When her eyes try to flicker open, her lids resist.
She has always been one for petulance, much as Lena has always done her absolute very best to vehemently deny such a claim.
"Ilya?" she mutters, throat thick with something that she doesn't fully understand, and it takes a few moments to remember the vision of her father striding through the hospital door, all pomp and circumstance, demanding that she needed more medication, that she was clearly delusional and in pain and had no idea what she was doing or where she was or even who she was.
She can still feel the crumpled up letter under her right hip.
Asking for Ilya—it's not. It's not what she should do, she doesn't think, not after everything, but when her eyes finally flutter open, her hand grasps for his before her brain can give her a reason not to and—suddenly, he's her anchor all over again. "Water," she croaks, mind trying to process why it feels like it's been asleep for two days.
Soon she'll realize, that's exactly the case.
Last Edit: May 22, 2020 23:14:18 GMT -5 by ᴋᴀɪᴛʟɪɴ
He hasn't left her side since he'd received word about what happened, about how recklessly Lena had behaved and how it wound her in a hospital bed with an IV in her arm and morphling coursing through her veins. A part of Ilya had been furious, stomping his feet and clenching his fists the entire walk over, working himself up into a tizzy, with a speech fully prepared—a lecture for the girl who cared more for others' well-being before her own. But the moment he'd entered her room and seen her laying there, helpless and broken, it had all faded into nothingness. All his rage melting into nothing but compassion as he curled up beside her and refused to leave even when the nurses had insisted he go home.
You better call an army to get me out of here.
They let him stay after that, and so he did. He ate his meals next to her. He passed the time sketching her in his journal. And he slept with her hand in his, head resting on her lap. When she finally wakes up though, it catches him by surprise and he's exposed for the drooler he is as he pulls away and wipes at the side of his mouth with a hazy grunt.
"What?" He asks without thinking, without really remembering where he is in these moments as he's risen from slumber. But then Ilya feels her skin against his, her fingers brushing against his hand, and like always, her touch makes him present. "Yes, of course," he mutters, using his free hand to grab the plastic cup from the tray attached to the bed and bring it to her lips. "Here. Small sips."
He wipes the back of his hand over his mouth when he lifts up his head as though she hadn't already known that he was someone who always ended up with drool on his pillows, and before even he's managed to reply and bring the cup to her lips in a flurry of discombobulated tender care, he's got her smiling.
In the end, she'll suppose that's all that matters.
That Ilya Kingston always got her to smile.
"You look horrible," she says, voice matter of fact around the rim of the cup after she's taken a couple of small sips. She isn't sure exactly why she's so out of it, but she lets her eyes shutter closed for a half-moment longer before prying them open again and forcing herself to take in Ilya's features. With her free hand she reaches across her body, across the bandages to trace the dark circles under his eyes. Absently, she wonders about the scars that must decorate her own face, little reminders of where Art had cut across her skin, but she doesn't much care about them, not so long as such shadows plague Ilya. "How long have you been here?"
She's sure he hadn't been there when she first woke up, but she isn't beyond believing her father capable of making sure no one could visit.
He winks at her as he brings a napkin to her chin to wipe away any dribbles, then places the cup back atop the tray. But he lingers with the motion, knowing that the moment he finally sets it down, the lighthearted tone he has will vanish and one much darker, filled with concern and disappointment will take hold. Because that's what he is. He's concerned that she would have done such a thing like go out during the riots—as if this girl with everything to live for would be so careless with her life. He's disappointed that Lena would be so reckless, endangering herself when he couldn't even be there to protect her. And that was the one job he actually cherished.
The cup makes a small clatter atop the tray and Ilya feels as though all the air is sucked from the room. As much as he'd rather she looked at him with that smile he loves so much, he knows what he's going to say next will make it fade. But he can't help himself, it's as if he can't control it. His urge to voice his displeasure, his incessant need to tell her how much she's hurt him, but never in so many words. "Two days, Lena." It's harsh, the way he says her name. Like it's a curse that's been thrust upon him, a burden he carries just from having the privelege to speak it, because anyone who does surely knows what its like to care for her. "Three," he looks up at the clock above the door and sighs for no reason in particular, although maybe it's to rub salt in her wounds; that's how you show someone you love them, right? "if you count today."
He leans forward exasperated, on the verge of throwing a tantrum like a child for the mess she's landed herself in, but he softens as he brushes a thumb along a scar running down her cheek. "What the hell were you thinking?"
do you know what it means to have DEATH know your name?
The cup clattering on the tray is lounder than it has any right to be.
Something about the noise—it feels like a shift, a pause, a moment between slivers of time where Lena is just Lena and Ilya is just Ilya and they are two kids who love each other more than almost anyone else in the world. She isn't a girl who nearly just died trying to get home during a riot and he isn't a boy whose loyalty her father was always trying to buy, never fully believing that she'd bought his loyalty years ago by giving all of her love to him.
The idea makes her whole body lurch, and involuntarily she feels herself grip Ilya's hand just that much tighter.
"I was bringing blankets to the soup kitchen when the riots started," she says, unable to look him in the eye, something tight building in her chest. "I thought I'd be able to get back home before they broke out." She clenches her jaw, already knowing he won't like what she says next.
She says it anyway.
"They needed them though," she goes on, trying and failing to command her spine to straighten out. "I'm here; I'm fine." A pause. "I'd do it again."
"You call this—" and he runs his thumb further down the side of her face, along another much larger gash that goes from her jaw all the way down under to the edge of her chin, "—fine?" He sighs again, but this time it's not meant to hurt her; it's the only thing he knows how to do. All he can do is exhale deeply when words escape him, when emotion wells up in his chest and he's met with a lump in the back of his throat.
"You'd do it again? What?" That sends him over the edge and that lump makes its way out in the ugliest of ways. He yanks his hand free from hers and pushes himself away from the bed, temper rising at the carelessness with which Lena handles herself. "How can you even say that? You almost DIED!" He's yelling now, despite the restraint he's trying so desperately to practice, but its useless in the face of such disobedience—in the face of the girl he's known since he was a child potentially ceasing to exist. Even the mere thought causes his chest to tighten, his heart to seize, his arms to flail in wild disbelief of what he's hearing.
Unfamiliar salty liquid stains his cheeks. Tears, he thinks to himself and almost laughs, almost chuckles at the fact that she can bring him here to this place of uncontrollable rage and grief all at once. In this moment, he mourns for Lena Martin because he knows that big heart of hers filled with endless love and tenderness for the world despite the unadulterated violence it shows her in return is what will get her killed one day. And it breaks his fucking heart.