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Aberrant: 200X - Visiting the Sick [Mature]P


Mr Fox

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The flight hadn't been the most pleasant, but he'd discovered something new about being a nova. When he ran into a nasty rainstorm over northern New Mexico, he had the choice of landing and finding shelter or climbing above the clouds. Jael needed him so the only option was up. In the process he knew he was flying too high, but other than the extremely cold wind he wasn't bothered by it. He didn't think much of it at the time, but after a few minutes he realized he wasn't breathing anymore. That caused a few seconds of panic until he clued in to the fact that he wasn't feeling any physical need for breath, his own quantum energy was apparently sustaining him just fine. That was damned handy. After that he headed even higher until the sky turned from blue to black. He knew from watching a Discovery special on Spaceship One, the first private vehicle to reach space, that they called it Black Sky because it was technically the edge of space. If it weren't so damned cold it would have been cool. Not that the cold was hurting him, it was just uncomfortable, really teeth chatteringly uncomfortable. Other than that the flight went pretty well.

Once he reached the hospital he had some difficulty in getting past the nurses to visit Jael, but finally the bossy nurse that was making the fuss got distracted by some emergency with another patient and Daniel slipped down the hall and into the room with a quiet knock. It was early evening by that point so he wasn't surprised that there wasn't any other visitors.

He smiled at her and said, "Hey. Didn't we just do this two weeks ago?" He grinned bigger, "Copycat!" After waiting a minute to give Jael the chance to indicate that she didn't want company, he took the lack of a dismissal as an invitation and walked over to a chair. "How ya feeling?"

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"Awful," Jael said, but she was smiling. "It's better than it was, though. How was your flight?"

He'd been somewhere interesting; he smelled of fresh, cold air, as if the skies themselves had scrubbed him clean without a drop of water. The scent of fresh rain hung around him, while touches of ozone teased her nose. He smelled like a god of the sky must - open air and clarity.

He looks good, Jael thought, his presence drawing forth memories of good times. She relaxed into the bed, the ache from her jaw a soft, constant pressure. It made the weirdness she felt from him seem less grating. In the back of her mind, Charles hovered, jealously watching them. He could do something right now, but he was afraid, and Jael felt a little bad. I love you, you know, she thought to him, trying to comfort him. It didn't work, much.

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Daniel could sense that she was in a pretty good mood. Stable. That was good. After the fly-in he had been seriously worrying for her, especially after he'd heard about her boyfriend's suicide. He might just wait to she that she was really doing ok before bringing that up.

Smiling he said, "It was a good flight mostly. Got rained on over New Mexico but I climbed above it. Way above it. Apparently, I don't need to breath..." He laughed, then continued, "Scared me for a minute there, when I realized there wasn't enough air to breath. Think I'll avoid that on the way home. It's just too cold to enjoy it. I think I'll see about getting some protective gear and see just how high I can go sometime soon." He looked a little more seriously, "I didn't even realize you were in the hospital until I read that comment on the board earlier. Other than the jaw are you ok?" He hesitated a second then added, "So how did it happen or is that too personal to ask?"

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"Wow," Jael said, shaking her head in surprise. "You don't need to breathe?" That sent her mind interesting places, and Charles roiled in her mind, pissed. I'm sorry, Jael whimpered, trying to keep her face straight. "That means... you could go into space. That would be cool."

Other than the jaw, she had a bruised wrist from her encounter with Reynold, as well as freeze-burn. It had been fun trying to explain that to the nurses and hadn't gone all that well, which had made them cranky. For some reason, her story about getting up in the night and slipping on the bathroom tile hadn't pleased them. Jael couldn't wait until her parents found out about her mysterious injuries; their reactions should make the nurses look like Pollyanna's.

"I'm ok," she said, debating how much to tell him. "I don't know what I can tell you, since it's an on-going thing. You know. That the police are, um, investigating." Jesus, Jael, she snarked to herself, that was wretched. Maybe, it was because she wanted to talk to someone, and Daniel was a very nice someone. "In fact, I go home tomorrow," she added, "though I'm on a soft food diet for another two weeks and I have to be careful about how wide I open my jaw for another four."

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Daniel flinched at the list of restrictions. "Damn, I didn't realize just how lucky I was that the nova healing thing kicked in for me. I'm still a little sore when I do certain things after three weeks, but I was mobile and most of the bad stuff was ok only a week after the beating I took." He looked at her sympathy and concern in his face, "If there's anything I can get for you, let me know. I'll smuggle you in some custard or ice cream or something if you want, maybe some soft chocolate."

