Atticus shuddered and his top teeth sunk into his bottom lip at the feel of Gideon’s breath. He couldn’t help it. That was just one of those spots. It might have been assumed that given the fact he was a porn star and got laid for a living his sex drive might often be satisfied. At least under control given the fact that he spend most of his time fucking. This wasn’t the case however. His needs had in fact gotten worse since he got into filming.
He wasn’t sure if this was every porn star or if he was just a freak. Atty knew that Brooklyn had the same lifestyle problem but any day he got compared to him was a bad one so he sure as hell wasn’t going to do it to himself.. Maybe his body was just used to casual interactions ending with dicks and asses.
He watched Gideon slip away from him, suddenly looking far smoother than he did a second ago. He wondered if this interaction was going to end the same way. Knowing that this was his first thought should have sent him back to the bar to get wasted and forget that he walked the youngest looking person he’d ever left a bar with home.
Instead of doing that however his eyes dropped over Gideon and he walked through the door and grabbed at his shirt to pull him through the door after him.
"Tell me you’re over eighteen." They’d already passed the physical get to know you personal space bubble so he didn’t feel awkward when his hand spread over over Gideon’s stomach like he needed to smooth the shirt down. The door clattered closed behind them but he didn’t give it a glance.
"And then maybe I’ll consider misbehaving." That was another thing that had changed with his job choice. He hadn’t been a smooth guy that knew what to say. HE was normally nervous and blushed more than he’d care to admit but these days it was easy to find that skill set.
Gideon squeaked out a noise of surprise when Atty pulled him through the doorway. His jaw dropped a little, and his breath caught in his throat at the warmth of Atty’s hand on his stomach. So much for playing it cool. He jumped at the sound of the door shutting behind him, but he didn’t look away from Atty.
"I’m over eighteen," he said. Technically, it wasn’t a lie. He was about two weeks over eighteen. Had he been sober, he might’ve felt a little more guilty about the omission, but as it stood, he just really, really didn’t want Atty to leave. "I ain’t 21, but I’m definitely not under eighteen."
Gideon was aware that he had a young-looking face. He wouldn’t blame Atty for not believing him or wanting to go, but he hoped that he would stick around.
He stepped into the lobby of the building, going to the elevator and mashing his thumb down on the up button. He could hear the elevator whirring as it moved down to the ground floor to pick him up. He offered Atty a smile as the doors open. “I’m on the top floor.” He stepped inside and hoped that Atty would come with him.
Guilt swept through Jace when he saw Remy wince. He had wanted to avoid just that. He guessed that given his injury he shouldn’t have snuck up on him in the first place. Though he wouldn’t define anything that he was capable of doing right now sneaking.
He gave a small warm smile to Remy when he said he was fond of him too. The words might not have meant what he wanted them to but they were enough to make him happy. that was beautiful enough in its own way and god he was getting tired and sentimental and needed to go to sleep about five hours ago. He leaned more against the wall so he didn’t have to support himself so much and watched Remy.
Jace’s expression became even softer as Remy finally started to tell him what was going on. Concern started to show when he noted the way Remy’s hands shook at his sides. At the final admission Jace made a noise and leaned to put his hands on Remy’s forearms, as well as he could with the thin perscription bottle in one hand.
Hunters didn’t admit fear easily. They of all people should have been able to. They had plenty to be afraid of. Now that Remy pointed it out he could see it on him. They were still early on in their life on this base. That made it harder to tell comrades that you were afraid.
"We’re on a base with great security and amazing hunters. You don’t have to be the first line of defense, Rem." He squeezed his arms lightly before he let go. He’d lost track of the fact that his hands had been on him for so long.
"They scare me too." With any other hunter he wouldn’t have asked what he did next. Most of them would be offended at the question as if they’d never been afraid of anything in their life.
"There’s a couch in my room. Once I take a couple of these I’ll fall asleep anywhere. You could…stay with me if you wanted." He lifted himself off the wall and pointed at him. "But you have to take the bed. Broken ribs and all that." He narrowed his eyes at Remy.
