I had woken up a couple of times, though it was nothing substantial and I certainly couldn’t remember what it was that I had heard when it happened. What I did remember was that my body was burning up. It had felt like I was being put through an oven. The only thing I could think of was how I wanted that drug, to put into a feeling of pleasure instead of pain. I abhorred the feeling, but I still wanted it… I felt like I needed it to get past all the burning. It wasn’t given to me and the longer I went without it, the more pain I felt.
I don’t know how long I was like that, but I finally came out of it and it felt like I had been doing nothing but living a very terrible dream. When I woke up out of the dreamscape of hell that I had been living in for God knows how long, I didn’t move or do much of anything really. My body felt like iron, plastered to the bed that I was laying on. In all honesty, I had half expected to wake up with my arms still tied to the bed posts.
Instead I was lying partially propped up with my arms down at my sides. I opened my eyes and was greeted with Kilia watching me intently. Her pretty dark brown eyes looked both worried and relieved to see me awake. I opened my mouth to say something, but my voice cracked harshly and I ended up coughing. She moved and handed me a cup of tea. I took it gratefully and sipped at the warm liquid slowly as I was still coughing.
When the fit passed, I took another swallow of the tea and handed it back to her. As she went to put it down I moved, trying to sit up. Coming forward, I felt an unbearable pain in my lower back and even further down. I let out a gasp, a partial cry of pain as I fell back against the pillows moaning like an idiot. Her hands took my shoulders and eased me into the pillows.
“Not so fast. You’re going to hurt yourself even more if you move too much.”
“Hey,” she answered me with a smile, almost like she was greeting me after I called her name.
“W-what happened? Why am I here?”
Kilia tilted her head a bit as she regarded me with a confused look. It was an honest question on my part. Why was I back at Fukkatsu? Jace had ordered me to leave and never come back. Tristan had walked away from me and even Zak had left me too. I didn’t understand. Why would they take me back? I had, in a sense, lied to them about who I really was. I hadn’t told them that I had been Alik’s lover when they picked me up. Of course at the time I had been afraid to tell them, afraid that they would either kill me right there or leave me at the mercy of Titan if they had found me.
“You’re kidding, right?”
Slowly I shook my head at her. Biting my lip, I turned away. Maybe they hadn’t told her what happened. I wasn’t sure if I had the heart to do it myself. She had helped me after all and I didn’t want her to be mad at me. As I thought over what I was going to say, I took in a shuddering breath. I looked over to her briefly before I turned away, feeling hot tears beginning to fill my eyes once more. Could I tell her? It wasn’t like I had a choice.
“W-what? Why are you crying? Valkyrie!?” Kilia leaned forward and sat on the edge of the bed, her arms wrapping around me.
That didn’t help at all and I started to sob harder against her shoulder as she hugged me gently. I shook my head as my arms lifted up slowly to hold her in return. My fingers curled in the white lab coat she wore over the pretty pink blouse that adorned her body. I buried my head into her shoulder, my voice filling the medical room as I bawled like a baby. She patted my head with one hand.
“I’m… Sorry,” I hiccupped slightly.
“Why are you sorry?” she said with a slight laugh, her head shook as I could feel the edges of her bangs across my cheek.
“I… Didn’t tell you. I didn’t tell them… That I was… Alik’s boyfriend.”
Kilia was silent for some time which made me cry harder. I hugged her tighter because I was afraid that she would pull away from me. I didn’t know if I could handle that. My chest hurt so much as I lay there, my arms around her, crying harder than I ever had in my life. I couldn’t stop, I was trying to stop crying but I couldn’t. Nothing was going to make this any better.
“Idiot,” a soft voice filled the room and it wasn’t Kilia’s. Someone came and sat on the other side of me as I took in a slight gasp, “Haven’t I told you before? You’re too damned impulsive.”
“Tristan…” I gasped out his name, moving slightly to peer out past Kilia’s shoulder before I quickly buried myself against her again.
“Valkyrie… Don’t hide.”
Kilia pulled away from me and I cringed inwardly. I couldn’t look at Tristan as he sat there on the bed next to me. I sniffled, hiccupping slightly as I stared at the bed sheets in front of me. His hand reached out and stroked the side of my face gently. I took in short gasping breaths as I continued to cry softly. The door opened again and Jace and Zak walked into the medical room. I cringed openly, flinching away from Tristan automatically as Jace came into view.
Tristan hesitated as he sat there. From the corner of my eye I saw a strange look cross his face. Was he upset that I had pulled away from him? Had I done something wrong again? My fingers pulled together in my lap, my eyes locked on the bandages wrapped around my wrists. For a moment, I had the awful urge to just pull those crisp white wraps off of my skin and reach for the nearest sharp object.
I looked up slightly, surprised that Jace was calling my name. I met his green gaze for a second before I turned away. There was an audible sigh from him, but I didn’t look back.
“Jeez. Stop sulking. We’re not here to yell at you or anything like that,” Jace’s voice sounded agitated.
“Jace,” Tristan turned on the bed to look at him briefly with a shake of his head.
“Valkyrie,” Tristan turned back to me, “After you left the manor that day, I sent Jace and Zak to follow you. I was worried, and I was… confused. I didn’t want to believe that you were the mole in the group. It was hard, believe me, but I had wanted to make sure. So they followed you.
“They came back in a hurry. Jace was probably the most upset out of all of us. They heard what Alik had said. They told me that Alik had used you, tossed out that lie because he figured we wouldn’t keep you. I am sorry. I should have known. I shouldn’t have let you leave that day.”
Slowly I shook my head, “I… Should have told you that I had been Alik’s lover when you found me.”
