Author Topic: Shot in the Dark  (Read 1113 times)

Katt Batten

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Shot in the Dark
« on: September 28, 2016, 11:17:24 PM »
Sept 27th - Marketplace

The big cat was settled once again on the lip of the fountain, sitting cross-legged upon it, facing the water, dressed in nothing more than his jeans and a tanktop. Gold-green eyes watched the play of water upon water and the splashing of it off the stone as though mesmerized by the sight.

She had been wandering with no real focus on where she was going. In her slender arms was a kitten, matted fur and looking as if it had one heck of a rough life. It was content where it was, purring a kitten's purr. Bare feet was carrying her to the circle and eventually the fountain. It was there she spotted...that cat. The big one. She stopped and lowered her eyes briefly only to look back up and clear her throat.

His back was to the square, his attention focused, but like all of his kind, he was more aware of what went on about him than it seemed. Even as she cleared her throat, he straightened somewhat, head turning just slightly to the side. That sound, that scent. He knew them as intimately as though they were his own, though they held subtle differences between this girl and his beloved. There was a purring note to his voice as he spoke, sounding amused. "I do hope your questions this time are of a less...intimate nature."

Her eyes slipped low, shamed even. "I ...I apologize." The words were meek, almost as if he had scolded her or someone before him had over the event.

That purring chuckle rumbled from him as he turned to face her, a smile on his lips. "You owe me no apology, Sylva. You seem to have no trouble speaking your thoughts when you have a mind to do so. You are much like my Kathryn that way. I will admit, even had I been in this shape, I would have failed to answer you."

She shook her head. "Doran and everyone else made it clear that what I asked was wrong. I didn't mean to upset you. It was just what I was told by Des. I don't really know anything about..what you and her have." She petted the kitten softly while shuffling around. She almost looked..nervous.

He waved her statement away casually, chuckling softly again. "I was not upset, simply...caught off guard. You should feel privileged, that is not something that happens very often." The golden-green eyes regarded her a moment, calm and contemplative. "You seem...unsettled. Do I truly make you so uncomfortable?"

"No.." Pause. "Maybe." She sighed and tried to hide her face against the kitten but it just wasn't big enough. "I upset Doran and his father and his friends and he hasn't talked to me since. And my questions to you were just as bad."

He frowned slightly. "I am sorry. I was under the impression they found it rather amusing to see me so discomfited." Another purring chuckle escaped him. "You caused me no insult, however. Perhaps I should explain that to them."

She shook her head. "N-No! No.. It isn't just you. I ...I asked Doran's father things that I shouldn't of." Her eyes lowered to the kitten and she held it up, under its forepaws to show it off to Clayton. "This little thing has been with me since then."

Teenager troubles. He was a little unsure how to handle that, having had no experience in that area. Rather than address that, he focused his attention on the kitten with a smile. "And what is her name?"

That seemed to be a good question because it made a confused look on Sylva's face. "Name? I do-" While she spoke there was sip, followed a strange little thump, almost sickeningly wet sound which seemed to cause her to right shoulder to jerk. The look of confusion only grew as she wobbled and looked down to her upper right chest where the blossoming of red started to bleed through the fabric of her top. She stumbled a step before crumpling down the ground but ever so careful not to drop the poor little kitten.

He blinked, caught off-guard, unsure of what exactly had happened for a moment, until he caught sight of the blood. He was off the fountain in a flash, movements impossibly swift and fluid. To the outside observer he appeared to be instantaneously at her side, catching her just before her head hit the ground, shielding her body with his own by instinct, though he was unsure of where the shot came from. Urgency touched his voice as he spoke. "Sylva? Sylva!"

The little kitten tumbled out of her grasp and being held by Clayton meant that it settled, cradled against her torso. It showed on her face that she didn't understand what was going on. She felt pain and she wasn't sure why. Bewildered she looked up to Clayton as if he had answers, her eyes glossing over with tears that soon spilled. "I...I'm scared.." The confession left her weakly. It was a matter of moments before her eyelids started to droop.

His voice was calm as he spoke to her, his hand pressing against the wound, heedless of the blood, only focused on getting it to stop. "You have been shot." He had an idea of who might have been behind the trigger. as well. Much as he wanted to go hunt her down right now, too, he could not simply leave Sylva here, either. As her eyelids drooped, he did the only thing he could think of, lifting his other arm and biting into his wrist. Blood welled immediately, thick and dark, which he then pressed to her lips. "You must drink." His voice was not soft, as usual, but a harder thing, full of command.

He was nothing more than a dark blob to her by the time she felt the warm, sticky wrist against her lips. She tried to purse her lips into a thin line and refuse what he was trying to do but her body simply refused to move. He knew. Of course he knew. How couldn't he? "I don't.." want to. It would of been said but it was a little late. The moment she started to speak she felt his blood trickle into her mouth. A hand quickly struggled up to grasp a handful of his shirt while the other pressed into the arm hovering at her. She didn't draw on the vitae but rather just let it drip. What strength there was, was simply to cling on.

