Alameda General Hospital
Amy stopped peering into the mirror, her hands still poised over the second to last button on her blouse. She kept looking at her reflection expecting to see her face covered with bruises and cuts after being thrown across the room. Each time she caught sight of the mirror her blood ran cold. Granted, it was her back that impacted the wall, but she didn’t sustain a single injury. She had received no bruises, cuts, scrapes, breaks, or sprains. Hell, she hadn’t even broken a nail. That should have been cause for celebration, but it made no damn sense. It put Amy on edge.
She felt the force of the impact before she blacked out and it hurt like hell. Unless you possessed healing powers, or a significant other with them—she added a slight smirk touching her lips—you didn’t walk away from something like that without some sort of injury to show for it. She quizzed Rathdrum and Shanderly, upon waking in the hospital, but neither had answers for her.
She touched her belly, biting her lip, and thought of the child. The ER doctor was all too happy to run a pregnancy test and gave her reason to hope. In the early weeks of pregnancy, a uterus was tucked behind the pelvic bone providing more protection to the child than if she were further along. He didn’t seem to think the child had been harmed, but only time would tell. If Sapphira were there, she mused, she would be able to tell if anything were wrong.
A light rap sounded from the door, and she sighed reaching for her blazer. “Come in,” she called out without turning back to the door.
“Andy?” The voice was soft, and though it sounded a fair bit more careworn than she remembered, it was as familiar to her as if she just heard it yesterday. Amy froze, blazer still clenched in her hands, heart hammering in her chest. The moment she feared since first coming to Tondzaosha had at last come and much sooner than she expected.
Amy craned her neck around, peering at the woman who stood in the doorway. Her own emerald green eyes looked back at her, and the agent sucked in her breath eying the newcomer with wide eyes. Serena Margaret van den Broeke, had changed little in the intervening years. Oh sure, there was a fair bit more gray in her hair, and the crows feet at the corners of her eyes were new, but her face appeared far more youthful than the agent would have expected.
Amleia bore more than a passing resemblance to Serena, enough that it was plain for anyone to see they were mother and daughter. It was from her she inherited her olive complexion and dark hair.
A set of simple blue scrubs, an id badge hanging from her breast pocket, and a stethoscope draped about her shoulders identified her as a member of the hospital staff. A nurse? When had that happened? Given her mother’s tendency toward hypochondria, it seemed an odd choice of vocation.
“Maggie.” Amy shifted her body, so she was standing opposite her mother and folded her arms across her chest.
“Actually, it’s Serena now.” She stared into Amy’s eyes, hands clenched about the bottom of her scrub top jerking on the hem. “I needed a change after the divorce.”
Amy stared at her, jaw clenched shut, heart still hammering and mind racing. Her mother had long preferred her middle name over her first, but that seemed a rather insignificant revelation when she let the rest of her mother’s statement sink in. She arched an eyebrow, but still did not speak.
“How’d you find me?” Amy asked, at last, releasing a long sigh.
She shrugged. “A mutual friend pointed me in your direction.”
“Shanderly.” Amy nodded and folded her arms across her chest. The deputy had been in to see her earlier, apologizing for the ‘accident’ as if it were his fault. It appeared he encountered her mother somewhere along the way out.
“I mean, God,” Serena shook her head. “It’s gotta mean something that you’re here now. I don’t even usually work the day shift, if Karen hadn’t called in, I—”
Amy arched an eyebrow, and the other woman fell silent. The agent didn’t put much stock behind that sort of thinking, subscribing coincidences to God was her mother’s province and Amy possessing a more logical mind had ever been the doubter. She made her thoughts on her mother’s beliefs known long ago and if the look on Serena’s face was any sign, she hadn’t forgotten.
“Just look at you.” Serena cleared her throat and cupped a hand over her face. “You’re beautiful, if I didn’t know any better—” She trailed off. “Just finding you after so long looking like this, I don’t have any idea what to say.”
Amy wondered what her mother would think if she were aware that she was pregnant, but chose not to illuminate her on that matter. If Serena learned she possessed the body of a ciswoman, she wasn’t sure how she would react. Would it validate her gender dysphoria or would it make itseem as if she’d been ‘fixed’? It was a question she’d been struggling with since her transformation and she was no closer to uncovering an answer.
