The nurse had returned to Blake's room a few minutes afterward, giving him a hesitant nod. She readjusted the tubes and fluids on the stand next to his bed so he could safely leave the room. Slowly, she led him out. Blake silently waved to his mother as he left, to which she gave an understanding nod.
The hospital didn't feel as chaotic as before, but Blake wasn't fully paying attention. He simply followed the nurse, through hallways and into an elevator, while he contemplated his reunion with June. He had no idea what state she was in, if she would recover completely, nor did he know if she would be awake when they got there.
He was so lost in thought that he nearly bumped into the nurse when she stopped, and pointed.
Blake shifted and looked in a hospital room. June lay on a bed in there, breathing softly with her eyes closed. Blake stepped in cautiously.
"I don't want you waking her up," the nurse then whispered seriously to him. "She's been exhausted the last few days. Just sit in that chair in the corner for now, and leave her be."
After nodding in reply, Blake trudged forward and sat down in the chair the nurse directed him towards. The room fell silent within moments, save for the ticking of a nearby clock and the gentle beeping of the machine by June's bed. He sat there, waiting quietly, and remained as still as possible despite the ever-increasing tension in his arms and legs.
Blake's eyelids fluttered but he refused to let himself fall asleep. The hospital chair wasn't comfy which actually helped. The machine next to the hospital bed in front of him trilled a slow but repetitive tone. June's vitals were slow, but she lay very peacefully and sound asleep in the bed.
Blake checked a nearby wall clock. 2:35. Six hours he'd waited, but he did not want to disturb her rest, and would wait the rest of the night if he had to. Two nurses had already tried to usher him back to his own room. But he refused each of their three attempts.
Much as he wanted answers from his mother still, Alisha was in no state to even speak. Now she knew, at least. She knew they needed to talk, and that once the chance arose he would tell her what he should have a long time ago. As long as she would recover, though, he could then focus his thoughts on June.
But...staying awake was becoming difficult. His eyelids shut for a moment, his head slowly falling to one side. He jerked back upright with a groan. With a weary hand he propped himself against the arm of the chair. His eyes were mostly closed; he couldn't keep them open any more than that.
A beeping trilled a little faster, catching Blake's attention enough for him to open his eyes. It wasn't his own monitor, but June's. Her heart rate was about ten beats a minute faster than it was some seconds ago. His suspicions were confirmed when her arms and legs shuffled a little underneath the blankets. Her head twisted away from him.
A few seconds later he could barely see the flutter of eyelashes.
Blake slid forward in his chair, but said nothing so as not to startle her. She soon turned her head and neck the other way until her gaze could finally settle on him. First there were the furrowed brows, then wide eyes of surprise, and finally a faint smile crept on her face.
"Hey," she said in a hoarse and barely audible voice.
Blake smiled back. "Hey, you."
Neither said anything more, but they did not need to. For a few moments they merely sat in the most calm silence Blake had experienced in recent days. The delighted expression did not fade one bit from June's face as she stared right at him.
Well, until her gaze drifted downwards.
"What..." She had to clear her throat after barely getting out a single word. "What happened? To you? You're covered. In bandages."
"The-?" Blake looked down at his hospital gown; he'd forgotten all about the little bits of medicinal cloth sticking out of his sleeves and chest.
"Yeah, the uh, well, did the doctors tell you about the weird earthquake in the building?" he asked, trying to recount the same story he'd told the nurses.
June stared at Blake for what felt like days. He sighed inwardly when she nodded though. "I was in the hospital when it happened," he explained further. "There was a bit of rubble that fell and pinned me under for a while. But I pulled myself to safety. Heh, I guess, I was unconscious for a while. But some doctors found me and fixed me right up."
Immediately June pushed herself into a seated position. Blake watched as the furrow in her brows intensified.
"Wait, are you sure you're okay?"
Blake froze for but a moment. "Fine, fine," he replied. "A-apparently I heal really fast. Anyways. I should ask if you're okay. You were in here days ago. June...you were really sick, when I got here."
Instead of a verbal response, June simply looked down at her own legs. Blake hesitated, then he swallowed nervously. "My nurse, um, she told me that you suddenly got better. Any idea why?"
Still she did not respond; her gaze remained fixated on her legs in complete silence. She then clutched the blanket with her hands, and that's when Blake noticed it. Her hands were shaking.
