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Ian watched from his cage as Devon moved around the laboratory. He put a loose hand to one of the smooth, cool steel bars. Once they had thrown Ian in that dark blue van, they had drugged him. He didn't know with what, but they hadn't stopped since.

He'll be leaving soon. The day is done. His work is done. Ian looked down at the white gauze patch that covered just left of his sternum. He wasn't sure what had been tested today. If something came out or went in. Needles, his heart shuddering and pain, that is what he knew.

He tried to settle against the thick bars boring into his back and running underneath him, but it was impossible. There was no comfort to be had in this too-small box. He took a ragged breath, letting the drug's lethargy wash over him, at least for a little while. Soon everyone would be gone, and he would have the night in peace.

It was at night that Ian would reach out to Sonora and feel her warmth cocoon him. Sometimes he could feel his father and took strength from him. It was all Ian had now. Every bit of fight was drugged and beat and tested out of him.

He considered himself fortunate he was still in Seaside where he could sense them. Ian had known the murderer had to be in this little town, and there were only so many places that such destruction to a body could be done. There were two facilities that would hold the medical equipment needed, here and the hospital. So while Ian had been shocked and appalled that Sonora's uncle was the evil man he had been tracking, he had not been surprised when the van had turned into the Marine Center's back entrance on that dark night weeks ago.

Devon put his last instrument away and sighed. It was Vincent's job to feed the lab animals, but he had left early for the day which meant Devon would have to do the assistant's job. It was not a job Devon liked. The risk of getting dirty was too high.

He made his way down the line of cages from big to small carefully taking out and replacing the dishes of the animals. Excited by the prospect of dinner, most of the animals chirped and squawked as they cast around in their containers. They stirred up dust from their fresh bedding. The sharp wood scent wafted to Ian.

Devon slide the same water bottle and protein bar through the top slats of Ian's cage that he received every night. Vincent would have added a fresh piece of fruit out of pity, but there would be none of that tonight.

Ian's stomach growled as Devon proceeded on without a word to him. Ian hardly paid any attention. Hunger continually stalked him now. This bar and another in the morning was all he would get for the day.

Devon had explained why Ian needed so little food on his first day here as he had smoothly slid a needle into Ian's arm. "There that didn't hurt a bit, did it? I don't want to tear up your arm too much this early in the game." Devon patted him on the shoulder, and Ian turned his blurry eyes to watch him.

"This," Devon said tapping an IV bag, "is how you will get all your nutrients from now until you die. I wish I could eliminate any food, but it is not practical, so you will still receive a small amount in the morning and at night. Cooperate and you may receive a treat."

Ian had never received a treat, just more drugs.

He shifted against the strong bars again as he clutched his water and food to his stomach. Devon stood at the door, his hand on the light switch, as he stared at Ian. Ian's heart jumped.

Devon 's leather soles tapped against the tile floor as he briskly marched back to Ian's jail. Ian's hand tightened on the bottle causing it to crackle as Devon crouched to his level. As Devon examined him, his heart raced. No. No, not more.

"Do not," Devon said, "do not make me regret skipping a nightly dose of your medicine. Do you understand? If you do, I will make sure you stay the quivering mass of nothing you were when I first brought you here."

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