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The whirling sounds of fluorescent lights and the beeping of the EKG machine brought him out of what seemed to be a forced slumber. He hesitated to open his eyes though, he was still quite tired and would love to have gotten a bit more sleep, However, along with the noises, the blinding light now made it impossible. He opened both eyes and…

Wait, Both eyes?

He wasn’t aware he had both eyes, as he slowly opened his eyelids to grant himself with the gift of the afternoon sun. The alien was shocked to learn that he had recently regained depth perception. The left corner of his sight was now fully visible and in color, no errors or anything. In his sights a sprawling city with large buildings, flora and technology, The Building structure giving off a beautiful asian inspired feel the fauna that shrouded the smaller buildings giving them a unique air that for some odd reason only looked even more vivid than before, the greens and yellow hues actually made him feel tranquil, something after all that happened to him the past few days, was needed. However, the shock of it was quickly affronted by the sudden throbbing pain in his left eye. He reached for it, and groaned with his left hand.

“Ack, Why does my left eye hurt?”

“Because you’ve never used them before.”

Leon’s eyes shot to the direction of the voice, an aging seemingly oriental man, peppered color hair and a stern face. His glasses which seemed a bit too large for his head shape dangled down from his nose ever so slightly, but to the point you wondered why he wore them. He held a clipboard in his hand, which only had Leon even more curious than he already way.  “Glad to see you’re awake, your bandmates brought you here about two days ago.” The doctor spoke. Leon remembered exactly what had happened to him, the jailbreak, his damaged hands and fingers. It was at that point that Leon looked down at his right hand.

Only to see cold steel.

He could move it, and it was quite accurate but other than that he felt nothing. Just cold, unforgiving steel seemingly melded into his bronzed burned skin. He stared at the doctor with a confused look who seem to only give him a nod.

“We could not save most of the hand and forearm, too much nerve damage and it was starting to gain a nasty infection, luckily a good prosthetic went well, same with your eye, took up a while to get past the burnt flesh and extract the remains of the Schlera. Though it seems whoever did this number on you got to most of that before us, I believe we have replaced it with a somewhat approximate recreation of the original eye.”

The doctor did not smile even though Leon let off a chuckle. Something about it just seemed funny, one of the most harrowing events of his life and he came back even less human going in. He reflexively moved the now metallic right hand, rotating the wrist to make sure it was working as intended. He quickly shot himself out of the bed only for the doctor to attempt to push him back down. Leon blinked but it seemed the doctor had more to say.

“You should’ve died, that amount of blood loss was tremendous but it seems your bandmates were determined to keep you alive after what happened to you. You have a lot to thank them for…”

Leon chuckled, Luke, and Mae did manage to get him out of that harrowing situation, It was becoming a habit it seems. Him getting in trouble and his bandmates came and save his ass. He actually felt relieved at this. “Doctor, I think I’ll be fine as a soldier I’ve suffered through much more than this. You worked on my body, I would assume you at least knew that.” His voice was a bit rough, but not terrible probably tired from him belting the guards away during the breakout. The doctor merely nodded, “Well I cannot honestly encourage it, but everything seems to check out. However, I must warn you. I do not recommend you leave the hospital just yet we need to find you a donor. However, with your odd physiology that might be tougher than…”

Leon had lifted himself up again off the bed and stared around. The breeze between his knees made him quickly look down to see only a blue hospital gown. He stared for a quick second at it and back at the doctor. There would be no donor, if blood loss was an issue he would simply recover his way.

 

“I’ll be fine…Now…Where are my clothes?”



 

Edited by Trexasle

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It was gray. Everything; he sky, the leaves, the people that bumped their way through the crowds were all gray. Aside from that, there was white noise. She couldn’t hear or see. Glazed eyes remained downcast and no one seemed to see her either. Clothes were unassuming, dark brown, obviously cheap. A hood was pulled over her head, hiding the long locks beneath. Her gate was slow, but there was an obvious limp as her left foot would connect with concrete. Even so, her face didn’t hint a grimace. Perhaps it was from a previous injury rather than a recent one. Otherwise, wouldn’t she seem to be in pain?

A child, gesturing wildly her smile wide and her focus on what anyone could guess to be her mother, collided with the woman in brown. Lifting her chin, Crystal peered from beneath her hood to the child who gasped and pointed immediately as a toddler would at something strange. The mother, mortified, hoisted the young girl into her arms, bowing and apologizing profusely. Hollowed eyes watched unmoved by any of it. Her gaze followed a bit longer even as the duo vanished into the ever moving mass of people.

