Twenty-Seven - Linkin

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I finally broke. It was two weeks after I first lost feeling and I couldn't take it anymore. Out of weakness, I went to Desmond and begged him to bring me downstairs, to help me. When he said no, I became desperate. All I wanted was to feel again, and I tested my limits.

As I laid in the hospital bed, zip ties holding my wrist apart and to the metal bars of the gurney, I watched as I twisted my left wrist against the plastic, the skin slowly reddening as it became raw before it finally cracked and blood dripped down my arm. That was the only thing which brought me peace now, watching the red liquid caress across my skin, staining it.

This need to prove that I was still alive was how I ended up tied to a gurney in the island hospital. The burns I had given myself at first were less of a concern to the island staff, chalking it up to a weird accident. The broken pinky was harder to explain and I was brought into the hospital for one night, sedated "for the pain". None of them listened to me, pretended like they had no idea what I was talking about when I asked just to be sent downstairs.

It was when someone discovered me in a pool of my own blood, different sized gash marks all over my thighs and wrists, that they finally promised to get me help. That was over a day ago and I was starting to feel hopeless. All I wanted was to feel again, to remember what it was like to take a deep breath, my heart beating against my chest after a run, the warmth of another person, I even started to wish I could feel the pain I knew my body had to be in.

Touch was something so many people took for granted, and without it I was losing my mind. I struggled to comprehend that I could see that I was touching something, could hear the gravel crunching under my shoe so I knew I was touching, that I should be feeling, but instead there was a void of nothingness. My other senses reminded me constantly of what I was missing, that I was now living in a world which I didn't know how to function in.

I tried to find logic in my situation, that people all over the world suffered from a disease where their own nerves betrayed them, but it wasn't the same. Logic failed, reasoning failed, and all I had left was the hope that maybe I could feel something, even just a little.

That's how I ended up here, watching as I continued to grind and force my raw skin against the plastic causing more blood to paint my skin. The doctor who was supposed to be watching me was out on his hourly smoke break; he didn't seem to care it was a smoke-free facility. Though, by how poorly he wrapped my wounds and his inability to do simple stitches, I had a feeling that he was no real doctor. At least when I pretended to be one, I had the skills to back me up.

Behind me, a door opened and I cranked my neck to the side to make sure it wasn't my doctor coming back in. At first, I saw nothing until a second door, one I had never seen opened before, swung wide and two people stepped through. My gaze quickly fell and I did my best to hide my bleeding wrist. "Linkin? Oh, Linkin... What did you do to yourself?" Stuart sighed as he walked over to my bedside.

My eyes shot up and I was stunned into silence to see Stuart there. Tears built up and for a moment I forgot how to breathe.

"Did Desmond do this?" Ira questioned from behind Stuart, her eyes wandering over my many bloody bandages.

Stuart and I both shook our heads, but he was the one to reply, "No, she did it all to herself. I just don't understand why."

I finally found words as my shock turned to anger. "You promised you'd be there for me if I needed you. You said you would help, that you cared. Yet when I asked for you, went looking for you, you disappeared? I didn't understand what was happening, just that I could hurt people and get information. It's how I found out about your little assassin." My eyes flicked to Ira.

Straightening up, Ira glanced to Stuart before chuckling a bit. "Assassin? I wasn't going to hurt you. Actually, you were the one who hurt me," she pointed out, her arms crossed over her chest. "We were just talking, and Stuart asked me to check up on you."

I didn't know how much I believed her, but I didn't have an option not to.

"Ira, get something to cut her loose. We're taking her downstairs." Stuart said in a monotone voice; he didn't seem happy with the words that came tumbling out of his mouth.

"She's-" Ira started, but cut herself off. She seemed the most upset out of all three of us; I was the only one smiling. Ira didn't speak again as she went over and dug through a cabinet until she came back with a pair of scissors, making quick work of the zip ties.

Stuart rolled over a metal table with medical equipment on it. "Let's get that wrapped up, maybe change the other bandages."

Shrugging, I looked at what he had for me. "Pass me a needle and thread, I'll stitch up the others so they don't get infected," I offered.

"Won't that hurt?" Ira asked with a frown.

An uncomfortable silence filled the air as Stuart passed me the needle and thread, moving back and letting me take care of myself. He didn't seem overly concerned about me doing it myself, probably because he didn't want to touch me.

The silence lingered until I finished stitching myself up and Stuart began to slowly wrap up all my wounds. "Why did you send her?"

"Your ability is dangerous. Ira has her own certain set of... skills which made her uniquely qualified to deal with you." Stuart chose his words carefully as he looked between the two of us. "You're going to be working closely together, at least until we find a way to safely do tests. I think I can get you into the same room as Jaysen, that should help make the transition a bit easier," he offered as he stood up. "You have to promise to stop hurting yourself, Linkin."

I didn't know if I could make that promise, but I nodded. "As long as you can fix me," Ira rolled her eyes at that as I stood up. "Can we just go, please?" 

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