We have protective and alpha male Axel, but can we have soft and friendly Axel? *Glares at the boys* Can we?
The gas had bled through the entire cavern, filling it with its poisonous reach. Ne’s body had become slack against the wall, his breath stilling finally.
“NE’?” Axel screamed, panic filling his chest when the younger had stopped answering.
“Axel?” A familiar voice asked, and he turned his head to meet the steady eyes of a friend he hadn’t seen in two days.
“Oh my god, you’re alive?” Purian screeched amidst the rumbling of the caverns. “I can’t properly hug you in that tiny hole. How did you survive!? We thought you were dead. Come on, hurry. They’re evacuating the mountain. This thing is coming down, we have to get out of here.”
“He’s still in there,” Axel answered, pushing against the rock once more. “He’s still fucking in there!”
“Who… oh, Ne’igalo’s still in there. Axel, it’s too late. Gas is bleeding through all the upper levels. We have to get out of here! Can’t you smell it seeping through the rock?”
“Go, I’m not leaving without him,” Axel snarled, pushing with as much power as he could muster. But it wasn’t enough, the rock wouldn’t budge. Axel slammed his fists into it, the crusted blood breaking free with new, fresher blood.
“Ah fuck, I’m going to die anyway. He saved my life once, I owe him I guess,” Purian sighed before crawling towards Axel. He managed to squeeze into the tight space in between the wall and Axel. “Now push like your life depends on it. Because it does.”
With their combined weight, the rock finally fell forwards and gas poured into the tiny area. “COVER YOUR MOUTH!” Purian screamed, shoving cloth into the other’s face.
Axel reached through, and grabbed a hauntingly still and cold ankle, dragging the boy’s still body through the hole. As soon as he got Ne’ head past the rock, the entire cavern collapsed inwards, pushing poisonous gas spewing in every direction. Once on the other side of the tunnel, Axel laid Ne’s unconscious body out. The gas wasn’t spilling into their current cavern as fast, so he had time. It still pulled at his body and attempted to lull him to sleep, but Axel wouldn’t close his eyes. He pressed his ear to the boy’s chest but heard absolutely nothing in return. No breath, no heartbeat. No life. Ne’ was gone.
“He’s… he’s not breathing,” Purian whispered in horror.
Axel started chest compressions immediately, but he didn’t even know if it’d work. 1…2…3 over and over in his head before he pinched the boy’s nose, tilted his head back and breathed for him. Their roles had reversed finally.
“We have to go!” Purian shouted as the cavern above their heads shuttered. “We’re going to die here, leave him!”
“NO!” Axel roared and Purian fell backwards in shock. The Snow Plains boy was absolutely convinced that Axel had finally lost it.
“He’s gone Axel!”
“Then I’ll die with him!”
“You have a family waiting,” Purian cried, trying to reach out for Axel’s arm. “Your brothers!”
The red-head swiped it away with a nasty look, leaving Ne’s unconscious form for only a brief second. Purian fell back, having never seen such a horrific glare in his entire life.
“He’s not your responsibility!” Purian cried out, ducking as rock fell an inch from his head. He reached out towards the boy, but Axel’s eyes widened, pushing him back violently.
“Don’t fucking touch him!” Axel snapped, but his eyes were ringed with tears.
Purian shook his head before bolting towards where the others had evacuated. Axel kept going, refusing to yield. The ceiling collapsed around him, huge chunks of rock falling inches from their bodies. He leaned further over the boy’s body, taking the smaller chunks that fell onto the two.
“Come on you bastard!” Axel spat, slamming his fist down into the boy’s chest with all the force he could muster. Ribs cracked with each merciless hit. “You want to die, I know you do. I’m not going to fucking let you either.” Rock hit the center of Axel’s back, cracking his own shoulder blades. He lurched forward. His breath was ripped from his lungs and he gritted his teeth, slamming his fist into the boy’s chest even harder than before. “I’ll die here with you, don’t fucking try me! I’ll stay here until this ceiling collapses on top of us. You fucking fish bastard!”
The next hit had the boy lunging up with a broken, choked cough. He rolled onto his side with widened eyes. Ne’ tried saying Axel’s name, but he had no voice. The boy’s eyes were droopy and sick, poisonous gas still coursing through his veins. His eyes threatened to close one more time, and just like that, Ne’ would slip from him once more.
“Good enough,” Axel hissed before throwing Ne’ over his shoulders and bolted for the exit. He ran as hard as he could. Right as the mountain started to cave in behind them.