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Fantasy Code: Feral

Listening through his mental link, Manjano shrugged while Falarion tilted his head to the side. One of his ears flopped against his face before he whispered, "It could make sense if this is some new weapon the Ferals were devising. Those animals were way more feral per say than the Ferals themselves. That purple gunk makes me think they must have some great chemists on their team."

Manjano felt relieved when the nurse agreed to let him leave the room. It was quickly beginning to feel claustrophobic with Leandra's passive aggressiveness towards Luness, who was still confused about what was going on. She was blinking slowly and Manjano figured the effects were likely even more different on an animal such as Luness, who technically was not supposed to exist. His curiosity began to ebb when he realized that he was feeling Falarion's curiosity and not his own. Raising an eyebrow at his companion, Manjano felt tempted to tease him for his never-ending urge to learn, but was cut off when Jimbo joined his side at the bed.

Letting the gorilla help him into the wheelchair, Manjano winced as every little jostle sent small shocks up his leg, but he did not complain. He would go insane being confined to a bed in the same room as his moody sister and her confused phoenix. As they began to leave the room, Manjano looked at his sister and said softly, "It'll get better, Lea. I promise." She did not react to his words, but Manjano saw the tears beginning to well up in her eyes and looked away to give her space. The sooner she made up with Luness, the better.

With Falarion walking alongside him in the hallway, Manjano sighed and said, "What a mess..." It was so chaotic at the warehouse and so much had happened in such a short timeframe. He wished he could go back and somehow stop Luness from being forced to attack her own friends because of that purple goop. Whatever that stuff was, it drove everyone mad by simply coming in contact with it.

Falarion leaned over Manjano's wheelchair to give him a friendly nudge before happily getting pet on the head. He grinned and said, "We'll recover. We always do!"

Manjano smiled at this and then they entered the waiting room where most of the team was sitting. Sighting Beth nearby, Manjano whispered to Jimbo, "Hey, can you roll me over to Beth's side? I want to make sure she's okay after that bear charged her earlier."

Hearing this, Falarion began happily humming before trotting over to Beth. Hearing this, Manjano tensed and sure enough, Falarion blurted out, "Beeeth! Manny wants to be with you!" He bounced in front of her a couple times before letting out a happy bark. Groaning, Manjano muttered, "Great."

Just as this occurred, a nurse came in and hurriedly spoke with Alec. Not a moment later, he was running out of the room and Manjano curiously looked after him, but was unable to follow. He was more interested in checking on Beth at the moment anyways. Falarion's curiosity overwhelmed him and he yipped at Alec before dashing after him.

When Falarion entered the same room as Alec, though, he froze at the sight of Duik. Falarion's ears dropped to his head and he ducked behind Alec while Duik tried to attack his own companion through the cage. Whimpering, Falarion asked, "What's wrong with him?" Alec was lost in a world of his own and Falarion stayed back while Alec attempted to reason with Duik. When Duik finally retreated, Falarion tentatively joined Alec's side and peeked around him at Duik. Hearing the pain in Alec's tone, Falarion anxiously nudged his arm to try and comfort him. Before he could consider giving Alec a friendly lick, Duik returned to his normal self. Quickly, Falarion scrambled away as the inevitable tackling hug occurred. Wagging his tail, Falarion began happily barking and bouncing around the pair while Alec practically cried for his companion returning.


Back in the twins' hospital room, Leandra wiped away a few tears from her cheek and sniffled. She could not bring herself to speak still, but her tumultuous emotions were starting to flood over the meager dam she had created in her mind. Luness had been a monster earlier. She had actually murdered a companion. Leandra was actually afraid of her own companion now. She had finally seen what Luness could do and she never wanted to witness such an atrocity again. Her heart ached for the comfort and love she knew Luness could give her, but how could she love a monster?

Luness frowned now at Leandra. She could see the tears, but Leandra continued to block her out from their mental connection. She had seen the tears Leandra tried to hide, but she still could not understand why her companion was upset. Thinking back to the warehouse fight, she remembered defending Leandra and Alec from the polar bear, but everything was blank after that until now. It was like she had passed out until she arrived at this hospital. Yet, now she was in a glass box and she understood it was likely to prevent her fire from hurting anyone, but why would anyone be concerned with this? Her mind continued to clear and Luness hummed happily, swaying from side to side when the nurse finally approached her glass cage.

"Hello, you look well now. We did not know for sure how you would feel or react once you woke up, but you appear to be doing much better now," the nurse said while she began unlocking the glass cage. Luness was blissfully unaware of what the nurse meant, as she just wanted to fly to Leandra and comfort her. The moment the cage opened, Luness said, "Excuse me, dear," to BB before she hopped forward and awkwardly fluttered to the ground with just one wing for balance. She stumbled forward, but caught herself before hopping over to the side of Leandra's bed. Huffing, she used her one wing again to awkwardly fly up to the bed and caught the edge of the blankets with her talons before using her beak as well to pull herself up. She then hopped onto Leandra's lap. Lowering her head, Luness tried to catch Leandra's eyes, but she let out a small cry of fear instead of reaching for Luness. Surprised, Luness hopped back to the end of Leandra's bed, while she pulled her legs up to her chin and hugged herself. A pained expression bloomed over Luness' face and she worriedly looked at Barry and then BB nearby. "Please, you have to tell me what happened at the warehouse. I cannot remember and..." She looked back at Leandra and then resisted the urge to cry. Inhaling deeply, she looked back at BB and said softly, "She won't even look at me now..."

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Beth studied Alec closely as he stared at the flask, and then eventually took it. She nodded once at his statement, but couldn't think of something to say to him. His companion had lost his mind, and they had no idea if he would get it back. What could you say, when the connection that gives someone half their life and soul, just goes dark?
With the arrival of the nurse and Manjano, Beth and Totus shared a glance. Beth's eyes shot back toward Manjano as she tucked the flask back in her jacket. Totus gave her a nod, and followed Falarion into the room behind Alec. He landed on the operating table, and watched with a solemn expression.

Beth watched the two companions and one human go, and said bitterly, "Well, I'd say with a sprained wrist and a graze, I got pretty freaking lucky."
The young woman gave a shake of her head, blue eyes wet, and then seemed to shake herself out of it as she turned to look at Manjano and Jimbo.
"How are the others? Simon, and Leandra and Luness?"

The air in the room was the tensest Totus had ever felt. He watched from a distance, and his heart sank more and more every passing second. Duik didn't recognize Alec. He snarled, snapped, and eventually huddled in the far corner like the feral animal he had become. Totus was just giving up, turning to go break the news to the waiting room, when he heard a familiar voice.
The owl spun in time to see Duik leap out of the cage and into Alec's awaiting arms. Totus let out a joy-filled churr, and sent a rush of good feelings toward Beth to inform her.
"Welcome back, Duik." Totus said warmly, and then directed his gaze at Falarion. "Falarion, let's give them a moment, yes?" He nodded toward the door, and lifted himself toward it.

Outside, Beth closed her eyes for a moment and smiled faintly. "Duik is okay." As she said it, the sounds of Falarion barking happily bled through the door, and she started to feel like they all might be okay again.
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As the phoenix spoke after her slumber, BB took several hops away from the cage. Shaking fear drowned her as she thought about charging her again. She was not ready for another heroic act so quickly. As moments went by, She noticed Luness wasn't flaming nor did she have the killer look. Barry could see BB's unease and took a few steps forward to reassure nothing would happen. "H-Hey Lu. Good to see you're uhhh.. UP!" She said with a nervous grin. Once the nurse opened the cage, BB flew quickly to her companions shoulder. "Hey, play it cool." She whispered into his ear.

