The Story Continues

Comfort and Intrigue

It was an hour or so after sun rise as Rahas crept his way out of the inn. It was usually at this time of the morning that a certain medic would wake up and get ready for the day. A certain medic who still kept the habit of checking up on everyone first thing in the morning to ensure that they had a restful night sleep.

And a certain medic that Rahas wanted to avoid.

Glancing over his shoulder when he heard a noise, Rahas shook his head slightly in exasperation when a certain white tiger ambled from the front entrance, appearing almost as if he was expecting him to sneak out. Instead of trying to shoo the stubborn tiger back inside, Rahas simply nodded his head in acceptance before shoving his hands into the pockets of his jacket and wandering off.

Chi-hung had been following him around a lot these past few days. While Rahas didn’t exactly mind the white tiger’s company, it irked him to know that Hamza was the one to have sent him. And there was probably a reason behind it other than just wanting to keep an eye on him.

And the reason probably had something to do with Lynus…

Rahas abruptly shook his head as he ran an irritated hand through his hair in the desperate attempt not to follow that thought pattern. He didn’t exactly want to remember how much he had fucked up.

Seriously fucked up.

Fucking shit, that wasn’t accurate enough. He couldn’t have fucked it up more if he tried!

Rahas was pulled from his thoughts when Chi-hung suddenly nudged his side, wanting his attention. Inwardly thankful for the distraction, he looked down at the white tiger to find Chi-hung staring forward. As he turned to look forward as well, he noticed that he had unintentionally wandered toward his ‘secret’ training spot, though it wasn’t much of a secret anymore.

There was, however, someone else using his favourite training spot. And he was somewhat surprised by who it was.

It was Simmons. And he was practicing with a sword, going through the swinging motions rather fluently, his feet gliding perfectly into stance with barely a noise. If one didn’t know that he was really a brainless idiot, they would mistake him as someone who was skilled with a weapon.

Rahas, however, felt a bristle of annoyance, something he did whenever he laid eyes on the blue-haired landsknecht. Mainly because their previous encounters seemed to always lead to humiliation and embarrassment, mostly for Rahas as Simmons was oblivious to everything. And that lead to both Binah and Macerio teasing the ever loving shit out of him.

He’ll make the two pay one day…

Feeling irritated, Rahas was about ready to tell the blue-haired landsknecht off for using his secret training spot, but he unexpectedly stilled. He couldn’t help but notice that Simmons’ movements appeared…sluggish. He looked as though he was struggling to push through his routine.

The more that Rahas looked at him, the more he realised that there was something wrong with Simmons. After living with a dedicated medic for eight years, he knew the signs of illness and fatigue. Hell, he had experienced the same symptoms multiple times before himself.

Simmons had a fever.

But, whatever. It was none of Rahas’ business what that idiot did during his free time and he certainly didn’t care that he was ill. If Simmons wanted to work through a fever, then so be it. He had done several times himself, so what right did he have to judge? And yet…

Rahas found himself stepping out of the shadows to give the landsknecht a sharp look. “Hey, idiot.”

Startled by his voice and appearance, Simmons misjudged a swing of his sword and ended up somehow embedding it into the ground, slumping haphazardly over it. He turned to look at him, an expression of blank surprise on his face. He then continued to stare at him, as if unable to comprehend his appearance.

Rahas felt his eyebrow twitch and he folded his arms across his chest. Seemed like the idiot was deeper into his fever than first thought. He was completely out of it. Well, more so than normal.

Had he been training all night?

“What are you staring at?” Rahas roughly asked as Simmons continued to look dumbfounded.

“Rahas?” Simmons unexpectedly asked as he squinted his eyes at him.

“Who else would it be?” Rahas, however, felt his frown deepen. Simmons sounded somewhat…different. “What exactly are you doing all the way out here?”

“Hah…” Simmons muttered as a lopsided grin appeared on his lips and he pushed himself upright to stand straight. “Just training. That’s all…”

Yeah, he could see that. He could also see something else. He was training to forget something. Or maybe he was avoiding something? Either way, he was training to distract himself.

Despite himself, Rahas couldn’t help but wonder what Simmons was trying to avoid. He seemed oblivious most of the time, after all.

“Jeez, can you even see straight?” Rahas asked but winced soon afterwards. He wanted his voice to sound gruff and uncaring, yet he actually sounded concerned.

That couldn’t be right. There was no way he would be concerned over this idiot.

“Hah,” Simmons panted breathlessly, still smiling that stupid smile of his. “I’m fine.”

Honestly, the way he was leaning heavily on his sword, the way his gaze was vacant, the way he was all but swaying on his feet, his words of reassurance wasn’t at all convincing.

