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It was a normal day, people continued to go to work; go through the motions of living. Meanwhile, at the hospital, everything seemed so odd and out of place for Crystal. She tried to pinpoint the moment her life had fallen apart at the seams again. Her relocation to Valucre had been a purposeful one. Akako had brought her here long ago to get away from the things that wanted to ruin her. Life had been simple for a blip of a moment. She had acquired a teaching job in somewhere in Terrenus. Where was that again? Then she ran into Xartia and the child. What was his name again? Then more familiar faces started to arrive. Suddenly, Akako was frequenting Terrenus. Then Leon was here.

Crystal shifted and glanced at the door. Visiting hours were about to start… maybe a few more minutes. Biting her bottom lip, the woman groped around the side of the bed until her hand found a cord. Pulling up the cord, she finally caught a remote. Shifting again, Crystal looked at the remote which had entirely too many options on it. Finally, she saw was she was looking for and pressed the button. The head of the bed then began to lift, lifting her in the process and moving her to a more upright position. Crystal knew Leon would return today and she would prefer to be more… presentable? She wasn’t even sure what she was doing.

With a slow sigh, the woman lifted sore arms, fingers digging into her hair trying to detangle the mess. Neglected curls knotted together painfully at the back of her head and she was glad that her nails were grown out enough to assist in the process of brushing. Every so often her fingers would brush against where her skull was bruised from the punishment she was subjected to and her body would flinch.

While she continued to try to regain some semblance of … something, the door opened. Her nurse peeked in and brightened immediately when she saw Crystal upright and trying to comb her hair. Bustling into the room, with Leon in tow, the nurse had forgotten he was following her. “Oh! I am so glad you are feeling a bit more energized today! I am about to have them bring you something to eat this morning. Something drinkable… make it a bit easier for you. Also, I will have someone fetch you a brush. Is there anything else you might need?”

“A mirror.” Crystal said softly. She knew that her face was messed up. Unfortunately, she hadn’t seen the damage inflicted.

The nurse nearly winced at the request, but her smile only grew slightly and she nodded. “Certainly. I will be back soon.” Turning around, the nurse spotted Leon and she twitched with nervousness, again, forgetting he had followed her in. “Oh! Gods… sorry. Ah, I am glad you’re here. When I bring up the brush you can take care of her hair. Hm?” Without waiting for a response the woman hurried on out of the room leaving them in silence.

Crystal’s gaze was on her blanket-clad knees and her hands slowly lowered back onto her lap. Say something. Shyly, her attention shifted and she glanced up. Remembering yesterday’s conversation and the way it ended. Her cheeks flushed a light pink embarrassed. While Crystal wanted to be upset, she realized there was no reason for her to be. He hadn’t actually left her willingly. He tried to find her. I am still damaged. Her shoulders slumped at the thought.

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Time had always been slow for the alien, in one way it was natural seeing that the planet he was on rotated slower than earth that the time measurement simply felt slower to him naturally. However, that was far from just the only thing, another thing that made him suffer was his sleep schedule or lack thereof. Leon mostly due to his past mental issues, and the constant haunting of his past and present, never quite had a means of peaceful sleep until Crystal came into his life. At one point as they were on the island he never had a nightmare of his past since it was something he became acquainted with. However, these past few months along with his own capture, his sleeping schedule had returned to “Normal”.

Which meant, he had little to no sleep at all when the nurse decided to call him for visiting hours the first thing that was clearly noted was the mere fact that he simply looked tired. Granted, they noted that when he was in surgery, but it seemed much more obvious now that he was out and about. Leon on his own part was more focused on one thing. Whatever care Crystal need he had decided it would be best to aid with what he can. As he and the nurse made their way to Crystal’s room, it would seem that Crystal had been busy messing with her hair.

It was always a striking point for Leon. Red hair was actually something fairly rare in Malmosi he had only known one person who had that shade, which was his commander. Crystal’s red hair was something that seemed otherworldly to him and as she ran her elongated fingernails through it. Leon raised his eyebrow, it was certainly a mess but why with her fingernails. As the nurse made her presence known, it knocked Leon immediately out of his train of thought. As the nurse asked for a mirror Leon noted Crystal’s injuries again; suddenly, his hands retracted into a fist yet again.

