STORY sour starshine

CloudyBlueDay

consistently inconsistent
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Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
  2. One post per week
Online Availability
I check as often as I can.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy, Realistic/Modern, Magic, Scifi, Romance

CloudyBlueDay

consistently inconsistent
Original poster
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
  2. One post per week
Online Availability
I check as often as I can.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy, Realistic/Modern, Magic, Scifi, Romance
Maybe this is it.

There should have been a limit on the amount of times a man is allowed to have that thought. But if there was, Mickey would have reached it long ago.

It was a damnable thing, to be in the Wasteland, unable to run. Unable to run long, or far, but, y’know. Able to run a little bit, if it really counted. Though it usually didn’t ever count enough. Still, he tried. He pretended whatever speed he could muster would save him. He pretended any agility was going to be enough to evade them. He pretended that he had any chance of avoiding the horde of ferals he’d conjured up behind him.

It was supposed to be a routine scavenge. Something Mickey only dared to do every few months - when supplies got abysmal, when his skin became too pale from lack of vitamin D, when he was about to go crazy from lack of stimulation. When that time came, he’d suit up as best as he could. Goggles, bandana, gloves, flashlight. A small reserve of stimpaks in an otherwise nearly empty bag. Besides the few small pieces of armor he’d either fashioned himself or scrounged up on another trip, and a long metal rod he used as both a weapon and walking stick, Mickey traveled with next to nothing. Any more weight, and he wouldn’t be able to book it back home quick enough with whatever he’d found. He wasn’t weak. He was cautious, alone, and his prosthetic always slipped. It was hard to get around, and every outing was a battle just to get by quietly.

Usually, he managed. His luck was abysmal. Things went wrong, but Mickey was a survivor, so he survived. It wasn’t over ‘till he was out of stimpaks, crippled or unconscious. And usually, it didn’t get that far.

Usually.

Today, he’d been a little brave. Ventured into the dark, cold part of the mall that he’d never dared to explore before. He’d been to this place twice now, but only kept close to the exits, expecting something to lunge out at him. Now that it’d been a while since he’d visited the place, he hoped whatever had been here had moved on since then. Either that, or someone else had already picked it clean. He was too low on supplies not to try.

Shining his flashlight around had, blessedly, revealed two crates of expired canned goods. The box was wet, but the cans were intact. It was murky down here, and the air was humid. Though Mickey was immune to radiation, he still wore his bandana over his mouth as he trudged through the dense air.

It was silent until the clicking of a feral ghoul broke through. Quiet, curious. Almost inquisitive. Sometimes, Mickey swore there was a consciousness in there, waiting to be brought out from the dark depths of whatever curse laid on their psyche. Now, though, he didn’t have time to muse on those ideas. He just froze, and held his breath, and prayed for dear life.

Apparently, he prayed a little too loud. The next thing Mickey knew, he was doing the best sprint he could out of the stupid mall.

After enough years in the wasteland, one becomes accustomed to the sounds of feral ghouls in the distance. Someone like Mickey, who listened to ghouls as if they were bird calls, could sometimes hear minute differences. The hoarse tone of an old feral - the high-pitched cry of one freshly turned. And the gruesome, foreboding rumble of a irradiated feral.

Radiation wasn’t a problem for Mickey. He’d discovered this quickly after escaping his cult-like commune, and putting the pieces together from there was rather easy. It had certainly helped his survival rates in the wasteland. But immunity to radiation didn’t save one from the hulking, overpowered form of an irradiated creature. Especially a hungry one.

The opportunity to hide was long gone, and he could hear more than just the irradiated feral. There was only one phase left to this fight - the chase. Definitely Mickey’s worst.

Maybe this is it. That thought rang in his head, rattling as he huffed and puffed. A world where ferals were faster than him was a terrible one, and that reality was becoming clearer every second. Maybe this is it. I made it this far, and maybe it was far enough. His leg was flaring. He was toppling anything he could in his wake, mannequins, shelving. It didn’t matter. Those heavy pants, the hungry snarls, they were getting closer every second. And as something slobbering, hungry, glowing sickly green crashed into him from behind, Mickey thought only one string of words.

