Alleya seemed like she wanted to argue back with him about going to sleep but before she could think about anything to say back, Theo started whimpering and tossing in his bed. He saw how he accidentally kicked Alleya. Despite that the woman went to comfort the man and help him settle down.
"He's been doing that a little after you left, only without the kicks. I think he's having nightmares or reacting to the pain he's in. I'm not sure."
“It's probably a mix of both if I had to guess, he just went through something traumatic, it's nothing weird for him to be acting like this,” he mumbled as he looked down at the sleeping man.
He’d seen people act like this before when he was younger, this reminded him of one specific person though. One of his best friends at the time had gotten in a bunch of trouble, tricked a couple of dangerous people and stolen their money. Niké never found out just what they’d done to his friend, Eric, but when he and a few others had found him he had been barely alive.
Now Eric had been a big guy, a tough one too but something that they’d done to him broke him, for over an entire month the man couldn't sleep properly without someone being next to him and holding his hand. It felt weird, to see someone who you knew was strong, crumble like that and suddenly appear so weak and helpless. Even long after, there had been nights where the man had struggled with sleeping and Niké being the light sleeper he was, had had to deal with it most and comfort him.
Hopefully it wouldn't be as bad for Theo and this was something that would disappear completely with time. Right now it was clear that the man needed someone with him to comfort him though.
“Go rest now Alleya, I mean it,” his voice came out a little sterner than what he intended it to but the woman just seemed to come up with excuses or change the subject when he told her to. “I’ll take care of Theo, I’ll come get you if anything happens but right now both of you need rest.”
The grey-haired man stepped closer and put a hand on the woman's shoulder as he looked at her, “You're part of a gang, that means you don't have to do everything by yourself, alright?” He let go of her again as he grabbed one of the chairs and moved it right next to the bed and took a seat next to the sleeping gang leader.
Alleya wanted to stay here with Theo. She didn't like to see him like this. She had always admired the gang leader, in a way. He was tough and grumpy at times, yes, but she could also see his passion toward the gang. She had seen him do some pretty courageous things for the gang, even risk his life. But he had always seemed untouchable. He was a damn good fighter, best she had ever seen. He was one that taught her to fight before she joined the gang.
Before a person joined the gang, they would spend a 2 week trial practice where they learned how to work with others and the lifestyle of a gang. Normally the trial would consist of a mentor and a group to oversee them. She had turned to the gang for protection more than shelter. She feared that her ex would find her. She didn't want to go back to her past life. Plus, she was very comfortable in Theo's gang. It took weeks of hard work proving herself and getting where she was now.
She still looked uncertain about leaving Theo. After all, he never gave up protecting her and mentoring her. Leaving him like this, well with Nicke, made her feel like she was abandoning him. She knew she was being silly and in a way, her new friend was right. She felt his hand go onto his shoulder, directing her attention fully to him. She hadn't expected the act of affection from him. He had seemed pretty against gestures like that, or at least that was her first impression of him. Maybe she was wrong or she was starting to rub off more on him.
So she sighed and put her arms up in mock surrender. As much as she hated to admit it, Nicke was right.
"I'll be back halfway through the night to trade places with you," She knew she wasn't going to be able to sleep so she didn't tell him to wake her up. There was no need to sugar coat it, he knew she wasn't going to sleep either,"Come get me as soon as he wakes up, if he does before I come back."
She reached out and brushed her hand against Theo's before turning to leave. She paused and looked back once. Surely he was going to be okay. She then stepped out and headed to see if Mitchie needed her. She wanted to check on things before laying down.
He watched the woman, she was really struggling with leaving the man. Niké couldn't really understand it though, the man was alive, there was nothing life threatening about his current state and all that was left to do now was to let him rest and wait for him to wake up on his own.
When he finally gave up and agreed to leave, he smiled briefly at her, even if she only agreed to rest half the night before switching places with him again. It was better than nothing though so he would take it. If he was lucky she would end up being more tired than she thought and fall asleep, sleeping through the whole night, but it seemed unlikely.
