koijuly: (Default)
[personal profile] koijuly posting in [community profile] mindcracklove
A big thanks to ladiesofthrones for checking this bit <3

Set pretty much directly after part 4.

My heart is sad for Etho... And that is all the warning I'll give you.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 3b
Part 4


Once Nebris' breathing settled Etho let himself check him over properly. He knew Nebris would not allow him this, but he needed to know that Nebris was healing properly. He had limped in, even if he would deny it.

Etho was thankful that Nebris was a heavy sleeper. However, his check was not much, skin deep. Nebris had no outwards marks or indications of injury, but he wouldn't be able to convince Nebris to see professionals. He probably thought they'd out him as an Omega.

Etho settled back down and looked at Nebris' face. Calm and beautiful. It was hard to match his stillness with the vicious fighter Etho knew him to be. Etho brushed a strand of hair to the side, brushed a hand along his cheek. Soft and unmarred by time. It really was a wonder, Etho ran a hand down his worst scar. He didn't even remember getting it.

School, wasn't it? The hall stretched out. Etho sighed, back landing on a wall as he watched the other students. Little Ashley was crying, he flicked eyes to see why. Older students were bulling her again. Etho knew he didn't stand a chance but he couldn't just leave it. He ran in front of her and growled. The older students laughed. "Runt." One of them called.

Etho struck him hissing to Ashley; "run." She did, but the Alpha leading the charge didn't like that.

"It's about time someone taught you not to stick your nose where it don't belong."

Etho blacked out seconds later.

The forest was half dark, Etho shifting from shadow to shadow as Pause charged; he was restless and neither Beef nor Etho had felt any need to deny him. Beef was more cautious picking his way forwards, Pause scouted, and Etho kept the midway to keep them sort of together.

He caught the scent of lavender, off to the side. He turned to it, thinking of Nebris. A flash of diamond blue. Something wasn't right: this had happened before, but not like this. Pause turned at the right moment, Etho flagged; Nebris was near, and when they saw him, clearly grabbing reeds. Etho hoped Zisteau and Vechs nearby. He signalled he would keep watch.

Nebris faltered, noticing Pause a second too late, then fell into the water as Pause struck. Beef rushed forwards, Etho watched dumbstruck. Nebris wasn't surfacing, Pause was in the water trying to get him out. This
wasn't happening.

The scene swirled. EthoCorp, years ago. There was a single plant, a small lavender bush that he'd had for years, and a scowling Pause. Scratch that, a hysterically laughing Pause. "So it worked?"

"I," Pause sniggered, "yeah." Then returned to his uncontrollable laughing. Pause finally took a gulp of air and stopped as suddenly as he'd started. "When you said you were going to make me laugh I thought you'd got a joke to share, not a potion."

"Shows you what you know." Etho teased.

"Nothing, I never knew you, did I? We thought we knew you, but first time anyone asks you not to tell us something you throw away our friendship. You discard us, without so much as a goodbye. Did you really think we deserved that? Did you ever even care about us?"

"I," the scene shattered. Pause was swearing at him, blood gushing from his nose turning his shirt scarlet. Etho turned, Nebris was alright. Nebris was hurt, but alive and conscious. He went closer, he tried to talk to him.
Nebris slapped him, then hissed. "Get lost, that's what you do. You didn't even check on me, you didn't even ask anyone if I was alright. You were more worried about Pause."

"I won't let it happen again, I won't let him hurt you. I didn't want to find you alone, I thought the other two would be here."

"He's your mate? You should have fucking told us, you fucking worthless shit." Pause hissed.

The scene shifted again. He was alone. He sighed. Nebris burst in.

"You, they know because of you. They never would have realised if you hadn't of continually being sniffing around me. They want to ban me from UHC or anything that's not 'appropriate'. It's your fault. They're treating me like a
delicate Omega rather than the one that dominated several tournaments."

"They're jealous."

Nebris laughed bitterly. "Everything I fought for my whole life for is stripped because you couldn't
not kill Pause for a minor injury. I wasn't even unconscious. He was right, you're worthless and nobody ever wants to see you again. I hope you rot here."



Etho woke, to the morning that Nebris had promised that everything would be okay. He shook his dream from his mind and sat up. He flinched. His side still hurt, where Doc had hit him.

He had followed Pause and Beef after Nebris had collapsed. He had nearly stayed but a quick check had shown that Nebris was okay. His breathing shallow but someone would find him, it wasn't as though he was in some hidden crevasse. And if Etho took Nebris off the field, without any injuries of his own, he would have been asked too many questions he couldn't answer.

He run into Guude's team as they snuck up on his team. It had been different, his mind half worried about Nebris, half Pause and everything was on instinct. He had heard Doc first, whispering to Anderz that he didn't know where Etho was, then Anderz's reply that Etho was probably out getting an apple, which would be great because he was hungry. Then Etho heard Guude on his other side, almost on top of him, telling them to shut their mouths.

