What The Cat Dragged In Ch. 20bypsyche_b_mused©
I have to say that this was an incredibly difficult chapter to write. I knew what had to happen, but it was really hard putting characters I like through this.
Just in case I wasn't clear in previous chapters...Kelly knows Victor has a healing factor. She doesn't really know the extent to which it works, so she makes a logical assumption.
Thank you reviewers and 'followers'! You guys are the best bunch of readers in the fanfic world!
20. In The Presence of Mine Enemies
The first thing Kelly became aware of was the rocking of a vehicle. It was a motion rather like floating in that she had no sensation of pressure against her body. For a split second, she thought she was simply waking up after too little sleep and an exhausting day. Rough, unfamiliar voices shattered that illusion. Icy fear settled like a rock in her chest.
"Goddamn it, can't you sit still?"
"Just shut the fuck up and drive."
Laughter, coarse and mean, came from a number of different sources. None seemed to be facing toward her, but she wouldn't have bet her life on that.
"Aww, still trying to hide the fact that the little bitch damn near broke your leg?"
"The cunt got in a lucky shot. Could've happened to anybody." There was a forced off-handedness to his comments. Even in her groggy state Kelly could hear the anger in his words.
"Didn't happen to anybody, it happened to you." Someone countered.
Another round of laughter.
Kelly was starting to connect with her body again. Her hands were cuffed behind her back, the metal cutting into her wrists, her shoulders protesting the angle. The shoulder the drug had been injected into was protesting the loudest. Her ankles were shackled. The circulation there suffered too. She was certain she'd have raw spots from where the tight cuff forced her socks to rub against her skin.
"Look on the bright side," One of them said. "In a few hours we'll be on the plane and you'll be able to put your feet up."
"Sure. Put your feet up, get out your crocheting-"
"You either shut the fuck up or I swear I'll-"
"You ain't gonna do much without a head start."
More laughter. Kelly used the moment to try and move her fingers, hoping they would be too distracted to notice the weak movement. She had no idea how she was going to get out of the cuffs, or out of whatever vehicle she was in. She knew she had to have everything moving when she got the opportunity though.
The first movement was no more than a barely controlled twitch. When the banter continued she took a chance and flexed her wrists. Pain hit her and she winced. The side of her face felt tight, as if it were covered in dried-
The vision exploded behind her closed eyes. Victor turning, the shot tearing away flesh and bone and brain. Sending a thick mist of blood and tissue into her face. The sound his body made as it hit the truck and then the ground. The spreading puddle of gore, the twitches that racked his body before he went still. His vivid eyes going dull. Healing factor or not, he couldn't have survived.
Kelly squeezed her eyes shut against the memory. Either there would be time to grieve later, or they'd kill her before she could. She wasn't sure which prospect was preferable. Life without him was an unbearable idea, but to simply give up went against everything she was. She forced herself to stop thinking. Thinking was an agonizing distraction. She lay as still as she could while flexing her muscles, restoring sensation and blood flow while she listened to the conversation going on in the front of the vehicle.
"Where the hell are we goin'?"
"What kind of an airport is all the way out here in the middle of goddamn nowhere?"
"A private one, asshole."
"What? You thought we were just gonna carry her onto a commercial flight? 'Scuse us, we're just your average hard-working kidnappers and we need to get this bitch from point A to point B. She's completely unconscious so she won't be needing headphones or drinks or any of them little bags of peanuts.' I don't see any problem with that, do you, Clay?"
"Course not." Clay had a lisp. Kelly filed that little fact away.
Laughter. At least the conversation was proceeding unchecked by her efforts. Judging from the way the sound reached her, she assumed that she was in the cargo area of some kind of SUV. At least that afforded her some small measure of privacy. Only a very small measure, but if they were interested in each other and she were careful she might have half a chance. Now all she needed was a way to get out of the cuffs and plan for what to do after she did.
She could feel blood flow returning now, bringing pain with it. Kelly forced herself to stay silent, keep moving and focus on the conversation.
"Aw c'mon guys, it's his first real 'away from home' job." A different voice. Deeper than the others, and further away.
