Niké heard the leader mention that other gang members thought Alleya and him were hooking up but it didn't really come as a shock to the grey haired man that people assumed that. Not with the way Alleya would cling to him, openly express that she found the leader attractive and the teasing, anyone would probably assume that they were hooking up at first glance.
Although it didn't take much for anyone to figure out that Theo was far from interested in the woman, or anyone for that matter. Niké doubted that anyone would be able to get with the man even if they really tried.
“She's not for everyone that's for sure,” he said as he started getting into the bathtub, he figured that if the leader was going to keep talking through the door then it was no use waiting for the conversation to be over.
The man let out a low groan as he sat down in the tub. His body was all bruised up but he knew it would hurt even more tomorrow, it was still pretty recently since he’d taken the last beating.
“Pieces of shit all of them…” he muttered quietly as he leaned his head back, closing his eyes to relax for a second, even if he’d told himself not to, he couldn't fall asleep in here, he would be embarrassing himself so much if he did.
It hadn't been much more than a week since he’d joined the gang and things had just gone downhill from there, it almost made him miss the ‘regular’ life he’d gotten used to while at the police academy, there was a certain comfort in knowing what every day would look like. But he knew that once he went back to it, he’d grow bored with that life just as quickly. There was no excitement in that life, no thrill.
However right now, while in a way he felt free, not chained by responsibilities and schedules, he felt a constant guilt. It was like a voice in the back of his head, constantly pointing out and reminding him of how he was lying to everyone around him. Not just to Theo and Alleya but also his supervisor.
“Theo..? I um…” The words were right there, on the tip of his tongue, just waiting to leave his mouth, three words, nothing more, nothing less. Three words and he could free himself from his guilt, the truth would be out there and he could leave, tell his supervisor that he was found out and request uniformed duty.
“Never mind, sorry…”
Niké couldn't bring himself to admit it. He would just have to think of another way out. Part of him wished that Theo and the gang had been more like the Rebels, it would make things way less complicated for him, he would have no problem putting those cruel pieces of shit behind bars but Theo and his gang? They weren't bad people.
Edited at November 11, 2022 11:30 AM by Ashes of Night
Theo wasn't sure why a gang would think something like that or spread rumors about it. He was clearly just friends with the fiery redhead. It's not that there was something wrong with her, he was sue that she would have been an excellent partner to somebody. It was just he felt like he was the trouble in relationships and didn't feel ready to date. And he was very sure that he didn't really like Alleya like that.
He heard a low groan and the sound of water splashing. At least Nike was listening to him and actually taking a bath. The dude did smell like a little bit of sewer. He was sure there was an explanation for the reason for that. He just figured it was best not to ask.
Theo couldn't help but blush at the thought of being able to hear the newbie in the bathroom. His mind couldn't help but imagine him in the bathtub, relaxing and closing his eyes. Hopefully, he wouldn't fall asleep in the bathroom since the gang leader couldn't lift him out of the tub.
Theo just remained quiet, lost within his own thoughts. He was thinking why he kept on making himself appear like a fool in front of Nike, the issues with the Rebels and police, and everything from Alleya to stargazing.
There was a lot going on with the gang. Well, there was always a lot. Theo couldn't remember the last time he had a free moment to just be. With the new heat and water system, the gang was running low on money. That meant that Theo had to work overtime to earn money to make up for the ones they lost. He would rather not steal money, especially with the police on his tracks.Stealing wasn't really a thing he wanted to do to start with.
"Theo..? I um..."
Theo drew in at the sound of Nike's voice. His expression became curious but then Nike changed his mind. Whatever the man was going to say must have not been too important. His brain lingered on what it could have been before pushing it away. Nike could always bring it up again whenever he felt like it.
"I'll leave you to relax," He responded, not pushing the man to share what he was about to say earlier. He moved off the door,"I'll still be in here if you need anything. Let me know when you are ready for your clothes and a towel."
Nike was about the same size as him. He always kept his own winter clothes underneath his bed and separate from the rest of the gang. His winter clothes was what he had from home. They were what he packed the day he decided to run away. Surprisingly, most of them were still in good condition. They just fit a little baggier in some places. There was also some winter clothes that Flynn had bought him. Those were sentimental and hadn't been touched since the day he lost her.
