Shaking sensations rushed through Jesse's body as he restlessly wrestled himself against the bed. Mumbles could be heard coming through the crevices of his mouth, and deep, sickling sounding huffs as he struggled to breathe. Fingernails gripping onto the sheets, slightly tearing at them as he moved with the pointed edges. He felt like an animal. Trying to escape the bridges of his mind that held him.
Turning over abruptly he harshly fell to the floor, seeing strains of white lines as he bumped his head into a nightstand making a loud thump. The floor creaked loudly as he landed on his side. He lay still, fighting in and out of consciousness, sometimes blacking out for seconds at a time. Out of instinct the male sluggishly turned over and placed his body close to the cold wooden floor to gain a sense of feel, a sense of reality. Running his fingers along the markings of the floor, feeling the hot air on his face once more, the throbbing of his aching head. It was all too real for him.
He could see an array of colorful dots around him filling the darkness as he laid silently. The dim light from the window shined just enough to see an outline of his familiar home. He was safe.
The warmth of the blood dripping from his head alarmed Jesse as it made his way onto his neck. He sat up, resting his sore body against the side of his bed. The hyperventilating male began to focus on his breathing, closing his eyes and taking deep breaths until he could no longer feel himself shaking. He looked to his side to see patches of his once blue sheets were no longer their original color, but splashes of an angry red. He took his hand, placing it on the back of his head. Even with the lightest touch his head stung, making Jesse grit his teeth in pain. He put his hand in front of him to see a section of it covered with blood.
Carefully the male stood up, grabbing onto the bed frame for support. The bathroom wasn't far, but he wasn't sure if he could make it. His legs felt numb after the incident, from the pain and shock. His head felt light as he made his way to the bathroom, his feet threatening to give up on him. He didn't have the strength to stand up and look in the mirror, he instead flicked on the light switch and quickly sat on the floor, grabbing a hand mirror from the lower cabinet.
He tried to lean up against the wall, but the wall was too hard, making his head throb and sting worse. He instead propped the lower half of his body against the bathtub. He lifted the mirror, his arm aching as he did so. He could see a few blood smears on his clothes and on his face. It was hard to see in his hair, since it was almost a black, but he could see the shine of the blood when his head slightly bobbed up and down from breathing. Even on the tile there was blood, from when he placed his hand onto the floor.
Shit he murmured to himself, staring into the mirror, noticing the prevalent bags under his eyes that sloped, tugging at them slightly. God knows he needed that sleep, but why would he ever sleep if he woke up to something as horrific as what he did. Nobody would willingly choose this life. He let out a long sigh, letting his emotions leave him as he breathed out. This was his reality, and there was no changing it. He let go of his skin, turning his head to the ceiling as he laughed. "Wow, I've never fainted before. First time for everything huh."
Dawn creaked in through the windows. Jesse had spent the next hour processing his nightmares and bandaging himself up. It was difficult to clean as his side was sore from the fall, and his head didn't do him much good. He had slowly been isolating himself more and more ever since the wither storm incident and even more so after the admin. Not to mention when he, Lukas, Petra, and Ivor were portal hopping for weeks to find their way home. But today he had promised his friends he would go on an adventure with them, though he was sure his friends wouldn't be too fond to see a bloody bandage wrapped around his head. Some part of him wanted to go on that adventure, to feel free spirited and happy again. But another part had no motivation or energy to do such a thing.
"One last bandage." He said with a sigh as he wrapped the long strip around his arm. Tightening it made Jesse cringe at the pain. There was no blood, but he needed some support, his sword skills would be hit drastically since it was his dominant arm. "At this rate, I'm as useful in fighting as Lluna." He gave a soft chuckle, remembering the sweet, treasure sniffing llama that he once took care of. The two had a close bond, he'd even call her his pet. She now lived in Champion city with Stella after she rebuilt the area. His happiness was short lived as he continued to think about Lluna. How they had to endure their dangerous adventure to stop the admin from destroying the world. It reminded him of Reuben, of the sacrifices his loveable companion gave up for the world. No one could replace him. He shook his head, as in a way to shake off his thoughts. "Not now." He told himself.
