omnicat: (for Darker than Black)
Omnicat ([personal profile] omnicat) wrote2017-06-24 07:50 pm

FIC: The Floor is Lava [Darker than Black, Amber x Hei]

Title: The Floor is Lava
Author: Omnicat
Spoilers & Desirable Foreknowledge: Tensai Okamura & co’s Darker than Black: the Black Contractor anime.
Warnings: Burn wounds.
Characters & Relationships: Amber x Hei
Summary: The Gates take the silly things human beings do way too literally. // 489 words
Author’s Note: Obligatory ‘do not consult fanfiction for medical advice’ disclaimer: I did no research for this, so neither did Amber. Enjoy!



The Floor is Lava

Everything is burning. Her lungs can’t draw in enough air, her legs can’t pump fast enough, and her feet, oh god, the ground beneath her feet is boiling. The once-moist jungle soil reeks of baked earth, and a sickening stench of hot chlorophyll rises up like mist from dying, shrivelling grass and fallen leaves. She can’t hear her pursuer anymore, and in the few moments she can spare to look back she sees no-one behind her, but no Contractor’s reach is endless, so he must still be on her trail.

On her trail, and slowly boiling her alive from the feet up. She can feel blisters bursting inside her boots as she runs.

"Amber!"

Out of nowhere, something wraps around her arm. It yanks her off-balance, and she has just enough time to wrap her free hand around the wire before it lifts her up, into the air and the cover of the treetops.

"Hei," she sighs in relief.

Not a moment too soon.

He’s standing on a thick tree branch, leaning his weight back to compensate for hers, one arm wrapped around a second branch and the other operating his wire harness. He hoists her up until she can clamber into the arm of a third, lower branch and get settled. There, she finally allows herself the breath to voice her pain, grunting into the bark of the tree until her throat burns along with everything else, a satisfying counterpoint to all her discomforts.

"Are you okay?" Hei asks.

"Stay sharp," Amber cautions, breathing harshly. After several long, tense moments, running footsteps approach through the undergrowth. Hei clips a knife to his wire, takes aim, and buries the blade neatly below the base of the enemy Contractor’s skull.

"Where are you hurt?" Hei repeats. He doesn’t look at his victim when he yanks his knife back.

"Did you and Pai play ‘the floor is lava’ when you were kids?"

"What?"

"Too bad, it would’ve been good practice. Give me your water," she says, already reaching for her own. "And do not get down from this tree. The floor is lava. Never trust a firestarter’s heat resistance, you can’t walk there right now."

"Burns?" Hei guesses as Amber pours the contents of their water flasks into her boots.

Amber nods. "Hurts like hell, so it’s probably not too serious. But it does hurt like hell."

"I can carry you," he offers.

"Don’t be stupid," Amber says. "I’m a lot heavier than your sister, and you still need your hands free on the way back."

Hei purses his lips. "Fine."

He lowers himself a couple of branches, until he can cup Amber’s ankle and lift it up without jostling her. He presses his lips to the top of her dirty boot, first one and then the other, and looks up at her through his lashes.

"For the pain."

Something burns low in Amber’s gut, and it’s the best fire yet.