Hiraeth

By @ErinHughes

Hiraeth

By @ErinHughes

(N) a homesickness for a home you can't return to, or that never was. A modern fairy tale set during an alternate WWII.

Chapter 1

1. To Make One Desirable

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful woman with the sun in her eyes, the moon in her skin, and music in her voice. Once upon a time there was a man whom this woman loved with all of her heart, but he was not truly hers, but her passenger’s.

Her passenger’s name was Sverila.

Once upon a time there was a shadow, the brother to Sverila, Death himself.

His name was Anryien.

Anryien watched the woman who had unintentionally freed him from his chains, and he grew to love this woman; his sister’s host.

On one merry evening, the woman was out with the man and his friends and this was to be the night that she decided that nothing would come between her and gaining her love’s attentions. So she stepped away from the table of men and approached the bar in the guise of looking for more drinks, all the while listening carefully as the man’s best friend mentioned her adoration of the man to him.

She clenched the fabric of her skirt tightly in her hands, smiling nervously as she scanned the menu board. She had never dreamed that she would be that obvious in her affection.

“She looks at you like the girls back home did.” His friend said to him, unaware that the woman could still hear clearly from her position across the room.

“She’s just a friend. She’s… not my type.” The man admitted and the woman stilled, but it went unnoticed by the surrounding bar patrons.

No one was aware of how hard she was hurting and somehow that made it hurt all the more.

“Why not?” The man’s friend asked him and the woman swallowed thickly.

The man clearly did not want to take part in any of the rest of the conversation.

“She’s… She’s just a little big for my tastes.” The man, the one who held her affections, continued, clearly trying his best to escape the conversation.

The woman swallowed down her pain and a wave of determination overcame her. Sverila would know what to do, she was sure.

She stepped away from the bar and left the drinking hole of the military base they had been stationed on. She arrived back to her room, the one she shared with the man, for he was the one that became her ‘handler’ once Sverila took up house within her body.

The woman, whose name was as radiant as she was, Luna, stepped into the bathroom and dropped her dress to the concrete floors and gazed into the mirror, analyzing herself for imperfections while she stood cold in her slip.

Her cheeks, a little too full, her shoulders too broad, her waist not small enough, her arms and thighs too thick… Luna frowned and released a few tears at her revelations.

“Sverila,” Luna called upon the woman via the mirror.

The goddess manifested herself in the mirror’s reflection, standing behind her host.

Sverila was the enchanting sort of beauty that had no trouble getting her what she wanted- and the goddess herself was not one to be above using her beauty to achieve her goals.

She was slim, her build like that of a dancer’s, but with gently alluring curves that could put any model to shame. She was fair with long wavy black hair that always fell in the most flattering of ways over her shoulders and chest, enhancing her beauty. She was always dressed in a dress made of sheepskin or the like, short and scandalous and Luna believed it was probably best for her original time period.

Luna stared at the goddess, as captivated by her as her love was.

“I want to be beautiful, like you.”

The goddess smirked at her, wrapping her arms around the shorter woman’s shoulders and leaning her spectral face into Luna’s neck, whispering into the wider woman’s ear, her breath like a chill breeze.

“Is that your wish?”

Luna swallowed, staring into the goddess’ liquid mercury eyes in the mirror’s reflection.

“No, my true wish would be that everyone I love is safe. I… I just want to be beautiful so that he’ll love me too.

“Can you help me?”

Sverila nodded back at her in the mirror with a small smirk, “I can offer you my advice, mortal. But it comes with a price.”

“Anything.” Luna eagerly accepted.

“I will grant you your wish as well as give you my advice if you help me locate my brother. Convince your mortal allies to search for his idol. When they find it, call me up and your wish will be granted. The advice, I will begin with now.”

Luna nodded, knowing innately that to release Sverila’s brother would be dangerous, but she could think only of her own desires.

“What do I need to do?”

Sverila laughed softly in her ear, “You will give up eating, save only an apple each day in front of the other mortals so they do not grow suspicious. Drink water often however, it will help satisfy the hunger you will have.”

“And that will make me beautiful?”

Sverila whispered again in her ear, “It is the first step, you will need to keep it up for quite some time. You must rest often, for we must keep up the missions they give us to appear as if it is mere chance. I’m sure the mortal who loves me, will soon love you too. Just keep my words in mind child, and you will soon be beautiful and your wish will be granted as well.”

