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Higgs had just completed another delivery when his eyes start watering. 

 

He almost doesn’t realize it. It’s been a while, he’s not as sensitive to chiral dust anymore, but he soon notices the dirty tears tracking down his face. 

 

He ignores it, of course. He has ever since he dealt with Daddy. He’s got fucking deliveries to complete, he can’t worry about stupid shit like this. 

 

He’s in the middle of nowhere when Fragile teleports in front of him. The surprise, almost running into her, throws him back on his ass. He has half the mind to curse in surprise. He doesn’t even get a chance to get up before she stalks her way over to him. Silent and deadly despite her beautiful, tear streaked face. 

 

Higgs never thought he’d fear that face, but here he is. 

 

Only because his actions led her to come back and end up killing him— breaking him. It’s all his fault. He’d probably still be under Her control if it wasn’t for her. Or if he had actually killed her. 

 

But how could he? He loved her, and he only hopes she did too, at least at some point. It hurts to think about, and that’s the stupid part. This feels familiar

 

How ,” she starts in a whisper, “are you alive,”

 

Higgs scoffs despite himself. “Guess Hell didn’t have a place for me, darlin,”

 

The second all the words leave his mouth, he regrets them. He sounds like he used to, far too sure of himself and snarky at all the wrong times. It couldn’t have been the right thing to say. 

 

She steps over him and his breath hitches. He’s suddenly very, very terrified , despite knowing she could do shit . ‘Not fragile’ his ass. He drags his gaze up and tries to not cover himself up. He feels naked , as if he doesn’t have multiple layers of clothing on. His cuff drags against the ground and digs into his skin when he moves his arm. 

 

This ain’t like last time. He’s no terrorist— Fragile has to know that if she talked to Sam right? Right ? —and they aren’t on any beach. It’s— he’s fine

 

Higgs thinks he sees her eye twitch. Fragile’s hands ball at her sides. “That’s not an answer.”

 

“I’m afraid it’s the only one I have, sugar,” 

 

He meant to hold the pet name, he swears , but it slips past his lips anyway. He just barely stops himself from cringing. 

 

Higgs is still running on no sleep, and he wishes he could just fall back on the rock-littered ground and pass out. Become one with the earth again. 

 

Again ? When was he ever ?

 

She leans down and snatches him by his collar. She doesn’t console his face. 

 

No, instead she punches him. 

 

He’d predicted it but it was still entirely unexpected. Higgs lets his head be thrown to the side. Pain pulses with his heart beat across his cheek. Higgs blinks open his eyes and looks back at Fragile, stars clear from his eyesight. 

 

She looks… horrified . As if she didn’t know she could do that, and also completely unsatisfied. 

 

Was killing him not enough!? Shit, Fragile and Sam both humiliated him, broke him down to nothing, and she has the audacity to be unsatisfied? He’s tempted to ask for more, taunt “ is that it ?” But maybe she really would kill him. Amelie wouldn’t be able to bring him back then. He reaches up to grab the wrist that’s holding him up, though not to pull it away, he makes no effort to do that. 

 

“What is wrong with you?”

 

“How long are you going to ask questions before you realize you’ll never get an answer you want?” He asks instead of answering. It would’ve been a loaded answer. What isn't wrong with him. 

 

She brings her hand up again and Higgs flinches despite himself. But her hand is open. Higgs’ eyes flutter when she places her hand on his hair, sliding it down to rub at the red of his injured cheek, thumb pressing into a forming bruise under his eye. 

 

Higgs blinks. 

 

“I hate you,” Fragile says. 

 

Higgs can’t help himself, he laughs until his chest hurt. This is what he’s missed between them two. No level of DOOMS or hours on the beach with Her could ever compare. 

 

“You could’ve teleported away by now…”

 

He’s still laughing softly when he replies, “I can’t , honey,”

 

She blinks, mouth opening before closing. “You… what?”

 

“I can’t! You killin me, Sam connectin’ America and isolating Her beach, fucked me up good! I can barely see BTs.” He doesn’t mention Mekal— he’s growing big, maybe about the actual size of an adolescent lion now—only half because he’d forgotten. He doesn’t know how she’s take to him still being able to conjure catchers. “Just like old times, hm?”

