Chapter 50: Human Consequences
Dale slowly turns his head while I’m spying on him from the lift, waiting for him to notice me. I have my hand holding the doors open and I’m leaning on the metal as I wait patiently. I watch, as he sees me, how his tyrian purple eyes turn to slits instantly. Then, with a wave of his hand, he turns off the projection from the ring.
Dale doesn’t look happy that he caught me spying on him in level Secure.
“I just came to find you,” I start lightly, “Everyone is doing so well, the kids are happy and I returned the ones who weren’t orphans. Casey and Viola are still helping set up the beds and I came here to find you and help. So is... are they... the uh, team... the men on the screen I saw... are they the men you got your special abilities from-?”
“What did I say about this level, kitten?” Dale asks me quietly and his tone is both neutral and flat. The small smile drops from my face and I narrow my eyes in response to the intense anger behind his eyes.
“It’s Secure, I know that, but I never come down here,” I start to complain but as Dale turns to face me, I suddenly feel threatened by the real fury in his gaze and the strong stance he’s taking, blocking my view of the ring even though I wasn’t interested in stealing it anymore - obviously.
“I told you, Alyssa, you can’t be here. Do you remember what happened last time?” Dale threatens while I lower my head and shake it slowly in exasperation, remembering how I got a death sentence for it. They had attempted to kill me and I survived through self defence.
It was enough for me to never forgive them but I did... and now he was being the ultimate prick about it by bringing it up in such an unnecessary situation. Especially now that we all knew each other better.
However, nor did I like how aggressive he was being about my presence.
Dale honestly looked like he wanted to physically hurt me.
“You’re unbelievable,” I breathe out as I let my hand slip from the lift doors and I step back into it, waiting for the doors to shut so I can get away from his penetrating and judgemental purple glare.
What I see next is a ravenous and fast pounce, muscles contracting and releasing in an incredible display of speed. Dale closes the distance and slips into the lift at the very last second just before he would have been squished between the doors.
He presses for his lab, the lowest level... and I stand back in the corner as he turns to face me while holding the cell batteries for the hospital level the kids were going to occupy.
“Sometimes, Dale, I want to hurt you,” I snarl at him, tears coming to my eyes as the emotion overwhelms me about everything. This situation, Dale, everything.
“Kitten...” Dale turns and comes forward, closing the distance between us. He blocks me into my corner and I’m staring up into his slitted panther eyes while his hands are either side of the lift’s corner railings, trapping me in, “...you never listen.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, I forgot I’m on a short leash now,” I reply sarcastically and with a roll of my eyes, which Dale does not appreciate. The Lord of the Underworld scrutinises me with eyes that held the knowledge and power of the world. And at the same time he is gazing at me like I am a threat, “Dale... why are you taking me to your lab?” I ask him tightly and he slowly raises a brow.
“Prove to me why you’re an Ultimate and you tell me, why I’m taking you to my lab,” Dale challenges me, without emotion... and that is the part that haunts me.
“To put an explosive in my head,” I state, both lightly and seriously.
Because I honestly believed that is what he wanted to do.
But my heart didn’t want to believe it. So, I was hoping that he’d allay those fears.
And if he wanted to actually do such a thing to me... let’s just say he shouldn’t want to if he knew the options I was presently considering.
“Good girl,” Dale slowly smiles, arrogantly and with ease. This was okay for him. This was normal to him. He had the control, he had the say... he had the right to know the best course for action. Always. That was what he was built to do. Trained to do. But I was not trained to be that way... even if I was built to be so. I pretend to casually accept my consequence for failing to adhere to a rule, by being silent as the lift slowly stops at his lab. There was no point making a move while I was trapped in a corner, a confined space, in another already confined space, “Nothing to say... kitten? Now that’s a first. Perhaps you are learning what loyalty means in this bunker... finally,” Dale grabs my arm, steps back as the lift doors open and he shoves me through the entrance into his lab.
I am wearing my high heels so I almost trip, but I maintain my balance just because I outright refused to land on my hands and knees just for him to mock me further.
I walk forward a couple of steps and run my hands over my leotard, inspecting my long nails, precise, perfect... unfortunately without the ability to pierce Dale. The only being resistant to my own gifted mutations... well, technically gifted by doctors but whatever.
I wait for Dale to brush past me, like the predator he is and he does it with lithe grace, his eyes focused upon a mechanical set up. A desk. Tools. Tiny explosives.
I follow Dale, keeping some distance but not too much unless I raise his suspicious.
I pretend to submit to his idea of a consequence, by running my hands on the other lab equipment, again casually and with ease.
“So, whether you like it or not, now I know your origins for all your abilities... a military unit of humans from the army...” as I start, I see Dale turn to me when he reaches his things, to glare at me and what I have to say.
“We will not be speaking of that again, doll,” Dale growls low, “Do you understand?”
“All I understand is that you want to put an explosive in my head,” I reply, tight and controlled while holding off a torrent of tears, “And I know why, trust me, I do. But I want you to know why I think... differently.”
“Oh, what possible reason could that be?” Dale scoffs and turns back to his work, setting up an injection device for the explosive. I can hear from his tone, however, that he means more behind his words than he is letting on.
“What do you mean by that?” I ask, “Do you know how I think differently?”
There is a moment of silence before he answers me as I slowly take more steps forward. Plus, I’m no longer thinking of it as me approaching him. I’m thinking of how he is being approached by me. A reverse of power.
