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A Study in Sleep

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Randal burst into the clinic, half carrying the Host who was soaked in blood and muttering under his breath. He mumbled something to the blind ego who was barely hanging onto him before jerking his head back up to the pristine clinic. “Doc! Hey! We have a problem!” He yelled, his shoes squeaking under him when his footing shifted. He quickly readjusted before either of them fell.

Edward ran out from somewhere deeper in the clinic, a sharp gasp leaving his lips when he saw the other. “What the hell happened?” He rushed to them, trying to assess the Host, but he wouldn't move his hand away from his soppy bandages. Blood dripped off his face in a waterfall, occasionally smearing further across his face when he cowered away from the doctor's hands.

“We were outside with Eric and he just froze up! His eyes started gushing blood and he collapsed for a minute! He hasn't shut up since I picked him up.” Randal’s shirt was also covered in blood, as were his hands. He looked horrified. “I got him here as soon as I could.”

Edward lead the pair to one of the beds, Randal then laid the Host down on it, letting out a grunt when he had to lift the blind ego. He could hear the faint mumbling, it eased his mind. At least the other was conscious enough to form sentences. He quickly rushed to a cabinet and filled a syringe with a clotting agent, then returned back. He stabbed the needle into the other's neck and then pushed down on the plunger. He tried to pry the hand away from the blood soaked bandages again, but the Host wouldn't budge- wouldn't allow him to take away the cloth.

“The Host sees... Blood. So much blood- He didn't mean to. He didn't mean to. He had no other choice.”

Edward sighed gently, pushing the other's hair back and feeling the feverish skin under his hand. The words made him shudder, he hoped to God this wasn't an accurate vision, and closer to an option of the future. “You didn't do anything, Host. Hey. Stay focused.” He kept his voice calm and even despite the frantic mumbling from the man below him. He had to keep a level head. He was debating whether a sedative would help in this case. He froze when he felt a hand reach up and grab at his scrubs with a harsh grip, twisting the fabric in a shaking fist. “Host. Please let go. You're fine. Nothing-”

“He didn't mean to kill them. He cried. He kept crying.” The Host wasn't snapping out of whatever vision he was stuck in. Too caught up as he twisted and turned in the bed. Sweat and blood matted his hair. Suddenly, his hands flew to claw off the bandages and to scratch at his face. His blunt nails shredding the bandage and the skin underneath. “He was forced to. It's only red. He's scared.” His bandage had been pulled completely away from his face, leaving his eye sockets exposed. He whimpered, lost to the present world. He wanted to relieve the pain that was coursing through him, to stop seeing the blood that crashed along the walls of the manor. They were all dead, each one suffering in their last moments, wanting to know why it happened. Their last thoughts trying to figure out what they had done wrong  A figure stood alone, choking on the copper scent and his own sobs.

“Shit! get his hands away from his face!”

Randal jumped to pull the blind man's hands away and pin them to the bed. His wide eyes caught sight of where the Host's should have been. He bit back a gag, but couldn't look away from the other's face. The injuries burned into his brain, and it was haunting. He doubted the image of empty eye sockets leaking blood would ever leave his mind.

The feverish muttering became more frantic, even more so when his hands were ripped from his face and pressed into the bed on either side of his head. The Host twisted and pulled at the hands pressing his wrists to the bed, keeping his own hands away from his face. He cried out, writhing under the surprisingly strong hold. He didn't hear the doctor say something about a sedative. The Host's panicked words eventually boiled away to sobs, no longer struggling against Randal's grip. He came to just as another needle was pressed to his neck and a sedative began coursing through his veins. He turned his head away as reality crashed back to him. His breathing was ragged, uneven and desperate. He could feel the blood on his cheeks and welling up in the scratches he inflicted upon himself.

Edward sighed and bowed his head down slightly in relief. “Host? Are you okay? Are you… here?” He whispered, one of his hands reaching out to card through the matted hair, watching the other relax into the gentle touch.