 

She turns her head down to the straps around him. Even with the odradek— that’s nearly useless without a BB —she recognizes they’re the same ones Sam has. She sees the Bridges’ UCA patch under his shawl. 

 

She squints her eyes and sees the blue glowing cuff. Her eyebrows raise in realization. “You work for Bridges.” 

 

She can’t believe it, it seems. Did Sam tell her anything when they were at Mountain Knot?

 

“I sure do. You just caught me right after a delivery—oof!”

 

Fragile dropped him, still looking bewildered. “I can’t believe it.” She says to herself, “Bridges actually hired a terrorist.”

 

“Hey!” Higgs defends, getting up, “ex-terrorist? What’s the fucking point if the extinction’s on hold?”

 

Fragile turns around and looks at him. Her brows are creased and she looks disappointed . It nearly makes him stagger. 

 

That’s where you’re priorities are?”

 

Higgs takes a moment to think, “Er— no, not— no .”

 

Fuck , none of this is turning out right . It feels like there’s one small thing wrong and it’s fucking everything up, but he can’t place what . What could be wrong? Other than everything different from a year ago for him. 

 

So much has changed; not just between him and Fragile, which probably hurts the most. He’s powerless now, back at square one without an actual company of his own. Now he’s one of Bridges dogs with a short leash. Everyone hates him at Bridges— they have to, why wouldn’t they? He tried— and somewhat succeeded— to kill Sam, fucked with their entire operation… there’s no reason they should have any compassion for him. Has anyone ever cared about him?

 

“I have to go,” she says suddenly, but before she could teleport away, Higgs grabs her arm. 

 

“Wait.” He says. 

 

“For what?”

 

Higgs wants to let go of her, but he’s afraid she’ll teleport the second he removes his hand. It’s now or never, Monaghan; dont fuck this up. 

 

“I— want what we had. Before… before I fucked it all up.”

 

Isn’t admitting that you have a problem the first step to fixing it? If so, then why does Fragile just… stare at him. Her face is blank, no crease in her brow, no set jaw. 

 

“...I have to think about it,”

 

And then she’s gone. 

 

What the fuck!? That’s not— that is not how it’s supposed to go. Who is she to not immediately accept his attempt to reunite their friendship? She’s wanted it all along, she was the one to always want to be friends. 

 

Higgs lets out a loud snarl and kicks a rock as far away from him as he could. He brings his gloves hands to his hair and tightens his hold, but doesn’t pull. Higgs blinks away tears of frustration. 


“Jesus Higgs! What the hell happened?”

 

He’d almost forgotten about the bruise quickly forming under his eye. He barely feels it, his bone-deep exhaustion and the trek back to the private room numbed him. 

 

Sam himself is looking quite refreshed . His hair is still wet from the apparent shower he’d taken. 

 

He presses a finger into the bruise. He winces. “It’s nothing,”

 

“What happened?” There’s no question of you wanna talk about it? , only direct, commanding words. 

 

“It’s nothing ,” he reaffirms. 

 

“Higgs—“

 

Sam .”

 

He walks past Sam to head toward the shower, but he’s stopped by being yanked back by his hood. He bares his teeth like an animal at Sam when he has the audacity to look angry himself. 

 

“The fuck’s up with you today?”

 

“Can I fuck you?” He blurts out. He doesn’t even have the energy to laugh when Sam balks at him, mouth open and eyes wide. 

 

“I—“ Sam stops himself from continuing. Higgs has— has had a whole counterargument for whatever Sam could say, he’s thought about this in depth. 

 

“Sure,” Sam says instead. 

 

It’s Higgs’ turn to look surprised. The hell ? Never in a million years had he ever expected Sam to just— agree. Like that

 

“Really?” He squeaks embarrassingly. 

 

“Why not,” he says, so nonchalantly Higgs is almost jealous. “How do you want me?”

