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Splintered

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“Chu-ge?” Guo’s voice sounded like it was coming through water. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m fine, keep…” he had to stop to get his breath back, one hand on the mine wall to keep himself steady. The makeshift bandage he’d used to stop the bone golem’s wounds was saturated, he could feel something cold dripping down his leg. It didn’t hurt, he’d pushed that aside hours ago, he mostly felt cold and tired. “I just need a minute.”

If he sat down, he wasn’t sure he could get back up, and then who would keep Guo alive to get him out of here?

The young man’s hand was on his arm and he tried to shrug him off. There was something bubbling in his chest when he breathed, one of the splinters of bone must have…

“Chu-ge? Are you okay?” he heard him whimper a little, hesitantly exploring with his hands in the dark. The haxingren was basically blind down here with just a small penlight for illumination. There was a soft gasp as Guo’s hand found the blood seeping through his shirt. “You’re hurt!”

“It’s-”

“That’s a lot of blood.” he whimpered again, digging through his satchel. “Sit down, I have a first aid kit in here.”

“We should keep going.”

“Let me try to stop the bleeding? Please?”

He really couldn’t think of a coherent argument not too, not when his head was spinning so badly. Maybe… just for a minute.

The exhaustion hit as soon as he sat down, between fighting and using so much dark energy and the blood loss… he hissed as Guo pulled off the blood soaked bandage.

“Oh, Chu-ge…” it looked bad under the dim glow of the penlight. Guo swallowed thickly and pressed a thick bandage against it, nearly knocking the breath out of him.

“It’s not that bad.” his head swam and he wanted to lay down very badly. If he laid down he wasn’t getting back up.

Time went a little funny, he could have sworn he hadn’t closed his eyes at all. But Guo was patting his face, calling his name.

“Please wake up-”

“‘M awake.” he mumbled, blinking at the kid’s worried face in front of him.

“Can you drink some water? Please?”

He wanted to tell him to save the water for himself, who knew how long it'd be before someone found him. But xiao-Guo was giving him those wobbly eyes again and he was soft for them on the best of days.

“I t-think you’re going into shock.” he gently helped chu take a few sips of water. “There’s a foil blanket in the kit, maybe that will help….” and now the kid was rambling, wrapping the crinkling thing around his shoulders. He was bone-deep cold, he faintly realized, but that could be the blood loss.

“Oh, um, what else… elevate the legs, right, that’s what the first aid video said… chu-ge I’m going to help you lay down. You’re… you’re going to be okay so don’t panic.”

Who’s the one panicking? Idiot. But it did feel good to lay down, letting himself be moved around. Pain felt very distant, everything numb and far away and the one part of his brain that was still working said this was a very, very bad thing.

“Stop fussing, Changcheng.” he mumbled, completely ignored by xiao-guo. The boy was petting his head like he was Da Qing.

“They’ll find us any minute now, okay?” he sounded like he was crying. “Any minute now.”