Disney owns, I don't. Life sucks. Make sure to check out Yuri Sisteble's Team Stop. It was an idea of mine, but I didn't think it fair to try and start another story just now. So when Yuri volunteered, and then showed me the first few chapters (which you must check out as he updates), I knew my faith was well placed. He took the idea, and made it his own, and has so far exceeded my wildest expectations for it! Besides, it's MrDrP approved, and you know that means it's good! ;)
Ascent and Descent – Chapter 5
Every muscle in Henry's body ached, as he slowly awoke. His eyes felt heavy, and leaden, and it was all he could do just to crack them open slightly. He felt a hand on his arm, but it didn't feel right, almost like it was barely brushing him, yet he could tell the whole hand was pressed on him. "Wh… wh…"
"Don't try to talk yet. Rest a moment, get your strength back."
Henry turned his head, grimacing at the pain involved. He tried opening his eyes, and saw a kindly, older man beside him. "Where…"
"You're in the hospital. I'm Doctor Franklin. Do you remember what happened to you?"
Henry's eyes shut again, as he tried hard to remember. "There… there was a flash… something… something fell… from the sky?"
"That's right. It was a comet, or so we think."
Henry tried to sit up quickly, only to find himself strapped down. "Wendell, William… are they… I tried to get them away…"
"You're brothers are fine, and so is your sister." Doctor Franklin, placed a hand on Henry's shoulder, but the teen barely felt it. "Everyone else is fine, it's you we're worried about right now."
Tears flooded Henry's eyes, as he sank back down. "They're fine? They're really fine?"
"Yes, they are, and once we check you out and make sure you are as well, you'll be able to see them. We've been keeping them for observation, and we'd like to keep you for a few more days as well, just to make sure there are no other problems."
Henry's eyes widened at that. "Problems?"
Doctor Franklin sighed. "The comet released some sort of radiation that we haven't been able to identify. It has had some… physiological effects on all of you, but you most especially."
Henry didn't want to ask, but he couldn't stop himself. "How…"
You've experienced accelerated muscle and tissue growth over the last few days, and we have no way to explain what happens. It doesn't appear to be life threatening at this point, now that you are out of the woods, but we will have to monitor the situation closely. Tell me, do you feel any pain or discomfort?"
"I ache all over, but I don't really hurt. Doc… this isn't exactly a restraint over my chest, is it."
Doctor Franklin followed Henry's gaze down to the young man's chest. They had measured it once the growth had stopped, and the young man's chest had almost tripled in size from his original proportions. "No, it isn't. Like I said, you have experienced some muscular growth, and that's probably why you ache all over. If you'd like, we can give you some additional pain killers, but I am leery to do that yet. We're not certain how your physiology would handle it right now. Is it bearable?"
"I guess. Any chance you can take the restraints off?"
"No problem. Mind answering a few questions while I do that?"
"Sure thing Doc, whatever you say."
Susan and Michael could only watch in awe as Will and Wendell tore through their food like they hadn't eaten in weeks, despite the fact they had already had their breakfast, as well as hers. They were polishing off their third plate of pancakes each, and Susan had decided enough was enough. "All right guys, this is your last plate. I don't have that much money on me right now, at least not till I find an ATM machine."
"Sorry, we're just…"
"… very, very hungry."
Michael just picked at his breakfast burrito, glancing over at Susan. "I hope those two get out of this sharing sentences thing. It gets very annoying."
Susan sipped at her coffee, wincing at the strong brew that not even four sugars were able to soften. "So long as they don't start dating the same girl, I don't really care."
Both twins looked up, the disgust clearly showing on their young faces. "EWWWWW! Why would we ever want to get cooties?"
Susan laughed at the stereo effect, and took another sip. "Happy now, now their not sharing."
Michael just shook his head, and resumed picking at his burrito.
A commotion behind them made them all look up, and Susan's eyes went wide as she saw Jason, panting heavily, as he started scanning the room frantically. His eyes met hers, and they both charged towards each other, ignoring the glares they got from everyone else at the noise they were making and the disruption they caused in their wake.
His arms wrapped around her tightly, as he hugged her close, and she could see the relief painted on his face as he just held her. She could feel his arms tense, his hands roaming up and down her back, as if making sure she was really there.
Slowly, he pulled away, looking her in the eyes. "I'm so sorry I wasn't here for you. Are you all right? When I heard on the news… we couldn't get away though… and then you weren't in the room they said you were…"
She silenced him quickly with a kiss, one that was furtive, yet deep. She held it briefly, before pulling away, not bothering to worry about the small tear trailing down her cheek. Her head returned to his shoulder, and she could feel the tension draining from his body. "I'm fine, I'm just fine."
