Two chapters in two days! I couldn't stay away for long. This one was already partially done I just got some free time to work and had a writing fit.
Oh and on another note:
Holy crap I'm at chapter ten! This is officially the longest I've kept a story going.
I was honestly shocked when I got up this morning and found a bunch of reviews for this already. I should leave you guys with cliffhangers more often. Just kidding. Thank you everyone for all the reviews. They have kept me going.
Clockwork, Nocturne and the Observants belong to Butch Hartman
Clockwise and Dusk belong to
All other characters are mine
"You can't shut yourself away like this Raul. It's not what Marie would want." Anne said trying to soothe the large man.
Raul had been almost completely silent through the entire day. She knew that her friend was grieved at the loss of his mother and didn't want to leave him alone in his grief. She had been trying to do what she could to comfort him though words or just simply sitting with him in the silence.
Just then Anthony burst into the tent interrupting them. His hair was disheveled and he was breathing heavily as if he had been running. He looked to be in a complete panic.
"Anthony what on earth…" Anne started.
"Raul," he interrupted quickly, "you have to come now. Victor has gone crazy."
"What are you talking about?" Raul asked tiredly, not looking up.
"The little ones, Clockwork and Nocturne, they tried to escape. Victor caught them and is punishing them as we speak."
"They knew of the risk when they tried to run. They will just have to learn to accept the consequences."
"You don't understand he's having them beaten." Anthony said.
"Are you serious?" Anne asked.
Anthony nodded desperately "He's completely lost it. If you don't come now Titan is going to kill them."
"It's no concern of mine."
"What are you saying? They are part of this caravan, one of us. You need to help them."
"I don't need to do anything," Raul said turning away. "They are not one of us. They are not members of this caravan. They are not even human."
"What's gotten into you? You've always stood up for those that could not stand up for themselves. And now that Marie is gone you're just going sit and do nothing? Did your heart die with her?! " Anthony argued.
"You don't know anything!" Raul snapped.
"I know she wouldn't have wanted this. For you to just sit here in a slump while Clockwork and Nocturne need your help. She cared about those two and if you would stop feeling sorry for yourself you would see that you do to."
Raul quickly turned and stared at Anthony with blazing eyes. Anthony met his gaze. Finally Raul walked past Anthony and out of the tent.
"Take me to them"
As they got closer to Victor's tent he could hear the sound of flesh hitting flesh and Nocturne's cries of pain. A crowd had begun to gather. They parted seeing Raul coming up.
As he entered the tent he stopped cold at the sight before him. Titan stood there mercilessly delivering blow after blow to the two small ghosts while Victor stood by with cold eyes. Nocturne was trying to shield Clockwork who was curled into a ball. Both had cuts and bruises all over their bodies.
The sight caused Raul's blood to boil. As Titan raised his hand to deliver another blow Raul stepped and up and grabbed his wrist, squeezing hard.
"That's enough," he growled.
Titan turned his head with a snarl and tried to pull his wrist away but Raul only gripped it harder and met the other man's glair.
"I said that's enough." He gave the wrist one last squeeze before releasing it, shoving Titan away.
"Stay out of this Raul it does not concern you." Victor said in a warning voice.
"Anything that has to do with any member of this caravan concerns me. You've made your point now tell Titan to stand down."
"I'm sorry did you just order me to do something?" Victor asked infuriated.
"Victor stop this. We grew up together like brothers. You have always listened to my opinion in the past so listen to me now. You are going too far with this. End it here and let us take them. They need to be healed and rest."
"The only place they are going is back into that cage where they will remain!"
Anthony and Anne stepped in front of Clockwork and Nocturne.
"You're not laying a hand on them." Anne stated.
"You dare defy me!? Has everyone in this caravan gone mad!? I will have order and obedience by force if I must! Titan!" He yelled, signaling to the large man.
Titan ran at Raul slamming into the strongman's waist knocking them both down. He lifted a fist but Raul moved his head to the side and it connected to the ground. Raul kicked his legs under Titan knocking him off. As they both stood Titan lunged again. This time Raul met him halfway each grabbing the others arms in a test of strength. They struggled for a while seemingly evenly matched. Soon however Raul began to overpower Titan. He gripped Titans shoulder and shirt in the center and lifted the large man over his head. He then turned and tossed the man into one of the heavy piece of furniture knocking him out.
Raul turned and gave Victor a hard stare. The circus owner stepped back frightened. Raul then walked over to the boys gently picked up Clockwork and began to walk back to his tent. Anthony picked up Nocturne and followed with Anne close behind, neither one saying anything. The crowd parted letting them pass.
"Don't you turn your back on me!" Victor yelled furiously.
The three just ignored him and kept walking. The rest of the crowd began to turn away from Victor as well giving him looks from disgust to pity. Even Marguerite inched away from her brother slowly.
"Where are you going?! Get back here!" Victor continued to yell almost desperately, "I am the master you will listen to me!"
Raul led them to his tent where he laid Clockwork on his cot. Anne moved past Raul sitting on the edge of the cot and began to examine Clockwork.
Anthony set Nocturne down where the dream ghost ran to his friend's side.
"Will he be okay?" The small ghost asked shakily.
"He'll be fine," she said smiling. She turned to the men her face serious. "Anthony I need you to grab some bandages and salves. Raul go and get some hot water and washcloths."