 

“On your back,” he replies far too soon. Higgs’ mouth has gone dry and he thinks he might explode. Or pass out; he’d gone from flaccid to rock fucking hard in what felt like under a second. 

 

Sam’s digging under the pillows, “I think I got lube somewhere…”

 

“I’m going to eat you out.” Higgs announces, clearly impatient in the way he undresses. Of course Sam has fuck-all on but his shirt and sweats and Higgs is tangled in straps and fabric and what else. Sam looks speechless, but doesn’t say anything. Maybe he knows that Higgs— that he needs this. Maybe that’s why he agreed so easily. 

 

Higgs doesn’t even top. Ever . He’s just not someone to do so. He can , if he wanted to or if he found the right person, but he never gathered Sam as ever bottoming. Though he sure as hell ain’t complaining. 

 

Sam removes his hand from beneath the shitty pillows, and locks his hands behind his head, looking completely relaxed like Higgs isn’t about to destroy him. 

 

Sam spreads his legs. Higgs gleefully gets between them. 

 

He’s in his own undershirt, striped with black and gold, and black pants. He wants to get more undressed, but he thinks he might go insane if he doesn’t touch Sam. 

 

He’s ecstatic that Sam doesn’t have his aphenphosmphobia anymore. There’s still muscle memory in how he almost never initiates touch, but he’s not completely adverse to it. At first, Higgs was upset, it was such an easy tic to trigger. Sam was always so sensitive to touch…

 

Well… he still is . Higgs can’t help himself when he slides the full of his hands— both of them— up his thighs, feeling his muscles quiver. If Higgs really isn’t going insane, Sam is also letting out these small little noises. Higgs shamelessly drags his gaze up and down Sam’s body. 

 

“Get on your hands and knees,” Higgs says. Sam probably has no idea how good bottoming can feel, how good Higgs is going to make him feel. Sam rolls his eyes but does as he says. Higgs is still basically touching him the entire time. He drags fingertips down his taint, thumbs at his balls. With his other hand, he spreads Sam open for his prying eyes to see. He can still feel lingering moisture from his shower, though he can’t decide if the near full-body blush is from the heat of it, or embarrassment from being in this situation. 

 

Higgs wants to press his teeth into the firm flesh under his hand. He wants to taste Sam’s blood, his flesh, commit the taste to memory. 

 

Entirely without warning, just to surprise him, Higgs presses the flat of his tongue against his asshole. 

 

Sam jumps, and it sounds like he nearly chokes too. Higgs doesn’t hide his smile and he’s sure Sam can feel it. Higgs licks again. With his hand planted on his thigh, he can feel how the muscles twitch below. Sam’s head is planted in the sheets, fists clenched in them as well. With the noises he lets out, he sounds unsure of how to feel. 

 

He keeps licking at him softly, rubbing his hand on his thigh, hoping it’ll ground him a bit. He presses his tongue in, just a bit, and Sam’s breath hitches wonderfully . He keeps prodding in, more every other stroke. He’s kind of drooling, he can feel it drip down his chin in thin rivulets, but he doesn’t want to stop and halt the noises Sam is making. It seems it’s so rare for Sam to make noises— small or not— at all. 

 

He’s torn between continuing his ministrations and pulling back and letting out a snarky comment. He continues, not wanting this to be anything but pleasurable for his dear Sammy… he leans down a bit and drags his tongue up from his sac to his taint, into his hole. He hums when Sam whimpers. 

 

“Get on with it,” he grumbles out, as if he isn’t enjoying it. Higgs knows he is— he’s not just being overly confident, he knows Sam enjoys what he’s doing. 

 

Now he takes the time to pull back and wipe his mouth with the back of his hand. “You really want me to stop, Bridges?” He asks. 

 

“I want you to get on with it,” Sam repeats. A total non-answer, dodging the question like Higgs expected. Higgs almost feels light headed. If he’d been able to sleep at all, he’d thought he was dreaming. 

 

Not that he hasn’t dreamed about this before. 

 

He turns Sam over, back on his back, himself. Not a moment later Sam is wordlessly pressing the lube in his hand. Higgs takes it, he’s not an idiot, spit is not a good lubricant. 

