"Shhh.." quieted her lover, relieved that she was conscious but still worried about the effects of whatever she was given. "I can wait. I'm tougher than I look..." Theo smiled, getting her re-situated back in bed. Those simple movements alone were enough to have him nearly panting. Now that he was running out of adrenaline, it was catching back up with him. Maybe he wasn't as tough as he used to be. These years of peaceful times had changed him, perhaps. He was now less conditioned to functioning with serious wounds. Anticipating his own drop looming on the horizon, he shakily claimed the towel she'd had earlier before crawling into bed beside her. He didn't want to bleed on her bed and her makeshift bandage from her skirt was soaked through. Smoothing the towel down under where his shoulder would lay, he plopped down beside her heavily with a groan. Reaching out to hold her hand, Theo began the struggle of staying awake himself, just to make sure Rin stayed okay. That's all he could do.
Truth was, he'd never been shot before. Guns were largely still unfamiliar to him and a little scary, and as much as he hated and feared pain, he wasn't sure if it hurt worse than anything else he'd endured. He'd been shot with arrows many times, and while they didn't burn like a bullet did, they were often nastier because the arrowhead didn't go all the way through and would get stuck. Extra damage would be done if they were ripped out, so they had to be carefully removed later. However, the pro was that if they were left in, it staunched the bleeding. Bullets seemed to leave nice holes to bleed freely from, so that classified it like a projectile blade in his mind, and less like a bow and arrow combo.
"Lily," Theo muttered, weakly waving his hand to try and get her attention. "Can you...go get the..uh...the medics?" he asked, voice trembling. The young man fought the blackness with everything in him, not only so he could care for Rin, but because he knew what he'd see when he closed his eyes. So many faces...with some new ones to add to the lineup. Rolling against her side, he leaned his forehead against her shoulder, as if the contact would alert him to any changes in her condition. "We're okay..." he whispered. "We're gonna...be...."
It was kinda funny. They'd ended up back where they started-- in bed. Yet their conditions couldn't be any more different. As far as he knew, Rin was either overdosed on something or poisoned, and his body was battered and bruised and a little low on blood. The blood flow from his shoulder had slowed, but not stopped. He had scrapes, bruises, and cuts on his face and body from punches and kicks. If not for his trump card, Oscar would have eventually won that battle. Kid was just as deadly with a knife as he was with a gun. As his consciousness left him laying there beside her, the kid was just one of the people he thought about.
Unconsciousness wasn't kind to him. It dumped him back into the blackness of his experience in the afterlife. He could hear Drathir's chilling laugh, feel the terror of not knowing where he'd strike. The endless battle with no rest, just narrowly escaping a fatal blow. But then it came. Drathir's fist bursting though his chest like the blow that had originally murdered him, only from behind. He looked down to see his own clawed hand, gripping his heart that weakly pounded. Where had the light come from? Looking up, he saw a hellish landscape. Theo was standing on a black stage, fire all around and slowly burning inward to him. He needed to move! But..he couldn't. Looking down again, the claw and heart was gone and instead he saw rope. The post at his back was rough and full of splinters, and he was tied tightly to it. Peering out again, he now noticed a crowd. Most were dressed in time-dated yukatas and wrappings to protect from desert winds. Would he ever be able to forget the faces of the lives he'd ended? Shady aristocrats, assassins, thieves... merchants, women of the night who knew too much, a father who wouldn't give up his supplies. Pirates, nobles, friends. Sanders. Oswald. Oscar. Dr. Hinabi. All had torches and formed a line, tossing the flames one by one into the already growing blaze that hungered for his flesh. They laughed. They cried. The swore at him and taunted him.
The flames consumed him, leaving him to shriek until his vocal chords gave out. A moment of blackness. Flash! The light blinded him, but he was no longer on fire, nor in the netherworld. He stood back in the town, under the oppressive shadow of the colosseum. Rin was screaming. The kids were all outside, some running at him, others ganged on Rin. He tried to get to her, but there were too many. They were too strong. Her screams ripped out his broken heart all over again, hurting far worse than all the bullets and knives in his skin. His vision went red, and when he came to, there was something heavy in his hands. He knew what it was. Willing it not to be so, he shut his eyes, as if to take control of his own nightmarish torment, and was vaguely pleased that the weight went away. But...now there was something else. It was warm. Wet. Cracking his eyes open, Theo nearly became ill right there. Bloody claws in the neck of his lover, a disturbing mirror of Tomoe's fate. Feverishly trying to cover the slashes and keep her blood inside her, it was futile. Rin gurgled, glaring hatefully up at him with tears streaming. The look of betrayal, the ultimate agony as a loved one brings death and frees the soul. Theo screamed, a sound so dark and deep that it should have torn the heavens with its thick emotion. All the kids they meant to save surrounded them, clearly dead and screaming along with him until the whole dream ripped like an old film strip.
It was white. The nothingness was soothing. Could he just....stay here? Not exist? Just alone in the endless white, where he couldn't hurt anyone and no one could hurt him...a merciful end. But no, even here, there was no rest. "Why did you do that?" a dream version of Lester asked, voice calm as usual. He sat in a chair, pruning a small plant on a table. Rin was perched on the arm of the chair, frowning at him. "Do what?" Theo asked, self conscious as he stood alone under their judging gazes. "You said you'd changed...but look at all of that mess," he said, vaguely motioning somewhere behind Theo. The jello mage turned, gasping horror at the pile of gore in the distance. "You were supposed to have changed. Become a legal mage. You can't even do that. What does that make him, Rin?" Lester asked the angry girl at his side. She wouldn't even let her eyes touch her lover. "Worthless," she spat, and Lester nodded, sending ivory feathers into his face. As much as Rin scowled, an odd smile stretched across Lester's pale lips. "Mhm. Worthless. What do we do with stems that become worthless to the plant as a whole?" the sugar slayer asked, picking up a sharper pair of snips. His attention seemed to be entirely on the plant, but Theo knew what was happening. "Prune it," Zulu smirked, lounging her way into the guild master's lap. "Good girl," the florist praised, inching a florist's weapon toward the base of the plant. "This poor darling is too far gone. Best to snip it and let it start anew, don't you think?"
Now that Theo was turning his eyes on the plant in hopes that maybe they truly were speaking about the small pot of leaves, he noted that it was...him. His body was brittle and brown, with sickly and shriveled leaves sprouted all over. As soon as his brain fathomed it, now he really was in the dirt, staring with wide wooden eyes up at a giant Lester. Those watermelon eyes were almost kind, like he was doing a great favor. Whether it was for Theo or for the world, it didn't matter. As his roots were sheared by the snips, he yelped and fell stiffly back, dissolving and turning back into dirt.