I grab more ammo from the locker, ignoring the gun still hanging inside. Because I will not remember the fierce determination in her eyes as she'd sight down the barrel, or the proud grin she'd shoot my way after a particularly good shot group. And I absolutely refuse to compare that look to the last time I saw her: the brilliant blue which first gazed up at me from within the soft pink folds of a blanket replaced by a lifeless alien red.
I don't have time for that now. There is still work to be done so I continue on, the rapid click of my heels upon marble tiles the only sound as I pass alone through empty halls. I need to check on Henry - make sure his preparations are complete. There's no time now to recall her voice echoing through them. Or the slight figure memory draws just beyond the edge of my vision, blonde hair bouncing about her face as she hurries to catch me up, eager to ensure she's not left out of this latest adventure.
She will certainly not be left out of this one.
Arriving in his lab, I check Henry's work, though I know it will be perfect. It always is. He's rechecked and reinforced the EM shields. A shoulder brushes mine, and John peers down intently into the monitor next to me, his face mere inches from my own, his breath warm on my cheek as he speaks. "It will hold," he reassures me. And no one knows better than him. They won't get in that way.
Will has checked the doors and windows. I have double checked them myself. Every secret passage, emergency exit, every possible way in has been bolted or blocked. We are as secure as we can be, but they will get in. We all know it.
They always do.
And she knows more ways in than I do. There are few places children won't explore, and she had more time alone to do so than even she could have wanted. Which is certainly my fault, too.
I glance at the floor plan on the monitor one more time, trying to figure out what that way might be, how they might get in. How they might breach my Sanctuary.
But standing there next to John, barricading ourselves in together against an Ashley who is only the ghost of the daughter I once knew, I can't deny the truth. My sanctuary is already destroyed, and I'm not sure it can ever be rebuilt.
And at this point, I'm not even sure I care.
Still I will go on, for as long as I can until even my long life is spent. Because there are others who depend on me, who rely on this Sanctuary as much as I ever did. And so it is for them I fight now.
But not for myself.