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i'll be here (so please don't leave me)

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Bamba tries his best to avoid showing too much emotion - around everyone, but especially the other Ryusoulgers. As it is, he barely shows more emotion around Towa. His brother knows that he loves him, he just tends to show his emotions and how he feels in ways that are different than other people. He's not vocal about it, rarely smiles (and when he does, it's almost always at Towa) and is just generally very stoic and reserved.

There are times where that goes out the window, where Bamba is anxious and panicked, but he's gotten good at hiding it. After all, he's the older brother, and if he's scared or panicking, then Towa certainly will be, and most of what he does is to make sure Towa is happy, healthy, safe and can take care of himself. That means he has to be the stoic older brother who doesn't get scared, and can keep his cool in stressful situations. Despite that, Towa's very good at reading him. He supposes that has something to do with the fact that, for the most part, Towa didn't grow up with other people around. It was always just him - Master for a while, but then he left, and it was just the brothers. After Master left, so did Bamba's trust in other people, for the most part. He couldn't count on other people to look out for him and Towa, couldn't trust them not to get his hopes up and then leave, because it felt like everyone had. Mother and father died, then Master took them from the village because no one wanted them around, and then Master left, just disappeared without a word.

Towa was all he had, and he was all Towa had.

Bamba would never, ever say he regretted being the one to raise his younger brother. Although he can be childish, and Bamba acts annoyed with it, he does like seeing his baby brother act more like a kid. Towa knows when he needs to be responsible, doesn't slack on training or goof around when it's inappropriate. He's a good swordsman, and while he relies a little too heavily on his speed, trying to hit faster and get more hits in than the other person, rather than any real technique, he still knows what he's doing, and it makes Bamba proud. He can remember when Towa could barely hold a sword, would complain it was too heavy, only to turn around and refuse to give it up when Bamba said he could stop.

In a lot of ways, Towa is his one weakness, or at least the most obvious one. It's part of why, while Towa was growing up, that Bamba could be sort of... distant. Especially after Master left. He made sure Towa could take care of himself, could look after himself, but didn't want to risk someone trying to hurt him, knowing that it would kill Bamba if his younger brother was hurt just to try and get at him or something. He also wanted Towa not to rely on him too much, just in case something happened to him and Towa was left alone. He'd do his absolute damnedest to make sure that never happened, but... just in case.

He's never, ever let himself think about the possibility of Towa being taken away from him, of succumbing to injuries because Bamba hadn't taught him enough, hadn't taught him well enough.

When it came time for the Ryusoulger's to be needed, properly, Bamba was conflicted. Having help is certainly not a bad thing, because it means more people watching their backs. Even if he doesn't trust them, they've clearly been well trained, and he trusts them to have his back, to have Towa's.

But Towa clicks with them a little faster, and Bamba's not quite sure how to feel about it. He's happy that it means Towa gets to act his age a little more (he's the youngest, still several years younger than Koh and them, but closer to their age than they are to Bamba's) but well... it's just been him and Towa for years. He's not sure he can really let other people in. Not sure he can let himself get close to them out of fear they'll just leave.

And then Towa gets hurt, and Bamba doesn't know what to do.

This isn't like when he was poisoned by Sanae's Minusaur, when they all ended up poisoned. They fixed that (well, Koh and Melto did) and Towa was fine after being given the antidote. He'd still been tired, slept about twelve hours, but Bamba couldn't blame him, had just let him sleep (and okay, if he was watching Towa sleep, he wasn't being creepy. He'd just never been so close to losing him, losing the only family he has left.)

No, this time he's honest to god hurt, and Ui's father had been forced to call his doctor friend for help, because none of them knew how to handle the injuries Towa had sustained.

They weren't even sure it was a Minusaur. All Bamba knew was that Towa had called them, all of them, in pain, and when they got there, Bamba's baby brother was unconscious and bleeding heavily. If he's honest, he barely remembers anything after that. He was so focused on Towa that he barely notices that Melto's trying to stop the bleeding, barely notices Asuna carefully picking Towa up and just follows them like a lost puppy, because his baby brother is badly hurt.

Koh and Asuna go back out after Tatsui-san says he's called his doctor friend, that he'll be there soon. If it was a Minusaur or the Droidon, they'll find out, and Bamba has to leave it to them, because he's not sure he's going to be able to let Towa out of his sight until he's sure, one hundred percent sure, that he'll be okay.

He tries to stay out of their way, because he's not sure he'll be of any use at the moment.

