A fanfiction for countsassmaster!
"How is this, sir?" A man in a long white lab coat asked his superior as they both peeked inside an incubator where a small, male baby lay. It was perfect, a success beyond anyone's wildest dreams, something so monumental that the scientists couldn't HELP but celebrate. Quietly, though, no one was supposed to know about this child's existence. If anyone found out they would be taken away instead of dubbed heroes of the scientific field. They would be called out, no one can make a human life in a laboratory! But there was all the evidence they've ever needed laying right in front of them.
The superior nodded after a few moments of uneasy silence and stroked his chin. The baby looked well enough, a bit smaller than a normal baby but at least this one was breathing and squirming around. The last one had died within a day of it's existence so this was definitely a step in the right direction.
His superior's silence prompted the scientist to speak up again, he couldn't help but stutter a bit as he asked, "...I-is there a problem, sir?"
There were a few more minutes of silence. This was positively nerve wracking, there must be something wrong...
"...the baby... There hasn't been any... Issues, has there?" The superior finally spoke, raising an eyebrow at his employee's nervousness.
"You know what I'm referring too." He said with an air of annoyance now, "no collapsed lungs? No partially developed brain? Can it see correctly? Will it turn it's head if I clap next to it's ear?"
"O-oh!" The scientist said and scrambled for his clipboard. The day the baby had left the controlled, womb-like environment they had preformed a multitude of tests on it, they checked every little thing to make sure this one wouldn't perish like all the rest. Shakily, after reviewing the notes twice over, he announced, "no sir, there doesn't seem to be any problems that we know of."
Although the superior could feel that there was something his employee was not telling him, he nodded, and spoke again, "Excellent. We will begin testing as soon as possible."
Some years had passed. The baby boy was growing up normally and healthily, better than any of the scientists could have imagined. Although being confined most of his life had caused the boy to become restless and irritable, he didn't have a chance to experience anything outside of this room. These were the same four white walls, same bed, same arrangement on the counters of things he wasn't allowed to touch, and the same books he was given to read. He had read them so many times he could recite them from memory. He saw the same few scientists everyday who would poke and prod at him, ask him how he was feeling, and some days slip him a cookie for being such a good little boy, but rarely did he ever see their superior. That man was frightening; he was tall, angry looking, and only ever came when something went wrong. He, along with all of the others, had learned to fear this man, and to obey.
One day he visited. He stood towering over the boy with a frown and his arms crossed; the boy immediately withdrew himself, his eyes downcast to the floor. The man spoke with authority, "your eyes should be up here, young man, weren't you taught any manners?" And slowly he would listen.
"Now then," the man would boom, "I hear that you've been doing very well. Is that true?"
The boy blinked, he hadn't been expecting praise. But he nodded his head, eyes lighting up in delight. This earned him a hearty laugh from the man before him, and for the first time he saw him smile.
"Excellent. Tell me, boy, how are you feeling?"
He blinked again. Certainly this couldn't be a straightforward question. There had to be a specific answer somewhere, but he wasn't quite sure what it was supposed to be. "I'm feeling fine, thanks for asking."
The smile went away. Instantly, the boy felt a pang of fear; that wasn't the right answer, was it? He half expected to be yelled at, but instead the man only nodded stiffly and said, "I see." To the boy's surprise, he turned and walked out.
'You blew it,' a voice inside his head sighed, 'now we'll get in trouble for sure'
"Don't be silly," he replied out loud, "we haven't done anything wrong." There was a stack of books on the counter. New ones, thankfully, those old ones were getting dreadfully boring. He looked them over carefully before selecting one and plopping down on the bed to read it. He flipped through the pages, but as the minutes ticked by the less he was reading and the more he was wondering where that door led. The man had left it slightly ajar, something which never happened before. Usually they were all so careful about keeping him locked up here. Perhaps this was unspoken permission to explore! What wonders were waiting outside these walls?
There were voices down the hallway, but they were too quiet to make out any words. The boy peeked his head out tentatively; beyond his room was a hallway of the exact same nature. It was white, bland, nothing stood out. There were rows of doors on either side, all in a never ending symmetrical line it seemed, with black numbers painted on the fronts. His read 223, he wondered what that stood for, but he could have all the time to wonder later; there was exploring to do.
He went in the direction opposite the voices to avoid getting caught. Being as quiet as he possibly could, his footsteps still echoed as he went down the endless hallway. The numbers on the right went down, the numbers on the left went up. He wondered how many doors there were here, and, more importantly, what was behind them? Maybe there were more little boys like him, sitting there, bored out of their minds with nothing but books and stubby crayons. If that was the case he decided he'd like to meet them and make some friends.
He stopped, and before he could ask the voice in his head why, he heard a devastatingly painful scream coming from within the door he was standing in front of. It was inhuman. Something out of a scary story. He had to resist the urge to run while his curiosity got the better of him. When he reached for the handle the scream came again, louder this time, as if whatever was making it was in immense pain. Inside someone whispered a harsh, "be quiet already," and all was temporarily silenced.
