Unexpected Consequences (Peregrine & Kaisaan)

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  1. It was a simple mission, really. Gabrielle would remember that later, afterward, when the shock wore off. It was meant to be a straightforward mission, the most uncomplicated thing in the world. A radical group had been located, or rather, a small branch of it, and it fell to Gabrielle's team to gather information, take down hostiles if necessary and apprehend the radicals if they could. There was nothing about captives, about people who needed rescuing. Nothing about how vast the complex would be. Nothing about the bomb...

    Sergeant Gabrielle Ó Maoil Eoin couldn't have known anything that was to befall her or the twelve men and women under her command that day. It was hard to say whether they would have refused the mission if they had known the risks anyway. Hardened soldiers the lot of them, no stranger to risk or death, they were all top of their fields and Gabrielle knew pride in every single one, counting them as friends, family even over the title of comrade in arms. She knew every name, every story, and her people trusted her, respected her in turn. They would have followed her into hell if she'd asked it of them.

    The woman couldn't have predicted how true that sentiment would become. How horrifying.

    It had started just as predicted; they'd been whisked into the country under radar, all the political backlash and scheming of it left to the higher-ups and not something for them to worry about. They were here to do their job, nothing more. Such had started with a briefing, just as every mission did. The radicals were stationed at an abandoned hospital and had only been undetected for so long due to the fact that nearly the entire structure was underground - an old relic from one of the World Wars. Gabrielle had zoned out as to which one it was, more focused on the important aspects of the mission itself, not the history of the building they were about to descend into. Not much could be told by those assigned to gather information for them to work off of. No one knew much. They'd been told to expect hostiles, though, to be prepared for gunfire, for resistance.

    What they'd gotten was the complete opposite.

    Getting in had been easy. Far too easy if Gabrielle had anything to say about it...and she did. As Sergeant, if she'd felt that the mission was compromised, that it stank too heavily of a trap, she could give the order for retreat. The three Captains of the three squads might have protest, but such could be discussed after they were safely away, and over time and missions, all twelve soldiers had learned to trust her and she them. There would have been no argument against her orders - if she'd given them. She would forever wish that she had, but she'd remained silent. As silent as the soldiers were as they filed into the old, eerily silent building after Levi Thompson and Hanna Waters, their techs, had disabled the security system on the entrance they were to use. Taking out the three guards in the large lobby after that had been done by the throwing knives of two of the more skilled soldiers - Timothy Williams and Jessica Tanner - with minimal sound. Still, Gabrielle's aqua green eyes had searched for cameras even as her soldiers searched for trip-wires, alarm systems. There had to be something, though, a nagging suspicion told the woman that this place would be nothing like expected.

    The sparse furniture of waiting chairs and scratched up, graffiti-covered tables were not what she'd envisioned, certainly. Nor the elevator that seemed to be in working condition if the lights were anything to go by. They would take the stairs. An elevator was a death-trap in enemy territory and when the intercom in her ear buzzed, Thompson's voice announcing the discovering of a hidden camera, the Sergeant's decision only supported itself. It took around five tense, nervous minutes for Thompson to work with the camera, sending it on a loop that would show nothing but an empty lobby - suspicious as there had been three guards in it before, but not as hair-raising as a whole lobby full of US soldiers - but no one rushed him. If this was to be done, they'd get it done right. There was no other way for people of their skill. They'd never failed a mission and that such had remained true under Gabrielle's leadership brought nothing but pride to the young woman. She'd come to her position not through money or family influence, but because she'd worked her ass off and to see that rewarded was satisfying.

    To know her success kept her men and women alive was a far greater reason to keep driving herself to be better and Gabrielle didn't fail in that task either. It was for those kinds of reasons that she had kept her position as long as she had and it had given her experience she put to good use.

    Like using the stairs.

    There were no cameras to disable in the stairwell, but even so, her squads stayed alert, guns at the ready and in formation as they descended into the belly of the beast. There was no telling what they could expect or how much resistance they might encounter and they all felt being overly cautious would be better than assuming everything would be this easy from now on out. Still, being prepared seemed almost overkill in the wake of the empty hallways and silence that greeted them upon exiting the stairwell. Thompson's keen eyes soon spotted the camera that would give them away and while he worked on the device with Hanna at his side, Gabrielle scanned her surroundings. It was nothing but a long hallway, no doors in sight, turns to the left and the right on either end. The walls were white, all of them, blindingly so and when Morgan Norvac, a woman two years younger than herself and frankly the 'little sister' of the group spoke in a hushed tone about her irrational temptation to find a bucket of paint and just start tossing it at the walls, a shadow of a smile touched Gabrielle's face.

    "I might just join you." was the muttered reply and Caleb Vincent, a man at least ten years older than Gabrielle herself, gave them both a look. He was a Captain, along with Noah Samuels and Marco Deeley, and the second-oldest in the group after Daniel Collins, a veteran of more skirmishes and wars than the entire thirteen combined. It was to her three captains that the Sergeant looked now, however. The hallway itself represented a problem that only splitting up the squads could solve and they all knew it - as well as the risks that came with it.

    "Keep your radios on." That they should keep them turned down and not use them unless something significant happened didn't need to be said....nor did the silent 'be careful' need to be voiced. They all knew. They all heard and wordlessly Gabrielle sent Vincent and his squad - Thompson, Tyler Price and Michelle Yama - to the right while she and the other two squads took the left. It felt like routine then to disable cameras, to check every room with sweeping guns and eyes, to become more and more confused and uneasy the longer they went without seeing any opposition, but they all kept their nerve, did their jobs....even as their numbers started to grow thinner. Gabrielle had long since sent Deeley and his squad - Collins, Norvac and Waters - on a different path of hallways and she could only imagine that sooner rather than later he would have to make the call to separate the squad in half from there. She had already done such with Samuel's squad; Robert Allens, Brandon Carter and Jessica Tanner, and now found herself alone. The others had not liked it, but with thirteen, someone was going to end up alone and as Sergeant, she refused to let it be those under her command.

    Gabrielle wasn't foolish enough to believe they'd stay in pairs, though. Not in a place this vast.

    It could have been hours or maybe just mere minutes later, after what felt like endless white hallways with only numbers on the walls to show her she wasn't going in circles, that her ears picked up noise. She felt shivers race down her spine when she identified exactly what the pitch meant; the noise was a scream. Her entire body tensed, a surge of adrenaline released as she waited for her radio to come to life, for the sound of gunfire, for anything to signal that the sound had come from her people....but there was nothing. Not even another scream and aqua-green eyes narrowed even as the woman got her body moving again, gun held securely in her hands as her combat boots took her stealthily down the white-washed halls that in truth provided no kind of hiding place. She stood out like a fly in milk with green, army-issued cargo pants, a black tank-top and a green jacket over that. The weapons on her belt, from grenade and knives, to ammunition for the automatic weapon she handled so skillfully showed she wasn't just some innocent lost and passing through, either. Stealth perhaps was not the most logical tactic, but it was the only one that instinctively made sense right now in lieu of knowing nothing about those she was trying to find.

    And why were there so few people - if any people? Where was everyone? This didn't make sense with the intelligence they'd received - albeit not much of it - and it worried the woman. She found herself nearly lowering her guard, reaching for what she knew would not help her out of confusion alone and just barely caught herself before she could peek over the wall erected in her mind.

    No. Gabby, you idiot. That's not going to help. Just...breathe. Stay calm. Find whoever screamed. That means there IS life in this place - or there was - and that's what you are here to take back to HQ. Life means information. Find the screamer.

    A breath left her mouth at the mental pep-talk and the woman continued on, skillfully avoiding the cameras that swiveled her way and hurrying out of the range of others she couldn't avoid. It was only when the devices started to become more numerous that she knew she was going the right direction and Gabrielle almost hesitated when she came across her first person.


    They were stunned and slumping to the ground before they'd even had a chance to formulate a shocked expression, much less a word and only when they'd fallen to the floor did the Sergeant study the man more closely, taking in all the details that could tell her what exactly was going on here. Lab coat. Clean skin, trimmed fingernails, intact glasses. Combed hair. The smell of chemicals and harsh soaps. Washed clothing, and gloves peeking haphazardly out of a pocket. A doctor...or a scientist. Maybe both? A frown marred otherwise lovely features, the freckles that swarmed Gabrielle's face only giving more seriousness to her thoughtful eyes. What kind of place was this? What did they do here?

    Knowing the man before her was going to be giving no answers anytime soon, Gabrielle made to move forward, only to stop as her radio crackled with static. Bringing the thing up to her face, she listened to the message being given by Deeley, able to identify his voice even before he gave his code words. What he reported only added to the mystery...and yet a sickening feeling gathered in Gabrielle, a sensation she knew all too well, but for the life of her tried to deny.

    Deeley and his squad had found people, but not hostiles. People locked up, hooked up to all kinds of equipment, drugged, some appearing to be starving, others terrified. The words dropped like blocks of ice into her mind, stirring memories like mud from the bottom of a lake and Gabrielle shook her head, pushing them down and away with a stubbornness she was rather known for. No. Not now. Not on a mission that was becoming increasingly more complicated than anticipated. Bringing the radio to her mouth, she issued her orders.

    Get the civilians out.

