It's fine

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            For a long moment, Brook could only stare at the knife tip coming out of her, unable to comprehend what was happening. The one second of silence she had to get everything sorted out in her head wasn’t nearly enough to factor in her surroundings.

            A crushing force on her arms, the metal in her chest, the smell of the foliage very similar to the one she was born in, the metal in the chest, Nathan staring at her, the metal in her chest… yet, there was no pain.

            Brook didn’t feel a thing, even when the dagger smoothly sliced diagonally downwards as if it was cutting through butter instead of her organs. It cleanly exited from her kidneys, clattering onto the floor.

            The sound of the hilt hitting wood seemed like an alarm clock, a bell, which awoke Brook from her daze. For the first time, her mind formed a single question.

            Why wasn’t there any blood? Not on the blade, not on the ground, and not on her clothes. Brook floundered around in her head, trying to figure it out.

            Suddenly, the sound of someone collapsing behind her and Nathan gasping for breath broke her messy train of thought. The tight hold on her arms loosened and she felt a light chuckle brush against her neck.

            “Hey there, princess,” a familiar voice laughed, letting go of her and stepping back. Brook whipped around to see Will, clad in a tuxedo, smirking at her in smugness.

            “What are you doing here?” Nathan asked somewhat distractedly, getting up and pulling Brook close. She felt his chest rise and fall as he sucked in a deep breath.

            “That’s the thanks I get for saving your honey from a knife in the ribs?” Will snickered, backing up in shiny black shoes and looking down at Eva, who, white as a sheet, simply sat on the ground and stared straight ahead of her.

            Eva suddenly jerked her head up and her eyes found Brook’s. She slowly relaxed, and her tense shoulders seemed to sag. “You’re okay,” she exhaled in one breath, her face blank and pale as a piece of paper.

            Will greeted her and offered to pull her up, and in turn, Eva half jumped out of her skin when she realized Will was there.

            “Uh, no, that’s fine, I mean, no thank you, it is fine, yeah, I am fine,” she spluttered, holding her hands up almost defensively. A deep pink started in Eva’s cheeks as she quickly righted herself and averted her eyes in embarrassment.

            Brook clenched her jaw very tightly to prevent it from falling to the crowd. Eva Lee, a hyperactive pixie turned into a blushing maiden; and because of Will, at that!

            “Well, I’m glad you’re okay,” the suave man chuckled with a mocking tone of civility. Eva raised her head to reply, but as she opened her mouth and looked at him in the eye, she looked back down in hopeless misery.

            For Will wasn’t smiling out of amusement or taunting like he usually did. The look on his face was apologetic, tortured, full of grief, but most of all, Brook realized with an inaudible gasp, loving.

            Will seemed to earnestly cherish the girl. Despite the cliché irony of loving a woman you assaulted, it couldn’t be described as anything else. His expression seemed to be screaming “she’s so adorable”.

            Brook thought quickly and changed the subject. As much as she wanted to know what was going on between them, Eva was in serious distress, and Brook owed her as a friend to save her. “Thanks for saving me, Will. How did you even do that?”

            “You’ve seen me pass through solid objects,” Will replied cheerfully, as if nothing was amiss and he wasn’t just admiring one of his brother’s favorite companions.

            Brook saw Eva give her a thankful glance before straightening her back. Brook fought back a smile. Her friend was back in the game.

            “I haven’t exactly mastered applying it on other people,” Will continued, not catching the two girls’ silent exchange. “So far, I’ve only been able to get transparency from the waist up, but luckily for you, that wasn’t a problem.”

            “How are you even here?” Nathan asked, narrowing his eyes in suspicion at his wily older brother. “You didn’t break anything, did you?”

            “Me?” was the sarcastically hurt reply. “I would never do something like that, unless you count the guard dog watching the stables… and the back door,” he added mischievously.

            “You killed their DOG?!

            “Oh please, if I hadn’t, you two would have killed her,” Will drawled, nodding his head at Brook. She started to feel slightly offended when the most important question of the evening dawned upon her.

            “What was the fight about anyway?”

            “You tell her,” Will grinned at Nathan. “You’re the knight in shining armor who nearly rescued the princess from the tower, right?”

            “It’s nothing,” Nathan said abruptly. “At any rate, we have to go.”

            “You know the arena’s been an all time tradition,” Eva cut in very, very seriously.

            The corner of Will’s mouth went up higher every so slightly before he flattened it back into a straight face and pressed his lips together.

            “If you bail now, your parents are going to kill you!” Eva scolded.

            “Let’s see them try!”

            The yelling and bickering escalated for several minutes until Brook had an epiphany. She pressed closer to her husband and looked up at him with begging eyes. “Won’t you tell me, Nathan?” she whispered pleadingly. “Please?”

            Nathan was shocked speechless and Eva blew a wolf whistle. Brook smiled to herself as her “knight in shining armor” dejectedly led the troop back upstairs to the horror he had tried to protect her from.

            “Bravo for feminine wiles,” Will cheered, and Eva couldn’t help but laugh along.

            “What’s going on?” Brook asked Nathan lowly so as not to interrupt the snickering duo behind them.

            “You’ll see in about an hour,” he replied grimly.

            Brook tried not to get irritated. After all, Nathan was trying his best. She leaned her head on his arm. It’s fine, she thought peacefully. As long as you’re with me, who cares?

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