The boy froze. He didn't dare open the door now that he new someone else was inside, someone who could take him and put him right back in his room and probably scold him for running off. But the voice in his head urged him to open it anyway, whatever was in there needed their help and it needed it NOW.
There was an internal power struggle as one attempted to flee and the other tried to stay. The one who wanted to stay gained control of the body and, calmly, he pushed the door open.
It was dark in that room, and cold. There was an unsettling feeling that something was very, very wrong. It felt like death.
There was a bed much like the one he slept in, except the blankets were thrown to the ground, the metal bent, the pillow and mattress bloody and smelt of excrement. And on that bed was a figure, hunched, boney, it's eyes wide with fright and it's mouth open in a silent scream. It was strapped to the bed fighting to free itself while another figure bent over it desperate to shut it up and keep it down. The boy couldn't tear his eyes away from the horror before him as that... That thing let out another blood curdling scream before it fell limp and silent to the bed.
The man standing over it huffed and wiped his brow. He had been so focused on that monster he hadn't noticed the other experiment had walked right through the door. When they finally made eye contact he knew he had messed up big time, and there was certainly going to be repercussions.
The boy hadn't spoken in weeks. He sat there and allowed the scientists to poke and prod as they normally did, but never answered a single question thrown at him. He has seen something he shouldn't have, they would whisper as they stood in their tightly knit groups, the boss will be angry.
The stronger of the boys, the one who had pushed to keep going instead of running, was the one they saw more often. The scientists were dancing about gleefully, they had done it! They didn't know how, but they had done it. They created life in a laboratory and, on top of that, life with two consciousnesses. Their research had gone further than expected, their superior would finally be pleased with them.
The stronger of the boys, who they dubbed Danny, didn't like this one bit. He felt subhuman, inferior, manufactured. Other people weren't born this way? They weren't forced to sit for hours and go through strenuous tests and get injected with strange chemicals that made them itch? They actually lived within another human being, a woman? In her tummy? It was all alien to the boys.
He became painfully aware that the scientists had all gone through natural birth and resented them for it. They all had mothers and fathers, didn't they? And what did he have? ...he had Daniel. The optimistic personality within their body was the closest thing to family he had. And they couldn't take that away, at least.
It had taken the scientists awhile to get used to calling the boys two different names. There were subtle clues about who was out at any given time, but it wasn't enough and when they mixed up their names the boys would get furious. To ease the tension, they were allowed to choose an item to differentiate them from each other; Daniel, whose eye sight had gotten a bit fuzzy over time, chose circular glasses with thin rims; Danny could see fine but decided to go along with the other boy and selected a pair of sunglasses. They were the cheap kind, but they served their purpose and blocked out the harsh overhead lights. The glasses that weren't in use at the time would be folded and stored neatly in their front pocket. Over time the boys had become experts at switching glasses, which drove the scientists crazy. They were supposed to be talking with Daniel but when they looked up there was Danny! It had become like a game, who could be the bigger annoyance, although at the end of the day they called it a draw.
"We have important news for you, boys."
Daniel was coloring with one hand while he was getting blood drawn from the other.
"Someone is coming to take you home today."
He blinked and finally looked up. What is home? Was he in trouble? The confusion on his face made the scientist chuckle as he withdrew the needle and tapped on the blood filled container. As he administered a bandaid, he explained, "we have a man and a woman who have volunteered to house you temporarily. If all works out they will become your permanent adoptive parents, if not you'll come back here until we can find someone else."
Daniel was stunned into silence, but his mind was racing. A real mom and dad? He won't have to stay here anymore? This was amazing!
'...there's probably strings attached...' Danny mumbled in their mind. What a killjoy.
After he stopped a moment to collect his thoughts, Daniel said, "... Does that... Mean that we won't have to come back here anymore?"
He scientist shook his head, "I'm afraid you'll come for regular visits. We cannot afford to let anyone else see you, do you understand?"
He didn't, but he didn't say so.
'...we're a medical mystery,' Danny explained, 'they can't let anyone else know about us because it could mean we get dissected and they would be out of a job.'
Oh, he understood now.
The scientist sensed they were having an internal conversation and waited patiently for the boy to look up again. When he did, he was met with a pleasant smile, "would you like to meet your new parents?"
Before Daniel could answer Danny switched in. He was suspicious about the whole thing. How could they, out of the blue, decide to allow them such freedom? There had to be something here they weren't telling him... But coaxing it out would be a challenge. "...what's the catch?"
The scientist looked surprised. "catch? What do you mean? There's no catch."
"...sure there's not." Danny said rather rudely and allowed himself to be pulled back as Daniel re-emerged.
"What he means to say is yes, we would love to meet them." The smiling boy said, hardly able to contain his excitement.
"Wonderful. Come this way."