Like usual, Alex had actually ran to the abandoned supermarket, so now he had to walk all the way home with a hurt rib. Not that you'd catch him complaining for something that was clearly his own fault for being stubborn and not wanting to drive.
Luckily, there was one person that knew full well what he would do, as Duke pulled up next to him and opening the passenger door.
"Get in, loser."
While climbing in the car, Alex shot back "I'll have you know I'm a goddamn winner tonight. Those dudes were monsters and I still whooped ass."
Duke laughed, and turned to get a good look at his friend, only to pale in shock.
"Are you sure you won? Your head's got a little river going on there."
Touching his hand to his head, Alex removed it to find it lightly stained with blood. "Oh shit you're right."
Adrenaline had kept him from noticing just how hard he took those last few hits, but now it was starting to catch up with him. Not wanting to waste time, Duke hit the gas and sped home. Specifically, his own home and not Alex's.
Alex noticed this was the way they were going and didn't question it. Duke lived alone in a two floor, three bedroom house though he had no idea where the money came from for the house.
It was easier to crash at his place for the night and recover than sneak home and try and do first aid without alerting his parents.
Once they pulled into the driveway though, Alex noticed something right away that Duke might not have.
The garage was closed. Duke never used the garage and never had anything in it. Not thinking too much about it, Alex got out of the car a little after Duke, only to stumble a bit as his head got dizzy.
Duke quickly rounded the car and took an arm over his shoulder as he helped him to the door, noting his busted up knuckles.
"Did you even hit them with these guys, or mostly the walls?" Alex chuckled only to cut himself short wincing in pain. "I wish they were only as hard as a wall, I swear those faces were like iron."
"We're just lucky you've got this nice big house all to yourself, otherwise it'd be a mess trying to explain this to my parents."
"Is that what he tells everyone?"
Having not been paying attention Alex snapped his head to the person standing in the doorway, who had just opened it to reveal themselves. It was miss O'Hare.
Before Duke could explain, Alex just looked between his confused look and her slightly disappointed one. Tan skin, dark hair, solid physical ability. It only took a couple rounds back and forth to put two and two together, even with a probably concussed brain.
"Oh shit you're his sister. That explains the awkward reunion earlier."
Duke was completely unresponsive, frozen in place. He wasn't expecting her to be home, she never was. She smiled at the recognition though, and waved the two in.
"Well, are you gonna leave your friend outside or do I need to carry him in myself?"
Shaking his head, Duke resumed helping Alex in, and they moved him to the couch, where O'Hare shoved him out of the way to take a closer look at Alex.
"Don't bother arguing, I'll be patching you up. My brother dragged you in the door, the least I can do is help you walk out of it properly by the morning. And don't worry about qualifications, I do this all the time."
He didn't argue, but whether or not that was because she's a physical coach that knows the body or some other implication was quite vague.
"Thanks in advance, miss O'Hare" She stopped pacing around him to look him in the eyes.
He didn't need a helping hand to pick up that clue.
"You sure the coach won't mind you ignoring his whole speech of professional barriers?"
"Last I checked he was addressing his team and his assistant. Not you and your friend's sister."
She smiled and went back to work, gently moving the hair on the back of his head to check it for injuries. After a couple minutes she sat down next to him.
"The blood matting the back of your head makes it look way worse than it is. Honestly, just some very good rest and being gentle with how you move your head and you should be good in couple days. Don't even need to wrap it up"
Next she gently grabbed his hand and looked it over carefully.
"Could you go grab me some cotton and disinfectant? I know we have some somewhere. Grab some bandages too while you're at it."
Duke quickly left and she waited for him to get that. As she did so, she chatted him up a little.
"So, you're good friends with my brother I take it?"
He smiled a little proudly.
"Yup, since the second grade. We've been a dynamic duo for as long as I can remember. Though recently he grew wise to stay out of trouble. As you can see, I have yet to do so."
She tapped a little harshly on one of his busted knuckles, stopping his instinctive recoil by holding tightly.
"Yup. Speaking of which, your right hand is worse off than your left. Which means you were punching with it either more or harder. Having a preference is fine, but make sure you balance the two out properly. The enemy ain't always gonna be nice and positioned to catch specifically a right hook."
