The next day TO rushed to the cafeteria and found GiDi waiting outside the doors. TO had expected GiDi to look tired, or sad, or even still as dazed as they had been the day before. They were neither of these things; they waited for TO with their arms crossed over their chest, their ears pinned back and their wings puffed up slightly. They were angry.
“GiDi!” TO said as they got close to them, “You’re ok”?
“I’m fine.” GiDi said, their voice flat and almost indifferent as their ears twitched with deceit, “Let’s go get some-”
“I’m not hungry.” TO said quickly, “And I really want to talk to you. Please?”
GiDi gave TO a hard look which lasted only for a moment before their ears relaxed a little, their wings loosening up around them, “Food first.” GiDi said, “I don’t care what you’re worried about, you’re going to eat something.”
“How do you know I’m worried about anything?”
“The very tips of your ears twitch when you’re worried, and you always say you’re not hungry when something’s bothering.” GiDi said as they took TO by the wrist and pulled them in, “We can go hide away somewhere later, but you’re getting food now.”
“We won’t be able to get back to the dormitory.” TO said, “it’s too late- we’d be late for our combat training-”
“We’ll find a place!” GiDi snapped. They were much sharper than TO had expected, and TO fell silent.They let GiDi bring them into the cafeteria, then after they had their food they allowed GiDi to pull them away towards the physical training room. They didn’t ask why they were heading there already, as GiDi’s ears had slowly pinned back again.
GiDi was mad. They were very mad. TO wondered if they were angry at them. Well, of course they were. GiDi had every right to be angry at them; they had left them alone yesterday when they needed someone with them.
Not that TO had much choice .Yesterday had been…. Just an awful, exhausting day. It was hard to really think of it as a single day as such much had happened. Part of it still felt like a dream.
GiDi pulled them past the training room and to a storage room which was unlocked. Inside were half open boxes of training bands and multi-guns.
“Alright.” GiDi said as they sat down on top of a nearby box, “Tell me what happened with DH” Their voice was cold and sharp- almost clinical.
“... You’re angry with me.”
As TO said that, GiDi managed to crack their plate in two, dropping some cubes of food to the floor. They gave a low growl as they snapped their gaze up to TO.
“You know what? Yes! I am!” They snapped, “But I’m more worried about DH than I am angry at this very moment, so -”
“DH will be fine!” TO insisted. TO had woken up first, still holding DH as they slept. They got up and sat in the chair close to the bed until DH woke up. They had been confused but more lucid than they had been before. TO had to explain about their eye again, but before DH could ask any questions about Q10, TO had been sent off to get their food while MO-6 did a morning checkup on DH .
DH was fine for the moment. GiDi was not.
“I’m sorry I left you.” TO said with their ears down, “I didn’t know what to do! DH’s face was torn up, and they wanted me to do something to help Q10, then our overseers wanted to see us, and then I needed to stay around until DH woke up-”
“Q10.” GiDi said, almost in disbelief, “For Q10. You were there to help Q10, but you couldn’t find time to help me!?”
TO felt their ears flick down, “Well... I just…” They looked away, “DH asked me to help them. They needed help, but-”
“No. You know who needed help!? I needed help!” their lips pulled back slightly, exposing the points of their fangs. TO glanced up and cursed at themself- they could see tears of frustration in GiDi’s eyes. “Do you have any idea how awful it was for me!? I was scared! I was confused!” They pointed an accusing finger at TO, “You left me in the care of a strange synth that I’ve never spoken to before!”
“I… Bu... they said they’d take care of you so I could bring DH to the-”
“To the medical bay, Yes, I know!” GiDi hissed, “But you could have come back for me! Do you have any idea-” They stopped themself, and turned away, “No, you don’t know anything about what I went through, because you weren’t there!”
“...but when I messaged you, you said you were fine.”
“I know. Yes.”