Maybe this is it. The irradiated feral chomped down into his shoulder, pulling away a terrible chunk. Maybe this is it. Mickey swung his metal staff, knocking the feral off. Maybe this is it. He scrambled back to his feet, but barely got far. A small cliffside, with maybe a twenty foot drop. Convenient. Maybe this is it. The irradiated feral snarled, barely dissuaded. It lunged. God, why did it lunge? He fell again, hitting something hard, skidding to the edge. It went for his neck this time, clever bastard. Blood sprayed, Mickey gasped, gurgled, reached, flailed. Fell.

It wasn’t that far to fall at all. He could’ve shrugged it off. Except the pile of rebar at the bottom and the sprawling arms of metal made a horrible landing pad, and Mickey let out a single, pained breath as he felt himself be impaled, right through the abdomen.

Beside him, the irradiated ghoul was jabbed in three different places, pinned and immobile, though miraculously, still kicking. The two lay tangled together, inches away from each other, the feral hissing and sputtering and trying helplessly to get to him. Mickey almost laughed.

He thought he saw a face. A terrible, ghoulish face. Hanging over him, like a mask of death. Antlered.

“So, this is it.” Mickey gurgled. And all became black.
 
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rissa

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It’s always gotta be a glowin’ one, tearin’ into folks who don’t need tearin’ into.

Sigh.


Noah knocked and let loose another arrow, dropping the seventh and final feral circling the luckiest man in the world. Or perhaps it was the glowing one they were after, impaled just like the unconscious and bloody body beneath it. She’d already put three arrows into the left eye of the irradiated feral, its snapping jaws just mere inches from the man's face, yet unable to move any farther.

Unable or perhaps unwilling to die by her arrows.

She cursed, not wanting to get any closer, not until the glowing one was dead at least.

Only gotta couple RadAway’s left and it looks like that poor guy’ll need ‘em.

Cursing again, Noah stashed her bow and took a few doses of Rad-X, choking down half a canteen of water afterwards to curb the oncoming thirst. She took a deep breath and strode forward slowly, unsheathing her blades as she went. This part was never easy. At least since her banishment. Children of the Fen hunted together, side by side, back to back, with no weaknesses to exploit. A lost child was a dead child.

What does that mean for a banished one?

Noah stepped through the ring of ferals, looting a few caps and a funky looking staff before turning her eyes to the irradiated one. Its jaw clicked open and shut, teeth against teeth against teeth. Noah swallowed, easing ever forward. The snapping sent chills down Noah’s spine, the hair on her arms rose. They were close enough to kiss, the man and the glowing one, teeth against teeth against teeth.

Noah took a step forward. Her boot broke an already broken glass bottle and the glowing one screeched.

It blasted Noah back, almost onto her ass, the staff she stuck into the back of her belt saved her balance and she whipped around as a feral with an arrow sticking out of its eye lunged for the back of her neck. Machete tore through ghoulified flesh with ease and Noah turned and ducked, ready for another lunge.

It came lower than expected.

A gnarled broken hand grabbed her by the ankle, pulling her down.

A lost child is a dead child.

There was a cacophony of growls and Noah smiled, feeling the tension against her ankle release. She trusted her children to handle the ferals at her back and running forward, Noah took both blades and drove them through the base of the irradiated ferals neck. It shrieked as it died, body twitching and writhing in its death throes, oozing irradiated blood onto the man beneath him.

The man was unconscious and thankfully so, as the next words out of Noah’s mouth would ring true.

“This is gonna hurt. A lot. Try not to die on me, it’s bad luck you know.”

And then lifted him off the rebar.

☄​

Meelo helped lift the man onto Milo’s saddle and for good measure, Noah secured him gently with rope, extra clothes folded for pillowing and padding and with a few droplets of water to wet his lips, Noah hurried home.

