Dreams meant nightmares. Death was racing through every horrid memory she had, being forced to watch what had happened to her friends and herself. Every new relived memory made her want to scream. She needed to.
Ian being tortured, Ren being murdered, her mother's screams, all of her friend's deaths. The sight was excruciating. Her breathing speed up and became shallow. "Kill me!" She screamed but her Serpine, who had been torturing her friend just grinned at her. "Get me out of here!" She begged.
"Death!" I yelled for the umpteenth time, shaking my friend awake. "Sorry," I muttered when her eyes snapped open, "You were screaming..." I took a sharp breath, and kept talking. She still wouldn't be able to move, but she could hear me and respond, and that was all I needed. "Death... You're one of the most amazing people I've ever met. Don't argue," I added quickly, knowing she'd want to, "Just listen and try to accept it. You are straight-up amazing, and nothing you say or do can convince me otherwise. And there is a way out. It will get better, I promise." Silent tears streaked down my face. "Niccolò and I- we'll make it better. Ok? Just don't-" My voice broke. I took a deep breath, wiped the tears away, and kept going. "Don't do this to yourself. Niccolò went to get Ian- you probably know what that means better than I do- and we'll take things from there. We can help you. But you have to help yourself, too. Give yourself a chance.
Her jaw felt like dropping. The little amount of movement Death could do would allow it. "Ian? Why would he? He's dead..." Tears flooded her eyes again. "There's no point. He's as dead as I want to be. Dead. Dead. Dead." She looked up at Ari. "I won't argue but I don't agree. I'm my worst enemy and enemies want to kill each other." She looked away and avoided her gaze. "What's Bob's real name?"
For a moment I looked at her quizzically. "Bob...? Oh, you mean Niccolò, don't you? That guy who helped break you out of your cell? Yeah, his name is Niccolò Croatoan. He's, um... Well, he can be cruel, but he's not really like that- it's- complicated..." I let out a sigh, and took a seat on the bed next to Death. "Anyway, even if Ian is dead, Niccolò never does anything without a reason- I'm sure he has a plan." Then, after a moment of hesitation, I added, "Why'd you think his name was Bob?"
Death pursed her lips. Where had she heard that name before? It rang with something too dark to be good. "I called him that because Bob Hitler was the name I used to see him in the medical place when Ren and I saved him." She bit her lip and laughed quietly. "Did you know I had to pretend Ren was my boyfriend for that? He is so gross!" She was trying to get Aretha off the topic of her suicide and bad memories.
I laughed weakly- it was forced. Death was obviously trying to change the subject, and as much as I wanted to talk everything out with her, it was not in my nature to push her past her comfort zone. "Really? I thought you guys were all friends and everything."
Death smiled and tried to move her fingers. "We kinda are but we had to hold hands! And then he was being gross!" She tried to shudder but was unable. She screwed her lips up. "Ren came to save me after I committed suicide. I jumped off a cliff and then was captured by a Necromancer who was in Ian's body, named Diablo." She sighed. "Hell I miss that sun of a God."
And in just fewer than ten seconds, I was rendered completely speechless again. However, I was spared from any form of conversation- or thoughts at all, really- by the sudden arrival of Ian and Niccolò. The latter looked weaker than I had ever seen him- a sheen of sweat covered his face, and from the way he stumbled forward the moment he showed up in the room it was obvious that he could barely stand upright.
He had one hand against a chair and it was painfully obvious that that was the only thing separating him from the ground. But none of that was as bad as when he looked up at me, his eyes gleaming with a cold glee even stronger than Mevolent's when he had been torturing me. "Hello, love," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm, and then his eyes closed and he fell to the floor, unconscious.
I ran over to his side, not really caring that he wasn't himself- he was unconscious, anyway. Quickly, though, I realized there was nothing for me to do but wait for him to wake up, so I looked back to where Ian stood- the real Ian, very much alive. No wonder Niccolò was so exhausted. How on Earth had he managed that? Then I realized- now that he's out, Death should be able to move again. "Death..." I murmured, not sure whether or not that was even loud enough for her to hear, "He did it..."
Death was frozen. Ian... He was alive... He was in the room with her. She glanced at Niccolo ready to say a thank you but he fell to the floor. "Aretha, thank you for killing me." She said and sat up add Niccolo dropped to the floor.
She bolted across the room and looked at him. Her hands hovered over him until she decided to roll him into his side. She'd done that a few times when Rohan had an epileptic seizure.
She ripped off her larger coat and placed it under his head. Death placed her hand in his forehead and looked at Ian. "You don't know me but trust me. Get into his head. Now!"
He nodded. "Okay." His voice made her shiver. "I'm in." Ian stumbled but regained his footing.
Death looked at Ari. "Do you have any idea what just happened?"
My initial concern at her 'thank you for killing me' was quickly wiped away by concern for Niccolo. "I think he's just exhausted. I've never seen him bring someone back who had been dead for so long..." I bit my lip. "But that's just what I think. I mean, it would explain the collapsing and the way he lost control of himself- it's hard for him to fight all of his names at once. Really hard. And he's strong- the strongest I've ever seen- but one time he brought me back from the edge of death, and he was just a little tired. Just a little, but even a little is a lot for him. So something like this was probably just too much." My voice had been quickening involuntarily as I spoke. "It could be just that. But... It also might be something worse... I just don't know..." I trailed off, then realized that Ian was inside his head. "Um, Ian, as long as he's not going to die, I recommend you don't stay in his head- it's probably very bad for you..."
Ian did as the girl instructed. Niccolo was twisted and exhausted and going to be fine. for the first time in a while, he contemplated becoming a doctor. He could tell when someone was lying, what their problem was and more. It would be so easily simple. He looked to where the other girl was, kneeling next to Niccolo and his brows pulled together. He dipped into her mind.
Agony, heartbreak, regret and anger greeted him. So he's here. He doesn't know me. I want it to be like it was, before Valentine's Day. Is it ever going to be there? Nic, right. He is the current situation. So, Rohan never swallowed his tongue like that. Ian took a mental step backwards. God.
Death looked up as she felt something leave her mind. Her eyes narrowed as she looked at Ian. He looked back at her with a casual expression. She got up slowly and stared at Niccolo. Are you okay? She thought and didn't expect an answer. No answer was given. She turned to Ari. "Okay. So... I am no doctor. Only doctor I know is Nye and i don't like him. So, unless you want to call someone, we leave him and keep him hydrated. Food is not as important as water. Water is good, water is great, now lets all dehydrate!" She looked around and saw Ian still had his backpack on under his grey suit jacket. She ratted through it until she found a drink bottle.
"What are you doing?" Ian asked wearily.
Death smirked. "Saving him from the opposite of my name!"
I stood and moved to take the bottle from Death, just a little closer to her than I needed to be. "It's ok, I can handle this," I said aloud, sounding more confident than I felt. Then, too softly for Ian to hear, I added, "I think you two have some catching up to do. I've got this."
Death bit her lip and shot a glance at Ian over her shoulder. "I wish it was that simple." She whispered. "We have to start all over again..." She took a step back and sat on the bed. Hiding behind her hair, she looked at Ian. Come for a walk with me, she thought and turned to walk out the door. "Be back soon Ari!"