He didn't question the advice, nor did he reject it.
At the end of the day Alex was just a brawler every now and then, out of habit. He had no formal training and only learned through experience, so he welcomed the advice.
She flipped his hand over and looked at the cut on his palm and fingers. "What'd you do, fuck up a Japanese sword catch?"
Ignoring her crude language, he just nonchalantly explained, "Nah I stabbed a dude with a shard of glass."
She simply nodded her head, as it made sense given the situation. Not to mention she wasn't one to question brutal methods to win fights.
"Well got nothing for that one, besides maybe don't suck so much to need that in the first place?"
Duke walked back to hear his best friend and sister getting along swimmingly, feeling more than awkward as he handed her the alcohol.
"Welp, you know the drill, this is gonna hurt worse than when you got it. And not just because of the lack of adrenaline." Without much fanfare, Kaitlyn proceeded to clean his knuckles and palm and bandage them up.
Besides a few grunts here and there, Alex didn't really flinch too much at the burning sensation as he knew it was necessary. Once that was all done, she had one command for him.
"Take your shirt off."
Without hesitation he did so, and she certainly looked at more than just the purple bruises growing on his toned body. Duke coughed lightly, causing her to go back to work with a pout.
She poked around his body lightly, namely his chest and back. "Nothing too crazy in the back save for a bruise where you probably smacked into a wall. This rib however, is most definitely fractured. Not really much we need to do with it, wrapping actually hardly helps so just deal with it for a couple weeks as it heals."
Nodding his head, Alex kept his shirt off and stood up.
"Thanks for the help, Kaitlyn. Wait, could I take a shower now?"
Duke nodded, and so did Kaitlyn.
"Don't worry about the bandages, we'll just change them again afterwards, and you needed them on to shower anyways."
While Alex went upstairs to shower, the two siblings also moved up stairs to the room next to the shower, Duke's room, to finally have a proper chat, he sits in his chair and her on his bed.
Before they could get to business, they heard Alex groan from the bathroom.
"Oh man I forgot, it's the shitty phone booth shower. Clear glass and everything. How do you have the biggest house and the worst shower, I swear."
The joking tone helped lighten the mood, but it quickly turned dark again between the two outside.
"Why are you here?"
Duke opened up with the cold question right away.
"What, can't a girl stay in the house she pays for?"
She looked at him jokingly, but soon relented to his serious stare. "After tonight, you probably know exactly why."
Duke shoots up in front of her, glaring. "Did you do this to Alex?"
She shakes her head. "No, it wasn't me. If it was, I'd have been bringing him back myself."
The mild threat only set him off further, which she shrugged off.
"Heck, I don't even know who took him on tonight, or who ordered it. You should know that I won't be that aggressive since I know he's your friend now. Though, speaking of aggressive action, he's 18 right?"
Out of habit, Duke nodded yes, only to be exasperated as she immediately walked over to the bathroom and peeked through the keyhole.
"What? Only paying him back for earlier. To a higher degree of course."
Not wanting to know what that meant, he just tried to ruin her fun. "You know, he's good at sensing stuff. He probably feels you staring."
That only made her intrigued, as he made no attempt to hide anything. Having had her fill she stood up. "Well, flirting around aside, I'll be staying around for as long as it takes for this to get sorted out."
Duke switched back to serious mode. "What is that supposed to mean?"
She had to get serious too as she thought about it properly. "That really depends on how he wants to do things, I guess."
With that she walked off into her own room, empty, barren and cold as it was never used. Flopping down on her bed, she dropped the facade and gritted her teeth in anger.
"What are those bastards thinking, having a second group running without telling me. This is gonna be a mess and a half, I just know it. There's a reason I run things my way." As she took a second to breath, she realized the sheets were actually clean and somewhat fresh.
Ya know, I said the chapters were to be between 1000 and 1500 and most of them so far have been near 1500 or larger. I'm a damn liar I swear. Lemme know how the dialogue is, I definitely feel like that's my weaker link. (Yes I know probably no one's gonna be commenting for months, it's whatever.)