"You have some deficiencies in vitamins D and C, but that's rather normal and not related to your injuries. What I was surprised to see was such a low level of estrogen in your blood tests. I had another sample sent to the lab for further testing. I did get those results back as well," He flipped through the folder he was carrying. "It seems you have an underdeveloped reproductive system, your ovaries are smaller than they should be. Tell me Ms. Nakima. Have you had any menstruation at all?"
Nova shrugged. "I'm not even sure what that is."
"It is when a woman flushes out the lining of her ut-"
"Gross!" Yuri exclaimed, clapping his hands over his ears.
Blaze scratched his cheek. "Eh?"
"She bleeds from her lower extremities," the doctor stated flatly. "It is a cycle that happens once a month."
Nova tapped her chin thoughtfully. "I don't remember bleeding from there except once or twice."
The doctor nodded. "Then that is why. It means that you are most likely infertile."
"Oh, well that's okay. Explains why I never got pregnant like Mom warned. Is there anything else?"
"The x-rays have confirmed what my initial observations have: you have two fractured rib bones and one has tissue damage. They will heal in time. As I have instructed before, continue taking deep breaths when you feel able to. Otherwise you could end up with pneumonia. I will make sure the nurses continue to give you fluids and prescribe pain medication for when you leave."
"When will that be?"
"Just a couple more days. I want to ensure that your are healed enough to not rip open when you move about. The nurses have told me your burns look much better, as well."
"Am I healed enough for a shower?"
"I...suppose. That's not up for me to decide as I have not been caring for you. But the wounds do need to be thoroughly cleaned. I'll have one of the nurses come in with a towel and help you."
Having given his diagnosis, the doctor took his leave.
"Hey Blaze," Nova said in a soft tone. "Will you help me with my shower?"
"Eh?!" His pale face flushed darkly. "I-I don't think I even can..!"
Nova smiled. "Oh, please? You're nice and strong. I don't think one of those nurses could hold me up."
"I-I..." He was completely flustered at the proposition.
Yuri laughed. "If you don't, I will."
"Shut it, Yuri!" Blaze snapped.
Nova giggled. "I'll take him up on it if you don't."
"That really ain't fair."
"Maybe not. But I would like you to."
Blaze rolled his eyes. "Okay, okay. If only to keep Yuri's paws off you."
Nova smiled and hugged his arm. "Thanks."
The brunette-haired nurse arrived several minutes later with two towels, a washcloth, and a tray of items: a roll of bandages, a tube of antiseptic, and a pair of scissors. "All right Ms. Nakima. Are you ready for your shower?"
Nova nodded. "Yes. But I have a request."
The nurse set the tray down on the table and set about removing the IV's from Nova's arm. "And what is that?"
"I want Blaze help me instead."
"Blaze?" She looked up at the Viral. "Ah...Ms. Nakima, I really shouldn't allow that."
"Oh please? I feel more comfortable around him."
"But I am a trained..." her voice trailed off when Blaze's eyes met hers. "Er...I suppose I could for just a little bit. I have to be in there afterward to apply the antiseptic and re-bandage your wounds. And put the IV's back in your arm once that's finished. Please try not to do anything major or they'll re-open."
The nurse set the towels with the washcloth on top in Blaze's arms and made her way towards the door. "I'll be back in twenty minutes to check on you. If she's out sooner, just hit that button over there to call me."
Blaze nodded. "Got it." He got to his feet, tucking the towels under his arm.
"Be gentle with her," Yuri said, grinning. He stood up as well. "I'm gonna go get a drink. I'll be back in a bit, give you two some privacy."
"Yuri, I oughta punch you for even suggesting that." Blaze said, raising his clenched hand threateningly.
The older man took several steps back. "Whoa now, big guy. It was just a joke."
"Leave poor Yuri alone, Blaze. Help me up, please."
Yuri waved and exited the room.
Blaze slipped an arm about her waist, supporting her with it as she climbed out of the bed.
She gasped as her knees buckled beneath her, unable to support the sudden weight. The only thing that prevented her from falling was Blaze's arm.