"And you have to sleep.”
Remy looked to Jace’s hands on his arms. Jace’s touch was gentle. Remy wasn’t used to people touching him, and he certainly wasn’t used to people being so careful with him. If he concentrated, he could remember the warmth of his mother’s hands, smoothed over his forehead as she petted his hair to soothe him to sleep before bed. He could hear her voice, soft in the dark as she sang quiet lullabies. But it had been years since then, and the memories tended to sting more than comfort when he thought about what his mother had done.
He didn’t blame her, exactly. After all, he’d left too, as soon as he was able. But he’d never understood why she hadn’t taken him with her. She had always said that she loved him, that she would keep him as safe as she could.
He had believed her, trusted that she would be there. Remy had seen her the night she’d fled the house, seen her tearing across the dark fields that surrounded the crowded cottage. He hadn’t said anything to his father or brothers. In his foolish youth, he’d assumed that his mother would come back for him.
But he hadn’t seen his mother since that night. He didn’t know where she was now, if she was even still alive. His exhaustion made it harder to stave off the thoughts of her, so instead he forced his focus, looking at Jace. Jace’s eyes were sad. No, not sad… Concerned? Remy’s shoulder sagged slightly in relief when Jace said that he was scared of the Raclatimers, too. He didn’t rebuke Remy for his weakness, didn’t call him a coward.
Instead he offered to let Remy stay in his room. Remy had heard of these before. Sleep-unders, he thought they were called. It was an act of camaraderie. Jace’s stipulations made Remy feel bad. Surely Jace was sore. Wouldn’t he need his bed? But he knew that Jace was trying to help, just like Henley had been trying to help. Remy would have to apologize to her later for being so difficult.
“Oui,” he agreed with a short nod. “That would be very pleasing.” His eyes flickered back down the hallway, and he bit his lip a little nervously.
"I suppose I should go back for the painkillers."
Fairy cakes. This guy could say fairy cakes and make it seem like a run of the mill expression. Wrench knew better than to ask. He could connect the dots and se that it was probably an Australian thing. To be honest it was cute as fuck and he sort of wished it had carried over to America because in comparison cupcakes just sounded boring. HE shrugged with a smile and shook his head.
"Not a problem at all. That’s what I’m here for." He was here to do business. People buying up what he made was exactly what he wanted. If the customers happened to look like Pretty mcface in the process well he wasn’t gonna complain.
A bright but guilty smile surged onto Wrench’s face. He wasn’t subtle but he did try to at least look like he’d been caught. He felt that this was a common decency or he could at least trick people into thinking he was smoother than he was.
"Callin’ me right out, huh?" Wrench leaned forward again when Malcolm produced a business card and flipped it through his fingers in a way that made his mouth a little dry. IT reminded him of someone dealing cards and he almost wanted to show off his own tricks but they could wait because right now he was actually getting…Malcolm’s number.
He took the card and tilted his head at the list of things. His expression ranged from very interested, to pleased and then amused.
"I definitely do…Malcolm." He smiled into his name and said it a little softer like he was telling a secret. He flipped the card back and forth a couple times before he slippe it into his apron pocket. He wasn’t going to say anything else but honestly how could he not when Malcolm was blsushing like that.
"For me. Personally. Not the cupcakes or anything else." He grabbed at the pile of napkins next to him then took the pen from behind his ear and wrote out his name and phone number. This was early but the guy had just given him his number and he wasn’t gonna miss the chance to see what the guy had up his sleeve. He held it out to Malcolm with a grin. This particular napkin had the words I’ll have what she’s having in cursive across it.
"You don’t get my real name until like the third date. It’s a rule I have. Though honestly a good massage good change my mind. Cake making muscles getting overworked and all that." He put a hand on his shoulder and rolled it like it was sore but that was a fucking lie.
Malcolm, by virtue of his profession, was very good at reading people and discerning what it was they wanted. It was a difficult question, sometimes one that wasn’t as clear cut as it should’ve been. Generally, once would think that a person would hire a prostitute so they could have sex.
