Every Time I Look at You (Through the Looking Glass Remix)
by Lorelei Jones

Written for the second annual Remix Redux, aka Remix Remix II: Electric Boogaloo. I remixed D's Every Time I Look at You. Her own remix of my And Curse the Living Flesh can be found here. Mucho thank yous to Eliza, Gwyn, and Em for looking this beast over and kicking it into shape. Nods to Lewis Carroll and the Wachowski Brothers for some of the imagery.

"I don't get what your problem is, Luc."

"Oh, now there's a first."

"I'm just trying to help--"

"Yeah, well I don't need your help, okay?!"

He blinks a little when you yell in his face. He stands his ground, the way the streets taught him, but I can see it in his eyes that he's scared now, as well as worried. You usually don't shout. You usually don't come up out of your chair like you just might hit him.

You usually don't have me sitting in your head, watching through your eyes.

I know you can feel me up here, sifting through your thoughts. I know you don't know what it is you're feeling, and that scares you. You don't like being scared. You don't like not knowing what's going on in your own head.

I feel you trying to pull yourself together, feel you putting on the mask you know he trusts. Wearing it is almost beyond you at the moment, yet you do it, because it's important to you that they're not afraid. You like that you're special, and you like that they know it, but you've had your fill of being the freak. I know the feeling all too well. They treat us like aberrations, when in fact we are the ones to fulfill mankind's potential. So we play at being harmless, benign, to pacify their fears and allay their suspicions. I may have enjoyed people's discomfort around my abilities, but even I wore flesh over what flowed through my veins.

"I'm tired, Tony, and my head hurts," you say in a nearly conciliatory tone. Ah, yes, that would be me, I imagine. As good as I am, even I never managed prolonged contact without some physical discomfort. The human mind doesn't like invaders, especially not long-term ones.

What's not me is the slight push behind the words. You're not even aware you're doing it, and I smile as I watch, because I suspect you'd be horrified at yourself if you knew. But you're a bright boy, aren't you, Lucas? Somewhere in this beautiful psyche, you have to know. You just don't want to think about it.

That's all right, I won't make you. Not yet.

"It's a lousy excuse to get up in a guy's face, Luc," Tony says, but you and I can both tell he's mollified, and I feel you relax slightly. That's good. That will make things easier.

"Yeah, I know. Sorry," you mumble. I wait, fascinated by how much that word cost you, by how much you just want him gone. "Listen, why don't you tell the guys I'm sitting out poker tonight? I'm just not very good company right now."

"You can say that again." There's a hint of humor under his voice now, but his half-smile fades when you don't return it. He has no idea how much it's killing you to even talk right now. All you want is to be left alone. Just my presence has taken you right to the edge, and you're fighting not to fall right over it.

You don't have to fight, Lucas. I'll teach you to fly, if you let me.

"Are you sure you'll be all right on your own, Luc?"

I feel your surprise that he's still in the room, your struggle to bite back the automatic and angry retort. I gather myself for when he leaves. It's almost time. You'll put up a hell of a fight, I expect no less, but I'll still win. I'll always win, when I can use your own mind as a weapon against you.

"I'll be fine, Tony. I'm just gonna get some rest."

He looks doubtful, you didn't put as much effort into that push, but he still nods.

"Okay, Luc." And he's up the stepladder and out, the hatch closing firmly behind him.

Leaving you alone with me.


Your breath catches in your throat, and then you force a little laugh and sit down in your computer chair. You bring up a program, something you've been working on for security, something to prevent psychic geniuses from manipulating people into opening locked doors for them.

Of course, the only psychic genius left is right here, and I really don't like being ignored.


"No," you whisper, and the word sighs through your mind like the wind. I can almost feel it lifting my hair from my face. Your fingers haven't paused on the keyboard--such long, graceful fingers--but I know I have your attention.

Close your eyes, Lucas.

