Log in

No account? Create an account
Previous Entry Share Next Entry
hair 12

Before This Life

Title: Before This Life
Fandom: Torchwood
Rating: PG
Word Count: 5,957
Disclaimer: We don’t know what really happened, but this might have happened.

Before This Life

That young man was in dreadful shape, the nurse thought, reading the monitor. She had come onto the graveyard shift a few minutes earlier and was reviewing the cases she’d been assigned for the night. She read his chart carefully, which took some time. It appeared that there wasn’t a long bone in the young man’s body that hadn’t been broken or an area of his skin larger than three square centimeters that wasn’t bruised or contused. He had been on life support for almost three weeks before being brought down to the subacute ward.

She pushed her hair out of her eyes and continued reading as she tried to identify the patient who would undoubtedly take up most of her time tonight—if he was conscious. He was in the first bed by the door, and the emergency equipment arranged around his bed crowded the rest of the patients in the three-bed unit. Apparently his transfer had been a bit premature, since he had been resuscitated twice during the day, and had coded just a few hours ago.

Audris had been working with the Time Agency for over eighteen months, in this so-called rehab center. In her experience, it should have more properly been called an ICU, since the agents who had been her patients on this floor seemed to be in the worst shape of any she had seen since her training rota in A and E. They were also discharged from this facility weeks before she felt they should be.

Not that they weren’t amazing specimens, she reflected. All of them were young, fitter than the average gymnast, gorgeous examples of manhood (and womanhood). The Time Agency apparently chose its people for physical beauty as well as their ability to perform whatever-the-hell it was that the Time Agency did. Not my business, she reminded herself for the zillionth time as she browsed the drug cart, choosing tonight’s meds for Mystery Man.

All things considered, Audris mused, it wasn’t a bad job, as long as she could keep her compassion under control. Eighteen months of seeing all those beautiful young people, as abused as beings could be, had hardened her somewhat. She came to work, did her job, only allowed the softer side of herself to show when the patients were unconscious or delirious. Unfortunately, that was all too common in this unit. She wheeled her cart into the ward, and saw to the other two patients before dealing with her new responsibility. He definitely was going to take up most of her evening.

The other two beds held sleeping men, both of whom looked contented and drugged to the gills. She turned to—she consulted her charts—Agent 5047. She rifled the pages, looking for his name. No name. The clerks were getting awfully careless these days, she thought. She looked down at him. He was in a drug-induced coma, monitored in every way possible. She checked his input and his output, and put a gentle hand on his unbandaged left hand. He had that untanned area above his wrist that they all had from wearing the leather-banded vortex manipulator. His wrist was swollen and he twitched slightly when she touched the back of his hand. He swallowed hard and his eyes fluttered open. The monitors all beeped their disapproval. He grimaced, and that seemed to hurt too, both eyes showing yellowish healing bruises. His lips moved, but he made no sound.

“Hey,” she whispered. “you’re not supposed to be awake. Do you want something to drink?” He blinked, lids closing slowly. He opened his eyes again.

She got a swab from the cart and moistened his pale lips with the water and glycerine solution. He swallowed hard again and whispered, “please.”

She swabbed his lips again, and he managed to lick the moisture off. She reached for a cup and straw, “I think you may want a sip of this,” and she held the straw to his lips, but he couldn’t move his mouth well enough to fasten onto the straw. Quickly, she substituted a spoon and dribbled some cool water into his mouth. He swallowed gratefully. She gave him a little more until he shook his head minutely.

“They forgot to put your name on the chart, agent,” she said. “Can you tell me your name?”

He closed his eyes and shook his head again. She touched his hand again gently. “Ok, we’ll save that for another time.” She made sure he had the call button in his hand. “I’m just going to give you a little more antibiotic,” she emptied a syringe into the IV line. “And some lovely glucose, for nourishment,” she hung an additional bag on the stand and joined the lines. “A bit more painkiller . . .” she hesitated. “You already have a max amount in your system from the code this afternoon, maybe you don’t need this yet?”

“Yes,” he whispered. “More. Hurts. Ten.”

