So over on patreon Trevor asked for my take on the Addams Family and I grew up LOVING the Addams family movies so here we are. Instead of doing a straight up style interpretation, I decided to do a full on design challenge, using the characters as bases to make a black southern gothic Addams au. I actually drew the kids first, using the character bases of Wednesday and Pugsley to create some delightful kiddos I'm calling Sunday and Blanche. I of course then redesigned Gomez and Morticia into Carlisle and Mortesha.
The Addams have a very specific high aristocratic goth aesthetic (they've got a butler and nobody really works among other things) so in this re-imagining I wanted to go with vibes that run a little more middle class/upper middle class. I thought it would be interesting to think about what would be considered weird and off-putting in an entirely different culture, and how being a big ol' goth is way less controversial than it used to be.
I tried to keep this short (HAHAHAHAHAHA) so I didn't spin off into an essay about villain coded families, black people in the horror genre, and normalcy as it pertains to social survival, but just...bits of that are in these designs and lore. Keep that in mind.
Also I made the kids twins because they've flip flopped in age so much in different media and also twins run in my family (i'm the daughter of one). And let's face it, I'm pulling a lot of their southern gothic traits from living as a southern goth so *shrug*.
10 thousand pounds of lore incoming loooooooooool.
From the moment he saw her he knew that there was a 50/50 chance of him either never making it out of that swamp alive or marrying the figure that was creeping out from under the distant willow tree in a black cocktail dress. The third time she found him trussed up in one of her traps, he complimented her rope work and asked if she'd like to go out sometime after his head wound stopped bleeding.
Or while it was still bleeding.
If she was into that.
Some kids and a mysteriously burnt down Piggly Wiggly later, their love is still as strong and inescapable as a bear trap in a sink hole.
Carlisle Guillermo (now Addams through marriage but I wanted to give him two first names for a name since Gomez has two last names) makes a vaguely described living practicing ‘law’ around town. A loophole king, people come to him from miles around with contracts signed in blood, fights over chunks of hair buried in their rivals’ yard, dehydrated primate hands, memories that seemed like dreams until the evidence of their happenings became too real, and other regular Legal Items asking for counsel which he is all too happy to give. For a price. Sometimes that price is a homemade pie and sometimes it’s a million dollars, depends on who you are. Whatever you’re asked to pay it’s worth that price, and if you try to scam him out of work or he just plain doesn’t like you? Well. He knows how to twist a contract better than anything at the crossroads.
And he always gets his due.
He doesn’t just serve the local (living)humans though, there are many things that need proper legal representation in this day and age. You wouldn’t believe how many city councils try to build on sacred burial grounds even after he lets them know that his ghostly clients are totally gonna haunt the FUCK out of the ensuing shitty condos and curse their families for all eternity. At least 50% of his energy goes towards dealing with real estate bullshit.
Carl is an excitable and good natured(?) man who loves his family, cigars, dancing, and his many knife-based hobbies. People find him very charming once they get past the feeling that they’re talking to a sultry gator badly disguising itself as a human. I didn’t put a ton of deep thought into designing him, mostly I wanted to make a middle aged dude who looked like he would have been voted ‘most likely to smooch the literal devil’ in high school. Tbh he probably has, but no demonic ex’s can compare to his lovely wife~
Mortesha Addams(her name was already perfect so I just tweaked it)is a woman of many talents. A self proclaimed homemaker, she prides herself on a greenhouse full of Concerning Foliage, a beautiful wasp apiary, and a coop full of what are probably chickens that she keeps for what are probably eggs. She’s also an avid creator of the outsider art that can be seen around the estate. She has taken on the family business of selling her homemade goods in a little stall by the road just outside the swamp with her mom, and makes pretty good money doing so. A surprising amount of poison gets bought in quaint southern towns.
