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Ian didn't know how it felt when one's beloved died. He shuddered. He imagined a deeper, darker hole than the bottomless black one he had been in when Sonora had left him to return home. 

He imagined he would feel every bit of love taken from the world, every bit of happiness, goodness, kindness. His heart grew heavy.

He imagined her passing would cause him a pain beyond any he had ever endured even with all he had faced. 

He gripped the bars that held him and prepared himself for it.

Once, in a city on land, he'd watched a work crew implode a building. They'd announced the time and started the countdown. Each minute had seemed both shorter and longer than it ought to have been. 

That is what happened to him now. But instead of eager expectation, he was in despair. Tears flooded his eyes and ran to the floor below as each moment became the last he would feel her presence.

It took too long, and he couldn't stop himself from lifting his heavy, drug-addled head. His gaze skitted around the room, looking at anything in his efforts to avoid what he knew must be playing out on the screen.

When he could delay it no longer, his eyes strayed to the screen almost against his will. It was empty of humans. No threatening Devon. 

Ian cringed, afraid of what he would see, as he studied the monitor.  But there was not Sunny, just a lone dolphin stirring the top of the water, the others below him.

What has happened? Have I missed it? Ian doubted himself but shook his foggy head and stretched out to her. Sonora's warm comfort came to him as if she were trying to tell him everything was okay. Maybe Devon has changed his mind.

A few minutes later, Ian heard the man marching down the hallway along with Vincent's squeaky shoes. Ian slunk to the back of his cage.

Devon burst through the door. "Did you see that, Abomination? She's dead."

Ian narrowed his eyes. What does he say that? Does he not know I would sense her alive or does he--he does not. Can it be that no one told him of our connections?

The more Ian thought about it the more sense it made. Any chance any Atlantian had of getting out of here alive would have relied on them reaching each other. Rarely would one cut their last chance at life.

Ian put a hand to his face, covering his eyes. Devon needed to believe him. There was no telling what he would do if he didn't. Tears were easy to come by in this place, and they soon trailed his face. He stayed slumped against the back of the cage and nodded at Devon's question.

"Good. Now let's get back to business." Devon went to the back room and picked up the cooler, and from it, he took a glass vial. "So this is a special cocktail," he swirled the small bottle. "This is a mix of what is sometimes the 1918 Killer Flu and the Rabies virus." Vincent's gasp sounded through the room. "Yes, you're right, Vincent, quite a toxic mix."

Devon walked to Ian. "I'm not sure if it will be painful or not, but I suspect you will be able to handle it. You've had worse. But it will change you before you die. In fact, our History brethren suggested we leave you in your strong cage and secure you to the bars."

"They have tried it on some of the other animals," Devon said as he pulled a few thick straps from the drawer. "They all have turned violent, so there's that. Turn around and stretch your arms along the bars."

Ian wanted to resist, but how far would he get? He was still in this prison. Did the fact that Devon hadn't killed Sonora prove he wouldn't or was it merely so he could use her another time? Ian shot a look at Vincent when Devon had his back turned.

Vincent mouthed, "I'll get you out."

Of course, that is if this injection doesn't kill me. But Ian didn't see a way out of this. All that would happen is another tazering until he was incoherent.

But Ian's slight hesitation wasn't missed by Devon. He sighed. "I really get so sick of this." He grabbed the taser off the counter and fired it at Ian.

Ian uttered a loud grunt as he felt the sharp shock electricity rumble through his body, making his teeth cold and his jaw clench. He dropped to the floor. Devon gave no warning today. He continued until the only movement Ian made was a slow trembling. When Ian was sufficiently subdued, Devon dragged his arm between the bars and shoved a needle into his arm.

"That," Devon said, "was not the virus. That is your sedative."

"No," Ian garbled out.

"Well, as I always tell you, you should have thought about that before we got to this point. You are a stubborn one. I imagine we will be using this for a long time yet. I thought you'd have a different attitude after Sonora, but I guess you didn't care for her as much as she thought you did. I'll have to find a way to let her know that."

The wrath that had simmered deep inside Ian flared. He closed his eyes so Devon couldn't see it.

Devon settled himself in a chair and crossed his legs. "Now, I'm going to wait right here until you can pull yourself together and get yourself up against those bars. I will be patient, but if you don't do it, you know what will happen."

It took a few minutes for feeling to return to Ian's limbs, when it did he righted himself and leaned against the bars as instructed. As the men wrapped the straps around him and tightened them to the point of discomfort, Ian thought this virus wasn't any more likely to kill him then all the other thing Devon had said would kill him.

While his fuzzy brain and slow limbs obeyed the man he hated more than anything in this world above or below the sea, he harbored a secret hope, that Vincent would stick to his promise and free him.

Either way, maybe this day will end my pain. Except for my Beloved, that can hardly be a bad thing.


A/N: I did it! I wrote my 50,000 words! Some of it will be heading your way on this story in the days to come. :) If you are enjoying the story, please press the little star. :)

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