With Lips Painted Red, We Bind Ourselves. The chapter is longer than the last. We deal more into the nightmares that Cam has every night. I hope you enjoy.
With Lips Painted Red, We Bind Ourselves
Copyright Disclaimer: I do not own Power Rangers or any other recognizable media. Power Rangers belongs to BVS Entertainment. Any other recognizable media belongs to its respective owners.
Any words in italics are part of a language I made up for this story. It’s pretty easy to guess what their saying most of the time. Any important things will be in English.
5. We are Haunted by Our Bloody Past Decisions
There was blood. Blood everywhere. On all the rocks and on the ground and mixing with the acid water that he could feel burning through his skin and wounds. He could barely think through the pain. It hurt so much.
The whimpers of pain and screams of terror barely registered anymore. How long had he been like this: bleeding to death on a world that wasn’t even his, surrounded by people he didn’t know? But even through all this all he could think was…
Where was Hunter?
Cam snapped awake, panting slightly and shaking. He sat up slowly, running a hand through his sweat-damp hair. That dream again…
Except it wasn’t a dream. It was a horrible memory of the day his entire life had changed. Even now, three months later, he could still see the splattered blood printed behind his eyelids, could see the sickening twist of bodies every time he closed his eyes. He knew that if his life didn’t depend solely upon the thick red liquid he would be deathly afraid of blood now.
He stood up slowly, fighting to push the images to the back of his mind. It seemed now days that even the battlefields of Recore were just a faint cut compared to the huge scar Acio Toko had left on him. And Recore was not a place to brush aside, considering it was the world where he’d gotten his cursed nickname: ‘the Kina Kal.’
Cam shook the thought from his mind, and changed into everyday clothes. He walked calmly but shakily out to the main room of NinjaOps. There he stood and tried to just focus on the room in front of him and not the events of the past.
He turned and watched as his dad drove his habitat cart into the room. “Yes dad?” he asked and winced when he heard his voice crack.
Sensei frowned at his son and sighed. “Is everything alright Cam?” he asked, watching him. Cam nodded, not trusting his voice yet. His father watched him for a long time before saying, “You know Cam, you can tell me anything right?”
“Of course dad.” Cam whispered, smiling slightly to reassure him.
“Then why, Cam, do you chose to block me out?”
Cam winced at the question and looked away. Finally he decided that just this once, he’d be honest with someone. “Because if I tell you it’ll make it real. And I’m not ready for it to be real yet.” He whispered.
For three months he’d pretended nothing had happened, nothing had changed. And every time Hunter had made him stop and face the truth he’d distanced himself from what he did and went through the motions. In the beginning he had felt his hate for the blonde grow every time he did it. But in the end, when he’d grown world weary and too tired to even hate, he’d just been left with a large hole in his life that he knew he’d never close or fill.
And so he’d run even harder from the truth of his life.
Sensei watched his son sadly, horribly aware of the distance between them, of how he could do nothing to help his son anymore.
They both jerked when they heard footsteps pound down the stairs and turned to see Hunter run into NinjaOps. The blond stopped and looked at the both of them, sighing. Slowly he approached Cam and stopped in front of him. Sensei watched from the sidelines as the two regarded each other. Now he understood what the saying meant, to be on the outside looking in.
It was a painful thing for a parent to realize that not only did they no longer have a place in their child’s life, but they didn’t even know their child at all.
Hunter reached forward suddenly, wrapping his arms around Cam and pulling him into an embrace. Even as Cam melted into the hold, hands coming up to clutch desperately at Hunter, Sensei turned and left the room. Take care of him Hunter. I no longer can.
Hunter sighed and started to tug Cam across the room until he was leaning against the wall and let them slid down to the floor. “Sh.” He whispered, burying one hand in Cam’s hair. “It’s okay now.”
Cam looked up at him, dark eyes tear-bright. “How is it you always know?” he asked.
Hunter smiled slightly and tugged on the EmoCon necklace around his neck. “This thing was screaming in my ear.” He answered. Cam looked down at it, watching as the rings moved sluggishly around the dark green- almost black- orb. He knew that if the rings completely stopped the necklace would admit a high pitched whine that could and would drive its wearer crazy. He sighed, burying himself deeper into Hunter’s embrace. “I wish Acio Toko had never happened.” He muttered.
Hunter bit his lip, tightening his grip further. “I’m sorry I didn’t protect you.” He whispered. He should have been out there with Cam when he was attacked. It was the one thing he’d never forgive himself for.
