“One would think at some point in the past few centuries you would have learned patience.” Lykos growled at Jormun, who just rolled his eyes. Jormun continued, ignoring the growling sound. “Christophe has been moved back to the military base. He is still sedated.”
He didn’t miss Jormun’s small frown. “Why still sedated? Is no need sedate Christophe.”
“Captain Guerin’s orders. Christophe is to remain sedated until he can be transported to a secure medical facility.” Jormun set his cell phone down. “It is possible —”
“He called out warning to me.” Lykos started pacing. When Jormun raised an eyebrow, Lykos sighed. “Twice. Yelled warning before first shot, yelled when rocks fell.”
“He is mine.” Lykos shook his head and gave Jormun a furious look. “He said he would stay with me.”
“And Lima Syndrome.” Jormun exhaled. “You developed feelings for your hostage.”
“Is not like that.” Lykos glared.
“Or perhaps you’ve just become sentimental in your old age.” Jormun stood. “Lykos, you need to put this behind you. If you care about the boy, let him be. Let him go home to his family and —”
“He knows.” Lykos clenched his fists. Then he met Jormun’s eyes. “He knows his father killed innocent people. Shot the deputies. Murdered them.” Lykos waved a hand. “Send them after me then kill them for going after me. Cannon fodder.”
“There are reasons for our rules, Lykos. And one of those reasons is men like Guerin.” Jormun sighed. “Come. It is time to —”
“No.” Lykos shook his head. Then he started for the door.
“Lykos.” Jormun called after him. “Lykos, where do you think you are going?”
“To get my Christophe.” He grabbed the door handle and started to open it. The door slammed shut again. He turned toward Jormun. “He is mine.”
“If you persist in this, Lykos…” Jormun’s eyes narrowed. “I may have to take measures.”
“Defending is allowed.” Lykos glared.
Jormun sighed, then nodded. “Exercise discretion.” The door clicked open behind him. “And good luck.”
His eyes opened, and he blinked a few times. The room wasn’t very bright, and he could hear a few beeping sounds. Christophe raised his hand to wipe at his eyes.
“You’re awake.” He turned to see his father sitting next to the bed, smiling.
“I’m…” He started to sit up. This wasn’t an ordinary hospital. “Where are we?”
“Safe.” Guerin put his hand on Christophe’s shoulder. “You’re safe now.”
I was safe before. He stopped himself from saying the words aloud, and took a look at his father. There were dark circles under the captain’s eyes. “You look like hell.” He managed a smile.
Guerin laughed, then leaned in to hug him. “You’re alive.” He pulled Christophe to him tightly. He found himself hugging his father back. “You’re alive. I thought I’d lost you.”
“I’m alright, Dad.” Christophe exhaled. “I’m alright.” He waited until his father had released him, then looked around the room. “Where’s Mom?”
“She’s safe in protective custody.” Guerin nodded. “Soon as you’ve been fully checked out, we can tell her you’re alright and then —”
“She doesn’t know?” Christophe frowned. He started to push the blanket off him before realizing he was just wearing a hospital gown beneath it. Despite how often lately he’d been left naked, the gown made him feel vulnerable. “You haven’t told her?” He stared at his father.
“The operation is classified, son. You —”
“It’s Mom.” Christophe shook his head.
“You’ve been through a lot, Christophe.” Guerin put his hand atop Christophe’s. “Take some time, breath.” He sat up. “Did you learn anything about the creature?” Rocks fell, burying Lykos beneath them. He felt tears threatening at the memory. Fortunately, his father misinterpreted them, and pulled Christophe to him again. “It’s okay. You’re safe now. I’m here.”
After his father released him, Christophe stood up. He started to walk toward the window, then realized it wasn’t actually a window. “Where are we?”
“Sit down. Relax.” Guerin came up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder.
“Is Lykos dead?” He couldn’t help but feel just a little hopeful. Lykos had survived being shot.