You reach for a pair of earbuds sitting beside your computer, pop them in, and hit a key. Heavy drums fill your hearing, jangling keyboard, screaming electric guitar, screaming vocalist. They're loud, but they're all out there, Lucas. I'm in here. You can't drown me out.

You can't shut me up, Lucas.

You'll burst your own eardrums first.

"No," you say again, though you can't hear yourself say it. "He's dead, Lucas. Just don't think about it." You laugh, and you can hear that, faintly, through the music. "And stop talking to yourself."

You hit another key, and the volume increases.

It's not going to work, Lucas.

Shut. Up.

That echoes, and it's my turn to feel a faint push. That makes me laugh, and I feel your whole body tense at the mental sound.

You want to play, Lucas? I've trained for this. I've trained others for this. I'm the best there is. Do you really want to test me?

You're not real.

As real as this. I've had some time to dig around in your head, and I know just where to hit. I tug on a memory, your mother talking to your father.

"I know what you want, Larry, but what I want is for my son not to be a freak. Is that so much to ask?"


Or this.

Standing in your captain's cabin, learning the history of the man who calls himself the Regulator; a memory connected to a hundred other memories of how your peers shunned you, resented you, and you could understand why another genius might have gone off the deep end. You thought you'd come close a time or two yourself.

Stop it.

Or this.

Mycroft, his eyes lit with madness, his voice tinged with it.

"I'm not crazy!" You yank the earbuds out of your ears, stand up as though confronting someone as real as your roommate.

But I'm in here, Lucas. And you can hear me.

"You're not, you're not," you whisper. "You're dead."

Then you're crazy.


Either I'm in here and you're sane or I'm dead and you're crazy, Lucas. I laugh again. Or maybe I'm in here and you're still crazy. That's what genius is, isn't it? A kind of madness? You've always wondered.

"I'm not crazy."

Prove it, Lucas. Shut me up.

Your eyes fall on the earbuds, and I don't think I've laughed this much since I replaced my own blood with synthesized power.

You already know that won't work.

You pace for a moment, your thoughts churning so fast even I can't follow them. It's one of the reasons I'm pleased I ended up in your head. There's so much to keep my interest, so much to explore and appreciate. I doubt I would have held on like this for Tony or the Dagger.

All right, you think at last, if you are Clay Marshall, then that would mean you jumped into my consciousness before your body died. Somehow. Which is such a ridiculous theory I can't even--

I had to go deep for those numbers, Lucas. I hear a thought echoing, and I shake my head. You think you'd rather be crazy because there's a scientific basis for madness. There's a scientific basis for what I can do, Lucas. You researched enough of the Blue Moon project to know that.

"Reading minds is one thing, but jumping bodies?" You're so distressed you speak aloud again, and I hear the edge of hysteria in your voice. You hear it too, and I feel the tension in you coiling tighter.

I can read minds. I can tell them what to think. Science just hasn't caught up with what else I can do.

You think I certainly sound like myself, and I wish I still had true lips so I could kiss you. Not even Blue Moon ever made me this giddy.

You know there's something not right in your head, Lucas. You've known it for weeks. That's what's making you so tense. I feel your distress, taste my own pleasure, and twist the knife. That and Mommy Dearest. Would you really rather it was madness, or would you rather it was someone who understands you?

I'd rather it stop, you think before you can censor it. It's such a wistful thought, unexpectedly naive given the calculations still running in the mental space all around it. And more unexpectedly touching. I think I know now why your crewmates feel so protective of you.

I can do better than that, Lucas. There is a part of your mind I have not touched yet, the part that contains your awareness of yourself in your body. I haven't touched it because, to be honest, I'm not certain what that would do to either of us. When I had the operation that made me more than half machine, I made Laura bring in a non-psychic, and I experimented with shifting my consciousness into his mind. I didn't entirely succeed, but I did manage to trigger an interesting physical reaction when I touched this particular part of his psyche. It was something between a seizure and an orgasm, and I have always regretted that I didn't take the time to research that reaction further.

