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Let Me Return The Favour

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This was supposed to be another quick mission.

Why wasn't it.

This was supposed to be like any other rescue.

Lio had been working alongside the Burning Rescue for a good few months now. It'd been about a year or so since the promare left and since then he'd been helping out at the rescue centre. Eventually deciding to take the tests and make it his official job, alongside his daring dumbass. He loved Galo. He truly did and he never knew such a form of love could exist like this (I mean he loved the promare? He thinks he did anyway. And he loves Gueria and Meis of course. But this was much different). Every morning when he was woken to the sounds of Galos blaring alarm, his boyfriend would give him a kiss atop his head and hop out of bed first, rushing off into the kitchen to start the coffee and bring it to Lio as soon as he could. Knowing that the now former leader (was it former? Technically he still gets called boss regularly and people always come to him for help..) couldn't get up this early and start his day without it. He'd then put Lios clothes out on the bed for him whilst halfway changed himself and the next time Lio saw him he always had either a toothbrush or a piece of toast in his mouth. It was a 50/50 chance which would come first, one was a correct choice and one was not.

By now Lio had also worked a fair share of rescue missions, he knew how it went. They'd get the alarms going off and head to the scene, being told what the issue was and what they needed to do before being dispatched. Sure sometimes there was something unexpected, like the kitten in a tree that was described somehow ended up with two people also stuck in the tree which was at risk of breaking from far up..But they adapted and were able to run with it. It was alright, they knew how to help.

But today wasn't like those days, because for the first time Lio found himself completely frozen. He just stared at what was before him unable to process anything, any sort of action or thought he should have had just left him. And as soon as he got any semblance of reality back all he could do was scream.

----

Galo loved his job! He loved rescuing people, he loved seeing their happy faces and he was beyond happy knowing they would be safe and could live their lives past whatever event had put them in peril. He loved making sure all his friends were ok too! He'd do anything for them honestly. It was in his nature to want everyone around him to be okay at all times, and if they were a little down? He'd do whatever was needed to boost their mood again! Sometimes that meant being silly to make them laugh, daring them to a contest to take their mind off things, sitting to talk things out with them (he was a good listener!..when it mattered), or even giving them space if they just needed to process things.

Some would say he focused a little too much on others and not enough on himself. He'd work himself ragged making everyone around him happy.. And he couldn't fully deny them. After the Promare left he had weeks of working himself to the bone, going out to the wreckage of the city day after back breaking day just to help as much as he could. Someone needs help moving rubble? He's on it! Someone's hurt and needs to be carried to safety? Show me the way!! Your building a new housing area for the ex-burnish to live in? He's already signed up.

It got to the point where Ignis had to get someone to force him home. And even then he'd find a way around it. Sneaking out on days off so he could go assist with some of Lios projects for the ex-burnish. Luckily for him he eventually got some sense knocked into him when Lio told him off for being so blindly helpful. Explaining he couldn't do his best work unless he also cared for himself (which, yes he knew Lio was being a hypocrite with this..But it's fine he told Lio that immediately after). After this he did care for himself a ..little more. And it did help! But he just couldn't tear himself away from helping at every given moment, no matter the cost to himself.

Unfortunately, all of this came to one specific day. A day none of the Burning Rescue would be able to forget.

They'd been called to a fire, of course, which had taken a few floors of a building already. They knew there were people inside and that the time was ticking to get them out so they all sprang into action. Lio was surveiling the lower floors still free of the flames , due to the fact he was still learning. Meanwhile the more experienced members rushed off into the flames, getting whoever they could out of the building before it became unstable. They'd planned this out and they were sure they'd be able to get through it quickly and efficiently. But as Galo searched the building on foot, surveying his area, he heard some distant crying through the thick smoke. It was..quiet. Almost muffled. And naturally his instinct took over, before he could even process it he'd started heading towards the sound , shouting out to see if he'd get a response.

"Is anyone there?! Don't worry we're here to get you out! Burning Rescue never leaves someone behind!"

He rushed through the plumes and made his way to a room which seemed to have caved in slightly, the floor above it engulphed in the fire, spitting it's embers down onto the ground below. And under one of the heavy planks that had fallen was a young woman. She was in tears and looked so tired, desperately holding a hand over her mouth so she wouldn't inhale even more of the toxins. She looked like she could barely hold on.. The sight sent Galo into full rescue mode, nothing was going to stop him helping this woman. As he quickly took in the surroundings he made his way over to lift the plank off her, putting it down and immediately lifting her to her feet. She felt weak..But he knew how he could help. Sure he might get in trouble later but right now he knew what she needed, some clean fucking air.

He took off his own respiratory system to put over her face gently. He could deal with the smoke for a few minutes, he was used to it! Surely being around it so much means he builds an immunity?.. And even if he didn't he knew this woman needed it more right now so she could get through the rest of the smoke filled area.

"Don't worry, I've got you. Your gonna be alright just take some deep breaths and we'll get you out of here quick as can be!"

The woman looks thankful and nods slightly in response, still weak but at least she could breathe now. That's all that mattered! Galo shifted his air tank over one of her shoulders and started leading her out away from the wreckage of the room, when an ominous creaking sound followed by a sudden splitting crack came from above him.

"GO!-"

It was all he managed to shout as he suddenly threw the woman out of the way, getting her out into the hallway just before the full force of the room above came crashing down.

As the woman came too she quickly got to her feet, startled as she looked around desperate for help. The air tank she'd been given was the only thing keeping her conscious as she took initiative and ran off down the hallway to find help.

Galo meanwhile had blacked out for a moment. The room around him was suddenly a haze and he felt a dull horrible ache from his skull. He..couldn't remember what just happened. All he knew is he was suddenly in both tremendous pain, and none at all.

