Good morning, sleepyhead
“As weird as it sounds: he’s just sleeping,” says Frankenstein after he finishes checking M21 for the second time that day.
“But the fight was two days ago,” whines Tao, clenching his left fist. His right hand – from fingers to his forearm – is in a plaster cast. He’s looking as if he hasn’t been sleeping for days and could fall down any moment. “Why isn’t he waking up yet?”
Takeo, who is standing next to him, doesn’t look much better, having bandages wrapped around his whole torso and a nasty burn on his face. It was him who carried the unconscious M21 – bruised body beaten almost to a pulp – back to the house before fainting himself.
Raizel feels pangs of sadness ripping through his soul seeing them like that. He should have protected them. He should have realize that something was wrong, that his friends were getting hurt. He should have protected this little family of his, this small amount of people who showed willingness to even die for him – no-one else than Frankenstein has even done that. If only Raizel was there, no-one from the house would get hurt, everyone would be all right. But he wasn’t there. And because of that Tao, Takeo and M21 have been beaten so badly that their bodies are still healing despite the fact that such wounds like theirs, if the three of them weren’t pushed to their limits, would heal in less than a day.
Frankenstein takes off his glasses, looking back at the notes in his hands.
“I’m not sure myself,” he admits with difficulty, his normally smiling face showing the tiniest sights of worry. “His brain scans look all right. He’s not in a coma, he’s healing at his usual pace… By all means he should have woken up hours ago.”
All of them look at the sleeping M21. He’s really looking like he’s dreaming, thinks Raizel. Yet, he knows it’s not true. Raizel can sense the wolfish part of M21 – the instinct, as he sometimes calls it – howling and whining at everyone around M21. The anguish of the wolf makes Raizel want to reach to it, to calm down that lethal force of M21’s strength, to ensure the wolf that it’s protected now.
M21 was being attacked a lot past few weeks, usually when he was alone, and a small thought appears in Raizel’s mind, something what Muzaka told him neons ago: werewolves live in packs and help each other. The wolf of M21 is distressed, flooding Raizel’s mind with fury and, at the same time, with vulnerability. The discomfort writhes beneath his stoic mask of Raizel. What if it’s thinking that M21 got betrayed by his ‘pack’ because M21 had to fight alone, again? It sounds weird even to Raizel, but has been here too long to question anything out of ordinary.
“Ugh,” Tao sighs, pouting. For last few weeks Raizel got used to seeing him smiling. This serious face of Tao unsettles him, somehow. “Let’s just ask some pretty noble to kiss the sleeping prince, maybe it will help.”
Raizel thinks he hears sarcasm in Tao’s voice but then he remembers the last movie Yuna, Suyi and Seira were talking about at school: something about some girl who got kissed by an aristocrat and had woken up. He didn’t want to eavesdrop so didn’t pay attention to their talk… however, wasn’t it Shinwoo who told Raizel that movies often represent real life? Shinwoo knows a lot about how real life works: he can eat that yellow fruit – babana? Banaba? – and he can use all of those strange machines at Frankenstein’s kitchen. Raizel is sure Shinwoo would like him to help M21 if he could even if using the method about which Raizel wasn’t aware just seconds ago.
There are no other nobles around and maybe Raizel’s presence – since he awakened M21 – will be enough to woke up M21. Raizel couldn’t protect his friends when they needed him but he can do it now!
With determination making his eyes shine bright red and air buzz with electricity, Raizel walks to M21’s bed. He is aware of the significance of a kiss in human’s world but thinks M21 won’t be angry at him. Raizel only wants to help.
M21’s chest is rising and falling steadily, his face completely blank… and yes, under that surface Raizel feels the hurt wolf who is now curiously reaching to Raizel however doesn’t want to let M21 wake up. Just how much M21 got hurt before Takeo and Tao showed up which made the wolf so careful and protective about his human?
“Master…?” starts Frankenstein but Raizel raises his hand, silencing him and then, because if there was some ritual to do Tao would definitely mention it, Raizel leans down and kisses M21, hearing faint gasps of surprise behind himself.
Kissing M21 feels weird mostly because Raizel hasn’t kissed anyone in a long, long time. His lips are warm, soft. Wolf parts of M21’s mind are buzzing like bees under the enhanced human’s skin yet they calm down at the gentlest of touches, content to feel the leader of their little family (the way wolf calls Raizel never fails to make him feel pleasantly surprised). If the leader is here then the wolf’s human is going to be all right even if the rest of the pack failed. The wolf can forgive them because his human likes them.
M21’s lips part under Raizel’s and M21 breathes shakily, loudly, the wolf letting him wake up. Raizel moves back, curious; he wasn’t sure this method was going to work but obliviously Tao made right decision by telling Raizel such important information. Why didn’t Frankenstein tell it sooner? It could have saved them from the wait till M21 wakes up on his own.
“… Of course,” murmurs Frankenstein to no-one in particular. “Since the master did awaken him before, he reacted to his touch.”
Raizel doesn’t comment on it, deciding to tell the truth to Frankenstein later. His loyal servant should be aware of all implications of what is going on with M21… of course if M21 agrees that Raizel can share that bit information with Frankenstein.
“Y-you really kissed him!” Tao almost screams in delight, leaning against Takeo to support him and pointing frantically at M21, a big grin on his face. Everyone – save for Raizel – wince at the volume of his voice. “I can’t believe that!” he’s looking like someone just give him a present and it starts to confuse Raizel. Has he done something wrong…?
“Gods, so it wasn’t resuscitation?” groans M21. He managed to sit up and is now rubbing his face, looking as if he’s trying very hard not to look at anyone. His cheeks seem to be more red than usual. Is he feeling too hot under the blanket? Should Raizel ask Frankenstein to do that thing with that weird-looking machine at the ceiling and make air cooler?
“I’m happy you’re back with us, M21, thanks to master’s help.”
Suddenly both M21 and Tao pale and look up at the Frankenstein, who is smiling at them with a smile that Raizel knows too well; every time Frankenstein smiled like that in Lukedonia, his mansion was later invaded by different clan leaders who had lots of complains. Raizel frowns. Did he miss something? Why is Frankenstein looking so angry at both enhanced humans? Is he jealous that it was Tao who told Raizel about that method of waking people up from coma?
But it doesn’t explain why M21 is murmuring under his breath that he’s going to die. Raizel has just saved him… And why is Tao trying to hide behind Takeo?
Raizel will never completely understand humans.