He stood up and went back to his window, back to stargazing. He loved the way the stars seemed to shine brighter in the colder seasons. It was relaxing to him just to have time to look at the stars.
"I'll leave you to relax. I'll still be in here if you need anything. Let me know when you are ready for your clothes and a towel."
Right, clothes and a towel. He should have remembered to ask for that before going to take the bath. Nothing he could do about it now though, unfortunately.
After roughly 10 minutes Niké got out of the bathtub once he’d washed up, having made sure to keep his neck and left hand from getting wet. He would have liked to bathe for longer but he was getting closer and closer to falling asleep in the water so he’d cut it short and washed himself off, making sure to get any dirt off himself. It was nice to be clean for the first time in a long time.
He pulled the plug to empty the tub. He kept both hands on the side of the tub, watching the dirty bathwater drain from the tub with heavy eyes.
“Theo? I could use those clothes and a towel now,” he said, letting go of the bathtub and walking closer to the door and looking around awkwardly. He really wished that he would have asked for the towel earlier. Hopefully the leader would just hand him everything without looking at him. Having the leader see him naked would be incredibly embarrassing.
Although with everything that had been going on the past few days it would probably not be the worst thing to happen to him and he wasn't ashamed of his body, sure, he was pretty scrawny and there were several scars littering it, now accompanied by multiple bruises in different stages of healing.
He turned around and looked into the mirror, analyzing himself in it and looking at the different bruises, there was even one on the side of his face that he hadn't even noticed yet. He reached up and touched it, winching at the pain. It hadn't hurt before but now, it was throbbing slightly after he'd been stupid to touch it.
Theo had used the last towel for his face that he kept in there. He had also forgotten to give Nike's stuff to him before he had gotten into the bath. It was strange for him to forget things like that. It was probably due to stress or something. After all, there had been a lot of that because of everything that had been happening.
While he was waiting for Nike, he heard a soft knock on his door. He gave a sigh, it seemed like things never stopped. People never seemed to leave him alone. He didn't mind company at all, it was just annoying when that company just talked about gang related stuff. He would like somebody to just sit and have a normal conversation with him. But sadly, that rarely happened.
He sighed and got up, taking the clothes he picked out for Nike and neatly folded them onto his bed along with the clean towel. He slipped outside the door, shutting it quietly.
"Theo so sorry to bother you-" It was one of the night guards. That was never a good sign.
"Nope nothing to be sorry for. What's going on?" His voice was low and quiet.
"It's just that the gang is worried about the Rebels and the reason why you sent three members outside of gang territory shortly after the attack," The night guard explained.
Theo ran a hand through his hair, frowning and thinking for a moment,"Okay I'll have a meeting tomorrow. Just tell them that everything is fine for now." He slipped back inside without saying anything else.
It just so happened that Nike had called for a towel and his clothes while the gang leader was outside. Theo had no idea that Nike was waiting on him to hand him anything. He just assumed the man was relaxing and taking his sweet time. The gang leader returned to his position by the window, trying to connect the stars in his mind to see if what shapes they made.
While waiting for the leader, Niké continued looking over his bruises. The longer he looked, the more he seemed to find, he’d honestly not expected it to be as bad as it was but there were quite a few. However he was just happy that it wasn't more than bruises.
Alleya firing a gun hadn't been ideal, it had most likely saved them both from far worse injuries than what they’d received and the fight he’d gotten in after getting out of the sewers hadn't been that bad, if not for the fact that he was already beaten up and exhausted then he would’ve most likely been completely fine after it.
He sighed softly and looked over at the door, had Theo not heard him? With how thin the walls were surely he should have. Had the man left the room? Or had he fallen asleep? The leader was still badly injured so it would make sense if he was tired and had laid down to rest but accidentally fallen asleep.
Only one way to find out.
Hesitantly, he walked over and placed a hand on the door handle. He’d already started freezing a bit again from having to stand nude in the bathroom. The grey haired man took a tiny step to the side, trying to make sure that when he opened the door, he would be exposing as little of himself as possible to the leader.
“Theo?” He said the leader’s name once more as he opened the door a little and stuck his head out, glancing around the room before his eyes landed on the leader, standing by the window and gazing into the night sky on the other side.