"So what?" Clay lisped.
"So, I'm sure he wants to tell his mommy what a good job he did."
There was a moment of silence and then more laughter. Kelly only half paid attention to the substance of the conversation. It was little more than barbs and anger directed at one target or another. Listening allowed here to put names with two more of the voices. She didn't know if that would help, but she filed it away anyway. Luther had the deeper voice. He didn't say much, but when he did the others listened. King, the one she'd kicked, spoke in the harsh tones of New York City. There was one more, but the others didn't use his name.
The road had become rougher. Each time she bounced against the floor her shoulder and hip hurt even more. She held back the groans and whimpers, but the tears were another matter. She hoped none of her abductors were feral. Victor could always smell her tears-
Her heart contracted painfully. She forced that thought away and focused on her present situation. She doubted she'd be able to get away, but she might be able to raise enough of a fuss to call attention to herself. Or maybe they'd just kill her. Either way, she would only have one shot. Kelly started to use the jostling of the vehicle to try and work her hands down around her feet so that they would at least be cuffed in front of her.
It seemed to take forever, her body protesting ever little movement. Eventually though, she succeeded. She had to work at controlling her breathing. They thought she was still unconscious or they would have checked on her. Giving up her one miniscule advantage was unthinkable, so she forced herself to stay in roughly the same position they'd put her in. Thankfully, she didn't have to wait long.
The vehicle took a sharp right onto an even worse road. The talk shifted to private planes. When the vehicle slowed, Kelly readied herself. Finally, they stopped.
"You need help?" Luther asked.
"Nah, I got it," King said.
"Course he has. She's unconscious, she can't kick anymore," Clay said.
"You ought to be a fucking comedian," King said.
Kelly heard four doors slam shut, one right after the other, and the four men continue to talk. Three of the voices sounded like they were moving away, the fourth sounded close by. In the tinted glass of the rear window Kelly could see that King was watching the others. She shifted quickly so that she was on her back, her body tightly curled, feet pointed toward King. When the door raised high enough, she slammed both feet into him. One in his stomach, one lower. He was stunned into silence and doubled over, his shocked eyes on hers. She kicked again, catching him squarely in the face.
"HELP ME!" She screamed at the empty airfield. The groaning man tried to grab her, but she hit his arm with both her clasped fists. He let go just long enough for her to get past him. She started to trot across the asphalt as fast as her shackled legs could move. The whole time screaming for help, trying to ignore the sound of men running after her. No one else at the airfield seemed to notice or to care.
Kelly kept screaming until she felt someone hit her from behind. The short chain between her ankles meant she fell easily. The one who tackled her had her arms pinned to her sides. Her forehead slammed into the pavement. Stars exploded behind her eyes.
"Thought you were pretty smart, didn't you cunt?" She recognized Clay's lisp. He slammed her head into the ground again. This time, the world went to a fuzzy gray.
She struggled, trying to shake his grip.
"Still feel like fighting with me? Woulda thought spending all that time with that asshole Creed would've taken some of the fight outta you." He pulled her head back again.
"Goddammit Clay! The deal was she gets there in one piece. Her corpse and a jar full of brains ain't gonna cut it."
"Then why the fuck didn't you give her enough of that shit to start with?"
"I did," Luther said.
A needle jabbed into the back of Kelly's thigh. The drug burned as he pushed it into the muscle. "For all we know Creed's been keeping her dru-..." Blackness enveloped her again.
In the beginning, limbo was simply an absence. An absence of light and darkness, of sight and scent, of touch and sensation. The absence of those ordinary things troubled him. In the beginning, he had no idea why they were gone. There was something familiar in the not knowing, something that told him to wait. The knowledge of why would be back, and probably sooner than he wanted.
The memory of scents came first. Danger. Fear. Injury. Blood. Death. They were the first because they were the ones he knew best. They formed the fabric that all the others were embroidered into. At least, so he thought. Eventually another scent came that was separate from the others. A sweet scent. Clean. Like sugar and vanilla. Female. Even in this place of drifting, the memory of the scent calmed him and drew his focus.
