The clinic was busy and Sebastian was standing at the nurses station handling a situation with the resident doctor. 

“It’s called quarantine for a reason. Dr. Keene and I are handling this one. We don’t have to have your permission Avery.” Becca wasn’t there, she was at Cody’s but until they were absolutely sure things on the other side went as they were supposed to go – he didn’t want her here. Sam and the others had yet to return.  When they requested her, they had said that Crimson was to be on the lookout for anyone in Pack Simoa as a possible colluder.  

“I could use that damned room.” He looked at the charts and picked the one most urgent. “You know what, tell Anita to get Mrs. Murphy upstairs, will you? The rooms up there can be shared at least.” He took the chart and walked off. It was obvious Evansworth wasn’t going to budge. 

The vampire just watched as Avery marched away with his charts in hand. He could’ve told him to save his breath. It was entertaining though to get the young man riled up.

His phone chirped in his pocket.  

“Sebastian. We’re incoming from the portal. I’ve talked the Weylyn’s into letting us properly assess Terry’s healing, he’s just… not healing as he should is all. They won’t let us keep him in, not even for a twenty four hour observation. It’s a shame, I think we could really help him, but they won’t budge.”

As she spoke Sebastian was using one of the pads to alert triage that a bed was needed. “What of the Matthews girl?”

“I’m honestly not sure what to think where Isabel Matthews is concerned. But she needs a true workup, even if she seems perfectly healthy. We also have an unknown. She was a slave and a prisoner. The Pack didn’t know what to do with her, so I thought we could find placement for her. It seems her blood card is actually telling me she’s from this side of the portal, anyway. I need you guys to be ready. I think Crimson is going to get us a driver for one of the transports they have around here so we can make the trip easier. 

“I have three beds waiting in triage. We can complete full assessments on each of them and decide from the results what needs to be done for them.” Sebastian only paused when he saw Evan LaCroix walking his way with a very determined look on his face. 

“We’re on our way.” Samantha’s call ended quickly. Bastian could hear her speak to someone in the background on the other end right before it stopped. It seemed their crew was keeping her quite busy 

As he ended the call with Samantha, Sebastian looked to the other as he approached. Great. 

“And what can I do for you today Mr. LaCroix? Nothing more that I need to represent you for I hope.” It had been hell getting him cleared of the first charges. 

“No, but you told me that my sister was alive and well. I want to see her. We both know the coven is no more. She’s safe, now.”  Evan lifted his head and sniffed the air. “Are you keeping her here?” He moved further from the desk, into the hallway, tracking his sister’s scent. It was faint, but it was definitely there. 

“Sebastian, can you order more of the bed liners? I’m having to steal from down here to take upstairs…” Avery paused when he saw his brother. “Evan, what’re you doing here? You okay? I thought everything worked out?” The doctor was looking back and forth between Evansworth and his brother. Sebastian had said everything was fine and he’d planned to see his brother as soon as someone could take a shift off of his shoulders. So…

“I’m pretty certain he’s treated our sister here. He’s told me he knows where she is. I just want to see her. I want to know she’s safe…” Evan looked at the room with the sign on it. “She’s in here?” He looked back over his shoulder to Sebastian. 

The look of irritation Avery gave Sebastian right then? It was priceless. 

“Are you serious, right now?”  She’d been here in that damned room the whole time? Dammit, he wished his senses were as sharp as his brothers! “That’s why it says Quarantined?” 

“Well damn, you have it all figured out between the two of you. I guess the gig is up and I’ll have to turn her right over to you.” Sebastian rolled his eyes. He hadn’t wanted any of them to see her as she had first been. He had also wanted to surprise Eva with the return of her healthy daughter. Not only out of good will but also because it meant Eva would feel just as good natured in the future should he need her help.

He walked right over to the marked door and yanked it open, “Go ahead.” He left the brothers to do their thing as he moved back towards the nurses station, “I on the other hand have a few injured coming in from the other side that need care.”