No time like the present, I suppose. I reach out with my consciousness, and lightly touch that part of you.

For a moment, I wonder if I've killed us. Every sense-memory I've explored flares up and I know you're reliving them all at once. Your body convulses. More than that, your mind does, and I feel a hard shove as though you're actually trying to dislodge me. Weeks ago, it might have worked, but now I'm too deeply entwined with your own thoughts and memories and brain processes. You'd have to hurt yourself to be rid of me, and it's in my best interests not to let that happen. So for a moment more I let your raw power tear at me, and then I reach out to touch it, too.

You flinch from my touch this time, and the power explodes outward. I can hear metal bending, paper ripping, and something strikes you. It's soft, but it breaks your concentration, and I have time to see the room through your eyes, looking worse than it did when I struck it. Then you go down, your own harsh gasps loud in your ears. You close your eyes, and I feel you start to shake.


No. The word echoes and builds in your head until I lose you to psychic exhaustion. And even then, it growls through your dreams.

I could try to take control now, but you've shaken me and I'm not sure I have the strength to hold out if you wake up and try to fight me again. So I sit, and I wait for your roommate to find us. You can declare you're not crazy, but I saw this room before your eyes closed and I know what it looks like. Without me out there, on a rampage, they'll have only you as a culprit, and no explanation.

Maybe Wendy will believe you, if you tell the truth. But probably not. She always did prefer her delusions, and I know she'll be happier if she can think I'm safely gone.

I toy with the thought of easing my way into your dreams, but my presence already permeates them enough to disturb you, and you need what little rest you can get. I wouldn't want this to end too soon, and it would if you're too exhausted to continue fighting. So I listen to the ambient noise in the room instead, the hum of the seaQuest's engines, the soft rush of water through the tubes your dolphin uses. The buzz of your computer, which somehow survived the outpouring of your fury, though I suspect your earbuds will never be the same.

And when I hear the sound of someone outside the hatch, I decide you've slept long enough.


Your whole body stiffens, and you have just enough time to open your eyes and take in the damage, just enough time to despair that this wasn't another dream, before Tony comes barging in the room.

"Hey, Luc, how's your--holy shit." He looks around the room, then down at you, still blinking sleep from your eyes on the floor. "What the hell happened? Are you all right?"

He moves to help you sit up, and you scramble away from his hands, pushing yourself upright and forcing yourself not to hang on to your own bunk for balance.

"I'm fine," you say, but there's no push behind your words anymore, and he doesn't believe you.

"What happened to the room, Lucas?"

You look around again, scrambling for a rational explanation. We both know there isn't one, though, and you finally have to mumble, "I don't know."

"What about what happened to you?"

You shake your head. "I was just...resting."

"I'm taking you to medbay."

He reaches for you and you push away. "Don't touch me!"

"Fine." He moves toward the commpad beside the hatch and opens a line.

"Tony, don't--" you start, but it's too late, he's already got someone on the other end, and he's requesting medical assistance in your room. I feel your anger and your desperation building. "I'm fine!"

"You are not fine, Lucas!" he shouts back, signing off and taking a few steps forward, but stopping well short of touching you. When he speaks again, his voice is softer. "You were on the floor, Lucas. Sleeping or unconscious, I don't know, but it's kinda weird. Not to mention our room is a mess, and you say you don't know how that happened."

Try telling him the truth, Lucas. He might even believe you. Of course, then they'll have to lock you up until they get me out of your head, since there's no telling what you'll do.

"Shut up!" you shout, and Tony shifts uncomfortably.

"It's okay, Lucas," he says, sounding completely unconvinced. "Just calm down."

"I am calm," you say, and wince as your attempt to push sets your head throbbing.

You wore yourself out, Lucas. I can show you how to avoid that.

Shut up. You manage not to say it aloud this time, but Tony is still watching you like you're a dangerous and unpredictable animal. He has no way of knowing you're more dangerous than that.

"I need to get out of here," you say, and move toward the hatch. Tony moves to cut you off, holding his hands up.