Speaking of poison, people who come out to the edge of the swamp to buy it are usually carrying a lot of secrets around, and Mortesha knows most of them. It’s not like she pries the truth out of people, it just so happens that many nervous hellos eventually turn into the tragic backstory power hour if she’s alone with a client for long enough. She supposes that’s just how people are. Despite the fact that the Addams are very active in the community (whether the community likes it or not) she especially, as a direct descendant of the first Addams matriarch, is seen as…Well not an outsider because the community feels A Certain Way about outsiders and despite it all the Addams are their people, but maybe something like an exception. They feel like whatever weirdness they’re hiding can’t be weirder than any given Addams, so they get a little loose with their words.
This is amusing to her, since Addams’ don’t naturally keep the kind dramatic secrets that their surface level prim and proper neighbors do. It’s much more fun to openly talk about those things.
Do they have a sadly decrepit yet terrifying grandma up in the attic? Yeah, like three. They got a tv, all the creepy porcelain dolls they could want, and they’re close to family. Where do you keep your gram-grams?
Any bodies buried on the property? Yeah some, but most are thrown to the gators.
Any creeping through the balmy summer night with ill intentions? Yeah dude, everyone loves a nice family stroll.
What about dangerous forbidden love? If an adult Addams isn’t incorporeal then they’re either queer or in a torrid romance with some person/thing mysteriously drawn to that awful swamp. Sometimes both at the same time. Most times actually.
Mortesha would know.
The current head of the Addams family is just as outgoing as her husband but a lot quieter and harder to read. She never really seems to get mad about much and always has a genteel smile for everyone whether they deserve it or not. A seven foot tall human shaped “Oh, bless your heart”. A perfectly composed Lady even when she’s, oh I dunno, burning down a Piggly Wiggly. You know. A regular southern mom. Chat her up at the hair salon for 50% off a jar of wasp honey with your next purchase of a mysterious but foreboding packet of herbs.
Designing her was pretty easy because I just drew a lankier Grace Jones and called it a day. I had some problems with her outfit simply because if we were going HARD southern gothic then she’d probably be wearing a white/cream dress with a fuller skirt but I thought keeping the silhouette and the black was more important. She’s supposed to be an anti southern gothic southern gothic character anyway. A woman who looks like she has a million secrets who is actually the most open person you could meet. For better or worse. The red hair came from a coloring error that I really ended up liking (my mom had red hair her whole childhood that only darkened up in high school so I can buy that an Addams can be naturally fire engine red) and the veil was to get more of that classic Morticia silhouette in there.
Sunday and Blanche are the twin children of Carlisle and Mortesha Addams. Some say the Addams clan got their cursed homestead when a wealthy local businessman made a deal with the devil and lost, leaving his grand mansion to his least favorite maid and cutting his losses once he realized that the swamp would do everything it could to drag the house into the water and take what was owed with its horrible curse. Others say that the family has just always squatted there and no one really cares because man, fuck that particular swamp. Have you been in there? Absolute horror show.
Blanche is the more outgoing sibling and quite the engineer/mad scientist in the making. He started going grey at 2 weeks old but considering he was also rocking some extra fingers, toes, and a tiny tail (he takes after his dad), his parents just put it on the 'not life threatening' pile and decided not to worry about it. He's the kind of smart that teachers find utterly infuriating, less a dog eagerly learning and obeying commands and more a hyena who keeps teaching itself how to pick locks. He has a few friends in his school's robotics club (which they honestly allowed him to make so the school could contain his... creations) but mostly hangs out with his sister exploring the swamp. They find all sorts of neat things in there! wedding rings, suspiciously lumpy garbage bags, cloaked cultists who can't read private property signs, it's an adventure every day!
Blanche is all about experimentation with his creations, his look, and his tether to this mortal coil. Is lipstick a cool thing to try? Let's find out. Can he get out of a strait jacket fast enough after being pushed into the depths of the swamp by his sister? let's find out. He's not dead yet and confused local doctors can attest to the fact that he's rarely attained more than a bad bruise so he's pretty set on continuing to kiss rattlesnakes on their cute little heads and have his sister practice her knife throwing at him until that fact changes.
