Part 2324 – “I Won’t Let You Fall.”

Jay led Isellta down the hall. He didn’t think or care about how odd he looked walking backwards with Isellta’s arms around his neck, like two dancers with a bad choreographer.

That didn’t matter to him.

All that mattered was reuniting Isellta and Robin.

Isellta puffed as he struggled to stay up on his own feet. His sweaty bangs stuck to his forehead.

“Do you need to stop?” Jay asked.

Isellta shook his head. “Need to keep going.”

“If you’re feeling winded, you really should stop to catch your breath. I don’t want you to get sick again.”

His wings fluttered. “Don’t worry, Jay. I can do this. I need to do this. I…I need to…to keep going forward. I need to see…see…my…Robin again.”

“I understand, but let’s stop for just a moment. Just so you can catch your breath.”

“Jay.” Isellta seemed to think about it. “Okay. But only for a moment.”

They stopped.

Jay took advantage of the break to check their surroundings. “Well. We made it past the first corner. That’s pretty good progress. Better than I was expecting.”

Isellta smiled and pressed his forehead against Jay’s chest. “I wouldn’t have…made it this far…without you, my Jay.”

Affection radiated its warmth through the guard’s body. It was like eating hot cream of potato soup on a cold winter’s day. “My dear Isellta.”

People passed them by. Some looked at them askance. One person gave Jay a thumbs-up.

Isellta wobbled.

Jay held him closer. “I got you, kid. I won’t let you fall.”

Isellta kneaded the back of the guard’s shirt. “I know you won’t.”

***

If the suspense don’t kill me, the boredom freakin’ sure will.

‘sellta! Hey! Listen! Hey! Hey!

Oh, darnation. I sound like some freakin’ video game pixie or somethin’ stupid like that.

A need to yawn built up in the back of his throat. He tried to open his mouth out of force of unthinking habit.

The muzzle’s mouth guard held his mouth firmly shut. The only thing he could do was twitch his lips and that was it.

He flared out his claws….and remembered how good it felt to really stretch out.

His shoulders.

His back.

Turning his head.

Opening his mouth wide in a very fulfilling yawn.

Robin growled and strained against his shackles. But they held him too close, too tight. There was no way for him to move.

Darn it.

Darn it!

Darndarndarndarn…..DARN IT ALL!

Come on, ‘sellta. Don’t let me stay like this. COME ON!

He closed his eyes and tried to project his thoughts a little harder, a little farther.

Come to me, my ‘sellta.

His head pounded as his day exhaustion swept over him. Memories sparked inside his mind…..

***

Robin stomped up the stairs as if he were trying to break either his feet or the stairs.

***

Robin curled up alongside Ambrose and stretched his arm across him.

***

“How will we end, Robin?”

“What?” The question blindsided Robin. It didn’t come from anything that he’d been talking about.

Isellta lowered his wings to his back. “You and I. How will we end?”

“You and I? What the heck you talkin’ about?”

“After tonight and then the next tonight and then the next one.”

Robin slowed to a halt. Something inside of him felt weird and jittery. He didn’t know what it was. He couldn’t pinpoint the spot.  

Isellta stopped. “Will you still want me to stay with you? Will you tell me to leave and never come back? Will you miss me when I’m gone?”

***

Stupid dumb question. Like I wouldn’t miss someone like him?

Stupid.

I ne’er shoulda hit him. If I hadn’t…if he had stayed…If only he’d stayed.

If only.

If only…

…if…

His day exhaustion swept him away.

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