" Your buddy's a little shaken up, huh?"

" ... Yes. We both are, really."

William could feel Nova's eyes on him, watching.

... He was probably thinking about how weak he was, or something like that. It was frustrating to know that from his perspective, it was true. If Nova hadn't shielded him, he would've died.

To know that Nova cared about him so much was... frustrating.

A lot more frustrating than he had expected it to feel.

He felt like he wanted him to hate him. It would be so much easier if things were like that.

" We still have to get to Ruxiam, regardless of what happened," William said quietly. " ... We already sent your sister on ahead."

" Well, when we do, we're not going anywhere else until a doctor looks at you," Nova replied. " You got rattled around."

" A hit on the head isn't going to kill me," William replied, still bundled up.

" Bet."

" Are you going to come over here and hit an injured man? Hm?"

... He tried to cheer the atmosphere up a little.

" I'm just rude, not an idiot."

" I'm shocked."

... No good. His voice still sounded too tired.

It wasn't that any of it actually bothered him. He was used to blood.

It was just that somehow, it reminded him of that time. On the Technologica. The smell of emergency sealant was still burning his nose, even though it shouldn't have been. The feeling of blood that wasn't his, soaking into his clothes.

" ...What time's your friend getting here?" Nova asked the person standing beside him.

" Should be another couple hours."

" It's good that they'll be out here so fast."

" Well, they've got a real good rig."