He focused slightly on the flow of blood, controlling it, letting it flow faster, but not so fast she would drown in it, his eyes on her. He could feel another set of eyes on himself, he thought, though it might just be his imagination, those of a Hunter, one of his kind. If she was looking he thought, he was sure she was probably holding back the urge to vomit. Feeling Sylva stop struggling, accepting his gift, he spoke quietly. "That's it, little one." He lifted his hand just a little from the wound in her chest, hoping that his blood had the same effect on Sylva as it did on Katt.

She tensed briefly then her smaller frame sunk down, all tension leaving her and her hands releasing their grasp. One hand fell rest on the ground while the other settled just inches from the kitten who was mewling for attention. Oblivious to what was going on. While the wound did indeed begin to heal it was much slower. Painfully slow in fact. Nothing like watching his lover's wounds seal up.

He watched the healing process, slowly, so slowly. Something was definitely different, though he didn't know what. Perhaps Katt would know. A thought suddenly occurred to him, then, as she slumped down further, and he leaned close, his voice soft, reassuring. "I have to get the bullet out. I apologize, little one...this will most likely be painful." And without further preamble he pushed his wrist to her mouth, at the same time plunging a finger into the hole left by the bullet. It took no time to locate the object, his protean flesh curling around it and pulling it out as fast as he could manage.

She made a gawd awful sound against his wrist and this time bit into his flesh but not out of the need for blood. Her eyes shot open with a look of horror before they rolled back and closed and she slumped back down. While it was good he got the bullet out, as they would of likely had to cut her back open to get it out, it didn't help aid in sealing the wound. It would, in time. If she didn't bleed out first. For now Clayton had himself an unconscious, bleeding youth on his hands.

He didn't like causing her pain. He didn't like causing anyone pain, truthfully, but this one more than most. As she surrendered to the pain, falling into unconsciousness, he kept his wrist to her mouth, letting more blood trickle in, even as he was tearing at his shirt with the other, ripping the fabric into strips rapidly. A wad of them was pressed to the wound to staunch the flow, before taking his hand back from her mouth. The wound in his wrist sealed in an eyeblink as he did so, being kept open by his focus on it, and he worked fast, tying strips around her chest and shoulder to hold the other fabric in place. That done, he scooped her up in his arms. The wound was not healing fast enough, he knew, and he needed to get her someplace where she was sheltered and where he could get her patched up. The closest place he knew that might have a first aid kit was the Teas shop, so it was in that direction he headed.
[i:5d85fd8482][color=red:5d85fd8482]Stand my ground
I won't give in
No more denying
I've got to face it
Won't close my eyes
And hide the truth inside
If I don't make it
Someone else will[/i:5d85fd8482][/color:5d85fd8482]

Katt Batten

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Re: Shot in the Dark
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2016, 11:39:22 PM »
Sept 27th - Teas 'n Tomes

Ebon entered Teas'n Tomes, giving the hostess behind the bakery case a smile. "Good evening? Can I get a black tea with cream and honey, please?"

Katt had left, for a period of time, but returned to her table. The look on her face was blank as she stared forward, hand unclenching and clenching around a small object. She didnt even seem to hear the bell ring.

Taking the cup, he paid and stepped away, looking at the bookshelves as he roamed the little shop... and then he spied a familiar face, seemingly oblivious to everything around her. "Hullo, Katt."

She jerked in surprise and her sharp greens shot to Ebon as if he had spooked her. Surely not, right? "Ebon. Oh..Hey."

"You okay?" Thankfully he went on after a second, thus giving her an opportunity to avoid answering that. "How'd your meet-and-greet go?"

"Yeah I am okay. There really wasn't one. I waited but nobody really came by. Nobody that wasn't a friend, anyways and nobody with questions." She shrugged and leaned in her seat, a little chuckle given. "You know it is kind of funny...I set this meeting up for people to get to know me..not because of the election. I didn't even plan on making it past what I have.."

"Well, I think it's neat that you just wanted to meet with folks... you're a good one, Katt, and more people need to realize it." Beat. "I'm not just saying that because I voted for you, either."

She looked mildly confused. "Why did you vote for me?" She suspected he would of voted for Maggie.

"Because I think you would make an excellent Governor." Ebon took a sip of his tea. "There were a number of decent candidates on the ballot--Maggie, Andu, Ammy, Will--but you were my pick. You know that you don't know it all, you've got experience with the political side of Rhy'din after being on Fionna's Council and then backing me up more recently... and you listen to people. That said, I can't play favorites at the debate on Friday. Sorry!" He flashed a grin.

She was not looking forward to that. "It is fine. I never expected you to. I am not sure I would make a good Governor. I just..want to do good by the people. I do have to wonder, however...Why does it seem that this group is so damn hellbent on getting rid of all non-human. Rhydin was never really all human since its founding."

