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Private heartache and war [m]

Discussion in 'Pandopolis City' started by Toby Daye, Nov 23, 2019.

  1. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    Content Warning

    Nov 8th, Year 109 || @Gabriel Reyes
    She had been home a little over twenty four hours and she was... not doing the best. Which was probably an understatement considering how difficult it was to move. Toby had dragged herself home from the hospital because she had been too scared to stay there. She was safer at home behind all the wards and laying low. Toby hadn't told anyone where she was but there was a reason for that too. Toby was the sort of person to hole up by herself when she was this hurt.

    Oz had known, but he had left her asleep in her bed. She was grateful for that and Oz probably had shit he had to deal with. Toby... Toby was trying to take care of herself. She hadn't been doing the best. Going up and down the stairs for food had been nearly impossible. Taking a shower had been out of the question. What if she got in and then couldn't get out? Hours of water falling on her? The thought made her shiver violently. Toby had done a lot to get over her phobia, but with her mind already in a weakened state, she wasn't able to chance it.

    Except Toby couldn't move the way she needed to. She was in enough pain that she couldn't see straight, even though her body was healing at an accelerated rate. But the amount of damage Salem had done her was something Toby could just walk off. She had stitching, bandages, burns that were stiff and itchy. Then Toby managed to try to turn a little too quickly and she tore stitches on her back. In a spot she couldn't quite reach no matter how she struggled.

    She was seated on her bed, hungry as fuck, in pain without painkillers, and angry at the world. Toby was going to have to call for help. The big question was who. Not Oz, Toby wasn't in the mood for another lecture or I told you so, and she wasn't sure she wouldn't dissolve into tears the second he showed up considering how closely he was tied into things. Not anyone from work. None of the kids. She didn't want Nick, Wanda, or Kal to know because they might have felt responsible. Toby had screamed for help before Salem had dragged her off. It wasn't their faults they hadn't been home.

    A solution came to mind as she scrolled through her recent contacts. Gabe had been worried. That much was clear. He also wasn't part of her circle and he could keep a secret. Out of the media, not involved in her business, used to undercover shit. He also had a steady hand, as he had stitched himself up in the car while she had been driving to drop him off. So Toby bit the bullet. She asked him to come over (with food) to help. Told him where to find the spare key and the phrase to say to open the warding so he could actually get the damn thing out of the rock it was spelled into.

    Toby knew things weren't going to be easy for him to take but she had a feeling he had seen worse. He had enough scars to suggest he had been through worse. Toby hoped she was trusting the right person with this, even as she heard the door open up. Toby had mumbled out her illusion spell earlier, covering up all the damage so she could do a little more judging before revealing what she actually needed help with. She had warned him that she hadn't been able to go get food herself or go downstairs, that she actually wasn't doing the best, but... Toby hadn't told him that she had been tortured. It just didn't seem like something to text.

    She looked up, sitting there in a pair of sweats and an old, faded rock t-shirt. Her hair was slicked half back and she looked worse for wear, even if she looked normal because of her magic. Toby was holding herself gingerly and her breath was ragged as she sat there. There was a slight smile as Gabe opened her bed room door, even if it looked weak. "Hey." Her voice was beyond rough, hoarse in a manner that made it sound... well, hopefully he'd think that she was fighting off a bad cold instead of being strangled. That really would be preferred. But Toby was already carefully watching his face, already trying to read him so she could figure out how comfortable she was with taking off the illusion and showing him what was really going on.
     
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  2. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
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    Gabe hadn’t known that someone with regenerative abilities could even get sick. You’d think, what with your body kicking into overdrive to heal you quickly from grievous injuries, the common cold and other such ailments wouldn’t even affect you. Then again, Jack’s hair had gone white in latter years and Gabe’s hadn’t, so who the hell was to say what regenerative capabilities were and weren’t capable of? He was a soldier, not a scientist. Of course, Gabe wasn’t discounting the possibility that something else was actually going on — it was a gut feeling, nothing more — but he wasn’t about to start jumping to conclusions just because Toby hadn’t answered her texts the way she usually did.

    Still, his instincts had served him well over the years, so as he approached Toby’s house with a bag of Chinese cradled under an arm, he decided to exercise some caution. A quick glance yielded security measures that wouldn’t be immediately obvious to the untrained eye, like the small cameras at the corners of the door frame and patio. Not really a cause for concern, what with Toby’s chosen profession. Gabe had taken the liberty to install some similar security measures of his own, back at his place. Nothing like wards or special incantations, though.

    He located the spare key she’d told him about, feeling ridiculous while chanting the spell — the pixies look like stars — she’d assured him would allow him safe passage through the wards, then stepped inside and locked the door behind him.

