"Ho-ho-oh my God…"
"Yeah. I know it's a lot to take in."
"Me taking it in? What about you?"
"Nothing surprises me at this point."
By then, Demitra had slumped against her sofa, eyes and mouth wide open in astonishment and disbelief. "So you were an experiment. Experiments that this… White Helix Lab conducted on babies. Your real parents, we can presume, were the ones who burned that place to ground so that there'd be no more experiments – when they realized that you were a success. That was… sacrificial of them. Do you know who they are?"
"All the records burned with the lab," Jensen said as he finished off the last bit of whiskey in his glass. "You know, I love mom and dad. I don't feel anything for my real parents. I just… would at least like to know their names. If they were good people."
Demitra lowered her head at that, as if she was giving a tiny moment of silence for them. "I think the only real good people we know are mom and dad."
"They don't know that I know. And I'm going to keep it that way."
"They must have been so happy to see you!"
"They were. At least they didn't slap me, though."
"Okay well, you can slap me too after I go missing for 2 years and am presumed dead!" She proclaimed.
For that, he reached forward to trace her chin with his fingers. "I wouldn't dream of hurting this adorable face, V."
God, it felt good to be touched by him again, especially when she only felt the safest when she was with him. She could only conclude that he had missed her just as much as she had missed him.
"I… I can't believe Megan used you like that. What did she have to say for herself?"
"I don't know, V. I can't contact her or locate her." He confessed solemnly. He had indeed made efforts, but she was not answering her infolink.
"Your job at Sarif Industries was so that she could get easy access to you. I may be left-handed, but if I see her again, she's getting a slap from my right hand. I'll like to break that pretty face."
Though her declaration of violence was amusing, he instead plucked her whiskey glass of out her hands. "Okay, no more whiskey for you."
"What? No! Gimme!" She protested, not having any time to react and save her glass.
"You've been drinking since before I arrived." He held the glass out of her reach, all while trying to keep her away from it.
"That was the first drink of the daaaaaay!"
"Fine, but you're gonna have to slow down."
"Fine, I promise, now gimme my whiskey!"
"So demanding, V." He said teasingly, giving her back her alcohol.
"You'd drink too if you've just found out that the Illuminati are real!" She exclaimed. "How are they real? They were just the punchline of internet jokes when we were teenagers!"
"Well, it's not so funny anymore."
"Just… how are you going to take them down? How can you even trust anyone?"
"I don't know exactly. At least I can trust my girl."
Me. His girl. However, his nickname for her reminded her of another aspect of his story. "Oh God… I'm sorry about Lady Sutherland."
"Yeah. Me too."
"I can tell that she was your kind of girl," Demitra said with a little smile.
"I only truly had one girl, Violet," He proclaimed to her, his facial features softening.
"You know, you're allowed to have other women in your life,"
"One of them blew herself up to save me and the other betrayed me. You're only here because I'm far away."
"You make it sound like you reluctantly came here."
She had never known his silence to be so deafening.
"I needed to see that you were okay."
Her heart began to beat a little faster in protest. "So after today, I'll never see you again? Then why'd you come at all?"
"It's not like that, V, I-" Jensen knew it was not going to easy to explain himself, he just did not realize how hard it truly was going to be. So, he twisted his body towards her. "These people? Lurking in the shadows? They're dangerous, killing anyone who gets in their way. I've been a major thorn in their side. You don't think I'm concerned about those around me?"
"Your folks and I have been fine so far. I think you're good," That was when she raised her augmented arm, and a 5-inch blade of grey extended out. "May not be as professional or sophisticated as Sarif Industries, but I bet it'll still get the job done."
He held his tongue for a few seconds while his eyes were on this new addition. "I did not see that coming."
"I told you I didn't feel safe in Detroit anymore after Addy was killed. If I was going to come back every year on his birthday, I'd sure as hell needed some sort of protection."
"Ever heard of pepper spray?" Jensen asked with a raised eyebrow.
"If these shadow-lurkers are as bad as you say they are, then I don't think pepper spray is gonna stop them." She retorted with just as amusement.
"Never seen you with so much spunk. I like it." His expression now included a smirk.
"Superman's charms rubbed off on me, I guess." She returned the mischievous smile.
"Where did you even get that done? Who installed it into you?" He asked as he ran his hands curiously over her blade.