Being the mayor of your own town meant unwanted attention. Sure, it wasn't all bad, but on days like this he would rather avoid it. He tried making himself presentable, changing out of his blood stained clothes, but nothing could hide the bright band-aid wrapped around his head. Jesse grunted, putting his hand on his forehead. "Here we go…" He exited his home, grabbing his enchanted sword on the way out.
He could feel his head throbbing as he stepped out the door. All he needed to do was to make a quick trip to the treasure room which is where his crew decided to meet. Maybe if he kept his head low nobody would notice. He quietly hummed to himself, keeping one hand on his forehead as he tried to make his way through town. Occasionally he would hear people speak, but not understand the words coming out their mouths. It was busy this time of day, lots of people were out, and it was a nice, sunny day after all. The path seemed endless, he knew people wanted to stop and chat with him, but all he could do was give a weak smile then look back to the ground. He saw concerned looks of people, questioning stares, which made him only more nervous.
With his free hand, he could feel himself starting to fidget as a way of distraction, flicking his fingers and shaking his hand. I'm a hero, people look up to you now Jesse, you should be stronger than this. He was lost in his thoughts and walking without realization. He blinked when he saw a pair of feet in front of him, but he couldn't stop himself from walking into the figure. The impact wasn't strong enough to make neither fall, but it was enough to make Jesse lose his footing momentarily.
He glanced up, "I'm so sorry, I wasn't paying attention-" He froze as he realized the male he had bumped into was Aiden. "Oh- Aiden, hello." Aiden brushed himself off, he looked slightly annoyed at the male. The brunet's eyebrows scrunched. "H-how are you adjusting to Beacontown?"
Aiden closed his eyes for a moment and chuckled, "You don't seem too pleased to see me."
Jesse cleared his throat awkwardly, "No, that's not what I-"
The male abruptly cut him off, "But fine I guess, it's not nearly as fancy as where I used to live, but it'll do." Jesse let the male stay in Beacontown after the incident with Sky City. Although Aiden didn't deserve any of Jesse's kindness he couldn't help but feel bad for him. Clearly he was troubled, that he could see from just looking at him. The tension between them definitely was still high, after all, he did try to kill him. He heard Aiden take a step closer to him taking notice of his bandage, "You know, you shoulda saw me coming from a mile away, what's up with you?"
Jesse bit his lip while trying to think of an excuse, "I… just got hurt by a mob when I was mining yesterday." His glance trailed back to Aiden's eyes, it was hard to look at him, it was with anyone when he was lying.
The burnet bursted out in laughter, "The legendary Jesse got hit by a mob? What, did a spider sneak up behind you and you hit yourself? Wait, don't tell me, or did a bat scare you so you fell and hit your head!" He paused for a moment to catch his breath, his hands on his knees looking at the ground, then back up to him. "Oh Jesse, you're fucking hilarious!"
Jesse didn't say a word, but instead chuckled awkwardly. He placed his hand on his arm and rubbed it comfortingly. Aiden stood up and placed a hand on his shoulder, "You have got to come up with a better story man, nobody's gonna believe that." He thought for a moment, "Or maybe they will, you are people's idol after all."
Jesse rolled his eyes because there was a tone in his voice that he didn't appreciate. "Right… well I've got to get going." He backed away from Aiden and began to walk past him, but before he was out of sight, he shouted to Aiden, his back still turned. "Hey Aiden, remember if you need help with anything don't be afraid to ask the Order." He walked out of hearing range, but he could pick up Aiden making an annoyed sound and muttering something under his breath. Will he ever come around?
He had finally made it to the treasure room. The interaction with Aiden made him shaken up least to say since it was the first time the two had talked since the fight. But he brushed it off, and tried to put on a smile for his companions. Taking a deep breath he saw Petra and Lukas look up as they heard his footsteps.
