Will You Catch Me?
Standard Disclaimer. I own nothing, so don't sue me.
AN: This is a one-shot, so I won't be updating. First fanfic, so go easy on me!
"Out of the way, ye curs!"
I ducked as another chair was thrown at us Dogs. Why, oh why did Goodwin always manage to lead us here when the brawls begin? I swear, we are always here when the worst fighting occurs.
Someone threw another thing at my chest. Instinctively, I tried to guard my chest with my forearms, which was a blessing in disguise, as it was a blade. Instead of it hitting my chest, it sliced my arm and was deflected by the arm guards my Lord Provest gave me when I visited.
Goodwin glanced at me, swearing as she saw the wound. It had gone deep. Tunstall and my Lady Sabine, who had been drinking here again, were taking out the rest of the rushers, so she came over and looked at the cut. She whistled.
"That's some scratch there, Cooper. Do you need help binding that up?"
I admit, I was a little surprised. Goodwin had sounded concerned, rather than her usual gruffness. She must have mistaken my shock as bewilderment, as she said to look at my arm. I did, and whistled as well. The wound started almost at the shoulder and stopped near the armguards. It was very deep, much deeper than I'd thought, and it was gushing blood.
Tunstall came over, while Lady Sabine finished with the rushers. He already had some strips of linen out to bind the cut, but he still swore when he got a closer look.
"Mithros Cooper, what happened?"
I was panting heavily and had trouble finishing the small statement. All three of them (Lady Sabine had come over and was examining the cut) looked very concerned that I was having trouble talking. Goodwin quickly pulled out extra strips of linen and bound the cut up tight. I tried to walk forward, only to have the floor spin under my feet. Sabine looked over at Tunstall.
"The lass needs a healer. Now."
Goodwin nodded, and Tunstall scooped me up and carried me out of the pub. As they ran, getting a lot of odd looks from people standing around on the street, I couldn't help thinking how odd it was that this had happened twice, and in the same bar, too. How very strange. The Fates must have an odd sense of humor.
I insisted that I could walk just as we arrived at Jane Street Kennel, where Goodwin wastes no time explaining my injury to the healers. They, on the other hand, had a bit of bad news for us, particularly me.
"I am very sorry Guardsfolk, but all our healers are completely drained. A small riot broke out in the Cesspool, and over half the Dogs got injured badly."
Goodwin growled, but there was nothing she could do. The healers were drained, and she could argue all day, it wouldn't change that.
I sighed, than slowly, laboriously, I made my way to Ahuda's desk, where she had been watching the drama play out.
"May I muster out, and go home? There's a healer in residence that can help me out with this cut."
I spoke slowly and carefully; the blood-loss was making me dizzy.
Ahuda glanced at my Dogs, who both nodded immediately, than nodded.
"Hurry home, get healed, get some rest. You're working the Cesspool tomorrow, and who knows what state it'll be in by then."
I nodded, then went over to my Dogs. Before I said anything, they both ushered me out, saying that I'd better be in good shape tomorrow.
Slowly, carefully so that I wouldn't jostle my arm, I made my way home. I was wary of thieves, as I looked like an easy target, despite my Dog uniform and baton.
When I was almost there, someone grabbed my injured arm from behind me. I howled, spinning around to face them. As I turned, my arm whacked them again and my vision blurred and the ground came up to meet me. The last thing I noticed was a pair of strong arms catching me….
I saw Beka from around the corner. No one was around, and I was blissfully happy from a combination of very few Rogue problems and ale, so I decided to catch her and see if I could startle her.
I caught up with her and grabbed her arm. Immediately, she howled with pain and spun to face me. As she did this, the same arm I'd grabbed bumped me and she fainted. I caught her, suddenly noticing that it was far too early for her to be off-duty. Then I saw blood on her, on the ground, on me, and without a second thought I raced to the boarding house. Pounding on Kora's door, I examined the wound. It was on the arm I had grabbed, and was very long and very deep. No-one had mentioned this at the Rogue meeting, which had ended suspiciously early…
"What do you wan… Beka!"
Kora had come out of her room and was looking from me to Beka with growing horror. Without another word, she beckoned us into the room, closing the door behind her. I laid Beka onto the bed carefully, avoiding bumping her arm, which still bled freely.
Kora got right to work, taking off the bandage and cleaning the wound with magic and normal means, then redressing it swiftly and tightly, to stem the blood-flow. She looked at me a little sadly.
"She might have a fever; this wound has been open long enough. I burned out the infection best I could, but, well, I'm not the best healer…"
I nodded, then scooped Beka up again, noticing how light she was. What does she do, to stay so thin?
"Thanks, Kora. I'll take her upstairs and watch her. You rest now."
