Henry Danger Fanfiction: A Parent's Love For Their Child - 13. Stronger Than Broken Noses
Note: when the authors note says Episode: Name of episode (number), the number indicates the season and the episode number, so 1×02 is season 1, episode 2; 3×04 is season 3, episode 4; 5×20 is season 5, episode 20; and so on.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Title: Stronger Than Broken Noses
EPISODE: Massage Chair (5×20)
Rating: Low T to be safe
Summary: In which Shwoz is an idiot (but an extremely apologetic idiot), Henry gets hurt and has a flashback, and Ray is way too overprotective.
“Hey, man! You can’t just throw stuff at u- what the heck, Ray?” Henry shouted, teetering dangerously on the uneven log that was not exactly designed to hold a 145 pound teenager that had just been thrown off balance due to a flying muffin. Henry batted countless foods out of the way (at least Ray had the sense to use soft foods, like bread, instead of hard foods, such as oranges or apples), balancing the best he could as he had to constantly weave and duck and flail in an attempt to avoid the thrown food while also staying on his log.
He wanted that massage chair (who wouldn’t? It was awesome). All he had to do was wait it out, stay on his log until Charlotte and Jasper toppled off of their own logs, which would make him the winner of the challenge. He had fought dozens of criminals since he became Kid Danger, and he had dodged countless punches, kicks, and whatever blast or projectile the villain’s weapon used (which included snake venom, spider venom, bullets, knock out darts, bees, and a weird situation involving lemons and T-shirts) while staying on his feet and landing a few blows of his own. If he could do that, he could dodge the food Ray and Shwoz were throwing at him while staying on this log.
Jasper fell off his log with a groan, and Henry barely had time to glance at Jasper, who was rolling around on the floor, clutching his stomach where the remains of a thrown banana nut muffin littered his shirt with crumbs, and give a triumphant smile (one down, one to go) before he returned his focus to Shwoz and Ray, his confidence increasing as he noted the small amount of food left in the bowl Ray was holding.
He had braced himself to withstand another muffin attack, but he had not prepared himself for the tennis balls.
Henry cried out in surprise, bending so far back that he nearly found himself in a full on back bend (Henry was pretty flexible, but this act of gymnastics was horribly uncomfortable). The tennis ball soared over his head and hit the wall so hard, it dented the metal.
“Shwoz!” Ray yelled, but it was too late. Another tennis ball was already hurtling towards Henry at a speed he could have only beat if he still had super fast reflexes, but thanks to that jerk, Rick Twitler, he didn’t stand a chance. There was no way he could dodge a tennis ball coming towards him at ninety miles an hour.
He didn’t even have time to brace himself before the impact.
Henry didn’t scream as the tennis ball hit his face. Even if he did, whatever sound of pain Henry would have made would have been drowned out by the CRUNCH that sounded as the tennis ball hit his nose. Henry toppled backwards, his head spinning with dizziness as the pain overwhelmed him, and Henry hit the ground with a gargled groan, too distracted by the agonizing throbbing in his nose to stop his head from cracking against the metallic floor of the Man Cave. He moaned louder as a new pain wracked his skull, intensifying the pain he already felt.
His hands reached up to hold his face, something boiling hot and smelling of iron dripping down his hands, and for a moment, he thought it was tears, and maybe some of it was, but as he forced his eyes (which he was pretty sure were swelling) open, he saw nothing but scarlet rivers coursing down his hands and staining his fingers like he had dipped his hand in a bucket of crimson paint. His hands were still cradling his face and hovering over his nose as if he could protect it (even though any hope of protection had flown out the window the minute that tennis ball hit him in the face), and a wave of nausea washed over him as he realized that beneath his hands, which were touching his wounded nose with a feather-light touch, his nose felt slightly off, even crooked, as if someone had bent the cartilage and bone out of shape. With that thought, he thought he might throw up in disgust, but he swallowed the bile that was trying to claw its way up his throat. Something told him that vomiting might make his face, nose, head, and basically entire body hurt worse.