The complete palette of scents bloomed in his memory. Injury, blood and fear were still there, but they were of a variety unique to her. There was also calm, arousal, orgasm, relaxation and his scent mingling through hers. Almost becoming part of it.
Mine. Whoever she was, she belonged to him.
The memory of sensations came next. All the pain that he'd experienced and the pain that he'd inflicted. The way warm blood felt on his skin and how that feeling changed as it cooled and dried. Apart from all of that, in the place inside him reserved for the sweet scents, the feeling of soft skin pressed against his. Small hands that pulled him closer.
A soft laugh. The sound of his name spoken with a smile in her voice. Eyes the shade of blue-green sea glass, sparkling as she looked at him. Smiling at him. As if he were a man and not a monster. The rest of the sights and sounds that danced through his drifting mind were less important.
His frail. His Kelly. His-
The pain hit hard and he arched against the bed, his own roar filling his ears. Limbo and dreams were replaced by explosive, bottomless agony. It was a state he was familiar with, but that didn't make it any easier to bear.
Kelly woke up on a narrow cot in a small, steel room. Everything hurt. Her mouth felt as though it had been packed with sawdust. Moving seemed like too much of an effort, so she closed her unfocused eyes again, hoping for the escape of sleep. When it didn't come she opened her eyes and forced herself to sit up. At least the handcuffs and shackles had been taken off. Someone had taken her shoes away too.
When her vision cleared, she started to take in more of her surroundings. The room was little more than a metal box. On the left wall there was a toilet/sink combination. On the right wall there was a narrow table that seemed to be made out of the same piece of steel as the wall. A single stool sprouted from the metal floor, like an angular mushroom. The seam around the door was the only indication that she wasn't sealed in completely. A small window was covered from the outside. A slot large enough to fit a food tray through was the only other break in the door, but it was covered with its own solid door. Something seemed wrong about that. Someone had to be watching her, didn't they?
She scanned the room again and noticed a vent in the ceiling. It looked out of place amid the other smooth surfaces.
"Who's out there?" Her voice cracked, her face was turned up toward the vent.
Her question was met with silence. She hadn't really expected anything else, but she'd had to try. Kelly sighed and decided she had to try and banish the dry feeling from her mouth. She got up slowly and used the wall for support on the few steps to the sink. She turned on the cold water, made a cup out of her hand and swallowed as much as she could.
After her mouth felt better, she stood up and caught her reflection in the small mirror. One side of her face was splashed with dark blood. Victor's blood. Her tears had formed trails in it. The other side was caked with thick rivulets of blood from the bruised and swollen cut on her forehead. All of it made her stomach turn. She cleaned the blood and gore from her face and neck as best she could. Kelly looked at herself in the mirror again.
Victor had called her a survivor, but at that moment Kelly wasn't at all sure that's what she wanted to be. Surviving would mean being without him and that was something she just couldn't envision. She made her way back to the hard cot, curled up and went back to sleep.
Kelly stared up at the smooth metal ceiling. She could see the indistinct shape of herself reflected in the steel, staring down at her. Her body ached from all the time she'd spent on the thinly padded metal bench and the various bruises she'd acquired either from the rough transit or her unsuccessful escape attempt. She'd been given what she presumed was food in brown paper bags, but she hadn't bothered to investigate. After awhile -- she had no way of knowing how long -- the squeaky food port would open again and the bag would be taken away.
Victor would have hated that, but Victor was gone. She forced herself to stop thinking about that. Grief wouldn't serve her now, but numbness would.
Kelly knew better than to think that there would be a miraculous rescue this time. Conlon might have survived the attack, but he would have no obligation to her now. No one was coming for her. She held no illusions about getting out alive. Whoever had set this up was likely to have more security than she could contemplate. The best she could hope for was to give her captors exactly nothing they could use. Maybe they would decide it was a waste of time and kill her.
She sat up and stretched before taking the few steps to the sink for a drink of water. Absently, she wondered if they could shut it off from somewhere outside the cell. She supposed she would eventually find out. She glanced in the mirror. The bruise on her forehead was still gaining color and size. That told her she'd been there a day, maybe two at most.