Days passed with little change. There was only a slow pulse and shallow miserable breaths. Noah wished she could do more, but she was no doctor. Nor had she ever got hurt like this. She changed the bandages around his throat as often as she dared, and the others as often as he’d allow in his silent unconscious struggle. After the third day, Noah changed the bloody bedding beneath him and wrapped him up in furs warmed by the fire.

She used so many stimpacks and Med-X’s she was worried he’d wake up addicted, but when she woke up on the dawn of the second week his breathing was deeper, just slightly less pained. When his heart stopped the next day, she japped a stimpack into it and cried for a while, even promised she’d kick him if he died and made her waste all those stims.

That was a few days ago, before she made a quick trip north, to get more water and maybe more stims. No such luck there, but she did find a few more Med-X’s and the little toy in the room next to it reminded her of Brady’s beacon, which she clicked on as soon as she got home.

Today was a good day though, as she’d gotten Brady’s confirmation and the gash around the stranger's neck was starting to close up.
 
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CloudyBlueDay

consistently inconsistent
Original poster
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
  2. One post per week
Online Availability
I check as often as I can.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy, Realistic/Modern, Magic, Scifi, Romance
Drifting.

Mickey was no stranger to this vortex. The swallowing, inky blackness that rippled and churned, wrapping you up tight when you were ill. It was a painful state of being where your body burned you from the inside out, hurting and grinding while being put back together. Like a shattered puzzle piece. So many times had Mickey writhed under swathes of wet rags, tight covers, glass thermometers. So many times, in fact, that the presence of that sweaty, looming, dangerous beast, the shadow of death that followed him like a lost pet, was beginning to have a sort of familial comfort to it. A twinge of recognition that came each time Mickey was here. Aching.

Though he wasn't truly awake, he could feel the outside world like imprints in a long dream. And those touches were different than the soul-swallowing, shivering sleep he was oh-so familiar with. Someone touched him kindly, worried over him deeply, and he could feel it like he'd never felt before. Well, that wasn't true. He'd felt it from one person, a long time ago. That childlike concern had both healed him and harmed him so many times over and over. And though it was long gone, in his addled ind, the body that fretted over him reminded him so much of her.

Juniper?

The mere impression of her being gave him a new kind of hell. Beneath Noah's care, Mickey struggled to hold on. Because the idea of seeing his sister had been one he toyed with for a long, long time, and in the days where it was touch and go, Mickey longed to be with her so bad that his anatomy empathized. The yearning burned his bones. His wounds didn't heal, his body was in a constant state of fever. Everything Noah did to save him just didn't seem to take. It was fighting a losing battle.

The decision to heal didn't come until Noah had already spent weeks of effort on him, stimpaks and sweat alike. It didn't come until after his heart had stopped, because when it had, he'd been ready to go. In that moment, when his beaten body was finally truly silent, a fluttering, distant sound made him change his mind. A sound that was suddenly so clear and crystalline in the absence of his own heartbeat. The sound of someone crying. In that sound, he found the tears of his sister on the waking side of the world, rather than the one that beckoned and called him so temptingly in his fragile state. It was enough to make him turn back around.

Then, the uphill battle began. Wanting to wake up. It took days to even near the concept of drawing a conscious breath, but now he was curious. And when Mickey was curious, he was unstoppable. So he climbed. Noah doted. Mickey swam to the shore, and with all his might, broke the surface.

But all that floaty, spiritual bullshit ended the second he cracked a grey eye open. Sucking in air was like swallowing an anchor that dragged him all the way back to the bottom of the sea, and this was no otherworldly darkness. This was just good old human drowning. Drowning deeply under the pain of the vessel he inhabited, and god was it sunken. He inhaled, and all that curiosity was pushed to his subconscious, buried by the present matters; the searing ache in his side, his shoulder, his neck. The unfamiliar ceiling. The furs he was swathed in. That curiosity had done its work for now, bringing him back to life. Now it was time to let preservation take over.