Henry gulped again to keep any more stomach acid from making its way up his esophagus and winced at the metallic taste in his mouth, wondering if he had bitten his tongue, but no. Instead, the blood from his nose had poured down his face like a sanguine waterfall, flooding his mouth and sticking to his chin and likely staining his shirt (his pain-addled mind blearily thought, That will never come out. Mom is going to kill me for that). Pain flared across his face, burning his cheeks and biting deep into his cranium as if the agony had soaked straight into his brain. He knew that was irrational, but in that moment, logic had promptly packed its bags and walked out the front door.
However, the pain couldn’t remain all consuming forever as the flames of agony started to die, fading slowly into a deeply rooted throbbing. Even if the roaring tsunami of pain had passed, the aftermath was still far from comfortable. His head felt like someone had replaced his brain with a bass drum, and his nose was still pulsing sickeningly. The blood flow had slowed, but there was still the disgusting taste of iron on his tongue, not to mention the warm stickiness that was caked on his chin and cheeks. He could barely see out of one eye, and he had been in enough fights to recognize the feeling of a developing bruise on his left cheek.
It was only after the blood pounding in his ears had quieted some that he realized that someone was calling his name.
“Henry? Henry! Jasper, where is that darn first aid kit?”
“I got it! Hey, did you know that the Man Cave has an entire cabinet full of these things? Seriously, who needs that many first aid kit-“
“Superheroes that fight villains on a daily basis in spandex! Now, give me it!”
Henry heard a scuffle, and he wondered if that meant the first voice was snatching the first aid kit from the owner of the second voice. He also felt he should recognize the voices, but he was too focused on the pain in his nose and head to worry about that right now.
Something touched his nose, and a new blast of pain exploded in the broken bone. He yelped, and his instincts (the instincts he had acquired in his experience as a sidekick) kicked in as he sent one foot crashing into what he assumed to be the person’s chest. He heard an oof! as the air was knocked out of the person, the person getting thrown backwards by the force of the kick, and he heard them hit the floor.
What was going on? He was obviously hurt, and he knew he remembered how he got hurt, but the memory was just out of reach. What had happened? Had they been fighting a super villain, and if so, which one? There were a lot of possibilities. It could be Dr. Maniac (they hadn’t seen him in a while. It was only a matter of time before he decided to strike) or Rick Twitler (had he regained his memory?) or the Toddler (had the freak in the diaper escaped prison again?) or Jeff. There were dozens, if not over a hundred, villains they had fought over the years. For all he knew, the Mole People had decided to seek revenge!
But wait a minute. If they were fighting a villain (who had apparently injured Henry. Man, he needed to get in more sparring lessons with Ray), that meant… Captain Man would have been with him, and Captain Man was…
Ray. Where was Ray? Was he okay?
Henry tried to cry out for his boss, for his friend, but all that escaped his mouth was a spray of blood and a gargled gasp. Someone was grabbing his arm, and he used all of his strength (fueled by his need to find Ray, and his need to protect his friend overpowered any pain there might have been) to flip the person. They landed beside him with a groan, and he tried to scramble to his feet, but his nose gave another throb of agony, as if saying, hey! Remember me?
“Henry! Henry… you’re okay.”
He knew that voice. It was oddly calming, but no. He had to find Ray. No time to listen to the soothing voice.
“Ray,” he choked out, wishing he could pry open his eyes, but one of them was swollen shut, and the other seemed to be disobeying his commands, choosing to stay shut and block out the danger. Ha, as if that ever worked before.
“I’m here, kid. It’s me, Ray.”
It was? Oh, well, that solved that problem. But there was another problem.
“Crim-Criminal,” Henry stammered, feeling as if he was speaking underwater with all of the blood inundating his mouth.
“No,” Ray said, and Henry felt his friend, his father figure, holding onto him, and the familiar touch helped to calm Henry’s racing heart. “Well, unless you count Shwoz.”
Ray sounded really angry all of a sudden, and Henry didn’t want Ray to be angry. Why would Ray be mad? Had he messed up on a mission? That happened a lot, it seemed. Henry couldn’t contain a whimper at the rage filled tone his boss used, wondering if the anger was directed at him.
