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Blue’s heartbeat sits in the corner of Zero’s peripheral vision. beat. beat. beat. The cyborg part of him, that part that can never stop doing calculations, counts the intervals. 0.91 seconds. 0.91 seconds. 0.89 seconds. 0.9 seconds. He hates it, normally, that unceasing flow of numbers that travels through his mind, but this once it is reassuring. Blue’s steady pulse is a reminder the he is still here, still alive.

The organic part of Zero, the part that cares far too much for Blue, far beyond the bounds necessitated by any contract of employment, still worries. Has been worrying, ceaselessly, since the moment Blue was thrown from the building.

Since Zero watched him falling, falling, so horribly fast, time simultaneously frozen and merciless as Zero catalogued every second of the drop while unable to do anything. All these years protecting him from harm, from one threat after another, and then— Rushing to Blue’s side, convinced he was dead, hoping beyond hope that he wasn’t, knowing fate was rarely that kind to him. The wretched tears that he hadn’t allowed trying to fill his eyes as he cradled Blue’s hand, not daring to touch more as his implants monitored for any tiny sign of life. And there, there, the tiniest wisp of breath, a faint heartbeat. Not dead. But far, far too close.

And now Zero waits. He’d tried to let them stay through Blue’s surgery, but even his most menacing emoji were not enough to sway the best doctors Imperial medicine had to offer. So he waits. And waits. He drinks far too much horrible hospital caf, and thinks of Blue with every sip. Not that he would be able to stop thinking of Blue otherwise, and not that he needs the caf, but in an absurd way he feels closer to Blue doing it. A substitute there to drink caf for Blue while he can’t drink it himself. He resolutely ignores the way his organic hand shakes. Blue’s heartbeat still pulses on its way, unceasing, unfaltering, but a part of Zero still dreads it stilling, forever, signifying the end. He’s had what feels like forever to do nothing but sit and stare off into blankness of his helmet and think, and his mind still shies away from the thought of what a universe without Blue would be like.

Finally a notification pops up in his helmet. Blue’s surgery is finished. And before he’s even finished reading it, Zero is rushing through the hospital, not caring if it’s indecorous. He’s merely the uncouth alien bodyguard. So what if he barrels over a few doctors and nurses and patients ambling far too slowly along? It’s bound to be what they expect of him, anyhow. He needs to see Blue now. He needs to verify with his own eyes that Blue is still alive. Needs to— Just needs to be with Blue, no matter what. And that’s all there is to it.

Zero skids to a halt in front of Blue’s door, then carefully opens it, finally cautious. Blue lies half shrouded by curtains, far too still and far too pale. But the just barely perceptible rise and fall of his chest reassures Zero, as does the constant heartbeat that still runs to one side of his field of view. Now he slows, walking softly up to Blue’s bedside. Blue is bandaged, and small bruises and scrapes remain, despite the smell of bacta wafting off him, but Zero has never seen a more beautiful sight.

Zero sinks into the chair beside Blue’s bed more shakily than he’d like to admit, his mechanical parts seemingly in full agreement with his organic that they no longer wish to stay standing. Zero strips off the glove covering his organic hand and gently, so, so gently, cups Blue’s hand in his. It looks so small and fragile held within his calloused palm, as if a stiff breeze could blow it, and Blue, away for good.

If anyone can survive this, it’s Blue. Stubborn bastard that he is, he can’t just die and leave the galaxy like this. Zero adamantly tries to blink away tears, but relief and dread couple to make that impossible. At least no one can see beneath his helmet. Zero closes his fingers around Blue’s, still careful, but desperately needing to hold on. As if he can physically hold Blue here, hold Blue with him, through sheer force of will.

Blue will be fine. Zero’s sure of it. He tells himself he’s sure of it, anyway. As long as he sits here and holds Blue’s hand, watches Blue’s heartbeat, everything will be fine. No other outcome is allowed.