There was blood everywhere. The bodies, of my lost kin, piling up, around me. They were trying to kill my friends, but I could not hurt them. Kharrakh had left my side, to fight, I knew he had, I did not need to look. My mind continued to pound against my skull, searching for the words, with which I could end the fight. At last they came, and with them, my sisters retreated, with the being claiming me as her daughter.
I could breathe, for the briefest of moments. Then there were two splashes. I had to lift my head, to see. Hurrying, to the railing, and grabbing on when I caught sight of him. Kharrakh. He was swimming out, with Rhaxdi, to continue the fight. The feeling of fear returned to me. But this, fear, is unlike any I had felt before. I could feel my heart throbbing against my chest. I could not help him in the water.
The minutes dragged on like hours, until I see him once more, but he was not moving. He was floating, on the surface of the water. Was he dead? Fear, stronger than ever, surged through me, and I had to go to him. I had to reach him. I had to save him.
I pulled myself up onto the railing of the Songbird, and took flight. No one knew what I was doing, everyone was too distracted to stop me. My fear pushed me through the air. I was coming, Kharrakh.
Dipping myself down into the water, waist deep, the cold ocean wrapped around me. I had to get him back to the Songbird, to Alan. He was not moving. I would have to carry him back, yes, whatever was necessary. My arms slipped beneath him, and with the aid of my powers I lifted him out of the water, with ease. Taking flight, once more, I made my way back to the ship.
Kharrakh had not awoken. My talons barely touched the ground, as I propelled myself quicker with my wings. I see, but have no time to acknowledge the new crew member, his head and sword tipped to us, as I pass.
There were many below deck, Alan was busy, treating them all as I come inside.
“Al-Alan,” the words came out of my mouth, so quietly, so fearful. “Alan, I need your help. Kharrakh needs your help.”
Alan continued to work for several more moments before he seemed to hear my plea. “Alan, please!”
He took Kharrakh from me and began to work on him with the care he showed everyone. After too many minutes he finally turned to me.
“He is stable. I must tend to the others,” he said. “You should let him rest.”
“I am not leaving!” the words passed over my lips before I knew I had thought them. If Alan thought to object, he did not say. He must have understood.
For several hours, I have been sitting at Kharrakh’s bedside, afraid that he might not wake. Stable but not here, with me. The commotion of the medical bay calms down, around me, as I wait. The minutes seem endless, the fear tells me that he will not awake, but I must hold onto hope. I must not let him go.
My hands, once not able to hold anything, just feather and wing, keep my fingers coiled, ever so tight, around his hand. My head droops over his, not because of exhaustion, but because of the sobs I can no longer qwell. The fear is overwhelming. I need him to open his eyes, to look at me, to know that he will live. The night is growing so long, so dark, and a pain in my chest will not end, like this night.
“Kharrahk, please, please wake up,” I whisper, uncaring if he could understand these words. “I need you to wake.”
My plea seems to go unheard. He does not stir. Many of the less injured crew leave the medical bay while I wait. A few of them stop at our side. They do not speak, but look at us in silence. They are thanking him. Thanking him for fighting alongside of them. Thanking him for fighting to protect their lives. If he wakes, the fear of who he was before may now fade away. He is a part of the ship, this crew, this family that I have made. The Song Bird is his home, like it is mine.
I want him to wake, I want him to stay. Somewhere, deep inside, I fear that now that he has tasted battle that he will leave. He has his freedom, what I have been fighting to get him, but with it, he has the right to leave. I would not think to force him to stay. I fought for my own freedom so long, but somewhere the fear remains. Will he wake? Will he stay?
“Kharrahk, I need you,” I do not know the full extent of those words. I feel them, in my bones, where they make my body quiver and my heart catch.
There is movement, in my hands, and I stop breathing, as I open my eyes. He is looking at me. My face, fully damp with tears, and I do not stop a sob of relief.
“You are awake,” I began.
Thank you, he speaks with tired words. For allowing me ker-thin. It has made me happy, to bring you and I such great honor.
The fear fades. The pain begins to ease. He is with me. And he is….happy.