The whimper was quiet, he was sure, but Ray heard it, and Ray helped Henry sit up a little until Ray was practically holding his sidekick in his arms.
“Sorry, kid. There’s no criminal. Shwoz hit you with a tennis ball and broke your nose, but we’re gonna fix you right up. Charlotte is going to wipe the blood off of your face, and it’ll hurt a little, but I need you to try to lie still, okay? I’m right here.”
Henry felt almost like he had awoken from a strange dream. You know that feeling when you wake up from a nap and feel like you’re in another dimension? Kind of like that, I guess. As if nothing truly felt real. He didn’t think he had a concussion (he had had a few of those before, and this didn’t feel like one), so he wasn’t sure why he had felt so disorientated. Maybe he had hit his head harder than he thought, or maybe the tennis ball had decided a broken nose wasn’t enough and hit him hard enough to give him a head injury, too.
This was going to be oh, so fun to explain to his parents. Note the sarcasm.
Something touched his nose, and Henry jumped, but Ray was still holding him tightly, and he knew his da-friend would never let any harm come to him, so he tried to do as Ray said and sit still, even when the person jostled his injury a little bit.
“Sorry,” the person, whose voice he now recognized as Charlotte’s, said, nervously, and she continued to clean the blood from his face with a cold wipe that smelled of alcohol.
A few moments later, and he no longer felt that stickiness encrusted all over his chin, and when he licked his lips, they didn’t taste like rusty metal, thankfully. His left eye was still swollen shut, and he knew there would be one heck of a bruise on his left cheek, not to mention the fact that his nose still felt like someone had hit it with sledge hammer, but he felt a lot better without all of the blood covering his face (if only psychologically and not physically).
“This actually doesn’t look too bad,” Charlotte mused. “Small cut and contusion on the left cheekbone; you’ll have a black eye tomorrow, but the swelling should go down. As for the nose, we need to set it so that it can heal.”
Set it? Henry was not a doctor, but he had had broken bones before, and he knew what that meant. He rapidly shook his head, trying to keep Charlotte from going anywhere near his nose.
“The only problem is… I don’t know how to set a broken bone. The only one here who does is…” Charlotte trailed off, ignoring Henry’s protesting for the time being.
“No. No way,” Ray growled, holding Henry tighter like the boy was a teddy bear about to be taken away.
“Ray, he’s the only one here who knows how!” Charlotte pointed out.
“He is not going anywhere near m-the kid!” Ray snapped, hoping nobody noticed his little slip up.
(Charlotte had noticed, but that was a conversation for later.)
“Ray, I didn’t mean to hurt him-” Shwoz said, his accent even thicker due to worry and guilt.
“Well, you did! What made you think that launching tennis balls at them was a good idea?” Ray spat.
“You said to throw things at them!”
“Not tennis balls at ninety miles an hour!”
“Guys!” Jasper screamed, more serious than he had been in a long time. “Not the time! Ray, yes, he hurt Henry, but he’s also the only one here who can help him!”
Ray was silent as he considered this.
“Fine,” Ray begrudgingly agreed. “But if you hurt him more than you already have, I will hurt you, Shwoz, and I won’t let Charlotte and Jasper hold me back this time!”
This time? Henry thought before he felt small, precise, and slightly hairy fingers touch his nose, and he wildly shook his head, probably causing himself more pain, to get Shwoz to stop.
“Henry! Henry, I know it will hurt, but the pain will be over soon. He can’t help you if you don’t keep your head still!” Charlotte said, but Henry only shook his head more fiercely.
“Ray, you have to hold his head,” Shwoz told Captain Man.
“What? You want me to go him down? Are you cr-“
“Ray! Henry can’t heal until Shwoz puts his nose back into place, and Shwoz can’t do that if Henry is shaking his head like a wet dog!” Jasper pointed out.
Ray sighed, but Henry knew the man saw Jasper’s point, and the superhero placed his hands on either side of Henry’s head to keep him still.
