“Asha! Asha!?” he yelled as he broke out of the path and into the open desert. He looked around for signs of his partner but saw nothing. His stomach flip flopped as he walked farther, his eyes constantly scanning the area. A shock of black caught his attention and he ran towards it, his entire being electrified by fear. He fell to his knees by Asha’s body and gently wiped some of the sand from his face. “Asha?” he whispered. When there was no response he reached out with a shaking hand to feel the other’s pulse. “Please don’t be dead,” he said to himself. Tears pricked at his eyes as looked at Asha’s face for any signs of life. His skin was dirty from the sand his lips were dry and cracked from exposure to the sun, a sign that he had been laying there for a while. Asha’s pulse still thrummed in his neck much to Rei’s relief and after brushing off more of the sand he saw the bloody head wrap that Asha had tied around his own thigh. Rei poured some of the water from his canteen into Asha’s mouth and waited. Asha’s eyes fluttered open and silently shifted to Rei. Rei felt a tear slide down one of his cheeks which he quickly wiped away. Despite the relief that he felt he knew that Asha wasn’t safe yet.
“I have to get you back to camp,” Rei murmured to him, his fingers running across one of Asha’s cheek bones.
“No,” Asha croaked.
“What?” Rei stared into the face of his lover in disbelief.
“Leave me,” Asha replied, his voice weak.
“Like hell I’m going to leave you in the desert to die!” Rei yelled, the tears streaming down his cheeks now. Asha reached out one of his hands to him but Rei gently folded it back against his chest. “Not right now. I have to get you home.” Asha tried to protest again but he was in no shape to fight Rei off when he hoisted him onto his back. He secured his hands around his lover before taking off for their camp.