Blake hesitated to continue at first. "The nurse. She told me you were getting sicker, and it was really bad. But then you got better. They tested some of your blood on other sick people and it was getting rid of the infection, fast. They made some kind of medicine, I didn't ask how, I wouldn't understand that kinda stuff...but, you saved the whole town June. You saved so many people."
June's head twisted swiftly in that instance; she stared at Blake with the blankest of expressions that took him aback. Why did his words illicit such a strong reaction out of her? But it was not until some time later that he realized she fought back tears. Her lips quivered fiercely, and her entire body twitched as if she could no longer control her breathing.
Though frightened by her appearance, Blake leaned forward, worried for his friend.
"No, I didn't," June finally said, barely stringing the words together. "I didn't save everybody."
I can't tell her everything's alright, he thought. She wouldn't believe me anyways. "I...I know that some people didn't make it. It makes me sad too. And angry." He paused. "And I don't know how, and I don't care how, because you did still save a lot of the townsfolk. Jordan Heights won't forget that, I'm sure."
Still his words did not seem to reach her. She looked away, and was shaking her head with such a ferocity that surprised Blake. Why isn't she listening? What's going on?
"Please, June," he begged. "Don't you think you mean the world to the people that are alive because of you?"
When she looked back at him, her gaze bore into his with only the most vivid despair amd heartache that stopped Blake's heart if only for a second. He'd never seen that look in a person's face, especially not someone like June.
She could no longer fight the tears as we streams trickled down her cheeks. Her face turned puffy and red from what could only have been a massive surge of raw emotion.
"Mom......" She would not say any more than that and continued crying.
The weight of the realization completely crushed every part of his body. June let the tears erupt alongside a soft whine of anguish. Meanwhile Blake stood and walked to the bedside. He knelt down, and clasped June's hand tightly with his own. She did not pull away from Blake's reach, nor did she stop a fit of crying that pained his own soul. They merely remained where they were, still, with only the silence of each other's company to ease the pain. He wanted to say something...but he had no words, none at all that might lift her spirits.
"Does...um, does your dad know?" Even the simplest of questions was difficult for him to get out.
Blake observed her nodding very slowly. "Yester..." She couldn't even finish. A few more tears emerged from her eyes. Blake did not know exactly what happened, but he did not need to. Because right now, June needed him, and whatever happened he had to be there for her right in this moment.
He refused to leave her side at this point, not after everything.
June's nearly inaudible call reached him and he perked up.
Despite her sadness and heartbreak, Blake couldn't help feel a little bit of warmth from those two words. He knew right then and there that she meant to him as much as he meant to her. After everything that had happened in the last week, the feeling fluttering in his chest was a reassuring one. He was glad he had protected her with everything he had.
Protect her. Always. He squeezed her hand even tighter.
"I'm here, June."
June nodded but said nothing. Both of them fell silent, and suddenly all sounds were drowned out by Blake's own thoughts. He remained in this very moment with his best friend. Despite the pains and the sadness emanating from them both, he would not leave this room or her side right now. Because she needed him just as much as he needed her.
Blake twisted his head, confused when she spoke out of nowhere.
"I remember. Hearing your voice."
His breathing stopped for a moment. She...is she talking about what happened on the roof?
"You visited. Before the earthquake."
He sighed inwardly and stayed as relaxed as he possibly could in those moments. Calm down, just calm down. Blake swallowed, trying not to let his voice shake when he replied. "You're my best friend. Why wouldn't I?"
June had not stopped crying. A tiny smile crept into her lips now, but only for a split second that left Blake wondering if he'd imagined it or not. His hand held onto hers still as she leaned back and lay her head back on the pillow. Finally, she closed her eyes.
Blake breathed the quietest sigh of relief when she lay back. Right now, he didn't want to worry about spirits or Shadows, or the assailant, or any of that nonsense. He only wanted to sit here, with his best friend, in peace. He hated omitting the truth from her, but she could not know. About any of this.
I will keep protecting you, I promise. He knew he must, and would, hold his word. Because he was convinced this was not over, not after what Puter said.
I think...I'll have to learn more about the Shadows, the scythe, everything. If something else really is coming, I won't let anything or anyone touch my home and my family. They'll have to kill me for that.