And so Luna kept her words in mind, doing exactly as the goddess bid her to do.

So she convinced her superiors to look for the idol in which Sverila believed her brother resided in, all the while making sure to live according to her passenger’s advice, sleeping in her off time instead of going out with her love or pulling double shifts in the infirmary beside the other nurses.

The man began to notice that something was off a few weeks later, and part of her was glad- thinking that perhaps she was becoming more pleasing to his eye.

“Are you alright? You sure are sleeping a lot. We have another mission tomorrow. It looks like Viscera has come into some Nazi-stolen goods. Are you sure you can go?”

She put on her brightest smile despite the hunger burning in the pit of her stomach.

“Of course. It’ll be an opportunity to get out, I’ll be fine.”

She smiled at him and he nodded, but seemed hesitant.

“Go on, Jack. I’ll be fine. Have fun with everyone.”

He nodded once more and left the room and Luna quickly escaped into the bathroom where she once again dropped her dress, leaving her clad only in her slip and undergarments. Even those had begun to loosen over the past three weeks. They were starting to grow too loose however, and Luna knew she needed to keep up appearances as well as she could for the time being. Even she knew that it would look off if it appeared she had lost so much weight in such scant a time.

Her skin had seemed to lose it’s natural radiance, her hair fell flat and felt almost crunchy beneath her fingertips, though she was grateful it still seemed normal despite its ill volume and touch.

Her cheeks had begun to hollow out some and she smiled to herself, releasing the pleased grin when she quickly grew tired. Her collar bone seemed sharper and her waist and breasts had begun to narrow down in size and width.

She was glad- but it still wasn’t enough.

“Sverila, what can I do?”

The goddess smiled out at her from the mirror.

“You are doing quite well, we’ll just take in your gowns a bit and you will use this sigil to go unnoticed.”

The goddess drew a symbol out on the mirror with her finger and Luna quickly scribbled it in permanent marker over the underside of her breasts. No one would look there, she was sure.

But it did not matter as the sign, the sigil, sunk down into her skin. She looked back at the mirror and Sverila disappeared and Luna could see her skin glow with health once more.

She liked the glow, but right now she knew the glow of perfect health was only a lie.

Once she was beautiful she would claim it for real.

The next day she was shaken awake by Jack and she blinked hazily up at him, “You slept clean through breakfast. Ann brought you some pants and a coat to use on the mission. Your boots are in the closet.”

She nodded and sat up, and just as she expected, he said nothing.

Not exactly what she wanted, but it would do for now.

“Here, I uh, brought you an apple since you overslept. It was the only thing I knew you liked.” Jack handed her the piece of fruit and left the room to give her privacy.

She ate as she dressed and made sure to drink enough water to keep her feeling full longer. She packed another bottle into her bag and tied her boots up. They too, were loose and she made sure to tighten them with the laces tighter than she had before, wrapping the extra length around her ankles. No one would notice she knew.

Jack was waiting outside, rubbing his jaw slightly.

His short wavy brown hair was growing out again and he hadn’t shaved in a few days. He was taller than her by about a foot, making him tall for a man since she was certainly not petite by any means. They walked out of the main building toward the garage in the morning light, their shadows trailing them silently on the ground. It was quiet outside for once- no one appeared to be practicing or training.

Jack’s best friend was accompanying them on the mission and they met him in the garage.

Henry McBride was of average height, but one of those people that made up for any failings in sheer beauty.

Handsome with amber brown hair and emerald green eyes, he was fair but had taken on a slight tan along with a spattering of freckles from being outside often.

Luna smiled at him when they entered the garage and he grinned back at her.

“Ready to go?” He asked, “We better get going before Beatrice starts yelling. Morgan had another prank planned.”

Luna laughed, “How he manages to get so much done when he’s on bed rest, I’ll never know.”

They left a few minutes later, all three of them joking as they drove for a few hours till they came to a hidden patch in the forest where the three of them hid the vehicle and made their way for the enemy base that they would call on Sverila to raze.

This is where they think your brother’s idol is.

Excellent.

The goddess’ reply resounded throughout Luna’s mind evenly, not betraying a single emotion of her passenger’s.

They stopped twenty minutes later and they both turned to her.

“Call her up, Diviny.”

Luna nodded and stilled, forcing herself to relax after a moment as she let Sverila begin to overwhelm her senses. “Sverila…”

The goddess appeared to rise up from her host’s skin, the host and passenger falling to their knees. It was always painful because of how different the goddess’ build was to hers, but they both knew the goddess forced the brunt of the pain onto her host.