After the two men went to get the items she began removing Clockwork's cape, boots and gloves. It was not easy to do since the time ghost was still clutched into a tight ball gripping his chest. His eyes were squeezed shut and he kept whispering "It's cracked" over and over. Anne was almost afraid her was having another time migraine.
"Clockwork can you hear me?" Anne asked. He didn't respond at first. Then he cracked an eye at her.
"Clockwork," She said, "I need to check your injuries but to do that I need you to move your arm."
He bundled closer into a ball shaking his head. "No, no. It's cracked, it's cracked."
"Shhh it's okay." She whispered running her hand through his hair trying to calm the panicking child.
Raul entered with the hot water. Anthony followed behind him.
"Raul," she called to the large man, "I need you to move his arms."
Raul moved to the other side of the cot and gently grabbed the boy's wrists. Raul peeled Clockwork's arms away from his body. Clockwork tried to struggle but Anne held his shoulders.
"It's okay," She soothed the struggling child till he wore himself out and lost consciousness.
She went to work, removing clockwork's shirt to better see his injuries. There were bruises and welts all over his arms and torso but the worst was a large crack that ran across the glass case in the boy's chest.
She set to work cleaning and bandaging Clockwork's wounds. There was little she could to about the crack so she just put a bit of healing salve on it then wrapped it tightly.
Anthony took care of Nocturne whose injuries were not as bad as Clockwork's. The dream ghost said nothing and kept looking at his injured friend. Finally he spoke.
"It was a trap. Victor knew that we were going to escape and was waiting for us." he sniffed, "We should have never tried to escape. It's just…we wanted to go home so bad."
"I know little one. It is alright." Anthony said pulling the dream ghost in a hug. He held Nocturne, allowing the ghost to cry quietly onto his shoulder. After a while Nocturne pulled away still sniffing and rubbing his eyes tiredly.
Anthony smiled softly at him. "Come on you need to rest. You can stay in my tent tonight."
"Can't I stay here with Clockwork?"
Anne shook her head. "He needs his rest and to stay as still as possible. Don't worry Raul and I will stay with him tonight."
"Okay," Nocturne reluctantly agreed. Anthony picked him up and carried him out of the tent after saying his goodnights.
Anne went to dispose of the dirty water and bandages. When she returned she found Raul sitting beside the cot watching over the sleeping child.
"He'll be okay." she said placing a hand on his shoulder.
"Do you know that they sat with Mother when she passed? He saw that she would die that night and so they snuck into her tent and sat with her. They even gave her happy dreams as she died. When I found them with her I lashed out at them, I blamed them when I should have thanked them for being with her in her last hours on earth."
"You were grieved over her loss. I'm sure they understood" Anne said kneeling beside him and placing a hand on his knee.
Raul kept looking at the sleeping boy. "All this time I had thought of them as demons trying to keep myself from seeing them as anything but monsters. But to sit by an old woman's side and comfort her in her last hours. That is not the action of a monster. Perhaps if I had been less blinded by my grief I could have realized that they planned to run and stopped them before they tried something foolish."
"You can't blame yourself. We all were saddened by Marie's death and none of us could have known they had planned to leave tonight or that Victor would go so far."
"I knew Victor had been changing but I never thought he would go as far as he did." Raul's eyes shadowing at the mention of Victor. "He had always been like a brother to me. I hated to walk away from him but he is not the person he used to be. I have lost two members of my family in two days."
"You haven't lost Marie. I am sure she is watching over you as we speak. And you still have the boys and Anthony. And you will always have me." she added with a slight blush.
Raul turned and looked at her. She found her courage and continued. "Raul you spend so much time taking care of others. Please let me take care of you. I always thought that the only thing I wanted to do is leave here and make a home. But I know now that any home I make without you would be cold and empty. I don't expect you to feel the same for me that I always have for you. All I ask is that you let me stay by your side forever so that I can take some of your burden from you."
Neither said anything for a moment. Anne afraid of his silence turned her head. "I'm s..sorry I shouldn't have said anything. This isn't the ti-"
She was cut off and pulled into a tight hug by Raul. She was too shocked to respond. Was she dreaming? Raul pulled back slightly and looked into her eyes.
"I always thought you wanted to leave." He said. "So I kept my feelings quiet telling myself that they would only burden you if you found out. That they would make you leave faster. I never dreamed that you could feel the same."
"Raul? What are you saying?"
"Isn't it obvious?" He chuckled. "Perhaps I should show you."
He bent down and brought his lips softly to hers. Anne felt like her heart would burst. She wrapped her arms around his neck and clung to him.
As he pulled away he smiled. "Now do you believe me?"
She said nothing and pulled him into another kiss. They sat like that until a noise from the bed made them break apart. They looked down as Clockwork sighed in his sleep.
Anne let go of Raul and knelt by Clockworks bed wrapping the cover securely around the sleeping boy. She ran her hand over the sleeping boy's brow looking down at him with a smile.
"Perhaps we should continue this another time," She whispered to Raul.
"I agree," He said settling himself in the chair. She settled herself at his feet leaning against his knee. He placed a hand on his shoulder and she covered it with her own. The night not looking as dark as it once had.
I ended this chapter with a bit a fluff to make up for the violence in the other chapters and in the ones coming up. Hold your horses the nights not over yet.