"Come get me as soon as he wakes up, if he does before I come back."
“Already said I would, didn't I? Now go. He’s not going anywhere, he’ll be right here when you come back,” he told her.
Eventually she seemed to listen and after stroking Theo’s hand, she left the room and Niké leaned back in the chair he was in. Finally some peace and quiet. Finally some time to think.
He looked over at Theodore, it sure had been an eventful day. He reached out and grabbed the man's hand before starting to slowly stroke his thumb back and forth on the top of it, “They need you so you better recover quickly,” he mumbled quietly.
He actually felt bad. His job was to go undercover and find out things that could get Theo arrested but from what he'd seen so far, Theo was a good person. He wasn't the cold-hearted killer that rumors for some reason made him out to be, he seemed to genuinely care for the gang and people over all. The gang needed him, they'd shown that when they all froze up earlier without their leader’s guidance. He couldn't understand why arresting Theo was more important than arresting other gang leaders, gang leaders that wanted and enjoyed violence. Not Theo and his gang that were trying to survive with the help of each other. Surely he had to be missing something and there was something that would make him feel better about doing his job. But for now all he could do was wait, and if he needed to, then he'd help comfort the sleeping man, a man that he'd turn his back on one day.
Mitchie didn't need anything from Alleya. The gang seemed to be finishing the night tasks together to make them quick. None of them had seemed seriously hurt. A few bloodied noses, a few knife cuts, and some were limping. The attacks hadn't weakened the gang's spirit or separated them. It instead had made it stronger. She helped clean out the restrooms and lied saying that Theo's had already been done, that he did it himself before he left. Once the chores were done, the gang ventured out together to wash their hands in a nearby pond. Some decided to bathe while they had the chance and protection of the large group. There was probably about 40 people total to the gang. She decided to bathe with them, they were all extremely comfortable with eachother. They were like one big family, united temporarily by the events that had happened.
Once done, everyone ended back together and went to sleep together. Except for a few volunteers to help the night gaurds out. They wanted to have extra protection in case another gang tried to do something. She sat in her sleeping space, her head resting on the wall. Eventually she did drift off to a very light sleep.
Throughout the rest of the night, Theo slept without too much of a problem. The only sign that gave away that the leader was alive was the occasional hand twitch or whimper. Sometimes he would squeeze Nike's hand very weakly too. It was as if was trying to come back to consciousness but fighting something invisible, that only existed in his mind.
Alleya did wake up just on time to switch places with Nike. She had woken up to the sound of footsteps next to her. When she looked up, she saw the people who volunteered to keep extra watch switching. That's what had woken her up. She stretched and stood up, figuring it was about time to switch with Nike. She waited for the extra help to switch before sneaking out of her spot and into Theo's room.
"Hey, it's me," She whispered as she came in. Her hair was still a little wet from the bath she had in the pond. She had changed clothes too, now wearing a pair of olive green sweatpants and a black longline sports bra, which in theory was just a cropped tanktop with built in padding. The outfit did show up the black and green bruise from where she got hit. Nothing she could do about it now.
Each gang member got new clothes to put on every week. As the weather got colder, they were also given a jacket. She didn't know how long it was supposed to last them. The smart ones, like herself, always picked dark colors to hide any dirt or stains.
She got closer and saw that Theo was still sleeping. Which might be a good or bad sign. But when she got closer, Theo's eyes suddenly jolted open and he tried sitting up. That only resorted in him gasping in pain. She jolted into action, helping him lay down and grabbing his other hand. His hand tightening around hers so tight it hurt.
"Theo?" She questioned, her wide eyes on him. His eyes were wide with fear. He seemed to relax as his gaze met hers. He slowly was becoming more and more aware to everything.
"Tell him to stop torturing me!" The leader pleaded to her. She was just more confused. She sat down next to him, unsure of what else to do. Who was he?