Because one thing was for sure, I wasn’t submitting to this kind of rulership and dominion. This was a level too far beyond unnecessary and beyond cruel.
“Oh, Alyssa, Alyssa,” Dale answers me while I slink up behind his shoulder, to inspect his work, while my hand clasps a device I stole on the way to his side. His gun. It was left on a table near by from when he was down here last with Inertia. I now had it in my hand, “This is the part you speak of your feelings and my feelings and all our feelings... blah, blah... blah,” Dale smirks and with each arrogant word he screws on the last part he needs for his device.
I put my free hand forward to run my fingers over the small tools, laying about, delaying his next move.
His words hurt, I can’t lie. But they make me furious more than anything else. And passionate.
After seeing his super soldier friends be so humane with babies and kids, feeding them and comforting them... Dale was the one hiding down here.
He was the one avoiding feeling.
He was the coward.
“You don’t seem to like feelings very much,” I state, casually while my voice is starting to brim and choke with emotion, just on the edge, just enough for him to hear it.
“You’re not actually going to start crying, are you?” he growls this low to himself, “Because, kitten, you should know I can’t have any sort of weakness in -”
“Weakness?” I cut him off, calling out, laughing loudly as I look up into his eyes as his hand grips the device and he slowly turns to face me. As Dale raises an eyebrow and very slowly raises the injection gun, to emphasises how he had the control... how I stood here so ‘willingly’ waiting for his consequence. Dale presses the injection device to my temple and I step back so it slips off my skin. However, I also move slowly, with power, as I raise the hand which was behind my back.
Dale is truly shocked, his slitted eyes turning back to round when I raise the gun and point it to my temple.
The gun was never for him, but me.
Now Dale looks lost for words and I choose to take the opportunity to speak my part while he is shocked into silence.
“The thing is, Dale, it’s not just feelings that you speak of. It’s something you were trained to fear, cower away from and avoid at all costs. Military training doesn’t have time for anything but logic... skill... strategy... the ability to act without hesitation. But perhaps you never explored why anyone hesitates," I snarl this last part as I raise my free hand to tap a finger over my heart, “Because, humanely, we don’t just think with our heads... but our hearts, too. There is a reason we feel. There is a reason someone thinks twice about endangering or taking someone’s life,” I tap the gun to my head, “This gun is as real as that thing you hold in your hand that’s going to maybe kill me. And hey, that may be military thinking, Dale. But that is not you!” I see him about to open his mouth, with words of instant denial and retort, ”You’re not just an Ultimate, Dale. You’re a living, breathing human. You’re not a strategy. You’re not a thought or a move or a plan. To win a war. To save the planet. To take lives. Because sometimes... even you... you save them. How does saving kids from fucking molestation and abuse, benefit you? You don’t know... or perhaps you do know, so you come down here and hide while you don’t have to face the music. That you’re so much more than your own creation of brilliance. You have a heart. Because if you didn’t, and you really wanted to be a megalomaniac and rule the world, you’d have killed me by now. I’m a threat, Dale. You should want me to pull this trigger. It’s just logical... it’s the ultimate consequence... but it’s also the strategic one. So, let me ask you a question, Lord of the Underworld, what does your heart tell you?” I lower the gun from my head but now I hold it in both palms, “Answer carefully or I might just shoot you in your fucking cock and balls,” I point the gun to that location and I smile as I take another step backward to aim true, “Don’t look so shocked, Dale... I’ll give you a generous ten seconds to answer me before I decide my heart was wrong for falling in love with you... like I fell in love with them...” my eyes roll upwards to indicate the rest of STRIKE on the top floor, and then I look at Dale once more “I mean, why not shoot the one thing off your body that causes me desire and stupid feelings, right?”
Now I’m just going on needlessly, but Dale reacts fast regardless, as I let my anger take over me.
I’m frozen in a moment of shock as he drops the injection device to the floor and then he closes the gap.
The gun is out of my hands and before I know it, a single rough hand on my shoulder turns me. And then that hand grips my neck and plunges me towards the desk before us.
Dale holds me down, leaning over me and pressing his gun, now in his possession... back against my temple.
“Perhaps I should,” Dale growls with emotion which has the barrel at my head... but even the barrel... trembles against my skin, “But where would be the fucking fun in that, kitten?” Dale slips the gun from my head and pockets it in his pants, while I look over my shoulder and search his eyes.
I see it.
His heart speaking through his gaze. So fragile and broken. Never used. Barely touched. The last time he probably indulged in matters of the heart, I’d bet to say he was nothing but a child.
Dale pulls away from me, swiftly and then he turns and stalks his way out of the lab. I slowly rise properly when I hear the lift doors open and he exits. I turn and see a last glimpse of him with his back to me before the lift doors fully close.
He looks heavy with emotion.
I dust off my shoulders while my heart sings and my fingers look steady as I glance at them before me.
“Well,” I whisper to myself, “I’d say that was a step in the right direction.”
I knew I exposed something in Dale that he was forced to abandon a long time ago.
Unfortunately I knew, with common sense and foresight, that anyone who faces something they don’t want to face... or if they change something they don’t want to... or maybe they are simply exposed to the truth... whatever it was, it would never be fated to be a smooth transition.
And I was sure Dale would do everything to deny it... before he actually faced it.
That he was more than just an Ultimate.
He was also human.