Waking up... Again
Location: Townsend Tower - Atlanta, Georgia
Timeline: The Year of the Awakening - 18 January 2012
It was bright, but that didn’t bother her. It was the cold, black darkness that ate at her. Like the place that she’d been in and out of for the last couple of days. She didn’t know exactly where she was, but there was pain. That wasn’t so bad as it was at first, more a dull, lingering ache to remind her that she’d bitten off more than she could chew once again. Oh well, it probably wouldn’t be the last time, since she’d somehow survived again.
Bethany eyes fluttered open and she took a careful breath, her ribs complaining with the effort. She sat up and stretched, looking around the bare metal room with a control room window overlooking her. She sighed. “The danger room again? Is this really necessary?” she called hoarsely to whoever was manning the booth, then sighed heavily when she got no reply.
The green-eyed brawler coughed drily and glanced around, glad to find a tray with water on it. It was even a metal pitcher, with a matching cup, and she chuckled. Someone had remembered that she hated the taste of plastic from the water bottles. Bethany poured herself some and sipped at it carefully. She was feeling pretty woozy from whatever it was that they’d given to her. She also felt completely drained.
“Hey! I didn’t... umm... blow up, or something, did I?” Bethany called after clearing her throat, a touch of panic in her tone. The world had gone hazy on her and she only vaguely recalled remnants of what had happened near the end.
Someone had gotten Cece, and she’d been so exhausted by the time that she had reached them, that she wound up not being able to block the knife that had been aimed at her. Everything went gray after that. Well, really bright, then gray, if she was honest with herself. “I didn’t hurt anyone, did I?”
“Not unless you count a few thugs that appear to have stuck their heads out at the wrong time,” a familiar voice came over the speakers, finally. Syn chuckled a bit, then continued, “But I can hardly blame you for that. Would you mind if I joined you?”
Bethany squeezed her eyes shut, then nodded. “Jon was hurt. Is he okay? It...feels like something’s wrong.”
Syn didn’t answer until she was in the room and standing at the foot of Bethany’s bed, looking a bit taller than normal. “Jon is alive, but we couldn’t save his leg. The damage was too severe. Add to that the length of time that the limb went without blood flow, and complications due to frostbite...the healers did everything that they could. Sean is currently getting ready to oversee the final fitting for a cybernetic limb.”
Tears welled up in Bethany’s eyes and she looked down quickly, squeezing her eyes shut again, and pinching the bridge of her nose. She cleared her throat, then said, her voice shaky, “Cybernetic...? I don’t know what that means. At least he’s alive.” Still, her heart ached with the pain and grief that she knew that he was going through.
“It’s an electronic robotic replacement for his leg. And Dyami is going to come in shortly to explain why you’re...feeling Jon’s suffering,” Syn said, giving a slight sigh. “It required extraordinary means to keep you alive long enough to get you to Seamus. He’ll be better able to explain that, however.”
Bethany shook her head, another heavy sigh escaping her. She still didn’t look up. “I don’t remember much at the end. I can’t seem to catch a break. I think I bled out pretty quick. I thought I was dead.” The girl wished she was dead, but she didn’t share that with the little dragon lady.
“Well, if it’s any consolation,” Syn said, one eyebrow arching slightly as she looked at the young woman, “Your efforts helped to save five lives, even if your methods are a bit extreme. You put your life on the line to save innocents. Even the life of someone that dislikes you. Not everyone would have taken that on their shoulders.”
Bethany looked up at Syn and shook her head. “I couldn’t just let them die,” she muttered, her gaze dropping back to the bed at her feet.
“You also managed to force an aspect of your powers under your control. That burst that we recorded was a nasty one, but you didn’t take out everything and everyone around you, either,” Syn said with a soft smile. “You made some mistakes, but you did good. Whether you want to see that, or not.”
The door to the danger room materialized out of nothingness and slid open with a hushed woosh noise as the air in the two adjacent rooms equalized in pressure. Dyami entered the room casually, dressed in his typical jeans, moccasins, and T-shirt ensemble. Today’s shirt simply read, Carnivore. Dyami nodded to Syn as he approached Beth’s bed.
“Good morning young one. How are you feeling?” he addressed Bethany.
Bethany glanced up at Dyami and shrugged. “Like I got beat up, stabbed, and woke up after thinking I was dead. It’s kind of becoming a theme. Like a bad nightmare that won’t stop.”
Dyami snickered quietly, “I will admit you have trodden a path that has taken you close to death many times. But you have always found your way back. There is much more that the Great Spirit has planned for you, but, if it would help, I will intercede on your behalf for less near death experiences. Have you noticed anything different upon waking this time?”
The green-eyed brawler looked Dyami over for a moment, a funny look crossing her face as she read his t-shirt. Bethany had always thought that he was a strange man, but, for some reason, she found that she had begun to trust him. “You mean like knowing that Jon is suffering? Not just thinking it, but feeling it. Miss Syn said you know something about that?”