“Out of ten?” she asked. “You really shouldn’t have that much pain with what you have in your bloodstream right now. I’m just going to call the attending to come take a look at you quickly.” She pressed a button on her belt strip that connected directly with the desk outside, and the doctor showed up immediately, popping through the door as if he had been waiting for the summons.

“He wants something for pain,” she said. “Good to see you tonight, Berccara.”

The doctor gave a cursory look at the chart and put a caring hand on the man’s forehead, brushing back the brown curls. “I’m going to give him another 20 cc of dilaudid,” he said, injecting it into the line, “and you can repeat it as he asks for it every two hours. Sorry we let you run low, buddy.”

The patient closed his eyes gratefully, and seemed to slip into unconsciousness again.

“Are you familiar with this case, Berccara?” Audris asked. “I haven’t seen him before, but I’ve been off for the last four days. It doesn’t look like he should be out of ICU.”

“He shouldn’t,” Berccara said, shaking his head. “I can’t imagine why they sent him down here. I’ve been working with him upstairs for the past two weeks, and that was after they had him in the ICU for more than a week.”

Audris moved the cart away, and Berccara accompanied her back to the desk outside. “What happened to him?” she asked.

Berccara sighed, “What happens to any of them?” he gestured to all the rooms on the pod. “I know we’re not supposed to ask questions, but . . .” he shook his head.

“His name’s not on his chart,” Audris noted. “They’ve been treating him for three weeks without a name?”

Berccara shook his head again, and put a finger to his lips. “Agent 5047 is all we’ve been told.” He took a quick look around the hallways, and leaned close to whisper into her ear, “he was transferred to us from Building Nine.”

“In this condition?” she said aloud. Building Nine was the psych department. The hospital never saw patients from Nine. Their problems were not physical, but mental. In some cases, extremely mental. Audris flinched at what may have happened to her patient while he had a stopover in Building Nine.

“No, worse,” he said angrily. “We got him after they’d had him for at least four days.”

“Did they do this to him?” she whispered.

“No, but they didn’t help him either; all they did was stabilize his physical condition while they worked on him,” he blew out a breath, “I swear, I’m gonna quit the damn Agency! But what would happen to these guys then? Most of those fucks over at Nine don’t give a shit about what they pass along to us.”

Audris got up and went back to peek into the room at Agent 5047. He seemed to be calm again, and peaceful. She went back to Berccara’s side. “I think we need to consider returning him to the ICU.” She showed him the chart. “Three code blues today alone. He shouldn’t be in a ward unit. Maybe a private room. He needs round-the-clock care, don’t you think?”

“I’ll write it up,” he said. “But they’ll turn it down.”

“Write it up,” she advised, “and I’ll put in for a shift with him. I’d like to see how he comes along.”

Berccara looked sideways at her. “He’s pretty,” he observed, smiling at Audris.

She snorted, “That’s true, and that’s how I choose them.”

Audris had dated Berccara for several months when she first started working for the Agency. They had decided that romance wasn’t for them, but had formed a strong friendship based on their mutual concern for their patients. Both were a little too sensitive for their own good, and were moved emotionally by every patient that came under their care.

Berccara had been with the Time Agency for almost five years, and he’d told her that perhaps he had managed it as long as he could. There were just too many failures by the time the agents made it to his hospital. He had been as resilient as Audris for his first two years, but gradually he had burned out. He was wobbly, but was determined to do whatever he could for his patients as long as he could stand it.

“I’ll write it up,” Berccara promised. “And you see what you can do for him. Take the graveyard shift,” he advised, “less overt supervision, and just try to talk with him, when he’s able. I have a strange feeling about this one.” He shook his head. “Gods above, he’s a mess,” tears pooled in his eyes, and he wiped them away. “He’s so young.”

Berccara was twenty-five years old.

tw tw tw tw tw

Surprisingly, Berccara’s recommendation of private care for Agent 5047 was approved and Audris became his charge nurse. For another two weeks, he lay almost unmoving except when he asked for more pain meds. His need for meds was tapering off as his condition improved. He was scarcely awake long enough late at night for conversation of any kind, but she noticed that the smell of antiseptics that had lingered around him, from the bandages, she assumed, was less pervasive now that he was in a private room. In fact, his room was very pleasant. She saw it as a sign of his recovering health.

