Seven years ago (continued)…
The captive sat motionless in the corner of his cell, his back wedged against the wall and head bowed so that his now too long hair fell into his face. The masked woman crept into the tiny dark room and made a silent beeline straight for its only occupant. As she got closer, her movements became more cautious. Bright eyes watched him closely, searching for any signs of life. She brought up a gloved hand and gently tried to brush some of the hair from his face.
To her credit, the sentinel was impressed when she remained silent when the captive’s hand shot up to grab hers. She did gasp in surprise, though, he noted with grim satisfaction. “Who are you?” the sentinel asked in the captive’s borrowed voice.
She tried to pull her hand away, to no avail. He held her tight with an iron grip. Though the captive’s body still ached from the phantom pains of his most recent death and rebirth, the Lazarus Pit had healed all the injuries, as it always did, and made him physically whole. The sentinel knew with this body he could handle one girl.
“I’m a friend,” she whispered. “I’ve been sent to get you out of here, Timothy.”
The sentinel frowned and raised his head to look at his would-be savior. “Who?”
“Names are overrated.”
The masked teenage girl was clearly a little confused, but she wasn’t about to let that dissuade her from her mission. She rose up to her full height. “Whatever. We need to leave now.” She placed her free hand over his, which still held her other wrist, and tried to pull him to his feet, but he stubbornly stayed in place.
“Is this another cruel trick?”
She stopped pulling. “What?”
The woman wasn’t expecting him to move as quickly as he did. The sentinel didn’t expect to be able to move as quickly either. He never took so much control before. Before the woman could blink, he’d risen up and had slammed her against the wall, a strong hand wrapped firmly around her neck.
“Another one of the demon’s games!” he growled through clenched teeth. “A glimmer of hope that always turns into death!” His grip on her tightened, and somehow he knew that she’d have bruises from it, but he’s too angry to care. “There’s nothing left to break! The demon’s taken everything from him! All that’s left is shards and splinters!” His eyes, his too-blue borrowed eyes, narrowed in their rage. “I won’t let him be murdered again! Not again! Not ever!”
“I swear I’m not working for Ra’s Al Ghul!” she gasped desperately. Her face showed the pain from his grip. “I hate that monster as much as you do, and I’m working for one who hates him even more than either of us!” The woman struggled to free herself. “Please! She sent me to rescue someone named Timothy Wayne! We don’t have much time! The guards will be here soon!”
The sentinel finally released her. He didn’t trust her, but the alternative to leaving was staying in the cell to wait for the fifty-fourth death. “Go.”
As the two of them ran the labyrinth of the underground compound, the sentinel sensed the captive stirring in the back of his mind. Even in his unconsciousness, he could feel something was happening, though he was not in control of his own body. With grim satisfaction, the sentinel noted the number of fallen guards on the path the woman lead him on. He doesn’t care if they’re dead or just unconscious. It just strengthened the previously weak hope that maybe, just maybe, this was really what the woman had promised.
After what seemed like forever, the pair of them burst through one final door and the sentinel was stunned to find himself looking at a world without walls. The masked woman paused when she noticed that her companion had stopped the moment they cleared the secret entrance they’d used to make their escape. “Hey! Are you ok?”
The sentinel didn’t answer. He was too busy taking in the environment. His persona had been born in the darkness from torture and captivity. The identity he possessed had been cobbled together by Timothy Drake’s subconscious as a last ditch effort to preserve some semblance of his sanity. The sentinel possessed Tim’s strength of spirit, his endurance, his focus, and will to live.
He didn’t possess Tim’s memories of the clear night sky, though. The sentinel had never felt the winds of the Australian outback pull at his hair.
Tim’s rescuer tried to say something to him, but her words don’t reach his ears. The sentinel had closed his eyes and reached deep into his mind.
“Wake up,” the sentinel wordlessly urged his unconscious counterpart gently. “Open your eyes.”
When Tim’s blue eyes open once more, the furious, focused demeanor is gone, replaced by first confusion, then awe.
“We’re… outside?” he murmured softly as he stared up at the star-laden night sky. “Is this real? Is it over?” Tears of relief begin to trail down his cheeks, but Tim makes no move to brush them away.
The sentinel’s voice responded inside his head. “For now.”
He smiled weakly. “I’m so tired,” he whispered as his eyes started to slide closed. The two of them barely registered the fact that their shared body was falling into someone’s arms.
“Then go back to sleep,” the now weary sentinel said. “I’ll take care of everything until you wake up.”
Yes, I know it’s another short chapter, but in a way, it’s a continuation of the previous. Maybe later on I’ll go back and combine the two into one, but this works for now.