While she had been speaking and had mentioned him not being able to breath, she had started to feel something familiar and pleasant, he would almost have said lust, and immediately it had gone to fear and regret or something like that. Dang this ability to read emotions is going to take getting used to. I guess she just felt bad about starting to think something naughty about me holding my breath then thought of Jimmy. I guess that would mess me up too. That had felt a lot like fear there for a second though, more than guilt. Weird.

Changing back to the previous subject he added, "Yeah, I really want to try out the whole space thing but I want to get something warm to wear, or at least some protection from exposure for the sake of comfort. I thought I was going to chip a tooth, my teeth were chattering so hard on the way here. Of course, I was wet at the time so that didn't help." He smiled again.

Fear and guilt mixed, maybe Jimmy wasn't dead, maybe he erupted and then did this to her, maybe that's why she wasn't willing to talk, or maybe it was that Krusuo or whatever his name was.

What he said aloud was, "Yeah, you don't have to tell me about the injuries. I wouldn't want to mess up any investigation, but you know I'm around if you need to talk to someone... you know, as a friend. Speaking of friendship, one of the reasons I came out was to say how sorry I was to hear about your boyfriend. I know that's probably not the subject you want to even think about, but I just wanted you to know that you have my condolences. When Alice was about to be raped, I realized just how much she meant to me even though, I no longer really wanted a relationship with her. The idea of her being hurt gave me the strength to do what I had to do to save us both." Good job idiot, you are here to cheer her up, I'm sure that's gonna make her happy to hear. After dropping that conversation bomb, he just sat there hoping she wouldn't throw him out of the room, but it was something he had come here to say even if it had sounded better in his head.

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"Actually, those are over-estimates," Jael admitted, "given how fast I've healed already. Even the doctors admit that. But they'd rather me take if careful instead of hurting myself again. And if I mess it up too bad, I could end up needing oral surgery to repair the damage." Fucking Vile Bill. "So I'm going to be a good patient and do as I'm told."

Jael listened to Daniel talk, and she was clearly envious, both based on her expression and the impressions her emotions were making. "Wet? Oh, the storm," she said, rolling her eyes at herself. "Duh. Yeah." She shivered a little bit, thinking of how cold that must have been, and rubbed her hands over the bandaged burn on the back of her hand from Reynold's frozen wasteland. "Still, you're very lucky - lots of people would love that ability. It'd be cool to see space - so wide and open, so sterile and clean, ya know?"

Surprisingly, she wasn't upset by the change of topics, not even the mention of Jimmy. It was like she didn't feel anything about his death. But the discussion of Alice's rescue made her smile. "I'm so glad you were able to do that," she said, nodding carefully. "Alice may not have been the nicest woman in the world, but she didn't deserve that, and you certainly didn't deserve to get nearly killed. I, uh... should have told you that before."

Charles retained complete control over Jael, but there were times that she was able to sneak past his vigiliance to do something he wasn't prepared for. He was able to cut off most of her considered actions, but for those truly impulsive actions, he wasn't given the chance to stop her. It didn't happen often, but it did happen, and today, Jael snuck one by him.

"Daniel, speaking of sorries, I'm sorry about my actions in Cleveland," she said, playing with her shortened hair. "I don't remember much of it, but... if I acted like Britney after a night out with Lindsey, I'm sorry."

Jael had been trying to be nice, but Charles lashed out at her. He'd been increasingly intemperate lately, more prone to hurting her. He loved her, and he was sorry when he hurt her, but that didn't matter right know, when he lashed her mind with pain. Swallowing, Jael choked back a reaction - she was getting more and more practice with that - and smiled weakly at Daniel.

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He was about to say more about flying and space and how he'd like to visit the moon, when he realized she felt nothing about her dead boyfriend at all. Weird again. I guess it wasn't him that did this to her after all. But, nothing?!? Damn, that's cold.

Then she went and apologized about the fly-in; Daniel was touched by the remarks. It was nice to have girls show him consideration. He could get used to that. Her emotions were normal while she said it. Were all girls this complicated, or was it just Jael? She must be putting on a brave face about the pain though, he could feel her sudden spike of pain and asked, "Is there anything I can get you? Do you need a nurse?"

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*Fuck,* Charles raged in her mind, his anger at her forgotten for a moment. Instead, fear poured into her mind, almost making her sick as Charles' terror overwhelmed her emotions for a moment. *What is he? Perceptive? An empath?*

I don't know! Jael answered quickly.