Barry waved and Jimbo, Manjano, and Falarion and stepped side for them to exit. He could see the tension rising in the room growing ever more uncomfortable with Leandra refusing to speak up. A sense of dread washed over them when Luness pleaded to tell her what happened. Barry wasn't too thrilled with the little information he had caught from the radio. Just the idea of her going after BB was too much. Part of him wished he had gone with the others but hearing the heartbreak in her voice tugged him the other way. He let out an airy sigh before looking sympathetically at BB. "Dude! I told you to play it cool!" She Murmured. She took a quick glance at the two while her stomach sank. "UUUGH, FINE!" She moaned as she flew onto Barry's hand. Both walked up to the bed opposite of where Leandra was facing. BB turned around to show some blackened feathers from hitting Luness in the chest. "First off, don't be mad if your chest hurts a bit. I pack a punch and the situation called for it. No hard feelings, besides my own history. That's on me though, not you, Hun." Barry raised her up back to his shoulder before signing to them. "He is saying there was lots of chaos going on in the comms. Vitals of people were going weird during the whole thing. I was there however as you know. DEAR LORD DID PEOPLE GO CRAZY!" She announced before getting bopped lightly from Barry's finger. "What, they were. Anyway, Duik got goo all over him and went crazy. Attacking people. Then you attacked a bear covered in goo and got hit yourself, we will get back to that. Simon got goo after taking out Duik and went crazy. Totus and I went to check on you and you started clawing at us. Luckily for us, an Ocelot got in the mix. We flew away for the moment but you kinda..." She choked at the idea. Imagining it was far worse. So many things were mixing together and all she could think of was people having the Ocelot's fate.
"You straight up cooked it." She dove behind Barry's neck cradling in his clothing. "It was horrifying and just too much and I knew you would do the same to the others so I tackled you with a dart! Don't be angry!" She squealed, hiding from everyone.

Barry looked to the ceiling pinching the bridge of his nose. "That is one way to spill it I guess." He thought to himself, letting BB know his feeling of displeasure. She wasn't much for letting people down easy. He sat at the edge of the bed and patted Leandra's calf. He hesitated before lifting the arm for Luness to perch on. "He thinks she needs some time to think." She mumbled in his clothing, getting the signal from him. "Give it time, for you two to ponder...... Let's go get milkshakes. Okay I added that last part but milkshakes heal all."

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Jimbo followed Manjano out into the hallway of the hospital a few paces behind the wheel chair. He caught sight of Barry waving to them, and was fairly certain that what was about to transpire in the room would be a lot easier to deal with with less people. But he still was curious about how Luness would handle the news of their mission. As Jimbo reached the end of the large glass window that was partially covered with the rooms blinds, he stopped and watched as Manjano and Falarion headed for the lobby. He would be fine, Manjano seemed to be able to handle the wheel chair with no problem, and once he found Beth and Totus, he was sure that he would be right as rain.
Jimbo sat down against the wall, his head being able to just barely peak over the edge of the window frame and into the room. Luckily, BB's voice carried very well, and he was able to pick up on her interpretation of the story. He winced at the bluntness of her words, but in his heart he knew that the quickest way to heal for them would be to rip the band aid off quickly so they can start patching things up. It wasn't to long after that, that Jimbo heard the doors to the hallway fly open and Alec came busting through the door. Not far behind him was Falarion and Totus who seemed to be in a mad dash down the hallway towards where Duik was being kept. Fearing the worst, Jimbo got to his feet and begin to lumber after the group, his knuckles creating a rhythmic thud and slight vibration as he trudged down the hallway.
He passed by Simon's room along the way, and stopped for a moment to stick his head in the door way. Simon had been undone from his restraints, and was currently trying to swing his legs over the side of the bed as if to get up. His eyes met Jimbo's and they both felt the worry flood through their connection over the rukus.
"Alec just went dashing into Duiks room. Not sure what is up, but it looked bad."
Simon wasn't about to waist time anymore, he wanted to make sure Duik was ok. He grabbed the foot of his bed and pushed himself off of the mattress and onto his feet. The first thing he felt was the bruise on his shins scream at him where the Tapir had rammed itself into him. The second, was the dizziness that followed from his new found depth perception, or lack there of as it were. It took him a moment to steady himself, but he was moving slowly towards the door holding onto whatever he could in an effort to keep himself steady. When he reached the door, Jimbo threw his arm around Simon's waist and his arm over his shoulders. The pair began their track down the hall to Duiks room as quickly as they could without hurting Simon any more than he was.
By the time they made it to the glass window, there was a somber silence that had fallen over Alec and the rest of the room. Simon peered through the glass into the cage and could see Duik recoiled in the corner. His heart began to sink slowly, as did Jimbo's as the sorrow began to wash over their connection. Had they been to late to save Duik? Had the goo had a more serious reaction to the hyena? So much uncertainty began to fill both their thoughts, that they nearly missed the familiar voice of the hyena breaking the silence and his furry body hurling itself at Alec. They both felt the immediate relief as they watched Duik and Alec embrace.
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Hearing Beth's response, Manjano frowned slightly. She tried to change the subject, but he refused to let that comment slide.
"What's wrong? And don't tell me nothing is wrong because something is clearly bothering you."
Realizing this might be too blunt, Manjano tried to back peddle, "I just...I want you to know I'm more than willing to listen, y'know? I don't want you to have to shoulder a burden all on your own when I can help."
He kept an eye on her face, tilting his head slightly so he could see her better. He had learned how to read expressions really well over the years of his silence and he wanted to help ease Beth's pain however possible.
Softly, he added, "I'm very relieved to know you didn't get seriously injured, Beth. I saw the bear charging you and...I was afraid I'd miss it and be too late."


Witnessing Duik and Alec's reunion made Falarion feel overwhelmed with happy emotions and they swelled through his mental link into Manjano. Manjano struggled to resist smiling in the midst of his conversation with Beth, but stopped resisting once she announced what he too knew. "That's a relief...I can only hope Luness and Leandra can mend their relationship after what happened earlier."

Falarion whined when Totus suggested they leave the room, but he perked back up and trotted after the owl regardless.


Leandra shivered despite being in a warm room and Luness slowly began to wilt when she heard what had transpired at the warehouse. While listening to BB, Luness turned to look back at Leandra who had begun to quietly cry again. Luness' heart broke at this and she too began to cry. Yet, she resisted the urge to approach Leandra again. She was not wanted here. When BB mentioned that Luness had murdered the ocelot, she gasped at this in shock. "I...what?" She looked at Barry in disbelief while BB hid herself. Struggling with her own emotions, Luness took in a deep breath and used her good wing to wipe away her own tears. Forcing a neutral expression, she said, "I suppose we should figure out what that purple ooze was. If it can force me to commit such a crime, I fear what it could do if used against many." Focusing on a solution was much easier than facing her emotions and...her own companion. Was Leandra still her companion if she wanted nothing to do with her?

Shaking at this, Luness took a deep breath again and closed her eyes briefly. When she reopened them, Barry's arm was held out before her. Sighing, Luness stepped onto his arm, mindfully avoiding piercing his skin with her talons. She then carefully climbed up and onto his other shoulder, where it would be more comfortable for her to perch and not possibly harm Barry's arm. Leaning so she could turn her head and still see BB on Barry's other shoulder, Luness said softly, "I could never be mad at you for stopping me when in such a state, dear. You did what was right. I...did what was wrong." Frowning at this, Luness looked at her injured wing now and gently nudged at the bandages and splint holding it against her body. She winced at this touch and sighed again. This was going to take time to heal...as were many things.