    Toby’s house looked pretty simple and homey, with obvious signs that a toddler lived there. He didn’t spend much time exploring the place though, instead heading straight up the stairs in search of Toby’s room. It wasn’t long before he found it, after pulling open doors and poking his head inside, pausing when he spotted Toby sitting on her bed looking pale, frail and weak.

    “Hey there, stranger,” he greeted, entering the room. But as soon as she spoke, he couldn’t help but wince. “Damn, you sound like you smoked ten cigs in one sitting.” Setting the bag of Chinese on the nightstand, he settled down on the bed carefully. Unable to help but notice that she was sitting very… stiffly. “How’re you doing? You’re not feverish, are you?”
     
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  3. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    There was this nervous flip in her stomach as the bedroom door opened. Gabe filled the damn thing almost all the way as he moved inside the room with a bag in one hand. However she could smell the Chinese the closer Gabe got and Toby was hungry enough that it was difficult for her mind to concentrate on anything but the food for a few seconds.

    He was sitting on the edge of her bed and Toby lifted an eyebrow carefully. If Gabe looked around, he'd see that their bedrooms weren't all that different. Toby had a giant bed and not many personal items minus a few photos that were tucked into the corners of the mirror on the dresser. Some were new and others were a few years old, but otherwise her walls were bare. There were three doors. One to the master bathroom, another to her walk in closet, and the third was just an opening to a window looking area that overlooked the backyard.

    She offered a little bit of a weak laugh before lifting a hand to push hair out of her face. Except three of her fingers weren't moving the way they should have and her arm was beyond stiff. 'Um, probably a little bit but I don't think you'll catch anything." She coughed slightly but still tried to smile through it. Toby's breath caught just a touch as her bruised ribs protested against the movement. She just needed another day or so and she'd be well enough to move, she was sure. The bruises under her illusion were dark and mottled, as if she had been recovering for awhile now.

    "Not uh... contagious. Promise." She'd understand not wanting to get sick and for the moment, it seemed that Gabe was going to accept the sick story. Her shoulders relaxed as much as she would be able. "Thanks for coming by. I appreciate it." Another cough and wince. Toby could only keep this up for so long. She just didn't know if she wanted to tell Gabe the truth or not. Those stitches were still torn on her back. Her ribs could use another set of binding. Things that were hard for her to do by herself, at least with how she could move. Fuck. What was she supposed to do?
     
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  4. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
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    Gabe did, in fact, notice how bare her room seemed, conspicuously devoid of personal effects save for several photos around her mirror. He noticed the other two doors, too. As well as the windows, and every possible point of breach or escape route. After all these years it was just habit, something he barely even thought of anymore. Something that was just a part of him now. Noticing details, preparing for every possible scenario. Though maybe he was more aware of details this time around because of Toby’s fairly nonchalant attitude after not texting him. She’d been texting him regularly since they’d parted ways, so not hearing from her for over a day had worried him more than he cared to admit. But the fact that she’d messaged him at all to ask for his help played its part to alleviate most of his concern. Most, but not all.

    He stared at her now, noting how stiff her movements were. Like she was so weak, she was struggling to even move. Gabe couldn’t help but frown, wondering if this was some sort of cellular degradation. Maybe her regenerative capabilities were taking their toll, breaking her body down. He couldn’t help but swallow, all too familiar with such a process. If she were that sick, surely she’d say so? Surely she wouldn’t have asked him here at all, if she weren’t prepared to be honest with him.

    Or maybe he was just being paranoid. He did that, sometimes. Hell, more times than he cared to admit.

    “Anytime,” he reassured her with a small smile. But then she started coughing again, and Gabe reached out to touch her shoulder. “Hey, hey. Take it easy. Here, let me fluff up your pillows so you’re more comfortable, and then you can sit back and enjoy your—”

    He stiffened suddenly, catching a scent. A familiar scent, one he’d come to almost intimately know over the last decade. It was metallic, faint. But unmistakable, making him drop his hands to stare down at Toby.

    “Where are you bleeding?” he demanded, all business.
     
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  5. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    His fingers touched her shoulder and Toby had to keep herself from reacting. There was a small jerk all the same out of his touch, though Toby only got halfway before she stopped the movement. It was sometimes hard for her to fight against her instincts. Toby wasn't entirely sure she wanted to be touched. The only reason Oz had gotten away with it was because he was Oz, and she had been exhausted. Still coming down from the drugs they had pumped her full of at the hospital.

    He had moved to get her comfortable, which was a sweet gesture in itself, but then he stopped and all that normal, quiet humor on his face vanished. Where are you bleeding? Her eyes glanced up in his direction, lids half closed as she considered her options, with her jaw slightly locked as she thought it over. Trying to figure out if she wanted to be honest with him or not was... difficult for Toby. Trusting him with stitching her up wasn't going to be possible without showing him her real face. Or without showing him the rest of the damage.