Blanche is very much a country goth. Cowboy boots (customized by his mom), knife, and lighter are daily accessories. He likes to wear the crusty swamp jewelry they find (the rust adds a splash of color!) and despite appearances he does try to keep himself neat. He's just got natural Grunge Colors and a tendency to wear clothes he likes until they fall apart. Pugsley always seemed the most modernly styled to me (which might just be because little boys clothes have been the same for a long time) so I wanted Blanche to be the most purposely fashionable Addams. Everyone else is goth by nature, but he's the only one truly familiar with goth as an alternative fashion.
I got really into designing Blanche because honestly, I find Pugsley to be the most boring member of the family. And he was hard to design! I had to mess with his vibe a lot to get him looking how I wanted. I know he's supposed to evoke an " 'evil' little boy next door who's parents never reign him in", but that's just goth Dennis The Menace. I's 2020. We can at least go queer goth Calvin.
Sunday was much easier to design. Wednesday was my favorite as a child (of course) and I really wanted to keep the spirit of her look while adding things like billowy sleeves (it gets HOT down here), big poofy twists instead of braids, and a nice tie. She's a professional after all, been running the local pet cemetery since she was 6 and the previous groundskeeper met with an unfortunate accident after telling her that tarantulas don't have souls. Her specialty is creating beautiful naturalistic animal funerals similar to those that Maquenda (https://linktr.ee/artofmaquenda) makes, and she takes pride in creating miniature dioramas of her subjects after each burial which she uses as a kind of 3D catalog for future clients.
She really wants to try out her skills on humans one day. Well. Publicly try out her skills. Lotta random bodies float into the swamp. None of them have turned down her requests for diorama models so far. Most seem downright flattered. Plus, she usually figures out which graveyard/crime scene they floated over from and gets her parents to give them a lift back. She'll even help enact terrifying revenge from beyond the grave on whoever put them there if she's not, y'know, busy.
Besides arts, crafts, and pet based funerary arrangements, Sunday is an avid lover of archery (any ranged weapon really), books where little fantasy adventure animals die dramatic deaths, and history. She is That Kid who eagerly raises her hand when asked who Christopher Columbus was and ends up being sent out of class after 15 minutes for making 'a scene'. Her favorite party trick is just picking an item in the room and talking about how it relates to either some obscure historical figure with a buck wild life or a horrible disaster. At least one charity pancake breakfast ended with children in tears after her vivid description of the Great Molasses Flood of 1919.
Social-wise, while Wednesday is the girl that people ask to smile because they think she'd, "look so pretty", Sunday is rarely asked anything at all. People just kind of assume from her quiet nature (in between horrible history facts) that she's angry all the time and that she hates everyone. This is untrue. She hates some people but she's ambivalent to most everyone else and even downright friendly if you bother to talk to her like a person instead of a terrifying cryptid. Like, she IS a terrifying cryptid but she's also a little girl.
That’s about it for now. One day I might do the other family members but for now I’m happy with the four I’ve redesigned. Making an au! Lurch in a family that doesn’t do butlers could be interesting. Over on patreon I put forth that he could just be Motesha’s mute little brother (similar bone structure) but Amy Crook had the nice idea of quote: “ a mysterious "cousin" that "helps around the house" whose origins are both long in the past and faintly unsettling. He's good for lifting heavy things, like that tank of propane you're about to throw into the burning Piggly Wiggly... “ which i now consider canon. Who's kid is he? How old is he? Not important. Anyone willing to commit arson with you is family.
Annnnyway. This challenge was a lot of fun! I love indulging in AU’s.