Slow. Mickey thought to himself, and he clung to that word like a lifeboat. Slow. One painful inhale, and he managed to turn his chin. One more, and he could blink to clear away the fog. Another, and he could crane his neck, far enough to see a girl in the corner, asleep between two yao guai's like they were stuffed animals.

Somewhere deep inside his mind, Mickey knew this was the girl that had cried for him, labored over him. That fact confused him in a way that was almost painful to consider. It had been so long since anyone had cared for him. Why? Did she know he was valuable? Did she want something from him? To keep such a deeply dying man alive was in the interest of no extortionist. But there she was, saddled between what should have been two ferocious beasts, and yet she made them look like pets. He was so dazed and nauseous. Maybe he would fall back asleep, and discover he'd hallucinated it. Her. But Mickey's hallucinations were not often so imaginative. Nor were they so kind.

"H..." He rasped, and his voice was sand and gravel. Mickey pushed on stubbornly, sweat collecting at his brow as he forced his cobwebbed vocal cords to do what they'd forgotten. A shaking hand lifted towards her. "He...y.... wake... up." I need to.... I need to see if you're real.
 
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rissa

the clairvoyant pterodactyl
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FOLKLORE MEMBER
Noah drifted. Days and weeks came and went in a feverish blur, up and down and up again, never a full rest, never a full sleep. She and stimpacks became close friends and Med-X’s became her lover of the night, soothing the labored and ragged breathing of her stranger into something smoother, less haunting. Noah slept only when he did, roused so easily by his pained moans, plagued by his whispering heartbeat.

She combated the plague with thoughts of his eyes and what his face looked like when he smiled or frowned or really needed to poop. Noah even tried reaching out to his psyche, to the centermost point of his subconscious that allowed her to root in and plant seeds of control. It didn’t work though and it made her head ache something awful. But whenever she closed her eyes for too long all she saw was the snapping of the glowing one’s jaws, its teeth ever so close. They were always snapping at her though, and Shiloh and Milo were always too far out of reach to stop the inevitable.

Noah drifted, floated along a thousand different dreams within her subconscious— some that weren’t even her own— until she heard something… unfamiliar. Though it did remind her of Tobacco Palm, an old and withered Fen who made a living making crackjaw venom, far past the heart of the swamp. The weird familiarity made Noah peel her eyes open in bewilderment, wondering how the blind, one-legged man had known where to find her. She was instead met with her strangers— grey! —eyes, woozy and pain-filled, open and looking right at her.

Noah beamed, scrambling forward in a rush. Stopping just shy of the bed and his outstretched arm, nearly vibrating with excitement, Noah grabbed it gingerly and squeezed ever so lightly, just to make sure this was actually real. When she was sure of it, she slid back, threw her hands up and shouted in joy.

The animals in the room, the two stunted yao guai and the black hound, followed her cue, standing on their hind legs and twirling on the spot. It was a cacophony of noise, happy shouts and snarls and howls, the clanging and shattering of reclaimed plates and pots, even herbs, strung up and drying, fell down in the celebration of life.

“You’re alive!”

Noah kept shouting it.

She grabbed Shiloh, kissed her on the snout, and said, “He’s alive, ahaha, can you believe it? We did it, Shi, he’s alive!”
 
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CloudyBlueDay

consistently inconsistent
Original poster
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
  2. One post per week
Online Availability
I check as often as I can.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy, Realistic/Modern, Magic, Scifi, Romance
She was bright. Like the sun, beaming and scrambling and reaching towards him. Raining down on him a warmth he didn't deserve. Her hand did indeed meet his, smaller fingers grabbing hold of his larger, rougher hands. For a moment, he reveled in that touch. More than he'd reveled in anything in a long time. Though her hands were not untouched by the callouses of the wasteland, they were much softer than his. It wasn't just the physical difference that shocked him, though. It was the care in her touch; the awe that mirrored his own. She was just as shocked to see him moving, and it was that innocence, that sympathy, that stunned him. When she slipped away, his hand stayed aloft just a second longer, wishing she'd have held on a little more.