    "It's... a little complicated." Toby looked away again. "I thought you'd might be able to help me stitch it back up I just can't reach." She made a bit of a movement towards her lower back but stopped when her ribs started to complain. The pain showed in her eyes then, before she closed them with a bit of concentration. "Sorry to lure you here on false pretenses." There might have been a little bit of a chuckle but it fell flat in her ears.

    "Cut on my back. Ribs could probably use a rewrap too, if you feel like being extra nice." She was trying really hard to joke and avoid the subject. She was also trying to avoid the fact that she was a lot more hurt than what she was trying to let on. Hell, Toby hadn't had a smoke since the morning of the fifth and she still wasn't craving one. Probably a good indication of how bad she was actually doing. And coffee? Same thing, not a cup since the morning of the fifth.

    Toby looked down at her hands, trying not to chew on her bottom lip and failing. "I just need you to keep quiet about it, alright Gabe?" Quiet was better. The less people that knew, the better. It was almost like she was scared about people losing faith in her and her abilities if they found out how hurt she had really been.
     
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  6. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
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    She was afraid, that much was clear. Afraid to open up to him, afraid to be honest. And yet, she was the one who’d called him here. She could have turned to anyone for help, but she’d chosen him. Gabe couldn’t say why, though she said enough for him to realize she was in pretty bad shape, but she didn’t look like she was. Even though her movements were stiff and careful, her expression twisting in pain, she didn’t look any worse than someone fighting off a flu. But Gabe knew the signs of someone trying to shrug off their injuries, and he could still smell that faint, metallic scent of blood in the air even though he couldn’t see any bloodstains on her clothes. Toby was hiding how badly she was hurt, and though Gabe hadn’t wanted to think about it at first, he couldn’t help but wonder if she was using some spell or other to hide just how extensive her injuries were.

    Gabe almost reached out for her again, to touch her hand in reassurance, but judging by the way she’d flinched earlier, his gesture wouldn’t be taken well. She chewed her bottom lip, telling him she needed him to keep quiet about everything without even being able to look him in the eye, and all he could do was stare down at her in concern.

    So, she needed his silence. Needed him to not take her to the hospital, or tell others about her injuries. Gabe huffed softly, shaking his head. Hell, he’d avoided the hospital like the plague himself, only going there when he had no other options open to him. If anyone understood wanting to tough things out alone, it was him. He ducked his head, lips quirking in bitter amusement. She’d known exactly who to call, hadn’t she?

    “I get it, it’s not something you can really talk about over text,” he reassured her, tone light as he gave a shrug of his shoulders. “And of course I won’t tell anyone. Your secret’s safe with me. Couldn’t have asked for a better secret keeper,” he added, giving her a little wink and a smile. “Now, how about you show me how bad it is, and I patch you up while you get some food in you before it goes cold? Got you some good old fashioned chicken chow mein, and no one likes cold noodles.”

    Ah, humor. Always the best way to make light of serious situations, wasn’t it?
     
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  7. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    Toby didn't always know how to handle these situations. She didn't know how to keep herself collected and together, and she wasn't so good at asking for help. Most of the time when she wound up like this she had a habit of being held down and healed by people much stronger than her. But that had been before her aura. Before Pandora, even. Things were very different now. The world was a different place and Gabe was someone new in her life.

    There were so many different layers of touchy subjects being hurt like this touched. Things that Toby didn't know how to really... open up about. Not with someone like Gabe. Not with someone she had slept with before without showing her real face. There was this hesitation for a million different reasons. Toby liked Gabe, she already knew that. She could picture the big guy holding out his hand to her, palm up, asking her if she was willing to try. There was a part of her that wanted to hang onto that feeling and part of her that remembered the last time she felt this sort of spark with someone. The last time she had shown her real face to someone who had the ability to set her soul on fire.

    He had looked away and treated her differently after. Would Gabe be similar? She couldn't quite blame him if that was the case, just like she hadn't blamed Qrow. But Toby knew that if Gabe had a similar reaction that she had to make sure that whatever happened afterwards, they would not continue to pursue what they had felt. What Toby felt. A make it or break it moment, in a way, and one she wasn't ready to have just yet.

    There was a little bit of a sigh and Toby turned away from Gabe despite his comment about the noodles. Toby was hungry as hell but for the moment, that needed to wait. One of her hands lifted to slowly snag her t-shirt. Her shoulders hunched forward despite the hiss of pain that accompanied the movement. Toby didn't say anything but she paused halfway through pulling her shirt up, finally letting her illusion go before pulling the material off entirely.

