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letting her guard down

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They’d been back for a few weeks and Sasha had hardly left Marcy’s side. She sat in the uncomfortable hospital chair pulled right up to Marcy’s bed and watched her. To anyone else, it would look weird (probably borderline creepy) but Sasha couldn’t bring herself to care. All she really cared about were the other two in the room with her. Marcy lay unmoving on the bed, surrounded by machines keeping her alive and Anne sat at the end of the bed, fiddling with her phone case, staring at something Sasha couldn’t see. They had hardly spoken since they came back, just a few words here and there to a nurse or Anne’s parents (because neither Marcy or Sasha’s had shown up) but it wasn’t much and it was never for long. 

Sasha knew Anne’s parents already knew everything since Anne had gone back before anyone else, so thankfully there was no explaining to do. Sasha wasn’t sure what she would’ve done if she’d had to talk about it. Living through it was one thing, but bringing it all back up only to be shot down? Not something she was looking forward to.

One of the machines surrounding Marcy beeped along with her heart rate. A few times, Sasha had found herself falling asleep to the repetitive noise, only to jolt awake again as fear shot through her. Rationally, she knew there was no need to be so alert, there was no war that needed fighting, no evil bugs that wanted to eat her each time she closed her eyes, but she still felt like something was going to happen.

With a sigh, she pulled her feet up onto the chair and hugged her knees to her chest. It was slightly difficult due to the armour she’d refused to take off, but she managed. At the noise, Anne snapped back and glanced at her. “Are you gonna take that off?” she asked quietly, her voice hoarse with disuse.

Sasha blinked at her for a moment before realising she was referring to her clothes. Two clean outfits had been laid out at some point, but neither of them had wanted to get up and shower in case something happened to Marcy, so the clothes had gone untouched. “No,” Sasha replied after a while, her eyes going back to Marcy’s face.

She was pale and dark bags rested under her eyes, but she looked peaceful, and that was enough, Sasha decided. Marcy would be okay, she had to be okay, because she had two friends who needed her. “If you’re worried about Marbles, I can take it off for you, so you don’t have to worry about being distracted,” Anne suggested after another few moments of silence.

Now she thought about it, the armour was heavy and extremely uncomfortable. It was also loud, something she hadn’t realised when she was in Amphibia, but sitting in the quiet hospital room it was hard to ignore, each time she moved a loud noise rang through the room, causing both her and Anne to flinch. But it also meant safety, if she was in her armour, she was ready for an attack. You’re safe now, girls, Anne’s mom had told them when they showed up on their doorstep. Sasha didn’t believe a word of it at the time (she still didn’t), but if she wanted to heal, maybe her armour was a good place to start. “Okay, yeah,” she said with a nod, giving Anne a small smile. They weren’t on great terms, not by a long shot, but they were working on it, for real this time.

Anne smiled and slid off the bed, being careful to not hit Marcy. She quickly moved around the bed and positioned herself behind Sasha’s chair. “Right… How do I…,” she mumbled to herself, feeling around Sasha’s neck. (Not that she would ever admit it out loud, but Anne’s warm hands calmed her much more than she ever expected.) Eventually, Anne’s hand found the clasp for the pauldron. “Oh nevermind,” she laughed and started to unclip it.

As more of the armour was taken off and piled up on the floor, Sasha found herself becoming much more relaxed. Her eyes only left Marcy for a few seconds at a time to look at Anne setting the red metal down by the door. “I never realised I had so much,” Sasha said as her arm braces were added to the pile.

“Really?” Anne asked incredulously. “Well all this stuff weighs a tonne so…” She trailed off and began to tug at the strings keeping Sasha’s breastplate on.

Soon, she was left in the ripped and muddy cotton shirt and trousers she’d managed to find in Wartwood. Sasha felt naked as she stood there, her armour by the door, standing out against the starkness of the room. (The sight reminded Sasha of blood.

Blood running down her face after Anne cut her.

Marcy with a sword through her.

Marcy falling to the floor.

Finding Marcy all those months later covered in blood that wasn’t her own.

Marcy bleeding through the bandages Anne had used to keep the wound clean until they got home.

Marcy- Sasha shook her head, ridding herself of the thoughts before they made her sick.) 

Her bare feet were cold against the tiles, but she didn’t complain, it was her fault for not wearing socks (what wasn’t her fault though, was the fact that the only socks that fit her feet where some spares she’d found in Anne’s room at the Plantars and they were covered in dirt and god knows what else). Sasha shivered as she stood there, keeping her eyes on the small rise and fall of Marcy’s chest.

Anne came up next to her, pressing against her. “She’ll be okay, right?” Anne asked quietly, her hands clenching at her sides.

Sasha took in a deep breath and puffed up her cheeks. As much as she wanted to say yes and assure Anne that it was going to be okay, the words never came. Instead, she just shrugged and let out her breath slowly. “I don’t know, Anne,” she said gently. Anne nodded and sniffled, wiping her nose with her arm. Sasha wasn’t sure what to do. Should I comfort her? Would she want me to do that? Unconsciously, her hand hit Anne’s and wrapped their pinkies together. It was something they’d done when they were little, a promise almost. Sasha wasn’t sure what she was promising, but it felt nice to be touching Anne, even if it was slightly awkward. Anne looked down at their hands with wide eyes, but neither of them pulled away. “She’s strong though, she’ll make it. She has to, ” Sasha said determinedly. “If she doesn’t, I’ll kill her myself.” Her attempt to lighten the mood was met with silence and Sasha almost stepped away from Anne, worried she’d gone too far. But then Anne let out a sob-like laugh and moved her hand into Sasha’s.

“You and me both,” Anne laughed wetly, squeezing Sasha’s hand tightly. A small smile lit up Sasha’s face and she squeezed back. They may have a long way to go to fix things, but it was a start, and that’s all Sasha could ask for.