*I can't be here,* Charles muttered and she felt him start to pull back from her mind. As always, she felt that numb tireness sweep back in on the heels of his departure, as he withdrew the mental upper that he'd been feeding her. *Get rid of him without causing suspiscion,* he ordered, and then she couldn't feel him at all anymore.

Daniel was waiting for her to reply to him. Returning the smile to her face, she shook her head. "No, it's nothing to worry anyone else about." She lightly touched her jaw, which was slightly swollen even now. "They've given me what pain medicine they can, so I just have to wait to heal. Just so you know, having a broken jaw sucks. I highly recommend that you don't repeat my performance."

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Jael just went off the charts as he asked his concerned question. First anger then big time fear, then nothing. Ok, that was not normal, and not what she should have felt at my question. Something strange is going on here.

Looking even more concerned he said, "I'll keep that in mind. Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that you couldn't handle the pain or anything, I know you are tough, it's just that you had this look on your face a second ago... looked like you might have moved your jaw wrong or something." He was pretty sure she wasn't afraid of him, but of his question. Could she have a split personality or something?

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Jael sighed and gave him her best smile, which was drooping around the corners. Very intentally, she subtly pushed her thumb into the back of her hand, welcoming the throb of pain. It cleared the emotional mess in her mind and let her distance herself from it at the same time. "I'm just over-tired," she admitted. "I hate being cooped up here, waited on by bitchy nurses, poked by doctors and having my parents quietly freaked out. Then there's the police, and the pain... I'm really frazzled. Plus... you know. Slider."

Jael leaned over and reached behind a plant, pulling out her agate bust. She turned it on the table so that Daniel could see and said, "I did this the night she died. I just... it was very weird. I'm not sure what to do with it, because it's creeping me out now. That's why I hid it." It's like it knows me, Jael thought, repressing a shiver.

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This was more like it. Human responses, human emotions, normal fears and such, but what came before was definitely not normal. He didn't want to get in the middle of something unpleasant that wasn't his business, but he was concerned for Jael and couldn't just let it drop. He would have to keep a watch and see what he could figure out.

He looked closely at the bust. "Wow, that's really pretty good. If you ever give up on the law enforcement thing you could go into art." He smiled sadly, "It does suck about Slider though, she was one of my favorites."

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"Yeah," Jael sighed, running a finger down the back of her statue. "And to find out that Corbin might be guilty? I wanted to marry him, until I found out about the porn thing. Even then, I still had a thought of rescuing him from his bad boy ways." That sounded right, like something Jael had heard other girls say.

"Do you really think it's good?" Carver asked, turning it around. She stared at the little bust, turning her head this way and that. "I just did it because..." She trailed off, not sure how to say that she understood where to cut and what to leave. "I was just playing around."

She glanced at Daniel, and with Charles gone, she once again allowed herself to notice how well he was put together, how handsome he was. "How are you, other than Slider and hospitals?"

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The first part of what Jael said was just wrong. There was no emotion behind it, or what little was there didn't matched the words. The second part was something he understood though. He smiled.

"I understand, I think I do at least. I'm not so good with my hands, but if I were..." He trailed off leaving the rest unsaid.

When he started talking again it was with a bit of weariness, "I'm doing pretty good actually, but really busy. I decided to finish high school and graduate at the end of the month. I've been so bored in school all year the biggest challenge has been to pretend to being normal. This way I can get on with my life. I'm gonna start in the fall working on a business degree, while trying to get a music career going." He smiled and a little excitement showed through the tiredness, "Oh, I haven't told you, I am gonna open for Praxis at a children's hospital benefit thing that Alexis set up. I'm hoping some of the industry bigshots will see it and pick me up. I think there's actually a pretty good chance of it happening."

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"Praxis? Wow, that's big-time!" Jael said, looking excited. She grinned and added, "I'll be your first fan, I promise. Is Alexis... is that that snooty Alexis Layton? Why is she helping set this up?" While the words were harsh, they weren't stated with much venom.

"And in the meantime, where are you going for your degree? Lots of colleges offer business degrees, so I imagine you can go pretty much anywhere." She giggled a little. "Wouldn't it be funny if we were at the same college?"

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Daniel grinned. "Cool, I've got my first fan and she hasn't even heard my music yet! You'll so be a groupie once you see me perform." He gave her a wink and laughed. "As long as you don't see me and Praxis perform together that is. Don't really know if I like him, but I have to admit he's really good. Yeah, Alexis Layton, she offered to make some contacts for me as well. She's actually pretty nice, or at least she was to me. I got to fly to New York with her after the Fly-in and chat with her for a while. I think she's just like anyone else; wearing a mask that she tries to make the world believe. Of course we all do, we just wear them for different reasons."