She had a lot of time during the nights to study his face. Nice cheekbones, good jawline, small cleft in his chin. From what she could see, he would probably have a toothpaste smile, but he didn’t smile a lot. When he did, dimples formed in his cheeks. Brown hair, dark blue eyes, conventionally handsome, like most of the Time Agents. Over six feet tall, well-muscled, or at least he had been before his traumatic injuries. His broken bones had knit well with the new technologies that the hospital had developed. She couldn’t tell much about his personality, but hoped that would become evident when he started talking more. No visitors, but that wasn’t unusual here. If the Agents had friends, they were probably within the Agency, and working some other where, some other time.

Her routine when she came on shift into the private suite was to read over the last entries in his chart, check his vitals, and get his usual meds ready for the next ten hours. After almost two weeks of being semi-comatose, on this night, he was wide awake when she came into his room.

“Well, look at you!” she remarked. “You look so much better tonight!”

He formed his first words carefully, as if trying out his mouth. “I feel better,” he admitted. “I’ve had too much sleep lately.”

“How’s your pain?” she asked. It was always her first question.

“Six,” he said, “but I don’t want anything. I can manage it.”

She sat down at the bedside and took his left hand, the least injured one. “It’s very late,” she observed.

“I’m not sleepy,” he said quietly. “Can we just talk?”

“Sure,” she said, secretly delighted. This was the first time he had wanted to interact with her other than in her role as his nurse. “What do you want to talk about?”

For the first time, he really smiled at her and there was no pain associated with his expression. He did have a breathtaking smile, Audris noted, confirming her guess. It was the first time she really believed that he might actually heal from his awful experience. But his next words shocked her.

“Who am I?” he asked. “How long have I been here?”

“Agent 5047,” she replied, “you’ve been our guest in these fabulous accommodations for almost six weeks.” She wanted him to ask more questions so that she might assess his mental condition. After six weeks, she hoped he would have recovered most of his memory. “Your name isn’t in the chart, just your agency designation.”

“My name is . . .” he hesitated, “it might be Themistos.”

“Nice to meet you, Themistos,” she said.

“But that might just be an alias I used. I had lots of aliases,” he added, with some confusion. “My name might be anything.”

“Do any of them feel particularly familiar?”

“No,” he whispered. “My head feels . . . muddy, muddled. I can’t seem to think in a straight line.” He pushed the button to raise the head of the bed a bit. “I’m tired of looking up at you, I want to see you eye to eye.”

“I’m Audris.”

“My vision is still fuzzy,” he said.

“You had a serious concussion,” she told him. “And you’ve been on a lot of drugs for a long time. It’s starting to clear, though, isn’t it?”

He smiled at her. “Yeah, I think you were holding my hand. But for a long time you were just a blur with a voice. A nice voice.”

“You could hear me, though,” she said.

“Most of the time,” he replied. “Sometimes the pounding in my head got in the way. It seems to have sub . . . submit . . . subsided.” She noticed that he had trouble settling on the right word to express himself, and noted that in his chart.

“What name would you like me to call you?” she asked.

He tried to shrug, but only managed to lift one shoulder. “Choose something.”

“Let’s try something else. Where are you from?”

“I’m from. . . Boeshane. I remember that. I was born there.”

“Where is that?” she had never heard of it.

“It’s . . . somewhere . . . I can’t remember.”

“Try to think of a name you might remember from there. What’s your mother’s name?”

His eyes filled with tears and they ran down his cheeks. “Her name was Marianne.”

She wiped the tears from his eyes and gave him a tissue cloth. “Do you remember your father’s name?”

“Dad’s name was Franklin. I had a brother . . . Gray.” More tears. “They’re all gone. And I left . . . when I joined the Agency.”

“When was that?” she asked gently.

“I don’t know. They recruited me when I was just a kid.”

Audris consulted the chart. “It says here that you’re twenty-eight.”

