I held him as his breath slowed along with his heart. Blood soaked his shirt, traces of wounds I wasn't brave enough to witness. The ambulance's siren was wailing in the background. His gray eyes opened for a moment but closed after locking on me. He smiled and muttered something.
Some guys with a stretcher urged me away, but I refused to leave. I helped them load him onto the stretcher, never letting go of him. He may not make it, a voice told me in my head. I knew that already; he'd trained me to be realistic.
The paramedics said I couldn't ride in the ambulance. I insisted that I couldn't leave him. After a minute of murmuring, they conceded. I stroked his golden brown hair trying to calm myself. Be strong, the voice said, He'd want you to be. With a few deep breaths, I was as calm as truly possible to be in the situation. Even if he wouldn't make it, I wasn't about to discard his teachings now. I refused to let him down.
I helped lower him from the ambulance and rush him into the hospital. When they took him to the operating room, I was refused admission to follow. I sat quietly in the waiting room while some nurses prepared to question me. They called me into a little room in a matter of minutes.
"Hello," said an overly optimistic nurse.
"When will he be out?" I asked, cutting to the chase.
The peppy thing frowned. "That's up to the doctors. I can send someone to find out after we're done here."
"Good," I replied, "Then I suppose we should finish this quickly."
"Alright, let's begin," she said, smile back on her face, "Name?"
"Next question," I said.
"But-- "she objected, frowning once again.
"Next question," I repeated.
Expression darkening, she snapped at me, "I can't continue without a name, ma'am."
"Suspect 1," I told her.
She stiffened. "That's not a name. I need a name."
"You know what?" I said, "Do you really want my name that bad? It's Jane Smith. Next question, please."
She glowered at me, not satisfied. "Fine. What relation do you have to Mr. Fields?"
I smiled at the alias. "He's my mentor and my best friend."
"Mentor in what?" She asked.
"Soccer," I lied.
She narrowed her eyes suspiciously but continued. "You were at the scene of the incident found kneeled over Mr. Fields. Were you with him during the incident?"
"What were you doing there?"
I frowned. "I just told you. I was with him."
"Yes, but why were you both there?" She persisted.
"I don't know." I shrugged. "We were wandering."
"Why were you wandering?" asked the oh-so-nosy nurse.
I sighed, "Would you like the entire history of our lives? That could take a while, probably a few years."
"I don't understand…" She trailed off. No kidding, she didn't understand: it was written all over her face.
I rolled my eyes. "We always wander. Next question, please."
Hesitating first, she continued, "How many men attacked you?"
"I didn't count really. I'd say about twenty."
A bit gapingly, she asked, "Could you identify any of the men who attacked you?"
"Why does that matter?"
"If you could identify any of them, we could convict ones that escaped the scene," explained little-miss-know-it-all.
I actually laughed at that one. "No one escaped," I said through weak giggles.
She stared at me. "How do you know that? If your friend was hurt so badly, how didn't anyone get away?"
I stared back. "What kind of question is that?"
"How wouldn't they get away if you were at the disadvantage?" She asked again.
"When were we at the disadvantage?" I asked, bewildered.
She gripped her clipboard. "You said there were about twenty. If your partner was down, you couldn't have taken all of them. Some must have fled the scene."
This sent me back into a lapse of tired giggles. "You think I couldn't take them? In rage, you think I couldn't take them? I didn't let anyone escape. There's no need for identification of any of them. They were just another batch of hunters."
Her jaw tightened, likely from dwindling patience. "Do you have any idea who sent them?"
"No," I lied.
"That's all." She stood abruptly, her patience finally snapping. "I'll send a nurse to find out the status on Mr. Fields and have a doctor come see to you as soon as possible."
I strolled back into the waiting room, trying to relax but very near screaming. A doctor came to see me a few minutes later. He led me into a small check-up room.
"Your friend seems to have taken the majority of the wounds," the doctor stated the obvious.
"Yours don't seem to be anything life threatening, just a broken arm and some cuts," he went on, casually checking me over.
"I could have told you that," I said.
He nodded. "You seem awfully calm for someone who has a loved one in the operating room."
