Twenty-Five - Linkin

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Life had a cruel sense of humour.

When shit finally hit the fan, I found myself sprinting as fast as I could to Desmond's cabana. "Des..." I breathed, he was laying in his bed, his back to me. It was impossible to tell if he was sleeping or not, but I didn't care. I glanced over my shoulder nervously before speaking out. "Desmond." It was more of a plea for him to wake up.

Rolling over onto his side, he was tense. "Val, you-" he cut himself off as he sat up, his eyes wide as he stared at me. "You're crying and shaking like a leaf... What happened?" Just like that, our fight was over. Glancing back again, I honestly expected to see Ira behind me. "Come here, Linkin," Desmond said, bringing his attention back to him as he held out his hand.

I took the invitation. Rushing over to him, I curled up in his arms, gripping onto him. "I screwed up, Des."

"What happened?"

"I think someone is trying to kill me." Desmond went silent and I looked up at him, unsure if he heard me. "Des-?"

He shook his head and sympathetic eyes looked down at me, "Who? Why?"

Desmond had learned since I first hurt him, he was being very careful not to touch my bare skin, "I think Stuart sent Ira to kill me."

"Ira?"

I nodded as I clenched my hands into a fist to keep them from shaking. "Ya, I had kind of threatened Stuart for answers. He's kind of the only Doctor I know and also someone who seemed like... Well, you've seen horror movies, I didn't want to just disappear. I just wanted to talk, to get answers, he was avoiding me and I did something stupid and the next thing I know Ira approached me. When I grabbed her... I saw her digging a bullet out of her arm then she was stabbing a screwdriver into some guy's neck." I swallowed and my breathing was shaky. "Desmond, I'm scared," I breathed as I stared at him with teary eyes.

Desmond ran a hand along my cheek quickly, causing my tattoos to ripple and for a brief second I could feel again. I was shaking, freezing cold, with cool tears running down my cheeks. Then I felt nothing again. I think that made the whole thing worse. If Ira did kill me, if she had already stabbed me, would I know? Could I be bleeding out in the darkness, and be completely unaware because of the senseless hell I was trapped in?

I wanted Stuart's help to fix me, to make it go away, to at least explain what was happening, and instead I knew I would be stuck in purgatory. "Did Ira say Stuart sent her?"

"Well no, but-"

"Ira and Stuart are close and... As psychotic as Ira is, Stuart wouldn't let her do anything to you. He cares about all of us; we're more than just subjects to him."

Placing my hand on Desmond's chest, I steadied myself as the world spun for a second. "Subjects?"

His gaze softened, "I was trying to tell you when Stuart came that one day, when we argued about the... bruises." His head fell and for a second in shame. "I didn't know this was happening to you. I shouldn't have been so forceful, I'm sorry."

"What are you talking about?"

Now Desmond was starting to scare me in a different way. "This place, the island, it's a testing ground. They have different chemicals and I don't even know what in everything they give us to make us special. Once we show signs of mutations, we're brought to a lab under the island and they run tests, make us into the creatures they want and they can use."

I pulled my hands from him like he was on fire, if I could feel that, and placed my hands to my face. "You're insane," I couldn't believe I had come back to him.

There was a pause before I had a wave of feeling wash over me and I let out a breath as images passed through my head. He only touched me for ten seconds, probably as long as he could tolerate it, but it was enough to prove he was telling the truth. "You said us?" I breathed once I managed to wrap my head around what he just showed me.

"I'm only out here because my mom runs the labs, Dell Island anyways. I'm supposed to be someone everyone can talk to, tell me when something is wrong and if I don't turn them over, they'll make me their next guinea pig."

Desmond sounded just as terrified as I was. "C-Can we just lay here together, please? Sleep? I can't take this anymore." I was done talking, done thinking, and I was scared enough with Ira and at the idea that I was no better than a rat in a cage was jumping the shark. I needed at least a night to process.

There was a pause as he looked me over, my tank, my shorts. "Can you change?"

It was a fair question, but one which only reminded me of the condemned situation I was in. I hesitantly nodded. "Come with me to mine?"

"Someone might come looking for you there. Why don't you just come back here after you're changed?" It seemed like our fight wasn't over, or he didn't trust me anymore.

I don't know what hurt more. I bit my lip and slowly nodded. "Ya," I said as I got up from his bed and turned so he couldn't see the tears building up once again. "Desmond?"

"Ya?"

"Can you tell me what you can do first?"

There was a long silence, so long I turned back around to make sure he was still there. "I can manipulate hormones, get people to feel certain ways, get them to trust me and do things they might not want to do."

It was another knife in my back and I didn't try to formulate any words as I stumbled out of his cabana. That's all I was to him, to any of them. I was a toy. I needed to get off this island before it was too late, before I ended up like Ira. 

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