    Gabe would easily see all the differences in a second. Toby was beyond bruised and battered. Her skin paled by several degrees and the dark bruising stood out even more against her skin. Cuts that were in various stages of healing, burns, the marks around her neck were deeper than the rest. Bandages around her ribs that were half loose, stitches that had been torn in her sleep with her nightmares. On top of that, all her faerie features were visible, which was why Toby was pointedly had her back towards Gabe. Gold in her sweat slicked hair, looking like strands of metal despite it being hair. Sharp, more delicate features and her pointed ears. Her eyes were silver, but Toby closed them to concentrate on breathing. She didn't say a damn thing and didn't look at him. She just... waited for a reaction. Whatever it may have been.
     
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  8. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
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    She didn’t speak, didn’t even smile. It was obvious in her eyes, she was afraid. But of what, he couldn’t say. His reaction to the full extent of her injuries? Probably. Which begged the question, how had she gotten so injured in the first place? Gabe could only guess until he got a look for himself. But, tight-lipped as Toby understandably was, his mind was already going places, and none of those places were any good.

    Turning her back to him, she started to peel off her shirt. At first, there was no difference. But in a blink, everything changed. Her skin turned paler, her hair more golden. But her back, her sides… all the bruises, burns, stitches and injuries stood out in stark relief, confirming Gabe’s worst fears. “Holy shit,” he swore under his breath. He knew the signs of torture when he saw them, having suffered — and unfortunately inflicted — them himself.

    He resisted the urge to reach out to her, to comfort her. Even when he spotted the marks around her throat, no doubt responsible for her hoarse voice. A surge of anger washed through him, but he choked it down. That was neither the here nor now, not when Toby needed treatment.

    Taking a step closer to get a better look at them all, he suddenly noticed her ears, as pointed as he’d always suspected them to be. He hadn’t realized whatever illusion she was wearing to hide her injuries would affect her physical appearance too. But honestly? Her injuries were far more important than her sharper, more delicate features just then.

    “All right, first things first. Where’s your first aid kit?” he asked, voice sounding calmer than he felt. “Let’s get those bandages changed, and then we can worry about the stitches.”
     
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  9. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    Toby knew that her injuries were bad. Or rather, they looked bad. She heard his curse and winced slightly, before finally speaking up. "It looks worse than it is. It'll be gone by..." There was another ragged breath as she tried to place how quickly all of this would heal. "It'll be gone in a week. Max." Which was honest, at least. Her aura would kick in in another day or two and then she would really start healing. If she managed to find something to help out before then, she'd likely be up on her feet in no time. A week was a very short amount of time to recover from this sort of thing.

    Gabe didn't react to anything but her injuries, quickly getting down to business on what needed to be done. "Bathroom, under the sink." She still wasn't looking at him, her face was still directed at the opposite wall, but one finger pointed over her shoulder towards the master bathroom. Everything they could have needed would be in that kit because Toby made sure to keep it stocked. With her lifestyle and her friends, it was only smart to keep it full.

    Once he had moved off of the bed to get the kit, Toby adjusted herself further. Her good hand lifting to muss her hair in an attempt to use it to cover her ears, her face, as much as possible. Toby wasn't ready for that conversation and she didn't know how to properly avoid it either. Maybe she shouldn't have been avoiding it. Maybe it should have been something she had done up front but... well, Toby had her reasons.

    The changeling caved into finally looking at Gabe when he started back with that first aid kit. Her silver eyes glancing over her shoulder for a moment before he settled back on the bed. He had said bandages first, so Toby's hands slowly moved to pull the bandages off around her ribs, hissing her breaths between her teeth as she did.
     
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  10. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
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    A week of suffering was still a while, especially when she had two healing factors to speak of. She’d probably be better off getting healed by Lift, just to speed up the whole process. Did she even know that Lift could heal? Maybe. But Gabe wasn’t about to mention that, at least not yet. Toby was still fragile, still desperate for him to keep this all secret. He wouldn’t mention letting other people in on this yet, not until she was feeling better. Rummaging around for the first aid kit in her bathroom, he suddenly couldn’t help but wonder whether her own daughter knew how bad things were. Toby had probably left her in the care of someone she trusted while she healed up.

    Locating the kit, he returned to the bedroom, catching Toby staring at him over her shoulder, her eyes an unnatural silver-like shade that almost seemed to glow in the half-light. He stared for a moment but barely broke his stride, settling back down on the bed next to her. When she started to remove her bandages, wincing every so often, he leaned forwards.

    “Easy, easy. Let me help you,” he said softly, reaching out to help unwind the bandages around her. While she let him help, she flinched every time his fingers brushed against her skin. It was to be expected, after torture. But the furrow between Gabe’s brows deepened, so that it looked like he was almost scowling by the time the bandages had come off, revealing more cuts, bruises and stitches that had gotten torn open. Recently enough that Gabe judged it hadn’t been more than a few hours. It wouldn’t surprise him if she’d slept… poorly… and gotten them torn open that way.