“They’re back?” Avery came right back from the room to stand in front of Sebastian. “We have everything ready for them. What about our sister?”  

Evan stood beside Avery in front of the vampire. “Why are you being so damned secretive?”

When his path was blocked by the two brothers, Sebastian sighed.

“You know where she is. You wouldn’t have said as much if it weren’t true and her scent wouldn’t be here. What the hell are you trying to pull?” Evan was about done and he didn’t care if the other patients had to wait… except Terry of course. But Avery had said they were ready for all of them. 

“What kind of hateful person keeps a daughter from her mother? You know mama’s been very worried about her and so have we,” Avery was trying to keep his voice down. He was a lycan trying to be professional while angry – and it was very difficult. 

“Yes, I know where she is and have known. No, I wasn’t keeping it from your mother or either of you to be hateful or mean. Rebecca was very ill when she first arrived and was refusing to eat food or drink bagged blood. It wouldn’t have been wise to take her to the Pack without knowing what she needed or the limits of her restraints. Not to mention, there was also a Coven after her. I felt it was unsafe for her to be here and for others to know she had been here not to mention – where she is. So I found a trustworthy source to feed her and she’s been there, safe and getting stronger.” 

The brothers looked back and forth at each other and then to Sebastian again. 

“I can arrange for her to be brought back here. Now that she’s better and the world is safer for her. But we have incoming.” Sebastian saw the large transport at the back of the clinic. 

“If she’s safe and we have incoming patients, maybe this should happen away from here? Later?” He then looked over to Sebastian again. 

Evan chewed his bottom lip. “So long as you don’t dodge.” His eyes were focused on Sebastian. “After you get done here?”

“Fair enough, I give you my word. I only ask you say nothing to your mother. Let this be a good surprise for her. I will bring Becca to her once everything is taken care of here.” Sebastian looked at Avery, “Let’s go and see to the patients.”

Upon entering the triage Sebastian looked towards Isabel who surprisingly seemed.. well. The Weylyn boy was being seen by Samantha and he knew both Avery and Evan would be focused on their brother. 

~ I got them to agree to an initial exam on Terry. I need to stay with him, he trusts me, ~ Sam told her partner as she moved back to a private room with the Alphas.

He nodded. That was all good and well, after all, it was the other one that pulled Sebastian’s attention. She was a different kind of patient altogether. She had a tag around her neck, hanging on a lanyard. It marked her as a new arrival. Her papers would be inside. One of the nurses took her to a triage station to begin her exam. 

~What are you?~ That was his first question to the supposed slave of the Dwellers. Names could come at any time but he needed the important answers first.

~ What do you mean? I am a Dweller. I am a female. I am less. I am alone.  Which do you mean, sir? ~ her brown eyes were full of curiosity. But her fingers were moving on her thumb over and over again, as if it were a nervous tick. She was dirty and looked a bit burned here and there. 

~ I mean I’ve never seen Dwellers keep slaves especially of their own kind. ~ The Coven Master wet some washcloths and used them to wash the female’s face off, ~ You’ve no family then? ~ He’d come back to the Dweller bit in a moment. 

~ I had a mother and a father, but a bad man killed them. He took me through a spinning doorway like today. I was… ~ She held her hand at about the height of the exam table. ~ I was young. He told me I was Dweller. He talked to them. So they made me a Dweller. They told me I am a Dweller, too. I change like them. So I must be a Dweller. ~

Something wasn’t lining up for him with her and after the recent attacks, Sebastian was feeling extra cautious. ~ Show me. ~

She shook her head and shrugged. She didn’t understand. 

~ Show me how you change like them. ~ He would tend her, but first he needed to understand exactly how to treat her. Dwellers rarely survived to be captured. If they were captured they had never made it to trial. So Sebastian had to study this particular patient before treating her. He studied every visible mark or injury on her as he listened to her speak.