His hand brushed a stray hair away from her face, and he smiled. He bent down slowly, kissing her again softly. Susan moaned slightly, as she could feel the relief pouring out of him.
"EWWWW! Cootie alert!"
Michael mouth just twisted in a grimace. "Could you two at least get a room if you are going to do that? Some of us are still trying to eat."
Susan laid her head briefly on Jason's shoulder, before turning to smirk at her brothers. "You're just upset you haven't found a girl that you could do this with."
Michael crossed his arms over his chest, glaring back. "Please, I could get a girl whenever I felt like it. There just aren't any that meet up to my exacting standards."
Susan stuck her tongue out at him, and was about to respond to that when she spotted Sharon Taylor, Jason's mother, just coming through the door, glaring somewhat angrily at her son. Susan didn't notice in the least though. "Mamma Taylor!"
The older woman quickly moved to embrace the young teen, before pausing to check her over. Ever since the death of Susan's parents, Jason's family had tried their best to help fill in when possible, particularly with Susan, considering how close she and their son were.
"I'm sorry it took us so long to get back dear. Are you sure you're all right, you're awfully pale?"
"I'm fine, I'm fine, I think it's just the lights in here or something." Susan did quickly note that both Jason and his mother looked just fine in the light, and began to wonder just a little bit herself.
"And you young man," Sharon turned to glare at her son, "can wait up when we tell you to, instead of barreling through the hallways like a wild animal."
Jason rolled his eyes, but made sure his head was lowered so that she couldn't see it. "Yes Mom."
Jason's dad came in a moment later, and after the full exchange of hugs, everyone sat down around the now quite crowded table, which simply gave Susan an excuse to sit in Jason's lap. Of course, once Sharon found out that the twins were still hungry, she gave them some money and sent them off. Satisfied that they were now occupied, she turned to look back at Michael and Susan. "Have you two heard anything about your house?"
Susan's eyes widened, as she realized she hadn't even thought of that. Fortunately, Michael had been awake for some time, and spoke up. "The damage isn't too bad. Mr. Thompson told me he had a crew out there fixing up the worst of it when he stopped by yesterday. It looks fine apparently, but there was some damage to the back area that he says should be fixed by tomorrow."
"Good, just remember if you need somewhere to stay, you can always stay with us for a few days, rather than go to some hotel. And Henry?"
Michael sank a bit into his seat, looking sullen, so Susan spoke up quickly. "There was some radiation, and it looks like he caught the worst of it. He's stabilized, but he… there have been some… changes."
Susan could see the concerned looks on their faces, so she quickly moved to assure them. "Nothing bad, at least they don't think so. He's just gotten more… muscley."
Susan quickly explained the situation before Will and Wendell returned. The two adults nodded as they listened. When the twins returned, carrying as many sweets as they could afford of course, they changed the subject, trying to talk about lighter subjects. They had been talking for about thirty minutes before they were interrupted by a nurse.
"Scuse me, are you their guardians?"
Sharon shook her head. "No, just friends of the family."
The nurse nodded, looking at the two teens now. "I just came down to tell you your brother Henry is awake, and…"
The twins bolted from their chairs, and you could almost hear the smiles on their faces. A quick hand snagged their shirts though, halting them in their tracks.
Susan tried to smile, as they quite loudly protested the treatment. "Settle down guys, you'll get to see him." She turned quickly to the nurse, making sure she had a firm grip on both of them. "It is all right if he has visitors, isn't it?"
The nurse nodded, smiling at the feeble struggles of the two young kids. "Of course, but probably best to go one or two at a time, so he doesn't get too tired."
Susan nodded, turning to look over at Michael. "Keep an eye on these two, I'm going to go talk to Henry first."
Michael's face twisted in an almost look of disgust. "Why should I get stuck with them, I've been watching them for days now. I'm older, I should go see him first!"
Susan just glared back, the look in her eyes brooking no further argument. Michael slowly slid down further in his chair, arms crossed over his chest. Satisfied that his complaints were done, Susan turned and smiled back at Mrs. Taylor. "Do you think you can keep an eye on them for me, and bring them up in about thirty minutes?"
"Of course, dear. You go see how your brother is doing."
Taking Jason's hand, she left the cafeteria, ignoring Michael's protests about her boyfriend going and not him, heading back up to where Henry's room lay. The two teens were quiet, though the occasional squeeze of the hand told each of them all they needed. When they finally reached Henry's room, Susan froze briefly, and Jason stopped with her.
"Are you okay?"
Susan nodded numbly. "Yeah, I just… when I thought Henry might have been hurt more, maybe dying… I mean, we barely get along, but if he died… we would have been split up, and… and… I just couldn't take losing anyone else, I just can't lose anyone else I love."