Seeing the leader while he himself was in the state that he was, instantly made him blush, again. “I’m done, the towel and clothes would be nice now, please,” he said, now that he was sure Theo could most definitely hear him, hear him but hopefully not see him. Not more than what he had already seen at least, which, as far as Niké knew, wasn't much so hopefully the door would do its job of covering him well enough.
Edited at November 11, 2022 08:04 PM by Ashes of Night
Theo's presence by the window was a common sight. He loved looking out and keeping watch. He had also discovered a fascination of the stars since he had gotten this place. He hoped at their new place, his room had a window like this. Of course relocating wasn't necessary right now. He just preferred to have a place in mind just in case things went south. He doubted he had much to fear but it always nice to have options.
As he looked, he heard the sound of the door squeaking open. He didn't turn his back but curiously looked at the reflection of the doors in the window. For a moment, he had forgotten about Nike in the bath. That was until he saw the door open and a head pop out.
"I'm done, the towel and clothes would be nice now, please."
Theo turned around, his gaze sliding over Nike's appearance a bit longer than he should have. He couldn't help but blush when his eyes lingered down where he could see the man's chest before the door covered it. He could see water dripping down his chest. Quickly, he looked away and cleared his throat.
"Sure thing, sorry about that," He said quietly and moved away from his place by the window. He didn't mean to study his body, it just sort of happened. He didn't understand why. He grabbed the pile of clothes and the towel, walking over to Nike and handing them to him, making sure to stay on the side that hid the sight of Nike's body from him. He didn't want to make this situation any more awkward or make the new guy uncomfortable by accidentally seeing him in the nude.
As soon as he handed off the clothes,the other door opened. Theo jumped slightly, spinning around and seeing Alleya. She looked almost frozen to death, her hair dripping wet and he could hear the faint sounds of her teeth chattering.
"H-H-Hi," She chattered, walking in and shutting the door,"I-I-I-"
Theo turned his back to the bathroom, chuckling softly and grabbing the extra raccoon pelt from off his bed. He wrapped it around Alleya and guided her to his bed,"You know you could have taken a bath in my bathroom. I got hot water put in.
"F-F-Fucking hell!" She exclaimed loudly, glaring at the leader,"Y-Y-You could-d-d ha-av-e told me t-t-ha-t be-e-fore I went o-o-out!"
He chuckled again at her glare and how much her teeth were chattering. She should have given him time to say that. Besides she was looking well-awake now due to the freezing water from the pond outside. She stood her tongue out at him and pouted.
He went back to his window, looking at the stars. He wanted to talk to Alleya as well as Nike about the journey but if he asked anything now, she would be hard to comprehend. Besides, her part of the story could wait.
"I'm sorry about earlier," Alleya finally warmed up enough to speak,"It's just...it's not easy dealing with men all of the time. They were both pissing me off...Taurus for his dumb shit and Nike because he makes me feel like I'm useless. If I wanted to feel useless I would have stayed with my e-I mean parents."
Theo arched an eyebrow and turned around. He moved to sit on the bed beside her,"Now, now I'm sure that's not true. I'm sure NIke knows you aren't useless."
Allleya sighed and rested her head on her hands,"I'm tired of everybody thinking I'm useless. Everybody either thinks that or they hate me. It's not a great feeling to have. You'll never understand what that feels like."
As soon as he had everything in his hands, the other door opened and they both heard the sound of Alleya’s voice, causing Niké to quickly shut the bathroom door. He didn't exactly like the thought of Alleya seeing him naked either.
The grey haired man sat the pile of clothes down before he started drying himself off. At first he didn't hear the two say much, and anything Alleya stuttered out, he could barely understand through the door.
"It's just...it's not easy dealing with men all of the time. They were both pissing me off...Taurus for his dumb shit and Niké because he makes me feel like I'm useless. If I wanted to feel useless I would have stayed with my e-I mean parents."
Niké paused and looked over at the door. He made her feel useless…? The man sighed softly as he went back to drying himself off, trying to get himself as dry as possible to avoid getting a cold.
The man knew he wasn't supposed to be hearing this conversation but what was he supposed to do? Theo could have warned her. Either he’d have to stay here until she left or leave the bathroom and hope that she didn't know how thin the door was. That or he’d just have to walk out there and tell her that he was sorry for making her feel that way.