~ It will hurt. ~ she sighed. But she got up from the bed and took off her robes to reveal a normal feminine body, maybe a bit malnourished and there were markings – scarification – here and there. She turned away from him then turned to the side and closed her eyes. Her body began to change, much like a lycan would, only there was also a subtle flash of magical resonance that eased the transition. When she was done, she was a very unhealthy looking cheetah. Her fur, had it all been grown in properly, looked to be black rather than tan and spotted. 

 ~ I am less than. But I am Dweller. Is this wrong? Is being Dweller wrong? Is this why they were all killed? Will I be killed, now? ~  

~ Someone wants to question you, probably, I doubt you’re here to be killed. ~ Sebastian reached for her tag, but she pulled away. 

~ I tried to protect the boy. My pard master did not like keeping him, but we had no choice. The lycan were many. We were few. They were many so we agreed to keep the boy for their Alpha. They killed my pard anyway. I took my brother to the boy. I told the beast about the Simoa Alpha. I did my best. Please do not hold those things against me. ~   She was frightened. She thought she was going to die, too. 

Her brother? The beast? What in the world was she talking about. 

“Girl, you need to calm down..” He had sighed and reached out to lift the sheet just a little more to cover her, but she didn’t react well at all to his touch.

When Sebastian touched her, she cringed and shifted back to human. At first she fell to the ground and then she got up and grabbed for the sheeting on the bed to wrap herself in. She remained on the other side of the exam table wrapped in the sheet and sitting with her knees pulled up to her chest. ~ I did my best. ~ she repeated. 

Sebastian wasn’t sure that he had heard her right. 

“Dwellers are known for taking out everything from travelers to villages and leaving none alive  behind. They are killed on sight by most or they die in battles and raids. There are none known to be over here on this side of the portals. They have even been known to eat the dead. It’s why none have ever made it to trial. They usually bring death to themselves through their behavior. And you don’t behave like one.” Grabbing a hospital gown, he moved around the exam table and held it out to her. 

She took the hospital gown and sniffed it and looked up at him. She had no clue what to do with this, but it felt super soft. ~ Soft. ~  She held it to her face and purred. ~ Then I am not a Dweller? I shift like them but I am not? I don’t kill. I don’t eat the dead. I… the pard master was lying? ~ She looked back up at Sebastian. This was apparently very important to her.  It was. She remembered a life before the Dwellers. So… was she not one of them? How long had she lived as one of them? 

Crouching before her there was a curious look on his face as he glanced back to see they were still alone and then asked, ~ Your brother? Who exactly are you referring to by that title? And what did you tell your brother about the Simoa? ~ 

~ I told my brother nothing of the Simoa. He did not ask. He just needed to know where to go to take the boy to the magic. The beast asked, with his crystal eyes and angry heart. He wanted to rend them for their crimes against the boy. And I was happy to help him. Children are not to be harmed. Children are sacred. ~ She was getting less and less frightened. 

Sebastian looked to the nurse in the room with them and motioned for her to help the girl back up onto the exam table.  Sebastian had to pause a moment as he reached out to his own Chosen, ~ Who found Terry? I mean who found him inside the tunnels? ~ 

~ Gabriel and Senias worked together on that, from what I understand. The kidnappers had a magical barrier that kept dragons out. So Gabriel slipped into the tunnels and brought the boy out. He said the girl I brought back over showed him where the barrier ended. ~  Sam was continuing her work when Sebastian kind of interrupted her. She was getting better at mental communication, but wasn’t an expert at it yet… 

~ Is there any way you can send Senias and Gabriel over here to me?~ Sebastian offered the girl water and tried to look over her injuries as she’d let him. If he was correct, Sen was going to be really surprised but how would Gabriel take it? If it were true?

~ Kind of have my hands busy. They had come through first to get everyone their confirmations easier and the slave girl her paperwork. Maybe they’re in the waiting room by now? ~  It was her hint that he could handle this himself without her for now… she was busy keeping a kid who had been through hell calm while she placed new bandages, this time with a specialized healing salve over all of Terry’s wounds. 