He pulled her up again. "I gotcha."
The pair slowly made their way into the bathroom located near the door that lead out into the hallway.
Blaze carefully removed Nova's green hospital gown. He grimaced at the sight of her bandaged limbs, chest, and stomach that were stained a light red in different places where a wound opened. As carefully as he was able, he cut through the bandages, placing each wad into the trash-can. With each part revealed, a sickening feeling in his gut grew.
Though they were several days old, the wounds that Rosemon's thorns had inflicted upon her skin were not healing properly. Each had small burn marks around the edges to indicate that the Data-type had tried to electrocute the young woman.
"They do look better than yesterday." Nova commented, smiling.
"Better? They look horrible!"
"Well they're not bleeding and oozing, at least."
"Shit, Nova. I didn't realize..." He shut his eyes, tears oozing from behind his eyelids.
"Don't cry, Blaze. It doesn't hurt that much, at least."
"Only because they have you doped up on pain medicine."
"That's okay. Come on. Your turn."
"M-m...wait, I didn't agree to that part."
She smiled slyly. "But what's the use, then? You'll just get your clothes all nasty."
"I can just take off my jacket. The leather won't come to any harm."
"You're not any fun. I wanted to see that body of yours."
He blushed deeply. "Yeah, I figured."
"Nova, please. You'll be injured more if you even try to do anything."
"I didn't say I wanted to do anything with you, I just wanted to see you naked."
"Which will lead to the begging for sex. You're too injured. I want to keep the level of temptation as low as possible."
"Oookay. Off with the jacket, at least."
He turned around. "Fine, fine."
Nova played with his tail while he removed his arm-guards. "Still not fair you won't let me watch you undress."
"I don't want you to try to molest me."
"But I won't."
"I don't trust you won't."
She giggled and pressed the smooth metal against her cheek. "Okay, okay. I wouldn't trust me either."
He set his arm-guards and gloves on the counter of the sink and proceeded to remove his jacket.
Nova released his tail and doubled over with a groan.
Blaze whirled around, panicked by the noise. "Nova?!"
She took a deep breath. "I'm okay...just my ribs."
"Maybe you should wait to shower-"
She shook her head, pushing herself up. "I'm fine."
She gave him a forced reassuring smile. "Help me up, please."
He put his hands under her arms and lifted her gently to her feet. Keeping one arm looped underneath her shoulders, he picked up the washcloth.
They walked the foot or so it took to reach the shower.
Nova turned the water on and adjusted it to a comfortable temperature before gingerly stepping in. She whimpered as the water from the stream landed on her wounded skin.
Blaze watched her face crease with pain, his heart feeling as if it had sunk into his stomach. "Nova please."
She closed her eyes. "I'm fine."
"But you keep..."
"A little pain is not a reason to fret, sweetheart."
"I just hate to see you in pain."
"Then I'm glad you didn't see..." her voice trailed off and she sighed. "Are you not coming in, too?"
"No, I'm just keeping you up."
"There's this little bar here that I can hold on to." she said, placing a hand on the metal bar behind her.
"You can hold on to that if you want to, but I'm not taking a hand off you, just in case," He wet the washrag under the water before holding it out to her. "Here."
She took it from him and rolled it around in her hands to form a ball.
Having gotten over his initial guilt and sorrow at the state Nova's body was in, he realized how attractive she still was. He quickly averted his eyes, trying to keep himself from staring at her as she wiped down her arms.
The Viral tensed up when he felt Nova's hand on his stomach.
"What's the matter?"
"I think I'm not the one who's being tempted." she said in a teasing tone.
Blaze remained silent, feeling that he would say something stupid. He bit his lip with a sharp fang when she started rubbing her hand along his abdomen.
Her voice dripped honey as she spoke, "It would be more fun if you joined me."
"No!" Blaze said, shaking his head. He grabbed her hand as she slid it down the right side of his hip. "Nova, you have to stop."
"I can't help it. I told you before that I can't go very long without it...and it doesn't help that I keep thinking of our night together."
