Blood Induced Fury

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This time, it wasn't Emily.

Cain came in all his black, slanted glory. He alone lacked the appearance of a cave creature. Even from a distance his olive, sun touched skin glowed compared to the whiteness of the others, who had somehow shrunk into the walls without having to move at all.

Tala made a quick suck through his nostrils that almost whistled.

Cain's dark eyes looked to the oatmeal spattered serving spoon on the floor, then found Kai and Tala, who had only managed to make it half way across the room. He snorted.

"Of course the new one would wake me up."

Before Kai could think of what to say—before he could even register that Cain's hand was rising along with an intense rush of paralyzing thrill in his muscles—Tala stepped around him.

Blood flew out from the wolf like the juices in a fresh tomato to splatter in Kai's face. In that indefinable moment of time that occurs when the universe seems to find something particularly horrible or beautiful, Kai could see just how many shades of red Tala's hair deviated from his blood.

Then the magic passed and Tala fell to his knees.

Kai...Kai stared. And stared. He could just register that, no, his immediate impression that Tala had simply burst apart wasn't true. Only a long, deep slash over his right shoulder and a bloody hole where his right ear had been remained.

"It won't happen again," said Tala, in an incomparably steady voice, as though nothing had happen.

Cain grunted and made his way over, yawning. Even as he passed and his very feathers brushed against Kai, he still couldn't find the comprehension to move. Kai couldn't help but be hyper aware of a drop of Tala's blood crawling down his face.

And then Tala wobbled and time came crashing in. All Kai's carefully built pretenses fell apart. His powerful pride buckled.

And for the first time in a long time, the true weight of his fear overpowered him.

Kai dropped to his knees and took hold of his once teammate.

"Where did you get the bandages? Fire—hot water—we need to boil something—needles, tell me they have needles." Oh God, he could see bone. That had to be bone. He couldn't focus. He couldn't see.

Despite being the one becoming drenched in his own blood, Tala took his turn to stare. "Kai?"

Kai started yelling at the others in the cafeteria. "Why are you standing there? He's going to bleed to death! Do something!" Even as a few special souls scrambled across the cafeteria and into the kitchen, Kai found himself stuck on how he would manage to carry Tala with his gimp leg. He had to carry him. Somehow it had entirely escaped his mind that someone else could do that.

Of course, only Tala would find the gumption to smile in this situation. "I told you it wasn't a game."

The dark-skinned assassin on cooking duty called that it would take time to boil the water, but another assassin came to their side with a pile of obviously used kitchen rags. Kai gaped in aghast at them. Don't tell him the bastard didn't even bother with kitchen soap! What the hell was this place?

Tala tipped. Kai caught him against his chest. Luckily it was too the left, leaving the chasm of his right shoulder away, though it didn't stop the streams of blood from flecking on him. Tala's eyelids had started to droop.

"Jeeze, it's just a shoulder..." he muttered. "No need to fuss."

"He cut off your ear too, you moron."

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