    Their mission had been to retrieve information and take captive hostiles, but missions changed. She wasn't about to leave people here and they could serve as intelligence just as easily as the far less breathing kind they would acquire after seeing this base secured. Even if they didn't, human life was more important and if the radicals wanted these people, then Gabrielle didn't want them to be in their possession. It was with that thought in mind and remembering the scream - now seeing it in a potentially new light - that the Sergeant picked up her pace. It wasn't until she reached the end of a hallway, a dead end but for the four doors situation one at the end of the hall, two to the right and one to the left, that she finally encountered more people. These ones looked shocked to see her, but they also appeared rather annoyed by it, too.

    It was the latter emotion that took the guilt away as she shot them. The noise attracted two more people from the rooms on the right and Gabrielle took them out without hesitation, as well. They were free, unshackled and wearing white lab coats. They were the enemy, they'd caused the scream, had held the people her squads had spoken of. They had chosen their own fate. It was a rather grim and factual way to look at the situation, at the world, but Gabrielle wasn't exactly...normal.

    Any normal person would have felt something, anything while stepping over the six prone bodies drenching the white halls and floors in vivid red, but the young woman didn't even glance to them, doing nothing but blowing the dirty-blond hair that had fallen from her braid away from her eyes. Her focus was on the door at the end of the hall - the one no one had come through. Coming to the handle, she worked it open slowly and brought her gun to her shoulder as she swung it open, quickly scanning the room before moving in...and then stopping.

    A lab. She found herself in a lab. Counters and tables, measuring glasses and equipment, machinery and the smell of chemicals all greeted her eyes and nose, but it was the room with the glass panel that drew her attention. Now Gabrielle would not say she believed in Fate. Nor would she claim to accept that feelings were all that mattered when observing the world around her or making decisions....but even she could not deny that there was something utterly strange, different, captivating about the man within the room. Moving slowly toward the glass, she felt less like a soldier and more of what she truly was, what she kept secret from everyone and Gabrielle knew without a shadow of doubt that he was different, too.

    Aqua-green eyes met the ones that looked back at her and for just a moment, just a breath, Gabrielle felt a faint smile touch her lips, her hand finding the glass and her body nearly ready to move toward the door that would release the stranger inside. It was not to happen, however, because she'd not taken more than a breath, more than a tensing of muscles before the alarms started to blare.

    The sickening feeling came back then, a tidal wave that stole the breath from her body and the color drained from Gabrielle's face, her freckles standing out in sharp relief to the pallor of her skin and the glazed look to her eyes as realization came, painful and beyond horrifying, beyond terror.

    This base was death.

    The alarms heralded it like church bells signalling the drowning of a ship and its crew, and Gabrielle understood in that moment what most would have tried to deny in their determination to live; there would be no escape.
    #1 Kaisaan, Mar 11, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2015
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  2. David Mikhailovich Kerek had long ago learned how to remain self-contained. It had arisen in part from his heritage, the Russians were not known for being the most outgoing of people, but even then a person could always rely on family. But when his life, and the lives of others, rested on his ability to do one thing, he got very good at it. He separated himself from the world by a bubble of awareness, he contained everything that could get through it, and he watched.

    He watched the researchers, the ones who brought him warm food and soft, clean clothes every morning. They treated him with a cool, professional courtesy that David could understand, even if it was nothing like affection. Their jobs were to keep him comfortable and cared for, and they did their jobs well, but that was all it was, a job. They understood little of what was truly taking place in this underground complex, even if they respected Dr. Dahnov and his research into the paranormal. They were as unwillingly separated from that understanding as David was from the outside world. The only one who truly understood was the Doctor. He had a way of looking at people that said he just knew. He might not know everything, but he knew enough. He knew what really mattered. He knew, with everyone except David. David was divorced from everything outside, and that was all Dahnov could see. He gave the doctor just enough to let him believe he knew everything, but he didn’t know what really mattered. He didn’t know what David saw.

    He watched the building, the white, antiseptic walls that never, ever changed. He knew this building as well as he knew anything anymore, even though he had never even seen all of it. This place was as close to a home as he had, but he knew it was no home. He had heard people speak of home. Sometimes it was the researchers, speaking a little too loud when passing the door to his room, sometimes it was the others. Especially the young ones. They spoke with longing, and with love. Those were what made a home, and there was certainly none of that here. At least, there was none for him. The researchers made their home here. Part of this building was theirs, and it had to be warm and comfortable. Otherwise, how could they be content to stay here?

    He watched the others, when he had the chance to see them. They were nothing like him. They burned bright, passionately, raging against the bonds that held them to this building. Many of them were too grown up to know any better. They were always the ones that were gone within a week after they came. They fought so hard against the Doctor, to try and maintain themselves as they were, that their minds and bodies could no longer take it. Their energy would flee them, leaving nothing but meat behind. But none of them ever lasted indefinitely. None of them, except him. David did what he could to help them, when he met them. A kind word, a kind hand. It wasn’t much, but it was all he could give.

    That morning began just like any other. By the time the researchers arrived David had already gotten himself out of bed. They left him a stack of clean clothes, a hair brush, a toothbrush and some toothpaste, and shaving cream and a razor. He would change out of the flannels he had been given for the night, run the brush through his dark, curly locks, carefully shave the shadow that had formed on his neck and cheeks overnight, scrub clean his teeth, before returning everything, brush, razor, paste and night clothes to the door. Once the researchers had collected it they would lead him out, through the winding corridors to his room. It wasn’t his room in the same way as the room where he slept, at least there he was allowed a modicum of peace and privacy, but it was still his room. After all, no one else was ever brought there.

    Sometimes that would be it, and David would stare blankly at the whitewashed wall until the evening came, and the whole process happened in reverse. In many ways, those were the nicest days. Sometimes the Doctor would come to see him, and he would stare at David, poking and prodding with those knowing eyes, trying to draw something out of the depths. But David was safe, surrounded by his bubble of awareness. The Doctor watched him and David watched back, embracing the Doctor’s pushing and proddings without complaint and without resistance. Some days one of the researchers would come in, those who did not truly understand. They would poke and prod him with tools and needles rather than eyes, pontificating back and forth, looking for answers that they could understand. They never found them. It didn’t stop them from trying. Those days were always the most invasive. But they were far from the worst, because, some days, they would bring one of the others in. And, on those days, someone was going to die. It was never David. And it certainly wasn’t the Doctor.

    But, that day, things were different. It wasn’t something he could pinpoint, but was rather an energy in the air. The researchers didn’t see it. Even the Doctor didn’t feel it, or he would have done something. His research was far too important to him to ever risk it. David was the only one who knew, but no one knew he knew. He wasn’t going to tell them.

    Finally, after so many years of a daily routine that blurred the days into weeks into months, something was going to change.

    When she walked into his room he felt his heart rate pick up. Excitement. It had been so long since this kind of energy raced through his veins. He dismissed it unconsciously, severing its connection to himself. His rational mind told him it could be another trap, another test, even as every other part of him disagreed. Because she, like the Doctor, like the others, understood.

    He had been wrong. She might not have been brought here by the Doctor, might not have faced the weight of his eyes, but she was just another one of the others. She had come, and for one moment it felt as though they had seen each other, but now everything was going wrong again. She was going to die. Except this time, there was no Doctor watching the proceedings.

    It felt like something twisted in his gut, something both foreign and familiar. He gasped, bending double as the very foundation of the building trembled. Explosions tore through the air, the shock wave shattering the glass that separated him from the rest of the room. David noticed none of it. All he knew was two things. He would not die, and neither would she. The energy exploded out of him, and for a moment everything inside of him stopped. His breath caught in his throat, his eyes went dark, his ears began to ring. Inside his chest, his heart faltered and went still. But as his own body halted, so too did the things around him. The explosion that had twisted the door to the room stopped, almost as though it had hit an invisible barrier. The ceiling cracked as the foundation crumbled, but it caved into a half-sphere, supporting itself up.

    And then it was over. His heart started to beat once more. David stared blankly ahead for a moment, teal green eyes meeting brown black. And then he crumpled, the strain on his body’s energy too much for it to maintain his consciousness.

    But they were alive.
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  3. She felt the scream that caught in her throat and the fact that it could be there at all was a miracle. She knew, somehow she did, what had happened, what the deafening sound in her ears and the impact that collided with her body and sent her to the floor was. She knew the building had exploded and Gabrielle knew she should have been incinerated. Dead.

    But she wasn't.

    There was no logic to explain it, not yet. All she could piece together was that one concussive force, one intense energy had met another and the result was that she was alive. The man was alive, too. She registered that as if through a thick mist and aqua-green eyes watched him collapse...and she understood, too, that the opposing energy had come from him. It was a fact she'd look upon later, though, because right now....there was only a deep, sharp pain. It was centered in her chest, a beat that was slowly picking up tempo, sending waves through her nerves down to the very ends of her fingers and toes, building pressure that she couldn't contain for long. There was nothing else that mattered in that moment, that made sense, than the one fact her mind was screaming at her relentlessly.

    Everyone was dead.

    The captives, the radicals, her team. Her team. Oh god, her team. The pressure built at the thought of them and Gabrielle choked on a sob, gasping whimpers escaping from behind her hand as she tried to breathe. Dead. They were all dead. Dead and she could have saved them. She could have done something! She should have had them turn back, should have..have listened to what the feelings had been trying to tell her! They were dead...and it was her fault. The shriek that left her lips then, building from her chest and exploding from her throat had as much to do with her emotions as it did her nature and the sound escalated into something inhuman, haunting and piercing, nearly violent in a way. It was a scream that heralded death, that announced it as well and when it finally ended, Gabrielle fell silent. Eerily so.