At this particular moment the door was crashed through by the big cat, now shirtless, splattered with blood, his hands covered with it, carrying an unconscious Sylva in his arms, already speaking as he turned towards a table. "I need a first-aid ki..." His eyes alighted on Ebon and Katt before he could finish, and he moved in their direction. One arm cradled Sylva to his chest while the other cleared a nearby table in a single sweep. "She's been shot!"

Hearing that, Ebon practically leapt from his chair and moved to Clayton and Sylva's side, all business. "Where?" As he looked over the unconscious young woman, one hand dropped to one of the pouches at his belt, opening it to withdraw some gauze padding that he placed upon the now-obvious wound.  "Bullet or slug? Is it still in there?"

Her eyes turned to the door to see Clayton. The first thing she saw was blood. She shot up from her seat, the chair scrambling back to bounce off the nearby wall. "Clayton!" Wait..She? She spotted her younger self in his arms and she started to pale. "Shot.." Shaking her head she moved to the counter and shooed the pretty little thing behind it. Grabbing the first aid kit, some water, and a few rags. These were brought over to Ebon who seemed to take control of the situation. Her eyes? Were looking Clayton over. Making sure...

He laid her carefully on the table, on her back. A ragged field dressing had been applied to the wound on her chest, made out of a shirt that had been clean and was now soaked with blood. Stepping back, Katt could see he wasn't hurt, though some of the blood on him was clearly his own, showing the distinctive gold-red color, mostly on one of his arms. Reaching into a pocket, he came out with a bullet. "I dug it out." The long, sleekly shaped projectile appeared to be made of a polished silvery metal, scrimshaw-like designs etched into its surface.

"Good... it can't do any more damage." The gauze pad he'd applied was starting to soak through, and blood stained his fingertips. He pulled it away and gently lifted the field dressing Clayton had applied, spot-checking the injury. "Doesn't look like it hit an artery, it's not spurting, but we need to close that up ASAP. Katt, check the kit, see if there's any antiseptic wash or ointment. Clayton," and with his free hand he drew his cell phone from another pouch, "call emergency services."

She could already guess why his blood was on him and she reached out to his arm, squeezing lightly after everything was placed down. "Call the Tower, Clayton. Tell them it is an emergency, please. Tell them to get two bags ready as if I were coming for blood." A hand reached over to Ebon with a single tap to his shoulder. "Keep it staunched, Ebon." She did go to get the wash out of the kit as requested and forked it over.

"Batten Tower works too." Then he closed his eyes and a look of concentration came over his face. After a moment, the blood within the wound seemed to shift, moving aside as if sucked away from the ragged, torn flesh. "There." He opened his eyes and took the wash from Katt, dabbing some onto a cloth and applying it directly to the wound.

He felt Katt's touch on his arm, though his gaze was focused on Ebon for a moment as he took the cellphone, something in his gaze that looked like anger. Katt's touch distracted him, as well as her voice, and he did as he was bid before handing it back over. "Michael says he will have everything ready, and is sending a transport." At that moment there could be heard a mewling at the door, and a scratching sound. Turning, he went and opened it, coming back with a bedraggled kitten in one hand.

"Katt, reach into my pouch here," and he nodded his head to the left, towards the pouch from which he'd originally taken the gauze pad, "and there should be a small container at the top. Field sutures. If I can get this closed, that should stop the bleeding long enough to get her to the Tower."

She didn't know what Ebon did but all she could do was watch. Frustratedly. Her eyes tilted over to Clayton, a brow raised. "Do you think it was her that did this?" And did he have a kitten in hand? What the heck? "Err. Sure." As long as Ebon's pouch wasn't at his hip because that would just be weird! "Made yourself a new friend while out and about?" That to Clayton while she dug in the pouch and withdrew the container as Ebon requested.

It was at his hip, but on the side, not on the front. Damn it, woman, there's a life at stake!

Hey! Only one front she wants to grope around at, thank you! And it wasn't Ebon's.

"Thank you." Opening the container, he withdrew something that resembled an oversized staple... which is basically what it was. "Does anyone have a flashlight? That bullet may not have hit a major artery, but it came pretty close and I don't want to nick it myself because I can't see. If I let her die, Doran will likely kill me."

"If you are unsteady at doing this, Ebon, I can staunch the blood until she gets to the tower." Clayton might not approve on how that is done, however. "I doubt the boy would do that." Pulling out her pcui she fumbled around with it until she got the screen to brighten enough. Hopefully enough and she tilted it over. "Will that do? That is all I really have."

"It's her friend. According to her, the only companion she has had since the children's festival." He held the kitten in his hand, small as it was, cradled to his chest to keep it from leaping to Sylva. He held up the bullet in the other hand, his expression darkening. "Only my people use bullets such as these." His voice changed with his expression, a growl entering his tone. "And when I find her..."

