Michael took a deep breath. “I'm sorry,” he said, desperately trying to calm himself. “It's just -”
“Michael, you don't owe me a thing. You certainly don't owe me an apology. If anything, I should apologize to you for burdening you with this information so soon after your arrival to our time. I'm truly sorry.”
“No, please, I'm the one you expect so much from. I'm the one who should apologize.”
John sighed “Alright, you're both sorry, move on,” he said, something in his voice still ringing in Michael's mind as a supportive pat on the back, regardless of its exterior rigidity.
“John's right. We can agree that we are both apologetic. Simple,” Stephens said.
Michael nodded. “Yeah.”
Stephens sighed. “Please, take some time to rest; get things sorted out. John can show you to a cot, and you can take some time to sort through what must be an immense culture shock.”
Michael just nodded, wiping tears from his face.
Stephens too nodded and then signaled to John with a wave of his hand.
John took Michael's arm and directed him out of the room. They went back the way they had come, down the stairs and through the corridors until he stopped in front of an open door. “Here you go,” John said. “I'm just a few doors down, if you can't find me ask around; someone should know where I am.”
Michael nodded. “Thanks,” he said as he walked into the room. He could tell from the blackboard at one end that it was once a classroom. The desks had been replaced with cots, the students with soldiers. Most of the people in this room were men, a lot of them visibly injured. There were, however, two women; both young, perhaps only in their early twenties. Michael felt slight discomfort at the fact that they were lying in their cots wearing nothing but their undergarments, but considering the heat in the room, he could understand why. Another discomfort was the fact that the only available cot was in the very corner, next to one of those women. He sighed, made his way to the corner and collapsed on to the cot, immediately regretting the decision when his body screamed at him with pain. He clenched his teeth and groaned.