But she broke away, and began to jump. For joy. Over him. Mickey watched with wide eyes, because her victory was like a dance, and her shouts were like a song. He was becoming more and more convinced that he was hallucinating, as her animals began to howl and dance with like circus animals, swaying with her. A repeating motif banged against his brain. Over him. She was celebrating over him.

Against his better judgement, Mickey pushed himself upright against the headboard of the bed. Just that movement was hellish, but despite the rejoicing in front of him, Mickey could feel there was something wrong. He was alive, and that was more impressive than anything, but as he shifted upwards, he could feel his side scream in protest. However long he'd been out, it hadn't been enough to finish the job, and though he had certainly been lovingly wrapped in furs, even bandaged pretty impressively, the wound felt open.

Mickey glanced at her again. She was kissing the snout of her dog, and while it was adorable, her celebration felt a bit out of place to him now. He had made it to a clearing, but he wasn't out of the woods. Mickey's mind clung to medicine from a young age. He'd wanted to know all that had been done to him, at least when he was lucid enough to understand it. With an impressive new resoluteness that allowed him to push forward, Mickey began to unravel the bandages wrapping his torso.

He'd grown accustomed to the sight of his own, messed up body. This was ugly, but familiar. She must have been fending off infection with stimpaks, which was great (and expensive, so he definitely owed her a debt, or maybe a thousand debts), but the wound wasn't going to close without help.

He was struggling to cling to consciousness already. But Mickey was stubborn, more stubborn than ever. A man didn't fight his way out of the underworld to lose to an unstitched wound. Besides, there was finally someone who... who seemed to want him around. Insane as it was. A hand gently resting over his now exposed wound, he looked to her again, the corners of his eyes clearly creased with pain, but jaw level and firm. It would be clear to Noah, who had watched him suffer unconscious, that awake, he was better at hiding what ailed him.

"I'm alive," Mickey echoed with that rasp of his, trying to offer a grateful smile. "But this..." He sucked in a shaky breath. "This wound has to be sewed before it can close." And I'm assuming, since you haven't done it already, I'm going to have to do it myself. Though he didn't do much more to press the urgency, Mickey's breath was lilting. He seemed prepared to do it himself, determined, even, but it was clear how much effort he was exerting just to stay awake.

"I'm sorry to ask more of you." He whispered, his voice becoming thin. "B-but I need a needle and thread."
 
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FOLKLORE MEMBER
Noah stared, the joy long gone from her eyes. It was replaced with something akin to fear or perhaps disgust— more than likely it was a mixture of both swirling around her expressive face, and the ever-protective Milo let out a rumble of discontent at her projection of uncomfortability. Light blue eyes widened, realizing her mistake, and dulled the connection immediately. She gave him a soft pat on his flank and nodded, trying to peel her eyes away from the pale and mangled flesh of the stranger.

For a moment that felt entirely too long, all Noah could do was stare. Watch the man scrutinize his own wounds with an uncanny and clinical precision that made her lightheaded. He was hurt, desperately so, and yet his hands barely shook and his eyes— his eyes were filled with a strength and determination she’d only ever seen twice before. Once, when her mother killed a snapjaw when she and her sisters were children and once more when a former Micco talked her way out of a gunfight with a raider, synth, and super mutant.

She didn’t own a needle, not really, but she had many and more fishing hooks that she used for the same purpose. Noah brought her three favorites, all in varying sizes. She tried not to look as he chose, nor did she look when he threaded it through. Her stomach gurgled and Noah bit the insides of her cheeks until she tasted blood. Shiloh let out a grumbly whinny, lying her head against the foot of the bed as Noah played fetch. If he needed anything, Noah retrieved it. When she could no longer stand the sound of threading flesh, Noah spoke.

Slow and steady, almost measured. Though only because she was holding back vomit.

“I dunno why the stims didn’t work. They always just— closed up, ya know?”

She shook her head. “Names Noah by the way. I’d shake yer hand but… yer kinda busy keepin’ yer g-guts intact so I understand.” I should not have said that. I think ima actually puke now.