"Hey dude!" Petra shouted, running up for a high five.
He returned the high five. It was something that genuinely made him smile, "Hey Petra, no Axel or Olivia?"
She laughed a bit, "Nope, you know they always sneak off those two love birds, they can't stand being apart from each other."
Lukas joined in, also laughing at the statement, "Yeah, said they had to take care of some things in Redstonia. But I know for a fact she's done all of her erens." He was about to speak again when he noticed Jesse's band aid, it was starting to bleed through, showing a light shade of red. He cringed looking at it, "Oh god Jesse, what happened?"
His eyes darted to Petra, who was now interested in the band aid, "Dude, did you get in a fight?"
Jesse put his hands in front of him as he began to shake them, "No no, nothing like that." The brunet said in a nervous tone. He gulped loudly, all eyes were on him, just like how it was when he was walking here. Except this time he couldn't just run away. He started to stare into nothingness, turning his head away from Petra. He didn't know what to say, he didn't want to lie to his friends any more than he had, they didn’t deserve that. Time started to go by slowly. He clenched his hands out of fear and stared at the wall. His eyes danced along the tile, stopping at a small crack carved into it. He began to wonder how it got there or how long it had been there. He never noticed the tiny detail before. Who knows how long he stared at the broken tile. "I… hnn..."
"Jesse? Are you okay?" That voice brought him back to reality. Lukas looked at him, a slight pain lingering in his eyes. He knew he worried about Jesse, Lukas could read him better than himself.
"I-I'm fine, we should get going." He started to take out his sword but Petra stopped him by placing her gloved hand next to his holster.
"No way dude! Not with your head all jacked up."
He tried to grab his sword once more, "Really I'm fine, we should-"
"Petra's right, you need to relax Jesse. You're clearly not fit to travel right now, let alone fight."
He looked up and turned to Lukas, "Well I walked all the way here didn't I?" He said in a snappy voice, immediately regretting the words coming out his mouth.
Lukas stood there with a dazed expression spread across face. He closed his eyes and gave a soft huff. "I think I should get you home." Petra eyed the two as Lukas began to walk out of the room, his hands behind his back. His actions spoke volume and Jesse felt obligated to follow him.
"I-I'll see you later Petra." He saw her nod, and gave a sad look to her before following the blond reluctantly.
Before he knew it the two were at his home, luckily he didn't run into Aiden or anyone else on the way there. There was something in the air that made Jesse uneasy as he walked in. Anger? Disappointment? Whatever it was, it pulled at his heart strings, Lukas was his best friend and he would never purposely try to make him upset.
He closed the door behind him and took his sword off. The brunet sat on the couch, clenching at his band aid. He could feel the sticky containment on his hand, "I guess I should-"
He began to sit up to get another bandage, but Lukas gestured for him to stop, "I got it, they're in the bathroom right?"
He looked up at Lukas, confused by the sudden act of kindness, "Yeah, in the cabinet under the sink."
Lukas quickly retrieved the band aids and sat down next to Jesse, he had also grabbed some wipes to get rid of the already stained blood. He slowly took them off, trying his best not to hurt him. Jesse felt embarrassed as if his mother was patching up a wound for him. "If it hurts let me know."
Jesse nodded. He felt the pressure of the band aid wrapping around his head once more, sensitive to the part where his head was gashed. A few times his face turned sour from the pain and Lukas had to slow down.
He disposed of the old band aids and wipes, watching Jesse struggle to lay back on the couch. Lukas sat back down next to him once more. "Jesse, I'm not a fool. What really happened to you? I'm worried." There was something about Lukas' tone that struck Jesse, something that made him just wanna tell him everything he had been through. All the nightmares, to the horrible thoughts he had been experiencing for some time now.
