Short Story: Dangerous Daze

Whumptober 2022 fill No.2: Cornered | Caged | Confrontation

Whumptober 2022 fill No.4: Hidden Injury | Waking Up Disorientated | Can’t Pass Out

Takes place in the Defenders of the Wall verse. Read Sticky Fingers first for context.

~Dangerous Daze~

In the quiet medical ward, Ezra sat vigil beside their injured newbie.

Well, that wasn’t the simple mission they’d hoped for to ease them back into the field.

Someone mixed up their mission briefs, incorrectly giving them directions to the much larger monster nest Squad 7 was supposed to clear out. But Ezra shared the blame too. In his preoccupation guiding his squad back to the surface, he completely forgot to warn the teammate right beside him.

Said teammate stirred on the bed, and Ezra leaned forward. They managed to restore the tattered remains of Theo’s spine with the help of Asteria’s healing ability, but Ezra had always preferred witnessing the results with his own eyes.

The medics laid Theo face down to keep the pressure off his back as an additional precaution. Blood no longer seeped through the white bandages, but it was only when Ezra saw Theo’s fingers twitch and curl into the mattress that he realised the worry he’d carried that Theo would wake paralysed.

Theo proceeded to prove how un-paralysed he was by shooting to his knees and yanking Ezra off his chair with bruising strength.

“Wha-“

Something creaked as Theo slammed Ezra against the hardwood headboard. Pain flooded Ezra’s back, and he couldn’t tell if the creaking came from the headboard or his ribs. Even worse was how Ezra’s knees were crushed to his chest as Theo curled over him, caging Ezra with his body.

“Back up,” Ezra wheezed.

Theo stared ahead with stony determination, the exact same expression he wore back on the wasteland while the younger man used his body as a shield and monsters carved his back open with their fangs.

A medic approached, tranquilizer in hand. Ezra quickly waved her off. Theo had the potential to be one of the strongest S Fighters in the city. In his disorientated state, Theo could easily punch the medic through the wall.

“Get Captain Alan,” Ezra gasped as black spots danced at the edge of his vision.

With the medic safely out of the way , Ezra turned his attention back to Theo.

“Theo. Theo, look at me.”

Slowly, like a confused sleepwalker, Theo’s glassy gaze drifted down. Still unfocused, but at least looking in the right direction.

“Tell me five things you can see.”

“… You.”

Theo fell silent. Ezra pushed back against the younger man to give himself some space to breathe, but that only made Theo press in even more. “Good. What else?”

“Wall… Window… Bed. Table.” With each answer, Theo’s gaze cleared, until Theo just looked lost instead of absent.

“Four things you can touch,” Ezra continued. This time, when Ezra tried to stretch out, Theo allowed himself to be pushed away, and Ezra drew his first full breath since Theo woke up. With less urgency, Ezra continued gently pulling Theo’s mind away from the fight back to the safety of the sterile room.

“Last question. One thing you can taste.”

“Blood.”

Ezra’s eyes narrowed. He created a copy of himself to look at Theo’s back. Sure enough, crimson patches marred the white wrappings.

“Let me go and lie down. We need to redress your wounds.”

Theo unclasped his fingers from the headboard like he didn’t know how his limbs work. Ezra looked away from the dents in the hardwood. He would certainly have some bruises tomorrow, the disadvantage of not having the superhuman sturdiness of S Fighters. Even now, he still felt Theo’s phantom grip from the initial yank off his chair.

“Are you hurt?” came Theo’s timid voice.

Using every bit of his combat training to hide the aching in his limbs and the pain in his chest with every breath, Ezra slipped into his chair with feigned ease.

“No. You completed your task with flying colours.”

~End~

Genre: fantasy

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