Demitra held a sweet smile as she explained. "A sweetheart named Václav Koller. He's based in Prague and owns a bookstore there, but he spends just as much time with augmentations as he does reading. He was referred to me by a Czech resident at my clinic. I did tell him about you, so if for some reason you find yourself in Prague, go find him at The Time Machine bookstore."
"Looks like flawless work," He expertly concluded as he released her dark grey arm. "Just don't go around poking people's eyes out."
"Look who's talking!" She squealed, lightly punching him in the arm which elicited a chuckle from the man.
The slight diversion could not stop Demitra from still feeling upset over Jensen's obvious hesitance to have come to Cincinnati to see her. She certainly did not want to ruin the moment, but…
"You can't just come and go as you please. I'm not a hotel, I'm your girl. You saved my life and I named my son after you. I lost one Adam and now the other one won't come see me anymore?"
He knew he had hurt her feelings, and it was the last thing he wanted to do, but he had to be truthful to her. "You know I don't mean it like that. You know how tough things have been."
"So why does it have to involve me never seeing you again?"
"Of course, you'll see me again, silly girl. I just… need be a little far away for now."
"To keep me safe?" She asked, taking his cheek into her hand. "Don't you know by now that I feel the safest when I'm with you?"
Those words were enough to stop the conversation and instead embrace. Demitra held him closer than ever, taking in his musky scent.
"You've never been sick."
Jensen cracked open his eyes. "What?"
She pulled back, but kept her hands on his shoulders. "I've known you for more than a decade and… I just realized that you've never been sick. I've been looking after you for 4 months straight. There was still no sign of rejection, but I thought it would hit eventually and that you would need Neuropozyne afterwards. All Dr. Marcovic could tell me was that the bond between the tissue and electrodes was strong, so you didn't need to take Neuropozyne yet. I thought of it as… like a spectrum, you know? If on one end of the spectrum, there were people who need to take more Neuropozyne because their implants rejected quicker, then surely, on the other end of the spectrum, there would be people who could hold off on taking Neuropozyne because their implants don't reject as quickly. But I… didn't think that you'd be… totally out of the spectrum."
He listened intently as she put her words together ash she went along.
"Sarif is an ambitious man. Putting all those augments on you must have been a test to see how far he could push it with your unique DNA. And Megan… must have gotten you the job at Sarif Industries for access to your DNA. So. Is anybody even story?"
"Sarif, for one. Although I don't know what became of him after Panchea collapsed. I think Megan's been wrecked with guilt since the beginning; she didn't know what to tell the UN about the nature of her discovery."
"There is zero excuse for what Megan did to you, Adam!" Her voice suddenly increased in volume, as if the last of her restraint broke. "Little Miss Genius couldn't bare at the thought of passing up something that was going to catapult her to the top of the world, so like quite a few scientists who don't think about anyone else but themselves, she used you! She didn't even think that you were a human being! Didn't even think about all that you did for her. She just went ahead and got you a job so that you could be accessible to her! Don't you get it? You need to stop carrying a torch for this woman, Adam."
"Oh, don't argue with me!" She retorted. "Even know, I can see it on your face. And… I get it. This was the woman you wanted to marry. You said you can't contact her, so you can't ask her why she deceived you. But you're wasting your time. She's gone. Run off to her next adventure, I'm sure! Any guilt that she still carries with her, it's on her. She would never have to carry it in the first place, if she had loved you right."
His facial features were soft as he said the next words, his tone even softer. "If she had loved me like you have?"
Not 'did', but 'have'. So, he knew for a fact that she has and always will love him. Her entire face burned hot, not with embarrassment, but regret. "I need to go to the bathroom. Excuse me."
She shot up from her seat and adjusted her oversized tee. When she took just that one step, his hand gripped hers in a perfect clasp.
"I should have chosen you,"
Not the words she expected out of his mouth when he stopped her. "What?"
"All those years ago, I should have chosen you," His thumb caressed the upside of her organic left hand. "I can't help but think my life would have turned out really differently if I had picked you instead of Megan."
"You can still pick me," The sentence slipped out of her mouth so smoothly, like her brain had been waiting for the perfect moment where those words could be released. She knelt in front of him, still holding onto his hand and bringing it to the center of her chest. "And we can stay right here. Or leave! Go somewhere else, where no one knows who we are. You can leave this all behind and start again. You once said that we could have had something, so let's see if we can. Even if we can't, you know that we work together so well. So, let's just… live! You and me, Superman."