    Everyone was dead.

    There was no going back. No bringing them back and the guilt would haunt her forever. She could accept that...already had. Nearly anyone else would have fallen into hysterics, would have panicked, but Gabrielle was not anyone, not normal. She was a companion to death and she had seen more of it than most people would see in a lifetime. The very human nature of her wanted to do nothing more than curl up and sob her heart out, scream at the horror and injustice, fall apart and never get back up....but the other nature, the stronger one, would not allow it. Death was normal. It mattered not that it had struck down the people she cared about. It wouldn't give pity or time, it wouldn't release her and it certainly was not going to spare her if she chose to break down now.

    Eyes bright with unshed tears, dull of light, but somehow determined all the same, rose to look at what surrounded them. Rubble. It crumbled and shifted overhead, sending dust and small pieces of plaster and brick raining down. The structure might have not collapsed inward, but that did not in any way mean it was stable and Gabrielle rose slowly, feeling her limbs shake, her whole body doing so as she seemed to force every breath she took past the pain that radiated through her.

    Deserved pain that she would tolerate and give no complaint to.

    Her feet took a few stumbling steps as if trying to relearn how to work and she focused her attention on the man within the room. The one who'd saved her. Her hands found the doorway still intact, her shoulder leaving a streak of blood on the wood as she brushed against it, stumbling into the room and to the prone figure on the ground. Her legs buckled more than lowered her to the ground and she simply stared at the dark-haired stranger...with the power capacity to shield himself against a bomb. He'd saved her.

    She hated him.

    The emotion came swiftly, sharp and bitter in her throat, an acrid taste in her mouth as she stared at him. She hated him. He'd saved her and her team, her family, had died. He'd saved her and she hated him for it....but only for a moment. The emotion dissipated like smoke in the wind just as quickly as it had come and she wrapped her arms around her middle, folding her body as sobs threatened all over again. Gabrielle fought them viciously, knowing that tears and desperate breaths would only waste the precious liquid her body needed and the oxygen under all this rubble. Drawing in a shuddering, deep breath, she made herself sit up again and take another breath and another, slowing them, attempting to work her heart rate into a steady tempo.

    Dammit, Gabby. Focus! You can't bring them back and you can grieve later! Focus on what's important NOW. Check if he's alive.

    The thoughts brought a fragile state of stability and the woman took another breath, sniffling slightly, but making her hands move as she finally touched the man, fingers finding his neck to check his pulse. What she felt instead was a jolt, a shock both unexpected and yet....almost, strangely, comforting. Gabrielle simply looked at him for a moment then, a thousand questions threatening to tumble through her already chaotic mind, but the first and foremost was simple and the second was the same.

    Who was he? What was he?

    Studying the face before her for a moment, Gabrielle's fingers registered a pulse without much effort and she moved them from his neck to his head, brushing the dark hair from his eyes with a saddened expression. "I don't know if I can get you out of here. You saved me and I suppose I should thank you for that, though, even if we're still gonna die." The thought didn't scare her, but all the same, the woman stood one more and this time moved to the large window that now lacked glass. Her eyes scanned the mess of twisted metal, bricks, wood and pipes around them even as her fingers found her shoulder absentmindedly. When her hand came back red, drawing her attention, she suddenly registered the pain that was radiating from a location other than her chest. It looked to be a deep cut, perhaps by exploding glass, but nothing life-threatening and for the moment Gabrielle put it out of her mind.

    No, she was fast trying to figure out the best place to start trying to dig their way out. It was better than thinking about everything else that clambered for attention. She couldn't afford to think about that. Not yet.
    #3 Kaisaan, Mar 12, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
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  4. “Dahveed! Dahveed!”

    David turned around, an irritated look on his face. “Not now, Asya,” the eight year old complained, a pompous look on his face. In his hands he clasped a long stick, held in as close an imitation to proper military fashion as he could manner.

    “Dahveed, I wanna play too!” His little sister raced up next to him, black pigtails bouncing. Only the fear of being hit by the stick kept her from reaching out and trying to grab the stick from her brother’s hands.

    “No, Asya. You don’t get to play. Go home!”

    “At attention, soldier!” David whirled around, his eyes going wide in surprise at the sound of the familiar voice. He snapped his feet together, propping his “rifle” against his shoulder and offered a sloppy salute, his face a mask of intense concentration. By his side Anastasia attempted to imitate her older brother, pressing the wrong hand to her forehead. David nudged her, wiggling his arm significantly, and she promptly switched hands.

    “At ease.”

    David promptly dropped his stick, racing towards the uniformed man with a wide smile on his face, Anastasia close on his heels. “Dad!” David and Asya threw themselves into their father’s arms, hugging him close as he picked them up, twirling them around through the air. They laughed loudly, clinging to him, before he set them down gently.

    “Where’s your mother?” Michael Kerek asked, resting a large, calloused hand on his son’s shoulder.

    “In the house,” the boy replied, face serious.

    Michael’s face softened as he glanced towards the simple, single story brick house, identical in every respect to the twenty five others that surrounded the dirt and dry grass field where David and Anastasia were playing. Oksana could be seen through the small window, elbow deep in flour with an intense look of concentration on her face. David’s father laughed. “I better go see what exactly that dough did to offend her. David, play nice with your sister.”

    “But dad...”

    “That’s an order, soldier,” Michael said, mock serious.

    David pouted for a moment, before nodding. Michael grinned, ruffled his son’s hair, before turning towards the house. David, for his part, turned to his sister, picking up his rifle again. “Very well, soldier,” he said, doing his best to imitate his father’s austere expression. “Drop and give me twenty.” Asya pouted, and David quickly corrected. “Err... I mean, drop and give me one.”

    Anastasia lowered herself to the ground, thin arms struggling to lift her body off the ground. David kneeled down beside her, chanting words of encouragement. Asya finally succeeded in lifting herself off the ground, and David was polite enough to ignore the fact that her knees were touching the ground.

    “Good job!” he called as his little sister collapsed to the ground. “We will make a fighter of you yet.” He stood up, waving the stick around. “Now, on your feet, Private.”

    Asya didn’t move, and David scowled. “Your General said to stand up!” Still the little girl stayed spread out on the ground, not even giggling. “Ah, come on Asya. Don’t be mad. Here. You can be the General, and I’ll be the Private.” He offered the stick, waiting for her to reach out and grab it. Still she didn’t move.

    “Asya? Anastasia!” She moved limply as he vigorously shook her shoulder, before he finally succeeded in rolling her over. She flopped onto her back, arms bent into an unnatural position, glassy eyes staring towards the sky and a streak of blood on the side of her head. Her face was older by easily five years, but it was undoubtedly his little sister.

    “NO!” David screamed, desperately trying to shake his sister awake. “Mom! Dad!” But the house was gone too, and all that was left was smoke and fire and the smell of death as David’s vision went dark.

    David’s eyes flashed open, his heart pounding. It took him a brief moment to figure out where he was, to reassert the facts of reality over the hazy panic of his dream. He couldn’t pin down how many days, weeks, or months it had been since that dream had last touched his sleeping mind, but he always knew when it would come. Anastasia’s face would always haunt him whenever one of the others died.

    But this time he hadn’t failed. He could feel her energy on the other side of the room, bright and undoubtedly alive. He had saved her after failing to save so many others.

    He sat up carefully, pushing his way first to his elbows and then to his knees. Every part of his body felt limp and weak, and even that simple task was more of a struggle than he was willing to show. But he did manage to lift himself into a seated position, and he stared at the person he had saved. His face was blank, absent of even the faintest trace of panic at their situation or relief at being alive, but his dark eyes were warm and soft as he watched her.

    It did not even occur to him to try and speak to her, or draw her attention to the fact that he had awoken. She would notice soon enough, and that was more than sufficient for him.
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  5. Gabrielle was slowly pacing by the time the man woke, her mind frenziedly working through the problems at hand in lieu of allowing her grief and the pain to overwhelm her. She couldn't allow it to. Why? Not even she was sure of that. Dying would be easier and the pain would stop, but just as she could not help the drive that made her want to protect everyone, neither could she help the spark of life within her that refused to give up and allow nature to take its course. Even if she didn't want to live....she would. There was someone who needed her to and that alone was enough.

    "....few hours of oxygen...unless there is a hole somewhere.....could find that it could lead us out....or collapse...explosions, explosions...would that mean we're buried....hundreds of feet or a few feet....wouldn't matter, could all fall in anyway...."

    She'd began to mutter to herself, words broken up as she fell silent one moment and spoke the next, a frown etched into her features and her hand upon her shoulder, applying pressure to still the flow of blood, though the woman had bound the gash with strips of cloth torn from the bottom of her tank-top. She needed stitches, though, and for the wound to be cleaned. Such was nowhere in the near future, though, and Gabrielle knew that right now, losing the least amount of blood possible was the best chance for her to be all right. It would be easier said than done while digging out of this place, but hopefully the man would be of help. Maybe-

    At the thought of him, she'd turned, only to have those thoughts cut off at the sight of the stranger sitting up and observing her. Another woman might have blushed or felt self-conscious. Gabrielle just felt relief and it showed clearly on her face, the complete opposite of the blank expression coming from the male....well, no, that wasn't entirely true; his eyes spoke a story all their own and she found her gaze held by him even as she slowly approached - as if moving upon a wild animal - not scared, but cautious all the same. Wisely so. This person had stopped an explosion from killing them and while some innate instinct told her he was exhausted and little threat at the moment, that didn't mean he would remain that way for long. He might have saved her, but for all Gabrielle knew, that had been unintentional on his part and she had no idea who he was or what he could do.