The betrayed look on the pained and dazed Henry’s face broke Ray’s heart as Shwoz snapped Henry’s nose back into its normal position in one swift movement. A nauseating crick could be heard as the bones realigned, and Shwoz used a bandage to keep Henry’s nose straight so that the bones could heal properly, placing a small brace-like object over the bandages to keep them in place.
Ray sighed in relief. It was done.
Henry breathed heavily, gasps of pain leaving his mouth, followed by shaky inhales, only for the process to repeat. His fingers dug into Ray’s forearm, and if Ray wasn’t indestructible, he was sure there would have been bruises from Henry gripping his arm too tightly. Henry sagged against Ray like a marionette with its strings cut, and Ray held his son in all but blood close to his chest.
“Get some rest, Hen. Okay?” Ray murmured, running his fingers through Henry’s blonde hair, mindful of any head injury the young sidekick might have had.
Henry really liked the sound of that. He didn’t realize how tired he was until that moment, and despite the pain still present in his face, it wasn’t hard to drift off to sleep in Ray’s comforting embrace.
He felt safe. He felt protected. He felt loved.
Henry woke up feeling like he had a stuffy nose and sinus pressure, and for the few seconds in his half-awake-half-asleep state, he wondered if he had caught a cold, but then, the memory of the massage chair, the competitions, and the unfortunate collision with a tennis ball resurfaced.
“What happened?” Henry murmured. Sure, he remembered getting hit by the tennis ball, but everything after that was fuzzy. And why did his nose feel so stuffed? He could already feel the sinus headache that was just begging to happen.
“You caught a tennis ball with your face, and it broke your nose.”
Henry looked up, taken aback by Ray’s sudden appearance (or had he been standing there the whole time?) as the indestructible man leaned casually against the doorway, sipping from his favorite Captain Man mug (which Henry is pretty sure Piper sent Captain Man that mug on his birthday, a present from the Captain Man Fan Club and their president).
Ray looked terrible. His eyes were shadowed by dark circles as if someone had tattooed them there, and he looked like he was about to fall asleep standing up. He was dressed in a white shirt with blue long sleeves and matching blue sleep pants, his hair a tussled mess.
“Ray, you look terrible!” Henry exclaimed, bluntly.
Ray chuckled. “Thanks. You look swell yourself,” Ray said, sarcastically as he took a seat on the edge of the bed, and Henry noted that he was in Ray’s guest room. He had stayed there plenty of times, and he was darn tired of waking up in this bed after he got hurt (if that tells you how many times he’s gotten hurt).
“You know, I might as well put your name on the door with the amount of times you’re in here. Also, a good three quarters of the times you’ve stayed in here, you were hurt, I might add,” Ray stated, and Henry laughed because he had just thought the same thing.
“So what happened after I got a tennis ball to the face. It’s all a little fuzzy,” Henry admitted, and Ray stared into his cup of coffee.
“I bet,” Ray agreed. “Well, you got knocked off your log. The tennis ball broke your nose, so it was gushing blood everywhere, and it gave you a black eye and a pretty nasty bruise on your cheek. You were a little confused, which was understandable since you had gotten a tennis ball to the head and then hit your head again when you fell off your log. Luckily, no concussion, but you’ll probably have a headache for a few days. Charlotte tried to take care of your nose, but you thought she was a criminal, so you kicked her smack in the sternum.”
Henry sighed, his head falling back into the pillow with a barely audible thump. “Char… dang it, is she okay?” he asked, guilt coursing through his system as he realized that he had delivered a no doubt painful hit to his best friend.
Ray nodded, looking up from his cup of coffee. “Yeah, she’s good. She’ll have a sneaker shaped bruise for a week or two, but she’s good, and she forgives you. You were confused and panicked, and you acted out of instinct. Happens to the best of us,” Ray informed him.
Henry frowned, catching the tone in Ray’s voice that implied more than what the words said.
“You’ve had flashbacks, too?” Henry realized, finding it hard to believe that Captain Man, indestructible, experienced superhero, could have flashbacks or panic attacks.