Strangely, this time it was less painful than before. Perhaps it was because she was getting closer to Sverila in shape. Except for the height change (as the goddess was slightly shorter), that was just as agonizing as before.

Luna let out a small breath and slipped to the back of her mind, grateful that Sverila even let her observe through their eyes.

Sverila rose up from the grass slowly, like a predator that was stalking her prey as she scanned the two men that stood a few feet away from her. Her clothes had changed as well, back to her dress of skins that left nothing to the imagination- she was not the type to be modest by any means.

A constant haze of shadows seemed to roll off of her, obscuring the view of her quite a bit- well, all except for her eyes, a luminescent liquid mercury that could set even the most dense on edge.

Sverila smiled at the two men devilishly and Henry swallowed uneasily as Jack smiled back at her, far too comfortable with her to realize quite how deadly she was.

She had taken great pains to gain his unending trust, though it was simply for her entertainment as opposed to any actual purpose if she was honest, especially since she had learned of her host’s obsession with the man.

Sverila bit back a snort.

Her host’s love was a complete and utter idiot.

But still, she disappeared to appear behind him, wrapping her arms around him.

“Miss me?” She whispered in his ear and he chuckled.

“Of course.” Jack replied, still smiling.

Henry, who was clearly the more intelligent of the two Sverila surmised, had put a good five feet of distance between himself and the two, frowning. He was not okay with what his friend was doing with the goddess, not anywhere near approving toward his friend’s growing love of her and almost complete disregard of her host, her body’s true occupant. Henry swallowed again, knowing better than to question the goddess while she was free.

They could barely control her on a good day, and he knew she had killed a few soldiers that had dared to say something against her. That had been disregarded by their superiors, she was more valuable than the few.

“We have a mission for you.” Jack stated, “There is an idol hidden in the base to the east of us. We want it, can you get it?”

Sverila laughed, it was lyrical and utterly dangerous to Henry.

“Of course I can. Why do you ask such silly questions I wonder? Nonetheless, I shall retrieve it.”

With a blow of the breeze she was gone and they were alone.

Sverila manifested within the enemy base, startling a collection of their soldiers. With a wave of her hand they were pulled into the shadows and their screams were momentary at best.

Mortals. Tsk. Tsk.

She reached out her aura and searched the compound. Any soldier she came across with her power was quickly disposed of and soon men were screaming all over the base. Sverila smiled when she found the idol, her brother’s idol.

Finally, she could have him at her side once more! Oh, she had missed him since she had taken this host, but this meant she was one step closer to having her goal reached.

Soon, they would rule over the mortals once more.

She wished she had never given that up- her worshippers. To think, she had given them up for love of all things.

She should have known better.

She manifested in the room in the basement of the northern building, her eyes tracing the items to be found. She thought it was quite hilarious that these…. Nazis had an occult division. It was even funnier that the organization called Viscera was stealing the Nazis information out from under them. They knew as much as the people who dared thought they could control her.

She scanned the room briefly, noting items of little import. Still, she took the time to seize a few of the items she felt radiate power.

One garter, one diadem, one necklace, and two small velvet boxes that held rings that radiated amplifying abilities. All were seized and hidden away with her abilities except for the delicate necklace, which she donned. She knew she could use these delicate items to her advantage, when, she wasn’t sure.

She fingered the small pendant of a moon made from selenite, getting a hold for its powers as she approached a metal table in the back of the room where she sensed her brother’s idol.

The small pendant bore a subtle charm- protective in nature. It would be both useful for her as well as her host and would go unnoticed by all.

Sverila laughed to herself, stepping up to the table and unbuckling a metal suitcase to reveal her brother’s idol- a decaying black woven figure of a skeletal man. The idol crumbled away in her hand.

Sverila let out a growl of frustration. He wasn’t in the idol!

Where was he, if not in the idol? Where was he?

Surely he would have come for her now if he were free!

Sverila sensed her host grow uneasy as her thoughts grew frustrated and loud.

Hush, child. Our deal remains intact.

The remains of the idol began to dissolve into shadows and she stared at them for a moment before a smile appeared on her face once more.

“Oh Anryien, you are clever. Truly, dear brother.” She muttered before reconstructing the idol into a convincing replica and placing it back in the briefcase and grabbing the handle only to dissolve into the air and make her way back to her fool mortal lover and his friend.