    There was always a place to start, though....even if logically she knew she shouldn't get attached. If they got out of here, she'd have to report him. Her mission still stood....even if all other members were gone, and this man could give information.....WAS information, but.....gods above, he was also one of Them. He was, somehow despite the intensity of what he'd done, like her.

    Could she really betray kin?

    Having approached and now crouched down before the seated male, Gabrielle tilted her head just slightly and raised a brow, not sharply, but curiously as she studied the face before her. His expression was blank, carefully guarded and very well, too, but his eyes were windows into his soul...even if he knew how to pull the drapes, and she wasn't naive enough to believe that he didn't do such even when it appeared as if he was giving everything away. No, not this one. How she knew was unimportant. Finding out just how capable he was of digging his way out of here was. That was the only thing that was important right now.....well, and one more thing.

    "You're awake. Good. Take a moment, catch your breath and then, like it or not, you're going to help me find a way out of here." She sighed then and gave a slight dip of her head. "I'm Gabrielle. What are you called?"
    #5 Kaisaan, Mar 12, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
  6. It took David time to start deciphering what the American soldier was saying. It had been so long since he had spoken English, and even longer since he had heard it spoken. The fact that her words were disjointed, barely coherent. But, slowly, the years he had spent growing up in a household that spoke Russian as often as it spoke English began to come back to him. He translated everything she said word by word, until finally it came back to him piece by piece, and his thoughts moved into English once more. He knew his words would be broken and disjointed for some time, but once a language was learned it was never truly forgotten.

    “Давид.” It was his name, but even as he offered it he hesitated. It was his name, the name he had offered when he had first been brought to this place, but it was the name that the Doctor had called him. Had used to command him. The last traces of the nightmare still lingering in his mind, David remembered another version of the same name, the one that his father had called him as a tribute to the country that they would all have one day called home. “David”.

    Despite the fact that David had just saved both himself and Gabrielle from the cave in, he had somehow not understood the fact that they would then have to leave. Even though he knew that they were the only living souls within 100 miles, and that life had been irrevocably changed, the outside world had become nothing but a memory to him. It was not something he had believed he would ever be able to experience again.

    He almost didn’t know what to make of the idea. The Doctor was dead, and all of his precious research was destroyed along with him. The others were all dead, even if their lives had already ended long ago. He was free, and apart from the tons of rubble over his head there was nothing holding him here any longer.

    The thought was a brief taste of joy, a burst of pleasureful energy that raced through his body and gave him the strength to follow Gabrielle to her feet. But as it faded it left behind the two perfect, resolute facts that had not changed since the moment the bombs within the building had detonated. He was not going to die, and neither was Gabrielle.

    Right now, that meant they had to get out from under here. Neither of them could survive indefinitely in the dark, confined space, and there was no telling when something above their heads would shift, sending the rocks tumbling down into this solitary patch of air.

    David trembled slightly at the thought, at the understanding of what exactly he was going to have to do, but it was different now. Everything was different. Gabrielle was not the Doctor. He had been forced to hide everything from Dahnov, because that had been the only thing that had kept him alive. If David had ever become just the next successful experiment, the Doctor would have disposed of him as easily as he had disposed of all the others. But Gabrielle was not like that. Wasn’t she?

    “How we get out?” he asked hesitantly. Maybe there was something he was missing, something she had seen that he had not. Maybe he would be able to keep the truth buried within himself, as he had always done, because that was safe.

    Somehow, he doubted it. He knew that there was no way out, that he was going to have to dig into himself and find things that he had done his very best to keep hidden. But, at least for right now, he could always hope otherwise.
  7. Давид.


    Gabrielle's eyes once again swept over the man's face and she gave a slight nod to herself. The name suited him. The thought almost brought a smile. Here they were, under mountains of rubble, in the dark, injured and just counting the hours until their air ran out...and she was determining whether David's name was acceptable. Her thoughts had gone on stranger tangents in the past, yes, but even she would admit this was one of the stranger ones. The woman gave herself a slight shake even as she stood, surprised that David followed her, but secretly pleased by it. At least he COULD stand. That would make things easier...well, as easy as they were going to get.


    The question drew her attention back to the point at hand and at hearing the broken English, Gabrielle did smile just slightly, the corner of her mouth curling up in faint amusement. Right. Russian. It was fortunate he knew her language as she'd not thought to address him in his. It was a mistake the American Sergeant rectified immediately. True that she was far more fluent in Spanish and her Japanese was....smoother, but what came out of her mouth WAS Russian. A bit rough around the edges, perhaps a word missed here and there or her pronunciation slightly off, but it was David's language nonetheless. If it would help make him feel more comfortable or more willing to follow her directions, hell, even easier to process what she needed him to know, then she would continue to speak it.

    "We'll have to dig." She looked back to the rubble around them, her mouth pressing together in a displeased, thin line. A hard expression entered her aqua-green eyes the loner she looked at the obstacle they faced and Gabrielle finally shook her head, her hand moving to rake back through her hair, long come out of the braid that had held it before. "Or we attempt to. There is no guarantee that we can get out." Now her gaze came back to the dark one that seemed to draw her in the strangest way. It wasn't lust, wasn't attraction - though, she would not go so far to say that he wasn't easy on the eyes - nor was it fondness or trust, or even curiosity. It was something far simpler; instinct. One primal power calling, recognizing another. She knew the sensation, felt it in passing on the streets often, eyes meeting some stranger before they simply passed each other by...but this...this felt different. This power didn't just reveal itself and give acknowledgement to her own. No, it pulled. It demanded and Gabrielle was taken by surprise, so much so that she found herself not wary of David, but...gods above, was she feeling protective of him?

    The woman shook her head at the thought and tore her eyes from his own once more, finding she could think better, more clearly when she didn't look. "The rubble might collapse as we try to move it. We could be crushed. The alternative is to suffocate." She smirked, shrugging slightly before nearly glaring at the building around them. "Suffocation is more peaceful, but I'm not going to die lying down."

    That was one thing Gabrielle would never bring herself to do.

    A sigh left her lips as she finally brought her eyes back to David, almost unable to help it, though her expression remained neutral, revealing very little of her thoughts. The thing about Gabrielle was that her eyes could be complete stone to anyone she chose, closed doors that gave no clues as to the state of her soul...but her actions always betrayed her. She couldn't help it and even now, knowing she really shouldn't ask, that it was nearly taboo among those with gifts to pry into each other's lives, the woman found her mouth opening anyway.

    "I would truly rather not risk having this place cave in and even if it doesn't, there is no telling whether we could really dig ourselves out. The chances are we could not. In light of that, I must ask....what you did, protecting us...could you...reverse it?"
    #7 Kaisaan, Mar 14, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
  8. As Gabrielle watched him David stared back, his dark eyes quiet and empty, like being stared at by a void. Even her transition into Russian gained only the faintest reaction from him, and even that seemed more like a permissible release, an acknowledgement, rather than a truly uncontrolled act. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust her, it was simply the way he was.

    In fact, David felt inclined to trust this American soldier more than he had been inclined to trust anyone in this underground place. It was in part due to her own gift, that strange, dark shadow that clung to her, but it was also because she did not belong to this place. She was free of its corrupting influence, and maybe she would be able to wash him clean as well.

    All the same, when she mentioned what he had done, when she made it clear that she understood exactly what had happened when that explosion went off, David couldn’t help but believe he had made some horrible mistake.

    When he was young David had never truly understood much about what lay latent within his own body. All he had known was that he healed much faster than other people. The Doctor had changed all that.

    When he had first found David he had still been in the beginning stages of his research, and had little understanding of exactly how far he could poke and push the abilities of other people. His goal had been to find a way to raise these abilities to superhuman levels, and to create the perfect army in the process. Other than the maintenance of the facility and obtaining his subjects the Doctor’s experiments were cheap, and the radical group to which the Doctor belonged had been willing to fund him.

    Most of the subjects were children like David, spirited away from their homes as the Doctor found them. He trapped in this cold, whitewashed place, and tested his theories on them until they died. As soon as they were dead others quietly disposed of the bodies, and Dahnov moved on to the next. David had just been one of so many others when he was first brought here, and the Doctor had paid him no attention other than a mild curiosity at the fact that David possessed an ability the Doctor had never seen before. But he had been mostly useless at that point. The Doctor was looking for abilities that could be turned into weapons, not abilities that only ever stayed inside the host. All the same, David’s arrival at the facility had been the first of two steps that would cause the Doctor to begin to see the potential in the child in a new light.

    The second was the first true success in getting a subject to exhibit stronger abilities without severe side effects. The research team was euphoric, and confident that they had finally found the answer. Their euphoria quickly faded with one more test run, one more push that was just a little too hard, and the young man shattered, literally burning up from the inside until there was nothing left but a desiccated corpse. The Doctor was furious, not only because that boy was the product of nearly three years of research, but because the process they had used on him could not be easily repeated. They were, once more, starting from scratch, and this time the fall back to the starting line was further than ever.