    He’d torn open a stitch or two the same way, over the years.

    “Okay, lie back now so I can take care of these first stitches,” he instructed, barely batting an eye at her half-naked state. Sure, he was attracted to her, but this was different. This was about tending to her injuries, nothing more. Though he couldn’t help but grimace at the state of her bruised ribs, at how marred her pale flesh was by… everything.

    He wanted to know who’d hurt her, wanted to know so he could hurt them back just as badly, if not worse. It was a sudden, almost frighteningly violent thought. But unfortunately not an unusual one, for him.

    Still, he returned his attention to her injuries, and he was glad she agreed to a local anesthetic and didn’t decide to tough it out the way he would have. “Let me know if this hurts, all right?” he told her, starting to remove the torn stitches. They had to be removed before he could apply the new ones, and as soon as that was through, he worked on stitching her up properly. Strokes deft, practiced. Like he’d done this sort of thing hundreds of times before.
     
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  11. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    She didn't know how to read his face about this. Didn't know enough about him to put two and two together, but that was likely because Toby had been the one keeping Gabe at a distance. What she had felt was a comfortable, safe distance. He helped her take off the rest of the bandages and Toby's breathing shortened a touch because her ribs were no longer as supported. But pain was something she was so used to that she wasn't letting it register too deeply. At this stage she could almost fall into a bit of a... she didn't know what it was called. Didn't even know if it was a thing or not, but she just pushed the pain aside because there was nothing else to be done about it.

    Toby was used to getting back up to fight even when she shouldn't have. Her mind was already reeling with different ideas of how to make herself stronger or better so this couldn't happen again. At least, when her mind wasn't trying to force in those memories of what had happened. She fought those off easily as well, as long as she was awake.

    Still, Gabe told her to lie down and that was exactly what Toby did. Gingerly letting herself lie against the mattress so that Gabe could get to work. The sooner she was stitched and wrapped up, the better. She also agreed to the local because there was little reason to reject it. She wasn't going anywhere. Toby didn't need to be fully on her guard when she was home. That was the point of being home and not at the hospital. Holed up somewhere safe. Let me know if it hurts, all right? "It'll be fine, Gabe. Make 'em tight and clean, that's all that matters." What he was going to do was so minor compared to what she had already been through in her life that a few stitches weren't going to make her blink.

    Toby knew if someone else told her that, her heart would break for them, but for her life... well, it was just to be expected. Pain, losing people, sinking into a hole of depression. Toby knew what it was all like. This wasn't the worst thing that had happened in her life. This didn't even make her top five moments in her life. That was a comment she knew to keep to herself.

    Her eyes closed as the needle hit her flesh. She kept herself as still as possible, forcing any and every twitch to stop a split second before it finished. Tight and clean. Couldn't well do that if she was shaking? This was Gabe, not Salem, and their touches were completely different. Oddly, Salem's hands had been decently smooth. A woman who used magic and minions instead of hard work to get her objectives completed. Toby moved when Gabe indicated that he needed her to, and otherwise kept silent with her eyes closed. Trying to avoid any questions she might have seen in Gabe's eyes.
     
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  12. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
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    Fine was a pretty damned subjective term to use. But considering the way Toby had acting when they’d run into each other on the same case all those weeks ago, it wasn’t surprising. She’d struck him as the sort of person who preferred toughing things out alone, and in that sense they were a lot more alike than Gabe had initially realized. Even now, the way she was acting reminded him a lot of the way he would after getting injured. All business, like her injuries were just a minor inconvenience. A temporary setback, nothing more.

    It was a hell of a coping mechanism.

    “Spoken like a true soldier,” he commented lightly, trying to avoid touching her as much as he could. Her flinches, though she tried to restrain them as much as she could, were obvious. But every so often he had to brace a hand against her skin, though he strove to keep his touch as soft and gentle as possible. Only applying the necessary pressure when he had to make sure the stitches were tight enough to help along the healing process.

    He dealt with the stitches across her abdomen, then dealt with the ones on her back. Carefully, diligently. Avoiding talking for the most part so that he could concentrate, though it soon became clear to him that Toby could probably do with the distraction of a light conversation, if only to keep her trembling at bay.

    Now finding a light topic was another matter entirely.

    “You’d think I learned how to stitch in the army, but I actually learned long before I ever joined,” he said, starting to stitch up Toby’s last injury. “My grandma, she was a small woman who spoke broken English, so I only ever understood half the shit she told me, but she’d look after me when I was too young to hang out on my own after school while my parents were still working. Now obviously, she was the sort of woman who thought that spending too much time in front of a screen made your brain rot, so what better skill to pass onto her grandson than...” He left the words hanging, encouraging Toby to take a not-so-wild guess.
     
