Aelita again. Didn’t this boy ever just stay quiet?
Emotions tried to creep back in, tried to steal away her rationality. The door to the Box squeaked and slammed shut—
Is she awake?
Phantom ropes bit into her wrists and she paused for a moment, staring at them. At the door in front of her. Her head began hurting, in the same place she had hit Jeremie.
They had shone lights in her eyes and pressed cold hands to her neck as she woke from the injury.
Well, Hopper. Was all that fighting really necessary? It didn’t help. We still got you.
No, no. This time she was on the other side of the door. It was okay. No more Anna, just Anthea. Anthea Schaeffe—
We’re bound to find Schaeffer sooner or later, you might as well talk now and save yourself the trouble.
She looked down at her hands again, the wedding ring shining under florescent lights.
Waldo was gone too. Aelita watched him die. Aelita watched her mother get taken away and still remembered it vividly. Anthea had always hoped, if anything was on her side, that Aelita wouldn’t remember that day. That she might be too young and that Waldo could explain the mother’s absence in some other way. Any other way.
The elevator doors at the end of the hall squeaked, a doctor stepping out. Anthea looked up, seeing Dr. Andrews fully engrossed in his clipboard. Within seconds he was out of sight down another hallway. She breathed again.
How log had she been standing here, lost in thought? What if some more attentive doctor had noticed her acting so strangely next to this boy covered in blood? Worse yet, one of the guards who knew of Anthea’s situation here? They would sound the alarm, restrain her before she had the chance to try to escape yet again.
She flexed her fingers and balled them into fists. Squared her shoulders and inhaled deeply. Slowly working on prying her mind away from the past, away from so many distracting emotions and problems. Her voice was cold, soft and stern.
"Please stop bringing that up. Stop talking about my daughter, stop talking about my husband, stop talking about anything that isn’t right here, right now, trying to get out of this fucking prison.
"I know that you’re trying to be encouraging but you’re doing more harm than good. Just shut up.”
"Sorry…It helps me focus to remember why I’m fighting." Jeremie said, voice small and scared. His mind reeled from her tone. He saw the mistake now as clear as the blood on his chest.
Aelita is his rock, his reason to keep on fighting… but saying her name is working in reverse to Anthea. His pink angel… is the slap to the face for her. Jeremie had no choice.. he had to push her out of his mind. Forget her for now to focus on their mission. He found the one thing he can replace.. that girl from school… with and focus on. His dad. Michel Belpois. A single dad since Jeremie lost his mom. He was all his dad had left. If he needed a reason to leave here alive, it is to see his dad again to make sure he won’t be sad and alone.
Jeremie took a deep breath and re-focused his mind from…that orphan girl at school to his kind, and sweet Dad. He forced his face into a determined one and nodded his head to her.
"Let’s go and get out of this hell hole." He mumbled, looking around for other people since that scientist walked past them.
Normally the idea of her family waiting for her helped keep her fighting too— isn’t that what she always told herself? But right now, everything was just too new. An ally to worry about, new information about her family weighing on her. It was all too new. Too stressful.
She set her back into the mask of stony determination and anger. Patient tried to escape and cause a scene. She grabbed the boy by the hair— as gently as one could grab someone by the hair and still make it realistic— and began steering the boy down the hall ahead of her.
Her hand was shaking. Not from fear but from discomfort and uncertainty. He had a head injury and she didn’t want to make it worse but her own stresses and the boy’s appearance made her want to white-knuckle his hair and drag him. Make him scream and kick and beg.
She was stressed and he was irritating her. Smearing blood on his chest and suggesting she take him down to
her labs the labs were mistakes on his part.
Anthea the mother was slipping back away, hiding from the stress of finding out everything her family had endured. Before the monster and the broken captive fully overwhelmed it, however, it managed to ask a single question:
If Jeremie tells Aelita what you’ve done to him and what you’ve done during your time here— would she ever forgive you?
The monster and the broken captive had no reply.