Here's the last chappie all my lovely Zone Runners. Hop ya enjoyed it and hope that you're still migrating your way over to Wolfbane17's story as well. We're down to the wire and there are still many Zone Runners to be introduced in the story (including a certain blonde/red streaked brunette).
The next day passed by slowly with little improvement. Kobra would run the warm, wet towel along the redhead's skin and Jet would help him every few hours with the antibiotic. Grace would rarely leave her spot on the bed and Ghoul took over the watch whenever he could pry Kobra away (which wasn't very often, but Ghoul would stay in the room anyway).
During the night, Motorbaby and Show Pony finally returned with more saline bags and other items to stock the Killjoys' duffel bag. They stayed just long enough to be assured of Party's health and safety, before having to return to Zone 2.
When midday rolled around on the third day they're all exhausted. Everyone had holed up in their rooms and fell into deep sleeps, Kobra could swear he heard Ghoul snoring from across the building. Jet, the ever diligent medic of the group, came in once looking beyond ragged and checked Party's forehead. He nodded when he felt the cool skin and pulled the blanket up a bit higher. He then turned to leave, giving Kobra a pat on the shoulder and trudged back to his room to sleep some more.
Kobra couldn't blame him, the past few days had taken a toll on everyone, physically and emotionally.
He leaned forward and felt Party's skin for himself, sighing when he felt it to be much cooler than it had been earlier. Crossing his arms on the bed, he laid his head down and rested his exhausted body.
A couple hours later, almost twelve hours after his fever had broken, Party still hadn't woken up. And the worry was starting to eat at Kobra. After all they had gone through, he couldn't help but think that it had all been for nothing and he would still lose his brother.
Grace had reluctantly left the room a few hours earlier when Jet came in and told her she needed to eat.
Kobra was hunched over in the seat with his elbows on his knees and his face buried in his palms. He was just starting to lose any hope when he felt a set of shaky fingers touch his knee.
His head immediately shot up and his eyes met the green-brown irises of his brother.
The name was grated out harshly and Kobra Kid couldn't help but laugh with happiness. He laughed so hard there were tears in his eyes and he leaned over the bed and just held onto his brother. Party tried to raise his arms up to return the hug, but didn't get further than a couple inches before dropping back to the bed again.
"Fuck Gerard, you scared the shit outta me. Don't do this again."
Fun Ghoul was standing right behind Kobra, a silly smile on his face as he punched Jet Star in the arm.
"We should go tell Dr. D."
Jet Star understood that Fun Ghoul wanted to give the brothers some privacy and immediately followed the shorter man out the door, intending to tell the news to Grace.
Party watched them leave with a slow turn of the head, everything seeming to blur and misshape before his eyes. He blinked a few times and turned his head toward his left arm, seeing a tube coming from somewhere above him and disappearing into his forearm. He started to become slightly dizzy and had to swallow a few times before he could find his voice.
"Um…Kobra…why is there a needle in my arm?"
Kobra Kid remembered how frightened Party was of needles and he threw the bed sheet over the arm, trying to hide it from view.
"Just don't look at it Party. You needed some fluids."
Now lucid, Party looked up at the coat hanger, supported precariously by a bent nail on the wall, holding the saline bag. His head turned to the upturned box that functioned as a bedside table and he saw the matchbox and a couple of the small blue pills. Party's brain is still sluggish, but it didn't take him long to put two and two together.
"We didn't have any meds... Where'd Dr. D get them?"
Kobra's eyes widened slightly, but he tried to hide it by straightening out the blankets and feeling Party's forehead again.
"Does it matter?"
Party lay back down, clearly trying to ward off the weariness but his eyes were starting to flutter closed. He fell silent but became slightly restless after a few minutes.
"Hey Mikey…how's 'bout you play me som'thing with your bass?"
Kobra smiled at him, "I'm pretty tired Party. How about you go to sleep and I'll bring it out later 'kay?"
Party nodded at his brother and settled back on the pillow. He heard quiet rustling over his head and soon felt the bed dip down slightly by his hip. Barely opening his eyes showed his brother holding a bowl in one hand and something cupped in the other.
"Hey bro, I need ya to take this pill before going to sleep. It's an antibiotic and will help with the infection."
Party barely nodded as he tries to lift himself up onto his elbows, but his arms immediately start to shake under the weight. Just as he was about to fall back to the bed, he felt a strong arm reach around and steady him at the shoulders, helping him up.
Kobra held up the small pill and put it in Party's mouth before holding the bowl to his brother's lips. The first sip was small and tentative but he was soon taking large, quick gulps as he realized how thirsty he really was. Kobra took the bowl away and helped Party back down.
"That's enough for now. The last thing I wanna do right now is clean up your puke."
Party tried to give him an annoyed face and Kobra could see the beginnings of a middle finger being raised before Party was asleep again.