When Barry patted her leg, Leandra suppressed a sob and merely looked at him, trying to silently convey her thanks. She wiped away the tears rolling down her cheeks and when she looked up again, Luness had perched on Barry's shoulder. Hugging her knees again, Leandra buried her face against her thighs and wished she could just disappear.

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Beth met Manjano's eyes calmly, even when he seemed to get more emotional. There was a pause where she was silent, and then she said,
"I'm not shouldering anything alone, not now that Totus and I are back together. There are some kinks to work out still, but it's almost like we never parted." She thought for a second, and then offered an explanation.
"I've spent the last year tracking the scum of the earth. A good portion of it, I was alone, far enough away from Totus that I couldn't feel him anymore. Months, of hopping off of choppers into some wilderness and tracking until someone started shooting at us. I- I almost lost my mind without Totus. I really don't think I would have lasted much longer." She glanced toward the door, where Alec was getting his companion back, and her lips curled in disgust.
"I just can't believe the things that Feral is doing. Totus thinks.. Totus thinks they're going to try to capture a mythic. What if they throw that purple goo on it, and turn it loose? You saw what it did to our animals, to Simon."
Beth shook her head angrily, her face beginning to pale, fingering the flask in her pocket.
"I'm glad that you're looking out for me though. I.. I froze, and then missed that bear. Twice. I'd be dead without this team." Beth withdrew the flask again, and took a quick gulp before dismissing thoughts of her own mortality.
"I'm glad to be back, even though what we're up against makes me sick." She reached out and put a comforting hand on his arm, hoping he wasn't spending too much time worrying about her.

Totus reappeared through the door, catching Beth's attention again. Her hand moved away, and the bird chuckled.
"Looks like we're interrupting no matter where we go," Totus whispered to Falarion, before going to perch on the seat that Alex had vacated. He threw out a comment, just to break up the odd feeling in the air.
"It would seem we will all be fine, with a little time. What a day.."
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Amber followed Simon out of the room, helping where she could. She was beside him when they watched Duik recover. The relief was evident on Amber's face.
"So it's not permanent."
"Well," Calista came up to them and Amber helped the civet onto her shoulders. "Not for humans and bonded companions anyway...they still have the unbonded animals partially sedated...but they're still out of control."
Amber looked grim. "So if an animal is unbonded..."
"Then that purple stuff is pretty much a death sentence."

In the room Alec and Duik didn't hear any of what had been spoken. Alec finally set Duik down, eyes still red, but he was smiling.
"You're acting like I almost died." Duik said, still more than a little confused. "I don't remember how we got here."
"Later D. Let's just focus on you getting better."
The hyena was limping a little but together they made their way out into the waiting room.
"How are the others?" Alec asked Simon and Amber, only just realizing they'd been watching him from the window. His lips tightened as he saw the bandages over Simon's eye.
"They'll recover." Amber told him, specifically leaving out the fact that Duik had caused some of the injuries. She seemed to understand Alec wanted to tell Duik himself...later.
"Look, Strong, about the truck...I'm sorry I couldn't stop it."
Amber held up a hand. "Thanks to you, Laohu and Leandra that substance is in our possession now, where it can't do anymore harm. We can have it analysed and see if we can't find a way to counter its effects."
That seemed to brighten Alec's mood.

Duik trotted over to Totus and Falarion with a grin on his face. "Looks like we took another beating huh?" His voice was only slightly subdued. "But hey, we're all alive! That's gotta count for something right?"

In a corner, watching them closely was a boy of about 17. He was thin, with short, dark hair and dark circles under his eyes. He looked lost, and afraid. There was no companion in sight, and no one else that seemed to know him there.

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Name: Manjano Companion: Falarion
Manjano's Attire: Red-Brown Hair Dye, Dark Green Eye Contacts, Maroon Suit, Black Shirt, Black Dress Shoe on Right Foot Falarion's Attire: Dark Brown Eye Contacts, Maroon Scarf around Neck, Dark Orange Fur Dye, Black Fur Dye on Mane and Legs, Cream Fur Dye Underneath Snout and on Belly and Tail
Location: Hospital
Tagged: zCrookedz zCrookedz (Simon and Jimbo), Flutterby Flutterby (Beth and Totus), SilverFlight SilverFlight (Calista, Amber, Alec, and Duik)
Manjano was nervous when Beth was silent, but relaxed when she began to speak and explain. He nodded at the mention of her job that was spent mostly without Totus. He still could not imagine trying to endure such a thing. He had been too far to feel Falarion through his mental connection when he had been brought to the hotel to recover, but Manjano had not worried for him at the time because he knew his companion was safe. It was an entirely different story to not know what the other companion was going through and at this thought, Manjano felt a pang of guilt. He imagined Falarion must have been very concerned in the hotel since he had been unable to do anything to help and could only watch everything unfold. That would have driven Manjano up a wall being unable to do anything. He had felt that exact kind of helplessness with his foot injury and watching everyone get attacked around him. He never wanted to experience such a feeling again. While Beth was grateful for his help with the bear, he could have missed his opportunity and potentially lost her. The thought sent shivers up his back and he was relieved when Beth changed the subject.

Theories and ideas began to circulate in his mind and he suddenly made a connection.
"Mythics, huh? That would explain why we came here then. Whatever Simon and Amber faced before was a mythic, yeah? The Ferals must be after the same mythic. If any of the Ferals saw what happened to Luness, who I suppose is a very small version of a mythic, then they'll know their purple goo works on a small scale. I'd imagine just a higher dosage would work on a larger scale."
He grimaced at a small spasm of pain from his foot and fear began to creep over him. How in the world were they going to defend themselves against a mythic? Even without purple goo, mythics were likely to attack others regardless. Whatever the mythic was, it could probably just step on one of them and they would die right then and there.

Hearing Beth's fear of what could have gone wrong, Manjano furrowed his brows and said, "We're all here for one another. It's how we survive these missions and keep moving forward."
The sight of Beth's flask instantly had Manjano craving for his own alcohol, though he was uncertain if he was allowed to have any. He had a feeling drinking alcohol while on strong pain medications was probably not the best idea, but he decided he did not care enough.
Tentatively, Manjano reached out a hand and then asked, "May I?"

Bouncing along, Falarion loudly replied to Totus, "I think Manjano secretly likes it when I interrupt, to be honest. He just won't admit it."

Manjano rolled his eyes at this, but could not resist a grin.

Soon, Amber and a few of the others joined the group and Falarion wagged his tail at the sight of a limping and confused, but mostly recovered Duik. Unable to hold himself back, Falarion bounded forward and then skidded to a halt inches from Duik. Dropping down into a playful position, Falarion barked at Duik and then said, "I'm so happy you're okay, I was so worried!"

Manjano overheard Calista's comments regarding the purple goo and a frown quickly returned. His heart plummeted when he remembered that Leandra had signed up originally to save those unbonded animals. She already was dealing with what Luness had done earlier. How could anyone tell her what had happened to the unbonded animals now? She always tried so hard to help others and save anyone she could. She took losing just one life to heart and it was such a dangerous battle for her given her professions in the medical field.
Now Manjano definitely needed a drink...or two.
At least, that was what he thought until he finally noticed Simon's bandaged eye. Blinking at this, he then realized that Simon might need the drink more than he did.

Falarion's mood began to dip along with Manjano's and he soon stood up from his playful position. Trying to mask why, Falarion lurched forward to nuzzle Duik. His best friend had almost hurt his own companion. Falarion could not begin to imagine how Duik would handle such news and he knew it would hurt him for a long time. He could tell that Duik did not know yet and he realized that Duik was reacting the same as Luness. They both seemed to be experiencing short-term memory loss in relation to what they did while under the influence of the purple goo.