 

He presses a slick finger slowly into Sam and watches his face contort into almost-pain. He vaguely knows how it feels, the uncomfortable feeling despite slowness and preparation. He relaxes soon enough, letting out a sigh. Sam can’t seem too look Higgs in the eye, and it’s almost funny . How such a submissive man could reconnect America like he had. 

 

He supposes that has little to do with it though. Sure, everyone pressured him into doing it but fuck it all. He’s here now , under Higgs. That’s all he wants to think about. 

 

He takes his time at stretching him open. The last thing he wants is to kill any future chance of them doing this if Sam relates this experience with pain. He drips more lube onto where they’re connected and slides in another finger. 

 

He’s got Sam’s lower body in his lap, Sam’s legs wrapped around him. He can feel every minute jolt and quiver he pulls out of the porter. With Sam on his back and Higgs’ eyes glued to his face, he can also see each twitch his face makes. Sam has a sheen of sweat already glossing his features, thin strands of hair are plastered to his forehead. His cock is hard and leaking. Higgs himself is easily harder than he’s ever been in his life. He feels like he says that every time he’s with Sam like this. 

 

Not that it’s difficult . Sam is a man of miracles and wonders. Higgs wonders how his life had led him to this moment… was She part of it? He almost hopes not. 

 

He slides in a third finger, careful of any discomfort appearing on the man’s face. Even though there’s barely any, Higgs continues to take it slow and scissors his fingers gently. Sam lets out a grumble from low in his throat as his face reddens. 

 

“You don’t have to be quiet,” Higgs says, “Sam.”

 

His eyes connect to Higgs for a millisecond before flicking away, “I’m not loud like you.”

 

“Maybe I want you to be,”

 

“I’m not ,”

 

Higgs lets it go, but just barely. Something blooms in his chest when he thinks of what noises he could pull out of him. 

 

Higgs thinks back to when Sam has made him feel like he’s in heaven;  made him believe it was a real place, in this small room between Sam’s arms, around him like that. That— that is how he wants Sam to feel. He wants to be the only person he has to go to to feel like that. He subconsciously drags his fingers against the soft, warm walls inside of him. Sam cringes at the slick noises produced. Then, Higgs feels Sam twitch around his fingers before he even reacts. He gently rubs that spot again, and almost the same thing happens. Sam’s cock, laying on his stomach, leaks pearly drops of precome. It stains the skin there, dotted with hand prints and a trail of thin hair. 

 

Higgs is sure he’s making a mess in his pants too, and he’s craving contact himself. Alas, he steels himself by pressing his fingers tighter into Sam’s hip. The flesh is soft and Higgs wants to brand his fingerprints there just as he’s branded with the dead’s hands. 

 

“C’mon,” Sam wheezes our eventually. He’s probably noticed that Higgs has let him take the reins for the most part, or maybe he’s impatient himself. It doesn’t matter though. 

 

Higgs removes his fingers and slides his pants down. His cock is flushed and hot when he takes himself in hand. He gives himself a few cursory pumps before slathering lube over himself. 

 

He holds Sam’s legs up by the back of the knees and lines himself up. He nearly goes cross eyed when he presses in. It’s— so much more than he expected. Scorching heat envelopes him and Sam’s soft walls and still-tight ring bring molten pleasure lighting up his spine. Higgs barely hears himself whimper helplessly as Sam moans lowly into the side of his arm. 

 

“Sam,” Higgs breaths, breath trembling, “you feel… so good,”

 

Sam’s leg nudges his arm and Higgs lets them drop. There, they wrap around his waist and pull him in further. Higgs barely stops himself from straight yelling out at the sensation, and instead only moans loudly. 

 

“Get a fuckin move on,” Higgs wonders if Sam is grouchy like this because he’s used to being in control in these situations, “I don’t have— all day.”

 

“Yes sir,” Higgs says automatically. His voice is barely above a whimper. He plants a hand by Sam’s side and the other is still on his hip. He uses that as leverage and begins a pace that certainly isn’t gentle. He doesn’t want to go too hard in fear of hurting Sam, but he’s barely able to slow down, it seems like Sam doesn’t want him to slow down either. 