I was too tired to even tease her about waiting up for Erskren. Walking carefully, I carried her up to her room and set her down.
Where is Pounce when you need him? I wondered as I settled on the chair in the corner and watched her sleep.
I was running through a maze of corridors, racing toward something, or away. There was a growing sense of terror as I ran. Then, just turning the corner in front of me, was Rosto. Joyful that I was not alone, I called his name. He looked at me, running at him at full speed, then behind him. Suddenly, there was a man there, one I had hoped to never see again. The rusher that had beat Ma. Corin. He turned and smirked then drew a blade. I found that I had stopped moving. I tried to run, but it was like running through quicksand. As though in slow motion, I saw Corin draw closer to Rosto. I screamed for him to move, to fight, to do something. But he just stood there, watching not the blade, but me. Then Corin smirked, and sliced Rosto's throat. Then he was gone ,and I was rocketing toward Rosto's body. I held it in my arms, crying his name again and again, wondering why, why, WHY?
I woke to screaming and realized that I had dozed off. Beka was writhing in the bed, screaming, of all things, my name. Putting a hand to her forehead, I realized with intense relief that she did not have a fever, just a nightmare.
She began to sob, still crying my name. I glanced out the window, to see it was the middle of the night. Then I scooped Beka onto my lap and held her as she cried my name in her nightmare.
Well, now this looks cozy. Although I'm sure she'd object if she was conscious.
I immediately looked up, expecting someone to be there, but there was only Pounce. About to ask if anyone was hiding, I remembered Beka once saying that he talked, but he chose who could hear.
"You really do talk, then. I suppose you are a god, or a constellation, or whatever."
Yes. Hmmm… You are the first human to acknowledge that so early on. Interesting.
Beka stirred in my arms, taking my attention off of the talking cat for a while. She shifted, moving her face against my chest. Smiling blissfully, she seemed over her nightmare. Good. I didn't know what to make of her crying my name in her nightmares. Glancing around to see if there was anyone watching, I moved her slightly and kissed her full on the lips. Then I set her under the covers of the bed, removing her boots and belt first. Pounce watched reproachfully.
"She'll kill me if she wakes up like that, in my lap. You can watch her, but come get me if anything happens."
Surprisingly, he looked a little disappointed. As I left to my own room, I wondered if he knew…
I awoke to a strange feeling that I had missed something. Something important. Glancing around, I realized that I was in my room, it was mid-morning, I was fully dressed, and, oddest of all, Rosto was sitting in my desk chair. He was asleep. Suddenly, I remembered fainting into his arms outside. He must have brought me here, and stayed all night. Then, a vague memory of a strange nightmare came back, along with a sense that there was a bit more to remember. I waited patiently, not moving for fear that Rosto would wake. Then it came to me. I had woken in the night, after that night mare, to find myself in Rosto's arms. Against my better instincts, I had snuggled into his chest. He had shifted me around slightly, then…. I blushed. He had kissed me. He had before, but with people around, more of a joke than anything romantic. Yet here he was, caring for me while I was wounded. I glanced around again. There was Pounce. He looked up.
He's been there for hours. Said for me to watch you, left, then came back and sat down, saying that he wasn't going to leave you with a cat, even if said cat did live in the Divine Realms. He laughed. He was just too worried about you that he didn't want to leave.
I tried to get up, but nearly fell as the ground seemed to move under my feet. I say nearly because before I fell, Rosto caught me.
"Weren't you asleep?" I looked at him as he made no move to set me down, but shifted his hold so that he was carrying me bridal style.
"Weren't you?" He grinned down at me.
"I asked you first."
He only grinned wider as he looked at me, with a strange expression in his eyes. It sent shivers down my spine. I looked at Pounce, who was watching with a feral grin on his face. He seemed to enjoy my discomfort. I looked back at Rosto. He was still watching me with the same expression on his face.
"Where is everyone else? It's time for breakfast." I shifted slightly, worried that this was so comfortable, him holding me. He was smiling.
"Canoodling, what else? Kora's with Erskren, and Aniki… Well, I really don't know. They're too loud to…"
"Okay! Okay! Way too much information." I giggled; for some reason, this struck me as funny. Rosto looked at me, a bit surprised. Then he was grinning again.
"Maybe we should canoodle too, since everyone else is."
That got me moving. I wriggled out of his hold, and faced him, glaring.
You seem real mad for someone who was cuddling him a moment ago. Pounce commented from the bed, and I'm pretty sure that Rosto heard him, too.
