The two friends walked silently down the stone path that led into the forest. It was way past midnight, Clary guessed, as she watched the clouds wash over the soft glow of the moon.
"Where do you reckon she's gone?"
Stella sighed softly. "Who knows? That girl always tends to wander off."
Picking up her pace, and with deep annoyance showing on her face, Stella let out a sigh of frustration.
"If I get my hands on her..."
Coming to a sudden halt, Clary's eyes widened.
"Wait. Do you hear that?"
"What? What are you talking about?"
They heard a rustle not far from where they stood. Putting a finger to her lips in a silent warning, Clary started walking towards the noise. Hearing Clary's gasp of surprise, Stella rushed to where she was, hunched over a boy around their age with silver hair gleaming in the moonlight. Looking closer, she noticed a dark liquid running down his strikingly pale face.
"We have to help him. Forget about Sakura for now. He is badly injured, this one."
Crouching low, Clary checked the boy's wrist for a pulse. Finally, there it was, a faint, uneven beat beneath his smooth skin.
"He is alive. Help me take him back to the apartment."
With a hesitant nod, Stella threw the boy's left hand over her shoulder, and then the two girls both lifted. He was strangely light, Clary thought, as they carried him off to the city's abandoned streets.
After a few minutes’ walk, Clary paused as they reached an apartment building, hovering over them silently, casting long shadows.
"You take him inside and I will go back--"
"No. You take care of him. You're better at healing, anyway." Clary was about to protest, but Stella interrupted, " "So, I’ll go."
And with that, Stella was gone with the shadows, not even waiting for a response. Glancing at the boy momentarily, Clary sighed, then took him inside the slightly cramped apartment, laying him on the sofa like he was a breakable object. His fair hair, she noticed, was pasted to his face with cold sweat. She reached to touch his forehead when his hand suddenly grabbed her wrist.
"And just what do you think you’re doing?"
"Sakura!" A shout rang throughout the silent forest, not a soul in sight. "Sakura! " Stella shouted again, raising her voice with each cry, hoping Sakura might hear her beyond the tangled trees. But as expected, there was no response.
A sudden movement caught her attention, and she started swearing softly, and ran off the path to keep out of sight.
Another flicker of movement to her right, and suddenly, all was quiet once more. She had been so caught up in the moving shadows, she did not notice the lump on the ground until now. Cautiously stepping closer, Stella caught sight of light brown hair and a red jacket.
"Sakura!" Shaking her to the point that her own wrists hurt, Stella shouted her name over and over. "Sakura! Sakura, wake up!"
Pausing, and ignoring the pain in her wrists, she stared at her now wet hands. What the...what is this? She glanced over at Sakura's body, watching the dark liquid trickling down her pale body. Stella's eyes stung, at the verge of tears.
"S-Sakura...no way..." She leaned in to hear a heartbeat. There was nothing. Silence.
Gasping aloud, Clary stared in shock at the scowling boy.
"What..." She started.
"Don’t move, you're hurt!” She said. When she got ready to stand up, she remembered he held her wrist tightly. A growl escaped his lips.
"I am completely fin--" With a hiss, he failed at an attempt to sit up.
"See? Now stop acting so childish and let me heal you." Ignoring the boy's nasty glare, she wrestled her wrist free, grabbed some damp towels, and started cleaning the blood off his tensed hands and face.
"Stay here until I get you some clean clothes," she paused briefly, "and alcohol to avoid infecting your wounds." She put a damp towel on his burning forehead, and stood up to leave.
"Oh, and don't try to move too much." Walking away, she let out a small sigh.
The boy stared after her, scowling. "This girl...I swear..."