“Sit down before you fall down, dumbass,” Rahas ordered as he stalked over to him.

Despite his feeble mutterings that he was fine, Rahas got the idiot to sit down with Chi-hung’s help, the white tiger all but head butting Simmons into submission. But as soon as Simmons sat down onto the ground, he swayed slightly before unexpectedly leaning to the side. Rahas frowned as he instinctively reached out to right him, his hand on his shoulder, only for Simmons to slump against him fully.

With a startled yelp, Rahas fell to the ground and onto his back. He muttered darkly as he pushed himself upright. He frowned when he felt a weight on his lap, and as he looked down, he was mortified to realise that…Simmons’ head was resting on his lap. And he appeared to be unconscious!

Unexpectedly frantic, Rahas immediately checked for a pulse and found one in his neck, steady and strong. As he spent a moment or two checking Simmons over further, he felt relieved to realise that he was just asleep, collapsing from strain and fatigue.

Floundering as he knew he didn’t have the leverage to push Simmons off himself, he turned to Chi-hung for help. However, Chi-hung seemed to be…sniggering?

“Get him off of me,” Rahas hissed.

However, Chi-hung (that shitty white tiger) pretended not to see him and looked elsewhere.

Great, just great. Now what was he supposed to do? The idiot had a fever and appeared to have fallen asleep from exhaustion. And the stupid lug was freaking heavy.

Groaning loudly in defeat, Rahas was inwardly grateful that he was able to lean his back against a tree. As Chi-hung curled up on the ground nearby to get some sleep of his own, Rahas unintentionally found his hand hovering above Simmons’ forehead as Simmons laid on his back, sprawled haphazardly out on the ground. He didn’t touch him though, because his brow was sweaty, not because his was afraid that his touch would stir Simmons from his much needed sleep.

Stretching his legs out in front of him, Rahas decided that the best thing for everyone involved (especially himself as if Hamza or anyone else should find out…) was to wait it out. While Rahas’ medical knowledge was accumulated by his own personal experiences, he was fairly certain that Simmons had a fever brought on by fatigue.

And in all honesty, he wasn’t too worried about someone stumbling across them. Simmons’ guild was probably at the bar trying to scam some money off of other explorers, using Kerri’s unique abilities with poker to their advantage. They won’t be looking for him for some time.

Rahas, however, couldn’t help but feel a strange sense of…peace? There was a strange feeling of pride in allowing someone to seek comfort from you. Simmons was delirious with a fever, but Rahas got the sense that if Simmons didn’t trust him, even a little bit, he wouldn’t be so vulnerable in front of him.

Caring for another without wanting anything in return…Rahas never understood why anyone would do that, Lynus especially after everything he has been through.

That wasn’t to say that he cared about Simmons. He just felt a small, slight sense of kinship with him at the moment. After all, he, too, had spent many a night training his guts out in order to forget.

There was one thing that continued to gnaw at him, though.

“What are you running from?” Rahas murmured as he idly pulled at a strand of Simmons’ blue hair.

Unexpectedly, Simmons stirred and rolled his head toward him. “I kill things,” he mumbled.

Although slightly startled by his response, Rahas found himself arching an eyebrow. “Most people do around these parts.”

Simmons’ brow furrowed deeply, but his eyes remained closed. “I kill them unintentionally.”

Rahas stopped pulling at Simmons hair and looked at him in confusion. “Unintentionally?”

“A sound,” Simmons continued to murmur, his head lolling to the side in distress. “It makes my head hurt.”

Rahas placed his hand against Simmons’ forehead, feeling Simmons’ brow smoothen under his hand. Although Simmons could just be delirious from his fever, Rahas wanted to know more. “…What else does it do?”

“I don’t know…” Simmons murmured, his hands moving to grasp desperately at the front of his shirt. “Wake up. Somewhere different. Dead animals.”

Seeing that he was becoming increasingly distressed, Rahas ran a hand gently through Simmons hair, soothing him quietly. Simmons murmured something else incoherent under his breath before stilling, his body relaxing. He had fallen back to sleep.

Rahas, however, couldn’t help but feel a sense of confusion. He was fairly certain that what Simmons had said to him wasn’t incoherent gibbering from a fever. They were his real concerns.

Was that…what he meant that time? At the bar when they were sharing a drink, he said that he wanted to control ‘it’ after Rahas had asked him why he wanted to get stronger. Was that what he meant? And what did he mean by a sound? Did a certain sound send him into a rage or something?

That though alone should be enough for Rahas to put as much distance between them as possible, and yet…he was intrigued.

Perhaps this brainless idiot wasn’t as boring as he first thought.

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