 

He can’t get ahold of his own voice. He wants to be able to shut up and hear what noises Sam makes. Between his rough pants and moans, he hears Sam let out his own breathy gasps. Higgs drops his head, sweat beading on his forehead from the exertion. He bares his teeth to resist the urge to bite Sam. He doesn’t know why he’s holding back on doing it, he probably won’t even break skin. 

 

So he thinks, fuck it, and leans down til he’s mouthing at his collar bone. He hears Sam’s teeth chatter together at the sudden touch. Higgs continues though, opening his mouth and pressing sharp teeth into goosebumped flesh. The sound of their combined moans and skin slapping against skin fill the room. 

 

It’s too much too soon, Higgs finds. He’s already so close in a way only Sam can make him. Higgs thinks he could actually die like this and he wouldn’t complain. He trails a hand up and down Sam’s flanks. He squeezes, presses his fingertips into the flesh whenever the pleasure spikes. They’re both awfully sweaty and it’s almost gross, but Higgs doesn’t want to stop, doesn’t think he could

 

Higgs opens his mouth originally to say something, but the words quickly die on his tongue when he sees how blissed out Sam is. He looks almost relaxed even with a creased brow and hair plastered to his forehead. His entire face is red, and every other thrust his eyelids flutter a bit. 

 

He can’t help himself, he’s barely touched Sam at all with anything more than his hands. So he moves to press their chests together and throws his hands into Sam’s loose hair. He tangled his fingers into the fine strands, pulls until Sam looks at him. 

 

The position has changed only the slightest bit, but something in it makes Sam yelp , rush to cover his mouth, but decides against it half way through. Another thrust and the same damn noise that will drive Higgs insane. Sam’s legs around his waist tighten, bring him closer faster, and who’s Higgs to deny his wonderful, sinful , Sammy?

 

“S—Sam,” he says, just to hear his name, he grits out, “Sammy,”

 

Sam has to stifle a noise himself, “close already? You were desperate for this huh?”

 

And, oh no, there was no possible way he’d be able to take Sam teasing him like that coupled with them fucking like this. He barely masks his strangled moan against Sam’s shoulder as his thrusts stutter. Far too soon, he comes. He wanted to last longer, for this to last forever , but it was purely, truly impossible when it came to Sam being Sam

 

His hips twitch against Sam’s a little more. He pulls his face up, absolutely sure his eyeliner is running if not smeared, and sees that Sam hasn’t come. He’s still mostly hard. 

 

Not that that’s a hard fix. He pulls out and goes to put his mouth around Sam. A hand at his forehead stops him. 

 

“You don’t gotta do that, Higgs,” he says. 

 

A puzzled expression crosses his face, “You didn’t like it?”

 

“Naw. It’s not that,” he says, and Higgs can almost believe himself when it seems genuine, “I did . I really did, I don’t gotta nut every time we fuck.”

 

Then what was the point? Wasn’t the entire point of intercourse to orgasm? It was the finality, the end goal…

 

“Don’t give me that fuckin look! Christ, you are insatiable .” Sam huffs. He sits up a bit. The flush that’s overtaken his face and chest hasn’t lessened at all. 

 

“I want to make you feel good.”

 

“You did,” Sam reassures, “and you do. I promise it’s fine.” Higgs is sure he’d clap a hand on his shoulder if he was anymore used to touch. “Let’s shower, yeah? Come with me for my next delivery.” He offers, standing up and undressing. 

 

“Okay,” Higgs says, eyes glued to how his cum looks dripping out of Sam’s ass. 



Higgs is letting the brutal temperature of the water clean his skin when he feels Sam press a hand to his chest, over his heart. He opens his eyes and looks down at Sam. He’s looking where his hand is. Only when Higgs looks himself does he remove it. 

 

There’s a single handprint. Blackened skin outlining it like a shadow.  -


Things...  weren’t going well. 