When Falarion took a step back from Duik, he began to look at Manjano and stopped when his gaze came partway across the room to stop on a boy sharing the room with them. He had not even realized anyone else was with them and was surprised that nobody had noticed the boy yet. He looked really sad and confused, quite a lot like Duik looked right now. Without a second thought, Falarion broke away from the group and trotted over to the boy. As he approached, Falarion slowed down and lowered his head a bit while flattening his ears against his head. He tried to make himself look smaller so as to avoid possibly frightening the boy. He knew he was an unusually tall canine and not many knew of his kind. Stopping a few feet away, Falarion quietly said to him, "Um, hi there. My name is Falarion. Uh...what's yours?"

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Barry waited patiently as Luness climbed his arm. It couldn't be easy getting around with the wing out of commission. He could feel the shuffling of BB nearing the corner of his other shoulder, keeping as much distance from her on Barry's body as she could.
"Been there, done that. Gosh wing stuff sucks when you can't even use it. Gotta walk everywhere like some kind land bound thing. LAME." She said eyeing just how bad the wing looked. "Let's get out of here. I'm sure the others are waking up. I WANNA SEE THE BIG MAN. I figure he has quite the handsome scar now." She urged while bumping shoulders with Barry. He shot her a look in the corner of his eye and huffed. Waving good-bye to Leandra, he made his way to the door. Stopping and looking back one last time with somber eyes. He turned at the door frame in the direction of the teams other rooms.

Walking down, he wondered what was going through Lunesses head. She always seemed to be level headed in situations but this was a strange event for everyone involved. He took out a note pad and pen and proceeded to write. "I'm sure everything will be alright. It's a special situation but she can't blame you for not being in the right mind. She'll come around. Not that I can really say anything, but I still have functioning ears if you got stuff on your mind." He held it as steady as he could for her to read. As he focused on the pathway once again, he saw a teen on the older side by the door to the others. He flicked up an eyebrow and gave Luness a look while nodding in the direction. He slowed down, concerned of what the boy wanted. Unsure what to do, he shuffled close enough to see Falarion approaching him as well. If anyone was friendly enough to greet someone, it would be him.

Something felt off though. Despite the muffled noise in the halls, it was awfully quiet for what he was used to. He looked at the shoulder opposite of Luness and noticed a rather empty space where a hummingbird should be. He did a light pap down of himself but couldn't find her.
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Stealthily, she lifted herself up from Barry's shoulder but remained close. Luckily, the layers of clothing and her light weight made for an easy getaway. Instead of soaring through the halls however, she let the door click as she saw Barry and Luness walk away. Flying to a counter top, she looked at the drawers that were much too heavy to open herself. The light buzzing filled the room along with the near silent sobs of Leandra. She fluttered over the the top of the pillow. "Hey, you think they have playing cards around? Wanna play go fish?" She said before really focusing on Leandra. "Oof girl, I haven't seen someone cry that bad since sliced bread....wait wrong saying." Hopping off the pillow and sliding to the mattress, she sat before the girls face. "Is this about boy troubles or the whole goo feral mass plot to take over the world that resulted in our friends going crazy for a bit that was way out of their control and which caused a sever rift in what we think of each other but will surly get over cus it wasn't really them doing it?" She uttered before taking a deep breath. "I'm just here cus big birds scare me but we can talk if you want."
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After the relief or Duiks return had settled, Simon felt a pit in his stomach begin to develop as he began asking about how they had gotten to the hospital. It seemed that Duik didn't remember anything that happened in the warehouse, which made Simon wonder if he remembered Simon slamming him off of Leandra or not. He managed to convince himself that Duik probably did not, but he almost certain that Alec would have. The pit in his stomach began to grow at the thought of confronting Alec about what he had done to his partner, even if Simon had done what he thought needed to be done to save Leandra. Even still, he had attacked Duik. He had always been a good friend and a loyal ally to him and Jimbo. Thus, the pit that now felt like it was going to swallow him from the inside out.
It was obvious that Jimbo could feel the remorse growing in Simon, as the gorilla gave him a bump in the hip with his elbow. Simon's good eye met Jimbo's and he nodded across the room to where Falaraion had approached a young man who was sitting in the room with Duik. During Amber and Alec's conversation, Jimbo had caught sight of the young man and had been watching him with growing curiosity. That curiosity was now spreeding to Simon and helpign to fill the pit in his stomach. He would have to talk to Alec later about attacking Duik later, for now, he was growing very wary about the boy in the room with them. Jimbo, not wanting to seem like he was watching the boy to cautiously, lumbered over to Duik and gave the Hyena a half cocked smile as he reached out to give him a pat on the head.
"Glad to see you're ok Giggles."
Simon shifted himself against the wall, using it to support himself against the growing ache in his legs from his tapir attack. Hoping that either Amber or Calista would be able to give them more information, looked to the pair and then nodded over in the young mans direction.
"Duik seems to have a room mate. Who is our young friend here?"

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"Worried? About me? Aw heck, I can bounce back from anything." Duik lifted a paw and flapped it once, waiving the concern away.

The boy looked up at the sound of a voice and when he saw the maned wolf, head lowered, looking up at him. He brightened visibly. There was something akin to awe in his eyes, a reverence, and a longing.
"Hey. You can call me Billy." The boy said in a quiet, shy tone. "You're a companion."
When Barry approached the boy seemed to lose confidence. "I-I'm sorry, he just said hello so, I started talking to him. Is he your companion?"
Billy eyed the massive phoenix with the same sort of amazement, even though it was tempered with a hint of unease. His eyes dropped down to her talons and back up.

Duik had watched Falarion go up to the boy, he was about to join when he felt a heavy hand on his head. He grinned up at Jimbo.
"Someone is going to have to tell me what happened, you're starting to freak me out."
For now though he was slightly more interested in what Falarion was doing, Barry and Luness too now seemed to have appeared and he wanted to greet them.
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Amber looked when Simon mentioned the boy. She shrugged.
"This is a public hospital, he could be waiting for treatment."
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When Duik appeared the boy almost seemed overwhelmed. "Don't worry dude, we're super friendly." The hyena told him in a nonchalant tone.
"We just noticed you hanging out here all alone...where's your companion?"
Billy's expression fell and he cast his eyes down at the white stone tiles.
"I never bonded." He looked absolutely miserable. "The doctors say sometimes it happens. I'm here for my headaches. I get them bad. They've been really bad lately though. I can't sleep."
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Name: Falarion
Falarion's Attire: Dark Brown Eye Contacts, Maroon Scarf around Neck, Dark Orange Fur Dye, Black Fur Dye on Mane and Legs, Cream Fur Dye Underneath Snout and on Belly and Tail
Location: Hospital
Tagged: SilverFlight SilverFlight (Duik and Billy), Bolt Bolt (Barry)
Falarion grinned at Billy, though his head tilted at the way he said that Falarion was a companion. He said it in a way that suggested he was a fan or something, which was weird to Falarion. As far as he was concerned, companions were very common, but he also knew Beth had not had a normal experience in bonding like most. Therefore, it was not entirely uncommon, as Billy himself said, for some people to never experience bonding in their lives. Although Falarion felt that the person would live their entire lives feeling as if something were amiss and never truly knowing why unless they understood bonding well enough. It seemed like a very depressing kind of life. Falarion was very curious to know if people could bond past the usual age of doing so, but decided to hold his tongue in front of the boy. If there was one thing Falarion did know for certain, it was that false hope was very dangerous.