Noah tried not to turn green as she asked, “W-what can I call ya other than ‘stranger’?”
 
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CloudyBlueDay

consistently inconsistent
Original poster
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
  2. One post per week
Online Availability
I check as often as I can.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy, Realistic/Modern, Magic, Scifi, Romance
He'd put out the light in her eyes. For that, Mickey felt truly and surely ill for the first time since awakening, a sickness not from his wounds, but in his heart. An ache that had struck him anytime his dour mood had infected Juniper's, and an ache he hadn't felt in a very long time. His own expression tightened severely, having to hold on to that determination more than anything now to stop from kicking himself in chastisement. A light like that couldn't ever afford to be put out. Unfortunately, Mickey was often a strong howling wind. Brutal, consuming. Light didn't last long in his presence.

Shoving his self disdain in a box that was already overflowing, Mickey knit his brows as he watched her interaction with the yao guai. His noise of displeasure seemed to mirror her own queasy look, and he marveled at the connection that seemed to run so deep between her and her animals. Something was strange about her, that was for sure, but he couldn't spare the brain power. He could only watch in awe and confusion, until that line of thought was replaced with a box of fish hooks before him.

Well. Mickey thought, taking the cleanest, sharpest looking one he could see. That'll be a new story for me. Sewn together with a fish hook. Bait and all. Her attentiveness was not lost on him - with her speedy supply deliveres, he'd disinfected and threaded it within minutes, and each second was crucial for Mickey as he hung to his consciousness with a grip so white hot it could have burned. As soon as he was able, he began to sew.

Mickey didn't look at her as she spoke, his concentration tied to the knots he was creating in his flesh, but he did allow himself to hang onto her words the way someone could listen to music when in deep focus. The worry in her tone, though it tainted the summery, carefree lilt, only added to his admiration and puzzlement. How could anyone be so scared for a stranger? It must have been days before he'd awoken. Possibly weeks. She was at the edge of his bed like he was a dear member of her family. Someone as light as her shouldn't have had all this love to spare. Where was her family? And how had their loss not tainted her?

Those questions, and her voice, kept his mind busy enough to get the job done. His hands, practiced in the act of cobbling himself together, worked seamlessly and steadily. In, out, in, out. It even took him a while to register that the conversation had turned to him, and for a moment, the question didn't land. It took a few seconds for Mickey to pause in his work, look up at her with his clear, grey eyes, and nod in greeting.

"Mickey," He murmured, and he sounded a little better than before, which was impressive for someone who had now actively turned to puncturing the sorest point in his body. After the sharing of names, he returned to his work, though his dry lips continued to speak. "It's alright. Most don't know that for a wound this big, you've got to help it keep shut for the stims to do any real work. You probably saved me from infection, though, which is the reason I'm awake."

When it was done, Mickey tied three surgeon's knots and asked her for a fresh roll of bandages. He was painfully aware that his backside was still open, but looking at Noah's squeamish face, he knew it was useless to ask her to stitch it. Hopefully, with the front end closed, and a few more stimpaks, it would begin to seal on its own.

Mickey fell back against the headboard, panting softly. Only now did he let his fatigue enter his psyche, but he still resisted the urge to let his eyes fall shut. His job wasn't done. He looked to Noah, catching her eyes firmly again, and with a small quiver in his lip, bowed his head gratefully.

"You saved my life," Mickey said softly. "You did more than that, you... you kept me alive. I don't know for how long, but what you did for me, I can never even repay you, much less... begin to deserve it." His fists clenched and unclenched, and though his breathing was steady, it seemed to be taking him some effort to keep it that way. As he spoke, and emotion betrayed his evenness, his breath became a little more shallow, a touch more audibly weak. He was going to need more from her, and he hated it. But there was nothing he could do, and hopefully her kindness, or whatever she truly wanted from him, would continue to allow it.

"Thank you. I-I don't know why you did it, and whatever I have to do to reimburse you, I will, but just... th-thank you."
 
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