With a slow blink, the elemental turned her eyes to glance at the reflection in one of the shops. Her left cheek was violet and yellow. It seemed to be healing as did the minor cut on her cheekbone. Her right cheek was much worse. Her eye was covered with a white cloth, but an angry open wound sliced downward to her mid-cheek. Crystal didn’t acknowledge what she saw on her face, but she did realize that her face was likely the reason that little girl panicked.

How Crystal had managed to become so damaged was a long story. How she had escaped her terror was an even longer one. No one had saved her. She had been missing for a year and no one, Leon, Akako, Red, or Raven came looking for her. Crystal was no one. She wasn’t insignificant in comparison to her master and savior. The daiyokai had always been so aware of when she was in danger. How had Akako not saved her this time? And what of Leon?

Lips pressed into a thin line as she thought of him. Where had he been? There was an ache in her chest as she thought of him. He had left her; abandoned her before her world was tilted upside-down. They had found her. How had they found her here of all places was beyond her, but it seemed like most from Gaia Primus had found this new world. Rumor of Akako being here was likely enough for them to follow. The surgeon in Akako’s estate had been released as well. He had been there, still too traumatized to be a threat, but someone Crystal recognized.

Pulling her gaze away from the makeshift mirror, Crystal began her walk again. She wasn’t sure where she was going or how she would get there, but she needed more distance between her and them.

 

@Trexasle

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The greyish walls of the hospital room were becoming a dull boredom to him, as he waited for his clothes to be delivered to him, Leon took a gander at himself in the bathroom stall in his hospital room. They Mimicked His Black sclera well to his right eye, he could almost tell that the left eye was not fake. It was almost like he never lost it at all…Almost. The eye color was dulled out, giving The red hues an almost reddish copper color. As mismatched as it was to his more livelier forest green eye. It seemed to match just fine, nothing he would’ve complained about. However, it was his Hand and Forearm that seemed strange.

The Gun-metal grey arm was far from generic, even on his home planet the prosthetic would’ve been fairly impressive, every digit was independent which meant he wouldn’t be out of the loop when playing guitar. The lining of the fingers. It got almost every detail of every muscle in his hand and forearm, which seemed to use a strange carbon fiber and metallic material to simulate the feeling of muscle. He gave one last twitch of his robotic hand hearing the mechanics squeak and hum as he did so. How did he get into this much trouble in over a year?

A Year.

It’s been that long hasn’t it?

A Year since he had been split from Crystal, His travels and attempts have all been to search for her. Various attempts at finding leads had left him with mere dead ends. One bar, One Night he got into some trouble with Four other musicians and…well. Turns out they were all as fucked up as himself with his own set of problem. Five months they traveled under the guise of a band searching for their own goals. Unbeknownst to him, the guise would become somewhat of a reality. Friends, roommates, compatriots. He was relieved, but still empty. Something was still wrong and he was positive what it was. So he split and continued his search which leads to where he was now.

 

He stepped out of the bathroom and back into his hospital room, his clothes laid strewn on his bed. It was something his bandmates probably left him before they went off. Black jeans, Bullet belt, and a Black Sabbath T-Shirt. Yep, Avveline chose his attire for him today, He had to remind Maeda to keep Avveline from ever shopping for him. He quickly slid on his pants and his belt, before sliding the shirt on. His jacket was on the nearby wood stained coat rack, which he quickly grabbed and was set to head out of the room.

Leon never liked hospitals and would seldom stay if he could avoid it. Hospitals were a sign of a soldier’s balance between life and death, and even if death wasn’t certain the course of your life could change with a single visit to this sterile emergency room. The Cold drab wallpaper that only gives off signs of dread. The overly clean floors occasionally stained with the blood of the patients that either was strolled, gurneyed; or somehow on their own two feet, walk through. As he strolled through the hallway and out of the building, he breathed a sigh of relief that he was finally out.