    For a while Dahnov had been despondent, unresponsive to the comforting words of his fellows that they knew, eventually, it would all pay off. He was not truly upset about the loss of the boy, or even the failure of his latest attempt. Failure was normal. No, his eyes looked towards the future. Even if he was successful, it was not going to make his soldiers immortal. They would still fall in the line of duty, and there was no guarantee he would be able to replace them. And then, once he was dead and his ability was gone, that would be the end of it. What he needed was a way to repeat the process in a way that didn’t require his direct intervention.

    It was only a short time later when he returned to David, and he came up with the next best thing. If he couldn’t duplicate the ability, maybe he could transfer it from person to person. And in that moment, David became useful. Not as a test subject, his ability was no good for that, but as a potential holder. David’s unique ability to survive, the ability that had brought him to Dr. Dahnov’s attention, also made him the perfect test subject to see what would happen if the doctor force fed one person’s ability to another.

    If David had ever given the slightest inclination that it had worked, that the power had been transferred over to him even in part, the Doctor would have disposed of him, and moved on to experimenting on transferring abilities to others who weren’t suited to receive it. At first it didn’t matter, none of the processes were successful, but it gave David time to understand the Doctor, and time to start preparing.

    He had never tapped into the power within him, not even when the Doctor had pushed him right to, and occasionally right over, the boundary between life and death. He had never touched that latent potential, not even as he watched the lives torn out countless numbers of the others in the most brutal ways possible, right before his eyes, and all he need do to save them was reach out with his ability. He had buried it instead, tried to forget it existed even as Dahnov dug to find it, because that was the only thing that kept it from the Doctor. His one and only purpose in life became spiting the man who had ruined his life in the one and only way he could manage.

    He had never touched it. Not once. Not, that was, until just a few minutes ago, when he had, for the first time ever, affected something outside himself. Consciously he knew it didn’t matter. The Doctor was dead, his life extinguished with all the others, as well as the Americans, as the building collapsed. David had won. The Doctor had never gotten the answer he wanted from the young man, and he never would.

    But now... now she knew. She knew, and David had no way of knowing what she was going to do with the knowledge. Had he just managed to lose one threat, only to find another? Would he sacrifice both of their lives after having just saved them, in fear that was true? It could be so easy, all he had to do was shake his head, tell her that it had been unexpected, that he did not know how to repeat it. They would suffocate together, and the last trace of Dahnov would vanish from the world.

    For a moment he considered it. But only for a moment. In the end the same two things remained. He was not going to die. Neither was Gabrielle. Courage and compassion had kept him alive up until this point, and he could not change that now. He wasn’t sure he would want to, even if he could.

    What he was sure of, though, was the fact that he was empty. Even with a deep desire to get them both out of here, there was no way there was enough energy in his body to actually succeed. There was simply too much rubble on top of them.

    ”I... don’t know.” Even though he had decided to speak, it took David a minute to get his voice out of his throat. Could he really admit to it? What would she do if she understood he could do things like that on will?

    ”We are so deep, and after stopping the explosion... I’m not sure how much I have left.” He sighed, wobbling faintly on his feet. ”But I can try.”
  9. There was relief in his answer, but risk as well and Gabrielle could easily recognize fear in the simple silence of hesitancy before he'd spoken, when he spoke. She was not naive to think he merely feared their situation, that he feared death in this place. No, it was more deeply rooted than that. He hadn't shown any panic being in the dark, buried and she knew she'd sensed surprise from him at the idea of getting out of here....as if the thought hadn't even occurred to the strange man. Death didn't scare him and she found that...well, frankly, a little alluring, but it didn't change the fact that something DID scare him. So much so that the minutes had ticked by before he'd answered her and now that he had, Gabrielle's quick, overworking mind started to piece together the few fragments she had of the man before her.

    He possessed a power that was incredible, for lack of a better word. Whatever it could let him do, what limits it possessed and how it worked remained to be seen, but to have stopped an explosion like that? It had to be strong, well-developed (if not controllable) and perhaps growing. For a power like that to not have been discovered by now, David obviously had not been a willing participant in whatever was happening here. That he'd been locked in this room was testament to that. That he'd been here a long time was given evidence by the fact that he hadn't immediately thought of escaping this place. He was used to it here, whether because he knew no different or had simply given up hope seeing the outside world again was debatable, but the symptoms were similar in either case. His hesitation in speaking to her was another clue to add to the pile and all facts told Gabrielle one truth.

    David was scared of her.

    Of what she might say or do....if they got out of this place. At least, that was all the woman could assume and the honest truth was that even she was unsure of her course if they got to the surface. She was duty-bound to report back to HQ. She was a Sergeant of the United States Army, Special Forces. That was not a lofty title, nor one she could simply turn her back on...could she? And for what? A man she didn't know with extraordinary powers that might be dangerous to her country? At least....that was the human way of looking at it. That was the soldier in her. That was the part of her scared to get involved in any of this, but there was another side, too. A strong, demanding, nearly feral side that ran on instincts alone, that often gained control whether she wanted it or not. This side saw, sensed, felt something in David that it wouldn't soon release now that he'd been found. Could she really give up one of her own kind? Could she allow him to be taken away, used, experimented on further, at the mercy of people who would not understand him, who would fear him and seek to cage him for their own fear?

    Gabrielle would have liked to have said that she knew the answer straight away, that it was perfectly clear to her what was right and wrong, but that would be a lie. Just three years ago she would have known without any doubt. She would have already been promising the man before her adamantly that he had nothing to fear. The words wouldn't come now, though. They'd been torn from her three years past and they'd never sought to return.

    She would have denied them if they'd tried.

    It hurt to not know what kind of person she was, what she'd turned into, but the fact of it remained and Gabrielle pushed it to the side for now, instead focusing on the situation at hand. David's words made her nod, solemn. "Very well. Then let us see where the structure might be the most stable and go from there."

    She left the room then and simply got to work assessing. There wasn't much more to discuss at this point. Either David could do it or he couldn't. She wasn't going to ask how. Not yet. Let them see if they lived first.
  10. David hesitantly followed Gabrielle out of the little room, his legs shaking weakly. He could still visualize this place in its pristine condition, everything neatly set up exactly as the Doctor liked it. But now they were scattered across the floor, many broken beyond repair. He almost paused to pick something up and put it back where it belonged, but even the table on which it had sat was ruined, flung halfway across the room where it had suddenly hit the wall-like barrier that David had erected to stop the explosion. It didn’t matter, he tried to remind himself. This place was gone, and it wasn’t just a few glass beakers that were beyond repair.

    He stood there, wobbling, vacant, trying to decide whether sitting down was worth the effort of having to stand back up again, and walked through the corridors in his mind. He knew they were deep underground, but the collapse of the base would have created a massive hole. Maybe they could use it. If only they had some way to know which way was the shortest distance to the open air, or how the ground had caved in around them.

    But there was no way of knowing, and Gabrielle seemed to have picked a spot to try and dig out. David’s heart rate had picked up again, and he consciously tried to slow it down. They had to get out of here, and this was the only way. He moved forward to her, placing a hand curiously on the wall. It was mostly chunks of concrete, but small pebbles of dirt fell in as he pushed on the loose stone. It was as good of a spot as any.

    David didn’t know what he was doing, and he didn’t try to figure it out. He tried not to think, because if he thought about it he would mess himself up. He would scare himself, and then they would both die. All he knew was that he could hear the stone slowly shifting, and he could feel his body starting to give up once more. His head went empty of all thought, his muscles went limp, and only Gabrielle’s prompt movement kept him from crumpling to the ground. His vision was going dark, he couldn’t hear anything, but he didn’t need that. He knew there was a tunnel opening up in front of them, pushing around dirt and stone in an attempt to create a passage large enough for both of them to travel through.

    Gabrielle was forced to half carry half drag him forward, but David barely noticed. His mind was getting more and more blurry as his body grew closer and closer to the brink, barely having the resources to keep firing the simple signals his heart needed to keep pumping. He tried to be efficient, to use the absolute minimum he needed to keep the passage open in front of him. The walls grew narrower, the ceiling lower, and the two of them continued to slowly move forward. He pushed himself even further, every thought on getting them out. And then he passed the point of no return. Even if he stopped now, even if it wouldn’t have caused the collapse of the small, narrow, sloping tunnel up which they climbed, it would be too late for him to recover. His body was out of energy. He had failed.

    Except... he could feel more energy. He could feel it so close to him, pulsing brightly with life. Unconsciously he reached for it, greedy for it. It was what he needed to keep himself alive, and to keep going on that strange, final task that he could no longer remember why he was doing. But he couldn’t grab it. It wasn’t his. It wasn’t within him. It was a part of the outside world, and he kept himself separate from that, isolated from that. It was important that he never let anything outside himself. He needed it, but he couldn’t have it. He couldn’t.

    Why couldn’t he. It was right there. He could.

    He reached for it again, that bright, almost familiar source of energy that clung so closely to him. It was a beating heart and breathing lungs and a mind that sparked so bright. He grabbed it, and he pulled. It resisted. He pulled harder. One way or another, he would have it. The walls he held aloft began to tremble, and showers of dirt fell around him. It didn’t matter. David had forgotten about that job. He needed the energy, and he would have it. Even if it killed him trying to get it.
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  11. To watch what David could do was like watching a god come down to Earth to show the mortals just how insignificant their claims to power were, how laughable. She came from a line of proud people, those with gifts and those without and she'd been raised to acknowledge that among the humans, she was stronger, but not better, not above them.