Bamba knows how to deal with injuries, has always been the one to patch up Towa's scraped knees and torn up palms when he falls. He'd bandaged more cuts and scrapes than he cares to think about, from Towa being generally clumsy from time to time, to training accidents. This is different though, and Bamba's completely out of his depth. Towa looks like he's been beaten, badly, and it doesn't feel like it was a Minusaur. It feels like someone, a human, beat Towa up.

Towa can be an absolute little shit sometimes, but he's a good kid. He has a good heart, a better sense of justice than Bamba has. Bamba, who's still willing to kill the person a Minusaur was created from if it really comes down to it, because the needs of the many out weight the needs of the few - and then Towa, who had agreed with his big brother because it was the only opinion he knew, but then he made friends, and he'd changed his mind, and Bamba's proud of him, but it still worries him. Towa, who wants to save both the many and the few, who loves all animals but especially dogs, who can't sit still and is impulsive, and that's what worries him.

It's also just concerning. While Towa is more proficient with a sword, like they all are, he can hold his own just fine without a weapon. Bamba's always told him that the strength they have is to fight the Druidon and Minusaurs, but that if someone were to attack him - even just a normal human - to fight back. Don't start the fight, but finish it. If you're defending yourself then it's fine. Towa understands that, and it's happened a few times. Normally the other person - usually just some drunk bastard trying to pick on a kid - gets one lucky hit in to start the fight, and then they can't touch Towa again. He might rely on his speed and agility a bit too much, but it is a strength of his and it usually means he comes out of fights less injured, simply because no one can touch him, or at least they catch him less often.

This doesn't feel like that's what happened, and it scares Bamba because he doesn't know what happened, can't know until Towa's awake, or if Koh and Asuna find out somehow.

When Tatsui-san's doctor friend arrives, Bamba finally feels himself relax a little.

"It looks worse than it is."

Never before had he been so glad to hear those words.

Towa requires some stitches, but nothing is broken and he doesn't appear to have a concussion nor any head wounds (aside from a superficial cut near his hairline that's fine with just a bandage.) He's not breathing funny, so his ribs are probably bruised, but not cracked. The doctor doesn't ask any weird questions, which is nice, just points out that Towa seems to be running a little warm - which Bamba says is normal for him - and to keep an eye on that, just in case. Other than that, just to let Towa rest and that he'd be back in about a week and a half to check on the stitches and remove them.

Towa would be fine.

It isn't until Tatsui-san walks the doctor out that Bamba lets himself practically collapse onto the floor next to the couch where Towa is laying. He knows Ui and Melto are still in the room, that Tatsui-san will be back any minute and that Asuna and Koh could return any time as well, but he can't quite bring himself to care.

"Bamba?" Ui sounds hesitant, like she's not sure if she should try disturbing him. Bamba doesn't react, instead brushing some of Towa's hair aside, letting his hand rest on his brothers head.

He'll be okay.

"Towa's the only family I have." Bamba says.

He's not quite sure why he says it, but he feels like he owes them at least some explanation as to why he's so hesitant to trust them, why he's so protective of Towa. "Our parents died when he was young. We had Master for a while, but I'm the one who raised Towa, mostly. I can't lose him, too." Ui lets out a little distressed sound, and Melto just lets out a quiet "Oh..."

He doesn't want their pity - doesn't think they'll pity him - but he feels like they need to understand it, and he thinks they do.

No one says anything for a while. When Tatsui-san comes back, he must notice Bamba sitting on the floor beside Towa, but doesn't say anything. Probably decided he knew Bamba would refuse to move so he wouldn't even bother trying. Ui and Melto both go about doing their own things, Ui mumbling to herself sometimes while she's editing a video (or something) and Melto reading a book and making notes on some paper.

No one says anything, but Bamba would say it was anything but quiet. It's a comforting in a way, which surprises him. He can hear Melto and Tatsui-san both turning pages of their books and writing things down. Ui's mumbling isn't annoying as it once would have been, and even if she wasn't mumbling to herself he can hear the clicking of her on the computer. Towa is quiet, but Bamba wouldn't expect him to be making noise.

When the front door opens, breaking the ambient noise of the room after... after how long, Bamba couldn't tell you. Probably an hour or so, at least, if the cramping in his legs is anything to go by. When the door opens, everyone but Bamba looks up. He glances over, but he's hardly taken his eyes off Towa the entire time.

Asuna and Koh don't look any worse for wear, but neither looks happy either. Koh looks worried, eyebrows furrowed, and Asuna just looks straight up pissed off.

"What did you find?" Melto is the first one on his feet, studying abandoned as he hurries over to his friends.

