Future of the Future
Genre: Romance / Drama
Pairing: Ben / Other
Summary: The story takes place at the beginning of FN – on the night Max burns down the Manticore facility she's being held in, releasing a number of transgenics / nomalies - to scatter into the night. All this time Max has lived with the guilt of believing that her disturbed brother died at her hands…but did he really? Since when did Manticore allow mainstream medical science to dictate what it could and couldn't do? So - what if another troubled soul was set free that night as well…
Note: Special thanks to my wonderful
Beta – Adrolien. Without her
thoughtful, thorough and supportive feedback this one wouldn't have made it
outta my notebook J
Disclaimer: I don't own DA – the lucky Mr's Cameron & Eglee do…the only thing I own is the drool over the DVD jackets.
FUTURE OF THE FUTURE.
Layer: 001 – Renewal & Rebirth
He'd been dreaming.
Elements of his dream still whispered through his mind, taunting him…brown eyes, cool hands and a soft voice. He blinked and made a conscious effort to block them out.
Alert now he rolled onto his back in the dark room. Eyes wide, peering into the night, focusing his hearing as he tried to detect whatever it was that had disturbed his sleep.
Distant sounds – running feet on the concrete floor, the echo of raised voices, a hushed panic…unnatural disturbances in a place of order and structure. He felt the short hairs on the back of his neck prickle in response to an intuitive sense of danger.
In a fluid graceful motion he rolled off the cool metal bunk onto his bare feet on the floor. Despite the lack of any light in the room he moved with precision, born of long internment in the small space, to the door of the cell. Standing directly before the reinforced steel he paused, whilst he extended his senses again, doing what he had been trained to do since infancy – gather information, assess the situation…plan his approach.
He detected a series of faint tremors through his feet on the concrete floor – almost imperceptible, like the ground had shivered. The signs would have been unnoticeable to anyone without his special skills…but he not only felt it, he understood the silent message it conveyed.
He knew that there could be only one cause for it within the installation – an explosion of some sort…obviously minor at this stage, however there was always the possibility that that there might be other, larger explosions. Despite his fear of the consequences for disturbing his 'keepers', his healthy sense of self-preservation spurred him on to act. Raising one lean muscular arm he banged his fist on the metal door.
"Hey!" he paused…listening…and then made another attempt. "Hey! What's going on out there?"
He was a patient man, by nature and by training, but as the time extended without a response he found his normal calm eroding slightly. Suddenly he felt the flooring shift minutely under him again, this time with a stronger force.
*Great…unlikely as it is, for all I know this place could be going down around me, and I'm stuck in a metal 'coffin'. He raised both arms and began pounding on the metal with a growing frustration.
"I said HEY!!! DAMMIT!!! What the HELL IS GOING ON OUT THERE?"
This time the metal grate on the door slid open and the craggy face of a guard peered in.
"Settle down in there! There's nothing to worry about…just a problem in one of the labs is all." The guard reached up to close the grate again – but he was prevented from doing so by the other man's hand through the bars. He blinked…no matter how much he tried he still couldn't reconcile with the strength of some of these kids. He saw cool hazel eyes studying his face.
"What happened? I felt the explosion…"
Edgy and nervous the guard averted his eyes and licked his bottom lip before answering.
"Nothing…just one of those guys in the white coats probably forgetting that they shouldn't mix potion A with potion B." The guard attempted a derisive snort but it fell short of being realistic. Obviously keen to return to whatever had been occupying him before the ruckus from the cell, he tried to end the conversation. "I'd try to get back to sleep if I were you."
Just then a burst of static came through the guards' voice com, quickly followed by the garbled shouts of other soldiers in obvious distress.
Fire…sector 3…compromised…sweet Jesus what the Hell WAS that!? Report in…I repeat…
Other voices clamoured for airtime…breaking across each other creating a cacophony of panic and fear.
They're dead…all dead!! Don't…it's going to blow…!
Get back…! Christ almighty…stay back!!!!! Aarrghhh!
The sound was abruptly cut off but not before the sound of a snuffling heavy panting, like that of a large animal, came over the airwaves, and a distinctive ripping, snapping sound.
His brown eye's widening with an embryo of fear, the guard reached up to cup his microphone as he prepared to call in. The dispassionate hazel eyes of the man in the cell watched his every action.
"Base…this is sector 18 calling in. I repeat sector 18. All is clear here. Please advise."
He clicked the button off, and his nervous eyes skittered across the corridor as he waited for a response, only to be rewarded by another burst of static and then silence. As the seconds extended a bead of sweat began to slowly form on his forehead and run down the side of his face.
*Too damn long… Unnerved, he reached up to try to report again – and was caught by surprise by the sudden noise bursting out of the communicator.
Sector 18 - remain where you are. The problem is being contained. I repeat – remain where you are. The emergency will be resolved shortly.
Feeling very nonplussed the guard looked up to find the knowing eyes of the cellmate still perusing him. Trying to make the best out of a 'bad situation' he spread his hands wide and attempted to paste a jovial smile on his face.
"See…it's all under control. Time for you to get some shut…"
But his next words were stolen as a massive explosion shook the ground, throwing him against the cell door. *What the FUCK!?*
Dazed by the impact he shook his head in bewilderment, uncertain how he'd managed to somehow stay on his feet. It was then he realised that an unfamiliar hand had a very firm and very solid grasp on the collar of his uniform – supporting his weight. He found a pair of cold eyes staring keenly into his own, and his mouth was suddenly dry as he realised that this man wouldn't hesitate to kill him if it suited his purpose to do so.
"Seems to me like you're on the 'need to know' basis, Officer - same as me…and somebody has just decided that you don't need to know."