"It'll do." He concentrated, and the now-lit edges of the bullet wound pulled together at one end. Inserting the suture so that it penetrated both side, Ebon focused and it crimped shut, holding that point of the injury closed. "One down...." Taking another suture, he began to repeat the process. "If you know who might've done this, Clayton, do NOT let my son find out. He's been worried sick about Sylva since the carnival, thinking that he hurt her terribly and that she hates him." Crimp. Two down. "If he finds out she was shot, he'll go ballistic."

She was silent on the subject of the festival. Instead she looked to Clayton, her lips thinning. "She's a sucky shot if she was trying to kill Sylva. Either that or she was very far away..." Probably to keep downwind of Clayton's nose.

Then a stream of invective burst from Ebon's lips. "Found another bleeder, nicked by some bone shards... vein, but still... let me close it out." Tug, crimp. "Okay, one more."

He thinks for a moment. "She had to be very far away. I did not even hear the shot, just the bullet going past my head..."

He wasn't really focused on what Katt and Clayton were saying, though he'd likely recall it later. The last suture was applied, and Ebon slowly released his mental grip to see if they would hold.

She had no idea what Ebon was really talking about and just like her conversation with One...she felt stupid. Dumb as a rock. "Clayton you aren't going to search for her alone." There were no if, ands, or buts about it.

After a moment, he stepped back. "I think the bleeding is stopped, closed up." He snagged another pair of gauze pads and some medical tape from his First Aid Kit of Holding, and began applying a fresh field dressing. "How long before that transport gets here?"

He growled in his throat, a sound that could not be anything but animal. "Search for her? No. I am going to hunt her. And then I am going to tear her to pieces." He took a breath, his eyes closing a moment. When he spoke again, his voice was calmer. "But we need to see to the little one, first."

Ebon's question appears to be the cue for the sound of a vehicle coming to a halt outside, followed by a pair of Batten Security men entering with a gurney.

"Nice work, Ebon, and thank you." She owed him. "It shouldn't be much longer." She glanced to Clayton. "Maybe you should ride with her to the Tower to cool off and see to her." Unless he wanted to stay. "Either way I think you should pass the kitten over to one of the medics when they get here. If it has been a comfort to her she may need it when she wakes. In which case...well..She had a few questions for Clayton. Oh. Speak of the people! Stepping to the side she gestured to the fallen girl.

He stepped back to allow the men to get next to Sylva with the gurney. Returning to the table where he'd been sitting with Katt, he lifted his tea cup and took a sip, then made a face. "Cold."

"Make sure they understand that the blood bags need to come from my private stock."

Tepid, actually. Still, it was better than nothing, and Ebon drained the cup in a long, slow tilt.

She gestured Ebon to go get him another cup. Heck it was on her already so might as well live it up.

Ebon nodded and went over to the counter, chatting with the hostess--who had been looking quite distressed at what was happening--in what seemed to be her own language. After a moment, she was serene as ever and he had a fresh cup of tea.

Clayton shook his head, though as the men transferred Sylva to the gurney he settled the kitten on her abdomen, where it promptly curled up on her, looking mistrustfully at everyone as though protecting the girl. He scitched it behind the ears and murmured something to it in his own rarely-used tongue. It let out a purr as the men rolled the gurney out, and as the door closed behind them he turned to pace a moment, looking as though he were actually trying to calm himself.

"Well... that was exciting."

That kitten was going to claw so many people, wasn't it? "What were you and Sylva doing, Clayton?" Katt called to the pacing cat in man flesh. No pacing like a caged animal. That was her job. Sharp greens tilted to Ebon and she sighed quietly. "Agreed."

Clayton paused as Katt spoke to him, shaking his head. "I was sitting on the fountain, waiting for you, and she happened along. We were talking...she was telling me she thought she had upset everyone and hadn't spoken to any of her friends since the festival. I was asking her what she had named the kitten when it happened."

"Didn't want to come and join me here huh?" She teased quietly. Her eyes glanced over to Ebon, no doubt hearing Clayton's words.

Ebon listened silently.

Her head tilted and she released a breath. "How busy was the market and fountain area, Clayton?" Crowd control and gossip control to think about. Ebon expressed how he didn't want Doran to know...

Clayton managed a smile as he looked at Katt, finally settling down somewhat, turning to find himself a seat. "You know how I feel about group gatherings." He settled into a chair with a sigh. "There was no one else around the fountain. The rest of the market was mostly quiet...I don't remember seeing anyone, really."

She needed a stronger drink than the teas could provide. Moving to Clayton she leaned just enough to kiss his temple once he was settled. "That should make things easy to clean up." She was glad he was safe. It eased a heavy heart, no doubt. Looking over to Ebon she flicked a half-smile. "So there you have it. You need not worry about your son finding out."