But more often than not, people were lonely. Malcolm had spent many a night just lying in bed with someone while they held him and told him things that people normally didn’t tell to strangers. Malcolm supposed that they were, after all, paying for discretion. And it was nice to have the break every now and then.
It was also nice to have a conversation with someone that didn’t know what he did for a living. That wanted to be open and honest with him because that’s who they were, not because they were paying him to keep a secret. Truly honest people were something of a rarity, and Malcolm was always glad to meet them.
Though, if he were honest, it was really just part of the reason that he’d been so quick to give Wrench his number. Wrench was easy to read, sure enough, but he also had a kindness in his eyes, not to mention a smile that made Malcolm feel like butter on a hot pan.
And that wasn’t even mentioning his arms. Malcolm knew that he was no slouch himself, but Wrench’s arms looked like perfectly sculpted marble, and if Malcolm had to venture a guess, whatever he was hiding under his apron probably followed suit.
Malcolm’s cheeks went even redder when Wrench not only accepted the card, but penned out his number on a napkin and handed it over. Malcolm took the napkin like it was a precious artifact, smiling at the icing font. His gaze snapped up from the napkin when he heard the words “third date.” It had been a long time since he’d been on a real date at all, let alone a second or third.
He was excited by the possibility, but at the same time, he felt a nagging voice in the back of his head. Bastian had recently recounted the story of his grocery shopping angel. When Malcolm had asked how the grocery angel had felt about Bastian’s job, Bastian had laughed outright.
Malcolm understood why Bastian wouldn’t want to tell someone that he was a prostitute when they’d just met, but at the same time Malcolm didn’t feel comfortable flirting with Wrench like this and not telling him the truth. The baker deserved to have all the facts before he decided he wanted to take Malcolm out. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, hoping that his nerves weren’t too obvious but knowing that they were.
"That sounds like a dream," he said, glancing up at Wrench before nervously looking away. "And I would probably give an arm and a leg to go on a date with you, but you should know something first. It’s only fair."
Wrench’s stomach dropped at the description of Jace. Roommate might’ve been a cautious description on his part because the way he talked about him sounded like attraction. He leaned further over the case when he turned his phone. He tilted his head at the three smiling guys on the phone. They all seemed happy and very comfortable with each other if the close touching was any indication.
Jace, who he did recognize as the stripper he’d seen just seen earlier that day which was weird. Someone getting sick could be sudden but this seemed very sudden. Jace had an arm around this guy’s waist and a finger poking the other man in the picture in a way that made him break into a large smile. The blonde’s smile was big like he’d just won a million dollars. Wrench figured he would’ve looked the same way with an arm around the aussie.
"Yeah, I do recognize him. He’s not a regular but I’ve seen him." He nodded and leaned away. There was less excitement in his face now. He’d be surprised if two of those gorgeous people hadn’t gotten together. He rubbed the back of his neck and pointed his other thumb over his shoulder towards the door.
"We actually have some of those comin’ out of the oven in a lil while if you wanna wait. You’re more than welcome to loiter around." He spread his hand out on the case and smiled at the man’s interest in the shop.
"We sure do. Huge parties we have to know a good while in advance ‘cause it’s currently just me and Liz." He scratched behind his ear and did his best to look nonchalant but he wouldn’t be surprised if he failed entirely.
"Throwin’ parties with your…roommates you said, right?" Wrench tapped his fingertips on the glass in a quick rhythm that helped psych himself up. Nothin ventured nothin’ gained. Could’ve been his slogan.
"So, they both just your roommates?" He didn’t hide the interest in his voice well at all.
Malcolm could’ve bloody squealed when Wrench leaned over the counter to look at the picture. He wasn’t exactly unaccustomed to handsome people being so close to him, but usually there was an exchange of money involved.
There were no such strings to be had here, and Malcolm felt like he’d unwittingly passed out of real life and into some magical safe place where he didn’t have to worry about motivations.
