I’m supposed to change his bandages,” Eny offered a curt explanation, holding the linens up as evidence. She hadn’t been in the mood for conversation these past days. Her cat was gone- and all sorts of other madness had gone down, but mostly Fermy was in the Noah’s clutches.
“I’ll do it,” Riena answered just as sharply. Eny snorted, placing her hands on her hips.
“Well, fine. Tend to your little boyfriend.” Stress was not good to Eny- or rather, people within Eny’s general vicinity. Riena began removing the bandages. Eny stood huffily at her side, holding out the new ones. When Riena handed her the old, bloodied ones, she winced, looking away. Her eyes fell on a familiar pistol at Riena’s side. “Hey!” She said, eyebrows knit. “How’d you get that?”
Riena’s glanced at where Eny looked. “Zeren gave it to me,” She answered, reattaching the new bandages to Zeren’s wounds.
“You had no right to give that away, you big dummy!” Eny glared down at the not-responding Zeren. “That was mine! Give it back.” She addressed Riena shortly. Riena ‘hmphed’ and placed it sharply on Zeren’s bedside table. “I meant to me!” She said, her voice growing louder. Riena returned to fixing Zeren’s bandages. “Listen to me! Give it back, it’s mine! You stupid idiot!” She returned to addressing Zeren. “You loser! You moron! It was mine; did I say you could give it away?!? Failure as an Exorcist, you stupid, dumb buffoon!” She was yelling now. “Yo-You bringer of trouble! Everyone would be better off if you just died!”
“Don’t talk about Zeren like that!” Riena burst out. The pair dissolved into a loud argument. Neither appeared to even be listening to the other. The curtain flew open. Tabby grabbed Eny’s forearm- she squealed and began insulting Tabby, along with Zeren and Riena.
“You, stop! You, stop!” She yelled, pointing at both of them. Both fell silent. “Sheesh! Ri… Rita? Riana? Ri…whatever. Finish that, wouldja?” She didn’t wait for an answer, dragging Eny away. “Just because you’re a miserable brat doesn’t mean you have to take it out of the only person who can’t defend himself!”
“I am not a miserable brat!”
“Yes you are!”
“Ta mère est une chienne!” Eny reverted back to her native language. (Your mother is a female dog)
“Ou-yay uck-say at-way ife-lay!” Tabby shouted. (You suck at life)
“Ta mère aiment de petits garcons!” (Your mother likes little boys)
“Ou-yay are-way a-way itch-bay!” (You are a bitch)
“Mon Q.I. est deux fois à vous!” (My I.Q. is twice yours)
“I-way an't-cay understand-way ou-yay!” (I can’t understand you)
“Je ne peux pas vous comprendre!” (I can’t understand you)
“At's-whay e-thay atter-may ith-way ou-yay?!?” Tabby finally shouted. (What’s the matter with you?!?) Both girls turned away abruptly and stomped in opposite directions.
Rinvak quietly slid off her bed. Ying had decided she was fine whenever she felt ready, and Ying looked like she needed help- Riena was covering Zeren, but there were still other injuries to treat, and Tabby and Eny was both brooding- so here Rinvak was, slipping through the curtain around her bed, still twisting the ring on her finger. “Need any help?” Rinvak asked sardonically as Ying walked swiftly past, carrying more then her fair share of bandages. Ying looked over her shoulder.
“Please check if Lione needs anything,” She said promptly, ducking behind another curtain. Rinvak nodded, pulling back Lione’s curtain. He sat up, swishing the water in his cup around.
“Need anything?” Rinvak asked. He looked up, and shook his head. She shrugged. “Okay.” She sat in the chair beside his bed.
“I’m out of bed, aren’t I?”
“With… everything else,” He met her eyes. “I know you really love Amiti, but…”
“Amiti’s dead, Lione,” Rinvak said flatly. “There’s only Uriel now, and I don’t love him.” Lione smiled.
Night fell. Nearly everyone had fallen into sleep, besides the medics. Even Tabby, Rinvak, and Sister Madeline- who had joined the healing effort shortly after Rinvak- had retired to bed. Ying still remained awake, making sure all preparations were complete for the wounded. Riena had fallen asleep, her head on Zeren’s side table.
Lione smiled despondently. It seemed to have been a very long time since headquarters had been quiet. The battle was two days previous, but it seemed so much longer. Slowly, he felt himself drifting into sleep, but he saw his curtain open. Eny stepped in, yawning. He, too, yawned. “Hello.”
“Hi,” She said shortly, giving no other greeting. Instead, she just stared at him.
“Um… You need some-?”
“What are we gonna do, Lione?” She cut him off. He looked at her quizzically. “There are two Exorcists, one Bookwoman, twenty-seven Finders and thirteen medics-including Ying - are functional at the moment. Two Exorcists are incapable of fighting and for both it is unlikely they will ever fight again. I’ve done calculations. It would take merely thirty level one, ten level two, or one level three through five Akuma to completely decimate us in our current condition. I didn’t even bother to figure how long we’d last against a Noah. I-It’d be a laughable sum,” Her voice broke. “F-Four of our Order a-are captured- Blade, Steph, Flames, and F-F-Fermy,” She sniffed, tears gathering in her eyes. “W-What are we gonna do?”
Lione was silent.
“Y-You’re our leader. You haffta tell us what to do.” Lione caught sight on Ying standing just beyond the curtain, and at once he knew this wasn’t just Eny he was answering. Everyone needed answers. They were scared.
“I don’t know what to do,” He said finally. The tears that had bunched in Eny’s eyes were let free, and he heard a heartrending gasp from behind the curtain- probably Tabby. “But… We’ll be okay, alright? We’ll deal, just like the rest of the times. We’re like cockroaches,” He smiled, looking to the clean linen sheets.
Really a very nice chapter. I feel so damned sorry for Lione. He's acting all strong but deep within he has bursted to dust ;_;. I am about to cry. Oh, and the rum reference was great :3.
Now, I have a point why he will try to go to the bar where he met Anlen. Hehe.
such a good chapter. even though i like fighting chapters, this is a nice change in pace.
i love the exorcists and staff members' interactions as well. everyone was in character and acted accordingly. rin is so strong and lione... i just want to hug him and tell him everything will be okay. loved the analogy at the end because i'm learning about them at school. lol
credit to the amazing GrayFoxx for this amazing sig ^.~