Chapter 6 -
Tommy stumbled the rest of the way home. The encounter with the King and his demand was too much. How could this happen? I guess this is why assassins don't get too close to others. He shook his head. He felt horrible on so many levels. He let some stranger stay with him, who ended up being a thief. Though he hasn't stole anything, they've created a friendship. Tommy hoped that they could be the whole, "Friends forever" thing. Or at least just room-mates. He shouldn't have let him in to begin with. The minute Alex said he was from the other Kingdom, he should have assassinated him right on the spot. Or, at least tell the head master. The black wolf sighed. Now the King knew, and wanted him killed. How could this happen?
Tommy's thoughts were disturbed when he heard a rustling from behind him. He stopped and perked his ears. Twisting around, he saw nothing but the dark forest. After a long day of stealing and spying, night had already fallen by the time he was let out. He shook it off. Maybe I'm just too tired. He thought as he continued down the dirt path. Then, he heard it again. This time he knew he wasn't just hallucinating. He wiped around and pulled out his bow n' arrow.
"Alright! Who's there? Stop messing around!" He yelled into the darkness.
Silence. Nothing answered him. Now he was having some second thoughts. After a few heartbeats of nothing but the wind, he let his muscles ease. But the second he did that, something rammed into his side, making him fly into a tree. Hitting his back on the trunk, he didn't even have time to cry in pain before he knew what was happening. With all the air knocked out of him, he strained to breathe. His lungs screamed in protest. Then, as if it wasn't hard enough to choke down air, an arm pressed against his neck, making his head press against the tree. That's when he realized that he wasn't even touching the ground. Something, or someone, was holding him up against the tree, and not gently either. Tommy squinted to see who it was, but the person had a hoodie on, making his face a shadow.
He could feel the hot breath of his attacker swirl around his muzzle and down his neck. He wanted to scream. His bow n' arrow was five feet away from him lying on the ground where he once was standing.
"Heh heh heh.." The person cackled.
Tommy recognized this voice. That laugh, he'd heard it before so many times. Then, as the attacker lifted his free arm up to take off the hoodie, it hit him all at once.
"Roger!" Tommy spat, still choking down air.
"That's right! Took you long enough didn't it?" His green scaled face glistened in the moonlight along with his striking blue eyes, poised like a weapon towards Tommy.
"W-...what are y-...you doing....?" Tommy breathed.
"Like you don't know! I heard about your little..conversation..with the King. You think you're special don't you? Grandson of the King. Let me give you a gold star, prince!" Roger spat.
Tommy just stared at him, bewildered. Why does he hate me so much!? "It's not like it was my choice to be born into royalty!"
Roger shook his head, "You idiot. I know what happened in the castle this morning. He wants to make you a full assassin. Before me! I mean, who was the one that stole all that money from the other Kingdom not five days ago!"
"I should have gotten the credit for that because I saved yo-!" Tommy gasped as Roger pressed harder on his throte.
"I'm going to kill that thief you got locked away in your house. Got it? Don't get in my way and I might spare your life, you freak of nature." He let Tommy go, taking his arm off of his neck, but not without giving him a good scar to remember him by.
Roger sliced his dagger across Tommy's bottom right cheek, up to his right eye, and ended above it on his forehead. The black wolf cried in pain as blood pored down his face, completely covering his sight from his right eye. He fell down onto his knees and grabbed his face. It was no use. The blood just went through his fingers. He looked up and Roger was gone. He had to get back home before he killed Alex.
Tommy staggered up, still having trouble breathing, and didn't waste anytime. He sprinted down the dirt path, not caring about his shortness of breath. His feet pounded the ground as a trail of blood was created behind him. He made it to his house, Roger was no where to be found. Maybe he's waiting until tomorrow night. Tommy hoped he was right. Grabbing his ring of keys he scrambled to open the door. The racket must have alarmed Alex, because he unlocked it and swung the door open. The sight of Tommy's bloody face must have been horrendous.
"Tommy!? What happened!?" Immediately, he pulled Tommy inside.
Tommy tried to tell him they had to leave quickly, but he felt like his lungs were dead inside of him, no longer wanting to work. He hacked and coughed, blood still trickling down his face.
