A stray ray of sunshine gently warmed her cheeks. It soon reached her onyx eye, and forced it open, as consciousness slowly came back to her. There was a blissful second of confusion. Before it all came back crashing down on her:
The name came flying out of her mouth before anything else as the jerked upright. An unpleasant prick held her back, she snapped her head around, only to find a needle pried in the crook of her elbow, a tube sticking out of it, linked to a weird transparent pocket filled with what looked like water. She didn't take the time to ponder it much longer, as a growing sense of terror quickly filling her senses. She blenched as the door was pushed open. Her gaze focused much more intensely on the open door than on the person crossing the threshold as she started calculating escape routes, pure panic taking over her system completely. She needed to find William, to make sure he was ok:
_Hey, hey, hey Carm ! Carmilla !", Someone rushed to her side, she started shrieking as she desperately trying to buck them off, her brother the only thing in her mind, "Carmilla, sweetie, calm down, you're ok ! you're safe !"
The eager sound of her governess's voice made its way it the girl's panic filled mind. She slowly stopped jerking like a wild animal, and actually took a look at the person holding her down:
A toothy, wet grin broke on the red-head's face:
_Yeah, baby girl, it's me, you're ok, William's ok !"
The older woman assured her before she could ask. She slumped completely in her governess's arms, who gently laid her back against the mountain of pillows behind her. She looked so tiny, in the two size too big hospital gown, and the immense bed, so fragile:
_Where am I ? Where's Will ?"
The girl ask, her dark orbs still fraught with fear and worry. Perry smoothed back her unruly curls, pushing them away from the sweat drenched forehead:
_You are at the St. Leonhard Hospital, sweetie…"
_At the hospital ?"
She sounded so lost, her eyes almost swimming in their sockets, her cheek so sharp and hollow, Perry could practically decipher the young girl's skull underneath…:
_Yes, sweetheart, the hospital, do you not remember what happened ?"
The small brunette looked down, frowning in concentration and confusion:
_I was in the kitchen, mama… Mama was pulling my hair, William walked in… I lashed out at mama…" A sharp flash of recognition crossed her delicate features, "the gun shot ?"
_No one was hurt," Perry assured her immediately, stroking her damp hair, "Mr. Hollis fired a warning shot, then we were able to… Handle Mrs. Morgan…"
Carmilla couldn't help a shiver at the name. Perry's hand tightened slightly in her hair, she looked up questioningly, only to be met with the same unshakable determination she had seen in the governess's jade eyes back in the infirmary:
_Carmilla," The young girl frowned, Perry practically never used her full name, "I swear to you, on everything holy on this planet, that I will never let this woman anywhere near you ever again, ok ?
The young brunette couldn't help but smile. When Perry looked at her like that, she could have made her believe wholeheartedly anything she wanted. She threw her frails arms around the older woman, shaking slightly with unshed tears:
_Thank you mama,"
A strong pair of arms was quick to hug her back, as Perry buried her head in the crook o her neck:
_You're welcome, my darling,"
Mr. Hollis slowly pushed the door open more, only to find one of the sweetest scenes he had ever witnessed. Carmilla, tiny and frail, curled up in Perry's arms, her hands fisting the fabric of the red-head's jumper, said red head sporting one of the softest smile he'd ever seen, her face glowing in the boundless love only a parent can bare. He was quick to take a picture before bursting the bubble:
He called out softly, yet the governess's face still jerked in surprise. She smiled as soon as she recognised the older man. She looked down at the tiny girl firmly tucked in her arms, worry taking over her features:
_They're not letting her out, are they…"
Mark slowly shook his head as he made his way to the bed, sitting on the chair next to them:
_Not until she's put on at least twenty pounds, if not more…"
The DA looked up at the woman before him in surprise:
He rose from his seat and put an arm around the suddenly crying governess:
_I'm-I'm so so-sorry…"
She sniffled as quietly as she could, not wanting to wake up the girl in her arms:
He called out again, practically whispering, at a complete and utter loss as to why she, of all people involved, was apologising:
_I should- I should have done something ! I could and I didn't-"
The rest of her sentence was strangled in a painful sob, and buried in a large chest. Her head fell on the older man's shoulder, guilt and self-loathing devouring her. Mark held her for a moment, before pulling back, his hands holding the delicate shoulders:
_Lola," She started at the use of her first name, "You are the only person in this whole mess who has nothing, to feel guilty about, you did everything you could, anymore and that awful woman would have had you fired, that, would have been the real disaster. You were stuck between a rock and a hard place, there was nothing more you could have done but what you did, "She gazed at him, confused, "Loving them, with all you might and heart," She hesitated a second before nodding meekly, "Good girl,"
She snorted as he squeezed her shoulders, and handed her a tissue:
_Thank you Mark, for sticking with them,"
_I'm sticking with all of you kid," She chuckled lightly as she quietly blew her nose, "The doc should be here in a moment to check up on Carm now that she's awake, you should get some rest Per, Laf can take it from here, yeah ?"