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Bear Trap (Part 2/3)
Art done by @doodles-by-noodles
Kyoko was hunched over Makoto, her eyes were darting from place to place over his body. Taking in every gash and tear before acting. Time was critical. She needed to know exactly how to treat him, or Makoto could die right there in front of her. Judging by the sound of his breathing, stressed and heavy, she could tell he’d already lost a lot of blood. Well, not that you needed her expertise to determine that. You could just look at the splattered pink around them.
“It doesn’t look good,” She had said to Byakuya. It doesn’t look good. Seriously?
“No shit it doesn’t look good,” he spat out, sounding as intolerable as he did the first day they’d met in the killing game “I do have eyes, you know.“
Her right eye twitched. The logical side of her said this was just how Byakuya handled stress, by disconnecting himself and becoming irritable instead. The emotional side of her wanted him to shut the hell up. She opted to spare him little more than a glare before placing a hand on Makoto’s neck to check his pulse. It was beating rather hard and fast. It was strange really. She felt as though he was already dead. But that didn’t make any sort of logical sense. He was warm, he was still bleeding, he was shaking, and panting. All of this was right in her hands to be directly experienced. But he still felt like he was dead, putting her fingers to his limp neck.
She had a morbid thought just then. About how her talents were used to help after a death, never really before one.
"You need bandages,” Byakuya said, ever so helpfully, “how else will you stop the bleeding? Or did the panic render you useless?"
Kyoko took a deep breath.
Makoto wouldn’t fight right now, not during an emergency, and neither would she. It’s just how he copes. It’s just how he copes…
"Tear up your jacket then.” She stated, “I’m not certain mine will be enough."
She had to spark herself into action. She couldn’t let herself fall to something as simple as shock. She had been given mortician training as a part of the Kirigiri Family teachings so that she would have complete expertise on how different injuries came to be. She could glance at the wound on his back and see that it was given to him by the claws of a Mono Unit at a rather awkward angle. As she tied torn pieces of her blazer around his wounds so that they’d hold pressure - she only had two hands after all - she was able to get the entire story of all the brutal suffering Makoto just went through.
She had seen bodies fresh from the morgue slapped down onto a table in front of her. She had witnessed the aftermath of horrors such as slit throats and dismemberment. She had once solved a case in which she found the victim’s severed head hidden underneath the floorboards in a safe. But Makoto’s disfigured leg, mangled to the point where she wondered how it was hanging on, bone sticking out after tearing through the skin, sharp from where metal teeth caused a clean break: THIS out of everything that she had witnessed in her life was what made her want to throw up.
His arm was also rather damaged. It was hard to make out under torn fabric and blood, but it seemed more salvageable than his leg…she just needed…
"Togami. Your jacket.” Her tone was unforgiving.
“I’m working on it.” Byakuya retorted back, a hint of offence in his voice.
It’s just how he copes. She felt like her patience for Byakuya was a rubber band in her hands, slowly getting pulled in either direction.
"You should be concerned with yourself.”
Deep breaths. The band was taut, shaking from force.
“Is this the best of your abilities?"
The band snapped.
"At least I’m actually doing something to help him!"
Byakuya paused midway through tearing his blazer. Byakuya thought of himself as a capable man, but all his capable talents extended only towards self preservation. The one time he wished he had the skills to help someone else he could only stand and watch. There was nothing that Byakuya hated more than being helpless. Kyoko’s words reminded him of the time Aoi slapped him back in the killing game. One of the many wake up calls Byakuya had received over the past few years.
He could remember as clear as day, the wake up call that Kyoko herself had given him back when they hated each other. His fury at being incorrect over Sakura’s death, at not understanding the case, had all been snuffed out when Kyoko told him he simply lacked any emotional capacity to understand. Kirigiri Kyoko of all people.
Hearing her remind him of his uselessness now with such a harsh tone. Well, it felt like she hated him all over again.
He was still angry. Angry that he cared, angry that he wasn’t prepared, angry that he was faltering.
"What do you expect me to do?” He demanded. He spat out the words, but his heart was desperate to be given a task.