His bandmates were probably heading for lunch, knowing Luke and Maeda they were probably out with each other. Their closeness was something he honestly admits jealously for, He almost had that. As he stepped outside. He ignored the lights and technological wonder of the city. All he could think of was her, that cute chuckle and laugh, the pout she tended to make in anger which only made her seem so much more alluring. The memories were still vivid and still implanted in his brain. With that he knew his goal was not to be any different, he needed to continue his search and he needed to do it as soon as possible. He had trailed off in thought staring at the cloudy sky. The grey hues of the cloud signifying that rain was set to come soon. He needed to find shelter first. he proceeded to stare around, searching for an inn or any place to rest up at for the night.

@Akako Akari

Edited by Trexasle

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Paranoia was such a strange thing. Fear was borne from trauma and from that paranoia. Passersby would steal a glance at the woman that hobbled down the sidewalk, hunched over, made to appear smaller than she was. It was a sign that she lacked confidence. Each curious glance would cause Crystal to tense especially if it were someone of the opposite gender. Tucking her chin closer to her chest, her arms wrapped around her mind section and she quickened her pace not paying much attention to her surroundings.

Rounding the corner, she didn’t notice the hospital that she would inevitably approach if she ever reached it. The woman felt the world rock then tilt precariously. Crystal stumbled, wobbled to the right, nearly walking into oncoming traffic before shaking her head and righting her footing. Glancing up, one blue eye gazed into the distance as black spots filled her vision. Her stomach groaned painfully and she swore she saw Leon. Another hallucination… she had seen him more and more often lately. Anger swelled and she wanted to yell at the apparition, but she was far too weak.

Stepping forward, meaning to rush toward him to give him a piece of her mind before letting him vanish again into her mind, the world spun more violently than it had a moment before. Muscles became useless and her body crumpled, limbs limp buckling under her withering weight. For any that knew her before her disappearance, she had been a full bodied woman, but beneath the robes she was gaunt. Barely 100 pounds now, starved to emaciation and that was likely the cause for her collapsing.

Several people that had been walking along the same side walk gasped and rushed to help the girl that was now out cold. Her face was visible now, long red hair matted and dulled with dirt and grime. She was a hideous mess. Bruised, broken, and horribly thin. “Let’s get her to the hospital… go grab a nurse!” An elder gentleman took charge of the situation, a young woman nodded and bolted towards the hospital nearly plowing Leon over as she rushed into the lobby to call for help. A gurney was grabbed and a few medics followed the woman back out.

 

@Trexasle

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Fate had a very weird sense of humor when it came to Leon.

 

While he saw searching about for a nearby motel or inn, his newly regained depth perception shown it’s worth. He had seen someone attempting to run toward them, a hooded figure, brown rags. Leon himself had always had his fair share of paranoia, being chased by outlaws, bounty hunters, and the random fan would tend to do that to a person. He was set to reach for the skies, and let the thunder call for his blade. However, as he turned around and got a sight of his would-be attacker he noticed that was the least of his problem. They were weak, clearly stumbling and tired, and as their body slammed into the ground with the violent force of a rock through a glass window. The Thud of the body on the cobblestone ground wasn’t what caught his attention, nor was it the sudden yelling for the hospital staff.

Red hair.

Many people have it, but none quite like her none shone so brightly when the sun hit it in such the right way. However, there was no shine or sheen for it now. The curls and bouncy flow of her hair were gone, replaced with a matted and raggy look. Her face which was used to be full yet beautifully structured now seemed gaunt along with the rest of her body. Scars adorned her body and face bruises in places he was positive someone of her will should not have them. Her right was covered, a scar running straight down it to her jawline, the left jawline was swollen with violet and yellow hue that signified that it was not being properly treated. His eyes widened in shock, hesitation took a day off as he ran toward nurse and EMT units who were now straddling her on the gurney.

Very few thoughts ran through his mind, and none of them pleasant.


What happened to her, where had she been, and why was he not there with her during this.

He knew the answer to all of this, but excuses were far from something he wanted to give right now, what he wanted was to make sure that she was okay and not on the brink of death. As he came face to face with the EMT he was weakly restrained. Leon prided himself on his excellent hearing ability, what one human might struggle to hear he could hear tenfold with little to no damage to his own ear as a result. However, at this moment Even as the EMT worker spoke to him asking him not to interfere, every sound and every calm to stand down was muddled. “I need to see Crystal, I can’t leave her alone again.” The Doctor from earlier, his doctor sighed as he looked at the return of the Alien. “Sir, we’re going to do everything we can; However, for the sake of our other patients we need for you to stop creating a scene.” Leon at this point was shaking, he clenched his fist and stared at Crystal being sent off to ER. He only gave off a weak nod, setting himself down on a nearby seat.