"My father! Make him stop!" tears formed in the leader's eyes and he struggled to sit up again. He couldn't make it though and somehow ended up with his head on her lap in the process,"Just make him stop!"
The man sat in silence, only opening his mouth to comfort the man when he'd whimper occasionally. He did nod off to sleep a few times but would wake up quickly at the slightest sound or movement coming from the man. It was how he was used to sleeping so it didn't bother him, he'd have trouble sleeping for years but could anyone really blame him after what had happened? Probably not.
When Alleya came back in through the door, Niké looked up, just about to tell her that everything was fine and that the man had been sleeping rather well, or at least better than earlier, but he was stopped when the man suddenly jolted awake and within less than a second, Alleya was at his side.
He didn't say anything and instead just let the woman try to comfort him. He watched as Theo put his head in the woman's lap, still pleading for the torture to stop, for his father to stop. It wasn't uncommon to meet people who'd been abused by their parents on the street, something the Niké sadly had learnt very quickly although Theo seemed desperate for the imaginary torture to stop which probably meant that it had been really bad.
Niké saw how tears formed in the man's eyes and since Alleya was now sitting still and quiet, no longer attempting to comfort the man, he got off the chair and moved to sit on the bed frame too before looking down at the leader and stroking his cheek gently.
“Hey, Theo?” The words coming from his mouth were soft and gently as Niké tried to get the man's attention. “You're safe here, he can't get to you. He won't lay a hand on you ever again,” he carefully wiped the man's tears away, “Are you hearing what I'm saying? You're safe from your father.”
Niké squeezed the man's hand, hoping to get through to him as he was clearly in another world right now. He didn't like the fact that Alleya had seen and heard him like that, it did feel a bit embarrassing but at the same time, what choice did he have? He needed the man to calm down and if some soft words and touches helped, then so be it.
She was a little panicked. Everything that had happened seemed to be resting heavily on her shoulders. She didn't know what to do or say to help Theo. She had never seen him look so helpless as he as he did here. She was more stunned and trying to process everything.
But she was lucky, Nike seemed to know what to do.
She was surprised to see how gentle and caring he was toward Theo. He seemed to know exactly what to say and how exactly to comfort the gang leader. She just watched Nike and Theo's reaction to it. There was definitely more to Nike than what met the eye.
It took many, many moments for Theo to calm down from his nightmares. Yeah, nightmares. That's what he said but really they were based on something real. Something that happened years ago.
When he was calming down, he became more aware of his surroundings and memories came flooding back to him. He remembered hearing something and then being ambushed...by so many gang members. There had to be 6 of them at least. Some of them were dead...some of them he had killed, having no other choice. But it didn't really matter, he still ended up, well, he still ended up getting burned and having his dignity stripped from him.
More of his dignity seemed to be stripped from him as he realized he had been crying into someone else's lap and someone else, a man, was comforting him. And they both had heard him, they both could figure out real quick one of his most prized secrets. He stayed there for many, many minutes, just thinking and processing everything.
Eventually he moved, this time sitting up successfully. Pain ripped through his muscles but he didn't want to embarrass himself any longer. But of course, there was another thing that just added onto the situation. He didn't have his clothes on, the gang had ripped them off of him and tossed them into the burn pile.
"Oh god," He finally expressed and said something a bit more intelligiant and less panicked as before. It was a reaction to everything but also the amount of pain he was in. His eyes shown that pain, he was unable to hide it from showing. He looked up at who was in the room. It was Alleya and the newbie...what was his name?
"Nike?" He questioned allowed and gave a faint nod to himself. That was right, memories from the bar rippled through his mind briefly,"I have a set of next week's clothes underneath the bed. Can you get them?"
He wasn't going to lie, his whole body was sore and each time he moved, it knocked the breath out of him and his muscles seemed to protest in each small movement he did. He was trying to not to let it show, although he had a feeling they both knew he was feeling his wounds. After all, high observation had been a personality quality through the two of them during their tests.
"Are they gone?" He questioned, his voice showing a bit of the pain he was in and his worry for his gang.