He thought for a minute then asnwered her second question, "No idea yet where I will get the degree, maybe even online. I don't want the degree to show off a piece of paper in a job interview. I want it for the knowledge. If I do make it in music, I don't want to be one of those washed up old has-beens coming out of retirement to do another tour so they don't end up living in a trailer park." He became ernest, "As a nova, if I don't end up making a very comfortable living I'd be pretty sad, and I want to know what I'm doing with the money once I have it."

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"I've seen videos of his performance," Jael admitted. "If he's as good in person... I don't know if I could handle it." Thoughts of the tall performer filled her with desire and confusion, but she pushed them both away. "So Alexis Layton is a real person?" she asked rhetorically. "Good to know."

At Daniel's concerns about college and money, Jael laughed and waved them away. "It's pretty much impossible to not make money as a nova - you have to try at it, like Odysseus. You'll do fine. Anyway, I don't think they allow novoxs to retire to trailer parks. There's like a law against it or something."

So much had been covered. Jael was glad for it, to be honest. It felt good to clear the air between them. She'd sensed that he'd been hurt in Cleveland, despite their being no promises between them. She sat up and waved him toward her. "Hey, c'mere. I wanna give you a hug, ok?"

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He sensed the truth of Jael's words about Praxis and felt a little twinge inside and said, "Yeah, that's why I don't know if I can ever really like the guy. He has that effect on women even when he's not trying and when he is... well, it's like watching a redneck fish with dynamite. He doesn't play fair, and he uses his gifts to get what he wants regardless of what the woman wants." He frowned and added, "Not saying that he does anything against anyones will, it just seems that they want what they wouldn't have wanted if he wasn't doing his mojo thing." He laughed it off and smiled back at Jael. A hug was a nice idea, and he was happy she'd asked.

This was more like it. Jael the real person, the one he'd met. He walked over to her with a smile and leaned in for a hug careful not to hurt her and let her do the hugging, but giving what warmth and comfort he could. There was a part of him watching though and noting all her emotional shifts. As he enjoyed the hug he had to remind himself that Jael was dangerous and had claws that had de-boned a man, in a way that made men everywhere cringe inside. On the other hand she was his friend and he would be there for her if he could.

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The comment about Praxis made Jael giggle, because she immediately pictured the singer lobbing sticks of dynamite - labeled "Quantum Shininess," of course - into the audience. When they went off, they pitched women out of the crowd and into his arms, where he proceeded to ravish them in the most imaginative ways possible before throwing them back. What she didn't know was that she was picturing him ravishing them in much the way that seen Kazuo behave, and probably not like Praxis himself would. Not that the basics were the same, but the devil is in the details.

Then Daniel was there, next to her and she was reaching for him, a little smile on her face. Jael buried her head into his shoulder and sighed deeply, wrapping her arms around his chest. This is what she needed - a friend hugging her. Shelly hadn't been around because her family had gone to Slider's memorial service in Mexico City. Not the funeral, but the public viewing of the funeral via satellite. So friends, real friends, had been in short supply.

But Daniel wasn't just a friend either, as much as Jael was trying to remember that she had a boyfriend who she loved very much. She couldn't put that flight out of her mind, when she'd kissed him, and gotten in trouble because she'd compared him to Charles. And as much as she wanted to, she couldn't help but wonder how he would compare in other ways.

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Daniel enjoyed the hug and didn't feel any of the strange emotional ups and downs that Jael had been prone to. It was good. He did feel one particular emotion rise just a bit though and thought that if he were Praxis he'd nudge that feeling up and cause it to grow until he got what he wanted. That just wasn't Daniel though. He still wanted Jael and wouldn't mind the risk she represented, but he wanted her without any of the tricks that Praxis would use. She would have to come to him when she was ready. Who knows, maybe she will throw herself at me after seeing me perform someday. He couldn't help but chuckle quietly as the hug ended. He leaned back and smiled and sat on the edge of the bed where he could remain close and hold her hand. As he offered his hand to her he couldn't help thinking about the claws and wondering what they were like. They looked perfectly normal and soft like any other girls.

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Jael felt better. It wasn't in any real concrete way, but it was the good that she felt when she knew people liked her. It didn't matter if they didn't, but it was still nice when they did like her.