“No,” he said, “I’m pretty sure I’m twenty-five. I don’t look twenty-eight, do I?” he asked with that toothpaste grin, dimples and all.

She double checked the file. “Twenty-eight,” she repeated. He stared at her.

“My name is . . .” and his pause lasted a long time, “I don’t know my name. Why don’t I know my name?”

She glanced at the monitors and noted that his respiration had risen and his pulse was fast. “Take it easy,” she said, squeezing his hand gently. “We’ll make something up until you remember. It’s not often that adults get to choose a new name.”

“It’s not unusual in the Time Agency,” he said bitterly. “Every new job brings a new name.” His breathing quieted as his agitation decreased.

“So let’s choose one for you,” she suggested. “One that makes you feel good.”

He considered for a while. Finally he said, “Call me David. . . . No, Darwen.”

“That sounds friendly. Hello, Darwen, I’m Audris.”

He smiled less broadly this time, but he squeezed her hand back. “Nice to meet you, Audris. Are you busy tonight?”

tw tw tw tw tw

Berccara set his tray down on Audris’s table in the cafeteria one morning a week later. She was going off shift, and he was just coming on. They had planned to meet for breakfast to talk about Agent 5047.

“So how is our friend doing?” he asked, after kissing her cheek.

Audris smiled at him, trying to remember why they had stopped seeing each other. “He improved a lot when they cut back his drugs. He’s been awake when I came on every night this week.” She sipped at her tea. “He can’t remember his name. He remembers other details, but only from his early life, pre-Agency.”

“I hope it’ll come back to him,” Berccara predicted. “That’s due to the effects of the drugs. How does he seem physically?”

“I’d have to say he’s healing remarkably well. Of course, he’s practically been immobile for the last six weeks. The bruising is gone, he’s out of the casts and bandages. Pretty lethargic, but he’s been wanting to talk. Mostly about his childhood.”

She lifted her coffee cup, “Do you know where Boeshane is?

Berccara shrugged. “Somewhere in the colonies, I think. Why?’

“That’s where he says he came from. His memories are coming back, but nothing recent. I think he’s going to be a lot better next time I see him. I’m off for two days.”

“Could you come over tonight?” Berccara asked.

She felt herself blush. “If you want me to.”

“I want to talk to you about something important. I can’t take it any more,” he said abruptly. He lowered his voice, “I’m quitting.”

Audris knew he had been having a difficult time with his job for several months. “When did you decide?”

“After seeing what your patient has gone through,” he said. “I’ll tell you more when you come over tonight. I can’t talk here.” He shifted uneasily. “I found out what happened to him in Building Nine. Wait until I tell you.”

tw tw tw tw tw

Later that night, after a quiet dinner and some good wine, Berccara told Audris what he was planning to do next. “There are too many of these Agents being destroyed. I just don’t think it’s right to throw them into impossible situations and then abandon them. They must be desperate for manpower to have held on to your Darwen for this long. They’ve taken a lot of strong measures to keep him going, but I don’t think they’re actually for his own good.”

“But he’s making progress,” Audris protested.

“Maybe not fast enough,” Berccara said, “I heard some scuttlebutt that he hasn’t gained enough ground to suit them. I think I know why.”

“Why?” she asked.

“When they had him in Building Nine, they tried some new alien tech on him designed to destroy his memory.”

“They seem to have been successful,” she said angrily. “They took his name!”

“They weren’t as successful as they wanted to be, which is why I think he’ll be in danger the longer he stays here.” He faced her directly. “This verges on espionage, but I’ve gotten in touch with an organization that will help him, if we can get him out. Will you help me?”

She stared at him. “How will they help him?”

“First, by helping him to get away from the Time Agency. Then they’ll try to recover his lost memories. I’ve been working with them for over a year now. They’re the good guys.”

“You’ve been working with them?” she asked. “I knew you were unhappy, but I didn’t know. . .”

“I’ll have to run, too, if we get him out, and so should you, if you decide to get involved.” He took her hand. “They’ll know in pretty short order that we helped him. We have to be gone when they find out. If you don’t want to do this, please say so now, and forget everything I’ve told you.”