Before he could think anything more The Nurse bumped into him, probably in forgetfulness that Leon was Even following her (Which was strange since SHE Requested him to do so, after he spent the first two hours of the morning pacing about and apparently scaring other patients, as he was mumbling in his own native language.) She said something about a brush with only caused confusion with the alien. “Wait…what? A brush?” Leon was honestly confused, his hair being normally tied, he never actually bothered to brush it, other than the routine washing of his hair for the sake of cleanliness hair care was not something the alien was ever familiar with.

But before he could react the nurse had already left, Leaving the two alone yet again and Leon with very little to say. His eyes immediately locked onto hers but everything seemed...scary. A shade of white adorned his cheeks yet again, as he ruffled his own hair, nearly mimicking Crystal’s own treatment of her hair. “Hey there, lass…” He said nervously trying to find something...anything to talk about other than what had happened to her. Why would he want to talk about that? Not only would it only enrage him even more; From her shaking disposition to her near-empty silence, he could already tell she was not ready to talk about it. He pulled a nearby chair up close to her and attempted to continue the conversation. “So how’s the morning been so far?”

With that bit of verbal blockage, Leon inwardly cringed. Could he have chosen a worse thing to ask?

 

Edited by Trexasle

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Outside the room, the elder nurse smiled gently before making her way down the corridor to find the requested items. The younger nurse than had been in the room the day before sidled up next to the older woman and she leaned forward and looked up at her face with an expression full of expectations. “So?” The younger woman asked while the elder’s lips upturned even more a look of mischief twinkling in her dark brown eyes. “Oh come on! Spill!”

With a short laugh, the elder parted her lips to speak. “I am almost sure that those two are… something.” She whispered conspiratorially.

“Something?” The younger woman’s expression was less than pleased. “… vague much.”

 “Our resident anomaly…”, she spoke of Leon given the color of his blood. “…seems to care deeply for our Jane Doe. Ah, her name is Crystal. Fitting, right? With those beautiful eyes… Eye.” The elder nurse frowned at her mistake and sighed. “Poor girl… she asked for a mirror.”

“What are you going to do?”, the younger nurse asked softly.

“Well give it to her of course. Perhaps I should talk to that young man before I do so. I know she will be upset…”

And so the conversation went as they continued down the halls.

Crystal found herself somewhat relieved that Leon seemed to be just as nervous as she was. It was silly when she thought about it considering how intimate they had been. Her ears burned red as that memory surfaced at the most inopportune time.  The young elemental looked away at that point, choosing to look at the window as if the sky was the most interesting thing that she had ever seen. Internally, she willed her heart to slow and the blood that was coloring her cheeks and ears to recede back to that stubborn muscle that thudded swiftly behind her breast.

Chewing on her bottom lip, she let the silence of the room settle against her skin like a blanket that was far too warm. His voice was a welcome break and her attention returned to him. Though, his question nearly sent her off the bed. Small talk? Really? … Jesus Leon… Crystal rolled her eyes and her lips finally upturned just a bit. Amusement returned to her uncovered eye and a quick sound that was something like a bird chirp. “As well as it can be…”

Part of Crystal wondered why he wasn’t asking about where she had been or who had touched her. Her arms wound back around her mid-section. Maybe he didn’t need to know. Who… how… what had happened. A slow sigh escaped her and she looked away again and back to the window. “I am already tired of this room… I am tired of being stationary.”

The door opened again and the nurse made her way inside with a smile. “I certainly understand sweetheart, but you really need to stay put while you heal.” She interjected herself into the conversation. While she spoke she gave Leon a black thick toothed comb and a spray bottle. The nurse then set a mirror on the foot of the bed, face down. “Do not use this until he has pampered you. Understand?” Crystal nodded numbly already feeling the dread creeping into her stomach.

The nurse gave Crystal’s shoulder a little squeeze before retreating again. Crystal shifted on her bed and looked to Leon. Biting on her bottom lip again she considered him for a moment before turning so her back was facing him. Again, her arms settled around her too tiny frame. Her hospital gown dripped over her shoulder, far too large for how thin she was. Leon would be able to see the ridges of her spine from the split in her gown that was tied behind her back and again at the top to hold the flimsy garment together.

Crystal picked that moment to speak, her voice quiet and full of gravel. “I thought about you often.” She chose her words carefully… she didn’t admit to missing him though she had.

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A Smile.

One caused by the silliness of his question, but it was a start. A sigh escaped his lips, mostly from relief. At first, Leon thought that the first few days were going to be tough, a tightrope of finding out how to approach her after all the time gone. He was somewhat relieved that was not the case. While her response was not exactly what he wanted to hear; He smiled back in hopes that it will raise her spirits. As she held herself and began to speak about being cooped up in the hospital Leon left off a slight chuckle.