 

Sam had to retrieve a memory chips from two, count em, two MULE camps. 

 

It wouldn’t be the fucking worse if they were normal small camps. No, they were large, impressive even. It would be such a pretty voidout…

 

No. No, he can’t go thinking things like that. As bad as MULEs are, he can’t go killing them… or something. 

 

“They’re real people,” Sam had said. “They got families.”

 

“They steal . And are general nuisances.”

 

“Yeah? So are you, that doesn’t stop me from hanging with you.”

 

Higgs looks away. 

 

The first camp, they’d gotten away with barely a bruise. … okay that’s a terrible lie. They may have— Sam had taken down the camp with no lethal weapons, just their fists and a few odd weapons. Sam had mentioned that Bridges had made plenty of weapons either for taking down MULEs or BTs. He’s seen most of them personally used on himself. 

 

Higgs has a headache and the bright, horrible sunlight coupled with the MULEs in general , is no working medicine. That, and he hasn’t slept in… probably over two days, not like that’s anything, he’s gone weeks with the help of chiral overdose, but he can’t be doing this shit like that. He has no chiral matter to feast off, no ability to feast off it in the first place. 

 

He thinks it’s a MULE that had snuck up on them when he hears a noise, but no. It’s only Mekal pouncing on a cryptobiote nest. He’s easily the size of a normal lion now. Higgs sees not-muscles ripple under flesh and “fur” of tar. The gilded mask has a pair of devilish horns that seem to grow with the beast. They’re far away enough from the camp that the idiots can’t easily see them. 

 

“We can’t just… go in there,” Higgs mutters, mindlessly watching how Mekal’s mane of tentacles ripple with each jump and yowl. He’s still got a fair amount of weapons, and ammo on his back. The last camp wasn’t horrible , but he’s not feeling the best of this one. 

 

“We are,” Sam says. And like a fucking moron , starts walking toward the camp. 

 

Higgs sputters and catches up to him, stopping him with a hand on his shoulder. “Are you fucking insane!? There has to be forty men there!”

 

“Yeah? I’ve beaten that many with my bare fists,” he says sounding disinterested. He shrugs Higgs hand off and continues walking. 

 

It’s fine , Higgs thinks. He really can take it, but he doesn’t want someone else to hurt his Sam. 

 

He’s left Mekal behind, he didn’t even mean to bring him in the first place. 

 

It’s when a lucky, unlucky MULE happens to land one of their electro-poles into Sam’s back, that Higgs feels the skin under his gloves tear and bleed from the punch that knock the MULE out. Sam breathes deep, bent over. Sure the uniform is meant for normal trekking, but it sure as hell ain’t meant for electrocution. And Higgs isn’t meant to fight; he’s weak and scrawny. Why do the work yourself when you can have BTs do it all?

 

Except that isn’t possible now, is it? They don’t even have to KO everyone here, but Sam says that’s why he brought a truck, to take all— not even most probably— of their cargo. 

 

Stars burst behind his eyes when a MULE knocks him over the head. He’s grateful he wasn’t zapped, but the mounting pain and misery makes him grit his teeth. He hears the body thump to the ground satisfyingly.  When he turns around, he sees he’s wriggling, tied in sticky rope. He kicks his head maybe harder than he should’ve. 

 

Higgs stills to say his thanks to Sam when he’s thrown against the ground. At the same moment, he sees a MULE brandish a knife, plunging it into Sam’s side. 

 

Higgs calls out, rage and— and something else clouding his vision. There’s blood, blood he’d be glad to see any other time , on the ground, on Sam, on his hands when he pulls the knife out, looking shocked. 

 

Not horrified, just— surprised . That bastard ; he goes tumbling to his knees and Higgs can’t fucking do anything because he’s getting kicked in the damn kidneys. 

 

Higgs almost misses it. Almost misses how the MULE around his screams in horror or how the grass gets saturated with tar. He hears the slopping sounds of paws against the moist ground as Mekal pulls himself up from the depths of the other side. 

 

It’s raining. How long has it been raining? He doesn’t even realize his hood is pulled over his head. Higgs sees Mekal lounge at the MULE behind him, almost in slow motion. He must have fainted before he even hit the ground. 