Audris took a deep steadying breath. “How do you know about this?”

“We have people in the Agency privy to the inside decisions.” He put out a hand to touch her arm. “You don’t have to be know any more. Even so, it’ll mean the end of your career here.”

“It isn’t that,” she protested. “I’ve seen the same things you’ve seen. This isn’t so much a rehab facility as it is a holding pen. They come in, we stabilize them, fix them up superficially, and they’re back to work. What happens to the ones we can’t repair?”

“Do you think that Darwen can be repaired?”

Audris shook her head. “I really don’t know.”

“Then we should get him out as soon as possible,” he said. “Will you help?”

“Of course I’ll help,” she said. “How long will it take to make plans?”

“I already have a plan. When do you see him again?”

tw tw tw tw tw

When Audris came back to work two days later, Darwen wasn’t in his bed. She checked her watch. Everyone else on the floor was asleep and the monitors were humming softly. She went looking for him, and found him in the recreation area, pacing the length of the room.

He wheeled around angrily when she opened the door. Some of the anger seemed to dissipate when he saw her, but he resumed pacing. She put a hand on his arm when he came past her, and he stopped short. He stared at her quivering and sweating, and she took her hand off him.

“Darwen,” she said. “What is it?”

“I think I remembered my name,” he said. “I‘m Darwen Themistocratos. Agent 5047. I’m a Captain in the Time Agency. I remembered a lot.”

“Why does that have you so upset?”

He had streaks from tears on his face, and he sagged wearily into a chair. “I’m starting to remember things, and I don’t like it.” He raked both hands roughly through his hair, tugging at the ends. “I’m hating what I’m remembering.”

“Let’s get back to your room, Darwen, and we can talk more about it,” she said, trying to calm him.

He stood up with some stiffness, let her lead him back to his room, and leaned against the side of his bed. “I don’t want to lay down,” he warned her. “I’ve spent too much time lying in that bed.”

“Yes, you have,” she agreed. “Would you rather sit in this chair?”

He caught his breath and sobbed once. He shook his head and stood to pace again. “You’ve been really good to me,” he said. “I’m sorry, but I just can’t be still.”

“What are you remembering?” she asked.

“I think I’ve done some horrible things.” He shook his head. “Terrible things.”

Audris sat on the bed. “Darwen,” she began, “memories can be confusing when they come back to you suddenly. When did the flood begin?”

“After you helped me come up with a name, I stayed awake all night. I couldn’t sleep, it was like drowning in information, all of it coming in at the same time, mixing me up.” He paused. “I think they drugged me to knock me out.”

She picked up his chart from her cart and turned pages quickly. “They did, for about twenty-four hours. What happened when you woke up again?”

“It got worse.” He paced a smaller distance in the room. “But here’s the scariest part, and believe me,” he stopped to pound a fist against the bedside table, “when a Time Agent tells you he’s scared, it’s really scary: the things I’m remembering, the things I’ve done . . . they were two years ago. I can’t remember anything of the last two years.” He laughed bitterly. “I can’t remember anything I’ve done, anywhere I’ve been, since I was twenty-five. I don’t even know what happened to me to put me here,.” He gritted his teeth. “I’ve lost two years of my life!”

Audris stood up from the bed and came very close to Darwen. She tiptoed to put her lips near his ear. “I found out something about what happened to you, but I can’t talk to you about it here.” She studied him, assessing his condition. “Do you think you could manage a walk with me? Would you like to get away from here right now? I have a safe place to take you.”

She went to the closet and found some clothing that seemed would fit him. She gestured to him with a questioning look, to see if he wanted to lose the hospital pajamas and get dressed.

Darwen lost no time stripping out of the hospital clothing, giving Audris the opportunity to see that he moved easily, and his body was clear of bruising. He dressed quickly, pulling on the vest and underwear. She helped him drag the white shirt over his head and button the leather vest. He tucked the shirt into the black leather pants, pulled on socks, and slipped into ankle-high boots. He was dressed in less than two minutes. The closet also held a long, black leather coat. She held it for him and he slipped into it.