The girl let Sebastian and the nurse help her with the hospital gown because she had no idea about it. Then it was tied in the back and she looked like she was laughing, but the sound was muted, thanks to whatever had happened to her vocal cords. She looked to the rest of the bed and got to her feet on top of it before then plopping over onto the thing. She pulled the sheet up over her and once again let him know, ~ Soft. Thank you. ~ 

~ You’re welcome. ~ Sebastian gave a small nod and with his palm up he pulled it towards his stomach to sign you’re welcome. He called out mentally to Senias knowing he’d hear it if he were close. ~ If you’re in the clinic I need you and Gabriel to join me in Triage 3. ~ 

She copied his gesture. ~ I know this. ~ She got back to a sitting position and did the gesture again.  ~ It is like the one I know in my head… ~ She seemed mystified, if only for a moment. 

~ It makes sense. It makes sense. Yes. If I was from here and I remember the… I remember some things. I kept using this. I know your mental speech, and I knew my brother’s mental speech. Sometimes you don’t need to know but it’s easier. ~ She smiled and used the ASL form of “Thank you” for Sebastian.  

~ How long were you with the Dwellers? Do you remember? Or do you perhaps know how old you are? ~ Sebastian looked through the cabinets and pulled the things that he knew his Chosen would use for the girls testing. ~ What name should I call you that’s better than just girl? ~ He offered her a package with two crackers. It was light and small so shouldn’t hurt her stomach.

“Do you need me to prepare those?” the nurse asked. “Or do you have this? I can be of help out there.” 

“Of course. I just wanted you here to help with the changing. She’d responding mentally, so I think we’re good.” He nodded to the nurse as she left the room. 

~ My name was Lical. I was … ~ she thought about it, moving back through memories from one world to the other until she found something that perhaps he would know.  ~ I remember we were at war. The Gulf. I was in elementary school. There were bomb raids and drills. It was something like that. ~ 

~About twenty eight I’d say. ~ Sebastian smiled at her, ~ I am Sebastian Evansworth and it is a pleasure to meet you, Lical. ~

When Gabriel entered the triage #3 he wasn’t sure what he should be expecting. He saw the girl from the tunnels and smiled for her. 

“Good to see that they are taking care of you. Thank you again for helping me with Terrance.” Gabriel was still dressed in the clothing that Senias had gotten for him. He was cleaned up though, thanks to the staff area of the floor.

She sat up again and did the ASL for “You’re Welcome,” as Sebastian had done.  Lical was happy to see him again. She asked with the same sign language, though it was a bit rusty, “What is your name? I don’t know your name.” 

Seeing the confusion on Gabriel’s face, Sebastian was actually compassionate as he translated, “She can’t speak, we’ll be looking into the reason why. Right now she’s asking for your name.” He looked between the two and could see some resemblances, “Alright, let me do the introductions. Lical this is Gabriel Kennedy and I believe you said he was your brother.”

The shock was instantly on Gabriel’s face as he stared at the Dweller. 

“I don’t understand..” Gabriel looked back at Sen in question as his kindragon entered the room. Did he know what she was talking about? If she truly was his sister then that would mean his father had gotten a lover pregnant. 

~ No! ~  Lical was up, off the table immediately, pulling Gabriel away from Senias and putting herself between them. It was actually quite comical, of course, those who were very confused didn’t think so. She placed herself between the two men and the look on Senias’ face was none too pleased. His eyes narrowed immediately and he growled. As soon as he growled the girl hissed at him, her fingers popping claws. 

~ The bad man! It’s the bad man! ~  She looked to the vampire for help, for he had been nice to her so far. ~ He will take me from my brother! He took me from my mother and father! Please… help… ~  

“Wait! Hold up!” Sebastian raised a hand and motioned for Lical to calm down. “He’s not going to take Gabriel from you and he’s not going to take you either.” He watched as Gabriel slid from behind her and moved back to Sen.