“Make sure our emergency call earlier went through. Update the Foundation on the situation.” Right, that all made sense. How had he not seen that before? It almost made the emergency feel like a quick business move. He could handle that. Kyoko looked up from tending a wound on Makoto’s stomach, the worry in her eyes made him feel sick. “…and when you’re done, try to keep him awake."
"Keep him-? He’s awake?” The boy had been so still and silent since they’d discovered his mangled body Byakuya hadn’t even considered that possibility. Upon further inspection Byakuya realized Makoto was never still or quiet. The distance he’d kept away from the scene prevented him from hearing the panting or noticing the trembling racking his body.
A simple “yes” was all he’d gotten in response. He didn’t push or question any further though, it was clear Kyoko had a lot to focus on right now. Makoto’s life was in her hands, and neither wanted him to die like this. Kyoko could only estimate the ETA on help arriving, and she was fearing they would be too late. Memories flashed through her mind of running stitches through the skin of a banana peel during training. But she had nothing to work with, and certainly nothing sterile. Kyoko didn’t believe in God, but she prayed that an infection wouldn’t strike later.
It was looking hopeless.
“They said they’ll be here with a helicopter in half an hour."
Right. She forgot Byakuya was even there. She tied another knot over a wound. Despite her heartbeat moving her entire body with its pounding, her hands remained steady. Just like when stitching banana skin shut. Another deep breath, her hands will stay steady. Any mistake could cause an issue. Mistakes could cause browning fruit to gush between the stitches. Nothing more than an insignificant rotting pile of ruined fruit splattered and smothered against the street like-
"Don’t just stand there, ” she took another deep breath, her hands will stay steady, “keep him awake."
When Byakuya came over to take place near Makoto’s head she waited for him to pass her the tattered cloths she’d been waiting for. She ended up discovering he’d already thrown them to her side. She needed to focus more. She was by Makoto’s lower body, only half a mind paying attention to what Byakuya was doing.
Makoto had never looked so disgustingly pale before, and he was the kind of person to lose all color when frightened. His mouth was slightly parted as his breathing continued to take a toll on him. A cold sweat had begun to break out on his clammy face, with a fever glowing across his skin from the blood loss and pain. What made Byakuya the most concerned though were his eyes, half lidded and staring at nothing in particular. His eyes fluttered, but his pupils were lazily taking in the world around him as if he was trying to understand what was going on but couldn’t take hold of anything tangible.
Byakuya held a hand up and froze. He was unsure what to do, all of this was out of his element. He wanted to push it all an arm’s length away. It was a simple task. Just keep him awake. But did he know what to do? In movies he’d seen people slap others awake. But Makoto was hurt, so shouldn’t he be gentle? Why was he even fussing over the method? There was no need to hesitate. He’d touched a corpse before, he could push through any nerves to handle this.
Byakuya put a hand to his face. After an unsure pause his thumb slowly caressed the skin of his cheek in an act of comfort that Makoto probably didn’t even register.
"Naegi, can you hear me?"
There was a delay in his response, eyes heavily rolling side to side before settling on Byakuya. After the first small victory he prepared to speak, licking his lips and swallowing thickly. The delay felt like hours.
"T'gami…..kun?” Makoto’s lips felt heavy as he spoke.
There was an ache in Byakuya’s chest that he wasn’t used to, “The one and only."
Makoto let out a breathy laugh. His face turned into this familiar dopey, trusting smile that he hated and loved all at the same time. His eyes seemed to lose track of Byakuya for a moment, he tried to match where they went.
"Hey, eyes on me.” Makoto’s expression seemed to sink a little.
“W-….where's….” He sounded completely breathless and confused, “where’s Kiri…?”
“She’s right here.”
His head barely moved as he tried to see past Byakuya. Through his blurred vision he could make out that familiar lavender hue. Even with the trembling caused from blood loss he relaxed at the sight, letting out a breath when he processed. He closed his eyes, he didn’t see any reason to be scared anymore.