She motioned him to stay back, and opened the door to peer out. The desk was deserted and she scouted up and down the corridor, which was empty following the shift change.

Audris reached out a hand for Darwen, only stopping at the nurse’s station long enough to grab her coat, and they slipped into the stairwell. “We’re on the third floor,” she whispered. “If you start getting dizzy, squeeze my hand, and you can lean on me.” They rushed down the stairs to the basement level, and she moved quickly across the building to come out a different exit, far from the stairs they had used.

Darwen didn’t stumble until they came up the stairs to the ground level, where he dropped to his knees. She let him take a few breaths, before she pulled him to his feet and they hurried off the Agency campus to find a conveyance to move them quickly away . . . to the safe house that Berccara had told her about.

tw tw tw tw tw

Berccara opened the door to Audris’s syncopated knock, and she pushed Darwen through the door, slamming it behind them. Darwen lost his balance, and Berccara caught him before he fell to the floor. He helped the agent to the couch, and made him sit down. Darwen was winded and exhausted from their hurried escape.

Audris took his wrist to check his pulse. “I hope you won’t regret leaving the hospital,” she started, “but when you hear what Berccara discovered, you’re going to be as shocked as we were.”

“Did you find out what happened to me?” Darwen asked Berccara.

Berccara answered him. “I don’t know where you started out, or what you were supposed to be doing, but I did discover that when the Agency found you—and you were in some sorry shape, mister—they didn’t take you into the hospital until they put you through Building Nine. Do you know what they do there?”

Darwen shook his head. “No,” he said, “but from the looks on your faces, I’m guessing it’s not good.”

“They used some kind of alien tech on you to try to take away all your memories,” Berccara explained, “but apparently were successful in going back only a few years. I don’t know what the lasting effects will be, but you probably won’t get that time back, ever. At least, no one ever has.” Berccara shook his head. “I don’t know who you were, or what you did, but boy, you must have given them a hard time.”

Darwen dropped his head into his hands, and Audris put an arm across his shaking shoulders. Berccara went on. “It took them almost four days to wipe your mind. You were in really bad shape, but they took their time, and didn’t give you up to us until they were sure they had gone as far as they could.”

It was Berccara’s turn to hold his own head. As he continued to speak, his voice was low, and charged with emotion. “You were clinically dead when they brought you to the hospital, and we got you on life support just in time to jerk you back. I didn’t know that we could save you, or if there was anything left of you to save. We threw everything we had at you, and we almost lost you several times in the first week. But you are one strong-willed fellow. You kept fighting back.”

“That first night, when you spoke to me, Darwen,” Audris said, “Berccara was very surprised. He wasn’t sure you would ever be able to have a coherent thought again. It fired him up, and he couldn’t rest until he worried the rest of the story out of some other conscientious doctors. Then he told me.” She held his hand. “I had to get you out of there.”

“You still need help, Darwen,” Berccara cautioned. “You’re not fully recovered, and I’m guessing you’re going to have some pretty awful memory flashes.” He handed Darwen a small card. “I put enough untraceable credits on this card that it should give you some time to find a place to hole up without worrying that they’ll find you. You can’t tell us where you’re going. We’re going to plant information in your file, suggesting that they were successful with the wipe, and they may just be glad to not have to deal with you themselves.”

“They’ll find me.” Darwen took a deep breath, and looked to Audris. “They will, won’t they?”

“I hope not,” Audris soothed him. “This is all happening too suddenly for him, Berccara. Can we keep him safe here long enough for him to get some rest?”

Berccara considered the options. “They’ll know by now that he’s missing. The question is, how badly do they want him back?” He opened the door into a bedroom, and Audris helped Darwen stand and stagger across the room, through the door. “They’ll probably guess that you and I are involved, but it’ll be difficult to track him here since neither of our names are attached to this place, so, yeah, I think he could stay here for a while before they’d find him.”

“I only need a couple of hours,” Darwen said wearily, as he eased himself down onto the bed. “I’m a little lightheaded.”

“It’s been too much activity for you.” Audris helped him out of his coat and boots before she let him lay down, and then covered him with a blanket. He appeared to fall asleep immediately.