"Good. I'd rather he learned of this from me, rather than from rumors and gossip."

She blinked slowly. "I was under the assumption you didn't wish him to know at all."

Clayton leaned into the touch of her lips lightly, sighing softly. "He will find out eventually, even if no one was there. Most likely from Sylva herself."

Her eyes lower to Clayton. "I don't know. Felix has told me she has been keeping away from people. Crying..."

"She needs her friends."

Her eyes swept up to Ebon. "What I mean is that he will likely not hearing from Sylva. It is, of course, your choice as his father to tell him or not." She would not try to change his parental rights of course!

Clayton nodded. "She told me something similar. She seemed to think she caused some offense, asking the questions she did that night, and that Doran would not talk to her."

She sighed, combing back her hair and rubbing at her neck. A throaty 'hmm' left her, likely her thinking to herself.

"Ah, the confusions and misperceptions of youth! He thinks he offended her, she thinks she offended him... but a mention that she is hurt, and I know Doran will forget all of that and try to rush to her side."

"Or be driven further away." Youths. Who knew. "If she pulls through...You will give Doran the condition that he may see her at the tower while she is in care...Only if he agrees to give his word he will not peruse whoever it is that shot her." A sidelong glance was given to Clayton. "If it is who we think it is...Doran would be in danger and I won't have that. He can trust to leave that to Clayton and I." Though she was sure Clayton would do it himself if given the chance.

He nodded his agreement. "Kathryn is correct. This...assassin...she is one of my people. And my people are not the type that can be handled by one person alone." He looked at Katt as he said this. He would very much like to track her down himself, but he knew Katt wouldn't permit it.

Her lips quivered at something Clayton said. Oh someone was amused.

"I suspect you underestimate Doran to a point, but in this instance I defer to your judgement. He's not ready for a trained assassin." Ebon nodded slowly.

"I do not doubt that Doran is a strong lad, Ebon. But set up against someone trained to hunt and can even keep downwind of a trained hunter like Clayton?" She craned her head slightly to the side. "If Doran ended up hurt I would blame myself for not taking necessary precautions..."

He shook his head at Ebon, though he caught Katt's look. That would be a discussion for later. "It is not only that. We have very specific traits which make us resistant, even invulnerable against all but a very few types of harm that can be inflicted upon us. We are evolved to a very specific purpose. There is a reason we take the shapes that we do."

He raised his hands, palms out towards them. "You're overselling, my friends. I've already agreed with you, remember?"

He eyed Ebon. "Actually, I was suggesting that you should not go looking, either. Of course, I cannot stop you, if you so choose."

"Not overselling, Ebon. Simply stating our knowledge and sharing it with you. But since you do not wish it, I will keep what else I have to say still." Idly she scratched at the top of Clayton's head as if he were in feline form. She didn't' say anything more on the subject. "If you wish I will make sure her condition is kept up and sent to you, Ebon." She didn't know how he wanted to be informed and so forth.

"Now you're on the verge of being condescending, Clayton." His smile was good natured, though. "I have talents that neither of you possess, just as you both have skills and abilities I don't. This isn't my fight, though... and I wouldn't want to get in your way." Then he nodded to Katt. "Thank you."

"I am well aware of that, Ebon. I think Clayton is more wanting this hunt as his own and didn't mean to insult." Her fingers stroked along Clayton's neck as she looked down to him. "His kind...and magic..I think that is what he is ...concerned with."

He smiled back at Ebon. "The first lesson my people learn as hunters is to know your target. I have a distinct advantage in this area, at least. If you will permit me, one day I will show you what I am talking about. If one hunter is targeting Sylva, after all, it would be prudent for Kathryn and myself to not be alone in that knowledge." He let out a purring sigh, relaxing into Katt's touch. "Also...yes. This one is personal. She was warned once."

"Understood... and in your place, Clayton, I would feel the same." Oh, prophetic words! "Now, I need to break the news of tonight's events to my son in a calm, rational manner. He'll probably stop by Batten Tower tomorrow."

Rising, he floated his empty teacup over to the counter. "Good night, Katt... good night, Clayton." Pause. "And good hunting."

She rubbed at her neck. "Ebon, please don't take what Clayton or I said to be offensive." Yes..she was concerned.

He offered a bow of his head to Ebon. "A good night to you as well."

"I don't, because it wasn't meant that way and I know that."

A final half-bow, and Ebon slipped out.
[i:5d85fd8482][color=red:5d85fd8482]Stand my ground
I won't give in
No more denying
I've got to face it
Won't close my eyes
And hide the truth inside
If I don't make it
Someone else will[/i:5d85fd8482][/color:5d85fd8482]

Katt Batten

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Re: Shot in the Dark
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2016, 12:00:05 AM »
Oct. 2nd - Batten Tower Medical Ward

As soon as he got the word that the medical ward at Batten Tower was open, Doran headed over there. It didn't matter if Sylva was awake or not yet, he wanted to be there for her. And so he settled in a chair by the window to wait.