“Hey, don’t you dare. Open your damn eyes.” Byakuya sounded angry with him, but he was too busy basking in relief.
“You're….both ok?” His voice was barely above a whisper, if it wasn’t so quiet around them Byakuya would have to strain to hear it.
“Of course we are.” It was that rare reassuring tone from Byakuya. Short lived before the anger came back, “I believe I gave you an order did I not? Open your eyes."
To stress his point, Byakuya patted the side of Makoto’s face repeatedly and rather annoyingly. Both of them felt like they should be worried at how hard it was for him to simply open his eyes. It was like prying something off of hardened glue. Byakuya grit his teeth, he had a dreadful feeling that if Makoto closed his eyes again they wouldn’t be opening any time soon.
"ETA?” Kyoko asked bluntly.
Byakuya didn’t take his eyes off of Makoto, “five minutes haven’t even passed yet.” So, they’re both impatient then. Makoto seemed to grin a small bit hearing Kyoko’s voice.
He’s conscious, Byakuya reminded himself, which means that he can keep him awake by talking. But what the hell could he say? His mind felt blank, desperately pulling at drawers to find a single conversation topic locked away in his mind. But Makoto’s eyes were still on him. Perhaps the contact was grounding enough? But for how long? Makoto’s breathing felt heavier than before.
“Why is he breathing so hard?” He opted to talk to Kyoko instead.
“He’s lost a lot of blood."
“He’s lost a lot of blood."
"Shouldn’t that make him cold?"
"I’d rather it not get that bad. I’m sure his hands are cold if you check.”
She was right, his hands were icy cold. Makoto’s hands always felt a little chilly compared to his. Byakuya always ran hot like a furnace while Makoto was always chilly enough to wear multiple layers (I mean, a hoodie under a blazer? Really Makoto?). But this sensation felt like there was no blood in his hands. Wasn’t that a symptom of shock? His body was prioritizing vital functions just to keep him alive. Byakuya wished he could roll Makoto onto his back and elevate his legs like he’d been taught. But he’d seen the gashes on his back. It was the only injury he really took in.
“You idiot” the words came through grit teeth, “getting yourself into a mess like this for us to clean up. Typical."
Guilt could be read on Makoto’s face for a moment. “…yeah.” Byakuya once again felt a pang in his chest. Was that really all Makoto had to say?
Kyoko managed to do something while working that made Makoto wince. Byakuya didn’t think for once, he just continued to rub slow circles across Makoto’s face.
"Hang in there.” Makoto’s face hadn’t relaxed much, still strained with all the pain he was feeling, “I do not permit you to die like this. Understood?"
Makoto groaned in response, leaning into the hand that was cupping his face. Once again his eyes lost track, doing a big loop around before snagging back onto Byakuya.
"Hurts…” he said, breath hitching as more pain shot through his body.
“You can handle this much. You’ll be fine.”
Earlier Makoto felt relaxed when Kyoko and Byakuya had arrived. Their very presence gave Makoto a hope that he’d survive this. But Byakuya’s expression had gone from angry to worried. His eyebrows were furrowed, creasing lines across his forehead. If even Byakuya was openly worried…how bad was it?
Makoto felt another harsh shiver run through his body. His face felt hot but everything else was like sharp winter air kept blowing over his skin. As the shiver travelled up his spine it caused pain to flare again. He was met with a harsh reminder to open his eyes from Byakuya. His breathing felt even heavier than before, each breath taking more effort than the last. Byakuya’s face was shifting again, but Makoto could hardly make it out through the greying swirls of dots across his vision. Ah, Byakuya looked scared. So Makoto was going to die then? The only sound he could hear was his own rabbit quick heartbeat threatening to break free from his tattered ribcage. Byakuya’s mouth was moving, but none of it made sense to Makoto. He couldn’t even read his lips. One second it was quick, then slow, like time itself was blending together into something incomprehensible.