Was fate having a laugh now?

He had struggled to even grasp everything that had happened. For An entire year, he searched for her and the fates had decided to just have her broken, beaten and scarred form just show up to remind him how much he messed up? The only questions he asked now were all to himself. Why was he not there with her? Why did he run away yet again from the people he cared about (Regardless of how little it was actually his fault.)? His hand which was gripped into a fist for more than a few second had already begun to draw blood, without thinking about it, he lifted the clenched fist up and it collided with the nearby chair, denting it as he attempted to hold back his tears, His hair shrouding his face and the pain that was visible on it.


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A full twelve hours passed, Leon allowed in during visiting hours. Crystal had been still the entire time. When he saw her, she was clean again. Her long red locks had been washed along with her face. A bandage covered half of her face and the other half bore stitches on her cheek bone and an ugly bruise still marred once beautiful features. With the grime washed away, it was easier to see how thin she was. Her face was sunken in, ashen, collar bones so pronounced that one would think to use the dips as cups to drink from. Crystal’s shoulders were sharp, jagged that somehow could be seen from under her hospital robe.

The first movement was a small one, a whimper and her shifting beneath her sheets. After a few minutes her movements increased, progressing as it became clear that her dreams were shifting for the worse.

Eyes flitted this way and that beneath closed lids, her heart was racing, a cold sweat raising on her brow, a chill crawling down her spine as the nightmares consumed her mind. Gnarled fingers gripped, tore, and bruised her ivory skin. Her scream was silent, mouth open wide as they broke her over and over again. It hadn’t been the first time. The memory was so much like her first encounter with them; their pointed teeth forever smiling, grinning in a macabre mask. It was unreal, it had to be fictional. There was no way it had been real. She would wake up in crimson sheets of Predator’s Keep, wrapped in warmth. Frail fingers gripped the hospital sheets as tears slipped from closed eyes, her face screwing up into an expression of terror.

She awoke suddenly, screaming, turning to her side and curling into a tight little ball her free arm swatting at a phantom of her memory. The movement brought the IV bag and hook to the floor with a clatter. Crystal was pleading for death; asking whatever nightmare that she had seen to allow her peace in the afterlife. Kill me, she begged as she sobbed weakly into the sheets that were drawn up to her face to shield her from seeing the horror that she couldn’t seem to escape from.

@Trexasle

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Twelve Hours.

With how frantic his life has been, time seemed to just move so quickly for him, whether it was the touring or the evading of would-be bounty hunters and police captors. Leon had always moved at the place life gave him and thus this mostly meant that time was something he ignored. However, that was clearly not the case now. These twelve hours were excruciating of a wait, as the doctor read off her injuries, Leon felt the metronome of the nearby wall clock slow ever so much. Severe Malnourishment, broken jaw, scarring on her cheeks, He could only imagine what she had been through to damage her so greatly. He had been in that room ever since she had recovered. He couldn’t come up with anything to say, his mind was the only thing that wandered and it was all pointed to either blaming him or making sure whoever did this to her meet the end of his ax.

Sleep was something he was used to not having, the first few years of his travels he was haunted by his actions too much to even bother with it. Over time he slowly managed to get some semblance of it, whether it was being near friends or…her, he had managed always to try and find a way to sleep. He stood awoke for the entire twelve hours, watching over her like he had failed to do since that day in Predators Keep. He had plenty of regrets, not staying back to help his fellow soldiers fight off their attackers, him being forced off of his own planet. However, this was clearly his biggest one, he only wished during their Rendezvous that he had stayed with her head buried into his body, her warmth and love giving him all he needed to make it to another day.

Leon had been sitting on the chair near her hospital bed. He remained in that position ever since visiting hours had started. He kept his eye on her, noting her movements in her sleep and her current condition. Ever so often he would raise himself out of his seat to take a gander at her. He was always confused about his feelings for her. He was well aware he was in love with her at this point, His research of the concept was enough to settle him on that. However, it was everything else that came with it that never quite registered in his mind. Even past her half-bandaged face, her damaged cheekbones, and her gaunt, frail appearance. Her beauty was not tarnished on him, as he focused on the right side of her jawline and cheek where the scar trailed down he still noted the curvature of her face. The one face he had been truly hoping to see since he had returned to Predators Keep in search of her.

