“Hey- HEY! Is anyone here!?” a familiar blue-eyed blonde demanded, stumbling into what Amaya had come to call ‘that medical place’ under the weight of her burden. She scowled and abruptly dropped the unconscious male onto the floor. “Hel-lo?”
Drai was the first to arrive, somewhat shocked by the stress Lucy was showing. Then his eyes took in the male on the carpet. “Medic!” he called.
It was Shinji Isoto, covered in blood from a wound in his side and unconscious.
Wow… You don’t see that much money on a man around here. That suit’s three times my salary in a month!
Sydney watched in bemusement as the Chinese man in the expensive silk and cotton combo waved at a few other guys who split off and waited in various spots. They reminded her of Gary on a bad day: watchful, irritated, and daring anything and anyone to step up for a smack down.
A corner of her mouth twitched. Yeah, her gladiator was pissy sometimes. Couldn’t live without him though. Correction, wouldn’t have lived without him. There had been a few near misses in her life and he was the reason she was still breathing. Great roommate too.
“Oh! Hi!” Cheerful, big smile. “What can I get you today?”
Mr. Dollars pulled the sunglasses from his chocolate-brown eyes and smiled. “A few minutes of your time would be nice.”
Giggle lightly. Blush. Wave a hand. Standard actions to deal with the hitters. “Coffee? Tea? Food? I’m on shift; I can’t.” Not to mention, I don’t want to, but you don’t need to know that part.
“Aww, not even a few seconds?”
“Sir, I do have a boyfriend. Happily involved, thank you.” Sydney didn’t have to play the game if she didn’t want to.
The customer blinked and pouted. “Do you have a sister then? A cousin? I’m sure beauty runs in the family,” he wheedled, grinning widely through the flattery he was layering on with a cement truck.
Laughing, she relented. “No sisters, but I do have a cousin. She’s involved too, though.”
“Is she now?” He leaned forward, eyes narrowing. “When’s her birthday? I’ll give her a gift. Send it through you. It’ll be a nice random surprise from a nice random stranger. That should make anyone’s day.”
Sydney shook her head. “No can do, mister. I don’t even know where she is half the time.” Ruby wouldn’t accept an anonymous gift either. Maybe if Syd opened it first, but where was the fun in that?
“Aww,” the guy said again, then shrugged. “Well, so much for my daily dose of charity.” His eyes slid across the menu above her head. “Do you have Oolong tea?”
“Shinji?” Arana asked. She had been away ‘on business’ when Shinji had been brought in, and so was only just now hearing about it.
Drai nodded, leaning against the door that lead into the makeshift medical room. “Yeah. Gunshot to the side. He woke up for a little while, but he’s out again. Was pretty out of it. Medic says it sounds like he made a miscalculation. Not really like him, though.”
Shrugging indifferently, the brunette sighed. “Everyone screws up eventually,” she pointed out. “He’ll live, then?”
“Looks like it,” the Arab agreed. He pushed away from the door. “You wanna see ‘im?”
But she was already turning away, wandering down the hallway. “Nah, he’ll just get uneasy. I think I’ll go find my Boys… they here?”
“Yeah…” He snorted when he realized she wasn’t even listening to him. Typical.
The underground parking lot was cold this time in the year. Her breath fogged as she stepped out of the car and waited while Simon got the bags. She expected him to head for the trunk, but instead her partner rolled his eyes and snagged a coat from the back seat, throwing it over to her.
“You’re going to get sick,” he told her crossly, shutting the door.
Pulling the thick wool down off her head, Ruby stuck her tongue out at him. “Am not.” She put the coat on anyway.
A moment later, they were both standing by the elevator, waiting for the thing to reach the basement. The tiny Asian leaned over and bumped Wolf. “You’re nervous.”
“It’s a reassessment,” the demolition man muttered back. “And it’s Gary,” he added.
Rolling her red eyes, the sniper smirked. “You sound like Kai.”
The elevator dinged.
It wasn’t until later that Arana bothered leaving the company of her two favorite mortals to glance in at Shinji. The spectacle made her mouth curl into a wide smile.
Shinji Isoto was not a very good patient, and right now, the man was trying to get off the bed despite Medic trying to hold him down. And he’d opened his wound again.
“I said I’m alright!” the Asian growled.
Growling, the good doctor grabbed his patient’s shirt and yanked him close. Nose to nose, Medic glared at the squirming man. “You can be conscious for the rest of the day and stay in the fucking bed or I will sedate you for the next thirty-two hours and hand out the markers.”
Baring his teeth at Medic, Shinji grated out, “I still have puce dye.”