Audris and Berccara were having coffee in the kitchen when Darwen peered through the door a few hours later. “Is that coffee I smell, real coffee?” he asked Audris. She laughed and poured him a cupful. He held it to his nose, and took a long whiff of it. “Oh, how I missed this,” he said with a smile, taking a seat at the table.

“Have you thought of a place where you can go?” she asked. “Somewhere safe?”

“Yes,” he said. “I have something in mind.” He cocked his head to smile at her. “But I won’t tell you any more about it.”

“No, don’t,” she said. “We’re going to have to disappear too. I think we can do more good somewhere other than here.” She gave a fond smile to Dr. Berccara, who was sitting close by her side.

Berccara got up and opened a drawer in the kitchen. He came back to the table with a thick brown leather bracelet with two straps that he handed to Darwen. “Don’t ask where I got this, just put it on, and do whatever you do with it. Use it to get away.”

Darwen whistled and seized the vortex manipulator eagerly to strap it onto his left wrist. “It’s a beauty. This is top of the line!” He cinched the straps tight, opened the cover and ran a diagnostic. “This has more stuff on it than my old one.” He looked up at them. “I don’t know how to thank you,” he started, “I was feeling so helpless yesterday . . .” he shook his head, “and you saved my life, I won’t forget this.”

“I think you should stay here and get as much rest as you can today,” Berccara told Darwen. “How are you feeling?”

“Now that the adrenaline rush has bottomed out,” Darwen admitted, “pretty good, considering.” He held out his empty coffee cup. “Can I have more of that coffee?”

Audris filled it for him, smiling. “That’s good, you need to stay hydrated, though. Travel by vortex takes a lot out of you.” She pushed a glass of water toward him. “Water’s better than coffee.”

“Yes, Audris,” he said, “Water. I get it. I’m sorry we’re not going to have the time to get to know each other better. You’d really like me.”

She laughed. “I do really like you. I think any woman who meets you will always ‘like’ you.”

“Once seen, always desired,” he grinned.

Berccara laughed out loud. “Have you always been such a modest fellow?”

“I guess that’s the part of my personality that they couldn’t destroy,” Darwen admitted. He picked up the glass of water, saluted her with it, and drank it down. “I’m going to try to get a few more hours of sleep while I can.”

“You’ll have to get up to pee,” she warned him.

“Will you help me if I need a hand?” he said, with a grin.

tw tw tw tw tw

It was late in the evening before Darwen woke up again, and Audris and Berccara were both reading, sitting side by side in the living area. Darwen was fully dressed, long leather coat and all, when he came out of the bedroom. “I think it’s time for me to go,” he said softly.

Berccara reached out to shake his hand, “Good luck, Darwen. Be safe.”

Darwen shook Berccara’s hand. “Thank you, sir. You have a good heart, I’m really going to miss you. My life is a better place for having you in it. I’m very grateful.”

Audris stood up and put her arms around Darwen. “I can’t tell you how much I’ll miss you,” she whispered, her eyes brimming. “Be sure to rest a lot and eat good food. I wish there was a way to stay in touch, but it’s too dangerous for you.”

“More dangerous for you,” he said. He took her into his arms and kissed her firmly. His lips were warm and soft, and there was new strength in his arms. Audris was surprised to find herself feeling a little lightheaded. “Thank you for everything. Thank you for saving my life.”

“If I ever run across you again,” she warned, “I’d better hear that you’re well and happy. No matter where you go or what you do. Go quickly.”

“No time like the present,” Darwen said, and grinning that heart-melting smile, he set some coordinates on the vortex manipulator, pressed a button, and disappeared from their sight.

  • 1

Welcoming Livejournal back to life with fingers crossed and Pimp Post!

User karaokegal referenced to your post from Welcoming Livejournal back to life with fingers crossed and Pimp Post! saying: [...] ing both a wary and playful side of the characters. @@@@@ Doctor Who/Torchwood Before This Life [...]

Re: Welcoming Livejournal back to life with fingers crossed and Pimp Post!

thank you! I can always depend on you!

  • 1