Doran would be allowed past security and lead to the room where Sylvia was being kept. A nurse was chatting at Doran the entire way and once they got into the room he would find Sylva tucked in a bed, one wrist chained to the bar of the bed. The machines she was connected to beeped, the IV of blood fed into her. She was awake, sort of, her eyes drooped in a near half awake state. Her eyes opened fully as Doran entered and she started to sink a little under the blanket. Well more than she already was under them..

Seeing her awake, he smiled a bit. "Hi." Beat. "It's good to see you." The lad glanced at her wrist, tethered to the bedside, and he frowned but said nothing.

"H..hi.." was replied while she looked down to the ground at the side of the bed. Settling back she looked to Doran, " here..?"

"I heard that you were hurt, and I was worried about you. I... I missed you."

What she was looking for came weaving from under the chairs and bed - a tiny scraggly little kitten that looked like it could benefit from a bath. From over the edge of the blanket Doran was being watched. He..missed her? "I'm...Sorry, Doran. For upsetting you and your family and friends."

"You didn't, really... but I'm sorry for upsetting you." Doran rose and pulled his chair over close to her bedside. "I was confused at the carnival, didn't understand what you meant by... by kissing." He gave a little shrug. "And my confusion made me sound like I didn't care, but I do. You're my friend, Sylva, and I like you quite a lot. Of course I care about you."

She looked confused but was actually quite afraid to say anything about that subject. As if things would only get worse if she did. She sighed which actually sounded painful. "Care about Doran too." The little kitten was attempting to climb up on Doran's chair. It was closer to the bed after all!

He reached down and offered a hand to lift the kitten up and onto the bed, if it wished.

It had to deal with a lot of touching from strangers since brought to the hospital but it didn't dive away like it had the first night. When it was placed on the bed Sylva moved from the blanket enough to collect the kitten close. Happy little kitten sounds. From the kitten of course. "Confused, too. Doran didn't mind kisses and gave kisses."

"Well, to me, kissing means... something a little different. I should know that a kiss is a gesture of intimacy, no matter the style. I've heard of butterfly kisses and nose kisses, and of course..." Then he leaned forward and gently touched his forehead to Sylva's, before settling back in the chair. "...that."

She blinked at him several times when his forehead met hers and when he moved away she looked even more confused. "Different...?" She felt like maybe she should of asked, though. "Apologize to ..Doran's father and friends for me?"

"I will, although I don't think you owe them any. I was the one being a nitwit. "And I already apologized to Maggie, and explained things. She's my friend too, but it's... different with her. It's hard to explain why, mainly the age difference."

She shifted, suddenly nervous. "I make her really mad." she mumbled as she held the purring kitten closer.

He chuckled a little. "Maybe a little, but she's gotten over it. We had a good talk the other day, at a big picnic by the Shanachie." Pause. "I think she wouldn't mind being your friend too, if you'd like. It never hurts to have friends..."

As tired as she was and as drain as she felt, she still looked surprised when he said that. "R-really?"

His head bobbed in a nod. "Yep." Then one hand reached out tentatively towards the kitten. "Speaking of friends... this one's a cutie. What's its name?"

" that. Only if she wants." She watched his hand and when the kitten started to hiss she stroked a finger along its back. It huffed in that kitty way and sniffed at Doran's fingers. "Don't have one." She was watching his fingers near the kitten. "What is different with...Maggie."

"Well, she's only 10 years old, for one thing... and I've known her since she was half that age. I just, I can't think of her the way I think of y... of other people." Another little shrug. "We've called each other BFFs, that is, Best Friends Forever and I believe that, but sometimes I want more."

He was confusing her but it didn't take much in her state. "What makes"

That question gave him pause for a moment. "It's hard to say... and the phrase isn't really accurate, it implies that someone can only have a single best friend. I this it's really more like a closer circle of friends." Doran leaned back in his bedside chair. "I have a lot of people that I like, and enjoy spending time around. People from the Shanachie, kids from the Academy... but there are a few that I'm closer too than others. Some are family, like my sister, while others I've known so long, and our personalities complement each other so well, that something just clicks. Maggie's like that." He reached out to pet the kitten, if allowed.

She saw him reaching out to the kitten and she moved it just enough so he could pet it. "Complement each other..." She didn't really understand but accepted his words easily. "It sounds like you are welcomed by a lot of people.."

"I try to be a likable person. It makes life easier."

Her lips pursed as she started to sink back into the bed. "How do you do that? Be...likable?"

"Sometimes, though, it's nice to have someone to sit with quietly and watch the stars, or the clouds, or the horses running in the fields. Show people you care and respect them... be nice. Let them accept you, don't be pushy." He gestured to the kitten. "Like with cats, they get used to you at their own pace, it helps to be patient."