Arana’s sudden roar of laughter interrupted them both, and made them look at her. She just walked away. Soon enough, Medic hit the sedative button.
He also kept the hot pink marker for himself.
Walking out into the middle of the rooftop, Simon took a deep breath. He held up a hand and smiled wryly at the tremors that were present. Yes, he was nervous, but that wasn’t all that surprising. Since if he failed, Ruby would need a new partner.
Fifty feet away, Gary set down another small marble and the two gladiators felt the deflection wards pulse. The older man nodded at Simon and the American lightly tossed his own pebble up into the sky. At the apex of its flight, the wards caught hold and the stone hovered in the air creating the ‘roof’ of their now-shielded testing ground.
Amused brown eyes met settling grey as the big man walked towards his student. A corner of Gary’s mouth lifted. “Alright, let’s see what you’ve learned in the past five years.”
Wolf nodded and lifted his fists.
Reddish brown eyes lifted from the book he was reading at a flicker of movement. The book fell from his fingers as the door closed, and she smiled. The lock clicked.
“Hello,” she said softly, dark eyes dancing.
Drai gulped, eyes slowly sweeping down, then up again. Met chocolate eyes, and he smiled, slow and wicked. “Hello, milady.”
The naked woman grinned fully, and stepped into his embrace halfway across the room. She tilted her head back for a kiss, and who was he to deny her?
“Let me worship you, oh goddess,” he hissed in her ear wickedly.
The tempting siren pulled away. “Wrong.” And then she started taking off his pants.
“What was that?” Syd pointed at the screen and gaped. “No, how did you do that?”
Smirking, the smaller cousin lifted her fingers in a miniature version of a shrug. “Talent?”
Scrawled across the widescreen were the letters ‘K.O.’ and the camera slowly spun around two combatants on gold tile. The undead pirate was stretched out like a plank while his equally undead dominatrix daughter stood triumphant.
“Again!” the this-time-blonde woman demanded.
The redhead smiled and flickered her fingers over the bright plastic buttons to reset the fight.
“Hey, what happened to his face?” Lucy asked, blinking, and leaned into Shinji’s bubble to stare at him. Luckily, he was unconscious and didn’t notice. She tilted her head. “It’s pink. And green. And black.” She looked up at Medic.
Who smirked. “And further down there’s orange, purple, and a lot of green.”
“Why?” she asked blankly.
Shrugging, Medic pulled open a drawer. “We had the colours, the people, and the time. He volunteered.” He picked up a clipboard from the nearby table and nodded to her. “I’m going to kitchen for food. You’re welcome to join me after you’re done.”
And he walked out.
Blinking after him before circling the bed and peeking into the drawer, Lucy smiled. “Oohh, yellow and blue!”
The sounds of battle echoed in the hallways and the sharp wailing cries of the fallen pierced through Wolf’s dreams, shocking him awake.
Only half aware of his surroundings, Simon rolled and crashed into the bedside table, tumbling the small lamp to the floor with a muffled thump. The bed sheets only hindered him for a few moments, but it was time enough for Gary to find him.
“Hey ass-cheeks. Wake up,” the older man snapped from the doorway.
The fallen mercenary blinked up at Gary from the floor, blankets wound tight around the bottom half of his legs which were still on the bed while his head and shoulders rested on the carpet. His ass was indeed bare and the highest point of his body.
Wolf turned his face back down into the scratchy berber and groaned.
Behind Gary, Syd yelled out as Ruby once again beat the pirate into the planks of his own ship.
Brown eyes peered into the hospital room, and this time, the immortal ventured passed the threshold. “Lucy…”
The blonde straightened and smiled widely at her, capping her marker. “Hello, Liza!”
She was the only one that called Arana by her shortened first name. Well, when it was just the two of them, anyway. Arana had no idea why, though. “What are you do-” She stopped. Blinked. “‘I am Medic’s bitch’…”
“That was there when I started,” Lucy said indifferently, shrugging. “I’m using blue and yellow!” She held the markers up.
Arana grinned and fetched a red marker. “Well, I suppose I should add to the mural,” she said, eying the doodles of flowers and musical notes all over Shinji’s now bare chest. She paused. “… is that… Beethoven’s ninth symphony?”
Lucy clapped her hands excitedly. “Oh! You noticed! Liza, you’re so smart!”
“No, just old,” Arana retorted wryly. She stepped up to the bed, thighs knocking into the elevated mattress, and swept her eyes over him in search of a clear space.
