Word Count: 840
“What’s wrong with him? Cancer?” Rayn kicked off as soon as his friend hit the ground.
“He’s just tired still,” Layla rushed over to try and calm him down. Even she, at a mere five foot and four inches, towered over him. She had to remind herself that she was dealing with an adult, whether he looked like one or not. Yet somehow she felt like the lie she had just spun him would calm him better than the truth. The IV drip had contained a muscle relaxant – some kind of gut instinct had told her that this ‘Cancer’ would not take the news that he was going to be locked in the lab on his own very well. She knew no one would take it well, but in particular, she felt he would take it especially badly.
In fact, she was surprised that Cancer had gotten as far as he did. He was certainly like no one else she had ever met before.
“Let’s go and find where you’ll be sleeping, yeah?” she suggested as lightly as she could, trying to pry him away from Cancer’s limp form. Now that the two soldiers that had been stood by the door were back at their post, the naked man was sprawled out on the bed, fast asleep again. They hadn’t bothered to cover him up again and for the first time, she was confronted with the scars and tattoos that were scattered across his body. She had to stop herself from asking exactly what kind of background they had, and wondered if Rayn’s tiny body was in a similar mess.
“No, I want to stay here,” Rayn whined, clinging to Cancer’s arm. “I told you, bad things happen when I’m not with him, I want to stay.”
“You can’t,” she sighed, not wanting to have to fight him again. She couldn’t let him stay in the lab while they were trying to work on a cure – nothing could get in the way of this new ray of hope, nothing. Especially not a relationship. It was them, or potentially saving the world. What sort of a choice was that to her?
“This is a lab, not a hospital. We can’t let you stay in here.”
“I’ll wear a lab coat,” he said, turning his big puppy eyes on her, “and gloves. And all that stuff. He’ll get hurt if I don’t stay.” He was adamant.
“He might get hurt if you stay. What if something happens and we can’t stop him from getting hurt because you’re in the way?” she said it as gently as she could, but the words lost none of their meaning. The look on his face could’ve broken her heart if she let it. Steeling herself, she tried once more to pull him away. Once more, she failed. “Don’t make me do this the hard way, Rayn,” she gritted her teeth. He couldn’t stand in the way of her research, not for another second.
“I’m not going anywhere!” Rayn shouted, aiming a kick at her leg. She wasn’t quite close enough and it missed, but the meaning was clear enough. One of the soldiers strode back into the room and braced himself for the beating his shins were sure to get – they were still recovering from the first kicking.
Sure enough, a small fist smacked into his groin. Pain rolled over him, and he tried to control it, but nothing could’ve prepared him for a man over a foot shorter than him to bring him to his knees.
“Grab him, you useless fuck!” Layla screamed at the soldier. She had a syringe in her fist, the needle uncapped and ready, but she was going nowhere near Rayn until his hands and feet were restrained in some way.
“Dumbass,” the other soldier grunted, stalking in to sort the situation out. He deftly avoided as many of Rayn’s blows as he could. A fair few still landed, but he tried not to let them bother him. He growled in pain as Rayn sank his teeth into his arm. But in the end, he and the first soldier managed to hold him down long enough to Layla to inject him with the same sedative Joe was treated to earlier on.
Rayn struggled right up until he passed out, angrily biting and trying to kick his way free, fighting the drowsiness until he wasn’t given a choice.
“Thank you,” Layla exhaled, “sorry for calling you a useless fuck.”
“S’fine,” the first soldier shrugged it off, pretending his ego was left untouched.
“Could you take him to the camp for me, please? Maybe not the one we left Joe in. I think that would be a bad idea. They’ll only encourage each other.” With a nod, the second soldier lifted Rayn’s small form in his arms and carried him out of the lab.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Layla moved back over to her microscope, one hand feeling for another vial that needed filling with Cancer’s blood.