It's apparently the wrong thing to ask, because it sends Asuna on a fuming, rambling rant that nothing of them can really understand. Koh seems to know what she's trying to say, if his sigh is anything to go by, but Melto just looks lost.

"Asuna, calm down." Koh says, much more patient than Bamba would be.

He waits for her to huff and her cross her arms, but stop rambling, before he speaks himself. "We found who hurt Towa."

Bamba's head snaps up so quickly Koh almost winces.

"It wasn't a Minusaur." He says, slower than he normally would, like he's trying to put off saying more for just a few extra seconds. "We split up to see if we could find anything faster, and when I couldn't find anything I went to find Asuna, since she wasn't answering me." Asuna has the decency to look a bit sheepish about that, but there's no heat to Koh's words.

Then she looks angry again, and sits down before saying "it was just two idiots."

Bamba almost asks her to repeat herself, to make sure he didn't mishear that, but she continues before he can.

"I overhead two jerks telling their friend about picking on a puppy earlier in the day, and I was going to give them a piece of my mind anyway, because who picks on an animal?" She huffs again, and shakes her head to get herself back on track. "Anyway, before I could say anything, one of them started laughing and said something about a 'brat in green' trying to protect the puppy and how they beat him up instead."

Bamba looks back at Towa and lets out a small sigh. Koh says something else, but he doesn't quite hear (something about Asuna beating up the assholes who hurt Towa,) too busy watching Towa again.

That's just like Towa though, to end up getting hurt because he was trying to protect a defenceless animal. It doesn't make him feel any better, but at the very least it hadn't been a Minusaur, and it hadn't been someone purposefully searching out Towa to hurt him (Gaisorg immediately comes to mind, but he doesn't want to think about that right now.)

He starts listening again when Koh asks Melto about Towa's injures. Hearing it reinforced, that it looked worse than it was and Towa would be fine after some rest, if a bit sore for a few days, makes him feel a little better. A glance over at Melto and Koh makes him think Melto made sure that Bamba could hear him, because he knows Bamba needs to hear it again. (Which in and of itself is a little odd, because it's not like he's spent a lot of time with them. Most of the time he has spent with them, they're paying attention to Towa, because his brother is brighter and more talkative than he is. Then again, in this very specific situation, maybe it's just obvious that he needs to be reminded that Towa will be okay.)

Eventually everyone moves onto doing their own things. There isn't anything they can do about the people who had hurt Towa, though Asuna assured them all she'd roughed them up some and almost certainly scared them. No, there isn't anything they can do except wait for Towa to wake up. So, that's what Bamba does.

At one point, Tatsui-san offers him a book, just so he'll have something to do. He didn't expect to actually read much of the book, half expected himself to just stare at the pages pretending to read, but it ends up being more interesting than he'd originally thought. He's not quite sure how much time has passed, but he's certainly not expecting it when Towa let out a quiet groan, which causes him to jump a little.

Bamba doesn't immediately jump up and start asking Towa if he's okay - that would be too out of character and probably just freak Towa out - but instead, sets the book he's reading aside and waits to see if his brother is actually waking up or just making noises in his sleep. It's unlikely, but possible. Towa's usually a very quiet sleeper - he doesn't snore, doesn't sleep talk or mumble. Most of the time he barely moves, and if Bamba wasn't used to that, it might freak him out sometimes. As it is though, Towa will sometimes make little noises when he's running a bad enough fever and he wouldn't be surprised if the same went for when he was badly hurt.

He reaches out to rest his hand on Towa's forehead, brushing his fringe aside and is pleased to see Towa isn't running a fever. He's still a little warm, but he's always run a little warm, so it's nothing new or worrying.

It's a few more minutes before Towa opens his eyes, and Bamba waits patiently, resting his hand on the top of Towa's head.

"Argh..." Towa's face scrunches up, and he has to blink a few times before he properly opens his eyes. "Niisan?"

"I'm here," Bamba assures. "You're okay."

Towa lets out a quiet whine, like he's trying not to show he's in pain, as he tries to adjust himself on the couch they'd put him on. Bamba removes his hand from Towa's head and helps him sit up, when it's obvious that's what he's trying to do. He props Towa up with a pillow against the arm of the couch and watches his little brother. He doesn't fret, because that's not what he does, but he watches for any signs that Towa's in a lot of pain, or that anything is bothering him. Towa clearly notices though, because he smiles (or tries to; it turns into more of a grimace) and tries to assure Bamba that he's fine.

"I'm okay, niisan. I mean, I'm sore, but I'm okay." He doesn't try and get up, doesn't try and prove he's fine and Bamba's glad. Towa has to be hurting and he doesn't want him to try and push it.