“Your eyes can see a great many things, but there is a world that you cannot see. Very few can. In order to save your life, and Jon’s to be honest, I had to link your souls together. This has created a bond that, even though your souls are now separated, cannot wholly be broken.” Dyami interlaced his fingers then slid then almost completely apart yet still touching.
“You already shared a strong bond with Jon, and now that will be even stronger. You will share an empathic link that will not fade with time or distance.” Dyami paused and looked into the Beth’s green eyes, “There is nothing that you can do to make this go away. It will only bring you more pain if you try. It is best to accept it and integrate it into your relationship.”
A look of utter horror flashed in those eyes, followed shortly by a shimmering of bright colors. “You...you did what?” Bethany asked, her voice no more than a strained whisper. The young woman paled dramatically, white even spiraling through her thick hair. She continued, her voice raising with each passing moment, until it was a pained, choked cry. “What relationship? He’s supposed to be leaving with Xander and Cece!” She’d been soul bound to the man that she loved, who was leaving her for another woman!
Bethany wretched slightly, then gasped, barely able to catch her breath. “I was already having a hard enough time getting used to the idea of living without him. Now this?” she gave a bitter laugh. Her voice dropped, as did her eyes, her gaze lowering, unseeing, to her hands, that had balled up the blanket tightly in each fist and were turning the same blue color. “Jesus... you should have let me die,” she finally managed.
“You must know that you mean a great deal to us young one, and you know that we will do everything in our power to keep you alive. We have risked our lives to save yours, we did that because we believe you have great things in store for you. None of us can see the path life has laid for us because it is a meandering path in a forest, we are unable to see around each bend. Only time will reveal what is to come.” Dyami said sagely. “Continue to have Faith. Your God has not left you.”
“Did you ask Jon before you did this to us? Did you warn him about this?” The girl asked, her voice cold and distant all of a sudden. She was actively trying to shove the horror, pain, and anger down into that black pit where the bad things went, and barely managing to keep it there. “And none of you even know anything about me! Why would you risk anything for me? Why would you take such extreme steps? I’m nobody! I’m just some stupid kid that can’t...catch...a...break! You should have let me die. It would have been better for everyone.”
The girl’s skin shifted from white, to blue, to purple, to nearly black, and when she looked back up at Syn, she said simply, her jaw clenched tightly, the irises of her eyes swirling dangerously, “You need to go. Now. I...I need time...to...to think. Calm down.” Tears rolled down Bethany’s face, unbidden, no matter how hard she tried to stop them.
Syn nodded, then motioned for Dyami to follow her. “If you need time, that we can give you. I’ll send the tech back in to monitor you.” While the diminutive administrator wasn’t really afraid of the girl, she also didn’t intend to incite her at the moment, either.
Dyami nodded his acquiescence to Syn, he spoke matter-of-factly to Beth, “I did warn him. He said, and I quote, “If it will save her, do it!”. Which is what I was thinking as well at the time.” Dyami smiled and quietly left the room with Syn.
The pair of elder mutants reached the control room, just in time to hear an anguished, soul crushing scream, and see Bethany burst into a flurry of angry movement, thrashing everything that she could get her hands on, including knocking the bed across the room. When she was finished with that, she began burning anything that would ignite.
Syn sighed, then looked at her dear friend, with a sad smile. “So much pain. Her entire life has been nothing but suffering, yet she still manages to not be some ice cold monster. At least, not yet.” She watched as Bethany took out her frustrations, in ways that she knew would damage herself, shaking her head.
Bryan had saved her in much the same way once. Forged a link that couldn’t be broken. “If it weren’t for the bond that I share with Bryan, who knows where I’d be now. The similarities between us are disturbing to me. I know what that kind of pain and rage can do to someone. I don’t want to see her travel the same dark paths that I did, Dyami.”
“Sometimes travelling the dark path makes us appreciate the light all the more. But I do not see darkness in her, not on her soul anyway. But there is no doubt that this will be one of her greatest tests. And it is one she will not be able to fight her way out of. She will learn a great deal from this or she will die trying.” Dyami spoke with an air of personal knowledge.
“Or it will break her,” Syn said, nodding towards the girl that had been trying, uselessly, to blast holes in the walls, as she slammed her back into a corner and sunk to her knees, her face in her hands as her shoulders shook with anger and grief. “I know many that have shattered under such strain.”
“Steel is forged with the hammer, all things will be as they are meant to be.” Dyami looked at the disheveled girl and smiled. “When I look at her I see steel. The Great Spirit has big plans for her, I am sure of it.”
“When I look at her, I see a very damaged young woman that’s lost in the world around her. Of course, I get strong images and thoughts from her mind, so that tends to color things a bit,” Syn said, giving a bit of a sad laugh. “As much as I hate to admit it, she’s not happy here. I’m not sure that she knows how to be happy here, or if she even wants to be. And right now, the only thing that she’s afraid of...is living.”
Absynthe “Syn” Drake
Headmistress, Townsend Academy
Leader, Mutant Underground