He could still see it. All the blood from the hunting group Cam was with. The bodies that were strewn haphazardly around the small space. And Cam, cut to pieces, barely breathing, and half submerged in the world’s acid water. The feeling of dread he’d had, seeing him like that, and thinking for the spilt second, oh god. He’s dead.
He’d never forget it.
A shudder ran down Cam’s spine as he looked up at Hunter. The blonde’s eyes were dark and haunted, reflecting the horror of that day. He knew he looked the same. He sighed, leaning his head down to rest on Hunter’s chest. “I never thought I’d say this.” He whispered. “But in compassion to Acio Toko, Recore seems…a little tame.”
It earned him a small weak laugh. Hunter nodded, whispering, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
Cam looked up at him and felt his eyelids start to fall shut. “Keep the nightmares away?” he asked. Smiling softly, Hunter nodded and pulled him even closer.
It was with a heavy heart and dark soul that Cam fell asleep, Hunter his one guiding light.
Shane and Dustin jerked when hands were slapped over their mouths the minute they entered NinjaOps. They looked up to see Blake and Tori grinning at them, looking mischievous. Tori brought her free hand up to make a ‘sh’ signal then pointed to the far corner of the room.
Curled up together and leaning against the wall was Hunter and Cam. Cam was resting against Hunter’s chest and had his head tucked neatly under Hunter’s chin. Hunter himself had his arms wrapped tightly around Cam and was leaning his head back against the wall.
Grinning, Shane shrugged Blake’s hand off his mouth and slowly pulled off his bag. Carefully, he reached in and pulled out a small camera. Everyone held their breaths as Shane approached the two, bringing the camera up to take up a picture of them.
Snapping the picture, Shane turned around to grin at his fellow rangers when something unexpected happened. A hand pressed into his shoulder and another hand grabbed the camera as a shadow fell over him. He looked up quickly to see Cam in the middle of flipping over him, his eyes wide and bright and gold. The sight shocked him so much that Cam was easily able to rip the camera from his hands and finish his flip, landing smoothly across the room.
The Green Ranger turned back towards him, placing one hand on his hip and looking irritated. His eyes were once again their normal dark brown. “Don’t any of you have better things to do?” he asked, throwing the camera up and down in one hand.
The others laughed nervously as they stared at him. Cam shook his head and looked over at the sleeping Hunter. “So, how long are you planning to lay there?” he asked.
Hunter groaned and pushed himself to his feet. “I was comfortable.” He complained, crossing his arms over his chest. At Cam’s disbelieving look he shifted nervously. “Well, I was!” he defended.
“I’m sure.” Cam said, nodding slowly. He sighed and glanced at the camera in his hand. He pulled up the picture of the two of them and stared at it for a long moment, his head tilted to the side. Finally he clicked his tongue and threw the camera back at Shane. “I like it.” He said simply.
The others breathed a sigh of relief as Hunter laughed. “For a minute there,” Shane whispered. “I thought he was going to kill us!”
Cam rolled his eyes and moved to sit in his chair. “Don’t be silly. I wouldn’t kill you.” He paused and looked over his shoulder at them with a dark smile. “Much.”
Cam easily countered every one of Hunter’s attacks in the spar between them, letting his body glide smoothly through all the moves. Everything he did looked quick and deadly. Only Hunter would realize that his head wasn’t in it.
His mind was in the past, in the days he didn’t want to think about. He pushed away the memory, the pain, and found it replaced by one that wasn’t much better. Fields of death and bodies faded into his vision, along with dull blue-grey eyes. How smooth the young boy’s skin had felt as he slid his eyes closed and the words that had earned him the title Kina Kal.
‘Don’t worry. I won’t let you die alone.’
He didn’t think when he ducked under Hunter’s punch and surged upwards, past Hunter’s defense. His palm slammed ruthlessly into the side of Hunter’s abdomen, hard enough to lift him off the ground and send him spinning through the air.
His eyes widened as Hunter hit the ground, groaning and shifting on to his side to hold his ribs. “Shit, Hunter!” he called, running over to him.
He heard the others stop what they were doing and approach them. Placing a gentle hand on Hunter’s shoulder he rolled him over and stared at him. “Hey, Hunter. You okay?” he asked.
Hunter opened one blue-grey eye to stare at him. “You always,” Hunter gasped out, wincing. “Hit way too hard.”
Cam helped the blonde into a sitting position. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t paying attention.” He whispered. Hunter nodded, one arm weakly supporting his ribs. He looked over at Cam. “Yeah, I think I got that.” He replied sarcastically, causing Cam to grin weakly.