She turned back toward the bed when the door opened quickly. She turned, but before the shock could wear off, three men rushed in. Something was jammed into her ribs, and then blinding pain of an electrical shock sent her to the floor. Still reeling from the pain, her hands were cuffed behind her, and her feet shackled together again. They half carried, half dragged her down a dimly lit cinderblock hallway to a small room at the end. It was painted an institutional white and tiled in white linoleum. There was a metal chair in the center and she was secured to it. A man in a dark suit waited with his back to the door. All but one of her 'escorts' left, locking the door behind themselves. Her head had cleared, but she wasn't going to be the first to speak.
"You are a great deal more trouble than we expected, Miss Demmer." He was still facing the wall, but the voice was cultured, calm. He had the hint of an accent she couldn't readily identify.
"Good." Her eyes were fixed on his back, drinking in details. He was slim and balding. What hair he had was graying and cut close to his scalp.
The hint of a chuckle. "You assume this has to be an adversarial process." He still hadn't turned to face her.
"Excuse me, I must have been confused by being shot at, drugged, handcuffed, kidnapped, locked in a cell and shocked." She turned her head to glance at the other man. He stared at the wall impassively.
The man in the suit turned to face her, a cold smile on his thin lips. "Some invitations take a bit more effort to deliver." A gold watch chain sparkled against the black vest he wore. A long, jagged scar ran from the corner of his right eye to the corner of his mouth. "Let me begin with introductions. I'm Bern Müller."
"And him?" Kelly tilted her head.
"He's irrelevant. Of course, it's up to you whether or not he stays that way." The words were polished, oily almost.
"Of course." Kelly couldn't keep the sarcasm out of her voice.
Müller's thin eyebrows rose. "You sound as if you don't believe me."
"You really expect me to trust you?"
A little nod. "We've only just met, Miss Demmer. I could make your stay here considerably more pleasant, if you answer my questions honestly." He began to walk and gesture with one finely manicured hand.
"More pleasant how?" She looked at him curiously.
A broad smile, this time it reached his light blue eyes. "That's the spirit. Well, in the beginning, small things. For instance, I can see to it that the light in your cell is dimmed at night. All you have to do is answer one question I already know the answer to."
"Then why have me tell you?"
"Let's just say, it's a way for us to begin to build confidence in each other."
"What's the question?"
He stopped in front of her, his eyes on hers. "Who was the feral mutant you were traveling with?"
Kelly's eyes were locked on his, anger rose in her chest. "What mutant?" The words were deliberate.
He stood straighter, his eyes appraising. "There is nothing to be gained by being obstinate, Miss Demmer." An insincere smile. "Since this is our very first meeting though, I'll give you one more chance to reconsider. Who was the feral mutant you were traveling with?" The question held a sharper tone this time.
Kelly took a breath, but he interrupted before she could answer.
"Please, bear in mind that there will be consequences for your answer this time."
Kelly looked at him, letting the silence stretch until she saw the corner of his mouth quiver with impatience.
"What mutant?" She asked.
Müller sighed. "You leave me no choice." He made a small gesture to the other man.
Kelly only had a moment to study the sadistic grin on his face before the back of a hard fist crashed into her left cheek. Her head snapped to the side. Pain exploded along with stars. His fist came down again, this time catching her eye.
"Enough." Müller's voice was quiet, but commanding.
Kelly saw through her swelling, watering eye that Müller's henchman was poised to deliver another blow. Instead he retreated somewhere behind her.
He studied the side of her face closely. "I dislike using such brutal tactics, Miss Demmer."
"But you're not above doing it."
"We all do what we must." A sad little smile. His eyes were as hard as ever. Müller walked away to study the wall again. Kelly was fairly certain that he was waiting for the pain of the fresh injuries to subside before they continued. Fear and anger fought for dominance. Kelly fought to clamp down on both.
Müller began to speak, his face still toward the wall. "Let me explain how this will work, Miss Demmer. " He turned and began to pace slowly in front of her. The heels of his dress shoes made sharp, threatening contact with the tile on each step. "You have some information that concerns my employer."