Smiling, she watched Daniel, wondering in an idle way what it would be like to be with him instead of Charles. The answer was a bit distressing; Jael honestly didn't know. It was as if having the relationship she had with Charles wouldn't work with anyone else. It reinforced her sense that what she had with Charles was special, but it was also disconcerting.

Jael had no belief, at this point in her life, that she'd be with one person for the rest of her life. Charles was what she needed right now, and he hadn't realized that she didn't view them as a forever match, that she thought this would pass. She was eighteen, and to imagine being with the first guy to sleep with her - that she remembered sleeping with her - was unthinkable.

These thoughts allowed her some room to think about something else later, and so she approached the subject with the casual, sauve manner of a teenage girl. "So, are you and Alice together now? I remembered that you guys were reconciled."

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Daniel actually blushed catching the meaning behind the question. "Um, yes and no. We're together, but I told her it was only until the end of the school year. After graduation, I'm leaving and she'll still be in high school for another year, and I'm not going to try and have a long distance relationship when I know I'm not going to be faithful." He chuckled, "That sounds pretty arrogant doesn't it? Even if I weren't a nova though, I'm sure college and being a musician would be getting me opportunities, and I just can't see trying to hang onto something that I know isn't going to go anywhere." He sat back and looked at her, and just held her hand thinking about his future and what he hoped it would be like.

"What about you? Do you graduate this month, or do you have another year left? I'm sorry, I know you are 17, but I never asked if were a Senior or a Junior. I'm sixteen, but I was a sophomore because of when my birthday fell. I'll actually be 17 in a couple months. If it had fallen a month earlier I would have started school a year earlier and have been a junior this year."

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"I graduate, though I'm eighteen now. In fact, it was only a few days after Cleveland," Jael admitted, smiling. "I got pushed into school a little early because the anticipated class behind me was huge, and I did well enough that they didn't hold me back later.

"Actually, I'm touring colleges this summer," Jael added. "I've gotten some new offers now that I'm a nova, and some of them are pretty good. Some... not so good. But I think that I could go almost anywhere, if I were willing to be flexible on my degree. Where do you want to go? What part of the country, I mean?"

"That's an interesting relationship," Jael said, tilting her head to one side. "And she's ok with that? With only having you so long as you are around, and to just let you go later?" Her thumb rubbed idly over the back of his hand, an unconscious movement. "If you were mine, I don't know if I could do that." Her blue eyes looked on his green ones. "Have you knowing that I couldn't have you later." She broke the tension with a sudden chuckle. "Of course, you may end up with a stalker because of that. Would you like that? A woman hunting after you, lying in wait for you so that they could pin you to the ground and bend you to their will? Or would you like to do the hunting?"

There was little doubt to the empath that the idea of hunting excited Jael quite a bit.

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"Alice accepted it and is taking what she can get. Plus, it's not like she will be getting totally screwed over. She's already used it to move up socially. By next year she will rule the school and that appeals to her almost as much as actually having me." There was just the slightest emphasis on the word 'screwed' that hinted Alice might be getting used in ways that weren't entirely negative.

Daniel's internal alarms were going off and he had to remind himself that Jael was dangerous. This talk of stalking and hunting was just a bit creepy even if he didn't suspect her of being 'Sybil'. On the other hand it was obviously exciting her and there was still a part of him that wanted her. He settled for saying, "I'm not prey." There was a strength in him that seemed to say he wouldn't stand for being hunted, and would stand his ground against any that would attack. He could practically taste her excitement though and it touched off a reaction in him.

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"Clearly, her priorities are messed up," Jael muttered, smirking a little in amusement at the thought of anyone thinking social status mattered. "High school is so small - ruling it is like being the ruler of the subjects of your toybox. Empty. Meaningless."

Whatever reaction she set off in him was answered by her - she never could pass up a good hunt. And declaring that he was wasn't prey was practically asking her to prove to him that he was. A shiver passed through her, and the grip on his hand tightened. "So you're a hunter, then?" she asked, her voice softer but edged with a hint of the violence she carried within her. "Are you sure about that? That'd be a heck of a thing to be wrong about, to think you're the one capturing and taking, only to learn you the one getting taken."

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Daniel's grip tightened in response matching pressure for pressure. "Sure would." Daniel didn't have to be a horny teenager to be caught up in this conversation. Thoughts of claws were still in his mind, but that wasn't the brain doing the thinking right now, and somewhere along the way his sense of her emotions became tied with them. As her lust rose, so did his and was creating a feedback loop, the one feeding the other and so on. If he had known he was actually feeding her emotion he wouldn't have stopped in that moment. Not releasing her hand he pulled her forward and into his arms. He did retain enough sense to avoid her face and jaw and instead bit her neck, not thinking, just reacting.

