She wants to grip him with both arms to feel that he’s right, to feel like she isn’t alone — but her left arm twitches and is alone, just like her. One arm. One soul. You lost everything.
Such a quiet way to break, little lion… Such a graceful shatter. Your sobs are quiet but your grip is strong. He’ll fix it, he will! You have to trust him, after all —
"You’re all I have left…"
Ah yes. Choked words muffles into the crook of his neck, some awful mixture of residual pain and the barrage of everything that hurt her hitting her at once (If only you knew, little lion, this is not where you’re pain ends. It will only get worse. You’re heart will break further. Just wait)
Being wanted and not hated was weird enough on it’s own. Being loved and not shunned. But to be someone’s everything? To be someone’s only thing? There was fear, at first, of the unfamiliar. The unknown. And his breathing became uneven for a few brief seconds as he digested those words.
But the feeling that replaced it was stronger than fear, heavier, deeper.
His mind dared to question — was it love? Was it? How could it be? How could it be from one who knew no such emotion? Or was that really true? Sven could easily put a name to the things he felt — both the pure and mixed feelings — but this one? He’d hesitated. Prodded it occasionally, but left it well it enough alone for the most part.
But that was then. And this was now. Not now or never, but now just felt….right.
"I love you," he whispered, right against her ear, "I love you, Xaoli Zhu…"
Everything burns, but she can’t stay laying here, can’t remain looking as some corpse on a table — it hurts, her every muscle screaming at her for it bt —
Strong stomach muscles pull her torso upwards, entire body shaking lightly until she’s slumped forward. Everything hurts. She wants to hear more of his promises. Just like mine. Better than mine.
She can’t bring herself to say anything, simply letting her face fall into the crook of his neck. Don’t. Don’t Xaoli… Don’t break. Don’t let this break you. You have lost so much ( I know I know! ) and this is one more thing that is lost from you but —
They are quiet and to a less keen ear, wouldn’t have been heard, but her small, weak, frustrated and anguished sobs muffle into his neck as if to hide from whoever would shame her for it.
And he holds her as if shielding her from life itself, almost brought to tears himself at the frightening similarities. The similarities between then and now, but it’s her instead of him and for some reason that makes it all the more terrible.
She couldn’t go back out. Not for a while. Not until the arm was built and calibrated, and that took time. Hopefully his lioness was patient, but he would make her another arm. He would.
"It’s okay," he whispered, both there and not, seeing her, seeing himself at that time, speaking to both, " I’m here. You’re not alone.”
I don’t want a new one! Such a childish thought, little lion — his kindness would have your losses replaced! But it doesn’t matter, not to the woman’s whose head still swims with an immeasurable number of thoughts yet all at once feels e m p t y. Her chest hurts but her shoulder…
The fingers he holds flutter weakly in his grasp, no attempt to pull away. No. Now that he holds her she would never be able to allow him to let go. She can’t. She’ll shatter.
"… Okay…" is a hushed, near non-existent reply, half lidden golden hues darkening as her expression falls ever further. Before her words can be thought out, just like the smash to his head — "I’m such a fucking idiot…" with a horrible choke.
Yes, little lion, maybe you were. But you just wanted to breathe.
The hands around her single one, fingers threaded through hers, squeeze almost aggressively as he hears her put herself down. No, he would not have that. He’d already been through it. Already seen what such a self-perceived failure could do to a person, and he wouldn’t let it be.
"No you aren’t. It was not your fault. It was not.”
Quite reminiscent of their first days, was it not? Or were they just words the Cyborg had not heard when one of the masked monsters ripped him apart, leaving him to turn into one of their number?
Sven wants to cuddle her. Off her the warmth that cold metal table was surely sapping her of, but he doesn’t want to move her too much. He wounds may be closed, but the pain is still fresh and hot.
"I’ll make you one. Just like mine. Better than mine.”
She doesn’t want to open her eyes, but his voice sounds so horrible and concerned and broken that it’s beyond her to keep them close (But I want to, I want to…)
Darkened eyelids flutter open, blink painfully at whatever light meets her eyes. Darkness had been nicer… but all she can see is that fucking mask and —
—before she can even think about what she’s doing, her left arm swings from her side to clang her fist against the side of his helmet, weaker than what it could have been but it gets the point across. I wake up to that! That isn’t you! But she’s just tired and in pain and broken — A choked sound breaks through her lips, she hadn’t meant it, she didn’t—
"I’m sorry…" for that, for being stupid, for burdening you, for everything.
It doesn’t hurt. He doesn’t even move with the blow, simply blinking at the motion. For someone who had just woken up from being unconscious, Xaoli sure did recover quick.
The Aggression behind the attack didn’t register at all, rather the fact that she was alive, and her fire was intact. That hand, even though it attacked him, was grasped between his own and held as if it were a fragile treasure.
"You’re alive," he breathed, not really acknowledging the apology either.
He made the mistake of looking at the missing arm, however, and winced at the sight, eyes turning back to her.
"….I’ll make you a new one," he said suddenly, excitedly.
A weak, fluttering sound would be the last he got before he lifts her. Not even a parting mewl at the secondary pain of being lifted. No. She cannot scream anymore, cannot make any more noises. She is so tired… so, so tired…
As much as she had tried not to scream, trying to stay lucid is proven futile as well, and her limp body would only become more so when her vision goes black — passed out in his arms. I’m sorry for being stupid, for burdening you, I am so sorry…
The lion would only awake when they’ve returned, but even if she’s awake, her eyes do not open. They will not, until prompted, open and see the mess that she is. It hurts. It hurts so badly. She isn’t used to pain anymore, hardly remembered what true pain felt like — she had pushed it away so long ago… Nothing but a frustrated whine would leave her lips, quite and keening and sad.
He’d put her on a lab table. Hidden her away within the Cifras, unwilling to leave until she came back to him, expecting the worst but hoping for the best. Claws would tap on the metal slab, eyes would constantly regarded the cauterized wound only to look away in dismay.
He’d done this, but he’d had to right?
His ears were sharp, listening for the slightest sound or shift from the lion, and when the whine reach his ears his breath hitched. She was back, and he immediately shot up to cup her voice and stare down into eyelids.