Wrench emoted with his face a lot. Malcolm hadn’t missed the waver of his smile when he’d talked about Jace, and he had a feeling that Wrench wasn’t the sort of person to concern himself with maintaining a poker face when he wasn’t in fact sitting at a poker table.
That was a kind of freedom that Malcolm yearned for. To be able to be utterly straightforward and honest and unconcerned with holding together the web of white lies that made navigating polite society possible.
"I’m sure they’re worth waiting for," Malcolm smiled. "That is, so long as you’re sure you don’t mind if I hang about." He tentatively stepped closer by the slightest of margins.
"I dunno about huge," he said, "but I might just pop in again sometime and see about buying a round of fairy cakes for work. If that wouldn’t be too much trouble, I mean." He paused when Wrench point blank asked him about Jace and Bastian. Malcolm was not unaccustomed to people needing clarification. He knew that the three of them acted like there was barely any sort of boundaries between them.
"Roommates, yeah," he confirmed. "I don’t have a boyfriend, if that’s what you want to know." He said this with much more confidence than he normally felt. He felt sort of proud of himself.
Malcolm’s hand slipped into his pocket and fished out his wallet, producing a glossy, black business card. He turned it in his fingers in a way that he may or may not have known was a touch show-offish before holding the card out to Wrench.
"This is me." Bastian had gotten Malcolm a box of business cards for his last birthday that described him as a "massage technician" and "impassioned chef," as well as "amateur flutist," though that was more of an inside joke than anything. The important part was Malcolm’s name and number, emblazoned on the black square in lavender lettering.
"You know, if you needed contact information or something," he added, his innate sheepishness catching up to him. A blush blossomed over his cheeks and in the tips of his ears.
Jace sighed under his breath. Remy needed to sleep. It was frustrating that he didn’t know Remy well enough yet to be able to decipher what was going on by the sound of his voice. Jace winched when Remy stood up and worry clenched hard in his gut at the sight of him walking off by himself. Jace sat up and folded a hand over his stomach. He kept his eyes on the floor and watched HEnley walk to where she kept the prescriptions. His muscles were done with moving and he couldn’t wait to land in a bed.
"That’s your choice, Remy." Henley said as the other hunter walked off. "But sleep helps you heal faster." Jace had to talk himself into the first step that would ift him up and out of the bed. It still hurt when it happened. His legs wiggled underneath him and he felt Henley’s arm before he saw her.
"You both are gonna give me heart attack." Henley sounded more than exasperated and Jace gave her a sheepish smile. His muttered apology was just audible as she handed him over the bottle and gave him a stern look. She wasn’t going to get any fight from him on pain relief at the moment.
"Can’t you chloroform him? Tranq him? I know we have tranqs." Jace’s eyes followed Remy even though he addressed Henley. She shook her head at the question.
"I’m thinkin’ about it."
"Maybe he’ll listen to me if I say please." He moved away from her slowly and then followed after Remy at a slightly faster pace though his muscles weren’t very interested in doing that.
Henley let go of him and folded her arms over her chest and watch Jace go. She hadn’t been prepared for the fact that being the doctor also meant she had to be a kind of parent at the base. She and Ethan had developed jokes about it of course. They called themselves Mom and Dad. Magnus had started that one. Luckily she had life experience with her own siblings. She took the samples out from her pocket and waked over to the phone to call Paige and let her know she was coming down to the lab.
Jace caught up to Remy and touched his elbow lightly so he didn’t scare him. He pulled his hand back quickly. Even though they’d just been deep into each other’s space he wasn’t sure if he had free reign to just touch him.
"You need to be careful." Jace was obviously worried. "I need to know you got my back out there. You help make the team as good as it is." Jace’s lips twisted up into a crooked little smile. "Plus I wanna know you’re okay. I’m fond of you." He glanced away from Remy quickly then looked back over at him.
"You sure you don’t want anything for those?" He gestured at his ribs as he leaned against the wall in the hallway. "They have to be painful."