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The bite in her neck pulled a growl out of her throat, bestial and sharp. One hand grabbed his hair roughly, tugging his head to the side so that she could nip at his jaw. Her own ached in response, but she ignored it as she picked up where they'd left off so many night ago in Texas.

With her other hand, she grabbed the front of his shirt, pulling him down as she laid back in the bed. As soon as her legs were out from underneath her body, she hooked one around him and moved the other off the bed. Pulling with her arm and her leg, she drew him on top of her.

For a moment, one moment, thoughts of Charles - that she was cheating on him - crossed her mind, but it was buried under another wave of lust. She might have had a chance, had not her mental fortitude long been worn away by her keeper. Had Charles been here, to fight against what was happening, she would have had a chance. But mentally and emotionally, Jael was a wreck and went where she was pushed by others. And right now, Daniel was pushing her where she'd wanted to go anyway.

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A low rumbling growl echoed Jael's. Like two wolves they twined with each other, biting and nipping neither wanting to allow the other dominance. They were wearing too many clothes and Daniel wasn't going to wait long, but he had just enough presence of mind to realize that if they stayed here a nurse would arrive on her rounds and interrupt was was sure to be a memorable encounter. Looking around quickly trying to decide what to do he spied the window and smiled a mischievous smile. Pushing quantum in to his body and out into Jael's they were suddenly lifting off the bed and floating across the room. Still growling and wrapping one arm around her waist he opened the window with the other hand and shoved it wide. After that several minutes of rapid flight over the crisp Phoenix night Daniel found what he was half seeking; a hill with no lights and no obvious witnesses. That's when he decided the clothes could go. Not bothering to land he separated enough to pull his jacket off and let it fall the twenty or so feet to the ground. Instead of pulling her close again he just looked at her and smiled a wolf's smile, and said "Your turn." He looked her up and down in a way that she'd never seen him do before. The nice boy from the Opnet, and the friend were gone. This man looking her up and down was intense and sharp and maybe even a little dangerous. He wasn't a hard veteran elite with dozens of kills to his name, but there was a sublte slow burning fire in him that was deadly in it's own way.

The new growl that came from deep in his chest said he would only wait so long.

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Jael held close to Daniel as they floated through the air. She wasn't worried about being dropped; she was still floating in a cloud of lust and carnal desire. When he stopped, she ignited her own flight, the better to be in control.

At his statement, she smiled lazily. "Sure," she said, and her claws appeared. In the blink of an eye, they were just there, winking into existance. Quickly, she leaned forward and cut the buttons off Daniel's shirt with their silver blades. Her claws disappeared again and Jael tugged his shirt down over his shoulders.

She kissed his chest, wincing again at the flare of pain that caused her healing jaw. Her fingers didn't bother with his chest; instead they went lower, tugging firmly at the front of his pants.

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"Ha!" Daniel barked a deep laugh, that's not what I meant. He reached out and grabbed a handful of hospital gown and pulled. It came off like the tissue paper it practically was, leaving her nude and pale in the moonlight. He only had a moment to admire her perfect body before he had to take action. In surprisingly short time Jael got his pants undone and pulled them down. He quickly kicked his shoes off and let it all fall to the ground rather than be in the undignified position of floating in mid air with an pants around his ankles. That would give Jael the advantage, and he wasn't in the mood to give her the lead. He pulled her toward him again and started again at her neck and proceeded down. He stopped and gave attention to the spots that seemed to make her lust spike higher. By the time he was between her legs he had come to the realization that he was not just reading her emotions, he was manipulating them. Rather than being appalled at the discovery, he grinned and proved that he really didn't need to breath, and for the first time intentionally manipulated another persons emotions. He pushed her higher and higher until he was sure she was ready to go over the edge, then pulled himself up to face her again. Not that she really was in control, but he would let her take the next step if she wanted it.

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There was little reason left in Jael by the time that Daniel stopped, and her response proved that. She grabbed him and plastered herself to him, curling her legs around his back without hestitation. There was no room in her emotions for anything other than lust and there was nothing else for her to do other than position herself where she wanted. With a final growl, she tightened her legs around him and pulled him into her.

Her teeth skimmed his collarbone, hard and too wide. There was pain, but it rolled into the lust and became part of the pleasure. It was nothing but lust here.

There are many kinds of lust.

