Gently, Ben laid Ariana down on the bed. Leah waved him away, calling over her shoulder for Raffi, Ash, and Veronika. “She’s lost a lot of blood,” Leah murmured, gently resting her hand on Ariana’s forehead. Beneath her fingers, the other girl’s skin was pale and slick with sweat, her body trembling. But a more immediate concern made itself known by the knife still deeply embedded in her side.
The only conclusion Leah could come to was that the knife was lodged between her ribs, judging by the angle; removing the knife would cause pain and even more bleeding, but she couldn’t just leave the thing in. Still, as her fingers gently whispered over the hilt of the knife, she hesitated.
And jumped, shaken out of her reverie, when fingers weakly clasped her wrist. Looking down, Leah found herself gazing into a pair of cloudy, dazed green eyes. Ariana blinked, winced, then opened her mouth.
“Get… it out.” “What?” Leah’s voice was shaky; she knew exactly what Ariana was asking. “Get it… out of me. The knife. Get it… out.” “It’ll hurt.” “I don’t… care… get it out…”
Leah swallowed hard, knowing she was in no position to deny Ariana her request; and she needed the knife out, anyway. Standing, she gestured to Raffi and Ash with her hand. Veronika, she noticed, had vanished.
“I need you two to hold her down,” Leah ordered, brushing her hair out of her eyes. “When a dragon tends to go through extreme pain, they tend to lash out or try to change shape instinctively. This could hurt her or me.”
Raffi and Ash nodded, both stepping into the room; Raffi walked around Ariana so she gripped the girl’s shoulders, holding her down, and Ash cautiously wrapped her arm around Ariana’s wait, effectively pinning her down onto the bed.
Ariana closed her eyes, breathing shallowly. Leah gently touched her shoulder. “I know it hurts,” she murmured. “But this is the only way I can do what you need me to do without hurting you more than you’ve already been, or my getting hurt in the process.” “Do… what you need to do…”
Ariana’s voice was soft, tinged with pain, but determined; her eyes met Leah’s, and she nodded quietly.
Leah closed her fingers around the hilt of the knife. She took a deep breath.
Leah jumped, badly shaken, as Veronika ran back into the room. “Veronika! What were you thinking? What if I’d been pulling the knife out?!” “Sorry! But I just thought…”
Veronika shifted a little, and Leah saw she was holding something in her arms; a small Simba plush toy. She sighed. “Veronika, now is such a bad time to bring up The Lion King,” she muttered. Ash snorted softly with laughter, ducking her head when Raffi glared at her. Veronika looked at the ground. “Well, yeah, I know,” she murmured. “I just thought… you know…”
She walked past Leah, gently kneeling next to Ariana; the other girl tilted her head to look at her, smiling weakly. “Hey, wolf girl,” she rasped; her voice was soft. Veronika returned the smile before gently handing her Simba. “Here,” she murmured. “You can hold him. When it hurts a lot, you can cry into his mane or something.”
Ariana nodded, her arms tightening around Simba. Veronika stepped back and glanced at Leah. “Okay,” she murmured. “You can do it now.”
Leah stepped back to Ariana, glancing at Ash and Raffi. “You two got her?” “Yeah,” Ash said. Raffi just nodded. “Okay.” Leah blew out a long breath. “Here goes nothing.”
Once again, her fingers closed around the hilt of the knife; a small tremor rippled through her, but she quickly shook it aside. She gritted her teeth, tightened her grip.
Then she pulled.
There was a sharp cracking sound as the knife slid out of Ariana’s side; her eyes widened and she jerked in shock and pain, but Raffi and Ash held her down. “Sorry,” Raffi whispered as the other girl thrashed against her. “I’m so sorry.”
Ariana had buried her face into Simba’s mane as the first shocks of pain ripped through her, her cries muffled; her whole body began to tremble as blood, newly freed, began to dribble out of her wound. Veronika bit her lip.
“The worst is over.” Leah wiped her hands on her jeans. “Now we just need to stop the bleeding. Veronika, can you and Tanaiya get some old rags and water? We’ll need them. Raffi, Ash, you can let go now.”
Grateful for something to do, Veronika bolted out of the room to find Tanaiya. Raffi and Ash cautiously released Ariana, stepping away as the other girl lay limply on the bed, breathing harshly. After a moment she began to sit up, hissing softly when Leah pushed her back down. “No way,” the healer growled. “You’re staying down. You need something to help the pain.” “What pain? I’ve had worse pain then this.” Ariana yelped when Leah’s hand gently grazed her side. “Can’t think of any right now, but…” She brushed a loose strand of blonde hair back behind her ear. “I need to see Chris and Sparkx. Then I need to talk to you guys.”
Leah smirked, keeping her hand firmly placed on Ariana’s shoulder. “I’m the healer, Ariana. It’s always wise to listen to the healer.” “But really, I’m fine… ow…”
Leah laughed, looking up when Veronika and Tanaiya came into the room with rags and a bucket of water. She smiled.