“The Host… The Host returns from his visions to acknowledge Dr. Iplier’s gaze. He apologizes for his outburst and asks that Randal please let go of him as he is no longer a danger to himself.” The Host murmured, suddenly feeling embarrassed about his actions. He felt very naked without a bandage covering his eyes, he knew Randal must have seen the permanent injuries, and he knew that the other was disgusted with the sight. He fell back into his narrations, fingers still twitching under the grip Randal had on his wrists.

Dr. Iplier and Randal shared a look before he nodded and Randal hesitantly released his hold. There was a gentle, ‘its okay, I got this’ before Randal said something about going to check on Eric before he rushed out.

The Host's breathing slowly returned to normal as the doctor continued to play with his hair. He began to relax fully into the gentle touch. He knew his head should be pounding and that he should be feeling nauseous after a vision, but instead his head just felt fuzzy. “The Host doesn't appreciate sedatives.” He sighed despite himself, his body relaxing into the mattress. He would rather feel the aftermath of his visions immediately, opposed to several hours later when the sedative had worn off.

Edward continued to work the through the blood and gel in the other's hair, a smile grazing his lips at the comment. “Yeah, I know. You were getting aggressive. It was the only option.” He said easily, finally pulling his hand away. “Okay. I'm gonna clean you up now.” He kept his voice soft, knowing that what the other needed more than anything was quite and softness. He grabbed a cotton ball and dampened it with a disinfectant before he began to gently wipe away the blood and sweat, cleaning the wounds as he went. He flinched when he heard the harsh hiss of pain. He murmured his apologies any time he heard sounds of discomfort, trying his damndest to avoid them if he could. Once the blood was finally cleaned away, he wrapped fresh bandages over the other's eyes. “What happened? What'd you see?” He asked after a long moment.

The Host was quiet, or as quiet as he he could be, as Dr. Iplier worked. The only thing to leave his lips were barely audible narrations and the occasional sound of pain, which was followed by apologies from the doctor. He felt the cloth slowly wrap over his eyes and he sighed in relief, the last of his muscles relaxing as his shame was covered. The calm lasted only a few minutes before his body went stiff again. The question ripped through the room and swallowed him whole. “What did Dr. Iplier hear?” He asked instead. What he saw was detailed and painful, he shifted slightly. His hands felt as if there was dried blood on them.

“You said something about someone- some guy- didn't mean to do it… And that there was blood.”

The Host pressed into the mattress, trying to hide from the concerned eyes. He reached up to fidget with the bandage slightly, unsure of how to answer the question now. “The Host doesn't know who it was.” He started slowly, his head snapping away from the other's gaze. His mouth felt dry suddenly. “The man… h-he,” he took a shuddering breath, the emotions welling up in his chest and flooding his fuzzy head, “didn't want to. It wasn't his fault. And he wanted them all to know that. He was so sorry. He cried for them.” Fresh blood bloomed across his bandages at his distress, his hands snapping to his side to stop fiddling with the cloth over his eyes. He was afraid he would rip them to shreds again.

“For who?” Edward asked, his hand on the other's and gripping it to show support. He felt bad for the other. He wanted to stop asking questions, but knew Dark would need answers as it was required to report any visions the Host had to the demon.

“For everyone else in the manor.” The words tumbled out of the Host's mouth before he could stop them. Then, blood and tears began to slip down his cheeks. He felt hands move to wipe his cheeks, his head turning away from the touch with a shake of his head. “It's not- The Host... The Host is scared.” He said softly. “He doesn't know when, o-or how, he just knows it will happen.” His voice cracked gently. “Hell, the Host isn't even sure that it will happen. Maybe it was a possible future.”

Edward smiled gently, noticing the way that the other seemed relieved at the second thought. “Yeah, that's true. How often are your violent visions reality?” He asked, giving a reassuring smile. They sat like that for a while together, with the other keeping his head turned away so desperately. He continued to gently try and get the other to turn his back, making jokes and anything else he could think of. After a few minutes he started to tell stories, stupid ones about the other egos. He was in the middle of a story of when Mike accidentally found Bim and a contestant on his show, both very naked. Then, he heard it. A soft snore cutting between them. “Oh, really?” He said with a smirk tugging at his lips. “My stories put you to sleep?” He chuckled gently. He took a moment to take in the Host's face as he slept, then he reached out to gently to ruffle the other's hair.