Ah. He thought. The room caved in didn't it?..Yeah that rang a bell. Man he sure hoped that woman got out okay..he's pretty sure she did, from what he recalls she was in the hallway just as he blacked out..That's good. He was glad she made it out okay. Sure she had his air tank and..now it was quickly becoming hard to breathe, but he'd saved her and that's all he cared about right now..well that's not exactly true, he did feel bad for his crew..And Lio..Man they'd give him a right talking to after this huh..it's alright though. Everything's fine..

----

Lio was doing pretty well, sure he didn't have much to do for this rescue but he was doing what he was asked to to his best ability. He'd evacuated a few people left in rooms on the lower floors and had just about gotten to the end of his set when he heard a load crashing from the floor above. Something in his chest tightened..that was Galos floor right? He'd finished the other ones and was on the last set like him-..

That's when he heard a woman shouting for help, her voice was hoarse and she kept coughing, and maybe Galo was right about his burning soul rubbing off on Lio? Because as soon as he heard it he was off, rushing upstairs in his gear to find the woman by the stairs.

Huh.

That's odd?..

Why did she have one of the crews air tanks?

...

Where's Galo.

All of these thoughts were answered..a little too quickly for him to even process, the woman was in tears immediately and begged him to help his crew mate..

"Please i-im so sorry i-i-.. He saved me-...gave me the air tank I j-just accepted but the floor it-..The roof the floor above fell- He's trapped I can't i-i can't do anything please-"

His training had told him to keep a calm, level head in these situations. That it was the best way to sort these things out but-..if he still had the promare right now? He knew he'd have set half the city up into flames at the realisation. Galo was trapped. He was under all that debris and he didn't have his respiratory mask. That idiot had given it away and selflessly saved this woman and he could be- No he's almost definitely badly injured right now.

The next few seconds were a haze, he told the woman to head outside quick as she could before getting the radio line operating, please god reply..Someone please respond.

"Galo?! Are you there? Respond to me right now tell me what happened-"

"Hey what's going on Lio what do you mean?- Has something happened?" Aina responded first, she was immediately concerned at his tone and knew something serious had happened.

"That idiot he's trapped the roof it- the roof caved in he's trapped on the fourth floor! Galo respond to me right now I swear to god!!" The emotion was cracking through each sentence he said, making his voice waver through the receiver.

Unfortunately no response was heard, Lio cursed under his breath and sprinted down the hallway , checking each room till he got to one where the door was left open, and he knew it was the right room immediately-..because he saw Galos hand, that familiar oversized glove left splayed on the ground from under a pile of rubble and broken furniture from the floor above.

He's not sure what happened after that, apparently he screamed into the receiver for someone, anyone to come help him. Tears had started flowing before he could stop them, and he was heaving the larger pieces out of the way, being as careful and quick he could to remove all the debris. He heard Aina and Lucia yelling at their mics. Followed by Remi quickly saying he was on the way. Within a minute he was there helping remove all the debris and finally..finally Lio could see Galos face as they pulled him free of the rubble.

That image would be seared into Lios mind for the rest of his life..Galo was out cold, his eyes shut and mouth open with blood dripping down from his forehead , that normally wild spiky hair had been messed up and hung down across his face, he had gashes through the clothing he wore and deep bruising across his skin. His breathing was almost non-existent, the hoarse light breaths he took only making him inhale more smoke. It was awful. It was something Lio had never wanted to witness and yet here it was, right infront of him.

Remi took initiative and quickly brought Galo over his shoulder, grabbing the currently stunned Lio by the arm and heaving them outside of the building just as the flames started catching outside the room. By the time they were outside Lio finally started to focus on the situation at hand. They managed to get Galo outside before the building started to crumble more behind them. Laying him on the ground so they could quickly check his vitals. I have to help. I have to do something. It was all Lio could think as he went through all of his training, he checked Galos pulse, quickly held a rag over the larger gash on his head and leant in to see if he could hear Galos breaths..but they'd stopped.

All of this reminded Lio of what Galo had told him. How back when Galo had breathed life back into him, beforehand he wasn't sure if Lio would make it. He'd described the way his heart sank, the feeling of utter helplessness before being overcome with a desire to do anything and everything in his power to save him.

Lio had never been able to fully understand this.

The feelings he had that day.

But right now? He knew. He knew every single thing Galo had felt in that moment.

Time to repay the favour huh. He didn't give himself time to think this through before he started applying Cpr, pressing on Galos chest before tilting his head back and breathing the same life into him that Galo had done so long ago.

It took a few tries, and each time it didn't work was agonising. But eventually Lio moved back and suddenly Galo coughed, taking a few wheezing breaths before ever so slightly his eyes opened, they were hazy and unfocused but..they were open. And as soon as they were the floodgates released as Lio started sobbing uncontrollably above him.

"Never do that to me again!! You fucking big hearted idiot-.."

"Oh thank god he's awake- Alright c'mon let's get him to the ambulance.."

Galo had no idea what was going on. All he really remembered was hearing Lio sobbing..? He swears he saw Aina comforting him, telling him it'd be okay. Then he remembers the blinding light of the ambulance..Something being put over his mouth and then..He blacked out again.

It's not over yet.

It's not over and you have to make sure he's okay.

Despite knowing Galo was breathing, this wasn't the same relief Galo had felt last year. Because Lio had been healed immediately..He was safe back then. But Galo? He still had severe injuries , and anything could happen.

It's why he couldn't stop crying, why when Aina told him it'd be okay, he couldn't believe her..He just sobbed and sobbed against her, he wanted so badly to believe it was over now, but it just wasn't. And that hurt more than anything else ever could. That aching, unsure sickness in his heart. It felt like the world around him. His world. Was ending.