Etho stepped to the side, wondering if Nebris was still stable. Night was coming, and there had been less than well lit trees around him. He had Guude in a chokehold before Guude could make another sound. Once Guude was unconscious he hit him firmly, but not too strongly, on the back of the head with his hilt. Turning to where the others had spoken, he caught a glimpse of Beef tending Pause, "Stop flinching." Beef told Pause in what they used to joke as his motherly voice. Etho couldn't help the nostalgic smile as he stepped through the shadows towards Doc and Anderz.

Neither Pause nor Beef even noticed, too busy with the bloody mess Etho's instincts had left. They hadn't talked before that, Beef didn't even try to defend Etho in his absence. Etho pulled his bow, aiming for Anderz good arm, once he had determined one was hurt. Point-blank he let the arrow fly. Anderz didn't yelp, he never did, instead he hissed "skeleton." And turned. Etho stepped into the shadows, that was right, a skeleton could shoot from under trees, and hit Nebris, he could die. Etho's heart dropped. He shouldn't have walked away. Even thinking back, knowing Nebris came to no further harm, he felt guilty. What kind of Alpha leaves their Omega out cold in the middle of a forest on the brink of night?

He watched Doc searching for the skeleton, while Anderz muttered. Once Doc was sufficiently close Etho hit him from behind, Doc reacted fast, Pause screamed. Why had Pause screamed? Pause then vocalised, as though to answer Etho's question, "Fuck Beef. That fucking stings." That as when Doc had hit his side, winded him, cracked a few of his ribs and that would have been it for him, if Anderz hadn't decided to join in, throwing an axe that went wide and knocked out Doc before collapsing himself. Etho went back to where he had been watching Pause and Beef, but they were gone.

He tried to locate Nebris to help him back, but got lost and wandered off the field because his navigation was terrible. It was a wonder his team hadn't done that earlier. They all had at some point done so while still in perfect health.

The rest of his team found the last of Nebris' teammates shortly after, and he had to resign himself to trusting Vechs and Zisteau to get Nebris. He couldn't have turned back, or even go to check on his bondmate when he heard that he had been taken home. He heard nothing, why would anyone tell him anything? He couldn't even ask anyone without raising suspicion. It had killed him, but he had known Nebris would come to him once he was well enough; perhaps before.

How bad was Nebris? Without healing, while Etho had healing and still felt the whack from Doc, who had nothing on Pause's sheer force. He turned to get out of bed and find Nebris. He wasn't here. He had left, Etho should not have been surprised. Nebris always woke first and never stayed longer than he needed to. His mate had promised they would fix it together. However Etho knew him better, even as he had made the promise Etho knew he would do it on his own if given the chance. And would start with Pause, the one that had clearly been talking out against Etho. However Nebris wasn't on speaking terms with Pause.

Nebris, going to Pause, to talk about Etho. Nebris wasn't in any condition to face Pause, he was still hurt, though would likely deny it. Pause wouldn't know how bad Nebris was, and wouldn't listen to Nebris. Images of Pause beating Nebris down again filled his mind. Re-breaking the injury that probably wasn't set.

But Etho couldn't go close, he wouldn't risk going for Pause again, he hadn't even thought; going from the trees to breaking Pause's nose on pure instinct. The answer would have to be getting someone else involved, someone who wasn't pissed with him. Zisteau would listen, was close to Nebris, and friends with Pause. Zisteau had often been the one to come, behind Nebris's back undoubtedly, to tell Etho to ease up at least for a little while.

Thinking back to it, how many times had he beaten back Nebris when he would still be recovering? Was Zisteau aware that Nebris didn't heal well? Did he suspect Nebris was a Beta acting tough? Because no one in their right mind would suspect Nebris as Omega. Etho's previous treatment of his bondmate showed he did not deserve Nebris's worry, his helping to make Etho forget for even a moment. God was Nebris perfect at that.

Etho ran to Zisteau's to find a note he was at Vechs. Which was an unknown place to Etho. He knew it was in a hill somewhere but nothing more. He went to EthoCorp, grabbed his phone and went home. If Nebris got hurt, again, Etho didn't know what he would do to Pause. He didn't want to think of it, or that it would effectively out Nebris, but he couldn't help it.

It took too long to get his phone charged, he didn't even wait for it to finish, as soon as it responded to the on button Etho was in his contacts to get Nebris. Voicemail. "Call me, don't do anything rash." Then he phoned Zisteau.

"Etho! Hello, been a long time." Zisteau answered with cheer.

Etho tried to ignore the giggling in the background. "Yeah, it has. I was wondering if I could ask you to do an urgent favour for me?"

"Oh?"

"Could you take Pause a peace offering from me?"

"Peace offering?"

"I made this potion, one that I promised him months ago, and I've a couple of his things that I borrowed before that. Could you meet me at EthoCorp soon?"

"You sound, I don't know, panicked? Slow down and say it again."

"Meet me at EthoCorp."

"Alright." Etho hung up. He riffled around his house, getting some of the things Pause had loaned or given him in friendship. He was saddened by every item, from the arrowhead that he had embedded in Pause in their first UHC fight to the bed warmer that he hadn't used since getting something better, Nebris, and was supposed to have returned years ago anyway.