Soon thereafter, Barry approached and Falarion did a double take at the sight of an unusually smaller Luness on one of his shoulders. She appeared to have wilted and was staring forlornly at the ground. Falarion repressed a whine at this sight, as he figured trying to comfort her in front of Billy would not help. He gave her a worried look, but then returned his attention to Billy when Duik joined the small group. Re-energized by Duik's comment, Falarion tentatively wagged his tail and added, "Yeah, we're awesome!"

Then Duik asked the question Falarion had hesitated to ask. Sure enough, Billy answered that he had never bonded and Falarion could not suppress a whine at this point. His tail stopped wagging and he soon gave the boy a pitiful look at the mention of severe headaches. "Do they know why you get your headaches?" Suddenly brightening up, Falarion wagged his tail again and inched closer to Billy. "Oh! Maybe some cuddling will help you feel better. I do love being petted, especially getting scratched behind my ear." He grinned at Billy, trying to brighten the mood.
Name: Leandra Sinciato Companion: Luness
Leandra's Attire: Dirty Blonde Hair Dye, Hazel Eye Contacts, Khaki Traveler's Jacket, Grey T-Shirt, Light Jeans, Cream Tennis Shoes
Location: Hospital
Tagged: Bolt Bolt (Barry and BB), SilverFlight SilverFlight (Duik and Billy)
Luness was as small as she could make herself now and said nothing in response to BB's chatter. As Barry left the room, she kept her eyes trained on the floor and tried to make sense of what she had done and what this meant for her future with Leandra. It was going to be difficult to get Leandra's forgiveness, but it was going to be even more difficult to forgive herself. She had hunted plenty of times before she bonded with Leandra, so it should not have been a big deal that she had killed the ocelot. Except that this animal had been bound to be bonded with another person and she had killed it before it ever had the chance. She had not killed it with the intent of hunting either, so she technically had murdered it. Being paired with someone as passive aggressive as Leandra, Luness tried her best to avoid killing anyone and did her best to simply maim their enemies. She had gone too far this time.

Hearing Barry scribbling something down, Luness sighed and glanced at his notepad when he presented it. He was not wrong, but Luness knew this would be an especially difficult situation for Leandra. Logically, yes, she had not been herself in the moment, but she still had ultimately killed the ocelot. She had not done so in a simple manner either. Luness shivered at the thought of how she must have looked in the moment. All she saw in her mind was a monstrous mythic killing anything in its path. Had she been any better than the Nian in the moment?

Hearing others now, Luness briefly glanced up to see they had joined most of the group in the waiting room area. She felt so ashamed of her actions, though, Luness almost immediately looked back down at the ground. She almost missed them joining the greeting of Billy, but Luness could hear the new voice speaking to Falarion and then to Duik. She felt his gaze on her and merely wilted even further, trying to be as small as possible.


Back in her hospital room, Leandra felt like a dam had been broken and thought her tears would never stop. Then BB suddenly made her appearance and Leandra began sniffling and trying her hardest to stop the tear flow. It was rather difficult once she had started, but by the time BB finished speaking, she had herself mostly under control. Her eyes were swollen and red from the crying and her nose was stuff up, and her voice no doubt shook, but she still replied quietly, "I just...I'm scared of my own companion now, BB. S-she was a monster."

At this, Leandra began softly crying again, trying to wipe away her tears from her cheeks as they fell. "I-I want to be able to move on, but I'm scared. Of Luness..." Trailing off, she continued to try to fight the neverending battle against her tears. Belatedly remembering BB's question about boy troubles, Leandra hiccuped and then gave a faint smile. "I wish I only had boy troubles and not...this."
Beth smiled a little, both at Manjano's words, and at the reappearance of their companions. She handed the flask over, and whispered, "Better drink while we can. I have a feeling this thing is going to end up on a rooftop before too long. Totus doesn't approve."
The bird, who was sitting next to here, piped in with, "That, is a wonderful idea, Elizabeth." With that said, he hopped down and rejoined Duik and Falarion. They were less irritating at that instant than his human.

Beth scowled at Totus's turned back, but it didn't seem genuine. She scanned the room, and noted their injuries. Simon's eye didn't seem to be making a recovery, Luness was grounded, and Manjano would be limping for a long time. Time heals all wounds, she mused, as she noted that one person was still missing- Leandra. Beth frowned, and was going to ask Manjano about it, when she felt Totus tugging at her mind.

Totus had half-followed Falarion toward the stranger in the room. He fancied himself supervising the interaction, until the boy said he was unbonded at 17. He reached quickly for Beth, lending her the audio he had just heard.

Beth nudged Manjano, and jerked her chin toward where his companion was now offering cuddled to the stranger.
"Unbonded at 17." The air suddenly felt a little heavier in the room. "Poor kid... I don't think unbonded people are ever truly happy. They're not whole, and spend their whole lives trying to make up for it." Her voice was very soft, full of the kind of pity that came from deep experience. She shook her head, and took another drink. She reached out to Totus, and tried to pull him away, but he resisted.

Instead, he looked at the boy and said, "You never know, maybe you're just a late bonder. Its.. rare, but you're still young. I didn't find my Beth until she was 16."
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Name: Manjano
Manjano's Attire: Red-Brown Hair Dye, Dark Green Eye Contacts, Maroon Suit, Black Shirt, Black Dress Shoe on Right Foot
Location: Hospital
Tagged: zCrookedz zCrookedz (Simon and Jimbo), Flutterby Flutterby (Beth and Totus), SilverFlight SilverFlight (Calista, Amber, Alec, and Duik)
Manjano smirked at Beth's comment and Totus quickly proved her right. He took a quick gulp and then sighed. He had meant to bring his own flask with him, but had forgotten it before they had left. He had been attempting to drink less before Beth had gone on her own missions, but she seemed to care less about it now than before. Totus had not changed his stance on drinking whatsoever, though. Manjano took a sip this time, not wanting to drink all of Beth's alcohol.

As Totus left, Manjano watched Falarion attempting to befriend the boy and wondered what he should talk to Beth about now. He had never been the best at holding a conversation for a long period of time and he enjoyed the silence a bit too much for most. He had grown up being the introverted twin by a long shot and had recently started longing to read books again. He had spent most of his teen years either at the gym or buried in books at the local library. His sister had teased him for being a 'buff bookworm', but he had enjoyed the simplicity of the lifestyle. He also preferred to read about characters in books getting injured, not so himself.

