He knew everything had gone wrong the moment Bella fell out of the sky, coins flying in the air behind her.
Quinn dashed from cover to draw fire and pit steel against steel with the Mistborn he assumed was Marienesse, hurling coins at a rapid speed in her direction. A look of concern flashed over her face as she found herself unable to move at the sudden onslaught, but reflexes kicked in and she spun out of the way, gasping.
Seeing the distraction, Nebellea, bloodied and beaten, turned to shoot, knocking and firing her arrow in the blink of an eye, before dashing again behind cover. Marienesse was knicked in the shoulder, knocked off balance by the two pronged attack. She hesitated as a moment’s hush fell as the three mistborn manoeuvred themselves, before smirking and firing one more time at the other noble lady.
“Fuck,” he swore as he watched Bella collapse and succumb to her wounds. He shot himself across the courtyard, half running and half flying from his steelpush, to land by Nebellea.
“Stay with me Nebellea, stay with me…”
He dug for her first aid kit, praying to the Lord Ruler she had brought it with her. He began stablising, digging into knowledge he hadn’t need since back in Empoli. The last time he had seen this much blood was when he mum had been slaughtered and left in the streets. He remembered tin-seeking the smell of her perfume, collapsing to his knees when he found her. Much like now, his knees felt cold against the cobbled streets, a similar chill creeping up his back and causing his hands to shake. The plan must have gone wrong. They had attempted to sneak over the wall, and Quinn was to keep watch and drop in if required, and now he had his friend bleeding through his fingertips.
He sat back on his heels as he finished the bandage, her breathing less laboured and the bleeding staunched for the time being. He could hear fighting back towards the keep, the thwack of wooden canes, but for the moment he was frozen in a cacophony of fear and hate and love for his friends.
If he were to have been asked that morning, he would have counted on one hand the people he cared about: Pidge, Penndlehave, Pallino and Alhara. In much the way as the nobles seemed to hate all scar, he acknowledged his own hatred for nobles that came from no other reason than the circumstances of their birth. He would always respect Fallow, now Goradel, and Owandise, in part for the immense debt of gratitude he owed them, and those such as Cassiel and Teven he would potentially call friends, but as before the intensity of his sentiment for Nebellea surprised him.
It was love, of a kind, but a love he didn’t appreciate until it was threatened. He had never had a family, and even the surrogacy of his friends was only partially similar. He craved his own independence, he actively pursued self-sufficiency, yet Bella had tirelessly and frustratingly wormed into his affections. Quinn grinned slightly, trying to imagine if she was more like a sister or a mother and her reaction to both options.
The moments he recalled, when he had laughed at her or pranked her, came from a sense of superiority without doubt, yet they were made possible by her trusting, almost childlike optimism. But she was honest, to a fault in regards to Hyrum, but he knew that he could place absolute faith in her to do right by him and the rest of him; something he would hesitate to say about many others. Quinn expected Pidge or Fallow or others to put themselves first, as he would do, yet as she had demonstrated on multiple occasions, Nebellea seemed willing to put herself in dire circumstances for the sake of the “Rebou” household.
“We’ve come quite a way since Empoli, haven’t we Nebs?” He whispered, as he lifted her onto his shoulders, “Don’t worry, I’ll get you home.”