That was when Shinji’s hand suddenly snapped out and latched onto her wrist like a vise, eyes opening. Lucy started, letting out a surprised yelp, and knocked over a tray behind her in her haste to back off.
“Found you,” the Japanese male growled, a black mist rising from his hand.
The immortal’s eyes widened, and then narrowed as the mist tried to settle onto her skin. She scowled. “Repellere,” she snarled, waving her free hand over the mist. “Suffusa.” And then over the marker in her captured fist.
The mist shifted, and then sank into the marker, even as the door snapped open and Shinji slumped onto the bed.
“Lucy, I sedated that ass for a reason…” Medic drew up short at the sight of the two sisters and the toppled tools. “What happened?”
“Hm,” was all Arana said for a second. She leaned over, tugging his hand from her now bruising wrist, and shifted him back into his previous position. She opened one eye, then the other, and then his mouth.
“Arana?” Lucy asked, pouting.
The brunette looked up at them both, waiting mostly patiently for her to answer. “Tracking spell, using a carrier. Someone is trying to get my attention.” And she just might know who.
Striding over to the bedside with a scowl, Medic’s gaze first swept Lucy, then Arana. “Lady,” he paused, noting the minor injury, “is this something we should be concerned about?” Needless to say the two ‘leaders’ of this odd group were going to get a report.
“Mm, probably not,” she admitted. “He didn’t hurt Shinji. Just hypnotized him to hold me long enough for the tracking spell to transfer when I came within a certain range. He,” she gestured toward the still drugged patient, “likely didn’t know anything was different.”
“Did this… ‘spell’ get you?” Poor Medic looked completely out of his depth.
A wry, knowing smirk was tossed in his direction. “No. But this needs to be thrown out.” She held up the red marker.
Scowling darkly, the doctor gingerly took the doomed item from her and headed for the door where he tossed one last statement over his shoulder as he left. “I have multiples of each colour…”
Once he was gone, Arana’s smile faded. Lucy tilted her head, pigtails brushing her shoulders. “Liza?”
“Mm. He noticed the protection spell.”
The brunette shook her head. “Nothing. Are you hungry? I should probably eat. I think I missed dinner with everyone and if I don’t get something, Medic will be following me around with food tomorrow.”
Cerulean eyes lit up with amusement as the blonde across the bed from her nodded. “Yes! Maybe I should cook something?”
“Can you pay attention long enough?”
“Oh… good point.”
Pushing down as hard as she could, the sniper felt hard muscle give under her assault and the man below her let out a shuddering moan. She grinned and felt around some more, before repeating the action to similar results.
Pausing to rest her wrists, Ruby sat back and shook her head at the black and purple marks that decorated the body. There were deep bruises as well as raised welts. Low on the side was a wide swath of red that signified a minor burn. Across one shoulder was a long gash that was already sewn up and hidden under a strip of gauze. An outflung arm displayed several lacerations as well as three opened knuckles on a battered hand.
Even with the panic attack that Medic was bound to have over this, Wolf was fairly certain that he would pass this test. Gary wasn’t saying either way, though Sydney was optimistic.
Shifting to his side, Simon twisted around to smile at her. Ruby smiled back and shoved him back down. They only had four more minutes before the older gladiator was going to haul them all off for dinner. Wolf needed to be able to sit without whimpering.
“I told you, I’m fine,” Arana growled, glowering at the two hovering over her. She shot a quick, fatal glare Medic’s way, but when that just made him smirk, she gave up. Lucy didn’t look like she was about to help either. “Really. It’s just bruising.”
Blond glanced at bald, and was met with an upraised brow. He glanced back at the irate woman. “Bruising from the grip of an unconscious man who was under the influence of a spell you say is now stuck on a surgical felt pen.” Christoph frowned. “Did I miss anything?”
Before she could respond, Svorak held up a fork. “It’s not just the bruising that we’re concerned about, Lady.”
She worked her jaw silently for a tick, then huffed. “One, the spell that controlled him is not in the marker. It faded once it was complete. The spell in the marker is mostly a separate thing.” She shot another glare Medic’s way before going on. “And two, there’s nothing to be concerned about. I can handle it.”
Watching Lady puff and glare and grumble, Medic noted something that needed immediate attention.
A carrot stick hit the black merc in the ear. As the man turned to scowl, a celery stick hit the blond in the back of the head and slid down into his shirt. By the time the chemist had started to protest, the small cherry tomato was sailing for Arana’s nose.
“Eat, you bastards,” Medic growled out at the various glares. Then ducked as other edible projectiles were pelted at him.
Lucy stole Arana’s steak.
A/N: I’m soso sorry.