Jason pulled her close, and gently kissed her on the forehead. He could feel her shaking slightly, and he just hugged her tighter. This was a side of her she never showed anyone else, especially since her parents had passed away months ago. She always felt she had to be the strong one, the one to hold everybody together. With everyone else, she could be rude and overbearing, even demanding. But when they were alone, she could let down her guard, and be the scared and frightened fifteen year old she was. The girl Jason had come to love, and would do anything to protect.
For five minutes, they just stood in the hallway, holding tight to one another, before Susan slowly pulled away, wiping the small tear away that trickled down her cheek. Jason just smiled, still holding tight to her shoulders. "You going to be okay?"
Susan sniffled briefly, before wiping her face completely and taking a deep breath. "Yeah, I'm good. Let's get in there and make sure the not so scrawny geek is all right."
Jason laughed at her attempt at humour. Taking her hand, he slowly pushed open the door, and was very pleased to see a smile on both Susan's and Henry's faces as they entered the room.
Doctor Franklin was quite surprised to find Doctor Betty Director, head of Global Justice's science department, waiting for him in his office when he got back there. He knew how busy the woman was, with dozens of projects on the go, not to mention looking over and reviewing everyone else's projects. The fact that she was here did not bode well at all.
"Have a seat Doctor Franklin."
Doctor Elliot Franklin felt a bit nervous as he sat down on the opposite side of the desk he normally would have occupied. His superior didn't seem displeased, but she also didn't seem to be all that happy either. "Ma'am, I'm surprised…"
"I don't have time for much chit chat today, I have to get back to the lab in a half hour, then brief Director Matheson on recent events. First, what's the status on Henry Go?"
Elliot swallowed, before making his report. "Henry seems fine, both physically and mentally. His responses were good, and he showed no deleterious mental effects from the radiation as we have… witnessed in others who have been affected. No sign of any abilities yet, but based on the physiological changes, enhanced strength would be my best guess."
"And the others?"
"Nothing yet, beyond Susan's enhanced healing rate. She and Henry did receive the greatest dose, so it is entirely probable that they will simply manifest first. As for the others, I have no idea what to expect at this time."
Dr. Director nodded, appearing thoughtful as she processed the information. "Do you feel that they might pose a threat to themselves or others?"
Dr. Franklin vigorously shook his head. "No ma'am. Any initial effects might be a bit traumatic, but I don't think they pose a danger to anyone, especially not at this time." Elliot paused a moment, almost afraid to ask the next question. "Ma'am, you aren't thinking of recruiting them, are you? I mean, they are just children."
Dr. Director waved the concern away. "No, not at this time. Henry, if he manifests as you predict, could be a considerable asset to us, but he's the only guardian for the others. Tearing them apart would be reprehensible. I do think we need to monitor them, and keep a close eye on the situation, provide them with a moral compass as it were when they do manifest." She rose from her seat, staring down at the older man. "I want you to stay on this, stay involved with them. When they manifest, I want you to be the one they come to for help. Be their friend, make sure they trust you. We'll transfer you to this location permanently, at least for the foreseeable future. Continue your studies on the radiation, and how it affected them. They may be too young for recruitment right now, but that doesn't mean they won't be recruited in the future. Do you understand?"
Dr. Franklin could only nod slowly. "Yes ma'am, I understand."
"Good." Dr. Betty Director headed for the door, pausing briefly with her hand on the handle. "And Elliot… this is important. Don't mess this up."
Elliot Franklin could only feel relief when he heard the door close behind him. He rose unsteadily as he made his way to the water cooler, his hand shaking slightly as he reached for a glass. He took a moment to compose himself, before reaching a second time. Despite how civil the conversation would have seemed to most outsiders paying attention, he knew Dr. Director wasn't one to mess around, and he had heard stories about those who had failed to do their jobs properly. She was as hardcore as they came, and it was already rumoured that she'd be first in line to take command of Global Justice when Director Matheson stepped down. Not that he doubted her commitment to what GJ stood for, she'd do whatever it took if she thought it was the right thing to do. He just feared what would happen if she ever deemed him not the 'right thing' for the organization. That meant he'd do his job, even if he didn't completely agree with it, because it was the only thing he really could do.
Author's Notes – Okay, this is on a completely different side note from this, but I wanted to provide some warning to the readers. In the near future, I will be working on a Kigo story. Yes, I know what you are thinking, but an idea came to me, and I just couldn't get rid of it. It might be a little while before I start it, but I already have the first 12 chapters plotted out, and it's driving me a bit nuts. Besides, I think it should make quite a few of my slash loving fans quite happy, considering the number of requests I've had to do one. I just thought I'd give everyone a heads up, just so I don't surprise anyone unintentionally. Now, let's see the PMs pour in regarding this little bit of news! lol