 

Another scream, and the wonderful beast turns his frightful head to the source. The bloodied knife clatters to the ground, but Higgs doesn’t hear it. He doesn’t hear how Mekal’s chiral claws dig into the ground or how he roars. He barely even hears the rain. 

 

There’s no way Mekal can even consume a human. Not now, probably not ever again. Mainly because some sane part of Higgs commands him not to. That and the beast really just isn’t big enough. That doesn’t stop him though, he can’t see how his mask is clamped around some part of the MULE, but he can see how Mekal’s body writhes and twists as if to tear him apart all the same. 

 

Sam crawls out of the way, still pressing a hand to the stab wound and that just makes Higgs angrier. 

 

“Higgs!” Sam call, looking between the beast and his master. “Higgs, stop ! You’re gonna kill him!”

 

“No he won’t,” Higgs whispers, inaudible to Sam. Or maybe he doesn’t even speak. He doesn’t know. He wants to move , goddamn it, but he can barely move a muscle. He’s paralyzed on the ground, Mekal only able to protect him. Except— Sam begins to get up. He gets up almost like he wasn’t just stabbed , as if copious amount of blood weren’t cascading down his leg, thinned by the rain. 

 

“Stop— stop moving,” he tries. Sam comes over to him and picks him up until he’s sitting up just barely. The sudden movement makes his eyes roll, the whole world seems to twist and bend. 

 

The vertigo makes Mekal hesitate in jumping on the next porter. None of them are dead, but they’re going to be scarred , mentally and physically. The thought makes a crooked smile etch onto Higgs face. 

 

Until one of the MULEs jabs Mekal with their pole. The beast warbles out a roar as it shudders in pain. The sensation transfers to Higgs and he cries out, fisting his hands into stiff fabric of Sam’s uniform. 

 

Sam looks over Higgs, perhaps worried he’d hurt him, but realizes it’s Mekal whose hurt. 

 

“Higgs, you gotta get us out of here. I got the chip, we have to get out of here so your lion doesn’t kill anyone,” he sounds frantic and, ugh this isn’t what Higgs wants. 

 

“He won’t… won’t… kill anyone… can’t…” the panted out words are underlined with Mekal’s growls, like he’s trying to talk too. 

 

How does Sam want him to get them out of here? Sam pulls the both of them up to their feet, or just his,really, as Sam hold him. Higgs tries his best to not heave and instead focus on the decors on Sam’s chest, the quipu. He hears the sharp crackle of static. It sounds almost like a bone breaking, right in his ear. 

-

Sam nearly trips over his feet when he suddenly finds himself in a corridor in Lake Knot, still holding onto Higgs. He lowers them to his knees, how is such a thin man so heavy ?

 

Speaking of him, he’s limp. He’s completely unharmed save for a few developing bruises and a split lip. Sam looks in time to see his eyes roll to the back of his head and his eyes shut. Higgs breathes heavily. 

 

He’s just asleep. 

 

The ruckus caused Deadman to poke his head out of a door. Sam doesn’t look up when his name is called, “Sam—? Sam!”

 

Deadman takes a knee and plants a hand in Sam’s arm, shanking him gently, “what on earth happened ?”

 

Sam turns his head to down the corridor when he hears a huff. It’s Higgs’ beast. The lion takes a step, tar dripping off it, and it’s forelimb trembles when it tries to walk toward its master. Mekal tumbles to the ground, exhausted just as it’s master. 

 

“Shit got fucked,” Sam answers, moving his gaze to Higgs before to look at Deadman. The doctor is surprised, to say the least. Mouth agape and eyes wide. 

 

“You got stabbed, Sam!” He says. 

 

“Doesn’t matter right now. Make sure Higgs is okay first. Can— can you do that?”

 

The orange of Higgs’s cuff sears itself into Sam’s eyes. His own cuff is red. 

 

Something seems to cross Deadman’s face before he closes his mouth and pushes up his glasses. He nods. “I’ll see what I can do.”