"Should we take him to the hospital?"
"I...I don't know...maybe?"
He recognized those voices.
"Where do you think...she went?"
"Don't know. Book doesn't talk about that."
He wanted to open his eyes. He wanted to see where he was, if his friends were okay & also what kind of shape he was in. The first thing he felt rather clearly throughout his body was the ache he'd become accustomed to after each change. He felt weak. Too weak to even attempt to lift his head or arm. He felt a hand touch his shoulder.
"Is he waking up?"
"I think so."
Mark identified the Irish accent as Jack's. He furrowed his eyebrows trying again to open his eyes. This time he was more successful. He was able to open his eyes part way, but his vision was blurry & spinning.
Mark turned his head toward Jack's voice giving a soft sound of acknowledgement in reply.
"How ya feelin'?" Jack's face held a look of concern as he noticed his friend's eyes weren't really focusing on anything at the moment.
"Like...I got hit...by a train..." Mark mumbled. He blinked trying to focus his vision, after a bit he was able to see he was laid down in the back seat of the car. Jack in the seat in front of him leaning over to check on him while Bob drove with Wade riding shot gun. It was morning, but still early. "Did it work?"
Jack glanced back at Wade before looking at Mark again, "I think so. I mean you changed back before sunrise &...Brittany's gone."
Mark creased his eyebrows in confusion, "She's...dead?"
Jack shifted, "I don't know...she's just gone. She disappeared the same time you changed back."
Mark blinked taking this in, he wasn't sure what to think about that. Maybe it was good thing. For now he was just too tired to care very much. All he needed to know was he was back to normal & his friends were okay. With that in mind he let his eyes fall shut & he went back to sleep.
Later on once Mark regained consciousness more fully he rejected the idea of going to the hospital. So instead his three friends insisted on looking after him for the next week while he recovered. Jack even stayed till after the next full moon to make sure that Mark was indeed cured. All in all it was a quiet & uneventful month for everyone. And with there being no sign of Brittany, Mark was able to start getting his life back on track. He sent Bob, Wade & Jack back home not wanting them to waste time waiting around his apartment for no reason.
Since it was Saturday afternoon, Mark was spending some time with the Grumps just playing some games & trying to beat each others' high scores. He enjoyed recording but every once in a while it was nice just to fool around with Arin or Danny or anyone else really, just for fun.
"Don't run me off the track!" Mark nudged Arin who laughed as his character passed Mark's.
"Keep up, Markimoo!"
Mark pouted & glanced at Danny who was watching them play. "He cheated! Danny, help me out here!"
Danny laughed & put his hands up not wanting to get in the middle of this.
Once Arin won the race & Mark came in third, Mark crossed his arms over his chest. "This is such bull..."
"Aw, don't be like that, Mark." Arin reached over to plant an overly moist kiss on Mark's face.
Mark yelped & struggled a bit to get away. He stood from the couch & stuck his tongue out in mock disgust.
The three of them laughed before Mark started to notice he was sweating a bit. The room seemed rather warm, but then again he had been hyping himself up quite a bit during their game. "I'll be right back." He went to the bathroom to splash some cool water on his face. Half way through doing this however he noticed something that made his stomach twist. His nails seemed rather...sharp. He blinked open his eyes & looked down at his aching fingers to find his nails had grown thick & sharp. Immediately his heart started hammering in his chest.
No no no! This couldn't be happening! The spell was suppose to have worked!
Mark quickly pulled out his cell phone checking the app he'd been using a before. It showed what he was afraid of. There was a full moon tonight & it was already dark outside. The small room filled with his quick & irregular breathing while he tried to calm down. Getting worked up wasn't going to help him. He focused on taking some deep breaths for a moment, but a couple of knocks on the door caused him to jump.
"Mark? Hey, Mark! You okay, buddy?"
Goddamnit, Ross! Mark put a hand to his forehead trying to force his voice to sound calm.
"Y-Yeah, I'm fine..."
It was quiet except for his breathing until Mark heard a different voice near the door.
"What's going on?"
Danny. Mark bit his lip & hissed in pain finding that his fangs had grown back. Unfortunately it seemed Danny had heard this.
"Mark? Are you okay?"
"That's what I asked." Ross said, "Honestly, I think something's wrong..."
That last part was whispered, but Mark had still heard it clearly & he knew why. He traced a finger over one of his ears & found it was pointed & stretching out some. He grimaced at the increasing ache throughout his body. He needed to get out of here! Out of this room! Out of the Grump Space! Just away from anyone he could hurt because he really didn't know what he'd do without Bob & Wade there to keep him in line. He glanced at his reflection seeing his own terrified amber eyes staring back. He needed to come up with a believable excuse to get Ross & Danny away from the door long enough for him to escape.
"Seriously, Mark. Are you sure you're alright?" Danny questioned looking at the door with concern.
"Fuck..." Mark breathed & wrapped an arm around his middle. "I'm...I'm fine, Danny..."
"What're you guys doing?"
Fucking hell! Suzy too?! Mark couldn't win. He couldn't get stuck in the grumps bathroom while he was changing!
"Mark's um...well we're not sure what he's doing." Danny shrugged.
"But whatever it is, it doesn't sound fun." Ross added.
Suzy gave them an odd look before approaching the door. "Mark, did you eat hot sauce again?"
Mark would've laughed, this would have been a truly funny situation if he weren't right in the middle of it. He took a harsh breath through his nose trying to keep the pained noises in his throat back. "No...Seriously, guys...I'm f-fine-" an involuntary groan interrupted him & killed the slim chance he had of convincing his friends.
Now Suzy was worried, maybe Mark had some how hurt himself. He'd been in the hospital not that long ago, maybe there was something wrong in that way. "Mark, could you open the door?" she tested the handle finding Mark had locked it. She had a key, but she wanted to give Mark the option at least.
Mark vaguely heard the doorknob rattle & panicked a bit. They couldn't see him like this! Fuck that, they couldn't be around him when he was like this! "N...No, Suzy...I-"
"Come on, Mark. You're freaking us out." Suzy took out her key ready to unlock the door in the likely case that she would have to.
Mark pressed his lips together & looked at the door flinching at the feeling of his shoes becoming tight. He tugged on his hair a bit trying to think through the persistent throbbing in his head. He hesitantly moved a shaky hand to the lock, he paused at a loss for the best choice he could make. He was going to have to trust his gut. He took a deep breath shutting his eyes tightly as he twisted the knob & yanked open the door.