Remy heard Jace before he felt the hand on his elbow. He turned, a sharp gasp rattling up from his lungs and threatening to escape before he clenched his jaw to suppress it. It was less from pain that it was nerves, but he forced his face into a wince.
He didn’t want Jace to know that he had been spooked. His kept his gaze downward, worried that Jace would somehow be able to read the fear in his eyes. It wouldn’t surprise him in the least. Jace was quite intuitive.
"Jace," he said, how voice soft and, much to his dismay, wavering. Any excuse he was trying to cook up in his head scattered to dust. Jace looked so vexed. Not angry, but obviously concerned.
And more than that, he’d said that he was fond of Remy. Remy’s stomach dropped for a moment, and he wasn’t sure what to say. He didn’t want to accept the praise as if it were assumed; he didn’t want to seem arrogant. But he knew that he ought to say something.
"I am fond of you, too," he said. He took a short breath, slowly lifting his head to meet Jace’s gaze. Jace’s eyes were the blue of the sky on a cloudless, summer afternoon. When Jace smiled, it lit up his entire face, and that piercing blue danced like stars. They normally made Remy’s breath hitch just a bit, though this time his lungs had beat them to the punch.
"I do not mean to be a troubles," he said. "For you or for Henley. But if I take the pain killers, I will sleep." He paused, chewing nervously at his bottom lip. He wanted to word his reasoning carefully so that there would be no room for misconception.
"If I am asleep, I cannot… If the creatures come here…" The very thought sent a chill shooting up his back. He cleared his throat to relieve the tension that was wrapping around his vocal chords. "I would not be able to help. I could not protect your back." His fingers had curled into fists at his sides, trembling as he tried to suppress the fear that curled through him like a gust of icy wind.
"I am…," he trailed off, ashamed of himself. When he spoke again, it was in a barely there whisper, as if he were confiding his greatest secret to Jace. "They terror-fy me."
A low laugh escaped at Gideon’s sigh. This could be a very bad idea but when Gideon grabbed onto his arm again he didn’t even think about stopping him.
"I think I would." He admitted as Gideon walked him back the way they’d come. He was a clever little thing and he wondered how much trouble he was going to get him into. Maybe it would be the right kind of trouble.
Atticus looked up at Gideon’s building when they stopped in front of it. There was an internatl deabte about going up to Gideon’s place. He’d just met the guy but he also wanted to get to know him better. Patience had never been his strong suit. Then there was the added bonus of coffee. Wouldn’t go well with the alcohol in his stomach but it sounded good.
The painfully cute smile that made Atty want to kiss it away made his decision for him. Atticus tucked his other hand over Gideon’s arm that wrapped around his and pulled Gideon with him towards the door. Maybe he had some drinks up there that he could have and keep away from Gideon while he had some bread. He didn’t need anymore drinks.
"Alright you talked me into it. Besides I should make sure you manage to get up the stairs anyway, right? Mission isn’t finished yet."
"Do you really think so, or are you just being polite?" Gideon asked with a sly smile. He rested his chin on Atty’s shoulder, letting a soft puff of air out against Atty’s neck. It was only partially intentional. Normally he was much more shy about this sort of thing, especially with someone that he’d just met, but he felt a sort of kindred spirit thing with Atty.
He’d never had a girlfriend back home. Or a boyfriend. There had been a few sloppy, impromptu encounters under bleachers and in bathroom stalls suffused with enough heat that the air felt like a warm breath against his skin. The sum of Gideon’s experience could be cataloged as two trips to second base and a tentative slide into third that had involved his first and only blowjob.
That last one had been wholly unexpected, and while not unwelcome, Gideon had felt somewhat guilty afterward. The person that had been so generous in affection had genuinely had a crush on him. Gideon had not returned the sentiment, and it had never been his intention to fool around that much with someone when he didn’t want to pursue a relationship.
He wasn’t sure that that would work out in this case. He’d only just met Atty, and he barely knew anything about him apart from the fact that he was handsome and had perfect, beautiful hair and a smile like a spotlight. Well, that and the porn. He supposed that was pretty good headway for a first encounter, but he also knew that he shouldn’t expect a second one just because. Maybe Atty wouldn’t want to.
