Sixteen: Hospital(ity)

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A/N: This was supposed to go up yesterday... Oops...

The pain is gone; that's all I can think of. I can't open my eyes; I can't even move. But the pain is gone.

Am I dead? Did we really do all of that for nothing?

A light sound, like the beeping of a monitor, is audible beside me, and I listen for other sounds. Breathing; ragged and choppy, but breathing. Someone else is here; I can't be dead.

"Is this one of them?" a female voice asks, her voice cold but not harsh. She sounds detached from whatever situation this is.

"Ariadne... Simon, I believe he said," a man replies, probably an older one. A scratching sound echoes through the room, sounding like a pen scratching on paper. He's writing something down, probably regarding... whatever is wrong with me?

"When do you think she'll be up?" the man asks, and then everything fades to black again.

The next time I regain consciousness, my eyes flutter open slowly, until I see a nurse standing over me. Dark hair is tied back into a bun on the back of her head, and hazel eyes widen when she notices I'm awake.

"She's up," she tells the other man in the lab coat, his dark skin in stark contrast with her pale frame. Heart racing, I force myself up into a sitting position. My tired mind ignores the painful screams of protest from my body, but at the same time, the pain in my shoulder has somewhat subsided. I glance over at it, and find it tightly bandaged. It must've been treated so as to speed up the healing process.

This is so weird. I thought I was dead, and I passed out in the desert. Yet here I am, awake and (hopefully) alive.

"Where am I?!" I practically shout, the sound of my voice foreign to my own ears.

"You're in a dome we call the Refuge. Ash said you knew that?"

We made it?! I'm actually in the Refuge! But... where are my friends?

"Ash?!" I ask, very much confused.

"Ash... Riddick?"

"Ari, that would be me," Kyros says, entering the room with a grin on his face. His skin is almost completely healed, the only evidence of injury found in a few small, circular scars much like he had back at the dome. He must've nearly died from the Burning then, too. Covered in a fitting dark t-shirt that I hate myself for noticing, he looks refreshed. Pushing away any thoughts on his wellbeing (which has obviously been cared for), my biggest question is his name. Ash Riddick? The crap kinda name is that?

"See, some people from your dome knew about the Refuge. Your mom was one of them. My parents and I are well-known figures around here, so using my real name could potentially be a hazard. I chose a fake one; Kyros Turman." he says, and my brain kinda shorts out. So... he's not Kyros? The heck was he doing at my dome?!

"Hey," is all I can say, and a weak smile spreads across his face. He pulls me up into his arms, holding me tightly to him even as the hospital workers look on. I fight off the butterflies that rise in my stomach, filling my head with thoughts of Mikhail until I pull away.

"I told you we'd make it," he laughs, and I raise an eyebrow.

"Yeah, but you got a whole lot of explaining to do," I say, but he merely winks before evasively replying with,

"All in due time, Love. Meanwhile, you must be hungry. Can I take her?" he asks the hospital workers, and the woman waves to grant him permission.

"Alright. Come on, now," he says, his arm wrapping around my waist as he pulls me to my feet. With a groan of pain, I hobble towards a mirror and cringe. Small, circular scars line my neck and face; maybe ten in total. My arms fare no better. My hair is a tangled mess, but I'm clean; free of sand and wearing a weird hospital gown.

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