Suddenly, Crystal began to move about thrashing at her bed, she was having her nightmares again, Leon shot himself out of his seat, She tried to scream but to no avail, her voice was shattered along with whatever spirit that was within her form. She shot awake, knocking her IV bag off of the rack in the process. It was at this point that Leon really how terrible her condition truly was. There were many times he had seen soldiers injured like this, that was the physical and most healed. The heart and soul was another thing altogether, as Crystal cuddled in a fetal position, her loud audible cries vibrating in his ear. He walked to her, ignoring her begging to kill her. That was simply out of the question, her life had far outweighed his at this point and he cherished it too much to be the cause of it.

 

“Crystal, I-I’m here I…You’re…”

What could he say, He already sounded pathetic. His voice was still audible but it was clearly shaken, What was he supposed to say to her it had been a year and now he appeared only when she was at her worst? What could he say to fix that? The only thing he could attempt to do was reach out to her, some attempt at a gesture to comfort her, but even he wasn’t sure that was a good idea. He stopped halfway, his hands shaking violently before he quickly dropped them.

For the first time in three years, he was lost.

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A nurse came rushing in, pushing past Leon as his hands fell back to his sides, her hands soothing back red locks of hair as Crystal whimpered. The woman glanced at Leon briefly before returning her full attention on the curled up elemental. Another nurse, younger than the first, had followed and was righting the IV bag. Crystal had heard his voice, but with her back to him she assumed it was another hallucination. The voice was a counterfeit. Her hands lifted and covered her ears, eyes squeezed shut. The nurse that was soothing Crystal hushed quietly, fingers brushing strands back, away from her gaunt features.

“Sweetheart, there is a friend here to see you… perhaps a familiar face will help?”, the nurse reasoned softly.

Glancing back over her shoulder to Leon, the elder nurse smiled encouragingly before motioning to the other side of the bed with her chin.

Crystal’s heart was beating far too loudly in her ears for her to hear the words of the woman that was doing her best to still her fear instilled tremors. Her mind was fuzzy, likely due to the painkillers that were fed through her IV. It was as if she was underwater, floating. Pain was distant, though the way she grit her teeth she knew there should have been pain, but there was numbness to her entire being. Even the bed beneath her felt unreal, ethereal.  

As her breathing began to regulate again, the nurse smiled and looked to Leon with purpose. There was a knowing look in her eyes as she eased off the bed and pulled away from Crystal, fingertips lingering. Finally she left, the younger nurse bowed primly and followed closely behind.

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As the nurses worked to repair the IV bag, Leon stood still his mind and heart racing at breakneck paces. Once the nurse had called attention to him, however, his face broke out in a shade of white. It was clear what the nurse was asking for him to do. There was clear hesitation as he moved toward the bed. To be frank, he was scared. His hesitation had caused this, his own self-doubt and focus had put a loved one in harm’s way and it was hard to face the consequences of that. What could he possibly say to her? Nothing he said could clearly take away the pain that she had gone through during her time away from him.

 

The time that he forced away from her because of his own fear and hesitation. His breathing hitched for a moment, as he finally caught himself. There was no way he was going to leave her side anymore, not after this. There could be no more hesitation, no more self-doubt. As he moved toward the nurse and in front of Crystal, he gave only a knowing nod. As The two nurses made their way out of the room, Leon made his way in front of Crystal. Her fear showcased by her huddling into herself, her ears covered by her delicate hands, her eyes shut, and her mouth closed as her teeth ground against each other.

“Crystal, It’s me; Leon, I’m here…right now.”

He reached for her face and reach for the scar adorned on her cheekbone, he could almost feel the bone as he caressed his thumb around the scared area of her face. His inaction caused this, but he will no longer let that happen. Not to her…not for her. No more hesitation, no more second guesses or self-doubt, he was there for her. For as long as she will stand him, he will be at her side.  

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Over the many months of captivity she would find solace in imagining him. Remembering easier moments, like their arguments that always seemed to end with them just a little closer than they had been before. Crystal would hope that she would hear his voice at her ear again, that familiar and strange accent that marked him as foreign. To others he had been alien, to her he was exotic. It wasn’t until she escaped the arachnids that she found herself bitter with Leon. She wasn’t truly angry, no; the red head simply missed him.

