Unknown Medical Facility, New Hebron, California
He groaned and cracked his eyelids open. Blinding bright light filled his vision, and he brought a hand up to shield his eyes from the illumination. Once his sight had adjusted to his surroundings, he sat bolt upright and sucked in his breath.
His initial impression was of a hospital room, but as he glanced around, he detected several irregularities. The equipment looked a little too sleek to belong in any hospital, for another, the walls were the same shade of green as the ‘Athletic Center’ within the AEGIS facility and perhaps most noteworthy was the door. Though the same color as the walls it stood out like a sore thumb. It looked much like Sapphira imagined a steel door out of an underground bunker or a submarine would appear, complete with rivets and window, but with no clear mechanism to open the aperture.
Sapphira slipped his feet over the edge of his bed and grunted when something pulled on the skin of his arm and chest. He glanced down and found the source, an IV in his left hand and electrodes attached to his chest. He gritted his teeth, ripped the medical tape holding the IV in place on his skin and paused when he realized it hadn’t hurt as much as he’d expected. His arms weren’t what you’d call hairy anymore. Not that he didn’t have body hair, but it was so fine, that he didn’t notice it most of the time.
He pulled the needle free and marveled. For the first time, he looked at his ebony skin and didn’t find himself repulsed by what he saw. After removing the electrodes on his chest he rose to his feet and moved toward the door.
There was no handle or means to open the door. He reached out with his mind, gratified to find his abilities once again opened to his use, but a little confused. Every item in the room was open to his senses in perfect detail, but he could not get a read on anything that laid beyond the walls, ceiling or floor. He swallowed hard, getting an inkling of his predicament. It would be difficult to escape the room, if not impossible, even with all his powers. It wasn’t just a place of healing, but also the perfect location to hold an exemplar prisoner.
Sapphira needed to get free before it was too late.
He narrowed his eyes, gritted his teeth and reach out for the hospital bed. In response it lifted from the floor and hovered in the open air. He stepped away from the door, bit his lip and was about to throw out his hand and send the bed hurtling toward the door, but stopped when he detected movement through the little window in the door. He let the bed drop and watched as it receded sideways into the wall. Amelia stood within the door frame. She pursed her lips, and she held both hands above her waist fidgeting with them as she peered into the room.
Amelia sucked in her breath and stepped inside. “Well, it seems you’re doing better. That increased healing factor would be nice to have.”
Sapphira blinked and met her gaze. “Uh, yes, it would seem so. How long has it been?”
Amelia frowned. “Six hours.”
He closed, his eyes and ran a hand through his thick mop of hair. He wanted to tell her how sorry he was, but he bit his lip and shook his head. As much as it pained him, it would have to wait. There was a slight quiver to his voice as he spoke. “Maybe, there’s still time.”
“Oh, we’ll have plenty of time while we’re waiting for the doctor to show up. You can start by explaining what the hell you were thinking,” she said gritting her teeth and folding both arms across her chest.
He let out a long sigh and walked over to her placing both hands on her shoulders. “Amelia, you need to listen. I would love to his conversation almost any other time, but Chemosh, needs to be stopped. It might already be too late, we need to get out there and—”
Amelia gritted her teeth, she stood there fists clenched at her side and face all red. He thought for certain she would issue an angry retort, but then she glanced over her shoulder, and turned back to him letting out a long sigh. “You’re not going anywhere until the doctor has cleared you. So talk.”
Sapphira sighed, retreated from the door and plopped onto the hospital bed. He pursed his lips and looked up at the agent. “Something tells me you already know what’s happened.”
This wasn’t intuition, more an education guess, Sapphira sensed the agent through their bond. He did not sense anticipation from Amelia, anger and resentment. “You’ve read me, haven’t you?”
Amelia scowled and stepped inside the room letting the door slide shut behind her. She moved toward him and position herself opposite the bed arms folded across her chest. “I got a read on your possessions, I know pretty much what you’ve been up to since you went storming off, but it doesn’t give me insight into that thick skull of yours.”
“It was a mistake to leave. I didn’t realize that—” he stopped glancing up at her and let out a long sigh.
“Realize, what, that I was a freak? That I mutilated myself? Is that it?” Amelia asked her voice taking almost a frantic edge. She wasn’t yelling, but it was clear the agent was furious and Sapphira’s earlier comments hurt more than she was willing to let on.
It surprised him how much her words stung. Sapphira froze staring up at her, trying his best to find the words, but try as he might he wasn’t able to articulate what he wanted to say. Something warm rolled down his cheek, and he reached a hand up to touch it. He was crying, he realized. When he found the words, he bit his lip and turned to Amy.
“Amelia, I was wrong. Those things I said were out of line. There’s almost no chance you’ll forgive me, but I want you to know I think the world of you. I’ve had time to process what I saw in your mind and I don’t believe you’re a freak.”
Amelia dropped her hands and stood there frozen in place. She stood there, eyes wide and her mouth agape. He sensed, uncertainty and surprise through the bond, but it was nothing compared to the sea of emotions that washed over him when next he spoke.
“Amelia, I wanted you to know, that I’m in love with you.”
In so many ways the words surprised even him. He knew they were true. The empathic bond they shared had provided him with an insight into her mind that could have only otherwise have developed over years of time spent together. Was it any wonder he’d developed such strong feelings for her in so short of a time?
The agent’s eyes grew even wider, and she spun around, only pausing long enough to wait for the door to open before fleeing from the room.