Yuuri tore across the ship so quickly that the claw tips curling off his feet left scores in the wood. He found the doctor still asleep and had no hesitation in shaking him from it. When Emil’s eyes opened, wide but housing the haze of slumber, the siren forgot his usual caution.
“Wake up! Victor, he’s— Help Victor! Help him, now!”
Emil had no chance to question Yuuri’s panic. His legs swept him from his cot without his explicit intention, whisking him from the crew quarters to Victor’s cabin. Yuuri shouted ‘hurry!’ after him and Emil obeyed, nearly falling over his own disobedient feet.
In their room, Emil leant over a stirring Victor and examined the wound. He pressed lightly on the flesh around the stitches and heard a strained hiss.
“That doesn’t feel good,” Victor muttered, silver lashes fluttering to half mast.
“It doesn’t look good,” Emil replied, his usual upbeat tone low. “I need to open it, Victor…”
“I’ll survive,” Victor said, leaning back on his pillows. His eyes shifted to Yuuri and he smiled, the curve of his full lips missing the strength with which Yuuri had grown so familiar. “Good morning, lovebird.”
Yuuri wanted to scream as Emil ran out, still under the influence of Yuuri’s command. His heart skipped over itself, tripping and crying inside his chest. He watched, kneeling at the edge of the bed, when Emil returned to redress the wound.
The doctor cut away the stitches from the day before, draining out the signs of infection. Victor had set the corner of a cushion between his teeth, eyes screwed shut and jaw clenched. Emil splashed the wound with alcohol and resealed it with new stitches.
From his medicine box, Emil mixed dried roots into a drink that emitted an odor that filled the room with bitterness. Victor swallowed it with nothing more than a grimace and a relieved sigh when the cup was emptied of mouthfuls.
The humor from the previous day was absent when Emil turned to Yuuri. “With the gunshot being where it is, there’s not much more I can do. We just gotta hope he can fight it.”
By afternoon, Victor’s fever raged and the red of the infection spread. His bandages and bedding grew damp with sweat. No matter how many times Yuuri whispered ‘heal’ through choked breaths, it didn’t. Victor’s warm fingers crawled across the bed and wrapped around Yuuri’s, holding on for support. Too warm. Too hot.
“Stay with me, lovebird…”
Yuuri ripped his hand away and fled. He scrambled out, onto the deck, and bolted for the edge of the ship. His wings, molting, still barely formed, beat hard enough to blow the ship off course. He dropped straight down and hit the ocean, screeching through his tears.
Wings straining, feathers shedding, Yuuri forced himself into the air, through the pain, and flew for the horizon. He forgot to command Victor to ‘live.’