Runaway For Another Day

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"Where is she?"

Kai groaned and ran his sore, but somehow only bruised hand down his face. The hospital room had been flooded with sunlight that his eyes refuse to adjust to, and he had the distinct impression that a long time had passed. Ray sat in the chair Ayah had occupied, his legs and arms crossed and looking none too happy.

"What time is it?" He sounded gravely to his own ears. His throat was parched and raw as sandpaper.

"About ten. You've been asleep for three days. Tyson's proud."

Kai groaned again. That would explain why he was starving too. "Damn it."

"Where is Ayah?"

"Like I'd know."

Ray reached over to the side table and tossed something onto Kai's lap. Ayah's little yellow-paged notebook. Her last note spread across the front with her usual nigh-illegible handwriting.

Bladebreakers,

I've only been able to take care of his superficial burns. Some damage may remain beneath the skin. He will sleep a lot and will be very hungry when he wakes up, but should be better. Please be sure he gets what he needs.

Ayah

He dropped the notepad towards Ray and rubbed his eyes hard, begging them to stop watering. "She started buzzing like a bee and I passed out, that's all I know."

And that was all he was saying.

"Before you went to the hospital she said something about some people threatening you, or did you think we'd just ignore the fact you were half-burned to a crisp in the catwalks for some unknown reason?"

"Has it ever occurred to you that I don't respond well to demands?" He glared up at the tiger through his fingers. "Even from you?"

Ray didn't withdraw, his returning gaze hard as stone. "Pardon, captain, let me rephrase my question: where did your friends take her? They wanted her, didn't they?"

"Did she tell you that?"

"I guessed from her look. I don't think she's that good at lying."

Kai let loose a sigh. God, he was tired. And hungry. And beyond patience. "I don't know. Go away."

"What did you say to her? Don't tell me you told her to get lost or hand herself over!"

"Whoa, what's with all the yelling? This is a sick peoples place, Ray, tone it down."

Tyson had appeared in the doorway, flanked by hamster lipped Max and wary Kenny.

"We brought food!" he sang.

"Tyson brought food," said Max. "Not like he knew you'd be awake, though, they're just his snacks."

"More like second breakfast," added Kenny.

"Aw, shut it. It was my Kai senses tingling. She said he'd be starving when he woke up after all."

Ray got out of the way as Tyson pulled out the hospital bed's serving table and started laying out the contents of the grocer bag in his hand: half of a watermelon, an energy drink, two sweet bean buns, a bag of chips, an apple, two boxes of Pocky, and finally a sweating cup of ice cream.

"I'd eat the ice cream before it melts. But what's hanging, Ray?"

"How can you be so calm?" Ray asked, having found a place at the foot of Kai's bed with Kenny. Max had taken up Kai's other side. "He's the only clue as to who kidnapped Ayah."

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