~ I don’t understand, ~ Lical looked to Gabriel desperately and shook her head, “No.” But she couldn’t make him stay away from the bad man. 

“What the fock did I just walk in on?” Senias was looking between the girl and Sebastian before putting his arm over Gabriel’s shoulder, both as a sign of possession and it would be easy for him to turn and become a shield for his kindred.  

 Sebastian watched the defensive stance and shook his head while chuckling. He couldn’t help it given the scene that was before him.

 “Lical calm down. Senias relax, she isn’t interested in hurting Gabriel. She actually wants to protect him from you. She’s calling you the bad man. She’s very confused.” He walked closer to her and held out his own hand. “I’m sorry. I’m trying to figure this out and help you.”

“Bad man? Huh… I’ve been called worse.” It was a favorite, albeit honest, comeback. “But why would she think to protect him from me?”

Now Sebastian lifted a hand to check Lical’s fingers for any damages. 

~ But he took me. He’s a bad man. ~ Lical was quieter, but she wanted Sebastian to understand this. 

“She says that Senias took her from her parents and gave her to the Dwellers. Could you tell us what she’s talking about?”

“Lical…” Senias took a breath. Great. One of those damned skeletons falling out of the closet to land on his head again.  

While he was sure that Sen expected him to move away, Gabriel didn’t.  They just been through quite a lot and he wasn’t about to separate from his dragon when it seemed Sen needed him the most. 

“Sen, do you know her? She claims to be my sister.” There had been many such claims after his father died, but they all had been proven false. The fact that is father was far from faithful was common knowledge. All one had to do was pick up a tabloid to know that.

“I…” He swallowed. He looked at Lical and then looked down.  Oh, this one was difficult. “I never delivered you to the Dwellers. I took you to your uncle on the other side. Considering the circumstances, I thought and your mother …” He shook his head. “I thought he’d take care of you like a normal person would, considering the relationship. I didn’t know you were with the Dwellers.” 

Lical’s heartbeat was still wild.  She wasn’t sure what to think. She’d been too young to question authority. She never knew she was with an uncle. She was working things out in her mind, trying desperately to remember things her mind had either locked away or forgotten. Was he telling the truth? Why was he holding her brother? 

“It could be that she’s your sister. I… I put it all out of my mind. I was focused on William. There was a lot going on while you were away in college. This happened right before the shit hit the fan. I mean…” Senias took a deep breath. “The shit was already hitting the fan, but you had no clue and Jonathan had just died, so I had to protect you.”   

Gabriel had to step back from all of them as he rubbed the bridge of his nose in that usual sign of growing agitation and frustration. There was a slow deep breath taken by him at this time.

Taking the girl by her arm Sebastian moved them completely out of range as he knew those signs all too well as he was sure by the look on Sen’s face that he did too. ~ Just keep quiet and stay here by me. Trust me little sister when I say that your big brother can handle himself with that one. ~

“You.. Why? Why did you take her from her mother and our father?” Gabriel hadn’t raised his voice, but he also knew Sen and the man never did anything without a reason. So he was giving his love a chance to vindicate himself with a better explanation. 

“I didn’t just take her away. It wasn’t as simple as all that. She was there, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Her mother was part of one of William’s machinations. He was using her like he used everyone else in his life – for power.  She knew the dark arts and he wooed her into his schemes. Some of them worked. One of them, I wouldn’t let work. But I cannot kill a child. So, instead, I researched the family and I took Lical to her family on the other side.”  

“Run the tests Sebastian and see if it’s true.” Gabriel instructed as he looked towards the girl. He wasn’t very pleased with his kindragon right now. He knew Sen wanted to keep him safe and protected but this was insane.

“My mother was not evil!” Lical signed to Senias with extreme prejudice in every symbol. 