Kobra got up and went outside, closing the door behind him as quietly as possible.
Dr. Death Defying was waiting for him, a look of relief and slight reprimand on his face.
"How long do you reckon till he figures it out?"
Kobra didn't need an explanation.
"I don't know. I'll tell him eventually."
"You loved that bass, Kobra."
"Not more than I love my brother."
Dr. D settled further into his chair, crossing his arms with a slight nod. "That man in there has a way of earning love and loyalty."
"That's why it's important he stays alive."
Dr. Death Defying shook his head, "It's why it's important you all stay alive. It's not something to be explained easily or taken lightly, what you all share… And you don't have to be humble 'bout what you did, you know."
Kobra Kid grinned widely, the last days had worked his nerves to the breaking point and he needed, needed, to lighten the situation, needed for everything to return to how it was before Party got sick, "Who said anything about being humble? As soon as Party is up and running, I'm laying claim to his pack of cigarettes and that coffee stash he thinks no one knows about."
Dr. Death could see right through him, could see plainly that if Party ever died, he'll take a piece of his brothers' heart with him. It scared him and he wanted to say something to Kobra Kid but Fun Ghoul and Jet Star walked in at that moment.
"PARTY HAS A SECRET STASH OF COFFEE?"
And Dr. Death and Kobra Kid laughed because it's about damn time that some things got back to normal. Kobra shook his head and walked toward his bedroom.
"I'm goin' to sleep. None of ya fuckers bug me."
Fun Ghoul spun around and was instantly following him, yelling as he tried to catch up.
"Oh no you don't! You mentioned coffee and you sure as fuck ain't gettin' away until ya tell me where it is! Michael James Way get your ass back here!"
Jet Star and Dr D traded glances, shrugs that clearly said 'do you know them? I don't know them.' and moved to sit at the booth across the room where Grace was fiddling with her radio.
Hours later, the diner was completely silent, Fun Ghoul being the only one in the main room.
He was sprawled out across a booth, counting the tiles in the ceiling for the twenty-seventh time. He didn't even hear the heavy clunking boots drawing near until he was kicked hard in the shin.
"Ow! Mother fucker! What was that for?"
The soft chuckle caused his head to snap up and come face to face with Party Poison; he was still pale and seemed slightly winded from the walk from his room, but he had his arms crossed over his chest and was smirking at the younger male.
"Cuz you're a lazy ass who doesn't pay attention to anything around him. Where are the others?"
Ghoul dropped his head back down to the booth and shrugged his shoulders.
"Jet went out to meet one of his contacts, took the squirt with him, and Kobra and Dr. D are asleep. Why?"
Party's smirk became a little wider as he threw something onto Ghoul's chest, freaking out the dark haired Killjoy. "We're going for a ride." And he started toward the door with steady, confident steps.
Ghoul looked down and found his Frankenstein's Monster mask now in his lap. He looked up at Party.
"You spose to be outta bed?"
Party's voice drifted back as he shoved the door and walked out.
"Do I give a fuck?"
Ghoul shrugged again and heaved himself up from the booth to follow his leader out to the Trans Am.
Sunset found Party sitting outside next to the door of the diner, his back pressed against the wall. His head was tilted back and his eyes closed, absorbing as much of the setting sun's heat as he could before the chill of the desert night rolled in. He'd been held up in his room for days and was starting to go stir crazy until he had been able to sneak out with Ghoul earlier, and now he was just trying to relax in the quiet surroundings.
He barely heard the door open and shut before another body crouched down and sat beside him. A deep, content sigh quickly told him that it was his younger brother without having to open his eyes.
"Jet's gonna kill ya if he finds out you're out here."
Party shrugged his shoulders, still refusing to lower his head.
"You guys worked too hard to keep me alive. He ain't gonna kill me now. You gonna rat on me?"
Kobra shrugged as well, his eyes hidden behind his dark glasses.
"Nah, not yet. But if he corners me and makes me confess, I'm saying you held me at gunpoint."
Party chuckled quietly before the two fell into a companionable silence that stretched for almost five minutes before the redheaded brother spoke again.
"You know Bandit would be Grace's age right now." Kobra actually did know that little fact, but didn't say anything as Party continued. "You're gonna think I'm a total fuckin' asshole for sayin' this, but as much as I miss them, I can't help but be thankful that Lindsey and Bandit never had to be a part of this Hell. Never had to see me like this."
Kobra turned his head to look at Party full on, his mouth in a thin line. "And how is that? As a hero, out to rid the world of all the bland, and dull and heartless that it has fallen under?"
Party gave an irritated grunt, finally turning his head down to look at the ground. "I ain't a hero. I'm a cold blooded killer. The girls don't ever need to see that."