GiDi’s ears flicked down in shame for just a moment, “I was fine then because the news about King Decon had come through. Before that, I was just scared and confused, and I had all these thoughts going through my head…” They shook their head, then glared back up at TO, “And you weren’t there because you were too busy trying to help Q10!”
“They needed my help!”
“So did I,TO!” GiDi said, their voice finally breaking as a sob threatened to silence them. They turned around, refusing to look at TO as they wrapped their wings around themself, “I know you’d don’t like to see others hurting, but I was hurting last night.”
“... I’m sorry.” TO whispered, “DH begged me to help them-”
“I know DH is precious to you.” GiDi said with venomous words, “But could you pretend I am too?”
TO was up from where they were sitting as the words left GiDi’s mouth. They ran up to them and hugged them from behind, letting their wings drape over their smaller friend.
“You are.” TO insisted, “You are precious to me. I… I love you and DH. Both of you.” They felt their ears flush as they said that, and their stomach churned as they realized that unlike DH, GiDi was not loopy from painkillers.
GiDi fell silent, and TO could feel them stiffen in their arms. A moment later their wings relaxed, “That’s… unlike you to say.” GiDi said softly.
“Is it?” TO asked. GiDi didn’t say anything, they just nodded. “Is… is it weird to say? I mean, I realized that… I mean, you and DH are my friends. My family, right? And I was worried that something might happen to DH, and they’d never know.” They gave GiDi a squeeze, “I want you to know too. But…” They felt their ears droop down, “I guess I’ve been awful at showing it.”
“...I don’t think it’s strange.” they said after a long, silent moment. “It’s...I guess it’s just not said.” A low chuckle escaped their lips, “Though, I think DH will be happy when you tell them.” TO suddenly felt GiDi stiffen up again, “Though, I guess you already told them.”
“They were on a lot of painkillers.” TO said, “I don’t think they’ll remember.”
“Well, you’ll tell them again, I’m sure they’ll be very happy.” GiDi said simply. They shifted away from TO and started to pick up the food they had dropped.
“You’re upset?” TO asked them as they knelt down to help.
There was another long, drawn out silence as GiDi slowly picked up their food, brushing dust and dirt off the cubes before setting them back on the broken plate. “Yesterday was just a very long, very confusing, very bad day.” They sat back on the box and looked up at TO, “Sorry I snapped at you.” They said, “It was dumb. I know DH needed you.”
“You’re right though. I should have come back for you.”
“It’s fine.” GiDi said quickly. Even without watching their ears TO could tell that they were lying, but before they could question them on it, GiDi asked, “So.. how did it go? How is DH?”
TO knew that GiDi was still angry, but they clearly didn’t want to linger on it.
“... They’re better.” TO said, “They’ll have scars. And they did lose an eye-”
“You mentioned that.”
“But…” They sat down again, and allowed a little flicker of a smile to cross their face, “That dissection I had to do? It helped.” They looked down at their food, and for the first time they were able to consider eating while they thought of that awful day in the labs, “the eyes that we took, one of them ended up being used for DH.”
“That…” they sighed before finally looking TO in the eyes, “That’s good. That’s good for you more than it is for DH, I think.”
“What do you mean?”
GiDi gestured to TO’s plate, “Well, it’s the first time I’ve seen you eat after thinking about that whole thing.” GiDi said carefully, “And normally when you talk about it you look…” They trailed off, “It’s hard to describe. But it’s not good. It’s like you can’t see us when you think about it. I mean, you look a little sad now, but that’s all: sad. Not crushed.” They took a bite of their food, “Though... I mean, I’m very glad they got the transplant, but I’m surprised. If their eye was damaged, wouldn’t they just send them to work down in maintenance or something like that?”
“Maybe.” To said, “And at first, they weren’t going to give them the transplant.”
“Wait… how do you know that?”
TO gave a deep sigh as that part of the day ran through their head, then they slowly started to tell GiDi what happened with the Overseers and Q10.
Bio: A writer and Illustrator with scenes to show and stories to tell