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  13. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    Spoken like a true soldier? "I don't... know about that." Toby had never been a soldier even if she was a knight. Things were different in Toby's world. Wars were fought in a more old school style. There weren't any guns or any set training. She huffed out a bit of a wince and tried to ignore how the needle pierced her skin as he stitched her up. The bigger pain was actually how her ribs were protesting against this movement, laying like this hurt like a bitch but it had to be done.

    Gabe touch was gentle and Toby slowly stopped flinching. It helped when he started to talk because it was easy for her to concentrate on his voice instead of those lingering thoughts in her voice. Her breathing eased as much as it could and Toby stopped glancing in his direction. The story he was telling was amusing and his voice was relaxed despite the situation. She was grateful for it, really, because Toby wouldn't been able to take lecture number four right then.

    A bit of a chuckle escaped her. "Cute. I bet she enjoyed that." Spending time together as a family even if they didn't fully share a language? Well, that was... well, that sounded nice. Real nice. Toby didn't have any experiences like that. She had been on her own for most of her life. But big ole Gabe sewing? That was... that was cute. Something she really didn't want to think about, did she? "So did that translate to just sewing yourself up or do you still sew other stuff?" She probably wasn't fully using the right terminology but Toby could not be fucked to think very hard right then. Not when a cold sweat had broke out against her skin again, not when that pain was riding nearly on constant from the other parts of her body.

    Toby bit down on her lip as Gabe finished up the stitches and then moved as carefully as she could to relieve some of the pressure off her ribs. She hadn't made any noise despite the pain, her eyes were still focused and she was awake. Toby just needed him to keep talking and she'd stay calm.
     
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  14. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
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    Maybe she didn’t see herself as a soldier – or as a fighter, more accurately – but she sure as hell was one. Not just anyone infiltrated drug rings, stirring up shit at the cost of their own well-being. Even if she did have two healing factors at play, it was clear she wasn’t indestructible or else she wouldn’t be suffering the way she was now. It took guts to dive headfirst into a situation that was riskier than most. Some stupidity too, but then again most people were stupid. Him included, for all his carefully laid out plans over the years. Sometimes, you just had to improvise and roll with the punches, and if you managed to get out more or less intact? You lived to fight another day. Of course, there were only so many pieces of yourself you could lose, over the years. But that was a train of thought Gabe wasn’t willing to entertain just then.

    At least his story about his grandmother got Toby to chuckle, if weakly. Any more than that, and he’d be genuinely worried about the state of her bruised ribs. “Well, sure. I’ve got more scars than I can count and there wasn’t always someone on hand to patch me up, so I wound up doing a lot of patching up on my own. But honestly?”

    He paused, waiting for Toby to roll onto her back again. Her expression was neutral, but he was pretty sure she was just putting on a brave face, trying not to think too hard about the pain. Local didn’t do much for bruised ribs, after all. So he decided to ramble on a little longer, if only to give her something else to think about.

    “I don’t wanna brag, but I make some damn good Halloween costumes,” he admitted, giving her a wink as he rose from the bed to wash his hands, raising his voice so that he could be heard over the running water. “Scared the pants off Reinhardt one Halloween, and if you’d ever met the guy you’d know he was someone who didn’t scare easily. Oh, and he’s like… twice my size.” Gabe laughed, shaking his head fondly as he rummaged around for a clean washcloth and ran it under the tap. “So just picture a giant of a man falling out of his armchair when I come in with my costume. I still don’t think it was that scary a costume, but it was one of my better ones.”

    He returned to the bedroom, washcloth in hand. “You’re gonna have to roll over for me again so I can clean up some of the blood. Is that okay?” Pausing, he suddenly realized how off his phrasing had been. “You know, when I pictured getting you in bed again, this scenario really wasn’t what I had in mind.”
     
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  15. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    He did have a lot of scars, that much was true. Toby knew she hadn't seen them all but she hadn't been exactly counting them out when Gabe had been naked. He was far too distracting for that and there had been better things to concentrate on. But his scars did seem to be apart of him. She knew the big one across his chest had come from an autopsy, even if the subject hadn't been broached between them. That was his business, Toby wouldn't go prying.

    Gabe was offering the other information easily, telling her a number of things in an almost friendly, warm tone. She couldn't help but wonder how many scars he had. How many times he must have sewn himself up while trying not to bleed out? Toby knew she had gone through that, herself. How many times had he tried to stop the bleeding in someone else while shit was going down around them too? If Toby opened her mouth and told some of her stories, how much would this man understand?

    Too much.

    The words were whispered in her mind, half in fear and half in... she wasn't willing to finish that thought. She couldn't. "Someone twice your size?" There was a quick look over him and Toby realized what she had done two seconds later. Toby had turned over and laid back down on her back while he had washed his hands. She had looked up at him without hiding her face or trying to cover her ears. A combination of the pain distracting her and Gabe's story relaxing her had caused the changeling to completely forget that she wasn't wearing her illusion.

