[ The amusement finds its way to the surface of his features despite his fatigue. ] I'm tougher than that now, Miranda. [ Or so he'd like to think. Though the threat of collapsing was very real. Ashton wasn't used to making use of all these changes, yet, and he pushed himself this time much harder than in the scuffle with Saya.
He shakes his head swiftly, then, blinking the dizziness from his vision. ] No! No... I can't go back like this. [ His hands haven't moved away yet and, subconsciously, he's running lines over her knuckles with his thumbs. Compared to him, she was so warm. Soft. Full of life. Maybe overflowing with it-- ]
[ He quickly pulled his hands away, biting the inside of his lip. No! You can't think of that. She's your friend! ]