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Somebody had cut a deep gash into him. It stretched from the top of his stomach to halfway down his thigh. Kia was surprised he hadn’t bled out and died, but then, he wasn’t human. He could take more damage, or so she’d been told.

“Did ya come here to see Touya?” A quick voice asked. Kia tore her eyes away from the bed to see Jin standing in the corner, leaning against the wall. If he was concerned about his friend’s injury, it didn’t show on his face.

Kia could only nod in response to his question before turning her eyes back to the bed. She had to drag herself into the room, each step making the wound she was seeing more real than before. A million questions came up in her throat, but she couldn’t ask them. She felt unable to say anything at all.

“Could ya keep an eye on him for a bit for me?” Jin asked.

Kia nodded again.

She didn’t hear Jin leave. She didn’t expect to. He could fly. He had a horn. With him, the lack of humanity was obvious. With Touya, not so much. Sure, his hair was weird, but that didn’t mean much. Kia thought he could have passed for an ordinary person if he wanted. Instead he chose to fight. He wanted to be stronger, he’d said. He could only get there through fighting. Kia wanted to remind him that there was more than one kind of strength, but she felt silly doing so. She was human. What business did she have giving advice to him?

“Kia,” he whispered.

She looked away from the gash to see him staring at her.

“I’m ok,” he said.

She still couldn’t find her words. They were all stuck in her throat. This was her fault wasn’t it? He got this wound for her. She turned towards his face again to see if he was being serious, trying to ask with her expression. She was sure her face was twisted into a glare. She could feel the strain in her forehead, probably from her eyebrows scrunching together. She’d been told she did a classic pouting face when she was angry. Jin had said it was cute.

“Really, I’m fine. I promise,” he said.

His face started to blur. Kia knew it was because her eyes were tearing up. She didn’t want him to see her crying, not after what he’d been through for her. She looked away, thinking of leaving, but he grabbed the corner of her shirt.

“Don’t go. I’m really going to be fine, and I want you to stay,” he said.

Kia wiped her face and glanced at his face again. He looked so calm. She reached behind her and grabbed a chair, stiffly sitting down.

When she looked at him again, she found his hand reaching up to her face. He wiped away the remainder of the tears.

“I don’t want you to cry for me,” he said.

Finally, Kia was able to speak. “Your hand is warm,” she observed.

He smiled. “Well, I’d hardly survive in my homeland if I was coldblooded. It’s a tundra.”