When Edge had first met his new “partner,” he’d been skeptical. The skeleton didn’t look like a criminal. He was tall and without a single scar on his pristine white bones. All the skilled “negotiators” he’d accompanied before had at least one mark from a situation that couldn’t be talked out of.
When he’d checked Stretch, Edge had been even more suspicious. He’d never seen anyone with less HP than his brother reach adulthood, but somehow Stretch managed to ingratiate himself enough to one of the most powerful families in the city with only 5 HP. Edge didn’t care how good at math he was, the idea of putting oneself at risk like that seemed practically suicidal.
And his new job was to protect this crazy bastard. Lovely.
As soon as they were alone, he’d laid down a single, simple rule. He didn't care what the Boss said; Stretch wasn’t ready for a fight. If things did go south, he would duck and cover until Edge had taken care of it. The bastard had smiled like he was in on some joke that Edge didn't understand, but he agreed, so Edge decided there was no point in arguing any further.
The months working together had only cemented the idea that Stretch was a crazy bastard. Unfortunately, he was also charming, funny, and surprisingly intelligent. It had been a very long time since anyone had seen Edge as anything more than a hired goon, so it was refreshing to have Stretch consult him when he was planning meetings. Stretch might have been good with people, but he still didn’t bother to count the exits in a room.
For all Stretch’s smug little smiles, Edge had been right about one thing: Stretch wasn’t ready for a real gunfight. So when he stepped in to try and protect Edge, he only managed to get two shots in before a bullet tore through his shoulder. Edge had quickly abandoned his plan to negotiate with Muffet’s representative, instead opting to grab Stretch and jump out the nearest window.
He was lucky he’d only broken his ankle. Pushing through the pain to focus on sending healing magic into a mortally wounded colleague was fairly common, but it was always more difficult when his hands had been damaged. Thankfully, he was able to keep Stretch stable on the way to the hospital.
Since then, Edge had been curled up in one of the most uncomfortable plastic chairs he’d ever had the displeasure of encountering. Black coffee had sustained him up until now, but Edge wasn't sure that he could last another day like this. Red visited him once, then promptly decided that he had other places to be.
So, Edge was watching intently when Stretch finally opened his eyes and stirred. He shifted a little, leaning closer to Stretch even as he harshly glared at him. “It’s about time you woke up.”
Stretch blinked, his eyelights still a little hazy from the pain medication. He smiled at Edge, his arm twitching to reach out for him. “Heeey. How’re you doin'?”
“Better than you are. Stay still.” He pushed Stretch’s wrist back down onto the bed, only letting go when the other skeleton obediently went limp underneath him.
Edge sat back in his own seat, waiting. Stretch was looking at him, that dazed little smile still on his face. He just kept staring, looking at Edge with an emotion that he couldn't quite place. He didn't make any jokes or sarcastic remarks, so Edge figured that he was going to drift off soon enough. He was clearly fine for now, so there was no point in staying. Edge’s decision to leave definitely didn’t have anything to do with the strange feeling in his chest that only seemed to grow under Stretch’s gaze.
“Well, you seem to be doing all right. I have to go report, I’ll be back in a couple of hours.” Edge stood stiffly, resisting the urge to pop his spine. He shrugged his leather jacket back on, idly noting that he would need to try and wash the marrow stain off as soon as possible.
“Wait.” Suddenly Stretch had leaned forward, his fingers tangled in Edge’s sleeve. “Please don’t go.” It sounded far too small to have come from the monster Edge knew.
He turned around, and his soul dropped. Stretch was looking at him with pure desperation. The look on his face was eerily reminiscent of the way those wide eyes had stared at Edge as he was bleeding out, and Edge involuntarily turned his skull to look for the source of Stretch’s fear.
That seemed to snap Stretch out of it, a soft orange blush creeping over his cheekbones as he let go. “I just—I mean, it’s nice having you here. I’m not a, uh, big fan of hospitals.”
Edge blinked, staring in shock. Stretch had actually stumbled over his words. Even when he was drunk, he had still spoken clearly to Edge. He was embarrassed now, wincing in pain as he slowly lowered himself back down.
Edge couldn’t very well leave Stretch like this, scared and in pain. Not when he had asked for company like that. He moved to help Stretch lie back down, mindful of his injured side.
Once Stretch seemed comfortable, Edge spoke. “I can stay with you until you fall asleep.”
Stretch’s smile broadened, and Edge had to look away for a moment. His voice was still soft, but there was an undeniable joy in it when he answered. “I’d like that.”
Edge most definitely did not blush as he sat down again, dragging the chair even closer to Stretch’s bedside. He also did not hold Stretch’s hand until he fell asleep, his thumb rubbing soothing circles over the bones as he kept watch. He absolutely did not wait for another hour to make sure Stretch was really asleep, or tuck another blanket over him as he left. He was a calm, collected professional who would never doubt that Stretch’s actions were merely a result of too much pain medication; something that he would most definitely never bring up after Stretch was properly healed and released from the hospital.