“Ordinance started a fire in the area.” Guerin shook his head. “Firefighters are still trying to put it out so we could confirm.” He shrugged. “Don’t worry, Christophe. If the rocks didn’t kill him the smoke and fire did.”
He realized his fists were clenched. “Yeah.” He started trying to force himself to relax, then shook his head. He could feel himself trembling. “You killed those men.”
“Christophe?” Guerin blinked. “What are you talking about?”
“The deputies.” Christophe whirled to face his father. “I convinced Lykos to leave them alive and then I read the —”
“Christophe.” He put his hands on Christophe’s shoulders. “Lykos must have gone back and killed them.”
“No.” Christophe shook his head.
“You’re misremembering.” Guerin sighed. He put a hand in his pocket.
“I’m not…” Behind them, the door opened. Christophe turned to see two men enter. Big men. One held a needle. His eyes widened as he turned to look at his father.
“Son, you’re hurt, and you’re confused.” Guerin gave him what he previously would have thought of as a comforting smile.
“Dad…” He took a couple steps back as the men started for him.
“Just relax.” Guerin caught his arm, and Christophe tried to pull free. “Everything is going to be fine.”
“How is your son?” Darin raised an eyebrow.
“He’s confused. He…” Guerin narrowed his eyes when he realized Wotan was sitting across the desk from Darin. “What the fuck are you still doing here?”
“Orders were to bring Lykos in alive.” Wotan started to shake his head, then exhaled. “What does your son say happened?”
“Like I said. He’s confused.” Guerin glared at the man. Examination of Christophe had confirmed some of his worst fears. That thing had raped his son. Brainwashed him. Under the effects of the drugs Christophe had actually cried out for Lykos, calling the thing master. “I’ve called in a specialist to help.”
“I’ll push through paperwork. Christophe is going to have to stay in custody until things die down.” Darin shifted in his chair. “At least until we know what that thing told him. He doesn’t have security clearance for a lot of this information.”
“He’s confused. I’ve…” Guerin folded his arms. “I signed orders for Samile.” He sighed. “I think it’s best if Christophe can just put this whole experience behind him.”
“Samile…” Wotan raised an eyebrow. “Samile Krusen?” His eyes widened a little. “You gave a brainwashing specialist access to your own son?” He wrinkled his nose.
“That thing fucked with my son’s mind. Has him…” He swallowed. “This is best.”
“You’re going to…” Wotan stood, drawing himself up to his full height. “Let them break your son’s mind? Am I understanding you correctly?”
“Samile is going to ensure Christophe doesn’t remember a fucking thing. My son isn’t…” Guerin took a step toward Wotan. Wotan raised his chin as though he were actually daring Guerin to take a swing. “My son has been through a very traumatic experience and I just want to get him back to normal.”
“Even if you have to torture him to do it.” Wotan shook his head. He gave Guerin a disgusted look, then grabbed a file off the desk before starting toward the door.
“I’ll have men escort you off the base.” Darin started to reach for his phone.
“Don’t bother.” Wotan went out the door, slamming it behind him hard enough to actually crack the bulletproof glass.
“You should probably call security.” Guerin glared in the direction Wotan had gone. “Authorize them to use force.” He turned back to Darin. “You know, if needed.”
Getting through the locks and doors was easy. Getting through the locks and doors without setting off alarms? That was a bit harder. Lykos barely stopped himself from growling in frustration. He should have gone in through the drains, but he wouldn’t be able to get Christophe back out that way.
And he still didn’t know where on the base Christophe was. Jormun had indicated Christophe was receiving medical treatment, which meant he needed to find the secure hospital area. It was tempting to just grab a soldier and start removing pieces until they gave up the information but… Lykos exhaled. But Christophe would be unhappy about being rescued in such a fashion. So, here he was, moving through maintenance shafts, trying to be stealthy.
