Bethany’s Awakening, Part 2: Fear and Confusion
Location: Wizard’s Tower, Medical Ward
Timeline: Friday, August 27, 2010/Early Afternoon
Cam just barely kept the smirk from her face. She was walking fine, the combination of medical care and nano having healed her leg nearly completely. Jon had been the model 'prisoner' since their talk. As Bethany was improving, Cam had decided to show him around their facility. He wouldn't get to see any critical operational aspects, or even get a better fix on their location, but he would get an idea of what life for Bethany would be like here and could tell her about it once she woke up.
"Well," she said pleasantly as she rose to leave her office, "It seems your friend was awake, briefly. They've had to sedate her so they can repair a few of her stitches, but Abby is ready to wake her again once you've returned."
Jon looked up from the cup of green Jello he had gotten from the cafeteria where they stopped after the rest of the tour. It was awkward eating it with his wrists stuck together, but he had made no complaint in the days since they had made their arrangement. The Jello was a bit of a comfort food.
“You’re lucky it wasn’t worse, luv,” Jon said, “that she didn’t hurt someone. I told you she doesn’t like hospitals and wouldn’t take well to being tied down.” He finished off the Jello and after looking around for a moment, set the used cup on the desk and picked up his water bottle. “I should get back to her.”
Cam nodded. "I'll take you down there myself. I want to talk to her if she's calm enough for reason. You should be prepared. Abigail says her powers are manifesting. It can be a little hard for normal people to take in."
“Understood,” Jon nodded, following after Cam back to Bethany’s medical suite.
Timo was leaving just as they arrived. "Probably best if there aren't a ton of strangers. I'll be in observation in case you need me."
At first glance, the bed was empty, though with even a second glance it became clear that something was really off. While Bethany didn’t appear to be laying in the bed, her medical gown apparently was, and looked to be still being worn by someone, though that someone was quite invisible. The steady rise and fall of the gown with each of the girl’s breaths gave the loose clothing the semblance of having a life of its own, and the IV in her hand, as well as the heart monitor and oxygen tube hanging oddly in the air above the bed that bore the general impression of a human body, did nothing to dispel the idea that some unseen phantom was lying where the healing girl had been only a short time before.
Jon paused in the doorway, his sharp blue eyes darting around the room as they always did before settling on the strange form on the bed. He knew Bethany had been there when he left; who else could it be?
“How is she?” Jon spoke quietly to the Aquata girl as he strode into the room, settling his manacled hands on the railing of the bed.
Abby only looked at Jon for a moment. She never looked at him for long before turning to Cam. "She tore a few stitches, but the graft held and we didn't need to intubate her or take her back to surgery. We need to keep her calm though, if at all possible. I've got sedation on board if she starts thrashing about or can't be calmed. We may have no choice but to keep her unconscious until she's more healed."
With Cam's nod she injected something into the IV. It was the same drug she'd given to Jon. It would scrub the sedatives and other drugs from her system, including pain killers. They had a medical pod with a mild anesthesia behind one of her ears. She wouldn't be able to feel it, but if she got too out of control they could sedate her without having to hold her down.
Once again having been banished to the realm of nightmares, Bethany was forced to watch her most agonizing, terrifying moments play out again and again. She wept bitterly as Jon succumbed to the drugs she had given him; as she heard those two shots ring out, and felt her mother die, her last ragged breath on her face. Then there was another sanity shattering roar as she ruthlessly, coldly gunned down her own father. The sinister, familiar woman in bleached white armor stalked ever closer just as hell erupted forth and the Nephilim came for her too. She was drowning in a pool of blood, her own mingled with that of the many nameless men that she had killed, too weak to move, unable to fight any longer. Then there was silence, and a sparkling woman, an angel in white, radiating the purest of light, was violently casting away the dark, brutal shadows, suddenly putting an end to the stream of hellish images.
There was a whimper from the strange visual void where Bethany should have been, the indent in the pillow moving as her head turned slowly. Her eyelids fluttered open, blinking away the bright vision of that blessed angel, and in her place someone that she had so longed to see came into focus. The girl gasped painfully, her body involuntarily bolting upright in her surprise, eyes widening, and a pitiful, broken cry escaped her before she could stop it. “No!”
“Oh, No, no, no. Not you too,” Bethany whispered hoarsely. Her cloaked body slumped weakly back on the bed as her head spun, and she shook as she began to cry. The ache in her chest and the churning of guilt in her gut was agonizing as she realized just how all encompassing that her failure had truly been. “You were supposed to get away,” the young woman wept, her heart breaking anew at the sight of Jon at her bedside in what appeared to be manacles.
“Easy, Bethany,” Jon said in his quiet baritone. “You pulled your stitches.” He moved to the side of the girl opposite Aquata. “I’m here. Everything is going to be all right.” He fumbled around for her invisible hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze.