"Wendy's guys are going to be here in a minute, Lucas. You can leave with them. Just...take some deep breaths or something, okay?"

"Get out of my way, Tony," you say, trying to move around him. He moves with you, and you stop, clenching your fists. "Don't push me, Tony."

"I can't let you leave, Lucas. I'm sorry." He really does sound apologetic, but he looks determined.

Pity you wasted all your energy trying to force me out, I think, highly entertained. Otherwise, you could make him move.

Shut. Up.

You shove him, hard. He learned the last time, though, and while he staggers under your force, he's got your wrist in his hand and he's not letting go.

"Come on, Luc--" he starts to say, then loses his breath as you twist and drive your elbow into his solar plexus. That loosens his grip, and you jerk your wrist free, but he gets his arms around your waist and takes you to the floor before you manage to get more than one step up toward the hatch. You land on something hard, and I suspect it will leave a bruise, but you just twist again. I could have told Tony you know more about fighting than you ever let on, but I can't tell him what you'll do next. You're not even thinking now, not registering the sound of tearing paper under you, jagged edges that cut and the hard lumps that dig into your skin, everything running on an instinct to just get away.

An instinct that first put you on this boat, though not even your captain knows that.

Unfortunately, Tony is still both more solid and more practiced than you, and he manages to keep you on the floor, grappling with you amidst the wreckage, until Wendy and two of her staff open the hatch. Her eyes and mouth go wide in surprise as she glances around the room and then at you.

"Lucas!" she gasps, and Tony looks up.

"He wanted to leave the room, Doc." I hear your satisfied thought that at least he's breathing hard, but panic whites out satisfaction when he gasps, "I don't know if he's going to come willingly, guys."

You know what's coming before Wendy nods and pulls an injector out of her pocket. You struggle harder to get out from under Tony, to at least face this standing, but Wendy's men are there now, helping Tony hold you down, hold you still, and Wendy presses the sedative against your shoulder. There's the slightest sting, a touch of cold, and then your eyes fall shut as you slide away from me again.

This bout of unconsciousness is a little more interesting. There aren't your dreams to keep me entertained, but there's Tony asking if you'll be all right in a worried tone, Wendy doing a poor job to reassure him, and then a sense of vertigo as you're picked up and carried out of the room to the medbay. Wendy's still talking quietly to Tony, but just a little stretch shows that I can still read her easily, so I tune out her voice and focus on her thoughts.

She's terrified, of course, but what's surprising is how much of that is simple fear of you. Fear that you know her secret and that you might use it to get her off this boat, after this. I know some of your crewmates think she slept her way to this position, chief medical officer aboard the UEO flagship, but you know better. A psychic would never need to put herself in such a position, not when she can just plant the suggestion in the board's minds that she's the best person for the job, despite her lack of experience. You even thought it through far enough to wonder how much her degrees were earned.

We're going to be a force to be reckoned with, Lucas. Just as soon as you accept the inevitable.

I consider alerting her to my presence, just a taste to make her consider the implications of my mind and yours co-joined. I find myself strangely reluctant to do so, however. If she becomes too afraid, there's no telling what she'd do to you. To us. I don't want anyone in a position to stop us. I've had enough of being thwarted, and you need someone who understands you. Who will always put you first.

I'll put you first, Lucas. Such genius deserves to be appreciated.

We've stopped, and I feel them lowering you onto a bed. I hear Wendy considering restraints, and she finally, reluctantly orders them.

"Are those really necessary, Doc?"

"He fought you, Tony, and we don't know how he'll react once the sedative has worn off. They're just a precautionary measure, until I can be sure he won't try to hurt anyone, including himself." There's the rustle of fabric, the patter of footsteps as she moves around you on the bed, no doubt checking your vitals. I feel a faint pinch that must be the draw of blood. "Can you tell me what happened, Tony?"