Jack grinned at her when she appeared and she tossed the case at his friend who caught it with ease.

“Jack?” Henry asked and Jack shook his head.

“We’ll be along in a few. Go ahead and head back to the truck.”

Sverila smirked and pulled the mortal into a kiss, her smirk deepening when she felt her host recoil within their shared mind in pain. Jack’s friend quickly turned tail and walked away, swallowing down his guilt as he caught onto what they would be staying behind to do.

He picked her up by her legs and she wrapped them around his waist as he pushed her up against a neighboring tree for support and she let out a laugh.

“Want to have some fun?” She teased and he nipped at her throat.

Sverila unbuttoned his coat and shirt as he continued his ministrations on her throat.

Please stop.

Sverila did not still, and Jack quickly pulled off his shirt and it fell to the grass without sound.

Does this hurt you, mortal? To see the one you love use our body so? If it makes you feel better, he is nothing to me but a brief pleasure.

Please stop…

Sverila did not stop. She continued straight on till the end, till her host was silenced in her pain. Only then did she roll off the girl’s love and allow the shift back as she slipped to the back of their shared mind, sated. She allowed one mercy, giving her love time to dress before she shifted so that they could pretend that he hadn’t just fucked her like the girl didn’t matter.

Luna knew better, but she put on a brave face and pretended to know nothing.

In her heart, she knew she should hate him, she knew she should. But she didn’t.

She loved him still, and it hurt her deep and well.

They walked back to the truck and Luna could feel the hunger eating at her again, much fiercer than before. Jack opened the door for her to slide in next to Henry and she did, pulling the bottle of water from her bag and nursing it until she felt her eyelids droop and gave into sleep.

Henry looked over at his arm at the woman who leaned on Jack’s shoulder. He felt for her, he wondered vaguely if she had any brothers who would’ve tried to protect her from this. God knew, if Jack had pulled this shit with his little sister, he would have murdered him, friendship or no.

He frowned at his friend and thought of saying something but knew Jack would just shrug him off. He glanced back down at Luna, his frown deepening.

“Is her nose bleeding?”

Jack grabbed her shoulders and pulled her head up, inspecting the blood that was flowing quickly out of her nose. He looked up at Henry, “Nosebleeds aren’t supposed to be this fast flowing, are they?”

Henry shook his head and sped up, trying to get back to the base faster. Hopefully Thomas could tell them what was wrong.

But still, it would take a few hours to get back.

“Diviny? Can you hear me? What’s wrong?” Jack held her head up and found some tissues in the glovebox, holding a few up to staunch the bleeding.

Luna blinked her golden eyes hazily as she began to awaken, “My head hurts.”

Jack chuckled lightly, but it was a stiff sound and his voice seemed concerned, “I imagine so, but come on, you need to keep awake. We’ll get you to Dr. Thomas once we get back to the base.”

She nodded, fighting to stay conscious, but she was failing quick.

“Tired,” She muttered and Jack sighed as she began to nod off again.

“Diviny, come on.” He needled and she sighed softly.

“Tired,” She muttered once more and passed back out.

Jack pulled back, but made sure to keep the tissue pressed up under her nose.

“How far away are we?”

Henry shook his head, “A couple hours. Get her to call the goddess up. Hopefully Sverila will heal her.”

He turned his gaze back onto the road. It was dark and twilight filled the air, the beginning to the end of autumn coloring the trees.

“She’s out cold. I’ll try and call her up.” Jack sighed, leaning into her ear.

“Sverila, come to me. Diviny needs you to heal her.” Jack whispered into her ear and Luna let out a hiss as she felt her form shifting for the second time that night. She slid willingly to the back of her mind to escape the pain.

Sverila rose up and turned to Jack with a look of annoyance in her glowing reflective eyes. The shadows that rolled off of her made it uncomfortable to be in such close proximity to her for Henry. She smirked at the man of her host’s affections.

He was such a fool.

Nonetheless, she concentrated her energy on healing her host. Couldn’t have the woman’s body failing her too soon. When she had completed that, she focused briefly on calling up her domain to grant her host’s wish while she was at it. The men beside her did not notice their own skin brighten with health and for the umpteenth time she mocked them in her mind.

These mortal men were so weak. Why her host would waste her time on one was beyond her.

