Feeling the Need
By Eilidh

 

“Daniel! God…What are you going to do, Daniel? Do you want to kill me? Oh God, look at you. I know what this is. I know what it's like. You can get through it…”

“No…”

A soft but insistent knock pulls at my attention signalling an unpleasant reminder that Daniel’s troubles are far from over.  The barrier between us, a wall that cocoons us against what waits on the other side, falls away as the door opens just a fraction and Janet breaks in on this very private moment. 

“Sir?”

Daniel, who I was fairly sure had finally succumbed to the needy tones of his body, stiffened in my arms at the sound of her hushed voice, his rising panic reflected in the thumping of his heartbeat. 

“I can’t… not ready…” he mumbles into the crook of my neck, breathe steaming hot against my skin.  I tighten my grip around his chest, slowly rocking to soothe his fears like a parent would a child, but this just seems to heighten his paranoia, and I feel him trying to break away.

“No, Daniel.”  I’m smarting now as I realize my tone held just enough sting to add to his panic as he starts fighting against my hold.  “We can do this,” I hastily add in the hope he won’t go round two with me. 

He’s not listening.  Face beet read with the flush of withdrawal and exertion, he pushes against my chest with enough strength to catch me off guard.  I was so sure he’d used up all his energy on our last encounter - the store room a telling picture of destruction, and a vivid reminder of just how hyped up he really was. 

I don’t want to fight him again and he can’t afford to.  Yet, as his now desperate attempt to scramble away from me takes on a renewed effort, I succumb to the knowledge that I’ll have to resort to even more desperate measures to hold on. 

“You’re getting better, Daniel,” I offer.  The words tumble from my mouth with a hollowness that betrays my belief he really is improving, and I’m sure my true meaning isn’t lost on him.  Even in this delusional state, Daniel is no fool, and as he scrambles away from me, eyes wide with understanding, I’m left in no doubt he saw right through my façade.

“You’re lying!” he hisses back, clamoring over the debris on the floor, his gaze constantly searching for a quick escape.  He won’t get past me though.  I couldn’t maintain my grip on him but there is no way in hell he’s leaving this room by himself.  This is his last stand and he has to know it’s a battle he won’t win.  Common sense took flight the moment the sarcophagus had him in its addictive grip.  It wasn’t his fault.  We, none of us, blame him for what has happened.  Unfortunately, I know from experience that guilt and shame will be a big part of his life once this is over with.  There’s no denying, no way of walking away from the ugly truth that once the high crashes and the withdrawal has eaten up the last of your reserves, the only thing left is the truth of your actions.

Like an angel of mercy, Janet – who I’d quite forgotten about – inches herself further into the room, just far enough to catch my attention and slip something into my hand.

My hand tightens around the familiar shape of a syringe.  Sleek and light, it is none the less loaded, and offering it only a fleeting moment of recognition, I quickly school my surprise in the hope Daniel didn’t catch my reaction. 

Janet leaves the door slightly ajar; the light from the hallway beyond filling the room just enough for me to keep an eye on Daniel and make sure my aim is true.  I’m no medic and the thought of having a needle has always left me a bit cold, now the very idea of giving one to my best friend in his current state… well, let’s just say my carefully constructed hard-ass Colonel wall is losing a few bricks.  

I thumb the cap off and rest the body of the syringe in my palm, the needle sliding between two fingers so it can barely be seen.  Deceit pushes its way to the front of my mind and I quickly assess the situation in the hopes of finding a better solution.  A pained groan and the sound of Daniel backing even further away from me takes away any other option I might have had, and with a deep resolute breath, I hook my thumb over the syringe and move in on my target.

“You’ll thank me later, Daniel.”

 

The End

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