Kobra's eyes widened and he balled his fists tightly to keep from punching his still healing brother. "You're not like that Party. You haven't killed anyone. Those Dracs we shoot every day? They're not human; they had everything that made them human sucked out of them by those fuckin' pills and lies, leaving nothing left but an empty carcass that can do nothing but follow orders. They're robots Gerard, nothing more. And if you won't believe me on that, then Frank, Ray and I are just as guilty as you with all the ones we've killed too."
Party shook his head; as much as he wanted to blame himself for all the pain he has caused others, he couldn't let Mikey and the others believe that of themselves. He was the leader, they all looked up to him. And if that means keeping certain demons to himself to keep his friends from worrying, he'd keep his mouth shut.
"I'm sorry Mikes, I'm just tired. Too many thoughts going through my head the past couple days."
Kobra nodded with a smirk. "Yeah, surprised it didn't explode."
Party glared at him from the corner of his eye and tried half heartedly to punch him in the side, but when Kobra shifted out of the way he just had to settle for flipping him a middle finger.
"So where'd ya go earlier?"
Party's eyebrow raised in question as he looked over at Kobra again, causing the younger to smirk and shrug.
"Don't play stupid. I saw you leave earlier with Ghoul. So where'd ya go?"
Party continued to stare for a moment before his shoulder slumped slightly. "You didn't have to do it ya know."
Now it was Kobra's turn to raise an eyebrow and stare at his brother in confusion. He set his sunglasses on the top of his head as the last of the setting sun disappeared, "What the fuck are ya going on about now? What didn't I have to do?"
In lieu of an answer Party stood and went to the Trans Am, opening the door and pulling out a familiar looking medium sized package.
Kobra's shoulders tensed and his eyes widened as Party made his way back with the package in both hands. He wanted to believe he knew what it was, but he also was afraid of the disappointment he'd feel when it wasn't.
The automatic light they had rigged up above the door turned on and bathed Kobra in a bright yellow circle as his brother drew nearer.
Party knelt in front of Kobra, carefully placing the box on the younger's out stretched legs. He rested his hands on top of it and looked at the blonde until he slowly raised his eyes and the two met.
"You don't need to give up your things Mikey, especially the things that you love."
Kobra's gaze immediately turned hard. "And I love you Gerard, so that means I shouldn't have to give you up. You're more important to me than anything else."
Party fell back on his heels and stared at Kobra with mixed emotions before launching himself forward and pulling the blond into a fierce embrace.
Kobra held on just as tight as Party's shoulder started to shudder slightly. "You're important Party, don't ever forget that."
The two held onto each other for a while, desperately needing the touch to know that the other was still there. After a few minutes, they felt two other sets of arms wrap around them as Fun Ghoul and Jet Star knelt next to them.
"Glad to have ya back man," Jet Star's voice came from Party's right, an arm wrapped around each of the brothers.
"Yeah," Ghoul added, "You're too fuckin' high maintenance. Start taking care of yourself again."
Party tried to laugh but it came out as a sort of hiccupped sob as he smiled and shoved his left shoulder against Ghoul's chest where he was wrapped in the embrace.
"How about you be the one who gets shot next time, see how you feel afterward."
Ghoul's smile got bigger as he shoved back gently. "Nah, that's all right. I could live without going through that…literally."
"Yeah yeah," Jet broke in, standing up and holding out a hand to each of the brothers before him, "Let's go inside. It's getting fuckin' cold out here, and some idiot that is still sick ain't wearin' his jacket."
Ghoul took the case from Kobra's lap as Party and Kobra each took a hand to let Jet pull them to their feet.
Dr. Death Defying was sat just inside the doorway as the four Fabulous Killjoys returned inside. The group could easily see what the older male wanted, so Ghoul, Kobra and Jet continued further into the room as Party came to a stop.
Dr D's eyebrow rose slightly as he took in Party's disheveled appearance and tear-streaked face, but he didn't comment, choosing to stay silent until the other male sighed quietly and gave a shaky smile.
"I'm fine Dr. D, just tired."
The radio pirate scoffed. "Yeah, that'll happen when a previously deathly ill idiot decides to go gallivanting out in the zones so soon. I hope your little trip was worth it."
Party smiled tiredly at the knowing smirk before him. "Yeah, it was worth everything. Nothing's more important than my brother."
Dr. D nodded before looking thoughtfully across the room where the others sat next to the case that Ghoul had carried in. 'I've heard that one before.' "So what did you trade to get his bass back?"
Party gave a sheepish grin and rubbed a hand along the back of his neck. "Well-"
"Hey Party!" Ghoul cut in, waving frantically from his position across the room as if he wouldn't be noticed, "What the fuck is this I've heard about a secret stash of cigs and coffee man? You seriously holding out on us?"
Party's grin somehow became even more embarrassed as he gave a hesitant chuckle. "Um yeah, about that…"