Sverila turned her gaze on her lover. He was attractive by mortal standards she knew, with strong handsome features, but she knew he was just as pathetic as his peers if not more so by falling under her physical charms so easily.

To think, he was oblivious to her host’s feeling toward him, even when his friend had told him such.

Sverila pitied her host.

In her time, her host would have been among the most beautiful women of the goddess’ people. It was part of why she had stayed with her host for so long. That, and she knew her host would please her brother. He had a soft spot when it came to women like her, beautiful and overly compassionate, and Sverila knew that he would come to care for her mortal host because of those qualities.

She would not blame him, even though she was far from those qualities herself. Even though her host was pathetic to the goddess, she knew her brother would take to her like a moth to a flame. She knew he might even take to her host perhaps even more so that her- but that would not be too big a loss as the woman would be easily manipulated to suit her will Sverila thought. She was after all, a being of Light, of Life, and her brother, the embodiment of Darkness, the embodiment of Death, was captivated by such charms.

Sverila knew her brother would come for her soon, it was only a question of when. But in the meantime, she would entertain herself with showing her host why this fool mortal was not worth her time- it would make it all the easier for her to fall for Anryien when he came.

Sverila knew the young woman would eventually see it, she just needed a little push.

And she knew just what to do.

Jack stared at her, captivated as always. She spent the duration of the ride teasing him in his ear mercilessly. Part of her was sad that her host would not come out of hiding to observe, but she was too weak at the moment.

They arrived back at the base an hour before they should’ve. They had the nervous driver to thank for that. Henry turned to them as he was about to get out.

“We need to get her to the infirmary, can you let her shift back?”

Sverila nodded with a tilt of her head, “But it is nothing a little sleep won’t take care of. I’ve made sure of that.”

Jack nodded, “Then we’ll just get her to bed.”

Henry looked like he wanted to disagree, but he sighed and nodded, leaving the goddess and his friend alone in the truck. She turned to Jack.

“Do you love me?”

He swallowed and stared into her eyes. Sverila schooled her expression as she felt her host begin to slide back into control. She kept her at bay while she awaited his answer.

“… Yes.”

She leaned into his ear as she felt her body begin to shift back into the woman’s true form.

“Good.”

Luna collapsed against his side with a moan of pain. Jack swallowed and wrapped an arm around her loosely.

They were silent for a few minutes as Luna resettled herself into her mind.

Jack was quiet as she pulled away and looked up at him as she slowly came out of a daze. Luna scanned his features, searching for something, anything, but she could only decipher a searching gaze of his own, as if he too was scanning her for a way to break the silence.

She blinked after a minute and looked away and then back at him, her golden honey colored eyes still hazy, still somewhat confused.

She had lost time again- it had been like that in the beginning with Luna never remembering anything that happened when Sverila took control, but it had changed as she became accustomed to the goddess’ constant presence in her mind to the point where she now knew what was happening generally even if she was still disconnected from it.

But this time Luna thought it was too similar to sleep, she must have passed out, but why? And why did she still feel so tired?

Jack nodded and unlocked the door and slid out, holding out his hand to help her out of the truck. She took it, but didn’t let go when she was on stable ground. Jack nodded once more and squeezed her hand, wrapping an arm around her to provide support as they walked back to their room.

“Luna?” He asked softly and she looked up at him from his left as they made their way to the room’s door at the far end of the hallway in the western corridor of the main building.

“Yes?”

“Do you… know if she cares about me? I… care about her and I want to know if I shouldn’t.”

Luna slid into the room first, leaning against the bathroom door as he sat down on the cot he stayed on when she was in control. She hated that he only stayed beside her when she wasn’t herself. She hated that Sverila taunted her with how intimate she was with him. She shrugged off the coat and placed it on a hanger in the closet, thinking about her answer.

She knew the goddess didn’t care about him in a truthful way at all, but she knew just how well it hurt to know that you never really had a chance. She wondered if he would fight for her, she wondered if he noticed what she was doing in the hopes that she would be good enough for him. She shook her head to come out of her thoughts.

Lie to him, he doesn’t need to feel the pain you feel.

Luna swallowed at Sverila’s words. If she didn’t know the goddess well enough, she’d think that the goddess cared about him, or at least in a pseudo human way that said something about courtesy.

She turned back to look at him over her shoulder. He held his head in his hands as he sat at the end of the cot, his fingers wringing his hair a bit as the trials of the day began to show wear on him.

So she lied to him, stepping around what she knew was the truth.