Manjano's train of thought was broken when Beth nudged him and he blinked before focusing on what she was saying. Hearing that the boy was unbonded and 17 years old now, Manjano wondered if it was a religious reason similarly to what Beth had grown up surrounded by. Although, he figured there were more reasons beyond religious ones for why someone may go unbonded past the usual age to do so. Hearing Beth's thoughts on the matter, Manjano nodded and murmured, "How could anyone be happy like that? It just seems like the natural thing to do and resisting it is...unnatural. I'd imagine most fall into depression rather easily if they go unbonded long enough. Or they find some kind of outlet to keep themselves going. I don't know...I think I'd be pretty depressed without Falarion to keep me company." Intrigued by this, Manjano handed Beth back her flask while he focused on his link with Falarion. He almost immediately felt the pity for the boy and then also the excitement Falarion had when he was trying to comfort someone and hoped it would work.
BB fell backwards onto the pillow with a light puff noise as she listened to Leandra while nodding along. "Well golly gee, now if it were boy problems, I would be giving advice left, right, and center! Honestly though, what did you expect from a fire bird? A light peck at prey? I get it! I really do! Who wouldn't be afraid of some big bird flying around with anger and fury in her eyes. She WAS a monster. Doesn't mean she is one now. Dang girl, just cus you saw the feral side to her doesn't mean she is that way with you. It's literally what the bond gets rid of. That wild side is tame like a freshly fed baby! I know it freaked you out but trust me when I say you don't have to worry about that now. That goo stuff is gone, just keep her away from that stuff and there will be no problem!" She said staring up at the ceiling. "And before you go, 'Oh but BB why are you saying this if you're afraid too?! Isn't that a bit hypocritical?' you would be correct but also can you blame a little birdy getting attacked by nearly all large birds she comes across? At least y'all didn't get hurt by her. Just let her in, talk about it. Didn't you see how frightened she was to hear it herself? Wait... you were crying, yeah never mind, she was frightened beyond belief. You would not believe the kind of talks I have to go through with Barry boy. He never shuts up! 'BB don't do this, BB don't do that, BB stop trying to hack into the vending machine it wont work!' I get it though and we finally see eye to eye... He puts a dollar in the machine and I still get my sweet treat! You see what I'm saying?" She said looking at the sad girl like its a typical scenario. "Also, does this smell like cooked chicken? I feel like I would smell like cooked chicken. Tasty one too. Someone's special treat for sure. I mean who wouldn't want a piece of this? I sure would!" She said presenting the blackened feathers.
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Barry shook his head at Billy's inquiry to Luness being his companion. Not too soon after, more of the team seemed to join in on the conversation with him. Barry gave him a nod before sitting down a little out of the way. Luness seemed to be too out of it for pleasantries and he didn't want to overwhelm the boy. Hearing how he wasn't bonded yet made him feel sad to his core. He had already felt the dread of possibly going through life without a companion by his side. Luckily BB showed herself to him once he was back home from duty. He wasn't too sure how strict the 16 year mark was for bonding. Was the potential bond cut off right then and there or did it wane slowly with each passing day. Whatever the case, hopefully he wouldn't stop looking right away. There are some miracles in the world every now and then. He began to scribble down on the note pad again. "You think they are going to pull us from the mission for a while? Everyone get healed up. We used our element of surprise it seems." He presented the note to the Phoenix.
Name: Leandra Sinciato Companion: Luness
Leandra's Attire: Dirty Blonde Hair Dye, Hazel Eye Contacts, Khaki Traveler's Jacket, Grey T-Shirt, Light Jeans, Cream Tennis Shoes
Location: Hospital
Tagged: Bolt Bolt (Barry and BB)
As BB began her rant, Leandra’s head swam a bit in her attempt to keep up with the hummingbird. Absentmindedly, she hoped that BB did not need any sugar drink while she was with Leandra since she did not have any handy. More shivers ran down her arms at the mention of Luness being a monster. Leandra could see Luness standing beside the burning ocelot and shrieking at everyone around her. She had never seen her companion like that before and her heart raced at the thought of seeing Luness like that again. The fear she had felt then, it raced through her every time she looked at Luness again. If she had become that...thing, then she could become it again.

Leandra was surprised when BB said that Luness had been frightened after learning what she had done. Then she realized that by blocking out Luness from their connection, she had no way of knowing exactly how her companion felt about everything. She felt so alone and scared after their connection had been severed and now she was just prolonging her own pain. It was so dark and quiet in her own mind. After being connected to Luness for so long, it was daunting to not share her mind with someone else. Leandra feared opening up again, though. They were bound to encounter that purple goop again, and that meant everyone was vulnerable after Simon got affected by it, too. If she lost her connection to Luness again, Leandra feared she might go mad. When it had first happened, she had been stunned. It had been such a shock, she had been frozen in her fear and confusion. She had been so alone, she never wanted to experience that again. The more she thought about it, the more she desired Luness to be at her side again. The warmth, sincerity, and concern that Luness always felt for her. It was as if her mother had never truly left her side. Whoever her mother was.

BB’s scenario with Barry flew over Leandra’s head, but she gasped when she saw BB’s blackened feathers. She immediately reached out and gingerly felt them, eyes widening when one came loose and fluttered down into her open palm.
“Oh, BB. I had no idea...are you okay?”
Leandra had to resist the urge to sigh. The world did not revolve around her and of course, others had been harmed at the warehouse besides herself. Her mind still felt foggy after the whole situation, but she recalled then that BB had been the one to take down Luness.
“I’m sorry you had to be the one to do that, BB. It should’ve been me. She’s my companion, after all.”

Inhaling deeply and collecting herself, Leandra finally sighed.
“I suppose you’re right, though. I was not the only one hurt or affected by what happened. I cannot imagine how terrifying it must be to have lost control like that and then to not be able to remember what happened. Amnesia of any kind is a horrifying thing to experience.”

Glancing warily at the door, Leandra added, “We should probably join the others...”


Luness felt relieved when Barry stepped back from Billy and the others. If it were not for her immobility, she probably would have flown away to somewhere in the hospital where she could be alone. Leandra continued to refuse to let her back in to their connection and it was unbearable to not be able to help her own companion. She should not be surprised, though. If what BB said was really true, then Luness must have been a terrifying sight for everyone at the warehouse. What would the others think of her now? Did everyone fear her?

Barry did not seem to be frightened of her, but he had not been there with everyone else. BB definitely seemed frightened, but had still been brave enough to stop Luness’ rampage. She was grateful for that, but knew that the humminbird would be innately afraid of her for some time now. She needed to make amends, but she did not know where to start and Leandra was not giving her any pointers.

Hearing Barry writing, Luness pulled back from her thoughts and curiously tried to see what he was writing. When he showed her the notepad, she read it and then nodded.
“I would imagine so. Some have more serious injuries than others and we have most certainly lost our element of surprise. The Ferals know that we are aware of what they are doing now. They may try to do whatever they have planned more quickly to prevent us from stopping them.”

Glancing over at Billy now that they had some distance, Luness murmured, “I cannot imagine what it must be like for a human to miss the mark for bonding with a companion. It seems like it would be a very lonely life. For us animals, I do not think we are affected the same way, but I also know very little of the process.”
Beth took her flask back, now mostly empty, and tucked it away. She gave a small, vague shrug.
"In my own experience, they turn to other things. Unhealthy relationships with other humans, with substances.. with religion. Apparently, the fervor of devoted prayer is quite therapuetic." There was a pause, where she realized what she had said, and she cleared her throat softly.
"Hopefully, he finds better ways to cope." The young woman averted her blue eyes to the ground, withdrawing from Totus's focus on the boy. She would prefer to think about one major issue at a time, and at that moment, it had to be the Ferals.
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Name: Manjano
Manjano's Attire: Red-Brown Hair Dye, Dark Green Eye Contacts, Maroon Suit, Black Shirt, Black Dress Shoe on Right Foot
Location: Hospital
Tagged: Flutterby Flutterby (Beth)
Listening to Beth’s reply, Manjano quirked an eyebrow at the mention of religion and prayers. It had been a long time since she had brought up her past, even if just in a vague manner. Seeing her look down at the ground, Manjano could not resist reaching out and taking Beth’s nearest hand. He almost missed her hand entirely until he looked farther to his right and adjusted accordingly. His face flushed slightly at his near mistake, but he said nothing about it. He could always blame the painkillers or the pain itself if anyone had noticed what happened.
Looking now into Beth’s eyes, Manjano said softly, “I think we both know by now that trying to run away from our past or problems does us no good. If something is bothering you, please do not feel as if you have to keep it from me.”