Ray raised an eyebrow. “Of course I have! I’ve been a full-fledged superhero since I was twenty-three. I’ve fought so many criminals, countless villains. Just because I can’t be hurt doesn’t mean I can’t be affected by what I do and by my experiences. I take it this wasn’t your first flashback?”
Henry blushed as he realized his mistake before shaking his head to confirm Ray’s suspicions.
“You don’t have to be ashamed of it, kid,” Ray assured him. “It happens to a lot of heroes, if not all of them.”
“You’re the superhero. I’m just your sidekick,” Henry pointed out. Henry didn’t deserve to have flashbacks; he barely did anything. Captain Man usually handled everything, and Henry relied on Ray’s indestructibility and his gadgets to get them out of any situation. He used to rely on his power, but now that that was gone… what did that make him? Certainly not super.
Ray scoffed in disbelief. “Is that what you think?” he laughed. “Henry, who saved the world from Rick Twitler? Which one of us gave up his super power to save the world? I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t me.
“Who saved me from the Toddler on his first day on the job? I can tell you I didn’t save myself.
“Who stopped Drax? Sure, your super power helped, but it took great courage to go face the guy who humiliated you, with or without powers.
“Who has given me my confidence back multiple times when I had lost it one way or another. Remember when I lost my powers because of the Jolly Beetle? You told me to get off my butt and go protect Swellview! Not only that, but when I lost my powers, I became helplessly scared, and I moped for days. When you lost your powers, less than twenty minutes later, you were back to fighting crime. By my side.
“There are countless things I could not have done without a great sidekick, and you are the best sidekick I could ask for, Henry. The best…” Ray hesitated, unsure of how Henry would react to what he was about to say, but he remembered Henry lying on the floor of the Man Cave, bloody and confused, remembered his horror and concern and the protective instincts that raced to the surface, resulting in him nearly killing Shwoz (he’s pretty sure he traumatized the poor mechanic. He almost felt bad, but considering Shwoz had broken Henry’s nose… he almost felt bad). He remembered Henry clutching onto him like a frightened child, remembered Henry crying out for him in fear and worry. He remembered it all. “The best… kid I could ask for.”
He watched Henry as the boy slowly began to gasp what Ray was saying, watched the boy’s eyes widen as he realized what Ray had said, and he waited for Henry to say something. Anything. He felt like he had just poured his heart out in seven words, and it left him feeling more vulnerable than the indestructible man had felt in a very long time.
Henry, meanwhile, could hardly believe what he was hearing. Ray was a kind of person who didn’t trust easily. He could trust somebody with his life; he trusted Henry with his life, even trusted Charlotte, Shwoz, and Jasper with his life and his secret identity, but he didn’t trust just anybody with his heart. And here he was, trusting Henry, knowing all too well that Henry could spit on Ray’s feelings and walk away or simply succumb to the awkwardness that would linger in the air for a long time if Henry didn’t see Ray as his family like Ray clearly saw him.
But Henry did see Ray as his family, as his dad. He loved his father, yes, but his father was immature, not exactly devoted to protecting and loving his children. Henry had no doubt that his father loved him, but whatever love his biological father felt for him was nothing compared to the love Ray showed him. Ray did not just feel love for Henry, his kid in all but blood; he showed that he loved Henry. He protected him, cared for him, and he made sure that Henry had no doubt in his mind that Ray loved him. Henry loved his father, and his father loved him, but Jake Hart would always just be his father, not his dad. Ray Manchester was his dad. His family.
Ray shuffled nervously. Henry had been quiet for a long time, and he was bracing himself for… well, he didn’t know what, so he simply braced himself.
Whatever he had expected, though, it was not a hug. Henry moved so suddenly, Ray didn’t even notice the movement until Henry had his arms wrapped around him.
“Thanks. I-I love you, too… Dad,” Henry said.
Ray Manchester, aka Captain Man, did not cry easily, but even the brave, strong superhero could not prevent a few tears from slipping down his face as his kid hugged him. He had lived so many years alone, but now… now, he had so much more than he ever could have hoped for. He finally had a family.