Blaze blushed. He had not thought about that night since the morning after, having felt too much anxiety from being in the hospital. "L-look...if you really want, we can do whatever you want once you're well enough to go home. Right now you're too damaged."
She sighed. "Okay..." She leaned up on to her tip-toes, putting her arms about his neck. "Can I have a kiss, at least?"
No sooner had he finished his sentence then she had pushed his head down to place her lips against his.
Fighting the instinctive urge to pull away, he cupped her cheek in one hand, the other still holding on to her waist.
“I love you.” she murmured in to the kiss.
As Blaze opened his mouth to respond, he was stopped by her tongue pressing in against his own. Startled, he bit down lightly on it.
Nova moaned softly in response, pressing her lips harder against his.
A part of the Viral wanted to push her away, to stop her from her endeavor, the other wanted to return the kiss with even more passion and give in to her. His hand strayed down past her throat to the top of her chest.
He gently pushed her against the wall, pressing his body against hers. The water from the shower-head beat down on the side of his helmet and arm.
Nova pulled away from the kiss, gasping for air. She laughed breathlessly. “Did I turn you on?”
“Damn it, Nova.”
She smiled in an innocent manner. “That wasn’t my intention.”
“Yes it was.”
“You didn’t stop me.” she pointed out.
“I...did think about it...”
“But you didn’t do it.”
Her hand slid down to the zipper of his bodysuit. “Are you going to stop me doing this?” she asked, starting to pull down the zipper.
Blaze grit his teeth at the sound of the zipper coming apart. He grabbed hold of her wrist, halting the movement.
She looked up at him, disappointment evident in her eyes.
With a sigh, he pulled her arm down, bringing the zipper down with it. He stopped at the belts about his waist.
She pushed the sides of his bodysuit away from his chest, leaning forward to place several kisses along his sternum. “Have you changed your mind?”
“I shouldn’t. Your wounds are going to open and you’ll bleed out.”
“They’ll heal up again. I just need this so badly. It’s all I’ve thought about all day.”
He tilted his head to one side. “You thought about sex in the shower?”
She smiled sheepishly. “Well not exactly in the shower. But this was the best opportunity.”
“You really want to do this?”
“I don’t even know how to...in this position.”
“You just have to lift me up against the wall. Trust me, it’s a position I’m more used to than I should be.”
Blaze made a face of disgust. “Guh. Don’t even want to think about that.”
She smiled. “Well you don’t have to worry about that. You’re all I want, no one else.”
The statement sent a chill of delight down Blaze’s spine. It took all of his willpower to stop himself from picking her up and giving her what she desired.
Nova tugged on the two black belts about his waist, trying to unfasten them.
"I still don't think..."
There was a soft click as one of the belt buckles came undone. Blaze tensed up. "Nova, I-"
Before he could finish, the other had been undone as well.
Nova slid the belts down off his hips. "It'll be fun."
"Do you want to keep the water on?"
"You can move it if you want."
Blaze moved the shower-head down so it was no longer streaming on his arm. He turned his attention back to Nova, who seemed to be staring intently at his stomach. "What are you...?"
She suddenly leaned forward and ran her tongue along
one of the indentations of his abdomen.
He shuddered at the sensation. Forcing himself to relax, he tilted his head back as she smothered his chest and stomach in light kisses.
"I just love your body." Nova sighed.
"And that isn't all you love, right?" he asked in a slightly worried tone.
"Of course not. This is just a bonus. Why would you think that?"
"I'm just...just have to get over the idea that it's not just sex you want."
"I may have been a prostitute, Blaze, and as such have a terrible craving for sex that I'd rather not have...but I've never been so turned on by anyone in my whole life."
"Guess all that working out came in handy." Blaze said with a weak smile.
"I haven't seen you work out."
He ran his claws through her hair. "Nope. I just come like this."
She giggled. "You're silly."
"I may be."
"We don't have much time until that nurse comes back. Pretty please, Blaze?"
He heaved a sigh. "I...guess so." he said reluctantly.
