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Something that kept her safe

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Charlie was too tired to move. Her mind was jumbled with images and feelings. That village, yeah, Pottsboro Then what? The bar… The disgusting but warm stew. The weird guys. Monroe with concern in his eyes and bloody hands. The rain. She tried but it wouldn’t come to her. What had happened? Her head hurt.

After a while, she gave up. Her eyelids were too heavy and her mind too mushy : time to sleep.

Dark shadows, hands on her body and she was falling. A hand under her shirt. No, no, no, no!

“Charlotte,“ the voice was grating but it was more solid than those shadows invading her personal space, “Charlotte, wake up.“ Her eyes fluttered open.

Her gaze was met with a frowning dark eyed Monroe, too close, and yet close enough, for comfort. He gave her more water. She was parched, fuck, she was sweating like a pig. She sat up. Monroe still crouching next to her in the flickering firelight.

“Feeling better?“ His voice was… was it kind?

“I think so,“ her voice raspy, “what happened?“ She saw his eyes widen, his jaw clench. He searched her eyes before he spoke :

“You don’t remember?“

“Why else would I be asking?“ She finally had enough energy to snap at him.

“Do you feel strong enough to eat?“ She narrowed her eyes : what the fuck was wrong with him? Was he in the race to be the best nurse in the world?

“Not hungry. I just want to know what happened.“ She didn’t mean to sound harsh, he had saved her from something, hadn’t he? She could still see his concerned face as she was drifting into something… Water? Drugged, she had been drugged. That much she knew.

“Okay,“ he started, his voice low, his gaze lower, “I followed you into Pottsboro. There was a bar. You picked the seediest place …“

“They didn’t have any other place to eat,“ she shot back, starting to remember.

“Saw you eat from the window. Before I knew it, you were fighting off a bunch of guys. You were unsteady, drugged, but still fighting.“

She nodded, images flooding her mind. Oh fuck. She shivered, her teeth chattering. He dropped a blanket over her, as if he were afraid to touch her.

“Did.. Did..?“ Come on just say it girl!

“No. I got there in time. I…“

“You killed them,“ her voice steely, “you killed them, right?“

“All of them.“ His gaze found hers : glittering but unapologetic. She closed her eyes. The blanket was warming her bones.

“Thanks,“ she whispered.

“Anytime Charlotte. Just don’t…“ She looked up, he hadn’t moved, his gaze still on her face, “I don’t want to have to save your sorry ass again. Not like this.“

His eyes so blue and there was something else… Must be the remnants of the fever; or else, she could spy something else. Something that didn’t make sense. Something she carried back into herself as she drifted into slumber, something that kept her safe.