“Take my advice, Ari. Always listen to the healer.”
It was pointless to argue. Ariana sighed, stroking Simba’s mane.
She would never admit it in a million years, but Ariana knew that the warm water felt soothing against her wound; she closed her eyes as Leah applied gentle pressure, her arms still tight around Veronika’s Simba plush toy. Raffi and Ash sat on either side of her; Veronika was flopped out on her side a little ways behind the girls, and Tanaiya sat on the floor, watching the process with interest. “Is the bleeding getting better?” she asked. “Slowing down. It should stop soon.” Gingerly Leah lifted the rag from the gash, studying it. “You got lucky, Miss Mysterious. If you’d been left out there, you would’ve died for sure.”
Ariana scowled a little at the nickname but didn’t reply, staring away at the wall so she didn’t make eye contact with anyone.
The door flew open, causing her to jump; with flourish, Amanda turned, flicked the door shut once again, and walked into the room. “I’ve come to check on our patient,” she sang out as she plopped down on the floor beside Tanaiya. “How’s she doing?” “She’s conscious, isn’t she? That’s always a good sign… I think…” Ash poked Ariana’s shoulder, making the other girl twitch. “Where’s Rose at?” “With Jake and Drake, trying to calm down Chris and that Sparkx guy. Mainly Chris, though. He was in a real panic before ‘cause of you, Ari.” “My name is Ariana, not Ari.”
Amanda laughed and shook her head. “Sorry. Touchy, aren’t you? Oh well. I just have a few questions.” “Questions?” Ariana’s eyes were immediately wary. “What kind of questions?” “Don’t look so suspicious, it’s just one question.” “O… kay…” “Are you and Chris an item?”
The effect was immediate; Ariana let out a “WHAT!” and jerked, tumbling off the bed with a yelp. Leah let out a scandalized shout as fresh blood dripped out of Ariana’s wound, scowling as she grabbed the other girl’s arm and dragged her up onto the bed, pressing the rag back to the cut, muttering, “What part of stay down, I’m the healer and I know what I’m doing do you not comprehend?!”
Amanda smirked, interest caught now. Raffi, Ash, and Veronika exchanged curious glances while Tanaiya sighed. “Interesting reaction,” she murmured. “You realize, now you’ve given Mandy the fuel…” “Shut up, Tanaiya, no one asked your opinion. So… are you? Or what?” “We’re just…” Don’t get emotional. “… Friends.” “Just friends?” “Yes.” “Are you sure?” “What part of JUST FRIENDS do you not get?!!”
Ash was getting a real kick out of this, grinning and elbowing Raffi gently at the other girl’s hot denial. Veronika sat up, curious now as to where this would lead while Tanaiya rolled her eyes and muttered something that sounded like “No one listens”, but she was smiling.
Ariana blushed as all eyes turned to her. “We are!” “He did seem pretty worried…” Leah’s eyes danced with mischief. “That’s all there is!”
Oh, God, she was turning to mush right in front of them. Ariana had been on her own for years, never really close to any girls her age. Now she was in a room full of them. Growling, she buried her face in her hands and swore, making Leah raise a brow. “Was that supposed to be in English?” she asked. “No, I swear in freakin’ Spanish. Ellas es loca.” “I’m not asking for a translation.”
Amanda grinned, shrugging, and held up both hands. “Look, I’m just asking. He really seems worried about you.” “As a friend. Just a friend.” “Riiiiight… are you sure? Because he seems to like you as more than a friend, if you get my drift…”
Ariana blushed a deep shade of red and ducked her head, grumbling as Leah continued to treat her injury. With a sigh, Tanaiya tilted her head back to look at Amanda. “Really, Mandy, you aren’t one to talk,” she murmured. “Huh? What do you mean?” “Well… you’re grilling Ariana about her thing with Chris, but you seem to have forgotten that you like a certain someone more than a friend…” She smirked. “If you get my drift…”
Amanda whacked Tanaiya’s arm, scowling but flushing faintly pink. Pleased that the tables had been turned somewhat, Ariana went back to her staring contest with the wall. Veronika flopped back down on the bed as Ash and Raffi began to murmur to each other.
“You know…” Veronika shrugged, rolling over to stare up at the ceiling. “Don’t hurt me or anything, Ari, but I do think you and Chris would look good together. If you ever like him like that, I mean.”
A long moment of silence passed as Ariana sighed and closed her eyes; Leah focused on her wound while Ash, Raffi, Tanaiya, and Amanda all waited to see what would happen next.
Finally, Ariana opened her eyes.
“For the last damn time… my name is Ariana, not Ari. Call me by my name, for God’s sake,” she muttered, admitting defeat.
End chapter 7
Ellas es loca is Spanish and translates into "They are crazy". Nothing dirty.
ICHTHYANDER: ADJL scored 635K likes on Disney plus in India, which is more likes than Kim Possible, because Kim Possible has 250K likes! Note that Disney plus has recently appeared in India, namely, on April 3!
Apr 12, 2020 7:43:35 GMT -5