Her eyes turned up to the ceiling. "Do you remember the first time you saw them?" She pointed up but her hand dropped down to her side. "Stars."

"The first time? No...but I love to look up at them. It's a family thing, my surname translates as 'star dreamer', y'know."

She remembered hers but what surrounded it..well was probably best she didn't say anything. She smiled a bit. "Star dreamer. Doran...Star Dreamer." She believed it!

"Are you teasing me?" he asked with a grin.

Her head tilted to look at him and she blinked. "No?"

"I wouldn't mind if you were." Did his sapphire-blue eyes twinkle? Nah, just a trick of the light. "I know you're not mean."

"But I like it." She almost sounded like she was whining. "I like stars. And the white stuff that falls when it is really, really cold."


"Snow?" she asked back. Was that what it was called? Her brows furrowed and she leaned back in the bed, shifting as if uncomfortable. "Snow.."

"I love snow... I love the quiet that fills the air when the snow is falling, everything is just hushed. Even in the middle of a busy city, or the bustling market."

"Peaceful." She nodded in agreement. "Pure." At least when it was falling to the ground. Her expression changed briefly, a brief look of confusion. A heavy exhale shook from her and she offered the kitten to him. It seemed to be sleeping at the moment.

He took the kitten, holding it close and petting it with one hand. "Have you ever made a snowman?"

She gave him a strange little look. " Do you use magic?"

"No, no... it's just a statue, most of the time they don't even look like people, but they're fun to build.  You roll together a big ball of snow for the base, then another one--a bit smaller--for the 'chest', and finally a smaller one for the head.  Make a face using rocks or bits of wood, branches for arms... some people put on a hat or scarf, or add buttons down the front like a coat."

"Oh." She shook her head. "Never done that. Just sit and watch." She tended to like watching from high places which was not exactly safe.  She made a little face as she moved a hand, her fingers curling to one of the wires that lead to the heart monitor and the tab that was on her skin.

"Does it hurt?"

She nodded slowly, almost as if she was afraid to move. It took a lot of pain for her to admit she was in pain but she had been told she didn't have to hide it, right? "H-hurts.."

"Lie back.  Do you want me to get a nurse?"

"Don't go.." she mumbled just before her head plopped down to the pillow. At first glance it would almost seem as if she simply passed out. That is until all the machines she was taped up to began to blare out in alarm. The more notable being the heart monitor with flat lines.

"NURSE!" In accordance with Sylva's request, he remained by her side... but his bellow could be clearly heard out in the Tower medical ward.

There was already a group in route when the machine alarmed them. A couple of nurses went straight to the bed while one attempted to peel Doran from his place and escort him out.

"I.  Am.  Not.  Leaving."  He did back away from the bed, though, still holding and comforting the kitten, to give the team room to work.

"You can't be in here right now young man." The nurse attempted to reason with him while the other nurses rushed around collecting things in an attempt to resuscitate Sylva.

Doran's eyes glowed faintly blue as he glared at the nurse in question.  "Stop worrying about me and help her, you idiot!"

The nurse's hands went up but she made no attempt to go assist the others. It was her job to tend to him after all not get involved in the procedure. One nurse was in the process of doing CPR while two worked on preparing the defibrillator. Granted from Doran's point of view he probably was not seeing much from beyond the crowd of white.

He may not have been seeing much, but he was reaching out with his talent, trying to give Sylva a mental tether, a lifeline as it were, to help her hold on.

He would likely feel the jolt that brought her back through the tether. The heart monitor beeped...silence..then a quiet, steady beeping that caused the nurses to slow. The fussing remained as they bustled around, attempting to find the reason for the sudden lapse. One of the nurses called to the one standing next to Doran, telling her to contact Ms. Batten and have her come over as soon as possible. The same woman looked to Doran briefly before looking down to the unconscious, but at least now breathing Sylva. "What were you doing?"

"Reaching out to her. You revived her body.  I was holding onto her soul."  A bit pretentious, but the gist of it was there.

"That isn't what I meant, young man. I mean when she collapsed. Had something been stressing her?" Once things had settled and Sylva had been tucked in the other nurses retreated while the one remained, mostly to wait for Ms. Batten, but also to get information from the young man who was still there. "She's recovered but I am not sure that she will be awake any time soon. I will have to cut your visitation short."

"We were talking about stars and snow." Walking over to the bed, Doran gently set the kitten down so it could curl up next to Sylva, then looked up at the nurse as if daring her to object.  Then he quietly went to the door and stepped outside to wait for Katt.

"I see." She saw the look the young man gave her. If looks could kill she was sure she'd be crippled. "Don't worry. I was told that the kitten stays with her or at least around her. An order from Ms. Batten in fact." She followed him out and frowned.

Katt arrived though it took her a little to get from the debate to the tower. she was expecting to make her exit. She barely made it through the door when a nurse nearly grabbed her but instead gestured her down the hall. The nurse walked with her as both headed to the room, explaining as they went.