    David, though....he was something far more. Something unseen and unheard.

    He was incredible.

    She watched his actions with sincere wonder, reacting without thought to support him when he collapsed, half dragging him up the tunnel that appeared lest it collapse before they could even start. She felt no fear. Gabrielle didn't know why. Perhaps it was because she was so close to death herself, maybe because she sensed somehow that there was no true danger. Whatever the reason, the woman was calm in the wake of the shifting rubble. More calm than she realized she could ever be. There should have been fear, uncertainty, chaos within her mind, but it was absent for the first time in a long time as she watched the male beside her, more focused on him than she was what was happening around her.

    Why...she could not have answered. Not yet. But she had faith that someday it would be clear.

    Just as it was clear to her now that something was wrong. They'd stopped moving, HE'D stopped moving, his body failing even as the energy around them started to falter. That's when it happened.

    She felt it, the moment his power touched her. It was fiery, burning against her and Gabrielle instantly shied from it, startled, only to have it follow, to have it pull. Oh, how it pulled, desperate, demanding and she no longer saw David as she looked at him, just as she was sure his glazed black eyes no longer comprehended her form. No, it was swirling colors of energy and life forces that surrounded them now, his power reaching for hers with determination and relentless will despite how weak it appeared, how depleted.


    She saw it clearly, surrounding him, darkening the bright red of his aura to subdued hues, seeking to consume as she had seen it overtake so many before him and Gabrielle felt something she'd thought long forgotten, perhaps even long dead, rise up to life within her. No. She couldn't allow this. She could stop this, save him. She wanted to. It was the strangest realization to have, but it was there all the same and the next time she felt the tug on her life-force, on her energy, her power - all one in the same in a way - Gabrielle closed her eyes, took a breath...and stopped resisting. There was a blinding flash of pain then and she might have screamed, but Gabrielle couldn't hear her own voice, and such didn't matter for what followed the pain was something far more incredible.

    The Shadow that was Death fled.

    Gabrielle watched it release its claws on David's life force, saw the red flaring back to life....only it wasn't just red anymore, but gold as well, a mix like fire, utterly captivating. It grew and expanded and flared in a way she didn't understand, but she didn't need to. There was no thought, only the hidden world around her, the one no human could see. The one that now told her something was happening she could not yet explain, something that made her feel incredibly weaker by the moment and yet....content.


    The woman didn't know how they moved, that they were even moving at all, not until a chill ghosted over her skin as the night air hit. They were free. She knew the knowledge like she knew her own spirit hovered too close to the edge, to close to the Shadow. It wouldn't have her, that she knew. It had rejected her before, many times before, but that didn't mean it couldn't steal from her. It had done that before, too, and Gabrielle would rather not go through it again.

    It was that thought that triggered some sense of reality within her, that brought to bear a sense of urgency and Gabrielle finally mustered the will to pull back against the enrapturing power that was draining her. Pain flared at the action and this time she did hear her own scream, but she didn't stop struggling.

    Enough! You have had enough! Release me!
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  12. When it finally came the energy was bright and sweet, a burst of life in this dark cavern. It rushed through him, and a heart that had been faltering only moments before suddenly kicked into overdrive. Lungs heaved a hungry breath, and everything in his body throbbed in time. David turned back to his task, the tunnel forming in front of them only to collapse only inches behind their feet. He dragged them forward with the same willpower that crafted the tunnel. They were going to make it. They were going to live.

    Together they burst from the ground, two dolphins breaching the surface. He settled them carefully on a stable stone in the bottom of the pit that had once been the hospital, breathing deeply of the clean air. He hadn’t tasted air that fresh in so long. Even the dim light of the moon seemed so bright after the darkness of that tunnel. David had never felt more alive.

    Until, suddenly, he felt an unexpected tug within his body, echoed moment’s later by Gabrielle’s scream. David flinched, surprised, and it took him a moment to understand. The bright energy coursing within his body wasn’t his. It was hers. He had barely left her enough to survive, and she grew weaker by the moment as he burned it in relish of the outside world.

    The surprise was so much that he released it automatically, keeping only enough to prevent his return to the near death state he had been in only moments before. It was like coming down from a high all in one sudden, sharp movement. David staggered, nearly falling off the edge of the slab before he crouched down, cradling his head in his hands. He panted heavily for a moment, before he slowly tipped sideways, landing heavily on the concrete. He curled into a fetal position, burying his head into his elbows, and tried to forget everything.

    There was no telling how long the two of them lay there, desperately trying to recover from the ordeal they had just experienced. Sheltered from the frozen Russian wind by the curve of the pit and warmed by the rays of the sun, David drifted, somewhere between waking and sleeping. They were free.

    When he finally began to stir again it was a slow and gradual process. He pulled his head out from between his arms, blinking at the blue sky. Slowly his legs uncurled from their position against his chest. He rolled slightly, before pushing himself up. His entire body was shaking, until he pulled himself inwards again. For a further moment he stared at Gabrielle.

    “I’m sorry.” It took him a moment to catch the change in his words. What had been broken English heavily stained with a Russian accent was now flawless, brushed with only the slightest flavor of Irish. He blinked, running his tongue across his teeth almost as though to check that it was still his mouth. In the end, all he did was repeat it. “I’m sorry.”
    #12 Peregrine, Mar 14, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
  13. Being released from the consuming power was both a relief...and yet somehow like a loss, too. It wasn't something Gabrielle could focus on overmuch, though, as her concentration moved to simply breathing. It was an effort, far more than she'd expected and she gasped for the air that came, feeling a brief and violent surge of panic when her vision started to grow dark. She couldn't stop it, however, and when a different kind of night came over her senses, the woman succumbed.

    She didn't know how long unconsciousness lasted, how long she'd been laying on the cold stone with the even colder wind rushing past, lending a rather prominent and nearly permanent shiver to her frame. All Gabrielle knew was that something had woken her. No, not that, not quite. Something had called her back to waking. Something needed her.


    Gabrielle knew it was the latter word as her eyes opened slowly, blinking, struggling to focus as she caught the dark pair that looked back at her under the glow of the three-quarter moon above. Someone needed her. David. His words registered sluggishly past the subtle roar in her ears and the woman winced as she attempted to move, every bone aching, her limbs weak and shaky, vision wavering just slightly at the exertion just sitting up caused. She gave little sign of it, though, stubbornly ignoring the warnings her body was giving. There wasn't time to heed them. Not now.

    "S'kay. Yer got us oyt. I don't care aboyt de rest. Not roi now." Her words slurred just the slightest bit and Gabrielle grimaced at hearing her accent leak through the near-flawless American she'd perfected over the last nine years. Exhaustion corrupted all things, though. It was in that moment, however, that she realized her own voice was not the only one that had changed. David. He was Russian and she'd heard that, clearly. Now, though...

    Green eyes blinked and stared for a moment at the male, questions springing to her tongue...and then dying just as quickly. She shook her head just a little, feeling almost sick with the action, but stronger than it, too. Now wasn't the time for questions. Now was the time for getting out of the chilled wind and the elements. It was figuring out how to work their way over the debris around them without cutting themselves into jagged pieces or causing a cave-in. It was deciding what to do with the man at her side.

    Gabrielle's jaw clenched at the unbidden thought and she stubbornly pushed it away for the moment. No. Not that either. Survival first. Then decisions. Though, speaking of survival....where was everyone? Where was the army? Police? Spectators? A bomb had gone off! Surely even if the local law-enforcement had been told to keep it quiet, the government would have looked into it...right? Unless...the government didn't care...or....had been informed, told not to investigate....did that mean the radicals were known by the Russian government? Was the government in agreement? Being blackmailed?

    Why was she thinking about this now of all times?

    Gabrielle shook her head once more and took a shuddering breath, her teeth nearly chattering before she forced them to still, wishing she could do the same with her body. Green eyes moved back to David. "Are you all right? We're going to have to move again. If we don't die of cold, we will certainly be weakened further by it. We can't afford that."
    #13 Kaisaan, Mar 16, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
  14. David nodded wearily, exhaustion dragging down his bones. He had done more in the past twenty minutes than he ever would have dreamed was possible, but they still had to get out of this pit, and find some sort of shelter to protect them from the Russian wind that cut through the night. David still had to figure out what he was going to do if Gabrielle tried to take him back to America and put him in another gilded cage.

    It was so complicated, so much more than David had ever had to deal with. So many choices and decisions. But he did not long for a return to the simple, contained, controlled life from which he had just escaped, even if such a thing would be possible. He would not be able to take that, now that he had once more experienced the feeling of open air on his face, and the vast emptiness of a sky that stretched on to eternity.

    “Let’s go,” he agreed in that strange, unknown accent. He pushed consideration of that from his mind. Now was not the time to worry about such things. If he had known how closely his own thoughts mirrored Gabby’s in that moment, it might have worried him even further.

    Their progress up the side of the cliff was slow and almost painful. Had it been pure shale, even in the extreme of their weariness, it would have been a slippery but manageable climb. Such was not the case. It was, instead, strange, impossible mixtures of dirt and loose stone, giant slabs of concrete with gaping fissures between them, copper piping, electric wiring, with everything covered in the fine, infinitely slippery dust that was the byproduct of any demolition.