"Well, Luc has been stressed since...you know. We all have. I thought he was doing okay, though, and I was keeping an eye on him like you and the Captain asked. Then I got off shift yesterday and when I got to our cabin, he was arguing with some woman on his comphone. He saw me, said, 'Goodbye,' really sharply, and disconnected while she was trying to talk to him." There's a pause, then, "I think maybe it was his mother."

"What makes you say that?"

"Well, he doesn't have pictures or nothing, but she looked like him."

"Could you tell what the argument was about?"

"I think she was asking him for something and he didn't like it, but he blew me off when I tried to get him to talk about it. He still seemed upset about it today, so I tried to get him to talk again, and we got into a bit of an argument."

"Was that when you called me?"

"Nah, this was a few hours ago. We were supposed to play poker with the guys, but he said to go without him, his head hurt."

"Did you?"

"Yeah." Tony sounds guilty now. "I thought it would give him a chance to cool down, you know? Only when I got back, he was laying on the floor like he'd passed out or something, and our room was a total wreck."

"I saw that. I can't imagine how Lucas could have done some of that damage."

"Me either, and when I asked him what had happened, he seemed really confused and scared. He said he didn't know. I asked him what he was doing on the floor, and he said he was just resting. That's when I figured maybe I should call you, to at least make sure he was okay and everything."

"Well, you did the right thing, Tony. We'll see what his bloodwork shows and I'll talk to him when he comes around. I also need to apprise the Captain of the situation." There's a pause while she moves around some more, then she says, "Why don't you get some sleep, Tony? I know you've got another shift in a few hours. You can stop by afterward and I'll let you know what's going on."

She doesn't ask Tony the question he expected her to ask, what set you off and caused you to attack after he called medbay. I feel his confusion over the omission, but he decides to bring it up when he returns later, after Wendy's had more time to monitor your condition.

"Yeah, okay." His answer reflects his reluctance to leave you in this state, but I feel him clasp your shoulder as he whispers, "Hang in there, buddy," and then I hear his footsteps retreating.

Wendy lingers a few minutes longer, and then she, too, indulges in the urge to touch you. There's no way she can not feel me in that moment, and I hear her sharply indrawn breath as she pulls back. I wait for the realization to become conscious. I wait for her touch to come again, to confirm her fear. I wait for the confirmation and the burst of thought that will lead to action, action that will destroy us both.

I wait a long time, feeling her attention so heavy on us. And then she turns and walks away.

I told you, Lucas, and when you wake up, I'll tell you again. Wendy will leave you to me to preserve this life she's so carefully made for herself. She won't help you. Nobody will help you.

But you don't really need anyone to help you, Lucas. I'm not trying to kill you, after all. Not even trying to hurt you. I just want you to fulfill your own potential.

I just want the world to know what genius can do, when it's given what it needs.

I'm back to listening to ambient noise again. There is no water rushing through a tube, and the engines are much quieter, but there are footsteps and muffled voices, fabric rustling and machines beeping and hatches opening and closing. I miss your dreams, your defiance and your awareness, but I don't have long to miss them before heavier footsteps are thumping toward you, and again someone is touching you, squeezing your shoulder.

"Lucas," your captain breathes, and then he's turning toward someone. "What happened? Why have you got him tied down?"

At his voice, something in you stirs, and I turn my attention inward to pinpoint it. I hear Wendy recounting Tony's tale, your captain asking more questions, and every time he speaks, I feel the movement again. You're fighting Wendy's sedative. Your body will still feel the effects, but you're shaking your mind free, trying to reach out for a connection...you've made before.

Well, now, that is unexpected. Even more so that I never encountered it among your memories. What else have you been hiding from me, Lucas?

Not that it matters at the moment. I can't quite get hold of the part of you that's reaching for your captain, but I can grab hold of your memories and turn them up. Lights and voices, echoing through your brain, and for a moment there's a flicker of movement in here like a ghost. Intrigued, I raise the stakes, and it's more than a flicker, it's an image of you flinching back from the attack of your own mind, disconnecting, insofar as you're able.