"Oh yes, Jasper came back from the bar and beat the last one with a rose bush branch while we were at the pond. Everyone's okay, a bit shaken up, but okay."
Theo closed his eyes and gave a sigh of relief at Alleya's statement and reassurace , his worry fading some. He would deal with the other gang later. He was sure he and his gang had reminded them that they weren't welcome here. At least for a while.
Edited at July 20, 2022 03:23 AM by Ashes of Night
Niké felt relief when the man seemed to calm down and he pulled his hand away from the man's face. He moved back over to the chair he'd previously been sitting on as he watched the man in silence. He looked so small and helpless laying with his head in Alleya's lap. He just stayed quiet, letting the man calm down and process what he’d just been through.
When Theo sat up it was clear that he was in great pain but he did his best to not show it. Niké watched the man realize that he was completely nude and couldn't help but to blush softly, feeling ashamed over the fact that he had looked earlier. When asked, he quickly got off the chair and got on the floor to look underneath the bed.
The grey-haired man quickly found the clothes and grabbed them before getting up again and handing the clothes to the leader as he mumbled, “Here.”
He was glad to see Theo doing better, even though the man did need to rest and it would be some time before he was fully recovered, physically at least. Recovering mentally would probably be a bigger challenge, seeing as the man was already dealing with a lot from his past it seemed. It was nothing Niké would bring up though, if Theodore wanted to talk about it with him, then he'd have to be the one to bring it up.
The man listened as Alleya assured Theo that the other gang was gone. It was admirable that the man’s first instinct was to worry about the gang but it was annoying for him, he wasn't supposed to admire the man or care about him.
As much as he hated to admit it, Theodore was a good man, he did some illegal stuff, yes. But it was for survival, Niké knew what that was like, having to fight for survival, he couldn't blame anyone for that. The grey-haired man leaned his face into his own hands as he sighed softly, he'd never expected this to be so hard. Hopefully things would change though and Theo would do something that revealed him to be a bad person, he doubted it though, it didn't seem likely.
It wasn't the first time he had been beaten, it had just been a long time since he had been beaten to this degree. It would probably be a little while before he would be healed. He was just glad his gang was okay, the Rebels had appeared out of nowhere and harrassed him for what seemed like no reason.
He took the clothes as they were handed to him. For some reason, Nike's cheeks looked slightly red. He didn't decide to question it. He took the clothes and studied them. He didn't think he would be able to stand having a shirt on right now. He also wasn't too sure about being able to handle standing to put on anything. But he knew he wanted to. His skin prickled in embarrassment and a blush of his own appeared on his cheeks.
"Here, I'll help," Alleya had been studying him and had noticed the way he had been staring at his clothes. She stood up and held her hands out for Theo to take.
"No, no, I-I can..just give me a second-"
"Theo grab my hands now," She interrupted him with a stern tone. He couldn't help but look at her and arch an eyebrow. The tone of her voice reminded him of Flynn. Another quality the red-haired woman had with her. It was a bit disturbing that their personalities were almost a perfect match to each other. Sighing, he took her hands and stood up. He let out a few curses and once he had his balance, she let go of him to help him get dressed.
"Don't act like you've never done this for me before," She scolded him as she helped him. He was reminded of what happened her second week here. She had fallen off a cliff and sprained her ankle. She also got a concussion from the fall. He had taken care of her until she could walk. He had bathed her, braided her hair, and even dressed her. He had felt partially responsible, that's why he helped, even when she refused.
She wouldn't even let him help her with getting him dressed. Each time he went to, she would smack his hands away. He ended up just standing there, his arms crossed, and looking toward the window by the bed.
Once his bottom half was dressed, he moved to sit back down. He sat with his head against the headboard and closed his eyes. He wasn't sleeping though, just wanting to rest them. He grumbled his thanks to Alleya. He was okay with being shirtless, it would allow time for the burns to get air they needed to heal.
