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Healing Old Wounds

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     It was early evening and Nightmare's castle was dark and silent. Suddenly, a buzzing sound could be heard as two skeletons fell through a portal, landing harshly onto the floor of the entrance hall. Dust was sitting up against the wall in a pool of blood, shaking in anger and exhaustion. He had cuts littering his upper body and had lost a lot of blood already, but chose to ignore the pain with just a slight grimace and focused on looking around for his teammate.

     Once he caught sight of him, Dust's expression softened. Horror was laying on the floor a few meters away, clutching his right leg and looking a little dazed. His tibia had been broken and Horror was a moment away from passing out from the pain. He definitely wouldn’t be able to stand or walk on his own, but he needed to be healed, so Dust slowly stood up and made his way over to him.

     Once he reached him, Dust noticed that Horror's favorite axe was lying just out of reach of the monster's bloodied hands. He knelt down and slid it over so Horror could grasp it tightly. He muttered a barely audible "thanks" and held it close to his chest, curling in on himself. The soft, broken noise made Dust's anger flare up once again. He wanted to get revenge on the idiot that did this to him, but that would have to wait for now. He had something much more important to take care of right now, so he made himself focus again on his current task.

     "Horror," he said quietly, so as not to cause the injured skeleton a headache, "I’m going to pick you up now since you can’t walk on your own." Horror made a soft groan in acknowledgement, so Dust carefully placed his hands under Horror's spine and knees and slowly lifted him off the ground. The moment he was tucked in Dust's arms, Horror curled into a ball and let himself be carried. They trusted each other with their lives, so Horror stayed quiet, letting Dust take him wherever they were headed, and let his sockets close.

     After a few minutes of slow walking and constant checking to make sure Horror was as comfortable as possible, Dust picked up the pace and spoke again. 

     "I’m taking us to your bedroom. You need to be healed and we both need lots of rest." Horror made a small hum, but otherwise remained silent for the rest of the walk to his room. Once he stepped inside, Dust stopped and nudged Horror with his skull to get the other's attention.

     "We're here," he whispered. "Try to stay awake. I promise I’ll let you get as much sleep as you want once we're done, but I need you to be awake while I heal you so I don’t mess anything up." Horror grunted and opened his eyes, taking in the comforting sight of his room. Dust carried him over to his bed and gently placed him down, being careful to position his leg so it wouldn’t hurt. Horror took a moment to glide his hand over the soft sheets, then sat his axe on the nightstand and looked back up at Dust tiredly. 

     "Ok," was all he said, but that was enough to let Dust know he could begin. Dust took a second to check Horror once more for any minor injuries, but it seemed that he was left out of the fight after the fracture immobilized him. That meant less things to heal, and he was for once thankful that the injury had put Horror out of commission. Dust could still heal just as easily as anyone else, but because he had such a high LV, there was no relief from the pain of bone rapidly reforming and connecting together.

     "Hold my hand and squeeze if it hurts. Tell me if it's too much and I’ll stop," he said as he looked up at Horror's face, palm of his left hand up to solidify the offer. Horror took it in his right and lowered their joined hands so they rested on the sheets next to his hip. He sucked in a breath, let it out, and then said, "Ok, go ahead."

     Dust rested his right hand lightly over the fractured tibia and began to heal it, looking up every so often to gauge Horror's expression. Other than the slight tensing and twitching of his phalanges, there was no sign showing he was in pain. Horror hadn’t said anything yet, so he continued until all that was left was a faint line where the break had been. He then cut off his magic and lifted his hand to give Horror’s leg some room.

     "Test it," he said, and Horror swung it back and forth a little, pointing and flexing his foot as he went. Dust's hand was free now, so he sat himself on the bed next to Horror and watched as he stilled and focused his attention back on Dust. "Well?" Dust asked expectantly.

     "It’s fine, thank you," he said, and then he let his eyelight drift along Dust's body. He suddenly tensed and got a very stern look on his face, which had Dust wondering if he had forgotten something. Horror then leaned in close to stare at him and, after a moment, sighed.

     "Dust, heal yourself," he stated plainly, leaving no room for argument. Dust let out a deep, resigned breath and turned his attention to himself. Now that he wasn’t busy healing Horror, the pain was brought back to the forefront of his mind. He got to work removing his torn up shirt, then tossed it to the side to be thrown away later. He had many cuts decorating his ribs, each one coated in half-dried blood, as well as a deep slash on his sternum. He retrieved a cloth and some water from his inventory and began cleaning the wounds. Once that was taken care of, he glanced up at Horror.

     "Hey, uh," he began, starting to feel unsure of himself. Seeing Horror's questioning gaze, he continued. "Could you hold me while I heal?" The request was quiet, but just loud enough to be heard. Horror nodded and shifted so he was sat behind Dust, then reached out and wrapped his arms around him. He rested his chin on Dust's shoulder and rubbed his fingers gently on his femur.

     "Is this alright?" he asked, and Dust nodded. He then got to work, setting his now glowing hands over his rib cage. He hissed out in pain, but Horror's warmth against his back calmed him down. He soon finished his ribs and lightly dragged his fingers over the slash on his sternum, quietly reaching down to grip Horror’s hand. After a few minutes of silence, the cut had closed and the pain was almost entirely gone. He cut off the magic in his hand once again and turned around to face Horror. He looked at him and remembered something important.

     Cupping Horror's face in his hands, Dust asked, "When's the last time you ate?" Horror looked down sheepishly, fumbled with his hands for a moment, and then met Dust's eyes once again.

     "This morning, I think," he said, expecting Dust to get mad at him for not remembering to eat, but all that he heard was a sigh. Dust then gently moved Horror so he was sitting in his lap, cheek against his chest, and rubbed circles in his back. Horror nuzzled him, spending a moment to listen to Dust's soul.

     "Hey, it's ok. I’m not mad, I’m just worried about you. Here, I have some dessert left from last night. Let me feed you." He lifted his unoccupied hand and pulled out a slice of lemon pie from his inventory. When it was held up to his mouth, Horror hesitated.

     "Are you sure? That was your portion and I don’t want you to waste it. What if you need it later?" Horror pressed, but Dust wouldn’t be convinced. He shook his head and pushed it towards Horror's mouth again, and Horror relented. He took a few small bites of the treat before Dust spoke again.

     "It's not a waste if I’m making sure you never starve again. I love you, Horror. You’re my top priority and if it means you get to eat as much as you like, then I’ll gladly hand over whatever extra portions I have saved." Horror sat in stunned silence, then finished the slice of pie. He turned to fully face Dust and wrapped his arms around him.

     "Thank you, Dust. I love you too," he whispered. "I love you so much, so promise me you'll take care of yourself. I can’t handle knowing you’re hurt when all you do is take care of me." Dust smiled and kissed his forehead, then leaned back so he was laying down with Horror on top of him. He kept up the soothing motions on Horror's back as he grew tired, sockets drooping.

     "Ok, Horror, I promise," he muttered and let his eyes finally close. Horror made himself comfortable in the new position and leaned up to kiss Dust's jaw, then relaxed against him. With the warmth of each other's bodies and the steady beat of their souls, they drifted off into a well-deserved, restful slumber.