Fifty-Five - Linkin

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Standing in the lab, my head tilted as I gently ran my fingers over the medical equipment which Thierry had taken out for some reason. The tray was full and I hesitantly picked the scalpel. One would think I'd be used to it by now, the labs, after all, I had more track marks than a drug addict with all the tests Stuart ran on me when he wasn't busy stressing over things he couldn't remember.

Holding the blade between my thumb and index finger, my eyes slowly flicked down to the ugly purple scars which surrounded most of my wrist. My mouth went dry and I dropped the scalpel with a loud clang. I stepped back, raising my other wrist to place beside the first. My eyes scanned the nearly identical scars, the memory of wanting to die so badly on the island I tried to do it myself haunted me. Part of me knew I couldn't go back and if I did I wouldn't be the same after, but they needed me.

What I didn't need was the constant reminder which the scars gave me. My mind was made up. It took me all of five minutes to get ready to go and I walk downstairs with my purse over my shoulder and my leather jacket hood pulled up. My strange behaviour was enough to catch Thierry's attention as he huddled over the dining table with Ira, scanning a map. "Where are you going?"

I heard a chair drag across the hardwood floors as Stuart stood up from the breakfast bar and came close enough so he could see what is going on. "I'm going out," I said, tossing the keys up in the air. "There's something I got to do." Now that I was no longer wearing the gloves, that scar was a constant reminder of just how broken the island made me.

"What?" Ira was the first to ask as she straightened up. The height difference between Ira and Thierry as they stood shoulder-to-shoulder was almost comical, then again anyone standing next to Thierry looked short.

I shrugged and glanced to the door, evidently I wasn't getting out of here without an advanced level of interrogation. "I'm going to get a tattoo - two actually." Stuart's eyes went wide and Ira looked terribly confused. "Don't worry, I have my gun and I'll be safe."

"Linkin, you can't be serious," Stuart was saying.

"You're going to put us all in danger for some new ink? You're already covered and you don't know where Desmond or Celestia could be hiding," Ira objected, ever the voice of reason.

Thierry and I exchanged a look and he sighed, nodding. Standing at his full height as he pushed off the dining room table, he forced a smile in my direction. "Alright, what are we getting?" He was quick to agree without a question as he walked over to the door and grabbed his black hoodie and slid it on.

I let out a sigh of relief as Thierry agreed without question which made Stuart's head spin. "Thierry, you are supposed to be keeping us safe. You can't possibly think it's a good idea." Stuart frowned at his decision to so easily give in.

Coming to stop beside me, his arm slid around my waist. "Doc, you're right. I think this is an awful idea, but that isn't what matters." He glanced down to me and kissed my head. "If Linkin needs a tattoo now at the worst possible time, it's for a reason."

"What reason could be good enough for willing putting yourself into danger?"

Thierry kept his eyes on me as I stared at the floor, "You want to tell them or should I?" When I stayed quiet, he continued to talk. "Linkin doesn't want to go back to Dell Island, she is going because she needs to. My guess is this tattoo is some sort of weird therapy to remind you of... something." It wasn't a bad guess considering I just sprung this on him. He listened more than I expected him to.

"Is this true?" Stuart asked sadly.

I hesitantly nodded, glancing to the others. "I want the scars covered, a way to remind myself that I am not weak, that I'm not a prisoner anymore," I spoke just barely above a whisper. "If you want, you can come too. Get a tattoo or don't, it's just what I need before we go. I can't go there thinking I'm going to wish I was dead again. If my mind goes to that dark place, I need a reminder that I'm stronger, I'm better than I was before. These scars just remind me of the worst of times."

A silence fell over everyone and I felt uncomfortable with everyone staring at me. I didn't like this idea of a group therapy session. "Alright, let's go," I was shocked to hear Ira agreeing. "What better time to get a first tattoo other than going back to the place that ruined my life." Ira rolled the map up, wrapping the elastic band around it before she got her sweater which hung over the railing to upstairs.

Stuart's eyes now flicked between the three of us as if he was waiting for us to tell him we were joking. When we didn't, he let out a huff, "Fine, I'm coming too. This place gives me the creeps when it's too quiet." He didn't sound thrilled or like he was coming for the right reasons, but I was still glad he was coming. 

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