“Bethany, you’re...invisible,” Jon said. “Can you turn back? Take some deep breaths and...focus.”
“Invisible?” the girl asked, clearly confused for a moment, then gasped and asked, “That really happened?” Her grip was weak, but she grasped at Jon’s hand almost desperately as she tried to calm herself down. There were times that she hated the fact that he could soothe her so easily. “I’m scared. Don’t know what to do,” Bethany admitted softly as her body began to buzz again. Between the stress and being generally weak, she wasn’t even sure how she was still conscious.
~Poison~ Her mind spat at her from some dark crevice, and she clenched her jaw. The normally scrappy teen still didn’t know what was going on, who had them, or why she was invisible, and she really didn’t feel like she had the strength to be very useful if it came down to a fight. It made it hard for her to want to be visible at that moment.
Her breathing evened out some, though it was a strain on the wounded girl, but she was trying to follow Jon’s instructions, remember what he’d taught to her about focusing, as she had grown so used to doing. Before long, the sparkling fractals of light that had hidden her from the world began to shift, again turning in a single, shimmering, multi-colored wave that rolled down her body, revealing the broken brawler to the occupants of the room. As her cloak faded, her normally bright green eyes swirled with all the colors of the rainbow, then took on their normal hue as she came fully into view, though even that was an oddity to behold. Bethany’s face and hair had taken on the white tone of the pillow beneath her head, complete with grayish streaks as though her very body was trying to blend into the background, and where her skin touched the edge of the green hospital gown, it was rapidly changing to match the vivid hue of the ill fitting smock.
“Please, forgive me, Jon,” Bethany begged weakly, through dry, ghostly pale lips, physical, mental and emotional exhaustion evident as she spoke. “I’m so sorry...just wanted you...safe.”
“There’s those pretty eyes,” Jon smiled as Bethany managed to come back to visibility, though it seemed she didn’t have complete mastery of the ability, as her hair and face were the color of the pillow. “Nothing to forgive, luv,” he said, stroking her hair gently, though the manacles got in the way.. “You just get better. That’s all I care about.”
For a moment, the tired young woman eyed the odd handcuffs on Jon’s wrists and she swallowed thickly. Though she was loathe to admit defeat, and while her mind seemed to be clearing, the girl knew that there was nothing else she could do in her weakened condition. Her father had been right; attachments were exploitable weaknesses and now they had someone that they could use against her. Bethany looked into Jon’s azure-streaked eyes, tears rolling down her unnaturally pale face again, then she turned her gaze to the somewhat intimidating redhead, pleading with their perceived captors, showing that even though she hadn’t acknowledged anyone but her beloved friend and mentor until then, she had at least managed to register that there were others in the room.
“Don’t hurt him. He doesn’t know anything. I lied to him...drugged him...” The girl had to pause briefly to catch her breath, her voice cracking with her grief, before pressing on. Bethany was still trying to protect Jon in the only way she could think of, her tone shaky and strained as she continued to cry. “Let him go and I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll do anything. Anything, I swear. Just don’t hurt him...oh, please don’t hurt him.”
Cam motioned Abby forward, knowing her face and demeanor was far more friendly. She also activated the subroutine that would unlatch Jon's hands. The bracelets were still in place but he didn't have to keep his wrists together. With her there the risk was minimal.
Abby stepped forward into the girl's field of view. "You probably don't remember me. I'm one of the ones that's been taking care of you. You are neither one in any trouble. Your friend here was just...let's say less than thrilled when he woke up surrounded by strangers. Iris sent us to help you out of a tight spot back there." There was so much she wanted to explain to the girl, to try to sooth away the hurt and the fear, but she settled for the most important information. "Once you are well you will both be free to go, if that's what you want. Now, if you'll let me, I can talk you through turning back to yourself completely, then, if you promise to be very, very careful, we can take off these restraints and try sitting you up. There is a doctor in the other room. If you hurt yourself he may need to come in, but for now he's going to wait outside."
There was a look in Abby's eyes that said she knew the fear the girl had faced. It was why Cam put her in charge of this meeting. Abby had woken up here, trapped in a tiny tank much like Nexus had kept her in, but instead of pain she'd found healing, and even love. More than anything she'd found a safe place, and something of that peace was in her soft smile. "I've been where you are," she spoke in a near whisper then nodded to Jon, though she had yet to actually call him by name, choosing instead to use only pronouns. "He can tell you what condition I was in when I first came here."
Jon didn’t want to remember the pictures he had seen of the Aquata girl’s vivisection at the hands of Nexus. He focused on Bethany instead. “No one’s hurting me, luv,” Jon promised Bethany. He flexed his arms a bit now that they were free and took Bethany’s hand. “You’re in bad shape. I needed them to help you get better,” he said. “You’re safe here. It’s over, luv.” He kissed her forehead in that way of his, letting his lips linger a bit on her soft skin.
NPC Xander Carlisle