Now we're getting somewhere.

I move toward the image, but before I can touch you, you fade away again, and I feel you reaching determinedly to dampen your own thoughts back to a tolerable level. That's better, your focus should be inward, on us. On me.

I'll turn it all down for you, Lucas, let the memories fade, if you promise not to do that again.

You ignore me and keep reaching, but I hold on to those memories, and as long as you won't touch me, you can't touch them.

There's a skill to reversing what I've done, Lucas. A skill you don't have yet, and I won't let you burn out your own mind trying to learn.

So you'd rather drive me crazy by assaulting me with my own thoughts?

You'll get tired and be forced to give up before that happens. I know how the mind works, Lucas. I know how your mind works.

Your frustration and fear shiver through this dark space, and once more you haunt the edges of my vision. More and more, you are separating from your own body. More and more, you're making our eventual integration possible.

I'm not a patient man, so it's just as well.

I won't give up until you're gone.

I believe you don't want to give up. I grin, following the faint trace of you like foxfire. But even your stubbornness only goes so far.

I don't need to hold up the memory of sifting through your brain looking for the numbers of a code, it rises on its own for us both to witness. I've seen it in your nightmares in the weeks since I died, but it's interesting to watch your reaction to it, your projection of yourself solidifying as you draw away from the pain. Normally, you would try to wake up, but Wendy's drug hasn't done you any favors, and you're being forced further inward.

You still won't look at me, though. You still won't ask me what I want.

This is a nightmare, you think, very softly, but I hear it and answer.

You know it's not. Now promise not to reach for your captain. It hurts, doesn't it, the light, the noise? It's already wearing you down. I can make it stop, Lucas. I can make all of your pain stop.

Death would make my pain stop. I'm not making promises to nightmares.

With that, your image suddenly winks out, and I feel you gathering yourself for a mighty effort.

I warned you, Lucas.

I can enflame the entirety of your memory, but I suspect that really would do a significant amount of damage, so I content myself with taking just a few more memories and adding them to those already screaming in the forefront of your mind. You come back into focus, on your knees, hands clapped over your ears, eyes squeezed shut, and your chest is heaving as though you believe you can actually breathe in here.

Lucas, I say, and move to brush your hand with my fingertips. I can only get close before something knocks me away however, slamming me onto my back and leaving me stunned for a few moments. When I manage to move up onto my elbows, you are nowhere in sight, and your mind feels groggily awake.

"Cap'n...," you slur, and I realize our sparring must have loosened the drug's hold further.

"Lucas?" Your captain takes your hand, and as you blink blearily up into his face, I see his worry. Wendy leans into your line of vision.

"How are you feeling?"

I almost laugh as you turn away from her, her and her betrayal. "I'm...tired," you manage, then take a breath and get out, "but I'm not crazy."

"We know, sweetie," Wendy says, and you roll your head to glare at her, rage bubbling like lava all around me.

"Don't...call me that." Your voice is weak, but your tone is harsh. "Only...Kristin...."

"Hey, take it easy, kiddo." You turn your head again at the Captain's voice, and his frown is a little reproachful. "Wendy's only trying to help."

No, she's not, you think, and despite my best efforts I think perhaps the Captain heard that by the way his face changes.

"Tell me what happened, Lucas," he whispers, but Wendy interrupts.

"Captain, we really shouldn't be taxing his strength just yet. Let him wake up a bit more, then ask."

The Captain turns his frown on her. I know he wants to ask her why she doesn't just read your mind to find out the truth, but he suspects such a question would upset both you and her. So instead he says, "Fine. I'll find out if Commander Ford needs me for anything on the bridge, then I'll stay here until he's awake enough to talk."

"Captain--" Wendy begins to object, but she breaks off as you try to move. Your fear spikes when you find you can't, and you look down to see the restraints for the first time. You make a low, broken sound at that, and look up at your captain once more.