She took his wrist and placed his hand on the back side of her leg. "You just have to lift me up and hold me against the wall. But be careful, it's pretty slippery."
"Yeah 'cause you're all wet."
She giggled. "Only because of you."
Blaze blushed. "That wasn't what I meant."
"Come on." she urged.
With little effort, he lifted her up so that she could put her legs around his waist. He gently pressed her against the wall, trying his best to not touch her chest or stomach.
"Don't worry about being gentle. I can handle it. It's my ribs that hurt, not my pelvis."
"But your wounds-"
"Don't hurt," she interrupted. I'm doped up on medicine, remember? Oh, just fuck me."
Blaze leaned down and took her throat between his teeth, emitting a low almost animalistic growl.
She moaned softly, pressing herself against his body.
The Viral found it rather difficult to keep Nova in a good position, the mixture of her wet skin against the equally wettened shower wall caused her slide. He managed to make it more bearable by keeping her pinned with his upper body.
A metallic smell invaded his nostrils and he looked down to see blood seeping from Nova's wounds onto his skin. "Shit!"
"No, don't stop, please!" Nova begged.
"This is getting out of hand."
"Just don't stop." she whispered pleadingly.
Blaze pulled away from Nova, lowering her until her feet touched the shower floor. "I have to. I just can't let you bleed all over me like this. I don't care if it doesn't hurt, you're losing precious blood."
Nova let out a stifled sob, clinging to the sides of his jacket.
"Come on, sweetheart. Don't cry..." He cupped the side of her face in one hand.
"I'm sorry..." she whispered between hiccups. She coughed harshly.
"See, now you've gone and hurt your ribs again. Let's just get you cleaned up, okay?"
She nodded slightly.
He reached up and repositioned the shower-head so that it was back in its original position.
While Nova sat under the water, Blaze re-dressed himself. He felt guilty at having left her unsatisfied, but worse still that he had re-opened her wounds.
He watched the water-diluted blood flow down her body to swirl around on the shower floor until it made its way down the drain.
"Are you okay?"
She remained silent, staring at the bloody shower floor.
Both jumped when they heard a knock at the door.
"Ms. Nakima? Are you done yet?"
"Just a minute," Blaze replied. He looked at Nova. "You want me to let her in?"
"Okay," He pulled open the door to reveal the brunette nurse with the tray in her hands. "She's ready."
The nurse nodded.
Blaze moved out of the way to allow the nurse inside. He closed the door as he exited the bathroom.
He sat in the chair with his chin resting on his interlaced fingers, trying to shake the guilt that had built up in his gut.
A short while later, the nurse came out from the bathroom with Nova, freshly bandaged and dressed in her green hospital gown, and led her to the hospital bed.
Once all of the IV's were placed back in different places in her arm, the nurse took her leave.
Neither spoke for what Blaze thought was an eternity. The silence hung thick in the air, making him feel rather unsettled.
She sighed and turned her head away from him.
"I'm really sorry, Nova."
"It's fine..." she said in a hollow tone.
He got to his feet. "I'll be back in a little bit..."
There was no reply from the young woman. He sighed and left the room.
It took nearly twenty minutes to find Yuri in the large hospital. He ended up being in the gift shop, hitting on the young-looking female cashier.
"Yuri!" Blaze barked as he came up behind the unsuspecting man.
Yuri's hands flew up in the air. "Not doing anything!"
The cashier screamed rather shrilly and ducked behind the counter.
"Keep your hands to yourself, you creep."
"You frightened the poor girl."
Blaze grunted. "Eh. She ain't seen nothin' scary yet."
A rather worried look creased Yuri's face. "Er...?"
Blaze suddenly grabbed the man by his shirt collar and drug him from the shop.
The distraught man flailed his arms about. "Nooo, what are you doing?!"
"Where we going?"
"The cafeteria. I'm starving."
"Then why am I coming?"
"To keep you outta trouble."
Yuri sighed. "Damn."
When they reached the cafeteria, Blaze lifted Yuri so he was on his feet before releasing his hold on his shirt.