"That's my job," I told him, "I'm not allowed to be emotional in a time of crisis."
The doctor gave me a sympathetic look. "It's okay to be upset. He may not make it."
"He may not make it," I repeated blankly, "and that's all the more reason not to let him down."
"I'm sure he wouldn't want you to hide your pain," the doctor assured me while casting my arm.
I gawked at him in wonder. "You don't know the slightest thing about what he would want. How can you try to give me that advice?"
The doctor seemed taken aback. "I didn't mean to offend you. It's just not healthy to keep those emotions cooped up."
"I'll tell you when I care about my own health," I snapped, "Are we done here?"
"Yeah," the doctor said softly, "You can go."
I returned to the waiting room, more aggravated than ever. I didn't need anyone's sympathy. I needed my best friend to live. Who were they to tell me how to feel? Only one person could tell me that: my mentor, my friend, my life-line.
He would have wanted me to be calm. I took deep breaths, just like he used to tell me. The anger slowly receded. It wasn't the nurse's or the doctor's fault that they didn't know what to say to me. They weren't used to my kind.
I fell asleep in my seat for about an hour. When I woke, I found that a kind woman had put a pillow behind my head. I rubbed my eyes, and when my vision cleared, I saw her smiling face turned to me. She had long red hair and green eyes. He face was angular but not sharp. She wore a light blue sweater and some worn jeans. She seemed like a mom to me, but I wasn't one to know what that looked like.
"I fell asleep," I said.
She smiled kindly. "Yes, I figured you'd need a pillow so that you wouldn't slump over and wake with a hurt neck."
"Um, thank you," I said awkwardly.
"It's not a problem." she smiled again. "I can't believe how calm you are with your friend in the operating room."
I stiffened. "It's no big deal."
"It's very brave," she praised me, "My husband is having emergency surgery on his appendix, and I'm almost sick with worry."
"I hope your husband is okay," I said genuinely. I didn't normally concern myself with other people, but this lady was so nice that I couldn't help hoping that fate worked in favor of her family.
"Thank you," She replied, "I pray that your friend is alright as well."
After some chatting with this kind lady, whose name ended up being Linda, a doctor came over and explained the situation.
"He has major gashes into his abdomen and quite a few broken ribs," The doctor explained, "We had to do some major work, but he seems to be stable. I can't guarantee that he'll make it though. His survival hinges on this one night."
I nodded and received an anxious glance from Linda.
"You're welcome to stay in the hotel here for the night," the doctor said, "It would likely be paid for by your insurance."
"We don't have insurance." I frowned. What was he thinking? We weren't even eighteen.
"How are you paying for this?" He asked, alarmed.
I shrugged. "I was going to call up some friends."
I won an uncertain look from the doctor. "Well, just make sure you can pay. Your friend will be cared for here, but we are still a business."
When the doctor left, Linda offered to help pay. I told her she had her husband to worry about, and I wasn't allowed to take offerings from people I just met. Sighing, I got a hold of my 'mother'.
My mom isn't really my mom. No, I'm not really adopted; I was a sort of test tube child. She happens to be the undercover human rights activist that broke me out of an illegal science facility. I'm not fully human, but have a certain amount of Eurasian Lynx DNA in me. I'm not very informed of the scientific part of this, so I haven't a clue how much or for what reason. All I know is I have quicker reflex, sharper senses, and some particular cat like tendencies. Luckily, I have very few physical traits to show for it: a few suspiciously spot-like freckles on the back of my neck, slightly pointed ears, and a shorter, more muscular build.
Of course, I'm not the only one who was genetically enhanced in that facility, nor the only to break out. My dear mentor/friend in the operating room was there as well. He was enhanced with leopard DNA. He was much bigger than me, though only a year older, and he had a few leopard spots on his back that we passed off as a birthmarks. His ears we a little pointed and he had a more muscular build. Of course, he had some very cat-like tendencies that he shared with me.
So, my 'mother' was the one to break both of us out and raise us. It's not that she was the greatest person or the worst. She was a good person, but she was always busy. My friend had established himself as a wanderer as soon as he was ten years old. He set out on his birthday, leaving the about-nine-year-old me alone. A year later I joined him.