She smiled and looked down at the girl:
_Yeah, I just want to be there when she wakes up,"
_No problem, I still have, quite a lot to deal with back at the office… So I don't know if I'll have time to come back today, So I'll see the both of you tomorrow ?"
The red head smiled tiredly as she raked a hand through her curls
_Hang in there Per, yeah ?"
He grinned and winked, and walked out the door. Leaving Perry to heave a gigantic sigh. She looked down at the tiny body curled up practically on her lap. A small snort escaped her, Carmilla looked like a cat, she was almost certain that if she leaned in close enough she'd hear her purr. She gently pushed away the unruly tresses that had fallen over the lovely face sometime during her sleep. She looked so peaceful, so young. Younger than her years for once. Somehow the girl never seemed to match her age, often above, rarely under, never in sync. The thought tugged at her heart, barely a prick, yet unavoidable. She leaned ever closer to the sleeping girl, enveloping her more fully, her lips grazing her crown. She let a few tears pearl out of her eyes. The last ones. As she silently apologised to the girl, marvelled at her trust, at her strength…
She looked up at the sound of the door opening, and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw Lafontaine poke their head through the door:
_Hey, can I come in ?"
Perry couldn't help but laugh softly as she nodded, the rest of the red-head's body materialising after their head, as they closed the door behind them, and took a seat in the chair formerly used by Mr. Hollis:
_How is she ?"
Lafontaine snorted lightly as they looked at the girl tucked in Perry's arms:
_I think she can be,"
The former governess laughed lightly as she stroked the young girl's hair:
_How are you ?"
Perry's eyebrows shot up in surprise, not having expected the question. She frowned, glancing at the other red-head sitting in the chair next to her, she looked back down at Carmilla at the intensity she saw in the steely gaze:
_I'm fine, why would you ask ?"
_Because you've barely slept, or eaten, in the last forty eight hours", they deadpanned, still staring at her, a small frown grazed their feature, "I don't really know how you're alive right now actually, it's rather interesting…"
It suddenly dawned on Perry that she hadn't indeed eaten, or slept, or done much of anything else in the past few days aside from worry to death about the small girl tucked in her arms. A small giggle burst out of her throat. Lafontaine raised a puzzled eyebrow at her. She chuckled once more, a slight blush blossoming on her cheeks:
_I've only just realised how hungry I actually am…"
As if on cue, a loud rumble filled the room, as Perry's stomach made itself known to life once more, rather noisily. Lafontaine burst on in the quietest laughter they could managed, silently clapping their hands together as their shoulders widely shook:
The governess hissed, her eyes wide in reprimand, as the other red-head kept on laughing silently. They eventually settled down, mirth and mockery still dancing in their grey eyes:
_Why don't you just go home for the night, Carm's fine, so is Will, and I swear I will call you if anything worthy happens,"
She frowned, wondering if she and the scientist shared the same definition of "worthy". But another issue suddenly dawned on her. She hadn't even though about it in the past couple of days. Her home was in the Sylas Orphanage, currently shut down for investigation…:
_What's wrong ?"
Lafontaine's sharp voice interrupted her disastrous train of thoughts. She hesitated a second before deflating like a balloon:
_I… I don't have a home, right now…"
The scientist frowned for a second, before a flash of realisation struck their face:
_You lived in the orphanage, of course…"
Perry took a second to marvel at how quickly they had put the pieces together, but it did not in any way provide a solution to her current predicament. She stared quizzically, if somewhat worriedly, as a grin broke on Laf's face:
_You can just crash at our place !"
_Yes ! Papa Hollis sent Laura to her grandparents' house so he could prepare for Carm and Will, if we stick them or the girls in the same room, there's an extra bed just for you !"
_No I would never-"
_That's brilliant, wait just let me call Mark right no-"
The governess hissed as loud as she could with the sleeping child in their arms. She sighed as they froze and looked up at her, clearly surprised. She pinched the bridge of her nose, and gently pried herself away from the young girl, who in turn curled up even deeper in one of the many pillow littering her bed. Even unconscious she had managed to charm the pillows off of the all the nurses around here. Perry couldn't help by smirk at the thought as she ushered the other red-head out of the room. They looked at her quizzically:
_Look, it's incredibly sweet of you to offer, but I would never dare to impose on you or Mr. Hollis like that it would be-"
_Perry," The governess clamped up, slowly looking back up as she heard her name, "I wouldn't be offering if I knew it would put any stress on anyone in the family," They looked pointedly at the slightly blushing woman, "So when I tell you that Mark would be delighted to have you, I mean every word, ok ?"
