This story was requested by RusselZavala on twitter.
Ben looked back to where he had seen his dad standing. All Ben saw was the empty cabin, no Clyde. "I could have sworn my dad was right here. The hell's wrong with me?"
Ciara said, "You have a chemical imbalance and you need your meds to control it" emphasizing the word need. Ciara pleaded, "Please. Just go refill your prescription before the drug store closes." Ciara's voice got slightly higher, "Please, Ben." Ben was now looking at Ciara.
Ben clenched his jaw and nodded slightly, "Okay." Ciara sighed a breath of relief. Ben sighed as he stood up, now just letting go of Ciara's hand. Ben opened the door slightly before stopping in his tracks. 'Was this a trick?' Ben thought to himself. Ben sighed and opened the door wider. Ben stopped again as he was halfway out the door and turned back to face Ciara. Ciara looked at Ben concerned and Ben said, "This isn't a trick? Is it? You're not gonna call your mom while I'm gone?" Ciara replied, "I said you can trust me, and I meant it. I-I'm not trying to get you in trouble. I'm gonna be right here when you get back. I promise."
Ben leaned his head against the door and Ciara reached for her phone, "Look, I'm gonna shut this off okay?" Ciara turned her phone toward Ben and he saw the phone turn off. Ciara continued, "See? I'm not going anywhere." Ciara sighed, "I couldn't even if I wanted to."
Ciara looked at Ben and softly Ben said, "I'm really sorry, for scaring you." In a voice barely above a whisper, Ciara said, "It's okay. I'm just glad I could talk you down." Ben said, "You're really good at that." Without another word, Ben walked out of the cabin and shut the door behind him.
Ciara sighed a shaky sigh. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Ciara put her hand to her heart feeling how much her heart was racing after what just went down. Ciara spoke out loud to herself, "There's nothing to be afraid of. Ben's gonna start back on his meds and everything will be okay. He's not gonna hurt you." Ciara sighed as tears pooled in her eyes, "He wouldn't do that, Ciara. He's not gonna hurt you." Ciara let out a pained sigh as she moved her hand to her broken leg. Ciara felt her heart rate go back down. Ciara looked over to the lantern that was by the hotplate and it seemed to be smoking more than usual.
Ciara shook her head, "You-you're just in pain and tired, Ciara. There's nothing wrong with the lantern." Ciara tried to relax and close her eyes. After a brief moment, she opened her eyes again and this time she saw a raging fire in the area where the lantern was. Ciara shot up, "Oh my god!" Ciara started coughing, "I have to get out of here." She put her arm over her mouth to try to shield herself from the smoke. Tears began to well in Ciara's eyes, "Please Ben, please get back here. I need you." Ciara closed her eyes.
Ciara watched as the fire spread now blocking the door, "I can't get to the door." Ciara looked at the tiny window on the other side of the cabin, "I have to get to the window." Ciara inched her way off of the bed, but as soon as she tried to put any weight on her bad leg, she fell to the floor. Ciara groaned in pain, "Dammit."
Ciara started yelling Ben's name, hoping that he was already on his way back with his meds and would hear her. Ciara could feel herself getting more and more tired, but knew that she needed to stay awake. She tried thinking of anything that would keep her awake. All of the sudden, someone kicked the door down. Ciara heard a panicked Ben, "Ciara!" Ciara tried to speak but all she could get out was a cough. Ben quickly took his jacket off and starting hitting the flames, "Ciara! I'm coming!"
After hitting the flames with his jacket a couple times he was able to get over to Ciara, "Hey, it's okay." Ciara let out a weak cough. Ben put one arm under Ciara's neck and the other under her knees. "I'm gonna get you out of here." As cautiously as Ben could, he lifted Ciara up and she let out a blood-curdling yell.
As soon as Ben was out of the cabin, he gently placed Ciara onto the grass, "Are you okay?" Ciara coughed and raspily said, "I'm fine, considering." Ciara tried to sit up and Ben helped her. Ben sighed a breath of relief, "I'm so glad that you're okay." Ciara coughed, speaking a little stronger this time, "A little worse for the wear, but other than that, fine."
Ben narrowed his eyes at Ciara trying to give her an examination and Ciara furrowed her eyebrows at him, "Can I help you?" Ben laughed lightly, "You seem okay, but we should get you to the hospital just to be sure. I'll, uh, I'll carry you back to Salem so you can get home and as soon as you are situated in the hospital, I'll leave Salem and never look back."
Ciara looked at Ben for a moment in confusion as Ben started to stand up, Ciara pulled him back down. Ben was taken aback by this for a moment, "Well, your strength is certainly back." Ciara shook her head, "I don't want to go back to Salem. I-I don't want to be taken away from you at ALL. Wherever you're planning to go next, can't you just take me with you? I won't be a burden, I promise." Ben shook his head, "No, I can't ask you to uproot your life. You have friends, family, people who actually care about you. I can't ask you to give all of that up to basically go on the run with me." Ciara swallowed hard, "I care about you Ben, you are the only person who knows about Chase and doesn't look at me as 'damaged'." Ben took a deep breath, "Look, as much as I don't want to be apart from you either, I-" Ciara interrupted, "You don't want to be away from me either?" Ben half-laughed trying to play off the fact that he just showed his hand and Ciara blushed.
