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Author's Note: Part 3/4 in the Undaunted Series. Max POV.
Feedback: Always welcome!
I sit here on the chair watching Tess sleep. It's been over a month since she lost the baby. At least I think it's been a month; I have no true sense of time here, only the brightening and dimming of the lights and the scratches I've made on the wall. There are thirty scratches in the section I started when they moved me here into Tess's room. So I'm going with a month. If Liz were here she would've figured out how to tell time. Liz. I can't allow myself to think about her. If I do, I might fall back into the morass of fear and pain deep in my head. It's always there, threatening to overwhelm me again.
I didn't feel fear when we entered the granilith chamber. Trepidation, maybe. Curiosity, definitely. But not fear. Not then. Pain I felt in abundance that night. Leaving my friends and family in Roswell was the hardest thing I had ever done. The good-byes to Mom and Dad, to Liz, nearly ripped me apart. So I said it in German. Auf wiedersehen. Until I see you again. I was sure it wasn't for good, that our departure wasn't permanent.
Tess murmurs in her sleep and my attention turns back to her. As I watch, she rolls onto her stomach, no longer curled into a protective ball. She'll let me touch her now, soothe her when the grief and sorrow are too much. She doesn't really talk though, just a word here and there. But I think she's coming out of her depression. Slowly, but she's coming out of it. I think helping her has helped me.
When we first arrived here, in the flash of light, I thought everything was going to be okay. There was nothing to fear; we were home. I was wrong. We were taken away under armed guard, separated from each other. And that's when I started to fall apart. I was taken to a room, a stark white room, just like I had been once before. They didn't torture me, at least not the way Pierce had, but my system wasn't ready to take that chance. My mind shut down; I became a robot.
I never thought about it before, but I don't deal well being alone. By myself. I had always had Isabel; we were inseparable. And then we found Michael again. It became the three of us against the world. Then, after the shooting, Liz became part of my life. I had always had someone. Had Pierce not captured me, tortured me, I might have survived solitary confinement, though I'm not sure. But with the memories of my imprisonment by the FBI still raw, I didn't have a chance.
I can't recall those early months here very clearly. I saw no one except the white-clad figures who entered and left my room as they pleased. I know I was poked and prodded. Tested innumerable times. In rare moments of awareness, I wondered about Isabel, Michael and Tess. Hoped they were being treated better than I was. And then they brought me Tess.
I look at Tess again. My heart aches, and I feel a need to apologize for what I've done to her. If I had resisted our captors demands, things might have been different. Or they might not have. But I'll never know for sure.
My body reacted like any young male body would when presented with a nubile female. I did as they instructed. Not exactly willingly, not exactly consciously, but I did it. I followed orders like a good little peasant, not the king I was bred to be.
No wonder the original Zan was killed, if he was as weak as I am. No wonder we were captured upon arrival instead of feted. I spring from my chair, too agitated to sit calmly any longer. I'm the King , dammit! I should be protecting my people, not hurting them. I think it was seeing Tess's pain which forced that message home. Her pain pulled me out of my own, lifted the haze I lived in for so long.
Ever since I found out about my destiny, I've had difficulties shouldering that responsibility. I was a better leader before that role was thrust upon me. That has to change. I'm unwilling to remain in this room and risk hurting Tess again. Unwilling to live without knowing what has happened to Isabel and Michael. Most of all I'm unwilling to put myself at the mercy of my fear again.
We can't stay here any longer. I won't.
Continue to Undone (part 4)
Back to Untouchable (part 2)
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