Bass carries her away. His strong arms support her weight easily, and Charlie feels oddly safe curled against his lean body. It's like letting out a breath that she had been holding for far too long.
"Charlie, it's going to be okay." She hears the deep rumble of his voice with her ear pressed against his chest. She chooses to believe him, although the incredible pain burning through her leg betrayed her true state. Her entire leg is slick with sticky blood and black spots dance in front of her vision. She is dizzy from the blood loss.
"Hey, Basss," she mumbles through her dry mouth. She sounds drunk.
"I think- think m' gonna need some that back." Her words slip together pathetically, one word blending into the next.
"Some of what back?"
"M' blood. Need it back-" she smacks her lips together "it's 'portant."
Monroe doesn't answer. In any other situation, Bass would find drunk Charlie funny as hell. But now he just feels full of concern. Seeing Charlie lying in a small pool of blood was an image that he knows will permanently be burned into his mind. She had looked so small and broken, Bass had no way of knowing how serious the wound was. Even now, he struggles to evaluate it with all the blood and he knows they need to stop and take care of it properly
"Bass." She's trying out his new name on her lips. "Like that you're Bass now. Didn' like Monroe."
Bass barely smiles and sets her down on the ground.
"Gotta take a look at your thigh."
He cuts away the fabric around the wound. It doesn't seem deep, or to hit anything vital, but it wasn't clotting and fresh blood continued to leak out of her. Charlie's right, she needs to stop losing blood or she will need a transfusion. Monroe wouldn't know the slightest thing about how to go about a transfusion with low medical supplies and even if he did, he has no idea what blood type Charlie is.
With a horrible, sinking feeling Bass realizes what he will have to do. He moves away from her with great haste to begin to gather some kindling and foliage.
"Charlie, I need to stop the bleeding." His voice is calm and reassuring, despite his slightly panicked actions. He gets a fire going with some matches he had in his back pocket.
"Mhmmmm, need m'blood back." Charlie agrees with her eyes closed.
"I'm gonna cauterize the wound, ok? It's going to hurt but that's the best way to stop the bleeding. You need your blood inside your body."
Charlie merely blinks up at him, her eyes glazed and hazy. He douses a knife in some moonshine he had saved for a special occasion in his flask, before placing it in the center of the growing fire.
Bass does not want to hurt Charlie, even if it is to save her life. To worsen the guilt, Bass knows Charlie was only stabbed in her attempts to save his life. Somehow, in the midst of the fight with those bandits, she had recognized his hidden blind spot at which the man was approaching. Bass was impressed by her ability to fight, not that he would ever tell her that.
"Okay, Charlie, you ready?" The knife glows an awful red in the center of the fire. Charlie is hardly awake, but she manages to nod her approval. He passes her a piece of gauze to bite down on from the medical kit.
He climbs on top of her, much like he did while she was struggling against unseen forces in her nightmare a few days ago. It feels far less awkward this time around, but Bass chalks it up to the direness of the situation.
He uses one strong hand to brace Charlie's calf and puts his knee on her upper thigh. Really he needs help to properly do this- hell, the girl needs surgery and anesthesia and clean medical tools not doused in questionable moonshine that had been stagnant in Bass' flask for several weeks. But Bass can provide none of that, so he does his best to ignore the anxiousness in his chest or his shaking hands.
"Ok, I'm gonna count to three. Try not to move around too much." Charlie looks up at him, her eyes filled with trust. He tears his eyes away before he loses his nerve. "One, two-"
And then he's pressing the hot knife against Charlie bare skin. It's awful- my god, it's fucking horrible to see her writher on the ground trying to escape the pain Bass is inflicting. Her whole body is tense, like a tightly wound coil, but she does not buck against him or thrash. She does not allow herself to scream.
"I'm sorry- so sorry, just a minute more and then-" the words fall out of Bass' mouth, so outside of his comfort zone and feeling out of character. Her hand flails about for a second before latching onto the fold of Monroe's jeans, apparently what she was looking for. Monroe's heart twists painfully at the sight of it. "Ok, hang on." He lifts the blade to see if the bleeding has stopped. "It looks good." He keeps his voice steady even if the smell of burnt flesh is in the air and he sort of feel nauseous.
He moves the knife away, and slowly relaxes against the ground. She pants for a minute, spitting the gauze out of her mouth. A shine of sweat covers her fast and her eyes are still worryingly glazed. At least the bleeding has finally stopped.
"Screw you," she whispers against a scratchy throat but her eyes look soft. She shivers, causing lines of pain to appear near her eyes. He can tell she is trying to hide her pain. "'m cold."
Shit. Monroe worries she might go into shock.
Wordlessly, he walks over to where she is laying on the ground and lies down next to her. He pulls a blanket over them and wraps his arm around her soft shoulders. The reassurance of being able to hold her, after worrying so much in the past few hours, is an incredible relief. Charlie leans into his touch, loosely curled around his warm body.
"Hey, Bass?" she mumbles, her voice still rough.
"Thanks f'r evrything."
Monroe nods once and Charlie drifts off to sleep, her head tucked onto his shoulder and his arm protectively wrapped around her body. They find deep comfort and rest, and once again they realize something has shifted between them.
AN: The end I guess? Pls review if you want me to continue or have any ideas for future updates. Or for another story. I need ideas. Thanks for reading!