Ben dropped his shoulders, "Fine, we'll stay together." A smile spread across Ciara's lips. Ben pointed a finger at Ciara, "BUT…" Ciara sighed, "What 'but'?" Ben pointed to Ciara's leg, "I AM taking you to a hospital. To get that leg as well as your lungs checked out. No discussions." Ciara sighed, "Fine, anywhere you want to take me as long as it's not Salem." Ben nodded and got on his knees to grab Ciara bridal style. Ben got to his feet and tried to walk as gingerly as he could not to take any deep steps that might make Ciara's leg worse. Ciara wrapped her arms loosely around Ben's neck. She rested her head on his shoulder. After a few miles of walking Ben glanced down and noticed Ciara had fallen asleep. A small smile came to Ben's lips when he saw how peaceful Ciara looked. He couldn't imagine how scared Ciara must have been waking up in the cabin all alone with it in flames.
After what felt like walking for hours, Ben finally found a hospital. Ben ran through the Emergency Room doors, "I need some help!" A nurse approached Ben, "Can you tell me what happened?" Ben sighed and looked at a still-sleeping Ciara, "She crashed her motorcycle and I splinted her leg, but the cabin that we were staying in caught on fire." The nurse nodded processing the information that Ben gave her.
The nurse gestured to a bed that was in the hall, "You can put her down here. A doctor will be over soon to exam her." As Ben gently placed Ciara onto a bed, she stirred, "Ben?" Ben, still out of breath, bent down, "I'm here." Ciara let out a breath of relief.
The nurse gently put her hand on Ciara's arm, "You're in the hospital. It looks like your boyfriend carried you very far." Ciara smiled and looked at Ben, not bothering to correct the nurse. Ciara grimaced, "Yeah, I think he'll be able to skip working out for a few days." The nurse and Ciara laughed but Ciara's laugh turned into a cough. The nurse turned to one of the other nurses, "Amy, get an oxygen tank." Amy nodded, "On it."
Nurse Amy walked up to the bed where Ciara was with an oxygen tank and put the nose piece on Ciara, "Here. This should help." Ciara took a couple of deep breaths and her breathing slowed to normal. Ciara squirmed down the bed and closed her eyes.
Ciara opened her eyes and saw that she was in a hospital room and Ben was sitting in a chair near her. Ciara furrowed her eyebrows in confusion. Why was she in a hospital? Then it hit her. The fire, from the lantern. Ciara took a deep breath, the memories of what had happened came rushing back to her. Ben seeing Clyde, thinking that she was tricking him, and her bringing Ben back down from his paranoia.
Ciara moaned softly as she sat up and Ben began to stir. Ben opened his eyes and saw Ciara sitting up. Ben came over to Ciara and sat down on an exam chair by her bed, "Hey." Ciara didn't say a word, just looked at Ben. Ben continued, "What do you remember?" Ciara sighed, "You going off your meds, seeing Clyde, him telling you that I was tricking you." Ben slowly nodded, "What else do you remember?" Ciara closed her eyes, "You left to the pharmacy to get your meds and then the cabin caught on fire. The lantern by the hotplate. It was smoking more than usual and the next thing I know, the whole cabin was in flames."
Ben nodded slowly, "When I was on my way back to the cabin, I saw smoke. I ran the whole way. I was so scared that something had happened to you. I-I can't even imagine how scared you must have been." Ciara swallowed hard, "When I saw the fire, I tried to move, but I couldn't even put any weight on my leg. That's when I fell to the floor. I just kept screaming your name. Hoping that you would be on your way back and would get to me in time." Ben lightly put his hand on top of Ciara's for a moment. Ciara looked up at Ben and smiled a small smile.
Ciara sighed, "Did you uh, ahem, get your meds?" Ben nodded, "Even though every voice in my head was telling me that it was a trap. That you weren't really on my side and that the cops would be waiting for me. To take me away from you." Ciara blushed slightly but tightened her grip around Ben's hand a bit, "Why didn't you listen to the voices?" Ben swallowed hard and shook his head ever so slightly, "As strong as those voices were, my desire to help you was stronger. I-I just held onto the picture of you putting your hand out for me to take, when you had every reason to believe that I would hurt you, but I wouldn't; I couldn't. No matter what my father said."
Tears began to well in Ciara's eyes at Ben's confession. Ciara's mouth parted like she was about to say something but no words came out. A knock at the door broke Ciara and Ben out of their trance. A doctor walked in, "Sorry to interrupt. I'm Dr. Landerbee, the attending on your case."
Ciara cleared her throat and Ben released her hand. Dr. Landerbee walked up to Ciara's bedside and Ciara asked, "Is my leg going to be okay?" Dr. Landerbee slowly nodded, "Yes, but only because of that makeshift splint that your boyfriend made." Dr. Landerbee looked over in Ben's direction, "You must be in the medical field?" Ben shook his head and Dr. Landerbee continued, "Have you ever considered a career in the medical field? Because you should. You would make an excellent doctor; particularly an orthopedic surgeon." Ben looked at the doctor in shock, he must not of recognized who he was. Dr. Landerbee looked Ben dead in the eye, "Well, if you ever do, be sure to look me up. I would be more than happy to help in any way that I can." Ben swallowed audibly processing what the doctor had just said.
Ben cleared his throat after a moment, "I-I'm just glad that I could help Ciara." Dr. Landerbee nodded, "Yes she is very lucky to have you. If you hadn't made that makeshift splint, we would be having a VERY different conversation right now." Ciara nodded slowly understanding what Dr. Landerbee was saying without actually saying it.
After a moment Ciara spoke, "So, how long before I get outta here?" Dr. Landerbee chuckled under his breath for a moment, "You should be out of here in a couple days. We just want to make sure that your smoke inhalation doesn't cause any complications." Ciara glanced over in Ben's direction, "What about him? I mean he IS the one who pull me out of the fire." Dr. Landerbee nodded, "Yes, we checked Ben out and we determined that he was not exposed to the smoke long enough to suffer any long-lasting effects."
Ciara sighed half-relieved that Ben would be okay. Ben smiled at Ciara over her concern for him.