Io wrapped the child up in her coat and picked it up, careful not to jar the wound. She took a couple of steps before she felt a tug on her pant leg. Io's left hand had already drawn the bone sword a few centimeters before she remembered that the sickly one was coming with them. The sickly one shivered at that moment, the air feeling that it'd become distinctly colder and it stepped closer to its would-be killer. Io looked down at the child.
"If you cannot keep up, I will leave you." Io told the sickly child apathetically. There, surely that would please the healthy child as Io had given the sickly child the chance to come with them, right? See this is a compromise too. Io praised herself as she as she retraced her steps out of the alley with her new family member and the parasite- er, her new family member's pet? Pets are temporary right?
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Io shook her head Io continued walking back the way she had come earlier. In the book she had read, it had said family was all. So, this is following through on that, right? Io scrunched up her face as she tried recalling what else that book had said and got nothing. Hmm… She'd have to take time to think it over. After all this was a very serious matter she had committed to. Family was supposed to have each other's back and defend one another against all. She knew that. However, the problem was when family members were not trustworthy. Io pursed her mouth in thoughtfully before coming to a conclusion. Since her new family member was so young it shouldn't be a problem. Why she'd be practically raising it- no him or her, she corrected herself.
While Io had been working through the mechanics of what family should be and shouldn't be, the sickly child followed her. The small figure was sweating and its chest heaved raggedly from the exercise, and its cheeks flushed bright red from fever. However, the child's gaze was firm and completely focused on the little figure cradled gently within Io's embrace.
Two hours later Io finally stopped by the old library. With technology being so engrained in society everyone had gradually forgotten about paperback books. It worked out for Io though, that just meant that this was a safe place and she had access to educating herself without the worry that she'd inevitable be tracked through the visual id on a piece of tech.
Io shoved her body against the door opening, marched up one of two sets of stairs that framed the entrance of the library, and went all the way up the third floor. She walked up to a worn loveseat and gently laid the child down. After making sure that the child was laying comfortably, Io gently unwrapped her coat to check on the wound. The blood had soaked through the scarf Io noticed and she bit her lip in consternation. If she was going to save her new family member's life, she needed to leave to get the serum. Io didn't realize though that she'd feel so torn about it when the time came though.
It wasn't that she didn't want to help her new family member. Not to mention, no one had ever said that she'd feel this way and quite frankly she didn't understand why. It was… Unsettling. She needed to go, to get medicine so the child could survive and they could be a family, but why was she hesitating?
Io nibbled on her lip, as she contemplated the possibility of taking the child with her. If there was a fight, she'd just need to put the child down and kill the threat, but what if there were more than two, or more than three? Io scrunched her brows together in frustration. She wouldn't be able to eliminate the threat, keep her family safe, and defend herself all at once. She was good, but not that good. What to do then? Io shook her head, enough hesitating. If she doesn't do anything, she will lose the child before she even gets the chance to enjoy being a family. Afterall, all the children and adults in the pictures of her book looked like they were happy.
Io got up from the couch started to leave but turned right back around walked to the child gently moved its bangs back and spent a moment scrubbing the dirt off. She'd need to give the it a bath after the wounds all healed up, Io thought to herself as she leaned over kissed the child's forehead. There, that was another ritual in the book she'd seen. The adults had held a book as they sat next to a child in a bed in one picture and the other, the adult was kissing the child's forehead and the child was smiling. Io wasn't quite sure how putting lips on one's forehead would help, but if it could help her new family member accept her then why not.
Finished with the family bonding that Io quickly left the room. Unbeknownst to her, the warmth that reflected in her eyes cooled subarctic levels as she focused on the one thing that could save her family. Io turned right down the hall, making a pitstop in what she had dubbed her war room. Clothes in a variety of sizes lay all over the place, from new to ragged, all collected from her travels through The Ruins.
She set her bone sword down in a large vase next to the door and pulled her ripped t-shirt overhead, dropped it into a pile of ruined clothes as she walked over the apothecary cabinet. After years of having being on the run, she had dressing down to an art. Io efficiently toed off her shoes in two steps while sliding off her pants between steps as she moved toward her goal. Io opened the drawer on a waist-high apothecary styled cabinet and pulled out a large bowel and rag, placing the items on top. Io then hopped up onto the cabinet, careful not to knock the oversized bowl and rag off and opened the window, letting the cold breeze through the slightly stuffy room. Io shivered, untied the hose from its moorings and placed it over the bowl. Io slid her thumb across the cap over the end of the hose and water began to fill the bowl.
Back when she had first discovered this place, she had figured it'd be a good place to crash from time to time, and from her years in The Tunnels, Io relished the feeling of being clean, and relished not being covered in muck when she went to bed. So, she'd dragged four oversized barrels up to the roof one night and spent the next week rigging it so that it wouldn't be obvious that she was crashing in the library.
Once the water had reached midway in the bowl, Io capped the hose again and tied the hose back up outside, and shut the window. Io hopped off the cabinet grabbed the rag and dipped it into the icy water. This was the worst part Io thought as she the dampened rag across her goose bump-covered skin, but for where she needed to go, she needed to be clean and she just didn't have time to heat the water up.
Io quickly wiped down her body, threw the rag back into the bowl and grabbed a large sheet that was folded neatly on a chair the sat at the end of the cabinet. She wrapped it around her shivering form and turned to eye the clothing she had collected throughout her year on the surface. Quickly coming up with a game plan, Io walked over to a large wardrobe, opened the drawers exposing various bone weapons. She grabbed a woven bracer that she had braided several pieces of cloth and wrapped it around her right forearm. Io's left hand danced delicately over various bone pieces in her arsenal and picked up three bone needles, each only about ten centimeters long and slid them into the bracer.
Io then went to the closest pile of clothes and dug through them, pulling out a tank top and a pair of shorts. After dressing she grabbed a long black hood cloak of an antique coat rack and buckled it on. Io stopped in front of the shoes. Her brow furrowing in thought. The boots would be the warmest, but she'd have to climb and they were not exactly flexible. It was cold outside and she was wearing little as it is. Not to mention that she was probably going to have to sacrifice her coat as is.
Sighing in defeat, Io grabbed the pair of worn shoes next the boots
in preparation for what she'd have to do.
Another pair of eyes watched the teenager leave the room and go into another. It wasn't until the teen had left the room, gone down the stairs and with a small thump of the door closing that the small sickly child scooted out from a room diagonal to the one Io had stored her brother. The child rubbed a hand over itchy mud-covered skin, as the dirt had mixed with sweat until it had become a thick layer of mud. The child put a hand on her brother's head and waited. No, no fever. The child's frail shoulders slumped with relief, as the she withdrew her hand.
She looked around the room curiously, having never been anywhere the didn't smell horrible or people doing weird things to one another. Her brother always took her back to the room they shared. He didn't like talking to the adults there, especially when they came to get him for 'play time.'
The adults must bully her brother. The girl had tried more than once stand up for her brother, but he'd either shove her back into the room before he left with their parents or he'd give her a look so scary that she'd shut up. The girl didn't their parents. They hurt her brother. He didn't tell her what happened, but the vacant look in his eyes when he came was all she needed to know to understand that what they did to him wasn't good. The little girl plopped down next her brother and grabbed his hand to let him know that that she was there and waiting, hoping that he'd wake up soon.
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