It hurt. It hurt so much.
It was burning. Everything was burning.
Do not be scared. I am here.
Something cool touched his forehead. That hand... Was it hers?
He tried to open his eyes.
Someone hurriedly grabbed his hand.
“Heru! You are awake!”
A... man? That wasn’t Brigitte.
“Quick, call the doctor! The patient is awake.”
Where was he? The hospital? The house was burning. Where was Brigitte?
Beloved. I love you. Always. A burst of memories brought realization.
He suddenly tried to get up in shock. The pain and fatigue made him quickly fall back onto the bed.
What had he been dreaming? She was dead. This was a new world, a new lifetime. He better get his head straight, or he won’t ever return... return home? At the word “home” memories of a life in a lovely 21st century mansion popped up. No. That wasn’t home. He had come so far. Done so much. He had to return to his real home, in a completely different world.
But, thinking of the burning house there, what did he have left? Did he have a home to return to?
He bit his lip. He couldn’t think like this. He couldn’t lose direction. So many years spent searching for a way back couldn’t go to waste. His home-world was his true north. The compass that guided him amidst countless reincarnations. If he didn’t have a direction, wouldn’t he just be an aimless spirit?
But thinking of home...
Even if he wanted to change things now, it was too late. She was dead. What foolish regrets he had. A mere 50 years spent with someone for company, and he had become so... weak.
“Heru, you finally woke up.”
Ah, that man was back again, along with a bunch of people in white uniforms. Not white coats. Not 21st century then. He needed to figure out where and when he was soon.
He felt a wave of concern overcome him. Unsure about what that was and unprepared to answer any questions, he stopped fighting his fatigue and closed his eyes.
“Doctor, what’s wrong with him?”
“He is simply tired, captain. He will wake up and fall asleep quickly while he recovers in the next two days.”
He ignored them as he looked over Heru’s memories.
Dammit. The year was 12,433. And he couldn’t compare it to Earth timeline either because he wasn’t on Earth at all!
His host’s name was Heru d’Aville. He lived in one of the three solar systems of the Galecian Union. And he was a male omega. Because yes, evolution had gone down a different path in this world and created two biological genders and three dynamics for most sentient species. Because, of course, there were also more than just humans in this world. At some point in history humans became an interstellar civilization and met with many other sentient and intelligent lifeforms. One of those were the Galecians, of which he was one. Apparently, his species had no physical differences from humans, but was entirely different mentally. Galecians were natural empaths. This attribute made them very codependent and socially connected. As such, pacifism was part of a Galecian’s nature, and they were currently the most advanced civilization in known space. However, their social codependency had limited their expansion to only three systems, despite being the earliest people to become interstellar.
Here, he took a moment to straighten his thoughts. Despite how fascinating this world’s history seemed to be, he needed to first focus on learning who his host was and how he ended up poisoned.
Heru was the only omega child of an influential family. His alpha mother was a 3-star admiral in the Galecian space fleet. His other mother, a beta, was an elected senator of two decades. He had an older brother, an alpha, who had followed in their alpha mother’s footsteps and currently held the rank of captain. Heru himself had just reached the age of majority, 25, and was currently in his second year of a master’s degree in music. He was quite ordinary in all aspects, except for his exceptional looks, and had a spoiled personality with a vain streak a mile long. Still, there was no reason why anyone would poison him.
Heru had lived a safe and happy life in a wealthy family, in a peaceful and almost discrimination-free society. Why would he have such regrets that his soul would be called here?
Looking further, he almost laughed as sleep finally claimed him. There was a sweetheart.
When he woke up again, there were three people in his room. The tall blonde in uniform talking on her communicator — comms, Heru reminded himself — was likely his alpha mother, Kaire d’Aville. The short-haired brunette whose mood kept switching between a crying mess and being utterly pissed off was likely his beta mom, Delis, while the raven-haired man who kept broadcasting waves of calmness to cover his mom’s emotions was his brother, Sander.
They all noticed that he had woken up simultaneously, and all of them hurried to his bedside right after. Heru hid a frown at that, did his empathy become stronger when awake or something?
