Yuri knelt down in front of the creature, looking him over quizzically. "Blaze?"
He raised his head slowly, looking up at his friend. "Yuri?"
"What the hell?"
"Just the Rookie level." he muttered.
"So you're okay?"
"As much as I can be. Where are those bastards?"
"They're gone. They said since you were dead, they didn't need to stay."
Blaze's emerald eyes widened. "What about Nova?" he asked in a whisper.
Yuri shut his eyes and pointed towards the entrance.
Blaze shakily got to his feet, looking in the direction. His heart nearly stopped in his chest.
Nova was lying face-down on the ground.
Despite the pain in his body, Blaze forced himself to move. He made his way around the fallen debris to Nova's side.
"No, Nova!" He pushed her shoulder until she was on her side.
Her clothes were singed and her body full of small gouges that oozed blood, some were nearly black. The bite marks IceDevimon had inflicted on her earlier were even deeper than Blaze had anticipated.
Yuri knelt down beside him, placing two fingers against the side of her neck. "There's a pulse. It's very weak, but still there. Where the hell are the police?"
Blaze was too shocked to even notice Yuri. "Nova..." He caressed her cheek with his gloved paw. "I'm so sorry..."
"Finally!" Yuri exclaimed when two police officers appeared. "Get an ambulance!"
"There's one on the way right now, sir."
"They better move faster, someone's dying!"
One officer spoke into the radio located on their shoulder while the other stepped inside.
The female officer squeaked in surprise when her eyes came to rest on Blaze.
He bared his fangs at her. "Whatcha starin' at?!"
The frightened officer turned around towards her partner.
"Blaze, you gotta calm down, buddy." Yuri said quietly.
"I let her get hurt, this is my fault!" Blaze said, clutching his small paws into fists, shutting his eyes against the tears threatening to spill.
"You did your best, Blaze."
"It wasn't good enough! I was too weak." He pressed his face into Nova's arm.
Both looked up when they heard the shifting of rock.
"Shit, that thing is still alive!" Yuri whispered, horrified at the sight of Cerberusmon standing.
Blaze hugged Nova protectively. "I can't do anything against him in this form."
The Ultimate shook himself free of any debris and turned around. A more placid look shone in his yellow eyes. He padded up to the three and sat down next to Yuri.
Yuri could barely keep himself from screaming as he stared at the dog-Digimon, his entire body shaking.
"What do you want?!" Blaze demanded.
"I mean no harm."
"Oh, just like earlier?" Blaze snapped.
"I was not myself. Rosemon had me imprisoned by her Thorn Whip. I think the bash to the head freed me from it. Besides, you shouldn't be so angry. It was my body that protected you from being utterly crushed and you used me as a shield from Rosemon's attack."
Blaze sighed. "Sorry. I figured that if anyone was to die, might as well be you."
"I appreciate your honesty. If I were in your position, I would have done the same. How is your friend?"
Cerberusmon nodded. "I am sorry they harmed her. She was an innocent."
"If she had just left like I told her to...!"
"She was too worried about you to leave, Blaze," Yuri piped up. "I tried to get her to leave but she wouldn't."
"Damn...why are you so stubborn, Nova?"
"Well, I must depart. With my freedom, I may return to my home,” Cerberusmon got to his feet. "I hope that your friend receives the medical attention she requires."
"Thanks..." Blaze muttered, his attention on Nova.
Not long after Cerberusmon's departure, the ambulance arrived and the paramedics hurried in with a stretcher.
Blaze growled at them.
Although he was small, his strange physique startled the pair of paramedics into stopping in their tracks.
"Don't worry about him, just get the girl!" Yuri said urgently.
The older man had to hold on to Blaze as the paramedics put Nova on to the stretcher and carried her out to the ambulance as he was struggling and cursing.
"Come on, big guy, we'll follow in my car."
Blaze went limp in Yuri's arms, overcome with exhaustion. "Fine..."
At the hospital, Yuri and Blaze had to wait in the Waiting Room for nearly two hours before they were permitted to see Nova.
She was hooked up to different types of machinery, an IV in one arm and an oxygen mask over her face and her body was wrapped in bandages.
Blaze sat on the bed next to Nova while Yuri sat in a chair near the bed.
"I'm such a terrible friend. How will she ever forgive me for letting them nearly kill her?"
"Knowing you're all right will be more than enough for her, Blaze."
"I just hate myself."
"I'll let her chide you on that one, big guy."
A thought suddenly came to the Viral and he looked at Yuri. "How did you escape the ice?"
"Took awhile, but I managed to break it with a cue stick."
Blaze gave his friend a look of disbelief. "Seriously?"
"Yup. I was doing that during the fight. You need to rest, you took a beating."
"I'm fine." Blaze said with a yawn.
"Come on. She isn't going anywhere. I'll keep an eye on you guys."
"Okay, okay." he grumbled, settling himself down against her side.
He was not asleep for long before being roused from a fitful slumber by a scream.
He rolled over to see a blonde-haired nurse standing terror-stricken beside the bed, clasping a clipboard to her chest.
Unamused, he rolled back over. "Jeez."
