A/N: YO YO YO XD, thanks so so much for the reviews! And don't worry, I pinky-promise that I will not abandon this story, I'm seeing this, Remembering You, and Redamancy all the way to the end, updates may just be a while, but I will finish them. :) I'm so glad to know people are still interested in these, it means a lot, thanks!
59 hours in…
"I want you to pick Rex!"
As if Lucy's life wasn't complicated enough.
Trickling sunlight rained in and glared through the rose window, depositing a neat plane of Easter-egg-pink evening light where Unikitty stood, almost like a spotlight for the shamed. Her lungs took the opportunity to release their grips as she slid her paw across the grainy, scratched wood floor and out of the light. Cold there, warm here. Only as she grabbed onto a rickety chair and caused it to tremble did she realize how her emotions had leapt from their master to bound across the room around the statue of unmoving that was Lucy.
On some level, Unikitty needed Lucy to say something. To get it over with, to stick the needle, to hate her and finish with it. Yet, it could have taken the rest of their lives and she would have been fine with that. The welcoming, sought-after silence reminded her of putting off her dentist appointment. It was that warm yet juvenile sense: I'll deal with it later. I'll be stronger then. Let me be happy today.
That was infinitely worse.
"Why?" The breath upchucked through her throat and cut it along the way. "How can you ask me that? I could barely figure out what I felt, and now you want a reason for it?!" She was rambling and she knew and it felt good.
"I'm not mad." Yes, that may have been true, but a volcano is calm before it erupts. "I just want to know why you think I should choose him." Lucy was too calm. Choked whispers and hoarse hollers to run and never look back echoed in the dimly lit, haunted ghost of her eyes, and Unikitty's quivering mass of nerves were seconds away from propelling her out the door. She'd go home, back to Syspocalypstar, where no one knew of the mess they had found in a galactic bin.
And for once, Unikitty did just what her mind told her.
After a final, pleading whimper for help, Unikitty bolted out the weary wooden door that could hardly take a shove, ran into the lobby that took on a kid-like tone in the mature evening sunset, and out the doors into the palpable air. Thick oxygen rushed down her throat and filled every empty space in her body with a vile, hot taste, like heated medicine. She nearly choked, but her scampering footsteps farther from the hotel didn't stop because of the heat, the gnats, or even the tight, biting oxygen in her chest.
Unikitty's steps were calculated down to the centimeter as she turned to face Emmet, though when their eyes met, she wished she had taken so much more time. Bags under his eyes weighed heavier than the sunlight pressing him forward. A muddy, messy black-and-blue splashed beneath his right eye. All the whimsical color had drained from his face, leaving a thin sheet of death behind.
"What happened to you?!" For once, she said the right thing. She felt the right thing at the right time and said the right thing to go along with it.
Emmet held out a hand to stop his best friend as she rushed over to him, seeming especially protective of his eye. "Uh, yeah, y'know how everything's been relatively calm, considering the situation?"
No, not really. "Yes..."
"Well, that's not so true anymore."
Unikitty's ribcage finally threw her bloody, bruised heart on the ground, gave it one final kick, and left it to die.
Now that she was closer, now that she could see him, everything was so much more vivid. The black and blue had tiny scrapes trickling along its sides. His upper arm wore a screaming, biting gnash. Behind his eyes lay quivering fear, and it dispersed among his shoulders until he only shuddered every other moment. His legs were weak. His lips were bleeding. His fists flushed red. Unikitty could draw no other conclusion, even as she desperately bit for anything other than the obvious.
"Did...did Rex..." she didn't want to finish it. She couldn't. Let the weak be the strong.
Holding up his fists, Emmet uttered a sheepish laugh that fell into a mournful chuckle. "Yeah, Rex and I sorta got into a fight. I at least gave him some injury on his shoulder...I think. I'm usually on the receiving end of these things." His pitiable attempt at covering his feelings halted in a choking gasp when he winced, shrugging his arm.
"Ok, come on, let's get you inside." For better or for worse, adrenaline poured like lemonade into Unikitty's bloodstream, forcing her mind away from her opinions and emotions, which had seemed so important just a few minutes ago, and onto Emmet and his injuries.
Pride, pride that always trickled in with her adrenaline, forced her to let Emmet lean on her, despite the height difference impairing the good deed.
They had only made it halfway back to the hotel, hardly posing a challenge for the slowest of animals, when Lucy's cotton-candy hair burst through the door. Even from a distance, even through the desert fog linking around her arms and cutting off her circulation, Unikitty could see the bloodshot horror in Lucy's eyes.
"Emmet!" By the time she had finished his name, Lucy was at his side, hands on his arms. Her eyes bore into his. "What happened to you?"
Your boyfriend happened to me.
There's something I'm not telling you.
And you can't find out.
"I tripped going down a mountain." Dry. His lips, tongue, mouth, they were drier than the desert that cut his feet through his shoes. Unikitty's paws tightened on his arm, and he couldn't blame her. How could he? He was a liar, a liar to his fragile best friend, and a liar to everyone he knew. He deserved everything.
A crossing of emotions played out like a Broadway musical in Lucy's eyes, so clearly even Unikitty could read the doubt, the confusion, the pressing to find the truth. Lucy wouldn't let this go. This was going to end in a fight.
"Fine." But it wasn't fine. Lucy's glare was content but not happy. Her arms crossing over her chest meant she would let it go but always remember it.
Her glare swiveled onto Unikitty, who peddled back, still clutching Emmet's hand like a schoolgirl. "Get him cleaned up, I'll be in my room."
As fast as she had run over to him, it only took her half that time to get inside.
Probably too soon to be safe, Unikitty spun her injured, limping best friend to face her, hollering at a different speed than her mind, "What the heck was that? Why didn't you tell her?"
"I have my reasons."
That was that.
Questions burned. They felt like a boiling pot of water dunked on her head when she was expecting a cool spray of hose water, and she could do nothing about it.
She took him inside, cleaned his wounds as best she could, and sent him to rest in his room, all in mostly silence.
"I... I think I'll stay in a different room tonight," he murmured, like he needed her to hear but couldn't stand that she would.
This time, he didn't even bother answering, instead offering a simple, "Night, Unikitty," and walked out of the frozen first-aid room and to the stairs.
The whole time, all while she had bandaged and fixed and tried to help him, the dark, brooding lull in his eyes looked so familiar, so strange, so...angry, bitter at the world that she had almost called him Rex.
And now, Unikitty was left alone, in the lowest temperatures one could stand, sitting up on a table. Her legs dangled like a child's off the cold metal. That's all she was, really. A child caught in the crosshairs of war, unrequited love, and hate. A child trying to help and share opinions she didn't even understand like an adult would.
Somehow, the frore plains of the white-plaster walls didn't leave her hot tears any different, and they still collected in a tiny puddle on the ground.
Where did they go from here?