Pausing, he glanced over at Billy and the small crowd around him then over at Simon and his small crowd. Returning his gaze to Beth, Manjano added, “It would appear we have a slight lull in between missions right now and nobody seems to be in a rush yet to get us moving on. We have some time if you need it.”
Simon raised an eye brow as billy talked. To be his age, and to not be bonded, it was a very peculiar thing indeed. The rest of the group seemed to agree with this as they began to mutter among themselves about the boy. Simon couldn't help but think of his youngest sister Abby, who was quickly approaching her 15th birthday and would begin her trips to the bonding institutes soon if she didn't stumble upon her companion on her own. Between him and his siblings, Simon had been the only one to stumble into his companionship. His oldest sister had met her companion at a bonding center when she was 15. Even his mother and her companion had met at a center back when they were still a very new concept. But his father had met his companion, a beagle named Rufus, on a hunting trip when he was 13. Simon's mind wandered around a bit more on his family before he felt Jimbo tugging on his mind and he was brought back to reality.
Blinking his one good eye, Simon shifted himself on Jimbo's shoulder a bit more to try and circulate the pain that was building up on his lower legs. Feeling Simon's weight shift off of the shoulder he had been leaning on and the pain began to grow in Simon's mind, Jimbo shrugged off Simon's arm and nodded towards a chair in the waiting room beside a window on the other side of where Barry and Luness where. Simon smiled and nodded and the pair headed for the chair.
As they passed Barry and Luness, Simon caught sight of Barry's note to Luness and his one visible eye brow furrowed at the thought of the mission being called off. As Jimbo headed for the chair, Simon turned back to Amber with a worried, yet determined expression.
"They can't call us off yet. We haven't finished what we came here to do. Darcy would have to drag me out of here himself if he thinks I'm going to walk away from this place again."
Jimbo sat himself on the floor beside the chair, knowing full well that most furniture was not "gorilla approved". He sighed and motioned to Simon to come sit down.
"No one has said anything about leaving Simon. Now come sit down before you fall over."
Simon sighed and did as he was told as Jimbo huffed at him and then turned to look at the young man sitting in the waiting room with them. He tried to give the boy a reassuring smile, the best a gorilla could give at any rate.
"Ya know, our youngest sister is about your age. She hasn't found her companion yet either. There are plenty of late bloomers out there, so don't fret. I'm sure its just a matter of time and placement."
Jimbo knew that 17 was on the far end of the timeline for bonding, so he was trying to give the boy some form of hope. Though, he had a feeling that at his age, he might have heard what Jimbo had said more times that he could count already.

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"Aw bro..." Duik looked brokenhearted at hearing Billy hadn't bonded.
He was asked about his headaches and Billy shook his head sadly. "They don't know why I get them. Sometimes its not so bad, sometimes they stay away for weeks, but then they come back. Sometimes they get so bad I can't see straight. The doctors don't believe me, but they always get worse when we go on vacation here. This morning I had the worst one yet. I don't know why."
He seemed to brighten when Falarion offered to let him pet the maned wolf. He gave one tentative look at Barry, as if asking for permission before he reached out and placed a gentle hand on Falarion's back. Billy was beaming in seconds, rubbing Falarion behind the ears and across his shoulders.
Duik grinned mischeviously, "Hey Billy, he's ticklish. Riiiight here!" Duik prodded Falarion at a specific point on his belly.

Billy laughed, but when Simon approached he quickly stopped, clearly intimidated by the man's stature.
"R-really?" There was a hint of skepticism in his voice, it was obvious it was a familiar placation.

Amber's phone rang and she hung back to answer it. Alec followed Simon, smiling down at Billy. He had nothing to say. In all his experience working at clinics, he'd never seen a kid older than 16 without a partner.

"All right team, we're being ordered back to base here," that meant the hotel, "to await further instructions. Our team is analysing whatever that stuff was, they're going to start working on an antidote just in case our 'friends' want to do more than just splash it around."

Duik turned back to Billy, "Hey kid, hang in there. Maybe your companion is just...not good at getting around?" Alec had to smile at that. "Just, do what your heart tells you to do, I'm sure you'll find them."


The hotel lobby had gone more or less back to normal, save for the watch agents under cover, milling about. Amber was sure they had the place under complete surveillance, in case Feral wanted to try and finish anything with their team.
Calista went straight for the bar, while Amber watched her team settle into their free time. It was still pitch black outside, and the outline of the waves spilling over the sand could barely be seen in the distance.
"They got away with most of the tech." Amber mumbled irritably to anyone who was nearby. "But at least now we know what they have, we just have to figure out what they wanted to use it for."

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The ride back was uncomfortable for Simon. He had been on his legs too long and they were screaming at him for some rest the entire drive back. But that wasn't anything compared to the pain he was feeling on his face. The morphine from the hospital was wearing off, and dispute being given some rather strange pain relievers, Simon knew they would dull his senses to the point of uselessness. He sat quietly in the van on the way back trying to focus on anything other than the pain, a sort of meditative pain relief that he had become accustomed to using during his boxing days. But the throbbing in his head where his eye was, was proving to be a much tougher opponent for him to put down. Jimbo did the best he could to help, sending wave after wave of comfort to his brother to try and help ease his suffering. But in the end, Simon had to admit defeat at Jimbo's insistence.
As they entered the bar area with Callista, Jimbo ordered a soda for Simon and tossed him the pain med's the doctor had given to him. Simon reluctantly tossed a couple back and chased after them with the soda. While he was still lucid, Simon began to look for some more immediate relief to help with his aching muscles and sore legs. He found it sitting on a porch just outside the area with the bars, bubbling away happy and filling the atmosphere outside with dancing steam. The hot tub looked so inviting and relaxing that Simon wasted no time to strip off his shirt and jeans that had been brought to him at the hospital, down to his boxers, to have a seat in the churning waters with his soda. Jimbo's protest about changing into trunks was lost to Simon over the overly audible sigh of relief that Simon produced with a devilish smile.
Jimbo huffed and sound a seat next to Callista at the bar. Unlike Simon, Jimbo order himself a scotch on the rocks and had just taken his first sip when he heard Amber mumbling about the weapons that were stolen. The thought required another sip of scotch before Jimbo would chime in to try and alleviate the sour mood.
"At least they didn't get the Canon. Though, had the waited even a few more moments to retreat, they might have snatched it after I dropped it. Sorry about that Amber."
Jimbo wasn't really sure if Amber was in the mood to talk to him or not. After their last conversation in the hospital, It had left Jimbo feeling a bit uncertain about their friendship.
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Beth smiled at Manjano. It touched her eyes, as tired as she felt. She chose not to comment on his near-miss of her hand, but her eyes did linger on the scarred side of his face. She had forgotten his clumsiness. It was comforting, in its own way. She gave his hand a soft squeeze, her thumb brushing back and forth once.
"Don't worry about it," She said, "It's just an adjustment, being back. I'm okay."
She sat back to watch Totus quietly, but her hand stayed. It rested there lightly, easily dropped if desired, but not going anywhere on its own.
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Totus was getting the feeling that everything they were saying, had been said before. The bird felt a deep sadness settle over him. No companion, not much hope at finding one, and horrible headaches to boot. The bird glanced back at his own human, and found her right where he left her. The way her hand fit inside Manjano's made him look away quickly. It was then that Amber's phone rang, and she shortly announced they were to move again.
"I do hope you get your headaches figured out, as well," Totus added to Duik's statement, and then returned to Beth as she let go of Manjano and stood to go.
After a quick shower, Beth joined the few at the bar, alone, sitting on the other side of Jimbo. Totus had elected to sneak out of the hotel- nighttime was for hunting, even now. Simon looked.. rather worse for wear. She was about to offer him a bit of comfrot, when she caught Amber's voice.
"Speaking of what they want it for. Totus would want to say, he thinks they're going to try to capture a Mythic." She frowned, and waved down the bartender for some water. "It makes sense, but he hasn't offered a theory on a reason."
She gulped down most of the water in one lift of the glass, and eyed Jimbo's scotch enviously. But Totus had in fact hidden her flask, making his position crystal clear, and she was doing her best to respect it.
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Name: Manjano Companion: Falarion
Manjano's Attire: Red-Brown Hair Dye, Dark Green Eye Contacts, Maroon Suit, Black Shirt, Black Dress Shoe on Right Foot Falarion's Attire: Dark Brown Eye Contacts, Maroon Scarf around Neck, Dark Orange Fur Dye, Black Fur Dye on Mane and Legs, Cream Fur Dye Underneath Snout and on Belly and Tail
Location: Hospital —> Hotel Lobby
Tagged: zCrookedz zCrookedz (Simon and Jimbo), Flutterby Flutterby (Beth and Totus), SilverFlight SilverFlight (Calista, Amber, Alec, and Duik), Bolts Bolts (Barry and BB)
Falarion let out a satisfied whimper when Billy began petting him. He closed his eyes and his warm emotions washed over Manjano, relaxing him further after Beth accepted his hand. He smiled softly while Falarion began wagging his tail. Manjano wished moments like these could last indefinitely and was tempted to offer his shoulder to Beth. Hearing Beth’s assurance, he gave her a small nod. He could understand needing time to adjust. She had not had long to breathe from her past missions before she was joining the team on this mission. He would be exhausted himself if he had not gotten a year to do his own thing for the most part. Getting shot in the foot still left him exhausted regardless. The painkillers did him no favors in keeping him awake and alert either. More than anything, he just wanted to go to sleep, but he continued to resist the urge while waiting for Amber to announce what they were expected to do next. He imagined with the mix of injuries that the team would likely head back to the hotel and rest for the time being.

