Forty-Five - Linkin

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Sleep didn't make me feel any better. I thought I was helping. I found Celestia and there was a good possibility I could get a phone call any second now with a more current update with where she was. Now none of that seemed to matter knowing I had hurt Stuart. I should have thought it through, known better. I wasn't Ira.

When 7am rolled around, I grudgingly got out of bed. I didn't even bother to brush my hair, letting it hang as it natural wavy mess as I slid on the most basic, yet professional outfits I could find. I still had to be there for Stuart, working for him today even if he didn't want to see me. The idea made my heart sink, wondering how awkward breakfast would be.

Even a good burnt toast joke couldn't get a smile from him. Ira also sat with us which surprised me. She seemed less thrilled with the burnt toast and something else seemed wrong as well. Ira didn't speak much which didn't help any. When Stuart stood up to get ready for breakfast, he finally glanced in my direction, "Make sure to show the earrings to Mrs Klint; she'll like them." He sounded friendly, but I felt nothing but a stab at my heart.

Psychiatrists were not people you wanted on your bad side; they knew every one of your buttons. Stuart didn't sound mad, even smiled kindly as our first patient of the day arrived, saying how nice it was to have me back and that I'd help train Clair better.

I assumed Clair was Ira, a question I'd ask later on, but for a second I felt replaced. I knew Ira and him were always close, but I thought after a year he would have some loyalty to me.

There was a loud boom which made the entire house tremble, the front door caving in. I was quickly on my feet, rushing around my desk as I reached into a flower pot. Ira stood up behind me, more interested in the door which was off its top hinge instead of how to properly answer phone calls as I pulled out a gun. "Get Stuart," I ordered.

Ira didn't even have enough time even if she wasn't going to argue with me. Another loud crack sent the door flying off its hinges and the man behind it had to duck to get through the door frame. The 6'5" man who was built like a mountain had a gun in each hand and one strapped around the chest. His dark beard hid his anger as he searched the room carefully, glaring at everything until his eyes landed on me.

My gun almost slid out of my hand as Stuart came running out of his office just as the man approached me. "What-" Stuart was starting as the man leaned in and sealed his lips with mine for a good ten seconds before pulling away.

"You're not dead..."

"Why would I be? Thierry, what are you doing here?" I growled but was glad to have someone speaking to me.

"How did you... What?" Stuart was trying to find words as he stared at the door.

Thierry glanced over at the good doctor and glared, "Nerve damage from years of drugs, Doc. Your fucked up labs can't keep me down." The reaction on Stuart's face made my stomach flip, he just made things so much worse. Thierry's gaze landed back on me, his hands running along my arms, "What happened? Why did you call that number if you're not dead?" His gaze flicked upstairs, "Is Desmond up there? Do I finally get to put a bullet in that bastard's brain?"

Shaking my head, I looked around anxiously to Ira and Stuart. "I-I didn't call you."

"What is happening, Linkin?" Stuart asked in a dangerously cold tone.

I looked at Stuart worried, "I don't know, I swear. This is the guy who has been... Helping us out. He got us the house, the money," it was mostly true. "This is Th-"

Stuart raised his hand, "Why is he here? Why did he kick down the door and why do you two have guns? Where did you even get a gun from?"

Thierry glanced back at the way he came in and smirked faintly, "Ah, yes, the door..." He didn't bother to apologize because he wasn't sorry about it. "Your girl here is smart, set up a backup system for if something ever happened to her."

"Linkin..." Stuart's tone changed, but Thierry continued.

"She gave you the number, Doc. If it was called, it meant she was dead and I had to come to get you and take you somewhere safe. If Linkin didn't do it, you must have." Thierry said accusatorily.

I placed a hand to chest, stopping him and sighed, "He doesn't have the phone, only..." I slowly glanced back to Ira who was shifting from foot to foot, looking at anywhere except me. "Ira, what did you do?"

"Ira?" Thierry asked a bit surprised and smiled, "You found her? Why didn't you tell me?" My glare shut him up and he sheepishly apologized, letting me take control of the situation again.

Ira's gaze flickered between Stuart and finally myself. "Ira, do you know what's going on? You did this?" Stuart asked. He was more gentle when speaking to Ira. He couldn't see that she was in the wrong here, not me. Opening her mouth once, the words seemed to get caught in her throat. "It's fine. Linkin, deal with that," Stuart said pointedly as he motioned to Thierry and the door. "Ira, why don't you come help me calm down Sir Drin and then we'll get him out of here, then we can all talk, yes?"

"Sure," Ira agreed as she looked at me apologetically. I should be used to it by now. Looking up at Thierry, I smiled sadly.

"I thought you died. I'm not apologizing about the door," he grumbled as Stuart and Ira walked off to the office, closing the glass doors behind them. "He's kind of an ass, eh?"

"No, I am." I didn't even hesitate to come to Stuart's defence. I was in the wrong here, I never should have kept secrets. I knew that eventually, this would blow up in my face, I just thought I'd have some warning, not just Ira showing up out of the blue.

Thierry frowned and wrapped an arm around me, "Now don't talk like that. Come on, let's look at this door and you can take off some layers, let that skin of yours breathe, huh? That always made you happy." Thierry was a strange man. He was only about twenty-four, but he had seen so much which had changed him. Sometimes it was hard not to forget that he wasn't an old man with how wise he was. He was a sweet, but odd man, one I had the pleasure of calling a friend. Or more.

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