While considering, he started putting the clothes on, it was incredibly nice to finally have some warm clothes on even though they were a bit too big, he didn't mind. He stuck his hand into the pants he'd worn before and grabbed the near empty cigarette pack and his lighter before putting it in the pocket of the new pants.
The man then grabbed the dirty clothes and towel, he didn't know where he was supposed to put it so he would just have to ask. He had decided to leave the room, he knew what Alleya was like, she could talk forever if you let her.
With a sigh, Niké pushed the door open and stepped out of the bathroom. He looked at Alleya before turning to Theo, “Thank you… Um, where should I put this?” He asked, motioning towards the dirty laundry in his hand.
Edited at November 12, 2022 02:20 AM by Ashes of Night
Theo didn't warn her about Nike being on the other side of the door. To be fair, she didn't give him any opportunity to. Besides, what was said had already been said. What Nike wanted to do with that information was up to him.
When Theo sat down, Alleya leaned against him and rested her head on his shoulder. He didn't mind at all, she was probably just trying to warm up. Besides, Alleya had always been a little touchy with people. It took a little while to get used to but now, it was rather normal. He would think it was odd if the woman didn't touch him one day.
"Um actually, I know exactly how that feels like," He stated, frowning. Alleya had noticed the lack of like within the gang and her as well. Alleya was a complicated being, she could be hard to like. She was talkative, outgoing, and a space evader. However, she was also a fast-thinker, caring person that had a spark in her that a person couldn't help but be drawn to.
He didn't get to finish that though because then Nike walked out. Theo had given him a Nirvana hoodie and a pair of joggers that were fleece lined. Warm but also very comfortable. It was supposed to have an impact on the man's ability to fall asleep. Theo was still hoping that he would decide to rest.
"Thank you...um where should I put this?"
Alleya seemed absolutely shocked at the presence of Nike. Her eyes went wide and her hand went to her mouth. She was aware of the thin walls. She knew that there was no way he couldn't have heard her. She leaned off of Theo's shoulder and glanced between the two.
"Just leave them there for now. I'll take care of them later," Theo responded, his green gaze latching into the gray-haired man's. He wasn't sure if Nike was going to bring up what Alleya told him or not.
He could see the potential problem here but he was surprised that Alleya didn't know Nike was here. Or at least that there was somebody in his bathroom. He never kept the door shut unless somebody was with him. Just like his room dorm was rarely shut. He had a thing about leaving doors shut. Shut doors meant that he couldn't watch over the gang as well.
"Nike? Did you hear-" Alleya began to speak but then broke off, looking at the ground. Theo waited quietly for what would happen next. If necessary, he would excuse himself from the room. It did sound like those two needed to have a chat.
When the leader told him to just leave the clothes he nodded briefly before dropping the clothes into a pile on the floor and then, when he realized that they would be in the way, he pushed the pile over to the wall with his foot.
Niké had noticed Alleya’s shocked expression but he had no intention of saying anything, he was tired and didn't want to argue, knowing that with how tired he was, it wouldn't take much for him to snap at the woman. His guess was that she really didn't mean anything bad with what she'd said but it did hurt a little.
Nike’s pale blue eyes met Theo’s gaze and once again, he couldn't help but blush. There was something seriously wrong with him, he couldn't even look the leader in the eyes without starting to blush.
Instead of saying anything, the young man turned around and started walking towards the door instead, wanting to find something that could keep him from falling asleep and it didn't seem likely that the leader would assign him any work.
"Niké? Did you hear-"
He stopped at Alleya’s voice and he glanced over his shoulder with a sigh, guess they were having this conversation now after all then. He turned around and crossed his arms across his chest, “Yes Alleya, I heard you saying that I’m as bad as your… Parents,” he replied, his tone was flat as he looked at the woman. It hurt to hear her say that he made her feel useless and that she might as well could have stayed with her ex. He wouldn't show that it hurt though, he refused to.
It was his own fault though, this wasn't the first time the woman said something that hurt him. He should've known better than to consider her a friend.
“So I’m sorry for worrying about you every time you take stupid risks. Don't worry, if your idea of being useless is accepting help from others and realizing your own limitations then I promise you, I’ll never lift a finger to help you again,” he sneered at the woman.