    She took a sharp breath and winced again, gritting her teeth against the sudden pain she caused. "I'll be honest, I think you've got more muscle on you than I've... ever seen on a full human before." Toby knew some people back home who had a good amount of mass to them but it was really hard to compete with a bridge troll in that category. There was no point in stumbling over those words now. Not when it was obvious that she wasn't as human as she had looked before but Gabe wasn't freaking out. He had reacted more to her wounds than her face. That was going to stick with her.

    One eyebrow lifted when he stopped in front of her with a washcloth and told her to roll over. Her silver eyes looked up at him with a surprised, lopsided smile on her face. "Really now?" Toby's breath was still short and her skin was far paler than it should have been, but she had something nicer to concentrate on than the nightmares she had had or her pain. "I'll make it up to you sometime." Toby moved slowly, easing herself back around so Gabe could clean off the blood . Her sheets were probably fucked. One of her hands closed around the sheets to hold tightly, ready to brace through the pain she was feeling.
     
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  16. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
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    Gabe couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow. “Really?” he asked, unable to keep himself from snorting. Compared to others, he was... well, he was pretty average for a soldier, but he wasn’t huge. Reinhardt had everyone beat in the muscle department on sheer size alone, and Ogundimu… well, he was a man larger than life in more ways than one.

    But more important than Toby remarking on his physique in such a way was her use of the word human. He remembered, back during their first meeting, that she’d hinted at being from a world different to his. At not being an average human, back when she’d revealed her age to be older than his. It was clear now that she wasn’t human at all, but something else. An elf, maybe. Her pointed ears certainly suggested as much, as did her sharper features, differently-colored hair and eyes, and far paler skin. He couldn’t help but stare a little, now that most of Toby’s injuries had been attended to. She looked different, sure. But she still looked the same, too. It was still Toby, for all that she’d dropped whatever illusion she usually wore in public.

    He couldn’t help but wonder why she preferred to use an illusion and blend in, especially in a world with so many different races, species and the like as Pandora. But that was her business, not his. He understood better than most what it was like to want to hide how you really looked, and was ashamed to admit that some nights, he reached for a mask on the nightstand that was no longer there.

    “I’ll hold you to that,” he warned her playfully, settling back next to her on the bed. “You owe me now, and someday, I’m gonna cash it in.” Dabbing away the blood on her back, Gabe couldn’t help but notice just how stark a contrast there was between their skin tones, now that she’d dropped the illusion. Couldn’t help but notice that she smelled, too. “There’s no delicate way to put this, but when’s the last time you had a shower?” Was she so injured that she hadn’t even managed that much? An unsettled feeling wormed its way into Gabe’s gut at the thought.
     
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  17. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    A lot of people back home and a lot of people in general in Pandora were not the built sorts. There were exceptions of course, for instance Hellboy was an easy pick, but he wasn't full human either. Most of faerie was tall and lean by nature, so muscled men were typically changelings with some of the more massive fae being one parent or the other. Shit was complicated back home but Toby's world and social logic just ran a little differently between most other worlds.

    There was a part of Toby that really wanted to point out that she had stitched him up first. In her office building, after they had run into each other undercover. But understanding the nature of the teasing made Toby keep that line to herself. She was curious what that cash in would actually be, at least until Gabe caught her more than a little off guard with that question. When was the last time she had had a shower? Her body tensed oddly and she felt a shiver roll down her shoulders that only hurt. Probably not a normal reaction in the least bit but normal people weren't terrified of water in the manner that Toby was.Normally, she was fine in a shower. Five... ten minutes tops. She could handle it when she had to. Being on her own and uncertain of her own strength, Toby hadn't been mentally sound enough to try and brave water.

    "That bad?" A little bit of a nervous laugh, but all of it was a beat too late and a touch too forced. Small, subtle things that wouldn't have happened if she had slept well or had been prepared for this subject. "I'll take one here soon." After he had left, maybe at some point the next day. Toby would go as soon as she could trust her legs and know that she could get back up right away if she fell. That was all she needed. Toby didn't want anyone around just in case she... just in case everything that had happened caught up to her.

    Getting clean for health reasons had trouble weighed against something as strong as her PTSD. That one good hand clenched around the bedsheet in response, before Toby made her fingers let go. She was fine. Everything was good. Oberon's balls, she wasn't quite sure what the fuck she was going to say or do if he didn't believe her. Shit. Maybe inviting him over to help had been a bad fucking idea.
     