"Dammit, Tommy, you're a mess!" Alex spoke as he half dragged the black wolf into the bathroom.
Alex turned on the water and splashed Tommy's face, making him jump back in surprise. "Calm down! Do you have asthma?" He looked Tommy in the face. Tommy could see his pupils were tight with worry. He strained to talk but felt as if he was going to faint. No more air was coming in. Black spots were covering his vision and the world spun under his feet. Tommy fell into Alex's arms. The cheetah sat down and put Tommy's back against his chest, so he was sitting between the cheetah's legs. He wrapped his arms around Tommy's chest and pressed himself against him, so he could feel Alex's breathing.
"Breathe, Tommy. Feel my breathing, copy me." Alex told him calmly.
The cheetah took one deep breath, held it, and let it out. He breathed very slowly. Tommy was gripping Alex's arms and was trying with all his strength to breathe the same way. It wasn't working. Tommy could feel his life slipping away with every moment that passed without air. It was a painful emptiness. Like his body was eating himself from the inside out. Then, just as the darkness was about to swallow the last bit of light, he gulped a tiny bit of air. It hurt so bad. But he felt hope, so Tommy again tried to copy Alex, his lungs protesting. He felt Alex's chest rise and fall against his back. Tommy soon was breathing the same way his friend was. The pain in his chest drifted away and he was soon breathing normal again. Tommy looked down and realized he must be ripping Alex's flesh off with his claws. He was gripping his arms so hard from what had happened. He let go gently.
"S-...sorry.." He managed to choke out.
"Shh, you don't have to apologize. You shouldn't be talking right now anyway." Alex replied softly, still holding him close to his chest.
But Tommy needed to talk right now. Of all the times in his whole life, now was the time he needed to talk. He laid his arms down on Alex's thighs and waited, still copying his breathing, to be released. They sat there, together, for what seemed like forever. Tommy sitting in Alex's lap while holding him close. This would probably look really awkward to anyone else. But the black wolf was just thankful, so very thankful, that he had someone like his friend. So strong and smart. Someone to help him while his life seemed it was going to end. Tommy could feel Alex loosening up his grip, but he didn't want him to let go, as weird as it sounded. He felt like he would feel lost if Alex let go of him. Tommy put his paws on the cheetah's arms, holding them their on his chest and stomach. Alex looked down and smiled slightly. Is he blushing? Tommy thought. Which brought him back to when he thought Alex was blushing the first time they met. When they had crashed into each other on the street. The assassin looked away, afraid he might have been red in the cheeks as well. But he couldn't help it. It's normal right? I mean, with someone as handsome as Alex, who wouldn't blush when in his arms? Tommy tried to convince himself this. But somewhere deep inside him, in the back of his mind, he knew it was something much more. Though, he kept pushing it down, trying to ignore it.
"So, what happened?" Alex asked as he stood up, taking Tommy with him.
"I-...I was attacked." He replied hesitantly.
"I can tell, but, why? Who?" His friend asked more.
Tommy really didn't want his friend to know that he had to be assassinated. Especially because it would lead up to him having the actual order to kill Alex. So he sighed and put his hand on his bloody face, hoping that would distract Alex.
"Come on, let's clean your face and get it bandaged up. Maybe tomorrow you can tell me what happened...?" The cheetah huffed as he lead Alex to the sink.
Tommy was relieved as his friend cleaned his face. He watched his blood swirl down the drain. Once cleaned, Alex got some swabs in bacteria to clean Tommy's face. Is stung real bad at first, he yipped in pain. But Alex held him close and comforted him, not wanting him to have any trouble breathing again. Then he grabbed some bandage and wrapped his face, except his muzzle and left eye, in the cloth. It felt so much better. Alex had taken him to his bed and laid him down. Coming back from the kitchen, the cheetah had an ice-pack, which he laid on Tommy's wound. The crisp, coolness of the ice seeped into his burning scar. He could almost imagine smoke coming off his face as it cooled off the heat. He sighed in pleasure. Alex smiled and climbed into bed with him. Tommy became worried though, about what would happen to Alex if they stayed here too long. Should they move? Should I just protect him secretly? He didn't know, but slowly sleep took over his rambling mind. Maybe by tomorrow he'd have some kind of story to tell him other than the truth.