A/N Please R&R! Thanks!
She was twenty feet from his bed, when she found him on his back and heard the loud weeping echoing from across the room. It felt like she was in slow motion, like her ankles were weighed down with lead. She couldn't get to him fast enough. She didn't even know what to expect before she got to him either. She wondered if it had anything to do with his injuries. When she finally got to his side, she halted and evaluated him. She realized he wasn't even awake. His pale lids covered his rapid moving eyes. As she got closer, she noticed a slight glimpse of reddened sclera visible as well. She shook her head.
Does this man ever sleep? She asked herself.
Her eyes went to catch a glimpse of his back, but it was no longer visible, he had changed position. To her relief she couldn't see any fresh blood spread under him. Her dismay didn't dissolve however. The display in front of her made the whole thing unsettling. She knew he was in a deep dream state, but then she amended that thought.
This was no dream…
"A nightmare." She declared to the cold air, under her breath.
Guilt found its way into Esmeralda's rapid beating heart and it dispersed into every fiber of her soul. Her empathy for him was so strong now and it made her eyes burn with tears. She watched him fight unseen demons in his most helpless state and it made her wish she had never left his side. She shouldn't have ever left. But, her optimism was fiercer than any guilt could overtake. She had gone this far with him and if she was capable of remedying his physical wounds, she could with his spiritual ones as well.
First she had to let go of the defaulted fear she had for this man. She had every reason to still be cautious of him, but she now knew she was only dealing with a man and not a monster. She also knew that this night has taught her more about the human ailment of the mind than any other time.
Another minute slipped by in her own contemplations. In the same breath she tried to build enough courage to reach one slender hand toward him and wake him. She argued with herself on this, wondering if it was safe to even try to rouse him out of this. She had heard horror stories of people being abruptly awakened from dreams and nightmares. Stories of people attacking the ones attempting to wake them, or they themselves having horrible convulsions that would leave them traumatized for long periods of time and even forever.
Another minute passed and she looked at his writhing form with nervous eyes. She knew she had to try to intervene. She banished the previous horrid thoughts in her mind and reached her hand out to him. She inched forward quiet and timid. She was almost to his clammy, defined shoulder.
Suddenly, his body reacted to an unknown and unseen strike. It made his back trunk contort and the abruptness caused her to pull her hand back with a jerk. She clasped her own hand to her chest tight as she watched in horror as Claude sobbed in pain, every muscle going tout and strained. She looked to his feet to see his toes curling and his arches flexing. His hands were balled into fists as they shook weakly at his sides.
She stood there distressed and beside herself. Even though she was still in full analysis mode, she didn't know what to do but simply look for signs of injury. The way he was stretching his skin perturbed her and she didn't want his trauma to worsen. Finally, just as quickly as it came, his body went limp and the whole troubling display ended. He sunk back in his bed, his head lolled back and forth on his pillow.
Esmeralda stayed glued to her spot, waiting for another unpredictable episode. She swallowed nervously and swept the hair away from her unblinking eyes. Then she inched towards him slowly on the balls of her feet. As she neared, she cocked her head curiously and noticed fresh tears forming at the outer corners of his eyes. Sweat beaded his brow as it furrowed in torment. She could hear clear, painful cries rip through his tight throat, which followed full low sobs.
The collective weight of his tears gave way and one single tear managed to drop. It travel down his temple and disappeared in the mess of his damp hair. He continued his mute crying and once Esmeralda was sure there would be no reprise of his last spell, she swiftly took his trembling hand in hers. Her other hand moved to his head, touching his wet forehead and put the constant back and forth motion to rest.
Her palm soothingly made its way to his hair line and in an upward motion, the tips of his silver hairs reflected in contrast to the fire's light on the other side of the room. They bent at her hands will and fanned back into place. She proceeded to his crown and he turned his head to face her. He was still struggling with whatever or whomever held him hostage inside his own mind. A few more tears could be seen from his right eye. They slid to the bridge of his hooked nose and dropped off into an unseen crevice of his pillow. Esmeralda wiped the remaining collection away and leaned in close.