"No reason to be frightened, Miss." Yuri said in a comforting tone.
"B-but it moved! I thought it was a toy. But it's real!"
"Yes, he's alive, and doesn't wish to be disturbed," Yuri put an arm about her shoulders, pulling her away from the bed. "Why don't we go outside for a moment?"
She nodded mechanically, still too frightened to resist.
Once they were gone, Blaze resettled himself and went back to sleep.
Blaze was sleeping when he felt something touch his side. He jerked awake, startled.
"Oh, did I scare you?"
The voice made his heart skip a beat. He looked up to see Nova looking down at him, her face mask pulled down past her chin. "N-Nova!"
She smiled. "Hello. Who might you be?"
"It's me, Blaze! Oh Nova, I was so worried!"
Confusion creased her face. "Blaze? But you're so tiny."
"It's my Rookie-"
"Oh yes! I remember now."
He laughed, unable to stop himself. He was too relieved to see her awake.
She giggled, then coughed.
"You need to keep that thing on your face."
She nodded and replaced the face mask, taking a deep breath.
He took her hand between both paws, pressing his forehead against her knuckles. "I'm so sorry, Nova."
She took the mask off again. "Please don't be sorry."
"It's all my fault! You could have been killed! I didn't protect you, I was too weak."
Tears had leaked from the corners of his eyes to slide down his furry cheeks. He rubbed at one with his gloved palm. "N-no!"
She placed her hand on his cheek. "It doesn't make you weak."
Unable to restrain himself, Blaze broke down into a fit of sobs.
Nova took him upon her chest, stroking his head in a comforting manner.
"You could have died!" he sobbed. "You could have..." he hiccuped.
"Shhh. There there. I'm all right."
"No you're not! You're covered in bandages and hooked up to these machines."
She pressed a finger to his lips. "I'm alive and so are you. That's all that matters."
He closed his eyes, knowing she was right. He wiped at his face. "Sorry to have just broken down like that."
"I know you probably needed it, you try so hard to be strong. But you can only be for so long before it finally whittles you away."
"It was so terrible to see you like you were...I was so certain you were going to die."
"How did you survive? They dropped the ceiling on you, didn't they?"
"Cerberusmon's body was what saved my ass. If he hadn't been there, I'd been a squashed Digimon."
"But you're okay otherwise, right?" She ran her hands over his furry body, looking him over.
He squirmed and giggled. "Don't do that!"
She grinned and lightly poked at his sides.
Blaze wiggled more. "No, stop!"
Nova laughed until she coughed harshly.
Blaze stopped wiggling and took the mask, placing it back over her mouth.
Her chest lifted as she breathed deeply in and sunk as she exhaled.
He stuck his tongue at her. "Need to keep that on."
She wrinkled her nose at him.
He wagged a finger at her. "You better keep it on."
She stroked his cheek and head in response.
He purred and snuggled up on her.
"You're finally awake!"
The pair looked up to see Yuri coming in the door. Nova gave him a small wave.
"She ain't allowed to take that thing off until told otherwise." Blaze said, pointing to the oxygen mask. He giggled as Nova tickled his sides.
Yuri chuckled. "I think she says otherwise."
Nova pulled the mask from her mouth. "It's nice to see you're well, Yuri. I was afraid they would go after you next."
"I managed to hide before Blaze was turned into a pancake."
Yuri sat down in the chair. "How you feelin' darlin’?"
"I feel rather numb all over. My chest hurts some. But good otherwise."
"The numb feeling is all the morphine they're giving you. You had a lot of injuries and a they’re pretty sure there’s a few broken ribs. Luckily they weren't bad enough to puncture a lung or anything."
"Put that back on!" Blaze chided, pushing the mask back to its place.
"She isn't a child, Blaze. She'll survive with it off for a little while."
"But she keeps coughing if she keeps it off for too long."
"She will for a bit longer."
Nova pulled the mask down again. "How long do I have to stay here, Yuri?"
"Well, I was talking to the doctor, he think it will be at least a week, to ensure all the blood tests and scans come back showing you're well enough."
"A week? But that's so long..."
"Guh...I hate being in hospitals." Blaze shivered.
Yuri gave him a sympathetic look. "I know, Blaze. With what happened to Joshua."
Nova looked at Yuri quizzically. "Joshua?"
"Oh..." She smoothed the fur on Blaze's head. "I don't like hospitals either."
"I'll endure it for you."
"Thank you, Blaze." She kissed his cheek.
He blushed lightly. "You should rest."
"I will. You're so adorable, you know?"
He rolled his eyes.
"So this is why you were bullied?"
He sighed. "Yes."
"Well I'll never bully you, might tease you a little 'cause you're just too cute!"
He made a face, his white cheeks pink with embarrassment.
Nova sighed, smiling. She caressed his cheek with her hand. "I'm glad to see you happy."
"I'm happy long as you're here."
"Sleep now. I'll be right here." He snuggled against her.
She gave him a gentle squeeze. "Okay, you sleep, too."
With the mask back over her face, Nova closed her eyes to sleep.
Blaze stayed awake for awhile longer, talking to Yuri about Nova's condition.