The dragon narrowed his gaze. “Really? Then why can’t you speak?” Senias  smirked, but there was no humor in his stance or his eyes. “She didn’t like you crying so she made sure you couldn’t. The only reason they kept you was to use you… the both of them. They each had their reasons.” 

“Lies!” she signed. 

“Whatever. I thought I was doing right by you. As right as I could.” 

Lical’s lips trembled. Silent tears moved down her face. ~ Murderer ~  And this time everyone heard it. 

“Hmm… Mass murderer actually. Ask Crimson. Most supernatural have killed in their lives, despite what they may lead you to believe. So I’m not going to apologize for helping the Grim Reaper do his damned job.” Senias looked between them. “Anything else you want to know?” The girl brought out the worst in him. He didn’t mean for it to happen, but she just… damn… yeah, she was William’s alright. She grated on his nerves well and good. Sen just had to remember that she did it out of ignorance. William Kennedy did it out of sadistic pleasure.  

“Alright stop both of you. Sebastian will set you up in a room here until everything can be sorted out.” Gabriel walked forward with his hand held out to her. “Once you are well and all your tests are complete you can come stay with me until we get you on your feet.”

“What?” the look of abject incredulity on the dragon was hard to mistake. 

Lical’s eyes smiled for Gabriel and she started this tiny bunny-hop… thing as she held his hand in hers. She nodded, so happy! 

Holding his other hand up Gabriel staved off her happiness. 

“Understand this, Senias is my kindragon and the man I love, he lives at the estate with me. Do not think to stir trouble between us, Lical. I will have none of it.” He cleared his throat and let her hand go, “While you stay with us, we can look more into what prevents your speech.” 

He looked Senias’ way then, “You behave yourself as well. I know you can’t resist trouble Mr. Morias.”

“Mmm… well, I have another house in town. I have work to do. And I have plenty of other lairs, so you won’t have to worry about me ever misbehaving around your sister.” Senias walked out the door, leaving them all. As Gabriel had said before, so he was thinking, he was having none of it, right now. Sebastian would know the look and the emotion. Senias wasn’t a quick adapter… normally Gabriel wouldn’t be so open, either.   The dragon needed to cool off. Whether Gabriel realized it or not, he’d just seen Sen’s “best behavior”. 

“I wouldn’t Gabriel.” Sebastian cautioned and tried to warn only to have the younger man glare at him. Then Sebastian shrugged his shoulders at him, “Go on then, what do I know of him. I only warred and pillaged the world with him for hmm so many years I’ve lost count.”

Lical watched everything unfold. She looked to Sebastian and she wondered what it all meant. 

~ The bad man and my brother? ~ Everything was so confusing. Her brother was good.  Why would he be in love with the dragon? The dragon was horrible and dark compared to her brother’s light soul. Her brother’s soul was even more light than her own.  

Gabriel followed his lover out of triage to the hall, but then stepped back in to look Lical’s way, “I’ll be by to check on you tomorrow. Get some rest, you are safe here.” Then he left with both Lical and Sebastian watching him. 

~ His colors shift when he’s upset. And when they were near each other, they mingled. Dark tones and light. He killed my parents, and my brother doesn’t care. I don’t understand anything. ~ Lical shook her head and huffed a breath. She wiped her face and paced near the bed. 

Instead of following Sen, Gabriel made his way down to check on Terry. He would’ve stepped in except for the youthful growling that was going on from the other side of the door. Apparently Ryker was in with his brother and was having none of what Dr. Keene was attempting to do to his twin. That made Gabriel smile as he knew young Terrance was in good hands and those that loved him while being bravely watched over by the one that’d shared the womb with him.

He peeked in at Isabel and saw her fast asleep in Largros’ arms with her father and mother at hand. Again she was safe and well taken care of. So with one more glance at the door to triage 3 Gabriel left the clinic. Instead of heading home, he grabbed a cab to his office.

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