"Why 'm I--"

Wendy starts to speak again, but the Captain overrides her, leaning in closer.

"Tony says you attacked him, Lucas. Don't you remember?"

"No." You shake your head. "I...wanted out. He...."

"He was in the way," your captain says, and I don't think your feeling of relief and gratitude could be greater if he had opened up your head and pulled me out.


"Lucas, do you remember what happened to your room?"

You don't answer this question quite as quickly, and it's my turn to speak once again.

What are you going to tell him, Lucas? The truth? Wendy won't confirm it, you know that, but maybe he'll believe you anyway. Maybe we can give him a demonstration.

Your mind and body both flinch away from the memory, and for a moment you're before me again, shaking your head. "No."


Why not? He might get banged up a little, but there's no question he'd believe you.

You swallow, and I continue, feeling your realization of the position you're in. Or I could let you just tell him that I'm in your head. What do you think he'd do, Lucas? How do you think he'd react to that?

He'd help me get you out.

What makes you think that's even possible now? I've been in here for weeks.

"Lucas," your captain says, eyes and voice soft, "do you remember what happened?"

If you can't.... He'd do what needed to be done.

Kill you, you mean. You flinch again, and I laugh. Then I'd just hop to the next available head. It probably wouldn't hold as much potential, but I've learned to be adaptable.

If you're so integrated with me we can't get you out, you'd be too integrated to leave if I died. There's distance in the thought, logic your double-edged weapon. But we're in my area of genius, not yours.

They'd try other avenues before resorting to that. I'd have time to pull away, but you'd be too weak to take advantage of it. You'd be reduced to a vegetable, and for what purpose? So that I could make myself at home in a crewmate's head? Shall I allow you to choose my new host, Lucas? Or should I leave it as a surprise?

"No," you whisper, and you turn your face away from your captain, defeat suddenly exhausting you. You close your eyes to keep the tears from escaping, but I can almost taste them on this side of your lids. "No, I don't remember."

"Lucas," your captain says again, but you interrupt whatever would have come next.

"I'm tired, Captain. I'm just...tired."

"All right, kiddo," your captain says, his voice hoarse. "I'll let you rest, and we'll see if you remember anything later."

I'm not giving up on you, he thinks, and the physical contact makes the thought loud. It has no visible effect on the image of you, though, and I feel you pull away from him. Protecting him.

Not much longer now, I think, and I smile.

I expect him to leave, but a moment later there's the sound of a chair scraping across the floor. I can feel Wendy's displeasure, but she says nothing. Your captain is suspicious of her, thanks to you, and she won't push him now.

Not that his nearness nor his suspicion do you any good, but I suppose they make him feel better.

Your crying stops quickly, for which I'm glad. I don't mean to distress you. I still have hope of an alliance, once you've come to accept the way things are. Even so, when you grow despondent enough to once more consider trying to reach your captain, I blast your memories as loudly as when you actually did try. Just to remind you of the damage I could do...to anyone.

You're too worn down not to react to the stimulus physically, and Wendy comes back to give you another injection at your captain's reluctant acquiescence. This one is only meant to calm you, not knock you out, and your physical body grows heavy and lax in the restraints. Your mental image solidifies, rocking in the midst of thoughts on fire. You flinch from the light, from the voices of your own memories, and this time when I come to you, you let me touch you, let me brush the hair from your face and stroke your cheek.

I can make it better, Lucas. I can hold you curled up in my arms, sweet, brilliant child. I can darken every light, every dream of light, and silence every voice with a single breath. I can let you rest for a while, and rouse you with softer things than injections or sickroom whispers.

All you have to do is let go, Lucas. All you have to do is let me have control.

All you have to do is close your eyes, and look at me.

Look at me, Lucas.

You stop whispering to laugh, and then you start crying again.

I don't have eyes inside my head, you say on barely a breath, but you do it. You close your eyes.

And look at me.

Oh, god.

No, Lucas. It's just me.

Just us, I say, and pull you from the edge.


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