Whumptober Day 21 - Blood-Matted Hair
At first, he thought the grogginess of waking came from a heavy sleep after a long day of work, but the pounding in his head and aching body didn't make any sense. Opening his eyes brought the world around him into blurry vision that slowly cleared with each blink. Horror filled him when things came in sharp enough focus to make out the blood splattered on the walls and the bodies around him. The body directly across from him stared blankly at him-dead eyes so familiar that the urge to vomit hit him strong.
Instead, he forced his mind to focus on struggling to his feet with the help of the wall to remain upright. His first few steps were shaky, and his body protested every move, but he kept moving until he heard the sound of a voice and heavy boots against the ground. Before he could hide in the nearest room, a person rounded the corner with a gun raised in preparation to shoot. He quickly lifted his hands up even though he fully expected to be filled with bullet holes all the same.
A tense moment passed before the gun lowered allowing him to take in the person holding it instead of the barrel. It was like the tenuous strings holding him up snapped when he took in none other than Piers Nivans. The impact of his knees hitting the ground caused his head to throb and his vision to go completely black. Before he could hit the ground, hands caught his shoulders in a firm grip.
“Leon, is there anyone else with you?”
“No, I-” The threat of bile rising in his throat struck once again at the thought of all those lifeless bodies-most of them people he knew. “I don't know. I didn't check. I should have checked. That's my job. What am I doing?”
When he tried to pull away, the hands tightened to an almost bruising grip that kept him locked in place. “Hey, I'm not letting you go back there.”
“It's my job!”
“You have a head injury. How are you going to help people when you can barely stand? We called in people to help. They'll help anyone that's still alive.”
“It might be too late.”
“And what about you? Someone needs to check you over for injuries in case they're worse than we realize. I can't let you go back there. I'll carry you out if I have to.”
“Thank you.” The hands released from his shoulders, but Piers didn't leave him to completely support himself. While one hand reached for the radio on Piers's shoulder, the other went to Leon's waist. “Found a survivor. East wing. Bringing him to central. Head injury. East wing is not clear. Send more to sweep.”
Whatever response Piers got came through his earpiece leaving Leon in the dark, but his satisfied nod gave some comfort. That comfort appeared to be well founded when a group rushed past them with some carrying medical bags. He leaned heavier against Piers on their way down the stairs and stayed that way as they exited the building. There was barely any time to take in all the vehicles and people surrounding the building before a couple doctor's rushed over to intercept.
Time fell into a haze as they hurried him over to a tent for an examination that ended with a few sets of stitches and a bandage wrapped around his head. Soft words tried to talk him through the check, but he was so out of it that none of it broke through the fog covering his mind. It took gentle hands nudging him back for him to lie down on the stiff mattress like they wanted him to. He might have fallen asleep immediately if the tent flap didn't part for the man that walked in.
Before the nurse could intercept him, the man took a few long strides to stand next to his bed with a deep frown on his face. The frown shifted to nothing short of pure relief as he reached out a hand to brush along the bandage on Leon's head. His tense posture slackened-shoulders slumping and heavy sigh of relief falling from his lips.
“Fuck, Leon. When you didn't answer...” The hand on Leon's bandage lifted for Chris to run through his short hair. “Piers told me he found you. Are you okay?”
“My head. It's fuzzy.”
“Is that all?”
“I don't know. I couldn't focus.”
“Okay. I'm going to check with your nurse. If you're free to go, I'll take you home.”
While it was clumsy, Leon managed to grab Chris's wrist to prevent him from stepping away. “Wait, what about inside? What's happening? What happened? I don't remember anything.”
“That's... They can handle inside without me.”
“Chris, what happened?”
“Umbrella. They wanted to hit us where it would hurt, and they succeeded.”
“Am I the only one?”
“Last I heard, yes. I'm sorry, Leon.”
“I want to go home.” Tears bubbled in his eyes causing his vision to blur to the point he could barely make out Chris's face. “Take me home.”
“Okay, okay. I have to check with your nurse. I know how angry you'll be with me if I don't. Five minutes.”
Knowing he wouldn't be able to speak, Leon did his best to nod his head in agreement and released his hold on Chris. Thankfully, he wasn't gone long and when he did return, it was to help Leon out of bed and to his car. The ride seemed to take no time at all as did the move from the car to his bedroom. He accepted Chris's help changing into clothing that wasn't covered in blood, then slid into bed.
“I'll be right back.” When Chris returned, he held a washcloth that he set on the nightstand before he started gently unwrapping the bandage around Leon's head. “You have blood in your hair. I can't promise to get all of it, but I'll do what I can.”
“Were other hospitals hit?”
“Not that I've heard. We've alerted all the other headquarters, so they can be more prepared than we were.”
“Good. That's good.”
“I'm sorry we failed you. You've always done an amazing job of caring for us, and we didn't protect you. We should have-”
“Stop. Please, I don't want to hear it. I can't right now.”
Silence fell between them while Chris focused on cleaning the blood out of Leon's hair and Leon stared across the room. The bandage wrapping around his head pulled his attention back to Chris in time to see him starting to stand. Once again, a hand on the wrist was all it took to stop Chris in his tracks. Chris let himself be tugged into Leon's bed and encompassed Leon in his arms without question. He pulled Leon in tighter at the first sound of sobbing and stayed that way until Leon drifted into a deep sleep.