Comfortably Numb

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Chapter 47

Andy's POV

Darkness surrounds me completely. I can't see an inch past my face but I know that I am not alone. I can feel him here with me; his chest inches behind my back, his hand wrapped tightly around mine. His grip tightens and I smile. "Just breathe, Meda. Just breathe." He whispers into my ear. Excitement bounces off of him, dancing along his words.

Anticipation slides down my spine and settles in the pit of my stomach. I suck in a deep breath and squeeze his hand that still rests in mine.

"Places!" The hiss flies across the dark.

I suck in a final deep breath before the moment we've been waiting for and then I gently lift my left leg into the air. I freeze in place as I reach the perfect spot, exactly two inches from his torso. Perfect. My arms flow over my head, prepping for the first sequence. And finally, my already ramrod straight back straightens that tiny bit more. He slips his hands around the curve of my waist; this gives me the balance I need to be able to travel onto the tips of my toes. Balanced in our first position, I freeze.

"Breathe" He sighs again.

I nod silently and then the curtain comes into view.

Looking around, all that I can see is the glowing red velvet. And then it starts to rise. It's almost like the curtain was a sound barrier, because the further up it travels, the more noises are revealed. I can hear the echoing applause now; it's bouncing off of the stone walls that surround us. I can hear the quiet plucking of the orchestra as they prepare for their job. The slight hum of people talking and the hush that travels its way across the full theatre as they realize the curtain is being lifted.

A single spotlight is turned on, and I realize with a start that the curtain is now fully up. I feel as if I am completely bare to the world. Panic grips me, but something-or someone- stops that with a gentle squeeze of my hips. He's still here. I can do this. I force a wider smile and begin to count the steps. We move together, flowing gracefully across the stage.

1, 2, 3,
1, 2, 3,
1, 2, 3, 1, 2....

I spin away from his hold as the music swells. I shove against the floor and launch into the air. My jump is perfect, and when I land it's on pointed feet.

I can hear applause beyond the spotlights, but I choose to ignore it, spinning to find him. He's smiling, dancing towards me on pointe with his arms outstretched. We meet in the middle and his hands find their home on my waist. He lifts and we spin, my arms fluttering elegantly around our heads. I stretch out my right foot, lifting it as he sets me down and takes my hand to spin me again.

I stay on pointe on my left foot, watching the world spin in perfect detail as we dance. Everything feels light, and perfect. Tears well in my eyes as he pulls me back into him, spreading his stance so that I can step onto his thigh and then to his shoulders. He braces his arm and I tiptoe onto it, reaching for the heaven's as I go. When I reach his wrist I push off, launching myself higher. I do the splits in the air and he slides underneath me, catching me as I return to the Earth.

The orchestra fades out as we return to our first position. The curtain falls and he wraps his arms around my waist, lifting me once again, but this time in a crushing bear hug. I can't stop the breathless laugh, pure joy radiating out of me.

"Meda... He whispers. His smile is blinding, so happy to be here with me. I beam back at him.

"Stevie." I whisper. He drops me to the floor and grabs my hand, squeezing it gently. He starts walking backwards, tugging me with him.

I feel him before I see him. My heart takes off in an erratic beat as Steven drops my left hand and steps slightly to the side. Ryker stands from his seat, a blinding smile on his face. Steven squeezes my right hand and then tugs me a step closer, reaching out with his empty hand for Ryker. Ryker opens his palm and reaches for us. Steven gives us both another wide smile before connecting the hands he's holding. Once we're connected, electricity runs up my skin, settling into a pleasant warmth in the centre of my chest. Steven smiles again before stepping back.

I give him another smile before reaching up with my free hand and blowing my best friend a kiss. He sighs, a happy dreamy sound, before turning and nodding for the orchestra to play. A sweet melody begins, and with the first chord Ryker pulls me into his chest.

"I miss you." He whispers as we dance. It's slow and sweet, a perfect moment I will forever cherish.

"I'm right here." I whisper back. His smile dims a bit, and he drops his hand from my waist to twirl me.

"Come back to me." He calls. I can't help the frown as I spin back into his chest. His hand wraps around my waist again. "I'm right here." I promise. He shakes his head, and dips me gently. He presses a kiss to the crook of my neck. "Come back to me, please." He murmurs into the skin of my throat.

As he pulls me right side up, the music drifts off. He drops his hands from my body and takes two steps back.