Makoto blinked slowly.
“Naegi?” Byakuya had gone from tapping his face to shaking his shoulder. He didn’t get much else besides a distracted groan from Makoto. “Naegi, can you hear me?”
“Don’t shake him like that!” Kirigiri scolded, frustrated as she tried her best not to let the movement interfere with her work.
Byakuya felt like a life was slipping through his finger tips. His own breathing felt tight in his chest from the pure anxiety that Makoto’s unresponsiveness gave him.
“Naegi if you don’t answer me right now…” his nails dug into the boy’s shoulders.
Makoto’s eyes rolled up, dropped down, fell to the left, all as if there was a weight to it. Another slow blink. More odd drifting. Not a single response from him.
“Makoto, say something…” Byakuya ordered, pausing to watch the boy’s face; his voice was quieter than he wanted to admit. “Makoto!"
Makoto sharply inhaled at the sound. Byakuya sounded scared. Byakuya was never scared. "Nn….” Makoto frowned a little bit in worry. He felt like he was drowning, being pushed beneath thick murky water and whenever he got close enough to the surface to even understand a little bit of what was going on he was shoved back down again. He could see Byakuya look towards Kyoko for a moment and watched his expression fall.
Focus…focus. If he could just make out the words they were saying. His vision left him for a moment, greying out as his body felt weirdly numb and tingly. It wasn’t a bad feeling. If Makoto were to die here and now…he’d be happy to die next to the people he loved with this strange not-bad feeling. It was much better than bleeding out alone and in pain surrounded by the mascot that caused all this suffering in the first place. He could just drift away, and be able to die peacefully, a luxury most people didn’t get any more. If he could see his own face he was sure a weak smile played on it.
“What do you mean?!” Byakuya snapped, he glared at her out of habit.
“I mean… just look…” Kyoko’s busy hands paused momentarily to grab more fabric from the dwindling pile. Byakuya looked away from Makoto’s face and his breath caught in his throat. The limb Kyoko was working on barely resembled a leg anymore. She had done a decent job at cleaning up the wounds but it only made it more apparent how… disfigured it was. Nothing about it seemed right.
“He can’t-” the words welled up in Byakuya’s throat. He couldn’t speak the words into existence. If he did, then it would become an undeniable reality.
But Kyoko didn’t have that same hesitation, “There’s no way his leg can recover from this, and that’s without factoring in the high risk of infection.”
Byakuya’s eyes were glued to the horrific sight. Despite the sight of death becoming background noise to them all, it put a pit in his stomach. He felt disgusting. Like any second now his lunch would come back up. Look closer…it was a miracle the leg was even hanging on at all. Kyoko was right. He would lose his leg.
Makoto, just barely through the swirls of gray blurs and black spots, could see the desperation and worry on Byakuya and Kyoko’s faces. It was only a small thought in the back of his mind at first. Just a little whisper. But eventually it became bright and loud. A scream next to his ears. A new hope.
He didn’t want to die. Not like this.
He couldn’t leave Byakuya and Kyoko heartbroken. They’d drown in the despair. Letting their trusted friend, their partner in survival, die after doing everything they could to try and save him? It would be heartbreaking. But Makoto couldn’t even make out the color of sky anymore. He couldn’t move his fingers. He didn’t know if it was possible for him to get out of this one alive, but he wouldn’t spend his last moments watching people he loves suffer.
“ ‘s… ok…y …gami” Makoto’s tongue felt like lead and moved sluggishly in his mouth. Byakuya wished he could take any form of comfort from the broken sentence.
The fever from Makoto’s face had gone cold, leaving him with all his blood washed pale skin on full display. Byakuya had to pause to pinch the bridge of his nose.
“Don’t talk like that, you moron. I know what you’re trying to do.” and he did. Byakuya knew that Makoto was trying to make himself and Kyoko more at ease. Even while walking on a tightrope between life and death the bot still wanted to make sure his friends were okay. Byakuya felt rigid in a mixture of irritation and worry.