I was about to ask Rosto what on Earth he had meant when he stepped forward, grabbed me around the waist and kissed me, dipping me as he did so. All rational thought flew from my mind. I just closed my eyes and enjoyed it. (AN: Rosto's a lot like George, isn't he?) A sound from the door made my eyes fly open as the door opened. There stood Aniki, Kora, Erskren, and Phelan. They were staring as Rosto pulled me up and against his side. Dimly, I noted that the entire time, he had been careful of my injured arm.
"Are we interrupting anything?" Aniki was grinning devilishly. The others were wearing expressions of shock and amusement. Mostly the latter.
"Yes, yes you were interrupting something. Didn't your mother teach you to knock?" Rosto didn't really sound annoyed, just amused. I was too dizzy from standing earlier to do anything other than stand there dumbly.
"Well, here we were, all worried about you, only to find you well and kissing. Miraculous recovery, Beka." Erskren was close to laughing, looking at my blush. I tried to push away from Rosto, but either I was a lot weaker than I thought, or Rosto a lot stronger. I couldn't break away. Instead, I found I was closer to him than before. Shaking my head a bit at the whole situation, I looked at Kora, who had probably healed me last night.
"What happened last night? I remember fainting in the street…"
"Rosto ran up to my room, carrying you. You had this huge cut on your arm. Rather than try to heal it, as we both know I'd probably mess that up, I cleaned and bound the cut. He carried you to your room and didn't leave all night. He was worried you'd develop a fever." Kora, it seemed, was the only one who was not laughing at me and Rosto. I nodded gratefully at her.
"What happened to you? No-one would tell. It seems that your Dogs wanted it kept secret." Phelan watched me intently. I recalled that he had been put in charge of the rushers in general. He would know what happened already.
"We were in a tavern brawl at the Barrel's Bottom and someone threw a blade. There was a riot in the Cesspool, and since a lot of the Dogs were injured, the healers were all drained, and the next shift wasn't due for hours. So I just mustered out early and came home. Or rather, I tried to. Rosto grabbed my arm and I fainted." I glared at him, but as he was looking at the basket of food in Aniki's arms. I decided to get them all out of my rooms.
"Shall we go outside? I didn't eat last night, and I'm hungry!" They all nodded and walked back downstairs. Rosto sighed dramatically.
"Now that we're alone…" He didn't get any further. Swiftly, I wriggled out of his hold and pranced away.
"I need to get dressed, so I'll meet you down there." He looked at me almost hungrily. It sent shivers down my spine.
"Mayhap you'll need help changing. I should stay." I blushed furiously and shoved him out the door, ignoring the pain in my arm as I did so. Locking the door behind him, I swiftly changed, noting the well-done bandaging on my arm, then left. He was waiting outside the door. He bowed elegantly and asked, "May I escort you to the breakfast area?" I accepted, mostly because I was too tired to get there myself. He looked very pleased that I didn't push him off.
We went downstairs, where the others whistled when we entered. Some rushers were there as well, and watched with awe in their eyes. Then one stood and came over to where I was seating myself.
"Are you alright? I heard some rushers threw a blade at a Dog at the Barrel's Bottom, but they didn't know who it was." He looked worried. I smiled to re-assure him; he was Bold Brian, one of the rushers who had helped catch Crookshank, and I trusted him.
"I'm fine." He looked relieved. "Do you know who it was who threw the blade?" Here he grinned.
"Your Dogs caught him at the tavern an hour later. He's at the cages." I nodded, and he went back to his place. The rest of breakfast went without incident, though as the day went along, Rosto got steadily closer to me. By the time all the rushers were all gone, and it was only Kora, Aniki, Phelan, Erskren, Rosto and me, I was practically in his lap. The others glanced at each other, than us. They stood up to "get more food," as they said, then they all left. As soon as they did, Rosto maneuvered me into his lap. I was so drowsy I didn't even notice it. Instead I dozed off, thinking this is very comfortable…
Sudden giggling brought me to reality as the others came back.
"Wow. Thirteen minutes, and she's already in his lap. You work fast, Rosto!" Erskren said with approval. I suddenly made up my mind. Slowly, I stood, and looked at them.
"You are interrupting. Do we bother you when you're busy?" They were shocked at this; I had never openly said that I liked Rosto. In fact, I went out of my way to say I didn't. Rosto also looked shocked at this, but recovered quickly. He stood up and grinned, slipping a hand around my waist.
"Seeing as they don't intend on leaving, let us go somewhere more private." He led me away. Behind us, I heard Erskren say "You owe me three silver nobles, Aniki, You bet she'd wait till Midsummer." I laughed and asked Rosto "Was it that obvious?" He grinned. "Yes." We went into his room, and I thought, This is going to take some explaining later.
Rosto let go of my waist, and the sudden change made me stumble. He caught me. Grinning, he asked, "Are you always falling?" I smiled warmly.
"Only if you are there to catch me."