"Come back to me, Andy." He's retreating now, and no matter how hard I push I can't close the distance between us. The music starts up again, but it's different now... There's another beat there, a drum that isn't quite on rhythm. I try to ignore it, trying desperately to focus on Ryker who is still backing away.

"Ryker I'm right here! I'm right here!" I shout, trying to get him to stop moving. He doesn't stop. The thundering beat of the off tempo drum grows louder. My concentration slips and in the second I take my eyes off him, he disappears.

"I need you to come back..." He whispers. I whirl around, trying to find him again. Nothing but blackness meets my eyes. I spin and spin and spin... but nothing comes out of the dark. All that is left is the off tempo drum, the rest of the sounds have cut out. I wrap my hands around my chest, sadness and fear creeping in.

"Ryker!" I shout. He doesn't call back. "Steven?" I try again. Still nothing. I sink to my knees in silence for a moment, unsure of what to do next.

The drum kicks up louder all of sudden. Thump-thump, it calls. Thump-thump. Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump.

The sound seems to be echoing in front of me, so with nothing else to do... I Stand and walk towards it.

As I get closer, the steady beat gets louder. It suddenly clicks in my mind- this isn't a drum beat at all, but the steady thump of my heart.

This realization causes a slice of pain to my chest, and that feeling brings me back to the rest of my body. Everything hurts, from the tips of my fingers to the bottoms of my feet. My throat is dry and my brain feels foggy.

My fingers twitch without my permission. Just past the steady thump-thump of my heart, I can hear someone screaming for someone to come quick. I twitch my fingers again and the pain briefly recedes as whoever is screaming squeezes my hand.

Electricity shoots up my arm, and settles into my chest.

Slowly, I blink open my heavy eyes. Everything is so bright- too bright. It takes my eyes a minute to adjust. I blink a few times and then I can see.

Ryker is standing beside my bed, my right hand clasped tightly in his. There are tears streaming down his face, and he's holding his breath. I open my mouth, to ask him what happened, but nothing comes out.

"Shh, love. Don't try to talk just yet." He whispers. His voice causes a stream of my own tears to spill out over my cheeks. His left hand comes up and settles onto my cheek. The warmth and electricity spur me on.

"B-Blake s-said" I pause to cough, but push through the pain of my dry throat. I reach up with my free hand- which weighs a million pounds- and lay it on top of the hand he has on my cheek. "Blake s-said you we-were dead." I cough again. Ryker flips his hand over so he can grab mine and leans down to press his forehead to mine. My tears fall faster at the comforting weight.

"I thought that I'd lost you." He whispers. I barely shake my head. Someone clears their throat, just outside of our little bubble. Ryker reluctantly pulls back to acknowledge them.

Standing in the doorway of the little white room is a tall woman with a white lab coat on. She smiles at me and steps more into the room.

"Well Andy you gave us quite the scare..." She walks up to me, only stopping to grab a thick notepad from the end of my bed. "How are you feeling?" She questions. I lick my lips in an attempt to wet them and she frowns before turning away. She returns a second later with a glass of water. I attempt to sit up, but it takes Ryker's help to get me high enough to guzzle down the water. It feels like heaven on my parched tongue.

When I'm finished I sag back down to the bed. I realize that while he's been holding me up with one arm, Ryker has also readjusted the bed so that I'm still mostly inclined when I lean back. I give him a small smile before turning back to the doctor.

"I'm ok.."I whisper. My throat doesn't protest this time, thankfully sated after my drink. She smiles at me again before glancing down at my chart.

"How are your sides doing? Any pain?" I shrug non committedly. She smiles with a shake of her head and sets down the paperwork. "May I?" She asls. I frown at her, not understanding. She reaches for the blanket that I'm buried under and it clicks. She wants to examine my wounds. I nod at her in permission and turn my attention back to Ryker.

He's staring at my face, a look somewhere between wonder and pain. I focus all of my strength into lifting my arm so that I can trail my hand along the planes of his cheekbones. His eyes drift shut as I do.

I wince a little as she prods a particularly sensitive area, but it doesn't hurt nearly as much as I had expected it to. She pulls back, seemingly satisfied and fixes my blanket.

"I want to keep you here for the rest of the night, but everything seems to be healing nicely... You should be fine to go home in the morning."

"Are you sure?" Ryker rumbles, concern making him gruff. She smiles up at him for the briefest second and then nods. 'Absolutely, sir. Your mate should be fully healed within a few hours."

"Thank you." He breathes. She smiles wider and bows her head before turning and leaving the room.