Still, it wouldn’t hurt to flirt back, just in case. He punched his code into the pad by the door, unlocking the front entrance to the building. As smoothly as he could manage, he slipped away from Atty in order to lean on the door, smirking a little. He put his weight against the door to open it, arms crossed across his chest like he was James Dean or something.
"Cause I gotta say, I wouldn’t mind if you were a little less polite with me," he admitted. He bowed his head a little, sweeping an arm as he held the door for Atty.
This guy was somehow a little shy despite how he looked. The blush and foot scuffing like a damn cartoon gave him away. He’d actually done that unironically and it was fucking cute. He didn’t bother with trying not to stare. That was a lost cause. He could’ve appreciated his whole…situation for hours like a work of art because that was exactly what he was.
Distantly he recognized that Lizzy had left but he didn’t bother turning around to see. His partner in crime knew what she had gotten him into. He braced his hands against the edge of the glowing case that was filled with ready to go treats for people that happened through. He could’ve put himself up as a sample right now honestly…
One of his hands slipped for just a second against the glass when Mr. Gorgeous spoke and he heard an Australian accent. He hoped to god this guy liked dick because Wrench was going to force his number into his hands before he left this shop. Judging from the pause and the staring he judged it at about seventy five percent that he might hit the lottery here.
"I’m goin’ well." Even better now. His lips pulled into a bigger smile as he spoke. It was just his body’s response when he saw pretty people it couldn’t be helped. This guy looked like he’d short circuited a little. If he had to bet he was getting checked out too. He chuckled as quietly as he could when the other man recovered his smile fell in concern.
He also had to hold back a pained groan because he might be close to passing out. This guy was unbearably hot and going on adorable errands for sick roommates. Instead of passing out he might tackle him onto the floor.
Instead of doing either of those things he tilted his head and his brow furrowed.
"Bless your heart. That’s sweet of you. My cupcakes can cute a lot of things." He paused and looked at the napkin he waved at him. "Uh…cure." He took the napkin from him and turned it over with one hand. He expected some kind of order on it but the thing was blank. He smirked at that and looked back up.
"I don’t know if the plague i on that list but I can try. Is your roommate a regular? Would I know their order?" He wondered if tall, Australian and gorgeous’s roommate had been holding out on him for very long. If he had that was rude. He cleared his throat when he realized that the guy would have no clue what Wrench would know. He’d never met him before.
Though Wrench wouldn’t have minded showing him over an extended period of time. In a bed…or on a counter.
"Or did you have somethin’ specific in mind?"
Malcolm’s head canted to the side just slightly. Had he imagined the momentary slip of Wrench’s hands? Had the owner of the bakery just misspoken, or was the little switch of words deliberate? Malcolm hoped beyond hope for the latter.
He hadn’t gone on anything remotely close to a real date in ages. His last attempt at a normal love life hadn’t fared very well, but this guy was so handsome and friendly that Malcolm would be willing to put a toe back into the water.
As Wrench inspected the napkin, Malcolm’s eyes strayed to the turn of his hand. Wrench had lovely hands, and if the cakes and other treats that filled the display cases were any indication, then they were also quite skilled.
"I think you’d remember Jace if you’d met him." Malcolm kept his hand parallel with the ground and let it hover an inch or two higher than where he himself stood. "About this tall. Blond hair. Blue eyes. Great smile. Looks a bit like he walked off the cover of a romance novel about cowboys."
Malcolm didn’t read romance novels, but he’d seen Bastian curled up on the couch with one on occasion, and he knew enough to know that Jace could’ve easily modeled for the cover of one. But describing Jace was somewhat difficult.
Jace was more easily conveyed by demonstration than words. He was motion that was hard to translate accurately. Malcolm thought for a moment before pulling out his phone, swiping his thumb across the screen. His wallpaper was a selfie the three roommates had taken.