“Then don’t say anything,” Amy said slipping on her blazer. “I didn’t come here to make peace. I have a job to do.”
“Right.” Serena nodded. “Shanderly told me a little about that. An AEGIS Agent. I never figured you for the type for law enforcement.”
“As opposed to a nurse?” Amy raised her eyebrows and shook her head.
“Fair point. Andrew, I know this doesn’t mean much, after what your father and I put you through, but I’m so—”
“Don’t,” Amy cut her short, decades of anger and bitterness spilling out like a dam burst. “You don’t get to waltz back into my life after all this time, apologize, and expect me to come running back into your arms. You stood by while that man denigrated me, demeaned me, and beat me half to death. Do you honestly believe a simple apology will cut it?”
Serena stood frozen in place staring at the other woman, fighting back tears. “No, you’re right.”
Her mother didn’t say another word and neither did Amy, at first. The agent regarded her, sighed, then shook her head, a hand coming up to straighten a bit of hair. “It’s Amelia.”
“What?” Serena asked her eyebrows shooting up past her bangs.
“I go by Amelia now,” Amy said her cheeks burning, biting back a scathing rebuke.
“Amelia.” Serena nodded tugging on a stray bit of hair. “I know this is hard for you and I know that you probably want nothing to do with me, but it’s good to see you.”
Amy didn’t say a word. There was a time she wanted nothing more than to confront her parents and give them a piece of her mind. She thought long and hard what she would say if ever given the chance and planned out so many speeches. That had been a long time ago, and throughout most of her adult life, she’d convinced herself that she’d put it all behind her, but the truth was despite all the beatings and the harsh words, she wanted what everyone wanted, a family. She just wasn’t sure she could afford to let her mother back in again.
“David and Erica would love to see you again if nothing else,” Serena said.
Amelia’s head jerked around at the mention of her two younger siblings, but remained silent realizing that she left one out. Brian was only a few years younger than herself and the one whom she’d been closest. She hadn’t heard from, or spoken to him in years, but of all her siblings it was Brian with whom she most regretted losing contact. She wouldn’t mind seeing her two youngest siblings again, but given that David was only five and Erica six when they last saw one another, she doubted they would remember much about her.
“Maybe Brian too. If you can find him. He hasn’t spoken to me in years,” Serena added after a long pause. “I guess, he paints me in the same shade as your father.”
Another knock came from the already open door, and Carter Rathdrum, stepped in sight, freezing in place when his eyes took in the pair of women. “Uh, did I come at a bad time?”
“Rathdrum,” Amy replied. “Just give us a moment would you?”
Silence permeated the room. Rathdrum nodded, regarded the pair one final time and disappeared from sight.
“Look,” the agent said turning back to her mother after several long seconds. “I’m not interested in having a relationship, that ship has sailed. You regret what happened, good, at least you have some remorse for the shit you put me through, but I put this all behind me a long time ago. I don’t want to rehash it just so you can feel better about yourself.”
The words sounded harsh even to Amelia’s ears, but she would not take them back. There was a part of Amelia that wanted to reconnect with her mother, but another part, the larger part, was afraid of being hurt again.
Serena took a step back, flinching as if the younger Van den Broeke had slapped her. “I-I understand.”
Amy took several steps toward the door, then stopped remembering that she would need to question her mother about the girl. “You have a phone number?”
Serena froze furrowing her brows, caught off guard by the abrupt turnabout, but Amy only shook her head.
“You were the one that found the girl with the sword, right? We’ll need to question you about it,” she added by way of explanation.
Serena nodded, slipping a hand into her breast pocket, producing a small notepad and pen.
She scribbled something down, ripped the paper free and held it out to Amy, lips pressed shut and tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Rathdrum, my associate, will contact you,” she said, lips trembling as she tore the slip of paper from her mother’s extended hand, turned her back, and slipped out the doorway.
“Come on agent,” she said, rounding on Carter, who was waiting a few dozen feet down the corridor. “We have work to do.”
He nodded, glanced back at the door, before stepping into sync with his superior. He pressed his lips together in a thin line, but did not speak letting her lead him out of the hospital. Amelia was glad for the silence. A few warm tears splattered her cheeks, but if the other agent noticed he didn’t say a word.