Author's Note: The italic text at the start is an excerpt from Nylon Angel, just setting the scene. Everything thereon is mine… but I don't own any of the characters.
"Do you know what he wanted?" she said.
"Wanted?" I was surprised at such an irrelevancy. He was conscious. He was alive. Who cared what he wanted?
"You," she choked out accusingly.
I stifled a nervous laugh. Her misery was so apparent, her hatred of me undeniable.
Usually people disliked me for a good reason. Jealousy over a man was hard to swallow and something I wasn't used to. But I'd be damned if I was going to apologise for it.
With Anna's abhorrence-filled gaze warming my back, I stepped into her 'shed' and shut the door in her face. I have to admit, I derived a small injection of satisfaction from doing it. After all, I wouldn't have a problem with her if she wasn't such a jealous/possessive/grudge-bearing type.
The inside of Anna's treatment room was cool and sterile, tiled in white and with various pieces of med-tek scattered throughout. My eyes sought out the bed Ibis had carried Daac to when we'd brought him in.
His perfect, gorgeous face shone with a thin film of drying sweat, and his skin was still pale, but his burns had been cleaned and dressed, and he was no longer trembling. When he opened his eyes, I found that they were a little less bloodshot, and focused easily on me. Despite my dislike of the woman, I sent a silent thanks to Anna, as if she could hear me.
"Parrish," Daac rasped, the corners of his lips turning up in a half-smile. He reached out his flesh hand toward mine, but abruptly winced and dropped it, swallowing painfully.
As usual, my mind was in a turmoil. Of course, I was relieved that he was going to be okay, but for what reason? Because he was a friend? Because he potentially held the answers to some of my questions?
"Promise me we can do this again." Who the hell was I kidding? I shrugged off the image of Daac, tied butt-naked to the bed back at the condo, and reached for the jug of electrolyte-enhanced water on the bedside cabinet.
"How are you feeling?" I asked him, pouring a glass and holding it to his lips so he could drink.
He did, greedily, and then lay back with a grateful nod. "Better than I thought I would be. Thank god for Anna."
I wasn't quite sure how to say what I needed to, so I just said it. "Thanks… for saving my ass."
He smirked. "It's okay. I'm getting used to it."
I flexed my fingers to rid them of the urge to rip off all of his bandages and pour poisonous wasteland dirt into each and every wound. It only made him more amused. Pissed off, I stood to leave – let Anna get back to tending her precious patient – but his hand on my wrist pulled me up short.
I turned back and glowered at him, favouring anger over the excitement dancing over my skin. "What?"
He answered softly. "I wanted to check you were real. That I didn't hallucinate that I pulled you back up. I need you, Parrish."
The adrenaline drained out of me. I felt as weak as an overcooked noodle, but by some strange miracle managed to pull away when he tugged gently on my hand. I headed for the door, ignoring him when he repeated my name, confused beyond all measure. "What in the Wombat's name do you want from me?" I whispered, my back to him.
If he answered, it was too quietly for me to hear. I didn't look back as I left the room, and even Anna's frenzied scuttle to Daac's bedside failed to irritate me out of my bewilderment.
"I need you, Parrish."
What the fuck?!