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Not More Than I Can Take

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The girl is tapping her chest, repeatedly, staring at him with wide eyes. What in the world is she expecting? It doesn’t matter; it’s not coming and he’s done with this shit. He’s so done with it. He takes a step forward, bending his failing body to his will, forcing himself past the pain and looms over her. She keeps on staring at him, almost expressionless, except for the fear he can see flooding her ey–

She moves without warning, not a flicker of hesitation to warn him of her intention, and his vision is filled with white stars against black as she punches him right where the sword shard is piercing his gut, and something inside him cracks, and his consciousness gives an unceremonious flip and packs up away.

 


 

His next thought is that he can’t move, and shouldn’t he be on the floor? He forces his eyes open, and his mask is cracked, fuck, a whole bit fell off and it’s exposing his left eye and, and his midsection hurts and his body is covered by stinging slashes that are still bleeding sluggishly, and… and the girl is holding him from behind. He’s alive. He’s alive and the girl hasn’t killed him, hasn’t taken the opportunity to slash his throat with that pitiful knife. She’s holding him up against him, and her body is warm against his back, and everything is so cold in comparison, no, why is he thinking about that, the enemy has him, fuck, he’s still going to die and it will all have been for nothing, the fight, the struggle and he won’t see 13 anymore, and… and…

The girl is bandaging him, holding him still with her legs, and he grunts as she ties the bandage tight to stop the bleeding, a ragged sound he suppresses almost as soon as it gets out. He turns his head towards her, and he can just barely make out her concentration, the furrowed eyebrows.

Her tongue is sticking out.

He’d laugh disbelievingly if he had the energy. What in the world is this girl thinking? He wants to ask her, but he can’t make the words pass through his throat. Instead he concentrates on breathing, painfully, ribs twinging like someone is knocking on them lightly with a hammer, his chest tight. And she is still warm, so, so warm - he’s been colder than he is right now but it’s hard to remember when. It’s with that thought of warmth that he slips back into unconsciousness, a blanket dragging over his senses until he’s back in that unthinking, muffled blackness.

When he wakes up again, it is leaning against the cold wall, and he is still done, so done with everything, with this mission, with Uthragor, with that girl… but he has to move. He has to fight. That he knows better than anything else in his life. He has to catch up, he has to stop thinking about why he is alive, he is barely hanging on by the edges of his fingernails onto sanity. 

He’ll think about why another day.