His touch, warm and comforting, had her release a shaky sigh as if she had been holding her breath waiting. Long lashes lifted, crystal clear blue searched around before landing on Leon’s face. The elemental was silent as she stared. A long moment where her expression remained impassive before her bottom lip curled, her eyebrows lifted, tears brimmed her eyes as she stared with almost unbelieving eyes. Then a hint of anger crossed her expression as her brows angled down again. It was clear that she wasn’t sure how to feel. Crystal was torn between reaching for him and avoiding him.

Rolling to her back, her face still looking up at him, Crystal lifted a free hand to wipe her cheek. Softly, she spoke, a whisper that spoke to how uncertain she was. “Wh-when…” The woman swallowed her words and torn her gaze away looking at the foot of her hospital bed while trying to sort the thousands of thoughts that plagued her.

“Where am I?” The young woman finally decided on, not looking to him again for fear that he might be another apparition, but she knew he wasn’t. Inside, Crystal knew that his touch had been real, but there was no way she would be able to live through another brutal disappointment.

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As Crystal’s eyes locked onto his, he could almost hear his heart hitch at the thought. There were many things he saw, one was the anger of course. Even though he knew it was coming, that was more than what he could bear, the tears brimming from her eyes, the pang of anger that shot from her to him. He took a deep breath, as she rolled to her back, she was asking a question but seemed to be lost on which one to ask first. Where does he begin? He thought for a moment, with others brutal honesty and a bit of snark had usually been his recent profile, but…It never fit, not with her.

Oh, he remembered the tons of fights and arguments they had; It was one of the many things that brought them together, Leon had always admired her fiery attitude and her unbreakable attitude. However, none of that was there now. Whatever happened to her stole that from him…No. It was wrong to say it was stolen from him as he never fought for it in the first place. Yes, he did search for her throughout his travels, but never went as far as he needed too…he could’ve asked more people, He could’ve tried speaking to Red, or Raven. However, he was too busy with himself, too concerned with getting himself in trouble with Aarin and trying to find a way home.

Whatever or whoever did this to Crystal, he was just as much at fault as they were.

Hearing her speak in her soft whisper only caused Leon hand to grip tighter into a fist. His fist shaking rapidly and even beginning to draw blood, the white ichor slow seeping from inside of the palms of his hands. He took deep breaths, in an attempt to calm himself down. “You are in Oo’xora, Random hospital, I haven’t quite decided to ask which one…I haven’t had much time to.” His voice lacked the stern and fast-talking accent that he was known for, it was softer and miles more eloquent but shaky as well. As if he was holding something back himself. “You…collapsed attempting to run toward me as I was leaving the hospital. That was…I want to say 11 hours ago? Maybe Twelve?”

She wouldn’t look at him, was she afraid of him? Angry at him? It was so hard to read her at this point, nothing seemed to be the right decision, All he knew was that he wanted to be near her, Never leave her side. He let his right hand still travel about her cheek, slowly and softly, “I…Shouldn’t have let this happen…I had so much, I-I mean I was cap-….” He could say a lot of things, He was captured by Aarin, he was afraid of traveling with her in fear of her own safety. Which means very little, he wasn’t around and she ended up worse than he could ever imagine. There was no excuse, nothing he could say that could heal this situation.


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 Staring at the ceiling tiles she felt the weight of the brief silence between them as Leon tried to sort his own feelings and how he would answer. She remembered the morning she woke up to find him gone. All that had been left was a little trinket that she had kept until they found her. That little anchor was eventually taken from her and she was tortured with it. They found creative ways to ruin memories that she had treasured. Leon had been a tiny moment of happiness that was swiftly taken away by the same demons that caused her initial trauma.

“You were real… “, Crystal stated mostly to herself after he explained where she was. He was quick to continue speaking and finally her gaze slowly returned to him.

At his next statement she frowned, anger rising hot in her belly. “If you hadn’t left… we would have been together. I don’t want to hear excuses.”

Turning her face away again, she lifted a weak arm and pushed his hand off of her cheek. Tear rose again, unbidden and certainly against her will. She was captured while trying to find him. Why had he left? The woman shifted in her bed and made to sit up, but weak limbs wouldn’t allow it. With a sob of annoyance, she turned her focus on him and glared for all she was worth.

“Not once, but twice Leon… you left me alone twice now. The first time in some stupid attempt to run away from feelings you knew were real. What was your reason this time, hmm? Why did you leave me this time?!”