Jesse bit down a gulp and sighed, "I've been having really bad nightmares. That's why I always look so tired. Last night I had a dream that all my friends died to the Wither Storm, you died Lukas. I couldn't live with the thought that everyone I loved had been taken by that monster. When I woke up I thought it was happening. I fell and gashed my head on the nightstand." He felt his hands start to shake, "It's been going on ever since we killed the Wither Storm, and it's been getting worse since the Admin… I didn’t want to leave him there, but who knows what he would’ve done if we brought him back with us." He sat upright, a quick change in tone as the words came out his mouth. "But, that doesn't matter right now. I snapped at you earlier and I'm sorry."
Lukas laid back in the seat with a bit of amusement in his eyes. "How did you think I knew something was up with you besides the bandages of course. You're not one to snap unless you’re stressed."
"Oh.. well I guess that would make sense huh."
Lukas piped up, noticing Jesse was uneasy. "It's okay by the way. I knew something was up but, I couldn't imagine it being that. I'm the one who should be apologizing." He inched closer to the male, "I'm here for you Jesse, we all are."
Jesse bunched himself in a ball, holding himself tightly. "You're the only person I've told. I just don't feel comfortable telling the others yet." He felt a cry starting to form in his throat.
The blond started to stroke his hair gently, his voice softened. "You don't have to say anymore."
The brunet stiffened, shocked by Lukas' touch. Jesse hadn’t had any physical affection shown to him in a long time. It was a comforting touch that made his cheeks heat up. But as soon as he met Lukas’s eyes, the touching stopped. He didn’t realize how touched deprived he was, he wished the male had continued. The blonds eyes parted ways with his own, a slight embarrassment showing as he pulled his hand away.
Lukas quickly changed the subject, "Would you like anything to eat?" He offered with a smile on his face.
Jesse was confused by the offer, "Wh- you're in my house. You're the guest."
Lukas chuckled, "I know, but I thought I'd offer since you're going through a rough patch." He paused. "If that's okay with you that is."
While Jesse gladly chewed on his food, he watched the candles flicker from across the table. He took in the sweet vanilla scent that began to fill the room. The wine glass in front of Jesse illuminated with the steady flame.
The two sat at the small wooden dinner table. Jesse cut into his golden soufflè and took a bite with his fork. "Wow Lukas, I didn't know you like to cook! I haven’t eaten all day and this is amazing!"
Lukas placed a hand behind his head, his face turning a light scarlet, "Well, you know. It's just something I picked up after I settled down for a bit. Nothing too special."
Jesse giggled, taking another bite, "Nothing special? This is the best food I've had in years!"
"Eh that's an overstatement. I think I made it a bit too sweet. Besides, if you haven’t eaten all day, then of course it’s going to taste good.”
"Don't doubt yourself so much." Jesse looked at Lukas from across the table. "Nothings perfect after all." He said slyly as he took a sip of his wine.
"Could say the same to you." He said as he examined Jesse's bandages. Lukas watched as Jesse swirled the wine glass in his hand. “Don’t get too drunk on me.” He chuckled, giving a wink.
Jesse hid behind the glass, “I don’t think that’ll be happening. Especially since I have to see Radar tomorrow and do shit.” He took another sip. “Don’t get me wrong, I love the kid but he sure as hell can talk a lot. Plus it would be a hell of a lot worse if I was hungover trying to listen to his rambles.”
“Yeah, he sure can talk about nothing for a long time.” Lukas smiled as he sat up and grabbed the plates and utensils off the table.
"Really Lukas, you don't-"
The blond let a shh escape his lips, "Let me do this for you." He looked down at the pile of dishes in the sink. It looked like Jesse hadn't washed them in over a week. "Why don't you go lay down for a little?"
Embarrassment plowed onto Jesse's face. He wanted to protest but he knew the writer wouldn’t give in, "I.. thank you Lukas. It means a lot, really." Lukas gave a small nod before returning to the dishes.
The hero stumbled into his bedroom. He was so tired, so unbelievably tired, even if it was only the afternoon. Maybe his exhaustion was from the wine or his restless sleep, but the moment Jesse reached his blood stained bed it was lights out.