Chapter 98: Survival, Part I

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 429

"Life for you, has been less than kind

So take a number, stand in line

We've all been sorry, we've all been hurt

But how we survive, is what makes us who we are"

- Survive, Rise Against


Zidane pulled in breaths as though he were breathing for the first time. Medics surrounded him, but the wound still wouldn't heal. He felt Yittek's touch; felt the needle pierce through his skin and slip in thread.

Leave it to Yittek to patch me up human-style. Zidane smiled, thankful to feel the pain.

When the thread had reached the end of the wound, a knot was tied, the stitches complete.

He was turned onto his back, the small wound from the sword's piercing stitched up as well.

Zidane opened his eyes, seeing Zooka stare back at him. Her face lined with tears, her hand covering her mouth.

She spoke his name once, blinking more tears into existence.

He reached out, cupping the side of her face. Moving his thumb across her cheek, gathering the trail of tears that had formed.

"It's okay," he said quietly, voice hushed. "I'm here, Zoo; don't cry."

She sobbed, eyes shutting as her body bowed, head touching the edge of the bed.

"I'm so happy," she got out. "I'm so glad you're alive."

He continued stroking her face, the back of her palm. Squeezing her hand. Letting her know he was here.

He wasn't leaving.


Moments after seeing Zidane's eyes, Lance felt a lightheadedness. This feeling swarmed him, and in the next second, everything went black.


Zidane watched Lance's body drop forward before being suspended in mid-air. The tips of his shoes still touching the floor, body at an angle.

"I'll take him to another room," Yittek said. Zidane closed his eyes, cherishing the sound of his voice. "It seems we're reluctantly welcomed guests here..."

In a flurry of fire, Lance and Yittek disappeared.

With a sniffle, Zooka stood and crawled onto the bed, moving over him and lounging against the headboard. Zidane moved, fighting back a wince as he nestled against her, Zooka's arms wrapping around him. Holding tight.

She settled her forehead against his hair, sniffling gently before releasing a shaky sob.

"I was so scared..."

Zidane placed his hand on top of hers. It felt like fire, the skin-to-skin contact. Something he didn't deserve.

"It's okay..." was all he could say.

Zooka simply shook her head, holding him tighter. Moving her hand out from underneath his, placing it on top and squeezing tight.

Zidane swallowed. He stayed there, eyes shut, until Zooka's sniffles disappeared into the silence.

I have to tell her, he thought. I need to. It's the whole reason I came back.

But even then... He knew that was a lie. He'd been resurrected and already he was lying again.

How much more can you fall? Another voice. Ezyta's, spoken from memory.

He nuzzled a little, shifting so his cheekbone rested against her collar. "Zoo."

She hummed, looking down.


I can't give you children. The words almost fell from him, almost made it out into the open air.

He didn't speak.

Zooka grew alarmed.

"What's wrong? You're not hurt, are you?"

"No." He shook his head, eyes shutting.

They stayed in silence; her waiting for him to speak. She wasn't the only one.

Just say it!

"Zoo, I can't—"

Footsteps came in their direction. He took the distraction, the sentence dying in his mouth.

I'm such a fucking coward...

Yittek stopped in the doorway, and smiled, one hand against the frame.

"It's good to see you breathing," he said.

Zidane tried to return his smile.

"Yeah," was all he said.

Zooka's hold on him increased.

Zidane felt like dying again.

Yittek's stare passed over Zooka before meeting his again. He spoke low, tongue an ancient Razalek language.

"Lance is in another room, sleeping."

"Okay," Zidane responded, nodding. A pause came between them, and Zidane filled it with a thought, connecting with Yittek's mind.

Why is Ezyta letting us stay here?

Yittek shrugged his shoulders, hands cupping together. A small, black ball whirled in his hand and he set it in front of the couple. Instantly, Zidane felt a calming presence.

"Thanks," he said, speaking English.

Yittek nodded. "You're welcome. Anything else I could get you?"

Zidane shook his head. "Thanks," he said again, feeling a little useless.

"I'll go check on..." Yittek's words faded, a flurry of wind taking him to another room.

Zidane glanced up, seeing Zooka's attention was on the small ball in front of them.

"What is that?" she asked, motioning with her head.

"It's something called a Ruthlu," Zidane replied, tiredness seeping into his voice as he followed her gaze. "Helps with healing and and general feel-goodness."

Zooka laughed a little, resting her chin against his head. Zidane smiled, nuzzling into her further.

"Is it working?"

"Yeah," he replied. "It's working."

He sensed her smile, her thumb stroking his arm.

"Good. I'm glad."

He moved his own thumb, returning the gesture against the side of her hand. It still burned, the feeling of her against him.

"I am, too, Zoo."

Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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