"Here. He’s the one on the left," he said, turning the phone so that Wrench could see it. "Anyway, he really likes red velvet cupcakes. I don’t mean to be a bother; you seem busy, but I was just wondering if you happened to have any?"
"If you don’t, then I think he’d be just as pleased with maybe something really chocolatey," Malcolm guessed. He generally worked under the assumption that both of his roommates could more or less live on sugar or would at least be grateful for whatever he brought home.
"Do you cater?" Malcolm had no idea why he’d even asked. It wasn’t like he was throwing parties that would justify catering. But he found that he wanted to keep talking to Wrench. He hoped that he wasn’t being a nuisance.
Henley’s expression turned annoyed and exasperated. Remy’s tone wasn’t that of a guy that wanted to look tough but the words were the same. He needed to relax and admit that he was mortal. Their life was too short to pretend otherwise.
"Just because you’ve had worse doesn’t mean that you have to tough it out." Henley sighed this at him. She’d seen Remy hunt and his skills were stupendous. She had no idea that he was so bloody frustrating. Her brow furrowed as she stared at him. This might have been basic stubborness. He wasn’t exactly lying but there was an odd feeling that caught in her senses. She was gonna have to consult with Ethan about Remy and see what their commander knew about the kid.
The astika slid the needle out of his arm and nodded at Remy to let him know that she was done. She walked over to her desk to throw the needles into a sharp contained then her gloves into the trash can. She grabbed a marker off her desk to write names onto the sample. She stopped halfway through Remy’s last name at the last words he said. The way he said that made her brow furrow.
Henley could tell that Remy had seen some things. She recognized that much in him. Some hunters were young and gung ho without the rough experience. Magnus had been that way before their own attack. There was a tired look to the edge of his eyes now that he hid as well as he could. Henley’s voice and face were soft this time as she finished off the last few letters of his name.
"I just want all of you to be safe so I don’t have to work so hard." She chuckled and shook her head.
"You don’t have to look tough for us." Jace’s voice was tired and affectionate. Henley looked over surprised by the emotion in it. His eyes were half lidded and he was laid back in the bed again but his eyes were on Remy. His voice was rough and exhausted but there was a small smile on his face.
"We know what it takes to be good at the job. Take help where you can get it."
Remy could tell that Henley was cross with him. He felt bad about this. He liked Henley, respected her, and he knew how stressful her work was. There was always pressure on any kind of doctor; he imagined it was that much worse for one that worked exclusively with people who willingly walked into danger every day.
Their unit was efficient and well-coordinated, so major injuries were less frequent than at other bases where Remy had been. Even so, it was impossible to avoid them entirely, and with the base being so close to the wilds, the beasts were bigger, and in turn the manner of the damage that the team took was often more intense.
When Jace spoke, Remy looked surprised. It was still utterly perplexing to him that Jace wasn’t angry at him, even though he had said as much several times. Remy opened his mouth to respond, but quickly shut it again, looking down. He understood why they thought he was merely being stubborn, and it was almost preferable to telling the truth. He would rather them think he was overconfident than know that he was a coward.
"I do not want painkillers," he said without lifting his eyes from the floor. His throat tightened, and he swallowed into an attempt to force the tension down. "They will make me sleep."
He knew that that was precisely why Henley wanted to give them to him, and he knew that he needed to sleep, but all he could think about was the sight of his weapons, neatly laid out for him when he’d gotten back to the base with Jace. The Raclatimers were not scared to approach the complex, and if they returned…
What if they managed to get inside? What if they attacked everyone while Remy was stuck in sleep? He wouldn’t be able to help, though evidently he wouldn’t be much help, even if his ribs weren’t broken. But injuries notwithstanding, Remy cared about the people in the unit. And by some strange turn of events, they seemed to care about him, too. His stomach turned at the thought of any of them getting hurt.
Remy rose from his chair, moving slowly, careful not to stagger or show any sign of pain. He still wouldn’t look up, worried that they would pick up on the fear in his eyes.
"I can go back to my room," he said. "It is no troubles."