Hearing Duik alert Billy to one of his few ticklish spots and then poking him, Falarion yelped and quickly bounced back from Billy to avoid the potential tickle attack. Glaring at Duik, Falarion pouted, “No fair, Duik. Those were some high-quality pets I got and now they had to end prematurely.”

At the announcement that they were indeed heading back to the hotel, Falarion sighed and lowered his head slightly. Looking back at Billy, he said, “Keep your chin up, Billy, and I hope your headaches lessen in time.” He was very curious to know why his headaches seemed to specifically flare here, but had to stow that question since the team was moving out. Trotting away, Falarion rejoined Manjano’s side and gave Beth a crooked grin while Manjano began unlocking his wheelchair so he could wheel himself out of the hospital. He had the small bottle of his painkillers in his pocket and would just have to get the foot cast cut off in a couple weeks. They wanted him in his wheelchair for the rest of the night after the recent surgery, but he was allowed to use crutches once his pain lessened enough for him to do so. It was essentially up to him when he wanted to use them and he was intent on using them tomorrow morning if he could bare the pain.


Once they returned to the hotel, Manjano looked forlornly at the bar, aware that he was not allowed to drink while on his painkillers and he had already drank some from Beth’s flask earlier. His head swam a bit despite how little he drank. Rubbing his temples, Manjano muttered a curse while the others began fanning out to their respective destinations. Falarion whimpered when he felt Manjano’s pain and nudged at his arm. “Manny, you should go to sleep. You had a surgery today, are on heavy painkillers, and...you really shouldn’t have drank from Beth’s flask. You’re just going to get headaches now.”

Groaning, Manjano slowly pushed Falarion’s muzzle away. “I know, I know...I just...eurgh.” He winced and then muttered, “Yeah...you’re right, Fal. I don’t want to crash so early and not talk with anyone, though.” Looking around, he did not see his sister nearby and concern was etched onto his face. Seeing this, Falarion nudged Manjano in the thigh now and said with a wag of his tail, “I can try and find her, if you want.” Pausing, he added, “But I’d really rather be with you, to be honest.”

Another small wave of pain hit Manjano and he grunted, “She’ll be fine for the night. I really do need to sleep and would enjoy your company.” Falarion concealed another whimper and gave Manjano a grin before letting out a small yip. He bounced ahead of Manjano while he wheeled himself to the nearest elevator. While they waited for an elevator to arrive, Manjano glanced around and saw Beth with a few others at the bar. He longed to join her, but let out a yawn at the idea alone. Falarion snickered at this, but quickly quieted at Manjano’s raised eyebrow. A quiet ding announced the arrival of their elevator and Manjano carefully wheeled himself inside before Falarion trotted in after him. Just as the doors slid shut, Manjano caught a brief glimpse of his sister, but did not have a chance to see if Luness was with her. He hoped she felt better in the morning.
After returning to the hotel, Leandra had quickly returned to her room to shower after the day’s events. The hot water warmed her up after being in the hospital’s strong air conditioning for so long. She shivered with relief and began humming a tune to herself. Steam quickly fogged her mirror amd by the time she finally got out, she could only see a silhouette of herself. Her lightened mood began to grow heavy once more when she saw the empty space around her. She looked like so small in the mirror suddenly and so very alone. She suppressed a sob and turned around to look for Luness, but stopped herself. She knew she had come alone.

Once Leandra had stopped humming, the silence began to ring in her ears. She was not used to being alone and her heart began to ache again. Biting the inside of her cheek, Leandra focused on enjoying the variety of hygiene products in her bathroom and then grimaced when she saw her clothes from the day. She had not been roughed up nearly as much as everyone else, but her clothes definitely smelled like fish. It was not the most appealing scent. Sighing, she went to the closet and browsed her options. She had not brought too much with her, but she figured dressing casual now would not be a big deal. She put on some jeans and sneakers before deciding on an oversized grey sweatshirt to keep her warm. She left her hair down since it was still wet and she assumed their work day was over at this point.

While in the elevator, Leandra absentmindedly wondered how Manjano was faring. His foot had looked like the definition of ‘crushed’ and she was relieved to know his surgery had been a success. The only downside was that he was not going to be of much use to any teams going into fights. He did not enjoy being on the sidelines any more than Leandra did. She had no doubt he would argue every time they told him to stand down and hang back.

With a ding, the elevator doors opened and Leandra was back in the lobby with most of the team. She stepped out and warily glanced over at the bar, relieved when she did not see her brother there. She had a feeling alcohol would not mix well with his pain medications anyway. He had a tendency to be stubborn about his desire to drink regardless of why he should not be drinking in the first place.

Heading to one of the large windows near the entrance, Leandra listened to the debate about what the Ferals were up to. Instead of joining the conversation, she stared forlornly out the window at the dark and foreboding beach beyond. If she had not just showered, she would have been tempted to take a walk, but she rather enjoyed feeling so clean now.

While the others mingled or did their own thing, Leandra remained at the window. Her reflection gave away her anguish, as she struggled to accept what had happened at the warehouse. To accept that Luness had simply lost control and that the drugs had in no way revealed a part of Luness that could exist. To somehow accept that her own companion was not a murderer. Right?


Hopping into the hotel lobby, Luness paused to watch Leandra enter an elevator and promptly vanish. She hopped once more as if to follow, but then stopped. She had to give Leandra space for now. She could not force her companion to suddenly understand and forgive her just like that. Leandra just needed time. That was all.

Determined to hold an optimistic view of everything, Luness instead hopped over to where Simon was relaxing in a hot tub. Or perhaps it was a jacuzzi. It was rather difficult to keep up with all of the synonyms humans used for everything. Luness never understood the point of synonyms. Why not just stick to the one word that makes the most sense?

Shaking her head, Luness hopped near Simon and then stopped to fluff up her feathers in the steam. She sighed contently and then nestled down beside the hot tub, as if she were resting in a bird’s nest. Glancing over, Luness said softly, “Whoever invented the hot tub was quite the genius.” She closed her eyes, attempting to relax with Simon despite everything that had occurred that day.

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