“Heru, how are you dear? Feeling better?” his mom took the lead. Strangely, all her emotions appeared calm with a touch of concern to them, nothing like how she was before. Empathic training, his memories explained. He would have to merge all the memories as soon as he recovered, otherwise this would become very annoying, very quick.
He opened his mouth to answer but his lips felt too dry. His mother grabbed a glass of water on the spot and slowly helped him drink. That was... weird. Dry wasn’t an emotion, wasn’t it?
Ah, telepathic broadcasting. The skill of delivering and receiving thoughts in a series of images and feelings to people whom a Galecian holds very close bonds to. Usually, this meant family only and it was quite difficult to do with a non-Galecian as a receiver.
Damn, now he had to closely guard the direction of his thoughts as well.
“I’m fine, mom. Just tired.”
“You’ll be fine, love. It all passed. The doctors said that you will recover completely in a few days and tomorrow we are going to take a leave of absence, so that you may heal slowly at home, OK?”
Heru was touched at her concern. He didn’t have a family in his original life, so whenever he encountered a good family that cared for his host, he tried a bit harder to return their kindness.
“Mom, it’s not necessary, really. But... what happened? The last thing I remember was bathing and then...”
A dark mood fell over the room, before the three of them barely managed to control their emotions.
“You were poisoned.” His mother answered.
She hesitated a bit at this. “We checked every substance in the house. The poison was in your conditioner, Heru. We asked the droids but none of them even knew you had changed your conditioner from your usual one. Where did you find it?”
Here, Heru let himself fully feel the betrayal his host would have felt, making his family members frown. “I bought it. From an artisanal shop.”
“Which shop? And when?” she continued.
“It was in the Bet’heldtian section, downtown.”
His mother, now in a very sombre mood, stood up. “I will investigate this thoroughly.”
“Mother, it wasn’t Bet’heldt who did this to me.”
She looked very defeated, “I didn’t say that. We have yet to examine the shop.”
“Lucas brought me to shop there. He recommended I use something with the scent of sandalwood. The shop had only a single bottle of sandalwood conditioner.”
Comprehension filled their eyes, before his brother lost his temper.
“That bastard! How dare he!”
The anger was understandable. Lucas was Heru’s human — Terran — boyfriend of two years. He was the alpha son of the Terran ambassador in Galecia.
“Sander, we have yet to investi—” his mother tried to reason but even she seemed to believe in Lucas’ betrayal.
“If Heru had died, how likely would it have been for you to find out where he bought the conditioner?” his mom interrupted.
“It would have been impossible not to.” his mother answered. “It has been only 6 hours since the poisoning. A full investigation team hasn’t even been assigned due to the political nature of this and my request to be involved. But even then, a day at most, and any detective would have known to look for the shop, even if Heru used cash.”
“So we would know, it was a Bet’heldtian shop, but would we have known Lucas was involved at all?”
“If he didn’t suggest this in the shop, where he could have been recorded...”
“He didn’t even enter inside.” Heru answered the silent question.
“... then we would have very little reason to suspect him beyond just accompanying Heru there.”
“The doctors said...” his brother suddenly opened. “... that they do not know how it was possible for Heru to have lived long enough for them to administer an antidote. The fact that he is alive is very much an unprecedented miracle.”
“In a private holo-meeting last week, Admiral Bet’heldt swore to me on her late mother’s name that every day Heru lived, would be a day of peace for Galecia.” His mom suddenly said. “The Terran Federation probably learned about that somehow.”
“It seems I will have to delegate the investigation to someone in the police force. This is enough of a political cluster-fuck without a military investigation on top of it.”
“You wouldn’t be able to build enough of a case to accuse the Terrans of breaching the treaty anyway. It’s better we keep Lucas’ involvement to ourselves for now. I will have to figure out how Bet’heldt’s marriage proposal was leaked out first.” his mom said, before turning to him, filled with worry. “I am sorry, Heru. It is not that we don’t want to, but we have to be patient for now.”
“It’s alright, mom. I understand.” He answered but only after broadcasting some reassurance toward them did they seem to believe that he had matured enough to actually let something like this slide for the moment.
Thinking of the marriage proposal, he held back a sigh. This life was going to be a difficult one.