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“You were real… “

That was enough for Leon to feel at least a bit of excitement, However, that was mostly broken with her next action, her hand immediately slapped his away from his cheek. He was saddened by this but not surprised, nor was he surprised by her anger. He took a deep breath letting her vent out her frustration at him. The question he had heard was one he should’ve know were coming, why did he leave, why couldn’t they have been together at that moment. He had thought about it himself, he never planned to leave when they have decided to share their love. To be honest, he just never thought what would end up where he did. Did he fear their relationship and what it was doing to them? Not anymore, at least not after that day, any doubt was pretty much erased once he was recaptured, never had he wanted to see someone more than her, of all the faces that he had reacquainted himself with, it was Crystal’s that mattered the most. Which is why he searched for her, nearly 8 months after he was arrested by Aarin de Silva, after the party. Even with his escape, he did not attempt to stop searching for her, but he came up with nothing.

"The last thing I wanted to do was leave you, Nor was it my choice in the matter, shortly after...that night, I was captured by Aarin De Silva and the rest of Red's Army. I managed to escape but...” He tried to gather his thoughts, A lot had happened during that time Whether it was his quick escape to a local dive bar that would end up forming his band, to his second capture that transformed him into what was seen today. “I was not allowed in Predators Keep anymore because of it, So I’ve tried looking for you elsewhere, I just…found nothing, neither me or my bandmates could.” He shut his eyes, taking in whatever courage he could muster. “Eight months I’ve searched for you and found nothing, Patia, Blairville, Weland, I even searched outside of Terrenus, We all did but…” He sighed and tightened his fist again. “Even being captured again, I needed to know where you were, I had to fix what I left. I’ve met many people, and have forgotten many more, but I just couldn’t forget you, I didn’t want to. I needed to see you again, the only thing that strove me forward was finding you and seeing that scowl again as you rant at me for not taking care of myself.” Tears were considered unworthy of a soldier, a sign of weakness when it came down to the line of battle in Malmosi. However, Leon was breaking that hard. He clenched his eyes closed tears streaming from his face. “I wanted to see you so badly again, and only to see this. I’ve failed you, and-and I cannot take that back.”

“The last thing I wanted to do was leave you, that I swear on everything, but too many times I have failed you. You…don't deserve this, you didn’t deserve any of this” He took a haggard breath and reached for the wetness that had suddenly began leaking from his eyes. He turned away from her, mostly out of shame. "Failure is something I thought I could stand, I am failing to get back home, I've failed my fellow soldiers; However, Failing you has been one of my biggest mistakes I have ever made." It was his turn to be afraid of her, he resisted staring into her eyes. She had all of the reason in the world to not want to take witness of him, and this was exactly it. "I've done nothing but caused you pain, and I can understand if you wish for me to just...go away." A pause as wiped another set of tears away from his eyes. "I can only give you my word and my heart...I will NEVER Fail you again, even if it costs me my life, I will do anything to make sure you are safe from now on, that is the one thing I can promise, and it will be one promise I will keep, may it lead to the death of me."

He managed to stare back at her, his face no longer obscured by his hair, the first time he had managed to move his hair away from his face. Both eyes now visible in her view and with that the tears that have seemingly escaped from them. It would be strange to see his normally stern eyes suddenly strewing with tears. "I don't know how I can apologize to you, I am positive at this point that is it is impossible, but..." He had suddenly lost the words to say, His mind was racing far too fast for him to come up with another thought, instead he stood still, his hair falling in front of his face, suddenly veiling his eyes yet again.

Edited by Trexasle

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Crystal listened in silence, her gaze averting to stare at the ceiling. She hadn’t even realized it had only been eight months. The elemental had assumed it had been closer to a few years that she had gone missing. It seemed that time moved slower when you lived in fear. Death would have been a welcome thing, easier than living through what they did to her. She could still feel spindly fingers gripping her, holding her down. Crystal parted her lips to interrupt Leon to divulge the hell she went through, but he continued to speak.

Crystalline blue eyes saw the movement at the corner of her eye and turned her cheek to look at Leon again. He was crying. Something softened within her and at that moment she didn’t want to break him apart. The truth of her captivity would shatter the alien.

It was hard to remain angry as she watched him struggle with his failures. Her mouth seemed dry and she swallowed roughly. Leon was making promise after promise and Crystal felt her heart break a little more. Could he keep his word when this world was full of danger? Then she remembered him saying something about trying to go back home. Her eyes widened and she felt something squeeze in her chest.