We sit in comfortable silence for a minute, just looking into one another's eyes.

Ryker trails his fingers over my cheekbone, and a gentle contented purr rumbles out of my chest without my permission. He smiles.

"They hurt you." He speaks out of nowhere, several peaceful moments later.

"I'm ok." I swipe my thumb back and forth on his hand, hoping to soothe him. He's eyes drift close for a second before he bats them back open. They're shining gold, telling me he's not fully in control at the moment.

"Andy..." he whispers. I haul in a deep breath before trying to slide closer to him, knowing that we both need the comfort. "They took you away." He breaths.

"It's ok. I'm ok. It's healing." He whines and presses his face into my stomach when I finally manage to get to the edge of the bed. He inhales a few times, obviously trying to calm down.

"Ryker..." I whisper. He pulls back to look at me.
""I thought I'd lost you." He whispers back. I nod and reach out for his chin.

"You didn't." He growls slightly. "I almost did. You almost died..." He pauses and pushes to his feet. He starts pacing the room and I follow him with my eyes.

"You disappeared, and we couldn't find you anywhere... If Blake hadn't set the house on fire... We never would have known it was him." He turns, wide eyes filled with fear.

"They hurt you...Nearly killed you." "But they didn't." I interrupt. He takes the few steps back to me and sits back in the chair he'd vacated. "But still, they took you and I wasn't there-" "Stop." I interrupt again. "They will never touch me again." I whisper. He shudders, and then nods.

"Are you ok? Like are you really ok?: He whispers. I frown. Was I ok? Would I ever be Ok again?

"I don't..." I frown. "I don't know." He frowns at me.

"I feel... so much. I'm relieved and exhausted and uncomfortable and sad and angry and happy... Everything is just... too much right now." I breathe.

He nods and then stands up again. He walks around the bed and then carefully slides in behind me. He wraps his arms around me and carefully lifts my head so he can place his bicep underneath it.

Once he's comfortable, he buries his nose in my hair.

"Just rest then, love. I'll be here to help you sort the rest of it out when you're ready." He breathes. I give the slightest nod and then settle further into his embrace. The warmth he emits is so pleasant, and I give in to the urge to sleep much quicker than I would like to admit.

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Waking up the next time is the most pleasant sensation I have ever had. I'm still wrapped up in Ryker's arms, and the pain that I had been in is virtually gone. I wiggle a little, trying to stretch.
Behind me, Ryker groans. "Too early" He mumbles after a minute. I smile and roll my eyes.

"Come on big guy.." I whisper. "Time to face another day." He moans again.

"Nooo..." He buries his face more into my neck, and a shiver I can't help passes through me. He laughs a little before placing a soft kiss to the skin where my neck meets my shoulder. I shiver again.

He pulls back to smile at me, all traces of sleep gone. I smile back at him and he blinks down at me, looking for all intents and purposes like he's been dazzled. He smiles back at me and something in my chest squeezes.

"Ryker, I-" The door to my room bursts open, and Rkyer growls at the interruption. Arrow runs in, a wide smile breaking over her face.

"ANDY!" She shrieks. "You're awake!" I smile and sit up, prompting another growl of displeasure from Ryker. Arrow narrows her eyes at him.

"Oh shut up You're lucky I didn't come in here sooner to kick your butt for not telling any of us that she woke up!" He growls again and sits up himself.
"How did you even find out?" He grouches. She rolls her eyes before walking around the end of the bed and settling into the chair he had occupied yesterday.

"I ordered Tracy to call me as soon as she woke up, duh." He groans and throws himself back against the bed. I laugh at his displeasure. Arrow turns away from her brother to smile widely at me.

"How are you feeling?" I smile back at her.

Honestly... I feel better than I have in years. And despite the fact that I'm still hurting over everything with Blake... I know things will be Ok.

" I feel... wonderful." I shake my head and lean back so I am resting on Ryker's chest. He reaches up and rubs my shoulder, pushing feelings of happiness and joy into my mind. I glance over my shoulder to smile at him before turning back to his sister. "I haven;t felt this light in.... A very long time." She sighs happily and reaches out for my hands. She squeezes them lightly.

"Good." She whispers.

Ryker moves so his side is pressed against me, and I rest more fully against him.

"So..." Arrow purses her lips, nerves obviously pulling at her. I smile at her encouragingly. "What exactly happened?" Ryker growls at her but she throws her hands up. "Hey you were wondering too!" I sigh, not quite ready to relive all of the events just yet.