Jace scoffed, “Really? You have got to be joking. Dude, I was ready to shoot you that day. If you had said that, I probably would have.”
I looked up at Jace in shock. For him to admit that he would have killed me on the spot was… slightly terrifying. He looked away, his face slightly heated as if he were embarrassed. Well that was certainly a side of him that I had never seen before. I couldn’t help but to stare at him for a long while, which seemed to make him uncomfortable because he cursed softly and rolled his eyes as he shoved off the wall and paced the room.
Tristan gave a soft chuckle as he leaned forward and took my hands in his, “We all made a mistake that day. I’m sorry. Because of that, we almost lost you.”
I bit my lip as I stared at Tristan now. His gaze was sorrowful; the hands that held mine had a slight tremble that I could just barely feel. It startled me to feel him shake like that. I turned my hands and took hold of his, intertwining our fingers. He squeezed my hand as I lay there, propped up slightly.
“H-how long…” my voice shook.
Jace grimaced, a slight growl of frustration from him as he reached up and ran his hands through his messy hair. Zak closed his eyes, his head dropping down to his chest as he sighed heavily. My eyes watched all of them, my heart growing heavier by each passing moment. Their reactions were not something I was enjoying.
Tristan’s fingers curled along mine tighter and I could feel that tremble even more as he did so, “Too long, Valkyrie. We couldn’t get to you for about a week. Titan had their borders locked down pretty tightly and it took everything we had to get past that. The hotel was even more difficult to get into and even that took a while to find. Alik’s men are… very loyal to him.”
“Fucking difficult to get them to talk,” Jace cursed as he paced along the room at the foot of my bed.
“Either sit down or stand still, you’re making me crazy,” Kilia ordered and Jace froze on the spot.
I took a deep breath at this news. For a week… that bastard drugged me and raped me… My gaze dropped to the sheets again. I started to tremble, my body shaking at the realization that I had been stuck in that hotel to endure Alik’s sick revenge for an entire week straight. Seven days. Many times he came to me multiple times in a day. My breath hitched as I struggled to get control again. How was it that I’d ended up becoming so weak like this? Or had I always been weak… I didn’t know for sure.
“A-and here?” I blinked slowly, hot tears leaking out again as I shook uncontrollably on the bed.
Tristan moved. He worked his arm under my shoulders and lifted me up slightly so that he could slide next to me, holding me against his side. His arms tightened around me, his head coming down to rest on top of mine. I felt his lips press against my hair before he spoke again.
“Four days. You were… going through withdrawals of the drug he’d given you.”
Across from us, I looked up at Jace who shifted suddenly. His arms crossed over his chest as his green gaze glowered at the floor with such an intense hatred that I thought the linoleum would just combust into flames at any moment. I took in this new information as well. Four days hospitalized with Kilia. It must have been awful for me to have been unconscious for four days straight. Well, maybe not completely unconscious but definitely not lucid.
“I think you’re out of the woods now though,” Kilia said as she rolled her chair over to us. She gently took one of my arms and pulled out a syringe from the drawer next to her. Unwrapping it, she set it down and put gloves on her hands. I tried to keep my eyes away from the needle. A sharp memory of the one that Alik had used came to mind and I flinched. Tristan probably felt it because he turned and pulled my head into his chest.
“Try to be quick, Kilia,” he said.
She scoffed at him, “Who do you think you’re talking to? He won’t even feel it, I promise. Just keep him like that. Last thing I need is him freaking out,” she muttered the last part as her gloved hands took my arm.
I cringed, tightening my muscles without realizing it. She flicked my arm, “Relax,” her voice ordered and I took a deep breath. Tristan’s hand came up and ran through my hair. His caressing I swore was like magic. In three strokes through my hair, I was breathing easy, leaning against him with nothing but his touch on my mind.
If he continued, he probably would put me to sleep. I didn’t want to sleep though, I had done enough of that, or so I thought anyway. I took in a deep breath, his musky scent filling up my nose and driving my senses. He was so warm, his arms around me were like a safe shelter and I loved how I fit perfectly against him. His fingers caressed through my hair, trailed down my neck and eventually to the backs of my shoulders. I gave a soft hum as I buried my face deeper into his muscular chest, my free hand reaching up to touch his upper arm.
“Done,” Kilia said and I opened my eyes, confused.
“Well yes. I wouldn’t say ‘done’ if I wasn’t,” she said with a slight laugh and rolled away. In her hands was a vile filled with red liquid and I realized that it was my blood that she’d taken. I hadn’t even felt the needle, just as she said I wouldn’t. I grinned a bit, a short laugh escaping me.
“You’re really good, Kilia.”
“Of course. If I were terrible at it, I wouldn’t do it.”
I rolled my eyes a bit. Tristan’s voice rumbled next to my ear as he chuckled a bit. I rested against him for a long while, listening to his strong heart beat. Jace had seated himself across from us and Zak was still leaning against the wall. I really wanted to ask a few questions. I wondered what happened after I left, after I had been imprisoned by Alik. Had they found the mole yet?
“Um… H-have you found who it is yet?”
Jace shook his head, “Not yet. Not so simple. I wish it were though. Of course, if Tristan let me, I could probably weed out the bastard within a couple of days.”
“Threatening everyone isn’t going to get us anywhere, Jace.”
Rolling his eyes, Jace leaned back in the chair, “So how do you want to do this then?”
Tristan leaned back against the pillows with me cradled in his arm. I looked up at him. He had a grin curved along his lips. Arching an eyebrow I watched him carefully as I waited to hear what was going on in his head. What he said was both brilliant and terrifying.
“Valkyrie will find them.”