"What did the Rebels want?" He asked the two, hoping they had more information than he knew. He was greeted with silence and opened his eyes to find Alleya glanced down and running a thumb along her left wrist. Both her wrists were wrapped in gauze, he didn't noticed that before. He waited and then questioned again,"What happened?"
Edited at July 20, 2022 04:02 PM by Ashes of Night
Niké kept his hands in his face while trying to think things through. When he said yes to this undercover job he'd thought that his past would make things easier for him but now it seemed as if it would make it harder, he would just have to try and ignore his own personal thoughts and opinions when working this case.
He looked up to see Alleya helping the man get dressed. Despite all the scars, he had to admit that the man had a nice looking body, there was no denying it. He looked away again, not wanting to get caught staring. After all he was bi and he had learnt the hard way to not get caught checking guys out.
"What did the Rebels want?"
Niké looked up and over at Alleya who’d gone quiet. The experience must have really shaken her up, she seemed to be talking constantly and now she wouldn't even reply to a question from Theo.
Once again, Alleya stayed quiet. Niké sighed softly and looked over at the leader before speaking, “Some guy came out of nowhere, grabbed her, put a rope or something around her and that gun against her head,” he motioned towards the gun now laying on Theo’s desk, “Said that if anyone moved he’d blow her brains out. She managed to grab a knife, or something, that the guy had in his pocket and cut the rope. After that she took him down and I went to find you.”
The man didn't feel the need to say anything about distracting the man, Alleya had still done most of the work, all he’d done was piss the man off so that he'd punched the woman in the stomach, which hadn't been part of his plan when trying to rile him up.
He shrugged his shoulders a little, “Not sure what they wanted though, thought you would know. They surely weren't here with good intentions though, odd way of showing it in that case.”
Theo frowned a little as he was met with silence from Alleya. Silence wasn't her strongest pursuit and definitely not something he had seen very often. If it wasn't a surious situation, he might have teased her about it. Instead, his gaze remained sharp and focused on finding the answer.
That's one thing about him, he always cared for the gang. He could ignore every ounce of pain in his body if the matter concerned his gang. They meant the world to him. He didn't know when, how, or where he developed such emotions for them or even how they went from Flynn's to his but they had. He would be damned if he was going to let anybody or any gang take that away from him. He had turned this group of low life criminals and the homeless into a family. His gang had something that others lacked and that was connection.
Nike ended up answering his question. His gaze didn't leave Alleya though. He was concerned for her. The woman reminded him so much of Flynn, it hurt. He knew Flynn would become silent each time she experienced something traumatizing. He wondered if Alleya also shared that. He did hear Nike and took in everything the man had said. He didn't answer right away, he was taking a few more extra minutes to process. To figure out what was next.
"Is that all?" he asked. Alleya was still rubbing her wrists. He reached out and stopped her by lightly touching her hand. She jumped and tore herself from Theo, moving toward his window.
"Don't touch me," She crossed her arms and he watched her lean her head against the window. Clearly something was wrong.
"Alleya," he pressed a little more, his voice trying to sound gentle but he couldn't master it. Not with how much pain he was in. It sounded more like a warning which was the opposite of what he wanted.
"He told me he would kill us one by one, starting with me, okay?!?" She raised her voice at him. He arched an eyebrow but didn't correct the behavior, as much as he felt the urge to. He knew when to watch his mouth. Also, what he heard was more disturbing.
"I want extra patrols and a buddy system. Nobody leaves base without an assigned buddy. I will announce buddies in the morning, they'll be designed to best fit," He paused and added,"He targeted you for some reason. Until I know that, I don't want you leaving my sight."
It was for her best interest. He couldn't risk losing her. He knew he only felt this way because she was so much like Flynn. He just couldn't...he couldn't deal with the pain of losing another part of Flynn again.
"That's unfair, Theo. I'm a big girl, I can handle myself," Alleya turned to him, anger in her eyes,"I don't need special protection from you or anybody!"
She spat on the floor next to his bed and angrily walked out, slamming the door so loud that it caused the walls of the room to tremble.