Drack couldn’t have been gone for more than five minutes. Okay, maybe it was closer to ten, when he returned to the bar where he had left Scott. Or tried to. A crowd had gathered before the bar, blocking him. He growled. He knew he shouldn’t have left the kid alone at the colony. Humans always seemed to get into trouble when around Krogan too long.
He started to push through the crowd when one sentence froze his world.
“Think we killed the Pathfinder.”
“Let me through”, he roared, shoving krogan to the ground as he hurried to Ryder’s side.
Scott wasn’t standing at the bar anymore. He was lying in front of it, eyes closed.
“Kid.” Drack dropped to his knees beside him. He was glad to see his chest rising and falling. He wasn’t dead. Just unconscious. But what had happened? “What did you do, kid?”
“Fool tried to drink a whole bottle of ryncol”, a krogan laughed behind him.
Drack punched him without taking his eyes off Scott, pleased when he heard him fall to the ground.
“You’re no fool”, he murmured. “He’s the fool. You know better, kid. Even with SAM, you...” No, he was the fool. “SAM, you there? What happened?”
“I’m trying my best but...”
“Get him to Lexi. Now.”
He picked Scott off the ground and took off running, ignoring everything and everyone until he ran up the Tempest’s ramp.
“Scott? Oh, goddess.”
He looked up to the upper walkway to see Peebee staring back at him, her eyes wide and a hand covering her mouth.
“If Lexi isn’t in med bay get her there”, he ordered.
Peebee took off running as he hurried to the med bay, laying Scott gently down on one of the beds when he got there.
“Hold on, kid. Help’s coming.” He placed one of Scott’s hands on his chest before grabbing the other and squeezing. “Just hold on.”
Scott’s eyelids fluttered. It was the first movement he had seen from him since finding him on the floor.
“Drack”, Scott whispered, so low he had to strain to hear. “Happened?”
“You drank an entire bottle of ryncol. Lexi’s on her way. Just stay with me.”
“Did not. Know better. Only drank.” Two fingers on Scott’s other hand separated by half an inch. “This much.”
“Okay, kid. Won’t argue with you right now. Just stay awake, okay?”
“Did too. Old man.”
“Shh. Just breathe, kid.”
“It hurts. SAM?”
“He’s here.” Scott was getting paler by the second. His breath was ragged in his chest. “Stay with us, Scott. Damn it, Lexi. Where are you?”
“It’s alright, kid. Just breathe.”
Scott’s fingers went limp in his hand as his chest fell and refused to rise again.
“No” Drack cried, as the door opened and Lexi rushed in. “No.”
“Drack, step back.” She shoved him aside, Scott’s hand falling from his. “Better yet, go wait outside.”
“I am.” She tore Scott’s shirt open before pulling open a drawer beside the bed. She pulled out a packaged syringe before turning to him. “Go now”, she screamed. “Leave.”
He left but didn’t go very far, pacing the hallway outside as he waited.
News must have spread because he was shortly joined by the rest of the crew.
“Scott’s going to be okay. Right”, Peebee asked, placing a hand on his arm. “Because he looked pretty-“
“Bad. It’s bad.”
“What happened”, Cora asked. “You were just going to visit Vorn.”
“We were. We did. Then we stopped at the bar so I could get some more ryncol. One of my scouts needed to speak to me so I left Scott at the bar to talk to him. He should have been fine by himself.” Why hadn’t he insisted he come with him? He never should have left him alone.
“Drack, don’t blame yourself”, Suvi said. “Scott wouldn’t want you to. He can take care of himself. Remember what you told me?”
“Yeah. But I still shouldn’t have left him.”
“What happened”, Gil asked. “You left him alone and...”
“Scott was unconscious on the floor. Someone said he drank an entire bottle of ryncol.”
“Not possible”, Vetra insisted. “Scott’s smarter than that. He even stays clear of my dextrose food.”
“How long were you gone for”, Liam asked. “Couldn’t possibly be enough time.”
“Not even ten minutes.”
Vetra was right. Scott would never. He knew his limits. And Liam was also right. Ten minutes was not long enough for a human to drink an entire bottle by himself.
“They lied”, he growled. And he would be returning to the colony and finding the truth. Even if he had to burn it to the ground.
“Yes”, Lexi said, stepping out of the med bay. “They did. But more importantly, they lied to Scott.”
“Meaning”, Jaal asked. “How is Scott?”
“Out of danger. SAM can scale back his help. Which means I can ask him what happened.”
“And what did he say”, Liam asked, crossing his arms.
“Scott did drink ryncol. But barely a swallow. He should have been fine. Well, he would have had a migraine tomorrow if SAM refused to help but he’d be fine.”
“They concentrated it”, Kallo said. “Didn’t they?”
“Yes. That small amount had the same potency as a whole bottle. It also contained something else. SAM and I are still working to figure out what. But we do know one thing for sure.”
“They meant to kill him”, Drack growled.
“They did”, Lexi said. “Luckily, you got him back here fast. He should make a complete recovery. Drack?”
“This when you tell me not to go on a rampage to find the bastards responsible?”
“No. Just don’t kill yourself in the process. Burn the entire colony to the ground if you need to.” She turned to reenter the med bay. “Oh and Scott wants to see you.”
He followed Lexi inside and went immediately to Scott’s side. He was glad to see his eyes open and the small smile on his lips. A blanket covered him to his chin with one arm resting on top of it.
“Hey, kid”, he said, grabbing his hand. “You scared me. Probably took some years off.”
“Sorry”, Scott whispered, voice still so quiet he strained to hear. “Don’t have many left, old man.”
“Watch it, youngling. I still have enough to see you reach old age before I die.”
“Naw. Going to outlast me.”
“Almost did. If Lexi hadn’t...”
He didn’t want to consider it. In the short time he had know him, Scott had become more than the Pathfinder to him. More than his captain. He had become family. Scott was as much of a family member to him as Kesh was. In fact, it was Kesh who pointed out that fact to him on one of his visits with her. And since they had rescued Vorn, she considered him family too.
“Hey. I’m okay.”
“Sure you are. That’s why you haven’t moved a muscle since I walked in here.”
“Don’t want to. Comfy.”
“Uh huh.” He let go of Scott’s hand and moved his arm under the blanket before tucking the blanket tight around him. “You rest up. Just cause you act krogan doesn’t mean you are.”
“Don’t act krogan.”
“I’ll tell you what I told Suvi if you promise to listen to Lexi and rest.”
“You might be a soft, squishy human but in here.” He placed a finger on Scott’s forehead. “In here, you’re all krogan.”
“He’s definitely as stubborn as one”, he heard Lexi mutter.
“Thanks”, Scott smiled at him. “Why you worry so much?”
“Because you’re family, kid. You always worry about family.”
“Because you love them?”
“Drack loves me”, Scott singsonged before closing his eyes.
“I do, kid.” He ran a finger down Scott’s cheek. “I really do.”