Luck showed itself as he changed tunnels. He caught a whiff of a familiar scent, and followed. Through the vent, he saw Guerin. “…treatment immediately.”
“It may take several courses of the electroshock to have the desired effect.” The woman in the labcoat was shaking her head.
“How long will it take Christophe to recover afterward?” Guerin raised an eyebrow.
“Depends on how high we have to increase the current, and how long the treatment takes.”
Electro… It was all he could do not to launch himself out of the shaft and go after them. They were going to torture his Christophe. Break his Christophe’s mind. He made himself listen again. Christophe was in a holding cell on C block. Now he just needed to find C-block and get Christophe out quietly.
Christophe struggled against the restraints that bound him to the operating table. Straps over his wrists, legs, and forehead held him motionless, and the thing in his mouth put him in mind of a horse-bit. Restraints of leather and velcro and he couldn’t help but wish he were still wearing the iron ones. He’d been safe when the iron had been on him. Lykos would never have left him in this room.
Fear filled him, making his stomach churn as the doctor walked back into the room. The woman actually smiled at him, though it didn’t reach her eyes. His own father had left him to this woman. He started trying to thrash again as she began wheeling a machine over to where he was strapped down. “Private Guerin, you need to relax. We are trying to help you get better.” She took an alcohol wipe and began dabbing at his temples.
“No. No no.” The thing in his mouth rendered his protest unintelligible, but he kept trying anyway. “Don’t.”
The machine started to hum, and she held a cylinder in each hand as she started to move behind him. He cringed as much as he could, and saw her bring the cylinders in toward him. He squeezed his eyes shut.
Metal crashed against metal, and a moment later he heard a loud thud followed by a quieter one. Then something ripped the bit out of his mouth. He opened his eyes, and smiled. “Lykos.”
“Taking nap during rescue.” Lykos returned the smile as he started unfastening the rest of the restraints.
“I know. I know.” He couldn’t stop himself from laughing. “Shameful.” He felt tears pricking at his eyes. “You’re alive.”
Lykos ripped the last of the restraints away. “So are you. Let us keep you that way.” He frowned. “Where clothes?”
He looked down at the hospital gown. “What, you don’t like my new look?”
“There you go…” Lykos rolled his eyes, his expression fond. “Thinking you are funny.” He started for the door just as it opened.
He let out a curse as the soldiers on the other side immediately started shouting. “Shit.”
“Well…” Lykos grabbed the first soldier and tossed him face first into the wall before punching the other one in the face hard enough to end him crashing to the ground. Squawking voices came over the radio. “So much for easy way.”
“Where even are we?” Christophe grabbed a tazer before following Lykos out of the room.
“Colorado.” Lykos peered around a corner, then gestured to Christophe
“How’d you find me?” He followed.
“Got help from dragon.” Lykos glanced over his shoulder.
“How’d you get in here?” Christophe looked around the corridor. This had to be one of the more secure facilities.
“Maintenance shaft.” Lykos gave him an impatient look. “Distractions not good. Any more questions before get moving?”
“Can we find me some pants?” He raised an eyebrow.
“I will buy you two pair when get to Canada.” Lykos started moving again.
“Right.” He rolled his eyes, but grinned as he followed after the other man.
Guerin glared at the radio as he heard shouting. Something was going on in the secure medical wing. Something had gone wrong with Christophe. He turned the corner and stopped short. Four soldiers were laying on the ground. He grabbed his radio as he went to check a pulse. “I’ve got four men down.” He gave the location, then took another look at the men. “Looks like Huffman, Elli, Abaroa, and Fitzgerald.”
“Did you say Huffman?” Darin’s voice came back over a moment later as Guerin stood and drew his sidearm.
“Yeah.” Guerin peered around, but saw no one. “Darin?”
“I sent Huffman and his squad to escort Wotan to his helicopter,” Darin replied.
“Wotan?” Guerin blinked. “What the…” His eyes narrowed. “That icy fuck is after my boy.”