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  18. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
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    It was unmistakable the way Toby tensed, the way her voice rose a notch compared to how it’d been before. Like she was trying too hard to sound casual, to brush off his question as something hardly worthy of note. Gabe didn’t see why she’d be so tense about showering, not after what she’d clearly already been through. Gabe could only guess, judging by the radio silence on her end, but she’d probably been tortured for a good day, at least. She was lucky, in that regard. He knew people who’d been tortured for days, weeks, even months on end, and they never returned the same. Yet another way that pieces of you could get chipped away, slowly but surely. It didn’t make Toby’s situation any better, though. Not really, not truly. Just better than it could have been.

    “If you’re in too much pain, I could help you. Not like I haven’t seen anything before,” he added with a small chuckle, touch gentle as he wiped away the last of the blood on her back, nudging her shoulder with a finger to get her to turn over for him. “I know from experience how much of a bitch it can be to get cleaned once you’re fresh from a – a fight,” he went on, almost stumbling on the words. Because he wasn’t about to admit he’d almost said undercover mission, and he wasn’t about to admit he had a pretty good inkling how she’d gotten injured so badly. Maybe once he’d gotten Toby settled for the night and fed. The Chinese take-out was still waiting on the nightstand, all but forgotten. “Nothing to be ashamed of. You'll feel loads better when you're clean.”
     
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  19. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    Gabe didn't leave the subject alone and then he was giving her an excuse for her current state. Maybe even for her emotional state. If it's too much pain... Close but no cigar. Slowly she moved to where he had indicated, taking a few larger breaths as she moved into a more comfortable position. But more than that, the larger breaths hurt and gave her something to concentrate on in between her scrambling thoughts. Her emotional response that was trying to break out got derailed by the pain. Keeping it under lock and key for a few breaths until Toby really was more in control.

    Toby's mind was going into overdrive, thinking over all the details as her eyes looked over him carefully. Considering all the details and all the facts that Gabe was giving her. She wouldn't be stuck, that much was true. Not with Gabe there to help her up if she fell. Not if she was prepared for it mentally. So there was a battle in her mind. Trying to figure out if she wanted to insist that she'd take one later or try to act like everything was perfectly fine.

    She decided on the latter, figuring it would be better. Toby just had to hold her shit together in the shower and if she knew she wasn't going to slip, that would be easier. "Alright, alright." The brunette made herself act like everything was fine, except for the heavy stare she had given him before making that choice. "Thanks." She shifted again, moving so she could sit towards the edge of the bed. Toby had every intention on making herself move to the bathroom.

    Her hands held onto the edge of her sheets. One thing at a time, but this was nothing. Walking to the bathroom wasn't that big of a deal compared to everything else she had done in her life, right?
     
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  20. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
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    For a moment, Gabe thought she was going to decline. Brush him off, insist she could take care of it herself once he was on his way. But she didn’t, instead looking up at him like she didn’t know whether to accept his offer or not. Like she was trying to figure out whether she could afford to further expose how vulnerable she was. It was a valid concern, especially when they didn’t know all that much about each other, but Gabe felt like they knew enough. Like they’d both picked up on more similarities than differences between them, which was admittedly a more alarming thought than Gabe was willing to give it credit for just then.

    Whatever the reason, Toby eventually relented. Sitting up slowly and carefully, trying to rise without aid. Which was easier said than done, but Gabe was there to support her. Carefully putting an arm around her, but it soon became clear that even standing was difficult for her, and his arm around her was doing neither her injured arms nor her bruised ribs no favors.

    “Hang on, don’t worry. I’ve got you,” he reassured her, finally opting to pick her up the way one would a child. Arms wrapping beneath her legs, cradling her against him, careful not to apply any pressure to her injuries. She was lighter than he’d been expecting, but heavy enough that he wouldn’t have been able to carry her for too long without straining himself, so he made his way to the bathroom sooner rather than later. Swapping over to carrying her one-armed long enough to turn on the light, before entering and helping her sit on the toilet.

    It was clear, once he inspected both the tub and shower, that the tub was rarely, if ever, used, dust nestled in its corners. It would’ve been easier to help her get clean in the tub, but the shower would probably be quicker. So he turned towards the shower, adjusting the temperature until it was a comfortable warmth, then tugged his shirt off over his head. He wasn’t in any mood to get it wet for decency’s sake. Like he’d told Toby earlier, it wasn’t like he hadn’t seen anything before. Or like she hadn’t seen anything before. He appreciated the fact that she’d never drawn attention to his largest scar, the few times they’d slept together.

    “I’ve got you, don’t worry,” he told her again. Gently, reassuringly. Removing her underwear for her, because it was clear she’d struggle with her bruised ribs, then scooping her up and helping her into the shower. When she looked settled, he turned on the showerhead so a gentle spray started to cascade down upon her. “Want to start with your hair, or your body?” he asked, running a thumb briefly against her cheek.
     
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