“Wow. Couldn’t stay away from me huh?” Dash said as Vale walked into the observation room. Sky shot him a warning look as he followed her in. “What is it now? Three times since you’ve been on board? And it’s only been a few days. Doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together.”
Sky took two steps towards Dash before a scalpel suddenly appeared in Dash’s hand. He twirled it skillfully before he held it up, a dangerous look on his face. “One more step cus and I will cut into you again. But I won’t use pain medication this time and you know just how much damage I can cause with this thing.”
Sky moved in a flash, punching Dash square in the jaw, sending them both hurtling towards the ground. Sky landed on top and punched Dash again. A moment later Dash jolted upwards, causing Sky to lose his balance. Dash pinned him and shoved Sky’s hands down at his sides. “Why are you so angry? You’re the one who ran away! You just left us here! Left me to clean everything up!”
They rolled across the floor, Sky landing on top. Sky swiped at Dash but Dash shot out from under his grip, his jets surprising Sky. Sky reached for Dash but he was up in the air, hovering around the room just out of reach. Vale jumped back as Dash bolted passed. She stared after them trying to decide if she should intervene.
Dash landed behind Sky and knocked him to his knees, placing his scalpel to Sky’s throat. “We are done with this.”
And you haven’t laid a scratch on me, Sky signed angrily up at Dash.
“Did it ever occur to you that I don’t want to?”
Dash hovered backwards and dropped to his feet lowering his scalpel. “Now if you are done taking your anger out on me, I believe Vale is in need of medical attention.” Sky stood to his feet and looked over at Vale, a blush seeping into his face. “Go lie down Sky. I think you’ve been out of bed long enough for today.”
Sky turned and left without another word looking oddly calm, surprising Vale. But when the door slammed behind him, Vale knew he was far from it.
Dash seemed to deflate, exhausted. Deep purple half-moons hung under his eyes, evidence of his lack of sleep. Running his fingers through his hair, he tucked away his fatigue as he walked over to Vale. “So what are we dealing with here?”
Vale crossed her arms, taking in the strange boy before her. His face was cut in several places where Sky had hit him. Blood trickling down his cheeks, emphasizing how much of an easy target he had been. And yet, he had not laid a hand on Sky even though she knew he could. He was far faster than he had been in that moment. “Sit,” Vale motioned to the observation table.
Dash stared at her, unmoving. “You’ve already gone through one unnecessary beating today. I’m pretty sure you don’t want another. Sit.”
Dash gave a half-hearted laugh and slumped down on the table. “Fair enough.” Vale walked over to his prep table and picked up sanitation wipes. Walking back over, she carefully dabbed at the cut on his brow. He sucked in a breath wincing. “He couldn’t punch like that the last time I saw him.”
“Why didn’t you protect yourself?” Vale asked, her voice soft as she moved onto the cut on his cheek.
“I didn’t want to hurt him. Our levels of pain aren’t the same. This will balance things out a bit.”
Vale sanitized a small needle and began to stitch up the cut on his brow, surprised when he stayed perfectly still as she tugged the thread through. “That doesn’t invalidate your own pain.” This was a new side of Dash. His smile filled mischievous nature had vanished, revealing a boy who felt he deserved far worse than a few punches. “That doesn’t mean you deserve to have more of it.”
Vale finished and placed two small bandages over the cuts. She tilted her head to the side, confused as a smile crept onto Dash’s face. She tried to keep a smile off of her own, surprised by the sudden smile. “What?”
“It’s strange being the one on the operating table.”
“What? You don’t go fighting people every day?” Vale said sarcastically, taking a step back to let Dash hop off the table.
He snorted. “Nah. That’s a bi-weekly occurrence. The last person to give me a patch-up job was my dad.” The last few words came out quietly, his eyes glazing slightly as he left the table. He motioned for her to sit.
“Where’s your dad now?”
Dashed walked over to his prep table, his back to her as he stopped. “Gone. Probably dead. He was always the adventuring type.” Silence hung heavily between them.
“I’m sorry,” Vale said quietly. She thought of the father she never knew and would never know. “Was he a doctor too?”
“Yeah, he was a master healer.” He walked back over to Vale. “I’m going to need to lift up your shirt.”
“What?” Vale asked, her face turning into a beacon of red light.
He laughed. “Calm down. The back of your shirt. Your shirt is soaked with blood. I need to see why.” He rolled his eyes. “But good to know that terrifies you.” He moved to stand behind her and slowly lifted the back of her shirt. “Woah. What did you do?”
She was thankful he couldn’t see her face when another blush filled her face. Vale thought of Sky, his fingers wrapped around her waist, his lips against hers. “I was in the training room. I took one of the spikes and bent it out of place. Then I forgot it was on the ground and leaned right back into it.”
Dash began to wipe down her back, causing Vale to clench her teeth. “I was just trying to figure out how my arm works.”
“So you took some sheet metal and shoved it into your back?” She felt a tug and watched as his tweezers dropped a piece of metal onto a waiting tray.
She ignored his joke and stared down at her hand. “Why would someone give me this? It makes no sense.”
“Is that a rhetorical question? Because I can’t see what you are referring to while I’m back here,” Dash replied from over her shoulder.
“My arm. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“It is quite a rare thing to see,” Dash admitted.
Vale looked over her shoulder at him. “You’ve seen something like this?”
Dash glanced up at her. “Stay still.”
She turned back around. Dash added several bandages onto her back. “I’ll have to change these out tomorrow. Luckily the wound isn’t too deep.” Vale didn’t process his words as her mind spun.
As soon as he was back in her sights she asked again. “Where have you seen something like my arm?”
Dash crossed his arms. “Geeze. No ‘thank you Dash. You are so nice for patching me up twice Dash.’ You move from topic to topic fast.”
Vale took in a deep breath. “You are welcome Dash. I am so nice for patching you up Dash. Now will you answer my question Dash?”
He gave her an uncontrollable smirk. “I’d be pissed at your lack of praise if I didn’t love that level of sass.” He walked over to a wall of supplies and pulled a black shirt off of the shelf. Throwing it back to her he turned around. “Change. The blood will get stuck to your bandages.”
Vale quickly peeled off her shirt and yanked on the new one, keeping a sharp eye on Dash. He kept his back to her. “Dash?” He looked back at her as she let out a tired breath. “Please answer my question.”
He pulled up a chair and sat down. “You are full of questions. Yes, I have seen something like it.”
Vale couldn’t help the excitement that crept into her voice. “What? Where?”
Dash rubbed the back of his neck and leaned down. Pulling at the hem of his pants he pulled them up. Vale gasped as she realized that the steel boots that Dash wore were not steel boots at all, but his feet. Steel made up his feet and worked its way up to right below his knees.
“You aren’t the only one who has had a few upgrades.”