The pair walked inside and sat down at a booth.
"So what happened with Nova?"
"I don't want to talk about it." Blaze grumbled, folding his arms on the table.
"I take it didn't go well."
Blaze shook his head. "She's pissed at me."
"You did that bad, huh?"
Blaze growled. "No. Her wounds tore open."
Yuri grimaced. "Eek. So she's mad because you had to stop."
"It's better that way, though. Even if she can't feel the pain, the more she damages the lacerations, the longer she'll be stuck here because they won't heal properly."
"I know, I know. But she didn't want to listen."
Yuri suddenly snapped his fingers. "Hey!"
Blaze blinked in surprise. "What?"
"Her birthday is tomorrow. Should get her something to try to win her back over."
"Maybe. Not exactly sure what she'd like."
"She's pretty big into music. Or maybe could just get her a teddy bear, be a bit unoriginal."
"Hrm. Rena always wanted jewelery for her presents."
Yuri tapped his chin. "Well, Nova's doesn't have any jewelry, if you've noticed. She's not big on it."
"I'll figure something out...I don't want her to stay mad at me. I feel awful. She's never actually been like that since we've stayed around each other."
"She is pretty chipper for having been...in her job."
"Just feel like a jerk."
"Don't worry too much about it, Blaze. She'll get over it. She cares too much to stay mad for long."
"You wanna go to a bar?" Blaze asked suddenly.
"Sure. But all we have are those fricken' scene kid ones."
"I don't even care. I just need a drink."
"Well I think there's one nearby that isn't too bad."
Blaze returned to Nova's room with Yuri several hours later. Yuri was less intoxicated than Blaze due to his distaste of the cheap liquor from the bar. Being a bartender at the Downtown Lounge, he had developed a love of more expensive liquors. Blaze on the other hand was not as picky and had drank several shots of a strong mixture of alcohol.
Nova was resting on her injured side, an ice pack against her ribs, awoken from her slumber by their entrance.
Blaze set himself down in the other chair that was still against the wall while Yuri took the one next to the bed.
"Are you guys drunk?" Nova asked, eyeing Yuri with disdain.
"Hey, I am not. Just had a couple drinks." Yuri said defensively, folding his arms.
"I may be a little." Blaze admitted with a yawn.
"You guys..." Nova shook her head disapprovingly.
"How you feelin', darlin'?" Yuri asked in an attempt to change the subject.
"Okay, I guess. My ribs hurt still."
Blaze folded his arms across his chest. "And your wounds?"
"They've stopped bleeding." Nova replied quietly.
"Blaze...I'm really sorry about earlier."
"No, I shouldn't have let you talk me into it."
"Well, she's better now, so there's not much a reason to worry about it."
"Yeah." Blaze yawned again.
"You seem pretty beat, big guy. You should sleep."
Blaze shrugged. "Just yawning."
"You really should rest." Nova insisted.
"Fiiine." Blaze grumbled. He wiggled around for a moment to find a more comfortable position.
"Sleep now, Blaze." Nova said softly.
"Ooh, Nova. You should give him a lullaby."
Blaze cocked his head to one side. "Eh?"
Nova blushed slightly. "Yuri, you know I don't like singing in front of people."
"But it's just Blaze and I, it's not like at the bar. Please?" Yuri persisted.
"I've never heard you sing before, Nova." Blaze said, his curiosity peaked to hear her singing voice.
"I sound terrible."
"You do not! Who told you that?"
Nova looked down at her hands. "Nick."
"Pshh. That guy doesn't count for shit, darlin'. You know that. You have a beautiful singing voice."
"I...I suppose I could hum something."
"I'd like to hear it."
Nova began to hum softly. She stopped after just a moment, blushing deeply. "I don't think I can..."
"Oh but it was pretty." Blaze said reassuringly.
"C'mon, darlin'. No harm in doin' it."
Nova took a deep breath before starting up again, slightly louder than before.
It was a peaceful tune.
Blaze found himself nodding off after listening for just a minute or so.