Okay, maybe he wasn't doing the best job at hiding his hurt. The man was exhausted though, could he really be expected to keep his feelings completely under control?
“I know you're capable of a lot but that doesn't mean I want you to risk your life and freedom to show that you're not useless, I already know that. I wasn't the one fighting you the entire time we were away and when you wanted to leave on your own, I didn't go with you because I think you’re useless and couldn't do it yourself. I went with you because I cared about you and because I would have beat the shit out of Taurus if you left me with him,” Niké told her, now clearly upset.
Without leaving room for Alleya nor Theo to say anything he turned around and opened the door, “Just forget about it, it doesn't matter, if I make you feel like shit then I'll just leave you alone,” he said as he left the room and shut the door behind himself.
Edited at November 12, 2022 04:55 PM by Ashes of Night
Theo felt a little uncomfortable with this situation. He didn't know how Nike was going react but he did know one thing: Alleya wasn't the bad guy. Sometimes she made poor decisions but she wasn't a bad person. She wouldn't purposely try to hurt Nike, it was just something that was said at the wrong place and wrong time.
So instead, he sat in silence seeing what the next move was. He was sure that he would have to leave soon but he held back, wanting to see how this situation played out.
"Yes Alleya, I heard you saying that I’m as bad as your… Parents."
Theo's gaze met the ground. Nike sounded upset but who could blame him? He knew that Alleya and the gray haired man were just starting to build a connection and become friends. Hearing her say things like that must have been tough.
Alleya opened her mouth to say something but Nike continued, not leaving them room to butt in without being down right rude.
"So I’m sorry for worrying about you every time you take stupid risks. Don't worry, if your idea of being useless is accepting help from others and realizing your own limitations then I promise you, I’ll never lift a finger to help you again."
The man was definitely hurt. Theo dared to look up and he saw that Alleya was staring at Nike with wide eyes. She looked sort of like a mix between a hurt puppy and deer in headlights. It wasn't a good look.
"I know you're capable of a lot but that doesn't mean I want you to risk your life and freedom to show that you're not useless, I already know that. I wasn't the one fighting you the entire time we were away and when you wanted to leave on your own, I didn't go with you because I think you’re useless and couldn't do it yourself. I went with you because I cared about you and because I would have beat the shit out of Taurus if you left me with him."
And then the gray-haired man was gone. The door shut and Theo winced like it had been a loud slam. It wasn't though. He wasn't sure what to do in this situation. Nike obviously wasn't supposed to hear what she ranted off. But he did.
"Nike! Wait!" Alleya finally shouted, standing up. She had been stuck in deer with headlights mode. She was probably in as much shock as Theo was uncomfortable.
She got off the bed, wrapping the raccoon pelt around her and headed out the door. The door shut again and Theo was alone again. Oh well, the company was fun while it lasted. Well until Alleya and Nike had their drama. He trusted them to figure things out.
"Nike, please, wait!" Alleya shouted and hurried to catch up. She hadn't meant to hurt him. Sometimes she just did stupid things. Going to Theo for reassurance and a ranting session hadn't been the greatest idea. Making sure that nobody was in the bathroom had been another bad one.
She caught up and grabbed him by his wrist to stop him. She wanted to apologize. She did feel like that but that was because Nike treated her like she was a child. She didn't understand why and it just made her feel chained. She should have gone to him from the start and just explained how she felt.
"Im sorry. I really am," She told him, her grip tight to stop him from trying to get away. Going to bed hurt and angry wouldn't solve anything,"I didn't know you were there and I went to Theo for advice. I didn't know that you were just trying to protect me. Im not used to other people caring for me. I didn't mean you were like him, I just meant that you being so overprotective of me made me feel trapped. I should have told you...I just wanted to ask Theo how."
"Please don't go away angry and hurt at my foolishness. I don't want to lose you as a friend."
She meant that part. Nike was her only friend. Well there was that one night guard but the night guard didn't really pay much attention to her and hadn't talked to her since she had threatened Taurus with a knife. She would never be able to escape that.
"Please, Nike, can we just go somewhere to talk? Please?" She begged, her gaze latched on him. She just wanted to talk and try to make up for it. She never wanted Nike to hear what she said back there-not like that.