"I'll tell you" I pause and she smiles, "Eventually."

She groans and Ryker laughs. The sound is so wonderful I can't help but join in.

Half an hour later, I am officially cleared by the pack doctor to leave. It feels so good to stand on my own two feet, and walking out into the woods of my home is perfection. Ryker is standing in front of me, leaning against a tree with the few things he'd brought from the makeshift hospital room that he had while he'd waited for me to wake up. Apparently I had been out for three of the longest days of his life.

He smiles at me and offers his hand. I jump down from the porch to take it. His smile grows beaming as I practically skip to him.

"Oh god they're going to be all lovey Dovey now, aren't they?" Arrow grumbles. I roll my eyes at her.
"Why don't you go spend some time with your mate, little sister?"
"Why don't you go spend some time with your mate?" She mocks, repeating his words in a stupid voice. He smiles down at me.
"I think that's an excellent idea." She groans and stomps past me out of the building. I snicker and we all fall into step together

"I take it back. Why don't you go spend time with my mate, and I'll spend time with yours?" She calls over to him. Ryker chuckles but his grip on my hand tightens just a little bit.

——————-----------------------------------------———

After breakfast, where I learn that no one in my found family had fallen as Blake had claimed, Ryker asks me to take a walk with him. I readily agree.

Now I am following him into the forest and I find myself fighting to pay attention to the path.

Every inch of me is begging me to stop and press myself against Ryker. My wolf is screaming in my head, begging me to kiss him. It is so distracting, I don't hear him stop.

I crash into his back.

"Sorry!" I squeak. He twirls and smiles down at me. My cheeks redden at the thoughts going through my mind.

His eyes are shining so bright, it's blinding. All I can see is him. He closes the gap between us and I feel my breath catch at the sparks that dance along every inch of my skin.

He rests his hands on my hips and licks his lips. I trace my own lips without thinking. A slight groan drifts towards me and I shiver. He smiles.

"So..." he breathes, leaning down just enough so that all I have to do to press my lips to his is stand up to the tips of my toes.

"So?" I question. He smiles at me and I blink back, completely dazed.

He laughs, the rumble shifting through me. I gasp at the feel.

"Do you know why I brought you out here?" He breathes. I shake my head. He smirks at me and tightens his grip on my hips. I lift my palms to his chest. His heart is hammering under my right palm and I find myself staring at it.

Was he nervous?

He clears his throat and I glance back up at him. He drops his hand from the left side of my waist and brushes my hair back out of my face. I shiver; he smiles. He lifts my chin with the same hand and then he closes the distance between us.

My heart stutters and then takes off.

"Wait!" I whisper. He pauses, fear drifting into his eyes. I wet my bottom lip, nerves making it hard to speak.

"I uh.. I have something to say." I whisper. He nods.

I reach up to take his hand. Our fingers twine together, a perfect fit. I stare at our hands for another second before he squeezes my fingers, bringing my attention back to him. When I lift my eyes, they lock onto his. His eyes are swirling brown pools, with gorgeous golden flecks here and there.

"What did you want to say?" He whispers. I swallow past the lump in my throat.

"R-Ryker...: I whisper. He shivers, briefly distracting me. I shake my head and focus back on the words that I can hear with every beat of my heart. Nervous or not, I have to tell him.

"Ryker." I start again. He nods, encouraging me. "I love you." My eyes drift closed on their own account, bracing for his rejection. Instead, he pulls me closer and places his lips over mine. I sigh into the kiss. It is soft, and sweet and perfect. But there is this undercurrent of love and deep affection that has me losing my breath.

He traces the seam of my lips and I sigh, granting him entrance. We kiss for blissful minutes, until we need to break for air.

I take several deep breaths before I open my eyes. He's already smiling down at me, his thumb tracing back and forth along my jaw. "I love you too." He whispers. I smile back at him and rise onto my toes so I can kiss him again. He smiles against my lips. He wraps his arms around my waist and lift me, and automatically my arms raise to twine around the back of his neck.

"Hey guys what are you- OH SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS!" Rowan's voice startles us apart. I glance over my shoulder to see him and Arrow sprinting away from us, already a good distance. I sigh and then tense up as I hear them both in the distance....

"ANDY AND RYKER SITTING IN A TREE K I S S I N G"

Ryker lets go of me completely, and we share a look, before we take off running after our troublesome best friends, determined to teach them a lesson they will never forget about interrupting.
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