    Had they attempted the climb by themselves, neither of them would have survived it. Even still, it was a close thing. Footing was precarious, the rocks were unstable and only ever moments away from plunging down the steep grade and taking one unfortunate passenger along for the ride. The darkness made it nearly impossible to say with certainty where they were placing their feet, and the ambient glow of the moon hid uneven footing or loose pebbles and dust that could cause them to slip. To make matters even worse their hands and feet slowly began to grow numb under the ever growing strength of the wind.

    Somewhere along the lines, David simply stopped thinking. It almost made things easier. It allowed him and Gabrielle to move together, somehow in sync, able to communicate without need of words or gestures. It was strangely familiar and comfortable, but he would barely remember it when the exhaustion finally left his mind. But he would never truly forget it either, and some part of him would always wonder what exactly it meant. Perhaps it was simply the strain of the experience, and any two people who found themselves in a similar situation would experience much the same. Perhaps, though, it was something more.

    Eventually, though, cold, scraped and bruised, and more weary than he had ever been in his life, David did make it to the top. It wasn’t an end to the rubble, which spread out in front of him like a minefield, but it was the end of the hill. Perhaps now the going would be easier. He pulled Gabby up behind him to the top of what, he hoped, was the last concrete slab he would ever have to scramble his way up.
  15. Death surrounded them.

    Gabby could feel it, nearly taste it and she found herself too tired to push it away, to contain the nature within her that made such possible. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, however, as they started to move up the slope of debris. More than once she found herself stabbed with a sudden and swift knowing and would instinctively grab David on the pretense of needing support for some reason or another, but in truth she was redirecting him, having felt death tracing its icy hands over his soul. She kept him from it without conscious effort, too exhausted and foggy-minded to understand that what she was doing....something she'd rarely been able to do for anyone around her. Ever.

    It was reactive, instinctive right now and by the time they reached the top of the incline, Gabrielle was beyond thinking about it. She was beyond exhausted and upon coming to semi-level ground, her legs promptly buckled. She had some presence of mind to catch her fall, but still ended up slicing her palm on a piece of glass...or was it metal? Shaking her head, she told herself it didn't matter and instead turned her blurry eyes to her shoulder, wincing at the fabric soaked through with blood. Damn. That wasn't good, but it did explain the dizziness. Or was that due to the energy she'd given David? Both? Did it matter?


    Survival did and that was fast becoming more difficult. Green eyes looked out over the minefield of debris around them, calculated despite the utter weariness that hung off her like weights, threatening to make her collapse entirely. Despite even that, her training had kicked in, centering her focus - what little of it she had left - into smart decisions and factual intake. One fact she had to accept now was this; they were not going to escape this place tonight, and even if they could, they were miles from anything that could help them. To die amid the rubble, trying to escape it or out in the rugged landscape of Russia, no help in sight? Neither sounded appealing.

    Taking in a deep breath, Gabby finally forced her body up to a stand again, shaking, weaving on her feet, but somehow her tone the same confident, commanding one she'd had this whole time. "We need to find shelter." She finally turned her true attention to the man at her side, assessing his state just as she'd done everything around her up until now. He looked like hell and likely felt it, too. Just as she did. "We're not going to make it through this tonight and even if we did, there is no shelter for miles. The rubble is our best bet for trapping body heat and lasting the night."

    They were both liable to collapse completely soon if they didn't rest anyway.

    Gabby shivered violently in the chilled wind that ripped through her blond hair and clawed at her clothing. She knew at least she was semi-dressed for this environment. David was not. She had to get him to some kind of shelter and soon. The inline had been hell to climb, but it had buffered the wind somewhat and now it was free to attack them. If they were going to live the night, they needed to get out of its clutches. So without pause, Gabrielle's gaze looked over the rubble, looking for something, anything that might act as shelter.

    "Come on. We need to keep moving until we find a place to take shelter. We'll freeze up otherwise."
  16. David shivered slightly, but he moved forward after Gabrielle, hiding his misery behind a layer of stoicism. His fingers had gone numb and he could barely move them anymore. His toes, lightly encased in a now ruined pair of simple slippers, were in much the same state. He hugged his arms close to himself, rubbing the exposed skin in a mediocre attempt to warm himself up, but he still moved, stepping carefully through the rubble and onwards.

    Freezing to death was a much more peaceful way to go than David had ever anticipated being granted to him. He had seen some of the others frozen to death, and it had seemed so nice. There was no blinding pain, no panic, your body just slowly started shutting down until you fell asleep. David had always thought that the day he died would be the day when the Doctor realized what David was keeping from him. If that was the case, his death would be anything but peaceful. The Doctor would push him, wanting to understand just how much David could do, and then he would have cut him open for study, and let David slowly bleed out on the table. All things considered, freezing to death was a pleasant way to die.

    But Gabrielle kept him alive. She dragged him on whenever he started to slow, pulled him back up whenever he fell, and her silent will drove him on as they stumbled away from the pit, looking for a space among the rubble that would provide some shelter, but was stable enough that there was no way it would fall on them unexpectedly. When they finally found it, a slab of concrete propped up against another, one side completely blocked off by smaller rubble, she pulled him in. They slept for a few hours, huddled close against each other in a desperate attempt to use their own minimal body heat to ward off the cold, covering themselves as best they could in Gabrielle’s tattered military coat.

    Gabrielle shook him awake a couple of hours before dawn, when the eastern sky was just starting to lighten into a predawn grey, just touched with the faintest hints of yellow. David shivered unconsciously as she moved away from him, before slowly heaving himself into a sitting position. It took all his strength to get back onto his feet and he swayed unsteadily for a moment. The rest seemed to have done little to help him. But from that point on, the journey was easier. The rubble over which they had to navigate got smaller and smaller, and soon they found themselves walking in a nearly straight line, slipping over the occasional rock and only briefly having to divert their path to walk around some larger piece of the once building.

    They were making their way to the nearest undamaged building that might offer them some more permanent and secure shelter. Despite the fact that the only restored building was the underground Facility, and the rest of the town had been abandoned for the past 23 years, most of the buildings were still relatively intact. Sure, their walls were filthy, the windows broken, the doors missing, looters having broken through the walls to steal the copper piping, and every trace of cosmetics had faded, but the structures themselves were still integrally sound. Of course, David knew little of this, and cared even less, but the knowledge that the slowly looming form of the concrete building was “safe” helped push him on. Even though it felt like they were still covering ground at the same speed, despite no longer having to work their way through the rubble, the building drew steadily closer.

    They slipped in through an abnormally wide door, before staggering to a halt, eyes widening in surprise. Tucked into the back corner, partially covered in a tarp that had been blown off with the force of the explosion that had taken down the building, was a fleet of cars that had certainly not been sitting untended for nearly 25 years. They were new, shiny, and clearly well maintained. Somehow, the two of them had found the vehicles that the researchers used whenever they had to use the facility.

    “Well,” David said softly, “that’s convenient. Can we go to sleep now?”
  17. David would not know, could not know how many times death touched him in the night, how many times the woman woke to curl closer to him, to rub his arms and back, to get his circulation moving again. He had no idea that each time death hovered so near the demanding power, the pull she'd felt before tapped at her again....and Gabby answered it, only giving a few centimeters of an opening for his power to steal her own life-energy, something she could control and shut when she needed to, but it was draining nonetheless.

    It also kept him alive.

    It was too cold, their shelter too crude, his exhaustion too complete, his clothing too thin and what he'd done to get them out of the rubble too great for his system to handle. Not without aid and Gabrielle provided it. She was different - just as he was, but in vastly separate ways. She would NEVER feel the kind of power that flowed so freely through him. She would never control it, never amount to those kinds of superhuman heights. He was incredible, something she'd never seen, never heard the likes of and she knew her ancestors had not either. David was....truly unique, something new and wonderful....and terrifying. All that didn't make what Gabby was any less strange itself, though, nor her powers absolute. Death could touch David.

    It couldn't lay a finger on her. Not until she'd completed her purpose in life. Most people didn't get that assurance - to know that they wouldn't die, wouldn't pass on until their life's mission, the reason they were born was accomplished, but Gabrielle got that promise. She, like many in her family bloodline before her, would pass to the next world knowing with surety and peace that what they'd been created for had been fulfilled, without doubt. Now, the woman didn't know what her life's mission was, nor did she know when it would be complete or when it might come to her....but she could very well guess that not dying in that explosion, when she should have, meant it was well away from being completed. Death wouldn't take her this night.

    Oh, it circled, it watched greedily as her strength faded and her shoulder finally stopped bleeding, her blood moving far too slowly to keep it running. The wound have clotted, the cloth now stuck to her skin and imbeded in the wound. It would be a real bitch removing it later, but for now it was keeping her from bleeding out. Strange though, really; what would happen if she bled out, but her purpose wasn't complete? Would she be some kind of walking dead....thing? Hmm...

    The time to move came too soon and yet Gabrielle made herself move, made her blurred eyes focus, MADE herself stand and get David moving as well. She'd only slept in snatches, but she wouldn't tell him that. She was trained for things like this. She was army, elite in her field. She could handle this. She would make sure he lived through this.

    For what purpose?