“Hey, you okay, bro?” Blake asked, stepping up to help support Hunter. Hunter nodded, trying to smile. “Yeah, I’ll be fine. I think Cam cracked a rib or two.”
The statement caused Cam to wince and mutter another apology. Hunter gave the man an annoyed look. “I get it already.” He hissed before smiling softly. “You’ll have to hit me harder than that to break me. You should know that by now.”
Cam sighed, shaking his head. “You’re not tough as you think you are.” He whispered softly so that Hunter couldn’t hear him, letting Blake pull the blonde away from him to the medic bay.
Cam let himself collapse onto his bed later that night, sighing heavily. He closed his eyes and tried to will himself to sleep. Slowly he felt his mind slow down until thoughts were hard to grasp and every one of them seemed far away. Then he was asleep. And with sleep came dreams. Came nightmares.
He could barely make out the words behind the ringing in his ears. But he could hear Hunter’s voice, low and dark and frantic, right next to him, and he was sure it was his lover’s- and god, that was still strange to say- arms wrapped around him, supporting him.
Hunter was shouting.
Why was he shouting? He wondered vaguely, unable to voice the thought, barely able to piece it together in his mind. He sighed, feeling an immense tiredness wash over him. The ringing in his ears lessened as his thoughts got even harder to form. What would it be like, he wondered slowly, to just let himself fade away…?
“We’re losing him.”
The voice was new, soft and gentle and it felt like it should ring familiar but it didn’t. Now he could really hear Hunter’s voice getting louder, more desperate, but he could only make out individual words. Not enough to make sense.
Floating away…that’s what he was doing. Floating… an image passed through his mind, one of dull blue-grey eyes. Hunter’s eyes. But the face around them was too young. The boy whose name he’d never learned but whose dreams he’d taken away. Maybe he’d see him again.
“If we do this…the boy in your arms will change. He will lose something that could be vitally important to him.”
Now that…didn’t sound good. He forced his eyes open slowly, trying to see straight. Gold, slanted eyes. Pale, pale skin. Long claws and long teeth. Red painted lips. A deadly knife held by a too beautiful person. Valimper. Vampire.
“No…” he whispered softly, somehow knowing what they wanted to do. For the first time in his life, Cam cursed his intelligence. It wasn’t something he wanted to know. “Please stop…”
And that was Hunter. That was Hunter shouting. Why was he so mad? His voice ghosted across his ears slowly, dark and determined. “If you want to die that badly, I’ll kill you myself.” Hunter hissed. “But until then, you’re going to live!”
In his delirious state he actually thought the idea to be somewhat…amusing. Like what Hunter was trying to do to him was living. But the thought slipped away before he could voice it along with his unsteady hold on consciousness.
His sleep ended a moment later when something cool and rich and coppery slipped past his tongue and down his throat. And then there was pain. Lots of pain. Lots and lots of it. Forget whatever he’d felt before, this hurt! It felt like he was going to die.
He screamed. And screamed. And screamed. Till it was over. And then he looked up at the person supporting him, at Hunter, and felt only an aching emptiness. He had lost something inside of him, something great and important. Something he couldn’t get back.
And as he fell back, crashing onto the bed again and feeling too exhausted to stay awake any longer; he wanted something so badly it almost shocked him. Would have to, if he wasn’t almost asleep. He’d felt it moments before but he hadn’t wanted it.
For the first time in Cam Watanabe’s life he wanted to die.
Hunter lied down on his bed, careful of his bruised ribs and stared blankly up at his ceiling. Cam…what was he thinking about right now? Was he asleep yet? Was he dreaming?
He sighed, shifting onto his side slowly. The words he’d said that day on Acio Toko came back to him, haunted him. “Please help him. I don’t care how. Just save him!”
What one of the Valimper’s had said came back to him. “If we do this…the boy in your arms will change. He will lose something that could be vitally important to him.”
He hadn’t understood what that meant then. He still didn’t. The only difference now was that he cared what he’d taken away. He hadn’t bothered asking then; he’d only cared that Cam was alive and safe and he hadn’t cared how.
He had no idea what he’d taken away from Cam. He’d never been strong enough to ask because he knew that’s what had made Cam hate him so much. A part of him was too scared to ask; a part of him didn’t want to know.
He sighed, turning again. Slowly he felt himself drift off. His last thought was about what Cam had said once, on a strange, desolate world long after they’d left Acio Toko.
“There’s no price on humanity.”
This fic is really good. I'm really enjoying it!
Did you finish this? Is it posted somewhere else?
No I didn't. The new chapter started to give me problems just as the new PR season came on. I got... distracted. By multiple plot bunnies.