"Do you remember what happened?" Melto asks, and Bamba turns around to look at him. He's the only other person in the room, has been for quite a while. Tatsui-san disappeared a while ago (to do some work things, he'd said) while Ui had dragged Asuna and Koh out to go buy groceries for dinner. Melto's been rather quiet the entire time, but that's a nice change. Almost every other time he's forced to spend any length of time around the other three Ryusoulger's, they're loud. Melto's the quiet one though, and it was surprisingly easy for Bamba to forget that he was still in the room. Normally he finds himself hyper aware of the people around him, and almost forgetting the blue Ryusoulger was there is less to do with him being quiet and more to do with the fact that Bamba actually kind of trusts him, which is odd to admit, even if it's just to himself.

Towa's fingers start tapping in his leg while he thinks, face scrunched up a little in concentration. "I went for a walk without niisan, and found a couple of jerks picking on a puppy." He frowns then, looking from Bamba to Melto and then back to Bamba. "I didn't want to fight them, I just wanted them to stop hurting the dog." He sounds a little desperate, trying to make sure Bamba knows he didn't try to get into a fight, and Bamba assures him it's okay. Towa looks relieved, relaxes a little, but then he grimaces a little again.

"I don't really remember what happened after that. I vaguely remember calling everyone?" He looks down at himself, noting the bandages. "I'm guessing they beat me up?"

"Best we can gather, yeah." Melto says, moving closer to them. "Asuna and Koh went out after we got you back here. Asuna said she found them gloating, beat them up a little herself." Towa snickers a little at that, which is definitely a good sign.

Melto then proceeds to give Towa a breakdown of his injuries, a roundabout way of telling Towa to take it easy and not push himself, lest he end up hurt worse. Towa mostly just ends up staring at Melto, not quite spacing out, but not really listening either, Bamba can tell. Melto seems to catch on as well, and sums it up with "just be careful. We don't need you tearing your stitches," before leaving the brothers alone.

It's quiet for a minute, Towa still sort of taking everything in, and Bamba not quite sure what to say.

"'m sorry," Towa says quietly, breaking the silence, if only just.

"For what?" Bamba asks.

"If I scared you." Ah. It must be a bit more obvious than he hoped it was. Then again, the others seemed to realize it too, so maybe it should have been more obvious that it was obvious.

"You did," Bamba admits, because he doesn't think he can hide it now, nor does he really want to lie to Towa about it. "Until Tatsui-san's doctor friend said it looked worse than it was, I... I was really scared I was going to lose you." Bamba's almost surprised at how quiet his voice is when he says it. He doesn't want to burden Towa with that, but... Towa's not a little kid anymore and sometimes he needs to remember that.

"I'm sorry," Towa says again, and... maybe right now isn't the best time to remember Towa isn't a little kid anymore, because he looks so tiny right now. Then again, Bamba's pretty sure he's always going to see Towa as a kid, not because he's childish but because Bamba's the one who raised him, and Towa will always be his little brother.

"You did nothing wrong." Towa opens his mouth to try and argue, but stops before he can actually say anything. Bamba isn't glaring, but he's not going to let his brother put himself down. "It would be more concerning if you'd seen someone trying to hurt an animal and didn't do anything." Towa nods a little, the bare minimum of movements. He's trying to hide that he's in pain. Bamba looks around for the painkillers he knows Tatsui-san left in the room earlier, for if Towa woke up and needed them.

He gets up to get them, and some water - Towa makes a slight noise of confusion, but doesn't ask what he's doing or try to get up. He let out a little "ah," when Bamba returns with a glass of water and bottle of pills and the fact that he doesn't try and protest the need for them makes Bamba think he's in more pain than he's letting himself show. Once he's finished with the water, Bamba sets the glass aside and crouches down by the couch, so he's more at eye level with Towa.

"Get some more rest. We can talk more later." Towa doesn't argue, so Bamba helps him lay down again, frets maybe just a little, which makes his brother laugh while he's trying to get comfortable. When he's done, Bamba picks up the book he'd abandoned on the floor earlier and move to sit on the chair near the couch. He still doesn't really want Towa out of his sight yet, but he's a little more relaxed than before he woke up.

It's a few minutes before he hears a quiet "niisan?" and looks up.

"Hm?" Towa doesn't answer immediately, so Bamba almost thinks he's fallen asleep before he can answer.

"Love you." It's quiet, mumbled and Towa is very clearly just about asleep when he says it, but it makes Bamba smile none the less.

"Love you too, little brother," He says, looking back down at his book. "Get some rest. I'll be here when you wake up."