You'd think my mother was awful to let us go, but she knew our survival capabilities. She checked up on us often when we were younger, but once we had gotten older, she just required we called in emergencies. I considered the emergencies that she could help with to be purely money related.
So, I won't tell you the conversation that went down, but she was devastated from the news and agreed to pay. She was never very close to either of us, but she was more of a mother to me than she had been to my counterpart. I told her that I wasn't sure if he'd make it through the night, but she assured me that he always pulled through. There was a hint of doubt in her voice that made me shiver.
I wasn't allowed to see him, so I spent that long night between talking to Linda and sleeping on the plastic chairs. Eventually, Linda was allowed to see her husband. He was alright, just needed time to heal. She seemed overjoyed when she met me back in the waiting room. There was a new light to her, like someone had just granted her ultimate wish. There I was waiting for mine to be granted.
Linda stayed in the hotel for the rest of the night. She had insisted that I stay with her in the hotel room, but I won the argument with my sole reason to stay being that I had to hear if my friend was okay. She gave in eventually and said she'd check up on me in the morning.
I fell asleep across a few chairs. I didn't dream; I rarely did. I remembered waking up a few times during that time from someone else being rushed through the room. An eternity later, I was allowed to sit by his bed for the rest of the night.
I walked into a crisp white room, the typical recovery room, with a curtain down the middle of it and a TV mounted on the wall. He lay in clean white bed with his eyes closed, what seemed like a hundred monitors hooked up to him, and his breathing shallow. The heart rate monitor was slow, even for his heart rate. I tried not to worry.
Sitting in a chair beside his bed, I grasped his hand firmly. It was warm still, a good sign that his body was still hanging on. I bent over and lay my head on the corner of his pillow. Sometime later, I fell asleep.
When I woke, the monitor showed that his heart had slowed even more. My hand on his chest, his breathing seemed labored. He was fighting a fight that he may lose. I gritted my teeth and held back tears. Taking deep breathes, I calmed myself the best I could.
Gripping his hand harder, I willed him to get better, begging him in my head. What would I do without him? I'd wander alone, no one for company but my dying hope. I would rather die with him, but he would never have had that. He believed in life and that it wasn't something to give up freely.
I put my head back down and slept some more, hoping that when I woke he would be better. Being partially feline, I need a lot of sleep but very rarely dream. That time, as I dosed off, I was so focused on him getting better, I dreamed for the first time in years.
In my dream, he was looking at me with his serious yet uplifting gray eyes. Suddenly, he took my hand and smiled. He lifted his shirt to show the numerous scars that I had known to trace his body. Looking at him in question, I asked him what he was showing me.
"Look again," he said.
I looked at the scars once more, and this time, I saw that some of them were fresh and more pronounced. They were scars of what was threatening his life now, the scars of his surgery and attack. I gasped and touched them.
Purring, he said, "You did that. Now, you just have to trust me."
"But this is a dream," I told him.
He smiled bigger. "When have you ever dreamed?"
He started fading, and I yelled, "Wait! Come back! I don't understand!"
I woke with a start. After a glance at the clock, I realized it was morning and I'd slept for another three hours. His heart beat had stabilized and his breath seemed stronger. Some color had returned to his face and his hands were hot. Relieved, I hugged him as tight as I could.
"Lux, you're hurting me."
I let go and looked at him. His gray eyes were shining and his smile was strained. "Eli," I said, finally able to say his name.
"I thought I told you to stay calm," Eli said.
"I was calm," I protested.
He laughed, "That didn't feel calm to me."
I punched him in the arm and hugged him harder. "Never do that to me again, you dim wit. I don't know what I'd do without you."
He kissed the top of my head and laughed. "The only thing I'm worried about killing me is you."
This is all for now.... I'm currently working on another story called Shift and refuse to lose my focus. I may or may not continue this when I'm done with Shift, as I have requests to finish another story on fanfiction first. Maybe if this is in high demand, I'll finish it. Otherwise, it will remain a oneshot. Thanks :) and I hope you like it!