Thirty Six

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I opened my eyes, feeling someone staring at me.

I was met with darkness— unable to see anything.

I turned around, twisting out of my bed, before stumbling on something on the floor.

I reached down to check what it was, stopping midway at the chilling laughter that ensued.

A haunting voice called out, "I'm watching you".

I gasped, sitting up straight— feeling sweat covering my back.

It was just a dream. Just a dream Alura.

I swung my legs around, getting off my bed and making a beeline to the washroom.

I flicked on the lights, turning on the tap and splashing my face with cold water.

I placed my hands on the edge of the sink, taking in deep breaths.

I was distracted by a noise coming from Bane's room— the door of the washroom slightly ajar.

I peered in, heart pounding.

Bane was on the bed, thrashing, tangled in the blanket— I could hear him mumbling something incoherently.

He was having a bad dream.

I hurried into his room, reaching over to shake him awake.

In a split second, his heavy arms had flipped me over in a swift motion, grabbing onto my shoulders and forcing me down into the bed.

I whimpered in discomfort, the remnants of pain coursing through me.

Bane was breathing heavily over me, looking distraught, "Where are they? Where'd you take him—"

I winced, "I don't know— I don't know— Bane, its Alura."

His hold only tightened, "Where?"

I yelped, inhaling sharply, "You're hurting me." I said shakily.

That seemed to bring him out of whatever trance he was in— abruptly pulling away— realization crossing his features. He ran his eyes over my frame— eyes apologetic.

He cursed, reaching for me— and I unintentionally flinched away.

Pain flashed a crossed his face— though he gave me space. I lay limply on his bed, taking deep breaths.

He shook his head, "Sweetness I'm so sorry— I was—"

I sat up slowly, rolling my aching shoulder, "Don't— don't— why? What was that about?"

He sighed, turning his face away from me.

I leaned forward on my knees, reaching towards him, "Bane... what—"

He grasped my outstretched hand, gently tugging me towards him.

He held my hands in his, placing them in his lap.

"It was a bad dream— my family— we were in a crash." He started.

"It wasn't just a dream— my family had been in a crash— my mum and dad, myself, and my baby brother."

"They— well my dad he, he died on impact— my mum passed away in emergency— the window shield had shattered— a large piece passing through her chest— Christ."

I felt my heart constrict, swallowing with difficulty.

"My brother, Johnson— Sonny, he was one— I'd shielded him with my body— he had a scratch on his forehead— but he was okay— he is okay." He breathed out, almost reassuring himself.

I held onto his hands tighter.

"My back— I— it took the brunt of the impact—"

He pulled away from me, tugging his shirt off in a swift motion, turning around.

The light the washroom provided was enough to let me view the damage— his back was littered— no covered— in scars.

Ranging in colour, shape, size— and among the scars on his upper back were tattoos— printed names— his parents— with birth and death dates below them.

I lifted a hand, moving to feel his back— but Banes hand caught mine— stopping it midway.

"Don't— please— I don't want you to touch them."

I gulped, wordlessly nodding, before realizing he couldn't see me, and whispering a hoarse "Okay."

I felt tears threatening to fall over— feeling his pain— his loss.

He turned around at the sound of my muffled sob, eyebrows creased and eyes sad.

"No, no don't cry for me."

I smiled among the tears— shaking my head softly.

He cupped my face, thumbs brushing away the continuous tears.

The tears were sad— I felt them stinging my skin— salty when they ran down and lingered on my lips.

I sniffled, calming down.

I shifted towards him, climbing onto his lap and wrapping my arms around him— he stilled— heart beating unevenly— before wrapping his warm arms around me.

He placed his head above mine— resting it there.

"Sonny— he was adopted— I couldn't, the state wouldn't allow it— I was only 18– the couple who adopted Sonny wanted to take me in— I had refused. They're a lovely couple— they treat me like their kid." He paused.

"When I'd left— it was for Linda— Sonny's mom— she has cancer and was receiving chemo— Bill— dad— needed help with Sonny— so I'd gone to them for a bit." He explained.

I nodded, processing the information, "Sorry for assuming the worst." I whispered.

He shook it off, tightening his arms around me, "They'd love you." He mumbled lowly.

I moved my head off his chest, "How old is Sonny now?"

Bane smiled fondly, "He's turning five this new year— he was a midnight baby."

I felt my lips tug up, imagining a five year old Bane as Sonny.

My eyes closed on their own accord, the sound of Banes heart calming me down, tying me to reality— while putting me to sleep.

I felt him shift us backwards, laying down— a moment later the blanket covering us.

I snuggled deeper into Banes side, but he shifted away.

I looked up in my sleepy state— he was sitting up.

"I can't." He said hoarsely, getting up.

I didn't process what he meant, mumbling for him to come closer, before feeling myself doze off.

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