“I don’t know. She doesn’t let me know how she feels.”

He fell back onto the cot and sighed, his arm over his face.

“I guess I’ll have to trust her.” He looked at her briefly, “You can use the bath first, I think I’ll go to sleep.”

She nodded and grabbed a towel and her nightdress from the closet, sliding into the bathroom a moment later. She turned on the shower, leaving it on cold until she felt like sliding inside. She stripped off the pants and shirt, staring again at her reflection. She sighed, pressing her ear to the door to check if he was asleep.

She could hear him snoring and she nodded to herself.

Her underwear was getting loose, her bra was a cup size too big for her now. She’d have to start stuffing the bottom of the cups.

Sverila manifested in her reflection, her arms wrapped around her host’s shoulders again.

“How am I doing?” She asked her and the goddess laughed.

“That is for you to decide, mortal. I do not keep up with mortal standards of beauty. How do you think you are doing?”

Luna frowned, “Not enough. Closer. But still, not enough.”

Sverila laughed in her ear once more, “Nevertheless, I have granted your wish. All you love will be kept safe.”

“But we didn’t find your brother?” Luna’s brows furrowed.

“Oh, but we did discover that he is free. That is all I need for now. I have no doubt he will come to us soon.”

Luna nodded and Sverila disappeared.

She showered, foregoing the heat altogether as exhaustion began to creep in on her again, grateful for the chill of the water. It felt good on her skin surprisingly, and she breathed deeply, even as she felt pain keenly in her heart, evan as hunger burned like a wildfire in her gut.

But she steeled herself.

I will be good enough. I just have to do as Sverila said, just for another month or two. Then I’ll be good enough. I know it.

Weeks passed, people began to notice her weight loss but the sigils kept the true degradation of her health unseen. She busied herself in the infirmary with the nurses and Dr. Thomas, spending time with the dying, trying to take on their pain as everyone else stayed clear of them like the plague.

Death had never really scared her and it made her feel wanted.

“Luna, dear. You look good. What have you been doing, perhaps I should follow your lead!” Beatrice joked to her and Luna smiled stiffly.

Just keep it up, soon you’ll be good enough. 

Or at least that’s what she told herself.

Her vows to continue helped dull her constant hunger and she failed to notice that she had gone without food for two days.

She stood from her chair and quickly sat back down, hoping that he quivering limbs had gone unnoticed.

“Girl, you’re shakier than me. Are you alright?” Scott, one of the men that had resided in the infirmary for a week, called to her from a few cots away. She smiled at him.

“I’m fine. I just need a second.”

She yawned and Beatrice quickly shooed her out of the infirmary. Luna concentrated her strength on staying awake and pasted on the appearance of wellness over her face, though she scarcely recalled it at all.

Just get to bed. You just need to sleep. You’ll wake up and feel better.

She nodded to herself and slid into her room, not even stopping to change as she slid beneath the blankets and fell into sleep.

“Williams! Get the girl, you have another mission!”

Jack looked up at his superior and nodded, jogging back to the main building and down the halls to the room door. He stepped into the room, surprised to see Luna asleep despite the bright sunlight pouring in from the window.

“Luna, come on, get up. We have a mission.”

She didn’t stir and he shook his head at her as he approached the bed. He placed a hand on her arm only to quickly withdraw. She was hot, fever hot.

“Luna, come on, wake up.” He shook her a bit, but she didn’t wake up.

“Luna?”

Henry knocked on the door, entering to see his friend leaning over his charge. “Jack?”

“Get Thomas! She won’t wake up!”

Henry’s eyes widened and he quickly did as he was asked, coming back with the doctor within ten minutes.

Dr. Thomas shooed them both out of the way and checked her temperature.

“Miss Diviny? Can you hear me?” He turned to Jack, “When was the last time she ate? Drank?”

Jack gaped like a fish, “I don’t know. She hadn’t come with me to the mess hall in the past week. I saw her eat on monday, but she’s been hanging around the infirmary and is usually asleep when I get back to the room.”

Thomas frowned, “Miss Diviny?”

She did not wake. Thomas ordered the men out of the room as he checked her over. She was clearly malnourished and slack, far too still while her body tried to fight off a fever. It was thursday, he hadn’t seen her yesterday evening or today. She must’ve been asleep since yesterday afternoon.

