@unnamed1 Unfortunately for the bell ringer, he did not possess even a mere shred of Asoka’s confidence. What little esteem had once been built during that innocence of childhood had been lost and stamped out years ago by his master’s teachings. Strict, daily mantras of self-hatred and loathing had been burned deep into the boy’s mind since his first memory. Self-respect, or even self-preservation was entirely foreign to him. For his whole life, he had lived only to serve his master. And now that he was without him….he felt aimless. As though he were struggling to stay afloat in the middle of a restless sea. Freedom was frightening, but only because it was so unfamiliar to him.
It was a mercy that it was so late in the night; such that hardly a soul was around. Quasimodo, the poor wretch…was unbearable shy around strangers and could not have navigated the city so confidently alongside Asoka had it not been for the comforting darkness which now surrounded Paris. Though when morning came, it would be an entirely different matter altogether. He knew this. He dreaded it with every fiber of his being and yet, he did not dare go back to the Cathedral. For he knew all that waited for him there was an angry master.
He was rather used to following others, so trailing behind Asoka faithfully was not a problem. However, he was understandably hesitant to follow her into the women’s lavatory. However, he was surprised to find that she was not concerned about her own privacy, rather….she seemed to care for him and his own loneliness. Giving a brief, anxious frown….his eyes darted around for a spell, and then the bell ringer reluctantly stepped inside behind her. With silent concern, he watched Asoka as she began to wash her wound.
When she requested the paper towel, at first he hadn’t even noticed that she had asked him for something. He had to briefly inspect her facial expression before he understood that what she had said had been a question at all. He handed her what she had asked dutifully, but upon realizing that she would need much more than this to adequately heal herself, he gave a little nod in understanding. “Ah…” A small sound of recollection escaped from him as he reached into his pockets for something. From them, the young hunchback produced a roll of unused, cloth bandages. With an inviting expression, he extended his hand out to her; offering the wraps to her. It wasn’t much, but it would be enough for her wound. The bell ringer had often used these on his own hands when they had become too worn and painful from ringing the bells. But at this moment, she certainly needed them more than he did. Especially now that he no longer had any bells to ring.
“…you…take it….” He mumbled awkwardly, but his intentions were nonetheless kind and sincere. She could see it in his eyes; much like a dog’s in that they seemed to radiate with thoughtfulness. The irises spoke volumes to Asoka that his lips never could.