Her lips barely made contact with his upper temple. She took an unsteady breath. Her throat begun to ache again from oncoming tears of her own, that she had to fight off. She closed her eyes tight and felt her wet lashes.
"You're okay." Her hot breath whispered against the swoop of side burn and she moved her head to the side. Her black tresses masked both their faces.
After a long pause, she raised her head a bit to watch his reactions. She still held a tight grip on his hand and she didn't let go. Neither hand stopped their efforts on him.
"Claude?" She called out his name to try to get some kind of response. Her attempt caused his lips to form into a small frown, at least that what she thought. It was between sadness and confusion and she wondered if he could indeed hear her. So, she strived again.
"Claude?" Her eyes never left him. She watched, eyes unblinking for changes in subconscious moods.
Just then, she noticed his eyes trying to open and his head lifted. His lids cracked wider to reveal a brief glimpse of his dark chocolate eyes. They focused on her for just a second before they swam up into the back of his head again.
He was trying to wake, but Hypnos had him in his grips. Esmeralda knew what kind of struggle he was having, she knew all too well.
She remembered countless times where she would be fighting to be released of a nightmare. Like she was in an endless loop. Awaking within a dream, within a dream, within a dream. Like her spirit travelled too far, too deep into the stratum of time and had to revisit every layer to wake. At least that's what she believed.
"Lay back and rest Claude." She spoke faintly to him and she watched Frollo slowly lower his head and close his eyes fully.
She still held onto his hand and she could tell his heartbeat was waning to a steady rhythm. His breathing had slowed as well, he was no longer fighting to breath in between horrible sobs and cries. His inhales and exhales through his nose reminded her of waves crashing in the distance.
As she watched him rest his head against his pillow, she saw his features change slowly to a much more tranquil air. To her relief, there was no longer an aggrieved look upon his face.
Through this whole thing, Esmeralda didn't even notice how exhausted she was. Her adrenaline was receding fast. She didn't realize how much her feet ached until she flexed them, or how tight her lower back felt. She couldn't tell how long she had been standing. All her efforts had been used up for him. Only then, did a small part of her mind echo through and try to convince her that he wasn't worth her trouble.
What has he done to prove that he deserves your kindness? Even after refusing it? You should have left him.
Why would you waste your time on this cruel, unapologetic maniac of a man? When there are others out there that deserve your attention.
Because…They are already loved…
Suddenly, a picture was placed between her doubting thoughts and her drive to come to a rational reason. One of the most innocent things in the world.
It was that of a new born infant.
One of the most fragile things to ever enter this cold, cruel and hate filled world. A being that is at the mercy of its custodians. A being that should never be over looked, ignored, abused or exploited for any means. That only love, happiness, protection and solace be the fundamentals of their universe and making sure those values never fall short or have any conditions. Only then could a person live through this existence with love in their own hearts.
Esmeralda looked down at Claude's sleeping form.
She hated to use the word pity in describing this position with him, but every other word she used in its place was just a semantical evasion. Maybe it stemmed from her own pride and self-righteous tendencies. She could recall countless times of resenting the ones that took pity on her. It left her feeling helpless and weak.
Claude never did however. He believed in self-sufficiency and taking responsibility for your own actions. It was something that Esmeralda surprisingly, but secretly admired.
The look on her face grew more solemn as she eyed her handy work of the linen wraps that encircled his jutting ribs. The memory still fresh behind her eyes.
Not like this…This had gone too far…
Suddenly, Claude stirred and it jolted her back out of her thoughts. His low baritone groan carried throughout the small room and it left Esmeralda's spine tingling.
Esmeralda jumped into action and crossed the room to the fire place to fetch some of her supplies, including fresh water and his newly washed goblet. She was just rounding the end of his bed when Claude attempted to lift himself up.
That was a mistake.