Leon was trying to return to a planet she knew nothing of and that was before he found her again. The woman slumped at the realization and she looked away again. A slow draw of breath dissipated the emotional tidal wave. Since their time on the island before they found each other again on Valucre, she knew Leon was trying to go home. It didn't make it any easier to stomach. As much as she wanted to be with him, there was no telling if he'd take her with him. Even if he did take her with him, would she survive that environment?

Peeking back towards Leon, Crystal caught his gaze. His eyes pinned her down, trapping her like a deer in headlights. The emotion within his fixed stare was enough to leave her speechless, breath caught in her lungs. Memories played in a dizzying movie: saving Leon from harpies, seeing him again in Predator's keep, then the last night she saw him. Her teeth gnashed as her body grew tense, every muscle ridged. With those memories, the reasons that she ached to be with him resurfaced. Then, more recent memories surfaced and she flinched away again.

A nurse chose that time to come into the room. With a gentle smile, she looked to where Leon was. "Darling - visiting hours are going to be up soon. Wanted to give you some time to say goodbye for the night. Crystal will be here for a few nights yet, assuming you'll be back..." Without waiting for a retort, the nurse ducked back out of the room.

Crystal took a steadying breath and parted dry lips to speak again. "Maybe we should stop for tonight..." Her voice sounded small even to herself. Frowning, the young woman wrung her hands together in a fit of nerves. "I want to be alone tonight..." It was the most distant Crystal had ever been to Leon in their time together.

It was painful for her to even fathom being without someone, but she was still hurt from that morning. The bed had cooled already by the time she woke, she would never forget that. Her searching hands trying to find him before the panic set in. Finally, the heartbreak. Crystal remembered it as if it was yesterday.

 

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It seemed that the silence would follow his proclamation, did she believe him, could she believe him?  He wasn’t sure at this point; all that Leon knew was that he simply did not want her to go away. He could not lose her again, not after this. Regardless of his want and need, he could not stand the sight of her away from his side again, especially if it leads to…this. This haunted him more than he should and more than he wished to bear and lord knows how much Crystal herself could take. Months ago, he would not have even dreamed of abandoning his goal to return back home to Malmosi Prime literally, nothing could stand in his way. From friendships to new partnerships to an entire band nothing was going to keep him on earth. However, he could no longer lie to himself anymore. He had much more to do here, and from his friends to his love, it seemed his heart was here as well. He locked his eyes back with Crystal’s blue hues.

Were they always this captivating?

Something about those eyes left him simply hypnotized. Every moment staring at them he just wanted to get close, from his time on the island to the predators keep party. Her eyes: No, SHE had drawn him in, and have kept him planted on earth, pulling him up from the grounds of self-pity and depression as she did so. He was so close, leaning inside to be just as close as they once were. Only for her to immediately shoot away, the warmth that was in her eyes suddenly gone again. Even with his Jacket currently on he could feel the chill in the room, he blinked only seeing her face and her reaction. He was set to say something, anything when the nurse announced that visiting hours were almost up. Leon’s face focused on the nurse as she spoke her comments and gave a nod. It was not nearly as stern and confident as Leon’s confirmations were, this one was hesitant, almost scared. Seeing how much he feared to leave Crystal be at this time, it only made sense.  

Then Crystal spoke.

"Maybe we should stop for tonight..."

 

Leon said nothing, he could tell she was shaken up, scared. Something happened and with her clearly not being set to tell, his mind only wandered and worried. Her hands shaking into each other which clearly was a sign of both fear and doubt. Her nerves clearly fried and shot, he had only seen this sort of condition in very few allies, and it was never something good. Leon only gave another nod in uncertainty. “Right, I…Will be outside of the hall, I’ll…see you in the morning?” Christ even his voice seemed uncertain. Not since his initial conversation with Crystal as his voice just seemed so distant. He just wasn’t sure what to do anymore or how to approach her. Everything just seemed wrong, and it was mostly due to him. He would slowly walk his way out of the room. As Leon Followed the nurses out toward the hall. His mind only swam with the curiosity and fear of what had happened to her and his inability to prevent it. Suddenly his hands retracted back into a fist as he made his way back outside toward the waiting area. He took a seat in the hall, and attempted to think of something…anything else than what had happened today.

Edited by Trexasle

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