The colonel tapped on Janet’s desk. “So what went wrong?”
“Before or after the maze, the pit trap, or the hallucinogenic gas?” Hakkai said ruefully. “Did I mention Ni is a sadist? The castle’s external security was normal, but the internal security of the lab and most of the dungeons was under his influence. I think his toys took out as many guards as Dr. Genjyo did….”
Staring through the bars at the faint light that made it to the bottom of the castle gorge, Son Goku listened to the weird sounds echoing through stone. And wondered. He’d heard sounds like these a few times before, some time ago. How long ago, he had no way to know; there had been sunlight, and snow, between then and now, but he hadn’t known how to count.
One, two, three, four, five, he ticked off on thumb and fingers now, hugging that flicker of difference to his heart. He didn’t know when it had happened. One day, he’d just woken up, and – there had been words.
Stone. Chains. Light.
Which was kind of odd, because he wasn’t always alone. Every once in a while, a dark-haired man in a white coat would come down and stare at him through the bars, with empty, hungry eyes….
He’d rather be alone than near those eyes. Rather be chained, behind the bars none of the strange man’s things could breach. Eventually the man had stopped trying. He just kept coming back, who knew how many nameless gaps of time, to stare.
Better for the man not to be there. Better to be in the empty cave, alone.
But he was so lonely.
Footsteps. And a scent that wasn’t the empty man’s.
Plain robes. Hair gold as sunlight. Violet eyes that were wary and :scared,: but alive.
“You the one who’s been calling me?”
“I haven’t been calling anyone,” Goku said honestly. Warm. This man felt warm. “Who are you?”
“You’re lying. I’ve heard you all this time.” The blond stepped toward the gap in the bars.
Goku winced. Not gonna work, the forceshield’s gonna throw him out like everyone else-
-Stepped through the gap, without a flicker of warding energy. “Now cut the act,” the blond went on. “It’s annoying.” He glanced at the chains. “How the hell do we get you out of-”
So warm. He had to try to touch. Even if there was no way anyone could get him out of here. He knew; he’d pulled against these chains with all his strength.
Fingers met, and metal crumbled to dust.
“Right. As if my life wasn’t weird enough already,” the blond grumbled. “Come on. I’ve got to get back in there, and find someone who’s not you.”