"No! Claude, stay…" She cut her warning short in slight irritation at his usual stubbornness and watched anxiously.
Claude raised his upper half off of the bed. He swung his legs ungainly off the side of bed into a sitting position and instantly, the room started spinning. His head began pounding and his eyes went unfocused. He could hear a woman's voice to his right, but just as he tried to turn his head to find her location, he felt nausea and it caused his stomach to lurch. His throat tightened and his mouth salivated enough to know he made the wrong choice in moving.
Esmeralda saw what was left of the color drain from his face and she knew she had to find something quickly. She set her other things down momentarily in a heap and fetched his empty washing basin nearby. She grabbed it loudly and hurried to his side. Just as soon as it met Claude's ashen face, he retched hard and loud into the bowl. He griped the sheets tightly at his sides, while Esmeralda steadied him as well as she could. His palms and the bottoms of his feet became clammy with forthcoming sick. Every throw of his stomach left a burning inside and it made the hammering in his head ten times worse. His whole body was weak. His muscles ached all over and his back stung. He could feel an independent pulse beat on its own underneath some sort of cloth restraints.
Esmeralda observed with hidden consternation that there was no contents entering the bowl. There was nothing in his belly to project and she knew it was because he hadn't eaten in god knows how long.
She held the bowl to him for a while after he had calmed and felt confident enough to remove it from him. She rested it at his bedside, took a piece of linen near her and wiped at his mouth. She held his shoulders firmly and she leaned in. She tried to get a look at his eyes, but he was too hunched over and the weakest she'd seen him yet. It worried her, but she had to get to him, she had to make him listen and understand. It was for his own good.
"Claude? Please." She begged as she continued, still trying to catch his eyes. "You NEED to lie back." "You're not well and you've lost a lot of blood."
Claude lifted his head weakly and caught the worry on her face. But closed his eyes shortly after. Even the dullest of candle light Esmeralda had lit earlier assaulted his vision. Which caused his excruciating and massive headache to begin pummeling inside his head once more. It was enough to start a whole new round of sickness welling up in his tender stomach.
"Please." She asserted.
He swallowed, trying to moisten his now dried mouth and throat. All it did was make him want to gag more. Another wave of sickness followed this and Esmeralda backed up just in case. She also had her hand at the ready with the basin if did in fact hurl. But, to her relief, he relented and started moving to lie back down again.
As he laid back, Esmeralda readied his heavier blanket at the end of the bed and got her supplies ready for him. She still kept an eye on him as he lowered himself back onto the mattress. She poured a fresh goblet of water for him and headed to his side. She decided to set the full glass on the bedside table. She figured it would be unwise to offer it to him without him asking first. Her decision was mostly due to his nausea. Although, she knew he needed nourishment badly, she didn't want to bother his already agitated stomach. She trusted that he would request things if needed. She made a mental note to fetch someone to bring food up later. However, she did move the candle light out of his line of vision. It casted the right shadows over him in the room so he could rest, without disabling her work in the process.
A couple of hours had past and Claude was in and out of dreamless bouts of sleep. After covering him with his heavier blanket, she carried a small wide, wooden bench from the other room and set it at his bedside. In the process, she had picked up his clothes that she had dropped and folded them neatly on a nearby table.
Finally, she sat down on the bench. It was nice to finally be off her feet. She was always used to being on them for long periods of time, but this whole night, including the stress had caught up to her. She ended up folding her arms at the edge of the mattress and lying her head down on the cool linen.
Her eye lids felt heavy with every fall of them and it was getting harder to keep them open. Her eyes rolled to the back her head at an instinct and REM was fast at hand.
She was out in seconds and all she could hear before drifting off was her and Claude's heavy breathing.
A/N Sorry this took so long guys. I have many a writings I'm attending to at the moment. But I told I wouldn't forget this one. This one is kinda short, but I'll try to write a longer one in the next.
As I promised Fresme feels and much more. Even though Claude is not yet fully aware and conscious just yet. So more Fresme feels yet to come as well.