A flash of silver signaled her claws were back. With a pernicious laugh, she drove her thumb-claw into his right shoulder, following it with her thumb until it disappeared, and her claw broke skin on the other side. She giggled, pleased with this development.

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In the first shock of the claw he almost forgot to maintain his flight, but recovered quickly and only stopped thrusting for a brief second. Daniel growled in pain and pleasure, but grabbed her wrists to prevent any further piercings. The lust that was passing back and forth between them wasn't by any stretch all his, he was just tweaking it to give Jael stronger pleasure, but now he recalled that she wasn't your average girl and maybe it wasn't such a good idea to send her completely out of her mind. On the other hand he was feeling it too and even though he'd never dreamt of liking that kind of thing, it was exciting. Using as much of his strength as he needed to he pulled Jael's hand out of his shoulder with a grunt and brought her wrists together in his hands. "Bad Jael. That was not a very nice thing to do." His voice didn't sound angry though despite being almost a growl. It took a lot of his strength to accomplish it and for a bit there it was like trying to fuck and angry cat. Her wrists tried to twist so that the claws could stab him as he manhandled her in to a less dangerous position. She scored several gashes on him as he flipped her around with her back to him. Finally he managed to get her arms behind her back and held her by the wrists. Some part of him in the back of his head that was still capable of rational thought was very glad for his nova strength, and glad that Jael was excited and not angry. Luckily for Daniel she was still interested in fucking and he entered her from behind and started thrusting again. As he did he leaned in and growled in her ear, "My way."

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She didn't stop fighting, not completely. Only one of her appetites was being satiated, and she could smell the blood in the air, Daniel's blood. She had enjoyed killing the thirteen men in the Congo, and the pain and frustration she'd dealt with since had fed her need for more. And now Sakolove wasn't around, and there was nothing to draw her in, not even herself.

Had she been in her right mind, she could have flown away, or done something other than thrash and try to escape. The pleasure in her union with Daniel was still being fed and feeding his pleasure, and so she didn't try to leave. The pain from her jaw, from Daniel's crushing grip on her already damaged wrists and from the burns on her body pushed her closer to her own peak of pleasure. But despite that rising tide of passion, she fought his mega-strength, right until she pulled her arm of socket.

A scream tore from her throat; the sudden spike in pain shoved her into her climax. Making in articulate noises, Jael shuddered and shivered until she was spent. She sagged in his hands, exhausted yet still feeling the surging build of pleasure that he was giving her.

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The pleasure built in both of them and he could feel it and he rode it. Even the pain and hunger she felt he rode them like he was riding Jael and he felt things he'd never felt before. Desire for another's pain was foreign. Even with Alice who he had desired to hurt for what she'd put him through, he'd never felt this need to give pain. He could feel Jael's pain and her pleasure and kept the steady and hard grip on her wrists while he thrust and thrust into her. Some part of him in the back of his head was raging against what he was doing, but it was a small voice compared what he felt from the abused body in front of him. Damn she was beautiful, he wished he had claws of his own so he could leave a mark on it.

All along he'd been slowly increasing the pressure on Jael's wrists and shoulders as they both built to a climax unlike anything he'd imagined. It was a surprise to him when her shoulder came out of socket, but her shudders and screams brought him the same release it brought her, and he continued to thrust inside her for a minute until at last he was as spent as she was.

When it was all over and rational thought began to return he lowered them to the ground to retrieve their clothes. He admired her beauty and thought again of how he'd like to leave his mark on it. What the fuck? Leave my mark? Where the hell is that shit coming from? Despite himself the thought wouldn't go away, and even with the pleasure gone he felt the desire to do it. He settled for walking over to her after he'd put his pant clothes back on minus the destroyed shirt. He smiled gently at her as he took hold of her arm and pulled resetting her shoulder back into place. Careful of her claws and watching to judge her mood he wrapped the gown back around her and took to the skies heading back to the hospital. It was a good thing he'd flown in earlier, or he would never have found it in the dark. After what seemed like a terribly long time he finally had them back in her room and sighed in relief to note that there wasn't anyone waiting for them. It took even more time to get cleaned up and by the time Jael was back in bed in a fresh hospital gown he was feeling like he was pushing his luck on getting caught.

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Jael was nearly insensitate from the pain by the time she sprawled back in her bed. Her jaw hurt somewhat, but her shoulder throbbed like it was on fire. Bitting back a moan of pain, she pulled the blanket over her. Looking up at Daniel, she said, "You'd better go."