“It… d’sn’t hur.. nymore…’s okay."
The words made cold fear run down Byakuya’s spine. He clenched his fists, glaring down at Makoto like he’d insulted him. But his voice was weak, "I told you to stop…"
"Really…I pr…mise…’s not going to be bad…"
Byakuya grinded down on his teeth with enough force to hurt his jaw. He exhaled harshly, ignoring Makoto’s words and turning to Kyoko, "Will you hurry up and save him already?!"
"I’m doing my best! There’s not much I can do!"
”’re both… really strong… you c’n overcome …‘nything…” Makoto felt a lump in his throat, he wanted to make it seem like everything was gonna be fine, but he knew that no matter what he said… Byakuya and Kyoko were smart. They were smart enough to know he was lying through his teeth. Maybe it was more for him than for them at this point.
“Dammit Makoto if you don’t stop fucking talking that-!“
"Tha…’s why I know….you’ll be okay…” He struggled to speak, tongue heavy as lead, and still he tried to make the words clear as possible. He was afraid, he didn’t want to go, not now. There were so many things left that he wanted to say, so many things he wanted to do. He wanted to tell the two people in front of him how much he cared about them but all he could do was watch as their distress increased. His vision started to fade and he wanted to scream for it to come back. He struggled to breath.
Byakuya took Makoto’s face in his hands again. The light in Makoto’s eyes were completely gone, unable to properly process the world around him. Despite Byakuya’s pleas steadily becoming more and more desperate for Makoto to stay awake, he slipped through his fingers like sand. With his eyes drifting to the right, Makoto fell away from the world.
And both of them felt it with their own hands. They felt the exact moment Makoto lost consciousness for what could very well be the last time. They both stood there frozen in shock. Byakuya still had his hands on Makoto’s face, just watching as if any second he’d open up his eyes again and apologize for scaring them. Kyoko had her hands up, mid-wrapping wounds. She just stared blankly, unable to grapple with the idea that all her work may have been for nothing.
They sat in silence. No one moved.
It felt like gravity had increased, time had slowed down to a crawl and even the gentle whistling of the wind felt subdued and gentle, as if even it didn’t want to disturb them. Neither wanted to be the first to move. If they were to move, what were they even supposed to do? Both of their minds seemed to cloud. Was it even worth it to move? Was there even a point? There was too much to process, too many unanswered questions. Too many calls to feelings that would be left unanswered. And yet the world kept spinning sluggishly as if nothing had happened at all.
"Check…” Kyoko felt some clarity dig into her skull, sharp like a breath of cold air, “check his pulse."
"Check his pulse…! Now!"
They both jumped into action. Kyoko grabbed Makoto’s wrist, pressing two fingers into the pulseline with enough force to bruise. It was manic and ineffective. She didn’t even think about how she had her gloves on, she just needed to know now. Byakuya was pressing his fingers into Makoto’s cold neck again and again. He kept missing the pulse point and getting impatient when he felt nothing.
When they found it, they both sunk back with relief. They could have passed out from the rush of realization. It was weak, and way way too fast, but it was something dammit. He wasn’t gone yet. With a shaky yet confident breath, Kyoko got back to work, hands trembling ever so slightly. Enough for Byakuya to notice, but not enough to comment on.
Byakuya slowly let go of Makoto’s neck. He dragged himself back to give Kyoko space. The pick up would be here soon. In an effort to keep contact with Makoto and stay out of Kyoko’s way, Byakuya positioned himself so that he could rest the boy’s head in his lap. He wouldn’t be caught dead in this position on any other day but in the moment that didn’t matter. He occasionally glanced up at Kyoko to watch her work, but stayed focused on Makoto. If Makoto woke up he was going to be right there and this time he wouldn’t let him slip away again.
The pick up was almost there.
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