    The thought was shaken away for now as they continued to move, closer to the building that at least provided some salvation of better shelter from the wind and security from prying eyes that were sure to show up sooner rather than later. The last thing she'd expected to see was a car upon stumbling inside. Gabby never would have dreamed or hoped to be that lucky, but there they were and she stared at them a moment before allowing an exhausted smile to pull at her lips in recognition of David's words. Giving a nod, she stumbled forward to one of the cars - a Dartz Kombat T98, an SUV of Russian make. It appeared a great deal like a Humvee and that she remembered all this rather amused Gabby as she tried the door and found it locked. A growling kind of noise of frustration escaped her before she looked around carefully, soon spotting a box on the wall that held keys. It was locked as well, but she knew breaking that would be far easier than trying to get into the armored car. Though.....come to think of it, why would this facility have military issued armored cars? She shook her head at the thought, focusing more on using the lock-pick she'd produced from her belt to open the lock on the box. She could figure out all the details later. It was hard enough to keep her hands from shaking and her focus on the lock before her without trying to put together puzzle pieces she could only half understand.

    Getting the lock open, Gabrielle wearily scanned the keys until coming upon the one labeled for the car she wanted. Taking it, she staggered to the car, unlocking it with a small triumphant noise before looking to David. "Now...now we can sleep." Opening the driver door, she pulled herself in and collapsed into the seat before putting the key in the ignition and turning the car on. It rumbled to life with a purr and the woman immediately turned the heat on.

    Yes, now she could sleep.
    • Love Love x 1
  18. The sleep into which the two weary compatriots fell was deep and still, unbroken by even the faintest trace of worry. The heat washed over them like waves of light, slowly thawing frozen limbs. Had they been in a less desperate state, however, perhaps they would have thought twice about falling into the unawareness of sleep. Perhaps they would have remembered that neither of them truly belonged in this country, that neither of them wanted to be caught, and that an explosion of that size would not go uninvestigated for long. But they were desperate, and there was no alternative to the sleep that claimed them.

    For David, it was a foreign experience, reminiscent of a long forgotten childhood. An unbroken, peaceful sleep had never been a guaranteed thing for him. Scarcely a night would pass that he did not wake up, covered in sweat, the beginnings of a scream lodged in his throat as it felt like something inside his chest was clawing to get out. But now he closed his eyes and he was asleep. Nothing plagued his resting mind for those few hours, as everything within him began the slow process of healing. Perhaps it had something to do with the presence of Gabrielle. His conscious mind would have denied it, would have done its best to remind him that there was nothing safe about her. He had no guarantees of what she was going to do with him at this point, especially now that she had witnessed the fact that he was more than ordinary, even for a psychic. For all he knew he could be falling down to the next level of hell even as he thought he was escaping.

    But to his unconscious mind she was a shield, built up between himself and everything outside that wanted to harm him. It was both the gentle embrace of a mother and the sheer impenetrability of the walls that had once contained him, all rolled up into the one package. He knew the only reason he was still alive was because of her. There was absolutely no denying that. He didn’t even try.

    When his brain finally awoke him, it was to the muffled sounds of a crowd, finding its way to him through the plated walls of the military vehicle, and over the rumble of the engine and the humming of the heater. In an instant his peace was shattered, and he sat upright, nearly running into Gabrielle as he did so. For a moment he was lost and confused, trying to find the whitewashed walls that had sheltered him for well over half his life, but instead he found the lush interior of a vehicle. For a moment he wished it was all a dream, and wished that he was back in the safety of that lab. And then he remembered what that safety actually meant, and he was glad he was free. He glanced at Gabby. Well, free-ish. He would have to wait and see how free he truly was.

    He turned to her, gently shaking her shoulder. “Something is going on,” he told her softly.
    • Love Love x 1
  19. The shaking was unnecessary. Gabby was already awake and had been since the moment David started into consciousness. Her mind was honed that way, reflexes kicking in at the first signs of distress, even if it wasn't her own. Abrupt movement, noises, smells, sensations; they were all enough to wake the woman. She was a light sleeper, even in her REM cycles and subconsciously she'd heard the trucks likely a good half-minute before David's mind had registered them. Waking had not been disorienting for Gabrielle - not this time anyway, not when her instincts were so alert for danger in this hostile environment - and it was sharp focus that rested in her gaze as she glanced to David and put her finger over her mouth. Her other hand reached for the car keys, turning the car off entirely.

    There were vehicle still humming outside, so their own would have escaped notice, but as soon as the others were turned off, it would have been a far different story. It was one that Gabby didn't want to know the ending to just yet - not until she'd read some of the content and decided if it was the right book for them to be in anyway. Speaking of examining content....

    "Stay inside." So saying softly, she turned to look at David, green eyes catching his black, no fear or uncertainty in her own expression. "If I'm caught, I'm US Army. They won't like me here, but they'll handle my presence differently than they would yours." With that, she opened the car door and crept out, not shutting it behind her, but letting it rest against the frame of the car without latching. She'd told David to stay and with any luck he would do as she said.....though, why she was telling him to stay when she planned to turn him in was baffling to her.

    Do you? Do you plan to turn him in?

    The voice intruded on her logical thoughts and Gabrielle frowned, attempting to push it away again, as she'd been doing since she discovered David. This time it refused to leave, though, almost seeming to chuckle at her as it evaded her expelling efforts. Oh no! You've put this off for long enough already. They're here now. Either Americans or Russians, and either way, you need to make a decision.

    How could she, though? The answer was clear, wasn't it? David was dangerous and in danger. He needed to be kept safe from those who would harm him - he was naive as a child in some ways, he could hardly protect himself - and yet he also needed to be in a place where he couldn't hurt others, even accidentally.

    Or is it that he needs someone to help him - not a place. You saw what he can do to a place. A place isn't going to teach him, protect him. You know that.

    Well, it wasn't like she could do it!

    Why not?

    Oh no. She was not going in that direction! She wasn't some babysitter of the supernaturally uber-gifted! Gabby shook her head in denial even as she moved toward the door of the building, cautiously peeking out and then quickly moving her head back in when she saw a soldier glance her way. Crap. Russian. The uniform had been clear and it wasn't American. Dammit, dammit, dammit! That complicated things.

    Are you really going to give him up to the Russians?

    Of course she wasn't! Good god, they'd have him turned into a human weapon in no time! The very idea was nauseating.....and terrifying. She wouldn't hand him over to people who'd already proven they'd lock him up. But then...her own government would do the same. Gabrielle wasn't stupid, naive enough or so blindingly loyal that she couldn't see the corruption in her own government and the dangers they represented. No government or army was perfect and hers least of all, but....if there was anyone she'd give David to, it would be her own.

    Ah, and there is that 'if'. You're not decided.

    What was there to be decided on! He had to go somewhere.

    Why not with you?

    Gabrielle froze, her back against the wall and her eyes flickering back to the vehicle where David resided. Her? How...? No, she couldn't. She....oh stars.....she would be assumed dead. There would be no search for her. No one to suspect she had David with her. No one who even knew about him!.....or maybe there were people who knew, but they would assume him dead, too! And even if they didn't, they wouldn't think him to be with her. But.....what was she thinking? Was she actually contemplating the crazy idea of...hiding? Of running? Of somehow taking David under her wing and...and what? Training him? Keeping him safe? Hidden?

    Was she insane?

    What are the alternatives?

    Gabby didn't want to truly face that question, so for the moment she instead faced the opening in the door again.
  20. Perhaps it would have surprised Gabrielle, but David did indeed fully intend to stay in the car. At least for right now, he pulled his legs in close to his chest, squeezed his eyes shut, and tried to steady his breathing. He knew that the people out there were not his friends. And he knew that, technically, Gabrielle was not his friend either. She might have gotten him out of that destroyed building, might have guided him to this car and kept him alive in the process, but she was an American soldier. And he... he was a prisoner of a Russian terrorist organization. What reason would she possibly have to let him go free.

    David was fighting with the urge to run, but it was a backwards urge. It wasn’t that he felt like fleeing and he was trying to convince himself to stay. No, it was the other way around. David knew he should run. For once in his life he should take matters into his own hands, and not allow someone else to decide his fate. He should commit himself to freedom, and return to the world, an individual that no one had a right to call theirs. He knew he should run, but he didn’t. He rationalized it simply. He knew nothing about the outside world. He had been sealed away for fifteen years, and he would not last a week in whatever harsh, new reality the civilized world represented. Even the inside of this car felt like a completely alien world to the ones he remembered. But in truth, it was simply that David had grown too used to letting other people make his decisions for him. He did not even remember how to act.

    Fighting for himself had always been a matter of not acting, of holding everything inside himself and not giving the Doctor an inch as he pushed for a reaction. So David had separated himself from the world by a layer of awareness, and he did not let anything get past it that the Doctor could sense or use. And that separation included a desire to protect himself from someone else. David no longer had a way to protect himself from Gabrielle’s actions. All that he knew was that, if she did turn him in, whether to the Russians or the Americans, he would not give them an inch. He would strengthen the walls of his shell once more, and he would make them all believe she was insane. And she... she could push him as far as she wanted, but he would die before he would give her anything.

    And if she didn’t turn him in? But why wouldn’t she? She had every reason to turn him in, and no reason to keep him free. No reason except for the strange connection that seemed to linger on between the two. But that was hardly a reason at all. He did not even begin to hope. Perhaps he simply did not dare. But he had also forgotten what it meant to put his faith in another person.

    So David waited, still and trembling, telling himself to run as his body simply ignored the command. And so he sat. He sat, and he waited for Gabrielle to decide his fate.
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