She huddled onto her right side and waited for him to leave, basking in the remaining echoes of pleasure and aching from her hurts.

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Daniel leaned forward and found that he was torn between hurting her more or kissing her forehead. He settled for the kiss, and said in her ear, "Thank you." His own pain was surprisingly strong now. He figured his shoulder would already be closing up and healing. He'd have to look at it when he got home and make sure it was ok. He'd never heard of a nova getting an infection, but he didn't want to be the first. He smiled as he stepped back to the window, "First star on the right and straight on till Texas, right?" He was pretty sure the corny joke was lost on Jael in the state she was in. He shrugged and said, "Bye Jael, I hope you heal quickly," and with that he was aloft and heading as fast as he could for home. He'd planned to stick around and get a hotel room for the night, but sleep was not an option at the moment, and he had a feeling that being far from Phoenix would be a good idea. There was something bothering him about the whole meeting but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. He worried away at the memories all night but couldn't figure out what it was. Somewhere around Abilene he lost consciousness and fell out of the sky, but by then he'd drifted so close to the ground that the fall didn't really do much damage. A passing motorist saw him and called 911, and that afternoon he woke up in a hospital room of his own with a doctor standing over him. He had to answer a number of awkward questions, but finally devised a lame story about being shot as he was flying by a hunter. Even in his own ears the story sounded pretty lame and he hoped they didn't ask about why his jacket didn't have any holes in it, but to his own surprise they didn't pursue the matter and filed the report as a hunting accident. He was actually puzzled about why they accepted the story so easily, but he wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Besides how would he explain to the police that he'd gotten into an arguement with the cute nova girl he'd gone to visit in the hospital and ended up making such an ass of himself that she'd finally had to put a claw through his shoulder to get him to leave her alone. He wouldn't be bothering HER again with his attentions. Alice and the other girls in his life were enough for him, no need to bother Jael again.

He left the hospital with a few more pints of blood in him than when he'd arrived and the entry and exit wounds stitched up. He also had a nagging feeling that something wasn't quite right, but he just couldn't wrap his brain around it, besides he'd wasted all that time visiting a girl that hadn't wanted to see him anyway, why should he dwell on it, he had too much studying to do when he got home. But, why did the hole in his shoulder make him think of pleasure? Oh well, something to figure out later when I have some time.

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When Renyold arrived, the Jael's room was empty. The ex-Elite scowled at the empty bed before checking the bathroom. No Jael there, either, and he disappeared with a sigh.

Two minutes later, he was walking into the hospital, his face older and his hair graying. A doctor's coat flapped around his body as he walked to the nurse's station with purpose. "Hello, I'm Dr. Louis," he said, flashing one of his fake identities at the nurse looking at him. "I'm here to check on a young nova, admitted about a week ago-"

"Jael Carver? Yes, she's been moved to the ICU."

"What? Why?" he asked, counting down the minutes he had before his aberration became noticable.

"She has been slipping out of her room, and has gotten herself hurt - bruising, wind burns, reinjuring the condition she was admitted for and we suspect a concussion," the nurse said, her expression a mixture of irritation and concern.

Reynold was sure he looked just as irritated. "I see. What room?"

"ICU 504, but I'm afraid that we can't allow her visitors," the nurse said apologetically. "She's being watched closely, and those were the recommendations of the Utopian doctor we called this morning."

"I understand," Reynold said, realizing that he was about out of time. He handed her a card with this ID's contact information on it. "Please give me a call if her condition changes."

The nurse agreed to do so and he left. His next stop was Charles' house. He shifted his disguise away as he tapped on the back door. To his surprise, it popped open a couple of feet. "Charles?" he called, and when he got no answer, he went inside.

He found Charles sprawled on the floor of his bathroom, stinking of piss, vomit and booze. "I just want her to love me," he whispered when Reynold knelt next to him.

"You fool," Reynold sighed before helping Charles up and getting him nominally clean. He helped the man to his bed and sat down next to him as Charles wept silently. For a long time, he just sat, compelled by old bonds to sit with a hurting friend. It wasn't completely altrustic; when Charles had calmed himself down, Renyold said, "I have a plan. You won't like it, but it will be best for Jael. I want you to convince her parents to go along with it. And her, too, if necessary."

"What?" Charles asked listlessly, his reddened eyes focusing on Reynold.

With sparse words, Reynold laid his plan out. He was right; Charles didn't like it. But he eventually saw the benefit to it, and he agreed. Reynold left to make preparations, leaving Charles to his own tasks.

This was going to be a long summer.

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