He threw back the bedding and picked her up bridal style, her head leaning against his shoulder haphazardly, her breathing still shallow, but appearing to seem harsher due to how close she was to his ear. He kicked at the door and Jack pulled it open.

“McBride, pick up my bag. I’m taking her to the infirmary.” Thomas ordered and Jack followed the doctor on his heels every step of the way.

Henry grabbed the doctor’s bag and hurried after them.

As soon as they were out of the main building they were spotted by Ann Winters, the general’s niece and assistant.

The fiery redhead’s fair features contorted in shock and she rushed to follow them with an exclamation.

“Luna! Oh my god, what’s wrong?”

Some of the other men stopped what they were doing to watch them pass by. Thomas quickly swept them into the medical building and placed her down on the nearest cot. She didn’t stir and Beatrice quickly approached her side as she spotted them enter, scanning the younger woman and patting down her dress to conserve her modesty. The elder woman was unnerved with how loose the dress felt beneath her fingertips, frowning when she felt something crunch softly against her fingers as she ran them along the younger woman’s chest. She looked up at the two soldiers that had come in with them.

“Turn around.” She commanded and they swiftly turned their backs. Ann drew a curtain shield around the cot and stepped inside to help. Dr. Thomas let the two women undress his patient down to the slip and stepped away briefly to get out of their way. They all frowned when a crunch was heard.

“It’s coming from her bra.” Beatrice stated and pushed her hand into the right cup, lifting up her patient’s breast and pulling out the crumpled paper balls that sat beneath.

“Ann, check the other side.”

Dr. Thomas was frowning and Beatrice narrowed her light brown eyes on the unconscious woman on the cot. She pressed her fingers over her ribs, irritated when she noticed how protruded they were.

“She hasn’t been eating.” Beatrice stated and Thomas nodded.

Ann pulled out more paper from the other cup.

“Is everything alright in there?” Jack’s voice called to them and Ann’s eyes narrowed.

Beatrice’s brows furrowed, “You don’t think? No, she’s young, but not stupid.”

Ann tapped her fingers against her crossed arms, a deep frown marring her strong features.

“You’ve seen the way she looks at him, if she thought it would get her a chance, she’d do it.” Ann whispered, anger coming into her dark brown eyes.

Thomas’ eyes narrowed. “Her body is already under a lot of stress because of her passenger. I imagine the lack of nutrients made it much worse.”

“McBride.” Thomas called over the curtain. “Hand me two of the blankets from the cupboard. Just toss them to me.”

“Sure thing.”

Henry tossed them over the curtain shield and Thomas took them, tucking his patient in with the first and tossing the second atop the first.

“Attach an IV.” He told Beatrice, pulling the shield aside.

Jack looked worried as he and his friend took a step back to allow fair distance, “What’s wrong?”

Thomas narrowed his eyes on him, but relaxed after releasing a deep breath.

“She hasn’t been eating. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you, Williams?”

Jack’s eyes widened. Henry narrowed his own on his friend, “She hasn’t come to the bar since the night she left so abruptly. You don’t think she over heard us, do you?”

Jack shook his head, “She was across the room, how could she?”

Thomas pulled Luna’s arm free of the blankets, attaching an IV drip to her arm.

“Hey Doc, is something wrong with Lunacy?” Barrett called from across the room.

Dr. Thomas sighed, Barrett and some of the men had grown quite attached to the woman.

“Don’t worry, Barrett. She just needs to sleep it off. She’ll wake up when she’s good and ready.”

He turned his head over his shoulder at the two men standing beside the cot.

“I’m surprised you didn’t know. Diviny has enhanced senses because of her condition. It’s part of the reason her body doesn’t try and reject her passenger.” Thomas frowned at them, leaving it at that before seeing to his other patients.

Morgan Bates in the next cot over frowned at his neighbor and then at Jack. He turned his gaze away after a moment, “You done fucked up, Williams.”

Jack sat down beside Luna’s cot, leaning his back against it lightly. He ran a hand over his face before dropping it to his side in a tight fist. He smacked it against the concrete floors, his brows furrowed and his lips drawn into a tight line. Henry sat down beside him.

“You’re an asshole.” Henry declared and Jack nodded, saying nothing.

They sat beside the cot for a few hours till Ann came back in and told them the mission had been put off a few days. They nodded and Beatrice shoved them out, smacking them with a towel to get the out.

“She’s going to be a little pissed off for a while, Jack. You best not get hurt in the meantime.” Ann commented as they parted ways.

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