The guard opened his mouth to respond but the words wouldn't come out. In an automatic panic reaction he attempted to pull back, away from the man's reach. The action only served to annoy the inmate, who responded by jerking the guard forward, slamming his unprotected face against the metal bars. The guard shouted out in pain as he felt his nose break from the impact. He felt the warm flood of his own blood run down his face.
His eyes blurring from the tears caused from the pain of his damaged face, he looked up to find the man continuing to watch him with apparent analytical objectivity. The guard felt a coldness extend through the pit of his stomach…he knew the man was openly studying him, anticipating every possible reaction he might make. It felt like his mind was being bisected, assessed and found 'wanting'.
"Tsk-tsk…now look what you've done? You've gone and hurt yourself…and there wasn't any real need for that at all." The inmate produced a smile that in ordinary circumstances would have been considered charming – but in the present situation only proved to be chilling. "Let's start again shall we, what's your name?"
The guard felt a terrible heaviness in his limbs as his fear started to overwhelm him. Gasping in pain, he answered.
"Derek…my name is Derek. Please…please don't kill me…."
The hazel eyes glittered with sympathetic humour and the man smiled back at him.
"Derek, I'm not going to kill you." This time the smile extended across his face – but it never succeeded in warming the cold hazel eyes. "I think of us as friends – a friendship born out of necessity. You see I want 'out' of this cell…and you're the man to do it for me."
Derek's eyes appeared to widen even further, if that were at all possible. He shook his head in disbelieving horror.
"I can't – if I let you out I'll be a dead man…they'll…they'll kill me"
This time the man stared at him with open disappointment, and looked as though he was about to speak again. Just then their negotiations were momentarily interrupted as another explosion shook the building. Now the faint, but indisputable scent of smoke could be detected on the air.
Despite the shuddering ground the inmate hadn't lost his firm grip – if anything it was tighter to the point where Derek was almost standing on his toes in an attempt to maintain his connection with the ground. The man moved his face closer to the bars – glancing sideways as if they were two buddies exchanging a conspiratorial chat during normal work hours.
"Well now Derek – you do have a dilemma. You see if you don't help me I will kill you…" Derek winced at the casual threat, "…but apparently if you do help me…'they' will try to kill you." The man pursed his full lips in evident consideration of the problem at hand. Meanwhile Derek stared at him with disbelieving dread.
The inmate suddenly grinned as if seizing upon a possible solution to the puzzle. "My suggestion is this - clearly this organization appears to be undergoing some kind of 'restructuring' as we speak", the truth to his words were highlighted as a series of rumbling quakes rolled beneath their feet. "Now, it's unknown at this point whether 'they' will be around to get you after this event…the only certainty you do know…right here, right now…is my hand…on your throat." He shot the blood-covered man an encouraging wink. "So, what do you say…will you be a good buddy and open the door?"
He could plainly see the indecision in Derek's eyes, evaluating all the known and unknown threats presented to him in such an eloquent albeit brutal way. Sensing an unresolved mental struggle, the inmate gently squeezed the guard's neck to reinforce that he was waiting for him to come to a conclusion. Derek stared back at the cellmate and stuttered out his response…and his fears.
"If…if I do open the door…you could just…kill me anyway."
"Derek. Your distrust pains me…but you do have a point. So – I give you my word…that once I'm out of this cell we'll go our separate ways." The strange man held up his spare hand in the universal gesture for a formal pact. "I promise I won't try to hurt you."
Derek looked at him with combined relief and suspicion…hesitation still marking his expression. He chewed his bottom lip as he considered the promise just extended to him – and then came to a decision.
"Not good enough. I don't know whether your 'word' is any good or not. I've heard about you – you're a sociopath…a freak…a murderer…"
The words were abruptly silenced as the man closed his fingers around his neck in a sudden fury. The hazel eyes flashed with violent promise and Derek felt the heat of the man's breath on his face as he lunged at the grate, hissing with rage.
"SHUT UP!!!! That's all behind me!" The eyes glowed with hatred…and another emotion that Derek would ordinarily have considered to be 'fear'…but he quickly discounted it as soon as he thought it. "Shut your mouth!!!" Seeing a faint blue tinge blushing Derek's lips he softened his grip on the other man's neck. Panting slightly from his exertions, he tried to take a deep breath to calm himself. Noting the fear in the other man's eyes he tried a different tack.
"Derek…you should know from working here - this place changes you." The inmate looked away and his voice dropped to a plaintive whisper. "If you lived the life I've lived…you'd be slower to judge."
Derek gasped in a breath – coughing slightly from the effort…still reeling from the sudden and vicious attack. He thought the man behind the bars looked suddenly vulnerable…like a lost boy…making it difficult to reconcile the two aspects of his personality.
*Boy…man? Killer…or innocent warped by this shit hole? Which is it…?
"Whatever you say…it's like I said – I don't trust your word."
He looked down in resignation, knowing the stalemate would result in his death for sure. Suddenly a faint hope appeared in his eyes, and he looked back at the inmate. "If the rumours are true about you, then I've also heard that you do believe in something…or someone. Would you swear on that?"
Hazel eyes glowed with a growing understanding – and a small smile started to form on his lips. The smile, when it broke, transformed his face, and Derek was momentarily stunned at the difference it made. *A hardened killer with the face of a boy….
"I'll swear on the Lady…she who protects us all…that I won't hurt you if you open this door and set me free."
Derek watched the beatific, rapturous expression on the man's face as he made his solemn vow, and he knew with an instinctive certainty that he would uphold his promise. Reaching down he keyed in the code on the door panel, and they both felt and heard the locking mechanism on the cell door release. For the first time in their long exchange the hazel eyes smiled warmly back at him through the bars, and for some unknown reason Derek felt compelled to smile back.
"Congratulations 493…you're a free man…"