As they approached Sylva's room, Doran stepped forward.  "Katt?  I want a favor... when you and Clayton find whoever shot Sylva, don't kill them.  Hurt them."  Beat.  "Hurt them so that they never forget the pain."

She staggered a step when Doran came forth with ...that... She never suspected he had such a bone in his body. For a moment she just stared at him before she realized...he had been in there when it happened. "We are working on it...I'm sorry had to see that Doran." She frowned a bit. "And I am..sorry she is going through this." She could not help but feel it was her fault. She gestured the nurses to leave her and Doran for a moment before she addressed him again. "Whoever it is apparently is a skilled sniper."

"Do you think they'll try again?"

She didn't like that question..and it showed. "Yes."

"I trust you to keep her safe, Katt... and this place is a fortress when it needs to be."

Doran was surprising her left and right. "Of course. The security is keeping an eye on her and people coming and going have to sign in. As you have seen. Granted when she wakes to leave..." The young girl didn't like Katt's presence so she wasn't sure what to do there.

 "I can think of a few places she might stay where she'd be protected.  If nothing else, I'm sure I could convince Father to put her up at the manor, or the townhouse, for a while.  Between him, Tenball, and the security system, she would be well-protected."

"I don't think it is him you'd have to concern yourself on the convincing." She glanced past him and she exhaled quietly. "I do know she...liked your treehouse." She smiled to Doran. "Thank you for caring for her. I am sure it means a lot to her that you are here. For now lets allow the doctor and nurses to do their job. Shall I escort you home?"

Glancing back at the door to Sylva's room, Doran then looked down and saw--as if for the first time--the bag he'd brought and that he'd snagged on his way out.  "When she wakes up, can you give her this for me?  I got it for her back at the Carnival."  Opening it, he drew forth a plush pegasus, silver-grey with white wings.  "In all the... excitement, I forgot to give it to her."

She blinked seeing the plush toy and a smile crawled across her lips. It seems truly their paths had taken different ways. "Why don't you slip in real quick and place it on her bed."

A smile spread across Doran's face, and he turned to slip back into the room and do exactly that, gesturing to the remaining nurse that he was just going to leave the plushie by Sylva, and scritching the kitten on his way back out.  "I hope she likes it."

"I am sure she will. You are a good friend, Doran." She chuckled and craned her head ever so faintly. "I never had toys or such until a few years ago myself. I think my first one was...a white teddy bear. I don't even remember how I obtained it." She had to wonder where it was now. Shaking her head she gestured with a hand.

That made him smile again.  "I gave most of my stuffed toys to my sisters... but I still have the little brown bear that Ma sewed for me.  Never giving
that up.  As for the escort home... I'll be okay, I was planning to meet up with Pa after the debate.  Stay and make sure that Sylva's all right."

He was...really concerned about Sylva. She nearly flinched when he mentioned the debates. "I ran out right in the middle of it." She obviously felt bad... "I will do so. If you need anything feel free to contact me."

He patted the pocket where his cell phone was.  "I've got your number, no worries... and let me know when she's up for having visitors again.  I might bring her a snow globe, too."  That idea had just occurred to him.  "She likes snow, apparently. So do I."

"As do I.." Her lips twitched in amusement. "I will let you know as soon as she is allowed to have visitors. I believe Maggie wishes to see her too?" She craned her head and looked at Sylva's door. Apparently something dawned on her because both brows shot up. An idea...

"I know that look. You've thought of something clever, haven't you?"

Her eyes tilted to Doran and she smiled. "Maybe not clever...something to help her. Hopefully to ease her pain as well. I will have to see."

"Let me know if I can help at all."  He stepped back and gave a courtly bow.  "And now, fair lady, I must away!"

" kind to her, Doran. At her age I didn't have ...anything." And currently Sylva had a lot more than she did at that age. "I don't..want her to grow up like me..."

"You turned out okay, but I think that was in spite of what you went through growing up."  He looked thoughtful.  "You know, my parents are planning a family vacation, soon after the election is over, going to visit Mt. Yasuo.  If she's well enough by then, do you think Sylva would like to join us?  It's supposed to be quite restful."

"Are the cherry blossoms in bloom?" Err wait that wasn't the question. Reeling herself in she shook her head. Since it was different from Rhydin she wasn't sure if it was the warmer time of the season in that area. "I think she would like that to be honest but do not make any plans unless you speak to your parents."

"Of course. Good night, Katt!"

"Rest well, Doran." She bowed her head to him. "And give my regards to your family."

"Tell Clayton I said hi!"  Then he turned and was on his way.
[i:5d85fd8482][color=red:5d85fd8482]Stand my ground
I won't give in
No more denying
I've got to face it
Won't close my eyes
And hide the truth inside
If I don't make it
Someone else will[/i:5d85fd8482][/color:5d85fd8482]