“You know, I felt the same way when I got out of here after my surgery?” He spoke, again attempting to cheer her up. Before he could speak more it would seem that the nurse had returned with the mirror that was requested of her, she noted about Crystal needing to stay put and heal. While Leon could pretty much scoff at their insistence to heal as he did have somewhat of a weak healing factor; He was pretty sure Crystal did not even with her physiology. So he was set to take heed. He looked down at the comb and spray bottle he was given and blinked. He gave a tilt of his head and raised his eyebrow, his long index finger scratching the side of his head. What exactly what this....thing that the nurse had given him. He had seen it before, that much he knew but...what was it again?

“Uhh, …what am I supposed to do with this?”

Before he got the answer the nurse had already left, as Leon stared at the plastic utensil with narrowed teeth and a spray bottle he clicked his head to the side. The Alien never had to care for his hair much, other than a standard washing and tying, he never did much to his hair at all. Which explained why it tended to be either messy, curled, or a combination of both. His eyes locked with Crystal as the nurse walked out leaving him essentially with no clue what to do.

“I thought about you often.”

Huh.

He could’ve sworn he heard his hearts skip a beat each. He blinked and looked down at the two items in his hand. “Uhh, I am guessing this is for your hair?” He blinked. He only remembered it being vaguely used by Raven when she was attempting to “Tidy” His hair up for the ball. It was something that was quickly undone by the events of that night. He blushed again, his face, however, still locked on Crystal. Though he wasn’t sure how it would seem that the nurse wanted him to help Crystal as Raven did for him. He took a deep breath, thinking of what he could do in the situation, but it seemed that he was already under the gun. If Crystal wasn't going to ask him, certainly the nurse's will, So, Leon decided to just go for it.

 

 “You mind if I…?”

Edited by Trexasle

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There was a curt little nod from the red-head before she looked at her hands that fidgeted nervously in her lap. She remained quiet for a moment then looked back over her shoulder. He was eying the comb with a skeptical expression. Crystal couldn’t help the amused smile that appeared on her lips before she gave him some instruction. “That bottle, spray the water on my hair to dampen it. Then use the teeth of the comb to brush through my hair. Please be gentle, I do have some bruising towards my neck.”  

Turning her head forward so Leon could brush her hair, she sighed. Clouds drifted in the sky in a lazy fashion and the elemental longed to be back outside. She had become so accustomed to being outdoors that she missed it. “You said your surgery… I assume you are talking about your eye?” It was strange how the roles reversed. Her hand lifted and she brushed her fingers over the bandage that covered her eye and she frowned. Even Crystal knew that she had been beautiful, but a scar… on her face. Swallowing the disgust, Crystal tried to shove the self-deprivation talk into the back of her mind. She could hear her own voice telling her that she was no longer desirable.

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As Crystal explained what he should be doing, he only nodded, taking a look at the damage done to her neck. The bruising seemed to be horrifically severe. The discolored skin worried him, angered him, and suddenly caused his hands to clench. His teeth ground together in an attempt to hold back his anger. However, he could not have him see her this anger. Not that he was worried about her seeing her angry, but he doubted that seeing him worry would actually make her feel any better. He took the spray bottle and the comb and proceeded to go to work. He pointed the spray bottle at her hair, he pulled the trigger on the bottle, the mist of the water spewing out and going into her long red hair. He proceeded to shift the comb gently through her hair, attempting to be quite careful not to rough her up. It was weird being this cautious around her, He felt that he should be used to speaking with Crystal at this point, but…it seems this changed so much.

As she asked about his eye, he gave a short not. “Well, yeah. Apparently, when I was captured, they gouged the remains of my eye out.” He stopped for a second pointing at the eye, that was previously shrouded in damaged skin, now replaced with what seemed to be a semi flawless eye. It had the same oddity as his organic left eye, that being the black sclera but it was a completely different eye color; a bright red instead of a vivid green. “They reconstructed it the best they can while clearing out most of the dead skin, but they’re still some oddities, like it randomly shutting off or me not always being able to blink, means my eye get’s irritated a lot.” He was attempting to make conversation, but it was clear something else was on his mind, even during the time combing through her hair. And while it was very clear what else was exactly on his mind, he had quite the time attempting to get it out. How DOES he ask her what happened to her, does he keep it straight, or does he try to toe around the situation, he took a deep breath and decided to get his courage back in.

“Though I am more concerned with what happened with you..”

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