“I don’t believe that.”
“You don’t want to believe that.”
“What happened to Jorge Vega?”
“You killed him. You killed my father.”
“He killed mine first.”
“I was there… right in front of my eyes! How could you?”
“Jorge got what he deserved.”
“You don’t mean that. I know you Eddy.”
“Maybe not as well as you thought.”
“He can’t hurt us anymore.”
“What he did to Andy… what he’d have done to you…”
“That’s your excuse? He killed him, so he deserves to die.”
“Pretty much how I see it.”
“Then where does that put me, Amante? You killed my father… am I supposed to kill you?”
“If you think it’s what I deserve.”
“You’re still my Eddy Lane.”
“I am Kardiac. Jorge Vega made certain of that the night he killed my father. And Kardiac was the man who was here tonight… the man who would have done what was necessary if you hadn’t interfered.”
“If I could have stopped you, I would have. I don’t have that kind of power… I thought love was enough. I hoped that my Eddy loved me enough to stop….”
“What happened to Eddy? Where was he tonight?”
“Eddy is a mask… I thought he was real, but he’s not. This is who I am.”
“Then I will be who I need to be.”
“It’s a shame… I really loved Eddy…”
Kardiac opened his eyes and immediately noticed the slight blur to everything in the room. There was no green haze… the goggles were gone, and his glasses had yet to be replaced. He was Eddy Lane now, and a nearsighted one at that. Instinctively, he acted to change his voice, only to discover the charge that modified his voiceprint had already dissipated.
“Where…?” he managed to croak out through the pain in his chest and the taste of copper in his throat.
“Strategoi Medical,” she answered. It was Jenna, out of uniform. Silhouette had left the building, and he’d apparently been out long enough for her the change clothes. “We got you here with seconds to spare.”
Eddy cracked a weak smile. “Shoulda… waited… a few seconds more….” There was clear sarcasm in his voice, though it was an effort to apply it. He was being far too honest for his own good. He’d hoped, somewhere deep down, that tonight would be the end of the fight.
Jenna smiled back at him, her eyes too moist to make the smile convincing. “Too much paperwork,”she said, deadpan. “Besides, if you’d have died, I’d have ruined a perfectly good jumpsuit for nothing.”
“Hot water…,” he said, closing his eyes under the strain. “Soak it… in cola….”
“I saw that Mythbusters too,” she said with a stifled chuckle. “It doesn’t work on clothes.”
“Well damn…,” he replied, forcing his eyes to stay open. “That explains… what happened to my… good dinner jacket….”
“Hush,” she said, pressing a finger to his lips. Her skin was warm, especially against lips that had been drained of so much blood. The gesture made his spine tingle. “You shouldn’t be awake yet, much less making jokes.”
Eddy shrugged, and immediately regretted it. “Too stubborn…,” he said, his voice failing before he could end the sentence.
“That’s the truth,” she said, flatly. “Now try to rest. I’ve got to go tell the gang that you’re conscious. They’ve been worried, though not a one of them wanted to show it.”
She turned and left the room, closing and locking the door behind her. The door locked from the outside… he was in medical alright… the infirmary at Strategoi’s holding facility. Clearly, she thought he’d try to leave without a Doctor’s consent. Clearly, she knew him better than he’d thought.
He closed his eyes, lingering on the image of her leaving the room. It was definitely a nice picture, though he knew that he could never let it go further than appreciating the view. She would just end up hating him. They all did. He was a bad seed, and sooner or later, they all found that out the hard way.
Letting go of the memory of her graceful departure, Eddy turned his mind to more important things… escaping this hospital and getting back to work. He’d no doubt have a lot of visitors in the next hour or so, but they had to leave eventually. And when they did, he’d be free to make his move.
He had a city to save. And there was far too much to do for him to be wasting time on bed rest.