Disclaimer: I do not own WHR, Bandai does. All quoted materials in the first paragraphs are property of Bandai. I intend this to be a multi-chaptered story, but since I'm usually a one-shot act I am a bit nervous. Hope you like it!
Chapter 1: Captured
Floodlights washed over the courtyard, making the fading sunlight seem like full dark and rendering Amon's closed lids translucent. Men were milling around him, seemingly oblivious to him bleeding out at their feet, taking care only to avoid getting any on their expensive shoes.
"Contact Squad 2 and tell them the building is completely secured."
"We'll secure the server's hard drive right away."
"Hurry up and get switched over to back up power."
Meaningless babble in one male voice after another, inane and irritating under regular circumstances, now became the thread that held him to the present moment and kept him from slipping away, either to death or unconsciousness he didn't know.
"We've already seized the samples."
"The database is sure to have a protection program that will automatically destroy its contents."
"Please don't touch it until we get there."
Neither was preferable at the moment, despite the roaring pain emanating heat and blood from several points in his body. He had to listen, had to understand what they were saying. Had it worked? Had she gotten away?
"The building's system is now running in a standalone state."
"I'd like to continue with the operation."
Suddenly his eyes popped open, made blind by the piercing light and pain. The haze had cleared long enough for him to make sense of the conversation around him.
"Please override the security system password."
"I'll ask, but for now, good work."
They weren't looking for Robin.
"Thank you for all your hard work. I'm glad none of your team got hurt."
"Thank you sir."
This wasn't a hunt.
His eyes stayed open, but his consciousness slipped away. Was he dying? He couldn't even muster up a tinge of fear for the possibility of death. Knowing that she was for the moment safe, Amon allowed himself the luxury of passing out and escaping the pain that was steadily escalating to a shrill shriek inside his head.
He had opened his eyes since then, he knew he had, but the memory of that moment played so clearly in his mind that it seemed to force out all others, making it seem as though no time had passed between that moment and the present. Come to think of it, Amon could not seem to accurately reckon the time that had passed between then and now, and he frowned with concentration. Blurry fragments of images darted across his line of internal vision, but they made no sense or gave any indication of location or time passing. If only his limbs weren't so heavy, if only his sleep sanded eyes would open now…
A creeping line of adrenaline began to work its way into his bloodstream. His body seemed unable to obey his mental commands, from moving his hand to licking his exceedingly dry lips with his equally parched tongue, which seemed to be glued to the roof of his mouth.
There was only one explanation Amon's calculating mind could figure under the foggy circumstances – he was or had been drugged. Unable to determine much of anything else with his eyes closed, he sought to check in with his various senses to take stock and possibly answer some more questions. For starters, he was lying flat on his back on something that was certainly soft enough to be a bed, and his skin reported that beyond the woven blanket that had been tucked up to his shoulders, the air was cool but not cold. There was very little sound, but a slight whooshing was heard that could indicate ventilation or air conditioning. Every so often, measured and metered, came an electronic beep from somewhere off to his right. The air was dry, painfully dry, and smelled of antiseptic perhaps, or merely the absence of other smells which suggests excessive cleanliness. His closed lids were dark, giving the impression that the room too was dark.
And he most certainly wasn't alone. If pressed, he couldn't say with certainty that it was breath he heard, or maybe the faintest scrape of a shoe on hard flooring, or perhaps just the sense that another person was in close proximity. But the realization and certainty of another person sharing this space finally enabled Amon to find the necessary connection between his brain and his eye lids. It took several blinks before his vision stopped swirling and coalesced into the hard lines of waking reality, but the slightest twitch to look right or left smeared the edges and made a vapor trail appear, signaling a delay occurring between what he saw and when he saw it. The effect made his very empty stomach threaten to heave, but he schooled himself and focused on the wall directly before him. His body stretched out the length of the bed, a hospital bed with metal rails on each side. The wall subject to his concentration was wholly unremarkable save for the crucifix that was placed exactly center, directly in his line of sight as if to say, 'And you think you are suffering?'
His instinct told him the person was several feet away and to his left. Rather than risk vomiting from the sliding nature of his vision, he instead slowly turned his entire head toward the door, where he was rewarded for his effort by the view of a man sitting in a burgundy cushioned but otherwise very utilitarian chair.
What had been cautious apprehension was now stoking itself steadily toward alarm. His body seemed wholly disconnected from his brain and was dragging him like lead weight back toward the black chasm of drug induced sleep. Yet the sight of this gaunt, gray haired man wearing the black suit and white collar of a priest, sitting eerily still near his bedside was putting his instincts on high alert. Amon was unsure what was more spooky – that the man seemed not to move even with the breaths he must certainly take, or that no reaction whatsoever had occurred either in eyes or features to indicate he was interested in Amon's waking or movement. Eyes that seemed nearly colorless in the dim near darkness of the room continued to stare directly into Amon's as though he was looking at a grocery list.
Amon forced his cracked lips apart, sought for the breath that would force words over his swollen tongue, but when he attempted to ask 'Who are you?' only a strangled puff of air managed its way out. Frustration surged and Amon blinked hard before focusing on the priest again. And then the door to the small room opened, washing light over the bed and overwhelming Amon's befuddled eyesight. Blinded and nauseous, he fought to keep his vision clear enough to see a silhouette appear in the light from the hall, which entered the room with another form appearing in the doorway as well. The first form approached the bed and leaned in, one hand reaching for the pulse in Amon's deadened wrist and the other grasping him firmly by the chin to have a better look at his face. Amon wanted to wrench away, wanted to spring from the bed and sprint out the open door, but was forced to accept the touch from the form in the white coat.
The doctor, or so Amon assumed he was, folded down the thin sheet and blanket covering Amon and he could feel probing fingers exploring his torso, finding areas which, when pressed, produced electric nerve jolts down his spine which made his jaw clench and ache.
"Everything is well," he heard the doctor pronounce in smooth Italian a moment before he saw the man's lips move, further escalating the drug induced nausea, making his brain beg him to close his eyes. Amon firmly refused the inclination, unwilling to make himself blind to the happenings around his bed. The doctor turned to the priest who had remained seated in his hospital issue chair. "Shall I dose him again?" Amon saw no response from the seated man except that his intense and empty gaze traveled from Amon to the doctor standing next to him. After a moment of this eerie scrutiny the doctor appeared to have his answer, as he waved the nurse from the doorway to the IV stand which stood on the opposite side of Amon's bed.
She walked quickly across the room, blurring his muddied vision further, producing a syringe and reaching for the clear tube that ran from the bag of fluid to the needle in his right hand. He opened his mouth to protest but nothing issued forth, leaving him to move his mouth in a silent but incoherent plea. "Please," he wanted to shout, "get away from me, don't drug me again, why are you keeping me here and where the hell am I anyway?" The most that came of his attempt was a choked groan as the nurse inserted the needle into the IV port and pushed the plunger home. He could feel this new fluid entering his bloodstream with the saline, cold and burning, tracing his vein up his arm, into his neck, immobilizing his face and then trickling icy fingers into his chest. The light was dimming, his eyes were swimming, drooping. A deep breath… another…and the world disappeared.