He made a decision, because he had failed Nebris, and everyone else. The only way he could guard Nebris's secret now was to not be there to act on his instincts as Nebris's Alpha. And to do that he had to take drastic action. He chose to write a note, hoping it would get back to Nebris.

Pause,

I don't know if I will even be alive when you read this. I doubt it. I suspect you even forgot this box was given to you by me through Zisteau, that finding this letter is a surprise.

You were right, I was seeing my bondmate. They are perfect, strong in so many ways, ways that I never will be. I tried to be strong for them, but I couldn't. I only seem to succeed at failing everyone.

I want you to know, I never meant to drive this wedge between me and everyone. That even as I lost my way, my mind, I wished to make it up to you. That I've not stopped feeling guilty, and I'm not asking for you to forgive me, I don't deserve that.

I'm not a good enough friend to you, or anyone. And I'm sorry for all the hurt I have caused. I don't deserve you or Beef, I don't think I ever did. But more than that, I don't deserve my mate; that's how bad a person I really am. I love him dearly, but if I continue I will harm him in a way that cannot be reversed, ever.

Tell everyone in mindcrack, whenever you find this, that it wasn't anyone else's fault; that I love them all, even Vechs, and am sorry I wasn't a good enough person to give my mate everything they deserved; that I threatened his very way of life with my weakness.

All my love, affection and hopes for yours, and everyone else's, future,

Etho.


His phone finally stopped buzzing with missed messages. Had he really missed that much? Beef, Beef, Beef, Nebris, Nebris, Beef, Nebris, Guude, Nebris, Pause, Beef, Nebris, Nebris, Beef, and on it went. He couldn't bring himself to read them, or even continue looking at the names, simply deleting his entire inbox then after a bit of thought his outbox, and call logs. He couldn't let anyone find out the kind of communications he had had with Nebris. Then his phone rang. Zisteau.

"Sorry, I was struggling to find a few things. I'll be there shortly." Etho promised, trying to hide the sadness in his voice.

"Etho-" Zisteau sounded concerned, Etho hung up. Zisteau tried ringing again. Etho dropped his phone in his bed, hid the note at the bottom of the box before he ran to EthoCorp.

Zisteau took another half hour to turn up. In that time Etho made his a jumping potion, and wrote down the process for all of his potions, most that he had never written or even shared before. He squirrelled it under his note to Pause. He then spent time to make, and hide on his body, a poisonous concoction.

"You were crying." Zisteau accused, Etho shrugged. "I heard from Beef that you walked off the field after your confrontation with Nebris, yet Nebris remembered Doc still being up and I know you took him out. What happened to you guys?"

"I betrayed them." Etho hated the way his voice was on the verge of cracking. "Just make sure Pause gets this. And Beef this." He held out the box and a second jumping potion. "Give it to Beef second, tell him it's what I promised before the UHC."

"Etho, are you okay?"

"You are the only person I haven't lied to, my only friend that I haven't turned away from me. Please don't ask me to lie to you as well. Please just get this to Pause now. Please tell him I'm sorry, for the lies, for the silence, for everything." Etho managed to keep his voice from breaking into tears, though it sounded dry; emotionless.

"Alright. But stay here, I'm sure it's not as bad as you think. I'll be back to prove it to you, or at least make you smile."

Etho gave Zisteau a strained smile, but promised nothing. It seemed that was enough as Zisteau left. After he was long gone Etho left; into the wilderness.

He was lost in no time, he drank his poison and waited for night under a tree. His back against a tree near a clearing he felt was where he had defended the rest of team Canada without their knowledge. He wondered if they would ever know.

He wondered if Nebris would forgive him his weakness, or be thankful it was over. He smiled as he thought of Nebris dancing on his grave; finally free of the only thing that could out him. Nebris would be safe, he would never have anyone else know. And even if they worked out that Etho was his bondmate they would hopefully believe Nebris's claim that Etho was Omega, especially when his suicide note came to light.

His eyes were heavy, but not from tiredness. His stomach grumbled and he curled up on the ground. The sun was still high but his world turned to darkness and nightmares as he slipped from consciousness.

Date: Friday, October 7th, 2016 12:25 am (UTC)
scara: Steampunk hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] scara
Noooooooooooo.....T_T

Date: Friday, October 7th, 2016 12:49 am (UTC)
scara: Steampunk hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] scara
I really really hope not

Date: Friday, October 7th, 2016 01:59 am (UTC)
scara: Steampunk hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] scara
Ah sorry for causing confusion, I was agreeing and hoping that it wasn't as bad as it seemed. I want Etho to live. I want the Nebtho to thrive.

Date: Friday, October 7th, 2016 09:08 pm (UTC)
scara: Steampunk hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] scara
XD

I'm so glad that this aims to have a happy ending, Nebtho must live.

Date: Friday, October 7th, 2016 07:23 pm (UTC)
ladiesofthrones: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ladiesofthrones
Yay! So glad to see this posted <3

Date: Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 01:13 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I absolutely can't wait for the next chapter, poor etho!
This is really well written! I'm loving it ^.^

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