Perry thought about declining once more, but as she gazed at the scientist, she saw nothing but honesty, gazing at her insistently. She heaved a sigh, her eyes falling shut in surrender. She still had the time to catch Lafontaine's toothy grin as they dug out their phone. They were quick to make arrangements with Mr. Hollis, and ended the phone call in a matter of minutes:
_See, told you, he's expecting you and he's stoked,"
Perry chuckled lightly, biting back the lump in her throat at how amazingly kind those people were. Lafontaine just grinned at her, looking about the same age as William in this very moment. Her body reacted before she could process, and she found herself hurling the red-head in a bone crushing embrace, her fist closed tightly against their back. It took Lafontaine a second, or ten, before they thought of hugging her back, but the governess pulled away the second their hand touched her back, the brightest smile they had ever seen stretching her lips:
_Thank you so much Lafontaine,"
She squeezed their hands, her eyes brimming with joy and gratitude. The scientist lost themselves in the light green eyes for what felt like hours… That is until a buzz in their pockets snapped them both out of their moment. They step back, masking their flush in a cough as they fished their phone out of their pockets and quickly checked:
_It's hum… It's Mark telling me to give you my keys, he'll put them under the mat as soon as you get there"
_Oh, ok, yes perfect, thank you again, really, this means a lot..."
_don't even worry about it's, hum fine…"
They glanced at each other awkwardly for a moment, before Lafontaine dug something else out of their pockets. Some fighting, cursed and a small jingling later, and they pulled out a set of key with a triumphant cry. The governess couldn't help but laugh as the other red-head grinned victoriously at her, before handing her said keys. They pointed at a small round one:
_This one in for the door fence, and this one" They touched a heavy looking one with complex carvings, "is for the front door…" They chuckled as they caught Perry's incredulous gaze at the rather enormous key, "Yeah" They drawled, laughing, "Papa Hollis likes his safety…"
She giggled as she put the key in her own jean pockets, before looking back up at Lafontaine, who just gazed at her for a second before shaking their head:
_Here I almost forgot," They fished out their phone and typed something on it. Perry felt a buzz in her back pocket a second later, "That's the full address, and the quickest way from A to B, it's not very far, like twenty minutes walk tops,"
Perry nodded as she stared at the text. She took the opportunity to enter Lafontaine's number in her contact list, not unbeknownst to the smirking scientist. Perry was the one to break the awkward silence this time:
_So I should probably go… Before it gets too late…"
She glanced at the clock, it was around nine o'clock, the sun had already set long ago, but the more she lingered the worst it'll be… She glanced at the person before her, desperate to find a reason to linger, but she knew this it would indeed be unwise, let alone rude to Mr. Hollis waiting for her right now:
_Well I'll see you tomorrow anyway, I'm bringing back Willy home, and you'll be visiting Carm of course…"
A smile broke on Perry's face at the thought of her two darlings. She had been with William right before Carm had woken up, and had left him in a peaceful sleep. She glanced at the young girl's door. She hesitated but a second before gently opening it, and making her way to the bed, Lafontaine right behind her. She leaned toward the onyx curls and planted a delicate kiss on her forehead, and pushing yet again the messy locks away. The small girl stirred awake:
She cracked an eye open. Perry gently smiled down, kneeling down in front of her:
_Hey, baby girl, I have to go home for the night, but I'll be back tomorrow to see you ok ? I promise…"
The girl nodded with a yawn before closing her eyes, falling back in Morpheus's arms almost immediately:
_I've no idea how they do that…"Perry looked back up at Lafontaine questioningly, "Fall asleep so easily…"
The governess snorted lightly before standing back up and making her way to the door. She turned around as she felt a slight grasp on her arm:
She cocked her head to the side, the scientist looked unusually serious:
_What is it Laf ?"
They sighed and let go of Perry's arm as she fully turned around:
_I should probably warn you about something, so you don't get freaked out by the lay out of the house," Perry's frown deepened as she mulled over the red-head's word, " Laura… She was in an accident… With her mum…" Lafontaine cut her distraught reply short, " Mrs. Hollis died, and…" Horror slowly painted on the governess's face as the scientist swallowed a lump, "Laura lost her eyesight, "An eerie shrill rang in Perry's ears, "She's blind."