Jensen knew that that was everything she had wanted to tell him for a while now. "Running away together and beginning something fresh," His metallic fingers reached out to caress her chin. "Staring into these eyes forever? Sounds like paradise. But I need answers, Violet. These people need to answer for what they're doing to the world. And you: you're doing amazing work here, for the augmented poor. I can't pull you away from that."
"You mean with my dying clinic?"
She returned to sitting next to him, while her mind tried to put together an explanation. "Things haven't been good since the Aug Incident. When it hit, half of the residents in my hotel went crazy. My staff and I protected ourselves the best we could," She then pulled down the neck of her oversized t-shirt to reveal a scar. A new scar on her left collarbone. "But I'll always have the scar to show for it."
"Oh, V…" He flinched at her scar, wondering how much pain and fear she would have been in.
"It's okay, Adam," She told him smoothly as she readjusted her shirt. "It's a good thing I was in a clinic."
"Make no mistake, V," He spoke. "If all this shadowy shit wasn't happening or I was capable of making a difference about it, I would be with you right now."
"And if you weren't hung up over Megan."
Jensen rolled his eyes as hard as he could at that, before flopping against the back pillow of the sofa. "There you go again, looking right through me. You've got too much patience for one woman."
"Adam," She called softly, wanting him to look at her. "I do think about Reggie every now and then. I think about how good he was to me. He didn't mistreat me, he didn't even raise his voice to me, not even once. He gave me freedom and a beautiful son. But I've let him go because he betrayed me. Megan betrayed you too. Do you really see yourself being able to resume any sort of relationship with her?"
"I don't know."
It was an answer that Demitra has expected. "I wish you had picked me too." As she rose to her feet, she bent over to place a kiss on his forehead, before moving away to walk over to her bedroom and to the bathroom.
She was hoping that Jensen could not have heard her soft sobs in the bathroom, what with the fair distance and the sink tap running. Dabbing away the last of her tears, she pulled off the hair tie that was keeping her hair up in a messy bun and proceeded to comb her dark mahogany hair.
Look at you, she thought as she ran the comb through her hair. You're fucking pathetic, Dem. Drilling into Adam about still being hung over Megan, but what are you doing? Still carrying a torch for a man who can never be yours. You knew that years ago, so why? Why are you being such an idiot?
Because I love him and always will, replied another voice in her head. Is that wrong?
Demitra was so wrong about the previous tears being her last. So, she took in a deep breath, dabbed her eyes once again, fluffed her hair, and exited the bathroom.
She was pleasantly surprised (and relieved) to find Jensen still on her sofa in the living room, resting his weary head against the back pillow. "Oh, thank goodness. I thought you might have left."
Jensen raised his head upon hearing her honeyed voice. "Why would I leave, Dem?"
"After that conversation? I didn't hurt your feelings?" She questioned docilely.
"You didn't. If anything, I hurt yours. But everything we said was the truth, wasn't it?" He received a nod for that. "Do you… understand? Why I can't be with you?"
She smirked before answering, the reason being she had a playful response in her head. "Well, because you're Superman. You need to go save the world."
He replied with a chuckle; her adorable answers never failed to warm his heart. "You're waiting," He said lugubriously. "You're still waiting for me."
"I wait for you because I care about you," She returned to her seat next to him, tucking her legs under her and turning her body to him. "And based on all that you've just told me, seems like I'm the only one who'll ever will care."
"That just might get you hurt. Or worse."
She ran her organic hand through his hair, melancholic smile looming over her lips. "When you love someone, it's worth it."
Without fail, he melted into her touch. He always did. Which was why he tried somehow to bury the side of his face into her hand; she took notice and brought her hand down to his cheek. "You fly off and do your thing, Superman. I'll be right here." She took in a shuddering breath, tears suddenly welling up in her bright eyes.
"As my girl?" Jensen asked, his face telling her that he needed to know for sure.
He observed the tiny mechanics shift in her violet eyes, as if it meant that her pupils were dilating. "You and I both know that that's never going to change."
That was all the man needed. He leaned forward to give her a long, passionate kiss, black hands embracing her cheeks.
Yeah, loving him is paradise. A dark one. There's no sun, just grey clouds. No eventual happiness, just the 'right here, right now' moments.
He's right here but I can't ever have him. Loving him is a dark paradise.
But at least I'll always be his girl.
A/N: Finallyyyyyyyy, the conclusion! I hate that it took so long, but that's university, lol. Thank you all for reading!