A/N: Stop! This story is a continuation of Trust Love Betrayal. If you have not read the aforementioned fic you need to before reading this or nothing will make any sense whatsoever.
Warning: Severe wounds.
"If you are on our side then how about this - you take a job from me. If you do it, I'll consider you a loyal friend." Cinder said simply.
"What kind of job?" Ruby asked.
"I need you to kill someone." Cinder said with a wicked smile.
"What?" Ruby asked, surprised. "No... Give me something else."
Cinder arched her brow. "No. You will kill the person I need removed."
"She doesn't have to kill anyone. That was never in the agreement and I won't force her." Roman said protectively.
"How dare you!" Cinder snarled, turning her attention back to Roman. "You have failed and caused me trouble for the last time!"
Cinder gathered her dust fire and launched a fireball at close range at Roman.
Ruby saw it about to happen and then suddenly the world around her froze, she ran to block the hit, to protect Roman. She took the full force of the roaring flames, searing her skin and burning her flesh. Ruby felt like she was being cooked alive. The force of the blow sent her temporarily to her knees but she stood quickly, on her feet before the light completely faded.
Time returned to normal around her.
Roman had been expecting to be dead, yet he found himself unharmed and when the flash ended he saw why. Roman's blood ran cold when he realized Ruby had taken the hit. Just as he thought she would fall, Ruby stood strong, clothes smoldering and burnt. She was shaky, but she was up.
"Is that all you got? Yang hits harder than you." Ruby said, drowning out the pain and just focused on staying on her feet.
In that moment Roman felt like a weight lifted off his shoulders. His fear of Ruby diminished, replaced only with a deep respect and appreciation for her and that gave him a sense of relief. He was still worried about her, though. That was a lot of damage for one person to take.
"You're a lot stronger than you look." Cinder admitted.
"Tsk.." Ruby spat, her vision blurred but she refused to fall.
"It wouldn't take much to finish her off.." Mercury grinned, moving to knock her down.
Roman intercepted. "Leave her alone."
"Ooo I'm so scared." Mercury taunted.
"That's enough." Cinder said clearly. "We have things to do. I will contact you later Roman."
Mercury didn't turn his back on Roman till he was well away from him.
Once they were gone Roman turned back to Ruby.
She was still standing, wobbly and smoldering.
"Let's go." he said, reaching for her.
She didn't really remember the trip home, the blinking green lights of the tech inside his car, glimpses of the sky as he carried her up the stairs of the apartments, then finding herself sitting on the bathroom counter again.
Roman was carefully removing bits of charred clothing and putting a white cream on her burns. It was helping to dull the pain but she knew the damage was bad.
"Red... I need to get you to the hospital... This would have killed any normal person... Would have killed me." Roman was saying.
"I'd do it again." Ruby said, her voice harder to use then she thought.
Roman paused, glancing up at her. "What?"
"I'd do it again." She repeated.
Roman stood straight and leaned in, gently reaching a hand up to trace the side of her face and cradle it. Then, he kissed her.
She tensed at first, surprised, then relaxed and kissed back.
When he leaned away again she got a look in his eyes. He was worried, but not afraid.
She smiled at him. "I'll be ok.. I promise."
Roman was watching her and was about to nod his agreement when suddenly her eyes rolled back and she started to fall.
He caught her, cursing all the while, she was too badly injured to be hauling around town...
He carefully laid her on the couch then called Doctor Arvan.
"Doc, I don't know if you make house calls.." Roman was saying but Arvan cut him off.
"Of course I do. What's wrong?" The doctor asked.
"It's Red. She's been badly burned."Roman explained.
"I'll be there momentarily." The doctor replied and hung up.
Roman knelt in the floor next to Ruby, she was taking only short, pained breaths.
"You hang in there, Red... You're not allowed to die now." Roman said, taking her hand.
Somehow though, he felt himself losing hope.
It felt like hours by the time the crazy Doctor arrived, even though it had only been minutes. Doctor Arvan inspected her, his expression grim. "She shouldn't be alive."
"Will she recover?" Roman asked, worried.
"No... I give her a few more hours at most." Arvan replied in a grim voice.
"Isn't there something we can do? Anything at all?" Roman asked, upset.
"Well..." The doctor said quizzically. "There is one thing but I can't guarantee it's success."
"Is that the only option?" Roman asked.
Doctor Arvan nodded.
"Then do it." Roman said firmly.
Arvan instructed Roman to move the coffee table out of the way then stand far back.
"This is something I have only experimented with, she will be the first living creature I've ever done this on." Arvan explained.
Roman nodded, not sure if he should be hopeful or not.
The doctor braced himself then started a range of careful motions, motions that were followed by the glow of dust. Once it had reached it's full mass he directed it at Ruby, concentrating hard.
Roman watched in amazement as the burns started to lighten, revealing the wounds underneath. Once all the burns were gone the glow of the dust changed and her flesh and skin started to grow back. It was a slow process considering the extent of her injuries. Roman realized if Arvan lost concentration Ruby would bleed out now that her wounds were no longer cauterized.
His concentration held though and once he finished there wasn't even a scar. However her entire front was exposed from her neck to just under her belly button.
Arvan stepped back, sitting down as sweat poured from his brow.
Roman walked over, covered Ruby with a blanket.
"Thank you.. Can I get you anything?" Roman asked the Doctor.
"Water..." The man said hoarsely.
Roman nodded and vanished into the kitchen, returning with a glass of cold water.
"Thank you... She should wake very soon. You might fetch her another shirt." The doc said, noticing Roman's ever concerned gaze on the now, comfortably resting girl.
Roman nodded and headed for the bedroom. He hadn't quite reached Ruby when she woke, sitting up suddenly, she looked around, then at herself, turned bright red and covered herself.
Roman smiled apologetically and handed her a new shirt.
A/N: Staying with the good guys?... 'tis safe... I guess.
Also, don't expect any brownies with sprinkles... Neo ate them all...
Updates shall be given out on Thursdays!