Nen and I called Dakarai and we ran outside. We needed Dakarai's hearing. I began scanning the area while Dakarai closed his eyes. Suddenly (and absurdly) he began to laugh. I raised an eyebrow.
"He's saying how he might as well turn himself in," he explained, "He says he'd rather do that than face you. He's over there by the way." I followed where he was pointing and spotted Ambrose, along with two others.
"AMBROSE! Get your ghostly butt over here!" I yelled at him. I grabbed the first thing I could reach, which was (pitifully) a stick. I threw it at him but he'd already disappeared through a tree. He peeked around the tree trunk. I had to supress mirth. Nen and Dakarai were also trying not to laugh.
"What is it with you and sticks?!" Ambrose called. I threw another one and he ducked out the way before popping his head back round. "Seriously?!"
"Oh, would you like me to get a rock instead?" I shouted.
"She wouldn't really," Dakarai murmured.
"She would," Nen replied as I picked up a particularly large, jagged rock. I heard Ambrose sneeze and narrowed my eyes. I handed the rock to Nen.
"Look after that for me," I instructed, "I'll need it later." Nen looked at the rock then me. He shook his head.
"Remind me never to get on your wrong side," Nen commented and Dakarai nodded very quickly, in agreement. I began to march over to where Ambrose was - which was still hiding behind the tree.
I put my hands on my hips and glared. "Just because you have a cold - which is totally your fault - doesn't mean I'm not gonna murder you! It's just not in my nature to forgive," I informed him, "I will give you five seconds head start though - since I'm feeling generous." Actually, I just liked a challenge, but he didn't need to know that.
Ambrose gulped, "You wouldn't really-"
"This is a joke right?"
"You can't seriously-"
"But I can-"
"I'll just be going now."
"One!" I said just as he began to run away; going through obstacles.
"HEY! That's cheating!" I called after him. He laughed weakly. I ran over to Nen and held out a hand. He gave me the rock without comment. I smiled and kissed him quick before chasing Ambrose.
"Be careful!" Nen called after me.
We ran through the woods for a while. He managed to creep further ahead since he could go through things but I had to go around them. I'd dropped the rock since it was simply hindering me.
Suddenly, he went down. I thought that maybe he'd stumbled but he didn't get back up. I sped up.
He was lying on his back, panting heavily. He didn't look good at all; he was pale and a sheen of sweat had appeared on his forhead. His eyes were closed.
"Ambrose?" I whispered timidly. There was no response. I fell to my knees and put a hand on his forehead.
"Shit!" I said. He was burning up. I tore the leg of my khaki's of from just below the knees and made two wads. I headed for the stream and soaked one of the wads. I ran back and put the makeshift flannel on his forehead. He began shivering and I wrapped my own jacket around him.
"I can tell that Ambrose's personal ghost is here!" I snapped, "Can you please go and get some sort of help?" I felt the third presence go reluctantly. I made a mental note to ask Ambrose about his special ghost if he was still...
No! He would not die! I wouldn't let him! (Under other circumstances I'd appreciate the irony that I was the one who was always saying I'd kill him).
"Come on, Ambrose!" I hissed in his ear, "You will not die on us dammit! You can't kill yourself to escape me murdering you! That's against the rules, I've decided. Ambrose, please, open your eyes." I felt for his pulse. It was faint and uneven - the same as his breathing.
Why, why, did I have to push him so much? This was my fault.
"Don't be stupid," Ambrose muttered and I realised I'd said that out loud.
"Oh, thank God," I breathed and Ambrose chuckled. He didn't realise that (for once) I wasn't being sarcastic - I was seriously thanking God that he'd finally responded.
Ambrose groaned and shuddered. Crap, I didn't have anything else to keep him warm (only as a very last resort would I hug the kid).
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
"You're sorry? What the hell do you have to be sorry for?! I'm the one who has any right to be sorry so just shut the heck up and stop making me feel worse! I do not like feeling guilty!"
"Sorry," he grinned faintly then shivered again, "I'm cold." I swallowed and prepared to move his head onto my lap. I wrapped the dry 'cloth' around his neck like a scarf and wiped his face with the other.
"Where are they?" I muttered.
"Right here," Dakarai said from behind me. I shrieked and glared at him. Twice in one day...
The new boy and Dakarai picked him up and began to carry him to the house. Nen held out a hand to me and I took his. He pulled me to my feet and we followed slowly.
We took Ambrose up to an empty room and put him on the bed. Dakarai and the new boy glanced at me but my face was carefully blank. Along with the new girl, I left the room to get some proper flannels and a bucket of cold water. We exchanged no words other than names. Hers was Vela.
When we returned, Ambrose was in dry clothes and wrapped up in the duvet. I soaked the flannel and handed it to Vela. She walked over and put it on Ambrose's forehead. I couldn't stay anymore, not when I was feeling so guilty about the whole thing.
I heard Nen follow me to my room. I turned to him when I heard him close the door. I had tears in my eyes.
"What have I done?" I whispered, "We need Ambrose. He makes all the decisions, he knows what's going on. I know none of you trust him but it doesn't change the fact that we need him. What have I done?" I repeated.
"Kiora..." Nen began. He pulled me into his arms. "It wasn't your fault. None of us knew how bad his cold was. He's used to doing what he likes and so I don't think even he knew that it could get this bad. He'll be fine, though, we just need to reduce his temperature. Nothing to worry about."
"Yeah, sure," I murmured, "Except the government."
"But they can't see this place," Nen kissed my forehead.
Neither of us said anything about the fact that while they can't see it, it doesn't mean they can't find it.